Friday, May 27

An Old Friend, a Big Rut, Missing Medievals and The Memorial Day Weekend

Yesterday, I picked up Johanna Lindsey's A Loving Scoundrel. I finished it before I went to sleep last night. For some reason, even though I really don't read her books anymore I still enjoy "The Malorys". I guess it's like visiting an old friend. The book was good, not great, I probably wont ever read it again, but I'm glad I picked it up.

I pledged 20 books this month for the RT May TBR Challenge. Good news, I'll reach my 20 books (only have 1 to go). But, what is truly amazing, I've enjoyed 16 of the 19 books I've finished so far.
  • 4 Romantic Suspense
  • 4 Romanticas/Eroticas
  • 3 Catagory (SIMs)
  • 2 Paranormals
  • 2 Victorian
  • 2 Regency period
  • 1 Georgian
  • 1 Time travel/Fantasy

I needed a change more than I realized. I was in a huge rut, reading only 4 romance sub-genres (medievals, suspense, contemporaries and full size Regencies) and rarely deviating from them. What did I expect? I was basically reading the same stories over and over, and moaning and groaning about how the "same" they all seemed. Spread my wings a little, try something different and I'm really enjoying reading again.

I used to read like this all the time. While I was pregnant and right after my son was born I went through a huge dry spell (about 18 months) where I read almost no romance. And, when I finally came back to it, I found these were my favorite sub-genres and stuck with them for the last 3 years. What a rut.

I miss reading Medievals, I guess that's why I put three Juliana Garnetts I've already read back on my TBR pile. There seems to be something missing from the newer medievals. It usually feels like I'm reading a contemporary in a historical setting and I really hate that. I know the romance industry is cyclical and these books will be popular again, but will they be these contemporaries hiding in medieval clothing or will they have the grit I'm looking for? Who knows, but I'll keep trying them.

My sister is leaving for Lake George on Saturday. I'm just back from vacation and am jealous. They're heading to Bolton Landing (north of the Village of Lake George). They're going to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. They're going antiquing and shopping. I love my son, but I've had it with trains.

I'm dying to go to the Jersey Shore this year, but once the pool is open my husband doesn't like going away. He plans to open the pool this weekend, why I don't know, it's been in the 50's and raining. Why run the filter and spend every afternoon skimming etc. if you can't swim? His father has their pool open already so my husband figures he should have ours open too.

I doubt I'll be back on-line long enough to actually blog anything this weekend. Hopefully everyone will have a happy and safe holiday weekend. Amanda has a link reminding us why we celebrate Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 26

TBR Pile growing in leaps and bounds

I did make it to the UBS today, only not while Jr. was in school. It turned out today was "Crowning Mary Day", he goes to a Catholic pre-school. I barely had time to run home get the cameras (the video camera wasn't charged even though my husband swore it was--another tale).

After school he had a hair appointment. The hairdresser is my husband's cousin's ex-wife, now isn't that convoluted, but we all like her more than my husband AH of a cousin--another tale. His hair looks very cute, it's got that little flip up in the front, makes him look very grown up.

And then, he fell asleep on the way home. Finally we made it to the UBS by 2:30, but I managed to more than double my TBR pile in about 20 minutes.

Maili's lists in hand I found:

  • Risky Games--Olga Bicos
  • Nighthawk--Kristin Kyle
  • The Last Man in Town--Susan Kay Law (I think I may have read this one.)
  • Fever Dreams--Laura Leone
  • Outlaw's Embrace--Ashley Snow
  • Body Electric--Susan Squires
  • Cool Shade--Theresa Weir

I also found:

  • The Scotsman--Juliana Garnett (which I've read, but can't find my copy.)
  • Tiger Eye--Marjorie M. Liu
  • Bundle of Joy?--Ariella Papa (Chick Lit--Red Dress Ink is the publisher.)
  • Sex & the Serial Killer--Jennifer Skully (snagged an autographed used copy that looks like it's brand new, never been read, only $1.50)
  • Sacrament--Susan Squires (someone blogged recently about reading this one.)
  • Black Lion's Bride
  • White Lion's Bride--both by Tina St. John
  • Damascus Gate--Robert Stone
  • Into the Fire--Anne Stuart (I've never read this one and it keeps coming up during the discussions about Black Ice, which I liked.)

That's all the books I'm buying for the next week or two.

Have a great night, happy reading.

The TBR Pile Shocker

It's probably not really a shocker. I got rid of my entire TBR. It didn't go far, just to my sister's. Before we left for vacation I gave her every book in my TBR pile and a big bag of books I'd read in the last couple of months. I should qualify this, I gave her my entire romance TBR pile, I've still got boxes of mysteries/suspense/horrors (to many to actually count).

So, we get back and I realize I've got 2 books left(The Assassin by Rachel Butler and The Cobra and the Concubine by Bonnie Vanak. I almost had a panic attack.

While Jr. was in school on Tuesday I ran to the brand, spanking new Barnes & Noble that opened while we were away. I wondered around in fog for 45 minutes and only bought 2 books:

  1. The Veil of Night by Lydia Joyce
  2. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evie by Marianne Stillings

How is it possible to wonder that long and only find 2 books? I can't even explain it.

