Monday, August 30, 2010

Recent Read

Sunrise over Texas by MJ Fredrick

Publisher: Carina Press

Genre: Western

Why this one: Have you ever just kind of surfed the net and notice a book that made you sit up and take notice? Silly question, of course you have. We all have and that's why our TBR piles are so large. Anyway, I was on Twitter not long ago and Jane tweeted about her page of upcoming books for September. I noticed one in particular. As it was a historical Western, I sat up and took notice. When I clicked on the cover, I really took notice. Long story short, I just finished it the other day.

Steam Level: Yep, it has steam

Blurb: Texas Frontier, 1826 Kit Barclay followed her husband into the wilds of Texas only to be widowed. Stranded with her mother- and sister-in-law to care for, with no hope of rescue before winter sets in, Kit has only one goal: survival. So when a lone horseman appears on the horizon, and then falls from his mount in fever, Kit must weigh the safety of her family against offering aid and shelter to the handsome stranger. Trace Watson has lost everything that ever mattered to him. Trying to forget, he heads to the frontier colony of San Felipe, not caring if he lives or dies. But when he wakes to discover he's being nursed back to health by a brave young widow, he vows to repay her kindness by guiding the three women back to civilization, no matter what the cost. Soon, Kit and Trace are fighting the elements, Indian attacks and outlaws-as well as feelings they both thought were long buried...

My Thoughts: They say good things come in small packages and this is a perfect example! Although not that long a book, it's about the size of a Harlequin Historical, the author really wrote a emotional and poignant story about two people who have both suffered great loss, but managed to find love again.

Kit Barclay and her mother-in-law and sister-in-law have been practically abandoned. With winter approaching, her mother and sister in law next to useless, supplies running low and Indians making semi-regular attacks on the fort, things are looking pretty grim when they see a lone man riding up to the fort before falling. Kit isn't sure what to think. She can't leave him there to die, but she's also not very trusting of strangers. But despite her reservations, she does rescue him though she keeps in a separate part of the fort so he won't realize how alone they really are and that there are two other women.

The stranger is Trace Watson, a man trying to run away from his own tragedy. He's ill and Kit nurses him back to health. Slowly he becomes an oasis in her dessert of stress and though both Kit and Trace have recently lost loved ones, they come to care deeply for each other. When Trace is strong enough, he realizes that he needs to take the women to civilization.

As I said, despite not quite being a full length novel, this one certainly does read like one. Both Kit and Trace are strong characters that are very well developed. As are the secondary characters of Agnes, Kit's disapproving mother-in-law at what she perceives as a betrayal of her son on Kit's part over her developing feelings for Trace and Mary, her rather shallow sister-in-law. The author does very well in handling their attraction to each other despite the feelings of guilt each feels.

The only downside is what happens near the end of the story. I've seen this quite often in romance and it's a storyline I don't really care for. But other than that, I was very impressed with this good book in a small package. It's a September release and I have not qualms about recommending it to those like me, who enjoy a good emotional Western read.

Grade: 4.50 out of 5

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Recent Read

Shadows at Midnight by Elizabeth Jennings

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Why this one: She is also Lisa Marie Rice and I love Lisa Marie's books. I'd read Pursuit before this one (I'd had it my TBR pile but wasn't aware until recently that she and LMR were one and the same) and I enjoyed it so I wanted to read this one.

Steam Level: Certainly worked for me! While not a steamy as her alter ego, still this one was nice and toasty.

Blurb: (slightly altered from Barnes and Noble)
Shadows at Midnight starts with a literal bang: gunfire and explosions outside an American embassy in a fictional West African country. Defense analyst Claire Day and Marine Daniel Weston are nearly killed when suspiciously well-armed rebels attack. A year later, Claire has emerged from a three-month coma with no clear memory of the bombing, only nightmares with a brown-haired man protecting her. When she sees Dan on TV, she flies to Washington, D.C., to see if he can help with her lost memory. Dan thought she died in the attack, and he's thrilled this fantastic woman is alive. But someone is out to silence any memories she may have of the bombing, and soon they're facing danger together again.

My Thoughts: Shadows at Midnight was a real page turner, or rather a real hit the little right side button as the case may be since I got this one as an eBook. I think this is the fastest I've clicked since I got my Kobo. I was late for work; I was late getting back from break; I was late getting back from lunch and the minute I left at the end of the day, I had to sit outside on the bench reading since I couldn't wait long enough to get home to read it.

First off, it has the kind of hero I adore, the heroes that are totally gone for the heroine. And this was certainly the case with Daniel Weston. He caught a glimpse of Claire Day when she was working in the embassy in Makongo, a fictional West African country where she worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency and wheeled and dealed until he got himself assigned to the same location. He had yet to talk to her until one Thanksgiving when they were the only two people left at the embassy when it came under attack by rebel forces. Daniel is seriously injured and Claire is killed in a bombing - or so he believes until she shows up over a year later, not the same person at all that he remembered.

Daniel is so gone for Claire that he deeply mourned the whole time he thought she was dead, mourned to the point where he lost all interest in sex with anyone else. You just gotta love a hero like that! Due to his injuries, he's forced to resign from the army and has started his own successful private detective agency in Washington DC, but he still feels responsible for Claire's death.

Things haven't gone so well for Claire either. She was in a coma after the explosion and is unable to remember anything of what happened. On top of that she is suffering from PTSD and has become a real recluse without any kind of life to look forward to. When she watches a news story where Daniel has risked his own life to save a mother and her children and thinks she recognizes him, on the spur of the moment, she takes a big risk to go see him, hoping he might be able to fill in the blanks of missing memories.

