Friday, December 31, 2010

HappyLight & Happy New Year!


I've wanted one of these Full Spectrum Lights for several years and finally put it on my Christmas list this year.  And my son got it for me.  This lamp uses Natural Spectrum light to help with the symptoms of "Winter Blues" and SAD (seasonal effected disorder).  For years I've had a hard time dealing with the dark, gloomy winters we have here in the Seattle area.  I have no energy and my mood is borderline depression.  I blogged about getting one of these types of lights years ago but never got around to buying one.  I thought they were a bit pricey and I wasn't too sure they would work.  But this one was only about $50 at Costco so I thought it was worth a try.  Also this one is small (only 12" high) and fits almost anywhere. 

The package says that it emulates sunshine and will improve your mood and energy and help with your productivity and concentration.  You're supposed to sit in front of the light (between 6" - 24" away from your face) for 30 - 60 minutes in the morning with your eyes open.  They suggest reading or knitting or something or put it next to your computer while you work.   I put mine on the small table next to my comfy chair where I read.

I've have used is now for the past two days and I think I can feel a difference already.  I actually felt like doing stuff today. I put away all the Christmas decorations.  Amazing!  That usually doesn't get done until the last couple weeks of January.  A promising start.  We'll see how it goes in the next few weeks since they say you may not feel the effects for a month or so.

Recent reads:
 
Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas


This is the 5th book in the Hathaway series which tells Beatrix's story and is my favorite book in the bunch. I loved Beatrix from the very first book with her quirky animal menagerie which includes a hedgehog and a ferret and other creatures who need her special care. She has a way with wounded animals and a tender heart.  Beatrix is the "baby" of the family and is now 23 y.o. All of her siblings are married and settled and she's feeling like she will never find anyone since she realizes how odd she is in comparison to most young ladies. Beatrix starts a correspondence with Captain Christopher Phelan who is fighting in the Crimean War.  However, Captain Phelan thinks he is corresponding with his love interest, Prudence, Beatrix's friend.  The letters are funny, charming, and touching at times.  When Christopher returns home from the war, he is suffering very badly from guilt and what we would call PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).  When he finds out that he has been exchanging letters with Beatrix rather Prudence, he feels betrayed and angry.  I loved Kleypas' writing in LITA and thought it was one of her best efforts since Devil in Winter.  Beatrix and Christopher were wonderfully drawn and made a perfect match.  LITA is not a DIK but it comes close.   
My Grade:  B+

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Best of 2010

I have a few 2010 books that I still want to read so this is just a preliminary list.  Only two were A reads, the rest were B+.  I have only reviewed one of these books.

There are four more 2010 books in my TBR and a whole bunch more on my wishlist. I'd better get cracking and get some more read before the annual poll at AAR.  I love to submit my yearly favorites for this poll.

I think my favorite of the year is Libertine's Kiss by Judith James.  An unusual book with a great hero and heroine set in an unusual time period (Restoration Period) - also very HOT.   James also wrote Broken Wing which is one of KristieJ's favorites. 


Author Title Grade
Balogh, Mary A Matter of Class B+
Bourne, Joanna The Forbidden Rose A
Carr, Robyn Forbidden Falls B+
Dahl, Victoria Lead Me On B+
Dreyer, Eileen Barely a Lady B+
Higgins, Kristan The Next Best Thing B+
James, Judith Libertine's Kiss A
Robb, J. D. Fantasy in Death B+
Ross, JoAnn The Homecoming B+
Singh, Nalini Bonds of Justice B+
Total
10

Saturday, December 18, 2010

AAR's Top 100 Romances Results

I'm meant to post this a couple weeks ago.

I was amazed to discover that I have read 92 out of AAR's Top 100.  Of the 8 I have not read, 4 were written by Julie Garwood.   Here's the complete list:

The Last Hellion by Loretta Chase
Honor's Splendor by Julie Garwood
The Secret by Julie Garwood
Ransom by Julie Garwood
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke
The Rake by Mary Jo Putney
When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn

I have been meaning to try Garwood because CindyS is a huge fan and I know most of these are probably on her list.  So maybe I'll dig up one or two of these and give them a shot.

