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March 31, 2022

March Books

read books be happy
March was aggravating right in the beginning but I'll not repeat what happened as I prefer not to relive it, just that, when you're panicking, apparently your brain will stop working and you will do stupid things to stop the panic from taking over your mind. After that incident (and the stress of work), I just wasn't up to doing anything so I hardly looked at my blog or other people's blog so I haven't posted much. I also might have wasted a couple of days doing a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle which I always find soothing after a panic-attacked week.
[not the official badge]
    Tomorrow is the April A-Z challenge which means I will be posting a lot more than usual assuming I didn't quit after the first post. So expect some random posts and maybe recycled ideas (in other words, my usual posts with more frequency). You can now sign up on the Master list at the A-Z site. Apparently, you are only officially signed up if you sign onto the master list. I don't think I'll sign up on the master list as it seemed to make no difference in the amount of readers I get. So I suppose since I'm not signing up, I'm not officially participating in the A-Z challenge so that makes me a rogue, non-participant right? They really gave me no good reason to sign up at all. You can sign up here and read the long list of requirements/rules and about a hundred other things you need to know (I'm exaggerating, maybe).

March 30, 2022

Fiction: The Hunt on Wind Breaker Island 6

short fiction

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Fiction: The Hunt on Wind Breaker Island 6

The sound of Jaz's laughter made Sedge want to punch him in the face. She tried not to show her anger as a headache started.
    "Get that one," said Austin, holding the pistol at Fab while gripping one of her arm.
    Steve grabbed Sedge's arms and pulled them behind her. His grip was surprisingly strong. "Think I'll run away?" said Sedge. "Where do you think I'll go?" Steve didn't respond.
    "Bob, kill Jaz!" shouted Fab.
    The butler reminded still.
    "Bob, kill the man beside you," said Fab. The butler made no move. "Bob, come free me!"
    Jaz laughed again. "Give it up, Fab. No butler of mine would kill me. I set it to shut down if someone tells it to kill me. It's one of my genius ideas." As if to prove his point, the butler's yellow eyes suddenly blinked out. Fab scowled.
    "Davis, if you want Daisy to live, come and untie me." said Jaz. It was almost funny to see his nine-feet frame bound in rope like he was a baby carrot with his blonde hair sticking upward but Sedge still wanted to punch him in the face.
    Davis looked up and then at Daisy. She nodded. He gently lowered her to the ground and ran toward Jaz. His hands, stained with blood, shook a bit as he picked at the knot. "Use a knife, you nitwit," said Jaz.
    Davis dropped the bit of rope and took out a penknife from his pants pocket. With one swipe move, the rope at the top began to fall away and Davis caught it and begun to unwind it around Jaz but Jaz flinched. "Do not touch me with that dirty hands of yours! Step back!"
    Davis stepped back and then when Jaz waved him off, he returned to Daisy. Her lips was quivering. She was even paler than usual.
    Jaz swaggered toward Sedge. He took the pistol from Austin and knocked him on the side of the head. "What took you? I thought you're faster than that. You and your mute brother here is getting a pay deduction for being dumb."
    Fab's head was bended low so Sedge couldn't see her face but the sound of sobbing was easy to hear in the quietness.
    "Sorry," Austin mumbled.
    "Don't let it happen again," said Jaz. "Fab, quit your sobbing, will you?"
    Fab sniffed but made no more noise.
    "Let them go," said Jaz.
    Steve and Austin let Sedge and Fab go. The brothers moved to stand on Jaz's right side. Fab started away from them but Jaz took hold of her arm. "You're not going anywhere." Fab turned her head away from Jaz.
    "So Yang—Hold on. I should try to remember to call you Sedge, shouldn't I? Now Sedge, should we continue our business?" He pointed the pistol at Fab's head. "Pull that bionic arm of yours off or I'll kill her."
    "You vile bastard. I hope you rot in hell for all eternity!" Fab shouted.
    "Fab, Honey, is that way for a lady to speak?" Jaz laughed and struck her face. She fell to the ground but when she started to get up, he pressed a hand on her shoulder. "Stay put." Fab tightened her lips. "Sedge, are you waiting to see if I'll shoot her? I have no use for her now that she's no longer loyal to me."

