Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's not only us readers who love North and South!!

I stayed up late last night working on this. (in fact I slept in- yelp!)

I said I had something special planned for today.

This is an author who I came thisclosetomeeting in Dallas. She visited our room and I missed her by less than five minutes. I knew she was a North and South fan from the Avon Authors Bulletin Board so when I appealed her her for help and mentioned that we almost met - low and behold she remembered almost meeting me too.

When I did ask for her for help with The Crusade and thoughts on North and South she very graciously agreed.

So I bring you ---Sabrina Jeffries. She's quite busy as her newest book in The School for Heiress, Let Sleeping Rogues Lie is due out soon (February 19 - so remember that date)
She also wrote a pretty nice pirate book - The Pirate Lord which is always on my list when someone is looking for a good one!

And without further adieu - here are Sabrina's thought on North and South.

I saw “North and South” about six months ago at the recommendation of a reader. I had already fallen in love with Richard Armitage on “Robin Hood” (Jonas Armstrong as Robin is fine, but too young-looking to fantasize about—Richard as Sir Guy of Gisborne is, well, yum!). The idea of RA in Victorian-era clothing was just too good to pass up, even if the 4 hour length did seem rather daunting.

Alas, it flew by WAY too fast, so fast I had to watch parts of it again immediately afterward to assess the … er … acting. That’s it, the acting. What can I say, I’m thorough.

But what made it so special was the melding of RA’s talent with a great story. Here are three reasons I found it a wonderful romance:

1) The character of John Thornton. Nothing’s sexier to me than a self-made man, a guy who pulls himself up by his bootstraps. I’ve written a few, but not as many as I’d like (CURSE that need for variety). Thornton is that wonderful blend of determination and vulnerability that just grabs me every time, and RA is a master at portraying that. Besides, who doesn’t like a guy who protects and defends his mother?

2) The plot. Without risking spoilers, Margaret is forced to keep a secret from John, thus tarnishing her character in his eyes. Yet despite the wretched things he believes about her, he still wants her very badly, and that always appeals to me—a guy going against his better judgment (or what he THINKS is his better judgment, anyway).

3) The end. Oh. My. God. That scene with the hands on the train platform gets me in the gut every time. I think I’ll have to go watch it again right now.

Sigh. It was one of the best period romances I’ve seen in a long while.

It's nice knowing isn't it, that we aren't the only ones that go all swoony!!

Thank you Sabrina for helping us spread the word!!

And remember - if your interested in winning the book by Elizabeth Gaskell, be sure to let us know in the comments. Draw will be on Sunday

The Great North and South Crusade

Being computerless put our time line back and at the risk of annoying anonymous further, who can just read the title and move on, and because there are still very new Crusaders and still possibly more still waiting to see it and possibly be converted, we here at Crusader headquarters have decided to extend The Crusade. (and now I'm out of breath typing that long sentence!)

Originally it was going to conclude at end of January, but now we are going to continue for just a while longer, until the end of February - yes anonymous, a whole other month although February is a short one.
You may remember at the first we had a couple of contests.

Well - we are extending one and finishing the other.

The first contest is a give-a-way of three copies of the book. I have a list of Crusaders on the side, but I really don't know who all is interested in reading the book. So, if you've seen the series and want to read the book, leave a comment that you are in and you will be entered. With three books to give away, Kate will be drawing a name, Sula will be drawing a name and I will be drawing a name. Good luck to all who are interested.

The second contest will be extended. This one is for a copy of the DVD and to be eligible for that one, it takes a bit of writing. Kate and I have have bit the bullet and watch for our efforts to get that ball rolling. Kate has hers done and I'm almost done mine!

For further details, just go to the beginning of The Crusade.

In addition, we have a couple more special things lined up - one we will post tomorrow. So stay tuned.

(I know I went overboard with pictures - but it's so hard to choose just a couple.)


In case there is any confusion - it's just the contest for the books that is ending. We will make the draw on Sunday. The contest for the DVD - where you get to test your writing skills has been extended. We haven't discussed an end date for that yet so there is lots of time.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cloverfield a love story?

This weekend I went to see a movie I have wanted to see since I saw the strange trailer from six months ago. Plus it would be the first movie I saw for 2008. It was the sci-fi alien fest called Cloverfield. The ironic thing is that I saw a movie about NYC being destroyed right in Times Square in NYC. After I finished watching it, I really did think it was lame. $11.75 for this piece of crap?!?! Yes, I really did think this. (Well, I didn’t pay for my ticket since my friend paid for me. See, there are gentlemen in the world)

But after a few days I found myself thinking about this movie and going over what I saw in my head. Suddenly I had come to a conclusion. Cloverfield is a tragic love story. It begins with two lovers together and ends the same way. The first part of the plot is about giant alien destroying a city, but the subplot is about our hero trying to get to his heroine and save her.

The movie starts with our hero, Rob waking up after spending a night with his friend Beth. Rob and Beth were friends but they finally have become lovers. The day is beautiful and these two are so happy. They even spend the day together at Coney Island. Fast forward to a month later. Rob has found a job in Japan and will be leaving to go work there. His brother Jason and his girlfriend Lily are throwing a goodbye party for Rob. Originally Jason was supposed to videotape the event, but he gives that responsibility to Jason’s best friend Hud. Hud in turn has a bad crush on Lily’s friend Marlena. Rob is surprised and a bit sad because this will be his LAST NIGHT in NYC and with that he must leave Beth behind. Something has happened in the past month because Rob and Beth are not talking. She comes to the party, they fight and she leaves.

And this is where the story really begins. The alien monster comes along and begins to destroy everything in its path. Rob, Jason, Lily, Marlena and Hud all try to run and find safety in Brooklyn. They are almost home free when Rob gets a call from Beth. She is hurt, scared and maybe dying. Rob has a decision to make, either continue with his friends to freedom or go into the alien war zone and save the love of his life.

Rob quickly decides he must go back and find Beth, regardless of the fact that he may die or that Beth could already be dead. Now I was thinking what is wrong with this guy?? In the immortal words of Monty Python- “RUN AWAY!!” But the simple fact is, what if it was your true love or if you were a parent and your child called you asking for help? Rob makes the decision and heads to Beth. Because Rob goes, Lily follows and because Marlena is good friends with Lily, she goes also and then there is Hud who because he is such good friends with Rob, will also come along and help his friend. (As for Jason, well Jason doesn’t come). These four are now warriors going into a war zone where they may not come out alive. And this is where I realized the underlying story of this sci-fi movie is in essence a love story.

