Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Book That Melted My Heart





5 Stars


As I sit here trying to think of something to say, I am remind of the phrase, 'It's the thought that counts'. We say it often, mostly in defense of a harmless gift or situation gone awry. "I know it's not what you wanted... But it's the thought that counts!"

"I couldn't afford the best... But it's the thought that counts!"

It can be sweet when someone completely screws up something special, but they really had the best intentions at heart. So we give them the benefit of the doubt. You may be disappointed, but they honestly meant for the best, right?

Funny, how we can attribute our thoughts and intentions to be more important, endearing even, than our actions when it suits us. We even have greeting cards - 'Thinking of you!' - for the purpose of cheering someone up. It's nice, right? Being thought of. Knowing someone has you in mind, even if they can't be there physically.

It's the thought that counts.

Autopsy Bliss thought his advertisement was harmless. He had a question and wanted to know the answer. Mr. Elohim meant no harm spreading his ideas throughout the town. He only wanted to create a common goal for the good of all. Sal never thought his words would cause such suffering. He was only trying to find a place to belong. Fielding said nothing. He thought he'd have more time.

Their intentions were harmless. Their actions, nothing of note. But the result... The result was a thousand puddles on a road to no escape.

The Summer That Melted Everything is an emotional and deeply thought provoking story. A very sobering look into the mindset of America's past and the racism and prejudice that's still alive today. Though we may have dropped the elicit slurs as every day language, it's difficult to deny the truth of prejudice as it exists today. Think about it, we had to create laws to protect individuals rights to simply exist as they are. It's difficult to read, it's difficult to think about and to remember, but this book reflects the way things were in the 80's, and shows how much further we have to go. And to think things were much so worse even before that time.

It's always difficult to look in the mirror and count the mistakes wrinkling your face, the gray hairs beginning to surround you. Fielding could never look past them. He could never look back on life and be thankful for what he has now. It was all too much, his whole life melting away in the heat of the summer when the devil came to Breathed. And that's where our story begins - at the end. Fielding looks back on his life and remembers everything he wishes he could forget. His life is a beautifully tragic tale and I just don't have the words to describe the complexity and depth of this book.

I read another review that stated they could not believe this was a debut novel and I have to say I agree. The book was so well written, the story laid out to perfection, the message perfectly plain and easily relatable. It was sad, yet beautiful, hopeful, but also tragic, sobering, as well as inspiring. Again, it was emotional. A very worthwhile, and almost necessary read!

I spoke with the author, Tiffany McDaniel, and asked her a few questions. I think she can say more clearly what I can't.

Q&A with Tiffany McDaniel

Tiffany, your art is emotional and quite moving. The Melt is a piece I would definitely hang in my home. How much does your artwork influence your writing, or does your writing influence your artwork?

First off, thank you for the kind compliments of my art.  And for saying you’d hang one of my paintings in your house.  That’s definitely an honor.  I’m undeserving of it for sure, but definitely an honor for someone to accept your art in a way they bring it into their home and into the whole of their lives.  To answer your question, art, and not just my art, does fuel my creative juices.  You look at a painting or a sculpture or even a charcoal drawing on a brown paper bag, and you can’t help but be moved by the ability of the human hand to craft emotion, hope, dreams, and desire.  I read a book once that said what sets us different from the animals is the moment the woman or man in the cave began to draw the images on the cave walls.  The fact that our experience of life involved art and that that was what pushed forth our evolution into the species we are today.  Art has been with us since the beginning, and it’ll be with us to the end.

I tend to only paint the characters and scenes from my novel after I’ve completed the novel, just because I need to create them through story before I create them through image.  So my writing does influence my artwork more than vice versa.  Once I have that story in my head, the canvas is that which I let out the visuals in my head upon.  It’s in essence, another dimension to the story.  A story I can sit back and see in its own good time.  

How do you use your art to move your story along? Is a tool you use for writers block?

Art is definitely a way to motivate oneself to be creative.  There’s an ease with art and for me it doesn’t come with the same pressure as writing the perfect sentence, because with art perfection is thrown out the window.  Art is made of crooked lines and errors even, and in these faults the beauty breathes.  Art teaches me to let my writing breath as well.

The devil tells his own parables to the people of Breathed. Did you choose this way of telling his story because of his former relationship with God and it mimics the tellings in the bible? Are there lessons to be learned here?

