Wednesday, August 16, 2017

White Guilt

This is a terrible time in America. We have a man leading the country who says there are good people in the ranks of Nazis and White Supremacists and violent people in the crowd of counter protesters who brought no weapons and were standing against hate.

Marginalized people are suggesting the only thing new is that the Klansmen no longer feel like they have to wear hoods and for the first time, for the first time since I'm aware, white people need to shut the fuck up finally and start learning how they're complicit and how to change.

It's hard. It makes me personally feel bad. I read posts that say white people are complicit and I want to whine, "not me, I'm not a racist" but seriously, of course I am. I'm not color blind. I have white privilege and I know it. And it makes me shamed because whether or not I feel I deserve it, I get treated a fuck of a lot better for being white than people more qualified than me who are of different races.

Maybe I'm luckier than most because I've faced prejudice as a Jew, as a woman, as a mother of a gender bending Chinese child. I've heard Chink as a description of my daughter, I've been told that Jews are going to hell and we are waiting for our messiah, the anti-Christ (hey, I didn't vote for him, you did!!)

I've never felt white guilt before because I could claim to be marginalized. But I wasn't. A teaspoon amount of hate in a vast ocean doesn't allow me to claim understanding.

I hate this feeling. I hate not knowing what to do, where to turn. My country is being destroyed quickly. This isn't a small dismantling of pieces but a huge rending of our nation and we need to stop it and I don't have a fucking clue what to do.

I hate being told that being white is complicit even though I know it's true. Even more, the guilt of knowing that unless we figure out as white people how to get this country back from hate then we're as bad as those marching with their tiki torches and racist chants.

This is America and we've let our silence bring us here. Now we need to let POC show us the way to get out of this mess. So shut up for once white Americans and lets listen and follow someone else's lead.

This really is on all of us.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

And The World (And My Head) Keep Spinning

Reasons I don't want to get out of bed most mornings:

1. Fox News put up an opinion piece saying that Russia did meddle in the election and the Trump campaign was dirty but do we really care? After all, Trump is go good for the economy that we should overlook any criminal activity. (Still: Hillary's emails.)

2. The growing racism/Islamphobia/sexism of this country is terrifying.

3. HBO having a show whose premise is the civil war never happened (or different ending) and blacks are still slaves. And people don't understand why it shouldn't be made. Judd Apatow saying that maybe it will be like All In The Family and I'm just shaking my head. It's 2017. No. Just no. It's every shade of wrong and if you can't see that then I'm pointing a finger and saying you're part of the problem.

4. Reclaiming my time. Jay-sus. Don't tell me how wonderful I am, answer my question.

5. Check AztecLady's blog for the teach your daughters how to properly say no. Almost amusing since the author then called all the women saying no "outrage Twitter" but again with the sexism.

6. Personal note: I can't afford having a teenager. I just can't.

7. Body acceptance. Suddenly I'm reading about how dieting is bad and weight watchers is bad and body acceptance is the only good. And I want to post and mention that there's more empowerment in gaining control of eating issues and weight than in just telling a fatphobic world they should appreciate my obesity. I feel like I'm supposed to be happy with being fat and feel guilt because I'm not. (I'd rather not judge those who are happy in their skin at any weight and support those who aren't. And I'm not. Stop making me feel bad for losing weight and liking myself more.)

8. Work. I hate the anxiety. But I like the paychecks.

9. We have a congress nowadays who are passing laws to restrict the president's power because they don't trust Trump. The fear that our lawmakers are showing that Trump will send a nuke or start a war does not make me feel confident.

Our country is going to hell in a handbasket. And... my Fox watching, lib hating brother who openly calls Trump a loon... still supports him. Says he's a terrible president and supports him. Continues to say Hillary should be jailed. And he's representative of republicans nowadays. Hate the president but support him. Because he's white, male and not other.

If women don't take over the country soon, I worry there won't be a country left to take over.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Wildfire: A Hidden Legacy Novel by Ilona Andrews

Carolyn:  It's going to be difficult to discuss this book without giving out spoilers, so since I'm up first, I'll post the bookcover and the blurb.  Heh.

