Saturday, January 06, 2007

Slightly Psychic by Sandra Steffen

Lila was of the opinion that people who hoarded saw potential in everything.

Opening her eyes again, she said, “It’s no use.”
"You’re in the South now, Missy, and that attitude just won’t do.”

How could Lila have thought she needed quiet?
What she'd needed was this calibration of calamity, this free-for-all chorus of voices raised just to be heard, of questions that often went half-answered, and hungers that were never assuaged for long.

Lila knew she was slightly psychic, but she couldn’t possibly have predicted the trouble her waking vision of an heiress in jeopardy would get her into. Humiliated on national television, her life goes dramatically downhill, her psychology practice dying away till she’s left with no choice but to move on and start a new life.

A surprising inheritance leads Lila to small-town Virginia, accompanied by her best friend, Pepper. Peace and quiet are all Lila believes she needs after months of media scrutiny. Instead, she walks into a new life with an unexpected and noisy bunch of Southerners, along with a few who won't say much of anything, including Joe. Everyone thinks Joe murdered his wife, but nobody knows for sure. Can Lila and Joe learn to trust, again? And, what really happened to his wife?

I liked this book and read it in one day, primarily because we were in the midst of a gloomy downpour (on Thursday) and inertia kept me from doing anything else. I was glued to the futon, rooted and weary - a book potato, I guess. Anyway, I did enjoy the hodge-podge of characters. The story was the usual turning-over-a-new-leaf with a nice twist and well done. However, there was just something missing. I'm not even sure I can put a finger on what it was, although I do know there were some little things that bothered me. I had trouble visualizing a few of the characters, for example, in spite of their constant presence.

I also had a little trouble with tense in the above review. If you're a Grammar Queen (or King), please forgive me. I'm a little tired, this week, so I think I'll quit hyper-editing and just post as is.

I wouldn't advise against reading the book; I think it was enjoyable. Steffen's writing is good, the book has some nice, witty dialogue and I loved the small-town quirkiness of the characters. I'll look for more by this author; this title simply wasn't my favorite of the books I've read, recently.

Rating? Hmm, above average at 3.5/5. Speaking of which . . . I'm considering doing away with my rating scale and simply saying "recommended" or "not recommended". What do you think? Opinions?

Currently reading: God is an Englishman . . . getting close to page 200, but I set it aside for a couple of days. Still enjoying it.
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling - for the Classics Challenge. From Disney Fluff to the Real Stuff. Also enjoying this one.
Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook by Debbie Stoller - because the family gave me a beginning knitting kit (with yarn, needles, and lousy instructions) for Christmas.

Did I mention?: The cats bought me a sweater for Christmas and they have excellent taste. They chose a white sweater, upon which the shed fur would undoubtedly stand out if I let them climb on me whilst wearing it lying down. But, I don't think I'll do that.

One thing I learned in 2006: Always look inside the little bank envelope before tearing it in half and tossing it in the trashcan. And, get rid of the dollar bill with scotch-tape up the middle as fast as you can.

One thing I've already learned in 2007: If you're going to go to a coffee shop for the free high-speed internet access, be sure to scope out where they keep the bathroom. That caffeine can go through you like a shot.

Speaking of high-speed access, I checked out the high-speed internet in both the library and our new coffee shop, today. Hmm, definitely something hinky with my ISP causing the blog-viewing trouble. I only had time to visit a few blogs (it's a little unnerving having a spouse stare at the wall while you type) but the ease was startling.

While at the mega illusion-of-discount store: I looked at bath fizzies and soaks. And, a woman passing by said, "That's great stuff, that bath soak. My daughter loves it. Now, I prefer the fizzies, myself. But, be careful when you use them. One time I sat down in the bathtub and the bath fizzy had shrunk to about this size." She held up a hand, fingers apart to about quarter width. "And it popped right up my butt. Woo-hoo, that was a funny feeling!"

Did I want to know that? Did you? Don't tell me I don't share the most interesting anecdotes with you, because that was by far the most unique and mind-boggling thing anyone said to me, today.

Off to read. If you use a bath fizzy, tonight, watch where you sit, please.


  1. LMAO! I'm still giggling at the bath fizzy up the butt bit. Wow!

    On a totally unrelated-to-anything note, I'm LOVING The Epicure's Lament. Hugo cracks me up. I keep picturing him as Hugh Laurie.

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  3. hi, bookfool!

    The cover of this book really stands out - I like that in a book! Thank you for a very nice review - every now and again, I like a book set in a small town, the characters tend to be very intriguing!

    And thanks for putting a broad smile on my face with the bath fizzy anecdote, the things some people will tell a perfect stranger! lol

  4. Too funny! You've given my my smile and chuckle for the day! That's rather in the 'too much info' category, especially from a stranger, but it was amusing for us!
    Love your term, book potato! As for ratings, they are so subjective, you should do what you feel works best for you.
    Nice that your cats have such good taste! Bailey should get me a white sweater then it would be the only thing his hair wouldn't show up on. Why oh why did we get a white cat?! :P

  5. Sounds like you have a new best friend in "Fizzy Woman". Isn't it interesting, the things people will divulge to a complete stranger?

