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What was your favourite part about returning to school?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, Education, Memories | Posted on 05-09-2011

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The NaBloPo­Mo prompt for today:
What was your favourite part about return­ing to school?

Back to School by Lel4nd (Leland Francisco)

That’s not an easy ques­tion. It wasn’t cool to acknowl­edge being hap­py to return to school each year, of course, so while I was glad, I didn’t real­ly acknowl­edge it to myself. As a result, it is more dif­fi­cult to access those memories.

Even though I knew there would be end­less amounts of review each year, I was always excit­ed about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of learn­ing some­thing new. After we left Gads­den, I was able to look for­ward to school library access, too. (The ele­men­tary school I attend­ed in Alaba­ma didn’t even have a library, and back then, the Gwin­nett Coun­ty Pub­lic Library wasn’t the award win­ning facil­i­ty that it is now.)

I also had a secret hope that maybe this would be the year when I would meet some­one like me. Some­one else who didn’t fit in. Some­one who pre­ferred books to most peo­ple, who either didn’t go to church or was only there because his or her par­ents forced the issue, who would be will­ing to dis­cuss the ques­tions brought up by all the con­tra­dic­tions in the Bible and var­i­ous church’s teach­ings (and how preach­ers and oth­er church lead­ers actu­al­ly lived). Some­one who didn’t think it was bad to be intel­li­gent, maybe even some­one who would admit to day­dream­ing and mak­ing up new sto­ries about peo­ple they’d read about, or com­plete­ly new sto­ries of their own. The kind of peo­ple you didn’t run into just because your par­ents bought hous­es in the same neigh­bor­hood, or went to the same church, or worked for the same company.

I did meet some­one who became a dear friend in the first week of my Junior year, on the bus, in fact. She even lived in my neigh­bor­hood! I con­tin­ue to be amazed by the fact that I said some­thing to her first, as she’s far more extro­vert­ed than I have ever been. Dorothea is a trea­sure, and I will always be thank­ful for meet­ing her.

Happy Birthday, Daddy & Matt!

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family | Posted on 04-09-2011

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I spent most of today with my fam­i­ly at my par­ents’ house. It was a won­der­ful visit!

I got to meet my youngest nephew, Eli, for the first time. I was ill every time my broth­er and his brood came to town after his birth last fall (turned out I had pneu­mo­nia — I real­ly should learn to go to the doc­tor instead of try­ing to ignore should things). He’ll be a year old next month, and he’s such a doll! He looks a lot like Matt did as a baby, but even more like his old­er broth­er, Jack. He’s sweet­ly tick­lish even though he is teething a bit, and I got to nib­ble on his toes! (He gnawed on my hand a bit too, so it all evened out.) He has a very strong grip and is at the “grab every­thing” stage, but I antic­i­pat­ed that and didn’t both­er wear­ing ear­rings. I’m glad that I got my hair cut short again this week, as it left far less hair for him to pull at.

See­ing Jack next to my sister’s boy, Will, though, is a trip — they look more like broth­ers than cousins! Jack’s twin, Sadie, is beau­ti­ful. She reminds me of Katie at that age in some ways, but she’s very much her own per­son, with very strong opin­ions. Matt and his wife have love­ly, well-behaved chil­dren. And just in the last year, Will has gone from look­ing like a lit­tle boy to, well, not! And he’s only 7 years old! Although he says, “I’m sev­en now, you know,” with a grav­i­tas that makes it sound as if he’ll be join­ing the mil­i­tary any day now. He def­i­nite­ly lives life at one speed, and that is full ahead!

Mom and Dad cooked way too much food for break­fast — SOS, bis­cuits, eggs, lots of fruit, sausage, bacon, hash browns, and I can’t even remem­ber what else. Lat­er on we had cakes and ice cream, of course (yogurt for those of us who don’t do ice cream so much). I wimped out and try­ing both cakes, but I was being dar­ing enough to have a small slice of one. Then Mom told us that Dad­dy had been cook­ing all day Sat­ur­day, using the smok­er! I rode up there with Katie and her boyfriend, who had plans for lat­er today, so we left before any­one else did. I don’t think I could pos­si­bly have eat­en anoth­er bite, but I hope the oth­ers stayed for anoth­er meal. I know the food cer­tain­ly smelled good.

