Mistwalker: A Book Review

Those lights on the beach have no idea I’m watching them. Wanting them. Plotting against them. Ignorant, every one of them—they dance; they sway. They’re just far enough away that I can’t enjoy their music or eavesdrop on their conversations.
Right now, I hate them more than anything

Title: Mistwalker
Author: Saundra Mitchell

Mistwalker

Blurb:

When Willa Dixon’s brother dies on the family lobster boat, her father forbids Willa from stepping foot on the deck again. With her family suffering, she’ll do anything to help out—even visiting the Grey Man.

Everyone in her small Maine town knows of this legendary spirit who haunts the lighthouse, controlling the fog and the fate of any vessel within his reach. But what Willa finds in the lighthouse isn’t a spirit at all, but a young man trapped inside until he collects one thousand souls.

Desperate to escape his cursed existence, Grey tries to seduce Willa to take his place. With her life on land in shambles, will she sacrifice herself.

My thoughts:

Oh! I’ll be honest, nothing much happened in this book. This was a book without a plot and maybe that explains the low rating on goodreads.

If you look past that, you’ll notice this book has depth. It has longing. It has guilt. It has regret. It has selfishness. This is a book you read for the characters.

I almost didn’t care about the lack of plot because I fell in love with the characters and their stupid, selfish, pained lives. I fell in love with the despondency of a cursed fishing town past it’s hey-day. And I fell in love with the Grimms fairy-tale like fog that shrouded it all.

I fell in love with a girl who was responsible for her brother’s murder; drowning in her intense guilt and (what she thought) were her petty, selfish thoughts. I fell in love with her silent, taciturn father who took everything upon himself and did his best to protect his daughter. I loved the confused, complex dynamics of the family.

I cheered for Seth as he realised that he didn’t want to marry Willa and fish for the rest of his life, even though he cheated on her. And I fell in love with Bailey and her mania to get into the Ivy League and keep her relationship with her girlfriend going strong.
I fell in love with Grey, all alone without even his memories to keep him sane on the sea he hated. All alone, collecting souls lost at sea, afraid of himself and frustrated that he got all that he wished for but not what he needed. Selfish, willfully blind and falling in love (or lust) with the wrong girl- twice. Girls who couldn’t love him, wouldn’t love him.

The characters in this book are flawed. Irreparably screwed up. And the best thing is there is no talk of ‘fixing’ someone with ‘love’. The book is faultlessley honest when it tells you that love can screw it all up- but sometimes it’s the only thing which makes everything bearable.

This is not a love story. At least, not in the ordinary sense. This is a story of guilt, of family, of blame and despair. And no matter who you are, there will be at least one character you feel for and relate to.

The ending…bitter-sweet but mostly salty, like the sea. Or like tears.

Should you read it?
Only if you want to get lost (and I mean really lost) in words. And then cry.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Books like this: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Quotables:

Genies took your wishes the worst kind of literal. Faeries were monsters; I needed a piece of iron. I needed to get myself together.

Old rituals we kept to guarantee the impossible: all good weather, no bad days.
But in our bones, we knew it was blizzards and nor’easters and squall lines that sank ships. Draggers and trawlers and people from away stealing our catches and leaving nothing for our pots. Government dopes making us trade float line for sink line, twice as expensive, lost twice as much.

A curse is a curse—the trappings are beautiful. They have to be, to tempt the eye, to sway the heart. The gilt packages, the plates that fill with any delicacy I like, they’re the sugar in the poison. The way I look—the way Susannah looked—ethereal monsters. I’m a devil with an angel’s smile.

What Say You to Winter (Hades): A Poem

King of the Dead, what say you to winter?

It’s  Death’s season, is it not?

As things cover with snow, ice and rot

Do you revel and rejoice with grand

Cries of joy as your kingdom expands

As frozen frost flows fast over the world,

Spreading icy tendrils of your influence milord?

Or is it the more private, happy joy of family

Which turns you deliriously giddy?

Now as the cold season approaches

Do you dream of the triumphant success

Of your territory growing to bloated excess

Or does  your flower bride’s homecoming

Make you more loving, more caring

For this frozen season than any other?

Home from your pouting sister and her loving mother

Bringing home, with her, fragrant beauty,

A whirlwind of colour and sweet voice-flutey.

For six long months you’ve been apart.

After those lethargic months are these magic?

You’ll get to deal with the increasing sick

As the cold rattles aching bones and they die

Travelling to meet you with coins covering eyes.

But is it their arrival that you anticipate

Or is it your beautiful bride home descent?

Tell me milord, what say you to winter?

Goal Setting (and Why I’m Terrible at It)

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
-Lousia May Alcott

My name literally means ambition, so it’s with some irony I tell you this: I absolutely suck at setting goals.

My goals are either tiny things, which I can do no-problemo in 2 days flat. Like my homework, or semi-regularly updating my blog or whatever. Or my goals are incomprehensible, elaborate things which are so far away that they seems more like dreams than actionable goals. Like becoming a doctor, or publishing a book or figuring out how the strange thing we call the human brain works.

