Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Grand Finale of The Great North and South Crusade

Somehow it almost seems fitting to end on February 29th - a very rare day. It *sniff* marks the end of our quote "Official" quote Great North and South Crusade.

Of course now that so many of us have discovered the love of North and South - the Crusade will never really die.

So I thought we would go out with a Bang! Hold on to your hats - this will be a long one - with LOTS of pictures!

One of the most delightful and unexpected things about this Crusade has been meeting other people - if only through Cyber space.

One of the people I have really enjoyed 'meeting' is Carrie Lofty. She was a Crusader long before we had a Crusade. We've emailed back and forth and I know Sula got to know her better. When we realized how much of a Crusader she was, her being a writer and all, we asked for her thoughts. She very graciously sent us her reply.

Here are her thoughts on an area of North and South I don't think I've come across in all the blogs I've read

John Thornton's heroism is not limited to his romantic relations with Margaret. In fact, his heroic character in North & South is more forcefully demonstrated by his interactions with other men.

Mr. Hale: Thornton's relationship with Mr. Hale, aside from establishing the means by which John and Margaret can properly interact, speaks to his ambitions toward becoming a learned man. He sees proper education--particularly relating to subjects outside of trade, such as history and philosophy--as a means of developing gentlemanly behavior and finding acceptance in elegant society. Thornton never acknowledges these ambitions outright; his spoken goals always center on the success of Marlborough Mills. After all, in a culture that values monetary success and hard work, education beyond the basics would have been seen as a prideful waste of time.

In seeking out Mr. Hale's company and tutelage, he gives away his innermost longings for acceptance--and possibly for a father figure. Mrs. Thornton deems Mr. Hale "too simple for trade," and at the Masters' dinner, Thornton himself admonishes Mr. Hale's simplistic view of Christian charity in business, but this does not dim his good opinion. "Mr. Hale is a gentleman," Thornton tells his mother--not an educated man, or a good man, but a gentleman. His thirst for knowledge and desire for respect beyond monetary success go hand in hand, and Mr. Hale is the man he entrusts with those secretive, unspoken dreams.

The Masters: Not only does Thornton hold gentlemanly aspirations, he is a fundamentally good man. At the Masters' dinner where they discuss fans for the cotton sorting rooms, he insists his decision to have fans installed was based on purely monetary concerns. Healthier workers are more productive workers. Yet he refuses to invest the payroll in monetary schemes. He keeps good care of the Irish workers he imports during the strike. And he never uses tricks or lies to deceive his workers. We see that he wrestles with the moral consequences of his every choice. His unshakable ethics blend with his business sense in a way that sets him above his less scrupulous, less heroic peers.

Henry Lennox: Thornton's brief interaction with Henry Lennox at the exposition is almost painful to watch. We see Thornton--a strong, confident, worthy man--reduced to an outsider because of his birth, his upbringing, and the nature of his fortune. Margaret has already rejected his marriage proposal, thereby exacerbating his basic lack of self-confidence in good society, and Lennox's family connections to Margaret leave him without solid footing. We know he could knock Lennox's head off with a few clean punches, and we know he will always out-earn and out-work Lennox, no matter the endeavor, but his deeply rooted sense of inferiority renders him powerless. He is still lacking a fundamental belief in his own value.

Mr. Bell: Ah, Mr. Bell. Is there a more perplexing character in North & South? By his faithful friendship to Mr. Hale and his generous guardianship of Margaret, he should have been well regarded by Thornton. But his nature stands as Thornton's opposite. He is facetious and sarcastic where Thornton is straightforward and contemplative. Mr. Bell is everything a proper gentleman appears to be, but Thornton's desire for acceptance in polite society never stoops to groveling at the feet of any ole' gentleman. He has standards. Mr. Hale is a respectable man of learning and delicacy, whereas Mr. Bell's influence has been purchased and manipulated by his considerable fortune. Neither is Thornton afraid to demonstrate his disdain: He refuses to shake Mr. Bell's hand at their final meeting, a most powerful snub.

Higgins: Shall I confess to my mini-crush on Higgins? Ok. There. I've said it.

Higgins is everything Mr. Bell is not. He is crass, unkempt, forthright, honorable, poor, generous, caring, and resolute. In short, he is Thornton's equal in all ways save money. We see, as Margaret does, that they are the two men best suited to bridging the tremendous gap between the Masters and the workers. Through his relationship with Thornton, Higgins is able to let go of his bitterness and find respect. Thornton, too, finds respect in that Higgins is the one character who truly understands the sacrifices he makes on behalf of the mill. Higgins has known bad Masters, and Thornton is not one of them.

One of my favorite scenes is when Thornton ventures to Higgins' house. His eyes flick over abject poverty, memories of his impoverished childhood hitting him in the face. They circle around a rough-hewn dinner table like warriors. They back down in increments, each relinquishing bits and pieces of pride until they come to a solid accord--and a handshake. Their intelligence and desire for a better way of life helps bring it about, whereas other men might have fallen back on arrogance or class, missing the opportunity.

They continue to build bridges based on hard work and clever thinking. When Higgins urges him to eat, Thornton admits he had not had stew in years--again, a reference to his childhood poverty. There is caring and respect on both sides. When they meet for the last time on screen and Higgins reveals what he knows of Margaret's brother, they are very near to equals. "I'm nobody's master now," Thornton says. But Higgins' respect never wavers. They shake hands with gusto, reassuring us that their joint efforts toward a better way of life in Milton will continue--a happy ending for more than just John and Margaret.

Thornton's heroism stands tall over those men of weaker character, but he yields to or compromises with male characters who, like him, maintain a sense of dignity, justice, intelligence, and passion. He blends those noble qualities--and a damn fine physical form--to become a perfect match for Margaret and a most memorable hero for us.

I simply LOVE reading her thoughts on this!

Now for something else. At the beginning of the Crusade we mentioned there were two contests; one for some books and one for a copy of the DVD.

But no one took us up on our second contest. And I still have the DVD sitting here waiting for a good home. So instead, I'm changing the rules. Anyone who is interested, leave a comment and your name will be entered in a draw. The draw will be made on - let's see - how about The Ides of March - which would be March 15th.

