Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Open Letter

Dear Celebrities and Musical-type Stars,

I am writing to you today in hopes that you can help me with a problem I am having. It seems that lately, my head is exploding at regular intervals, forcing me to keep a roll of duct tape handy in order to repair the damage. After visiting several health professionals and speaking with my fellow blogstress who knows all, Robyn, we have narrowed down the cause of my malady.

It’s you guys. And girls. All y’all.

It’s not the fact that you think the world revolves around you, which, news flash—it doesn’t. It’s not that you think you can say and do whatever you want, and we are not supposed to be offended, shocked or otherwise express any negative attitude about your “art”. And it’s not even the weird baby name thing you all seem to have a penchant for. I really don’t care if you want to call your kid ShineyMoonHiney. After all, you have the money to pay for the therapy he’ll need later.

It’s all the marrying and divorcing. For cryin out loud, y’all. Stop. Just stop.

Now, most of you live in LA, New York, or Music City, just as far away from the peons like me who buy your mediocre CDs and watch your crappy movies. However, it seems to me that us peons have a better track record at the whole marriage thing than you do, so allow me to offer you a few hints so that maybe you can spend less time in your lawyer’s office and more time turning out a quality product that we might actually want to spend our hard-earned money on.

1. It’s not a good idea to marry someone you have known for fifteen minutes, regardless of how hot he or she is. There is no substitution for getting to know someone before deciding to join your lives together. I have been married for almost fourteen years and am still finding out new things about my husband, and he’s not all that deep.

2. Don’t go into marriage looking for the back door. Signing prenups and having your peeps contact your intended’s peeps to do the deal is not the best way to start a marriage. Marriage should be for life, not until you fall in love with your next co-star. (and for the love of Pete, quit using the word “peeps”. Makes me think of a bunch of marshmallowy sugar-coated morons running around doing your bidding. And my brain already hurts from exploding so much.)

3. Realize that a wedding does not make a marriage. Some of you have spent more time planning your nuptials than you ever spent on trying to work on your relationship. Marriage is work. Lots of work. Lots and lots of work. Think of it as the most important role you ever had. Because it is.

4. “Irreconcilable differences” is a load of crap. If everyone who had irreconcilable differences with her spouse got divorced, there would be no married people in the country. And the “we grew to apart” line is a load, too. If you can grow apart, you can grow back together. With a boatload of work. Chocolate helps too.

5. If there are kids involved, keep your nappy butt married. If you thought he was good enough to sleep and make babies with, then at least think of the babies you made and try to give them an intact family. Unless Daddy is into stuff that’s illegal, immoral, or unethical, don’t you dare split them babies’ homes up. Think beyond your next Botox treatment and do something for your children. Love their dad.

6. Finally, remember that God sees everything. He was listening when you took those vows, whether in a fancy church or in front of an Elvis impersonator. You made a contract. Do everything in your power to keep it. He thinks it’s pretty darn important. You should too.

Hopefully, by following the above guidelines, you and your fellow famous people can enjoy some of the happiness that those of us in real America enjoy on a daily basis. Please at least give it a shot. My head can't take much more.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

It's Not All Bad

Hey everyone. Go over to Writeminded and read our friend Sharon Long's blog. She just went through an evacution from her home in Texas, because of Hurricane Rita. Her house is mostly okay, and she and her hubby and kids have family and friends in Shreveport. But what struck me about her blog was her determination to be positive. In all the madness, I was so glad to hear a good report. Go check it out, and say a few prayers while you're at it. She writes:

I’ve learned a lot of things since this hurricane. I watched Hurricane Katrina, and all the media wanted to show us was the bad. The very small percentage of people who responded negatively in a crisis. And now that I’ve been affected by Hurricane Rita, I have encountered nothing but extreme
generosity in everyone I’ve met. People I’ve never met, will never see again, went out of their way to help in any small way they could.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Worst Covers Evah- Dishonorable Mentions 2

This edition of WCE is even worse than last week. Hope your eyes have recovered from those. Again, view at your own risk- just be grateful we're not showing computer graphic e-book covers. AIEE!

Missie says her snark ain't on cause she wuz on vacation. While I was here working. Day and night in the Oklahoma heat while she swam in hotel pools. Not that I'm bitter or anything...

Fortune's Flames

She must weigh a lot more than she looks. Wonder if she'll tip the boat over before she breaks his back? I guess hardtack and gruel really packs on those pounds. Go for the low-carb weevil infested biscuits next time!

