Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trust Issues - A Flash Fiction



I like how artwork can inspire the imagination, and this image I linked to on my Sunday Post a couple weeks ago inspired this quick story.

TRUST ISSUES

He didn't want to leave.

Funny how these things happen, he thought as he lay there looking at her. A few weeks ago his life had been quiet, he thought he'd put the drama behind him. He'd made some mistakes, had been in some trouble, but he was working it out. He could have used a little drama, to be honest, but he hadn't been expecting this. Now... he'd hardly been home in the last week. He had been in relationships before, of course, but not like this girl. He knew he should be careful, knew he was going all in, but he didn't care. 8124... that was her number. Her apartment up here in the spire. He liked that number.

He watched her sleep for a while, her breath rising and falling. Sabine jumped up on the bed and walked on him for a moment, then settled down at the foot of the bed and stared out the window. His gaze followed, at the gleaming towers and sky traffic. She has a great view. He wondered how she afforded it. He turned onto his stomach and fiddled with the keypad, and the sound of falling rain filled the little room, punctuated occasionally by distant thunder. She woke slowly and smiled at him, and his heart skipped a beat. You're in way over your head.

"Hi."
"Hi yourself," she mumbled, kissing him, then she lay back, her orange hair splayed out over her pillow.  She lay there for a bit and  looked at him and their fingers interlaced as the rain continued to fall. Sabine came up and made herself comfortable, purring in that loud way she had.
"When do you have to go?" he asked after a while, toying with a strand of her hair. 
"My shift starts at eight. We have a while yet..."
He smiled. "Whatever will we do?" 
She smiled back. "Oh I don't know, maybe go for a walk. We have to leave sometime. Maybe watch a vid..."
"I don't think so," he said as he kissed her, "but nice try." She mumbled something and pulled him down, and Sabby had to vacate. The kiss was long and deep, and afterward it was quiet for a while. 

They hadn't left the place in two days. Food was from some crappy Chinese take out place a few levels down- they delivered thankfully and the door opened just long enough to snatch the bags. The cartons were mostly strewn on the floor near the tiny kitchenette, where they had sat crosslegged and devoured like there was no tomorrow. The cat had been after what was left. I hope Sabby likes General Tso's. She had told him he could stay, and he thought about it. He liked the view, and he'd be here when she got home. Definitely a plus. He also liked that no one knew where he was. But, he had some things he should take care of. And... he should probably cool it. He was getting attached, always wanting to be here. Thinking about her all the time. If he wasn't careful he would lose his shit for this girl. Too late.

All too soon it was time and she had to get up. Eventually she pulled away and stepped down into the living area, pulling the sheet with her. He decided not to let go and it fell away, and she smiled back at him as she walked naked into the bathroom. Damn. He laid back contentedly and closed his eyes, listening to the faint whirring of the traffic outside and after a few moments the shower turning on. He thought about joining her, but it was getting late and he was happy right where he was. Sabby jumped up to keep him company.

A chime sounded behind him and he turned onto his stomach. An incoming message. Knowing he shouldn't, he swiped. A deposit with an attached message. A deposit for a large amount of money. Wow. In spite of his better judgment he kept reading.     

ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF CONTACT. SUBJECT WILL BE ACQUIRED AT 20:00 ST. 

STANDARD PROCEDURE. BALANCE OF FEE WILL BE DEPOSITED UPON RETRIEVAL OF SUBJECT. 

His picture and social ID information were there. 

Stunned he fell back against the pillows. No. No no no. Not possible. How could she know? Are you fricking kidding me? The last few weeks had been nice. More than nice. Tears stung his eyes. I thought maybe... The cat was still purring against him, and he shoved her off the bed angrily. The events of the last few weeks replayed themselves through his mind- the questions he hadn't asked, the vague playful answers she gave to the ones he did ask. It all made sense now. 'I work in the history section of the library', she had said. Yeah sure you do honey. Although he had not exactly been honest either. She didn't know anything about his... Well, she did apparently  

The water turned off. Shit. He closed the message as unread and scrambled up, pulling his clothes on. Sabby was in the cartons again. He was at the door when she called out. 
"Do you want to stay while I'm gone?  We could do something when I get back, maybe go for breakfast?"  
If only... 
"No," his voice cracked as he answered. "I should get going, I've got a few things I need to do. See you after though?" Yeah right. 
"Sure. You're welcome to stay though. Sabby won't mind." 
I'm sure. 
Hesitating, he wanted to say something. Anything. But what did it matter? He stepped outside and looked around. Just off her hallway was a busy concourse, throngs of people going here and there amongst the restaurants and nightclubs.  

