Impolite Company

I talk to myself, sing in the car, and dance when nobody's watching. I love the ocean, hate wearing shoes, and I'm terrified of giant sunflowers.


I can usually be found chasing the muse around my desk like a pervy boss on Viagra. Sometimes I catch her, and when I do, it's GAME ON.

Writers, Readers and the Balance of Power


Writers, Readers, and the Balance of Power


A spiritual-ish perspective



A little while back, my fourteen-year-old daughter told me I was a control monkey. It wasn't in jest and it wasn't speculation. It was a declaration of fact, the evidence beyond dispute, any argument on my part only serving to prove the point. 


Damn kids.







Now, I do have my quirks and yes, I do insist under penalty of death prefer towels be folded a certain way and I've been known to stand in front of my family, tapping my foot and ranting demanding to know who left the empty toilet paper roll on the hanger. But my daughter was talking about my writing, specifically the reason I write.


Her words: because I want to control everything.

My response? I squared my shoulders, raised my chin, looked her dead in the face and said, "Duh!"


 As a writer, especially a fiction write, I've heard this before  and I can't say I entirely disagree. After all, just look at    what I do: I create my own world, my own people and  species and make every single element do exactly what I  want, when I want, and how I want.

 On it's face, that sounds a little...not good. Those who do  this sort of thing in the real world are usually called dictators. Or felons. I don't have the balls or the lack of conscience to be either, so is it possible I write out of some twisted need for absolute pow-ah?


The jury's still out on that one.

In my stories, I decide who lives and who dies. I grant true love or devastating heartache with a few clicks of the keyboard. I create new civilizations, change laws and morality, even conjure up new planets. I parcel out abuse and reward on a whim. For a few hundred pages, I am the god of my own world. It's a damn fine gig - while it lasts.

And there's the catch. 
My reign - though very cool - is wonderfully and horribly finite. 

 When the last word is written, all that power  disappears. It's not taken; I surrender it and do so  freely. I send my world into the real world, knowing it  will be judged, loved or hated. 


It's an incredibly profound moment, the natural culmination of my work.



I'm not passing judgement on those who believe

otherwise, and I'm certainly not propping my opinion on a pedestal as though it's the only correct one.


But, for me, refusing to relinquish control would be to deny a fundamental part of the whole creative process; a part I'm not willing to sacrifice, even for the sake of a super-cute gif. :)


Readers create writers and writers create readers. It's a symbiotic circle,an exchange of power that demands and deserves the deepest respect. (and alliteration, apparently)

That's how I see things, anyway.


So, yes. I am a control monkey- for a little while. And I write for the days when I can give it up.





Rearranged - Tina Carreiro Review to come!
Thou Shalt Not Kill - Theresa Oliver I've been struggling to write this review, and not because I don't have much to say. Quite the opposite I want to say more than I should, so I've forced myself to narrow down the specific reason I will be placing this book on my favorites shelf.

Like Casey, I'm a 'cradle-Catholic', and I'm always intrigued when a story includes that faith. This book really impressed me with the way it was handled. Apart from books in the religious fiction genre, most stories I've read tend to use religion as a backdrop, declared but not explored.

Thou Shat not Kill did the opposite. The story follows a group of Catholic school students, and their religious beliefs was an integral part of the story, keeping questions of faith and morality a central conflict. I found that refreshing. I have kids the same age as these characters, so I know young adults do indeed explore issues of morality - moreso than lots of YA books would have us believe, anyway. :)

I also enjoy a strong female character, especially ones without magical abilities and super-powers to explain away that strength.

I probably could've done without the romance, but when teens are thrust together, there's a good chance hookups will happen. WHile I liked the characters, I did find some of them a bit Breakfast-Clubby - easily labeled - popular, jock, loner, cheerleader. Still, the things I liked far outweigh the little peeves and there's no way I'm giving this book anything less than 5 stars.
Inferno - Dan Brown I love Dan Brown, but I love Dante Alighieri more and I think that was the problem. I wanted so much to love this book, but it fell flat for me.
I'm sure I'll go see the inevitable movie, though. :)
My Haunting Love - J. S. Wilsoncroft tory starts with Calista,a teenage girl who isn't happy she has to move, isn't thrilled with a new town, new house, new school, new friends. It's all a little overwhelming, and being deaf only complicates things further.

