Monthly Archives: June 2011

Red Riding Hood~Blakely-Cartwright/Johnson

     Valerie ran and fell before Lucie’s lifeless body, clutching desperately at shreds of hay. She couln’t bring herself to touch her sister yet.

     Lucie was in her finest dress, but the fabric was tattered and  barely served to confine her body anymore. Her hair, a formal four-strand braid, plaited so carefully the night before, had loosened into matted strands.

    The crown of weeds was still clinging to her hair. Valerie pulled off her own shawl and coverd Lucie. Then she lifted her sister’s hand to her cheek and felt a few shreds of paper in the cool palm, handing her one final secret. They looked like the remains of a note, but the writing was impossible to make out. Valerie shoved the pieces into her pocket. 

     The hand felt clammy with dew and gummy with clotting blood. She finally gave in to the exhilaration of grief, allowing it to bury her like a blanket of snow, so that everything seemed muffled and far away.       

     Soon Valerie felt anonymous hands intruding on her within the presence of her dead sister. She could not let go, because she didn’t know whether her sister was gone from the body yet; she was not sure how fast the leaving happened. She had to be pried from the site, her knees stained dusty brown with blood and winter soil, tears streaming down her cheeks.

     As she was dragged away, the first snow of the season began to fall. 

     Winter was early.   

     This is the story of the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood with a twist. Set in a place called Daggorhorn, the little town has been plagued by The Big Bad Wolf for a long time. The houses are up off the ground so that the wolf can’t get the townspeople and there is a nightly curfew. There must also be a monthly sacrifice to appease the wolf; usually a fattened sheep or chicken is led out to the open and tethered there for the wolf to have. Then it will leave the rest of them alone.
     One night, after finding out that it was their families turn to provide the sacrifice, Valerie runs out after the prized sheep, finding it tethered to a post, ready to be eaten. Just as she gets there, she witnesses the sheep being taken by the wolf. Fearing for her life, she runs, but the wolf doesn’t bother with her.
     After a day where the men are clearing the fields, and the women handing out water and foods, Valerie meets up with her old time friend, Peter, for whom she is not allowed to see. She realizes that she has been in love with him and has missed her old friend.
     But, when a noise, a growl alerts them, making them panic because they are all away from home, somehow in the panic, Lucie becomes separated from everyone.
     But, when Claude, who is slightly challeneged finds Lucie, Valerie’s little sister, ripped apart from the wolf, he rings the bell four times. Ringing the bell four times tells the people of the village that there has been a death by the wolf.    
     “A werewolf is never truly human no matter how it appears. During a normal full moon, a Wolf bite will kill you. But during the days of the blood moon, your very souls are in danger.”
     The room chilled.
     “For how long, exactly?”
     “Four days.”
     Two nights are left, Valerie thought. Tomorrow will be the final day.
     “As I’ve said,” the Reeve interjected authoritatively, smiling, his jowlish cheeks pulling out to either side, “none of this matters. We’re safe now. The Wolf is dead. I killed it myself in it’s lair, the cave at Mount Grimmoor.” The Reeve began to turn, hoping that would be the end of it.
     Solomon looked at him as though he were a child. The villagers were unsure which patriarch should receive their allegiance.
     “You’ve been deceived by this beast.” Solomon systematically cracked his knuckles. “Right from the start. Most likely, it lured a hungry wolf to the cave and trapped it there for you to find. It fooled you into thinking it lived on Mount Grimmoor so that you wouldn’t loof for it in th most obvious place.”
     He paused, letting them understand their own folly.
     “The Wolf lives right here. In this village.” He looked at the villagers. “Among you. It is one of you.
     The wolf ends up being someone for whom everyone knows. And, to make matters worse, Valerie is the only one that can “hear” the Wolf when it speaks, making everyone believe that she is a witch. When she hears the Wolf, the Wolf tells her that if she doesn’t come with it, it will kill everyone she knows and loves. Valerie has no choice when she is captured by Solomon and made to be the next sacrifice.
     I very much enjoyed this book and the Wolf ends up being someone you might not expect. For this book, I give it Four stars.

     I’d give it Five stars, but apparently this isn’t the end of the story? I have to go to a website to find out if this is truly the end of Valerie’s story. What? The ending of the book isn’t the end of the book? Ok, not sure about that, but maybe it’s because it’s a movie thing. Apparently, according to reviews I read of this book, the ending of the book wasn’t made public until after the movie came out.

     So, I guess if you want to have the ending of the book in a book format, you’ll have to buy the book that has the ending. I haven’t yet read the “true” ending to the book, so I may have to review my review later. But for now, Four stars are what I’m giving it. However, I do recommend it. It was a good read. I just wish the true ending was “in” the book.

