Thursday Thrifts ( On Friday)

Okay guys, I have a really good reason for being a day behind this week. My LB is sick with a nasty cold. Its his first real bug since birth and we are quarantined at home and I have a clingy little person that does not want to let go of his mommy. Which makes it hard to type. Or to do anything for that matter.

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Reviewing used books that I got at a great price!!

I got this book at a little new and used bookstore near me. The author is what drew my attention, as I have read some of her other books. So I grabbed it for $5 to try it out.

oh my goth

Title: “Oh my Goth”

Author: Gena Showalter

Publisher: Pocket Books (Simon and Schuster)

Publishing Date: 2006

Rating: basic-5-point-blue-star-beveledbasic-5-point-blue-star-beveled

Review:

So, this book in a nutshell is about a girl in high school and her small group of friends that like to dress in black and wear safety pins for a fashion statement. The reason the main character, Jade, does this is solely so she doesn’t blend into the crowd. Down with conformity! Literally, there is no other reason explained that she does this. Now, if I were a smart little fortune cookie, I might be able to assume that she is acting out due to her mother’s untimely death. But nowhere in the novel does it hint at this and as I am not the author, I refuse to assume anything about the characters motivations.

Anyway, a mean teacher makes her feel bad about herself ( To give credit where it’s due, that teacher is spoken of as a problem teacher, so it doesn’t really come across as author manipulation.) and she mouths off getting sent to the principle’s office.

The principle, tired of Jade’s deviant ways, uses a suspicious doctor (?) and throws her into a virtual reality where she, Jade, is the most popular person in the town. Unrealistically popular. Which may have been the point. But is just made me scrunch my eyebrows and wonder if that was the way it was supposed to come across.

Jade’s arch-nemesis, and the other end of the stereotype spectrum, is Mercedes, who is also stuck in the virtual world. However, though Mercedes is wildly popular in the real world, she doesn’t pass the cool test in a world gone goth.

Together, these two girls with their stereotypical clothes and poor attitudes must work together to get back to their world.

Let me just say, I love Gena Showalter. Her books are top shelf in my bookcase because they are so quirky, which I like in a book. This is, obviously, one of her early works. Was it a cohesive story? Yes. Was it the worst I’ve read? Definitely not. Did I love anything about it? Nope. Did it take me two weeks to read because I kept putting it down? Maybe.

What this book did, more than anything, is remind me how authors grow. And isn’t that just the coolest thing? Writers are not static, much as their characters shouldn’t be. Showalter was still finding her groove, testing the waters, stretching herself, and that raises the value of this book in my eyes.

I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone. I wouldn’t tell anyone not to read it either. It was mediocre, which is to say, meh.

Now, her later books? YES. Read them. Worth it. But that is for another day.

See ya tomorrow, blog peeps.

Writing Wednesday-Chapter 3 (On Thursday)

Writing Wednesday

Welcome to Writing Wednesday! If you’re interested in a YA paranormal/sci-fi with a hint of romance from a, currently, unpublished writer! Look no further!

Here’s a quick blurb, introducing the story.

My name is May. Welcome to my ordinary life.

Everything about my life was planned out just the way I wanted it. I would graduate from high school in a few short months as valedictorian, after beating out the rough competition of the thirty other kids at my tiny school. I would attend Yale University in the Fall. I would also find some way to save my stagnant relationship with my loyal boyfriend Henry, because he is too good to lose. Look out, world! My life would finally begin.

Now, tell me this. What do I do when my ordinary life crashes like a mirror on concrete? What do I do, when my friends and I get mistaken for deviant youths, kidnapped, and experimented on by an insane scientist? Queue crickets? My thoughts exactly.  I can handle the kidnapping. I can handle the horrific experiments. But no one can blame a girl who cracks when her boyfriend is taken and reprogrammed to hate her and kill her. Slowly. With a lot of pain.

How do I know for sure? Because I was reprogrammed, too. Now, to my dismay I am stuck seeing the future as my subconscious chooses to show it to me. What do I see? My death. At the hands of the guy I love.

Good-bye, ordinary life.

If you are just starting to read “The Hybrid Chronicles: Time Begins” take a look back at Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 to catch up!

On to Chapter 3!

Chapter 3: Curiosity Only Killed the Stupid Cats

Henry and I didn’t talk on the ride home, but he hadn’t released my hand since we’d buckled ourselves in and left the clearing. Instead of thinking about the girl, and our statement to the police, who had arrived shortly after the ambulance, I thought about Henry. I thought about his old truck, and his smell, and his simplistic view of the world. It made the drive home easier.

When he pulled up to my house everything looked the same as when I left it hours earlier. Blue shutters, white picket fence, light coming from the front living room where my dad watched the late night news.

“How can everything look so… normal?”

“Life goes on,” he said, but didn’t sound convinced.

“It shouldn’t.” Tears built in my eyes and I scooted over to the middle of the cab. Henry put an arm around me and kissed the top of my head. “Who do you think she was?” I asked.

He tilted his head back against the rest and I knew his eyes would close as he pondered. “I don’t know. She looked like a patient of some kind.”

I thought about the black scrubs. “Her outfit looked more like…” I didn’t finish the thought because the idea was preposterous.

“Like what?”

