Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Great North and South Crusade

Day 4

Special Guest Day

Well, now that I'm completly red faced with embarrasement and wondering why we thought that was a good idea *G* it's time to move onto something else special we have for you. And by the way, we aren't really planning on going to Budapest for vacation. I don't think............we aren't are we?

When Sula, Katiebabs and I tossed about ideas for North and South week, one of the things they suggested was getting one special author’s opinion on this series. I knew she had seen it since she mentioned it on a message board when I asked her if she had.

It might be handy to give a bit of background first for any new visitors. I lost my husband of 31 years a year ago last August after a battle with cancer. I had taken a leave of absence from my job to be his primary caregiver. A week before I was due to go back to work, I received notice that all contracts had been cancelled so there was no job to go back to. I wasn’t in any state emotionally to start looking for a job.
Thank goodness for the friendships I have made on-line. They helped keeping me going. One of the things that helped the very most was the Dreaming of You campaign. As I ‘encouraged’ more and more bloggers to give it a try – and they did and enjoyed it, I could laugh and smile and had a reason to get up in the morning. I know that sound almost overly dramatic, but it’s also so very true.
Then when I went to Dallas this past summer, thanks to Sybil for which I can never say enough thanks, I had an opportunity to meet this author in person and even go out for lunch with her. I blogged about it at the time.

So I sort of reluctantly agreed. I have no problem whatsoever doing favours for people, but I think, like many of us, I hesitate to ask. But I gathered myself together and sent her an email asking if she would be open to helping with The Crusade. She responded within the day in the most gracious of manners. Of course that was expected because she is truly a warm and gracious person.

I asked Katiebabs and Sula for some questions I could ask and along with some of my own sent them off. I wanted to ask tons and tons but then my brain shut down and I couldn’t think of hardly any. This is my first author interview – I’m sure you’ll be able to tell *g*. She responded with her answers and so here we go. I just adore her answers!!

Lisa Kleypas on North and South

Lisa, first off thank you so very much for helping us in our Crusade to get romance readers to see this fascinating series. Now many people may not know this, but I have a tendency to get a wee bit carried away when I’m blown away by something I’ve seen or read that really touches me and I can’t help wanting to share something that deeply touches me. Thankfully Kate and Sula both feel the same way and have joined the Crusade with me.

Now for a few questions.

You’ve seen North and South. Why would you think romance readers would enjoy this?

LISA K.: Kristie, this is one of the few miniseries I’ve seen that provides a similar experience to reading a great historical romance. Sometimes when a historical book is made into a movie, it seems as if the filmmakers are so concerned with the period trappings, they don’t spend enough time on the characters and their relationships. But North And South has it all . . . beautiful cinematography (remember when we first see Thornton , dressed in black, with all those feathery white bits of cotton floating around him like snowflakes?) . . . wonderful acting and compelling dialogue . . . and most of all it has Richard Armitage!

What made you decide to watch this series and what do you think makes it so special?

LISA K.: I had heard of it before, but I didn’t really know what it was and I hadn’t heard any recommendations, so I disregarded it. Then you mentioned it, and pointed out that Richard Armitage would make a good Derek Craven. Not only was I intrigued by that, but also by the time period, and the fact that it was a romance between a professional man (a mill owner) and a genteel young woman. As you know, that kind of story is right up my alley! When I started watching, I was immediately swept away by the quality of the production. It has a few enjoyable similarities to Pride and Prejudice, but it is also very fresh and different, with a grittier storyline. It’s Pride and Prejudice with a social conscience.

I know you know we kind of now imagine John Thornton aka Richard Armitage as our visual of Derek Craven, one of our most beloved heroes. How would you compare the two characters – other than the fact that one is written and one is on the screen of course?

LISA K.: I was almost flabbergasted by the physical similarities between Derek Craven and Richard Armitage, as well as the wonderful brooding sexiness Armitage gets across.

What I especially love is Armitage’s incredible ability to convey many qualities at once in a single scene. So when Margaret sees Thornton beating a man up, and Thornton realizes she’s seen him behaving so violently, his expression flickers with anger, defensiveness and a touch of resignation, all in quick succession. You know he desperately wants her good opinion, but he knows he’s just blown it, and at the same time he feels justified in his actions. And he’s angry at her for judging him, and he still yearns for her. You can tell that John Thornton has not had much pleasure or gentleness in his life, and that his inner grace of character (the fairness, the concern for his employees) has been hard-won. You can tell that his attraction to Margaret is an unwilling one, and that he is trying with all his might to resist her.

In my mind, that echoes the duality of Derek Craven, who struggles so hard to stay locked in his solitude, even as he is falling hard for Sara Fielding. Although Derek is in many ways a powerful man, he is completely undone by this very innocent woman, and he fears her power over him. I think he knows deep down that if he ever falls in love, it will affect him more than it does most men . . . it could save or destroy him. And because of his past violence and “dirty deeds,” he understands his own potential to harm the woman he loves. I think part of the appeal of “Dreaming Of You” is possibly because of this weird sense of relief that Derek and the reader feel when he eventually succumbs to his love for Sara, and instead of disaster, it becomes a healing experience.

