Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Caldria's Captivity

I came across a mythical creature that I never knew anything about this past week and I was assigned with writing a short story about it.  I chose the Caladrius.  The short story was only meant to be about 2-4 pages, but I of course had issues with that.  As a result I ended up ending the story more abruptly than planned, and I also ended up with a new character that I had never thought about whilst writing.  Either way it was an interesting story to write, and I wanted to share it's unfinished portion with my readers!  Please let me know what you think.

Caladria's Captivity
Written By: Brittany L. McCann
June 7, 2015



The sun lazily dropped down from the sky, projecting orange hues along the castle walls as it steadily fell.  Tiptoeing down from the magnificent spires of the outer wall and cascading down the stonework to a square-cut window.  Just inside the square-cut hole in the wall, sat a beautifully ornate cage.  A cage larger than one might expect for such a small creature standing at a little over a foot tall.  The cage was sitting in a beautifully landscaped garden and part of a shallow pond sat underneath the cage.  With the orange light pouring in, the creature took on the orange hue with her otherwise brilliant white plume.  Her keen eyes foretold more than anyone might guess.  The creature’s name was Caladria and she was a beautiful, petite, snowy white bird. 
            Caladria had been captured just a few days earlier, previously living in shallow waters beneath a waterfall.  The water under her waterfall was as clear as a window into the fish, rocks and plants that could be seen underneath its surface.  Caladria belonged to the kind and healing goddess Aceso.   Aceso was a mostly forgotten granddaughter of Apollo that chose to live amongst the humans in the guise of an herbal healing witch.  She was frequented by soldiers who needed healing of wounds, and was also able to work her magic to move along the cure of an illness.  Caladria’s brother Caladrius was stolen a couple of years earlier and she was never able to forget the other half of herself. 
            Caladria possessed the unique power of healing.  Sitting in her cage, she thought that this must have been the sinister reason that her brother Caladrius had been captured by the King of the East.  She always wondered if it was the gossiping nature of the soldiers, whom Aceso healed, that had lead the king to somehow learn of her brother’s healing ability.  Aceso had raised her and her brother from the moment they were hatched, passing on her mystical teaching in how to become great healers.  The secret of her powers lie in the power of the spirit, or aura of all living things.  Caladria was able to work with the energy of a person.  If a person was mortally sick, she would sense it immediately and look away from them so as not to bring the sickness unto her own energy.  However, if the sickness was not mortal, she had the ability to take out any dark or affected energy from the person, replacing it instead with streams of green healing energy.  The green energy would reconnect the person to the Earth and ground them, not unlike the roots of a tree.  The energy that she coaxed out of a person would flow into her own lithe bird body starting at the beak and she would then release it into the atmosphere in pieces to disperse into nothing.  Thus, eliminating the sickness that had been inhabiting the energy of a person and affecting their health. 
            ******************************************************************
            As a newly caged bird, Caladria was standing more still than normal, as if she were holding her breath.  In reality she was determining the patterns of her captive and how best to put together her escape plan.  Caladria was not meant for the life of a caged bird.  She was meant to be the great and powerful assistant and healing companion of her goddess mother Aceso.  She simmered with anger under her feathers, but quickly regained composure with some preening to keep up the sheen of her white plumage.  She knew that she would not be able to escape this prison unless she was level headed about it. 
            Her perceptive inky black eyes took in the large garden where her cage was set up.  There was a man-made waterfall that had sparking stones from the colors of the rainbow.  The overflow went into a shallow pond that came up to her knee joint.  She would not be able to swim under the cage to escape.  The bars of the cage were beautifully ornate, but strategically placed close enough together that she would not be able to fit more than her head through the space between them.  There was an intricate lock on the small door opening that was positioned in a way that she would not be able to pick at it with her beak from the inside.  An immense sadness at her state of captivity filled her heart.  She found herself singing a sad song, almost beyond her control. 
                                    *****************************************
