Sunday, May 30, 2010

It hurts!

It hurts real bad! I didn't hear about this until just now. But - it couldn't have happened to a better pitcher.

Recent Read

Open Country by Kaki Warner

Why this one: I was very fortunate to receive an ARC for this book. I loved Pieces of Sky. When I went back to look for the review I did of it, I was horrified to discover I'd only done a half-assed one - me - the lover of all things Western dropped the ball on her first book. I was determined not to do it on her second book. Westerns are few enough as it is, and when they are good ones, well the need all the exposure they can get!!

Steam Level: It's a moderate level- it won't burn you. But don't let that hold you back.

Blurb: Molly McFarlane is as desperate as a woman can get—even one alone on the frontier. Forced to flee with her late sister’s children, she must provide for her wards while outrunning the relentless tracker the children’s vicious stepfather has set on their trail. Out of money and with no other options, she marries a man badly injured in a train derailment, assuming when he dies, his insurance settlement will provide the money they need to keep moving West. But there is one small problem. The man doesn’t die.

Hank Wilkins doesn’t remember the accident he barely survived—and he certainly doesn’t remember marrying Molly. Confused and hoping his memory will soon return, he takes her home to his ranch, where Molly and the children are quickly caught up in the boisterous Wilkins family. Molly might be a gifted healer, but she knows little about caring for children, and even less about caring for a healthy man—especially a silent, brooding type like Hank. As Molly and Hank begin to discover each other, the threat of the past seems distant and the idea of a real marriage takes hold...until Hank’s memory returns and he realizes he’s been betrayed by his own brother and the woman he thought was his wife, and that fragile trust is shattered. Then the tracker follows Molly to the ranch, and as Hank struggles to open his wounded mind and battered heart to forgiveness, Molly rides out into a blizzard to face down a killer in a frantic attempt to protect the man and family she has grown to love.

My Thoughts: As mentioned above, a good Western can be rare thing these days and this is one of the best ones I've read. Both Molly and Hank are great characters. Molly is place in an untenable situation. Her dying sister begs Molly to take her two children away from their evil stepfather, which Molly who has just lost their father does. She travels from city to city with her niece and nephew, trying to escape, and is in desperate straights when a train derailment occurs and she decides to marry a stranger who seems at deaths door to collect the death benefit money. When his brother, Grady, the hero of the previous book in this trilogy finds out, he blackmails Molly into heading to the ranch, first to care for a very damaged Hank who doesn't die after all due to Molly's care, and second, as Grady's wife Jessica, is due to give birth soon and Grady is frantic for her sake.

But this deception does not sit well at all for Molly and even less so when her feelings for Hank deepen. She knows he will be angry when he finally realizes how he has been deceived. She makes for a great heroine. She's strong - she's had to be as an assistant to her physician father, she's never had a real chance to live a normal life. She is honest and loyal and she feels terrible about what she did to Hank and suffers for it, but she is determined to take care of her only remaining family. Yet she's also vulnerable too and afraid that she will lose Hank once he finds out.

And Hank. What a delicious hero he makes for. When he first recovers, he has no memory of who he is. But it doesn't take long for him to remember everything - except for Mollie and his step children. He's the strong but silent hero type as anyone who has read Pieces of Sky will remember. A shallow thing, but I'm glad Molly shaved his beard off very early in the story. Although he doesn't remember his 'wife' he slowly develops feelings for her, only to experience betrayal when the truth comes out. He doesn't talk a whole lot, and when he's upset, takes to doing rather endearing things while working it out in his head. He loves to tinker with things and is a bit of a loner and an inventor.

Brady and Jessica from the first book also play a large role in this book, though I don't think you have to have read Pieces of Sky to enjoy this book. Mandi didn't and she still really enjoyed Open Country. So often previous characters in series only make a token appearance and I'm glad they were more than that in this book.

This is a Western, and a gritty one at that. Both Molly and Hank do things that aren't necessarily easy to read about, but I thought the author did a great job in showing us why they did what they did.

