Saturday, February 27, 2016

All the Light We Cannot See~Anthony Doerr | Review

Title: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII Fiction
Length: 530 Pages (Hardcover)
Release: May 2014
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

This book was beautiful. Historical fiction always fascinates me, particularly that surrounding WWII. There is so much pain and horror in war, but also lines of underlying goodness. This book was a beautiful combination of those two things. The horror was there, but so was the beauty. 

The story follows two main characters Marie-Laure, a bling french girl living with her great uncle in Saint-Malo France, and Werner, a brilliant young German orphan who is taken into the German military at a young age because of his skill with radios. There are many side characters that are connected to these two central characters in some way. 

Perhaps the thing that I loved most about this book was how it was sectioned off. It starts with a bombing in 1944 only to jump back ten years. Then it alternates between the present (1944) and the years leading up to this one big event. This was so brilliantly done and I loved it. You're thrown into the story with very little knowledge about the characters, who they are, what they are after, anything, and as the story jumps from past to present you start to piece together each of their stories. You also start to realize how they are all connected, because they are. Every single one of them. 

The story is told through images and metaphors, beautifully pieced together into a whole. There is heartbreak, horror, pain, devastation, and beauty. Imagine anything you can about a war and this book gives you a piece of it. It tears apart lives, destroys families, flattens entire countries. But there is beauty through the pain. You see how people change and influence each other for good as well as bad. And the journey is magnificent. 

The story and narrative style may not appeal to all readers, but I would highly recommend this book. It was beautiful, emotional, heart-wrenching, heartwarming, and devastating all at once. If you've even thought about reading this, then stop thinking and do it.      

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Calamity~Brandon Sanderson | Review

Title: Calamity (The Reckoners #3)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: YA Dystopian Fantasy
Length: 421 Pages
Release: February 2016
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Do you like superpowers, super villains, bad metaphors, great action scenes, and just all around greatness? Then you should read this series. That should also include young adult, since that's the target audience for this series, but anyone can enjoy it.

There are several things that make this series great. So let me tell you about them. First, David. Our first person main protagonist is a eighteen or nineteen year old kid who grew up in a world ruled by super villains and dreamed of taking them down. He's charismatic, but lacks social skills possessed by most people his age, since he's obsessed over the epics his entire life, trying to learn all of their weaknesses. David is probably the best thing about this series, which is great, since he is the main character.

Second, the Reckoners. Book two Firefight left behind a couple of my favorite Reckoner crew members, but they are all back for Calamity. Some new, somewhat reluctant, members of the crew are also introduced and make for wonderful additions. Each of these characters really brings something different to the group, no two of them are the same. They come from different countries, backgrounds, cities, you name it. And it works so well.

Third, super powers, obviously. There are so many different powers explored throughout this series, from people who can turn everything to steel or fry an entire city to those who can grow finger nails really quickly. Ok, that last one is barely explored, but I'm pretty sure it's mentioned. And each of these people has some weakness built into them, something they fear that dampens their abilities. The exploration of these is so much fun.

Fourth, lots of action. This series, and this book in particular, is full of action. The Reckoners are fighting against the super villains who rule entire nations. Of course there is going to be action. And loads of tech built from these super powers is used to help out our heroes.

Fifth, multiple dimensions. This book explores this more than any other and it's insane! In the best possible way. I found these aspects, while confusing, to be completely captivating. I like not knowing how everything works. It makes it that much more exciting. And if Brandon Sanderson ever feels so inclined to write another book or series about any of the characters in these other dimensions, I definitely would not complain.

Sixth, a great ending. I know some people are not completely satisfied with how this story wraps up because there is so much left open, so many questions not fully answered, but that's what makes it beautiful! Seriously, I don't want to know the answers to everything. My mind can spin so many different stories of its own from what we were given and I like that. I don't feel like I was confined to one way of thinking. There are so many possibilities. Also, if Sanderson does ever decide to explore this world again, there is plenty of room left open.

I didn't want to delve too deeply into this book, since it's the third in a series and people might not have read the others, but I loved it. David and the gang were brilliant. There was some definite heartbreak, a lot of struggle, great new characters, and a marvelous ending. I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys dystopian/fantasy stories and super powers.

If you've read it, I would love to hear what you think!    

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday Talks | Plot Lines I Want to See

If you want to find out more about the discussion group Tuesday Talks, visit the goodreads group. It was created by Janie and Janelle (a couple of great booktubers) for booktubers and bloggers to discuss bookish topics. It's always open to new members and new ideas, so check it out!

