Friday, June 18, 2010

Book Review: My Soul to Keep

Title: My Soul to Keep

Author: Rachel K. Vincent

Genre: Paranormal YA Fantasy

Publisher: Harlequin

Publication Date: June 1, 2010

Paperback: 304 Pages

Back Cover: Kaylee has one addiction, her very hot, very popular boyfriend Nash. A banshee like Kaylee, Nash understands her like no one else. Nothing can come between them. Until something does. Demon Breath. No, not the toothpaste-challenged kind The Netherworld kind. The kind that really can kill you. Somehow the super-addictive substance has made its way to the human world. But how? Kaylee and Nash have to cut off the source and protect their friends - one of whom is already hooked. And so is someone else...

Stand Alone or Series: Book 3 in Series

Why did I read this book: I love me some Rachel K. Vincent and while I was slow to delve into this new world anything Rachel writes has a home on my bookshelf. After ordering from my local indie bookseller and my copy never arriving I ended up winning a copy online with the caveat that I must review it.

And now for the Review (spoiler alert):
In this, the third book in the Soul Screamers series, Kaylee has found some stability and with her boyfriend Nash is dealing with what it is to be a bean sidhe. That is until she has to save the world and more immediately her classmates from an addicting substance from the Netherworld. Kaylee has some clues along the way that there is something going on with Nash and is understandably devastated when she realizes the betrayal. Vincent writes the anger, frustration and despair beautifully, leaving room for redemption. Tod is a more active character in this book and we are given a chance to see him as more than the reaper that we have come to know. Nash who has up to now been been perfect in every way cracks. While I can hate what he does, it is good to see some flaws and screw up a few things. It isn't a surprise that Kaylee saves the day, but not everyone survives and she still is wracked by the guilt of the things that she should have done differently. Repeating a pattern for me this 3rd book has proved to be my favorite in the series so far, it is also the one that made me the weepiest.

This is a great book and a well crafted addition to the series. I give it a solid 7

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Brent Thurman

So once upon a time there was this guy named Brent.

Brent Thurman courtesy of
He was raised in South Austin. He was a great guy that everyone got along with. He could always make you laugh. His friends say he was country through and through,

but hated country music.

He was by all accounts an exceptional brother, son and friend. He was one of 20 founding member of the organization that is now leading the way of the fastest growing sport in the country.

He was an amazingly gifted bull rider. Many of the current generation of bull riders consider him a hero.

Brent's mother said "In my life I have never loved anything, with the exception of my children, the way that Brent loved bull riding."

I never had the chance to meet Brent, although I suspect we may have crossed paths, but this weekend I had the distinct honor of participating in a long sweaty weekend full of smiles and memories honoring him and his dreams.

In Bastrop, Texas somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 people converged to watch a professional bull riding competition.

Ben Jones (center) & Jason O'Hearn (right) - Bullriders killing time before the event
It was a great event, some bulls were ridden,

others weren't.

There was talk of buckle bunnies and cougars stalking the cowboys behind the chutes. A lot of beer was consumed, and a fair amount of whiskey depending on who you were hanging out with.

A young junior bull rider's Dad beamed with pride for his son's first buckle win at the same time he confessed his fears for his son's health.

A bull fighter stepped in for the save after one of the junior bull riders was bucked. He paid the price, but was glad to have done it.

Ultimately Robson Aragao won the event

and the home crowd got to see Ben Jones' happy dance in person.
(definitely a spectacle worth seeing - this guy is enthusiastic)

But all of this was the second act.

What was amazing was what happened before.

It is a living, breathing, riding, roping and smiling legacy to a man who had spent his time with special needs children and who had planned to endow proceeds from a bullriding to the organizations that help them with their living needs. They are Brent's Kids and they come each year for their very own Exceptional Rodeo.

The stock contractors, Brent's friends & family, cowboys, bullfighters and their families all turn out to lend a hand and share the life they love and learn as much as they teach.

Many of these Exceptional Cowboys & Cowgirls have been coming for years. Miss Kay, as they call her, calls them by name, encourages them and lets them make announcements over the PA system.

And because they are good athletes when their event is over they stick around for the second act and watch the other bullriders do their thing.

As the night wore on I watched as a rider in his prime celebrate having made the buzzer, come through the gate with a swagger making his way through the crowd when he stopped, doubled back and shook the hand of one of Brent's Kids who was waiting there cheering & celebrating every successful 8 second ride.

I found that I was the odd man out. Everyone I met asked me "How did you know Brent?" I learned pretty quickly that I was one of the only volunteers who hadn't known him in life. It speaks to the quality of that life when 16 years later your high school classmates, second cousins and old neighbors are still showing up to raise money in support others in your name.

This event, these people, this memory that they honor is everything that is right about the way
the world should be and I am better for brushing up against it.

I can't wait for next year, sign me up!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Summer oh Summer

So technically summer doesn't actually begin until the solstice on June 21 but in Central Texas it has been so humid and hot it was more of a spr[oh sorry you missed it]ummer kind of spring.

And now you're thinking to yourself "So what it's hot, whatcha going to do about it?"

To that I say "Go Swimming without actually getting in the pool"

Then maybe go freshen up with a nice cold beverage

and if you don't have an Auntie as cool as KatyDid does then you can always go with the vicarious beverage. Rumor is it isn't cold so don't say I didn't warn you.

Then you could try to run so fast you create a great breeze

or if you are fast enough you might just fly. Either one should work.

Happy Summer!