Sunday, April 30, 2006

Chuckle for the day

From my picture sending friend

When you are in deep trouble, say nothing and look like you know what you are doing

'til later

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I’ve thought long and hard about whether to blog about this but ultimately decided I would as an explanation as to why I might seem to disappear at times. I know I always worry/wonder when we don't hear from a regular blogger for a while. I consider so many of you friends – just as dear and important to me as those I’ll have a drink or coffee with – in fact I often sit here with one or the other in my hand as I go “visiting”

I want to howl and break something – do some serious damage to – something. Last October my husband was diagnosed with cancer. They didn’t give us very good odds for recovery but still we decided to go through with the treatment, the chemo and the radiation. I always say we because even though it is my husband who has this disease, it affects me just as deeply. He went through the chemo and the radiation and I watched him suffer the side effects daily and suffered helplessly along with him. But it seemed to be working. Slowly he was able to eat more and more things and we began to hope. While in treatment he discovered a lump on his abdomen just under the skin. They kept a close eye on it but didn’t know what it was and didn't appear to be overly concerned. They decided to remove it just in case. That was scheduled for the first week in May. He had a CT scan done two weeks ago to see how the cancer was looking and we were to go in and get the results last Wednesday. What happened was a nightmare that I still can’t shake. After keeping us waiting 3 hours after our scheduled appointment, with Ron getting more and more nervous until he was trembling and we were just about to walk out, the doctor whom we saw once – once during this entire time - came in to tell us in as cold a manner as I can say, that there were many lumps throughout his abdomen and at this point there was nothing else to do, chemo didn’t work – they grew while he was on it, it was too close to vital organs to radiate, and there was no point in doing surgery. The surgeon then came in and in a much more compassionate way explained that there was nothing more to be done. Then they sent us on our way. They told us nothing on what to expect, nothing on what we can or should do – NOTHING. After waiting over 3 hours, we were spent and my mind frozen. They did schedule a follow-up visit in six weeks but that was it.

I will never ever forgive or forget the callous way they let us know that my husband is not going to make it.

On Friday there was an article in the local paper that our city has the longest waiting list in the province for cancer treatment but that once people start getting people in for treatment, they are fairly satisfied. The first part is true. The second is a lie.

I plan on continuing to blog and visit – it has helped keep me sane during this time and I don't know what I would have done without it and I know I need to keep doing it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

And another one succumbs

to the power that is Derek.

Ames of Thrifty Reader and She-Ra has discovered the Power of the Craven.

So you would think my list has decreased. Ha!!


I found another one to add to the list. Dylan - I will be watching.

Monday, April 24, 2006

About What I Said Last Night

For the record now - these are not Compensation books. Nope - they are just curious books. See - I went to Walmart and.....

The Gate to Eden by Cathy McDavid - because it's a Western and I like the cover


Parallel Attraction by Dierdre Knight - because it's a futuristic and I lurve them


Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase - I finally broke down and bought ugly cover book because Rosario really liked it - and it is a Chase

and speaking of ugly Chase covers - it looks likes she is finally getting a break. This cover is much better than the original!

although his hair is more geared towards 2006 than 1896 (or whatever year it's set in - I forget. Great book though

and finally

From the First by Jessica Bird - because it is JR Ward and because Sybil likes it.

'til later

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Changing Habits

My book buying habit has gone through a drastic change in the past month - month and a half and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. Like probably everyone else I note in advance which books I want and make a list of the books I plan to purchase in a particular month. Then until recently, I would haunt the bookstores at least once a week until I found each book on my list. I'm lucky in that I have two book stores and a Walmart all within a few blocks of where I live, but sometimes I'd drive to other parts of the city if I was feeling particularly desperate. At times this consumed me and I would be almost itchy until I had each and every book on my list.
Well, often times the book I was seeking wasn't there and I still had the "itch" so I would get compensation books instead. These are books I didn't plan on getting or books by authors that were either new or new to me. A lot of these buys were pretty cover buys. But I just had to get something. Bonus - often times these books turned out to be real buried treasures. That's how I found Ride the Fire - my fave from last year. I had read her two previous books, but it was up in the air whether I would get her third. Same thing for Lips that Touch Mine, another favourite. As were The Cobra and The Concubine and Blood Moon over Bengal. These all led to me add the authors to my list that I will continue to buy and led me looking for their backlists if they have them.

Well, I just discovered recently that I can check on line to see if the book I'm looking for is in stock in the city. I did not know I could do this before. See here in Canada, unless you buy your books at Walmart or Zellers, there is pretty much only one seller of books in the whole country - Indigo books. It didn't used to be that way. We had WH Smith books and Coles Book Store. But then the corporate world being the corporate world, one bought out the other (I'm not sure which) and now they are all owned by the same company. We still have Coles Book Store and now Chapters but both are owned by Indigo. So, when I check online, I get access to all the book stores in the city. This cuts down mightily on driving around and wasting my time and gas (which is a very very good thing these days). It also cut down on the frustration of not finding what I want. But - it also seems to be cutting down on the compensation books too. And I'm not quite sure how I feel about that yet. It's still in the early days. I'll probably still buy them, but I'll have to change the name from compensation books to just curious books.