It’s also been suggested that Daniela Denby-Ashe would make a good Sarah. What are your thoughts?

LISA K.: She would be perfect! The big eyes, the round little face, the mixture of strength and vulnerability . . . she would make a great Sara.

Why would a romance reader fall so hard for the love story of John Thornton and Margaret Hale?

LISA K.: It is that delicious storyline of two characters who, because of their reluctant attraction, have to rise above their initial impressions of each other. They have to learn to see the other person for whom he or she truly is. This process of reaching beneath all the defenses and misunderstandings, struggling to reach each other despite all the inner and outer forces that try to keep them apart, is truly romantic. One of my favorite parts of the story is a small but telling detail . . . do you remember when they’ve had a quarrel, and Thornton wants to “part as friends” and asks Margaret to take his hand? And she won’t. Because as gesture like that is “not done” where she comes from, and also she is wary of the physical contact with him and the vaguely sexual threat of their hands touching. BUT . . . later at the big party scene, she does bring herself to take his hand, and I swear you can see little sparks all over the screen. Moments like that are what show the conflict and yearning and pleasure between these two characters.

What did you think of the other parts of the series? The class struggles and the Master worker storyline?

LISA K. : As you know, class struggles are endlessly fascinating to me, and play a part in many of my books. So I loved that aspect of the series! It provided a dark and realistic framework for the love story, and Margaret’s and Thornton’s actions regarding the strike were a wonderful way to illustrate their characters. The way they tried to understand the other’s one’s viewpoint, and the principles that each tried to live by, showed how two people can disagree but at the same time respect their differences.

Now that you’ve seen what the BBC can do, is there any one of your books you would like to see made into a series if wishes were horses and we knew how to ride?

LISA K.: Oh . . . a Wallflower miniseries would be so fun!

This is more of a rhetorical question, but what do you think makes British actors so much more ‘real’ than many American actors?

LISA K.: This has always been a fascinating question to me. I’ve heard it said that American actors work from the inside-out, whereas British actors work from the outside in. And I prefer the latter method, because a British actor starts with his appearance, changes himself to fit the script, and goes deeper and deeper inside to serve the character. Whereas an American is more likely to change the character to suit his own personality. I think the British goal is far less vain, and far more effective.

If you ever get the time would you like to read the book?

LISA K.: I have the book! I had to order it once I saw the DVD. And I am going to read it over the holidays. It will be so fun to see the differences between novel and film.

Finally Katiebabs had a question she wanted me to ask. Here goes: I need to know this- In "Suddenly You", the scene were Jack and Amanda use a bowl of raspberries in a very shocking and erotic way has never been repeated or written in a comparable way that I can think of in any of your books since then. What made you use that scene and were you afraid your fans wouldn't accept it as well as you would imagine? I FOR ONE LOVED IT :)

LISA K.: LOL. Thank you, dear! At the time I wrote “Suddenly You” I was in a process of self-liberation . . . I was really enjoying the last few years of my thirties, because I loved the sense of confidence and sexiness I was feeling as I got older. (I wouldn’t go through my twenties again for anything!). I was also pregnant with my second child, and it was a really happy time for me. So even before I started “Suddenly You,” I knew it was going to be an unusually sexy novel because of the older woman/younger man storyline. And I decided to go for it.

To me, the appeal of such a pairing is that a younger man would tend to be more daring, more playful, and more sexually “out there.” Jack is a unique hero because he is a publisher, he adores books, and he has an imaginative and liberal turn of mind. And in his strong need for connection and intimacy, there is very little he wouldn’t want to try or experience.

So in that love scene, when Jack is trying so hard to reconnect with Amanda, I thought it would be appropriate for him to do something a little shocking. And she enjoys the experience, and to me it shows that
she finally trusts him enough to let go of every last inhibition.

I knew that some readers would understand and like the scene, and that others wouldn’t. I will admit that I was surprised by the extremity of both reactions! But that’s the wonderful thing about sex . . . everyone has their own preferences and limits, fantasies and inhibitions. I would never expect all of my readers to like everything that happens in my books. When you think about it, the safest way to go is to make everything plain vanilla and predictable, and make every plot a “crowd-pleaser” . . . but that would be boring for everyone, including

Any final thoughts?

LISA K. : Just that I love your passion for sharing books and movies that you enjoy, because sometimes that is the only way that some of us (like me) will discover something really wonderful, like North And South. So thank you to you, Kate and Sula for doing your part to bring romance to all of us!
And a HUGE Thank You to Lisa for taking time out of her busy writing schedule to help with our crusade. I think anyone who has seen this series, while maybe not obsess the way we have, has enjoyed it. Lisa Kleypas has. *huge grin*

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Great North and South Crusade Continues...

