News

News: If I could, I'd tie my hair up in dreds and live the life of adventure from the high seas to the mountain peaks, gathering gold and jewels and tales of mystery and action :) but for now, I'll just have to do with writing about these things as if they were truly real.

--12 December 2017 --

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

April 5, 2018

Petrigrud's Adventure

Another short story to tickle your senses :) Again, I've taken to writing things on my bus ride in to work. It is a good exercise for the creative mind.


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Petrigrud's Adventure


The forest was shaded deeply, as if it kept several secrets hidden underhand, waiting to deal them to the world when it was least expected. The titter of birds through the leafy undergrowth floated all around. Somewhere in the distance, the ripple of water thrummed. 
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It was in this very forest that the young squirrel, Petrigrud, now found himself. He tended to wander away from home now and then on an exploratory adventure. Yes, simply for the sake of his own curiosity. He was currently perched on a sturdy branch, several feet above the forest floor (well out of the way of the lower-roaming beasts, lest he happen upon one by accident). 

A black-rimmed brown triangular hat was perched between his twitching ears. His little rust-red vest, half buttoned up his chest, betrayed soft underfur poking out the top in a ruffled manner. His paw pads were bared against the bark of his perch, and in his forepaws he clutched a small leather-bound book which now hung open to the hastily scribbled directions he'd jotted from Sacreed the Wise. Sacreed was an old, weathered bluebird with a penchant for accumulating heavily feathered hats (why he liked the feathered ones was anyone's guess... they all thought him rather strange, given his own birded heritage). 

Petrigrud usually visited Sacreed on the eve of his wanderings. This time was no different. He had inquired of the old bluebird the whereabouts of the tomb of Kregule. It was said to be buried deep within the Norwoods, far beneath the undergrowth, protected by a hidden entrance and many traps and other such dangers that the mysterious were often shrouded with. He didn't want to find it for the sake of the treasures rumoured to be hidden within; rather, he wanted to find it for the sake of the finding. 

The little black nose on his whiskered face twitched with the onslaught of foresty scents. He peered down at his scribblings again, absentmindedly reaching up to scratch behind his left ear (it always itched when he thought too hard - a genetic defect, clearly... or a bad habit). 

Old birch, biddy crow, bundled brat, beneath bungalow of boo.

The instructions were certainly lacking in some regards. He had no idea which direction to find this old birch...and there were several in the Norwoods (although thankfully not thousands; perhaps a few hundred or so). Petrigrud figured it best to try and find the oldest of the old birches and make his mark from there. 

Thankfully, as a hobbyist adventurer, Petrigrud was terribly good at finding things. This was likely why he decided to risk the tomb of Kregule on the lacking instructions of a half-demented bluebird (don't tell Sacreed this... he'll peck out your eyes...or at least nip your tail). 

Before the young squirrel, a forest of trees (which is usually what a forest is comprised of) stood tall and stately and quivering with life. He was perched on one such tree, and from his vantage point he could clearly see an old birch, a little off to the left. The other trees of the Norwoods seemed to give it berth, as it was surrounded by thick, foamy grass spotted through and through with little petulant flowers. 

This was certainly the birch he had been searching for; he leaned over his notes again and, with his right hand, reached for his charcoal nub to cross of old birch from his horizontal list. 

That done, Petrigrud stuffed his notebook into his little vest, secured the top buttons, smoothed back his ears, and leaped from his perch to the neighbouring tree. The branch quivered excitedly as his paw pads thumped down in place, claws clasping tightly to maintain his balance. 

It was in this manner that Petrigrud finally brought himself to a low-hanging branch in the outer circle of trees around the old birch. It certainly looked old enough. He thought about crossing the outer ring of flowers, but then thought again and stayed put on his perch. 

Old birchbiddy crow, bundled brat, beneath bungalow of boo.

A biddy crow was the next thing to find. Petrigrud's keen black eyes twitched this way and that, in the opposite direction of his ever-smelling nose. 

He certainly didn't see a biddy crow. They were often elderly creatures (as the name implied) and rarely came out of their nests and tree-hollows except to snatch a mouse or, if most unlucky, a sickly squirrel. 

