"Everything ends, and it's always sad. But everything begins again too, and that's... always happy. Be happy." — Doctor Who
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October 30, 2018

Favorite Spooky Reads

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is Halloween/Creepy Freebie. I don't like to be scared so I don't read horror or anything creepy, well, occasionally I do but almost by accident (#4 is a lot creepy with talks about dead bodies) which is why I can't even come up with 10. Here are five books that may not be scary but they are spooky.

01/ Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt > link
Favorite quote: "It is life that hurts you, not death."

02/ Chime by Franny Billingsley > link
Favorite quote: "Say something, Briony; say something! The Briony mask always had something tart or amusing to say, but the underneath Briony could think of nothing. The clock tut-tutted in the silence. How slowly it spoke, so slowly that between tick and tock came the sharp silvery plink of rain on glass."

03/ Monstrous MarcyKate Connolly > link
Favorite quote: "I finally understand. The monster in the story is me. I am the abomination. I am monstrous."

04/ Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi  > link
Favorite quote: "She was a girl who rarely spoke for fear of spontaneously combusting."

05/ The graveyard book by Neil Gaiman with illustrations by Dave McKean > link
Favorite quote: “People want to forget the impossible. It makes their world safer.”

Read any spooky books lately?

October 28, 2018

Freak Out and Write on

freak out and write on

"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot." - Stephen King

Writing
Why do I write? I could give you a lot of answers but none of them would really explain it. Sometimes it's a compulsion. Sometimes it's a just a need to put something down. Sometimes there's no reason, I just want to write. I don't always feel like a writer even when I'm writing. More like someone who just writes then kind of forget about it until I do it all again.

Reading
You would think I have some advice on writing after all these years of writing but I don't. All the advice I can tell you is to read a lot. Here's two books that I think are inspiring but they are not guide books because I don't believe there is only one way to write and there are no right or wrong advices, it's what we choose to believe in that matters.

• On writing: A memoir of the Craft by Stephen King — a really good memoir on writing

• Writing down the bones by Natalie Goldberg — this could get you motivated or get interested in writing

And More Reading
Here's a few web links about writing that I thought is helpful:

• NaNoWriMo Prep: 5 Tips For Pantsers

• 10 Tips for Writing Worldbuilding

• Five Edits to Strengthen Your Writing, Right Now

• The Hack’s Guide to Writing an Outline

If you have any helpful links or books, please leave a note in the comments. Happy writing!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am doing National Novel Writing Month this November in case you don't know. My user name at the NaNo site is lissa26 if you want to add me as a buddy.

October 21, 2018

To write or not to write – that shouldn't be a question should it?

I've decided to join in National Novel Writing Month also known as NaNoWriMo or NaNo (NaNoWriMo is too odd for me to use) this November. NaNo is where people from all around the world write their novel or 50,000 words within a month. Supposedly by joining NaNo, I'm sort of making a commitment to write at least 50,000 or more words but not to finish a novel (it will be a long while before I get to that point).

I'll be working on A Clockwork Journey (a working title) which is basically about a young woman trying to survive whatever comes her way which means I have no plot so I'm just going to write whatever comes into my head. NaNo is really just writing and not to stop and edit or think so you just write no matter how terrible or good bad it is. I did write a few parts to A Clockwork Journey — here are the links:
The 1st Eddy story
A Clockwork Journey - part 1
A Clockwork Journey - part 2

And if I got to something that is worth posting, I'll post it here. I may regret saying this as I have a habit of changing my mind at the very last minute so I may be writing a different story than the above.

So let's meander toward some writing this year by doing NaNo together. My user name is lissa26 if you want to add me as a buddy although I must warn you, I doubt I would check the NaNo site that often.

More about NaNo over here.

October 17, 2018

The fairy's gift

'the fairy's gift' - closeup
This week's Scribble Picnic is Bottle. This is part of a larger piece but the other side isn't finished, actually even this that I'm showing here is not finished. So she (the fairy) is not really holding a bottle, it's more like a bowl and she's collecting stars. And that's all the explanation I have for this piece. For more Scribble Picnic, go here.

'the fairy's gift'

October 15, 2018

Leia in Wonderland — New art #6 @ my shop

'leia in wonderland'
I finally completed 'Leia in Wonderland' after months of procrastination. I don't even know how that happened. One moment I was so happy working on it and the next, I stopped to do something else and I never got back to it until now.

closeup 1

I'm not much of a fan of Alice in Wonderland but I am a fan of Star Wars, mostly the original movies. For those of you who are Star Wars or Alice in Wonderland fans, you might know some of these things in this piece:
- the chewbecca doll, I call it the chewy doll here
- the gray sphere on her ring is like the death star
- her hair although it is not exactly princess Leia style but it's close
- the cards
- the teapot/tea cup

(Click on the images for larger views.)

closeup 2
Purchase 'Leia in Wonderland' as a print  @ my society6 shop here
Purchase 'Leia in Wonderland' as a framed print  @ my society6 shop here

October 14, 2018

Seven Things: cold weather, instagram, technology & other thoughts

01/ Cold weather — the temperature dropped a lot this week and I'm wearing layers which is really the only way I prepare for winter and maybe put on a scarf like the chicken above if it's really cold. The chicken came about because of Scribble Picnic otherwise, I really wouldn't have done any art at all.

02/ I'm now using YK as my signature on all my art pieces. YK is the initial to a name of a doctor character in a tv show. Why am I using this? I'm not really sure but I just like the combination. I used to have no name on my art but I did use LB/lissablue on occasions but mostly I leave out a name. Now I think having one is kind of nice even if no one knows that's me. Well, you know because you read this...

03/ I'm thinking of joining Instagram but I hate using a phone to post. I know there are desktop options but it just seems like a lot of work and I'm not even sure you're allow to post illustrations but people are posting them so I guess you can. I really don't like the square photo format - it seems a bit limited plus the way the photo pops up with the sidebar info seems so much like facebook and I hate facebook and also seeing hashtags annoys me. But then again, I should be at one social media beside my blog to promote my art but I don't know.

