Review: Tattoo You by Willa Okati

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Rating: 3.75 stars

Tattoo YouJacob Lee has loved Donathon for three years and knows their love will last a lifetime.  There is almost nothing he wouldn’t do for his lover if Donathon asked him to.  Except one thing, get a tattoo.  Donathon is covered in tats, clouds, tigers…his body a veritable canvas of color and design.  His lover would love to see Jacob inked as well but Jacob is afraid of needles.  As Donathon’s birthday approaches, Jacob works up the courage to finally give his lover the one present he wants.  A formidable task, a twist of fate, and a forever love unite to give Jacob just the inspiration he needs to give Donathon the best birthday present of his life and a symbol of their love.

This is a very sweet, angst free love story from Willa Okati.  At 60 pages in length, it flies by quickly.  I have to admit the name Donathon threw me as my mind kept wanting to insert Jonathan everytime it saw the word on the page, a tad distracting.  I do like all the detailed knowledge the author displays of tattoo shops and the characters she created for Hummingbird Studio West, the tattoo parlor where half of the scenes take place. These people are interesting and intriguing in their own right. I would have loved to have seen more of each of them in this story or perhaps, their own as part of a series.  Jacob Lee (said together repeatedly) and Donathon are sweet together and their initial meeting is relayed to the reader as a remembrance in an endearing moment in the story.

One element I especially appreciated was the old drawings found in books in the basement.  That was a lovely touch and the mystery behind them made me want to know more about those men and their past.  It was the needed component to keep this story from being overly saccharine with its hint of sadness and inevitability.  But this story truly belongs to Jacob Lee and Donathon.  Their love story is appealing, and the ending satisfactory.  No one would ever question that this is a HEA just as they deserve.

In the mood for a quick happy read?  Pick this up and enjoy a light, sweet tale of love.

Cover art by BSClay is lovely but not the happy, cloud covered character that is Donathon.

Book Details

First published in Spiked Anthology from Torquere Press 2008:

Kindle Edition, 60 pages
Published June 2013 by Torquere Books
ASIN
B00DCZH29C
edition language
English

Mired in the Miasma and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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Miasma, such a wonderfully descriptive word.  Miasma: from the dictionary, literary the miasma from the stagnant swamp made us choke and gag: stink, reek, stench,fetor, smell, fume, odor, whiff; gas, cloud, smog, vapor.

Yep, that is exactly what it feels like in the Metropolitan DC area these days.  Most people forget that Washington, DC was built on a swamp and the regions around it are riddled with water.  There is a reason Foggy Bottom is called Foggy Bottom.  We have water everywhere.  The Potomac, the Patuxent, the Severn and a ton of other rivers and streams, the Chesapeake Bay and of course the Atlantic Ocean.  It’s delightful, it’s outstanding, except when our humidity is around 99% and stays there, making our area feel downright tropical and swampy.  The air is thick, stagnant, some call it soupy.  It is so heavy  it almost takes on a form of its own.  The skin feels clammy, your clothes stick to the skin as though they were glued, perspiration rolls down the face to disappear into your collar and sandals are the only footwear you can bear on your feet. And when someone mentions that they didn’t have air-conditioning in the “olden days” so we should all come outside and enjoy sitting on the porch…well,  you just want to swat them.

Back to miasma.  I grew up in a Southern family where the word miasma could be frequently heard in conversation, especially by my grandmothers.  It went something like this:

“Oh the miasma is so bad for you, stay away from the window.”

“Heah, keep those windows closed so the miasma doesn’t come inside.”

Or when my Mamaw smelled something bad, well, then of course, it was the “miasma”.

I love that word but it seems to have fallen out of favor.  I mean, scientifically, we know that swamps are a wonderful thing, necessary for the environment as delicate habitats and nature’s filtering system.  A swamp is not a purveyor of disease and that illness did not waft in on the moisture laden air (hey, we are not talking mosquitos today). So with knowledge in hand, the word miasma started to disappear.  But I want to bring it back.  Miasma a term rich in eloquence, laden with romantic images, mired in the gothic and teaming with meaning.  If I am to be drenched in sweat, with hair and skin soaked with moisture, miserable and lethargic, then I want to put a layer of something magical, otherworldy and significant on it.  I want miasma!  I will have my miasma.

