Saturday, January 31, 2009

The ReRead Challenge

Cool Shade by Theresa Weir

Why This One: I can’t really say what made me pick this book up for the reread challenge – maybe it’s the sense of loneliness and isolation it had in it and that appealed to me considering current circumstances, but whatever it is – I’m glad I reread it. I think this is the third time for this book.

Steam Level: Nice and steamy!

Amazon Blurb: Maddie Smith has never been one to hang around any place too long. After losing her job as a late-night disc jockey, she has little reason to stay in Tucson. When she receives a message that her estranged sister has disappeared, she figures she might as well go to Nebraska and see what's up with her unreliable sibling. There she learns that her sister is linked to the mysterious Eddie Berlin, a recluse and a very sexy guy. Maddie takes a personal interest in Eddie as she searches for clues about the disappearance of her sister.

Meanwhile, Eddie is shouldering problems of his own. The former manager of a pop star killed by a crazed fan, Eddie feels responsible for the singer's death, and as a result, he hasn't wandered off his own property in more than four years. Still, he is attracted to Maddie, experiencing feelings he thought he would never know again. A stolen tape of a recording made by the late rock star and other clues bind the couple together. It soon becomes clear that these two deserve each other, and when they finally feel comfortable with the fit, they find they are greater as a pair than they could ever have been as individuals.

The encounters between Maddie and Eddie are anything but typical. Both are insecure, yet somehow they manage to muddle through. Author Theresa Weir has created them to be very human, characters the readers feel connected to as they witness their lives unfold.

My Thoughts: The blurb describes the storyline quite well and rather than repeat it, I’d rather focus on the author. For a lot of new romance readers, she is probably not as well known since she hasn’t had a romance in quite some time now. In fact I think her last published romance was way back in I know Theresa Weir is now writing mysteries as Anne Frasier but dang I miss her romances. They are different then the normal – she writes outside the romance box. Her stories haunt you long after you’ve finished then. Her characters are more flawed then usual. Eddie, the hero suffers from agoraphobia, something I’ve never seen in a hero. There is one scene where he makes it off his property and somehow manages to get to Maddie’s place and is stuck there due to his fears. It is so vivid and well written you can actually feel what he’s feeling.

She has a way of writing flawed and damaged heroes and heroines that are slowly healed by the love they find with each other. At the end of her books you know that they are exactly who they need in order to heal. If you’ve never tried Theresa Weir, I can’t recommend her highly enough. In fact, while I have a number of her books, I just ordered some that I didn’t have.

Thanks Nath!!! – I loved my first Reread book

Grade: 5 out of 5

Friday, January 30, 2009

So - you may not have noticed me around much these past few days. I was feeling great after meeting with the therapist. I felt like I was getting back to normal again - but alas - such was not the case. These past few days have almost been worse then ever. I've altered between wanting to either sleep the time away, cry the time away or filled with a rage that almost frightens me. I've wanted to lash out in anger over the most trivial of things - a red light that holds me up on my way to work every single day, having to go to meetings a work, things that come up at work. It's been quite an effort to keep it inside at times. I don't feel like talking to anyone at work and I just want to yell at them 'shut up and leave me alone' but of course I can't do that.
Depressed doesn't even begin to cover it. Each day has been an effort to get up, get dressed and go to work. The only way I've been managing it is in chunks. I've been telling myself 'just go to work in the morning and you can go home in the afternoon', then 'if you just make it through this afternoon, then you can take tomorrow off.'
And it's so unlike me 'cause I really do love my job and the people I work with and there is no reason why I should be feeling like this. 'Tis most frustrating I tell you.
I haven't spent much time on the computer and while I'm missing everyone like crazy and don't want to not be on (that one will take some figuring) I just can't seem to get up enough energy.


I am still following the plan. I went to the doctor on Monday and got a referral to a Mental Health clinic. He also said I should double up on my anti anxiety/depression medication - which I did to no effect. If anything it seems worse! My appointment was today and after talking things over with a nurse and explaining everything I'm thinking and feeling, a psychiatrist came in and gave me a script for another medication to start taking. Unfortunately it was a 3 hour wait at the drug store and I was already out of energy so I'll get it tomorrow and start taking it.
I just want to start feeling like 'me' again. I don't want to want to lash out at poor unsuspecting people who are totally unaware of how much I want to take their heads off for no reason other then the fact they are speaking to me. I don't want to drive through a red light just because I hate getting stopped at Every Single F'n Day!! I don't want to wake up in the morning and dread heading off to a job I love and most of all, I don't want a large part of me to just think I'm feeling sorry for myself.

Blecchhh - I don't like this place I'm in right now.

It totally sucks.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Recent Read

Under the Influence by Nancy Warren

Why this One: I have a goal this year to read at least 100 books. In order to reach that goal, I'm going to be reading some series books. I can read them in an afternoon and sometimes I enjoy a nice quick read. I've read a few Warren books now with mixed results - some I've loved, some were DNF. But the ones that I loved, I loved enough to keep me reading this author. I was in the mood for something nice and light and since it was 25% off at Walmart.........

Steam Level: Well - it is a Blaze so it was quite toasty warm.

Blurb: Sexy bartender Johnny Santini mixes one wicked martini. Or so efficiency expert Natalie Fanshaw discovers when she takes a seat at his beachfront bar one lonely night. It's Valentine's Day, and they're the only single people in the heart-strewn place

Natalie knows she spends too much time with her spreadsheets--she's forgotten what it's like to be "between the sheets." Johnny is such a charmer, mixing his signature cocktails while making her feel s-o-o-o very special. And when he asks her to help him create a fab new drink for the town's upcoming martini contest, Natalie can't say no.