So this is where the idea for "Dancing With the Stars" came from...

So Speaks the Heart

Although I appreciate that he followed the Boy Scout safety rules and ringed his campfire with rocks, I must ask again: WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE OUTSIDE? A field of flowers sounds romantic until you realise that flowers mean BEES, y'all. He's gonna get stung right on his tight, toned bohunkus. He'll squeal like a little girl, drop our de-tangler challenged heroine and run away. And she'll be easy prey for the swarm because she apparently has no lower legs.

My eyes! My eyes!

Midnight Star

I'm falling for your eyes. I'm falling for your lips. I'm falling off the cliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiffffffffff.....

Just trying to imagine how they're going to explain that to her father.

Seriously, these covers just make me want to puke. Seriously. 'Cause if the blood rushed to my head that badly, I would.

My eyes! My eyes! Part 2.

Tender Is the Storm

WARNING!!! We are a PG site, but I couldn't find a good link to this cover, so hide your children NOW.

OMG. This cover screams Let's Just Be Blunt About It. I love this terrible old cover- it really snarks itself. I was working in a bookstore when this came out- and we had to put little gold "First time in paperback!" stickers on his behiney. And I'm still laughing remembering Missie's first reaction to this cover-"What the-uh-omigosh-oo-what am I looking at?" or something like that.

And tender or not, that storm is about drop on you and go flooding that valley. Yet another reason to GO INSIDE, y'all!

Missie: Good thing I already burned my retinas looking at the other covers.

This one wins my vote as the Worst Flippin' Cover Ever! The level of wrongness achieved by this one cover far surpasses anything else I have seen. You've got yer bucknekkid guy, chick with no arms, hurricane fast approaching....hmmm, all the ingredients for a "You've Got to be Kidding" stew. But that's just my opinyun.

Next week: The top, bottom three? whatever. Worst Covers Evah!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Snarkling Clean

It's Good to Be Home

Greetings, fellow citizens of Snarkdom. Thanks to Queen Snarksta Robyn for posting some very funny and thought-provoking things during the past 8 days, and just generally keeping everything running smoothly during my absence. Not that any of you noticed my being gone, which is good….just proves what a well-oiled machine we have here at Snarkling Clean. It also proves that I have yet to post something truly funny or thought-provoking, which is bad, considering I am a somewhat funny person in real life, and have occasionally been known to have a deep thought.

My family and I just returned yesterday from our first vacation in about 3 years. By vacation, I mean going somewhere other than to visit family and actually paying for the privilege of sleeping in a bed not our own. It was during said vacation that I, your humble co-Snarketta, had some serious epiphanies, or as I lovingly call them, Glaringly Obvious Observations, for once I started really thinking about them, I could only come up with two words….”No kidding”. One concerned my weight, one concerned my hair, but I will save those for another day. I will share with you now the ones concerning Family Vacations….

Glaringly Obvious Observation #1- “Vacation” by definition only means that Mom gets to do everything she normally does at home somewhere else. This includes cleaning, folding laundry, making sure everyone is properly bathed and dressed, food procurement and preparation, finding the lost sock/swimsuit/toothbrush/insert any item here, and the justification of why this or that item didn’t get packed even though Mom told son/husband/insert family member here to be sure to grab said item and put it in the suitcase. Everyone else (meaning my husband) may be taking a few days away from the daily grind, but for a mom, the grinding continues, no matter where she is.

G.O.O. #1, addendum- It is probably not such a hot idea to take a three month old baby on vacation anywhere, unless it’s to Grandma’s house. For some reason, people in the next hotel room don’t like the sound of a screaming baby while they are trying to sleep. Go figure.

G.O. O. #1, addendum #2- The above mentioned baby will significantly change her behavior and sleeping patterns away from home. Especially if after she is fed, burped, dry, rested, and happy, then decides as soon as Mom and Brother head to the hotel hot tub, that, no thanks, she really doesn’t want to stay in the room with Dad, and oh by the way, she’s not all that happy, and you know what, she doesn’t really like the room you are paying $100 a night for, and you know what else, she doesn’t really like Daddy right now either, and are you getting this, she wants Mommy right away, cuz she forgot to tell you, she still is hungry, and because you weren’t quick enough, she’s going to do a dooty of biblical proportions to show her overall dislike of the situation. Upon Mom’s return, she calms down, meekly takes the bottle, and proceeds to stay up until the wee hours of the morning while Brother and Dad are sleeping with a pillow over the head and ear plugs, respectively. While Mommy is begging her to just go to sleep, Miss Hakuna Ma-tooter serenely looks at Mom with her big blue eyes, as if to say, “What’s the prob, Ma?”

