Thursday, December 22, 2011

I am amused by odd things sometimes

Sometimes I think we live in a bizarro world; a bizarro city in particular. I was on my way to work this morning, listening to the radio when there were two stories that rather tickled my funny bone.

The first one: as with many a city throughout Canada and the US, we had a Occupy (fill in the blank) group occupying our main park. Now while I certainly appreciate their passion, I think their focus is pretty nebulous. They planned to stay there until…..until what they were never quite sure. I think, at least according to local news reports, our city was the first to turf them peaceably. They did in the middle of the night and nary a soul was injured. The excuse the city used for removing them was the group was breaking a civil by-law by camping in the city park where overnight camping is not allowed. Needless to say, the group did not take their evacuation well.

They were protesting don’t you know. Well, now they have a "plan". They put out a newspaper – I’d love to read it since as I said they or any of the other “Occupy” groups don’t seem to have any real achievable goals – so it would be interesting to read their ‘manifesto’.

But what really tickled me is they plan to take their paper and protest against the by-law enforcer for breaking a by-law himself. The crime; nailing a copy of the by-law the protesters broke into a tree in park they were illegally demonstrating in. Again, they are calling this guy to task for nailing a piece of paper into a tree.

The second one: Apparently there is a school in our area that expelled a young student, well, they didn’t expel him exactly, he could still attend class but he had to sit in a room all by himself and do his schoolwork but not interact with his fellow students. What did he do wrong you wonder? Well, it was his dress or more specifically a bracelet (or whatever guys call it) a “boobie” bracelet to be exact.

It seems this is a fundraiser for awareness of breast cancer aimed more for the younger set. But I gather the school thought it crossed the line of decency. I guess wearing a bracelet for cancer with the word Boobie on it is too stressful for high school students to bear.

I’m not sure what I found funnier/ironic, the fact that 14, 15, 16 etc year olds should be protected against ‘that’ word, or listening to the news jockeys’ telling the story.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thought for the day

I have a lot of apps on my IPad now. I love many of the apps. One of my favourites is IMDb where one of the many features is upcoming movies for quite a few months in advance. I love watching movie trailers and this one really caught my eye!

Does it look like a romance book based movie or what?? The thing is, it's based on a book by Nicholas Sparks and I don't consider him a romance writer. A writer of romantic stories yes, but I'm still, many years later, still trying to get over the ending of Message in a Bottle. And I haven't seen the movie (even though both stars are from the city I call home) or read the book, The Notebook since I'm not sure, but I think they die in it too.

So although this one, The Lucky One looks very good, I dunno if I'll go see it or not. I'll have to hear how it ends first. If it's a typical Nicholas Sparks ending - not a chance!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Recent Read

The Taming of the Rake by Kasey Michaels

Why this one: It was an impulse purchase. I’ve read her in the past and quite enjoyed her books but I’m not reading as many historicals these days so she kind of slipped my radar

Steam Level: Nice and toasty warm

Blurb: Charming, wealthy and wickedly handsome, Oliver "Beau" Blackthorn has it all…except revenge on the enemy he can't forget. Now the opportunity for retribution has fallen into his hands. But his success hinges on Lady Chelsea Mills–Peckman—the one woman with the power to distract him from his quest.

Desperate to escape her family's control, Lady Chelsea seizes the chance to run off with the notorious eldest Blackthorn brother, knowing she's only a pawn in his game. But as Beau draws her deep into a world of intrigue, danger and explosive passion, does she dare hope he'll choose love over vengeance?

My Thoughts: While I was reading this book I wondered why I hadn’t been reading as many historicals in recent times as I really enjoyed this book – everything about it. From the stubborn but not annoying (to me) heroine Chelsea Mills-Beckham, to the scrumptious hero Oliver (Beau) Blackthorn to the well drawn secondary characters, this book was such a pleasure to read.

Beau and Chelsea first meet years earlier when he is coming to call on her older and very spoiled sister. But alas, his suite is not at all welcome as he has the unfortunate stigma of being a bastard born. Not only is he thrown out of the home, he is whipped like a dog by the older brother.

