Screw you, flu

So it’s a new year, new goals, all of that “resolution” crap although I don’t refer to them as resolutions because they’re more like plans or goals for the upcoming year. Anyway, one of my plans/goals was to start writing and blogging more. (Yeah, like I haven’t said that 947 times before.) Well I did get started on the writing part, finally got around to setting up a website with some writing samples on it, nothing fancy, just another site like this one. The reason I did it that way was because I wanted to keep it separate from my regular semi-personal blog, something that’s more like a résumé than a journal. So I got that done…

Then BAM! The flu decides to wreak havoc on our household. Okay, it’s not THE flu, just its stupid cousin, the “stomach flu” but still. It kept my little girl out of school for 2.5 days, one of which she spent sleeping, and kept me in a constant state of sleep-deprived worrying and cleaning and catering but no writing. She’s finally better (I think) so this is an attempt to pick that momentum back up that I had going for a week or so there. But it’s kind of a half-assed attempt because it’s on this site instead of my main one because I keep forgetting to pay my webhost bill and I’m too lazy to go do it now. So maybe I’ll just keep this site and use it for my inane ramblings and eventually some book reviews, shit like that.

Oh, speaking of books! I think I’ve got my 2013 reading list chosen, although I’m sure it will change several times over the course of the year. My plan is to read one fiction and one non-fiction book per month. For January, I’m reading The Twelve Tribes of Hattie and Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason which seemed appropriate after all of the craziness that’s been going on in this world and in this country. I might just get around to setting up an Amazon store with a list of all of my 2013 books but even though I like that idea, it’s pretty damned ambitious for 9 a.m. on a Monday morning so it probably won’t happen anytime soon.

What else is new? Ah, my phone! My kids got me an iPhone. I’ve never been one of those people who needed The Next Big Thing although I do love technology. I used to be like that, had a cell phone (a Nokia brick) before any of my friends did, first of my peers to have a flip phone then a touch screen phone, then a smartphone (Android) but I’ve never gone out and spent several hundred dollars just to have the latest toy. And I never felt a need for an iPhone because a) I’m more of an Android girl and b) I’ve had an iPod Touch that satisfied my curiosity for all of those apps people would go on about. I could use my iPod to text (Google Voice and wifi), take pictures and videos, play games, etc. so I didn’t really “need” an iPhone. I’ve been getting by with a little cheap Samsung, the kind with the slide-out keyboard and crappy browser. But I keep forgetting to pay the bill (see a pattern here?) and my kids don’t like the idea of me being out and about with no way to communicate, so while they were at the mall this weekend (and I was home taking a much-needed 3-hour nap), they hooked me up. Aren’t they they best? Got me an Otterbox case and everything.

Okay, now I’m all set. Got myself a blog post written, got my lists and plans and stuff written out, got my stuff all connected and coordinated online and on my fancy new phone. So let’s go!


So I read a romance novel…and I liked it

I’d been thinking about giving romance novels another shot because I had turned into a little bit of a literary snob but yet so many women that I admire, intelligent women, really love their romance novels. Some of them even write them! But considering I haven’t picked up a romance book since I was like 14 and snagging my mom’s Danielle Steel novels off of the bookshelf, I didn’t know where to start. Somehow I discovered Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, followed it for a while, and when the opportunity to review a book for them came along, I jumped on it in the hopes that this would give me a good excuse to dive into the genre.

So here it is, my review of Beautiful Disaster as it appeared on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

The summary:     

Mia Wells’s eco-friendly career goals are about to become a reality-but her life-altering moment is interrupted when an unexpected call ushers in her tremulous past. A man who’s never left Mia’s memory: Flynn, the enigmatic, passionate man whose disappearance broke her heart, has mysteriously resurfaced.

Now back in her life and in the hospital, Flynn is gravely injured. Mia keeps a bedside vigil- terrified that he will die, awestruck at the prospect of his survival. In a story filled with sweetness and suspense, Mia’s what-ifs are endless. And Flynn’s return ignites an achingly powerful tale about the most enduring love, one that is greater than honor, or friendship, or the passing of time.

And here is April’s review:

Before I share my thoughts about Beautiful Disaster, I feel like I should probably mention that romance isn’t really my genre of choice. While I do like to indulge on occasion, which is why I check Smart Bitches, Trashy Books for recommendations, I’m more of a transgressive fiction girl myself. So what you’re getting is an honest opinion from a reader with no preconceived notions.

Having said that, Beautiful Disaster is an excellent choice for someone like me who doesn’t really have any expectations when it comes to plot, characters, or dialogue. In fact, I’d say that this story is just as much a suspenseful thriller as it is a romance novel. I mean it’s got everything from serial killers to shady business deals. Oh and a little bit of steamy sex thrown in, of course.

Flynn, the main (male) character, is everything you’d expect of a typical Bad Boy, right down to the tattoos and motorcycle. But he’s a Bad Boy with a secret past, a past that college co-ed Mia doesn’t seem to concerned about but that Roxanne, Mia’s snobby BFF, can’t seem to let go. Without relying too heavily on stereotypes, author Laura Spinella manages to create characters who breathe enough to make you want to either hug them or smack them. (Seriously, Roxanne? I wanted to reach through my Kindle and strangle her. Just how bitchy and controlling can a brilliant doctor with pageant princess looks be? And Mia’s husband Michael? Let’s just say that it’s easy to see why she was still in love with someone else.)