     Ok, so I just went to the website and read the “Bonus Chapter”. Who I thought was the Wolf ended up NOT being who I thought it was. I was a bit confused in the bonus chapter but I can’t give anything away, so I can’t tell you. However, it does “end” the story completely, making it actually better.
     It SHOULD have been in the book though, not on a separate website. That kind of pisses me off. 
     Does my rating change? No. It should be a Five, but it’s a Four for that very reason above.


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Storm Chaser~A Romantic Comedy By Mark R. Hunter


     For an instant Chance froze, his knuckles white from their near death grip on the wheel. What the devil’s a kid doing in the middle of Highway Nine? A little voice reminded him of the times he’d lectured other drivers for not keeping their eyes on the road, but he ignored it.

     A violent wind gust jarred him into action and he lowered the passenger side window making the shriek of the advancing twister even louder. A shower of paperwork whirled around the passenger compartment.

     That’s when he realized she wasn’t in the middle of the road. In his eagerness to track the storm, he’d swerved from the pavement and almost hit an innocent kid standing on the berm, close to a huge white recreational vehicle.

     Taking a deep breath, Chance vowed he’d deliver her safely into the arms of her parents, before someone else came along and mowed her down. “Hey!”

     The girl lowered her camera, exposing dark eys and elfin features. Her lips turned down in a slight frown as she studied the storm, strands of brown hair blew across her face. The howling wind whipped at ther loose flannel shirt and baggy jeans making her appear tiny against the blowing debris threatening to carry her away. She had to be a decade younger than Chance, maybe eighteen at the most.

     Storm Chaser is a romantic comedy that will have you falling in love along with Chance and Allie. Chance Hamlin is a Trooper in the police department, and Allie Craine is a young looking adult woman that Chance mistakingly thinks is way too young to be out on her own, and in the middle of a tornado to boot. He “detains” her falsely, only because he doesn’t believe that she is as old as she says she is. He doesn’t believe her when she says that the RV is hers, and not stolen, and that she is a professional photographer.

     Even when he finds out that she is who she says she is, he can’t help but be suspicious. He asks his colleagues to go above and beyond to help him find out what he can about this young woman. He brings her to his mother’s place (he lives in the apartment over the garage), where Allie meets his mother, Elsa and his little sister, Beth. Even Beth figures out that Allie is as old as what she says she is just by looking in Allie’s eyes.

     But, Chance has his reasons for being leary of Allie, even though he’s falling for her fast–he just won’t admit it. It never fails that disasters seem to follow her and he’s not sure, but he thinks that she’s hiding something. He vows to try to figure out what it is. And, just when Allie thinks that Chance is starting to fall for her too, he pulls away from her.

     Allie, though, is feeling the need to settle down. She falls in love, not only with Chance, but with his family and everyone else in the town. When disasters strike a small town, everyone pitches in to help and everyone likes each other. That’s something new to Allie, and she likes it.

     Another character, Luther Magee, is following Allie everywhere she goes, and then he reports back to someone. Even though she does her best to make sure that she is keeping a low profile and not in the ‘limelight’, he always manages to find her.

     Chance turned to thank Allie for this, to apologize for his attitude, to–

     Something was wrong.

     Allie swayed unsteadily when she turned. She looked pale, her eyes glazed and unfocused.

     “Allie’s teaching me about the weather.” Beth peeled off the dress, causing Chance an instant of panic before he realized she wore a one-piece bathing suit underneath. “I’m going to hang this up.” She headed towards the steps unaware of her brother’s tension.

     “Storm’s comin’.” Allie tilted her head back to the west. “Feel it?” Her words were slurred.

     Chance glanced over and saw a few puffy, harmless-looking clouds left over from the morning haze. “Looks the same as yesterday.”

     “Nope.” She gestured west, and began mumbling something about dry lines and unstable air masses before trailing off with a sigh. “I’m tired.”

     A cold fist gripped Chance’s stomach. It can’t be. Not now, not this. “Allie, what’s wrong?”

     “Wrong?” Her brows grew together, puzzlement etching her face. “I think I need something…food? I need food…”

     “No, you don’t need food. Hunger doesn’t make people like this.” He should have felt anger, or maybe triumph at being proved right after all this. But, instead, a terrible sadness settled over him.

     Allie is keeping a secret, but it’s only because she was brought up that way by her over-bearing father. His motto is to never show weakness. Chance also has secrets…secrets about why he acts the way he does and why he feels the way he does about photographers and people of the media.

     I laughed and I cried, and yes, I could see myself falling in love with Chance (the big lug) and you will, too. This is an easy to read story of the love between two totally different people and the trust that is needed in every relationship. Secrets are revealed, roots are embedded, love and friendships made.

     I highly recommend this book! I give it a Five Star Rating!



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