Fast forward to years later and Chelsea is all grown up and about to be married against her will and wishes to a wet-mouthed dour reverend who has a secret hate on for women. Her brother, still a nasty piece, has changed his ways after a real scare with chicken pox and embraced the horrid man of the cloth. In order to escape this farce of a wedding,

Chelsea high tails it to the home of Beau and suggests they elope to Gretna Green, she to avoid marriage and to Beau’s benefit a way to get back for the humiliation done to him years ago. Beau agrees to the scheme to ‘get even’. Beau is currently being visited by his devil-may-care brother Puck and the three of them set off on a road trip to Gretna Green.

I found this book charming. I loved the character of Chelsea. I can see why she might get on some readers nerves, she’s quite bossy, but Beau or Oliver as she kept insisting on calling him, thought she was a ‘character’ and when the readers sees her through his eyes, well, I thought she was one too.

And Beau makes for a most fine hero. Although he’s been limited in society by his bastard status, he’s still managed to make a good life for himself. He made good friends when he joined the army after being treated so cruelly years earlier. He’s making a successful living looking after his fathers estates even though he can’t inherit them. While not wild about his situation and he does hold a certain anger at his parents because of their selfishness, especially his mother, he doesn’t hold any bitterness.

I also love the character of Puck, the youngest brother. He is with Beau and Chelsea much of the time and seems to be a real hoot. His book is out now too and although it didn’t get that high a grade at AAR, I still think I’ll give it a go if only to read more on the third rather mysterious black sheep brother Jack.

With books like this one out there, I think I’m going to have to rethink my reading habits and take up reading more historicals.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's been a while - but it's that time again

It's time to answer my email again so I bring you

Spam Time!

Well, it’s that semi-annual spam time again, the time when I take one post to answer much of my spam e-mail. So here come the email and my answers.

Penis Growth Promo says “Vids from yacht party

To which I say: Since you didn’t bother to invite me to your damn yacht party, I really don’t want to see the videos of the great time I missed ‘cause I wasn’t invited

Penis Growth Free Trial says “So hard you can break an egg”

To which I say: Huh???? Why would anyone with one want to break an egg on their penis? That makes no sense. Those shells are sharp and the rim of a bowl would work ever so much better I would think.

Penis Growth Free Trial says “She will surely pounce on you.”

To which I say: I don’t really like it when my cats pounce on me. I like it much better when my ‘girls’ just jump and purr rather than pounce and bite and scratch. And right now The Little Shit is pouncing all over the living room. I can hear her. And I can hear things she's pouncing on falling.

Penis Growth Free Trial says “Increase your level of confident”

To which I say: Confident what??

Penis Growth Free Trial says “Funny Naked Girls”

To which I say: that’s not really a clear statement. Do you mean they are funny people in general who just seem to be of the female naked gender, or do they look funny naked. I can think of a better word or two to replace “Funny”

Enlargement supplement Sample says “Attain you desired proportion and size.”

To which I say: First off, why is Sample capitalized and supplement not? That seems odd. And your first word Enlargement doesn’t go along with my particular desired proportion and size. I prefer to be minimized not enlarged.

Sample Men’s Supplement says “Crazy girls gone wilder.”

To which I say: I wonder if they know the funny naked girls?

Penis Growth Free Trials says “Portugal regrets not bring herbal supplements

To which I say: No problem. Spain brought more that we needed.

Trevor Lewis says “Your job application is pending

To which I say: Liar, liar pants on fire!! I never sent you a job application. I’m quite content where I am.

I dunno – it seems like I got a lot of enlargement, growth, sample type spam this time. What’s up with that I wonder?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thought for the Day

How do I put this nicely? Sometimes I wonder how some readers can add 2 + 2 and not come up with 4? I'm reading a book and really enjoying it - probably more on that later. But as I often do, when reading a book by an author where I don't have many of her backlist, I'll do a bit of investigating to see what else she has. I was on Amazon last night (while at my sisters since I had no hydro but that too is another story) checking out this particular author's books when I came across this interesting dichotomy.

Check out the book on the left. What kind of book do you think this might be?

Check out the title of the book. What kind of book do you think this might be?

Check out the product description.

Her sexy letters are his only lifeline in his dangerous world…

Successful computer software engineer Eve Carmichael melts under yet another hotter than hot letter written by Reserve army soldier Sean O’Callahan. Yet Eve can’t take the thought of his life in danger overseas, and she resolves to get a sex life—and a life period. That means forgetting Sean before anything bad can happen to him. To celebrate her thirty-fifth birthday, Eve plans a trip to Male Call, a male review club. Still, she worries about Sean. She hasn’t received a letter from him in too many weeks. And oh, how she longs for those flirtatious, hot letters.