The story of Beautiful Disaster flips back and forth between the present, when Flynn ends up unconscious in the ER, and the past, when Flynn first rides his way into Mia’s life and into her heart. The transition from then to now and back to then is pretty seamless. There are a few plot twists that seem a little far-fetched at first but, by the end, they are all tied up with a slightly disheveled bow.

Overall, Beautiful Disaster was an enjoyable and exciting read, a solid A- in my book. If Laura Spinella can create something this riveting as a debut novel, I’m looking forward to whatever she has to offer in the future.

I read a book: The Language of Flowers

I actually read The Language of Flowers a few months ago but I wasn’t posting book reviews on a blog or anything, just on Goodreads and Amazon, so I’m just copying and pasting it here which is why the first paragraph references the Goodreads rating system of up to 5 stars.

The Language of Flowers is another one of those books that make me wish Goodreads allowed “half stars” because then I’d give this 3.5 stars. It deserves more than 3 but there are some aspects of the book that cause me to hesitate on giving a full 4 stars.

I was intrigued by the idea of using flowers and their meanings as a major part of the plot. And I was curious to read the author’s perspective on a child who ages out of the foster care system, especially since she is a foster parent.

The main character, Victoria, is certainly believable, with her feelings of being unwanted and unlovable and her determination not to become attached to any one person. (Side note: if this were real life, she probably would have had 25 different caseworkers throughout her life rather than just one.) All of her acting out, as a child and as an adult seems entirely understandable, given her experiences of growing up in foster care.

My problem was with the other characters. Some of their words and their actions seemed really bizarre. For example, Renata, the florist who gives Victoria her first job, seems more than willing to pay high wages to a total stranger for very little work. (I’d love to find a job where someone hands me a wad of cash and tells me to come back and work a couple of hours next month!) She seems to not need Victoria’s help very often because she’s not that busy, but then if she’s not busy then a) why is she hiring staff and b) how can she afford to pay so much to someone who works once every few weeks? But then Renata’s sister rents a closet (literally!) to Victoria who then sleeps on the floor and it’s presented as this extraordinarily kind favor. If it were me, I would’ve preferred the halfway house to a closet with no bed. And something about the relationship between Elizabeth and Catherine didn’t make sense to me. I felt like there was something missing, something we weren’t being told, that would explain why one sister was so adamant about a reconciliation and the other absolutely refused. I finally just chalked it up to both of them being stubborn and maybe a bit dysfunctional due to the brief description of their own mother.

I wondered if maybe I was projecting my own misanthropy onto some of these characters and that’s certainly possible. It just seemed odd to me that people who are practically strangers would be so generous towards strangers. And I wasn’t really getting any sort of vibe from Victoria that would explain why all of the characters, from the “adoptive” mom Elizabeth to Renata and her family, would be so determined to keep Victoria around and so insistent on being allowed to remain part of her life. If she’s really all that cold and unemotional towards people, what motivation do they have to want to be her mother, her friend, her lover? But, again, this is probably my own feelings and perceptions and my own personal “connection” to Victoria that are affecting my view of these other characters. Or maybe they saw something in Victoria that I wasn’t getting.

Regardless of some of my confusion and frustration, it’s still a very good book. Much like a rose with thorns, The Language of Flowers is both beautiful and painful.

We’re having fried modem for breakfast

That was some serious weather we had last night! Ginormous trees falling over and everything. The power went out for this whole end of town from like 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. and the only reason I know it came on at 3 a.m. was because we slept on the couch and the living room light had been on when the power went out so that’s what woke me up the first time. And I heard some kind of obnoxiously loud buzzy type noise that was probably the sound of my modem frying because, according to the tech support people that I talked to this morning, having an orange power light means it’s fried and they’re sending me a new one. Luckily, one of my neighbors has a “guest network” that they leave open so we’ll borrow theirs for a few days.  (Did you know ginormous is really a word? I thought it was a made up word from that movie Elf but spellcheck didn’t put a red squiggly line under it so it must be a word, which is weird because it did put a red squiggly line under Elf and I know that’s a real word.)

I say that the power coming on is what woke me up the first time because I woke up again a half hour later when Stupid Cat decided to get into the trash because I threw away some sort of takeout box that had my son’s leftovers in it and apparently Stupid Cat likes Mexican so she went diving into the trash can. Then I woke up again at like 4:30 to some drunken yelling (the neighbors, not mine) and somebody was threatening to beat the fuck out of somebody else and I thought that might be something the cops would want to know about just in case some fuck-beating did actually take place. I think the neighbor had a warrant because I could hear them all leaving his apartment and the officer telling him he’d be able to find out when he gets down to the station. Let that be a lesson to you, kiddies. Don’t have your friends over for drunken hallway yelling when you have a warrant out on you.

Ooh, maybe the warrant was for something like a robbery and there’s a reward for whoever helps them find the guy! Do you even get to claim the reward if you happened to lead the cops to the guy totally by accident or coincidence? I hope so because I could use the money although I would not like the idea of living down the hall from a robber.

Hey, yo, I’m blogging again

I have a love/hate relationship with blogging. It’s about time to love it again, I think. Too much stuff in my head that I need to get out. That’s why the blog is called Jobbernole. It’s an old, silly word for “head.” (Not that kind of head, you pervert. Jeez.) I liked it because it sounds like a combination of ‘Jabberwocky’ and ‘Seminole’.

So this will be my fun blog, my personal blog. I’ve got another one for writing (exercises, reviews) and another one for business-y type stuff. Someday I will consolidate them all once I decide how and where. But until that happens, this is where I will dump all of the weird stuff from my head.

And, believe me, there’s a lot of it.