As you can imagine, Daniel is delighted to see the Claire didn't die in the explosion and he is determined not to let her out of his sight. It soon becomes apparent that someone is after Claire and as they try and figure out who wants her dead and why, they grow closer and closer.

Daniel makes for a great hero. He feels unworthy of her for all kinds of reasons. He came from a nasty childhood, he figures she could never feel anything for a guy who is 'just a soldier' when she could get someone much better and he feels such regret that she was injured so badly on his watch. But this doesn't keep him from being so adorable protective. He truly respects her and at no time does he think he knows better than her. While he disagrees with some of the things she wants to do, he thinks things through and allows her to do things her way.

And Claire also makes for a great heroine. She starts out a real mess, she can't eat, she can't sleep, she's cut off from any real connection with anyone, but as time goes on and she and Daniel begin to figure things out, she grows and gains strength and slowly becomes the intelligent and determined person she used to be.

Together Claire and Daniel make a great team. They each have their own talents and each respect the others gifts. It would have been so easy for the author to make Daniel out as this big macho marine who knew better, but she didn't do that. As I said, I found myself racing through this book, wanting to find out what would happen next.

The only small, small thing that kept this from being a 5 out of 5 book was the slightly over the top villain.

I love her writing as Lisa Marie Rice and now I love her writing as Elizabeth Jennings. Good thing I have her new LMR book on the TBR pile - heh, heh, heh!

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Great Book Alert!!

There was the day, a number of years ago now, that a new release by author Justine Davis was cause for celebration. She was one of my first author gloms. I was checking out the Harlequin web site to see what I could/might want to buy when I saw one of my very favourite of her older series book being reissued!! My original copy is old and tattered from being read so often so I immediately added this one to my cart.

And then I decided I simply had to share this news with others who may not have read her earlier books.

Original Cover (the one I have)

One Last Chance

New Cover (The one I will have!)

Back of the Book

Chance Buckner: A tough-as-nails undercover cop dangerously close to the edge.

Shea Austin: A sultry nightclub singer with a big heart and shady connections.

Long ago, undercover narcotics cop Chance Buckner paid the ultimate price for his work. Now there was nothing inside of him but slow-boiling rage. His anger would help him destroy the drug dealer he was after…and keep him from falling for Shea Austin, whose voice threatened to heal his soul. And even if she was guilty as sin, Chance would protect her. Because he knew what could happen to delicate songbirds….

This one was a 5 out of 5 book at the time though it's been a few years since I've read it. But I say don't miss this goldie oldie!! And it's only $3.99 if you get it at their site.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Recent Reads

These next two reviews are brought to you care of Wendy.

A Not So Secret Past by Beth Andrews

Why this one: While I missed the review Wendy originally did of this book, I couldn’t miss her excitement that Beth Andrews won a RITA for it. When I did the research and discovered the hero had been in prison for either a) a crime he didn’t commit or b) a crime he committed but in defense of someone who couldn’t defend themselves, I knew this one would be on my Very Short List of books to read. I LOVE this trope and some of my favourite books have this theme. So lickety split I checked and it was available as an eBook.

Not to mention that having discovered the Harlequin Super Romance Line, I’ve read some real gems

Steam Level: Just fine for me!!

Blurb: Nina Carlson knows all about Dillon Ward. Knows he served time in prison. Knows nobody put out the welcome mat when he moved to Serenity Springs. But that doesn’t stop her from renting him a place to live. And when someone crashes into her bakery, he’s just the man to fix the damage.

And Nina isn’t the only one who thinks Dillon’s the perfect man for the job: her two kids have taken a shine to him. Still, she can’t afford to get close to Dillon, even if he is tempting her to toss out

her good-girl shoes. Because it’s not that she doesn’t trust him. It’s that she doesn’t trust herself

My Thoughts: Does this sound yummy or what!?! And Dillon makes for a very scrumptious hero indeed. He’s been out of prison for a while now, living in the apartment over the bakery owned by Nina, our heroine. While he had gone to prison, he fell in the second category – he was defending his younger sister who he had almost raised himself. But still the townspeople don’t particularly care to have an ex-con living amongst them, including Nina. She’s about to toss him out on his kiester after listening to her parents and bossy jerk of an ex. And Dillon isn’t really surprised. He doesn’t expect any support from the townspeople, figuring they would just as soon see him run out on a rail. But while his relationship with his sister is rather strained, more on his end, still she’s family. So when Nina gives him the book, he’s ready to move on. That is until a tough teenager living in a foster home with a gigantic chip on his should crashes into Nina’s bakery and Dillon offers to stay and fix the damage

Nina is reluctant to say yes to the help, her family is opposed, but she does reluctantly agree. Dillon is slowly, and almost against his will drawn into the circle of family and friends around Nina. Her children like him and as penance, he has the young man who did the damage helping out too.

I really enjoyed this book. There’s no question the real draw was Dillon; he’s the kind of hero I adore, withdrawn, almost surly yet drawn to the heroine in spite of himself. As for Nina, well – she was a doormat. She let her father push her around. She let her ex-husband push her around. This can be very irritating, especially the ex-husband bit since he’d pushed her around even in the literal sense. But thankfully she grew a backbone during the story, although a couple of times I did get very irritated by her, when she didn’t stand up for Dillon, when I thought she should have. But I suppose old habits are hard to break and being a wimp that other wimps pick on, isn’t something that’s going to change overnight.