So does anyone else buy compensation books and how have they turned out? I'm running about 75% good with this kind.

'til later

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Various and Assorted

A number of bloggers are talking ebooks and I'm just feeling left out of that party. I haven't read 99% of them :( I' m really interested in giving many of the hot authors a try but I still haven't joined the ebook army yet. I'm still of the old fashioned school that likes to hold a book in my hand. As a data analyst, I spend most of the day at work staring intently at the computer screen. Anyone ever try and find six incorrect postal codes in an excel spread sheet out of thousands? UUUUGGLY! I have to blow the sucker up to 200% and go through each one - letter, number, letter number, letter, number. Then around 357 I'll find one where they have replaced a number 0 with a letter O. Anyway - when I get home, I'm just not into staring all evening at a computer screen. I've thought seriously hard about getting an ereader, came very close to getting one a while ago, but then something came up and I had to use the money for something else. A lot of ebooks are coming out in print now, but the book stores here don't carry them and besides I've looked at the price of them online and it's a bit prohibitive. So, this sadly is one topic I don't get involved in *sigh*.

Any one else besides me cringe when they go back and read a comment they made somewhere and it's filled with typing/grammar errors? I gotta tell you, I've been doing some major cringing lately when I see what I've written. I want to post another comment saying "I'm not that bad! Really I'm not!" Part of the reason why this seems to be happening is when I take a break at work - from finding postal code errors and other various and asundry errors - and do a bit of blog hopping, I keep my extra curricular web surfing screen very small, just in case someone wanders by my desk and sees I'm at someplace called Smart Bitches. I dart in and out of various blogs very quickly and don't take time to spell check. That plus I'm eager to see what the next person I visit has to say and I don't take the time I should to double check. I do that with my own blog too. I write it out, post it, read it over, cringe, go back to edit, fix mistake and it continues. I can't remember the last time I didn't have to go in and edit two or three times until it met my rather wonky standards. When I go back to the same blog later at home - where I use a full screen - I want to delete half the comments I've made and screwed up :)

I'm getting curious now what the attraction of Word Press is. So many seem to be switching over there from Blogger. Now I am the first to admit that blogger can be a real pain in the ass at times (boy do I remember) but is word press that much better? Not that I'm about to migrate there. The thought horrifies me! But I'm just curious about the differences. I did set up a blog in Word
Press about 3 or 4 months ago but I couldn't get in to activate it. Something about needing the correct password. I USED the correct password I tell you. I DID! But, as with all arguments with technological things, it won - I lost and I gave up the battle.

And along those same lines - aren't we an artistic bunch! I've been looking at some of the new blog looks - and there are a lot of them these days. I'd link but it's 6:30 am on a Saturday morning and I'm headed back to bed shortly, but they are gorgeous!!!

And after this brief stop - back to bed for me

'til later

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

In Defence of the Western

Mailyn recently asked in Romancelover’s blog why anyone would find that time period romantic. Well – in real life it would probably be pretty rough (but then unless you were a member of the ton could not the same be said for Regency England? Or early Upper Canada or the prison life in Australia – or anywhere for that matter before they had indoor plumbing, automatic washer and dryers and microwaves) But! In Romance land where things are rose coloured, a good western romance is a mighty fine thing. But before we get to the books, we need visuals, and what better than movies or TV. First stop on our visual tour would be the recent Hallmark movie The Outsider. Tim Daly as a wounded gunslinger who falls in love with a young Amish widow. Yum, yum, yum yum yum! This movie had such a sexy love scene (I must watch it again!) And best of all, it’s a very well done adaptation of a most excellent romance book by Penelope Williamson (aha! Another author of whom I have just about all of her backlist).

Now we move back a few years ago to Last of the Mohicans.
While not exactly a western, was there anyone hotter than Nathaniel aka Hawkeye? That scene with he and Cora on the building top *shiver * I’m thinking there are others that might agree with me on this one.

Now we go further back to Legends of the Fall. Overall I didn’t care for the movie and since then Brad Pitt has gotten almost as nutty as Tom Cruise. Angelina is certainly leading him around by his……nose. Yea that’s it, she’s leading him by his nose. I mean Namabia? He’s going to allow his kid to be born in Namibia? Ooookay – that’s not a place I would pick – but to each their own I guess.

But anyway – back from the distraction – in this one scene, where he rides up and tips his brim to Julia Ormond – . I kid you not when I say there was a noticeable gasp from the female half of the audience during THAT scene. Love him or not, like long hair or not, if only in that scene he was major hot.

For our next example of why we might like a western hero, we need to get into Mr. Peabody’s WAYBAC machine.

