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review 2018-06-19 01:30
Finding the right person is hard at the best of times, but when you've got a kid...
The Little Things - Jay Northcote

it's a whole other level of challenging. 

 

Joel's life isn't quite what he imagined but still he wouldn't change a thing especially the part that gave him an adorable daughter named Evie.  He's got a boyfriend named Dan that Evie seems to really like. So while life's not quite what he'd imagined Joel's got a job he enjoys, a boyfriend he thinks might be the one, he shares custody of his daughter with her mom and while it wasn't what he thought it would be, life was turning out to be ok for 23 year old Joel.

 

But it only takes a moment for things to change and when that moment comes Joel finds that he's suddenly the sole guardian of his beautiful little daughter and that maybe Dan's not the one, as the pressure of full time parenthood begins to shine a bright light on the cracks in their relationship and an accidental encounter with a stranger named Liam gives him more comfort than all the time with Dan possibly could. After yet again encountering Liam, Joel comes to the realization that he and Dan really weren't meant to be and ends things. After encountering Liam yet again Joel gives in to his attraction and he and Liam begin to get to know each other.

 

'The Little Things' isn't a love story or even a romance in the typical sense of the word but what it is, is a story about finding love and not the magical romantic stuff of fairy tales no this is the love that exist in the everyday world and sometimes it's scary and it doesn't always fit into our lives but if we want it than we find a place to squeeze it in and we work at keeping it.

 

Joel's got his hands full and truthfully while he may have wanted a relationship between his job, shared parenting duties and the other demands that life makes on us actually having a relationship is more than a bit challenging but if it's worth having it's worth the effort and he's certainly willing to try but when things change and he's suddenly a full time working parent, Joel begins to think that maybe he's not relationship material...but then there's Liam...Liam's a temptation that Joel just can't ignore and really does he want to? Hell no.

 

I loved this story. Joel's a real person with real problems. I've known more than one single parent trying to do the juggling act with life where they give everything they've got to their kids, to being good parents and then they're left trying to squeeze just a little something out for themselves from the time that's left and it's hard, seriously freakin' hard.

 

Partially because of the whole time issue and partially because most single parents have a story to tell and more often than not that story isn't a sunshine and roses story with a cutesy happily ever after. It's a story that has some level of pain, struggle and heartache in it. Sure some people choose to have kids without a partner but more often than not the  reason that a single parent is a single parent is one that's not entirely of their own making as was the case for Joel. So by the time Liam came into Joel's life...well, Joel was well into having issues about people leaving his life, so I have to admit I found Joel's treatment of Liam frustrating at times to say the least but as frustrated as I was I could see where Joel was coming from and basically I sat on my hands and growled at Joel to man up.

 

One of the things that I liked the most about this story was surprisingly...Dan. I admit when I read the blurb I was anticipating not liking Dan...yep, Dan was going to be my bad guy...well, surprise, he wasn't. Dan was 19 to Joel's 23 and he and Joel had very different backgrounds so realistically Dan was an average 19 year old. He wanted to go out and have fun. But he did man up a couple of times when Joel really needed his help and support and he did it of his own accord but I have to admit I honestly can't find fault with a 19 year old who isn't ready for the kind of responsibility that a relationship with Joel would entail so I liked the way Dan and Joel's relationship went. I liked that there was no over the top drama between the Joel and Dan even when things were ending between them.

 

'The Little Things' was a warm and heart melting story about someone that felt like they could have been your neighbor or mine, an average person that we might all know. It's an everyday story about an everyday person...that any of us could know and sometimes those are the best kind of stories to read.

 

This is a re-edited, re-released copy of 'The Little Things' and aside from the new cover the book blurb tells us that there are no real changes made to this story.

 

*************************

A re-edited copy of 'The Little Things' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-05-13 01:18
More Golden Age goodness with a piquant modern edge
Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth

Much more modern in that Miss Silver is quite the force in moving the story. Much more Golden Age in that The Ladies are Ever So Ladylike and one silly chit of a slip of a girl gets all twisted up and confused by A Big Bad Man. Also irritating is the fact that it takes a man to sort out Miss Rachel Treherne, a quite redoubtable party until it comes to her ghastly family and their disgusting behavior.

 

Well, autres temps autres moeurs, don't you know, and in the end the right couples are coupled with the Big Baddie most satisfactorily served a comeuppance. If Miss Silver is ever silver screened, this entry in the series will be loaded with a lesbian subplot that is absolutely accurate...right there for anyone with ~2 eyes to see. Dunno that it'll make diddly squat difference. You either like this book or you don't, but forevermore don't read on because the final formula is fixed with this book and the next 25-plus don't vary it.

 

I also liked a lot that Miss Silver came to Miss Rachel Treherne's attention via Hilary Cunningham, née Carew. I don't recall if this little easter egg is repeated, but I hope so.