And besides what other explanation is there for Congress?  Its miasma. Stay away from the windows.

We are all over the place in book reviews for the coming week. Plus I am still focused on the subject of short  stories so expect another Scattered Thoughts blog on the subject on Saturday.  This is how the week looks to play out:

Monday, July 15:                Tattoo You by Willa Okati

Tuesday, July 16:                Forever Promised (Promises #4) by Amy Lane

Wed., July 17:                      Worlds Collide (Sanctuary #7) by R.J. Scott

Thursday, July 18:              Waiting for Ty by Samantha Ann King

Friday, July 19:                    Side Line by Ben Ryder

Saturday, July 20:               Anthologies? Love Them Or Hate Them?

And to help fight the miasma, a Red Sangria recipe to cool you down:

Ingredients
1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup orange liqueur
2 tablespoons sugar
2 sliced oranges
1 sliced green apple
1 1/2 cups seltzer

FNM050111_143
Directions
Mix the wine, liqueur and sugar in a pitcher, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then add the fruit.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Add the seltzer just before serving.

Scattered Thoughts Book Review Summary for June 2013

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June 2013 has come and gone but some of the books I read that month continue to linger in my heart and mind, just some outstanding stories. As always, there is something for everyone here, from contemporary to paranormal books, terrific additions to wonderful series.  If you missed them the first time, here is your chance to check them out again:

5 Star Rating:

Hobbled by John Inman

Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed

Mighty Casey by Willa Okati

One Breath, One Bullet by S.A.McAuley

Prelude by Shira Anthony and Venona Keyes

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

A Casual Weekend Thing by A.J. Thomas (4.75 stars) (contemporary)

A Silence Kept by Theo Fenraven (4.25 stars)(contemporary)

Aria of the Eclipse by Vivien Dean (4.75 stars)(science fiction)

Flawless by Cat Grant (4.25 stars)(contemporary)

Stonewall by Martin Duberman (4.25 stars) (non fiction)

The Hanged Man’s Ghost by Missouri Dalton (4.75 stars)(paranormal)

The Night Shift by Missouri Dalton (4.25 stars)(paranormal)(series)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Fennel and Forgiveness by Ari McKay (3.5 stars) (contemporary)

Heart of the Race by Mary Calmes (3.75 stars) (contemporary)

In Search of a Story by Andrew Grey (3.25 stars) (contemporary)

When Dachshunds Ruled the Serengeti by Michael Murphy (3.75 stars) (contemporary)

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

The Caveman and the Devil by Chris T. Kat (2.75 stars)(contemporary)

The Jouster’s Lance by A.J. Marcus (2.75 stars) (contemporary)

Review: Mighty Casey by Willa Okati

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Mighty Casey coverCasey Sprague has a job he adores as a wedding planner and a wonderful committed relationship with a man he loves deeply, Nate Rule. Casey knows the man he loves is a man of many passions, and while Casey may take the top spot in Nate’s life, baseball comes in a very close second.  Casey has never shared Nate’s love of baseball, primarily due to his name and a certain much quoted poem about the Mudville Nine.  Casey has long come to terms with the irony that while Casey may plan others weddings, he will not be planning his own.  Nate has a thing about getting married and Casey has come to accept that won’t be in their future, after all relationships are all about compromise and Nate has accepted Casey’s feelings towards baseball.  Or so Casey thought.

When Casey loses a strip poker bet to Nate, his forfeit is to spend the day watching Nate’s team play a day of tournament games, all in the name of charity.  But Nate has an ulterior motive for getting Casey to the game and as the day wears on and the games continue, surprises await both Nate and Casey, ones that will have lasting impact on them and their relationship.

