A LITERARY BLOG
How they affect us.
How they shape our lives.
made when muses strike.
Watch for blog alert notices via
email, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
"We read to know
we are not alone."
Novels, books, and musicals
June has written and published:
Click a book image to purchase it on
for New Members is a beautifully written little book...a gem.
The thoughts are striking and orginal--a
few are quite profound."
--Fiona Hodgkin, author of The Tennis Player from Bermuda
B'Seti Pup Publishing
Proofreading, Editing, Rewites,
Assistance with Self-publishing.
"It's the write thing to do."
"I like what you've done with my
Makes me fall in love with it all over again."
--Olajuwon Dare, author of Eleven Eleven
on Facebook.com, or at
Thinking of adopting a pet?
Want to learn the "ins" and "outs"?
Click this link for an interesting article:
Please support this Literary Blog
by buying on Amazon.
Monday, January 8, 2018
2:18 pm est
Doctor Who: The Book of Whoniversal Records
Knock, knock… Now you
ask, “Who’s there?” And I reply, “That’s right!” Doctor Who, of course, the BBC iconic
time traveler with the long rainbow scarf and mop of curly hair. I am referring to Tom Baker who played the fourth Doctor
Who (1974 to 1983), appearing the most times in 42 stories that spanned the 174 episodes. He is the one I liked and remember
the best… and because of him, those were the nine years I was totally addicted…
Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, Doctor Who may have been one of the original science fiction televisions shows that
captured the hearts and minds of the nerdier set. It was – and still is – one of the most creative and imaginative
shows that spanned, literally thousands upon thousands of years; with literally hundreds of impossible feats and plot lines.
Although, when Tom Baker’s Doctor was transformed, I lost interest… and moved on to the various permutations
of Star Trek, falling deeply in love with the younger Scotty [who could have beamed me up anytime 😉].
Still, I sometimes wondered… Whatever happened
to Who? And then a mysterious package bearing the HarperCollins Design imprint appeared in my mailbox… Doctor Who: The Book of Whoniversal Records: Official Timey-Wimey Edition by Simon Guerrier, the prolific English writer of countless Doctor Who books, comics, audio plays, and documentaries;
although not – as far as I can tell – of any of the Doctor Who television scripts. The most prolific screenwriter
was the late Robert Holmes who penned 64 episodes from 1968 to 1986, about the same era as Tom Baker. Regardless, what Guerrier
has done in this glitzy graphic book is compile into a virtual Guinness-like book of records the best of Doctor Who –
what, when, where, and why. Replete with color photographs, outtakes, quotes, and little known but quite interesting and often
amusing facts about the world’s most famous – and often implausible – purveyor of timeless adventures.
I was, needless to say, a bit overjoyed… Now I can catch up on Doctor Who doings in bits and snatches without
having to binge-watch all ten seasons with 840 extent episodes. Which would have taken me an eternity, at the very least [And,
if I did, who would have written my next two novels?] Anyway, now I can relive the best and most exciting of the glory days;
learn behind the scenes facts about Daleks, stranger than strange aliens, travelling companions; wonder at special effects;
and, pardon the intended pun, while away my time perusing the best of the best.
And if you are or ever were a
fan of Doctor Who, you can, too.
So, wrap yourself up in that long rainbow scarf, curl up into your Tardis,
and take an adventurous flight or two between the pages of this wondrous and wonderful book.
Enjoy the read!
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
2:38 pm est
Beneath the Mountain
A Special Note: I began June’s Literary
Blog seven years ago… First writing about books in my extensive library that affected my – our lives. A few months
later, a few publishers took notice and books began appearing on my doorstep. And now, 240 book reviews later [approximately
34 posts per year], I start year eight with number 241. But before I do, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for and
to my following of kind fans, fellow bibliophiles, friends, and family, as well as the generous publishers who over the years
have supplied me with an endless array of sometimes so-so, often good and great, and, occasionally, excellent literary offerings.
Thank you! May we all continue to “Enjoy the read!”
