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Written In Red by Anne Bishop

"Get this into your head, Meg Corbyn. We don't let humans live in our part of the world because we like you. We let you live here because you can be useful, and you've invented things we like having. If it wasn't for that, you'd all be nothing but meat. Which is something you should remember.
Perhaps this day of exasperating consumerism isn't the most suitable day to talk about my time spent with Written In Red but I've been waiting for days to harp on its magnificence, so you'll just have to pardon me.

I started this tale of gripping world-building and heartwarming characters on March 9th... and I just finished it this past Thursday at 2:13am. So you can imagine how creative my frustration-born snarls were this past month at every bold intruder seeking to thwart my slow yet heady race to the elusive finish line. All kinds of distractions crept into my days so that every time I was forced to put the book down, I'd turn a little more of my frustration onto the read instead of blaming my goshdamn life. To the point where I suddenly began to dread re-immersing myself only to have the story remind me how misguided my misery truly was.

You see, in the abstract and technical sense Written In Red shouldn't have appealed to me in the least. I like whimsy and beauty in my writing, less intimidating page length in my book, and a little more obvious romance among my characters because obviously I'm an easily intimidated fanciful hussy like that. So when I was faced with practical, straightforward writing, a whopping 450+ pages, and a smidgen of romance, I expected to find myself printing a return label at the end of this very long, unattractive tunnel.

Instead I'm gazing at it reverently, utterly content with the story I was met with. A story in which I discovered a winding love for a female protagonist who somehow balances kindness, ignorance, and spine without irritating or disenchanting me, for a slew of secondary characters who steadily grew on me in spite of, or maybe because of, their scope, and a world built upon layer after fascinating layer that I got to explore thoroughly. It isn't everyday you can enjoy all those qualities in such a long book and still come out beautifully moved and wholly entertained.

And it all began with the mention of an H.L.D.N.A sign (Human Law Does Not Apply).

"I talked to the members of the Business Association and we all agree that while the woman in the wanted poster bears a strong resemblance to our Liason, they are not the same person."
Monty opened his mouth to disagree, then realized there was no point. Wolfgard knew perfectly well that Meg Corbyn was the woman on the wanted poster.
"We have, of course, taken precautions. Meg Corbyn is now residing in the Green Complex, where safe access is only possible by prior arrangement. I live there. So does Vladimir Sanguinati and Henry Beargard."
Message understood. No one who tried to reach Meg Corbyn when she was asleep or otherwise vulnerable would survive.
Then his face took on a feral look that was terrible to see on an otherwise human face. "Human law doesn't apply in the Courtyard, Lieutenant. No matter what anyone else thinks, Meg Corbyn is ours now--and we protect our own. You make sure you send that message back to whoever made the poster."

Now the Grandfather of the Sanguinatti wishes for Meg the sweetblood to be treated with care. She had thought of the evergreens instead of summer green when she gifted a scarf to Winter, who wears it happily. She remembers library requests and old movie deliveries and treats for the ponies who deliver the mail. She both irritates and calms Simon Wolfgard, coaxes his nephew away from his fear and trauma, and gives the Coyote, the Crows, and the Hawks entertainment every morning. Eating Tess's meals and indulging Jenni the Crow who likes the shiny things and enjoying Henry the Bear's music. It's all the things she thoughtfully does for the various inhuman creatures that surround her that bridge the connection between the two coexisting species whom had never fully understood one another before and now had a better chance of doing so.

Meg is the gateway to trust and respect on both sides, and maybe even affection. Witnessing this slow progression of change is entrancing and amazingly inspiring. It's happy, even among all the viciousness that does and must play out to maintain order. Normal and queer, brave and shy, innocent and tough, Meg makes me want to jump straight into Murder of Crows even after this tormenting month. Because she's the heart of this story, and everyone the heart touches comes alive on the page.

And if I hadn't already committed to reading Anne Bishop's Black Jewels this would've sealed the deal. But my commitment was made when I bought the omnibus for the trilogy several months ago, so I'll just settle for saying that reading this made me want to start quicker than anticipated.

Massmarket Paperback / 487 pgs / March 5th 2013 / Roc Penguin / Goodreads / $7.99

My copy was purchased from Amazon.com.