I don’t know if it’s out on DVD or not, but a DO NOT MISS movie for the western fan is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This is a classic movie!! Funny with great actors it is. I’m still, to this day though, in denial over the ending. They DID get away from the Bolivians! They did!
But even if you decide to rent the movie and it’s just not your cuppa, you have to watch long enough for the bedroom scene with Robert Redford (the Sundance Kid) and Katherine Ross (Etta Place). Oh man!!! When he holds the gun on her and tells her to take it off – quick! I need a fan. And ice cubes! I just wish I could get my husband to play The Schoolmarm and the Outlaw. I could get him a toy gun – I could be Katherine Ross ahem – back to topic.

Now we are getting back into the WABAC machine and going back into TV history. Many of you readers – it’s before your time, but hands up everyone older who didn’t have at least a small crush on Little Joe of Bonanza? Ahaa – very few hands. I happened to catch this show not too long ago and could not believe the hoakiness of it all – but back when I was a little one, Little Joe was sweeeet!

Renee, Kristine, I think you may remember him “grin” And if by any chance he didn’t lure you in, then surely Candy (now playing Adam Chandler in All My Children) did. And of course I already mentioned the two Bolt brothers and James West in my Kristie’s Crushes blog.

Final stop on our visual tour – none other than Clint Eastwood. Many, many years before he trained whatshername to be a boxer, he was Rowdy Yates, yummy, yummy mysterious cowboy on (Move 'em on, head 'em up, Head 'em up, move 'em on, Move 'em on, head 'em up,) Rawhide

I managed to find a
website with the theme song! *yes fist pump * Loved that little ditty. Be sure to turn your speakers up and listen along to one of the coolest TV jingles!!

Anyway – now that I have given some examples of whom I think make fine western type heroes its time to say what makes them good hero material. What is it about them that is so appealing? Well, as I said in reply, Western heroes seem to me to be more manly man type heroes. I think if you are a fan of the alpha hero, there would be many more alpha heroes to choose from in the Old West than there would be in other locations. And if you are a fan of the lone wolf hero, then the Western is your genre! I imagine after spending that much time in the saddle, they would be looking for a little female companionship. And who can resist a wounded outlaw type hero? Seriously – all you Western/Lost fans, can’t you just picture Sawyer in that role (and let’s see – me as Etta Place – stop it Kristie)
And if you go for the more law abiding type hero, who better than a marshal? No, no, get Matt Dillon out of your heads – he’s not a good example *shudder * He kept Miss Kitty dangling way too long! And he just wasn’t handsome. But Jack maybe? With Sayiid as the mysterious bounty hunter? Yeah, I like that.

So – I’m throwing down the gauntlet! To Mailyn and anyone else who has never read a Western, if Sybil (who is probably looking around thinking “huh, how did I get involved in this?” – well it’s cause I know you love a good western too and would love to help spread the word!) and I can come up with some prime examples of a classic Western romance, will you give it a go? Those willing to take a visit to the Wild West – well just sign up pardners!

Now before I say so long - one last picture. It really has nothing to do with the topic - but I was just so thrilled to find this one, I just had to include it. This is the scene that contains my all time favourite movie quote!

'til later

Monday, April 17, 2006

Suppose I gave a party

One of the really cool things about blogging is getting to “know” fellow romance lovers from all over Canada, all over the US and all over the world. One of the downfalls of blogging is knowing the chances are that I’m never going to ‘meet’ all my friends.

I have thousands of books – and I do mean thousands (and thousands)! There’s good news and bad news about that. The bad news is they are all over the house. Once upon a time I was organized and began putting them in boxes alphabetically by author and storing them in our basement. See – we only have two bookshelves. Long ago I abandoned the alphabetical storing though, and eventually the storing in the basement. Now they are in boxes and bags all over the house. I’ve been reading blogs where readers are discovering or recommending some of my old favourites and as I seem them come up, I long to look them up for a reread myself. But things have gotten totally out of control lately. I mentioned in a response on Ag’s blog that I would love to throw a party and each guest would get one box or bag - no, not to keep *grin* I mean to look through. We’d meet in the living room, drink wine, get sloshed and have a jolly good time discovering all the treasures I have. But few of my friends read romance (although one of them – and you know who you are – is discovering the joys or romantic suspense), so the thrill just wouldn’t be there for them – if they even agreed to come.

But the fellow fans I’ve met through blogging – that will never make it to my neck of the woods – sigh – they would be in romance heaven.

Here are just some of the treasures they would find!

Lisa Kleypas ENTIRE backlist – I’m even talking her books that are so old they don’t even appear on Amazon! Book I think she’s wishing she hadn’t written. A time travel! I even have a time travel she wrote. Or is it reincarnation? I could never quite figure that one out. I'm thinking Where'sMyHero would be loving the K box.

The entire collection of Lorraine Heath – in her pre-Avon days, back when she wrote really really good westerns

Ann Stuarts backlist
including just about every Harlequin book she wrote.(I can see Megan and Cindy would have a field day here – they would be all over the S box)

Elizabeth Lowell – before she switched to RS. Yep - I have her medievals and her Only books and all her Harlequins.

Karen Robards – before she also switched to RS. I even have the much hated Sea Fire. Some of her other historicals are pretty good. I’m really wanting to reread Tiger’s Eye again!

Connie Brockway’s entire backlist - even the ones that never get mentioned.

