Saturday, December 30, 2006

Another song from my newest toy

Copperhead Road by Steve Earl

I really like this one

This is a test

I'm trying to get ready for when they get rid of Hello so this is a test

Current book I'm reading and hopefully I will be done in time for Angie's challenge that I'm not "officially" signed up for.

And that's not the book

Onto plan 2

(although it is a very good book!)

OK - the one on the left is the book but now how do I get it under the first one???

Hmmm - I shall have to ponder this some more.

Obviously I have some heavy duty kinks to work out! Or - I could just lower my blood pressure and get back to housework or read the book.

Upon further pondering, I'm trying something different.

OK - that didn't work!!

So how do they get the caramilk in the caramilk bar?
oops - wrong question.

How do you get pictures after text if you use the upload in blogger and plan to use more than one picture? All I seem to be doing is a jumbled up mess! I tried to download photobucket but it seems I signed up for it ever so long ago according to them and I didn't see a place to go if you forget your password - which I did along with my username. So they wouldn't let me sign up again.
I bring you


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Peeve of the day and other stuff!

This isn’t a rant. A peeve is milder than a rant and since I’m still feeling rather mellow instead of being very annoyed, I’m slightly miffed. I was visiting a blog earlier and the blogger – Emily a new reader blogger, was reviewing Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I noticed that the cover she had was obviously a reissue as it sure was different than the copy that I have. And that reminded me of one of my peeves.

Now this is directed at publishers not authors – I know they have no say; thus I know it will never get read by anyone who counts; not unless I email it, but I’m kind of annoyed at the number of reissues of books that are still readily available. The reissues of Nora Roberts are by far the worst of them. It seems her books are sometimes only a couple of years old before they’ve been reissued once again with a whole different set of covers. Of course the price has also gone up.

Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley MacGregor’s books are also among those that the publishers have reissued in, what to me, is a totally unnecessary way. I was at the book store not long ago and they had the original copy of Master of Seduction and sitting right next to it was a reissue with a different cover – and a higher price tag. Another similar thing happened not long ago when I went to purchase a copy of Lucky’s Lady by Tami Hoag. One day there was an older version sitting on the shelf at Wal-Mart and not too far away was a reissue with a different cover. I didn’t get it at the time and went back the next week. The older (and less expensive) issue was gone. I had a mind set to read that book so I like a lamb led to slaughter, bought the newer version but I was still pretty ticked off. Although, FWIW, the book was a mighty good one. It was written way back when she was still writing primarily romance.

Johanna Lindsey is another romance author who seems to have a lot of reissues sitting on the shelves. It puzzles me aplenty because you can pick them up for a song at UBS’s. I’m always tempted to ask a customer at a regular book store who has picked up one, why they don’t just check out a UBS as they would be paying way less than half the price for the ones sitting on the regular book store shelves! So far though, I haven’t quite had the nerve.

I don’t understand why, when many of these books are so readily available, some even still on the shelves at regular book stores, the publishers are reissuing them so soon after the original release. – Oh wait – what am I thinking? It’s the money of course. All right, I don’t understand why readers would purchase books that are so easy to find at UBS’s when they are either a) by a very popular author thus sure to be many copies around or b) a book that has been released within the past few years and has now been re-released. I suppose they aren’t as savvy as some readers who are a wee bit cynical and check the release date on almost every book they buy unless they know it’s a new release.

Of course this bothers me even more because some of the older books I’ve been trying to track down for ages haven’t been reissued; Dance by Judy Cuevas for example. Laura London aka Tom & Sharon Curtis is another author I’d love to see re-released. Ditto with Teresa Weir and Laura Leone. In some cases this isn’t true. It’s great to see some of Laura Kinsale’s earlier works being reissued and released for the newer generation of romance readers. And thankfully without the Fabio cover! They were risqué and provocative for their time, but I prefer the newer covers. And I was pleased to see that some of Loretta Chase’s hard to find books have been reissued. Lion’s Daughter and Captive of the Night were both very HTF. Now if they re-release Lord of Scoundrels with a different cover, that would be great.

So with my peeve of the day covered, onto better news!

I found a few new romance centric bloggers over the holiday. I love when that happens. First off there is Kristie. I did a bit of a double-take when I first saw her name on Wendy’s blog. Then there is the aforementioned Emily, another new to the blogoshpere romance blogger. And I also found Meghan who has been around longer but I just happened to find thanks to the Romance Reader Ring. We share great taste in music *g*.

And because I love the chance to win Free Books!, the ladies at Sanctuaries Finest are giving away books if you link to them or add a copy of their logo. Being as I can’t figure out how to copy the picture, I’ll just have to settle for mentioning and linking them.

And finally - speaking of pictures, it looks like those of us who use Hello - a feature of Picassa will be loosing it in the new year. Since I use Hello and actually know how it works, the thought of it going the way of the Dodo has me terrified. If anyone could let me know how the replacement works or an easy alternative, I would be ever so grateful! I need to be able to do pictures. That's the main reason I bought a digital camera. I'm not a happy camper that something that works so well and I have pretty much mastered is leaving me.

'til later,

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ahhhh - Home Again

And things are getting back to normal. I have a very good, very relaxing time at Lisa's and I don't know how I could have handled things if I hadn't had her place to go too, but after a four day absence, it's very good to be home again.
Zina the Princess (not a) Warrior Cat scolded me for about 1/2 an hour for leaving her and then demanded to be petted for the next half hour. I guess Brent just wasn't as good as me at taking care of her.
Christmas went good although I had my very sad moments.
One present I got from Nance, my other sister, is forcing me into unknown territory! She got each of us an MP3 player. Yes - I shall be downloading music onto an MP3 player - me, the one who still hasn't managed to figure out how to program a VCR! Speaking of which - Lisa got me one of those along with soon-to-come lessons on how to work it.


