Sunday, October 19, 2014

Little Miss Crabby Pants Is Getting Tired

OK, seriously now?!  Little Miss Crabby Pants can literally go several months between appearance and yet this is the third time she's somehow managed to break her restraints and crawl down Wendy's mental attic stairs in the past couple of months.  But here she is again to discuss a recent Guardian article written by a YA author (who I will not name because damn the woman has gotten enough free publicity already) who tracked down (as in PAID FOR A BACKGROUND CHECK, found out where the reviewer lived AND worked and proceeded to CALL HER AT WORK and SHOW UP AT HER HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!) who didn't like her book.

I'm sorry, it bears repeating: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please see Dear Author and BookThingo for more concise round-ups.  Both have done wonderful posts.  As for Little Miss Crabby Pants?  She's here to swing a baseball bat and hopefully knock some sense into the situation.  You know, assuming any sense can be found - which at this point is highly dubious.  Especially since I've seen a lot of "victim blaming" (well that reviewer had it coming to her!) and some authors and readers somehow, for reasons that total escape me, "sympathizing" with The Stalker.

First, authors who somehow think The Stalker is some sort of Folk Hero - let's stop for a moment and put the shoe on the other foot.  Would you feel the same way if it was the reviewer/blogger/GoodReads participant who PAID FOR A BACKGROUND CHECK, found out where the author lived and worked and proceeded to CALL THE AUTHOR AT WORK and SHOW UP AT THE AUTHOR'S HOME?  Yeah, my guess is not so much.  I'm guessing if The Stalker was The Stalkee, you'd feel a whole lot different about this situation.  Would I be seeing the same amount of victim blaming?  Something tells me Not So Much For $200 Alex.

So yeah, authors who somehow think that The Stalker was in the right?  Check yourselves at the door.  Do NOT pass Go.  Do NOT collect $100.
But, but, but - Little Miss Crabby Pants, that Mean Ol' Reviewer/Blogger was using a *GASP* pseudonym!
Yeah, well guess what cupcake?  So frickin' what?  Reviewers, blogger, Average Joes use fake names online ALL THE TIME.  And you know what?  Not everybody does it because they're a Big Ol' Meanie up to know good.  They do it for personal reasons.  Some of the same frickin' reasons that authors use pseudonyms.  Maybe the reviewer likes to review kinked up BDSM novels featuring shapeshifting dragons and doesn't want her employer to hit upon her using a Google search.  Because guess what?  Employers ROUTINELY look at things like Google, Facebook, Twitter all the blasted time, especially when we're talking about a hiring or firing situation.  Or, you know, maybe the reviewer/blogger has an abusive ex in their past, enjoys social media, but doesn't want said ex to come a-knocking on their door.

Or, you know, maybe they just want to keep to keep their private life, here's a thought - PRIVATE!

Reviewers/bloggers don't necessarily use pseudonyms to be Big Ol' Meanies.  Sometimes they do it for very serious reasons and sometimes they do it for totally mundane ones.  You know, maybe for some of the same reasons you write romance novels under the name "Candy Bush."

I spent some time over the weekend hanging out with writers - one of whom who has been published for several years now.  Her first question to me was to ask if I'd spoken directly with Jane (the whole DA/EC suit that is a separate cluster and we've already hit upon).  Said writer feels about it the way I do - which is to stay it's really, really eff'ed up, that Jane now finds herself in a big ol' mess that she shouldn't be in in the first place and that it's really unfortunate for all the authors/editors/contractors stuck in limbo.  She knew that as far as talking romance novels online that I'm older than dirt and I expressed how I thought nothing like this could possibly ever happen.  Which is where I'm at with this new development of an author going to great lengths to stalk a reviewer/blogger/GoodReads participant.  Granted The Stalker isn't a romance author - but still.

I feel it's worth mentioning that 15 years ago I thought I saw a lot of unfortunate things in terms on online behavior.  Authors who weren't fans of emerging sites like The Romance Reader, All About Romance and Mrs. Giggles.  Things were said.  And my eyes did bug out on occasion.  I now feel like I owe everybody back then who may have had a moment where they got caught with their pants down an apology.  Why?

BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T RUN BACKGROUND CHECKS AND STALK ANY OF US!!!!!!!!

Several years ago I thought "it's gotten better."  We had a whole crop of "new" authors who had grown up with the idea of an online commentary.  They grew up with TRR, AAR and Mrs. Giggles.  Social media did throw a new wrinkle into things, but I truly thought - everybody "gets" the sandbox now.  They may not always LIKE said sandbox, but they "get" it.

