Sunday, January 31, 2010

Random Stuff

Purse the VII broke the other day. It's life ended the same way as Purse I through VI. My sisters would say it's because I have too many books in it but I say it's the Canadian coins that did VII in. You see, the strap broke because it was too heavy. Looking at a broken Purse VII I was jolted into really seeing how similar the majority of my purses are. I buy them almost exclusively by size and how many books they can hold - even though that is NOT what causes the straps to break.

So I figure it was time I got jiggy with Purse VIII. Instead of my normal 3 section purse in colours of either tan, dark brown, navy blue or black, I decided to go a totally different route this time and get one that was almost so butt ugly it was chic - or at least my version of chic since I wouldn't know chic if it hit me over the head. A slave to fashion I'm not.

Purse VIII is one big section, not the usual 3 and it is black and white checkered - and vinyl. It's a big huge black and white checkered vinyl purse. And sturdy. It should be able to hold books and Canadian loonies and twoonies (and quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Now I'll have to wait to see if others laugh at my purse or are envious of it.

I'm still on a ready frenzy!! With luck and without too much distraction, I should get 15 books read this month!! FIFTEEN!! I can't remember the last time I read that many books in one month. As a result of my reading frenzy, my blogging and blog hopping has gone down. I need to find an equal balance I think.

Today is the last day to cast your ballot in the AAR Annual Reader Poll. I did my part to keep Cindy busy and sent in my ballot yesterday.

The In Death Poll is up now and here are the official results:

1)How long have you been reading this series?

Over five but not since the first one - 11%
Two to five years - 17%
I just got started - 18%
So it looks like most who answered are new to the series!


2) Which angle do you like best?

The romance - 16%
The relationships - 30%
The mystery - 2%
I love them all - 49%
Looks like few of us read them for the mystery; rather we love the whole package!


3) Besides Eve and Peabody, who is your favourite female character?
Dr. Mira - 48%
Mavis - 24%
Nadine - 7%
Trina - 3%
Louise - 10%
Other - 3%

4) Besides Roarke and McNab, who is your favourite male character?
Feeney - 32%
Baxter - 16%
Morris - 13%
Charles - 8%
Commander Whitney 2%
Summerset - 16%
Other - 2%

5) Do you think Roarke gets too involved in Eve's cases?
Yep - he needs to step back - 27%
Nope - it's fun to watch a former criminal help solve crimes - 72%

6) Are you for or against Eve and Roarke having kids?
Are you nuts? That would ruin the series - 20%
The sooner the better. I think they would make great parents - 11%
Some time in the way distant future. 68%

7) Do you think you will ever get tired of this series?
Never, never, never - 53%
Maybe eventually - 36%
I've been tired of it for a while now - 9%

Looks like most of us will be happy if she keeps writing for a long while *g*. And it's kind of neat. There are four other people I work with who are also reading these books now.


Now - back to reading - I'm in the middle of another good one!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Recent Movie (updated)



Avatar


Storyline from the official web page:

Avatar takes us to a spectacular world beyond imagination, where a reluctant hero embarks on an epic adventure, ultimately fighting to save the alien world he has learned to call home. We enter the world through the eyes of Jake Sully, a former marine confined to a wheelchair. But despite his broken body, Jake is still a warrior at heart. He is recruited to travel light years to the human outpost on Pandora, where corporations are mining a rare mineral that is the key to solving Earth's energy crisis. Because the atmosphere of Pandora is toxic, they have created the Avatar Program in which human "drivers" have their consciousness linked to an avatar, a remotely controlled biological body that can survive in the lethal air. These avatars are genetically engineered hybrids of human DNA mixed with DNA from the natives of Pandora...the Na'vi. Reborn in his avatar form, Jake can walk again. He is given a mission to infiltrate the Na'vi, who have become a major obstacle to mining their precious ore. But a beautiful Na'vi female, Neytiri, saves Jake's life, and this changes everything. Jake is taken in by her clan, and learns to become one of them, which involves many tests and adventures. As Jake's relationship with his reluctant teacher Neytiri deepens, he learns to respect the Na'vi way and finally takes his place among them. Soon he will face the ultimate test as he leads them in an epic battle that will decide nothing less than the fate of the entire world.

