Rereading Series

Mystery collection. Image by Kenny Louie.

I just felt like re-reading books in a series I own some of–and I realized how sporadic my ownership of it was. So I’ve been reading in order, and just skipping over the gaps, which isn’t quite the same as reading the whole thing again from one to twenty-five. For more than a few longer series, I own the first few books, and then some scattered volumes throughout. If I really liked the series, I might have all the most recent ones, but I don’t always.

Some are bought according to sales, or someone else gives me it from a wish list, etc., and it’s pretty rare I make the effort to go and fill in these larger series. There are just so many other books to buy!

But as I was re-reading, I had half-remembered bits of the gaps, plus hints of backstory mentioned in successive books. Which made me want to re-read those books I don’t own even more. I might have to get a couple from the library.

If you re-read (which not everyone does), how do you do it? Revisit favorites? Go out of order? Or are you like me, and you want to start at the beginning and go to the end?

Weekend Writing Warriors: 7/22

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, moves in with him, and after Rekka tests and gets her results, she’s lied to, which Brenton doesn’t correct. He takes her home, and offers her a massage, which leads to most of her clothes coming off, then Rekka undoes his shirt and pants.

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“You know, if I take these off, you’d me wearing more clothes than me. And I can see you’re very concerned with being equitable, so that won’t do,” Brenton said.

“You’re right, but there’s a very easy way to fix that,” Rekka slid her hands across his chest to his shoulders, and started sliding his shirt down his left arm.

“Yes?” Brenton shifted, allowing her to slide off his shirt, disentangling his other arm, and letting the garment fall to the floor.

“Mmm-hmm,” Rekka demonstrated, making Brenton laugh and pounce on her, so they collapsed back on the bed in a tangle of naked limbs. With all this new territory to explore, the laughter soon faded into other emotions.

He asked what she liked, and showed her where he liked to be touched, giving himself to her hands just as he asked her to trust in his. And the end result was wonderful, warm, with a few moments of laughter when they nearly slid off the side of the bed, or bumped their heads. When they both stretched out on the bed, sweating and trying to catch their breath, she felt they’d both acquitted themselves well in a memorable first time.

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

Vengeance and Beer

I met him at a bar, after a really bad day. Not the sort where something goes terribly wrong, but the one where a bunch of small things go wrong. The power went out, so I had to dress in the dark, and skip breakfast, and hunt for my car charger because my phone was almost dead, and that all made me late for work. And, of course, my boss noticed, so I got a lecture and a big pile of work that meant I had to work through lunch with only a protein bar, and stay late to just try to get through it on time. But the time I dragged into the bar, I was starving, exhausted, and more than a little pissed off at the world.

There was one open spot at the bar, right next to a guy with a button up shirt and slacks, who glanced my way once, and nodded. “Hey.” Then he returned his attention to the football game on the tv behind the bar.

I muttered “Hey” back, loud enough that I could be pretty sure he heard me, ordered a beer, and took the same refuge in the game.

When one of the players fumbled the bar, we groaned in unison.

“The team just isn’t the same since the trade,” he said.

“And the quarterback hasn’t been the same since he came back from his broken ankle,” I agreed, and just like that, we fell into a conversation that meandered from sports to our jobs, to the miserable weather, a storm that hovered over the city and drizzled rain off and on. We parted something like friends, and I never expected to meet him again, but it turned out the bar was a favorite haunt of his, as it was of mine.

We ran into each other a few times over the rest of the year, and he bought me a beer when I got a new manager, far worse than the old one, and when my car died. I bought him one when he was on the outs with his girlfriend, and when his water pipe burst.

I never got his name, or gave him mine. It wasn’t that kind of friendship, but one shared exclusively inside a particular set of walls, over a glass or two.

Until the night those punks jumped me on the way to my car.

They came out of the alley, fast and focused. They must have been waiting for someone to come out alone, because they were on me before I could register the soft rush of footsteps, yanking the car door from my hands, shoving me to the ground. The glint of a knife showed in one’s hands, as another hopped into my car, slamming the door shut, the locks clunking closed.