Marsha Marsha Marsha (I bet she gets that a lot) Canham’s backlist.

Justine Dare/Davis entire backlist. She wrote some really good ones. Even many of her Harlequins were very enjoyable. I bet most people don’t even know she wrote a couple of really hot angel books!

Jayne Ann Krentz backlist – back when she was still fresh! And also in that vein – all her older Amanda Quick books.

And sticking with Q’s – Julia Quinn’s backlist – before the Bridgerton’s took over her universe. Of course many of these have since been reissued so they aren’t as rare as they once were.

Deborah Simmons backlist – I’d love to reread many of these ones.

Susan Sizemore’s time travels – Yes before there were vampires – she wrote some good time travels I loved!

Elizabeth Thornton – I know Ag is discovering and rediscovering her books.

And vampires? I have the first ones when they came out years ago – before their renaissance began. We are talking Maggie Shayne and Linda Lael Miller here.

I have all 3 of the Elizabeth Elliot books – We could all ask the question at the same time! "Whatever happened to Elizabeth Elliot anyway?"

I have tons of Gayle Wilson books – the current president of RWA.

Patricia Veryan – I think there are some very hard to find books in my collection.

Teresa Medioros who has a most excellent backlist. Jennifer B is discovering her books

Of course I would let everyone read them. KarenS would be happy. I wouldn't be costing her more money.

I have ghost romance, vampire romance - before they were "in", a lot of futuristic romance, werewolf romance (from years ago), time travel, historical, RS – You name the genre and I think I have one. I think I even have one Bertrice Small book and a few Connie Masons and gasp – a Cassie Edwards or two (unless I traded them in – I probably did – quickly)

So you see – wouldn’t it be a lovely party?

'til later

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Rediscovering old favourites

There have been a number of authors I’ve dropped over the years. For most of them I can pinpoint the reason, too many books I didn’t enjoy or they switched genres or stopped writing romance altogether and I didn’t follow them. Then there are a few who slip through the cracks for no apparent reason. I continued to enjoy their books but I just *lost* them. Candace Camp is one of those authors. She wrote one of my favourite medievals – Evensong (which I highly recommend) and she wrote two wonderful books under the name Lisa Gregory, The Rainbow Promise and The Rainbow Season. Yet for some reason, I kind of stopped reading her. When I saw her latest release An Independent Woman, I bought it and idly wondered why I hadn’t bought any of her other recent releases. I just finished and now I’m wondering even more. I really enjoyed this one!
Juliana Holcott is the companion to a spoiled young woman. Nicolas Barre is recently returned to town to take up his title after leaving for America many years before. These two grew up together many years before. They were both unwanted were they were and leaned on each other. When Nicolas comes back to town, he searches for his childhood friend and finds her, and wants to renew their friendship only to end up costing Juliana her position. He then proposes they marry to correct this wrong.
This is a wonderful historical story of two young friends falling in love years later. Both are intelligent and very likeable. There is also a mystery that plays a part in the story. I am so glad I decided to read her again and now I’ll be searching for all the books that I missed.

I also want to comment on the cover and inside step cover. Fiona had a recent blog about how often the characters on the covers are completely wrong when you read the book. I agree with her. But this is one book that gets it right. I could easily picture Nicolas and Juliana looking like the couple inside – and look!! They are both fully clothed. How refreshing.

(I also wanted to prove to myself that even though I'm stumped when it comes to figuring out how to go about getting an avatar - I can still scan pictures with the best of 'em)

Grade 4 out of 5

'til later

Friday, April 14, 2006

Delicious by Susan Mallery - was it?

I really like Susan Mallery’s books. I really do. She is an author who doesn’t get very much buzz at all and I’m not quite sure why. She’s written some wonderful little gems for Harlequin although I admit I haven’t read any lately. Unfortunately they come with some rather bad titles (The Sheik and the Virgin Secretary – blecchh, The Prince and the Pregnant Princess – another blecchh – good grief – I’m looking at some of the other titles here. Who comes up with these titles and who in their right mind wants to read about sheik’s? But I digress) Her earlier Harlequins – before the title names got ridiculous were pretty good. She also wrote some westerns I enjoyed under the name Susan Maccias. So – with a history of good books I’ve enjoyed under her belt, I read Delicious.
I loved it. I thought this was a great book, one of her best ones yet.
This is the story of Penny Jackson and Cal Buchanan. Cal has agreed to take on the task of saving his family’s restaurant. In order to do this, he needs a master chef. The one who is the best and the one he wants to hire just happens to be his ex-wife. This is a wonderful second chance at love stories. Both Cal and Penny are great characters. The reason for their failed marriage rests solely on Cals’ feet – but he realizes this and is very regretful of the fact that he hurt Penny so much in the past. But he thought he had his reasons……. Added to the complications is the fact that Penny is now pregnant. After her marriage to Cal failed, and no one else on the horizon, but wanting desperately to be a mother, she decides to go the artificial insemination route.
I loved both Cal and Penny. They were both fun and very likeable. It was very fun watching them work their way back together again. And I loved the secondary characters, Cal’s younger brothers and sister. Even the evil grandmother was an interesting character, a bit clich├ęd, but she certainly added to the story. I only had one quibble with the whole book and that was the character of Penny’s best friend Naomi.
Slight spoiler and a chance to use the hide feature

She “does” both brothers and then decides to go back to her husband – her character just made me squirmy.

