Friday, March 30
It must be slow week in blogland the same old is being recycled.
And, what the heck is wrong with me? I know where the train's going and I still follow along for the inevitable wreck.
Thursday, March 29
There are plot devices I don't like and there are character types that aren't favorites, but I'm usually pretty open minded. Rarely will I pick up an amnesia story, and my tolerence for TSTL, fiesty or clueless heroines is incredibly low.
So, what's your deal breaker?
Wednesday, March 28
From the Publisher:This is a fun book, George is an interesting change from the average historical heroine, she's a little older (29), she's independently wealthy (thanks to an aunt) and she's not looking for a husband and not being forced to look for one either. She's quirky, independent and loved by her family and staff. Harry is also strong and independent, confident and comfortable with who he is, pulled himself out of tragedy and has worked hard for what he has. She wants him, and goes after him. Maybe not the most historically accurate because of class distinctions, but works because neither George nor Harry are typical or average characters.
Wealthy Lady Georgina Maitland doesn't want a husband, though she could use a good steward to run her estates. One look at Harry Pye, and Georgina knows she's not just dealing with a servant, but a man. Harry has known many aristocrats-including one particular nobleman who is his sworn enemy. But Harry has never met a beautiful lady so independent, uninhibited, and eager to be in his arms. Still, it's impossible to conduct a discreet liaison when poisoned sheep, murdered villagers, and an enraged magistrate have the county in an uproar.
I picked up Vivi Anna's Blood Secrets because I liked the cover and the blurb. The "Otherworld Crime Unit" really caught my attention.
From the PublisherIt's obvious from the blurb and Ms. Anna's "Dear Reader" letter in the book that she's a huge fan of CSI. Me too.
Caine Valorian and his Otherworld Crime Unit crack all the unusual cases before any humans take notice. When a young woman is found ritualistically murdered it's his team of professionals with paranormal gifts who must stop the nameless evil stalking the streets. But the toughest case of Caine's 200-year career gets even harder when a new member, Eve Grant, is assigned to their unit. Not only is she green and eager to impress, she's human.
As they sink deeper into the workings of the case, Caine's attraction to the alluring Eve is causing his blood to boil. And with war brewing between species, the all-consuming passion between a human and a vampire won't be the only thing to spill on the city's mean streets...
Simple world building, strong story, excellent chemistry between Eve and Caine and secondary characters screaming for their own stories. It felt like a paranormal CSI episode, which I'm hoping was Ms. Anna's point. This series is going on my auto-buy list.
I picked up Rosina Lippi's (Sara Donati) Tied to the Tracks because I found the review on SBTB interesting. I also discovered a very good review by Monica Jackson. I'll wait while you check out their reviews... Are you back?
From the PublisherI had the hardest time writing a review for this book. As much as I liked it, I kept waiting for more. I wanted not only Miss Zula's back story, I wanted it from her POV. I wanted her sister's POV, I wanted more about her relationship with Miss Junie. As good as it was "...it could have been more."
Miss Zula Bragg, award-winning writer in residence at Ogilvie College in Ogilvie, Georgia, has finally said yes to a documentary about her life. She insists that Tied to the Tracks, a shoestring film company from up North produce it-because, she says, they have an edge. So the entire company is summoned to Ogilvie-Angie Mangiamele, who writes, produces, and keeps it all together; Rivera Rosenblum, who photographs and edits; and Tony Russo, principal photographer and soundman. Only Angie is reluctant to head south because the new chair of the English department at Ogilvie is John Grant, and John and Angie have a fiery past.
A member of the founding Ogilvie family on his mother's side, John has finally returned home after years "up North" to take up his place in the community and to marry the lovely Caroline Rose, the last unmarried daughter of the prominent Rose family in what Ogilvie residents regard as the wedding of the century. The town-rich with tradition and rife with gossip-is fascinated by the three Yankees, but when it seems as though sparks still fly between John and Angie, the townsfolk rally to protect their own.
From Monica Jackson's Review:
The book has a pleasing literary turn of phrase, the words don’t get in the way of the story. But it could have been more.
There is no black point of view in the book at all, which detracted for me. I know what it’s like being black in a small Southern town and it’s profoundly different from not being black. Miss Zula and her story was far more interesting than the central love story and it was glossed over, lost in the blinding whiteness of it all.
But don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book and give it a recommend. The author was correct in not taking on what she possibly couldn’t have been sure of pulling off–a black southern small town point of view.