March 20, 2022

Fiction: The Hunt on Wind Breaker Island 5

This month's Words for Wednesday prompts are provided by River over here. This week's words/prompts are: a cloud of dust settled around him; slapped in the face with a wet fish; I bowed my head and wept; and I didn't know what else to do. I ended up using only slapped in the face with a wet fish as the others didn't quite seem right for the story.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here.

Fiction: The Hunt on Wind Breaker Island 5

"Hold on," said Jaz. The tall brother was already tightening the knot on the cloth that bound Sedge's wrists together.
    "Pull her left arm off. I know it sounds crazy but..." Jaz looked around him and grinned. "Yang Yang is bionic. At least her left arm is." He grinned. "You all know what that means. She broke the law. We can take her to the AABC and you know what they do."
    Sedge wanted to punch Jaz and wipe that smile off his face, preferably with both her hands. The AABC, Authorities Against Bionic Corruption, were a bunch of government men tasked with the job of removing all bionic parts from humans whether these parts kept a person alive or not, it didn't matter to them, they will remove it.
    "Jaz, we shouldn't give her to the AABC. She can help us find the tooth." Fab walked to stand beside Jaz.
    "Fab, Honey, did I asked for your opinion?" Jaz glared at her.
    Fab lowered her eyes. "No."
    "I didn't think so. Well? What are all waiting for?" Jaz crossed his arms over his chest. "We, as citizens, have the right to protect ourselves from people like Yang— I guess we should call her Sedge. It's more appropriate. We all know what machines can do to a human. Her mind is corrupted. Now I know why she was murderous toward me. It's such a pity too." Jaz shook his head.
    What Sedge wouldn't give for a chance to break his arms and legs right now but that would prove what he was saying and make Sedge even more of an outsider. Jaz's father made machines like the butler among other things but he was also the head of the AABC. Jaz had been trying to get a job there but his father kept refusing him.
    The brothers Steve and Austin, had stepped slightly away from Sedge. Davis and Daisy were a few steps away and they were staring at the ground.
    "Jaz, please. You love Yang Yang. You even said I couldn't replace her. Please, Jaz." Fab smiled and placed a hand on his arm.
    Jaz shifted so that Fab's arm fell away. "That was before I knew she was a freak. We can't risk having her ruin my plan. Now, Steve, or whatever your name is, pull her left arm off before she kills one of you."

March 15, 2022

Book Queries & Curiosities

'Book Street' crop, 2022

Some book things I would like to discuss for no reason other than I had them in my head and needs to get them out.

01 | Should you judge a book by its bad reviews? — I think reviews can be a bit bias such when a person loves a book, they will most likely say good things about the book while a person who hates a book will most likely say negative things about the book. But if a book have hundreds of the same negative reviews, I can't completely ignore it. I do try giving books a chance even if there are bad reviews but sometimes these negative reviews are so accurate in assessing a book that I can't help but agree with them. Sometimes I really could not understand why people like a certain book but I believe every book has an audience even books that I don't have a taste for.

02 | Is linking to Goodreads a good thing or a bad thing?  —  Whenever I talk about a book (usually in my monthly book wrapup), I would link to a Goodreads book page so that I wouldn't have to write the synopsis because I suck at explaining what a book is about. I can link to any online book seller but that means having to choose which one and I don't want to choose but maybe when I link to goodreads, I sort of choose amazon by default. (If you don't know goodreads is a place to track your books and share what you're reading, according to the website here. I honestly only use it for book synopsis.)
    For book info, goodreads is pretty decent in terms of book synopsis (this is usually the same as amazon but sometimes it has the more recent, corrected version than amazon), reviews and links to purchase the book. So maybe goodreads seems a bit bias toward amazon since their link is more apparent and is usually first on the list on the list of sellers. Let's say amazon is very present through the site. (Amazon owns goodreads.) Sometimes I link to an amazon book page because there is no goodreads page or I didn't find one.
    In the Reader Q&A section, sometimes the questions never get answers even after years of being asked which makes me wonder who is responsible for answering those questions - authors or readers?
    I always found goodreads a bit unhelpful in that there are more than one listing for a single book. Yes, there are different editions to a single book but it's more helpful if they are under one listing. I'm also annoyed that the search button on the home page is at the bottom so I bookmarked my goodreads page to the children's category so that the search box is at the top.
    It would be nice to link to an author's website because it's their book and they should have better info about their books right? I wouldn't answer yes to this. But maybe I haven't seen enough author's websites to judge but I have seen enough sites that have very little info about the books, instead, they have links to book sellers because an author's websites is more or less a place to promote books and less of a place for hanging out or even get a book excerpt. I'll only link to an author's website if they have features that aren't available elsewhere or if I find the website offers a lot of information about the books.
    I would prefer not to make any links at all but then readers won't be able to know much about the books I talk about. So maybe I haven't looked hard to find an unbiased book place for book info but I think goodreads isn't bad but perhaps it needs a little improvement here and there. (I should mention I no longer have a goodreads account so I may not be accurate on some things here.)

