fiction

Review: Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold

Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold (Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold, #1)Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold by Ellen O’Connell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cord and Anne are my favourite fictional couple. Their relationship is serious #lifegoals for me. I’ve searched high and low for a book that is as gripping, as warm, as pulsing with life as this one, but Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold remains my only find in this genre that I can read a hundred times and still feel the tug of a dozen emotions as if I’m reading every scene for the first time. (more…)

The After Kiss

It was five minutes till midnight hour and my phone alarm went off. I straightened against the side of the building and fumbled to get it out of my jeans to shut off the insistent buzzing. My gloved fingers made this more difficult than usual, but I couldn’t take them off in this cold.

Charm smiled down at me and said, “Is it time for you to go home? At the stroke of midnight like a modern day Cinderella?

I laughed awkwardly, the warmth I’d found in his arms slowly fading as my mind circled through the consequences of delaying any longer.

“I do have to go,” I told him, still smiling. “My dad isn’t that strict but I have a curfew.”

“Alright,” he said, pulling me closer, he words a warm puff on my cold forehead. “I’ll drop you home. Leave your car here. I’ll pick you up in the morning for classes.” One hand circled my waist while the other pressed into the middle of my back. He held me like he didn’t want to let go. (more…)

Why books are bad for you

When I was 12 I used to use them to escape from friendless classrooms and if I didn’t have one in my hand, I would stare out of the window with fierce concentration thinking of all the stories stored in my head and the many imaginary lives I lived through them. If the background chatter ever drew my attention, I didn’t let it on. I think most of my classmates (if they ever thought to look my way) usually saw me sleeping with my head down on my desk or staring out of the window. Books were a better alternative. They made me seem less lonely; they made me less lonely.

Today those books still shield me from life. They wrap me in protective folds that keep the world away from me and me away from the world. They are the gatekeepers to my dreams, who are fiercely determined to keep reality away. I am untested and don’t know the strength of my own will, because I have never pitted it against anything not inside the pages of a good story. My hopes and aspirations have birthed and grown in the soft, edgeless world of no competition, no obstacles. Today I don’t know if I am worth as much as I think I am.

I have run back into their arms so many times. I have turned away from life so many times. If I give them up, I give up my best friends. If I put them away, I put away a part of me that was born so many years ago in that classroom, at that desk by the window.

I’m afraid too much of me is formed by the insubstantial constructs of other people’s imagination. I’m afraid if I step away from them, the pillars holding my character firm atop a foundation of lessons learned through fictional rigours would crumble. I would stand unprepared and weak before a world that cannot be closed and put back on the shelf when I see no happy ending in sight.

Reviewing: Duty by Rachel Rossano

Duty: a novel of RhynanDuty: a novel of Rhynan by Rachel Rossano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

I first read Rachel Rossano’s writing when I won her short story Exchange on goodreads and reviewed it. Since then I’ve followed her blog and read snippets of her subsequent releases.
By the time Duty came out I was familiar with her style of writing and world building.
In an alternate medieval world, in the land of Rhynan, a war has come to end and a new king is sitting on the throne. He rewards his men with title and land, and one of them, now the new Earl of Irvaine, he gives the task of securing the eastern border land by settling his soldiers in the village of Wisenvale and taking wives from the widows and women of marriageable age.
One of these women is Brielle Solaris. She was the daughter of the late nobleman who was lord of this village, but now lives in relative obscurity because the land has passed on to her careless and selfish cousin, Orwin.
When Lord Irvaine begins the process of settling his men into domesticity in her village, they cross words. But then Lord Irvaine reveals that her own fate has already been sealed by her cousin who, in a show of loyalty to the king, has given her hand and his properties to Lord Irvaine.
Brielle’s life changes from worrying about feeding her village for one more season to worrying about traitors and politics and the affection of a husband who is a stranger and yet becoming quickly the most familiar and steady thing in her world.

I’m very fond of the marriage of convenience trope. Imagine strangers suddenly forced to share lives, needing to trust each other, trying to be friends, not really expecting more. Put them in the midst of turmoil where they have to show a united front to the world outside. They hardly know each other! So it’s a quiet fight against time as they try to learn and take measure of each other’s characters. Because a weak partnership could be used against them. And in that time if they suddenly find that what they thought was the worst sort of travesty had actually become the best source of comfort and support? That would make an awesome romance! =D

So Brielle and Tomas, Lord Irvaine, travel to his new holdings and they begin the process of learning and trusting each other. The men in her village, most of who were now dead, had fought on the other side of the war. Distrust was natural. Brielle has only ever received kindness from her father and now finds herself expecting Tomas to show the darker side of his nature every time she speaks out or argues with him. But unexpectedly, he understands what she is feeling, he is kind and sweet, and even though Brielle has not quite wrapped her head around being married to a stranger, Tomas is already thinking that maybe agreeing to this had not been one of his worst ideas.

But as they grow closer, a rebellion led by Orwin and supported by the baron robbers of the east rears its head. Unexpected responsibility falls on Brielle’s shoulders when in Tomas’s absence she is faced with sedition in their new holdings. Just when they thought war had finally ended, a new one begins to brew.

I think what I enjoyed best about this book was the care Rossano took in giving us a heroine who took tough decisions and stood by her word, but was also ordinary in a relate-able way. She had been trained in wielding a sword by her father, but in no way was she competent enough to fight a trained, battle-hardened soldier. She wasn’t used to riding for long stretches of time and so when she suddenly had to spend days on a horse, she didn’t magically get used to it. When towards the end she faced a charge of treason and knew that she could hang, she doubted Tomas’s assurance that everything would be alright because despite her feelings for him, she knew he wasn’t infallible and her trust in him didn’t blind her to that.

If I have any complains at all, it has to do with a few mild anachronisms like the use of the words “noodles” and “hi” in a middle ages setting. =)

Otherwise, this is a sweet love story set in the background of a king establishing a new regime. I thought it was pretty well told and I especially liked the idea that the king now on throne wasn’t necessarily wiser or better than the previous one, and under pressure could become just as paranoid as the ruler he just deposed. The ending was believable.

Amazon link: Duty: a novel of Rhynan

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vampire house #3

Two tall, robe clad figures stood beside the examination table where the dead girl lay.

One was a man with disproportionately broad shoulders and a narrow chin, and the other was an elegant woman with a pleasant face and long fingers that always hovered close to her darkly painted lips.

Edison paused at the doorway to listen to them.

“…findings which would make this improbable to say the least,” muttered the man, his brows furrowed. (more…)

vampire house #2

Edison waited impatiently as the minute hand of the wall clock declared only half an hour had passed since he made the call. He weighed his options in his mind and tried to come up with a back up plan that didn’t depend so heavily on Jeremy Hayde’s whimsy. He was unpredictable, as Edison knew only too well, and he could refuse to play along.

“Mr Gage,” said one of the technicians, walking up to him with a phone in her hand. “The Director wants to speak to you.” (more…)

vampire house #1

Vampire House

Every monster knows that it is a monster to its prey, and all prey know that they are food for the monsters. There is little room for conscience or hesitation at the moment of the fatal blow.

And yet Emma found herself frozen in a few never ending seconds of doubt and guilt, as her clawed fingers raced down towards the girl’s throat.

Her victim’s eyes widened. Disbelief and fear washed over them.

Emma’s own looked back, wild with indecision and inevitability.

Then the razor sharpness of those inhuman fingers flashed against the soft flesh of the girl’s jugular and Emma’s vision was painted in red.

*

The phone rang, loud and jarring in the quiet of the plush office. (more…)