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.