*I got this book through my Amazon Kindle App for free
**Usually I keep this blog PG-13 friendly with the occasional NSFW link thrown in. Today, I talk a little more grown up. If you don’t want to read that stuff or are too young to decide this on your own please check out some of my other posts. May I suggest searching for Doctor Who. That should keep you entertained for a while!
***Spoilers on the romantic aspects of this story*** (I almost didn’t put this. This is a romance book, if you are really upset by these spoilers I suggest not reading reviews.)
I’m a big fan of the romance genre. I like reading about people working on relationships, the good and the bad. I’m not even turned off by bad and cheesy hand holding book covers. However, even though this book was free, I felt it didn’t do the romance genre justice. Usually I try to avoid writing reviews about books I don’t like because, I figure, just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean someone else won’t like it, and I can’t write really funny bad reviews like this one, so I just refuse to rate them and spend my time reviewing them. But, a couple of things stuck in my claw about this book, and I wanted to say a few things. And this is my blog, and I can do that.
Here is the GoodReads synopsis of Love in Bloom:
Dr. Paige Conrad needs Clay Reynolds’ help. However, he can’t give it because she and the rest of the town of Langley, Maryland, might discover his secret. Clay has no memory of the first 25 years of his life. The past and his father’s rejection is behind him. Digging it up brings back nightmare he has fought for ten years to control. After spending three years in underdeveloped countries following her parents vision of healing, Paige has come to Langley to gain perspective on her life and help an old friend with his medical practice. Learning Clay was involved in a rock climbing accident and went through the rehabilitation process, she wants him to share his experience with a trouble teenager to give the boy hope.
Paige and Clay are inexorably drawn to each other. But can Clay trust Paige and share his secret? Can Paige dare to follow her own dreams.
Sounds interesting right? Someone with a medical problem, retrograde amnesia. A doctor trying to figure out who she is, and where she belongs in this world. A couple of subplots about old friends and a troubled teenager. The makings of a decent romance novel right there. Where the book fails is in its execution of its own characters. I felt like the author thought, what are some cute ways a couple could be forced to spend time together, wrote those moments, and then wrote filler paragraphs in between the moments she wanted to write about. Character development throughout was rather poor, but then she would have these really sweet moments. A book, life! (and art of any form is a reflection of life), is more than a few sweet moments. Plus, thunderstorms or overbearing mother are not conflict unless there is a reason for them other than, oh I guess there should be conflict in this moment. It would have been awesome if Paige and her mother had a really well drawn out back story, if there had been more than a few paragraphs about their relationship before the drama of it, if her mother hadn’t shown up out of the blue, left when it was convenient for the author and then showed back up again when, hey I guess there should be conflict here. Life and stories aren’t just about the big moments and waiting in between, life is actually what happens in the between moments, in the quiet and the stillness, and the reflection of who we are as people.
But, OK, I’ve read plenty of romance novels where the characters are not fully fleshed out, but still enjoyed the book, so why did this one not reach that level of such badness it was awesome? Well, perhaps because they were not fully *fleshed out*, hehehehe. (Sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself.) I’m going to spoil something here, Paige is a virgin. Oh LAWDY, clutch my pearls and gasp, this was soooo unexpected. While, I think it is fair to say American’s have a very puritanical view of sex (seeing as many of us came from puritans, I personally came from a religious sect called the Anabaptist, so same difference), she grew up a nomad surrounded by many different cultures. Even though she has not grown up in American she holds on to those puritanical views, even though she went to med school in Chicago and was away from parental supervision for years! Now, I’m not knocking those people who choose to wait until the time is right for them to express their own sexuality, but it is a weird phenomenon in the romance genre that virginity is held up to be this kind of holy grail. I personally don’t believe that is true or realistic. And I really felt it detracted from the story rather than added to the plot. Paige becomes even more aloof than she already is because she hasn’t been with a man yet. While virginity is a spectrum concept and everyone has their own version of what it means, it appears Paige hasn’t even done much kissing! (Which is just a shame.) As a result Paige she doesn’t know how to deal with men other than a lot of begging, getting upset, and then ignoring them. Blech.
Ok, so we have virginal sex, which doesn’t do much for me in the way of epic romances or doing the grown up in books. But then she has awesome sex on the first try. Which isn’t even described in any detail. I just. What? No one I have ever talked to has had an AWESOME first time experience. Having good sex takes practice and learning to understand the partner that you are with. It means discussing the grown up while having clothes on, expressing desires and wants, and being vulnerable. Paige does none of these things and has awesome sex that is less than a paragraph long.
So on top of underdeveloped characters, the virginity holy grail issue (that I admit, may be solely my own issue), the romance has unrealistic sexual encounters that aren’t even written with any detail. Furthermore, they do not add to the plot except to teach that virginity loss leads to marriage. ::Headdesk:: No decent plot line, little to no sexy times, I mean what *should* I be looking for in a romance book but these things?
