Thursday, May 26, 2011

Recent Reads

A Lot of Recent Reads!!

Would you believe I’ve been working on this for weeks now? In down times at work, as well as pondering, I’ve also been doing these reviews. I hate downtimes at work though – I’d much rather be busy all day. I have noticed a disturbing thing though. I don’t think my partner likes down times either. She’s been first to the work bin where we pick up our work. Instead of giving me mine though, she’s been doing it. I know she’s doing it to help me, but as I hate not being busy, I wish she wouldn’t – heh, heh, heh. I’m flummoxed as to how to deal with this. Anyway, on the reviews. I may split them up as I’m getting quite a list now.

River Time by Rae Renzi

Why this one: I read a review for it somewhere and it sounded interesting. I can’t remember where, but whoever reviewed this one, step forward and take a bow.

Steam Level: It was a while ago that I read this one so I don’t remember how hot it was, but don’t let that matter

Blurb: Casey Lord knows that marital mistakes can spell disaster—her whole childhood was living proof. Her current boyfriend Reed is smart, steady, handsome, and from a socially prominent family. He should be the perfect mate, but she wants to be sure. She embarks on a river-rafting trip to do some serious soul-searching amidst the tranquility of nature. Instead, she is heaved into chaos when a flash flood sweeps her away and deposits her on a rocky beach in the wilderness.

Casey’s not the only one the river captures. Jack Raines is thrown from his river raft by the flood, and washes up on the same shore. Quiet and moody, he’s as different from Casey as night is from day, but he doesn't mind: he’s happy for an unscheduled break in his sharply tangled life—a life he’s determined to keep secret from Casey.

It should be a desperate struggle to survive until they’re rescued, but their sojourn in RiverTime—their term for the isolated time and space they now inhabit—takes on an altogether different feel.

But change is inevitable—it’s only a matter of time before they are rescued. They each face the prospect of return to the world in their own way: Casey reasons about what is real and what is fantasy, while Jack pretends the outside world doesn’t exist.

When their rescuers arrive, neither is prepared for what awaits them—deceit, betrayal, and danger

My Thoughts: I have been so delighted with the books I’ve ordered from Carina Press and this is yet another one I really enjoyed. For the first half of the book, there was almost a fairytale feel to the book. Casey is on a white water rafting trip along the Grand Canyon when a flash flood washes her downstream all alone. She is just getting her bearings when she discovers a man who appears to have also suffered the same fate. She rescues him and it’s Casey and Jack versus nature and what do they need to do to survive. Jack comes across as a bit of an odd duck, blowing hot and cold. We know he has a secret he’s keeping from Casey but we don’t know it for a while. It’s enough to say that he doesn’t seem to want to get too involved with Casey but can’t seem to help himself. Casey, for her part, is a good character. She’s a scientist by nature who is almost engaged to someone, but falls and falls hard for Jack.

Then we have the second part of the book about their lives once they are found and ‘rescued’ from their own little paradise. Casey is devastated when Jack’s secret comes out and I can’t say as I blame her. It was a rough one. She does make a very bad, very stupid choice though, in my opinion, as a result of Jack’s lack of forthrightness. It borders on the TSTL decision. But despite this slip, I really enjoyed this one and another kudos to Carina Press for the quality of their line

Grade: 4 out of 5


His Wife for One Night by Molly O’Keefe

Why this one: I’ve had such great luck

with this line

Steam Level: M’eh

Blurb: Jack McKibbon knows the score when he offers to marry his best friend

Mia Alatore. He's fixing a bad situation for her that's all; they aren't making a real life together. She wants to stay on the ranch and he's got his studies and inventions elsewhere. Still, this arrangement is a good deal for both of them.

Until that one night…

A sexy interlude with Mia makes Jack rethink their relati

onship and their future. But all his plans grind to a halt when she asks for a divorce. Once upon a time, Jack might have agreed. But now that he knows the chemistry they share, he's not giving up a second chance to be with his wife.

My Thoughts: Well, all good things have to come to an end and my run of very enjoyable books in the Super Romance did with this book. I finished it and that’s good. I do have many

a book that ends up as DNF’s. The bad thing is I really didn’t care for the heroine in this book. And the hero wasn’t much to write home about either. I found them both, but Mia in particular, stubborn and not in a good way, way too much on the ‘keeping things to themselves’ side and just not that interesting of characters.

Mia had loved Jack for years; she married him pretty much for that reason, but never once did she consider telling him. She was one of those ‘well if he doesn’t know, I’m not going to tell him’ kind of people. It got tired real fast. And then, if that wasn’t bad enough after how many years of being married and one explosive night of lurve after which she disappeared, sometime later and after spending time with Mia, Jack decides he loves her. But does he tell her? That would be a no. The whole book just seemed one frustration after another. I’ve read Molly O’Keefe before and liked her book. But sadly, this one just didn’t do it for me.

