Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ahhhhh - the fun!


So, I've posted recently about the success I've had spreading the love of romance amongst my coworkers. I'm happy to report that they are really starting to get addicted now!! In previous reports, one of my coworkers Wendy (we shall call her Wendy) was reading Sugar Daddy by Lisa Klepyas and hoping for a certain pair to end up together - and I was a tad concerned as I knew they didn't. Well, Wendy ended up being fine with that, as have most who have read the book seem to feel. So then she moved on to Blue Eyed Devil. She reported in with me on her progress and how much she was loving it. On Wednesday, she asked me if I could bring in Smooth Talking Stranger as she was just about done BED.

Well, unfortunately, I forgot it on Thursday. Last week I was on the dreaded 12:00 to 8:00 shift and since it's out of my normal routine, it totally slipped my mind until she showed up at my desk looking for it. Friday morning, the phone rang around 10 and it was another coworker Deborah (we shall call her Deborah). Now I don't know what it is - but when I get a call at home from work, I always figure I'm in DEEP SHIT and someone is calling to warn me for when I get in. So I was a tad light headed and starting to sweat when I recognized her voice. But that wasn't why she was calling at all. No indeed! Wendy had asked her to call since Wendy didn't have my phone number, to remind me to bring in Smooth Talking Stranger!! And since I was going to bring in a book for Wendy, and Deborah was off on vacation this coming week, could I bring a few in for her too!

MY COWORKERS ARE CALLING ME AT HOME TO BRING IN ROMANCE BOOKS! Is that cool or what!??!?!?! And it's a good thing that she did call since it had slipped my mind again! So before leaving for work on Friday, I loaded up a bag with books. When I got there, Wendy was on lunch (since I started at lunchtime that wasn't a surprise) But as soon as she got back she came over looking for it. I very happily handed it to her and she hugged it. Since it was a weekend coming up and she's a fast reader, I also brought in a couple of other books for her:

Barbara Samuel's No Place Like Home - since she enjoyed In the Midnight Rain
Julie James' Something About You - since No Place Like Home is such an emotional, makes you cry book, I thought she might need something light that would make her laugh after.

AND - I didn't get Sugar Daddy and Blue Eyed Devil back because Wendy loved them so much she said that another coworker, Tanya (we shall call her Tanya) really needed to read them too. Tanya started reading Sugar Daddy Thursday night and was really enjoying it. So now she also has BED for when she's done.

And I also brought in books for Deborah. She loved To Die For by Linda Howard and already has Drop Dead Gorgeous to read. She is also the one reading the In Death and Stephanie Plum books. I also gave her Open Season and Rachel Gibson's True Confessions. There were two others but darn it all, I can't remember what they were now.

And then there is Joan who has read all the Stephanie Plum books and is now making her way through the In Death books.

After all these years of collecting books, this is such fun lending them out - as long as I get them back again though ;-)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Recent Read

The Search by Nora Roberts

Why this one: I received an ARC and since it's been a while since I've read Nora Roberts I thought I'd move it up in the TBR pile.

Steam Level: Just about perfect

Blurb: To most people, Fiona Bristow seems to have an idyllic life-a quaint house on an island off Seattle's coast, a thriving dog-training school, and a challenging volunteer job performing canine search and rescues. Not to mention her three intensely loyal Labs. But Fiona got to this point by surviving a nightmare...
Several years ago, Fiona was the only survivor of the Red Scarf serial killer, who shot and killed Fiona's cop fiance and his K-9 partner.
On Orcas Island, Fiona found the peace and solitude she needed to rebuild her life. But all that changes on the day Simon Doyle barrels up her drive, desperate for her help. He's the reluctant owner of an out-of-control puppy, foisted upon him by his mother. Jaws has eaten through Simon's house, and he's at his wit's end.
To Fiona, Jaws is nothing she can't handle. Simon, however, is another matter. A newcomer to Orcas, he's a rugged and in-tensely private artist, known for the exquisite furniture he creates from wood. Simon never wanted a puppy-and he most definitely doesn't want a woman. Besides, the lanky redhead is not his type. But tell that to his hormones.
As Fiona embarks on training Jaws, and Simon begins to appreciate both dog and trainer, the past tears back into Fiona's life. A copycat killer has emerged out of the shadows, a man whose bloodlust has been channeled by a master with one motive: to reclaim the woman who slipped out of his hands...


My Thoughts: As I said it's been a while since I've read a Nora Roberts book. I think she is an incredible talent and I inhale her In Death series written by JD Robb. But as a LONG TIME reader of Nora Roberts, I finally gave up her series books as I found the characters in each of the three books were getting to be pretty rehashed. But I have always enjoyed her single titles. I just kind of lost track of which was a single title and which was part of a trilogy.

And as usual with a Nora Roberts single title, I really enjoyed this book. As you read in the blurb, Fiona has had a major tragedy in her life. But she didn't let it define her. Instead she's made a very fine life for herself as a member of the local canine rescue team and a dog trainer. She's a very good heroine and I liked her tremendously. When her past comes back to haunt her, she doesn't give in to the fear it would be easy to.

