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True of Blood by Bonnie Lamer

Review: It seems to be a popular premise in young adult fiction but the idea continues to find its inventory of readers: ‘young hero or heroine turns a magical age and their special powers are revealed and they must go forth to save the world.’ Or some variation on that theme. Some are shocked, some sensed the possibility all along, others are hurt or angry their parents lied to them about their heritage and of course, need time to come to terms with the magnitude of their new mission when they just want to be regular teens.

I had a difficult decision to make with this work, as I considered whether to read it from an adult’s angle simply as a story in and of itself, or try to look at it from a young person’s perspective and how it might be viewed. To me, just because a book is specifically geared towards a certain age group doesn’t mean it is less well written. Though I don’t look usually read books specifically labeled for young adults, I’ve read very many where the characters were of those ages. I enjoy any author who shows a certain proficiency of writing skills no matter the genre, age group or anything else.

For me there was just too big a jump from the character’s behavior as first presented, which I enjoyed, an intelligent young woman, to when magical beings, heavy on mythical and legend terms appear, and though she’s been thoroughly briefed by a parent on her secret history revealed, she completely cannot believe anything they say and thing it all a game. Among other things, including the stereotypical behavior of far too many fantasy female characters who use wise-cracks and insultory dialogue supposedly to should how feisty and spirited they are. One of the main reasons I’m really selective in my fantasy choices these days though it’s by far my traditional favorite is I’ve never really cared for that character type.

If one is using a common theme I think it’s crucial to make your characters themselves unique in some way and likeable, or at least admirable. The characterization has to engage the reader so readers remain interested in the plot development. Maybe it was the irony the author wished to show, but having Xandra guilty of the same self-absorbed and centred behavior she accuses Kallen of, just really made it seemed like her social I.Q. dropped several levels after she found out about her heritage. From a nice, reasonable young woman she turns into a wise-cracker, toggling between acerbic and petulant remarks, and for me too often behaved like a hard-headed jerk.

The romance that then develops between Xandra and Kallen was a little problematic for me.  I’ve never understood how someone is still attracted to a person who is insulting, mean-spirited towards you and acts like they hate your guts, yet suddenly you’re kissing. Again, that’s a popular formula some people do think of as de rigeur to be a “true” romance.

I felt the writer had a clear direction in which they wished their story and characters to go. “True of Blood” was very descriptive and packed with fairies, Pooka, and various other creatures, magic, sudden realizations, dire warnings and the possibility of “happy ever after’s.” Because of some suggestive sexual situations I would recommend it more for older teens +16 or adults.

Description: “I have a television so I know what a family is supposed to look like but mine is nothing like that. To begin with, both my parents are dead. Not the kind of dead where you bury them in the ground, say some nice words, cry a lot and then never see them again. Nope, when they died they refused to go into the light; or whatever it is you’re supposed to do when you die. Instead, they came back home. As ghosts. Have you ever been sent to your room by a parent who has no corporeal form? I have and it sucks…”

Xandra Illuminata Smith has lived for the last three years with ghosts as parents but her life gets even stranger after her seventeenth birthday when she finds out that her mother is actually a Witch in hiding and her biological father, whom she knew nothing about, is a Fairy and King of the Fae realm.

Xandra is the first Witch Fairy to be born in thousands of years for very good reason. No one should be able to control that much magic and Xandra was never meant to be born at all but her mother has manged to keep her hidden away until now.

The Witches want her dead and the Fairies want her blood, for only her blood will reopen the gateway to the Fae realm and allow them back into this realm to take revenge on humans and Witches alike for having banished them hundreds of years ago.

Xandra has very little time to learn how to use her powerful Witch and Fairy magic that has been bound since her birth while running from the Fairies who managed to jump realms and want to take her blood to set the others free. She needs someone to teach her and her parents enlist the help of one powerful Fairy who claims to want to keep the realms closed to each other. He will help keep her safe and alive as she learns, at least that’s what he says…

Published: April 15, 2011

Publisher: Hugo Klam

Please visit author website for availabilities http://bonnielamer.blogspot.com/

Source: Author

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Filed under Child/YA Fiction, Fantasy, Reviews, Romance

Helping Others in Literary Pursuits

Museum of the Hand

Museum of the Hand

I’m a mood writer. You might have read that before.  I usually create a full-fleshed and “real” story in my mind, from start to finish, and then when the mood strikes me, I’ll type it all up. It’s all self-contained in the first entry, except for the requisite revisions, etc. Sometimes, I’ll have a dream, just as I did for my psychological erotica short, “The House of Doom, Dreams and Desire”, in totality and vivid detail. Upon awakening, I immediately went to my computer and recorded my subconscious thoughts. It took approximately four hours of non-stop keystrokes which later left my fingers and forearms in agony, but I felt it was worth it.