My thoughts: I just got home from seeing this for the second time. You may not be aware of this but when something blows me away, I can become slightly obsessed. This movie blew me away the first time I saw it and I've been itching to see it again ever since. Sister Lisa and I tried a couple of weeks ago on a week night but it was sold out. So we tried again tonight and thankfully it wasn't sold out this time.

I think by now just about everyone has seen it at least once. Considering it took top spot when it first came out and hasn't let go of that spot, it seems there are a lot of people who love it.

What can I say? A whole lot as you will see *g*.

The scenery: This is probably the most visual stunning and beautiful movie I've ever seen. I noticed it the first time but was still in awe of the 3D effect for it to really register. But watching it again tonight, I was stuck by the beauty of all the colours. They were INCREDIBLE. It really gave a whole otherworldliness to the planet of Pandora.

The plot: I've heard some people say that there isn't much to the plot of the movie and while they have a point, it is quite simplistic, for me, that didn't take away from the enjoyment. In fact I liked that is was a straightforward plot. The movie is so visually mesmerizing, to have a complicated plot would almost be too much. Although Lord of the Rings is my favourite movie (well - there is North and South but it's in a different category) there is a lot going on in it. The simplicity of Avatar is a plus. The outline on the website sums it up pretty good. We, the audience, could see Jake falling in love with the culture, the people and with Neytiri. As a full fledged romance reader, the love story made me very happy. There is one very poignant scene near the end when Neytiri sees Jake, not as a Na'vi, but as a human and it's Jake the person, not Jake the Na'vi that she loves.

The actors/acting: I was so glad that Mr. Cameron went with unknown actors for the lead roles of Jake and Neytiri. As a result, I didn't get distracted when we see the hero and think 'that's so and so!' I did that a bit with Sigourney Weaver thinking 'that's Ripley' and with Michelle Rodriguez thinking 'that's Anna Lucia!!".

And it wasn't very far into the movie that I was thinking these Na'vi are very attractive people!! Neytiri in particular was gorgeous - even though we didn't see her except as her Na'vi self.

She is also gorgeous as Nyota Uhura in Star Trek. And Sam Worthington is non too shabby himself. The other cast member were equally good.

Parker Selfridge as the Corporation Man who is will to destroy a whole people in order to get unobtanium (love that name), Colonel Miles Quatrich as the evil former marine who just wants to blow them all up, Norm Spellman who knows a lot more about Pandora than Jake does and is envious that Jake is the one the Na'vi choose and Grace Augustine as the scientist who truly loves the people are all excellent in their roles.

Final thoughts: Lisa and I are as different as night and day when it comes to movies. We very seldom totally agree on a movie - funny - it's the same thing with books. I kind of pusher her into seeing this with me and would have felt kind of guilty but as I wanted to see it again so badly, I didn't really. But I had a feeling she really enjoyed it too as the credits were playing at the end and I nudged her to see if she was ready to leave and she remained in her seat watching them. She NEVER does that. And when we got out of the theatre and I asked her what she thought of it - she LOVED it. And...she wants to see it again. I can't remember the last time I saw her that excited about a movie! So I'm glad I didn't waste time feeling guilty :-)

There's a reason why it's predicted to become the Number 1 movie of all time.

And finally, I would have liked to have gone to the front of the screen and looked towards the audience to see everyone wearing those silly Jerry Seinfeld glasses!



Grade: 5 out of 5!!



Both Kristie and Lisa give it


UPDATED

I've thought of more things I wanted to say about the movie. I would have got up last night and wrote more but I'm on the early shift and all I could think was I have to get up early tomorrow! I have to get up early!

The Music: One of the other things I noticed more the second time around was the score. I love movie soundtracks - my favourite of all time is the music from Last of the Mohicans followed closely by Pirates of the Carribbean. I didn't really notice the music too much during the first half of the movie - means I'll have to go see it again! Good thing Lisa said she wants to see it twice. But I really noticed it during the second half of the movie when the action picked up and it suited the movie very well.

