From my Kindle #6

1.  Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl finished 2/5–LOVED this book.  While I saw some comments on Goodreads about Ethan not being a true male narrator (and really, he’s kind of not), the writing and the story are enough to make up for that weak point.  I love Lena and her crazy family with their different powers.  I think the only thing that bothered me about the book was the insistence of using Caster instead of witch.  It comes off as pretentious and condescending.  They’re witches, okay?  4/5 stars, and can’t wait to pick up the rest of the series!

2.  Paper Dolls (Dollhouse #2) by Anya Allyn finished 2/7–I picked up the first book, Dollhouse, when it was free for the Kindle and enjoyed the crap out of it.  I was excited to see that the sequel had finally been released.  However, between my reading of Dollhouse and Paper Dolls, the author had reworked and rereleased Dollhouse, taking the last 6-7 chapters of Dollhouse and making them the first 6-7 chapters of Paper Dolls.  That was confusing and a bit disappointing, but I can understand the change, as one of my critiques of the original book was the ending was too abrupt, and the change solved that issue.  Paper Dolls deals with the history of the girl in the underground dollhouse while also following Cassie and her friends as they search for answers about things they learned after being rescued.  This trilogy is awesome, and now I can’t wait for the release of the final book!  4/5 stars

3.  Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi finished 2/9–Oh Em Gee.  This book was…in a word…terrible.  It just proves why you can’t have an insane person as a narrator, it makes the book damn near unreadable.  I can understand why so many people love this book, but the writing style just killed it for me, and I won’t be continuing on in the series.  I also don’t care if she ends up with Adam or Warner, as neither one of them made much of an impression on me.

4.  The Wizard of Oz by SD Stuart finished 2/19–steampunk Wizard of Oz.  I received this as an arc with the understanding I’d review it by a certain date.  It was quite a different take on the Wizard of Oz, with an older, blonder Dorothy, Auntie Em and Uncle Henry running a training school, airships, automatons, and Victorian sensibilities.  OZ is actually the Outcast Zone, located in Australis, and Dorothy steals away on an airship in order to find her father, who was kidnapped years earlier.  Missing is Toto, but most of the rest of the familiar characters are there, if in different incarnations.  The only issue I really had with the book was how….flip floppy Caleb was–you could never tell whose side he was actually on from page to page.  4/5 stars, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!

5.  Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb:  The Graphic Novel by MJ Ware finished 2/19–a middle grade book about a zombie infestation.  It’s a bit longer than I would have expected for middle grade fiction, and the characters are a bit older than I would expect, but overall, it was a fun book (they take over a walmart and use lemonade to neutralize the zombies).  I do have to say, though, adding illustrations to your book does not exactly make it a graphic novel…4/5 stars

6.  Scarlet by Marissa Meyer finished 2/22–the sequel to Cinder, it was better than the first book!  Little Red Riding Hood rewritten, and set in France.  While I was disappointed at how long it took to actually get Cinder and Scarlet to hook up together, it was still an excellent book, and do I really have to wait until 2014 for Cress? 5/5 stars

7.  The Wanderers by Jessica Miller finished 2/26–ugh, this book was a hot mess, honestly.  I won it from a giveaway on a blog, and it sounded interesting from the review the blogger did of it, but…apparently that blogger had a higher tolerance for errors, word misuse, and tense shifting than I do.  It made the book almost impossible to read, and then on top of that you had a hot mess of a plot that meandered all over the place and didn’t actually *get* to the actual story until about 50 pages from the end.  Stay far, far away from this one unless you like trainwrecks.  I gave it 2/5 stars, but only because I finished it.

8.  Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake finished 2/27–the second and final book in the Anna Dressed in Blood series.  I enjoyed this book about as much as I enjoyed the first one, which was immensely!  Cas is on the hunt to find Anna, wherever she ended up after the end of the first book (trying to avoid major spoilers for the first book here…:D).  I don’t think his dad was dealt with properly at all, but as a whole I really enjoyed this book and gave it 5/5 stars.

9.  Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm, a graphic novel, finished 2/27–one of my rare comic books.  I’ve been curious to see how they’d handle the “famous” Derrick Storm, especially in graphic novel form.  After my disastrous attempt to read a Richard Castle book (I’m a HUGE fan of the show, and of Nathan Fillion) where I DNF’d Heat Wave with just 10 pages to go, I’ve been wary of anything else ABC puts out under the name of Richard Castle.  I did, however, really enjoy this, and I’ll probably be reading the second one here shortly.  3/5 stars, mostly because I’m not a graphic novel fan.