04/ Movies watched:

The Great Wall > link— an entertaining movie full of ugly monsters and some delightful banters. It's a shame there aren't more fun scenes because it's just so serious and kind of bland. And it's a bit predictable what they have to do to stop the monsters but only because I see enough movies that uses similar methods but it's still quite an entertaining movie.

No highway in the sky > link — good movie but it just ends too abruptly, a little more future storylines would be nice but we do get a happy ending even if it seems like someone cut the movie before it should end.

Skyscraper > link — I honestly didn't care much about the kids or the wife but it's really all about the dad played by Dwayne Johnson as Sawyer - without him, this movie would have sucked - but Sawyer is so deadly serious that it sort of make his character a bit boring but there is some minor humor which does nothing. I know it's not a comedy but some humor would have made this movie less stiff. It's too bad the villain is so bland and his minions are just like him so you can't even enjoy watching them either. If only they make the villain take revenge on Sawyer for the event that happened 10 years ago or even that female cop that doesn't trust Sawyer's wife, she could have been the villain behind all of this but nope, she's just another cop. And the event that happened 10 years ago really didn't have much impact on the current story - sure it brought Sawyer where he is today but it didn't mean much since the present situation have nothing to do with it. If you're a fan of Dwayne Johnson, you might like it otherwise, it's just an okay movie.

05/ Technology = Removing/hiding all the useful features — that is what I think whenever I update my Mac OS. Since updating (or upgrading - not quite sure the difference) to the new OS namely, Sierra (not High Sierra and yeah, it took me a couple of years to update because I didn't feel the need to update at all). My computer doesn't work as well as before because I am constantly searching for answers to all the errors and missing features instead of actually using the system. The most annoying is the permission errors - when you don't have permission to save a file or open a file in certain apps because apparently, if the app is not made by apple, there is some restriction from using the app and opening files from that app which can be fixed but somehow no matter how many times I fixed it, the error returns. Now I can't go back because the old systems aren't even available for purchase (Why isn't it available in the U.S.? annoying but there's no answer) and even if they are, my computer isn't made for older systems. There is ways to revert back but it takes a lot of work and time and it's not even worth it because eventually you have to upgrade even if you don't want to and that's why upgraded my computer. I'll probably upgrade/update my computer in ten years which I think that's how long it will take me to get used to the new OS.

06/ Challenges/Memes I participate in now and then:

Top Ten Tuesday — hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl — all about books > link
Top Ten Thursday — hosted at Part-Time Working Hockey Mom — various subjects > link
Scribble Picnic — hosted at Michael MacVean Illustration — illustrations of all types > link
Words for Wednesday — hosted at various blogs most recently at Elephant's Child — writings of all types > link

07/ Anyone doing NaNoWriMo in November? For those who doesn't know, NaNoWriMo is where you write 50,000 words (not necessary a whole novel) in one month along with just about a million other people around the world. I'm still thinking about it but I probably won't do it. Check it out here.

What's on your mind today?

October 12, 2018

Fiction: A Clockwork Journey - part 2

Words for Wednesday
This week's Words for Wednesday is hosted at Elephant's Child over here. This week's prompts are phrases: Let the cat out of the bag And/or Best thing since sliced bread

--- Read the 1st Eddy story ----
--- Read 'A Clockwork Journey - part 1' ----

Fiction: A Clockwork Journey - part 2

Eddy half drags herself after the waiter who is running far too quick for one with a head injury. She have noted the dried blood clinging to the back of his brown hair. She rubs at the bump on the top of her own head. It ache and yet, Eddy have suffered worst. The left side of her gown is soaked with blood from the wound on her leg. The bleeding have stopped but Eddy is tired and hungry and really just wants to crawl somewhere and sleep for a couple of days.

Round yellow lightbulbs on the ceiling light the narrow hallways just barely. Eddy have to sometimes walk through darkness. Aunt Lin have once claimed airships are the best inventions since sliced bread but she have never been on one that fell from the sky. And she certainly haven't gotten herself trapped in one either. Eddy hopes there is some type of surgeon or a doctor where the control room is because she is not dragging herself all the way to the head of the ship for no reason. And what is he so happy about? It's not like the Captain or whoever is in charge have magical powers that can lift the airship up and fly them home. There's a large hole in the dining room and Eddy is certain there are more holes all around the ship.

Where is the waiter? She listens for his footsteps - clop, clop like a horse's hoofs. She follows the sound, half listening and half trying to ignore a few bodies that are obviously dead.

"May I help you, Miss?" A man is laying on the floor with his face turned sideway. His body is caught in between a doorway. His eyes doesn't blink as he stares up at Eddy. Eddy steps a little closer. There is wires sticking out of his neck. An automaton. Eddy have only met two automaton when she came in on board but seeing one like this sends a shiver down her spine. She rushes away.

She hears the waiter footsteps stopping. She races toward it. The waiter stands in front of a closed metal door marked 'Control Room. Ship personnels only.'

"This is it," he says with excitement in his voice. Under the dull light, his skin appears yellow. He knocks on the metal door.

A man with a black mustache and textured skin opens the door and appears to be bending his head as the door is too thin and too short for him. He glances at the waiter and then at Eddy. "What do you want?" he grunts.

"I have news to report to the captain." The waiter smiles with a confidence Eddy is sure he doesn't have.

"I remember you. You wanted to be a sailor." The tall man turns to Eddy. "Who is this?"

The waiter glances behind him at Eddy and then turns away. "That is a passenger."

"You can come in but she stays." The man steps aside but leaves only enough space for one person to go through.

The waiter turns around to face Eddy. "Why don't you wait here?"

Eddy nods. Why don't she wait here? She have heard the words tons of times but nothing good ever came afterward.

The waiter and the man disappears and shuts the door. Eddy finds herself listening. There are some quick talks between Wayne and the man. Eddy is sure there are only three people in the control room.