This book has more of an epic feel to it and reminds me of the books of yesterday without the overblown writing that sometimes went along with them. If you are a fan of Westerns this is one that you must read and if you are thinking about reading a Western this is one you must read. If you've never read a Western, but like books with great characterization, a strong hero and a delicious hero, this is one you must read. In short, anyone who loves a good romance, this is one you should read.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Friday, May 28, 2010


I'm such a bad little worker bee right now. I'm on the late shift - 12:00 to 8:00. I'm caught up almost completely on my work. All the supervisors are gone. So even though they have really tightened up on extra ciricular internet use at work - to the point we aren't even really supposed to check emails, I'm being so bad being here! But with 3 hours to go, and nothing to do, it's agony working when one is not in the mood to work. It's a funny thing; this was a short week for those of us in Canada, but it seems when it's a short week, it often seems longer than a normal week
It's not helping either that when I got to work, there was a message on my machine from Chapters. My Kobo is in!! I live less than five minutes away (a scary, yet wonderful thing) so I'll just pick it up on the way home from work. I'm too beat to try and figure it out tonight, plus I just started a good book. But at least it will no longer be lonely.
But in the meantime, I've given up pretty much all pretense of working. Now I'm usually a nose to the grindstone kind of worker. While people around me are chatting, or the most part I just concentrate on my work. I'm not saying I don't join in the chats at times - that would just be rude and no fun coming to work - but I'm less of a chatterer than many of my coworkers. So I'm justifying here why I'm doing a blog post at work as you can see, trying to kill time.
They had a potluck today for someone who is retiring. I ate a carrott. That's not easy for someon who just lost a tooth on their chewing side. I also ate a couple of Salt & Vinegar chips. That's also not good for someone who just lost a tooth!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Couldn't resist!!

I just saw this and couldn't hep it. For Sarah - it looks like I'll be bad ass in July.

And all those cover models???? They are bad ass too!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Well - I jumped in the deep end. I just signed up to attend RomCon. I booked time of work, I booked a flight and reserved a room. The only thing left to do is arrange for transportation to the Detroit airport. It's short - only 3 days - but there are a lot of people going I'd love to meet and see.

And I'll try my new plans on the book signing and see how it works out *g*.


I heard from Chapters last night. My Kobo shipped!! I'm having it sent to the store since they want someone to sign for it and there's no one here during the day to do that. Brent doesn't move in until *heavy sigh* Sunday.
Now I have a new learning curve to try and tackle. *gulp* Hopefully they will call either tomorrow or Friday to say it's arrived.


Brent's moving in on Sunday - or Monday - I think. This should prove very interesting. A (air quote) Draaaama King air quote and a (air quote) Draaaaama Queen (air quote) living in the same house. If nothing else, I should have some interesting stories to tell. The only salvation for us out dramatizing each other is he works a lot of afternoons.


I lost a tooth yesterday. That was most odd. A number of years ago now, I decided it would be good to put chocolate chips in rice pudding - a nice change from raisins. I love crunchies in my food - as long as they are edible crunchies that is. I bit down to hard and cracked a tooth. I had to have a root canal - which actually went surprising well - didn't feel a thing - except they used my chest as an instrument table - and I drooled the whole time. After that I had to have a crown put on. Ron's dental plan only covered half the price of the crown and I ended up paying over $500!!! All for a @&^%#!*& chocolate chip!!

Well, a couple of months ago, the crown fell off. And the dental plan I have doesn't cover any bit of crowns! It used to, but it seems we gave it up to get a higher pay raise. The pay raise doesn't look quite so good now. All I had left was a stump of a tooth. I kept meaning to go back to the dentist - but since I'm a great procrastinator, put it off. Well, I was brushing my teeth just before work yesterday and the stump fell out. I'm not sure what to do, but I'm willing to bet that the dentist isn't going to be very happy with me.

Luckily though - since I had a root canal, I didn't feel any pain whatsoever when it fell out. But now there's a large gap where my tooth stump used to be.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I have a confession to make

This is a biggie!

I don`t like book signings. Yes - me, who goes to the big Literacy signing at RWA and the most recent one at RT would be just as happy to skip that part of the conference and or convention. It has nothing to do with not wanting the books, but rather other factors