We have a love story between Rob and Beth. We have a true love and friendship with Rob and his friend Hud and of course Lily who is good friends with Marlena. But this is a tragic love story so you probably can guess that some of these people won’t survive. But what I can tell you is that our two lovers, Rob and Beth are reunited and end up together much like they way they were at the beginning of the movie. As they declare their love (which they never have said) for each others there is a possibility they may not survive.

This is the type of love that we read in our romances, where the hero will die trying to get to his one true love and save her. And when the hero and heroine believe they maybe separated forever, that is when all feelings come to the surface and they passionately say “I love you”. And honestly, that has to be the perfect way to go.

Cloverfield, a love story? Who would have thought it?

I thought this was fun!

And I haven't done one for a while.
I found this at Melody's Reading Corner (a new to me blog - I love finding new blogs) and thought it was cute.

You Are a Strawberry

You are friendly, outgoing, and well liked by many people.

You are popular, but there's nothing you ordinary or average about you.

You a very interesting person, and you have many facets to your personality.

Sometimes you feel very conflicted. Your different sides of your personality pull at you.

You are a very sensual and passionate person. You are fiery... you can't help it.

In general, you keep your passionate side under wraps. You are only wild in private.

What Type of Fruit Are You?

(I think the different sides of my personality are me and Krisite)

And the Crusaders continue to grow

Yet another one has fallen under it's spell.

Happy Dance! Happy Dance!

Zeek watched it. She loved it. She has joined the Crusade!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Recent Read

Count to Ten - Karen Rose

Why this one: Ames gave this one a very good review and since she’s always reading books I’ve recommended, and she did not only watch, but bought North and South, it only seemed fair that I try one of her recs.

Level of Steam: If I had read this one when the furnace was off, it would have gone a long way in keeping me warm.

Amazon Blurb: When a series of arsons turns out to hide a homicide, Mia teams up with Chicago Fire Department Lt. Reed Solliday to track down the firebug killer. Still reeling from her father's death and her last case, which landed her partner, Abe, in the hospital, Mia's not pleased to be teaming up with someone new—especially with Abe's assailant still on the loose. Reed has his doubts as well, suspecting that Mia isn't ready to be back on assignment. As the investigation proceeds and the two divulge their troubled pasts, they find themselves warming to each other—just in time for Mia to become the next target for the flame-happy madman.

My thoughts: Unlike another book I read from Ames list that didn’t really work for me – it was a Lora Leigh book, Count to Ten by Karen Rose worked very well indeed! I love a strong heroine and Mia fits that bill to a tee. She is smart, intelligent and gutsy. If you like Eve Dallas, I’m sure you will like Mia. She is like Eve without the sharp edges. Although she keeps men at a distance – relationship wise – she does have a core group of good friends who worry and care about her.

Reed makes a great hero. He is a widower who was very much in love with his wife – refreshing isn’t it. His first wife was good and rather than villianize her in any way, the author just makes the two women completely different. It’s interesting to read how he handles being the single father of a slightly rebellious daughter.

Both of these characters are wary of getting involved with each other, but the attraction can’t be kept under wraps for long. The romance part of this book was great. But what really stood out for me was the suspense. I’ve only ever read something this suspenseful in the In Death books. Although a fan of Romantic Suspense, much of what I read is more geared towards the romantic. Not this one. The suspense is chilling and even though the villain – who I did not guess until near the end – is chilling. At first one almost feels somewhat sympathetic towards him, but as the body count goes up, and the villain gets more and more gruesome and out of control, you see how evil this person really is.

I really enjoyed this book and I’m happy I have a new author to look forward too. I’ve already bought another one by her and I see she has a nice back list.

Thanks Ames!!

Grade: 4 out of 5

And yes, now it is official

Cindy is indeed a Crusader! She loves North and South just like so many of us do!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Beyond Paradise

I am not a huge fan of Pirate romances, with the exception of The Gift by Julie Garwood or The Pirate Hunter by Jennifer Ashley. But when Sula told me about a wonderful little romance with a hero pirate who happens to be deaf, I quickly put Beyond Paradise by Elizabeth Doyle on hold at my library. This was published by Zebra in 2003 and I believe one of the last books Doyle has written since her website is quite old and she has been MIA since then.

Beyond Paradise is a very unique romance. It takes place in a very different setting of the island of Martinique in 1662. The heroine, Sylvie, is spunky, and oh so beautiful and so kind to those around her. She is even marrying a man she can’t stand to help out her family. But the thing I adore about Sylvie is that she admits she has needs. She likes attractive men. And this is shown from her thoughts from the first page:

“Ever since Sylvie’s engagement, Martinique had become infested with handsome men. Why had she never notices this before? It was as thought men were dropping from the sky, all of the handsome, and knee-shakingly virile.”

Sylvie’s lusting gets her into trouble and because of this she is taken prisoner by a pirate that is held in jail, ready to be hanged. Because of her weakness for the male flesh, she attracts the attention of Jervais, a pirate hunter. Jervais reminded me so much of Gaston from the Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast. Jervais would kiss his muscles if he could. He thinks he is god’s gift to women and wants to seduce the fair Sylvie. Sylvie bats her eyelashes and wants to see a real life pirate in person. Jervais can’t find himself to refuse Sylvie and allows her to visit these dastardly pirates that are changed up. Sylvie meets one and is again shocked by how handsome of a man this pirate is. She gives him water and tries to talk to him. But this dangerous pirate just smiles and looks at her strangely. And even though Sylvie should have had her fill, she comes back the next day and helps him and his crew escape.

This is where the story becomes a rip roaring fun read. The pirate’s name is Jacques and even though he is deaf, he can speak about three languages and read lips very well. He also has come up with his own sign language he uses with his close pirate buddies. Jacques was going to let Sylvie go when he reached his ship, but through a misunderstanding, Sylvie is taken on the ship and is now owned by Jacques. But Jacques is a good guy and makes sure Sylvie won’t be ravished by the other pirates on the ships. But after awhile, Sylvie wants to be ravished by Jacques, who simply can not refuse the beautiful and kind Sylvie.