Overall, I was quite pleased with this book and now I have a new author to BOTLO for – one with more books about these people. I like that!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Parker’s Price by Ann Bruce

Why this one: Once again this one popped onto my radar when I read a review at Wendy’s. I didn’t have an ereader at the time, but it simmered in the back of my mind. Finally the chance to buy it came when I was trying to write out instructions on how to download books onto the Kobo from third party publishers like Carina Press and the best way to go about that was to do an actual download. See – justifying is so easy! Although Wendy’s review didn’t get the highest grade, I know Wendy’s a lot tougher than me and it sounded like something I’d enjoy reading

Steam Level: Oh man, for a shorter length story, this one was smokin’

Blurb: When Parker Quinn is forced to accept an outrageously high bid at a charity auction, she has no choice but to go out with the last man on earth she wants to spend time with. Dean Maxwell may be one of Manhattan's most eligible bachelors, but he's also the man who had an affair with her sister and abandoned her when she became pregnant with his child.

Dean doesn't know why Parker hates him so much, but he's determined to show Parker the type of man he really is. Whisking her away to a private island in the Bahamas for a sensual, sun-drenched week together, Dean leaves Parker's preconceptions shattered and her desires inflamed.

But even as their passion reaches irresistible heights, Parker has a decision to make. Can she allow herself to fall for the seductive magnate, or will family secrets and a dangerous ex tear them apart?

My Thoughts: When I read Wendy’s review, her main objection seemed to be that the heroine was alternately drawn to and repelled by the hero because she thought he had got her sister pregnant and then abandoned her. I agree with Wendy, that that was a bit squicky. It wasn’t until fairly late in the story, after Dean and Parker had become intimate that she finally breaks down and tells him why she has run so hot and cold. I have two younger sisters and to me that’s a big no no. You don’t sleep with someone your sister has slept with.


Damn but I love her writing. Although I thought Parker was wrong in what she did, keeping to herself what she thought Dean did, the story kept me fully engaged. And the love scenes – wowzers – very well written. I left a comment on Wendy’s review that I would probably love the hero and she was right. I did really think Dean was mighty fine. He really took charge of Parker, but in a good way, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Since he didn’t know what she seemed to have against him, he didn’t know why she was holding him off, but he was very good at accepting and respecting her boundaries, even if she did seem to run hot and cold.

In fact, I had no sooner finished this book, then I went searching for more books she’s written and I have two of them in my shopping cart at Ellora’s Cave just waiting to be purchased.

Grade: 4 out of 5

So here we go, two new authors with more books to find. Thanks Wendy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

And in other news

I'm a lean, mean keyboarding machine! I'm also up at Reader's Gab over at Access Romance today where I'm answering a question I've been asking myself for a while now.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SYTYCD Canada emails

My new position isn't nearly as busy as my last one which is allowing me to do the recaps of SYTYCD to my fellow coworkers. Here they are for Sunday and Monday night's shows.

From: J, Kristie
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2010 4:50 PM
Subject: SYTYCD Canada - Audition Night I


Well, as these are just the auditions there’s not a whole lot to say. They had some good dancers it looked like, along with some not so good ones. Thankfully they seemed to muffle Leah quite a bit which is a good thing. I’m still trying to figure out why Luther wears shades all the time – even in a darkened auditorium. It’s hard to really get to know him with sunglasses on and makes one think of that Corey Hart song – I Wear My Sunglasses at Night.

At this point I should probably tell you that it’s on again tonight and Tuesday and maybe Wednesday. Now just for this week, if you don’t watch them all, you will be pardoned. I’ll be watching so I’ll let you know if anything spectacular happens, or if Luther takes his sunglasses off.

One point of interest though – there was a girl from London who auditioned and they sent her to Choreography. For any of those rookies out there, choreography is a second chance to impress the judges. Blake, a former SYTYCD contestant on one of the US seasons and a judge on the Canadian version is also a choreographer and he develops these wickedly hard looking dance routines that those sent to choreography have to master and perform in a short amount of time. And I think the girl from London made it through. So if she makes it to the Top 20, we will have someone to route for. Unless of course there is another one who looks like Nic – then we would have 2.

So until tomorrow’s report – you SYTYCD Canada reporter signing out.

Kristie J


From: J, Kristie
Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 11:24 AM
Subject: SYTYCD Canada - Auditions - Night II


Well, first off I can answer that burning question. No, Luther did not take his sunglasses off. Another interesting thing I noted last night. Jean Marc’s hair seemed to have darkened considerably since the Toronto auditions. Unless the lighting was different, methinks Jean Marc may have dipped into the Grecian formula.

Another thing I noted, much as it pains me to say this, Leah Miller had a ‘cute’ moment or two last night. Not cute in a Cat Deely cute, but cute for Leah Miller. And they were very short lived, but there nevertheless. I don’t think it was enough to raise our hopes that she might be somewhat adequate this year, but still – better than ‘nails on a chalkboard’ annoying for the entire episode.

Something else that’s new this year. As well as the first and second place winners winning a new car, one lucky fan will also win a new car. Since I lost out on Nico, I think a new car would be an acceptable consolation prize. I’d still take Nic, but alas, he is lost to me.

So the first hour took place in Calgary. Nothing really stood out too much for me although there was one young guy who did a traditional First Nation dance and was quite good. They sent him to choreography and he made it through to the final round. I like seeing the different. There have been a couple of Bollywood dances too, though neither of the dancers made it through. But then there is tap – I really don’t care for tap. I’m not sure if the clickey noises the shoes make are supposed to have any kind of rhythm or not and they just seem to flail their arms about and tap dancers seem to often have strange expressions. This is a personal preference though.

So, after choreography and the dancers who made it through that, it was off to Halifax. The first couple up were ballroom dancers and they were very good. One thing I noticed was there were a lot of dancers from other parts of the country. I’m not quite sure why someone from Bolton Ontario would try out in Halifax instead of Toronto – not unless they decided to make a vacation of it. One ballet dancer (who ended up making it straight through) came from Ontario and the airlines managed to lose her ballet shoes – see, that wouldn’t have happened if she had stayed in Ontario and tried out there.

