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Dia, Buona & Amir

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The Not-So-Literary Heiresses (that's us!) are two sisters and their cousin who share a passion for reading. We are nieces of multi-awarded Filipino author Jose F. Lacaba and the late Eman Lacaba, who is considered the only poet warrior of the Philippines (and whose biopic is being released late this year!).

You would think being related to literary geniuses would sprinkle a little bit of writing talent and ambition our way, but one of us is a bank executive, another one is a broadcast tech on a cruise ship, and another one is in business school. The one thing we've all inherited is an undisputed love for books. This blog is our way of sharing our passion. More?

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21 December 2013

Insanity Excerpt + Giveaway!

Title: Insanity
Author: Cameron Jace
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Expected publication: December 20, 2013

After accidentally killing everyone in her class, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. No one doubts her insanity. Only a hookah-smoking professor believes otherwise; that he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll's paintings, photographs, and find Wonderland's real whereabouts. Professor Caterpillar persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals. In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford university student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that nonsense is an actual science.





Excerpt from chapter 1

The writing on the wall says it's January 14th. I am not sure what year. I haven't been sure of many things lately, but I’m wondering if it’s my handwriting I’m looking at.

There is an strange key drawn underneath the date. It's carved with a sharp object, probably a broken mirror. I couldn’t have written this. I'm terrified of mirrors. They love to call it Catoptrophobia around here.

Unlike regular patients in the asylum, my room is windowless, stripped down to a single mattress in the middle, a sink, and bucket for peeing--or puking--when necessary. The tiles on the floor are black-and-white squares, like a chessboard. I never step on black. Always white. Again, I'm not sure why.

The walls are smeared with a greasy pale green everywhere. I wonder if it's the previous patient's brains spattered all over from shock therapy. In the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum, politely known as the Warneford hospital, the doctors have a sweet spot for shock therapy. They love watching patients with bulging eyes and shivering limbs begging for relief from the electricity. It makes me question who is really mad in here.

It's been a while since I was sent to shock therapy myself. Dr. Tom Truckle, my supervising physician, said I don't need it anymore, particularly after I stopped mentioning Wonderland. He told me that I used to talk about it all the time; a dangerous place I claim I have been whisked away to when my elder sister lost me at the age of seven.

Truth is, I don't remember this Wonderland they are talking about. I don't even know why I am here. My oldest vivid memory is from a week ago. Before that, it's all a purple haze.

I have only one friend in this asylum. It's not a doctor or a nurse. And it's not a human. It doesn't hate, envy, or point a finger at you. My friend is an orange flower I keep in a pot; a Tiger Lily I can't live without. I keep it safe next to a small crack in the wall where a single sun ray sneaks through for only ten minutes a day. It might not be enough light to grow a flower, but my Tiger Lily is a tough girl.

Each day, I save half of the water they give me for my flower. As for me, better thirsty than mad.

My orange flower is also my personal rain check for my sanity. If I talk to her and she doesn't reply, I know I am not hallucinating. If it talks back to me, all kinds of nonsense starts to happen. Insanity prevails. There must be a reason why I am here. It doesn’t mean I will easily give in to such a fate.

"Alice Pleasance Wonder. Are you ready?" the nurse knocks with her electric prod on my steel door. Her name is Waltraud Wagner. She is German. Everything she says sounds like a threat and smells like smoke. My fellow mad people say she is a Nazi; that she used to kill her own patients back in Germany. "Get avay vrom za dor. I an coming in," she demands.

Listening to the rattling of her large keychain, my heart pounds in my chest. The turn of the key makes me want to swallow. When the door opens, all I can think of is choking her before she begins to hurt me. Sadly, her neck is too thick for my nimble hands. I stare at her almost-square figure for a moment. Everything about her is four sizes too big, all except her feet, which are as small as mine. My sympathies, little feet.

"Time for your daily ten-minute break," she approaches me with a straitjacket, a devilish grin on her face. I never get out. My ward is underground, and I take my break in another empty ward upstairs, where patients love to play soccer with a hedgehog’s head.

A big muscled warden stands behind Watlraud. Thomas Ogier. He is bald, has an angry-red face and a silver tooth he likes to flash whenever he sees me. His biceps are the size of my head. I have a hard time believing he has ever been a 4-pound baby.

"Slide your arms into the jacket," Waltraud demands in her German accent, a cigarette puckered between her lips. "Slow and easy, Alice," she nods at warden Ogier, in case I misbehave.
I comply obediently and stretch out my arms for her to do whatever she wants. Waltraud twists my right arm slightly and checks the tattoo on my arm. It’s the only tattoo I have. It’s a handwritten sentence that looks like a thin arm band from afar. Waltraud feels the need to read it allowed, “’I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.’” I was told I have written it myself while still believing in Wonderland. “That Alice in Wonderland has really messed with your head.” She puffs smoke into my face as she mocks me.

The tattoo and Waltraud’s mocking is the least of my concerns right now. I let her tie me, and while she does, I close my eyes. I imagine I am a sixteenth century princess, some kind of a lucky Cinderella, being squeezed into a corset by my chain smoking servant in a fairy tale castle above ground, just about to go meet my Prince Charming. Such imagery always helps me breathe. I once heard that it was hope that saves the day, not sanity. I need to cool down before I begin my grand escape.





Things you might want to know:

Cameron writes books that he can't find elsewhere, basically to amuse himself. Everything Cameron does is for fun, so don't take him seriously. Never call him a writer. He hates that. He prefers the word: Storyteller, or the boy next door who claims he can tell stories.

If you like his books, horaaaay! He loves ya too. If ya don't, hoooray! Now we know in advance that this relationship isn't going to work.

Although his books are ordinary on the surface, they hold many secrets that he might reveal one day. What matters the most to him are characters struggling to find their identities and place in the world.

Things you don't need to know:

He celebrates his birthday twice a year, the day he was born and Friday the 13th. He wants to live in a bubble house. He is a damn good guitar player. He is damn good architecture college drop out. He likes boats, beaches, bears, beards, bananas, bars, barfights, beans, bikes, bones, butter, babes, bakery, blizzards, and pirates (he thought it was spelled Birates when he was a kid.)

And honestly, writing in third person sucks! It's so fake. 




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6 comments:

  1. Sounds like my favorite kind of story. I love reading books that are heavily driven by the character's need for revenge. But I think I'll have to wait for the the third book to come out. As what you said in your last paragraph, I hate cliffhangers and long waits.


    Great review, Amir!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your review intrigued me. First-person narrators are some of the best when it comes to creating a feeling of veracity and intense emotions. Also, cliff-hangers are usually really annoying, so I'm curious as to this book's cliff-hanger given that you said it was a good one.

    Mada @ All Fantasy Worlds

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pretty late but happy new year Charlotte! Wishing us tons of new books to read that will just forever make out TBR pile impossible to finish. :)



    I hate cliffhangers too! But a revenge themed book was just too interesting to pass up!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't think this will work with any other POV, actually! Being inside Bell's tormented mind is just too intense. And this is really one of those books where I absolutely do not trust anyone but out main character so I'm rooting for her all the way to get her revenge on the Gables.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good luck Dre! Happy New Year :)

    ReplyDelete

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