Saturday, March 19, 2011

Recent Read

Proof by Seduction by Courtney Milan

Why this one: I’ve heard good things about Courtney Milan’s books and since I met her and even shared a lunch table with her, I figured it was only right that I read at least one of her books

Steam Level: On the very nicely warmish side


She is his last chance for a future of happiness.

Jenny Keeble has never let her humble upbringing stop her. She’s made her way in the world as a fortune teller, on her convinces her clients her predictions are correct by telling them what they most want to hear. Business is good….until she meets her match in the form of Gareth Carhart, the Marquess of Blakely, a scientist and sworn bachelor.

He just doesn’t know it yet.

Broodingly handsome, Gareth is appalled to discover his cousin has fallen under the spell of Madame Esmerala and he vows to prove her a fraud. But his unexpected attraction to the fiery enchantress defies logic. Jenny disrupts every facet of Gareth’s calculated plan – until he can’t decide whether to ruin her or claim her for his own. Now as the engage in a passionate battle of wills, two lonely souls must choose between everything they know… and the boundless possibilities of love.

My Thoughts: It took me a while to get into this one. I started it some time ago and just wasn’t in the mood for a historical book. I’ve noticed that my consumption of historicals is way down in the past several years. And since I was reading a Historical book while being in a Contemporary/RS mood, it just wasn’t working for me. Nevertheless, I kept it in my purse as a back-up and good thing I did!! I was at lunch the other day reading a RS book on my Kobo when it went dead. That’s one of the drawbacks of an ereader, at least the kind I have. When it decides it needs recharging, that’s it – it won’t turn a page. I was at the start of lunch and I’d already read the Avon magazine so I reached in the purse and picked out this one. And what a difference a mood can make. I don’t know if it was the mood or it started out slow, but when I picked it up again and started reading, I really started enjoying it.

Jenny Meeks is a con artist. She has been posing for years as a fortune teller, Madame Esmerelda. She isn’t really malicious or out to scam people. She just needs to make a living and there weren’t a lot of options for many women back then. For a few years, she has been the ‘spiritual’ guide for a young man named Ned who had suffered from dark depression. She gave him hope in his live while taking his silver. But when his ‘oh so starchy’ cousin, Gareth, the marquis of Blakely, becomes aware of what’s going on, he is determined to expose Madame Esmerelda as a fraud. But Esmerelda is not quite what he expects and he’s not quite the callous and unfeeling marquis that she at first thinks.

She sets out setting some tasks for Gareth to accomplish and while in one way they were kind of amusing, in another I was a bit worried that they would take over the story. But thankfully it doesn’t. Part of why it took a while to get into this one was at first glance both Blakely and Madame Esmeralda aren’t really that sympathetic of characters. But once I got deeper into the storyline, I saw that they were both wearing masks, hiding their real selves.

The Marquis of Blakely was really Gareth, a simple man with a definite scientific bent. He was raised by his cold and unfeeling grandfather who attempted to leach all humanity out of a young Gareth. He’s not the cold, unfeeling person we first think he is, rather he just doesn’t know how to relate to people; how to make friends. So he’s cloaked himself in a veneer of coldness.

And Madame Esmerelda is really Jenny Meek, a young woman with a mysterious and unknown past. We never find out where she came from, but when she was four she was placed in a rather posh private school and raised with a modicum of respectability but not much practical knowledge. As I was reading, after we get to know her better, to me she was a ‘by-blow’ of an aristocrat and some unknown mother who either died in childbirth or didn’t want to be bothered with a child. Instead of a rather charming, yet scheming charlatan, she is a very caring person who has done the best she can with the circumstances she faces.

Both are truly wonderful, lonely, seeking people under their masks. The way the layers are slowly peeled back to reveal different people reminds me of the writing of one of my favourite authors Jo Goodman. This is a smaller, shorter book so those bothered by the density of Ms. Goodmans writing needn’t worry about in this book. Sometimes it’s a bit intimidating when reading a book by an author you’ve met and liked, but in this case I shouldn’t have worried. I loved the book and look forward to the next one, Ned’s book.

The grade would have been higher but since I was able to put it down for a while, I’m not sure if it was me or it had a bit of a slow start. But once I got a bit further, I couldn’t put it down and that’s the sign of a very good story.

