Friday, April 29, 2005

The soothing power of the comfort read

After Tuesday nights upset with Cable Guy and having no internet or cable for the evening I really needed to do something else because I really didn’t want to watch a movie. I did what came naturally. I read a book. But I had a dilemma. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to start a new book from my rather large TBR pile I’ve done that before, started to read a new book when I’m not in the mood, and the book has suffered for it. It might be a very good book, but I’m in the mood for something familiar, something comforting. So Tuesday, after I failed to convince Cable Guy to send someone out that night, I reached for a book that has soothed me in the past. Wild at Heart by Patricia Gaffney. It never fails to make me feel good. For those who have never read it, the hero Michael MacNeil was in a boating accident when he was young and visiting Ontario with his aunt and uncle. The boat sunk, killing his aunt and uncle and leaving him virtually alone in the wilderness. With the help of the wolves, he manages to raise himself. He is found many years later and has lost much of his “self”. When he is found, he is sent to Professor Winters who does experiments on our poor hero thinking he is a “lost” man. Eventually though, the professor loses interest in Michael and it is up to Professor Winters children to teach Michael the ways of the world. The heroine, daughter Sydney, a young widow is attracted to Michael despite his wildness because of his innocence. It’s a wonderful love story. I started reading it and it calmed me down.

Comfort reads are a great thing. I have a number of different ones and that one just fit the bill. So how about anyone else? What are your comfort reads and do they help when you need them? I know mine do.

And are there times when you just know the time isn’t right to be starting a new book?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

OK - I gotta do this

American Idol non watchers can skip this post

I just turned off the TV and American Idol results show. I must say I was rather shocked at the outcome. As you know I didn't get to watch it last night but hope is coming. Right "Gladys"?

If you want to know the winner, hold mouse over next line.
But Constantine?????? Now I'm not a great Constantine fan, but he is worth watching for the cheese factor alone and I seriously thought he would go much further.

And who the hell keeps voting for Scott Savol. He is one hell of a scary looking dude man. I can't believe he was in the top three. It must be the underground anti American Idol faction that does the voting for him.

And what (again) was up with Paula???? Crying? The rumors must be true.

And is it just me, or is Bo Bice getting hotter each week. Oh man I love that scruffy look he's got going!

And oh my,,,,,, they replayed "the KISS" on Lost. sigggggghhhhhh

The Cable Guy

This is an actual email I sent to a friend this morning. All names have been changed to protect the innocent.

"Yesterday morning when I left for work there were men swarming all over our backyard. No, it wasn't good looking police officers looking for some escaped criminal. They are doing some rewiring for hydro or something and our house seems to be their "home base" (which freaks Durwood{my husband} out let me tell you). They have these huge bundles of wire on our boulevard and asked if they could leave some of their equipment in our backyard over night.
Now on to the story.
When I got home from work last night, I turned on the computer - always the first thing I do 'cause it's old and takes a while. I ate the Happy Meal I picked up from McDonalds and then went to the computer and went to the internet. I couldn't connect. Damn I thought. Dexter (our oldest son who still lives at home) been to "those" places again and messed things up somehow. I rebooted and tried again. Still no internet. Damn I thought again. Well I'll try again later. So off to the TV I went in order to look into taping something on the VCR. NO CABLE. Auuuggghhhh I screamed.
I called the cable company and off course got the dreaded "voicemail" thing. No help. I waited a little bit longer, tried the internet, still nothing so I called another cable technical number. Finally, finally I got hold of a real person and explained the situation. Somehow, he could tell it was just our house that didn't have cable.
The following is our conversation.
Cable Guy: Just a minute and I'll see if I can get someone out there now to fix it.

pause

Cable Guy: Sorry, but there is no one available until first thing tomorrow morning.
Me: Are you sure? You don't understand the situation. My husband and son both work nights and I'm home all by myself (Kristie you idiot, you didn't really say that did you? - yes)
Cable Guy: I'm sorry, I did try.
Me: No but you really don't understand. It's Tuesday.
Cable Guy: Um hum.
Me: Tuesday. That means American Idol and the Amazing Race are on and I can't watch them.
Cable Guy: Um hum.
Me: But I'm here by myself and I can't even go on the internet!
Cable Guy: no, you wouldn't have the internet either
Me: But I have to have either one!
Cable Guy: well maybe you could watch a movie instead.
Me: But I don't want to watch a movie. I want to watch the Amazing Race. I have someone taping AI for me but she doesn't watch the Amazing Race.
Cable Guy: There must be some movie you could watch. And there will be someone there first thing tomorrow morning. Or maybe you could go to a neighbor's.
Me: My neighbors aren't home. I already thought of that.
Cable Guy: Maybe they keep a key under their mat and you could go in and watch and then slip out quietly.
Me: (after thinking about it for a moment) No, I don't think I could do that.
Cable Guy: Well, that's too bad. But it will be fixed tomorrow.
Me: But that doesn't help me tonight. Sigh, I suppose I can find an old movie to watch.
Cable Guy: Well there you go then. Good night and sorry I couldn't have been of more service
Me:Yes, well thank you. (I always have this habit of thanking people when I get bad news.)
Cable Guy thinking to himself. Boy I sure get all kinds.
During this conversation, I didn't raise my voice or anything and he was very nice too. It was just very frustrating.So, I'm really hoping you did tape AI. I was kind of joking when I Said about you taping it, but the fates must have known. You have to come through for me here Gladys. How did they do on AI and who lost on the Amazing Race and anything good happen on Judging Amy? "