In comparing AAR's Top 100 with my Top 100, I found that only 30 of my favorites appeared on AAR's list.  I guess my tastes are a bit different.  Many of the book's on AAR's list were pretty good reads for me but were not what I would consider keeper.  For example I remember liking Lord of Scoundrels, but it didn't exactly "wow" me.  Maybe I need to re-read that one.  I'm a bit surprised and disappointed that there were no books Anne Stuart or Carla Kelly. 

Num Title Author AAR Ranking
2 Pride and Prejudice  Jane Austen #4
3 Flowers from the Storm Laura Kinsale #6
8 After the Night  Linda Howard #55
9 To Have and To Hold  Patricia Gaffney #60
10 All Through the Night  Connie Brockway #90
11 Naked in Death  J. D. Robb #24
19 Morning Glory  LaVyrle Spencer #59
20 Sea Swept  Nora Roberts #74
22 The Spymaster's Lady Bourne, Joanna #20
23 Dream Man Linda Howard #47
27 Not Quite a Husband Sherry Thomas #18
28 Dreaming of You  Lisa Kleypas #2
29 Thunder and Roses  Mary Jo Putney #88
30 It Had to Be You  Susan Elizabeth Phillips #15
40 Sugar Daddy Lisa Kleypas #52
43 The Duke of Shadows Duran, Meredith #94
45 Cry No More  Linda Howard #80
51 Match Me If You Can  Susan Elizabeth Phillips #42
52 Passion  Lisa Valdez #65
54 The Madness of Ian Mackenzie Jennifer Ashley #10
55 Paradise  Judith McNaught #13
56 The Serpent Prince Elizabeth Hoyt #44
65 Devil in Winter Lisa Kleypas #3
66 Heaven, Texas  Susan Elizabeth Phillips #22
70 Perfect  Judith McNaught #45
73 My Dearest Enemy  Connie Brockway #86
74 Welcome To Temptation  Jennifer Crusie #36
87 Slave to Sensation  Nalini Singh #51
94 See Jane Score Jane Gibson #50
95 Slightly Dangerous Mary Balogh #7
Total 30
30

This was a fun activity for a book-aholic like me.  Next time this poll comes up I'll do some re-reading and spend more time creating my list because I just kinda slapped this together at the last minute.  I know my top 10 or 20 favorites is correct but the rest .... not so much.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Top 100 Romances

I promised to post my Top 100 Romances that I submitted to AAR a few days ago. I procrastinated until the last minute. No surprise there. I used the list I made in 2007 and just updated and rearranged it a bit. Before doing this next time I should re-read some of them and take a little more time putting them in order.

I had a hard time figuring out how to put them in any kind of order. In general, my favorites are grouped at the top and everything else I just kinda stuck them in.