Even though the kitchen and din­ing room tables are huge, we filled both of them. Unlike the hol­i­day meals of my youth, we didn’t sep­a­rate into adult and children’s tables. Per Will’s wish­es, we had the “men’s” and “women’s” tables for break­fast, but end­ed up all mixed for cake and ice cream (he was so dis­ap­point­ed). From that I fig­ured him to be at the “girls have cooties” stage, but appar­ent­ly boys and girls don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly go through such a stage any more. Who knew?

I took an iPad, because I was asked to review an app and need­ed help from chil­dren. I had absolute­ly no idea just how pop­u­lar it would be! We could have kept sev­er­al more busy. On sec­ond thought, if there had been sev­er­al more avail­able, it might not have been as fun. After the boys dis­cov­ered the cam­era func­tion, there was a lot of silli­ness. I was glad the gad­get has a case, but for fur­ther fam­i­ly occa­sions, I think it needs one that’s more child-grip­pable. Maybe some­thing rub­ber­ized? In any case, the device is even more fun with kids. I feel much younger now as a result. We played sil­ly games, col­ored, took pic­tures, and played more sil­ly games. I should have loaded up some Trout Fish­ing in Amer­i­ca and oth­er good music. I will cer­tain­ly do so for future occasions!

I gave the twins their copy of Clean Water for Eli Rose by Ari­ah Fine, and they must have liked it. They each had each of their par­ents, Mom, and me read it to them at least once that I know of in less than an hour. They may have also got­ten Katie and my sis­ter to read it to them, as well. It looks as though it’s going to be in heavy sto­ry time rota­tion for a while. I could see some wheels turn­ing for Sadie, so I’m hop­ing she’ll get more than just a sto­ry out of it. If she asks ques­tions, Jack will def­i­nite­ly follow.

It was the best fam­i­ly day I can remem­ber ever hav­ing. I’m get­ting the pho­tos off my phone and the iPad. I hope they came out well, but whether they did or not, we’ll have the memories.

The Hateful Tea Party, Its True Origins, and President Obama’s Accomplishments

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Civil Rights, politics | Posted on 03-09-2011

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I was challenged in comments on a friend's Facebook wall yesterday "provide us with a specific example of Tea Party hate ful (sic) speach and some thing good that President Obama has done for our country." The commenters there also claimed that "THE TEA PARTY HAS NO REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS" and seemed to be under the impression that it is a grass roots movement, which is a claim friends of mine have also made. Rather than post this information in more than one place, I decided to make one post in my blog and refer to it in the future.

First, President Obama has accomplished plenty of things during his term. I started to make my own list, then decided that it's foolish to reinvent the wheel. The most comprehensive list I've found is here: Accomplishments of President Obama. While some people may not think some of those things are accomplishments, I doubt there's anyone who can argue with all of them. I'd add to the list the fact that Osama bin Laden is dead. That happened during Obama's presidency. His people were able to keep a lid on the information about bin Laden's whereabouts and the operation long enough to get that bastard. The fact that the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in the military is over is pretty damned important, too.

Those accomplishments look much better, too, when you realize two things:

  1. The IMF informed President Bush that they intended to audit the U.S. back in June 2008. Bush just put them off until the end of his term.
  2. While Obama is often blamed for the massive deficit, that's inaccurate. The 2009 fiscal year began before Obama even took office, and the budget for that year was almost entirely determined by the Bush administration. There was an 88% increase in spending during the years of the Bush administration, compared to only a 7.4% increase during the Obama administration. That's why Bush inherited a $128 billion surplus from Clinton's last budget, and bequeathed a $1.4 trillion deficit to Obama.

I know perfectly well that the tea party (no caps) was originally billed as a grass roots movement about fiscal issues and against big government. Yes, gatherings to support Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaign were called "tea parties," and those issues were central to his campaign.