The 3D Effects: this was the first movie I've ever seen in 3D and I was blown away by them. A few people; Cindy mentioned her Bob in the comments and there was a coworker who also became intersted in seeing it after a couple of us talked it up, but wasn't sure if she wanted to see it in 3D or not. I would say to those hesitant - don't be. It is a bit diorienting at first - when a big message comes up on the screen to put on your glasses (which I found amusing) and then there is a scene from Shrek that's in 3D. So that by the time the movie itself actually starts, you're quite climatized to the 3D. And it adds an altogether different depth and well, dimension. Apparently my other sister saw it - not in 3D and I can't help thinking she missed a great deal of the essence of the movie.

(I have more thoughts still to come but I'm at work and must get back to it!

Monday, January 25, 2010

YES!!!!!



Thanks to Mollie, another Crusader has been found. It seems like quite some time since we've had us a new one, but Rhiannon Hart has recently fallen under it's spell. Be sure, fellow Crusaders, to see what our newest member has to say.

And I know there are others out there!! I'm just waiting to hear from you - yes I mean you!! *evil grin* If , has done a post on North and South - and I've somehow missed it, just let me know you can be added to The Crusader list!!

And of course this gives me another excuse to check out the YouTube videos. So here's a new one I hadn't seen for your viewing pleasure.



Saturday, January 23, 2010

I thought I would take this opportuntiy



To once again answer some of my spam mail.

Darin H. says: Regain your sexual energies
Dan: I haven't lost them. Sadly, though I know my sons would be horrified at the thought, know that now that I've jumped into the lake of erotic romance, I have no 'real' outlet for them however.


Reva C. says: Women never get bored with a well endowed man.
Reva: This is a two part answer. Part one - Sure - rub it in. Part two - a well endowed man is all well and good, but the real important question is does he know what to do with the endowment?


Charles says: Yo, yo bud
Charles: Yo, yo back at you dude!


mgarfinke says: Launch your love spaceship
Well - I'm almost tempted to click on this one to see what the hell a love spaceship is!! Would it be the Enterprise run amuck?


Willa R says: My new address
Willa: Thanks - but as I've no idea who you are and I don't mean this in a nasty way really - but I don't care.


Nadya says : Sweet Lord, call me on my cell phone
Nadya, I wasn't aware that the Lord had a cell phone. Or an email account. Prayer is the usual method of communication I believe.


Aida A says: The secret of being an incredible lover is having a big device
Aida, as I said to Darin, I think the key is more to know what to do with that big device. Unless we are talking large screen HD television and I think that's more of a guy thing myself.


Jengw says: Good day, I accidentally found a letter from you, I remembered how we communicated with you.
Jengw: ???? How do you accidentally find a letter? And it wasn't me - I can't remember the last time I sent a letter. Email or phone is the way I communicate these days.


nrique says: Answer me
nrique: Short and sweet - NO!!


counsellingdd says: Please answer me
counsellingdd, you are more polite than nrique but the answer will still be no, I don't think so.


Jed D says: Even if you are in debt, you can afford a designer watch
Jed, if I were in debt, I'd be more into getting out of debt than getting a fancy watch. While yes, I do have an impressive watch collection, most of them I get at Walmart and they are much less expensive and I don't have to worry about debt.


counsellingdd says: Limpness won't threaten your rod.
counsellingdd, actually the biggest threat to my rod is Destructo Cat - the way she goes after my curtains, I swear she's going to pull the whole thing down sometime!!!


Ashley says: No woman will be able to forget the night with you.
Ashley, while I can be fun to spend time with at times, I wouldn't go that far. But thanks for the ego boost.


Maureen B says: Women love making love with monsters even when it hurts.
Maureen: I think you've been reading way to many paranormal romance. It's fiction - there are no real vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters etc.