Sylvie begins to have quite an adventure and enjoys every minute of it. But Jervais realizes her loves Sylvie and will rescue and marry her since she has been ravished and is no longer pure. There is also Sylvie’s fop of a fiancé, Etienne who is a major man ho. He thinks he is quite the Don Juan of the island. He also decides he loves Sylvie and will come to her rescue. Don’t we all wish we could be Sylvie who has three men to choose from who love and adore her and want to keep her safe?

But Sylvie’s heart belongs to Jacques who is such a stand up guy. He teaches Sylvie to defend herself and in a way she becomes his pirate queen. Yes, all of this is a bit far fetched but the witty dialogue and characters are so funny and laugh out loud to read! Again, I love the fact that Sylvie reviles in Jacques’s muscles and his bulging chest. She loves sex and not just the part where their souls merge. She loves the physical aspect and the way she feels when Jacques holds her in his arms.

So, yo ho, ho me matey’s and find this book for some great pirate love and high seas action.

What I won't do for The Crusade!

Well, if the maybe crusaders won't come to us, we will go to them *g*.
I knew Cindy had a copy of North and South and a few weeks ago I let Krisite out of her cage long enough to email Cindy with a "Say, I have a great idea" kind of email. She lives about an hour and a half away it's become one of my favourite things to do to go visit her. Right from the start we had an instant bond in our love of romance books. The Chapters near her has a great romance section and I get to drive Real Fast on the highway.
So in my email, I said wouldn't it be a great idea for me to come for a visit and we could watch North and South - never a hardship for me. As well as the pluses I just mentioned, it would get me out of house hell for a while. I'm headed into my fourth week with no kitchen and as well as kitchenless, since they took it back right to the studs, there is now a fine line of dust on EVERYTHING. Add to that my computer woes and it was just about time for me to get away for a while. Cindy also thought it was a grand idea. She even invited me to spend the night - which meant we could feast on the whole of North and South in one go since it's four hours altogether.
She cooked a Wonderful Meal - she must have read my mind that Prime Rib is one of my all time favourites. I even hugged her kitchen counter as it was so nice just seeing one again.
So, after a trip to Chapters (books I bought to follow), a delicious meal, we got into our pj's and settled down for some Prime viewing. I think she's going to post her thoughts on N&S soon. And if early indications are correct, she will be moving from Maybe Crusader to Crusader - but I'll let her let everyone know.
For me though, it was viewing paradise. See, her and Bob have a 52 inch either Plasma or HD television. I'm afraid I don't really know the difference. I meant to ask but forgot. But the point is, what a heck of a difference it made!! I've been watching it on my (what now seems tiny) 27 inch screen. Mind you the surround sound is very nice - all the better to hear his fabulously deep, oh so sexy voice. But to watch the whole thing on a big screen, and that final train scene - total bliss!!!
In order to let her see the total scope of his acting abilities, I also brought Robin Hood where he is the magnificently evil, but totally sexy Guy of Gisbourne and The Vicar of Dibley (courtesy of someone wonderful) for his adorableness.
We watched an episode of Robin Hood but he wasn't in it that much. But hopefully she got a taste. And then today we watched The Vicar of Dibley. I'd seen the first episode - The Handsome Stranger earlier, but I hadn't seen the second one. I must say the British have wicked sense of humour! They were both a riot.
Later we took a quick trip to IKEA where I stocked up on glasses for my hopefully done soon kitchen shelves.
It was a fabulous break from my stress of the moment life. When I got back home though I was once again thrown back into it as the furnace had quit again while I was away and it was a balmy 7 degrees Celsius in the house. That would be roughly44 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrrrr. I called the furnace people and someone showed up to fix it and it's about 15 degrees now.
Now I'm wondering if a trip to England is in order.

Now - for the books I got at Chapters
One of the great things about the reader that I am (and I don't really mean that in a vain kind of way - I mean it more as a fact) is I like all kinds of romance books. I got myself quite a variety this time

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Partner Katiebabs has been raving about this one and even though it's a vampire romance & normally don't read them, her praise has been so high I thought I'd give it a try.

Die For Me by Karen Rose
Ames really loves her books. I just finished Count to Ten and quite enjoyed it so I was looking for more from this author. Unfortunately this was the only other one they had.

Destiny's Warrior by Heather Walters
I've never heard of this author and I don't think this book is in the Chapters near me. Since I'm always willing to try new authors and the premise sounded interesting, I thought I'd give this one a try.

His and Hers by Dawn Calvert
Same kind of reasoning with this one as Destiny's Warrior. Plus the price is pretty good. This one is a time travel and I'm always willing to read one of them.

Tumbling Through Time by Gwyn Cready
For the third time, this is a new author, haven't seen it my local Chapters and it sounded interesting. It's also a time travel. And the shallow me thinks the shoes the model is wearing are very nice and I wish I wore heels.

His Favourite Mistress by Tracy Anne Warren.
The first book in this series got very good reviews - I think - and while I have it, I haven't read it. As good a reason as any to get a book. Besides, Cindy had six books so *chuckle* I had to get six.

And because I have sound back again and this means YouTube is back in my life again, I will leave this for all the Crusaders

'til later

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ta Da!!!! And Oh No!!

Life is a fascinating thing isn't it? As you can see, in those oh so familiar words

I'm baaaaaacccckkkk

I've been pretty much off the 'net since Monday due to a miscommunication between my modem and me. I talked to my techno sister Lisa and she thought the computer was too old to know what it was supposed to do. And since I was way beyond due for a new computer - the one I had was probably about 6 or 7 years old, I bought a few years ago refurbished, I decided to bit the the bullet and get myself a new one. I have a pretty high limit on my credit card and it was almost paid down.
I checked the flyers at work yesterday and saw one for a reasonable price at Best Buy. Since I didn't want all the bells and whistles, it was within range and certainly a LOT less than I paid years ago when I first entered the PC world.
After standing around for quite some time, it was finally my turn. I showed the guy the computer I wanted and *surprise* they had none left in stock. Didn't the flyer just start this morning I asked. Yes, I was informed but they sold out. Not only that but they weren't expecting any more. I left the store in disgust. My first and last trip to Best Buy!
I then headed over to Future Shop hoping to find something for a similar price. Not only did I find one - it was cheaper!! So I bought it!! Of course it ended up being more because I bought the warranty and then paid for them to get it user-ready and stuff. But cynically you know that kind of stuff is going to happen.
Now the challenge was to hook everything up and get it working! Being the techno-troglodyte I am, I knew that would be a challenge. But Lisa was coming over to add all the other stuff I need and that was her deal.
I finally got it all working and ready to try the Internet stuff. And as you can see - I did it. I still don't have sound but I think I did enough that she should be able to help me. I played around till quite late last night. It was sooooo nice to be back!

