Thursday, November 15

Honestly, I'm still here--LOL.

So things didn't loosen up all that much after the American Girl Fundraiser :)

At 4:00 this morning I realized I hadn't written my RTB column that was due to post at 6:00. I managed to finish it at 5:57.

I'm full of questions this month, go post your thoughts, I'll be around today and promise to try and get my act together .

Have a good one, I'll be back later.

Saturday, October 27

The New Normal

So, I'm realizing things aren't going to go back to normal like I knew it when I was a SAHM. Okay, I'm not a complete idiot, I knew things would be different now that I'm working, but I didn't think that things would change this much. Never realizing I ran errands almost everyday, now they're stockpiled for one day a week. Tuesdays don't feel like a day off--LOL. But Sundays do--Sunday's are still "Family Days" : )

The New Normal means I don't get to read everyday. The American Girl Fundraiser was a success, and I figured the evenings would be mine again. Wrong, three of the five nights this week were filled with something... Tuesday--a conference call for work, Wednesday--making Junior's costume for the All Saints Day Pageant (which was yesterday and absolutely adorable, I'll get to that later :) and Friday--making poster for Trunk or Treat.

The All Saints Day Pageant was Friday. Twenty one 1st Graders parade into the gym and up on stage singing "Oh When The Saints Come Marching In..." They were adorable. Each one got up in front of the entire student body, faculty and parents and quoted three sentences about their "Saint" that they had memorized, pretty impressive for 6 year olds. Of course, the grandparents thought Junior was the BEST, of course, they're not prejudice or anything :) He did do a great job, he speaks incredibly well for his age. We still get teachers and other parents telling us this on a regular basis. One of the parents asked if we taught him the inflections and to slightly pause between sentences. Nope, that's our Barrymore, the school really needs a Drama Club. Actually, the only thing we told him was to speak slowly and clearly, the rest seems to come naturally.

Trunk or Treat is supposed to be today in the school's big parking lot, since we're getting torrential rain, it's been moved to tomorrow, in the back parking lot (Sunday Bingo you know). Last year our "Trunk" theme was a haunted picnic. This year's theme is "The Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch" from It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Junior and I made a big poster for our trunk with lots of pumpkins, Linus, Sally a sign and a glittery moon and stars. It looks cute. We'll bring real pumpkins and I think I'll make a "Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch sign too. Keep in mind the "Trunk or Treat" doesn't have this theme, just us. Mama's a little OCD and likes a theme.

This week I only have one meeting and it's Tuesday night, I should be able to find some reading time and finally get to finish Madeline Hunter's Lessons of Desire. Which I'm not "loving" but will finish.

That's all the news from our little neck of the woods. Hope all are well.

Wednesday, October 24

The ones that don't make it.

I pulled this nice long quote out of Pamela Morsi's response to comments a couple weeks ago...

American setting aren't done these days. Publishers don't believe that readers will buy them. Which is why all the writers who used to write them, myself included, are now all doing other things. But these trends all come in cycles, so it's sure to be back eventually.

Glad that you and Eva Gale both read SIMPLE JESS. That's a story that really means a lot to me. And to a lot of other people too. I created the character as the heroine's brother in MARRYING STONE. But he was such a great guy I wanted to give him his own book. As soon as I'd finished, I proposed that and my editor turned me down. She said that readers wouldn't go for a mentally handicapped hero. So I moved on, wrote something else and then the movie FORREST GUMP came out and was such a splash, my editor called as said, "You know that book you wanted to write..." So I got busy on SIMPLE JESS. Unfortunately, during the time I got the okay and the time the book was completed, my editor left. The new editor was unfamiliar with my work and when SIMPLE JESS showed up on her desk, she was horrified. She didn't think that the relationship as it was written was "appropriate" and she wanted me to rewrite it to make him smarter. I couldn't do that because he was already in print in Marrying Stone. So after lots of upheaval and argument, SIMPLE JESS was released. The number of copies printed was very small, the cover was nondescript. And it went to the sales department with the notation "controversial" which basically means buy at your own risk.

Not a lot of people did buy it at first. Romance readers were as skeptical of a mentally challenged hero as the editor believed they would be. But slowly, slowly, slowly people began to read it. And they began to like it. I've gotten more feedback on that story than any other - - and all of it has been positive. Jess had such a low print run that it was doomed to commercial failure, but it continues to pay and pay in wonderful feedback dividends. The rights reverted to me several years ago, so I’m always thinking that someday somebody will buy it from me for a reprint and this time give it the push that it truly deserved.

In the industry, people thought the story was a career killer. And it did kill my career at that particular publishing house. If I'd had any sense at all about how to get ahead and move up on the lists, I never would have written it. But I guess it goes to show you that sometimes being too stupid to know better leaves us open to achieve some pretty wonderful things.

Simple Jess is one of my favorite Pamela Morsi books and I for one am glad that it finally made it to print.

Most avid readers know romance on a whole is very cyclical, what's hot now wont be in a couple of years, and publishers are going to take advantage of this and continue publishing what's going to have the largest financial return. And yet you can't help but wonder how many great books have never been published because the publishers deemed them not marketable?

Saturday, October 20

Another Quickie :)

We're right smack in the middle of our American Girl Fundraiser, my job is done, I got out of working the actual event because this weekend is my in-laws...

50th Wedding Anniversary

Last weekend it was a big family dinner at a very nice Italian Restaurant (we had a private room) and they renewed their wedding vows, this weekends all about the immediate family (kids and grandkids).

This week's a little hectic, but at least I'll be home for Junior's bedtime each night. Tuesday (my day off) will be spent getting everything we need for the school's Trunk or Treat event. I also need to make Junior a costume for the All Saint's Day Program, he's a Saint from the Middle Ages. He gets to wear a brown robe with a big cowl, his best friend is St. George--he gets to be a knight. I'm pretty sure Junior's going to be jealous. After the program the kids "trick or treat" in the audience, collecting money for Missionary work.

I've finished a couple of books--Lover Unbound and the new Kleypas, for some reason I can't remember the title, not my favorite Kleypas. By blog hopping I discovered I probably liked Love Unbound a little more than most of the readers out there (I noticed mostly C's)--I'd give it a B/B-, I'm not normally a fan of the never ending series, but I'm still enjoying this one and Lynn Viehl's Darkyn Series.

Have a great day, and happy reading.

Monday, October 15

Life may get back to normal soon...

As most readers of this blog know we send our son to Catholic school. For us it wasn't a really hard decision to make. We're not thrilled with our local public school district, there are discipline and education issues in our elementary and middle schools that aided us in making our decision add to that he has probably learned more in a year + about his faith than we learned in 8 years of CCD. But these topics really different blog posts.

When you send your kids to a Catholic or Church school you know there's tuition and you're told up front that there is a certain level of fundraising required. This is to help offset tuition and school expenses. In some larger parishes the fundraising isn't as important as their Church off sets some of the school expenses. Unfortunately we are not only a small Parish, but also poor one, the bulk of the offset from our Parish comes from the parents weekly donations to the Church.

Our school has different levels of fundraisers from candy sales and raffles to huge mandatory ones. Mandatory projects require bodies, people volunteering large quantities of time to simple get whatever needs doing done. Bingo is a year round project. In the spring we have Goods/Services Auction and Tricky Tray and in the Fall we do an American Girl Event

Our American Girl Fashion Show is this weekend. Five shows over 3 days for 1000 girls, Moms and Dads. Not only do parents volunteer, girls from every grade are also involved either as models or behind the scenes getting the girls ready, keeping the little ones busy and entertained between their turns down the runway. Our gymnasium is turned into American Girl Central. And if I do say so myself the parent volunteers do an incredible job transforming basketball courts into a catering hall with a huge fashion runway.