And Simon is just adorable as a hero. The last thing he wants is a "relationship". He is perfectly content to go on being a loner while crafting beautiful wood furniture. But when his mother gives him the adorable 'puppy from hell', he's reluctantly drawn into the Fiona's world. He desperately needs the dog training she offers. Fiona and Simon really 'get' each other. Simon doesn't offer Fiona sympathy for her difficulty, instead he is more a help for her with his practicality. And Fiona, though falling hard for Simon, gives him the space he needs and lets him move at this own pace in their growing relationship.

The mystery is good and tense and kept me turning the pages to see what was going to happen.

The secondary characters are also quite well developed and I loved the relationship between Fiona and her step mother, Syl, a local shopkeeper who sells Simon's work. They were very good friends who had the love and loss of Fiona's father/Syl's husband in common.

And I can't not mention the other secondary characters. I'm not a dog person. I'm a cat person. But when I found myself reading this book and thinking I just might want a dog after all, despite not really caring for dogs, you know the author has done a wonderful job in writing about them. Jaws, Simon's out of control puppy, is such a hoot and I haven't enjoyed reading about a dog as much as I did this one since Hairy, the Chinese Crested in Susan Donovan's Take a Chance on Me. And as well as Jaws, Fiona's own three dogs, Newman, Bogart and Peck are also great dogs.

And although I don't own a dog - don't think I ever will, I also found a lot of Fiona's dog training techniques very interesting and helpful. I think dog owners themselves will really find them useful.

I'm very happy that I read this book. It again reaffirmed that Nora Roberts is a one of the best in the biz.

Grade: 4.25

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

D'oh!!


I did not realize until yesterday when I was printing up my itinerary that you could choose your own seats on airplanes!! It's no wonder every trip I've taken so far that I've had the rotten middle seat and had strangers to the right of me, strangers to the left of me and I was stuck in the middle with me. I've been booking far in advance of when you could do that and then not bothering to check until just a couple of days before I left. And I never noticed that button at the bottom where you can pick your seat.
Unfortunately, I was much to late for the trip to RomCon and will be stuck in the middle seat every flight. On one of the flights, the seat I had to go with was the very last one still open!! But thankfully I checked in time for the flight to Orlando and have window seats both there and back. But it figures the longest flight I'll be squished.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ACCKKK!!!


I just clicked onto our public library web page to see what kind of ebooks they had. When I clicked on romance, who should first come up but Nicholas Sparks!!! Nicholas Sparks????? It's amazing how vastly different their idea of a romance is to mine. They also had some Zane Grey (?), Danielle Steel (?), Belva Plain(?), a LOT of Debbie MacComber (who doesn't work for me on many levels), Laurel K Hamilton who I've never been tempted to try, Harold Robbins (really - Harold Robbins??? Under Romance????).

There were a lot more traditional romance books too - A LOT of Nora Roberts. But most of what I would consider romance books, I've already read.

But I've a feeling I won't be downloading many ebooks from the library.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Miscellaneous




To balance out the cat pics since it seems some people don't like the ugly one *g*


Miscellaneous isn't that different from ponderings really, but since I just did a Ponderings, I had to change it up. And generally, Miscellaneous is longer - at least this one is.

Response from Co-Workers on Romance Books

Well, Wendy (we shall call her Wendy) finished Sugar Daddy. And thankfully, she LOVED it.

Spoiler Alert

She was fine with who Liberty ended up with thank goodness. When she told me she finished it, I asked her if she was fine with the fact it didn't end up the way she was hoping - and she was :-). And now she's half way through Blue Eyed Devil. Wendy (we shall call her that) was delighted to hear there is a third book, Jack's story. She's blaming me for her lack of sleep however.

Another co-worker Deborah (we shall call her Deborah) recently read Patrica Gaffney's book, Wild at Heart that I brought in for her and loved it. She asked me to bring in more books. Now she's quite a speed reader. She's read all the Stephanie Plum books - the ones I didn't have she bought herself. And she's more than half-way through the In Death books. She just needs to figure out where she is and what she needs next. I'll bring them in, but she has to figure out what *g*.So in the meantime I brought her To Die For and Drop Dead Gorgeous by Linda Howard. I had to warn her that although I love Blair to death, some readers find her annoying. Well she read To Die For and accused me of ruining her Sunday. She couldn't put it down! And today she was telling me she loves books that take place in the South - New Orleans in particular. I'm going to have to get a flashlight while I look for Lucky's Lady by Tami Hoag for her next reading pleasure.

One of my coworkers, Tarryn (we shall call her Tarryn) who is also a very strong fan of the In Death series, got a Kindle a month or so before I got my Kobo. We took them out at the same time at lunch today to compare size and stuff. The screens on both are the same size but the actual Kindle device is bigger. And it has a key pad which the Kobo doesn't.

I was quite glad I went with the Kobo as there was an interesting article in today's paper. Unfortunately I couldn't find it online, but the gist of the article was that librarians are loving ebooks. It seems that they like the fact that there are no late fees and a lot less paperwork involved. There has been a real increase in the library lending out ebooks since last year; one of the reasons being many people got ereaders for Christmas. And now that the Kobo has made an appearance, they think the number of ebooks the library has will at least double by this time next year. I'm hoping Wendy or any other librarian pops as I'm curious as to whether other libraries are experiencing this dramatic increase in ebooks. And as Tarryn and I were comparing reading devices, I showed her the article in the paper. If I wasn't such a nice person, I would be thinking neener, neener, since you can't 'rent' ebooks from the library on the Kindle.
I had a doctors appointment after work today - need a supply of happy pills I did and I had my first chance to use my ereader at the doctors office. It was great!! And when the nurse saw what I had, she was very curious about it. Seems she's a big reader too. After the appointment, I showed her how it worked and she decided since it was her birthday coming up soon, she knew what she was going to ask for.