To answer your first question, yes, Sal’s story-telling definitely parallels the story-telling proportions in the bible.  The bible is epic at its best, so I had to be just as definite in the way Sal tells his own stories.  Not to say Sal is definitely the devil, but he speaks in a way that being the devil is not far-fetched.  His intellect and his verse support the idea that he is the devil.  But his ‘devil’ is unique.  He’s a devil that we humans can relate to.  He tells stories of emotion and weakness as well the ability to lose.  And those are all things we can relate to.  To answer your second question, there are lessons to be learned.  I always say just because someone is called the ‘devil’ doesn’t mean they are the devil.  It’s up to us to push past stereotypes and racist agendas to listen to the person, to understand the significance of their existence and to draw our own conclusions, away from that herd mentality.  

Is the devil really to blame for the world melting? 

I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but I think (and hope) readers will come upon the opinion at the end of reading the novel that the devil we think exists in that metaphorical sense is not some red demon with horns and a pitchfork.  That he looks just like one of us.  That he hides in all of us.  That the melting comes from our own heat.

What, or who, inspired the elderly character of Fielding Bliss?

I always say the characters are themselves.  None of them are inspired by anyone else.  To me, my characters are very real.  It’s almost as if I’m just the vessel through which they pass to get into our world.  Their lives for me do not start with the first page of the book, nor end with the last page.  They’ve had life before that first page, they have life after.  So much dialogue between them no will ever read.  Holidays and moments shared between them, just like we have shared between us.  They are their own characters, their own truths, and I only hope I’ve told them as honestly as I can.

Do you believe in happy endings? That it's possible to look back on life and be thankful for the trials that brought you to wear you ended up?

Great question.  True happy endings are definitely possible, but I think for most of those who go through tragic trials or heartache, their happy ending isn’t really happiness but acceptance and ownership of the pain and the suffering.  I think it’s the human defense mechanism.  That we accept our scars and our pains in a way that brings us peace.  In the case of Old Fielding in the novel, he’s fighting against that peace.  He’s willing to give himself to the fold of guilt and in that ending, he has his truth.  I’m not saying those who go through terrible things will not have a happy ending, but I do think most movies and books have trained us into thinking we’ll all walk off in to the sunset.  Some of us do, but within the confines of reality, not all of us do get that happy ending or that acceptance that brings our trials and tribulations into the positive light we can move on with.

You have a contest coming up, right? How can we win goodies?!

The pre-order contest is happening right now!  It’s a great way to thank all those who have pre-ordered or intend to pre-order the novel, as pre-ordering is such a great way to help a debut novel out.  You can learn about the rules and prizes at the link here:

http://www.tiffanymcdaniel.com/the-contest/

Up for grabs is a chance to win one of three audio books of The Summer that Melted Everything.  The audio book published by Blackstone Audio, a wonderful audio publisher, and narrated by award-winning narrator Mark Bramhall.  It’s a great compliment to the novel itself.  Other prizes up for grabs is one of seven of my favorite books.  To name a few: Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, among others.  And finally there is also the chance to win one of 100 limited editions prints of my original watercolor painting, Slipping Away.  The print is signed by me, and all prizes come with a handwritten note from me to the winner.  All told 110 prizes are up for grabs, and a great chance for me to thank those who did pre-order.  


Thank you so much Tiffany for the book and the chance to review your first novel!



Saturday, June 18, 2016

Antiques Roadshow; My Nerdiness Knows No Bounds

I have no idea how I am able to get online right now with this insane storm happening outside, but I am going with it because I am totally psyched about what happened today!

I have always loved the Antiques Roadshow. I've watched it for years, YEARS. I was a toddler sitting in front of that tv, glued to PBS and all the beautiful treasures I saw, dreaming of the day I'd have something worthy of getting on the show.

I couldn't believe it when I, simply by chance and boredom, looked up this years tour schedule and saw they were coming to Orlando! THE ANTIQUES ROADSHOW COMING TO ORLANDO!

I HAD to apply for tickets.

Often, when my son was much younger, we would visit flea markets and antique stores to get out of the house and see just what treasures were to be found. I never typically buy anything, I always imagine the pieces I pass up will sit on a shelf covered with fancy knickknacks and memorabilia and fill the hearts of dedicated collectors and dreamers. I suppose I simply hadn't found my soul yet.

