Sunday, December 29, 2013

Imagine (2012)



This indie film came out in 2012, a French-Polish-Portuguese co-production written and directed by Andrezj Jakimowski. It's about a maverick teacher at an ophthalmology clinic in Portugal who wants to teach the patients there to use echolocation rather than a cane to get around.

Ugh, where to start on this one..... I found watching this film an intensely frustrating experience. On the one hand, the sound design and cinematography are stunning--so beautiful and thoughtful about representing the blind experience. And almost all the secondary characters are played by blind people. But on the other hand, the plot (such as it is) is ludicrously inaccurate and insulting both to blind people and their teachers. And true to the art-house style, nothing much happens. It's unbearably slow and the ending is inconclusive.

A title at the very beginning dedicates the film to Ben Underwood, the teenager who was briefly famous for using echolocation. But it seems Jakimowski did little more than watch a 10 minute TV special on Underwood and created the rest of the story without any sort of research or mundane, boring realism. Yes, echolocation is a real thing and some blind people can do it, even to the extent of not using a cane. Underwood wasn't the only one; there are records of people doing this for hundreds of years. And yes, it probably could be taught more systematically.

But the way it's handled in this film is utterly ridiculous. Rather than a thoughtful look at real issues facing blind people, the plot relies entirely on the hackneyed trope of the crazy, rule breaking teacher who actually wants to help the kids, man, versus the stuffy, hidebound professor who is only interested in safety and breaking the kids' spirits.

And what kind of place is this, anyway? Set in a monastery in Portugal, it's repeatedly referred to as a clinic, not a school, and the kids are called patients, not students. It's a random collection of blind people from very young kids to adults, and from random countries all mixed up for no apparent reason. They aren't given medical treatment or taught anything. They seem to spend most of their time sitting around inside doing nothing, waiting for a doctor who never talks to them, and they are forbidden from going outside the walls without an army of helpers. There are also other random sighted people living there (including a monk). Even the very first schools for the blind in Europe and America over 150 years ago were better set up than this, and had more progressive ideas about education for the blind.

So maverick teacher Ian (Edward Hogg) tries to shake things up, but his lessons mostly consist of sitting around the courtyard outside and sitting around doing nothing inside, only occasionally practicing pouring water into a glass. "It's hard," he intones tragically, as the children spill the water everywhere. Really? I imagine the blind kids in that scene were embarrassed to pretend to be so incompetent on camera, especially the smart-ass British girl. She would have been awesome in Harry Potter, but that's another story.

Of course Ian and his love interest Eva (played by German actress Alexandra Maria Lara) are played by AB actors faking it. And while the students are all played by blind kids, it's telling that almost none of them have names, personalities or back stories. The camera lingers voyeuristically over their faces as they move dramatically from shadow to light (hello cliche!) but ultimately they're just symbols, not real people. The only exception is an older student played by Melchior Derouet, an awesome French actor who is really blind. He is just as talented as the leads, and far more interesting to watch. The film (or parts of it anyway) is worth watching just for him.

The other really insulting thing is the way Ian is so against using a cane. This is inane ableism at its worst, the idea that using a piece of adaptive equipment you actually need makes you a cripple and a target of ridicule, like you're giving in to the disability. I see this in a lot of misinformed novels about SCI, where the main character does everything he can not to "give in" to the wheelchair in a triumph of the spirit. Sorry, real life does not work that way. Yes, there are some blind people who don't use canes, but to have the main theme of the movie that the kids should throw away their canes in order to be free is ridiculous.

The teacher Ian clashes both with the head doctor who thinks his no-cane method is dangerous, and with the students/patients who think he is faking or lying to them. But despite this ready-made conflict, the plot never goes anywhere. At first the atmospheric scenes are nice, but they just meander on forever. None of the characters' motives are clear either; the characterization is as indistinct as the plot.

Now I am the kind of obsessive dev who will watch hours of Orientation and Mobility videos on YouTube, but even I was bored with this movie by about halfway through, and it's only an hour and forty minutes. This was such a wasted opportunity. I'm still waiting for a movie with an actual blind actor in the main role and that is more than just a bundle of centuries old cliches and misconceptions.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Love In Touch

Love In Touch
by Lucy May Lennox


Love In Touch involves a relationship between a woman named Kassie and a deaf/blind man named Jake.  I've never read a book about a person who was blind and deaf before, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Lennox's book.  I was actually very skeptical.  I couldn't figure out how there could be a believable romance between an able-bodied woman and a man who can't see or hear.