In case you are interested though - Katie and I both made an attempt at writing that final scene. For all those who watched - it somehow seemed to need one more final little bit. If you are interested in seeing what we came up with, click here.

One thing that Sula, Katie and I did if you remember, was to have a cyber pajama party. We thought it would be great fun to have a large one with many of us joining in. Let us know if you are interested. I think it will be a Friday night - not sure when - but soon. All you have to do is get into your jammies, grab a beer or a glass of wine or a cup of tea or whatever strikes your fancy and sign on to AIM and we will have us a grand party. Again, if you are interested, leave a comment and we will get working on the details.

I have to give a Very Special Thank You to Lisa Kleypas and Sabrina Jeffries for letting us see their thoughts on North and South. And to many other authors I contacted - though none had seen it - at least I got a chance to let them know about it too *g*

I don't have the words really to say how much fun this has been for us. As when I first started blogging, something special and unexpected happened. I got to know people better. I emailed readers I count as friends whom I'd never corresponded with before. I got to meet new bloggers and new readers. I'd love to mention them all but then I'd forget someone and feel bad so - just a big thank you to everyone. I don't know how many people remember but during the Crusade, one anonymous person posted that they were sick to death of The North and South debate. I found this rather amusing since, in a sense this blog is my place - well mine and Katies *g*, so the thought that someone - an anonymous would come and say they are sick to death of it made me laugh. It would be like someone in disguise coming to my house uninvited and say they are sick of my house. Doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to me. But I did get an email from a friend in support. This is what I wrote back to her.

Since this person posted anonymously I have no idea who it was. If they'd had the guts to give a name, I could have responded what this Crusade has meant to me. How the planning, the thinking about, the chats with Sula and Katie kept my mind off the approaching holidays. Holidays I was dreading since I lost Ron. It helped keep me from going into a deep depression - something that, believe it or not, can easily happen to me. It's also helped keep me sane for the month of house hell I've had - no kitchen, a living room that was in the midst of being redone when I lost my kitchen and I'm constantly dodging boxes and I'm tired of eating fast food.
And through it I've really formed deep friendships with both Kate and Sula. I could have mentioned the absolute thrill it was hearing back from Lisa Kleypas in less than 24 hours after I emailed her to help us. What a lift it gave to me. Or the emails I've exchanged with other authors I've asked to contribute (most of whom haven't seen it - yet)
I also would have said even though it seems we might be going overboard, the absolute joy I feel when someone else has seen it for the first time and *gets* what is so special about this production makes it worth it.
I would have said I've found new blogging friends such as Ana and Thea at Book Smugglers and feel even closer somehow to the ones I already knew - even Jodi, who didn't like it as much as the rest of us *g*.
I would have said it's perfectly all right if someone doesn't enjoy it as much as many of us seem to. There are readers who've loved books I've hated and vice versa. We aren't all clones of each other and each and every person has different tastes.

A final thought - this has been So Much Fun. Again, although this is the end of the 'official' Crusade, it will still go on! I'm still keeping my eyes open and will continue to add to the list.

I can't end without leaving you all with this scene. It's the final scene - everyone who has seen it knows it and probably most have watched it over and over and over. It's the icing on the cake of something very rare. For those who haven't yet seen it - it's a spoiler.
For me, it's the most beautiful and romantic endings I've ever seen - and I've been around for fifty some odd years

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

We interrupt this program

Or rather we interrupt me unpacking boxes - yes the counter top is in. Mind you I don't have a sink yet, but tomorrow the plummer is coming and Kitchen guy will install the sink and get the dishwasher working.

Anyway - where was I? Right!

A couple of New Crusaders have joined our ranks!! Tumperkin of Isn't it Romance has seen North and South and seen the wonders. She was kind of surprised! Go! Read!

Also - there is another Crusader who I missed somehow. Jan, a new blogger posted her thoughts on North and South back in January and I missed it! A slacker I was! But she is also a Crusader!
Finding new bloggers is another one of the wonderful things about this Crusade!!

You simply HAVE to watch AI

If only for this singer. He was incredible last night!! Gave me chills with this song he did!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Beautiful Girl- An ebook you should read

Beautiful Girl is the first book I have read by Shiloh Walker. I have been hearing amazing things about this book and the author in the past month. Well, folks, everything you have heard is true! This has been the best ebook I have read this year. This is one emotional and hard read to get through and it took a lot for me to hold back my shock and my tears. Shiloh has written a winner and I recommend you head over to Samhain to purchase your own copy. This is money well spent.

This story deals with a lot of heavy stuff. We have a heroine who is a survivor from a horrible rape, life on the streets and everything in between from drugs and even suicide. If that isn’t bad enough, we have a hero has gone through cancer and survived also. In most books it is usually just one of these characters who suffers in horrible ways, not both. But, the hero Blake overcomes and is happy with his life. He has sense of belonging and great strength. Whereas, we have Delilah who is dead inside. Her eyes are blank, she hates to be touched and hardly smiles or enjoys herself. She comes back to her home town where she was pampered and well liked. Blake and his Dee Dee were each other’s first loves and when Delilah vanishes that one summer where her innocent was taken from her, Blake is devastated. For twelve years he doesn’t know the truth because her witch of a mother hides everything.

Yes, the evil villains of this piece is mommy dearest and Delilah’s step father. I almost groaned when I first started reading, thinking these two character would be those typical one-dimensional kind, but surprisingly Shiloh writes these two in very interesting ways. They are amoral but their actions are not what you will expect.

So, we have a some what dark read with some mature subject matter that will hit you in the gut. But when Del sees Blake and Blake wants answers, there is none of that misunderstanding, or words of hate, until the very end when all the truth comes out. Blake knows right off the bat that Del has been abused and hurt and he will find out who is responsible and kick some major ass. And my, oh my, when Del welcomes Blake into her arms and her body, that scene was very beautiful.

What I find very interesting about Beautiful Girl is that horrible things happen to good people. Whether it be someone who undergoes a terminal illness or a person who has been abused physically or sexually, at least these survivors can come together and heal each other. Love is a very important and can heal all wounds. Blake heals Del and in turn she opens her heart to him and she begins to live again.

Kudos to Ms. Walker and her excellent writing skills to have penned such a story as Beautiful Girl!