So guess what committee I'm on?--LOL We're getting down to the wire. Three nights of set up and three days of shows. Hundreds of hours leading up to the next six days. Then it's back to normal, hopefully at least :)

Wednesday, October 10

***Pamela Morsi - Beginning blogger braves new territory***

I want to thank you, Tara, for giving me the opportunity to blog on your site. I’ve never blogged before, so if I run long, will have discovered one of my big problems. I’m writing and I can’t stop!

Right now I’m between books, my last BITSY’S BAIT & BBQ came out earlier this year. And my next LAST DANCE AT JITTERBUG LOUNGE is scheduled for publication in May ‘08.

I love the blogname of RomanceReadingMom. That’s where I came into this genre. Well, probably not completely, I’m sure that on some level Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder were both writing romance. But I didn’t realize that. All I knew back then was that I loved the stories those women told. And that’s what I wanted most in my life, to be a writer.

The problem for me, of course, was that I couldn’t figure out how one did that. Do you move to New York? Or a Paris loft? I took a couple of creative writing courses at college. They only succeeded in convincing me that I didn’t have anything to say. What could a white trash girl from the oil patch have to say to sophisticated readers of American literature? Obviously nothing.

What was significantly more clear was that I owed tons of money in student loans and that rents are charged worldwide accept for my mother’s house, where living was it’s own punishment.

So I got a Master’s Degree in Library Science. If I couldn’t write books, then at least I could be close to them. I loved library work and I don’t regret a day I spent there. Sharing books with people is almost a heavenly calling. And my view of the public library is that it is the last truly democratic institution in the United States. All the knowledge in the world equally available there to anyone who seeks it out

After the work day is done, librarians do a lot of reading, mostly involved with their job. Reference librarians read reference books and Children’s Librarians read children’s books and Adult Services Librarians read the bestsellers and the most highly touted fiction. I spent several years doing each of these jobs and I got accustomed to having my reading list pretty narrowly drawn.

Then I had a baby.

I was already a mom of sorts. My husband had a five year old son when I married him, so I was used to having peanut butter on the refrigerator door handle, rescuing garden snakes from the laundry basket and establishing a NO WHINERS zone in my local grocery market. But I had never stayed home with a child.

Those first few weeks, I don’t think I’d ever worked so hard in my life. I was up before dawn, not in bed until midnight. And no sooner had my day shift ended than my nightshift began. I sure wasn’t thinking about reading.

But then I kind of got a pace, I figured out how to get everything more or less manageable. My family and I settled in. My baby daughter had naptime. And my wild child, now seven, went to bed at 8:30. So there was a little time for me.

I read some baby books. Earth mother books. How to raise responsible citizens books. Those were all good. But that felt like reading at work. I wanted something that was just for me. Something that I could really identify with.

One day at the grocery store, with the little angel asleep in the snugly, I found myself wandering among the paperbacks. Librarians don’t buy a lot of paperbacks. They don’t last and we get hardcover books for free and well, who knows, but you rarely see a librarian reading mass market. But that day, I was desperate for something. And I found it, right there between the cereal and the frozen food.

These were books by women, for women and about women. And about the thing that sooner or later gets to be what women are all about, love and family.

I was hooked faster than you could say LOVE’S DARING DARNING NEEDLE. At first I just read at the end of the day. And then I figured out I could do it while I was breastfeeding. And before I knew it, I could cook, clean, supervise, referee, virtually everything but drive with a book in my hand.

I remember it as a really wonderful time. And my solitary life with the kids at home became filled interesting characters and storylines that got me through the long days and short years of my children’s childhood.

Time and seasons change.

I began writing when my daughter was about eight. And once you start writing, reading is never as pleasurable as it once was. But I still love a good book. When I finish one that was really great, I can’t resist hugging it to my chest like a dear friend. Hope you have something to hug at your house tonight.

A great big thank you to Pam for taking the time to visit and blog with us :)

PS--this posted a little early but I was afraid I wouldn't have enough time in the morning to get it posted before school and work :) Have a great day and ask lots of interesting questions.

Thursday, October 4

Guest Blogger for October 10, 2007 :)

Back in the beginning of August Rosario posted a review of Pamela Morsi's Wild Oats and in response I posted a list of my favorite Pamela Morsi books and asked the question... I wonder what type of bribe it would take to get her to go back to writing these instead of contemporaries?

The next time I checked my emails I had one titled "Bribery Plan". Being the dingbat that I am I never made the connection until I opened the email and realized PAMELA MORSI had actually emailed me. We emailed back and forth and I invited her to guest blog. Then she got busy with a book, and I got busy with real life, but she still wanted to blog and I finally got my act together.

So, guess what? Pamela Morsi will be guest blogging next week, October 10th.

How cool is that?

Tuesday, October 2

Just enough time for a quickie...

I've got 5 minutes before I have to get Junior to school. He's getting dressed.

If it's Tuesday, it must be BINGO day :) four hours of cranky but lovable old folks. After bingo it's choir practice for Junior.

I've not finished a book in almost a week, but I have managed to add several to my TBR pile, including the new Singh, Ward, Hunter and a couple more that are escaping me at the moment.

Have a great day and happy reading :)

Thursday, September 27

Completely Out of the Loop

It may be hard to believe but over the last 2 months I've not read or bought one new or used book.

Yes, you read that correctly--LOL.

Not one book during the months of August and September. I've been rereading and I read an ARC of Lynn Viehl's Evermore, the next book in the Darkyn series. I did pick up the last three issues of RT at the bookstore the other day, but haven't had time to actually read them yet.

So, what are the must reads I've missed?

ETA--I've done a quick run through all three RTs and have come up with a "wish list" but not too big all things considered, so suggestions are greatly appreciated :)

Wednesday, September 26

Finding Me Time Is Harder Than I Thought

Hi Everyone, really I'm still around. I'd given myself an unofficial date to get back to blogging of September 26th, I used my RTB due date as deadline. As you can see I just made it :) Honestly, it's been incredibly hard finding "me time" during the last 2 months. Apparently "me time" will be coming between 5 and 6 in the morning.

Junior is having an interesting school year. Academically he's doing well, he got a 100% on his first official test and has a math quiz this week, that should be interesting. But, his behavior has been iffy. It seems he's a little "chatty", there's a shock--LOL. Sorry Wendy and Kristie, he loves his Yankee backpack :)

My work schedule is now 9-2, which is much more manageable than 11-4. School and Church commitments are still leaving me little free time, but I enjoy what I'm doing. I work Saturday mornings so I miss soccer games, but I do go to Thursday soccer practices. I'll send the hubby with a camera this week and hopefully post a picture of Junior while he's playing goalie, there's a huge difference between when he played last year and this one. He actually pays attention.

I've finished 3 books this week, an ARC of Lynn Viehl's Evermore (the next book in the Darkyn series)--loved it :), and two Lisa Kleypas rereads.

I'm heading off to blog hop, hope all are well.

Have a great day and happy reading.

ETA--I just finished a quick blog hop and Meljean rocks--LOL

Thursday, September 6

Taking a break...

Hi everyone,

A quick post to let everyone know things are fine, but incredibly hectic. Junior started school. The committees I'm on for school are keeping me very busy and add to that 7-8 hours every day training for my new job and I'm asleep at 11 and back up at 5. The job training should be done next week, so things should loosen up soon.

I took first day of school pictures, and will post them when I get a chance.

Our new Pastor is very hands on and is involved with all aspects of marketing for the school, since I am the marketing committee, I'm visiting the rectory every couple of days :)

When I'm finished with the job training I'll be working 5-6 hours per day and my hours will match Junior's school hours.