There are thrillers… and then there are thrillers. The
former are written for pure sensationalism – a frightful tale merely for its own sake. No real substance; no moral message;
no deep, complex memorable characters. Just fear for the simple emotional effect. The latter, however, embody complete opposites.
Oh, sure, there is a frightful tale and the edge-of-the-seat sensationalism, but the book – nonfiction as well as fiction
– to be a great thriller goes a whole lot deeper. And that is precisely what Beneath the Mountain: A Novel, by Luca D’Andrea’s, [just released yesterday] is. One of the best thrillers I’ve read since I started
this Literary Blog seven years ago…
Jeremiah Salinger was once a hot-shot American screenwriter, the literary
half of a documentary team. He and his partner, Mike, were well on their way to the pinnacle of success when, while filming
about a rescue attempt in the Dolomite Alps of Northern Italy, Jeremiah falls into a glacial crevasse… And watches
with horror as the rescuers and those they saved are killed. And then… He hears the Beast. That’s enough
to send chills up and down any reader’s spine… But there’s more. D’Andrea, as he out bests the best
[including Stephen King, Dean Koonz, and Steig Larsson], pits his main character against several internal as well as external
monsters: anxiety and guilt-ridden PTSD resulting from his accident; aloof residents of Siebenhoch, his [Annelise’s]
wife’s small mountain home village where they settle with their beloved daughter, Clara; the Bletterbach itself, with
its subterranean caves harboring eerie, inexplicable enigmas; and the secrets surrounding an unsolved, twenty-year old murder
– was it? – of three of its young adults.
Salinger, of course, is hell-bent-for-leather to
solve the mysterious murder. With or without the help of Werner, his reluctant father-in-law and Chief Max Krün, the
taciturn local lone law enforcer – and stubbornly against Annelise’s strong protestations – he takes it
upon himself to play detective. With dire and dangerous consequences that prove to be both his downfall [again] as well as
his salvation. Well, maybe… But this is the hard grist of a truly exceptional thriller cum horror tale that, I must
admit, keep me awake for two nights straight reading and wondering who really killed Markus, Kurt, and Evi? The Beast
described as a large spider scorpion? A villager? A rescuer? Poachers? I can rest easy now because I finally found out the
deliciously complex – and intellectually stimulating – solution. But – no spoilers here – I am going
to leave it up to you to discover it for yourself.
First published in Italy as La Sostanza del Male in 2016 to modest acclaim, Beneath the Mountain, now translated into more than twenty languages, is yet another HarperCollins winner. It is a no-holds barred insight
into the complex and convoluted culture of a small, heretofore unknown region of Northern Italy, once a part of Austria. D’Andrea
delves into the sociological, geographical, historical, and psychological multi-dimensions of the region, probing into the
depths of not only the mountainous area but the mountain people themselves. And nothing is lost in translation. Each turn
of phrase, sentence, description is a well-tuned, talented brushstroke as this modest author paints a vivid portrait of characters
and landscapes… All enmeshed in a thrilling narrative that, most certainly belongs on every bestseller list –
if not on every thriller lover’s bookshelf.
Enjoy the read!
Thursday, December 28, 2017
2:44 pm est
The Library at the Edge of the World
If “home is where the
heart is”, how do you know where the heart is if you’re not sure of here home is? Or even how to begin finding
This is the dilemma of Hanna Casey who, in Felicity Hayes-McCoy’s debut novel, abandons a
posh London lifestyle and returns to her roots in the rural Irish town of Lissberg. After years of what turned out to be a
loveless marriage – her barrister husband is a liar and philanderer – and a nearly fruitful career as a researcher,
she finds herself managing the small local branch library and driving a bookmobile up and down the Finfarran peninsula from
isolated villagers to isolated villagers. What makes matters worse is that she is living with her nagging overbearing mother…
Not to mention having to copy with gossiping village residents…
This makes for an interesting premise;
almost Dickensian. But The Library at the Edge of the World: A Novel (Finfarran Peninsula) wends its way through several saving graces. One of which is the small delipidated stone house overlooking the sea that
Hanna has inherited from her great-aunt. Restoring it is a chance, however slim, of her finding herself a home, a home in
her own life. But is it where she will find her heart and its home?