Grade: 4.50 out of 5

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Yes, I still have no Case Managers though there is light at the end of my tunnel. They hired a couple of casual ones until my original case manager comes back. So I still have much more time than I like on my hands here at work. It’s going to be quite an adjustment once they are onboard. I hear they are both new so that means I’ll be shouldering a bigger load than many and assistant. But that’s good – I like feeling needed. In the meantime………


Can, or rather should one review a book when they haven’t read it? I still have no case managers and more time to think than I like. I was on Amazon, just killing time, and I saw where someone had given one star to a book and then confessed they had only read 15% of it. Now it just so happens that it’s a book that I didn’t like either so I’m not against the one star. But I am against reviewing a book when one hasn’t even read at least a quarter of it. The review, for lack of a better word, has no validity at all as far as I’m concerned. I’m currently reading a book that I found slow to start with. I don’t know if it was because I just wasn’t in the mood for that particular genre or the writing just didn’t grab me or what – I have a feeling it’s the first. But whatever, the fact is if I had written a “review” after reading only 15% it would have gotten a low grade too. But to me that’s irresponsible if you are going to put your thoughts out in public. After putting the book down for a while since it didn’t grab me, I picked it up again yesterday and now I find it enchanting. A one star rating on Amazon isn’t a good thing for the author and it’s unfair to do that it seems to me.


Because an Ipod is a small electronic device that scares me and if I listened to it I would never hear new songs, I listen to the radio. The station that I listen to plays a lot of ‘dance’ music like Usher, Lady Gaga, Katie Perry, Enrique Iglacia, Black eyed Peas etc. It makes me feel young. A lot of it I sing along with and it doesn’t totally register but I was listening the other day and Britney Spears newest song came on. And I couldn’t help but think as John Stossel used to say, ‘give me a break!’ What prompted this reaction is the lines:

Cause you feel like paradise
And I need a vacation tonight
So if I said I
want your body now
Would you hold it against me?

Come on now! If some sexy young kittenish thing pranced around singing this, is there any red blooded guy going who is going to admit that yes, it offends him that said sex kitten wants his body??? Even for the very rare guy who is offended, is he then going to turn around and offend the sex kitten wondering if she’s offending him by offending her? I don’t think so!


Do you like it when an author responds to a positive review? I’ll admit, I’m thrilled if an author either emails me or visits on the blog. I’m even more thrilled I’ll confess if an author visits and weighs in on something totally unrelated. But if one were to pop into a review I’d left on Amazon, I know it’s just me – but I’d be a bit disconcerted if they did it in such a public place. My blog is one thing – it’s kind of like my virtual house, but Amazon is something different for some reason. I don’t why I feel this way – I just do.


And speaking of Amazon, sometimes I’m just in a bitchy mood. And when that happens, one of the things I do is go to Amazon, look up some books I’ve read and for every “This book is a real winner!!!! You have to read it” style “review” I hit the not helpful button. I’ve never bought a book based on Amazon reviews, but sometimes I’ll find them helpful if I’m looking up the plotline of a book. This kind of drivel is totally useless so I let them know that. But when I viscously hit a resounding NO to however many it takes, I feel ever so much better. I don’t have to agree with the reviewer. Even if I have totally opposing thoughts on the book and disagree with them on every point, if they make points and put in an effort of a review, I will hit yea and even that makes me feel better


And also…..speaking of small electronic devices, I’m about to tackle something even more scary to me. I had a coworker over on the weekend and I made her – um we watched – North and South (not to worry – she was converted) and in the other train station scene; the one where Margaret is saying goodbye to Frederick, it was very hard to see it. And this is simply not acceptable. I can’t not not see night scenes. So I emailed The Son We Shall Call Ryan who is AKA The Son Who Is Getting Married to see if he wanted to help me pick out a new television. He says it will simply be a case of plugging it in and turning it on. HA!! says I. He is emailing the person who spent almost 3 hours trying to figure out how to turn the DVD player on. Just imagine the struggle I can have with a television along with a DVD player, a VHS machine and Surround Sound. Seriously – I’m almost trembling at the thought.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Recent Read

A Lot Like Love by Julie James

Why this one: I’ve enjoyed all her books and I was in the mood for a contemporary

Steam Level: Each book seems to get warmer and warmer. I must say I like this form of global warming

Blurb: Jordan Rhodes is invited to all of Chicago's best parties, but there's only one the FBI wants to crash. To get her brother out of jail, she agrees to take Agent McCall as her date. But when the mission gets botched, requiring their "relationship" to continue, it starts to feel less like an investigation-and a lot like something else.

