He stayed at a hotel four blocks from the White House, which is also not the part that's making me scream.
No: his hotel was ONE BLOCK away from a fountain pen store (Fahrney's) AND HE DIDN'T BUY ME ANYTHING AND BRING IT HOME AS A YOON-OFFERING.
I wasn't expecting him to buy me a fountain pen! (Among other things, Joe has not the faintest clue about fountain pens, let alone what I like.) But he could have bought me a bottle of ink! They would have had ink. And ink is relatively affordable.
Next time he goes to D.C. I'M COMING WITH.
I have informed him that my favorite colors are red and blue. I mean, I like a lot of colors, but this is Joe. He is confused by stationery supplies, so I want to keep it simple for him. He's only an astrophysics Ph.D, not expected to understand things like ink colors. ;)
I MAY BE BITTER.
(He read this over my shoulder then laughed at me. *shakes tiny fist* CURSE YOU, MY BELOVED JOE. CURSE YOU VERY MUCH. Imagine this said in the tone of Batman in the LEGO Batman Movie when he says, "I...hate you.")
In the meantime, I backed the Marigold Tarot (hat tip to pengwern) so I shouldn't complain. :p
This HaBO is from Mai, who’s been searching for this book for months:
I am not quite sure if this is a full-length novel, a novella, or part of an anthology.
It’s a historical book — the male lead is probably an earl or a duke of some sort and he’s married with children, but routine has dampened his and his wife’s relationship quite a bit. The man starts to leave his wife little notes to rekindle their love and I think these notes are about his fantasies or maybe he asks her out; I’m not too sure exactly.
I also remember that the male lead thinks a friend of his wife might be after her and that’s why he is so desperate to have her fall back in love with him.
Does anyone know this one?
Last week I had the pneumococcal vaccine, courtesy of what is still, mostly, a beneficient National Health Service.
Unlike the flu shot, it is a one-off and should, as they say, See Me Out.
However, while I tend not to have any repercussions from the flu shot, this one gave me a sore arm, like, really sore for 2-3 days and still quite tender after that, as well a day or two feeling Vaguely Crap, that well-known unspecific medical condition.
Thought this was All Over, but this morning, discovered I had a Sore Armpit. Don't know whether this is a final repercussion, a muscle I pulled and didn't realise, or, since partner had something yesterday that might have been a virus and involved various aches and pains, whether it is that, though on the whole I would say I feel a good deal less Vaguely Crap than a few days ago.
A general condition of Slob-Out was declared and has not yet quite terminated.
Nothing Like a Duke
Nothing Like a Duke by Jane Ashford is $1.99! This is a Kindle Daily Deal and is currently being price-matched. Redheadedgirl picked this one for a previous Hide Your Wallet since she’s enjoyed the series thus far. Readers said there’s some great banter in the book, but wished the plot and conflict had a bit more oomph.
A Georgette Heyer-esque tale of high society in the glittering Regency
Lord Robert Gresham has given up all hope that the beautiful Flora Jennings will ever take him seriously. He heads to an exclusive country house party to forget about Flora, but his plans are thwarted when she suddenly arrives.
Their attraction flares, but their romance becomes complicated when the sinister Anthony Durand shows up and threatens Flora. Every bone in Robert’s body says to save her…but he’ll have to learn that some damsels in distress can save themselves if he truly wants to win her heart.
If You Dare
If You Dare by Kresley Cole is $2.99! This is the first book in the MacCarrick Brothers series. Readers might be more familiar with Cole’s paranormal romances, but she started with writing historical romances. Cole typically writes Alpha heroes and this book is no exception. It has a 4-star rating on Goodreads.
Kresley Cole introduces a thrilling new romance trilogy featuring fierce Scottish brothers with dangerous lives, dark desires, and a deadly curse.
Can he exact revenge?
High in the Pyrenees, a band of mercenaries led by Courtland MacCarrick wages war for General Reynaldo Pascal. When Court turns on the evil general, Pascal orders him killed, but Court narrowly escapes and exacts revenge by kidnapping Pascal’s exquisite Castilian fiancée.
Can she deny her passions?