03 | Should you judge a book by its sample? — If you read a lot of ebooks like I do, you might also read a lot of book samples. The samples usually consisted of a cover, some credits/publishing info, content listing, and a couple of chapters (usually the beginning of the book) but sometimes the sample has all these things except no chapters (and yes, there are book samples that does not offer any writing samples of the book which I thought is stupid because reading the content list does not make me want to read a book).
    It's not just synopsis that makes me want to read a book. Reading a sample of a book helps me decide as well. If a book sample has bad writing or writing style that irritates me or in one case, talks about something that annoyed me, then I wouldn't read the book. (For example, there was a book that starts with talks about the bowel movement of the main character which she seems to be discussing with her friend, not a doctor, her friend. Why would you start a book with such things? I decided to never read that book). I have read a lot of great samples that turned out to be disappointing books and I have also read a lot of mediocre samples but they turned out to be great reads so samples don't always help in judging how a book will turn out but at least, it's not a complete waste of time.

What about you? Do you judge a book by its bad reviews? Do you use goodreads or link to it when you talk about a book? Should you judge a book by the samples you read?

March 13, 2022

Fiction: The Hunt on Wind Breaker Island 4

short fiction

This month's Words for Wednesday prompts are provided by River over here. This week's words/prompts are: stupefied, collector, arrange, reflections, fashion, slate and/or: hesitate, adjusted, hat, segment, coffeemaker, dessert. I used the first set of words only. I wasn't quite inspired by the last few prompts so I'm glad to have written something this time even if I'm very late in posting. (Update: I seem to have lost the words reflections, fashion when I edited this and only realized now.)
Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here

Fiction: The Hunt on Wind Breaker Island 4

The butler rolled in on its large singular wheel. Its square body was just thin enough to wade through the trees. Fab was just a few steps behind the machine.
    The butler stopped with a soft break in front of Jaz. "You! Fix that man inside the tent as quick as you can." Jaz snapped his fingers.
    The butler rolled toward Boots' tent. Sedge moved aside. The machine contoured its body to fit and bend in the tent. In less than three minutes, it had quickly stitched and bandaged Boots' wound. When it came out of Boots' tent, it straightened up again. Sedge was stupefied by the lack of blood on the butler's two-pronged hands. Usually the doctor or whomever that came out from attending to the wounded, had blood all over his gloved hands.
    "Go back to digging," ,Jaz said with a wave of his hand to the butler.
    "Yes, Master," the butler replied with a monotone voice. Its pair of square yellow eyes blink once and it rolled away.
    "So Yang Yang, now that Boots is fixed up, may we have a private conversation?" Jaz was smiling.
    Sedge nodded.
    Jaz waved a hand and the others walked away without saying anything. Even Fab left with only a glance at Sedge and Jaz.
    "Why would they listen to you?" Sedge asked.