  • The line-ups. It seems they are getting longer and longer and starting earlier and earlier. When I went to the one at RT in Columbus, we must have stood there for half an hour or more. It was horrid. I know a lot of people take the time to chat with other readers around them, and that`s always fun, but I just get tired of the standing. I hate standing in line for movies too.
  • Once you get in, it`s so damn crowded. For those who suffer from claustrophobia, it can be almost a nightmare trying to manoeuvre around. I can only last a certain amount of time, then I can`t get out quick enough.
  • Carrying all the books around. They get heavy after a while!
  • Feeling bad for authors who don`t have a line up. You see this all the time and I always feel bad for the authors sitting next to more popular authors. I`d strike up a conversation, but then I`d feel obliged to get their books and see reason above for why that can be a problem.
  • I`m uncomfortable with the height differential. I know that`s an odd one considering I`m vertically challenged and look up to most people. Maybe that`s why, but I just feel odd talking to someone I`m looking down at.
  • I can never think of anything to say!! I hate that. I usually stumble along, mumbling something and then wishing I hadn`t or I said something more. I`m naturally shy and it kicks in big time when standing in front of, yet looking down at an author.
  • I`m not an autograph collector. Even if I were to come face to face with Richard Armitage it wouldn`t occur to me to ask for his autograph. I`d have to bite my tongue to keep from asking if he would kiss me the way he did Margaret at the train station in North and South - but I wouldn`t ask for his autograph.
  • I loathe having my picture taken - by anyone, at anytime. So the last thing I would want is to have a picture of me standing next to an author.
  • I don`t mean this in the least bit offensive way - and this is just me - but I don`t see the point in having a picture of just the author. I`d much rather talk to them - not at an author signing where I can never think of anything to say - but at a food court, or hanging around in a bar, or after a workshop - anywhere other than at an author signing where claustrophobia can hit any time and they are distracted by numerous things. That way I can really talk and the shyness takes a back seat. But if I wanted to see what an author looks like, I could just go to their web site. Many of them have pictures there.
  • The line ups to pay for the books. I`m always in full blown `have to get out of here`mode and to have to stand in line yet again, to pay for the books is very draining.
  • The confusion of what books I want to get. Last year at the book signing in Washington, I thought I`d be smart and make a list out ahead of time. Then I left it at the second author table I went to and for the life of me couldn`t remember which ones I wanted. The same thing happened again in Columbus. I made a list but forgot it and when I got into the signing and saw the huge number of people, I panicked slightly and forgot many of the books I`d planned on getting!

So now I`m not sure what to do at the next one I go to. I`m so tempted to pass on it, but then that just seems so wrong!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Recent Reread

After the Night by Linda Howard

Why this one: Since all my coworkers on my team at work know that I'm a huge fan of romance, some are quite open to reading some that I recommend. I've been looking for books I think will suit them and I thought this book might work for one of them. But before I brought it to her, I started rereading it again myself.

Steam Level: Perfection! A nice, steamy read.


FAITH DEVLIN -- A poor, outcast child in Prescott, Louisiana, she'd always adored the town's golden boy from afar. But he called her white trash that sultry Southern night when his rich, respected father disappeared, along with her pretty Mom. Now Faith wanted to hate Gray Rouillard...not to feel a powerful surge of desire. But she couldn't quench her passion, any more than she could hide the truth about the past she had waited so long to unravel...

GRAY ROUILLARD -- Even when he raised hell, he did it with style. Reckless, charming, and backed by Rouillard money, Gray controlled the town of Prescott - and Devlin was a name he never wanted to hear again. But when he gazed at Faith Devlin, all he saw was a swirl of tangled sheets and her silken flesh beneath him. To care for her was impossible, unthinkable...because Gray Rouillard planned to use all his power to ruin her...

My Thoughts: It's real hard to pin down my favourite Linda Howard book. She's written some pretty amazing books. But whichever one is my current fave, After the Night is right up there with it.

A lot of readers have read this one already since it's one of her older books so instead of going over the storyline, I'll just explain why I love this one so much.

Faith Devlin! I just love the character of Faith. She was raised in one of the trashiest families ever. Her father and older brothers were drunks. Her mother slept around with just about anyone who wanted her and her older sister was headed strongly in the same direction as Renee, her mother. Faith had a younger brother she was almost the sole caretaker for. There is a very painful scene near the beginning of the book which happens in earlier times. Gray, the hero later on in the book, has just learned that his father left town with Renee, Faith's mother and after hearing this, his sister has attempted suicide. Grey is enraged and goes to the shack that Faith and her family live in and with a group of sheriff's men, throws Faith and her family out. As a young Faith has loved Gray her entire life, she is traumatized by this event.

The story then picks up much later when Faith, realizing her mother didn't leave town with Guy all those years ago, travels back to Prescott to confront the place of her childhood trauma and is again thrown out of the hotel room she's staying at by Gray.

Faith is an incredible heroine and my all time favourite. She came from such a bad place and is now a strong young woman who has made a success of her life. She's a lot stronger than she used to be and is able to stand up to Gray even though she still has very strong feelings for him and not let him push her around. Because of the way she was raised, she went in the opposite direction and has a very strong moral code. There is a very compelling attraction between her and Gray and he really puts pressure on her to give into the attraction, but she holds firm, not giving in and allowing him to think her the tramp her mother and sister were. Her strength of character is what makes this book so gripping for me.

Gray! I've seen that a lot of readers don't like his character and I can see why. He's alpha to the max and sometimes he does go beyond to the point of cruelty. There is one scene where he and Faith finally give into their desire for each other and his words to her after are just plain nasty. If Faith wasn't such a strong character herself and able to stand up for herself against him, I wouldn't like him either. But he does have insight into how unfair he has been with Faith in the past, and while Faith doesn't realize it for a while, he does respect her and what she has made of her life.

