Posts

Showing posts from July, 2010

SBD 31 Bond Street

Remember how I was on and on about not liking historical novels based on real people? Turns out I was wrong. Maybe it's okay if I've never heard of the people in the book.

I'm listening to 31 Bond Street and loving it. It's based on a sensational murder that took place in the 1850s and most of the characters were real people. The descriptions of New York would be enough to sell me--and the little snippets from the newspapers are great.

There isn't the deep POV I'm used to, so I haven't bonded with any of the characters. But that's fine. It's an elegant book and all the research she did makes it richer, not dull--or at least not for me. The descriptions of the clothes and other details seem a bit much now and then, as in not really fitting the moment, but I like 'em.

I'm off to see if Ellen Horan has written more books. If she has I bet she'll stick with that milieu. I think it fits her style of writing, solemn and slightly removed from str…

whining about the whiner

Once again a book has lost me fast. In this case, the heroine is obsessed with her poverty. I can see a character worrying about not making ends meet--that seems real. But this woman with a reasonable job continuously frets about her "poverty" and the examples we're given? Her car is five years old. All of her furniture is used. She has to pack her lunches for work. She only has two pairs of high heeled designer shoes, but they were bought on ebay

No, sorry. You're out, lady.

Oh, and here's the deal-breaker. She's been held hostage and shot at and this long list of her woes is what occurs to her after she flees the scene of violence and goes home. Yeah, right. The first thing anyone would think about just after they'd been shot at is, "shit, I wish my car wasn't five years old."**

Next book.....I think I'll re-listen to Stephen Briggs reading A Hat Full of Sky. I could use a heroine with a more interesting view of the universe.

__________…

counting buttons

Blogger wanted me to add all these buttons, so I did. Will that increase traffic? Do I care? A bit, though not as much as I once did.

I used to have a little number count on my page but something I clicked or added made it go away. After a half-assed attempt to find out what happened, I had one of those mini-epiphanies. Its absence is a Good Thing. I can't be writing my blog -- or my books -- with too much attention paid to traffic. And my nature is that any attention is too much. I'm one of those authors who used to watch those Amazon, Fictionwise and any other "You Are (un)Popular!" numbers go up and down.

In one direction, abandonment, which leads to heartbreak. Or, if you become popular, extreme self-consciousness sets in. All of the above have happened to me at various points since 2004. Madness, heartbreak, paralyzing self-consciousness. Okay, maybe I can't blame the madness on you guys. And it wasn't really madness. But I blame you invisible readers (…

rantyrant

Ok, I might be in a state of permanently twisted knickers because EVERYTHING is outraging me, including the books I've tried to listen to.

Jeebus god, the woman in the first book must have Stockholm syndrome because she puts up with all sorts of crap from the hero, who is 18 years older than she is, which is borderline creepy and let's add on the fact that he had been in love with her mother. He's a real charmer who stalks her and screams at her and when he's in a good mood, talks to her as if she's a moron. (there's also the way he does things like calling Vietnamese "gooks").

There is so much astonishment from the male characters about a "lady lawyer" , and they're all surprised that she's so pretty and yet a lawyer. Add on that a bunch of talk about her tasty buns from her boss that I'm thinking this must be a book from the 1960s. But no, it's from 1989. I was an adult for most of the 80s and there is no way in hell a profe…

another SBD

turns out it's really useful to have these SBD. I was trying to recall the title Lush Life, so I could tell Mike he should read it. And there was the book and its description, on the blog.

So now today's SBD is to remind myself that I enjoyed The Brass Verdict, my favorite Bosch so far. Mostly because it's Bosch from another's POV and he's just as reckless and driven as always but he's less heroic. I love the character of Mickey Haller, the Lincoln lawyer and Bosch's half brother. I want more of him. Too bad he seems to be leaving the bar......then again.....Naw. There's a lot of storming away from lifes' roles in those books and then they realize it was a mistake.

And there's another Artemis Fowl book? I suspect my kids are getting too old for them so I'll have no excuse to buy it. Except damn, thirteen isn't too old, boy. You're getting it. I just hope you remember to leave it lying around for me to find.

Food drive

Image
This is what my minivan looks like after the 11th annual food drive. . . .... 56 bags v 58 2 years ago. There's no room in the car so the kids'll have to get a ride from the Flanders.

yikes

I was locked out! Can you believer it? Google and gmail LOCKED ME OUT. I couldn't get into my own places, like this blog or email or my writing group. Disabled, shunned and banned, I was a pitiable sight. (I wrote site, which is also accurate)

I sent off long, pleading letters, and short, angry notes. I filled out forms. I'm not sure which of those things eventually worked, but I'm back again. The days of no gmail served as a severe reminder that my online world isn't really mine, I'm just borrowing it.

I know who holds all the cards in this relationship. The only real power I have is to walk away and Google Gmail etc wouldn't even notice if I should do that. Well. Damn. They can just forget about the card I was going to send for their birthday, is all I have to say.

Now if we were paying customers they'd at least sigh when we washed our hands of them.

I'm still here though so they win. Again. Curse you, useful free services. Stop playing with my soul.

SBD a day early Courting Miss Bronte

I learned a few things from this book:

Things I Learned 1-100: stuff about Brontes. I mean I learned a LOT about them. And as I read, I occasionally checked the author's facts and I could see the author did her research. She also usually did a good job inserting fact as fiction--as in it was pretty seamless. No bits standing out as obviously Fact Inserted.

