Monday, August 31, 2009

My First Award!

Today is a good day! I have received my first blog award, thanks to Sarbear over at
My Life is an Effing Fairytale.

This award was started by Bookin With BINGO and here are the rules:
This "B-I-N-G-O" BEAUTIFUL BLOG AWARD means that this blog is...
B: Beautiful
I: Informative
N: Neighborly
G: Gorgeous
O: Outstanding

My nominations are as follows (and, might I add, no daubers are necessary here!):

Beautiful: Park Avenue Princess for having a blog fit for a queen.

Informative: Wordsmithonia for informative and fun blogs (and for being way better at Balderdash, I bow to your genius, lol.)

Neighborly: Litandlife for stopping by my blog and making me feel at home

Gorgeous: Life or something like it has a background with gorgeous scenery. I would love to find a place like that, where I could sit with my book in the great outdoors.

Outstanding: J Kaye whose blog is the one I visit most, with great content and contests.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Review: Demons of the Past by Erin Durante

I posted an excerpt to this book last week, which you can link to here: Demons of the Past.

I received a copy of the second book in this series, Stones of Time, from a contest at Goodreads. I hadn't had a chance to start reading it yet when I received this book, the first of the Damewood trilogy, in the mail the following week. I wasn't expecting it, so it was a pleasant surprise, especially because I'm the type of person that likes to read an entire series, in order, when possible. As I read the premise of the book, though, I wasn't sure it was something that I would enjoy, but I decided to give it try.

Princess Nadia is used to court life, castles, princes, the whole bit plus the occasional foray out of the castle to practice her demon fighting skills. Her life is turned upside down when there is a siege on her castle and she (disguised as a knight), along with her horse/best friend, a Kelpie named Vestro, hit the road and join with a crew heading to Ferrington Pass to try to restore order to their quickly crumbling society. Sounds kind of like a typical quest story, right?

Wrong! This story takes place four hundred years after the world has become so technologically advanced that a third world war had erupted and caused it to return to an earlier style of feudal living. Princess Nadia grabs things, during her escape, from the castle Wizard's "lab", unusual things she has never seen before. She has no idea what a lab actually is or what the item is called that has a push down lever with a small wheel that, when activated, emits a flame (that's right, folks, a lighter.)

As I began reading this story, the first thing I noticed was the bad job of proofing that had been done throughout the book. (I'm sorry, I'm a nitpick about grammar and spelling mistakes, that's just the way it is.) I gave myself a pep-talk about how this was the author's first book and moved on (I still mentally edited as I read - it's a compulsion.)

I enjoyed the character development; the two men that are vying for Nadia's attention and her struggles to sort out her own feelings. There were definitely some surprises in the story and, I will give it to Erin Durante, the ending shocked me.

For a first book, I think the story was well planned and fun. There are struggles and fights but also bad pick up lines and a new way to look at things we take for granted in today's society. I'm actually anxious to get into the second book to see where the storyline is headed.

For more information on Erin Durante and the Damewood Trilogy, check out her website here: Enter Damewood

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Friday 56

I found this meme over at The Book Resort (originating from
Storytime with Tonya and Friends)

1- Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
2- Turn to page 56.
3- Find the fifth sentence.
4- Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
5-Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
6- Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

"Driving west on the Eisenhower, I let my thoughts wander.
Where had Laszlo Tot gone his last hours on earth? What had he done? Had he invited death by some act of stupidity?"

206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

Let me just add here: TGIF! Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash, week 3

Here's a weekly meme, originated by Sheila at One Persons Journey through a world of books

Take all those word verifications you get when posting comments on other blogs and make up definitions for them. Here are mine for the past week:

vaket - a valet at 5 star hotels whose sole purpose is the carrying of guests' kites
cacents - a cascading or fading accent, like when someone pretends they are from another country but you notice changes in their voice, the more they speak; particularly used by bar hopping girls with assumed identities to ward off unwanted attention
faramp- 1-the ramp on the far side of the highway, 2- when the amplifier on the teenage kid next door's new stereo gets cranked too far that you can't hear yourself think
derstsb - Welsh word that translates to "that Word Balderdash game is really fun! Thanks Sheila" (there are an astounding number of consonants in Welsh words, have you noticed?)
ovites - an invitation to an outside party
oessec - Latin word meaning "just a sec"
A note to new participants, the more you comment, the more verifications you get which allows you more to work with as well as meeting new people in the blogging world. So, share a comment with me here and post a link on your blog back to me (and as always, props to the creator, see link above.)


