Book Review: Love in Bloom

love in bloom

*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.

Nodds & Nends: Jayne Hats, Tiny House, and Dove’s Commercial

Firefly crack down by Fox  on selling Jayne Hat’s on Etsy. Big surprise. [Note the sarcasm.]

I found these tiny houses in trees. It’s totally photoshopped, but in my imaginary world it isn’t. And I live in one of them. With a blue door.

Check out this eyeful of art. Literally, Eye Art. I think it is gorgeous!

Probably most of you have seen Dove’s recent beauty sketches ad. Here is my two cents worth, It’s an ad. For a beauty product company. Of course it is going to be about beauty. It’s an ad, it is going to be dramatic, and seem unrealistic. It’s a story they are telling. It’s an ad. People are upset because of course we are still talking about women’s beauty as being what they are worth. But I don’t think that is the actual message, I think people like to be negative whenever possible. I think that Dove was trying to show that sometimes how we see ourselves isn’t always in the best light. Sometimes the way other people look at us can give us insight into our own lives and we take from that what we will. Personally, I like this ad.

Nodds & Nends: “Fake” Geek Girls, Write Like You Talk, and the Pendulum Choir

I know I’ve posted much in the past about my distaste for saying that anyone is a fake geek. That elitist complex just makes me mad. But I keep finding interesting articles about it that I want to share, so here is another. I don’t agree with everything Doctor Nerd Love says, I think he puts other people’s fears and issues on the person doing the thing, rather than, Hey, take care of your own issues too.  But I he has some good points in this article about “Fake” Geek Girls.

I read an interesting post by an author on GoodReads about writing like you talk, even if you aren’t the best at grammar or spelling. That is what hiring a proofreader is about. I’m not saying learning grammar isn’t important, because it is. But some people don’t understand grammar in the way that I don’t understand math. That doesn’t mean they can’t write, just like that doesn’t mean I can’t do algebra. Actually, I’m great at algebra because I can memorize formulas and plug in numbers. The point is, if there is something you want to do, need to do, need to say or write, then do it. Write. (Thanks JohnMichael for the tip.)

A Pendulum Choir. Hydraulics and singing. This is the freakiest and most interesting thing I saw on the Internets this week, by far. (Thanks Breanna for the tip.)

Nodds and Nends: Miniature Bag End, Firefly RPG, and a Ron Swanson Cake

The very best thing I have found on the internets recently is this miniature Bag End. I mean, it is just too awesome for words!

And if you are hungry, maybe skip this next paragraph, because cakes! Geeky cakes! First up, an Avengers cake via Pinterest. Also from Pinterest is this really awesome Ron Swanson cake. Awesome, because cake. But also awesome because Ron Swanson is an amazing character, and I love him. Parks and Recreation is one of my favorite comedy shows. And finally a Firefly cake from Pinterest. I’ll admit the people don’t look at all like the characters, but the ship looks like Serenity. . . ish.

Speaking of Firefly, an announcement has circled the internets that an official tabletop RPG is in the making.

Random concept art I’ve found includes a digital painting of Mary Poppins, street art of a colorful woman made of flowers and rainbows, and an illustration of Aurora as a zombie in Un-Sleeping Beauty (thanks for the tip Picture Me Reading!).

A wonderful comic of why females are frustrated when they have to “prove” they are geeky. Can’t we all just say nice shirt and only ogle the boobies from the corner of our eyes, like on 40 year old Virgin? Unless it’s the show Lost Girl. Anna Silk’s breasts are awesome and I can’t look away.

Peeps, you’ve probably all heard about this already, but I felt I needed to say a bit about the Kickstarter campaign of Veronica Mars. A movie is going to happen, because fans banded together, and the crew took a cut, and all the Veronic Mars nerds united to say, Hey we want this story told. And this is awesome. Because the best part of life (is not Folger’s in your cup, sorry) but telling stories that have to be told. Check out the Kickstarter campaign. Even though fully funded, you can get in on some extra goodies and help get this movie made. For $35 you get a t-shirt, behind the scenes scoop, and a digital version of the movie within a few days of the movies release. Sounds like a deal to me, especially at the high cost of movie tickets. I understand that some people are concerned about Kickstarter payees not being investors in the sense that they get a return on their money, but in the internet age I do think things will tend toward paying for what you want as you want it instead of a ton of cable shows you hate. And if  you want to get a digital version of a movie and a free t-shirt for $35, why is that a bad thing? And I also get, hey we raised all this money for a weird cause, why not raise money for a good cause. But people use their disposable income for entertainment, who is to say they don’t also give to charity? Personally, I think it is cool.

Finally, 40 inspirational speeches in 2 minutes. Somehow it all makes sense now.

