Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Mackenzie's Pleasure (my favorite Mackenzie book)
All the Queen's Men
After the Night
Also she mentioned a book by Alison Kent, Four Men and a Lady, that I have in my TBR, so I pulled it out and was glad I did. It turned out to be an enjoyable read (B+). Another thanks to Tara!
Oh, and I rented (with my free blockbuster coupon) the first LOTR which I admit I have never seen before and I enjoyed it.
Bob said he had a good time golfing although I don't understand why he thought it was fun. The first day of golfing their cart's battery ran down and they had to push it up and down the hills over 6 holes. The next day they asked for a cart with lots of 'juice' but the cart they got had two speeds - fast or stop. Every time he stepped on the pedal it would go full blast, then when he let up on the pedal it would stop. Can you picture these two guys getting whiplash all over the course? They both came home with sore necks and I couldn't help it, I laughed my a** off just picturing it.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Last night he was busily getting the RV packed up and ready to go. This is a nightmare for me.
Bob: Where are the keys?
Me: (*what keys? pickup? trailblazer? Mercedes? house?*) : What keys?
Bob: *gives me the well-duh look* The trailer keys.
Me: How am I supposed to read your mind? Don't you think you could use an adjective once in a while?
Bob: I need some cash.
Me: (*so? go get some. It's 8:00 pm and I'm not going to drive over to the cash machine in the dark*): Oh, really?
Bob: Why didn't you get me some cash? You knew I was leaving town.
Me: (*I don't read minds*) : If you knew you needed cash you should have asked me yesterday.
Bob: I thought you would have figured it out.
Me: (*can I smack him now?*) I don't read minds.
Bob: Where are the towels?
Me: (*we have lived in this house since 1990 and you don't know where the towels are?*) In the closet.
Bob: No, I mean in the RV.
Me: Oh, they're in the RV's bathroom cupboard under the sink.
Bob: I could only find one.
Me: (*sigh, I know there are two there, but they are too low for him to see them. He hates to bend over that far. You can easily hide anything from him by putting it on the lowest shelf*) Well, grab one from the closet.
Bob: What closet?
Me: (*sigh*) The upstairs bathroom closet where we keep the towels for the last 15 years.
Bob: Remind me not to forget my clothes.
Me: (???? *you're on your own, buddy.*): Sure
Bob: Where are the camping chairs?
Me: (*that's not my job, and he put them away after last years July 4th picnic*): I have no clue.
Bob: Did you see where I put them?
Boy, I sound bitchy, don't I?
After he has finished packing and loading he comes in to sit on the couch and harrass me about the remote control... I have it and he doesn't. This is bad news for him.
So I have the remote for the whole weekend. And I can decide what I want to eat and when I want to eat it. But I'll miss him. I'll probably get freaked out by house creaking noises tonight. And I always have a hard time sleeping when he's gone.
I plan to read, go to a movie maybe, garden, and read some more. The weather is supposed to be lousy. Hope everyone has a nice three day weekend (Canada had one last weekend, right?)
Thanks for listening to my tirade.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Title: Duty and Dishonor
Author: Merline Lovelace
Year published: 1997
Date purchased: 03/24/2004
Why did you get this book? I have read several of Lovelace's books and I find her pretty consistent. As a former military officer in the Air Force, she really knows her stuff.
Do you like the cover? It's okay, no nonsense.
Did you enjoy the book? Very much. The murder mystery was gripping and the flashbacks to the war in Vietnam in 1972 were so realistic that I'm guessing that Lovelace was actually there. Or else she did her homework. Update: I just checked out her bio and she was there in 1972. That explains why it felt so authentic.
Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again? No, not new to me. I have several of her books in my keepers and some on my wishlist.
Are you keeping it or passing it on? Trading. There wasn't quite enough romance in DAD to please me since it focused more on the murder mystery. The romance only came into play in the last 1/4 of the book although it was well done with some nice love scenes. The first half of the book was mainly devoted to flashbacks to Vietnam with little time spent in the present. The H/H fell into bed rather too quickly after that and I didn't get the sense that they were that attracted to each other, then, wham, they're in bed together. Could have had a bit more getting to know each other.
Anything else? Despite the negatives I mentioned above, I did enjoy it. The mystery aspect was so well done that I had a hard time putting it down. And it had just enough romance to be passable.
My grade: B
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I have detected a note of hostility lately between authors and readers all over the internet these days. CW posted a terrific summary of all the strife that has been going on between authors and readers all started by a rant (letter) posted at SB by PCCast about ARCs. MJD chimed in and stuck her foot in it too. All very fascinating. She's also the one that dissed reviewers and then called it sarcasm over at RTB. PCC tried that ploy at SB too. Ladies, please, spare me, I'm not falling for it. As a teenager I used to be a snot to my sisters and then called it sarcasm, but my mom didn't fall for it then either.