Glaringly Obvious Observation #2- Never mistake a “visit with family” with a “vacation.”

A visit with family can be nice, relaxing, and enjoyable, which ours was…some of the time. But basically, a visit with family is just getting the family crap in person that you usually just get over the phone. Only you can’t hang up. Or make faces while the relative is talking to you. Or make hand motions mimicking jabbing yourself in the eyeball to your husband. Or put your hand over the receiver while whispering, “My gene pool needs some serious chlorine.”

Glaringly Obvious Observation #3- I really really love my husband and my children. I needed this vacation to remind me once again why I picked the guy I did, because sometimes he annoys me so much that I forget. I was also reminded why we decided it would be a great idea to procreate, because sometimes, I forget that too. While watching HGTV (to which I am addicted but am in a 12 step program trying to overcome), I saw the ad for the new Todd Oldham show. His tag line hit me like a ton of bricks: “Remember, if you love it, then it’s perfect.” And you know what? My children may give me a butt that looks like cottage cheese and gray hair before my time, and my husband may cause me to one day develop a tick in my facial muscles, but I love them. I seriously love them…therefore my family is perfect.

Glaringly Obvious Obserrvashum $4—it’s hard to tipe w/a sqierming babby on yer lap.

Friday, September 23, 2005

That's Outrageous!

Just reading the headlines this morning, and I have to admit I'm amused by The Outrage. Please understand, I don't condone illegal/immoral behavior, but I'm a realist. Which is why I read books about handsome pirates who never manage to steal anything and rich noblemen who marry their penniless wards and women who fall asleep on park benches and wake up in medieval Scotland.

Outrage #1- Kate Moss Snorts Cocaine! Isn't this the girl whose image popularized the term "heroin chic?" Imagine. Fashion is an industry that takes beautiful 17 year olds, throws them into high octane business and personal parties with 45 year old men who are always looking for the next big thing, demands that they look like a swizzle stick with boobs or they're fired, and gives them armies of agency flunkies whose job it is to keep them going no matter what. And there's a drug problem there? Who'da thunk it?

Outrage #2- John O'Hurley Wins the Dance-off! The number of people typing angrily last night and this morning is mind-blowing (or numbing, depending on your view) no matter which non-dancer you like best. I imagine ABC execs are laughing all the way to the bank. "What?" you say. "You mean this whole competition wasn't geared to garner votes from rabid soap fans and men hoping for another wardrobe malfunction? And then have certain industry people start rumors of rigging and confusing voting practices and press releases that stated with assurance that Everyone Knows O'Hurley Totally Won This Thing? And ABC benevolently giving us all another chance to view their surprise ratings hit and vote for J. Peterman- all for us, of course. They care. No. They wouldn't do this to gain summertime viewers while Lost and Desperate Housewives are in reruns." Honestly, I expected computer graphic charts explaining the hanging chads.

Outrage #3- Wife Swap Contestants Harrased! Jeremy and Vicki Felix are shocked, and so am I. They've probably seen the show before, and its tendency to show one couple as saints as the other as trailer trash, but they totally thought they would be portrayed as nice people. Even after his admitted use of the N word to the black woman who switched places with his wife. Yes, he knew the cameras were on, but surely this show wouldn't capitalize on that one itty-bitty thing. And all his neighbors wouldn't view the show, and start treating him like a pariah. And his kids wouldn't be teased at school. And he wouldn't look a Jerry Springer reject on national television.

To all this I cannot stop myself from uttering the totally requisite DUH. I'm not cynical, am I?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Mommy Patrol

I'm reading an interesting book by Catherine Palmer called The Happy Room. It deals with the adult lives of three siblings whose parents dumped them in a boarding school while they pursued mission work in Africa. One embraced the faith, one rejected it, and one was suicidal in teenhood, anorexic in adulthood.

I'm not about to put down missionary work, and I know that parents who are overly zealous for ANY cause can leave their children to fend for themselves while M&D carry on with "important work."

