Category Archives: Romance

Review of Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti


Hidden (Deep Ops, #1)Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a print copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

I’ve read most of Rebecca’s Zanetti’s books – have been a fan since I discovered her Dark Protectors Series about 7 years ago (I’m a bit of a sucker for vampires) – so when I saw that she had a new suspense series (Deep Ops, Book 1), of course I was interested.

Ms. Zanetti does not disappoint. As always, she weaves together suspense, romance, action and adventure into a well-balanced, edge-of-your-seat package. And while she wraps THIS mystery up with a shiny red bow and satisfactory HEA, there are still questions to be answered about several of the other characters, which is part of what makes a good series opener.

I’ve already noted down the publication dates of the next books in this series (Taken, 1.5 & Fallen, 2), and will be pre-ordering both very soon!

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Filed under Book Covers, Book Review, books, Fiction, Romance, Suspense

It’s the Most Magical Time of the Year…and Depression


Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Ben White

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Ben White

The Holiday Season. Winter. Christmastime, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, New Year’s. All of it. It’s here again (or will be within weeks).

People are stringing lights across the eaves of their houses, smothering their front yard bushes and trees under ropes of brilliant bulbs of color, tiny fairy lights and large luminosities of red and green, Nativity scenes and Menorahs. Stockings are hung from the mantle or the chimney (or from stocking holders placed on shelves if you live in South Florida, because we don’t have mantles and chimneys), toy trains and holiday villages brighten up hallways and front rooms while trees sparkle and bow beneath their weight of lights, tinsel and decorations. Ugly Christmas and Holiday sweaters make their limited engagement appearances. Millions flock to Walt Disney World for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Holidays Around the World, and festive dining experiences.

It’s the most magical time of the year.

It’s my favorite time of the year. From the day after Thanksgiving (when I begin playing Christmas music) until Christmas night, those glorious, wonderful 31 days are when I’m happiest, each year. Attempting once again (and probably once again, failing) to compose and send out cards to those who are special to me, letting them know I’m thinking of them – all year long, but especially now – by the 2nd week of December. Searching for the best bargains on items from family members’ Christmas lists so I won’t go broke…again…

Christmas parties and luncheons, the annual church Christmas concert and children’s drama that always surprises and delights. The joy of finding that special gift for a member of my family, or a friend; imagining the pleasure on their faces when they open those gifts I’ve painstakingly wrapped in beautiful paper and ribbon. Decorating the tree while watching Christmas movies. And the Christmas movies! There are new ones each year to enjoy and ones from years gone by that have become favorites.

All of this I look forward to each year. Something magical about peace on earth, good will toward men.

But there’s a dark side.

These 31 days are also some of the most depressing days of the year for me and so many other people living with depression. There’s a bitter-sweetness to the celebrating and expressions of love and joy. Perhaps it’s because we struggle to feel the same wonder and carefree happiness that so maafter-the-new-year-graphicny others seem to feel; perhaps it’s because we feel a lack within ourselves – a lack of family or friends or significant other(s), someone with whom to share the joy; or perhaps it’s because there lurks beneath it all the understanding that this won’t last; after the New Year, most of us will go back to our everyday lives that magic never touches, good will and peace will be left at the curb with our dead and dying trees, and churlishness will accompany the deconstruction of all those pretty lights, trains and holiday villages. Back in the boxes, sheds and attics go our decorations and ugly holiday sweaters – at least the ones that survived kittens and puppies and toddlers – to save for next season. And so, apparently, do our belief in magic, joy and goodwill toward our neighbors. (Now THAT’S a depression thought.)

That’s part of it, sure. But for me, another part of the depression is old-fashioned self-pity. I’m single (not alone, because I have family and good friends nearby, but single…there’s a difference, you know). For someone like me, a romantic who dives into Christmas/holiday stories and movies (almost all of which end in some form of Happily Ever After, aka HEA), and watches – teary-eyed – all of the Christmas commercials about family and love, being single at Christmastime is downright depressing at times. Especially this year. Why is this year different? Well, 3 young couples with whom I am friends got married this year. I’ve been privileged to watch ALL 3 romances begin and grow over the past few years, and to see them each begin their own HEA in holy matrimony, and watch them begin their lives together…well, it’s bittersweet. Also, perimenopause is rearing its uncomfortable, heightened estrogen, emotional trainwreck, night sweat-slicked head. And, no sex. Also, no snow. 😦

Changing things up.

So while this most magical time of year is my favorite…and I suffer depression more acutely at Christmastime than any other, I’ve changed things up a bit this year, to see if perhaps I can survive the rest of this year less depressed:

  • I’ve not picked up one Christmas romance novel; instead, I’m reading the final book in an epic fantasy series (The Faithful and the Fallen series by UK author John Gwynne). I might be depressed at the end of the book, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be because the series is finished and not because I’m still single.
  • I’m gathering all of my tax documents – medical bill payments, copays, charitable donations, etc. – updating my writing and editing income and expenses spreadsheet so I’ll be ready – early – for tax time.
  • Keeping an eagle eye on my finances so I’ll be able to afford a nice birthday shin-dig for my son when he turns 16 (!!!!!!!!!!) in January.
  • Making a plan (which includes pep-talks at myself) for exercise, healthy eating and a little weight loss after the holidays (I’m soooo not into depriving myself of all the holiday goodies), so I will have enough energy to enjoy myself on my planned birthday trip to Disney World mid-February, and look good while I’m there! 🙂
  • Taking a little time each day to thank God for His blessings, and reflect upon all of the successes in my life (such as letting my son live another year – that’s a big one!).

