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Friday Flash: "More Fun"

Happy Friday!
Today's Friday Flash is about getting out there and living life...and being overwhelmed by the choices. It's a little bit auto-biographical -- I used to get those emails from WagJag and GroupOn and all those other group-buying services, and found that there were literally too many things I wanted to try! And then I'd find myself frustrated at how big the world is, how much I'll never know or experience, and then I'd be stuck in this infinite loop of "do I try it? but what's the point?" and yeah, I may have gotten a little melodramatic about it at times.
And before you ask, yes -- I did try the skydiving simulator at Niagara Falls. It was super fun. :D

Everyone wishes they could have more fun in their lives. But what about the people who want to have lessfun? Yeah, that’s right. We exist.

"Why don’t you say no the next time somebody asks you to do something?” asked my oh-so perceptive friend Rachel.

"Thanks, I didn’t think of that,” I replied. No stink, Sherlock. "What do you think I’ve been doing the past three months?”

"Practicing how to say no in the mirror?”

I wanted to kick her in the kneecaps. Instead I settled for throwing a couch cushion at her head.

"Problem is, there’s just so much to experience, it’s like… if I don’t get out and have fun, try new things, I’m going to come to the end of my life having wasted it all sitting around watching Vampire Diaries reruns and eating cheap potato chips.”

"Get a Costco membership. They have the good stuff at decent prices, plus you get like seven bags per trip.” Rachel stretched her arms above her head and yawned. She never had any fun. I envied her at times like this.

"You’re missing the point,” I said, standing up and crossing my arms. "With all these GroupOn and WagJag and whatever deals, there’s more fun to be had than ever before! It’s like… there are hundreds of things to do that I didn’t know existed before group buying sites. And I thought I had too much to do already…”

Rachel poked me in the leg. I buckled backward on purpose and let the momentum carry me to the floor, sitting cross-legged and burying my head in my hands.

"You know, most people don’t even have the courage to get off their couches let alone try, uh, what was it you did last weekend?”

I groaned. "Skydiving simulator at Niagara Falls.”

"You’re insane,” she said.

"I know.” I sighed and rolled back until I lay on the carpet, staring up at the stucco ceiling. Next weekend I had a painting class scheduled where I was supposed to learn painting textures. I don’t paint, but I thought I could use it to re-do the ceiling in my room.

"Too much fun,” Rachel said, yawning again and closing her eyes. She snuggled against the pillow I’d thrown at her at minute ago. "It’s not like life is there to be experienced or anything.”

Don’t I know it.

Booksbooksbooks! January Lookback Edition

Welcome to Booksbooksbooks, my monthly lookback at awesome books I've read & loved in the previous month!
In the interest of time and being spoiler-free, I'll be posting my reading highlights with brief commentary on why I loved the book. Where possible, I'll post link to the books on GoodReads so that you can easily mark the ones you haven't read & want to as Want to Read.
Here we go!
My first Awesome Read for January was:
I'm going to date myself a bit with this reference, but...this book was like "bubble boy" for a new generation. But in the best possible way. I don't usually read a lot of contemporary, but if there are more like this, I'll definitely pick up more books. I read it through in one sitting at the bookstore and literally laughed out loud, cried, gasped, and wept. It didn't matter that there were other people around. I didn't care that I was making a bit of a scene. It was just me and the characters and the story and it was so clever and beautiful that I just. didn't. care. what other people thought. I loved it. Marvelous debut for this author. Very, very well done.
(I will say that on further thought, there were some issues with the story -- but if I tell you about them, it'll spoil the story. So go read it, then DM me on Twitter and we'll chat. In fact, I encourage you to!)
2) AFTER OBSESSION by Carrie Jones & Steven Wedel
I didn't know anything about this book, so I wandered in blind and came out the other side the next morning with a) not enough sleep and b) satisfaction for having sacrificed sleep for reading. It's a YA dark paranormal possession story that incorporates Navajo spirituality and a cast of characters that seem quite real and well-developed for the short space given to their actual early development. The first few pages in, I wasn't sure if the book was for me. A few more pages in and I didn't stop reading until the book fell onto my face because I'd fallen asleep. And then when I woke up, I grabbed the book and my coffee and finished it.
When I Tweeted the authors the morning after to tell them about this, they thought it was hilarious. Meanies. :P Heeeee!
3) THE DISTANCE FROM A TO Z by Natalie Blitt
A sweet, entertaining YA contemporary romance from a debut author. The characters were believable and flawed in the best of ways, and I found it refreshing to have a story where the reactions to events and revelations rang true to life. The only bizarre part was just how overly obsessed the MC's family was with baseball -- I mean, changing a funeral time of a family member to not miss a baseball game? It was just really weird to me, maybe because I don't really...uh...sports. I don't sports? Yeah. Sportsball is not my thing. :P That said, it was a good read and because it's digital release only right now, paying only $2.99 felt...wrong, somehow? I'd have paid paperback price for it! Overall a strong debut from a promising new author! YAY DEBUTS!
4) BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE (Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater
Okay, I know I'm really late to the party on this one, but here's the thing. It took me a while to get into THE DREAM THIEVES, the second book. I started it immediately after the first book, but stalled about a third of the way in. I don't know why it didn't grab me. I was frustrated because I wanted to like it, because I had a strong feeling that this series had a slow build and that it would seep into me and rattle my bones at any long as I kept at it. I don't know what made me feel that way...the writing? The atmospheric development? The characters? But I put it down. For months.