And a general answer to all Viagra distributors - I DON'T GIVE A DAMN IF IT'S 80% OFF - I'M STILL NOT BUYING ANY!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Upcoming Book Alert

Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter





I don’t get a lot of ARC’s – and I’m fine with that. By buying the vast majority of my books I feel like I’m helping out authors. But I do get a few and maybe because I get so few that the ones I do get are standouts. This one was one of the rare ARC’s and once again, I was most impressed.


As a long time reader, I’ve been reading Madeline Hunter since her first medieval, By Possession, came out. I loved those medievals of hers. And then she switched to writing historicals in a much later time setting and I’ll be honest and say it got my medieval reader nose out of joint because of it. There are fewer medieval written so what became a standout author in one genre, became just one of so many others in another genre. At the same time I did understand why she switched time periods. Her original books just didn’t sell as well and while in theory we readers would rather authors stay in the genre we want them to, in reality they are out to make a living and I don’t blame them for writing in a genre that sells more books therefore making them more money.


But even though my nose was out of joint, I’ve still continued to buy her books, but many of them are languishing in the TBR pile. But in the interest of full disclosure, I was sent and ARC of Ravishing in Red. It took me a while to get to reading it and when I did start reading, I realized what I was missing with my own personal sulk. I was cutting off my own nose to spite my face. She writes darn good stories. I knew that with her medievals and she wrote one of my all time heroes in The Romantic.


Lord Sebastian Summerhays is a second son. He assumes many of the duties of his older brother Morgan after Morgan was confined to a wheelchair during the final days of the war with the French. While a former rake, Sebastian in now slightly reformed and is working towards finding out who was responsible for a shipment of bad gunpowder sent to the front, resulting in the death of many a British soldier. Most of the blame has rested on the shoulders of one Horatio Kelmsley and the resulting scandal caused him to commit suicide. But his daughter Audianna is convinced of his innocence and travels to a country inn to meet up with someone claiming to have information. Sebastian is also at the inn for the same reason and after a brief flurry of mistaken identity, they realize who the other person really is. Audrianna is the daughter of the man Sebastian blames and Sebastian is the man who Audrianna hold largely responsible for the death of her father.


Of course things happen and it gets out that the two of them spent time alone together and in order to save her reputation and his own, Sebastian offers up marriage. Although quite and unhappily attracted to him, due to the circumstances, Audrianna refuses his suit.


And the rest of the story follows after that.


What impresses me about this story is the intelligence and grown up way both Sebastian and Audrianna act. There are no histrionics from Audrianna. She intelligently ways her options and makes good and reasonable choices based on those options. She is an easy heroine to admire and route for.


Sebastian is also a fine hero. While he had a history of excess with women, he put that aside when he took on the role of responsibility. He has a good relationship with his brother Morgan, though somewhat complicated and he stands up quite fine to his overbearing mother. Time and time again, a different author could have taken a path that would have been annoying for the reader, but Ms. Hunter doesn’t. Her characters are intelligent and she keeps them that way. When Sebastian sees Audrianna in deep conversation with another man, he feels jealousy and later, when he asks who he was; Audrianna is honest with him and tells him the man in question was her former fiancĂ© who called off the wedding due to her father’s shame. When asked if she still loves this former flame, Audrianna is honest and forthright and says no, if she had she wouldn’t have married Sebastian. It’s more than refreshing to see the lead characters talk things out, being honest with each other in the process.


As you just read, Audrianna does give in and marry Sebastian and then the author does something else well. She allows them time to learn to love each other as they get to know each other in this unexpected marriage. While the attraction between them is very strong, the love takes a bit longer to develop. And this is the way it should be methinks.


This is the first book in a new series and already I’m anticipating the next one – and the one after that. I’ll also be tracking down the previous ones in the TBR pile and reading them – my snit being over and done with.


Grade: 4.75 out of 5


Thursday, January 21, 2010

All About Romances Annual Poll Time

Still reading up a storm - I think a record will be set!!!


but



One of the events I look forward to every year is the Reader Poll at All About Romance. Unlike other “awards’ such at the RITA’s where many of us haven’t read or even heard of many a book nominated, the Reader Poll at AAR is by reader for readers. And while it’s a lot less than 50% of the books that win are ones I voted for, at least I’ve either read or heard of the vast majority of them.


