Archive | April, 2010

Wednesday’s Words

21 Apr

Today I delved back into the first draft of an YA book I started about a year and a half ago. Here’s the first few paragraphs. Enjoy!

Okay, you know that girl at your high school?  The one who seems to have it all?  Good looks, good grades, loads of friends and lots of money to boot?  Well, I’m that girl.   Hate me if you want, I really don’t care.  If you’re envious, you’re probably the kind of loser freak I wouldn’t even give the time of day to.  The best thing for you is to stay out of my way.  So if you have to envy me and dream of being me, that’s fine.  Just do it from a distance, ok?   Last thing I need is some of your loser wannabe drool on my leather boots. They’re custom made, after all.

I rule my school.  And I have since, oh, about birth.   It was just always meant to be.  Can I help it if I was blessed with glossy, wavy black hair that never goes out of place?  And yes, sweetie, those piercing blue eyes are real, no contacts needed. Porcelain skin comes with the help of some wickedly expensive Swiss facial products and a monthly visit to the spa.  And the body? All mine. Probably won’t need any nipping or tucking until at least 50. So yeah, I’m lucky as Hell. But I don’t take it for granted.  I’m charitable.  For example, when my BFF Mia goes all out skank girl, I let her know.  Okay, usually after she’s home, but really am I my friend’s keeper?  With so many people wanting to be me, it’s a full time job staying on top of things.  So if Mia ends up going out on a Friday night with her thong showing, sue me if I don’t mention it to her right away.  Besides, the sluttier she looks, the sexier I appear.

Not that I need any help in that department.  I’m pretty curvy for sixteen.  And in all the right places, unlike some girls.  I mean, yes I love Cara, but cut back on the twinkies already!  If she keeps going this way she is, she’ll end up bulimic again.  I probably should say something to her.  Maybe when we go shopping next I’ll see if she wants to hit the Junior Plus size section. 

Love me or hate me, I really don’t care.  Just stay out of my way.

Review: Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr

21 Apr

HarperCollins Canada, 2010

Hunger for nourishment.
Hunger for touch.
Hunger to belong.

Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.

Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries’ coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani’s death.

Ani isn’t one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin’s plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

From HarperCollins Canada website

When discussing works by certain authors, I find it very hard not to gush like the fan girl that I am. Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series definintely falls into that Oh-my-God-I-love-it-so-much-squee! category.

I was so happy when this review copy came to me via HarperCollins Canada and I was so excited to see what the gang was up to. But I should have known that Melissa would change things up like she always does. See, while Radiant Shadows is part of the Wicked Lovely series (as is Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity) this is a companion series. So the main characters that we saw last time in Fragile Eternity weren’t the main characters in Radiant Shadows. In fact, we hardly saw some of them at all.

That’s one of the things that’s so great about Radiant Shadows: it could be the first Melissa Marr book you pick up and you won’t be totally confused because it’s the fourth book written in the series. The main characters, Ani and Devlin were, at best, secondary characters up until this point. Their story really starts in this book.

And what a story! While all of Marr’s couplings have their issues (no perfectly happy ending for most) these two are, perhaps, the angstiest, at least at the start. Then they kinda hit their groove and that’s that.  I think some readers are going to bitch at the lack of heavy duty romance in this one, but for me, it made sense. Or maybe it was full of heavy duty romance and in my old age it doesn’t make me gag as much as it used to. Either way, Melissa achieved the right balance. The main story was Ani’s journey of self-discovery. And watching her come into her own was great. Sure Devlin was a part of that, but he wasn’t the be all and end all. While Ani isn’t a 100% good character (she is of the Dark Court, after all) she is a likeable character.

Devlin I’m kinda meh about. I mean, he was interesting enough and all, but when compared to the other men in the series (Niall, Irial, Seth, Keenan) I’m not sure he stood up. I’m hoping that once I get to know him better in other books he’ll grow on me.

