Friday, October 30, 2009

Random Thoughts for the day

I was driving to work this morning and things weren’t as clear as they usually are. I put on the fog clearing thing, I kept putting on the windshield wipers, opened the window hoping things would get a bit clearer, then realized I forgot to wear my glasses! I don’t NEED to wear them when I drive but I usually do, especially since I got my new pair of Harry Potter glasses.

Speaking of Daniel Radcliffe, I’ll be honest here and say it was freaking me out somewhat that I find him incredibly hawt. I mean compared to me, he’s a baby and I was feeling rather pervish about it. Then it dawned on me that the reason I was so strangely and scarily drawn to him is he reminds me of someone else.

I think he looks a lot like a younger version of my fantasy guy (also dare I add – Katiebabs too)

Why can’t they get the order right when I order coffee? I always order 3 sweetner and 2 cream but instead I often get 2 sweetner and 3 cream. I even tell them when they repeat it back to me – ‘yep, think of me as a grouch who needs extra sweet’. I can tell the difference right off. So yesterday at work when I noticed it wasn’t sweet enough, I went to the kitchen to get more. When I added it to my coffee, I didn’t have a stirrer stick. So I used a letter opener to stir it. Then I noticed that there was wet ink all over the letter opener that dripped on my hands – and there was nothing to wipe it off with. What a mess!! All because they don’t hear me at the drive through.

I became a clich̩ this week at work Рreally I did!! I was in the washroom and when I got back to my desk, a coworker pointed out something was hanging on my shoe. Yep Рit was

toilet paper. A real long piece of toilet paper that trailed quite a bit behind me!!

And speaking of washrooms, why is it that in our public washroom, I can be the only one in there and the next person to enter takes the stall right next to me!! There are 10 of the suckers. It’s not that I have a shy bladder exactly, but I do find it creepy when they do that.

I’ve been on the 8:00 to 4:00 shift all week. There was a day when that would have been my favourite shift but now it’s my most hated. I just can’t seem to get myself up and ready and out the door on time. It’s about a 20 minute drive plus a stop for coffee they often get wrong so I like to be out by 7:40 at t he most. I’ve been driving myself nuts trying to figure out what the problem is. I can’t figure out why what used to be so easy for me is now next to impossible. I have two alarm clocks in the bedroom and the one is at full volume and I’ve had to turn the other one up twice already this week and still I’m sleeping through them. Do you realize how little time this gives me to read or blog in the morning? They just aren’t what they used to be! Perhaps I need to not stay up so late the night before reading and blogging.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


In case you've been following the Last Kleypas Hero Standing at the Book Binge, it's now down to the final two Lisa Kleypas heroes




At the moment Derek is way ahead - and we have to make sure it stays that way *g*.

There's only one more day to vote - so make it count.

Not here today

Cause I'm over at the island. And what am I talking about there?

Bad Boys.

So you can find me there.

And if you haven't dropped by yet, be sure to visit our Superlibrarian. She has her Crabby Pants on and all I can say is "What Wendy Says!"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Recent Read

One Reckless Summer by Toni Blake

Why this one: I was really taken with her last book, Letters to a Secret Lover and it was a furshure that I'd be reading this one. I've been checking ever since it came out for it to appear on the shelves at Chapters - and finally - it did.

Steam Level: There was Ice Cube sex in it - that should tell you it was plenty steamy!!

Author Website Blurb:

The perfect daughter. The perfect prom queen. The perfect wife. Jenny Tolliver’s been the good girl all her life, and it’s gotten her nowhere. Now that her marriage has been busted up by her cheating ex, she’s decided it’s time to regroup and rediscover herself. This summer she’s headed back to her hometown of Destiny, Ohio, to the very lakeshore cottage where she grew up, to figure out what life holds in store for her next.

She never dreamed the answer would be Mick Brody, Destiny’s #1 hellraiser. He comes from the wrong side of the tracks (or in his case, the lake), and he’s landed in hot water more times than he can count. He’s exactly the kind of guy Jenny’s always kept her distance from … but soon the good girl and the bad boy are caught in a raw heat that’s out of control. Too bad Mick’s got a secret that threatens to tear them apart and ruin Jenny’s perfectly, passionately reckless summer …

My Thoughts: As much as I loved Letters to a Secret Lover, I loved this one even more!! One of my favourite story lines has always been heroine/hero knew each other years ago and heroine is a 'good' girl and hero is a 'bad' boy from the wrong side of the tracks - or in this case - the wrong side of the lake. And this one only underscores that storyline love.