A fantasy fling with Johnny could be a recipe for disaster. But hey, she could always claim to be under the influence

My Thoughts: I am very happy to report that Under the Influence falls under the 'Loved It' category! I enjoyed everything about this book.
Natalie was a fun heroine. A type "A" person is how she categorizes herself - a self confessed work-a-holic who carries her blackberry around with her everywhere, she does the unusual one evening and goes into a bar herself while on assignment in a tourist town. She is working as a management consultant at a local hotel. When she realizes it's Valentines day and everyone in the restaurant/bar is part of a couple, she strikes up a humourous conversation with the bartender Johnny. Although a bit uptight, she does unbend quite easily and it's cute to see her unbending throughout the book. She was a heroine who I really liked!

And Johnny - well he was just adorable. A surfer, sailor, laid back, environmentalist on the outside, there is more to him then meets the eye, although his main goal seems to be just enjoying life. He really *wink* makes Natalie's stay enjoyable.

One of the things that I really appreciate about this book is during the first love scene, Natalie calls a halt to things for the evening in order to think things through - weighing the pros and cons on what she wants to do. She's torn between her morals and really wanting Johnny.
And even though this is a series book, therefore shorter then a single title book, I found the characters very well developed. I've complained in the past that I thought with many Blaze books that they sacrificed character development for more sex - not so in this story. In fact there is even a believable secondary romance.

If anyone is looking for a sweet, quick read that will leave you smiling at the end I heartily recommend this book. Plus there is a wonderful bonus!! Since Johnny is a bartender who is trying to come up with an award winning martini, the start of each chapter has the recipe for a delicious sounding mixed drink - and there are a lot of chapters! I feel a stop at the liquor store coming on soon :)

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Saturday, January 24, 2009


So - I had my first appointment with the therapist yesterday morning. I wasn't sure how it would go after a ghastly beginning. You see the appointment was for 8:00 in the morning - it was going to be an hour and I didn't start work until 10:00. It would take about half an hour to get there - going through downtown traffic and only having a general idea of the building. I set my alarm clock for 5:45 since I don't really like too move to fast in the morning and I like to do blog hopping while drinking my morning tea. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I had set it to go off at 5:45 PM!! I woke up and glanced at the clock and did a huge Yikes, followed by a loud 'SHIT!' (yes - at times when the occasion calls for it, I do use curse words - heh heh heh)
It was 7:05!! That gave me 25 minutes to get ready and get out the door. Since I'm a morning shower person, I knew I didn't have time for the whole shower thing but I had a severe case of bed head - that's what using wax in hair can cause!
But - I did make it in time. Mind you I felt grungy and blechy from not having my morning shower - not the way you want to feel when having one's psyche examined.

Blechy = not good.

But it actually went very well - very well indeed. She seems to think it's my anti-anxiety, anti-depression medication that's gone out of whack. She says the one I'm taking is quite an older one and they have come up with quite a few new ones in the past few years. She wants me to go see a head doctor and try something different and then come back when I'm back in whack. She said if anti-depression medication works - it works real well, but if it's not effective it can actually make the problem worse.

She did a depression test and the results were I was slightly depressed. I didn't want to argue with her - but I consider it more then slightly - a lot more than slightly actually. Then she asked when my last physical was and I said I didn't remember and she replied that I need to get one I slightly freaked out. You see - I know this, but knowing and doing are two different kettles of fish. I said I would (and I will) when I'm not so off kilter.

I told her all kinds of stuff - about losing my husband a couple of years ago - she seemed quite impressed that we were married for almost 32 years; about losing my job a couple of years ago and how I truly believe that Ron sent me to where I'm working now as his way of still reaching out and taking care of me. I told her about the trouble I've gotten into at work due to my considerable case of pack-rat-itis and how I feel like I'm being punished and she told me to look at it a different light - that they have recognized my 'issues' and are trying to make things easier (which they are - but it still feels like punishment).

I told her all about Krisite - my alter ego and she seemed quite amused. She asked me if I could have anything in the world - what would I want most. I told she would probably think I really was a mental case - but I told her what I want most in the world is a REALLY, REALLY great kiss with a lot of tongue work - 'cause it is quite honestly. After she finished laughing, she said a lot of women want that kind of thing - although she didn't put it in quite those terms. Men seem to want to skip the preliminaries and get straight to the main course - but the idiots don't seem to understand that by NOT skipping the preliminaries, the main course will be ever so much richer - if you get my drift.

And then she said something that for some reason made me feel really good - and I'm still feeling good. She said I was adorable. She said it more than once in fact. I don't know why that made me feel so good but it did. I was telling a friend at work later what she had said and my friend said 'well, you are.' And I don't know - that made me feel even better. Maybe because I tend to focus on the negative aspects on me and not the positive a lot of the time.

And since this post is titled ramblings and that's what I'm doing, I'm going back a couple of paragraphs - back to the kissing thing. Goodness knows I loved Ron - still do and always will - but I have to dock points for his lack of attention to this detail. He just wasn't that into it. He didn't care for it and I always got the feeling when he did kiss me, he was just 'humouring' me. And since I've been pondering on this part of the conversation yesterday and what I want most in the world, I've been pondering on the best kiss I ever had. I was 17 or 18 - 17 I think and I met this guy. Sadly I don't remember his name. We didn't really date or anything but he was the first guy to give me a slip of the tongue and Oh Mama was it wonderful. He was a couple of years older than me and man oh man could that guy kiss like a dream!! Talk about wet panties!! Not that he knew about mine - we didn't go that far or anything. But it was wet - but not too wet - and deep - but not too deep and luscious - oh so very luscious. And I'm thinking how sad is it that the best kiss I ever had happened when I was 17 and a mere babe; that the height of my kissing came before I even hit my 20's. Damn, but that's not right :-) So if there are any guys reading this (snort - as if) my advice it to go home 0r if you are at home - just kiss your woman damn it!!