Num Title Author
1 A Rose at Midnight  Anne Stuart
2 Pride and Prejudice  Jane Austen
3 Flowers from the Storm Laura Kinsale
4 The Notorious Rake  Mary Balogh
5 Red Adam's Lady  Grace Ingram
6 Fallen From Grace  Laura Leone
7 Night in Eden  Candice Proctor
8 After the Night  Linda Howard
9 To Have and To Hold  Patricia Gaffney
10 All Through the Night  Connie Brockway
11 Naked in Death  J. D. Robb
12 Black Ice  Anne Stuart
13 Duncan's Bride Linda Howard
14 Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand  Carla Kelly
15 Truly Madly Yours  Rachel Gibson
16 Reforming Lord Ragsdale  Carla Kelly
17 Sunshine and Shadows  Tom and Sharon Curtis
18 Last Summer  Theresa Weir
19 Morning Glory  LaVyrle Spencer
20 Sea Swept  Nora Roberts
21 With This Ring  Carla Kelly
22 The Spymaster's Lady Bourne, Joanna
23 Dream Man Linda Howard
24 Heart of Deception  Taylor Chase
25 Breathless Guhrke, Laura Lee
26 Heart of Fire  Linda Howard
27 Not Quite a Husband Sherry Thomas
28 Dreaming of You  Lisa Kleypas
29 Thunder and Roses  Mary Jo Putney
30 It Had to Be You  Susan Elizabeth Phillips
31 The Surgeon's Lady Carla Kelly
32 The Wives of Bowie Stone  Maggie Osborne
33 One Summer Karen Robards
34 The Emerald Necklace  Diana Brown
35 Dance  Judy Cuevas
36 Lady Gallant  Suzanne Robinson
37 Nightfall  Anne Stuart
38 Joe's Wife  Cheryl St. John
39 Faro's Daughter  Georgette Heyer
40 Sugar Daddy Lisa Kleypas
41 Wolf in Waiting  Rebecca Flanders
42 A Fine Work of Art  Shelby Reed
43 The Duke of Shadows Duran, Meredith
44 Ride the Fire  Pamela Clare
45 Cry No More  Linda Howard
46 Out of Control  Suzanne Brockmann
47 The Phoenix Code  Catherine Asaro
48 The Windflower  Tom and Sharon Curtis
49 MacKenzie's Pleasure  Linda Howard
50 The Lady's Tutor  Robin Schone
51 Match Me If You Can  Susan Elizabeth Phillips
52 Passion  Lisa Valdez
53 One Good Turn  Carla Kelly
54 The Madness of Ian Mackenzie Jennifer Ashley
55 Paradise  Judith McNaught
56 The Serpent Prince Elizabeth Hoyt
57 The Libertine's Kiss Judith James
58 Lady of Quality  Georgette Heyer
59 Anyone But You  Jennifer Crusie
60 A Debt of Honor  Diana Brown
61 Prairie Wife  Cheryl St. John
62 To Love a Dark Lord  Anne Stuart
63 The Monk Downstairs  Tim Farrington
64 Virgin River Carr, Robyn
65 Devil in Winter Lisa Kleypas
66 Heaven, Texas  Susan Elizabeth Phillips
67 Simple Jess  Pamela Morsi
68 Devilish  Jo Beverley
69 Skypirate  Justine Davis
70 Perfect  Judith McNaught
71 Bliss  Judy Cuevas
72 Winter Garden  Adele Ashworth
73 My Dearest Enemy  Connie Brockway
74 Welcome To Temptation  Jennifer Crusie
75 Sleeping Beauty  Judith Ivory
76 Libby's London Merchant  Carla Kelly
77 All the Queen's Men  Linda Howard
78 A Family for Gillian Catherine Blair
79 Born in Fire  Nora Roberts
80 Caressed by Ice  Nalini Singh
81 A Much Younger Man  Dianne Highbridge
82 Slow Heat in Heaven  Sandra Brown
83 In the Midnight Rain  Ruth Wind
84 Menage Emma Holly
85 Family Blessings LaVyrle Spencer
86 Games of Command  Linnea Sinclair
87 Slave to Sensation  Nalini Singh
88 The Reluctant Heroine Dawn Lindsey
89 The Nightingale's Song  Kathleen Eschenberg
90 All Night Long Michelle Jerott
91 Kinsman's Oath  Susan Krinard
92 Upon a Wicked Time  Karen Ranney
93 Render Unto Caesar  Gillian Bradshaw
94 See Jane Score Jane Gibson
95 Slightly Dangerous Mary Balogh
96 Silk and Secrets Mary Jo Putney
97 The Lone Rider  Lauren Bach
98 Texas! Chase  Sandra Brown
99 The Trouble With Joe  Emilie Richards
100 Heart Throb Suzanne Brockmann
Total 100