meghan rose allen

Review of Tremulous Hinge by Adam Giannelli

Posted by in netgalley copy

(or wherein I once again prove that the parts of poetry which intrigue me may not be what I am supposed to be talking about)

You know what I really appreciated about Tremulous Hinge: the layout of some of the poems. Like the indentation. Seriously. Or there'd be a thin poem, maybe only eight or nine spaces worth of letters on each line. Then each verse would be only lines long and it would be these little rectangles like a path down the page.

I can hear one of my high school English teacher's sarcasm right now: That's what you think is important about poetry?

Yes. I mean, how do the poets know

   where to end lines and

how much to


So I read Tremulous Hinge and thought about that. The poems that were over a page were too long and could have been tightened. One poem mentioned a Catholic grandfather, which made me think of my Catholic grandfather. The poems felt working class, close houses, thin walls lacking insulation (I don't mean that in a negative way, because I read what I just wrote and it sounds super classist. I mean more like you felt you were walking through that sort of neighbourhood as you read the words; some of the poems drew the scene like a photograph).

I wonder how one becomes a poet. It's so different than how I see the world. Sometimes I feel like an alien when I read poetry. I didn't mind so much with Tremulous Hinge though.

Tremulous Hinge by Adam Giannelli went on sale April 15, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Review of His Whole Life by Elizabeth Hay

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Way back in the heady days of 2015, I requested an ARC of His Whole Life from Goodreads. What can I say? It was a different time when I thought just because I didn't like Late Nights on Air wouldn't mean I wouldn't like His Whole Life.

And now we're 2017. I haven't won a Goodreads giveaway since this one. Trump runs rampant across the border. Parks and Recreation is no longer on the air. And I'm still not feeling the love for Elizabeth Hay.

I finally read it. There's nothing really wrong with His Whole Life; I can't point to something and be like "There. That. Right there. See what I mean?" I can't even summon up minute distaste for the book. I honestly just don't care. The best criticism I can come up with is that the book feels like a first novel, like there's all this stuff that happens just outside the page which is hinted at to flesh out the characters, when it would have been better to drop the characters and instead focus on what is happening off the page. Plus a lot of dead dogs. Three, which maybe isn't that much (more die, for example, in Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis), but too many for me.

So this book is a camel-hair tan colour for me, which always feels like a non-existent colour to me.

Sorry it took me two years to read. I should have just gotten it over with back in 2015.

His Whole Life by Elizabeth Hay went on sale August 11, 2015.

I received a copy free from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.


I am sad about writing

Posted by in fiction writing

I've fallen out of love with being a writer.

From grade six physics, blocks that sit on a table have potential energy, because they can fall to the floor. But once the blocks fall, hitting the floor, the potential energy is gone. Five years ago I was a block on the table. Now I'm on the floor and I am just spent. I am reading my faerie story to Tesfa and I just don't like it. I don't like what I've done. All that time and this is it. What a waste.

I don't know what to do next.


Review of General Relativity for Babies by Chris Ferrie

Posted by in netgalley copy

After my previous realization that physics is hard, I needed to go back to basics with physics so easy that even a baby could understand it. And here was General Relativity for Babies up for review on Netgalley, so I grabbed my copy and well, it's a board book (ages zero and up the back tells me) with the very basics of general relativity laid out (flat space, curved space, mass curves space, lots of mass in small place = black hole, etc.) The book ends with Now you know General Relativity! Do I? I already knew all of what the book defined. Cambridge University physics books hurt my brain and Baby University books are too simple. My pursuit of physics knowledge leaves me like Goldlilocks -- nothing is just right (okay, except it ends up that things are just right for Goldlilocks, who eats the porridge and falls asleep in the bed, and then gets eaten by bears, I think. I can't remember the ending, probably because my mind is filled with physics.)

It would be a cute book for the babies of scientists. I would have liked reading it when Tesfa was teeny. If they ever need someone to write Galois Theory for Babies, I'd totally do it. I love Galois Theory.

General Relativity for Babies by Chris Ferrie went on sale May 2nd, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Review of Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton

Posted by in netgalley copy

After getting the first book from a librarything giveaway, I got the second one from Netgalley. Score me getting free books!

Tesfa dislikes having me ask her questions about her books. So she did a book report for me instead.

The deets (including creative spellings):

The title of my book is: Super narwhal and Jelly Jolt
The author's name is: Ben cLanton
The illustrator's name is: (same)

My favourite character was: Jelly Jolt
Four words to describe this character:

  1. cute
  2. funny
  3. nise
  4. happy

One place where the story happened was: when narwhal has a tie.
Three words to describe this setting:

  1. funny
  2. cute
  3. very awesome

The Story:
Beginning: narwhal gets to be a superhero
Middle: narwhal plays with a sea star
End: narwhal and Jelly make a book

The book was:

Pretty good.
Not my favourite.
One I did not like.

My favourite event:
all of it!

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton went on sale May 2, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


April 2017

Posted by in this month I ...

I read:


The Flintstones Volume 1 by Mark Russell: Reviewed earlier this month.

The March of the Crabs by Arthur de Pins: Reviewed earlier this month.