He didn't want to leave. With a last look back he stepped into the flow of people and disappeared. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Dance With Dragons

 A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

Welcome to my A Dance with Dragons re- read. This week we are reading Jon XI and Cersei I. The first chapter picks up with Tormund Giantsbane at the Wall to treat with Jon. Then we check in with Cersei who we haven't seen since book four- a prisoner of the Faith and the High Sparrow. So let's take a look...

Jon and Tormund are negotiating the terms of the wildlings joining with Jon. They come to an agreement and Tormund is not happy, and Jon talks to Val. He assigns the giant to guard her, and she says she can help him sell the wildling deal to the queen. They meet Selyse and it doesn't go well, the queen finds Val impertinent and is not happy with Jon either. There are almost two hundred giants and eighty mammoths coming the long way around the Wall, and Val takes exception to Shireen due to her greyscale. 

Jon then meets with Bowen Marsh and some of the other leaders and tells them about the deal. That doesn't really go well either, as the rest of the Nights Watch leadership have deep misgivings about taking in wildlings. Also present are two of the mountain clan chiefs and they seem a bit more reasonable. 

MY THOUGHTS: 

The writing is on the wall here for Jon. He can't really sell the wildling deal to the Nights Watch guys, try as he might, so he's putting himself in a tough spot. Val is back, with Tormund, so he may be getting wildling allies even as he alienates his own people.  

CERSEI I

Cersei has been imprisoned for some time apparently and finally comes to the conclusion that she must confess in order to get free. She does so but is not entirely honest- she denies having anything to do with killing Robert and denies that her children are born of incest. The Sparrow of course is not convinced and says she will have a trial. She is given better chambers though for having confessed, and allowed to have someone visit. She asks for her uncle Kevan and he comes, and he gives her updates on what is going on. Margaery is with Tommen and Mace Tyrell is Hand- Margaery is fre because Tarly brought an army and had her released. 

Kevan tells her that the Sparrow is pushing a walk of shame as penance. He also tells her that Myrcella was injured, and that Jaime has missing. 

MY THOUGHTS: 

Kevan basically updates Cersei on everything going on and we get Cersei's perspective on things, which is always hilarious. She wants nothing more than to punish and kill everyone who has wronged her (in her eyes) but at the same time we see that events are passing her by. Or are they? She may get back to the Keep and cause more trouble, but long term I think she's done. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Let's Talk About The Fae



Let's talk about the fae. Anyone who reads urban fantasy or YA fantasy may have encountered the fae - sometimes they're called the Sidhe- and often the story involves a trip to Faerie, or a portal from Faerie to Earth, or a riff on that. But what is Faerie? Well that depends on the story, and there are lots of examples. I've read descriptions of it as a dangerous place where the faerie courts hold sway, a place of pure nature where the sun is brighter and every sense is enhanced, where people go and have a hard time escaping, the list goes on and on.



To me Faerie is a plane of existence where nature rules supreme. The faeries and other creatures have their own customs, and there is honor but also duplicity and mischievousness. There are meadows where twinkling lights and great bonfires illumine the night, elven courts and great dragonflies and gnomes who live in trees. Is there evil as well? Sure in some areas. It could be like Mirkwood in Lord of the Rings- part of the forest is ruled by the Elvenking but there are also darker areas... perhaps great marshes where will-o-wisps feed on the life energies of those foolish enough to enter. Dragons would be here too I would think, their appearance striking fear into all, and the great crack of their wings announcing their presence. One might look up in the night and see a great winged form in the moonlight, obscured briefly by scudding clouds.



