Saturday, December 2, 2017

Book Review of One Tequila by Tricia O'Malley

Goodreads Summary: Tequila Key is just like any other small town, and I'm just like any other small town psychic. Scratch that. Tequila Key is a world onto itself, and some people might think that I am one crayon short of the box.
And, if we're totally honest, Tequila Key is just like any other small town – if that town boasts a voodoo priestess and a few white witches for flavor. Turquoise blue water and the best margaritas this side of Mexico make it hard to leave.

I'm Althea Rose, co-owner of Luna Rose Potions & Tarot Shop, and I've just stumbled into a love triangle while trying to save my best friend from being accused of murder.

See? Just like any other small town.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars with just over 800 ratings

Genre Listing: Mystery, Paranormal, Cozy Mystery

Get the book: AmazonBook Depository

Reading Challenge: #3 A free book on Amazon

Review:

I really wanted to like One Tequila. It started out well enough with two best friends running a shop together, one Psychic and one a Witch, with a mutual best friend as a bar owner. Unfortunately, One Tequila by Tricia O'Malley fell incredibly short for me.

The plot of this story was so predictable, and I feel like it's one I've read a thousand times already. I'm going to ruin it for you, and I'm sorry for that. Basically, you have the main character who has some random flaw that she thinks makes her undesirable, especially when compared to her perfect best friend. A newcomer comes into town and with them a mystery! They're apparently one of the suspects, but the main character refuses to accept it because they are so pretty, a fact the reader is not allowed to forget because it's mentioned on just about every page. A friend admits feelings for the main character and gets jealous of the pretty newcomer. Nevermind that the friend and main character have a genuine connection that makes you wan to root for them because the main character is too busy fawning over Mr. Out of her league Gorgeous Mc Gorgeous murder suspect. There's also going to only be one murder suspect and 20 pages from the end of the book it'll be announced that it was someone else for total shock and aw, that makes no sense within the plot. The end. There, that's the plot of One Tequila. I saved you a couple of hours. 

I didn't really get the feeling that Thea was even remotely psychic. When I think of psychic, I think being able to tell the future and what not. Which admittedly, she did do this once. I felt based on the description of her gifts she was more telepathic than anything. I know this is probably splitting hairs, but I would have liked more examples of her powers. 

Despite all of the annoyances I've mentioned, there was some good. I liked the friendship between Thea and Trace. I was definitely rooting for them instead of Thea and what's his face. Seriously I can't even remember the character's name. He left no impression on me and had absolutely no depth. Oh right, talking about the good. Sorry. So yeah, I appreciated the relationship between Thea and Trace. I liked the imagery O'Malley created while they were diving. Given the way the dives were described, I would guess it's something that O'Malley enjoys as well. There was a definite love of the beach and water present. It's also a light and quick read. It's pretty tame as far as books go. Not really gory and not smutty as far as the romances go. It's just under 300 pages, and I think I read it in a night.  The good just didn't outweigh the bad for me, unfortunately. 



Thursday, November 30, 2017

$20 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway



OH. My. Goodness. You all are amazing. I've recently hit 21,000 views, and I can not believe it! To celebrate going over 20,000 I'm going to do something on here I NEVER do. I'm going to give away something. I am going to give away a $20 Amazon Gift card.

Rules and whatnot:

1.) One entry per person
2.) Gift card will be e-mailed, so email is required
3.) To enter you MUST fill out the linked Google Form.
4.) I will draw a winner using a random name drawing tool.
5.) Winner will be selected on December 15, 2017.
6.) I will not save your e-mail addresses or use them other than to e-mail the winner their gift card.
7.) There will be only one winner
8.) I will announce the winner in a separate blog post.
9.) I reserve the right to update this as necessary.


Thank you, readers, from the bottom of my heart. I can not explain how much I appreciate you all!

Here is the link to the google form to enter the contest:



Giveaway Entry Form


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Book Review of Almost a Queen by Laura Du Pre

Goodreads Summary: Travel back to the court of the French Renaissance
Almost a Queen: Book One of the Three Graces Trilogy

Who wouldn't want to be Queen?

