Weekend Writing Warriors: 4/22

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, and traveled to be met with an empty apartment and a message saying he’s away on business–a few days later he returns,makes breakfast, and promises to take her to testing after work

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He knew what he was doing, more or less, and already had a little girl through a branch contract two and a half years ago, though he and the mother hadn’t gotten along all that well, and he’d moved out of their place several months before approaching Rekka about their contract.

The woman was another Sofian, and had little interest in spending time with him, he’d told Rekka. In the companies, children were raised mostly in nursery schools or by caretakers, and less by their parents. She’d made sure the children came out fine regardless, and that she would be able to spend plenty of time with her baby, and that was enough. They were far from neglected, or deprived of long-term attachments, and the children she had met had all been well-fed, clean, polite, and happy.

“Breakfast is ready. Would you like to pour yourself a drink? And I’ll take tea, if you don’t mind,” Brenton flipped one pan, stirred another, and then plated two omelets and a side of crispy potatoes.

“Here you are, my dear,” he set a plate in front of her, and took a seat next to her, “Enjoy.”

*    *    *

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.

Review of Serenade by Heather McKenzie

I received a free copy of this book from the author, but my thoughts are my own.

serenade

Publication date: April 17

Seventeen-year-old Kaya Lowen is rich and isolated–really isolated. With multiple attempts on her life, she lives surrounded by bodyguards on her father’s property, without any friends. In fact, many people don’t even believe she exists. Then she’s kidnapped–and she learns some secrets that make her wonder where she belongs. She loves her fiercely loyal bodyguard, Oliver, but then she begins to develop feelings for her kidnapper, Luke–she’s going to have to make a choice, before it’s made for her.

There’s some pretty problematic themes in this book–the biggest of which is the relationship with Kaya’s kidnapper. (Not that her relation ship with her bodyguard is much better. And yes, there is a love triangle.) But such kinds of romances are pretty popular, so many people are willing to overlook it. If it bothers you, I’d read something else. Kaya is also very young, mentally, and manipulated by some powerful, malicious people, so she makes more than a few poor decisions, and does a fair bit of waffling and complaining about her worries.

So the romances are really co-dependent, but the action is where this book shined for me. It’s a whirlwind once it gets started, with one disaster falling on the top of another–some of them sneaky and subtle machinations, and others big explosions. The kidnapping is just one part of the events that befall Kaya, more of an inciting incident than anything else. There’s no way to describe them without giving anything away, but it is safe to say there’s plots within plots–people working at cross-purposes, and clashing as they try to get at Kaya. The story catches you up and pulls you along, and makes you wonder what secrets the people Kaya trusts are hiding–and there are a lot of secrets, too.

The characterization is pretty well done, too. I don’t much like Kaya, but she’s realistically portrayed, a sort of spoiled princess despite herself, dependent on her guards, because she’s not given the skills to take care of herself. When she’s allowed to make choices, she has some moments of weakness there, too, but I can forgive her that.

After the big secrets are revealed, she stands on her own and makes up her mind about what she wants from her future, which isn’t going to be easy. I’m curious to see where the story is going next.

 

Top Ten Tues: Insta-Read

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists of other bloggers who participate.

April 18: Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book (topic originally done back in 2013 as top ten words/topics that will make me instantly want to read a book) — so yeah basically any topic or theme or ANYTHING (ie if X person recommends it) that will make you instantly want to pick up a book. My list will likely be called Jamie-bait because there are soooo certain things you can say in a summary or a review that will just instantly draw me to it!

1. Diversity. When a book honestly and effortlessly includes different kinds of people, that’s just wonderful.

2. Detailed World Building. If a book comes with well-developed, evenly integrated world building, it always catches my eye.

3. Fairy-tale Retellings. Something the brothers Grimm collected, or more obscure folk tales–tell the story slant and I’ll read it.