I DID IT!!! I DID IT!!!!
I downloaded a whole bunch of songs from some of my CD's. All by my little ole self! And holy cow does it have excellent sound! And can it hold a lot!! I have 49 songs on it so far and it's not even half way full! I think I like this new toy. I think I like it a lot. (currently listening to Thing for You by Jan Arden)

Anyway - on with the weekend.
I did manage to get quite a bit of reading done. It was great. So without further adieu here goes

Heart of Fire by Linda Howard
From Amazon: A fabulous lost Amazon city once inhabited by women warriors and containing a rare red diamond: it sounded like myth, but archeologist Jillian Sherwood believed it was real, and she was willing to put up with anything to find it -- even Ben Lewis. Ruffian, knock-about, and number one river guide in Brazil, Ben was all man -- over six feet of rock-hard muscles that rippled under his khakis, with lazy blue eyes that taunted her from his tanned face. Jillian watched him come to a fast boil when she refused to reveal their exact destination upriver in the uncharted rain forests -- and resolved to stand her ground. Neither of them could foresee what the days ahead promised: an odyssey into the fiery heart of passion and betrayal, and a danger that would force them to cast their fates together, immersed in the eternal, unsolved mysteries of love....

I must thank my Santa (and she knows who she is!) for this one. I LOVED it. It had Linda Howard's standard Alpha hero. And she does them so very well. Ben Lewis is another Howard hero that is so easy to fall in love with. And Jillian is another great Howard heroine. What I love about both her hero's and heroines is they are equal to each other for the most part. Although the heros are definetly alpha, the heroines aren't afraid to stand up to them. I'm probably one of the few Linda Howard fans who hadn't read this one. If anyone else (such as Cindy) is like me - Read It.
Grade 4 1/2 out of 5

Blindsided by Leslie Lafoy
I've been reading Leslie Lafoy for a long time now and except for one book, I've really enjoyed every book I've read. But somehow I missed this one. I think because it's a Harlequin and I don't pay as much attention to them anymore as I used to. I saw a good review for it at AAR and that set me looking. Unfortunately by the time I read the review it was gone from the shelves - Harlequins having such a long shelf life and all. I looked for it at UBS's but no luck. The I read another good review at Dear Author and I knew I would be ordering this one. I love sports books - hockey in particular and this one sounded good.
It was. I really enjoyed it. Since I've included both links, I won't go over the storyline again, but I thought this one was really sweet. Logan is an ex-hockey player who get's knocked out of the game he loves due to a career ending eye injury. He gets very reluctantly dragged into coaching a minor league team by Catherine Talbot the owner who inherited the team. Both Logan and Cat were very interesting characters and very likeable. I especially liked that Logan - while very disappointed not to be playing anymore, wasn't bitter. This is one worth tracking down.
Grade 4 1/2 out of 5

Dark Defender by Alexis Morgan
From Amazon: Alexis Morgan continues her dazzling paranormal series about larger-than-life warriors and the women they love....

As a Paladin warrior, Blake Trahern fights and dies again and again to keep mankind safe from the Others. Sensing his humanity slipping away with each battle, he retreats from the world...until the one person who still has a claim on his soul needs his help. It's been twelve years since Blake vanished from Brenna Nichols's life, years that have turned her from a love-struck teen into a headstrong, sensual woman. He'll fearlessly give his life to protect her -- yet he dare not risk his heart.

Brenna is stunned by Blake's reappearance, and by a shocking discovery about her father. Everything she has ever believed is thrown into question -- everything except the desire that Blake still ignites. But as they search together for a traitor among the Paladins, danger looms: the next battle could tip Blake into madness, destroying his life, his soul...and the only woman he has ever loved.

Another book I quite liked. I was really on a role! I didn't like this one quite as much as the first one, Dark Protector, but I certainly liked it enough to keep reading the series. I found the heroine a bit weaker in this one. Don't get me wrong, she was still good and almost able to hold her own against a strong alpha hero like Blake, but Brenna wasn't quite as strong as the heroine in the first book. I think it's an interesting series, but I still have questions about the Palladin although some of the questions I had after reading DP were answered so overall I was quite pleased.
Grade 4 out of 5

Missing Magic by Karen Whiddon
From the back:
A Sorceror Prince
Heir to the kingdom of Rune, Cenrick saw it was his responsiblity to seek out the truth. There were disturbing reports of a great evil befalling his people, an evil perhaps due to his cousin. The solution lay in the world of mortals, in a quest that could mean his very soul - and his heart.

A Defender of Justice
Lately Dee Bishop's life was going to hell in a handbasket; Suspended from the South Worth police force, dumped by her fiance...even her best friend had abandonded her. But that hardly necessitated surrender. And when she was told of a conspiracy that threatened a reality she'd never fathomed, she swore to set things right. Looking into this dark stranger's eyes, she could imagine nothing worse than a life without magic.

A Love for the Ages
Metal and mysticism, techonology or sorcery: Two worlds in conflict. The dangers were greater than they'd ever imagined. But so were the rewards.

And then sadly the roll came to an end with this one. *sigh* Normally I completly miss editing errors, but I found them in this book. In one scene the heroine got dressed and put on jeans over pajama bottoms and then later the hero removes her clothes and low and behold the pajama bottoms have disappeared. In another series they are getting dressed and suddenly she has wet hair - no mention of her jumping in the shower. The book was full of these kinds of things and they really stood out - specially if I noticed them. The story line was convaluted to say the least. I couldn't figure out what or why they were doing the things they were doing.
Grade: 2 out of 5

And finally - I may have mentioned I live a couple of blocks from the busiest mall in the city. Why oh why I decided to do this I don't know - too many days without buying new books I guess - either that or insantity - but I decided to stop at Chapters before I went home. In order to get there I had to pass the busiest mall in the city - on Boxing Day. It took me ages to get there and then Chapters was busy too! And the music - yuck!! They were supposed to have 6 copies of Midnight Eyes by Sarah Brophy and I couldn't find them. But the crowd, the music and being away from home for four days; I just wanted to get home. I did get a few consolation books though.