The therapist asked me what I wanted to get most out of counseling and I told her not to feel this way, to get over my pack-rat-itis and to be able to open mail. In a follow-up to the mail thing, I got a call from my neighbour across the street this morning and she said - very nicely - that I might want to check my mail box as there was a large package in there. See - in that area I'm getting worse. Not only am I not opening it - I'm not even checking for mail. Yikes!!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Never Give Up

I think we all have favoured authors who seem to have disappeared. We loved their book/s and after getting hooked on either one book or a number of books we were hooked and then BAM!! they disappear. A few of my favourite authors that no longer have books coming out for one reason or another:

  • Lauren Bach
  • Eve Byron
  • Elizabeth Doyle
  • Julianna Garnett
  • Danelle Harmon
  • Kathleen Harrington
  • Alexis Harrington
  • Judith Ivory
  • Laura Kinsale
  • Kristen Kyle
  • Wendy Lindstrom
  • Anita Mills
  • Paula Reed
  • Suzanne Robinson
  • Liza Valdez

These are just a few of them. Some long time readers may recognize some of the names and some new to romance may not recognize any of the names. But each one I’ve named has written at least one book I’ve loved.

But! This is a good post. For any long time romance readers; they may notice one name that I didn’t put on the list. In fact, she is one of the most ‘whatever happened to’ authors. But joy of joys, happy dance time, she will be back soon. She has turned in her latest manuscript for the book we’ve been waiting for years for!!

And I’m talking....

Elizabeth Elliott

Yes!! Happy Dance! Happy Dance. Her last published novel, Scoundrel, was published in 1996. We are talking 13 YEARS many of us have been waiting and hoping. She had 3 full length novels and an anthology published before she disappeared and I’ve read the novels a number of times. The brother of one of the heroines cried out for his story. He was an assassin and anyone who has read her previous books, The Warlord and Betrothed knows who I’m talking about.

It’s been about five years since I’ve read any of her books, but if anyone who hasn’t read her can be patient, I shall head to the ‘library' and get and read them and review them. And for anyone interested, she has an updated website. Not only does she have The Assassin in for final edits, but she’s also working on another book.

Elizabeth Elliott fans rejoice! I’m just delighted myself and I think many others will be too!!

This is truly a case of never really giving up on an author.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

And yet another one!!

Not only is she a Crusader (even though she claims not to be :-) Ms. Moonlight is now a Questor!! Check out her review for Broken Wing!

Arrggghh - I failed

So - I failed my first reading challenge. Yesterday was the first day of Keishon's TBR Challenge and even though it was an easier one - a category book - and I have tons of them - I failed :-(

But before the week is out, I'm going to pick my book for February's.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I know what I'M doing tonight!!

Getting on my jammies - my raggedly, yet oh so comfy housecoat, turn the lights down low and watch......


Oh - and AAR gave Broken Wing a DIK grade!!! 'Tis a grand day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And another Questor!!

Cindy W of Cindy Reads Romance has her thoughts posted on Broken Wing.

AND she has a copy to give away.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Is she? Or isn't she?

She says she isn't, but I don't knoooowwww - I think she just might be - certainly in some ways. She likes some of it, loves another part - but Does Not like a certain character (and does make quite a valid argument as to why).

What am I talking about you ask? Well, take a trip over to Ms. Moonlight of Moonlight to Twilight and see what you think.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Getting some of the groove back

So! What does one do to get out of a funk? Well, for romance readers, what better way then to head to the nearest book store? I did hop in the shower, call my son to help me shovel snow, and then headed to the book market. Here's what I got to cheer me up

Private Demon by Lynn Viehl
I think I have the first one - somewhere.

And I loved her sense of humor when they changed the colour on her most recent book.

To Seduce a Texan by Georgina Gentry
believe it or not she's a new-to-me author -
but it's a Western!

The Girl Most Likely To by Susan Donovan
I've still yet to read her last book!!

The Wild One by Denise Eagan
New-to-me author and a good price.

Every Breath You Take by Hope Tarr
I love the song by Sting - and I like her writing.

Midnight Sins by Cynthia Eden
I've heard good buzz on this one

Baby's Watch by Justine Davis
I've loved her earlier books and I'm hoping I like this one
despite the fugly cover and really dumb title.

For the Love of Pete by Julia Harper
I loved Hot and I love her aka Elizabeth Hoyt.

And then of course there was the roaring good time I had cataloging them!
Yesterday I slept for almost the whole day. I didn't get dressed. I didn't turn on the radio or the TV and it was totally quiet in the house for the whole day.

Today I woke up and it had snowed a lot yesterday and overnight. I wanted to cry when I saw the new snow. It means shoveling. And I find that overwhelming. Right now I hear a neighbour plowing out my driveway and that makes me want to cry. I don't like this place my mind is in.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Another Questor

I meant to do this earlier, but we have another Questor. Kaitlyn/Bridget read Broken Wing and give it an A-

Happy Dance, Happy Dance!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The power of music

Naida has a post up about her favourite band.