Raising his eyes upwards, he looked at the overgrown treetops and, to his surprise, noticed a small chickadee watching back very intently. 

"Good eve, mister missus chickasquee," called up Petrigrud in his chirpy voice, "Mayhaps you know of a biddy crow in these parts? Perchance might you share your great knowledge with a terribly dull squirreling." 

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The chickadee seemed rather flattered and fluttered itself closer and lower to take a better gander at Petrigrud. It tilted its little head this way and that before chirruping, 

"Do you really think I am great of knowledge, squirreling?" 

"Petrigrud, at your service; yes, indeed I most certainly do. I dare say you're the most knowledgeable chickasquee I've met in these parts." 

The chickadee ruffled its feathers, "Madam Mikmik, pleasure sire, pleasure. What sorts of knowledge are you seeking?" 

"Ah, Madam Mikmik, a strong and sturdy name for a strong and masterful chickasquee," Petrigrud flattered unashamedly, "I am looking for a biddy crow in these parts, so that I might in turn find a bundled brat beneath a bungalow boo. I was sent by Master Sacreed." 

Madam Mikmik sharply twisted her head this way and that, chirruping thoughtfully before she answered him.

"Master Petrigrud, I do indeed believe you seek the tomb of Kregule. Dare you? You know the treasures are forbidden us forestlings." She ruffled her feathers and narrowed her brows as best a bird can narrow them.

Petrigrud bobbed his head and cleared his throat, "Ah yes, ahem, indeed Madam, indeed. I am quite well aware, I am simply seeking some old folklore on the matter to ensure that such tomb does exist. I don't think I should be brave enough to dare crossing the threshold of such terribly terrifying resting place, Madam. I do beg pardon." 

Madam Mikmik stared at him, tilting her head this way and that, now and then softly chirruping away - a nervous habit. 

"I think it best you turn and leave, Master Petrigrud." said the little chickadee, "These parts aren't safe for less weathered forestlings as yourself. Not safe at all." 

Petrigrud furrowed his brow and scratched his ear, "I am most well aware, Madam Mikmik, that these parts are dangerous. I did speak to the great and noble Sacreed on the matter, as I have noted earlier. I don't think I intend to cause any disturbances in the region." 

Madam Mikmik squeaked and puffed out her chest, "'T'isn't about that, sire, not the least! Tis about the disturbance of our great dead. I think it best you make your way away now. I haven't seen a biddy crow in these parts." 

And with that proclamation, Madam Mikmik lifted her wings up and flew off in great haste. 

It was all quite sudden and Petrigrud was very puzzled. He scratched his ear again, unbuttoned his little vest, and pulled out his notebook again. The directions were very clear - he must find the biddy crow. 

A rustling in the undergrowth made him pause and he sniffed the air. Nothing betrayed its scent to him, but he wasn't dreaming...he had heard something in the bushes off to the right. He shouted a warning cry, which echoed dangerously loud through the Norwoods. 

He felt his fur rise on his chubby little cheeks. He had embarrassed himself - he hadn't meant to squeak out; it just happened sometimes. 

It was nothing. He pressed his notebook back against his bosom and buttoned his vest. 

A dark shadow passed overhead, but he was too busy buttoning to notice. 

The undergrowth shivered again. 

"Oh dear. I do wish Madam Mikmik hadn't left on such unhappy terms. I am indeed without any further directions now. I haven't the slightest where a biddy crow might nest in these parts." His nose twitched and he smoothed his whiskers down. 

The forest glade was suddenly very quiet. Petrigrud stood to attention, grasping his branch tightly. 

A quiet forest was a bad forest. Every tree made noise - they chattered, they chicked, they grumbled to one another. If a forest went quiet, it meant something unseemly was abroad. Every little squirreling was taught these things before they could squeak. 

While Petrigrud was surveying the grove and old birch, a pair of yellow-green eyes surveyed him from deep in the undergrowth. These eyes belonged to something sinister. Something Petrigrud most assuredly did not want to meet. 

Then, as silently as the eyes had made their way into the undergrowth, they made their way out. 

It wouldn't be long now. Shut your eyes dear reader. We shan't look.

Poor Petrigrud. He knew better than to wander into the Norwoods. And now, his story shall be in the memory of all the little squirrelings. 