If "Gladys" happens to read this, she will know who she is. Thankfully I heard back from her and she did tape American Idol and (bonus) Judging Amy. And my sister taped The Amazing Race.
And today our cable an internet is working. I didn't watch a movie last night. Instead I washed my underwear.

Monday, April 25, 2005

But I was going to wash my underwear

One of the good/bad things about having the whole evening to myself I have discovered, is being able to spend the entire evening on the internet, well not Tuesday night – that night is reserved for American Idol, The Amazing Race (and if anyone else watches these shows and hasn’t read Mrs. Giggles recaps – well half the reason I watch the shows is to read her gut hurting from laughing take on them) and Judging Amy. And Wednesdays are tied up with Lost and the judgment night of AI. But all the other weeknights, I spend the whole evening doing my own blog; trying to add pictures – I envy all those bloggers that can do this and I love looking at them; I feel like I’m in kindergarten blogland when others are in fourth year university going for their masters, reading other readers blogs, posting on other blogs, finding new blogs to read, checking out AAR, TRR, Mrs. Giggles etc. I spend hours reading through them. And when I take a break, I read whatever book I’m currently reading. Then it’s back to the computer. If I eat dinner, it’s in from of the computer. What a wonderful world of bloggers there is getting to be!
Most nights when I finally look up from the internet/my book, I realize it’s time to go to bed and I think to myself
“But I was going to wash my underwear.”
Dang if it didn’t happen again tonight. Good thing I have lots.

My first "one of those" books

My first “naughty” book wasn’t even a romance book. When I was a young thing about 11 or 12 or so, our family was renting a cottage for a few weeks. The previous renters or owners left behind a book called “Pretty Maids All In A Row”. Being a voracious reader, and thinking “what a nice title” I picked it up and began to read. I learned more about sex from that book than I did from my best friend let me tell you. It was NOT a nice little book about farm girls who milked cows. The basic outline of the story was about a male teacher who had “sexual relations” with his young and attractive female students. Graphic sexual relations. Relations involving fists and I don’t mean in a fighting kind of way. He would grade their performance and then murder them.
Well, somehow my two younger sisters got hold of that book. I don’t know if I showed them or they just stole it because it was something their older bratty sister couldn’t put down.
About a week after we got home, my mother called me into their bedroom and wanted me to observe. Now my mother was a real “lady”. She had a wicked sense of humour about some things but reading material and sex weren't them. She wouldn’t let us read comic books for example, saying it would ruin our minds.
What happened next is forever planted on my brain and cause for my sisters and me to laugh till our stomachs hurt (in a loving way) whenever we talk about it.
The three of us were lined up and she had a book in her hands. Yes, that book. One of my sisters, for whatever reason still remains a mystery, decided to pack “that book” and bring it home with her. My mother of course found it.

“You WILL NOT
rip
EVER!!!!!!!!!!
rip
READ
rip
THIS KIND
rip
OF BOOK
rip
AGAIN!!!!!!!
rip
DO
rip
YOU
rip
UNDERSTAND
rip
ME!!!!????!!!!!
rip, rip, rip rip RIP.


Two main thoughts went through my mind but never voiced while she was doing this.
1) I was so glad it wasn’t me that got busted and
2) "But Mom, the book wasn’t ours and I hope the owner(s) never noticed it missing.”

Friday, April 22, 2005

Recent Reads - and folks we have a winner

Before I actually start on my thoughts on the following books a bit of explanation. (recap) My husband started working afternoons the Monday that just passed. He's working 2 to midnight. I get up at 5:30 but he's still asleep when I leave for work. There isn't much interaction with other employees at work so except for 1/2 hour lunches, I don't really talk to anyone. They all just seem to stay in their little cubicles. Then when I get home, there's no one here so there's no one to talk to in the evenings. Well, I have started talking to the TV, but it doesn't answer me back. Gretchen never did get out of that damned elephant. So, I've been staying up until DH gets home just to have someone to talk too. I know as time goes on, I will adjust to this and venture forth more in the evenings. - But up till 12:30 - 1:00 am and then getting up at 5:30 am, right about now I am one tired puppy. My brain isn't at full capacity so I'm going to do what Maili so deliciously calls it link slutting and plagerizing. Well, I don't know if she plagerizes or not. Probably not

I'm still on a reading marathon and have my thoughts on four book for your reading pleasure.