Things I want to See in My Genre of Choice
As many of you probably know, if you've visited my blog before, I tend to read a variety of genres. I read more young adult than anything else, in general, but of various genres within that category. The things I want to discuss are not plot lines, per se, but things that I personally want to see more. 

First of all, it seems to have become the thing, in YA particularly, for their to be a "strong" female lead. While I understand that historically females have not had the best representation in fiction, at times I think this leading woman is taken too far. I guess it all depends on your definition of the word strong. Personally, I would love to see a plot surrounding a woman/girl who has to develop strength and independence without being emotionally insensitive. I'm not trying to say that all leading women in YA are, but sometimes I want to tell the women in the books I'm reading that it's ok to cry. It's ok to say I love you. Those things don't make you weak. So while that's not going to be the main plot of a story, I would like to see strong women who embrace their feelings more. That's just been lacking in a lot of what I've read recently. 

More focus on friendship. This is particularly true within YA. Maybe I've just been reading all the wrong books (although I really love some of them), because it seems like most YA, no matter the genre, becomes almost entirely focused on romance. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate a good love story too, but I want to see more friendship and family relationships developed. It always seems like there has to be a romantic pairing for every main character, and I want to see that stepped away from. Romance can be good, but sometimes it's overdone.  I want a great plot with a good romance, not a great romance with a little plot.

Both of these things apply to fantasy, which is my absolute favorite genre. For me, plot is nearly secondary in a story. It needs to have great characters and I can love it, no matter the plot. Well, that's not entirely true. I do need the plot to be somewhat enjoyable, but if a book has great characters I'm going to like it. 

So here are my scattered thoughts this week. What plots or story arcs would you like to see more in your favorite genre?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Join Up~Tudor Robins | Review

Title: Join Up (The Island #3)
Author: Tudor Robins
Genre: YA Romance/Equestrian
Length: 196 Pages
Release: December 2015
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

I received a copy of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This novel picks up several years after the conclusion of Wednesday Riders and now follows Lacey, instead of Meg, as she ventures off to work as an instructor at a riding camp. 

The switch from Meg to Lacey as first person narrator, was a little surprising, but not a bad thing. While I didn't feel that Lacey felt like the same character as she was in previous installments, she was likable enough. In this novel she's preparing to head off to University, but first she has to save some money. She and Carly, another of the riders from the previous book, head off to work at a summer camp. But there is drama waiting there. And it's drama of the love-life variety.

Lacey was a little more insecure than I would have expected when it comes to love. She hadn't had a boyfriend, up to this point, let some guy kiss her and then start dating her friend without saying anything, and still fantasized about that kiss. I know, I had my share of teen angst and turmoil with friends and love, but this wasn't what I expected from Lacey. She always seemed strong willed and independent, whereas here she seemed more afraid of upsetting people, even when they needed to be upset. 

The horse aspect of things was slightly better here, but still not as in depth as I would have liked. There seemed to be more development with Lacey and Night than there had been with the horses in the previous books, which I liked, it just wasn't really incorporated enough. Just like in the previous books, the horses felt like a side story and not a focus point, which was not what I was expecting going into this series. 

Just like with the previous books, there is plenty of teenage love drama going on here. Lacey and Fitch have a funny banter that starts out as friendship and continues into something more. I thought they were cute, but I wish that everything didn't have to be about finding a boyfriend or making out. I'm just glad that Lacey realized not everyone was a loser like Cade. 

Meg and Jared make some appearances, seeming to be a perfect couple. The years have gone well for them it seems, though there isn't too much detail into what they're up to aside from their farming and riding. They didn't feel like the same characters to me either, which I know would be hard since so much time is supposed to have passed. 

The drama was handled much better in this installment than in the previous one. While there was still stuff that annoyed me, things were handled in a more grown up way in general, which improved the book in my eyes. I do think that there was a bit too much going on in this book that wasn't entirely needed. A little more focus on the horses, a little less on romance, maybe dial down the family drama, and this could have been just the book for me. The conclusion was fairly satisfactory and leaves enough open for future books, if the author chooses to write any more. 

This was definitely an improvement over Wednesday Riders, but still wasn't quite the book for me. If you enjoy teen romance and drama, with a sprinkling of horses, this would definitely be a book to check out. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wednesday Riders~Tudor Robins | Review

Title: Wednesday Riders (The Island #2)
Author: Tudor Robins
Genre: YA Romance/Equestrian
Length: 238 Pages
Release: February 2015
My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

I was not blown away by Appaloosa Summer, but I was still intrigued and waiting to see what happened in Wednesday Riders. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed with what I got. 

