Archive | April 2013

For Anna

So there’s this lovely woman on twitter. Her name is Anna Meade. She dresses like Hermione Granger for Halloween and she’s a Dark Fairy Queen. She’s also getting married, sings, and is totally adorable.

Being a writerly type, it only makes sense that she has a writerly type bridal shower online with other freaky people.

Because I heart her tons, here’s my entry!

Moss flitted between the three tables of fairies making wedding favors. Everything had to be perfect, not just because she was coordinating the wedding of the year, but because the Dark Fairy Queen was the one getting married! If ever there was a time for perfection, this was it.

“Excuse me. Are you or are you not supposed to be making sugar swans?” Moss tapped her dainty foot and glared about her. “These look more like ducks! DO IT AGAIN!”

Checking her list, she drifted past the other tables. Snowdrop and bluebell centerpieces were coming along nicely, as were little balls of nectar shaped into small suns.

“Um, Moss? I’m not quite sure… That is – I think there’s a problem.” Cowslip cringed and held out a note.

Snatching the leaf from her assistant, she read the note. With each word her face fell further and a dark cloud started to gather above her head. Moss’s delicate green-brown wings beat furiously.

“What do they MEAN no unicorns?!? There have to be unicorns! The whole opening ceremony depends on them!”

All the work stopped as her wail of despair carried through the meadow.

“It’s all ruined. We may as well call it all off right now!” Moss threw herself onto a tree stump and burst into tears.

Cowslip looked at her fellows for help, but none would meet her eyes. They bent industriously to their tasks, leaving the pale blue fairy to smooth everything over. Sighing and vowing to remember their cowardice, Cowslip settled gingerly next to Moss on the stump.

“You’re the best there is, Moss. This wedding will be splendid, with or without unicorns. All because of you.”

A small sniffle greeted her words.

Encouraged, Cowslip reached out and smoothed Moss’s tousled curls. “In fact, I just know that you’ll come up with something far better than some smelly unicorns. They’re probably not even house broken. Imagine if the Queen ruined a slipper in a pile of unicorn mess!”

A choking laugh escaped the pile of miserable fairy next to her.

Moss sat up and threw her arms around her friend. “I’ve been a little crazed, haven’t I?”

“Oh… not so very much.”

“Liar.” A radiant grin transformed Moss’s face. “You’re the best friend a fairy could have. I don’t know what I’d do without you!”

“Get buried by a distressed unicorn, no doubt.”

“Quite right! So we need something just as whimsical with much smaller droppings. What can we get in a hurry?”

“Size of droppings should always be a consideration in our planning from now on.” Cowslip’s face was perfectly straight. Not even the hint of a smile, although her eyes twinkled like stars.

Moss nodded. “Oh absolutely. I can’t believe that we didn’t think of it earlier.” She’d missed the joke entirely.

“I KNOW! We’ll use wombats! They’re soft and fuzzy and we’ll be able to corral them to minimize the chance of stepping in anything!”

“Yes, I’m sure that will be so much better.”

The crisis had been averted. For now. There were still four more days until the wedding and so much more could happen. Cowslip made a mental note to stock up her mother’s headache remedy. It was going to be a long week!

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Chasing Mrs. Right – Katee Robert

View the details here.

As always, the disclaimer: The lovely and awesome Heather Riccio sent this my way for a review.

Fortunately, I don’t think that Heather is capable of sending me a book that isn’t like totally amazing.  chasing

I loved this book on many different levels. Not the least of which was how steamy with a capital S it was! Whew!

The Good:

First, the characters aren’t perfect. I know that they aren’t in most books, but there are times when the character flaws are annoyingly minor. Which is not to say that I don’t also enjoy these stories, because I do. However, I always love to see characters who are struggling under the weight of some very serious issues.

Ian has borderline (or maybe not so terribly borderline) PTSD, which has resulted in anxiety and makes it hard for him to function in social situations.

Why this is awesome: Mental illness is something near and dear to my heart and Ms. Robert handles it delicately and beautifully. Ian isn’t broken, he’s just struggling to handle something that puts a bit of a cramp in his style. It doesn’t define him and he won’t let it. Sure, his mom doesn’t get it at all. But the rest of his friends and family do. And they don’t push. They’re there for him and offer quiet, firm support. This pleases me.

I like Roxanne, too. She has some serious (and understandable) relationship issues. But she also recognizes that it’s a problem and actively tries to fight against it. Sure, she screws up (a few times), but she keeps trying because she realizes that Ian is worth it.

I took special joy in Roxanne and Ian putting his mom in her place. I might have cheered a little.

The Bad:

I’d have liked for Roxanne’s struggle to be a little less internal and to have seen her reach out a little more for help. Only because I don’t think that it’s something a person can work through all alone. Then again, she reaches out to Ian, so… Ya know. Since that’s my only “I wish…” I call it a win.

Overall:

Totally a must read. I felt all warm and fuzzy at the end. I also read the excerpt from Wrong Bed, Right Guy and really want to read that now, too. And Nathan’s story. I feel like such a hussy having all these book crushes lately!

A Riveting Affair – Steampunk Anthology

View the details here.

Once upon a time, someone told me: There’s no market for steampunk.

Yes, that really happened. And I believe, as I did then, that person was full of poop. And to them I wish a hearty round of this song. arivetingaffair

All that having been said, I got the opportunity through (what else!) Twitter to read and review A Riveting Affair. Honestly, they had me at steampunk.

The first story in the anthology is Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Lily Lang. If I hadn’t already been thrilled by the steampunk theme, leading off with a fairy tale retelling would have totally sold me on this. As it was, this was an amazing story to lead off with. I won’t post spoilers and everyone knows about how this story should go. So let me say that I loved the way Ms. Lang adapted one of my favorite fairy tales.

It’s daunting in a short story to really explore characters in depth and get into the core of what makes them tick. Ms. Lang does an amazing job of conveying the anguish that makes Sebastian the “beast” in need of saving. Rose is a delightful and strong young woman. Her compassion and determination help start the healing process and set the stage for a happily ever after that left me warm and fuzzy.

The Clockwork Bride by Patricia Eimer is a terrifically fun little story of marrying in haste and falling in love at leisure.

Aida crashes a masquerade ball thrown by her father’s nemesis after being dumped very publically. She may not have been in love with her fiance, but it was still a blow to her ego. So when said nemesis’ son whisks her away and suggests they get married, she agrees. Why not? Julian is handsome, a scientist, and makes her tingle. What could go wrong?

When Aida finally realizes that she’s desperately, if unfashionably, in love with her husband, she has to rescue him from his overbearing father. They prove that nothing, not even a fire breathing dragon, can stand in the way of true love. There’s all kinds of awesome to love in this story!

Demon Express by Candace Havens is like steampunk Buffy. The unnatural creatures of the night, engineered by her ex-fiance, are no match at all for Maisy. Things get a little hairy when were-panthers get involved, not to mention the handsome Marshall who gets in the way of her investigation. If she can just keep her allergies and wild attraction to Jake Calloway under control, everything will turn out just fine.

The action doesn’t stop in this story and there’s room for more stories set in Maisy’s gritty world.

I really enjoyed reading all three of the short stories by these talented ladies. They were a great blend of steampunky goodness and touching heartwarming romance. A Riveting Affair is a definite must read if you’re looking for romance with a twist to it.