It's kind of odd in a way. Online, I'm one of the last holdouts in getting an ereader, but in the world I live and work in, I'm one of the first to get one. Tarryn is the only other person at work who seems to have one. And everyone I show is quite impressed. A couple of people haven't even heard of them before!

After I stopped to get my supply of happy pills and all the rest of the plethora of pills I have to take due to my advancing age, I stopped at Chapters. The book I was reading on the Kobo is The Conqueror by Kris Kennedy. I got it in eform after I read Wendy's review of The Irish Warrior. But d'oh - I already had the print copy of it. But I discovered another good thing about having an ereader. I don't have to worry about where I put the book!! I know I stared The Conqueror ages ago, but it disappeared in the land of books that I have. Anyway, after reading quite a bit of it at the doctor's office - you know you never get in on time - I was really enjoying it and decided to get it. And wouldn't you know - Chapters is having a buy 3 get 1 free sale!! I was determined to resist buying books for a while - what with both RomCon and RWA coming up soon. But you can't ignore a buy 3 get 1 free sale can you? No, you can not! So in addition to The Irish Warrior (and isn't that a great cover - that's why I went for print rather than e), these are the other ones I picked up for the can't say no book deal.


Lord of the Highlands by Veronica Wolff - a time travel by the looks of it.





No Chance by Christy Reece - I have the first two in this new trilogy





and

Burning Alive by Shannon K. Butcher - just cause. I wanted a variety of the books so I figured this was as good a paranormal as any.




And that wasn't all I got at Chapters!! One of the best places in the world to go if you ever get a chance is Medieval Times Dinner Theatre. (if you click on the link, you can see the 'Toronto' Knights - the Red Knight is my cutest knight - heh heh heh) Of course you can't go there now as the G 8/G20 meetings are being held in Toronto and if you get me started on that subject, this post will last for eternity - suffice it to say they've pretty much locked down the city AND CANCELED THE RETURN OF DOC HALLIDAY and spent over 1 billion $'s in security (it's no wonder I don't do taxes).

I've been a few times now, the last time with Ames and Nath and if we do a Canadian Blogger Get together, we really should go again as I can't think of a more fun place to have dinner!
Anyway - I was walking to the romance section of Chapters, having read a pretty good Medieval book and on my way to get another one, when what should catch my eye but these REALLY COOL knights on horses figurines. What can I say? It was destiny!!
Are they not awesome or what!?!? I got the green one to start my collection.









