Suddenly Yours (One Fine Day, #2)

Suddenly Yours (One Fine Day, #2)Suddenly Yours by Jacob Z. Flores

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After a drunken game of Truth or Dare two guys who just met marry at a Las Vegas chapel. When they wake up the next morning, they decide to stay married (both want a partner but neither want love). Of course they fall in love.

Bonus: Bruce Boner.

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Freeing Zane

Freeing Zane (Barretti Security Series, #4)Freeing Zane by Sloane Kennedy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the last in the series (so far), and I think I need to take a step away from this group of friends.

I feel for Connor — brain damage and part of his leg missing from his time as a soldier. I admire Connor for going on and following his dreams.

And I admire Zane for his switch in legal careers.

Too damn many kids in the epilogue, although that shout out to Sylvie was touching.

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Turn (Turn!verse, #1)Turn by Saras_Girl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I saw an article recently that mentioned Harry Potter fan fics that should absolutely be read.

No Harry/Severus, which is my ship of choice.

So, I went back to my first ship: Harry/Draco. And my preference, which is post-Hogwarts. This is even Deathly Hollows compliant.

Harry gets a glimpse of a life he could have had if he’d made a different choice while still in school. When he gets back to his real life, he decides changes should be made.

Really good.

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I Quite Like the Songs

I went to a Christmas Vespers service a couple days ago. The first time I attendImageed one was my freshman year at Moravian College (1981), and I’ve been sitting in the same pew at Central Moravian church almost every year since then.

A Moravian College press release explains Vespers this way: “The Vespers service is an expression of two traditional forms of worship in the Moravian Church, the Singstunde (Singing Hour) and the Candlelight Service. … In the service, the music has been carefully selected and arranged to bring the Christmas message without need of a sermon.”

And it’s true: There is no sermon. But students from Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary read Bible passages, and a college professor says a prayer. There are also a couple of responsive readings.

At the time of my first Vespers service, I was a religion minor and a Born Again Christian. So I was pretty into the Jesus stuff. But over the years, I’ve become disillusioned with Christianity. Homophobia, the lack of women in senior leadership roles, pedophile priests, and abortion denial are just a few of the things that have caused me to rethink my blind obedience to an old book.

But I was loath to give up Vespers. Over the years, it has come to represent the start of the Christmas season, which to me is about friends and family and a little more kindness in the world. So I remain silent during the responsive reading and listen to the Bible verses as if they’re poetry. It’s the prayer that does me in.

This year, the professor seemed to take particular joy in calling God something different each time she started a new stanza of the prayer (“God of light and dark”), which I found pretentious. And not for the first time, I found myself getting angry about what she was praying for and angry with the people around me for bowing their heads and blindly supporting whatever she said. She wasn’t praying for anything bad — world peace, in one instance — but I found myself thinking that it would be better if she did something rather than pray about it because God surely wasn’t going to intervene (even in wars being fought because of him).

So, if I have all these issues, why do I go each year? To quote Tim Minchin’s “White Wine in the Sun,” I quite like the songs. My favorite is “Morning Star,” which is a responsive hymn with a child in the lead. There’s something about hearing the quivering voice of a child followed by the supportive voices of the congregation that warms my heart.

This year, even my favorite song didn’t “fill my heart with light divine.” For the first time, I’m wondering if I should continue going or if I’ve finally reached a point where Vespers causes more heartache than good feelings.

I do get that it’s my problem. It’s a service that celebrates the birth of Jesus. It makes sense that there would be Bible readings and prayers. But I don’t know that I can deal with them anymore.

Today, I heard a BBC4 show called “Songs of the Sacred Harp.” The show blurb says, “Once called ‘white spiritual,’ this haunting unaccompanied choral tradition survived in the small rural Baptist churches of the American Deep South. … Also called ‘shape note singing,’ the music is based around the Sacred Harp hymn book compiled in Georgia in 1844. The pages show different shapes above the words to indicate the notes, enabling songs to be sung on sight. Gatherings are arranged in a hollow square with the self-selected leader entering the middle to call out the number of their chosen song. No applause or audience is allowed. Far removed from ‘happy clappy,’ they are often austere hymns with themes of death and the pain of everyday existence.”

Several people who sing are not Christian or even religious at all. One woman said, “I once had a southern Baptist ask me, ‘Why do you sing this music if you don’t believe in the words?’ I think that there’s a misconception that because so many of these words are either based in the doctrines of Christianity or have to do specifically with Jesus Christ or God that you cannot find a way to align yourself with their morals and their understandings. And I find that the lyrics of these songs quite frequently apply to any person who considers himself one who does good works…” A man went on to say, “The poetry is strikingly eloquent — even for people who are not religious.”