I’m not a fan of traditional fantasy novels, and while Radiant Shadows is, technically, an urban fantasy, there was a heck of a lot of time spent in Faerie, and I was fascinated by it. As I was by all the dealings and politicking between the courts and the individuals within each court.  I enjoyed it so much, that I’m thinking of delving into the world of straight fantasy books, with no urban in sight.

Melissa’s writing, as always, was captivating and detailed. Honestly, I applaud her for being able to keep everything and everybody straight.  There are some new characters in Radiant Shadows,  some old characters that don’t make it to the end and other characters remain missing. This isn’t a happy book, but then none in the series are.

Towards the end there are some major shake-ups in the Wicked Lovely world, and while Radiant Shadows didn’t necessarily end in an Holy crap cliff-hanger, it still left me with my jaw open, wanting more.

Fans of Melissa Marr should be more than happy with Radiant Shadows. And new readers will definitely be sucked into the Wicked Lovely world.

Browse inside Radiant Shadows.
Big thanks to HarperCollins Canada for the review copy.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

19 Apr

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a wonderful weekly event started by J. Kaye and now hosted by Sheila. Basically, you list the books you’ve read in the past week, what you are currently reading and what you hope to finish this week.

Books Completed Last Week:
The Maze Runner by James Dashner – I enjoyed this book, but I wasn’t as wowed as I hoped to be. I think the second book will be more my cup of tea.

Currently Reading:
The Breakwater House  by Pascale Quiviger – I was hoping to finish this last week, but due to my mood and some other stuff, I didn’t get a chance.

Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr – So, so close to finishing this one! Tonight, for sure. Loving it, as I do all Marr’s books.

Books to complete this week:
Besides The Breakwater House and Radiant Shadows, I’m hoping to get a chance to read Morpheus Road: The Light by D.J. MacHale. Looks like an exciting read.

Music Monday: Coco Love Alcorn

19 Apr

So, I live up the road from the wonderful Harmony House Theatre and last week I noticed on their billboard that Coco Love Alcorn was playing in July. I’ve never heard of Coco before, but just her name alone intrigued me. So I youtubed her. And, OMG, I clapped with glee when I discovered her video for Intellectual Boys. I immediatley went to iTunes and downloaded her latest release, Joy. It’s a soulful, quirky, wonderful CD. And Intellectual Boys is on it, and my fave.

If you are a self proclaimed geek lover (like I am) you’ll get a kick out of this song. And if you aren’t? It should be enough to change your mind.

Review: Green Angel by Alice Hoffman

14 Apr

Scholastic Canada, 2003

Left on her own when her family is lost in a terrible disaster, fifteen-year-old Green is haunted by loss and by the past. Struggling to survive physicallyand emotionally in a ravaged landscape where nothing seems to grow and ashes are everywhere, Green retreats into the ruined realm of her garden. But in destroying her feelings, she also begins to destroy herself, erasing the girl she’s once been. It is only through mysterious encounters that Green relearns the lessons of love and begins to heal as she tells her own story.

From Scholastic Canada website

It’s weird. This book was heavy on imagery and had lots of life lessons sprinkled throughout, which normally would have completely turned me off. But in Green Angel both of these elements worked, creating a wonderful and touching book.

I came across this book on a list of the best YA dystopia novels. Having just finished The Forest of Hands and Teeth and loving The Uglies series, I’ve been all about this genre lately. So I picked Green Angel up. And I quickly learned that even within this sub-genre there are sub-genres. This is different from any of the other dystopic YA books that I’ve read.

I loved the use of animals and nature to symbolize not only nature slowly healing after the disaster, but also to mark Green’s own personal healing. She slowly works through her pain, learning that she can go on with her life while still holding on to her past, who she was and the people that she loved and lost.

This was a different read for me, and one that I am not sure will be everybody’s cup of tea. It was a quiet book, but I really enjoyed it.

Wednesday’s Words: A WIP snippet

14 Apr

Since I kinda forgot about last week’s Wednesday’s Words, I thought instead of a poem I’d post a short snippet from one of my WIPs. A friend of mine recently told me to put myself and my writing out there, so here goes!