And I know JUST where they will go! On the upstairs book case, next to my
Guy of Gisbourne figure.




~~~~~UPDATE~~~~~


There was one other figurine I got too, but since I didn't see a picture of it, I didn't post it. But doing further 'looking into', I did find a picture. Now this is how shallow I am. One of the reasons I picked it up was because I thought they did a pretty good job in making the figurine kind of cute. Is that not a shallow reason? I'm almost embarrassed. The other reason, it was less expensive without the horse




And *sigh* I was cataloging my books and it seems I already have copies of two of them - the Veronica Wolff book and the Christy Reece book. I missed the Wolff book at first because I only gave her one F so it didn't come up. Oh well, back to the bookstore I go for another two. And I'll have to try and stay away from the other Knights and their horses!!

And why was that underlined? I don't understand Blogger sometimes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I suppose it takes all types


Sometimes people boggle me. I often visit AAR - I love their site for the interesting topics, the reviews, the message boards, and while at times I may disagree with some of what I read, there is no question the staff and visitors do and say what they do for the love of romance and it was there that I first found my 'people'. Where I think of blogging as small gatherings of good friends, I think of AAR as a 'neighbourhood party' kind of place.

And I suppose with every neighbourhood party, you are going to get one of your rude and nasty neighbour types. I just happened to see that one of the rudest, nastiest neighbourhood types dropped by to start an interesting topic - looking for romance books that don't have a HEA. Well I think the vast majority of us hold the belief that if there is no HEA, it isn't a romance book; a romantic book perhaps, but not a romance. Apparently the rude neighbour didn't like that she wasn't getting what she wanted and left this comment:

I 'closed' this thread because I wasn't really getting any suggestions like I had asked for. Instead I was getting five out of eight people telling me that you can't have a romance novel without the HEA. I DID NOT ask anyone what their definition of a romance book was or any of the other crap I got. I simply asked for suggestions. Nothing more. If no one had any suggestions then there was no reason for them to reply.

I closed the topic and someone from AAR took it upon herself to reopen it AND send me a private message. I'm really irritated with that.

As you can see, what was a topic about wanting suggestions for romances without a HEA has turned into all of you giving your opinions on something that was NEVER asked for.


I think she just won the 'rudest most nastiest comment' award that I've ever seen there. What really got me is that it isn't her site. If you follow the thread, there are some interesting replies. And for this person to take this attitude makes me want to bitch slap her. As one of the commenter's replied "It's an open discussion forum."

After reading her nasty comment, to me it's not then a surprise she's looking for books that don't have the HEA. As I said, Friday I was in a snarly mood most of the day, but still I wouldn't do the kind of thing this person did - at someone else's 'place'.

Am I the only one that feels this way - that when visiting someone's blog or message board it's just not 'the thing' to be nasty? Disagree sure - that's what makes for interesting discussion, but to take it to this extent? I just don't get it.

I loathe the phrase "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all", loathe it with a passion after being raised on it. But there is taking that and going too far in the other direction. And I think this person just did that.


*~*~*~*

And an update on the battle of wills going on in the house

Destructo Cat: 27
Brent: 0

Already this morning Brent's brought her up 4 times

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ponderings


How Much does your mood affect your reading??

I was in a bad mood today - a very bad mood. Most people don't notice when I'm in one 'cause I try not to take it out on others and I'm still friendly on the outside, but I'm real snarly on the inside. And when I am in a bad mood, I tend to get quieter. Of course when shyness strikes, the same thing happens so sometimes one can't tell the difference. Anyway - the point of this pondering. I'm reading a book that's just not thrilling me, but it's not a DNF so that's a good thing. But I started reading at lunch, and combined with my bad mood, I began really disliking the book. Both the hero and heroine started driving me barmy. This didn't really start bothering me until today. But I realized my mood had a lot to do with my sudden real dislike for the book.


*~*~*~*~*


Traffic

One of the things responsible for my bad mood is the stupid city I live in and many of it's drivers. Summer is the time for roadwork. I think we all understand this. There are two ways I can get to work. One is a bit shorter distance, but there are a lot of lights and things. The other way is a bit longer, but the speed limit is higher and there are less lights. The city, in it's infamous wisdom, decided to do major road work on BOTH routes. These are both major roads. So no matter which way I go, I'm going to run into traffic jams. Plus, this means I have to leave earlier for work for probably the next two months. Why did they have to do them BOTH at the same time???? Couldn't they have finished one before starting the other?

And along with this - the fastest route goes from two lanes both ways down to one lane each way. And that causes major problems when traffic in one lane has to merge. There is a sign long before you get there announcing this. I get into the open lane long before they merge, but there are a lot of drivers who travel down the lane that is closed. I sit and wait my turn, but these other drivers go zooming down, expecting to be let in at the last minute. Normally when there is a lot of traffic and someone is trying to turn into the lane, I will stop and let them. But not in this case! I travel as close as I can to the car ahead of me so no last minute cars can get in ahead of me. Let them wait just like I do!


*~*~*~*~*

World Cup Soccer

The World Cup is here and it's kind of odd being Canadian. You see - Canada sucks at soccer at the world level and didn't qualify.
It's amazing to me how wide spread the appeal of soccer is, it truly is a world game and we don't have any stake in it at all. I see teams like North Korea for Pete's sake and no Canadian team. There are teams from Africa, South America, North America, Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Asia but no Canadian team. Yet you drive by any park in the summer and there are A LOT of kids playing in soccer leagues.