Well, Lennox has made me a believer.

Jake is not only believable as a love interest for Kassie, he is drop dead sexy.  I'm not even a dev of deaf or blind guys, but I can still attest to several devvy thrills throughout this short, sweet novel.  The romance progresses slowly, but all seems very genuine.  I was really rooting for Jake and Kassie to end up together throughout the many obstacles that come between them.

A novel like this has the potential to get sappy or condescending, but there isn't a trace of that in Lennox's book.  The dialogue is snappy and it's obvious she has a great sense of humor.  Jake is a real person with real flaws, and not just some tragic hero.  It's also clear that Lennox did a lot of research to make the plot realistic.

I guarantee that you have never and will never read another book like this for the rest of your life.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Blind Trail

Blind Trail

by Mark Bannerman


Western. Narrated in the first person, the story starts a few months after Raoul Webster has been blinded in the line of duty. On his way to visit a doctor in San Francisco, his stage coach is attacked by bandits and his brother is killed. Vowing to take revenge, Raoul makes several forays into Apache country and then into Mexico. He also encounters Geronimo and stumbles into several real historical incidents along the way.

The writing is competent and there is a wealth of historical detail, but still the story didn't fully grab me. Part of the problem is that because the story takes place so soon after Raoul loses his sight, he isn't able to do much more than tag along as things happen around him. He doesn't really do much until the very last scene. The depiction of his blindness is pretty realistic, which is commendable, since not all authors can pull off a blind narrator believably. Also there was a moment with the doctor when it seemed like a miracle cure was going to happen, but it didn't, so no worries there. But it just wasn't that devvy to me--he's just too passive.

There's also a good bit of romance, but be warned this is a Western, not a romance novel. And the girl he falls for is also so passive as to be almost a non-entity. It's hard to care much about either of them.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Thalidomide Kid

Thalidomide Kid
by Kate Rigby


Set in small-town England in the 1970s. Daryl Wainwright is the Thalidomide Kid--the youngest in a family of delinquents and petty criminals, he was born without arms, his hands attached directly to his shoulders, because his mother took Distaval when she was pregnant. Celia Burkett is the quiet younger daughter of the local comprehensive school assistant head. They meet at the end of primary school and become unlikely best friends. As they continue to comprehensive school (middle & high school) their friendship blossoms into love.

Despite the title, the book is as much about Celia as it is about Daryl. She feels stifled by her role as the assistant head's daughter, and all the expectations that brings, from her classmates, teachers, and family. Her father does not want Celia hanging around with Daryl, not because of his disability, but because of his low-class, criminal background. He can't see what Celia does, that Daryl's goofy, joking exterior hides great inner strength and integrity. But if Celia can't be with Daryl, she will find other ways to rebel.

I really enjoyed this book, even though it's a bit heartbreaking. The details of the time and place are good, and the writing is terrific, a gritty style that depicts the early teen years without sentimentality. There is a lot of British slang, but if you've ever watched British TV shows or read Harry Potter it's easy to understand. The awkward romance between Daryl and Celia is very sweet and moving.

I found the dev factor pretty high, although there could have been more scenes explaining how Daryl does things. Celia is definitely attracted to him because of his disability. Recommended!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blind Blondie

Blind Blondie

by Scarlet Blackwell


Contemporary M-M romance/erotica. Sam is an artist and a heartless player who is not interested in a relationship. One day while he's out cruising in his car, he picks up Kieran, a blind hottie, and allows Kieran to think he's a taxi. Kieran is not amused. They are not off to a good start. Sam has no intention of getting involved with someone with a disability who needs his help. Kieran doesn't want any help, certainly not from Sam. But somehow Sam can't stop thinking about Kieran, and trying to get close to him.

This is more a short story than a novel, but I found it surprisingly enjoyable. Sam is a jerk, but a self-aware jerk, and his journey towards becoming a better person is endearing. Kieran is great, a winning mix of independent and vulnerable. His blindness is depicted fairly realistically, and the author manages to avoid the major cliches of blind characters. The sex scenes were good, sensual without too much purple prose, and there's a good balance of sex vs character development. I just wish it were a little longer, as the ending was a bit rushed.
And it's super devvy! The author really knows what details to include. A fair number of her other books seem to feature injured or disabled guys.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Passion Wears Pearls

Passion Wears Pearls

by Renee Bernard


Victorian-era romance. Eleanore Beckett is a prim and proper middle-class young lady fallen on hard times. Josiah Hastings is a frustrated painter, slowly losing his sight. When he runs into Eleanore by accident, he realizes that with her bright red hair, she is the colorful muse he must paint before he goes blind. But being an artist's model is not proper employment for a modest young lady.  How can he convince her his intentions are honorable? And what if she secretly wants him to take liberties with her?