"Hanson, the lifepods?"

"We have successfully launched three lifepods before the ship fell. But we have no way of knowing if they survived."

"Very well, Hanson. Any news on my father?"

"Wayne, tell the captain what you've told me."

"Sir, I'm afraid your father has died."

"Thank you, Wayne. Hanson..."

"Sir, there is another matter I wish to inform you."

There is a pause. Eddy waits.

"The lady outside has taken your father's watch."

"You mean she stole it?"

"Yes, Sir. I believe so, Sir."

Eddy wants to punch him. To think such a sweet face would accuse her of theft.

"And how did you come across this information?"

"I saw it with my own eyes. That lady took the watch and put it inside...inside her front gown. I am certain she stole it. And Sir?"

"Yes?"

"That lady is wanted. I remember her face from the poster. She is a wanted criminal for assault and robbery."

"And what do you want me to do about it?"

"Well, Sir, I recommend taking her to the authorities."

"And what authorities is there can we take her to?"

"I..."

Eddy laughs silently.

"I thought perhaps we could..."

"Ask her to come in."

"Sir?"

"Shall I repeat myself? Hanson, invite the lady in."

The door opens and the man with the mustache supposedly named Hanson steps aside. Eddy walks inside through the small gap between the door and the man. He smells a bit like the black cat that used to roam the orphanage - pleasant and clean with a touch of fresh laundry.

Eddy is surprised at the Captain widow's peak and gray eyes matching almost exactly the man that have given her the watch. But she shouldn't be, after all, this is his son. The room is empty except for the three man and Eddy. In the far side of the room right in front of the black steering wheel, is a white sheet on the floor with boots sticking out beneath it.

"My lady, I am Captain Petra. This is Hanson, my second in command. And you know Wayne."

Eddy nods at each introduction though she ignores Wayne's apparent glare. Now she remembers his shifting glances at her in the dining room.

Captain Petra smiles but his lips twitches. He places a shaky hand on his chest. There is blood seeping through his white shirt. He sits on a chair at an angle with one long leg stretched out wrapped in bandages soaked with blood. Eddy wonders at his strength. How could he still breathes with all that pain?

Captain Petra relaxes as if the pain has eased but Eddy knows he is just suppressing it. Eddy can hear his heart rate slowing down as he release a breath. His gray eyes steer into hers. "Step closer," he says quietly.

Eddy takes two steps forward. She looks into the captain's eyes. They are like the gray sky after a rainy day. She feels a strange electrical current coming from them but she couldn't look away. Seconds pass and then Captain Petra blinks and turns away and the electric current subsides.

Captain Petra smiles again. "Miss Cassoway, may I see the watch?"

How does he know her name? Have the captain just read her mind? Eddy turns sideways away from Captain Petra, Wayne and Hanson and digs into her bodice and pulls out the watch. She offers it to Captain Petra.

Captain Petra turns the watch in his hand. There is a momentary look of mischief in his eyes and then it is gone.

"Bend toward me, please," he says.

Eddy bends toward the captain and notices the dried blood splatters covering the floor. Captain Petra places the watch chain over her head and clips the clasp close. She stands up straight. The watch feels almost as if it have always belonged to her.

"I would be obliged to you if you would fulfilled my father's last request." He turns to Hanson. "Hanson, take care of Ms. Cassoway and make sure she gets where she needs to go."

"Yes, Sir,"  Hanson says with a brief glance at Eddy.

Eddy wonders why the captain doesn't want the watch back.

"But Captain..." Wayne glares at Eddy.

Captain Petra holds up a hand. "Wayne, enough. Hanson, execute my orders now."

"Yes, Sir. And you, Sir?" Hanson steps close to the captain, forcing Eddy to step back.

"I will be staying put."

"But Captain, I can carry you."

"Do you think I will live? I am wounded beyond repair. Have not the good doctor already inform you my diagnosis? Hanson, you are in charge now. Help the survivors get home."

"And your son, Sir? What shall I tell him?"

"Tell him...Tell him his old man has gone down with his ship."

"But Captain..."

"Those are your orders. Please, Hanson, help the survivors get home."

Hanson shakes hands with the captain. Then he turns to Eddy and Wayne. "Miss Cassoway, Wayne, come with me."

Eddy follows them outside. Hanson shuts the door and gives it a salute.

"Wayne, you heard the captain's order. Gather all the survivors you can and lead them outside the ship through the hole in the dining room. We don't have much time before this ship sinks."

"Sir? How could that be?" Wayne appears on the edge of panic.

"Our engines have failed and all the propellers are shut down. We could not even drop anchor, how do you suppose a ship can stay afloat without any kind of support? Please, evacuate as many people as you can. We have no time. I will meet you and Miss Cassoway at the dining room." He turns to Eddy, "Miss Cassoway, I hope you can assist Wayne as much as you can. Good luck to both of you." Hanson gives Eddy a smile. He almost looks handsome in that moment. Eddy gives him a half-hearted grin. Hanson slaps Wayne on the back in a gesture that cause Wayne to almost fall over. Wayne just straightens himself up.

Wayne turns to Eddy. "Come, Miss. We need to get that leg of yours properly bandaged. I know we don't have much time but if that wound gets infected... Just follow me."

Wayne walks ahead and Eddy slowly follows him. She isn't sure if she could trust him, judging by the way he smiles at her but her leg ache terribly.

They stop at a door marked with 'Storage #203.' Wayne opens the door and steps aside. "Ladies first," he says with a pleasant grin.

Why doesn't he go first? Eddy pauses at the doorway. She could see only darkness. But before she could decide, Wayne shoves her inside and closes the door.

She bangs on the round window. Wayne smirks and it reminds Eddy of the jerk - smug with a little bit of pleasure. "Miss Cassoway, you are a wanted criminal and you should be locked up." Wayne walks away and out of Eddy's sight. Eddy presses her face against the glass but she couldn't see any more of Wayne. That jerk! Another one! She bangs on the glass again but who would hear her? She listens to Wayne's footsteps running and then fading away.