The love scenes are smokin'. There is one scene that when discussing this books with others who have read it and you say "washroom scene" they immediately know what you are talking about. It's hot and it's funny and it's one of the most memorable sex scenes in romance books. The love scenes are combustible in this book.

The mystery. Faith has come back to town to find out what really happened that night that changed her world only to discover that Guy was never heard from again. She is determined to find out what really happened. In a lot of romantic suspense, one takes a back seat to the other, but in After the Night, both are equally well done.

I think I reread this book once a year - I know it almost off by heart now. But that hasn't lessened my enjoyment of this fabulous book one bit.

Grade: always has been and always will be - 5 out of 5

Friday, May 21, 2010

Today's Ponderings

Believe it or not, I can go weeks without chocolate. There are times I NEED it - I'm a woman. But most of the time I can take it or leave it. But my real weakness when it comes to junk food is potato chips. But only plain potato chips. I don't like those 'fancy' flavours like Salt 'n' Vinegar or BBQ. Blech! I tried some one time that was Chicken Wing flavoured. While it was actually not bad, still for me, chips are best plain. But best of all is burnt chips. I LOVE burnt chips. And it it's a folded burnt chip - well it's really worth savouring. I wish they had a Burnt 'n' Folded brand. I figured I was odd, but when just for the heck of it, I googled "burnt potato chips", this site came up. No helpful answers though.

I also like my toast almost burnt too. It seems to have more flavour.

One thing that drives me absolutely bonkers though - and Nath will confirm this, is when I order toast in a restaurant and it comes with butter on the side. The only time toast tastes good is when the butter (or margarine) melts into the toast. I'm normally pretty easy going when it comes to restaurant food booboos. But if they give me unbuttered toast and expect me to butter my own toast - that's cold by the time I get it and the butter just sits there - on top - not melting in, I'm not a happy camper. Ron used to be very leery when we went out for breakfast, never knowing if I'd have a little mini temper tantrum with badly buttered or not buttered at all toast.

Living in a house with 3 males and only one bathroom, I tried to train my 'morning bathroom time' to before the boys got up. Sometimes it was the only time of peace in a house with all that confusing testosterone. But every so often my body rebels and decides 'morning bathroom time' is during work hours. I hate when that happens.

I don't know if anyone remembers or not, but last fall I had the property landscaped. What a difference it made! But I have NEVER been a gardener. I've avoided in the past like the plague. But now I'm going to be forced to learn the basics. Now that the weather is warm and sometimes sunny, the perennials - or is it annual - the plants that come up every year, are starting to come out. I'm also (with the help of the landscaper) planning on planting the ones that only come once a year. But right now the problem is I can't tell what is a plant/flower and what is a weed. I bought gardening gloves the other day, but I need help in telling what needs to be pulled.

And just in case you want to see what they did

The Before

The After

You can't really see it in the before pictures, but I used to have a cement back porch. The ground had sunk over the years so that the first step up was a huge one, especially for those vertically challenged like myself. The took out the cement porch and put up a new, bigger wooden porch with three sets of three steps leading down to the to the back door on either side and then down to the deck. I love it!

They also removed all the half dead shrubs at the front and made it look a lot more open. This year I'd like to have the front porch and sidewalk redone, but I'll have to get an estimate on that first.

And now the mail person has no trouble getting to the mail box - to deliver the mail I still don't really open.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Connecting with Readers

I enjoyed all the workshops I attended at RT. One in particular I attended came to mind in the past couple of days. While I wasn't that keen on the title of the workshop; Read a Book, Save an Author, I don't think it's our job as readers to save authors, I do have great admiration for them and much appreciation of the hours and hours of enjoyment I get through their work. And I did enjoy the workshop. It was run by Toni Blake and Dakota Cassidy was a last minute replacement for Julie Ann Long who couldn't make it. Also leading the workshop were a couple of publicists.

One point I wanted to make was there is a great, largely untapped opportunity out there for authors, at least in the world of the reader bloggers. To many of us, reading romance is almost a religion *g*. I have no doubt we make some of the greatest fans of authors going. Speaking for myself and I think for others comments and posts I've seen around, we are remarkably loyal to those authors we love. We will keep reading their books even though some of them may not be as enjoyable as others.

What got me thinking about this topic occurred when I happened to be doing some author website surfing the other night and I saw at one author's site a quote I did from one of my Recent Read posts on her book/s. I was thrilled beyond belief and quickly sent a squeeing letter to a number of blogger friends. AND I insisted in this email that they simply had to give her a try - because I said so *g*. One of them wrote back that she went out and got the book. Then the next day I noticed another author had a short quote on a review I had done and again I was excited. That was two in two days!!

