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.

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge

 

 

 

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.

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge

 

 

“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.

 

 

 

The Plot Thickens: Review of Storm Child by J.D. Lakey

Book 4–there’s enough backstory woven in that you could start here, but you’d miss a lot of cool happenings. (The previous ones have smaller crises, and world building, character development, and backstory, and book 3 sets up this larger problem. This book is where things really begin to fall apart.)

The backstory: People have settled on another planet, and it’s not so friendly. There’s some dangerous weather, and deadly predators (many of them with psychic abilities to lure or confuse humans). Adjustments happen as best as possible–and up in the highlands, people adjust with protected domes, and packs of children hunting and gathering supplies with the protection of young psychic women who can read danger as it approaches. There’s a fascinating world system, richly detailed, and a well-developed culture (which is rather different from ours.) With a young protagonist, it’s an excellent read for younger readers, as well as adults.

Cheobawn Blackwind is now 10,more powerful than a bad luck Black Bead ought to be–and still defiant of the adults in control of her life. When she discovers how deep the plot behind her childhood runs, the future suddenly shifts. In all but one possible future, she dies–so she’ll have to face down impossible odds, or lose everything she holds dear. As you might imagine, this book is quite a wild ride. Secrets are revealed, harsh truths are told, and tough decisions are made. As always, the detailed (and harsh) landscape plays a big part, with eerily intelligent predators as characters in their own right. It’s tough for humans to survive against the odds, much less one with as chancy luck as Cheobawn.

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 sure of her success, and at times feels despair, 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.

Top Ten Tues: Best Read 2017

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.

June 27: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far (break it down however you want — by genre, strictly 2017 releases, whatever!)

To Goodreads I go! All of these I rated 5 stars.

1. White Hot; Ilona Andrews. Romance! Explosions! Cool powers!

2. A Man Called Ove; Frederik Backman. Touching story of an old man drawn unwillingly back into life.

3. Etched in Bone; Anne Bishop. The aftermath of a Other and human conflict, where the price of losing is decided.

4. Wolfskin; W.R. Gingell. A retelling of little red riding hood where Red is a lot more proactive, and it’s the wolf who needs saving.

5. Our Cats are More Famous than Us; Anath Hirsh, Yuko Ota. Cute biographical comic, with pet cats included.

6. Nevernight; Jay Kristoff. If you’re really determined, you can worship a deadly goddess and learn the arts of killing and vengeance–but few survive.

7. The Princess Saves Herself in this One; Amanda Lovelace. Spare, lovely verse about fighting your demons–and triumphing.

8. Strong Female Protagonist; Brennan Mulligan. Former superhero decides to fight a different sort of good fight.

9. Troubled Waters; Sharon Shinn. Neat system of deciding a child’s innate qualities, elemental magic, and political intrigue.

10. Strange the Dreamer; Laini Taylor. Librarian goes on an adventure to a city overshadowed by magic.

 

 

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: 6/24

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 answers a work phone call.

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge

 

Rekka activated the lights over the sofa on low, found two candles in a spicy, smoky scent, and lit them with a touch of energy. Setting them on the coffee table, she put some silly comedy on the screen, and half-watched it while she waited.

One episode shaded into the other without her really tracking when it had happened, and then the sofa shifted as Brenton settled next to her.

“Hey, this show is funny,” he draped an arm across her shoulders, “I haven’t seen this episode yet.”

They watched in companionable silence for a time, and he picked up her hand, pressing a kiss to the back of it, then, instead of releasing it, kept his fingers curled around hers. His thumb swept a few lazy arcs across the back of her hand, and the arm on her shoulder shifted so he could run his fingers through her hair.

“I was promised a massage,” Rekka said, “and no one’s given me one, though I’m still terribly stiff from all that work…”

“Who could that terrible person be, who made promises and didn’t deliver on them?” Brenton stood, and in one swift motion, scooped her up, carrying her toward the bedrooms. She expected him to open his door, but instead he pressed open hers with his elbow, and gently placed her on her bed.

*    *    *

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 Poetry #1

Introvert Poem #1

 

You have to get the timing right

between going

                               and

                                      gone.

Say goodbye, and then step in for

the hug

opening your arms

(to

.           .enfold.)

But if they move away

    just before

or dig for their keys

the moment is

.                           gone.

And then what can you do?

.     (ask

.     for a

.     hug?)

.          No,

.     you go

without.