General · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: American Elsewhere

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

Her mother was wearing a teal bathrobe and her hair was wet, and Mona remembers how embarrassed she was when he wind rose and the bottom of her mother’s bathrobe lifted up and Mona saw coarse pubic hair and realized her mother was nude under that robe, just naked as a jaybird. Her mother called for her to come, and Mona obeyed her mother knelt and whispered into Mona’s ear that she loved her, she loved her more than anything, but she couldn’t stay here, and she was so sorry.

– American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett

General · reading · work in progress · Writing

Action Scene on Page 1

This thought occurred to me today: It’s been a while since I’ve read a book had an action scene on page 1.

The last one was probably an urban fantasy several years ago. Even that went like this: stalk, stalk, fight scene.

Is that weird? I don’t feel like it is. But I am also considering rewriting the beginning of my WiP to an action sequence and I don’t think that is weird, either.

Is there some sort of unwritten rule that says: Thou shall not begin with an action scene?

I feel like I am breaking some sort of rule by wanting to start with an action scene. Well, more like a training/sparring sort of scene, a test of sorts for the main character.

And books start all the time with tests. Still. It would be all action, complete with a chase and a sort of explosion (a weak explosion. very weak).

flash friday · Writing

Friday Flash: Lost

I wrote this real fast and I’m not sure how it came out so . . . here you are!!!

She eyed the mob screaming on the palace steps and fingered the gold ring in her skirt pocket.

Oh, this was bad. Very bad. Not that she could understand what they was saying, but it couldn’t be good.

Good thing she wasn’t responsible for this; she’d only arrived in the country just three days ago.

She rubbed the distinctive flat head of the ring. It was all good, she reassured herself. Everything was fine. She would get out of this.

“What they saying?” she asked. For a boy who thought they was twins, he sure was stupid.

He smiled at her, happy as a child with a handful of sugar. “Do you recall the temple we visited yesterday? A . . . an artifact, I suppose you would call it, disappeared from there yesterday.”

Horrified, she looked up into his bright purple eyes. How had they discovered it so soon? She had stolen it only hours ago, right before dawn. “But I thought . . . guess you was wrong about only the royal family being able to touch it. Just silly folktales afterall.”

He smiled, shook his head. “Come. You were stolen so young, you still don’t understand our ways. Your ways. Mother wishes to see you.”

Book Review · General · reading

Book Review: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Blurb from GoodReads:

“One evening, my father asked me if I would like to become a ghost bride…”

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

 

I really enjoyed The Ghost Bride. The concept is new to me, a living woman married to the ghost of dead man.

The villains: stalker ghost and his deceased family.

My favorite: the afterlife.

Things I expected, but didn’t get:

  • From the blurb, I thought she was a ghost bride. She got a proposal, but there was no wedding.
  • There was a trial of the villains and I would have liked to see it. I guess only the results mattered to the main character, but the omission of the trial disappointed me.

Things I Liked Least: the romance wasn’t especially convincing.

The afterlife in this book is complicated, complete with bribery and corruption, demons and dragons who serve as minor government officials. I loved it. But I really love ghosts and dragons.

The ghost stalks her from the afterlife, and had he lived, I cannot think he would be much different. If he had lived and she had married into the household (their fathers had a childhood arrangement for her marry the cousin). I think he would have been an awful in-law, the kind who would hit on her and retaliate when she refused.

He haunts her dreams and insists she marry him. He sets up a party in her dreams, complete with unappetizing spirit food, and is upset when she rejects him.

She goes to see a medium, who gives her some medicine to keep the stalker ghost away. But one day it stops working, so she takes a lot more and gets so sick her soul is ejected from her body.

That’s when the book gets interesting. She meets hungry ghosts, a dragon, and she goes to the Plains of the Dead. The Plains is the underworld, with little villages and cities of ghosts. It is wonderful. This portrayal of the spirit world was amazing. This is my favorite part of the book.

The character comes into her own here. It stands in her good with her romance with the cousin of her stalker.

So . . . Girl sees boy; girl thinks she’s in love with boy. Truthfully, this romance never worked for me. I mean, he’s a good guy. But it just happened so fast. She visits him in his dreams and he burns a horse for her (she finds it very helpful in the Plains of the Dead). So I can’t see the romance was useless. But I think it was more lust at first sight rather than love at first sight.

In fact, I think, she fell in lust with the dragon, too. Who can blame her? And no human can compete with a dragon. She left with him in the end, but I don’t buy she’s is in love with him. Plus, he rescued her. So he’s a good guy, too.

In the end, I really, really enjoyed the books. The descriptions were marvelous. The story moved forward at a fairly brisk pace. It was well-written. You should read it, especially if you like ghosts.

General · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: The Enigma

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

So from one of Alan Turing’s teachers . . .

My Teasers:

He held that the defeat of German had come about ‘because she thought that Science and materialism were stronger than religious thought and observance.’ He called the scientific subjects ‘low cunning’, and would sniff and say, ‘This room smells of mathematics! Go out and a fetch a disinfectant spray!’

– Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges

General · science fiction

Books that you Read because of the Movie

Have you ever seen a movie and then decided to read the book the movie is based on?

Sometimes the movie is so fantastic and you just know the book has to be better! I mean, the book is almost always better. How could it be otherwise? Books have more detail, and more room for all the things that make a story good: character, plot, sorder.

Some movies like that for me include:

1. Interview With A Vampire
I saw Interview With A Vampire on TV and loved it! I found the book in the library and took it out soon after. I loved it, too. They weren’t the same, but they were close and I really liked it, too.

2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Um . . . Yeah, I started reading the books after the first movie came out. Not sure how I missed them before that. But I’m glad I did, because later on, in future books, I understood things they never explained in the movies.

3. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief wasn’t as awesome as the first Harry Potter movie, but it was still exciting and made me all excited to go find out what really happened. Which I did and really liked.

4. The Bourne Identity
I love love |ove all the Bourne movies! But the book was a disappointment. It was just so dated! And it did not age well! IMHO

I want to read the first James Bond book, but I haven’t managed it yet. I will someday!

flash friday · Writing

Friday Flash: Home

Snow covered the tumulus. Scraggly, bare brown branches rose above it, providing meager shelter against the weather.

Not that she needed shelter anymore.

Drifts piled up against the edges and the steps were impossible to see.

I sank in to the knee on the first step. Wet and cold seeped in past my pants and trickled down my bare skin.

I pushed my hands through the snow for something solid to brace my hands against. The snow was soft and white as my hair. Perfect.

I crawled up to the top of the tumulus, slowly and with great care. Cold seeped into me until I felt as though my bones were made of ice and my belly filled with rock pellets.

Gray edged my vision and my breath made foggy puffs of wind in the air. Snow started to fall again. It dotted my black coat like a white fungus. My face heated under the falling flakes and I laughed.

The sky was white, a glorious white, beautiful as my absent wife. It warmed me as she did. This snow, it was better than the softest wool blanket.

I stood at the top of the tumulus, panting. Blood covered my fingers, but all I felt was burning. This burn didn’t hurt, couldn’t compare to the ache in my chest.

I sank down under the nearest tree. Snow crusted my pants and shoes and shirt. But I didn’t care. The tree’s slender branches bracketed the sky and I knew I was home.