10.  How to be a Super Villan by Rachel Yu finished 2/28–a children’s picture book I picked up for free.  It was adorably cute and the artwork was amazing!  I read in one of the Goodreads reviews that Rachel is/was only 15 when she published it, and it was a good book for an adult writer, so the fact it was written AND illustrated by a teenager makes it even MORE fantastic.  Check it out if you like cute children’s picture books and super villans.  4/5 stars

11.  Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepherd finished 2/28–book two in the Lying Game series.  It’s a little confusing to figure out what’s going on at times, as Shepard switches narrators between Emma and her dead twin sister without any warning, but like Pretty Little Liars, this is a good, gossipy, mean girl read.  Books like these and a lot of Meg Cabot books are my guilty pleasures.  3/5 stars

Currently reading:  Mayfair by Alysia Gray Painter (received for free from Forever Young Adult, along with its sequel Redwoodian), a friend’s manuscript, and Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shepherd

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Feb-Write-Ary wrap up

It’s over, it’s over, it’s oooover, Feb-Write-Ary is over!  I set my goal at 10,000 words, and I just barely scraped past that.  A lot of what I wrote was blog posts, but as I’ve wanted to write more in both my personal journal and here, I count that as a success!  I also managed to put a couple thousand words onto the campfire story I started over the summer.  I got the idea for it while I was out walking my dog, and as soon as we got home, I sat down and wrote the first 1,000 words on it, then didn’t bother to touch it until this month.

I didn’t manage to even open Wolf Girl 2, but that’s okay, that’s what March is for.  I’m very close to the end of it, thankfully!  I think I have less than 3,000 words to do, and 700 of those words are already written, they just have to be inserted into the right place.

So, from a standpoint of writing, Feb-Write-Ary was very successful for me.  I met my goal, and while I didn’t actually complete any of my goals (finish WG2, finish the campfire story, finish another story that I’ve been working on), I did get a lot of work done on one of them.  Hopefully I can keep up the momentum on that story and then transfer it to Wolf Girl.

I really enjoyed this exercise, and I like that instead of the full month commitment that NaNoWriMo is–I tried to do Camp NaNo last summer, and it just didn’t work very well.  I think I can only handle one HUGE month of writing a year.  This broke it up into a more manageable chunk of time, and I got to set my own goal.  I went conservative and only set my goal at 10,000 words, but next year I will probably go higher, to 15,000 or 18,000 words.  Push myself a bit more.  Looking forward to that!

Have you written anything interesting in the last two weeks?

Published in: on March 1, 2013 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Authors

Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Tuesday, my friends!  This weekend kicked my butt, but I’m ready to hop back into the bookish lifestyle and the best way to do that is to write about books, right?  Right?

Top Ten Authors That I’d Put On My Auto-Buy List

1.  Marissa Meyer–I just finished up Scarlet, and eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Lunar Chronicles.  Cinder was awesome, Scarlet was even *more* awesome.  Can’t wait to see exactly what happens in the next book.

2.  George RR Martin–I’m completely enthralled by Game of Thrones, and I love the intricate stories that Martin has intertwined in his world of Westeros.

3.  Kim Harrison–LOVE her Hallows series, and I’m really interested in reading her YA series, as well.  The only thing keeping me from actually buying that series is the fact that I already have way too much to read, but I have been known to pick up the Hallows books even though I’m 3 behind already….:D

4.  My friends–have to support my friends!  I’m lucky in the fact that I have several published author friends and that I can go out and buy their books.  I have Awakenings by DS Toles, Gift of the Dreamtime by Kelley Harrell, Spookygirl:  Paranormal Investigator by Jill Baguchinsky, On the Downbeat by Kylan Toles, and Zion’s Crossing by HT Barkman.  LOVE being able to read my friends’ books so much!

5.  Lisa Lutz–author of the Spellman novels, which are crazy and zany and just…so much fun!  I just can’t get enough of Isabel and her strange, wonderful family of PIs.  I think I’m caught up on actually *having* the books that are out…now just to actually get to reading them!

6.  Libba Bray–having devoured the Gemma Doyle books and somewhat enjoyed Beauty Queens, I find that I enjoy Bray’s writing style and sense of humor.  I have a copy of the Diviners on my Kindle, and I’ll be reading it as soon as I get through all of my “hey I got this for free I really need to read/review it!” books.