Now I'm off to blog hop - something I really missed doing!

'til later

Friday, December 22, 2006

Best Wishes to Everyone!!

Just a quick note – if I can get on Blogger that is. Of course, if I’m posting this it means that I have, but it’s been a bit of a bugger lately hasn’t it?
I’m headed out tonight to my sisters until Tuesday. I don’t know how much I’ll get on-line; she has dial-up and the wait may just annoy me too much.
Of course forget the presents and everything - the big question is what books do I take with me. I figure I’ll need about 10 – not that I’ll read them all, but one never knows what one is in the mood for until one starts reading and thinks “nope – don’t feel like reading RS, I’m more in the mood for a good pirate book!” So I have to take books from every genre. I’ll never read that many – but I have to have that many. Lisa just doesn’t understand, but I know so many of us romance readers do :)
So if I’m not around, everyone take care and enjoy whatever Special Day you many be celebrating. I’ll be thinking of you all and hopefully will get a chance to pop in every now and then.

‘til later

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

January releases - Books I think I’ll get… And books I know I won’t

This first one really appeals to me

Midnight Eyes by Sarah Brophy
From Amazon: Robert Beaumont, fierce mercenary knight during the reign of William II, is given what he most desires, land. But he must marry the current resident, known throughout the kingdom as "Lady Deformed." Imogen Colebrook lives in fear of her brother, who has long terrorized and brutalized her, even going so far as to beat her so viciously she lost her sight. With the news of her impending marriage, she fears the worst, believing her husband is a willing participant in her brother's torture. A simple warrior, Robert has no idea of the situation he faces and is humbled when he meets Imogen, a vision of loveliness. When they marry, Robert hopes he is worthy of his good fortune as Imogen waits in her darkness while her gentle knight thaws her heart, and her brother plots to crush her. Sure to please medieval historical romance fans, this is a wonderful first effort by Brophy, who evokes fair ladies and valiant knights overcoming evil with their innate goodness and sensuous healing.
To be honest though, I am getting a bit tired of that cover model popping up all over the place. It seems he’s on the cover of everything theses days. Handsome he is, but enough already!

Sizzling by Susan Mallery
From Amazon:
Mallery's latest spicy saga of the Buchanan family, Seattle's most prominent restaurateurs, doesn't quite measure up to the pleasures of her last (Irresistible), but makes a tasty dish nonetheless. This entry features Reid Buchanan, a womanizing former baseball hero trying to clean up his tarnished image after an embittered reporter he slept with publishes a tell-all newspaper article headlined, "Good in bed? Not so much." With the media hot on his tail, Reid takes refuge at the family estate, where his cantankerous grandmother, Gloria, is recovering from a series of debilitating illnesses. Gloria's as mean-spirited as Reid remembers, but now she's got to deal with peppy home-care nurse Lori Johnson, who's determined to turn Gloria's life around. Lori does her best to ignore Reid—arrogant, self-centered and "fifteen kinds of gorgeous"—knowing that even if she were attracted to him (which of course she is) he wouldn't look twice at a plain Jane like her.

Now at times I’m a bit leery of Susan Mallery. When she’s on, which for me she is most of the time, she’s very very good. But then if she isn’t on, then it seems the disappointment is even greater. I loved the first book in this series and was pretty disappointed with the second one. Still – I’m looking forward to the hero in this one getting his comeuppance.

Touched by Darkness by Catherine Spangler
From Amazon:
Dr. Kara Cantrell settled in the sleepy town of Zorro, Texas, convinced she and her child had escaped the sinister reach of a supernatural underworld. But now dark forces may jeopardize her new life. Her only hope is Damien Morgan, a dangerous, alluring man with superhuman abilities. He and Kara share a mystical link that triggers desires they must ignore. But as they work together to protect her son, and begin tracking the evil stalking them, something threatens to push them toward the edge...of darkness.

This is an author I haven’t really heard that much about. I have read a book by her - Shadow Crossing, and quite enjoyed it. But I don’t think they must have many copies of her books around here because I’ve never seen any other by her. But the story outline sounds intriguing and I kind of guiltily like the cover, so this is another one I think I’ll pick up. In fact, if it doesn’t show up on the shelves, I may just order it online!

And then on the flip side, here are a few I know I won’t be getting

Wild and Wicked in Scotland by Melody Thomas
From Amazon:
When Cassandra Sheridan agreed to an arranged marriage to the Earl of Hampstead, she never dreamed the cad wouldn't even bother to appear for their betrothal ball. It seems her intended cares more for gallivanting than meeting his bride-to-be! So Cassie decides to enjoy an adventure of her own and sets out across Scotland…and meets a dashing stranger who has elevated dueling and deception to an art form.
A dedicated spy on a mission, the Earl of Hampstead has more on his mind than a silly party. Now fate has thrown him together with a vivacious lady whom he must protect from harm, and whose sensuous beauty is proving most distracting. Worse still, Devlyn is horrified to discover she's the very woman he's engaged to marry!
With their lives and reputations in equal peril, do they dare surrender to their irresistible desires

What’s wrong with it? Um – to me - everything. First off, the publisher. And I’ll say no more. The title is real stupid in my opinion. And an Earl who is a spy!!! How very …….original. And a heroine who agrees to become betrothed to someone sight unseen and then who sets off on her own to Scotland. Wow! Does she sound plucky and TSTL! I just love me a plucky and TSTL heroine. And puleeeaaassse with those names!!! And then of course there is the cover. “shudder” I can’t think of the words to say what I think of this outdated, horrifying, cover with same old, same old cover models. This one is worse than normal due to the severe case of bleach white hair on the cover female. OK – I did think of a few words, but there are a whole lot more I could say if I wanted to!
I’m nothing else if I’m not shallow on occasion so on this one is a No Way Jose!