PS Hopefully 4th time lucky and this time the damned post will go through.
Tuesday, March 27
- The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt, I thoroughly enjoyed this--Harry Pye made a great hero :) I'll work on an actual review/commentary tonight or tomorrow.
- Night in Eden by Candice Proctor, my favorite Proctor--wish she still wrote romance.
- Fall From Grace by Megan Chance--this is an oldie but a goodie, a western with an amazing heroine and great story.
- Blood Secrets by Vivi Anna--I'm half way through this one and loving it, but then I'm a CSI junkie.
Going without the internet for a week is like a junkie going through withdrawals--LOL.
I will admit to being an idiot...
- couldn't get the cable modem hooked up because the splitter wasn't working.
- couldn't get dial-up to work--it wasn't plugged into the wall jack.
- once I finally got on through the cable modem the IE browser wouldn't work--brought everything back to Best Buy for them to tell me it was set to work off-line.
Well, I'm off to see just how much faster cable is over dial-up :D
Have a good one.
Sunday, March 25
You'd think I'd be reading more, but between kid stuff (school, t-ball, piano) and a nasty cold, I've only finished a couple of books this week.
I'm going to try to do some blog hopping before leaving today.
Hope all are well and happy reading :D
Tuesday, March 20
Monday, March 19
But there are days when reader frustration starts to bubble. We're told we love you... but...
- Please don't shop at UBSs as they cut into my royalties, and keep me from realizing my full potential, and take food from my starving children's mouths. Never mind that buying everything I read new would keep food out of my starving child's mouth.
- Libraries are wonderful, but once again they cut into my royalties...
- I don't care if you're my biggest fan ever, don't buy ARC on Ebay and never buy a book before it's official release date. Not that I actually think buying an ARC on Ebay before it's release is okay, but if someone is such a rabid fangirl that they can't wait for a book, it's likely they'll be spreading the word far and wide that the book is the bestest and I'm sure plenty of other readers will buy it new.
- Readers should adopt an author. What the heck do they think an autobuy list is? I've already adopted far more authors than I can actually support.
- If you don't have anything nice to say about a book, just don't say anything. If I think a book's a wallbanger I'm supposed to keep it to myself. Literally, I can't talk about it, I can't take it back, I can't exchange it at the UBS (UBSs are evil), I can't burn it (burning books is bad).
- Read outside you're comfort zone. Why? If I know I'm not going to like something, why should I torture myself? actually I agree with this one, but can understand why someone reading for pleasure chooses to stay within their comfort zone.
- Blah, Blah, Blah...
Are you wondering where this came from? Have you ever noticed how often authors tell us to we need to buy more books? It's frustrating.
Now having had my little rant, I can fully understand that we are probably just as frustrating to authors. I can't imagine what type of fans drove Stephen King to write Misery. And I have to wonder how many times Nora Roberts has been asked when Eve and Rourke are going to have a baby.
But the child had a great time... "The best birthday party ever!!"
Sunday, March 18
I'm also a couple days late for Barbara Samuel's RITAs conversations on RTB. I decided to bring my comment here...
I’m coming to this discussion a little late, but I do have a few thoughts.
I’m never overly impressed by the Oscars, I watch for the glam, not the winners, because I see it not as validation from the viewers, but validation from their contemporaries and peers. The Ritas are the same thing, validations from within your industry, we may find it interesting and we may pick up books from the list, but we as readers will always see it as not a readers choice, but a writers choice award.
I went over to RWA and took a quick look at the 2006 Finalists. This gives an interesting perspective as to what authors choose as “good”. Having read almost all of the books from both the historical categories I can honestly say some of them were the best and some were barely mediocre–-indistinguishable from anything else within the genre.
There were also authors in other categories that I’ve read and wouldn’t pick up another one of their books if you paid me. Perhaps that’s a bit harsh but there you have this reader's view.
Of course these are just my opinions, but I’m curious what other readers think when they look at the list of finalists in all the categories.
I’m also confused about the “Novels With Strong Romantic Elements” Category. What qualifies and what doesn’t? I considered Blue Smoke a romance and there were several books I expected to see but didn’t–have to assume they didn’t make the cut?
Wouldn't it be interesting to see why they chose what they did? Did they review from a reader or writer POV or a combination?
