Tuesday, January 31, 2012

scene from a book I'm writing

I was going to say "next book", but my next book is already written and on its way to shelves. So this is from "Sarah Claus," which may or may not turn out to be a series.

      Tangle was a good elf. The best of her kind. No one quite remembers when she came into the North Pole, but her hot chocolate was the best on the planet. She had a certain ability to know exactly what goodies to add to which cup. One month before Christmas eve, Tangle was making her favorite person’s hot chocolate.
     “Skim milk boiled with dark chocolate…oops, not too dark!” Tangle giggled as she gently placed a pure dark chocolate back in the cupboard to find a milder one. “Add just dash of peppermint while it’s in the pot. There! Boiled.” Tangle carefully poured the drink from the saucepan to the biggest cup she could find.
     It was the start of November on the planet Earth, but Santa’s village had been busy for months already. People were starting to send in letters to Santa, and the naughty and nice meters were working overtime trying to compile a general list.
     Meanwhile, Tangle the Hot Chocolate Elf was still dancing around the kitchen on the tips of her toes, singing the special recipe to herself as she added ingredients. “Powdered cinnamon...No, no cinnamon. Whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle. And finally…a candy cane.”
     Tangle sat back, admiring her creation. “I love hot chocolate!” With this, she bounced around, jingling her bells, until she remembered the most important part of making hot chocolate. “Delivery! Oh, Where is he?”
     Tangle rushed to the sugar snowflake that cleverly concealed a computer. “Not in the toy room…not in the present room? He’s not even with the reindeer or in the mail room! Where is he?”
     The Hot Chocolate Elf spun around and smiled at the sound of Jangle’s voice. “Jangle! I’m so very happy to see you, my love, but I have to deliver this cup before it gets cold!”
     “I know, my sweet. I was only going to say he’s in his office.” Jangle waited, knowing what the response would be.
     Tangle glanced around and skipped over to her partner before imploring him with big brown eyes and whispering, “Does Jingle know he’s not working?”
     Jangle played along, lowering his voice. “I don’t think he needs to know just now.”
     “Okay!" Tangle moved the cup from the warming counter to a tray and set off for the recipient’s office. The most important person in the north pole and sometimes on Earth.
She took a deep breath at the door before knocking.
“Santa! Santa, are you awake? Sorry if you’re not, but I have some cocoa for you! Just the way you like it, but without cinnamon. You usually like cinnamon but it didn’t seem right this morning…”
     Tangle quieted as she realized what that meant, what the hot chocolate had told her, and her face fell.
     “Santa?” She pushed the door open slowly with her foot, to find exactly what she had feared. Santa was looking out the window, at the snow, sitting in a rocking chair. He was not moving or singing or whistling or laughing. Santa was going through the Nice List Archives.
     “I brought you hot chocolate.”
     Santa turned around, confirming Tangle’s fear. He was…old. Not in the sense that he was over two thousand years old, he was—but now it showed. And that was never a good thing.
     “What’s wrong?” Tangle was unusually calm. She set the hot chocolate down and waited. No bouncing, no singing.
     “My, my. Little Tangle, I have never seen you so serious. Not since you first arrived here.”
     “I remember. Jingle said I wasn’t a real elf.”
     “And then Jangle arrived, becoming your mate with a rhyming name, proving your…elf-ness.”
     Relaying this story usually made Tangle giggle to no end, just hearing Jangle’s name and then ending with a silly word like “elf-ness”. But right now was not a time for giggles. Santa looked at her with sad, ancient eyes and sat down.
     “The population is too big, and I am too old. Time goes too fast, and I can’t keep up.”
     “You have us. We keep up for you.”
     “What does cinnamon represent, Tangle?”
     “Why is it not in my cup?”
     Tangle looked away and clenched her fists. Santa was the only one who understood how she made her cups of cocoa. Each cup represented the person who would be drinking it. A person who had cinnamon usually didn’t suddenly not have it anymore. She shook her head as she realized this was his way of reasoning with her. Using his understanding to talk her out of denial. Tangle wasn’t about to let it work.
     “And dark chocolate.”
     “As always.”
     “Five percent, like always?”
     “No…ten. But ten is still a small number!”
     Santa smiled and pointed to the Nice list Archives.
     “I have found a girl who has never been on the naughty list, not once.”
     “So she’s nice.”
     “She has a tremendous amount of Christmas spirit,”
     “I don’t care.” Tangle whispered, as tears graced her usually happy eyes.
     “She is of a decent age,”
     “She’ll still be too young.”
     “And I have chosen her.”
     Silence filled the room. Every elf knew what choosing someone meant. People at the North Pole didn’t choose anyone. Even their spouses were predestined, easily identified by a rhyming name. Girls starting with T, Boys starting with J. It made things simple. Santa had chosen a mortal girl who was nice and had Christmas spirit to be the new Santa. Meaning, of course, that the current Santa…Tangle’s Santa, had to…
     “I won’t let you.”
     “I officially retire.” Tangle sniffed back tears, still unused to crying. She could do nothing but watch as the current Santa laid down a blank sheet of paper and started disappearing in a swirl of dust. The dust formed itself, became darker, and imprinted a name and place on the paper.