My Thoughts: I was watching The Shopping Channel a few weeks ago and they had a beauty expert on. Of course I got suckered into buying stuff from her wasn’t worth the money. I haven’t been watching The Shopping Channel nearly as much these days. But one of the things the beauty expert said was that as we start aging, we often start losing eyebrow hair and eyelashes. Now that may be happening but it’s certainly being made up for in the chin hairs and hair on my upper lip. But aside from that, I did take what she said to heart and I’ve been wearing mascara a lot more than I used to.

So what the heck are you wondering, does the fact that she watches (and buys) too much of The Shopping Channel, and why do I care if she’s wearing mascara???? What does that have to do with a book review?

Well, bear with me and I’ll explain. Sometimes when I laugh, my eyes start to water. And if I’m wearing mascara, it’s even worse, to the point of stinging! I was reading this book the other day at lunch and I found it so funny in parts that I started to laugh which started my whole eyes crying. Then of course they started to sting and itch and I had to rub them and rubbed off all the eye makeup I had so carefully applied that morning and my stubby and loosing lusciousness eyelashes were seen. But once I got past the sting and the embarrassment of the eyelashes, I started reading more and I so enjoyed this book!!

I just loved both the lead characters. Jordan has a Very Wealthy father – a billionaire no less. But that didn’t mean coddling for her or her twin brother Kyle. She has made quite a success of herself by opening her own exclusive wine shop. Although she can play with the big boys of wealth and privilege, she’s at heart just a regular woman. She was horrified at one point in her past when she was compared to Paris Hilton. Gotta love a women like that!

Nick is equally wonderful. He’s a guy’s guy – horrified when at one point he’s asked to wear a boysenberry coloured tie. Guy’s from Brooklyn just don’t wear those kinds of things.

Jordon, our regular girl type heroine is pulled into an FBI sting. The reason she goes along is they promise to free her brother from a stint in prison for shutting down Twitter. (it may have been during this passage that the eyes started watering) She is originally slated to take a metro sexual type FBI agent to a wine tasting event being held at the establishment of the sting target. But in yet another hilarious scene, he comes down with a case of the flu and Nick is forced to step in as her date. Without going into details – you are simply going to have to read this one for yourself, things get….complicated and real feelings start to develop between Jordan and her fake boyfriend Nick.

I don’t think I’ve reviewed all of Ms. James books though I have read them. And I’ve enjoyed every one. But I think this one is my favourite so far. I liked it. I mean I really, really liked it. Of course Nick and Jordan were both da’bomb, but also the secondary characters were equally well drawn from Kyle, the Sawyer look-a-like, computer geek who shut down Twitter so people wouldn’t see what he didn’t want them to see, brother of the heroine to Huxley, the metro sexual new partner of Nick. The banter and dialogue between all these characters is wonderful and funny. I found myself turning my Kobo on as soon as I decided to go on break or lunch while still at my desk, not wanting to waste the time once away for it to load. This one is a gem and gets a hearty thumbs up from me.
Grade: 5 out of 5

Friday, March 11, 2011

My thoughts and prayers

I posted the previous post ahead of time to go live at 7:00 this morning. This of course was before the tragic news came out about the devastating earthquake in Japan.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all affected. In these times of internet contact, the world is a very small place and I know I know people who are suffering.

My thoughts and prayers to all of those who have been and will be affected in these coming days.

The Wacky Reasons I Do The Things I Do

I’m still bored at work. They have decided to hire a couple of Case Managers to cover for the two of mine that are off so hopefully things will pick up then. But until such time, I have lots of time to think and lots of time to kill.

I was thinking of a few wacky reasons why I do things. For example, I made an appointment to stop and donate blood on the way home from work tonight. It’s not because I’m being particularly altruistic, though that is part of it. There is a real need and since needles don’t bother me and I’m quite healthy there’s no reason not to, but the real reason is Canadian Blood Services has my number. And they call me. All the time. The last time I donated was back in December and it’s a three month wait before you can donate again. I don’t like talking to them on the phone – I don’t like talking to most people on the phone – email or in person is my preferred method of communication – so by calling them and donating again, I’m safe from their calls for another 3 months.