But the theme of faith- whatever faith we happen to be- and whether or not our kids will embrace that faith is on my mind now, mostly because both of my kids will be participating in See You At The Pole tomorrow. For those who may not know, SYATP started with a few high school kids in Texas who decided to pray for their friends, their teachers and administrators, and their schools. The school's flagpole seemed a natural place to gather. It caught on, and now middle school, junior high, and high school students around the world gather around the flagpoles of their schools on the third Wednesday of September to pray.

I go on riffs my family calls Mommy Patrol. Did you:
Do your homework?
Brush your teeth?
Take care of the dog?
Make sure the dog didn't eat the gerbils?
Put your laundry away?
Clean your roommakeyourbedhangupyourtoweletc, etc.

I wonder if they really hear me at all anymore, or if I just sound like Charlie Brown's teacher- waa waa WAH waa.

But now as they head into their teen years with bewildering speed, the Mommy Patrol reminders of "Did you pray?" seem to be lessening. Dh and I recognise that they can't coast on our faith anymore- they must find out what THEY believe, and have their own relationship with God. But we still have to draw some lines, and OMIGOSH WHERE DO YOU DRAW THEM? We've tried to raise them not being told what to think, but how to judge. Although I have instilled in them that Britney Spears is of the devil.

My mom gave me the greatest Christian parenting advice I've ever had- don't make Jesus your bad cop. And we've tried to make sure that our zeal has been an inspiration, not a burden, because even though serving people is a noble pursuit, with us they come first.

Both my kids made their professions of faith early on, but I think you really have to make it again in your teens. I don't mind if they think they were raised right, but I want them to be able to say "I'm a Christian because I chose to be, not because my parents would strike my name from the will if I wasn't."

I guess the point of all this- ah, heck, I don't know what the point is. My kids are great, good, and decent people that I like as much as I love. And I'll just have to have faith that they will navigate these years with grace.

But the first little significant other that breaks their hearts? Mommy Patrol's in town.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Worst Covers Evah- Dishonorable Mentions 1

As promised, our edition of Worst Covers Evah. Keep your eyewash handy- your retinas may be permanently scarred. View at your own risk.

Beloved Enemy

This male cover model needs a new agent. "Oh, sure, they'll see your's all in the camera angle."

And may I take this opportunity to ask: WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE ALWAYS OUTSIDE? I can count on one hand the number of times I've indulged in Tea and Crumpets on God's Green Earth, and there's a reason. Too cold, too hot, too dirty, too sandy, six or eight-legged creepies getting a little too interested in what these two humans are doing, etc. Most historical romances are about rich guys. Doesn't he have a bed? And this one's a pirate. At least take her to the boat, yo? Maybe we'd even get to see your face.

A sad display of the artist's lifelong obsession with his Seafoam Green Crayola. And what kind of Queer Eye pirate coordinates his ship with his shirt? The title for this book should be Beloved Enema.

A Rose At Midnight

Put down the Toni home perm and back away slowly.

Speaking of backs, he's gonna hurt his bad. We're not meant to twist like that, are we? He looks like an eighties Ken doll that twists completely around at the waist.

When Bernadette Peters met Debarge.

Bold Conquest

I'm sorry to break it to you, honey, but he's just not that into you. Dude fell asleep while you're waiting for your One With the Cosmos. If you're not careful, he's gonna dump you in the river and ruin that pretty dress.

Another reason to do these things INSIDE.

Bold Conquest, nuthin! Dude's giving her a zerbert on her neck.
"Who's my little punkin? That's right, you are! Blpthblpthblpth!"


"No way, Sir Shagalot. Not until you brush those knightly teeth."

"Oh, and one other thing. See these huge plants? We're in the freaking forest. I'm going to get rashes from all this wicked wilderness if you unlace my easy-access dress any further. So if you expect me to become your love bunny, you'd better get your horse and take me to that castle. At least we'll have room service."

Dude, no means no! She's doing her best to get away. Back off!

Next week: Dishonoring continues!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Glass Slippers Freaking Hurt

When my daughter was little, a favorite pasttime of ours was to find Cinderella stories at the library. Did you know there are over 1500 versions of the story? From the original Chinese tale (small feet were apparently very hot in ancient Asia) to the French story on which Disney based their movie classic, Cinderella is everywhere.

There are Korean, Arabian, Japanese, British, and Egyptian versions. There is even an Irish version where the Cinder character is a guy. As for Americans, there are Southern, Cajun, and Appalachian variations. We read at least two a month for five years and never read the same story twice.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the special times with my daughter, part of me cringed at these tales. Cinderella was sweet. Cinderella was good. Cinderella was kind. Cinderella was a chump.