While you're browsing around on the blogs, head on over to He Followed Me Home. There's a giveaway happening for a copy of Bend Toward the Sun by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie. Good Luck, all!!

Thoughtful Thursdays

Here's a meme hosted by He Followed Me Home that talks about how books transform our own lives into something different as we read them. When I was younger (and very shy) books were how I dealt with life; I didn't have to deal with real people if my head was in a book. Now, that I'm older and better equipped to deal with the big, bad world, I use books to take me away to a different time/place when actual travel or change of circumstance isn't possible. It's a freedom from the mundane experience of every day life.
This week I'm a princess in a feudal society of the future. The world had become so technologically advanced and overrun with demons that a third world war changed everything, causing the people to revert back to an early way of life (with some magical tech gadgets thrown in.) I've been exposed to court life, with grand ballrooms and princes, etc., and had to flee for my life as my castle was overthrown by the opposers to this "new" way of life. (Coincidentally, I now have a moat in my real life residence. In truth, it's the water tank and air conditioner that have been leaking causing a flood towards the drain which I have to jump over to reach my basement digs, but it adds to the castle illusion, don't you think?)
As my personal moat dries up and I'm nearing the end of Demons of the Past, I look forward to my next adventures as a forensic anthropologist and a teenage singer (not in the same book;-))
Where did your book(s) take you this week? Post a comment and a link on your own blog to this post to let me know and pass on the word. Happy adventuring!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesday

This is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, that features upcoming book releases we can't wait to read (which I found out about over at He Followed Me Home.)

My pick for this week is:

Vampire a Go-Go
by Victor Gischler
Publication date: September 1, 2009

From the Publisher:


Victor Gischler is a master of the class-act literary spoof, and his work has drawn comparison to that of Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut, and Thomas Pynchon. Now, Gischler turns his attention to werewolves, alchemists, ghosts, witches, and gun-toting Jesuit priests in Vampire a Go-Go, a hilarious romp of spooky, Gothic entertainment. Narrated by a ghost whose spirit is chained to a mysterious castle in Prague, Gischler's latest is full of twists and surprises that will have readers screaming --and laughing--for more.

What could be better than a book about supernatural beings written by someone in a league with these illustrious authors? Having just finished reading Christopher Moore, who has also been compared to Vonnegut and Adams, and recently becoming hooked on the HBO series True Blood, it sounds like the perfect combo for me. Serve it up!


Everyone loves contests! And I'm glad to offer them to my wonderful viewers...

Here is a list of giveaways that I'm featuring on my blog:

5 copies of Charlaine Harris' From Dead to Worse (open to Canadian addresses only)
Help me reach 100 Contest! featuring Hush, Hush and Beautiful Creatures and winners choice at Book Depository. Contest update: I've gotten past the 100 mark and am working towards 150 now!

There are some other great contests out in the blogosphere, too:

He Followed Me Home has an ARC + swag up for grabs for Judith Graves' Under My Skin

Book Bound is hosting a fantastic YA contest here:

Book Excerpts

Angel Time by Anne Rice

Demons of the Past by Erin Durante

The Divorce Party by Laura Dave

Trust Me by Peter Leonard

Reviews by Title

206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

9 Dragons by Michael Connelly

And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Demons of the Past by Erin Durante

The Divorce Party by Laura Dave

TheFinancial Lives of Poets by Jess Walters

Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle

Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey

How the Dead Dream by Lydoa Millet

I Am Not A Psychic! by Richard Belzer

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men by Molly Harper

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winter

Trust Me by Peter Leonard

Vampire a Go-Go by Victor Gischler

What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell

Water Witch by Deborah LeBlanc

Reading List

Here's a list up upcoming ARC's that I'll be reviewing in the near future:
Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb
The Wrecker by Clive Cussler
Across the Endless River by Thad Carhart

