30 September 2011

Learning

Late last week I read a fantastic review of Amy Lane's Clear Water by the lovely Tracy from Tracy's Place. And Tracy's review (and the ensuing discussion) got me to thinking about insta love. (Yes, again!) I guess you could say that I have (to put it mildly) a bee in my bonnet about insta love. When I originally posted my thoughts about Clear Water I made the following comment:
If I had to put my finger on one thing I didn't like (and FYI this hasn't influenced the grade because it is a 'me' thing and not a 'book' thing) it was the speed with which Patrick and Whiskey fell in love. I'm not such a fan of the insta love trope any more, although to be fair this occurred over 6 weeks rather than days (or hours :)
But why is it that I have a problem with insta love versus the slow cooker variety? (I know, terrible analogy :) After a lot of thought I think it is because, with insta love, I don't believe enough time has passed for there to be a solid foundation of trust between the characters. The shorter the time period the less time they have to be sure of each other's intentions (and no, I have no idea how much time is 'enough') and...I need to be sure. I need proof. Why? In Clear Water, Whiskey didn't in any way, shape or form seek to hurt and/or manipulate Patrick. (Unlike Patrick's ex-boyfriend.) So why couldn't I take Whiskey's words and deeds at face value and believe the love he expressed for Patrick regardless of the time frame? Because I don't trust the character I most identify with (in Clear Water that would be Patrick) to know instinctively that this love is...'legit'. I don't trust me to know. I don't trust me because I have no confidence...in myself. No foundation of belief. Which, according to the unnamed expert, comes back to the positive mirroring one receives (or in my case did not) as a child.

So, where does this leave me? Working towards developing my confidence? Having faith in my own abilities and...trusting myself? Yes to all of the above.

28 September 2011

Golden Oldie

There are some books that you just can't forget...

In the late 1980s I discovered (via the library :) a science-fiction series called The Paratwa by Christopher Hinz. Ring any bells? The basic premise is as follows:
Two hundred years after a nuclear apocalypse forced humanity to flee earth, humans still remember the most feared warriors of that planet - the Paratwa, genetically modified killers who occupy two bodies controlled by one vicious mind.
I've been dithering for, well, years about re-reading this series, even though I've read very little science-fiction of late. And, at long last, after much internal nagging, I've given in and bought it from The Book Depository (unfortunately, it is no longer in my library system).

Aside: Has anyone watched The Book Depository Live? It's...scarily addictive!

Oh, and while I was at The Book Depository a yaoi manga novel (Sleeping with Money) just happened to fall into my basket. I have no idea how!

So, what series just won't let go of you, no matter how hard you fight it?

Edited to add: The Paratwa is now available in eBook format at Fictionwise! I still wanted print versions though :)

23 September 2011

Speaking

I love books that speak to me. Books that reach out and...teach me something about myself that I didn't know.

I'm currently reading ZA Maxfield's St Nacho's. And I'm loving it. And then, right out of nowhere, I read this:
It probably wasn't until that moment that I realized my development had been arrested at about fifteen, when I'd started drinking and partying with my friends, and that everything that was happening to me now was, essentially, happening to that kid. No wonder I didn't know how to do this stuff. I hadn't been in the game. I'd been lying on the sidelines, in a stupor composed of alcohol and vanity. Stupidity and ignorance and false bravado.
(And by 'stuff' Cooper is referring to kissing.)

That paragraph struck me because, like Cooper, I've not been in the game. If ever. My emotional development is...stunted to say the least. (I could use other words I guess, but stunted seems the most...apt :) Alcohol didn't do this to me. I did this to me. And now I have to learn how to undo it. *looks down* I'm working on it.

So, has a book ever 'spoken' to you?

21 September 2011

Things That Go Bump

I'm a scaredy cat. No two ways about it. As I mentioned in Random Facts, the first (and to date only) time I watched Alien was while hiding under a blanket with my feet off the floor (because as everyone knows Aliens [and all scary monsters] lurk under couches...and beds [not so sure about closets myself, but I've heard anecdotal evidence that they do]) and my bear (Ted E. Bear) [yes, bear, not beer] close at hand. Initially I wasn't quite sure if Ted was there as protection or a sacrifice (that statement no doubt breaks a multitude of bear ownership laws), but after a lot of thought I am sad to say that if an Alien had made an appearance I would have probably used Ted as a decoy and made a run for it!