I exchanged a few emails with another reader blogger friend. In the exchange of emails, and the point I wanted to make in this post, is us readers are very tickled when an author 'drops' in to visit our blogs. I don't mean it a way of pimping their books, but just dropping in to leave a comment on any old topic. The friend I exchanged emails with had this happen when an author commented on how cute her dog was and she has bought every book this author has come out with since then. I know I would do the same.

If I'm in a book store, looking for something to read and not being sure what, and there is a book on the shelf by an author who has stopped by here, you can bet that will be the one I'll pick up to take home with me. I've also noticed Ramblings on Romance listed on sidebars of a few author blogs and that's another factor that will cause me take their book home. I get such a rush when I see that.

When I made this point in the workshop, about how thrilled we readers are when authors drop by and how very likely it is that when that happens and we see one of their books in the store, we will buy it, knowing the author took time to visit us, it was brought up that some authors aren't sure how welcome they would be. While I can't speak for EVERY reader blogger, still I think the odds are very good, that the authors are very welcome.

It's hard to put into words my feelings on authors. I know I hold them in high esteem unless they prove to be total dickwads. They do something I wish I could do. They create people and stories that entertain me ever so much more than most television shows or movies. I even appreciate authors whose books I don't read. At least they are doing something they love - I would think you would have to love it to be an author. The vast majority of them aren't getting all that rich in their chosen careers I think. I think the closest I can come to the feeling, is the way I felt about the kids teachers. It was a job I couldn't do and by the very nature of it they earned my respect.

And also, in most cases, before they were writers, authors were and are still readers. With that fact in mind, it makes them very welcome visitors here.

And I'm curious. Do you like having authors dropping in and joining on discussions? Would it have any effect when you're shopping for books? Or would you rather they stay away? I'm talking general discussions, not discussions on their own particular book.

So when an author drops by I get a real thrill that they 'visit' me.

Hump Day Funny

Nothing like starting the day off laughing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What once was, is no more

Well, my library is a thing of the past. It looks so sad now. It used to be so colourful and now it's just bare ugly walls. Brent plans on ripping up that horrid ORANGE carpet and putting down laminate floors; also painting the wainscotting and the walls - so eventually it will look much better.

The good news is I have enough shelves that he didn't have to pack any away. They are doubled up and stacked and everything, but it's better than putting them in a dark box - where they would be lonely.......and cold.

I couldn't get a picture of what else he did because it's too dark in that part of the room, but he stacked the half bookshelves and has them facing each other - just like in a real library. But since it is dark in that room - and no outlets to plug a lamp in, it's going to be tricky if I have the overwhelming urge to read a book in that area.

Boy - I can take bad pictures can't I? In the second batch, I figured out that there was a button on the camera for shaking hands and they turned out much better. It's those small electronic devices I tell you!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Upcoming Book Alert

I don't know if you know this or not, *big grin* but there was a book that came out a couple of years ago now that I went - well - kind of nuts over. In case you missed it, the book was Broken Wing by Judith James. I had to read it 5 times before I could move onto another book.

And while her next book, Highland Rebel didn't have quite the same effect, it's rare that a book knocks me that sideways, it only happens every few years and when it does - watch out :-), I really did love Highland Rebel.

I was cruising Fiction DB not long ago and saw that her third book was coming out in what I thought was July - but now it might be August - whatever the month - this is one of my most highest anticipated book of the whole year.

I tried finding a picture of the cover, but couldn't find it anywhere. So I emailed Judith and asked if she had seen the cover and where I might find it to add to my sidebar. She emailed me back - attaching the cover!!! YES!!

So here it is - she's writing for HQN now and they gave her a fabulous cover. I was looking for a blurb but didn't find one. BUT I do know from what Judith wrote in her email that:

"It's a 17th Restoration love story between a Cavalier and a Puritan woman who were childhood friends."

Does that sound cool and different or what!?!?

Libertine's Kiss

I know time flies, but I hope it really flies until I get this one in my hot little hands!!


Ahhhh- through the power of Twitter and the friends on Twitter, I've found a description:

Abandoned by his cavalier father at a young age, William de Veres grew up knowing precious little happiness. But William has put the past firmly behind him and as a military hero and noted rake, he rises fast in the ranks of the hedonistic Restoration court. Until he is forced to seek shelter from a young Puritan woman...

The civil wars have cost the once-high-spirited Elizabeth Walters her best friend and her father, leaving her unprotected and alone. She flees an unwanted marriage, seeking safe haven, but what she finds is something she never expected. When her kindness and her beauty bring her to the attention of William, and then the king, she will have a choice to make. After all, can a notorious libertine really be capable of love?

