Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book: Summer Nights by Susan Mallery

I received a PDF of this book through NetGalley for the purposes of review.

Annabelle was a fun character, and the Stryker brothers all seemed like good guys. I believed the slow growth of friendship between Annabelle and Shane, but didn't really believe the sexual chemistry between the two. To put it bluntly, they were boring. I was much more interested in Charlie the firefighter's desire for and journey toward motherhood than I was in Shane and Annabelle as a couple.

I absolutely adored the relationship that grew between Annabelle, who was all but terrified of horses, and Shane's "killer horse" Khatar. Khatar found a kindred spirit in Annabelle, who despite her fear of horses, was never afraid of Khatar. He loved her from the moment he met her, and even protected her from a snake in a chapter near the end. Funny how the friendship between the horse and the girl was far more intriguing than that between the romantic leads.

Shane had issues, all based on his previous wife, Rachel, and because of one sighting of Annabelle at a bar at the beginning of the book, painted Annabelle with the same brush, even after he started sleeping with her. It took a couple of fights with his younger brother, Clay, to get his head on straight, and for me, his turnaround would have been too little, too late, after all that distrust.

While I liked the book fine, it didn't whet my appetite to read any more of the Fool's Gold books, unless there's going to be a book about Charlie. Her issues and her need to be part of a family might be interesting enough to draw me in.

I've enjoyed other of Ms. Mallery's books, and hope to enjoy more in the future, but this one just didn't do it for me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What dreams may come

Yesterday, I dreamed about visiting my kinfolk in Oklahoma, and toward the end of the dream, my cousin Zack walked in the front door.  Zack was my favorite cousin, and he died more than ten years ago.  He was the only one of my cousins who really *got* me, maybe because he was, too: twisted, perverted, vulnerable, lonely.  Yet he was always a gentleman when it counted.  Maybe because we were both onlys for a good period of time before we became eldests.  I don't know what it was about him.  But it was so good to see him in my dream that when I woke up, I was nearly crying for how much I miss him.

You know how they say that a woman will tend more often than not, to marry someone like her dad?  I don't know about the marry part, because my ex was nothing like my dad.  But when I'm deciding whether or not to be attracted to a guy, there's some truth to that adage - strong, silent, alpha when he needs to be, completely dry sense of humor; more often than that, though, any man gets compared to Zack, at least subconsciously.  Aside from the familial relationship, he was my ideal.  He's how I knew that there was someone out there who would get me and love me just the way I was, warts and all, who wouldn't be put off by my sexual innuendos in the most innocuous of conversations, or by my innate ability to flirt with anything human.  Now, as I close in steadily on the "halfway" mark, I have to wonder where that person is, because I've never found whoever it is.  Granted, for the last fifteen years, I've been actively not-looking, but that's beside the point.  :)

Back to the dreaming thing.  This morning, I was dreaming something, and the dream morphed, as dreams are wont to do, and I was tied up, with Helo from BSG looking at me *that* way, and then the dream morphed again, into something else I don't remember.  When I woke up, I was still stuck on being tied up by Helo, with my brain whining, "C'Mon, man!  I can't even get any action in my DREAMS?"  Perhaps that particular bit of the dream was the result of too much BSG smut, as if there exists such a thing as too much smut of any variety.  lol

And yes, I did just share perhaps too much information.  Look at the labels.  :D

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Days go by....

I've been really struggling the last few days - maybe the last few weeks.  I'm just so sad all the damn time.  I cry over the stupidest stuff, stuff that usually will at least bring back happy memories.  Last night, I was overwhelmed listening to an REO Speedwagon song, and just bawled for ten minutes.  REO is generally really happy memories - good friends, great concerts.

I'm thinking I definitely have to get to the doctor and get back on my anti-depressants, and hope like hell that works, because if it doesn't, I don't know how much longer I can hold out.  And for frak's sake, I'm not talking about suicide.  No, I'm talking emotional breakdown.  Loonybin.  Inpatient stuff.  Thought scares the bejesus out of me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Today was a bad day, sort of

There were moments when today was just a regular day.  I woke up early, after a really good hunk of sleep. I didn't have a headache.  I wasn't even hungry when I woke up.  I was a little melancholy, thinking about how long it had been since I worked at Six Flags, but nothing too serious.

Then, this afternoon, something happened.  Randomly, for no reason at all, I'd just start crying.  It was confusing and distressing and I really needed a hug.  Or two.  A couple of hours ago, it finally quit and things were back to "normal," if that term can ever really be applied to me.

Tomorrow I get to replace the battery in my newly returned to me car, and go to an appointment in Addison.    I can hope that today's emotional weirdness will not repeat itself.  I hate crying, but at least today I didn't do it in public.

Book: Diary of a One Night Stand

Reviewed for Addicted to Books

In Diary of a One Night Stand, Weis employs one of my least favorite romantic tropes: cheating spouse.  As I began the book, I thought it was somewhat refreshing that the heroine was a woman of a "certain age" and that she was taking her happiness into her own hands.  Then, turn the page, not only does she have a daughter, but also a husband, with whom she climbs into bed when she gets home.  At that point, she instantly became less attractive as a heroine, in my eyes.  While I could empathize with her feelings and her dilemma, I couldn't really condone the circumstances of her extracurricular activities.