“Gimme your wallet,” the one with the knife demanded, while the third guy, the biggest one, loomed over me, one hand fisted in front of him, the other outstretched.

“And your watch,” the knife-wielder added. “And no one gets hurt.”

“That’s not entirely accurate,” a voice said, behind me, and then the big guy was on the ground next to me, his eyes wide and fixed, his head at a funny angle on his neck. The knife-wielder had time for a scream, or the start of one, lunging forward with that bit of light-catching danger, before his arm was caught, and broken briskly, and he was forced to his knees.

I recognized my buddy from the bar when he stepped forward, the streetlight spilling over his face, painting it in strange and harsh angles, then he bent over the guy, like he was going to kiss him or something. Then the guy sighed and collapsed next to the knife he’d dropped.

It all happened so quickly, that the thief in my car had just shoved out of it, rushing forward, but he got the same quick, brutal treatment.

I pushed to my feet, realizing that that weird angle of neck, and the blank fixed stare of the knife wielder, and the blood on the man from the bar’s face that everyone but the two of us was dead. Well, I wasn’t dead, at least. I was less sure about him.

He wiped his face, and tipped his head toward my car. “You better get out of here. Don’t want to explain this to the police.”

Two steps towards the open door of my car, and the illusion of safety, I hesitated. “What about you? Won’t there be… evidence?”

“Not by the time the bodies are found,” he said, and the matter of fact tone of his voice made me decide to retreat to my car and drive away. Just in case, I took it the the car wash and vacuumed the inside the next night, and it was a little longer than usual before I went back to the bar.

When I did, I spotted him sitting in his usual place at the bar, and I joined him, nodding at the bartender for two of our usual. He took a drink. “What do you think their chances are?”

I glanced at the screen, seeing that our team was already behind. “You never know.”

 

Weekend Writing Warrior: 7/15

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, moves in with him, and after Rekka tests and gets her results, she’s lied to, which Brenton doesn’t correct. He takes her home, and offers her a massage, which leads to most of her clothes coming off, then Rekka pulls him down toward her.

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He let out a startled oof of air, but settled obligingly against her, propped up on his elbows, and leaned into the kiss. This time, he didn’t ease in with small, gentle brushes, but kissed her deeply, wrapping himself around her body, pausing only for short forays across her exposed skin.

“You’re wearing so much more clothes than me,” she gasped in one of those explorations.

“Not that much,” he said, mouth warm against her shoulder.

“By my count—mmm, you’re wearing at least twice as much as—” she almost lost the thread of her sentence when he nibbled on her neck, but recovered, “as I am.”

“I suppose you’re right.”

Shifting to the side, he sat on the bed next to her, and pulled off his socks. “Better?”

Rekka laughed, and undid the closure on his pants and his shirt in two quick motions. “Much better,” she said, as his shirt gaped open, and his pants slid a little down his waist.

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

Introvert Poem 2

Introvert Poem #2

They say when you

.                                    meet

someone you’re supposed to say

their name three times

.                                           (one, two, three)

like summoning the spirit

of Emily Post

but work it in

.                           naturally

                somehow

But I frankly I have

.       enough

.       to do

with remembering to

speak

introduce myself

not overshare some awful story

set off on a tangent

.                                    and get lost

So maybe we can just

.          remind

each other?

Chaos Explodes: Review of Storm Child by J.D. Lakey

I bought books 1-3 at a book fair, because I like to support indie authors. I was pleased with them–I’m always fond on good world building and character development. And toss in some weird and sometimes terrifying critters, and I am all in!

The author was kind enough to send me book 4, but my thoughts are still my own.

Though I’ve seen this series labeled YA, and it does have a young protagonist, it’s not the sort of YA that leaves sometimes older readers cold because of a focus on romance, school angst, etc. In fact, the protagonist is quite mature and concerned with survival in a harsh world, though you never really forget she’s a child.

