Monday, November 30, 2009

The Overtortured Tortured Hero

I love a good tortured hero - I think anyone who visits here with any kind of regularity has been able to figure that out *g*. When I think back on my favourite books and what they might have in common, probably 90% of them feature a hero who has been tortured in one way or another:
  • Derek Craven - born of a prostitute, lived a horrid life including many nasty jobs; chimney sweep, resurectionist etc.
  • Gabriel St. Croix - sold to a Parisian brothel when he was just a young boy and used by both men and women.
  • Johnny Harris - sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit, raped while he was there and before that, beaten by his father and abandoned by his mother.
  • Lord Ian MacKenzie - delivered to an insane asylum when he was young and witnessed his father killing his mother, whereupon he underwent horrible abuses.
  • Conor's Way - watched his family starve to death in Ireland, he came to America and earned his way as a boxer until he was beaten nearly to death for not throwing a fight.
  • Branden Kel Paton who was painfully turned into half machine and forced to live his life watching his every thought and loving a woman from afar.
  • And many more.....
EEEK - I had to edit - I remembered another one *smacking my head that I forgot him*
  • Nicholas Kenleigh who was captured and tortured and left with terrible scars and a feeling of overwhelming guilt over surviving.
I could go on, but you get the picture. So I can't be accused of not liking this kind of hero. But even I, yes I, who loves this kind of hero, have my limits. I've started reading Sherrilyn Kenyon's revised and reissued futuristic series, and after a bit of a rocky start with the first one, and putting it down until the reading mojo came back, I've been enjoying it quite a bit. It's the first Kenyon I've read for a while - I gave up up for a couple of reasons. The first reason is I found way too much sequel bait in her books and the second - the Overtortured Tortured Hero. It got to the point in the Dark Hunter series where I just couldn't take any more reading of the overwhelmingly horrendous things she put her heroes through.

The book I'm reading now; Born of Night, I'm quite enjoying it and will have a review up once I'm done, but My Word, she's thrown everything in but the kitchen sink as far as torture is concerned. Here's just a sample of what she's put the poor guy through
  • He wore a leather mask for the first part of his life and he had worn it for so long, it grew into his skin and then it was ripped right off his face.
  • He had his finger nails ripped out and as if that weren't enough, they were then dipped in acid so they wouldn't grow back
  • His mother threw him away and he spent his formative years in an orphanage
  • He had to drink out of a toilet - because the people who looked after him considered him an animal
  • He was constantly beaten and had many a bone broken
  • He had to wear a 'collar' that could inflict and control pain
  • He was thrown into a cell when just a young lad with rapists and pedophiles

And those are just some of the things he's gone through!! When an author writes a hero this tortured, I can't help but think he'd more likely be a sociopathic criminal instead of just a poor misunderstood guy just looking for the right woman to make him a warm and cuddly teddy bear.

As I said, I think Sherrilyn Kenyon is the author who writes the most overtortured tortured heroes. I'm not the only one who has noticed this. Stacy of Stacy's Place on Earth did a recent review of Fantasy Lover and made this comment:

Having already read several books in this series, I've already noticed that Sherrilyn Kenyon tends to make her heroes really suffer. I mean REALLY. Just wait til Zarek, if you haven't read the books.

I couldn't agree more. Only for me, she goes overboard and makes them all too tortured.

But she's not the only author. I think part of the reason I haven't joined the JR Ward train is her overtortured tortured heroes. I read the first one and while Wrath was tortured in Dark Lover, it hadn't been ramped up that much. But then I read Lover Eternal and she did quite a number on poor Rhage. And reading about some of the other brothers, I could tell they were all candidates for the Overtortured Tortured Hero club.

I don't really mean to pick on these two authors, I've loved books by both of them, but they are such obvious examples. They seem to almost revel in The Overtorture.

What about anyone else? Are you a fan of the tortured hero like me? But do you feel a hero can be too tortured? Can you think of any other hero who could be classified as an Overtortured Tortured Hero? Is there an author who you think goes over the line?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Reread Challenge for November

Well - it's that time again - Reread Challenge Time hosted by Nath. It's a bit of deja view from last month!

Rapture in Death by JD Robb

Why this one: I'm still making my way through a reread of the In Death books. There are a couple of coworkers reading them and as they are much further behind than I am, it's kind of fun going back to the earlier ones

Blurb: They died with smiles on their faces. Three apparent suicides: a brilliant engineer, an infamous lawyer, and a controversial politician. Three strangers with nothing in common - and no obvious reasons for killing themselves. Police lieutenant Eve Dallas found the deaths suspicious. And her instincts paid off when autopsies revealed small burns on the brains of the victims. Was it a genetic abnormality or a high-tech method of murder? Eve's investigation turned to the provocative world of virtual reality games - where the same techniques used to create joy and desire could also prompt the mind to become the weapon of its own destruction . . .

My thoughts: It's been a while since I've read this one - number 4 is anyone doesn't know the order. It takes place almost right where Immortal in Death ends. Eve and Roarke are just finishing off their honeymoon off planet, when Eve is called to check out an apparent suicide of one of the staff. Everything appears as it ought to be but when Eve goes back to work, she is made aware of a number of suicides and puts two and two together and comes up with murder. What I enjoy so much about this one is the passion between Eve and Roarke. The last book so far in the series I only gave a warm rating too, but this one is hot, hot, hot as they are both still newlyweds. Add to that a musicologist who is working to help Mavis with her singing career and who likes to 'manipulate' things between Roarke and Eve and this is another good read. I did notice though that this one is a bit unusual in that Eve, who is usually so right on about the murderer is a bit off on who she thinks it is in this book and pushes things further then she usually does and ends up wrong - for a short time.