While I enjoy young adult novels and have liked my fair share of love drama in the past, it really annoys me for the love story in a book to completely overshadow everything else. And that's what happened here. I also understand that there has to be some conflict, and not all relationships are perfect, in fact, no relationship is, but the way that Meg and Jared's turmoil was presented was just not something I could enjoy. They were both extremely immature about the situation and I didn't feel like it was ever truly resolved. Also, why was everyone they knew as into their breakup as they were? Yes, I understand that these are both people that they cared about, but it seemed like everyone was devastated by their breakup. That just did not seem realistic to me. 

The Wednesday Rider girls were fun and their drama a little more realistic and relatable, even for someone in their 20s. Almost everyone has had that experience, where they start to drift away from their friends for one reason or another. Certain things about this still frustrated me though. I don't want to go into too many details and give a lot of spoilers, but I think Meg's role in this drama was perhaps the thing that annoyed me most. She wanted to seem a lot older than the younger girls, but never really did. I don't know, it just really frustrated me. 

I wanted a horse book in reading this series, but I never really felt like I got it. Meg has a new horse, Jess, who has had some problems in the past, but we don't really get to see Meg work through any of these problems. And then she let's a girl she's never seen ride before start using her horse...Call me crazy, but that's not something I could just do. Not with a horse like Jess. 

The characters just never felt like they did in the previous book. Meg was less independent and more focused on her relationship with Jared than I would have expected. The side story with her sailing didn't add much, other than some frustrating love drama with Adam. Ergh. Jared was insecure and silly. Everyone else was too into the teen love drama. And I didn't feel like the younger girls received enough development. 

In summation, this book had some enjoyable moments. I liked the horsey stuff, but it always felt like a side story and not the story, which was not what I was expecting or wanting. There is a lot of teen romance and drama, which would definitely appeal to some readers, but was not for me. The conclusion, while not as satisfying as I would have liked, wasn't bad. I definitely think this would appeal to a lot of YA romance fans, particularly if they like drama.   

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday Talks | Comparative Book Blurbs

This Tuesday we have another interesting topic for Tuesday Talks, one that I've been thinking about quite a lot in the past few months. If you don't know about Tuesday Talks, please visit the goodreads group to check out everyone's post and get involved yourself.

Comparative Book Blurbs: Good or Bad?
Like with most things there are pros and cons to comparative book blurbs. However, I typically feel that the cons far outweigh the pros. Let me tell you why. 

The main good thing I can see coming from a comparative blurb is more recognition and faster. When someone sees the words Hunger Games meets Game of Thrones or Romeo and Juliet in a Divergent World or The Next Harry Potter, or something along those lines, they are likely to recognize it. These aren't necessary the best examples (and not even real ones), but you get the idea. It's usually a very well known series or book that is plastered all over a new title to get attention. And it's great for that reason; it gets your book attention. But is it the attention you want. 

The big negative with comparative blurbs is the reader expectations that are created. In some ways it might turn people away from a book. If they see it compared to something they didn't like, they might not give it a chance thinking it will be a repeat when in reality they might enjoy it a lot. 

Then there is the flip side. If someone loved a book a lot and bought another book because it was compared to that book, their expectations are likely to be sky high. And when you go into a book like that, a lot of the time it ends in disappointment. 

I completely understand comparing books, although I try not to. Sometimes the books are similar in some way, sometimes you want that eye catching name on there to get an initial audience, there are a lot of reasons why it happens. And in some ways this can be really good. People might see it and pick up the book and it become their favorite, they might not notice and pick up the book anyway, it might get a huge audience and sales that will make it more noticeable to future readers. There are lots of pros to that that could happen. I just don't feel that the overall impression is really a good thing. 

These types of blurbs tend to change the way I read or enjoy something. I don't do it on purpose. I wish I could ignore it, but once I've seen those words it sticks in my head. And my expectations either rocket sky high or plummet. 

What do you think about comparative book blurbs? Are they good, bad, or it just doesn't matter to you?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Call Her Mother | Original Poem

This is a somewhat older poem of mine. I think I first wrote it a few years ago and edited it a bit last year. And now I've decided to share it with you! I hope you enjoy it and please feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions.