We have an IM message system here at work. It’s great since sometimes there are times I need to get in touch with fellow coworkers in the hospitals with questions and I don’t really like talking to them on the phone. I figure if I’m asking them for a favour, which is usually the case, I could at least give them a laugh since I’m asking for something. A few weeks ago this happened and I don’t really remember how we got on the subject, but I ended up IMing her how I heard that putting toothpaste on zits brought them to a head so I’ve tried it a few times. I guess thinking of me sitting at home with toothpaste on my face must have tickled her funny bone ‘cause she wrote back that I was making her cry, she was laughing so hard.


There’s another contact I have at another hospital. Whenever I have to ask her something, I start by asking if she watched Hawaii Five 0. We both lust over Alec O’Laughin so while we are both weak-kneed over him taking off his shirt and diving into the water; I can slip in and ask a favour. We both agree it was a good show if he happened to take his shirt off to dive into the waters of Hawaii!!


My fear of falling isn’t getting better; oddly enough it’s getting worse. I’ve fallen twice this slippery winter already – not to worry, I wasn’t hurt either time but I was shook up darn good! I’m not perfect. I know, I know, you all think I am, but I’m not. One of my biggest faults is I’m very lazy. I don’t like shoveling the snow – only part of the reason being said fear of falling. I’ve already gotten two notices from the post office to keep my front sidewalk cleared. I use the back door all the time so shoveling the front just isn’t on my radar until I get a notice from the post office. With this in mind, it snowed last Saturday evening. Now a person less lazy would have shoveled their front sidewalk on Sunday if they had already gotten two notices from the post office. But, I’m lazy so I didn’t get around to it. Instead I waited until later, when it was dark, to go out and shovel. By that time of course the temperature had dropped and it was REAL slippery. And it was dark. And I couldn’t see and I was terrified of falling. So instead of shoveling, I went back in the house. The next morning I was stumped – what should I do? If I didn’t shovel the sidewalk, someone from the post office might actually come to the door. Or even worse they might call me on the phone. So I called into work and said I’d be about an hour late. I didn’t tell them the reason was because I was so gosh darn lazy that I didn’t shovel my sidewalk when I could have. I shoveled in the morning and did a great job, then went into work late.

When I got home from work, the snow plow had gone by and plowed in the end of the sidewalk. I haven’t got mail all week. But then that’s fine because along with not wanting to talk on the phone, I don’t open mail.


I went to a Trivia Pursuit Night – a fund raiser event a week or so ago. The money raised would be going to the hospice centre in the city I live in. It seemed very fitting that the Supportive Care department enter a team, I used their services myself and I have a head stuffed with nonsensical trivia that crowds out important stuff. So it was a given that I would go. The person who arranged it mentioned a basket of wine as a grand prize but I didn’t pay much attention; rather trying for a change, to keep all kinds of trivial minutia from leaking out. The night of the event arrived and out of the eight man team, three were no shows, two of them being my case managers who are on extended leave, thus resulting in the boredom I find myself in at work these days. While the rest of us were sitting there, people came around selling tickets for $10 for this game they would be playing during half time called Heads or Tails. The tickets seemed quite costly to me, but everyone else at the table bought one so I felt obligated. Plus it was a fund raiser for a good cause. Half time came; we were middle of the pack point wise and happy with that since we only had a part team and it was time for the game. The object of the game was to be the last one standing. All those who had paid to play stood up and put their hands on either their heads or their ‘tails’ another name for rump, booty, ass, whatever. The dude at the front flipped a coin and whichever side came up, whatever you were holding – you either stayed standing or sat down; out of the game. Well, wonder of wonders, I kept guessing and holding the right body part until it down to just two of us. At that point we had to stand up at the front back to back so I couldn’t tell where her hands were and vice versa. The coin was flipped. The tension was thick. “Moose head!” the announcer called out. There was applause. I had my hands on my butt so I turned around and congratulated her figuring she must have had her hands on her head, and headed back to my table. Much to my surprise, they came running after me. Seems the announcer was trying to be funny and if you are familiar with Canadian quarters, the moose head is the tail – I know – doesn’t really make sense does it. But it seems I won the big prize of the night!! The prize – a huge basket full of wine (if you remember from an earlier post). And I don’t drink wine!! There are 12 bottles of the stuff – well, 10 now since I gave a bottle of red and a bottle of white to the ‘Son who is getting married’ and his fiancé ‘who we are calling Kara’. The son who I shall call Ryan since it’s quicker than calling him The Son who is getting married or The Son who is an accountant doesn’t like wine much but Kara is quite the fan. I haven’t been able to drink it for a while now. There was also a wine stopper to keep the wine that I can't drink anymore fresh. And there are a couple of wine glasses they are OK. Then there's a thingy that you put cheese in and then in the oven to make it all soft and then add walnuts and dip crackers into it. Or so The soon to be daughter-in-law we are calling Kara said. I say it may make a great re-gift.

