Monday, August 27, 2012

Love UnfinishedLove Unfinished by Darian Wilk
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Wow, I can't believe so many other readers gave this 4 or 5 stars...

IF (and that's a big IF) you can get past the terrible editing and e-book formatting, the characters, plot and dialogue leave so much to be desired.

The story emerges as somewhat hokey, but sweet- a young couple is killed on their wedding day and arrive in a sort of limbo, with a chance to find each other again through reincarnation.

From there on in, the story is a confusing mix of plot angles and choppy phrasing. I get the gist- Emma (the reincarnated Carol) finds herself in a loveless marriage to a dishonest, manipulative politician. Through a series of seemingly coincidental events, she falls in love with James, a quiet, earnest antique dealer. It comes as no surprise that he is actually her former-life love, Ted.

What really got to me were these random plot points- Emma's jerk of a husband becomes abusive out of the blue. She has this crazy, alcoholic, bitchy best friend who seems like the same sort of person Emma loathes. At one point James discovers an old gold brooch and a photo of Carol/Emma wearing it on her (first) wedding day, and seems to get the connection...but instead of this being a major turning point in the story, it is glossed over and never fully explained. Emma herself has a personality that goes where the wind blows...desperate for the love of the ass she married, strong and determined, disgusted with herself for loving a man who is not her husband, snarky and catty.

I found this book to be boring, lacking in fully thought-out scenes, and grammatically excrutiating. Recommended for no one!

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Book Review: Dead is the New Black

Dead Is the New BlackDead Is the New Black by Christine DeMaio-Rice
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lauren is a fashionista turned amature sleuth. As a patternmaker in New York City's garment district, she gives us a close look at how high-end clothing is made, from cutting on the bias to picking the right thread to sew on a button. Think along the lines of "The Devil Wears Prada" or "Project Runway".

The story begins about a week before a major fashion show. Her whole office is in a whirl preparing. Hardworking Lauren comes into work on a weekend, only to find her boss (the dashing gay man she's crushing on) standing over the dead body of his financial backer. Talk about a monkey wrench!

The list of potential perps gets a little confusing, as the number of minor characters is long. A few side trips into Lauren's relationship with her sister, a beat-down by pseudo-mobsters, and a kiss from her long-time pal Stu add to the confusion.

As Lauren and her sister chase down one lead after another, she gets closer to the surprising truth, and danger.

This was a cute story, and I liked the fashion industry backdrop. However, the plot lines were too complex for such a simple idea, and the various characters/motives were too plentiful to really make sense.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Then and Now

What a difference a year makes!

Last year about this time, I was sick. Really, really sick. Dizzy and in pain, on tons of steroids, unable to work. Felt terrible, looked terrible. Back then, I wrote about the Face of Prednisone, about how cruel life-saving drugs can be. I was on the medication from about May 2011 to April 2012. Here's what I looked like in November of last year:
Since I went back to work in December, I have been working hard to lose the steroid weight and get in shape. After losing about 20 pounds on my own, I got serious and joined Weight Watchers Online. I know it's not for everyone, but it has worked for me in the past, so I jumped on a sale they ran at the end of April. So far, 51 pounds gone! Here's me, this past weekend:

I am a work in progress. I still have a lot of weight to lose. Next up is adding regular exercise into my life. But I am feeling stronger and healthier every day. I can carry a load of laundry up the stairs without pain- I can take a walk at the park without being dizzy- I can drive myself to work- that's such a great feeling!

What a difference a year makes.

This post was inspired by The Bug's post about her own then/now.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review: These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen

These GirlsThese Girls by Sarah Pekkanen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

These girls- namely Renee, Cate and Abby- are all young women who have come to New York City and are struggling to make it. And these girls have some problems with a capital P!! Dropped out of college after an affair with a professor, diet pill abuse, the nanny who sleeps with the married father of her charge...can they have any more drama?

Despite the drama, you still end up rooting for them (after you roll your eyes at some of the stupidity). You get a real sense of their personalities and how they navigate relationships. And NO ONE ends up with the guy. That's refreshing.

While it wasn't a super-exciting page turner, it was a nice look at female insecurities, work conflicts, and friendship.

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Book Review: The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny

The Book of Madness and CuresThe Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Set the in late 16th century, our protagonist and female doctor Gabriella goes of in search of her errant father. She travels with two longtime servants across Europe and northern Africa. Then NOTHING HAPPENS.

Danger and suspicion of women are hinted at, but are never really close enough to threaten. The prose is so even-tempered, that even when the good Dottor almost drowns in a lake, I didn't realize it until they found her dead horse, who did drown.

The most interesting part of this book was the descriptions of some incredible diseases (mostly mental or emotional in nature) and their cures that were described. Imagine contracting "Porphyria: An Abborrhence of Light that Causes One to Suffer Cankers and Grow the Fur of a Beast" known cure.

These little gems were bright spots in an otherwise melancholy and tepid read.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review: 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King

'Salem's Lot'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not my favorite King novel, but I'm still kinda surprised I had never picked this one up. My main motivation was reading about Pere Callahan in the Dark Tower series...he figured in the latter half of this book pretty heavily.

I thoroughly enjoyed the author's forward, as I often do. I love hearing SK describe his childhood, the books he read growing up, and a book's backstory- why or how it came to be written.

So, the story itself-- vampires. Not much else to say. King sticks close to common vampire lore and kills off some likeable and sympathetic Not quite as creepy as I had imagined, but still a good read.

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