Call Her Mother
Her tears break my heart
I fall
Into a sea of nothing
Her sobs crush my soul
I fall
Over and over and over again
The story has no end
I call her mother
Tell her I love her
But the words, never leave my lips
I can't show what I feel
Although the pain is so real
Her cries tear me apart
I fall
Saying "mother, don't cry"
But my voice is paralyzed
She chokes on another sob
I lie shattered on the floor
It's never enough
I can't be enough
~C P Cabaniss~

Note: This is my original work, please do not copy without permission. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Great Hunt~Robert Jordan | Review

Title: The Great Hunt (Wheel of Time #2)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: High Fantasy
Length: 705 Pages Paperback
Release: 1990
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

This is the second book in my journey through The Wheel of Time. Going into a second book is always rough because now you have a new set of expectations. You want answers to questions, to get to know the characters, and for the book the surpass its predecessor. While I have not been blown away by either of the books, I do think this one was at least as good as the first, if not slightly better.

One of the main drawbacks from the first one was the lack of relatable characters. I need a character driven story. Going into this one I felt much more connected with the characters and that connection continued to grow throughout. The story delves more deeply into some of the characters and their personalities, though perhaps not as much as I would like. Perrin remains my favorite of the Emond's Field boys and I wish we had more time inside his head. Rand, our main character, continued to annoy me, but I did start to like him a bit more. Mat is always complaining and I found him very irksome for a majority of the book, but eventually even he started to grow on me. 

Now here's to the main thing that annoys me. The women. I just don't like the idea that all of the women seem to think they're geniuses and that all men are idiots. At times I would really like the girls, then they would say or do something, usually regarding one of the guys, and I just couldn't take it anymore. Egwene has so far been the worst, but I did like her at times. Nynaeve is probably my favorite, but even her view of men is not one I like. Selene, who was introduced here, was probably the worst of all. I just really could not stand her. And I know she is likely to show back up, so I'm dreading her reappearance. Min, who was introduced in the previous book, was more of a major role here and I found her likable. She's different than a lot of the other women, which I appreciated. 

The story drags at parts as lots of the novel is spent traveling. While there is a lot going on, it can get somewhat repetitive. Jordan also has a tendency to ramble at times, so some of those lulling parts were expanded much more than needed. Even with the lulls, there was still a lot of action and plenty of new questions to be answered in the next installment. Some characters reappeared, some were introduced, secrets were revealed, secrets were kept, and now it's just a matter of waiting for it all to collide. 

While this is not mind blowingly brilliant, I do find myself really enjoying these books and look forward to continuing the series. I think that many fantasy fans would enjoy them, if they can overlook similarities to Lord of the Rings. The world is interesting, the characters aren't too bad, and the story is fun and compelling it not altogether brilliant. Now onto book three in March!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Monthly Recommendations | Not Another Love Story

Monthly Recommendations is a goodreads group created by Kayla (from the booktube channel Kayla Rayne) and Trina (from Between Chapters). Each month we recommend books to each other that fit a specific category.

Not Another Love Story: Books that Don't Focus on Romance
So I have to be honest, a lot of the books that I read and enjoy do have a rather prominent romance going on. I don't tend to like romance as a genre, but romances are infused within everything. Here are some books that don't have a romance heavy focus (although there may be some romance in there).

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein  is a YA novel that focuses on the friendship of two girls caught up in WWII. It's beautiful, sad, and just plain compelling. I listened to the audiobook (for most of the book) and loved it. Highly recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction.  

I couldn't not mention a Brandon Sanderson novel. The Alloy of Law is the first of the Wax and Wayne books which are part of the Mistborn world. While there is a little romance in the series, there is more focus on friendships and solving crimes. The entire Mistborn series is actually great for that reason, it's never too romance heavy. I do recommend that you've read the original Mistborn trilogy before picking this up though. 

The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer has been a favorite for many years. It's middle grade, has fairies, and is about a twelve-year-old criminal mastermind. What's not to like? And it does not focus on romance. In fact there is very little mention of romance in the entire series. 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo has romance, but it's so subtle that you hardly notice it. Or even if you do it's not overwhelming. The characters have so much more going on both together and apart that the romance aspect never has a chance to get overdone. It's so good.   

I'm sure there are plenty of other books that I could mention, but I'm going to stick with these four. What books would you recommend that are low on romance?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday Talks | Favorite Love Stories and Couples

This week we have a Valentine themed topic for Tuesday Talks. If you don't know what this is, it's a discussion group created by Janie and Janelle that was designed for booktubers and book bloggers to discuss bookish related topics.

Love Stories and Couples: My Favorites
As many of you know, I'm not a huge reader of romance. However, there is usually some romantic theme in the books that I read. And I typically really enjoy them. So here are some of my favorite love stories and couples.