Friday, March 16
Between school stuff (Parent Guild meetings and a Chuck E. Cheese Fundraiser) and cleaning I haven't had much free time. One of the pre-schools affilitated with ours is having a tag sale next week. I started cleaning the room from hell, purging old books and toys. I have to do this when the child isn't home or he gets all misty eyed about what's leaving, but if I do it and then tell him what's gone he's fine. I can't quite figure that one out. One giant box, three shopping bags and a giant free standing horse later the room isn't finished, but it's looking much better.
The Chuck E. Cheese Fundraiser was last night, we went from 4-6 and to be honest it wasn't bad, not too crowded with people not affiliated with the school. Junior had a great time--games, pizza, ice cream, prizes--what's not to love for a 5 year old. We're going back Sunday afternoon for a birthday party for a little girl who sent him his first offical Love Letter, It's sitting in a place of honor on top of our TV armoire in the living room. She also told him "I love you and I'm going to marry you and all the girls in our class want to marry you." I can't decide if I should be worrying.
We got a call from Junior's T-Ball coach, their first practice is next week (weather permitting as we're expecting 12-18 inches of snow today) and the first game will be some time Easter week.
Have a good one and happy reading.
Wednesday, March 14
As I read, I was pleased to be enjoying a very strong B+ romance. However, I have since found myself going back and rereading several scenes, and when I finish this review, the book is going right on my Keeper Shelf - that all adds up to a DIK in my book. And Then He Kissed Her is smart and sexy and fun and I highly recommend it.And this got me thinking about when I make the to keep or not to keep decision. The desire to reread scenes or the entire book is usually a sure sign the book's going to be a keeper. But ultimately I don't make the "decision" until I purge books, and that only happens once or twice a year. I'm much better at making this decision when the afterglow of a book has worn off. If after all that time I still want to reread or the book has something that draws my attention I'll keep it. I also have a tendency to keep books that are part of an on going series, at least as long as the series holds my attention.
So, I wonder how and when do you decide To Keep or Not To Keep?
Tuesday, March 13
Clueless didn't even know you could leave comments on the Amazon reviews. And it's the rare occasion that I would even search out a review there. There are 19 coments attached to her review for Midnight Lover, none complimentary.
I've always considered her rather harmless. So she's reviewed 13,000+ books and they all get 4 or 5 stars--LOL. Is she hurting anyone by doing this? Does anyone take her seriously?
Does she deserve the criticism because of her less than stellar reviews?
Or is there something more sinister going on?
According to Time Magazine and Wired articles she doesn't get paid for her reviews. She also reviews for Allreader.com and I thought they did pay for reviews at one time, but I may be wrong.
Heck, I'd love to get a fraction of her ARCs.
So what do you think? Harmless, deserved, something more sinister or what?
Monday, March 12
Can you tell I was totally into the story?
There are synopses all over the place, so I'm not going to rehash the story, the whole damned thing is too complicated, and besides I'm lousy at the rehashing thing anyway.
What didn't bother me:
I'm probably the only reader in romance land that didn't notice the brand dropping. Okay that's not true I noticed, and ignored it. But I thought Ms. Ward did a good job cutting back on the "My Brother" and "shitkicker" references, much less this book. And as to a good deal of the pop culture references--anything rap related went over my head, and nothing else really bothered me with the exception of the expression "Me bad" hate that no matter who uses it.
What I liked:
Marissa--she evolves and grows tremendously throughout the story. Ward does a great job with this.
John--the growing relationship between John and a couple of his classmates and especially Z is being handled very nicely, it's part of the overall Brotherhood story arc. Loved the scene where he's watching Bella and Z playing chase.
Vishous--he's got so much to deal with, jealousy, friendships, loneliness.
The interplay between non Brotherhood characters is interesting. Rhevenge, Havers, Lash and even the Lessers all add different dimensions and layering to the story. I like this, it's not simply a story about Marissa and Butch.
What I didn't like:
Did anyone notice that at times Ward is telling parts of the story without showing them? I hate this, I hate when any author does this.
I didn't like that Marissa backed away from Butch when she realized he would be spending his life in harms way. And that it requires a conversation with the "girls" to straighten her out. It was an added conflict in a story that didn't need anymore.
What I'm vacillating about:
Hmm, I've not really mentioned much about Butch. I can't decided whether or not I love or hate where the story took him. On one hand it makes everything easier and it was fascinating to watch him deal with his fear of becoming evil, that by taking in the Lessers will he lose his humanity more and more, his need for V's help to heal after these encounters. His transformation and change was interesting reading, the ritual bringing him into the Brotherhood was both interesting and bizarre.
