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Eleanor and Park – Review

Title: Eleanor and Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Young Adult Romance

Book procurement: Received a copy from the author for an honest review. Currently available on Amazon.

Synopsis:

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Review:

First Thoughts

Oh man, this book makes me want to fall in love and experience all the gushy, mushy feelings of finding that one person who just gets you on a whole different level.

Every time I listen to Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart – this book and its characters come to mind and my chest just fills up with incredible warmth. That’s how much I loved this book.

Writing

It is written with so much passion and realism and heartfelt emotion, I could imagine Eleanor and Park and Tina and Beeby and DeNice and Steven as real people. Tangible. As though I could go to that location and meet them in person.

Not only that, but to be able to experience the emotions of the characters without it feeling forced or cliche or anything of the sort – well that’s real talent. That’s what books are supposed to do. Suspended disbelief literally had my heart aflutter for a while.

It’s more than just a story about a girl in a difficult life and world experiencing the joy’s of meeting someone who takes her breath away. It’s more than just a story about a guy who meets a girl who just completes a hole he didn’t know he had. It’s not just another typical boy meets girl/girl meets boy kind of story. It’s richer. It’s stronger. It’s real.

Final Thoughts

It’s just an amazing book and I can’t fault it. I went through the ups and downs. I wanted to slap a few characters. I wanted to hug a few characters. I was completely enthralled by Rainbow Rowell’s writing style.

As a fan of horror and sci-fi, this romance was a breath of fresh air. With the right hint of humour, geeky knowledge trivia and music I actually listen to. Fantastic book. Fantastic read.

Rating: An amazing 5 out of 5

The Dead Tell No Tales

Like leaves, green in morning spring,

Decayed flesh rises from watery ring,

The early bird catching the worm,

Maggots in eyes wriggle and squirm.

*

The dead tell no tales,

The Devil in the details,

Slashed throats tell no lies,

The Saint in the widow’s cries.

*

As darkness descends, it stalks the night,

Stars illuminating the victims plight,

Winter’s cold breath with gleaming steel,

Plunging through skin with religious zeal.


Been discovering and reading interesting horrors from authors Ramsey Campbell and Tom Piccirilli among others. Have you read something that inspired your writing?

 

Apartment

 

 

The weekend crept by too slowly. Wednesday was the hardest as the real estate agent called to inform me the tenants had moved out of the apartment on 7th Street. I was free to move in when I was ready. As a young man of twenty four, I was ready for a life of independence.

Warren from sales walked up to my desk Thursday afternoon with that lanky sluggish gait, like a two-legged giraffe.

“You ready for the weekend sesh bro?” He asked. A toothy smile stretched across his long face.

“Weekend sesh? What weekend sesh?”

“Dude it’s my party on Friday right through to Sunday. Did you forget already?”

I had.

“Uhhh gee. I don’t know. I’m supposed to move in to my new place on Saturday.”

“It’s cool bro, we’ll party up Friday and then Saturday I’ll help you move. Don’t ditch me.” He pleaded with slumped shoulders.

I shrugged.

“Can I let you know?”

“No you can’t… you always say that before a no.”

“Ugh… fine.” He grinned madly,

“Sweet! Don’t ditch me bro.”

“Yeah yeah.” I smiled. While I wasn’t close with Warren, we got along better than most of the people at the company. I’d known him for almost two years now and had partied often enough with him. I was sure it would be great.

It was.

*

Friday after work I decided to take some of the lighter stuff to the apartment. It was a one bedroom bachelor flat with a sitting room and kitchenette. White tiles throughout the place. There were two wide windows, one in the sitting room and the other in my bedroom. Both looked out into apartments across the road and a quiet street below.

I set up the coffee table and a beanbag. In the kitchen I put in the cutlery and crockery. The bedroom I left last to see how much space I had for the bed and my computer. I looked around pleased with this new step into adulthood before changing into party clothes and heading out to Warren’s place.

Warren’s party was lit. There were perhaps thirty people in total. Booze was flowing and his ping-pong table had been set up for beer pong. Music blared through the house, his parent’s house. Girls and guys were dancing everywhere. We partied hard until 2AM.

It was lit.

*

I woke up Saturday morning with a soft pounding across the left side of my head. Everything felt sluggish, like I was moving through water. My phone bleeped with a message. It was the real estate agent asking if I needed help with the move. I replied with a no then decided to check my phone gallery.

