Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Contest, Book 47, Etc.

This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent and my favorite Sunday of the year ;). As an apology for my extended blogcation I'd planned to post an Advent contest but never quite made it there. I missed the first Sunday of Advent and know that not everyone celebrates Advent. So I thought we'd make it a Christmas contest. (I know--not everyone celebrates Christmas either, but most people seem to know it's a holiday). So leave a comment on this post, follow me, blog it, fb it, tweet it, buzz it. Do what you gotta, just know you will get 1 entry for leaving me a comment and 1 entry for each social network you choose to post me on every day you choose to do it and 2 entries for following me. (Please provide links to electronic shout-outs). What will you win? Any book you want (under $25 Come on. I'm a writer). You choose it. I buy it and mail it. (Two for the first place winner and one for the second name random.org chooses). Contest is opened internationally. Contest ends midnight EST on Christmas Eve. (I will be in Florida).

Now for a quickie review of P-52's 47th book Ghost Town the latest Morganville Vampire book.  It didn't catch my attention quite as well as they usually do. In fact, I was about 77 pages in before I was completely hooked. This is probably because these books usually end on a cliff hanger and I read the last one in the spring so whatever the cliffhanger was I don't recall and could also be partly because the book before this kind of felt like a filler to me.

Once it got started it was pretty good though. It kept me reading. Things with the confusion, allicance shifts, memory loss, and machine seemed to feel too familiar though. It's starting to get repetitive.

Now for Etc. What did I do on my blogcation? Not much of the editing I was supposed to! I think I kind of had some sort of a mental breakdown instead. Haha. No worries. I'm back to my usual bouncy self now. The editing will continue with the blogging and I'll be back to commenting this week too. So look for me to make my rounds. I'm out of my cave!!! Hear me roar. (Okay, that was just quirky, but I've been out of this for a while what do you exepct)?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Whisper Book 46

Whisper "Joy is used to hearing Whispers. She’s used to walking down the street and instantly knowing people’s deepest, darkest desires. She uses this talent for good, to make people happy and give them what they want. But for her older sister, Jessica, the family gift is a curse, and she uses it to make people’s lives—especially Joy’s—miserable. Still, when Joy Hears a frightening whisper from Jessica's own mind, she knows she has to save her sister, even if it means deserting her friends, stealing a car and running away with a boy she barely knows—a boy who may have a dark secret of his own." (Blurb from goodreads).

I like books with things going on outside the realm of possibility. I bought the book because of this line, "Still, when Joy Hears a frightening whisper from Jessica's own mind, she knows she has to save her sister, even if it means deserting her friends, stealing a car and running away with a boy she barely knows—a boy who may have a dark secret of his own."  In those words, I found potential for romance, adventure, and a series of action packed events.

The problem is she doesn't understand her sister is missing until page 220 of a 280 page book. Everything that happens, happens in the last sixty pages and unravels rather quickly too.  I didn't find the characters that realistic either. I don't like to give harsh reviews, but I can't say I would recommend this book.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kiss of Death Book 45

Kiss of Death takes the Glass house-mates out of Morganville. They're road tripping to Dallas for Michael's music. On the way they get into trouble in some one-horse town much like Morganville...The town even has vampires, vampires struggling wit the same disease Claire and Myrnin found a cure for in Morganville.

But these vamps aren't Morganville vamps. They're more out of control. I liked that there were vamps else where though. It raises questions of how many towns like Morganville could there be.

I enjoyed it more once they go to Dallas. I liked having them out of Morganville where things could be more optimistic. But I hated that they had to go back.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Train Ride

I gazed at the lush green mountainside through the little window, beautiful. I moved my head from the window to scan for a seat. I’d spent too long in my day dream. There were no seats to be found now.

As the train took off my body spiraled forward. I reached for the nearest pole, but there really wasn’t one within my grasp.

I felt a strong hand on my hip steadying me. I wanted to shriek but there was something familiar in the touch, something that told me the hairs on my arm weren’t standing up because I was in trouble.

“I’m sorry.” He said. He had a drawl. A little inflection from another part of the world called to me from the voice. I knew that place. Home. But we were so far from there. “I thought you were going to fall. You look like a girl I knew. She’s clumsy. I just didn’t want to see you hit the floor. I’ll move.”The drawl told me he was from my place but something else called to me in his voice, tender words more familiar than the hand still supporting my hip, though the man had said he would move.