It’s at this point where honesty compels me to make a confession. Some of you may even want to fire me in fact. But I can only say I was seduced to the dark side of reality television and rather that watch the last 15 minutes of SYTYCD, I *head hanging in shame* watched the final 15 minutes of Dating in the Dark. Yes, I know, how could I?? My only excuse is I flipped to it during the commercials of SYTYCD and simply had to know if the two adorable but somewhat dorky people met on the balcony. He didn’t think she would show and then would be left heartbroken and rejected again all by himself. But – she did!! She did go to the balcony. But even more, I was curious what the other guy who had 2 women who favoured him, would do. You see (I know I’m the only one who watched this final 15 minutes of course – the rest of you were glued to SYTYCD) he was quite handsome and he had a kind of ‘connection’ with a real cute girl, but also a super model gorgeous girl fancied him too. It wasn’t until the end that he actually saw the two of them. So the tension was high as we waited to see if he would choose the really hot Maxim model chick or the cute girl he’d liked better when not having seen either.

It was rather interesting as hot Maxim model chick wanted to be judged on herself and not on her looks. But when there was more of a connection between cute guy and cute girl than cute guy and hot Maxim model chick, while not out and out telling him she was a cover model for Maxim, she clearly implied she was the better looking of the two. Yet, when she finally saw him in the final meeting, she didn’t think he was cute enough for her. If cute guy picked her, he was supposed to meet her in the music room and if he chose cute girl with whom he had a ‘connection’, he was to meet her on the balcony. Unbeknownst to him though, hot Maxim model chick left and wasn’t in the music room waiting. But cute girl was waiting on the balcony. It was the classic Archie/Betty/Veronica thing all over again.

And now, having outlined the scenario, perhaps you can see why I had to see who he picked; why I betrayed myself and even more importantly all of you, by abandoning SYTYCD Canada for trashy reality TV! So, I hope you will forgive me for the lapse.

I will do better tonight, I promise!

Kristie J

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

And it's Spam time again!!

It's been kind of sparse for good spam mail for a while, but I do have a few goodies to answer

Alyfoylez says: Rock hard and longer

To which I say: You betcha!! Party on duu-uude


jenner2 says: A breakthrough in male growth

To which I say: How very peculiar. It seems I sent an email to myself about male growth. I truly do not remember doing that. And what do I know. True, my sons were both rather small babies and both grew considerably taller than myself, but that hardly makes me expert enough to be sending emails to myself about it


aeodyos5158 says: Discover the secret to amazing nights here

To which I say: Where is here? I bet it's some tropical island somewhere. It's summer and I've used up my share of vacation days so far going to conferences, but if you remember to send this in the dead of winter, I just may be interested.


iefo2948 says: Re: our date tonight

To which I say: Wait a minute here!!!????!!!??? I had a date?? How could I have forgotten that I had a date? I know I seem to experience short term memory loss worse and worse every day, but a DATE isn't something I'm going to forget. Other than with friends and family, I haven't had a date in years. Alas, I'll never know where you were planning on taking me since I didn't respond. But I bet you were really emailing to cancel weren't you?


eawadobesi5798 says: Look good in any pants

To which I say: I wish!!!! There is no way I will EVER look good in low rise pants. You've hear of muffin tops? I'm afraid I would be a sponge cake - made in a Very Large bundt pan. So I'm just not going to open this one!


jenner2 says: 3 neat tricks to bag her

To which I say: OK - now I KNOW someone is messin' with my email account. There is not a chance in hell I would send an email on how to "bag" her. How degrading - as if 'her's' are some kind of animal to be hunted and brought down. I remember a year or so ago I went out with 'the girls' and was horrified at how much the bar scene had changed since I was young and single and looking. It felt like a meat market, so I'm surely not going to give advise on 'bagging' women!


dina kipkalya says: Hello;, This Message is Respectfully Yours!,

To which I say: Dina, my how polite you are. And you should get a polite answer. I deferentially decline to open your email since it went into my spam email. But I do appreciate your fine manners.


jenner2 says: Boost your ego today

To which I say: Again someone is stealing my email address. There are going to some people upset with me perhaps! Anyway - I don't think I really need to boost my ego. I think it's healthy enough without having to open spam. Well, except for my sponge cake top that is. I do have issues in that area.


Ali Mcgraw says: We help those people who are not used to waist their time in university. Get the job you deserve easily and without any effort

To which I say: Well Ali, I don't mean to sound elitist or snobbish or anything, but I don't really think it's a good idea that you are recommending people not go to university since by the looks of your spelling, grammar and peculiar tense changes, I'm not sure you even made it out of grammar school yourself. Chances are you aren't going to get a lot of people responding to your email


ymuere4660 says: Wow, this is amazing

To which I say: I'm afraid I'm a bit of a cynical bitch. 'Cause I don't really trust opening a spam mail to find out what it is exactly you find amazing.


esyyfyryz2004 says: Real men have real peckers

To which I say: Normally I recognize this is one of those "size" spam emails and just automatically hit delete. But I couldn't help thinking to myself - what? as opposed to faux peckers? Unless they mean woodpeckers - like Woody. Maybe real men are bird collectors.


yneakyn4665 says: She wants it so badly

To which I say: Oh you silly man (cause it's gotta be a guy), don't you just wish.

And that's it for today - the best of my spam mail. The rest sadly is just crap and not worth wasting time thinking of a reply. Now I can delete all and start all over again

Heh, heh, heh

Friday, August 13, 2010

Recent Read

Ruthless by Anne Stuart

Why this one: I've always loved Anne Stuart. In fact I think I have more of her books than any other author except one - Nora Roberts. When I heard she was coming out with another historical, and not just one but THREE, I was so there.