Then I picked it back up again. Read two chapters. And wondered how I ever could have left this story, these people. 

Finished it without even catching my breath. Set it down, ran to get book three before my heart burst from my chest...and here is where it all came clear to me. Where words on a page turned into reality, where the people and story and Cabeswater became real and burrowed into my head until it was all I could do to unstick the book from my hand to eat or drink or, you know, do those things humans need to do.

I finally understood why this story has wormed its way through so many people. This was more than payoff for sticking through, this was...I don't know. Hearts on a page. Magic that squeezes your insides and leaves you wanting more.

When I turned the last page, the book had not even fallen from my hand before I'd reached the computer to click "pre-order" on book four. I cannot wait to experience how this story ends...and yet I don't want to say goodbye, either.

Good grief. I'm still thinking about it. I just can't let go. I don't want to.
And that's the Booksbooksbooks list for January! What fantastic books did you read this month? I read plenty of others that didn't make it into this post (because I don't want to take up your entire day, frankly), but please share your favorite January reads with me. 

Friday Flash: "Girlfriend Electric"

Hi, lovelies! 
It's that time again...Friday Flash, where I post a piece of flash fiction for you to enjoy. After a few months on the blog, I'll pull them all into one place on the "Free Reads" page, so if you're reading this months from now and want more, check over there where they'll all eventually be compiled. 
Enjoy & thanks for reading!

She tells me she has green eyes, pink hair, and likes to wear black military boots with spikes around the ankles.

Like spurs? I ask.

Her reply is a non-ironic wtf?,so I change the subject.

Don’t people think you’re weird? Do they move to the opposite side of the street when you walk by?

Sometimes, she answers, but I don’t care. Screw them.

I think I’m in love. We chat for hours, raiding and talking, dying and laughing, until the first rays of sunlight spill over the horizon and I know the day ahead will be full of heavy eyelids, an aching stomach, and panicked moments of seeing non-existent spiders in the corners of my vision.

But it doesn’t matter. I can make it through the day. Tonight, I’ll see her again—or at least, a version of her.

By 9pm, all I want to do is crawl into bed. That’s a lie. All I want to do is divided between sleep and Rav3n Thorn3claw and her beautiful pale skin and black hair and delicate, pointed ears. Last night, I asked why she didn’t model Rav3n after her own self. When you have pink hair, why would you give your avatar such an average appearance?

She merely typed inlol and aggroed the next mob. I wasn’t ready. She was flirting with me. I could tell.

I log on and she’s waiting. She doesn’t say much, but we take down the area boss together and she lets me pick up all the loot. Even gives me the rare Sword of Darkslayer when it drops reserved for her.

I’ve loved that sword ever since I saw the prototype drawings on GameBlog. I love Rav3n Thorn3claw even more.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could meet someday? I ask, hoping I don’t sound like a creepy stalker.

It would, she answers. Ten minutes pass. Send me a pic!

I panic. I’m not ugly, but I’m not the hottest guy around. I know this. Girls at school have told me.

Only if you send me one too.

I email my pic and go to bed still waiting for hers. I dream of oval-shaped green eyes and black eyeliner, pink pixie-cut hair, Invader Zim tank-tops from Hot Topic, spiked jewelry, pouted dark lips…

In the morning, my dream girl invades my inbox. I print out the picture. Seven times. By the end of the day, the first copy is torn from too many refolds. I spend my day dreaming of Rav3n Thorn3claw.

I have to see her.

Three months later, she is in town with her parents. We’re going to meet for coffee.

I have visions of proposing, but that’s crazy. My pixie-girl won’t be up for that, not yet. Someday. I hope she’s not disappointed by seeing me in person. I sent my best angle. I’ve gained weight since then.

I’m at the table, holding black roses. Rav3n will love them. They’ll match her boots. As the minutes pass, breathing gets harder and harder, until I’m afraid I’ll stop breathing altogether, when the door of the café opens and in walks a cute, petit girl with long, brown hair. Brown eyes. A sundress with red flowers, flip-flops on her feet, and a thin scarf around her next.

Time stops when she looks at me.

She smiles, and I know the truth.

I squeeze the black roses tight in my fist, stems bulging against my fingers like the heart in my chest, and pull away from her gaze.

She steps toward me.

I yearn to press delete.