Jenny Tolliver was always a 'good' girl. She was the daughter of the widowed chief of police of Destiny Ohio, Walter Tolliver and never put as much as a toe out of place. But she is tired of her good girl self when she catches her husband cheating on her with her very own teaching assistant. So she ditches her husband, ditches her job in the 'big' city and heads back to the small town she grew up in. She's still a 'good' girl but things are about to change when she runs into the hero Mick Brody, one of the 'no good' Brody boys. She didn't know him very well, but does vividly remember an encounter she had with him when she was 16.

Things heat up between them Very Fast when she visits his side of the lake to better star gaze and unexpectedly runs into him and he demands she leave. He threatens her with his very self, but instead of leaving, she answers his challenge and thus follows the first of many steamy encounters between the two of them.

What starts off as raw lust though, slowly develops into love as each fills a need in the other. Jenny has been left feeling lacking as a sexy woman after her husbands cheating and her own 'good' girl upbringing. Mick is going through a very difficult and dark time and Jenny is his oasis.

I really enjoyed everything about this book, the small town feel, the friendship between Jenny and her best friend Sue Ann, the father/daughter relationship and ESPECIALLY the relationship between Jenny and Mick. I thought Jenny was a great heroine - someone I'd love to call friend.

And then there is Mick. Wow!! He just broke my heart. Without giving spoilers, I so identified with what he was going through and I totally 'got' why he was so drawn to Jenny. He had made a lot of mistakes in his life, but was trying to change his ways when he is called back into a very gray time. And man, is he sex on a stick!! I raced through this book and I know it's going to be one I read and reread again. This one I have no qualms about recommending - at all! It's funny in places and sad in others and came oh so close to making me cry. It has a poignancy to it and I always love a book that has that.

Grade: 5 out of 5

Saturday, October 24, 2009

So - why am I up at 2:00 am on a Friday Night?

It's not because I had a hot date.

It's not because I'm watching "those" movies :-0

It's not because I drank coffee to late in the evening.

Part of it is because tomorrow is Saturday and I can sleep in.

But the MAIN reason is I've been doing some heavy duty thinking the past day or two. And here is what I've been pondering.

I'm pondering on going to BOTH the RT Convention in Columbus Ohio and the RWA Conference in Nashville next year!!

For those who don't know, I went to an RT Convention a number of years ago and it was a good time/bad time experience. I went by myself and didn't know a soul. In order to save money, I signed up to share a room with 3 other people and while I'm compatible with just about everyone under the sun, that particular weekend I think I got matched with 3 other totally imcompatable room mates. Although we were all at a romance convention, amazingly enough we didn't have anything in common and I spent the majority of the convention on my own - which was a bit lonely at times. On top of that, for some peculiar reason, I didn't budget for food so I was a bit on the hungry side for a good deal of the time - not to mention I didn't have anyone to eat with anyway.

But there were enough good times that I'm very glad I went even though parts of it - the cover model contest - made me a bit squirmy for some reason. I like good looking men as much as the next red blooded woman - but I dunno - maybe there was too much focus on it or a group of women get a bit to undignified when faced with half naked hunks or something.

Fast forward a number of years. By this time I 'knew' fellow romance readers who were going to the RWA conference in Dallas. I had The Best Roomies in the world in Wendy, Sybil and Jane and the whole conference was probably one of the best times I'd ever had.
It was the same in San Francisco and in Washington DC.

So when it came down to choosing which one to go to, choosing the RWA Conference was a given.
But I was talking to Ryan at Thanksgiving and his attitude was 'if you want to go to both - then go to both!!' That got me to thinking 'hmmmmm'. But the real clincher is I got an email at work that I still have five days left of my 2009 vacation. We are supposed to use it up by the end of March but with permission, we can carry over up to 35 hours. That means I can carry 5 days over until April 28, if I take an early flight to Columbus on the Wednesday, take a later flight out on Sunday, this is the way I figure I can work it - Tuesday off to get ready, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday for the convention, take a later flight home on Sunday and then take Monday off to 'recuperate'. That way I still have all my 2010 vacation time left!

And the more I think about it - the more interesting I think it would be to compare the two. If I go to the RT convention, I will already 'know' some people. I know Jill has made it official that she's going.

Jane, Sarah and Angela are putting on a workshop.


FRIDAY: Discuss e-readers, trends and where to buy the best e-book.
Hosted by: Angela James (Quartet Press) and bloggers Jane Litte from Dear Author and Sarah Wendell for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

So they will be there. If I get lonely, I can throw myself on their mercy.

And there is a Trivia Pursuit event. Do you know how much I enjoy Trivia Pursuit???


WEDNESDAY: Join us in a jumping Trivial Pursuit game and prizes
Hosted by: Jessica Andersen, Patricia Grasso and Hannah Howell

So I have a lot to think about. The money it costs terrifies me. My sisters tell me when I open my wallet, moths fly out of it.

But then again - the thought of going to both is almost irresistable!!

But it will cost so much!!

But to get to meet more readers in person!!

But it will cost so much!!