Odd Thomas and Stormy Llewellyn from the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. These are some of my favorite books and I just love this couple. Seriously, they are adorable. There is so much messed up in their lives and with their families, but they've found each other and they support each other. It's beautiful.

Vin and Elend from the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. These two. Goodness, I love them. It's not a main focus of the series, but this relationship is crucial in so many ways. And while some might call this insta-love, I didn't mind it. Here it worked. Part of it is that the initial attraction didn't lead straight to a relationship, there was still a foundation laid. Just beautiful.

Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. This is one of my favorite novels of all time and the relationship between these two is beautifully crafted. They both misjudge each other right from the beginning and it's a somewhat slow and gradual process for them to actually get to know and appreciate each other. 

There are many more I know I could list, but I don't want to go on all day. What are some of your favorite love stories? Who are some of your favorite couples?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Rainbows and Roses~Linda Dobinson | Review

Title: Rainbows and Roses
Author: Linda Dobinson
Genre: Poetry
Length: 57 Pages
Release: November 2015
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

I love to read poetry, but don't find myself actually doing it all that often so I was happy to take some time to read this little collection. 

This is a small collection of poetry that deals with a variety of subjects. There are some about love and loss, some about cats, and many other subjects. Some are humorous, some are not. There is something for almost anyone, assuming you enjoy poetry. 

The collection is short and easy to read. I found a majority of the poems very fun and well written. There were a few that were kind of off for me, but I feel like that is what you get with poetry. Sometimes certain things are easier to relate to than others. Those few poems I couldn't connect with just kind of threw me out of a poetry mind set. Sometimes it was phrasing, sometimes subject matter. 

My overall opinion of this poetry collection is this: it was really good. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys to read poetry, or would like to give it a try. It's short enough not to be too much of a hindrance if you decide it's not your thing, but enjoyable if it is.

At the end of this, I was really enjoying the poems. I tried to turn the page (on my kindle) for the next one, only to realize I had read through the entire thing. I was ready for more. So give this one a try, I think you'll be glad you did. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ferris Wheel | An Original Short Story

Hi, there! I think Saturdays are going to become my day for post original writing. This week I have a short story to share. It's recently written and not at all edited yet, so please give me any feedback you have!  

Ferris Wheel by C P Cabaniss

The line of semi translucent people wound through the woods and down an old gravel path, ending abruptly with a drop that would terrify even the most daring of individuals. Standing on the edge, looking down into that black abyss, a soft mist surrounding her, Ruby wanted to be terrified but couldn’t find the will. She was, after all, already dead. What could a fall of several hundred feet do to her now? Even if there were rocks at the bottom, waiting to dash her body to pieces. Could her body even be dashed? More than fear, Ruby felt a sense of curiosity. Not that she was ready to throw herself to a second death or anything—she still didn’t know if she could feel pain, after all—but now that mortality was behind her, fear seemed like such a silly response to the unknown.

Ruby wasn’t quite sure how she had gotten here, after the accident. One second she was falling through glass, her skin ripping open, body riddled with pain, and the next she was here, standing at the edge of a cliff, in a line of other—presumably—dead individuals. She wanted to ask a question, but every time she opened her mouth someone glared at her. Apparently there was a taboo on speech. Go figure.

The line ahead of her shuffled forward, another person disappearing into the fog and trees, lost to sight. An odd screech was coming from somewhere in those woods, and even though she was not—could not be—afraid, going toward that sound did not seem wise, so she tried to linger there on the cliff side, contemplating her second death. Only, someone appeared behind her, administering a sharp jab to her back, and she was pushed forward in line, another step closer to the tree line.

The darkness was denser the closer they moved to the towering trees. Ruby studied her surroundings, not sure if it was night or day in this odd after life she had fallen into. There were no stars or moon, despite the dark, nothing to shed even the barest light. But it was light enough to see, which defied logic. You had to have light to see and light had to have a source. That’s just how things worked. But then, this was somewhere other and the laws of nature that Ruby had come to accept, if not understand, might have changed. Perhaps it was darkness that needed a source here, and not light.

