Saturday, December 31, 2005

I don't often do this but

Random thought first. Why is it days - even a week or more can go by and I can't think of a single thing to blog about, then next thing I know, the thoughts won't stop coming?

Anyway - on to the rest of this one
.






I was at the book store this morning and picked up these three books. Now normally I just add the new books to the sidebar, but today was a little different. In order to understand why, you must know that I am - well - cheap. I hate spending money and would much rather save it and check out my bank account several times a week. The only area I'm not that cheap is books. I don't hesitate to drop a bundle on books, and I do - much more often than I should. But even in buying books, my basic cheapness has a hold. I will only very very rarely buy trade sized and never hard cover. The exception to the hardcover is through the Doubleday book club. But then I recently got to cheap for that.
Still, when at a book store I will pick up trade and hard cover books and hold them longingly in my hands until I reluctantly put them back on the shelf and tell myself to wait until they come out in MM paperback. Now keep in mind that here in Canada trade sized books go for over $20 a pop and hardcover usually over $30.


BUT

I got a rather large sized gift certificate for Christmas and when I was at the store this morning I thought "What the hell! Go for it." So I did. I picked up one of each. The best part is I hadn't really looked at the price of The Smoke Thief before today. I just assumed it would be too much. Imagine my delight when I saw it was only $20. Plus the store was selling all hardcover books at 30% off. Add to that the additional 10% I get off with my discount card and the price was just too good to ignore. I just finished Julia Ross' Night of Sin a week or so ago and just loved it. Knowing Game of Pleasure was another book in the series sealed the deal.

Every so often it's real fun to ignore the cheap side of me!


'til later

Top 10 current authors

I want to say that these are authors who are still writing romance. I have more favourite authors who haven’t been heard from for a while such as Judith Ivory, Candice Proctor (who has switched to historical mystery with a dash of romance) and a few others who for one reason or another haven’t had a book published in recently.

I have a lot of auto buy authors – too many to list. But there are some that are even more than auto buys. It’s interesting that although they are on my top 10-author list, some of the following don’t have a book on my top 10 of 2005 list even though they probably have at least one release for the year. Further qualification to make my list is at least 3 5 out of 5 books and some 4 ½ & 4’s. In picking my author list, I went for the entire repertoire rather than individual books. So, without further adieu here they are:

Linda Howard: I love her books – just love them. There may be one or two stinkers in the bunch but considering the number of books she’s written and her stinkers were earlier books, she is easily on my top ten list. She writes excellent funny (Mr. Perfect, To Die For) and excellent suspense (Dream Man, Shades of Twilight). Heck she even excels at time travel (Son of the Morning). In my most humble opinion – she is simply the best. Now if only she could get herself a web site.

JD Robb: I swore off Nora Roberts a couple of years ago and it continually amazes me that I am still so mesmerized by JD Robb – the same person. But I think her In Death series is phenomenal! I know some readers are getting tired of them and they seem to be turning the same old same old, but for me it’s the slow growth of Eve and Roarke and slowly getting to know all the other characters that makes this series so compelling. Every time I read a new one, I feel like I’m visiting very special friends. I can’t ever imagine getting tired of these books. And note that while neither of her releases this year made it into my top ten list, JD Robb is number 2.

Liz Carlyle: I haven’t read one of hers that I didn’t enjoy!!! With the exception of perhaps JD Robb, she is the only author I can say this about. From the very beginning she has impressed me with her writing ability. After having one book a year since 1999, she had 3 this year – well officially 2. This is a good thing – very good.

Jo Goodman: I haven’t read her Dennehy Sister books yet, I have some in my TBR pile and keep thinking I gotta read this one next. But the books I have read of hers, are all exceptional. Her latest book, A Season to be Sinful made it onto my favourite books of 2005 list. I say she ranks right up there with the best of the best, Judith Ivory, Laura Kinsale, Marsha Canham and Loretta Chase. I think what keeps her from getting more recognition is many readers have preconceived opinions of Kensington and Zebra. I would love to see her more widely read. She really is an outstanding author.

Gaelen Foley: She’s only had one book I didn’t like – Lord of Ice and one book I was meh about – The Duke. Other than those two exceptions, I’ve loved everything she’s written and I’ve read them all. Whether it’s her Knight Miscellany series or her Ascension trilogy, I find her very entertaining. I know some scoff at her – well – flowery turn of a phrase, but hey – I like it.

Susan Anderson: She is contemporary author who hasn’t written a book I haven’t liked. Her heroes are for the most part quite alpha although she does occasionally write them less so. Elvis of Exposure is my favourite of all her heroes and the hero in Hot and Bothered had an eye rolling nickname – Rocket – apparently named after a certain part of his anatomy *eye roll* but other than that, I’ve liked a lot/loved all her books.

