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?

The Fixer: A Book Review

“I have a passing fondness for explosions.”

Book: The Fixer
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Fixer

Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess’s classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

My thoughts:

This book is freaking fantastic. It’s the first mystery/thriller that I’ve enjoyed in a long time. This is three hundred and eighty-four pages of rebellion, sarcastic witticisms, determined girl heroines (who are more spice than sugar), well-rounded side characters, untraditional but caring families and an intense mystery.

There’s no way to make this clearer: I love Tess. Tough, determined, sarcastic, brave and protective- how could I not?

“There are a lot of ways to castrate a bull,” I said, my words deliberate and slow. “You can band the balls off, so they shrivel up and die. Or you can take a knife, and slide it just so.” I demonstrated with my free hand. “I grew up on a ranch. I know a lot about castrating bulls.”

I loved reading from her point of view. She was mature and passionate, but simultaneously relatable. She made you feel for her.

This is not a book where adults play no role (thus avoiding one of the major YA tropes)

Her ‘sister’, Ivy (I’ll leave you wondering why I’ve used single quotes) is an impressive woman with the power to get things done. She is so put-together, mysterious and effective. She’s a more badass version of Tess; it’s easy to believe they’re related. But at the same time, she brings different things to the table (not better, not worse- just different). To be honest, she sort of scares me, but mostly I am impressed as hell by her. I think I have a new role-model.

Adam, family friend and captain of defense, is pure awesome. There’s not really any romance in this book but, I ship Adam and Ivy together <spoiler> which is kind of weird since she was once in love with his brother </spoiler>.  I dunno, they just work. Brodie, Ivy’s chauffeur and bodyguard, is hilarious and makes surprising introspective comments. Potential love triangle here. I like him and all, but I like Adam better. (It’s cute that I think I get an opinion).

The teens are as cool as hell. I need to poach some of Ms. Barne’s magic. How else would she get the intricacies of getting such an eclectic bunch of kids to mesh so well?

Vivie is that friend that you always wanted to have. She’s plain nice, but she’s deceptively strong and brave too. She’s supportive, willing to lend you an ear or discuss something trivial to get your mind off things. And Tess is more than willing to return the favor. One of the best friendships I have seen in YA.

Asher is adorable. He’s a trouble-maker but he’s so much fun, charming and up for anything. I loved reading about him- especially when he was interacting with his twin (a college obsessed twin with a surprising skill with computers who loves her brother deep down) or with a person is a position of authority. I really hope there’s no love triangle with him, Tessa, and Henry because I would hate to see this bromance destroyed.

It’s your favorite person.”
“No. You’re not.”
“I won’t embarrass you by proving I am.”

Henry is intense, a bit bull-headed and charming in his own right. Again, I like him- but I like Asher more.

As for the plot itself, it is amazing. Priding itself on its’ political intrigue, it’s full of twists you’ll never see coming. YA needs more books like this!
Unfortunately, I had to pause in the middle of the book because the screen got really blurry. Okay, fine-I’ll admit it: this book wrung out a few tears from me.

I am unabashedly desperate to read the next book (too bad it doesn’t come out until 2016). There’s no other way to say this: this book was perfect.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Other Books Like This: Trust Me, I’m Lying, We All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)

Waiting for Her: A Poem

Rules of the prompt: It must be a meaningful poem which ends with the phrase ‘Out of the Blue’.

With a gypsy’s soul barely contained inside,
and itchy feet bursting forth with wanderlust,
She couldn’t stay long, though who knew if she  tried.
Moving so fast, her suitcase never gathered dust.

She’d walk into town one day and there she’d decide to reside
But in a week or so, she’d walk back out unable to adjust.
Waiting for those who loved her in the same way as time and tide-
She just came and went. And went and went and went and went.

One sticky, lazy day she’d go out to collect everything she’d lent
settle her bills, pack her bags and when there was nothing left to do,
She’d give us vague smiles and promises to write letters (that remained unsent)
and take her itchy feet and aching soul to somewhere like London or Purdue.

She never stayed long. Never more than a month’s worth of rent.
And when she’d leave, she’d leave us with hearts torn anew,
Leaving us to wait full of frustrated love and resentment
For her to come back somewhere out of the blue.

Just One Wish: A Book Review

Book: Just One Wish

Author/Authoress: Janette Rallison

Just One Wish

Cover:2/5

No. Just no. I don’t like this cover at all. Maybe it’s because it’s so boring. Nah, that’s not it. It’s because the cover was purposely made boring. It’s hard to tell what the MC looks like because the author never said what she looked like. Author’s sometimes do stuff like this  because they want us readers to subconsciously project ourselves into the main character’s role. And it’s a nice idea and all – in theory.

In practice I find it really annoying. I’d rather have a character with a little bit of a description (but that does not mean huge tracts of poetry in an ode to her beauty) because otherwise I automatically keep changing the main character’s looks. And so the MC ends up constantly changing like Aphrodite’s. Or like a kaleidoscope. And believe me that’s annoying. As soon as the character does something new in the book, I have to adjust what I think the character looks like so I can fit in her looks with my preconceptions.