Grade: 2.50 out of 5


Primal Bonds by Jennifer Ashley

Why this one: I’m a fan of this author

Steam Level: She be a hot one

Blurb: When a female Shifter comes to town seeking refuge, Feline Shifter Sean Morrissey claims the new arrival and finds a beautiful woman who looks him straight in the eye without fear, stirring the mating frenzy within him.

To relocate to a new
Shiftertown, half-Fae, half-Shifter Andrea Gray must accept a new mate. But Andrea's intense attraction to Sean is something she never expected-a perilous complication for a woman with a troubled past.

My Thoughts: As I said, I’m a fan of Jennifer Ashley’s work but I must confess, I like her historicals better. I adored, just adored The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie and really enjoyed some of her other historicals; The Pirate Next Door, Perils of the Heart, a real oldie and Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage. I tried one of her Immortals book and couldn’t really get into the one I tried but I do have the rest in the TBR pile. And I did quite like the first in her Shifter’s series, Pride Mates. As well, I’m currently reading (and quite blushing while doing so) the first book in her Shaleen series written as Allyson James.

And after finishing this one, I still prefer her historical, but I did enjoy this one too. The premise is there is a sub culture of Shifters, wolves, cats, bears etc. For generations they lived secretly, unknown to humans. But in the past generation or so, they let themselves be known and join the general populace though they are treated as second class citizens; forced to wear collars that control their animal part and prohibited from the more modern of conveniences. This book, the second in the series, focuses on Sean Morrisey, the brother of the hero of her first book in this series. Sean is quite a laid back yet intense kind of dude/feline shapeshifter. He’s the one who has to yield the final death blow to all the Shifters of his territory so that’s no fun. But other than that and his intense attraction for Andrea he’s fairly mellow. The book does lose ground towards the end when the author introduces Andrea’s Fae father and some centuries long battle between opposing Fae factions. For me, she was throwing too much into the story line. I had the same issue with the one Immortal book I tried. I’m not a fan of multiple storylines or multiple conflicts. I’m of the K.I.S.S. way of storytelling. But up until then, while not the best Ashley book I’ve read, it was a fun read.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5


I’m so bloody far behind I don’t know if I’ll ever catch up but here goes another one. I’m totally out of order now *sigh*

Devil’s Own by Veronica Wolff

Why this one: I read an earlier book by her and quite liked it so I loaded more on my ereader while trying out coupon deals. When this one got a good grade at AAR, I figured I’d move it up on the pile.

Steam Level: There aren’t many love scenes, but I was very satisfied with the level of steam anyway.

Blurb: Fifteen years after he was kidnapped and sold into slavery, Aidan returns to Scotland to find the home he knew long gone. His mother, a proper education, a chance at love—gone. All he has now are dreams of vengeance…

Only one woman could restore his tormented heart.

Aidan MacAlpin appreciates the hospitality of his brothers and sisters, but after surviving hell on earth, they feel more like strangers than kin. They could never understand his one ambition: To exact bloody revenge on the bastard who enslaved him all those years ago…

Elspeth Farquharson had already resigned herself to the life of a spinster when she’s hired to tutor dark, brooding Aidan—a real-life hero more enticing than any from her adventure books. If only she could convince this tragic rogue that she’s not the nervous, stuttering bookworm she appears to be. But when Aidan shows her a clue to his tortured past, she’ll be thrust into a dangerous game of passion and deception that will awaken the sexy heroine within—if it doesn’t kill her first…

My Thoughts: I LOVED this book. It’s exactly the kind I love, tortured hero, delightful heroine, no long separations, not stupid Big M’s. It has everything going for it. This is the second book of a series and if you are anal, you might want to read the first book well first, since both books start off the same, two twin boys and what happens when one is kidnapped. I have the first book and thought I’d read it first, but the storyline of this one appealed to me more. Now I’m very glad that I do have the first book on hand

First off to our heroine. I just adored Elspeth, loved her, loved her, loved her. I could so relate to her since she lived her life in the clouds – something that more than one member of my family has accused me of doing. Despite that though, she is very practical. The only child of an older couple, her father is pretty much a tool and depends on Elspeth for just about everything from taking care of the sheep he has decided to raise to taking care of the home to doing the accounting. She has it all. And while part of her resents the situation, she does love her father. She’s not very attractive and she is very shy. She is bowled over when she first meets Aiden and pretty much makes a fool out of herself.