Steam Level: While not a lot of sex scenes, it still manages to be quite a sexy read

Blurb: Few outsiders will ever witness the dark misdeeds of the Heavenly Host. And among this secret society, where exiled Georgian aristocrats gather to indulge their carnal desires, fewer still can match the insatiable appetite of their chief provocateur, the mysterious Viscount Rohan.

Pursuit of physical pleasure is both his preferred pastime and his most pressing urge, until he encounters the fascination of a woman who won''t be swayed. And while his dark seduction appalls the pure and impoverished Elinor Harriman, she finds herself intrigued…and secretly drawn to the man behind the desire.

My Thoughts: I know this is not the first time this has been said, not by me and not by others, but Anne Stuart writes some of the darkest, most twisted heroes and I love that about her writing. She takes a hero, takes him almost to the edge of us readers hating him and then manages to pull him back from the brink to the point where we just love their twistedness. And Francis, Viscount Rohan is no exception. He's the leader of the Heavenly Host, a group of depraved, bored aristocrats living in France to whom nothing is forbidden. He first meets Elinor, our heroine, when she breaks into one of his wild parties determined to find her mother who is dying of the pox. Francis is bored, bored of his 'friends' with the exception of one, bored of his decadent lifestyle, just bored of everything. So when he meets Elinor, a rather plain, prickly young woman who so obviously has fallen on very bad times, he is intrigued and can't quite seem to get her out of his head. Much to his dismay he finds himself thinking of her, even to the point of becoming her benefactor, much to her dismay. You see Elinor is horrified by him and even more so, afraid he will set his depraved sights on her younger sister Lydia. But her family is in such reduced circumstances, that she is forced to accept his contributions.

Francis is confused. At first he's determined not to have anything to do with her, then he figures he'll marry her off. Then he figures he'll marry her off, but have her for himself later. It would be so easy to dislike this vain, hedonistic man, but as I said, Ms. Stuart can find a way to make us route for such a hero and I found myself smiling at his self-delusion since we know what's really happening is he's falling in love with her, though he would be appalled to think such a thing himself. He's wonderfully and deliciously wicked.

Now Eleanor Harriman I found a bit problematic for me. At times she was more than a match for Francis. In fact most of the time she was. But I also found her too self-sacrificing and I would get annoyed with her. She gives up EVERYTHING for the sake of her sister's welfare, even to the point of forgoing milk in her tea so her sister could have it. I'm not to fond of martyr heroines and/or heroes and she crosses that line a few times to much and too many for me. Lydia, her sister, is a lot more savvy than Eleanor gives her credit for and I found it too much at times. And I really didn't understand her loyalty to her mother. Her mother pulled some real nasty sh#t on Eleanor, yet at one point in the story, she was ready to die herself to save her mother. I didn't get that.

There's also a lovely secondary romance between Lydia and Francis's only real friend, Robert. It's a touching romance between two people who fall in love, but feel their love cannot flourish due to circumstances.

Overall I enjoyed this one quite a bit. I adored Francis, but thought Eleanor could have been a little less selfless. But I'm glad her next one comes out so soon. I'll be getting it for sure!

Grade: 4 out of 5

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Anyone who follows this blog may have noticed I tend to go overboard on occasion. One of the occasions that kicks me off that boat is So You Think You Can Dance. The US one just wrapped up tonight - I won't say who won in case it hasn't shown yet but I was happy with the winner. Of course they were all great so anyone of them would have been fine.

But lucky us Canadians because now we get to sit back and enjoy SYTYCD Canada. There are a small number of people at work who also watch it so I've taken to sending out group emails. They seem to enjoy them. So I thought I'd share them

From: J, Kristie
Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2010 4:09 PM

Subject: SYTYCD Canada - Season Premiere coming soon!!!

Now I don’t know if the rest of you are as excited as I am about the upcoming season of SYTYCD Canada, or if I’m alone in my “live for SYTYCD” nite of the television. Hands up!! How many have seen the promo that’s been running on any City-TV stations for it. This is the one with Nico *sigh* and Tara Jean doing this incredibly cool Matix like dance. Tres hot. Of course this is Nico, so for him to exist is to be hot. Before I go on though, I have a bit of sad news. Nico did not wait for me. No indeed, he married his long time girlfriend this summer. I probably would have made him happier, but alas, he went with what was familiar. Still, that doesn’t take away from his incredible talent (and hotness – have I mentioned I find him hot) and hopefully he and his fellow choreographer/new wife Wynn will choreograph some numbers this upcoming season.

Anyway, the spot is very good and makes me rub my hands in eager anticipation of the season premier Sunday, August 15 at 9 pm. For those of you who may miss it, though with me around I don’t see how that can happen, it will be repeated on MuchMusic on Aug 21. So unless one is going on a Caribbean cruise and may be excused for a couple of weeks, there is no excuse not to watch it. I do hounding very well so be warned (and worried – be very, very worried).

I do have more bad news though. It looks like our much loathed Leah Miller will be back again. *heavy very sad sigh* This will be especially difficult after watching the lovely and warm Kat Deely on the US version. But nothing in life is perfect so we simply must tough it out with the very imperfect Leah. I can only hope Jean-Marc has been asked to tone it down some.

So hopefully you all get a chance to see the spot on the telly and get that SYTYCD Canada burn going! As Arnold so eloquently put it – “I’ll be back”

Kristie J


From: J, Kristie
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 11:45 AM

Subject: SYTYCD Canada - It starts Sunday Night People


I just know that you are all as pumped as I am about Sunday night and the premiere of Season III of So You Think You Can Dance Canada and this reminder email is totally unnecessary. But I thought I might just mention a few things. This season it starts at 9:00 on CTV and runs to 11. For those, like me, who prefer to turn in early on a Sunday night so they will be nice and refreshed and ready to work Monday mornings, perhaps a nice Sunday afternoon nap might be beneficial for staying up late. I know myself, I’ve found it helpful.