Day 3
The Pajama Party Comes to an End....

Like all good things, they must come to and end, and this means out lovely PJ chat on the merits of North and South, John and Margaret's romance and Richard Armitage himself. And if you think you have had fun reading our insightful and educational chat, Part 3 will amaze and astound. (Better not drink anything while reading, you may end up spraying your computer)
And tomorrow will be even better because we have a SPECIAL GUEST INTERVIEW that will be posted. Who could it be you wonder? Here's a hint - Kristie likes to compare Richard to Derek from Dreaming of You. Hmmmm...

Sula: I think Richard Armitage is still single
Kristie(J): Really?
Sula: yup
Kristie(J): *thinking*
Sula: Buy a ticket to Hungary
KatieBabs: I checked IMDB and he is single
Kristie(J): I wonder how much a flight to Budapest would cost
Sula: woot!
KatieBabs: No woman in his life! Road trip!
Sula: Yup!
Kristie(J): All three of us!
Sula: I have a Hungarian friend, maybe she will let us crash at her place. For real
KatieBabs: Imagine that??
Kristie(J): * laughing and sighing at the thought*
Sula: Tell him that his fame has spread beyond North and South fans and is not a viral infection in the romance reading community now
Kristie(J): And we have this campaign going
KatieBabs: definitely!
Kristie(J): And if he gets royalties
Sula: hehe
Sula: Katiebabs, did you watch any of the Vicar of Dibley episodes on Youtube? You really do have to. He is adorable. so FUNNY
Kristie(J): Oh you do!! He is SO different and shy
KatieBabs: He has been on an episode of Cold Case I have watched and in a Speedo. I like him with a little scruff
Sula: Ala Robin Hood?
Kristie(J): Oh man - Robin Hood! He is GORGEOUS
KatieBabs: If I was Marian I would forget Robin, marry Guy and give him all the babies he wanted. Guy hmmmm. What a guy!
Sula: s'riously that cape!
Kristie(J): those penetrating eyes
KatieBabs: I watched the first season of Robin Hood over the summer and I though Robin was wimpy. But Guy... ohh laa laa
Sula: Me too katiebabs
Kristie(J): I haven't seen any of it yet - but soon! Yes very soon!
Sula: I remember watching it and thinking that robin I could do without but the bad guy...
Kristie(J): Did you know who he was then?
Sula: No! That's what surprised me afterwards. When I saw North and South, I kept thinking that he looked vaguely familiar. hehe! Yeah, and then post-N&S when I was looking him up online...I figured it out
KatieBabs: Me too Sula! I was forwarding the scenes with Robin to get to Guy and even when he murdered someone, I thought that was so hot! I had no clue who he was, just that he was very yummy. Now I want to watch Season 2! all 21 episodes of Robin Hood
Kristie(J): I think he's a fabulous actor to go from Vicar to N&S then to Robin Hood
Sula: Yeah, very different roles
Kristie(J): And the bedtime story telling! Such a hoot
Sula: Isn't that the cutest thing? name is Richard
KatieBabs: Ah man, I need to watch these videos.
Sula: Yes!
Kristie(J): He's so .....enthusiastic telling those stories - quite a difference from the restrained John Thornton

KatieBabs: OMG the dinosaur!!!
KatieBabs: cbeebies?
Sula: Some British kid’s series
KatieBabs: I want to jump in the booth right now!
Sula: I know. It's so different to see him in casual clothes, no?
KatieBabs: omg now he is speaking Scottish
Sula: I know!!! double squee
KatieBabs: his eyes, such beautiful eyes And you... and me!!!
Kristie(J): Ooooh - that accent
KatieBabs: OCH!
Kristie(J): Och lassie
Sula: you just can't resist
KatieBabs: I will have 9 kids with him and name them all Jamie
KatieBabs: or Richard

Sula: haha
Sula: Jamie...sigh

Kristie(J): You can tell he must like kids to do that *g*
KatieBabs: hello my name is Richard!
Sula: love the way he says RICHard
Kristie(J): I love to hear him say KRIStie
Sula: I would love to hear him read stories to me. Bedtime stories. The adult kind
Kristie(J): Oh - how adorable when he says squirrel!
KatieBabs: Kristie I am now ruined for all other men
KatieBabs: Which brother could Richard play?

