General

Friday Flash: Sacrifice

This Friday Flash is based on this picture from wiki commons:

He staggered forward and fell to his knees. The gray stone in front of him was silent and unmoving. Rough to the touch, when he pressed his fingers against it. He imagined he was tracing the soft, worn cotton of his mother’s dress.

Why had she done it? Even for her, the sacrifice was breathtaking.

“Son, she -”

“Don’t.”

The word hit the air like a shard of ice in boiling water, soon to disappear under his father’s gaze. Like his mother had disappeared.

He pushed himself to his feet. “This is your doing. Yours. Don’t give me any shit about her choices. You never let her have choices.”

Bitterness coated his words like ice in winter. He wished he taken her away from this a long time ago. Somewhere south, to a warmer, softer land. “I am leaving. I am not coming back.”

“Her sacrifice will be for nothing. She gave herself to the ceremony to make you head -”

“Her sacrifice was for your dreams. Not mine. May you have the best of it, Father.”

He was leaving. He couldn’t stay here any longer.

General

Best Reads of 2012

I’ve read so many books this year I don’t remember all of them. So many books that reading interfered with the writing. Which is not okay, but I can accept it.

So these the best of the books I do recall reading. If there is one thing this list is based on, it is how memorable the books are, how much I liked it, how much I re-read each book. That list bit, re-rereading, probably puts a basis on books from the beginning of the year, since there’s been more time to re-read a book from January than the book I finished last week. At the same time, I am more likely to recall the book I finished yesterday than the book I finished in January. I figure that evens things out.

So in no particular order:

1) A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

I read A Natural History as an ARC, it comes out on February 5, 2013, and I still have to do a review on it. But let me just say it’s fabulous. It’s written as a memoir of a old lady who had the most fantastic adventures in her youth. She studies dragons, falls head long into danger and apparently does something for the cause of feminism. She also gets her husband killed, which leaves me wondering how she acquired the title Lady Trent. I like the matter-of-fact way this is written. I can almost believe this is a real memoir. It’s very different (and also much better IMO) than previous Marie Brennan books.

2) Goblin Quest by Jim Hines

Funny, full of adventure, and also has goblins as I never pictured them before. Fun to read and I cannot wait to get started on the next Goblin book.

3) Men Under the Mistletoe by Ava March, Harper Fox, Josh Lanyon & K.A. Mitchell.

This is an ARC from last Christmas, one I only got around to reading in January of this year. 😉 But it’s one I’ve re-read again and again and again. I said in the review that Winter Knights Harper Fox is the best story, but I keep re-reading the Lone Star by Josh Lanyon. I don’t actually understand why.

4) The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells

This is another book I’ve re-read a few times. It’s good. I love love love the world and the main character. I want more books in this world. I don’t think Martha Wells has come close to plumbing the depths. Even if she chose a different main character, I wouldn’t mind, I love this world so much. It’s beautiful and magical and really vivid.

5) Imagine by Jonah Lehrer

This is probably the only non-fiction book on this list. It’s about imagination and creativity and how it all works. Very interesting.

6) Stars & Stripes by Abigail Roux

I don’t know how many times I’ve re-read Stars & Stripes. A lot. I don’t know what it is, the romance, the ridiculous danger or the characters. This one is special is because the main characters come out to their family, act openly like a couple for maybe the first time. There is even talk of children. Next, they need to come out at work.

7) Bridge of Dreams by Anne Bishop

I don’t know how long I waited for Bridge of Dreams to come out (ever since I heard about a new Anne Bishop book probably). It’s worth the wait and explores the word in far greater detail, has far more bizarre creatures than I dreamed even Anne Bishop to come with and make work. I loved it, and yes, this too is a book I’ve re-read a few times.

8) Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard

I’m pretty sure Servant of the Underworld is a first novel and it is amazing. It doesn’t feel like a first novel at all. I can quite decide if this fantasy or urban fantasy or something in between, but whatever it is, this book pulls you in.

9) To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to include this in a Best Reads list, but even though I never really re-read, it is still worth reading and not a book I am likely to forgot anytime soon so . . .

I don’t know what else to add. 9 are probably enough. But in case they are not, here are some honorable mentions:

1) Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold: I love Lois McMaster Bujold and I wanted to add this just for that, but I don’t think it stands out quite enough for a Best Read novel. 😦

2) Cake by Derekica Snake

I feel that Cake could have been stand-out, but it’s missing something. I don’t know what. It’s a disturbing and exciting all at once, but it needs something.Memorable, though, if only for how disturbing it is.

3) Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Finished this just yesterday and fun fun fun read. Fun!!!! Also, quick. Took only a few hours to finish reading.

4) Black Sun Rising by CS Friedman

I love the setting, the system of magic. Very imaginative. I like the anti-hero. Very nice. But I am not sure about this one yet. I need a little bit more time to digest, I think. It falls in some bizarre science fantasy category, though I put it on my fantasy shelf.

Covers to come later!

General

Extensively Occupied With New Nook

Picture from B&N. My pictures came out bad. :(
Picture from B&N. My pictures came out bad. 😦

I have been off twitter, Facebook and the blog and G+ due to being extensively occupied with my new Nook.

I like it lots. The touchscreen is very responsive. It has page-turning buttons, too, but those are stiff and hard to use.

Things I love:

  • how it lets me set the line spacing and page margins
  • way it lets me see the covers of the books I have loaded
  • SD card. I can store lots and lots of stuff on it. All text documents
  • lets me see what I am currently reading and on what page I am on the home screen
  • what to read next. Right now, it’s suggesting Catching Fire, Insurgent, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck. (Does B&N think I read only YA?)
  • I read for hours this week and never really turned it off. The battery charge barely decreased

Things I dislike:

  • The Nook did not come with a wall charger. I have to buy this special.
  • The shelves don’t seem to hold on to documents I put in the SD card. Every time I load new ones, everything from the SD card disappears from the shelves. This could get annoying fast.
  • The power button is all the way in the back. It’s hard to press with the cover on. That may be the cover’s fault; it should have come with a cut out instead of being embossed with a small power icon where the button is. The cover is too thick for me press the power button through the cover. This may be one reason why I turned it off so rarely; the button is too hard to reach.

Also, in case anyone is interesting, I got the simple touch. I didn’t want the color screen. They are just tablets by another name, and if I get a tablet, I will get a real tablet.