(If you haven't read Secondhand Souls, then you should. Mainly because you'll understand where I'm coming from)

One day, when checking out my favorite booth, a corner stall filled with fancy furniture that always seemed to delicate to actually use, I found this painting.

           The Fisherman's Pride                                      Me and my little blonde baby boy
                                             (circa 1880-1900)

And I just stopped. And stared. I couldn't believe it. It was like staring into a mirror, an alternate universe. Another time where I was a fisherman's wife and our blonde headed son was adorably clinging to me!

I have no idea how long I stared... I'm pretty sure the security guards were watching me closely, but I knew I had to have it.

I have been asked so many times who painted a portrait of me and my son. They just couldn't believe it wasn't me! I know it's not an absolute exact liking, but it sure as hell fooled me and quite a few of my friends and family.

I finally had a treasure.

I knew, for the past few years, that I wanted to take it to the Antiques Roadshow. I didn't care if it was worth anything, I had never had anything worth taking and I just wanted to take my print that I am so proud of and live out my childhood fantasy! Don't you dare laugh at me ;) As I said, I've been watching this show for over 25 years and never dreamed I'd ever have anything beautiful enough, interesting enough, or worthy to attend a filming.

So when I applied for the Orlando taping, I crossed my fingers and begged to let this be my opportunity. I wanted to go so bad. I was absolutely floored when my tickets arrived!



I believe there was a little tear action going on...

The show was this morning! I took my stepdad for Fathers Day, and though we are no richer in the bank than before we attended, I am so much richer in spirit. It was an absolute dream come true. I got to see backstage, upfront views of how everything works. I got to see people filmed to air on an episode. I got to see so many insanely beautiful antiques and a thousand smiling faces. It was absolutely wonderful.

Yes, we stood in line forever, but you would not believe how happy everyone was. Everyone spoke quietly, waited patiently, shared their stories. It was so much fun, and you get to see so much more than they show in each episode!

My appraiser was Nicholas Lowry, a man with a sense of style and confidence I could never achieve. He was so much fun and I really don't think anyone other than him could have pulled off that red plaid suit...

I met people who had been to over 6 tapings, having won tickets to several different states. People follow the show around on tour applying for tickets in every state! One woman said she'd been applying to receive tickets for years and finally made it. And here I made it my first time! I am so incredibly lucky and so insanely happy I got to go. I wish I could have stayed longer!

I was so disappointed when I was unable to wait in line for a t-shirt, we were already late in leaving, but it turns out, twitter is some form of an internet god because Liberty Mutual found out I was unable to get a shirt and they're sending me one! I about cried again. I cannot wait for that shirt to arrive. I am so thankful to Liberty Mutual for helping me out and for Antiques Roadshow for having me on the show today!

I did not get my million dollar ticket, but i had so much fun. Since I wasn't filmed I am free to share with you my experience and my print I love so much. I didn't make it to the Feedback Booth either, but maybe some day I'll try my luck again and make sure I have the entire day free :D




Friday, June 17, 2016

Nevernight: Never Flinch, Never Fear, and Never, EVER, Forget to Preorder



5 STARS

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?


ZOUNDS PEOPLE! This is a damn good book... Where to begin, and how to keep the all-caps screaming to a minimum...

If you've never read Jay Kristoff, there are a few things you need to know.

Lesson #1 for reading Jay Kristoff's books: Jay likes to kill people. So don't get attached. Your favorite character probably isn't going to make it and will probably die suddenly, epically, and with no real closure... Jay accepts any and all complaints about this on any social media outlet, feel free to yell at him. These are considered compliments, so be be warned; he will respond with laughter and a halfhearted apology.

Probably not even halfhearted...

Lesson #2: Jay's soul belongs to the damned who have put in his charge dragging the souls of the innocent into the depths wherein lies pain, misery, agony, and viral cat videos. He will not be free until he has delivered enough of the world's suffering, and frankly I believe he's so corrupted by now he no longer wishes to be free, so he now writes New York Times Bestsellers to make thousands upon thousands of readers cry, choking and sobbing on their pain, until their souls are lost forever to him and his damned beautiful tragedies he calls 'books'.

