Adventures in Dallas

Hello wild ones!

Ugh, I’ve had a looooong day. After getting off work this morning at 5 am, I went home, made sure my bag was packed, slept for about 4 hours, and the hit the road with TJ. 

Good grief, it felt like the longest car ride of my entire life. I swear we hit every single patch of traffic north of Pleasanton. 

Though the journey was frustrating, long, tiresome, and headache endusing, we made it here safely. And M and LB greeted us with delicious chinese, two long island ice teas (for me, TJ is a minor), and a bucket of laughs. I think I was in tears towards the end of dinner before staggering back to LB’S apartment. 

Currently I’m safely tucked into my air matress, hoping that as soon as I put this phone down I crash for a good solid 8 hours. We have to be up super early to head to Hugo, OK to visit the elephant scantuary. Keep a look out on Instagram for photos of tomorrow, otherwise you won’t get to see the fun until Monday. 

Ok kids, I gotta get some sleep. Have a great weekend! NIGHT!

Until later, stay wonderfully wild!

Chels

Dear Aaron, I’m Conflicted

Dear wild ones,

This book review is giving me some serious trouble. I finished Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata early this morning and immediately sent a pissed off text to my sister. Dani finished the book a few days prior and had some not nice things to say about the ending, so I had to let her know I felt the same way. Seeing as it would be silly to start a review at the end of the book, I’ll hold back my comments for a bit.

I’m not kidding when I say that I’m seriously conflicted about this book. Usually when a book makes me grin and laugh like a loon it means it’s on it’s way to the top of my favorites list, this book however is hovering somewhere in the middle.

It’s just…ugh…I can’t even decide what kind of rating I want to give this one. It’s a Zapata book, so I want so badly to just run down the street screaming that this was a 5 star read, but that doesn’t feel honest. However, when I think about downgrading it to anything less than the 5 stars my heart tells me to throw at it I start to get a little pissy with myself. So…here’s hoping that this review doesn’t sound like it was written by a complete airhead who has no idea what she’s doing, even if that might very well be the case.

Let’s start with what I liked about the book.

  • It made me laugh, I swear if I had been reading this in public I would have gotten some curious stares. Between the loud bursts of laughter and the goofy smiles I probably would have been committed, but lucky for me I was alone at work.
  • It’s unlike anything I’ve read yet. Prior to this one I have only read two other books where the main characters meet via the interweb, and I loved both of those, but this one was completely different than the others. The bulk of this book is strictly emails exchanged between our MCs, Ruby Santos and Aaron Hall, via the HaS program, a sort of pen pal thing that pairs people with soldiers over seas.
  • The understanding and vocalization of the awesomeness of mini pigs. That one little thing made me so ridiculously happy it wasn’t even funny. I love mini pigs!! As soon as I’m adult enough to have my own home I am going to have a cute little piggy companion for Watson.
  • This one was a fairly easy read. Mariana is the queen of slooooooooooow burn. That being said, sometimes her books can take me a bit to really get into a flow of reading, even my favorites took me some time to focus to get through them. That was not the case with this book. I guess it’s because of the email format, the pages didn’t seem as long maybe…I don’t know for sure, but I didn’t have any difficulty getting through this book, though it was frustrating as hell.

 

Moving on to the things that were not my favorite.

