Saturday, October 27, 2012

Book: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

When I first started reading Beautiful Disaster, I loved it. Big Man on Campus finds the one girl who seems immune to his charm and since he can't shag her, befriends her. Abby and Travis develop a lovely camaraderie, with hints of attraction and unresolved sexual tension, a friendship that serves them both well. The descriptions of campus life were fun and made me a little nostalgic for something I never actually experienced. The author dropped hints that Abby's life before was quite different from the life she is leading on campus, said prior life being pretty much her sole reason for resisting Travis' advances in the first place. Travis is in a fraternity, but is most assuredly not your typical frat boy, by far.

That love for this book lasted until Abby and Travis finally give in after a fraternity party and sleep with each other. You know it's just a matter of time, that it is going to happen, because this is a romance, right? Big Man on Campus Travis, the guy that all the girls are hot for, the guy that girls line up to go home with, doesn't even last five minutes, and makes no effort to satisfy Abby, sexually speaking. I can blame this on the author, because the entire episode lasted about a paragraph, but I still lost a little bit of the hero-love and respect I'd been lavishing on Travis. After that, I just couldn't see him the same way. By the way, the descriptions of the sex, while extremely mild and unsatisfying, were nevertheless graphic enough that I probably wouldn't suggest this for someone under fifteen to eighteen, depending on your personal line in the sand.

Even once they were sleeping together, things went pretty well for the couple, and they were happy for a little while. The big obstacle happens when Abby, her friend America, America's boyfriend Shep and Abby's Travis go to Las Vegas. It all goes downhill from there. Travis' reaction to the obstacle is just exactly wrong, and his inability or unwillingness to read Abby's body language about how important this is to her takes him even further down in my eyes. I also don't think much of Abby's unwillingness to tell Travis why this is so critical to her.

The resolution of this issue takes up pretty much the rest of the book, with Abby standing firm the vast majority of the time, and Travis spiraling down into what amounts to stalker territory. I was deeply disappointed by the change in Travis from the beginning of the book to the end, and felt like he was not even the same character. The book ends on a high note, but it was an unrealistic ending for me, too happy too soon with not enough effort on either of the characters' parts.

I did love the characterization, particularly of Travis' family when we meet them. Their immediate acceptance of Abby as one of them is really sweet, and the brotherly love and protectiveness is something she needs, I think, from men who aren't her boyfriend. America and Shep stand up on their own, and even the tertiary characters aren't cookie-cutter background characters for the most part.

I'm trying so hard here to review this book without saying what happens, because it's a big deal to the characters. I hope I've managed that. The first half to two-thirds of the book is really good, so I still recommend reading it. Your mileage may vary with the big deal and the group's reaction to it, so don't let me keep you from reading the book.

Though I did love more than half the book, my lack of connection to Travis as the book went forward colored my like enough to take it down a notch. I'd give it a 3.5, but it definitely lost more than a point in my view. There were mistakes which could have been either typos or formatting errors, and there were many places where capital letters should have been and weren't.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Random McRandyPants

And that is actually a pretty apt nickname for me today.  Well, this whole year.  In fact, I think I shall change my internet nickname everywhere to Random McRandyPants.  :)

Not only am I finally reading a good book, but also it gets bonus points for the proper use of the word "alumnus" to refer to one male former student. More bonus points because it's a favorite trope and I'm enjoying it. Yay! The last three books have been just not right.  OK, two of them outright sucked and the third was just vaguely pleasant.  And then...we get to the sex.  I guess I have been spoiled reading good fanfic, because I was like, what?  He kisses her and then they're having sex?  Where's the foreplay?  Where's the making sure she gets hers?  This guy has a reputation and the girls line up to do him and he's all five minutes in the sack the first time he makes love to the love of his life?  Apollo he is not, for sure.  I mean, he at least apologizes for not lasting five minutes.