Now in case you get opposition from those living with you who may have the audacity to question as to why you are watching a “dance” show; I know I get cracks from my Adult son who is currently living in my basement, I have taken the time to check out the listings to see what might be “the competition” and I think we are safe. CBS is playing Undercover Boss, a show I think rather interesting but since I don’t think we will be seeing our own CEO, Xxxxxx Yyyyyyy going undercover, I think we can skip this show. And as compelling as David Carrusso is in CSI: Miami, the show the show that comes on after, I think we can all agree to do without our Horatio fix for one hour. It comes on again at 11:00 if you really need to count the number of times that sex on a stick man takes off his sunglasses.

And then on NBC we have 2 episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Since it’s a known fact that isn’t as good as the original Law and Order (why they cancelled it I’ll never know) or even Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, I think this is another show that can be skipped in order to watch SYTYCD. And let’s face it – Jeff Goldbum? He’s The Fly and will always be as The Fly.

Now Fox is a Family Guy marathon. Family Guy, from what I hear from my sons, is wildly politically incorrect. Even they are shocked at some of the things the show gets away with. So that may be an issue, but bottom line, it is a cartoon so I think the argument can be made in favour of SYTYCD.

Due to my ever growing short term memory loss, I can’t remember what’s on ABC. But I do know it isn’t Desperate Housewives so no need to worry about missing Terry Hatcher or Eva Longoria – besides even if it was on, this is summer and it would have been a repeat. Ah!! I just remembered! It’s a show called Scoundrels that is competing against SYTYCD. Now I happened to catch a bit of this show one time and while there is a character who could be considered a “Brad Pitt before he chose “that woman” over Jennifer and allowed himself to go all scruffy and ugly” look-a-like, overall the show is just odd and could also be skipped. It’s about a family of crooks so no real competition really – apart from the BP look-a-like factor.

So, with a nice Sunday nap and no real competition, we should be all set for a night of great entertainment – apart from Leah Miller. Now be warned though, these are just the try-outs. The most entertainment will be that almost sad hilarity we get from watching real bad performers who think they are good, interspersed with flashes of brilliant talent.

Now there is one amongst us I know that won’t be here for this week of tryouts, but I hope you have someone PVR’ing or whatever it is – I know ‘taping’ isn’t done anymore – good thing since I never did master how to do it. But, just in case that option is not available, they usually run repeats on MuchMusic in the next month or so, and since it is just the start of it, I think barring no PVR’ing, you won’t be too far behind. I just hope knowing you’re missing it won’t ruin the cruise for you.

I’m pumped and I’m willing you bet you all are too. And just in case you are thinking – 'but wait!! How can she go without mentioning Nico – that is just wrong!!' They say a picture is worth a thousand words……………

nico and tj.jpg

This is my thousand words.

Kristie J

Speaking of Mullets

I think Adam Lambert does mighty fine with this one.

Love this song and this video!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The month that was July

It’s taken me longer than I planned to get this post up and running. I did really well and read 14 books. Many of them were rereads and to try and keep this post somewhat reasonable in length, I’m just going to highlight the books I read for the first time.

A Hearing Heart by Bonnie Dee

The heart conveys messages beyond what ears can hear.

After the death of her fiancé, Catherine Johnson, a New York schoolteacher in 1901, travels to Nebraska to teach a one-room school and escape her sad memories. One afternoon, violence erupts in the sleepy town. Catherine saves deaf stable hand, Jim Kinney, from torture by drunken thugs.

As she takes charge of his education, teaching him to read and sign, attraction grows between them. The warmth and humor in this silent man transcends the need for speech and his eyes tell her all she needs to know about his feelings for her. But the obstacles of class difference and the stigma of his handicap are almost insurmountable barriers to their growing attachment.

Will Catherine flout society’s rules and allow herself to love again? Can Jim make his way out of poverty as a deaf man in a hearing world? And together will they beat the corrupt robber baron who has a stranglehold on the town?

I’ve read a number of books by Bonnie Dee now and enjoyed them all. I read a review that Aztec Lady did a while ago and it stayed in the back of my mind, simmering, until I got an EReader. Now that I have a Kobo, there was no reason not to give this one a go.

As with all the other books I’ve read by this author, I enjoyed this one too. It was a simple story about a young man who was deaf and couldn’t speak and the local teacher. Katherine comes to Jim’s rescue when he is being dragged by a number of drunkards who took exception to his deafness. She had traveled west in order to escape the sadness of losing her fiancĂ© a few years ago. She finds herself very drawn to Jim and recognizes that although he can’t hear or speak, underneath he is very intelligent and just lacked the right person to unlock his world.

Jim is equally drawn to the beautiful young teacher but sees the differences in their stations and feels any relationship beyond teacher/student is impossible, but deep inside and with plans for the future, he couldn’t help but hold out a small hope.

Bonnie Dee writes books that are tender and poignant and while her heroes tend to be more on the beta side, they are still very appealing and A Hearing Heart is no exception. The conflict comes from external sources rather than any kind of misunderstanding really. I’m glad I remembered and read this book.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Risk Everything by Sophia Johnson

Upon a moonless midnight, his face in shadow, a silent man came riding...Could it be? Is it him, so far from his lands and his people? Meghan can make no mistake, not when her heart cries out his name: Rolf MacDaidh. She had loved him once, in secret - and now the man they called the Lord of Vengeance wanted her...To Rolf, Meghan of Blackthorn is more precious than gold. But he must forget his bygone dreams of her as his bride and remember that she is no more than a captive now. Yet her beauty bewitches him still - and her spirit kindles a passionate desire that cannot be tamed...