My Nerdy Valentine by Vicky Lewis Thompson
From Amazon:
What do you get when you throw together a sexually repressed college student, a narcissistic sex therapist, a handsome stockbroker and a bevy of sex-crazed therapy patients? Answer: This absurd romantic comedy, which substitutes puerile sex puns for emotional heft. Thompson stretches her "nerd" premise thin, forcing the label on stockbroker William Sloan simply because he wears a winter hat with earflaps. However, William's nerd status doesn't keep him from being pursued by therapist Gloria, who besieges him with double entendres ("I'm glad to have a young and virile man handling my... assets"), glow-in-the-dark condoms and a flash of her breasts. Meanwhile, the object of William's affection, Gloria's studious intern, Amanda, refuses to work him into her busy schedule and accuses him of sending her crude, anonymous Valentines. Thompson throws in a hokey plot involving the true Valentine sender and his plan to kidnap Amanda, but this merely serves as a flimsy tool to push William and Amanda together. All in all, Thompson's newest romance (following Nerds Like It Hot) possesses as much substance as cotton candy with less satisfaction

Now I know there are quite a few readers who have been enjoying Vicki Lewis Thompson’s Nerd series. Let me make this clear. I AM NOT ONE OF THEM! I got taken on one of them a few years ago when it got great reviews. I wanted to toss it in the toilet – but I resisted. Then because she still got great reviews and I thought maybe it was me, I tried another one. This one I wanted to toss in the same place – but I resisted. Reading the outline for this one and seeing that stupid comic book cover, I know I wouldn’t be able to resist the impulse a third time.

Sun Kissed by Catherine Anderson
From Amazon:
One need not be an equine lover to appreciate Anderson's sweet contemporary romance centering on fiercely honest horse rancher Samantha Harrigan and handsome neophyte veterinarian Tucker Coulter, who meet while trying to protect a horse from its abusive owner. Samantha has always cared deeply for her horses, so when they suddenly fall ill, she's distraught; when it turns out they've been poisoned, she's horrified, immediately suspecting that her violent and vindictive ex-husband is the culprit. Unfortunately, the authorities are pointing fingers at Samantha, alleging that she plans to defraud her insurance company. Wary of letting a new man into her life, Samantha nevertheless recognizes that she must call on Tucker to nurse her horses back to health. As he tends to the horses and grows closer to Samantha, Tucker becomes her confidante and champion, realizing that the only way for Samantha to save herself is to catch the offender before the police arrest her.

Now I know there are quite a few readers who have been enjoying Catherine Anderson’s books – Wait!! I said that already.
All right – here’s the thing with Catherine Anderson. I used to love her books, I really did. I have quite a few of them. Annie’s Song? Wonderful story as are many of her other ones Even though all her heroines have suffered some kind of tragedy in their lives, whether it was being kidnapped and repeatedly raped until saved by the hero or having an abused wife bury the husband she accidentally murdered in the rose garden, still I read, I liked and I kept buying. But I reached my sugar limit with this author a few books ago with – I forget the name of the book and please – no one remind me! I don’t want to remember. – the book where the hero was a vegetarian who refused to wear a leather belt because it meant the death of a cow (yet he did wear moccasins – didn’t quite figure out the logic of that one), who talked to baby rabbits in the forest and gave off a slight blue glow when he swived (tupped, jumped the bones of, screwed) the heroine. I almost lost my eyes as they rolled while reading that book as well as nearly suffering from diabetic shock over the surgary content. And since I need my eyes to read, I haven’t dared risk them by reading Catherine Anderson and her saccharine dripped stories of wounded, vulnerable, heroines and “could they be any more perfect?” heroes since then. And reading the storyline on this one I must preserve the eyes still since reading the outline alone makes me roll them. I must be a cynical bitch because this kind of story just makes my teeth ache as well as the risk to the eyes.

So there you have it. A few good prospects and a few not on you life! books

And in other news - I made it through yesterday. It was very sad, but I had the boys with me for the visit. I cried after but I allowed myself to do that. And today was a better day.

'til later

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tomorrow is Ron's birthday. He would have been 53. As the day has been approaching, I've been wondering what to do and how I would handle it. He was never one to make much of his birthday. Make him a Cherry Cheesecake and he was happy. He didn't even really want presents, he always said to save them for Christmas - but of course I couldn't do that. But it was always so hard to figure out what to get him for both his birthday and Christmas. I always felt like I was cheating him out of something somehow, but he never thought so.

I debated on taking the day off, but I think he would be annoyed with me if I did. So I'm going to go to work in the morning and somehow tough it out. Then later in the day, Brent and Ryan and I are going to the cemetary. It will be the first time I've been there. I'm planning on taking flowers. He doesn't have a headstone - they don't allow them in there. But he does have a plaque with a place you can put flowers. I think I'll call his Mom and see if she wants to come with us, but I don't know if she will want to or not. As hard a day as it will be for me and our sons, I think it will be just as hard on her. Ryan and I stopped over there on Saturday and she gave me a picture. They were always taking pictures of us and I never liked them much but this one I do.