Also unlike some other contests and awards, there is no ‘entering’ to be considered and no fees involved. It’s just readers choosing the books they’ve loved the past year.


It was also the AAR Annual Poll that kicked me into amping up my spread sheet. While I had had one for quite a few years before I started entering, I didn’t have columns like grade, year read and year published in the spread sheet. Now with no effort at all I can filter down to books published in 2009. Then for example, romantic suspense published in 2009, then filter down further to romantic suspense books published in 2009 that I read and then further to romantic suspense books published in 2009 that I read that I gave 4 or 4.5 or 5 out of grades too. And now that I’ve figured out how to add comments, if I read a book way back last February and can’t remember it all these months and book later, the comment I left gives me a very quick reminder..


The polling opened on Monday Jan 18 and runs until Jan 31 so unlike in years past, is open for a much shorter time this year. Thank goodness it's not like the Oscars where we have to wait and wait and wait to see the winners. There are two weeks for voting. I’ve always enjoyed participating in this poll even if the books I voted for don’t win. Though of course there is always that secret thrill if they do – indicating validation that the book I chose and voted for is a good one since other readers picked it too.


I may be wrong, but to me this is a much better indicator of the years good reads since it’s reader based. And another plus is it's a great way to find books you might not have otherwise have noticed - 'cause one can never have enough books - that's my motto - along with why say in ten words what you can say in 100.


I don’t know how many who read this blog enter the poll – but it’s something fun and interesting to do – and I’m sure real great for the winning authors!


Here’s the link if anyone else finds this as fun as I do!! Now - I think I'm off to play with my spreadsheet and vote myself - before I forget.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Recent Read

And continuing......



She's Got It Bad by Sarah Mayberry

Why This One: When it came out, it got really excellent reviews - enough so that I was interested in reading it too. And I really want to read more series books this year.

Steam Level: Nice and steamy!!

Blurb: This has been a long time coming Twelve years ago Zoe Ford let Liam Masters break her heart. But now? There's not a chance. Zoe is as tough and wild as they come. So when Liam shows up at her tattoo parlor, she's more than ready to take him on again. That's not going to be a hardship, since he's hotter than he ever was. This time she's staying in charge. And she's not going to consider their score settled until he's hot, bothered and begging for more! Then she'll move on as callously as he left her. Unless all that deliciously bad sex is just too good to give up....

My Thoughts: Wow!! I was impressed with this one - very, very impressed. I often find that series books, because of the shorter word count, don't have as well developed characters in them as single title books. But this definitely wasn't the case in She's Got It Bad. Considering it was shorter, the author managed to do an excellent job with both Zoe and Liam. The book starts out years earlier when Liam was a young man staying with Zoe's family when his mother died. There was a strong attraction between them but Zoe was only 15. When she made moves on Liam, he left this family he loved so as to avoid further temptation.

The book picks up some years later when Liam sees Zoe as the very provocative lead singer in a band and wonders what has happened to the innocent young girl he hadn't been able to forget. He finds out her day job is as a tattoo artist and he shows up wanting to 'fix' her life and whatever went wrong. He's now a very successful owner of a shop that builds custom motorcycles.

Zoe still harbours strong feelings for Liam and her life pretty much went to hell in a handbasket after the night he rejected her and left. But she is very proud and doesn't want Liam messing in her life. But Liam is nothing if not determined and offers her a job doing the artwork for a motorcycle he and his team are entering in a competition.

Gradually and with considerable help from Liam, Zoe starts getting her life back in order. She's an artist who doesn't think she is that good, but is convinced that she is that good when a gallery owner friend of Liam offers to sponsor her.

The chemistry between Zoe and Liam is great. And I really, really liked Zoe. Her life had really fallen apart but she has maintained her strength and pride through it all. She broke my heart.