Madam Mikmik knew better than to keep him in that deadly grove for so long, but Madam Mikmik was a less than pleasant chickadee herself. She rolled in heaping stores of sugared oats and honeyed pieces from combs thicker than her spread wings. To her small brain, it was no difficult decision to give up the lives of other forestlings to ease her greedy belly. 

So let it be known, reader and friend, that should you adventure into the deep and dark Norwoods, take a company of braves with you. And run when the forest quiets, lest you end up as poor little Petrigrud. 

All that was left of his adventure was a tattered page reading bundled brat and a shred of rust-red vest that no forestling would bury, for no forestling dared enter the Norwood after him. It was too wild, too dangerous.


*******

Signed with charcoal,

Squeaks.

April 4, 2018

Candice & the Letter

Here's a short story for you guys :) I wrote it this morning on my bus ride in... enjoy!

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Candice & the Letter

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It was a warm and crisp morning. The kind of morning that made you feel a little bit manic, as if you're on the verge of having an epiphany, but the catalyst to such an event is entirely lacking in the air you breathe. Such was the kind of morning that we see Candice walking briskly down Pennington Street. Her shoes semi-aggressively clap-clapping against the cobblestone sidewalk.

It was a beautiful day out. The sun peered hesitantly in between the buildings, shining down the alleyways to light up moderately good graffiti. Several birds swung down low to land on little black-clawed feet in the middle of the abandoned pavement, nibbling at some insect or other that chanced to cross at an inopportune time.  

Candice ignored them. Her honey-brown hair swung around her shoulders in a jagged bounce as her side-bag slapped her hip over and over, in step. Her thoughts were entirely preoccupied today. She would like to be melancholic and contemplative about her life and what it had suddenly become, but she simply hadn't the time. It was much too time-consuming to be off-kilter, despite the aesthetically pleasing countenance she felt it provided. There was nothing more beautiful than a human in deep thought - their eyes peering far off into the past (or future) with a simultaneous sharpened softness that no other mood could muster. She knew - she had tried. 

In any case, this morning was important. 
She turned off Pennington and on to Winterfield Avenue. SteamCloud's overarching storm-grey banner shielding the patio jutted out over the walkway. Candice hurried her approach, ignoring the sting of her bag's complaints against her side. 

The door in to the little teashop was outfitted with a dainty silver bell that gave a jolly tinkle as she pulled it open and quickly claimed her little wooden table for two over in the far corner. 

With an exhaled sigh, Candice set down her bag, flipping it open to pull out her laptop. She set it carefully on the tabletop and turned it on. 

"Good morning dear - the usual?" a well aged, motherly voice interrupted her thoughts (as it usually did). 

"Hi Darla - yes, thanks." Candice offered a small smile. It was a beautiful smile. The kind that could appease a kings anger. Darla returned one of her own as she turned back to the kitchens. 

Candice typed in her password and quickly set about logging in to her accounts - she was the curious kind who had a penchant for being a very private person even with herself and her private life - and checked her email for any good updates. 

There wasn't much other than the usual drivel she received. One letter from a distant cousin, likely inquiring about her health and whether she'd any money to wire across the ocean. Several from companies offering benefits for promotion of their products; she deleted those, she had no time to promote things these days. 

She scrolled, clicked and skimmed and deleted. Her lips thinned into a line of despair. It wasn't there. Not even a hint. 

Darla returned with a steaming mug of dark coffee, a small pitcher of cream, and a bowl of fresh cut fruit. 

"Thanks." Candice offered as the waitress turned to leave. 

"Enjoy, dear." 

She added cream to the coffee and returned to browse through her social media, sipping from her mug as she did. 

The news wasn't particularly useful either. Meaningless celebrity gossip, over-mangled liberal agenda pieces, too many stabbings and murders. She closed those tabs and checked Facebook. That was useless too. Not a hint in sight. 

She exhaled loudly and turned her attention to the fruit bowl. 

"Waiting on something dear?" Darla inquired from her perch near the till. 

Candice peered over at her, taking in the wrinkles and rosy cheeks and stiff joints.

"Not particularly," she replied. 