Ron and I were going to a wedding that day. It was one of the few times he actually wore a suit. As you can tell by the very 80's hairstyle I had, this is a very old picture. And I was certainly a lot slimmer back in those days.
Brent and Ryan sure do look different too *g*. They were both so blond when they were little, but they certainly didn't stay blond, especially Ryan, the cute little one in front of me. His hair - what he has of it - they both like to keep it very short, completely different from their dad, is very dark. And they are both quite tall. Much taller than short little me!
But except for a lot less hair, Ron hardly changed at all from this picture. He's so handsome isn't he? Unlike most guys, he never got a beer gut and stayed in shape most of his life until the last year. That's why it doesn't seem right.
What I really want to do tomorrow though, is curl in a little ball and howl out my pain. That's what I want to do a lot of the time.
Oh God - I miss him so much!
But - I don't think he'd be happy with me if I did that. He didn't want my crying when he was so sick so I tried not to in front of him. I tried to be brave and I let him know every day how much I loved him. I didn't tell him how scared I was of being left alone. Brent and Ryan have both been very good in helping me. But they both have their own lives to live. And it's different for them. I lost my dad too so I know how much it hurts knowing he's gone, but it's so different losing the person you love most in life.
I think Ron would be proud of how well I'm coping - at least some of the time. I'm managing to pay the bills - something I know he was worried about me remembering to do. And I found another job, even if it's probably temporary, but that was a big hurdle. I still see friends and I have made so many wonderful ones online.
I haven't become bitter or angry. My faith has helped considerably with that. And I'm able to laugh at life - something he always loved about me.
But there is a huge hole inside of me full of emptiness and pain and longing.
So, I'm dreading tomorrow and I just hope it passes quickly. And while I won't take the whole day, I think I will curl up for a time and remember him and mourn for him and cry for what we've lost.

What's new? Not much

I haven’t posted much lately because well….nothing much is happening. I haven’t finished a book so there is no point in reviewing one. The one I’m reading is good though. A Secret Santa sent me a copy of Touch of Fire by Linda Howard so that is my present book du jour. Thank you again Secret Santa!!!One thing I notice with it though. The print is smaller than most books and I’m having to wear reading glasses. I got a cute little pair at the Dollar Store for $1. Gotta love a deal like that.
I’m pretty much finished Christmas shopping. This year I did some on-line shopping. Now that was nice. The only problem was after I’d ordered the things for my sons and got confirmation that it was shipped, Ryan handed me a list. He’s never given me a list before! I suppose it was his way of trying to make things easier. And of course I hadn’t gotten him a thing that was on his list!
I did have a wee bit of excitement on Saturday. I met a friend for coffee as this really nice little coffee shop near where I live. It’s much nicer than Timmies – for all those who live in or visited Canada. I got to the coffee shop about 15 minutes early – it was more convenient to do that rather than go home, turn around and head back in time to meet my friend. And I had a book so it was good. I was deeply engrossed in the Amazon with Ben and Jillian when I looked up and saw my friend entering the coffee shop. I quickly locked the car and jumped out. It’s important to note the order there. Locked then left. Yes, when I was headed back after coffee, searching my purse for my keys, I experience that sinking feeling that you know you’ve done something REALLY DUMB. Janice offered to give me a ride to my place to pick up a spare set of car keys, but since at times I can be REALLY DUMB, the only house key I have was on the key ring – locked in the car. I called my son who just happened to be close by enjoying a light lunch himself. He said he’d be by in 20 minutest to give me a ride home, pick up the spare key and give me a ride back.
Ryan traded vehicles a couple of weeks ago with a friend. He’s now driving a Ford truck, A VERY BIG truck, a truck that is VERY HIGH off the ground. I’m not very tall. Nope, not very tall at all am I. I have been known to ask the taller people in the grocery stores to get things off the top shelves for me. So it was with this very annoying grin, then laugh that Ryan watched me try and crawl into his VERY TALL truck that was VERY HIGH off the ground. It wasn’t until after I had almost damaged myself that I noticed a strap for lifting ones self up with. At least I provided a bit of entertainment for Ryan though. It was only fair I suppose since I interrupted his lunch with that REALLY DUMB thing I did. And it was kind of cool being up so high in a land vehicle. I’ve never been up that high before and it was almost tempting to wave at all the little people below me. When I’m driving, I hate big vehicles like that, but I must admit it’s a different story when you’re riding in one.
So – I got the spare key and then got the car home. Considering in all the time I’ve been driving, that’s only the second time I’ve done that, twice isn’t too bad I suppose. And it did happen nice and close to home.
So – not much is happening in my world at the moment but I thought I’d just check in and say nothing is happening in my corner of the world.

'til later

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Fish, A Fowl and a Mammal

Sometimes I feel out of step with most of the world of romance. I think myself and a very few others are kind of like the lone wolves of the romance reading world. I was visiting a message board earlier and a few posters were talking about looking forward to the brothers’ stories in a new series by a well known author. I read things like that and I feel not only not interested, but almost slightly annoyed. I dislike intensely the fact that just about every romance book written these days screams sequel bait. Wendy also has a post up about something very similar. She’s a fellow lone wolf. She started out as a mystery reader and doesn’t mind the endless series in mysteries, but she is also suffering from seriesitis when it comes to romance.

What happened to the good old days when a book stood on its own? When you closed the cover on the book and that was it. Finito! End of story, dust off your hands and move on to the next book which will be entirely different. I miss those days! I want them back again, at least for some books.

So – who is responsible for my current annoyance? Why readers for the most part unfortunately. Now this is just my theory and I could be all wet, and feel free to tell me I’m full of BS, but having been a romance reader for many years now, I’m going to put it forth as a thought. I think things started changing more dramatically once the internet began to catch on in a big way. Now, through web sites, blogs and other on line medium sources, readers had a way they could quickly contact authors. I’m sure quite a few readers used to use the old fashioned snail mail approach, but not the way they do with email. I only ever hand-wrote one letter to an author and I had no address to send it to so I sent it to her publisher hoping it would somehow make it’s way to her. It did but that’s another story. Nowadays with authors snail mail addresses, email addresses and web sites, they are very accessible. I myself have sent a few emails to authors when I’ve enjoyed their works; not many mind you, but a few. So with readers being able to contact authors much more readily, they feel much more likely to ask if the author is planning so and so’s story. And I think authors, wanting to please their readers have obliged. Then of course you have publishers taking note of this rather interesting phenomena. Now, I think, they almost require an author to write sequels. Authors don’t mind because they already have a base established so they don’t have to start from scratch with a story line, readers are happy because they don’t really have to say goodbye to beloved characters. It’s only a few people like me who really don’t like this new way of story telling. Now in some cases I don’t mind sequels, there are some secondary characters that really stand out and beg to be written. (and of course the rare one that hasn't been. Where's Cat's story I ask you damn it!) But on the whole, I’m not overly impressed with the whole thing. It's just done too much and too often.