I still had about an hour to kill, so I headed to the UBS and picked up Madeline Hunter's Lord of Sin and used:

  1. Delight
  2. Indiscretion
  3. The Husband Hunt--all three by Jillian Hunter
  4. Jane's Warlord
  5. Master of the Night--both by Angela Knight
  6. A Loving Scoundrel--Johanna Lindsey--need to keep up with the Mallorys

While I was putting books on my bookshelves I discovered I had filed Taylor Chase's Heart of Deception with keepers, but hadn't read it, so I can add 1 more to the TBR pile. I also pulled out 2 Juliana Garnett's, The Knight and The Laird.

That brought my entire romance TBR pile to 14 books. I've since read The Assassin and The Veil of Night. That leaves 12 books on my TBR pile (see I can do simple math--LOL).

Twelve books and I've pledged to read 15 for the June's RT TBR challenge. I'll be heading back to the UBS today while Jrs in school.

Got to go, we're already running late.

Have a great day, and happy reading.

Wednesday, May 25

I must be PMSing

Okay, I got up this morning at 5:30 and started my daily blog hop, when I reached Maili's I was annoyed by the idiots she found dissin' romance novels. But her romance quiz made up for it--LOL.

Romancing the Blog hasn't been updated yet, and yesterdays column left me feeling somewhat guilty, because I don't enjoy everything I read--is it me or is it possible to like everything? I must be too picky.

Then I head over to Romantic Times and someone posted on the General Board about Tom Cruise's comments about how Brooke Shields dealt with her postpartum depression. Another idiot.

And then I found this teaser on the RT Favorites Board:

File this under "I DON'T GET IT" :

His hand moved to her gown and opened it. He covered her breast fondly and possessively. When he felt the sticky moisture, he raised his head and gazed down at her.

"I love to watch my son nurse."

"I know. I love watching you watch him." Hank lightly stroked her dusky nipples and a bead of milk formed on the pad of his thumb.

"He didn't drink it all. You've still got milk"

"Plenty", she replied huskily. His inquiring eyes flew up to hers. they held for several misty seconds. Then Rhonda lovingly curved her hand around the back of his head and drew it down.....

Am I the only person who thinks this is gross? I breast feed my son and believe me I had no desire to feed my husband too, yuck. I managed not to post a comment since I didn't know the answer--that's one I wouldn't have forgotten--LOL.

I think I'll take a shower and start my day all over.

Have a GREAT day and happy reading.

Tuesday, May 24

Vacation Reads

Nicole asked about my vacation reads, so here they are:

One Way Out--Michelle Albert
The Seduction of an English Scoundrel--Jillian Hunter
Master of the Moon--Angela Knight
A Breath Away--Rita Heron

One Way Out--Michelle Albert: This book had 3 things going for it before I even opened it:
  1. Michelle Albert is consistently good.
  2. Archeology.
  3. The hero is the academic, which I thought was a pleasant change, usually it's the heroine and she has a stick up her, well you know.

This was a good book. Though, I do think it got a little bogged down by the "bad" guy, in the end, why the thief couldn't be the ultimate bad guy, I'm not really sure.

The Seduction of an English Scoundrel--Jillian Hunter: This was my first Jillian Hunter and I enjoyed it. Full size Regency, which was actually a strike against it, I'm really tired of this sub genre, but this one was a good piece of entertaining fluff. The dialogue was snappy, and I liked the characters (primary and secondary). My only complaint, it seemed a little too long, and dragged in the middle somewhat. There are 2 more in the series, and I'll read them, I may even search out some of her backlist.

Master of the Moon--Angela Knight: My first Angela Knight, and of course, it's the second in a series. But, it gave enough back story to bring you up to date, without making you feel like you missed something vital, so it stands alone, which is a plus. So, Amanda read this a couple of weeks ago and it sounded interesting, but I have to agree with her, I found myself skipping some of the sex scenes. That's not necessarily bad, I was enjoying the story and wanted to move along. I'm normally not a huge paranormal fan and especially "fairy" stories, but I'm opening my horizons and trying not to have preconceived ideas. I'll look for the first book in the series the next time I'm in the UBS (which may be today--LOL).

A Breath Away--Rita Heron: Another author new to me. This is a romantic suspense and it was not a great book for me:

  1. On page 2 the heroine says something to the effect of 'why should any man love her when her own father doesn't'--huge turn off for me. She sounds like she needs therapy before the book even started.
  2. The author trys to draw your attention to too many suspects, though I had figured it out as soon as the character was introduced, but not why he was doing it.
  3. I had also figured out why she (the heroine) had a psychic connection to all the "victims" way before the rest of the characters came up with the idea.

The author leads you in so many directions that there was too much to tie up by the end. It had the feel of one of those "who done its" that come up with the murderer out of thin air in the last chapter of the book.

Not bad, I enjoyed three out of the four.

Have a great day and happy reading.

Could this be Teddy?

I took 168 digital pictures in 5 days--is that possible?

The first thing that came to mind when I saw this one--The book Years by Lavyrle Spencer. This is how I imagined Teddy working out in the fields. I think I need to visit Linnea and Teddy again.

Have a great day and happy reading.