206 Bones by Kathy Reichs
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
The Divorce Party by Laura Dave
Water Witch by Deborah LeBlanc
Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men by Molly Harper
Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle
Stones of Time by Erin Durante
I Am Not a Psychic by Richard Belzer
What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
9 Dragons by Michael Connelly
Trust Me by Peter Leonard
How the Dead Dream by Lydia Millet
The Financial Lives of Poets by Jess Walters
Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey
And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer
The Brightest Star in The Sky by Marian Keyes
The Dragon Book by Jack Dann
Ten Storey Love Song by Richard Milward
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade

Review Policy

If you are a publisher, publicist, or author and would like me to review a book, please take a few moments to review my guidelines, as follows:

  • I accept ARCs as well as previously released books. I do not review e-books as a rule but will consider it on special request.
  • I will review books within 1-2 months of receipt. If you have a specific deadline in which you would like a review posted, please let me know. I try to to post ARC reviews during the first week of their release.
  • I have fairly eclectic taste in books. Preferred genres are fiction, including general fiction, YA, paranormal fiction and fantasy, historical fiction, and mystery/thriller. I would consider romance, chick-lit and non-fiction on a case-by-case basis.
  • I will review your book honestly, which means I reserve the right to post a glowing review, a less then favorable review or none at all. If I am unable to finish your book I will pass it on to another blogger & contact you with my explanation.
  • In addition to posting my reviews here, on my blog, I am open to posting on and/or,,, and I will also post the review link on Twitter and, in addition to emailing it to book provider.

  • Thank you for your consideration, I look forward to working with you!


    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    Contact Me

    If you would like to contact me, me e-mail address is:

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Book Excerpt - Demons of the Past by Erin Durante

    Demons of the Past: Book One of the Damewood Trilogy by Erin Durante

    From the back cover:


    The technological advances of mankind have flourished beyond expectations and escaped the controlling hands of the human race. Cloned humans and genetically engineered creatures prowl the lands, pushing the earth over the edge to a third World War.

    Four centuries later, the world has regressed to a feudalistic state, unaware of its advanced past. Now, the kingdoms live in fear of mutated "demons", of shadowy forests, and of frosts destroying their spring crops. It is a land where only the secret of society's past is known by a select few - and those few seem to have their own agenda on the upcoming successions of thrones.

    Nadia, the eldest princess of Damewood, flees for her life after her castle is attacked by an underground cult bent on bringing society back to its "roots". Disguising herself as a knight, she joins a hunting party along with her best friend - a demon horse named Vestro with his own dark past - to put an end to the massacres and retrieve a stolen key that will unlock the cult's mysteries and the history of her people.

    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    Word Verification Balderdash, week 2

    Here is my list of this weeks words:

    Tallapoosa - 1- Italian slang word for a tall cat, 2-A Lallapalooza like festival for tall people

    Defre- (pron. de-free) When you defer a deferment for so long that a payment is no longer necessary

    Chists - Alternate term to describe man-boobs

    Ossess- the obsessive act of spending Friday to Wednesday each week attempting to define previously undefined verification words for the blogger's Balderdash

    This game comes courtesy of Sheila at One Persons Journey through a world of books.

    To play along, take the verification words you come across while commenting on other blogs and make up definitions for them. It's a weekly post, so if you're new, start now! Have fun with it (It's harder than it sounds, I think).

    See here for last weeks definitions: Much A'Blog About Nothing

    Books, Books, Surrounded by Books...

    I found this meme at Alexia's Books and Such and wanted to throw my two cents in.

    Like any good book lover, I do indeed have piles of books all over the place. I'm in a temporary living space and had been trying to keep my books in boxes, ready to move again when the time came. But this didn't last long (I needed my books around me!) and as the boxes were opened, the stacks started piling high (around my bed). I decided to go out to purchase a(nother) bookcase to try to alleviate the problem, only to end up with the shelves full and piles of books on top of it, instead of the lovely vignette I had planned with candles and pictures, etc. (Note: the bookcase is two feet away from my bed, so easy to reach the books, leaving just enough room to walk)

    So I offer my list of 10 of the books on top of the bookcase (rather than the 50 or so actually on the shelves):