Lady Annalía Tristán Llorente despises her towering, barbaric captor almost as much as she does Pascal. Her inexplicable attraction to the Highlander only fuels her fury. But nothing will stop her from returning to Pascal—for if she doesn’t wed him, she signs her brother’s death warrant, as well as her own.
Can there be love between them?
From the moment Court discovers that Anna’s prim façade masks a fiery, brave lass, his heart’s ensnared, and he dares to defy the curse that has shadowed his life—to walk with death or walk alone. But Pascal vows that he’ll hunt the two, never stopping until he’s destroyed them both.
Bittersweet Blood by Nina Croft is 99c! This is the first book in The Order series and right now, you can grab all three books for less than $3! There’s definitely an element of suspense, which readers liked, while others felt it had a lot going on in terms of the cast of characters.
Tara Collins just wants to be normal. Everyone else wants her dead.
Tara’s eccentric aunt raised her to be fearful of the world and follow the rules. But after her aunt’s death, Tara is ready to take control and experience life for the first time. But she quickly discovers that everything she’s been told is a web of lies. Determined to solve the mystery of who she is truly, she hires private investigator to help her uncover the truth.
Christian Roth is more than your average PI. A vampire and ex-demon hunter, Christian lives among the humans, trying to be “normal.” But recently, things seem to be falling apart. There’s a crazed demon hell-bent on revenge hunting him down, and a fae assassin on the loose with an unknown target. And the Order he abandoned desperately needs his help.
As the secrets of Tara’s past collide with the problems in Christian’s present, she finds herself fighting her attraction to the dark and mysterious investigator. Falling in love does not fit into her plans at all, but Tara soon learns that some rules are meant to be broken.
Burn for Burn
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian is $2.99! This is a YA novel about three young women out for revenge and I immediately added this to my TBR pile when I saw it on sale. Be warned that there’s a quasi-cliffhanger ending, given that this is the first book in a trilogy.
BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY…THEY GET EVEN
Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes — and three girls secretly plotting revenge.
KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend.
LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.
MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.
None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.
With an unlikely alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently…” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together.
Having listened to the promotional strategy advice of a wide variety of people, I'm planning to accomplish two things this weekend. One will be to set up Hootsuite (or some equivalent social media manager, but that's the one people seem to prefer) to handle automated promotional reminders that I rarely have the emotional energy to do manually. The other will be to set up an opt-in (of course!) newsletter for fans and readers to provide both a direct way to communicate announcements and other information, and to provide special content in exchange for access to attention. I figure to aim for absolutely not more often than once a month except for things like unexpected special sales (which I never know about in advance). Maybe less often than once a month, we'll see. I have a hard time planning these things because I'm not a newsletter reader myself, so I have to figure out what works for people who are.
So what sort of content will the newsletter provide? A lot of it will be just basic information:
- Upcoming/New publication information
- Upcoming appearances
- Current projects
But I'll also be offering some special content not available to people who don't subscribe to the newsletter. And that's where you come in. Here are some ideas of my own, plus suggestions people have made online. Which of these would entice you to sign up for and read a newsletter? What other content would entice you?
- Worldbuilding information (Alpennian language, geography, history, etc.)
- Snippets of work in progress (no spoilers!)
- Exclusive previews of Alpennian short fiction (stories that will eventually be released either free or as a collection, but that I'm not trying to sell individually)
- Discussions of my writing process (for example, I kept a diary of how the plot of Daughter of Mystery developed as I was drafting it)
- Alpennia fan art (with the artists' permissions, of course!)
- Access to Alpennia swag (there is none yet, but I have some ideas percolating -- what would you be interested in?)
Let me know what you think. I'm still trying to get my mind around the psychological aspects of doing a newsletter and how it would differ from my blog, other than providing me with a list of people who have expressed a particular level of commitment and interest to following my writing.
This HaBO request comes from Julia and she’s trying to find a medieval romance:
I read this medieval romance about 12 years ago, back when I was a tween and my local public library still had their romance novels in one spot: the very back of the Adult Fiction section. I do not remember character names or the author, sadly. Here’s what I remember:
– Book was probably set in the 1300s.