Hush - Jo Leigh
This one was all right. I didn't really "feel the love" but then it's a Blaze and they tend to focus more on the lust. Plus it's a shorter format that doesn't allow for as much character development as full lenght books.
Grade - 3 out of 5

To Love a Thief - Julie Anne Long
I really enjoyed this book. It was cute. (link slut) Here's the review link to the AAR review
http://www.allaboutromance.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=1449
The reviewer gave it a B but since I used numbers instead of letters
Grade - 41/2 out of 5

Jigsaw - Kathleen Nance
(link slut)
http://www.allaboutromance.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=1449
plagerized opinion (the one being plagerized gives her permission)

Posted by Kristie (J) on April 22, 2005 at 17:23:43:
In Reply to:
Jigsaw posted by Heather O on April 22, 2005 at 15:42:32:
: Jigsaw looks interesting. From the review, it sounded like it could've been more than a B read. Maybe an A, even. I'm curious ... was there something significant that kept it from getting there? I didn't notice any mention of love scenes. Were there any? Thanks ...
******

I thought the reviewer did an excellent job with the review of this book and gave it the same grade I did. I will definetely read more romantic suspense books by Kathleen Nance. While it was very good, for me, it just didn't have that added oomph needed to push a book to DIK status. One thing Lea didn't touch on that much was the "character" of Fran. I thought she was a hoot and a very good secondary character. And yes indeed there were love scenes in this book and very well done too.
Grade 4 out of 5

Lips That Touch Mine - Wendy Lindstrom
I'm not going to link the review at AAR here because I disagreed with it. But again I'm going to plagerize and again the one being plagerized gives her permission

Posted by Kristie (J) on April 21, 2005 at 15:01:07:
I just read the review for this book and I’d like to offer a different take on it. I found this book to be wonderful, an absolute delight and for me definitely a keeper. It’s one of the few that I’ve read so far this year that I will remember long after I close the cover. There were so many things that charmed me about this book. First of all, the hero’s name; Boyd. How refreshing a name is that for a hero? Usually it seems to be villains who are named Boyd. I think it’s the first time I have ever seen that name for a hero. And I thought he made a great hero. He had issues; doesn’t almost every hero in a romance book? But he still had a certain joie de vive about him that was so refreshing from your run of the mill tortured hero. He loved his mother and he had a good relationship with the rest of his family too. In other words, normal. Next the setting. Thank the stars above it wasn’t set in regency England. Instead, it takes place in small town in New York. I've always loved historical books set in early American times and wish there were more of them like this one. The next thing I really enjoyed was the Claire, the heroine. I thought she was wonderful. As the review says, she is a widow who enjoyed a sexual relationship with her husband until alcohol ruined the relationship. I found her to be intelligent, and independent and willing to do what it takes to earn her way in life. There was a very poignant bittersweet secondary story told through the writings in a journal that included adultery. Rather than bash our brains out with how WRONG, WRONG, WRONG this is, the author made no judgements. I thought this was fabulous. I really enjoyed the secondary characters from Boyd’s older brothers to Claire’s newfound friends to Boyd’s dog Sailor. I am not a dog person so when I find myself enjoying the antics of a dog in a book, I know the author has done a good job. I found there to be good sexual tension between the hero/heroine. When they reached the consummation scene, she was the aggressor. I really liked that. It proved that she hadn’t allowed herself to become a victim to the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband. At one point in the book, Claire admits she loved her husband and underneath his alcoholism and the damage it did, her husband wasn’t a bad man. Yes I had it pegged pretty early who the villain were but since this isn’t a mystery, so?Not to take anything away from the reviewer, the book didn’t work for her, but it did for me. I didn’t expect much when I picked it up, it was the cover that attracted me, but I truly loved what’s on the inside. It wasn’t earth shattering, it was sweet and gentle and warm and just the kind of story I love in a book about early life in small town America. It struck me as reminiscent of LaVyrle Spencers books.She is a new to me author and I will be looking for her backlist.

Grade - ****** 5 out of 5 ******

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Assorted things that irk me

Well, even an average by (insert best selling author here) is better than most other author’s book out there”.
Bullshit. A mediocre book is a mediocre book is a mediocre book and an author shouldn’t get a pass because she’s written some great books in the past. Why should we praise or excuse mediocrity? I don’t think that works with employers. At least it doesn’t with Donald Trump & yes I watch The Apprentice too. sigh And we are, in a very odd way, authors employers.