You will experience feels.

Lesson #3-and this is important: He will never, EVER, stop.

Seeing as how I have deeply fallen victim to his marvelous treachery, and my soul is now lost among the thousands of others, I'm alright with this.

Now that you have been warned, proceed with this review at your own risk, because I am suggesting you give in and read it. You do not want to miss out on this book. PLUS, if you pre-order in the US the book will come SIGNED! Order from any of your usual booksellers, and BOOM, signed. Pretty freaking sweet, right?

Now to convince you to read the book.

The cast is quite sarcastic and witty as I've come to expect from Jay. The banter between acolytes can be playful and amusing, and just about the only thing left innocent about them. They are at a school to become murderers after all... It's nice, as they are occasionally, and oh so horribly reminded, to have a glimpse of life outside killing and worshipping a goddess of death and Jay lets us enjoy some great moments of youth and comraderie.

I think it will be fascinating to see what these acolytes become throughout the series. They are still young and hopeful, for now (even if that hope for the future is to murder someone they've been praying to kill for most of their lives...), but we can clearly see that their trainers are so accustomed to death that they no longer care about the lives of others. It's an intriguing comparison. The acolytes on that same path as their Shahiid's with little chance they will retain much of themselves outside of death and murder.

Except, perhaps, for Mia.

Mia Corvere is a very interesting character. All anyone sees at first is a nonchalant, angry, fierceness of 'not giving a f*%&ery', and she's happy to leave their opinion of her at that. She seems the perfect murderess; emotionless, driven, willing to do whatever it takes to become a full fledged Blade.

Never Flinch.

But, that cold, external demeanor isn't really who she is... There's a reason she appears that way, and even she, at times, questions whether that is who she really wants to be, or who she should be. There are moments, few and far between, when she sees past her own mask and remembers she's more than a cold hearted killer, that there's something deeper, another part of her that does, in fact, feel and want and need and those are things she needs to hold on to. That she wants to hold on to. But, when she follows that path, that's when the fear comes. When she's the uncaring part of herself, she's focused, driven, unafraid and she works toward her goal of revenge undistracted and with maximum effort. If the fear slips in, she will be consumed by it.

Never Fear.

There are things serving the goddess Niah will take from her, and Mia isn't sure she's willing to give them so easily, but she also wants to forget. Memories need to be resolved, feelings need exploring. Things she has put off for far too long and now she finds she doesn't know how to live any other way than hiding behind her gifts and the wall of revenge she's built around herself. She allows her memories, emotions, cares to be pushed aside, with a little aid from a unique presence, and when it's gone she tries to forget.

Never Forget.

I love how Jay cuts through the bullshit of his own characters. They try to be so strong while working through some serious emotional issues... They're screwed up little crazies trying to become expert murderers. Aa help us...

The side characters deserve their own books and we know something deeply seeded drives them just as hard as Mia. Jay so flawlessly puts their doubts and weaknesses on display, ocassionally in a way that you really just have to laugh at their misfortunes. There's real hurt behind every one of them making them very real, very easy to pity. It's difficult not to be understanding and feel sorry for even the most villainous of characters.

But seriously, try not to get attached. I disregarded my own rules and hoped... And lost my favorite character.

I'm still pretty pissed about it...

There's always something unexpected about Jay's books. My jaw literally dropped as I read the first few chapters and realized what he was doing. I had to go back and re-read, several times, to fully understand my serious case of deja vu happening and then I just sat stunned for awhile. It was beautiful, a really beautiful comparison of the aspects of Mia's life and her experiences. It continues on in this way, though much more subtle as the book continues.

The entire book is a subtle comparison between the two sides of her. A glimpse at what she would have been, or I suppose should have been, had her life turned out differently. Her life would have been a stark contrast against the murderess she has allowed herself to become.

Another interesting factor to the book are the foot notes. Do not forget to read the foot notes! A narrator fills in a few blanks, like what a turn of phrase really means, or what is significant about a gesture. Some of these get a little lengthy, a few times they cut into the action right where you really don't want them to, but there are fascinating facts about Mia's world contained within them and a lot of them will make you laugh. And you need to laugh while you still can... because Jay is not even close to being done.