Unfortunately I disliked her so much the book the grade get’s knocked down a peg.
I found myself thinking about this book at work and wishing I was home reading. It’s been a while since I felt that way.

What’s neat for us Susan Mallery fans is she has her next book – The Marcelli Bride (the brother’s story from a previous series) out in May and the next Buchannan brother out in July. I like that – not having to wait long.

Grade: Grade: 4 ¾ out of 5

(And it looks like I’m back reading again since I still managed to read this one despite my hectic work schedule- Yeah!)

'til later

No Last Night's Lost

Those who tune in on Thursday's may have noticed the regular Last Night's Lost didn't appear. There was a reason for that!! And I need to vent. I may have mentioned I've been involved in a particulary intense project at work. It was supposed to be done by Wednesday and being the good little worker bee that I am, I worked my little stinger off 9 - 9/12 hour days, no breaks, no lunches, trying to get it done. Well - it didn't get done by Wednesday. I thought my portion of it was, but twas not the case. I had planned things so that I could leave early yesterday - I certainly had the hours in. But that's not quite the way things happened. I started at 7:30am and didn't end up leaving until 6:15pm. Mind you everyone else had cleared out by 4:30 - it being a long weekend and all. When I finally got home - fuming - I was only good for crashing.
Why is it that the muckey mucks who dream up these things, who come up with these brilliant ideas, don't consult with the people who actually do the work?????? If they had bothered to check, I could have told them there expectations were too high - that they were asking the impossible. But noooooo. The workers themselves get no imput into it! They're just expected to get it done. I'd better get huge brownie points over this one!

So no Last Night's Lost.

It was good though. It was Rose and Bernard's story. Turns out that Locke isn't the only one who was cured by the mystical power of the island. And just when I thought Sawyer and Kate were finding something - now we have a possible reemergence of Jack and Kate - hmmmmm. And Michael's finally back again. I wondered what was going to happen with him. Looks like we will find out more next week.

Well - it's 5:00 in the am and I'm heade back to bed again after this brief explanation post.

til later

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My Cheatin’ Heart

I’ve been doing some pondering on this since others have blogged about it. My thoughts are nebulous so maybe this will help clear them up some. Then again, maybe not because my thoughts are always cloudy. The cheating hero seems to be a very big NO NO for many readers of romance – a killer – a wallbager. I’m more in the gray area. I don’t like it when the hero cheats, but there maybe – at times – and if it’s well-written, a case for still liking the book. If the hero is turned inside out, upside down, kisses the underside of the shoes the heroine has walked through dog doodoo in – I can forgive him – Maybe. But in real life, statistics don’t seem to bear this out. I have heard a number of different and credible sources lately say that as many as 80% of couples cheat these days. Now that seems to be extremely high to me, but even if it’s skewered about – the end results would still be sadly way too high. So – what gives? Why is it so loathed in romances, yet common in real life?

Well – I have a theory. It might be crackbrained and completely off the wall – but I think readers of romance novels for the most part fall into the 20% who believe and practice monogamy. And why is that you ask? Well – in an odd sort of way, I think romance novels provide an outlet for us. I mean really – who hasn’t when they have been fighting with their partner like cats and dogs and think to themselves I don’t know if I can live with this person one more day, late at night, in the deepest part of their being, been curious what it might be like with someone else? Is there might be someone out there more sympathetic, more understanding? Not anyone in particular – just someone different who isn’t currently driving them nuts! BUT!!! By reading romance novels, we kind of get a glimpse if you will – of what it might be like. And it’s safe. Because it’s not really us who are the heroines – but we can still identify with the heroine. And the heroes are safe because they aren’t real people. They are just made up. Hasn’t there been a time or two when we have lived vicariously through the couple in a romance book? Enough to get it out of our systems, until we patch things up with our own mates, realize they aren’t really so bad and start liking them again?

Anyway – just a thought in passing.

‘til later

In case you might have noticed

The crisp newer look to the blog, well I had nothing to do with it. A hearty thanks to Maili and The Reader Network for unweaving the blithering tangled mess I had managed to make of it!!!

'til later

Monday, April 10, 2006

I thought this was kind of fun

You Should Be a Joke Writer

You're totally hilarious, and you can find the humor in any situation.

Whether you're spouting off zingers, comebacks, or jokes about life...

You usually can keep a crowd laughing, and you have plenty of material.

You have the makings of a great comedian - or comedic writer.

Because I complain a lot

Because I complain a lot about bad covers, every so often just to balance things out, I like to see covers I do like.

These first ones appeal my inner girlie girl.