    1-Wicked by Gregory Maguire (borrowed from He Followed Me Home
    2-Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
    3-The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
    4-Demons of the Past by Erin Durante
    5-Stones of Time by Erin Durante
    6-Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
    7-The Kite Runner by Khaled Husseini
    8-The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
    9-Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
    10-The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    While not having ten books close to you by no means exempts you from bibliophile status - I'm sure there's plenty of book lovers out there that borrow from the library and return in a timely fashion, I'm just not one of them (read: always return late) - it is interesting to see what we all have lying around. What's on your list? Can you reach from where you are right now? Let me know.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    The BBC challenge

    A meme from Book Ends at: is the same as one I just found on Facebook last week. So, in the spirit of good reading, I'll share it here, too.

    The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up? Look at the list and put an 'X' after those you have read. Tag other book fans to compare.

    1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - x
    2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien - TBR
    3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - own, TBR
    4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling - x
    5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - x
    6 The Bible - on page 2
    7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte - own, TBR
    8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell -x
    9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman -
    10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens -x
    11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott -
    12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy –x
    13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller -
    14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - own, TBR
    15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier -
    16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien - TBR
    17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk -
    18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger -TBR
    19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger -x
    20 Middlemarch - George Eliot -
    21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell -
    22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - x
    23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens -TBR
    24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy- own, TBR
    25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - TBR
    27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky -own, TBR
    28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck -
    29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll -x
    30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame -
    31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy - own, TBR
    32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens -own, TBR
    33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis - TBR
    34 Emma - Jane Austen - own, TBR
    35 Persuasion - Jane Austen -own, TBR
    36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis -TBR
    37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini - own, TBR
    38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres -
    39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden -own, TBR
    40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne - own
    41 Animal Farm - George Orwell -
    42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - x
    43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -
    44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving -
    45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins-
    46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery -x
    47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy -
    48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood -
    49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding -X
    50 Atonement - Ian McEwan - 1/3 read
    51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel -TBR
    52 Dune - Frank Herbert -
    53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons -
    54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen -own, TBR
    55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth -
    56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon -own, TBR
    57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens -own, TBR
    58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley -x
    59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon -TBR
    60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -x
    61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck -TBR
    62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov -
    63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt -
    64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold -TBR
    65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas -own, TBR
    66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac -
    67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy -
    68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding -TBR (watched the movie many times, though)
    69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie –
    70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville -own
    71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens -own
    72 Dracula - Bram Stoker - own
    73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett -
    74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson -
    75 Ulysses - James Joyce -
    76 The Inferno – Dante -
    77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome -
    78 Germinal - Emile Zola -
    79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray -
    80 Possession - AS Byatt -
    81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens -
    82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell -
    83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker -
    84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro -
    85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert -own
    86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry -
    87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White - x
    88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom - x
    89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -own
    90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton -
    91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad -
    92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery -
    93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks -
    94 Watership Down - Richard Adams -
    95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole -
    96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute -
    97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas - own
    98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare - x
    99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl -
    100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo -own(?)

    My score: 17/100

    What I personally get from this is that I have the best of intentions but really need to get a move on reading the classics. At least I own a bunch of them. (I added my own's and TBR's but, obviously, didn't include them in the count.)

    I'm curious though about the author of this particular list. When I goggled the actual BBC list, it comes up slightly different, as you can see here: I found it odd that the above list contained individual books as well as compilations for some authors. (ie. Hamlet/Shakespeare collected works). Whichever list you choose, let us know how you're doing in comparison.

    Next list up for me: 1001 Books to Read Before you Die. I'm going to try to find the definitive guide to this one.

    YA Giveaway

    I've been browsing around the book blogs and found a link to this site:

    Karen Mahoney

    So head on over and check it out!

    Friday, August 14, 2009

    Book Excerpt - The Divorce Party

    Here is an excerpt from The Divorce Party by Laura Dave. I have a copy on its way to me and will post my review once I've read it. So far, the premise sounds pretty good. What do you think?