Visit Words for Wednesday here > 

October 9, 2018

Longest books & book series I've ever read

Top Ten Tuesday
This week's Top Ten Tuesday is 'Longest books I've ever read.' I decided to add to the list book series.

Longest books I've ever read
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 

01/ Little Dorrits by Charles Dickens (924 pages) > link
Favorite quote: "It was one of those summer evenings when there is no greater darkness than a long twilight. The vista of street and bridge was plain to see, and the sky was serene and beautiful. People stood and sat at their doors, playing with children and enjoying the evening; numbers were walking for air; the worry of the day had almost worried itself out, and few but themselves were hurried. As they crossed the bridge, the clear steeples of the many churches looked as if they had advanced out of the murk that usually enshrouded them and come much nearer. The smoke that rose into the sky had lost its dingy hue and taken a brightness upon it. The beauties of the sunset had faded from the long light films of cloud that lay at peace in the horizon. From a radiant centre, over the whole length and breadth of the tranquil firmament, great shoots of light streamed among the early stars, like signs of the blessed later covenant of peace and hope that changed the crown of thorns into a glory."


02/ Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (864 pages) > link
Favorite quote: "I have been tolerably well educated."


03/ Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (639 pages) > link
Favorite quote: "If Roger was not tender in words, he was in deeds. Unreasonable and possibly exaggerated as Molly's grief had appeared to him, it was real suffering to her; and he took some pains to lighten it, in his own way, which was characteristic enough."


04/ Villette by Charlotte Bronte (571 pages) > link
Favorite quote: "Certainly, at some hour, though perhaps not your hour, the waiting waters will stir; in some shape, though perhaps not the shape you dreamed, which your heart loved, and for which it bled, the healing herald will descend."


05/ The Complete Sherlock Holmes (Volume I & II) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (709 pages each) > link1 > link2
Favorite quote: "My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence."


06/ The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (560 pages) > link
Favorite quote: “We had our breakfasts – whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn't matter, you must have your breakfast.”


Longest book series I ever read

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 

07/ The complete Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (8 books) > link
Favorite quote: "The trouble is, my mind changes and then I have to get acquainted with it all over again."
— Anne of The Island

08/ Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (7 books) > link
Favorite quote: “It is my belief... that the truth is generally preferable to lies.”
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


09/ The Tiffany Aching Adventure (part of Discworld) by Terry Pratchett (5 books) > link
Favorite quote: "I don't know about the world, not much; but in my part of the world I could make little miracles for ordinary people," Granny (Weatherwax) replied sharply. "And I never wanted the world — just a part of it, a small part that I could keep safe, that I could keep away from storms. Not the ones of the sky, you understand: there are other kinds."
The Shepherd's Crown

10/ The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (4books) (My review of the series is here) > link
Favorite quote: "You're asking the cyborg fugitive and the wild animal to be the welcoming committee? That's adorable."
Cress

What's the longest book or book series you have ever read?

More of this week's Top Ten Tuesday over here.

October 7, 2018

Matt Nathanson — Sings His Sad Heart

Matt Nathanson's 'Sings his sad heart'
Maybe it's because Matt Nathanson's songs are cheerfully sad or maybe I just like the sound of his voice or the melodies or the words but I've been a fan of Matt's music since 2009. (I call him Matt but I have never met the guy or seen in him concert.) I would say Matt's music is a mix of folk, rock and pop. His album Last of the great pretenders is the last album that I brought in CD format and I have not brought a CD since. Of course with digital music, there's rarely a lyric booklet which I often read and follow along but I guess it's not a terrible tradeoff as I think having the lyrics sometimes gets in the way of really enjoying the music.

My favorite Matt albums: Beneath These Fireworks, Some Mad Hope, Modern Love, Last of the Great Petenders and Show Me Your Fangs.
I don't recall how I even ended up finding Matt's music but that doesn't matter. But I do remember going to J&R (which is now closed) and was all excited to find all his previous albums. Modern Love remains my most favorite Matt album which is kind of untrue as almost all his albums have been a most favorite when I first heard them. Here is the title track, 'Modern Love'.



This week, Matt's new album Sings His Sad Heart is out. I won't say anything about Sings his sad heart right now other than it sounds really good so far. To me, you should always listen to an album or a song a few times to really judge. Here is one song that stands out to me today from the new album, 'Different beds.'


I'm not sure what keeps me listening to Matt's music but as long as he produces music, I will always be a fan. Sign up for his mailing list. He writes like his songs — kind of casual, friendly, in lowercases which I like, though it isn't a daily or weekly thing, more like a sometimes thing. Matt's official site: https://mattnathanson.com. Listen to Matt's music at his Youtube page here.

October 5, 2018

Fiction: A Clockwork Journey

Words for Wednesday
This week's Words for Wednesday is hosted at Elephant's Child over here. This week's prompts are Precipitation, Lanky, Grotesque, Clockwork, Still, Transporting and/or Eskimo, Cyclone, Cassowary, Waitress, Cleaning, Auditorium

--- Read the other Eddy story over here ----

Fiction: A Clockwork Journey

The airship coast along smoothly but Eddy keeps reminding herself not to panic every time the ship lurches unexpectedly. Around the dining room, waitresses and waiters glide about the room effortlessly. Various travelers elegantly dressed in suits and gowns are chattering happily as they dine. Eddy tries to reason as long as no one's panicking, she would not either.

Outside the dimmed sky is filled with a few stars. Though Eddy dislikes being up so high, she have always loved watching the stars. Back at the orphanage, her bedroom window offered her an oval view of the stars. The matron had said Eddy should stop dreaming and life is not a fantasy. But Eddy didn't listen. She rather thought life is a fantasy only reality keeps ruining it.