And just so everyone doesn’t get too confused, The Son we are calling Ryan is not to be confused with The Son we will call Brentor The Son who is conspiracy nut and/or The Son who Broke my House (including my leg)

This may or may not be The son we are calling Ryan and my soon to be daughter-in-law we are calling Kara.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Did we REALLY read the same book????

I started thinking this after I wrote up and posted my review of The Last Goodbye. I don’t check Amazon reviews that often, but I do like to check other blog reviews and sites like AAR, TRR and The Romance Reader at Heart.


Sometimes it’s the review that kicks me into trying out a book – often it’s one of these reviews that kicks me into it *g*. But if it’s a book I’ve decided to read on my own, I either only briefly skim a review or ignore it until after I finish the book and do up a review so I’m not influenced or inadvertently plagiarize another reviewer. Goodness knows there’s been enough about plagiarizing in the past couple of years.


So it wasn’t until after I posted my most recent read that I went looking around for others thoughts on it. The first place I checked was AAR and I was quite surprised when I saw the low grade and when I read the review, I couldn’t help thinking did she really read the same book I did?


I often find it quite amazing that despite all loving romance in general, so many of us have such different loves and dislikes. There is a current discussion underway on one of the AAR boards about a book that received a DIK from the reviewer there but a number of posters have had a complete opposite reaction to the book; some to the point where they haven’t been able to finish it. Now this isn’t a book I’m interested in so I have weighed in with an opinion but it does exemplify why I think it’s a wonderful thing that there are so many romance blogs around now. I’ve been blogging officially six years now; I celebrated my sixth year in February. It was a quiet celebration; just between me and the blog. In fact I think I probably missed the exact date *g*. But back when I started, there weren’t that many around. It was mainly through review sites I garnered opinions on books. And the problem with that was if any particular reviewer and I had different tastes in books, then depending on that, I would either dislike a book they enjoyed or miss a book I would have loved. And that’s why I also think it’s important to get more than one take on a book. I’ve seen some people post at AAR that they only trust them and don’t trust blog reviews but I’m of the opposite opinion. I do read and totally appreciate the reviews on AAR and other review sites, but as with review blogs, it’s only one person’s opinion and I like gathering more than one opinion on a book if possible to read either before or after I read the book.


That’s one reason why the proliferation of blogs is so great. It’s interesting seeing different styles and critical-ness of others. I’m not so sure who much help I am to other readers, I tend to like an awful lot of what I read. And if I’m not enjoying a book, I have no problems putting it down and starting something new. I did get a message from someone from the Chapters site who had read my review of Queen of Shadows and got the book based on my review. I was thrilled to pieces when she contacted me and said how much she loved it. It makes me feel good when someone reads and enjoys a book I’ve recommended. I’m very slow getting to know the different styles and preferences. Me, I’m easy. I like just about everything. So it does kind of startle me when I read a review somewhere on a book I didn’t care for but someone else did. This happened with the latest Jill Shalvis book I read. I checked AAR and they had a much more favourable review than mine. And that made me happy since I feel bad when I’m not so positive in a review.


Some others though are much tougher than me. Nath, for example, my soon to be roomie, is much tougher than I am. It’s a rare thing that she gives a book the highest grade. Wendy, The Librarian of the Year is also a tough critic. If she gives high grades to a book, then I know I will like it. There are also a few tropes she’s not too fond of that I like so if she downgrades a book because of that, I know it won’t bother me. Some of the younger bloggers don’t care for older women/younger men stories and it’s one of my favourite – now that I could possibly fall into that category of older woman. So if it gets a lower mark or grade due to that particular reason, that won’t be a minus in my books. Leslie and I seem to have very similar tastes so that if she really likes a book, chances are I will too. I know we both agree that the Joss Ware books aren’t that big on the romance aspect but they work great despite that! Renee who hasn’t been blogging as much as she used to also has very similar likes and dislikes. We are of an age and both have been reading romance for years. Jill, a relatively new romance convert, as judged by her blog name *g*, and another former room mate, seems easily pleased like me. She reads more historical than I do though.