Anne Stuart: When I was doing this I checked. I own 25 Anne Stuart books. She is another author who amazes me in her ability to cross genres and write wonderful books in each of them. Her 2003 book Into the Fire got scathing reviews, but it was my choice of guilty pleasure that year and this year’s Black Ice made it onto my top 10 list. She wrote some remarkable series books too. Night of the Phantom is one of my all time favourite series book. And she is definitely the Queen of the Anti-hero

Loretta Chase: Although she doesn’t have as long a back list as some of the other authors, other than her regencies which I haven’t read, Loretta Chase has written some truly wonderful, wonderful books. She is one of the leading authors of romance and deservedly so. Lord of Scoundrels I think is a classic in the romance genres. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read this one. Captive of the Night is another great one. When I think of favourite authors who have disappeared, I am always heartened thinking of Loretta Chase. She wrote The Last Hellion in 1998 and then mysteriously vanished for six long, long years. This was before I discovered the Internet and every month I would dutifully check out the bookstores hoping against hope to find a new release. Once I discovered the Internet and romance review sites I began to hear rumblings – but no releases. I had just about given up all hope and then lo and behold in the spring of 2004 she came back!!!!!! Finally one of the masters had returned. Not only had she returned, but also she has a series planned. It started with Miss Wonderful, continued with Mr. Impossible a book which came oh so close to making my best books of 2005 list and soon she will be releasing Lord Perfect – ugly cover and all. Not only that – but they will be re-releasing Lion’s Daughter next month and Captives of the Night in May. Now if only they will re-release Lord of Scoundrels with a different cover.

Lisa Kleypas: Although neither of her books released in 2005 made my top list, she is an author again like Loretta Chase who came oh so very close. Of all the books she has written – 19 not including some very old Onyx books and a few anthology short stories there have only been 2 I can honestly say I didn’t love or at least very strongly like. One was one of the Onyx books whose name escapes me at the moment written very early in her career and Lady Sophia’s Lover. That is some damn fine track record. Dreaming of You is THEE quintessential romance book and if Nicole were to ever read it, I’m sure she would agree (grin). For anyone who has never read this book with Sarah Fielding and Derek Craven, Joyce Ashby (boo, hiss) et al please – I beg of you – read it. You WILL thank me. I think more readers are eagerly awaiting her next two releases than many another books. I honestly can’t imagine a historical romance reader not including her on their favourite author list.

Now this leaves me two authors short. When I was thinking up this list, I wanted it to include authors who had written at least five books that I’ve read and have had a release in 2005. I’m still sticking to the five published book rule(in my head) but I have to include books released in 2004 to make up the top ten. See, it’s my list and I can make my own rules.

So (drum roll please) the other 2

Susan Grant: She writes the most excellent futuristic. I’ve read her entire backlist, which admittedly isn’t long but she didn’t score lower than a 4 on any of them. Once a Pirate, her first book knocked my socks off. As did The Star King, The Star Princess and The Scarlett Empress. I checked out her website and although she didn’t have a release in 2005, she had 2 in 04 and it looks like she has quite a few coming out in 06. I can hardly wait.

Michele Albert: Her book in 2005 was her least impressive (IMO) of all her books to date and I still gave it a 3 ½. The rest of her back list is very very good. She’s changed her name from Michele Jerrott. At first I thought I’d lost her after the change, but luckily I found her again. She became an autobuy after her first book and a favourite by her third. Now she’s on my top ten list.

There are a lot of authors whose books I love that didn't quite make it for one reason or another Wendy Lindstrom and Pamela Clare only have 4 published books. There are other very promising authors who just don't have enough books to make the list although they are auto-buys. Hopefully soon, this will be a 20 favourite author list

'til later

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Kristie's Crushes

I’m at work, I’m pretty much the only one here and I’m bored. That can be a dangerous thing as anyone who reads this may discover. I thought I would take a trip down memory land and share some of my celebrity crushes over the years. Many of my childhood crush memories are gone now so I’m only highlighting the ones I remember. Warning – I WILL be dating myself here so not many will know who I’m talking about but…… one or two of you might.

The first celebrity crush that I remember wasn’t really on a guy. No, it was on a mouse! It was on Mighty Mouse to be exact. Now this was no ordinary mouse. He was a SUPER Mouse- with muscles, lots and lots of hot mouse muscles! He saved the life of many a young nubile mousette from clutches of the evil and villainous cat gangs who had lustful thoughts about our young blond female mouses. And I so wanted to be one of those mousettes. To clarify in case anyone is wondering what on earth I’m talking about, Mighty Mouse was a cartoon that ran during my early formative years. Long before the maniacal Brain of Pinky and the Brain there was *sigh* Mighty Mouse. Now my crush on Mighty Mouse was so strong, I made believe that he lived in our house. My father (not a Mr. Fix-up) for some unbeknownst reason, made a mouse sized hole in the baseboard of my bedroom. I used to give small tours to the young children in our neighbourhood to show them where Mighty Mouse really lived. A few of the younger and more na├»ve of them actually believed me. I don’t remember explaining to my mother why I was showing groups of kids the hole in my baseboard, but I’m sure if I did, she must have looked at me rather oddly.





The next crush I remember was when I was older and could tell the difference between Mice and Men. I think that one would probably have been Bobby Sherman. Now there’s a name from the past of people in my age group isn’t it? I wasn’t the only one let me tell, you who had a crush on young Mr. Sherman. Google him and you will find all kinds of interesting facts. He came to my attention in a show called Here Comes the Brides. It was a story of 3 brothers, the Bolt brothers who owned a lumber mill in the old west. There was a shortage of women and to make all the lonely lumberjacks happy, they sent for women from the East to come and marry the lonely (and no doubt horny) lumber guys. Bobby Sherman played the role of the youngest brother Jeremy. Now when the show first started, he had a stutter and I just found that so darned endearing. By the second season though it was gone and I didn’t like the woman he chose for his bride, so being the fickle sort I transferred all my affection to the middle brother, the blond one, Joshua played by David Soul. This was before his Starsky and Hutch days. I was devastated when that show went off the air. Bobby Sherman went on to a music career but I was long over him by then.