A cough makes Eddy look up. The gentleman asks, "May I join you, Miss? There is no more room and I must dine." The gentleman wears a white suit with gold cufflinks and a gold watch at his vest. He has a clean shaved face, thin and pale with white-gray hair combed back to reveal a widow's peak. His quiet gray eyes are lined with years and yet they twinkle that Eddy almost feels cheerful. She nods. She have no voice and had been scribbling down her words in a small notebook that she had purchased along with various clothing items and necessities just before the flight.

Three days ago, Eddy have decided to visit her Aunt Lin and then afterward worry about what to do with her life. Lin isn't really Eddy's aunt but Eddy had known the woman since she was a child when Lin worked at the orphanage as a maid. The last few years, Lin had invited Eddy to live with her but Eddy had always declined. Now all Eddy wants is to forget all about the jerk and the stolen gold bars and live her life unencumbered with Aunt Lin.

Another lurch and Eddy tries not to think that at any moment a cyclone might come and send them straight to their death. Eddy lifts the teacup with her left hand while her right hand grips the table edge. Just as she is ready to take a sip, the ship lurches and tea spills and soaks the front of her blue gown. She places the cup down on the table and the ship shifts and throws Eddy to the floor. She cries out soundlessly in pain as her shoulders crush against the carpet floor. The ground stops shaking. People groans and moans near Eddy.

Outside, the dark clouds twist and change shapes. Thunder claps so close that Eddy covers her ears. The ship turns and her head meets the hard ceiling and then it turns again and she is back on the floor. A few arms and legs strike her but she doesn't care. She rubs at the sore spot among the piles of dark hair. Her head ache terribly and she wishes the ship would stop moving. As if answering her wish, the ship lulls in stillness. All is silent but for the thunder outside.

A crackling sound makes Eddy look out the windows. A bright light is coming toward them. She ducks down to the floor and covers her ears. A boom follows. When she looks up, the wall on the other side of the room has a large crack running across it. She stands up and runs toward the exit as did a few others. But the ship shifts sideways and Eddy grabs onto a table leg bolted to the floor. She hears the wind whipping. A chair bumps against her elbow and slides pass behind her. Screams echo other screams. Eddy lifts her head and turns around slowly still keeping her grip on the leg. The hole in the wall have grown to half the size of the room and people are falling out into the open sky. Something heavy brushes pass her shoulders and Eddy turns in time to see the old woman. She grabs for the woman's arm but her hand only grip the air. The woman with opened eyes and mouth disappears into the sky. Eddy almost laughs at the absurdly of the situation. The wild wind drifts near and Eddy knows if she doesn't do something, she will join the old woman. She lifts her right leg toward her and pulls out the dagger from her boot and stabs it into the floor and holds on and then she reaches for her other dagger in her left boots and stabs that one into the floor and holds on tightly to them. Others around her is hugging onto pillars, wall fixtures and the table legs. Fear is all over their faces but Eddy looks away and squeezes her eyes shut. The ship rights itself and then steadies. The wind dies down. Eddy dares open her eyes. 

The whooshing of the wind is the only sound that Eddy hears. She loosens her grips on the daggers but doesn't let go for a long moment. She pulls out the daggers and places them back into her boots. Crickets! If she is going to die, she is not going to scrunch up like a scare little baby. She stretches out her legs on the floor only to realize her left leg has a piece of broken glass in her thigh. She pulls the glass out quickly and throws it aside. The pain is tolerable and certainly not the worst she ever had. She picks up a napkin off the floor and wraps it tightly around the wound. Someone is watching her. She looks up to find a man with eyes opened sitting there staring at her but the man doesn't blink or move or breathe. Eddy recognizes him as the waiter whom had served her the chicken dinner. She turns away but the sight isn't any better. Bodies on the floor, on the table tops, and on the chairs, all bended, twisted and not one of them is moving.

A quiet whimper resonates through the silence. Eddy pushes herself up and leans on her right leg to listen. The whimper continues. She half drags herself toward the sound where the gentleman that have been her dining companion lay on his stomach with a piece of broken wall on top of him. She tries to push the wall off his back but it wouldn't budge. She kneels down beside him. Blood was leaking out of the corner of his mouth. She can't talk. She wants to tell him she can't help him. The gentleman dips a hand into his vest and holds out the gold watch. "Take this to my grandson," he says in a hoarse whisper. "His name is William Petra. He will know the watch is from me." Eddy's throat tighten. She never cries and yet looking at this man's almost make her cry.

"Please," he says as his arm lowers toward the floor. "Please," he repeats. Eddy takes the watch and nods. "Thank you," barely slips from his lips before his body went limp.

The watch feels heavy in Eddy's hand. She will do as the man says but she isn't sure how she would even get to this William Petra. She listens to the watch: tick, tock, tick tock. It calms her a bit. She tucks the watch into the bodice of her gown.

The ship suddenly begins to dip and Eddy silently screams. She stands up and wraps her arms around a pillar and holds on tight.

It is a long moment before the ship settles down with a hard drop that Eddy is almost certain her stomach is still up in the air without her. She hopes they have landed on something solid. She had read airships can land on dry or wet ground.

For a moment, she just clings to the pillar and waits for the ship to stop swaying. When it does, she sighs with relief but then the ship starts to tilt until she is almost laying down. She wraps her legs around the pillar along with her arms. The ship rocks back and forth for a bit before it settles into stillness. Eddy keeps her sighs. She waits. The ship makes no move.

She throws up her chicken dinner and wipes at her mouth with the back of her hand. At least she knows her stomach is still with her. She looks out the hole at the unfamiliar horizon and the water all around them. She turns around to the other side of the room where the windows are still intact. Out there, dark trees recede into the darkness but she hears nothing. Daylight has come but the grayness of the sky produces little light to see in. Rain spatters into the ship through the hole. A few droplets fall at Eddy's feet.