Doesn't this sound scrumptious?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's kind of a sad night

My son is coming over tomorrow to start dismantling my 'library'. I took a few pics as it will be a while before I see them like this again. I'm a bit torn. He's coming over first thing in the morning - he hopes around 8:00 am. And I don't normally see 8:00 am on a Saturday. I'm debating on whether to get up and help so I know where they all are, or to keep on sleeping. It is a Saturday after all. I'll see how I feel on the morrow. In the meantime, here are some of the pics I took - *sad sigh* And I already rescued a few from being packed away

You can see that some of them are a bit on the fuzzy side. My hands must be trembling at the thought of having to pack my preciouses away

Of course, I do still have my book cases upstairs....

(Here's my Guy of Gisbourne Action Figure - heh heh heh)

And while I'm doing pics, here are for now anyway, the other two life forms that share space with me, Zina and Destructo Cat

The little one below is Destructo Cat. I know!! You are probably wondering how such a cute little dear could possibly be so destructive. But right now she is hanging on the kitchen screen trying to get a bug that's buzzing outside the window





Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Well!! I did it!

On my way home from work tonight I stopped at Chapters and ordered myself a Kobo. Yes - me - who swore I would never get an ereader just a few short years ago, took the plunge.

They didn't have any in stock, but in the next shipment they get, there should be a black one with my name on it. I went for black because I read a review that said the blue buttons on the white ones got dirty to quickly - as good a reason as any to choose the black one I guess. The clerk said it may take as long as 6 weeks, but in reality she said it would probably be much less time then that.

Now I'm really going to have to conquer my fear of small electronic gadgets.

And look! It comes with 100 books already loaded. One of them is a Nicolas Sparks book. It appears I will have to learn how to delete books too!! Or maybe not - I don't see it on the list of 100, although The Communist Manifesto is on it - How Bizarre, How Bizarre, How Bizarre (ear worm!)

I'm sure I'll have lots of fun adventures to come trying to work it. I'm the one who spent 3 hours trying to figure out how to work the DVD player.

I've been trying to see if it has any of those carrying case thingys but I don't see any - at least not at the 'official' web site. But I can get a 'skin'.

And now that I've already ordered and paid for it, does anyone else have one? What do you think? Do you like it? Is it easy to use? Keep in mind that while I was sitting in on the workshop given by Sarah, Jane and Angie, I kept somehow getting 'out' of the book of whichever devise I tried to use and didn't know how to go back. I can tell there will be interesting times ahead.

Nath - you're up now *g*. See, she said she would get one once I did.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Recent Read

Beyond the Shadows by Jess Granger

Why This One: When I saw that Jess Granger was going to be at RT, she was one of the authors I really wanted to see and tell her how much I enjoyed her debut book. And I had my fingers crossed that they might have a copy of Beyond the Shadows. Sometimes crossed fingers work because they did indeed have some for sale. AND I got to tell her how much I enjoyed her first book!!

Steam Level:
Although there are few love scenes, the ones that are in this book are wonderfully, wonderfully written. You can really feel the intensity and more important, the love between the hero and heroine. Quality beats quantity every time and the quality in this book is excellent.

Commander Yara has spent years living without the distraction of caring for anything--or anyone. It's a sacrifice she's been willing to make. Yara has honed herself into the perfect heir to the Azralen throne, but a bloody coup could destroy everything she's worked so hard for. She must return home quickly to prevent war, but the only ship available belongs to an Earthlen trader with no regard for authority--especially hers. Cyn is a rebel, driven to protect those suffering at the hands of the Elite leaders of Azra. Using his alias to manipulate the lovely but icy commander onto his ship, he has to keep her from Azra long enough to ignite the revolution. But when he awakens a vibrant and feeling woman beneath that icy exterior, he gets more than he bargained for--love. Can Cyn find a way to convince Yara to join him, or will they get caught in a web of lies and deception that could tear them apart?

My Thoughts: I loved Beyond the Rain and was overjoyed to see a new Futuristic/SciFi author on the scene. I had barely finished it when I started thinking how much I wanted to read Cyn's story. He's the brother of Cyani, the heroine of Beyond the Rain and although we didn't get a chance to see to much of him, we did learn that he is the leader of a rebellion on the planet Azra, a matriarchal society where women rule. Unfortunately, the woman who is the current ruler was a tyrant who persecuted the people of Azra, subjecting many of them to horrendous living conditions, thus sewing the seeds of rebellion.

Yara is a member of the "elite", the highest class level who had been dispatched to hunt down Cyn, the leader of the upcoming rebellion. All this happened in Beyond the Rain, but I don't think you need to have read it to pick up where this book begins. I do recommend it though since it's a great book.