Monday, May 23

Trains, Cabooses, More Trains and Lots of Amish Buggies

We're back from our mini vacation. And, some may have figured out we spent the last 5 days in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

My husband planned this entire vacation, start to finish. You can tell, because somehow he planned to spend 5 days in Lancaster without visiting an antique shop or country gift store. This was a "kids" vacation, entirely planned for the 2 kids in our family--the 3 1/2 year old and the overgrown 46 year old I'm married to. Our son is a train fanatic and my DH planned everything around things Jr. would enjoy.

May 18th:

We left our house at 9 am expecting to reach Strasburg by 1 pm. Didn't happen we sat for 2 hours in traffic on 287 in NJ and didn't reach our motel until 3 in the afternoon. Six hours non-stop in the car. My DH doesn't stop for anything except gas. Thank God for the DVD player in the mini-van, we watched 4 hours of "The Incredibles" and Jr slept for the other two. After checking into our motel we spent the rest of the afternoon reconnoitering --driving past everything on the "itinerary".

Our motel wasn't a motel in the tradition sense. We stayed at the Red Caboose Motel. Every unit is a real caboose, and it sits right smack in the middle of an Amish Farm. The motel has recently changed hands and is going through major renovations (needed). There were all sorts of work crews crawling all over the place--landscapers, carpenters, electricians, painter...The outside of the caboose was in need of paint but the inside was nicely decorated and really clean. When I saw all the workmen and the outside of the unit, I almost princessed up and insisted we go someplace else, but our son was so excited about sleeping in a "real caboose", I didn't say anything. Though my husband swore he knew my every thought by the look on my face.

After "reconnoitering" we went to one of the popular "smorgasboards" for dinner. We got there early and the place was packed with senior citizens doing the "early bird specials" thing. We sat next to a lovely retired couple from Michigan. We know this because our son introduces himself to anyone who will sit still long enough to talk to him. We lost track of the number of times we heard "He's very articulate for 3 1/2."--"Yes, we know".

May 19th:

The Strasburg Railroad, an Amish Buggy ride and a visit to the Toy Train Museum are on the agenda.

Of course, Jr. loved the train. It wasn't the first tourist train ride we've taken him on, but it really was the nicest, best maintained ones we've ever been on. The coaches looked like they were right out of the 19th century. The entire place was beautiful and within walking distance of the caboose. It opened at 10 and we were on the first ride out at 11. We had to convince Jr. it didn't open at 7 o'clock in the morning, and yes we really do have to eat breakfast.

We got a PB&J sandwich into him and we were off on an Amish Buggy ride. The ride runs right out of the caboose place's parking lot. We waited a few minutes for the driver--an Amish man who showed up on a ride on lawn mower, which I thought was a little strange, but I didn't say anything.

The Toy Train Museum was next. It was even closer than the rail road to the cabooses. Their parking lots were so close they could connect them. Jr. and the DH absolutely loved this place and wandered around for a couple of hours. We had to convince Jr. we had to leave.

That night we went out for all you can eat Chinese food, Jr's favorite. For some reason the girls that work in these places love Jr. It gets to the point that it's embarrassing. "He's so cute"..."Come, we'll get noodles...Egg Drop cream." There are other little kids, why are they making such a fuss over our kid. This happens in every chinese food restaurant we go into--it's very strange.

May 20th:

It rained, which was okay, because it fit right into the DH plans, The Pennsylvania Rail Road Museum and the Choo Choo Barn.

Our son is very good in museums, especially train related ones. The PRRM has a train simulator and Jr. got to drive a "real" train. They also have a play room for kids. He spent an hour playing with the same Thomas trains he has at home. The Choo Choo Barn is a huge "village" in HO scale, at least I think it was HO. Once again, my husband and son loved it. I thought the Toy Train Museum's were better, but what do I know.

My husband planned this entire trip via the internet. He even found covered bridges which we had to search out. For some reason the man loves these things. It must be the history lover in him. Jr. slept through most of this.

May 21st:

Our 22nd Wedding Anniversary was spent at the Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park. Seven straight hours of riding the rides. Jr's favorites--an antique car ride he went on 8 times with my DH, and the log flume which we all rode 4 times and I filmed video their 5th ride. We barely got him to eat and he literally ran between every ride. Basically, 7 hours of running around. The kid was exhausted when we left. He was still damp from all the flume rides, so I changed him into sweat pants and a tee and figured he would fall asleep on the ride home after dinner. He never made it to dinner, he fell asleep on my lap before the waitress took our drink order. He slept from 5:30 that evening until 5:45 the next morning.

May 22nd:

Back to Strasburg Rail Road for one more train ride before heading home.

It really was a perfect "kids" vacation.

But, today it was back to the real world, the DH went back to work and Jr. and I went food shopping.

I did get in some reading, 4 books, but I was good, I didn't spend the entire 10 hours we spent driving back and forth with my head in a book.

Tagged by Nicole...

We're back from vacation, but before I blog all about that, I got "tagged" by Nicole.

Here goes:

Total number of books I own:

Probably about 1500, those are my books if we add in my husbands it's probably around 2,000. These numbers are staggeringly frightening--LOL.

Last book(s) I bought:
  • The Assassin--Rachel Butler
    A Breath Away--Rita Herron
    The Seduction of an English Scoundral--Jillian Hunter
    Master of the Moon--Angela Knight
    The Cobra & the Concubine--Bonnie Vanak

I copied this right out of my last blog.

