Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison

Book 4 in the Rachel Morgan series, this one takes place almost entire out of Cincinnati. Rachel, having been "dead", is now the Alpha in David's pack. Since it's just the 2 of them, and Rachel is a witch not a were, it's all a formality. Members of other packs don't see it as such and end up challenging Rachel to a fight. She nearly loses without use of her magic and is determined to find a spell to change her to a wolf so she can fight again.

In the meantime, Jenks and family are still living away from the church, after not being told that Trent was an elf. Jenks' wife does come to Rachel and Ivy for help though. Their son, Jax, is missing and presumed with Nick, Rachel's ex. Nick, it turns out, is a common thief and got Jax involved in that life. Rachel and Jenks make up enough to go after them, in Michigan.

A true adventure starts, leading them into several joined packs of hostile weres and other vampires. Rachel ends up performing quite a bit of demon curses in order to save the world from the power of an ancient were relic.

A really great & fast moving book.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere by Kate Harding

I only knew my weight from the times I went to the doctor. Mostly, I just knew if my clothes were fitting or not. If they weren't, and I was to cheap to go buy new ones, I would hop on the treadmill just a little bit more than usual. Then I discovered online food tracking and "helpful diet hints". While I got down to a skinny weight, I ended up gaining it back (plus more when I had thyroid surgery and my meds got out of whack). Even though I've never been obese, or even heavy, I beat myself up on a regular basis. 5 more pounds, 10 more pounds....

After starting the Biggest Loser at work and having to weigh myself every week, I got even more down about myself. Two and a half months of diet and exercise and I lost 1 pound. Seeing my doc, we discovered my thyroid meds were again messed up so my metabolism was messed up. Bloody hell. At this point, I decided I wasn't dieting anymore. I missed cooking my big feasts and baking and well....eating. I love food, dammit. I didn't want to throw exercise out the window because I actually like my treadmill and feeling good afterwards. I liked the extra energy because obviously my thyroid meds weren't going to help me there.

Lo and behold, I found a review for this book, which is all about accepting your body for what it is. Bless you authors. The 2 ladies go over all the reasons to give up dieting and wishing for a body that you just don't have. Major studies have shown that your body will do what it needs to do, meaning it will stay in the weight range it's meant to be in, regardless of how much you yo-yo and push it to change. Diets don't work. Anything that alters how you eat, portion control, calorie restrictions, etc, just don't work. At least not long term. So why put your body through that?

This book encourages learning how to be healthy at any size, doing exercise that you enjoy doing and eating when you're hungry and stopping when you're full. Revolutionary! They also emphasize that food is neutral, it's not bad or good. It's whatever you want. There are too many messages from our culture out there telling women (and men) how they should look if they want to win at life and frankly, they're just wrong. Not everyone is meant to be a size zero and people shouldn't be humiliated to be the size they just are.

The authors don't want you to give up on yourself. They're just asking you to be kind to yourself and go out and quit worry about that last 10 or 15 pounds. You are perfect the way you are.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Only knowing Mapplethorpe as the guy who did the explicitly erotic photographs, and Smith as one of my favorite singers, this book was pretty enlightening. Seeing Mapplethorpe through Smith's eyes softens the public persona of him some.

Smith headed to New York from New Jersey to pursue her passion, art. Along the way she met up with Mapplethorpe, who rescued her from a bad date, and the two become best of friends and lovers. Inseparable, if not physically then in spirit, they remained by each others side until Robert's death from AIDS in 1989.

While Patti traveled to Paris, Robert went on to discover different relationships with men. It seems, back in the 70s, that it wasn't always possible to be openly gay and and perhaps it was something that he continually fought with himself. He kept a physical relationship with Patti for some time despite the evidence that he preferred men. While I can't imagine how that could make for a happy life, denying part of who you are, being with Patti obviously made him very happy.

Smith describes living at the Chelsea Hotel and hanging out with the likes of Jimi, Janis, Burroughs, and Harry Smith. And a lot more; those two really got around. She also chronicles the "luck" and hard work that helped make Mapplethorpe and herself the legends that they are today.

Flirt by Laurell K Hamilton

Flirt is not a full blown Anita Blake novel, just a little novella to apparently tide the reader over til the next novel comes out. I wasn't aware that we needed tiding over but hey....

I did like that this novella was focused only on one plot and never veered off into subplots. It is what it is and that's it. Kinda refreshing.

Anita starts off having to turn down some clients because they want to raise their dead spouses for somewhat nefarious reasons. She has morals and she uses them! Naturally surrounded by her many boyfriends, she goes to lunch and explains how she was taught to flirt. There's too much time spent on flirting with a waiter so we move on.

One of the aforementioned clients won't take no for an answer and wants the dead spouse, dammit! Hijinx and sex ensue.

Same Anita but in a smaller dose. Not bad.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

First, the cover of this copy is of the True Blood couple, not the original artwork. I have issues with that, it's a weird pet peeve. Second, the TB couple make me not want to see True Blood.

I'm not as psyched for this series as I am over other vampire series. Angel, anyone? I think my main complaint is that Sookie seems perpetually dumb and Bill (Bill the vampire, I can't get over that) is very possessive. It almost reminds me of Twilight and Edward. The possessive you-are-my-property vibe that these vamps give out is annoying.

This had a decent plot and some funny moments involving Eric, the other vamp after Sookie's affections...or blood. Quick read, probably a good beach read.