This is the reason why I love Willa Okati.  She has the ability to write long, angst filled stories of complicated men and their journey to love, slightly dark and full of heartbreak.  And then Okati can write a story like Mighty Casey. I loved Mighty Casey.  I finished it (it’s not long) and turned around and read it again. Why?  Because it’s joyous, it’s fun, and it’s so full of life and the best things about being in a loving committed relationship, that’s why. When I picked it up, I thought cute premise and couldn’t wait to see what Willa Okati did with it.  But oh, what a mighty swing and home run the author accomplished here (yes, expect baseball metaphors to follow).

First off the bat is Okati’s characters.  I loved each and every one, not just the main characters of Casey and Nate, but the rest of the team like Mimi (a star in her own right) and Kenneth, and the various players from the other teams. Casey and Nate’s each are such realistic characters.  They talk and feel like a couple who has been together for years and find themselves even more deeply in love after having made the necessary adjustments and compromises a long term relationship requires.  You can feel the mutual respect and love that flows between them.  Not once was there a missed ball by the author in terms of their personalities and the depth of their commitment.  Obviously, Okati knows a thing or two about relationships and that knowledge underlies every scene and dialog between them.  Just a perfect pitch every time.  And the rest of the team? As I already mentioned, you couldn’t ask for a better line up, especially Mimi.  Oh, she made a place in my heart right from the start.  Sparkly, outsized personality, she is everywhere in the story, running in the outfield, making all the necessary plays that Nate asks from her (and not all of them include the game).  Trust me, this is an all star line up.

Second at bat is the plot.  At first glance, just a normal romcom situation (think minor league) but Okati takes it and elevates it into the owner’s box seats and beyond.  She gives us one day in the life of Casey and Nate, but a very important one.  She starts it off as the alarm goes off and carries us through to the end of the day and the last of the charity tournaments games.  I won’t give away any spoilers but as Casey sits and watches Nate’s team progress through day, winning game after game, we see, through his interaction with Nate, Nate’s team, and the other players from competing teams, just how well these two are matched. We see the joy and contentment they find with each other, the sizzle and desire that bubbles just under the surface, and the manner in which they can still surprise each other after all the years together.  You will find yourself laughing out loud, pleased as can be, as the day and the tournament unfolds before you.  And to fully bring you to the edge of your seat in anticipation, Okati makes sure you (and Casey) know that Nate has something special planned for the end of the day.  I thought I had it figured out, but the author gave me another little surprise here too that I loved.  Great job, great game plan, perfect follow through, and another runner is on the base.

Third at bat? The heat between Casey and Nate.  They love each other and are so familiar with each other’s bodies and sexual desires.  In one funny and hot scene after another, Casey and Nate have little sexy interludes between games that speak of their love, their desire and their knowledge of each other.  It is a great way to demonstrate the authenticity of their relationship and heat up the story at the same time.  Now all these  bases are loaded.

And here comes the home run to bring everyone over home plate and win the game.  That would be the Epilogue.  It’s the final resolution and it finishes off the story with all the glee, all the triumph, and gratification that comes from seeing a perfect game and acknowledging just how special they are.  That is Mighty Casey all together.  A perfect game of a novella.  I cannot recommend this story enough.  Grab it up, along with some Caramel Poppernutter Crunch, and settle in for a pleasure filled day of baseball and love.

Cover Artist: Mina Carter.  It’s a fun cover but the models are far too young for the men in the story. Surely there are older models out there that could fit the bill and make the cover more in tune with the story.  Plus where is the Poppernutter Crunch? Sigh.

Book Details:

Novella, ebook

Published May 28th 2013 by Loose-ID
ISBN139781623003180
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.willaokati.com/

Review: It Takes Practice by Willa Okati

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Rating: 3 stars

It Takes Practice coverSeven years ago, as Nathan Rey was getting ready for his graduation from medical school, he asked his long term boyfriend for a promise.  Nathan wanted Fitz, over the top, charismatic love of his life, to be there in the audience as he received his diploma and Fitz promised.  But Fitz broke that promise and Nathan’s heart too by disappearing completely from Nathan’s life without a word or message to explain what happened.

