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State of Independence

Happy Ungrateful Bastards Independence Day to all the United Statesians out there. May your fireworks go with a bang, your sausages sizzle on your barbecues and your rah rah's rah long into the night.

This week has been one of those weeks that I've been longing to get over and done with because it's been so bloody awful and ended up with me spending most of yesterday in a darkened room trying to doze through a tension migraine. Most of the nastiness was work-related (and therefore too yawn-worthy to detail here) but there was also a truly bizarre incident on Tuesday, which I'm thinking about submitting to the Guiness Book of Records as a contender for Weirdest Attempted Mugging In The World.

Basically, I was walking home from the train station on Tuesday evening when a woman who was obviously high came up to me and asked if I could give her some change:

Me: "Sorry, I don't have any change." :keeps walking:

Would Be Mugger: :aggressive: "What, not even an [effing] penny?"

Me: "Nope."

Would Be Mugger: :runs in front of me holding out her house keys and pointing them at my body: "I want your [effing] money now!"

Me: :stares at the protruding house key and wonders if I'm supposed to feel threatened: :decides I don't feel threatened: "[Eff] off." :resumes walking:

Would Be Mugger: :waves house key in front of my face: "I said, give me your [effing] money!"

Me: :swings cotton bag containing a large bottle of mineral water and a serial killer at Would Be Mugger's head, smacking her in the face: "Piss off and leave me alone." :resumes walking:

Would Be Mugger: "You're a heartless bitch! I lost my child!"

Me: "Have you tried looking down the back of the settee for it?"

Would Be Mugger: "My baby's dead, right? It's dead and it was only 18 months old and you don't care!"

Me: "No I don't."

Would Be Mugger: "You aborted your baby! I know you and you aborted your baby while it was still in the womb!"

Me: "The hell? How else are you supposed to abort a baby?"

Would Be Mugger: "You've aborted all your babies! I saw you!"

Me: "Yes I did because I was scared they'd turn out like you."

Would Be Mugger: "Oh." :wanders away:

All very surreal.

In other news, the housing situation in the UK sucks so badly that I've temporarily shelved plans to buy (there's been nothing new on the market in the area I want to live in for almost a month now) and am instead looking to rent. That's also problematic as it's precisely the wrong time of the year to be looking. Oh well.

KYBS is going v. slowly. I've solved one problem with a scene only to encounter another and it's all getting more than a bit frustrating. Re-writes are absolute bloody murder.

Finally, it's been a while since I did this, but I thought I'd post a list of books that I've read and enjoyed recently:

Young Adult Fiction (Aged 12+)

- The Lost Art by Simon Morden - billed as YA SF, this is a book that I think is more likely to appeal to adults (not least because there's only 1 teenage character in it). It's set in a far future where humans have devestated the world so much that its poles have reversed and as a result, technology is viewed with suspicion. A young man returns to the planet to try and stop people from causing further damage.

- The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness - first in a multi-prize winning trilogy that follows a young boy called Todd who lives in a world where there are no women and every man can hear the thoughts of every other man and living creature. Then one day, Todd discovers a girl called Viola in the nearby swamp and he can't hear her thoughts ...

- The Ask And The Answer by Patrick Ness - the second in the trilogy finds Todd and Viola battling against the evil Mayor Prentiss's bid for control of the planet - a battle that will pit the two youngsters against each other.

- Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness - the conclusion to the trilogy sees the Spackle enter the conflict and Todd and Viola learning more about the horrors and consequences of war.

- Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick - It's 1904 and a teenage boy sits in his house near the Arctic Circle with his father's corpse, waiting for help to come. Instead a strange man arrives - a man with a grudge against the boy's father. A man who wants the boy to pay for his father's crimes ... It's a wonderfully tense read that had me gripped until the final page.

- A Most Improper Magick by Stephanie Burgis - this isn't due out until August, but it's a wonderful historical fantasy for YA readers about a young girl in Regency England who discovers she's the heir to her dead mother's magical abilities and must apply them to save the family fortune.

- The Fool’s Girl by Celia Rees - historical YA set in the early 17th century that draws on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night for its plot. It's a taught adventure that has a real feel for history and predicament.

- Unleashed by Kristopher Reisz - YA urban fantasy about a teenage boy who discovers that the school outsiders can turn into wolves. I thought this was a brilliant book that combines the supernatural with genuine teen concerns.