I leaned my head on his shoulder and put my feet up on the area above on the stereo. “Well, at first I thought hospital, too. But her shirt had a serial number on it, and they were worn out, frayed at the edges, dirty. I can’t think of a hospital who would keep a patient like that. Besides, most patients wear gowns.”

“She’d been out in the woods, though. That would explain the dirt.”

I nodded, not totally persuaded. The nearest hospital was Memorial up in Enterprise about ten minutes north of us.  The patients there definitely wore gowns.

“I’m sure we’ll hear about it on the news tomorrow.”

“Do you think she did that stuff? With the weather?” I wanted to take the words back as a soon as I said them.

Henry sounded resigned as if he knew I would go there. “I don’t know, May. It felt like it at the time but everything had become pretty scattered and chaotic.”

I looked out the front windshield at the calm night and wondered if he was right. Maybe we had both imagined the whole thing.

“My hair is still tangled from that wind.”

He turned in the seat and looked at me, and touched a strand of my hair. “I like it this way. You look free. You’re always so contained, thinking a mile a minute and about ten paces ahead of everyone else. Then you say or do something and no one can figure out why because you never let on about it.”

“You don’t think I’m free?”

“I think you want to be.” He laughed but didn’t explain himself. I wanted to argue. I was free. I had chosen my course in life. As with every time I thought about the future, I waited for the spark of excitement to hit me. When it didn’t show, as per usual, I shrugged off his insinuation. It didn’t matter anyway because I had already planned everything out. I had the first check for Yale in the mail and I’d kissed Oregon goodbye with a couple of months to spare.

“You should probably get inside.”

“I have a few minutes,” I hedged, not ready to go inside and start the long process of thinking through every detail of the evening.

Henry shifted toward me and I wondered if he would kiss me, wondered if I wanted him to. I tilted my head up to receive him out of habit but came to an abrupt halt at the last thought. His forehead furrowed at my hesitation but before he could ask me about it we heard a shout from outside.

“May!”

He didn’t move away from me, but I scooted back across the bench and rolled down the window to shout back at my mother who now stood in the open doorway of my house. “Geez, Mom. No need to yell at me.”

I glanced at my phone and saw that my curfew had come and gone forty-five minutes before. Joan Brooks stepped forward before squinting to see who I rode with. I knew the moment she realized it was a boy because surprise, then irritation, flashed across her face. My mother did not have a reputation for subtlety in this town.

“Who are you with, May? Where’s Henry?”

Henry leaned past me and waved. “It’s me, Mrs. Brooks.”

Her furious stance eased as understanding dawned and she smiled at him. “Oh, Henry.  You’ve got your dad’s truck tonight? Why don’t you two come inside? You had me worried, sitting out here in the vehicle.”

Henry turned to me, amused. “I told you it was time.” He turned back to my mother and raised his voice. “I actually have to get home, but I’ll stop by next week.”

“Alright, smarty-pants.” I opened the door and got out. “I’ll see you Monday.”

When I walked in my house I headed straight past my dad watching news in the front living room and into the kitchen.  I hated the kitchen but my mother spent most of her time in it. She loved the color yellow and had chosen the brightest and loudest shade she could find. I didn’t have anything against yellow but I also didn’t want to have to wear sunglasses at breakfast.

I wanted, needed, to clear the air before I went to bed and my mom understood me better than anyone.

My mom’s looks were similar to mine in a general parentage fashion. We had the same figure, which, thank-you-Lord, she had kept as she aged; we also had the same light skin. The difference was mostly in tone. Her looks felt warm. She had mahogany hair with deep orange and red coloration, she had freckles, and she also liked to wear warmer colors so the overall look came across differently than my black hair, gray eyes and love for icy, jewel tones.

“I can’t believe you thought I go out with someone besides Henry,” I said as I got myself a glass of water and sat at the dining room table.

My mom rolled her eyes and sat down across from me. “I can’t believe it either.”

I took a long swig from my glass and dove in. “Something happened tonight that I need to talk to you about.” I hadn’t known whether I would tell her about the evening, but by tomorrow everyone would know and Henry and I might be mentioned. Better to tell her now so she didn’t freak out when the time came.

I explained everything as best I could; leaving out what I suspected the girl had done in the woods because I didn’t want to deal with the May’s-gone-crazy look I knew she would give me.

My mom was shocked but there wasn’t much she could do besides listen and promise to make some calls the next day. Soon after I finished the tale I called it a night and headed to my bedroom with the concerned eyes of my mother on my back the entire way there.

I slept in the remodeled attic, choosing to move there when I had turned twelve because no one could reach it except by a pull down ladder that made me feel like had I my own privacy. A small desk sat in the corner and housed my lap top, and glittery stars hung from the rafters. A Yale poster and a head shot of Marilynn Monroe hung on the wall.

Besides getting a little cold in the winter, it suited me.

I changed into some flannel pajama bottoms and a tank top and saw that Henry had texted me good night. After I responded in kind, I settled in to recoup and relax for the rest of the weekend.

My Google searches started out innocent enough, with words like patient wardrobes in Wallowa County and missing children, but as the weekend wore on I got more desperate with the lack of significant info on the web and finally started looking into kids with special abilities and silver, bleeding eyes. The only useful thing I found was that bleeding from the eyes was a certifiable condition called Haemolacria, and it affected less than a dozen people on the entire planet.

After filtering through X-Men comics and wizard sightings, I gave up.