Now it’s Dr. Nathan Rey and Nathan has a successful practice but not much else.  He remains haunted by the memory of the man who left him alone, unable to move forward into new relationships other than those of friendship.  When Nathan’s part-time nurse elopes, he needs a replacement immediately and turns to a temp agency for help.  When the agency sends a replacement, Nathan is ill prepared for the person standing before him in scrubs ready to go to work.  It’s Fitz, his lover from the past who now seems prepared to step back into Nathan’s life in every way, if only Nathan will let him.   Will Nathan be able to let go of their  past and accept the only man he has ever loved back into his life or will his pride make him refuse his second chance at love?

I am not really a fan of short stories and It Takes Practice is a perfect example why.  I am a huge fan of Willa Okati’s stories.  Her characters are always multidimensional, complete with flaws and idiosyncrasies. Okati takes the time to build up their back stories so that when the characters come together, the reader has a very good idea of who these men are and what brought them to this point in their lives.  It all makes sense, so much so that the reader buys completely into whatever story Willa Okati is trying to tell.  It doesn’t matter the age or the professions or history.  We get it and we understand why the men fall for each other.  And for me, none of that applies here.

At 59 pages, It Takes Practice comes across more as flash fiction or odds and ends of a much larger story than a work that should stand on its own.  We get the merest glimpse of Nathan and Fitz’s former lives of seven years ago, nothing to tell us about any chaos in their lives, either arguments or behavior that would make sense of his disappearance.  Certainly nothing that backs up his explanation when he reappears.  We definitely required more of their back history before jumping forward into the present.

Once we arrived at the present, again we only get a day or so in the lives of the characters.  We see briefly what  Nathan’s life has become and then, presto, Fitz is back.  We watch them interact for another day, they resolve their differences and then the epilogue.  And the epilogue?  It occurs the day after the reunion sex takes place.   Not much of an epilogue really in the sense of bringing closure, more of a couple of add on paragraphs.  The whole story just feels so unfinished, as though it was cobbled together from pages written for an incomplete book.  I can’t quite fathom that this came from the same author who gave us And Call Us In The Morning or Open Cover Before Striking, two books with astonishingly original characters and plots.  And again I believe the problems I found in this story can be traced back to the short length,  Had this book been longer in length, I think that all my issues with it would have disappeared.

So if you are a fan of lovers reunited or Willa Okati’s stories, then this is a quick read and you might want to pick this up.  But if you have never read Willa Okati’s work before, please don’t start here.  Start with two of the books I mentioned above or look through her impressive library of titles, I know you will find something to love as I did when I first found her.

Cover art by Posh Gosh, lovely man but the only thing that makes this relevant is the necklace around his neck.

Book Details:

ebook, 59 pages
Published March 25th 2013 by Total E-Bound
ISBN139781781842874
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=2078

April 2013 Book Reviews

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Unbelievably, today is the last day  in April and the start of something new for Scattered Thoughts.  I am going to post a summary of each months books reviews on the last day of the month.  Hopefully, this will make it easy to find a new book to read, a book review you might have missed or a book you just might want to reconsider.  It also helps me gather my  Scattered Thoughts when it comes to the year’s Best of in  December.

It was a very good month, with some remarkable stories from new authors and beloved writers and everyone in between.  Trust me, there really is something for everyone here this month:

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           April 2013 Review Summary

5 Star Rating:

Collusion by Eden Winters

On The Lee Shore by Elin Gregory

The General and the Horse-Lord by Sarah Black

Touch & Geaux  by Abigail Roux

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

A Beautiful Disaster by Willa Okati (4.25)

Brute by Kim Fielding (4.5)

Fire For Effect by Kendall McKenna (4.5)

Freedom by Jay Kirkpatrick (4.75)

Into This River I Drown by TJ Klune (4.5)

Josh of the Damned, Triple Feature #2, The Final Checkout

by Andrea Speed (4.25)

Loving Hector by John Inman (4.25)

Masked Riders by Lucius Parhelion (4.5)

The Fight Within by Andrew Grey (4.5)

The Good Fight by Andrew Grey (4.75)

Unearthing Cole by A.M. Arthur (4.25)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Highland Vampire Vengeance by J.P. Bowie (3.75)

Love You Like A Romance Novel by Megan Derr (3.5)

Sensei by Karenna Colcroft (3)

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

The Astral Mage by Hurri Cosmo (2.75)

The Week Ahead in Reviews and Scattered Thoughts About Writing

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Sooo, here we are again at the beginning of the week and for me not much has changed.  I did manage to get several flats of flowers planted last week,  did clean out some clothes from decades past to give away,  and had my Dad over last Saturday afternoon.  Read some wonderful books, got a few new authors to add to my automatic must read list, and realized that spring equals moles holes and dirty dogs, so scheduled the terrors three for grooming.  Ah, plans…….