4. Focused, Quirky Non-Fiction. It’s hard to describe what will catch my eye, but the strange little stories always do.

5. Gorgeous Covers. I do judge a book by its cover, what can I say?

6. Interesting Titles. Just like a pretty cover, a title can catch my eye, and I’ll read the book if I can.

7. Pride & Prejudice Retellings. I have a fondness for any classic retelling, but this particular story is one I adore especially.

8. Strong Female Protagonists. Not just a female lead, but one that doesn’t need rescue.

9. Unique Urban Fantasy. I can’t quite read all of it, but I will certainly check out any interesting sounding urban fantasy book.

10. Zombies. Most especially unusual zombie stories, but I love a good zombie story of any kind.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 4/15

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, and traveled to be met with an empty apartment and a message saying he’s away on business–a few days later she’s at her first day of work, and returns home to an empty apartment.

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“Where are you, Brenton?” Rekka stared at his frozen face on the message, then shook her head and stomped off to the sofa.

She flopped down and stared out the high window on the wall, though all she could see from her angle was the sky and the clouds skimming across it. Watching the clouds, she wondered about her future for a while, and then shook off her melancholy, and crossed over to the kitchen to toss together a quick curry, and ate at the dinner table with a little music for company.

The next morning, she woke before her alarm went off to the sounds of someone moving around. She slid a robe on, and tied it before venturing out into the common area, where she found Brenton making breakfast.

“You’re back!” she said, feeling relieved and awkward at the same time.

“Sorry about that–duty calls, you know. I’ve set up an appointment for testing after you get off work. Here, I’ll send you the invite. Come home and we’ll go together, and then we can go out to dinner and talk,” he smiled at her, and she relaxed a little from his calm demeanor.

*    *    *

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.

Triskaidekaphobia: A Poem about 13

April is National Poetry month! So have a poem! 🙂 Since today is the thirteenth….

Triskaidekaphobia

Outside of fears of venomous snakes and spiders

and things like great heights

which can all hurt or kill you

no fear really makes sense

except in the sense that the world can be a fearful

place

and why not cope as best you can?

Myself I’m not afraid of a number

thirteen is just twelve plus one

but I have to admit

the fear

is widespread but so lyrical

tris-ka

de-ka

fo-be-ah

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Unique

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists of other bloggers who participate.

April 11: Top Ten Of The Most Unique Books I’ve Read (topic originally done 4/14) Some variations: top ten unique sounding books on my TBR, top ten most unique books I’ve read in X genre, etc

I’m going for Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Read. Some are unique for their form, others for their content.

1. S.; J.J. Abrahms. A library book someone wrote notes in, and then someone responded to those notes, stuffed with marginalia and postcards, longer letters, etc.

2. Good Omens; Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett. There can’t be too many books where the hero is the anti-Christ.

3. House of Leaves; Mark Danielewski. A story within a story within a story, occasionally trapped in little boxes, or other elements to reflect the action.

4. The Familiar; Mark Danielewski. Normally I wouldn’t put two different books by the same author on a list, but The Familiar’s complicated multiple interweaving points of view, interesting presentations–some sideways on the page, or arranged in circles, is very unique.

5. Johannes Cabal; Jonathan L. Howard. The story starts with the protagonist having sold his soul–and deciding to get it back. Add in that the protagonist is a necromancer, and an anti-hero at best, and this is amusingly unique.

6. Cloud Atlas; David Mitchell. These points of view skip across time, and each character’s story is split, so you jump back and forth between them.

7. The Stupidest Angel; Christopher Moore. How many books begin with an angel granting a terrible Christmas miracle? At least one.

8. Resenting the Hero; Moira Moore. It’s rare to find a book where the female protagonist isn’t smitten with the golden boy male protagonist, much less one where she sees his faults.

9. 1Q84; Haruki Murakami. Most of his books could go on this list, but this epic reality-jumping monster is a favorite of mine.

10. The Diamond Age; Neal Stephenson. A futuristic setting, but also Victorian.

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: 4/8

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, and traveled to be met with an empty apartment and a message saying he’s away on business–a few days later she’s at her first day of work, having met Johansen and Reyes, and while talking to Reyes in a smoking area outside, is interrupted by a woman asking if he has a light.

