MidWeek Flash: Reiterated Love

Since I was late on last week’s MidWeek Flash, it’s already time for another one. But this simply gorgeous photo clicked with a thought and voila. 


Reiterated Love

I stood on the old pier watching the beginning of the end. Conflicting memories danced in my head as the sky turned molten around us. Lilia’s fearful whimper tugged at me and I tucked her in close. Her body trembled against my side. Whether the result of my presence or the sky, I couldn’t be sure.

“We have to go,” I urged.

“I’m tired,” she said, “tired of … all of you.”

“The ship is waiting.”

“Maybe I don’t want to go.” Though soft and halting, she cast the words at me like a challenge.

I gazed down on the face I’d known all my life, the face of my purpose. This woman was very reason I was alive. Her guarded hazel eyes met mine, testing my resolve. Haunted by a hundred deaths, she silently dared me to argue. Her lips were a hard line, yet I couldn’t resist reliving the memory of them playing over my skin, kissing me in ways that heated my blood. Continue reading “MidWeek Flash: Reiterated Love”

MidWeek Flash: Lighting the Way

It’s been more than a week since I wrote some flash, and feels even longer. But I’m back. As usual, I made an effort to kick back against the obvious and take this piece in a lighter direction. I leave it to you whether I’ve succeeded and still managed to write something intriguing.  

Thank you again to Miranda for her weekly prompts. And if any of you out there think you might have a story inside you waiting to come out. Come write with us! Really we don’t bite (much). 


Lighting the Way

“I see dead people.”

My husky imitation echoes slightly in the dim hallway as a wry smirk plays across my lips. Unfortunately, anyone who could hear me now probably won’t get the reference, or appreciate the humor. Still, the irony makes me chuckle.

Even though the sun hangs in a cloudless sky outside, the hallway feels dark, shadowed, oppressed. I take slow, deliberate steps, stowing the humor and breathing deeply. Settling into my purpose, I reach out with my inner sense, inviting contact. Many are still here. Too many. They know I’ve come but they don’t trust me. Yet. Continue reading “MidWeek Flash: Lighting the Way”

Review: A Torch Against the Night

A Torch Against the Night

by Sabaa Tahir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This sequel does not disappoint!

I was eagerly waiting for this sequel to come out, having been delighted with An Ember in the Ashes. I knew in my bones what was coming would be heart wrenching and difficult but I trusted in Ms. Tahir. I was not disappointed. I held my breath and hurried through the chapters needing to know what came next. In her world that is intricate, complicated and brutal, you grow to appreciate each of the three characters,. You want to hate some, to say this one is good and this one bad, but you can’t. An expert at the gray area, Tahir sneaks them into your heart with their hopes, their dreams, their virtues and their flaws.

As for the narration, the voice actors reprised their performances from An Ember in the Ashes and I felt like I was meeting old friends after a lengthy absence. The continuity in the voices, in the characters felt like coming home. I don’t normally like present tense, but the reading here was so smooth, that even when I transitioned to the page for a time, I didn’t even notice until I was done.

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Review: An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes

by Sabaa Tahir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had not heard anything about this title or author when I bought the audiobook. I eventually also bought it in paperback because I needed the consummation of actually turning the pages at times. Sometimes, the audio read felt too slow because I just wanted, no needed, to know what happened next.

In a world where the Martial Empire has spread to most of the continent, disobedience is brutally punished and those from subservient nations are turned into slaves. Laia, a scholar girl, must face her fears and risk death to save her brother while Elias Veturius, a member of one of the most respected Martial families, despises what he has become and longs for freedom. Their paths are destined to cross and cross again as they battle to stay alive and find what matters to them most.

I was surprised at the ease with which I became engrossed in the story, rooting for characters, feeling their pains. I was hooked from the first page. I love Ms. Tahir’s writing though I’m not sure I could say what is different about it, just that it resonates with me.

The narrators also were perfect fits for their characters, Mr. West in particular. Told from the first person viewpoint with a full cast, I felt like I knew Laia, Helene and Elias by the end of it. This book deserved its accolade of Best YA Book of 2015. Definitely worth a read or a listen.

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Review: The Immorality Clause

The Immorality Clause

by Brian Parker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bladerunner in the Red Light District.

This title is a bit outside my usual fare. I’m not a huge fan of noir or crime novels but it looked intriguing. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be my cup of tea. (I rated it as if it was the kind of book I would like, personal prejudices aside.)

It was a cliche in a slightly over the top kind of way. And though, that is not to my taste I’m sure many would love it. It was very tactfully written for the subject matter, neither too gory nor too timid. It was moderately well-paced but I felt, at times, the clues didn’t quite follow; coincidences were too pat. Otherwise, it was enjoyable.

As for the narration, it was the bright spot in this book for me. Mr. Pena sounds just like you’d expect a rough around the edges cop to sound. A likable jerk. He did a good job with the acting, this being entirely from the 1st person perspective which is a tough job. And though he did a wonderful job altering his voice to perform the voices of the robots and other characters, I felt that at times the story let him down.

If you like noir crime, I predict you will really enjoy this book. For those of us who don’t, you may want to pass.

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MidWeek Flash: Spirited Away

Mid-Week Flash is up.  Thank you Miranda Kate for an interesting, if unsettling, photograph. Here is my take, with the help of a writing challenge “offered” by a friend. Have I mentioned my susceptibility to dares? 