Well, some people have clearly not "gotten it."  The only thing, and I mean the ONLY, thing that gives me some comfort is seeing authors I've routinely interacted with online, authors I've had professional relationships with, see this the same way I do.  Which is.....

OMG SHE PAID FOR A BACKGROUND CHECK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  SHE CALLED HER EMPLOYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  SHE SHOWED UP AT HER HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look, let's say, devil's advocate time - that the reviewer/blogger/GoodReads commenter was a Big Ol' Meanie and "had it coming."  Let's say, for a nanosecond, that I don't think the victim blaming in this incident is so far out of bounds that it's three states over.  That still does not justify:

PAYING FOR A BACKGROUND CHECK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  CALLING HER EMPLOYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  SHOWING UP AT HER HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Because, you know, if there was something egregious going on?  If there was something that was totally out-of-bounds?  There are other avenues.  Legal avenues.  Options.  Instead this author decided that stalking was just a Grand Ol' Idea.

Here's the thing authors: sometimes readers are jerks.  We are.  We just don't "get" it.  But guess what?  This is not a new development.  We've not been "getting" it for eons.  Shakespeare had his critics.  Jane Austen had her critics.  Mark Twain had his critics.  Charles Dickens had his critics, and so on.  And you know what?  Those critics sometimes said things about the work, about the authors personally that were "out of bounds."  But guess what?  Once the book leaves you, once the work is out there, YOU KNOW LONGER HAVE CONTROL OVER IT.  Yes, I know - that's harsh.  It's tough to hear.  And yes, there will be Big Ol' Meanies who don't like your book and somehow attribute that to you as a person.  But that does not mean you should:

PAY FOR A BACKGROUND CHECK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  CALL THE READER AT WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  SHOW UP AT THEIR HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you want to keep "control" over your work?  Write it.  Don't publish it.  Keep it buried on your hard drive or collecting dust under your bed.  The minute you put it out there for consumption, for good or ill, it's no longer yours.  It belongs to the masses.  And if you don't like the masses?  If you only want the masses to blow sunshine up your butt?  (Good luck with that by the way)  Then you cannot publish it.  Because nothing ever is all or nothing.  Nothing is ever universally loathed or universally loved.  Period.  End of discussion.

I've been online talking about romance novels since 1999.  I've been blogging since 2003.  In that time many, many, many readers have asked for my advice about blogging.  How to get started, what they should do, is it a good idea.  I've always encouraged them.  Always.  Because I believe that talking books online is better, stronger the more voices there are.  And the more divergent those voices are?  The better.  I believe in Something For Everyone.  If you don't like one blog?  That's OK.  There are literally HUNDREDS of other places you can go to get your book fix.  And really, isn't talking about books the bestest?  What do I tell these advice seekers now?  What do I say to them?  Because honestly, I have no clue.  I'm at the point where even I don't know what to say, what I should do - and people, if that's not eff'ed up after 10+ years of blogging I'm not sure what is.

I was wrong.  Things have not gotten better.  It wasn't the Wild West 15 years ago.  It's the Wild West right now.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Audiobook Round-Up: Trigger Alert Edition

The universal law of putting items on hold at your local public library is that they'll all inevitably come in at once.  So I've been binge-listening to audiobooks that have been equal parts compelling and disturbing.  As in WTFBBQ Did I Just Listen To?!?!?! disturbing.

First up is Still Missing by Chevy Stevens, a debut novel that made a splash a couple years ago.  It's the story of Annie O'Sullivan, a realtor who is kidnapped by a madman while she's packing up an open house.  She's held for a year, and then she manages to escape.

The story hops back and forth in time - from Annie's sessions with her shrink, to her captivity and her eventual escape.  It's a seriously messed up read that should have "Trigger Warning!!!" slapped on the front cover.  We have violence against women (well, one woman - Annie - and yes, she's raped) and Bad Things Happen To Kids.  If you can get past that?  This was a very good psychological suspense story.  It also made a compelling read on audio because the nature of the framework means the style is kind of "tell-y."  There is some showing, but since a good portion is Annie talking to her shrink?  Yeah, telling.  It literally kept me glued to the driver's seat, the narration was very solid, and I was going out to lunch entirely too much that week so I could listen some more.  Not for everybody - but if you can handle the triggers? Highly recommended.