Sula: hmm
KatieBabs: Z?
Sula: No, not skinny enough
Kristie(J): The first one - what's his name? The king!
KatieBabs: Phury?
Sula: Wrath? I like him for Rhage, or maybe Phury
KatieBabs: Phury!
Sula: Yeah, I think Phury
KatieBabs: Those eyes of his!
Sula: They're pretty much the shiznit
Sula: Some nice shots in this one
KatieBabs: If he played Rhage he would need blonde highlights
Kristie(J): So who in their right mind would prefer Robin over him????
Sula: No sane woman, that's for sure
KatieBabs: More slash?! lol
Sula: yep lmao
KatieBabs: Robin would give pecks, Guy would eat a women whole!
Sula: mmm.
KatieBabs: Marian is a twit. Forget about Robin

Sula: Guy is a much better choice he is a tortured romantic hero who just needs the love of a good woman
KatieBabs: They need a new woman for him other than Marian who can appreciate him. That could be me
Kristie(J): Or me
Sula: Me. Or it could be an Emma Holly story and be all of us
Kristie(J): I read where they were delving more into his character and history in the second season
Sula: No, it looks like an interview but the Guy of Gisbourne clip is...thud hawt! "beg"
Kristie(J): OK - we shall have to wrap it up then *g* Sula! I can't watch and type at the same time
Sula: hehe OK, but trust me, you will like this one
KatieBabs: His smile!
Sula: The beginning anyways
Kristie(J): OK - I've already seen that - a couple of times
Sula: hahaha Beat me to it, did you
KatieBabs: He is so modest. I love his nose and his ears and his scuff
Kristie(J): Yep I did *g*
Sula: aww
Kristie(J): And his shyness
Sula: Eyes
KatieBabs: and his hair
Sula: and everything
Kristie(J): that's why I love the Jann Arden video
KatieBabs: his eyebrows
Sula: OK, so anyways, back to the North and South thing
KatieBabs: looks at those hands!
Kristie(J): But isn't he adorable in that interview??
KatieBabs: and those jeans! And I really need to go to bed and dream
Sula: *sigh*
Kristie(J): Right! North and South - that's why we are here
Sula: Richard Armitage is just too distracting!
Kristie(J): Focus! Focus! *g*
KatieBabs: er.... how are you going to edit this? lol
Sula: Cut out the tree sex
KatieBabs: hahah
Sula: "you inspired a lot of attention, particularly on the internet"
Sula: really
Kristie(J): Well - was going to start copying from where we started talking N&S
Sula: and then stop where we started gushing about RA

Kristie(J): So then - Katie - why do you think others should watch North and South in a short answer?
KatieBabs: People should watch North and South because it is an incredible romance that includes the topics of family, feminism, and class society. And mainly the final scene! Flowers and trees and riding the train. Okay, I must go now. On that note! Richard rules and I want to be his mistress! (against a tree!)
Sula: I would recommend North and South for both the very satisfying romance but also for the unique look at a period of history that we don't always get to see...the industrial revolution. I would add that the romance feels very real and well-developed. You understand WHY these two should be together.
Sula: And now for you, Kristie

Kristie(J): OK - me. I think North and South is a romance come to the screen. We often wish they would make movies out of romance books. Well they did that with this. In addition, we get to see so many other things, class struggles, working man/employer struggles. We often mourn for richer more historically correct books. One can get it all in this series

(They are the true hard core fans)

The Great North and South Crusade!!

Day 2

The Pajama Party

Part 2 of our 'pajama party discussion' will be at Sula's blog

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Great North and South Crusade!!


The Pajama Party

We’ve been promising something special this week starting today and – today’s the day. It might not come as a surprise to some of you who drop by and visit that when I get passionate about something, I tend to go a bit overboard.:) The reason is I’ve enjoyed it so much I just want everyone to enjoy it too. I don’t think there will be any raised eyebrows when I say my latest one is the British series North and South. I started hearing about it on the AAR boards and didn’t pay much attention since I thought it was a do over of the US miniseries. But then Sula posted about how much she enjoyed it and many others chimed in agreeing with her. I ordered it, watched it and fell completely and totally in love with the story. Then my partner Katiebabs watched it and experienced the same thing Sula and I and many other did too.The three of us exchanged emails and we all thought it a grand idea to really encourage other romance readers and romance bloggers to see this great series. If you’re a romance reader, especially a historical romance reader which I think many of us are or were at one time, I think you’ll really enjoy this. We tossed around ideas of what to do and one of the ideas we came up with was a 'chat' we thought we would share with everyone.

So one Friday night after trying to figure out what IM to use and with the help of “The Sidekick” we connected. I can’t speak for Katiebabs and Sula, but I was sitting nice and cozy in my jammies with a nice cold beer and settled down for what really felt like a cyberspace pajama party.

So for the next three days, you get to see into our North and South Pajama Party discussion. Part one is here with me posting. Part two is at Sula’s blog and Part three is here with Katiebabs posting.

So sit back and enjoy. We tried to be serious at times but at others descended into girlish silliness.

Kristie(J): Question: So what makes N&S so special that it's grabbed our attention and won't let go? Either of you?