Is this a horrible book? Not by any means. The writing isn’t too bad, and I think the characters have potential. However, the story has some holes and the characters are underdeveloped. In addition, Paige suffers from the virginity holy grail plot device and the sexy times are unrealistic and not very sexy. In the end, the best I can say is that this is not the greatest book I’ve ever read.
I know I have several readers who love coffee, and I found this Coffee Cup Necklace just for you guys.
Head on over to Book Store Book Blogger Connection to enter a giveaway for Generation V, about a new kind of Vampire and Shapeshifter.
My mother is always sending me links to Loast at e minor, which has some really cool articles. Like this one on censored porn. Basically someone cut out the people doing the grown up and left the relief. Still very explicit and NSFW.
Speaking of people getting down to their underwear or taking it off completely. Check out these Superheroes in their underwear. Including Batman and the Flash, not just Wonder Woman. [via] Or how about a gender bender cosplay of Hercules and Hades? I totes <3 it. [via] While I’ve never seen the entire Disney film, I do love Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, mostly for introducing Xena! OMG, so in love with Xena. And I just love this cosplay of Xena, Ares, and Someone Who Doesn’t Want Their Picture Taken. Cute!
But if the rowdy isn’t for you. Maybe you would enjoy these Superhero wedding boutonnieres in stead? You have to scroll down quite a bit to find the pictures of the boutonnieres, but they are worth it! [via]
Probably you have all seen this, but in case you haven’t Patrick Stewart talks about domestic violence and PTSD. [via]
These hanging coffins exist in China. What a unique way to be laid to rest. And, if I could fly, I would totally hang coffins. That makes sense to me! (Some have hypothesized that the Mysterious Bo People could fly). Some new coffins have been found and more information has come to light since the video was made and you can read more about them here. Thanks to Chris for the tip!
Monsters University makes it to theaters June 21. I, for one, am really excited! I love love love Monsters Inc.! NEED TO SEE THIS! [via]
I’m a huge fan of Parks and Recreation. I love Leslie Knope and her motley crew. I think Amy Poehler is one of the most fantastic persons that exists right now and I want to have her babies (except as she is married and able to have her own, not sure she’ll take me up on that offer). I’m also in love with April, played by Aubrey Plaza. I’ve seen interviews with her and she is one strange duck. I love it! I’m obsessed. (Aubrey is interesting in the next video, the interviewer gets a little creepy. Not gonna lie.)
I’m also in love with Nick from New Girl. I love that character! He’s charming, sensitive, and obtuse all at the same time. Just a really great character! Jake Johnson does such a great job playing this role, I love his chemistry with Zooey Deschnel. And lo, what do I see on Netflix? A movie with two of my favorite actors!
Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel. (Synopsis from IMD)
Aubrey, who plays Darius, steals the show in this indie comedy flick. She plays an intern to Nick (sorry, that’s who he will always be in my mind, and honestly, his character isn’t that much different) along with the Arnau who is a rather stereotypical plot character for some comedy relief and who comes out of his shell just in time to say a couple of important lines. Nick actually has a decent subplot in this movie too. While he pitches to his boss (whom he slept with) that he wants to go and check out this crazy ad in the newspaper about a time traveler, in reality he wants to go back to the town he spent his summers as a teenager to find a girl he once knew. He does find her, but she’s not a skinny 18 year old any more, and Nick’s journey is one of coming to an understanding of the person he is and whether or not he likes that person.
Mark Duplass is both lead actor, playing Kenneth the time traveler, and he is also a producer of the film. Throughout most of the movie the audience is left to wonder whether or not this guy is for real or just crazy. But that space time traveling stuff isn’t even important. The real story is Darius and Kenneth’s relationship. According to IMDB the movie was written with Aubrey in mind, and it is a beautiful part for her personality, a little dark, clever, and with several moments of vulnerability. Neither Kenneth nor Darius trust other people much, and they spend the film creating a strong bond and learning to care about and rely on another person. I quite enjoyed this sweetly dark and funny film.
*I read this book on my Amazon Kindle app after seeing that it was a free download.
Life isn’t bad for psychic Jolie Wilkins. True, she doesn’t have a love life to speak of, but she has a cute house in the suburbs of Los Angeles, a cat and a quirky best friend.
Enter Rand Balfour, a sinfully attractive warlock who insists she’s a witch and who just might turn her life upside down. Rand hires her to help him solve a mystery regarding the death of his client who also happens to be a ghost. Jolie not only uncovers the cause of the ghost’s demise but, in the process, she brings him back to life!