I've always been fascinated too by the concept of Gates- portals through time and space to other worlds, of which Faerie might be just one. Perhaps there is a shimmering in the woods, and if you pass beneath the interlacing branches of an ancient oak you find yourself- elsewhere. Or a volcano or lava flow opens up a rift to elemental fire. Could there be a passage to a plane of water, where there is no surface? Or a plane of elemental air, where there is no down. No ground to fall too- do you float or do you just sort of fall forever? Maybe there are floating islands with settlements, with airships and waterfalls that spray into the air.

I'm curious to know what Faerie is to you- how would you imagine it? Do you have a favorite read dealing with the fae folk or a favorite creature?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cover Characteristics #21



Cover Characteristics is a meme by Sugar and Snark- every week a characteristic is selected and we post 5 books with that week's theme.  

This week's pick- ?  

This week the host is off so I guess it's a freebie week. My topic is covers with a faerie element- since I'm doing a discussion post on Tuesday about the fae folk it seemed like a natural pick. I'm in that mindset anyway... so let's see what we have.    

Image result for the cats of tanglewood forestImage result for covers with faerie elementsImage result for covers with faerie elementsImage result for covers with faerie elementsImage result for covers with faerie elementsImage result for covers with faerie elementsImage result for faeries goodreadsImage result for faeries book cover

 

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is a favorite of mine, and although there are no faeries on the cover they play a prominent role in the story. Artwork is by Charles Vess who kinda specializes in this kind of artwork- his site is worth a look. 

Image result for covers with faerie elements

I like this cover it seems to have an enchanted feel to it.  

Image result for covers with faerie elements

No idea what this is about but it's a faery tale apparently and it's Holly Black.  

Image result for covers with faerie elements

This has a ethereal sort of vibe to it, not a bad cover. Looks YA- ish. 

Image result for covers with faerie elements

I started this book once but never finished- not because it wasn't good, but just because I got sidetracked. It was sort of alternate history with Victorian era stuff if I remember. I should go back. 

Image result for covers with faerie elements

Again no ideas on this one but love the cover. 

Image result for faeries goodreads



Image result for faeries book cover

This looks like a classic book on faeries and bonus- art is by Alan Lee (known for his Lord of the Rings work). 



I have no idea if this is even a faerie book but the title and cover both look like they have that vibe. I'm going with it. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Sunday Post #135



The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

This week wasn't bad it hasn't really warmed up yet and it got rainy but I think temps are supposed to get nicer next week. The sun came out at the end of the week so that's something. I did a bit of reading and I'm still working out what I want to read next- I'll be trying some urban fantasy so maybe that will do the trick. I've also been writing and may have a flash fiction post on Thursday if all goes well.

This week I talked favorite moments in books on Tuesday and will have a discussion post this week on the fae. I also reviewed Rebel Bully Geek Pariah and continued reading Allegiant. The other thing I wanted to share is the Tolkien event going on at Pages Unbound- they are doing a two week celebration of all things Tolkien with reviews, fun stuff like name generators, and giveaways.  

Rebel Bully Geek Pariah

And I'm listening to... 



PULP COVER OF THE WEEK:



NEW ARRIVAL/ UPCOMING REVIEWS:

     

BOOKISH LINKS

Boats Against The Current reviews The Other Queen

The Hardcover Lover shares her playlist for Siren by Kiera Cass. 

Confessions of a Book Addict reviews Allegiant (the movie).  

Peace Love Books talks about adulthood and how it can ruin reading. 

Pages Unbound is running a two week Tolkien event with giveaways and awesome posts. You can check one of the giveaways out here, but there's a lot of awesome stuff to see. 

This will tell you which graphic novel to read based on your zodiac sign.   


And continuing the theme from last week- a bit about stormtrooper accuracy. Love the part at 1:05 with the Jawa...




Bookcover Spotlight #41

The Immortals (Olympus Bound #1)

I like this cover- the New York setting, something happening in Central Park, the constellation overhead. It played a big role in my deciding to read this one. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Rebel Bully Geek Pariah

Rebel Bully Geek Pariah

Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah is a book I wanted to read after seeing a reference to The Breakfast Club. Yes, I was skeptical, but the idea of four high schoolers who are thrown together to survive a crazy night appealed to me. Four high schoolers who are about as different as you can be. Sam is the POV and she wants nothing more than to stay out of sight and not be noticed- her mother is a recovering drug addict and has been in and out of prison, and Sam's life has been a mess as a result. A chance encounter with Andi, a dreadlocked former popular girl leads to a party that is rousted by the cops, and together with York and Boston (two brothers who are total opposites) they find themselves suddenly on the run from police and in for the night of their lives.