In 6th grade, a teacher introduced his class with “A goal is a dream with a map and a stopwatch.” As an introductory lesson, we were supposed to come up with goals and draw a ‘map’ for it complete with important ‘milestones’ and ‘distances’.
I don’t remember what my goal was, but mine was the only one in class that came back with red ink. Too short term, was the remark on the paper. Em-bar-as-sing!

For some reason, those words stuck with me (the goal definition, not the ‘short term’ thing). When you have a goal, there are two ways for you to figure out how to achieve that goal. Either you can work your way forward or you can work your way back.
In my opinion, working your way back is so much easier than working your way forward.

Okay, you tell yourself, I want to publish a book. What can I do about it now?
Easy, you write up a first draft.
What can I do right now for a first draft?
Come up with a plot-line and some characters?
What can I do right now to come up with some characters and a plot-line?
Start writing. Now!

See what I mean? It gives you a set plan, something black and white to look at as you decide what you’re going to do next. There’s no ambiguity, no waiting around wondering “What am I going to do now?”

“Sometimes you don’t need a goal in life, you don’t need to know the big picture. you just need to know what you’re going to do next!”
-Sophie Kinsella

I take my words back. I’m pretty good at goal setting. It’s the execution of the plan that I suck at.

Right now between my Google Drive and storage on various laptops, I have eight different stories started. That’s right- not one, not two but eight different stories. I have like 6-7 chapters for each for them. They are my babies. My poor neglected, malnourished little babies.
Before you suggest combining them all, let me warn you: They’re all very different genres and I’m equally stuck in all of them. So don’t suggest it unless you think a book about a high-school secret society which forces you to accept all dares (no matter how stupid) for initiation can somehow be combined with emotional robots,  faeries who will trap you in alternate universes and an evil Snow-White’s step-mother [Deep breath in] would be interesting. Actually, that does sounds kind of interesting. Confusing but interesting.  Knock yourself out trying to write something that fits in all of these things.

Surprisingly this was actually a pretty fun post to right. I definitely did not expect that when I gave it the rather bland title: Goal Setting.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
-Ernest Hemingway

Anyways, back to my point: The most important part of goal setting is execution. That means no procrastinating by rambling about how bad you are at setting goals. No reminiscing about stories you tried (and failed) to write.[Sigh] Yes, I’m looking at myself. Chop,chop darling. Back to work.

Let me just end this with a quote:

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
― Chuck Palahniuk

Vengeance Road: A Book Review

“So long as they go down, I don’t much care if I go with ’em”

Book: Vengeance Road

Author: Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road

Blurb:

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.

My thoughts:

I’m going to alienate a lot of people by saying this, but I’ve never been a huge fan of Erin Bowman. Throughout her Frozen series, I was reading out of a sense of duty (‘You like young adult dystopia, ergo you must like this book’) than any real fondness or appreciation for it.

In a lot of ways, this book reminded me of Moria Young’s Blood Red Road. It features a very tough female heroine, who’s supremely comfortable with weapons. And that’s awesome. Unfortunately, it also has a lot of grammatical mistakes to authenticize ‘dialect’. Unfortunately, that took a lot away from the experience for me. I was jarred every time I came across an  “Int” or an “Em” or an “I’se”. Let’s just say: It was a pretty bumpy ride.

So were there any positives?

Definitely. I loved the plot-line. Vengeance, cold blooded kills and dressing up as a guy- It’s like the Ms. Bowman wrote this book with me in mind.

By extension, i loved the MC. The plotline was very character-centric. You know the plot was built for the character rather than the for the plot. But Erin Bowman has done a fantastic job with both.

“”Now for the love of God, lower that damn pistol.”
“All right,” I says.
And I do.
Right after I shoot him through the skull.

Plus, when was the last time you read a YA book set in the Wild West. Oh! That’s right-never. And it was fun. Outlaws and a search for gold- I loved the plotline. And it’s probably why I stuck to the book as long as I did.
A quibble that might be minor or major to you depending on who you are. Some of the supporting characters are completely cliched stereotypes. The Native American girl had immense respect for nature, was an amazing guide and crept silently. To top it all off, she spouted off white stories. Ugh!
Then there was the mountain hermit, who kept panning for gold. He was as expected- big, loud, trigger-happy, superstitious, flannel-shirt clad and socially awkward.
I’m sure some of these facts are necessary to being a Native American or Gold Miner of the time period, but it’s like that was the sum total of their characters.

The romance in this book gave me whiplash. Since when is a guy playing hot and cold attractive? Someone needs to tell YA authors that teenage girls are not masochistic. They don’t thrill by falling in love with guys who can’t make up their minds, anymore than adults do.

If dialect is something you can overlook and the Wild West and badass female MC’s are what you want, I think you’ll like this book. Otherwise, stay far far away.

Overall Rating: 2.5/5

Books You Might Like: Eon

Quotable:

“See you in hell, mister.”
And that’s where I’m going, sure as the sun will rise, ‘cus I feel nothing. No remorse. No guilt. Not even a sliver of doubt. He deserved it, and I’d do it again.

Immortalise You: A Poem

“If you die saving my life,
I will immortalise you.
I promise, I vow, I swear.
I will sing your song
At the top of my lungs,
Fill it with phoenix fire.
Let it burn the entire world.