I wanted to like this story, but I just couldn't get into it. If you are looking for a "wounded hero" romance this does not really fit the bill.  Josiah worries a lot about losing his sight, but his worsening vision does not actually impact his activities (except in his mind) until the very end, when he suddenly, with no preparation or training, develops magical blind person skills. He can "do things no sighted man could"! What nonsense. Eleanore catches on to his condition early, in a bit of clunky exposition, but never acts on or thinks about that knowledge until the very end. Even then, her only advice to him is to keep painting, even if he has to put his nose to the canvas to see it. Uh, way to help him adapt. There just wasn't enough character development for either of them dealing with his blindness to make for a satisfying read. Dev factor was almost zero.

I found the hero and heroine rather flat. Eleanore's big conflict is whether to give up propriety and give in to her desire for Josiah. But since it is a foregone conclusion that she will, it doesn't add much tension to the plot to have her agonize over this for pages and pages.

The quality of the writing is average for a romance novel, and the plot is strictly by the numbers. The historical details are pretty good, although there are several jarring lapses into modern language. There is a LOT of sex, so much so that it seemed more like erotica than a romance, as character development and forward momentum of the plot were often sacrificed to long sex scenes in purplish prose. All in all, I found it rather dull.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Morgan (2012)

Written by: Sandon Berg and Michael Akers
Directed by: Michael Akers
Film Distributor: United Gay Network
Leo Minaya as Morgan Oliver
Jack Kesy as Dean Kagen
Supporting Cast:
Madalyn McKay as Peg Oliver
Darra ‘Like Dat’ Boyd as Lane Williams
Benjamin Budd as Wesley Blake
Theodore Bouloukos as Dr. Thomas
Dane Anton as Physical Therapist

Official Film Trailer:

Morgan Oliver is recently paraplegic, T-10 incomplete, as a result of a bicycle accident during a race he was competing in. He has recently returned home from rehab and he’s now unemployed and living on disability, adjusting to his new life and the new adaptive setup in his apartment. His preferred way to pass the time is drinking beer and watching television, and the main events of the film begin when he runs out of beer and neither his mother, Peg, nor his best friend, Lane, will enable him any further. They refuse to buy him more beer, forcing him to leave the house on his own. It is during his trip out to replenish his beer supplies that he meets Dean Kagen, which is where our romance begins.  The dialogue seems a bit forced at first, but it gets more natural as the film progresses. 
The drama unfolds once Morgan decides he wants to compete in the wheelchair division of the very same race that cost him his ability to walk, where Morgan, because of his hyper-competitive nature, caused an accident involving himself and two other competitors on a very dangerous part of the course. This same hyper-competitive nature leads to his doing things he ought not to be doing and refusing to listen to reason from Dean, his doctor, or anyone else.
This film is a journey for Morgan where he must confront his past and his present, and he must find a way to learn from his mistakes and move forward. This is also, to a lesser extent, a journey for Dean in finding a new way to live following the death of his mother. But most of all, it is a romance featuring a paraplegic romantic lead, which is something that is very rare to find. And better yet, it is a romance that delves into the issue of disabled sexuality, which we almost never see on film. And Morgan is pretty cute, too, so that helps.
Fanvid by JJstrikesback1:

So how does it fare with regard to portrayal of a disabled character and disabled sexuality?
This is a male/male romance, but it is not a coming out story; rather, the central focus of the story is Morgan’s disability. The film addresses both the disability and the romance from a variety of angles and is, I think, one of the most comprehensive films I’ve seen with regard to disability and romance. It’s a low budget film with acting that could be better, but the writing/directing/production team of Michael Akers and Sandon Berg, as well as Leo Minaya, who played the title character, Morgan, did quite a lot of research in preparation for this film (though there are certainly some important gaps). Leo Minaya is not paraplegic himself, and this was a deliberate casting decision on behalf of the filmmakers because the film originally was going to contain scenes of Morgan before his accident which ended up being cut from the final version of the film. I think that things like Photoshop and body doubles could get around the reasons they cited for hiring a non-disabled actor instead of a disabled one, but the actor they cast was very dedicated to portraying the reality of Morgan’s paralysis. There was a scene early on in the film where Dean helps Morgan with his leg exercises, and the director had instructed Leo Minaya to keep his leg up during the scene after Dean let go of it, and Mr. Minaya insisted that this would be impossible for Morgan to do and he made sure that the film reflected this. There was another particular scene that was very physically intense, and in the commentary, the filmmakers point out multiple times that Leo Minaya refused to use his legs to help him with this very difficult scene, insisting on pulling himself back up and over the wall using only his arms. A lot of actors, particularly in low budget indie films, might not have this kind of dedication to the role they were playing, and so although I think a paraplegic actor would have been preferable, Leo MInaya did a great job of being Morgan. Leo Minaya and Jack Kesy are not gay in real life, either, but they managed to do a great job with that aspect of their roles, as well.
There are three areas where I think the film suffered from the decision not to use a paraplegic actor –
· First, in simple physical realism. Morgan had a lot of muscle tone, and even for a guy less than a year post injury who is still actively doing physical therapy, there are just some things you can’t fake, and the appearance of a paraplegic’s legs and abdomen is one of them. There were two scenes in particular where abdominal strength and control were slightly unrealistic. The first is a scene where he’s in the shower on a shower chair and not using either of his arms to maintain his balance or keep from falling or sliding down. The second is that there are a couple of scenes where he’s doing sit-ups, and I just don’t think that a T-10 paraplegic would be able to move the specific muscle combination necessary to do those particular exercises.
· The second area the film suffered from not casting a paraplegic actor is, of course, realism regarding bladder and bowel issues. That’s something that is not touched on even one single time in the film, and Morgan doesn’t seem to use a catheter or go to the bathroom for anything other than a shower, ever. Men I’ve known with SCI have always gone to the bathroom to sort everything that needs to be sorted before coming to the bed and being intimate, and I think it’s pretty standard to have at least one conversation about bladder and bowel issues at some point in the relationship. This just wasn’t a feature in the film, but it’s something that really can’t be ignored in an intimate relationship with someone who is paraplegic. I think this would have been very different had they used a paraplegic actor in the role.
· And following from that, the third area where I think the film suffered from not using a paraplegic actor was that, although they did significantly address Morgan’s erectile dysfunction, one thing they forgot about was making sure he took his little blue pills before having sex with Dean, and also, for that matter, addressing whether and how much he could feel, as an incomplete paraplegic, when having sex. Also, sex with a paraplegic guy is not a spontaneous act. It requires preparation. And also, I would have been really curious to see how they actually figured out the right positions and the best way to do things for both of them, which wasn’t really spelled out. There were one or two great conversations before they became sexually active that addressed Morgan’s erectile dysfunction and Dean’s openness to figuring things out as they went along, but nothing at the time they finally did have sex for the first time or any time after that. Also, there is a single scene in the film where, during sex, they show the scar as Dean runs his arm down Morgan’s back, and it’s not quite the Joel Brown “Personal Rockstar” video, but it is sensual and shows that they are making an effort to show this aspect of Morgan’s disability. However, I think that the film would have been more realistic in this regard if the actor playing Morgan had been paraplegic himself.
Other than these areas, though, I think that the research the writers did paid off, and you really can tell that they did their homework. Also, they made Morgan and Dean both into well-rounded characters with flaws and quirks and issues that are not related to Morgan’s disability. Morgan is hyper-competitive, afraid of public displays of affection, bad with money, and drinks a bit too much. The writers say that the overarching theme for understanding Morgan’s issues is his issue with his own masculinity that dates back to when he was about 12 years old and his father left the family not long after finding out that Morgan was gay. Dean has just gone through a long period of caring for an ailing mother who has recently died, and he never came out to her when she was alive and is still getting the hang of being an out gay man. Their conflicts come not from Morgan’s disability but from his character flaws, and Dean is quite comfortable with Morgan’s disability from the very beginning. This is also not a coming out film, although Dean is more recently out than Morgan. This is a romance between two men whose major conflict is over Morgan’s hyper-competitiveness rather than his disability. The romance is complex and grows organically, and their relationship is multi-faceted and fairly realistic. Having watched not only the film, but also the deleted scenes, the Behind the Scenes Featurette, and the commentary, I’ve gotten to be quite familiar with the filmmakers’ thought processes as well as with the characters and the film itself, and I really think the filmmakers and the cast did an outstanding job at accomplishing this, despite my continued belief that the role would have been even better with a paraplegic actor.
Ironically, the writers got the idea for the film itself from a paraplegic actor who auditioned for another film they did together, who was kind enough to sit down with them and really talk about issues of being gay and paraplegic and dating, sex, etc. During their conversation, they even touched on the topic of guys who wanted to be with someone who they perceived as “needing” them and guys with a “wheelchair fetish”. Later on during the preparation for the film, they went to a disabled dating site and talked with two paraplegic men they connected with on there about their experiences and preferences when dating and their issues with sexuality. Perhaps this is why I have such an issue with the fact that they went with a non-paraplegic actor, but really, they did do their research, and Leo Minaya did work very hard to ensure as much authenticity as possible in his portrayal of Morgan Oliver.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Reprobate: Amsterdam Assassin Series