            The sorrowful song filled the garden, travelling through the air and into the king’s quarters.  One of the laundry servants, Isla stopped her washing and took in the sorrowful song of the little white bird.  She had felt pity upon its arrival and also distressed at its captivity.  Isla felt that something so beautiful should not be owned by anyone; something so wild and beautiful should instead live happy and free.  She had heard rumors from the cooks about the bird’s healing abilities and was curious about the validity of such rumors.  Isla had been born a servant and had never complained of her duties.  However, her mother had recently taken ill, and no charms or healers had been able to help her.  Rumors existed of a medicine woman that lived in the woods, but Isla’s duties did not permit her the time to travel so far and with her ill mother.   Isla had been plotting a reason to be in the garden for an entire day since she had heard of the bird’s rumored healing abilities.  She had no idea how to test these rumors, but she knew that she must find out the truth for the sake of her mother. 
            During the lunchtime feast preparations, one of the head mother servants came for Isla.  She was a plump, greying woman with a nasty temper.  Isla immediately snapped to attention with the order to fetch fresh flowers from the garden, informing her that the garden servant had fallen ill that morning.  Isla had to bite the inside of her lip to keep a straight face as the joy of her good fortune washed over her.  She briskly walked towards the garden entrance from the castle, her skirt swishing behind her. 
            ******************************************************************
             As Caladria was plotting various ways to escape, a young woman appeared in her line of sight.  The woman was walking quickly but with an aura of happiness that Caladria had not encountered since become a slave to this castle.  The woman had milky white skin and sky blue eyes, with wisps of chestnut brown hair flowing behind her.  Her scarlet colored dress lit up the garden path that was lined with more flowers than Caladria had ever seen in one place.  Caladria’s sense of positive energy increased her own happiness, in hopes of finding an ally for freedom. 
            The woman almost walked right up to Caladria’s cage, but then seemed to change her mind and turn towards a path of blue flowers.  Caladria could see the woman peering through the flowers at her, just as she was doing in return.  Her white head cocked to the left to get a better look at the woman and the woman’s face lit up with a smile, followed by laughter.  Caladria’s happiness burst out of her in a happy tune and the startled woman suddenly turned away as if to look for intruders to the garden. 
            *******************************************************************
            As soon as Isla entered the garden she was immediately drawn towards the cage of the white bird.  As she walked as fast as she could without breaking into a run, she suddenly remembered her reason for being in the garden in the first place and diverted down the path of the blue flowers.  While she picked the most pleasing aromatic flowers she could find around her, she couldn’t seem to take her eyes off the bird.  Although its entire body was a shimmering white, the eyes were black as coal and seemed to hold the soul of the universe within their depths.  Isla immediately knew that the rumors were true, she could feel it inside her very soul.  As she was staring deeply at the bird, it suddenly cocked its head in a silly manner that made Isla burst out with laughter.  At the sound of her laughter the bird broke out into a beautiful song, and Isla knew it was time for her to go back into the castle with the flowers, lest she be caught doing other than her duty. 
            The quick departure of the young woman brought Caladria’s happy song to a strangling stop.  Despair began to take over, as Caladria busied herself with the meditating act of preening once again. 
            *******************************************************************
            For over a week, the young woman snuck into the garden late at night to just sit next to the white bird.  Caladria did not feel as alone with the presence of the young woman, and somehow knew that this was her avenue of escape.  She could feel it in her wings and her small bird bones that this woman must have been sent by her goddess Aceso to save her from a life of slavery to this lonely garden.  Caladria did not know how to speak to the woman, but she knew that they were somehow bonded.  Words are never necessary in the heart of true friendship. 
            **********************************************************************
            Ten days had passed since the young woman first entered into the garden where Caladria was held and the sunrise on this particular morning was filled with foreboding and dread for Caladria.  She somehow felt fearful without knowing why.  She sunbconciously preened herself to calm her nerves and almost gave herself a small bald spot under her wing.  Quickly she ruffled the white feathers to cover any evidence of her nervous tendency. 
            Shortly after the rising of the sun was complete, Caladria noticed that there were guards entering the garden from the castle entrance.  Two of them silently appeared at the entrance and stood like ceremonial sentinels.  Within minutes another ten guards, all dressed in the same glinting silver armor came to line the path at equal distances leading up to Caladria’s cage.  Not long after, a man in luxurious furs was slowly carried out from the entrance, painfully slow in making his way closer to the cage.
            ***********************************************************************