But didn't it just seem too pat? Too easy to make him one rather than have him and Marissa and the Brotherhood deal with their differences and work within them.
Ms. Ward certainly can tell a good story. Even when it's not perfect it's still a great ride.
So is the name Jane/Janie a co-incidence or is V's girl going to be Butch's "dead" sister?
Sunday, March 11
This should be a character driven story and in part it is. James (Beau Crusoe) is a wonderful fully developed character, the secondary characters are interesting and quirky (love the tailor and the foppish Sir Percieval) but the heroine, Susannah is never fully developed. As I write this I think maybe she is fully developed but not a character that I actually like. Passive, maybe even a little passive/aggressive, would be a good description for her. She's the beautiful, good daughter until she runs away with her father's secretary, comes back after his death. Her family is already shunned by society she allows herself to be shunned within her parent's own household and her child to be treated abominably by her not so nice or pretty sister.
From the Publisher:
Stranded alone on a desert island, he had lived to tell the tale. A triumphant return to the ton saw James Trevenen hailed as Beau Crusoe--a gentleman of spirit, verve and action. But only he knew the true cost of his survival!
Susannah Park had been shunned by Society. She lived content with her calm existence--until Beau Crusoe determinedly cut up her peace! The beautiful widow wanted to help him heal the wounds of the past--but what secrets was this glorious man hiding?
Can you tell I don't like Susannah? But I love James. He saves the book from being a complete failure. He's funny, smart, strong and has enough issues hanging over his head to be less than perfect and very interesting.
I read the book with a certain level of detachment, and never felt fully engaged. I'm vascillating between B-/C+ (leaning toward C+) simply because Ms. Kelly's a good writer.
I might come back and add more to this--the time change has messed me up and I need to get to Mass. Have a good one and happy reading.
Thursday, March 8
Supremely sensible Emmaline Dove wishes to share her etiquette expertise with London’s readers, and as secretary to Viscount Marlowe, Emma knows she’s in the perfect position to make her dreams come true. Marlowe might be a rake with a preference for cancan dancers and an aversion to matrimony, but he is also the city’s leading publisher, and Emma is convinced he’s her best chance to see her work in print…until she discovers the lying scoundrel has been rejecting her manuscripts without ever reading a single page!So when I first read the blurb I thought "Oh no, it's going to be a redo of Guilty Pleasures", it may be one of my favorites, but I wasn't interested in rehashing it.
As a publisher, Harry finds reading etiquette books akin to slow, painful torture. Besides, he can’t believe his proper secretary has the passion to write anything worth reading. Then she has the nerve to call him a liar, and even resigns without notice, leaving his business in uproar and his honor in question. Harry decides it’s time to teach Miss Dove a few things that aren’t proper. But when he kisses her, he discovers that his former secretary has more passion and fire than he ever imagined, for one luscious taste of her lips only leaves him hungry for more…
Ah, but it's not a redo. The only thing resembling GP is the employer/employee theme. You can't tell by the cover art this book is set in 1893 London. Emma Dove is Lord Harry Marlowe's incredibly efficient secretary, keeping his publishing empire and his personal life on schedule. Emma wants to be the Martha Stewart of the Turn of the Century, without the bad temper and jail time. Harry can't imagine anyone being remotely interested in what Miss Dove has to offer. Until she quits and takes her ideas to the competition and all of London's talking about the amazing Mrs. Bartleby (Emma's alter ego).
At first their relationship is one of indifference, moves toward adversarial and then slowly grows into love. Ms. Guhrke does a nice job developing the characters, you watch as Emma outgrows her strict upbringing to become her own person. And you understand why Harry's past has created a man who hates societal structure and rules.
A character driven story--this one really worked for me.
- The Smoke Thief -- Shanna Abe (Fantasy?? romance) I've heard you either love it or hate it, we'll see :)
- Hero Worship -- Dawn Calvert (Historical?) I liked the synopsis in RT
- A Respectable Trade -- Philipa Gregory (Historical Fiction)
- The Marcelli Princess -- Susan Mallery (Contemporary)
- Count to Ten -- Karen Rose (Romantic Suspense)
- Summer by the Sea -- Susan Wiggs (Contemporary)
- The Winter Lodge -- Susan Wiggs (Contemporary)
And an ARC arrived in yesterday's mail that may trump everything on the TBR pile, Michelle Moran's Nefertiti: A Novel (Historical Fiction), but I want to schedule uninterrupted time for it.