I kept waiting to hear news of the girl’s death or something about her parents, but nothing came up on the local news. I picked up the Chieftain newspaper, which covered most of the area, and read every word regarding a moratorium on medical marijuana, a Joseph renovation idea, but nothing regarding a little girl lost in the woods.

So I started out on Monday curious and a little frustrated by my utter failure to find information. I stayed silent about it through the majority of the week still expecting to see something pop up but with two days until the camping trip I couldn’t contain it any longer.

“Why do you think they haven’t released the details?” I asked Henry. We were sitting in the cafeteria with the same group as usual and I tried to speak quietly since we’d decided not to mention it until the information went public.

His green eyes met mine. “Maybe her parents wanted to keep it under wrap.”

“Maybe,” I answered, unconvinced. I wanted to keep talking about it hoping that I could figure it out the more times I went over it, but Henry wanted to put the odd incident behind him, so I dropped it.

That night Katie and Tessa came over to help me pack before we left that weekend and as usual, the two danced on the verge of second degree murder. The constant bickering annoyed me more than usual.

“Will you guys shut up,” I snapped, tired of hearing them squabble over whom could potential climb Mount Everest faster. Katie argued that her body type and hard core genes would stand the test, while Tessa scoffed and told her that she had the breath capacity of a killer whale and could skip to the top.

Both girls looked over at me with identical shocked expressions. I found myself smiling at their similar responses even though I didn’t want to let go of my dark mood quite yet. My normally long fuse felt itty bitty tonight and neither girl was used to seeing me snap.

I‘d decided at lunch to drop the child and let it go like Henry had, but I’d gotten home and refreshed the news page online, thinking something may have popped up in recent hours. My search had morphed into all missing persons, but other than street kids and some foster runaways nothing came up with the young girl’s description. Maybe officials couldn’t find her parents or she was one of the runaways, but it would make more sense to let the population know so that the media could help with the search. And if she didn’t have parents, then why hold back the information?

“-why you’re upset. You get to spend the entire next week making eyes at Henry. They rest of us have to watch and try not to vom.” Tessa hadn’t stopped making fun of my relationship with Henry after that first kiss, years before. She went through stages of support and stages of bitterness concerning my relationship with him.  I had no idea what shifted the tide between the two emotions and I didn’t care to look into it, so I put up with her attitude and the hot and cold of our friendship.

Katie rolled her eyes and gave me a look that said she would snark at Tessa at the earliest opportunity I allowed.

“We don’t make eyes at each other. And so what? He’s my boyfriend.”

I walked over and fell back on the bed, scattering the myriad of clothes thrown there earlier in my attempt to pack.

Tessa lay back against the headboard, smoothing down her color treated hair to get comfortable. She squealed suddenly and sat up pointing a finger at me. “Are you going to do it?”

Katie shot up on the other side of the bed with a look of utter disgust on her face. Her head started shaking a mile a minute but she couldn’t seem to form words such as cease, desist, no, brother.

I answered before she got there. “No. I don’t think so anyway.” But then my mind snagged on the idea. Maybe that was just the spark he and I needed to get back on track. We could take this step, and spend the summer together and head to college. He hadn’t settled on one yet, so he could choose something near me and we could…what? Do what we were doing now, but with sex?

Yeah, right, the answer to that would be no.

Tessa stood up from where we all laid on the bed and started picking through clothes. “Who knows what will happen when we are all drunk in the woods.”

Good point. No drinking, I told myself in the firmest inner voice I could muster.

A few hours later, bags successfully packed, the girls left and my mom came in to talk about what time Henry would pick me up in the morning. He and Katie would pick me up and we would meet with Jimmy and Tessa at the campsite mid-morning to spend the weekend together before the rest of the gang arrived on Monday. The drive would take five or six hours and land us somewhere in the middle of Idaho at a campsite unknown to most, according to Jimmy. A bunch of kids could drink, party and chill without needing to explain themselves overmuch. Jimmy had ingenious ways of getting alcohol from his buddies at his job at a local gas station, so they rest of us pitched in for food and water and it became the perfect Spring Break. The last Spring Break I had in high school.

I waited for any reaction and when none came I growled to myself. How could I already have such apathy for life? I was only seventeen.

After crawling into bed and picking up a magazine, I decided that when I came back from this vacation I would start caring about life. No more disinterest in everything circling around me. I need to jump back into life with a new momentum. Maybe I would think about sleeping with Henry again after all college changed everyone anyway. A small voice whispered that nothing would really change, my life would still be one among millions, and I would still achieve nothing in the grand scheme of the world and nothing would hold my interest for longer than it would take to figure it out.

I ignored that voice. If I wanted to make a difference, I had to find the motivation myself.

See ya’ll later today for Thursday Thrifts!

TBR for December

Happy December, Everyone!

I know I am a day late in posting this, but with all the Christmas shopping, and LB being a baby and all, I’ve been busy. BUT, never to busy to read.

So, these are the books that I am planning to read this month. Obviously, I will add more as I go, because I am an addict.

  1. The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

I only recently happened upon this series, I know, it’s like I’ve been living under a rock. But, I am about halfway through the first one and ermergersh, I am really enjoying it. So I will probably breeze through the rest this month.

2. Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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I have heard good things about this book, and typically when I find an author that can keep my attention through and entire novel, I devour their other work in record time.