I love that this heroine is deaf. The YA genre is loaded with strong female characters, beyond strong, often imbued with physical ability and powers beyond the norm. To read a story where that is turned around and the main character has a disability is wonderfully refreshing. Feminine strength comes in many forms, and it was a pleasure getting to know Calista. She's smart and capable, and often snarky. And her deafness wasn't something mentioned a few times and discarded. Calista has moments of anger and doubt and frustration, but I loved that. She's very much a whole character.

Calista discovers her new home has a tragic history and one of it's old occupants is still hanging around. John,a young man who finds a clever way to communicate with Calista. I loved that, but it might be considered a spoiler and I don't want to detract from anyone's enjoyment.

The two form a friendship that turns into affection. But as the romance blossoms, a darkness within the house also begins to manifest. The story is told in 1st person, but it switches between characters. That was nice, because I was able to get a feel for both Calista and John. I liked the supporting characters - Calista and her brother Mike cracked me up. I enjoy sibling interaction, especially between opposite sex siblings. Their little arguments, especially, were very well done. Little things, like Mike covering his mouth so she can't read his lips, that is EXACTLY what a brother would do. :)

The only thing I would've preferred is more dialogue. There's a good amount, but I'm a dialogue junkie and if I go through more than a page without it, I start to get withdrawal.

4/5 stars, recommended for those who like unique characters, sweet romance, or ghost stories.
Obsession - Sofia Grey Review to come...

Review is here!

Love the story, loved the writing, loved the characters. Okay, maybe not the characters, not all them, anyway. I enjoyed the characterization- layered, each with a unique voice displayed beautifully with first-person POV shifts.

A cross between Sleeping with the Enemy and Silence of the Lambs, I could blah blah blah for an hour about the astoundingly disturbing story, but I'm forgoing all that and shooting right to the heart of things.

This book triggered panic attacks for me. That has never happened in my entire life, not from a book or a movie or anything else within the realm of fiction. My chest tightened, my breathing went haywire, and I ended up in a pool of sweat, sitting in the floor and willing myself to grow a set of figurative balls.

Yes, this book was that good.

The physical and emotional abuse was brutal, the psychological torture was palpable, and the manipulation was extreme and entirely believable - which scares the hell out of me.

Gabe is on a downward spiral, and hell-bent on taking his wife with him, along with anyone else who dares to cross his path. That I actually liked this guy at the beginning says a lot about the book and the complexity of the characters.

Five stars
Recommended for those who enjoy dark reads that become darker,characters that win your heart then crush it beneath heel, and a writing style that puts the finishing touch on the whole twisted tale!

The Reluctant Goddess - A.F. Firebird I found this to be a fascinating and thought-provoking book, centering around one woman's journey through LIFE. And there's a reason that last word is all caps. :)

Ellena, a bookstore owner, is on a path to understanding and assistance comes in unexpected packages. This is very much a metaphysical tale, with heavy spiritual themes. Words, plot, characters - all are fluid, gentle, blending and bleeding together.

Ellena is guided, not pushed - and I felt the same way while reading. This book doesn't give answers. It asks questions. It's very unique and probably won't work for everyone. But, it worked for me. :) I love this kind of thing.

Oh! We get Melchizedek - and how many times do you get to see that name in writing? LOL

Recommended, five stars.

Dead Ever After - Charlaine Harris My relationship with Sookie Stackhouse has lasted almost a decade. I've read about her, I've watched her, and once I even thought about her when I spotted a banana clip on the rack at Walmart. And there have been some great moments in this series, moments that packed a huge emotional punch, moments that made me laugh out loud, and moments when I wanted to throw the book into fire. Sadly, none of those moments were in Dead Ever After.

I desperately wanted to feel something - joy, rage, sadness, anything.

I didn't enjoy this book. I endured this book.

I knew about the HEA in advance, thanks to spoilers run amok, and I wasn't terribly surprised. Bringing a man back from the dead is a pretty good indicator something big is going to happen with that person. Plus, there have been multiple hints that Sookie wanted a 'normal' life, that she was thinking about children. I never disliked Sam, so the HEA didn't disappoint me. The way we got to that HEA - that did disappoint me.

There were a TON of characters in this book - I swear, every single character still among the living and undead made an appearance. Sometimes that's fun in a final installment, but rather than being excited at seeing these old friends, I was simply reminded of better times, better books. Hey, Quinn - remember that time you and Sookie dry-humped on the kitchen counter? Those were good times, man. Good times.

