Saturday, December 17, 2011

Minis: Jeffrey Ricker, Leslie Kelly, Susan Andersen, Pamela Morsi

Is everyone else overwhelmed this December? I am. It seems as if there's no time left for breathing, let alone reading or blogging. Business and the holidays -- a crazy combination. I am getting ready to go on vacation. One more week to go, and then ten whole days off! Hopefully during that time, I will have time to read all those books I planned to read and that I piled up on my table. But enough whining already!

Again, this week I began reading a couple of books and have not been able to finish them. It has been frustrating! A frustrating month. I don't even have a review ready today... sigh. So I figured I would give you an idea of what I've read so far this month which totals five whole books! (ETA: Guess I wasn't done whining)

  • I began the month on a high note by reading Jeffrey Ricker's  gay fiction debut novel Detours. This story is rather interesting in that it begins with the main character saying a hopeful good bye to the man who might be the love of his life two weeks after they meet, only to go home and become involved with another man right after he finds out that his mother died unexpectedly. From there the story really becomes a kind of road trip where this character comes to terms with his life, past and future, as well as his mother's passing, all while accompanied by his mother's ghost. Detours turned out to be engrossing, amusing, and in many ways deeply moving. 
  • Gears changed when the month became complicated and I picked up Terms of Surrender by Leslie Kelly. This is a Blaze and as such it's up there on the hot sexin' scale. I enjoyed it up to a certain point, but there were too many circumstances where plausibility became a problem. Marissa is a psychologist, an anonymous blogger on the side and a published author. She gets a job as a lecturer on an Air Force base and falls for Danny, a man who she thinks is a mechanic but turns out to be a pilot. There's the misunderstanding trope, the baggage, and the "I hate what you do for a living, but I'll do you anyway" theme going on in this book. These two were ripping their clothes off all over the base and everywhere else, but... Mari still had a problem with Danny's job, not the man himself. The story had its moments, but that's about all I can say. 
  • Then I decided to continue hitting my contemporary "to be read pile" and read Bending the Rules by Susan Andersen. I loved Playing Dirty, the third book in this contemporary trilogy, but unfortunately I had problems with this book. Let's see, I like the premise of the story itself, where Poppy and Jason's romance grows while they help unruly teenage "taggers" pay for bad behavior by working in a community project. It's one of those romances that begins with lots of suppressed heat that comes off as hostility and eventually it turns into hot steam. Why the problem then? A couple of problems with the characters themselves, beginning with Jason who calls Poppy the "Babe" from beginning to end. This irked me to no end! I'm sorry, but he really comes off as a chauvinist pig, insecure or not (he carries tons of personal baggage and doesn't think he's good enough for her). Then Poppy goes around feeling "diminished by him" but still allows him to run over her, through her and around her -- until almost the end. This was okay, but not my favorite read in this trilogy so far. :( 
  • As the month continued I totally went 180 degrees in my reading and picked up War by Sebastian Junger. This is a non-fiction read and not my usual choice of read during the holidays. However, again I was looking through my "to be read pile" and there it was... staring at me for the 100th time. I began skimming and couldn't stop reading. I already wrote a mini-review for this book, so I'm not going to go on about it. I'll just tell you that reading this book floored me and I do believe it is one of the reasons I couldn't continue to read anything else for while. The documentary really drove the whole thing home too. Great work! 
  • When I read War, I had already begun reading Sweetwood Bride by Pamela Morsi. I love this author, however, unfortunately this is not my favorite read by her. Eulie lies by saying she's pregnant and the community of Sweetwood, Tennessee forces Mosco to marry her. In fact, all they have shared is a sweet peck by the river. What Eulie really wants is to garner a secure future for her five siblings. Mosco has dreams! He dreams of going to Texas after he's done fulfilling his duties to his crippled uncle Jeptha, and a wife and children are not part of his plans. As much as I enjoy Morsi's writing, her deep character development and stories, I'm afraid that I just could not for the life of me get behind what Eulie did to Mosco. She forced him into a relationship and killed his dreams forever. I don't care if they fell in love, I just couldn't get past that initial feeling that Eulie was a selfish girl/woman. Even to the end I feel that Mosco wanted to get on that horse to ride west. 

So, that's it... those are the books I've completed in December so far. I have read a few short stories here and there from Christmas anthologies. I also began reading A Place Called Home by Jo Goodman and The Hunter by Theresa Meyer, but have not finished them. Hopefully this weekend!


  1. It looks like you read a little of everything!
    I always forget to check out Pamela Morsi even though your reviews always make me wonder about her books! I need to make a point of checking them out!

  2. War was so amazing. I saw him interviewed on The Daily Show, and immediately went out and bought the book.

    Hope you have a very wonderful Christmas!

  3. Alex, my reading is all over the place lately. I seem to need a chance of pace all here and there. It's the end-of-year blues... lol! I get reader's exhaustion by December. *g* Morsi, check out Morsi!

    Lori, War! You read it! I've also watched a few interviews with Junger. I just knew the content was going to be interesting, but what I didn't expect was for it to grab me the way it did. I'm glad that I read the book before watching the documentary (Restrepo), because by then I had a better understanding of what was going on. Powerful. PS: As I said in the comment section of my mini, now I have to pick up The Good Soldiers by David Finkel, I understand that book is also excellent.

  4. Wow, thank you so much, Hilcia! I'm glad you liked the book, and I really appreciate your taking the time to let people know. WAR sounds really interesting; I think I'll have to add that to my to-read list.

    And I think my December sounds a lot like yours; I've got tons of deadlines at work, even more waiting for me when I sit down to write, and then there's that whole Christmas shopping thing....

  5. Jeffrey, I really enjoyed reading Detours. I loved the characters and especially the the journey. It was a pleasure. :) I definitely recommend WAR and the documentary "Restrepo," if you haven't seen it. Together they make quite an impact.

    Ahh, December(s) they're great, but yes... exhausting. Sorry to hear you're on the same boat. I'm looking forward to a few days off.

  6. Hey, you had time to whip up this post LOL. You're doing better than me!

    I've been so behind on everything :( Sigh. LOL, seems like December is a month for us to whine!

    I actually enjoyed Bending the Rules more than the first book. Sorry it didn't work out so well for you :( I liked Poppy, she was just fun :)

  7. LOL, I did find some time! December and whining... it's becoming a tradition. Sigh... I think we're all just burned out by the end of the year. *g*

    RE: Bending the Rules. I'm reading this trilogy backwards. I began with the 3rd book and now read the 2nd. Now I have the 1st book in my TBR left to read -- I'm hoping that book works for me. I thought Poppy was fun up to a certain point, and I liked how the book started and some of it worked, but yeah... it didn't work for me like Playing Dirty. I loved Ava! *g*

  8. This month is flying by! I'm behind on everything except baking. I've been in a baking mood lately. :)

    I'm getting War from the library but I'll wait until after the holidays since I don't think I'll be in the mood for it until then.

    10 days off sounds heavenly! Enjoy!

  9. Leslie, I know! At least you're baking... lol, I just began my Xmas shopping. I'm finally beginning to relax a bit at work. Pheww...

    And, ohhh, yes, I'm glad you're going to give War a chance! Reading it after the holidays is a good idea. :) I'm dreaming about my 10 days... dreaming! *g*


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