And it's STILL not done

I'm sitting here with my arms crossed and my grumpy face on. My kitchen still isn't done yet. I thought I'd be coming home to see kitchen guy installing the counter top and sink.
But there is still no counter top and the dishwasher doesn't work and I don't have a sink. Well - I have a sink but it's still sitting in the living room.
The hold-up seems to be the counter top people. The keep back ordering it. This is after they told Kitchen guy the first one I picked out was discontinued - the day before he was going to get it.
Now I know this isn't Kitchen Guy's fault. He's already had his wife call and get very angry with them (he's to soft hearted to do it). And he won't go with them any more. I don't really blame him - but still - it's very very very frustrating. You see - I desperately need a hair cut. But I wasn't going to get a hair cut before I go back to my not so natural auburn coloured hair. But I can't go back to my not so natural coloured hair until I get a kitchen sink. That's because I don't want to rinse the not so natural colour out in the bathroom sink because I'm still using it to wash dishes. On top of that it's porcelain and stains easy - I know this because I have stains around it from the last time I turned my rather grayish hair to it's not so natural auburn colour.
On top of that I want to have my carpets and furniture professionally cleaned to get rid of all the dusty stuff from much earlier - but I have a kitchen sink sitting on the living room floor.
I can cook now - they moved the fridge and stove back yesterday. But I still have to get the water for the kettle from the bath tub - because the kettle is too big to fit under the tap in the kitchen sink.
I'm a very patient person - well some might say I'm not - like Lisa. But for the most part I am. But I've run out of patience. I want my house back to normal.
I'm very grumpy this evening.
So excuse me for a moment......

&^%$%&^ and (*&(*^% all to *((&%^&(* and back. Also *&^(^( ing ()*&)*&^ kitchen.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I wonder if I'm the only one

I wonder if I'm the only one who could care less about the Academy Awards? I haven't really watched them much for years with the exception of the years Lord of the Rings was nominated. I haven't seen any of the movies and I don't want to see many of them. For example:

Performance by an actor in a leading role
George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" - I don't like George Clooney - never have, never will.
Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" I prefer to remember him in Last of the Mohicans
Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" if it was Jack Sparrow in the first POTC - maybe but as a murdering barber - nope
Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah" just a simple no
Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises" if I cared - this would be my pick
Haven't seen any of those movies

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" nope
Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" nope
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War" nope
Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild" nope
Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton" nope
Could care less who wins - haven't seen any of them

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" Don't care - although Katie likes it
Julie Christie in "Away from Her" don't care
Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose" don't care
Laura Linney in "The Savages" don't care
Ellen Page in "Juno" don't care - even if it is mostly Canadian
Haven't seen any of them

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There" Haven't seen it
Ruby Dee in "American Gangster" Haven't seen it
Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement" Haven't seen it
Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone" Haven't seen it
Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton" Haven't seen it

Bunch of boring ones - blah blah blah

Achievement in directing
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Julian Schnabel
"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production), Jason Reitman
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Tony Gilroy
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Paul Thomas Anderson
Haven't seen any of them - don't think I will watch any of them.

Best motion picture of the year
"Atonement" (Focus Features) A Working Title Production: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, Producers
"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production) A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production: Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.) A Clayton Productions, LLC Production: Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production: Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production: JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers
Haven't seen any of them - don't want to see any of them except for maybe Atonement - and only on DVD at home where I can control my reactions.

I think I'll be spending my evening reading a good book

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Elizabeth: The Golden Age is another Oscar nominated movie I have recently watched. Cate Blanchett revises her role as Queen Elizabeth I, now middle aged and right smack in the middle of her rule. Cate has been nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role and I can say she really does shine if the same role she was in almost ten years ago. I have always been a big fan of period pieces and I am in awe of Cate’s acting abilities. There are not many actors or actresses who I can say are true stars, but Ms. Blanchett is one of them. There is no other actress I can see playing Queen Elizabeth with such incredible emotion and skill. She is the reason to watch this movie.

There is another such actor who has great chemistry with Cate and that is Clive Owen (very nice in tights!) who plays the handsome Sir Walter Raleigh. I assumed there would be a romance between the Queen and her loyal subject. Rather, their relationship was of a great friendship and abiding love. Elizabeth knows she can not be lovers with Walter because of who she is and the sacrifice she has placed upon herself. She is known as the Virgin Queen for a reason. Her ultimate lover is of England and the people she rules over. Elizabeth is portrayed as a kind but powerful ruler. She has so much responsibility on her shoulders, but does what she can to make sure she is fair and right. When she is angry, watch out because the words that come out of her mouth are scathing, much like the words of God that have come down from the heavens and she is his messenger.

There are scenes of war and torture, because the Spanish are the enemy of England since King Philip is a devout catholic and thinks the Protestant Queen is evil. He thinks he can overpower her and take over England. HA! Elizabeth is one woman you do not mess with. She has major balls and takes on everyone. Why does she need a husband or children to make her feel worthy? Not Elizabeth. She spits in their eyes and will stand alone if she has to in order to overcome and be on top.

This is one beautifully shot and visual movie with wonderful costumes, dialogue and some great fighting scenes. Truly a romantic picture, because a look between a man and woman is also very telling. This comes to mind Between Elizabeth and Walter.

This is one movie I recommend for your viewing pleasure.


Friday, February 22, 2008

A little Birdie told me

That we have another Maybe Crusader who I'm hoping will be turned into a Crusader once she sees North and South.

The Maybe Crusader? Christine so my little birdie tells me, has it in her hot little hands!

And yet another reader at AAR has been smitten with North and South!!

Death Angel by Linda Howard

Linda Howard's next release, Death Angel comes out June 24th. She doesn't have a website and there is no picture of the cover as of yet, but if you are a big fan of Howard, like I am I know you will appreciate the synopsis:

"A striking beauty with a taste for diamonds and dangerous men, Drea Rousseau was once content to be arm candy for Rafael Salinas, a notorious crime lord. Seeing that a break with Rafael is coming, Drea makes a fateful decision and a desperate move to escape, stealing a mountain of cash from the malicious killer. Though Drea runs, Salinas knows she can't hide - and dispatches a cold-blooded assassin in hot pursuit. Left for dead, Drea miraculously returns to the realm of the living a changed woman. Both humbled and thrilled with this unexpected second chance, Drea embraces her new life. But in order to feel safe and sound, and stop nervously looking over her shoulder, she will need to take down those who marked her for death. Joining forces with the FBI, Drea finds herself working with the most dangerous man she's ever known, yet the closer they get to danger, the more intense their feelings for each other become, and the more Drea realizes that the cost of her new life may BE her life, as well as her heart."