Another huge yet short lived celebrity crush was on Illya Kuryakin aka David McCallum from the television show Man From Uncle. Now Napoleon Solo was the suave debonair master spy who always got the woman but my heart belonged to the taciturn Russian spy Ilya. Oooh, that Russian accent. It’s so odd to see him these days as Ducky on Navy N.C.I.S. Of course it’s even odder to see Napoleon Solo aka Robert Vaughn hawking sleazy lawyers.



As I started getting older, my crush of the moment celebrities started getting manlier – harking back to the old Mighty Mouse and the next one was the studly James T West of Wild Wild West – now I’m talking the television show of the 60’s not the Will Smith movie. I loved the whole concept of this show, the time, the setting, the train, the action, the music, Artemis Gordon, Dr. Migelito Loveless – everything. But most of all I loved James T West. I'm sure between this show and Here Come The Brides, my love of a good Western romance was born


Now in case you are thinking all of my crushes were on television stars – nope – I had them on musicians too. Like every other girl my age, I had one on Paul McCartney of the Beatles aka the Cute One. Realizing I was just one of a flock, I tried to transfer the crush to George Harrison, but it just didn’t work. This crush didn’t last too long though. I mean EVERYONE had a crush on Paul and I’ve always wanted to be a little different – dating back to the Mighty Mouse days.

My next musician crush was much stronger and lasted much longer and well…was the only crush whose pictures I hung on my wall. Now – knowing my enduring love of all things historical, can anyone guess who the musician in question might have been? He was in a famous band in the 60’s. Most people reading this will never have heard of this band (we called them bands in those days) or if they have, it would be in more of a mocking laughter kind of a way, but at the time crushes didn’t come any deeper than the one I had on Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders. Mercy!!!! It was a wild thing! He made my heart sing. He made everything……groovy (yes – believe it or not we really did use the word groovy – *shudder*). You could barely see my beautiful lavender walls, they were so covered in poster of him and the rest of the guys that I glommed from 16 Magazine, Tiger Beat and every other teen girl magazine. Everything about him melted my young teenage heart, his long hair tied back in a ponytail, the costumes they wore, the tricorn hats, the tight pants, the whole aura of the time period, the tight pants. I think that’s why even today my most favourite setting in books is Colonial America. In the back of my mind I almost picture every hero looking like Mark Lindsay. His voice as he belted out Hungry *shiver*, or Kicks or Just Like Me


Pause while I again remember


I started getting wierded out though when I began sprouting those little thingies on my chest. Somehow it just seemed odd to be changing my clothes in front of hundreds of staring eyes every evening and I eventually took them down. And then tragedy struck. Mark Lindsay left the band.




Heart sick and depressed, that marked the end of my celebrity crushes for many a year. I met, fell madly in love with and married my husband. The last thing I wanted during those days was a celebrity crush. But eventually they came back. Little ones of short duration which I don’t even remember anymore until one day I was struck down by another mad mad celebrity crush. Now everyone who knows me, knows about this one. My everyday friends, many of my on-line friends are all nodding their heads thinking “I know who she means” And I know for a fact I am not alone in this one. Many romance readers past a certain age I am sure have shared the same crush. I am referring of course to none other than (cue up the drum roll one more time please)


Hint: There can be only one; and may it be

Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod.

Good Golly Miss Molly!!!! did I have a crush on Duncan. A loner, a hero, a warrior, a lover, he was Romance Hero come to life and right there week after week in my living room. I watched the show every week. I watched the repeats. I watched the repeats again. I just couldn’t get enough of Duncan. I didn’t go overboard – not really – and join any groups or fan clubs or anything like that but like Mark Lindsay before him, he was the face of the romance hero. But alas, again my heart was to be broken when they moved the show around the final season and I couldn’t find it anymore. I still watched it in reruns but it wasn’t quite the same. A couple of years ago I tried watching The Tracker another series starring Adrian Paul – but the magic was gone. While no doobt a vera good looking mon, Adrian Paul is nae Duncan MacLeod.






I found out something fascinating while doing "research" for this blog for all those other Highlander fans I know are out there. They are currently filming another movie. Now the last one that came out in 2000 was terrible. Just terrible. But all the old cast is back. Joe, Mithos etc. Maybe.....finally.....I will have closure.
OH – any my newest crush??? Yep that’s right – Sawyer.

So, now you’ve all had a glimpse into my brain on a boring day at work.