Sean finds Eve’s letters to be the only lifeline in his increasingly chaotic world. As their feelings grow hot and heavy, he can’t wait to return home and kindle that pure firepower.

When Eve receives a letter from Sean saying he’s been wounded, her fears are realized. But fate and a little mischievous planning by her friends will serve up the greatest surprise of all.

Warning: Contains explicit sex, some graphic language, and mild violence.

What kind of book do you think this might be?

I'm thinking it will be a book with - and I quote "explicit sex, some graphic language, and mild violence."
Now check out what some 'reviewers' wrote about the book:
"One star because you can't give none and anyway it was free. Was expecting short romance, got bad porn. Didn't bother to finish it, but I'm sure I'm not missing anything."
(first example of someone who tried to do a simple 2 + 2 and came up with 17 or something.) Here's another case of a 2 + 2 = 7
"I have gotten some good books for free for my Kindle so I decided it would be good to try Male Call. I am sad to say I am very disappointed. It is extremely smutty and the use of fowl language is horrible. I believe the author didn't spend enough time on creating a history for the characters and you are just thrown into what feels like the middle of a book. This book is so short, I read it on my lunch hour start to finish (after skipping about what felt like 20 pages of smut) Not good... But I guess if you like smut, this would be a good read"
And one more where I think 2 + 2 = 33 or something.
"pure and complete trash. I dont mean that in a good way. Even for free this book is a bad value."

What were these readers expecting???? It couldn't be more clear. This is a book that has sex scenes and some swearing . It's going to have a high level of steam. The cover tells you that. The title tells you that. The product description tells you that. So how clueless can these "reviewers" be? 2 + 2 = 4. It's that simple.
I get that some readers can be offended when there is some or a lot of sex in a book. That is their preference and their right to read that kind. Heck, when I first started reading romance again, I only read kisses only books and didn't want to read anything stronger. And with that in mind, at the time I wouldn't have bought the book with all the warnings and then been shocked when there was heat.

Get a clue you "reviewers" who are shocked when a book has a naked chest, a provocative description and a racy title. I find you annoying. And yes, in case your wondering, the book I'm reading is by Denise Agnew. I'm loving it and I've loved the previous two books I've read of hers. And yes, I bought Male Call as well as another book by her. And yes, I am expecting it to be steamy.

And yep, I've had a few days which have helped give me a case of the crankies

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Recent Read

The Bride Raffle by Lisa Plumley

Why this one: I’m not really sure. I had a code and it was an impulse buy. I have read books by her previously and enjoyed them, was ready for a Western so I just went for it.

Steam Level: There really wasn’t really any steam created in this book. It was more warmish

Blurb: Famous home-keeping expert Daisy Walsh is overwhelmed by the warm welcome she receives in Morrow Creek, and then she realizes she's the star prize in the town raffle! She can bet the lucky winner's not expecting a pregnant woman who needs a place to stay.

Single father Owen Cooper suspects he's been set up because his daughter is thrilled to have a woman around the house. He could get used to the smell of home baking tempting his taste buds, but the sight of Daisy's stockings is one temptation too far!

My Thoughts: As I said, I’ve read books by Ms. Plumley before and enjoyed them. This is an author you don’t really hear that much about. Again this is going to be a damned with faint praise kind of review. I really want to love every book I start reading but alas I didn’t with this one. I liked it, but it’s one I know I’ll never read again.

There were parts I liked and parts that I had issues with. The parts I liked; I really liked Owen. He’s a gruff, grumpy bear kind of guy and I liked that about him. He’s a widower whose been told again and again and again by his late wife he must improve his ways until he’s convinced he’s not good enough and must not let any fun into his life. He’s a wonderful, all thumbs kind of father who adores his little girl and will do anything to try and make her happy.

Daisy is equally interesting as a heroine. She’s been emotionally and verbally stomped on by her tour manager until she believes that she pretty incapable of doing anything on her own. But Owen is the opposite, admiring everything about her and making her believe in herself again.