Kristie(J): (The sidekick - you can listen in 'cause we will be after you to watch this too)

KatieBabs: The subtle love story without all the over the top passionate words and touches. When John is watching as Margaret leaves and he says, look back- swoon!

Sula: Also I liked the social clashes (the working class, the nouveau riche, and the elite) and how some of those contrasts are exemplified in the characters of Thornton and Margaret. I mean, she is coming from a rather posh background...or at least some of her family are in the Ton, and now she has been brought down a level, and Thornton, who should be beneath her, is actually above her socially

Kristie(J): That's true - he is above her in some ways and beneath her in others. Like our wonderful Derek -he thinks he is unworthy of her. I do think he came from a better background originally - before his father blew it.

Sula: Yeah, but he had to work his way up from zero

Kristie(J): and yes though, he did raise himself and his family from the ground

KatieBabs: I like the fact that Margaret is strong and outspoken and that is why John loves her

Sula: Yes, I liked that too. She's not afraid to speak her mind even though she's a little naive in some ways.

KatieBabs: She is very caring and understanding, well with John, he rubs her the wrong way though. John was a lot like Derek in most ways. The looks he gives Margaret are much like the ones Derek gives Sara. And whenever someone is critical of Margaret, he defends her.

Sula: true

KatieBabs: He reminds me also of Darcy from P&P

Sula: Yeah, in some ways he is like Darcy, but he's also more emotional I think

Kristie(J): I haven't seen that so I can't really compare them

KatieBabs: OMG you have been deprived!

Kristie(J): I did watch the latest version the other day and there really was no comparison

Sula: Yeah, you really do have to see that one

KatieBabs: No Colin Firth swimming in the lake?

Sula: hehe

Kristie(J): But after watching North and South I don't think I would care for it nearly as much. P&P that is

Sula: I loved how erotic just seeing Thornton's NECK was after going through the entire movie in such conservative clothing

KatieBabs: LMAO!

Kristie(J): Yes!! At the train station when he didn't have his cravat on

KatieBabs: When he took off his neck thingy, that was very sexy.

Sula: Don't you think his starched cravat says something about the way he holds himself? His chin is always up

Kristie(J): I do. It's like he is holding himself back

Sula: Yes, or being held back by convention

KatieBabs: The smoldering looks said it all

Sula: And yeah, the eyes tell the true story. Yowza!

Kristie(J): Another thing I noticed upon many viewings is how he covers his mouth when he is feeling strong emotions, like he is trying to hold himself in somehow. It really starts getting noticeable when you watch it a lot.

Sula: hmm, you're right

Kristie(J): He hardly ever smiles at all!

KatieBabs: he hardly ever smiled unless he was with Margaret

Sula: Did we all swoon over the part where he watches Margaret's carriage drive away and he says, "look back, look back at me"?

KatieBabs: OMG!! I was a puddle on the floor

Sula: Heart-breaking

KatieBabs: That scene... no words!

Kristie(J): Oh me too! You can just feel his pain and longing

Sula: He's so vulnerable

Kristie(J): But yet - he turned his back on Margaret first when she was open to something

Sula: be fair he did propose to her and got turned down

KatieBabs: He doesn't want to give his heart away

Kristie(J): One thing I'm puzzled over is why she turned him down so rudely

KatieBabs: His proposal was an angry one because he is angry for loving so deeply

Sula: Yeah, I thought she was pretty mean to him

Kristie(J): But I think she was almost afraid of his passion

Sula: Did you watch the extended proposal scene? The one thing that I got out of it was that she was angry that people were assuming that she was chasing after him because he was rich. Again, I think she was upset that SHE (who would normally have been the catch but is now poor because of her father's loss of fortune) is the one that now is looking like a gold digger

KatieBabs: Her parents IMO were so weak

Kristie(J): Yes they both were she was the leader of the family especially after her brother left

KatieBabs: John and Margaret are very strong. Their wills clashed and John's sister was weak and empty headed

Sula: Oh yeah, but funny

Kristie(J): His mother sure was strong though. She would make a frightening mother in law

Sula: I liked his mother. She was a bit of a battle ax, but she really loved him

Kristie(J): Almost too much though. Having two sons who have both been disappointed by women, I would never say I hate them. Especially if they told me they loved them.

KatieBabs: It is funny because John was close with his mother and Margaret was close with her father

Sula: Yes, well I think you can see where John gets his passionate nature from.

Kristie(J): And she did talk him out of going to see Margaret right away after he left the house when Margaret was hurt

KatieBabs: John's emotions were dark

Kristie(J): Yes - like the first time Margaret saw him. He beat that employee up pretty good. I imagine that did frighten Margaret quite a bit.

Sula: He has a lot weighing on him. He's responsible for the factory and for the jobs of everyone and for his mother and sister being kept in style

KatieBabs: But did you see how he changed towards the end of the movie. And when he found out about her brother, his face lit up?

