Tag Archives: prose

Cryptic Clockwork by Renley N. Chu Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

One writer attempts to cope with the trauma of his past in late author Renley N. Chu’s autobiographical book of poetry and prose, “Cryptic Clockwork”. 


The Synopsis

Cryptic Clockwork is an autobiographical series of prose and poetry he wrote through difficult experiences.This begins with the loss of his parents, and continues through his experiences in his abusive adoptive family, the loss of a close friend through suicide, and a toxic, abusive relationship with his ex-boyfriend. They give a glimpse into Ren’s internal state as he processed through past and ongoing trauma, his grief, inability to speak, struggles with mental health, and homophobia.

The Review

This was quite an incredible and moving read. The author was truly talented, having found a way to expertly and subtly traverse the complex emotions of his own heart and mind and somehow managed to tie his experiences into the greater experience of life overall. The tragic and heartbreaking beginning of loss and memory speaks to those who have ever lost someone truly special in our hearts, while the hope that the author found after years of neglect and abusive relationships will easily speak to the spark of hope we all hold in our hearts in the darkest of times.

The writing was quite eloquent in its approach. The balance of poetry and prose was profound in this autobiographical work of art, and the way the author seemed to tap not only into our own emotions but into complex emotions that really defies definition really showcased the complexity of his own mind and heart, showing what a true writer and creative soul he was.

The Verdict

A heartfelt, thought-provoking, and memorable book of poetry and prose, author Renley N. Chu’s “Cryptic Clockwork” is a must-read autobiography. The beauty and heart that shines through in this narrative are impossible to ignore, and while fans will be hard-pressed to not have a tear in their eye, they will definitely have difficulty putting the book down as well. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Author of Cryptic Clockwork, an autographical collection of prose and poems, and Melody of Your Heart, a short story anthology about life, love, and loss. These works were compiled after his death by Tiffany Chu, in hopes they bring hope and encouragement to anyone going through dark times.

Born in England as Leonel M. M. Santiago on May 14, 2003, Renley lost both his parents in a fire that permanently damaged his vocal cords and lungs at the age of five, leaving him unable to speak. He became Justin Steele at the age of eight when adopted into the Steele family.

Through a shared love of writing, Renley met Tiffany Chu in 2020 and they formed a close friendship. At the beginning of 2021, even as his health rapidly deteriorated, he prepared to move to the U.S. and become part of the Chu family.

On May 18, 2021, he changed his legal name to Renley Nicolas Chu.

About a week after his eighteenth birthday, Renley suffered a severe attack leading to lung and heart failure; he passed away on the morning of May 25, 2021, three days before he would have left for the U.S.

Renley’s last wish to come home was fulfilled on June 1, when his ashes were brought to San Diego and scattered at Los Penasquitos Canyon.

He left behind numerous samples of his writing, both personal as well as fictional. Each piece he wrote exudes the rawness and authenticity of his heart, his emotions, his experiences. His style tends to be stream-of-consciousness and metaphorical with a sense of immediacy and strong emotion.

Rest in Peace, Renley Chu (May 14, 2002 – May 25, 2021) 



The Strawberry Road: The Collective Journaling of an Ancient Wanderer by Ritch Gaiti Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

One author takes a poetic journey through a prose filled literary fiction studying the road to life’s adventures in author Ritch Gaiti’s “The Strawberry Road: The Collective Journaling of an Ancient Wanderer”. 


The Synopsis

I reached skyward to touch the universe . . . it wasn’t far at all.

The Strawberry Road is a unique, provocative and meditative journey — to appreciate beauty and structure of life from the perspective of innocence. It is a spiritual adventure through discovery of the world as we know it but as we rarely see it — an escape into the primal reality of life, time and nature. The Strawberry Road is a rare exploration and insight on a visual journey that we all should take, told through beautiful tranquility of prose and verse — delivering as much in words as it does in concept.

It was a Sunday morning, the moment of my birth that I stepped onto the Strawberry Road . . . From the very onset, the Strawberry Road appeared vast and never ending, suggesting an adventure that would last forever if I so chose. I had anticipated the undertaking for some time but hadn’t felt the need to plan the course or the destination, as those would be decisions that I would make along the way. The thought of discovery was exhilarating, but frightening — yet full of hope and opportunity.