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She turned, finding a middle-aged dark skinned woman with purple hair, who was holding a cigarette.

“I can light that for you,” she offered, summoning a spark with a flex of her power, and maintaining it so the pinprick of light grew into a small flame.

“A spark, are you?” the woman asked, leaning forward and lighting her cigarette on the flame, drawing in a breath and letting out smoke from her nose like a dragon.

Settling for a nod at such an obvious question, Rekka let the flame go out. “Nice to meet you,” she said to the woman, who smiled, waved the hand holding her cigarette, ember glowing at the end, and moved away.

“Derailed my train of thought,” Reyes complained, “Right–we’ll be working together, I figure. I saw your skills set on the database, and  you have experience with conferences, which is a lot of what I do.”

“You saw my skills set?” Rekka tipped her head to the side, watching him, and she was pretty sure a faint flush spread under his bronze skin across his impressive cheekbones.

“An hour ago,” Reyes waved the question away, “I was curious about the new face, is all.”

*    *    *

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.

Recent TBR Additions

Hey, fellow bookworms! How’s your TBR pile doing? Slender and manageable, or towering and threatening?

I’d been doing pretty well on my to-read pile, working it down to a mere handful of books. (Only five!) Then in the last month, that all changed.

First I did a tour of some Little Free Libraries, where I dropped off a few books I’d read, and picked up a handful of new ones. (The pile to the right.) Then I went to a few books signings (the vertical stack), which are definitely what I’m reading next! Finally, I had three separate people loan or gift me books (the pile to the left). I have the best friends!

(The older five books aren’t pictured.)

I also have thirteen new books to read, but hey, these are good problems to have. Right? There’s a big book festival this weekend, and heavens knows what this pile will look like then. But I’m still going.

We’ll see how good my self-control is. 🙂

Top Ten Tues: Fandom

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists of other bloggers who participate.

April 4: Fandom Freebie — top ten fandoms I’m in, 10 reasons X fandom is the best, must have merchandise for x fandom, etc. etc.

Oh, how to choose a prompt this week? So tough! I’m going to combine.

Must have merchandise for my top fandoms. (In alphabetical order as always, no playing favorites here.)

Harry Potter

1. Bookmarks. Like this cool ribbon bookmark from Raise my Glass.

2. Newt Scamander’s Scarf. I am with incredible slowness knitting Newt’s scarf from Fantastic Beasts. It will be awesome… sometime next winter.

3. Time Turner. If I could have a real one… lets’ be honest, I’d use it to read more. Pictured from CraftyFelix.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

4. Art. Every wall needs something. Why not make it special?

5. Shirts. A great way to find more fans! It’s fun to wear your fandom on your sleeve.

6. Towels. Do you know where your towel is? Useful and attractive.

Pride & Prejudice

7. (More) Bookmarks. Just can’t resist!

8. Mugs. I have a favorite from Brookish, but there’s so many out there. You have to drink out of something, anyway.

9. Tea. Perfect for drinking with a book. This one comes in a pretty tin from NovelTea.

10. Dresses. You could swish around in a regency style gown, or go a more direct route.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 4/1

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, and traveled to be met with an empty apartment and a message saying he’s away on business–a few days later she’s at her first day of work, having met Johansen and Reyes, and is now walking outside.

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Outside, she passed a few smokers leaning against the side of a storage building, standing behind the markers which designated their smoking area. Even though the carcinogens had been removed, they still weren’t terribly good for your health, but their use persisted.

One of the smokers waved at her, and she changed direction. It was Reyes, the man with the tendency for repetitive nicknames, she realized, as she stopped in front of him.

He exhaled, turning his head to direct the smoke away from her, “Would you like a smoke?”

“No, thank you,” Rekka said, feeling she’d smelled the smoky waft of something burning plenty of times in her life.

“I won’t keep you, then. I just wanted to say hello again, without Jo-Jo glowering at me, since I figured that—”

“Hey, Reyes, you got a light?” A woman asked from behind Rekka.

*    *    *

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.