This is another one that is heavier than some on the relationship aspect and I wish more of them were like this. I originally gave this one a 5 out of 5 - but I was new to the series and I was giving 5's out like candy I love the whole series that much. This time 'round though I'm changing it to a 4.5 out of 5. Still a very good grade, but I downgraded it just a tad due to Eve's stubbornness.

Portrait in Death by J.D. Robb

Why this one: Ever since I first read it, it's always been my favourite

Blurb: A serial killer takes his dead victims' portraits and sends them to the media. Lieutenant Eve Dallas counts on her husband's help to crack the case, but he's just learned a devastating truth about his past.

My thoughts: I've always liked this one best as it's quite a role reversal compared to most of the other In Death books and it's one I taunt my coworkers with. Usually it's Eve who remembers the horrible things in her childhood, but in Portrait, Roarke learns something about his past that rocks his world. I won't say what so as to avoid spoilers for any readers who are just starting this series or who haven't made it this far. But Roarke is shaken - very shaken - and as those who know this series so well, other than worrying about Eve, Roarke is pretty much cool as a cucumber. And because his world is so rocked, and he doesn't know how to handle this new development, he does something else very un-Roarke like - he shuts Eve out. And thus Eve is shaken.

Later on in the story, once Roarke kind of comes to terms with the situation, we have another role reversal. It's Eve who helps Roarke. As we all know, Eve isn't exactly the 'nurturing' kind. She is faced with a dilemma - whether to continue working on the case or help Roarke when he needs her the most. After a head smack from Feeney, she does make the right choice.

This one is more of a relationship entry than many of the In Death books and I liked it. The first time I gave this one a 5 out of 5 and it still gets a 5 out of 5 and still remains one of my favourites!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

You're never too old to learn new tricks!!

Oldest son Brent was over last night - as an aside it was nice to spend a Friday night with him - weird but nice - and he was showing me some videos on YouTube and I learned something I did not know!!!

If you watch the video on YouTube itself and click the little square box on the bottom right hand corner - the one between the triangle box and the speaker box, the video plays on the whole screen!! When I saw him enlarge the first video, I got all excited and asked him how he made it do that, so he told me. So of course - me being me - after he left, checked it out on the second North and South video on the left side bar.

The famous "KISS" in the famous 'TRAIN SCENE" up close and in slow motion - verra, verra nice!!

And speaking of North and South - Jessica - I'm still waiting to add you to the Crusader list!! I know you've wa-atched it. And anyone else whose watched it and want to do a review - it's been a while since there has been new blood.

And - just in case I'm not the only one who did not know this and wants to see what I'm talking about - here's the video

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Recent Read

Yes!! The dam has been broken!!

Her Colorado Man by Cheryl St. John

Why this one: I've always loved her books and when I saw this out early, I just had to pick it up.

Steam Level: There's burning, there's hot and there is warm. This one would be warm, but I like them any way.

When eighteen-year-old Mariah found herself pregnant and unmarried in her small Colorado town, she disappeared. One year later, she returned with a baby--though minus the "husband" who had conveniently ventured off to Alaska's gold fields to seek his fortune....

But now, with handsome adventurer Wes Burrows turning up and claiming to be the husband she had invented, Mariah's lies become flesh and blood--and her wildest dreams a reality

My Thoughts: I haven't read a book by Cheryl St. John that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed and this book was no exception. If you read the previous post, you can see I was having a tough time figuring out what I was in the mood for and decided to see if I was in the mood for this book - and wonder of wonders - I was.

Ms. St. Johns books aren't big and splashy. They aren't filled with larger than life characters. There aren't strange worlds or people running for their lives.

But what there is in a Cheryl St. John book is a warmth and charm that is very appealing. There are tender, quiet moments and there is a poignancy in her stories that you don't find often enough. There are characters you can connect with and when you close the cover at the end, you often have a warm and fuzzy feeling and when you are looking for something to read, and can't seem to find anything else, this just hits the spot.

And Mariah and Wes are no exception. Mariah is a bit of a prickly character but that doesn't take away from her appeal. As a single mother, she is very protective of her son John James. She has a large and supportive family to help her but she is thrown for a loop when Wes Burrows shows up claiming to be her husband and the father of John James. But she knows this is impossible as there is no husband and the father is unknown (to us, the reader). You see, her grandfather fabricated a husband, using the name and mail box of a mysterious and most often absent Wes Burrows to cover the fact that Mariah was an unwed mother.

Wes Burrows lives in Alaska and while recuperating from an injury, found all the letters from a young boy claiming to be his son. Raised in a foundling home, Wes has never experienced the relationship between a father and son. He continued the correspondence with young John James and eventually, with nothing holding him in Alaska, decides he wants to meet and get to know his 'son'. Mariah is horrified that her lies are coming back to haunt her and thus is understandably prickly.

Wes, on the other hand is the kind of hero I adore. Never having known the love of family and he is captivated by Mariah and her large extended family. He is drawn to John James and we, the reader, are drawn to Wes.