So while this most magical time of year often means a deeper struggle with depression for me, I’m determined to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, revel in my independence and strength as a woman, and not dwell on the tiny, rather insignificant fact that I am single.

How about you? Is this your favorite time of year, and/or do you find yourself more depressed during the holiday season than any other time of year? If so, why?

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Filed under Depression, Disney, Emotion, Event, Family, Friendship, Holidays, Humor, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Real Life, Relationships, Romance, Thankful

This is Why I Think I’m Done with Online Dating


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Cristian Newman

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Cristian Newman

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with an intelligent, tall, handsome man my age… Online… eHarmony.com to be exact.

Over the past few years years, several people – including, more recently, my therapist – have recommended dating sites as a way to meet a potential “life partner,” since I’ve not had much luck with that in real life to date. Don’t get me wrong, I know A LOT of men who fit the bill – both in my religious/spiritual circle and co-workers. But (apparently) no mutual attractions…unless these guys are REALLY shy…and if they’re my age and shy, well… I’m not the woman for them.

So a few months ago I renewed my lax eHarmony membership and also joined match.com. (Two such sites should be sufficient, right?) I had a few “bites” and interactions on both sites, but nothing really blipped on my radar until this particular guy.

We went through a few rounds of the getting to know you questionnaires on the site and I was becoming cautiously optimistic. His answers in the latest round were quite nice and complimentary of my profile & photos…he’s attracted to me, yada, yada, yada… (Maybe I should’ve allowed my cynical side to the forefront at that point?) So when I responded with my answers to his questions, I naturally expected that we would venture into the next level of communication. Later that day, I received a notification that he’d read my responses. So I was awaiting his reply.

After a couple hours, I checked my messages and discovered that “he’s moved on.” The man obviously didn’t like something I said or the way I said it…would’ve been nice to know what it was…I’m not ashamed to admit that I took it personally (because, well, it WAS personal). I had already become emotionally invested in this guy I met online and knew next to nothing about. And then eHarmony proceeds to tell me something to the effect of: but that’s okay, because you’re closer to finding the one. (Way to be sympathetic, eHarmony.)

Online DatingReally? Just because HE isn’t “the one,” doesn’t mean any of the other guys you’ve “matched” me with will be “the one” either. Frankly, the idea of meeting someone online instead of in real life and trying to build a relationship with no real-world-in-person connection – or worse, when a guy says “Hi, I like your pics. Want to get together this weekend?” (Umm…NO! Where’s the foreplay?!) – makes me feel like I’m teetering on the edge of a cliff over a bottomless pit with no safety line. (Dramatic, yes… Have you met me?) It’s enough to know that finding “the one” means putting a large portion of my happiness in human, fallible hands. (I have trust issues…just in case you didn’t figure that out already…) Sure, I have lots of online male friends – on Facebook, for example – whom I’ve never met in real life, but the potential is always there to do so someday. Meanwhile, we’re getting to know each other without the pressure of time. I’ve known people for whom the online introduction and relationship building has worked and is still working. But I have a feeling that, as much as the idea appeals to me (after all, it’s simply a modern, cyber version of mail order brides and grooms), I may not be one of those people for whom it works.

I’m not sure how I’ll meet “the one,” or if I ever will…or if there’s even “the one” out there for me. Any number of things may have happened to him…or he may not exist other than in my imagination…I may have to travel half-way around the world to meet him (which would be fine with me, actually)…he may be married to someone else (very depressing possibility). God knows I’d like to meet “the one,” partly (okay, mostly) because quite often being a single woman of a certain age (42, if you must know) with a healthy sex drive SUCKS EGGS. (Have you ever tried to suck an egg? Especially a raw one? Very messy and unsatisfying.) But somehow I feel that if he’s out there, I’m destined to meet him in real life rather than via a network of wires and Ethernet. Or at least, if I meet him online initially, I think it’ll be through a mutual acquaintance or some such.

I think I’m done with online dating. I prefer the “organic” method: letting events play out naturally, without forcing them. Maybe I’ll meet “the one” during a stroll in a park or down a sidewalk or in a bookstore. Until then, I’ll do my best to leave it in God’s hands (a big deal for me, because faith and patience aren’t two of my best traits…but since my first foray into marriage ended in disaster, I’m determined not to make the same mistake again)…which, when it comes down to the nuts and bolts, is really the best place to leave my future husband. 🙂

Have you ever tried online dating? If yes, did it work for you? If no, why not? Please leave comments below.

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Filed under Anxiety, Life, Musings, Online Dating, Relationships, Romance, Sarcasm, Writing