I swiped through the memories. A quiet chuckle every few moments from the craziness of it. Then I stopped.

A tremble swept through my hand.

The next couple of images were not of the party but of my apartment. Specifically of me in my apartment. Most were blurry but there were a few clear images. For a moment I wondered who had taken them. Then it hit me. I had been alone the entire time.

I rushed to Warren’s bedroom to wake him up. He lay on top of the bed as though he’d passed out in the middle of undressing.

“Warren. Warren!” I shook him hard. His eyes blinked open slowly and he mumbled something before passing out again. By now a weight was pressing against my chest. I hurried out to find my keys and let myself out of the house.

I sped my way to the apartment.

*

The apartment was as bare as I had left it. Morning sunlight lit a patch on the floor from the window. I had yet to put up curtains.

I pulled out my phone to see the images again, checking the vantage of each of them. Many of the images were from the apartment door and I figured someone had maybe found my phone and took the pictures. Someone trying to freak me out. A neighbour who doesn’t want a new tenant. Some weirdo pulling a prank. Relief was threatening to take over only the other images were of me in the bedroom.

I moved through the entire place, checking the walls for holes or cameras or something. Anything to make sense of the craziness. Nothing. I checked my phone again with panic easing in. There was a new image.

And another.

And another.

Goosebumps broke across my skin. My pounding headache seemed to blare harder as I fought the tremble sweeping through me.

“Who is here!?”

My voice was strong. Confident. The opposite of how I felt. I sped through the apartment, checking everything and everywhere.

“Who is here!” I screamed this time. No reply.

It’s nothing, I told my self, attempting to control my breathing. I looked at my phone with trembling hands. Hoping I was imaging it all. Hoping it was a prank of some sort and a camera crew would pop out of the ceiling and tell me, “You’ve been pranked!” or something.

A new image appeared in the gallery. The photo was of my back exactly where I stood. My shoulders immediately tingled with cold static that crawled down my spine. Whatever it was, was behind me. I wanted to look back. Had to look back. Had to face whatever it was but every part of me was frozen with fear.

That was when a hand grabbed my shoulder with an icy grip, and a cold breath blew against my ear,

“You’re mine now.”


Has anything freaky ever happened to you? Any “true life” ghost stories to share? I would love to know.

NPCs by Drew Hayes – Recommendation

What happens when the haggling is done and the shops are closed? When the quest has been given, the steeds saddled, and the adventurers are off to their next encounter? They keep the world running, the food cooked, and the horses shoed, yet what adventurer has ever spared a thought or concern for the Non-Player Characters?

In the town of Maplebark, four such NPCs settle in for a night of actively ignoring the adventurers drinking in the tavern when things go quickly and fatally awry. Once the dust settles, these four find themselves faced with an impossible choice: pretend to be adventurers undertaking a task of near-certain death or see their town and loved ones destroyed. Armed only with salvaged equipment, second-hand knowledge, and a secret that could get them killed, it will take all manner of miracles if they hope to pull off their charade.

And even if they succeed, the deadliest part of their journey may well be what awaits them at its end.


Final Fantasy 8 was the Role-Playing Game that instilled my love for story based games and future RPGs. I don’t know about you, but I generally don’t care for NPCs unless they have a quest marker or new items in the shop. So when I read the premise of this book, how could I not add it to my TBR list!?

Drew Hayes is an author from Texas who has written several books and found the gumption to publish a few (so far). He graduated from Texas Tech with a B.A. in English, because evidently he’s not familiar with what the term “employable” means. Drew has been called one of the most profound, prolific, and talented authors of his generation, but a table full of drunks will say almost anything when offered a round of free shots. Drew feels kind of like a D-bag writing about himself in the third person like this. He does appreciate that you’re still reading, though.

Website: www.drewhayesnovels.com

Twitter: @DrewHayesNovels

Email: Novelistdrew(at)gmail(dot)com

Fear and Fervor – A Patreon Fiction

Today’s fiction is an excerpt from this month’s Patreon work. I’ve combined my two favourite genre’s – Romance and Horror – with a dash of Lovecraftian influence. Enjoy!


Up upon the attic’s bare wooden floors, in the bodega of Casa Del Potro, between discarded paint bottles and torn canvas. Therein lies the young male we know only as Eduardo. He sits with his back against the raised mattress, naked save for a pair of dirty boxers. They reveal the stringy black threads of hair covering his legs and arms and have begun to crawl past the navel to his chest. Smudges of paint cover some of his brown skin, and the whites of his hands are lost to a swirling grey rainbow of colour.