– Heroine finds out her older sister has died and their father pulls her out of a convent to marry the hero in her sister’s place. I think the sister’s name was Sibylla, or some form of the name, but it may have been the heroine’s name instead.
– There’s a big spiel about spouses sleeping naked together. Heroine is nervous about this but hero assures her he’s not going to do anything until she’s more comfortable. Though I’m convinced he taught her the proper way to spoon.
– I remember a large battle at the end, where the hero’s helmet flies off during a duel with someone, probably the villain. I also think the heroine was either pregnant at this point or is giving birth while this is going on.
– The author had a “Historical Notes” section at the end. I think she used part of it to explain politics, how the hero’s helmet fell off during his duel, and say that “yes, medieval spouses slept naked”.
– I know there was an inside cover, and I think dark fuchsia was…incredibly prominent. It may have been a giant bed with dark fuchsia sheets. The fuchsia may have been on the cover as well.
Are you worried about nuclear war? I am too. Keep reading for a way to stop it with one simple action.
Maybe you feel small and powerless. But many snowflakes make an avalanche. If we all move in the same direction, we'll be unstoppable. We will only fail if we choose not to act.
Trump has the power to order a pre-emptive nuclear strike for any reason - or no reason at all. He's always shadowed by a man with a briefcase of codes, called the "nuclear football," to enable him to launch nuclear missiles at any time. It would take less than five minutes from his order to the missiles being launched, and no one could stop him. Republican Senator Bob Corker says Trump is leading us into World War III. I believe him.
But we don't have to stand by and let it happen. Let's pull away that football!
Both House and Senate have bills to prevent the President from launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike without a congressional declaration of war. They're both called the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.) Passing those bills may literally save the world.
How to save the world:
1. Contact your representatives in Congress. Ask them to co-sponsor the bill NOW, before it's too late.
2. Contact EVERYONE in Congress who might want to prevent a nuclear war. Usually people only speak to their own representatives. But with the fate of the entire world is at stake, it's worth contacting everyone who might listen.
3. Promote the Pull The Football campaign on social media. Trump isn't the only one who can use Twitter. Get on it and start tweeting #PullTheFootball.
Share this post on Facebook or Dreamwidth. Put up your own post on whatever social media you use. Ask your friends in person. If you know anyone in the media, contact them to get the word out. If you're not American, you can help by publicizing the campaign on social media that Americans follow.
How do I contact my representatives?
1. Resistbot is a free service that will fax, call, or write your representatives for you. Just text the word "resist" to 50409 to begin.
2. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to the representative of your choice.
I've contacted everyone. What now?
Contact them again. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. One water drop can be brushed away. Many water drops make a flood. Call, fax, or write as often as possible. Set aside 15 minutes every day to make as many calls or faxes as you can in that time. Relentlessness works - it's why the NRA is so successful. If they can do it, we can do it.
What do I say?
Page down for a sample script. Or speak or write in your own words.
Democrats to contact:
Every Democrat not currently sponsoring one of the bills. Thank them for their courage and service to the nation, and ask them to act now to save the world.
Thank the Democrats currently sponsoring the bills. There are 57 in the House and 9 in the Senate. Especially, thank Congressman Ted Lieu (sponsor of the House bill) and Sen. Edward Markey (sponsor of the Senate bill). Encourage them to step up their efforts to make it pass.
Republicans to contact:
The Republicans listed below are the most prominent who have voiced concerns about Trump. This is not an exhaustive list. There are more Republicans who might be receptive. For instance, all the House Republicans who just voted for more aid for Puerto Rico, and all Republicans who are retiring from their seats and so not worried about getting re-elected.
Sen. Bob Corker (202) 224-3344) warned us that Trump is setting the nation on a path to World War III. If you only contact one Republican representative, contact him. Thank him for his courage and urge him to follow through on his convictions.
Rep. Walter Jones (202) 225-3415 is the only Republican to support the bill. Thank him for his courage and urge him to get his colleagues onboard.
Other Republican senators to prioritize contacting: Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, Dean Heller, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Marco Rubio, and Bob Sasse.
Hello, my name is [your name.] I'm calling to ask Representative/Senator [their name] to co-sponsor the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.)