See, this is all stuff that you never get to really know from a romance reviewing site. I think getting to know the person behind the review. I did get a chance to meet a few reviewers from AAR so now when I read their reviews I have more of a sense of who they are.


All this is to say that getting to know who is doing a review say Wendy, o n a book helps ever so much when reading said book and I loved it and she hated it and it’s soul mates I don’t have to wonder, “Did we REALLY read the same book????”


And if I seem to be rambling more than usual – that’s cause I am. Both my case managers here at work are on extended leave of absences and until we get other case managers to fill in, my workload has taken a drastic drop – thus giving me time to ramble and be a bad little worker bee. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. It also gives me time to come up with rather bizarre answers to simple questions. Some came over this morning wondering where the in office case manager was. I told her the space aliens came by and beamed her up to the Mother ship. I think that Coast to Coast AM radio show I listen to first thing in the mornings is having a strange affect on me.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Well Hot Damn!!!!

If you haven't already, head on over to Wendy, our own SuperLibrarian and my roomie for four years now to check out her Most Excellent and Well Deserved news!!

Honestly, I think she's deserved it since I 'met' her online six years ago now. There couldn't be a better librarian advocate for the romance writers and readers among us.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Recent Read

The Last Goodbye by Sarah Mayberry

Why this one: I’m not exactly sure how Sarah Mayberry came onto my radar, but she did and I’ve really enjoyed all the books by her I’ve read. She has become an autobuy author whose new releases I really anticipate.

Steam Level: Pretty much perfect

Blurb: Ally Bishop knows the settling kind when she sees one. And Tyler Adamson is definitely one. Ordinarily this never-in-one-place-long girl would stay far, far away. Maybe it's the way he looks in jeans, or the way he looks at her, but suddenly Ally is breaking her own rules with dizzying speed. All that Australian temptation right next door, well, there's only so much resistance one girl can have.

As she dives into a fling with Tyler, Ally assures herself she can maintain perspective. After all, he's only here long enough to care for his ailing father. That gives them a time limit, right? With each passing day, however, she falls for Tyler more. And soon she has the strongest urge to unpack her suitcase and stay a while.

My thoughts: I’ll have to investigate further, but a big thank you to the person or people who clued me into this author. This book really ‘got’ to me. It’s not often I want to cry at the end of a book but I did with this one – and that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s because I’m close to the subject matter with my own experience and the fact that I work in the palliative care department in my place of employment. Last week, while I was reading this book, a few cases hit home, one in particular, when I was speaking to the wife and connected with, and for the first time I told her a bit of my own history. I got a call from the nurse on Friday that her husband passed away early that morning.

Although without question a romance, the real power of this book for me, was how very brave the hero was. Tyler Adamson had a horrific childhood. His father abused him, emotionally and physically, and his mother never stood up for Tyler and his brother. So when his father’s next door temporary neighbor, Ally Bishop tracks him down to inform Tyler his father is dying of cancer, Tyler doesn’t want to have anything to do with the situation. And who could blame him? Speaking from experience, being a caregiver to someone who is dying is a death in itself. And when there is a history of systematic abuse of the kind the hero suffered, well, I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like. But rather than ignore the situation, which would have been so much easier, Tyler, travels back home to make that final visit with his father. But it didn’t turn out to be that simple. His father wanted to die at home and despite his natural inclination, Tyler sets things in motion to be there for his father in his final days.

But this book is so realistic in that there isn’t a sudden end time epiphany on his father’s behalf. His father was cruel to Tyler all his life and he remains cruel even as he is living out his last bit of time. And that is what this book is about for me. Tyler sticks. It isn’t easy for him. Ally is his lifeline and therein is the romance. Ally is someone who grew up rootless. Her mother, a self-absorbed artist who was only concerned about herself, moved Ally around her entire childhood. As a result, Ally has created a homeless life as an adult. She works as an advice columnist but she also house sits; going from different house to different house with no roots whatsoever planted.

So while she has ever growing feelings for Tyler and respects the hell out of him, she’s also freaking out at the same time; worried that he will want something permanent when his father dies and he heads back to his normal life. She also is a heroine I really, really enjoyed. She’s supportive, compassionate, upbeat; everything Tyler needs.

Both these characters had real crappy upbringings and it shaped who they became as adults. To see these two wounded souls find and bond to each other, I found very moving, especially in light of what Tyler was going through, living with, coping with and helping with a monster from his childhood.