Cousins to the King of Navarre, the Cleves sisters, witness the glamour and danger of the French royal court firsthand. The youngest sister, Marie is trapped in an unhappy arranged marriage with her cousin, Henri, Prince de Conde. Determined to make the best of her situation, she awaits the wedding of the King of Navarre in Paris.

Paris of 1572 boils with religious war, and few will make it out of the wedding celebrations alive. Those that do survive face an impossible choice: convert or die. Will Marie and Conde make the decision to abandon their Protestant faith to save their lives? Will it cost them their souls?

Along with the threat of death comes a change for true love with the king's younger son, the Duc d'Anjou. Yet Marie promised to love honor and cherish her husband till death did them part. Will death part them soon? Is it possible to find love in the midst of tragedy?

Goodreads Rating: 3.68 stars with 50 ratings

Genre Listing: Historical Fiction, Romance

Get the Book: Amazon

Reading Challenge: #45 A book that takes place in another country

Review:

I devoured this book. There's no other way to say my reading habit with it. It was under 200 pages, and I did not put it down. I think I had it done in a couple of hours. I think the best thing about this book was that it didn't feel like it was as short as it was. I felt like Laura Du Pre was able to create great imagery in details without cutting corners. The pace of the story moves incredibly fast, but I was able to feel connected to Marie and the French Court.

In The Almost Queen, we follow Marie a young woman forced by her aunt to marry her own cousin Henri, Prince de Conde. It's an unhappy and mismatched marriage, but Marie tries to make the best of it while in the court of King Charles and Queen Elisabeth. She and Elisabeth become dear friends and confidants. During this friendship, she begins a friendship with Catherine de Medici's younger son the Duc d'Anjou. I really love how Du Pre portrayed this relationship. Marie tried desperately to hate the Duc d'Anjou since he was her husband's sworn enemy, but a friendship persisted, and eventually, a love grew out of it. I enjoyed that beyond words, they never acted on their love. I think it kind of gave a different spin on the ordinarily scandalous historical fiction romances. Despite her dislike of her husband, she did try to make it work and make peace out of duty to her aunt who had raised her.

Between the love triangle and the ongoing war between the Protestants and Catholics, I thought there was a fair bit of action packed into this short novel. It kept it interesting, and as I said before, I couldn't put it down. I tend to glance over Wikipedia after reading historical fictions like this, and while I don't consider Wiki a reliable source, the story did seem on par with the article regarding Marie, Princess de Conde.

I believe there are two other books by Du Pre about Marie's sisters. If I can get my hands on them, I plan on reading them. If you're looking for a short Historical Fiction, I definitely recommend this one. 



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book Review of The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane by Colin Falconer

Goodreads Summary: When fiery and idealistic Kitty O’Kane escapes the crushing poverty of Dublin’s tenements, she’s determined that no one should ever suffer like she did. As she sets out to save the world, she finds herself at the forefront of events that shaped the early twentieth century. While working as a maid, she survives the sinking of the Titanic. As a suffragette in New York’s Greenwich Village, she’s jailed for breaking storefront windows. And traveling war-torn Europe as a journalist, she’s at the Winter Palace when it’s stormed by the Bolsheviks. Ultimately she returns to her homeland to serve as a nurse in the Irish Civil War.

During Kitty’s remarkable journey, she reunites with her childhood sweetheart, Tom Doyle, but Tom doesn’t know everything about her past—a past that continues to haunt her. Will Kitty accept that before she can save everyone else, she needs to find a way to save herself? Or will the sins of her past stop her from pursuing her own happiness?

Goodreads Rating: 3.96 stars with over 500 reviews

Genre listing: Historical Fiction

Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository

2017 Reading Challenge: 21. A book published in 2017


Review:

I recently signed up for Kindle First, and The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane by Colin Falconer was one of the books I picked on there. For those of you who do not know, Kindle First is a great way to get your hands on a free e-book a month! These books are either just released or will be released soon. This particular book will be released on December 1, 2017. Be sure to check it out!

I started out really liking The story of Kitty O'Kane. The book starts out in the early 1900s when she's 10 years old. She has a sad and abusive past and it really made me instantly feel for her and want her to overcome that. I also like how fiery she was and the love that Tom Doyle had for her. 

