Friday, February 8, 2013

50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food by Susan Albers, PSY.D.

     I bought this book when I bought the book I like best about mindless eating: Intuitive Eating. The title of this small book is a little touchy-feely, but I really like the ideas inside. I also think these comforting /stress-relieving/therapeutic ideas would be good for coping with any stressful situation.

     Here are few of my favorite sentences from the conclusion: "Before reading this book you may have continually gone to the fridge when you didn't know what else to do to heal your heavy heart. But the fridge is just a big, cold box filled with food. It's a lousy long-term support system."

     That second sentence just makes me chuckle, I don't know why. Something about the big, cold box part. Ha. Anyway, it's a little book full of good ideas to calm oneself in a difficult, depressing, overwrought, stressful moment or two (or more). I liked it.

Die for Love by Elizabeth Peters

     Elizabeth Peters (otherwise known as Barbara Michaels) is one of my favorite authors. She's written suspense novels, horror novels, Egyptian novels (the Amelia Peabody series), gothic novels, romantic adventures... This one is a mystery--one of the Jacqueline Kirby series.

     In this novel Jacqueline attends a murderous convention of the Historical romance Writers of the World and must sort out the suspicious death of a reporter who threatened the success of the most powerful and unscrupulous Romance publisher in that lucrative business. Of course Elizabeth Peters takes some irresistible potshots at the romance business and indulges in some amusing satire of the novels themselves.

     I don't really like Jacqueline Kirby. She's an intellectual, sexually liberated, middle-aged, attractive feminist and I personally find her rather repellent. However, I still find her and the books in which she stars very entertaining.

It was an entertaining book with no swearing and no sex. I really like Elizabeth Peters.

Monday, February 4, 2013

If I Had You by Lynn Kurland

    This is another of the De Piaget series of romances from Lynn Kurland. The others I've read by her in this series are time traveling romances, but this one takes place fully in 13th century England.

     I really appreciate that Lynn Kurland's books are clean. The majority of romances are just pornography wrapped up as romance and I can't stand that.

     However, I found this book less enjoyable than some of the others in the De Piaget/ Macleod series. The biggest problem I found was that the conflict was not clearly defined. I got that someone was trying to kill Ann and even Robin (and then the rest of the De Piaget family), but the motives of the killer were unclear or perhaps they were just unbelievable. In any case, I found that part of the novel very unsatisfying. I also really noticed the drawn out process of relationship building between the two main characters. It took FOREVER for their relationship to crystallize and the delays felt contrived and even silly. In fact, the whole book held together much less neatly than any of the others I've read by Lynn Kurland.

     Still, it was entertaining enough for me to finish it and I always appreciate a clean romance.

The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

     Ted Dekker is a very prolific Christian writer who actually applies his religion to his writing, by which I mean that he has no sex and bad language in his books and there's usually some sort of positive or thoughtful reference to God in his stories as well. I have only read one other of his books (a good vs. bad fantasy) and I was interested to see what his other books were like.

     In The Bride Collector, FBI Special Agent Brad Raines must find and stop a serial killer who is killing beautiful women.

     Sounds pretty standard for your police procedural/suspense/mystery novel, eh? This one is a little different, though, in that Dekker blurs the line between sanity and insanity by making some of his most notable main characters residents of a home for the gifted mentally ill. He asks the question: do we not all have pockets of mental illness? And another: are those who think in different patterns from the "rest of us" really just gifted in ways society is not organized to appreciate? And another: can one ever be "healed" of mental illness, particularly when that illness stems from a traumatic experience? Interesting questions.

     I did wonder how squeaky clean Ted Dekker would approach a serial killer of women--usually there's something sexual going on there. But, he dodged that bullet very neatly and still made his killer perfectly frightening. It was an engaging book and I loved that the bad language and sex scenes were missing.