     Tangle wiped away her renegade tears and picked up the piece of paper. Everything but the first name was really unneeded. The paper acted as will, and would lead any elf to the new Santa.
     New Santa. Just thinking the words made Tangle feel her sadness all over again. The merry cup of hot chocolate caught her eye.
     “I should have added the cinnamon anyway.”
     Without another word, Tangle turned around with the paper in hand and walked out of the room to find Jingle, the head elf. The cup of hot chocolate, specially brewed with a now-melting candy cane, was left to cool down on the vacant desk in the unused office where Santa used to spend his time napping instead of making toys.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Remembrance Review

Goodreads summary: Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England ... but she doesn't know it yet.
Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie's high school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can't stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can't she get him out of her mind?
Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, fighting fate isn't going to be easy

In all honesty: I wasn't going to read this, much less buy it. I saw the cover a while back, and glanced at the summary. "Oh," I thought. "Taylor swift. Cool." And I went on with my day. But while I was on amazon buying new books ANYWAY a few weeks later, I looked at it and thought "Why not?"

I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I was super pleased.

 The third grade summary report would read: "A girl meets a new mysterious guy at school and falls in love."
 Face it, I wasn't good at summarizing in third grade. Because that describes a lot of books. Among them: The much debated 'Twilight'.

 This brings me to point one of what I like about this book.

 Point One: Madow writes about a real teenage girl; not a real "literary" teenage girl, who shrinks when the boy of her dreams (or memory) tries to ignore her. When *Spoiler alert from now to a while down* Drew starts his hot and cold act, Liz calls him on it and tells him to cut it out. I loved this, seeing as most books I read have the girl feeling insecure and moping about it.

Point Two: Liz's loyalty to Chelsea is admirable. We've all heard of the girl code, but how often do you read it? She's head over heels in love with this guy, but her best friend wants to go out with him so Liz backs off.

 Point Three: I admire the way she snuck the ideas of previous lives well before it became obvious. I found myself understanding Drew's broodiness as frustration without having to be told "Hey, he knows something." It's almost masterful how Michelle snuck that in there.

Few more things: I have a favorite line. It's not a gushy love line, though I had my share of favorites in that category. It's a line that I've thought many times myself.

"It [soccer] would be much more interesting if every so often, the ball spontaneously exploded.
"Madow, Michelle (2011-07-25). Remembrance (p. 83). Dreamscape Publishing. Kindle Edition." 

Also, a debate topic. Because every book needs a good debate.
 Discuss: Considering the past lives of Drew, Liz, and Chelsea; Who is Drew really meant to be with? Point: Drew and Liz love each other, and don't love their respective partners. Opposing point: Drew and Chelsea probably got together in the old life, considering Elizabeth's fate.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

In My Mailbox

In my Mailbox is a little something thought up and hosted by the story siren. I thought I'd give it a shot. So this week, in my mailbox, I have:

 Spy Goddess Manga Volume 1: Chase for the Chalice by Michael Spradlin
Spy Goddess (TokyoPop)
 Originally, this series was in novel form. I actually emailed the author, and he explained how sales weren't going so hot so they (the publishers) tried manga. It's a good series, though, I wish there was more to  this.

 Spy Goddess Manga volume 2: Quest for the lance by Michael Spradlin
 The Quest for the Lance
 This is the last ever spy goddess book that is out there. :( Time for fanfiction?


 Pandora's Reading Room by Pandora Poikilos

Paper Angels by Jimmy Wayne and Travis Thrasher

Paper Angels  

 The Mind Readers By Lori Brighton  -- Free on amazon right now

 The Mind Readers (Mind Readers, #1)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: Open Minds by Susan Quinn

 general summary:  Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

My review: I usually don't opt for buying books on my 4-12 hour a week salary. But this intrigued me, and I'm elated that this book did not disappoint me. New words (demens, mesh, etc) threw me off a bit at first, but by chapter two they were an easy addition to my vocabulary.

Kira stole my heart right away, and I was rooting for her the whole book through. Once I got to the more emotional parts--I can't help it. I cried. Ms. Quinn is an exceptional writer, and I can't wait for the next books.

In fact, during halloween, I trick-or-treated with my little sister for two streets, and gave her my candy in return for some reading time.

I can't possibly give justice in a review to how amazing this book is. All I can say is: Buy it. Buy it now and start reading right away. You'll love it.

Guess what's coming in march!?

That. the Kick Butt Characters giveaway hop! I have read a splendid amount of books with characters that kick butt, so I'll be joining in this one too. ^_^

Come by here around March 23rd and enter.