Saturday, August 18, 2012

Blackbirds Redux

Did I mention that Blackbirds is dark, very dark, may be scary or disturbing for some readers....huh, I guess I didn't before. Well I've said it now. It's dark...and possibly disturbing.

Thirteen and Blackbirds and Stuff

 It's been a while since I have been here. Life has kept me busy. But never busy enough to keep me from reading.

My last two reads have been in the last two weeks. I know slow for me. But like I said, been busy.

Thirteen First was Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong. This is the final book in her Otherworld series that has been gracing our bookshelves for around ten years.

My husband originally got me hooked into this series. While everyone was writing about vampires, Kelley Armstrong started with werewolves. Elena and Clay's tumultuous relationship was the stuff of reality, well as real as werewolves can be. There wasn't the pretty shine of your typical pretty blonde girl falls for wolf  and they live happily ever after.

Despite being her first book, she gave her characters a tremendous back story that you just wanted to know more about, hence reading on and anxiously waiting  for the next book.

As she added to her world with Paige, Lucas and Savannah and Adam, you just became more consumed with the story, the world and their outcomes. These are characters that you can relate to despite you not having the spiffy powers and abilities that they do.

I didn't know what to expect when I finally cracked open Thirteen. I knew when the book was coming out and I wanted it back. My husband surprised me by getting it for me. But I didn't read it immediately. I finished a different series and dallied around it. It's not like reading a trilogy or a small series. This was the culmination of a ten years invested into an entire world of characters. What is she doing to do to them? Kill them all? Give us a happily ever after ending? I didn't want either of those options.

Well I started it and loved that Kelley immediately picked up where the previous book had left off and just pulled you back into the rush of the story. Savannah Levine (Nast) was a small character so long ago in Stolen that you really didn't give much thought to the character. She was a device for Paige and Lucas at some points, but you still liked her. Cute kid with this world of fighting Cabals and vampires and werewolves around her. This final book helps Savannah give so many the closure they need as so many of their lives come back together to hopefully keep their world falling apart at the hands of greed, stupidity, ignorance and misplaced trust.

I don't like to give away plot in my reviews of books, so I will not go into the story for those who haven't read Thirteen or the Otherworld series yet. But I will say this. You won't be disappointed with the finale of this great series. Kelley Armstrong did a tremendous job with this series and I can't wait to see where she takes us next with whatever project she moves to.

Onto the book I just finished a little bit ago, and by a little bit, I mean a few minutes before I began typing this out.

Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig came to my attention via Twitter thanks to Lilith Saintcrow. If you are on Twitter, following @ChuckWendig is a MUST. His humor and no-nonsense views keep the days from getting a little too serious. And if you are an aspiring writer or artist, he keeps it real in what he says to keep you motivated.

In his shameless tweets of self-promotion, (and there is nothing wrong with that, man's gotta make a living so get off his and my back) he has been pushing his newest book Mockingbird which is due out August 28th (yay!). Intrigued, I naturally went to his very awesome website (click on his name above to see it, duh!) to see what all the fuss was about.

For some reason I always let the covers of books influence my decision in reading a book. Chuck has some pretty cool covers for Blackbirds and Mockingbird so I clicked on the appropriate link and read on. Then I went to because that is where I always go, and read some of the reviews, which I always take with a block of salt because of those self-serving assholes that like to sometimes rip people to pieces for no good reason. And I read the Overview. I liked what I saw and finally got my ass down to the store to buy it.

I would have ordered it online, but I am a minion of instant gratification and the idea of WAITING for the damn mail to come in with my book doesn't always sit well with me.

When I finally started reading it, I was happy. All of Chuck Wendig's humor shines through. If you were ever looking for the most off the wall and crude metaphors, READ THIS BOOK. He has forever changed the way I will view traffic.

His protagonist, Miriam Black, poor girl. And to me she is a girl, despite being twenty-two, a raging smoker and alcoholic and her ability to view people future deaths. So many deaths she has seen and actually witnessed. It really is a wonder she survived the past eight years of her life. But that just goes to show you the strength of the human spirit despite all the crap and shit we deal with. And Louis, oh Louis, was it wrong place, wrong time or fate. Is his life better or worse now that he is with Miriam.

Read the book, you decide. And don't forget that Mockingbird will be out in just ten days.

Next book to read...The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow. New series, new characters. Bannon and Clare. I can't wait.

And lastly. Despite working with my hands all day playing with frilly flowers and cutting and stabbing myself lately (what's a florist to do). When I get home, my hands still feel like they should doing something.  That led me back to my embroidery. Is it true that idle hands are the Devil's playground? Who knows. I could or should have been busy at the keyboard doing more writing, but my hands didn't want that. They wanted that needle and thread.

And the fruits of my labor? Pots and pans. Weird I know. But hey, even kitchens need a little attention. I haven't decided if I am going to keep this for me, give it away or sell it. If someone likes it and wants it, post a comment or tweet me or not. Whatever.

Go do something productive like sew or read a damn book!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The little things...

It has been 9 years since my husband got his last hearing aid. We had to pay for it completely out of pocket. I swear they are a small fortune, but in reality for the amount of use you get, the price isn't so bad.

Today he got 2. This is the first time he has worn 2 and it's like a whole new world. There are sounds that he has never heard and others that sound so much clearer and cleaner.

So now there are sounds that we normally take for granted. From the sound of the highway as you drive over it. The crunch if gravel as you walk across it. The noise of a busy restaurant as you attempt to eat dinner. Even silly little unconscious actions we all have like tapping your fingernails on a tabletop to the rustle of the pages in a book.

While I may not be deaf or hard of hearing, I have incredibly poor eye sight without my glasses. I know some would say that it can't be compared, but I feel it can. In the middle of the night if you have to get up to get a glass of water or go to the bathroom, you just get up and go. I HAVE to put on my glasses before I do anything so I can see where I am going, not step on a dog or cat, trip on anything or see that the seat is down on the commode. :)

May seem silly to some, but that is how visually impaired I am. At night I have accidentally knocked my glasses from my nightstand and have to have my husband find them because I can't even see them to find them.

I am just glad glasses don't cost anything near what his hearing aids cost.

Last year we both lost our jobs. Me to closure and him to reduction of staff due to lack of funding. Most insurance companies do not offer coverage for hearing exams and hardware because they consider most hearing loss a pre-existing condition. At the end of February, he got a new job through a Temp agency. The normal wait period for them to hire on permanently is six months. He was hired after 3. And insurance was active soon after. God Bless his new employer because they cover all hearing exams and hardware.

Perhaps he was destined to have this job even it pays less. He has less stress, better hours and new hearing aids. And for all of that I am incredibly grateful.

Things happen in life for a reason. Lots of times the seem insurmountable and hurt so much. But if you press on, you might be surprised at what you find at the other end and what you learned along the way.