For those of us who miss the great dearly
departed Maeve Binchy and her “slices out of real life” novels, Hayes-McCoy’s well-thought out and well-written
journey through the complex labyrinth of lives and loves in Lissberg neatly fits the bill. There are touches of intrigue,
mystery, and, of course, romance. And for those of us who are armchair travelers whose more adventurous exploits are through
the pages of novels, the stunning descriptions of Finfarran peninsula and the idyllic Irish seascape will more than tweak
But while the seascape is idyllic and peaceful, the town of Lissberg and its sister peninsula
villages are not. As their very bucolic economy and way of life is threatened by greedy developers, the almost reclusive Hanna
steps into the fray and, amidst her own tumultuous efforts to restore her inherited home, manages to discover a way to, as
the saying goes, “save the day”. How she, with the help of her often quirky but delightful cohorts, do this is
the meat and potatoes of a most charming read.
Primarily a non-fiction writer of memoirs, Hayes-McCoy brings
to her first fictional effort a stoical, sensible approach to her literary endeavors. While she is matter-of-fact, she is
also sensitive to the emotional needs of her characters; a trait, I surmise, that stems from her years as a successful actress
on both stage and screen. While driven to tie up all the loose ends of the multi-linear plot and sub-plots, she is cognizant
of providing an interesting, thought-provoking story that enlightens, educates, and entertains.
In essence, as
Hanna in this author’s capable hands finally finds where home is for herself and her heart, each reader will find a
literary heartwarming home.
Enjoy the read!
Monday, December 18, 2017
3:55 pm est
Middle Earth: From Script to Screen
learning what happened behind the scenes is more interesting than the scenes themselves.
Take, for example, the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
trilogies, the epic films of the early 2000s, based upon the Ring Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, that won 17 out of 30
total Academy Award nominations and captured the hearts of both adults and children [of all ages] alike, They certainly did
I became an avid Tolkien fan in the
mid-1960s. Primarily because it was assigned “optional” reading in my Advance Placement English literature class.
What started out as almost confusing reads ended up emmeshing me into the depths of the world of Middle Earth, with its Hobbits,
Gnomes, Dwarves, Elves… and the dreaded Kingdom of Mordor; not to mention the convoluted, but intricate plot lines.
Once I got the hang of the author’s writing style, I was hooked and have, over the course of the past fifty years or
so, must have read the fantasies more than four or five times… And, of course, when the movies started hitting the
silver screen, I just had to see them all.
And all through the marvelously produced and directed [by Peter Jackson] films, I kept on asking, “How did
they do that?” Well, thanks to my buddies at Harper Collins and their collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products,
now I know.
Between the handsomely green-bound pages
of Middle-earth from Script to Screen: Building the World of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, I learned that a whole, nearly functioning Hobbit Village was constructed on a large farm in Australia… It was
– and still is – so real that most of the actors during filming actually began to believe that they were actually
in The Shire. That Sauron’s Black Riders – the Ringwraiths – were not only human actors wearing over thirty
meters of carefully crafted fabric and gauntlets but also digitally animated riders. Many children of crew members were featured
during several of scenes, including ‘Old’ Gerontius Took’s flashback party in An Unexpected Journey.
And, do you know what Mathoms are? Flets? Palantíri? You’ll have to comb the 574 pages of this most wondrously
extravagant compendium of Hobbit knowledge – while marveling at the full-color illustrations and drawings – to
What I particularly like about Middle-earth is not only the stories behind the scenes and stories, but the stories themselves. Carefully and assiduously written
by Daniel Falconer – with a forward by Peter Jackson – the complete gestalt of the Ring Trilogy is mapped out.
There are marvelous explanations – paraphrased from the pages of the original books – of how Bilbo originally
obtained the infamous Gold Ring and how he passed it on to Frodo to destory; the interconnections between Sauron and Saruman
the White; the back-stories of Frodo’s friends, who accompany him on his perilous journey… I could go on and
one, but I don’t want to spoil the fun for you. Besides, this book – yet another beautiful product of Harper Designs
– is not one you read from cover to cover in subsequent sittings, but one you dip into from time to time – absorbing
each little tidbit of fascinating information just as you would sip a well-aged mellow whiskey.