Sula: Yes! "Her brother"

Kristie(J): I loved that part too! Like a light dawned

KatieBabs: His smile!

Sula: Love the change in his whole demeanor when he finds out that the guy she was embracing was her brother

Kristie(J): *swoon*

Sula: Random bit...I like when he's sitting in the cafeteria with the workers. That whole section shows how he's changing and growing

Kristie(J): Oh yes - I like that part too. I thought it interesting that it was Higgins who told him

KatieBabs: Poor Higgins

Sula: Also the interactions between him (Thornton) and the kid

Kristie(J): And how gentle he is with the little boy

KatieBabs: I felt sad for Margaret's friend who had originally asked her to marry him

End of Part 1

And we have a couple of other things planned for after including a Very Special Guest. So – hopefully you get curious and want to see what makes three grown women gush like teenagers. I'd also like to add another link. If you're curious, if you've seen North and South and can't get enough of it, there is a very good discussion also going on another blog - Lights, Camera...History, an excellent blog dedicated to historical books and the movies.

So - Stay Tuned. Part two of the North and South Pajama Party is up tomorrow at Sula's!

'til later

Saturday, November 24, 2007

**Exclusive** Demon Night Review (and Devil Dogs)

I am over the moon because I finally have the chance to talk about a book I have waited anxiously for months to do so. I am one of the lucky few, because I do get to review some great books ahead of time, the majority before their release date. In the case of Demon Night, I was honored and privileged to read this book a few months ago. I usually have a bad case of reading way too fast and being very critical when it comes to books. (Usually a 400 page book will take me two days to read, this one took me a full week, so unheard of if you know my reading habits) I tend to have the major case of the DNFs (did not finish) with more than half of my reads. But with Demon Night, I had to take my time, soak everything up like a sponge and I can tell you this is definitely NOT a DNF!

Meljean Brook’s books are hard to place in a certain genre. They can be considered paranormals because of the immortal creatures that appear such as vampires or perhaps even fantasy with the angels, demons and two head devil dogs (hmmm, creamy filled goodness!) that come along. I usually can't stand pets and annoying cute small children, but Sir Pup has become so important as a character even though he is a dog and from Hell. I find it hard to say that this is a straight forward romance. Demon Night is so much more than to be placed under a label and put on a shelf in a bookstore. It is a worthy submission in this on-going series about the war between Heaven and Hell and those on Earth stuck in the middle. And in the case of Charlie, the sweet yet unsure human girl and her Guardian protector Ethan aka Drifter, you have two wonderful characters.
There are definite romantic elements, but the romance between Charlie and Ethan don’t over take over the story. Their relationship is more subtle and quiet. They both have a simple way about them. Not subtle in the case that there is not passion or not enough sex. Heh, just wait till you see these two in action! Where as Hugh and Lillith, Colin and Savi were more intense and in your face, I found Charlie and Ethan to be about two simple people taking each day as it comes. These two were just going through the motions of everyday life rather then really feeling those emotions we all take for granted. They are like puzzle pieces that fit perfectly. I can really see them growing old and grey, much like a married couple you would see walking down the street or sitting, holding hands waiting for a bus.

I am usually a much bigger fan of the hero more so than the heroine, not that Ethan isn’t an incredible hero. How could you not adore an old fashioned type of guy who has the most wonderful cowboy accent and has incredible willpower and love for a woman who thinks she is not worthy of his love? Ethan is willing to sacrifice himself for the one woman who completes him. And poor Ethan has so much to deal with when it comes to Charlie. Charlie has major issues from her past which make her vulnerable and scared. But because she loves her sister and her friends around her, I found myself wrapped up in the character of who Charlie was. She is so down to earth and so real that she is one person that I would want to be friends with and have a drink or two with. Most of the time I wanted to give Charlie a big hug because she suffers silently and doesn’t let anyone see, well that is until Ethan shows up. Charlie is forced into a situation where her life is at stake. Ethan is the one who must watch out for her while trying to get over his own past and is brother’s death from over one-hundred years ago.
There is also great fighting scenes, over the top action, great love scenes (hey, I am a romance addict after all) and the most excellent dialogue and one liners I have ever heard. I find it amazing that there can be a balance of incredible tension one minute and then a zinger of a line the next that can make you laugh.

There is so much more I would love to say about Demon Night, but by giving too much away, I would ruin the reading experience. Take it from me, spoilers can ruin a good story no matter how much you want to know about an ending or what happens between the characters you put the emotional time and energy into. If you are a fan of Meljean’s past books, you know what you are getting- a mature and intelligent tale. Demon Night has encompassed everything I look forward into a story from the overall plot, amazing characters and imaginative and creative writing. Not many writers can use such skill and set the bar for themselves. Meljean has met this standard and gone beyond this. You can tell she cares about her art and it definitely shows.
Unfortunately if you want to read Demon Night and haven’t read Demon Angel or Demon Moon, I would recommend you not start here. To fully understand this wonderful world and creatures not really found anywhere else, go back to the beginning with Demon Angel. You know what, actually go back and read everything, even the short story with Falling for Anthony. Go forth and read it all!
(Mel, I know you were concerned about the ending, but it does work. It is poetry and I so loved the last line! *wink wink*)
With that in mind, come February I recommend you rush to your nearest bookstore and loose yourself in this fabulous world and that of Charlie and Ethan.