Hope all are well and can only hope to be back blogging in a couple of weeks.

Take care,


Tuesday, August 28

Playing review catch-up

Way back in July I finished several books I never got around to reviewing or commenting about. So, I plan to spend the next few days playing review/commentary catch-up. August wasn't a good reading month. I think I only finished 4 of 5 books and two of those were Lisa Kleypas re-reads. I'll try to get to those too.

Book CoverFirst up Letters from Pemberley by Jane Dawkins.

I realized while reading this book I would probably enjoy anything Jane Austenish. This one worked for me. The book takes place during the first year of Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage, and is told completely through letters from Lizzy to her sister Jane. This worked for me as I actually like this style of writing and Jane Dawkins does a good job recreating Lizzy's voice and the style of Jane Austen.

There's one problem with reading a book in letter format. The story is being told to the reader, so there's no dialogue or action. Yet each letter/chapter is short enough to hold your attention and moves fairly quickly. Most of the letters are entertaining, but there are a few that come across as overly harsh or sarcastic, but Ms. Dawkins does this on purpose as the follow up letter usually contains some sort of apology.

The letters are the 19th century version of my daily phone call with my sister. Sometimes informative, sometimes gossipy, sometimes newsworthy and sometimes because you simply need to talk.

If you're looking for a quick easy read in the style of Jane Austen, give this one a try. It's a light entertaining read.

Wednesday, August 22

Overdoing what??

Yesterday was one of those days that left me enough time to do some blog hopping, but little else. When I reached the RTB column I found myself nodding and agreeing with Daniela's take on the overdoing of "It" in romance, that was until I reached the last line of the column:

Please Note: The post concerns romance novels only, not Erotica.

And I was left thinking "huh" and not enough time to actually formulate a comment. This darned training schedule is for the birds, I can't wait for training to be over so I can work my set hours. Sorry, about the tangent.

So, why the "huh"? I was nodding along because it's exactly how I feel about erotic romance, but not romance. Of course, I don't seem to be reading a whole lot of anything right now, but the romance novels I have read don't seem to include an over abundance of sex to story, or sex as filler. Maybe I'm not reading the right books :) I can't say the same thing about erotic romance. I do see this in erotic romance but also see it as the nature of the beast, because in many instances sex is not only integral to the plot, it is the plot. I've got lots of issues with that, but it's a different topic.

On RTB we're asked not to single out books or authors, not so on my blog. I'm left wondering if what some may consider overdoing "It" may seem just right to others. So, I'm curious...

What books are overdoing "It"?

Are there particular authors (besides Cheryl Holt :) that uses sex as a filler?

Is the popularity of erotic romance bleeding down into general romance and changing story lines and plots? And if so how?

Now, I've got to hit the shower, pick Junior up from a sleepover and get to work :)

Have a great day. And, happy reading to anyone actually doing it.

Sunday, August 19

Actually finished a couple of books :)

Book CoverMy training was cut a little short on Friday and I decided to catch up on laundry and while washing clothes I actually finished the new Rachel Gibson, Tangled Up in You. Enjoyed it, hopefully I'll find some time in the next few days to blog more about it and a couple from last month.

Book CoverYesterday was a family day, took the child on a train ride. The travel time there was 1 and 1/2 hours, the time on the train was also 1 and 1/2 hours, so I had about 4 good hours of reading time. And do you think I read some thing from the TBR pile? Nope an Eloisa James reread was in order. Pleasure for Pleasure was one of my favorites from last year. What can I say I'm a sucker for a May/December romance and I just love Josie and Mayne :)

Have a good one, we're heading over to visit my Dad this afternoon.

Thursday, August 16

Backseat Driver...

This post is for my hubby. I'm admitting I'm a terrible backseat driver...

A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband.

Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen.

'Careful,' he said, 'CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh my GOD!
You're cooking too many at once. TOO MANY! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter. Oh my GOD! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER? They're going to STICK! Careful. CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking! Never! Turn them! Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind? Don't forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt. USE THE SALT! THE SALT!'

The wife stared at him. 'What in the world is wrong with you? You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?'

The husband calmly replied, 'I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving.'

Wednesday, August 15

Still breathing

Things have been incredibly hectic the last few days. Training is going fine, but it sits right smack in the middle of my day, which seems to be messing up my schedule. It's a month of training. My work schedule will be matched to the child's school schedule, I'm praying I have a handle on the whole thing by then.

My dad's surgery is tomorrow, if all goes well he should be home on Friday.

School obligations are taking up a LOT of time right now, but should slow down in the next week or so.

I'm lurking on blogs when I can and am getting some reading done.

Hope all are doing well.

Take care,


Sunday, August 12

A quickie before hitting the shower and heading to Mass.

We survived Junior's last birthday party of the year. Guests started to arrive around 1:00 and the last left around 10:00 last night. I figured the child would sleep late--what was I thinking? He was up by 6:00 looking for me to put his new basketball hoop on the back of his bedroom door.

My SIL made up the goody bags. This years theme--Pirates. Last night Junior was running around with a napkin do-rag, eye patch, a sand pail for a peg leg and one of those telescoping thingies while singing "Yo, Ho, Ho and a Bottle of Rum..." I'm hoping someone will email us a picture (our camera's not working) or we will try to recreate it when the darned camera is working again.

I'm a little afraid to go downstairs. The house is a disaster. Why did I spend so much time cleaning before everyone came when after requires even more clean-up??

As I said before I start the new job tomorrow, what I didn't tell everyone I had to buy a new computer for it. The system we bought back in April has Windows Vista, I need XP for the job. After a little research I found out I couldn't load XP because Vista wouldn't find the drivers required? I had to special order a system with XP because all the "stores" in the area are only selling new systems with Vista. It came Thursday I hooked it up Friday. The geeky BILs supplied a monitor and a router which will be installed today and soon my already way too crowded home office will be even more crowded. The office is my catch all room (aka junk room). What a mess.

I can't decide which I should do first the office or the rest of the house.

ETA--cleaning up the house wasn't that bad, just some straightening. So, it's on to the home office.

Friday, August 10

Holy Cow, it's August 10th and I haven't even picked up a book this month.

Junior turned 6 this week we're having our 3rd party of the week tomorrow. I've been cleanin the house like a fiend. The in-laws are coming. All week I was hoping it wouldn't be too hot, now I'm thinking it may be too cold for the kids to swim. It's 51 degrees right now, the pool dropped 10 degrees during the day.

Sunday we're going to the fair.

My new job officially starts on Monday, on-line training. And honestly the work I'm doing for the school seems to be a part time job too. Between the two my days are packed.

I'm hoping to find reading time in the evenings.

Thursday, August 9

I've got a column up on RTB. I'm trying to figure out how to stop analysing everything I read and simply read for pleasure.

It seems I'm more anal than I realized :)

Wednesday, August 8

Pamela Morsi

Rosario has posted another great review of a Pamela Morsi book. Honestly, that woman wrote the best Americana Historicals. I wonder what type of bribe it would take to get her to go back to writing these instead of contemporaries?

Here are some of my favorites:

Book CoverCourting Miss Hattie Blurb:
The news spread like brush fire through the whole county when widower Ancil Drayton announced his intention to start courting Miss Hattie Colfax. She was certainly spirited and delightfully sweet natured, and she'd managed to run her family farm almost single-handedly. But wasn't a twenty-nine-year-old lady farmer too old to catch a husband?

An Irresistable Suitor.

All his life handsome, black-haired Reed Tyler had worked Miss Hattie's farm—and dreamed of one day settling down on his own piece of land with the pretty young woman he'd sworn to marry. Hattie was someone he could tell his hopes and troubles to—someone he looked on as a sister. So he thought, until the idea of Ancil Drayton calling on her made him seethe. Until the night a brotherly peck became a scorching kiss... and Reed knew nothing would bank the blaze—and that his best friend was the only woman he would ever love.