This next one to the lover of all things western in me

And finally - just for Nicole

I don't know if they will be any good or not, but I'll probably get them because I have this addiction - and I'm easily influenced by covers

'til later

Sunday, April 09, 2006

AngieW's April Challenge

Well, even though I didn't sign up for it (snicker) I read my first book for Angie W's challenge for April. Here is my (first) book

Title: Heart of the Hunter

Tina St. John

Year published:

Why did you get this book?
I really have no idea. I've had it for a while now. It must have "called" to me in the store. That plus it's a medieval and there just aren't enough of them around anymore.

Do you like the cover?
It's OK - nothing special

Did you enjoy the book?
Yes I did!!

Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again?
The author is new to me and lucky for me, when this book called to me, so did the next one. It's in my TBP pile too. Then of course the third one also found out I had the first two and insisted I buy it. So that would a a yes, followed by another yes.

Are you keeping it or passing it on?
Keeping it for now - until I read the other ones in the series and learn to let go of my books better

Anything else?
there was a review for this one at AAR, but I liked it better than the reviewer. I give it a 4 out of 5. It's a medieval with a bit of witchery thrown in. It was so nice to finally finish a book again. I looked quickly for the next one in the series that I have - Heart of Flame - but I have no idea where it is in my pile. I'm a tad out of control there and it's going to take major hours to get it into some semblance of order. *sigh*

til later

Friday, April 07, 2006

This might be of interest

Just ducking in here real quick and I won't have time to read it until I get home from work (still busy, busy busy here), but thought this might be of interest to those who visit here during the day.

'til later

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I needed some cheering up

Courtesy of my picture sending friend

And last but not least

'til later

My dreary reading world

I've been having a hard time since the beginning of the year reading. I've read a few books that I really enjoyed but for the most part my reading has dropped well over 75%. I used to be able to read a book in 2 days or less. Now unless the book really grabs my attention, it's taking me 5 or 6 days. And since my interest in a book tapers off by day 4, I've getting very itchy at the whole situation. I signed up for the first few of Angie's book challenges thinking it would be a piece of cake. No such luck. I get stuck on book after book. And she's picking themes I like! I think I've read and enjoyed maybe 5 or 6 books all year. This is so not like me. I've had slumps before - but it's April now and there's still no real sign of coming out of it. I'm still buying books like a mad hatter. I'm just not reading books like I used to. Maybe it's the current level of stress I'm under - although in the past reading has always helped my stress level. Maybe I'm spending more time on-line. I know it's not because I'm watching more TV - if anything, I'm watching less. But I just can't get into books like I used to. And it's almost like a part of me is missing.
I've tried all kinds of things. Changing genres, reading comfort books and old favourites. The thrill of the favourite lasts as long as the reading of the book, then book malaise hits again. And I must say - I really, really don't like this. I think I'm suffering from the dreaded book ennui.
So - not many postings on books I've enjoyed - cause I have'nt

'til later

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Last night’s Lost – A rant and a glimpse into me

I know, I know I'm early but I just have to call it Last Nigh't Lost and a good rant doesn't work as well once one has cooled down

What an interesting and very sad night of television last night. First off, remember how I gloated because here in Canada we had the best of both worlds? Lost and American Idol on at two different times so I could watch them both? Well the PTB at CTV just had to go and ruin it. THEY TOOK OFF LOST and replaced it with The Amazing Race. Those jerks! So, since I watch both Lost and AI and still don’t know how to program a VCR (I know – very sad) I had to flip. And fascinatingly enough – weight played a major role in both shows.

First – Lost!

I loved this episode. We really got into Hurley’s psyche and I’m impressed beyond belief how the writers got it right. They nailed it as far as I’m concerned. For those who didn’t see it, the back story was Hurley’s. It turns out he was in a mental institute before he struck it big in the lottery. We had seen him there before, but being as I miss a lot of the subtleties, I thought he was there as a visitor. That wasn’t the case though. He was sent there by his mother, when a balcony (I think) he went out on collapsed, killing two people. He blamed himself – thinking it was his fault because he was overweight and it collapsed due to his added weight. I felt for him – I really did. Me – I’m no Nicole Ritchie. Some people on the larger size have reached that place where they can accept that about themselves. Not me. Oh how I wish I could but I’ll never be able too. Food is how I numb myself. And frankly I’ve done a lot of numbing in these past months.

While in the hospital Hurley had what turned out to be an imaginary friend. This “friend” was the one who kept him from losing weight. When Hurley realizes this, there is a breakthrough and he begins to recover. Then in real time, his imaginary friend made a re-appearance. This time it was triggered by the fact that Hurley couldn’t accept the fact that Libby might actually have feelings for him – despite his size. Oh man could I relate to that. I thought it turned out very good except for the doo doo doo doo (theme music from Twilight Zone there) moment at the very end. Wonder what that means. Hmmmm.