Demon Night gets the "Kate Stamp of Approval", and if I posted a review on, it would be a definite 4-star review. Overall, an enjoyable and well written read for 2008 and the literary world.

Now for some reason I have the craving for some Devil Dogs…..


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sometimes mail can be a good thing - Update

So - it was another good mail day today. However I wasn't totally happy. I ordered some things from Chapters on Monday - to soothe the sting of not seeing Bon Jovi (which apparently was The Best Concert Ever according to my coworker *sigh*) The first of the order came yesterday - but I'm going to be mysterious over that. Today one of the books I ordered came in.

Satisfaction by Marianne Stillings. I adored her last book so I have high hopes for this one.

Now for why I'm not so happy. Over three weeks ago I ordered all the other books from Harlequin and I am not to happy with them. First of all, about a week after I ordered them I got an email saying my credit card was refused. Now I know this was not the case because for one of the rare times I had my balance down to practically zero. The same thing happened the time before that too and the guy on the phone when I called to find out what was going on, explained it must have been keyed in wrong. He reversed it then and everything was fine. But I wasn't too pleased when the same thing happened again. I sent them back a strongly worded email advising them to check again. All I got was a very brief reply saying it went through. Then a few days after that I got another email saying one of the books I ordered - The Angel and The Outlaw - was unavailable and would not be shipped. That was a load of crap as it is a December book and listed on their website, and not only that, it was listed as a special purchase, why I don't know since it's the same price as many of the other books. Again I sent a strongly worded reply back to them. Four days after that I received a notice they had shipped the books and they would take 3 to 8 days to arrive. They arrived today - on the 8th day. And since I ordered on a Friday, I received a free book. I'm not going to mention it - but I've got to say, I think it's from their bargain bin. It's a tiny little thing and according to the cover price cost $4 - Canadian!
Now it seems to me, they should have made more of an effort to keep me as a customer, but they didn't.
And that's the last time I will order anything from E-Harlequin. I'd rather pay a higher price than go through the hassles they have put me through twice in a row now. I order something from Chapters and I get it in two days. So not the case with E-Harlequin!
Regardless though, I'm happy to finally get them. Here's what I got
Bedded by Her Lord by Denise Lynn *shudder* - Terrible title
Becket's Last Stand by Kasey Michaels - now all I have to do is read the other two.
The Angel and The Outlaw by Kathryn Albright - yep they shipped this one after all
The Empath by Bonnie Vanak - I like her books and I'm curious to read this one
Lord of Scandal by Nicola Cornick - I have a bunch of her books and haven't read one yet. But the covers are all so pretty.

And to all my friends south of the border - Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving and you don't get too run off you feet tomorrow :-)

And one more thing before I go. Stay tuned for Monday!! We have something very special planned for the week!!!!

'til later

Sometimes life is funny. I got home from work tonight and there was another package from Harlequin - inside - as second copy of The Angel and The Outlaw *shaking head* Not only that, but when I checked my account online - they gave me a credit for it. So now I have 2 copies and

Wasn't charged for either.

So - another book to giveaway when Name That Book resumes.
And.......I also received my copy of Lady of Light and Shadows by C.L. Wilson

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Exclusive Review Coming Soon

This time woodstock has joined in on the snoopy dance because coming this weekend I have a special exclusive review about an anticapted read for 2008 that seems to be on the majority of people's TBR lists.

Now if I don't drink too much wine tomorrow on Thanksgiving and can survive my midnight trip to the outlets, (yes, I am seriously going shopping on Thursday at midnight for all the sales) by the weekend I should have this special review for everyone.

Now most of you are probably wondering what has Kate read that she is all excited about? I will give you some hints to keep you guessing:

1. An anticipated book for early 2008 release

2. It is part of a series

3. It is not a historical

4. Yes, it has sex.

Those who do know- SHHH!! No telling allowed. :)

And by the way HAPPY THANKSGIVING! (Sorry Kristie!)