Élodie, Owen’s daughter is a charmer. She wants her father to be happy, she wants to see him smile and she wants a mother. Daisy is the answer to all of these.

And you are asking yourselves what’s wrong? Why isn’t a love it book? Well, the things that didn’t work are what took it down a number of levels. One of the silly reasons is I could never figure out how to pronounce Élodie’s name in my head. Really dumb reason, I know. But I found it annoying and distracting

Another issue I had is the fact that Daisy is pregnant and all the issues around that. It wasn’t that she was pregnant in itself that bothered me. It was that she had no feeling for the father and I don’t know why she would have slept with him in the first place. He didn’t force her, but she had no attraction to him. It was like the only reason she was pregnant in the first place was to make it part of the storyline and that was a fail for me. I also had an issue with the fact that she couldn’t clue in that she was pregnant. It was up to the hero to tell her. Another issue is Owen never had even a nanosecond qualm about the fact that this woman he was falling for big time was preggers by another dude. Owen was a good guy and I could see him accepting the fact that she was, but only after at least a slight struggle certainly.

Another thing I just didn’t get was after a certain time, they lived like man and wife and no one seemed to object. This is a historical and I may be wrong, but I would think the townspeople would at least insist they get married or something. And they were living like this in front of Élodie and neither had the slightest thought that ‘oh, maybe this is wrong for the child to see’. Again, if this were a contemporary it would be a different thing, but it isn’t and it bothered me.

Then at the end they had this convoluted conflict that I didn’t get. I don’t even know if one could call it a misunderstanding exactly but I was scratching my head wondering what their problem was.

The writing was good, it made me smile at times, I liked both the hero and heroine, but ultimately the issues I had kept me from enjoying the book the way I hoped I would. But I do like her writing enough and have in the past, to read other books by her and the issues that tripped me up might not bother others.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Monday, December 05, 2011

Thought for the day

I'm not sure if I've ever come right out and said this before, but I have made a conscious choice NOT to accept books from publishers or authors to review on Ramblings. I kind of made it a while ago, but haven't really come out and said so. I've received a number of requests from both asking me to read and review a book.

I love the thought of free books as much as the next red blooded romance book addict and I was more open to it a few years ago. I didn't take many but I did on occasion. But I've become more firm in my decision as time has gone by.

Are you NUTS some of you ask? Why NOT take books that are offered? There are a few reasons. By the lack of reviews here lately, I seem to be doing a rather poor job of writing them! The number of books read this year has already passed all the years since I've been tracking the number, but the books I've written about has decreased. Not quite sure what that is. My plans don't quite seem to match up with my actions I guess. But the reason I've decided NOT to take any books for review other than those I buy myself is twofold.

First, I'm very much a 'mood' reader. I read a book from a particular genre when I'm in the mood for that genre. And if an author sends me a book in a genre that I'm not in the mood for, well, it can sit there and sit there until who knows when I might feel like reading it. And this doesn't strike me as particularly fair to the author. They have taken the time and energy and money to send me the book and the least I can do is read it. But if I do try and read a book that I'm not in the mood to read, it probably won't get a decent review. The author would be better off sending it to someone else.

Another reason is, knowing me, I would feel a sense of obligation to give it a good review because it was a freebie. And then I'd be caught up in a catch 22 of my own making if I didn't like the book. I have to stress that I'm only applying this to me because I know me. If other readers/bloggers accept books from authors and/or publishers, I don't have a problem with that at all. Good thing really as I think most do *g*.

There was a small brouhaha a couple of weeks ago over a letter one of the big name publishers sent stating they expected that the recipients of the ARC's they sent would review the books and if it turned out that they weren't then said publisher would stop sending them. This was a total non-issue for me. And I must say it was a good feeling that I didn't have to get on that particular horse.

Another reason for rejecting books is I read for enjoyment. I read to get away. I read to destress. I read to visit other places and times I know I'll never get too. And I don't want any of those reasons diluted by reading for obligation. That would take all the wonder out of it for me.

I have taken a few books on occasion in the past; thank goodness I really don't get asked all that much. In a few cases, one in particular, Broken Wing by Judith James, I was so glad that I did as I discovered such a treasure of a book that I might not have found otherwise. But in all honesty, there are more I think that either I didn't start or that I started and didn't like and was stymied as to what to do; so I did nothing. And that didn't strike me as right. It's been quite some time now since I have accepted any. I do have a number in my mail box though. So I think I'm going to just link this post as I refuse and say 'thank you very much for the offer, but I'm just not comfortable accepting it.'