Darla simply looked at her; the kind of look that said, Oh really? I think not, but the dear lady didn't push further than she was invited to push. She turned her little button nose back to her billings and such. 

Candice looked out the window at the park across the street, where the little blackbirds liked to gather and have a chuckle. She reached up and rubbed her forehead, trying to brush away the growing pangs of a headache. Gathering her hair up and out of her face, she pulled it back into a ponytail. The little uneven edges tickled her neck and she looked back at her cleared email again. No new messages. 

She sat in SteamCloud until lunch hour. Then, when the regular patrons poured through the door on their breaks, she packed her bag, tipped thankfully after wrapping up her bill, and returned to the pavement. 

The little park across the street called to her - a tantalizing undertow of what if, what if, what if, what if. She ignored it and turned back towards Pennington Street, her feet clap-clapping the cobblestone. What-if's were best ignored when you could see beyond their teasing to the dark whispers they muttered. Most what-if's were harmless, but Candice's what-ifs were not and she knew better than to let them get the best of her. She'd allow, every now and then, a well behaved perhaps or even a remember, but not a what-if

After all, it was a what-if that forced her to SteamCloud every morning. That was the only what-if she would allow in her life; one was trouble enough and she refused to let more take over her thought-space. 

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Her bag felt extra heavy today. Reaching the entrance to her apartment complex, she punched in the gate code and let herself through to the stairwell. Her bag slapped her hip again as she closed the gate behind her, checking twice to assure herself. 

The stairwell was a rickety old fellow. All wrought-iron and twisting in its upwards manner. It was terribly noisy and Candice always tried to muffle her steps to no avail. Once you were on the stairwell there was nothing you could do about making your presence known to every neighbour in earshot. She tried to climb it as swiftly as possible - right to the top floor. Then it was a left turn, thirty steps, and her front door. 

The poor thing was battered and peeling and normally Candice gave it a pat as she unlocked and let herself in. 

Today was different. 

Her door was different. 

Pinned to the very center, right at the level of her headache, was a thick letter upon a bronze nail -- her poor door -- and practically dripped luxury. 

The blood drained from Candice's face. 

There was only her name, written in elegant cursive, on the packaging. 

She was frozen in place, staring at her name as it stared back at her. 

Then, like a rabbit unfreezing from the choking glare of a wolf, she fled. 

The hallway remained empty. Her footsteps thrashing the iron stairwell soon disappeared into a distant ringing, until even this eventually faded from the atmosphere. 

The letter simply hung there - pinned on that glaringly bronzed nail; Candice's name gleaming back, frozen in an endless weeping of ink. 


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Signed with a blackbird feather,

Squeaks.

February 13, 2018

Sifted City Hero {A Poem}


18.02.13 - Sifted City Hero
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Ashed words filter down, flecked and smoldering from flame
Flitting, floating, flatly coming to rest against pale skin. 
Here I stand in the wreckage, the ruin --
Distempered skyline drips oil and fire on the billowy aftermath.
Sheet-like gray as a cold counter, 
Careless and loveless, like a necrotic old woman
Hacking up laughter at the street corner,
Bluish and greenish, salivating at every word dripping
Slipping from the maw of men. 

They cradled you, tempered you with metal and stone;
They plundered you, deep and dark and dismal
They curved their sickled fingers around the outline 
Of your cityscape and you cracked and crumbled.

Red red, red as the blood from the corner of your lips,
Pulse pulse, pulsed out and pulsed away. 
I am standing here, watching you stumble, fall, flicker
You can't stand under the crush of the sky
As it glares down, glittering anger and greed. 
But I will stand for you. 
I will hold you as you crumble, crash and break. 
I won't leave you as you disappear into the soil
To mix with earth and stardust. 
You won't be alone through this end. 

Here I stand, staring at the ripped ethereal inverted globe
Reflecting the chaos and culture of a dying world.
Shifting smoke and smelted gold,
Sticking, slipping, seething eastward. 

Here I stand, last guardian of the rift between realities - 
Battleworn, rusted, regulated war-child. 
Here I cling to my weapons, leathered long and daggered,
Rising up I surge through mud and blood and refuse, 
They cling to my body, curving possessively, 
But called by gravity, they resist momentarily
Before slinking homeward. 
And I stand, heavy-booted, heel-toeing up and out. 