“I think Mr. Greenjeans would make a good Roarke. After all, he wears green and Roarke is from Ireland which is known as the Emerald Isle which is green.”
This kind of thing bothers Rosario
“Almost as tedious as those huge threads about who would you cast as Eve and Roarke ;-)
This bothers does me too. I get pictures in my head of the way I see the characters in books and I don’t want anyone messing with my “Imagination Man.” “Imagination Man” is actually the same hero I "see" in all the romances I read. His hair and eye colour change as depends on the hero’s description. It doesn't really matter how the author describes the hero, he morphs into "Imagination Man" anyway. That's why it doesn't bother me too much if the hero on the cover of a book matches the description inside. He morphs. I’ve never actually met “Imagination Man”. As much as I’d like to say he’s my husband, he’s not. I think he's very attractive, my husband, but not like "Imagination Man". But then I doubt I'm his "Imagination Woman" If this bothers you avoid ADWFF. I think they are up to at least 57 pages of who sould play Roarke and cast. The same goes for any message boards where readers try and figure out who should play certain roles. And to those who may be reading this who post on Suzanne Brockman’s message board. NO!!! Sawyer SHOULD NOT play Sam or Cowboy or anybody else. Sawyer is Sawyer. And Sawyer is kind of close to “Imagination Man”

"She felt someone’s gaze on her. She looked up and was bowled over at his incredible good lucks. He could have been Tom Green in all his glory”
Authors who use famous people when describing the hero irks me. This one only happens in contemporaries as they didn’t have TV or movies in historical times. Again, when authors do this, the actor they use interferes with my “Imagination Man.” Plus many times the actor they use to portray the hero doesn’t do a thing for me. I think Daniel Day Lewis was mesmerizing as Hawkeye in Last of the Mohicans. But can anyone say Gangs of New York. And Brad Pitt was devastatingly gorgeous in Legends of the Falls, but then came The Fight Club. On top of that many of the “hunks of Hollywood” don’t do anything for me. George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Josh Hartnett, and many many more – Nada. I don’t want authors to describe the hero by using a real life person. Let them use their words. Now Kevin Costner is someone I think is sexy. I’ve enjoyed all his movies. I even liked Waterworld and The Postman. Not too long ago I read a book; I don’t remember what book it was now, but the author used him as a description of her hero. But even knowing he was a Kevin Costner look-a-like, I still didn’t like it. Even he’s not “Imagination Man”.
And last but not least of things that irk me – Ryan Seacrest.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Ch Ch Ch Changes - Update

I can't believe I didn't mention the number 1 plus of having all my evenings to myself
READING!!!!
Reading the books I have with those half naked men on them that my husband hates so much and that I have to sneak read. No more sneak reading!!


Another huge change in the life an times of Kristie. My husband of 30 years has been at the same place for 32 years. They just did a major reshuffling of all the jobs. The good news is they didn’t eliminate any jobs and he has enough seniority that even if they did, he wouldn’t be in danger of losing his job. The bad news is he’s now working the afternoon shift. He started yesterday. He leaves for work at 2:00 and gets home at midnight Monday to Friday. I work from 7:30 to 4 Monday to Friday and generally go to bed around 10(I get up at 5:30 – I’m definitely a morning kind of girl). This means I won’t see him at all during the week. We’ll only be together on weekends. In all the many years he’s been working, he’s never had to work afternoons. This will make for some very different living arrangements. To celebrate, last night I listened to the Jim Rome show on the radio..... And I don't even like Jim Rome.

Pluses
I’ll be able to spend more time on the internet. If I’m on it for too long, he figures I have an internet romance going – as if, so I’ve curtailed my time spent on the internet.

Watching what I want on TV. Although I don’t really watch that much of it, I won’t have to fight for the remote. And bonus – I can sigh out loud whenever Sawyer is on the screen on Lost.

Still relating to TV, I’ll be able to listen to it with the Surround Sound on. I won the system we have about six months ago but my DH doesn’t like it. He says it echoes (huh?)

If I’m not watching TV, I can listen to WHATEVER music I want to. Right now I’m listening to Pachebelle’s Canon – clich├ęd I know but I love it.

I can watch my Lord of the Rings extended DVD’s anytime I want to.

No more rushing to get dinner on the table by 5. When he was on days, he worked 7 to 3 and was wanting dinner on the table by 5 - very Archie Bunkerish. I’ve always had a late lunch and never wanted to eat until 6:30. It was an issue we never could resolve.

NO MORE PASTA. We have very different taste in food. He could eat pasta every night of the week. I could never have it again in this lifetime and be a very happy camper. Nor any other tomato based meals. That’s how I describe my least favourite food. Anything tomato based. That’s his favourite meal. Anything tomato based. Now I can make him pasta to take to work and have whatever I want for dinner

Minuses
After the first week of newness, I’m going to miss him like crazy. Except for the occasional trip, we’ve never really been apart like this.