He sleeps deeply and soundly. The dark tendrils of oily curled hair tumbled down to his chin like a frayed curtain. Near his bare feet lies a canvas still heavy with wet paint. Each corner holds a random item that keeps the canvas from rolling in. An iron stands in one corner, the severed cord wrapped in dark tape. In another corner is the one half of Eduardo’s wearable Jordan’s, the bottom half yawning with yellow strands of loosening superglue. The foot of an aged table, and one of the three metal stools keep the remaining corners down.

Caressed over canvas is a visage of improbable beauty. Flaxen tresses that divulge in hues of orange and red cascading down the back. Golden braids coil the hem of the snowy dress that sits below the smooth skin of bare shoulders. An elegant face gazes out at the viewer with gleaming emerald orbs that reach into the soul and tug it to the surface. Pert upturned nose sits perfectly on the symmetrical face above thin pursed lips. There is a haunting glare accentuated by her slightly raised brow, as though she notices something behind the viewer. Perhaps she feels the tiny pinpricks of an insect crawling up her leg below the separation of canvas and real life.

Or perhaps her gaze from canvas onto reality bears a truth she wishes not to comprehend. The artist, a living soul, tethered to the encroaching darkness ignorantly rejected as merely death. Only she, the portrait, the art, the creation, has any semblance of what awaits beyond the veil.

There is more to this corporeal existence than we can see. More beyond the ethereal presence that on occasion slinks along our spine with icy tendrils.

I will tell you the story of Eduardo and his paintings for it is a story that must be told. Perhaps it shall restore the madness that rattles my bones like arthritis.

Pray the madness does not pass on to you, for there is no fetter back to this blessed ignorance.


 

May Update

Camp NaNo is done and dusted, and while I did not get to the appended 50K mark, I did get to my original 25K goal. So it is both a win and a non-win.

Sadly, my blog and reading suffered quite a bit during NaNo. And also April is practically a public holiday here in South Africa so I was barely at home or barely writing when I was. It was heavy busy, but I do not regret anything. I experienced a lot of great things I wouldn’t trade for an addition 25K words.

May Goals

I always feel like I have the potential to do so much more than I plan for, but do not have the time to do it all. Nonetheless, goals are great for motivation and when I cross off a goal, I feel fantastic.

Reading: I finished two incredible books. The first was Rules of the Game, the third and final book of the Endgame series. So much action. So much drama. So much almost crying. Click the covers for a review. Rules of the game will have a proper review later on the blog but you can read the initial review on Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second book was Eleanor & Park, a YA romance novel that hit me harder than I expected it to. My heart was in my throat the whole time. Beautiful. Click the cover for my Goodreads review.

Next on the list are:

  1. Blood Moon – John David Bethel
  2. Grey Magic – J.T. Lawrence
  3. Why You Were Taken – J.T. Lawrence
  4. Enden – David Kummer

I still have my Brandon Sanderson Mist Born Trilogy to read as well.

Writing:

Innocence: I will be finishing this horror novella this month. There are 10 chapters in total, each about 1500 words or so. It is available for free on Wattpad and you can read chapter 7 later today. To catch up on what has already happened, (and follow me on Wattpad) follow this link -> Wattpad Story – Innocence.

 

A quick synopsis:

The law exists to protect citizens from injustice, violence, and immorality. However, the law itself is also bound to it’s own statutes, and sometimes, the guilty are set free.
Four officers and a young medical student decide to take the law into their own hands, sentencing the known murderer, Marius de Wet, to an illegal Death Penalty within the unused Melville police precinct basement.
If word got out, the repercussions would be insurmountable for the five overseers of the unauthorized execution, and they vow to keep their silence.
But Marius is calling from the grave, seeking justice.
And he will claim his innocence.

Do be warned, it is rated “Mature” due to violence and language.

Last Robot on Earth: I have written about 16,001 words of this. This first arc will probably run up to 25,000 words. Unfortunately I did not write this main character as I was supposed to. Got too caught up in the story to realize he’s way off personality wise. So I’ll be rounding up the first arc and editing the character before moving on with the story.

While it is a Patreon project, I’ll be sharing some of the processes with you. This is one of the novels I will be completing this year.