            From the castle window Isla looked on in panic as the king made he was to be placed before the white bird she had come to know as her only friend in the castle.  She knew that today would be the day of his healing, and if rumors were true, his sickness was past the help of any force of nature.  Isla no longer cared if the bird was the only option in saving her mother; she knew that she would have to save her new feathered friend somehow.  The rumors she had heard also foretold of the bird’s refusal to look at someone with an incurable illness.  With a resolute sturdiness to her steps, she quickly made her way towards the kitchen section of the castle. 
            *****************************************************************
            Caladria’s interest was short lived as the fur-clothed man neared her cage.  She could tell that he was a man of stature, likely the king, but she knew more than that about this man.  His energy oozed the blackness of disease and she moved to the furthest corner of her cage away from the approaching men.  She stuck her beak out of the cage towards the castle wall and away from the man that was being brought before her to inhale the clear fresh air.  She knew within her soul that this man was beyond her saving. 
            The men closed the distance quickly without her watching them and a tall sturdy man in a long robe appeared before her without her knowledge as she tried to block out the suffocating sickness behind her.  Before she knew it, he had clasped a small loop around her head of leather that was meant to control her and act as a leash.  The man then passed the lead to a guard and commanded him to enter Caladria’s cage.  
            Before now Caladria had longed for the lock on her cage to be opened, but now her bird legs shook with fear and she puffed up her feathers to appear more threatening.  The guard gruffly laughed at her attempt and she saw nothing but cold steel in his eyes.  He reached further into her cage to loop the leather leash through the cage, allowing him the ability to yank on her small white head.  Yanking harder and harder left Caladria with a pain that she had never felt, even in her initial capture. 
            Caladria quickly realized that the guard meant to force her to look at the king man, and she snapper her black eyes shut as tightly as she could.  The guard grabbed her small body forcefully, squeezing her wings into her body and she squawked out a cry of pain.  Slowly the garden filled with an eerie song of death.  Caladria put her entire soul into the song to buy her time to get away from the sickness.  If she were forced to look upon one meant for death than it would mean her own demise as well.  Just as she thought she could not hold out any longer, shouts arose from the castle. 
            The smell of smoke slowly wound its way to her beak and the guards made sounds of panic and their armor clanged together with the sounds of movement.  Caladria still refused to open her eyes for the sickness was still dangerously near her own life force.  As the smoke grew stronger, she could sense the departure of all but the remaining guard that was holding tight onto her.  Caladria knew that she could not hold out for much longer as she would either have to open her eyes or have her neck broken from the force of the guard.
            A familiar swish-swish sound lightly carried through the shouts, cries and the smell of smoke.  Caladria sensed a friend was near and she sent out a coo of encouragement.  The guard was surprised by the noise from the bird and was late to look up as a long object came down on his head.  Caladria wasn’t sure what happened but suddenly she was whooshing towards the ground; with a hard knock to the cobblestone garden path she finally felt the grip loosen on her wings. 
            Tentatively, Caladria risked a peek at her savior and saw it to truly be the young woman from her nightly visits.  She sang a song of thanks as she tried to take flight and was quickly yanked back by the rope around her neck with the sneer of a guard that wanted feathers plucked from his next meal.  The young woman cried out in surprise and brought the long object down on the leash line before the guard could get his hands on her. 
            Caladria shakily took to the sky without a good sense of balance from the pressure she had felt on her wings.  She allowed herself to look down at the young woman and knew that there was no way for her to survive.  Without thinking, Caladria took the essence of the energy of the king and slowly sucked it towards herself in a risky maneuver.  She was barely successful in gauging the distance and was able to merge the sickness into the energy of the guard as he grabbed for the young woman’s skirts. 
            The sickness was fast acting and Caladria sped up the pace with her own energy, perching on the top of the castle wall as she found herself breathless.  She knew that the energy she had expeneded would not allow her to fly home for quite a while, yet she could not risk the young woman’s life.  Being able to see the woman run from the guard and out of the garden filled her with a sense of duty fulfilled. 
            She tried to take flight again, but was too late as realization of the depth of her pain and exhaustion hit her and she haphazardly fell down the tall castle wall.  She was so close to her freedom, she was even on the right side of the wall, but somehow she knew that she would not survive a fall from so far, without anything to catch her on the stony path below. 
            Caladria closed her eyes to feel the air rushing around her small feathers and sang a song of goodbye.  She knew the ground would be rapidly approaching and she instinctively braced herself for the impact.  Motherly hands somehow suddenly snatched her out of the air.  Caladria opened her black eyes and found herself peering up into the eyes of her goddess.  