It's a wonderful and heart warming/heart breaking story of two lonely people who are so right for each other if they can overcome their own insecurities, especially Mariah. If I could only use one word to describe a Cheryl St. John book it would be touching, emotional, moving - I know - that's three words isn't it? But it's true. Her Colorado Man is all of these.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Monday, November 23, 2009

You gotta be in the mood to be in the groove

Catchy title eh?

I've been thinking about this for a few days now and I don't know if it was this apparent, but the kind of mood I'm in can have a real bearing on the book I read. I finished off Skin Game, which was rather dark and broody and then picked up Nalini Singh's Blaze of Memory, but I just couldn't get into it. I knew it wasn't the book since I've really been enjoying her series, it was me. So I put it down and picked up Sherrilyn Kenyon's Born of Night, but couldn't get very far into that book either. Again, I knew it wasn't the book it was me.

Then the light dawned. I had just finished a rather dark book that I enjoyed quite a bit. But now I was in the mood for light and fluffy. And when you need light and fluffy, dark and broody just doesn't work. So I thought Susan Donovan's Ain't Too Proud to Beg. And that didn't work! The hero in this book is PERFECT and I don't care for perfect heroes. And so that one was the wrong choice.

So then I got confused. What was I in the mood for? I read Karen's sort of review for The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie so I thought maybe I'll do a reread of that one. But while I got further into it then I did the other three, I realized I wasn't in the mood for that one either.

So I figured maybe I was in the mood for something steamy and tried Livia Dare's In the Flesh that Stacy gave a great review for. But I didn't want to have different 'read at home' and 'read at work' books and there's no way I wanted to read this one at work. Some coworkers have taken to wanting to see what books I've been reading and, well, it's just not one I wanted to show - I'm not quite that ready *g*. So that one was out.

I started eyeing some of the historicals that I have, but was feeling meh about starting any of them.

One book I do feel like reading is Relentless and I know I have it - but I can't find it, damn it all. I've looked a few times and it could be anywhere.

So now I'm totally mixed up!! I have no idea what I feel like reading, but I do know I'm tired of picking up books, only reading a bit, and then clueing that's not the book I'm in the mood for. I'm in the mood to read - it's not a slump. But I'm out of my groove and I have to say, I'm not liking it!!

I picked up Cheryl St. John's latest, Her Colorado Man on the way from work tonight. Hopefully it will be the book to get me back in the groove 'cause right now, I'm very frustrated. Several thousand books and I can't find one to read makes me one cranky reader!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recent Reads

Healing Luke by Beth Cornelison

Why this one: It was another impulse buy. I was in the bookstore and the title jumped out at me - I love a wounded hero. Then the cover appealed to me. And when I read the storyline, it called to me.

Steam Level: Warmish

Ladies' man Luke Morgan has the world at his feet until a freak explosion leaves him burned and bitter. Luke's family offers gutsy occupational therapist Abby Stanford a job facilitating Luke's physical therapy, but Luke wants no part of his family's schemes or Abby's help. When sparks fly between Luke and Abby, Luke must face his deepest fears in order to claim the woman who brought his family together and taught him the real meaning of love.

My Thoughts: This was the book I was reading when I thought of keeping books versus keeper books. I'm keeping this one, but while close, it's not a keeper book.

Luke was a player - a love 'em and leave 'em kind of guy. But that kind of lifestyle was leaving him cold and he had mainly given it up when he was seriously injured in a boat explosion. He was burned, lost the sight in one eye and his right hand was badly damaged. This has turned i him into a pretty bitter guy.

Abby has had the shock of her life when she caught her fiance cheating on her. Instead of canceling her honeymoon trip, she decides to go on her own. But her self confidence is badly shaken and she's feeling pretty gun shy.

She first meets Luke when she plans on going diving through the family owned business that Luke used to be a part of. He's quite surly with her, but she still feels a 'pull' towards him. But when she meets his 'still in the game' older brother, Aaron, and he asks her out, Abby goes out on a date with him. Although Luke is gruff to the max and tells himself it doesn't bother him, deep down it does.

Aaron notices that Luke seems to come out of his bitter shell a bit more around Abby and along with their dad, convinces Abby to work for them, part to fill in for Luke and part to work as Luke's therapist in dealing with his hand injury.

I really enjoyed the character of Luke. He was in the process of changing when his whole world was rocked. He was angry and bitter and since it hadn't been that long, I could see and understand why he was the way he was. Along with everything else, he didn't think any woman would want to be with him. I'm a sucker for a 'tortured' type hero and Luke was right up my alley.

Abby was a bit more problematic for me though. She certainly sent out mixed messages to Luke who was already reeling. "yes there is something between us - that's why I'm going out with your brother"
"Yes there is something between us, but it cannot be since I mistrust all men because of what my finance did.
It's no wonder poor Luke was confused. I know she had her own issues, but she mixed her issues up with Luke which I felt was slightly unfair.

Now - reading this, one might get the impression I didn't really care for this book. But I did like it. I didn't love it, but I think the author has potential.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Why this one: I got this one because of Rosie's glowing recommendation

Steam Level: Nice and Steamy!

Blurb: A beautiful fugitive—wanted dead or alive.

Kyra is a con woman and a particular kind of thief. She steals with a touch, but she only takes one thing: her target’s strongest skill. Which means she can be a fighter, an athlete, a musician, an artist—anything she wants… for a limited time. Heartbroken, she turns her gift toward avenging her father’s murder; with deadly patience, Kyra works her way into casino owner Gerard Serrano’s inner circle. After pulling off the ultimate con, she flees with his money and his pride.

