Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I have an idea

I don't know if it will work or not but what does everyone think? Who knows there might already be such a thing. It came to me when Robin sent me a copy of Bliss I couldn't find that she found in her neck of the woods. It seems us romance fans are scattered all over the world. What I might be able to find no problem (such as Patrica Potter's Wanted and Diablo - I saw them at a UBS on the way home) others might not be able to find. What if we somehow set up a wish list of books we are looking for. We could post the list every so often and if someone found a book we could swap or else work something out. It sure beats the S/H you pay ordering something through Amazon. I pay $1.00 for a book, and extra 50cents on exchange and then $15 for S/H. I know for me, I would be thrilled to find a book for someone who has been searching for particular book. If someone doesn't have a blog of their own to post it on, I'd be willing to share space on this one.
Just a thought

And a big thank you to Jay who has been helping me with posting pictures. It's still a work in progress but I was just tickled pink when I hit view blog and there they were.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Bliss by Judy Cuevas

Finally, finally, I got a chance to read Bliss by Judy Cuevas (Judith Ivory) on the weekend. It has been killing me for ages when readers discuss this book and Damce and I hadn’t read it. I started looking for it a few years ago when I started visiting the message boards and so many people recommended this book and said how good it was, but could never find it at any of the UBS. Thank you so much to Robin, who recognizing the desperation when it was discussed yet again, came to my aid and sent me an extra copy she had found. My thoughts on the book:
It was wonderful! It was obviously published before the whitewashing of historical romance began.
1) It takes place in France – not England
2) The hero is French – not some English Duke or Earl
3) The hero is an ether addict
4) The heroine is NOT a virgin, although by no means a skeet (Sybil – I did it)
5) The story takes place in the early 20th century

I loved both Hannah and Nardi. Both of them were so wonderfully imperfect. Hannah was a tiny bit on the selfish side and influenced by money, although when push came to shove, she chose love every time. She was childish and wise, brave and scared. She was a heroine I could really relate too.
And Nardi, what a wonderful hero he was. He’s temperamental and insecure with an addictive personality. He is indulged by his family and used by them at the same time. He is charming, spoiled charismatic and so loveable. And imperfect; wonderfully and deliciously imperfect.
This is a book I know that I will read over and over again, if only to read what good historical romance books can be. Thanks again Robin
Grade 5 out of 5

Afterthoughts:
When I was flipping through the back pages where they advertise other books published around the same time (For My Lady’s Heart) I was surprised that I didn’t buy it when it first came out. I was heavily into book buying that year. I think though, that was long before I discovered review sites and message boards so somehow it just escaped my notice. Thank goodness for them now. I don’t think a book this good could escape me now.

How on earth can she redeem Sebastian in Dance? I know she does and I know Judith Ivory/Judy Cuevas has the talent, but Sebastian certainly was very dislikeable in Bliss. Of course, I'll have to get a copy first :)

Why, oh why haven’t these been re-released? I was at the bookstore the other day and I noticed that Kinley MacGregor’s A Pirate of Her Own has just been reissued. I would love to know how Avon decides what should and shouldn’t be re-released. Not to take anything away from MacGregor, but I bought the original only a couple of years ago, so it’s not that old and probably not very hard to find. In fact I stopped at Chapters on the way home from work and the original ($8.99) and rerelease ($9.99) were both on the shelves. Why do Avon and other publishers reprint books that are readily available but not classics?

Sunday, May 29, 2005

A very quick one

Kudos to the London Knights Junior A hockey team. All year they have been simply the best team in all Canada, breaking all kinds of records along the way. They just won the Memorial Cup and are now the reigning Junior A Champs of the country.

Friday, May 27, 2005

A ramble - Why is it?