However, there was apparently no talk of a Tea Party (note the caps) during those gatherings, and after Obama was elected, the name was co-opted for anti-Obama rallies by Republican operatives, led by Dick Armey and mouthpiece Rick Santelli. Of course, if they'd said, "We're organized by lobbyists for big business, because guys like Steve Forbes and the Koch brothers don't want middle class people to have help paying their mortgages!" then middle class people wouldn't have been as likely to get involved. So the fiction of a "grassroots movement" was carefully maintained.

Even for those who might not believe that FreedomWorks, the Koch brothers, etc. have always behind the Tea Party, it must be difficult to deny that "grassroots" certainly isn't what the Tea Party is about now. Anyone who wants to argue about it has only to look at Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, and and their Christian Dominionist views to know that. Of course, Perry also claimed in his book that Social Security is unconstitutional, despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruled otherwise in 1936, and Bachmann signed a pledge that claims that blacks were better off when they were slaves, so their credibility ratings are suffering, as far as I'm concerned. By the way - that pledge thing is pretty darned racist, to me, and the rest of Bachmann's well-known history gaffes aren't making things any better.

Michelle Bachmann (head of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus) worked for the IRS as a tax attorney before quitting to be a stay-at-home mom. So she's never had a job that doesn't come with a government paycheck, but she's supposedly against big government? How very hypocritical. Bachmann's husband runs a clinic that takes federal money to provide a form of therapy to "cure" homosexuality—therapy that isn't approved by the American Psychological Association or the American Medical Association or, actually, any accrediting board. If anybody wants to truly cut out government waste, then paying for that sort of thing should be stopped right away, and psychologists who file for reimbursement for it should lose their licenses and be arrested for fraud. (Homosexuality was initially suggested for removal from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as a disorder in 1973, and completely removed by 1986. Dr. Bachmann, if he actually is a psychologist, should know that.) Michelle's remarks about homosexuality include such lovely bits as saying that it's "of Satan." Yes, that's bigotry.

Steve King (R-Iowa, member of the Tea Party Caucus) has demonstrated bigotry in his attacks against Barack Obama before his election because of his middle name (Hussein) and the fact that his father was Muslim. He has also shown himself to be a racist by making claims that Obama favors blacks—without providing any substantiation, of course. His misogynist voting record speaks for itself.

Louie Gohmert (R-Texas, member of the Tea Party Caucus), is a birther (crazy enough right there), who equated homosexuality with bestiality, necrophilia, and pedophilia during a debate on Don't Ask, Don't Tell (video clip). He also made a stupidly racist remark when complaining about one particular bit of funding - the infamous "moo goo cat pan" joke that fell flat. (He's got so much crazy that we could spend a lot of time talking about him. I imagine even the Tea Party would be happy to lose him altogether. Search on "terror babies" and you'll see what I mean.)

One of King's buddies in the Tea Party caucus, Phil Gingrey (R-Georgia), went to the Mexican border with King on a fact-finding mission, and put his racist foot in his mouth by claiming that his desire to end birthright citizenship isn't motivated by xenophobia because, "if I had to choose from immigrants across the globe, my favorite alien would be our Hispanic and Latino residents coming from across the Southern border. On June 22, 2011, Dr. Gingrey, an OB-GYN, said: "Democrats like to picture us as pushing grandmother over the cliff or throwing someone under the bus. In either one of those scenarios, at least the senior has a chance to survive. But under this IPAB [Independent Payment Advisory Board] we described that the Democrats put in ‘Obamacare,’ where a bunch of bureaucrats decide whether you get care, such as continuing on dialysis or cancer chemotherapy, I guarantee you when you withdraw that the patient is going to die. It's rationing." He knew perfectly well that he was lying, but Republicans want to control the way the money is spent, rather than to permit a non-partisan board to control it and achieve any cost savings. You would think a fiscal conservative would be in favor of cost savings, but it doesn't work that when political power is at stake.!