Book CoverHeaven Sent
When virtuous Hannah Bunch set out to trap herself a husband at the spinsterly age of 26, she hardly dreamed she'd be compromised by a blue-eyed stranger. Her reputation shattered, she promises to honor and cherish him always--never suspecting that his secret will threaten her life.

Book CoverGarters Blurb:
A delightful love story from the nationally bestselling author of Heaven Sent. In the late 1800s, proper young ladies don't go courting. But Esme Crabb knows that her lazy father and featherbrained sisters are no help at all when it comes to putting food on the table, and her only recourse is to "marry up".

Book Cover

Wild Oats, click on the link above for Rosario's review.

Book CoverThe Marrying Stone Blurb:
Meggie was a dreamer who'd spent her entire life in the tiny town of 'Marrying Stone'. But though her life was simple, she was always sure that someday her prince would come. J. Monroe Farley arrived with his Edison listening box to record the traditional music of the Ozarks, determined to focus all his attention on his studies. But there, in this remote mountain hamlet, he found something he never expected--the princess of his dreams...

Simple Jess Blurb:
The last thing widow Althea Winsloe wants to do is remarry, but her meddlesome mountain neighbors have no intention of letting her stay single. So one day, they give her an ultimatum--find a husband by Christmas or the town of Marrying Stone will do it for her!

There are more, but all of these are keepers for me. I'm adding them back into my TBR pile. I miss her historical voice and style. I haven't tried one of her contemporaries in years, I'm tempted, really tempted.

So, what's your favorite??

Sunday, August 5

Can anyone explain why the child who has motion sickness in the car has no problem riding any amusement park or fair rides?

Have a great day.


PS I probably should point out I was the exactly the same as a child, and I'm pretty sure my parents can't explain it either :)

Friday, August 3

Busy, Busy, Busy

It seems August will be a very busy month.

Between Junior's birthday next week, school obligations and a new job, my blogging schedule will be very limited. I even have a RTB post due next week and I haven't even thought about what to write.

Add to that the recent on-line craziness, that has sent me more into lurker mode than posting mode, I find myself not that interested in posting.

I finished Pride and Prejudice and a couple of other books that I need to review, but finding the time has been iffy. Hopefully I'll have them up sometime next week.

Once things settle down a little and I create a routine, blogging will hopefully be back to normal. Posting on my own blog may be limited, but I do plan to be blog hopping each morning before the day starts. Even if I'm not commenting, know that I am reading.

Have a great day and stay cool, it's mighty hot here in NY.

Wednesday, August 1

The Zoo

We were very disappointed last year when the Catskill Game Farm closed. We'd made a couple of trips there over the last few years and enjoyed our visits.

So we were pleasantly surprised to find a small zoo in Sussex County New Jersey. I'm not quite sure how the DH came across Space Farms, but after discovering it, he thought it would be a great day trip for our little family. He decided to take yesterday off and we ventured there for the day. For some strange reason we never think about camps and summer schools having the same "great day trip" idea. We arrived at the same time as a bus full of Yeshiva students.

When we walked into the area where we bought the tickets I was very surprised to see a zebra skin and several mounted heads of different animals--kind of seemed strange for a zoo, at least to me.

We arrived around lunch time and apparently it was also lunch time for the animals. It was a little surprising to see a large turkey buzzard eating some sort of dead fowl. A little more surprising was the large piles of raw meat feed to the different types of bears (Syrian, Black and Kodiak). But what was truly disconcerting... the dead fawns feed to the lions and tigers. Now obviously these animals need feeding, and should be feed whatever is appropriate, but I have to wonder at the feeding time--right smack in the middle of the day with a park filled with children. It was a big yikes moment for me and the hubby. But it didn't seem to bother the child. I will say to my untrained eye, all the animals looked well fed especially the lions, tigers and bears.

Last night I was talking to one of my BILs that grew up not far from the zoo and he wasn't the least bit surprised by the feeding time. Those of you familiar with the X-Files will probably find his comparison to the family that owns the zoo to the bizarre Peacock family episode interesting to say the least. Which isn't very kind comparison and I apologize for it, but still felt the need to include it :)

Monday, July 30

a quickie . . .

A quick post before running errands...
  1. Big Yum to Rosie and her enchilada casserole recipe--definitely a hit (though I substituted ground beef and black beans for chicken)
  2. Thank you to Megan, who probably doesn't remember suggesting some WAHM websites. I've been hired by one, have orientation this week and start training in a couple of weeks.
  3. An Uh-Oh to the hubby, Junior pulled the pull chain out of our bedroom light fixture--high drama followed.

Got to go.

Have a great day :)

Friday, July 27

Lightning Reviews

I have no idea whether or not anyone actually looks at my little rating system on my sidebar. I've been adding books for the last couple of weeks but haven't written any reviews. Mostly because there are enough reviews out there to get a good idea about the books. And, hey, it's summer and I'm being lazy :)

Book CoverFirst up Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter. It's Chick Lit with a twist. I should start by saying I'm not a huge fan of Chick Lit, but do like Alexandra Potter. Simply put Emily is a book geek looking for her Mr. Darcy. So far what she's found are rather pathetic souls who never fit in the Darcy mold. On the spur of the moment, and to avoid a trashy Mexican vacation with her best friend, she decides to spend the week around New Years on a Jane Austen tour of England. She finds herself on a guided tour with a bunch of old ladies and one obnoxious journalist doing a story on "why the fictional Mr. Darcy has earned the title of Man Most Women Would Love to Date." Of course he turns into the love interest. It's fun, it's light and it loosely follows P&P, though I know some have considered it a retelling of P&P, but I found it wasn't that serious about it. What kept it from being very good were regular visits of Darcy as the story unfolds, I'd have preferred to just follow Emily and the group around without the little off shoots of plot.

Book CoverNext up Nora Roberts' High Noon. MUST read for any Nora fan. I found this very different from many of her books. The heroine, Phoebe, is an incredibly smart, sympathetic, loving, non-bitchy character, sometimes I find her heroines can be too bitchy (at least for me) but Phoebe is really different strong, but never comes across as a bitch. Duncan, our hero, is equally smart, kind, loving and not overly cranky. You know the feeling you get when you're so into a story that you simply sit and read and the next thing you know the book is finished and you want more. Everything about this book is right, the balance of romance to suspense, the relationship building between the h/h, the interaction between the families. You can find good reviews for this at Dear Author and an interesting commentary from Rosie

Book CoverLast up for this week Linda Howard's Up Close and Dangerous. Hmmm, what to say? Not my favorite Howard but still a good solid read. Bailey is the young widow of a very rich man, she now controls the trust funds for her nasty adult step-children, who obviously hate her because of this. She desperately needs a vacation away from her everyday life and has planned a rafting trip with her brother and SIL. Cam is the pilot called in to fly her from Seattle to Colorado. The plane's been sabotaged and goes down, they survive, fall in love and figure out who's the bad guy. Solid, simple story telling, but not spectacular. Zeek has a good review up and links to another.

Next week it's P&P and a couple of tribute books.

Have a good one and happy reading.