3. Sweet Ruin by Kresley Cole

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I am a huge fan of Cole and the Immortals after Dark series (Team Nix!) She is one of the few authors that I anxiously await book after book. So obvi, this is on the TBR for the month.

3. The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

the red queen

This cover is just way too cool to pass up. Very dramatic. I like.

Eight books, by my count. I am going to try and fit in a classic or self help, something that doesn’t encouragement my YA addiction, but for now I am going to fall blissfully into other worlds of fantasy.

See ya later today for Writing Wednesday. If you like reading upcoming writer work, check out my new story that is coming out chapter by chapter. Here is a link to the Prologue and Chapter 1!

Review of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”

Happy Monday, everyone!

This review doesn’t follow the typical review outline. I will not give a synopsis of the novel. I will however, discuss the literary qualities that I felt were strengths and weaknesses for the novel.

Miss-Peregrine-Home-Peculiar-Children-Ransom-Riggs

Back Blurb: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote  island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, As Jacob explores its decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s children were more than just peculiar. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for a good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive.

Author: Ransom Riggs

Publisher: Quirk Books

Publishing Date: 2011

Rating:basic-5-point-blue-star-beveledbasic-5-point-blue-star-beveledbasic-5-point-blue-star-beveledbasic-5-point-blue-star-beveledbasic-5-point-blue-star-beveled

Review:

This is another one of those books that I picked up, over and over and over again, and then put down because it just didn’t seem like my thing. When I saw a review on it that only gave it praise my first response was, Whaaa? So I picked it up again, wondering what about it was so good. I mean, the cover rocks and just skimming through, the pictures are eerie, but it just wasn’t my kind of book. Then, a friends gave a raving review and I was sold.

The coolest thing about this book is that it is not what you would expect. I thought horror when I picked it up, but it isn’t. More YA fantasy. Try “X-men” meets the “Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.” Odd mix, but I stand by it.

The main character was Jacob and I think his internal voice was written SO well. I love that whole, I don’t think I’m strong enough but I perform with bravery and confidence crap. It makes for an attractive male. It wasn’t tedious being in his head through and entire book, as with some novels.

I felt like Miss Peregrine should have either had more of a role, or been more friendly. She seems more like a device only used to convey information.

Emma was interesting, and the whole relationship between her and Jacob could be defined as sweet, or really screwed up. Or maybe both? But as a ball-buster and someone who acts then thinks, she came across as refreshing in a world that the reader didn’t quite understand in the beginning portions of the novel.

The setting description was great. As Riggs described the island, I could totally imagine something like that off the page of a spiral calendar hanging on my grandma’s fridge. So, good on that.

As far as the genre fantasy…first novels do have trouble getting into the meat of the genre, and this is definitely the first in a series. Which surprised me, because it struck me as a stand alone. Alas, the main character has to be introduced to his new world before adventuring through it. I am excited to dive into the second one and see Riggs’s more detailed world building.

Favorite Quote: Stars, too, were time travelers. How many of those ancient points of light were the last echoes of suns now dead? How many had been born but their light not yet come this far? If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize we were alone? I had always known the sky was full of mysteries—but not until now had I realized how full of them the earth was.

Have you read this book?? What did you think?

 

 

Thankful Three

Today is normally Thursday Thrifts, and I may put a review from one of my many thrifting finds up later in the day, after the turkey and pie, but this morning I want to go over the top three books that I am thankful for.

  1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.

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I have seen this series on SOOO many thankful posts this week and, truly, I am one of the crowd. My mother brought me home HP when I was in grade school. The book had only come out a couple years before, if that, and my mom had seen a News program featuring the release in America. So she thought I might enjoy it. At that, folks, is how I was sucked into the world of Hogwarts and wizards and Voldemort. And I haven’t looked back since.

 

 

2. A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers

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Many of you probably haven’t heard of this one because it is written for a very specific audience. This story is about a young girl named Hadassah who is taken into captivity when Rome destroys Jerusalem, and taken to Rome in a time when Christianity means getting thrown in with the lions. This book is amazing because it has great historical context, a coming of age story for a girl finding her faith, a love story, and just enough suspense and gore to keep you interested. It is also an awesome book for anyone on their own spiritual journey.

 

3. A Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

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This book is leagues away from my #2 but just as important to me. Yes, it is a romance, but this book made me understand what it takes to be a good writer. Singh took a tough concept that could have blown up in her face and created a stunning world that I would love to wake up in. I step into every single one of the books from this series with no regrets. She sets the bar for my own writing and I know that I am no where near capable of this amount of depth in a story. Not yet anyway. I re-read these every year without fail, and if that’s not a sign I am thankful, I don’t know what is.

What three books are you thankful for???

Post them up on your own blog and leave the link in the comments for everyone to check out.

 

See ya after the pie, blogworld.

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Writing Wednesday- Chapter 2

Writing Wednesday

Welcome to Writing Wednesday! If you’re interested in a YA paranormal with a hint of romance from a, currently, unpublished writer! Look no further!

Here’s a quick blurb, introducing the story.

My name is May. Welcome to my ordinary life.

Everything about my life was planned out just the way I wanted it. I would graduate from high school in a few short months as valedictorian, after beating out the rough competition of the thirty other kids at my tiny school. I would attend Yale University in the Fall. I would also find some way to save my stagnant relationship with my loyal boyfriend Henry, because he is too good to lose.