March 09, 2022

A to Z Challenge 2022

A to Z Challenge 2022
I've been doing the A to Z Challenge for a couple of years and even though I sort of stressed myself out each April, I still enjoyed it. We're supposed to reveal our theme for our future A to Z Challenge posts but I do not do themes. This year, I have no theme again but I have two formats: some short fiction with some random stuff that might entertain readers.
    Usually I just wing it because I'm lazy and prone to not follow anything that I planned. I have nothing prepared, not even a single word thought up. I might end up with no fiction and lots of random stuff. I also kind of recycle ideas when I'm in a panic, like when I suddenly scrap a post I had written and need to come up with something else quick, which happens often. It seems like my post ideas are slightly better when I'm doing the challenge. It's like the rest of year, my brain is somehow asleep and during April, it wakes up or something.
    If you don't know, the A to Z Challenge is when you post every day in April except Sundays but each post follows the alphabet. For example, for the first day, we starts with A, like A is for apples and you have to post something relating to apples or whatever word/theme/prompt you choose to use. To check out more about the A to Z Challenge, go here.

How about you? Are you doing the A to Z Challenge this year?

March 05, 2022

February Books

girl with umbrella
I don't recall what this piece is called but it seems to fit for today.
February went by swiftly and I seem to have done nothing at all. I did read a lot but not really. Here are the books I read in February minus some books I forgot I have read and a link to a blog post that interested me.

01 | The Magnificent Lizzie Brown and the Mysterious Phantom by Vicki Lockwood > link
I guess you can say this is the book every kid wants because every kid dreamt of running away with the circus, right? That's exactly what Lizzie Brown did. I like this enough but it just fell a bit too short and kind of easy to guess what would happen. I like that Lizzie is a psychic and that's pretty much all I like about this book. One Sentence-ish Review: It was short and quick, maybe a bit too predictable but I enjoyed it although it wasn't as fun or exciting as the synopsis sounds.

02 | Book Scavenger (The Book Scavenger series 1) by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman > link
A boy that thinks of his cowlick as a person is a bit strange to me but then I'm not twelve. I enjoyed this book but perhaps the every day family drama is a bit boring but at least, no one's an orphan here. One Sentence-ish Review: It was good and it kept me reading but perhaps the every day family stuff is a bit boring.

03 | The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson and Alex T. Smith (Illustrator) > link
I really don't like people comparing this to Harry Potter or say this is for fans of that series because it's not like those books even if it was written with that same British sensibility. It's quirkier and quicker in plot and all around a bit weird. I really enjoyed reading this book even though it's easy to tell who the real prince is. Everything happens quite fast and yet, it seems to lack some details especially about the characters. I would have liked to know more about Odge, the hag and the kitchen boy Ben. And the title, The Secret of Platform 13, doesn't seem like the right title as most of time, we aren't even on platform 13. I guess what I like most is the weirdness of the characters but at the same time, they all seem pretty dumb to assume things without doing a lot of checking.
 One Sentence-ish Review: I enjoyed the quirkiness of the characters and the writing style and the weirdness of everything but I also find it bit too predictable. (Note: the cover above is the one that I like but it's not the one that I read as I thought that one with the two boys on a platform was boring.)

04 | Murder Wears a Mask (Kelly Armello Cozy Mystery #1) by Donna Doyle > link
This novella (which is under 200 pages but they still call this a book) is the blandest, cozy mysteries I had read and yet, it annoys me somehow by its blandness. There seems to be no conflict, no fights (there is one but it's told to us but it's a bit meaningless to the story), absolutely no one gets hurt except for the murder victim and no one seem to be doing anything but thinking. There are three perspectives here for no reason other than to know what these three are thinking but then again, the boy who found the body didn't have much of a voice toward the end.
    Small town and all but why does it seems like everyone here is so quiet that any action is taken, is subdued or perhaps the author was going for an extremely clean read in that everything has their sharp edges removed so no one gets even a paper cut. There is a murder, drug dealing and police corruption but did these things get any sort of detail or any sort of resolution? So yes, we get resolutions but there seems to be no fuss about it, almost as if it's not even worth talking about. The Christian part is just a brief talk about god. The mystery got solved just like that. We don't even get to see the criminal making a confession or anyone doing anything particularly interesting and if they did, it's a summary.
    And Kelly Armello, supposedly the main character, isn't even worth knowing. She's a really good looking librarian and that's all I know about her. And her so-call amateur sleuthing? That consisted of staying in a storage garage and spying on people and talking to a few people - that's pretty much all she did. There is no danger of her being in danger, it's all talk about possibility of danger. Honestly, Kelly has zero influence on the story. I don't know why she is even the main character aside that there needed to be a main character.
    And the cover? Why yes, all librarians wear fitted shirts and dressed for romance. So yes, librarians can be sexy but was that necessary for a cozy murder mystery? Admittedly, there is romance but it's more like the guy, Troy (the cop/designated love interest), and Kelly, thinking about how good looking each other are. Also, was it necessary to keep bringing up that Troy served in Afghanistan? How many times do we need to know that fact?
One Sentence-ish Review: The first couple of chapters were quite promising but then it became a mystery of why it was so bland and boring. So yes, this is a first book in a long series and not much happens but I didn't need my books to be sugarcoated in a way that I get not even a smudge of interest from it.