Why, oh why, did she not slip a little rat poison into stepmama's morning porridge? Shine that staircase so well that- oopsie. There goes a butt-ugly stepsister. Even if she wouldn't go for murder, didn't you just once wish that she'd spit in their tea?

My irritating usually right husband would point out the spiritual aspects of the story. She's turning the other cheek, loving her enemy, praying for deliverance with her hope always high, and she gets rewarded for it. Big Time.

But why, in this story, does good=doormat? Would there be a way for Cinderella to remain sweet and kind but stand up for herself as well? Granted, that takes the fun out of the fairy godmother and the mice, but Bippity-boppity seems an unreliable rescue vehicle. You get a glimpse of the good life you have every legal right to be living, then it's back to scullery maid, baby. Too bad. Hope you enjoyed your three pitiful hours. (I'm giving her an extra hour- most society balls didn't even start until 10pm!)

"No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true." Yes, honey. Dreams, a good lawyer, and a backbone.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Random Musings

I've had a great lazy, rainy Sunday with my family. Church this morning, our traditional after-service pigout at Cici's Pizza (I don't cook on Sunday nights, so we stock up at lunch) and, oh, yeah. Hurried cleaning so we could show our house to potential buyers on 30 minutes' notice.

I've been a grouch about the move. Make no mistake- I HATE our house. It's a small, brown and red brick monstrosity. The white linoleum that shows a bad thought in the kitchen is only surpassed by the puke and avocado green tile in the bathroom that defies all attempts at decorating. But it was what we could afford at the time, and it was A HOUSE. A real house. When we were finally getting to the point where we could fix some of those things, hubby had a job change. In a year or so, it will work into something good, but right now the pay sucks.

So we're moving into a townhouse that will cut our bills by a third. It's small, but it's not ugly. And the kids' rooms and bathrooms are hidden upstairs. And there's a pool. And we'll be away from the frat boys who rented a party house two doors down. But when I was lamenting what I considered a step down, I thought about Katrina. My marriage is great, my kids are fabulous, and we're together and healthy in a home of our own. So what if its a rental townhouse? I have much to be thankful for. Cici's apple dessert pizza among them.

No particular reason to post Ted King. I just like to look at him. Is that wrong?

My poor husband has to put up with my adolescent crushes on actors. When we rented Rundown, he very kindly called me to the t.v. so I wouldn't miss the Rock ripping off his shirt. When he wandered through the living room during a swoon-worthy moment of Phantom of the Opera, he asked if I needed a bib. I said no, I need you to leave. Or get a mask.

I like a lot of things about romance novels. I loathe a lot of things, too. Case in point- The Punishing Kiss. Getting caught up in emotion to the point where Tea and Crumpets are imminent? Fine. Getting so angry the hero has no choice but to lay a big 'ol slobbery kiss on the woman who's just made him so mad he can't see straight? Who came up with this idea? What man says, "Yeah, I'm enraged. I'm yelling at you, calling you ten kinds of idiot, and I need to teach you a lesson about who's da man around here, so I'm gonna lay The Punisher on you. And you and your bruised and swollen lips are gonna like it."

I've made my husband mad. Real mad. Veins throbbing in the forehead mad. Never once has he wanted to plant one on me. Not with his lips, anyway.

And if any man ever tried to end an argument by forcing an angry kiss on me? Watch your back, baby.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Public Service Announcement

We felt it was our duty to advise our legions of loyal fans of some of the upcoming events here at Snarklingclean. Soon, (and we are not sure when, so don't ask), we will be doing a feature containing some of the most horrible covers of all time. We are not just talking bad covers. We are talking be sure to have a portable eye-wash station close by...either that or a very long sharp stick to poke directly into your eyeball. Some of these are so bad that you may need to seek psychological counseling to help in the recovery process. Just wanted you to know.

Another feature will be Meet the Snark-istas, where Robyn and I will each post some information about our wonderful selves, so you, our public, can get to know us better. You will have a chance to meet the real women behind the gorgeous faces. We are more than the sum of our plastic surgeries.

If there is anything you would like to see on this site, such as a book or cover you would like our take on, please let us know. We live to serve.