I get angry with friends who support the Boy Scouts because the organization discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. I don’t understand how people who are prochoice can attend Mass each Sunday. Would I be a hypocrite for being upset with my friends if I take a page from the non-religious Sacred Harp singers’ books and continue to go to Vespers?

I have months before I have to make a final decision, but right now, I can’t help but think of the chorus of a Sheryl Crow song: “If it makes you happy/Then why the hell are you so sad?”

Never Take a “Which Caracter Are You” Quiz When You Really Hate One of the Characters

I did, and I got these results. I hate Gwen Cooper. A lot.

I guess it’s that thing about hating qualities in others that you have yourself.

Which Torchwood Character Are You?

Your Result: Gwen Cooper

You most resemble the team’s second-in-command and ex-police officer. Empathetic and stubborn, you tend to grab the bull by its horns and have difficulty admitting when you’re wrong, though you always mean well. You are inconsistent in your relationships, wanting stability but also craving drama, and sometimes end up putting yourself first.

Ianto Jones
Owen Harper
Toshiko Sato
Captain Jack Harkness
Which Torchwood Character Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

The Wire in the Blood/The Catch Trap

Book Number: 21
Title: The Wire in the Blood
Val McDermid

Amazon Synopsis: Across the country, dozens of teenage girls have vanished. Authorities are convinced they’re runaways with just the bad luck of the draw to connect them. It’s the job of criminal profilers Dr. Tony Hill and Carol Jordan to look for a pattern. They’ve spent years exploring the psyches of madmen. But sane men kill, too. And when they hide in plain sight, they can be difficult to find…

My Thoughts: This one was slow going in the beginning for me. I had a hard time getting pulled in to the story. But I wound up being quite happy when the bad guy got his in the end. I really disliked him — probably because he was covering his wrongdoings so well. It just feeds my paranoia about people not being what they seem to be.

Book Number: 22
Title: The Catch Trap
Author: Marion Zimmer Bradley

Amazon Synopsis: A magnificent, colorful novel of the circus world of the 1940s and 1950s, rich in detail, and bursting with power and emotion. Mario Santelli, a member of the famous flying Santelli family, is a great trapeze artist. Tommy Zane is his protégé. As naturally and gracefully as they soar through the air, the two flyers find themselves falling in love. Mario and Tommy share sweet stolen moments of passion, but the real intensity of their relationship comes from their total devotion to one another and to their art. As public figures in a conservative era, they cannot reveal their love. But they will never renounce it. A tremendously moving tale, a rich family saga, a wise and compassionate portrait of a special love in a special world.

My Thoughts: I read and enjoyed this book about 20 years ago. I was thinking about it a lot lately, so I decided to read it again. I didn’t remember it being so sad. It was tough to read about the homophobia that Mario and Tommy endured. And I think whoever wrote the Amazon synopsis didn’t read the book very closely: Their relationship was far from filled with “sweet stolen moments.” There were stolen moments, sure, but there was nothing sweet about them. I read the Kindle edition of the book, and it was filled with typos. I’m not sure how Kindle editions are recreated — are the books retyped? If so, they need a proofer!

Note: I’ve read these books for Bookalicious Babe’s 100 Book Challenge for 2011.

Next up: Dunno. It’ll probably be Laurell K. Hamilton, Preston & Child, or J.D. Robb. It’s going to depend on my mood.

Torchwood: Miracle Day

We’re only a couple weeks away from Torchwood: Miracle Day. I’m looking forward to the new series, but I’m wary of what’s going to happen with Captain Jack. I know the show is about protecting the Earth from evil aliens, but it’s always been about the people for me. And the main person has been Jack. I fell for him the first five minutes I saw him on screen. I didn’t know a damn thing about him or Torchwood — had never watch Doctor Who, didn’t realize his character had been birthed there. I was as shocked as Gwen was when he came back to life. And as Ianto and Jack’s relationship developed, I grew to love Ianto, too. I was sad when Tosh and Owen died. And I cried. But I remember that one thing kept going through my head over and over: “At least it wasn’t Ianto.” Cue Children of the Earth. What was that, two years ago? I still haven’t gotten over Ianto’s senseless death. And for fear of a total meltdown, I think that’s all I’ll say about it. Anyway, as I wait for the full-on man sex that John’s promised us, I’ve been wallowing in Jack/Ianto fic.

I spent a lot of time reading everything that magikalrhiannon wrote. She’s done a fair amount of detailed stories, and I’d recommend any one of them.

I’m currently reading and enjoying Lazuli’s Attrition. Jack is trying to talk his way in Ianto’s good graces after his missing time with the Doctor. It’s angsty but good and features a strong Ianto. I figure the “real” Ianto must have been plenty strong for Jack to have fallen for him.

I’m counting all the Torchwood-related reading I’ve been doing at Books 19 and 20.