Climb to the highest roof.
To ringing church bells.
And I will let my words fall
From crosses on steeples.
As I describe how you rose.

You held my fragile, cracked.
No, my shattered life in your hands.
You fixed me. Once and then again. 
You made me whole again.
And you gave me life
Just as much as my Mother did.

If you die saving my life,
Falling because I couldn’t
Bear my own heavy weight,
Bear my own tired burden
Bear my own scary pain,
I will scream my heart out for you.

I’ll tell the Gods to give you back.
I’ll beg with them, bargain with them.
And then you’ll live forever.
In the stars, or in the sea, or on land.
Wherever you want to live.
However you want to live.
But Godsdamnit all, you’ll live.

If you die saving my life,
I’ll drag you back from
Bowing orchards and rolling fields.
Or boiling vats of oil,
Whatever it may be.

I’ll grab your hand
Lock your fingers in mine.
And I’ll pull. I’ll keep pulling.
Until you’re alive again.

If you die saving my life.
You won’t die saving my life.
Hear me, will you? You won’t.
But if you do, You won’t
be gone for long.

Because I’ll immortalise you.
I’ll let you live if it’s the last thing I do. “

Music and Me

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
-Nietzche

Music, music, music. I can’t believe I’ve never posted anything about music because it’s a topic I care deeply about. Music is something which has intertwined itself in my life. I wake to it, I listen to it on my way to school and then at school. I tap my fingers against the bike’s handles to a tune that’s stuck in my head and I do Maths homework to it. I read to it and when the song matches the mood in a book, I cry to it.

People say that scent is the most powerful sense that humans have. It’s the one that links you effortlessly to a certain memory or a time. Supposedly, the smell of Vanilla will drag you back to Grandma’s kitchen and the smell of petrol will take you to a gas station you stopped at in the middle of THE road trip. But I have a much more powerful and nostalgic reaction to music.

Music is a total constant. That’s why we have such a strong visceral connection to it, you know? Because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in your or the world, that one song says the same, just like that moment.
-Sarah Dessan, Just Listen

I’ll admit it: my music habits are somewhat strange.  I listen to an artist, fall in love with them and then associate them to a genre of books I’m currently reading. When I’m done reading that genre, I move onto a new artist. Today it’s Halsey and All Time Low, but I think I’m moving on to Muse and the Offspring. A couple of weeks ago it was Sia and Panic! At the Disco. And before that it was Crown the Empire. (Thank you Pandora, you’re awesome!) By moving on, I mean I’ll stop playing their albums on repeat. But if I hear a snatch of one of their songs on the radio or in a store, I’ll involuntarily be dragged to a time when they were my number one, and I was obsessed with a certain book. I’ll smile a little and when the song fades away, I’ll wish that the song was longer

I associate different characters to different songs, and different genres to different artists.
For example, My Song Knows What You Did in the Dark is definitely Katniss’s song, and Fall Out Boy just goes so well with dystopia. Don’t you think?
I can’t listen to any song in Krewella’s ‘Get Wet’ album without thinking of Harry Potter fanfiction and Pink is Discovery/light New Adult.

Not only do I read to music, I write to music as well. What can I say? It sets the tone for what I’m writing. I’ll listen to a song, type out any lyrics that jump to me. Then when the song’s over, I’ll write whatever comes to me. The next poem I’m posting will be from Halsey’s Young Gods.

These lines,

You know we’re gonna be legends

If there’s a light at the end, it’s just the sun in your eyes

Gave me ‘Immortalise You’. Yes, it’s a part of Gods and other Greek things. I’ll post a part of it now.

I’ll tell the Gods to give you back.

I’ll beg them, bargain with them.

And then you’ll live forever.

Amongst sea foam or bright-stars,  
Wherever you want to live.

However you want to live.

But Godsdamnit all, you will live.

I come from a family that doesn’t really care about music. I mean, it’s not like they hate it- but they could leave it as easily as they take it. I don’t think I can imagine a world without music. It would be silent, I suppose. Less beautiful.

Lady of Marriage: A Poem

Lady of Marriage, is your title a taunt?

For the liberties that your husband does flaunt-

That the ribbons of fidelity do not dare to bind

As he sneaks out in full view from laws you ordained

To another woman’s heart and into her bed

Jealous Juno, doesn’t it make you see red?

And as you sit on your pretty peacock throne

In your court of the kingdom of skies alone

Your own children gossip loud and bold

That the reason he strays is because you’re cold

Unfeeling and unpassionate, filled with duty

And responsibilty instead of beauty.

And their half siblings flinch and cringe in fear

But as soon as the think you don’t hear

They go ahead and drag dirt through your name

To your utter and complete quiet shame

Flinging old news of your still fresh jealousy

Around like it’s interesting, maybe even funny.

When Jupite, a  better father than husband listens

To his unlovable bastard, illegitimate children

And once more the whole court whispers

Not even bothering to hide their whispers

As you fall out of favour with your lord husband

And he accepts another woman’s welcoming hand

At times like these, your title feels like a taunt.