Final Grade = B+

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf is women's fiction with a dash of suspense thrown into the mix - but it's mostly women's fiction.  I could see it making a good book club selection.  It's one of those books that tells the story of four different women - parolee 21-year-old Allison, her 19-year-old sister Brynn, 19-year-old nursing student, Charm, who is also caring for her dying stepfather (lung cancer) and Clare, married, owner of a bookstore, and mother to an adopted five-year-old son.  What we know at the beginning of the story is that Allison got pregnant when she was 16, hid her pregnancy, and then murdered her baby girl.  She's getting out of prison now thanks to good behavior and wants to reconnect with her younger sister - which seems impossible as Brynn and their parents want nothing to do with her.  How do Charm and Clare fit into the picture?  Well, that's a spoiler.

So yeah, the story starts with a dead newborn - so that's your trigger warning.  This story is a train wreck - which is to say that as the reader you know disaster is ahead for everybody, you're just not quite sure how, why and when.  Watching the author fit her pieces together was fascinating, and even when I wasn't sure I liked this story, I couldn't stop listening.  The narration is done by three different women - and they were all good except for the woman who read for Clare and Charm.  Mostly because every time she did a child's voice the kid was in Perpetual Whine Mode.  The women who read for Allison and Brynn were much better, and I got to the point where I was dreading Clare's sections because that meant inevitably her little boy would get dialogue and - whine, whine, whine.

The one solid quibble I have with this story is the father of Allison's dead baby girl.  He plays a major role in the events that drive this story forward, and yet he's off-page other than to show up in couple of flashbacks.  I felt the story would have been better served had he been a more fully-realized character.

I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending of this book.  I'm not even sure I liked it.  But I had to keep listening and it certainly kept me engaged.  And even though I knew the train wreck was coming, I couldn't stop myself from listening.  That's hardly a fail.

Final Grade = B-

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

TBR Challenge 2014: She Walks The Line

The Book: She Walks the Line by Roz Denny Fox

The Particulars: Contemporary romance, Harlequin SuperRomance #1254, 2005, Out of print, Available digitally, Book 5 in 6-part continuity series.

Why Was It In Wendy's TBR?:  Chinese heroine and it's a SuperRomance.  That was all it took.

The Review: Books like this one always depress me.  The sort of book where you can see in between the lines that it could have been a very good story if not for this, that and the other.  There are the seeds of a good story here.  Truly.  Unfortunately it's buried and lost under a mountain of other "stuff" that doesn't work at all.

For one thing, I must have been so excited about a Chinese heroine back in the mid-2000s that I was asleep at the wheel and didn't realize this was part of a 6-author continuity series.  Now I've enjoyed some of Harlequin's continuity stories in the past, and they can stand alone.  Unfortunately this one does not.  The plot never lost me.  No, it was the inclusion of a bunch of characters whose sole purpose was to be window-dressing for the "series stuff."  These characters are there because the continuity dictates it (the series follows six women who go through the police academy together and are trying to crack the Old Boys Club), but none of them serve any purpose to the story at hand.  They're filler.  They're taking up space.  Get them off the page already.

Anyway, that rant out of the way, the story follows Mei Lu Ling who investigates white collar crime for the Houston PD.  Her father is Chinese-American and runs an import business.  For a time Mei worked at the family's Hong Kong office before she decided to join the academy, disappointing her father and horrifying her mother (who immigrated from China).  Why did Mei chuck family duty behind?  What drove her to join the force?  I'm not really sure.  It's never really addressed here other than she wanted to be her own woman - but why police work and not, say, a chef, librarian, teacher, advertising exec....well you get the idea.

She's paired up with Cullen Archer who is an insurance investigator on the hunt for some stolen Chinese artifacts that are rumored to be in Houston, of all places.  And these are serious artifacts - the kind of stuff that belongs in a museum.  There are two dead couriers and notes written in Chinese that he needs translated - enter Mei, who has been assigned to work with Cullen.

So this sounds like it could be good right?  Chinese heroine straddling old and new worlds, who hungers for her own life, chaffing against her parents' ideals.  Then you have the mystery of the missing artifacts while her father works in the import business and she's paired up with Cullen, a white dude, that her parents would most definitely not approve of.  So why exactly was this so boring?  A slog to get through?  The kind of book where I was skimming big ol' chunks.