I love music of almost all kinds, though 80's is my favourite. But there isn't any other song that affects me like this one (from Naida's and Sula's and probably many more favourite band)

Depending on where I am in life, it either makes me cry because that's where I am, or it makes me happy because that's where I'm not anymore.

Soon I'll be happy 'cause I won't be.
So – I made a call today. I’ve found myself spiraling out of control again since before Christmas and rather than feeling better, I’m feeling worse. It’s like I’m standing on the precipice of this huge dark hole and the least little thing can push me into it. And rather than a comforting dark hole, this one is filled with monsters.
My ‘thing’ about opening mail is getting worse. I used to be able to open some mail – such as bills, but now I find them even overwhelming. As I’ve lost total control of them, paying them is somewhat ‘off’. I did open one last week from the hydro stating I had overpaid them by over $150. The cable and phone on the other hand, I don’t think I’ve paid in a few months now.
The voice mail on my phone is full. I don’t answer the phone a lot of time unless I recognize the number. I need to clear it, but again the thought of doing that is overwhelming.
It’s even getting bad when it comes to email. I have 250 unopened emails and a number I have opened and NEED to respond to, but *sounding like a broken record* it’s overwhelming me.
I love my job – love it. But more and more I’m finding it harder to go to work – and I’m not sure why. I’m on the ‘watch’ list now directly related to some of the side effects – severe pack rat tendencies and the inability to ‘let go’ of paperwork.
I’ve suffered depression off and on for a number of years now and I’ve blogged about it before. But part of me can’t wrap my head around that fact. Srsly – I’m one of the happiest people I know. I deal with just about everything with laughter. If I do say so myself, I’m a hoot to work with. While everyone else is complaining about this or that, I’m annoyingly sunny about it all and it’s hard for others to get me to complain. So it doesn’t make sense that a person like me can suffer from depression.
I was hoping it would go away after Christmas, but it’s getting worse. I hate living with the despair I’m feeling inside. I’m not my normal self at work and people are starting to notice.

So I made a call to arrange for counseling to help me. I’ve been before and I’ll more then likely go again in the future. I’m also planning on visiting the doctor for a review of the medication I’m taking. I probably need a change or something.
Another factor resulting from or caused by depression is loneliness. Living by myself, it gets pretty quiet around the house. And part of me just wants to withdraw more, which leads to greater depression, which leads to being even more withdrawn. It’s a vicious circle.
Another sympton I've noticed is anger - unreasonable, wierd, anger. I told my coworker yesterday that I wanted to beat someone up - no particular person - just someone and after she backed away from me *g* I knew something was off kilter. I do have old dishes I think I'll break in lieu of. But anger isn't a feeling I'm comfortable with. Another reason I know it's spiralling out of control.
I’m not really sure about the reason for posting this here. Part of it is to help work through – that yes; this condition can affect anyone – even annoyingly happy people. It’s also to let those I owe emails to that I’m trying and if I’m late responding – it’s me and not them.
So to those who I said I would help with special events – I’m truly sorry I bailed out. If I’d been able to do it, I would have.
To those I owe emails too – I will be getting back to you as soon as I can – I promise.
Even making that call yesterday helped – knowing that I’m taking control again and working on getting this handled
And another reason I’m going to publish this post is to let others know that depression can affect anyone – even the most seemingly cheerful of people. It’s a sneaky thing – creeping up without the sufferer really being aware of it. And it's very difficult to live with. If anyone suffers from it, they know what I mean.
The person on the other end of the phone suggested I journal how I'm feeling. I'm just not sure she meant for me to journal for the whole world to read :)

Oh - and it's my turn at Access Romance today for anyone who got confused *gulp* (now you can see another reason why I've gotten into trouble at times lately at work - lack of concentration or paying attention)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Keeping You In the Know

Gena Showalter as her cover up on her Facebook for Seduce the Darkness, the next book in her Alien Huntess Series. This will published in July from Pocket.

Synopsis: The war between otherworlders and humans changed Earth beyond recognition. It also saved Bride McKells’s life. Before, the gorgeous vampire was a target for every fanatic with a stake and a crucifix. Now she’s free to roam the streets—and desperate to find others of her kind. One man claims to have the answers she seeks. Devyn, King of the Targons, is a warrior and a womanizer, and he makes no secret of how much he wants Bride—and how dangerous he could be to her in every way.
An avid collector of women, Devyn easily seduces human and otherworlder alike. Until now. Not only does Bride resist him, but she leaves Devyn feeling something entirely new . . . a bone-deep need bordering on obsession. Her blood is the key to curing a vicious alien disease, but helping Bride uncover her origins will compel her to choose between electrifying passion and a destiny that could tear her from Devyn’s side forever.
I don't think this new author has a website yet, but her book caught my eye. Lyn Benedict is an Ace author and the book is Sins and Shadows coming in April.

Synopsis: Sylvie Lightner is no ordinary P.I. She specializes in cases involving the unusual, in a world where magic is real—and where death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.But when an employee is murdered in front of her, Sylvie has had enough. After years of confounding the dark forces of the Magicus Mundi, she’s closing up shop—until a man claiming to be the God of Justice wants Sylvie to find his lost lover.

And he won’t take no for an answer.

Urban Fantasy Land is hosting the Urban Fantasy Land Awards.

Here’s how to play:
1. Vote

2. On your own blog, journal or website, tell everyone about the URBAN FANTASY LAND READERS CHOICE AWARDS, linking to this post. You’ll be automatically entered into the draw for the $25 gift certificate.