Beyond the Shadows starts up with Yara trying to find a way off the military base and return to Azra. But Cyn has arranged it that he has the only ship leaving and under his guise as Cyrus Smith, an Earthlan trader, he tricks her into walking into the trap he has set. But it doesn't take long for him to realize that Yara isn't the cold hearted bitch he believed her to be. Stubborn yes, focused on her duty, indeed, but he is surprised to learn she also has a heart.

I'm in awe at how well done Ms. Granger has done with the character of Cyn. Although he comes from a place where women are the rulers and leaders, he doesn't lack in manly manliness for one moment. Rather he is alternately masculine, tender, brave, intelligent and in short, all things that make a great hero. He rose from the depths of despair to be a true leader of people. I ADORED him and I think many a reader will love him just as much as I did.

And just as well drawn as Cyn is, so is Yara. Due to the way she was trained her entire life, she is a loner who has never had the chance to enjoy life. Political intrigue rules her life. She has been led to believe that the lower echelon of Azra are criminals and degenerates who deserve the despairing life they lead. But as she and Cyrus travel to different worlds, her eyes are opened to many of the injustices in the galaxy, softening her to seeing that Azra may just be one of the worst offenders of them all.

The romance between Yara and Cyn is poignant and almost heartbreaking. They come from two very different places. His goal is to lead the rebellion against everything she has known and hers is to track down the rebel leader and maintain the status quo. Cyn is the first to fall for Yara, but he feels the weight of lying to her as to who he is and what his real goal is. Yara starts out as rather arrogant, a product of her upbringing and does her best to deny her growing feelings for Cyn. She knows he can't be a part of her future. You can feel the longing between them.

I really admire authors who tackle this genre. Although they are bound by the rules of a romance story, other than that, they make up their own worlds, their own rules, their own types of people. And Jess Granger excels at making this world she has created totally believable. As readers we are excited to find new authors who write well written stories that can take us away from our daily lives when we need to 'get away'. And I'm very excited to have found Jess Granger. Even if you don't normally read this genre, I HIGHLY urge you give this book a try. It represents everything I love about this genre. As with her first book, once again she knocked this one out of the park. As much as I loved her first book, I think I love this one just a tiny wee bit more.

Grade: 5 out of 5

A hearty two thumbs up for this one.

Monday, May 10, 2010

(I wish!)

Well, after spending most of the weekend doing nothing but sleeping; seriously - I went to bed at 7:45 on Friday night and did a lot more all weekend, I finally feel like I'm getting back in my groove. As you can see, I didn't get around to recaping the rest of the week. I had plans to, but the need for zzzzzz's trumped the desire to recap.

One of the few things I did manage to get done was cataloging the books I brought back. I still haven't really unpacked yet, but the books are now up-to-date in LibraryThing, Shelfari, Goodreads and the spread sheet. It's all about priorities.

But I did want to mention a couple more workshops I made it too. I've pretty much decided that I need to get an ereader so when I saw a workshop that Jane of DA, Sarah of SB and Angie of Carina Press were putting on, I thought I'd get some good info. The only trouble was I think I was the only one in the room that didn't already have one and the conversation was over my head for a lot of it. But I did get enough by osmosis to realize that there isn't a devise that has everything I want.


I've decided to go with the Kobo. I like the price!!! $149.00 is pretty hard to turn your nose up at. Unlike the Kindle, you aren't limited to buying books just from Chapters, the store that supports it in Canada. It doesn't have WiFi like the Kindle and Nook do, but then that will also allow me to shop at some of the smaller epresses which is what I wanted. I think I'll order one in the next couple of days. I can only hope that it isn't too hard to download from the computer to the reader. I shall be crossing my fingers that day let me tell you!!

There are so many great things about going to conventions/conferences. And one of them is the books one can get. After spending so much time cataloguing them, now I just have to share the books I got