On the weekend my best friend (the lovely Starfire from Songs and Spinnings) and I went to see Priest (3D). I must confess to not being as blown away by the 3D aspects as I was when I watched Avatar...probably because I was waiting for the vampires to appear in 3D. They didn't :( That didn't stop me from having my feet off the floor though. No sirree! And making squeaking noises when vampires jumped in from nowhere. I did mention I was a scaredy cat, yes? As for the plot of Priest, well...it had enough holes to drive a Hummer through (although the gratuitous shot of Paul Bettany's chiseled torso almost made up for it :) At the beginning of the movie Starfire leaned over and asked me (rhetorically) why it was that the humans hadn't completely annihilated the vampires, but instead put them in reservations... If they had done the former there would, of course, have been no movie. But, maybe humanity was demonstrating its.....humanity. Yeah, fat chance! And then the Church stridently denies that vampires are a threat...and I leaned over to Starfire and asked (rhetorically) why the Church would deny the threat, when the existence of said threat would mean more power to the Church. And I could go on. It was a 'leave one's brain at the door' movie. And Karl Urban makes a great bad guy. I just think he makes a better Bones *grin*

So...what things that go bump in the night (whether in a move or a book) would you sacrifice your 'bear' for?

18 September 2011

Why Romance?

Caveat: This post is not a meant to be a pity post. Nor a whiny one. So if I gave that impression I apologise, as it was not my intent. It's just a ramble through the inner workings of my very warped thought processes.

Last weekend I read Amy Lane's Clear Water. And it was lovely. But...it did have one trope that I'm not so fond of...insta love. Now, to be fair, the love between Patrick & Whiskey wasn't instant per say, but...it was fast. About six weeks fast. And it got me to thinking...and that thinking led to a feeling: I'm not sure if I believe in love any more. I mean, I believe in it for other people. But...I'm not sure if I believe in it for me. I don't even know if it is something I'm capable of...will ever be capable of. I did, once. I even believed in soul mates *ducks* But...somewhere along the way I stopped believing. I don't know when.

And all of this got me to wondering - if I don't believe in love, why do I read romance novels? Why read about the HEA of various characters if I don't believe it exists? (Now, don't get me wrong, I don't believe in perfect love. That's only ever in fairy tales. Love is...a journey. And just like any journey it will have its rocky patches and steep climbs...and it's falls. But the views? I've heard [I've never been in love so it's all hearsay, although IMHO Your Honour the witnesses are reliable :)] they are...breathtaking! Am I a masochist? Am I hoping to be persuaded otherwise?

So, I'm hoping you can help me out. Why do you read romance novels?

16 September 2011

Stupid

Do you ever feel stupid while reading a book? The reason why I ask is because I am currently reading Kat Richardson's Labyrinth. I love this series because, for an urban fantasy heroine, Harper is sensible. I know I sound like I'm damming with faint praise, but...I like sensible heroines. The thing is, sometimes I look up from the page and realize I have absolutely no idea what the last page was describing. I'm sure it all makes logical sense to someone, just...not for me. The thing is, I make me feel stupid. The book is inanimate :)

And that leads me on to the time it takes to read a book when you're not sure what is going on. Forever. And in the interim the TBR pile gets bigger and bigger and bigger (until it was big enough for them all to fit inside) [And now I'm paraphrasing Bad Jelly The Witch!]. Anyway, earlier this week I entered a contest at Stumbling Around Chaos for a Heidi Cullinan book. And when the lovely Chris emailed me to confirm I was indeed entered I realized I hadn't actually read the first book - The Seventh Veil - even though I was oh so excited about it when it was first released. And why haven't I read it...and numerous other books? IDK. I'm slow? I commented to Chris that I was so behind it was discouraging. Her response?
Oh, that just means you have lots of good stuff to look forward to.:)
I like that better than the slow theory :)

And just to lighten the mood leading into the weekend, I followed this home today. Imagine it blown up...on the back of the bus. Probably not the best choice for ensuring drivers concentrate on...say...driving, but a good cookie choice :) Oh, and the man in question is Daniel Carter, one of the All Blacks (New Zealand rugby team).

12 September 2011

Spring

I know that for most of you autumn has arrived, but here in the Land of the Long White Cloud it is spring! Finally! (It's been a long, cold winter....and it isn't leaving without a final goodbye! [It's currently raining!]) And because it is spring the blossom is beginning to appear...and I thought I would share it!


Found on: My plum tree!