  6. That book sounds good. I'll have to see if either one of my libraries have it and then add it to my long list. lol

    As for Fizzy Woman, oh my word. I had to put my bowl of microwaved tatortot casserole down so I didn't spill it. LOL

  7. Andi,

    Quite a story, eh? LOL

    Oh, I knew it, I knew it!!! I'm so glad you're loving The Epicure's Lament! Isn't Hugo a hoot?


    Thanks for your opinion! I sometimes skim reviews for fear of ruining a read, but only if I'm planning to pick up the book right away. I'm delightfully forgetful. Amazon reviews are often too revealing, I've found, though, so I avoid them. Rating's not causing me grief; I just wonder if I'm sometimes doing the author an injustice when I don't give something a stellar rating.


    I love the cover, too! There's a nice assortment of small-town characters in Slightly Psychic. Now, I must admit I'm not really into reading about small Southern towns because I live in one and figure I get enough of that. LOL

    It is awfully funny that someone shared such a story with a perfect stranger, isn't it? I have to admit people are friendly and open, here. :)


    Too much info . . . definitely. But, I'm all for snatching up a great anecdote when it lands in my lap! LOL

    Thanks for your opinion on the ratings. Still have some thinking to do about that one.

    I guess you need to invest in some white clothing, eh? LOL Ever wash and dry a blanket and remove big clumps of white fur from the lint remover? I get a lot of orange. Sunshine likes the beds.


    It was unexpected, that's for sure! "Fizzy Woman"! I love it!


    I left out the unsavory bit where she said she reflexively "clenched". Urgh.


    Maybe I should have held the box one more day! LOL Oh, well. It's already been claimed at PBS, probably because the book is just now on the stands.

    I'm glad you didn't spill your casserole! :)

  8. That's one of the prettiest covers I've seen in a long time. Pretty and quirky. A nice combination.

    I've got to go and teach a roomful of serious-minded middle aged Korean middle school teachers in about 1 hour, and I just know that I'm going to have the urge to want to use FizzyButt Woman as an example while discussing prepositions. aaaaaaaah! Must resist!

  9. Bybee,

    I think that cover is part of the reason I picked the book up on a rainy day - such a pretty sky, glorious scenery, and the unique way they put that title in the sign. It's a grabber.

    Oh, no! I hope I'm not too late! Resist, Bybee, resist! But only because you might lose your job for repeating it. LOL

  10. Oh my God! I am sitting here LMAO!! What a great story!!

    As far as rating scales, I go through this every January. I'm ready to go back to a scale of 1-5. Last year I went from 1-5 to 1-10. My middle name is Fickle.

    Oooh, stay tuned for an upcoming picture on my blog. I know you'll smile.

  11. That was definitely TMI! lol

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  13. hmmmm i don't quit like the rating system. It seems unjust to give a romance a equal grade to everything else... whats included in the rating? pure pleasure? characters? plot? Maybe increase the number or divide it in to the above categories...

    Of course but a suggestion.

    I love novels that take place in the south though. Something about it...

  14. Nessie,

    Romance is multi-faceted, these days (lots of sub-genres), but I know what you mean. You can't really compare a great work of literature from 100 years ago with a contemporary romance or a modern thriller with a lengthy historical fiction. So, rating involves looking at a book in terms of its own merits, at least for me, as opposed to comparing it to others.

    What I've been doing involves looking at my ratings list and saying to myself, "Okay, did it glue me to my seat? Was there something about it that was flawed or repetitious that made me want to get out a red pen? How did I feel about the book?"

    Actually, now that I think about it, saying "recommended" or "not recommended" would still involve the same thought process. So, hmmm, I'm still thinking. LOL

  15. That's probably the most TMI you'll hear all year. I hope.

    Rate the books! Plus writing out recommended and not is going to get old and there's the sliding scale of goodness and badness that R & NR doesn't cover. And I'm used to your system. ;)

    Actually, that book sounds cute.

    How nice of your cats to get something that would be a lovely background for them!

  16. That story is too ridiculous-makes me want to avoid mega discount stores!

    I really like the phrase 'book potato' as well: it seems like the perfect definition for what I am sometimes!

  17. Eva,

    I've been trying to avoid the mega-discount store as much as possible. Frankly, I think my life has improved. I'm not bringing home impulsive purchases and I don't have to endure the frustration. It would be nice if I never had to go there, but I can't completely eliminate it because they've knocked out the other businesses. Too bad.

    I think this might be another book potato day. The term probably came to mind because I'm starting to look potatoish. Need to get out and walk, more.

  18. Oopsy, Carrie, sorry -

    Missed your post. Yeah, I think I'll just stick with my current rating scale. Maybe I'll post on how I rate, some time when I can think straight.

    It's a cute book; I'm just not a big fan of the Southern setting. I think it's the escapist in me. I never read about life on the prairie or wheat farming while I was living in Oklahoma. Same thing. It's like Calgon . . . take me away, please. :)

  19. Hey Nancy,
    I just finished this one and really liked it. I posted my review on my blog. Come take a look. :)

  20. I'll pop right over, Krista. :)


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