But think how interesting it would be to compare the two .

But it costs so much!!

But I can take my laptop to both.

So the thinking - that's what's keeping me up so late.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Book Buying Habits

'Cause Wendy is doing a Consumer Survey.

I'm at an enviable stage in my life where I get 90% of my books new. This wasn't always the case as I was a stay-at-home mom for years and then when I did go back to work, the majority of the money I made went to daily living expenses. During those times, I got 90% of my books at UBS's as I didn't have the money to buy new. I used the library some - but darned if they didn't want me to return the books after I finished reading them and I hated that part of it. In addition with my 'head in the clouds' way of living, I often forgot to return them on time and had to pay enough fines that it wasn't cost efficient *g*. Plus, I like the thrill of ownership.

But now my sons are grown and out of the house. I have a good paying job, the house is paid off and I get a small monthly check from the government for Ron's old age pension. Plus I have quite a bit invested for my own retirement. This allows me to take all those wonderful trips to conferences. I like that.

So now I figure it's my turn to give back. For years I was buying books at half price where the authors saw no profit. But now I can 'give back' for the hours of enjoyment I used to get at but no earnings for them. And it's a good feeling when I buy books by new or mid list authors.

As to the other 10%. I only get ARC's from one publisher - not a lot of them and to be honest, many that don't appeal to me - but since they are free I'm not complaining and there are some gems in there. And many of this publishers books aren't stocked on the shelves here in Canada - and that could be a whole post in itself - with our main chain being the villian.

When I discover a new to me author with an OOP backlist I will still look for them in UBS's. But that is rare these days as I've tried just about every author out there in the genres I like.

And then there are the books I pick up at the conferences. I buy some at the Literacy signings but I pick up many more at the publisher signings that are free.

I don't buy ebooks as I don't have an ereader and after spending 8 hours a day at work concentrating on the computer, I don't have it in me to concentrate enough on it at home to read an entire book. But if I see an ebook that really appeals to me in eform and it comes out in print form, I will buy it online - new.

So that's it for my book buying habits. And that's why I have an entire library downstairs that's spilled out into the next room.

One of the reasons

You have to love this sport (besides See Jane Score)

Strip Hockey!!

Think strip poker, but in a shootout. During a Tampa Bay Lightning practice, Martin St. Louis took part in a game called "Naked Shootout," which involves taking off a piece of equipment every time you fail to score...

Think strip poker, but in a shootout. During a Lightning practice, St. Louis took part in a game called "Naked Shootout," which involves taking off a piece of equipment every time you fail to score on a shot.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Playing Again!!

Yep - I've been playing around with the blog again. And this time I didn't have to send out an appeal for help - I did it all by myself!! *patting myself on the back*

And can I say I just love the little intro - sadly, I think it only comes up the first time.

And just in case you can't figure out what - it's another slide show of my My Keepers. I have to give a shout out to Leslie, cause I followed the link on her blog.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recent Read

Sapphire Dream by Pamela Montgomerie

Why this one: When I closed my eyes and reached in, this was the one I came up with

Steam Level: Warmish

Author Website Blurb:

When Brenna Cameron returns to Castle Stour on the coast of Scotland seeking answers about her past, she can’t imagine that she’ll be transported to a seventeenth-century pirate ship and a crew of dangerous scallywags who haven’t seen a woman in far too long. Nor could she have dreamed of her desires for the captain who comes to her rescue…

Rourke Douglas, captain of the Lady Marie, is immediately enthralled by the beautiful stranger brought onto his ship by a mysterious magic connected to that sapphire jewel around her exquisite neck. All he knows is that the fiery-haired siren he calls “Wildcat” stirs something deep in his wounded soul. But along with burning desire, the captain knows a bone-chilling dread, for if the prophesy of the sapphire is true, then the brazen Brenna will bring about only one thing: his ruin…

My Thoughts: Hmmmm. |This one had some good things and some not so good things going on. It is harder doing a review when it's a more neutral isn't it?

Good things

  • It's a time travel and I've always enjoyed time travel romance and this one has a very interesting twist I've never seen before. I appreciated that.
  • Likeable characters - especially the hero, Rourke Douglas.
  • I thought their pet names for each other were cute.

Not so good things -sadly - this list will be longer

  • The pet names got old after a while. I found myself thinking enough already towards the end when they were still using the nicknames
  • The Scottish dialect. I think Maili has had an effect on me with this one. The 'dinna ken's were annoying.
  • While I wouldn't call her TSTL, Brenna did get annoying with her stubbornness at times.
  • I think I've been spoiled by a couple of other books I read in the same time period, Highland Rebel by Judith James and Beloved Warrior by Patricia Potter. Both of them gave a much better 'feel' for the time.
  • I found there was too much mental lusting. Uusually I don't notice it that much but I seemed to in this book.