“I—my—if—I.” I needed to tell him something but I couldn’t remember what. It left me. I turned my head to look back at the person standing behind me. My throat locked. I could be a child again. My breath caught. Now I could be a teen ager again. Vertigo slipped over me not without his notice and he slipped another arm around me to keep me off the floor.

“Katie? You know you don’t stand up on trains.” He made no effort to let go of me. “What are you doing here?” He asked as he shuffled us forward to a shiny silver pole.

“I.” I looked up at him again. My eyes spoke what my mouth couldn’t. They must have because he seemed to understand. He nodded once hard. His eyes wild like he tried to keep from passing out while trying to say something important the same something important I tried to spit out yet couldn’t remember, like he battled the same raw emotion I fought now. Like he knew we couldn’t be here, not together, but we could both breathe a sigh of relief because after all those years, we were here, together.

I grasped the pole. He threw his arms protectively around me and the pole. He wouldn’t let me fall. I didn’t need the pole because the boy that used to take care of me would compensate my weight with every jostle of the train.

The train stopped abruptly. My body tilted forward but not very far and only for less than a second before arms around my waist steadied me.

“You’re okay.” He whispered.

A couple of seats became available as two women exited the train. He towed me to them, helping me sit before taking the seat beside me.

We sat side by side, no longer touching now that there was nothing to protect me from, not even a dirty floor. But his body angled in my direction. He leaned just a little too close to me, just close enough that I could smell and feel a mint breath on me. I closed my eyes as I inhaled, letting it tickle my body the way it once had. I couldn’t keep that breath in me forever. I had to exhale and when I did it hurt like I was letting go a second time.

I felt the tears bubble around my eyes, but I didn’t cry, just a little leaky fluid in my bottom lashes. I leaned closer to him now. “Brendan.” I whispered.

“I know.” He said softly.

I brought my hand up to rest on his cheek watching in a serene contentment as he closed his eyes and sighed. I watched him surrender to what we knew to be true.

He made no effort to move my hand. Instead he sighed my name, “Katie.”

I let my lips turn up in a peaceful smile. He placed his hand over mine, running his fingers over my skin. I lost myself to bliss.

“What’s—that’s--.” He pulled my hand off his cheek and stretched it forward with his. “You’re married.” He said it like an accusation but he couldn’t keep the pain out of his voice.

I closed my eyes and fell further into the seat. The important thing I tried to tell him before we were back in our old roles again. The words I couldn’t get out, the thing I’d forgotten. I loved someone else the way I loved him now. Someone who would never do the things he did. Someone who loved me as much as he loved me, but who took care of that love and my trust like he never did. Someone who was my life now.

A daunting realization, I loved them both. One made my present and would be my future and as painful as it was to let my mind wrap around the other was only my past. The thing about past is it has to turn to ash for the present to be fruitful.

It didn’t change the fact that the man beside me still loved me. I heard it in his words and I felt it in his touch.

“Katie?” He whispered begging me to say it wasn’t true.

I choked past the lump in my throat through the tears in my eyes and nodded. “I’m married. I shouldn’t be here.”

“It’s okay.” He whispered. "You can touch my face. Nothing will happen. You’ll get off the train. Life has already gone on but we can have this moment.”

Something told me it wasn’t okay like touching his face was as much as acting on the forbidden love. I did it anyway. But this time as he slowly brought his hand up to cover my own I saw a shining piece of gold flickering light off his hand.

“You’re married.” I said.

Realization hit his eyes. He loved me. He just loved her too. He nodded as I watched his pain reflect my own. He would have to hurt one of us too.

“But we can have this moment.” I repeated his words.

“We have to, because I’m not strong enough not to.”

I let go of the tears. I watched his eyes water as he traced my tears with his finger. “Don’t do that. He has to be better than me. I know what I did.”

I fought past the lump in my throat again because I had to speak. “I—I hope she’s great—beautiful and she makes you pancakes. I love you, Brendan.”

He fought tears now. “You cook for him.” He said feigning an amused smile.

I looked at him.

“I hope she makes you pancakes. You cook for him.”