KarenS wrote an article at AARs ATBF about how utterly worthless the RITA awards are (to readers anyway). Several authors have posted comments including Rachel Gibson, Lucy Blue and Laura Kinsale. IMO The best part about the RITA awards was the train wreck awards ceremony last year and all the buzz it created for weeks afterwards. LLG dissed epub authors and Jaid Black called her a pickle (well, sort of, she said it was an accident and I believe her. But still, I get the giggles every time I read it).
Adele Ashworth got her feelings hurt by something written about her latest book by a reader on the reviews MB at AAR. I thought the reader's post was too long and nitpicky but she's entitled to her opinion. AA should have just ignored it. I don't think you can win this type of argument over a MB. I tend to ignore long posts by readers anyway and figure lots of others do too.
So everything is not lovely-dovey, chocolate and roses between readers & authors, and authors & authors, huh? All this drama has caused some reader to quote whatsisface "Can't we all get along?" Why? I'm loving it. Great entertainment. I'm just glad none of my favorite authors is involved in all this. I really don't care what authors say to each other. And I really don't care if authors call readers and reviewers f*cking stupid as long as they don't flame me personally. Easy for me to say because authors that have done this are ones I don't read anyway. If Anne Stuart or another favorite said something like that I may have to re-think my attitude.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Hey, it was funny, okay. I love a good laugh and I wasn't in the mood for any of the lame offerings at the theatre. I recommend this one.
Any good movies out now? We have another free movie coupon from fandango (I won it at work as a prize for the extra work on a special project.)
I usually pay no attention to what's out in the theatres since we usually rent through Blockbuster Online. So I need some recommendations. Help me out here.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
At thirty-six, university art professor Elizabeth Gilstrom finds herself facing a bleak, lonely future when her husband leaves her for his young medical assistant. After giving up her own career as an artist a decade before, Elizabeth has nothing to show for their ten-year marriage...only the faded memory of a paintbrush's weight in her hand, an empty bed, and an empty heart. She's still reeling from shock and devastation when graduate student Boone McCrea walks into her office...and into her bed. Boone might only be twenty-four, but he is, quite simply, one of the most attractive men Elizabeth has ever seen, a work of art that stirs wild sensations she has long repressed.
AFWOA is a character-driven story and is considered a category in length. It was a very quick read and I finished it in one sitting since I found it impossible to put down. Elizabeth and Boone are very likeable, well-drawn characters. Elizabeth with her insecurities and wounded self-esteem, and Boone with his total self confidence (minus arrogance). The growing attraction between Elizabeth and her student, Boone, was handled very realistically. Elizabeth is newly divorced from her cheating husband and feeling vulnerable. She fights her attraction to Boone since teacher/student relationships are big no-nos and he is 12 years younger. But Boone has other ideas. I loved how he is so certain in his approach to her without being aggressive or arrogant. A thoroughly yummy man, just what Elizabeth needs. We see Elizabeth grow in confidence but she backslides into self doubt causing some very emotional intense moments near the end.
The sensuality level was very hot, but not over the top with S&M or kinky stuff. I was afraid that the age difference in this story would turn me off, but it really worked well. Reed is a gifted writer and has been flying under the radar for most readers; a buried treasure author that is not getting enough recognition. I want to try another by her, but I haven't got around to it yet. But I will. If anyone has a recommendation, I'd love to hear it.
My grade: A
I have since re-read this one 3 or 4 times since I take my PDA everywhere and it comes in handy when I have forgotten my current read.
WARNING: Don't click on the 'See More' link if you are at work in case someone is looking over your shoulder. When I bought the ebook version online it had a different cover than the one above and, wow, is it HOT. It shows the gorgeous backside of a sleeping male.
What do you think? Pretty sexy, huh?
Monday, May 15, 2006
Mother's Day was nice. Bob rototilled my garden beds (still trying to suck up) and I planted tons of annuals (lobelia, marigolds, nicotiana, petunias, pansies, alysum, cosmos, and impatiens). I went overboard at our church plant sale. Son and daughter were here with their respective girlfriend/boyfriend. We barbequed and ate out on the newly washed deck furniture under the sun umbrella. One thing about the Seattle area, we get day after day of grey skies and rain, but when the sun finally comes out it is fabulously gorgeous. Everything is green, the lakes very blue, and snowtopped mountains to the east and west. Winter blahs are done, for a few months anyway.
