Wednesday, May 30
Why do you ask? It started with Jane and Sybil, their newest brainchild.
What if there was a website that was all about upcoming book releases? What if it was created by readers for readers?
Last week I received an email--'what do you think? you interested?' Well, what obsessive/compulsive reader wouldn't be interested? LOL. Everyone involved is taking on different jobs. I've been slowly working my way through June releases, and am now a copy and pasting champ, can load an upcoming release with all its information in less than 5 minutes--the OCD thing comes in handy for this :D
So, GO and visit. Click your way around and send us your thoughts.
What's on my agenda today? Laundry there's so much I need to go to the laundromat to get it all done. Maybe I'll bring a book and catch up on that too.
Tuesday, May 29
Conceptually this book should have annoyed me, the whole plot line is beyond odd. Winery heiress becomes American spy after ex-boyfriend (domestic terrorist) tries to kidnap the President's daughter (her sister-in-law), falls in love with an antiquities thief she's supposed to be covertly watching, who turns out to be a prince from a small European Kingdom. also working undercover. She secretly has his baby after she thinks he's dead. He sees a picture of her and her child in a newspaper and realizes he's got an heir and the little boy's a "Prince". And, to add insult to injury, he plans to take the child away from his poor mother. Far-fetched enough, convoluted enough? **eyes roll repeatedly**
And yet I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Why you ask? Because it feeds one of my reading guilty pleasures--Commoner/Royalty stories. I don't read them very often, but when I do inevitably it's going to be a favorite--LOL.
Nora Robert's Cordina series is on my keeper shelf and it's now itching for a reread.
Monday, May 28
First we went for an hour long ride, then he got to visit the conductor, who let him ring the bell and honk the horn. He had such a good time, I guess it wore him out.
Back to books tomorrow. Have a great day.
PS--Click on the pictures to see larger versions, in the last picture you may notice he sleeps with his eyes slightly open (and see up his nose--LOL)
Friday, May 25
Somehow I was named chair of a new committee at school, Marketing and Publicity. This happened at a meeting I wasn't even attending. So, I've been busy collecting rate charts for the various newspapers, and gathering press release info for radio and television stations as well as newspapers. I need to come up with a budget and plan by June 21st. I also have to design an ad that will be in a local "Parenting" magazine, this I need to do next week. I also need to create an ad for our graduates.
Junior only has 2 weeks left of school. Graduation is June 14th. The Kindergarten class is putting on a play about Noah and the Ark. Junior's Noah, I was able to borrow a Joseph costume (my nephew was Joseph in a Christmas Pageant a few years ago and that costume fits) but I still have to make a beard. To quote the music teacher "Whatever you do, don't cover up the beautiful face." :D
He was supposed to be able to tie a bow by today. He's left handed and I'm having a heck of time teaching him, it's the reason he wears loafers. I have a feeling they're testing them today. Do you think you can fail Kindergarten because you can't tie?
We have a barbeque tomorrow and a day trip planned for Sunday, maybe I'll find time to read Monday, probably not--LOL.
Have a great Memorial Day Weekend, and buy a poppy.
Thursday, May 24
Then I was left wondering...
- Is Charlie really gone?
- What the heck is healing Locke?
- Why can't they kill Mikhail?
- Who the heck is on the boat? If not Penelope then who???
- Who was in the coffin?
- Was the "forward" flash for real?
- What the heck happens to Jack if/when they get home?
- Who did Kate need to get back to?
- Was Walter alive?
- And, where the heck is Michael?
I hate cliffhangers!!
Wednesday, May 23
I'm going to start by saying I'm not a huge fan of anthologies, normally something doesn't work within each story, whether it's pacing, or amount of story or back story.
But, I absolutely LOVED Creepin'. Each story is unique and different. Each hits different levels of romance, erotica and horror. It's the horror mark that really works for me. Each story deals with revenge and justice, but in a paranormal environment.
Payback is a Bitch by L.A. Banks--Sidney Coleburn-West has a cheating bastard for a husband. And he needs to be dealt with, in comes Mitchell "Brick" Brickland to the rescue. Turns out Brick is a werewolf and decides Sidney's going to be his mate, but first they need to deal with the husband. I particularly liked this one, it was my first L.A. Banks story and I'll be looking for her back list.
The Heat of the Night by Donna Hill--Chris has been in love with her best friend, Melody, for years. Mel has no idea, but Chris now has a nightly visitor, and she is completely hot for whatever it is and loves what it does to her body. And, she's not willing to share, not even with Mel. This is by far my favorite story of the five. It's hot, it's spooky and it has an ending that could rival anything by the favorites within the horror genre. If you like the odd ironies of Stephen King short stories, this one will probably work for you--it did for me.
