Wednesday, March 31, 2010

White Cat Picked a Winner!

The white kitty looked around and saw that there were 70 people who entered this contest, with a total of 218 entries to get the book. The kitty sighed and was a bit tired from verifying all the entries. Fortunately, the kitty knew where to go to get the winner. was willing to help. The kitty quickly spied the winner.





Melissa (My words and pages)

Congratulations! Melissa now has 72 hours to get back to me or the kitty has to pick another winner.

My only regret in this giveaway is that I didn't have more ARCs to give to everyone. Thanks for participating!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

From Maggie Stiefvater's blog: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human... until the cold makes him shift back again. 

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever. 

This book is more of a character study of Sam and Grace. Each has their own voice and POV. This character development is a wonderful way of telling a love story. You get to know both main characters well and feel deeply for them. To me, the werewolf part of the story was secondary to main love story, although it did enhance the love between the two. It became the reason they had to listen, learn, and find what was real and true about the other. The werewolf angle could have been replaced by some other problem that finds that Sam and Grace may never get their happily ever after. However, Maggie's angle plays very creatively and magically in the way she wrote it. In fact I'd say that the true magic was not shape-shifting into a wolf, but it was in the simple and beautiful love story Maggie tells with such poetry.

I gave this book 5 stars and recommend this book to anyone looking for a love story. There is some violence and some well some sexual content. So, bear those in mind for the very young set.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

and Falling, Fly by Skyler White

and Falling, Fly
From the book: In a dark and seedy underground of burned-out rock stars and angels-turned- vampires, a revolutionary neuroscientist and a fallen angel must put medicine against mythology in an attempt to erase their tortured pasts...but at what price?

Olivia, vampire and fallen angel of desire, is hopeless...and damned. Since the fall from Eden, she has hungered for love, but fed only on desire. Dominic O'Shaughnessy is a neuroscientist plagued by impossible visions. When his research and her despair collide at L'Otel Mathillide-a subterranean hell of beauty, demons, and dreams-rationalist and angel unite in a clash of desire and damnation that threatens to destroy them both.
In this fractures Hotel of the Damned, Olivia and Dominic discover the only force consistent in their opposing realities is the deep, erotic gravity between them. Bound to each other finally in a knot of interwoven freedoms, Dominic and Olivia-the vision-touched scientist and the earth-bound angel, reborn and undead-encounter the mystery of love and find it is both fall...and flight.

This book is a wonderful philosophical trip through the lives of the cursed and damned. This is also not your typical vampire book. In this one, vampires who must feed on the desires and fear through their victim's blood are actually angels of desire fallen from grace. If they do not feed, they suffer want that cannot be satisfied and fade from sight. Also, in this group of the damned are those taken from different mythologies who are now decedents of those cursed for their misdeeds. Their children share in a portion of their curse even if they have no idea why. All of these eventually seek knowledge, understanding or comfort in a hotel they are all drawn to called hell by it's inhabitants.

I have to say I enjoyed this book a lot. I do enjoy it when an author puts a different twist on stories in which we are familiar. Greek mythology, angel mythology, the Garden of Eden are all stories she used to twist into a interesting work of fiction. She also takes scientific philosophy to use as a counterpoint and basis for discussion. Within all this discussion blooms a love story made to redeem the two main characters. Redemption not born of their curses, but born from what they feared and avoided.

I recommend this book for those who love a dark story with a lot of philosophy. I recommend it for those looking for a different vampire story. I also recommend it to those who are wordsmiths. This book is also great for those as well. I gave this story 4 stars.

I received this signed book from Goodreads First reads program. No compensation was given for the review.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The River Kings' Road by Liane Merciel Blog Tour

The River Kings' Road: A Novel of Ithelas
From the book: The wounded maidservant thrust the knotted blankets at him; instinctively, Brys stepped forward and caught the bundle before it fell. Then he glimpsed what lay inside and nearly dropped it himself. 
 There was a baby in the blankets. A baby with a tear-swollen face red and round as a midsummer plum. A baby he knew, even without seeing the lacquered medallion tucked into the swaddling—a medallion far too heavy, on a chain far too cold for an infant who had not yet seen a year. 