I think the minuses outweigh the pluses.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Moving with an author

First off for any who haven't read Maili's http://mcvane.blogspot.com/2005/04/warning-long-whiny-ramble.html/ excellent and recent whine/blog she really says what I think a lot of us feel about many of the romances out there today.

After many years of reading romance, a number of my favourite authors have switched genres or completely left the romance behind them. I then have to decide whether to follow them in their move. Since they have been favourite authors and I hate to loose them almost always I have followed them or at least attempted to, in their move. The first author this happened with was Tami Hoag. I loved her romances, Sara’s Sin and Lucky’s Lady being a couple of my favourites. But then she moved on to romantic suspense and I followed her reading Night Sin, Guilty Sin and Dark Paradise. These were my introduction into romantic suspense and while I enjoyed them, I wasn’t quite ready to embrace the genre. I took a break from Tami Hoag and by the time I tried her again, she was almost completely into straight suspense and had left romance behind. I don't care that much for straight suspense. I know I missing some very good reads but it’s kind of like magicians; I don’t like them either because it drives me nuts when I can’t figure out how they do the tricks. Whenever my DH watches the David Copperfield specials, I always leave the room. I think it must be something similar with thrillers. I want to know why what's happening is happening. At least with romantic suspense, I have the romantic part to distract me.
Julie Garwood is another author whose books I loved when I first started reading romance. When she moved to romantic suspense, I tried (3 times) to get into Heartbreaker but couldn’t. I enjoyed her second romantic suspense Mercy much better but didn’t particularly enjoy Killjoy. And that was that. Garwood was now off my list. Mary Jo Putney was the third favoured author to switch genres. I was one of the few I think who liked The Burning Point. A lot of readers loathe this book and while I can certainly understand their point, it is a difficult subject to write about, it worked for me. I also liked her second book The Spiral Path. But after reading on message boards how much she had politicized her third book I passed on Twist of Fate and until she goes back to her roots with historicals, she is another author I haven’t moved any further with.There are some other lesser well-known authors I’ve attempted to move with. Patricia Ryan now writing as PB Ryan is writing a series of historical mysteries. I have her first book and started it but didn’t get into it very far. I’ll probably give it another go sometime. The problem with her books is they don’t stock them on the shelves and it would mean specially ordering the other books in her series.Teresa Weir is now writing thrillers, as Amy Frasier is similar to the Tami Hoag situation. I have her first book but not any of her later ones. Same deal with Penelope Williamson. Jill Marie Landis is an author I am still sticking with although I’m waiting for her books to come out in PB.
So looking over my list of favourite authors who have moved, I’ll go with them a certain distance but then wave them on their way, wishing them good luck and make my way back to my comfort zone and look for new authors to replace them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

What type of reader are you?

Quite often when I’m surfing message boards or reading reviews the writer will point out why a certain book didn't work for her; why she got pulled out of a story. Often times it is because the author has made a mistake with titles on a historical book or unwittingly plants a field of tomatoes in 12th century England or any number of small errors. But this can bother some readers to the point where they can no longer enjoy the book and/or if they continue to read it they become more and more irked. I came up with a brilliant explanation for why this bothers some readers and other readers hardly even notice this kind of thing. This brings me to the point of this post. I came up with theory on the type of readers there are.

The first type is a technical reader The technical reader is the kind of reader who is distracted by historical errors; they will notice the author included a scene that has tomatoes in 12th century England or has incorrectly addressed a duke/earl/marquis/baron. The technical reader enjoys a book less if there are errors. There is nothing wrong with this type of reader. If an author is going to write a historical novel, they should do their research to the best of their ability so they don’t get tripped up with technical errors. Improper punctuation can also make or break a book for the technical reader. Wallpaper romances are a no-no for the technical reader.

The other kind of reader is the artistic reader. This type of reader doesn’t generally notice or care if there are tomatoes in 12th century England. The artistic reader is not that aware of vegetation. The artistic reader thinks she knows the correct way to address the step mother of a duke but isn’t entirely sure and if it is done incorrectly, will probably not notice. The historical facts while important, in the long run aren’t nearly a book breaker to them. What is more important is while they are reading a book, are they taken away to another land or another time? This is what really matters the most to the artistic reader. Are they swept away by the writings of an author? Improper punctuation has been know to slip through unnoticed. Wallpaper romances, if written well, can sometimes work for them

Do you tend to rush through a story to get to the end, or do you stop along the way, smell the roses so to speak and take note of the inconsistencies. What makes a book a keeper can be vastly different between these two groups of readers so what kind of a reader are you?
Me, I’m an artistic type of reader. I did not know until not to long ago they didn't grow tomatoes in the middle ages.

Etc.