So – while I was watching Lost I flipped over to AI with about five minutes left to go. And who should get the lowest votes – but Mandisa. And why was that? It had nothing to do with talent – she has an incredible voice and is a very attractive woman. But she is (as Monica Jackson so insultingly would put it) a fat chick. And in western society there is a mostly unacknowledged hostility towards those of larger size – women in particular. And it does exist!! Years ago I applied for a job in a grocery store. The store manager was a pig!! A fuckin’ pig. I didn’t get the job and I heard later (because I had a lot of friends who worked there) that I didn’t get the job because of my size. The manager saw me and refused to hire me. And while I’m overweight, it’s not by a huge amount, but you do certainly notice it. Well a couple of years later that manager left (and was later fired – boy did I chortle in glee over that one) and I applied again and got the job. And if I do say so myself, was one of the best damn cashiers they had!!! I won all kinds of stuff for being a good cashier in their “mystery shopper” contests. I made it to the top of the pay scale a year and a half ahead of schedule because I got performance raises and in the 9 years I worked there I missed 3 days due to illness.

Because of that situation, I’ve always been more ‘sensitized’ to the hidden prejudice that exists. And it does! And Mandisa suffered because of it. And that’s wrong.

‘til later

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Dreaming of You - A review

Well, so many have read and blogged about this one so I thought it was my turn *grin*

Suisan asked why she should read Dreaming of You. Good question. This is going to be a long post – so grab a coffee/tea/glass of wine/beer/scotch and water/bloody mary and settle back. Since I’ve been encouraging others to read this book and so many have taken up the challenge, I figured it was only right I read it myself. Ha ha! Just kidding. I’ve read it before. Many times before. But it has been quite a while since I read it cover to cover. Usually I would just read my favourite passages. And it was just as magical this time around as it was the first time. What is it about this book that has turned me into a unabashed promoter?

Well, years and years back I read the Kathleen Woodiwiss’s and Rosemary Rogers. It got to the point where I just couldn’t read another rape scene disguised as love. And I couldn’t stop laughing at Woodiwiss giving personality traits to body parts. I got away from romance for a while and when I got back into it, it was kisses only. Of course that wasn’t enough for long. So I slowly started reading books with *gasp* S.E.X. in them. Quite surprised the sisters who thought I was a prude I did. Dreaming of You was one of the first books I read where the hero was different than those old bodice rippers heroes of old. Yes, though I hate that term it does aptly describe the early days of modern romance books. Much to my delight Derek Craven was DIFFERENT. Sure he had a past with women. A lot of them. He was a male prostitute in his younger days. He was being viciously pursued by a Glenn Close type stalker woman. But once he met Sara, he was lost - he was wrecked. He became a pussycat who just couldn’t function anymore the way he used to. He kept her spectacles as a reminder of her – predating Roarke’s button. There were so many scenes that showed the – let’s see I don’t really want to use the term taming – but the sensitive side of Derek. This one gets me every time. Derek has sent Sara away, back to her little town, because he has grown too fond of her and is frightened of it. One of the “house wenches” comes to visit Sarah and tells her this story.
“The house wench needed no further prompting. “Mr. Crawen’s short in temper these days. Doesn’t eat or sleep, acts like ‘e’s got a bee up ‘is arse. Yesterday ‘e went to the kitchen an’ told Monsueir Labare ‘is soup tasted like bilgewater. Why, it took Gill an’ Worthy both to keep Labarge from gutting ‘im with a big knife!”
“I-is that why you’ve come here, to tell me that? I’m very sorry to hear it, but. . .” Sara paused awkwardly and lowered her head. “His mood has nothing to do with me.”
“It ‘as ewerything to do with you, miss – an’ no one knows it better than me.”
Sara’s fists knotted tighter in her apron “what do you mean?”
Tabitha leaned forward, speaking in theatrical whisper. “Mr. Craven came to my bed two – not three nights ago. You know ‘e newer does that. Not with the ‘ouse wenches.”
Suddenly it was impossible to breathe. Sara remembered having felt like this long ago, when her horse Eppie had shied at some movement in the grass and thrown her to the ground. Sara had fallen flat on her stomach and had wheezed and gasped sickly for air. Oh, God, how could it matter this much to her that he had taken his pleasure within this woman’s body, held her and kissed her –
“Is eyes were so strange, “ Tabitha continued. “like ‘e was looking through the gates of ‘ell. ‘I ‘as a special request, ‘e says, ‘a’ if you tells anyone about it, I’ll ‘have you skinned an’ gogged,’ So I says awright, an’ then-“
“No.” Sara felt as if she would shatter to pieces if she heard one more word. “Don’t tell me. I-I don’t want to hear-“
“ ‘E came to my bed. “e tole me not to say anyfin, no matter what ‘e did. No matter what ‘e said. Then Mr. Craven turned the lamp down an’ took me against ‘im…”Tabitha averted her gaze as she continued. Sara was frozen in place. “ ‘Let me hold you, Sara, ‘e says. “I need you, Sara’…all night long it was, ‘im pretending I was you. It’s because we look alike, you an’ me. That’s why ‘e did it.” She shrugged with a touch of embarrassment. “ “E was gentle an’ sweet about it too. In the morning ‘e left without a word, but there was still that terrible look in ‘is eyes-“.
*Heavy sigh*
Anyway – what a difference between this hero and the ones like Steve or Brandon. *shudder*
Some might not like that he had sex with someone other that Sara at this point, but as she was engaged elsewhere, I think it’s a very powerful scene and shows just how lost Derek is without Sara.