A shrill cry issued from the woods, filling Ruby’s bones with dread, if not fear. She was moving closer every minute, a jab to her back pushing her forward when she tried to stay still, her tennis shoes scraping on some unknown, unseen, debris. No one else seemed to react to the cry, continuing placidly along, their transparent forms blending with the eerie mist before becoming substantial once more. The line behind her was filling in, a new person appearing every time the line moved forward. She never could see them appearing; one second her eye was looking at empty air and the next there was a person standing there. None of them seemed surprised. It was like they had expected this. She wasn’t positive, but she was pretty sure no religion she ever studied presented the afterlife as a moving line into an unknown copse of trees from which screeches and cries would issue forth. Then again, religion had always confused her, so maybe she just hadn’t noticed.

Finding herself on the path inside the column of trees was unnerving, even if she couldn’t be scared. Ruby rubbed her arms, trying in vain to generate heat in her unfeeling limbs. At least they aren’t sprouting shards of glass, she told herself, taking another step forward. The mist ahead of her suddenly cleared, giving her a clear view of what was making that screeching, creaking noise.

“A Ferris Wheel?” She said, addressing no one in particular, not noticing the glares being cast her way. “We died and were brought to ride on a Ferris Wheel? What kind of afterlife is that?” No one answered, but a few did nod, so she wasn’t completely alone. She wasn’t sure if that should be comforting or terrifying, considering where she was.

One by one those in front of her were ushered onto the Ferris wheel and whisked from site. The man running the controls was translucent like the rest of them, another spirit lost in the paradise of cheap amusement park rides. He seemed almost happy to usher the people forward, into the little swinging cabins that would carry them high into the sky. The Ferris wheel was big, far bigger than any she had ever seen in life.

Each of the cabins was enclosed with glass, a black veil draped over the top. A small door in the side of the cabin allowed new passengers to enter. These were quickly closed by the happy control man, who smiled at each occupant before pushing his lever and sending them on their way. The black veils fluttered, disturbing the mist, as the cabin rose up, up, up into the sky before finally being lost to the vast blackness above.

When Ruby was nudged to the front of the line the control man smiled, ushering her forward with exaggerated eagerness. The cabin waiting for her was empty, she thought, though she couldn’t see inside. The black veil shut out all the light. She suddenly wished she could feel fear.

“You know, I don’t much like heights,” she told the man, hearing several hisses from those behind her in line. “I think I’ll just go back to the cliff and see what I can find.” She thumbed over her shoulder, trying to take a step back.

The operator man grabbed her arm, pulling her forward until their noses were nearly touching. “It’s time to embrace your destiny, Ruby.” His voice was gravelly and unused; she suddenly wondered how long he had been here. At the same time she felt a shiver down her back, the first thing she had actually felt this whole time. Before she could even struggle to get away, the man shoved her into the cabin and slammed the little door behind her, enfolding her in the arms of darkness.

The light had felt unnatural before, but at least she had been able to see. Now she was…not terrified. She still couldn’t feel fear, even after being manhandled by some ancient dead man forcing people to ride a Ferris wheel. Her death was getting weirder and weirder. Could she not be normal for once in her life and do things the simple way? A white light, maybe angels singing. Something that was not this?

Righting herself in the cabin, trying to pull herself up into the seat, she suddenly sensed another presence with her. She held her breath, although she didn’t technically have to breathe, and waited. She was not going to make the first move here. Things didn’t seem to go well for her when she did.

“Welcome aboard, Ruby. I’ve been waiting for you.” The voice was smooth and silky, deep, masculine. Light suddenly illuminated the small space, almost blindingly bright after the dimness of the fog and the darkness from seconds before.

The man with her was young, her own age, maybe. And gorgeous. His eyes were a bright green that shone in the light; they seemed to almost create the light. His brown hair was thrown back in windswept waves, falling over his ears, framing his face.

“Great. Couldn’t you have at least been ugly? Now I have to deal with a beautiful angel of darkness or whatever you are. How long is this ride going to take anyway? I want to get back on the ground. And how do you know my name?” She pulled herself into the seat across from the angel of death, giving him a glare.

“I know all about you, Ruby. I’ve been waiting for you. And what makes you think we’re going back to the ground?” His voice almost made her want to melt. Almost.

“Uh, because that’s what Ferris wheels do? They take you for a ride and then let you out. Haven’t you ever been to an amusement park? I mean, other than this one?” The little cabin swayed, rocking them gently as they climbed higher and higher. At least, Ruby assumed they were moving. She couldn’t tell since the black veil prevented her from seeing out and all.

“Ferris… No. I don’t think you understand. Did you see anyone else return?” The guy was shaking his head, like there was something wrong with her.

“What do you mean, of course—“ She stopped abruptly. She hadn’t seen anyone else come back. They all got into a cabin, usually more than one per cabin, unlike her, and none of them ever came back. All of them were empty when they returned to the ground. “What happened to all those people?” She demanded.