A fragile period of peace between the eternally warring kingdoms of Oakharn and Langmyr is shattered when a surprise massacre fueled by bloodmagic ravages the Langmyrne border village of Willowfield, killing its inhabitants—including a visiting Oakharne lord and his family—and leaving behind a scene so grisly that even the carrion eaters avoid its desecrated earth. But the dead lord’s infant heir has survived the carnage—a discovery that entwines the destinies of Brys Tarnell, a mercenary who rescues the helpless and ailing babe, and who enlists a Langmyr peasant, a young mother herself, to nourish and nurture the child of her enemies as they travel a dark, perilous road . . . Odosse, the peasant woman whose only weapons are wit, courage, and her fierce maternal love—and who risks everything she holds dear to protect her new charge . . . Sir Kelland, a divinely blessed Knight of the Sun, called upon to unmask the architects behind the slaughter and avert war between ancestral enemies . . . Bitharn, Kelland’s companion on his journey, who conceals her lifelong love for the Knight behind her flawless archery skills—and whose feelings may ultimately be Kelland’s undoing . . . and Leferic, an Oakharne Lord’s bitter youngest son, whose dark ambitions fuel the most horrific acts of violence. As one infant’s life hangs in the balance, so too does the fate of thousands, while deep in the forest, a Maimed Witch practices an evil bloodmagic that could doom them all...
This book really sounded promising. Magic, adventure, and a mystery to be solved. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this book as I thought I would. The author jumps from several points of view. This might have been fine if you knew the characters and the places well. Unfortunately, this served to draw me out of the story until I could place who what and where. I think if she followed two major players in this book, it would have flowed much better. My submissions for this would be Odosse, the peasant woman and Sir Kelland, the burnt knight of the major religion in the area. Those two (and the characters that surround them) were the most interesting and I would have liked to known more about their adventures. Kelland and his companion Bitharn were extremely interesting but although they played a central role in this story they were hardly seen. This was very disappointing. I think if the author rewrote this book with those characters as the focal point, I'd quickly snatch up this book to see what happened.

Unfortunately, I gave this book 2 stars. I didn't give it 1 because it does have it's very interesting parts, but it does fail in the end. The book leaves it for another story, but I doubt I'll pick it up.

This review is part of a book tour. Go check out the other's reviews as well.

Pam’s Private Reflections: 
Book Junkie:
Cheryl’s Book Nook: 
Steph the Bookworm: 
The Bibliophilic Book Blog:
I Heart Book Gossip:
Jeanne's Ramblings:
My Book Addiction and More:
Brizmus Blogs Books: 
Taking Time For Mommy:
Thoughts In Progress: 
Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer: 
Books And Things: 
She Reads: 
Blog Business World:
Carol’s Notebook: 
Crazy Books & Reviews: 
Books Gardens & Dogs: 
Just One More Paragraph: 
Drey’s Library:
My Life In Not So Many Words: 
Geek Girl Reviews: 
Starting Fresh:
Poisoned Rationality: 
Temple Library Reviews: 
The Wayfaring Writer: 
Booksie’s Blog:
See Michelle Read: 
Genre Reviews: 
My Book Views: 
Wendy’s Minding Spot: 
Book Tumbling: 
Literarily Speaking:
Books R Us: 
Brenda Loves Books: 
Lucky Rosie’s: 
You Wanna Know What I Think? :

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Demon Possessed by Stacia Kane Blog Tour

