Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Little Compliment Never Hurts

Last weekend I went out the Georgia Renaissance Festival for the first time.  It was kind of cool out, and rainy, and muddy, and I went alone.  I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy myself, but I figured that if I didn't, I could blame it on the crummy weather and just try again later with some friends.

I had a great time.

Since it was icky outside, it wasn't very busy.  I could walk around without bumping into people, which is always nice.  I didn't have to worry about being too hot.  I could take my time browsing the stalls and shops, and not worry about being in anyone's way.  It took the better part of four hours to make one circuit of the place, and that was without stopping everywhere.

The shows were entertaining, too - rather adult humor, even in front of kidlets, but since I had no kidlets along, I didn't really care ;)  I'd definitely like to go back and intentionally seek out some performances, rather than just stumbling upon them.

I actually spent about an hour at one shop, though I had planned to just ask a quick question and leave.  They sold boots, and I always have a heck of a time finding boots.  I have teeny, tiny little feet (I usually wear kids' shoes, and at best, a woman's 5), but big ol' calves from much tap dancing.  Trying to find boots is tough work.

So I stopped in, and looked.  The guy (Brian) told me that  I really needed to try the boots on to see how they fit.  And I did.  Rather, I let him put me into a boot.  And wow.  It was awesome.  Of course, the top edges just barely met, so if I get a pair, I'll have to special order them so they can be made wide enough, but still.  It was nice to see that I'm not that far off from the standard sizing.

What was even nicer, though, was when Brian asked to play dress-up with me. (And yes, that's what he called it.)  He disappeared into the back, and came out with an armful of things for me to try on - long leather vests, a corset-style vest, a coat, a wrap shirt - all made of such soft, lovely leather.

Even better than all the lovely things, though, was what he said to me: "You've got the body of a real woman.  That's an hourglass figure."

I think that might have been the best I've felt about myself in weeks.

So thanks, Brian.  You made my day. (Sorry I couldn't afford the $500 boots!)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I won something!

I read a lot of author blogs. Some of them, I read for craft information, some I just read for fun. One of those is Michelle Davidson Argyle. I've read two of her books, 'True Colors' and 'Monarch' (and I'll be reviewing 'Monarch' eventually). She's also got a newsletter, and I've been a subscriber for several months. Last month, she was giving away two books to her subscribers, and I won! Woot!

The book I received was an autographed copy of "The Secret Year" by Jennifer R. Hubbard.

I devoured this book. I read it in a single sitting. It's not the sort of book that I would necessarily have picked up on my own - it's YA, written in first person, and features a male MC, Colt. As soon as I started reading, though, I was drawn in.

From the back cover:
Julia and Colt were together for a year, but nobody knew of their secret love. Then Julia dies, and Colt's life spirals out of control. He is haunted by her memory, and things only intensify when her journal falls into his hands. Can Colt bring himself to read Julia's diary? Or will he live without answers to his burning questions about a romance that changed him forever?

From Goodreads:
Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly. Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year and no one, not even Julia's boyfriend knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can't mourn Julia openly, and he's tormented that he might have played a part in her death. When Julia's journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he's desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?

The Goodreads summary is a better version of what the book is actually about. I'm impressed by Hubbard's skills - even though I have virtually nothing in common with Colt, I felt like I could understand what was going on inside his mind. Sure, it helped that the book was written in first person, but there was an empathy that developed. At the same time, Colt and the other characters drove me crazy. I swear, my friends and I weren't that dumb in high school, but when I look at some of the teenagers I know now, I can believe that they would do the same sort of stupid things that the kids in this book do.

The ending wasn't a happy one in a traditional sense, but it was a good one - a realistic one, though it made me wish that I could go talk to this kid and tell him he was being an idiot. Of course, given the choices that I've made in my life, I'm probably not one to talk. Then again, maybe I would be the right one to give advice.

Anyway. The point is, I really enjoyed this book. If you're a YA fan, or you enjoy books that lean towards the realistic rather than idealistic, you should consider picking this one up.