Book 4–there’s enough backstory woven in that you could start here, but you’d miss a lot of cool happenings. (The set up is that Cheobawn Blackwind lives in domes on a very dangerous colonized planet. There’s some seriously deadly flora and fauna out there–and the animals, in particular, hunt by psychic abilities to confuse or lure their prey. And they find humans tasty. So the dome dwellers manipulate genes to create strong psychic females who can form packs to go out and bring food and supplies back to the dome. Cheobawn, however, is a black bead, bad luck–and it’s quite difficult for her to find somewhere to fit it.)

If you want to start from the beginning, no spoilers, go and read Black Bead.

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It’s pretty impossible to review a fourth book without some spoilers for the previous ones, but I’ll do my best.

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Ten-year-old Cheobawn Blackwind is growing up much faster and more powerful than anyone expected from a bad luck Black Bead. She’s led her pack of hunters into some remarkable adventures, made some powerful allies, and learned some truths her elders didn’t necessarily want her to know. Then she discovers the plot she’d always suspected behind her birth is deeper and darker than she ever feared. Even worse, a shift in alliances means that the mere idea of her bad luck could endanger her pack–and the whole dome. When she looks into the future, in all but one possible path, she dies–so she’ll have to face down impossible odds, or lose everything she holds dear.

This series started off with smaller crises, and just the right amount of backstory, character development, and world building. You learn a lot about Cheobawn, especially, her tough childhood and powers, and also about her pack mates, and why they’d choose a bad luck charm like her. Their relationship makes you totally invested in their survival. Then book 3 set up this larger problem Cheobawn now faces. And in book 4, things really begin to fall apart. Secrets are revealed, harsh truths are told, and tough decisions are made. As always, the detailed (and deadly) landscape plays a big part, with eerily intelligent animals as characters in their own right, some allies, others enemies, and a few falling into a gray area.

Despite the protagonist’s age, this isn’t a simple story–it has some thoughtful things to say about family, political choices/ alliances, and doing what’s needed. Perhaps this is because the protagonist is close to grown by her culture’s views, or because she’s already shouldered a lot at her age. I really feel for Cheobawn, as she’s just one person facing difficult odds. Somehow, she finds it in her to keep trying, and that’s what makes me root for her the most. She isn’t certain of her success, and at times feels despair at the tasks ahead of her, but with a little help, she’s worked miracles before. And I sure hope she pulls out a miraculous last minute save again! The end of the book is a pause, the calm before the storm sweeps over the world again, and left me eager to see what’s coming next.

Highly recommended for fans of strong female protagonists, excellent world building, high tension action, and scary wildlife.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 7/8

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, moves in with him, and he and takes her to the testing center, where they flirt and kiss, then Rekka tests and gets her results–and Ruby lies, saying a move from a strong 2 to a weak 3 isn’t a big deal, which Brenton doesn’t correct. He takes her home, and offers her a massage.

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Within a little while, the lotion was skin temperature, his hands warm as they traced circles across her shoulders and back, rubbing, kneading, expertly coaxing away the soreness in her muscles.

“May I take off your pants?” he asked.

“Mmm…” she murmured, and he chuckled, sliding his hand under her to undo the closure, and then tugging off her pants. She lifted up a little to make it easier, and he pulled off her socks as well, massaging her feet, slowly working his way up her calves and thighs, then lower back.

He shifted, and brushed a kiss against her neck, nuzzling where it met the curve of her shoulder. “Well, how do you feel? Promise kept?”

Rekka stretched luxuriously, warm, and tingling from the contact. “One of them,” she said, and rolled over, throwing her arms around his back and pulling him down to her.

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

Library Travels

Even though I usually can’t check out books, I like to visit libraries when I travel. This weekend I was in Rockport, and I found a rather unassuming building with a treasure inside. They had a full wall of shelves for a book drive! Imagine that!

There’s a lovely reading room, with a wall treatment that echoes the beach outside, and has plenty of comfy chairs.