As far as the cover's concerned, it's the standard romance-type cover, only this time they put an undershirt on "Mad" Rogan. None of the covers in this trilogy do justice to the stories behind them. These books are so much more than your vanilla romances plus each one is a solid five stars on Amazon.  Wildfire has 296 reviews; White Hot has 645 reviews and Burn for Me, the first book, has 1318 reviews and they ALL have five solid stars.**

But, take a look at the cheesy cover:



Meh.

And the blurb:

Nevada Baylor can’t decide which is more frustrating—harnessing her truthseeker abilities or dealing with Connor “Mad” Rogan and their evolving relationship. Yes, the billionaire Prime is helping her navigate the complex magical world in which she’s become a crucial player—and sometimes a pawn—but she also has to deal with his ex-fiancĂ©e, whose husband has disappeared, and whose damsel-in-distress act is wearing very, very thin.
Rogan faces his own challenges, too, as Nevada’s magical rank has made her a desirable match for other Primes. Controlling his immense powers is child’s play next to controlling his conflicting emotions. And now he and Nevada are confronted by a new threat within her own family. Can they face this together? Or is their world about to go up in smoke?


**as of this writing.


Lori:  If there was ever a reading slump happening, this book kicked it to the curb while wearing stiletto boots and looking like a boss.

This book was perfection.

Yes. Perfection.

I liked the first book but it wasn't something I'd burn down a house to get to. The second book was much more enjoyable as Nevada and Connor's relationship blossomed and their power became a large part of who they were. I enjoyed Nevada's family. My only issue with the second book was the cast of characters had me confused at times.

But. This. Book. Was. Perfect.

There's a mystery going on but that's so secondary to the enjoyment. It's watching Nevada navigate being in love with a man who is larger than life and just as dangerous, it's watching Nevada deal with jealousy and love and familial obligation, it's watching Nevada make choices that might hurt those she loves while protecting them at the very same time.

I was 100% on Nevada's side and cheering her on with every step.


Carolyn:  And it was seeing Connor Rogan through Nevada's eyes, her realization of his true self and how much he loved her. How he let her do her thing despite his knee jerk reaction to protect her. Both characters grew so much in this book; I think all of the characters did and that's what made it such a satisfying read.

So, what did you think of Victoria? Or, as they call her on the Andrews' blog, EG (Evil Grandma) lol.

And I have to admit I was a little disappointed in Penny, Nevada's mom. She couldn't seem to learn from the past and wanted to handle the current situation with Victoria as she and her husband did in the past. I don't think she ever did buy into the House solution, but still, I'm pretty sure she'll back up any decision made through family consensus.

I'm totally hoping for a fourth book ASAP. Because I am an Old Fart, after all. And when my time comes I'm hoping to take all my Ilona Andrews books with me and I by God will figure out a way to read any new ones after my departure. Heh.


Lori:  Carol, if I outlive you then I'll visit your grave and read the damned books to you myself!

I found Penny to be somewhat ineffectual. Nevada has taken over the family and is doing what she can to keep everyone safe. Obviously hiding won't work so her constant harping about it is foolish

Victoria was a terrific character. Her evil was tempered. I could see her becoming an ally to Nevada in later books if the authors decide to take it that way. Victoria is the kind of person who admires strength and the Baylor family has that in spades.

I just loved this book on so many levels. It was brilliantly paced, there was a great love story, especially in seeing how two strong people can make it work, despite having boundary issues. Rogan is a wonderful hero, Nevada is a wonderful heroine.

Oh, and their dinner date from hell was pure joy as other Primes kept coming in and harshing their vibe. Just damned excellent!

Okay older fart, wrap this baby up.