Look out, world! My life would finally begin.

Now, tell me this. What do I do when my ordinary life crashes like a mirror on concrete? What do I do, when my friends and I get mistaken for deviant youths, kidnapped, and experimented on by an insane scientist?

Queue crickets? My thoughts exactly.  

I can handle the kidnapping. I can handle the horrific experiments. But no one can blame a girl who cracks when her boyfriend is taken and reprogrammed to hate her and kill her. Slowly. With a lot of pain.

How do I know for sure? Because I was reprogrammed, too. Now, to my dismay I am stuck seeing the future as my subconscious chooses to show it to me.

What do I see? My death. At the hands of the guy I love.

Good-bye, ordinary life.

If you are just joining me, take a look back at the First Chapter to catch up on the story!

“The Hybrid Chronicles: Time Begins”

Chapter 2

Puzzle Piece Uno

Dinner was everything I had expected. It was impossible not to feel comfortable around someone who climbed trees with me through elementary school and knew exactly when my time of the month was because he spent more time at my house than his. He had watched as I changed from a kid to a woman and thought I was beautiful the entire time, having more confidence in me than I had in myself. Henry had never lied to me and knew all the tiny things that made me feel better, like Christmas cards and pink roses, and the smell of the air before a storm.

So as we grabbed pasta that weekend at our usual diner, we talked about the upcoming Spring Break camping trip, and visiting Yale in the summer.

“You think you’ll love it?”

“I’m not sure. But I know it’s different than here, so probably.”

“And once you’ve conquered it? Then what?” He joked. Henry never understood my lack of enthusiasm for things after the mystery died. Like Tessa, he preferred a smaller life. Unlike Tessa, he wasn’t the devil. I had tried explaining to him on multiple occasions why I needed to continue moving forward but he didn’t feel the same need to find a new problem once he had already solved one.

“I wonder if anyone really conquers Yale.”

His green eyes grew serious. “You will. Do you think you will come back?” I heard the minute trace of insecurity beneath the question and wanted more than anything to tell him that yes, I would eventually come back and we would get married and have babies and buy a big house and smile until we died.

I remained silent.

He sighed and I could see him shaking off his disappointment. Me going away wasn’t something he cared to talk about and for the most part we had avoided the conversation instead of dealing with it. “How about we go stargazing tonight?”

I grinned at his suggestion. We had started stargazing at thirteen when we had gotten lost in the woods one night after building a fort in the forest behind Henry and Katie’s house. The darker it got and the farther we wandered from the house, while trying to find the house, the loud and shriller Katie got and the snottier Tessa got, as she normally did when overly stressed.

Henry had looked to me to figure it out.

Nerves ate at me as well, but in looking for the answer, I tilted my head to the sky and saw a beautiful sight. I remembered thinking that as long as we stayed in one spot someone would find us because someone would always look for us. So I suggested we stargaze until their dad came out to find us, who I knew would have already started looking because we should have headed in at sunset. I pointed out star constellations that I had learned from my summer camp and made all of them find a picture in the stars and tell a story that went with it. Within the hour, their dad had found us and led us back to the house.

Then and there, a stargazing tradition was born and though Tessa and Katie had stopped joining us, both too bored with sitting for hours, Henry and I still enjoyed it.

Once we drove out of town, Henry pulled off the road and onto a beaten path that threw me around the bench seat in the truck. When he stopped in a small clearing with an unhindered view of the sky we climbed into the back of his Chevy’s bed and lay down to watch the starry night above us.

We had passed too many years together to feel the need to fill the silence, so we both lay, arm against arm and thigh against thigh listening to the sound of the owls and the crickets and each other’s breathing in the calm, quiet night.

The warmth from his hand enveloped my smaller, cold one and I rubbed my thumb over the calluses he had gained from all his extracurricular activities. Henry had strong, capable hands.

“How was Jujitsu yesterday?”

He squeezed my hand. “Good. Normal. Just learning to kick butt.”

I started to laugh but cut myself off when he suddenly leaned over me and put a forearm on either side of my head. His body heat enveloped me; his face was inches from mine and his body hovered just above me, blocking my view of the sky.

I felt the air around me charge, but couldn’t tell if it was my air or his. Or both. I never knew with Henry. Our first kiss had occurred on a muddy field in junior high as we ran our weekly mile. He raced past me and shoved me forward as he went, issuing a challenge about my running skills. So I tore off after him. Home plate signified the end of the run our teacher had asked us to do, and Henry beat me there. He watched me the rest of the way, a grin on his face and his hands hanging loosely on his hips. When I finally reached him, I planned to give him a piece of my mind and instead he had pulled me to him and laid one on me.

I remembered the thrill of his lips on mine and the electricity that ran through every nerve I possessed, not to mention sheer happiness that Henry had done it. Now, his face came down toward mine and my eyes slid shut while I tried to find that chemistry once more. A whisper of sensation met my skin but before I could even pucker my lips his body stiffened and lifted off mine. I opened my eyes and sat up in confusion.

“Hen-“

“Shh,” he said while he gestured me over to where he now knelt at the end of the bed of the truck. I went without question. His muscles flexed and his eyes darted through the dark trees around us. We weren’t that far out of town, could still see some of the lights in the distance, glowing a soft yellow that didn’t hinder our view of the night sky.