I'm keeping track of who is winning and who is losing - I'm excited for example for Rosario that Uruguay is doing so well. And I was surprised to see the US and England tie. And Switzerland beat France - that was a real shock. I've tried watching it though and well, at the expense of offending so many around the world, I find it 'um' kind of boring. The scores are generally very low, and the fields are so large that most shots are from quite a distance. There are so many hot soccer (or football) players and we don't get to see that many close up shots. And there sure is a lot of running. Maybe I'm just too used to hockey where it's fast paced and the cameras are much closer to the action. But, it's still fun to follow - even if I don't watch the games.


*~*~*~*~*


The Battle of Wills

If I never see plywood again I'll be a happy camper. My oldest son has moved in. He has a cat. I have 2 cats. But he refuses to let my cats meet his cat. He thinks his cat might pick up some of Destructo Cat's bad habits, but his cat is 10 years old and I don't think that's going to happen. So in order to keep my cats from interacting with his cats, he's putting up plywood all over the house. His room is downstairs and he built a plywood door at the bottom of the stairs. Then he keeps putting plywood at the top of the back stairs where the stairs to the basement. I have a 'pocket' door between the kitchen and the living room and he closes it and then puts plywood across it - all this in an attempt to keep Destructo from 'bothering' his cat. Although most annoying to step over all this plywood, I am amused. You see - nothing can stop Destructo!! She's figured out to open the 'pocket' door with her little paws. She's figured out how to knock down the plywood and she heads down the stairs to sit at the bottom of the stairs where she is stumped by his plywood door. But his cat knows she's there and starts hissing. I was watching TV the other night and it was quite amusing. I know from experience it's useless trying to stop Destructo from doing what she wants to do. I call her that for a reason! Brent hasn't quite realized this yet. Every 5 minutes she got through the door, knocked over the plywood and made herself downstairs whereupon Brent picked her up, gently threw her back in the living room and closed the door, put up the plywood and huffed downstairs. Five minutes later the same thing happened again. The two of them kept this up all night long and I was very hard pressed not to burst out laughing. Now that put me in a good mood!

Destructo - 15, Brent 0

Monday, June 14, 2010

Recent Read

Kismet by Monica Burns

Why this one: Well (you can always tell I'm going to get 'wordy' when I start out with well) it's a funny story (oftentimes only to me). I was doing some blog hopping and was at Vamp Fan Girl's blog when I saw a book on the side, that looked kind of interesting - Assassin's Heart by Monica Burns. I used my investigative skills and checked it out at Chapters and discovered it was the second in a new series and the first book, Assassin's Heart came out June 12!! 'Hmmmmm,' I thought, 'I wonder if it's available as an ebook?'
It didn't look like it was, but Kismet was and the price was cheaper than in print and I vaguely remembered some good reviews when it first came out. The main reason I didn't get it then was shallow - the cover was just so darned orangy-yellow. But with ebooks only being in shades of black, white and gray, I knew the colour wouldn't be distracting. And wonder of wonders, I also discovered that Chapters does have Assassin's Heart as an ebook. I've discovered that they don't always advertise that fact. And of course since I'm on a roll with ordering ebooks I also picked Assassin's Honor up too.

When I read the blurb for Kisment, I was hooked (see - told you I get wordy at times!) and the moral of the whole story is I do pay attention to books I see on different blogs.

Steam Level: This takes place in a desert and not only the temperature is hot!

Blurb:
It was a gamble she was born to make…

Raised in a brothel at a young age, Allegra Synnford quickly learned that survival meant taking charge of her destiny. Now, a renowned courtesan skilled in the pleasures of the flesh, she chooses her lovers carefully—vowing never to be vulnerable to any one man. Until a mesmerizing Sheikh strips that control from her…

With a man who wasn’t used to losing.

Sheikh Shaheen of the Amazigh has been hiding from his past for a long time, but not enough to forget how another courtesan made him abandon his life as the Viscount Newcastle. It’s why the yearnings this dangerous temptress ignites within him are so troubling. Worse, thoughts of Allegra pervade every fantasy, threatening to undermine his cover. With old enemies circling, experience tells him he must resist her charms at all cost. In fact, he’s betting on it. That’s a risky wager when it comes to a woman of pleasure. But Allegra has her own reasons for playing games…with a man who can’t afford to lose.

What happens between them is Kismet…



My Thoughts: Everything about this book screamed unusual; the setting, the heroine's occupation, a hero in hiding, so it was a given once I got past the cover that this one would be high up on my 'gotta read it' list. And I'm ever so glad that I did as I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Allegra, the heroine, had a horrid young life. She was sold to a brothel by her mother who also sold her older sister into the same kind of life. She was rescued from this life by a 'patron' when she became his mistress. And Allegra is not a 'fake' mistress. She's the real deal. After her first 'patron' died, she was determined to rule her own life and she was the one who would be choosing her protectors. She became what they needed, not only skilled in the art of seduction, but also offered her intelligence. She travelled to Marrakesh to attend a friends wedding and to delay the inevitable task of telling her young niece what she really does for a living. She first notices the hero, Shaheen when she tries to buy an extraordinary horse from him. Shaheen notices her, but when he finds out her true occupation, he leaps to conclusions about her based on a tragic experience that led to his self-imposed banishment to Morocco. But still he is drawn to her in ways he doesn't like. And he is not the only one drawn to her. Nassar, the brutal and vicious brother of the Sheik he works for, kidnaps Allegra and it is Shaheen that comes to her rescue.

Allegra is everything admirable in a heroine. She is strong and independent, yet shows flashes of vulnerability. She has had a tough life, but has become her own person and won't let anyone tell her what to do. Although deeply attracted to Shaheen, she is determined to resist him and does a pretty good job through-out much of the book, knowing that he can have power over her she's not willing to give.

Shaheen is also pretty darn yummy. An Englishman by birth, he was willing to die because of the guilt he felt over an incident in his past. But now he has made a name for himself and a new life and family in Morocco. He has brokered many a treaty between warring tribal Sheiks and united them together. When a relative shows up looking for him, he refuses to let Allegra go after rescuing her, believing that all the work he has done will be for naught. I had some issues with him for being a bit too mired in the wrong he was done by a former courtesan. While he soon realizes that Allegra is nothing like his former paramour, at times he does seem to forget and acts accordingly - treating Allegra most unfairly. Still, overall, he makes for a good alpha type hero who suffers ghosts of his own. And we do get that grovel at the end.