I believe Republican Senator Bob Corker when he says we're on the brink of World War Three. No one benefits from a nuclear war. But we can stop it if we choose to. This may be the most important action Representative/Senator [their name] will take in their entire life. It may literally save the world. I urge them to co-sponsor the bill restricting first use of nuclear weapons. Thank you.
Thank you for reading this far! Please share the post before you go.
1. Laundry! Two loads.
2. Attended two concerts, one Friday night, one Sunday afternoon.
3. Finished watching Defenders and helped a friend out with some stuff.
4. Bought a new black rayon shirt for choir, and hand-washed it in preparation for Wednesday night's concert.
5. Laid out clothes and chose makeup and packed my bag with choir folder and such for Tuesday and Wednesday, so I wouldn't have to do it in the mornings.
Dress rehearsal tonight; am currently eating oatmeal, and hoping this stomach unpleasantness has fully gone away.
Before I ever read a romance novel, I devoured Gothics by Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. When I was probably around twelve I found them on a bookshelf in our basement, and I think over the course of one summer I read everything both authors had written.
Gothic romances were and are the perfect blend of the creepy and the sexy. Usually set on a crumbling estate, the innocent heroine shows up (sometimes as a governess or poor relation or new wife) to meet the dark and mysterious lord of the manor/castle/whatever. These books were always told only from the heroine’s POV as she tried to piece together spooky happenings (ghosts, curses, diaries left behind by mysteriously dead former wives) while simultaneously fearing the hero and also wanting to bone him.
Sadly, there was no boning in Victoria Holt’s novels, but Eve Silver’s Dark Gothic series is here to rectify that. His Dark Kiss is the second book in the series, but totally works as a stand-alone read.
Emma Parrish arrives at Manorbrier Castle to act as governess to the son of her late cousin, Delia. Rumors abound that Lord Anthony Craven, Delia’s husband, was responsible for her death, but practical Emma dismisses this all as “stuff and nonsense.”
When she gets to Manorbrier, however, she realizes some seriously spooky shit is going on. First of all, the previous two governesses died under mysterious circumstances.
She overhears her student, adorable plot moppet Nicky, discussing her with the cook:
“I haven’t met her yet. But if she is like Miss Strubb or Miss Rust or…” The child shivered and hesitated briefly before saying the woman’s name in a hushed whisper. “…Mrs. Winter, then I think I should not like to meet her at all. And certainly if she is like Mrs. Winter, then she should go away and never come back. Papa could send her off in a pine box. Just like he sent Mrs. Winter.”
A pine box? Emma stood frozen, digesting the implications of all she had overheard. Clearly the child was frightened, and had quite possibly been ill-treated by his previous governesses. That he had suffered was a sad thing to be sure, but his trust could be gained with patience and love. So she worried not overmuch as to Nicky’s opinion of her, but the mention of a pine box for the unknown Mrs. Winter gave her pause. There was only one type of pine box he could mean.
A chill crept across Emma’s skin. It seemed that Mrs. Winter had left Manorbrier in a coffin, and by the child’s account, it was Lord Anthony who had put her there.
One of the things that’s tricky in a Gothic is making the hero a menacing and potentially murderous figure, while simultaneously making him desirable to the heroine and reader. Like a true Gothic hero, Anthony is darkly mysterious and handsome, and has a penchant for wandering around his castle with his shirt unbuttoned but tucked in. The Gothic hero sometimes intersected with (or was a precursor to) the vampire hero, so if you’re confused as to how he could be appealing, think about Spike or Angel or whoever Sarah McLachlan was singing about in “Building a Mystery” (ah, the nineties. Good times).
Emma doesn’t think Anthony is a murderer. He’s a devoted and loving father to Nicky, and he’s also very kind to those in his employ (when a maid gets pregnant out of wedlock, he keeps her on and also pays for the care of her sick mother). But there’s definitely something fucked up going on at Manorbrier. For one, all the other servants seem creepy and tight lipped about everything, like they’re all in on some huge conspiracy. Then there’s the mysterious Round Tower that Emma is explicitly forbidden from entering.