‘til later

(as the theme music from the Mighty Mouse cartoon slowly fades into the background)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Top 10 picks of 2005

Since this is the time of year for reflecting, I thought I’d reflect on my favourite books published in 2005. I always read on message boards how bad a year readers have found it etc. Well, I’m easily pleased I guess because every year I manage to find quite a few that I’ve loved through the year. I think I’ve blogged about most of the following throughout the year but in case I haven’t, here is a second chance to see the books that turned my crank this year. There are other books not on this list that I gave high marks to at the time, but then 3 or 4 months down the line, I don’t really remember them too much. Which considering the number of books I read a year isn’t surprising. What sets these ones apart is I remember each and every one of them quite vividly. They all made a lasting impression. That I think, sets them apart and makes them my top picks of the year.

To Die for by Linda Howard started the year off with a bang with. I was amazed at how much I loved this book considering it’s a first person book. It was LOL funny in many places and cheered me up in those long winter nights.

Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare blew me away. It was dark and it was different and I loved this book. Nicholas the hero is definitely my most tortured hero for the year. And I love a tortured hero

Lips that Touch Mine by Wendy Lindstrom, a new to me author, was one I picked up because of the (what I think) beautiful cover. What a delightful decision that was! It is such an endearing read. Boyd was one of my very favourite heroes this past year.

A Season to be Sinful by Jo Goodman. She continues to be one of the standards by which I judge historical romance. When so many are same old same old, she is like cream that rises to the top with every book.

Black Ice by Anne Stuart has one of the best anti-heroes I’ve ever read. Although I wouldn’t want a steady diet of them, when one is done right – whoa mama! And Ms Stuart - she done it right!

Unmasked by CJ Barry is one heck of a futuristic. They don’t seem to be publishing them as often as they have in the past – at least in print form anyway. It’s nice to find one as good as this one

Carved in Stone by Vickie Taylor was a real surprise. It was a real impulse buy when I saw it on Maili’s blog – speaking of Maili – just where the heck is she? I’m checking every day – but she’s not shown up yet. Anyway, this is a really great paranormal about - gargoyles of all things.

One Night of Sin by Gaelen Foley was another book I was very pleased with. She is a mostly hot but occasionally cold author for me and I’m glad to say this one was a hot one

Almost Perfect by Julie Ortolon was a very pleasant surprise. I’ve read most of her other books and this one is the best – so far!

Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen got mixed reviews and not everyone liked it, but it worked just perfectly for me.

Honourable Mentions

Dark Lover by JR Ward. I’m not normally a fan of vampire romance but I made an exception for this one because of all the buzz. Most excellent and I’m looking forward to more in the series from this author.

Falling for Gracie by Susan Mallery was another treat. I’d love to see Ms. Mallery get more exposure since she is a great author

Passion by Lisa Valdez is a truly remarkable book. There’s always lots of discussion on this one of the Hate It/Loved It kind. I’m on the Loved It side of the fence

Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. Liu is a most excellent paranormal. This is one I bought because of the buzz and I have to say, thank goodness for buzz.

His Secondhand Wife by Cheryl St. John is a wonderful story of two very wounded people who find each other. I’ve always loved her books and she will continue to be an auto buy author.

The Cobra and the Concubine by Bonnie Vanak is one that made my best of list because of its unusual locale and setting. I frankly was astounded when I saw the grade this one received at AAR. Of all the books they reviewed that I disagreed with, this one stands out as the most glaring difference of opinion.

So – that’s my top 10 and 6 honourable mention list. I’d love to see what every one else has enjoyed this year. Hopefully others will post their top list for 2005 lists. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to post here. I’ll be checking looking for more good books I might have missed.

I think I’ll keep going with more top ten lists. It’s nice to reflect back on loved or not so loved books and authors.


‘til later

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Believe it or not

This silly looking thing is my son's rabbit.

Now why, one might wonder, is she blogging about a rather odd looking creature like that? Well, my son, the rabbit's owner, got me a printer, scanner, copier for Christmas and this is me playing around with it.

Pretty cool eh?


'til later

Keishon's Unofficial December Challenge

The unofficial challenge for December was Liz Carlyle. I read two of them.

One Little Sin:
I had bought this one when it first came out in September. I started it and read about 5 pages and wasn’t impressed. I was rather disappointed since I’ve been reading and loving her books since the first one My False Heart way back in 1999. I didn’t want to give up but I needed INCENTIVE. I knew December was "Read a Carlyle" so I wanted to give it another try when December rolled around. And I must say I’m very glad I did. Once I tried it again I enjoyed this one just as much as I have every other Liz Carlyle book I’ve read. It just must have been a mood the first time I tried it. Either that or I got confused at the beginning as it was a set up for a series and I couldn't keep who was who straight. Anyway, once I straightened the characters out, it was great reading from there. Alasdair MacLean had led a life of dissipation and it finally came back to haunt him when Esmee Hamilton showed up on his doorstep with his unbeknownst daughter on hand, Esmee’s much younger sister. Not knowing what to do with this child he knew nothing about, he hired Esmee to take care of her. In typical romance fashion, Alasdair has more to him then we firs suspect and the two gradually fall in love. While not anything really new, still this was a delightful book.