- Tall Story by Candy Gourlay - YA book about a basketball-obsessed girl whose half-brother comes to live with her from the Philippines - only he's an 8 foot giant. It's a sweet-natured story that does convey the difficulties faced by people with giganticism and is worth reading because half of it is set in the Phillipines, giving an interesting insight into another country.

- The Enemy by Charlie Higson - first in a YA series where the world has been ravaged by a strange disease that turns anyone over the age of 15 into a flesh munching zombie. It follows a group of kids who are trying to find a safe home for themselves. Be warned, there's a lot of violence and character death in this - no one is safe.



Fiction For Grown-Ups

- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel - Booker prize winning historical novel about the early life and career of Thomas Cromwell. This is a brilliant read that humanises someone who history generally views unfavourably and has a real feel for the period as it recreates the politics and intrigue of Henry VIII's court.

- Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire - first in an urban fantasy series about a half-faerie/half human PI who lost her family and business when she was magically imprisoned for 15 years and retreated from all things magical. Now the dying curse of a faerie has dragged her back into the world and she must solve the murder soon or face losing her life. I thought this was a great book - interesting set up, good use of San Francisco as a location and an interesting main character with a genuine dilemma.

- Passion Play by Beth Bernobich - first in a fantasy trilogy about a young woman who flees an arranged marriage only to be taken advantage of and end up broken and destitute at a house of pleasure. Interesting characters and a solid romance set against the backdrop of political turmoil made for an absorbing read.

- Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane - first in an adult urban fantasy series set in an alternate world that's haunted by blood thirsty ghosts and follows a drug-addict exorcist who works for the only allowed church as she tries to solve a mystery. It's a gritty read with a main character totally different to the type you usually find in urban fantasy.

- Feed by Mira Grant - first in a zombie trilogy about two bloggers following a presidential candidate's campaign only to discover that some people will do anything to stop him. Although I found the mystery a bit easy to solve, the world building is great and there's a good set up for the next book.

Finally, a reminder that my YA horror book trio give-away ends tonight. But in my next post, I'm going to give away a trio of MG/YA fantasy books in a new competition.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
stephanieburgis
Jul. 4th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
Oh yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed AMIM. :)
hooton
Jul. 6th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
I most definitely did! I'm horribly behind on my reviews but will post one to different communities here on LJ (and on Amazon when it let's me) to try and help get some word out on it.
stephanieburgis
Jul. 17th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
Replying to this horribly belatedly (because my brain has turned to mush from pre-publication panic): THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU!!!! :) :) :)
booksforfood
Jul. 5th, 2010 09:00 am (UTC)
Yay! You read Patrick Ness! Did my review sway you? *Bats eyelashes*

Anyway, I'm quite proud of your nonchalant would-be mugging. I probably would have blubbered and given her the fiver in my wallet.

There are plenty of flats on the market up in Aberdeen but holy damn they are expensive. We don't know where the hell we want to live, either, so I think we'll wait. I hate paying rent though. Feels like such a waste :(
hooton
Jul. 6th, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)
Did my review sway you? *Bats eyelashes*

Heh.

I think your review helped, but I'd be lying if I said it was the main factor - I did an Arvon course with him last month and figured that I should read the books.

I'm quite proud of your nonchalant would-be mugging. I probably would have blubbered and given her the fiver in my wallet.

If the nutter had held a knife on me then I'd have wet myself, handed over everything and then pooed myself (TMI? Probably). But I figured I could handle a bunch of keys.

I hate paying rent though. Feels like such a waste :(

Yes - I feel the same. It's not too bad at the moment because I'm living with my parents, but it was only ever supposed to be a temp thing. And the number of books I keep bringing home is beginning to result in comments ...
ashfae
Jul. 5th, 2010 12:39 pm (UTC)
I remember being completely unable to put down The Knife of Never Letting Go (appropriately enough) but for some reason am extremely reluctant to read the sequel. I'm not sure if I'm afraid it will just consist of more "You like these characters? WATCH ME HURT THEM!! BWHAHAHAA!" or if I'm worried my hands will become actually glued to the book and I'll have to carry it around for the rest of my life. That would be inconvenient.
hooton
Jul. 6th, 2010 09:59 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed the first one (not least beause of the scene that everyone seems to hate but I love because he dared to do it) and I admired the second one but the third left me a bit meh because it was so flabby - I kept thinking he could have chopped bits out and it wouldn't have made much difference.
hecallaghan
Jul. 7th, 2010 09:14 am (UTC)
Congratulations on the mugging repulsion win - my technique normally consists of flailing and wailing until they give up. Yours was much cooler.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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hooton
Caroline Hooton

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