I have been disappointed in her last few books (not counting her loopy Blair Mallory books).
So do we think this will be a hit or perhaps another miss? And if it is a miss, do I put Howard with Garwood and cry myself a river?

(isn't this kitty the cutest?) :)


Recent Read

Savor Me Slowly by Gena Showalter

Why this one: To be honest, I’m not really sure why I picked this one up. I’d read a couple of her books and have a couple more in the TBR pile. It was just a spur of the moment that I bought it and a spur of the moment that I read it. I think having read and loved Driven by Eve Kenin might have influenced me.

No! Wait! Katie read this one and really enjoyed it.

Level of Steam: Made my skin turn to red with the heat

Amazon Blurb: Mishka Le'Ace was created to be an undercover operative...literally. Her

beautiful body has been mechanically augmented to give her superhuman

strength -- strength she's going to need. Her latest mission sends her to

rescue Alien Investigation and Removal agent Jaxon Tremain from torture and

death. With him, she discovers a passion unlike any other. A passion she

was forbidden to know....

From the moment they meet in a darkened cell, Jaxon craves her touch. But

the machine half of Le'Ace forces her to do things she doesn't always want

to do. Even betray him...and ultimately destroy him. Now Jaxon must battle

the man controlling Le'Ace, and even Le'Ace herself, to at last claim the

woman he's come to love.

My Thoughts: This one was outside my box or else this is a new kind of romance ‘cause it was different than most romance I read. I don’t know if it’s classed as Urban Fantasy romance or not – I’m not too up to date on that kind of thing. The heroine Le’Ace or Mishla was one tough heroine let me tell you! She was forced to do many a Very Nasty Deed for the person in charge of her. If I’d read this one before voting – he would have made an excellent choice for nastiest villain that’s for sure. Mishla was a Very Strong heroine in this book and more than a match for Jaxon, our heroine. Yet inside she was so very vulnerable. I really enjoyed her. And I thought Jaxon did quite well as a hero. While I was reading this one I knew I’d have to get her previous books in this series and luckily for me, Awaken Me Darkly was available.

It’s a different kind of world they live in. It’s set in the future where aliens to earth are commonly running around. But there is one class of aliens that are proving very deadly to the women and thus the men of earth and it’s up to Mishla and Jaxon to fix this deadly threat.

This was a great book and I hope she has more planned in this fascinating series!

Grade: 4 our of 5

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Say hello to Ashleigh Raine!

I suddenly have realized that over half of the books I have been reading are ebooks. The majority of these books are either from Elloras Cave or Samhain Publishing. And lately Samhain has had some incredible reads! Right now I am in the midst of reading Beautiful Girl by Shiloh Walker, and WOW! Everything that has been said about this book is right on the money. Hopefully I will finished it soon so I can post my own personal review.

But, there is a new author in the electronic book world I recommend you try. I have read two of her books already and they were both excellent reads. The author's name is Ashleigh Raine and Raine actually a duo, by the name of Jennifer and Lisa. They publish exclusively for Samhain and I can fore see great things coming their way!

Driven to Distraction is an erotic contemporary that takes place between two stunt doubles in the movie world. The heroine Blaina is a sexy hard nosed woman who doesn't take any crap from anyone. She comes across the hero, Jay, on the side of the road because his car has broken down. Jay oozes sex. The woman knows her way around a wrench and a carburetor and fixes Jay and his car in all the right ways. The sexual bantering between these two is the ultimate in foreplay and when Jay gives Blaina a tour of his garage full of hot rods, well you can imagine what will be going on in those cars, on top of those cars and every where else! These two become co-workers, Jay is her boss, and they have secret under wraps affair. The sex scenes are some of the best I have read this year by far. If you like you sex steamy, raw and with two alpha, "you are mine!" characters, pick this one up!

Lover's Talisman is the first book in their new Talisman Bay series. This is a paranormal erotic romance about a group of sexy men who are guardians of the night and protect their city from evil. Lover's Talisman is about Stephan and his love for stripper, Mariah. Yup, a heroine who is a stripper! Stephan is so tortured, blah blah but man oh man when he meets Mariah, the man is a goner. He wants her for his mate and Mariah is all for it. There is also murder, suspense and an incredible cast of secondary characters. Plus, I am such a big fan of secondary romances and there is one between Mariah's best friend Twyla and this questionable villain called Freeze. Twyla has been captured by the evil nasty demons and Freeze is expected to torture and kill her. Twyla has quite a mouth on her and the way Freeze "tortures" Twyla is the perfect way to go if I was in her shoes.

I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more books from Ashleigh Raine, and I would recommend you do the same. :)


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Recent Read

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Why this one: Well – that’s really a no brainer. It’s a Lisa Kleypas book. Plus she sent a copy to me. I kept meaning to read it sooner but there are just so many books to read that it took longer to read it than I thought it would.

Level of Steam: I could sure feel the heat!!

Amazon Blurb: Money is tight while Liberty Jones is growing up in Welcome, Texas, but somehow she and her mother Diana manage. Having good friends like Miss Marva, Lucy Reyes, and especially Hardy Cates, on whom Liberty has a crush, helps. Then tragedy strikes and Liberty must take care of her younger sister and find a way to support them. Hard work and determination get Liberty through cosmetology school, then, while working in a Houston salon, she meets wealthy older businessman Churchill Travis, who offers her a job as his personal assistant. At first Liberty is reluctant to accept, especially since Churchill's son, Gage, seems to think she's a gold digger. Then, just as Liberty is settling into her new life and her initially frosty relationship with Gage is heating up and turning romantic, Hardy Cates, her first unrequited love, reappears.

My thoughts: I don’t know if I should confess this or not. When I filled out my AAR ballot, this was my pic as Best Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction. But I hadn’t read the whole book yet. I’d read half of it and I knew it was going to be the best one (and the only one) And I must quickly add – that this was the only ballot that I filled in that I hadn’t finished the whole book yet.

