Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book Review: DROWNING INSTINCT by Ilsa J. Bick

Drowning InstinctDrowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book will shudder through you like the slow way cold creeps up your sleeves and under clothes to chill you to the core, where bone is. And blood. It comes full circle in a way that holds you until the very last possible moment, then leaves you feeling whole and empty at the same time. A beautiful paradox. I found the message and the meaning quite profound and worthy of rereading. Not many books are that good, but Drowning Instinct, sure as hell is that kind of book.

It's a book that doesn't point fingers. It takes an alarmingly honest look at all the people involved in a story so complex, it's like a watch that has to slowly tick away the pages until it's unwound enough to fall apart in front of you so you can see everything and understand and know what the writer was trying to say. It's a beautiful journey, full of fully realized characters that draw you in the way a blade hovers over skin, waiting to cut deep and draw out the blood.

I was mesmerized by this story, and not just because Ilsa takes the time to choose each and every word carefully, or that I've added at least 25 new words to my vocabulary, although, I love that part, too. I loved the premise, the way the story was structured, the way Jessa tells the entire truth to the detective and where it ends, finally. I'm even okay that it wasn't all wrapped up neatly with a bow at the end. It was real, the way life is, and left several things unknown and exposed like a raw nerve. I like that Ilsa trusts the reader to fill in the gaps, to ultimately decide how these characters, and their stories resolve. I think she did her job and presented the stories as honestly and truthfully as she could, and I love the part I played as the reader in joining in the story, too.

By the end, I was pulled under the surface. And, I'm not sure if I struggled against it, or if I looked calm, the way a person does when they're drowning. It is instinctual, after all.

I want to read this book again, to peel back even more layers. It was so wonderful and delicious and powerful. Full. Of. Life.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review: INSURGENT by Veronica Roth (Divergent Series, Book 2)

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
Also see my review of Divergent

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book does exactly what a second book of a trilogy should do: it raises the stakes, it twists the tension, and it hits you with a mind-blowing twist you NEVER saw coming. Wait. That's not true. Part of it is a lie. But, that's only because I have divergent tendencies, so admittedly, I saw it coming, mostly.

For now, I must soak in the awesomeness and process what I've come to understand, and read lots of other lovely books until book 3 comes out. Whether the time passes quickly or not, at least there are other things to read while I wait.

You. Must. Read. This. Book.

Now I want to read it all over again, from the beginning, to see what I didn't see before. I have new eyes. Thank you, Veronica!


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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Book Review: SLIDE by Jill Hathaway

Slide (Slide, #1)Slide by Jill Hathaway
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an amazing, quick read. Hathaway deftly blurs the line between YA Contemporary and Paranormal, by rooting the mysterious "power" Vee Bell has with a real-world condition, narcolepsy. The entire story is rife with tension as a young girl is murdered and it is set up as a supposed suicide. Vee knows differently, since her "power" made her a first hand witness. As the story unfolds, the suspects stack up and the reader is left guessing from a long list of possible persons and motives surrounding the death of Sophie.

Hathaway ratchets up the tension throughout and keeps you guessings as you hurtle toward the climactic ending. I loved how she made this personal with an allusion to the mother and wove in and out between the relationship with Vee and her father.

In addition, there's an intriguing love triangle with suspects that include Vee's love interests. I also enjoyed how music played a role with the story.

I can't say enough good things about this book. It's a fantastic and worthy debut by Hathaway. I'm thrilled to know there's more coming from this story, and I can't wait for the next book!! Delicious!

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Writer's Voice Official Submission # 142


When sixteen-year-old Joel Scrivener is bullied at school due to recurring nightmares, with his brother Jonathan leading the viral attack, he must man-up and prove he's not a broken boy or he'll lose his last chance with Amber Walker.

Running has been Joel’s go-to option since his parents divorced, his mother has taken to dating every jerk in a fifty-mile radius, and he’s basically failing his sophomore year of high school because his mother makes them move all the time. If he retreats to his books and poetry as a way out now though, he’ll lose everything, including Amber, the girl he’s secretly loved since they nearly kissed in the basement closet before her father caught them and tossed him out in the front yard. If he faces his decade-old problems, he’ll uncover the root cause everyone in his family, including himself, missed that began the nightmares as well as a secret from his past so terrible, it may prevent him from becoming the man he realizes Amber needs. What Joel does to overcome his problems will determine whether he will finally win Amber's heart, or lose her forever.
THE PACKING HOUSE is a gritty YA contemporary stand-alone with sequel potential, complete at 82,000 words that is BOY TOY meets TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY.


1 | Monster

            My brother’s being nice to me all of a sudden.

Either that or he’s trying to get me in trouble.

I mean to find out which one.

The tell-tale sign? This morning he gave me a forbidden M¤Ľnster drink he stole from the fridge. One of the jerks my mother dates stashes them at our place, but they’re off limits for us. Like police lights rolling red-blue-red-blue from every reflective surface off limits. He’s gonna get a beating for sure.

            I corner him in our sparse room pinning him to the wall. Not like he has anywhere to hide behind crates that are makeshift furniture and mattresses on the floor for beds. The smell of tuna hits me like an uppercut.

Jonathan’s blue eyes try to work on me the same way he would sweet talk one of his many girlfriends. The same brother who gave me his last quarter at the arcade more than once, who lets me pick the topping on the rare occasion when our mother breaks down and orders pizza—pepperoni, which he despises. And more times besides flashes through my mind.

“Gah! Jonathan,” I say, releasing him with a jolt as I block my nose with my shirt and back away. “What died in here?” He plays the silent act flopping on the bed. Just asking for it.

I shouldn’t get so worked up over a drink that tastes like ass. It’s wannabe beer, not even a legal issue. Carbonated cough syrup. Why do I let it get to me? Because it’s one more thing. Another excuse to thump the life out of me. I could lose the library over this. Hell if I’m giving up the one thing that keeps me sane.


Thank you to @CupidLC @Monica_BW @BrendaDrake and @KristaVanDolzer for hosting this writer's contest. I think everyone involved has learned a lot from the experience. I know I have!

Here's the breakdown (I hope I have this correct!)


19, 22, 30, 34, 70, 97, 115, 138, 166, 186 (Alt): 54


3, 46, 55, 61, 79, 137, 150, 158, 180, 38 (Alt): 151


12, 18, 29, 31, 76, 84, 85, 185, 6, 26 (Alt): 194


35, 45, 50, 64, 75, 117, 122, 146, 149, 152 (Alt): 101