Detective Holmes turned and I caught his eye. He nodded to me, said a few words to the bartender and headed my way. This was an interesting turn of events. Liquid Fantasy was not a usual hang out for a cop. And the way he and the bartender talked and the way the waitresses were looking at him, it was easy enough to tell that this was not the detective’s first time at the bar.

“Hiya Detective,” I said. “What brings you here?”

“Happy birthday,” he said as a way of response. He pulled out the chair opposite me and sat down. Pulling a package out of his pocket, he set it down on the table in front of me. It was wrapped in a shiny purple paper with a silver bow on it. Kinda looked like a present. Maybe a birthday present. Which was a bit creepy. How in the Hell did he know it was my birthday? If the package was, indeed for me, that is.
I looked at the gift, then back up at him. “So.”

“So.”

“Any luck finding my purse?”

He blinked at me in surprise and then shook his head. “Don’t you want to open your present?”

Okay, so it was for me. A total stranger had bought be a birthday gift. Hmmm. To be flattered or scared. I mean, he looked pretty normal. A little on the young side, but normal. Of course, I’m sure that’s been said about every murderer and stalker in history. So I guess I was leaning a bit more towards scared. And very confused.

Pulling the box towards me I kept my eyes on his to see his reaction. He looked about as confused as I was. Okay, this was beyond weird. In fact I seriously doubted it could get any weirder. So of course, it did.

Plunking down besides me, the waitress that had brought over the champagne picked up the gift and shook it. “Jesus, Deacon, I don’t know why you have to be so melodramatic. It’s not like she doesn’t know what’s in the box.” She ripped the wrapping off and stuck the bow in Detective Holmes hair. Opening up the box, she handed its contents to me.

“Tada! Ohhhh ahhhhhh. Bet you’re really surprised, eh Erin?”
I looked at the silver necklace. Hanging from it was a charm in the shape of a pentagram with a Celtic cross at its center.

“Look, I’m sure you guys are very cool.” I said standing up and setting the necklace back in the box. “But I don’t want to join a cult. Sorry. Hope your feelings aren’t too hurt. See ya.” I started walking away. “Oh yeah and Detective Holmes or whoever the Hell you are? I think I’ll just buy a new purse.” Quickly I made my way to the door.

The bartender slapped his hand down on the bar and cursed. “Fuck! She has no idea what the Hell is going on. How is that possible? She thinks we’re a freakin’ cult!”

“I don’t know,” the waitress said, getting up from the table and walking towards the bar. “Maybe she’s a bit on the slow side?”

Okay, now I was getting a bit pissed. “Excuse me Elvira, but I am NOT slow. Neither am I naïve. Out of my group of friends, I’m the last one you should have tried to recruit. Gale would have been a much better candidate.”

Review: Fade by Lisa McMann

12 Apr

Simon Pulse, 2009

SOME NIGHTMARES NEVER END.

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They’re just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody’s talking.When Janie taps into a classmate’s violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open — but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie’s in way over her head, and Cabe’s shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability — and it’s bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what’s to come is way darker than she’d feared….

From Goodreads

Sheesh, what can I say about Fade? The second book in McMann’s Dream Catcher trilogy,  Fade was just as amazing as the first book, Wake.

McMann continued doing what she did in Wake: using her writing style to influence the tone of the book.  Seriously, her writing does a terrific job once again of accentuating the plot and Janie’s life in general.

We also get to see some character growth in this book and Janie got a chance to further explore the extent of her gift and what it means for her, her future and Cabe.

Just to go back to the writing style for a moment. With the short sentences and sometimes one lined paragraphs, at times this book leaned more towards a poem-like structure than an actual novel.   McMann doesn’t waste words and you get the feeling that if something was included in Fade, it had a purpose.  The plot and writing were tight, producing an enjoyable story, despite some of the topics discussed.

Like Wake, Fade isn’t a light, fluffy read. What it is is an amazing book about courage, discovering who you are, who’ll you’ll become and dealing with it.

Browse inside Fade.