The way the author has written the setting is excellent. Most of the book takes place in either Marakesh or in tribal camps and the atmosphere is excellent. When reading this book, the author made me really feel like I was there. I have a CD/DVD by Loreena McKennit, Live from Alhambra and dang but I wished I thought to put it on while reading this book! I think it would have really enhanced the reading experience. But not to worry, she has some other books I plan on getting. There are fewer things finer than discovering a new author!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5


~*~*~*~*~*~

And following yesterday's post about how much fun it is sharing books with my coworkers, a couple of things happened today. Joan (we shall call her Joan), the one just starting out the In Death books, came up to me and said she just wasn't enjoying her book club book and wanted me to bring in the next couple of In Death books instead. Her wish is my command *g*.

And just after that Wendy (we shall call her Wendy) came over to me. She is the one reading Sugar Daddy and then Blue Eyed Devil. She told me she normally goes to bed around 10:00 but she stayed up to 1:00 am as she just couldn't put Sugar Daddy down.

*****Warning - there be spoilers ahead so beware*****






She said that Liberty better end up with Hardy and it better not be a sad ending or she was going to be some upset. Hmmmm (I think hmmm quite often) - dilema!! So I told her this was ME, the romance reading queen of the office. Would I give her a book that didn't have a happy ending?????

After she left, mollified, to go back to her desk, I leaned over to Megan (we will call her Megan) the girl who sits next to me and whispered, "I didn't have the heart to tell her that it doesn't end the way she's hoping"
Hopefully, the coworker I shall call Wendy will forgive me.

I'm getting them - oh yes I am!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

And another one bites the dust!

Thanks to the power of Twitter and with Kwana's (who just celebrated a birthday) tweet, I found us Crusaders another one to add to the Crusade. Maria has just discovered the love that is North and South and Richard Armitage. In Celebration, rather than another video, I thought I'd share my June calendar pic. My team laughed and oohed and aahed when I turned to this months calendar picture.



Sharing the Love


One of the great things about coming out of the romance reader closet full throttle is getting coworkers curious to see what I'm reading. A lot of them are readers and slowly but surely I'm getting them reading romance. Now this means lending out my books which is a big of a sticky wicket as I'm very possessive of them. But thank goodness my coworkers treat them with the respect they deserve.

I have about 5 or 6 reading the Stephanie Plum books and now have 2 reading the In Death books. And another team member is reading them too - but she found them on her own. It was great on Friday as the four of us were standing around chatting all about Eve and Roarke and the gang. None of them are as far along in the series as I am and one is only on book Immortal in Death but so far she's loving them. She was saying she had to reluctantly put it down when she finishes to read a book for her book reading group.

I also have a coworker interested in Contemporary books. I gave her In The Midnight Rain by Ruth Wind to read and she loved it. Now she's reading Sugar Daddy and Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas. I haven't heard how she's enjoying them yet as I just brought them in for her last week. But I expect she will love them too. She reads Danielle Steel so I'm trying to (and not to offend any Danielle Steel fans) bring up her romance level.

Another coworker just finished Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare and she loved it. I think she was somewhat discombobulated at the steam level of this one - but she does want more.

I'm hoping that with time and experience, some of them will be open to trying some of the other genres. After SO MANY years of keeping my love of romance to myself, and then wonderfully with the online romance community, it's wonderful to be able to talk in person with others about great books. Of course I do when I meet fellow romance lovers in person at different gatherings, but to sit and discuss the growth of Eve Dallas as a person and a woman, or the feasibility of droids and how great it would be to have auto chefs at WORK is a lovely thing.


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I don't often pimp blog contests but I have to for this one!! Stacy of Stacy's Place on Earth has a contest going to win copies of Joss Ware's Envy series. Now I'm not planning on entering as I already have these books. But I strongly urge you to pop on over and enter. Beyond the Night, Embrace the Night Eternal and Abandon the Night are awesome reads and since the title of this post is Sharing the Love and Stacy is Sharing the Love of the Envy series, I say hop on over and see if you can win them!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Recent Read

Sugar Creek by Toni Blake

Why this one: I've really enjoyed the last few books by Toni Blake and have been looking forward to this one. When I saw it available cheaper at Chapters as an ebook, and I could buy it at 6:30 in the morning - while not even dressed yet, well I was sold!!

Steam Level: Yowzers!!! Watch out - this one can burn you

Blurb: Rachel Farris returned to her childhood home with one mission in mind: get Mike Romo out of her family’s apple orchard business and out of their lives. But hard-nosed and totally hot Mike, who happens to be the law in Destiny, is convinced the Farris clan stole the land from his family fifty years ago and he’s not backing down. Even when shapely trouble shows up in a pair of designer blue jeans. However, neither the hunky cop nor the sexy prodigal hometown girl can anticipate the electricity that heats things up whenever they’re together—adding new sizzle to an ongoing feud that’s raged for generations, and soon putting both their hearts at risk.

My Thoughts: I've read on message boards that a lot of readers are turned off by the trope of the big city girl returning to her small town and ending up giving her big city life up for love. But I've never minded that theme. But for those who don't like it, this may not be the book for you. The heroine Rachel, returns to her small town home of Destiny to help out her grandmother with her apple orchard, though she's a bit resentful that she has to take a leave from her high powered job as an add exec at a critical time. But family is family and Rachel is nothing if not an enabler to her less than successful relatives, although Edna, her grandmother mostly just wants her grand daughter home for a spell.

Rachel Farris breezes into town, but along the way she is clocked speeding by hunky, yet surly cop Mike Romo. The Romo's and the Farris's have a history of feuding and she is less than impressed by this Romo, whom she likes to call Romeo to annoy him. But despite the animosity the two feel for each other, there are some major sparks going on between them and when they end up locked in a concession booth, the sparks turn into a major bonfire and what a hawt bonfire that turns out to be.