Demon Possessed (Megan Chase, Book 3)
From the book: Psychologist and psychic Megan Chase has grown remarkably comfortable hanging out with demons. The demon "family" she leads is happy, her solo practice is stabilizing, and she and her steamy demon lover, Greyson Dante, are closer than ever. But when the couple books a week at a luxury hotel to attend a meeting of demon leaders, some unanticipated problems appear. An FBI agent with an unhealthy interest in less-than-legitimate demon business practices shows up; the demon community is urging Megan to undergo the rite that will make her a real demon; and a slightly shady minister is holding one of his wildly popular "weekend exorcisms" just down the road. And oh, yes, someone with scary magical abilities is attempting to kill her. Then, just when it seems as if things couldn't possibly get any worse, a secret comes to light that could jeopardize Megan and Greyson's future -- if Megan manages to live that long. With things heating up, it's becoming difficult for her to keep a cool head...
This book is the third in the Megan Chase series. I was hoping that this was a stand alone book since I had not read the other two books. I feel that you really need to read the first two to really start going on this book. It was a bit confusing at first, but as the book went along it became a fast read. I don't think it would have been confusing at the start if I had read the first two in the series.

Unfortunately, Megan, while being the heroine in this book, was a bit flighty. She annoyed me from time to time not quite able to catch up to everyone else in her new "family". For a PhD in psychology she just seemed too dense at times. I did enjoy her friends and family, however. They were just a great bunch of characters including the huge bodyguard demons that cried at the thought of losing her. They made me laugh from time to time. Oh, and I can't forget to mention Greyson Dante who is her love interest and a hot demon himself. Oh there are a few sex scenes in this book and one very steamy one. Nope, this one is not for the kiddies.

Even with Megan's deficiencies, I did enjoy a good mystery. The mystery even extended to who they wanted dead and why. In the end everything is wrapped up well. This is a good ending to a series I will be reading backwards to find out what happened previously. Perhaps I'll see Megan in a different light and like her better.

I gave this book 3 stars. It was a fast paced and fun book, but not the best as a stand alone type of book.

Other blog tour participants:
Book, Books Everywhere: 
Book Junkie:

Cheryl’s Book Nook: 
Steph the Bookworm: 
The Bibliophilic Book Blog:
Patricia’s Vampire Notes: 
Sexy Women Read: 
I Heart Book Gossip:
Jeanne's Ramblings:
My Book Addiction and More:
Just Short of Crazy:
The Book Lush: 
Brizmus Blogs Books: 
Taking Time For Mommy: 
Thoughts In Progress: 
Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer: 
Books And Things: 
The Wayfaring Writer: 
Wendy’s Minding Spot:
Beguile Thy Sorrow:
You Wanna Know What I Think? : 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

White Cat by Holly Black (Curse Workers, #1) ARC Giveaway!

White Cat (Curse Workers, Book 1)Since I enjoyed this book, and I noticed that others had been wanting to read this one as well, I thought I'd do a giveaway. That way at least one of you won't have to wait until May to read it. Just fill out the form.

Some of the extra entries you can get in this giveaway are for tweeting, blogging, side post, following, and commenting in the review (no big spoilers in the review). I even added one other area for a way of promoting this giveaway not listed (only one).

The giveaway will end on March 30, 10pm, MST. Sorry, only US residents apply, please. Thanks.

And while you are at it, you might also go to the Mistfit Salon for her Just Because Giveaway. While you are there, check out the book she found. It is a strange one to say the least.

GoTo Entry Form for White Cat ARC giveaway!


Friday, March 12, 2010

White Cat by Holly Black (Curse Workers, #1)

White Cat (Curse Workers, Book 1)
From the book: Cassel comes from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.
 Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the con-men.

At first this book didn't capture my attention. Events and personalities seemed slow to advance. However, by the middle of the book, it really started to interest me. By the end, the slight twists the book gave were fun to read. The last twist, was the one that made me feel sorry and hopeful for Cassel as well as looking forward to the next installment to this series. Oh, and don't worry about that last statement. It isn't a cliffhanger, but it does set things up nicely for the next book.

