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review 2017-12-11 09:25
"Snow" by Howard Odentz - not worth the time it took me to read its 34 pages.
Snow - Howard Odentz

I bought "Snow" as a short story to help read myself into Christmas. Even though it's set in October, it is a Christmas-related story albeit in an unconventional way.


I won't go into to the story, other than to say that it involves some teens doing things they shouldn't, a big bad who is a threat to them and some snow. Although the opening sentence reads:

"The night my friends and I almost triggered the next ice age, I was with Danny McDermott and Jackie Kagan"

I didn't feel any real sense of threat in this story and certainly nothing that meant anything to anyone except some high school kids with a lot of growing up still to do.


The writing is slick and skilful. The pace is fast. The idea is novel. It's a good goosebumps story to tell around a campfire.


But mostly what it is is disappointing. It fizzles out rather than ends. It never gets beyond a cartoon view of the world. This idea, in the hands of King or Simmons, might have been chilling. In Odentz's hands, it's a draft for pitching an episode in a teen high school drama.

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text 2017-12-10 23:11
I realize that one snowflake does not yet make a White Christmas ...

... and we're still 2 weeks away, and for all I know this may be all we're due this winter, but I can't help tacitly getting my hopes up.


This is what our garden and our neighborhood looked like this afternoon:


(The last two photos are the view from my living room window towards the other side of the road, past some of the bells of my terracotta bell mobile.)

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review 2017-12-08 13:00
Love on the Tracks (Snow & Ice Games) - Tamsen Parker

Love on the Tracks is the first book in the Snow & Ice Games series from Tamsen Parker and a great start to a new series. I really thought Ms. Parker did a great job setting up the Snow & Ice Games as games for serious athletes. 


I really like both Rowan and Zane as individuals and as a couple. I did laugh out loud a bit when Rowan fan-girled all over Zane when she initially met him.  I would love to blame such reactions on her age, and it partly is true, but I myself have felt that way meeting authors for the first time, so I totally got it. I did expect her to get over her fan-girl issues a bit sooner, but as Rowan was only 20, I gave her a pass for this one issue. Part of why I loved Rowan so much was that she knew who she was and had no problems with going after what she wanted. I love she is such a fierce competitor in luge and she has very little issue speaking her mind.


Zane is the lead singer of Licence to Game, which is the boy band he started out with 10 years ago. At 26 he is a bit more mature than Rowan, but not so much they didn't work for me. I did love that he was already thinking ahead to his next music venture even while still at the top of the game with Licence to Game. I loved that Zane and Rowen were kind of thrown together to help both their images and improve their marketing for their respective groups, yet you could tell early on they had genuine feelings for one another. They also pretty much had trouble keeping their hands off each other when they were together. I loved how passionate they were about both their careers and each other.


I really enjoyed Love on the Tracks and recommend it to anyone who enjoys fast-paced super sexy romances. I am completely hooked on this series after only the first book and can't wait to see where Tamsen Parker takes us with the rest of the books in the series.


Rating: 4 Stars (B-)

Review copy provided by publisher

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review 2017-12-06 15:48
Review: Love on the Tracks by Tamsen Parker
Love on the Tracks (Snow & Ice Games) - Tamsen Parker

At only 20 years old, Rowan Andrews is competing in her second Snow and Ice Games (SIGs). She has dedicated her whole life to training for the sport she loves: luge. Entering the games as a medal contender for the United States, nothing can throw Rowan off her game. That is until she meets her celebrity crush, singer Zane Rivera.


Zane Rivera, lead singer for an insanely popular boy band, needs a break from his bandmates and the craziness of his life, so when the opportunity arises to surprise his fan, and SIG superstar, Rowan, he takes an impromptu trip to Denver. Once America gets a taste of Rowan and Zane together, they want more, and the pair fake a few dates, hoping to increase their social media coverage. However, the fake dates are starting to feel like the real deal.


Overall, I enjoyed Love on the Tracks, and found it to be a solid, entertaining start to this new series. I enjoyed the descriptions and feel of the games and what it means to be a professional/serious athlete. The author does a fabulous job putting me inside the heart and mind of Rowan, learning the ups and downs of such an intense lifestyle.


With that said, Rowan was difficult for me to connect with. I like that her sport comes first and that she goes after what she wants without (much) hesitation. She’s strong and unusually mature beyond her 20 years. Yet, I did struggle a bit with her age and maturity level at the start of the book. I suppose because it’s been way too long since I’ve been that age, it was difficult for me to relate to her. But she stays true to her heart and dreams, which I really liked.


Zane is a sweet and caring guy; not the typical Justin Bieber asshole popstar. He’s also pretty young, but at 26, and after a decade of touring, he feels like an old soul. He’s perfect for Rowan because he cares and won’t let his agent dictate all of his moves. He’s loyal to his bandmates, friends, and family, so it’s no surprise that he treats Rowan with utter respect. At first it was hard for me to get into their relationship - they felt so young, especially her, but after I got into the story, that all went away. And I really like how he doesn’t mope when things appear not to be going right… he takes matters into his own hands.


The story itself is short and straightforward. When issues come about, problem-solving is streamlined and everything wraps up nicely. I would have preferred no “I love you’s,” but it’s the way it goes. The story still has an HFN vibe, which is right for the romance and characters.


After reading Love on the Tracks, I am excited to find out more about some of the other athletes and discover what else happens at the Snow and Ice Games. With the lighter romance and shorter length, the book was a breeze to read, and it’s got me excited for the Winter Olympics coming this February in South Korea.


My Rating: B/B-  Liked It, but I had a few small issues 

Review copy provided by publisher/Netgalley

Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About

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photo 2017-12-03 15:03

Our garden, earlier today.  Just a teeny tiny bit of white dust, and it won't last -- in fact, it's raining again already, and the white coating of the fir trees is already gone again.  But for it to snow at all here all the way at the bottom of the Rhine valley is not a very frequent thing to happen, so I think with yesterday's sighting of decidedly more snow on the higher elevations that we passed through on the way to Frankfurt, and today's token appearance even in the lowlands, we can well and truly declare winter to have begun.

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