“I would have cooked for you.”

“I know. He—he takes care of you? He’s good to you?”

“So good. Deserves better than a girl clinging to her past on a train.”

I watched a bulge in his throat appear and disappear. “He can’t do better than my girl. Even if she’s evil enough to make a man cry on a train. Do you know how that looks?” He whispered.

I smiled. “It’s Europe. They probably won’t think anything.”

But I let my head drop to his shoulder now and didn’t fight when he tried to hold me while I—we cried.

Words carrying the same drawl as his rang from a feminine voice now. “Katie. You’ve gotta get out of here. Are you crazy? A reporter saw you. Jason thinks—he thinks.” She didn’t have to finish the sentence for me to know what my husband thought—that I betrayed him—that I didn’t love him. But I did and now my heart filled with a new pain.

The arms around me slid away for me to go do what I had to do. But he stood as I walked with Carrie closer to the door.

I looked back at him. He looked into me. This thing between us real and raging.

“Last kiss?”


“You’re in trouble anyhow, might as well make it worth it.”

I crashed into his chest and enjoyed every second of his hand on my chin tilting my head back, his lips crashing to mine his tongue tracing my mouth, Brendan devouring me. I pulled away.

“I love you. Take care of your wife. Be good to her. Don’t do this again, and please,” and now the tears flowed again, “don’t forget me.”

“I can’t I’ve tried. Katie, if he ever hurts you I’ll kill him. But I know he’s a good man because it’s impossible to look into his wife’s eyes and not know that with faith like that in the world you have to be a good man.”

Carrie and I got off the train and took a cab to where my husband waited. Too my surprise, he wasn’t angry. “I love you.” He said.

“I love you too. I’m sorry.”

He wiped a tear from my eye. “Do you mean that? I mean that you love me.”

“More than anything.”

He nodded. “You don’t have to be sorry. I knew you had a past. I’m not the first man you’ve ever loved and I can deal with that. Don’t leave me though, please.” A new set of eyes begged for my affection now. The set of eyes that I owed everything to and had promised forever.

“I—I didn’t even think about it. But I kissed him goodbye, umm…literally.” Now I sobbed with guilt.

A new set of arms were around me comforting me. “Shh—does he kiss better than me?” I think it was supposed to be a joke.

I laughed through tears, “Different?—he’s jealous that I cook for you.”

“He’s jealous that I got the girl. But I love her and I take care of her. I won’t give her up without a fight.”

“I’m—I’m not going anywhere.”

He was mature enough to understand everything. That the feelings I still had for the boy I grew up with didn’t take away from the way I loved him. That the way he took care of our love and my trust meant more than fifteen minute train rides even if they were bitter sweet. That I loved him, he was my life. I would never do anything to damage our life together.

I can’t say Brendan never crossed my mind again, or that I didn’t have moments where I hoped his wife wasn’t as pretty as me. But I can tell you we never saw each other again because he was in the past where he belonged.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bullying and My Word for the Nerds

It's been about a month, but not too long ago there passed a week in which several teens killed themselves as a result of bullying.

I've talked about my purple hair and lack of coordination and alluded to the fact that I was made fun of by pretty much the whole town, including adults. Obviously, I didn't kill myself. In fact, my goal in life became to get out ASAP and go back cooler than them. I don't really know that I accomplished that last part but I do know that I was far more motivated in life and as a result better off now than an English major could reasonably expect to be because of said goal. What I'm trying to say is I understood the pain of being ostracized. Purple hair or not, shouldn't I be left alone to thrive in all my freakishness? Isn't that what this "free country" is about? What I didn't understand was why a teen (or anyone--let's face it acceptance still matters to most adults) would take their life over it.

P-52 has a number of young followers still in school, one of which I've become particular attached to because she emails me/messages me quite often. I asked her what she thought about it like why do people let the actions of other people affect their world so much they would take their own life. We went around in circles neither of us coming up with an answer.

This week something happened that made me remember one particularly traumatic incident. Traumatic in part because, at the time the person who said it (we shall call this person X) was the one person in the world I wished hadn't said it. While X said their piece, the kids in the courtyard noticed the confrontation and circled around X, X's three friends, myself and my one friend. When X finished this tirade he/she then went around the circle that now encompassed us and asked every member of it if they hated me. Most people said yes. Others just laughed. At the end of the game, two people said no. One defended me. In fairness, X had just cause to find me rather annoying. I was fourteen too. But I didn't deserve that. Annoying maybe, weird yes, mean very seldom and only with cause.