Now for the Oh No! I woke up this morning and it's freezing in here!! The furnace pilot light must be off or something. It's currently 12 degrees Celsius - that would be about somewhere around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. So now it's off to figure out how to fix a furnace.

I don't like this.

But! I'm visiting a friend later today and staying over night and I'm really looking forward to it.

'til later

Friday, January 25, 2008


In case you're thinking I've disappeared off the face of the earth - I have off the internet earth pretty much.
Ryan couldn't figure out what the problem was with the modem.
So I have no internet at home. And work, where I have access to the internet, has been very busy this week.
World Wide Web Wise - things are not so good.
I'm trying to get things fixed but I don't know when I'll be back. But just know I'm missing everyone to pieces and pieces.
I'll be back as soon as I can!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My eyes are burning

Back when I was in college, my friends and I use to have this saying- “The visuals are killing me!” So is the case when I read some books that make me shudder in disgust and I have to turn away, but not before a visual of a certain scene pops into my head and makes me think- “This visual is killing me!”

At this moment I am trying to get through a book that is considered one of the worst books I have read in while, probably will end up in my top 10 worst of all time. Even more so then the tree sex book of 2007. And don’t forget the erotic re-telling of Phantom of the Opera by Colette Gale where Eric and Christine become really friendly with a huge harp! Not much can shock me anymore, but this book is a true “shock and awe book”. I don’t want to give anything away as of yet and I honestly can’t form a final opinion because I haven’t finished. Let’s just say I’ve been having nightmares of huge purple, pulsing, veiny penises coming to get me. Thanks Kristie(J) for that visual!

There are a few books I have read throughout the years that simply make me go “bleck.” One being a critically acclaimed novel that the first time I read, I seriously had to stop myself from being sick. It is American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I have tried countless times to get through this novel and I just can’t, where as my sister who reads a book maybe once every six months love this book and can’t stop raving about it. I have seen the movie with no problem, BUT the movie left out two very graphic scenes that are so horrendous to read. If you have read this book, you probably know which scenes I am talking about. I really can’t look at hangers the same way every again.

I am the type of reader where I really try to look for the good in every book I read. But sometimes there are just some books that boggle the mind. How can an author want this to be read and why would a publisher even think of publishing it?

So, if you are brave enough, I would love to know what books made you close your eyes and say, “THE VISUALS ARE KILLING ME!”


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What Else Can I Say...

that isn't being said about the death of Heath Ledger? Even though he may only be an actor in Hollywood, it is still so sad that he died before he could really live his life. He was barely 30 years old.

So instead, watch and remember:



In my last post I mentioned that I had to get a new modem and I was worried. Turns out I had reason to be!
See – my internet provider – the lovely Rogers – has an upgraded modem. I had no intention of upgrading as I was perfectly fine with the one I had. But on a message on my machine last Friday, not only did they say that a new modem was available, they also mentioned that the one I had would no longer work as of January 21. This was a recorded message that went on and on and on, repeating itself until the time ran out. I hate that.
I promptly went to all the Rogers Video Plus stores near me only to discover that none had any of the new modems left.
Damn! I should have paid attention sooner! One store said they would be getting more in on Monday, Jan. 21.
When I got home from work that night I discovered that they were right!! My internet connection was cut off. So I quickly unplugged it and returned it to the place that was promising more. They had them so that was a relief.
Now not everyone knows this, but as I mentioned to Kate, I’m a techno troglodyte. I can’t do the simplest things technology wise. You should see me with a cell phone. It’s sad, very sad. I do know how to get the DVD to run, but I posted about it a while ago, it was only after spending three hours pressing every button on 4 or 5 different remotes. As to working a VCR – fuggetaboutit!
So while I attempted to hook up the new modem, alas, it didn’t work.
I was thinking of asking Lisa if she could stop last night on her way home, but we had a snow storm.
The next best thing was to ask Ryan if he could come over tonight as he will be in the neighbourhood to help. Thankfully he’s getting to know his mother and her total ineptness so he’s coming to the rescue. But it won’t be until sometime after 7:00.
I’m posting this from work. The system we work with most is down (ack! I’m contagious) so I don’t feel entirely guilty.
But in the meantime, I’ve been missing blogging! Terribly! But I did get a chance last night to watch the adorably funny first episode of The Vicar of Dibly – The Handsome Stranger. One guess as to who the handsome stranger was. Heh heh.
And I have been reading too – so I guess it’s not all bad. But still, my world is off it’s axis at the moment and I’m not liking it!

In the meantime - Thanks Katie!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Anticipation is Killing Me!!

Here are three releases I am so excited are coming out that I can no longer keep quiet and contain myself!!
( I would give away by first unborn child to have these right now, but that is a bit too much, don't you think?)

1. One Foot i
n the Grave by Jeaniene Frost. Jeaniene has finally put the cover and an excerpt up on her website for her April release to the sequel to Halfway to the Grave. This is the one book I can't stop thinking about and want in my little hands!

2. Lover Enshrined by JR Ward. This book is a given since I have read and re-read ever single book in her BDB series. Plus, I was on her message boards for over 3 hours on Sunday night! Can we say fan girl? Comes out in June right in time for my birthday.

3. Shades of Dark by Linnea Sinclair This is the sequel to my favorite book by Linnea, Gabriel's Ghost. Plus the first 4 chapters are available to read if you join Linnea's Yahoo Group. This comes out in July. Plus she is a Jersey girl ;)

So, what other fantastic reads am I missing that I should put on my "Must Reads" for 2008?


Monday, January 21, 2008

The Sweeter Side of Romance...