Nodds & Nends: Baring Skin, Gender Bender, and Fairy Tale Inspired Shoes

Does baring skin mean you’re stupid? A psychological look at the reasons calling women fake geek girls is hurtful. This is a really well written piece and goes into many of the side issues that don’t get talked about often. Things I’ve been pointing out on the internets and in real life for a while, just said much more well (I can’t help myself).

Some cool Gender Bender stuff that I’ve found. The first one is Jennifer Lawrence as Thor. Though I agree with The Mary Sue, not sure why they bared her midriff.  Seems like prime stabbing space now.

If  you’re a writer, cut the bullshit and say you are. An interesting and encouraging piece by Daniel Dalton on claiming what you are.

Speaking of writing and books, I stumbled onto this image of how one person views libraries.  Not as a bunch of dusty books with the library Dewey decimal tag on them, but a world full of wonder. My favorite place downtown is the library. It’s massive and magical.

Check out these shoes (and by shoes she means impossibly high heels that I would never be able to wear even if I do think they are pretty awesome) that have been inspired by Disney’s representation of fairy tales and stories. [via Picture Me Reading]

Finally, Carol Burnett does a Star Trek Gender Bender sketch. While I personally think it plays a little too much into stereotype gender roles to get laughs, it’s a unique and funny sketch. [via The Mary Sue]

Nodds & Nends: TARDIS Shed, Gumball Zombie Machine, and a DIY Geeky Craft Show

Here is your bi-weekly dose of those Nerdy Odds & Ends I seem to find every time I turn the corner on the internets.

Check out a new book blog written like a comic over at Picture Me Reading. She has some great reviews and I quite enjoy reading her posts. Plus she often partakes in the book blogging memes, highlighting poems and what not. It is a great blog, you should check it out.

Problems at Good Reads continues. Now they are disciplining the reviewers by hiding bad reviews, or those reviews that have nothing to do with the book. Because apparently all the bad blood on Good Reads a site for readers, is the fault of all the readers rather than the fault of a few people bickering back and forth. Siding with the authors is evidenced by their statement of review the book not the author, a montra authors have been chanting for a while now. But why are we censoring reviewers? One author asks people not to avenger her, and then she questions why there appears to be a lot of sexism in the silencing of bad reviewers. It is a contentious issue on the internets right now, and people are not done talking about it. What the final fall out will be? I’m not sure.

On a lighter note, check out this TARDIS shed being attacked by a Dalek. I still don’t understand why the Dalek’s are so cutsified or how they raise any terror. They are just large trash cans that move really slowly with one laser pointer. I’m not a fan of them. Let’s just take a bat to all of them!

Can’t get enough of Warehouse 13? Well check out these interviews at SpoilerTV for some fun reading in between episodes. Note the sites banner of beautiful people. Drool.

After what happened in Colorado, our hearts go out to the victims and their families, people are cautious in their reviews of the Dark Knight Rises. Tragedy is now aligned with the movie, and that makes it a sensitive subject. But I did find a great review on Nashville Bookworm.

Have you ever wanted to take a gumball from the head of a taxidermied zombie on a spike? Me neither. But somebody thought it would be a good idea. That is just soooo wrong, I’m sure my mother will love it! :D

A Geeky DIY crafting show hosted by Bonnie Burton is not available for your viewing pleasure on Youtube. Looks like a fun time. Remember there is no glitter in steampunk. [via The Mary Sue]

 

 

 

Nodds & Nends

A little girl felt sorry for all the kids who didn’t get birthday parties because their families were too poor, so she created Birthday Fairies. Totally awesome.

Enter to win an ARC of Big Sky Country by Linda Lael Miller at Read in a Single Sitting.

Looking for a great theme for your next birthday? Why not do an Angry Birds themed one? Make these awesome masks (and then send me one ;))!

Read about Wonder Woman’s secret exposition on American culture. What does she tell us about our lives?

Book reading has actually increased over the years, in spite of American idealism of the 50s. [via RIASS]

Did you know there are people who don’t like puppies, chocolate, or bacon? (Personally I can leave or take bacon, its ok). That means that there are some people who wont like the creative things you put out into the universe either. Beth Revis talks about How to Respond to Negative Reviews of your written work. [via @readinasitting]

Make some awesome tissue box monsters and spruce up your living room with fun odds and ends!

Trekkies Here Are Some Happies

Star Trek Peg People. Obviously these are hand painted originals. But they are awesome and if I ever have kids I’m so doing this. Actually I may commission my sister to do this. She’s the professional artist after all. Unfortunately they are no longer available for sale on Etsy. 

Hipster Star Trek is just a little too cool for school, and for me. What is with the plaid skinnies? On Spock. 

Star Trek Gender Swap is cool, and I like the art style also. Good movement in the illustration.