But Aidan is equally delightful though in a tortured kind of way. I love that while puzzled by Elspeth and her dreaming kind of ways, he is accepting of her. The more he gets to know her, the more he comes to care for him and the more beautiful she becomes to him. I love the way he treats her. He considers her odd but in a good way. As someone who has been known to be odd on occasion myself, I loved that this was a plus in his book. Although a slave for most of his life, he has had experience with women, though it was with a jaded kind of bored plantation wife who wanted ‘experience’ with the handsome Scottish slave so his view of women in general is kind of cynical. So Elspeth is a revelation to him.

They first meet when his sister and Elspeth’s best friend Ariana recommends to Aidan that Elspeth can teach him to read. Since he was stolen when he was only 10, his reading skills were negligible and he needed them for his revenge against the man who stole him away. Elspeth sees Aidan and right away starts thinking sexy pirate hero – just what any red blooded heroine would do. And on his side, Aidan is confused by Elspeth and doesn’t think he is good enough for her, considering where he was and what he came from.

This really is a tender story and now I’ll be reading the first one, Devil’s Highlander so I can get me some or Aidan.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5


Wicked Seduction by Jade Lee

Why this one: I’ve met Jade Lee on one or two of my convention/conference trips and I like her. Although I have a few of her books, I’d yet to read one so I decided to start with this one.

Steam Level: since I’ve read a few books since then, I can’t really remember. But I do know that I was pleased.


After seven years of battling for survival on a pirate ship, Kit Frazier returns to England to right a wrong and make peace with what he lost. But once in London, he finds himself unexpectedly at sea, caught in his swirling attraction to the beguiling and elusive Maddy.


Maddy will do anything to escape the desperate circumstances of her life, and helping her cousin Rose catch the man of her dreams seems an easy enough task--until Maddy meets the handsome pirate captain Kit. The dashing rogue has only two purposes: to rescue the boy in his care and to seduce Maddy into his bed.


With each heated encounter, Kit pulls Maddy off her stated course. But when treachery threatens them all, she will have to choose between a respectable future and wicked, wonderful seduction.

My Thoughts: There is good news and bad news. The good news is I have some of her back list. The bad news is I don’t have that many and as she wrote for Dorchester and as most of us know by now, Dorchester has proven to be Very Shady. I don’t know how to go about getting her back list at the moment since I’ve heard that the authors aren’t seeing the profits anymore.

You probably have gathered by the opening paragraph that I enjoyed this one. And I did! I really did. Kit made for a most delicious pirate captain. Not one nearly as…..well… how would one describe Captain Jack Sparrow??? Flighty perhaps. But anyway Kit is certainly not flighty. He’s more of a man’s man kind of pirate captain. He is also protective of his charge, a young lad he rescued and is returning to his home.

Maddy is also a good heroine whom I quite enjoyed. She was calm and collected at some very trying moments. Her cousin was a real twit, yet Maddy seemed to handle her in just the right way. The uncle was a bit over the top evil, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this book. It’s part of a series, but stands up very well on its own.

I seem to have cut way back on my reading of historical, but I’m glad I read this one and I plan on reading the rest in the series – as well as all of the other books I have by her

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Friday, May 20, 2011

My world is a'rockin'

Yes, I know, it’s been a Very Long Time since I updated. This will go down as the Year of the Infrequent Blogging. I have been a lot more active on Twitter. I blame my IPad. It’s ever so much smaller and easier to hold. I can’t believe I’m even thinking this, but my desk top computer seems to becoming almost obsolete.

The good news is I now have two case managers again. That was a long haul without any. I had to take on a greater role of responsibility than I was comfortable with. So now I don’t have that role and I’m happy about that
The bad news is now I have two case managers again. That means they keep me hopping between the two of them. I love being busy, but I was getting the occasional blogging done when I wasn’t busy.

But onto the topic of the day. EReading and EBooks. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m on the slow side in discovering some of the features of my IPad. There was a follow-up article to the Connie Brockway story I mentioned previously in which she informs them that she will be an author through some Amazon Program and her books would only be available through Kindle. Bummer I though since I have a Kobo. But I was messing around with the IPad and low and behold there was an app for Kindle!! Well it’s now on my IPad along with the Kobo app too.

So, you are asking? What’s the big deal? Well, let me tell you!! AOUTHORS ARE PUTTING THEIR BACKLISTS ON EITHER KINDLE OR SMASHWORDS. This means older books that I haven’t been able to locate since UBS’s don’t take books previous to a certain publishing year. Readers have still been able to get them for as little as 1cent, but then it costs $10 for shipping – per book! So that doesn’t make it very cost effective to buy a book that way. But now, there are more and more author backlists popping up.