And even less do I like the looooonnnggg extended series. Years ago, this wasn’t nearly as common as it is now. Back then Jo Goodman wrote a rather lengthy series about five sisters all named Mary. And as much as I adore Jo Goodman today, I really don’t feel like getting invested in that many books. Another author I remember from years gone by is Leigh Greenwood. He wrote a series about seven brother who all married flower girls – no, not girls from the 60’s . The heroines all were named after flowers - although one was called Fern and I don't know if ferns have flowers. I read a couple and then lost interest. But where I think this new way came in strong is with the incredible success of Julia Quinn and the Bridgerton clan. I lost interest long before she wrapped it up, but I know I’m in the minority – a salmon swimming upstream so to speak. As Wendy mentioned we have Stephanie Laurens. Now I’ve only read one book by her, the first in the long never ending series she’s written. I didn’t like it, again that salmon thing, ‘cause I know most readers did, and I’ve never been tempted to try her again. Then there is Christine Feehan and her Dark series, I’ve read a couple, Sherrilyn Kenyon, I made it to four and her Dark Hunter series and it goes one and on.

I know I’m an odd duck – or so Lisa always tells me – but I just long for a nice stand alone book these days.

‘But wait a minute,’ you’re thinking. ‘Didn’t you just say in your previous post that you can hardly wait until the next Elizabeth Hoyt book comes out?’

Well yes, yes I did. But that was more so because the author’s voice was so wonderful, and less so because I’m particularly anxious to read about a secondary character from The Raven Prince. It’s the authors’ voice that keeps me coming back book after book if I love her writing. Not the fact that I get to read the heroes sister, brother-in-laws cousins story or the best friend of the sister who has a cousin who is interested in the step sister of the hero. I could mostly care less about that. What I think would just fit the bill for us is a hero and heroine – both of them without siblings and if they have friends, they aren’t mentioned very often.

So, I’m a salmon, an odd duck and a lone wolf all rolled into one; a fish, fowl and mammal. I wonder how many of us there are?

‘til later

Monday, December 11, 2006

Keeper! - A Really Good Recent Read

The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

A big thank you to Rosario for her most excellent review of this book. I had seen some buzz on it before and I read Jane’s review at Dear Author and was intrigued enough to pick it up when I first saw it on the shelves. But there it sat on the TBR pile and probably would have for a while until something in Rosario’s review made me decide not to wait to read this one.
I’ve become somewhat disenchanted with historicals lately. I’m still buying them, especially if it’s a favoured author, but many of them are languishing in the TBR pile. But this one blew all dissatisfaction away in a wonderfully fresh breeze. It’s no wonder that at Amazon there are 22 reviews and the average is 5 stars. If you read Rosario & Jane’s reviews you can pretty much pick up what the book is about so instead I’ll just say why this one worked so very well for me.

Edward-He is just so adorable! He reminds me of one of my favourite hero’s; Dain from Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels. He’s rude, he’s short tempered, he throws things. But underneath all his outward bluster, he’s just a very lonely, very scarred hero. I just adored him.

Anna – What a wonderful heroine she is. She’s a widow whose husband cheated on her thus making her very leery of trusting men. She’s lived by the rules all her life but when she meets Edward, she’s like a butterfly coming out of her cocoon. She enjoys talking back to him and isn’t intimidated by his bluster at all, in fact she likes it.
Both Edward and Anna are described as not very attractive. Edward is covered in pox scars and Anna apparently suits her last name Wren and isn’t very noticeable – except for her sexy lips. But as the story progresses, both Edward and Anna come to see the other as extremely attractive and with very good writing, so do we, the readers.

The secondary characters – from Anna’s understanding mother-in-law to Pearl and Coral, the two sisters who are both in the prostitution trade, to Felix Hopple, the steward with his flamboyant waistcoats to Davis the cantankerous old valet; they all come to life in a way secondary character seldom do. Ms. Hoyt has a way of breathing life into them and while they don’t take centre stage, they do all have their own distinct personalities.
The love scenes in this book also work very well. All too often I find myself skimming them just because they aren’t really that well-written, but with these ones I read every word.
Another thing I appreciated about this one is the setting. It takes place during the Georgian time frame rather than Regency or Victorian. Since I have this thing for tricorn hats and men with their hair tied back in queues, (goes back to my Paul Revere and the Raider days), this one was very fine to picture while reading.
I even read the sweet fairy tale that started each chapter. Usually I skip that kind of thing, but this kept my interest all the way through. And it was neat reading Ms. Hoyt’s reply to Jane on Rosario’s comments as to the significance of the tale.
My sons came over yesterday to watch football and rather than watch it with them, I kept picking up this book and reading it because I couldn’t bear to put it down. And horrible as it sounds – while not exactly glad when they left, it did give me the chance to really read it without the distraction of watching the Broncos go down to defeat. Even the very last page – what to expect in a romance hero from Edward’s perspective was a hoot.
This one has restored my faith in the historical once more. It’s a delightful, smile on your face, tender, sweet, sexy book and it gets a big thumbs up from me! As others have said, it’s amazing that this is her first book – it reads like it was written by a seasoned author. I know I’m parroting so many others but this book is enchanting, and after reading the excerpt, I along with many others will be eagerly looking forward to the next one – The Leopard Prince.