I volunteer to sew a quilt top every year for our confirmands at church so I barracaded myself in my craft/sewing room on Saturday night with the portable DVD player and watched The Last of the Mohicans while I sewed 140 six-inch squares together. Didn't quite finish the quilt but at midnight I was exhausted so I quit. And the movie wore me out too. Wow, it was emotionally intense! Loved it. Glad I bought it so I can watch it again and again. Kristie, you were right! I kept thinking about Ride the Fire through the whole movie. And that scene under the waterfall *sigh*.
After all that I managed to read some more of Delicious by Susan Mallery on Sunday evening and I'm really enjoying it. But I fell asleep after reading only a few chapters. It wasn't the book, it was me, I was worn out.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
I had a difficult time getting into this book since I continually picked it up and put it down over the course of 4 or 5 days. That's unusual for me to be so patient but I confess that I probably stuck with it because I didn't want to be left out on all the discussions. The problem was that the beginning 50-100 pages was a bit confusing, the pacing was uneven and there were too many characters introduced all at once but after that I sped through it. Crusie's voice is evident (but not prominent) and the humor worked. The voice for the hero, J.T. Wilder, was pure male and I could see Mayer's influence there. I like when a male character actually thinks and speaks like "real" men do. Too many times it's obvious that the male voice is "feminized." Is that a word?
I liked the heroine and her niece, Pepper, was adorable, but not too cutesy, and J.T was yummy. And I loved the Wonder Woman party! The love scenes were hot too. I posted about the fact that J.T sort of 'cheats' on Lucy because after meeting her he has sex with an actress when finding her naked in his bed. This made me uncomfortable at first. But eventually I changed my mind because it caused some great conflict between H/H. Lucy finds out and she gives him crap about it. He has the good sense to look and feel ashamed of himself.
I have been reading all the comments on the AAR RtR MB and one particular comment was a bit disturbing to me:
It didn't feel like a collaboration to me either. It read to me as if one of my most beloved authors stepped back and allowed her voice to be overpowered and all but drowned out by a stonger, louder, more male voice. My inner feminist is sad and sorely disillusioned.
Excuse me? That's hitting below the belt ;) I consider myself a feminist from WAY back, even when the ultra-right and
I would agree with Nicole and call this one a romantic action/adventure. There is a romance (a good one) with lots of action and reminded me of a Brockmann but with more humor (and without a bunch of SEALs who are all going to get their own book!)
My grade: B-
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
1) I'm a fan of American Historicals (i.e. Westerns) (especially those written by Cheryl St. John)
2) I like marriage of convenience stories and
3) I had heard that Jordan writes very steamy love scenes
Fortunately for me all three of these elements came together beautifully for a wonderful emotionally satisfying read.
Heather's father died leaving behind huge gambling debts. The sleazy banker who holds her responsible for those debts is trying to force her into marriage. Sloan McCord's Cheyenne wife, Doe, was murdered over a year ago. He is still consumed with grief, guilt and rage and he doesn't really want a wife. But his housekeeper is moving away so he really needs a wife and mother to care for and raise his infant daughter and do the household chores. In addition, he plans on running for state office so a wife would be good for his political career. When Sloan's SIL suggests he propose to Heather for the good of both of them, Sloan agrees, but he is determined never to give her his heart. He feels he had the perfect love match and can never love again. And he does not want to betray the memory of his late wife.
The entire rest of the book deals with their growing relationship. Sloan is a tortured soul consumed with lots of guilt. He is sometimes a cold-hearted jerk and treats Heather badly so that I wanted to slap him. But grief and guilt made his behavior understandable. Heather is a bit too soft and wimpy at first but her growth into a brave admirable woman who tells him she's not going to take his crap anymore was a joy to read. It took him all the way to the end of the book for him to admit to himself that he really loved and needed her. Sloan carried out his angst and guilt a bit longer than I like and Heather put up with his crap too long.
The dialogue was neither witty or clever, just plain and simple with lots of angst at the appropriate places, but it worked for me. Not quite a tearjerker, but almost.
Oh, and about those lovemaking scenes... Wow. Very intense, emotional and lots of them. And the best part....scorchingly hot! And a tad bit purple but I loved them anyway.
My grade: B+
Sybil told me this one is a gem and she is right! I need to track down the prequel to this story about Jake (Sloan's brother) titled The Outlaw. I checked on Jordan's website and found out that she originally planned TO and THB as the first two in a trilogy but she has never written the third book! It's supposed to be Doe's half-brother Wolf's story. But it's been almost 10 years! I doubt it's going to happen but here's a quote from her website.