Saturday, December 03, 2011

My newest obsession

I often wish I could do things like normal people, but alas, I sometimes can't. It's a manifestation of the obsessive type personality I have self diagnosed. I seem to have a new obsession. This is probably the number one reason why:

or another reason

to watch Stargate Atlantis

The show comes on three times a day: 8:00am, 2:00pm and 7:00pm and I embarassingly confess that if I have the day and it's good episode, I've been known to watch all three - on the same day. *sigh*

This vid is even better, but alas, embedding has been disabled by request so this is the not so good way.

His character on the show is so very intriguing and, well, romance hero typish.

From Stargate Wiki:

Ronon was a native to his homeworld of Sateda, an industrialized planet. Little is known about his childhood. He had a grandfather, who was suffering from the Second Childhood when Ronon was six years old. He was taken to the shrine on Talus, where his grandfather was temporarily cured. There, his grandfather taught him hand-to-hand combat tactics until he died. He also had the Kirsan fever when he was ten years old and claims he played with a triple barreled shotgun when he was little as a childhood toy. He also wrote poetry and did art when he was younger

When he grew older he became a member of the Satedan military where he held the rank of Specialist. It is likely that this is their version of the Specialist in the United States military, yet it is unclear exactly what this position does. He was also very close to a woman named Melena, although it is unclear what their relationship actually was.

Throughout his time as a member of Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team, Ronon's incredible physical abilities and fighting instincts have set him apart. He consistently subdues his enemy with relative ease in hand-to-hand combat or with his trademark gun, a Particle magnum. Ronon is fond of gun play, spinning the pistol around rapidly. In addition, he carries a sword. He also has a number of knives for use in emergencies, most of them hidden about his person. The exact number of knives and from where he gets them (or whether he fashions them himself) has never been revealed, and Ronon's seemingly unlimited supply has been a source of the occasional comic relief.

About seven years before his first contact with the Atlantis expedition, the Wraith attacked Sateda because the people showed resistance. He tried to get Melena through the Stargate before the Wraith attacked. Her refusal to leave the Satedans that would be unable to evacuate forced him to remain behind and fight the Wraith. Unfortunately, his efforts were in vain, as the Wraith defeated Satedan forces and Melena was killed before Ronon's eyes in an explosion.

After that point, he was captured by the Wraith while they wiped out the planet. Ronon was placed in a cocoon and a Wraith started to feed on him but stopped for some reason. Instead they made him into a Runner and implanted a tracking device in his upper back and set him loose to be constantly hunted. During the first few years of this, however, he learned several new tricks and decided to hunt them back. He survived for seven years, until he eventually met up with the Atlantis expedition.

His journey brought him to the planet P3M-736 where he was perused by a single Wraith. While trying to evade the Wraith, he came face to face with Lt. Aiden Ford. While they aimed their weapons at each other the Wraith shot him in the back with a Wraith stunner and Ford killed it with his P-90. Ronon managed to escape into the forest. During the night, he stunned Lt. Colonel John Sheppard and Teyla Emmagan, who were tracking the missing the missing Ford. He brought them to a cave and Sheppard was able to convince him they were not his enemy. He made a deal with them; if Dr. Carson Beckett could remove the tracking device in his back, he'd help them capture Ford. Beckett managed to extract the device despite the fact that he refused anaesthesia. After the surgery, he passed out but not for long. He escaped the cave and attacked Ford, who was about to kill Dr. Rodney McKay. The two of them both pulled knifes and attacked each other. Sheppard interrupted them and Ford ran off. Sheppard followed him and he cut McKay out of the trap. He returned with them to Atlantis. When they sent a MALP to the gate address he gave them, he discovered that his civilization had been completely destroyed. (ATL: "Runner")

Lt. Colonel John Sheppard offered Ronon a place on his team after he proved his worth against the Marines and Teyla Emmagan in hand-to-hand combat and passed the shooting range tests without any signs of hesitation or inexperience with various firearms presented to him. Dr. Elizabeth Weir was initially hesitant but ultimately agreed.