Why the hell is it we are so hard on our own kind. What prompts this is a post on a message board concerning the character of Sookie Stackhouse and how, because she has sex with more than one guy, she is a skeet (new word for me that’s for sure). I haven’t read the series so I can’t comment on the particular character, although judging from the responses, the original poster is way too harsh. But even if it were true – SO WHAT? Why in general are some readers so harsh and judgemental on heroines with some experience under their belt so to speak?
I’ve seen posters on message boards indignantly refuse to read a book if they know the heroine was a prostitute in the past. Bad Moon Rising by Katherine Sutcliffe for example had a heroine, who through no real choice of her own, was a mistress to a villainous type
When this book came out, there were some who refused to read it based on this reason. What a shame since it was quite a good book. I can’t specifically remember other books or characters but I know this happens quite frequently. Why???? So what if a heroine isn’t “saving” herself for the hero. Does that make her any less of a good character? Often the reverse is true; she seems to be more interesting.
And why aren’t these same readers making the same judgements on the hero? It seems the hero can slut around without the same vigorous outcry. The double standard seems to be alive and well in some romance readers world.
I recently blogged about a discussion about a book not out yet. Some readers were upset with the heroine because she took back the hero. Other were upset she didn’t screw around herself. A few were indignant with the hero but the overwhelming anger seemed directed to the heroine. I have seen this happen time and time again.
Even think of the names that are used for women of experience
Slut
Skank
Ho
whore
Tramp
Now as if we don’t already have enough, skeet
And what about the male of the species? I tried thinking of words we use for them
Dog
Player
Male slut
Which list is nastier?
The same ironically can be said for the opposite. “Virgin” heroines seem to be reviled just as much these days with some readers. I’ve seen readers get just as indignant when they realize the heroine doesn’t have experience. Again I have to ask SO WHAT?Why is a woman’s wealth of sexual experience or lack of sexual experience such a big deal? Mrs Giggles anyone? Now I love reading her reviews. She has a wicked and biting sense of humour that, while I don’t have, I can certainly enjoy. But she seems to hold such vitriol for the virgin heroine. For her and others with this opinion, why base such intense dislike on a heroine because she is a virgin. Base it on the fact that she is just TSTL or a badly written character; not because she does or doesn’t have sex. I can enjoy a book if the heroine is a virgin – yes, even in a contemporary, just as much as I can enjoy a book when the heroine has a past – yes, in a historical.

I just don't get this hostility concerning sex and the heroine.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A challenge issued, a challenge met

I must admit to some trepidation when I accepted Keishon’s challenge. I haven’t read a trad regency kisses only book for a very long time. But I had accepted Keishon’s challenge in the past with much success. I kept putting it off and putting it off but a deal is a deal and I finally picked up Properos’ Daughter to read. To be honest I was surprised I even had some trad regencies to read. I picked this one up a couple of years ago when it first came out partly based on the reviews and partly based on the good looking guy on the cover. I’m shallow, I know it, I admit it.
I started reading it the morning of my trip. Bad thing to do. Instead of the packing I should have been doing I read. When I got to my destination, I’d forgotten quite a few things because I was too busy reading. It was a blessing though during the 3hour (did I already mention 3 hour) delay at the border. It really helped me from thinking about other pressing matters for a while anyway. I read it when I got to the hotel and I didn’t want to stop reading.
This book was very very good!

Title/Author
Prospero’s Daughter/Nancy Butler

Copyright Year
2003

Synopsis
Morgan Pearce seems to be a hero who has it all. Good looks, a job he loves even though the ton aren’t supposed to work, a married woman whose older husband is out of town. Then he is talked very reluctantly into traveling to a country home to help edit his friends father’s memoires. It is there he meets the heroine Miranda Runyon. She had a terrible accident three years previously, is confined to a bath chair and virtually ignored by her family. Because Morgan couldn’t help a close friend injured in the war, he is determined to help Miranda. In the course of helping her, they fall in love and wonder if they can surmount all the obstacles in their way.

My grade/how did it compare with other reviews
TRR gave it 5 hearts
AAR gave it a B+
My grade – 41/2 out of 5

New Author to Me
Yes

Would I read more of this author’s work?
Absolutely!