Cassel believes that he is a horrible person because he killed his best friend. He has no memory about the incident except for standing over her body with a bloody knife and a self-satisfied smile. His family life isn't normal by anyone's standards, even those of the local mob in charge of most of the workers in the city. So what does anyone with these problems do? Try to act and become as normal as possible and blend in with the mass of kids at his new school.

The story really starts to take off when he starts checking up on his brothers. The mystery that unfolds when this happens really is the heart of the book. This is where he starts to learn who he is, what has happened to everyone and who he can trust. All things are a huge leap for a boy used to staying in the shadows.

I gave this story 4 stars. It is a good read and I'm looking forward to the next story in this series. The book will be published in May of this year. Not too much longer to wait!

I'd like to thank Lucille Rettino from Simon and Schuster for giving me this ARC for my honest review. No form of compensation was received.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Skinwalker by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock #1)

Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, Book 1)
From the book: A year ago Jane nearly lost her life taking down an entire blood family of deadly rogue vampires that preyed on the helpless local populace of an Appalachian town. Now, after months of recuperation, she’s back and ready to fight again. Except this time, she’s hired by those she’s trained to kill—vampires…
Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind—a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires and hunts vampires for a living. Back from hiatus, she’s hired by Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katies’s Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who’s killing other vamps.
 Amidst a bordello full of real “ladies of the night,” and a hot Cajun biker with a panther tattoo who stirs her carnal desire, Jane must stay focused and complete her mission—or else the next skin she’ll need to save just may be her own…

When I spied this book, I knew I wanted to read it. A full blooded Cherokee staring as the heroine of the book instead of ending up on the sidelines only to impart some wisdom and disappear. This story started out in "Strange Brew" under the name "Kits". However, you do not have to read that short story before you pick up this book. This book stands well on it's own.

Within Jane, she has the spirit/magic and energy of "Beast" who in one life was a mountain lion. They share a precarious relationship in which they have to agree who is alpha and control of the body. She is able to tap into Beast's energy and strength, and Beast is also able to tap into her power. It is an interesting relationship and is quite humorous at times. Beast has a better sense of humor than Jane in my opinion. Oh, and before I get into the rest of the review, I must mention "Bitsa" as well. Bitsa is Jane's bike and one I'd love to have (if I had any coordination at all, that is...)

The story is fast paced. I was surprised there would be so much mystery within the rogue vampire as it seemed that her job was very straight forward. Find the rogue, kill it. But with this story, tracking the rogue proved to provide more information than even Jane would have thought possible. Information about vampires she thought she'd never possess and more importantly, information about herself. Now, with her distant forgotten past less mysterious, will she be able to put together all the puzzle pieces to stop the rogue? Did she trust the right people? Heh... not going to tell you. You'll have to pick this one up to find out.

I gave this book 4 stars and recommend this one to anyone to loves a good urban fantasy. "Blood Cross" is the next book in this series which has just been published. I wish I had the second one in my hand, but alas, I have to wait to see what other things Jane discovers.

Oh, and as a little trivia I thought I'd add.. In the book, the vampires hate to be called vamps. They prefer Mithrains. Jane connected it to Mithra, but was not confirmed in her observation. Mithra is a sun god in an old religion. So, the question remains... was Faith Hunter using it as tongue in cheek, or is there more to the story. Hope we find out in this series. :)

Good and Bad News

First with the good news... I won an award from Terra on the Bookshelf! I wanted to give this award to those I haven’t yet, but I haven’t had a lot of time to do that in a through way. So, forgive me for not passing this one on at this time. I did want to acknowledge it however.

Now to the bad news. Colorado residents are no longer Amazon Associates. This is the letter I received:

Dear Colorado-based Amazon Associate:

We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to inform you that the Colorado government recently enacted a law to impose sales tax regulations on online retailers. The regulations are burdensome and no other state has similar rules. The new regulations do not require online retailers to collect sales tax. Instead, they are clearly intended to increase the compliance burden to a point where online retailers will be induced to "voluntarily" collect Colorado sales tax -- a course we won't take.