A wheezing sound from the darkness made me jerk my head south. My throat closed up.

Henry’s hand crept toward his pocket and he removed his keys, holding them in a fist so they didn’t clink together. He reached back with that hand to give me the keys and said, “Start the truck.”

I felt like my skin wasn’t fitting right. Adrenaline coursed through me along with a goodly dose of fear. I didn’t want to move from his side. What if I got off the back bed and whatever walked toward us ate me or chewed me up or killed me with massive claws. Once Spring hit, bears started coming out of the caves in the area, and curious other wildlife, looking for food. We didn’t normally have too many issues with them though.

When I didn’t move right away, Henry motioned me with a swing of his hand to get moving.

May, grow a pair, I thought to myself.

I swung my legs over the back in a slow movement and put my hands on the edge of the dropped gate. My body tensed to drop to the ground when the wheezing sound came again but much closer. I jumped off in a rush and faced the direction it had come from, breathing hard and squinting into the blackness that had seemed so peaceful moments before.

A small shift in the shadows drew my eyes but then everything went still again.

“What do you think it is?” I whispered.

Henry came off the tailgate and stepped close to me, not answering.

Another movement from the same area, and we both knew it would breach the tree line in moment’s, mere feet from us.

My fists clenched and I fought the urge to flee knowing that some animals would give chase.

The wheezing sound came again and something that looked like a wounded animal shifted out of the brush. The darkness hindered our view at first and as the thing came closer, I squint to get a better look in the night. Henry dragged me behind him and turned to face it, but I stepped to the side to see.

Its feet dragged, its lungs wheezed and suddenly the shadows formed a figure, a head and body, legs and feet.

My breath caught.

“It’s a girl,” Henry breathed beside me. “It’s a little girl.” He moved forward at a dead run and shouted back at me, “May, call 9-1-1!”

At first I just stood there watching the small girl move forward. Then in a flurry of movement I tripped around the truck to the cab and grabbed my phone from the front seat. My fingers shook as I tried to slide the screen to unlock it, eventually settling for the emergency call button.

I sprinted over to Henry and the girl with every intention of helping, somehow, but as I got closer I came to a dead stop. She lay on the ground with her head in Henry’s lap, just a small child, no more than ten. She had white blonde hair that looked gray in the moonlight and wore a black set of what looked like scrubs, as if she had come from a hospital. She had no shoes. My brain processed all these details on autopilot because my attention was riveted on her eyes.

She wept blood. It gushed from her eyes like sobs but the only sound she made was the wheezing of overworked lungs. My own lungs ached as I listened to hers labor on, trying to get oxygen into her system and failing.

Henry had taken off his hoodie sweater and wiped at her stained cheeks with it. His hands were red from the effort. I could hear him whisper words, nonsense words, comforting her in any way he could.

Static against my ears reminded me that I had someone on the line and I pushed one side of my hair behind my ear to hear the dispatcher.

“My name is May Brooks; I need to report a severely injured child. We are off Highway 82 just outside of town. I don’t know how she was injured. She is bleeding from…from her eyes, though they look undamaged.” I stepped closer to see her injuries better and as I moved the child started seizing on the ground.

“She is having a seizure.” My voice had risen as I went to my knees on the opposite side of Henry and the child. The dispatcher told me to stay calm and gave me directions to get the child through the seizure unharmed.

I spared a single glance at Henry who looked shaken but clearheaded. He tried to hold her down while the seizure continued but I stopped him and placed his sweater under her head so she wouldn’t hurt herself too badly until it petered out.

Once she lay still, she curled in on herself in Henry’s lap and I felt pinpricks of tears in my own eyes. He continued to clean off her cheeks and this time more blood didn’t replace what he had taken off. We said nothing to one another, both listening to the sound of her strenuous breathing. I tried to think of something to say, anything to make this more real, more bearable, but nothing came to mind.

In minutes I heard the ambulance in the distance. I gave the dispatcher a few land marks and hung up, turning on the help light for my phone. I looked down at the child and jerked away from her when I saw her steady gaze on mine.

“Your eyes…” I deadpanned. Her eye color were pure, undiluted silver with a bright ring of green around the iris. Henry watched her as well with a look of shock. “Can you tell me your name?”

She just stared at me. The sirens turned onto the side road we had taken to get here and the girl’s body jerked to the side as if she wanted to run but her body wouldn’t cooperate. The creepy silver irises did switchbacks in the whites of her eyes and Henry and I looked at each other in panic, afraid she might start seizing again.

I shivered as a breeze picked up around me, wishing Summer would start a few months early. The breeze blew steadily around us and branches hit against one another. I looked around, thinking that a storm must be coming through.

A high pitched howling started and I jumped at the sound before I realized that the wind had caused it by racing through the trees, hitting branches as it made its way through the forest. Leaves fell from the giants above us and twisted around us and through us. One landed on the girl and I swept it to the side, sending it off with the wind once more.

Any light we’d had from the moon was lost under an instant cloud cover making it hard to see Henry or the girl even with the small light from my phone. I looked up into the sky and the wind hit my face like a slap taking the breath straight from my mouth and making my hair fly out around me.

“What’s happening?” I had to yell over the bluster now. With the trees so close together in the small copse, the funneling of the wind reached a scream around us and I couldn’t hear Henry’s answer but his wide eyes stared back at mine.

