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Posts made in January, 2017

Book Reviews: Women’s Fiction

Posted by on Jan 21, 2017 |

Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra 


Mystery > Thriller > Suspense 

When an Australian woman is being arrested for shoplifting, she wants not just to avoid the charges but for the police to not learn her true identity—although we don’t know what she’s hiding from. She remembers watching a news program about a sixteen-year-old girl that had been abducted eleven years earlier. She looks exactly like that girl, Rebecca Winters (Bec), and though she’s only twenty-four, because she has bruising on her face, she passes when she lies to police and says she’s Rebecca Winters. She thinks she’s won—as long as she can keep investigators off the trail of where she has been for the last eleven years. Feigning partial amnesia, she is returned to the family. There, she has to appear normal to her mother, father, and twin younger brothers, as well as Bec’s old friends. She thinks just keeping up the façade will be hard . . . until she realizes that she may be in danger for another source.

Are the people who abducted Bec now after her?

This is a page turner. I wanted to know what happened to the real Bec and what was going to happen to the unnamed woman who assumed her identity, thinking she was dodging trouble only to get into considerably more trouble.

My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella


Chick Lit > Women’s Fiction > Humor

It’s been quite a while since I read a Sophie Kinsella novel, and I had fun returning to her work. On the surface, it seems like a story you’ve read before—a country girl struggling to make it in the big city (London) with a diabolical boss. In the country, she went by Katie, but in her new job at the lowest level on a branding team, she wears nonprescription glasses and calls herself Cat (except when she slips and calls herself Katie). Her boss, Demeter, can’t remember anyone’s name, and calls her Cath.

The staff can’t stand Demeter. Neither can Cat/Katie, but she admires her talent and how she always looks and acts perfect, with the perfect huge house and perfect husband and two kids.

Cat/Katie gets laid off in a spectacularly dismissive manner, but she doesn’t want to admit to her father that her dreams of making it in London failed. She tries desperately to get a new job, but has no luck. Instead, she tells her Dad and stepmom that she is on a sabbatical so she can help them set up a new-agey “glamping” trip on the farm, in which wealthy folks can pretend to rough it in yurts without actually ever going without Wifi.

Over the course of the novel, Katie begins to see different sides of Demeter, sometimes wanting revenge and alternately seeing the dark side of “success.” Basically, that no one is exactly as they seem because we present what we want people to see us as (like pnlly posting happy my-life-is-so-perfect-and-great photos on social media). Katie comes to these same conclusions about herself, her friend, and her on-again-off again lover.

The humor and good writing make this a fun a read.

Face the Flames by Jo Davis


Romance > Firefighter Romance

I normally like firefighter romances, but this one fell short for me, for a few reasons. One was that none of the characters were well drawn. The villain is pure evil and for the first half of the book, we’re just told that he’s evil, not shown. The hero and heroine are evidently free of flaws, and they both fall for each other immediately.

Clay is in a place where he no longer wants to sleep around. The novel begins by him driving the ambulance to a scene and even though he’s in an emergency vehicle racing to an emergency and he has the green light, a driver hits the driver’s side door, which lands him in the hospital for months and in rehab for months after that.

Melissa is a new detective in town. She’s worked as a cop for years, but has returned to Sugarland to see if she can bring her uncle down—the FBI couldn’t do it, but she thinks that because she’s family, she will have an in. This seemed like a great conflict, except it gets introduced and then essentially ignored for several chapters.

The romance has no conflict at all. They both fall for each other immediately. Clay has the personal need to overcome his injuries and get back to his job, but there is nothing in the way of them falling for each other and having tons of sex.

The tons of sex of otherwise good stuff detracts from the tension, so instead of mounting tension, the reader gets a tense scene, then no tension, then tension, etc. It wasn’t a recipe for a successful read.

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New Year’s Resolutions: Why You Shouldn’t Attempt to Lose All Your Holiday Weight in a Single Day

Posted by on Jan 14, 2017 |

I’m not the kind of person who leaps out of bed eager to work out. I’m the kind of person that has to post inspirational articles from magazines near my laptop and on my fridge because I can’t remember on my own all the good things about working out, especially during the winter where all my workouts take place indoors. Exercise helps with depression, decision making, better skin, and sleep. So many reasons to work out, but every day I have to persuade myself into getting started.

I like resolutions, but I tend to make them once a month instead of twice a year. This gives me the opportunity to fail regularly instead of only on January 15th.
This year, after Thanksgiving, I decided I’d burn all the calories I’d consumed that day all in a single day. Instead what I managed to do was cripple myself. I hobbled around for a few days, and then, by the time my body was no longer curved and contorted like a bonsai tree, I was on deadline for a project, and I’d wake up early and get to work—not to working out.
It’s amazing how true that thing about how a body at rest likes to stay at rest is. However, the corollary is true as well: Once you are moving and building strength, that becomes addictive, too, and you want to get even stronger and more fit. And if you do it regularly, you’re less likely to pull every muscle in your body when you do work out, and you won’t have to limp around moaning in pain for days afterwards . . .


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New Year’s Resolutions: The Best Way to Deal with Hangovers

Posted by on Jan 7, 2017 |

The worst possible thing you can do when you’ve drunk too much is consume coffee. Caffeine is a diuretic, and what you need to get over a hangover is hydration. Dehydration is the main reason you feel like a heaping pile of festering crap after drinking too much. In the movies and on TV, a sober person always suggests that the drunk person should have some coffee. All this does is make a person drunk and hyper. Of course, the best thing to do is not to overdo it with alcohol at all.

Nah . . .

If you do go overboard with drinking, the best thing to do is just get back to eating normally and drinking lots of water. The important thing is to eat real food and stay hydrated. Cleanses might work for the short term, but they will ultimately harm your metabolism and don’t work in the long run. On the other hand, occasionally getting blotto will temporarily help you ignore the myriad ways you’re screwing up your life.


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