For example, at the moment I’m reading a very old Marsha Canham book, Bound by the Heart that I got at Smashwords – FOR FREE! And for the shallow part of me, it’s a gorgeous cover. I’ve been a long time Marsha Canham fan and mourned with her other fans when she retired. But I didn’t even know she had written this book and another swashbuckling pirate adventure book, The Wind and the Sea. Do you know how exciting that was to discover these two books? Not only that there were such books, but the fact that they available, and one of them for free?!?! I don’t have the words to express my excitement about this find. And even more exciting is the fact that in this new world of ebooks, Ms. Canham is considering coming out of retirement. It seems one of the big reasons she retired is NY wouldn’t publish the books she wanted to write and rather than compromise, she quit.

I’ve also purchased ebooks by Miriam Minger first published many years ago now. I have one book by this author and I can’t remember it, but at the price you can find the ebooks, I don’t consider it a loss even if they are terrible.

Another author I highly recommend that are now available in eversion is Alexis Harrington. I have just about every one of her books already but for those newer to romance, who are looking for emotional what I call Americana type settings, well check out and get them as ebooks!! Theresa Weir is another author whose books may be hard to find but I’ve seen in Smashwords. I just finished a reread of Amazon Lily that I purchased through them and it was wonderful – the third time around. My print copy is pretty battered with pages falling out and rips and tears in the cover. See, that’s another plus to authors rereleasing their back list in eform. We don’t have to worry about pages falling out.

As previously touched on, there are a number of authors who gave up writing romance I think because the publishers refused to publish what they wanted to write and some of them are well loved authors for me; Marsha Canham, I think that is one of the reasons Theresa Weir switched genres and now writes suspense as Anne Frasier. Another wonderful author who left the world of romance due in part I think to lack of publisher support is Laura Leone, the author of one of my favourite books Fallen From Grace. This one as well as Fever Dreams, another great book are available as ebooks. I would love to see these become good sellers and have her write a romance or two again. When I was at the RWA conference last year, one of my favourite authors, Candice Proctor was there signing – or was it the year before – anyway, she has left the romance genre and is writing historical mystery though there is a romance theme running through her series of books written under CH Harris. I asked if she would ever write straight romance again and she said one of the reasons she left was ‘second verse, same as the first’ the big name publishers didn’t want to publish what she wanted to write in that genre. She didn’t say no, she would never write romance again. But as with other authors I’ve loved and lost, I would be over the moon if they were to return to their roots once in a while.

And as if all this hasn’t got me kicking my heels in joy, I’ve been discovering some great books I wanted to get a while ago from epublishers and then kind of forgot about since I didn’t have a reading device. But now they are available through both Kobo and Kindle. I have added a number of them.

I know I resisted at first, but I gotta say, in the past little while, ereading has rocked my reading world like nothing has before. And I’m liking it! Previously unavailable books at incredible prices?? What could be better?

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Those Mini Wheat's strike again

I don't know how many remember my horror with this commercial. I shared it with my work mates.

They have new commercials now and I shared once again with some of my coworkers in this email (including pics too of course):

I know we’ve had the mini wheat conversation before so I’ve tried my best to keep from beating a dead horse, but something simply must be done about these new Mini Wheat commercials that are running now. The previous ones, where the poor little things were swimming in warm milk about to be eaten were traumatic enough on their own. But now I’ve noticed these new commercials have an army of little Mini Wheat people, followed by the evil group of people that will eat our unsuspecting Minis once they stop their walking and singing. But what I find especially distracting is, while I think the plan is to sing “Mini Wheats” as they march along and the evil people behind are joining in, what it really sounds like they are singing about is ear wigs. Now I watched a particular oocky show one time where an ear wig crawled through a guy’s brain and the guy barely made it through alive. I remember that as if it were yesterday. So you can only imagine what it’s doing to my head every time I see this commercial with the happy-go-lucky unsuspecting Mini’s happy and prancing along, with the evil people who plan to eat the Mini’s and all are singing about an insect that eats brains.

I think we need to rise up and let the Kellogg’s people know that this is not a good thing! Whatever happened to those days of yore when the Mini Wheat guy was dressing for a date with a Mini Wheat gal.

So I thought I'd share it with the world too! Now it turned out that I sent this too the wrong department. I don't even know all of the people who work in the department I sent it too. So I must have looked rather odd when I found out and started laughing and laughing and laughing at the thought of people who don't know me getting this email. Although one thing happened. One of the people in the department who I do know emailed me to let me know she remembered the show. It was Night Gallery and believe it or not, it's on You Tube! So if any of you young 'uns want to get totally creeped out:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

And the creepiest part.......

Part 4: