Monthly Archives: April 2014

Intertwined and Unravelled

In spite of having two weeks off to go on adventures and get on with the mountain of stuff I have to do before the end of the month, I have of course been reading. At the time of writing, I have read two Gena Showalter books: Intertwined and Unravelled. By the time of posting (#scheduling) I might well have caved and bought the third instalment, Twisted.

I saw Unravelled in The Works and thought it looked interesting so I looked it up when I got home. Of course it was a book 2 so I had to get the book 1. I suppose you would classify them as YA books, and they’re of a supernatural nature.

The main characters are Aden and Mary Ann, who are weirdly connected in a way that as of the end of book 2 hasn’t really been explained. It partly has in terms of real world reasons, but not in terms of supernatural reasons. They are teenagers in Nowhere-specials-ville.

Mary Ann is a normal girl with a psychotherapist for a father, so she is intelligent and preppy in the classic quiet-girl way. She even has a blonde, bubbly best friend who is clearly way cooler than her! Standard.

Aden is a boy with some troubles. He’s been passed around the foster system and is labelled as an early-onset schizophrenic. He talks to himself a lot. Except he isn’t talking to himself. He’s talking to the four souls trapped in his body along with his own. Those souls each have a special power: one can timetravel, one involuntarily raises the dead, one can possess people and the last one can see death visions. Not so standard.

That would be enough of a supernatural element on its own, but Showalter also throws in first vampires and werewolves, and then ghosts and goblins and fairies and witches turn up… you’d think that would be overpowering but as Mary Ann herself says, if vampires and werewolves are real, why not everything else? And apart from the goblins (who are of course subhuman, as is tradition) they blend in to the human population more or less, so you have to know what to look for to spot one.

Anyway, the soul that predicts things (Elijah) has been giving Aden visions of a beautiful brunette that will come into his life and change everything. He sees Mary Ann one day and thinks it is her, and follows her, but this sets off a whole other supernatural event that builds nicely through the first book and spills into the second.

What I like about these characters is that there’s no soppy love triangle. People are destined for each other and they find them when they’re meant to. No one is torn between two people they really love. This cuts down on a lot of pointless moping about and leaves us free to enjoy the action. There is definitely some angst in there (there has to be when humans and supernatural races intermingle) but it doesn’t overpower the whole plot. There’s no random heart-to-heart conversations in the middle of battle, for example. Because there wouldn’t be! If you’re not totally focused on getting the job done, you won’t survive to have that Feels conversation.

While there are some comforting standards in these books (the supernatural are arrogantly superior to puny humans!) Showalter throws in some twists that keep things grounded and more gritty than a pure Twilight fantasy. I can’t even think of a time when I thought to myself “why the hell would s/he do/say THAT?!” so that should give you a clue. I am intrigued by how things turn out in book three, and whether there is or ever will be a book four. Oh wait, no, there was one character who had really weird motivations that made no sense. Someone is out for revenge on someone who didn’t do anything to them. There’s a bit of an Elder Wand situation re: King of the Vampires and someone who lost seems to have forgotten who they lost to.

I’m warning you, Showalter, if I get to the end of book three and there’s a cliffhanger and no book four forthcoming… I’ll slip through Fairy Tale and out into your closet and FIND YOU.

You can find Intertwined here (Kindle edition).

You can follow Gena Showalter on Twitter here.

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The Ability to Stop, But The Choice To Continue

Inspiration!!

Deadly Ever After

Today’s Brew: Pounding Wild Blueberry. Working two crazy shifts back to back today and tomorrow.

by Kristen

dog meme

My body loves being fat. I’m not saying that to be all Piss On Kristen, it’s true. The sales people in Lane Bryant and Torrid know me by name. Just because my body’s all about the fluff doesn’t mean my mind is. I realize I have to work harder to get to my goals, and what’s going to be good and healthy for me is going to be different than what another person considers to be the same.

The other night I found this cool tattoo while surfing Pinterest. Since we’re all writer and reader types around these parts, I thought it fit in to every facet of my life beautifully.

semi colon

The caption read: The ability to stop, but the choice to continue.

I never thought a semi-colon could be so fucking deep.

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Waiting and Dinner-dating

In the last couple of weeks I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time waiting for people who are running late. Annoying as that is to me, sometimes it is unavoidable and I have to accept that (just keep crushing that rage down into a tiny ball inside…), but what it has done is given me an ace idea for a book.

The Waiting Room would be set in the future and is part OASIS from Ready, Player One and part Room of Requirement from Harry Potter. Combined with an old BBC show called The Smoking Room. Sort of.

Let me explain… so, you’re a bored member of the public, waiting for something or somebody: there’s a train delay, your mum is late picking you up from school… whatever. You can access an online virtual reality space designed for bored people waiting for stuff. Yes, I know, that’s exactly like the internet and already exists. We can sit with smartphones and tablets and while away that annoying limbo time quite easily.

Except it’s a specific community, like an old forum, chatroom, messageboard, but with VR tech so you’re not just typing random messages or posting pictures, but you can have adventures and stuff. And because people are posting requests based on times they are free, someone starts killing people off…

And it’s noticed, and there’s a manhunt online and IRL. Or something. I’ve not figured that much out yet.

Don’t bother pointing out obvious flaws, it’s at stage 0.5 not even stage 1.

Also, new project idea number two: The Dinner Date. Set in the recent past, back when dating agencies were real offices with paper printouts and you had to physically turn up to do questionnaires. A woman has loads of first dates but never gets a second, and is sort of written off by the agency, but it’s because one of the employees falls in love with her and sets her up on unsuitable dates on purpose so that a)she won’t get involved with anyone and b)she’ll have to keep coming in to see him, to set up more dates. Also at stage 0.5

Wow I’ve been busy putting off all the stuff I’m meant to be doing this week!

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Expelliarmus

I know I haven’t updated in ages. I suck at the online presence thing. Most of my life, would you believe, takes place outside of Twitter and Facebook. I know. Such a Luddite.

But after some prodding from a friend, who is the only one who regularly reads my blog apart from J (who can’t help but see it when it shows up in his update feed) here I am. I have two weeks off work and while my free time is filling up fast, I should be able to fit in some blogging. And writing.

With that in mind, please enjoy the following video. I have known about  2Cellos for a while but this video in particular had Rivka and I in fits over breakfast. We couldn’t help but notice their resemblance to the Winchester brothers from Supernatural and this led to me thinking about an amazing end of era plot twist: Sam and Dean are concert cellists in the NY Philharmonic where their dad is the musical director. They are so bored by their lives spent touring the US that they invent a Walter Mitty style alternate life for themselves where they tour the US killing demons. So there they are in the orchestra playing on autopilot but both staring out into space because they’re in some shared delusion where they are drenched in blood and spreading salt all over the place. With guns! And Bobby! And pie!

So Rivka suggested I write the fanfic to go with it. I don’t often write fanfic and if I do get round to it I will not be sharing it here, but it’s nice to be feeling creative.

 

 

After that musical interlude, let me share with you a tale of rage. I thought I’d mentioned this before but I couldn’t find it anywhere so maybe I was too upset about it. A couple of months ago, I was part of a quiz we did at lunchtime. It all sort of spiralled out of control, but someone dared to imagine they knew more about Harry Potter than I did. That. Shall. Not. Stand. Then a couple more people got involved so we ended up all making up five questions and having a round robin quiz thing. I lost, and did not cope very well with it. I don’t like failure, as you may remember, and failing at something that was Knowledge-based nearly killed me. It threw off my whole weekend, and I know how ridiculous it seems to be so hung up on something that is so unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but I say again I do not deal well with failure on any scale.

WELL, last week I was at a party with one of the other quiz participants, who revealed to me that there had been some cheating. The other two people making up questions had shared their questions and answers beforehand, reasoning (quite correctly) that if they hadn’t they would have lost miserably. I was raging. My disproportionate rage matched my disproportionate depression at losing. It really shook me up. Something I took seriously was treated like a joke to everyone else. So I felt just as humiliated and like people were laughing at me as I did the first time. On the other hand I was vindicated!

And at the end of the day their questions were rubbish and not at all plot related. And half of them were film related. So they were doing it wrong from the very beginning. Double win.

Time to make myself presentable. And listen to more cello. Happy Saturday, beautiful people.

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