At the state level, we have Alabama state senator Scott Beason referring to blacks as "aborigines." After opening a speech by saying that "illegal immigration will destroy a community" he closed it by advising his listeners to "empty the clip, and do what has to be done".

David Barton hangs out with several Tea Party figures—Rick Perry is spending Labor Day weekend with the guy. He claims on his tax records that he is an expert on African-American history, but when questioned about the fact that he regularly addresses white supremacist groups (who adore him) he tried at one point to claim that he didn't understand their leanings. One of his main claims is that Martin Luther King, Jr. made no significant contribution to the civil rights movement and that he and Thurgood Marshall should be removed from our history books. Newt Gingrich's spokesman, Rick Tyler, said, "I think David Barton is one of the most knowledgeable teachers on American history." (Interesting, as Gingrich is a former history professor himself, and Barton is only an "amateur historian.") He's popular with Bachmann, Beck, and Mike Huckabee, too.

Then there's just about everything Glenn Beck says - the man is anti-semitic, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, you name it. He seems to adore comparing any little slight against himself or Fox News to the Holocaust. If his manicurist slips up an causes discomfort, she's probably accused of being Mengele in disguise, or at least a descendant of his. He has stooped so low as to attack the president's children and refer to the First Lady as the president's "Baby Mama." Anyone who cares to do so can find plenty of videos of him anywhere, but I refuse to link to them. I don't think there are any clips in which he opens his mouth that aren't offensive.

Matthew Vadum is a columnist who is extremely supportive of the Tea Party. He recently published an article claiming that "Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American", equating voter registration to giving the poor "burglary tools."

By the way, if you haven't seen all the signs carried at Tea Party rallies depicting the President as a monkey, or a witch doctor, or Hitler, then you haven't been paying attention. There are plenty of places where I could find more, but I've had enough more than enough exposure to nastiness for one day.

Anyone who reads this post can no longer say that they've never heard of anyone associated with Tea Party saying hateful things, or that they're not aware of anything that President Obama has accomplished during his presidency.

Start of the New School Year

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Memories, NaBloPoMo | Posted on 02-09-2011

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The NaBloPo­Mo prompt for today:
How did you feel about the start of the school year grow­ing up?
As far as I remem­ber, I was usu­al­ly excit­ed — at least after 7th grade or so. School up to that point was so intense­ly bor­ing that I couldn’t wait to get out of it so I could go back to what­ev­er I was read­ing or doing in the woods some­where. I hat­ed sec­ond grade so much that I think I spent most of it nap­ping in the school clin­ic (we had one with sev­er­al lit­tle alcoves and beds. I think I may have been hav­ing migraines, honestly).
Up until 7th grade, it seemed that the first half of every year was spent review­ing what was done the pre­vi­ous year because so many peo­ple didn’t real­ly learn it or for­got every­thing dur­ing the sum­mer. I kept think­ing, “I’m here why? They could just tell the rest of us when the review is over. I’m wast­ing my life here!” I think it’s telling that I spent much of the 4th and 5th grades act­ing as an unof­fi­cial sub­sti­tute teacher and didn’t miss a bloody thing by not being in my own class.
In 7th grade we final­ly start­ed doing more seri­ous aca­d­e­m­ic work. That’s the first year that I recall any sci­ence con­tent that could actu­al­ly be called sci­ence, since we had lab assign­ments. Before that we had lit­tle texts about ani­mals and geol­o­gy and the plan­ets, but it was all so ele­men­tary that it might as well have been a stack of Lit­tle Gold­en Books. The only dif­fer­ence was that we had lit­tle vocab­u­lary tests and the occa­sion­al find-a-word puz­zle relat­ed to the con­tent. (Dear ele­men­tary teach­ers: You’re doing it wrong, or you cer­tain­ly were in the 70’s! I learned a lot more by read­ing through the pub­lic library and mess­ing around with the micro­scope and lab kits I got for Christ­mas one year. Although I think maybe the lab kit was meant for my sis­ter and she didn’t want it, so I end­ed up with it.)
I also had my first tru­ly out­stand­ing teacher that year, Ms. Keifer. I think her first name might have been Karole Ann, but I’m not sure. In any case, she taught Eng­lish at Lil­burn Mid­dle School, and I was in her home­room. She was won­der­ful! She gave me a copy of Lord of the Rings, with one caveat: I had to pass them on to some­one else when I fin­ished them.
Back then, the Braves gave out free tick­ets to Atlanta area stu­dents who made straight A’s. I won tick­ets sev­er­al years in a row, as I recall. I didn’t hon­est­ly care to go, but it was a fam­i­ly oblig­a­tion thing, so I did — with whichev­er vol­ume of LOTR I was read­ing at the moment in hand. Dad­dy had a great laugh when we encoun­tered anoth­er fam­i­ly sit­ting near us whose son had won tick­ets. Their son had his nose in anoth­er vol­ume of LOTR!
It def­i­nite­ly helped that my cousin, Lori Goss, taught me how to put on make­up dur­ing a vis­it back home to Gads­den that year, which boost­ed my con­fi­dence a lot. I don’t remem­ber if her big sis­ter Kim cut my hair into “wings” or how that hap­pened (I do remem­ber the perm Aunt Bet gave me, which was my first).