I realized something very significant today. There is a song by U2. They chorus goes:
“You’ve got to get yourself together, you’ve got stuck in a moment and you can’t get out of it.”
For the past year that song seemed to be my anthem, my life. I was stuck in a continual moment and couldn’t get out of it. I know it was depression and I couldn’t seem to shake it no matter how hard I tried. Whenever I heard that song on the radio, I wanted to fold my arms and cry my heart out. It just seemed to reach out to me. I just wasn’t “me” for the longest time. I don’t know if that makes any sense but I don’t know how to explain it any better.

When I was leaving work today that song came on the radio. It was the first time I had heard it in a few weeks. And when I did hear it, I didn’t feel the urge to cry anymore. I realized for the first time in ages, I wasn’t stuck in that moment anymore. I felt released.
And Oh Gawd, what a wonderful feeling that was.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Ah, the slump is over

I’ve been reading up a storm lately. No sooner do I say I’m in a slump, than it seems to be over (thank heavens). I finished He Loves Lucy. While this wasn’t a bad book and I will certainly continue to read Susan Donavan, ultimately this one didn’t work for me. Her dramatic weight loss was glossed over. There were huge chunks of time in this book that went unaccounted for and we really didn’t see Lucy struggling. Just massive amounts of weight loss seemingly very easily done (I wish). I read a review on Amazon where the reviewer thought the first six pages were hilarious. I didn’t, I thought they were sad. And I didn’t really warm up to Theo. He just struck me as a very bland hero although I did like his relationship with his younger brother.
2 ½ out of 5

The next book I read fared much better. Josie Day is Coming Home by Lisa Plumley was delightful. I love it when I pick up a book not expecting much and the book surprises me with how good it is. That’s what happened with this book. Josie Day is a Las Vegas show girl who ran away from home when she was young and her family and the town didn’t understand what made her tick. She’s recently become restless as a showgirl but doesn’t really know what it is she wants. When she saves the life of the older lady who owns the casino where she works, she is given ownership of an old run-down mansion back in her home town. There she runs into Luke Donavan the ‘handyman’. She decides to open a dance school in the old mansion and enlists Luke to help her fix the place up. I loved Josie. I thought she was a wonderful heroine; determined despite the obstacles the townspeople give her, always optimistic and willing to do what it takes to make her dreams come true. Also wonderful is the hero Luke. He falls quickly for Josie’s charms and is one of the few people in her life who thinks she’s wonderful the way she is. There is a wickedly funny scene between Luke and his friend TJ when TJ discovers Luke’s feeling for Lucy are running deep. What I reaaly liked about it was their shere goofiness. I highly recommend this book for those looking for a smile and some corny knock knock jokes.
4 out of 5

And then the final book, The Veil of Night by Lydia Joyce. Wow. I haven’t quite finished it yet but what a rich, decadent book this is, like dark rich chocolate. Victoria travels to the country home of Byron, Lord Raeburn, when her brother is heavily in his debt. No, this isn’t one of those books Mrs. Giggles pillories so deliciously where the innocent young heroine sacrifices herself to save her undeserving family. On the contrary, Victoria agrees to stay the week and be whatever Byron wants to help herself only. And thankfully she is no naive young miss. Instead she is a woman with needs and desires of her own and looks to Byron to fill them. They are both deep, emotional people with many layers and it’s a joy to watch them uncovered.
Although I’m not done, so far this book gets a 4 ½ out of 5.
As the Meatloaf song goes “two out of three ain’t bad”.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

My beef with...