“This is the Dimensional Wheel, or one of them, at least. There are many possibilities for those who enter its cabins. I do not know where all of them have gone, but I do know where you’re going.” He moved forward, into her space, so quickly that she didn’t have time to react. “You can save us. You were not fractured and so you can put us back together.”

Ruby narrowed her eyes as the man moved to the door. He glanced back at her, reaching a hand to pull something from her hair, as he pushed the door open with the other. She looked out and had to stifle a gasp. Everything is made of glass. An entire city spread before her, seeming to sway with each tilt of her Ferris wheel cabin. An entire city made entirely of glass.

“You’re our glass rose,” the man said, brandishing what he had pulled from her hair moments before. It was a delicate glass flower that looked close to breaking in his large fingers. He was surprisingly gentle as he cradled it. “You have been sent to save us. The prophecies said you would come, falling through a shower of glass. And you did.”

With a soft groan Ruby shakes her head, the memories from her accident flooding her thoughts. She remembers all of her careful work in packing the flowers for the wedding, how some of them had small glass flowers, like the one now cradled in the strange man’s fist, woven into their stems. She was driving, trying to get there in time to set up, on a deadline, worried she wouldn’t get paid in full if she didn’t hurry. And then the truck that came out of nowhere. The crunch of metal as the two vehicles collided. The spray of glass from every direction, how she was thrown through the backseat, the flowers pricking her skin, through the back window. The pain was unbearable.

“The glass rose has come to save us,” the man whispered, brandishing the flower, making her meet his eyes. “Our city is fractured and you can repair it. It is your destiny.”

“Great,” Ruby sighed, casting her eyes back over the city of glass. The Ferris wheel cabin swayed beneath her feet. “Why couldn’t I have just died like a normal person?”

This is an original short story. All rights belong to me, the author. Please do not copy without permission.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Appaloosa Summer~Tudor Robins | Review

Title: Appaloosa Summer (The Island #1)
Author: Tudor Robins
Genre: YA Equestrian Romance
Length: 248 Pages
Release: June 2014
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

The title of this novel caught my attention almost right away. My mind was flooded with memories from all those summers (and every other season of the year, too) that I spent with my beautiful Appaloosa Smokin' Joe. Still, I was hesitant. Picking up horse books can be hard for me (but I'm getting better!), because it's so easy to get wrong. I'm happy to say that this book did a very nice job with the equestrian side of things. 

Meg, our main character, is devastated when her horse Major dies in the middle of a competition. After recovering from her own injuries, Meg ventures to her parent's island cottage for a summer job, not yet ready to let another horse take Major's place. 

This book was filled with likable, easy to relate with characters. They aren't always as believable as I would like, as there were not many flaws shown by the characters. Aside from that, they were nicely done. There isn't too much drama, which was a nice break from a lot of the YA I've read recently. The drama that was there stayed mostly in the periphery of the story and was handled gently, never thrown at you. In some respects this was almost more middle grade than YA, in terms of how situations were handled and characters portrayed. 

The horse side of the novel was cute and showed some of the emotional baggage that goes with loving horses. I could feel Meg's pain over her loss, though I think it would take me much longer to emotionally recover from something like that. It was nice to see her growing bond with Salem, the Appaloosa she acquires during her stay in the cottage. My only complaints with the horsey side of things is that there could have been more. Salem was already well trained and Meg didn't seem to have to work enough to get her where she wanted her to be. Their relationship as horse and rider could have been explored more. Aside from that, the horse stuff was well done. The explanations and terms were used very nicely and explained well enough that a non equestrian reader can appreciate the art and story. 

Meg and Jared's romance was cute and innocent. Just the kind of first love story that makes you happy. There was not a lot of drama surrounding their interactions and they helped each other grow, rather than holding each other back. Very cute. 

This was overall a very enjoyable and quick read. A little more depth to the characters and situations, a little more bonding time between people and horses, would have improved it, but as is it's a really good read. Highly recommended for those who like horses and innocent first love. I am definitely looking forward to continuing the series.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Liebster Award 2016

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by the lovely Aneesa over at A Crave For Books, so definitely go and check her out!

How this Works
*Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you
*Answer the 11 questions the blogger has given you
*Nominate 11 other bloggers for the award
*Give those bloggers your own 11 questions to answer

And now...It's time to answer some questions!