Kara's husband, Cal, was a lawyer, and worked too many hours, even while he was recovering from heart surgery.  He started the book as something less than a villain, but more than the stereotypical clueless husband.  Kara was a lawyer with a different firm, and also worked a lot of hours.  She met Scott at some sort of business function, and he pursued her for a week before she gave in and met him for a tryst.  Their "relationship" progressed unreasonably quickly from there.

I found Scott to be extremely overbearing - making decisions for Kara and for Kara's daughter, Simone, without regard to Kara's wishes or stated desires.  Whatever the physical package, and as written he was both handsome and fit, he would have turned me off pretty quickly had I met him in real life.  He was the kind of guy who thinks that his money can buy him anyone's affections, and Kara was not strong enough to set some boundaries for him; she just let him steamroll right over her.

New Orleans is a fascinating city and I generally enjoy almost any fiction set there, but there was little in this book to identify the setting as NOLA beyond the frequent use of the city's name.

By far the best part of the book was Simone, a ten year old, horse-loving girly-girl, who sometimes possessed a wisdom beyond her years.  Her childlike, uninhibited joy in things was a bright spot in an otherwise mostly dreary romance.

The end was abrupt and much too simplistic, and the epilogue made me wonder a little about Kara's sanity.  Really.

Obviously, your mileage may vary.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

TV: Battlestar Galactica (2003)

Back when BSG was on the air, I didn't really get a chance to watch it.  It was during one of the times when I didn't have cable, and trying to consistently get a friend to record it for me was just too much trouble.  Besides that, I was still pretty into the two Stargates, and wasn't looking for a new fandom.

But a few weeks ago, I was skimming through the Amazon Prime streaming looking for something to watch and decided to see if BSG was on the free list yet.  I was thrilled to find out it was, and went on an unintentional binge.  I watched the mini-series, Razor and all four seasons.  Then the last episode was over and I was in shock.

I've watched a lot of TV.  I mean, a LOT of TV.  As a kid, I was allowed to watch Sunday nights, you know, Marlon Perkins and Wonderful World of Disney.  That was it.  Any other TV I got was at other people's houses, and was rare.  I've kind of made up for it since then, between a former subscription to Netflix and my current Amazon Prime.

Anyway, Battlestar Galactica ripped out my guts, repeatedly, and put them back in differently.  I've never seen another show that so perfectly resonated with me - characterization, visuals, music, plot, relationships (friendships and otherwise - relationships are the main reason I stick with ANY show), premise.  Over a week went by and I couldn't even think of watching something else.  I hunted down some fanfic to ease the taste of POOF out of my mouth - you'd have to see the very last episode to understand that one - and went on a little reading binge.  Then, I started watching it all over again.  I'm taking my time this second time around, paying closer attention, noticing different things, and I'm still in love with this show.

Part of me wishes that I'd been able to see it during its heyday, and gotten involved in the fandom.  A bigger part of me knows that had I tried to watch this while the Stargates were still occupying my screen time, I wouldn't have connected with this show in quite the same way.  I'm sad that it ended after four seasons and there's nothing more except fanfic.  That's a little hard to deal with.

Yes, I'm aware I'm talking about a TV show, and yes, I'm aware I'm a little strange.  And?

Book: Pushing the Limits

I received Pushing the Limits through NetGalley for the purposes of reviewing it.

Echo and Noah are two very different teens whose lives intersect in the school counselor's office.  Collins is no ordinary school counselor, either; she's on loan from social services specifically to help at-risk kids.  Echo and Noah start out with very little in common other than being at-risk, for completely different reasons.

Echo is extremely depressed, trying to deal with the death of her beloved brother and an accident involving her mother, both the year before.  Noah's parents have both died, and he's struggling with how to get out of foster care and reunite with his younger brothers as a family and isn't sure that school is the best way to do that.

Collins assigns Echo as Noah's tutor.  Truthfully, he needs motivation more than tutoring and though at first they strike sparks, they begin to tentatively reach out to each other in friendship.

Echo and Noah begin to journey toward recovery, both separately and together, and the trip is poignant and funny and joyful and heartbreaking.

Secondary characters are lifelike, and one is the subject of a follow-up book coming out sometime soon - maybe late fall?

There are references to sex, without the ridiculous insistence on abstinence that is frequently so prevalent in books about teens.  Yes, some real teens practice abstinence, but there are plenty who don't, and this book is refreshingly full of regular teens of both kinds.

Pushing the Limits doesn't end Happily Ever After, and it would be a much poorer book if it did.  Instead, we get a glimpse of where Echo and Noah are, where they want to be, and how their individual struggles inform each other's progress toward health and happiness.

I loved this book, and am really looking forward to the following book.  Since I'm not a fan of the YA genre, I can't praise much higher than that.