book club

QUICK FIX arc tour

remember when i was part of linda grimes’s IN A FIX arc tour? well, guess what? i was part of a second arc tour for her latest book, QUICK FIX.

and, you guys. YOU GUYS. this book. THIS BOOK! it’s everything every second book in a series should be. it deepens our knowledge of the main and supporting characters. it’s got new twists and turns. it stands alone. it’s complete. it leaves us begging for more, especially that love scene. it may very well be the sweetest (and sexiest) love scene around. i may have put my hand over my heart when reading it, because, awwwwwwwwwwww.

i’m not sure i can talk about how funny this book is, how real the characters are, and how unique the premise is without melting into a puddle of gushiness and re-forming back into a proud mama. (what? i “know” linda via twitter. i’m allowed to take credit for her writing successes. ;)

instead of subjecting you to my incoherent albeit happy babbling, here, have a review by patty blount and here, have some cover copy (from amazon):

QUICK FIX—the second installment of the original urban fantasy series by LINDA GRIMES.

Ciel Halligan, an aura adaptor with a chameleon-like ability to step into the lives of her clients and fix their problems for them—as them—is working a job at the National Zoo with her boyfriend, Billy, and his ten-year-old sister, Molly. It’s supposed to be a quick fix, giving her time to decide if it’s wise to pursue the romantic relationship her charming scoundrel of a best friend wants, or if she should give Mark, the CIA spook she’s crushed on since hormones first rattled her pubescent brain, a chance to step up to the plate.

Molly has already begun to show signs of being an adaptor herself. She’s young for it, but she’s always been precocious, so it’s not impossible. What is impossible is her taking on the form of the baby orangutan she touches—adaptors can only project human auras. Until now, apparently. Worse, Molly is stuck in ape form. She can’t change herself back.

Escaping from the zoo with their new baby orang, Ciel and Billy head for New York City and the only person they know can help: Ciel’s brother James, a non-adaptor scientist who’s determined to crack the aura adaptor genetic code. But when Billy winds up in jail, accused of attempted murder, Ciel begins to suspect Molly’s unusual adapting ability is more than just a fluke. Who’s been experimenting on Molly, and what do they hope to gain? And will Ciel survive to find out?

fascinating, right? plot twistingly intriguing, right? goody goody gum drops, right? this charming little book will see the light of day on august 20, 2013. mark your calendars. seriously, MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

UPDATED TO ADD: check out linda’s blog for her vision of the characters! so cool.

convos with strangers

conversations with strangers #57

i sometimes talk to strangers. here’s why.

i was scurrying to work on a blustery morning. i was on the later side of things and was already pondering my to do list for the day. meetings and projects and decisions and more meetings mounted in my head and i stopped paying attention to what my feet and hands were doing. as such, my thermos o’ decaf coffee hit my thigh and in direct opposition to my own clumsiness stuck its landing gracefully and upside down.

“huh,” i thought, pausing, studying, and laughing before leaning down to pick it up.

“that doesn’t happen twice,” a guy said.

i looked up at where i was; at the junction of where an apartment complex’s entrance hits the main sidewalk. of course this would happen in front of an audience. “no, it does not,” i said, smiled, and hoped the rest of my day would follow the trajectory of my thermos — graceful, albeit upside down.

it’d be better than me stumbling upright through the remaining hours.

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book club

BOOK HUNGRY: city of bones

who says you have to be crowded into the living room, kitchen, and/or dining room to hold a book club? we are ladies of the 21st century. we don’t need no stinkin’ couches. so pull up a blog and join in the conversation.

the members of the BOOK HUNGRY are (alphabetically): patty blount, kelly breakey, blake leyers, karla nellenbachand myself. we pick a book to read. we discuss via phone. we post a review on our individual blogs the 3rd thursday of the month. click on their names above and enjoy.

this month’s BOOK HUNGRY selection is: 

CITY OF BONES by cassandra clare

what it’s about from amazon: 

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

my opinion:

i’d read this book before, but it was so many moons ago and i didn’t remember enough about it to be able to participate in the monthly call, so i requested it again from the library.

as i re-read it, i recalled my initial reaction was “meh” and the end was “eww.”

those impressions didn’t change with a second re-read.

i mean, this book was fast paced and interesting up until the end. i didn’t like the end at all. it doesn’t make me want to read the other books, of which the gals informed me, there are four more, not to mention a movie coming out. i realize there’s a huge following of this series (and her other one) but i don’t see the appeal here. maybe i’m tired of paranormal? maybe i’m not a huge fan of what the ending suggested?

blake did tell us not all is as it seems, but again, with my bookshelf overflowing with books i’m desperate to read, i don’t think i’ll be sticking with the mortal instruments series. maybe later i’ll try the infernal devices series…?

have you ever read a very popular book and felt the opposite way from public opinion?

p.s. during our call, i learned that cinnamon and cayanne pepper are two spices that help increase metabolism. who knew? well, karla did and now i do too!