A hit man who never misses the mark.
Reyes has nothing but his work. Pity for Kyra, he’s the best and mercy never sways him once he takes a job. He’s been hired to find out where Kyra hid the cash—and bring her back to face Serrano’s “justice.” Dead will do, if he can’t locate the loot. He’s never failed to complete a contract, but Kyra tempts him with her fierce heat and her outlaw heart. So Reyes has a hell of a choice: forsake his word or kill the woman he might love.

My Thoughts: Thanks Rosie!! I love a book with shades of gray and this one certainly fit the bill. Kyra is a con woman. She and her father had lead their lives running cons. But when a Vegas good fella is responsible for the death of Kyra's father, she runs a big con on him, humiliating him for all it's worth. Now she is one the run from his wrath, along with several million dollars she got out of the deal.

Reyes is the man that was sent after her. A bona fide hit man with his own peculiar moral code, he was told that it was Kyra who turned on her father, resulting in his death. But when he tracks her down she just isn't what he was expecting and it doesn't take long for him to figure out he'd been lied to and he gives his allegiance to Kyra. The only problem - she doesn't know he's a hit man, thinking him just a drifter who partners up with her.

Kyra also had this additional talent that lends itself well to her talents and it's also kept her fairly isolated her whole life. When she touches someone, their 'talent' is transferred to her whether it be in pool, darts, martial arts or singing.

Kyra and Reyes have amazing chemistry together. And when Reyes falls for Kyra, he is wrecked for her. I do so love that in a hero. For her part, due to her unusual upbringing, Kyra has lead a lonely and solitary life and although very reluctant at first to let Reyes into her heart, she eventually can't help herself. These two, while very gray, did have their own morals they lived by. Reyes only killed people who deserved killing and Kyra only conned people who deserved conning. I found them both fascinating. I enjoyed their rather twisted but understandable morals. When Kyra finds out the hidden agenda Reyes had, and of course she did, she is devastated but still smart enough to know that she still needs his help. And Reyes, for his part is also deeply affected, for the first time in his life he met someone he truly cared for. But he is determined to help her and keep her alive not matter what it might cost him.

Not long ago I read Linda Howard's Death Angel where the hero of that one was also an assassin and really enjoyed it. I can now say the same thing for Skin Game

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Monday, November 16, 2009

And still two more!

Wow!! My blog links is growing by leaps and bounds!! I'm going to have to figure out how google reader works now so I have time to visit everyone.

And with that, the two newest bloggers I've found:

Anna of Good Gone Girl, who seems to be into one of my favourite genres at the moment - Sports Romance. Anna is a fairly new baby blogger - she joined us in October so go say hey


Tabitha of Tabz Book Blog
who is reading my trump author (TM Tara Marie) at the moment, J.D. Robb. Tabitha is pretty new to us to as she started her blog in August. So say hey to her too!!

(Now if um someone can tell me how google reader works????)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Not just a Twofer - but a Threefer!!

As Nath reminded me, Chapters had a 25% weekend this weekend just wrapping up. I wasn't going to get any books, but the more I thought about it, the more I justified to myself that it was a good idea to go. And with just a very short encouragement from Stacy, I did.

My latest haul.

Born of Fire and Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon.
Now I gave up the Dark Hunter series quite some time ago. But I was actually on the Sherrlyn Kenyon train years before even then, when I was into futuristics and read a couple of hers and enjoyed them quite a bit. I read somewhere that they were going to be reissued but lost track of when. Then I read at Leontine's place that Born of Ice was one of them. When I checked online to see if the Chapters near me not only had this one but also Born of Night - well I had to get them right? I already have Paradise City - now I'm going to have to figure out which one it is and how it compares to the reissued version.

In the Flesh by Livia Dare.
I read about this one Stacy's place and was instantly intrigued. But I'll be honest, I find the cover cringe worthy. But I figured if I bought a group of books and with luck the checkout person was female and not some young studly guy, I could slip it through. I did and it wasn't so all was good!

Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind by Karen Kelley
I really enjoyed Earth Guys are Easy, the second in a trilogy and I picked up Bad Boys Guide to the Galaxy, the third a few days ago. So I just had to get the first one - right?

How to Tempt a Duke and How to Tame a Lady by Kasey Michaels.

Now I have both of these in my cart at Harlequin but there I save 20% off the cover price. With my Avid Reader card I say 10% and 20% is better then 10%. But 25% is even better then 20%. So by getting them today at Chapters, I'm saving a total of 10% - 5% on each book. See how that math works? In fact, by that kind of math, I actually saved 90% on the books I bought!!
And in case you are wondering, I actually credited the savings because I would have saved 10% at Chapters regardless.

A Sunday Twofer.

I saw this at Elizabeth's Moonlight to Twilight blog and couldn't resist doing one of my own!!

I Just Had A Scathingly Brilliant Idea

But not much of a clue as to how to go about it so suggestions and ideas are all welcome!!

I love trivia - just love it. In a number of places people just look at me in almost awe for the minutia of trivial facts I can pull out of my brain. (either that or 'cause they think this poor girl has no life to have that much knowledge about junk). And I just thought - just now - wouldn't it be fun to have a romance trivia contest???
But trivia takes up so much a part of my brain that there isn't a whole lot of room for the practicalities of life. So how would be the best idea to go about it be?? On blogs? On twitter? I think there are a lot of us on twitter now.