"I definitely intend to write Wolf Logan's story to finish my Rocky Mountain Trilogy that began with THE OUTLAW and THE HEART BREAKER. But Ballantine wants me to wait till the market for Westerns is stronger. A few years ago, a large part of the reading public quit buying Western romances, so Ballantine wants me to write Regency historicals for the time being. I have Wolf's story all worked out, and I'm eager to tell it, I promise. It's just going to be a while longer. I hope Wolf will be worth your patience."
I'm halfway tempted to write to her and beg. Would that be over the top? What's she waiting for anyway? I don't think the Western market is going to get hotter, so write it already.
P.S. I love the cover too.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Anyway, I digress. My point is the hero has just done something that breaks one of the unwritten rules of romance: he has cheated on the heroine with another woman. Now don't get too excited because the H/H just met that morning and have never even kissed or made love at this point. But the reader can tell from their internal thoughts that they are very attracted to each other although with a touch of hostility. So technically he hasn't cheated, right?
The reason I bring this up is because I have read countless message boards with people ranting about this kind of thing because most women prefer that the instant the H/H meet they don't 'cheat' on each other even if stuff keeps them apart for most of the book. It's like an unwritten rule. And if the H/H marry other people the loves scenes are only vaguely alluded to or implied (and of course, it was very bad sex) or not mentioned at all.
In DLD, the hero finds a naked actress in his bed and he gets an eyefull of her breasts. And she wants to touch his gun :) So what's a guy to do? Of course, you guessed it. He turns out the light and we use our imaginations.
I can think of a several books where the hero cheats during the course of the book, but they were all historicals. But I can't think of any contemporaries. And I mean romance not women's fiction.
One of my first thoughts when I read this scene was that the male co-author probably influenced this aspect of the story because I can't think of any book where Crusie has the hero 'cheating' on the heroine. I've never read Mayer. Am I being sexist here? I just can't think of a single male with no attachments or commitments who wouldn't take advantage of this situation.
While this 'cheating' scene made me a bit uncomfortable, it's not a book-killer. I want to finish it especially since it's just getting good. So someone tell me, is this book not considered a romance? Maybe it's crossing over into women's fiction. I suppose the lines between women's fiction and romance are starting to blur, but if it doesn't have an HEA, it's going back to the library. So I may need to 'cheat' and read the last chapter.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Night of Sin was also very lush and highly sensual but the prose was also much more poetic and lyrical bordering on purple and that's where Ross sometimes lost me. I'm was going to dig up some quotes to make my point but I took it back to the library.
Oh, wait, here are a few I found on the internet:
Oh, guess what Ross is talking about here:
"But she had not been wrong about his eyes, colored like winter forest shadows dappled with sunlight."
"Her hair smelled of lavender water and roses, the fragrance of a Dorset summer garden basking in the sun"
"the rainbow tumult of their mutual release"Some of the imagery was quite vivid but some of it was a bit over the top at times.
World traveler Lord Jonathan Devoran St. George, aka Wild Lord Jack, returns to England from the Far East in search of a valuable stolen fossil. He follows the thief who has stashed the fossil in an innocent woman's basket. Anne Marsh is the engaged daughter of a minister. After he finds the thief murdered Jack knows that her life is in danger and insists that she leave her home and accompany him to his family estate so that he can protect her.
Jack has learned all kinds of mysterious exotic sexual skills on his advertures in the Far East that were only hinted at. But he is ashamed of some of his experiences and the things he was forced to do. Anne, our virgin heroine, realizes that sexually-experienced Jack can teach her a few things and literally begs the hero to make love to her. What man would turn that down? You all know I'm a big fan of highly erotic or sensual romances but I think this plot with the innocent maiden pleading with the worldly hero to tutor her in the sensual delights has been done too many times before. After they make love Jack knows he has compromised her and so they have to marry.
Jack with all his secret shame was a dark complex character. Anne turns out to be a surprisingly brave and adventurous heroine despite her initial timidity and I liked her character even though I thought her behavior was at times implausible. The mystery/suspense was well done and did not overpower the romance. The entire story flowed pretty smoothly except for those moments when the purple prose and poetic style went over the top.