  • The emails. Ugh, as much as they made me laugh and smile, I found myself getting really frustrated with this book (even though it was an easy read). We don’t get to “meet” our leading lady, Ruby Santos, until the 45% mark! Up until then it’s strictly emails and messages passed back and forth between the pair.  For me it made it really hard to connect with both of them. I liked both of them, but I wasn’t necessarily cheering for them. Reading this book was kind of like watching real life, you get the conversations but none of the underlying emotion or thoughts of either character. And once the brief scene between Ruby’s siblings is over, it’s seriously just a few pages, it goes straight back to messages for another 10%. So about 50 – 55% of this book is just flat conversation. I guess we’re supposed to read between the lines, but it wasn’t fun for me. My favorite thing about reading is the all of the stuff that goes on in characters heads throughout their journeys and I guess I felt a little cheated for a bit there.
  • I’m not the biggest fan of either of the main characters. Again, this probably stems from the fact that for half of the book there wasn’t really anything to connect to them about on an emotional level.
    • Ruby came across as a little weakling whiny baby for me, which makes me feel ridiculous for saying because I can be a serious whiny baby, but I swear she cries like a hundred dang times. I will freely admit that there’s a lot that makes me cry, sad commercials, happy stuff, when I get really angry I tend to cry, but even I thought the amount of time this chick spent tearing up was kind of silly. I tried to be gracious and keep her age in mind, she’s 24, but she felt immature. She still lives at home, still has the same two jobs she’s had since she was 16 and was hired by family, and despite the fact that Aaron constantly tells her she’s brave I didn’t buy it. Sorry…
    • Aaron was kind of a mystery. Good ole boy from Lousiana who’s family is loaded, we seriously don’t find that out until like the end of the book, and who went into the service because he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life. At 28 he’s still not sure what he wants out of life, which is understandable, I’m in the same boat, so I get it, but after spending nearly 10 years in the army you would figure he would know himself a bit better. He’s a bit moody/broody, which I usually love, but he came across as petulant at some points. There were a few instances where he got all silent on Ruby, typical male bullshit I guess, but it bugged me.
  • Now, let’s talk about that ending. I wanted to throw my tablet. Though I should have not been surprised, Dani warned me that she hated the ending, but I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was. I don’t think I’ve ever been left feeling as lost as the epilogue in this book left me. Per her usually MO, Mariana gives us a sweet/steamy sex scene and then promptly ends the book, this one however went a step further on the fucked up scale. *SPOILER AHEAD* After their little love fest we get a goodbye scene that seriously makes you think it might be the end. Ruby is sobbing, Aaron is trying to convince her that it’s not really goodbye, but if you honestly look at it logically it felt like they could be done. He’s stationed in Kentucky, she lives in Houston (shout out to Mariana for yet another book based in my home state!) and he’s not done with his enlistment. Aaron hugs Ruby before her flight home and then we get the most unfulfilling epilogue in the world. Our epilogue was text messages. FUCKING TEXT MESSAGES! UGH!!! I’m still super pissed about the let down at the end of this book. The only thing you can glean from the texts is that 4 years have passed and the duo is still together, they obviously live together (I think in Houston), he’s still in the service, she’s making dog bandannas and they’re thinking about starting a family. That’s it. I’m assuming the point of doing the epilogue in text format was so it felt like a true part of their love story, you know two people who fell in love online, and we get a few pieces of pertinent information let’s us know that they’re together and living their happily ever after, but none of that made me feel any better. It was a let down of epic proportions.

Okay, now that I’ve done some ranting and raving it’s time to get down to the rating. Oh god, I’m sweating here. Looking at the above points it would seem like I had way more bad to say about the book than the good, however, you can’t factor in the happy little sighs that sometimes escaped me, or the frowns…soooooo. Shit. I thought it would be easier once I wrote everything out, but it’s really not.

I want to give it 5 stars, I really do. Mariana has become of my favorite authors and I’ve read some of her books so many times I could recite them. This book however, I don’t think I want to read again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s well written as a whole, but I don’t feel the itch I usually do when I’ve read a book that I love. Most of the time once I’ve finished something I really love I can start all over again almost immediately and love every second again, that’s not the case here. When I thought about reading it again before I wrote this review my heart said, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” and my brain agreed, so I guess that means I can’t go with 5 stars.

So with a heavy heart and hand, I’m gonna give this one 3.5 stars. I think I can feel good about 3.5 stars. Okay, so 3.5 stars it is.

Sheesh, that was a toughie. Okay, I’m gonna go start looking for my next literary fix. If you have any suggestions or requests please feel free to leave them in the comment section.