Eddy pauses to listen but the ship seems quite settled. She stands up and smooths out her gown and hair. There is a large brown stain where tea had spilled on her gown. Rabbits! She doesn't have time to worry about it. She must check for survivors. She have been panicking so much, she couldn't have heard them. Now she listens. Now she hears voices. Many voices. There are survivors in other parts of the ship.

She walks around the room and finds a few people that are still breathing although injured. A young man in a waiter's black uniform pops his eyes open just when Eddy reaches out to check his pulse. "What happened?" he asks as he pulls himself up. Eddy just shrugs. She have no idea.

Looking around, he says, "Let's get to the ship's control room, there might be people there. We need them to help the... survivors." He shakes his head as if clearing it. Eddy just stares at him blankly.

"Can you talk?" He raises an eyebrow.

Eddy shakes her head.

The man laughs although it sounds sad to Eddy. "Well, we need to get going anyway." He walks toward the exit. Eddy follows him.

But then she spots a familiar face near the exit. The man is laying face up with closed eyes. His blonde hair is vivid even in the dull light. His chest raises and falls. Hedgehogs! It's the jerk! Eddy have a sudden urge to hit his pretty face. But the young man with her have already disappeared through the door. She looks down at the jerk and couldn't help but kick him on the side of his face before stepping over him.

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October 4, 2018

Books Read in September

'reading is dreaming'
Here are the books I read in September.

Mistress Grim by Jane Redd
01/ Mistress Grim by Jane Redd > link
I thought it was a bit odd that one perspective is in the present tense and the other in the past tense but then it didn't bother me after a while. I like that I don't have to go through a tons of backstory to get to the story. I sometimes think there is too much details in world building in some books but here, I don't think there is anything lacking except perhaps some of the moments could have lasted a little longer. There is instant love but it's a short story so I didn't expect the characters to spend years getting to know each other but I thought Leo risking his life for a woman he had just met might be a little too quick. But when you think of what's at stakes, I guess he had to make that decision quickly. It's a good short read.

02/ Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
02/ Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson > link
It was kind of boring at first but then it speeds up when they started for their journey to find the treasure. There is only one female character in the entire book and she is a minor character. I didn't really like this all that much but it is an interesting read if you want to have a short adventure.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and other stories by Robert Louis Stevenson
03/ The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and other stories by Robert Louis Stevenson > link
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is quite a bleak story as there was no happy resolution. The story, Thrawn Janet was a bit confusing for me. I couldn't understand a word of it as it is written in an accent. All I can make out is a ghost appearing and then disappearing... and the other stories are just as depressing if not more bleak and a bit creepy here and there but if you like murder mystery, perhaps you'll like this if you don't mind being a bit creep out. As for me, I didn't like these stories much but some of them does remind me of Sherlock Holmes stories. These stories aren't not bad but I guess they're just not my cup of tea.

Ringer (Replica #2) by Lauren Oliver
04/ Ringer (Replica #2) by Lauren Oliver  > link

Favorite quote: "'It's going to be okay,' Gemma said. 'Trust me.' She didn't know if it would. But she didn't know it wouldn't be eithter, and that, she thought was what being human meant. You built your life into meaning, you transformed it into a liquid faith, again and again, like a web; you did it blind, by instinct, because to not do it would be to stop living."

This sequel to Replica just seems almost unnecessary because the story didn't quite move as forward, at least not enough. Sure, we get to know more about Haven and Gemma and Lyra but it's almost like the repeat of the first book except it's bleaker and more violent with added sex scenes. I did like the new but brief perspectives of Gemma's mother and the detective. It almost seems like a surprise because the first book have only Gemma and Lyra's perspectives. Caelum still seems unchanged, like he haven't really learned anything new. I just think he is rather dull and is only important to the story when in relation to Lyra. And Gemma's father's the same way — he has no presence even though they keep mentioning him and it kind of seems like he's there so we can blame him for all the mess that Haven had created. Gemma and Lyra's paths are so separate and only at the very end do they come together and that's just briefly. What is really great about the first book is that their story overlapped but here it hardly matters if they see each other or not. But at the end, things happen and there are gaps so if you didn't read both sides, you would not know what happened.

I didn't enjoy this second book as much as the first. This one just somehow make me wish I hadn't read it because there's not much new to the story and all the answers are somewhat vague or buried underneath other things or maybe I wasn't paying attention. Either way, Ringer isn't a worthy sequel.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
05/ The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer > link
Read my thoughts about the series here.

Read any good book lately?

October 2, 2018

Thoughts on The Lunar Chronicles

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer > link
I actually read Cinder and Scarlet a few months ago (which means last year) because for some reason, I just didn't want to finish the series. I almost love this series but not quite. As with any book series, you can't always love every book and I don't. Here are my thoughts on the series and this is not necessary a review but more like opinions and rants. Lots of spoilers ahead. (Click on 'link' above to learn more about the series.)

Favorite quote: "And then there was Cinder. This completely normal girl, working this completely mundane job. She was always covered in dirt or grease and she was so brilliant when she was fixing things. And she joked about stuff with me, like she was talking to a normal guy, not a prince. Everything about her seemed so genuine."
– from Cress
Book 1 — Cinde

(1) I have noticed reviews in which people who liked Cinder (I'm talking about the book not the character) hates Scarlet and people who like Scarlet hates Cinder. I'm one of those who like Cinder and I sort of hate Scarlet.

(2) I'm not even sure how to pronounce 'thaumaturge' and it appear a lot in almost every single page of the entire series. Thaumaturges are cruel just like their queen but I think of them as slaves because they basically only do what the queen tells them. Or perhaps thaumaturges are really just minions. If you think of them as minions, they aren't as interesting or scary. But honestly, it's because they seems like empty-headed dolls, it didn't even matter if they live or die. A few of them does stand out but I hate them and they die anyway but I thought it would have been nice to have one thaumaturge that defied the queen and get on Cinder's side but there are none which is kind sad because it proves they are either very fearful of the queen or they love themselves more than anyone else.

(3) 'Stars' and 'Stars above' are used in replacement of 'Oh god' or some other cursing and I like it.