I think those who enjoy Scottish Historicals will enjoy this one. It does have enough going for it. But this isn't one of my favourite sub-genres. Still, I read it and if I didn't enjoy parts of it it I wouldn't have kept reading. And I read it through without putting it down - another good sign.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Calling any HMTL users

If you look to the right - down a bit - you can see why I always need help! I'm trying to do a slide show on favourite books of 2009. I did have one I did in Amazon but I didn't like it. So I've been trying off and on all day to do one in Photobucket and have pretty much what I want. It's certainly easier to update!'s unbalanced and I've no idea how to move the books to the middle of the picture. I already went in a changed center to left, but that didn't make much of a difference *sigh*.

Anyone know what I'm doing wrong????


As you can see, the oh so very talented Barbara did indeed answer the call!!


The 'Can't Settle on a Book' Blues

I'm not in a reading slump. I know the difference. But what I am is unable to figure out what I'm in the mood to read.

One of the great things about loving books in every genre is an almost unlimited list of books to choose from.

One of the not-so-good things about loving books in every genre is an almost unlimited list of books to choose from.

I'm not in the mood for a historical. Nor a western. I'm meh about romantic suspense. Same thing for paranormal. I don't feel like reading a contemporary and not so much a medieval.

So what I have been reading while I figure out what I'm in the mood for or until a book yells at me loud enough is rereads. I have a plethora (what a fun word) of books to choose from for the Reread Challenge.

So I think what I'm going to do is close my eyes, reach into my box of books and just grab one and whichever one I grab, that's the winner.

Anyone else ever have this problem? You're in the mood for reading but you just can't figure out what???


So - in the interest of satisfying curiosity, this is the one I pulled out of the pile.

Sapphire Dream by Pamela Montgomerie

And intriguingly enough, it's none of the genres listed above! It's a time travel. And the author is also known as Pamela Palmer, who is writing another series, the Feral Warriors.

And in the vein of disclosure - this one I picked up in Washington DC this summer.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Top 16 Favourite Romance Books

Inspired by Maili, Jessica of Racy Romance Reviews offered up a challenge to come up with our top 16 romance books in honour of Kathleen Winsor's Forever Amber, a true pioneer of the romance books we read and love so well today. And yes, I read it many, many, many years ago. I don't remember much about it except that it made me sad.

I'm always up for sharing the books I've loved so I am happily accepting her challenge!!

1. Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas - first published in 1994
This one is a tough call as there is another book I love equally well. But when it comes right down to it, this one wins out by just a hair for sentimental reasons.

2. Broken Wing by Judith James - published in 2008
Now this one has come the closest to knocking DOY out of first place and while I'm reading or rereading it, it is number 1. But it gets a very close second place. It started A Quest!

3. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase - first published in 1995
I consider this one a true classic. It's number one in many polls and often is used as the book to convert readers to the romance genre - for a reason!

4. Whispers of Heaven by Candice Proctor - published in 2001
It starts getting tough placing books now. But this one is an incredible journey and growth of the heroine and it book worthy of being in the top five

5. Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare - first published in 2005
I can think of no other book that is so vivid. While reading it, it is so easy to picture in my mind and both Nicolas, the hero and Bethy, the heroine are truly wonderful characters

6. The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie - published in 2009
It's rare - very rare - that a book published so recently can crack my top 10 list - but this is a book that can do it!! Lord Ian is such a well written, unusual character that I loved this one and read it back to back to back three times before I could move on.

7. Outlaw Hearts by Roseanne Bittner - published in 1993
And readers know, I love a good Western and when they ask for one to try, this one is always the first one I think of. I'm still waiting to see what Barbara thought of it *g*. It's an epic story - the kind we don't get much anymore.

8. Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas - published in 2008
This book is an emotional roller coaster and in the end - a real triumphant journey for the heroine Haven Travis. She finds love out of the ashes with Hardy Cates and I am honoured beyond words that I have a mention in this truly wonderful book.

9. After the Night by Linda Howard - first published in 1998
This book is Linda Howard at her very best for me. What stands out most is the character of Faith Devlin. When I can remember a characters name eleven years after reading it for the first time, you know she has made an impact on me!!

10. Morning Glory by Lavryle Spencer - first published in 1988
There are probably many of today's readers who haven't read this book. I urge you - strongly urge you - to track down a copy somehow, somewhere and read it. It's a wonderful book that tells the story of the power of love between two lonely people.

11. One Summer by Karen Robards - first published in 1993
Now this one is unusual in that the mystery is mediocre at best. But the chemistry between Rachel Grant and Johnny Harris is off the charts and this one remains one of my favourite rereads of all time.

12. Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone - first published in 2003
Just like Broken Wing, Fallen From Grace has a prostitute for a hero. Ryan will break your heart and as this is one of my favourite themes - younger hero/older heroine it has it's place as one of my all time favourite books list.