I’ll be posting next week’s selection on Monday, though I was thinking last night it might be better to tell you guys on Wednesdays what book I’m gonna read next, just so maybe you can read it too before I do the review. Hmmm…I’ll have to ponder that this weekend while I’m hanging with elephants, LB, M, and TJ.

NIGHT!

Until later, stay wonderfully wild!

Chels

A Revision of my “Plan”

Hello wild ones!

Wow…Ummmmmmmm I’d like to apologize to everyone who read my “I’ve Got a Plan,” post from two weeks ago (which I have now deleted). I had every intention of sticking to that plan, but things quickly spiraled out of control and I couldn’t figure out how to get back on track without looking like a complete jackass. Briefly I thought about just pulling another vanishing act, but I really didn’t want to be that girl again, so here I am once again crawling across the floor begging you to forgive me for being a spacey idiot.

In hindsight, the first week of June was just not a smart week to restart my blog. I was doing well until Thursday’s adventure to San Marcos for a birthday party resulted in me not getting home until after midnight, which meant I missed posting Thursday. And then to compound that screw up, that Friday I didn’t get home until after midnight again and then I was back at work and it was my birthday. I’m really sorry. I tucked my tail between my legs for all of last week because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do about being suck a screw up and just to make my life a little bit more difficult to navigate I got put back on night shift.

I’ve since remembered why I loved working nights so dang much. No one is here!!! I get to be free all night!!! Also, for the most part there’s not a ton of stuff I have to do, so I get more time to work on my planner or talk to you guys. So I waited another week for things to settle back down before coming back with an advised plan.

For now, I am not going to post everyday. I’m sorry, but I seriously get down on myself if I miss a post time and then I just fall down into a pit of self loathing and despair, that it’s just better for me to make a plan that I can actually follow.

So, here is what I came up with.

  • Mondays – will be a look into our week. This will include an announcement of the book I’ll be reviewing, any big events/plans, a peek at my planner, and a goal for the week that I want to accomplish.
  • Wednesdays – book review time. I’m going to warn you now that my reviews will contain some major spoil alerts, which is why I am going to announce the book I’ll be reading ahead of time. I’ll also be asking for book suggestions for the future as well as your feedback on the book itself, should you decide to read along with me.
  • Fridays  – a wrap up of our week and a day in the life blog.

If you saw the other post the schedule isn’t that much different, I’m just not planning on posting every dang day. I chose to post three days a week, which I just feel is more manageable for now. In a few weeks/months I want to look at this schedule again and think about going back to posting everyday, but for now please pop on over every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a peek into the craziness that is my life.

Okay, so since it’s Monday I need to give you the book I am planning on reviewing.

Dear Aaron by [Zapata, Mariana]

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

My sister and I love all of Mariana Zapata’s books, I got her hooked sometime last year and we both squealed like total fan girls when we saw that she had a new book out. My sister, Dani, has already read the book and has been impatiently waiting for me to jump in, but I’ve been putting it off. Call it delaying gratification. But the wait is over! So come back Wednesday to hear what I have to say about this one.

We’ve got a trip to Dallas this weekend to look forward to! Friday afternoon Edith, my new Ford Edge, and I are hitting the road with TJ to visit LB and pick up M, but the really exciting part of this trip is that we are going to an elephant sanctuary on Saturday!! I am beyond excited about crossing the Texas border into Oklahoma to visit elephants, like so excited that I kind of yelled the words in my siblings faces as soon as I saw them. There may have also been some bouncing and jazz hands in the explanation, but in my defense…elephants!

And my goal for this week…ummm to complete the to do list that I stuck inside my planner 3 days ago.

That list reads as follows:

  • make budget/finance printouts for planner
  • make menu plan/grocery list printouts for planner
  • organize projects in the garage
  • make mom’s planner printouts

It may not seem like a lot, but each of those bullets have sub bullets that have to be dealt with, luckily I’m working nights so, I should have plenty of time to get all the printouts designed that I need to get done.

Okay, I think that’s about it kids. I’ll see you on Wednesday!!