I also really enjoyed the chapters where Kitty was on the Titanic. I liked the idea of her running away to do something with herself instead of staying in Dublin and living a life of poverty. I would have liked to know more about her relationship with Danny however. After the Titanic is where the story started to lose me.

I felt like she lost herself when she was with Lincoln. I think most of her actions and thoughts were because of him. It read to me like her activism and becoming a journalist was to please him, and not necessarily because she wanted it. I think that any time she tried to say that's what she wanted it was more to convince herself of it as well. During most of the book she completely lost her spunk. 

I honestly got tired of reading all of the politics. I'm not overly political to start with, but this aspect of the book just droned on and on. Combine this with the fact that her actions read like she was trying to please Lincoln, it felt like more like his story than Kitty's. I was also disappointed that she wasn't the one to write something calling her the Unkillable Kitty O'Kane. Again, that was Lincoln. For me I think it would have been a more powerful story if she had gone through all of these things since leaving Dublin and wrote it herself, from her perspective.

Kitty did not feel like a very strong female character to me at all, after the Titanic. In addition to Lincoln running her life, she needed what's his gangster face to save her from prison. About the only time I really feel like she saved herself was in leaving gangster-face (I can't remember his name. Flash?Clearly, he wasn't that memorable for me.)

I think that The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane had a lot of potential, but fell short. The pieces were there for her to be this badass female character, but it was drowned out with politics and chalking up her survival to luck. 












Review of Storm Front By Jim Butcher

Goodreads Summary:  Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he's the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most don't play well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a—well, whatever. There's just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.

So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's black magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name. And that's when things start to get interesting.

Magic - it can get a guy killed.

Goodreads Rating: 4.02 stars with over 220,000 ratings

Genre Listing: Fantasy, Mystery, Fiction, Paranormal, Magic

Get the book: AmazonBook Depository

Reading Challenge:31. A book recommended to you on social media

Review:

Oh boy. I don't even remember what day I finished reading Storm Front by Jim Butcher. It's been a long week, and I for one am beyond ready for the four day weekend. Also, bring on the Thanksgiving food.

Storm front, the first book in the Dresden Files, was recommended to me by my friend Tress. She's been trying to get me to read it for some time now, and I finally got around to it! Hurray! I always get a little nervous reading books that people recommend to me. I'm worried that if I don't like it, I'll hurt the person's feelings. Luckily, that wasn't the case here as I very much enjoyed Storm Front.

I really liked the sarcastic snarkiness that Harry provided. It made the book fun to read, and I think it's what really made the book for me. Dresden reminds me of someone, but I can't for the life of me think of who. It's going to bother me until I can figure it out. I'll be honest, I was rooting for Harry and the detective (Karrin? Her name is escaping me at the moment) to get together. I thought they had a fun bit of banter with one another, so I'm curious to see where that goes in future books.

I thought that the mystery of the story was fairly predictable, but I still enjoyed reading it. The actual killer's personality was kind of lost on me though. The reason he was after Dresden was lost on me. I'm not really sure if that's because it just wasn't memorable or because my brain has been shot lately. It could be both. I enjoyed that even though it was a bit predictable, it wasn't serious. I like that humor was included in different scenes, whether it was his banter with Bob or having to fight in sweatpants. It made the book really enjoyable.

I have a lot of questions regarding the magical world Dresden creates. Mainly how does one become a wizard? Do they have to have some magical ability before they can study? Can anyone become a magician so long as they study? I think if I had these details it would have made it a bit more enjoyable for me. I didn't dislike it, I just wanted a little more background information to really surround myself in the world Jim Butcher created.  There were parts where the lack of details made it feel almost like I was reading the second book in a series instead of the first, especially with the background story as to why Morgan was essentially baby sitting. It seemed sort of brushed over for me, and kind of like a catch up I'd expect of a later book in a series.