13. To Die For by Linda Howard - published in 2004
The heroine in this one, Blair Mallory, seems to be a bit of a lightning rod for many readers. They either love her or she drives them bonkers. I adore her. There is rarely a heroine who makes a hero work so hard - and I love that about her!

14. See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson - published in 2003
I love a good sports romance - and for me this is the best one of all. Luc and his tattoo. For those who have read it - need I say more?

15. Take a Chance on Me by Susan Donovan - first published in 2003
It's not every book that can get an ear worm in my head, but this one does every time I think of it. This one is unique in that my favourite character is Hairy - a dog - when I'm a cat person. And I'm still waiting for Lea to read this one. Lea - the parent of her own Chinese Crested.

16. Naked in Death by JD Robb - first published in 1995
This one is unusual as it's just a representative of the whole In Death series. It took me three attempts to really get into this series - but once I did, there has been no looking back. This whole series could be and has been a post of it's own, so it's hard to encapsulate what is so good about it/them. But I love it/them beyond words.

As with any kind of list, there are so many more books that could have just as easily made this list and are ohsoveryclose to being here. But I tried to get a representation of many different types - funny, romantic suspense, western, historical 'cause I love them all.

So who else is up for the challenge. I always love getting more book ideas!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A perfect night for......

I was on Day 2 of a 3-day course at work learning an entirely new data base system. It's intense with A Lot of info crammed into it.

It's cold out and the wind is howling.

They are predicting snow *shudder* flurries.

Which all combine to make it a perfect night to get into my jammies and ratty old housecoat, curl up on my sofa with a massage and heat feature with a warm cuddly blanket and a nice 'comfort read' book.

I think I will do just that!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Cravenator Call To Arms

The Book Binge is running a top LK Hero Standing and our Derek is NOT in first place.

He is trailing that other Kleypas hero by quite a bit. This can not be allowed to continue.

Derek needs our help!!!!!

Unite Cravenators - go - put him in the place he so rightly deserves!!

Number 1



I just checked and Derek is leading - by one vote. So for those of you who watch SYTYCD Canada - do what Jean-Marc keeps telling everyone to do:

Voix, voix, voix

Monday, October 12, 2009

Holidays, Holidays

For those who don't know, this is the time of the Canadian Thanksgiving. That's why I've been a bit MIA in the past couple of days. Saturday I mostly vegged and read. I think I have about five books on the go now. Most of them are rereads. I missed Nath's challenge for September so I was bound and determined to make up for it in October. I've seen some blogs with reviews of older books and thought 'dang, I need to read that one again.'

Yesterday was 'Kristie is a procrastinator par excellence and it's time to get her shit together 'cause the 'boys' are a comin' for dinner' day. I'm on five different kinds of medication - gad I hate getting older - and being a procrastination queen means I leave it until I pretty much run out before I get them renewed. I had to take care of that yesterday. Add to the fact that I hadn't done a whole lot of housework in the previous week (cough two weeks cough) and once I had the pill situation taken care of it was time to clean house. So I wasn't on the computer hardly at all yesterday.

Dinner with them was good - though because they are guys and yesterday was "football" day, we ate in front of the telly. Probably not the best thing to do for a 'Thanksgiving' dinner - but hey - they were happy and both stayed longer then they usually do so it was all good. I didn't quite work up the gumption to ask them their first thoughts when they found out where babies really come from - I think I'll do that on a one on one basis *g*.

Sister Lisa couldn't make it yesterday so she is coming today for turkey leftovers. So what I didn't get done yesterday in the way of housework, I have to get done today. But - being the queen of procrastination, first off I took care of another 'chore' I'd left too long. Let's just say the gray hair that was starting to come through at an alarming rate is now covered once more and I'm again a faux red-head.

And I've also started working on something for another blogger. Since it's not my project, but hers, details must stay close to the vest until she is ready - but it is ever so much fun.

And now - I must do more housework and see what the hair looks once it's styled and dry - and here's hoping I didn't miss big sections!! But since Lisa is coming for lunch - thus the rush - I will probably be returning later

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Question for the Day

I was chatting with a girl at work today and she and her young daughter are reading Twilight - or rather she is reading Twilight to her daughter. I haven't read the book but my co-worker apparently 'edited' it somewhat. Which led, rather indirectly, to the question of the day.

Now you have to be honest here - when you first heard how babies were made, what was your reaction?

Mine was a big EEEEEWWWWWW, Yuck!!

What was yours?