Until later, stay wonderfully wild!

Chels

Strong Signal

Hello wild ones!

I hope it’s been a lovely hump day for you, Lois and I are currently curled up on my bed with a bad of tangerine cotton candy in between us while I get this review written. She keeps trying to steal off with the package, so I’m having to watch her. Dog owner problems…

Okay, so let’s get the show on the road shall we. -Spoilers ahead-

Oh also, full discretion, this is a M/M book, so if hearing about love between two men is going to make you squeamish please hit the road Jack.

Strong Signal (Cyberlove, #1)

First things first, this book is a total 5 star read for me. I’m kinda stingy with my stars on Goodreads, but this book really just hit it out the park for me. It made me laugh, feel all gooey inside, I got a bit giddy at points, but it still had some major steam as well as just enough angst to pull at my heart strings without making me weep like a damn child.

I reread this book today, so I could go back and take some notes on the parts that made me smile the most, while listening to a  station titled “Love Songs,” which was super appropriate because I LOVE this book.

A chance encounter in a fantasy world on FOW (online RPG) brings two antisocial butterflies together. And let me tell you that we get some magic from these two.

Garrett, an army mechanic stationed over seas, just wants to get online to escape the monotony of his days spent in the desert while counting down the days until his tour is officially over.  He comes across an orc killing baddies in his usual cavern and is pissed that someone else is stealing his kills. A few arrows and couple of cuss words later he’s put down by a the dancing green giant, Samwise, and a winky face launches his quest for vengeance.

A message popped through from Samwise-a single wink emoticon. What. The. Fuck

That dancing Orc is none other than Kai, a twitch streamer sitting in his room a thousand miles away playing while his adoring fans watch and cheer him on. Garrett sends a little message of his own after discovering the enchanting Kai’s channel and then stays in his stream watching while the blue eyed beauty kills zombies.

After seeing Hazzard, Garrett’s handle, squatting in his chat all night Kai does a little digging of his own and discovers that the archer he put down in the caves is a military man on deployment.

We get a glimpse into Kai’s somewhat troubled mind when he starts worrying that Garrett is going to take it a step further and actually hunt him down, prompting this little nugget.

In my script like scrawl, I wrote, if you find my body ask Hazzard.

 

I’m sure that doesn’t seem like the best foundation for a relationship, but let me tell you that these two come together so perfectly it makes me want to dance around in my room.

Honestly, Kai and Garrett make this book amazing.

We’ve got Garrett, the mechanic who has a permascowl on his face, antisocial to the max, but is seriously just a big cuddly teddy bear. He’s super protective of his family and of course Kai, sweet, understanding, and I’m convinced he’s got to be a unicorn because the boy is a delicious level of dirty that makes him the perfect man.

And then we have Kai, our little red panda who has debilitating social anxiety, but lives for his online following. He’s just a sweet little morsel who loves that Garrett will not hesitate to go Rambo on anyone he feels is the least bit threatening toward him. Also burns up the sheets under his army boyfriend. I really admired him because despite the fact that being in public made him literally have panic attacks he makes several efforts just for Garrett. First we get him braving a mall to put together a care package, a grocery store to take Garrett shopping, and then finally a car moving across state lines. Ugh, he was just amazing.

They were just perfection together. Ugh, I loved them. Makes me sick.

If you’re looking for a sweet read capable of making your teeth hurt while still burning up your Kindle and making your heart soar please go check out this book. Reading it again today just strengthened my love and now as soon as I put this damn laptop away I’m going to delve back into the second book in this series.

Five stars. All the damn stars!!!

If you have a book you’d like me to check out please don’t hesitate to drop a line in the comments section below. Also, critiques and questions are welcome and encouraged.

I think that’s it…though I could probably go back and detail out the entire darn book for you I don’t wanna do that. This gem is too great for anyone to pass up on, so I don’t want to ruin it completely.

Night kids!

Until tomorrow, stay wonderfully wild!

Chels