NaBloPoMo, Again

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, Critters | Posted on 01-09-2011

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I’m try­ing NaBloPo­Mo again! The theme this month is “Return,” although I’m not at all sure what the heck that’s sup­posed to mean. I got today’s post in just under the wire, obvi­ous­ly — but I did post! Tomor­row I’ll try to do it much bet­ter. And I’ll even include pho­tos of the new kit­ten! Maybe he’ll have a name by then.

Review: Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 30-07-2011

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Ghost Story: A Novel of the Dresden FilesGhost Sto­ry: A Nov­el of the Dres­den Files by Jim Butch­er
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Of course I (along with all Jim Butch­er’s oth­er fans) have been absolute­ly dying to read this book ever since fin­ish­ing Changes. Sam Chupp and I have been talk­ing about how there could pos­si­bly be anoth­er book that occurs after Dresden’s death. Of course, the novel­la includ­ed in Side Jobs: Sto­ries From the Dres­den Files was very good and got along quite well with­out Dres­den, but that prob­a­bly wasn’t going to work for an entire novel. 

Sam hasn’t even start­ed Ghost Sto­ry yet, so I can’t gloat at home. I was actu­al­ly right in some of my spec­u­la­tion! I’m being non-spe­cif­ic so as to not give too much away, even though I am hid­ing this review behind spoil­er warn­ings on GoodReads in case he does read it and remem­ber what I had said (which is high­ly doubt­ful). But I feel like brag­ging some­where, so you, dear read­ers, have to put up with it. 

Jim Butch­er deserves major praise. Ghost Sto­ry is amaz­ing. Dres­den has become such a pow­er­ful wiz­ard that few ene­mies are tru­ly a chal­lenge, and wip­ing out the entire Red Court with one spell was an amaz­ing feat. What do you do for an encore to that? Hav­ing Dres­den imma­te­r­i­al and oper­at­ing with­out mag­ic does seri­ous­ly push him, and that makes for a fas­ci­nat­ing tale. Being able to keep a series fresh in its thir­teenth vol­ume says a lot for Butcher’s tal­ent. I think Ghost Sto­ry is the best Dres­den Files book yet, and I’m look­ing for­ward to book four­teen even more! 

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Who do you trust with your children?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family, News, Parenting | Posted on 26-06-2011

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I keep see­ing news sto­ries about kids dying in day­care or at the hands of oth­er peo­ple to whom their par­ents have entrust­ed them, and every time there is so much shock and rage as if peo­ple can’t believe it’s hap­pen­ing. I am so tired of it. Pay attention! 

How many of the peo­ple in these cen­ters did the par­ents actu­al­ly meet before leav­ing their chil­dren there? Did they meet any­one? Did they spend any time there?

If you leave your chil­dren with child­care providers, how did you choose them? How well did you vet them? How often do you drop by unexpectedly?

Would you trust every sin­gle per­son in that facil­i­ty with your car keys? Just hand them over and let any of them dri­ve your brand new ride away, no ques­tions asked?