Wednesday, July 25


While blog hopping yesterday I discovered some conversations about the "Avonization" of authors. Unfortunately I have a brain like a sieve and can't remember where these posts were, but it got me thinking and that at times can be good or dangerous. Good in that it pulled me away from the latest on-line train wreck. Dangerous because my thoughts may turn out to be nothing but hogwash ;)

Some of my favorite authors write for Avon, which at times I find at odds with my firm belief that there is a certain level of "Avonization" going on over there. I went over to The Avon Author website. Of the 60+ authors listed I've read books by about 40 of them. Of those 40, 9 are autobuys:
Book Cover
  1. Adele Ashworth
  2. Rachel Gibson
  3. Laura Lee Guhrke
  4. Judith Ivory (it would be nice to have something new soon :)
  5. Eloisa James
  6. Mary Reed McCall
  7. Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  8. Julia Quinn
  9. Karen Ranney

Book CoverAs readers we have differing reading criteria, some like me read for voice and writing style, some read for story and others prefer a combination. So, what works for me may not work for someone else. I read these authors for their distinct writing styles and voices, I don't always love the story their telling, but I always like how they write. For me this separates them from the other 30 or so Avon authors I've tried. And this is where I think the "Avonization" comes about. Within the historical line there are authors whose books and stories sound too similar, so much so they're writing and stories can seemingly be interchanged with other authors that write historicals for Avon. If Avon put the wrong author's name on the cover I wonder how many people would notice the style or voice is wrong, because we really can't tell them apart. Without a really distinctive voice, writing style or story will these authors languish among the midlist realm?

Book CoverBook CoverHere's the thing. Which came first? Does Avon sign them because they are already writing in this style or do Avon editors push them toward this mold? For some reason I don't think the editors push them toward this, because there's enough authors within the group that don't fall into the "Avonization" category. Or are the authors that feel interchangeable actually writing to a glutted Regency/Victorian market? Do they need to write a spectacular or completely different story to get noticed? I ask this because Anna Campbell's Claiming the Courtesan garnered so much positive and negative attention because it wasn't interchangeable with anything else on the market right now. I've heard good things about Janet Mullany's The Rules of Gentility, and I'm left wondering will it fall into the Avon mold or will it be distinctive and different.

Tuesday, July 24

Kinderkamp (our schools version of Vacation Bible School) and Bingo are on today's agenda.

My parents are picking the child up after camp and taking him to lunch and a matinee of Ratatouille. It's a surprise.

Yesterday the mom running the camp program announced "He's so funny." I can only hope the child behaves.

Cool, Jenster thinks I "rock".

I'm not so sure, but I'll gladly pass on the title to 5 Rockin' bloggers tomorrow :)

Have a great day and happy reading.

Saturday, July 21

A day in the life...

Life with an active five year old is always interesting. Yesterday was one of those days that was a little more interesting.

We left the house early for some errands (this means before my morning shower). I warned the child before breakfast "Eat your breakfast, because I'm not buying anything while we're out." "Okay." Right, half an hour later "I'm hungry. Let's go to Sub-way." He's never set foot in a Sub-way, but it's next door and he figures it's close and I'll cave. I'm proud to say I didn't.

We get home, he has a yogurt and goes out to play. I tell him he's got half an hour outside before he has to come in. I need to take a shower and he needs to be inside. Okay, 45 minutes later he's inside with the his 2nd best friend from down the street. Instead of trying to figure out how to get rid of the 2nd BF I tell them to go out on the back porch and watch some TV while I take a quick shower. I get my clothing out, turn on the water and hear the front door open, both went outside to play. I turn the water off and head downstairs. Finally, I manage to get the 2nd BF on his way home and the 5 year old into the house with a "We're going shopping, but "Junior" can come out and play later."

I'm back upstairs and he yells up the stairs he's hungry. I tell him to have some cheese and fruit. "Okay."

Finally, I get into the shower. I'm out dried off and getting dressed and I hear water running, and I hear water running and I hear water running. And that gets me downstairs quickly. He's washing the dishes. So, I take his "clean" dishes off the drain board, put them back in the sink and instead of chasing him away I give him is first lesson in washing dishes. The first thing we wash is a pink depression glass plate. "Why is this in the sink?" "I used your good crystal for my lunch." That's what he calls anything that isn't china from my china cabinet. He also used a crystal sherbet cup for a glass.

Before we leave I give him a Go-Tart to help fill the bottomless pit he calls a stomach.

As we're pulling up to Barnes & Noble I tell him he's not getting anything but a book inside and to stay close to me. Apparently he heard nothing I said as he announces he's hungry and can't wait for a snack inside. As if I'm buying a 5 year old a Starbucks "snack". I then make the threat "... if you don't behave I'll drag you out by your hair." Not my best threat but it's what popped out of my mouth. "The hair is better then my leg, that would really hurt." Okay. I'm looking for the new Linda Howard which I thought was out but I was wrong. But I did pick up NR's new High Noon and bribed the child with a shark book to keep him out of children's section and away from the Thomas the Tank engine train table. While we were waiting on line he announced that "You wouldn't really drag me out by my hair, that would hurt me and you wouldn't want to hurt me." Thank God there was no one on line with us.

So we head across the street to Adams. Adams is a family owned market, smaller than a supermarket, but much bigger than a farm stand. It has the best quality produce, cheaper than any supermarket and they sell a tremendous amount of locally grown food. They also have a great butcher shop and really good gourmet cheeses, and the best deli counter in the county. Can you tell it's one of my favorite stores? Junior loves this store because it has kid size carts and he gets to wheel it around. Of course when he starts neighing like a horse and making it buck I'm not real happy, when he starts doing wheely spins by the deli counter I'm really not happy. He's still hungry. I finally cave and tell him he can get a giant cookie on the way out. No, he wants an ice cream. Okay, an ice cream. He wants a fudge bar. "I don't think you like them." "Yeah, I do." Half way home he hands the melting mess to me, "I don't like it."

We're home and the 2nd BF is back. They want to go swimming. I talk them out of it because it's kind of cold (75 degrees) for swimming. Well, that only lasted about 20 minutes. "We're hot from riding our bikes, can we go in the pool." Now I argue that the friend doesn't have permission and off they go to get permission. So, I've got 2 kids in the pool having a great time but they're out in less than half an hour "it's too cold."

While the kids were in the pool, the hubby called. He's had a rotten day, the boss is on the war path and he'd like a quiet night. "Pull "Junior" aside and tell him no one for dinner." Got it.

Well, it was too late, the 2nd BF had already been invited for dinner and got the okay when he went home for his bathing suit.

We had pizza delivered.

While we were waiting for the pizza. Junior comes in and announces he traded for the 2nd BF bike. What? Yeah he got the bike and the friends "toddler" helmet and he gave the 2nd BF his good helmet and his Razor Scooter. This needs fixing, we head down the street and get this straightened out and the 2nd BF came back for pizza.

The boys went back out to ride bikes and at 7:30 the child was back in the house for the night. Hit the shower and was in bed by 8:10.

Ah, peace and quiet, the child's in bed, the hubby's asleep early and I'm reading the new Nora Roberts, that is until 10:00 when the child comes in and says he can't sleep. "You haven't been to sleep yet?" "Nope, I watched The Naked Brother's Band movie on Nick--it was great." Maybe we need to take the TV out of his room. He crawled in with us and was asleep in about 30 seconds.

A day in the life...

"I just love your little boy"

"I just love your little boy." I hear this a lot. I'm not sure what catches peoples attention, but for some strange reason no matter where we go someone stops to tell me how cute or beautiful he is or how wonderful his smile or eyes are.

The other day I'm sitting in a meeting at school, there are 2 reps from the archdiocese and one of the "Alumni" Mom's says "I just love your little boy. He's so good in church. He was such a handful he was when he was little."

Oh, God, I know what's next.

"I remember the day he escaped the pew and made it all the way to the alter."

Me too.

Wednesday, July 18

Jennifer Crusie said it, so it must be official...

Bloggers: You’re journalists. Any ink is good ink.

So, are bloggers "journalists"? I wonder what the real journalists in my family think.