So - anyone else a trivia buff and does a game of romance trivia sound like fun?

And bonus points to anyone who can name the movie the subject line came from!!

Hint - it's an oldie!!

Two Hellos and a Very Sad Goodbye

I do a lot of backtracking and wandering around when blog hopping and sometimes I'll stumble on a blog and mean to go back and then get distracted and loose them. So I may have stumbled on these blogs and then lost them. But I grabbed hold of them this time and added them to my sidebar.

So first off, if you haven't dropped by and said hey - be sure to visit PATTEPOULLIE from One Book Away From Heaven.

And it was the day for Patt(e)(i)(s) as my other new blogger find is Patti of Book Addict just one more. Now I know I've seen her but this is my 'Official' Hey and Welcome.

And now for the sad goodbye. *sniff* Barbara of Happily Forever After is closing up shop. She has a young family, she works, she loves reading and is finding it hard to find the time for that and she has dreams of becoming a romance writer herself so she is finding that keeping up Happily Forever After just too much. But she has promised to hang around blogland even if she is putting her own blog down. And I've no doubt that sometime in the not to distant future we all will be able to read one of her books.

I've gotten to know Barbara and her wonderful voice online and then was very fortunate to call her roomie in Washington DC. She really was a huge part of what made the time there so much fun.

I'm really going to miss you Barbara, but I can see the need to prioritize. And you be sure and drop by - you hear?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Keeper books vs Keeping books - there is a difference

I was thinking up my next review - I sometimes start thinking of what to write before I've finished the book and it got me to thinking about keepers versus keeping. I'll come right out and say it. I'm a pack rat. I've watched that show on TLC about people who have professionals come and shovel out their homes things have gotten so bad and I worry that I could become them. I got into quite a bit of trouble at work recently due to my pack rat tendencies and I've managed to make drastic changes, but the skill set I've gained at work, sadly, hasn't transferred to my off work life yet. All of this is really irrelevant, but I have a glass of wine in front of my and I'm in a rambling mood and it helps to 'set the stage' for the topic.

When thinking of how to describe the book I'm reading, I asked myself if it was a keeper. Then I had to turn and look at myself - rather difficult to do with only one body and answer "Are you nuts??? You keep just about every book you buy!!!"
And I do!! They are having a book sale at work next week and I rounded up a bunch to take in, put them in a bag, but then couldn't seem to take them out of the house. I've done this with books destined for the Used Book Store on occasion too. I'll have a bag full and just as I'm about to open the car door and go into the book store, I'll look through what I have and end up taking about half of them out of the bag. So I was trying to figure out what makes a book a keeping book and came up with a few answers.

  • Since I joined the online romance community, I don't seem to buy nearly as many 'bad' books as I used to. It's so easy to find reviews on either review sites or blogs and I know enough as to what I will probably enjoy and what won't work for me. I still make quite a few impulse buys and I think I have had above average luck in enjoying them.

  • I hate breaking up series. The recent The Legend of the Four Soldiers series by Elizabeth Hoyt is a good example. I quite enjoyed the first two, To Taste Temptation and To Seduce a Sinner. Then I read To Beguile a Beast and didn't care for it at all. I just recently finished To Desire a Devil - and again I quite enjoyed this final book of the series. Now normally the third book would be in my trade-in bag, but that would 'break the series' and I can't do that.

  • The 'it's not you, it's me' books. Often I start a book and there's nothing basically wrong with it and given a different mood, I could read it and really enjoy it. If I don't find anything wrong with the book; if the characters don't drive me bonkers, but I'm just not that into it, I'll hold onto it for another day.

  • Gorgeous cover books. This is the shallow in me speaking. I've been known to buy a book based almost 100% on the gorgeous cover and then discovered the inside didn't nearly match the outside. But since it was the outside that tempted me, I have a hard time getting rid of it.

  • The declining enjoyment. This is very similar to the breaking of series. An good example of this the Sons of Destiny by Jean Johnson. I LOVED the first three books of the series and have problem recommending them, but starting with The Song, I felt a declining enjoyment. As the island began filling with people and the heroines started becoming either annoying or bland, I wasn't 'feeling' them like the few few. But again, I didn't want to ruin the series. I've still yet to get the final book and I'm not sure if I will or not, but I don't want to get rid of the ones I didn't enjoy as much.

  • The higher cost of trade size. I've been buying more and more trade sized books. I don't like that I pay more, though it's not so bad if I buy them online. I save 24% or more. But I see great reviews and since I don't know if they will come out in MM size and I get impatient, I get them trade size. And I figure I won't recoup the cost if I trade them in. Besides, since for the most part, with the exception of books, I'm pretty cheap, I don't get a trade size unless I'm pretty sure I will enjoy it so I don't have that many to trade in anyway.

  • The ARC books. I don't have that many. I haven't worried about the recent hullabaloo over getting free ARC books and having to "declare" it because a) I live in Canada and not sure if the recent ruling applies to me and b) I don't get enough to worry anyway. I mainly just get copies from one publisher. But they have sent me a number that just don't appeal to me. I don't do funny vampire stories and I seem to get a number of them. But for some reason I can't explain, it just seems wrong to trade them in or get rid of them.

  • Author signed books. I've gotten a number of them over the past three years at the conferences I've gone to. And I'll confess, some I haven't been able to get into at all. I can't think of any off the top of my head and probably wouldn't name them anyway. But I don't know what to do with them. If I've spoken to an author at a signing and she has taken the time to talk back to me and personally autograph a book, it seems somehow unkind to just dump it in the 'take to the UBS' bag. So I just store them in a box until I get a backbone and decide what to do with them.