Overall, I really enjoyed Storm Front, and I'll definitely be reading more of the series. I've been told it gets quite a bit better, so that has me intrigued since I already like it quite a bit.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

2018 Reading Challenge



In 2016 I tried a couple of reading challenges that were floating around the internet, I did okay with them. What I really liked was the idea of challenging myself to read different things. It sort of made me plan out what I had to read. In 2017, I made my own reading challenge. I was pretty proud of it, and it can be seen here. I think that I definitely learned a lot, but ultimately I took on way too much with it and it needed some fine-tuning. Throughout it all, my amazing friend Tress was trying to do the challenge right alongside me. While 2017 is not over yet, I'll be honest and admit I'm not even going to finish half of it. That's okay though because what it did do was give me a lot of ideas for 2018. I started out this list just consulting with Tress on her thoughts on 2017's list. What ended up happening is we ended up collaborating on a massive reading challenge the past couple of weeks. Tress has been talking to a lot of members on a website called Dragonmount that we're both apart of (her far more than I am. I've never been outside the Mafia game thread there) about my previous reading challenge. I think She may have even referenced it on her own blog which can be found here. I'm incredibly proud of the work we put into this, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun. Before I show off the challenge, I want to explain it a bit.

This challenge is actually several challenges in one. The way it is designed is that you work through one level and then move on to the next. It's comprised of five different challenges of 12 books each, or 60 books total. We tried to arrange it in a way that shows what we thought would be the easiest in the first few levels, and then gradually gets harder. We also wanted to spread it out a bit, so the same types of challenges aren't in each level. Ultimately, I think we both wanted a challenge that's going to really make us have to think ahead and plan to complete it. Tress and I are both really into organization and bullet journaling, so for us, this is just an extension of that. I'm not sure what goals Tress has set for herself within the challenge, but my goals are to work it in order and try to see how far I can get. Last year, I kind of read a book and then tried to fit it into a category on the challenge. This year, I'd like to plan ahead and see if I can read more because of it. I've already got some books in mind for some of the items, so I'm really excited to see what I can accomplish on this list. So, without further ado here is Tress and I's reading challenge for 2018. I've also linked a prettier printable version of the table. Special thanks to the husband for making the pdf and html work, because that stuff is so beyond me it's not even funny.

Download and print the reading challenge
2018 Reading Challenge
Number Challenge Book Author
Level 1: Book of the Month Club
1 A book from Project Gutenberg
2 A book that costs less than $5
3 A Cozy Mystery
4 A comedy or a satire book
5 Read a book by Nora Roberts
6 A book that has been turned into a movie or TV show
7 A book on a best seller list
8 A book under 300 pages
9 A book that takes place around a holiday
10 A book with a one word title
11 A book you first read when you were a teenager
12 A children's book
level 2: Casual Reader Club
13 A book by a new author
14 Reread a favorite book
15 A book with a cover that's in your favorite color
16 A book published in 1993
17 A book recommended to you on social media or by a friend
18 A book with a number in the title
19 A book with pictures in it
20 A retelling of a fairy tale
21 A book that involves a mythical creature
22 A book about witches
23 A book by an author named Chris or Christopher
24 A book you got from a used bookshop or site
Level 3: Dedicated Reader Club
25 A book about space travel, aliens, or other planets
26 A book with an animal in the title
27 First in a series you've wanted to start
28 A book with music or song in the title
29 A book with a purple cover
30 A cult classic
31 A book about a Teacher
32 An action adventure book
33 A book that takes place before 1900
34 A book about friendship
35 A book by Michael Crichton
36 A book about a Queen
Level 4: Speed Reader Club
37 A book by Agatha Christie
38 A book that takes place in Australia
39 A book that has a title starting with the letter Y
40 Read a compilation of short stories
41 Read a book from the Guardian's 100 greatest Novel list
42 A book with the word thief in the title
43 A banned book
44 A book published in 1968
45 A book about a doctor
46 A book involving food
47 A book with a male main character
48 A book by two or more authors
Level 5: Overachiever Club
49 A book published the year one of your parents was born
50 A book over 500 pages
51 A book about traveling
52 A book with a flower on the cover
53 A Non-Fiction book
54 A book that takes place during a war
55 A book involving a culture different than your own
56 A book that takes place in Canada
57 A book that was originally published in a foreign language
58 A book about a character who has your dream job
59 A book with woman or girl in the title
60 A book about a main character that has the same hair color as you

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Short Story Series Episode One: George


I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted to start posting my own short stories on here. Below is the first short story. These are all going to take place in a town called Morbid and be linked. Eventually, they're going to be put together in one book and self-published. Because of that, they aren't copyrighted, so this is me asking everyone to not be a jerk and steal my work in any way shape or form.

Only one other soul has read this so far, and she hasn't even finished it yet. I make no guarantee of quality or entertainment. So without further ado, I'm both excited and terrified to introduce you to George.


George



Chapter 1: Those Who Wander
   On a dreary night in a town called Morbid, walked a lonely soul named George. The village he wandered was far from average as it was hidden from the human world deep in a valley near the human town of Salem,  Massachusetts. It seemed fitting that the city was not ordinary, as George felt utterly unnatural himself. George, you see was a Skeleton. His flesh had started to rot in 1847, His spirit, however, made it’s way to Morbid approximately three days later, attached to a set of bones he wasn’t entirely sure were his own.

   In the several centuries since he came to Morbid George had met a variety of people, but very few of them he could call friends. Most of Morbid stuck to their kind. Witches stuck with witches, and ghosts stayed near other spirits, fairies flew with fairies, and so on and so forth. George however only knew one other reanimated skeleton. The second skeleton was named Jack, who was called as such because he wore a giant Jack-O-Lantern as a head. Jack couldn’t speak but seemed to be a cheery skeleton, who would always wave to fellow Morbidians as he passed. George frequently wondered why he and Jack were the only two skeletons in Morbid. It was a massive town, but in his centuries of being there he had looked in every district to find others like him but had only met Jack.

   As he often did, George contemplated his afterlife on his way home from work. That was one thing he hadn’t expected, still having to work once he was dead. He had bounced around doing odd jobs trying to find his place in Morbid the first few centuries. When he was alive his trade was working with horses; however, there was no significant call for that in, Morbid. There were very few horses, and what ones existed in Morbid were utterly terrified of George. The past fifty years or so, George had worked in a small general store where he stocked shelves and rang customers up. Sometimes he delivered to customers who couldn’t get out. It was easy work, and he appreciated that because it meant he didn’t have to pick his pieces up off of the floor occasionally. Still, he wondered if there was supposed to be more to the afterlife.

George wondered if it’d do him a bit of good to seek out something new in his afterlife. Maybe a new job or a new hobby would do the trick. The dead weren’t strictly bound to Morbid. There were other paranormal towns spread throughout the world. It was a bit costly to travel, as most paranormal methods of transportation took a lot of magic to be hidden from unsuspecting human eyes. Because of the expense, few Morbidians traveled outside of their quaint little town. Those that did usually had professions interacting with the human world, like the Boogie Monsters for example.

The lonely skeleton kicked at some pebbles as he continued his walk. It felt as though he had been walking for a long time. His walk home from work usually didn’t take nearly this long. He stopped abruptly and took in his surroundings. George wasn’t sure where he was, but he knew one thing. He was not anywhere near his apartment. The eclectic buildings and shops were long gone and replaced with a dense forest blanketed in fog.

George looked around perplexed, how had he gotten himself so lost? There was nothing nearby that seemed familiar, which was odd as he thought that after centuries he had gotten a good grasp on the geography of Morbid. It was then that he noticed a small dirt path leading into the forest. George knew that he should turn around and head back home, but wasn’t he just contemplating needing some excitement in his afterlife? He stood for another moment looking at the way he had come and then at the new path that had emerged. Without another moment’s hesitation, he walked towards the dirt path cutting through the woods.

The path he now walked was a bit eerie even to a undead skeleton. The forest was dense, and the trees bowed together as though they were looking down judgmentally on those who passed by. Their leaves so close it was as though they were whispering secrets about unsuspecting travelers. George wondered what gossip the supercilious trees would spread about him.

The further George walked, the thicker the fog became, and it got so thick at times that he could barely see a beyond a few feet ahead. George was sure that if he still could feel he would have been chilled to the bone. He let out a slight chuckle and wondered if he should turn back around before he got completely lost. George pivoted, ready to go back, only to find that the path he had traveled in on was completely gone. The only thing to do was to go forward.