8 Random Things About MeMe

Tagged by Megan...

1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

The things...

  1. I always brush my teeth in the shower, and I have to brush my teeth to feel clean.
  2. I've never read a Harry Potter book--I know I'm a freak, right? I've also never seen a Harry Potter movie.
  3. Even in the dead of winter I don't wear socks. I hate when my feet feel hot.
  4. I have a cat with allergies, he has constant runny nose and sneezes a lot--which I find rather ironic since cats are one of the few things I'm not highly allergic too.
  5. I may be showing my age, but I'm a closet Meatloaf fan. Not the food, well that's not true, my favorite meal growing up was meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn (how's that for a carb fest?). Meatloaf is in concert this week at MSG and they were promoting it last night on tv. Still love the Bat Out of Hell album, and even more frightening I still know all the words.
  6. I'm a number geek--watch the odometer in the car for number sequences, count mile markers on highways, play freecell in number order
  7. With the exception of High Noon, I've read every book listed on Nora Robert's Book List, including the historicals and time travels. I've not read all the JD Robb books, but have started reading that series again.
  8. Favorite breakfast--cold Italian food... pizza, lasagna, baked ziti, chicken parm. And, I function much better if I eat some sort of protein in the morning.

Who to tag?? How about Bev, Cindy, Jennie, Jenster, Kristie, Rosie, Renee and Rosario? If you ladies have already been tagged--sorry :)

I like to check out the search engine requests that somehow find me.

Yesterday's requests:
romance reading mom
air conditioner skunky smell
perfect judith mcnaught free download
romance quick reading
secrets of egypt's lost queen reenactments
midnight bride synopsis
jude devereux.
nalini singh visions of heat download
alexandra potter me and mr darcy
61 year old georgette porn star
mrs carrington download
my friends hot mom mrs. carrington
cian vampire dialogue
similar books to paullina simons bronze horseman
gross love scene cover of night
I deleted one that was too icky to post. Most are rather easy to figure out. I get "Mrs. Carrington" hits every day, I still have no idea where these originated from. And the 61 year old porn star has a certain yuck thing going on.

Was there a "gross love scene" in Cover of Night?

Tuesday, July 17

A Quick Thank You...

I've got about 5 minutes before I have to leave for a "trip" to Motor Vehicle and a couple of other errand stops.

I want to thank all the bloggers who took the time to share their RWA experiences. It was wonderful seeing the convention through their eyes. And can only hope to one day experience it for myself.

Thank you all :)

Even though I am still jealous that you all got to meet Linda Howard and got to go to the "Nora Party" :P

Monday, July 16

Weird Dreams

Last night I had the television to myself. The hubby and child fell asleep early, so I got to watch a couple of Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes on Bravo and flipped over to watch some of Secrets of Egypt's Lost Queen on the Discovery Channel.

But it was L&O that triggered my weird dreams last night. In one of those odd epic type of dreams Goren and Eames were happily married, solving crimes, having children and renovating a cool old NY brownstone. I must be reading too much romance :)

Saturday, July 14

So while Jane, Kristie, Sybil and Wendy are off having a wonderful, fabulous, incredible time in Dallas, I'm spending my time trying to get the skunky smell out of my house. A skunk sprayed right outside our living room window when the window was open and a fan on. Have I ever mentioned I hate the smell of Febreeze? It's tied up with Junior and a car sick episode--yuck. Now the house smells like Febreeze and skunk.

I'd much rather be having lunch with Lisa Kleypas, talking to and taking pictures of fascinating people and not only meeting but talking to LINDA HOWARD.

I'm green, green I tell you :D

Thursday, July 12

It's going to be a Jane Austin et al and a few other classics summer

Book Cover
Last week while visiting my local B&N I picked up British Chick Lit author Alexandra Potter's Me and Mr. Darcy. I thought I had ordered it through my local bookstore but realized I hadn't and I definitely wanted to read it. Way back when Maili was still part of the romance reading on-line community she recommended Alexandra Potter and she's been a favorite ever since. I'm about half way through the book and am enjoying it immensely.

Book CoverBook CoverWhen my husband left for work this morning I discovered a DHL delivery on my front porch--two books from Source Books that I was asked to review. The first is Old Friends and New Fancies, An Imaginary Sequel to the Novels of Jane Austen originally written in 1913, the cover claims to be "the first Jane Austen sequel ever created" by Sybil G. Brinton. The other book is Letters from Pemberley by Jane Dawkins, this one is written in letter format (which is probably obvious by the title :) I'm looking forward to both.
Book Cover

Thoughts of these "tribute" books got me thinking about the original, which sent me looking for my complete works of Jane Austen, and I've put that on the TBR pile too. I think I'll work my way through the entire book, not just P&P.

Book CoverBook CoverWhile I was looking for my Jane Austen book I found my old worn out copies of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Shakespeare's Four Great Comedies. So, I put them on the TBR pile too. I don't think I've reread Jane Eyre in 15+ years and haven't picked up the Shakespeare in 7 or 8 years.

I'm not sure what I want to read next, but it probably wont be something I'll find in RT.
Book CoverSometimes it really is chick porn. Okay, that probably wasn't really fair. This was much better than "The Men of August" series which really was icky chick porn. And to be honest, I think her writing is better too.

The review at Dear Author is right on target. The story should have focused on the overall relationship without the suspense plot and local characters thrown in as filler.

Tuesday, July 10

No idea what to call this post

We have some of our favorite bloggers heading out to the RWA Convention in Dallas. Jane, Kristie, Sybil and Wendy will be there along with 150+ other bloggers, and I'm sure all will have a wonderful time.

While the ladies are having fun in Dallas I will be working bingo and trying to stay cool in 95+ degree temperatures. I shouldn't complain, we spent a good chunk of yesterday in the pool with the BF and his Mom. All of us did a quick bookstore run (the BF's Mom is an avid romance reader too) and I picked up a few books and plan to spend as much time as possible floating in the pool and reading.

I have a hard time planning meals in the heat. We don't have air conditioning so I prefer not to cook. The child doesn't eat salad and the hubby doesn't really like fruit with dinner. Last night it was BLT's, a green salad (for the hubby) and fruit salad (for me and Junior). Tonight it will be salad with cold chicken for the parents and a sandwich and more fruit salad for the child. If I have enough time I'll pick up some fresh green beans and make a green bean salad, we all eat that.

Tomorrow my Dad goes to the specialist about the blockage in his carotid artery, we know it requires surgery. My sister is taking them to the specialist and we expect surgery will be sometime in the next few weeks. Though he will have to be off his blood thinning medication for 5 days before they can do surgery. We're all a little nervous. He's been through so much the last few years.

Have to go, hit the shower, drop the child off at the BF's house and head to school for a web-site committee meeting and then 5 wonderful hours of BINGO.

Have a great day and stay cool :)

Saturday, July 7

A Round About Review

We are officially 3 weeks into Junior's summer vacation. And, I am officially ready for him to go back to school, unfortunately we still have 8 more weeks to go. He has camp at the end of the month--that can't come fast enough. Now I love my child, but like his father he knows exactly how to push that one button that will trigger an automatic response, rarely a good response. Not that he's being "bad" because he's really a very good little boy, but at 5 he thinks I have been put on this earth to be at his little beck and call. And when I don't respond fast enough it's announced I run on "Tara Time". This is something he's managed to pick up from the DH. It is true, I do run on "Tara Time", but I really don't need to be reminded of this by a 5 year old.