Reprobate: A Katla Novel
Book one in the Amsterdam Assassin Series

by Martyn V. Halm


Katla is a professional assassin for hire, specializing in hits that can't be traced. When the novel begins, she is taking out the owner of a shop selling antique Japanese swords, with his own merchandise, when she is interrupted by a blind man who has come to pick up his order. Katla has a firm policy of not allowing witnesses to her hits to live, but Bram is blind, and totally sexy. She lets him go, but can't seem to stay away from him. So begins an unlikely but fascinating partnership. How will a cold-blooded killer and a pacifist musician find any common ground?

Meanwhile, American DEA agents are brought to Amsterdam to help IPOL break up a drug ring run by a local gang. Katla is unwittingly drawn in to a law enforcement sting operation by a double-crossing client. There is some gory violence as Katla carries out her hits, but the emphasis is firmly on procedure: descriptions of guns and knives, techniques, and the autopsies and forensics afterward.

But of course, Devo Girl was way more interested in Bram. He is a terrific character, very realistic and SUPER devvy. He's well-adjusted and capable, but not superhuman. He plays the saxophone, practices shiatsu on the local yakuza, and studies aikido. He's just the right combination of strong and vulnerable, and it's oh so sexy. And Katla pursues him with the single-minded obsession of a dev. His blindness and the scars on his face and eyes make him more sexy to her. It's awesome.

There is also a second blind character who shows up in a small but great scene. And another character who is a DAK amputee, but that is very minor.

I also like that Katla is a tough, strong woman who doesn't have trauma or abuse in her past. She's just good at what she does. It's quite a trick to get the audience to root for the killer and the police equally, but the author pulls it off. The Dutch setting is also unusual and interesting. I'm looking forward to the next books in the series.

ETA: The sequel, Pecadillo, is even better than the first volume. A lot more Bram, too!

Read my interview with author Martyn Halm on Ruth Madison's blog.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

In The Eye of the Beholder by Beverly Cialone

In The Eye of the Beholder


I really didn't like this book. The female mc was very insipid and weak. She was a thirty year old virgin who considered herself as unattractive. Her actions seem contradictory to the personality the writer had shared with us. In that she is very insecure and self-analytical but yet has confidence to wonder over to a doctor and introduce herself. That just doesn't fit with the rest of her personality.

My main objection is with the male mc. The story opens with him reading a book and leading her around, he is fairly sweet but as the synopsis on the "cover" tells us he is going to be blind so when he drops his "bombshell" we aren't that shocked. But I was shocked as to how completely implausible this character was portrayed. He moved around his environment without any assistance, he managed to read books in the conventional way without any braille or speech apparatus, and carried a pager around with requires sight to read the message.

I wish the author had either just made this a tale about a doctor falling for an ugly duckling or had made far more concessions to the character's disability. I do really hope that, with this book being electronic, she may revisit it at some time and make adjustments to his character.

I could not recommend this to anyone because of the failings of the portrayal of disability being completely inconsequential to a persons life that it is only paid lip service. I sincerely hope that should Beverly Cialone tackle another character with disability, she does research and writes it with more realism.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Young Adult

Dev Rating: ***

The movie Young Adult with Charlize Theron was not at all what I was expecting.

 Being about a YA author, I thought it would be zany and fun, an upbeat comedy. It came up on Netflix and I watched it last night, discovering that it was anything but upbeat. It's actually very difficult to watch.

The main character is struggling with depression and her behavior can be very difficult to empathize with. The only thing that kept me watching was discovering a character played by Patton Oswald who has a disability.