05 | The Witching Flour (Spellford Cove Mystery Book 1) by Samantha Silver > link
I really, really hate it when the main character, Robin, respond to comments with "Fair enough." I mean, it's not a bad phrase but it's an annoying phrase. I would have preferred something else, anything else.
    I like the talking cat named Shakespaw but he doesn't do anything other than cat-like things aside from the talking and reading. I like the magic the main character and her family has but it was a bit boring and I wonder, if someone closes their eyes to do a spell, doesn't it give someone a chance to knock you over the head before the spell can be completed? I'm just saying it's stupid.
    I don't quite like this world in which witches can do any type of spell, there seems to be no boundary, no limit of what they can do other than the fact that they specialize in certain talent like the main character Robin is a kitchen witch which meant she's talented in baking which is kind of boring but okay.   
    The sisters Elsa and Emma seems interchangeable, and probably they should have just merge those two characters into one. And why can't one of them be a male witch? Too many females in that family and they couldn't make one of them a man?  There's the cliche quirky grandmother which we get a glance at. And the usual demons, vampires, shifters, all sort of cliches creatures exited here or so they said. I guess the thing about first book in a series is that, characters gets introuced or that people are talked of but we don't get to know them until the next few books.
    There is a talk about a council for paranormal beings but honestly, it just sounds like a bunch of people who had daily meetings but doesn't do anything if someone does any bad things with their witchy powers like these witches can just break into people's home and the council doesn't do anything. Also, in this world, witches can't see ghosts unless they are born with the power to do so which is an odd thing because does it not make more sense for witches to see ghosts because they are paranormal beings? I find this annoying only because this is used to make the character be the only one to see ghosts so that makes her special in a way but still does not make me like her one bit.
    The only character I like here is the ghost, Vanessa, who was murdered. I thought she was quite fun with her murderous thoughts. Honestly, it's the only fun part of this book.
    The main character, Robin, seems rather childish for a twenty-something. [Spoiler: She does what every cliche cozy mystery main characters do -  confronts the killer all by her lonesome self. If this was a regular cozy mystery with no magic, she would be killed but because she was a witch with powers, she lives. Spoiler ends]
    All this secrecy about not letting the humans know about their magical powers and yet they talked openly about magic in a cafe where anyone can eavesdrop and I don't care if one of the character says it's safe to talk there and that no one eavesdrops on them which is bull because unless they create some spell for that, anyone can eavesdrop on them. This is after all a small town, doubtful if people didn't notice witches doing magic especially since they do it right in the streets (yes, one of them showed off her powers right on the street), what a good way to keep it quiet.
    One Sentence-ish Review: A light, paranormal, first book in a series with not much meat to the story with cliche characters, cliche behavors and dumb logic with a murder mystery a bit like background and characters are introduced one after another without doing much and a main character that just seems a bit too childish and yet, I did sort of enjoyed this book but probably because I can make fun of it.

06 | Do you read spoilers?
Somewhere back in time (okay it was January), I read this blogger who likes to read book spoilers before reading a book and I half agreed with her. I don't mind spoilers as long as it doesn't entirely ruin the book for me and most of the time, it really doesn't. Although I think with book series, you will always see the spoilers because in the synopsis, they mostly tell you the ending of the previous book so I don't read the synopsis for later books in a series.
    I usually keep my reviews spoiler-free and will put in a note (like in #5 above) if I was going to spoil it because it's easier and I don't have angry readers even though I'm sure most people don't read my reviews because most of my readers do not read the same books that I do. The blog post link is here if you can care to read it.

How are you doing this March?