Something. I’m just not sure what.

I know what my problem is. I have no niche. My other problem? At 29, I still don’t know how to say “niche.” (Guess I should’ve added that to my list.) Is it neesh? Or nish? Or nitch? (No, really, I’d like to know ’cause it’s totally one of those words I refrain from using so I don’t look like a complete dumbass.) (Is “dumbass” one word or two? Shit.) So, I have no niche. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing here. I know I want to continue blogging (maybe even more regularly) (don’t hold your breath) but about what? Everything I think of seems so… dull. Granted, the things I wrote about back in the day were dull, too. (Back in the day = pre-divorce.) But I was content back in the day. I’m not content now. I’m bored. Fuck, am I ever bored. I need a change. (In more ways than one, apparently.)

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Posted in Stephanie Harsh | 11 Comments

Kinky Neighbors by Jasmine Haynes

Alternate post title: When good books go wrong.

Warning: this post may or may not contain spoilers, but I find myself unable (and unwilling) to care. THAT’S HOW STRONG MY EMOTIONS ARE AFTER FINISHING.

Warning #2: I may or may not abuse the Caps Lock key and/or exclamation points in this post.

I was not going to post about this book. Hell, I wasn’t even going to READ this book. But it was getting all sorts of positive reviews and I had thoroughly enjoyed Past Midnight by the same author and, well, I was hoping it would be something else than EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS: a book about two couples, friends, who decide to all (as in ALL FOUR OF THEM) become sexually involved, spend a month living out their fantasies, then deal with the clusterfuck that ensues.

“Two couples, two very hot wives, two husbands who don’t mind a little swapping… The Mitchells and the Harts have been next door neighbors and friends for the past year. They have loads in common; double incomes, professional careers, no kids…and a kinky streak. Now they’re about to become very good friends…with kinky benefits. The sex between them all is hot, naughty, and unbearably exciting. It isn’t merely swapping partners and moving to another room; it’s true foursome sex, same room, same bed, all four involved. For Drew and Cat Mitchell and Logan and Alexis Hart, it’s about barreling through boundaries none of them have ever crossed before, doing kinky things they’ve only fantasized about. But when they begin to exchange not just sex but emotional connection, the problems start; a little jealousy, feeling left out, wanting more from the wrong partner. Can two couples really share everything without losing it all?”

Kinky Neighbors left me reeling. And very, very angsty. I stayed up and finished it in one night. It was compelling like a train wreck. I could not look away, even though I was borderline horrified the entire time. There was the part of me (the happily-ever-after love-conquers-all part) that really hoped that these couples– these couples that had been married for so many years, that professed to love each other so much— would realize what they had in each other, stay together, fall more in love than ever.

There was the other part of me that was happy it ended exactly the way it did. Because there was still a falling into love and a happily-ever-after and the right people did end up together. But getting to that point? Effing heartbreaking. The manipulation, the secrecy, the doubts and betrayal… oh, it was painful to read. It left me quite sad and actually kind of angry. So many times throughout the book I found myself wanting to Just. Stop. Reading. (I’m glad I saw it through.) (I think.)

While the book was about all four characters, the focus was on Drew and Alexis. They were great. They were such good, decent people; both loving and wanting to make their partners happy. Watching each of their several-years-long marriages fall apart was devastating. I was rooting for them the entire way even as I wanted to scream “Stop! Don’t! THIS CAN’T END WELL!” and I only wish the ending had been longer. I needed more time to revel in and comfort myself with Alexis and Drew’s love for each other. I DIDN’T GET ENOUGH TIME! It was all angst and sex and heartache TIMES ONE THOUSAND then BAM! Happy ending. The end.

(I should be grateful I got that at least.)

This is one of those books that I’m dying to talk about with someone. (Which is probably why I decided to post about it after all.) So, if I haven’t spoiled it (I probably have) and you want to read it (you might not) then let me know when you’re done so we can have a total gabfest about it later.

Posted in Books Before Boys | 3 Comments

Tree of life or something.

Friday and I pass this beast of a tree sometimes on our walks. I like it ’cause it’s all carved up with names and… names. And while maybe I shouldn’t like that because it’s a part of nature (and all that crap), I can’t help it. I like it. It gives the tree history. You know, more history.

Posted in Stephanie Harsh | 4 Comments

Whatever makes ’em not cry.

Kids make me nervous. I admit it. I don’t know what to do with ’em, how to talk to ’em. I’m sure it’s much simpler than I realize, but I can’t help it. They get upset and cry for NOTHING and there’s just no reasoning with them and I hate that. Quite frankly, it’s not fair. USE YOUR WORDS. However, the expression they get when you dab dab dab a little chapstick on their tiny too-wet lips is priceless. And it’s my In. We’re totally BFFs after I let them get their sweet little hands on my stash.

Posted in Stephanie Harsh | Tagged | 3 Comments

Love.

This was in Utah. My kid sister was taking pictures of me and then Amalie (the dog, not the girl) came and plopped down at my feet. Well, I couldn’t resist loving up on her for a minute… and while I was, Megan (the girl, not the dog) came and loved up on both of us. And this giant love fest was captured for eternity.

Posted in Stephanie Harsh | 3 Comments

The debate continues.

Earlier this evening I read this post by one of my favorite people ever about his first time downloading an ebook and it totally got the wheels turning.

I remember the exact day I bought and downloaded my very first ebook. It was Saturday, November 28, 2009. The book was Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I had read Kiss an Angel back in October while stuck in bed with the flu and it became one of my favorite books of all time. After that, I read everything by SEP that I could get my hands on.