We and many others strongly opposed this legislation, known as HB 10-1193, but it was enacted anyway. Regrettably, as a result of the new law, we have decided to stop advertising through Associates based in Colorado. We plan to continue to sell to Colorado residents, however, and will advertise through other channels, including through Associates based in other states.

There is a right way for Colorado to pursue its revenue goals, but this new law is a wrong way. As we repeatedly communicated to Colorado legislators, including those who sponsored and supported the new law, we are not opposed to collecting sales tax within a constitutionally-permissible system applied even-handedly. The US Supreme Court has defined what would be constitutional, and if Colorado would repeal the current law or follow the constitutional approach to collection, we would welcome the opportunity to reinstate Colorado-based Associates.

You may express your views of Colorado's new law to members of the General Assembly and to Governor Ritter, who signed the bill.

Your Associates account has been closed as of March 8, 2010, and we will no longer pay advertising fees for customers you refer to after that date. Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned prior to March 8, 2010, will be processed and paid in accordance with our regular payment schedule. Based on your account closure date of March 8, any final payments will be paid by May 31, 2010.

We have enjoyed working with you and other Colorado-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program, and wish you all the best in your future.

Best Regards,
The Amazon Associates Team

Now, this is a bad law and I do believe if it isn’t repealed, it may lead to law-suits. My question is why am I being punished for a very bad law? Any income (which I had not made in any form yet) would be considered income and taxed that way. This would have no major impact on me unless I personally buy from Amazon. Does Amazon think I only sell to Coloradans? So what if I do? They state that they do not refuse to sell to Coloradans. The only one affecting me through the Associate program IS Amazon. You hate what my legislature does, then let it be known. You have the resources without punishing people it already hurts. Sorry Amazon, but you are putting the Ass in Associate with this policy.

Thanks for the soap box. I now return you to your regularly scheduled book reviews.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hook and Jill by Andrea Jones

Hook & Jill
From the book: Wendy Darling learns. What appears to be good may prove otherwise, and what seems to be evil…is irresistible.
 In this startling new vision of a cultural classic, Wendy intends to live happily ever after with Peter Pan. But Time, like this tale, behaves in a most unsettling way.
As Wendy mothers the Lost Boys in Neverland, they thrive on adventure. She struggles to keep her boys safe from the Island's many hazards, but she finds a more subtle threat encroaching from an unexpected quarter…The children are growing up, and only Peter knows the punishment.

Yet in the inky edges of the Island, the tales Wendy tells to the Lost Boys come true. Captain Hook is real, and even the Wonderful Boy can't defend his Wendy against this menace. Hook is a master manipulator, devising vengeance for his maiming. Insidious and seductive, Hook has his reasons for tempting Wendy to grow up.
Revenge is only the first.

This book is basically a retelling of the familiar Peter Pan tale. Andrea Jones takes the old play with it's sketched out characters and forms a beautiful and colorful painting of fully formed characters. You really get to know them in a more intimate way than ever before. These characters and the truth of Neverland bring you in and hold you with it's own magic. I had a hard time putting this book down.

If you were like me, I never fell in love with the original Peter Pan story, but did enjoy it's possibilities. I always had questions about the characters and all the questions I might have had were finally answered with a few surprises thrown in. How could Captain Hook, with his intelligent and ruthless ways fall prey time and again to a boy's whim? If Peter has become more faerie than boy, then why isn't he more like the faerie in attitude? These and many other questions I've always had are indeed answered with satisfaction. I also loved the surprises which just engaged me even further into the story.

This was such fun to read. It is also part of a series with "Other Oceans" listed as the next book. I seriously can't wait to go back to the adult version of Neverland. And if you haven't guess yet if I recommend this book... oh, that would be a resounding YES!