The Strawberry Road, an unplanned journey of discovery of life and time through the naked eye of innocence and reflection.

The past was curiously a testament to order and symmetry while the future remained forever in undefined chaos. Yet, in the calm between the two worlds lay the present — just a marker on a never-ending line. The past has always just ended, while the future was forever a moment away. Yet I experienced neither but cherished what was solely within my grasp, a sliver of now.

And now was always now,

Separating what was,

From what was about to happen

And it will be, until it does.

The Strawberry Road, a depiction of the beauty of change and the time in between:

In a moment of pure stability

Tween what was and what will be

Frozen crystals veiled the land

Neath a blanket of serenity

And each branch of each tree

Was framed in purity

As perplexity turned to harmony,

And obscurity to clarity

A blanket of virtue

A blanket of white

In a moment of pure stasis

Tween what was and what will be

Looking back, it seemed so obvious. The Strawberry Road, once mysterious, puzzling, stressful, joyful and confusing, was now so clear. But such was the nature of the road — it provided the opportunities and the obstacles. The knowledge and the decisions were all mine.

* * *

The Review

“I reached my hand skyward to touch the universe…”

This line speaks volumes of the artistic nature the author takes with his poetic narrative. A mixture of lyrical prose and poetry, the author delves into the metaphysical aspect of life and the journey we all must undertake at one point or another in our lives. 

The author paints a vivid image in the reader’s minds as they travel along the “Strawberry Road”. This hammers home as true given the author’s natural gifts and experience with art in general. The combination of this imagery with the poetic nature of the narrative and the thought-provoking nature of the story overall make this an emotional read to be sure. 

The Verdict

A must-read literary masterpiece, author Ritchie Gaiti has created a wonderful tapestry of images and emotions throughout this work of art. A beautiful display of literary fiction and prose that captures the heart of the open road journey both physically and metaphysically, “The Strawberry Road” is a book that is not to be missed, so be sure to grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Ritch focuses on telling compelling stories depicting the real world through unique perspectives. He writes in a variety of voices and genres from humor to drama, both non-fiction and fiction. He is an author, artist, and an alumnus of Wall Street and has written novels, screenplays and many magazine articles and has been featured on national radio and TV, including an appearance on the Today Show.

Ritch loves to channel his unique characters – whether they be a comical washed up copywriter, a gambler from Brooklyn, a Native American lawyer, and everyday guy who has an entertaining battle with cancer, or, in The Strawberry Road, an undefined protagonist who observes and absorbs the natural world that is often missed. Ritch doesn’t write about his characters — he is the character and shares his emotions, confusion, drive and obstructions.

Ritch is also a recognized artist focusing on depicting the ethereal west in another time, another place. He exhibits across the U.S. in several galleries and museums. His artwork can be viewed on http://www.gaiti.com. Books are available through major outlets as eBooks and paperback (through Amazon).

Ritch Gaiti’s published books:

-The Strawberry Road: a spiritual adventure through discovery of the world as we know it but as we rarely see it. “I reached skyward to touch the universe . . . it wasn’t far at all.”

-F*ck you Cancer … and the Cell you rode in on: Humorously toxic

-The Jewolic . . .Conundrums of a Half-Jew: a humorous romp through religious ambivalence.

-The Big Empty: A gritty lawyer uncovers an ancient conspiracy and the betrayal of a man and a nation in a socially significant mystery/thriller.

-Dutching the Book: A NYC fireman schemes a way to beat the track in an American classic of four lifelong friends, betrayal, gambling, romance and the best horseplayer to ever play the game.

-Tweet: humorous fiction about one average guy who changes the world because he didn’t know that he couldn’t. Recently, Tweet, has been optioned for a feature film.

-Points: Women have them, Men need them: a humorous non-fiction relationship book (under the pseudonym I. Glebe).

Ritch Gaiti Ritch.Gaiti@verizon.net