Sometimes I don’t even bother. I just let them look like huge question marks in my head. But believe me, it’s  hard to imagine a visual scene when you have no main character.

Plot:4/5

Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman knows about the power of positive thinking. With a little brother who has cancer, it’s all she ever hears about. And in order to help Jeremy, she will go to the ends of the earth (or at least as far as Hollywood) to help him believe he can survive his upcoming surgery.

But Annika’s plan to convince Jeremy that a magic genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his television idol would visit him. Annika suddenly finds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?

Janette Rallison’s proven talent for laugh-out-loud humor, teen romance, and deep-hearted storytelling shines in a novel that will have readers laughing and crying at the same time.

I didn’t really think I would like this book, because let’s face it- stalkers are creepy. And no matter how much I love the character, the truth is Annika is a stalker. Another reason: I hate books about cancer. They’re just too depressing and faux philosophical. For example, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green or . But somehow, Ms. Rallison managed to balance this book and make it non-creepy and even somewhat light. A huge part of that is due to the dialogue.

“No wonder he has such nice teeth. They probably pay him in dental floss.”

“That’s the thing about the internet. It’s really good at giving you pointless facts like how many horses a star owns, but not important things like how to invade his trailer.”

And I hate to say this, but maybe it was the implausibility of this story that made it so great. I mean I totally am against ambiguity and implausibility but it’s part of what kept this books so light and fluffy. I mean what kind of security guard would actually let two teenage girls on to a TV set? Even ones dressed as animal wranglers? And what kind of Holywood actor or actress can drop all of their plans to seea fan? Even if said fan is sick with cancer? But somehow it all made this book seem cute instead of stupid.

In the book, the whole stalker thing is kind of a novelty. Sure, it’s kind of weird and creepy but most time’s the girls’ ideas and their embarrassment when their plot inevitably fails is hysterical.

Characters:3/5

Annika: Right from the first chapter, I knew I loved the MC. For the sake of her sick younger brother, she woke up at 4:30 to  go to Toys-R-Us and pick up an action figure. Unfortunately getting the new Robin Hood toy is not so easy. While she’s over there a fat and mercenary creep shoves all of the action figures into his cart. He refuses to relinquish even one of them without a sum of $150. Of course, the MC is unwilling to pay the huge and unreasonable sum. What she does next is epic and the stuff movies are made of. Quickly distracting the creep, she grabs one of the action figure and runs all the way to the check in counter. Definitely a Robin Hood move.

Her determination and …creative ideas (most people use the other cr-word to describe her ideas) is basically what enables her to fulfil her brother’s wish. That and her ability (or maybe it’s a disability) to tell crazy lies with a straight face. Either way, she was a fun character to read about. If you used ‘spunky’ to describe Elizabeth Bennet, then you’ll have to use something like super-spunky to describe this character.

Miranda: Her best friend Miranda is pretty supportive too. She’s a whole lot more pragmatic and practical but she seems to have this motto: Best friends don’t let each other do stupid things…alone. She’s there for her friend through thick and thin (whichever is the bad one) and tries calming and convincing her friend not to do the stupid things. Tries being the keyword.

Steve: Steve is a character who yo-yo’s around quite a bit. Or at least Annika’s opinion of him does. But all in all (I can’t believe I actually used that phrase… my second grade teacher made us all promise to never use it), he’s a pretty intuitive guy who keeps his promises. He’s a nice guy. I hate the word nice; it’s so bland. But nice is the only real word to describe Steve because let’s face it, he’s a little bit bland. Just a little bit.

Romance:4/5

Opposites attract, right? Right. And the Annika and Steve pairing is clearly such a case. Annika is headstrong, stubborn and adventurous. And Steve is a movie star who’s pretty much Mr. Nice Guy most of the time. I didn’t really like Steve at the beginning but somehow Annika’s personality made him shine by the end. She challenges him and he challenges her right back. Plus, you have to love their banter.

Ending:4/5

Woah! Woah! Woah! Is it legal to do that? To leave us poor readers in the lurch and wondering if the sweet, innocent, 6-year old is going to die of cancer? And what’s going to happen next in that relationship? If so, it shouldn’t be. I need a sequel. And I need it now!

Too bad there’s never gonna be one. I love these type of books. Somehow, you get so into the book, you keep wondering what’s gonna happen after it’s all over.

Plotholes:3/5

Like I said, so many things in this book were implausible (look up at plot). But no, I don’t think I picked up any unhealthy messages  in the book. So 3/5 it is.

 Overall Rating:3.5/5

Parts of this book made no sense at all. And the love interest seemed to have no personality at all for half of the book. But somehow, the sheer novelty of the plot and the MC’s plan to get Steve to meet her brother made this an enjoyable book. The MC is amazing!