Sometimes I need to take a break from the more erotic type romances and read something on the sweeter side where multiple sexual positions and the idea of a ménage a trios is a very foreign idea. One such book is by the wonderful writer, McCullough and it is not The Thorn Birds but a book called Tim.
Many know about Tim because of the 1979 movie with Mel Gibson and Piper Laurie. I have been waiting for years to watch this and finally it has come out on Netflix. A few weeks ago I watched and was thrilled because the movie is exactly like the book. And Mel Gibson plays the role of Tim to perfection.
Tim is about a young mentally disabled young man in his early twenties. He lives in Australia with his parents and works as a laborer doing odd jobs. He is a sweet and simple guy who is not always treated very well by his fellow workers. But Tim enjoys his life and is much like a child in his thinking. He looks at the bright side of everything which also includes the good in the people he comes in contact with.
There is another character that is the total opposite of Tim and becomes his closest and dearest friend. Marty Horton is in her mid-forties and comes across as stiff and a bit of a snob. She has never been married, or dates that much. And I also believe she is a virgin even though it is never stated. When she first meets Tim, she notices that he is a very attractive fellow, but because he is slow she doesn’t give him a second glance. That is until she needs some landscaping and gardening done. She hires Tim and that’s where a very unique relationship starts between the two. Mary treats Tim with respect but still at a distance. But Tim, being the friendly and happy guy that he is, breaks through to Mary and she slowly lowers the walls she has placed around herself.
Their relationship is much like an older sister with her younger brother. Soon Mary is inviting Tim to her beach house and having him over for dinner and to watch television. Tim no longer feels as if he is an outcast because of Mary, unlike his parents and sister who seems so uneasy around him. Tim’s father doesn’t seem to find it odd that an older woman like Mary enjoys having Tim around. Part of it is probably guilt on his part and for Tim, he finally feels as if he belongs somewhere and with a wonderful person such as Mary.
But then Tim’s life starts to change and this will also affect his relationship with Mary forever. Tim’s mother dies and with that his father is bereft and close to death himself. He goes to Mary and asks her to take care of Tim. But Tim doesn’t just want to be Mary’s special friend anymore. He has become jealous because he thinks Mary likes his dad better than him. This is where Tim learns about love between a man and a woman.
There is one scene in the book where Tim yells at Mary because he thinks she likes his father more than him. Mary is very confused and scared because her feeling for Tim has changed to a more romantic nature. They share a kiss and with that Mary has a decision to make. Should she and Tim get married? If so, they will have to be husband and wife in everyway.
This tender relationship that transform into a more physical love between these two is very unconventional, but so beautifully written. It shows a writer with great skill, and Colleen McCullough pulls this off. By the last page I found my self a bit weepy because I was so happy for these two lonely people to find each other and I believed in their happiness after years of not finding their place in the world. This is one book that should be on your keeper shelf.
And I also recommend you watch the movie which shows how incredible an actor Mel Gibson truly is. Tim was only his second role, right after he stared in the cult classic, Mad Max. And even though this was made thirty years ago, it is just as poignant and moving now than it was back then.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Just 'cause

I've nothing else to write about at the moment. My kitchen is non-existent. The house is a mess and I have to go to Home Depot shortly *shudder*.

I have to disconnect my modem shortly to exchange if for another one and I'm worried about doing that

I needed something to cheer me up.

And if there are some fence sitters - well.....

Hopefully these will help

So if I'm not online for the rest of the day I screwed up the modem thing.

Thanks to the Armitage Army for such glorious pictures.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Recent Reads

Driven by Eve Kenin (aka Eve Silver)

Why this one: I received an ARC of this one. I’d kind of forgot I had it and when this book first came out, I bought a copy based on the excellent reviews it was receiving. Luckily I was able to exchange it for another one when I found my ARC. It kind of languished on the TBR pile until I saw a review on Renee’s blog and we have very similar tastes in books (and why I'm insisting she watch North and South whereas I'm not bugging other people at least I don't think I am - well maybe a couple more, but only cause I know they will love it) and saw it was also listed on a number of interim poll results at AAR. Wanting to get as many 2007 books in before voting, I picked this one up.

Level of Steam: Truly ice melting – and this is a good thing considering it takes place in the frozen north

Amazon Blurb: Raina Bowen knows she can handle herself just fine against anything the harsh Northern Waste throws at her. Until it throws her an enigmatic stranger called Wizard. First, she has to haul him out of a brawl he can't hope to win. And next, her libido is shooting into overdrive at the feel of his hard body pressed against hers on the back of her snowscooter. But there's something not quite right about this guy. Before she can strip bare Wizard's secrets, they're lured into a race for their lives, battling rival truckers, ice pirates...and a merciless maniac with a very personal vendetta.

My Thoughts: Wowzers. I was very impressed. This book is from Dorchesters Shomi line and to be honest, when I first heard about it, it didn’t really appeal to me. But again I say wowzers. This is the third book in a row that I’ve really enjoyed so far in 2008. I hope I keep up the pace.

It seemed kind of like a Mad Max movie only Max was a woman, it took place in the north instead of a dessert and there was a terrific love story to go along with it. The book takes place some time in the not-too-distant future after some kind of apocalyptic war. The northern hemisphere seems to be a frozen wasteland now and it it’s controlled by some Very Evil Dude named Bane. There is a truck race amongst independent truckers and a company owned by Bane. Raina Bowen is determined to win this race and for that she needs a special pass she has agreed to buy from Wizard, a mysterious stranger who is seemingly impervious to the cold or injury.

Raina was some kick-ass tough heroine who could stand up for herself and I loved her, loved her, loved her. It’s fascinating watching this loner slowly allow a group of rebels into her heart.

And Wizard - Mmm, mmm mmm, mmm, mmm!- what a terrific hero he makes! Earlier on this year I read Linnea Sinclair's Games of Command and loved her hero. Wizard is the same type of guy. Without saying too much, Wizard is a guy who is new to emotions - kind of like a hot and hunky Data from Star Trek. But at others he's not like Data At All. Thus the steam that heats this book up.

I haven't tried her books as Eve Silver but I'm on my way out shortly and a stop at Chapters is in order. I'll be buying her again!!

One reason I'm glad I haven't voted at AAR yet - I would have missed voting for this one!

Grade: 5 out of 5

Friday, January 18, 2008

When They Just Don't Get It!

When I was growing up I was much of a loner, all the way up until I graduated high school. As cliche as it sounds, books were my only friend. I don’t deny that I am a little out there, perhaps a bit eccentric. Some people just don’t get me. One being my father. He can’t understand why I read “those books”. This is the same man that will go on for hours about the Yankees and knows every single fact about this team since they began. I am seriously in awe of his memory.

But when I ask him who Nora Robert is, he gives me a blank stare and asks “Who? Is she one of the Yankees' players' wives?"