But it turned out I should have finished it first! Then I might have picked it for more categories. I LOVED this book.

When I first heard Lisa Kleypas was going into contemporary books unlike many other readers, I wasn’t dismayed. She is such a talented writer that I knew no matter what she wrote it would be good and since I love contemporaries too that was fine with me. I think there are a number of authors who can write good in different settings – Anne Stuart for example. And then I heard she would be continuing to still write historicals and I was even happier that we would be getting both.

Then I heard it was going to be in first person and I had a bit of a qualm as I don’t normally read first person books. But since I love the Stephanie Plum books I wasn’t really that concerned.

Sugar Daddy was amazing. I loved Liberty. I loved her down to earthness. I loved the love she had for Carrington. I loved the way she didn’t let life get her down. And another confession time here. When I was in Grade 3 I met a boy a couple of years older than me – the son of good friends of my parents – and I has a SEVERE crush on him for YEARS. Years I tell you. Right up until I moved to another city when I was 18 he was my main crush although others came and went. And if I were to see him today, I would still have strong feelings. So I could really relate to her feelings for Hardy and her mixed emotions when he showed back up in her life.

Both Hardy and Gage were interesting men. I could see why she was torn for a while.

And at the end – I’m glad Liberty made the choice that she did. I wasn’t sure I would be – but I was.

My advice – if you haven’t read this book yet because it was out in hardcover, it will be coming out in paperback soon. Buy it! Do not miss this wonderful story by a wonderful author.

Grade: 5 out of 5


We have us another one!!!

Georgie Lee has also experienced the wonder, the magic, the power, the awesomeness that IS North and South!!

Another Maybe Crusader has become a Crusader!!


And thanks to visiting Stacey's blog, I have another maybe Crusader. I shall be keeping my eye out for Jennybrat! She already loves Richard so I think chances are p r e t t y good she will succumb.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cheryl Holt becomes Vanessa Marlow

I am not sure if you are all aware, but Cheryl Holt will stop writing historical romance and go in a different direction all together. She will write under a new pen name- Vanessa Marlow and write more darker and erotic fiction. Now we all know the type of romance Cheryl writes. I for one am not a fan of the bawdy over the top historicals where the heroine has no clue what a penis is and the hero is worse than a rake. Is there a term for the bottom sexual feeders like her heroes? They seem to be the Wilt Chamberland of the regency world. Some of you may have enjoyed these books and will be saddened by her departure. Well, I can tell you this is probably the best thing for her because I was lucky enough to read her last historical romance and her first book under her new name of Vanessa Marlow.

Double Fantasy is a March release and all the trademark Holt drama and those unbelievable characters of hers are there. Remember that book I mentioned with the incestuous brother and sister relationship? It is in here. There is so much going on from a secret love child, to a deranged parent and a hero who loves to ravish the heroine, but GASP, to love is something that is not meant to be in the cards. But I must admit I have always liked Holt’s secondary romances more so than the primary one. Here the secondary one outshines the main one. But if Holt was thinking to go out with a bang, well she sure did!

Sleeping with the Devil by Vanessa Marlow comes out in mid-April and if I didn’t have this knowledge of Marlow being Holt, I would have never known! Sleeping with the Devil is a very different book, especially from Holt, and very different from erotic books I have been reading lately. This is no romance. It is dark, disturbing and reminds me a bit of the movie Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock. There is obsession, sexual deviance and it is told in the first person by the heroine. Basically this woman meets the man of her dreams, which slowly becomes a nightmare. The sex is raw, and sadomasochistic. There is no hero, but a truly disturbed man who takes over the heroine’s life. The ending will shock and leave you cold. I was on the fence about this book. Meg, our narrator has those TSTL moments and some of things that happen to her are beyond cruel and unusual. But finally I came to the conclusion that Sleeping with the Devil is a very “out of the box” that may make some readers uneasy because of the drama and of Meg who I wanted to smack upside the head. But I did have a reaction to the book and for that I give Marlow props.

I guess we shall see if others will be open to the writings of Vanessa Marlow. Cheryl Holt’s books will surely live on. As for her new endeavors, I say, Welcome!


Lisa Kleypas Excerpts!

Lisa Kleypas has her newest excerpt for her 2008 work in progress, Seduce Me at Sunrise in the next installment in her new Hathaway series. This is about Win Hathaway and her love for the poor tormented gypsy Merripen. If you read Mine Till Midnight you know all about Merripen's undying love for the sickly Win.

But no cover yet! And a friendly reminder- Her second contemporary, Blue-Eyed Devil comes out March 25th! And if you liked Sugar Daddy, this is one book that you will need to read also.

I really do heart Lisa.

I started this blog on February 17, 2005. I started it for a number of reasons. I was out of a job and I needed something to keep me occupied while looking for another one, I wanted to delve deeper into my love of romance than I could on a message board, I wanted to get to know other romance readers better and I've always loved writing, but didn't know if I had it in me to write a book. I still don't have that answer.

My life has changed so much since that day three years ago. I've had two jobs since then - thankfully I love where I work now.

My sons have both moved out on their own - for good this time. For a while it was a revolving door with one moving out and the other moving back in.

The biggest change of course is loosing Ron. That has affected and changed me profoundly. I don't blog about it much, but I still long for him every day. He was the other part of me. I can go along seemingly doing quite well when I will see something or hear something and it will be as if he just died yesterday and the grief is as deep and keen as if I just lost him. I still haven't been able to go through his things. When I come upon his writing, it's as if he just wrote it out - and then I remember he's not with me anymore.
But in a way he still is. I know he is with me and always will be. I know many readers aren't into the soul mate kind of romance, but that's what Ron was and always will be - my soul mate.

But through all of the changes I've gone through in the past three years, my friends have remained. The group I went back to school with over eleven years ago continue to meet four times a year to catch up with each other. The next get together will be at my place. And I still see some of them other than that. One came to watch the first half of North and South. Now she has to come back to watch part II.

I still get together with my neighbour every Thursday night to watch Survivor.

I've made new friends at my current job. One of them came over on Saturday night.