Last book(s) I read:

Vacation reads:
  • One Way Out--Michelle Albert
  • The Seduction of an English Scoundrel--Jillian Hunter
  • Master of the Moon--Angela Knight
  • A Breath Away--Rita Heron

Five books that mean a lot to me:
  1. Anne of Green Gables--LM Montgomery
  2. Mrs. Mike--The Freemans?--I don't have it infront of me.
  3. Salem's Lot--Stephen King
  4. Midnight Rainbow--Linda Howard
  5. Outlander--Diana Gabaldon

That was really hard. Anne of Green Gables was my favorite series as a kid, I probably could have listed the Little House books too, Black Beauty, My Friend Flicka... Mrs. Mike hooked me on romance, though I'm not sure it is really a "romance". Salem's Lot was the scariest book I've ever read, I slept with a light on for a month after reading it. Midnight Rainbow was the first Linda Howard book I read. Outlander, though not my favorite of the series, it is the first.

Tag 5 people:

Kristie J
Mary Stella

I'm sorry if I've double tagged anyone, my only excuse I've been away and haven't blog hopped in 6 days.

Monday, May 16

Quick Bookstore Stop

The books I picked up at the UBS last week were supposed to be my "vacation" books. But, because I'm weak, I was unable to hold off and actually read them on vacation. So, I needed another trip to a bookstore.

Today, I decided to run my last minute errands at the mall. Junior needed new sneaker (leather Buster Browns from The Shoe Dept., they light up, he's thrilled.) Instead of going to the UBS I went to Waldenbooks, buy 4 get the 5th free. So of course I had to get 5 (if I have time to post pictures I will):

  • The Assassin--Rachel Butler
  • A Breath Away--Rita Herron
  • The Seduction of an English Scoundral--Jillian Hunter
  • Master of the Moon--Angela Knight
  • The Cobra & the Concubine--Bonnie Vanak

Maili mentioned The Assassin a while ago and today was the first time I've seen it in a bookstore, and Amanda blogged about Master of the Moon (you need at least one "smutty" book while on vacation--LOL.) The rest I've heard nothing about, but their blurbs looked interesting. The only author of the five I've read is Rachel Butler (aka Marilyn Pappano).

I had the new Johanna Lindsey paperback release in my hand (I would like to finish the Mallory series--I think it's Jeremy's story--I didn't even read the blurb), but I couldn't bring myself to pay $7.99 for it. I don't really read her anymore, I'll wait for a used copy. I almost picked up Madeline Hunter's Lord of Sin, but I ordered it from the UBS and I didn't want to end up with two copies.

The books I bought today are going into the suitcase today, otherwise I'd have 2 of them finished before we leave--I'm so weak. Okay, maybe I'll put a couple in my backpack in the car so I can read during the drive.

Got to go, I have to start packing, books first then clothing.

Have a great afternoon, happy reading.

While I was putting books in the "car" backpack I discovered two Daniel Silvas--happy day.

Comfort Zones and Expectations

Most readers have comfort zones, or favorite zones. Genres that catch their attention first. In the past mine have been, medievals, regencies (full size) and romantic suspense. New medievals are hard to find, and the market is glutted with mediocre regencies and romantic suspense.

Breaking out of our comfort zones is sometimes difficult. I've spent the last few months trying to do just this with little success. After being completely disappointed with contemporary romance, I've moved on to other genres some falling under the romance umbrella, and some not.

Eureka, in the last 2 weeks I've broken free of these comfort zones and changing expectations has much to do with it. In the last 2 weeks I've read:
  • 3 category romances (Silhouette Intimate Moments)
  • 1 fantasy
  • 4 erotica/romantica
  • 1 vampire

Out of these 9 books I enjoyed 7 (last Friday I posted about the two I hated). A string of really good books? I'm not really sure. I started reading these books with little expectations. These are books outside my comfort zone, and I had no idea what to expect. The only books in this group I've read on a consistant basis are the category romances--but it's been years since I've read 3 or more in a month let alone a 2 week period.

All I was looking for was a well written book with a believable HEA. Seven books hit that mark. Are they keepers? No, but I'm realizing I shouldn't be looking for a keeper everytime I open a book.

I'm no longer looking for the "greatest romance" ever written, all I need is to be entertained and some escapism. If someone I trust recommends a book I'll try it, if the back blurb looks good, I'm going to read it. And, if I find some keepers in the process, all the better.

Have a great day and happy reading.

PS We're leaving for vacation Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, so this may be the last post for the next week or so.

Saturday, May 14

If Angels Burn by Lynn Viehl

Yes, yes, yes, I'm doing a happy dance--I've finally found a vampire series I can sink my teeth into (hehehe--pathetic pun, I know, but I couldn't help myself.)

In the depths of human desire, eternity awaits…

She Restores the Light of Hope.

Dr. Alexandra Keller is Chicago's most brilliant reconstructive surgeon.

He Dwells in Shadow.

Michael Cyprien is New Orleans' most reclusive millionaire -- in desperate need of Dr. Keller's skills.A New Dawn Awaits Them Both…

Beneath the foundation of a mansion in the heart of the Garden District, Alexandra will perform an illegal surgery. Her patient’s disfigurement is beyond medical repair. But his body’s ability to recuperate from his wounds borders on the miraculous.