There are other times, although I’ve written up a synopsis or outline for a story, despite loving my characters and the power of their emotions, I simply cannot write. Not one sentence. It can be frustrating, for it seldom coincides with “extra” time I have, when I don’t have pressing obligations elsewhere. It’s confounding to have several hours in which nothing is planned and my location is quiet, and I can’t think. Conversely, when I have several different people or projects demanding my attention, or especially a few minutes before I have to leave for work, I’ll come up with an especially brilliant idea and my thoughts are liquid fire! I know I could create something wonderful, but there’s no time.

It’s been suggested I obtain a micro-recorder, to dictate my ideas when I’m on the go, or when I am unable to go. If you’ve read my Reflections entry at Queer Magazine Online , “I’m Still Alive’, I’ve had severe health difficulties for the past year: congestive heart failure and chronic pneumonia, among other things. And I always seem to go into the hospital on a holiday, the last was Christmas 2010, or when I have other things I need to be doing like university course work. In January 2011, I spent twenty-one days flat on my back and barely cleared 1200 points out of the 1900 needed for a passing grade in Health Psychology. Usually, I have perhaps one or two days up, and then seven kaput, as we say in German.

Sometimes I feel quite discouraged. When people ask, “why don’t you have more books on the market”, or “why not longer works” or questions along these lines….they are not cognizant of my own background story, just as a character’s might be explained in a novel. It is during these all too frequent periods of illness that I turn my attention to others.

31 October 2010, I began my review and interview site, “Flying With Red Haircrow.” I take in all genres in electronic formats, including independent titles, which many review groups refuse to accept, for a variety of reasons. Some are valid and I understand, for with the newer self-publish sites like Smashwords, literally anyone can have an ebook cranked out. I  must admit, yes, some are quite bad (though I have not chosen to write a review on them, so they are not in my completed results). Yet, some are really outstanding and I have been privileged to read them. I don’t believe that simply because they are self-published they should be penalized. It’s hard to get reviews or attention to your self-published works. I know, I have two of my own. So I started “Flying” to help provide feedback to some of these worthy authors who are given tough calls where no one wants to listen to them.

18 January 2011, I submitted my review site to Smashwords and other locations across the web, and received an outstanding flood of requests, but my health continues to hamper clearing my queue. Confounded again, but I am determined. I’ve particularly enjoyed the refreshing response from many of the submitters. They tell me why they wrote a story, or what it means to them, background information about themselves or their ideas. Sometimes they send poetry they’ve written but not submitted elsewhere. I value each and every expression, their trust in me. My requirements listed do not promise to like someone’s work, and some have commented on my frankness, but not in a negative way. Certainly, they have the option to submit or not submit, but they can be assured of fairness and objectivity. They can be assured they won’t be “blown off”, mocked or dismissed.

Sometimes I cannot write if I feel unwell, nor speak of love when I am not in love. Many days I cannot even get out of bed, but whenever I can,  I help someone else achieve their writing goals. I can speak words of encouragement to those struggling with all kinds of issues from the personal to the professional.  Some days it can seem like the whole world is against you, when petty snark and pointless dramas are all that seem to swirl in the online skies, but that’s when I go back to what I care for and the many people out there who may just need someone to talk to. It costs me nothing.

My Words of Encouragement for Writers

“Do not define yourself by what you perceive as your own failure based on someone else’s announced successes.

That you thought, that you considered and reasoned and worried and hoped, shows how much heart you really have, because you care. Not just about yourself, but about the world around you, and how you are perceived, and that’s not a bad thing when it’s done in a positive way.

If we don’t care what anyone else thinks of us, and have no guide for our expressions and actions, the selfishness of our thoughts can only bring sadness to the world, and in the end, to ourselves.

If we are blown from thought to thought, place to place, emotion to emotion with no solid and positive anchor then we can be negatively affected from what anyone says even if it is opposite to what we were are working or building towards.

I speak not of arrogance, or self-acclaimed wisdom or direction, nor anything which tries to tell someone else to act without first listening to and being aware of the full range of cognitive motion and behaviours.

We have to be focused at some time. Even if we naturally have times when we have lusts, needs, desires, and very necessary wants, we have to be able to come back to the reality of necessary things: give love and positive emotions to others, release negative feelings by expression and then letting those dark emotions disperse into the ethers of joy, to go about our daily lives without trying to insult anyone, to lessen anyone, to make someone feel badly just to broadcast our own needs.”–Red Haircrow

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