I have been maintaining two blogs. It is silly and I no longer have the energy nor do I care enough about someone else's sensibilities to do double work.
So I am forthwith combining the two blogs into one. Which one was a simple choice, the one with the most traffic and that happens to be the Jacqueline Roth site.
I am in the midst of a conversation with my editor and another writer who are both Aussies. They have been informing all of us wide-eyed Americans exactly how they prepare the perfect burger. Now I don't know about you, but I don't dress mine up too much. Cheese, mustard (unless I can get A1 Sauce) a pickle or two, an onion if I don't have to impress anyone later and I'm good to go. But the final list from the Aussie crew included onion, lettuce, tomato, beetroot (sliced beets), pineapple, cheese, egg, bacon and ketchup. I don't know about you, but I think they're pulling my leg. How would you ever taste the burger? They could leave it off an never know! And how would you fit that in your mouth? I'm not sure Blondie's Dagwood could manage that.
I've had two doctor's appointments that delayed my official vacation begining until tomorrow. See I don't count it as a day off if I have something I HAVE to do or someplace I HAVE to be. Nope, just not my idea of a good time. The good part of these doctor's visits (which as we all know means you are commiting at least two hours, usually more, of your time to sit and wait) has been that I was able to get some uninterupted reading time. You may think this would be easy since I don't technically have children yet, but it's not. If it's not telemarketers calling, my brother texting, then it's my dogs deciding they love momma so much they must all lay on her RIGHT NOW! Or Shiloh sees one of her phantom squirrels and is scratching and howling at the sliding glass door to be let outside. Not normally a problem except we dumped the wading pool we keep for them to prevent mosquitoes nesting and I really don't want to brave the wilderness that is my backyard to find the hose. And with temps in the 90's I'm not going to let her out for long without a big tub of water to drink and or lay in.
As I was saying, uninterrupted reading time. I'm moving down my TBR list slowly but surely. In the last couple of days I've finished Wolf-Speaker by Tamora Pierce and Every Boy's Got One by Meg Cabot.
I love Pierce's The Immortals series. Her central character Daine is a wonderfully strong young girl who has remarkable powers. Oddly in tune with the animal world around her she is accepted by the animals as one of them. As one of the People. The first book in the series, Wild Magic, is one I've started teaching in my classroom. It is a wonderful introduction to high fantasy that introduces a fearsome female character that the girls can identify with and that the boys, once they get past the "Ah, it's about a girl" thing, come to admire. Especially when she's battling monsters. And in the first book it's easy to tell who the good guys and bad guys are.
But in Wolf-Speaker, things aren't so clear cut for Daine any longer. Her beloved adopted home of Tortall is the focus of a rebellion by one of the holdings. The Lady of Dunlath is mining black opals and destroying the land. Daine answers the call of her old friends the wolves. Her teacher and friend, the wizard Numair must leave her behind to guard the land while he tries to warn the king. Neither of them expects to become separated by a magical barrier that seals Daine in and Numair out.
As much as I like Daine and find her charming and endearing, one of the things that draws me back to this series is Numair. He's this overgrown boy of a man who is the unlikeliest person to be one of the most powerful of all mages. He's calm, quiet and patient until those he cares about are threatened. Then he will unleash a fury as has never been seen on those who threaten his friends. He's adorable and one of those guys you would have trouble deciding if he was the little/big brother you always wanted or ...
I also finished Meg Cabot's Every Boy Has One. I forget how much I like Cabot's writing style. She's funny and irreverent. And she doesn't fall into the one trap that romantic comedy writers often do. Making the female character such a bumbling fool she's not funny, she's pathetic. I've never been a fan of that and it makes me cringe. Cabot gives her female lead, Jane, a couple of quirks but doesn't turn her into a idiot. She's a bit clumsy and tends to step wrong or trip over things. But she's not a complete disaster. She can't see the leading man, Cal's, attraction to her at first, but she doesn't go so blindly on refusing to admit it that it's ridiculous. When the man grabs her and kisses her, she gets he's attracted --even if it's for the wrong reasons.
In Every Boy Has One, Jane and Cal are accompanying their best friends, Holly and Mark, on their elopement to Italy. A blurb at the back of the book tells readers that some of the more unbelievable pitfalls in the story actually happened to Cabot when she eloped to Italy with her husband in 1993. But for Jane and Cal, who dislike each other on sight, the mission is to get Holly and Mark married. At least that's Jane's mission, Cal isn't so sure marriage is a good idea period.
There were several laugh out loud moments in this one. It's a good thing most of them happened when I wasn't in a waiting room, but for those it was hard to stop at just a big grin behind my hand.