A visit to Good Earth Nursery yesterday saw me come home laden with more flowers to plant, where I have no idea but I had to have them.  For some people its shoes or purses, for me its plants and books.   Went to Johnsons and saw two Koi whose scales glittered like a disco ball while resembling a Dalmatian, so got them too while looking for Mother’s Day presents.  Haven’t named them yet, might not as that Great Blue Heron is still around to say nothing of raccoons and other fish loving wildlife that visit my yard.  I will give them a year and then see if I think its safe to bestow names on each of them.

Family will be arriving in a couple of hours, just to sit around on the patio, get caught up on the weeks events and happenings and munch out on appetizers.  So I need to get moving, those dips won’t make themselves and neither will the Sangria.

But lately several books have got me thinking about world building in stories, the importance of getting it just right, and the balance between too much and not enough.  Some writers seem to do it effortlessly, and for others it is a goal not achieved no matter how hard they have obviously tried.  So look for my post on world building in fiction later on in the week.   Now before I head to the kitchen and gardens, here is the week ahead in reviews:

Monday, April 29:               Josh of the Damned, Triple Feature #2, The Final Checkout by Andrea Speed

Tuesday, April 30:               April’s Book Reviews

Wed., May 1:                         Fragile Bond by Rhi Etzweiler

Thursday, May 2:                 Chateau d’Eternite by Ariel Tachna

Friday, May 3:                       Scattered Thoughts on the Importance of World Building in Fiction

Saturday, May 4:                   It Takes Practice by Willa Okati

 

The last two days might switch around depending on how the week is going and how scattered my thoughts are by then.  I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and great week ahead.  Stay dry, stay warm, and if the days are as lovely as this one, stay outside as much as possible.

 

Review: A Beautiful Disaster by Willa Okati

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

A beautiful Disaster coverSean is trying to start his life over after being abused and almost killed by  an ex lover, but he wears his past for all to see in the scars that crisscross his body and the limbs that no longer work as they once did.  Sean’s scars are internalized as well, revealing themselves in his inability to trust and move forward in his life.

Riorden is both a tattoo artist and nurse who also is familiar with scars and life’s unwelcome surprises.  Rio is drawn to the pain filled man he sees waiting for the bus near the hospital, one glimpse and he is hooked although he can’t say why.  An accidental meeting at a bar brings Sean and Rio together again, and while the sexual heat flares, trust remains elusive.

Sean too  wants the gentle inked nurse but can he overcome his painful past and issues of trust to move forward with his life and find the love he has always dreamed about?  Only time will tell if Rio can save the beautiful disaster that is Sean.

This is not a love story for the light or faint hearted but one that is dark, pain filled and shows only glimpses of hope towards the end. Willa Okati delivers two memorable men, carrying traumatic scars of their past.  One is a veritable canvas of scars from the event that cost him everything, his self image, his trust, and his greatest joy, the ability to draw.  The other man’s scars are more easily hidden but no less dramatic.  He too almost lost his life but in a far different fashion, one that left his self image and future intact.  But it is how each man has dealt with the trauma that both pulls them together as each recognizes something about the other, a similarity that exists under the surface.  Willa Okati brings these outwardly disparate yet inwardly compatible men to life in these story of pain, hardship and renewal.