Thanks Keishon. I probably never would have read this book without your challenge and I would have missed a wonderful read. I look forward now to June’s challenge book. I hope you have better luck than you seem to be having.


Now for something totally different. Do I live in a great country or not? I love American Idol and Lost. What to watch tomorrow night? The Lost finale or the winner on AI??? And I don't know how to program a VCR. Turns out that both show are on the same Canadian channel. American Idol it on tomorrow night and Lost is on Thursday night. I can see them both now. Yes!

My Big Adventure

Well, I’m back from my big adventure. My youngest sister (YS) was getting married. She moved to Massachusetts about a year ago to be with her fiancĂ©. My middle sister (MS) and I drove down on Saturday for her wedding on Monday. We planned on returning on Tuesday. This is the farthest I have ever driven before and I learned and observed a few interesting things on the trip. Never, never order an extra large decaf coffee from MacDonald’s. First off, the coffee is instant (blecchhh). That would not have been so bad maybe if it was a regular size, but if it’s extra large, the coffee in next to undrinkable.
If you do however, manage to drink it all, do not then have something else to drink to wash away the taste as you are approaching the border. You may get stuck in a 3 hour traffic delay – yes three hours – to move half a mile. With absolutely no chance to turn around. No chance. After drinking an extra large coffee followed up by a diet coke.
Washrooms at Home Depot are located in the back. The back of a very large store.
When men jump out of a car, why do they not go behind the trees? They must like to rub it in about their abilities to jump out of a car in a 3 hour traffic jam. Women can’t do this.


Never trust a GPS that has a male voice. My YS sent us her fiance’s GPS to help us get there. It lied. It will get you to almost where you want to go, then either it will play with your mind and give screwy directions and chuckle to itself as it says in an oh so polite voice to “please make a legal U turn as soon as possible” probably realizing you can’t make a legal U turn for the next mile or so, or it will stop working altogether. Then it does it again. And then again. Just when you have no idea where you are.
Between these two factors, a trip that normally takes between 7 and 10 hours can take 12 hours. Yes, 12 hours. A beer will go down very smooth after this. And you sleep good.
The area around Vermont, New York and Massachusetts is breathtakingly beautiful. There are mountains all the way around and the countryside is much more winding than I am used to driving. But it sure was gorgeous scenery.
Americans actually seem to obey the speed laws. In Canada, if the speed limit is 100 (kilometers) an hour, that pretty much means you won’t get caught if you’re still going 120. I love to drive fast. I couldn’t do that too much on the weekend. Between obeying the speed laws and the winding roads, I had to curtail my need for speed . Luckily I made up for it on the way home once I crossed the border.
I’ve observed this before of course, having grown up in a border town, but our currencies are very different. Canadian currency comes in some very lovely colours, blue for $5, purple for $10, green for $20, orange for $50 etc. We also have coins for $1 (loonies) and $2 (toonies). It’s easy to tell what is what and how much money you have left. With American currency, you have to actually look at the bills to see what each one is. And it can seem like you have more money that you do when you have seven $1 bills.
I must admit to being somewhat disappointed in the Barns & Noble store we went to. I had most of my money earmarked for books I couldn’t find at Chapters, but alas there weren’t any. I did however pick up a book with one of “those” covers I would have hemmed and hawed over purchasing here. I didn’t have to worry about that because chances are I’ll never go back there. I liked that freedom.
And the most important thing. As much fun as traveling is, and as much as you laugh the next day about a 3 hour traffic jam and all that entails is, as much fun as it is meeting some very wonderfully warm and friendly people, as much fun as it is to stay in a hotel and not worry about having to make the bed, as much fun as it is seeing some of the most incredibly beautiful scenery, as nice as it is to see your baby sister marry a very nice man with a very nice family, there really is no place like home.