About the sex that's been mentioned... I'll leave that up to your imaginations for now. Mister Kristoff provides plenty of details on his own... I will say, however, when you reach the halfway point, I wouldn't read much in public anymore. That made for the most awkward playdate at the mall ever. I to had to put the book down and be social during precious reading time I rarely get without a child asking me for something. I do not like being social :/


And as for page 382 (553 UK version)...


You have been warned.


Only question now is how do I wait patiently for book 2???


Don't Forget to Pre-order!




About the Author


Jay Kristoff is a New York Times and international bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. He grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. He spent most of his formative years locked in his bedroom with piles of books, or gathered around dimly-lit tables rolling polyhedral dice. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of.

His LOTUS WAR trilogy was critically acclaimed in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, nominated for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards and won the 2014 Aurealis Award. Jay’s new series, the SciFi thriller THE ILLUMINAE FILES, was co-authored with Amie Kaufman. Book 1, ILLUMINAE, became a New York Times and international bestseller, was named among the Kirkus, Amazon and YALSA Best Books of 2015 and won the 2016 Aurealis Award and an ABIA Book of the Year award. ILLUMINAE is currently slated to be published in twenty five countries, and film rights have been acquired by Brad Pitt and Plan B Entertainment.

Jay’s new fantasy series, THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE, commences with book 1, NEVERNIGHT, from St Martins Press/Thomas Dunne Books and Harper Voyager in 2016. A new YA series, LIFEL1K3 has also been acquired by Knopf/Random House Kids, and commences publication in 2018. Jay is as surprised about all this as you are. He is represented by Josh Adams at Adams Literary.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13,030 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Understanding Exposure


4 stars

I studied photography for most of my life, my photography bio on any of my pages states that I started at the age of 13 and never looked back. I saved up all my birthday and Christmas money for two years to buy my first SLR and went on to receive a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography. A few years after graduating I hit a bit of a slump. Life got harder and I tried to work photography into my schedule at every opportunity, I still do, but it's difficult to play around with your camera settings and move into a deeper field of vision with your work when you only have so much time for photography. You have to go with whatever lighting handed to you during your free time and when a three year old keeps jumping in the shot, it makes producing and real body of work nearly impossible.

There is a lot of emotion in art. When you're not in the mood, it's just not going to happen. Nothing will turn out right, nothing will seem satisfying and the easiest thing to do is give up.

It's difficult for a single mom to do anything, and being enthusiastic about creativity while trying to find out who's paying the bills? Forget it. I've been uninspired and frankly uninterested in producing more mediocre bodies of work when a babysitter costs money I don't have and my child tries to run every time I turn my back for five seconds to take a shot. 

I spent so much time working on my art, so much time studying the subtle changes in contrast, lighting, and composition and it all seemed wasted for so long. I guess I needed a kick in the pants to not give up entirely and to look forward to what can become of my artwork. So I picked up this book. Not necessarily for inspiration, but to remind me of what can be done with a simple change in camera settings so I can quickly and more readily get the exposure I desire while still keeping track of a rambunctious three year old.

Understanding Exposure is a technical manual designed to help photographers get back to the basics of SLR cameras. I was hoping the book would touch a bit on basic cameras like point and shoots or iPhones, just to acknowledge them in the context of 'any camera' in the statement that this book will aid you in taking great photos with any camera, but this book is strictly a guide for photographers using professional equipment.

Art comes from all forms and in all mediums. I understand this book is directed at traditional photography equipment, so if you're like me and love to whip your phone out at every opportunity, I would say you're better off with a book about composition/lighting, or a book with a good debate about what is art and how to find your artistic vision. 

If you're looking for something to inspire you, I suppose in a way this book is inspiring in such that it gives you the building blocks to create more complex and compelling images. This is a start up lesson in all the functions of the camera. It will require a bit of study if you're unfamiliar with a camera, but everything you need is there and well defined.

I do have to disagree on one point, the author explains white balance and suggests you get the white balance correct in shot, but it can always be fixed in photoshop. There are handy fixes photoshop allows and it's a fantastic tool to give life to a photograph, but extremely incorrect white balance cannot be fixed in photoshop. The white balance always needs to be close to on point. If you fix anything in photoshop that requires an extreme change the photo will appear grainy, sometimes blurry and the work is ruined. 