I finished Laura Lee Guhrke's And Then He Kissed Me and wasn't planning on writing a review but think I might.
Have a good night and happy reading.
Wednesday, March 7
Most recent acquisitions:
- Blood Ties Book Two: Possession -- Jennifer Armintrout (paranormal-not romance)
- Something Sinful -- Suzanne Enoch (historical, started this one the other day not that impressed)
- The First Princess of Wales -- Karen Harper (historical fiction, I'm 90% positive I read this when it was originally released in 1984)
- And Then He Kissed Her -- Laura Lee Guhrke (historical, I don't care if other's don't like her on-line persona, I still like her writing voice and style)
- Voices of the Night -- Lydia Joyce (historical, I don't care if she thinks we're all idiots, like Guhrke I love her writing voice and style)
- Beau Crusoe -- Carla Kelly (historical)
- Body Check -- Deidre Martin (contemporary)
- Beyond Daring -- Kathleen O'Reilly (Blaze)
- The Roofer -- Erica Orloff (women's fiction?)
- Hating Valentine's Day -- Allison Rushby (chick lit)
- Lover Revealed -- JR Ward (paranormal romance)
What to read first??
Tuesday, March 6
I'm about 1/3 the way through Demon Moon all I can say is AMAZING :D My booklight's batteries were dying last night so I got up and started reading at the computer for a couple of hours. I've noticed for some reason I read slower when at the computer and the handheld. I wonder why because I'm not really skimmer.
Ran into the UBS yesterday to pickup Erica Orloff's The Roofer, she was able to get it from another UBS. It's a hard one to track down and comes highly recommended by both Wendy and Jane. Everytime I'm in the store the owner tries to talk me into buying her business, she's ready to retire. I wouldn't mind owning a bookstore, but I know for a fact this one just breaks even and is little more than an expensive hobby. Maybe I could do more with it and maybe I couldn't but I'm certainly not real interested in taking on a "hobby" with expenses that start with $1000 month rent and goes up from there. Though I do think she could be doing much more if she had a web site. She has someone interested but they'll move the inventory about an hour away to another UBS. I'd hate to see that happen.
Junior's best friend will be spending afternoons with us this week. His mom is out of town because of a death in her family, the situation is complicated and I wont go into the details. What makes kids think they can do things at other peoples houses that they would never be allowed to at home? The child squeezed the contents of a juice box all over my dining room table. "Would you do that at home?" "No" "Then don't do it at my house." I'm not real subtle--LOL. And it's too cold to send them out to play. It's going to be a long week.
Monday, March 5
But it is on Birdie Lee's agenda in Melanie Lynne Hauser's new release Super Mom Saves The World, an incredibly fun book that features an average suburban single mom turned Super Hero thanks to a Horrible Swiffer Accident. She has 2 kids, a scientist boyfriend who wants to get married, and ex-husband who's getting divorced for a second time and looking to get back together and Super Mom is looking mighty interesting. Add to all this PTA meetings and her day job working at Marvel Food and Fine Beverages (don't you just love the "Marvel" thing-LOL) is keeping her way too busy. Something's fishy with the Astro-Park-O-Dome Field and what's with the little leaguers that need a shave--Birdie's ready to save the day.
If you're a comic book geek, you'll enjoy looking for the comic book references...Marvel, son's name Martin Stanley Lee.
This one's a good fun read.
Friday, March 2
On the way to the meeting I stopped at the library and picked up Innocent in Death, it turns out I was first in the queue :D I've only got it for a week, so it moved up to the top of my TBR pile. I've got about 100 pages left, I'll probably have it finished before I go to bed.
It was one of those weird days, we had a 2 hour delay for school this morning because of ice, but since it's "First Friday" he only had half a day. Dropped the child off at 10:25 and picked him up at Noon. First Friday also means he can have a Happy Meal or BK Kids Meal for lunch. I spent time on-line research for one of the new committees, and putting the finishing touches on my next RTB column. And spent a large chunk of the afternoon reading while Junior watched The Polar Express for the 1000th time. Made fish tacos and rice for dinner--no meat on Fridays, to be honest I can live without fish tacos and I don't eat rice.
I'm just rambling. Have a good one and happy reading.
Thursday, March 1
Completely predictable, quirky characters, witty dialogue, at least one main character with an odd extended family and a pretty good mystery--and best of all--well written.
Just what I needed.