The dirt road was winding and narrow, it went up hills and wove in and out of the trees. Eventually, it came to a stop at a small cabin. The cabin was made of stone and had an old thatch roof. Green strands of Ivy had made themselves comfortable on the sides of the house, nearly covering the small windows and rotted door frame. If George still had his heart, it would have been beating incredibly fast. The house looked as though it was as old as he was, and was what he had dreamed of being able to own when he was alive.

George’s life had not been glamorous by any means. He was born when land and titles were everything, and he had neither. He came from a poor farming family that worked the land for a wealthy Duke. George’s family were lucky, their landlord was kind and allowed them a nice cottage and paid well for their work. However, they were indebted to the Duke and therefore could not leave. At times it was hard living, but having a roof over your head and coins in your pockets were more than most peasants could hope for in those days. George had often dreamed of having a cottage in the woods, a modest place to live where he only answered to himself. He didn’t need or want titles, just somewhere he could call his own.

George looked around the cabin slowly. There was no light coming from underneath the boarded up windows, and no smoke from the small crooked chimney poking out from the thatch. The fog had cleared from around the house, and the curious skeleton could see no signs that anyone had lived there at all. He looked around hesitantly to make sure no one was watching him and walked up to the door.

The door was thick and made of wood. It was worn from years of harsh weather. George knocked on the door and waited. When there was no answer, he knocked again. Finally, when he was sure no one was home, he let curiosity get the best of him and tried the old iron handle. George found the door unlocked and tried to open it. The hinges had rusted and made an awful creak, but with a little bit of force opened.

One look at the antiquated hut and it was clear no one had called it home for a very long time except for generations of spiders. Cobwebs and dust had taken over as the decor, covering every square inch of the interior. George took a step in and gingerly closed the door behind him. It’s a shame, he thought to himself, that this house had been left abandoned with nobody to care for it. It was then that he got the idea to care for it himself. With that he stepped back out and closed the door tightly, vowing silently to the house to come back.



   Chapter 2: Jack
George found his way home easily enough. The path that disappeared had suddenly reappeared. George was quite accustomed to magic, so this did not seem all that alarming to him, besides what’s the worst that could happen? He was already dead. He walked home with a smile on his face, and this time he didn’t even care about the gossip the judgemental forest trees were likely telling.

The next day George awoke early and made his way to the general store. It was his day off, but he wanted to pick up some cleaning supplies and visit the shack he had found. He promised it he’d be back and he meant it. While at the shop he bought a reusable canvas bag that was enhanced with magic. They were a big seller at the store as the magic allowed the totes to hold much more than one would think.

George started to spend all of his free house at the secret little cabin it was becoming something to be proud of. Not only did he clean it from top to bottom, but he replaced the shutters and rotted door frame. He fixed the furniture and reupholstered the cushions. Weeks went by, and eventually, he started bringing what few possessions he had into the cabin. It felt more like his home than his apartment ever did.  When he truly thought it was home, he canceled his apartment lease and called the rustic cottage his own.
   
For a while, George was happy in his new home, but eventually, the initial glee wore off. He still loved the house, but the sense of purpose that came with fixing it up had subsided. His days continued as they had for years. He got up, walked to work, walked home. The process repeated every day, and George secretly wished that another dark and mysterious path would beckon him to a looming forest.

On a day that George was feeling particularly down, he ran into Jack. He had not seen Jack in some time and thought it’d be nice to have some company. When asked if he wanted to accompany George and see his new house, Jack jumped up and down nodding vigorously, nearly knocking his oversized pumpkin head off his bony shoulders. And so, the two skeletons walked side by side to George’s secret hideaway.

While at George’s home, he ended up spilling all of his thoughts to Jack. He felt guilty for taking up all of the conversation, but Jack didn’t seem to mind. George suspected Jack wouldn’t have had much to say anyway. When he was done telling Jack how he wanted more out of life the pumpkin-headed skeleton wandered around George’s living room like he was on a mission. After a while, Jack stopped at the bookshelf and skimmed the titles.  He carefully selected a book and walked it back to George. He carefully looked at the title and didn’t understand what Jack was trying to tell him.