One day Emma is enjoying the fresh air when she sees the coachman, Griggs, carrying a bundle into the Round Tower:
From the bottom of the bundle dangled a human hand, the fingers curled like talons, the skin wrinkled and pale save for a terrible blackened lesion that marred the flesh, the center glistening wetly in the sun. Emma gasped and lurched away. ‘Twas not just any body, but a terrible, frightening thing riddled with disease.
Taking another involuntary step backward, she held up one hand, palm forward. Such a futile gesture aimed at warding off the horror that confronted her. She swallowed against the bile that crawled up her throat as frozen talons of true horror gouged her heart.
Griggs looked down.
“His Lordship likes ’em fresh,” he said. “Says it’s best for the harvest.” With a grunt, he hefted his morbid parcel, turned his back on her, and disappeared into the tower.
Now, any sane person would be like:
Not the Gothic heroine, though. The Gothic heroine is gonna wait until midnight, put on her flimsiest nightgown, grab a candle, and go figure this shit out.
One of the things this novel does really well is keep Anthony a darkly intriguing figure while also making him super bone-able. It’s a tough chord to strike, balancing fear and desire together, and going too far in any direction will ruin the mood so to speak.
Emma is illegitimate and acutely aware of what an affair with the lord of the castle could mean for someone in her position. That said, she and Anthony are drawn to each other with a delicious intensity. And the sex scenes in this book are hella hot.
One of the things that was a little frustrating, but also frankly a convention of the genre, is that much of the conflict could have been solved by Emma and Anthony talking. “Hey, why is Griggs carrying bodies into the Round Tower?” would be a pretty reasonable question to ask. Emma doesn’t often explicitly voice her concerns and when she does Anthony answers her in a vague and roundabout way. It keeps the mystery going, but it’s irksome.
That mystery is resolved nicely though and the clues as to what the hell is really going are peppered throughout the book in a way that the reader can solve it if they want to.
Now I do want to add a trigger warning. There’s a scene where a woman is in labor and in distress, and there is a frank conversation with the physician about performing an abortion (and how it would be performed) in order to save her life. This could be upsetting for anyone who had experienced something similar.
His Dark Kiss is also fairly creepy. It didn’t give me nightmares, but the horror element is sufficiently explicit that it might freak out more sensitive readers. Since I read creepy shit all the time, it didn’t bother me much.
If you’ve never read a Gothic and want to try one, or are just looking for seasonally spooky read, His Dark Kiss would be a good place to start.
. . . and then, of course, I found pre-printed "coloring book" fabric in a craft store, very cheap. So I decided to give it a try, using spare floss from my stash.
The fabric is "Zenbroidery", specifically the Garden print. The picture has suggested stitching, but, well, check out the big version: you could see the printing through the stitching, I just couldn't make myself do it. So I dug through the Needle 'n Thread archives for ideas, picked out some floss, popped the fabric on my Q-Snaps, and started out.
It was a lot of fun at first! Not having to look at a pattern makes things flow surprisingly quickly and enjoyably. And making the vines split off and curl around was very satisfying.
Here's as far as I got before I stopped:
( picture )
(click to make huge, or view on Google Photos)
I'm stopping for several reasons: I don't like the colors I picked; it's too big (10" square); satin stitch with a single strand of DMC is incredibly tedious; and worst, the fabric is just awful: it's so thin you can see the brown desk underneath it, and every time I had to pick out stitches or try to set them close together, I was afraid I'd rip it.
So I'm going to put this aside and get some better-quality (and smaller) preprinted fabric from Etsy, as my travel project. Because I have also started gridding the Teresa Wentzler Celestial Dragon, nearly eight years after I was given the pattern, and that's not a travel project in the least. (I'm making myself a ruler for the gridding, and even with that I'm still so nervous about messing it up that I'm sure I'm going to recount all the blocks regardless, because I'm planning to do as she suggests and stitch the border first . . . )
Do you embroider? Do you have a favorite pattern source or type? (I think I might try crewel at some point, because the nice soft thick wool threads look very appealing.)
Is anyone willing to listen to the song and transcribe the lyrics in comments? I would be happy to write you a flashfic to a prompt of your choosing. :]
(Based on the snippets of lyrics I do understand, I consider this to be the unofficial theme song of Revenant Gun, LOL.)