7.  Kendare Blake–I fell in love with Anna Dressed in Blood, and can’t wait to add more of her books to my collection!  I know the second book is out, so I need to get on that!

8.  Meg Cabot–she writes so many different types of books, from YA to paranormal to chic lit and more!  It’s so hard to keep up with everything she writes, but I try!

9.  Jeff Lindsay–author of the Dexter books, and one of the few series my husband and I can agree on.  Generally I’ll get him the book for his birthday or Christmas, but then I get to read it, as well.  🙂

10.  Lee Child–see above.  I LOVE the Reacher books, they’re so…immediate, and awesome.  As is Jack Reacher.  Don’t judge him by the terrible movie where he’s played by Tom Cruise!

7 Deadly Writing Sins

Okay, so they’re probably not all that deadly, but as you know I read a lot of stuff off the Kindle top 100 free list, and I’ve noticed that a lot of them tend to have the same mistakes (ones I hope I don’t have in my own manuscripts!).  Granted, a lot of the  mistakes make it to print because it is just so easy these days to publish a manuscript, and self published authors may not have the time or the money for an actual editor for their manuscript.  Sure, traditionally published books may still have errors–we’ve all found them and rolled our eyes, I’m sure–but the presence of so many more eyeballs on that manuscript helps to weed them out and keep them to a minimum.

So, here are my “7 Deadly Writing Sins” in no particular order:

1.  Comma mistakes–by far the most common Deadly Sin I come across in the books I’ve read is comma errors.  They run from the author appearing to be allergic to them to misplaced to way too many.  The book I’m currently reading probably misses 15 commas per page, and some of those are in the wrong place.  The former makes the manuscript feel rushed, while the later makes you feel breathless.

2.  ‘s to show plurality–say it with me folks, ‘s NEVER EVER EVER makes a word plural.  EVER.  Similarly it’s means it is, its is possessive.  I know, confusing, but the English language is contrary like that.  This is my biggest pet peeve when I see it happen.

3.  Word misuse–encompasses both homonyms and I Picked the Wrong Word in Spellcheck.  Nothing pulls you out of a story faster than the author using the wrong word.  Using to instead of too, here instead of hear, or substituting a similarly spelled word because you just didn’t pay close enough attention to what spellcheck was doing.

4.  Word repetition–we all know that the word “murmur” shows up about 5 times a page in a certain novel.  Of course, using your thesaurus too much makes your manuscript sound pretentious and obnoxious.  It’s a delicate balancing act!

5.  Stilted, clichéd dialogue–someone can only flip their hair, be frustrated, make eyes at, or pout so much before all your conversations start to sound the same.

6.  Sentence fragments/short choppy sentences–don’t start a sentence with “and”, and make sure you have a subject and a verb.  There are times when sentence fragments work–such as making a point or as a literary device.  However, if you’re not doing either of those things…

7.  Punctuation errors (separate from comma errors)–this mostly is using the wrong punctuation mark within quotation marks.  Generally, it’s using a period when you should have a comma, and not using a question mark when the character asked a question.

What drives you crazy when you come across it in the book you’re reading?

Published in: on February 25, 2013 at 4:39 pm  Comments (5)  
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Feb-Write-Ary Friday!

I joined a NaNoWriMo style writing thing for the end of February, called Feb-Write-Ary.  It’s on quite a smaller scale, and a bit differently from regular NaNo.  It’s only 2 weeks long, you set your own word goal, and you can write just about anything you want.  It doesn’t just have to be on the same project, and includes things like blog posts, if you want.  While I haven’t worked much on Wolf Girl 2 like I had planned, I am writing more in my journal, and I just put about 2000 words on a short story I started over the summer.

Feb-Write-Ary is put on by Ava over at The Crumbling Spine, and you can see the participants, posts, and word count goals here.

I had planned on using this to put an ending on Wolf Girl and wrap up a couple of short stories that I’ve had sitting around for a while, and set my goal at 10,000 words.  That may have been a bit optimistic, but I did submit over 2400 words today, bringing my total up to just under 5k words.  I still have a few more days to get those other 5,000 words out, so I should hit my goal…as long as I don’t let this weekend’s enormous amount of business get me down.