I would like to thank Riane A. Herihy from Publishing Works for sending me this book for review. I'd also like to mention that this book recently won the "Mother's Choice Award for Adult Fiction" Congratulations!

I was just informed that the company is offering a 20% discount on their books. The one I reviewed would be a great choice, seriously. Enjoy!

This book was provided free of any obligation by Publishing Works, Inc. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

Publishing Works was launched in 2003 as an independent press specializing in regional titles. Since then, the company has grown dramatically to embody a list of titles that spans diverse genres, age levels, and subject matter. Please visit them at their website,, or view their catalog for a complete list of titles.

To purchase this book or any other book published by Publishing Works, visit their online store here. At checkout, include the Coupon Code BLOG for a 20% DISCOUNT, courtesy of Publishing Works, Inc. and their continued support of book blogging! Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

First Drop of Crimson by Jeaneine Frost (Night Huntress World #1)

First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World, Book 1)From the book: The night is not safe for mortals. Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows - her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield - and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family's dark past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness - and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who craves a taste of her. 

He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human - even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the demon nightmare together...

Because once the first drop of crimson falls, they will both be lost.

I knew of this book for several months and really couldn't wait. Spade. The mysterious best bud of bones was to be the star of his very own book. Now, I know many people are into bones, but my heart always seems to gravitate to Spade. Now, I know why. 

In this book Spade having lost his one time love long ago to mortal death has made up his mind to never love another human to spare himself that all consuming grief. He was always drawn to Denise, Cat's best friend, but didn't know why. So, when Denise finds herself in danger, he knows he may be her best chance to survive. He reluctantly, but honor bound, helps her though her own nightmares and together they find themselves falling for each other. The only problem in Spade's eyes is her very short life as a human. Will he be able to change her mind about humanity and join the vampire's world? Not going to spoil that, so you'll have to read it to find out. 

I also must say on a personal note, that I hated Denise. Why? She was with Spade! Otherwise, yea... she was an interesting character. :) Also, for those that are fans of Cat and Bones and their hot bedtime scenes... you won't be disappointed in this book. Cat and Bones have some competition there. I would also like to mention to those that have not read the other Night Huntress books, that you can pick this one up as a stand alone book and not be lost, but I still recommend reading those books first. Only because you will have a more rounded view of the characters. 

I was a bit disappointed in the ending. Unfortunately sharing what exactly disappointed me would spoil the book, so I will not say. It isn't anything that can't be fixed or at least acknowledged the next time we meet both Spade and Denise. I gave this book 4 stars. Don't expect a Cat and Bones story, but look at these characters as having their own personalities away from the former stars. I so recommend this book. I do suggest getting rid of Denise and letting me have a chance. 

What do you mean they are only characters in a book? They aren't real? Surely you jest!

I also submitted this review for the Blog With Bite Reviews.

Discussion Questions:
Denise and Spades chemistry sparks more than a firecracker on the 4rth of July. Did you like the chemistry between them and did you feel the development of the relationship work?

I think that their chemistry and the development of the relationship did work. It did seem a bit awkward at times, but I do think that was purposeful. Especially with what they had both gone through. Neither of them had healed their wounds, but together they both found that common strand that helped them both get through it.

Have you read the Cat & Bones series? Denise is such a different (wimpier) character than Cat... did that make a difference to you?

Of course she was wimpier. She was human (for the most part). Cat was always 1/2 vampire. I think that is the big difference.

LIGHTNING ROUND. Identify your top three favorite PNR 

I'll go with couples: Cat and Bones series (although I consider it more urban fantasy), Elena and Clay, and Sookie and Eric.  "There are too many!" is n

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thaw by Fiona Robyn "Blogsplash"

Ruth's diary is the new novel by Fiona Robyn, called Thaw. She has decided to blog the novel in its entirety over the next few months, so you can read it for free.