There were two different situations that happened to me my senior year of high school that changed my reading habits forever. I attended a private all girls’ catholic high school that had less than 200 students. I graduated with a class of 25. We wore uniforms, had nuns as teachers and I went to bible study classes. Even back then I was the first to read and finish any book put in front of me. I was the first student in my English class to finish Jane Eyre, Once in Future King and I even read Hamlet in one weekend even though I had to rent and watch the Laurence Olivier version to understand what I was reading. But I also had a habit at that time of reading historical romances. That was the only type of book I would read. I was the biggest fan of those books with the Fabio covers and the stereotypical half naked man and woman clutching each other near a stream or in a field. But something happened that totally embarrassed me. The principal called me into her office one day to “discuss” the issue about these books I was reading.

I had accidentally left one of my romances in the cafeteria. A teacher saw it and right off the bat assumed it was mine. Apparently, she and the principal glanced through the book and marked off the naughty parts. I was actually called out of one of my classes and sent into the principal’s office! The first time in my entire life! As I sat there, she asked me why would I read this filth and had me read those passages out loud. She was told that I was giving advice to my fellow classmates about sex! That if they read romances, they could have good sex with their boyfriends. I was shocked and appalled! If you heard what I learned about sex during lunch breaks from my classmates, well they could write their own erotica. Up to that point, I had never even dated, kissed or had sex with a boy. Yes, I was very sheltered.

For a short moment I was seriously thinking of given up reading romance. For a few weeks after my “talk” I wouldn’t bring in any of my “filth” to school. Now also around this time, I had started a friendship with a younger student. I believe she was a freshman at the time. She didn’t do that well in school and hated homework and reading. For some reason we started talking and she noticed the amount of books I was reading and was impressed. And even though they were romances, she was still very interested. She didn’t have her own library card, so with mine, I took out a bunch of books, again all romances, and gave them to her to read. And guess what happened? During my final year of high school she would read every book I gave her and we would talk about the characters, the plot and even the sex scenes with great joy. She began to understand why I loved to read and I was thrilled to have someone to talk to about these books and not feel ashamed.

On one hand you have someone who will put down something you love for no reason because they are biased. On the other, you have someone who is willing to open their mind to something they don’t know and change their perception.

I guess what I am saying is that there are a whole lot of us out there that have a great love for this genre and instead of harping at one another, we should all work together to show our love and admiration for something many other just don’t get, like my father and my high school principal.

It is fourteen years later since I was sent to the principal’s office for something I thought I had done wrong. It was also in the same regard I believe I may have changed a young woman’s life for the better. Now that I had been welcomed into a community like this (Thanks to Kristie(J)) I am not backing down and I will say loud and clear.


Why all the snark when you can just share the love instead?


Thursday, January 17, 2008

And one more shares our Passion

Yippee doodle! (snort)

Another one has become A Crusader! Megan is now one of us! And see, Megan also has another blog - she's part of the team of Risky Regencies. So now as a Crusader she has to spread the word to the rest of them. And if they tell two people, and they tell two people, and they............

And When We Least Expect It!!!!

We find the love is still growing!! Author Keri Arthur has just watched North and South - and loves it! *she said looking over at her copy of Full Moon Rising and thinking - gotta read that one!*

And Further News!

Megan is indeed being a Most Excellent Crusader! She's blogging about it at Risky Regencies and she already has someone who's ordered it!
Not only that - but Rachel from AAR is giving it a second (or maybe more than that) watching. Dare we hope our enthusiasm has had something to do with it???? Now Rachel saw it and blogged about it long before most of us did. She first saw it way back in May of '06. So she in fact is one of the very first Crusaders!!!

Rant of the day

I thought about posting a comment on this at SB’s but then realized I had more to say. For those following all the CE drama – this is only very loosely related so don’t leave yet. While reading the continuing posts on the plagiarism scandal at SB’s, it seems that one of the plagiarized authors, Paul Tolme, wrote an article for Newsweek. It’s quite a hoot of an article and for a laugh I recommend reading it.
But what annoyed me and prompted this rant of the day are some of the responses from fellow romance readers at the end of the article.
To them I say – Get a Sense of Humour and get over yourselves!
I think just about everyone knows that the romance genre isn’t as respected as we all think it should be. We understand that and we live with it, with the inside knowledge that we are right and everyone who hasn’t tried it and scorns it is wrong.
While on some levels it bothers me that romance doesn’t get the respect it so richly deserves, it’s more for the wonderful, Very Talented Authors that I’m peeved. For myself, I don’t care what people think of the genre, I love it and I’m going to read it anyway. This attitude has really been reinforced by being a part of the blogoshere these past couple of years and seeing the rich and diverse group of readers who make up the community. They are intelligent, well-educated, articulate and more than able to hold their own in defense of the industry.
That’s why I was so annoyed at some of the humourless responses to his very funny article. Reading it in Newsweek as opposed to in a book was funny! Very funny. I think we need the ability to laugh at ourselves and at some of the romance books out there. They are unintentionally hilarious. We know this. And sometimes even while we are reading what we consider crap, we’re enjoying it at the same time.
So rather than get all defensive over this poor unsuspecting non-romance reading guy who somehow found his words about a ferret in a heaving bosom type book with a barely dressed, bare chested cover model, laugh along with him. Let him know there is crap out there. And IMO- he came across some of the best of it. But there was also an opportunity to present ourselves in a good light, with a sense of humour and an ability to laugh at our own – deservedly so.

'til later


Apparently Sarah at SB's contacted him for an interview. He didn't have time, but he did write a short note.
This guy is funny!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And yet another one has watched it

Jodie just recently watched North & South and though she didn't love it to pieces and pieces like most of us have; that's going to happen of course - it's only natural - still she gives it a pretty good grade :)

(although Holly gave us a bit of a scare for a moment there - silly bean)


And you just never know where you might find other Crusaders. I just found us another one!! Bonz watched it a while ago and loved it too!

Duo Review

The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne

Kristie's Thoughts:

First of all I’ll have to get past the WOW part of this book. Barely into the New Year and already I’ve read my first 5 out of 5 book.

I think I first became aware of this one because of Jayne and Jane’s reviews at Dear Author. I was intrigued enough to know that I was going to have to read this one myself.

The story starts out with a bang and never stops.