I looked down; the child’s eyes remained fixed on the sky above her and her and she had stopped trying to take in large breathes and instead her chest pumped up and down with short, shallow breaths in.

I reached a hand out and felt her erratic pulse fading fast and the quick bursts of her inhales started dropping down to nothing. Her lips moved and on instinct I leaned down, my hair covered our faces like a sheet. “What? What is it?”

I couldn’t hear anything she said. I drew back an inch and tried to read her lips.

“Won’t?” I asked. “Won’t go?”

Over and over she said the words until eventually the mantra made sense. I looked at Henry in question but his attention stayed on the irregular weather and the incoming ambulance.

I laid my hand on her cheek. “You don’t have to go back,” I said, hoping it sounded soothing.

I felt a hitch in her breath and as quickly as the chaos started, it stopped. The wind died, the howling grew silent, the moon shined once more and the ambulance pulled to a stop next to us. I sat up and looked around me. Everything sat with the same calm as before, perfect weather for stargazing.

Henry and I looked at each other, but as I opened my mouth I had no idea what to say.

The emergency medical service people came over and shoved us, with polite firmness, out of the way. We went without argument. As we stepped back I caught sight of the little girl’s eyes one more time. The silver hadn’t diminished with the storm. Her mercury gaze, vacant now, continued to stare and tears slipped out of my own eyes. I reached up to brush them off my cheek and was almost surprised to see that they weren’t blood.

 

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this story! Hope it has kept you interested thus far and I am SO interested to hear any comments.

Review for “Cinder”

I found a series that I like! Any hardcore reader understands that feeling. The elation, the giddiness, the rainbow happiness bursting inside. A new series!

This review doesn’t follow the typical review outline. I will not give a synopsis of the novel. I will, however, discuss the literary qualities I liked and disliked about it.

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Click to buy the book on Amazon!

Blurb: Even in the future, the story begins with Once Upon a Time…Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…

Sixteen year old Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past and is reviled by her step-mother. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world future. Because there is something unusual about Cinder, something that others would kill for.

Title: “Cinder”

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel And Friends–Square Fish (Macmillan)

Publishing Date: 2013

Star Rating: fourstars[1]

Favorite Quote: “Vanity is a factor, but it is more a question of control. It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.”

Review

As I said at the beginning  this post, it took me awhile to pick up this book. I have seen SO many people reading it and constant review posts about it, but the back blurb just never intrigued me enough. I picked up the book countless times, read the back, and put it back on the shelf.

After reading it last week I was glad I picked it up.

The book is exceedingly simple for such a broad concept. The world Meyer created was expansive and has potential to an umpteenth degree, which is awesome. She placed the story in the future in New Beijing including a monarchy, and cyborgs, and moon colonies etc. So cool. I read a review that said she went on and on with the description of the world…and I completely disagree with that. I think she could have added fifty MORE pages of description. Her writing style is succinct. It made this book an easy read. Almost too easy. I’m a fairly quick reader, but when I can devour a book in 2.5 hours and it is meant for tweens, it probably needs some deeper vocabulary.

That being said, for the ease of the wording, the story did not lack at all. I think what I most liked about the author’s style was her ability to say just enough that a reader, with a little imagination, could think up an entire world. But do I hope that the next books with feature stronger wording? Yes. Meyer can go anywhere with this world. I hope she challenges herself with it.

On to the characters. There was a wide cast, which I can imagine growing in later books. Something I have noticed with debut authors, and Meyer is no exception, there always seems to be a stoic heroine and a cheeky best friend. Almost ALWAYS. I don’t really like this, even though, when I write my own stories, I do the exact same thing at times. I felt like Cinder had an identity crises a few times. She would randomly bust out with these smart ass comments that didn’t really suit her personality. I think they better suited the quirky author behind the pages. All the other characters in the novel, held up well to scrutiny. Can I just say even though, I think the best character, the cheeky best friend, better resurrect herself in the next book.

The love story. Meh. I get that it is a quadrilogy (Is that a word?) but as I understand it, they all have a little love story in them, it drives me batty when the love isn’t tied at the end of novels. I want a confirmation that they at least like each other. But as it stands at the end of “Cinder” one of them is doe-eyed and the other is under the impression that the first is a big, fat liar. Which they are. I know, I know, cliff hanger blah, blah, blah. But come on. If it is a coming of age story, don’t make so much of the story about a guy, if it’s a love story, MAKE it a love story.

To sum up the scrutiny;

World building=YES! MORE!

Characters=I’m on board! Though they can be tightened.

Love story=Features some of my pet peeves, but not poorly written.

Who would I recommend this to? Tweens, for sure. Anyone who like a fantastical, unique element to a story. Anyone who likes fairytales.

2016 Mt. TBR Reading Challenge

Mount TBR 2016[1]

I’m so excited that I happened across this challenge. Thank you to The Book Hoarder for posting it. I am going to try my best to reach Mt. Everest, which is reading 100 books on my TBR list! I read way more than that in a year…but that TBR list, it really needs to be read down.

If you want to jump in on the challenge, sign up here!

Now, I am off to the dusty shelves to pick my books for next year.

Fantasy Friday Review of “Perdition”

Fantasy Friday

Welcome to Fantasy Friday! Where I have a group of fantastically prone people read and write reviews. This first review isn’t Fantasy per say, but were going to review it anyway because KatyB is awesome!