It’s weird to call a book beautiful, but that’s what I found this one. It’s so true to life. Impending death can bring out the best or the worst and this book exemplifies that.

I don’t want anyone to think they can’t read this one because it’s sad. That’s not the case at all. It’s a romance and a very good one. But because of personal experience, for me, it’s also very real. Even now, while writing this review, I find myself savouring it. Harlequins have such a short shelf life, but this one came out in February so shouldn’t be too hard to find. I highly recommend it. Others probably won’t have quite the emotional connection I had, but it’s still a very, very good book.

Grade: 5 out of 5

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Books Bought and Books Sought

Books Bought

(notice how I managed to get that to rhyme? Pretty good eh?)

A Lot Like Love by Julie James

I've been a fan of hers ever since her first book and I've had the opportunity to meet her several times now and shes a great a person as her books are great reads. I checked and this one isn't available at my local Chapters yet BUT it is available as an ebook and when I got a 20% off coupon from Kobo, it was a given that I'd get this book!!

Devil's Own by Veronica Wolff

I've read another book or two by her and enjoyed them and again, I used a Kobo coupon so the price just couldn't be beat!

Black Hills by Nora Roberts

I don't really buy her series books much anymore (except as J.D. Robb of course) but I still enjoy her stand-alone books. And one simply has to love the bargain book section at Chapters. This one I got in hardcover for the squeal of a deal price of $7.99! That's cheaper than a paperback copy.

Seducing and Angel by Mary Balogh

Again, one must love the bargain book bin. I picked this one up for $6.99!! I haven't read her books for quite some time so I thought I'd try her again. Plus I love the colour purple and I've bought books for just that kind of shallow reason in the past.

Deadly Heat by Cynthia Eden

I just finished a book by her and quite enjoyed it. I thought I'd give this series a try since someone somewhere in blog land really like the second one I think. And once more I'm striking out on who it is.

Well, crap on a cracker! I just noticed this is the second book, not the first. Oh well, I guess that means another trip to the book store.

Everyone Loves a Hero by Marie Force

And this is another shallow reason for buying a book. I was reaching for another book and this one fell off the shelf. I picked it up, read the back blurb, checked the price and thought 'what the heck' and into my pile it went

Books Sought

Defiant by Kris Kennedy

Last year at the RWA conference, Wendy and I traded thoughts on some of the different workshops. She came back from one I missed all excited when she heard Kris Kennedy had signed with Pocket books. She turned me on to this author and I adored The Conqueror. Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced The Irish Warrior before I finished it.
While checking out upcoming books to add to the sidebar somehow this one slipped by me. I was thinking of her the other day wondering when her next book was coming out. When I checked her website, low and behold I discovered her next book, Defiant, was coming out in April. I was most excited to discover this.

And I don't know about the rest of you, but I think that is one might fine cover, even if it is on the beefcakey side.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Recent Reads

Treachery in Death by J.D. Robb

Why this one: I’m addicted to this series and since the price was right…..

Steam Level: Warm. There have been much hotter books in this series but Eve and Roarke have settled into marriage and though the passion between them burns just as bright, it’s not written as explicitly in this one as in some of the early books.

Blurb: Detective Eve Dallas and her partner, Peabody, are following up on a senseless crime-an elderly grocery owner killed by three stoned punks for nothing more than kicks and snacks. This is Peabody's first case as primary detective-good thing she learned from the master.
But Peabody soon stumbles upon a trickier situation. After a hard workout, she's all alone in the locker room when the gym door clatters open; and-while hiding inside a shower stall trying not to make a sound-she overhears two fellow officers, Garnet and Oberman, arguing. It doesn't take long to realize they're both crooked-guilty not just of corruption but of murder. Now Peabody, Eve, and Eve's husband, Roarke, are trying to get the hard evidence they need to bring the dirty cops down-knowing all the while that the two are willing to kill to keep their secret.

My thoughts: I liked this one. There have been a few where I can’t really say that off the bat, but I can with Treachery. It was a bit different in that the murders that Eve and her team investigate happen before the story begins for the most part. And the one person murdered during the course of the story isn’t one of the innocents that so often are victims. No beloved teachers at private schools, no good cops under cover, no teenage girls who run afoul of evil witch wannabe’s and no little girls entire family are murdered during the writing of this book.