Carolyn:  Not much more to say. Buy the book. Read the book. You won't regret it. This is a 10 star book in a 5 star universe.  :-)

I wanted more Cornelius and I got it. I wanted more ferrets ... well, I didn't get that but we did get Loki, a cat with a tentacle neck ruff, so that was neat. Still want more Cornelius though because his animal magic is so damn neat.

And although this book is touted as the conclusion to the trilogy, I don't believe it will remain a trilogy for very long. The ending was more or less open ended; even though the main plot was brought to a satisfactory conclusion, several plot threads remain open, including the identity of Caesar. I know, Lori, you think you know who it is, but it was never stated for sure. And the Andrews can be verrrry sneaky.

Best book ever.  Time to reread.  :-D

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

It's Saturday morning and I haven't exercised at all this week. I should be at the track right now walking in endless circles while listening to female empowerment songs but it's raining and I'm glad because I just need a day off. A real day off.

A day where books and coffee and quiet are the norm.

And oh my, let's talk a moment about books.

I've been reading very little in recent years. I used to gobble books like candy but life gets hectic and there's so many responsibilities and nowadays if the book doesn't grab me or impress me within the first couple of pages then I'm moving on.

Recently I've been grabbed.

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas was a damned good grabber. It's a Sherlock Holmes mystery but get this... Sherlock is a woman. Watson is a woman. And Sherlock who is really Charlotte can only use her brains to solve mysteries because in England way back whenever.... women were constrained under societal rules. So Charlotte/Sherlock uses her brains and sends Scotland Yard chasing the clues she needs.

Why the book works: Charlotte is different. She's brilliant and doesn't fit into conventional society. She knows it and her family knows it and her father gives her lip service promising to let her find her own path if she plays by the rules till she's a certain age. She plays. He lies.

Charlotte creates her own downfall to try and get what she wants. It doesn't really work. But then she meets Watson, a friend of a friend who helps her out and becomes her mentor in a sense.

By the way, Charlotte is in love with a man she cannot have. Marriage and morals keeps them apart (not Charlotte's moral, his).

Why the book doesn't work: since Charlotte is a woman and can't be out there solving the crimes, the book relies heavily on Inspector someone and someone else to do the legwork and get the juicy stuff. Then there's the paramour and that's 2 or 3 men and I couldn't keep them all straight.

I just wanted more Charlotte. And more of Charlotte's sister Livia who is on the edge of being another great character. The men were forgettable but the women were stunning.

So it wasn't a 10 out of 10 book because the men didn't grab me. It was a 9 out of 10 book because the women grabbed me and didn't let go. If the next books could send the women out to solve crimes, I'd purr like a contented kitten and never stop.

Charlotte Holmes is an awesome as fuck character. Thank you Ms. Thomas for her.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

NSV

An NSV in weight watchers lingo is a Non Scale Victory.

So last night the neighbors across the street had a 50th anniversary party. I only know them because they're yellers and constantly are yelling either at the dogs to stop barking or fighting with each other (quite loudly) dropping F bombs the way I used to drop my panties for good looking fellas.

Anyway, we went to their anniversary party. And I wore a top that I bought months and months ago that I realized I could wear as a dress now, it's so loose and long. NSV.

As an aside: last night as I was falling asleep the neighbors got home from their party and started yelling again and it was the perfect moment. Got to admire 50 years together and still screaming fuck-you at each other.

So in other news, I'm actively seeking other employment since my boss called me a shithead. Do not ever let me be a woman who allows abuse. I have an interview this week at my dream place of employment so Mollie and I are hitting the mall today to try and find an interview dress and shoes. To say I have nothing to wear is true. I have workout clothes and scrubs and 3 casual tops. Yikes.

Still working on outline for Carol and my new project. It's interesting to outline since this is something I haven't done before. But it's really helpful and I can already see where plot is going to need to be beefed up. In other words: Carolyn, get ready to start working...

Reading A Study in Scarlet Women, a Sherlock Holmes retelling by Sherry Thomas. Expect a joint review soon. I will say, more enjoyable than I thought but a little problematic.