Annique is a young French spy who’s gotten caught in the clutches of a fellow, very evil French spy. He thinks she has information he wants and is willing to do anything to get it out of her. But Annique is a very resourceful young woman and manages to escape and also to help two other men being held prisoner. The other two are English spies and when they hear what it is that Annique is supposed to have, they kidnap her and journey back to England.

Grey is the commander of the English spy department and while at first he thinks Annique is the one responsible for the death of some of his men, he soon realizes what a compassionate young woman she really is.

It’s not often that one comes across a heroine as vivid and well-written as Annique. While a poorly written heroine can ruin a book for me, I still focus more on the hero. But in this case Annique lept off the pages. She’s inventive, she’s kindhearted, she’s oddly naive, she’s intelligent. She’s simply wonderful. I told Katie that I had to find enough superlatives to describe this book and I’m probably going to go overboard with them – but I can’t help it.

And Grey is an equal match for her. He realizes very quickly how good she is in her profession and he treats her with respect. Very early on he becomes quite protective of her while still recognizing her intelligence and what a contribution she can make. One scene in particular exemplifies this for me. The third member of their quartet, Adrian, has been shot. It’s Grey’s job to try and remove the bullet and he is quite reluctant, thinking he will kill Adrian. When Annique volunteers and tells him she has experience in this kind of thing, he doesn’t doubt her for a moment. He trusts her with the life of one of his men.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this book and I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving it away to anyone who hasn’t read it yet but is planning to.

One of the things that a number of people have commented on is the wonderful dialogue she writes. Here is an interesting post on how she came up with it.

I’ve gone on record about my ‘I’m over it’ thing with hero spies. Well, now I’m going to have to eat my words – except I don’t have a kitchen. I loved this one and there’s not a shadow of a doubt I’ll be reading her next one!!

And oddly enough, is the fact that I even like the cover. I’ve heard complaints about it, but I like it, I really do.

Do Not Miss this book. All the buzz is right – it’s a good one.

Katie's Thoughts:

I feel that historical romances get such a bad “rap”. From cliché plots to major heaving bosoms and naked men chests on these covers, (well I really don’t mind the naked men part!) I wasn’t too sure what to think when I saw the cover for The Spymaster’s Lady. I groaned because quite honestly, that cover is bad! It screams of that old fashioned Fabio type romance where the hero forces the heroine to do his bidding. I also felt like he is trying to be Superman by ripping off his shirt and is ready to fly away at a moment’s notice.

But then I started hearing wonderful things about this book and that of first time author, Joanna Bourne. When was the last time the consensus about one book is so good that you can not pass it up? So, I quickly got myself a copy of The Spymaster’s Lady and was blown away. If you think the hero forces the heroine to do anything in this one, watch out because Annique is unlike any heroine I had read since Eve from the JD Robb In Death series or Anita Blake from Laurel K. Hamilton’s vampire slayer series. The thing these three characters have in common is their overall tenacious attitude and their will to survive. They will do anything to come out on top and won’t go down without a fight. They would seriously fight very dirty to win aka kick a guy where it hurts. A perfect example in this book is when Annique takes her sash from her nightgown and tries to strangle Robert with it.

From that point on I became all Ricki Lake and said “You go on girl with your bad self!”

Joanna Bourne has taken a typical spy story and made it so much more. Her words come off the pages and it is so rich, especially with the dialogue. Annique reminded me so much of Maddie from The Winter Garden by Adele Ashworth. And we know how much we all love Maddie. Annique is a French spy and when she speaks, she sounds so perfectly French to my ears. She is strong, intelligent and very sly. She will lie, cheat and play any part to perfection. But a strong woman needs a strong man and that is where our British “spy master” comes into the picture. Robert Grey is England’s ultimate spy. I adored Robert because he is such a good guy. He protects his friends and associates and when he meets Annique, he is thrown for a loop.

Their attraction for each other is instant because they have a battle of wills and the foreplay between them is the words they use. Every ling spoken out of their mouths is a journey that will lead them into the bedroom. And when they get there… well their minds and hearts merge and those scene are heavy in passion but so very much more.

The plot seems so simple and should be that typical historical spy drama that is found so readily in romances today. But Joanna Bourne has done something incredibly. She has taken a cliché story and made it shine.

It all really comes down to the character of Annique. She comes alive and is not just a one-dimensional character you will read about and soon forget. But there is one thing that Kristie(J) and I have a difference of opinion on that makes my grade a bit lower. Annique has a big secret you come to realize very soon. This secret perhaps makes the relationship between Robert and Annique even more incredible, but it grated on my nerves a bit, especially when Annique’s secret is fixed suddenly. Perhaps I am just nitpicking because this truly is a wonderfully written book, but that small thing took a little bit away from making this a true masterpiece of romantic literature.

Never the less I give The Spymaster’s Lady 4 out of 5 stars. I probably would have given it a 4.5 if not for that secret that Robert can see in Annique’s eyes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Recent Reads

Hot by Julia Harper

Why this one: I read and reviewed (I think) all of Elizabeth Hoyt’s books. I know I did two of them. But nevertheless, I found out in Dallas that she had a contemporary book coming out in the new year under the name of Julia Harper and as I love the Prince trilogy, I was really looking forward to seeing what she could do with a contemp

Level of Steam: Nice and hot

Amazon Blurb: For four years, play-by-the-rules bank teller Turner Hastings has brooded over her uncle's wrongful imprisonment. But when two bumbling crooks stumble into her branch (barely disguised in Yoda and Sponge Bob masks) and hold up the place, she sees a chance to do something she's never thought possible: get revenge. She takes advantage of the melee to pull a heist of her own, seizing info from a security box that will exonerate her uncle. Sent to investigate a bank robbery in small town Wisconsin, Special Agent John MacKinnon discovers the robbers were two not-quite-so-bright thugs and one woman. Now, Turner is on the run. With SA MacKinnon on her trail, she's breaking into the bank president Calvin's house, kidnapping his Great Dane, and for the first time in her life, setting out to break a few rules. But when Calvin hires a hit-man, MacKinnon will have to decide between his career--and saving Turner.

My thoughts: Not to worry – she does just fine! I really enjoyed this book. I had just finished The Spymaster’s Lady and was a bit worried about that ‘after good book’ blues. Very Happily this was just the perfect book to read after. It started off with a hoot and kept it up pretty much all the way. Turner was a Most Excellent Heroine. It was a riot to see her outsmart a Gman time and time again. There was a wonderful lightness to this book even while not so good things were happening.