Tonight, at OTB, this girl sat at a table near me, and her jean skirt was so short, I was sure she was gonna flash the whole restaurant.  Then, when she and her date were walking away from the table, he puts his hand out, right behind her ass, but then decided not to, I guess. I thought it was funny because his hand immediately went to her ass area instead of the small of her back.  Then, "Oooooops.  We're at On the Border, not the local biker bar."  lol

Sold two things today, one on Amazon and one on eBay.  Yay!  Two more things out the door to new homes.  I wish I could figure out what days the mailman actually comes to our house.  This is the no-mail-gettingest place I've ever lived in in my life.  At least three days a week there is nothing in the mail.  He doesn't even slow down as he walks past our house.

Still haven't been able to get hold of my girlfriend to see if she and her husband are doing Thanksgiving this year.  When he's deployed, I don't even bother asking, I just show up, but since he's home again this year (and I'm happy he's out of Iraq, really!), I have to confirm, just to attempt courtesy.  I do hope they are, though, because I look forward to seeing those Basic Training Airmen every year and hearing their stories about their hometowns and why they enlisted.  And since I'm a dirty old lady, I look forward to checking them out.  I'll be honest.  :)  A girl's gotta have *some* fun.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Random stuff about me - possible TMI

This is random stuff about me, but if you don't want to read some personal stuff, just move along.  I'm not pulling punches because some stranger from the Ukraine doesn't want to read about *that.*

I am a perv.  I can make a verbal sexual innuendo out of just about anything someone says.  And even if I don't say it, my mind nearly always goes there.  This is why I sometimes giggle to myself out in public.

I have Native American blood, about three generations back.  This is really apparent in my father - he's got that black hair that's so dark it almost has blueish highlights - and in my brother - dark skin and black hair.  Me, I am about as white-skinned as a person can be.  I like to say that I have red-headed skin.  Didn't get the red hair, but the pale, pale skin and freckles definitely hit me, and boy, do I have a temper when riled.

The hair on my body is divided into zones.  Above the waist (including my arms here) shades from dark brown on my head to light brown, almost dirty blonde on my arms.  Below the waist, it's all black.  This was very embarrassing in the sixth grade, when all the other girls didn't have to shave because their leg hairs were all light-colored.  My leg hairs are seriously black.  There's no missing them or ignoring them.  lol

I have one of those, what do women call it on a man?  A treasure trail?  And yes, it's black.  Since I am a woman of a certain age, I have been in communal showers in school, and have been camping where the showers were more or less communal, if not co-ed.  I've been asked why I don't shave it or bleach it or something.  I just don't see the point.  If someone gets close enough to me to see it, and he (or she) is squicked out because I have a line of black hair on my belly, then there's something wrong with them, not me.

Despite my struggles with self-esteem, practically my whole life, I'm about the least vain person I've ever known, and I've never thought I was ugly.  I've never colored my hair.  Never wanted to.  I've actually always thought the color of my hair is beautiful.  I don't wear makeup.  Not only does it make my skin feel very weird, I look ridiculous wearing it, and have been complimented plenty (usually a backhanded compliment) on how I don't need makeup to look good.  Unless I'm going to a job interview, I dress for comfort, not for fashion or to impress anyone.  I just don't care what the current fad is, and I certainly don't dress according to those what not to wear shows.  I am just totally comfortable in my own skin.  That doesn't mean that I always like what I see in the mirror, more that I just don't care if someone else doesn't like what *they* see.  My one concession to appearances is that I won't leave the house to go somewhere public without a bra.  Still, this is more about me than anyone else.

I'm beginning to have liver spots on my hands, and it reminds me of my grandfather, which makes me feel kinda old.  But again, to the suggestion that it's time to buy the fade cream, I said, "Frak that!"

Next to my hair, my eyes are my best feature.  They're a hazel that ranges from green when I'm in a certain mood (yeah, that one) to yellow when I'm really ill.  Otherwise, they change from greenish to brownish to goldish depending on what I'm wearing and what my mood is and what the weather's like.  Both my parents eyes are/were hazel.  Interestingly, my sister's eyes are blue and my above-referenced little brother's eyes are brown.  Go figure.