Dominae Mortem: This is at 10,713 words. I covered two of the four main protagonists that the story revolves around. While I enjoyed the process, it involved so much world building and research that it took longer to write. I still haven’t planned out the other two characters so writing this will be quite a drawn out process.

From a planning perspective, I have the first arc figured out. Basically it is the “who” arc, where you get to know more about both the characters and the world they live in. Each is supposed to end with a “WHAT?!” cliff hanger that will lead into the second arc, “what now?” This will probably cover the first 50-75K mark. It is a Dark Fantasy novel after all so it could get long.

Junk Yard Angel: Ugh don’t even ask haha. This is novel is like that TV series you want to watch, then watch only one episode before moving on to other series. There’s so much potential but I’m too lazy to dig through it. It also has massive amounts of research and plotting to get through. Nonetheless, the novel itself is 8181 words of the introductory arc.

The JYA Short Stories – a prequel to the events of the main novel, is going pretty well. I’m enjoying that much better, but of course this is because all the characters are so much fun to write. 6452 words so far broken between five short stories that are all related and linked to each other and to the main novel. I will be releasing this once JYA itself is written.

Portals: This is a secret novel from last years NaNoWriMo – the Science Fantasy Horror Thriller of 33,865 words. It is a convoluted mess but a fascinating convoluted mess. Intertwining time-lines, characters and motivations. This little side project is not important but it’s fun.


What are your goals for May? How well did you do during Camp NaNo if you participated?

Friday Fiction: Wattpad Excerpt

As you might know (some of you definitely know), Friday’s are usually Microcosmsfic days, where 3 elements are spun and a bunch of us write a 300 word flash fiction using those elements. The prize is prestige and an opportunity to judge the next round. Last Friday I wrote a Fable called The Man and the Mice and to both my surprise, and glee, I actually won that week’s Microcosmsfic, both picked by the Judge and the Community. *Swoons*

So I wont be entering this Friday as I will be judging the entries. You can, however, enter the comp here: MicrocosmsFic.com Write great stories!

I actually loved writing that fable, and you can read the whole process of how I came up with the story, on my Patreon page (free) here: Inspiration Behind The Man and the Mice

Fridays are also days when I post a chapter of my novella, Innocence, on Wattpad. The premise follows four police officers and a young doctor, who illegally execute a known killer. Now someone (or something) is stalking them.

Here’s an excerpt from the next chapter. Innocence – A Wattpad Novella


The room spins as body leans forward to reach for the fallen injection. The body slumps onto the warm wooden floor with a soft thwack. Eyes glaze over the irregular lines that mark each thin, individual piece of floorboard.

The rows of polished plank begin to sway.

Bend.

Lurch.

They curl upward from the ground and wiggle free from their confines. Oversized gunk drips wet, grey splotches over the curling floorboards, coating them in their mucous membrane and form egg-shaped heads. The droplets slither over the wood, every drip causing the planks to writhe to life. The curled heads wiggle upwards like cat-sized maggots, squirming as the slime devours the wooden meat sack that was once the floor. Together, in rapid gyration they turn to the body on the floor in a unison of tiny beady eyes. Black as coal. Tufts of slick hair drape over the left side of their bulging heads. The gunk continues to drip over their tiny humanoid faces.

The giggles contract into hicks of breathless inhalations, gurgling with saliva dripping down the gawking mouth, then rising into a crescendo of strangled chortles winding into wild screeching.

The maggots skitter as though the sound invigorates them. They skid forward from their coiled perch in frenzied slurping shuffles. They climb over the body in a mesh of wriggling appendages.


What are you currently writing?

Friday Fiction: Frank

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Marshal’s Sidekick Setting: Dodge City Genre: Horror


Frank Reynolds, Marshal of Dodge City, died with an arrow to the eye. The same arrow pinned to my pillow where turning my head had brought it to my attention. I immediately rolled off the bed and hauled the rifle from under the bed onto my shoulder with the speed of a viper.

Nothing stirred.

Bella was not in bed and it churned my gut like butter. How had I not heard the intruder enter nor Bella leave? I rose quickly, assessing the wooden shaft lodged within the feathered padding. The arrow was adorned in intricate gold and emerald fletching from our Indian neighbours. I recognized the design like I would Ma’s face. I, Frank’s second-man, was the one who drew the bow after all.

