Today, I watched a woman shop lift.
I preface this with, yes, I did nothing and let it happen, this is not a post about my morals or actions, this woman’s story (or how I perceive it) is merely a catalyst for conversation.
I was in a local market (or grocery store if you’re not from California) and needed to toss a cup into a trashcan, passing by the very prominent Seahawks merchandise section. I thought no one was around me, so the loud zipper noise that seemed to come out of nowhere startled me. I discreetly looked around and saw a woman crouched behind a shelf, closing her backpack after stuffing a jersey into it. I shook my head, made an immediate and gut judgement and walked back to my husband. I said nothing, shook my head, and focused on my own groceries. When she stood from behind the shelf and quickly looked around herself before exiting the store with her now bulging backpack of goodies I did nothing. Then my mind started to analyze what it had just seen.
It made me wonder, why? What had tempted, coerced, or forced this woman to steal. Was she down on her luck? She looked well enough dressed and groomed, clean hair, nails, and clothing. Did she REAlly need the jersey? Maybe her home life was hostile, a controlling spouse who holds the pursestrings so tight she felt forced to steal just to exhibit control over help life. Maybe she was a single Mom of a bunch of kids and one of them had a birthday coming up and she couldn't afford a gift even with working two jobs and welfare. Either way, who was I to judge her?
The way we interact and perceive people speaks more about us than them in the long run. In this case I felt pity for this other human being, that for whatever reason, felt the need to commit this act of thievery. Again, whatever the reason, she felt it was warranted.
Isn’t this the same conversation writers, film directors, and photographers always have about their “villainous” characters, history is in the eyes of the teller. Maybe this woman just completed a long, drawn-out, divorce that left her near penniless, she’s not the villain, her husband is. To the market manager who will be reprimanded for the miss-matched stock maybe the thief is the villain. Who knows. All we can do as both members of society and writers, is to trust our characters, walk a mile in their shoes, see what drives them, motivates them, and use the knowledge gained to make better -richer- stories.
Seeing this woman shoplift inspired me, don’t judge me for that, don’t judge her like I did. Focus on the fact that something good came from the experience I witnessed. This blog, and maybe... my next character?
Who knows. It all depends on whose side you’re reading.
Two in one month! Love Beyond Hope is the fourth book review I’m doing for Bethany Claire as part of her audiobook review team. All the details are below for how you can pick up the Audible or eBook file. [goodreads | Audible]
Mitsy has one friend, and Bri has gone crazy, talking of living in the past in Scotland and marrying a laird. When Mitsy’s marriage falls apart she decides she’s got nothing better to do than to rescue her poor crazy friend lost in a foreign country. Little did she know Bri was far from crazy and magic was real.
Mitsy was a different character than I was expecting. When she started as a broken flower, her character adapted, overcame, and ended as a fiery woman who gave two brothers a run for their money. The standard Morna cast of characters was present, though in a more limited capacity, but Bri, her mother, the baby and everyone else was there to cry, celebrate, and scheme together. Baodan was a gruff and harsh man who quickly softened when Mitsy entered his life. Baodan was a weaker main character, closer to Eoin than the other previous two. His “flaw” was weak, and his progression to healed was quick and very linear.
The love story between the two characters was the most cookie cutter of the stories so far, two divorced/widowed people connecting, both given up on love until they meet the other. The underlying story was wonderful, it harkened back to the first book and had a deep and complicated twist that was rewarding to finish.
Lily Collingwood’s many voices are growing in numbers and the diversity in her roles and voices is beginning to blur together. Certain characters still stand out as different, and Mitsy’s had the opportunity to as a Texas accent would have been a great differentiator, sadly, the chance was not taken and Mitsy sounded generic. As usual, the recording quality was great with no hum or distortion and made the entire focus on the story.
It’s been awhile since I’ve read a fantasy novel, so The Last Dragon Slayer was a lovely change. Martyn Stanley weaves a good tale, a fun tale, one I’d love to play with dice and pen and paper. [goodreads]
Saul and his band of outcasts are on a quest to find and kill the last Noble Dragon but they must first find the last living dragon slayer and try to convince him to help them. Along the way, their quest is filled with discrimination, trouble created by them or for them, and friendships.
This is a tough review. As a story, it’s great, 4 stars. There are fun characters, nice interplay between them, vivid places, and real conflict on every level. As a novel, it’s slow and dry. The story jumps right into action leaving the reader feeling jarred and a bit confused, already behind of the quest and needing to catch up. There are strong bones there that had me smiling at the potential and daydreaming of how epic this story would be as a DnD campaign. So, as a DnD story, 4 stars easily. I could easily see small character bios outlining some of the quirks they have and letting people make them their own. The quest was large and epic, but able to be broken down into smaller pieces that would make natrual sessions or chapters.
Overall, the story was enjoyable, the format was what held it back. Reformatting it and re-releasing it. I’d play it.