**I do not own the rights to the photos, I am just borrowing them to show a visual representation of how the bird may look in real life

Saturday, May 30, 2015

May 2015 Updates :)

Good evening my wonderful blog readers!  I have so many projects that are all coming to life before my eyes.  Working on a new and finally finishing a college degree are also time consuming with my blogging moments.  My son has been amazing in life before my eyes with Tae Kwon Do, and we do have DIY projects that just need to get posted.  They are coming I promise!  You may be wondering why you haven't seen many recipes lately, this is largely in part due to my selection process for the cookbook and wanting to figure ot a few exclusives that can only be found in the cookbook itself and not just taken from my blog.  

Now on to this evening business:  I had to write a short story for a class and I felt such connection and inspiration to it and all of the possibilities of crazy twists and turns that it could take that I am in a serious mode of working to turn it into a full-length novel.  This would be my first and I am humbly asking for advice.

If anyone is interested in knowing more to give me any suggestions, advice, opinions, etc.  Please let me know.  Thank you very much for your time and just comment here or message me on any socal networking medium to connect further on this. 

My facebook blog page is a great way to get a message to me, if you don't know of any other:
https://www.facebook.com/BrittanyLMcCann.author.chef

I am now also a BeachBody Coach (because you know I had all of this free time to use, so if anyone is interested in knowing more you can comment here or send me a message at: https://www.facebook.com/Coach.Brittany.McCann, you can also go to the main site on Beach Body (You know those crazy coaches that give you workouts like P90X, Insanity, PiYo, Hip Hop Abs, Brazilian Butt Lift, etc.)  http://www.teambeachbody.com/member/sn/KiriBear

I provide basic coaching 100% free of charge, and am here to help you.  I am a sucky salesman and just joined for the discount, I don't expect to get rich off of coaching, but I do believe in the workouts and am a new user of Shakeology, so I will be showcasing progress blogs in the near future.  Keep your eyes peeled.


A preview of a delicious cheesecake recipe coming your way

Preview of some delicious ribs

I am loving the new PIYO!

Shakeology rocks

You may have missed my kick ass 31st birthday last month

My dork cat says hi

Can't leave out my KiriBear, and namesake for many of my internet dealings

DIY projects coming soon

My little martial artist is getting awarded a green belt on Monday night! 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ohio 2029

Ohio 2029: Utopia Has Never Been So Wrong is written by D.A. Winstead and is about the state of affairs of the country after a huge stock market crash that has caused America to split apart amongst its political parties, and this is the fallout.

In a sense it can definitely be classified as a dystopian novel, but it is scarier than most. While reading this book I could feel this as being a VERY real possibility for our country. I would like to think that things would never go this far, but it is hard to define a VERY real divide in America between the two major political parties.

Starting with an intro from 2015 that features an economic implosion that makes the last major crash look tame in comparison. The timeline then moves on with short snippets and news headlines, the reader is caught up to the future. The public has completely rejected the Democratic Party with the crash happening during Obama’s time in office. The Republican Party has now been lifted up as saviors, disbanding big government and sectioning it out to different states. However, there is still a lot of anger and rebuilding that must take place.

Rioting occurring in many states leads to those locations being partitioned off as zones, and as things get worse, marshal law is brought into the zones for order. To teach the country a lesson and to move forward, any openly affiliated Democrat is then moved to within reach or even put inside of the zones for punishment. The theory is that if they want to live in a state of being supported by the government and in a state of sharing all that they have, then they can do so within those zone. In the meantime the rest of the country will move on with life and rebuild in a stronger and smarter way, albeit more carefully and strictly with many freedoms American’s have known unable to be given back at this time.

In the middle of all of the chaos the story follows the lives of two families. One is a red state senator’s daughter named Mary Catherine Marshall and the other the boy who used to live next door Maddie Garner. Maddie’s family was relocated to the dirtiest and most violent reform zone in Cincinnati, Ohio. In a way this is a modern political party Romeo and Juliet, but it is so much deeper than that.

Winstead has created a world that is scary to think about and one I hope we never come close to. With so much hate and fear in this world today, it is easy to see how a novel of this caliber could take hold within our hearts. The scenes came alive before my eyes in a desperate manner of living for many. The people were real and easy to connect, root for, and abhor.

I give this book 5/5 stars. Definitely something I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own, but I would have missed out on some wondrous storytelling, strewn from the heart of our country’s security fears. Winstead translated these fears and bleak outcomes in brilliance. If you are into futuristic novels, sci-fi, political thrillers, romance, dystopian, fiction, suspense, etc., you should definitely pick this one up.