(4) I don't know about you but I would not care to control people, it's far too much work and you have to be around them all the time or else the control is gone. After all, what is the fun in turning people into puppets?

(5) Is there no physically ugly people in this universe? I get why everyone's good looking here (glamouring, plastic surgery for the Lunar people) but come on, a little flaw here and there or a spot here or there wouldn't ruin any of the main characters a bit.

(6)  Whenever I read Queen Levana, I keep thinking what the hell is she doing and does controlling people make her happy? I find her almost pitiful and sometimes cartoonish in her behavior especially when she loses control of her emotions which is when I picture her having a tantrum like a child, stomping her foot and screaming while wearing those fancy gowns — how can one sympathize with her when she acts so immature? I refuse to read Fairest (the semi third-ish book), I don't really care what her reasons for going bat-crazy and killing people. Actually, there is a bit part of how she became this person in book 4 which I believe is actually enough explanation so I don't see any reason to read Fairest at all.

(7) I really like the idea of a stronger, tougher Cinderella and Cinder is exactly that, not only mentally but also physically because of her cyborg parts. You can think of Cinder as Bionic Woman set in a futuristic world and that's basically Cinder.

(8) Prince/Emperor Kai seems like an okay guy but there's not much I like about him. He was caught off guard about Cinder's revelation about being a cyborg and a Lunar but so was she. He didn't think about how she felt, only about how he felt, seriously dude, get over yourself.

(9) Poor Peony, I really like her and that she's one stepsister that isn't mean to Cinder.

(10) I really love Cinder — she's strong but she's weak too, she's lovable, she's smart, she's good at fixing things, she's not pretentious and she's a mechanic (I have no idea how to fix anything so I admire people who can), so basically she's your average heroine but I think she's rather more normal than extraordinary even if she is a cyborg. I actually don't see her as cyborg even if they sort of keep mentioning her metal hand and even her cybernetic foot. But I like that Cinder isn't always properly dressed, as she often have dirt/grease on her face and clothes and messy ponytails, and basically more human than other humans.


Book 2 — Scarlet

(11) Book 2 seems to move rather slow compare to book 1 or it could be me because I really just want to read more about Cinder and not Scarlet.

(12) I like the Paris setting but this book just seems have too much French stuff to me. But it's good that we move to a different city for this book.

(13) I don't know why but Scarlet just annoys me. Somehow my interest in Scarlet becomes less each time I have to read about her after some pages about Cinder and Thorne. Seriously, who thinks someone kidnap their grandmother just because he has a tattoo that her semi-conscious father told her about? Even if it's true, you don't go around accusing of someone of a crime without more than a tattoo as evidence. Is Scarlet just a bit too anxious in making accusations?

(14) I'm not a fan of Wolf as I keep picturing Wolverine from the X-Men and the writing didn't make me think less of Wolverine either so it's not my fault that's how I see this character. Also Wolf has his hair swept up in a similar way that I have trouble picturing a different Wolf but if you don't know who Wolverine is, then your perspective would be completely different from mine and it wouldn't matter how he is written.

(15) I don't like all this instant-love with Scarlet and Wolf. I think it's more like instant-lust instead. I mean, why is she making out with Wolf after just knowing him for one day? Seriously, one day.

(16) Scarlet pretended to be interested in a man just to see if she could still flirt her way into getting a man that she doesn't want. What? I suppose that is a character weakness but it does nothing to make me like her more, in fact, it make me like her less.

(17) You can make a game out of every time Kai runs a hand through his hair. I know they said this is one of his habits but well, it's certainly not a good habit for a prince or an emperor.

(18) I never could understand what piercing eyes meant but the author described someone with that I still don't get it.

(19) I find it a bit gross to pass a computer chip through one's mouth. Just saying.

(20) Still don't like Scarlet even when I know she is basically a good person who just wants her grandmother back and be happy again.

Book 3 — Cress

Favorite quote: "You're asking the cyborg fugitive and the wild animal to be the welcoming committee? That's adorable."

(21) I don't like how Cress' story is too much like Disney's Tangled — Rapunzel is locked in a tower and has a stepmother who visits her and then that stepmother died in a fall. The same things happened here in Cress — Cress is locked in an imagine tower (the satellite), her boss Sybil (in the stepmother role) visits once in a while and then she died falling off a rooftop. Throne is basically Flynn Rider in the Disney movie, a thief with a sarcastic, charming personality — why Cress and Throne couldn't be more original, I don't know. Also, there is no reason why Cress should have long hair except that she is supposed to be Rapunzel but it gets cut off by Thorne just like the movie. And also there is a bit of singing from Cress, can this get anymore Disney? I suppose if I don't know the existence of Tangled, I might actually enjoy the story. If only there is some more differences, it would have make Cress more original like her name Crescent Moon, which when you think about, isn't all that great but I like the name Cress.

(22) I like that Cress is a short girl, the shortest one in the group and she doesn't really know how to fight, so she's basically a bookworm but with mad hacking skills.

(23) The revelation of who Cress' father is, is a bit of a surprise and a side story that simply didn't mean much because the revelation came far too late and far too quickly, it just disappeared like it never happened. I don't know why this is in the book as it did nothing for her character nor for her father because he pretty much dies and although it's sad, I just think it would have been nice if one character at least have a living parent.

(24) As much as I like getting every perspective and every angle to the story, sometimes the switching between perspectives is a bit much and far too quick.

(25) Cress' crush on Thorne is a bit too instant but then she was trapped up in the sky away from the world for so long, I'm sure she would fall for any guy that comes along and it's true, Thorne is basically the first guy she sees, after puberty that is, the other shells she had been locked with and Jacin doesn't really count as he's like a robot to her most of the time.