Alexandra knows Michael Cyprien is no ordinary patient. Intrigued by how his remarkable physiology might benefit medical science, she is even more compelled by his presence -- and the mystery surrounding him and his associates, a cadre of immortals who call themselves the Darkyn…

I have yet to read a vampire series that has held my attention--I can't stand the whinny, "poor, put upon me," controlling vampire heros. I have to admit I haven't read the Anita Blake series. I'm having a hard time finding all of them. I think one of my BIL's has the complete set. I'll have to borrow it.

The plot is very logical, and the vampire hero isn't whinny, he tries to be controlling, but the heroine is equal to him in strength. This is what gives the book a solid backbone.

Normally, I prefer books to tie up all story lines by the end, but this is a great start to a series and I'm l looking forward to the next in the series to see where it will go next.

Have a great night, happy reading.

Friday, May 13

Try, Try Again

So, after seeing what Nicole posted to my last blog, I decided to give Wildfire by Cheyenne McCray a try. It was a really quick read and I finished it in a couple of hours this morning (215 pages with print large enough I could have read it without my glasses.)

Pleasantly surprised, not bad, in fact it was pretty good. It was like reading a Harlequin Romance, but with a lot of really hot sex. Boy (Jake Reynolds) comes home after 10 years to find the girl (Dee MacLeod) he left behind, knows she's the love of his life and wants to settle down with her, but she needs convincing. No crazy, obsessive brothers--LOL, only a light sub-plot about cattle rustlers that continues into the next book. The names are so stereotypical--Jake Reynolds, Jess Lawless, Kev Grand, Jarrod Savage, Catie Wilds, just to name a few. They made me laugh out loud, but somehow they seemed right.

Now, I can go back to If Angels Burn, which is really good so far.

Have a great night, happy reading.

Wednesday's UBS Finds

So, after confessing on Monday or Tuesday I had never read an Ellora's Cave, I discovered 5 of them used at the UBS on Wednesday. I also found a used copy of Michele Albert's One Way Out and a new copy of Lynn Viehl's If Angels Burn.

You may notice I'm only showing 4 Ellora's Cave covers, the 5th one the bookstore owner said was completely unreadable (pretty honest). Two of these she liked and the other two are her "Best Selling" Ellora's Cave. I should have realized "Best Selling" doesn't make them good books, if I had questioned her further (I sound like the Spanish Inquisition--LOL), I probably wouldn't have bought the books. Oh, we live and learn.

After reading the 2 "Best Selling" books I wrote a major 4 page rant in my book journal. I've decided not to post this as it's filled with swearing. I would have thrown the books against the wall and kicked them a few times, but I didn't want to wake my husband up. Dr. Phil would have had a field day with the characters in both these books. Needless to say I wasn't real impressed with my first foray into this line of books.

I'm thinking if I want to read romantica/erotica I'm probably going to stick with Emma Holly.

I decided to read If Angels Burn next. I'm only 20 pages into it, but it looks real promising, I don't expect to be throwing this one against the wall.

Have a great day, happy reading.

PS Check out today's column at RTB,it's a good one.

Does Life Get Any Better Than This??

A 7 year old goes to his first professional baseball game at Yankee Stadium. It's a day game and it's a beautiful spring day with a breath taking blue sky.

He and his dad get there early, visit "Monument Park", buy a pennant and a program and find their seats behind home plate on the 3rd base side. Yogi Berra throws out the first pitch. Not only do the Yankees win 13 to 9, his favorite player hits a home run.

My nephew will have magical memories of a perfect day that will be with him his entire life. Does life get any better than this?

Wednesday, May 11

A Born Romance Reader, My Grandmother and a Lousy Reviewer, that would be me.

A Born Romance Reader:

Nicole Blogs about her romance reading Genesis. For me, I think it's genetic. I was born into a family of romance readers. Including my dad, especially my dad.

Both my parents are avid readers. My mom reads just about any type of fiction published (with the exception of horror--though she does have a copy of the Exorcist on her book shelves, but she still has nightmares about it 30+ years later.)

My dad reads biographies (political and historical--no Kitty Kelly--LOL), westerns and romance. He always has a huge pile of books on his night stand. Mixed in with the Louis L'Amours and Zane Greys were always plenty of Harlequin, Harlequin Presents and when I was little, lots of Barbara Cartland. Pretty tame, I know, but to be completely honest I don't want to know if my dad reads anything really "hot", I'd have to file that under "too much information."

I became a serious reader in Junior High School, up until then I read Nancy Drews and anything that had a horse in it. But, in JHS I read "Mrs. Mike," I've blogged about this in the past. I wore out the school's copy of "Mrs. Mike" to the point they gave me the book at the end of the school year. So, it was in JHS that I started raiding my dad's night stand. Which was fine with my parents.

By the time I was in High School I was raiding my aunt's pile of books (she and my grandmother lived with us back then--both were romance readers, grandma is gone, but my aunt still reads romance). In High School I discovered historicals, (Kathleen Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers) and Danielle Steele. Anything I read got passed onto my entire French class, under the desks, of course, the teacher was a major ^%#*$. For those of you who can't understand anyone reading KW, RR, and DS that was all there was back then, we're talking the late seventies (I graduated in '81). I also discovered Stephen King in HS--Salem's Lot, Carrie, The Shining. A couple of years ago, I admitted to my mom, I lifted "Looking For Mr Goodbar" off her night stand when I was 15. I was a completely clueless 15 year old, after reading it I didn't believe anyone had (whispering) oral sex.