*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Flip


The Flip is written by Michael Phillip Cash and is about a married couple that flips houses.

Julie is the wife and works full time, devoting her additional time to flipping houses in hopes of gaining enough capital to one day quit her job.  Brad is the husband who is very handy at fixing things around the house, which led him to meet Julie.  He does most of the dirty work with the house flipping.

When discovering a house with a price that is just “too good to be true”, Julie can’t pass up the opportunity to fix up an old house on Bedlam street in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island.  There are so many quirky and antique features that she can’t help but fall in love with, even dreaming on fixing it up enough to turn it into a Bed & Breakfast.  Brad does not feel the love for the house the Julie does and views the project as more than it is worth.  He finds himself hating the house more with each moment he spends gutting it out and fixing it up.  Not long before the project is begun, there are a series of strange occurrences that seem to only be logical if explained by paranormal behavior. 

Cash has written a book that delivers believable humans, and also paints a picture of paranormal duo with a rich history between them.  It is very interesting to read this book from the living and the paranormal aspects equally.

The Flip is a fast paced read and easy to get into, it is easy to picture many of the features and events that take place.  Unfortunately I was also left with a lot of unanswered questions in relation to things such as the sentinels.  I couldn’t find the rapid pace of the romance between certain characters as being plausible to suddenly speed up and show acceptance with such a small event.  It made no sense that this power would not have been exerted over the annoying paranormal duo before now. 

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars.  The beginning and the middle of the book were spectacular, but the end and the wrap up were enough to bring a lesser book down to a mere 3 stars.  The quality of Cash’s overall writing and the way that a reader can get into the book make it hard to award less than the 4 stars.  I wish the ending was completely scrapped and rewritten, or perhaps the books had more events to lead up the final outcome.  I would definitely read another of his books, and hopefully there will be better closure.  I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys reading fiction, historical fiction, romance, paranormal, ghost, military, civil war era, etc.


*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Creation Theory and Parenting

I am currently taking a Mythological English class, and last week we explored our beliefs and the beliefs around the world in creationism.  As a response I had to talk about how I was raised and how I would raise my son.   I spent a lot of time with this, and realized that although I have had many thoughts about it in the past, that I have never actually written down any of those thoughts.  I wanted to share them now in the this public forum:

I have always been fascinated with much in this story of creationism due to all that surrounds it in numerology given the number seven as well as the many similarities that can be traced back to religions of many different eras.  The contradictory beliefs that I have personally experienced within the rigid followers of Christianity have both confused and intrigued me.  I do claim Christianity as a base belief with an open mind to other beliefs and science.

To speak openly and truthfully, my son is now four and I approach small issues as they arrive.  Living in the state of Texas is an extremely religious state, at times to the point of zealotry.  I have no issues with my son learning positive values from any religion such as how to treat people and be a kind and compassionate individual.  As far as it pertains to creation, I have always treaded a line between religion and science.  I do believe that evolution exists as it happens every day, but I also do not think that Darwin was entirely correct in our origin.  I believe that in Science one can also deduce an evolution from a much more man-like species, which is still created at some point.  Given the newness of Christianity within our history as mankind, I have a hard time trusting that it is the “end all, be all” theory in regards to life. 

I choose to let me son explore what feels right and true within his own soul and heart and not force-feed him beliefs in the way that they were thrust upon me.  I feel that my role as a parent is instead to guide him to sources of knowledge and be there to answer his questions as best I can; free from judgment and bias if he comes to a different conclusion that is right for him, than that which is right for me.  I think that this is an issue that will continue to be a debatable enigma for as long as mankind exists.  For me I do not need to know the answers to everything, as I am constantly in search of information to quench my thirst for knowledge and I am open to concepts that are knew and feel more correct than what I know at this point and time.  I know that is not a complete or popular answer on this question, but that is best I can provide at this time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Battle of the Grandmas

Battle of the Grandmas is written by Anthonette Klinkerman and is in appearance a children’s book. Klinkerman writes from a school teacher and mother’s perspective.

Klinkerman’s Grandmas are easily relatable for many adult readers of the story. It revolves around 3 grandparents and a young girl named Madelyn. In order to win her affections each of them tried to earn the title of “best grandma” by giving the greatest and most extravagant gifts to their granddaughter.

Through the telling of this story one can assume that the little girl must be the only grandchild based on the gifts that she receives. This story holds a definite moral for all of us. Physical presence and attention is more important that any gift that we can give to our child.