My love languages are touch and acts of service.  I tend to use these on other people more than other people use them on me.  It's somewhat difficult to determine someone else's love language in a public transaction or with an acquaintance I don't see often.  And it's not like people wear signs.  "I like words of affirmation."  "Gifts make me feel loved."  And whatever the fifth one is.  I can't remember.

I fell insanely in love with Battlestar Galactica 2003 when I finally watched it in August and September.  So much so, that I'm having trouble keeping up with my current shows, because I just don't want to watch anything that's not BSG.

I like erotica and smut.  I still insist on it being well-written, using proper grammar and spelling words correctly.  Also, it really needs to be physically possible.  If his tongue is in two places at once, I better be reading a scifi story with an alien male in it.  Yes, I am a Grammar Nag who is also a Smut Aficionado.  I am a woman of contradictions.  :D

I'm not quite sane, but I'm high-functioning insane.  There are things that if people had experienced them firsthand, they'd probably be having some intensive inpatient therapy.  I say welcome to my life.

In my late teens and early twenties, I was um, indiscriminate, to put it delicately.  Thanks to guardian angels or something, I never got any communicable diseases, and I've only been pregnant twice.  Lost one, had one.  Now that I'm older, the pendulum has swung totally the other way.  Any sex I get is ALL in my head.  I'm totally ready for it to swing back to the middle, preferably in the next year or so.  lol

Now, I have to do something from my supposed to list.  Methinks it will not be read an assigned book.  I have had crap luck with the last two.

Book: Magician's Peril by Paul A Wunderlich

This was a freebie sent to me by someone who asked me to review the book.  I hunted through my email, but can't find the website name.

Magician's Peril is fraught with inconsistent place names, proper names that are difficult to pronounce, and words so big that even I didn't understand what was going on most of the time, and I used to read dictionaries for fun.  Frankly, it read like someone for whom English is a second language, someone trying to impress people with his command of English, and failing mostly because he's using the words incorrectly.

A sorcerer sent out an evil spell for some dastardly purpose.  It infected a town and killed a bunch of people.  The story is told in six parts, allegedly by the daughter of the "mayor" of this town.

I had a really hard time reading this book, in part because of the repetitive telling of events.  It has taken me well over a month to read it.  By the middle, I really just wanted to make myself finish the book, and by the end, I was thoroughly blissed out that I was finally done.  I can't even tell you how it ended, just that it finally did.

The characterization was just not compelling enough to overcome the overwrought language.

To the author, I offer an apology that your first review here on Amazon is not a more positive one, but I just can't rate it any higher.  I'll give you two stars for effort.  It could be a really great story under all that.

Book: Primal by Raven and Lain Bower

I'm going to point you at J. Westfall's review because s/he said pretty much what I think about this book.

In the beginning the poor writing, bad grammar and worse editing were not quite as apparent. As the book wore on, it all got worse. I was pretty much ignoring all that and was interested in the premise of the book, which was that of a person in Witness Protection who actually had some knowledge of paranormal creatures. It could have been really fascinating. Then, bam! The next chapter didn't have Wrey (previously known as Maria) and Arvon in it, but some other characters, apparently a bunch of thugs in the Rekin, some kind of mafioso.

It was evident to me from the first paragraph that this chapter had been written by a completely different person; wording, pacing, even editing were all of significantly less quality than what I'd read previously. Aside from that, it was boring. I took to skimming those sections and only reading the sections with Wrey and Arvon in them. By the end of the book, the better-written sections became not noticeably different from the thug sections in quality, and I kept forcing myself to keep reading. Not even the sex redeemed the story.

I was disappointed at the spot in the plot where the author(s) chose to end the book. It's definitely not the end of the story for Wrey or Arvon. Unfortunately for the authors, I don't give a crap. Unfortunately for the publishing house, I didn't bother reading or skimming any of the previews they stuck in the last 30% of the book.      

This was a freebie at Amazon (not any longer) and I just can't recommend it to anyone.