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what a wild, nerve-wracking, quiet, loud, small, large, intense day friday was.

my phone had been charging in the other room, so i hadn’t heard the various text messages popping up throughout the night. i did hear the phone ringing at 6:30am, which ripped me out of bed as my phone doesn’t ring often and even more rarely does it ring that early. fearing the worst and feeling confusion as i saw it was the city of cambridge calling, i answered.

it was an automated voice telling me to stay inside as an armed and dangerous suspect was on the run.

i blinked the sleep out of my eyes and the confusion mounted as i saw i had 12 text messages from work’s emergency system, from cambridge’s emergency system, and from my two local-est friends. they painted a picture of an increasingly dangerous situation which started not that far from my apartment and ended up in the town over from mine. i flipped on the news and called my old roommate, hoping they and she could calm my increasing anxiety.

no one knew much other than it seemed the police force was always just on the brink of something.

twitter was on fire as was my phone. texts and calls and tweets made me feel slightly less alone, but the lock down issued for my town ensured i was. the hours pressed on, as did the police. i kept my sneakers on convinced a knock on my door was imminent. i checked in on friends and they checked in on me.

the sense of community was a fluid and strengthening thing, despite the fact none of us could see each other. we were doing our part by staying put and staying out of the way.

stories poured in of friends seeing their work places on TV and poured out: i used to live quite close to where the suspects’ apartment was. a picture of lunchtime, which included 5 extra faces was sent by a friend of a friend. why the extra company and how during a supposed lock down? a family, displaced by the search through the suspects’ old apartment, had been taken in by that friend of a friend. a coworker of mine recognized the older brother suspect as he lived a block away and had stopped to let said suspect pet his dog once upon a time. a friend in my apartment building had been at mile 22 waiting to “run bandit” pushing and coaching and supporting her friend to the finish line even though she herself wasn’t a registered runner. the friend’s pace was slower than anticipated meaning they were far enough from the finish line to get pushed off course by the cops.

more and more and more the stories piled up as the police chased down leads and all our questions remained unanswered. boredom took over as my 400 square foot apartment felt smaller than ever. i paced. i worried. i inhaled. i plopped on the couch. i exhaled. i recognized places on the news. i heard stories of a 19yo boy that painted an entirely different picture than the photos of the bombing did. i inhaled. everything was done with unease.

the decree that the lock down was over despite having no suspect in custody was heard throughout town, but i was too scared to leave. how could they not have caught him? how could he have escaped? how would they find him now? where would he go? they weren’t giving up, were they? was there more terror to come? what should i do now?

a mere 30 minutes later, i sat on the couch with a pounding heart as the suspect was located in a boat barely outside the 20 block search radius. the whoops and hollers and applause could be heard as people finally flooded the streets.

i myself grabbed a drink with a friend at the only open spot, the local-est of dive bars. it felt right being surrounded with the grittiest of bostonians because that day, that week, we all were.

as i walked to the library the next day (which took me past the building which was the younger suspect’s high school), i noticed the hastily scrawled, handwritten “closed until further notice” signs on businesses and the fear i thought i’d breathed away knocked at the corners of my mind. the relief i felt crashed into the sadness of the previous days. the pride and gratitude for the cops and first responders mingled with the uncertainty of how those physically affected by the bombings would heal. the confusion of how a 19 year old with such potential could turn out so dark tickled my writer’s mind.

the fact i couldn’t call my mom to make these feelings go away haunted me.

even those within the state of massachusetts but outside the borders of the locked down areas couldn’t quite understand what it was like hearing nothing outside all day and then a burst of sirens and then nothing and then helicopters and then nothing and then more nothing and then sirens, so how could my mom? how could i expect her to help when i didn’t know how to ask for advice?

i truly felt like an adult in that moment and yet i was sad i was having an experience outside her knowledge because i wanted nothing more than for her hug to soothe everything away.

instead, i commiserated with nearby friends and my neighbors and other locals, all of whom had never looked better or stronger or brighter.

this is boston after all and we are boston strong.

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i’m not sure what to say.

as of june 2013, i’ll have lived in the greater boston area for 10 years and to quote this article: “Even if we can’t say we are “from” Boston we surely confirm when asked that we are “of” Boston. It remains in our blood.”

that’s the beauty of boston — its small town feel.

patriots day is our day. it’s a day of cheer and celebration. as a state holiday, there’s no school or work and people flood downtown to take in the exceptional endurance of the marathon runners, to revel in the sense of community as spring like temperatures thaw our winter hearts, and to watch the red sox win, as they always seem to do on this day. smiles and beers and applause flow freely.

not blood. that’s not supposed to happen on patriots day.

nor fear or chaos or anger or confusion or explosions.

i used to work downtown two blocks from the finish line. i still know people who do. i know three people who ran the race. i know even more who were watching from the sidewalk sidelines. i sat there on the safe shores of the other side of the river at work and never before so grateful to be in the office on a day when the majority of this state isn’t.

on 9/11, i was ensconced in a classroom and missed everything as it unfolded. the devastation was external and internal and widespread and it felt far away and yet, too close. much too close.

on 4/15, i was in front of my work computer. the hallways were quiet, but the twitter updates roared in my ears and eyes. i couldn’t believe what i was reading, seeing, feeling. it was the first time i “experienced” a horror in real time.

i recognize every patch of the runner-covered street, each panel of blood splattered sidewalk, each blown out storefront window. this is my city and that area is the heart of it. i felt the panic, the horror, the confusion, the noise.

the love.

texts and voicemails (calls weren’t going through) and tweets poured in from all my long-distance family and friends. i sent out my own emails and texts checking in, accounting for, reassuring my local people. we all wondered what was going on and what was going to happen next.

we still are.

and so for now, amidst our search for answers, it’s important to focus on the good. the first responders who sprang to action. the runners who wore their hearts on their sleeves and left their best efforts on the race path, whether they finished or not. the civilians who offered help in any form they could, be it food or shelter or coats or phones or hugs or support.

the sense of community that always blooms on patriots day has grown wild and free enveloping us, encouraging us, strengthening us as we attempt to move forward, move away from the shadow of the bombing, together.


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