The romance bug stuck, I've been reading ever since.

My Grandmother:

My mother's mother (Big Grandma) lived with us after my grandfather died in 1973, my aunt who was only 19 lived with us too, until she got married. "Big" grandma was a skinny 5' 2", huh, "little" grandma was 4' 10"--LOL, it's all relative especially to little kids, we named them big and little--how these two little women ended up with grandchildren that range from 5' 8"--that's me to 6' 5"--my brother, we will never know--I've completely digressed, sorry).

Big Grandma was a liberated woman, before there were liberated women. She always worked, not because she had to, Grandpa made very good money, but because she wanted to (I guess Grandpa was liberated too). Though she was very independent, Grandpa always thought she was a prude, "Mamie, you should have been a nun--None of this and None of that..." You know something maybe we're all a little odd, how many kids back in the 60's heard their grandparents talking like this--I don't know.

Well, Grandma discovered romance novels after Grandpa died. Like me, she raided my dad's night stand. She used to say "I don't read the sex scenes, they're disgusting"--like there were sex scenes in Harlequins and Barbara Cartlands back in 70's--LOL. But, she must have been secretly reading my aunts' books, because she often said "I wish I knew then, what I know now."

She was a character, I miss her and grandpa everyday and they've been gone so long now. Okay, that was maudlin enough--I'm making myself cry.

On a Lighter Note, I'm a Lousy Reviewer:

I can admitted I'm a lousy reviewer. I can't write a good synopsis to save myself. I'm not really sure I even want to. I break a book down like this:

Did I like:

  • The hero? (that always comes first and to be honest, I almost always like the heros--what can I say, I like all types of men.)
  • The heroine?
  • The story line, plot and writing style?

Was the book memorable and would I read it again? If all the answer's are yes, It's a keeper. If it's not memorable, it's a B- and things kind of go down hill from there.

That's enough thinking for one day.

Have a great day and happy reading.

Monday, May 9

Confession time...

I have a few confessions to make.

  1. On a regular basis, I go over to Maili's Blog (mcvane) and run her list of reader blogs--it's a great list. If I was good I'd just list them all on my own blog, but I'm too lazy.
  2. I've never read an Ellora's Cave. I'm starting to think I'm in the minority. I keep looking for used copies at the UBS, but nary a used one can be found. I must be missing something and will have to break down and buy one new.
  3. I'm a closet Nora Roberts reader. Still get all her new releases (paperback) and somehow find comfort in the predictability of her characters, story lines and trilogies.
  4. I have completely given up on Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick. As predictable as NR may be I started to feel JAK's books were the same book over and over again just with name changes.
  5. I don't care if it's not "hip" to love Linda Howard's alpha heros. I do, I don't care if they're cavemen, tough guys or idiots, when they fall in love, I believe it.

Now, I'll say a good Act of Contrition, and go food shopping, or maybe I'll take jr. to the playground instead.

Lot's of thoughts running through my pea brain...

After a weekend of running around, brunch at my sister's on Saturday, breakfast with my in-laws Sunday morning and a 1st birthday party in the afternoon/evening, my head is kind of spinning with lots of thoughts some about family and some about books.

I'll start with the SIL from hell. She managed to strike again--big surprise. Snarky with one of the BILs and she can't imagine being home full-time--too much work, this was addressed to me. I thought this was some sort of compliment (color me surprised, I should have known better), until she turned it into a commentary on her dislike of play yards and play pens, because I commented that when my son was her daughters age I used a play yard and lots of gates, it kept him contained and safe--he learned to play very nicely by himself. Maybe I'm wrong, but you can't watch them every minute they're awake, but you need to know they're safe, that's why the play yard (cage--LOL) and our gated off living room worked for us."It stops their curiosity about their surroundings. . ." Anyone who knows my son knows his curiosity needed a little squeltching at times or he would have been climbing the refrigerator and swinging on doorknobs, not that he hasn't done both of these. Or even worse trying to get outside--now that is really frightening. Oh, well, no more complaining.

I did very little reading this weekend, I did finish George & The Virgin, but I think I'll do a separate blog. At the rate I'm going I don't think I'm going to meet my TBR challenge over at RT. I need to get cracking to reach 20 books.

Oh, I did finish Karen Templeton's SIM Swept Away. It was good. The heroine's 37 and the hero has 6 kids (and the kids aren't annoying always a plus, and I loved little Travis--reminded me of my little guy--like ages.) Kids in books can be a peeve for me, so often they don't seem realistic, but KT did a great job--I guess having 5 kids helps--LOL. My son has a wicked vocabulary, but at the same time still sounds like a little boy, this seems to be hard for some authors to do, either the kids sound 40 (because the writer is showing how smart they are) or the the child comes across has mono-syllabic, which kids aren't (unless they need speech intervention).

Got to go, planning a school party for tomorrow and have to get together with other Moms, and have to get the food shopping done or we wont be eating tonight.

Have a great day, happy reading.

Sunday, May 8

Happy Mother's Day and other thoughts...

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the Mom's out there.

