Monday, October 11, 2010

10/10/10 Reviews: #2 - Surfacing

Book Review #2: Surfacing by Cate Masters

When AJ Dillon, lead singer of an indie band, gets kicked out of the house, he shuffles off to Florida to stay with his grandfather he hardly knows. The one thing he does know: his grandfather is obsessed with mermaids. While working at a small resort show featuring costumed mermaids, a job his grandfather sets up for him, AJ splashes into Cassiopeia, a real mermaid with attitude.

I don’t read a lot of fantasy but I never say never, so when a fellow author was holding a contest to win her newest, I jumped in and came out with my own copy of Surfacing. To be honest, it was the indie band story line that pulled me in. I’m always on the lookout for a good music novel. This one doesn’t have a big music line, other than that AJ has lost direction with his music and has to find it again, but AJ was nicely written and I enjoyed spending time with him.

What I most enjoyed about the book was the developing relationship between AJ and his grandfather, as well as the way he learns to reconnect with his mother as he learns more about her history and therefore, understands her better. It’s a sweet story about love and forgiveness and learning to look through another’s eyes. The characters are real and memorable. The heroine – this is a romance, after all – is feisty and intelligent and gentle, as she teaches AJ a few things he needed to learn.

I would have, however, enjoyed seeing some of AJ’s story before he moved in with his grandfather. He’s made out to be a troublemaker, enough to get kicked out, and yet he comes off as humble and gentle, maybe a touch cocky but not horribly, and very personable although a bit of a loner. I can’t see that he changes a lot from the beginning of the story to the end, other than accepting his family as they are.

Overall, though, Surfacing is a nice light read with nuances of deeper issues and some fun fantasy. It’s a romance appropriate for young adults and older adults with young hearts.
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Music Review: Keep On Loving You, Reba

I have a couple of Reba’s earlier albums but I’m not a stringent follower. However, when she appeared on Dancing With The Stars last season to sing two songs from her newest album, I started to think I might have to check it out. The title track is hard to resist. When she sang it on the show, a video behind her featured scenes from some big country stars and their long-time spouses. It was a beautiful tribute to marriage and follow through even during times.

Since I bought Keep On Loving You, it’s been played over and over in my house and in my car. Yes, I carry it with me now and then. It’s rather contagious.

Strange, the opening song, is full of resilience and spirit, and those two things shine all the way through the album. There are a few thrown in that are just plain fun, such as I Want A Cowboy (and the way she describes him, who doesn’t?), several that are deeply emotional, one that’s a good warning to young girls, and the last track, I’ll Have What She’s Having, is just absolutely charming and I’ve yet to let it end without rewinding once (at least) to hear it again. If you like country music at all or are willing to give it a try, pick this one up.
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Movie Review: Neverwas (2005)

I’m not sure what made me mark this one to add to my DVD queue, but I’m glad I did. Neverwas is a psychological thriller, not scary but with suspense, about a young psychiatrist (that must have been it) who makes friends with a schizophrenic with ties to the doctor’s family history. The guy is dead-set on getting ‘back’ to a place called Neverwas, a story setting written by the psychiatrist’s father who was eventually locked away in the same hospital.

This one keeps you guessing all the way through. It’s beautifully acted and produced and leaves you thinking. Worth the 108 minutes.
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-- If you’ve read, listened to, or watched any of the above, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Legal Note: Surfacing was won in a contest, Keep On Loving You was purchased by the reviewer, Neverwas was rented by the reviewer. No compensation was received for any review, and none were requested.

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