Vamped by Monica Jackson--another fun story. Joy's fiance, Andre, is a bit of a homebody. Goes to work and comes home, nothing in between. Joy insists he make an appearance at a work related event to prove to her coworkers he actually exists. Well, there's a reason he doesn't go out in public, regular visits from a vampire named Dahlia, she uses him for feeding and sex and he wants no part of it. Somehow (I'm not telling) Joy is infected. I'm stopping here in the story synopsis because I don't want to give anything else away. This one's an erotic romance and the ending is a little convenient, but I liked it and it certainly didn't take away from the overall story. And, I'm not certain if there would have been any other way to reach the HEA--so it works.
Balancing the Scales by J.M. Jeffries--Paloma Alexander is a Superstar with a lying, cheating, thief for a husband. She's willing to give up everything to be free of him even her most prized possession--her voice. Loved this story, not only is it about revenge, it's about the poetic justice that can go with it.
Avenging Angel by Janice Sims--Sarai is a member of the Nephilim group Grigori. The Grigoris are dedicated to God, unlike the Nephilim group The Sons of the Morning Star who are dedicated to Lucifer. It turns out an old boyfriend from The Sons of the Morning Star wants her back, but she's happily married to a human, a professional boxer turned politician, a good man doing good things and Sarai loves her husband and wants no part of the ex. The ex needs to be dealt with--that's it anything else is a spoiler. This was my least favorite of the group and it's still a good story, of course a Good vs. Evil story always works for me.
Be prepared not all the stories are romances, but all are extremely erotic. I read the entire book in one sitting at my computer, anyone who knows me, knows that's saying something about just how good this book is.
Tuesday, May 22
Oh well, there's worse things in life. I'll be back later and try writing it again. Have a good one.
Monday, May 21
Friday, May 18
After a few loops around blog and review land, I've discovered there are some really "bad" books out there. I've posted about this in the past. Bad books are so tempting.
And once again, I'm left pondering "Can they really be that bad?"...
- Mrs. G's review of Lori Foster's Causing Havoc, not that I'm remotely a fan of Lori Foster, but yikes a 05--that's worse than bad.
- AAR's review of Caroline Davidson's Nightsong, AAR calls it an "Indian" romance, I've reached the point where political correctness has taken over my thinking, before I read the review I thought it was going to be set in India and not The Dakota Territory.
- SBTB's review of Lucy Monroe's Take Me, it's tempting.
- And then there's Dear Author's and Karen's reviews for Carol Lynne's Ben's Wildflower, I'm not going to link to the reviews as if you somehow missed them last month, you apparently live under a rock. I had absolutely no interest in this until I saw Mrs. Giggles campy grade of 80.
Ben's Wildflower is the only one truly tempting me. Can it be so bad it's good?
Thursday, May 17
|You Belong in Brooklyn|
Down to earth and hard working, you're a true New Yorker.
And although you may be turning into a yuppie, you never forget your roots.
The Brooklyn thing is kind of funny since we left East 23rd Street in 1972.
|You Are An Apple Tree|
You are quiet and shy at times, but you have lots of charm and appeal.
You are quite attractive: your pleasant attitude, flirtatious smile, and adventurous spirit draw people in.
Sensitive and loyal in love, you want to love and be loved.
You are a faithful and tender partner - who is generous in sharing your many talents.
You love children, and you need an affectionate partner.
Wednesday, May 16
Shana Abe's The Smoke Thief completely blew me away. It's been out for a while and to be honest I wasn't all that interested, I picked it up on a whim and it's now a keeper. I had to fight to keep from doing an immediate reread.
I chose not to review this one because I thought it would turn into a gush fest and that wouldn't do the book justice.
I'm heading to the library today in the hope they have The Dream Thief available.
I'm a Susan Squires fan and her Companion series is one of my favorites, though I didn't particularly like The Burning, I did like her new one One With The Night. The heroine is strong and smart, the hero is a bit of a "poor put upon me" vampire, but not enough to put me off the story, and considering his backstory it may be understandable. There's an interesting twist to the Loch Ness Monster(s) in this one that I originally thought was over the top, but the more I think about it the more I like it.
I like that Ms. Squires leaves the HEA on the ambiguous side, it's a series about vampires--forever is a really long time :)
Castle of the Wolf is my first Sandra Schwab book. It's a Gothic--I love Gothics.
