Saturday, May 5, 2012

Books I've Read In May 2012

1) The Witch's Daughter, by Paula Brackston
My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. Each new settlement asks for a new journal, and so this Book of Shadows begins…
In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate at the hands of the panicked mob: the Warlock Gideon Masters, and his Book of Shadows. Secluded at his cottage in the woods, Gideon instructs Bess in the Craft, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had and making her immortal. She couldn't have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.
In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life for herself, tending her garden and selling herbs and oils at the local farmers' market. But her solitude abruptly ends when a teenage girl called Tegan starts hanging around. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth begins teaching Tegan the ways of the Hedge Witch, in the process awakening memories--and demons--long thought forgotten.
Part historical romance, part modern fantasy, The Witch’s Daughter is a fresh, compelling take on the magical, yet dangerous world of Witches. Readers will long remember the fiercely independent heroine who survives plagues, wars, and the heartbreak that comes with immortality to remain true to herself, and protect the protégé she comes to love.

2) Kill Alex Cross, by James Patterson
The only wayDetective Alex Cross is one of the first on the scene of the biggest case he's ever been part of. The President's son and daughter have been abducted from their school - an impossible crime, but somehow the kidnapper has done it. Alex does everything he can but is shunted to the fringes of the investigation. Someone powerful doesn't want Cross too close.
To stop Alex CrossA deadly contagion in the DC water supply threatens to cripple the capital, and Alex sees the looming shape of the most devastating attack the United States has ever experienced. He is already working flat-out on the abduction, and this massive assault pushes Cross completely over the edge.
Is to kill himWith each hour that passes, the chance of finding the children alive diminishes. In an emotional private meeting, the First Lady asks Alex to please save her kids. Even the highest security clearance doesn't get him any closer to the kidnapper - and Alex makes a desperate decision that goes against everything he believes. A full-throttle thriller with unstoppable action, unrestrained emotion, and relentless suspense, Kill Alex Cross is the most gripping Alex Cross novel James Patterson has ever written.

3) Deep Dish, by Mary Kay Andrews
After years of hard work, Gina Foxton, chef extraordinaire and former runner-up Miss Teen Vidalia Onion, is hosting her own show, Fresh Start, on Georgia public television. She's also dating the producer. But when Fresh Start goes bad—and her boyfriend is caught in flagrante delicto with the boss's wife—Gina decides it's time to pursue bigger dreams. Namely a gig on national television.
Gina knows she's destined to be the Cooking Channel's next superstar. But the execs also have their eyes on Tate Moody, Mr. "Kill It and Grill It" himself, host of the hunting, fishing, and cooking show Vittles. The ultimate man's man, Tate is a tasty side of beef with a large, swooning female fan base. Gina's loyal devotees consist of her free-spirited college-dropout sister and her mother . . . who calls every single day.
When the smoke clears there can be only one TV chef standing, and Gina and Tate are ready for the cook-off of their lives.

4) The Sixth Man, by David Baldacci
Edgar Roy-an alleged serial killer held in a secure, fortress-like Federal Supermax facility-is awaiting trial. He faces almost certain conviction. Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are called in by Roy's attorney, Sean's old friend and mentor Ted Bergin, to help work the case. But their investigation is derailed before it begins-en route to their first meeting with Bergin, Sean and Michelle find him murdered.

It is now up to them to ask the questions no one seems to want answered: Is Roy a killer? Who murdered Bergin? With help from some surprising allies, they continue to pursue the case. But the more they dig into Roy's past, the more they encounter obstacles, half-truths, dead-ends, false friends, and escalating threats from every direction. Their persistence puts them on a collision course with the highest levels of the government and the darkest corners of power. In a terrifying confrontation that will push Sean and Michelle to their limits, the duo may be permanently parted.

5) Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate, Book One), by Gail Carriger
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

6) So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore, by Wayne Jacobsen
What would you do if you met someone you thought just might be one of Jesus original disciples still living in the 21st Century? That's Jake's dilemma as he meets a man who talks of Jesus as if he had known him, and whose way of living challenges everything Jake had previously known. So You Don't Want to Go To Church Anymore is Jake's compelling journal that chronicles thirteen conversations with his newfound friend over a four-year period and how those exchanges turn Jake's world upside-down. With his help, Jake faces his darkest fears, struggles through brutal circumstances and comes out on the other side in the joy and freedom he always dreamed was possible. If you're tired of just going through the motions of Christianity and want to mine the depths of what it really means to live deeply in Christ, you ll find Jake's story will give you hope for your own. This book probes the difficult questions and offers some far-reaching answers. It just might turn your world upside-down as well!

7) Tick Tock, by James Patterson
NYC's #1 detective, Michael Bennett, has a huge problem--the Son of Sam, the Werewolf of Wisteria and the Mad Bomber are all back. The city has never been more terrified!

Tick--a killer's countdown beginsA rash of horrifying crimes tears through the city, throwing it into complete chaos and terrorizing everyone living there. Immediately, it becomes clear that they are not the work of an amateur, but of a calculating, efficient, and deadly mastermind.

Tick--Michael Bennett is on the chase
The city calls on Detective Michael Bennett, pulling him away from a seaside retreat with his ten adopted children, his grandfather, and their beloved nanny, Mary Catherine. Not only does it tear apart their vacation, it leaves the entire family open to attack.