Friday, May 20, 2005

I'm going to have to be quick

I'm heading away for the long (here in Canada) weekend and I have so much to do to get ready but I see I was tagged by CR

Number of books I own
1800 (wow that's scary)

Last bought
Seeing Red and The Cobra and the Concubine

Last books read
For the Love of Grace
Reread
Riding The Fire

Five books that mean a lot to me
The Far Pavillion - M.M. Kaye
The King's General - Daphne DuMaurier
Green Darkness - Katherne Seyton
The Grand Sophie - Georgette Heyer
Dreaming of You - Lisa Kleypas

Unless someone already has - tagging Alyssa

And I'm shutting down my computer for the next four days - reluctantly...I'm doing it.... now...over and out.
Bye... see ya later....

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Oldies but Goodies

I keep track of my books in an excel spreadsheet. I was going through it and updating it and thought I would share some older and lesser known books that I gave 5 out of 5’s too. So here goes, five of my best (with more to come)

When Lightning Strikes by Rexanne Becnell - published 1995
Anyone looking for a good western should check this book out. She is one of those authors I enjoy who can write great books in many different genres. I've read quite a few of her books and although not much is heard about her, she's a wonderful writer who has been around quite a while. Worth checking out! And a good cover :)

Outlaw Hearts by Rosanne Bittner - published 1993
Another Western. This book is one that I never keep far away. I've read it quite a few times. I've recommended it a number of times and I'm thrilled that some readers have mentioned they have picked it up. It's one of those rich books with a to die for outlaw hero and the woman who changes him and gives him hope.

Letters From A Stranger by Connie Rinehold - published 1993
This is a contemporary book about a beautiful and lonely young woman who writes letters to men overseas in the armed forces. The letters between the heroine and the reluctant hero are wonderful and what is really refreshing about this book is the awkwardnes and realistic first love scene.

Once In Every Life by Kristin Hannah - published 1993
This was written before Kristin Hannah moved to women's lit. It's a wonderful time travel with two very wounded and lonely people and a second chance at love.

Wild Hawk by Justine Dare - published 1996
This one is part of a series she wrote. Also in the series are Fire Hawk (1997), a medieval and Heart of the Hawk, (1996)a western. They are all connected by a mysterious book and all are keepers. I'm cheating here by mentioning 3in1. Wild Hawk is a contemporary with a hard and cynical hero and woman he comes to love. Because they are all written in different eras, they don't need to be written in order. Each one is a wonderful story of love and redemption and a little paranormal thrown in.

I've seen all these books in UBS's so if you are ever in one and looking for something good to read........

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I probably shouldn't do this

I worked an eleven hour day and I'm tired and cranky, but just before I left work I noticed there is a discussion going on (again) at AAR about a book that hasn't been released yet and there are people dissing it. Hello. It's not even out yet. I wanted to post asking if they had any idea how sanctimonious they sounded. The book in question is Laura Lee Guhrke's latest book The Marriage Bed due out JUNE 28. As far as I can tell, there are two groups who are insulted by this book (that isn't even out yet). It's a book on (gasp) adultery. One group seems to be offended because the hero cheats and the heroine doesn't and the other group seems to be offended because the hero cheats.
Keep in mind this book hasn't been released yet. If the subject matter isn't someone's cuppa that's one thing but to cancel an order before it even hits the shelf is downright dense.
This discussion to me exemplifies perfectly why so many of today's historicals are watered down versions of some of the wonderful historicals of years past. In trying to please both sides, publishers choose the middle ground with the result that the historical is in serious trouble. Instead of real imperfect people with issues, we now so often get the perfect virginal heroine and the tortured yet noble hero.
Enough already. I want the warts back!
I should state that I'm not completely unbiased. I discovered Laura Lee Guhrke years ago when Conor's Way was published in 1996 and I've loved her books every since. She seems to be gaining a greater readership since she switched to Avon, but I 'knew ' her when. I'm glad she's starting to get the recognition I think she so rightfully deserves. It just irritates me that some readers can be so judgemental and self-righteous. So, I may delete this when I've calmed down. And I may not. My Bo glow is certainly gone for the day. Thankfully, I should get it back tonight along with my Lost fix.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

For those who watch American Idol

Was Bo incredibly awesome or what!!!!! Wowzers!!