I’m picky about what I download and spend my time reading, even if it is free. I was hoping Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by H.P. Mallory would be a fun quick read with a light romance and some interesting supernatural elements, and I was not disappointed. I enjoy reading about psychics because I find them fascinating. Typical of a first book in this type of series, Jolie does not know how powerful of a psychic she is and must discover how to believe in herself. While I was expecting this behavior, I prefer when female characters know who they are a little more than Jolie does. But as the book progresses she quickly adapts to the situation, something atypical of this type of series, so I applaud her resolve and reactions to the crazy that starts happening. The quirky best friend is a typical Judy Greer role (in my head she’s Judy Greer not Christa, so I will be calling her Judy). Judy is sexually liberated, unlike Jolie, but she’s also a ditz and she kind of takes advantage of Jolie and the situation. She has some endearing qualities and I understand why the author keeps her around, but at times I wondered why Jolie kept her around.
Rand is the typical male lead with lots of repressed heat and mystery. I know I keep saying typical, but it was pretty much what I expected, so I wasn’t disappointed by it. I was a little disappointed at Rand’s lack of character growth or development in the story, there isn’t even much in the way of background as to why he is the way he is. I think even a little of this and the story would have been just that much better. The way the character develops also made me re-realize that this is the first in a series. While I appreciate that authors know they have a span they can spin their story along, his character felt slightly underdeveloped and because of this the ending was rather abrupt. However, the magic he was able to do was very cool and Mallory has a universe with set rules that she adheres to and makes her tension revolve around. I enjoyed that a lot. I also like her writing, it was easy and fun without being pandering or poor writing. Sometimes these light urban fantasy novels aren’t the best written and I wonder if most ebooks ever even get an editor, but not with Mallory’s writing. I was engrossed in the magic and ghosts and vampires, oh my!, the entire time.
I also enjoyed the different settings the characters explore from Los Angeles to Chicago to England, this story spans time and space and I thought that was great. Jolie is a fun character who learns to stand up for herself and I always give that a thumb up! I wish the main characters of series like this would be as sexually liberated as their Judy Greer sidekicks, but if wishes were horses we’d all eat steak (that’s a Firefly reference, I’ve never eaten horse). Rand’s mystery was frustrating at times, but also exciting and sexy. A fun read involving vampires, warlocks, and psychics, Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble has cool characters, fun locale, and an interesting world to explore.
A large scale Lego X-wing. I wish making large scale models of geeky things with Legos was my job. I really do. Sigh. Then again my siblings and I entered a few Lego competitions in our time, and while creative they never measured up nor won any prizes. But it was fun. And I think we got candy.
I sent my mom this picture of a zombie Wonder Woman because she loves zombies and Wonder Woman. I really hope she takes on this idea as a Halloween costume. She’s done a zombie Dorothy, so it’s a possibility. I’ll just have to keep pushing her to do it.
I recently had interactions with MovieBoozer on twitter and went and checked out their website. Basically they rate movies based on how many beers it takes to make the movie good. I like their review of Pain and Gain which I saw recently and thought was hilarious. Though I would personally call it a two beer movie because I wasn’t expecting much and actually really enjoyed it! I agree that Dwayne Johnson was the BEST PART of the movie by far!
“The movie is worth seeing just for his gentle giant, by turns filled with Jesus and Cocaine. The Rock is idiot charm itself, always meaning the best and doing the worst, and it’s a mesmerizing, rib-splitting thing of beauty to watch.”
And I realized how great of an actor he actually is. No, I’m not kidding!
Stephanie on her Read in a Single Sitting FB page posted a link to this article about writing and the survivorship bias. A very fascinating article about taking advice from the people who do not share experience from the median (or common person). Personally, I’m tired of people lecturing me about my career moves what they think is self evident based on their own anecdata (usually not even personal) experience. As if I haven’t done the things they’ve suggested or researched other avenues or tried every gd trick in the book! As if I don’t have my own personal anecdata to the contrary. I think this survivorship bias is rampant in society, and guess what?! Most people do not have that top 100 experience (by definition of a top 100), so why are we missing out on precious experience and data because it isn’t a sexy sale? We can still lead meaningful lives that aren’t based on the five steps of becoming a Kardashian . . . . Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Speaking of Stephanie, her husband and Pierre Proske have created an iPhone app called Unfinished Phrase. Basically, the app is a collaborative writing tool. I don’t have an iPhone so it wont work on my platform, but it sounds really cool!
I really love when I can find some street art on Pinterest. There are always really cool things that people do with spots and places in their environment. This whole gallery of art is really cool. I love the glasses one! But what really caught my eye was the use of street art and satellites. Did you know that there are people who purposely take pictures of houses that look like they have faces or are smiling. Check out Nest Happy Homes on Pinterest. I love it!
An 8-bit version of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer intro. The blinking Press Play drove me nuts! But still, it’s a cool version of the intro (just the song not the clips of the show like I was thinking). [via GeekandSundry]