For one thing, the author spends way too much time on "other stuff" from the continuity - and delaying Cullen and Mei from getting on page together.  Then there's the minor detail that Cullen has twins (a boy and a girl) who are visiting him while his party girl ex is off globe-trotting.  I read a lot of category - so I'm obviously fine with kids in romances.  Really.  But these twins were totally pointless.  A time suck.  Annoying.  And they served no great purpose to the story other than to annoy me at great lengths.  They're the sort of tots that come barging into Daddy's home office while he's meeting with Mei.  You know, those ideal moments when the author should be laying out some actual ground-work to the suspense.  When our couple should be spending time together discussing the case.  Instead you get the plot moppets barging in, the daughter whining about something or other and the son glowering because there's a vagina in Dad's office.

I never thought I'd say this - but this needed to be a lot shorter.  Oh, like say, a Harlequin Intrigue.  Strip away the plot moppets, dump the secondary characters that have NOTHING to do with this story, and just get heroine, hero, suspense, on page together.  Period.

All this being said, I was willing to concede that a lot of this (OK all of it) is personal preference on my part.  A sure sign of a C read for Wendy.  Then I got the ending.  The big reveal.

The word preposterous comes to mind.  Also the phrase "out of left field."  I think I might have actually said, "you've got to be kidding me?" out loud.  And there definitely was eye-rolling involved.  It just flat-out didn't work for me.  The irony being that it probably could have worked had the author spent more time developing the suspense (instead of saturating the word count with plot moppets and secondary characters walking through the story).  As is however, it was liking blaming the whole thing on Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster.  Disappointing to say the least.  A Chinese heroine in a category romance deserved better.

Final Grade = D

Monday, October 13, 2014

Digital Review: Barbarian's Concubine

But what I'd told Clovis was the truth: for good or ill, I had chosen him.  I was on his side, whether or not I agreed with his decisions, and I knew that I would have to prove my loyalty to him...no matter how distasteful I found the tasks he set me.
That is everything you need to know to judge whether or not Barbarian's Concubine, the second installment in Lisa Cach's 1001 Erotic Nights serial, is your sort of read.  I'm not going to lie, this is turning out to be a problematic serial for me to review, and here we are only on the second installment.  I probably shouldn't like it.  I probably should be offended.  I could very well see how other readers would look at me and question my sanity.  But enjoy this I did, caveats and all.  Why?  Because Cach has gone gleefully, cheerfully, Old School with her story.  So far this serial is reading like a Bodice Ripper that has been dismantled and delivered in serial format, as opposed to a door-stopping 500 page novel.  That is obviously going to work better for some readers than others.

Nimia, our former sexual slave, has escaped King Sygarius.  She had no choice but to escape, having been betrayed by her lover, Clovis.  She's looking for a way to escape Gaul but when that option dries up, she's determined to find Clovis.  Yes, he did betray her, forcing her to this life on the run. Sygarius has, naturally, offered a healthy reward for her return.  But Clovis seems to know something about her people, and having no knowledge of who she is, where she came from, this is information that Nimia wants badly.  Once reunited with Clovis, things get complicated.  Nimia has paranormal abilities, visions, that seem to foretell the future, and naturally (this being an erotic serial after all) she gets these visions while, um.....being pleasured.  Clovis discovers this quickly, and now a King, he is determined to use Nimia's gifts to win a bigger prize - taking down Sygarius.

I'll be honest, right up front - Nimia is not the sharpest tool in the shed.  However I'm willing to cut her some slack, mostly because she doesn't have a lot of options.  If she weren't so desperate to find answers about where she came from, she probably could have just set sail for Britania - but then where would our story be?  However her fancying herself "in love" with Clovis strains considerably.  He's obviously using her, but she's too messed up in the head (and let's not forget horny) to get a clue.

And let's talk about horny for a moment.  This is an erotic serial, so yes - sex.  But like the bodice rippers that I suspect inspired this tale (I could be wrong here - it's not like the author and I have had lengthy chats on the subject), the sex is....not always consensual.  Is it rape?  I didn't necessarily think so.  Not all the time at any rate.  But there's no denying that there is a very lop-sided power dynamic to the sex.  Nimia doesn't have any power in this story - other than her visions.  Clovis or Sygarius are unlikely to truly "harm" her because her visions are useful to them.  But does she always want to have sex with them?  Is that sex sometimes played out in a manner that Nimia might not always "want" it?  Yes.  Especially with a development at the end of this installment.  Is Nimia beaten, bloodied and bruised?  No.  Is she subjected to sex against her will?  Some readers will probably say yes - and I'm not necessarily going to say that they're wrong.

Consider that your trigger warning.