Carrie and Vonzell were both very good too but Bo gave me goose bumps with his second song. And when he sang Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones - whew!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Ramblings on a Monday

I’ve only recently become aware of the reviews of books on Amazon. I started reading them when I read about a certain author whose fans would post glowing 5 star reviews on all her books, even when she was trashed on review sites. That gave me a cynicism of Amazon reviews that I still hold. Just out of curiosity on one of the reviews I checked out “see all my reviews” and I noticed the “reviewer’ had also reviewed a blanket; honestly she reviewed a blanket – why someone would want to do that I don’t know. Added to the fact I’ve read on various message boards on occasion authors will post reviews of their own books under anonymous names I don’t think their reviews have any credibility at all. AAR, TRR, Romance Reader at Heart and http://www.mrsgiggles.com/are the ones I trust the most. I disagree with Mrs. Giggles quite a bit but my does she make me laugh. And now I read reviews on different blogs so who needs Amazon reviews.

I don’t get the appeal of men who deliberately shave all their hair off. I saw a picture recently of charity event sponsored by a professional baseball team. I don’t really notice it when I’m watching a game on TV because they are wearing hats or helmets, but this was a social event and a good two thirds of the team had all their hair shaved off. My two sons shave off almost all their hair too and I just don’t get it. It must be my age. Give me hair on a guy. I can still hear my dad telling me when I was young and getting interested in boys that “no way would I be allowed to date one of the long haired hippy types.” Of course it was never a problem because none of the long haired hippy types ever asked me out. I am shallow enough to admit that one of the reasons I like Sawyer over Jack is because Jack has almost no hair.

I have a few phobias. The oddest one is light bulbs. I have an irrational fear of changing burnt out light bulbs. I’m always afraid I will grab it to hard and it will smash and I’ll get glass cutting my hands up. Either that or I will somehow electrocute myself. And of course whenever one light bulb goes, the rest are sure to follow. They must communicate somehow. And if my husband isn’t around to change them, I just make do in the dark. My other odd phobia is blowing up balloons. I hate blowing them up. When my sons were small and had birthday parties, my balloons were an embarrassment. I could never blow them up more than half way.
And while I’m at it – crickets. I don’t like spiders, but I’m deathly afraid of crickets. Grasshoppers I can handle, June bugs aren’t my favourite insect but I don’t run away, but put a cricket in front of me and I will turn around and give them a wide, wide berth.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Mid-List Authors I enjoy

Well, I shared a couple of debut authors whose books I really enjoyed. Today it’s a couple of mid-list authors.

Susan Mallery has been an autobuy author for me for ages but she is someone I very rarely see mentioned on message boards. I started reading her harlequins, the hometown heartbreaker series, many years ago and really liked them. Then she began writing single titles and I liked them even more. She wrote a trilogy a couple of years ago about threes sisters, The Sparkling One, The Sassy One and The Seductive One, whose family owned a vineyard. I thought these were pretty good stories but they seemed to generate very little buzz. After that, she wrote a wonderful story, Someone Like You. This is a coming home story and rediscovering your first love. The sequel, published in March/05, Looking for Gracie, is another wonderful story with the same theme. Gracie had become a town legend in her youth in her pursuit of Riley, the hero who had left town years ago. Gracie and Riley just happen to show up back in town years later. This book I gave 4 out 5
She also has written some westerns that I thoroughly enjoyed under the pen name Susan Macias.
I haven’t been reading her latest Harlequins; they are those dreaded Sheik and Heiress books, but I really recommend her singles titles, her older harlequins and her westerns. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. I’d love to see more readers discover her books.