Grade: 4 1/2 out of 5

Two Little Lies:
I didn’t think I would get this one in. It’s a January release but luckily, it came out early and I squeezed it in for December’s challenge. The second book in the series, this is the story of Quin Hewitt and Viviana Alessandri. They had been passionate lovers ten years before the story begins. I don’t want to say too much to give the story away since it is just out and there are probably a number of readers who haven’t gotten to it yet. I thought it was interesting though when I read Tara’s blog. She mentioned she started it in the evening and ended up getting up much earlier than normal just to read. I did the same thing *grin*. While I really enjoyed this story, and I will be grading it high, I did find the heroine a bit frustrating with her continual lies. They caused great pain to the hero, pain I didn't think he deserved and I felt Viviana bordered on cruel. Yes, Quin made mistakes in the beginning. He was so wrong in what he did. But he did pay for it. And he was very young at the time. Still, I love Ms. Carlyle’s writing and she continues to be a very bright ray in historicals.

Grade: 4 out of 5

So thanks Keishon once again for challenging us readers. If it hadn’t been for your challenges throughout the year, I probably would have missed some great reads I had buried in my TBR pile. I hope you plan on doing it again next yearand

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I know it's not the season




But does anyone else think it's wrong, just wrong that Johnny Damon in now a Yankee?

Wendy?

A rant with a bit of a snark



This is not so much a cover snark (which SB’s & BAM do so very deliciously) as it is a cover rant. Now it’s no secret that I am not a fan of Avon. I can be persuaded on occasion to still give them a try and Lisa Kleypas is still an auto buy – the only one left I’m afraid. Some of the others that used to be I judge based on buzz before buying.
I was reading the review of this one at AAR and it looked interesting. First off it has a scarred hero, a storyline that has always appealed to me. It is a medieval, another thing going for it. Hmmmm, I thought, I just might give this one a try. Then I looked it up at Amazon.

WHAT THE HELL KIND OF IDIOTIC COVER IS THAT?????

If I was Ms. Maguire and I saw my book with that cover I would a) scream b) cry c) get very very angry and d) look into getting a lawyer to sue. This cover is so bad. How bad is it? Let me count the ways.
First off the dress the heroine is wearing – or rather the excuse of a dress. Pardon me, but I don’t think that style was in vogue during the middle ages. Reading the review, the heroine starts off as rather a shy quiet kind of gal. Being one myself, there is no way I would ever wear such a dress – even if it were in style. Can we say TRAMP? Next there’s the hair. Why is she wearing a hairstyle that again doesn’t match the time. Did they pay the least bit of attention to the book when they came up with that cover?
Then we come to the hero. Oh dear – where does one begin. He’s just so overall bad. OK, OK OK We will start at the top with the hair. I did not know they had salon’s back in those metro medieval times. Nor did I realize mousse was so readily available. Next– the eye patch. Ridiculous, just utterly and stupidly ridiculous! Laughably HAH HAH HAH ridiculous. The review said the whole side of his face was scarred – but gee – the picture seems to miss that with the “look I’m a pirate” eye patch. Next, the armband. One must ask why is it there??? And then there is the lack of clothes. Do the PTB actually think us readers like this look? Cover up man!!!
The overall colour of the book is truly hideous. I know I’ve read before that red is supposed appeals to consumers but there is red and then there is “looks like slasher movie bucket of blood red.”
Which brings me to my larger rant. Unless the author is a big name author like Kleypas, Avon covers are for the most part, garbage. Garbage, garbage garbage. There is nothing to tell one book from the other or one author from the other. They are about as generic as they come. Man half naked standing beside/behind woman with low cut dress. Woman looks very slutty, man is unattractive with unnaturally sized chest. That’s it! That’s their covers. I find them extremely insulting. Compare them to other publishers who actually have taste.
Well, a picture is worth a thousand words so here are examples of what I mean.

Trashy Cover

Tasteful Cover

Trashy Cover

Tasteful Cover

Here is another thing that irritates the hell out of me. I unfortunately am not one of those readers confident enough to read romance with trashy covers in public. I wish I were, but I haven’t grown up that much yet. There is no way I would read a good 80% of Avon books in public, if I were to even buy them.


Now this picture on the other hand is a beautiful medieval!!! I don't know if the book is any good or not but I bought it because of the cover



This is one I wouldn't mind reading in public!

The jury is still out on the Maguire book. If I don’t buy it, the reason will be 100% due to the nasty cover. How many other like me are they out there? It seems a shame for the authors.

'til later



Tuesday, December 20, 2005

As promised

Seven things to do before I die:


I presume these are things I would like to do – not necessarily what I will do

1. Go to Australia – That’s the one place in the world I’ve always wanted to visit

2. Starting off slow – visit every province in Canada first. I’ve been to 3 – BC, Quebec and (naturally) Ontatio. I’d really like to visit the rest – escpecially the east coast

3. Join the local theatre group. I’ve no idea if I can act or not – but I’ve always been curious to try

4. Write a romance novel. There is a problem with this one though. In order to make it work, I think I’d have to write in the first person. Also, I’m thinking it would be quirky and light and a historical. Since I don’t really read first person books – only the rare exception, and I prefer historicals to be dark, I would pretty much be writing a book I would never really want to read.

5. Get in shape – eat heathier and exercise more. Now this one is doable

6. Become close to my sons. I was when they were little but ever since they hit their teens, I just didn’t really understand them anymore.