It really does remind me of an Old School erotic romance.  Think, harem story - but with no harem and you'll get an idea of what we're dealing with here.  I am just going to admit it - I'm hooked.  Maybe I should be ashamed of being hooked, but I am.  I'm hoping I'm right when I say I think I know where this story is heading.  I'm hoping over the course of the story that Nimia will come into her own.  Gain power.  Gain agency.  As the mystery of who Nimia is, of what her powers entail, come to fruition, I'm hoping we get a serialization of a warrior goddess.  But time will tell.

It's a bodice ripping soap opera saga delivered in bite-size pieces.  Is it any wonder I'm hooked?

Final Grade = C

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Crowdsourcing Twitter for RomCom Recs

I was out at a library yesterday doing a program about (what else?) romance novels.  The idea of the program was talk about upcoming releases, trends, what's popular right now etc.  It was a smaller group, so very informal, and questions started flying.  Then a former colleague asked me for author recommendations for romantic comedy.

It is a truth, universally acknowledged that the moment Wendy is asked for recommendations her brain freezes up.  Most of the time I'm sitting in front of a computer when this happens, and good ol' Google comes to my rescue.  Not this time though, and I only managed to squeeze out a couple of names.  Certainly, there must be more!

Which, hello - of course there are.  So I called on the expertise of Romance Twitter and everyone subsequently made me feel like a brain-dead moron.  Keira Soleore asked if I was going to do a blog post - and now here we are.  Feel free to shout-out more suggestions in the comments section.

Contemporary

Sandra Antonelli
Jennifer Crusie
LB Gregg (male/male)
Kristan Higgins
Julie James
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Penny Reid
Jill Shalvis
Vicki Lewis Thompson (early work, also paranormal)
Lucy Woodhull

Historical

Connie Brockway (specifically Bridal series and Songbird's Seduction)
Tessa Dare
Megan Frampton
Georgette Heyer
Julia Quinn

Paranormal

G.A. Aiken
Dana Marie Bell
Molly Harper
Shelly Laurenston
Katie MacAllister (also historicals!)

Erotic

Emma Chase
Portia Da Costa (Wendy endorses In Too Deep)
RL Mathewson
Charlotte Stein (Wendy endorses Addicted)

In the British Tradtion

Helen Fielding
Marian Keyes
Sophie Kinsella
Jill Mansell

Friday, October 10, 2014

Reminder: TBR Challenge for October

For those of you participating in the 2014 TBR Challenge, this is a reminder that your commentary is "due" on Wednesday, October 15.  This month's theme is Paranormal or Romantic Suspense.  Because, you know, October = Halloween.  Hey, I never claimed to have an imagination.  However, remember - the themes are totally optional and are not required.  Maybe you're not in the mood for the creepy, crawlies, and ghoulies.  It's not important what you read, just that you pull something (anything!) out of the TBR pile.

To learn more about the challenge and see a list of participants, please see the information page.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Her Temporary Hero

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00L73W2J6/themisaofsupe-20
Jennifer Apodaca is a master at giving readers the sexy with the sweet, which is an element I've always enjoyed in her writing.  She can spice up the proceedings with the best of them, but her stories never lose an underlying current of sweetness to them that can turn the reader into a big ol' pile of goo.  Her Temporary Hero is the second book in her Once a Marine category series for Entangled, and it featured more of that trademark Sexy Sweet.  Unfortunately the good parts were off-set by elements that annoyed me and the story never quite gelled into a cohesive whole.

Becky Holmes is a former trailer park beauty queen with a three-month old baby girl.  The Baby Daddy is a vile, despicable, piece of human garbage who has just gotten out of prison for a hit-and-run that killed a homeless man.  Oh, and did I mention that Becky is the one who turned him into the cops?  Oh and the Baby Daddy comes from a Super Rich, Super Powerful family?  Yeah, Becky is screwed.

After Baby Daddy shows up, threatens her, and lets her know his family is going to haul her into court over custody, Becky turns to the only person she can - her boss at the janitorial company where she works.  Her boss has a temporary answer - stay at her cousin's house!  He lives out on a secluded ranch and he's always traveling on business.  You know, except when he isn't.  Logan Knight comes home to find a strange woman and her baby sleeping in his bedroom.  This is a problem he doesn't need, except when it turns out said problem could be a solution.

Logan has a vile, despicable, piece of human garbage for a father.  A father who blackmails him by holding a contract over his head.  Marry by the time you're 30, take over the family ranch, or else you don't get the piece of land your faithless whore mother made me promise to give you.  Logan wants that land to open up a therapeutic retreat for veterans with PTSD, but his father sees that as a big waste of time.  Why would he want to help a bunch of pansies who aren't real men?  And never mind that Logan also suffers from PTSD.  That just makes him a sissy!