I’m really excited about the direction tonight’s story  is taking–it’s a Goosebumps/Fear Street style story about a group of teens who find out that fireside ghost story they told turns out to be real, and it ends up almost costing one of the group his life.  Sophie lives up the street from the local jail, and in an effort to get the conversation off of where she lives, she tells the group a ghost story about a house that burned down earlier in the summer.  I think I just need a couple more paragraphs to wrap up the scene in front of the house, and then I’m going to time jump to September when school starts again.

Have you written anything fun this month?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Characters

Top Ten TuesdayGUYS GUYS GUYS GUESS WHAT!  It’s that Day after Monday, also known as TUESDAY!  (Don’t mind me, I may have had some caffeine today, and as I mostly gave it up, I get a little hyper when I do have it)  Top Ten Tuesday is sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish, and clicking on the above picture will transport you to their magical land.

This week we get to pick our top ten favorite characters from ANY genre we want.  I kind of don’t like open-ended lists like these, because there are sooo many genres that I like, and so many characters that I like!  I think I might go a bit off the beaten path this week, though.  Easy genres I considered were Paranormal, YA, Historical Fiction, and Literature.  I think, though…I’m going to go with:

Top Ten Favorite Characters in Poetry
Sponsored by That Shel Silverstein book underneath my coffee table

1.  Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout from Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout Would not Take the Garbage Out (from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein)–her name is awesome and she got crushed by a tower of garbage she refused to take out.  Awesome.  Plus, it was written by Shel Silverstein, who was one of the best children’s poets *ever*

2.  The Highwayman from The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes–growing up, we had a set of Childcraft books, which had all sorts of fun things in them–short stories, poems, plays, science stuff, maps, and more.  LOVED those books, and vol. 2 of the set had this epic poem in it.  The Highwayman loved the Innkeeper’s Daughter, and caused them to come to a tragic end.  Awesome poem.

3.  The Giving Tree from The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein–it’s going to take all of my willpower to not have the rest of this list be Shel Silverstein characters, because I loved loved loved his poems growing up.  And the Giving Tree gave all he had to the boy he loved.  So sad, I cry every time I read it.

4.  Beowulf from Beowulf–We had to read this for English my Junior year, I think.  It took a while to get into it, but once I did…whew, I read the majority of the poem in one sitting.  While the “do this and I’ll give you my daughter” motif wouldn’t fly in today’s world, there’s just something…powerful about it.  RAWR!

5.  The Greek/Roman Gods–subject of many many (too many to list!) poems, I’ve always been fascinated by Greek and Roman mythology, and went through a phase in high school where I read everything I could get my hands on about them–poems, stories, etc.

6.  Father William from Father William by Lewis Carroll–Father William takes everything that the youth says and does it–he stands on his head, turns a somersault, eats an entire goose, and more, just to prove that being old doesn’t mean you have to ACT old.  It’s a fun poem to read, and I believe it was also made into a song.

7.  Hiawatha from Hiawatha’s Childhood by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow–Hiawatha learns the language of the forest as a small child from Nokomis in this poem.  It’s a gentle poem, and I loved to read it when I was in elementary school!

8.  Johnny Appleseed from Apple-Seed John by Lydia Maria Child-another childhood favorite about America’s favorite nomad.

9.  Little Abigail from Little Abigail and the Beautiful Pony (from A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein)–Little Abigail DIED because her parents wouldn’t buy her the beautiful pony she saw when they were out for a drive.  I’m sure most little girls have felt this way when Mom and Dad said that she couldn’t have a pony for her birthday!

10.  “She” from an untitled trilogy of poems by…ME!–Freshman year of college I wrote a series of poems written from the POV of a guy who loved a girl who wanted to die, and managed to convince him to kill her.  The first poem is written just after his capture by police after the murder, the second during the trial, and the third I think is while he was in jail.  She is an amorphous character who is already dead by the opening of the first poem, but is the driving force behind all of them.  I should have a special “poetry day” in my journal and post them poems.  I think I know where they are.