A screech resounded from the front room. I dashed out to a feverish Isabella standing under the streaming sunlight cascading her shimmering, tilted silhouette. Her frock was in disarray, bonnet clutched to fluttering bosom as she gazed at the floor. Her bare feet stood in a viscous pool of yolk-hued liquid.

“Bella, what’s going on?”

“Frank?”

Her voice gurgled as though under water.

“Bella? It’s me, William.”

I stepped closer, avoiding the spillage. Iced pins prickled my chest. I fought the thrum rattling my bones – smoothed the aroused hairs along my nape with trembling hand.

“William?”

She began a slow swivel, golden rays refining her locks to dazzling white tresses. The first thing the glare revealed was the braided tongue-like cord, and the dangling pulped egg that was her eye.  My gut lurched with the stench wafting from the gaping abyss that was the rest of her cragged, hollowed face.

“He’s coming Will.” a greyed tongue languidly dripped yolk rivulets to the floor. The muck broiled, a single eye floating to the surface. Frank.

Friday Fiction: Confessional

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: I’ve Always Been Crazy Setting: Village Genre: Crime


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“It’s getting worse Father.”

Francois knelt within the narrow confines of the confessional. Sweat trickled down his temples but his clasped hands shivered uncontrollably.

“The Lord knows our struggles. He sees all and knows all. He will never give you more than you can handle.” The voice replied from beyond the wooden grating separating confessor from absolution.

“I understand that Father but… I literally felt as though my hands were wrapped around her neck and…  and I was squeezing. Squeezing. Squeezing! Her neck…” Francois’s whole body began to shiver. Sweat continued to trail down into his collar, while a hollowness suffused his chest and clutched at his heart.

“It was merely a dream my child, perhaps manifestations of impure thoughts you harbour towards her or her sinful occupation?”

“I don’t even know her.”

“And yet you recall her with clarity? The Lord said, if you hate your brother in your heart then you have similarly committed murder. Do you hate her?”

“No Father! I… may have seen her once? Maybe?”

“Are you certain my child? You are safe in the house of the Lord.”

“I…” Francois searched his memories and could recall nothing concrete. A flash of someone but it was hazy. Fragmented. “Perhaps I’ve always been crazy Father.”

“Ephesians tells us our battle is not against flesh and blood, but the forces of darkness.” A sombre silence filled the air. “Pray ten Hail Mary’s. Tonight, I will visit again for special communion.”

The priest’s door clicked open and suddenly a familiar scent filled Francois’ nose. He looked out the glass portal of the confessional and watched the priest slip a tattered blouse into his vestments. A familiar blouse. He shook his head and turned back to prayer, the suspicion overshadowed by his guilt. He soon forgot about the blouse.

Friday Fiction: Memoir of a Failed Father

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Sheriff Setting: Blockade Genre: Memoir


“Ya’ll gonna go back, aint yer?” Sheriff Mac asked. I clutched Delilah and Josiah near me. No wind blew that night. The stars had winked out of existence and the moon was but an ethereal shadow. The clouds though. The clouds swam scarlet. Humming. Right into our bones.

“Do yer know what it is Sheriff?” I asked, our eyes gazing up.

“Nah-ah. Them federal boys set up blockade up by Westpoint.” He raised a trembling hand towards the dark hill. Its apex sat directly below the rolling mass.

“Is why I’m telling yer tah go back, Jonathan. Let it clear. T‘morrow er’thing will be back to normal.”

But it wasn’t.

Not two hours after we’d left the Sheriff did it begin to rain. Not softly either. It poured. Bashing against the roof and windows like the house was being peppered with large pebbles. Josey. My poor Josey. When he turned eight we had converted the attic into his own room and he’d been there 3 years then. It hit him first. The rain.

I still remember his screams. Horrid, high pitched wails that crawled along the walls. We rushed up, Delilah and I, not even realising the dark patches along the ceiling. I was there first. I remember that. Delilah stumbled in after then her screams joined Josey’s.  The ceiling had serrated where water poured in, drenching my boy. Where there was once hair now dripped skin and melted clumps of hair. Half his pink, smoking face sagged.  He’d raised fingers but the skin had burnt off. I could see the bone.

Delilah pushed past me to wrap Josey in a blanket and then they were running. Josey never made it far. Delilah… she carried him until she too dribbled away.

I cowered in the basement. A poltroon. A failure.

Nthato Morakabi

Author | Blogger | Artist | Geek

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