Middle-earth – released just last month -- is a valuable and valued addition to any library. And would, in my mind, be
an especially appropriate Holiday gift for the avid movie-goer, film-ologist and/or connoisseur of all things Tolkien.
Enjoy the read!
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
4:18 pm est
I have one word for Gregory Maguire: Exquisite.
The author of
sixteen works of fiction and one non-fiction illustrative tribute to the illustrious Maurice Sendak, Maguire is nothing less
than adroit, sensitive, and, as one critic put it, idiosyncratic. You may remember him as the created of the four-volume series,
The Wicked Years (Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz) whose first novel spawned a fervor
in musical theatre. Well, here he is again, paralleling in the opposite direction with Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker, the definitive fictionalized story behind what we’ve come to treasure as the traditional Holiday ballet, The
Performed by perhaps hundreds of dancing troupes across the country, The Nutcracker,
actually, is not an entity unto itself, per se, but is based upon an 1816 story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, written
by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann. Set in the Stahlbaum home on Christmas Eve, Marie-Claire [aka “Klara” in the
ballet] Stahlbaum’s favorite toy, a Nutcracker, comes to life, defeats the evil Mouse King in battle, and sweeps Marie
away to a magical kingdom populated with dolls.
What Hoffmann didn’t relate was the prequel: How and by
whom The Nutcracker was first created and thence eventually came to be under young Marie’s family tree that fateful
Which is exactly what Maguire does.
Hiddensee begins not with “once upon a
time”, but with “once there was a boy who lived in a cabin in the deep woods.” The “once” is
the early 1800s; the deep woods, the Black Forest of Bavaria. The boy lives with a woodman with a dark beard and an seemingly
old women whose legs are too smooth to be that of a crone. Not their child, he is a foundling whom they are raising. One fateful
day, as he is helping the man fell a tree, the boy’s axe wounds the man and carves out one of the boy’s eyes.
The boy is then “killed” by the branch he is hewing… And… Well… yet another particularly
puzzling set of circumstances finds the supposedly “dead” boy wandering into a small town accompanied by a keenly
sharp knife whose gnome-handle is alive and a brown thrush who is the voice of reason.
The boy comes to live
with Pfarrer Johannes, a Calvinist priest who, after seven years, sends young Dirk Drosselmeier – for that is what he
has dubbed the young wonderer – with a message to the Bishop in Meersburg. There, Dirk meets Felix Stahlbaum and eventually
finds himself in the employ of a paper maker, Herr Pfeiffer whose Persian wife… Well, like all of Maquire’s enigmatic
stories, it gets delightfully complicated. With twists, turns, tells, and reveals that only a truly talented fantasy tale
maker can write.
The exquisiteness of this novel – like all of Maguire’s novels – is that Hiddensee is three-dimensionally polysemic. What
the reader originally thinks are straight-forward allegories, metaphors, and analogies carry other meanings. And there are
overt innuendoes that also can be taken three ways. Like Dirk’s puzzling friendship with Fritz and his, literally, Mesmerizing
fascination with Frau Pfeiffer. And like his other stories based upon faerie and fantasy tales, this one is fraught with myths,
Hellenic mystery-cultism, hints and allusions to The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. All together posing a baffling
question about whether one beset by the disasters and detritus of life can finally bring hope and joy into the lives of others…
Once again, “once upon a time” in Gregory Maguire’s magically lyrical and fastidiously discerning
literary hand becomes nothing less than meaningful enchantment.
Enjoy the read!
J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is
an author, poet, and librettist. Her currenty published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations,
volumes of poetry, stories
for children (of all ages) and
a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:
Hotel: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
the Schuylkill Monster: A Novel of
Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville during World
Rainbow in the Sky
of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A
Collection of More Spiritual Poems
We Three Kings
Beauty and the Beast
Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding
Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She
is currently working on her fifth novel.