How about your wal­let? Just give it over, tell them your ATM or cred­it card PINs, give them carte blanche?

If the answer to both of the ques­tions isn’t yes, why are you leav­ing your chil­dren with them?

Review: Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Book Reviews, Reading | Posted on 28-05-2011

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Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin, #1)Spider’s Bite by Jen­nifer Estep
My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed it this book, and plan to go on to the next book in the series, Web of Lies. I’m hop­ing that Jen­nifer Estep grows as an author, though, as the fore­shad­ow­ing regard­ing the real “big bad” as well as the rev­e­la­tion of a fact impor­tant to the main char­ac­ter were both rather clum­si­ly done, in my opinion. 

I’m aware of anoth­er series by Estep, Big­time. I was think­ing of read­ing it, but it was writ­ten ear­li­er than the Ele­men­tal Assas­sin series, and now I’m not so sure about whether I want to read it or not. Estep’s char­ac­ters are inter­est­ing, but I’m not sure that they’re inter­est­ing enough to hold me through writ­ing that’s less pol­ished than Spider’s Bite. Then again, I’ve cer­tain­ly read worse. I sup­pose it all depends on what I hap­pen to have in hand at any giv­en time. I’d be more like­ly to read it if there were short sto­ries avail­able sim­i­lar to the ones on Estep’s web site that drew me in to this series. 

I didn’t do reviews for those, but there are three sto­ries that occur chrono­log­i­cal­ly before Spider’s Bite: Poi­son Web of Deceit and Spider’s Bar­gain. Read­ing them cer­tain­ly isn’t nec­es­sary to enjoy the nov­el, and it’s def­i­nite­ly bet­ter to avoid read­ing Web of Deceit first. They are good sto­ries, though, and I do rec­om­mend that any­one who enjoys Estep’s work seek them out in order to enjoy the addi­tion­al bits of infor­ma­tion gained in them. For instance, Spider’s Bar­gain is the sto­ry of an event that is piv­otal to Gin and Caine’s rela­tion­ship, and its con­se­quences are like­ly to con­tin­ue echo­ing through the next few vol­umes of the series. 

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Review: Moon Fever (anthology)

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Book Reviews, Reading | Posted on 27-05-2011

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Moon Fever (Includes: Primes, #6.5)Moon Fever by Susan Size­more
My rat­ing: 1 of 5 stars

This was one of those “I fin­ished the last thing I was read­ing and I’m bored, what’s already loaded on the iTouch?” reads. It was on there because the anthol­o­gy includes Lori Han­de­land’s “Cob­webs Over the Moon” (Night­crea­tures, #10) and I read all of that series a while back. I didn’t care to read the rest of the anthol­o­gy at the time, but I hadn’t got­ten around to delet­ing the book. Ah, hap­py dig­i­tal pack­rat am I! 

If I’ve read any­thing by Susan Size­more oth­er than “Tempt­ing Fate” (Primes #6.5), it was emi­nent­ly for­get­table. I’m absolute­ly sure that I haven’t read any­thing else in her Primes series, because I prob­a­bly would have thrown said mate­r­i­al firm­ly into the near­est hard sur­face (or what­ev­er the equiv­a­lent is with bytes) because of the insane­ly annoy­ing num­ber of times Size­more feels it nec­es­sary to remind us that her vam­pires are Primes! Alpha Primes! They are! Real­ly! And that means they fight a lot! Espe­cial­ly over women! Oth­er­wise, it’s a Mary Jane sto­ry set in New Orleans. I have a strong feel­ing that most of the Primes series is Mary Jane-ish, but I may at some point be trapped and forced with the prospect of star­ing at the inside of my eye­balls or read­ing more of Sizemore’s stuff. I’m not sure which would be worse right now. I’ll get back to you on that. 

