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review 2018-01-23 18:32
Average Chick Lit With Disconcerting Message
True Love (and Other Lies) - Whitney Gaskell

So I have been reading Whitney Gaskell off and on for years. I noticed she hasn't put out something new in years though. I decided to do a re-read of some of the books I owned and I can't understand why I loved this book when I read it before. Maybe because I was younger and thought the whole plot was so romantic. Now I am older and call BS more I guess.


"True Love and Other Lies" follows Claire. Claire is a travel writer who has pretty much given up on love after being shat upon by her ex called Sawyer (that name you guys). But she has an absolute awesome meet cute (yeah...it was alright) with a lawyer named Jack on her way to London. Claire feels herself getting excited about Jack, but second guesses everything he says and does after he expresses interest in seeing her while she is in London. A huge surprise is in store for Claire though when she finds out who Jack was dating before he started seeing her. 


Claire was driving me up the wall through most of the book. She hates her job, has a dubious relationship with her sister (who she diagnoses as anorexic or bulimic) and acts like an asshole towards her parents when they make other holiday plans without her (this is after she goes into how she doesn't want to go out of town to see them) and also acts like a jerk towards her best friend Maddie when she makes other plans to go out and once again Claire doesn't want to see her since she has plans. Did you follow all that? Pretty much Claire wants everyone to be thinking about how her all the time while ignoring how she is not putting any effort into her personal relationships at all. She's also a jerk at work and I didn't find myself rooting for her at all. I think some of the characters she was tormenting would be writing into "Ask A Manager" cause of the crap she pulls. 

I think I just got tired of Claire and her woe is me thing she had going through the whole book. Her own mother tells her she has self esteem issues. But honestly, I don't think that's it. She just acts contradictory about every little thing and it drives you up the wall.


The secondary characters don't work that well. There is Claire's best friend Maddie, that I wish we had gotten more details about since most of the book is about their relationship. And Claire's next door neighbor Max who I found to be off-putting the entire time I read about him. 

I did love the writing about London and New York. I wish that we got more details about Claire's travel assignments, but we just get tidbits here and there. 


Without giving away the plot, I no ma'amed through most of this book. I just could not with Claire and also side eyed the hell out Jack as well. When you get to the end things fall apart (the center cannot hold) with an explanation about things that did not make any sense at all.


The book fast forwards about a year or so though and we get a happily ever after. 

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text 2018-01-22 18:25
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Love Me Whole - Nicky James

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review 2018-01-22 15:47
Love, Second Time Around: Large Print Edition (Summerfield Sweet Romance) (Volume 1) - Penny Appleton

Love, Second Time Around by Penny Appleton
Story starts out wth Maggie and she's heading to the seminar in Edinburgh. Through many sources of travel she does arrive, in time and sees her old friend Greg. They had often been on opposite sides of the table, both are fighting for their side to win-environmental oil issues.
She put a lot of work into her research and is a bit thrown off by finding him there. They do connect but she keeps her distance.
When they meet up later and spend the night at the same hotel after a conceert they draw closer. She needs the money to fix up her square cottage.
Love parts of the land and surrounding areas that are described. Love also the US locations as I've been through many. Love learning about the new places to explore.
Lvoe hearing about the horses and the places they are able to get to. When they meet for another meeting in the city her boss finds out she's spent time with Greg and she's fired. He does find out and I like hearing what he did about it. He has the solution if she will agree.
Love hearing of the native Indian customs and tradiitions. Love the escusions. You wonder if they will ever get to connect again. Love chats they had about their past lives and kids as they create new memories.
Can't wait to read more from this author. Wish some parts she had spent more time on with more details because I really like to learn new things.
Beautiful story! Love that it's about older people, not those in their 20's because the problems are different. This book has something for everybody to enjoy.
Received this review copy from the author and this is my honest opinion.

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text 2018-01-22 03:37
Reading progress update: I've read 74%.
Love Me Whole - Nicky James

“Vaughn, have we done something wrong?”



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review 2018-01-21 20:06
Love is Love by Various Authors
Love is Love - Phil Jimenez,Various

This anthology was created to raise money for Equality Orlando and the organization's support of victims' families and the survivors of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in June 2016. I think that because the anthology was the comic book industry's way of helping and coping with the incident, I was a bit more giving in the ratings area.


IDW publishing, with support from DC Entertainment, gave free rein to their artists and writers, so there are pages with familiar characters on some pages. Most of the artwork is amazing, and conveys the deep emotional impact as well as the broad spectrum of emotions this incident wrung out of people. My favorites, even after a week of thinking and giving the work another look, was the Wonder Woman page, the Muslim man meeting a gay couple on the street and hugging them after the incident made the news (from G. Willow Wilson of course!), the Supergirl page, and the page with older LGBTQIAA members giving solace to the young members of the community (those older community members who lived through the gay rights movement and the HIV/AIDS crisis).


With that being said, it was an okay effort in terms of quality of writing and introspection. I had a few problems with some of the work showcased, not for what it tried to convey but it's placement in this anthology in the first place.



1. For an incident that affected a big part of the Latinx part of the LGBTQIAA community, this anthology had a lot of white cishets working out their disbelief and grief over what happened, and many didn't know anyone in the area, let alone was affected by the incident. There wasn't very much Latinx voices in this anthology. Too much "how will I explain this to my kids" hand wringing as well - uh, the same thing you tell them about Las Vegas and Newtown - and just try to answer their questions as honestly as you can. Sometimes that honesty comes in "I don't know why".


2. Ace/Aros, pansexuals, and bisexuals got the short end of the stick here. Aces/Aros were mentioned once and used as kind of a punch line so that the writer could shake his/her finger at judgmental people. It distort the message and made it sound hypocritical. Bisexuals got Wonder Woman and that is it (and she doesn't even self-identify as one in the page). Pansexuals didn't get mentioned once. The predominance was white, gay, somewhat affluent in terms of character type.


3. Too much Batman. Seriously, the Gotham universe is not exactly a well of diversity, and having the rich white guy savior show up every 15 pages was not needed. Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy's relationship gets a page, but it was more like "lesbians - aren't they cute" sort of way.


4. The beginning of the book was too heavy on the dark and disturbing, especially when artists showed dead bodies lying everywhere. Or the use of multiple cell phones going off and nobody answering. There was a lot artistic renderings of the crime scene that did not add any value to a book that is supposed to celebrating love and life. Not much humor found in the rest of the book - maybe a line here or there, some unintentionally.


5. Some of the transgender characters were used to explore others' feelings about transgenderism rather than about the transgender characters' feelings or storyline.

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