Book 4 — Winter 

(26) Crazy princess = ideal teenager - yep. Winter's is just as moody (and a bit nuts) as teenagers go so is a good comparison. Winter has Lunar sickness which is basically saying her mind is warped because she doesn't use her Lunar gift and not using your Lunar gift will make you go crazy which is not quite explained here (there was an explanation in book 1 which I didn't understand) but since these Lunar gifts are mental, it would make sense it would affect her mind hence, the craziness.

(27) Some of Winter's hallucinations are downright creepy. I guess I'm too much of a prude to judge but they really are creepy.

(28) Somehow making Winter the most beautiful girl without using her glamour seems a bit much. Sure, there are people who are born beautiful but they are basically saying her beauty is beyond beautiful and that every man that sees her would basically just fall at her feet simply because of her beauty. But I suppose her kindness makes her worthy of her people's love.

(29) Winter sometimes seem like a side character and sometimes I really didn't care what happens to her. Most of the time she seems to be wallowing in her crazy-ness and people around her either accept her or ignore her, except Scarlet who dares to call Winter 'Crazy' as a sort of a term of endearment.

(30) I'm kind of sick of all the instant loves going around but at least Winter and Jacin have known each other since they were children so there's a real relationship there not formed in matter of days but in years.

(31) But what's with Jacin? It's like he's obsessed with Winter. Everything he does is for Winter's sake. This kind of constant need to protect her, this kind of one-track mind devotion is a bit obsessive. Yes, he loves Winter but is it really love if you obsess over that person's safety over everyone and everything? Come on, Jacin, get a new hobby, make a friend, don't spent all your time thinking and protecting Winter. It's not like there aren't other people who couldn't protect her.

(32) These people — Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Kai, Wolf, Jacin, Thorne (he may be slightly older than all of them but I don't remember) — aren't even 18 yet (okay, Kai is 18) and here they are making life and death situations. I just wish they had up the ages a bit because I hate to think that only teenagers gets to do these things, like adults can't save the world? just thinking that Levana's fighting a bunch of teenagers somehow sounds a bit lame.

(33) I want to shout at Levana to stop killing people because it seems like someone dies or nearly dies every time we turn back to her. It's just so cruel and endless and there is the room where there is a doorway for the bodies to be throw into the sea — it's a bit much. It's not hard to think that everyone who serves her will eventually die anyway so who is left to serve her? What will she do when that happens?

(34) I didn't like the addition of Levana's perspective, I find her to be a bit creepy and perhaps a bit crazy in the head. Plus if she's so much older and wiser than Cinder and her friends, then how come she didn't have a plan to escape at the end? Was it always her plan to die if she lost the fight? Why isn't she stronger than Cinder in terms of mental power? She have years of experience and still, one little video showing her true self and she is shaken. I guess I kind of think that she should be harder to beat.

(35) I had to do a re-read during the wedding ceremony between Levana and Kai because suddenly Kai's looking at Cinder but it's really Levana in her glamour like an armor because Kai tries to stab her, I guess this scene could have been a little clearer.
 
(36) I wish guys would stop dragging their hand through their hair. Kai's bad enough but now Throne? I guess I don't understand this habit since I'm not a guy but I find this gesture to be like a nervous tick and nothing adorable about it.

(37) The death toll is in the thousands so I would say, yes, this is a violent series and not to mention some of the main characters lost a finger or two and there are some serious stabbing going on and yet they all survived. I'm not saying they should die but some of those wounds appears fatal and not to mention there is also a plague going around so the quick recoveries seems to be a bit unrealistic but than again, we are in a world where people can get into tanks to suspend an illness, where people can make other people do and think things they wouldn't normally do, so I guess it's acceptable that people recover quicker here in this world.

(38) What's with the love thoughts everyone has? It seems like there are just far too many romances going on, like everyone has to couple up for no reason other than that. The few glimpses of friendship doesn't make this less apparent. If not for the action sequences, this would basically be a bunch of romances. I'm not complaining but it wouldn't be so terrible if people became friends first before going the romantic route.

(39) I honestly didn't get much of the friendship vibe between any of them, except Iko and Cinder — those two are definitely best of friends. I would have like more of the friendships between all of them and not just Cinder because it seems everyone's friends with Cinder but not with each other. How about some families? Apparently they are all orphans, even Scarlet (I don't even remember what happened to her father) and Wolf at the end became orphans. I think if there is one or two supportive parents about, like maybe if Levana's parents had done a better job, she wouldn't be the way she was but then again, there is so much a parent can do to stop their child from doing anything since the child might be able to control their parents and change their thoughts.

(40) I sort of hate that Cinder had a terrible mother, that she was even worse than Levana but since Cinder is raised on earth with with an Earthen father, she didn't become her mother. I'm glad that Cinder had a father even for a very short time. Just like Kai with his father before he dies too. Seriously, everyone's an orphan and the only parents are unrelated people.

(41) Nope, I still don't like Scarlet but I don't hate her.

(42) I wish there is more of Cinder and Iko — I love those two together.

(43) Cress and Throne are cute together but I still feel their romance is a bit predictable and slightly forced. I mean, she definitely loves him but Thorne? I never get the feeling Throne loves Cress even though they keep implying that he does, it just seems like it's a sudden realization to him and to the reader.

(44) When did Cress became so good with a gun at the end when she could barely bring herself to hold a gun?

(45) There are some events that I expect to happen and it did. So it's not so much as being predictable but more like it just went in the same direction that I like it to go even if I did get a bit annoyed by the sudden switch of perspective and storyline especially when it ends in a cliff hanger.

(46) My favorite pair is still Cinder and Kai, even though I did think Kai didn't do much but at the end, he did take action. He became worthy of Cinder and I like him for that.

(47) It's a good, happy ending and I did expected it to end like this but I just thought it's too quick — with some explanations and some quick few details about who is going where and doing what and that's what we get. But I like that it ended with Cinder since it started with Cinder, going full circle that sort of thing. (Although if you think about the thousands of people who died just to get her here, it seems rather bleak but let's not think about that.)

Have you read the Lunar Chronicles and if you did, what did you think of the series?