The younger the child, the happier they are with anything to share with you, whether it is a box, a craft you have made, a store bought toy, etc. Many times in a younger child’s life they will be just as happy, if not more so with the box the toy came in.

This story shows that all that the girls wanted was to be able to spend time with her grandmas, not the plethora of gifts she was receiving. She reached the point of gift reception that she began to dread getting a package in the mail. Their love seemed to be more for a fa├žade than actual love to her because instead of being there with her, they were sending store bought “love”. Upon accidentally all sending their granddaughter the same book, this started an all-out gift giving trench warfare. The grandmothers started worrying more about competing with one another to send the best gift rather than what it was that their granddaughter really wanted/needed from them.

Battle of the Grandmas consists of 34 pages of full-length color cartoon-like illustrations. The story is told in a rhyming format. The lettering is easy to read and perfect for children with a slightly longer attention span in the age range of about 3-8 years old.

Overall I give this book 4/5 stars. I love that the moral is one of quantity over quality of relationships. It was a quick read, but it did seem more directed at an adult, and my 4 year old rated it low on re-readability. It is a great book to read if you are into teaching lasting values with your children, children’s book, illustrated books, sharing, grandmothers, gift-giving, etc.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me

Lies that Chelsea Handler told me is a collection of short anecdotes about Chelsea written by members of her family and friends with a short response at the end of each by Chelsea.

Chelsea Handler is known as a hilarious entertainer and I expected nothing short of intense hilarity from this book. What I got, however was more than I had bargained for. This book has many funny and messed up stories within these pages. However, in addition to the stories of Chelsea’s antics, I was given an intimate look into Chelsea as a person.

There are memories within these pages which show the seriousness of life and as always the way that Chelsea finds humor in every situation. I had no idea the level of entertainment that Chelsea received from each and every situation that she finds advantageous for the most genius of jokes. I found myself questioning on many occasions if I would have the steadfastness to put up with some of the horrendous things Chelsea has done in the past, or if I would be able to love Chelsea as fiercely and see through to the heart of the matter that results from being the butt of one of her many schemes.

I walked away with a better understanding of who Chelsea Handler is behind the laughs and jokes. Chelsea loves fiercely, and with that love comes practical jokes and picking on people that can only be seen in an intense middle school crush situation of “boy likes girl.”

I give this book 5/5 stars. It was entertaining, it was funny, and it was intimate. NOTHING is off limits with Chelsea Handler, and there is no level of appropriateness. Chelsea is exactly where she needs to be in life for her greatest good and happiness and offer of laughs to the public. I can appreciate and love Chelsea even more for her inappropriate sense of humor and her desire to take care of everyone she cares about, even if it comes at their own expense from time to time. If you are a Chelsea Handler fan you MUST read this book, also if you are into biography, humor, non-fiction, etc, you would enjoy this book.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Last Lover

The Last Lover is written by Can Xue (pen name for Deng Xiaohua), and translated from Chinese into English by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen.

If Quentin Tarentino was living in a Vanilla Sky-esque world in the middle of a Twilight Zone episode and writing in traditional Chinese metaphors, this book would be the result. This has to be the strangest book I have ever read. Having a little bit of background in Chinese culture, I was able to understand some of the writing stance of the author. Many Chinese stories are told through metaphors (much like reading Aesop’s fables).

In the Last Lover, we follow along the journeys of the characters Joe: a worker at a clothing factory and separately his wife Maria. Vincent: the owner of the clothing factor and separately his wife Lisa from the gambling city. Reagan: the owner of a Rubber Tree plantation who buys his uniforms from the clothing factory and briefly his sometimes mistress, Ida.

Each of these characters is on their own journey through their thoughts and every single one of them has trouble telling reality from the created worlds within their minds. There is a blending of realities between characters as they each feature at some point or another within the “reality” of the other characters. Can Xue has also created many other interesting characters along the way.

I can’t really say that this is a “good” book, but I can’t very well rate it below 3 stars. If nothing else, the creativity and originality of the Last Lover is beyond comparison. Can Xue paints beautiful descriptions of the people (when relevant) and their locations. She does an amazing job of making you constantly question reality, just as each character does themselves.