I liked the hero and heroine, her brother's pathetic, her SIL's a bitch, his parents are sweet, the servants are loyal, the heroine has an interesting rat killing friend, and his brother's the villain. The gargoyles add a cool twist to the story. The setting is interesting--Germany's Black Forest.
What's not to like? :D
Hmmm, I've been at a loss for words (I know--a loss for words--right :D) regarding Loretta Chase's Not Quite A Lady and it finally hit me, I'm not a huge fan of Loretta Chase's voice, it's why I'm sometimes hit or miss with her stories, because if the story doesn't completely grab me I'm just reading, not really loving it but not hating it either. I also did the comparison thing--Mr. Impossible is one of my favorite books, this one didn't compare for me. Darius isn't half as entertaining as Rupert and Charlotte just seemed immature, at one point near the end she says something about not growing past 16 and that's exactly how I felt as I was reading the book. Good because she's a good writer but it didn't completely work for me.
I'm not a huge "contemporary" reader, because I often find them trying too hard--too funny, too melodramatic. I'm picky about romantic comedies and I've reached a point in my life that too much melodrama is, well, too much. Susan Wiggs' contemporaries are melodramatic, but for some reason they don't bug me. Her The Lakeside Chronicles are set in the Catskills, which is basically my backyard. I find myself nit picking the details of the area, how long it takes to go back and forth to NYC, calling the local government a "city" instead of a "town" or "village". But, not enough to completely pull me out of the story. I liked the hero and heroine (Rourke and Jenny). The Winter Lodge is a nice story,add a little mystery, and truths uncovered--it worked.
Thanks to Wendy I've become a Cheryl St. John fan, slowly collecting her backlist as I come across them. She's a nice storyteller, her books are simple, straightforward and always work. Joe's Wife is a sweet story about a man from the wrong side of the tracks and a widow in need.
I've got 2 or 3 more of her books on my TBR pile, she's become my go to author when I need a western fix.
You know that deja vu feeling you get when you read something that seems familiar but you can't quite figure out why? It's the feeling I got when I started Asking for Trouble by Elizabeth Young. And then it hit me, the plot was the same as that movie that came out a couple of years ago with Debra Messing--The Wedding Date, no kidding, after a quick pop in to B&N and I find out the movie's based on the book. Well, I have to say I loved the first half of the book, found myself smiling at the basic craziness of it, but then the second half disintegrated into a mass of misunderstandings. It could have been better but wasn't horrible.
It really wasn't a quickie, was it? :D
Tuesday, May 15
Monday, May 14
I'm going to spread the "Thinking" joy and tag 5 more bloggers that always make me think and entertain at the same time...
On the back he wrote...
"Be Happy It is your 'specialest' day."
He came into me three times and asked me how to spell "specialest". I tried to tell him it wasn't a word, but he insisted.
Love that kid. :)
Sunday, May 13
Friday, May 11
- why my keeper shelves are filled with less then perfect books.
- why I have autobuy authors that always work for me, but may not love or even like all their books.
- why I have old favorites that no longer work for me, it's not the stories they're now telling, it's a change in their writing voice and style I don't like. Joan Wolf went from lush to sparse. Catherine Coulter historicals went from dark to humorous to just too witty.
- why some authors are hit or miss. I may like the story they're telling enough to compensate for not loving their writing voice or style, but may not like other stories enough to do the same.
Don't get me wrong, a good story is always important, but for me it's the writing voice and style that make an autobuy.
Autobuys... Mary Balogh, Meljean Brook, Liz Carlyle, Susan Carroll, Laura Lee Guhrke, Linda Howard, Madeline Hunter, Eloisa James, Lydia Joyce, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Julia Quinn, Karen Ranney, Nora Roberts, Karen Rose, Susan Squires, Anne Stuart, Lynn Viehl... To name a few :D
Are you back?
"I hated this book. Seriously, when the book ended I needed Tylenol and therapy.”So what do you think, are these quotes real?
“Pure crap. I’ll never read this author again. I want my money and my time back. The author’s head on a platter would be nice, too. What an idiot!”
“This book was terrible. There isn’t one nice thing I can say about it.”
And if so are they from Amazon/B&N or part of a review giving reasons why "I hated this book...", "Pure crap..." or "This book was terrible..." If they're Amazon reviews, does anyone take these seriously? And I still haven't come across a blogger review that doesn't explain why. Some may be harsh, but they inevitably share all the painful details.
Ms. Showalter doesn't qualify where they came from and the context, but then I guess if I was on the receiving end of these context may not matter. But, what if the reader did "...hate this book..." or think it "Pure crap..." or "This book was terrible..."?