Rio helps cover scars for his former patients with tattoos that help them recover.  An article this week at MSNBC told the same story of a woman who rejected breast reconstruction and had a gorgeous full chest tattoo inked in their place (see picture at breast-cancer-survivor.jpg). We get into his head and heart as Rio talks to and about his patients.  And once we enter the tattoo shop and meet his best friend Jae, we better understand why he is so driven to pursue both careers at the same time.  Sean’s mind is a tough one to connect with, dark, depressed, and in stasis, unable to move forward or back.  All 136 pages chart his faltering progress to jumpstart his life, connect again with his art, and find his ability to love and trust once more.

For most of the book this is a bleak picture.  But each time the story gets caught up in its depths, Okati offers the reader glimmers of light ahead.  That glimpse of hope,plus the compelling characters of Sean and Rio, will serve to pull along those readers in search of a passionate love story.  The rest of us will not hesitate to go where Willa Okati leads  which is to an ending both realistic and heartening. One that leaves the reader optimistic for Sean and Rio’s future and the healing they have found with each other.

Cover Artist: Ginny Glass. I am not sold on this cover.  There was so much within this story for a cover artist to draw from that I am at a loss to say what might have prompted the design on the cover. It doesn’t really speak to anything within the book, not even the tattoos described within that carry so much meaning.  A complete misstep in design in my opinion.

Willa Okati and Loose id LLC post some very important links in the afterword about domestic abuse and organizations that deal with domestic violence.  These are wonderful resources for those in need.

For more information about domestic abuse, please check out the following: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence http:// http://www.ncadv.org/ Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project http:// gmdvp.org/ about-us/ Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence (via The Advocate)   http:// http://www.theadvocates-aplacetogo.org/ Additional-Resources.php

Review: Open Cover Before Striking by Willa Okati

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Open Cover Before StrikingRating: 4.5 stars

Davis Carmichael has one focus in life, his job as a writer for Tatterdemalion’s Voice, and he let’s nothing else distract him from that.  This includes sexual encounters, then he meets Cristián in an airport while both are waiting for flights out.   Their one night stand is not only white hot but revelatory and neither man can let go of their memories of the encounter.  And neither man expects to see each other again, afterall they don’t even have each other’s full name.

But fate has something else in store for them.  Because the subject of Davis Carmichael’s next column is a matchmaker who Davis intends to expose as a fraud and that matchmaker is none other than Cristián Baranov.  Cristián Baranov is a believer in the adage that there is only one true love for each person and he believes he has a real gift in his ability to see those who are soul mates.  When Davis travels to the home and office of the matchmaker, he is astonished to find his one night stand is the person he has been sent to interview and the surprise is not at all one sided.  Cristián too is surprised to see Davis but also delighted.  It is a case of big city snarky pessimism versus warm country romance and the winner will be anyone’s guess.  But both will be losers in love if Cristián can’t make the biggest match of his life, that of his own.

I will say immediately that while I loved this book, I can see where it is going to be one that people either love or hate depending upon their taste.  And they are going to feel that way from the beginning to the very end.  It will be due to one character and maybe also because of a slight paranormal element that glides throughout this contemporary romance with all the subtly of a light fragrance you can’t put a name too.  It will either  tickle your fancy or make you retch and not too much in between.

First to the characters Willa Okati has created for her story.  I actually loved them both.  The first we meet is the one that will decide this story for the reader.  You might love him or detest him as a total jerk.  I loved him.  Davis is that hot tempered, small bodied prickly hedge hog of a man.  He has a vocabulary both quick witted and foul mouthed and uses words as a weapon more often than not.  Davis pokes and strikes out at people to keep them at a distance and he does not make it easy to like him.  But I did, from the first opening snark.  Because for all his spines, and they are plentiful, there is something about him as Okati has written him that cries out “Don’t discount me, I am going to surprise you”.  And he does.  He has layers, the top of which are distrustful, sarcastic and defensive.  But keep going and the real Davis appears and he is startling!

The one character that will keep the wavering reader going is Cristián Baranov.  A creature of the country and a true romantic at heart, he really does have the power to see personal matches, all but his own in an ironic turn he is not blind to.  He is compassionate and very much aware of human foibles, saying to the couples he brings together that while he can unite them, the rest is up to them.  And as we all know “humans screw up”, and if things don’t work out, then it is only ourselves we can blame.  Not that this makes his pain any less when the couples he brings together don’t make it.  The author makes us believe so totally in his abilities that by the end of the book, you will wish that Cristián Baranov was real and that you could meet with him soon to find the one  you were meant to be with.