Don’t get me wrong – Derek is no wimp. He is strong. I just adore this next scene. Those few of you who haven’t yet read it and are planning to might want to close their eyes for a minute.

This scene happens earlier – before he sends Sara away. Things are getting pretty hot and heavy between Derek and Sara although Derek doesn’t realize at first it’s Sara he’s doing the deed with. When he does – he’s none to happy

“Stay still!.” Derek swallowed hard, his gaze traveling to the lush display of her breasts. “You and your… research.” He said the word as if it were obscene. His hand covered her breast, his palm rubbing over the nipple until it formed a tight bud. He tried to let her go, but his body wouldn’t obey. Every nerve screamed rebelliously. He wanted her. He would have given everything he owned just to grind himself inside her. Breathing harshly through his teeth, he fought to contain his desire.
“I wanted to be someone other than myself, “ Sara said in defiant whisper. “The kind of woman that you would…dance with… and desire. And even now…I don’t regret what I’ve done. You may not feel any attraction for Sara Fielding, but at least you felt something for the woman I pretended to be, and that – “
“You don’t think I want you?” he asked hoarsely.
“I knew when you refused to kiss me this morning–"
“That’s what this is about? You wanted revenge because I didn’t…” Craven seemed to choke on the words. When he managed to speak again, his voice was tainted with a cockney twang. “It wasn’t enow for you that I’ve ached like a drawn dog ever since you came ‘ere-“.
“Drawn dog? She repeated in confusion.
“Pulled away before the rutting’s finished.” He clenched his hands on either side of her face, glaring at her. “I wanted you this morning, you little tease. I’ve wanted to do you over since the first time I…Be still!”.
Well, Sara doesn’t stay still and things get hot and heavy again before they are rudely interrupted.

“Sir, shall I have a carriage brought for…?” Worthy paused, unwilling to voice Sara’s name.
“Yes,” Derek said tersely. “Get out, Worthy.”
The factotum close the door.
Sara couldn’t seem to stop trembling. She clenched her arms around Craven’s shoulders and buried her face against the humid skin of his throat. She had never experienced the pain of unsatisfied desire before. It hurt. It hurt like nothing she’d ever felt, and there seemed to be no remedy. Although she expected Craven to be cruel, he was kind at first, holding her tightly against his body and rubbing her back. “Dog-drawn,” he said with a humorless laugh. “A few minutes and you’ll be all right.”

OK–you can look now.

Honestly – who among us hasn’t experienced what Sara did – or Derek for that matter although I don’t think us women can really appreciate a good case of blue balls? I think it’s a great scene.
Others who have read Kleypas may have their other favourite heroes. Derek didn’t work as well for Ag as did Nick Gentry. And Sybil slightly preferred Sebastian but Derek was the first of the Kleypas bad boy heroes I read and considering I read this one first and waaayyy back when, he holds a special place for me.
I haven’t touched much on Sara. She is what saved the book for Ag, while Bam was only so so on her. I loved her! She was a country mouse and she seemed in a way to lay back and accept Derek’s banishment. But once she made up her mind he was who she wanted – well she became a tigress. I really liked that about her. She isn’t the most flamboyant heroine – but then that allows Derek to shine even more.
Ms. Kleypas doesn’t just leave us when Derek and Sara finally get together (I hope I’m not giving any spoilers when I say this – I mean you know it’s going to happen – its’ a romance) Rather she gives us a glimpse of their married life. In fact she saves the most emotional moment in the whole book for the end. When Derek thinks Sara has perished in the fire – well, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve read and reread those passages. And each and every time I do, it still packs a wallop for me.
For any of those curious – I’ve never written Ms. Kleypas or gotten in touch with her in any way over this. I doubt she’s even aware of this promotion of her book. I have written a few authors in the past but never her. I don’t visit the Avon board and post about how ‘OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!!!! IT’S THE BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN!!!!! It’s just a book that touched me deeply, proved to me that reading romance was the best choice and one I will never get tired of. I’m not an unabashed Kleypas fan girl. While she is an autobuy author, so are many others and I’m the first to admit some of her books really don’t work for me – Lady Sophia’s Lover for example was one that I did not care for at all!.

I have had SO much fun seeing so many readers discover this book for the first time!! Most of them have really enjoyed it - some as much as me, others not quite. There are still a few of you out there - and I have your names. My hound list is much smaller, but there are still some out there whose names I can add to the list. So for all those who played along with me - my thanks. And those who haven't yet - well, I hope you're all good and curious now *grin*

'til later

Monday, April 03, 2006

Opening Day!!!

yea, yea I know there was a game yesterday, but today is the real opening day. Let's just hope the Jays can topple those Red Sox and Yankees this season

A sure sign of spring and summer weather.

'til later

Saturday, April 01, 2006

In an effort to spread the word

There is a new site available for romance readers - The Reader Network. It sounds very interesting and looks like a forum full of all kinds of neat things!

'til later