Author Title
Aguirre, Ann Blue Diablo
Aguirre, Ann DoubleBlind
Bond, Stephanie Finding Your Mojo
Byrd, Rhyannon Touch Of Seduction
Carlyle, Liz Wicked All Day
Cooke, Lisa A Midwife Crisis
Crane, Carolyn Mind Games
Dahl, Victoria Lead Me On
Dare, Lydia A Certain Wolfish Charm
Dare, Lydia Tall, Dark And Wolfish
Day, Alyssa Atlantis Redeemed
Day, Zuri Lessons From A Younger Lover
Dow, Candice Feelin' The Vibe
Duran, Meredith Wicked Becomes You
Eisler, Barry Fault Line
Fennell, Judi In Over Her Head
Gibson, Rachel Nothing But Trouble
Grainger, Jess Beyond The Shadows
Hendricks, Elysa Star Raiders
Hieber, Leanna Renee TheDarkly Luminous Fight For Persephone Parker
Howard, Linda MacKenzie's Heroe's
Jackson, Brenda Hot Westmoreland Nights
Jeffries, Sabrina The Truth About Lord Stoneville
Lee, Jade Dragonborn
Low, Genita Virtually His
MacLean, Julianne Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake
Madison, Tracy A Breath Of Magic
Maverick, Liz Crimson And Steam
McCoy, Judi Making Over Mr. Right
Medeiros, Teresa Some Like It Wild
Pineiro, Caridad Sins Of The Flesh
Quinn, Tara Taylor In Plain Sight
Reece, Christy Second Chance
Robards, Karen Scandalous
Rush, Jamie Touching Darkness
Rush, Jamie Out Of The Darkness
Thomas, Sherry His At Night
Walker, Shiloh Hunter's Need
Wilds, Elissa Darkness Rising
York, Rebecca Dragon Moon

I probably would have got even more at the book signing but alas, I wimped out. But still, I think I did rather fine. They were all from the conference. Nath and I made a run to a bookstore and then we went to another one along with Mollie. With the price being so different in the US as opposed to Canada and the dollar being almost par and Nath having coupons, well it just didn't make sense for us not to go!

I wish I hadn't pooped out as there was so much other stuff going on that kept us going almost non stop. But enough to say it was such a wonderful time and I can hardly wait until my next one!!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Recent Read

I'm taking a quick break from my adventures at RT to do a book I read while I was there.

His at Night by Sherry Thomas

Why this one: I’ve met Sherry a few times now at conferences/conventions and she’s such a great person. I have all her books though as yet some unread. When I saw this one in the goodie room at RT, I started glancing right and left to make sure it wasn’t a mistake and then grabbed real quick before someone could take them away.

Steam Level: Oh yes, it was nice and toasty

Blurb: Elissande Edgerton is a desperate woman, a virtual prisoner in the home of her tyrannical uncle. Only through marriage can she claim the freedom she craves. But how to catch the perfect man?

Lord Vere is used to baiting irresistible traps. As a secret agent for the government, he’s tracked down some of the most devious criminals in London, all the while maintaining his cover as one of Society’s most harmless—and idiotic—bachelors. But nothing can prepare him for the scandal of being ensnared by Elissande.

Forced into a marriage of convenience, Elissande and Vere are each about to discover they’re not the only one with a hidden agenda. With seduction their only weapon against each other—and a dark secret from the past endangering both their lives—can they learn to trust each other even as they surrender to a passion that won’t be denied?

My Thoughts: One of the reasons I’m having a hard time remembering some of the stuff at RT is because I spent time reading – a lot of time reading considering I was at a conference, even though it was a book conference. I would go and find places to read as I didn’t want to put this one down and there were a few events I may have skipped so I could read.

This is one of those books where the characters are more than they seem and as the story goes along, slowly, layer after layer, their true selves are revealed. Jo Goodman excels at this and so does Sherry Thomas.

First off the hero, Lord Vere is not at all what he appears to others. To them he is an idiot, blathering on about nonsense, a clumsy, muddled, albeit handsome oaf whose fall from a horse tragically altered his former personality.

Then there is the heroine, Elissande Edgerton who was taken in by her aunt and uncle when her parents died. Despite giving up her own life to care for her ailing aunt, she still smiles brightly when she is forced to offer up to home to neighbours suffering from a rat infestation.

But neither Vere nor Elissande are what they appear to be; instead they are both multi-layered characters with their own agendas.

Where to begin? It would almost be easy to dislike Elissande in her deviousness and plotting except that we see inside her and her desperation in saving herself and even more, her aunt from a monster. She will do whatever it takes to rescue the both of them even going as far as trapping one of her unexpected guests into marriage. She originally settles on Vere, but it doesn’t take long for her to see Vere for the idiot he pretends to be and switch her scheming to his brother. But Vere is onto her – he thinks – and he ends up being her victim. I found Elissande to be a fascinating character. And as her character is unwrapped, she’s a lot softer and vulnerable than we think

Vere is an equally intriguing character and even more layered than Elissande. For years he has lived the character he had developed to hide his real personality so he can work cases for the Crown. As everyone believes he’s a bumbling fool, they don’t notice when he stumbles into some interesting places. He is initially very attracted to Elissande but he is fooled by her public persona and quickly realizes she is willing to use him or his brother. And for her part, she also believes the ‘public’ face that everyone sees in Vere.

Watching these two interact with each other, despising who they think the other is, they slowly come to realize how much they have in common.

This is a Very Good and Compelling Book and I had the hardest time putting it down, even in the midst of a week long party.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5