Ruth's first entry is below, and you can continue reading tomorrow here.


These hands are ninety-three years old. They belong to Charlotte Marie Bradley Miller. She was so frail that her grand-daughter had to carry her onto the set to take this photo. It’s a close-up. Her emaciated arms emerge from the top corners of the photo and the background is black, maybe velvet, as if we’re being protected from seeing the strings. One wrist rests on the other, and her fingers hang loose, close together, a pair of folded wings. And you can see her insides.

The bones of her knuckles bulge out of the skin, which sags like plastic that has melted in the sun and is dripping off her, wrinkling and folding. Her veins look as though they’re stuck to the outside of her hands. They’re a colour that’s difficult to describe: blue, but also silver, green; her blood runs through them, close to the surface. The book says she died shortly after they took this picture. Did she even get to see it? Maybe it was the last beautiful thing she left in the world.

I’m trying to decide whether or not I want to carry on living. I’m giving myself three months of this journal to decide. You might think that sounds melodramatic, but I don’t think I’m alone in wondering whether it’s all worth it. I’ve seen the look in people’s eyes. Stiff suits travelling to work, morning after morning, on the cramped and humid tube. Tarted-up girls and gangs of boys reeking of aftershave, reeling on the pavements on a Friday night, trying to mop up the dreariness of their week with one desperate, fake-happy night. I’ve heard the weary grief in my dad’s voice.

So where do I start with all this? What do you want to know about me? I’m Ruth White, thirty-two years old, going on a hundred. I live alone with no boyfriend and no cat in a tiny flat in central London. In fact, I had a non-relationship with a man at work, Dan, for seven years. I’m sitting in my bedroom-cum-living room right now, looking up every so often at the thin rain slanting across a flat grey sky. I work in a city hospital lab as a microbiologist. My dad is an accountant and lives with his sensible second wife Julie, in a sensible second home. Mother finished dying when I was fourteen, three years after her first diagnosis. What else? What else is there?

Charlotte Marie Bradley Miller. I looked at her hands for twelve minutes. It was odd describing what I was seeing in words. Usually the picture just sits inside my head and I swish it around like tasting wine. I have huge books all over my flat; books you have to take in both hands to lift. I’ve had the photo habit for years. Mother bought me my first book, black and white landscapes by Ansel Adams. When she got really ill, I used to take it to bed with me and look at it for hours, concentrating on the huge trees, the still water, the never-ending skies. I suppose it helped me think about something other than what was happening. I learned to focus on one photo at a time rather than flicking from scene to scene in search of something to hold me. If I concentrate, then everything stands still. Although I use them to escape the world, I also think they bring me closer to it. I’ve still got that book. When I take it out, I handle the pages as though they might flake into dust.

Mother used to write a journal. When I was small, I sat by her bed in the early mornings on a hard chair and looked at her face as her pen spat out sentences in short bursts. I imagined what she might have been writing about; princesses dressed in star-patterned silk, talking horses, adventures with pirates. More likely she was writing about what she was going to cook for dinner and how irritating Dad’s snoring was.

I’ve always wanted to write my own journal, and this is my chance. Maybe my last chance. The idea is that every night for three months, I’ll take one of these heavy sheets of pure white paper, rough under my fingertips, and fill it up on both sides. If my suicide note is nearly a hundred pages long, then no-one can accuse me of not thinking it through. No-one can say; ‘It makes no sense; she was a polite, cheerful girl, had everything to live for’, before adding that I did keep myself to myself. It’ll all be here. I’m using a silver fountain pen with purple ink. A bit flamboyant for me, I know. I need these idiosyncratic rituals; they hold things in place. Like the way I make tea, squeezing the tea-bag three times, the exact amount of milk, seven stirs. My writing is small and neat; I’m striping the paper. I’m near the bottom of the page now. Only ninety-one more days to go before I’m allowed to make my decision. That’s it for today. It’s begun.

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