The other element that the reader must take on faith is that the events in the story happen very quickly, this is no drawn out love affair, although there is a troubled long term couple also involved.  It all comes down to faith.  Faith in Christian’s abilities and faith that we have a perfect match for each of us out there.  If you can take those concepts to heart, then this story will beguile you and the ending will make you cheer.  And while I may not believe that there is only one for each of us, I loved these characters and their story.  For me it was a darn near perfect Okati, just what I expect from her.  So give this book a chance because really these characters and their story is worth it.

Cover art by April Martinez.  I think you all know by now how I feel about red or yellow cover colors.  I really dislike them and that is once again my only problem with this cover.  I get why the artist did it but still while the models are perfection, ditto the lit match, couldn’t another background work just as well? Sigh.

Snowquestration, A Time Change and the Week Ahead in Book Reviews

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For those of you outside of the  DC Metropolitan Area, you may not have known but on Wednesday last week this area was expecting a snow storm of “historic” proportions.  Forecasters got out their shovels and measuring sticks as the TV channels were full of giddy meteorologists pantomiming digging out driveways and anchors were busy imploring people to be prepared and stay home. Hour by hour the weather alerts increased the amount of snowfall we would see, Pepco our dysfunctional power company sent out text messages and robo called homes letting everyone know that they were on top of things, getting in crews from as far away as Alabama to keep the power on and lines clear of snow (for once).  Schools in countries around the area from MD, DC and VA quickly cancelled classes the day before and the Federal Government closed all offices with all local governments following suit just as quickly.  Grocery stores ran out of milk and other essentials, so did the liquor and wine stores. Streets emptied, stores shut down and our normally hyped up busy region turned into a ghost town.  And we waited for the storm to start.

And we waited for the storm to start some more.  Curtains were pulled back, and necks craned up as all eyes searched the sky for the first flakes to fall.  And soon they did.

Big, fat, ginormous flakes fell.

And then they stopped falling.  And it started to rain.  And rain.  And more rain.

Why did it rain?  Because it had been f*&king warm all week long.  A kindergartener could have told you that when it is that warm, it is not going to snow.  And it didn’t, at least not here.  It snowed in Pennsylvania, and in the mountains of VA, and the Midwest, and New England and  out west, everywhere but here.  Where it rained.  OK we needed the rain, so that was great.  But really, our entire region shut down because of rain.  Is is any wonder that people outside the Beltway  (the huge highway that encircles DC) think our area has lost our collective mind?  That common sense and sound judgement are but vague concepts that make only fleeting appearances in the thoughts of those who inhabit Congress, run the World Bank, plot the course of the country on levels both small and  large?

What name did we call this “historic” snowstorm?  Why Snowquestration of course.  That alone made perfect sense.  A name that conjures up thoughts of dysfunction, of something that doesn’t work on the most basic level, something thought up in Congress that unfortunately affects everyone but Congress.  Really, is that not  perfection in labeling?  I think so.  It was the only thing that rang true for this storm and our area.  Pundits will be using this for years in their columns.  Ah, Washington, DC you have done it again.  So proud to be from this area. But on the other hand it really is good for a laugh and we all need those.   We closed the Federal government and schools because of rain. Have you stopped laughing yet?

The time changed.  We sprang forward an hour.  I hate this.  Leave the time alone.  Enuf’ said.

So spring is back (not that it ever really left), our DC Metro Book group is meeting today and I must be off.  So without further ado, here is the week in reviews:

Monday, March 11:                 Blacque/Bleu by Belinda McBride

Tuesday, March 12:                 Venetian Masks by Kim Fielding

Wed., March 13:                       Silver/Steel by Belinda McBride

Thursday, March 14:              Metal Heart by Meredith Shayne

Friday, March 15:                    Open Cover Before Striking by Willa Okati

Sat., March 16:                         Unconventional Union by Scotty Cade