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Title: Perdition

Author: Ann Aguirre

Genre: Syfi (Fantasy- for the purpose of today…)

Rating:fourstars[1]

Publisher: The Berkley Publishing Group

Publishing date: 2013

The book I am going to discuss/review is called Perdition by Ann Aguirre. The premise of the book is about hard core criminals that get sent to an abandoned mining facility for life. It is about how the main characters survive the trials and hardships of being locked away with hundreds of other criminals, oh, did I forget to mention it takes place in space. I got referred to this book and decided to go ahead and give it a shot even though syfi generally is not my thing.

The main characters name is Dresdemona Devos aka ‘The Dread Queen’ she is the queen on the main area we follow in the book called Queensland. The eventual love interest and all around bad ass of the book is named Jael, he is hot and full of surprises. There is really only two other primary characters without whom the book would have ended even before it started; their names are Tam and Einar. They play the role of brain and muscle bodyguards for our beloved queen. Now that you have the main players let’s get down to talking about the book. Like I said earlier the story is about Queensland trying to survive in a nest of criminals, the jail has been portioned off into five separate kingdoms all with their own governments and rules.

I find that the subject of the book is slightly disturbing but at the same time fascinating, I wondered how I would be able to empathize with criminals. It didn’t end up being as difficult as I had worried, all the main characters were sharp and witty making it easy to fall in love with them and not want them to end up dead. The book itself is on the gory side and it doesn’t take long to realize this once you start. So if you aren’t into gore or torture and death then this type of book is not for you. Ann brings in every avenue of fear we as people have of convicted criminals, from the religious fanatics all the way to cannibals. The book was fast paced and action packed, it kept me interested all the way through, by the end you even find yourself rooting for these criminals. So if you are a syfi nut or just need a quick, intense, ‘good read’ then Perdition is the book for you.

Tell us what you think or if you have a Fantasy recommendation for next week!!

See ya tomorrow, blogworld.

 

Thursday Thrift- “The Silver Kiss”

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Reviewing used books that I got at a great price!!

For my first Thursday Thrift I found an amazing book at Yesterday’s Books, a new and used bookstore a couple towns over from me. This book initially got me into reading paranormal romance, if not reading altogether. I first read “The Silver Kiss” when I was in 7th grade and it was an AMAZING discovery for me. Romance, suspense, and sexiness all rolled into one YA package. I was intrigued. So, when I found on the shelf for $2, I gave myself a high five and bought it.

The Silver Kiss Cover

Title: “The Silver Kiss”

Author: Annette Curtis Klause

Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers-(Random House

Publishing date: 1990

Blurb: Zoe is wary when, in the dead of night, the beautiful but frightening Simon comes to her house. Simon seems to understand the pain of loneliness and death and Zoe’s brooding thoughts about her dying mother.

Simon is one of the undead, a vampire, seeking revenge for the gruesome death of his mother three hundred years ago. Does Simon dare ask Zoe to help free him from this lifeless chase and its intolerable solitude?

Star Rating:3stars-1[1]

Review

When I first saw this book, I snapped it off the shelf in excitement. Later, it occurred to me that I may not want to read it again. What if it wasn’t as good as the first time, many, many moons ago? What if all the sexiness and darkness wasn’t there? What if age ruined it for me? But since I had already decided to review it for today, and I was curious how I would respond through a second reading and as an adult, I dove in.

To the book’s credit, it is very poetic. Klause’s writing has its own pleasing  rhythm. At times, I simply sat back and enjoyed how the words flowed around me. The problem? These days, you don’t see a lot of that. At least, not in the books I tend toward. I first love character, then plot, then setting, THEN melodious writing. I get caught up in the story, not so much in the beauty of how things are described, not that I can’t appreciate a well written landscape.

The story was very much a second thought in this novel. Things were not described or explained, some of the grammar and wording was awkward, and the overall relationship between the two characters was non-existent. Also, as a pet peeve, I get that teenagers are dramatic and angst-y, but that doesn’t mean every thought in their head has to come across as selfish and immature. Teenagers are people, too, with many layers. So don’t stereotype them.

This was probably one of the first YA vampire novels to come out, I would imagine, as the “Twilight” era had yet to begin. With that thought in mind, there is a chasm between what Klause was trying to accomplish and what paranormal novels today are trying to accomplish. It was nice to step out of our vampire/werewolf/[insert creature here], love triangle, everything-ends-happily story and into Klause’s .

Still, there were several scenes that still came across as pretty, darn sexy. More so in what wasn’t written, than what was, which is the best kind. And the simple nature of the story made it an easy and enjoyable.

I would recommend this to middle grade girls just getting into reading, or anyone interested in, dare I say it, a more realistic kind of vampire novel.

Favorite Quote: Her throat throbbed with life near his mouth, and the gentle, warm smell of her made him giddy. He fought it briefly, but it was no good; she was too near, too inviting. The fangs slid from their sheaths. “Believe this,” he whispered, and kissed her with the sharp, sleek kiss, the silver kiss, so swift and true, and razor sharp, and her warmth  was flowing into him. He could feel it seeping through his body –warmth, sweet warmth. She uttered a small, surprised cry and fought him for a second, but her stroked her and caressed her. I wont hurt you, he thought. Little bird, little dear. I wont hurt you. And she moaned, and slipped her arms around him.