The bad review, the invisible and sometimes not so invisible line between reader and author.
Edited to add...
But if I just say - “this is crap” what do they get out of that? Even when I give my oh-so-carefully constructed advice they probably don’t care but at least I didn’t just say it was crap."...oh-so-carefully constructed advice"???? For crying out loud why is it so hard to realize reviews aren't for the author, they're for READERS.
Thursday, May 10
Wednesday, May 9
But, I had to wonder if my dislike of the book stemmed from it being a so so story or my love of some of her other books. Winter Garden (my favorite), Stolen Charms and My Darling Caroline are all keepers for me.
I know I'm comparing. I also know I do it with Catherine Coulter, Jane Feather, Mary Jo Putney and Joan Wolf--loving older books and being disappointed in later ones. I no longer read Coulter and Putney, Wolf I keep trying simply because I can't believe her writing style has changed that much, and I vacillate about Feather from book to book. I realize my reading tastes evolve at the same time authors writing styles are evolving and perhaps we're going in opposite directions.
It leaves me wondering...
- Is it fair to judge a book by previous ones, instead of on the merits of the story and storytelling?
- Obviously I'm not the only one who does this :) So for those who don't, how do you not make comparisons?
- How is it possible that a writer like Joan Wolf's writing style and voice evolve into something SO completely different?
- And do editors, agents and publishers push authors to fit their molds? ie Avon and their interchangeable stable of Regency/Victorian writers?
That last question might be a little snotty, but I find myself reading less and less books published by Avon, there are only a handful of authors with their own truly distinct voice, the rest seem like so much of the same. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think so.
So, what do you think fair, unfair?
Now, the flip side of that. Do you give freshman authors a break?
When a book is by a new author or a new to you author do you give them a break as long as the story is good? I'm starting to think so. When I look back at my list of books read YTD I've read 17 new to me authors, some complete newbies and some I've tried for the first time. If I compare some of these to my keepers, in some cases there's no comparison, but yet I still liked the stories. Does any of this make sense?
And then do you have different standards for different genres or romance sub-genres? This I know I don't do, but am pretty sure others do, and they may not even realize it. I'm leaving this thought rather vague on purpose :D
PS--you may have noticed I didn't include Linda Howard in my list of evolving authors. Though I know so many people don't feel her newer books are as good as her older ones, I'm apparently bordering on rabid fangirl status and if she wrote the phone book I'd at least like it, if not love it :D
Tuesday, May 8
Have you ever picked up a book and after reading it realized whoever wrote the back blurb nailed the description? ...
Well, there you have a perfect summary. Actually a perfect summary of half the book. Gabriel and Nick's story. Both characters are strong and smart, devoted to their own causes. Once she's saved him from the Brethren it turns into a little bit of a road tale--pulling them toward Ireland and the rest of the story... Alex, Michael and Richard...
A Noble Prisoner...
Gabriel Seran has fallen into the hands of the fanatical religious order known as the Brethren. Though abandoned by his fellow Kyn, he remains honor bound to protect their secrets from his interrogators. Blinded, nailed to a cross,k and sealed in a chapel cellar beneath a ruined chateau, Gabriel faces an eternity of suffering.
An Obsessed Thief...
Nicola "Nick" Jefferson has been traveling across Europe, looting churches of their precious artwork and fencing the treasures to make her living. At each destination, she liberates the captive vampires, hoping they'll provide her with information leading to the one artifact she so desperately craves: the Golden Madonna.
A Fateful Coupling...
Gabriel and Nick have met before in each other's dreams. Bound together by more than coincidence, their destinies intertwine even as their passions ignite...
If you've been following the series at the end of Dark Need Richard has kidnapped Alex and brought her back to Ireland to help cure him. The King of the Darkyn has a problem. When he was held in captivity by the Brethren he only feed on animals, his system doesn't tolerate human blood. And we also discovered at the end of DN that Kyn who don't feed on human blood slowly become changelings turning into a bizarre version of animal/human. Richard's becoming more animal than human. He desperately needs Alex to save him. Alex wants out, Michael wants Alex out and this slowly builds to a climax that includes Gabriel and Nick and a villain they're all looking for.