3. Polls close at midnight 30 January 2009. Winners will be announced 31 January 2009.

Does anyone else have anything they want to pimp that I can add here?

Katiebabs (KB)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Watch Out For The Black Hole

This 3 minute movie short will have you laughing. Knowing my luck, I would end up like the poor guy at the end.

Katiebabs (KB)

Hunting Ground Cover! **Patricia Briggs**

By now you have probably seen this cover making the rounds around the internet:

This is Hunting Ground, the second book in Patricia' Briggs Alpha and Omega series to be released in July from Ace.

I couldn't find a synopsis but from Patricia's website, Hunting Ground takes place in Seattle, WA and has more werewolf fun then you can shake a tail at.

I really think the cover fits the tone of this series. Since I really enjoyed Cry Wolf, I will definitely be reading the sequel about Anna and Charles.

How about you?

Katiebabs (KB)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Recent Read

Book 4 of 2009

Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl

Why this one: I’ve seen good buzz on it and it’s a contemporary and I want to help the cause for this genre.

Steam Level: This’ll burn your tongue if you aren’t careful!!

Amazon Blurb: Molly Jenkins has one naughty little secret: her job as a bestselling erotic fiction author. Until her inspiration runs dry—thanks to a creepy ex—and it's time to skip town and move back to tiny Tumble Creek, Colorado.

One look at former high school hunk chief of police Ben Lawson and Molly is back in business. The town gossip is buzzing at her door and, worse still, a stalker seems to be watching her every move. Thankfully, her very own lawman has taken to coming over, often. The only problem now is that Molly may have to let the cat out of the bag about her chosen profession, and straitlaced Ben will definitely not approve.…

My Thoughts: This one has been getting good buzz and I can see why. It’s immensely readable; it took me no time to get through it. It has a Great hero – I adored Ben. He was macho with soft edges. He was Very Sexy!! Yummers. He wore a cowboy hat – any hero gets bonus points for that. It’s a great story line – friends turned lovers. The writing is excellent and it had me smiling in more then one place.

And I really do hate to go on because one would think that I too, am going to give this one high marks. Sadly – oh so sadly I’m not. I go into each book wanting to love it. I mean I pay good money for books and who does that wanting the book to be found lacking? Not me. But I had SERIOUS issues with Molly, the heroine.

Although I love a good hero, it’s the heroine who makes or breaks the book for me and *heavy sigh* Molly broke this one. After I finished it, I went looking for other’s opinions and there was an interesting discussion concerning Molly at Dear Author. It appears that some of the low grades for this book at other places may have been because Molly is quite open and honest about her sexuality and the thought is this turns some readers off. Not so for me. Although at moments, Kristie, my middle-aged self thinks she’s a bit too strong in what she wants, Krisite – my much younger alter ego was thinking ‘We are women, hear us roar! We are going after what we want ‘cause we aren’t middle aged women”

(You can see the two of us have a lot of differences, but Krisite always wins out in these mind battles and I agree – she should!)

So that wasn’t the issue I had with the heroine. Nope – it was that I found her to be a self-centered young woman who put her own needs ahead of Ben’s time and time again without giving his feelings so much as a thought. Ben’s feelings? P’ffffttt – what do they matter to Molly as long as she get’s what SHE wants? She keeps secrets from Ben – for the flimsiest of reasons. She plays with him – just for the heck of it. And by playing with him, I don’t mean in a sexual way – though she does that too – and I like that part of it. I wouldn’t mind a bit of sexual play myself. No – I mean she keeps from telling him things just to mess with him ‘cause it’s fun to her. For example, she gets a nasty note pinned to her door. Now by this time Ben knows that there are strange things going on. So she goes to see him and then at the end of the conversation she just kind of lets slip, ‘oh, by the way, someone stuck a hate letter to the front of my door.’

She has an ex-boyfriend that’s stalking her. Does she tell Ben? Of course not. Instead it’s all about her and how she thinks he will react. She doesn’t have enough respect for him to be honest despite knowing him most of her life. So instead of leveling with Ben and saying ‘look, this is what’s going on and this is what’s happened in the past’, she just ignores the situation until the ex shows up in town and Molly, in order to defend herself against something really indefensible, feels the need to tell everyone within hearing distance, about her and Ben’s sex life, in explicit detail, because she’s upset about a situation that she created in the first place. And then she goes on to tell about a trashy episode she had with said stalker after she broke it off with him. In front of all Ben’s coworkers. Yep – if I were a guy, that’s just what I’d want my girlfriend to shout to my co-workers. Yikes! What a self-centered little witch. She knows Ben has issues about privacy because years ago, he was humiliated by the fall-out of his father’s indiscretions. But does Molly care about this?? No, of course she doesn’t because in her universe, she’s the only one who really matters –not those around her.

Honestly, there were times when I was reading this book I picked it up and slammed it down on the counter and thought enough!! I just can’t read another word about this childish, self-centered woman.

If she had shown any signs of maturing at all, I might be a bit more lenient – but she doesn’t. Instead right near the end, when all has been exposed; what she does, what she’s done, and it involves Ben, wonderful, adorable Ben, he is Very Angry with her – with due cause. So – does she wait until he has some time to figure things out? To forgive her? Of course not. ‘Cause it’s all about her don’t you know. Instead, she tries to make him jealous by seeing other guys. At one point she says to a friend, ‘I can take it back to junior high as easily as he can.”

Uh, no. First of all, he’s not getting junior high. He’s taking time to work out his feelings of betrayal of the deepest kind. And second, it’s not junior high on her part – its kindergarten!!

