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18 May 2011 @ 07:42 pm

There is so very much awesome here I'm almost speechless.  Almost.
27 April 2011 @ 08:53 am
I'm in my thirties.  My parents have been separated since my junior year (I was fifteen) and divorced since a couple years after I graduated.  I've had friends with patchwork families as long as I can remember and now, as an adult, I have friends who are making their own patchwork families.

It shouldn't make me all nervous and jittery and insecure to read about my parents' boyfriends/girlfriends or see pictures of them.  And yet, it does.  I kind of suck.  ><
Current Location: 48230
Current Mood: distresseddistressed
Current Music: "Everlong", Foo Fighters
09 April 2011 @ 03:35 pm
Title: Dreamland
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Speak (Penguin)
Genre: General Fiction
Release Date: 2000

This is a well written treatment of a delicate subject - it's a story that needs to be told to a generation that didn't grow up with after school specials.  Covered inside are a lot of teenage problems, some more technically serious than others, and I can't find fault with the way it's done.  My problem with it all, I suppose, is that I did grow up with after school specials.

I don't mean to trivialize the subject or anyone who's been victimized on any level.  And by all means, it was a decent book.  It's simply that I've read it before by various and myriad authors, not to mention seen it on TV and in the occasional movie.  In this particular case, there's very little redeeming about the main character; there's nothing with which I can empathize, though maybe that's part of the point.  It's not just the ones that seem like the 'type' who fall into these behaviors and have to come out of them.

In short, I didn't love or hate this book.  It didn't stand out, and I'll probably forget about it completely in a couple days.  It made me think of any number of books by Lurlene McDaniel (without the potentially mortal illness), Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Picoult, and will blend into the same background noise quite nicely.  I've been told by more than one person, though, that this was their least favorite Sarah Dessen book, so I may go back and give another a try when the vague discontent this one left me with has dissipated.

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Current Location: 48230
Current Mood: discontentdiscontent
Current Music: New Kids on the Block - What'cha Gonna Do (About It)
07 April 2011 @ 02:18 pm
Title: Yours
Challenge/Prompt: #98 First
Original Fiction or Fanfiction [Name of fandom]: Original, but based in/around World of Darkness Changeling the Dreaming
Characters/Pairings: (if applies) Gregory/Evan
Rating: PG?
Warnings: Angst.  Probable hawtness
Disclaimer: I do not own the World of Darkness, nor am I a money-grubbing White Wolfer.  I'm just a fan of the game.
Summary: Things happen.  Promises are made, lines crossed, hearts won and broken.
Author's Notes: This version of Gregory was created for a Changeling game set in London, England and molded by collaborative storytelling.  Thanks to the people who helped!  Also, this is slightly over 100 words - 133, to be exact.  But it's my first try at this sort of thing!

Read more...Collapse )
Current Location: 48230
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
07 April 2011 @ 11:46 am
Title: Incarceron
Author: Catherine Fisher
Publisher: Firebird (Penguin)
Genre: Sci-fi?  Yeah, we'll go with that.
Release Date: 2007

A key.  I have a thing for keys - modern ones, antique ones, toy ones, real ones, it doesn't matter.  I like keys.  I'm not sure what this says about my personality or psyche or whatever, but there it is.  So there's this book, and it has a key on it - not just any key, but an opalescent foiled key in the midst of black and silver and gray with the coolest font I've ever seen used for the title splash.  And under that, there's this little splash for rusty, bloody red and I'm in love and avoided it for years (or as long as I've been seeing the trade paperback edition that looked like this) because I knew it would swallow me whole.  They key, the book, both, whatever.  Anyway!

From the beginning, there are comparisons that can be drawn.  The first thing I think of is the Cube movie franchise, particularly Cube Zero where some of the back story is made clear.  It's a very different future-world that's painted, but no less oppressive for it; everything in this world revolves around a vaguely Regency-seeming 'Protocol', with very obvious social castes and a less parliamentary monarchy than England's current one, but the governmental system is quite clearly influenced by the author's experiences in Great Britain as much as her study of history.  I also think of Beth Revis' Across the Universe to a somewhat lesser extent, though the writing here is more taught, more suspenseful.  Several times in the first handful of chapters I found myself be-goose bumped and with my heart racing a little, yelling at the characters to the point that my children wanted to know what I was reading and what they were doing.

We find out early on that this stalling of time in the Regency era came because a king somewhere back along the line thought life simpler and more idyllic then.  At what I think is roughly the same time a prison that was meant to become a utopia was designed and executed and the earliest prisoners - political dissidents and liberal academics along with murders and the like - put inside to start the experiment.  Each chapter is begun with a quote by some person from that time period, or by a quote from the legends of Sapphique, which I can only imagine will be plumbed further in the sequel titled with his name, and at these beginnings there are vaguely ominous chips and gears and things that match those on the covers.  But these things are light and easy compared to what comes later in the chapters.  Our characters are butterflies pinned to a backing and labled for us, or so we think.  Outside of the obvious prison's confines there are the angry, haughty, rebellious daughter (Claudia) of the cold, seemingly uncaring father (who happens to be Incarceron's Warden), her loyal teacher and friend (Jared), the staff who are all well paid spies and double agents, for the most part.  Inside, we have the amnesiac and unwilling hero, prone to visions and seizures (Finn) - seen as both weak and fearsome by those around him, and daring near to stupidity to make up for it - the loyal-for-his-own-reasons oathbrother (Keiro, which I keep pronouncing in my head as Kiero, like Fiero in Wicked), the teacher (who is of the same . . . race?  Family?  Classification, anyway) as Jared, and the life-debt (and possibly love, of a sort) bound Attia who is far more clever and stronger than she seems at first.  Around them, through them, there are plots and counter plots, some Courtly, some known, some only hinted at until the end.

There's the clear set up for the sequel, though this could be read on its own and left like that if you're not me - the story is tied up neatly enough at the end that, if you don't care about the secondary characters, there's no real need to read Sapphique (and I think there's another - it's a trilogy, isn't it?).  However, given the writing and the tension I still feel, hours after having finished Incarceron, there's no doubt I'll be at my local bookstore as soon as I have the cash and car to do so, just to pick it up.

In short, this is a must read.  And!  A good part of that is because of the setting-as-character; Beth Revis (again, I mention her!) wrote an entry about it on the Leage of Extraordinary Writers blog somewhere, and Catherine Fisher has made her world so masterfully.  I'm breathlessly (almost literally!) waiting to read more.

29 March 2011 @ 10:15 am
One of my sisters has a brain tumor.Collapse )
In other news, my mother-in-law told my six-year-old that she's too young and little to ride a two-wheeler, that she'll just fall and hurt herself, etc.  Liana now refuses to ride her brand new birthday bike and goes into near hysterics at the suggestion.  Needless to say, this makes me furious - it would be one thing if Liana didn't know how to ride the bike.  I mean, I didn't learn how to ride until I was in double digits, though I love it now.  But no . . . last summer she was zipping around on the old, falling apart bike better than Morgen was on hers.  I guess we're going to have to put the training wheels on the new bike and hope for the best.

Morgen, meanwhile, is being a pain in the ass about school.  She's in the accelerated (magnet, in our district) class and most of her work is at a grade level or more above what her age-peers are doing and she's pulling down excellent report cards, but she's terribly irresponsible when it comes to homework.  Worst is when she lies about it - says it's done, or that she's brought home the things she needs when she hasn't.  I know I was the same when I was her age, more or less, which makes it even harder on me now; all I know to try is what didn't work for my parents when I was pulling the same crap, and it's not working with her any better than it did with me.  Swimming's almost done until June, thank gods, so that'll make life a little easier when I don't have to deal with my meddling in-laws and their insinuations that swimming is more important than anything else in the world.  DI's also done for the year (though we're all looking forward to it next year), so all that's left is Girl Scouts, which is only a couple hours twice a month.  I tried pointing out to my in-laws that swimming, as they push it, takes up more hours a week than high schoolers are allowed to work a part time job, but I don't think they really absorbed it - regardless, I shouldn't have to excuse and justify to them.  I'm the mother, they're the grandparents, and paying for an activity doesn't (shouldn't) give them the right to run Morgen's life.  Unfortunately, they think it does.

Kaelinn's better now - still a bit of runny nose, but no more face caked with snot from various orifices (delicious image, isn't it?  Try actually having to deal with it), which makes me a much happier mama.  There've been no repeat seizures, thank gods, but there also hasn't been repeat fever like that; again, we have to hope for the best.

This is such a downer post.  Ugh.  Ah well, sometimes life's like that.
26 March 2011 @ 01:42 pm
Title: Imaginary Girls
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Genre: Supernatural
Release Date: 14 June 2011

This book is stunning to look at - there are no sparkles to the finish, but something about colors, contrast, etc.  It's a trade sized paperback (the ARC is, anyway), which I've decided is the perfect format for most books; there's a heft to it that just isn't there in a pocket paperback, and yet it isn't as unwieldy as a full hardcover would be.  But all that's just aesthetics and while they're important?  They aren't necessary to carry the book as they can be sometimes.

In the about the author, it mentions that Ms. Suma studied photography and it shows in the way she writes; there's a visual in every scene, every movement, and I feel like the phrasing she's using is as much a frame for the image as it is anything else.  In an age where so much YA fiction reads like it's intended to be edited into a screen play, this doesn't and yet it still screams to be presented in a visual medium.  I can see shots, I think, or at least how I'd do them; I have a general idea of who I'd cast in most of the parts.  (This, I think, is a trouble with literature getting made into movies - if there's a strong description of a character, it's distracting to not have said character look as s/he does in type.  But that's me.)  More than that, though, I feel as if I'm sitting with Chloe and Ruby on the bench in the Village Greene, or with London, Owen and the crowd on the rec field.  This book reaches out and twirls itself through your hair, into your clothes, like a fog and you don't realize you're in the thick of it until you've been reading for two hours and you're half way through it.  You don't realize that you're creeped out until you come up for air and your heart is beating a bit faster than it should be and you're looking over your shoulder to make sure no one's watching you.

It's not the story that's something new - it's supernatural fare, complete with ghosts and strong willed not-quite-witches - but the way of executing it.  It's the rich history of the Hudson River valley and how it's been incorporated and made a part of everything.  But mostly?  Above and beyond all that?

It's how I'm still half afraid of Ruby, and I look for balloons trailing red ribbons out of the corner of my eye.
02 March 2011 @ 10:20 am
How would you describe your perfect evening in six words (e.g., I stayed home and ate pasta)?

Staying home with wine and gaming.
02 March 2011 @ 09:32 am
So, I started a sci-fi story in November for NaNoWriMo and, true to form, I never finished it. I got to about 20K words and got swallowed whole by all the crazy soccer mom stuff I do constantly. But the other day, my husband made me watch a couple videos about the new Microsoft Surface and Windows 8.

Holy shit, my story’s coming true. It’s well on its way, anyway.

I need to finish and submit that shit before it seems like I’m just writing history.

That is all.
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
14 February 2011 @ 05:47 pm
Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)

I bought this book because I received an ARC of its sequel from Penguin Teen - and I felt about it roughly like I thought I would.  It's a teeny-bopper love story of the variety that I didn't even like when I *was* a teeny-bopper.  This isn't to say it has no redeeming qualities, because despite proclaiming 'LOVED BY PEOPLE WHO LOVED TWILIGHT' or something along those lines, it wasn't nearly that bad.  I loved. Loved. LOVED all the music references (which is probably why I gave it three stars instead of two, especially when paired with the author's thoughts on being so heavily compared to Twilight).

People who loved Twilight probably will love it (sorry, Ms. Forman), as will a lot of the 13-18 set.  And I'll still read the ARC, because . . . well, because I read.  But this one, at least, isn't something that will stick with me for long.