Ms. Viehl does an amazing job combining story line and overall series arc--it completely works and flows together beautifully, and yet the overall series arc isn't finished only a part of it, leaving the Brethren, John and other Kyn with interesting story lines that still need to be told--LOVE IT :D
Next up on the TBR pile was Ms. Viehl's Midnight Blues, another great tale. On some level it's a small continuation of DN bringing us back to Sam and Lucan, almost an epilogue with an extra tale for Rafael, Sam's detective partner and also Kyn. Daniela Nieves needs rescuing from an evil Kyn member many have thought long dead. Rafael to the rescue. What makes this novella particularly entertaining is just who the villain is, and I'm not telling :D
So after a reading high I moved on to another "favorite" author. Unfortunately it lead to a little bit of a let down. I like Adele Ashworth's stories, writing style and voice. But The Duke's Indiscretion didn't really work for me. Conceptually it's an interesting story. An Earl's sister living a double life as aristocrat and opera singer attracts the attention of a smart, rakish Duke. She manipulates him into marriage and he's willing because he thinks he's getting the hot opera singer, what he actually gets is the cold aristocrat. He's made to feel the cad and she needs to work through her "feelings" about the whole thing. Throw in a little mystery and that's it.
Basically, I liked Colin, the hero, but didn't like Charlotte/Lottie, the heroine.
And again Ms. Ashworth falls victim to bad proof reading. The opening of one chapter has Charlotte spelled without the "h".
Friday, May 4
You know the feeling you get when you close a book and realize the next one wont be out for at least 6 months? I'm devastated, okay not devastated, but really annoyed that this one's done and nothing is on the horizon until January of '08.
Before I can write a review/commentary I'll need to gather my thoughts, this one left me craving more and I'm a little scattered. Why? Because I just realized there's an ebook download for this series that somehow I missed. How? I rarely visit author websites (exceptions--the ones on my sidebar). I'll be adding Paperback Writer. I hate to admit it I've never been there before. So, while I'm there I see a cover I've never seen before, for a story in the series I've never read... Midnight Blues, a Darkyn Novella. "A Darkyn Novella", why don't I remember anyone mentioning this?? Not only does Adobe pop up with 108 pages, there's a huge list of other free downloads. I'm so pathetic I'm sure someone somewhere must have mentioned this. I live in my own world, surrounded by books, rubbernecking at on-line train wrecks, but go no where.
So, you can probably figure out what's up next on the TBR pile, but then I'm bereft, with nothing to read (not--LOL), knowing what I really want is Evermore. I've read the excerpt and already know it's going to be fantastic.
I wonder how hard it would be to get on Signet's ARC list? I somehow managed to get myself on Simon & Schuster's Historical Fiction list. Hmm, I'll have to work on this :D
Thursday, May 3
What the Hell is going on with LOST? Literally?? Are they all DEAD? Is it possible they're in Hell?? Is Ben the Devil? Are the rest of the "Others" his evil minions? Is it some sort of Purgatory?
We've got 2 episodes left and I'm thinking we're heading for a doozy of a cliffhanger.
Tuesday, May 1
I must say I was pleasantly surprised when it was more than that. I enjoyed this book. I felt comfortable with Ellie, she's sweet and self conscious and at times full of forced bravado, but not in a bad way. Ash is cool.
Sexy and smart, well paced. The dialogue works (though I hated the "babygirl" endearment--but that's mostly because one of my BILs calls his 3 year old "babygirl). Mostly I liked Ellie and Ash, they were good people. A very sexy story about everyday average people falling in love.
It's not perfect, some of the conflict seemed a little forced and there's little side trips within the story that aren't really necessary, but don't really hurt the story.
This one was better than average for me.
I wish Mary Balogh's Simply Magic was better than average. I was disappointed with this story. I'm not going to write a full review or commentary for this one. All I can say about it is BORING. The hero and heroine are both nice people, but the story is a character driven one and it basically goes absolutely no where. I found myself skimming and skipping whole sections. Mary Balogh is still an auto read for me, simply because I like her writing style and voice, but this book didn't work for me.
Count to Ten has put Karen Rose on my autobuy list. This is a non-stop thriller with a great balance between suspense and romance. I'm very picky when it comes to romantic suspense, I usually find the balance doesn't work for me (to heavy on the romance not enough chills and thrills). Smart, well-developed characters (main and secondary), strong story, good dialogue, the pacing was perfect. I tried to find some of her backlist at the UBS today, but there wasn't a single book in stock.
They Call Me Naughty Lola Personal Ads from the LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS--Edited and with an Introduction by David Rose. Incredibly fun reading. The ads are funny, sarcastic, dry and at times beyond desperate. If you have an opportunity to pick this one up--do, it's worth it. I borrowed it from the library and hate having to give it back. I may have to buy myself a copy.
That's it for last weeks reading.
I've got some good books on the TBR pile, I may come up for air long enough to post about them as I finish them.
Have a good one and happy reading.