Often readers wonder about a HEA for the couple after the book is over. I never do. I just assume it’s a given. But for the first time in longer than I can recall, I doubt a HEA for this couple. Once Ben get’s past his stimulated hormones, I think he will sit up and notice what Molly is really like; a liar, immature, self-centered and not even close to being worthy of someone like him.

Now – if you’ve made it this far, I want anyone reading to do something unusual. Forget what you just read. If you were planning on getting this book still go ahead and get it. Because it truly does have some excellent things going for it. Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben – what a great hero he is; serious but with a wicked sense of humour. The dialogue was snappy and when I didn’t have my hate on for Molly, I was laughing. She really had some funny moments. I can totally see why this one is getting good buzz. I’d be rating it very high myself if it wasn’t that this kind of heroine really hit’s a hot button. And very probably a lot of readers will have a totally different take on her then I do.

In order to give this one a fair representation, I hunted down a number of reviews

Kati of Adventures in Katidom - C-

Romance Novel TV - Andrea Williamson - 4.5 (out of 5)

SB - Sarah - B+

Dear Author - Jane - B+

The Romance Reader - Mary Benn - 4 *'s (out of 5)

AAR - Ellen Micheletti - D

*delaying tactics*

So you can see, there is a wide range of opinions on this book which is why I say to give it a try.

Now for the grade. This is the toughest one I've done in a LOOOONG time. Ben gets a 5 out of 5. The storyline a 5. The writing a 5. But I just can't get past how much I disliked Molly. Again I have to emphasize it's not because of her love of sex. It's....her.


*still thinking*

This is really tough!!

Grade: 2.5 out of 5

I WELCOME any one who's read this one and wants to disagree with me on Molly because I'd love to be turned around and rate this one higher!

Egads!! It's broke!!

OK - I don't know diddly about fixing things, but the template appears to be totally wonked out. Hopefully it's only Blogger being bad - but if it isn't - I'm going to need

H. E. L. P.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Recent Read

Book 3 of 2009

Rachel and the Hired Gun by Elaine Levine

Why this one: As was apparent, I didn’t read nearly enough Westerns in 2008 so I was determined to rectify this in 2009, the book wasn’t too expensive, I like the cover and when I was in SF, I got a fridge magnet for this book and it’s been on my fridge since August - reminding me daily to get this one when it came out. So I did!

Steam Level: I’d say warm – like a coffee that’s been sitting for about 10 or 15 minutes

Amazon Blurb: When Rachel Douglas left her aunt's house in Virginia for the wilds of the Dakota Territory, she knew the journey would be long and arduous. But she didn't realize that she has been summoned west to be used as a pawn in a ranch war with her father's neighbor - or that her fierce, sudden attraction to Sager, her father's hired gun, would put her heart and her life in jeopardy. Seducing Rachel and feeding a bitter feud between the two ranches was Sager's plan of vengeance against those who slaughtered his foster Shoshone family. Instead, Rachel's guileless mix of courage and vulnerability touches the conscience he thought he'd buried long ago, and draws them both into a passion without rules, without limits - one that will change their destinies forever...

My Thoughts: One thing I love doing and don't do nearly enough, is try debut authors.

I love a good Western so when I read one – I’m going in with a stacked deck in the ‘I’m going to like it’ category. And like this one I did.

I loved Rachel. She has grown up as a real Cinderalla type character, the poor relation of her aunt, uncles and cousins. She was a servant rather than a member of the family. Finally her father, who owns a ranch out west sends for her. And meeting her part way is Sager, a hired gun of her fathers. They travel with the wagon train until someone spies how close they seem and then Rachel is shunned. Sager decides to head out; just the two of them, for his bosses ranch. But Sager has other plans for Rachel and these plans are not to her benefit.

Rachel is a intriguing mix of bravery, such as when she faces down a rabid wolf, confronts and stands up to her father whom she is meeting for the first time and fearfulness due to her wretched upbringing.

And Sager is a good tortured hero. Stolen even before he was born from his white family, he was raised by an Indian tribe until the age of 14, when he was stolen back again from everything he knew growing up. Due to his background, he too has a lot of baggage and a lot of anger. He’s the one to shy away in this relationship, thinking he isn’t good enough.

The scenes between Sager and Rachel were very well done and I could really feel the connection between these two lost souls.

But I did have a few issues. First of all there is some unusual head hopping. This is something I don’t normally notice, but when we jumped into the head of the housekeeper late in the story for just a moment, it did pull me out for a bit.

The villain of the book was just a tad too over-the-top evil. If this person had had a mustache – which would have been near impossible – they would have been a-twirling it.

We never really got a description of what the hero/heroine looked like except for hair and eye colour. I know this doesn’t bother a lot of readers, but for me it would have been better if I could have grabbed an image – even if I do have a tendency to put in whoever I want anyway.

There were a couple of story lines that were brought up and then kind of left dangling without any resolution.

But the biggest issue I had, it was it was never explained or if it was, I missed it, on what exactly was Sager’s plan for revenge. He had a plan, and the author covered it to a certain extent, but if his plans had come to fruition, I would have been thinking ‘yes……. and then what?’