And I still have all the wonderful people I've met through blogging. Some have disappeared like dear Maili. I hope she comes back to us. But there are still bloggers who've been there from Day 1. Wendy of SuperLibrarian who I was very fortunate enough to have as a room mate in Dallas. Keishon from Avid Reader is still here and I'm so glad of it. Sybil of The Good, The Bad and the Unread and who was another roomie is another dear blogging friend. Laurie of All About Romance is someone who has had a profound influence on me and my blogging life. I've had a chance to visit a number of times Cindy of Nocturnal Wonderings. And then there is Jane of Dear Author, the fourth room mate in Dallas. She's such a warm wonderful person. I also got to meet Sarah and Candy of Smart Bitches. What a hoot they are. And I also had a chance to meet in person and talk with Angie that Nice Mommy/Evil Editor.

And there are so many other wonderful, warm people I've met through blogging that I call friends.

Even in the midst of mourning Ron last year there was fun of getting readers to try Lisa Kleypas's Dreaming of You. That brought so much fun even in the saddest of times. And the absolute thrill of meeting Lisa in person. I'm still awed at that!!

It was wonderful last spring meeting Ames and Nath and having our first Canadian Bloggers Meet Up.

And now of course there is the current Crusade. I've gotten to know Katie and Sula during the hours we've planned and plotted and it has been so much fun. And all the romance readers who've seen and loved it has made it even that much more fun.

I now have a partner - Katie who brings new life and enthusiasm.

I continue to meet and get to know new bloggers and I'm so glad that I do.

To each and every one of you - sadly to many to mention all by name and then I would miss out on some anyway - thank you for the past three years. You all have enriched my life.

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Weekend and Six Things

I have come back from my short weekend in the wilds of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. I know, you were all pretty bored without me. And yes, I went through withdrawal from no laptop or trolling the blogs like I usually do. But, I was visiting a close friend of fourteen years, who has known me since the first day of college. My friend, Kristi (what’s with that name?) knows me all too well. At one point she looks at me and asks, “We are going to have to stop at a bookstore sometime this weekend, right?” This is the same person who shares my undying love of Sex and the City, where we will go on for hours about which is the better guy for Carrie, either Big or Adian? We have had this conversation too many times to count and will talk on the phone for hours just about this show. Even the night before I left we were chatting before bed and had an hour conversation about, you guessed it who is better, Big or Aidan.

Kristi simply, “gets me”. She and I are the best of friends and I could go on and on about everything from my love of reading to something as silly as a character we both lust after on a television show. But something has happened in our relationship. Kristi has a boyfriend, her first one ever and he may just be the “one”. This is the same person that agreed with me that if either one of us got married hell would freeze over. Well, it seems the snow may be falling down below. After all my experiences in going to weddings, seeing relationship slowly evolve, to the books I read, I still have no clue how I would realize when that certain man will be the one for me. After Kristi and I had our Sex in the City conversation, I soon changed to her present relationship as asked how does she know she wants to be with him to the point of marrying him? She sits there with a small smile on her face and says, “He gets me, he likes me the way I am and wouldn’t think of changing me in anyway.”

And that folks is a good enough answer for me.
And I still can’t choose between Big or Aidan. Sigh.

Now for the big fun! Since my Captain has tagged me, I will do as ordered. Here are 6 things you may be surprised about me:

1. I can read palms. I am such an excellent palm reader that a few years ago I was thinking about going professional. Hey, if I do go to San Francisco in July, maybe I can open a booth for all the RWA visitors.

2. I went to catholic school from kindergarten to my senior year of college. But the time I was in high school I was seriously thinking about being a nun since women are not allowed to become priest.

3. By the age of ten I knew every piece of dialogue and scene from the movie, The Wizard of Oz I would act out the whole movie every Saturday night with my sister and father acting out certain rolls and my mother would be the audience

4. I still sleep with my cabbage patch kid I got for Christmas when I was six years old. Her name is Toni and she will be buried with me when ever I go to the great beyond in the sky.

5. My mother wanted to be a writer when she graduated college. Her pen name would have been Catherine Anne Edwards (Edwards is my grandmother’s maiden name). Since my mother never got that far, she decided to name me-Catherine Anne.

6. When I was a senior in college I wrote for my college newspaper. One article was a less than nice review about the latest show- Pippin. I really do believe I was on the whole cast’s hit list. Each night they would mention my article in the paper, including my name. Because of my review, Pippin was sold out each night and had an extended stay. That was the only show ever sold out in my four years I went to school there.

I really do think everyone in blog land has been tagged already. So if you would like to be volunteered, give a holler and join in the fun.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Must. Leave. YouTube.

Before there was Captain Jack Sparrow.........

And moving from Errol Flynn in Robin Hood - this one reminds me I really should read Raphael Sabatini again. I did years and years ago.

And back to the obsession

I had a friend over last night and she is also quite taken with our Mr. Armitage. She'd been over before and really enjoyed North and South. Last night we watched The Vicar of Dibley and a few episodes of Robin Hood!!
Then of course I had to show her my DVD collection of Robin of Sherwood and Robin Hood Prince of Thieves with Kevin Costner.

Here's another treat for the eyes.

Now if only we could get this Robin with Guy of Gisbourne - it would be tough to choose who to route for!
And of course there is this bit of silliness.

And now I'll leave you with a laugh

You can tell I have free time this morning can't you?

And final reminder!!

Today is the last day to send in ballots for the Annual AAR Readers Poll.

It ends at midnight tonight!

In a break from my obsession - I was tagged for a meme

Laurie tagged me for this one

Six Unimportant Facts About Me

The rules are:

    1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
    2. Post the rules on your blog.
    3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
    4. Tag six random people at the end of your blog entry.
    5. Let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs.