Grade: 5 out of 5

'til later

Friday, December 08, 2006

Snow Day!!! Snow Day!!!

OK - I'm kind of playing hookey today and I'm kind of not.

London Ontario got socked with a huge snow storm over night and they've pretty much shut down the city. Buses are cancelled, school is cancelled, even the university and college are cancelled. Even the MALL isn't opening up until noon - so you know things are bad here!
Up until a short while ago, there was no way I was getting out of the driveway but then a very kind neighbour came and used his snow blower to clear out my driveway. So technically - I could get to work. But they are still advising motorists to stay off the roads unless necessary and I am so unbusy at work, I'm thinking I really don't need to go in.

So - instead I'm blogging. Of course what would be the impact of telling about Snow Day be without pictures?

In other news - I am so proud of myself!!! *beaming happily* I wasn't able to download pictures from my new toy, but this morning after deciding I would do what the radio told me to do and stay off the roads, I determined to figure it out. And I did thus the snow pictures above. I also had some I took a while ago of my ever growing Armada on the book cases in the 'library'. So here we go! More pictures.

And in other news - a certain someone is wanting to see wish lists. I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that I don't have a very big one. I'm a big practioner of instant gratification. But here are a few I've been trying to locate for a while now.
To Have and To Hold by Patricia Gaffney. I had this one and loved it and somehow it went missing. I have a bad feeling I traded it in by mistake! And of course now I'm dying to read it again! It's been a while.

Heart of Fire by Linda Howard. Somehow I managed to confuse this one with Touch of Fire, a Western she wrote. I didn't even realize this until recently when someone (and I forget who so big apologies) reviewed it and I realized it was a totally different book. I was appalled as you know Cindy and Anne Stuart? Well that's me and Linda Howard!

A couple of more of hers that I somehow missed *d'oh*
Midnight Rainbow
Diamond Bay

So there you have it!

Snow Day
My Armada
My rather small wish list

I may be back.

'til later

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My Most Recent Read

Dark Protector by Alexis Morgan

I find it a bit hard to judge this one. I read a few reviews on Amazon before doing this review. A number of them compared this book, the first in a series, to the Carpathian series by Christine Feehan, the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon or even the Brotherhood series by JR Ward. I don’t particularly like comparing series so I’m not going to compare this with any of the others.
As I mentioned this is the first book of a series. First off I liked it. I really did. I fully intend to get the second book very shortly – later today even. But I found it a bit sketchy on details for a new series. Devlin Bane is a Paladin, a slightly different group of people than human. They are a warrior class who defend to the death the fault lines of the planet when there is a fissure. They fight another group called The Others, a vicious bunch who would wreck havoc on Earth should they ever enter en masse. And when I say to the death, I mean to the death. The Paladins you see, also have the power to come back from the dead and live to fight another day. But each time they ’die’ they loose a bit more of their humanity and eventually they become one of The Others themselves. Laurel Young is a special doctor called a Handler who works with the Paladins, patching up their injuries or helping them return from the dead. There is a definite but forbidden attraction between Laurel and Devlin. Handlers and Paladins are discouraged from getting close as it’s the Handler’s job to ‘put down’ the Paladins when they ‘turn’. But of course passion can’t be denied and they end up working together to find out who is trying to permanently get rid of Devlin, who is the traitor and what is really going on with the Others. This one had good suspense, good hero & heroine, good secondary characters, good everything I like in a book.
I think Ms. Morgan who also writes Westerns I’ve yet to try under the name Pat Pritchard, has a good idea going here. For those such as myself who like paranormals but aren’t really into the vampire thing, this really fits the bill. But I just have so many questions that haven’t been answered in this one.
How do they know they are Paladins?
Why do they live longer?
Do they age like regular people if they don’t turn ‘Other’?
Can they *ah* *um* reproduce?

I'm thinking some of the answers to the Immortal questions here since I love The Highlander the Series so much.

See – this is a good thing/bad thing. Bad thing because I don’t know the answers and but good thing because I liked this book enough to want to know the answers. Hopefully, as she goes further on, I will get some of them.
So, I quite liked this one and it’s now the next day and as you can see by my sidebar, I went to the bookstore in a small snow storm last night to get the next one, that’s how much I want to continue reading them. Granted the book store is on the way home and I didn’t have to drive out of my way – but still….

Grade: 4 our of 5

Monday, December 04, 2006

When we moved into our house 25 years ago, one of the first things Ron really wanted to get was a cuckoo clock. It was something he had wanted since he was a kid. Although rather expensive and I wasn’t working at the time; those were my SAHM days, I told him to get one anyway since there weren’t that many things he really wanted. He spent a while looking but finally found the exact clock he’d been searching for.
It’s one of those old fashioned clocks that actually cuckoos every half hour and has to be rewound twice a day. There are two chains that have to be pulled in order to keep it going. That was always Ron’s job since it’s one of those things I’m not good at remembering to do. It has an old fashioned pendulum that swings back and forth, thus causing a constant ticking.
Over the years I grew to love the sound of the cuckoo. People hearing it for the first time would wonder how we managed not to go nuts from the constant cuckoos but it was one of those things we just adjusted to. But it was great to have if I wanted to know the time or if the power went out. It’s been a constant for 25 years now.
But ever since Ron died, the cuckoo clock has become almost a symbol. There have been a number of times I’ve forgotten to rewind it. Then I have to set the time again and try and get it to start working again. The time showing on the clock doesn’t match the number of cuckoos now and I can’t seem to get that to work but as I count the cuckoos rather than look at the time that doesn’t matter. But last Thursday the cuckoo clock stopped working altogether and I can’t seem to get it to going again.
This is now haunting me. The house is just missing something without the constant cuckoos I’ve grown accustomed to over the past 25 years. I’ve tried to get it to work a number of times but it just doesn’t seem to want to ‘catch’.
I tried again this morning and kept trying for about half an hour. The harder I tried, the more upset I became until finally I broke down in sobs. I finally had to stop trying since I had to get ready for work and didn’t want to go in with puffy eyes. I’m not sure I have the heart to keep trying to get it working.
There is an old song – some may remember it; that seems to haunt me about this cuckoo clock:

My grandfather's clock
Was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half
Than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn
Of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;
But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.