Well, it's 2 o'clock in the morning and I'm up. Considering I fell asleep before nine, this shouldn't be a big surprise. Why did I fall asleep so early? My book light died and I was too lazy to go downstairs, my husband was watching TV in bed, Tombstone for the umpteenth time (for those of you who know my thoughts about The Godfather movies and JFK, Tombstone is fast approaching the "I hate this movie" level.--LOL)

For the first time in years, I've started reading category romances again. I've picked up 3 SIMs in the last week. They're quick reads and I'm finding I can get an entire book read in a sitting. Back when I worked full time and commuted I probably read 10 to 15 category romances a month, but of course, back then I was reading 40-50 books a month. Commuting is a gift to readers.

I got Alison Kent's attention with my "whining" about RTB, which I guess is a good thing. I know RTB is for all aspects of the "Romance" world, and I wasn't really complaining, I was trying to point out my perceptions didn't match RTB's concept. If we want our voices heard we really need to speak up.

Gee whiz, now I'm having an allergy attack. If I take Benadryl, I'll sleep right through Mothers's day. I'm going back to bed.

Have a great day, and happy reading.

Friday, May 6

I'm still bitching...

Will someone please tell me if this is acceptable behavior? A poster on a message board is planning to exchange a book she didn't like after reading it. Do people actually do this? I thought she was kidding.

If you don't like a book do you save the receipt and return or exchange it for a different one. I can't believe how offensive I find this. With this logic the next book I buy will be the last, I'll just keep exchanging them until hell freezes.

A Rant or Maybe a Whine--"Romancing the Blog"

This is directly from the Romancing the Blog mission Statement:

. . .Who dictates the direction of modern romance? The writer? The reader? The publisher? The reviewer?

The answer is: All of the above.

Weblogs have emerged as a viable source of information. "Bloggers" are on the cutting edge. They find information and spread it quickly. They share their knowledge and their viewpoints, they "rant" and they praise. And when it comes to romance, they know their stuff.

The columnists on Romancing the Blog are the best of the best. They are readers, reviewers, aspiring authors, and bestsellers. Some are thoughtful, some humorous, some a bit "ranty," and some are insightful. They have their own voices and a love of romance. Together, with your comments, they will map the landscape of today's romance genre from every possible angle. From story conception to the moment a reader finishes the book, they'll cover it all.

Sorry, that was long, but I wanted to include all this info.

Now, yesterday over at Maili's Blog, she posted about cliques within the romance blogging community. I decided to bring some of the conversation over here as not to tie up her blog with my gripping--LOL.

It seems to me the founding fathers/mothers of RTB are missing an important part of the equation. The reader.

Until today, I had never read RTB's mission statement. I'm sure their intentions are to have readers as an important part of their "blog", but I'm not sure we as readers are getting that point. Don't get me wrong, readers are welcome, readers are columnists, and readers post, but on a whole it seems to be an "industry" blog, and I read it and enjoy it as such, but I'm not really sure it's geared for readers. Maybe it's just my perception as a reader.

There are approximately 40 columnists between regulars and guests--3 are readers (not a great percentage), but how many readers are going to be as articulate as any author. In the sidebar there are about 175 "author blogs" listed and there are 20 odd "reader blogs"--several of which haven't been updated in a while (Maili's list is better), and there's a few "industry blogs" listed.

This was Maili's response to my post on her blog:

Tara Marie . . . As for RTB, I have to admit that RTB intimidates me, which is probably why my columns/responses are written as if I was on speed or had too much coffee. :D But RTB *is* for readers as well as authors. The only way to enforce the presence of plain readers is to respond. Keeping silence on readers' part will only create a stronger feel of the author/editor/reviewer presence, leaving readers out in the "cold." I mean, what stops you - or any readers - from approaching the RTB team and ask if you - or they - could contribute? We have to start somewhere.

I think she's right if we want to be heard we need to voice our thoughts and opinions, but I'm curious, how many readers truly feel comfortable doing this, in this environment?

What stops you - or any readers - from approaching the RTB team and ask if you - or they - could contribute?

I know what stops me, I may have a big mouth, but would be completely intimidated by the concept. What can I say, I'm a wimp. If 20 published authors and industry insiders are agreeing with each other and patting each other on the backs, how many readers are going to be a dissenting voice?

So all of that to show what stops me, but what stops other readers?

Boy, am I long winded, sorry about that--LOL.

Apologizing First--Whiney, Ranty Mood

I'm in a pissy mood, and I can't even use PMS as an excuse.

  1. Why is it somehow my fault our son refuses to eat vegetables? I keep telling my DH it's his fault--he's the one with the brother who only ate corn until he was 35, genetically it came from his side of the family not mine.
  2. Why do I have to spend Mother's Day with my SIL from hell? She has once again started a family riot over something ridiculous. I dread "get togethers" with my DH family.
  3. Why am I the sounding board when my mother is mad at my father? I really wish to remain clueless--which I've told her, but it falls on deaf ears.

On a lighter note, I'm reading Lisa Cach's George and the Virgin. I realize I'm 3 years behind the times, it's silly book, but at this point it's entertaining.

Thursday, May 5

It has come to my attention my son is a ham.

It seems my son is a ham. Color me surprised (not really).