So here goes mine:

  1. I have no idea how to flirt. When and or if, I ever go on a date again, I’m worried this will prove to be a problem. I have no trouble talking to women but with men – it’s a different story altogether.
  2. At times I think I have a split personality. In some circumstances I feel very confident about myself – in others – see #1 I have no confidence whatsoever.
  3. My eyes have changed colour in the past few years. I find this very strange. One has a tendency to just know certain things about themselves, height, hair colour, eye colour etc. So when something major changes – it’s a bit disconcerting. My eyes used to be dark brown, now they are almost hazel. I prefer the dark brown.
  4. I love sleeping. I could almost go to be every night at 8:00 – I don’t but I could – just to sleep. There’s nothing better than just letting your body totally relax in nice cozy fleece sheets.
  5. I hate the Bare Naked Ladies – so much so that whenever one of their songs comes on the radio, I turn the station. I always feel bad when I do though because they ARE the quintessential Canadian group these days and I almost feel unCanadian doing that. But I think they are stupid and I hate their songs.
  6. I love to kick the frozen slush that gathers on the inside wells of my car tires off. As long as it’s not too frozen that is – then it just hurts my foot. I’ve been known to kick the slush off other cars too and then feel slightly bad that I might be ruining their fun.
So now for six people. Let's see, how about

Katiebabs (partner and fellow Crusader conspirator)
Sula (fellow Crusader conspirator)
Ana and Thea from Book Smugglers (a two for one *g*)
Nath (the stubborn one and who might get #5)
Ames (my buddy who lubs me and who might get #5)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I know I'm going overboard - but other Crusaders will understand

Now that I have sound back I've been enjoying YouTube once more. I found this and adored it. Hopefully others will have patience for my current obsession

And just so you know I do have other things on the go (unlike the kitchen that's not) I'm reading a good book at the moment too.

Kitchen Update

For all those who might be wondering how the kitchen is going.
Well - I still haven't got one!!
The completion has been delayed. I picked out a counter top and the suppliers didn't inform my kitchen guy until two days before he was going to get it that it was discontinued. I picked out another one I really liked and it was supposed to be in last Thursday, but it was back ordered.
Most of the kitchen is done. I still need the counter top and the doors up on the cupboards. And I still don't have the appliances in. And I still don't have the sink in.
They started on January 4 and here it is February 16 and still no kitchen.
I'm getting a bit tired of this. I want to cook damn it!
They had a potluck at work the other day and I couldn't make anything for it.
I want to be able to make a cup of tea in the kitchen, not in the bathroom.
I want to be able to wash dishes in my kitchen sink!
I want to make myself a steak for dinner
I want to bake cookies - OK I don't really want to bake cookies - but I do want to be able to bake cookies if I want to.
I want my dishes back in the cupboards
I want my bedrooms back - not full of appliances and boxes.
I want to go out and buy a new table and chairs and bar stools.
I want my peninsula
I want to make myself a coffee with Baileys but the Baileys is in a box somewhere in the overcrowded bedroom.
I want to buy a rug to go under the sink.
I want to be able to take pictures of my brand new finished kitchen!
I want to put up a few nick nacks - not the huge amount I had before - but just a few.

OK - I'm finished whining for the day.

Oops - no I'm not. I thought of one more!
I want to be able to pluck my eyebrows and (can't believe I'm confessing this) chin hairs again. I have this makeup mirror with a big mirror I used to set on the kitchen table and be able to get real close and pluck. The bathroom mirror is just too far away from my poor weak eyes anymore.

Now I'm done.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Grimspace- the review

When a book is so good, it is hard to find the right words to explain why you should run to your nearest bookstore or order it on line ASAP. So is the case with Ann Aguirre, a new author who has written an incredible Sci-Fi action packed book that will grab you by the throat and not let go. You know a book is this good because you will sit there and read it all in one sitting and want more. Grimspace is such a book

I really have to give a shot out to Dionne aka Bam and Jane over at Dear Author for introducing me to Grimspace. Without people like them, I would have no idea about Ann and what a true treasure she is. I for one am not a big fan of science fiction or space travel books. The only other author I enjoy who writes for this genre is Linnea Sinclair. And the fact that Linnea can’t stop raving about Ann really means something.

Why is this book so good? Well, first and foremost it is because of the heroine, Sirantha Jax, who just goes by Jax. If no other book comes along with such a wonderfully written heroine by the end of 2008, I am definitely making Jax my number one heroine for 2008. Jax is not your normal run of the mill heroine. She is the ultimate strong, kick ass type of woman who will give anyone a run for their money. The harsh reality about this character is that she assumes death will be coming for her at any moment. You could say she lives each day as if it is her last, because there is a good chance it will be her last.

Grimspace takes place somewhere in the future, in a distant universe. Jax is a woman who has a special gene that enables her to travel warp speed through space and time. The book opens where her “employer” is trying to break her down, make her go crazy. They believe that on her last jump, she killed a ship full of people, including her pilot Kai. When a person like Jax jumps into grimspace, her pilot becomes her lifeline and brings her back to reality. Jax had such an incredible relationship with Kai. He was her best friend and lover all rolled into one. That is, until she meets the mysterious March. March breaks her out of prison for his own means. Without any explanation he needs Jax to help him and his crew jump from planet to planet. If she doesn’t do what he wants, he will kill her. Yup, what a great start to their relationship!

But as with Kai, Jax becomes close with March because he becomes her new pilot and thus they have a bond, a very fragile one that Jax can hardly stand. This line caught my eye, because it explains what Jax and Kai had, and to do this with March is betrayal:

“My throat tightens, and I feel a fist curling around my intestines. It’s a cramp, rising nausea. It’s being told you have to remarry before your husband’s cold in the grave.”

Jax and Kai were as close as a husband and wife could ever be, and now she must move on and do the same with March. Most of the time, Jax can't stop the on slot of memories of Kai and their friendship. Even when she starts to feel something for March, Kai’s ghost is always there. But, March understands and when the time is right, he knows Jax will let go of what she had with Kai and turn to him. This is another incredible thing Ann has done. So many other authors will give a heroine a past relationship and it is always bad from their lover being abusive or just paling in comparison to the hero. Ann does not make excuses when it comes to Jax and what she had with Kai, she brings it front and center and it is a true to life. Why can’t a woman like Jax have a love with one man and then be with another, March, whose feeling she has for him are very different?

Even with the romance aside, Grimspace is a “Star Wars” type of book. There are aliens, battles and journeys to different worlds. Space is a harsh bitch, where people die horrible deaths and trusting someone may not be an option. Jax tries to grab some happiness where she can and hopefully that will be with March, who is one nice male specimen.