7. Get hired on full time permanent where I work. I really like what I’m doing, like the people and love the money, but it’s only contract and I would really love the security of a permanent job at this stage in my life. Not to mention, I’d like to get paid holidays


Seven Things I Cannot Do:
1. Vote Liberal in the upcoming elections. For anyone who doesn’t know Canadian politics, they have been the ruling party for the past 12 years. They are proven corrupt after this much time in power. The things that have been found out about some of the things they have done are truly criminal – I’m talking jail time criminal. Yet astoundingly enough – they are leading the poles. I’d love to ask someone who openly says they are planning on voting liberal (they don’t deserve to be capitalized) “why the hell are you willing to give crooks another chance – so they can steal even more of our money????? ‘ Settle down Kristie, settle down – this is supposed to be fun

2. Join PETA. While I never have and no doubt never will wear fur – at the core, I think this is a fruit cake organization. They use scare tactics on children to keep them from drinking milk for heavens sakes.

3. Understand men. I have lived in a house for over 20 years now with 3 of them and I still don’t understand them any better. I was raised with 2 sisters – women I get. Men – no

4. Rob a bank. No matter how bad the money situation may someday get, I’m not going to rob a bank

5. Watch a Woody Allen movie. I used to like his movies but as far as I’m concerned now, the guy is complete slime and I refuse to even however indirectly give him a red cent. I truly don’t understand the Hollywood mind set when someone does something abhorrent, they almost seem to embrace them after. Forgive – maybe. Reward and admire – no.

6. Have another baby. Even if I could – and I don’t think I can anymore – I have grown way to selfish to ever start over. I had my kids when I was in my early 20’s. It was rough at the time. I was a stay at home mom and while I was glad I was, it’s nice to have my own life without the obligations back again

7. Let my hair turn gray. It would if I let it. I tried to let it go gray a few years ago but just couldn’t take it.



Seven Things That Attract Me To My Spouse:

1. That he still loves me after 30 years. It’s not the same passion filled, can’t bear to leave him kind of love. Instead it’s an I love this person because of their faults kind of love

2. He’s good to look at. Yea – that’s important


3. His sensitivity. He hides it well and not many people know how sensitive he really is, but it’s there. He is one of the most sensitive people I know

4. He “gets” me. He really understands me. That allows me to really be free

5. His sense of humour. It’s quirky – just like mine

6. His love of reading. Since I’m such a reader myself, it’s important that my DH love reading too. I’ve told this story before, but the night I first met him, we got talking books. I mentioned that I was reading Alice in Wonderland (an entirely different look it is when you read it as an adult) and how much I was enjoying it. He said he would be interested in reading it. Well fortunately or unfortunately, that one sealed his fate. As far as I was concerned, he was as good as married – to me! I still haven’t gotten him interested in reading romances yet though.

7. His love for our sons. He has always felt family is most important. When our kids were younger, he coached both of them in baseball. I would watch him show patience with them and all the rest of the young boys on the team. He never criticized any of them and he never showed any kind of partiality. I was always so proud watching him.


Seven things I say or write most often:

1. Right now, the thing I say the most is “I don’t know Ron”

2. “Weeeell”, my family and those close know this usually signals the beginning of a rather long story and sometimes complicated story. I’m used to the roll of the eye and move it along hand signals though and tend to ignore it and still tell it my way.

3. “Rats” I’m not, as a rule, much of a swearer – although I have been know to break out a time or two. This word suffices usually. Of course there is the very odd time when a full blown temper tantrum comes over me and all swear words are fully used.

4. “Shit” – for those times when Number 3 just doesn’t work

5. “let’s just take it one day at a time” This one goes with number 1 quite a bit.

6. "til later” I don’t so much say this one as type it. I use it on my blog and when signing of on personal emails. For some reason I just can’t say bye.

7. I honestly can’t think of anything else



Seven books or series I love:
1. Alice in Wonderland – well yahhah

2. Dreaming of You – Lisa Kleypas. Although I’ve read every book she’s written before and after that one, none has seemed quite as good

3. The Lord of the Rings – this is another book – well series – that my husband read on my recommendation. He loved them as well and we wore out our original copies

4. After the Night by Linda Howard – I know I’ve raved about this one here

5. Black Beauty. I haven’t read this book in years and years, but when I did way back when, it showed me how the written word could move me to tears.

6. Morning Glory – Lavryle Spencer. I’ve mentioned this book before too. To me, it’s perfect.

7. The In Death series by Nora Roberts. I take them as a whole – the growth of a tortured yet incredibly strong woman



Seven movies I watch over and over:
1. The Lord of the Rings trilogy

2. The Phantom

3. Last of the Mohicans

4. Pirates of the Caribbean

5. It’s not out on DVD yet – but when it comes out – I Walk the Line

6. I’m expecting this one for Christmas. It’s not a movie but – the first season of Lost

7. Field of Dreams

Seven people to Tag (if you’ve already been tagged, you can ignore this):
Trying to share and name people I haven’t before

Angie W, Sybil, Kaitlin, Karen S, Amanda, Misty G, Rosario



Monday, December 19, 2005

Tagged

I was tagged by both Suisan and Cindy. I spent part of the weekend working on it and some of today at work (I was doing a mind numbingly boring job and it gave me comic relief). I finished it near the end of the day and then emailed it home. I got home, opened my email and dang! the attachment didn't work. That is SO annoying!!
So - hopefully tomorrow I'll attach the right document.