And yet the little stink pot knows when he's pushed too far. While on vacation he was whining while we were visiting Mystic Seaport... "It's hot, I don't want to be here, can we go..." We had brought him there to see the ships, which he wanted to see, took him on a little ride around the little bay and still he was whining. When I'd reached my limit I in turn announced "I've had it, put on a happy face or else." This was while I was dragging him into the ladies bathroom after he informed me he would go into the men's room by himself. I am rather relieved that he hasn't actually tested the "or else" threat as I'm not really sure what "or else" means. He put on a happy face and actually did enjoy himself.

The other day we took a quick run into B&N and while in there he pushed every button imaginable. "I'll wait in games." "Can I get a DVD." "I'm going to the kid section." The store was packed and I insisted he "knock it off", but being a child he kept pushing until I announced "I'd had enough." Apparently the child can judge my mood, because he could obviously tell I wasn't all that mad, he dropped prostrate on the floor and started begging my forgiveness, right smack in the middle of the one and only "Romance Aisle". I, of course, started to laugh and told him to get up. "Not until you forgive me." "Listen Barrymore, get up." He did a reenactment for his father that night--it was quite good.

Book CoverSo, while in B&N I pick up a couple of books, one of which was Holly Lisle's Night Echoes. Which was released back in April and somehow I'd missed completely. I heard absolutely no buzz about it and realized maybe I'm one of the only people in our little part of the romance reading world who reads her romantic suspense (I've never read her Fantasy books as 1. I'm not really into Fantasy all that much and 2. I'm not likely to get into Fantasy if I start with books as long as she writes, though I've been tempted :)
From Publisher's Weekly (Apr. 2007):

Romantic suspense twines neatly with the paranormal—and without a single vamp or were-creature—in Lisle's latest, a chilling haunted house mystery that pits a sensible couple against the supernatural...

Tara fixes the back blurb:

When artist Emma Beck returns to the small South Carolina where she was born to discover the truth about her roots and long dead birth mother, everything she thought she knew about her birth begins to fall apart--especially after she moves into the old wreck of a Pre-Civil War farmhouse she plans to restore. Emma is drawn to the house, which seems strangely familiar, as does Mike Ruhl, the contractor she hires to help her fix it up. She begins to feel frightened when she recognizes Mike as a recurring face in her paintings--including one in a Confederate uniform. And when Emma starts to hears soft whisperings late at night, and they discover lost letters and a hidden journal in the attic, they realize they are caught in a web of ghostly tragedy.

I like Holly Lisle's story telling and particularly like that it's a ghost story not a vampire or werewolf to be found. Emma is drawn to a house she's been recreating it in artwork since she was 5. There's a "realization" that comes about 3/4 of the way through the book that annoyed me because it should have come much sooner, like in the first 1/4. Vague, but I didn't feel like going into a big spoiler alert. But Holly's ability to raise the anxiety level makes the book worth reading even if I didn't love the plotting.

Friday, July 6

Nefertiti: Queen of Egypt, Daughter of Eternity

Book CoverIt's hard to believe Michelle Moran is a debut author. Nefertiti: Queen of Egypt, Daughter of Eternity is a MUST read for this summer.

The blurb is a a wonderful description of the story...
From the Publisher
Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. It is hoped by all that her strong personality will temper the young Amunhotep’s heretical desire to forsake Egypt’s ancient gods, overthrow the priests of Amun, and introduce a new sun god for all to worship.

From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people. Her charisma is matched only by her husband’s perceived generosity: Amunhotep showers his subjects with lofty promises. The love of the commoners will not be enough, however, if the royal couple is not able to conceive an heir, and as Nefertiti turns her attention to producing a son, she fails to see that the powerful priests, along with the military, are plotting against her husband’s rule. The only person wise enough to recognize the shift in political winds—and brave enough to tell the queen—is her younger sister, Mutnodjmet.

Observant and contemplative, Mutnodjmet has never shared her sister’s desire for power. She yearns for a quiet existence away from family duty and the intrigues of court. Her greatest hope is to share her life with the general who has won her heart. But as Nefertiti learns of the precariousness of her reign, she declares that her sister must remain at court and marry for political gain, not love. To achieve her independence, Mutnodjmet must defy her sister, the most powerful woman in Egypt—while also remaining loyal to the needs of her family.

Love, betrayal, political unrest, plague, and religious conflict—Nefertiti brings ancient Egypt to life in vivid detail. Fast-paced and historically accurate, it is the dramatic story of two unforgettable women living through a remarkable period in history.

Told in the first person by Mutnodjmet (Mutny) the story simply unfolds brilliantly. Nefertiti's is both strong and selfish, Amunhotep/Akhenaten's selfishness and self-absorption, Mutny's goodness and strength, their father's drive for power that never overshadows the protection of his daughters, Nakhtmin's strength and love for Mutny. The story is epic in scale, but the story telling never suffers. I love that Ms. Moran tells the full story of love, anger, jealousy and betrayals between these two fascinating sisters.

Nefertiti is a July 10th hardcover release, put this one on your TBB list, it's worth every penny.

*ETA* This is one of those books you want everyone you know to read. When I sat down to review this I picked up the book to skim different passages, and found myself rereading huge chunks of the book, finally giving up and rereading the whole thing. And please visit the author's website and the 18th Dynasty Family Tree is really interesting, make sure you check out all the information at the bottom of the page as you rollover the names in red and blue.

Thursday, July 5

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes...

Book CoverSince it was a rainy and dreary 4th in our neck of the woods, I spent the day reading The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, a collaboration by Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer and Anne Stuart. After finishing it I went in search of reviews and found Dear Author's review nailed it perfectly. Rather than write my own I decided to be lazy and simply link to Jane's :) Go over and read, I can wait...

From the Publisher
You’re invited to spend the weekend with three extraordinary sisters…

When she was sixteen, Dee Fortune kidnapped her two younger sisters and ran from danger. Now twenty-nine, she’s still trying to control her shape-shifting power—no easy task when Danny James shows up one Friday morning with his deadly smile and dangerous questions about the past.
Dreyer is wickedly clever and witty.”—Booklist

Lizzie is determined to save her family from financial ruin by turning straw into gold; now if she could only stop turning forks into bunnies. Then Elric, a sorcerer, appears one Friday—annoyed with the chaos Lizzie is creating in the universe and in his heart. . . .
A consummate mistress of her craft, Stuart is a pure pleasure to indulge.”
—Romantic Times Bookreviews

The youngest Miss Fortune, Mare, towers above her sisters but her telekinetic power is dwarfed by their gifts. She spends her days at Value Video!! and her nights contemplating the futility of her existence. But then a gorgeous Value Video!! VP and Mare’s long lost love turn up. . .and they all turn up the heat on a weekend that no Fortune will soon forget!
“Crusie is a master of fast-paced witty dialogue.”—Seattle Times

Each author's voice is distinctive, each writing the story of one of the Fortune sisters. If you're familiar with the authors you can easily pick out who wrote what. I liked each of the sisters, Stuart's Dizzy Lizzie is sweet but not stupid--typical Stuart, Mare is vintage Crusie, but I can't say much about whether or not Dee is a typical Dreyer heroine as this is my first "Dreyer".

Crusie has some very witty dialogue and it's hard to complain about her writing style and voice. Stuart is always a favorite and Dreyer has a nice style and voice too, and yet found myself a little underwhelmed by the whole thing.

So, what was wrong--I think it was the heros, not enough time or attention to each, leaving each of the romances somewhat weak. Though the stories aren't done in a novella format each one is limited to the amount of space within the 390+/- pages. I would have loved more of a back story on Stuart's Elric. Crusie does the best giving a stronger back story for Mare and Crash.

Not bad, but not spectacular either Jane's B- is right on target.

Wednesday, July 4

Happy 4th of July....

Hopefully your day is filled with flag waving...



Have a wonderful 4th.