I don’t mean to sound to negative because overall, I did quite enjoy the book. It only took me a couple of days to read - and that's a sign I'm enjoying it. Using baseball as an analogy – because baseball in winter sounds good and it helps ever so much – with a new author, sometimes they strike out. I’ll try one book and never want to read another one. Sometimes they hit a homer! Authors such as Elizabeth Hoyt, Meredith Duran, Judith James and Joanna Bourne have hit a home run with their first book. And some authors are in between. I would say that the author, Elaine Levine hit a double - possible a triple with this one. And as Wendy our Superlibrarian would confirm, there is nothing wrong with a double/triple. Ms. Levine has at least two more books in this series and they are already on my TBB list. Without too much effort I think she could get a definite home run. And man, did it feel good to read a Western again!!

And in the vernacular – dang folks, that's one mighty fine cover!!

Grade: 4 out of 5

Any old reason will do!!

For Marg and her new DVD

Friday, January 09, 2009

New (to me and sometimes not) bloggers

One of the things I kind of fell down on in the past little while has been spotlighting new bloggers I've found. Although I don't make New Year's resolutions in real life, I have a few for the blog. Try and review every book I read and say hey to new (to me) bloggers. But because I've been behind, some aren't quite so new - just new to me 'introducing' them.

So say a belated hi to who I think of as Renee2 of Renee's Book Addiction (as opposed to Renee1 of Renee Reads who I've 'known' longer). Renee2's guy is currently reading Outlander so drop by and enjoy his observations. He just read "The Spanking" scene!!

And blogger who I've 'known' for a little while now - and meant to say hi to here sooner - really - is Lea of Closetwriter. She has the Most Adorable Chinese Crested and for anyone who's read Susan Donovan's Take a Chance on Me - Lea has a picture of this breed. (I told her she needs to read it because Hairy IS the real hero of that book *g*) She's just read Wicked Burn too!! And she loved it!

And last but not least (for today anyway - I do have more!) is Emily of Dreaming on the Job. She has a couple of Westerns lined up so you KNOW we have something in common - along with Wendy and Sybil :-) a couple of fellow lovers of the Western

Recent Read

Book 2 of 2009

Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran

Why This One: I’ve had it for a while now and it was always on my TBR list. It finally made it to the top of the pile. And I know many have read and loved it.

Steam Level: While not nearly as hot as the last one, few are, it was still warm enough for me to enjoy

Amazon Blurb: From exotic sandstone palaces...

Sick of tragedy, done with rebellion, Emmaline Martin vows to settle quietly into British Indian society. But when the pillars of privilege topple, her fiancé's betrayal leaves Emma no choice. She must turn for help to the one man whom she should not trust, but cannot resist: Julian Sinclair, the dangerous and dazzling heir to the Duke of Auburn.

To the marble halls of London...

In London, they toast Sinclair with champagne. In India, they call him a traitor. Cynical and impatient with both worlds, Julian has never imagined that the place he might belong is in the embrace of a woman with a reluctant laugh and haunted eyes. But in a time of terrible darkness, he and Emma will discover that love itself can be perilous -- and that a single decision can alter one's life forever.

Destiny follows wherever you run.

A lifetime of grief later, in a cold London spring, Emma and Julian must finally confront the truth: no matter how hard one tries to deny it, some pasts cannot be disowned...and some passions never die.

My Thoughts: I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading this one!!! I love unusual settings in romance and I knew this would be one I would enjoy. Years ago I read M.M. Kaye and her wonderful India set books.

After surviving a horrific tragedy when the ship Emmaline Martin was sailing to India on sinks and she is the only survivor, she arrives in India and it’s apparent to her that she doesn’t fit in with the rest of English society. She doesn’t hold the same disdain for the people of India that so many of her fellow British residents do. Engaged since she was young to a Colonel in the army there, she is dismayed by his numerous peccadilloes. Then she meets Julian Sinclair and some excitement begins in her life. Julian is the heir to a dukedom, but still unaccepted in the exclusive society due to his Indian blood. But there is an attraction between Emmaline and Julian that can’t be denied. When mutiny erupts across the land, Julian takes her to safety and then must leave her to see to his Indian family.

And this is only the first part of the book. The second half takes place five years later back in England. Julian thought that Emmaline died in the mutiny and Emmaline thinks that Julian abandoned her. When Julian discovers her not only alive, the artist of a series of stunning and scandalous paintings of the rebellion, he also discovers that Emmaline is not the same hopeful yet innocent young woman he had fallen in love with.

Quite simply, I loved this book! I loved Emmaline and the sufferings she has endured. In the second half of the book, she is frozen inside, yet still full of passion and determined to hate Julian for his abandonment. When she discovers the truth; that he searched endlessly for her, she still holds him at arms length due to her actions while still in India. My heart broke for her in everything she went through.

I also enjoyed Julian though he was still a bit of a mystery. We didn’t learn much of him until later in the book.

The writing is powerful and it’s reminiscent of Shadow of the Moon by M.M. Kaye, a book I read and loved years ago.

I met Meredith Duran in SF, though I doubt she remembers me. Now I’m wishing that I’d read this book before I went so I could have gushed when I met her. But of course on the other hand, now it’s not long a wait for her next books!!

I know this is a book I’ll reread again!

Grade: 5 out of 5

Thursday, January 08, 2009


And having just posted about enough already *g* I came across this review at The Romance Reader!!

When is enough, enough?

First off – apologies to all Suzanne Brockman fans. I realize she is wildly popular and at one time I loved her books too – but was turned off on book in particular and never went back to her single title series and was also turned off on one of her Harlequin series and never went back there either.

So while I know that she’s popular, I’m totally baffled as to the depths of the discussions on her next release. Sure I get that some readers fell betrayed – that they felt they were misled by a certain couple that apparently isn’t to be. And I do get a laugh sometimes when I visit her message board about the amount of justification her fans are doing. But still, there is a thread at AAR that at last count was 82 f’n pages long – on a book that hasn’t been released yet. There was an AAR blog post there too. DA covered it. I just want to scream – ENOUGH ALREADY.