    Montauk, New York, 1938
    by Laura Dave,
    Author of The Divorce Party: A Novel

    It is bizarre, of course, that this was the summer that everyone was trying to fly somewhere. Howard Hughes around the world in ninety-one hours, the luxurious Yankee Clipper boat off the water and into the air, Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan from New York to Los Angeles -- he wound up in Ireland. It was also the summer after Superman first appeared in Action Comics and instant coffee got popular, and the last full summer before the worst war. But they'd talk about the flights first. They'd say, how odd, for everyone to have spent so much time staring up at the sky, and to still not see it coming: a hurricane so punishing that it would destroy America's eastern seaboard, biting off the farthest tip of eastern Long Island, biting off a town called Montauk, and leaving it detached from the world, an island, alone, in the middle of the ocean.

    It was September, only the last vestiges of summer remaining, when the hurricane hit. No one on Long Island knew that a storm was coming that afternoon. That the army would have to come in to resurrect the land that had once connected Montauk to the rest of Long Island. That it would take two weeks before the waters receded low enough at Napeague to let through emergency traffic. That Montauk residents would lose almost everything.

    In the end, there were only a few exceptions. Near Montauk Point, there were seven houses tucked so tightly to the bluffs that the wind and the rain and the water couldn't pull them down. Seven sister houses built by the same architecture firm in 1879, lived in each summer since by the same seven Manhattan families. Their steely gates and strong foundations completely intact.

    Their fireplaces and oak doors and stained-glass windows marking them, homes like trophies, on top of the end of the world.

    The one at the farthest eastern tip was called Huntington Hall -- Hunt Hall by anyone who'd actually visited. It was the only house of the seven still occupied that late in September. And occupying it was Champ Nathaniel Huntington. Champ was thirty-three years old, and far too handsome, and a little too tall, and the only son of Bradley Huntington, the most successful publishing mogul in North America. When the hurricane hit, Champ Huntington was having sex.

    Lights on. Curtains drawn. Angry, late-afternoon sex. Anna was bent over the side of the bed, Champ behind her, his hand cupping her throat.

    They had been out here all summer having sex like this. They were trying to save their marriage. And they were trying to destroy it.

    Outside was all water and raging dark and storm. But in his faded consciousness, Champ didn't notice. He knew it was raining. He heard it striking against the roof. He heard the wind. But this was Montauk. It was September. These sounds didn't indicate that something brutal was happening.

    Other things were brutal. This first year of marriage. It was wrong. Anna's dark hair in the sink. The meetings he didn't really have. He bent down farther, took her ear in his mouth.

    "Don't," she said. She was focused, close. "Stop."

    When they were done, they lay, splayed, Anna on the bed, Champ on the floor beneath her. Her foot was on his shoulder. This was the only place they were touching. He almost reached out, held her toes. But he knew it just made her mad when he did anything tender. It made her think he'd change, or want to try for her.

    Then and only then did Champ sit up and look outside. And maybe it was that his head was still closed off, but what he saw out there looked like a train crashing into the window. It was the visual that made him hear the noise. The terrible whistling, high pitched and out of control. Hearing it, he'd later say, was the moment his life changed.

    He headed to the bedroom window, naked, and had to reach out, grip the long edge of the window frame to hold himself up. He couldn't see the beach, or the ocean. He couldn't see anything at first.

    Anna came up behind him, wrapped in the bedsheet, and they stood there watching the train-wind through the window. They watched so hard that they didn't talk. Not about the speed of the wind or the trees breaking apart or what must have been happening in the town center. If they had been thinking, they might have moved away from the window. They might have been scared that it would splinter. But they stood there until the storm stopped, and started, and stopped for good. And the greenish yellow sky turned purple and then black and the sun (or was it the moon?) rose up, terrifying. It was the sun. They had watched through the night.

    "What time is it?" she asked.

    He didn't answer her.

    "What do we do now?" she said.

    Champ was already in motion. He was putting on clothes and lacing up his work boots and walking out the front door. He made his way, by foot, across his land, down the slippery bluffs and tree-wrecked cliffs onto the flooded Napeague stretch and down farther to Main Street. Three and a half miles. Into the center of the ruined village.