So Logan needs a wife and Becky needs to be rescued.  Gee, whatever shall they do?
For the first time, she saw the absolute hard-ass in him.  The man who could kill, and no doubt had.

"Do you hate your father?"

"It's complicated."

She lifted a brow.  "Speak slowly and use small words.  If I concentrate real hard, I might be able to understand."

"Funny.  And a smart mouth."

"You're being secretive and evasive."

"Military trained."
"Pageant trained.  We can do this all night.  But if you want me to consider this wild scheme of yours, I need to know a little about you."
It's moments like this one that make this story work for me as well as it did.  But when stuff didn't work for me?  It really didn't.  For the most part I think Apodaca handled the category length very well.  Her backlist is predominantly made up of single titles, and over the years I've read authors who were good in one format, not so good in the other.  Where I do think this story sometimes flounders is with the tropes.  There's just an awful lot of them crammed in here.  The marriage of convenience, two villains, a military hero with PTSD, the heroine with an infant and no other family whatsoever, the rescue fantasy.  Less is sometimes more.

Also by the end of it I was getting mighty annoyed with the demonization of Logan's mother.  For the first eight years of his life Logan lived with his nightclub singing mother, on the back of tour buses, in dressing rooms of seedy clubs etc.  Was this an ideal situation for Logan?  Well, no. And once his father remarries, and Wife #2 squirts out two girls, Daddy gets it in his head that he needs a son to inherit the Earth.  So he drags Indigo into court, throws a bunch of money around, drags her down, to the point where Logan is living with Daddy-Of-The-Year.  So yeah, was she the best Mom?  Maybe not.  But honestly, single woman with unstable job, little money, going up against a Vile, Despicable Piece of Human Garbage Ex who has money, power and unlimited resources.  Gee, how's that gonna work out for her?  But by the end Wife #2 is telling Becky that while Indigo would come visit Logan, she'd always leave while he was asleep, chasing after her career.  Because, you know, I'm sure she felt great having supervised visits with her kid while in the home of the Vile Despicable Piece of Human Garbage that is her Ex.  Because gee, I'm sure he just made that so great for her.  And wow - what a piece of trash she was!  Thinking about a job!  Thinking about a career!  Thinking about having a life outside of popping babies out of her belly!  Ladies, your sole mission in life is to birth you some babies.  Do not let anything silly like wanting something for yourself, oh like a career, ambition, some self-respect, keep your eyes from the ultimate prize!

Ahem.  Where was I?  Oh yes.

In comparison we have sweet, wonderful Becky.  Becky who had her baby girl even though her ex ordered her to "get rid of it" before she called the cops on him.  Becky who put her nursing school aspirations on hold to 1) have her baby, 2) take care of her baby, and 3) nurse her mother before she died of cancer.  Yes, Becky probably should have done these things.  A lot of women do these things, making choices like this every day.  Becky is lauded for protecting her baby at all costs.  Well guess what cupcake!  YOU AREN'T DOING IT ALONE!  You've got Logan there to play hero.  Indigo?  Logan's Mom?  Had no one.  So yeah, her Vile, Despicable, Piece of Human Garbage Ex won.  Does this make her evil?  No, it does not.  And yet, it's implied.

Which, as you can tell, kind of annoyed the crap out of me.  Especially when, in the obligatory happy sunshine closing chapter, Logan's Daddy is allowed to make peace.  Even though during the course of the story he threatens Becky, her baby and blackmails her by saying if she doesn't hit the road he will do everything in his power to ensure her Vile Despicable Piece of Human Garbage Ex wins the custody case!!!!!!

But, you know, Daddy can apologize and Becky, all sweetness and light, doesn't drive an ice pick through his cold, shriveled up, barely beating heart.

Because, you know, Indigo was a terrible mother.  Unlike Becky.  Who seems fine to let Logan's Daddy back into the fold and not murder him with her bare hands.

Seriously, deliver me.  The more I think about it the angrier I get. Mostly because it's all so patently unnecessary. 

Which leaves me with no idea how to grade this story.  It's OK for the vast majority and there were elements I really liked.  But how Logan's mother was dealt with - oh man, that just sticks in my craw.  Maybe it won't stick in your craw.  Maybe you're thinking, "Seriously Wendy?  Once again you're making mountains out of mole hills.  Get a grip."  So let's split the difference.

Final Grade = C-