Although it was a while before Turner and John actually meet, their telephone banter is quirky and hilarious. If I were ever wanted by the FBI, I hope someone like John MacKinnon would be on my trail.

And normally I don’t mention supporting characters, but the two bumbling would be bank robbers had me laughing out loud in a number of places.

And this is only the second book I’ve read where I loved the dog in this story – not being a dog person myself. But the big Great Dane was another welcome fun character.

And it was interesting too because the authors ‘voice’ is entirely different in her contemporary than in her historical. Unless one knew in advance they were the same person, one would never guess.

Big kudo’s to Julia Harper for writing something fun enough and enjoyable enough to distract me from my kitchen woes! I hope this isn’t the last we have heard from this authors incarnation.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Touch of Texas by Tracy Garrett

Why this one: It’s a good price, it’s a western, it’s a new author all of which = autobuy in my books

Level of Steam: Kept me toasty warm in the cold winter

Zebra blurb: A blizzard blows Texas Ranger Jake McCain to Rachel Hudson’s cabin and trouble is right behind him. He’s badly wounded. Taking care of him is the right thing to do, but she knows the local gossips won’t see it that way. Suddenly, everything Rachel’s fought for is at stake—and the past she’d hoped to escape looms over her future. Still and all, when Jake turns his dark gaze on her, all she wants is his strong, seductive touch…

A Woman To Call His Own …

Jake McCain has never stayed in one place. A home and a family aren’t for the likes of a man accustomed to the rough life of the trail. But when he sees the trouble she’s in, he can’t leave her behind. Not when her innocent kisses burn straight into his soul, and the sight of her smile is the only bounty he cares to collect…

My Thoughts: Overall I was quite impressed with this one. There were a couple of things a bit off which I’ll get to in a minute, but it was offset by the fact that it was so nice to read a good Western.

The heroine of this book, Rachel Hudson was one I really liked. She was young and poor but she had a high set of morals that I really liked. She did what was the right thing to do and I admired that about her.

I liked Jake too although after a while I got a little tired of his excuses as to why he couldn’t stay and be happy with Rachel and her younger brother. It was explained a little late in the book – earlier would have been better, but he was a man of honour and he was very protective of this small little family who saved his life. I liked that. Other than that he made quite a fine loner of a hero. Another thing a thought a bit off was a certain story line that could have made all the difference for Rachel just seemed to be dropped for no apparent reason I could figure. I don’t want to say what it was a give it away, but it did have me scratching my head a bit. But overall I don’t have any problems recommending this book in a genre that we see far too few of for this little Western lover. Ms. Garrett has another book coming out and I will be looking for it and buying it.

Grade: 4 out of 5

*Note* I know I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I think Zebra is really thinking outside the box and have a heluvan idea in having debut author’s books on sale at a special price. Unless the book sounds like it’s really something I wouldn’t like, I’ve been buying them all. $3.99 (or $5.99 CDN) for an author’s debut book and $4.99 or ($6.99 CDN) for the second one is a great way to build readership. I wish more publishers would think of doing this!!

And in other news - my world is a little bit brighter today. You see my computer is on it's last legs. I've mentioned before that the sound is gone. Well, I had an optical mouse but had to switch back to the old-fashioned kind recently because my ports keep blowing up. The *&))&)*^ mouse was pretty much toast recently and the frustration of it really curtailed my time on-line. But I was talking to the computer guys at work today about my situation and one of them gave me a USB to Port conducter - or something like that. So now I can use my optical mouse again. And I tell you what a difference it makes!!!!!

I need a new computer desperately but what with the new kitchen, I'm babying this one for as long as I can.

And not only that - I called Contractor Guy today and it turns out the floor I purchased is OK! That means I (Ryan) don't have to haul it back to the store and buy something twice as expensive which is what they said I should do. But he was talking to Floor Guy in Home Depot and Floor Guy said the flooring I purchased is good and would do fine in a kitchen.

Now I'm off to catch up on everything I've missed lately!

'til later

Monday, January 14, 2008

Anna Campbell is a North and South Crusader!

Did you know many of our favorite authors are also fans of North and South? Avon historical romance author, Anna Campbell is a die hard fan of North and South and the handsome and swoon worthy Richard Armitage. The woman apparently has good taste! ;)

I asked her if she had any opinions about this movie and the man we have all come to love. Anna so kindly responded to my inquiry and she had this to say:

“Ah, what can I say about the magic that is 'North and South' and the gorgeous Richard Armitage? Well, what can I say that hasn't already been said by his legion of rabid female fans? Not that I'm rabid!! No, no. Not me. I'm a purely sensible female fan! Yeah, right.

I was a latecomer to N&S. I was away overseas when it was first on in Australia
and silly me didn't bother to video it. We get a lot of BBC adaptations and I
didn't know the book so nothing warned me this was going to be something extra
special. Then people started talking about how wonderful the serial was and
particularly how wonderful the hero was. Being a technophobe, I didn't at that
stage own a DVD so I didn't actually find out for myself what I'd missed until
the ABC, bless them, replayed N&S very late on Saturday nights last year.

Oh, Mamma!

Is that show a feast for romantics or what? And isn't John Thornton the
quintessential hero? He knows what he feels for Margaret almost from the moment
he meets her and nothing sways him. His love even leads him to betray his
principles and he's a man of incredibly strong principle (I love a man of honor
as a hero, sigh!). Yes, he's a bit of a rough diamond but the emphasis is on
'diamond' here. It's even refreshing to have a working man as hero rather than a
languid aristocrat like Mr. Darcy, much as I'm fond of Darcy too!

The romance builds and builds through hurt and misunderstanding and denial and
attraction. Until the best bit of all - that last kiss on the railway platform
when symbolically, she's going south and he's going north. I think it's the
tenderness of that scene that gets me every time. He holds her head as he kisses
her as if he has the whole world caught in his hands and he wants to treat it
right. What can I say? It's magic!”
And so the crusade marches on!

In other sad news, I had to return my copy of North and South to the library with only 50 more pages to read!! About 5 other people were waiting and I couldn't renew the book. And I am up to the point when Mrs. Thorton goes to Margaret because she thinks Margaret has been having late night nookie with strange men. Hopefully I will be able to get the book back and find out how it ends and if John and Margaret find love together!

For now I leave you with this: