sun, solstice

Election day cookie bonanza!

I'm still not sure whether you eat your party in support to munch the head off the opposing side in defiance. Either way, it will be tasty and fattening. These are legit coz I burned my fingers working with the glaze.

sun, solstice

Merry Sisters of Fate: Contest of Epic Proportions Entry

Over at the Merry Sisters of Fate short story blog, they are currently hosting an epic contest for some fabulously bookish stuff from the three writers (Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater, and Brenna Yovanoff). To enter, you must respond to the visual prompt below with some type of short fiction (flash fiction, short story, paragraph vignette, or poem).

The Princess and the Pea by Edmund Dulac

So, here goes nothing - my first and only flash fiction, checking in at around 300 words. Originally, I had written a nearly 2k short story that was full of class issues and lovesick sadness, but I couldn't make it sound like it should. So here's what you get instead, dear world. ;)

A Very Different Kind of Pea

Anise awoke with a start, sitting up in bed, her clammy hands clutching the bed clothes to both sides of her hips. A thin rivulet of sweat traced down her sternum, sending an involuntary tremor along her spine. Looking around in bewilderment, it took the princess a moment to remember where she was and why she had woken up feeling so terrified. It was just the dream again, she told herself. The same dream she’d been having for months now. The same dream she longed to forget but felt she was doomed to play over and over again in her mind every night. With her heart racing like that of a rabbit, Anise tried to reassure herself inwardly. There’s nothing to be afraid of now, you foolish girl. You took care of it months ago. Go back to sleep.

Silently repeating these affirmations to herself like a mantra, the princess felt her pounding heart slow and her ragged breathing quiet. Even with her body now under control, her head was not. Frustrated by the black-and-white images that still flipped through her mind, Anise flopped backwards with a huff onto the towering mound of blankets and mattresses. Despite being surrounded by the most sumptuous of fine linens, down-filled pillows, and brocaded duvets, she knew she wouldn’t be comfortable enough to sleep again until she found the exact right spot.

Anise shifted her weight upon the bed, moving this way and that, until she finally felt it. Ahh, yes, there it is. I can feel him now. Reassured by the small, niggling presence pushing into her lower back, the princess lay her head down again and closed her eyes. Before she drifted off into a guiltless sleep, her lips turned up in a small, satisfied smile. She was so glad she had kept something to remind herself that she really had taken care of it. She didn't think she'd be able to sleep otherwise.
sun, solstice

Opps, I fibbed...

...without meaning to do so. I said I would post book reviews here, and now I'm not.

Back in April, I got the super stellar idea that I would post reviews here, learning a little HTML coding and bloggy goodness in the process. Foolishly, I didn't realize how time-consuming it would be make the posts look normal and nice and worth viewing. After working through the formatting on my first (and now likely last) review post, I realized I would just prefer to stick to Amazon and Goodreads. So, should you want to see what I have to say about other books, check me out there. Reviews will come in sporadic bursts since I'm well underway with classes now.


(See, I don't even remember how to insert the links properly. Silly me.)

I will, however, keep this account for doing what I do better: reading the great and insightful posts of my favorite authors and online friends.

Happy almost solstice,

sun, solstice

Review: Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

For my inaugural book review post, I'm like to offer my favorite book of 2009, Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception, by Maggie Stiefvater. While reading this book, I fell in love with Stiefvater's lyrical prose, luscious description, and relatable characters. Since that first read, I have become an official fangirl (which I've never been before for anything) of Maggie and enjoy keeping up with her work and shenanigans via her blog. She's a personable and considerate author who communicates frequently with fans and blog followers and considers them worthy of her time. It's really refreshing and endearing.

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception
Maggie Stiefvater

YA urban fantasy/paranormal romance
325 pages
Published by Flux (October 1, 2008)
Review originally posted on Amazon on September 2, 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars

Riveting debut with romance, suspense, and lyrical prose

Maggie Stiefvater's debut novel, Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception, tells the story of Deirdre, a talented but introverted young woman, and Luke, the soulless faerie assassin that's been assigned to kill her. The reader also gets to meet Deirdre's loyal best friend, James, and the world of faerie.