1. Is there anything that puts you off reading a book?  
There are certain things that I just don't like in books and I try to avoid them. Too much bad language (not something I want to read) or sex (mentioned is ok, but descriptive not so much) and I either don't pick it up or DNF it. The most basic thing though is characters. I have to be really into characters in order to love a book, so if I can't connect to the characters I'm likely not going to enjoy the book. 
2. Do you prefer books with one POV? Or more than one?
I like both, but in general more than one POV is my favorite. I read a lot of fantasy and having a dense fantasy with loads of perspectives is my favorite. :)

3. Is there any genres that you have not tried? If so, why?

A genre I haven't tried...that's kind of hard. Maybe romance? Depending on what you would consider romance. I've never read any just straight romance novels because it's not something I enjoy (particularly those with graphic sex scenes, so no erotica for me). 
4. Have you ever read a book that has either inspired or touched you on a personal level?

YES! There have been many, but my favorite novel is The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. It's fantasy, but there are so many lessons to be learned. I feel like I'm gaining life lessons every time I read it. It's like I become a better person when I read it. There have definitely been others, particularly non fiction (and scriptures, which kind of fall into the non fiction category), but as far as fiction that is the main one. 

5. How do you feel about authors who deserve recognition but don't get it?

In some ways it makes me kind of sad, but at the same time I think most writers write more for themselves and the story they are telling than for being seen. And eventually they will get the recognition they deserve if they stick with it. Trust me, I know it's hard to keep going when you're not able to support yourself on your writing or not getting reviews, but in the end it's about how much satisfaction your writing gives you. So any author reading this, just keep writing what you love and want to share. Eventually someone will see the brilliance. 
6. What is your most favourite thing about a book? And least favourite?

Being able to discover new friends and places would be a favorite. And also being able to hold them in my hands. I can always remember things best when I have something physical to jog the memory. As far as least favorite...I really don't know. I love books so much that there isn't much I can say negatively. 
7. What kind of books do you prefer? (romance, humor, action, erotica, mystery)

Fantasy! High fantasy, set on an entirely different planet is my favorite kind. And very character driven. I love a lot of others, but these are the ones that make me feel the most. They are just so beautiful. 
8. How does a book or author catch your attention?

When I was younger it was honestly by how big the spine of a book was...When I would browse the library I would pass over the skinny books and look at the long ones. Now, there is a lot more that goes into it. Seeing the book on goodreads, hearing about them from a friend, the genre. There are so many different things. I've even found some great authors and books through book signings. There's an even (Yallfest) that I've been to three times and each year I'll get a list of the authors and then look them up to see if I'm interested in reading their books. I've found some great ones like that. 
9. Do you ever read reviews of a book and then make your judgement on whether to read it or not?   

Very occasionally. In general I try to steer clear of reviews before I read a book because I don't want them to shape my opinion too much. But sometimes it's through  a review that I find out about a book, so that would sway my likelyhood of reading that book. I really just like to know a few bare details and the genre and then just jump into a book. I don't want to know too much before I start reading, I want to discover it. 
10.  Have you ever learned something new from a book?

Most definitely. This is particularly true with historical fiction. I haven't read a ton of it; although I enjoy it quite a bit. But when I do read it I'm fascinated by all of the little things I can learn about certain events. I have somewhat of an obsession with things involving WWII and so reading fiction and non fiction about that era is fascinating and educational for me. 
11. Outdoor or indoor reading?

I really like both. I read indoor more often than outdoor, but I do enjoy them both. If I'm reading on my kindle then indoor is the way to go. It hurts my eyes to read my kindle outside. A physical book I can read anywhere though. I really like to read at the barn with my horses. 

My Nominees
*Saloni: My Fantabulous Bookshelf
*AJ: Read All The Things
*Hannah: One World, Too Many Pages     
*Laurence: La Romantique
*Jackie: JackiesBookShenanigans

And I think that will be it this time. Here are your questions if you decide to do the post. :)

1) What is the first book you can remember reading?
2) Has reading ever influenced you to learn something new? If so, what?
3) Where is your favorite place to read?
4) What is your preferred format for books (Audio, physical-paper/hard, digital)?
5) Do you listen to music or watch tv while you read?
6) Do you get rid of books you didn't like?
7) Is there a film/show/play that you've enjoyed more than the book? If so, what and why?
8) Have you ever met any of your favorite authors?
9) Are you a writer as well as a reader? If so, do you want to publish your work?
10) Aside from reading what is your favorite hobby?
11) Who is your favorite fictional character?

I hope you have fun with these questions! And let me know any of your answers to any question in this post in the comments below.