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like...Debbie Macomber

Instead of cleaning my house, doing laundry, or taking a much-needed nap, this afternoon I curled up on the couch and read a delightful little book about two of my favorite subjects…Christmas and romance. In “When Christmas Comes”, my new favorite author, Debbie Macomber, weaves a fun tale of mix-ups and misunderstandings with a dose of mistletoe (That sounds like it should be the blurb on the back of the book, but I promise I though of that all on my own). I really enjoyed this book. I will warn you, it is very cutesy in parts. The same is true for her “The Christmas Basket”, but that didn’t stop me from liking that one either. These books do not contain the secrets of the universe, but that’s not what I am looking for when I read a book with Christmas in the title. I want to have a mondo attack of the warm fuzzies and have my faith in the magic of the season renewed, not face cold, hard reality. For that, I could just turn on the news.

I have been on a Macomber kick lately. It all started about three weeks ago when I picked up “The Shop on Blossom Street”, which I also thoroughly enjoyed, but for different reasons. “The Shop” is not necessarily a feel-good book, or one where everything is all tidied up at the end, but I did feel like even if I didn’t go on to read the sequel, “A Good Yarn” (which I also loved, by the way), then I still would be satisfied. Since then, I have read Always Dakota (looooved it), For All My Tomorrows (liked it but it was a bit toooo racy in some parts…did a lot of page flippin’), Caroline’s Child (very sweet), and Dr. Texas (predictable, but funny in parts). I went to the library today and checked out about 8 more of her books, which I will spend time devouring over the weekend while my husband and son go hiking and I am here with my 2 month old bambina, Princess Nursalot, providing she actually sleeps longer than 1 hour at a time.

I don’t know why I do this. I start reading one author, then I must read all of her books before moving on to another author. Why do I do this when I know that I am destined to be disappointed when the library doesn’t have the next book on the list at the time I want it? Then I have to choose a different author, start reading all her stuff, then the library calls and says, “Mrs. ReadyMcReaderton, we have the book you requested by Debbie Macomber, Jayne Ann Krentz, Nora Roberts, insert your favorite author here, etc in, waiting for you to pick it up.” But I can’t read it then, because I have already moved on to another author! Ugh! I want the book when I want it, not a different time! Do the people at the library not know who I am? When I request a book, I expect them to track down who has it, drive to that person’s home, rip it out of his/her/its hands, then present it to me. What is so wrong with that, I ask you.

Now I am off to wade through the mountain of laundry that is blocking my utility room door. My house did not magically clean itself, but I had a nice trip to ChristmasRomanceFantasyLand, so it was worth it. I am now in the mood for hot chocolate and frosted sugar cookies..maybe I can convince my husband that the dust on the television is actually snow…..

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

If Our Fans Command...

Missie and I had decided not to put our pictures on the site, but we shall bend under the unrelenting pressure. If you promise you will not collapse, weeping, from the jealousy that is sure to rend you, we will give you a glimpse of our glory.



Of course, that's right after we wake up. After we've spent a few hours with our darling children, we look like this:

Okay, you want the real stuff? We can't lie to you anymore. After working, cleaning, cooking, helping with homework, doing laundry, listening to our husbands joke/gripe/snore/flatulate, and then go from mommies to in the mood if you catch our drift, this is what we really look like:

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

We Have A Winnah!

I don't snark about everything, I promise. And when I find a book I enjoyed as much as this one, I have to let you know.

Heart of Dixie, by Tami Hoag. I found this old category book in my favorite part of the library. I love going through the large print section. I find little romance jewels of yesteryear in that glorious little nook, which is why I frequent it. It's not like I need the large print. Of course not.

First, it was published years ago, so here's your spoiler. I'm going to talk about the Big Secret in this book, not that you won't figure it out. It's a good candidate for Saw That One Coming, Much? and I don't feel as if I'm ruining a whodunit or anything. But if you don't want to know, don't read any further. Just read the book.

Tami Hoag writes romantic thrillers now, and does it well, but this is just a sweet category romance with a dynamite message. Jake Gannon is a writer, a serious writer. He does authorized biographies- not the tabloid stuff! I said not, dangit! He's a little sensitive on that point. Of course, like all good writers of serious non-fiction, he really wants to write fiction. But his latest assignment is to track down a beautiful movie star who left Hollywood and disappeared a year before.