Like I said I was cautiously optimistic but skeptical at the same time. I can say however that this one worked for me and I'm glad I read it. Is the Breakfast Club comparison apt? Actually it is - some of the same touching moments are here as four young people who have nothing in common are forced together and find that  maybe they're not so different after all. This is no detention though- the stakes are a little higher here involving cops that may be crooked and some decisions they make that could have serious consequences. It's a fast paced story and and strikes a nice balance between thriller and coming of age story.

It's funny at times too. Sam is likable enough and I felt for her with everything she's been through. Andi the former queen bee has a lot of issues and over time we find out what has caused her star to fall, while York and Boston are a former football player and a geek younger brother respectively. York has a little depth and I felt the author did a good job bringing him to life while Boston didn't work as well for me- I found him a little irritating, the only one of the four that I didn't really care for. Still the dynamics between the four of them are compelling, and while this story is a bit unrealistic I still enjoyed it a lot.

There's a sequence roughly in the middle of the book where the four of them are spending time together as they plan their next move, and I thought it was really well done. I already enjoyed it for the thriller aspect but the characterizations there cemented my admiration for the book. I cared about these characters (except maybe for Boston) and I loved how they stuck together- they chose each other when the chips were down. There's a scene at the end of The Breakfast Club where these diverse personalities have become friends- and I got that same feeling from this book.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Dance with Dragons

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

Welcome to my A Dance with Dragons re- read. This week we are reading Theon and Daenerys IX. Theon is at Winterfell and is trying to lay low as the spearwives and Mance Rayder plot to rescue Jeyne Poole. The Boltons are using Jeyne to masquerade as Arya so they can claim lordship over the North. Meanwhile Dany is now married and peace is at hand- or is it? So let's take a look...

Theon is keeping his head down and trying to keep a low profile as Winterfell waits the arrival of Stannis' forces. He is sitting with Mance and reminds him that he would not let Theon fall into the hands of the Boltons. Hosteen Frey barges in and shows the body of Little Walder who was killed and stuffed in a snowbank. He is furious and blames Lord Wyman Manderly, and fighting breaks out. 

Manderly is injured but not seriously, and Roose Bolton orders the Freys and the Manderlys out to fight Stannis. Rowan, one of the spearwives, says it must be now to rescue "Arya". Theon asks about Mance but they say he can fend for himself. They go to bathe Jeyne (pretending to be servants) and Theon reflects that after hearing his voice in the godswood, he feels like Theon again. They manage to squirrel Jeyne out and make it as far as the walls before the gig is up- Holly and another spearwife take out guards, and then one of the others stays behind to cover their escape. 

"You poor boys must be freezing," said Holly. "Here, let me warm you up." She slipped past the guard's spearpoint and reached up to his face, pulling loose the half-frozen scarf to plant a kiss upon his mouth. And as their lips touched, her blade slid through the meat of his neck, just below the ear. Theon saw the man's eyes widen. There was blood on Holly's lips as she stepped back, and blood dribbling from his mouth as he fell. 

Jeyne Poole let out a shrill, high scream. 
"Oh, bloody shit," said Holly. "That will bring the kneelers down on us, and no mistake. Run!"

On the drawbridge, Frenya stopped and turned. "Go on. I will hold the kneelers here." The bloody spear was still clutched in her big hands. 

As he leaned up against a merlon, breathing hard, Theon could hear the shouting from below, where Frenya was fighting half a dozen guardsmen in the snow. "Which way?" he shouted at Holly. "Where do we go now? How do we get out?"

Some of the spearwives go down but we don't know about all of them, or what happens with Mance. Theon has no choice- with the guards closing in, he and Jeyne jump off the walls, into the snow eighty feet below. 

MY THOUGHTS: 

The crazy thing here is it is Jeyne Poole they are rescuing, not Arya. Still, Theon and Jeyne have a shot.  