I cried for a few days, not like gut wrenching sobs, though I did that for a while too. Mostly just tearing eyes, but even at school. I thought of transferring schools but couldn't convince my parents. (I suppose that's probably for the best. There were no good private schools and no magnet schools so it was the town school or the county school. I would have been weird either way). A couple of days later, another girl told X she was angry at X for making her friend cry. When X realized who the friend was, X just shot B a go to hell look and left it at that.

If I'd killed myself you wouldn't have read about X today and either known that you should not do this to anyone  ever because it's inhumane, or that if someone does this to you, you can survive. But I didn't. So why are we talking about X? What's the point in reliving something that happened twelve years ago? Well, looking back on it now--in some ways reliving it now--I remember the pain. I didn't kill myself but I wanted to die. I'm glad I persevered. I have my 58 blog followers, a few unpublished manuscripts, a husband who adores me, and few but GOOD friends.

I need to say I'm not angry with X. I understand X was fourteen and had some things going on. I think X has probably built a decent life that doesn't involve publicly humiliating anyone at this point. I don't think I was X's only target but I was one of the few. X was a fairly nice person where most people were concerned so I think we can assume as an adult X is a decent person. But I am angry that it still crosses my mind so vividly that I'm blogging about it at 5 am because when it reappeared two days ago, it took root and refused to go away. I think the fact that someone like that still has enough power over my life twelve years later to inspire impromptu blog entries in a month I've vowed not to blog to write in some ways resolves the question my young follower and I tried to determine. How could the actions of someone affect you so badly you would take your own life? Because it does. It erodes any self esteem you have and leaves you questioning your own worth. But taking your life in response to a person that needs lessons on how to be human is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

The truth is no one cares about the Homecoming Queen after high school. Time changes everything. Life goes on and jocks age like the rest of us, muscles turning to fat. The cool kids struggle like everyone else, but I think in life (which lasts far longer than high school) nerds/dorks/geeks have the advantage. See, we're used to the struggle. We know what it is to see the turned up noses and rolling eyes. We will walk through it. We will persevere.

So here is MY WORD FOR THE NERDS AND ANYONE ELSE WHO GETS BULLIED: ENDURE. That's right. Endure. Let the so-called cool kids make fun of you because of your purple hair, ripped up jeans, the neck jewelry you wear as a head piece, your star wars collection. Whatever it is that has you picked on, embrace it. Be the best you, you can be. Because you are the only you there will ever be and you hold a special place in the cosmic design of the universe. You have a role to play that ONLY you can play. If the cool kids make fun of you, who cares? It's very likely that as a nerd, in ten years you will drive a cooler car than the cool kids. You will one day be the cool kid and when you are you will be kind to the cool kid that used to taunt you, because you know what it is to be "other."

Beth Fred is glad she made it through middle school, junior high, and the bit of high school she was present for. Emil Fred says the joke is on X.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Carpe Corpus 43/Fade Out 44

Carpe Corpus is another of my favorites in this series. Partly because I liked Lord of Misrule so much and it leads into this one. The romance between Shane and Claire is still getting stronger but Michael and Eve start having some problems. (I think this is where their problems start). The four friends and the town of Morganville start trying to take their town back from Bishop.

My favorite thing about this book is something that some other reviewers seemed not to like, but I love Ada who is Myrnin's(who has been one of my favorite characters since his introduction to the series) computer ghost assistant (and I think they were probably in love or at least involved at one point). After draining her Myrnin chose to imprison Ada into his a computer that runs the town of Morganville to keep her from being completely lost. But Ada gets a little too powerful and steps out of the box! I found that amazingly creative. There are hardships and struggles but as this is a series you know the show goes on.

Fade Out brings back time for honesty. This one was not a favorite. Shane's crazy ex-girlfriend is the new character in this one. She's a crazy ex. There isn't much more to say. I guess it might be worth mentioning that she bugs the Glass house to make sex videos.