I'm also woefully behind on blogging about all the books I've been reading. And there have been some good ones!!

So I'll have distraction tomorrow too since the mind numbingly job goes on.


Chapters.ca (my book picture source) updated a lot of new releases so I went crazy on my "Eagerly Anticipating" sidebar menu. Looks like I have some good reading ahead of me.


'til later

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I'm a Winna!

YES!!!!!!

I won a copy of Hot Spell on CrankyReader's Blog.
I love to win things. It doesn't happen very often so when it does it's even sweeter. I did win a book at Jill Shalvis' blog which was nifty. And quite some time ago I won one at BJ's old blog - not her new one.

The best thing I ever won though was a Surround Sound System I scored at a work related function over year ago. Now for anyone who knows me, installing this electrical, wiring device was out of the question. I still have to ask my husband how different functions on the phone works - like call forwarding and getting messages off it. I'm in awe of the things Angie W can do with hers. And I did take over 3 hours to figure out how the DVD worked - and had to call in troops to do it. So I had to wait around a couple of days for my husband to install it. I bounced up and down like an overexcited puppy waiting for him to get it all hooked up. He finally got around to it 2 days later. After hooking everything up - nothing. He read the instructions over again and checked all the wires - still nothing. Disappointed didn't begin to cover it. Now my husband is, if nothing else, dogged about getting stuff working. Me, not so. I give up in less than 3 minutes. He worked on that system for the next hour trying to get it going. Finally out of patience, he tried one last thing he hadn't thought of yet. And eureka! It worked.
Who knew turning the volume up, could be such a complicated thing.

What's really frustrating though is he doesn't like it. Says it echoes. Ummmmm it's Surround Sound. I personally think he's still mad at it though and holding a grudge. We do use it though for movies which really is impressive. And I've managed to talk him into using it for my key shows though - Lost and Cold Case.

I'm kind of hoping I don't get any electrical devices for Christmas.


'til later

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Observations

My husband started his chemo yesterday. He was diagnosed over a month and a half ago and the wait between being diagnosed and starting treatment has been pure hell. I'm trying to be optimistic in front of him, but unfortunately I fall apart at very odd times. The worst was one day at work. I had to clear a lot of snow off my car first thing in the morning. Later I saw myself in the washroom and lost it. My hair was flat, my makeup gone and I looked scary dreadful. I went back to my workstation and sat there cying my eyes out. Only I couldn't do it out loud. Very few people there know what is going on and although it's an enclosed workstation and no one could see me, sound carries very well. So I couldn't sob out loud. Of course I had no kleenix. Then I wasn't sure if I was crying because of what we are going through or because I looked like shit and had no tissues, thus forcing me to go to the washroom - looking like shit - to face myself in the huge washroom mirror again. The second option made me feel worse because how shallow was that?

Anyway - observations from yesterday

Women who loose their hair due to being on chemo are beautiful. That really struck me yesterday. They are truly beautiful. I would say the same thing about men too, but since that's the style these days I wasn't sure if the bald men I saw were on chemo or baseball players. My husband is worried about his hair falling out. But since he's already lost a great deal of it over the years, that concern puzzles me. Of course it could be the same kind of shallow thing I experience myself.

The volunteers who brought food and coffee for the chemo patients ignored the visitors. Now I know they have limited resources and I probably would have said no to an offer of a cookie or juice anyway - but still it was rather odd to see us visitors being ignored.

I knew it was going to be a long day - they said it would take at least five hours for the chemo to drip and he had another test before that, so I dithered before we left on what book to bring. I ended up bringing 4. And then never read them. Books have been a tremendous comfort during this time. Well, they always have been - but even more so nowadays.

Always carry a big bag. Purses aren't large enough. I learned that one earlier on. My husband needs to hand me his stuff - his glasses, his wallet, his medication, his car keys, the book he's currently reading (I've tried to get him to read one of my romances. I said it would make him feel good - but he's still not going for it), his medical journal where he has names and dates listed, his hat (yes he handed me his hat to put in there). Then of course there is my 4 books, my wallet, my car keys etc etc. etc. - no hat though. That would flatten my hair. Then they gave me more stuff to carry while we were there, some meal supplements, a package of medical stuff to give the VON when she visits, booklets, pamphlets. I did score a great pair of little scissors though. I'd been needing a pair.

We are very lucky where we live. It's a 10 minute drive to the cancer clinic. I heard some people there say they had a 2 hour drive. People from a 2 hour radius of cities come to that clinic. We have a 10 minute drive. Gotta love that.

Visitor chairs are the most uncomfortable things. The patients have these real comfortable lazy-boy chairs but *ackk* to the visitor chairs. Because we got there early (the 10 minute drive) I scouted the room for the most comfortable looking one. Luckily the one I found wasn't too bad, although not condusive to reading. When I left for a bit to get some lunch I told my husband (who was eating soup brought by the volunteers) he had to guard the chair while I was gone. Apparently someone wanted it, but he held firm and wouldn't let them take it.

The IV machines talk to each other. Many of them started beeping at the same time and I swear they were making conversation amongst themselves. I pointed this out to my husband just as his joined in the chatter. It was almost a melodic sound.