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

Katiebabs and her new pet turkey who needs a name.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Doing the Snoopy Dance for C.L. Wilson

Wonder why I am doing the snoopy dance? I just heard from C.L. Wilson and Lady of Light and Shadows is #26 on the New York Times Best Seller list for extended mass market books!
What an amazing feat and I am so happy because Lord of the Fading Lands and Lady of Light and Shadows are probably going to be my number 1 and number 2 favorite books for 2007. Well, actually these two books are tied with another author's two books but that is a secret for now and you will know all later. Trying to keep you all on the edge of your seats with my top 10 list of 2007. *G*
And if you haven't had the chance to read this new series by Wilson, go to your nearest books store and pick them up! I even sent them to Sula so she can ooohh and aaah with me. Don't you want to oooh and aaah with us?
I can see this series going on forever! Imagine the marketing and merchandizing? Fading Land coffee cups, t-shirts with the statement- "GO Tairen!" Little Rain and Ellie dolls....
And this coming Monday, C.L. will pop on over at AAR's after hours blog for a wonderful interview, and we are giving away both of these books! See, how I love you all since i am giving you the inside track?

Great things are coming in the next week or so, so stayed tuned.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A sad day - with a happy ending

Bed of Roses by Bon Jovi - one of my all time favourite songs
Yes, today is rather a sad day for me. You see Bon Jovi is playing in town tonight. Since I LOVE Bon Jovi, I fully planned on getting tickets and going to see them. But then the cheap part of me figured they were just too pricey and I decided not to go for it. But then I changed my mind! How often does one get a chance to see their favourite band in person - not often.
But alas - by that time the tickets were all gone. Seems I'm not the only one who loves Bon Jovi. I heard they sold out faster than any act that has come here so far.
So I lost my chance. And what's worse, one of my close coworkers is going so tomorrow I'm going to have to listen to her rapture on about them *heavy sigh*
In order to soothe myself, I've decided I need to do something extra special. Buying a couple of books - while good, very good - just won't quite cut it.
So - I've decided to purchase something else once I get home tonight - something that would cost half of what a Bon Jovi ticket would have cost, but something that will also give me hours of entertainment, something that will make up for going the cheap route.
I give you........this

Katiebabs named this particular clip the apt title - Chest. Now I know this is from season 2 and won't be in the set I get but still, can one say yum?
You see, I've tried finding the first season of the latest version of Robin Hood all over but I can't find it - not at Blockbuster or any other video store, not at the library - nowhere. And apparently it's playing on BBC America - but I don't get that channel. So I am forced to get a copy of my very own. I think that will take the sting out of missing Bon Jovi quite well - don't you?

'til later

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What is True Love?

I have been thinking a lot lately, especially as I do my laundry today (and wondering do I really have to separate my light clothes from my darks?) what is considered true romantic love? I use to think that true love was, boy meets girl, they are overcome with passion, boink each other (repeatedly) till no tomorrow, realize they are in love and they decide to go off and get married and I assume through more years of boinking, they have a ton of children.
But through my reading travels I have read so many different types of romantic love, and more lately it seems to be male on male love and in some cases male, female and male love. And yes different life forms and plant form (and you all know my opinion on that!) as well as everything else in between.
But my view has changed on love. I no longer assume when reading a romance that it is that old boy and girl relationship. There are so many romances out there that can include friendship that is close to a bond as a romantic one can get. Two friends can be soul mates also.
One example I can come up with is the show Nip/Tuck. This show is my ultimate guilty pleasure. Don’t bother me on Tuesday nights because my soul purpose for that night is to watch the crazy adventures between two best guy friends. Some of you may have heard of the out of control storylines and characters, that include the two main characters of Sean and Christian who are plastic surgeons now relocated to Los Angeles, California. These two men are warped individuals. They can’t stay in positive relationships with women because they are so damaged and always mess it up. They sleep around with any woman they can get their hands on. These are what we call, "Duke of Sluts" in historical romancs. They are modern day slutty rakes.
Anything goes between these two. Heck, there was an on-going storyline about Christian who had a fiancĂ©e. He eventually broke up with her and she ends up sleeping with his son, (he just found out had a son which he always thought was his best friend Sean’s) getting pregnant and ends up marrying the son! And this is after years of having a sexual relationship with good old dad!
But besides the naughty and sometime disgusting actions these two men take, they are always there for each other. They have been friends for over twenty years and gone though thick and thin. Christian had slept with Sean’s wife the night before her wedding to Sean and because of that, she ends up pregnant, passing the child off as Sean’s son for almost twenty years. But Sean forgave Christian! They constantly backstab and use each other in ways only true love will let you forgive.
Last year it was implied that Christian may love Sean more than just male friendship, basically a Brokeback Mountain type move. If it had happened that these two became lovers, I wouldn’t be shocked or surprised. Their friendship is so deep and cemented that it is true love to the max. Maybe not the passionate, “take me and let’s have wild monkey sex” type, but a love that is just as consuming because these two men complete each other’s souls, more so than any romantic love with a woman can provide.
That is why I adore this show. And it always helps when Christian, who is played by the gorgeous actor, Julian McMahon has a habit of walking around naked in almost every episode and has the best butt I have seen in a long time!
Katiebabs (the one with the nice butt is on the right)