So those are some of the reasons why I have so many books that I could get rid of but don't and why I don't have as many as I used to to get rid of. The idea a while ago was to not keep any book I rate as 3 or below but that doesn't always work for the above reasons.

If you are into keeping books - what decides whether you are keeping it or trading in? Do you keep books that aren't keepers in the truest sense? How do you decide whether to keep or get rid of - do you have a certain line that decides it? Are you one of those who gets rid of every book except for the cream of the crop and if you are, do you feel like you are losing out on the amount you have put into buying books?

I'm curious as to whether a lot of readers are like me and keep non keepers or if there are more who purge a lot more than I do!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Recent Read

Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb

Why this one: Hello - it's J.D. Robb - the queen of the trump books

Steam Level: Surprisingly this one was only luke warm. But I didn't mind that at all

Blurb: When the newly promoted captain of the NYPSD and his wife return a day early from their vacation, they were looking forward to spending time with their bright and vivacious sixteen-year-old daughter who had stayed behind.

Not even their worst nightmares could have prepared them for the crime scene that awaited them instead. Brutally murdered in her bedroom, Deena's body showed signs of trauma that horrified even the toughest of cops; including our own Lieutenant Eve Dallas, who was specifically requested by the captain to investigate.

When the evidence starts to pile up, Dallas and her team think they are about to arrest their perpetrator; little do they know yet that someone has gone to great lengths to tease and taunt them by using a variety of identities. Overconfidence can lead to careless mistakes. But for Dallas, one mistake might be all she needs to bring justice.

My Thoughts: Nothing stands between me and the my need for the latest J.D. Robb fix and this one is no exception. As mentioned a couple of posts previously, when this one arrived in the mail I dropped all other books so I could read this one.

The story opens with Eve and Roarke enjoying a rare two days in a row off and having just enjoyed the 'steam' for that particular day, they are trying to figure out what else to do with their time when Dallas gets called in for a crime. The daughter of a fellow cop, a newly promoted Captain, has been brutally and repeatedly raped and then strangled. This one is a tough case for Eve as it hits close to her own horror filled childhood. And it's tough for us the reader to read about how she suffered before her death.

One of the things Ms. Robb excels at is drawing the reader in and making us feel what the victim and what Eve feel. I'll confess to not reading a lot of mystery books, but I can't imagine that there are very many that are as well written as the In Death series.

As Eve struggles to solve the case, she juggles this with her role as Louise's Matron of Honour in the upcoming nuptials of Louise and Charles and what exactly her role is and how much is expected of her. It's always so delightful to see Eve struggle with things that the rest of us take for granted.

This is a typical In Death book and I think those of us that love this series will love this latest installment. Roarke is as usual, Roarke and there are some tender moments as he realizes how this case in particular is hard for his beloved Lieutenant and he himself is pulled in with the similarities to the death of Marlena, Sommerset's daughter (I think that's her name but I could be wrong). We get to see all of the characters we love so much. There is a tender moment between her and Morris, the insult hurling between Eve and Sommerset, the banter between Eve and Peabody and of course the deep and passionate love between Eve and Roarke. And there is another character who has been in a few of the books now who makes an appearance and plays a vital role in solving the case.

It's fascinating watching as Eve, with help of her gorgeous techno geek husband sort through the clues and try and determine who the evil person who took away the life of a very popular young woman.

In some books I get a little frustrated as the case takes the main focus and the great relationships take too much of a back seat but there is a good balance in this one. Of course my favourite books are where the relationships are featured more, but I wouldn't put Kindred in Death in this category. Still - it's another very good addition and I'm already looking forward to the next one, even though I just finished this one yesterday.

There are a couple of coworkers reading this series now and and I very proudly showed them my copy as they looked at in envy - they aren't nearly to the point in the series that I am. I even took a book bag with me to work since this is a harcover and doesn't fit in my purse and I read it at every opportunity. I just read three of the series for Nath's challenge and now I feel like going back and reading a few more. I honestly can't see me ever getting tired of this world and these people that J.D. Robb has created.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's that time again

Yep – I’ve been saving the best of my junk mail. I don’t know if I can make a story out of it, but I can offer some replies.

Spegal Patrick says to “Watch Weed Growing on-line.”

Well, Spegal Patrick, as exciting as that sounds, I don’t have a whole season to watch something as thrilling as watching weeds grow on-line. And I can't help but wonder if you refer to weeds like dandilions and the like or the "other" kind of weed.

Chris at sirc says “their heads are green and their hands are blue”.

Oh Noes!!! EEEEEEKKKK There are aliens amongst us. Good thing we will be able to tell who they are with those green and blue colours they have going. I wonder if they are scaly though. You don't say in the subject line.

Lilly Chaddick says “What’s with my message to you”

How the hell should I know? And don't you think you are taking a rather antagonistic tone considering you sent me the email?

Delia Schaper says “Successful Wannabe?”

Delia, I’m thinking you must be a tad confused. If one is a wannabe, then they aren’t successful ‘cause if they are successful, then they aren’t a wannabe.

Shelby Montes says “I wait for your letter to me.”

Shelby, I’m sad to say this but you will be waiting for a long time. I don’t know you and since you are in my junk mail, I’m not going to send you a letter.