Tock--your time is up
Bennett enlists the help of a former colleague, FBI Agent Emily Parker. As his affection for Emily grows into something stronger, his relationship with Mary Catherine takes an unexpected turn. All too soon, another appalling crime leads Bennett to a shocking discovery that exposes the killer's pattern and the earth-shattering enormity of his plan. From the creator of the #1 New York detective series comes the most volatile and most explosive Michael Bennett novel ever.

Goal for the year: 60     Year to date: 29

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sleepless Nights

I've been having a lot of sleepless nights this year, and this is shaping up to be yet another one. Some nights I don't really know why I wind up not sleeping, but tonight I've got a really good idea.  Earlier in the evening, I spoke with someone who hadn't been aware that George had died--and talking about it again brought it all rushing back.

I've tried to stuff all the emotion down, and haven't really ever dealt with it. Part of me feels like I don't have any right to feel sad, and that my responsibility is to stay upbeat and positive, and make sure that Amy's getting all the support and love she needs. So when I start to feel sad, and think I might cry, I lecture myself and shove it down a little further. I know, I know....that's not good for me--physically, emotionally, or mentally...and it's probably part of the reason I've had almost constant health problems for the last two months.

But, like I said, there's that part of me that says I don't have the right to mourn, at least not where people can see me.  After all, I'm the EX -wife....the one who cheated on him, the one who left him. But I'm also the one who loved him, the one who's the mother of his child, the one who spent almost thirteen years of her life with him. And yet, I'm also the one who put up with the constant drinking, the times he hit me, the months of no electricity because beer and cigarettes were the first priority. So there's guilt, love, anger, and a million other emotions that run through me at any given time.

The biggest emotion, though, is probably regret. Even though I was at the hospital several different times the week before he died, I never found the courage to really talk to him, to tell him that I forgave him for all the bad stuff. For the most part, I put all that behind me a long time ago, and focused on remembering the good times, the memories that can still make me smile. And that man is the one I miss, the man I wish was still here for Amy, to walk her down the aisle, to spoil our grandchildren, to sing to them.....

And now, finally, the tears are falling, fast and hard....I miss you, George, and you will always be in my heart!!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Father

(I'm using some " writing prompts" on occasion this year, to try to keep myself writing on a more regular basis. Today's prompt is "If you could switch places with anyone in the world for 24 hrs., who would you want to be?)

I've been thinking about this one for a while now, and I've had several answers pass through my mind, but none of them seemed really satisfactory. In one case, I wouldn't be happy with just 24 hours, and in another 24 hours might be too long. But, I think I finally came up with an answer, even though it would require just a tiny bit of time travel. :)

If I could change places with anyone for 24 hours, I would want to go back about 15 years and change places with my father. The reason? I'd love to know what was going on in his mind at that point in time, to understand why my family and I moving out of town made him treat us as though we'd never existed. I'd like to know how he could just walk away from his only grandchildren, the youngest of whom doesn't even remember him now, and the other two who probably wouldn't recognize him--or he them--if they ran into each other on the street. (And he now has a great-grandson he doesn't know anything about and will never get to meet.) I was "Daddy's little girl" from the time I was born...and even after my parents divorced, I was the child who worked at keeping that relationship alive, in spite of opposition from my mother.

And this loss of contact was all a one-sided decision. After we moved, I wrote letters to keep him informed on what was going on with all of us, and I tried to call him on many different occasions. My letters went unanswered, and my calls went unreturned. Eventually I gave up, and now he gets a Christmas card every year...and I get a card in return, with a check enclosed. Three years ago, his card didn't come, and I wondered if that meant what I fear the most...but the following year it came again, and I breathed a sigh of relief. But I learned recently that he had a stroke in the past, which probably explains that missing year, and it breaks my heart that NO ONE near him thought to contact me to let me know...not his wife, not any of her children...apparently they've all written us out of the family.

So, I have to wonder now if, when that day comes that I lose him forever, I'll get the news from my mother, when SHE reads about it in the local newspaper. And then I wonder how I'll handle the situation...will I go to say goodbye, and feel ignored and unwelcome, or will I stay away and feel forgotten and betrayed? Only time will tell!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Favorite Subject

No, not my favorite subject to talk about, or blog favorite subject in school. Since I've been a poet/writer since I was ten, I'm sure it won't come as much of a surprise to learn that my favorite subject through elementary school, junior and senior high, and even college, was English...although over time that narrowed to Literature and Creative Writing.

I'm also a voracious reader, and have been since I learned to read...which was, according to my mother, somewhere between three and four. I know that by the time I was six, I was going to the library every Saturday and checking out a stack of books, and that by the time I was in fifth grade, I was reading at a high school level....and comprehending what I was reading.

Words are my "thing," I guess you could say. I'm better at writing them than speaking them, because when I'm writing I can go back, delete something that doesn't sound just right, and keep working at it till I find just the RIGHT words to express myself.  When speaking, I don't generally have the luxury of time to put the words together in the perfect way, so I tend to be a better listener than a talker.

When I look back, I fondly remember four teachers who helped foster my love of the words. The first two were my junior high English teachers, Robert Lawson and Dennis Fravel. The other two were college professors: Jack Hart, who taught my Creative Writing class, and Joanne Ford, who taught several Lit classes I took. Without the four of them, I don't think I'd be half the writer I am today.
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