Here’s the sale wall, with a small bookshelf of newer, more expensive books outside the room as well. These were one sale for a quarter, and how can you pass that up?

I spotted this nautical decoration on to top of one the shelves.

There’s a list of rules for using the typewriter, so it must get some use. One includes that you can share it with someone, as long as you talk quietly. And for a pretty reasonable 25 cents a page!

I was tempted to get a library card mostly for the heck of it, since I come here once a year, but resisted, since I was leaving that day anyway. Do any of you have vacation libraries? Maybe next year.

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: 7/1

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, moves in with him, and he and takes her to the testing center, where they flirt and kiss, then Rekka tests and gets her results–and Ruby lies, saying a move from a strong 2 to a weak 3 isn’t a big deal, which Brenton doesn’t correct. He takes her home, and offers her a massage.

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“Just a minute, I have…” He stepped out of the room, and returned with a bottle of lotion, “This smell okay?”

He held it out, and Rekka got a whiff of vanilla and spice, so she nodded.

“Now, since someone didn’t keep their promises, you’ll have to make do with me. May I remove your shirt?”

Rekka nodded again, and he pulled it off with a brisk efficiency that surprised her.

“Purple–goes nicely with your skin tone,” he said, gaze on her lacy bra, “Right, on your stomach, please.”

She stretched out, and he shifted the pillow under her arms, which she’d folded to rest her head on.

“Comfortable?” He asked, and she hummed agreement.

She heard the click of him opening the lotion bottle, then him rubbing his hands together, then his hands touched her back, the lotion still cool enough to make her flinch. “Sorry, my dear, give it a moment.”

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

Book Riot Read Harder: June

And the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge is here again! There’s 24 prompts to encourage you to read harder, and I urge you to check it out if you want to get outside your comfort zone. 🙂

(Click the link to see the challenge, and to download a PDF of the challenge list.)

book riot

To quote the article: “We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. […] We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try.

  • Book published in 1900-50

Murder of Roger Ackroyd; Agatha Christie.

Originally published in 1926.

Mrs. Ferrars became a widow under slightly suspicious circumstances, and when she dies of an overdose, some see that as support to their suspicions. And then, less than a day later, Roger Ackroyd, who the widow had planned to marry, is killed. But it just so happens that Hercule Poirot has retired to this not so peaceful little village, and he is asked to discover what happened. And so he does, asking questions, posing theories, and dismissing the attempts of others to decipher the truth, until finally revealing the puzzle in one fell swoop.

There’s a twist at the end of this book, and I saw it coming soon enough to make the ending fall flat. It’s also a little dry, and the mystery is drawn out in a way I compared unfavorably to Sherlock Holmes’ mysteries, which follow the same pattern, but more tightly plotted. Still, Christie is a classic writer, and worth a try.

  • Book about a character of color on a spiritual journey

The Sparrow; Maria Doria Russell.

The main character is a Puerto Rican priest, Emilio Sandoz, who travels on a difficult journey to knowing his God.

This is a well written, but very tragic book. It begins with the aftermath of a mission to another planet, and skips back and forth starting at the very beginning of the protagonist’s pathway to the priesthood, passing through meeting the other main characters, the discovery of intelligent life elsewhere, setting up the journey, the trip to another planet, and the events there. Even knowing the end, there are a lot of questions, and they aren’t answered in full until the last few pages. The effect is gripping and sad at the same time, watching Emilio tell his story, and be judged for his actions, without true understanding.

Emilio Sandoz doesn’t really know God at the start. He feels empty, but strives for faith, and hopes to find that certainty–and in the beginning, the miracle of discovery seems like a sign. But when things go terribly wrong, his faith is tested. Though a book about faith, it’s some how not overwhelmingly religious. It is about the connections between people, friendships and romances alike, and language (Emilio is a polyglot and translator.) And mostly it’s about first contact, and the issues that arise from misunderstanding a culture.  Many of the trials stem from just that–fundamental gaps in knowledge, which lead to violence and death.