Michele Albert is an author I have loved since her first book Absolute Trouble. This was written under the name Michele Jerrott and this one got me from the very start. The hero, Luc, is posing as a male stripper in order to avenge the death of his brother. He is sent to stay with Dulcie, a former cop who had to leave the force on a disability. I knew right from the beginning that this was an author I was going to love. And I have, all of her books. Although I had been thinking of doing this kind of promotion ever since I started blogging, it was a blog about the issues of being a mid list author she wrote that I read via Maili that really prompted me to begin. When she switched her pen name to Albert, much to my dismay, none of the bookstores where I lived carried her book, Getting Her Man. Because I love her books, I specially ordered this one, something I don’t do that often. Although I think all her books are great, my favourite ones are Absolute Trouble and Off Limits. I rated both of them 5 out of 5. So for anyone looking for great contemporaries, great heroes and heroines I urge you to take the time to read Michele Albert.

Friday, May 13, 2005

I haven't been around much

My father-in-law passed away early this week. He had been very ill for quite some time and suffering but still it has been difficult for my husband.
I look forward to catching up shortly.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Recent Reads - some good, some not so good

Red Hot Cajun by Sandra Hill.
This is the third book I’ve read in her Cajun series about the Leduc family and my least favourite. I passed on the one about the sister. Somehow a story about a “big haired flamboyant hairdresser who had been married four times just didn’t appeal to me. Call me a snob. Don’t get me wrong, Red hot Cajun wasn’t bad; it had its funny moments, but my favourite still remains The Love Potion. I found the lead characters remarkably immature for their supposed ages Rene, the hero and environmentalist was supposed to be 36 and acted about 26 and Velerie Breaux, a lawyer and court TV reporter was supposed to be 34 and acted about 20. I wasn’t impressed that at her age she was still so controlled by her family. And Tante Lulu just got on my nerves after 3 books.
Grade – 3 out of 5

Depth Perception – Linda Castillo

I had read some good things about Linda Castillo on different boards and when I saw this in the store decided to give it a try. Oddly enough, it was another book that took place in Louisiana Bayou. It couldn’t have been more different in tone though. This is quite dark and quite grim. Nat Jennings was in the house when her son and husband were murdered and she was almost killed herself. After spending 2 ½ years in a comma, she awakes and realizes she has strange visions. She goes back to the town where her family was murdered and tries to enlist the help of Nick Bastille. He has just been released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit. While he was in prison, his beloved son died and he is now trying to put back the pieces of his life. Despite the subject matter, I thought this was a well written suspense with two very damaged characters. I will definitely be reading more of her books.
Grade 4 out of 5

Run No More by Catherine Mulvaney

This is another book I bought after the buzz about it on the internet but I didn’t like it as much as others. Yes the heroine was a strong capable heroine and the hero was quite decent despite being a cat burglar but the biggest obstacle I just couldn’t overcome was the 40 year age difference. I thought that while Tasya Flynn truly did love Ian MacPherson, it was more of an abuse victim would have for her rescuer, kind of unbalanced. ***** SPOILER***** When she went back in time and they were closer in age, it was too late for me to believe in their love story. Add to that the propensity of both of them to want to kill themselves, especially Ian and I just didn’t care for this book nearly as much as other people have.
Grade 2 out of 5

One Night in Texas by Jane Sullivan

This is a Harlequin series book, one of the final Temptation Line (I know this because it says Collector’s Edition on the cover). I thought this one was a very good book. This is the third book I’ve read by Jane Sullivan and I thought all three were great. She also writes single titles under the name Jane Graves and except for the truly horrific wallbanger Wild at Heart I’ve also liked her singles titles. Alyssa Ballard, the heroine is the manager of an exclusive line of upscale apartment buildings. Six months ago she had spent a wonderful and decadent week with Derek Stone until at the end of the week he walks out of her life with only a brief note and she realizes everything he told her was a lie. He re-enters her life in a whirlwind just as suddenly and she is left to decide if she dares to risk her heart again. Yea, this book has a number of clichĂ©s, but still Ms. Sullivan manages to give both the hero and the heroine quite a bit of character development in the shortened series format. I finished this book in less than a day and sometimes that’s just what I want to do with a book. I hope with the end of the Temptation line, Jane Sullivan still continues to write for Harlequin since whatever I have read has been very good.
Grade 4 out of 5