Have you ever read a book that you know drives you batty, that you know you shouldn’t like, but you can’t help but read it nevertheless? I believe we call these guilty pleasures. Such is the case with Risk Everything. I was reading it while at the RWA conference and despite all the events and meetings going on around me, I still managed to steal time to read this one – even though it drove me batty. It’s a Medieval and already this year I’m way ahead of where I was last year in reading this genre.

Meghan of Blackthorn is not your typical medieval miss. Instead she’s quite the warrior type. She is out hunting when she is captured by Rolph MacDaidh. He was a friend of her childhood, but now he holds her brother responsible for the death of his wife and child and plans on using Meghan to gain his revenge.

At first Meghan frustrated me with her warrior ways. I kept wishing these two would just sit down and talk things over, but they didn’t. By the time I either got used to Meghan or she mellowed somewhat, I’m not sure which, I was really starting to enjoy this book. And then Rolph did something so very unforgiveable. I hated what he did to the heroine and never really did forgive him it by the end of the book.

But still, the story kept me reading it even in the middle of a conference so I consider that a good sign. Although the grade isn’t that high for this one, oddly enough it doesn’t really reflect how compelling I found it. And I do want to read the others in this series so I’m thinking that’s a good thing!

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley

Lady Isabella Scranton scandalized London by leaving her husband, notorious artist Lord Mac Mackenzie, after only three turbulent years of marriage. But Mac has a few tricks to get the Lady back in his life, and more importantly, back into his bed.

I’ve been jonesing for this one ever since reading The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie. While I didn’t expect to be knocked over the head with this book like I was Lord Ian, I was hoping that still I would really enjoy it. And, joy of joys, I did!

We got to see quite a bit of Mac and Isabella in the first book and though I can’t say for certain, I would recommend those planning on reading this book should read the first book, well first. One, because it’s a great book and two, because we get a glimpse into the troubled marriage between the hero/heroine of this one.

First off, they were both very appealing characters in this book. That’s a big plus. I was already predisposed to liking them both and it continued on in this book. It was never a lack of love between the two of them that tore their marriage apart so going in, the reader can already sense the love. Rather it was Mac’s wildness and an inability to communicate that drove them apart. They are both passionate people and theirs was a ‘love at first sight’ kind of marriage. They eloped the night they met without getting to know how the other one ticks that caused such contentious issues. And Mac was on one of his many absences when Isabella suffered a tragic loss. And his drunkenness and childish attitude doom the marriage.

But since a lack of love was never the issue, Mac spends the next several years growing up and when an opportunity arises for him to spend time with Isabella and show her that he has changed.

I really enjoyed this ‘marriage in trouble’ book and ended up being quite pleased with it, but waiting for the next one in the series.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

The Missing by Shiloh Walker

Her psychic gift drove away the man she loved— and years later has drawn him back to her…

As a teenager, Taige Branch hated her psychic gift. No one could understand—except for Cullen Morgan, the boy who stole her heart. He did his best to accept her, until his mother was brutally murdered—and he couldn’t forgive Taige for not preventing it.

Now a widowed father, Cullen Morgan has never forgotten Taige. But what brings her back into his life is another tragedy. His beloved little girl has been kidnapped, and Taige is his only hope of finding her. Working together against the clock, Cullen and Taige can’t help but wonder whether—if they find his daughter in time—it isn’t too late for the overpowering love that still burns between them…

I was really blown away earlier this year when I read Broken so when I saw this one was out in MM size, it was almost a given that I’d be giving it a read. While it didn’t blow me away as much as Broken, still I thought it good enough that I was glad I read it.

I really loved the start of the book; the young love between Taige Branch, the heroine and the loner with the strange talents and Cullen Morgan, the wealthy young man who visited the coastal town every summer. I loved reading about the growing love between them and how accepting Cullen was of Taige’s gift. And it was very touching. But then I ran into the same kind of problem I did with Risk Everything. Cullen did something so nasty to Taige that I couldn’t really forgive him for it. I know he was very angry at his mother’s death and lashed out at Taige. But he did in such a cruel way.

So while the book worked very well as a mystery, it kind of failed a bit as a romance. It was clear that had his daughter not gone missing and he needed Taige’s help in finding her, he never would have reconnected with Taige and all the ugliness would have gone unresolved and Taige still would have carried the burden of it. Even after he reconnected with her, he was still planning on just leaving for a while.

So, as a romantic suspense, the suspense worked but the romantic didn’t. But I love her writing enough to certainly keep reading her.

Grade: 4 out of 5

The Lost Enchantress by Patricia Coughlin

Long ago Eve Lockhart discovered that the ancient magic that was her birthright could cost her everything. So she vowed to create a normal life and was convinced she'd succeeded-until a long-lost family talisman resurfaces. A prize beyond price, the hourglass pendant ignites the fevered interest of mysterious forces who'll risk anything to possess it-forces that include one very seductive man...

The priceless pendant isn't the only thing Gabriel Hazard wants from Eve. For nearly two centuries he's searched for the hidden magic that can break a spell and grant him the one thing he craves. But he isn't alone in wanting the pendant-or Eve's magic.

Now Eve has no choice but to break her long-ago vow and claim her power, her dream of everlasting love-and her destiny.

Many years ago I read a couple of historicals that she wrote, Lord Savage and Merely Married. When I saw she was coming out, finally, with another single title book, I knew I wanted to read it but since it was a trade size, the price was a bit scary. Then, when I got the Kobo and could get it cheaper as an ebook, I went for it.