Avon - And what is it that they do to some authors?
They seem to suck the soul write out of them. I posted http://www.hwforums.com/2035/messages/23167.html recently on AAR in reply to someone’s comment on Lorraine Heath newest book and maybe because I’m bored to tears here at work and feeling guilty at even being on the internet during working hours but believe me, it there was anything I could do, I would do it, but I was in an angry frame of mind when I posted. But she is the perfect example of WHAT AVON DOES WRONG! They take the original author and replace them with pod author. They get rid of all originality, all imperfection, all things that made their stories and characters such a joy and so very memorable. Then, except for the odd medieval, they lay all their eggs in the (what I think of as) ‘historical’ basket. All their books take place within approximately a 50-year time span and only in London England, except for the odd country party. And except for the odd Lisa Kleypas hero, all the heroes are members of the ton. And even she succumbed to the pod when it turned out Nick Gentry the hero of Worth Any Price turned out to be a titled guy. Enough already. No more! Please, no more! And of course every hero is drop dead gorgeous. Have you ever seen pictures of the men in those days? Not attractive. They publish nothing outside of their tiny little box. Nothing, nada, zip! Even Susan Kay Law, the last hold-out Western writer is moving to historicals. There books are unrealistic. The book I just finished reading; Something About Emmaline wasn’t a bad book until the end. **SPOILER** Then wonder of wonders, surprise of surprises, the heroine turns out to be not the daughter of the highwayman but the daughter of a baron/earl/marquis/duke - I don’t remember which and I don’t care. And of course once this comes out, everything turns to sunshine and flowers and all is beautiful; forgetting the fact that the bio father left his pregnant, mad wife and never came back. When I read that I thought oh shit, why’d they do that? They sanitize their books to the point of unbelievablity; virgin widows, fake rakes, etc., etc. It sends me on such a sugar sweet overload I can’t handle it.I’m terrified of what they are going to do to Laura Lee Gurhke’s new book. For those who aren’t familiar, there is a husband and wife who have been mentioned in her last two books. They have lived apart for years and the husband anyway has been a very bad boy as relates to other women. Avon have a hero who cheats??? I can’t see it. Ms. Guhrke has recently switched to Avon and already I see her becoming more and more of a Avon pod author. This is the same author who wrote the wonderful book Connor’s Way about an Irish convict who moves to America not to long after the civil war and becomes a boxer. Would Avon publish such a story.? Not bloody likely. And another book Breathless; the story or a divorced woman who works for a living in very early 1900's mid America. Again, I can’t see Avon publishing such a book. I LIKE variety in my books. I LIKE imperfection in the hero and heroine. I have slowly given up on all Avon authors with the exception of two, Lisa Kleypas and Laura Lee Gukrhe. Until they show signs of originality, Avon will only get about 15 bucks a year out of me.
Avon wasn't always this bad, but the aliens took over their publishing planet.

And back to our regularly scheduled program

I seem to be blogging more about television these days than I do about the wonderful world of romance. I think part the reason is because I'm in a bit of a reading slump these days and thus watching more television. I'm still reading but since reading Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare, nothing has really held my interest that much. Sometimes when I read a book that really strikes my fancy, it can get hard to get into something else. This is when I need my comfort reads. I did do a reread of Smooth Talkin' Stranger by Lorraine Heath and was again reminded of why I originally gave it keeper status. I just finished Something About Emmaline by Elizabeth Boyle. This one had me right up until the end. I didn't like the oh so convenient coincidence twist at the end. I felt it was too neatly wrapped up. At the moment I'm reading He Loves Lucy by Susan Donavan. I was really up in the air before buying and reading this one. I've loved all of Donavan's previous books but the subject matter in this one cuts a little too close to home to be comfortable. I, like the heroine could stand to loose quite a few pounds. I didn't want to read something that was my life. That's one of the major reasons I read books; romance books in particular, to get away from 'Real World' on occasion. I didn't want 'Real World' and 'Romance World' colliding; it's that George Costanza thing. I am nothing like the heroines in the books I read. And that's the way I prefer it. It's almost a damned if you do/damned if you don't scenario with this book. Unless someone has been in the same situation, how could they possibly understand what it's like to have such a poor self-image? So much of who I am is bound up with how I see myself. I don't want to read about the same angst I suffer through. That's the damned if you do part. But if theheroine is 100 lbs overweight and it isn't a major concern for her then theway I see it, it's not normal. Anyway I'll see how Susan Donavan does.

Lost

Well, that made me cry last night. I expected it, I mean it wasn’t any secret someone wasn’t going to make it, but still it made me cry.
And colour me confused but did Jack get married? I think he did but those were the strangest vows I’ve ever heard. Part of me thought he was breaking up with her but telling her he still loved her.
And what do you suppose will happen between Jack and Locke?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Tuesday Night TV - The good and the bad

Tuesday - my second favourite night of TV

American Idol - The Bad
Now there's an hour I'll never get back. The theme for the night was musicals. When Ryan Seacrest announced it and mentioned The Phantom, I thought "oh goodie." I goodied too soon. No music from the Phantom. I like musicals. I've seen The Phantom on stage 3 times. I loved the movie and as soon as it's out on video it's mine. I've seen Les Miz on stage twice. I love some of the songs from West Side Story. I still on occasion hum Consider Yourself from Oliver. Last year I saw Camelot in summer theatre.
But I didn't like a single song sung tonight. I'm shallow when it comes to music - hey I still love the 80's. If I don't like the song, no matter how good the singer might be, shallow me, I don't care. I didn't care at all tonight.

The Amazing Race - The Good
Rob and Amber won this leg - again, which means a third trip. They're going to have one hell of a honeymoon. Now I could goodie. I know a lot of people don't like them but even their detractors have to admit they work well together; no bickering, no hurry, hurry baby. And Rob treats Amber with respect. Ya gotta love that.

Tomorrow night - my favourite night of TV - Lost

Now why would they do that?