 

Writing Prompt #15–Seven Deadly Sins

It looks like my writing group is going to be doing a series of prompts based on the Seven Deadly Sins (Wrath, Greed, Envy, Lust, Pride, Gluttony, Sloth).  We’ll be doing one or two a meeting, though Lust may get two meetings.  This week’s meeting was *huge* and in a place that likes to close early if there aren’t many customers, so we kind of felt chased out and ended our meeting after only two prompts.  A normal meeting has around 4-5 people at it, this week’s had 8!  Granted one of them was a friend of mine in town from Philly who was just there to hang out, but still, we haven’t had that many people since we were at Panera almost a year ago.521298_4168130721039_799782757_n

That’s Korku, Apostle of Gluttony (or was it Greed?)  A few years ago, I used to belong to a My Little Pony RPG that was based off of the Seven Deadly Sins, and that’s my boy, there.  He’s half pony, half dragon, (but insists his great gramma was a snake!), and eats *everything* in sight.  Riding him is Bramble, Apostle of Sloth, I think.
And yes, I really *am* that good of an artist.

This week we only managed two prompts, so that’s why Lust may get two weeks instead of one, because everyone said “Are we starting with Lust?  Can we start with Lust?”  Popular subject, sex.

Prompt #1
If there was no lust, what job would people who have jobs centered around it have?

“What are we doing with these mice again?” Masters asked, holding a wiggly white mouse in his hand, staring at it intently.
“Measuring his sexual stimulation to certain smells,” is what Johnson would have answered if the Russians hadn’t released their anti-sex neutron bomb during World War II.  But, they had, and as a result, there was no need to study sexual behavior.  Instead, they were studying the effects of certain genetically modified foods.  “Feed him specimen 32-DD, and hope he doesn’t die,” Johnson answered dully.
Masters dropped the mouse back into his aquarium and threw up his hands in disgust.  “I’m tired of watching mice die,” he exclaimed .  “Don’t you feel that we had something better to do?”
Johnson looked up, her face thoughtful.  After a moment, though, her expression settled back into its normal bored expression.  “No, it’s always been my dream to kill mice…”

Prompt #2
Non-sexual lust

Horses–any kind.  Ponies, unicorns, mini-horses, I don’t care.  Of course, you could take that love into another area of lust, but I think that’s illegal in the United States.
My best friend in elementary school was my best friend because, in kindergarten, my mom told me “Go talk to Gail, she has horses!”  So, I did.
I read all the books I could get my hands on–another friend and I used to argue who got the new horse book from the bookmobile until the lady got smart and started to double up on horse books.
Calendars, figurines, books, pictures, posters, I had them all.  My 8th grade latchhook project?  A horse head in profile.  I was obsessed.
I still am, I just control it better.  Though my first question to my husband after I found out he grew up on a farm was “do you have horses?”  Maybe it’s not as under control as I thought.

Short prompts this week–who do YOU think would have a different job, or not even exist if there was no lust in the world?

Published in: on February 18, 2013 at 11:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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Writing Prompts #14: Valentine’s Day Edition

This was from the meeting almost two weeks ago, but I figured since the theme was “Anti-Valentine’s Day”, I’d save it until today.  I’ve never really been a huge fan of the day, honestly.  It was fun in high school due to our National Honor Society carnation sale, which thankfully had a friend option, so my friends and I would have fun writing each other silly notes and sending yellow carnations to each other.  Then, Junior and Senior year, I got to help out with the sale, which made it more fun.  Getting out of first period to deliver flower?   Yes please!

Prompt #1
The day of the groundhog on Groundhog’s Day (okay, not a V-day themed prompt, but still fun)

“It’s the best gig,” Phil said, looking around at his support group–Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and Elvis.  They met once a month to discuss their issues.  People not believing in them, or that they were too real, in the case of Elvis.  “one day, for five minutes, tops, and then the rest of the year, I’m pampered and fed and no one expects a damn thing out of me.”
“My job only takes one day a year, too,” pointed out the Easter Bunny.  This meeting he had come tie-dyed in pinks, purples, and blues, with a floppy pastel green bow between his fluffy ears.
“Yeah, Flopsy, but my day requires ZERO prep time.  Hell, if I’m cold when I come out, I just go straight back to bed, and the fools think they have six more weeks of winter!  Jokes on them, I just partied too much the night before with on of my groundhog groupies.  One too many shots of Jager will do that.”
“Children worship me,” Santa pointed out.  Phil scoffed.
“Children.  I have children and adults all gathered around outside my burrow.  I have a FESTIVAL, for crying out loud!”

Prompt #2
A friend has set you up with “the perfect guy for you”.  Only, he’s not.