And Another Sign

You can tell I’m getting back to normal when I have this month’s Readers Gab post up at Access Romance. And on time even!
This month my topic is the things I will never say. If you’ve nothing to do and you are hopping the blogs, you’re welcome to check it out and agree or disagree.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Politics again

I know, I know, I just did a political type blog, but this is too hard to resist. Stephen Harper our current Prime Minister is NOT a warm and fuzzy type. I got quite a chuckle a few years ago when George Bush called him Steve. He is NOT a Steve type. He has a reputation of being cold and arrogant. I don't know him personally so I can't say.

Another think you should now about the leaders of the three main political parties. They do NOT get along. That recent controversy a while ago when the Republican called The President a liar - that kind of thing goes on all the time in the Canadian parliament.

So it I got quite a chuckle when I heard a bit on the radio the other morning and then saw this on YouTube.

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada at a recent fund raising event. Apparently his appearance was a surprise to all.

Whodathunk he had a sense of humour. And I hear he's up in the polls.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Recent Reads – the Lightning Reviews

Although I haven’t been blogging much lately, I have been reading and reading some good books as well as a not so good book or two. I don’t want these to get missed so these are the quickie mini review version. I’ll forgo the main stuff and go right the My Thoughts

Warning though - the fonts have a mind of their own and are completely wonky. I've tried fixing them but alas it's all too no avail

Never Love A Lawman by Jo Goodman

Rachel Bailey may seem like just a beautiful newcomer to most of Reidsville, Colorado, but Sheriff Wyatt Cooper knows she's much more. Through a twist of fate, Rachel is the inheritor of a very valuable commodity: control of the railway that keeps the isolated mining town connected to the world. That is, she will be, if she agrees to the surprising stipulation in her benefactor's will -- that she marry Wyatt.

Rachel has no choice: refusing the marriage could put all of Reidsville in the hands of an outsider -- and not just any outsider, but the cruel tyrant she has come here to escape. Yet living with Wyatt will be her greatest challenge. For he has a tempting way about him that makes Rachel forget theirs is a marriage in name only -- until her frightening past shows up to remind them exactly how much they have at stake...

My Thoughts: One of the things I find so appealing about Ms. Goodman’s books is the rich writing and intricate stories – so much so that characters you know at the end get aren’t really how the characters you see at the beginning. Her books can’t be read quickly; instead they are best read in small bites in order not to miss her characterisations. I’ve noticed this especially since The Compass Club series.

Because this style of writing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there are some readers who aren’t as big of fans as I am. I think those readers just might want to try this one now. NLAL is a lot lighter book by Jo Goodman than I’ve read for a while. It was a bit disconcerting as I was expecting another deep read. So I think those readers who like a slightly lighter quicker read should give this one a try. And it is a Western.

What I always do love about Jo Goodman’s characters is their intelligence and NLAL is no exception. Both Wyatt and Rachel are smart, savy and great characters. Rachel keeps very much to herself and doesn’t let anyone get too close. She’s a favourite fantasy amongst the men of the town but she keeps them all at arms length. This all changes when Wyatt brings her the news that an old friend has passed away and left her quite a nice inheritance. But it comes with strings. One of the biggies is that she and Wyatt must marry. She is quite hesitant with this one, but Waytt convinces her that the town depends on her. She doesn’t want it to be a ‘real’ marriage, but once again, this is a romance so of course nature takes its course between the two of them. The dialogue, as always, is witty and fun and Rachel and Wyatt are both quite believable. The secondary characters are interesting and there is a nice secondary romance.

This one isn’t my favourite Goodman book, but nevertheless, it’s still a nice read. And it is a Western.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Where the Wind Blows by Caroline Fyfe

Chase Logan liked being a loner, a drifter, free and clear as a mountain stream. But one look into Jessie Strong's sky blue eyes and in the span of a heartbeat, he found himself agreeing to be her husband--and a father!

Jessie knew it was all pretend. And only temporary. Just until the adoption went through for three-year-old Sarah. But the longer Chase stayed, the less she could imagine a long, lonely Wyoming winter without him.

Times may be tough--supplies short and danger

just outside the doorstep--but with the strength of the pioneer spirit and the warm glow of love in their hearts, Chase and Jessie are determined to have a true family at last, no matter ...WHERE THE WIND BLOWS

My Thoughts: I got this book when I read Sandy M’s review at The Good, The Bad, the Unread during The Great Western Drive. It sounded right up my alley – and it was. It was a Golden Heart winner and I can see why. It’s a gentle story of two lost souls who find each other and along with two orphan children, find their way to making a family.

Chase Logan visited our heroine, Jessie Strong, to let her know about her husbands death. But he inadvertently finds himself staying to help her out of a jam. She wants to adopt a little girl and is afraid that her husband’s death will prevent that from happening. So she coerces Logan into playing her husband. Logan doesn’t plan on staying, but things get more and more complicated as the money her dead husband had that he meant to give to her is stolen, a nosy neighbour interferes and he becomes attached to the children living with Jessie.