You'll watch me suffer, climb and stand 
Conquer pit and beast, stand. 
Conquer wrath and rage, stand.
I stand, and I demand my land returned, 
And I will stand and stand in stalwart patience,
Ripping heart and teeth from enemy lies,
Till I have returned this city to rest. 

Forbid me passage: may you fear. 
I come to cleanse and heal and clear.




Inspired by Until We Have Faces by Red (album), N8Bennett's discussion of superheros, and red eyeshadow.

Signed with a dystopic breeze, 
Squeaks.

January 2, 2018

Wandering with No Where in Mind - {A Poem}


Carpeted, dew-heavy and spring-up the forest floor hushed wandering steps
And I walk secret ways in silence, listening to the fluted glow of the wind
As it whistles its charm through the treetops.
Soft, silky branched spruces and firs, thickly scented of pine 
All clean and crisp and sweet with notes sharply invigorating
Like nape of neck under mountain stream, all north-bound icicles 
Shooting stars and puffs of crystal-snow blown down from the pole.
In these enchanted woods, the thrush sings throatily, its pot-bellied body
Awake with life and haunting, wood-winded ee-oh-lay.
It trespasses, and the deer knows the lost look in those jewel-beaded eyes. 

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I traipse, No Where in mind
I won't content myself, till I reach that distant land. 
Sing me the song of the regal redwoods
The forest queens and kings that set back shoulders in royal rouge. 
And when snowfall shapes their stalwart roots, 
Draping strength and season in sheets of white, 
I'll linger lengthwise, in frozen bloom
~

~
Till the mountains arise and the sun buckles down, 
Spending more than a moment to golden one crown. 
In the spring-fevered life-raising hurdle of March, 
Where the jack-rabbits thunder on soil thickly parched. 
I will wait till the buttercups lift weary heads
And prod soil left and right from their jumbling beds. 
Only then will my glittering gaze come un-vacant 
Staring up at the sea-foam of clouds beyond ancient.
I suppose in those moments, I'll see what I feel
All the thawing of winter in bud-bearing zeal. 
And the rosehips and woodchips and buttery fragrance 
That waft by on breezed-cloaks of selky wood-agents
Then I'll turn my gaze northwards to lands of my home
With a heart heavy burdened to break from the loam
And my feet will up-stumble from these knotted knees
Between shackles of lavender buzzing with bees
And the graven earth trembling all with this might
Will release from her clasp the entombed, seeking flight. 
Though we totter and tumble and gracelessly fall down
We'll gather our strength up in fist; we will not drown. 
We'll hurdle our selves out of apathy, lucid
To breathe in the mist of the dreams that were muted. 
And standing, we'll find that the strength was not ours
But was drawn beyond sun, beyond moon, beyond stars
Which was somehow translated to liven our bones
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And we walk not in might, but by grace, to our homes.

Come you gentlemen, ladies, to hear of these tales
To seek for a muse to inspire your travails
That your walking will not lead to dungeons or doom
But to fields ripe for picking, of cotton in bloom. 
Beware the old forest, it's lively in state
But it sings of a song that can make a heart wait 
Until all of the joy that you once had is leached
To the soil, for it yearns and it oft seeks you breached. 
Like a ship on the shore, all upturned and devoured
By the crashing of waves upon jagged rock, scoured. 
It is ancient in beauty, this forest - its dark -
But beware, oh beware, lest you sell it your heart.

I must go to my task of expelling my air, 
Breathing in, shunting out, all this grievous affair,
But I leave you with thoughts of my own to consider, 
Reader - take this to heart, let it sink and grow bigger
For I spin you a story from gold dust I own 
Which I found in my pockets and grew out of stone. 
It is dreadful, most dreadful, to deem you would think
That this story's a fable for hearth, home, and drink. 
So I dab now my quill on the paper to blot 
All the stains of my past which have yet to be wrought
Into colourful tree-trunks and way-signs and markers
That steer away friends from the traps in their harbours. 

Let these words be but few for a warning most dire, 
Leave your fancies behind, lest you sink in this mire. 


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Signed with ambergris,
Squeaks.

