Thursday, October 18, 2012

Headlocks & Hexes by Jezebel Jorge

Headlocks & Hexes by Jezebel Jorge pins the reader to the mat right from the beginning. Jorge is bold and often blunt but always descriptive. Her characters come alive whether the reader loves them or hates them. There's little neutrality with Jorge's characters. The characters are flawed, tough, and vulnerable. Headlocks & Hexes combines the world of wrestling and witchcraft in unexpected ways that somehow make perfect sense. While at times the sex scenes are quite graphic, they are balanced with realism. Filled with jealousy, betrayal, murder, and obsession, Headlocks & Hexes is an easy, fast, read.

This book is currently out of print.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Seems Like Old Times by Joanne Pence

Seems Like Old Times left me squirming the way we do when we recognize characteristics in a character that we don't necessary like about ourselves. Well, that's not quite true, perhaps its more accurate to say characteristics we thought we'd "outgrown" as we matured. The defenses we built to shut out love and true happiness often become mired in what we call reality though it's not really. As I read about Lee's struggles to become the woman she wanted to be I recognized my own struggles to please and find my place in the world. As I read of the love she and Tony shared and she abandoned, my heart ached for lost love yet I recognized my own reluctance to accept love at a young age. Seems Like Old Times is a love story that will strike at the heart of anyone who has ever loved and walked away from a love the heart refused to forget. Sometimes, just as Lee did, we make the decisions we feel we must in the moment, but we sacrifice our own happiness in the process. Then we spend a lifetime trying to find our way back to that happiness just as both Lee and Tony did. When Lee and Tony have a second chance, they struggle to figure out how to resolve the past and embrace a second chance. Seems Like Old Times had me in tears while I contemplated decisions from my own life yet it reminded me that love is never a mistake even when it hurts. Pence delivers complex characters who in many ways create their own problems just as we tend to do in real life. Throughout the pages of Seems Like Old Times, the question isn't just about second chances but about forgiveness, understanding, and acceptance of others but also of one's self. Be warned; reading Seems Like Old Times, may make you nostalgic for a lost love... Read at your own risk, but read. You won't regret it!

Bonus: Pence references a song called Seems Like Old Times in the book... In case you'd like to listen... Here's two versions... Pick the one you prefer or, heck, just give them both a try...

Vaughn Monroe version

Diane Keaton in Annie Hall

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher connected with me in a way I didn't expect. I read this YA novel because my niece, Kaylee, asked me to. No other reason. I'd never heard of it. I knew nothing about it. Yet, if it was important enough for her to ask me to read it, I felt I needed to. Even with her description of the book, I'm not sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn't what happened. I started reading and couldn't stop. I was already tired when I started and yet I read until exhaustion took over. I felt upset because I couldn't stay awake to finish it. The next day I even broke one of my own rules and recommended the book on social media before I finished reading it or reviewed it. I even emailed a friend to recommend it for his teenage daughter. I found myself on a quest I didn't understand to get this book in the hands of teens and the adults in their lives. When I finished it that night, I cried and cried. I felt pulled and pushed. I recognized a period of time in my life that I'm loathe to admit existed let alone discuss. My heart ached for every person out there struggling to reach out for the help they need... The story isn't that extraordinary or surprising, and that is exactly what makes it so powerful. It is honest and tackles issues without treating teenagers either like they are unrealistically innocent or over the top bad. This is a story about real teenagers without the need to wrap the issues teenagers face in the supernatural or some kind of fantasy world. The realness of Thirteen Reasons Why comes in the fact that it describes situations that happen in teenagers' lives in schools and communities around the world every day of the week. Thirteen Reasons Why reminds us all that the actions we take today have repercussions that we may never anticipate and that may happen long after we've forgotten what we did. In fact, there is also the reminder that inaction can be as deadly as action. Asher weaves a story that is all too believable populated with characters that all too real even making the one or two things the reader may doubt at the beginning quickly seem irrelevant.