Today was the "Mother's Day Assembly" at his nursery school. Forty five 3 and 4 year olds singing the praises of dear old Mom. Isn't it great--LOL. At this age the girls are much more attentive to singing, but Anthony seems to hold his own.

Well, the director of the pre-school had to tell me how he comes in to her office with a book and reads to her (actually he describes the pictures, he may be smart, but he's not reading yet). He makes it a big production. The ladies in the office get a great kick out of him.

I discovered from one of the other mothers who was sitting in with the class on Tuesday, my son is the only child who needs no prompting from the teachers to talk about his show and tell items (this month--a toy weed wacker, with all the noisy bells and whistles--which was better than last month's 3 foot long and 1 1/2 foot tall motorcycle which I begged him not to bring). He's up there showing how the weed wacker works, running it along the wall and the edge of the play mat, and letting the other kids play with it--the teachers basically have to tell him to shut up and sit down, of course they say it much nicer than that--LOL.

Did I mention his nickname at home is Barrymore?

Wednesday, May 4

Reading Compatriots and Opposites

There is such a variety of books out there every month that I've found a need for reading compatriots. Friends, readers, reviewers who have similar enough taste to mine that I can almost always agree with their thoughts about a book and look forward to their recommendations.

My sister is my closest reading buddy. Sometimes it seems like we think with the same brain. Our taste in books is almost identical--at times it's a little spooky. I can't tell you how many times we've bought the same book and discovered we either loved it or hated it before we could talk to each other.

I've discovered over the last few years that I also have a few on-line compatriots Anne E. is one, she doesn't read as much romance as I do, but our taste is fairly consistant when it comes to historicals (I probably like a larger variety, but what she does read and enjoy I do too). Since I've discovered blogging, I've found a few more (I'm still testing the theory and I'll probably list them some other time).

When it comes to reviewers, probably the closest to my taste would be the dreaded, feared and hated (please note, my tongue is in my cheek) Mrs. Giggles. Anything she rates 85 or better, I'm likely to love and anything she rates 50 or less I'm probably going to hate. It's the scores in the middle that I don't always agree with. There are also a few reviewers over at AAR that I agree with fairly consistantly.

The funny thing is one of my best barometers aren't the people I agree with, but sometimes it's the people I never agree with--my reading opposites, people I know if they loved it I'm probably going to hate it and vice versa. There are a few of regular posters at RT that I almost never agree with. One writes the best reviews, I don't usually agree with them, but the reviews are beautifully written. When I first started to lurk and post on RT, I would go out and buy books she raved about--eek, I was always left scratching my head, wondering "huh??"

But, I've come to the conclusion it's a good thing there is such a great variety of books in the romance genre--that way there's something for everyone. It's just sometimes hard to determine which ones are right for me.

Have a great day, happy reading.

Last Month's Books

Last month I read 17 books, a good month, not as good as the 23 back in March, but nothing to sneeze at I guess.

I'm being lazy and not posting the books with their grades. I'm not even sure I'm going to do this. It seems to be silly to post a grade, but not a review. I write lousy reviews (not a job I can aspire to--LOL).

Probably only half of what I read last month would get good grades and I'm left wondering if the problem with the books was more me than the books--I seem to be getting pickier as I get older.

Have a great day, happy reading.

Monday, May 2

The Funny People We Meet...

Over at Squawk Radio Elizabeth Beverly was talking about different jobs she had before she started writing full time. I think many people have had odd jobs, but the people we meet and get to know are much more interesting.

My husband is one of those people who can find humor in just about everything. He tells great stories about some of the people he's worked with over the years.

  • There was the man who asked my husband if the Lincoln Tunnel was there before the Hudson River. The same man's last name was "Taylor" and his wife shot him during an argument (she was a cop and only wounded him), but the headlines in the paper were "Elizabeth Taylor Shoots Husband". Someone at the paper had a sense of humor.
  • He worked with a man who used to give truck drivers directions like "turn left at my cousin Tom's old house" as if the drivers knew his cousin and where he used to live. Of course, at the time my husband was a driver and didn't find it all that funny.
  • When he was first out of high school, he worked for a man who re-used tea bags, I guess it's not really surprising he paid minimum wage.
  • He worked with a man who used wax his hot water heater and put headlights on his ride on lawn mower (he would wax the lawn mower too.) The same man put a hole in the gas tank of the same lawn mower when he was installing the brake lights on the back.
  • He also worked for an Hasidic man who sent him to the "Jewish" bus station to pick up his father with the description "He's an old Jewish man with gray hair, black coat and hat, you can't miss him." This description fit every man getting off the bus.

But, I think I worked with the funniest woman who had no idea she was funny. We worked for a Ministry--an interdenominational bible teacher, who would visit different denominational churches all over the country to preach and sell his teaching books and audio and video tapes. "Lori" was the bookkeeper.

We were in a staff meeting when she started talking about a TV evangelist who had a huge pipe organ playing during his broadcast. The problem was she was going on and on about the minister's "organ," how big it was and how beautiful and how she wished her minister had an "organ" like that. We were all dying and finally another woman (real grandmotherly type) reached over and patted her knee and said maybe she should be quiet. Ah, then a light bulb went on and she ran out of the room, completely red faced and laughing hysterically.

Some jobs are strange and odd, but the people we meet along the way are stranger than fiction.

Have a great day, happy reading.