DAENERYS IX

The fighting pits are reopened and Dany is resigned to going and witnessing the spectacle. She doesn't want to go but here Martin is again showing us Daenerys' mindset as a ruler, as opposed to Cersei's. Quentyn wants to see her but she says another day. She goes to the Pit and Barristan tells her that the Windblown will come over to Dany's side if she promises to grant Pentos to the Tattered Prince. She says she will not give Pentos to a sellsword. 

The fighting goes on and Dany is disgusted by it. Then two dwarves joust on a pig and a dog- Tyrion and Penny, although she is unaware that is who they are. When Hizdahr tells her a lion will be released for them to fight, she puts a stop to it (saving Tyrion's life). Belwas meanwhile starts to get sick (after eating a bunch of honeyed locusts), and Dany wants to leave, sickened by the carnage, when Drogon appears over the arena. 

The dragon is attacked and everything goes crazy. Dany jumps into the arena and goes to Drogon and is terrified- he almost attacks her, but she is able to command him. She jumps on his back and they ride out, and just like that she's out of Meereen. 

Interesting here that Hizdahr encourages Dany to try the honeyed locusts when they arrive at the arena. There are a lot of theories as to who poisoned the locusts, this would seem to indicate that Hizdahr was in on it? 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Favorite Moments in Books #1

The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings, #1)

Let's talk favorite moments in books. We all have them- certain scenes, certain moments that are totally awesome, or a great twist that turns the whole story on its head. Character reveals, you name it- the sky's the limit. Today I want to talk about a scene from Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. Sam and Frodo are on their way out of the Shire, fleeing the Black Riders, when they come upon elves in the forest. They stay with them for a night and this is their first experience with elves.

'These are High Elves! They spoke the name of Elbereth!' said Frodo in amazement, 'Few of that fairest folk are ever seen in the Shire. Not many now remain in Middle-earth, east of the Great Sea. This is indeed a strange chance!' 

'I am Gildor,' answered their leader, the Elf who had first hailed him. 'Gildor Inglorion of the House of Finrod. We are Exiles, and most of our kindred have long ago departed and we too are now only  tarrying here a while, ere we return over the Great Sea. But some of our kinsfolk dwell still in peace in Rivendell.

I'll be honest, the first time I read The Lord of the Rings as a kid I was not very interested in the Shire stuff. I was bored actually... talk about farmers and which hobbit family lives where, and elves in the woods... I was like get on with it. Probably the second or third time too- but as an adult I actually like that part of the story now, because I appreciate the Shire and what it represents. The pastoral nature of it, a sense of innocence that will soon be lost- I find myself actually preferring this part of the story, before we get into chases and orcs and all that. It's not just the Shire either- the Old Forest, Tom Bombadil as a nature spirit, the desolate landscape that used to be the thriving North kingdom of the Dunedain (Aragorn's people)- it's just fascinating to me. But my pick for a favorite moment would be Sam and Frodo meeting the elves...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cover Characteristics #20 Kissing



Cover Characteristics is a meme by Sugar and Snark- every week a characteristic is selected and we post 5 books with that week's theme. 

This week's pick- Kissing  


Kissing? Fun topic. :) There's no shortage of covers so the question was- which covers to pick? 


Plus OneKissing Eden (Kissing Eden, #1)Fallen Too Far (Too Far, #1)Kiss Me Kill Me (Scarlett Wakefield, #1)The Thing About the TruthNot That Kind of GirlNantucket Blue (Nantucket, #1)


Plus One

This one's different but I kinda like it. 

Kissing Eden (Kissing Eden, #1)

Watch those hands. :) 

Fallen Too Far (Too Far, #1)

Getting right down to it.  

Kiss Me Kill Me (Scarlett Wakefield, #1)

This one's okay but I'm curious about the title. What's going on?

The Thing About the Truth

Between the title and the cover, I get the impression that she's got something on her mind... 



They're almost kissing. 

Not That Kind of Girl



Nantucket Blue (Nantucket, #1)

I like this one a lot. Plus sailboats. 







My favorite. No idea what it's about but it looks fun? Nice cover...  







The usual pulp hilarity. Good thing for a strategically placed frond of seaweed!