As did Liam. He also had it real rough before he finally found a home with the Archers and was quite the loner, damaged hero type.

Whenever a reader says that series books don't pack the same kind of punch or are missing something that single titles have, this is the book to get them to read. It's just as emotional as anything longer. I'm glad I listened to the buzz on this book!!

If I have any quibbles with it at all, it's that Liam held out a little too long in thinking he didn't or couldn't have a happy life with Zoe. Other than that, this one has it all in a smaller package than many a longer book. This is my first book by this author but it certainly won't be my last!!

Grade: 5 out of 5

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Recent Read

See! Told you I’ve been reading lots!! And I have 3 more to do!!


True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson


Why this one: Rachel Gibson’s books either work very, very well for me or I don’t care for them at all. But since there are a lot more that work very, very well and I was in the mood for a contemporary, this was the book I picked.


Steam Level: Not too hot, not too cold


Blurb: Disaster Number One: MEN
Hard knocks and hunger taught Faith Duffy not to believe in love. Still, when she married her very wealthy--and very old--husband, she became the perfect wife. And then he went to that big bank in the sky, leaving Faith with lonely nights, a pile of money, and a total mess of a pro hockey team. Heck, Faith doesn't even watch hockey!

Disaster Number Two: PASSION
But most of America and half of Canada is watching Ty Savage. His lethal sex appeal and deadly right hook make him the favorite of fans. For most of Ty's life, he's dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup. The last thing he needs is a bimbo messing up his plans.

Disaster Number Three: LOVE
Faith loathes Ty on sight, but she can't stop thinking about him all day . . . and night. Then a moment of temptation ends with Faith in Ty's bed, and she begins to see there's more to him than sex appeal. Ty discovers there's far more to Faith than beauty and billions. But a relationship with Faith is impossible, and falling in love--that would be a disaster.


My Thoughts: I held off a bit on reading this one as it sounded quite a bit like SEP’s It Had To Be You and as I’ve been turned off on SEP books, I didn’t really want to read a book similar to any of her books. But this was Rachel Gibson who I like much more and it was a “hockey” book and See Jane Score is my all time sports romance and it was a “hockey” book too so I took a chance.


First off, I thought the back blurb misleading. I didn’t get the impression that Faith loathed Ty. She was that impressed with him though she did find him attractive, but I wouldn’t say loathing.


I couldn’t help comparing this one to See Jane Score seeing as they both were about the same hockey team. I didn’t like Faith quite as much as Jane – but still I liked her quite a bit. She was former stripper whose mother was a stripper and so she kind of knew the lifestyle. And while she married her much older husband for his money – not unlike in an Anna Nicole Smith kind of way, she did love him in a grandfather/granddaughter kind of way. And while she started out as a bit of a sugar daddy kind of girl, she grew and changed through the book and that’s what counts for me in an otherwise less than stellar kind of heroine. Once she decided to keep the hockey team, she really invested a lot of time and energy in learning all she could about it so Faith gets major points for that.


And as for Ty Savage – he was quite a good hero. And I will confess I did a real squeal when I was reading along about his hockey history!!!!! So much so that after reading that little bit I simply had to send a message to Rachel Gibson. You see – in the book he played his junior hockey for the Knights in London Ontario!!!! Now that just happens to be the real team in London here (see – in case one didn’t already know this – this is the city I live in) and I listen to the Knights game on the radio quite a bit. In fact – I was listening to the game on the radio when I read this so it was very Twilight Zone-ish way.


And a couple of other things I must point out. We do not pronounce about like aboat ;-). And when we use the word eh after a sentence – something I didn’t realize I said a lot myself until someone pointed it out in Washington – we don’t pause after so there was no need for a comma to indicate a pause *g*. And I got a kick out of his annoyance with people pronouncing his name as Savage – rather than Sauvage. I knew right away the proper way to pronounce his name – but that’s because I follow hockey here in Canada, the Great White North.


All in all this was one of her books I quite enjoyed and if you’re a fan of sports romance and/or of Rachel Gibson, this is a good one to read.


Grade: 4.25 out of 5