24 June 2009

Book Review: Sunnyside Blues by Mary Carter

I was delighted to read and review Mary Carter’s third book, Sunnyside Blues, due for release on June 30, 2009.

Summary from marycarterbooks.com: Twenty-five-year-old Andes Lane has spent nine years moving restlessly from place to place as she searches for somewhere that feels right. In the little blue houseboat bobbing on a Seattle lake, she thinks she's found it. But Andes has barely had a chance to settle in before her new life is upended by her landlord, Jay, and his ten-year-old son, Chase. Smart, secretive, and precocious, Chase touches a chord with Andes even as he plays on her last nerve. When Jay needs someone to take care of Chase temporarily, Andes agrees to accompany the boy to Sunnyside, Queens, on a quest she's sure will prove fruitless. But in this new, strange, unexpectedly welcoming city, Andes will confront the secrets she tried to leave behind and the lies that have kept her running. And against all odds, she'll discover a place, a man, and a newfound peace of mind that feel very much like home.

At the onset, I picked up Sunnyside Blues and found myself unable to put it down after a few pages. The novel unfolds with Andes stumbling through a police interview, thus the hook to keep reading is set. As the third chapter opens, the underlying secrets of the characters begin to emerge, bubbling just below the surface. I found myself starting to ask flurries of questions and wanting learn more about the characters, especially Andes. Of course, Andes was truly endeared to me as chapter three closed because even though she fell, Andes ensured none of the champagne was lost! A girl who appreciates and saves her bubbles is my kind of girl!

As Andes’ relationship with Jay and Chase develops, her responsibility grows but so do the questions that surround her and subsequently the other characters too. Secrets become paramount. In fact, secrets are abundant and diverse including hiding the past, discovery, suspicion, protection, and facing the secret. Carter paints a very vivid picture of each character’s secret but weaves the revelations delicately into the plot to keep the reader guessing, thinking, ultimately making this novel difficult to put down.

Delving into the realm of secrets, it becomes clear that Andes’ secrets, as well as those of Chase, Jay, and Andes’ father, have had serious life changing consequences. Secrets come with a price. Some secrets are transparent and easily figured, while others are so deep, so hidden that the secret is much like a dead body lying in a casket covered by a six foot dirt barrier.

This novel is not formulaic, but a well thought out, complex story that rises above the mindless chick lit genre. I enjoyed that Carter allowed for Andes to experience catharsis at the end of the novel. More importantly, it did not finish with the happily ever after fairy tale where boy-gets-the-girl. Instead, Andes was true to herself and her dreams.

Sunnyside Blues reminded me of what I call ‘three universal truths’:
* Everyone has secrets
* You cannot run from your past
* You never know where the day will take you

Did I mention there is a pyromaniac and snakes too?

Snap up a copy of Sunnyside Blues. You will be glad you did.

Mary is having a contest, so enter to win a signed copy of Sunnyside Blues and $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card! Winner will be announced on August 1st!

16 June 2009

because i am a dork

Yesterday as I was scrambling out of the office building en route to a customer meeting, I notice a woman in the lobby. I recognized her face instantly. I had a small debate with myself about whether or not to yell out "Wetsy!"

Yes, I saw The Pioneer Woman's sister, Betsy. She was as pretty as her photos and rail thin making me very jealous because she had a baby not long ago.

I chickened out and continued on out the door.

Damn, I lost my opportunity for a trip out to the ranch!

08 June 2009

bullet point quickie

Adventure Weekend Summary in no particular order.....

  • Laughed a wicked lot, when I met up with some local bloggers. Of course, Coco and I first knew each other in reality. However, Thursday night, I met Tied Up With A Black Velvet Band and I Pick Pretty. Enjoyed many a cocktail and am looking forward to our next adventure.
  • Met a fairly good looking man at a big wine tasting. However, the planets did not align completely because he does not have my phone number.
  • Lawn mowing in Texas sucks the big one. However, I am thinking that a Patsy-propelled mower combined with intense heat and humidity will ensure a wee bit of weight loss.
  • Made reservations for a week holiday in Mexico. Bring on the swine flu because I would love the express train to weight loss.
  • Can you tell I am very eager for this last 7 pounds to be gone?!
  • The Southern Gentleman called on Saturday. Said phone was timed at 1 hour, 17 minutes. This marathon call from a man who claims to hate speaking on the phone. Keep in mind he was the primary talker in the conversation.
  • The Southern Gentleman stated that he has "neglected several important things in his life as of late in trying to the business started." I think that was his attempt at an apology as he also stated that in a email. Old Patsy would have been happy with this. However, New World Order Patsy feels the old adage "too little, too late" applies perfectly.
  • Had the girls over to Stepford for the first time. There is nothing more that I love than a house full of friends and laughter. It truly makes my heart sing!
  • Montana Man asked me to do some editing for him on Friday. I didn't even look at until Sunday night. Furthermore, did not pour too much energy into it when I did correct it. I am done with it all.
  • Ready for a cleaner slate and fresh start.
  • Capped off the weekend perfectly with some champagne on Sunday evening. Everything is better with bubbles!

Have a sparkling week, my darlings!

03 June 2009


Recently I have been feeling alone. The alone-ness that complements feeling helpless. It is especially troubling to me because I never have felt this way before. I am an overly independent woman who can do anything.

But lately I have been feeling my limitations. Reaching the realizations. It started with moving house coupled with Lulu's adventures in snake charming gone bad. Then trying to wrangle up furniture via craigslist. Toss in Lulu having simultaneous puke and diarrhea fest. Clearly, May was a roller coaster ride in my small corner of the universe.

I learned I don't ask for help and furthermore it is very difficult for me to ask. I have been spoiled to the n-th degree having my father just quick car ride away. He always solves my problems, always helps. He is my rock; the one person I can count on no matter what.

In my many May hours of need, sure, my father was only a phone call away, but he couldn't swoop in and solve the problem because he is 1,000 miles away. That is when the feeling of being utterly alone overcame me.

I realize though that I did live through the roller coaster ride, but it wasn't as easy as I have grown accustom to. There aren't any givens. Particularly when Lulu was spewing out both end, I made too many phone calls to my girls down here trying to find someone who would simply run to the CVS to pick up Imodium for me because even a short car ride was out of the question. No one would do it. At my wits end, I called yet another girlfriend expecting a similar response as the others, but immediately she said yes. I was beyond thankful that someone answered my distressed cries, but at the same time, disappointed in others.

May's lessons were humbling. I have to get better at asking because I cannot do everything by myself. This is uncharted territory.

01 June 2009

where is he?

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know your name, where you live, what you do for a living, how you take your coffee, or what makes you laugh.

Clearly, I know very little about you; however, I do believe I will have some level of inkling when our paths finally cross. Maybe.

But there are a few things I do know about you for sure – you really are out there somewhere (preferably Austin) hunting high and low for me, you accept and appreciate me for who I am – quirks and all, there are no games or ambiguity, and even though happily ever after is only in the movies, we’ll have our own reality-based version of what that is for us.

I have waited patiently for you; I have had a lot of fun along the way. Experiences I wouldn’t give away because each has been instrumental in creating the tapestry that is my life, me.
But even in all the happiness and love that surrounds me now, there is a small piece missing. And that is you. Please hurry.