Chase is a compassion.

ate, honest, caring Beta kind of hero and Jessie is a strong, loyal heroine who feels bad at the railroading of Logan because of her, yet needing him at the same time.

This is the kind of Western I hope readers are curious enough to try. I think they will enjoy it.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Dangerous Passions by Lisa Marie Rice

Feelings kill faster than bullets.

That is Drake's creed. A legend, a renegade, a ruthless, powerful enigma understood by no one and feared by all, Viktor "Drake" Drakovich heads up a billion-dollar empire—and shows no mercy to the many enemies who would stop at nothing to destroy him. He is a man with no love and no weakness, until...

Grace Larsen takes Drake's breath away the first time he sees her—and quickly becomes his obsession. Never before has he burned for someone the way he desires this hauntingly beauti

ful artist who is plagued by troubling dreams. He aches to possess her, to protect her, to carry her to new heights of sensuous arousal and rapturous release.

But entering Drake's world means becoming a target—for relentless, bloodthirsty foes have been eagerly waiting for him to expose his weak spot. And the price of their passion may be their lives.

My Thoughts: Ahhhh – another Lisa Marie Rice book I really enjoyed. I find the key to her books is not to read them close together. They start reading very similar, but if you read them far apart, they are very enjoyable.

This one garnered some controversy when it came out due to the nature of Drake’s profession and the fact that the heroine shrugged it off, yet was all freaky that he didn’t sell drugs. I’ll confess, while I can see their point, this one didn’t bother me. I love Lisa Marie Rice’s books for the hero’s absolute devotion to her heroines and this one was no exception. Drake was loooove struck from the first moment he saw a painting by Grace and when he saw her, he deviated from his life of complete security so he could observe her from a distance once a month. But as you can imagine, a gun runner has many enemies and he was sold out to one of them. There was an attack on him while he was Grace’s once a month visit to the art gallery and in order to protect and save her, once they escape from his enemy, Drake takes her to his secured location.

Now in real life, to have someone this devoted; this obsessed, would be creepy but in a Lisa Marie Rice book, if you can suspend belief enough, you have a hero who is wrecked for the heroine and would do anything – anything to save her. And this can be pretty darn compelling in a work of Romantic Suspense. I found it so anyway and I think this just might be my favourite of her books so far. Drake is so gone for Grace. He’s mysterious and sexy and focused on Grace. In most of LMR’s books, the heroines are troubled innocents and this one is no exception. But I liked Grace, I really did.

If you can suspend belief, not let a gun running obsessed hero bother you, then this is a great book.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

In this lush and seductive novel, exciting new author Tessa Dare takes desire to brazen heights. Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother's best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion -- one that could send all her plans up in smoke. Jeremy has an influential title, a vast fortune, and a painful past full of long-buried secrets. He keeps a safe distance from his own emotions, but to distract Lucy from her reckless scheming, he must give his passions free rein. Their sensual battle of wills is as maddening as it is delicious, but the longer he succeeds in managing the headstrong temptress, the closer Jeremy comes to losing control. When scandal breaks, can he bring himself to abandon Lucy to her ruin? Or will he risk his heart and claim her for his own?

My thoughts: This one got a lot of buzz in Washington and it was one I was really hoping to scoop. But alas, when I got to her table there were no more copies. But being one who enjoys purchasing new authors, I bought a copy later. The reviews have been quite positive for this one, but I'll be honest. When I read the back cover and read things like "bold adventures" and "hone her seductive skills" I was thinking uh oh - not sure if I'll like this one.

But a funny thing happened once I started reading it. I found it charming - utterly and completely charming. Lucy is a stubborn one though. Once she tries her wiles on Jeremy and feels something, she's still determined to go after her other brothers friend Toby. You see, Toby had paid attention to a lonely young girl that Lucy was and she thinks this means they are meant to be, but Toby has his eye on another young woman. Jeremy, on the other hand is a real 'stick in the mud' and Lucy has challenged his stuffiness all their lives.

But instead of being annoying, Lucy is charming and funny and a very enjoyable heroine. And Jeremy is yummers! This book is funny in many places and I found myself smiling and chuckling quite often. I love when that happens. So the buzz has been right. This is a good one.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Beloved Warrior by Patricia Potter

The conclusion to Potter's 16th century-set Scottish Highland Trilogy (following Beloved Stranger) gives proof to what her fans may already know: Potter keeps getting better with every outing. Sparkling with high seas drama and tender romance, the story of the eldest Maclean brother, Patrick, opens six years into his imprisonment aboard a Spanish slave ship. Following Patrick's plan, he and his fellow oarsmen successfully mutiny, putting him on the route home to Scotland, where he can find out what's become of his family and claim his inheritance. His plan is complicated, however, when he discovers two women among the passengers: the ship owner's daughter, Juliana Mendoza, and her maid, Carmita. Honor-bound to protect them despite his searing hatred for Juliana's father, Patrick keeps the two from the rapacious designs of the other mutineers. Initiall

y distrustful, they're both awakened, soon enough, to the kindness and bravery in each other. Upon reaching Scotland, both have given themselves over to mutual passion, despite Juliana's impending nuptials to a powerful English viscount, a union she can only abandon by imperiling her mother. Potter has an expert ability to invest in fully realized characters and a strong sense of place without losing momentum in the details, making this novel a pure pleasure.