 

SPIRITED AWAY

Sister Elspeth burst from the Council chamber, the doors banging open. Her dark robes fluttered behind like storm-tossed sails.

“What news?” I trailed in her wake.

“Mewling brats!” she seethed, whirling around to spit at the closing door. “There is no wisdom left in all Urtland!”

I dodged out of the way, trying to follow her. But she turned on heel and strode forward again, leaving me scrambling after her.

“The plan,” I repeated. “What about the plan?” But she didn’t hear me.

“The invaders have struck a mortal blow,” she mused, “killing those men whose years brought wisdom.  Now boys play king of the hill and all the while our enemy eats us from inside.” Her muttering burned with anger as she pushed open the main doors and swept down the stairs taking the path to the Coven House.  

“Sister,” I begged. “Did you tell them?”

She turned on me then, her eyes sparking with hate. Magic crackled around her. A warning. “They wouldn’t let me speak.”

“What?” I stared in shock. How could the Council disrespect her so? The Coven had advised Urtland’s kingship for a century.

“A woman has no place in war.” She mimicked a deep voice.  “As if swords alone determined which battles are won. I’ll show you war!” she shouted at the castle, then turned and strode into the trees.

I could do little but hurry after her.

“A woman knows strength is not the only weapon worth wielding” she said to me. “We will behead this snake before its forked tongue corrupts Urtland any further.”

The plan, it seemed, would proceed without kingly permission.

Moonrise found us in the forest. A dozen Coven sisters stood in a circle, Sisters Elspeth, Yadha, Deara, and myself waiting skyclad in the center, athames at ready, faces grim. Chosen warriors for Urtland. Assassins, if you will. One for each invader chieftain.

The spell was already in the casting. Our witch-sisters chanted, hands clasped, and magic tingled along my skin, hot and eager. All that was left was to call our allies. We four lifted our arms and carved the symbols for our chosen trees in our flesh. I chose my namesake – hazel – and carved four bloody lines to the left of a vertical one in my arm. Elspeth’s arm bore three marks beside the straight. A warrior tree – the holly.

I felt a pull in my belly. My call was answered. The Coven opened the circle and we four walked in a daze into the forest. A beautiful hazel tree, robust and green, beckoned to me. Lifting my arms, I pressed against her smooth trunk until my arms became her branches, her leafy crown my own head.  Behind me, the witch-sisters sang and I pulled my feet from the earth to dance, slow at first and then faster. They followed me as I cavorted like a satyr in the moonlight, heading toward the enemy encampment.

The Coven wove spells of fog and darkness to hide us as we infiltrated the foreign camp. My fingers rustled and my body ached as branches took the shape of lovely limbs. The glamour complete, I twirled into the tent of a barbarian general. He woke with a start. I smiled at him, beckoning him with my naked body, youthful and firm. The witches spun a spell of love over him.

When he rose to claim me, I let him kiss me. My toughened bark immune to his rough hands.

“Not here,” I whispered. “Come, my love. Away to my bower.”

He grabbed for me, but I spun away, ever just out of reach. I allowed him to kiss me now and then to keep his passion fresh, leading him out of his camp and into the woods.

In a place far from the beaten path, I stopped and surrendered, opening my arms to the brute. He grabbed me then, thrusting himself upon me with ravaging intent. I did not resist, but clasped him closer, opening myself to his plundering. And as we coupled, bodies twined together, the magic changed me once more. My leaves returned. Feet became roots, arms became branches, and my violent lover was trapped within the thickened bark of my trunk…

                                                                 …never to be heard from again.


You can find links to the other entries HERE.

 

 

 

Review: Tower of Thorns

Tower of Thorns

by Juliet Marillier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Enchanting characters that will win you over.

A medieval mystery series, Blackthorn and Grim are two dispossessed souls trying to do go in a world they no longer believe in. Blackthorn because of a deal made with the Fae, and Grim because he’d follow her anywhere. I have enjoyed the mysteries, though at time I felt they could move on a bit faster. Nonetheless, I enjoy the language and the characters enough to be content.

I’d listened to the first Blackthorn and Grim book by Marillier a while back. It is done with a full cast and when I heard Grim for the first time (though the voice actor is delightful) I cringed. I didn’t think I’d like him enough to stand a whole book with him. But thanks to Marillier, by the time I was done with that book, I liked Grim. And a third of the way through this one, I loved him. The relationship between stubborn Blackthorn and her “lump of a man” is something you find yourself rooting for, though her obtuseness about his feelings at the end was a bit unbelievable. After all, she is supposed to be wise.

Nonetheless, I am looking forward to the next installment to see what trouble they can get up to now. If you like fantasy and a bit of romance, you’ll love these books.

This was not actually read but was an audiobook. I do love being read to!  There was a full cast and they did a lovely job, as they did in the previous book. I’m buying book 3 now and hope the same actors will be doing that one too.  Definitely worth a listen.

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AUDIBLE RELEASE DAY!!

Hey fantasy fans!  

I’m so excited.  Finally, the Audible version of Quest of the Dreamwalker is now live!  Only 1 credit with your Audible membership.  

If you  haven’t listened to one of the previews yet, click Chapter 2 or Chapter 3 for the SoundCloud samples. I’m sure you will love it!