    There were fishing boats and cars piled on small houses. Fallen phone lines pulling down torn roofs. Poles and flooded cabinets and bed frames lining the street. Water was flowing from everywhere, making it hard to even walk down the streets -- where did it start? If they figured out where it started maybe they could stop it!

    Champ pulled up his pant legs and made his way to the Manor, where people were setting up shelter, where they were trying to provide relief for themselves. And Champ set to work with the other men moving cars and carrying wet wood and boarding windows and drying blankets and cleaning up slabs of broken glass.

    How could he explain it even to himself? He didn't recognize the feeling, had never known it before. But something broke free in Champ -- something like devotion or commitment -- to his home, to his suffering town, to everything around him. Maybe this is why, when he finished working, he didn't head home, but down to the docks, where he sat on canisters with all the fishermen, who now had nothing, and listened to them talk about how they had nothing, and stared at his own cut hands, and watched the moon rise, white and fierce, remarkably sure of itself.

    Then he followed the star-line north and east, trying to locate it. First Montauk Point, then the cliff and the bluffs, then the house itself. His house. Huntington Hall. Standing tall, oblivious.
    It was hard to find his way back there in the dark. So he followed the defeated shoreline, and eventually made his way up the wooden staircase, into the bluffs, toward his home, where everything was still mostly together. Where Anna was waiting with lit candles and tomato sandwiches, dark blankets spread out on the living room floor.

    When he walked in, she was by the front door. She was wearing a long, purple sweater. She had her hair in a bun. She reached for him, and he buried into her neck, smelled her.

    "How was town?" she asked, her hand still on his chest. "I tried to pick up news on the radio, but there was no reception. Is there a town left?"

    He didn't answer her, but he was looking at her strangely. And he knew that she knew he was looking at her strangely. It was as simple as this: he could see her. For the first time in a year, there was nowhere else he was trying to be.
    Which brought him to his own questions: Why did it take fear to move him? Why does it take chaos to make us understand exactly what we need to do?
    He wanted to ask her his questions, but he wasn't sure she would have good answers, and then he would change his mind, and he didn't want to change his mind. He wanted to stay this sure.
    Later, only thirty hours since he had last been lying there, they were lying on the floor together, facing each other. And in that strange way that we make decisions, the important decisions that ultimately make us, Champ decided that they were going to stay in Montauk full time. No more New York City.
    This had become their home.

    He turned and looked outside at the slowly recovering world. At the backlit colors in the sky, on his lawn. And he knew the truth. The main truth, at least. This house had saved them. This big, beautiful cottage, which stayed big and beautiful despite the destruction all around. Its stern banisters and wood ceilings and determined rafters. The house had saved him, and he wasn't
    going to forget it.

    He was going to build his life here, right here, in the name of love and honor and what ever else he was feeling, even if he couldn't name it for what it was: exhaustion.

    He was, finally, exhausted.

    He looked Anna right in the eye. "Things are going to be different," he said.

    She nodded.

    "I'm staying," he said, because they'd talked about the opposite, earlier, before -- his leaving her, and here.

    "Why?" she said.

    "I want to," he said.

    She got quiet. "You're going to disappoint me," she said.

    "Probably." He was trying to make a joke, but it didn't come out that way. He tried again. "I think it's going to turn out okay," he said.

    "Starting when?" she asked. "Ending when?"

    Then, as if it were an answer, he pulled her in close to him, without reluctance, without anything like fear. "This house," he said, "will see love. This house will see everything."
    Copyright © Laura Dave, 2008 All rights reserved

    Author Bio
    Laura Dave is the author of the acclaimed novels The Divorce Party and London Is the Best City in America. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Glamour, Self, Redbook, ESPN the Magazine, and The New York Observer. Dave graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. In August, Cosmopolitan magazine named her as one of the eight "Fun and Fearless Phenoms" of 2008. She lives in California.
    For more information, please visit

    Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    A Work in Progress

    I've been blogging now for about a month and have decided to refine my approach a little. Previously, my blogs could be found here at: but I felt that I should keep my book reviews, lists, etc., separate from my other thoughts, rants, stuff in general. So, here is my new blog dedicated only to the subject of books. I am working out a few kinks to give it a much better look, so stayed tuned, there is definitely more to come.
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