Special thanks to Leontine from Leontine's Book Realm for the super header.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ups and Downs

The last day or so has been a bit up and down.

On the upside, I'm off work until next Monday.

On the downside, I might have bursitis in my shoulder (I thought I just pulled a muscle although I had no idea how) and I have to take drugs for 5 days and if that doesn't work I have to go to physio.

On the upside, my daughter and I are going to Montreal tomorrow and staying overnight for spring break.

On the downside, my Grandmother was hospitalized yesterday. They don't really know what the problem is. The Dr. claims not a stroke but in some ways it seems stroke-like and we are waiting for test results and a schedule for a CT scan. She's 86 and getting weaker but hasn't suffered any chronic health problems, so I just don't know. I'm hoping I don't need to make an emergency trip to Manitoba but ... My Grandmother raised me so she's more like a mother than most Grandmas.

On the upside, spring seems not quite so far away.

On the downside, work is a bit sucky and I've been told that I can't extend my position this year so have to job hunt this summer. It's not a matter of losing my job, just my position. Imagine 300 employees all playing musical chairs. You know there is a chair for you, but which one and will it be more comfortable than the chair you currently have? Who the hell knows.

Blerg. Oh well. Life goes on and I need to think positively on most of the downside stuff. I did get some reading done in the last few days.

The Rifter - The Shattered Gates by Ginn Hale (100 pages)
Blind Eye Books

BEB is offering a serialized book by Ginn Hale. It's a fantasy story that comes every month in 100 page chunks for 10 months. It does end on a cliff hanger and I know serials and cliff-hangers aren't for everyone. You'll be able to buy it after I'm sure but I know I'd never buy a 1000 page book.

John is a regular guy with a freaky roommate. Kyle has tattoos (on his eye lids no less) and is very mysterious, but introvert John is okay with that because he pays his rent on time. When Kyle disappears John opens an envelope with a key. One night when out exploring some suddenly exposed rocks with two friends, he manages to get them sucked into another world. Seems Kyle (aka Kahlil) was supposed to keep an eye on John and kill him because he could threaten their world. Ooops. So Kyle heads back home. After that it gets a bit complicated with John and his friends trying to survive in a snowy wasteland and eventually meeting a young man who seems to be training to be what Kyle was. Hmmm. Oh oh, soldiers.... It's quite complex, there is even another language they are learning (glossary in the back - I'm thinking about adopting the swear words, no one will ever know you're swearing at them) and I have tons of questions, but I'm sure they'll all be answered - eventually. It's not all dark and angsty, John's new-agey friends add a bit of lightness to the story. Definitely worth a read for those who like the concept or are willing to wait for the longer final version.

The Cabin by Shae Connor (43 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Jen did a great review of this at BER. However for my own review, Jesse needed to get out of the city so heads to a rental cabin in the mountains. He meets is neighbor Eli and they hit it off and decide to go hiking together. There is lots of flirting and they get to know each other, eventually spending the night together and agreeing to get together once they get home. There is no angst here, there is no drama, stalkers, bear attacks or anything like that. It's just two normal (although hot) guys getting to know each other and purely by chance meeting on a weekend away. It's nice to have people who don't keep secrets, who talk about their family, haven't been wickedly damaged in some ways. It's just a sweet story of two guys meeting and starting out. When you need a nice light snack after something darker it's a great palate cleanser. I find the author's style and voice works well for me.

Celadon by KIL Kenny (86 pages)
Torquere Press

Surfer dude Bryan sold the clothing business in Australia he'd started with his best friend from college and moved home to Ohio, unsure what he'll do with his life. While taking his nephew to a Boy Scout activity he meets local potter Nilsson. Right away Nilsson comes on strong, then basically says thanks but I'm kind of busy, as he has a huge custom order for a customer that requires a special celadon glaze and it's not going well. However Bryan wants more. He's kind of bored, finally gets his own place and tries to connect with Nilsson who basically keeps blowing him off except for occasional sex. Bryan finally takes drastic measures to make it clear what he wants. This is another nice story about two normal guys, one who works like a maniac because he needs to in a way and figuring out how to make it work. There is some minor drama near the end and some confusion over the artsy life Nilsson lived when he was younger and Bryan's feelings for his ex-partner, but that's not the main drama and it's not blown out of proportion. It's more how do you make an independently wealthy (more or less) beach bum and a workaholic artist find a compromise that lets them be together? I could really see both sides. Bryan wanted a boyfriend not a fuck buddy, and Nilsson needed to keep himself out there if he wanted to be a success and make a living as an artist. You wanted them to work it out and again, another nice story about two guys. There is some good touches of humour as Bryan lets his niece and nephew help him decorate his new apartment. Lets just say Justin Bieber pillow cases are involved and chenille unicorn throws. :-)

Stroke to His Cox by JL Merrow (20 pages)
Dreamspinner Press

Another one that Jen reviewed. (I'm finally catching up on those books that I say "Oh, I'd like to read that.") Dave is the half-Japanese cox for this university rowing team. For those who don't row (and I barely know the basics), it the usually much smaller guy who sits in the boat and keeps the others on track. He's much smaller of course than all the huge hulks who row and has been crushing on Archie for a while, figuring no way. After they win a big race, Archie makes a move much to Dave's surprise and delight. This is told from Archie's point of view. I liked his voice, he's a bit sarcastic and snide and his oarsman don't seem to be the brightest of the lot some of them and while they say racist things, it's not because they don't like him, they're just oblivious. As I said, I know nothing about rowing and there is some terminology I didn't really get, but you don't need to in order to get the story, it's still a cute read about a surprise pairing, well, delightful surprise to Dave.


wren boudreau said...