How many books have we had now, dealing with Sookie and Eric? A lot, that's how many. It's been the central conflict for several years and it was wrapped up in a very unceremonious fashion. Everyone is busting their ass, jumping through hoops, plotting and scheming and trying desperately to get Eric out of an arranged marriage and then...well, guess we can't. See you in 200 years. Or not. Whatever.

At the end of a long series like this, I want a resolution for characters that's worthy of the time that has been invested in building those characters. Same for storylines. I want to shut the final book with a feeling of contentment, perhaps a touch of sadness and nostalgia. Instead, I read the final words with a profound feeling of...nothing. And that really breaks my heart.

Still, I'm going to recommend the series to others because there's a lot of great things to be found in these books. Characters I truly loved, characters I truly hated, characters that kept changing positions on those lists! Plus, Charlaine Harris created a fantasy environment that feels as real as the real-world, with layers of darkness and light and amazing mythology. For this reason alone, I'm giving the book 3 stars.

To Heaven After the Storm - Ari Hallmark This story, written by a precious little girl, Ari, touched my heart.

Picture this child: six years old, her left arm in a cast, almost 70 stitches running up her back, and one side of her head has around 30 staples. She's in a room with five caskets - her mother and father, Grandmother and Grandfather, and a baby cousin, all killed when a tornado destroyed their home. Little Ari called the caskets 'treasure boxes'. :)

This was explained in the first few pages, and what came next was a heart-breaking and beautiful story of Ari's trip to what she calls heaven - complete with pictures made by her own little hand.

Ari talks of angels and Jesus, but I don't think you have to be a person of similar faith or belief to appreciate the story. It's a glimpse into the heart of a little girl who survived something devastating and emerged with her spirit intact.

By the way, this story was free on Kindle. :)
Escape - Kenya Wright Story:
Very intriguing premise.
I liked the Capital, the little tidbits tossed in, like the ban on wood. (seriously, you'd think more vampires would figure that one out, right??)

The mosaics and the artwork, the difference between the propaganda depictions within the Capital, and the more frightening representations of the King elsewhere - nice touches that gave layers and flavors to the world.

The references to Ambi - another nice touch.

I like Brie quite a bit. She was smart, proactive, exceptionally brave.
I wasn't really sold on how easily she seemed to let go of her children there at the end. I know she had a lot going on - I wondered if the blood bond might have something to do with that, or just the emotional intensity of the whole situation...?
(Then again...I have three kids and there are days I'd luuuuuuuv to run away LOL)

I was also a bit surprised at how easily she forgave Samuel, when she learned he was taking her in the opposite direction.

Now for Samuel...
"Hot Vampire Prince, party of one, your blood is ready..."
I liked him almost immediately. He had an edge to him, absolutely, and those muscles didn't hurt. *whew*
I adored his answer, when Brie asked him about the thunderstorms! And omg, I can't NOT mention this...

...what kind of grown man is terrified of storms? Are we in The Sound of Music, Ethan? LOL

Right then, at that very moment, I was on Team Samuel. I mean, I was already heading in that direction anyway but that sealed the deal for me. :)

I loved Samuel refusing to have sex with Brie while she was under the influence of his first bite. As much as he wanted her, he still tallied his resolve. That HAD to hurt and he scored major points for honor in the face of naked breasts and desperately wanton pleas. *Le Sigh*

About him taking her in the wrong direction - this troubled me a bit. I get why he did that, but until that moment, I believed he was more of a 'mind-over-heart' type of guy. The longer they are 'out there', the more chance danger will find them. And it did, of course. Fortunately that turned out okay.

And oh gawd - when she sliced the manhood in half, I cringed and had to look away from the page to regroup! LOL
Poetic justice, but...just...DAMN!

Scorching. Hot without being crude. Definitely Paranormal Erotica in my opinion.

I truly enjoyed this story, and will be continuing with the series as soon as time allows. I'm going with 4 stars - I dropped one because there were times I felt characters were a little inconsistent.
Connected (Twists of Fate) - Jolyn Palliata This was a great read that tapped into all the emotions - I laughed, got angry, cried, fell in love. Just wonderful. :)

Addison dies - for a little while - and when she's brought back, she's not alone. The wise-cracking, irreverent ghost of rocker Rhys decides to tag alone.

Addison isn't too happy with her new body-mate, but after a while the irritation fades and an odd comfort takes its place. Addison and Rhys find they are more connected than either would've thought possible and this development happened in such a natural fashion, it was fantastic to watch.

I adored Addison - she gave as good as good as she got from Rhys and their relationship captivated me.