Jake's fascinated, as all men are, by star Devon Stafford. She's reed thin but with the necessary...accoutrement, long mane of wavy hair, and pouty bee-stung lips. Think Angelina Jolie. En route to her little hometown in the middle of Southern Nowhere, Mr. Perfect California Jake's Porsche breaks down. The tow truck comes, manned by a short-haired, thin-lipped, well-fed woman, Dixie La Fontaine.

Let's cut to the chase here. Jake thinks, because Dixie has the same last name as the movie star's real one, and because Dixie has a lady cousin living secretly in her attic, that she's Devon Stafford's cousin. And Devon's in her attic. Which is why he gets close to her, but he soon falls for our requisitely feisty, warm-hearted heroine, in spite of her defiant imperfection.

Make no mistake. Ms. Hoag's skills with a mystery have improved greatly over the years, and you've probably already guessed the Big Secret. Devon Stafford had her name chosen by her agent, who got them by reading randomly from a British map. The transformation is described this way:
" wasn't even her real face. It was a skeleton of her real face, painted and polished, lips pumped full of saline and protein, eyes turned luminous green by the magic of optic science. Precious little Dee Ann Montrose, the girl who grown up with the nickname Dixie back in the hills of North Carolina. The accent had been schooled out of her speech, her body had been honed down to the bone. The long platinum locks that men the world over dreamed about were mostly extensions, woven in and colored icy blond by a man named Eco."
Dixie, already tired and unhealthy, who got a rice cake as a special treat if she'd had a good six-hour workout, decided to leave Hollywood when another actress friend killed herself because she could never attain Devon Stafford's perfection. I wanted to shout. "Not even movie stars look like movie stars! Gimme some chocolate!"

I've gotten tired of perfect, slender heroines. Notice, will you, how they're skinny enough to look like boys in men's clothing but later that night in a ball gown- WHOOEEE! Dolly Parton! These perfect women are all "reed slender" or "willowy," but when the hero picks her up to carry her home or puts her in front of him on his horse to carry her home or insert plot device here so he can get his hands on her legitimately, he suddenly notices that she's got womanly curves. All right, which is it? Reeds are sticks. They don't have curves. Sigh.

Thank you, Ms. Hoag. When my daughter is old enough, I'm going to show her this book. And give her some Godiva to go with it.

Friday, September 02, 2005

She's reincarnated, he's reincarnated, wouldn't you like to be reincarnated too?

Okay, disclaimer first. Yes, I am a Christian. No, I don't personally believe in the existence of ghosts, werewolves, vampires, aliens, and demons who can be controlled and used for good. I will, however, read about all of these if it's a good story and I hope everyone's okay with that.

On to the book I just finished. Susan Krinard's Body and Soul. Bait and Switch!!

I thought I was getting a ghost comes forward through time book. If they are done well, I love them. Lynn Kurland's Stardust of Yesterday is my favorite. If the spirit of a gorgeous, noble medieval knight came to me in the moonlight with love in his eyes and asked me, "Shall I slay dragons for you, my lady?" I would resign myself to a hubby who could only occasionally touch me. Even if it meant no Tea and Crumpets. Of course, a miracle occurs, and said knight joins his lady in the real, solid, crumpet-eatin' world. I would insert a nasty remark about JD's Knight in Shining Armor, but I'll refrain.

Anyway, SK's hero is a British soldier from the 1800's, who has died but is tormented because he didn't love or take very good care of his wife, who died along with their baby. He is literally called to our heroine, who is plagued by her own childhood demons. She doubts her sanity, especially because she has memories of ghost soldier. She is also being menaced by a villain that ghost boy starts to recognize. Good book, good writing, but I chucked it. Why?

It's time for the next installment of Saw That One Coming, Much?

Yep, you guessed it, our heroine is the reincarnation of ghost boy's dead wife. And lo and behold, the bad guy who is chasing her turns out to be the reincarnation of the bad guy in the 1800's who killed the original wife. Ghost lover can redeem himself by saving her this time because he couldn't last time. Somebody, let me off the karma-go-round, please!

I hate and loathe and revile reincarnation stories. Of course she's lived before as a noblewoman. Have you ever heard of one single instance where a person's former existence was anything less than noble? If a strong, handsome man chased me through history to reveal a past life, it would probably read like this:

"Robyn! I found you! I came through the mists of time, but could see your spirit even in this different body. You must come back with me. You must, because...

"You didn't finish emptying the chamber pots before you keeled over. You were my favorite maid. But it's okay. Now that I've reincarnated into a rich handsome tycoon, I have plenty of back-breaking menial chores for you to do."