I hope the roller coaster straightens out for you soon, Tam!

Ginn Hale...I think I will wait for the 1000 pages. I don't do serialization very well. My teeth can't take the gnashing!

Tam said...

Thanks Wren. I'm not much of a roller coaster girl. :-)

I KNOW I wouldn't go near it with a 10 foot pole if someone said "Buy this 1000 page book" even though I think Ginn is an amazing author, so this way I know I will actually read it and I'm okay with cliff hangers as long as I don't have to wait a year to get the next installment. A month is about right.

Average Reader said...

Tam, I hope things get better for your shoulder, job position, and especially for your grandma. How lucky you are to still have her! (All four of mine have been gone for more than 10 years.)

You're brave to start the serialized thing. I'm tempted except that cliffhanger endings drive me absolutely bananas. I may have to wait and read the 1000 page total!

Tam said...

Thanks Val, hopefully I'll have her for a bit yet, at least until we can go this summer and visit.

I don't mind cliff hangers. Not sure why. As I said to Wren when I know it's coming in 4 weeks, not months and months like in larger more traditional print books I can deal with it. I'm not sure I could handle 1000 pages, I'd likely give-up and that would be a shame.

Tam said...

Just got an update from my Mom: My Grandma is much better today, she was able to make it to the bathroom on her own in the evening (couldn't walk at all yesterday) and my aunt said she was much chattier and in a more positive mood. She's supposed to travel 2 hours to get a CT scan tomorrow (joy of living in a small town) but there is a big winter storm up there and it's really too dangerous for my uncle to drive her so they are trying to postpone for a day. Hopefully that will clearly say whether it was a stroke but at least her condition is improving. Must be all the great positive thoughts I'm getting from everyone out there in the cyberverse. :-)

wren boudreau said...

Yay for Grandma! I'll continue sending good wishes your and her way.

Chris said...

Good grief, life decided to attack you! :( Here's hoping that things smooth out and all is well.

Yay, Wren! We're in the same boat!! I have to wait for the same reason. :)

Celadon sounds promising, as does the JL Merrow. I read Of Cocoa and Men by Vic Winter last night and it was the perfect read at the right time - just a delight. Recommended. :)

Tam said...

Thanks Chris. We just requested Cocoa for BER, now I'm going to have to arm wrestle Jen over it. LOL We'll see who gets to review it. Although I think we are both kind of committed to getting our UK Fortnight up and running first.

K. Z. Snow said...

Boy, between you and Lily, I might run out of my stock of good vibes! I'll keep sending them 'til they're gone, though.

How brave of BEB to start publishing serialized fiction! The first book I ever had accepted anywhere (Acts of the Saints, subsequently published by Samhain) was at a now-defunct serialized fiction site called Another Chapter. They had the most incredible stable of artists, too, so each story was custom illustrated. Unfortunately, they folded midway through my edits.

I've no doubt The Rifters will be successful, 'cause Ginn Hale's a superb natural storyteller. (Which reminds me...time to start dropping hints about the Lord of the White Hell softcover duology for my b-day!)

Michelle M. said...

I'm glad to hear your grandmother is doing better. Hope she'd continues to improve and that your shoulder gets better, too.

Those eyes are amazing! They bring swimming pools and cabana boys to mind...

Patti (@TheLoveJunkee) said...

Glad to see your Grandmother is better, sorry things aren't going well right now.

Tam said...

Wow illustrated would be amazing KZ. No illustrations here but I think it's a cool idea. I guess we'll see how well it goes over as to whether they continue the idea.

Thanks for the good wishes. It does seem to be a bit of a stressful time lately for many people.

Tam said...

Thanks Michelle, things seem to be on the upswing. They do don't they? I could so go for a swimming pool ... and cabana boy. :-)

Thanks Patti. Hopefully they are turning around.

Lily said...

Yay for Grandma feeling better! I hope she continues to improve.

Sending you lots of good wishes for your shoulder and for the change of position. We're going through something similar and it's a pain in the butt!!

Tam said...

Thanks Lily. Hopefully she'll continue to improve. Work shifting sucks but at least there's always the hope that something better can crop up.

Kassa said...

Sending good thoughts about your grandmother and the work situation.

I do want to read that "Stroke to his cox" book though!

Tam said...

Thanks Kassa. I think you'll like it. It's cute and humorous and very British which is always a pleasant change.