Thursday, July 9, 2015

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

I was not sure what to expect from this book though I’d read about the basic plot before publication.  I love the Clockwork Century books by Priest so why not?

Libby Deaton and May Harper become friends in fifth grade when both of them have  sit out Phy Ed for a time. 
Together, beginning with a chalk drawing on the playground at school, they create Princess X. 
She is “a blue-haired girl in a puff-sleeved princess dress, wearing a big gold crown and red sneakers” who wields a katana.   She lives in a purple haunted house with friendly ghosts and watches over the town of Silverdale.

Over the years, the girls fill notebooks with stories of Princess X.  May makes up the stories and Libby draws them out.

One day Libby and her mom are killed when their car goes off a bridge on a perfectly ordinary day.
May is bereft beyond words to lose her friend Libby and to have the grand stories of Princess X end as suddenly.
She is left with nothing of their friendship, as Libby’s father moves out of state suddenly and all of the stories disappear with him.

Except.   It is possible that the stories and scrapbooks went to a thrift store somewhere in the city.  Perhaps they can be found.  May makes her parents drive all over looking for them.
When May’s parents divorce, she is shuttled to Atlanta to start a new life and make new friends.  On visits to her father, she still hops on a bus and searches for the notebooks. 

One day she is stopped cold by the sight of a sticker on a store window that is Princess X.  Impossible.  Did someone find those notebooks and decide to continue the stories or market them somehow?

Or is Libby alive?  Secretly, May never believed Libby died, wouldn’t believe it.  She dreamed over and over that Libby had broken out of the car and rose to the surface, alive.  Her parents hated this obsession, because Libby’s body was found, downstream from the submerged car, severely eaten by fish but with Libby’s clothing and school ID.

On May’s travels through the city she began to see more Princess X stickers.  It turned out there was a website that had gone up about six months ago that was wildly popular, as it featured the story of Princess X, new stories May didn’t know.  Nobody knew who wrote the comics, the IP could not be traced by even the most intrepid geek.

The Comics feature Princess X, held prisoner by Needle Man, and The Ghost Queen “mother and avenging spirit” who helps the Princess escape the Needle Man, and watches over her.

With the help of Patrick, a neighbor with a bit too much tech saavy for his own good, May reads the comics, and is convinced Libby is alive and reaching out to her with the comics.
Thanks to Patrick, she learns that the accident that killed Libby’s mother and perhaps Libby was no accident. Libby’s mother was shot in the head, leading her to drive off the bridge.  May’s parents had managed to hide all of this from her.

A clever intermingling of the search for Libby and the story of Princess X’s daring escape from Needle Man becomes a really tense thriller of a story.  The Needle Man is not only real, he is very tech savvy as well and he is relentless in his search for Princess X.  He is willing to murder, lie, steal, do anything to get her back.  He is incredibly clever.
I read the book in a single evening, just transfixed.  When I closed the book, I said, “wow, that was just spectacular, one of the best things I’ve read in ages.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Garden Pics

Ah summer and the livin' is easy.  Here's how things are looking after a massive tree trimming and fresh mulch.  My garden so far, the "Good Parts Version."

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Hunted by Charlie Higson

This is the sixth book in "The Enemies" series.  We get to see what life is like in the English countryside for the first time since the series began.  Kids have set up fortified places to live in places like Ascot and Windsor.

They do scavenging supply runs as their London counterparts do, but the zombies are less dense out there.  

Our heroine this time around is Ella. At the end of the last novel she had struck out into the countryside with a small group.  They were attacked and presumed dead or dying in a nightmarish middle of the night attack in a resort hotel.

Here she has been taken in by a frightening figure who acts like a zombie, looks like a zombie, but is somehow her protector.

He never speaks, often does not respond in any way.  He has a farm set with traps and snares to keep everything out.  She settles into a strange life with him providing for her.

Their odd existence unravels when a group of scavenging kids come to the farm.  Ella welcomes them because she is so glad of normal conversation, and kids her age.  

From the group they learn that masses of zombies are moving through the countryside heading towards London.  A massive herd of them passes through the farm, destroying everything.

Ella has a chance to go to a settlement, but chooses to stay behind with her protector.

Everything is set up for a return to London and a final battle between children and the zombies.  These are published in England a year before we get them here. Each time I finish one I say I'm going to order it from Amazon UK so I don't have to wait.  Maybe I will crack this time!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Deep Question of the Day!

Almost live, fresh from my daily horoscope is the question:

Is it easier to forgive an enemy or a friend?

My response is: An enemy. You knew they were evil and expected evil from them. Redemption is always appealing.

Friends who need forgiving have betrayed that rare thing, Trust.  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Garden This Week

Cool temperatures this week were a challenge as I brought plants in at night or stored them in my little greenhouses.  I'm seeing predictions for more cool night temps coming next week which is discouraging. I'm working on potting up my plants in any case.

This week's nursery trip was to Highland Nursery in St Paul.  I enjoy their selection of annuals.

Here's what is in bloom this week in the garden:
Epimedium Rubrum

Daffodil Perhaps Mount Hood

Iris Cristata

Dicentra Alba

Vinca in a cocoa fiber pouch (and pot). It doesn't fill the space though I imagined the fiber would puff out and expand quite a bit.

Gerbera Revolution Mix

Over the years I've collected the animal shaped pots from my annual trip to Farmington Greenhouse.  I just love them.

I'm putting as many of my potted items around the outside of the veg garden as I can this year. It is my sunniest spot, and there is always the hope that the flowers will lure bees to the garden.