The beginning is a little hard to get into the flow with her unique style of writing. However, once you grasp the way that Can Xue has chosen to tell her story, you are more easily to follow along with the journeys. The characters themselves are definitely interesting to get to know, and I think that Maria and Joyner were definitely my favorite characters. Can Xue depicts the fears and desires from the depths of each character’s psyche.

Overall I still stand by my 3/5 star review due to the actual story as a whole. I had many grand illusions of what the point of the book itself would be. I should have known, given the Chinese desire to leave a story with a messed up ending, but I even anticipated this and still felt extreme disappointment in the final closing scene. I wanted there to be a better wrap up of all that had transpired. In its way there is a closure, but I wanted something more from the intense journeys that were traveled with the characters than the ending that fell flat from such expectations. If you are interested in taking a journey unlike any other, this book is still worth the read, and it is definitely a unique story of its own. I could easily see it being made into a Vanilla Sky type of movie and again, I must commend Can Xue on her beautiful originality, even if the journey was a bit messed up along the way.

*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Deadly Practice


Deadly Practice is written by Bill Yancey and is a loose sequel many years later to Reluctant Intern. The main character continues to be Dr. Addison “Addy” Wolf.

Addison finds himself returning to Florida (the place of his internship) after failure with his own medical clinic. He takes on a position with a private clinic with people he had worked with in the past. Everything is going great until he meets Sarafea Seville, the office manager who is out for money, no matter whose job she must squeeze it from.

Although constantly complaining that people are overpaid for their positions, she still manages to constantly create more positions with less qualified people making higher ranges for any employees that she fires. The partners that created the new Care facilities seem content to let her run it into the ground as long as the profits continue to soar and they can reap the benefits.

The book has a slightly rocky start, moving at a rather slow pace and lacking flow between chapters, but luckily as Addy settles into his new position the suspense builds and the pace picks up. I once again enjoyed the witty humor smattered throughout the book.

I love that Addy is more interested in being a good doctor, but also has the balls to stand up for himself. Sarafea is an attractive, power-hungry, ballsy dictator as she swiftly takes over every aspect of the clinics. When death attempts begin on Sarafea’s life, it’s hard to know for sure who may be the culprit with the amount of people who wish for her death.

Addy desperately wants to leave the job that he hates that begins putting a strain on his marriage and even his health. Unfortunately, he staked everything he had on this being a lucrative opportunity and does not have the freedom due to debt to just relocate again so quickly. His sanity is partially maintained due to his friendship with ex-Navy Seal, Jake Harer and their frequent handball appointments. Harer’s hatred of Sarafea leads Addy to wonder if the death attempts are coming from his friend and place him in a precarious position.

Yancey again does a splendid job of creating real people and circumstances that always make the reader question if he is writing partially from self-experience. The narration is well done and the descriptions help you get to know the characters and the way that they are feeling to drive their actions.

Overall I give this book 4/5 stars. It was great to revisit Addy and the medical word with Yancey. I did hope to see more conspiracy against Sarafea, but the book took a realistic standpoint. If you are interested in Medical Suspense, Mystery, fiction, etc., this book is for you.

*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Order between Sisters


The Order between Sisters is written by Chelsea M. Brown and is narrated by Eliza, the older sister. 

The book is set in a college location and features around the relationship that Eliza has with her sister following behind her like a lost puppy as she is tapped to become a member of a secretive elite society.  Eliza feels that her sister getting constant “legacy” status is not fair.  Legacy, meaning that as a relative, she is instantly given top consideration for becoming a member of a sorority as well as the secret society. 

The book starts out a bit rough with a feeling of Eliza having great disdain and lack of respect for your younger sister, even having a feeling of selfishness for her own space.  I felt that the connection between Eliza and her sister was able to be breached much too easily for the disdain originally depicted in the beginning.

The story was a light enjoyable read and was a good new adult college romance.  My biggest complain about this book is the setting for the story is done in one manner and there seems to be a gap in flow between the start of the book and the growth that is seen developing with Eliza amidst various relationships that she develops.  It would have been interesting to see any of the points of view from the Little Sister Victoria.

Overall I give the book 4/5 stars.  Although I feel that there could be some more development and editing conducted in the book, once it really got going, it was a quick and enjoyable read.  Chelsea definitely has a gift for storytelling and with a bit more polishing; this could easily develop into a 5 star novel.  I look forward to any future novels that she writes.  If you are into new adult, fiction, romance, college, secret society, sister relationships, etc., then you should definitely check this book out. 

*I received a digital copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.