I like tall, think, brown-haired guys with glasses.  My friends all know this–they’ve watched me date guys that fit my type to a T for years now.  So when Gail said she had the perfect guy for me, I figured he’d be tall, thin, with brown hair and glasses.  I scoured the coffee-house where we’d agreed to meet, looking for a guy that fit that description.
The shop was busy, and everywhere I looked there was a thin guy–over by the cash register, contemplating lattes, seated by the window with an iPad, loughing at a table people watching why sipping on a miniscule espresso.
I paused in the doorway, at a loss for what guy to approach–Gail had only told me his name and that he’d be perfect for me.  I had to admit I was more than surprised when the only guy in the shop built like a California surfer approached me, hand out and a smile on his tanned face.
“Shelley?” He said and took my hand, leading me to the shop’s only booth.  He asked what I wanted, and I sat, a bit stunned, as he walked away.  “Well, at least he has a cute butt,” I told myself.  I studied him as he ordered my drink:  blond hair cut almost military short, blue eyes, and about double the musculature I was used to.  Not to mention that he barely topped my own height.  In fact, this guy was more GAIL’S type than mine!
He came back to the table, still smiling, which put me off even more–my tall brown-haired boys tended to the broody end of the scale.

Prompt #3
Sexy Hub Cap Superbowl ad

Shot 1:  4 chrome hub caps on black velvet pillars spotlighted so they shine
CUT TO BLACK
Shot 2:  Hot, tanned, long curly haired woman dressed in hot pants and a cropped top advertising Harlan’s Hubcap Emporium.  She’s sitting, arms back, knees bent, head tossed back, wind blowing her hair back.  Her bright red, shiny lips are slightly parted, and her eyes are closed.  She’s wearing hub cap earrings, necklace, and ring.
CUT TO BLACK
Shot 3:  Blazing hot day, the same girl, same outfit, is outside, bent over, changing old grimy hub caps on a 2013 Porsche to the caps from the first shot.  She looks over her shoulder and winks at the camera.
CUT TO BLACK
Shot 4:  A still of the model lounging on the hood of the Porsche, licking one of the hub caps, with Harlan’s Hubcap Emporium superimposed over the grill of the car.
Voiceover:  Harlan’s Hubcaps, the sexiest hub caps in town!”

Prompt #4
The least sexy setting

Close up, it looked like a romantic spot for a picnic:  verdant grass, blue sky, a large oak tree spreading leafy branches to provide just enough shade from teh sunny day.
Zoom out x10
The patch of grass is directly next to a large asphalt parking lot full of dented, rusted cars.  Some of the cars are sporting racist bumper stickers and more than one car has a “window” made of plastic sheeting and duct tape.
Zoom out x100
The parking lot is attached to a seedy strip club called “Bottoms Up”, and several of the girls are outside puffing on cigarettes.  The other side of the patch of grass borders a ramshackle three-story apartment building that has several blowsy women leaning off a balcony, shouting obscenities at the strippers.
Zoom out x1000
The blue sky turns out to be the side of an enormous superstore known for paying women less than men and running local businesses out of business with unfair competition.  Off to the side is a dumpster overflowing with trash, and a homeless man fights over a loaf of moldy bread with a mangy three-legged dog.  The dog’s growling almost drowns out the women shouting at the strippers.
Zoom out x10000
Grey smog covers the city, obscuring the picnic spot from view.

Top Ten Tuesday Romantic Edition

Top Ten TuesdayIt’s the Tuesday before Valentine’s Day, so the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish gave us a romantic topic to tackle–Our top ten romances!  I suppose you could do this several ways:  top ten romance books, top ten romances in books, etc.  I may end up with a mix, we’ll see!

February 12: Top Ten Favorite Romances

1.  Claire and Jamie Frasier from the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon–though my lists are usually in no particular order (and this one will mostly be, as well), Claire and Jamie have to be my top romantic pair *ever*.  Torn from her beloved husband in 1945 after only a few days together on a well deserved post-war vacation, Claire tumbles through a set of standing stones only to fine…an even greater love.  Tall, hairy, Scottish and years younger than her, Jamie swoops in and rescues her from her husband’s distant and twin in looks relative, thus starting one of the greatest literary romances.

2.  Mary Elizabeth Porter and Wolf Mackenzie from Mackenzie’s Mountain by Linda Howard–the first actual romance book I ever read, and my all time favorite.  Mary Elizabeth moves to a small mountain town somewhere (Wyoming?  Colorado?  Colorado I think, it’s been a while) to teach, and ends up falling head over heels for one of her student’s fathers, the wild and dangerous half-breed Wolf Mackenzie.  The first time they do it (hey, I was in 8th grade, okay?) is in the middle of a tremendous thunder storm with the windows open.