Rachel starts out a bit brittle, disliking the fact that she's back in the small town she was so anxious to get out of years ago. But little by little, we get to see her more tender side. As she slowly reconnects with old friends and reestablishes a relationship with her really kewl grandmother, she slowly begins to see that a small town isn't as bad as she thought it would be. And of course there is the steamy relationship that is slowly building with Mike.

Mike is a rough, tough, guys kind of guy. But underneath, he is still suffering from a tragedy in his past that changed his life and destroyed his family. Because of that, he has to be in control at all times and is flummoxed by his growing feelings for Rachel. He's always been a love 'em and leave 'em kind of girl, but he can't seem to leave Rachel. When he finally starts letting his vulnerabilities show, he's just delicious.

I really enjoyed this book. There were a few things that I found a bit tedious - Rachel's continuing insistence that it was 'just sex' between her and Mike and her denial until close to the end that she had any warmer feelings for him. But that was a small issue. And one of the real strengths of this book was the developing relationship between Rachel and Edna. Edna is a real hoot. She's who I want to be when I get old. Slowly, piece by piece, she tells Rachel the origin of the feud between the two families and her relationship with Mike's grandfather.

This may sound odd, but I really loved the apple picking scenes too. When the boys were small we used to take them apple picking every year and reading these scenes brought back those memories - I could almost taste the apples fresh off the trees. The apples you get in stores can't even begin to compare. And I also enjoyed how the author captured the warmth of small towns with all their quirky little festivals and close knit atmosphere.

I found this to be another excellent book and for those who love a good contemporary, this is one I think you will enjoy.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Recent Read

Haunting Beauty by Erin Quinn

Why this one: I received an ARC of Haunting Warrior and started reading it. But I wasn't far into it when I realized it would probably be better if I read Haunting Beauty first. And since this one happened to be available as an ebook, I thought I'd try reading this one as my first ebook reading experience.

Steam Level: While not a lot of love scenes, the ones they had were nice and toasty warm

Blurb: Danni always believed she was an abandoned child. Then the seductive Sean Ballogh appears out of nowhere with a startling story challenging everything Danni thought was true. He claims that Danni's family has been searching for her ever since she disappeared twenty years ago. He's come to bring her home to Ireland. Now, Danni must rewrite history to save her family, to fight a force more evil than she ever imagined, and to reunite herself with the man she was destined for-or risk living forever in time as nothing more than an ethereal memory, a tragic and haunting beauty.

My Thoughts: This book was a very unusual read. I can't say too much about it, as to give any kind of summary would mean giving out spoilers. So I think this review will be shorter than many and concentrate more on my feelings of the book.

First off, it's not really a romance book as I define one in my head. I don't know how to express that in words, except to say I know romance when I read it. But this was definitely romantic, very very romantic. And just because it's not your 'traditional' romance, doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I did, very much so. What I did find it to be was haunting and very poignant.

I may have got a bit impatient at times with Danni, the heroine, with her insistence that Sean tell her everything yet at the same time keeping many of her secrets from him. But Sean is the kind of hero that breaks your heart. I found myself very emotionally involved in his tragic history.

Ms. Quinn has an amazing talent for bringing you into the story and feeling what the characters themselves undergo and suffer. As a 'emotional' type reader, the story really drew me in and made me 'feel' the emotions the hero and heroine felt.

It's hard to classify this book. It could be considered a time travel. It could be considered a ghost story or it could be considered a paranormal. It has elements of all this in it.

But what it is is a book that will stay with you long after you read the last page. And don't let me scare anyone thinking about reading this book. It does have a HEA, not a traditional one mind you, but you will have to read it yourself to see what I mean.

Grading this one is very difficult. For it's originality it gets quite a high grade. For Sean, the hero it gets the highest. But my issues with Danni downgrade it a bit. And there were aspects of the book I found a bit confusing. I can't say what for fear of giving away too much.

Now I'm very much looking forward to the next book in this series. I'm glad I read Haunting Beauty first and as soon as I'm ready to be put through an emotional wringer again, I'll return to Haunting Warrior.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Buying up a storm

Boy, when I finally got into the e-reader field, I didn't do things lightly. Being the obsessive compulsive type - that's why I avoid horse racing, slot machines which are legal in Ontario now, lottery tickets and other various forms of gambling - I know I have the kind of personality that could get hooked real bad and real quick - I did a cannonball leap into e-books!

And once I discovered how easy it is to download from Chapters - well, I scare me!! As one who formerly said never to ereading, I seem to have grabbed hold with both hands, though I only need one to hold it.

One of the neat things I discovered is I can get some Harlequin Temptations once more!! And I discovered a new author. Well, I'd kind of read a couple of her books in the past but she wasn't really on my radar. But Chapters has some free ebooks and one that looked interesting was Slow Hands by Leslie Kelly. It was free, it was a quick read and it was good. So good I went looking for other books I could download and that's when I found the Temptation books. Boy do I miss that line! So I also got Night Whispers, Wickedly Hot and Her Last Temptation. So far I've read Her Last Temptation and I quite enjoyed it too!


And for when I get tired of these books, and feel the need for something different, I downloaded The Lost Enchantress by Patricia Coughlin. I've been eyeing this one for a while, but the price was a bit too high. But it's much lower on an ebook. The same with The Treasure Keeper by Shana Abe!



Or if I'm not in the mood, I now have Hotter After Midnight by Cynthia Eden! Or say I'm feeling like a nice good RS. All I have to do is turn on my Kobo and there I have it!