My grade: B-
Texas Kingdoms - Robert W. Broomall (1989)
Prairie Flame - Jessica Howard (1983)
Torrents - Marie-Anne Desmarest (1977)
Moscow Mists - Clarissa Ross (1977)
Alyx - Lolah Burford (1977)
Blood Relations - Eilis Dillon (1979)
Daughters of the Summer Storm - Frances Patton Statham (1981)
Valley Forge - MacKinlay Kantor (1976)
Love's Scarlet Banner - Fiona Harrowe (1977)
Caresse - Pamela Wallace (1979)
Red Sky at Night Love's Delight - Jane-Aiken Hodge (1978)
Border Gentry - Nancy Sortore (1983)
The Golden Warrior - Hope Muntz (1970)
Wild Horizon - Evan Wyck Mason (1977)
The Burning Woman - Margaret Ritter (1979)
Southland - Amanda Carlisle (1982)
Knight's Keep - Rona Randall (1993)
Beloved Captive - Catherine Dillon (1979)
Fever Moon - Susanna Howe (1978)
Jamaica - Amanda Hart Douglass (1977)
Affinity - Katherine Hale (1979)
Dargonard - Rupert Gilchrist (1976)
The Liaison - Maria Matray & Answald Krueger (1975)
The Silver Devil - Teresa Denys (1978)
Zulu Warrior - Lou Cameron (1971)
Listen for Rachel - Lou Kassem (1996)
The Seventeenth Stair - Barbara Paul (1976)
Weep No More My Lady - Amanda Jean Jarrett (?)
Warwyck's Woman - Rosalind Laker (1983)
Wave of Destiny - Martha Melahn (1981)
What was surprising to me was how tame the covers are (could not find any images online and I don't have a scanner). No bare chested men, no women with their head thrown back at an awkward angle and their dress falling off.
Now what am I going to do with the rest of this collection? I'd be embarassed to donate them to the library used book sales or a nursing home because they are so freaking old. The ones that had ISBN numbers (about half) I listed on PBS but I don't expect any takers.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Hot Shot by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
This is one of SEP's earlier books (published 1991) and her writing style has really changed (for the better) since then. There was little evidence of her typical humor that I loved in books like It Had to Be You and Match Me If You Can. The story (which felt more like a saga covering almost 500 pages) focuses around Susannah Faulconer's life from a small child through her rise in the corporate world and the computer industry. But there was too much detail on the emerging computer industry and not enough romance. The characters were complex and interesting but the romance felt tacked on. Not my favorite SEP.
My grade: C+
Warrior by Elizabeth Lowell
After dissing the last Lowell I read (Granite Man) I hate to admit how much more I liked this book. Nevada is an uber-alpha (as are all Lowell's heroes) but he has a softer heart and doesn't believe all women are sluts. No, his flaw is that he doesn't believe in love (*rolls eyes*). I liked the heroine Eden, a wildlife biologist, who doesn't take any crap from him. But of course she's a virgin (*another eye roll*). My biggest peeve with this book was Lowell's signature characteristic which is so evident in many of her books: hero invents a nickname for the heroine. I hate that. Nevada's nickname for Eden is fairy-tale girl. "Dear Ms. Lowell: ....STOP THAT!!!" Whew, sorry, lost control. With these irritations aside Warrior was quite a good book. Eden finds Nevada who has injured himself in the middle of a snow storm and takes him to safety. The mental lusting begins... really, dialog is not Lowell's strong suit. But I loved Baby, Eden's dog/part wolf, and the cougar tracking and scenery descriptions of the Colorado Rockies. Oh, yeah, it's pretty hot too ;)
My grade: B-
Heart of Deception by Taylor Chase
Wow, the best book I read all month! Set in Elizabethan England, Vivian Swift and her brother, Nick, rule the underworld of the Southwark area of London. Viv is Queen of the Klink and oversees the smuggling, prostitution, gambling, thievery, and assorted crimes of that time in her own corner of London. She's an extremely strong character and I admired her which surprised me because I'm not a fan of criminals as heroes/heroines. But she is very loyal to Queen Elizabeth who she considers her counterpart. Into her domain comes Rafe Fletcher who earns her trust to become her bodyguard. But he is hiding secrets and eventually betrays her in the most intense emotional scenes. The book is filled with political intrigue, betrayals, treason, murder and revenge but it is very fast paced and totally absorbing. All the characters, both real and fiction, are three dimensional and complex. HOD was an compelling read and very hard to put down. Very steamy too. It's a keeper! Has anyone read the sequel, Heart of Night, and is it worth tracking down? Taylor Chase also wrote two books as Gayle Feyrer and I'm wondering if I should try to locate them too. Keishon says they are HTF. Just my luck.
My grade: A
Currently reading: Don't Look Down by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. Having a hard time getting into it. Lots of stuff going on and seems like a lot of POV changes, but maybe I've got too many distractions the last couple of days. Will try to concentrate tonight.