As bungled up as our health care may be in this country though I am surely glad we won't be having to pay for this cause I think it will be costing a fortune.

More observations to come on further visits


'til later

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A rant on Harlequins

I’ve probably blogged about this before but it would take too much time to check the archives and besides, it bears repeating anyway.
I used to be a fan of Harlequin books, but it seems I grow less enamoured with them as time goes on. Although I didn’t read them extensively, they did take up 15 to 25% of my book buying dollars. And more importantly, I discovered quite a few authors I read in Harlequins before I tried their single title books. Linda Howard, Nora Roberts, Rebecca York, Suzanne Brockman, Anne Stuart, Justine Davis, Susan Mallery and many many more are authors that are either now or were autobuy authors that wrote for Harlequin.
Sadly however my Harlequin buying days are pretty much over and I mourn the loss. There are a number of reasons I’ve decided not to read them anymore.

Too many lines
There used to be how many? Historicals, Temptation, Desire, Intimate Moments, Special Edition, Presents were the main ones I read from – well, no not Presents. I’ve never read that line before. But now they have so many, I look at them in the stores and am lost on where to begin. Plus, I’m rather ticked off at them since they are like weeds at Wal-Mart. They used to take up about three shelves. Now they are up to nine and crowding out other romance books. Being less than rational at times, I won’t buy them because I’m mad at them for doing this. Plus there are too many to choose from so I’ve decided not to choose at all.

Too many authors
Who ARE many of these authors? I’ve never heard of most of them before. With the increased cost in books in general and the money I do allocate for new authors going more to single title authors, I don’t want to waste it on new Harlequin authors. When the lines exploded, so too did the number of authors and rather than guess who I might like – I don’t buy them at all.

The birth of Blaze
This marked the beginning of the end of my love for Harlequins. Now in case you are thinking I haven’t given this line a try before I dis' it, I have. I have tried quite a few. And while I have enjoyed a few, there hasn’t been enough to make me want to buy more. At times I think I’m out of step because I’ve read this is one of their better selling lines but I think they stink for the most part. I really think they gave up on character development and relationship building for more sex. Too often the hero/heroine jump into the sack way too soon with what I am comfortable with. They have sex then fall in love. I’m old fashioned enough to prefer it the other way around.

The death of Temptation
While the birth of Blaze marked the beginning of the end, the death of Temptation was pretty much the nail in the coffin. Now the Temptation line had both good sex and character and relationship development. I think they made a huge error when they cancelled this line. That’s where many of my favourite books came from.
In fact I was so annoyed with this decision, I’ve only bought one Harlequin since then – and I didn’t like it.

Lack of powerhouse authors
They don’t seem to have the big name authors anymore. No Nora Roberts. No Linda Howard. No Suzanne Brockman (at least not for quite some time now).

Larger sized books
This just annoys me. I’m not about to start paying more money for a size I don’t like.

Women’s Fiction line
I know there will probably be a market for this one – but I won’t be a part of that market. Again I’m probably being shallow and missing some potential good books, but I have as much interest in reading ‘women’s fiction’ as I do in ‘chick lit. – None



So, I’m down from buying 6 or 7 Harlequins a month, to pretty much zero. The only line I will continue to have any interest in is the Historical line. They better not screw that up too. They came close once to getting rid of it.

Pity this – I used to really enjoy them.



‘til later

Sunday, December 04, 2005

What is it about #12?

Keeping in mind I was at my annual "girl's christmas party" where I had some wine - more than I usually drink - I'm not a drinker by nature but once in a while I do cut loose -but what is it about #12?

Refresher

#12 was where I insist on having books with sex in them these days -but I often skip reading them. It doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense does it? It seems I'm not the only one who feels this way. I suppose it comes down to the fact that while we may not want to read sex scenes, it's nice to know they are there if we want them. And while I am not an author, it seems to me they are rather difficult to do well. There aren't that many I've read that I felt were damn good. It's not that others were not done well, but some were so well written, I just couldn't skip them. Off the top of my head 3 books come to mind that I read almost every word. Passion by Lisa Valdez and the two Crazy books by Tara Janzen.
It occured to me it takes a special talent to write a good, hot believable sex scene. I know for me, I don't want a lot of silly euphamisms. Can we say Betrice Small. Sometimes I just want something earthy and gritty. That's why the Lisa Valdex book worked so well. The sex scenes were well - raw. They offended a lot of readers but I wasn't one of them.
And I can't put my finger on exactly what Tara Janzen did right - but she did it.
I just finished a couple of books by the same author where the sex scenes almost appeared tacked on at the end - as if the author was following romance novel writing 101. I very much enjoyed the rest of the books, but the sex scenes almost appeared to be an add on. That seems to happen quite often. But then - I suppose that's to appeal to people like me. Those who want sex scenes in their novels - whether they read them or not.

Anyway, that's my thoughts for a very late Saturday night.


'til later

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It's Deja vue all over again

I just got home from my second viewing of Walk the Line. And you know something? It's just as good the second time around. I don't often do that but this really is a good movie!

Mind you, I also would have really liked to have seen Pride and Prejudice but I went to the movies with my non-romance loving sister and she wasn't quite up to that one.

Hmm, I'll have to find another volunteer.