3.  Vanyel and Tylendel from the Last Herald Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey–Tylendel loves Vanyel so much that he actually gets reincarnated as bard so that they can be together after ‘Lendel’s life is cut tragically short.  *dreamy sigh*

4.  Sparkhawk and Elenia from the Elenium by David Eddings–he was her tutor, but she knew almost from the minute she saw him at 6 years old that she would marry him.  Sparhawk would do anything in the world to save the delicate princess he raised from being harmed, not realizing the effect he had on a shy, impressionable little girl.

5.  Eve Dallas and Rourke from the In Death series by JD Robb–we liberated a lot of this series over the weekend, touting it as futuristic mystery novels, which they *are*, but there is also a deep and abiding love story buried within those pages, as well.  Rourke has a shady and troubled past, and Eve hides from her own, but together they help get each other through the bad times with support and never-ending love.  Doesn’t hurt that Rourke is the richest man in the galaxy, either, when it comes to helping Eve solve some of her crimes.

6.  Stephanie Plum and Ranger from the By the Numbers series by Janet Evanovitch–sure, Stephanie should *probably* pick Joe Morelli instead, but there’s just something about Ranger–I mean, he’s described as a Cuban Batman, supplies Stephanie with a never-ending supply of black cars, and calls her Babe.  *swoon*

7.  Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell–Rhett is one of my very first literary boyfriends–and the fact that he’s played by Clark Gable in the movie?  Just…yes.  He’s dashing and mysterious, and sweeps in to save Scarlett when she most needs it.  It’s just too bad she’s too obsessed with Ashley Wilkes (though I totally get that, too, Ashley’s *such* a gentleman) to realize how much Rhett actually loves her until it’s far too late.

8.  Cassie and Adam from the Secret Circle by LJ Smith–bound together by a silver cord from the first time they meet, Cassie must deal with the fact that her soulmate is in love with another girl, her best friend, and deal with it as best she can.

And for a few “nontraditional” romances to round out the list:

9.  Alec and the Black Stallion from the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley–A horse and his boy, stranded on a desert island after a shipwreck.  I read as many of these books as I could get my hands on in elementary/middle school.

10.  Jack Reacher and The Road from the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child–Reacher doesn’t like to be tied down to anything, so he carries all he owns in his pockets–a toothbrush, an ATM card, and a comb.  He buys new clothes when the old ones get too smelly/dirty and only stays in one place long enough to earn money to keep travelling around the country.  He’s only happy if he’s moving, it’s just too bad for him that trouble moves around just as much as he does.

From my Kindle #5

1.  James Potter and the Curse of the Gatekeeper by G. Norman Lippert finished 1/1–Lippert seems to have grown a bit as a writer and corrected a lot of the cannon mistakes he’d written into the first book (the years no longer mix in classes or in the dorms with one exception), though there is a bit of common room hopping that still doesn’t ring true–in the original books, I don’t think the other houses even *knew* where the entrances of the other houses were.  There are a lot of similarities between this and the second Harry Potter (so much that you could almost use the same general outline for both), but this only serves to strengthen James’s Hogwards.  I enjoyed this more than I did the first, but still gave it the same rating as the first, 3/5 stars.

2.  Cinder by Marissa Myers finished 1/2–I’ve been dying to read this book since  a friend pointed it out to me in BAM.  Fairytale retelling with CYBORGS?  Count me in!  It was really good, and now I’m kind of wishing that I’d waited until Scarlet was released to read it, because now I have to waaaaaaaaaaaaait for the next book.  I think that one might be…Little Red Riding Hood somehow?  It’ll be interesting to see!  5/5 stars

3.  The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater finished 1/8–I love just about anything that has to do with horses, and this has both normal horses and bloodthirsty killer horses that come out of the sea.  Loved it.  4/5 stars, can’t wait to read more books by Ms Stiefvater!

4.  Vet Tech Tales The Early Years Confessions of an Animal Junkie by Phoenix Sullivan finished 1/8–this was a short (very short!) compilation of blog posts by a Vet Tech blogger, though I don’t think she’s a vet tech anymore. The stories were cute and short, and the writing style engaging, but I have to say overall I wasn’t really impressed.  You can’t just take a series of blog posts and lump them together and call them a cohesive book.  3/5 stars.