Other than that, this book is a very useful tool as a reminder of how the camera works, how different settings can affect a photo in camera, and I really appreciated the flash tips, because photographing with flash is difficult and takes years of study to get it right. I prefer all natural lighting and photographing landscapes/waterscapes, not only to avoid artificial flash, but because that's where my heart lies. Still, I do occasionally do portraiture for friends and family so learning about the flash is very helpful.

Beauty comes in all forms and sometimes from the most unique places. Photographers have fought a long, hard battle to have their work recognized as true art, and believe me, if you put a camera in the hands of an artist of another medium and have a good old competition to see who turns up the better work of art, they will succeed their previous views on whether photography is a true art form. There is a lot of work put into each photo, so much that needs to be addressed before hitting that button. It's not just dumb luck and being in the right place at the right time. It takes time and study and practice and most of all it takes heart.

Understanding Exposure is a useful tool for any photographer, even if you're just brushing up on your skills. Its good to step back and have a second look at your work and the way you work. I'm going to give the book another read and make a plan for my next shoot. Now I just have to get out there and get going again...

This book was given to me for review by Blogging for Books.

About the Author of Understanding Exposure



BRYAN PETERSON is a professional photographer, an internationally known instructor, and the best-selling author of Understanding ExposureUnderstanding Shutter Speed,  Learning to See CreativelyUnderstanding Digital Photography, and Beyond Portraiture. In addition, he is the founder of the online photography school The Perfect Picture School of Photography (www.ppsop.com). He lives in Chicago.
I do have a webpage for my photography, but I never really share my work anymore as I am still revising my purpose for my art. Since I just reviewed a book on photography however, I think now is as good a time as any to share a bit. My last gallery exhibition was several years ago. I won a few awards while in college, one just after graduating, none since having the little one. I have a body of work called Fallen that I'm still working on and plan to exhibit some day when it's finished. It's just not quite there yet (says the perfectionist). So here is some of my work, some are with a DSLR, some are from my iPhone. 
I am a firm believer that art is art, no matter the format or medium used. I am a huge fan of my iPhone. The cameras have improved tremendously and it's a great outlet for creating art while out and about with my son. It's a very useful tool that can create some fantastic images. All art needs is a willing participant with a vision and a tool, no fancy, expensive equipment required.
If you want to see more of my iPhone photography, I post iPhone photos only on instagram (@chasingthewindphoto)
Though I do plan to create a collection of my iPhone works to display.


















Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Fireman


4 Stars

I don't hate the book.

Just have to make that clear from the start because I'm a little amped up.

No, it's not the book I hate, it's the people in the camp. The insane, blindly following group of idiots that have banded together behind their own sense of morality and no one is going to tell them their wrong.

And why does that piss me off?

Because I AM Harper. That's exactly what my role would be in this scenario-the only person still maintaining an opinion contrary to the popular kids. I relate too much to her, I've been through too similar a situation (minus the fire starting infection) and I'm just really ticked off! It's a giant clique, if you're not with them, you're against them and that means you deserve death.

It hurts, I'm getting physically pains in my body reading and seeing where these disaster survivors are heading. They're ready to kill people, other people who need as much help as they do, just to prove something, to prove they're just as loyal as the next person in camp.

Joe is absolutely right-in this kind of scenario this is exactly what would happen. It's not humans against the spore-it's still just humans against humans. Those who learned to live with it, those who can't, and those who take advantage and hide behind religious fanaticism and believe all their actions are sanctioned by some higher power and therefore they're better than everyone else, DIVINELY so, even.

I understand that it's states the spore is partially to blame, it's need to be accepted by the host and therefore accepted by those who could harm the host, but it's just all too true. This is life people. One long quest to fit in and proving you're just as good as all the other people who don't think they're good enough. It's too true, too much idiocy, for me to handle. I prefer a bit more magic and daydreaming in my books. 

The story is good, it's a unique illness with an interesting turn, but when I'm angry the entire time reading it, I just can't fully enjoy it. Yes, it's a long book by page number, but it's an even longer book when you can't punch the idiot that's pissing you off in the story. There were moments that lightened the load and I enjoyed the Firemans role in the story very much, but at the moment I'm still seeing red. I don't think this book is good for my blood pressure...

I've finished well over half the book, I'm so close to finishing... I just need to go punch a pillow for a few hours first.