But it stopped short
Never to go again
When the old man died
Ninety years without slumbering
tick, tock,tick tock,
His life seconds numbering
tick, tock,tick tock,
It stopped short
Never to go again
When the old man died

For some reason this song runs through my head quite a bit now. There is more to it, but this is what I remember most. I didn’t know it was possible to get so emotional over a clock – I’m still feeling weepy about it, but it causes a silence in the house that hasn’t been there since almost the day we moved in. I had either the television on or music playing for most of the weekend but it still didn’t make up for the silence of the cuckoo clock.
I’m not quite sure what to do now, but I do know that every time I look at the clock now, it brings everything back again.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Recent Reads

Drop Dead Gorgeous by Linda Howard

Well - after waiting impatiently for this one, I finally got a chance to read it. I just finished it - for the first time - today. Yup, I'm going to be reading this one all over again.

Blair and Wyatt are back as good as ever the second time around. In fact in this one, Blair's self confidence, one of the things I love about her is a bit shaken. This scene just made her seem a bit more human than ever.

Starting at the beginning and trying not to give to much away, Blair is busy making her wedding plans when she is almost run over in a mall parking lot. Right away, she is suspicious that it was deliberate but has a bit of a tough time getting Wyatt to see this. Well, Blair being Blair doesn't take this lying down. On top of this she is trying to get Sally and Jazz back together again. You remember Sally who tried to run down Jazz when he redid their bedroom.
There are so many funny moments in this book that just like the last one that one reading isn't nearly enough. This one is much sexier too. One of the few things missing in To Die For was the hot sex scenes that Ms. Howard does so very well. Happily, they are back in this one! I started laughing at this one on almost the first page and kept it up for the whole book. This one is another real winner!! One thing I should add though is if you are looking for a good suspence than this probably won't work. I guessed right off who was the culprit and why she was doing it.

Grade 5 out of 5

Born in Death by JD Robb

This one is another book I was anxiously waiting for. It's another great entry into the series. While not one of the better ones, I still enjoyed it immensely. There is just something so appealing about Eve, Roarke and the rest of them that every time I read a new one, it's like revisiting old friends.
In this one Eve is trying to solve the murder of a young couple who both work in a prestigious accounting firm. Roarke of course, helps her out although they are both very angered and hurt when Roarke ethics are called into question. At the same time Eve has been asked by Mavis to try and find a missing friend. Eve and Roarke are also preparing to be birth coaches for Mavis - and dreading it. As with DDG, there are many fine and funny moments in this book. Now after reading it, I'm again on the countdown for the next one!

Grade: 4 out of 5

'til later

Friday, December 01, 2006

Older Man/Younger Women – Older Women/Younger Man

I was excited the other day when I got a copy of Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie. The main selling point for me on this one to be honest, is it’s a younger man/older woman book. Those are one of my favourite kind! Some of my best keepers are this storyline. One Summer by Karen Robards is probably the top one. I just love this one. The age difference isn’t that much but still Rachel is a few years older than Johnny. Another one I give top marks to is Hard Lovin’ Man by Lorraine Heath. I give her grief for leaving Westerns behind, but this one appeases me greatly. I’d be even more appeased if she wrote more contemporaries. They are almost as good as her Westerns.
Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone is another most excellent younger man/older woman book. When the top 100 Romances from AAR meme was going around not long ago, I always recommended this one to anyone who hasn’t read it.
I even like this them in historicals too although you don’t see it as much. Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas and Sleeping Beauty by Judith Ivory are two that come to mind as historicals I really enjoyed.
Conversely, I don’t care very much at all for a vast difference in age with an older man/younger woman storyline. I have no desire for example to read The Admiral’s Bride by Suzanne Brockman. This is the only one of this series I haven’t read. I can’t think of that many contemporaries at the moment with a big age difference but a few historicals come to mind. The latest release by Eloise James for example, hold’s no interest whatsoever for me. These Old Shades, a favourite Georgette Heyer of many, didn’t work for me because he was so much older than she was. Again, using Lisa Kleypas, Because You’re Mine is one of my lesser favourites even though it’s well written and the hero is pretty good. But there is a bit of a disparity in age that bothers me. I can’t think of many examples to be honest because I tend to avoid them.
In thinking of why I feel the way I do, I’ve come up with a theory. It may be a bit whacked, but it works for me.
In order for a younger guy to be attracted to and fall in love with an older woman, I think he has to be willing to look past the surface, the outward appearance and be drawn more to the inner woman. Something about this just makes me melt. Sure, he’s also physically attracted to her too, that’s a given, but I think he cares more about what’s on the inside. I see older women (now that I am one myself) as more learned and less concerned with the outward appearance and more experienced and wiser. Ergo, if a younger guy is interested, he sees and wants the same thing. And the older woman appreciates a guy who appreciates her!
On the other hand, when I see an older man/younger woman storyline, I immediately think it’s just because she’s a pretty young thing and the main thing he’s thinking about is getting his rocks off. If that isn’t the case, why isn’t he interested in someone who matches him better in experience? No – he’s going for the youth because he’s more shallow. And the younger woman is looking for someone to take care of her rather than taking care of herself
I know I’m generalizing wildly here and of course this isn’t always the case. But it’s my gut reaction, wrong headed as it may be. And it certainly explains why I so much prefer one over the other .

‘til later