And just this morning, while still in my ratty old, yet very comfy bath robe, I discovered that I could instantly get Sugar Creek by Toni Blake, a book I've been waiting for a while for now! I was checking out other books by her and discovered a small novella type book, You Send Me, only available as an ebook, which of course I got, at $2.59, who could I not. It was then I discovered Sugar Creek as an ebook. It's not on the main page as that format.



I think I must stop though. This is just too easy! when I can buy a book at 6:30 am - in my bathrobe, I must learn control.

There are still a few glitches. I downloaded Calibre and while that helped, not all the kinks are worked out yet. But at least I can read the two other books I ordered not from Chapters. When all the bugs are worked out - then I REALLY need to watch out. I already have a cart waiting for me.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Sometimes I kill me


I have a bit of a reputation at work for sending rather......... unusual....... work emails. Some coworkers like them, other people I'm sure think them very odd.

In my particular job, I have to send a lot of faxes and we have to stamp anything we fax with a fax stamp and date stamp. It can get annoying doing both so not long ago we had a special stamp done just for our department that dates it and marks it faxed at the same time - in one fell STAMP!! It went missing last Friday, and this is the email I sent - along with picture.




BOLO!!
Our dear coworker – Faxendate Stamp – is missing!!! We miss him and I think he probably misses us too, though he did wander away. If you have seen him, can you bring him back to his home next to the fax machine? He is unique, one of a kind!!
In the meantime we are making due with his cousins Fax Stamp and Date Stamp, but it just isn’t the same without our own Faxendate. He seems to have vanished on Friday afternoon. I notice his absence particularly this week. He does know how to save time!


Well, finally, a week later, something occurred to me. So I looked and found it. So I sent a follow-up email


Update
Faxendate came back!! Well, at least we found the little rascal. I think he must have been boogeying and partying too hearty and somehow jumped off his table and landed behind the fax machine. Probably that break dance he attempted. I know the whole team was worrying about him and hoping he would once more be reunited with his cousins Date Stamp and Fax Stamp – and then the other one we don’t speak of often, Urgent Stamp. Well, we can cease our worrying. Now, we just need to keep him out of the ‘ink’ on the weekends!





~*~*~ And in other news ~*~*~


And I have a Kobo update!! I've been working on it and managed to drop and drag the PDF books over to the Kobo - with a couple of glitches! It seems I can't change the font size like I can on the other book. And the font is teeny, tiny - so much so that it's too small to read. It does allow me to increase the size of the page if not the font, but when I do that, it moves the page to the right so that I can't read it all *sigh*

And I've found a few drawback. I'm an unrepentant enreader. I don't like that I am, but it's a habit I haven't been able to break and gave up trying. But with the Kobo, I don't think I can do that; not unless I want to click on hundreds of pages! The book I'm reading is very unusual and I want to see how it ends - NOW - but I can't! Also I'm curious about something that I think happened a few chapters back, but again, it's not as easy to flip back in an ereader as it is in a print book.

And I found out I still have to carry at least one paper book with me - in case the battery dies in the ereader and I can't turn it on at lunch when I have some reading time. That happened to me yesterday but luckily I had a back-up print book to get me through the lunch hour.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Adventures with an E Reader



I am afraid of small electrical devices. I am!! My cell phone is 4 years old and I don't know if it has texting capabilities. It doesn't matter - I don't plan on texting. I have a couple of devices to plug an IPod into. But they shall remain podless as I fear IPods. So as little as six months ago, I made a promise to myself I would never be an e-reader. But never make promises to yourself as you are likely to break them.

I mentioned in previous posts that I decided on, ordered and picked up a Kobo. I picked it up last Friday. On Sunday I overcame my fear enough to take it out of the box. And the next big step was last night when I decided to give 'er a go and get it up and running. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy. So them came the next test; ordering a book from Chapters.

I don't know what I did, or how I did it, but IT WORKED! With tons of books to choose from, I decided to go with Haunting Beauty by Erin Quinn. I had just started reading Haunting Warrior, the second book in the series. I soon realized it might be best to read the first book before going any further and voila, my first ereader book ever was chosen.

With that success behind me, I decided to go another step further and order books from an epublisher since the reason I went with a Kobo was to have the ability to order outside the box books that aren't always as easy to find with the NY publishers. I checked out a couple of sites and ended up at Liquid Silver where I downloaded a couple of books.

I went with A Hearing Heart by Bonnie Dee. I've read a few of her books and really enjoyed them and this one sounded intriguing. I read a review for it somewhere - can't remember where now - and the price was right. And it's a Western!!

Oh! Oh! I remember now. Aztec Lady did a review for this one on Karen's blog. Or then again, maybe it was Jayne's review at DA.



And for my third choice, Containment by Lucinda Thorne. It's a SciFi/Futuristic and I'm all over them and the story sounds interesting. I shiver at the thought of all the SciFi/Futuristics they have with E Publishers.

However, this is where I ran into a "glitch". I downloaded them in PDF format to my laptop, plugged in the Kobo and then was stuck. I had heard that it's a simple matter of dragging and dropping. The dragging part was easy, but the dropping - not so much. I couldn't figure out where to drop!! I have Kobo files but it wouldn't let me drop and I'm not sure whether the Kobo files were on the Kobo itself or on the part that was loaded on the computer when I set it up. Where ever it was, it wasn't on the Kobo. Nath is the only one I know with a Kobo and after a flurry of emails back and forth, we were both confused. And by that time, my brain had just about shut down for the night for thinking and concentrating. I know it's probably a simple matter, and once I get it figured out, the world of ebooks will be my oyster. But for the moment, I'm stymied.

Now for using it for reading. I like it!! I really like it! I'm anal about keeping my books in good shape and if a book has words going to the real inside of a book, it can drive me nuts trying to read it without doing some kind of spine bending. I really like that you can read it one handed or no handed; prop it against something and all you need is a finger to hit the next page button. And another feature I didn't realize it had until I started reading was when you turn it off and then back on, it automatically goes to where you left off reading. Kewl.

So so far, so almost good