Sharell Loeza says “You now have my endorsement”

I’m not sure what it’s for. I hope you don’t mean if I run for office for something. You obviously don’t know my loathing for all things political. Chances are Very Good I won't be running for any kind of office.

Nabb Bertram says “My dear, pass me details.”

Mr. Bertram, my dear, do you know how condescending you sound? I don’t think I will pass you the details. And besides – details of what?

Nakisha Garces asks “Were you in classroom?”

Nakisha, chances are.......... no. It’s been a long time since I was in classroom. Mind you, I’ve taken a couple of creative writing courses, but your name doesn’t ring a bell.

Gestar at 01 says “Less live than specks in that sun shafts turn.”

I have no idea what you just wrote.

Brooking says “better copulating is real”

Hmm, does that mean poor copulating is false? I think most of us have had at least one not so great copulation but that didn’t make it less real. Now if you had said more fun - I could see it.

Weston says “Cheers”

Well cheers to you too Weston!!

Rheindl at telekom says “And bells, and buttons, and loops, and lace”

That makes about as much sense as what Gestar wrote to me.

Cunninghamthadan at bellsouth says “I thought about Mr”

Now this one does have me curious – not curious enough to open an email that went to my spam bin, but I do wonder who Mr’s last name is and what you thought about him. Naughty thoughts perhaps??? says “But what shall we do for a ring?”

I don’t know!!!! Do they still have them in boxes of Cracker Jacks? Come to think of it though I haven't seen a box of Cracker Jacks since I don’t remember when. (And now I have that theme song playing in my head - thanks.) How about a gumball machine?

Amos Juarez says “You will like the quality of our soft, but moreover you will like the prices.”

Soft what, I wonder. Pillows? Sheets? Kittens? Porn? The mind boggles at what.

Sal Kaburee says “read carefully and reply.”

Ah, no.

Roland Laskoski says “Time to join.”

Roland, it would be helpful to know time to join what. That’s just a bit too vague for me I’m afraid.

And now that I've had me some fun, I can delete it all again.

Lest We Forget

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And another one!!

I just found another fairly new blogger - gotta love following comments! Drop by and say hey to Jessica of Book Bound - a fellow Canadian who can probably relate to the frustration of having only one main book chain in the whole country.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Putting Aside All Others

So - it was a great book day today. I stopped at the bookstore on the way home - the one not really near me, but on my route home - and picked up Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh, Ain't to Proud to Beg by Susan Donovan and Skin Game, the one Rosie loved, by Ava Gray (aka Ann Aguirre).

And when I got home, my Chapters order had arrived. It included The Countess Lends a Hand by Bonnie Dee, Paradise Rules by Beth Kery - and.........Kindred in Death. Which brings me to the reason for this post. I'm currently reading two books, one so so and the other one which is pretty good.

But! I laid aside all other books in order to dive into Kindred in Death. I do this with each and every new In Death book. It doesn't matter what I may be reading - even if the book is un-put-downable, I put it down for Eve and Roarke and the gang. And it made me wonder if anyone else has a certain author or series that they will put everything else aside in order to read it.

It's not that every single In Death book is a 5 out of 5. But there is just something about this series that pulls me in to the exclusion of all else.

So what about anyone else - do you have something that rises to the top no matter what?

Recent Read

Earth Guys are Easy by Karen Kelley

Why this one: It was an impulse by at Chapters. I was in the mood for something light and this one fit the bill.

Steam Level: Yep - this one had it - not as much as the previous book mind you, but this one was fine in the steam level.

Author Web Site Blurb:
Kia can’t imagine why her cousin Mala left planet Nerak - utterly perfect in an ever-so-slightly boring kind of way - to go in search of Earth men. At least, not until she meets a virile, muscular human intent on rescuing her (how quaint!) from a bar brawl. And while at first Kia just wants undercover cop Nick Scericino to help locate her cousin...well, it would be a shame to come all this way without finding out whether everything really is bigger in Texas...

Nick knows trouble when he sees it. And right now, trouble is sitting at the bar - black-clad, sexy as hell, and about to mess up his sting operation to take down some Russian mobsters. Could she have mafia connections? Kia’s certainly not like any woman he’s known - flat out demanding sex, and following through with a sensational romp that leaves his mind blown and world rocked. Other options: a) she’s crazy, or b) she’s not kidding about being an alien. In which case, he’s in even deeper trouble. Because the only thing worse than falling wildly in lust with someone who’s not playing with a full holodeck is the thought that she’ll soon be leaving for a galaxy far, far away.

My Thoughts: This book was silly. Now silly can be different things. Silly can bring out a 'roll your eyes and give me a break' reaction or it can be a sudden bark of laughter when something ridiculously funny happens while you are reading and if you are in a public place you look around furtively to see if anyone heard you reaction. This book was the second kind of reaction. Most mornings anymore when I'm on the later shift, I spend part of my time blog hopping and net surfing, but yesterday morning I spent my time reading this book. I didn't want to put it down to get ready for work and I didn't want top put it down to leave for work. I read it on my breaks and I read it at lunch instead of the newspaper. I read it as soon as I got home and for most of the night. And it put me in a very good mood yesterday and it was just so darn silly I just had to keep reading it. And trust me - that is a very good reaction.