There is one, off scene so to speak, to start the story off. Dallas makes Peabody the primary in this one and there was one particular scene that was quite cute with Peabody wanting to be bad cop and Eve being good cop. We don’t often see her in this role *g*

But the story really begins when Peabody overhears some very obviously crooked cops discussing an informant they had iced. She is in a very scary situation and afterwards she and McNabb head to see Eve on how they should handle this situation when someone in their very own house has gone bad. This one pitted Eve against another lieutenant womano o’ womano so to speak, Team Good against Team Bad.

There was a lot that was familiar with the other book in this series, but then that’s what makes these such comfort books for me. There was also the start of a secondary love story in this one between a character I think we’ve all been hoping to see meet someone – heh, heh, heh on me not naming who – you will have to read it to find out who for yourselves.

Overall, this one is in the higher level of the In Death books I’ve enjoyed, although it didn’t quite touch my very favourites.

Grade: 4 out of 5


Why this one: I think she can write a great story and her heroes are always wonderful. I read another one in this 3 book series and quite enjoyed it so I got the other two as ebooks

Steam Level: while there weren’t many, what love scenes there were in there were very hot.

Blurb: Suzanne Carter has sworn off men…really! Her inability to take life seriously drives them crazy, so it’s best she leaves them alone. Then one night, strong, handsome Ryan Alondo rescues her and she simply melts. Who could resist all that rough-and-tumble sexiness? But as tempting as he is, she’s not going to fall for his charms. Because there’s no way she wants to ruin a man this gorgeous. From the moment Ryan sets eyes on Suanne, he knows she’s the one for him. She’s fun and sexy and exactly what he needs in his overcrowded, responsible life. And the passion between them can’t be ignored. He just has to convince her he’s serious enough for both of them. Good thing he can be very, very persuasive.

My Thoughts: This is an older book; back from the now defunct Temptation line and I didn’t pay very much for it, so I’m not bummed that it bombed for me. But it was a bit disappointing since once again, Ms. Shalvis wrote a great hero. But when I have issues with her books, it’s usually because of the heroine and that’s the case in Roughing it with Ryan. While Ryan was my kind of hero, a blue collar type who worked with his hands; an older brother who raised his younger siblings when their parents died, sexy and hunky and going for a higher education, I had real issues with Suzanne. First off, at the beginning of the book, she has just moved out, or rather been forced out, of living with her fiancé. She’s in no place to get involved with a guy so soon. But does she tell this to Ryan? Noooo, of course not. She just jumps from that relationship straight to another. And while she doesn’t fall right into his arms, when she does, just for lusts sake, she then backs off, confusing this great guy. And then she doesn’t want the relation ship to go any further, not for a normal reason like she just got out of a bad one, but because she figures she’s bound to hurt him as she’s hurt three previous fiancés. She doesn’t have the self awareness to realize that she’s a twit and the fault was with the men and not her. They would suggest something she should do for a living and she did it. One of them suggested she should be a stipper so she became one for awhile. Come off it. If some guy told me I should take my clothes off for a living, if he were serious and not just flattering me, he would so be out the door and at that curb!!!! But our heroine Suzanne – she’s engaged to the idiot and then when the relationship doesn’t work out, blames herself. For the life of me I didn’t understand what a guy like the hero would see in such a nitwit – except for a curvy body. She has zero sense of self worth and she’s stupid; two things that are unforgivable for me in a heroine.

She makes the poor guy work so hard for her, not because she’s worth it and we should all make the men ‘earn’ us, but because she’s an idiot. And she ends up hurting him in the process. ‘Cause she is an idiot. She’s out of a job because her last fiancé said she should work at his sisters restaurant and when he breaks it off, she lost her job. To keep things going until she finds another job, she does catering which she loves, but keeps saying it’s just a hobby and continues to look for a job as a chef which her previous boyfriend told her to do and thus she doesn’t think she should do catering because no guy said she should – because she’s an idiot. Mind you, she did strip for a while ‘cause a guy told her too.

I bet you get the feeling that I didn’t care for Suzanne one ity bity bit. And you would be right. I kept thinking about quitting this book ‘cause of her, but Ryan was so scrumptious. Author Jill Shalvis does this to me. She’s a very good author and I can totally get why she’s loved by many readers. I consider myself one. But when I don’t like the heroine, the book becomes a fail and sadly that made this one a fail.

But I did like the third one and I also have the second one – the rubber book of the series so to speak so I’ll have to see what I think of it.

Grade: Hero = 5/Heroine = 1.5. Factoring in good writing despite not liking the heroine, this book gets a 3