Tuesday, July 3

Honestly--I Tried

Book CoverLast night I decided maybe I wasn't being fair to Jina Bacarr's Naughty Paris, see yesterday's post, so I picked it back up. After reading another couple of chapters and skimming through several passages, I've officially given up.

Convoluted mess is my best description and Wendy, you're right, full of purple prose. There's an ick factor to the book that completely didn't work for me. Most of what I read didn't seem titillating, it just felt dirty, and not in a good way.

Monday, July 2

Not what I expected...

Can a whole subgenre fall under the INYIM (It's Not You, It's Me) category?

I think Erotic Romance isn't my genre. When I look back at my stats for the last couple of years only about 10%-15% of what I read even falls under this category, and ultimately I feel let down by what I've read. Part of the problem I'm sure I what I'm choosing--I've yet to find anyone who has similar taste to mine when it comes to ER recommendations. Don't get me wrong there are a handful of authors I've read, liked and will continue to read... Emma Holly, Lisa Marie Rice, Sarah McCarty and a couple more that aren't coming to me right now, but most of what I've read has left me disappointed, sometimes it's the story itself, sometimes it's the voice and writing style.

Add all this to the cost issue, new books are ridiculously priced. Maybe I'm cheap, but they're not worth the trade paperback price. I know, I know, I should be getting them as downloads, they're cheaper that way, but I really don't like using a hand-held device, I still prefer books. I've been watching the UBS for 2 of the Sarah McCarty's Promise series, new these things are $18.00 each. They maybe worth the cost, but it's not a price I'm willing to pay to find out.

Book CoverI started Jina Bacarr's Naughty Paris, liked the synopsis in RT and the blurb sounded interesting...

After being jilted by her fiancĂ©, Autumn Maguire uses her non refundable honeymoon tickets to explore Paris on her own. Eager to experience the true bohemian lifestyle, she answers an ad for an artist's model. When she exchanges her clothes for the artist's lush red cloak, something strange happens—a feeling of intense sensual reawakening overcomes her. Suddenly lightning strikes and through the power of black magic she's thrust back into...

...the nineteenth century where the scandalous painter Paul Borquet is insisting she become his Titian-haired muse. Between everyone's strange clothing, the claustrophobic Parisian streets and the overpowering pull of sexual desire, Autumn can't process—just where the heck is she and how did she get here? And frankly, with Paul's expert caresses imprinted on her body, does she really care about going back to present day?

After 20 pages I thought "I'm not liking this." And it went down hill from there, finally giving up around page 70. Alternating between 1st and 3rd POVs, and I didn't like the author's 1st person's voice and style--that's a problem.

I don't know what I expect from ER as genre, but whatever it is I'm not finding it. Considering how popular it is, I have to think it really is a matter of "INYIM".
Go visit Jaye and enjoy Maxine's take on Maxine's Guide for Men to Words Women Use.

Sadly men need to have these things pointed out, they've yet to figure it out on their own :)

Sunday, July 1

The sum of the parts...

Book CoverI finished the Silhouette Nocturne Raintree series and realized that sometimes a series can be better than the sum of it's parts. I liked this series because I enjoyed the overall story arc more than the individual stories themselves, though I liked all three of the books.

Linda Howard's Raintree: Inferno is probably the weakest romance of the three, but it does a very good job setting the stage for the overall story arc. It does most of the world building, telling of the back story and ground laying for the Raintree/Ansara storyline. I know many readers had issues with the "brain rape" but it worked okay for me within the context of the story and overall Dante and Lorna worked for me, even if he's a little over the top.

Book CoverI think Linda Winstead Jones' Raintree: Haunted is probably the strongest romance of the three. Gideon and Hope work well together and their attraction is immediate and works. All three stories have a "fated and mated" theme, but Haunted worked the best of the three despite this.

It also has an interesting sub-plot to the overall story arc with the female assassin playing cat and mouse with them. Nicely done.

Book CoverLast in the series is Beverly Barton's Raintree: Sanctuary. This was one of those books that shouldn't work, but somehow does anyway. A back story filled with a secret identity and secret baby should have sent the book against the wall, but somehow it works even though I didn't particularly like the little girl (secret baby), but ultimately she's pivotal to the story arc resolution. He's kind of an Anne Stuart type of anti-hero. He's dishonest in the past and the present, but it works within the context of the story.

Raintree/Ansara story line comes to a head in the final book with a satisfying conclusion and overall worked for me.

Tempting by Susan Mallery

Book CoverSome times I wonder at my reading choices. For some reason I felt the need to finish Susan Mallery's Buchanan series even though I was underwhelmed by each and every book in the series. Tempting didn't change my opinion of the series. An "Okay" book to finish an overall "Okay" series.
After three romantic flame-outs in a year and a restaurant career going nowhere, Dani Buchanan needs a fresh start. She goes looking for her biological father, but never expects to find a senator running for president. As his long-lost 'love child,' Dani could seriously derail the election— something his handsome campaign manager Alex Canfield isn't going to let happen. Dani isn't about to let Alex run her life, no matter how tempting she finds him—and Alex isn't going to allow Dani to melt his cynicism, no matter how close he has to get. The last thing either of them wants is love, especially with scandals brewing and family trouble on the way. But Dani and Alex are forced to trust each other, and when trust turns to passion, the potential for disaster is only a tabloid scandal away.
If you've been following the series you know Dani's had a rough year--her marriage falls apart, she falls for an ex-priest and has an affair with a man that's married, not that she knows this before hand. Through the first 2 books she treated like crap by her over the top evil Grandmother (Grandma goes through an amazing transformation in book 3--evil to good) because she's actually not her biological grandchild. Finding this out sends Dani looking for her real Father. And low and behold he's a Senator considering a run for President, has the perfect wife and a household of adopted special needs children. Ms. Mallery seems to have a thing for Presidential type characters.

Alex is the best part of the story, he's smart, loyal and caring. Dani is a mess, lots of contradictions and immaturity, not all bad as she very good with the children, but she's doesn't seem to deal as well with adults.

Not horrible just kind of blah.

Friday, June 29

Vacation Reads...

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

I'm not sure what it is, but when I'm on vacation inevitably I enjoy whatever it is I'm reading. Actually I finished the Quinn and Barton after we got back, but my brain is still in vacation mode. I probably wont write full reviews for each, but here are a few thoughts...

  • Never Lie to a Lady by Liz Carlyle -- There are a handful of authors that always work for me, Liz Carlyle is one. I am a huge fan of Liz Carlyle's writing style and voice. Once again she delivers a winner, with smart and interesting lead characters and visits from some old favorites. And honestly, is Kemble not one of the best secondary characters in romances today?
  • Son of the Morning by Linda Howard -- I reread this one after my husband finished it. He's promised to come up with a review. I think he liked it--he gave his brother a detailed synopsis and made it sound very interesting, so much so it was screaming for a reread. His last comment to me "The ending was predictable." I pointed out it's a romance it's supposed to be predictable.
  • The Secret Diaries of Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn -- I didn't know what to expect when I read this one. I didn't particularly like the last two books in the Bridgerton series. I'm starting to think I was in Bridgerton burn-out, because even though I didn't like the stories themselves, I still thoroughly enjoy her voice and style. This one worked for me.
  • Raintree: Sanctuary by Beverly Barton -- This was my first Beverly Barton. I haven't decided whether or not it will be my last. Which may seem odd as I liked the book, but didn't particularly like the hero--a little too alpha for me. Which in and of itself is rather for me as I've not yet met an alpha I didn't like on some level. For those who didn't like Dante in Raintree Inferno you probably wont like Judah either. I'll leave it at that as I'm probably going to write a review/commentary on the entire series.

That's it for now, hoping the hubby will have something to post in the next day or so.

Have a good one and happy reading.