There wasn't a whole lot of interaction outside out these two - then again, I think having two souls in one body is quite enough. :)
But, I did LOVE Rhys' brother - I'd console him any day of the week and twice on Sunday!

The ending didn't work for me, but that's okay - I'm more than thrilled to have read this story and I'm tickled to learn there will be more to come!

Five Stars - highly recommended!

An Angel's Soul - S.L. Armstrong,  K. Piet BotM ~

Raziel - adored him! He was so sweet, so full of goodness and wonderment - irresistible! I also enjoyed the depiction of angels doing angel stuff. Raziel tossing all that angel stuff through the proverbial window? Enjoyed that even more. :)

Loved the guardian angel concept, especially the powers they wield. The way they assist those who have died is very unique, very cool.

Plus - nice surprise - I could actually'get' the love he felt for Cole. That doesn't happen very often in short stories, probably due to time constraints. I'm sure it helped that Raz had been observing Cole his entire life. :)

Favorite line: When Raziel says he knows every single thing about Cole and STILL loves him.
Oh, gawd - swoon!

Yeah, Raz was great and single-handedly carried the story for me, which is a good thing because...

Cole hit one of my biggest pet-peeve-buttons.

Getting dumped sucks. I get that. But attaching your only reason to live onto someone else? Nails-on--chalkboard.
Not saying that isn't a perfectly legitimate response, but it felt extreme in this case.

Enjoyable, short read.
Four stars.
The Plan - Tina Carreiro A short story of life, death, choices and consequences.

Sharon is a troubled woman, grieving the loss of her husband, when she discovers a mysterious doorway - and a mysterious tall-dark-and-deadly man who is more than he appears.

Sharon is made to relive moments of her life, re-examine certain decisions she made. She confronts painful truths regarding her husband, and then must face her own shortcomings, her own fears and failures, her actions and non-actions.

There is an ethereal quality to the story - it shifts from past to present, from one reality to another, and culminates in one life-altering choice.
Divergent - Veronica Roth Honestly - this book is giving me fits when I try to come up with a star rating. This has *never* happened to me, so this review might ramble as I try to put my conflicting thoughts into words. Apologies in advance. :)

There are parts I would give 5 - like the concept alone, which despite being rather unbelievable (people choosing one virtue by which to dedicate their lives) was just so unique and fascinating I can give the unbelievable a pass. I'd also rate the 'fun' factor a 5. I was upset more than once about having to put the book down in lieu of boring, responsible grown-up stuff.

Parts I would give a 4 - I liked the YA characters. I have a daughter the same age, and I found the relationships and such pretty darn accurate. Maybe I've been living under a rock, but I had NO idea the author was so young until I was over halfway through the book. This might very well explain the teenagers seeming to feel more like teenagers, instead of adult in a teenage body - something I've become accustomed to in other YA books.

As a matter of fact, I think I've become *so* accustomed to adult-teens that I found myself frustrated at times with some behavior from Tris - she's all over the place, emotionally. She fluctuates between making great decision and really bad ones. I was always getting peeved or irritated, but as soon as I reminded myself her age, I understood. I mean of course she's scatters, she's a kid! My bad.

On the the other hand, I also found myself checking the page count - never a good sign. I'm the type who wants to know why things are the way they are. Rephrase - I need to know these things for an enjoyable experience. And I didn't get. The book is so very long, and I kept waiting for answers that never arrived. After I closed the book, I didn't get that sense of completion I prefer. Loose ends are many, answers are few.

I'll go with a 3 for now, but that might change for the better after the book rolls around in my head for a little while. I'm not sorry I bought this book, I will definitely be continuing the series, and I'd recommended it for readers who love dystopian stories, fight, and a unique concept.

EDIT: Changing my rating to a 4. :) My initial frustration with the lack of answers has passed, and I'm really remembering the fun I had with this book.

Demon Soul (Caine Brothers, #1) - Christine Ashworth Great book ~
Review coming soon!
Forever.... - Judy Blume I remember my mother taking this book away from me, after I bought it at a school book fair. She called the school the next day, horrified a book with S.E.X was available to K.I.D.S. :)

This was another right-of-passage Judy Blume book, answering the question of what happens when forever-love...ins't. Lost virginity, heartbreak, anger, teen pregnancy - the whole teenage shebang.

Not sure how applicable this book would be today - I'm sure my daughters would roll their eyes at the subject matter, since all of the issues and themes are on almost every single television show - but back in The Day, it was a fantastic companion.

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