“The Dark­ness With­in” by Mag­gie Shayne feels ter­ri­bly famil­iar, although I’m sure I haven’t read it before. I have, how­ev­er, read oth­er Shayne novel­las in oth­er antholo­gies, and this sto­ry fol­lows a famil­iar pat­tern. Sexy gal who doesn’t think she’s attrac­tive has had a run of hard luck and may lose the house she has bought rel­a­tive­ly recent­ly and loves. Said house has a spooky past that she didn’t know about when she bought it. Stal­wart too-sexy-for-her man gets involved some­how, prefer­ably in a way that allows her to ques­tion his motives. They are inex­plic­a­bly drawn to each oth­er and screw like bun­nies (or near as makes no dif­fer­ence), then blame their lapse in judge­ment on what­ev­er weird­ness is going on in the house. (Yep, that’s what they all say — and no safer sex any­where! Does para­nor­mal activ­i­ty pre­clude dis­cus­sion of sex­u­al his­to­ry and pre­vent STD transmission?) 

“Cob­webs Over the Moon” by Lori Han­de­land (Night­crea­tures, #10) isn’t the most log­i­cal entry in that series. Nei­ther is it the most illog­i­cal — but by the tenth entry, the series’ mythol­o­gy has got­ten a bit ridicu­lous, so I don’t know why I even both­er bring­ing up some­thing as irrel­e­vant as log­ic. Sil­ly me! In every book, we’re intro­duced to a woman who is in some way tan­gled up with were­wolves, then to a man who is tan­gled up with her and/​or the crea­tures and, of course, whose loy­al­ties are uncer­tain. There is always an ele­ment of dan­ger to add spice to the romance that has to grow between the two. The for­mu­la nev­er changes at all. There are always evil were­wolves, but some­times there are also good ones. If you like pre­dictabil­i­ty in your para­nor­mal romance, Night­crea­tures is a great series for you. 

I sup­pose Cari­dad Piñeiro’s “Crazy for the Cat” isn’t tech­ni­cal­ly any bet­ter or worse than any of the oth­er three sto­ries. There’s more vari­ety in the shapeshift­ing and the main set­ting is the Ama­zon jun­gle. I couldn’t get past the big­otry and colo­nial­ism, though. Dark is bad, light is good, of course! Those poor benight­ed natives couldn’t pos­si­bly han­dle a few rogues with­out that white woman, could they? Spare me. 

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Review: and Falling, Fly by Skyler White

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 27-05-2011

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and Falling, Flyand Falling, Fly by Skyler White
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Sam Chupp has been after me to read this book for weeks, so as soon as I fin­ished All Clear, I start­ed it. This book is dif­fer­ent from any­thing else I’ve read in years. I hes­i­tate to say it’s more lit­er­ary than most fan­ta­sy, because I don’t like “lit­er­ary” books — they’re usu­al­ly stuffy, dry, and presumptuous. 

After the first few chap­ters, there’s no slow­ing down, because you’re as caught up in what’s hap­pen­ing as the char­ac­ters are. I was trans­fixed by White’s descrip­tions, which can make even ugli­ness fascinating.

We are trav­el­ing into time, burn­ing two hours for every one I endure beside this bab­bling, cursed child of Greece. I see them all the time, these bas­tard half chil­dren of sto­ries and mor­tals, trapped between worlds, the genet­ic lin­eage of myth reassert­ing itself across the inex­tri­ca­ble ages. Helen of Troy is born the socialite child of a par­tial Zeus mat­ed to half of a swan-lov­ing Leda, the myth­ic DNA in each of them dor­mant until they breed and damn their off­spring with its expression.

White’s vam­pire mythos is like no oth­er I’ve encoun­tered. I found it far more believ­able than most of what’s being print­ed over and over and over again. Anoth­er refresh­ing thing about the book is that there’s no feel­ing of a set up for a series. Odd­ly, though, I’m now see­ing the book iden­ti­fied as the first of a series called Har­row­ing, at least on GoodReads, but as far as I can tell, the sec­ond book has no char­ac­ters in com­mon with the first. Per­haps it’s sim­ply set in the same universe? 

In any case, I’ve added In Dreams Begin to my to-read stack, and I’ll be keep­ing an eye on Skyler White.

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