Meet Me In The In-Between by Bella Pollen: Review to come closer to publication date.

The Ghost Road by Pat Barker: Strange that this one won the Booker when its the weakest in the series.

The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico: Beware the sentient bunny rabbits.

Favourite book:

Ha! Bucking the previous months' Pat Barker trend.

Most promising book on my wishlist:

I put zero books on my wishlist for me this month. Reading and I are at an impasse.

I watched:

brooklyn 99

I wrote:

Nonsense. Reading and I are at an impasse. Writing and I are at an impasse. Today it is dark and rainy in metaphor and real life. Blah.


my new, terrifying, haiku

Posted by in Uncategorized

Many many years ago, I did database queries for an insurance company on overloaded servers. There were days where I would start my program at 8 a.m., and then, because of the aforementioned overloaded servers, it wouldn't finish until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Out of this came a haiku, which I have now modified as I descend into the mire of submitting my faerie story to publishers so I can add to my list of polite rejection letters.

Very slow Meghan.

If my book is not published

I will kill you all.

Geoff read my haiku, then backed away, making sure to keep his eyes on me, but not make eye contact, as he did so.

Obviously, I am not going to kill you all. But it fits in the haiku nicely.


Review of The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico

Posted by in netgalley copy

Well, I had a good run of ARCs that didn't have something bizarre in them. No squid sex or unexpected aliens or guess what someone has multiple personalities and we're like sixty percent of the way through the book before we even mention it once. I'd even started getting into The Lucky Ones. I wasn't that enthused after the first two or so chapters (each one a self-contained slice of characters that are all inter-related somehow in Columbia's many and varied civil wars/war on drugs/insurgencies/etc.), but then I got into the rhythm, wasn't thrown off by the jumping perspectives, the changes in viewpoint, even the second-person (you, we, etc.) parts.

Then rabbits. On cocaine.

Not just rabbits on cocaine. Rabbits on cocaine from their perspective because, of course, their thoughts and everything would be exactly like humans. Word-for-word.

One of the rabbits smokes a crack pipe.

And so, my respect for the novel was pretty much ruined. I tried. I really did. I got to the end. I thought all the different connections between the characters were interesting. I could see it all in my mind, the locations, the people, the sounds, but, no matter what, this is a book where a rabbit smokes a crack pipe and my mind is so small and petty that that's all I'm going to be able to associate with it.

The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico went on sale March 7, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Review of March of the Crabs Volume 1 by Arthur de Pins

Posted by in netgalley copy

I read this comic, then promptly forgot that I read it, which is odd since it's actually a kinda cute book about cute little crabs who can only move in a straight line.
Then two crabs intersect at a perpendicular angle and the world is their oyster (hee hee sea pun!), and if not the world, than their little French estuary. The drawings have that French mod/new-wave feel and I did enjoy reading it, but then again, I keep forgetting that I did, which must mean something, if I could only figure out what.

March of the Crabs Volume 1 by Arthur de Pins went on sale March 31, 2015.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Review of The Flintstones Vol 1. by Mark Russell

Posted by in netgalley copy

Other than getting the theme song stuck in my head, what is the purpose of a rebooted Flintstones? Nostalgia I suppose. Getting to play around within the confines of a system? All those stories you wish the Flintstones had told while you were home sick at lunch during grade school (The Flintstones came on at noon when I was growing up. This may not be the case for people who did not grow up in the same environs as I did -- I don't know. And so, The Flintstones always make me taste Zoodles because that's what you ate when you were home sick. Again, that might not be a universally understood *thing*)?

Recently I read A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl, which briefly touches on whether readers want new characters and new stories or simply new stories for comics. Would I have requested a comic about early humans that weren't the Flintstones? I don't know. So I guess that's the purpose of a rebooted Flintstones, for people like me, who are indecisive about what they want out of reading-life, I guess.

And none of this has anything to do with The Flintsones Vol. 1 per se. Hmmm.

So it's The Flintstones, but more for grown-ups with digs at vitamins and chimpanzees spouting David Bowie lyrics. Fred and Barney are veterans of a Vietnam-War-type-of-debacle that clear-cut the way for Bedrock's establishment. Wilma is an artist (was she on the TV show? I remember she was a cigarette girl in one episode). Betty is just Betty (boo!). The elephant vacuum cleaner forms a friendship with the armadillo bowling ball that is the most compelling relationship in the comic, although I get the impression that there are a lot of sight gags and *wink wink nudge nudge*'s that I missed because I am lousy at reading comics (I tend to read the words and gloss over the pictures) and, as an ARC, the quality is not as great as it would be in the actual book.

The strength in The Flintstones Vol. 1 (and I keep typing Flintsones rather than Flintstones, so I apologize if that typo squeezes its way into the final review) is the way each comic feels like an episode of the TV show, even with updated drawings and situations and style. It feels like I watched six episodes of The Flintstones yesterday, eating Zoodles, in my pyjamas. Russell captured that television feeling somehow, and I'm not exactly sure how, but he did, even if I think the whole thing should be abandoned for a spin-off Vacuum and Bowling Ball story line instead.

The Flintstones Vol. 1 by Mark Russell went on sale March 28, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.