This week is book week apparently, this is review one of three and what a good one it is! Protector by Becca Campbell is the third book in her Flawed series and so far, my favorite! Catch up with Book 1; Empath and Book 2; Outsider to read their reviews if you’ve not read them yet. Becca was gracious enough to provide a copy of this book’s ARC for me to read and review and it did not disappoint! [goodreads]
Ethan’s back! Jade and Logan have settled into an uneasy calm since the last attack, and Logan is set on getting on with their life. The police have yet to find Ethan and Jade can’t help but worry about Kelsey and her safety. Her trauma caused by Ethan in the caverns has her frantic in her need to find and protect Kelsey. She’s sure Kelsey is in danger and that Ethan will torture her even worse if he ever finds her. But when Jade does finally find Kelsey, will she be too late to save her?
Book three in the Flawed series is an ensemble cast this time around with a mix of both old and new faces. Logan is still as brooding and closed off as ever, battling with his own ability and how to control what Jade so longs for him to share with her. After her abduction by Ethan, Jade is distraught and near panic over finding Kelsey. Jade’s focus and Logan’s own problems pull the two in different directions and they struggle against each other in a refreshing way that pulls them from a cookie cutter relationship mold. Ethan is as crazy and deranged as ever, you’ll have to read the book to learn more. Kelsey is the newest member of the cast and her charm and passion jumps from the pages. She’s an art therapist and her desire to help and heal the children she sees is a wonderful light shining from the pages amidst the darkness that Ethan casts. She’s worth reading the entire book.
As the third instalment (plus some short stories) in the Flawed series, Protector is the logical, dark, next step. Ethan’s plots have escalated and with Kelsey finally in his sights and as a result the interactions between all of the characters is more tense, more violent, and more twisted. A ‘light’ in the story was one of Kelsey’s students, Hugh, a mute who was fantastically written, vibrant, and someone I am hoping Becca Campbell will eventually write a book about.
Last but not least on my road to catching up on reviews… Saving Anna by Toni Allen! I was given this second book upon completion of the first book and am really glad I did. I highly recommend this series and I hope you’ll feel the excitement when reading the review. [goodreads]
Talbot and Frankie are back! This time all odds are against Talbot when an old friend looks to settle a score. Frankie is unwillingly drug into the situation by Weissman and his meddling, but with the help of Talbots friendship and patience, he ends up a real partner.
Saving Anna takes place barely a year after Visiting Lilly and starts off on a solemn note. Frankie and Talbot retain much of their charm from the first book while easily expanding both their relationship with each other and how they interact with the outside world. Frankie's idiosyncratic habits and Talbots heroistic fault have both of them metaphorically tripping over each other endlessly and much to great humor and other emotions. Watching their interactions was the highlight of the book and the most enjoyable.
While the characters were amazing, they were brought to life with a deep and rich story full of twists and turns, ah ha moments, and a mystery that even on the last page, kept you guessing. The villain in Saving Anna was dastardly, worrying of being written against such strong heroes and brought a tension and anger to the story that left no room for questioning Talbot or Frankie's motives.
As you can tell I really enjoyed Saving Lily. When I finished Visiting Anna and was asked to read and review Saving Lilly I said yes, not knowing I would ultimately fall wholly in love with Frankie and Talbot the way I did. I liked the first one, loved the second. Saving Anna was a fantastic and logical progression for both Talbot and Frankie to take and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to take their adventure with them.
I am SO excited! This book has been in progress for quite a while and with me going on five weeks sick it was sadly neglected. A Conall Christmas is the third book review I’m doing by Bethany Claire, she was once again kind enough to provide audio copies for review. All the details are below for how you can pick up the Audible or eBook file. [goodreads | Audible]
After two novels about the younger generation, it’s finally Adelle’s turn! Hew, Mary’s brother, is on his way past Conall Castle and stops to get out of the cold. He soon bumps into Adelle. Hew’s history left him shy and tentative to form new relationships, but Adelle’s infectious attitude and modern views soon had him intrigued.
For a short story, Adelle was the perfect main character. She’s an integral part of the Morna’s series but not such a core character that she would need her own full length book. The standard “it’s a short story so the love was super instant and feel rushed” issues are there but if you’re aware and accept this the story is very enjoyable. The characters have wonderful chemistry, charming interactions, and of course the Christmas theme was delightful.
Lily Collingwood is, as always, wonderful to listen to and her voice shines in Adelle’s parts. In the first book her performance was not what I was expecting but as she’s grown into the roles her diverse voices and the level of quality has increased and constantly makes me smile while listening. The short was three hours and fit perfectly in the to and from work commute. As usual, the recording quality was great with no hum or distortion and made the entire focus on the story.
Welcome to 2016! It’s time for a new year, a new list of to be read books (TBR), and much writing. January is the start of a new writing season and this season I’ll be focusing on my Channillo series, Everyday Adventures, through prompt writing and a larger writing project. I have yet to decide if I’ll be furthering Stealth or Keeper’s, but one of them will be my goal.