So, I urge you, if there is one book you must buy this year, Ann Aguirre’s Grimspace must be on your TBR list. I also have a feeling this will not be the last we see of Jax and March. Thank you Ann, for writing a book like Grimspace and allowing me to open my mind to other genres and books I normally wouldn’t read.

On the Kristie(J) ratings scale, I give Grimspace a perfect 5 out of 5!

**As for myself, I will be traveling this weekend to the wilds of Pennsylvania, gone for 3 days! So if you don't see me in blogland I am around, just not on-line. Please, no tears! I will be back. Your homework for this weekend is to come up with more heroes we must adopt or put in foster homes. When I come back I will find places for these men in your care**


Ahhhhhh - the love continues to grow

I seem to have a set routine every morning. I get up, quickly shower and then spend about half an hour blog hopping before I start getting ready for work. I have a few 'go to first' blogs and one of them is Karen Knows Best.
Imagine my utter joy this morning when I checked hers out to see that Karen too has become a Crusader!!
My day is now made just that much brighter!! Be sure to check out what she thinks of North and South.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nothing wrong with it at all!!!

For Lisabea and all the other fans of Higgins (of which I'm one too!)

These are pictures of our man Higgins from a mini-series he acted in - The Glass Virgin by Catherine Cookson. I've read quite a bit of Catherine Cookson in my day and this was always my favourite book of hers. I saw the mini-series many years ago. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be available to us here on this side of the pond in DVD format although it is available on VHS.

And yes - without giving too much away, he plays the love interest!

******** ETA*******

For all us Crusaders - check out the SB's.
They posted a list of all time top romance hero types and check out who made it to number 4!!!

Bringing sexy back

Richard is feeling lonely with his sexy self. For your viewing pleasure...and mine!

**In other news, I will have the most excellent book review posted here tomorrow. It is a bit "space"y. Like my hint? Can you guess the book? :)


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I need a moment

I am taking a moment from the adopt a hero process because I just saw this sexy cover for Syndey Croft's August release:

WOW. HOT. HUBBA HUBBA! This is one excellent cover!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Claim Starts Here!

When it comes to certain characters in the books I read, they tend to make such an impression that I want to claim them as my own. This is especially in the case of heroes or male characters who make me sigh and say "MINE!" So as of now I have a list of certain heroes I would love to "adopt" and call my own. Let's start with 5 who made me stop and pause and go from there...

1. Heathcliffe from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I am a Catherine, he loves a Catherine. I have a thing for brooding obsessive men who walk on the moors mooning over a lost love.
2. Roarke from the In Death Series by JD Robb. He's rich, has a sexy accent and enjoys old movies. Plus he has a huge water bed. Wouldn't mind rolling around on the bed with him.
3. Rehvenge from the BDB series by JR Ward. He owns a club, is mysterious and his mind will make you lose your own. Plus he is quite the dresser. He makes me drool.
4. Bones from Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost. Has a sexy British accent, is loyal, fights with the best of them and when he calls his Cat (another Catherine!) "Kitten", I just want to snuggle up against him.
5. Michael from the Guardian series by Meljean Brook. Michael is so stoic and a bit mysterious. He literally walks through the fires of Hell and comes out alive. He is suffering and needs some major love. I would give him all the hugs and kisses he could stand.-Nah Nah Lisabea, he is mine.

I think we need more wonderful heroes to add to my growing list of heroes that need to be adopted. As always suggestions and comments are welcome. *G*


Monday, February 11, 2008

The Family Situation

I am in the midst of reading a well known author who is well known for writing bawdy and very unbelievable sexual romances. I really do think they should be marketed as comedies because they are so laughable. Her heroes are the ultimate rakes, well, really total men sluts, and her heroines have no clue what a penis is. "How will that ever fit?", they always seem to ask.
But I am quite appalled by what I am reading at the moment. This romance has incest galore and I am having major flashbacks of the good old days of Beatrice Small and VC Andrews. This romance has a villainous brother and sister duo who are lovers and soooo evil-
*cue the lighting and thunder!*

Darling brother likes to strangle his dear sister during sex. Suddenly their two half-brothers pop out of the blue and the one brother must marry either his half-sister or one of his cousins that reside there! Bleck.

Now we all know this is not the norm in our romances we read. Even though I mainly read for the relationship between the hero and heroine I am always interested in a way a author writes a father and daughter relationship or a sibling one. One author who does this perfectly is Julia Quinn with her Bridgerton series. I loved to read about this family because they all seemed normal and cared deeply for each other. But in the majority of the romances I read, the family seems to take a back seat to the actions of the hero and the heroine. Julia gives us a good balance.
I am a fan of the absentminded father and the loving daughter who takes care of him. The same goes with a sister and brother relationship. I love Lisa Kleypas's Wallflower series, especially the antics of the Bowman sisters, Lillian and Daisy because they seems so real to me, much like the relationship I have with my own sister. Meghann (little sister) and I would get into scrapes and trouble, much like the Bowman's did. Meghann was truly my best friend, much like Lillian and Daisy are.
Perhaps I am a bit whimsical because something happen this weekend with my own family. My little sister is getting married in January and everything is finally coming together with the wedding preparations. I have come to the conclusion that our relationship will change, so much so from when we were children, sleeping in the same bedroom talking late into the night. Now Meghann will have a husband, a house and the possibility of having her own children, perhaps two daughters that will talk late into the night when they should be sleeping.
Another thing I did this weekend was go bowling with my father. My father and I do not see eye to eye. We are so different in everything we do. He still doesn't understand why I read "those novels" and why I am on my laptop for all hours typing away as I visit various blogs and write book reviews. But yesterday he and I spent a few hours together because he is joining a bowling league and needed some practice. We actually bonded and I was reminded of a time when I looked at my father and thought he was the best thing in the world. For an afternoon I was Daddy's Little Girl again.

When I talk to people about my own reading preferences, I try to tell them that the romance genre is not all about sex, there is so much more to this world I love to read about. It comes down to relationships. It doesn't necessarily have to be the love between a man and a woman, but also family, friends and the love they all have for each other. By reading these books, I come to the realization how important my family and friends are to me and the love I have for them all. *G*

Can anyone recommend any books with great family relationships in them? I am in the mood for some feel good family love. (And definitely not the "bleck" one I mentioned!)