May 23 2013
Devil in Texas by Calista Fox. $ Free
From the Jacket Copy:
New Yorker Liza is in desperate need of a fresh start—and libido CPR wouldn’t hurt either. Taking Fate into her own hands, she relocates to Wilder, Texas, on a whim. Her first night in town, she meets a devil in blue jeans named Jack. A sinner who willingly hands over a ticket for the most erotic ride of her life.Jack doesn’t date Wilder women and he certainly doesn’t need another complication in his life. He’s running for City Council and trying to keep the morality crusaders in town from shutting down the last-standing public watering hole in Wilder. But when the sexy New Yorker sways her shapely hips through his door, Jack’s convictions instantly go up in flames, along with his body. Jack antes up and goes after everything he wants, including Liza. But is he the only one playing for keeps?
The story could have used some more depth. While I enjoyed the light read, and the hot love scenes, I really didn’t learn a lot of Jack or Liza’s past, and what makes them the people they are today. There are bits and pieces trickled throughout the story about Liza, but not enough to satisfy my need of knowing the two better.
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison. $ Free
From the Jacket Copy:
The weekend of my sister’s sixteenth birthday, she took a road trip with some friends down to Lucerne Valley in the Mojave Desert. For two weeks prior, the trip was a source of debate around our dinner table. My old man reasoned that since she was a responsible kid, got good grades, fed her pets, and honored her curfew, she ought to be allowed to take the trip. My mother reasoned that it was a bad idea. She didn’t trust the other kids. They were a scraggly bunch.
My sister took the trip. She never came home. She was killed in a freak car accident the weekend she turned sixteen years old. The incident, the specifics of which have never been explained satisfactorily by anyone, all but exploded my family. My parents divorced after twenty-five years of marriage. I lost what amounted to my primary caregiver. My oldest brother was deeply depressed for two years afterward and was really never the same in some fundamental way. To this day, my family is still feeling the shockwaves. I’m still walking around with this sister-shaped hole in my heart. After a few beers, my brother will still lament the fact that he owed her seven bucks at the time of the accident. The seven bucks had been a point of contention involving the sale of a ten-speed bike. They argued fiercely about the money up until the day she left. At fifty-seven, my brother is still trying to pay that debt.
There are holes in our lives that can never be filled–not really, not ever. And yet, we have no choice but to try to fill them. We must drive on in the face of debilitating loss, crippling guilt, overwhelming hopelessness. Because to give up is to be dead. I’ve lived with this idea since I was five years old.
Ben Benjamin is a character who has lost virtually everything–his wife, his family, his home, his livelihood. Broken, stripped down, stricken, and without hope, Ben is a shadow of his old self. He has been a stay-at-home dad for nearly a decade, so the job market has all but passed him by. With few options, Ben registers for a twenty-eight-hour night class called The Fundamentals of Caregiving, where, in the sweltering basement of the Abundant Life Foursquare Church, Ben learns how to insert catheters and avoid liability. He learns about professionalism and how to erect and maintain certain boundaries, how to keep physical and emotional distance between the client and the care provider. He learns that caregiving is just a job. But when Ben finds himself assigned to a tyrannical nineteen-year-old named Trev, who is in the advanced stages of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, he discovers that the endless mnemonics and service plan checklists presented in his class have done little to prepare him for the reality of caring for a fiercely stubborn, scared, sexually frustrated adolescent with an ax to grind with the world at large.
When I set out to write this novel, I didn’t envision it as a road novel. I’ve never had a desire to write a road novel–in fact, I was very resistant to the idea. But the characters led me to the road. They left me no choice. They all but dragged me kicking and screaming to the road. It seemed Ben and Trev were always driving around in that van of Trev’s, but they were never getting anywhere. They were both stuck. They needed that van to deliver them somewhere–and I guess I needed it, too. Because that’s where this novel delivered me. The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving is a story of total collapse, and ultimately, reconstruction. Before it is over, this calamitous journey will cover five states, resulting in one birth, two arrests, and one instance of cannibalism and including a dust storm, a hail storm, several shit storms, and a six-hundred-mile cat-and-mouse pursuit by a mysterious Buick Skylark.
Baggage is collected.
Hearts are won and lost.
Mistakes are forgiven.
Futures are realized.
This book represents nothing less than an emotional catharsis for its author. I wrote this book because I needed to. Because my sister went on a road trip thirty-nine years ago and never came back. And my family has yet to heal from this terrible fact. This novel is about the imperative of getting in that van, because you have no choice but to push yourself and drive on, and keep driving in the face of life’s terrible surprises. It’s about the people and the things you gather along that rough road back to humanity. And in the end, for me, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving is the van in which I finally bring my sister home.
Washington Post Notable Works of Fiction for 2012
Kansas City Star Top 100 Books of 2012
Seattle Times’ 25 Best Books of 2012
Editors’ Pick for Amazon’s Best of 2012 list
Always You by Erin Kaye. $ 1.99
From the Jacket Copy:
A warm and highly emotive Irish writer who deals with issues that affect real women.
It’s 1992 and Sarah is in love with Cahal, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. As they plan to graduate from university, all seems set for their happily ever after…
Fast forward to 2012 and something’s gone wrong. Cahal is out of the picture and Sarah is divorced from Ian by whom she’s had two children. What happened? As Cahal walks back into Sarah’s life, can they overcome past decisions and surrounding prejudice and make it work a second time around?
Perfect for fans of Cathy Kelly and Maeve Binchy.
Naked Heat by Richard Castle. $ 2.99.
From the Jacket Copy:
When New York’s most vicious gossip columnist, Cassidy Towne, is found dead, Heat uncovers a gallery of high-profile suspects, all with compelling motives for killing the most feared muckraker in Manhattan. But Heat’s murder investigation is complicated by her surprise reunion with superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook. In the wake of their recent breakup, Nikki would rather not deal with their raw emotional baggage. But the handsome, wise-cracking writer’s personal involvement in the case forces her to team up with Rook anyway. The residue of their unresolved romantic conflict and crackling sexual tension fills the air as Heat and Rook embark on the search for a killer among celebrities and mobsters, singers and hookers, pro athletes and shamed politicians. This new, explosive case brings on the heat in the glittery world of secrets, cover-ups, and scandals.
Anyway, this is book two by the TV persona “Richard Castle.” Do we know who ghost writes these? Sadly it is NOT authored by Nathan Fillion.