I adore spring. The days get longer...and warmer. The bees are about (there is nothing like a happy bee drowning in blossom nectar) and the smell of freshly cut grass lingers. There is...promise in the air :)

So, whatever the season approaching, what do you like (or dislike) most about it?

10 September 2011

World In Union

Last night was the opening ceremony (and first match) of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, which is actually the world's third biggest sporting event after the Olympics and the Football World Cup :) This, the eighth Rugby World Cup, is being held here, in New Zealand.

The winners are awarded the William Webb Ellis Cup. William Webb Ellis was the Rugby School pupil who – according to popular myth – invented the game by picking up the ball during a game akin to one of the many codes of medieval football.

Now I know you're probably all thinking that rugby is one weird game....played by (compared with football) few countries. But...you may would be surprised which nations are competing, including Australia, England, South Africa, France, Canada and the United States. (And New Zealand of course - rugby is our national game and the country has wholeheartedly embraced the World Cup....in a very enthusiastic way - there are flags everywhere!)

One of the opening events was a concert by Neil and Tim Finn, two stalwarts of the New Zealand music industry. So...I thought you might like a listen - enjoy!



Edited to add: The post refers to the theme song of the Rugby World Cup, sung most recently by New Zealander Hayley Westenra...

07 September 2011

Butterflies

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Butterfly • noun 1 any of numerous slender-bodied diurnal lepidopteran insects including one superfamily (Papilionoidea) with broad often brightly colored wings and usually another superfamily comprising the skippers. 2 something that resembles or suggests a butterfly; especially: a person chiefly occupied with the pursuit of pleasure. 3 a swimming stroke executed in a prone position by moving both arms in a circular motion while kicking both legs up and down. 4 plural: a feeling of hollowness or queasiness caused especially by emotional or nervous tension or anxious anticipation. 5 a defensive move by a goalie in ice hockey executed by dropping to the knees while spreading the lower legs outward.

I has had them this week. (The fourth definition in case you were wondering.) Lots of them. Whirling around inside. Why? Well...I was worried how a certain family member would respond to a text I sent. Yeah. A text. And what scandalous and insulting things did I include in this text? I requested the removal of certain items that I have been storing for this family member...for almost 3 years. Items I've been asking him to remove for...about a year. So, did I set an impossible deadline for the removal of these items? Well...how does early December sound to you?

It's been 2 days since the text was sent. I've had a response...on an entirely different matter. The request and the deadline have been - to all intents and purposes - ignored. I'm not sure what is worse. Ignoring the deadline completely (which is so far the case) or ringing me and telling me it's not going to happen.

See, such situations are where the 'child' appears. The child remembers how an older family member reacted when something didn't go exactly how he wanted it too. He got angry. (Think temper tantrum. The whole nine yards.) I..remember that. I...lived that. I know this family member does the same thing (perhaps because he learnt by example) and I...hunch...waiting for the blow. IDK. I want to believe I can back myself. Stand firm if this family member gets angry at my 'presumption'. Because that's what it feels like. I don't feel like I'm standing on firm ground though. It feels like quicksand. I keep checking the phone...the phone I've unplugged. *hangs head*

When explaining how I felt to a friend earlier this week they asked me what was the worst that could happen. This family member can rant, yes? And...looking at it logically, that doesn't seem like much. Seems survivable, right? Yes, but...no. The thought of facing that...rage? Terrifying. The thing is, in the grand scheme of things it's probably not that scary. There are far more scary situations that people face every day. Maybe I'm just a coward...

As the days tick over and the likelihood of contact diminishes...so too do the number of butterflies. But they never fade entirely.

So, if you don't mind me asking, what gives you butterflies?

03 September 2011

Books 2011: August Update

Total to date: 77 books (nine books this month: fantasy [one book]; historical romance [one book]; m/m [five books]; paranormal romance [one book]; urban fantasty [one book])

The 2011 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge total to date: 21 books (four books this month)

The M/M Romance Challenge 2011 total to date: 55 books (five books this month)

The 2011 Big Book Challenge: COMPLETE!

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2010) can be found at GoodReads.

Favourite books of the month?

* Concubine (Jill Knowles)

* Shadows Return (Lynn Flewelling)

* Sticks & Stones (Madeline Urban)

Currently reading:

* Darkest Mercy (Melissa Marr)

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading this month:

* Fish & Chips (Madeline Urban)

So, what did you read last month?