The city I grew up in was less than a mile and just across the river from the US. I have lots of wonderful and silly memories of crossing the bridge with my best friend when I was young. There was this great ice cream place just on the other side of the bridge on the US side. We would walk over the bridge, once or twice spit over the side (why I don't know - we were kids and we were silly) have some ice cream and head back. This was a great thing to do in the summer. As we got older, we would often drive over to 'the States' to shop. I moved about an hour away but would still go over to do some shopping. The first time I drove, cars were whizzing past me and I thought "my they drive fast here." It wasn't until my sister asked how fast I was going and I said 30 - just like the signs say - when I realized the signs referred to miles and I was driving kilometers.
They had Wal-Mart’s long before we did with much better prices. It's still a great way to spend the day. And because of our higher dollar, a lot of Americans would come over to shop. I've always considered us the 'best of neighbours' like a much broader good friend next door scenario. Quite a few older retired Canadians go to Florida and other warmer states over the winter months. They call themselves snowbirds and I think they do quite a lot for the economy. Why probably quite a few are neighbors of Jerry Seinfeld's parents :) There's a big difference in our weather temperature too. When we say it's going to be 32, that means a real scorcher. Up until recently before the dreaded 'politics' spoiled things, I considered us great friends and neighbors.
Well, I still do, but apparently starting very shortly us Canadians will need a passport to get into 'the States'. To me this is utterly ridiculous! We're buddies for Pete’s sake. And I'm sure it won't take long for the idiots who run our country to reciprocate and want Americans entering Canada to have them.
Passports! This is incomprehensible to me. I know times are much different than they were when I was young. I think unfortunately, that things at the borders need to be strengthened. More questions should be asked.
But now I think things are going too far. Passports. To get to the States. Now why would they do that?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

What is it about the series

OK, I’m doing my first rant today. What is it about series that makes them so popular? I just don’t get it. Julia Quinn is a perfect example. Readers just can’t seem to get enough of the Bridgerton family. I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority but I just completely lost interest in this family after the third book. And I can’t for the life of me figure out why so many people are so hot to read a story about the mother. She’s just not that interesting a character to me. She strikes me as being a twit.
Mary Balogh is another author who fell into this that I don’t read any more. Her earlier stories were very good but I read two of the Slightly books and lost interest. I can’t see me ever reading her again which is a shame.
Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books are another series I’ve given up on. They started out interesting but now it’s way too much of the same old same old. I bought her latest release but just haven’t been able to read it. I know I’m in the minority but at this time I could care less who Ash ends up with. I don’t mind if an author writes two or three books in a series but after that enough is enough.
For this type of series, there seems to be such a build up to the final book that it always ends in disappointment. Whether it be Ash, Rothgar or Wulfric.
For the most part each succeeding book seems weaker and weaker, rather like clones being weaker than the original.
The only exception to my dislike of series books I’ve come across is the Compass Club series by Jo Goodman. I think in part because she has put such a unique spin on her books. I enjoyed each and every one of them.
And Connie Brockway, in my opinion is wise. Her Rose books are only a trilogy. That I can handle.
I may be way off base but I think one of the reasons is because it’s easier on the authors. They already have half the cast of characters set in place. By writing a series, they don’t have to establish histories for the main characters. I don’t like this. This may be sacrilege but it smacks of laziness to me when they write five, six or seven books all based on related characters. Move on already. Be fresh. Write something new.
Another thing that irritates me is when an author starts a series she’s almost guaranteeing herself a fan base that will buy all books in the series just to see how they end. I prefer to purchase each book on an individual basis, not because I’m being manipulated into buying book four of eight.
Another thing bout series books that drives me batty is the frequent requests I read on board for the stories of the most insignificant of secondary characters
“Author A, have you ever considered writing a story about the niece of the sister-in-law of the aunt of the nephew of the hero? She made such an impression on me in that one paragraph you wrote about her that I would love to read her story”
WHY????
I just don’t get the appeal of the series.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

I tried! I really tried!

Around the 20th of every month something weird starts happening to me. I start to have these….urges or callings. I know what they are and I try to ignore them. As the days go on and I try to resist them, they only get stronger and more urgent to the point of being uncomfortable. Every month I say “No more!!! Just leave me alone. I have to stop this madness." But they don’t. They also occur at other times of the month when I least expect it. Anything can set them off. I never know what it might be. Because they are sudden and unexpected it’s impossible to resist theses calls. This time I held out much longer than usual. The end of the month went by and I thought I was safe. But when I woke up this morning it was too strong and I gave in yet again.

Yes, yet again I failed.

I went to the bookstore.

I had to buy some new releases.

This month’s purchases?
Shannon Drake – Wicked
Lydia Joyce – The Veil of Night
Lisa Plumley – Josie Day is Coming Home
Susan Donovan – He Loves Lucy

Elizabeth Boyle – Something About Emmaline

And I have the horrible/wonderful feeling there will be more