Not much more else to say. Read the NYT interview with POTUS. Amazing to see how truly ignorant the man is. I would make a better president than him and there's so much I don't know. Fascinating reading though. He's a classic there's no there, there.

Love to all...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

#skinnyforsanta2017

So had two bad work days. Okay, have had more like nine bad work months but the last two days were really disheartening. And with the boss calling me a shithead the previous week, I'm pretty done with this place.

But that's okay. The money there is good and we all know he pays well because he's impossible to work with. And I figured for the money I could put up with a lot. But my limit was reached with the shithead comment and then two days of disrespect with co-workers put me over the edge. I took today off to polish my resume and start applying for new jobs.

Happily I can say my resume is updated and I've already put in applications at the hospital.

However.... I got home last night in a slightly foul mood and ate chips. Stayed in my weight watchers points but damn, I ate chips and they were good. Then I scanned through the Weight Watchers chat and saw a #skinnyforsanta challenge. And I joined. So 5 months from now I want to be 170. As of this morning I'm 192 which puts me at exactly 60 pounds lost.

I'm fucking proud of myself.

Other news:
1. I cannot read Jill Shalvis. Sorry Carolyn. She just isn't a good enough writer.
2. I want to reread the Hitchhikers Guide books.
3. Mollie still hasn't gotten contacts because her eyes are too small. Second set of specialty contacts are ordered for her to try.
4. I've given up on jogging but I'm still walking. And saving my money to join the gym.
5. I've gone from wearing 4X tops to XL tops. My wardrobe is shrinking but also my new tops are really much cuter.

6. Carolyn and I are working on writing something new.

It's going to take us forever and a day but the premise is solid, the characters are interesting and I'm excited.

Love to everyone.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

How To Be Good





Katie Carr is a good person…sort of. For years her husband’s been selfish, sarcastic, and underemployed. 

But now David’s changed. He’s become a good person, too—really good. He’s found a spiritual leader. He has become kind, soft-spoken, and earnest. Katie isn’t sure if this is deeply felt conversion, a brain tumor—or David’s most brilliantly vicious manipulation yet. Because she’s finding it more and more difficult to live with David—and with herself.


Have you ever read a book that enraged you? A book that had a good idea but was written with so much spite and disdain that you wanted to punch the author in the face? If you haven't, might I suggest that you try How To Be Good by Nick Hornby.

This is a well written book in the sense that Hornby can write and he has an engaging voice. But...

Every single character in this book is despicable. There's the married couple, the faith healer, two children, the man on the side and pretty much every single character in this book sucks. The main character, Katie is a doctor who is having an affair and thinking about divorcing her asshole husband. And her husband is a dick. Contemptuous, rude, just a horrible human being.

But wait. He gets touched by a faith healer (who is also a stupid character) and then becomes a nice person. Except he isn't really nice at all. He gives away money, gives away his kid's toys, is sanctimonious and although he's no longer bitter and sarcastic he's still a major dick.

So do we like Katie? Fuck no. Katie is insincere, selfish, emotionally unattached from her family, her life, her children and the people she treats. She blames her husband for her straying but she's not decent enough to make choices to connect to her life or even try a little harder. Her entire life is a Katie vs the World and everyone loses.

So as selfish asswipes, the main characters suck. As good people the main characters suck. Even the kids are written that one is a kiss-ass pretender and the other is a bitter thief. Jeez. Nobody in this entire book is someone you'd want to spend 5 minutes with.

Oh, and the ending. Let's not forget the worst ending ever.

Yeah, SPOILER h 

it the book ends with Katie and David admitting basically that they're both faking it and neither feels connected to anything. There's no love, no hate, no caring. Just two soulless people sharing a life, destroying their kids and trying to pretend they're human.

These are two people that you know one day will be driving a van, picking up hitchhikers and murdering them in the basement just to feel a thrill as their victims die. And what I seriously hated about the book was the feeling that the author was being sincere. Which made me hate him too.

This book gave me a headache. Don't read it. And avoid Nick Hornby. He's the devil. ee....