ETA: ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: Playing ping pong while the cat is lounging on the ping pong table. This lasted until a stray ping pong ball, uh, caught her in the snoot, at which point she scurried under the table...
This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.
RECOMMENDED: Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt is $2.99! This book seven in the Maiden Lane historical romance series, and hinted at a Beauty & the Beast theme. Elyse and Redheadgirl did a join review of the book and gave it an A-:
Elyse: For me it’s a solid B+. It was a good read, but lacked the Beauty and the Beast storyline I really wanted. Also Plot Moppets. And questionable choices on Apollo’s part.
Oh, there are great sex scenes though!
RHG: The sex scenes were great. I’d agree with the A-.
A MAN CONDEMNED…
Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown’s soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he’s quickly driven to distraction…
A DESPERATE WOMAN…
London’s premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she’s forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren’t the only inhabitants-a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there’s more to this man than meets the eye.
OUT OF ASH, DESIRE FLARES
Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he’s forced to make a choice: his love for Lily…or the explosive truth that will set him free.
The Crown’s Game
The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye is $1.99 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble! This is a YA fantasy novel that has been sitting on TBR pile for a bit. It sounds so awesome, but I’m also hesitant to pull the trigger when it comes to YA. Readers loved the Russian setting and the magical element, but wanted more political intrigue over the romance.
Vika Andreyev can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.
And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.
Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?
For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.
And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.
As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.
My Lady Jane
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton is $1.99! This book comes highly recommended and I keep bumping it up, higher and higher, on my TBR list. This is a YA fantasy novel that many readers find clever and really entertaining. However, others didn’t find it very memorable. It has a 4.1-star rating on Goodreads.
The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.
At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.
Rooms by Lauren Oliver is $1.99! This is a departure from Oliver’s previous YA novels, as this seems to fall more into adult fiction. Based on the description, it also seems perfectly spooky for an October read. Reviewers say the book starts off strong, but their interest seemed to wane halfway through. Have you read this one?
A tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways
Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.
But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.
The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.
There has been the most ominous-looking light over north London for several hours now - a sort of copper colour. The sky is covered by a greyish cloud with wisps of whiter cloud drifting across it.
No rain, a bit of a breeze wafting through the trees in the street, but so far, nothing stronger.
The effect is somewhat John Martin-esque, or possibly requiring figures to run through the pocket park behind the house crying 'Heathcliff!' 'Cathy!'. Or at least, the foreshadowingly brooding overture to such.
I assume this is something to do with Hurricane Ophelia, even if so far this part of England is not supposed to be affected. This morning when I went shopping it was sunny and unusually warm, but I put that down to the Little Summer of St Luke.
Hotel Window, Edward Hirsch
Aura of absence, vertigo of non-being --
could I ever express what happened?
It was nothing, really, or next to nothing.
I was standing at the window at dusk
watching the cabs or the ghosts of cabs
lining up on the other side of the street
like yellow ferryboats waiting to cross
a great divide. All afternoon the doorman
whistled through the shadows, Charon
slamming doors and shouting orders
at traffic piling up along the curb.
People got into cars and disappeared --
ordinary people, tourists, businessmen --
while fog thickened the city's features
and emptied out the color. I don't know
how long I stood there as darkness
inhabited air itself, but suddenly,
when it happened, everything seemed dis-
jointed, charged with non-existence,
as if a vast, drowned lake was rising
invisibly- permanently- from the ground.
At the same time nothing really changed,
footsteps still echoed in the hallway
and laughter flared up the stairwell,
the passengers flinging themselves into cabs
never noticed they were setting forth
on a voyage away from their bodies.
I felt within a sickening emptiness --
intangible, unruly -- and I remember
lying down on the floor of the room ...
Then the phone rang and it was over.
Nothing happened -- it took only a moment --
and it was dizzying, relentless, eternal.
Hirsch was born in 1950 and is still writing and publishing poetry, criticism, and guides to reading poetry.
Subject quote from Maurice Ravel, responding to criticism that "Le tombeau de Couperin" wasn't somber enough.