Friday, May 06, 2005

People who change our lives

I want to say something about somebody who changed my life. I started a new job six weeks ago. I had been off work for the previous for five months and the job I held before that was difficult for me. So when I started at the new job, I was in a bit of a mess, emotionally wise. I hadn't used my brain for five months and it definitely showed. My confidence in myself wasn't the greatest. I was lonely, scared and overwhelmed, emotions I don't like feeling this late in life. The day after I started, someone else started in the work station next to me. She was there on a six week placement. When I was introduced to her, I had a sinking feeling inside. She was a traditional Muslim woman who had moved to our country from the mid-east three years ago and didn't speak English very well. She wore traditional Muslim clothes with the head covering; sorry I don't know what it's called. I thought I would have nothing in common with my nearest coworker. I have worked with Muslim women in the past, but they have spent most of their lives in Canada and were quite used to our customs and ways. Because we were both new and most of the other people in the office eat there lunch at their desks, I began eating lunch with her. And slowly but surely she began changing my perceptions. As we began to talk more and get to know each other better, I realized that we weren't nearly as different as I thought we were. We didn't talk about religion. We didn't talk about the ugliness going on in certain parts of the world. Instead we talked about our own daily lives as wives, mothers, sisters. I learned that she loved her husband just as I love mine. She loved her kids and was proud of them just like me. She has a child that is more of a challenge shall we say and so do I. We both lost both our parents when they were relatively young and we both understood what that was like. Both us had husbands who tried to teach us how to drive a standard; once. That was enough :). I learned that although she didn't speak English very well, she actually had quite a bit more education than I did. She was older than I was when she got married and had children when she was older. Her boys love to play sports just like mine do and she told me how excited her son was when he made the high school soccer team. She told me how he didn't tell her when he hurt himself at his first game and I told her how my son broke his wrist playing baseball.
As we talked and got to know each other, I realized that our similarities increased and our differences decreased and I came to like her very much. She had a wonderful sense of humour and she made me laugh and I made her laugh at some of the absurdities our every day lives.
Today was her last day and I don't know if I will see her again. Our lifestyles are very dissimilar. But she taught me something very important. She taught me not to judge people on appearances or preconceived impressions. She taught me that different cultures can and do have common ground. I know that she will never read this but still I want to say thank you Magda. You helped me to grow as a person.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

In praise of new and mid-list authors

I have mentioned a number of times and in a number of different places, how much success I have had in the past year and a half with debut and mid-list authors.
I have read quite a bit about the sorry state of romance today and I just haven’t found this to be the case at all when it comes to new and mid-list authors.
So, putting my money where my mouth is, I want start featuring different gems I have found and why they are gems.

Debut Authors


Kate Rothwell debuted in 2004 with her book Somebody Wonderful. The story takes place in the 1880’s in New York City. The hero is an Irish police officer and the heroine is a rich heiress. This book has a great location and a great time period. I wish there were more Americana books like this. Both the hero, Michael McMann and the heroine, Timona Calverson are wonderful characters, both likeable. What I liked about Timona is she decided she wanted Mick and she went out and got him. I rated this one a 4 out of 5
Her follow-up book, Somebody To Love starred Griffin Calverson, Timona’s rather stuffy brother and Araminta Woodhall her best friend. This book was very unique in that there was a mixed relationship between the hero/heroine. I enjoyed this book even more and rated it 5 out of 5. Kudos to Kate Rothwell.

Paula Reed also debuted in 2004. Her first book, Into His Arms features Faith Cooper as young Quaker woman who is questioning her faith when she is being forced to marry a man she doesn’t want to. She stows away on the ship of Privateer Geoffrey Hampton. Not a shy young miss was this one. I rated this one 4 ½ out of 5.
Her follow up book, For Her Love deals with the issue of slavery and again kudos to Paula Reed for the risks she takes. The hero is Giles Courtney, the second in command from Into His Arms. He decides it’s time to settle down and Grace Welbourne, the daughter of a rich plantation owner is the woman he wants to marry. She is not what she seems however. I gave this book 4 ½ out of 5.