And another one I really don’t get is all this chatter about Lisa Valdez. I don’t care anymore if she has another book coming or when. It was four years ago when Passion came out. Yes, I read it. Yes, I enjoyed it. But here it is almost five years later and readers are still wondering about the next book. In the meantime there have been some wonderful new authors. I don’t give a flying fig about Lisa Valdez’s next release. I don’t mean to sound cold but I do not for the life of me understand why readers are still going on about it. I just want to scream ENOUGH ALREADY.

And again – apologies to JR Ward fans. I know there are a lot of them out there too. I’ve read her first couple of books, enjoyed them quite a bit actually and have her next two TBR. But I don’t understand the – well let’s say passion – some readers have. Things are fairly quiet now as fans wait for her next release, but when it gets closer and when the book comes out, I’m sure I’ll be thinking ENOUGH ALREADY.

Thank goodness there doesn’t seem to be the same hoopla over Elizabeth Elliot. I’ve read her books, loved them and wanted the book about the assassin brother, but I would never participate in a pages long discussion on it.

I love romance books – absolutely adore them and have done a couple of nutty things when some strike chords within me such as Dreaming of You and Broken Wing. But, whatever I did was in earnest because I really did love them and hoped others would too, still it was with a bit of tongue in cheek and a sense of fun. And I hope whoever went along with me sensed that.

But for the life of me I can’t understand the over-the-topness of some readers. I can’t understand the need to discuss a book that takes 83 pages!! This is fiction. These are not real people. They are works of fiction written by some very talented authors. I doubt very much whether I’d want to be involved myself to the lengths that some fans to for even my Very Favourite Books! If I were to, I’d scream at myself ENOUGH ALREADY

Unraveled Book Review **Jaci Burton**

When I read Unwrapped by Jaci Burton last year, I found myself having a small crush on one of the men in her story. Unwrapped is an erotic Christmas romance that takes place in Hawaii where a woman receives quiet the interesting gift of having two men pleasure her for the holiday. It was one of the best ménage a trios romance I have ever read. One of the men who made the threesome was left behind as the heroine went off into the sunset with the other one. Now with Unraveled, Jaci has given Mitch Magruder his own romance. Even though Unraveled is more of a traditional romance than Unwrapped was, his love story with a childhood friend who is a divorced mother of two was just as good as Unwrapped. Before you read Unraveled, I recommend you also read Unwrapped because once you do, you will wish for your own Mitch.

Mitch is a very rich CEO who buys properties and builds very exclusive vacation resorts. He offers the best and only wants the best. He has chosen a great spot in Florida where he will build another resort and hopefully bring more money into his pocket as well as the community. Unfortunately the owner of a run down fifteen-room motel will not give up her property even though Mitch gives her a very nice offer. Mitch decides to go to Lincoln Beach, Florida and talk some sense into her. This is where Mitch grew up and became a surfing legend. He also knows the owner of the motel because Greta Mason is the younger sister of his good friend. He hasn’t seen Greta in over twenty years and doesn’t know what to expect because he remembers her as a twelve year old tag along when he was nineteen.

At first Greta is thrilled to see Mitch, but as soon as she figures out that Mitch wants her to sell the property, she lets the door hit him on the way out. Even though she is barely making ends meet, the motel belonged to her deceased father and was given to her. The motel is her baby and gives her independence. And since her marriage was so horrible and ended badly, she needs to prove to herself and her children that they don’t have to rely on anyone.

Mitch is a sly one and will try his best to make Greta see reason. But Mitch is never manipulative; he is actually a really nice guy. He loves the Mason family and also enjoys Greta’s two children, Jeff who is twelve, and Zoey who is ten. Mitch teaches Greta’s kids to surf and also wants Greta to enjoy life since all she does is work. Soon Greta always Mitch to show her the fun she has been missing, as well as some grownup activities such as dinner and dancing. Greta had a childhood crush for Mitch and now as a woman, she has yearnings for this man. Mitch wants Greta even though she is very different from the women he has dated in the past. But as things progress between the two, their relationship becomes one of lovers. Mitch also understands he has to be careful when it comes to intimacy with Greta because of what her horrible husband did to her during their marriage. Plus, Mitch still wants the property Greta owns. He has to decide how far he wants to go with her and if Greta is the woman he can be with forever.

Unraveled is simply a wonderful romance. Jaci has written really great characters in Mitch and Greta as well as Greta’s children, her older brother and mother. The way Mitch handles Greta, especially the first time they are intimate together was beautiful because of the past abuse Greta went through at the hands of her ex-husband. An even though Mitch tried to take control of certain situations, Greta was no dishrag heroine. She told Mitch like it was and Mitch respected her for it.

As for Mitch… ah MITCH!! Mitch is the near perfect man. He is smart, handsome in face and in spirit, and very generous. And I cannot forget to mention the way the man works the bedroom, the back of a limo and on the beach with Greta! Jaci always writes some of the best love scenes, and she does that here with Mitch and Greta. These are two people who are mature adults who have great respect for one another. And because of this, they are equals in almost everything and that also includes the fun they have under the sheets.

Jaci Burton hardly ever disappoints and I was afraid my expectations would be too high when it came to Mitch and the woman her falls for. Jaci hit all those expectations and more with Unraveled. (Samhain)

4 stars out of 5 stars.

Katiebabs (KB)