December 30, 2017

{A Review} - The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

I practically screeched for joy when I got an email from Netgalley saying that my ARC request was accepted for The Plastic Magician (in return for an honest review). Charlie N. Holmberg is one of my favourite authors, and the first book I read by her was The Paper Magician, so to see her continue one of my all time favourite series was a huge thing for me :) 



Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking---the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.  
Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries---in as short a time frame---as she can. Luckily for her, she's studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is. 
Alvie's enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor's work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking---and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.  
To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair...     {excerpt from Goodreads}

Where The Paper Magician was delicate and dainty and easily likened to an origami rose, The Plastic Magician arises from the ashes to belch smoke and oil at us in a whimsical tottering of chaotic artistry. The rules of magic from the first three books remain, but now we're splattered into the fresh field of polymaking with the rare plastic magicians. Given the recent discovery of polymaking (compared to the older fields of the folders, pyres, smelters, etc), the rules of magic governing plastic material are yet to be fully unveiled, and the scientific border between known and unknown is a frontier of fast-paced and dangerous discoveries. Here we meet Alvie Brechenmacher, a newly declared polymerist, and her famous mentor Mg Marion Praff. Together they embark on a journey to find something new...but will they and their hard work survive the evil machinations of a mysterious villain intent on destroying everything? You'll have to read the book to find out :)

  • Goodies: Steampunk vibes (yess). Polymakers and folders. Women's trousers in the late Victorian era <3. Clutziness. Non-stereotypical female protagonist (<3 <3 <3). Unique magical rules. Villainous villains. Grumpy butlers. Actual references to the true scientific process (i.e. abstracts & paper publications & conferences). Practical medical application.
  • Character Development: (4/5) Alvie showed the most development and change over the book, as to be expected of the lead character. I was hoping Mg. Praff would show a little change alongside several other individuals (whom you'll discover quite darling if you read the book), but they were somewhat static. However, my understanding is that this is the first of several more books (?yes please?!) so I'm only taking 1 point off because I'm certain there will be more gloriousness to come!
  • Content Snatchery: (5/5) Exceptional. I was snatched from the start (that sounds cringy right? sorry, too late). Alvie is a girl after my own heart. While Ceony (from The Paper Magician) is the girl I wish I could be, Alvie is probably the girl I actually am. She's clumsy, a little nervous but otherwise bold and brave. She knows she lacks the feminine wiles other girls typically have, but that makes her more dear to my heart. Needless to say, it was refreshing to read a story from what appears to be late-Victorian or early 1900s, where social boundaries are toed very strongly. While I admit I was able to predict most of the plot twists, it was still a very exciting read.
  • Boring Parts: (minimal to non-existant) Charlie doesn't dilly-dally on telling us about the floral wallpaper when there's other business to discuss. She wrote deeply and beautifully about the unique magic of her world and I didn't find myself bored one iota. Not to mention the overall plot was tied to a very practical problem that, to this very day in our current world, needs to be solved. I loved her ingenious and magical approach to it.
  • Romance: (some kissy scenes) ... but they aren't awkward or poorly placed. The romance develops slowly and doesn't come across as overly dominant to the plot. Therefore, I am a happy gooseling.
  • My eyes are sweating: (1/5) I think, in this case, it would be more along the lines of, my-fingers-are-about-to-snap-the-edges-of-my-kindle-off :P While there were some endearing moments, I didn't shed any tears (who knows what the future holds); however, there were some anxiety-inducing scenes that resolved (thankfully) and so let that be a forewarning as you read :) 

Overall, I truly adored Alvie and Mg. Praff, Bennet and the rest of the characters. They work really well together, and the rise and fall of tension was perfectly honed to the story arc. I applaud Charlie on another gorgeous tale that I'm adding to my list of favourites :) Not to mention my science-buried self truly was thankful for an accurate representation of the discovery process in the world of research. I almost cried tears of joy (okay, I exaggerate, but I was thrilled). Highly recommend, dear readers - go devour everything she's ever written <3

{Rating} - 5/5 Stars

Now, if this review has won your heart over and you're totally convinced you need to read the series, I do highly recommend you start with The Paper Magician, which I've linked to Amazon, but given that this is a review for The Plastic Magician, the main pre-order links for it are listed below :) It will be released on May 15th, 2018!!




----

Now just a few things about Charlie, because she's amazing and I can't help myself. So first, cakes...she makes delightful looking cakes and she even wrote a book about baking and cakery stuff (that also included stabby scenes and icing and was purely fantastic --> see Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet). She owns a huge number of fancy frames for glasses, and (in my opinion) is a very fashionable individual. Brandon Sanderson apparently knows her quite well, and while I've seen his books plastered over every store in town, I still regretfully must inform you I have yet to read one...

And last but not least, she's a supremely talented writer (heck guys, Disney optioned the rights of her Paper Magician Trilogy....). I truly love that she shares her gift with us :) because we need more beautiful stories like hers in this world <3

Go follow her on Twitter :)

Here are links to Charlie's social media places in case you want to dig on your own for more about this magical author:

Twitter  ||  Official Website  ||  Facebook  ||  Pinterest  ||  Instagram


-----

Signed with frosted sugar cookies,

Squeaks.

December 13, 2017

Flimsy Fancy - {A Poem}

A poem, of sorts, for my lovely readers...

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fierce as a dragon pup
sly as a white-tailed fox
sleek as a porpoise
flighty as a fairy tern

faithful emotional frequently fidgety
frosty eyed fumbling for fair-feat'ed folly
flimsy and filmy and far-too-fast blundered
billowing backwards in bucketed breezes
bunching together in towering thunder
thinking it thoroughly through till all tipsy
tipsy and tottering trundling topward
tip-top and tip-toe till taffy-hilled hollows 
hiccup and hillock and heretofore harbour
harbringer hallowed and happy in hollow
hill-folk all heat-soaked and silly with splendor
splashing and sploshing and spilling all silky
swish-swashing sideways through sunken sand slipping
sliding and swirling and sweeping self southwards
softly silently sleepily swooning
swiping till shrunken all scorned to the distance
dallying dancing in drill-wardened doom
dusky and dazy and dreamily deeming
dashing young marmots
will dance
through
the moon



Signed by a pygmy shrew, 

Squeaks.

December 12, 2017

{A Review} - Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney

I have a review for you folks today. I should have done this months ago, but I've been dreadfully busy. What with bandying around various topics related to musculature and human anatomy with my undergraduate students and abstaining my reckless hand from printing out my scientific manuscripts, dipping them in whiskey, and lightning them on fire (I can daydream, right?). 

To keep everybody happy and avoid rippling the water too much with my sudden reappearance, I offer you a delightful 8tracks mix of glorious Celtic songs made by ladyebelmont (I have no idea who said Lady is but her mix is fantastic). Have a listen (or three hundred) and go slay your work/school/laundrypile :) 




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I received an ecopy of the Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney for free from HQ Digital via Netgalley in return for an honest review. This story falls under the following categories: fantasy, fiction, science fiction, post-apocalyptic, and includes references to Roman mythology and gladiator culture. 

The synopsis taken from the book reads as follows: 

Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that's what Insiders are told.
Twins Eli and Talia shouldn't exist. They're Outsiders. Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret. An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred Book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her lifelong friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries and an ally - in the form of rugged Insider August - that will change the course of her life for ever. She'll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process? The Fire Sermon meets Gladiator in this brilliant YA debut. 

I was ready for a great science fiction, post-apocalyptic read, so I was thrilled when I received this book. Reading the synopsis gave me slight concern, however, as any author describing their male protagonist as "rugged" or their female protagonist as potentially "sacrificing her heart" makes me think it's going to be a slinky kind of romance. Readers, I am not into slinky romances (take note). Thankfully, that was not the case - there was romance, but didn't take center stage, and therefore I enjoyed the book far more than I anticipated after reading the synopsis. 

It is a little misleading though - there is very little written about Eli, Max, or the Book of Arafel. The majority of the tale follows Talia (female protagonist) and her interactions with various individuals both outside and inside the dome. I do have to say, Michelle did a fine job of introducing us to the unique culture of Arafel and its people, before sweeping us away into a sterilized (or not so sterilized) world. Arafel fascinated me and I wanted to read much more about the land outside the dome, but we never get more than a tantalizing taste. I suppose I should be happy to hear there is a second book on the way! 