The story is that Mavis leaves the big city of Minneapolis to go back home to Mercury, Minosota when she sees her ex-boyfriend's announcement that he and his wife have had a baby. Mavis becomes convinced that Buddy, her ex, is trapped in his marriage and would want to escape with her. When she arrives, she bumps into someone else she went to high school with, Matt. She doesn't remember him, even though his locker was next to hers, because she was a cool kid. Her memory is triggered when she realizes that he is "the hate crime guy." Meaning that Matt had been attacked and brutally beaten by other kids at the school because they thought he was gay. He says because he actually isn't gay, it turns out it wasn't a hate crime. But his legs were damaged beyond repair and he walks with one forearm crutch. Mavis gets drunk and tells him her plan to get Buddy away from his wife. Matt tries to talk her out of it, but she is entirely delusional. Throughout the movie, Matt and Mavis start to become friends since he's the only one who is seeing the real her.

I found his character to be deeply moving. The crutch was not something that he just carried around for its metaphorical value to the movie. He really does move with it. He has the insight that Mavis lacks and she is not able to see it when she hurts him. I was really surprised by how sensual and sexy I found him to be.

 There's a rather hilarious scene when they bump into Mavis's cousin who is a paraplegic and the "happiest cripple in town" according to Matt. The guy is cheerful and upbeat, telling them about his wife, his kids, his rock climbing, and how he and Matt were "rebooted for extra positivity."

 Overall, though, it is a really sad movie. It ended on a note of hope, but not nearly the happy ending that this American viewer loves! It left me feeling bleak. Still, it was totally worth watching for Oswald's performance. I never would have expected to find him sexy, but he really was. Just make sure you have someone nearby to cuddle with when it's over.

The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next Door

by Annabelle Costa


This is the third offering from Dev Love Press, and a book that originally appeared on Paradevo. So hopefully most of you already know it, but for any new readers, here is a review:

Jason and Tasha have been best friends since they were kids, even though Jason is kind of a nerd, and Tasha is a little teenage hottie. They go their separate ways in college, then reconnect as adults in New York. Somehow, without quite realizing how it happened, Tasha finds herself still single at 32, wanting to settle down, unable to find the right guy. Someone like Jason, but they're just friends. And he doesn't even think of her like that, right?

This book is so much fun to read. The writing is snappy and funny, and the romance goes down as sweet as candy, filled with pop culture references. In between the chapters are clever charts that poke fun at the chick-lit genre.

Tasha and Jason are great characters--flawed but loveable and believable. Even though the action takes place when they are adults, there are lots of flashbacks to their childhood and teen years. I really liked that Tasha slept around a lot but there's no slut-shaming. She has a slightly embarrassing past, but it's not that big a deal. So refreshing after reading so many prudish romances.

Jason's disability is also handled really well. A paraplegic from a car accident when he was 5, it's not that big a deal to him or to Tasha, but the book does a good job of showing how he's adjusted and how people react to him. And the author doesn't cheat on the details. It's very realistic without being a huge downer. The wheelchair is part of who he is, but it doesn't define him.

Having a dev author makes all the difference! Even though Tasha is not a dev herself, the narration lingers over just the right details. Even if you have read this story on PD in the past, please support Dev Love Press by buying a copy, so they can continue to bring us great dev books.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

They Say Love Is Blind

They Say Love is Blind by Pepper Pace

By Pepper Pace
Dev Rating (The first half **** the second  ***)

I really enjoyed this book.  Victoria is an anti heroine, she is overweight, insecure, low self confidence in other words a real woman and not a barbie doll.  She is plodding through her average life, going to work, slobbing in her pj's and trying to shed her unwanted pounds.  On a clumsy bus journey she spots Lee and it is lust at first sight.

Lee was everything I like in a romantic lead.  Hunky, funny, kind and very sexy.  Victoria watches from afar, never believing that he'd ever be remotely attracted to her.... But sparks fly.

Pepper Pace faces Lee's disability head on, with a positivity that brightens up the story.  A couple of places I felt her research was a little too forced fed to the reader and rather than have Tory ask loads of questions we could have had a bit more show not tell.  But saying that I did find it interesting to learn what computer programme he used and was surprised at the cause of his blindness, so much so I had to have a google session.  I really like the discovery of his blindness, to me it was plausible.  I also got a zing out of the early dating sections and after an incident which made him lose confidence but he seemed to recover rather quickly from that.

There were enough story plots to keep me turning the page.  So all in all a very enjoyable read!