2014 – December 31 – A Road Through the Desert

On the 31st, we’re reading “A Road Through the Desert” by h.l. nelson.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper twist:  “Joan, dear, something tells me you’ll be just fine.”[/cryout-pullquote]

Dear Diary,

Right now, I’m in a car, hurtling through a hot desert. Temple sometimes smiles at me like she’s the Louise to my Thelma. But we’re not alone.

We’ve been driving this way for what seems like forever. But I know that can’t be so. I remember Anne’s party as if we were still there. The Christmas tree aflame, the ice sculpture melting in the blaze, and bodies writhing everywhere.

But let me rewind a bit so I can tell the story.

Continue reading

2014 – December 30 – Endings and Beginnings

On the 30th day, we’re reading “Endings and Beginnings” by Joanne Jagoda.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper Twist:  “I almost believed you’d be happy eating Dundee cake.. I almost believed..”[/cryout-pullquote]

“Hey Cass . Aren’t you done? We should be at Denise’s soon. She wants to leave by 2 so we make it to Tahoe before dark.”

“Yeah, I’m almost finished.”

“You’re bringing way too much stuff.”

“I know Rob, but I can’t decide what to take.”

“Why are you in such a crappy mood?”

Anne Donaldson’s Year to Remember has certainly been that. We’ve been through the proverbial wringer with this woman, from her being targeted for extortion, falling in Continue reading

2014 – December 29 – Lots of Ways to Die

It’s the 29th day, and we’re reading “Lots of Ways to Die” by Vanessa Wiebler Paris.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper Twist:  “Please don’t go yet.”[/cryout-pullquote]

There are lots of ways to die.

Slim Jim is remarkable for its ability to make us care deeply for a character who should be pathetic in our eyes, a victim by choice, a man who lets others walk all over him. But Jim is not pathetic. This author does a fine job of getting us into his mindset, and it’s no longer such a stretch to see ourselves in his situation. To empathize, as they say. Sure, his condition is an exaggeration of our Continue reading

2014 – December 28 – Gifts

On the 28th day we’re reading “Gifts” by Kimberlee Smith.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper Twist:  “The long haul.. whew…”[/cryout-pullquote]

In the kitchen, Mum has a tangled bunch of limp snakes in her hands. Taipan, Western Rattlers, and Death Adders. She shakes them loose into a cardboard box that has ‘MASTER BEDROOM’ written across it in square black letters, then looks at Etheline, who toddles toward her. Mum’s expression – pinched brow , pursed lips – says Don’t come near. This is grandmum’s work.

Backsliders, a Love Story is yet another compelling foray into serial fiction. It’s a series that is not afraid to take chances in its storytelling, while also Continue reading

2014 – December 27 – De-Cloned

It’s the 27th and time for “De-Cloned” by Nathaniel Tower.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “Put it in a pickle jar, Samford, and close the lid tight.”[/cryout-pullquote]

Samford is lying in a comfortable bed, a woman’s arm draped over his chest. He wakes up stiff , unaccustomed to sleeping on his back. He glances at the woman and smiles to himself. Gently, he removes her arm from his chest and scoots himself off the bed, trying not to wake her. Clothes and used condoms are scattered all over the floor. Samford tiptoes around the room like he is maneuvering through a mine field.

Samford Versus the Clones has been Continue reading

2014 – December 26 – In Telluride

On the 26th day we’re reading “In Telluride” by Gary Percesepe.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper Twist:  “Gabrielle, Anna, Fifi, Pee Wee: make a choice and stick to it !”[/cryout-pullquote]

Gabrielle decided to meet me for Christmas back in Telluride, with Anna in tow. My ski partner and former college roommate Henry joined us, bringing his girlfriend Kate, thinking this was too good to miss. We booked a room in Mountain Village and settled in for the week. Christmas was weird, alternative and swell. Presents all around.

The Shot series stands out for it’s brutally honest portrayal of a character we do not particularly admire doing things that are often verge on Continue reading

2014 – December 25 – Morgana Malone and the Promise of 1000 Tomorrows

It’s the 25th and we’re reading “Morgana Malone and the Promise of 1000 Tomorrows” by Matt Potter.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper Twist:  “Fear of tinsel may be lessened with a soup of garlic and clove, though Freud claimed otherwise.”[/cryout-pullquote]

“One big fantastic time we be having,” Ludmilla says. Greasy grey-brown hair sticking out from under her bearskin hat , she sucks on her Christmas cigar . Clouds of eau de old-shoes-left-for-too-long-in-a-mouldy-wardrobe puff past my face.

“Christmas in July in June ? No!” Now Ludmilla stomps her feet on the grey paving then throws her arms out like she’s about to break into a show tune. “No no no! Christmas in Continue reading

2014 – December 24 – Noel

On the 24th we’re reading “Noel” by Teresa Burns Gunther.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper Twist: “The sperm that keeps on giving.“[/cryout-pullquote]

Susie’s late as usual. I asked her last week if she wanted me to get her a date. She laughed, more like a squeal and said, “You don’t do blind dates on Christmas Eve with family!” It used to bother me the way she thought everything I said was funny, but she says making people laugh is a gift. Who knew? She tells me she’s bringing her co-star.

“The sleazy doctor?” I tsked. She has terrible taste in men, except for Steve, but he was gay and it didn’t last.

I have Continue reading

2014 – December 23 – Beautiful Day

It’s the 23rd, and time for “Beautiful Day” by Darryl Price.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper Twist:  “Girls are a good distraction from the sad parts of living.“[/cryout-pullquote]

It’s a beautiful day, Doc. The kind of day that makes you feel like it’s great to be alive, and that’s what’s so sad about it, I guess. I had a lot more to say to you in the lifetime, Doc, but I guess it’ll have to wait. I’m not all that good at waiting around for something to happen.

It’s always a beautiful day when I settle in to read the month’s installment of the Foggy Stardust series. I’ve presented my Continue reading

2014 – December 22 – The End

It’s the 22nd, time to read “The End” by Margaret Bingel.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper twist:  “Walking toward the warming sun has such a beautiful glow.”[/cryout-pullquote]

Nadia is sleeping next to her owner, kicking her legs as she dreams.

Ned, on the other hand, is wide awake, tapping his fingers to a tense rhythm.

Tap Tap Tap. His fingers march across his chest, like little toy soldiers.

The Small Struggle has been a rewarding read. We started out with a troubled man, smothered by his mother’s love, friendless, hopeless, about to do something destructive, likely to the children walking past his home. He slipped, suffered a concussion, a coma, came back Continue reading