I mentioned during The Great Western Drive that Patricia Potter has written some great Westerns. She is one of my favourite (former – heavy sigh) Western authors. So why I waited so long to read this book is beyond me. I’ve had it since it was published in 2007 and kind of languished there. But thank goodness I finally got around to reading it because I REALLY enjoyed this one!! Think swashbuckling and that gives you a good feel for this one. I haven’t read the previous two books in the series – but that should soon be rectified since I’d barely finished this book when I ordered the first two. Patrick MacLean had been betrayed a number of years earlier

and as a result, was a galley slave on board a Spanish ship. But over the years he’s slowly been working on a plan to free himself and his fellow slaves. Finally his chance comes and while he doesn’t think he has much of a chance, he’s willing to die trying rather then die as a slave. Much to his surprise, the plan works and he and his group take over the ship. But on board the ship is a young Spanish woman Julianna Mendoza. Although bitter and hardened over the years, Patrick still has a core of honour and protects Julianna from the rest of the mutineers. She was on her way to England to marry a man her father insisted she wed, even though she’s never met him before. This is the last thing she wants to do, but she is willing in order to save her mother who still under the thumb of her ambitious, cold hearted father.

There is a great deal of chemistry between Patrick and Julianna but neither wants to act on it; Patrick because he is still in a great deal of trouble for the mutiny and Julianna is still planning on going through with the wedding. Patrick’s plan is to sail the ship to Scotland where he will set Julianna free. But this is

a romance, so they give into the growing feelings they have for each other and plans change.

As mentioned, this is the third in the series, but it read quite well as a stand-alone. Patrick’s two brothers play large roles in the story and now I’m really wanting to read their stories. These books take place in the sixteenth century, a refreshing change of time.

Beloved Warrior is a great swashbuckling type of story and I can hardly wait until the first two arrive in the mail – that will be a good mail day

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

The Kept Woman by Susan Donovan

WHEN A GOOD-GIRL DIVORCE Playing by the rules has left Samantha Monroe with an AWOL ex-husband, maxed out credit cards, and the task of raising three children on a hairstylist''s salary. It''s time for a new game plan. When Sam learns that politician Jack Tolliver needs someone to play the part of his fiance for six months in return for a generous paycheck, she''s ready to sign up on the spot. MEETS A BAD-BOY POLITICIAN Jack needs Sam and her kids to help tone down his image from womanizing cad to dependable dad. But he was expecting Sam to be a frumpy single mom, not a wickedly smart, sexy redhead. Keeping nosey newshounds from discovering that his engagement is a charade is going to be a tough job, but one mind-blowing kiss from Sam and suddenly Jack is ready to put in all the overtime necessary... LOVE WINS IN A LANDSLIDE... Now, with scheming opponents itching to bring Jack down, Sam''s ex returning to stir up trouble, one stubborn pre-schooler, two squabbling teenagers, a crazy dog, and some out-of-this-world sex, Jack and Sam are discovering that playing make-believe can be complicated-but not nearly as much as falling in love...
My Thoughts: *sigh* and then we come to this book. I seem to have almost a love/hate relationship with Susan Donovan. I loved everything she had written, specially Take A Chance on Me up until He Loves Lucy which I hated. I start out wanting to love books and it's up to them to be downgraded. Right off the bat I downgraded this one because the hero is a politician and if you read my post down further, I hate politicians. To make matters worse, Jake Tolliver is a playboy politician - double shudder. His campaign manager comes up with a plan to make him more appealing to voters since his dog ways have turned off voters. Unfortunately I just couldn't buy into the solution - not at all. The choice to con the voters is divorced mother of 3, Samantha Monroe, a hair stylist. I just couldn't buy into this solution at all. Why would the voters find this sudden turnaround - from single, dog, bachelor, rich guy who is now engaged to a middle class mother. Didn't work. I got pretty far into the book before admitting defeat and calling it a DNF. It's not the writing. I thinks she's a great writer and I will continue to give her a try. But I just could not warm up - at all - to either the hero or heroine. I'm looking forward to her next book, but The Kept Woman just wasn't for me.

I know - it's odd what I can and can't buy in a story - gun running obsessive guy - no problem. Playboy politician - nope. Grade: DNF