Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Truth or Dare by Melanie Atkins and Victim Wanted for Brain Transplant

Truth or Dare by Melanie Atkins
Triskelion Publishing
Copyright: January, 2007
280 pages

I'm going to try really hard to do justice to this book, but my head is swimming from this heat. I said so many incredibly stupid things, yesterday, that I was actually wishing I could run into some people to say, "I take it back!" today . . . or at least find someone willing to undergo a brain transplant (give me the better one, the one that functions in heat - please, please!).

Okay, so review. Book review. I can do this. Even if I can't currently find the book. So, no quote. Wait! I have to find the book. Give me a minute. I'm listening to Coldplay and Snow Patrol in the hope that cold-associated thoughts will help. I also have a Bubba Jug full of chilled water on the floor, here. When we were out and about, the Kentucky Fried Chicken sign said it was 104 degrees out and my car thermometer claimed 105. And, you know how we all trust KFC. So, I do have a reason to babble incoherently, today, I promise.

Seriously, I'm going to write that review. Here's a quote, if you're still with me:

He released the gate, and it swung shut with a spine-chilling groan. He wiped his freezing hand on his jeans and eyed the lush grass crowding the stained marble headstones. Some sat at odd angles, signaling that the ground had shifted, and others had been sheared off by neglect and maybe even vandalism. The entire cemetery was in serious need of attention

"This place hasn't been touched in years." The fog around them thickened as Colin ran his hand over the top of a leaning grave marker. The marble was rough and pitted from weather and time.
He backed up to read the name, but it had none. He frowned. How odd. The wind increased, whipping the reedy grass against his legs.

Kaitlyn disappeared around a bend in the path, under the enormous limbs of a spreading oak dripping with Spanish moss.

How's that for "dripping with atmosphere"? I have to admit, this would have been a great choice for Carl's R.I.P Challenge (which I hear is going to happen, again - hope it's already in the works, because I'd hate to have to beg).

Truth or Dare is the story of a witch and an FBI agent, both at Scarlet Oak Manor for different reasons. Kaitlyn has arrived at the request of the owners, to cleanse the house of evil spirits. Colin then shows up to investigate a series of unsolved murders. Three ghosts are present, and all of them are very, very bad. There's a zombie, voodoo, protective spells, and a curse. All three ghosts seek a cursed sapphire necklace and are willing to kill for it.

The story rambles a little and, as you may know from an earlier post, triggered a tremendously fun alien invasion dream. In general, I think it could be labeled a paranormal romantic suspense, but there's so much to it that it's really hard to classify. Let's just say it's an awfully fun and unique book. The story surprised me quite a bit; romance is always rather predictable in its way, but this was just a totally off-the-wall paranormal story, as well, and the uniqueness made it a really enjoyable read.

Kaitlyn and Colin are at cross-purposes and he doesn't believe in witches or ghosts, spells or zombies. But, the house is so totally full of creepiness that he is eventually caught in the midst of the unraveling ghostly search for the cursed sapphire. The question is . . . will they survive? Well, that's one question. There are more. Will Kaitlyn manage to send the ghosts away? Will Colin find the serial killer? Are they ever going to give in and have sweaty sex? Mwah-haha. I'm not telling, although I'll say don't hand it to your 9-year-old.

Unfortunately, if you want to read the book, you'll probably have to either act fast or wait for a while because there's a note at the author's website explaining that Triskelion Publishing recently filed for bankruptcy. I checked and the book was available at Amazon, a few days ago. So, if it sounds good, for heaven's sake go snatch up a copy. I really enjoyed it. There were a few times I thought, "Wait a minute - explain that, please?" so I'm going to call it slightly above average for uniqueness; I'm taking a bit off for a few moments that I didn't quite "get it". That could have been me, though. Just so you know.


Just as a side note, the author is a friend and she said this book was "pretty tame" as her books go. It always kind of shocks me to find out that there are so many really sweet women who write scare-your-pants-off novels, as Melanie does. She's a really terrific lady. I've always been amazed by her ability to balance working, writing and raising kids. Did I tell you she has cats? Well, of course you love her, already.

In other news, I finished another book, today: Life's a Beach by Claire Cook. I'm falling behind. Squeak, whine! Help me! Plus, the very delightful Chris (whom I already adore, but have to appreciate for also whining about the heat and letting me whine right back) has tagged me for a Thoughtful Blogger Award. And, I'm embarrassed to say he's actually the second. Bonnie tagged me, a while back, and I've been thinking, "Later, later," when I can even stand to look at the computer. So, thanks to both Bonnie and Chris. I'll try to post on that very soon.

Tomorrow is Wednesday and I'm going to try really, really hard to do a Wahoo! post. But, here's the pic of the day, one of about three plants valiantly blooming in spite of the heat and an opportunity to use a quote I've been eyeing:

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Go Ralph. Did that come out wrong? Just wondering. I'm going to hibernate my computer, feed my face, spoil my cat and cool my heels reading. Happy Tuesday, everyone!


  1. "Go Ralph." Ha! My favorite quote of the day!

  2. Well, I have to say--unlike me who becomes a shrieking b*tch--the heat only adds to your humor. You had me laughing out loud.

    The book sounds like a rollicking good time!

    And I love that Emerson quote. I don't care for Emerson much in general, but that was almost enough to make me like him.

  3. Happy Tuesday to you too! Course it's Wed. here when I'm writing this, but you know what I mean!)
    That's a great quote, the one about the weed! Hang in there with the heat.

  4. Chris,

    It was a great moment when I realized what I'd just said. ;)


    Well, thank you for that. I feel pretty darn b*tchy.

    I really enjoyed that book. The general weirdness kind of appealed to me. LOL

    You know, I don't think I really know Emerson, but he stated the "weeds are beautiful" issue in such a lovely way. I just adore that quote.


    I was so much more aware of time zones when I had a husband in Australia! So, happy Wednesday! And, thank you. I think I'll give up on Tuesday, shortly. We broke a heat record set in the 1880's on Monday. I'm really ready for November. Or, you know, a vacation on an iceberg would be good. I'm sure you can relate. :)

  5. Great review. I've added it to the list, but I'm trying not to buy any more books for a while. We'll see.

    I guess with the heat, about all you can do is sit in front of a fan with a good book. Where's the downside here??

  6. Framed,

    I'm not even going to wild-guess how long your book-buying ban will last. ;)

    Sitting in front of a fan with a good book would be the ideal. Unfortunately, I have to go in and out at the hottest time of day. I sign out kiddo and his friend at about 1:30 and then sit in a 130 degree car (we have no breeze - it's miserable) soaking the seat with my sweat till they arrive. I refuse to waste gas running a sitting car. Then, I drive them to the pool and either go home or run errands, refill the cooler with fresh drinks and change clothing. Back to the pool to wait for swimming to end and the kiddo to change. Then, off to band practice or home. If there's band, I go back out, again, in an hour to pick the kiddo up. There are about 2 trees that provide shade and the spaces are always filled, so it's between going into the band hall (too loud!!) or sitting in the car some more. I sometimes change outfits three times - we tend to have very high humidity and with record-breaking heat, you get drenched just walking to the car and starting it up.

    I'm always so happy when the driving part of the day is over. You wanted to know all that, right? Yeesh, careful what you say. LOL

  7. The book sounds like it's right up my alley. I'm off to Amazon in a second.

    And you've managed to sum up what's wrong with heat very nicely. When it's cold, you can always put something else on or cozy up with a blanket and a cup of hot tea. When it's hot, you can only take so much off and even sitting in AC or with a fan only makes you cool for so long. Heat is just miserable.

    You have my sympathies. I can head for the beach at least. Though, we've cooled off the last couple of days and things have been pleasant.


  8. Anonymous9:35 AM

    A. You're hysterically funny when you're overheated. But don't go getting overheated on our accounts!

    B. This sounds like a fun book! Thanks for reviewing it!

  9. Like Framed, this one is going on the list, but I, too, am on ANOTHER book-buying ban. I'm not sure how well it works, because after the last one ended, I spent a fortune catching up. Right now, however, I must pay off my debt to Amazon before succumbing once again to my addiction.

    Hot, Hot, Hot!

  10. That book sounds like 'The X-Files' a little...only with zombies. I'm pretty sure 'The X-Files' never did a zombie episode.

  11. Oh man...I've missed reading your posts!! I can understand about the heat though. We just got back from 8 days in hell (oops. Meant Flordia!!) It's pretty bad when you have to shower 3 times a day just to feel refreshed!

  12. CJ,

    I hope you like the book. :)

    Exactly what I've always said about the heat! And, I admit that I am not a hot-climate person. I'm happiest during the winter. I love winter. In Michigan, I piled on layers of clothing, threw on my snow boots and took long walks when it snowed.

    We're supposed to cool off to the upper 90's, soon. I can't believe I'm looking forward to that! LOL


    Thanks for A. Believe me, I never deliberately go out in the heat. I'm hiding in my little cave, right now, with the blinds drawn.

    B. Now I've got to get to all those other reviews!! Argh! I had no idea I could fall so far behind. I'm serious when I say the heat messes with your brain.


    I think maybe the heat is the best book-buying avoidance aid I've got. My biggest splurges are in the library sale, where you pay 25 cents per stacked inch (pile them up, measure the height of the stack and pay). Well, who can resist that kind of a deal? It's been so hot, I haven't felt like driving to the library, so I'm probably saving money. Book Closeouts used to be my biggest online addiction, but I gave them up. I was buying piles so fast that they were getting double-shelved and I realized only a fraction were actually ending up read. So, I quit. Hard to believe, really.

    I'll bet Amazon loves you. ;)

  13. Kookie,

    I had a little trouble with the zombie bits, myself (never was into X-Files, so I can't say). She had this dead person thinking at times, at other times completely controlled. That's part of what didn't make sense to me - what, is he dead or not? But, otherwise, it was just such an unusual book that I thought it was awfully fun. And, I admit to knowing nothing about the whole zombie concept.


    Mississippi is like Florida, in that way. It's a steaming cesspool from hell. We do a whole lot of "freshening up" because you get so drenched between heat and humidity. I don't shower several times a day, I just wash off at the sink and change (usually, on the run), but that's because all of my zipping around takes place within about a 4-5 hour time span. Seems kind of pointless not to just wait till it's all over!

  14. Anonymous2:43 PM

    I think maybe a comma in Go, Ralph might've been in order. Unless it was an order? lol.

    Truth or Dare sounds pretty entertaining!

  15. Carrie,

    Yep, the comma would have changed it entirely. Good mistake. It made me laugh and I need to laugh, desperately.

    Truth or Dare is nicely atmospheric. Bizarre, but definitely moody. I remembered, just a bit ago, that there were a couple of words that I consider offensive used repeatedly. Probably ought to mention that when I can sit still long enough to post.

  16. I happen to like weeds. Especially dandelions. Is this a picture of clover?

  17. Les,

    Weeds can be really stunning and they bloom and bloom and bloom (and take over your yard; hence, the bad reputation). Nope, that's not a dandelion. I'm not sure what it is, but it's really quite a tenacious, spreading weed - very difficult to get rid of. The flower is only about half that size - about 1/2" or maybe a little smaller.

  18. My husband's car air conditioner isn't working and so he's been extra grumpy by the time he gets home from work each evening. We enjoyed such nice weather last week and this week's it's been hot.

    Another book to add to my wish list. Will it ever get shorter, do you think?

    I really like the quote too!

  19. Wendy,

    A broken air conditioner is a very sad thing in summer. I feel for him.

    Nope, I hate to break it to you but your list is never going to get any shorter!

    I actually just flipped at random to find a quote, which I think tells you the writing is pretty decent. :)


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