On that day in November, we were in Utah, having just spent Thanksgiving with my sister and her family. We were preparing to leave and I was in desperate need of a book for the long drive home. Glitter Baby was the book I wanted and no other book would do. I made a quick trip to Walmart. They didn’t have it. I was about to go in search of a book store, but was quickly running out of time. That’s when I decided to try downloading it.

Had you asked me even a day prior, I would have told you with a resounding no, ebooks are not for me. I like books. Real books. With pages. That I can hold and smell and look at. I shuddered in disgust at the thought of electronic books.

The very first thing that caused my tumble into love with ebooks? The fact that I was able to keep reading the entire 8-hour drive home from Utah. In the dark. And later, the fact that I didn’t have to keep a light on while reading in bed.

Real books aren’t backlit.

Then it was the fact that I could lay in any position and still read comfortably. Turning the page required nothing more than the gentle tap of my thumb.

(Um, have you tried reading a hardback book while curled up on your side? DOESN’T WORK.)

And I only had to use one hand to hold my iPod. (These days, my phone.) And my fingers didn’t ache from holding said device.

It was the fact that I no longer had piles of books stacking up around the apartment. And therefore I didn’t have to listen to a husband who threatened to donate them. (Get rid of my books?! Why don’t you just stab me in the heart while you’re at it!)

And I could read while walking the dog.

And while I was supposed to be working. (‘Cause, apparently, being on my phone is fine, but reading a book is frowned upon.)

And then, the kicker, knowing I had all of my books with me wherever I went. (To date, I have 200+ books right in the palm of my hand.)

And, most recently, discovering amazing authors and stories that I wouldn’t have found in a bookstore. Since I gave myself over to the ebook way of life, there hasn’t been a single book I haven’t been able to find and download. However, many of the books I’ve read and loved in the last (nearly) two years wouldn’t have been available at my local Barnes & Noble.

And, well, let’s face it. It’s a lot easier to carry around my phone than it is a book with one of those covers.

Posted in Stephanie Harsh | 2 Comments

Half Hearts by Sherri Desbois

“Losing her family at a young age, and then broken promises from the man she’d loved all her life, Charlie McCarty rarely allows anyone to get close to her. Resolved to live her life without love and determined to become a top-notch Vet, she begins her residency in Redfield. Fate, however, has a way of stepping in to change even the most obstinate set plans and forces Charlie to face her past, push the boundaries of her control and her heart to the brink of destruction. It started out as a celebration, a chance for Charlie to let her hair down and just let go of her firm control for just one evening, but meeting a sexy as hell cowboy—and his familiar best friend—ambush everything. With relentless determination, both cowboys set out to show her that she is everything they want to complete their lives. Charlie begins to dream, once again, for the future she thought lost to her years ago. When a terrifying figure from the past steps into their fragile romance, is their love enough to overcome the horror about to be unleashed or will it leave them with hearts broken in half?”

Zuyen and I started this blog because, duh, we love books. We were on the same page from the very beginning: we wanted to write about the books we love, not the ones we don’t. We didn’t want to start a blog so we could review anything and everything we read including good, bad, and ugly… but to bring to light the books we adored so that others could adore them right along with us.

The absolute last thing I want to do is say anything negative. Not about a book or an author. It makes me feel icky and I start to cringe and twitch and generally feel bad about myself. I mean, who am I to criticize anyone? Especially an author. But let’s be honest. Books are totally subject to interpretation. What one might love, another might hate. Everyone has different perceptions.

With that being said, I might sometimes say things that maybe aren’t very nice but I don’t want that to take away from the fact that I’m (likely) telling you about a book I LOVED. (I think I have a guilt complex. Blame it on my divorce.)

That brings us to Half Hearts by Sherri Desbois. Which I so enjoyed. I read the synopsis and thought “meh” but then I scrolled through a couple reviews and the words “emotional” and “turmoil” and “angst-ridden” and “heartbreak” kept popping out at me and I am nothing if not a sucker for good, emotional books. This one had me twitching all over the place. And it was lovely.

So, what was the problem? (I mean obviously there was one, otherwise what was my reason for rambling on and on above?) The editing was atrocious. (“Y-O-U apostrophe R-E is YOU ARE; Y-O-U-R is YOUR.” Name that TV show.) And, well, I was left with a couple of unanswered questions. (Cringe.) And the heroine used what I considered total non-issues as a reason to waffle back and worth. (Twitch.) (I really do hate to criticize.)

But this was Ms. Desbois’ first novel. And a lovely first novel at that. It has wonderful characters, smokin’ hot chemistry, and lots of emotional angst (my favorite). And you know what else? I loved the romance between Kegan and Trevor. (Two dudes. Gasp!) I’m not a fan of homo-erotica (which is why I’m struggling with my current book) and if you aren’t either, don’t despair! There wasn’t any man-on-man action (except for a moment or two), but there was deep affection and an unfolding love between the two men that was really sweet. (It didn’t even weird me out that much when their denim-covered cocks bumped against each other and they liked it.)

Oh, did I mention that this love story includes three? Yep, three people. Falling in love together. Doing the nasty together. Living happily ever after together. Three. (More the merrier and all that.)

Do you think polyamorous relationships can actually work? It makes me curious. Not to try it, mind you… just to know if people are ever successful.

Read the book. You’ll like it. (I hope.)

Posted in Books Before Boys | 1 Comment