Very rarely do I connect so much with a book, its writing (which was superb and richly detailed), and its characters, as I did with LAMENT. As an adult reader, I found LAMENT and its characters thoroughly believable, likeable, and flawed in realistic ways. Her writing doesn't condescend to either teens or adults and provides depth, strength, and development to its characters. There were parts in the book where I actually felt a physical ache in my chest for the characters and the situations they experience.

Steifvater's style is lyrical and smooth, and it moves the book along easily. There were absolutely no slow parts. The writing is so rich and descriptive (without being overly flowery or purple) that I could easily imagine all of the scenes and related emotions with ease. This is an author who shows you what she wants you to imagine and see, instead of simply telling you. Her characters, while not overly developed, are very human and relatable. The romance between the two main characters is palpable and pulls at your heart. While there are some predictable elements to the plot, these pale in comparison to the inventive world of nefarious and mischievous faeries she's created alongside the human, modern world. The protagonist, Deirdre, also holds her own as a female lead, which is something sorely lacking in many current YA novels.

After finishing LAMENT on Friday evening, I happily traipsed down to our local, independent bookstore the next day to buy my own copy (I originally got it from the library) and to purchase Shiver, Stiefvater's new novel. After reading that, I'll be looking forward eagerly to the release of Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie, LAMENT's sequel, in October.

In sum, I consider this the thinking person's Twilight - much more well-written with better characters and no dull points! Cheers to that.

(ETA: And for the record, I really enjoyed BALLAD too, though not as much. Review to be posted soon.)

sun, solstice

My blog gets a name, a facelift, and a purpose

Despite my earlier claims otherwise, I have decided to take the plunge and start posting to my blog. And what would a non-creative type like me post, you ask? Answer: my book reviews.

In the past year, I've rediscovered my love of all things related to words, books, and critical thinking. Along with this has come the urge to process what I've read and discuss it with others. To do this, I've been writing and posting book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I've gotten a pretty good response so far, and I decided that posting those same reviews on here would be another way to share and discuss.

I tend to be critical in a loving way and that shows in my reviews. This doesn't mean that I don't enjoy and love many of the books I read; I do! I just tend to not love as many as other people might. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with my critiques, I hope you'll read them, comment, and say hello.

Over the next month, I'll start posting the backlog of reviews I have from Amazon, along with any new ones I write.

Happy reading!
sun, solstice

Third anniversary contest over at FFF!

The LJ community, Fangs_Fur_Fey, is celebrating their third anniversary with a lovely contest for readers. Visit to check it out. Even if you don't submit to the contest, FFF is a great community to watch if you're a lover or writer (or both!) of urban, paranormal, or contemporary fantasy.
sun, solstice

Ballad Contest Entry!

Okey-dokey, so here's my entry for the most awesome Ballad contest ever from Maggie Stiefvater. Taken at the local indie bookstore, Carpe Librum, on 02 October 2009 with 18 (including me) of the most gullible but nice people ever. We were so lucky that when we arrived, a mere 12 minutes before closing time, they were having a small classical/folk strings concert in their reading room where they often have book clubs, speakers, etc. I patiently waited until the set was complete and then pounced them and all obliged. Admittedly, two of the people are cajoled friends and one is my dear spouse (whose head appears to be growing out of the pretty woman's head to my right). I even asked the musicians to bring their instruments into the pic for an attempt at bonus points. I, of course, am the one sitting in the front giddily clutching my just purchased copy of Ballad.

Look, there's an age range of about 70 years between the youngest to the oldest, PLUS there are musical instruments (count 'em, three of them!). Woot! This experience was made of awesome. :-)

If you clicky on the image, you can see it larger to count people.
sun, solstice

Hello LJ world!

I'm a question-asking, sleep-loving, bird-watching, Americana-listening, cheese-eating kind of person. However, I am not, repeat not, creative. This lovely LiveJournal experience is an exercise in following the pages of people who are very much unlike me and who ARE creative. I love and enjoy all forms of the creative arts (visual, musical, literary, theatrical) but have no skills at them myself. Therefore, don't expect journal entries or deep musings. I can write very nice technical papers or grant proposals, but it wouldn't make for enjoyable or exciting reading.

I look forward to reading the journals of many interesting people and communities while on here!
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