Honestly, I didn't find much of a point in that whole part of the plot. But it connected to a media project  she was working on about the "situation" in Morganville. There were further vamp/human issues and Micheal and Eve's relationship becomes a bit more out of wack. Overall, it felt like a filler.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Feast of Fools Book 41/ Lord of Misrule Book 42

Feast of Fools balances the battle of to keep from being food for the walking dead with something we all struggle with--parents. I really love this one actually because it isn't just that Claire's parents have randomly shown up, bought a house and try to make her move home even though she has been living independently. Amelie's (the vamp matriarchof Morganville)  evil father has also shown up which can and does only lead to disaster.

Our four friends step up and brave it out with emotional battles on the horizon as well as the run not to be lunch meat. As always the series ends with a cliffhanger which progresses directly into ....

Lord of Misrule which is a vampire war and everyone must choose a side. There are bad and worse among the vampires but the tension is this one is more built up than in many of the previous books. As the characters work their way through alleys and into/out of chaotic situations I found myself on the edge of the seat with this one so to speak. It's one of my favorites of the series.

Of course, it seems these books will never end any other way--it too closes on a cliff hanger...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Guilty Pleasure: An Ode to the Morganville Vampires

At the onset of this P-52, having read through an insatiable appetite for paranormal romances, with a particular fondness of vampires, especially sparkley ones. Having blown through all my paranormals I hit a book store and picked up Glass Houses and The Dead Girls Dance in one volume. I read Glass Houses was not impressed and gave a rather harsh review of it.

I had no intentions of reading  The Dead Girls Dance (Book 39) even though I already owned it. Glass Houses left that kind of impression on me. Then one month, I got broke--it happens. I was out of books and my library orders were slow to arrive. I gave in and picked up The Dead Girls Dance which I read in one sitting. ;)

The Dead Girls Dance was still a little slow for me, but the pace had really started to pick up. The romance picked up. (That's what I'm after). And things started tying together to lay a good foundation and make sense. It ended with a cliff hanger. It was a lot better than Glass Houses.

I had no choice. I had to read Midnight Alley (Book 40). And so I did, again in one sitting. This one really picked up. The vampires became darker. The romance ran deeper. Claire Danvers, the MC, grew stronger. Honestly, all of the characters started showing sings of change.
New characters were introduced too. Some of which I absolutely love. New concepts were laid and the story really began to get intriguing.

So why haven't I reviewed the books sooner? Haha. Mainly, because I was embarrassed of my harsh review of Glass Houses, which I stand by. If I hadn't got broke that month I would have never read The Dead Girls Dance. It would have been better if Glass Houses and The Dead Girls Dance had been combined and woven into one book--they're the same story. Rather than being sold as two separate books, or marketed as two books in one volume. But as I find myself anxiously awaiting the arrival of Ghostown, it seems I owe Rachel Caine some positive reviews. I've loved the rest of the series, just not the first book. So I've declared this week Morganville Vampires Week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Random Ranting, Disclaimer, Contest Winner, Shout Out

Ranting: Evelyn Marie Hill you are making me insane. You make me want to vommit. You are so dark. I wish you could just get over stuff already. Writing you is like having a root canal with no novacaine. In short, you annoy me. I will be so damn happy when you get on that plane I think I will jump for joy. Seriously, in a way it will be like I am getting on the plane myself! You don't even know.  Why can't you be more like Joe easy and carefree? Really, Evey? You are making me insane. This book is never going to end and you are bring me down with you! You are that dark. Then again, I dont see how you can live through some of the stuff you've lived through and not be dark so maybe it's okay that you make me wanna die!!!!! OR SCREAM!!!!!!!

Disclaimer: I have created several posts of straight book reviews for books I read way back in the spring so they may not be as crispy as usual. I will be using these until they're depleted. After that you can expect sparse posts between now and December because editing one book and writing another has me SWAMPED. I feel like I'm letting down my CP at this point because I don't even have time to read. It's sad, really. I apologize to each and every one of you. I will not be avaialbe to comment very often for a while and I won't even be really posting. But I will come back. I promise. Hopefully you will even miss me. Thanks to all of you for sticking with me.

And the proud owner of The Beautiful Darkness is Maggie.  Sorry, Maggie couldn't find a link.