When I started reading it though I was a bit surprised as for some reason I just assumed it would be another historical. But it wasn’t. Instead it’s a contemporary with a bit of the paranormal thrown in.

Eve Lockhart has magical abilities but since she felt they lead to a tragedy in her youth, she has done everything she can to deny them. Instead she’s become a journalist who refuses to do anything magical. That is until she sees a pendant that she is strongly attached to at an auction and unknowingly uses her talent to wrest it away from Gabriel Hazard who needs it for its magical properties. When he visits her, trying to get it back, she refuses to sell it, but she does agree to let him use it for whatever mysterious purpose he has up his sleeve.

This book was another winner – I had a lot of them in the month of July! Both Eve and Gabriel make for fascinating characters. At first Gabriel has no plans to do anything with or for Eve, but she does have something about her that changes his mind. I thought he made for quite an interesting hero.

But the real draw for me with this book was Eve. I loved how protective she was of her grandmother and sister and niece. She really is the glue that holds them altogether. She is dead set against acknowledging her magical abilities, but slowly, over the course of the story, she begins embracing them once more.

I hope Ms. Coughlin doesn’t take as long this time to come out with another single title book. Though when she does, I’ll be there.

I'm crossing my fingers that when I post this live it looks alright because goodness knows it sure is looking wonky in the compose view!!!

The new job is turning out to be not nearly as busy as the old one and I have lots of time on my hands. I did part of this at work whilst trying to stretch time and I did it in a word doc and then emailed it to my home email. Looking at it in compose view, the words are huge and all smooshed together. I'm just going to cross my fingers and hit publish post now

Fingers crossed.............

Friday, August 06, 2010

Recent Read

Woa!! I didn't mean to disappear for quite as long as I did there. Sorry 'bout that.

I've been working on a bunch of mini reviews as I'm way behind on doing them, but until I get it done and since I just finished this one tonight and it's fresh in my mind, I'll share my thoughts of
this book

Captured by Moonlight by Nancy Gideon

Why this one: I read the first book, and second book (one of the reviews I'm working on) and couldn't wait to read the third one in the series. So much so that even though I was surrounded by books in Orlando, I simply HAD to buy this one in the little B&N store they had in the hotel. Steam Level: Let's just say it was pretty steamy in Florida in a bad way, but this one is steamy in a good way!


Their Love Is Just Beginning

A mysterious death begins a dangerous chain of events. As the unexpected discovery of a family thought lost to him threatens the existence of Max Savoie's paranormal world, his awakening senses strain the bond he shares with Detective Charlotte Caissie.

His Time is Almost Up

Driven by instincts he can't control, Max fights the need to claim his human mate. How can he protect her when she's not safe with him? She's strong enough to keep his secrets, but can she survive the test of his love?

Will They Ever Really Be Together?

Separating business from pleasure just got more difficult. To have Max, Cee Cee must face her greatest fears by accepting who and what he is . . . someone deadly, unnatural and outside the law she serves. Loving Max Savoie isn't easy, but holding onto him could prove fatal.

My Thoughts: I am really, really enjoying this series. Thank goodness when I was talking to Nancy Gideon who was at the Literacy Signing, she was telling me she had 3 more books lined up with CeeCee and Max and then 3 more where although they aren't the main players, they will be playing a role.

This one continues on where the last one, Chased by Moonlight, left off, with Max and CeeCee deeply in love and trying to meld their two diverse backgrounds, she as a tough as nails cop and he as a former right hand man for crime boss, Jimmy Leger. They couldn't come from more different backgrounds and that doesn't even begin to take into account that she is human and he is a shape shifter of unrealized powers.

I'll go into CeeCee first since I simply have to go into raptures over Max but I don't want to short shift CeeCee. She defines the tough as nails, kick ass cop and she is mad for Max and determined to protect him at all costs. She walks a thin tightrope in not compromising her role as a cop and helping Max and his at times not so legal problems. She reminds me in many ways of Eve Dallas from the In Death book in that being a cop is very much who she is. She also has a dark past and is very much a loner. She's a bit frustrating at times as she holds a lot back from Max in order to protect him and that leads to some mistrust and misunderstandings. But she does it out of love.

But it is Max who is the real draw in this series. Although extremely powerful in both his life as head of a large network that he's trying to legitimatize and the leader of a group of shapeshifters who are almost seen as a disposable group of second class citizens, at the same time he is so damn vulnerable it breaks your heart. As he wasn't raised with his own kind and he has powers so strong that he is only beginning to realize, he is such a lost soul in so many ways. He doesn't know what he is capable of and has no one to show him or teach him what he can become. And he is SO gone for the heroine. He never allowed himself feelings until CeeCee became a part of his life and he is so afraid of what he is and that who is he will frighten her away. But she is made of stern stuff and is just as gone for him.

In this book there are some powerful and deadly enemies who are after him. He tries to protect CeeCee by pushing her away, yet he can't live without her. There is a real poignancy about them and their love for each other. Where CeeCee reminds me of Eve, Max is very unlike Roarke in his insecurities as a leader. His insecurities just make him more of a hero to route for though. If there is any faults with Roarke - and really - one does have to go digging to find them, it's his utter self assurance. But while in some areas Max has it too, in others, such as where CeeCee is concerned he is very insecure, which is quite appealing.

Again, I highly recommend this series. Although it is a paranormal, I think unless one hates paranormal, they will find this good reading too.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

And - I do have another review up. If you head on over to The Good, The Bad, The Unread, I did a guest review for Libertine's Kiss by Judith James. Once again she has a winner so to see exactly what I thought, check it out