Thing I Learned 101: I discovered I'm not a fan of fictional versions of a real life. I don't mind chunks of "this might have been the way this actual scene played out" in a book, or brief appearances of non-fictional people in fictional works, so I thought a whole book written that way would be fine.

But it didn't work for me. When I read certain scenes, I kept wondering if that's the leap I would have taken . . . which means I didn't trust the author's interpretation of her characters -- which was because they weren't really her invention. **

To anyone still reading this: because of Thing I …

You heard it here first

Okay, I'm convinced that within three months a book is going to hit the NYTimes best seller list.

It will be a diet book.

It will be all about eating the foods that discourage the bad bacteria and promote the good stuff.

It will be bigger than the South Beach Diet and Atkins combined.

I wanted to be the one to write it and rake in all the easy money -- I even have my own in-house microbiologist man to do the "research" or at least give it some credibility. But noooooooooooooooooo he has to get all science-y and ruin my great plan.

Research? Facts? Don't you want to own an island in the French West Indies, man? We could be the ones! We COULD MAKE IT BEEEG, dude.

Sigh.

funky messages from sub-conscious

I dreamed I sent a book to one of my beta readers (hi, Toni) and she wrote back to say she never wanted to read another book of mine again unless I cleaned up my act. She sent me a ticket to the beach so I could go face nature and understand the true depth that I was supposed to put in my books.

Hey, it was a free trip to the beach--but I spent the whole time trying to screw some hardware back into a boardwalk that was falling apart. I shouldn't have fiddled with that bolt after all.

I woke up convinced that
1. the devil is in the details
2. I couldn't write about huge universal topics to save my life.
3. We really need to get to the ocean soon.
4. I should write a book that my several beta readers might like but I probably won't be able to.

more books.

It's all about the books I'm reading these days. But. So. Well. Anyway.
These m/m books are starting to get to me. It's strange entering a universe where very few women appear and they aren't fully developed people when they do. It's a lot like reading much of the dead white guy material or watching A Boy and His Dog.

The freebie I got from Amazon last week has constant butt sex. He gets so much up the rear and so often that I fear for the man's digestive system. And for some reason, pre-cum gets a lot of play. It's dribble time constantly for these boys. They leak like hoses that the dog has chewed on.

The interesting thing about this latest book is that the sex doesn't seem so believable to me, in part because there's no recovery time between bouts. I thought for sure it had to be a female author. Nope. A genuine gay male wrote it.

I'm off the m/m for a while, I think, or at least the erotic brand. It's time to go back to Harry Bosch and that …

reason number eleven SBD continued

I thought of another reason I didn't like that Brown book.
Love began and ended with hot sex. Love wasn't about trust (they never seemed to reach a believable level of trust and probably never could), or a shared sense of humor, or any little day to day stuff (except maybe a shared love of trees. that was nice) It was all about the out-of-control need for fucking. He knew he loved her when he couldn't fuck other women. She knew she loved him when the memory of him made her all hot.

Even in an erotic romance you want more than that, or at least I do.

And then the leads could show how wrapped up they were with their own sad egos with the two scenes with the dying dad, Cotton (no, really. Cotton.) Instead of making sure he's taken care of, they both try to wring confessions out of him. She tries to keep him from surgery so she can hear his whisperings. As Cotton lies dying, the hero doesn't administer first aid. He tries to get the old guy to call him "son." …

all the reasons I shouldn't finish this book SBD

Slow Heat To Heaven

1. Just about every time the feisty female does something to show she's feisty, rather than a passive girly girl, it ends up basically a disaster. Someone has to help her, usually the hero. But she doesn't trust him through just about the end of the story.

2. She's fired the hero because of lack of trust or just showing him who's boss not once but THREE FREAKING TIMES. Every time she gets annoyed, she orders him off the premises, even though he's the only one who can do the job. He wanders back, she pouts and yells and there they go again.

3. The hero is more than a jerk. He's a jerk's jerk. Everyone over at amazon points to his "I shoulda raped you when I could have" remark, but a dumb remark like that in passing is nothing compared to the way he uses females and struts around.
3a his name is Cash.

4. Brown's newer books are so much better. Why don't I read one of them?

5. The Belle Terre southern manor they all fight over,…

SBD early

I'm reading Lush Life and zip back and forth between admiration and annoyance. The author is a steady strobe light when it comes to flashes of genius. Oh, those phrases are wicked lovely and the dialogue rocks. Now if only we could get some plot and maybe characters who're more worthy of our attention? Or not. And a little less cleverness would be good. There is so much glorious writing piled on, the book occasionally stops being about the story and becomes all about the bling. That gets as annoying as the other end of the spectrum, purple cliches.

It's a murder story (no mystery at all) set in New York--and the lower east side is my favorite character in the novel. I have no idea if the police stuff is accurate; it might be just some great world-building. Sure seems gritty enough to be believable.

time stood still for you

A few years ago, my mother was dying by inches. She had dementia and didn't know us. She had to be fed; she was incontinent; she couldn't walk. By the last few weeks, she couldn't talk at all. She lived down in DC and I took the train down to see her now and then, not often enough of course.

Back then I had a sort of friend up here in CT -- actually her kid was the same age as mine and they occasionally played together. Anyway, she frequently complained about her interfering mother and mother-in-law. They bought clothes for her kids that she hated. They insisted on spending time with the kids when she didn't want them over. All legitimate complaints, I'm sure.

But at the time, I was dealing with the slow end of my mother and my kids had no grandparents, at least none who were interested in them or who'd recognize them if they passed on the street. We had no family in the area so I counted on friends when we had emergencies.

So I said, "hey, I'm sure you&…