Kia is a young woman from the planet Nerak who heads to earth in search of her cousin in order to bring her back to the utopia world she came from. But things hit a snag when she lands in a tree. Eventually she finds her way into a biker bar where she is rescued by the hero, Nick Scericino, who is undercover. A brawl ensues and Nick is forced to save her and then bring her back to his place when he realizes she has no place to stay. Things heat up very quickly when Kia makes it very clear she wants sex. You see - though the planet Nerak is almost perfect, it's missing a few vital ingredients - men being one of them. It's a woman only planet with the female inhabitants conceived in labs. Although they have male robots for those urge satisfying requirements, it's not quite as the real thing. After doing the deed, Kia figures it's time to confess the truth about herself.

He nuzzled her neck. "What are those promise stone things?"
Maybe it was time she told him more about where she came from. He seemed ready to listen. "The stones I brought with me are from my planet."
His hand stilled on her breast. "Your what?"
"Planet. I'm not from the planet Earth. My planet is many galaxies away. It's called Nerak."
"Well, hell!" He swung his legs off the bed.
Maybe this hadn't been a good time to tell him she was an alien.

Both Kia and Nick are very likeable characters. Kia is clueless of course when it comes to earth customs and this causes many a hilarious scene. She is gorgeous and all men fall at her feet. And Nick is a hoot once he realizes that this strange young woman is telling the truth.

This isn't a deep book at all. There is no world building at all to speak of. We only get glimpses into what makes them work. But it is very silly in a very good way and had me bursting out laughing and smiling when I wasn't laughing. I found it highly entertaining and that was just what I was looking for. Humour is very subjective and maybe not everyone will find it as funny as I did. But I quite enjoyed it. This was my first Karen Kelley book but now I know where to go when I'm in need of a laugh.
I know I'm dating myself here, but if anyone watched the show I Dream of Jeanie and found themselves laughing at the antics of Jeanie and Major Nelson, then I think this one will hit the spot for them too.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Saturday, November 07, 2009

New Baby Blogger

Another has joined our ranks!! Drop in and welcome her. She knows her romance books as she's a reviewer at AAR and today she's posting about comfort reads. Welcome Katie Mack from Kiss Me Goodnight!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Recent Read

Undercover by Lauren Dane

Why this one: I have quite a few of her books now and figured it was time I start reading them. This was the first

Steam Level: Um, uh, yep, OK

Author Website Blurb:

A sexy debut exploring an erotic future universe of passion, danger, and deceit…

On the battleground or in the bedroom, one woman and two men fight for dominance in a bold, new, and excitingly different direction in erotica…

As a lieutenant of the Federation military, Sera Ayers is accustomed to giving orders, not taking them. Now she must obey the one man she can’t stand—and can’t stop thinking about.

With the enemy Imperialists gaining ground, a covert team is assembled by Ash Walker. Ten years before, Sera had lovingly submitted to Ash’s dominance in the bedroom. But when he was forced into a political marriage, she refused to play mistress. His marriage now over, Ash wants Sera on his team—and back in his bed.

The third team member, Brandt Pela, has an elegance to match Ash’s savage sexuality. And when their undercover plan requires Sera to pose as Brandt’s lover, it ignites a passion among the three of them more dangerous than their mission.

My Thoughts: I said a while ago that I had gotten my ankles wet with Erotic Romance. Since then I figure I'd gone up to mid-thigh but with Undercover, I jumped right into the pool, the deep end, a cannonball into the deep end of the pool. So I may be blushing and stammering when I do this review.

As you can tell by the blurb, this is a futuristic. I love a good Futuristic and this one qualifies. Sera Ayers is in the Federation and has command of a crack team. But she is taken off her team when she is needed to go undercover on a three man undercover operation to help discover who is leaking secrets to the enemy. The only problem is one the team members is an ex-lover, Ash Walker, who broke her heart ten years earlier when he was forced to marry someone else. As a member of a ranked family, he didn't have the luxury of marrying Sera who was from an unranked family. Years later she is still angry and bitter at this decision. Ashes marriage didn't last but the main obstacle is still there. The third member of the team, Brandt Pela is Ash's best friend and former brother-in-law; his sister is Ash's ex-wife.

While Sera is still very angry at Ash, the incredible, incendiary attraction still exists between them. But there is also a deep attraction growing between Sera and Brandt.

Now - back to the mission. The three of them need to travel to another world very sexist in nature and Sera's undercover role to Ash and Brandt's playboy roles is to play Brandt's plaything. And to make it look real, it has to be real as they are constantly being monitored and watched. It takes time, but eventually Sera begins to forgive Ash and once she does - WOA MAMA!! This book goes into places I've never been to before!! I once started a Lora Leigh book and it had menage scenes in it but I didn't really get that far into it. But this one I kept on reading and um, uh, right, alright then - how to go on. Phew - lets see, there was m/f, m/f/m, a little bit of m/m/f. And ah, some domination/submission. And ah, spanking - yep - spanking. And talking - they loved to talk. Quite graphically they loved to talk. And, well, just lots of stuff.

So now the question - did I like this book. And the answer - yes I did. Quite a bit. While the actual story was only part of the book, the story was very well written. There wasn't a lot of details and the world building could have been filled in a bit more but overall it was a good story. I blushed though - a lot - when I read it. And it was quite hard to put down - because it was very well written. I'm glad I have more of this authors books to read - and I will be reading them - once my cheeks go back to normal. I have the next book in this series - Relentless, as well as all the Chase Brothers books (because Jessica enjoyed them).

Grade: 4.25 out of 5