5.  Beauty Queens by Libba Bray finished 1/10–Oh I was so disappointed with this book.  I was so excited to read it (beauty queens stranded on an island?  YES!), but…it just didn’t live up to my own personal hype, I guess.  I enjoyed the book, but it just wasn’t as good as I’d hoped and expected it to be.  I gave it 3/5 stars.

6.  Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz finished 1/12–I love Isabel Spellman and her wacky family.  I picked up the first book on a whim off of a Border’s sale shelf, and after reading it kicked myself for not picking up the other 2 books that had been sitting next to it.  I love the formatting (not every book could get away with it), the funny footnotes, and of course, Rae and her precocious attitude.  4/5 stars

7.  The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater finished 1/18–after reading The Scorpio Races, I was dying to read this book.  However, once I got about 1/4 of the way through it, I had to continually force myself to continue reading it.  Part of it I blame on discovering the fact that my Amazon Prime Student account had renewed when it shouldn’t have ($39 vs the normal $80), but part of it was just that this book was…freaking boring.  And while I realize that this is going to be a series, there’s a line between leaving enough loose ends to continue a series and just being freaking lazy and not finishing the damn thing, and this book feels like it falls into the second category.  I gave it a generous 3/5 stars, because despite it’s boringness and flaws (there is quite a bit of head hopping without warning) it was still well written.

8.  The Complete Monster Exchange Program by Terri Bogard finished 1/19–This book was so much fun!  It’s a collection of short stories that go from being after school special to downright creepy.  I originally read 3 of the stories around halloween, and was contacted by the author if I wanted the whole set.  Of course, I jumped at the chance and finally managed to read the entire book.  Loved it!  4/5 stars

9.  The Spellmans Strike Again by Lisa Lutz finished 1/22–This one wasn’t as good as the previous books–the plotlines are disjointed and seem to wrap up a little *too* neatly.  However, I did still enjoy it and am looking forward to reading the next installment.  4/5 stars.

10.  Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen finished 1/24–My monthly rental from Amazon from my Prime membership.  I’ve heard great things  about this book, and as I resolved to read books before seeing the movie, I figured this would be a good opportunity to read it if I ever get the chance.  Not a huge fan of Edward Cullen (heh), and the age difference between the two leads in the movie is NOT reflected in the books (Marlena in the book is 22 at most–the same age as the protaganist)…anyway, I really enjoyed the books, and while it’s set during the Great Depression, it’s not a book about that, it’s about circus life.  4/5 stars

11.  Divergent by Veronica Roth finished 1/26–Wow, this book was excellent.  Set in a dystopian future Chicago, Tris must decide which faction she will choose to become part of–her “home” faction of Abnegation, or one of the other four factions.  I really could not put this one down, and gave it 5/5 stars.

12.  Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion finished 1/27–This book falls into the same category as Beauty Queens–I really thought I’d enjoy it more than I did.  The main character R was not…really very zombie like at all (and honeslty, with the exception of the Boneys, most of the zombies weren’t), and his “love interest” really didn’t react as she should have to being “kidnapped” by a pack of zombies and kept in an airplane for like a week.  Personally, I would have gone out of my mind within a few hours, not gone wandering around the airport looking for edible food.  3/5 stars

13.  Wicked Women of the 19th Century by Sylvia Perini–a novella detailing the lives and crimes of about 8 women serial killers that operated in the 19th century.  The subject matter was interesting, but the writing was atrocious.  There were many grammer mistakes and even a few word and factual errors that made the book hard to read.  For example, one sentence read something like “After 18 years of marriage and 6 kids, So and So lost his job where he worked.”  Okay…what does the first part of the sentence have to do with the rest of it?  2/5 stars, and that was being generous.

14.  The Disresputible History of Frankie Landau-Banks by e.lockhart–wow, I loved this book!  Set in a boarding school (who doesn’t love books set in boarding schools), Frankie is determined to prove she’s just as good as the guys when she realises that she won’t be allowed to join the secret society her father so loves to talk about.  While I was a fan of the way the ending was written (it reads almost like a “where are they now” thing you see at the end of some movies), the book was really fun to read.  4/5 stars.

Currently reading:  Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl–I kind of want to steal Ethan’s map idea and start marking the places I’ve read about on a map of the world.  😀