With that being said, let's break it down through my list before I give too much away. 
  • Goodies: Fantastic action scenes (fight scenes, running scenes, etc etc). Roman mythology. Mythical beasts 😮. August (male protagonist *swoon*). Unique world development (including names, weapons, tech). Genetics. Close calls. Did I mention amazing action scenes??! 😮 Mystery chambers.
     
  • Character Development: (2/5) Okay, so the only reason I'm giving this a 2 out of 5 for character development is because the only one showing any semblance of changing throughout the entire story is Talia. I really expected August, the villain, and some of the supporting cast to develop as well and they really didn't. It was a little disappointing because by the end of it, I could predict what each character would do (and they subsequently did it) because they were following a generic action plot. August was delightful though (and dashing) so I'll stop poking him, but really the development could have been far better.
     
  • Content Snatchery: (3/5) I was debating whether I should give it a 4 or a 3 and had to settle for a 3 simply because the introduction to the story was slow and awkward to my eyes. It seemed to me as if Michelle's writing voice significantly improved over the tale; if I had a say in the matter, I would suggest a thorough re-write of the introduction to ensure it matches the end voice. However, I won't hassle too much here because oh my gosh were her action scenes on point. I loved them very much and expect that in book 2 they'll be even better! So, if you're picking this book up, give it a while to grow on you (because if you like sci-fi you should enjoy this one).
     
  • Boring Parts: (minimal) As mentioned above, Book of Fire has great action scenes. They were appropriately spaced apart. Its almost as if the reader rides the wave of one scene straight to the next, and the lull is perfect before the action hits again. This does make the story a little predictable and you can kind of expect when something "shocking" is going to happen, but it certainly isn't a boring read!
     
  • Romance: (yes but it was awesome) As expected, Talia and August will indeed experience the stereotypical flame throughout the story. I initially expected it to be a tacky romance with awkward and lecherous scenes interspersed between the action to keep the readership engaged (and I hate that folks). However, it was not like that at all, much to my glee. There were moments of tackiness, but I actually didn't mind the romance going on here because it never truly took center stage away from the main plot. Also, August (assuming he shows some development in book 2 and isn't such a hulking, handsome chess piece) was a dear and I didn't mind that he kept showing up to banter with Talia. It kind of reminded me a little of Divergent's Tris and Four (but I don't think August is as witty as Four....yet...who knows how he'll develop - I'd like to see more of him).
     
  • My eyes are sweating: (3/5) There were some tear-worthy scenes, but surprisingly for me, the ones that got me the most involved little animals </3 I love adorable baby fluffy animals in books, and any time they are put in danger my eyes sweat with fear (gosh, that was an awful visual, haha). I really hope these fluffy little littles will make a debut in book 2 because WE NEED MORE FLUFFY CUTE THINGS IN LIFE. I need more fluffy cute things. [This is reminding me that I really need to change my fish's tank water today... poor thing, I'm such a negligent parent]

All in all, I quite enjoyed Book of Fire. It wasn't perfect, but it was unique and I love reading a unique tale that isn't some dramatic fanfiction-esque spin off of a different book. The synopsis got it right by saying this darling can be compared to Gladiator; I'd also like to suggest it is along the same vein as Divergent and (on a lesser scale - simply because of the mythology) The Percy Jackson series 😃 Do I recommend it? Yes! If you like sci-fi and post-apocalyptic stuff with some epic creatures and romance then this might just be a book for you! 


{Rating} - 3/5 stars

Interested in purchasing a copy of this book? See the following links for more details! 


Goodreads     Amazon     Barns & Nobles     Indigo     Harper Collins

Want to find out more about Michelle Kenney, the author of this unique novel? Check out her social media below :) 


Twitter     Facebook     Wordpress
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I'm in a rather piratey/viking warlord sort of mood at the moment. Perhaps I'll have to do a spin off on that over Christmas break :) and yes, I am taking a good long Christmas break this year. My brain can't handle any more that it already is...or it'll melt into the floor and crawl away from me at mock-chicken *wipes brow*. Heave ho, here we go.


Signed with rainfire,

Squeaks.
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