   “You think I should read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?” George questioned.
Jack shook his head and walked back to the bookshelf. He pulled another book and returned it to George.

“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes? Jack, I’m not in the mood to read right now.”
Again, Jack shook his head and went back to George’s impressive library. He grabbed another book. This time when he returned with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

“Jack, I’m sorry, but I don’t understand.”

If Jack could sigh, George was pretty sure he would have at this point. He was exasperated. Instead, he just went to George’s desk and rummaged through until he found a pen and stack of paper. He took two sheets, on one he wrote something quite rapidly before folding it. On the second he turned into an envelope, slipping the folded note inside. On the desk was a lit candle, which Jack took and dripped a bit of wax onto the jacket, creating a seal. He turned the envelope over and wrote “Do not open until you’re ready” on it.

   George, sat confused as ever in his favorite chair. Jack had shown George the envelope and placed it in the back of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Before leaving, Jack placed all three books back on the shelf. George watched Jack from the window, but instead of heading back to Morbid, Jack went deeper into the forest. George tried to call to Jack, warning him he was going the wrong way. It was no use though, and Jack was long gone.


Chapter 3: The Letter
Days passed and turned into weeks. George hadn’t seen Jack since that day at the cottage, but he tried not to worry. Jack frequently disappeared for various lengths of time. He’d show up, George was sure of it. That day was never too far from George’s mind, however. He tried to focus on his work, but he couldn’t. The brooding skeleton found little satisfaction in working at the shop these days and was restless at home. Jack was trying to tell him something, and it seemed like it was important. For the umpteenth million time, George wished that Jack could speak.

   On a dreary night, much like the night that George had discovered the cabin, he decided to read. He went to his beloved library and without thinking picked up a book. He was surprised to realize that he had picked up Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It was a classic sure, but it struck a chord with George that the book he picked arbitrarily was the first book Jack had handed him. Still, he climbed into his favorite chair, curled up with a blanket (more out of habit than necessity), and began to read.

Several nights later after he had finished reading the book, he got the urge to read again. He picked another book at random, flabbergasted to learn this time he chose The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. As he had before, he sat down and read the second book that Jack had picked out. After reading the first two books, George was no closer to figuring out what Jack was trying to tell him.

Months went on, and George still had not seen Jack since that night. He was genuinely becoming worried. He tried to search all over Morbid for his lost friend. No one else seemed concerned at all. Those who knew Jack reminded George that he frequently goes missing and will turn up just as happy as he was when he left. George was not so sure and continued his search.

   By looking for Jack, George found himself in unusual situations and started to write them down in a journal. There was the time that he was nearly turned into a toad by a rogue coven of witches insistent on harming intruders. There was the time one of his joints got caught on a demon horse’s reins, and he almost met his second untimely demise while being drug off. George’s personal favorite was when accidentally wandered too far and found himself in the human world. Luckily, it was Halloween, so he was just mistaken for a festive lawn ornament.

Eventually, George gave up looking for Jack. He hated to do so, but it was clear that Jack had moved on and wasn’t coming back. George found himself looking over the stories he had written about trying to find Jack and smiled. At least he’d always have those adventures. He briefly thought about turning them into a book and getting it published. George set his journal back down. He didn’t want to reminisce about Jack anymore. It was too painful. Instead, he went to his trusty bookshelf and picked something at random to indulge in.

   Things have a way of happening, and at this moment in George’s life, this was undoubtedly true. The book that George had sat down to read was the third book Jack tried to show him the night he disappeared. And so, George settled in to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. He finished the book rather quickly and was surprised to find a letter had fallen out of the back of the book when he was done. In all the time that George had been looking for Jack, he had forgotten about the note. He remembered the books, but he had been so focused on finding Jack he forgot about the letter he left behind. George put the book down and ran his finger across the envelope, tracing Jack’s penmanship. He flipped the wrapping over and gently broke the wax seal. George read the letter several times, but the shock of it lingered. It turns out Jack had left for a reason, and in small swirling letters, the note read:

Create your own adventures.
                   ~Jack