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review 2018-05-12 20:12
New soapy goodness in a series?!
The 13th Hex: A Hexworld Short Story - Jordan L. Hawk

A perfectly fine story. I like Rook a lot, but am less enamored of Dominic Kopecky. I just wanted a toe-dip into the world of the series before committing myself to it. This short tale was enough to allow me to get the sense of what Author Hawk was planning...a New York City imbued with magical energy that expresses itself via pseudoscientific means...to see if this could keep my soap-opera lovin' story-slurpin' soul from parching into dust. I mean, Whyborne & Griffin is only one more novel from being complete on my reader radar! I need sudsy sweet seriesness! Now!!

 

Three winks in under 40pp means one entire star off.

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review 2018-05-11 02:36
Blast off from the past
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet - Eleanor Cameron

It's just not possible to recapture a read from 1969. I was not old enough to know or care about some of the science parts being really, really improbable...nay, impossible...as we had just been to the Moon and had recently landed a probe on Mars that put paid to even the dream of a Universe like the one Author Cameron created.

 

I loved revisiting Dave Topman and Chuck Masterson's flight to the impossible, tiny planet Basidium, all of 50,000 miles away. Their home-made rocket that traveled 25,000 miles an hour. Their bags od groceries to eat on the way there and back...two hours each way...two hours on Basidium, where they somehow spoke the language of the Mushroom People and solved a mystery that confounded the adult Mushroom People...the chicken that saved the day....

 

Nope, too old to get back there, but it was some good fun peeking back at the boyhood adventure that didn't have to make sense because what the hell actually does when you're eight or nine? It's starting to, but not quite yet does, blessedly.

 

I would give this to a six-year-old and read it with her. Maybe a slightly slow seven-year-old. No older than that, in today's world, and I'm not all the way sure it's even a good idea because gender roles and sex stereotyping are at the core of the story. So maybe, if like me you read it in your tinyhood, you'll smile and enjoy and keep out of reach of children.

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review 2018-05-10 14:02
It's not the way we do things now, but...
The Case Is Closed - Patricia Wentworth

Sexist, silly, and slow.

 

Trust in me all in all, or trust me not at all, folks, this offers the modern reader mysteries few of the pleasures we presently expect. The pace is killed dead as a rock by the documents the author plops right in the beginning, and later the documentary urge is revived right at the end. It's deadly dull because it goes on too long. It works to get dreary information fed to you, the reader, but wowee toledo does it bog the pace down.

 

The author relies quite heavily on coincidence as well as Death by Documents. The number of fortuitous encounters between Miss Hilary Carew and Mrs Mercer! Gracious goodness me, the way they practically bounce off each other like billiard balls you'd think England was some teeny-tiny little island or something! I live on a quite small barrier island off the south shore of a bigger island and I don't coincidentally run into people I absolutely *must* encounter above once a week. /sarcasm

 

The sexism is really surprising. Miss Hilary Carew wants her big, dashing Captain Henry Cunningham to Save Her from Them! This despite the fact that she does a damned good job of saving herself, thank you kindly, and Henry shows up only when muscle is genuinely required. Dishrag Mercer lives in terror of her abusive husband, who never lifts a finger against her just utters horrifying threats and brandishes a knife there's no evidence whatsoever that he knows how to use. When unwelcome guests invade her home, Mrs Marion Grey simply doesn't throw them out, she endures and endures and then finally, when Miss Hilary Carew her cousin as well as roommate arrives, she simply retires to her room in a State of Nerves. The lower-class women are dimwits and cry positive rivers of annoying, soppy tears. That sexism is there at all is the surprise, since none of the women really need the men to solve their problems. Miss Maud Hephzibah Silver least of all, of course.

 

And there's the other latter-day reader's lament. Where the hell does Miss Silver (casually dismissed for being a woman more than once) keep herself? She appears at convenient moments with convenient facts. Outside that, the twenty-first century reader's expectations of becoming intimate with our sleuth is an unmet need. We don't see Miss Silver do diddly in the way of detecting or even walking around, she just seems to use Floo Powder and apparates onto the scene of whatever action she can best bring to a screeching halt as she omnisciently moves the dramatis personae into the proper configuration for the ending to occur.

 

Since I've kvetched this little opus into the weeds, why did I give it three and a half stars? Because it's a surprisingly astute and subtle indictment of the annoying tropes it deploys. Miss Silver, Miss Carew and company aren't dishrags the way the poor women are. There are several quite formidable housekeepers and chambermaids. The latter is the one who asks the question that is at the heart of the (not terribly challenging) mystery. The author, a redoubtable soul in her own right, seems to me to be draping the fig-leaf of sexist silliness onto her competent women. She was sixty the year this book was published...1937...and seems to me to be sighing somewhat impatiently at the continued necessity to pretend that women are silly little chits without the ability to Think in their scatterbrains.

 

Happen I agree, Ma Wentworth.

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