I will continue to share more about authors and their books that convince me that the future of romance seems to be doing quite well in future blogs.
For those who question, where romance is headed, I strongly encourage you to take a chance and try new and mid-list authors. I think you will be very pleased!

The joys of blogging

Now that I have evenings to myself, I'm spending all kinds of time blog hopping and it's a great way to spend an evening - well except for Tuesday night Reality TV night and Wednesday night "Lost" night. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I'm pretty much an island when it comes to romance reading. None of my friends or family read romance near to the intensity that I do. I love visiting message boards where I can share thoughts and opinions with other readers but now that I have joined the 'blogging world" blogging is even more enjoyable. I've gotten to kind of know readers on message boards but not to the extent that I can through blogging and blog hopping. When I post on message boards, I tend to reign myself in. I try to keep messages short, which for me is very difficult. I tend to wax on quite a bit. When one of my sisters read my blog at my insistence, she said it was interesting but "wordy". Another thing I have freedom to do on a blog that I don't as a rule on message boards is be critical. I haven't too much on the blog so far, but if I want to I can. Freeing thought that! And I love reading other romance reader blogs too. I can spend hours blog hopping and it's wonderful discovering new blogs. So if anyone is considering starting their own blog, what are you waiting for? Come, join the world of blogging.

Since I am fairly new at this blogging business, below is an experiment.

I tried the birthday (and boy is it ever close). How very kind of them to make it easy to copy and paste.

Your Birthdate: August 11
Your birth on the 11th day of the month makes you something of a dreamer and an idealist.
You work well with people because you know how to use persuasion rather than force.
There is a strong spiritual side to your nature, and you may have intuitive qualities inherent in your make up, too.

You are very aware and sensitive, though often temperamental.
Although you have a good mind and you are very analytical, you may not be comfortable in the business world.
You are definitely creative and this influence tends to make you more of a dreamer than a doer.

Monday, May 02, 2005

I have a confession to make

It’s May 2 and I haven’t sent in my taxes. In fact, I haven’t even done my taxes yet. I didn’t start out to be a criminal. But eleven years ago I started becoming one. That was the year when I was still a good little tax paying citizen and did my taxes only to discover at the end of that year I still owed the government $1,600 dollars. I had a little part-time job as a cashier at a grocery store where I barely made enough money to pay for groceries and a few (well, more than a few I suppose) books. In order to try and have some more money I got a second little part time job at a lumber store. Finally, for the first time in my life I managed to save a decent amount of money. Then I did my taxes. The money I managed to save that year all went to paying taxes at the end of the year and a rebel was born. Oh, I still did my taxes but I resented the hell out of having to do them. And the resentment grew and grew.
I live in Canada and for those who don’t live in this country there is a huge scandal going on now in the government. We have had the same political party in power now for ten years, I don’t the exact number of years and I haven’t voted for this particular party for at least eight years. But it turns out the party in power has done some very illegal things with taxpayers money. They have spent millions and millions of our dollars giving it away to their friends. And I am very angry about it. Now it looks like we might have another election based on the illegal activity of the politicians in charge of the country.
We pay taxes on everything in this country. If I buy a book, I have to pay taxes on it. If I buy a meal at a restaurant, I have to pay 15% tax on top of it. If I get my hair cut for Pete’s sake I have to pay taxes for the privilege. And don’t even get me started on the taxes we pay for gas, cigarettes and alcohol. I bought a car recently and I didn’t even look at the 15% extra money I had to pay in taxes on my car. It would make me cry. Thirty five to forty percent of each and every pay check goes to pay taxes right off the top. If we get a work bonus, forty percent goes to taxes. That’s forty percent off of a bonus for a worker doing a good job!!!
So that’s why I haven’t sent in and not even done my taxes.
Part of me, the criminal part of me, hopes I get caught, hopes the tax man comes after me so I can make a statement that I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.
And that’s my rant for the day.