What did I rate Written In Red?
fooloveratook 's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Remnants by Lisa T. Bergren

The elder likened the Hour of our Call to a tidal pull, the first birthing pangs of a pregnant mother... but to me it felt like a scream building inside. Excitement and glory, swirling in a ball within my chest. Electrifying. Mobilizing.
Did I really say I was going to post this review three days ago? Has it really been a month already since my last post? I'm clearly just so damn absentminded I should be responsible for little else. That's why I keep rejecting your blog tour invites and review requests, people, and not because it pleases me... much (but there would be no confusion if more read a certain web page). Anyway, I did make an exception to my current policy for one of the few authors I would bend over backward because I wanted to be a part of her latest book's outbreak into blogging society. Have I done a good job with keeping up? I could've done better, I freely admit. But the point is I'm more or less ready to talk about my feelings on the matter.

I'm going to be upfront and say I am pretty darn disappointed with Remnants/Season of Wonder and... just why did I think I wanted to be honest upfront? It's painful to say even that much when I utterly adore Lisa T. Bergren, as a person and an author. I feel guilty, even knowing I don't owe the lovely Lisa an unqualified happy response to what I read. However, whether this wasn't my cup of tea or that I found it strangely lacking, the overwhelming conclusion is that I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as I'd hoped.

A promising first few chapters combined with my enthusiasm to have something else of the author of the River of Time novels cross my lap made it ease to delve into this new world filled with new characters in what looked to be an engaging and exciting story. I was intrigued by these warriors of God fighting for the remnants of a world that wasn't my world but felt eerily familiar.

But the foundation of what is built for us doesn't hold strong for very long.

It took me little to no time to realize that while I snickered at the humor that wanted to be there and tried to love the potential of a long-brewing romance between the main characters, I didn't see, didn't feel, and ultimately didn't care. It became difficult to keep my attention firmly pressed to the pages when I was so distant from these people trying to rally together to save the world, a world that provoked a few questions, yes, then promptly lost my interest as did most everything else.

It's an interesting book, for all it's needlessly overwhelming length, but that's all it amounted to in the end. It wasn't gripping or immersive or any of the other fun words I like to use to describe the state a book put me into. And so I may retain a mild curiosity for the next book in the series, but nothing more.

Hardcover / 414 pgs / April 8th 2014 / Blink / Goodreads / $15.99

My copy was sent to me as an ARC for the Remnants blog tour.

What did I rate Season of Wonder?
fooloveratook 's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)


In the first book of the new futuristic dystopian series from author Lisa T. Bergren, the chosen remnants must work to redirect humanity’s course.

The year is 2095. Gifted teens known as Remnants have been chosen and trained to act as humanity’s last hope to rectify the horrors that are now part of everyday life.

The Community has trained these teens as warriors and assigned them Knights of the Last Order as protectors. Together, they are a force that will be difficult to bring down.

But the Sons of Sheol, of course, are determined to do just that. As the Remnants begin their mission to course-correct humanity by saving and protecting key individuals, their enemies move to stop them, placing the entire world in peril.

Bestselling author Lisa T. Bergren presents the first book in her new YA futuristic dystopian series—The Remnants Novels—fitting in with the current dystopian trend in the marketplace.

For the monastery that appears in the novel as “Wadi Qelt,” and Keallach’s winter palace, I actually used a monastery in a canyon of the same name in Israel. There, you descend from a hot, dry desert floor, down into a cool, red-and-gold rocky canyon with a river that flows along the bottom. They use aqueducts to funnel water elsewhere. And at the bottom, farther along the canyon, is an amazing monastery that smells of beeswax and with frescoes covered with a layer of soot from centuries of candles burning.

Merchants hang out at the top, wanting to sell you jewelry or a ride on a camel. More hang out at the bottom with burros, offering to let you ride to the top. The walls are riddled with caves and ladders, used by monks in seclusion—something I used in my book, Remnants, too.

While Keallach’s winter palace is far more contemporary—complete with a landscaped pool and building with individual balconies—the inspiration was everything I saw and experienced in that idyllic canyon in Israel.

Be sure to write down this STOP #11 LAUNCH TOUR CLUE: All that

Collect all the clues and fill out Lisa’s Rafflecopter form on her launch tour post at LisaBergren.com at the end of April and you could win either a Kindle Fire HDX ($229) or iPod Touch ($229)!

What’s your favorite desert locale? Share it in the comments!

And look forward to my review in tomorrow's post!