Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich

Why did I pick up this book? After reading the last Stephanie Plum book, Eleven on Top, I swore I was done with this series. This time I mean it... seriously... no, really. OK, shut up, I really mean it this time.

I read Stephanie Plum books to laugh. You know, those belly rolling laughs (and I have lots of belly to roll lately) that are so much fun. I can't remember the last time I had one of those laughs with her books. I think it was the opening scene a few books back where some FTA she was trying to capture was mooning her through a window. God, I laughed at that scene. Can't remember which book that was in though, but it was a while ago.

TS has a few laugh out loud chuckles and that's it. Waste of time. We got to see a bit more about Ranger's personal life, but really it wasn't worth it.

I read this from a book on tape with Lorelei King (I like CJ Critt better) as the narrator. At the end of the book Lorelei interviews Janet Evanovich. I usually skip those types of things but this time I decided to listen because I wanted to see what direction she is going with these books. Well, I was not pleased. Basically, she said that Stephanie will forever be the same age in all future books. She will never resolve her relationships with either Joe or Ranger. She emphasized that these are not romances and sort of dissed them a little (at least that's how I took it). So ladies, if you're expecting some kind of maturity out of Stephanie, forget it. She'll continue to blow up cars, do stupid stuff, keep her gun in her cookie jar, eat a steady diet of pizza and donuts, and lust after both Joe and Ranger. Doesn't matter if it's book 1 or book 53276. Nothing will change.

None of this is probably a surprise to the rest of you but I just had to rant. Ok, I'm done. Goodbye, Stephanie.

My grade: C

Monday, November 27, 2006

Brockmann binge

While cruising my TBR shelf I discovered I had a couple books left to read in Brockmann's Tall Dark and Dangerous series: Identity: Unknown and Get Lucky. So in the interest of closure I decided to read them. This series is all about U.S. Navy SEALs, has won numerous awards and launched Brockmann into fame and fortune and has also earned her a whole boatload of fans. Here is the complete list of eleven books with my grades:

Prince Joe (B)
Forever Blue (B+)
Frisco's Kid (B)
Everyday Average Jones (B)
Harvard's Education (A)
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (C+)
The Admiral's Bride (B-)
Identity: Unknown
Get Lucky (A-)
Taylor's Temptation (B+)
Night Watch (B-)

Only a few of them were real keepers (A's) or nearly so (B+) but I'll hang on to all of them. They are all the original print version too. I can't figure it out but it just feels wrong to break up the set. I have done that with several other series by other authors as well. Have you ever held on to an entire series when only one or two are keepers?

Next I found several other Brockmann's published under the old Loveswept line. So I read them too and discovered a couple of treasures!

Body Language (A-)
Freedom's Price (B+)
The Kissing Game (A)

Which left Freedom's Price as a possible trade at PBS but just for the heck of it I looked at half.com to see how much I could sell it for (figuring about $5.00 or so) and discover that a like-new copy goes for $42.50!! OMG, that's ridiculous. I guess I'll hang on to it too. Maybe I'll sell the whole collection someday and retire in the lap of luxury. Uhhh, doubtful. :)

Isn't It Romantic? by Rhonda Thompson

Ever since I saw the review for IIR over at AAR where it earned an A, I had to have this book. But I didn't realize how HTF it was until making multiple trips to various UBS and never catching sight of it. It's been on my TBB list for about 6 years and I almost gave up. When I joined PBS I put it on my wishlist. Just recently it became available and I'm so glad I persisted because I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a wonderfully witty romantic comedy very reminiscent of SEP or Jennifer Cruise. I have to confess that I laughed so much while reading it that Bob kept giving me those 'funny' looks.

As the story begins Katrine Summerville and Trey Westmoreland are on a blind date... well, not exactly. Both Katrine and Trey need an escort to an awards banquet and their mutual friend Cynthia sets them up. The blaze of attraction immediately ignites between them, but when they both are called to the podium to receive an award and discover the true identity of the other the blaze turns to intense dislike and an angry argument ensues for all to see.

Katrine and Trey have a history. Katrine writes sexy historical romances for a living under a pseudonym (Kat Summers). Trey is a book critic who writes reviews under the pseudonym T. West for the local newspaper. Years ago he wrote a scathing review of Kat's book reflecting his prejudice against the romance genre in general. His review created animosity between them and they have been sworn enemies ever since although they had never met. After seeing the sparks fly at the banquet, Trey's publisher and Katrine's editor come up with a great idea to handle the publicity. These two are going to go out on a series of four dates and each write an article on their views of the date. Katrine will write the romantic viewpoint while Trey will write the realistic view.

Both characters carry a boatload of baggage. Katrine was abandoned at 5 years old, and pregnant and widowed at eighteen. Trey is still bitter about his failed marriage and feels romance novels give women a distorted expectation of love. What follows is a hilarious ride through one hysterically funny date-from-hell to the next. I could tell you about their dates, but I won't :) They are just too damn funny and I don't want to spoil your enjoyment. I laughed and laughed over every one, each one more funny than the last.

The dialogue is snappy, sassy and clever, and the plot is fast paced and lighthearted with a serious undertone which makes it work so well. The chemistry between these two characters was perfect. I would rate them as one of my top 10 favorite couples of all time. I also got a huge kick out of the tongue in cheek spoof of romance novels as well.

And the ending...*sigh* ..... sooooooooo romantic. Loved it!!!

I hesitated about writing this review because the book is so HTF that you may have trouble snagging a copy. But maybe you'll get lucky in your neck of the woods. I suggest putting it on your wish list at PBS and you may get it eventually. I know I'm not going to be parting with my copy. It's a keeper. If you are one of the lucky ones who has this sitting in your TBR... get it out and read it, girl!

My grade: A

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Date Me Baby, One More Time by Stephanie Rowe

This book was my October TBR challenge read that I never got around to writing a review for. So I'm sure I probably ended up on AngieW's wall of shame :). I picked this book up on Cindy's recommendation and enjoyed it very much.

This was a funny book. By that I mean both funny, ha ha, and funny, strange. I'll try and summarize the plot but I'm afraid it might be too bizarre to explain. Plus it's been a while since I finished it and I'm having trouble remembering it all. But here goes.

Justine Bennett is an immortal and guardian of the Goblet of Eternal Youth which just happens to have morphed into an espresso machine named Desdemona (Mona for short). Oh, and she's forbidden to have sex because it might interfere with her job of guarding Mona. Justine and her roommate, Theresa Nichols, have been watching over Mona for the last 200 years. Oh, yeah, BTW, Theresa is now an 11-foot tall fire-breathing dragon who spends most of her day having cyber sex. Needless to say they don't get out much.

Derek LaValle and the men of his family are cursed. For the past four generations all the men of his family have died at the same age, 31 years, 46 weeks, 4 days, 6 hours, 3 minutes, and 5 seconds. How's that for a curse? Where Rowe came up with that exact age, I don't know, but it made me laugh. And the weird causes of death (hamsters, lemonade ?) for the men was hilarious. Derek is determined to break the curse and the only way he feels he can do that is to kill the Guardian and steal the Goblet. Justine must protect the Goblet by killing Derek or else face being sent the Chamber of Unspeakable Horrors. Satan and Justine's mother have a secondary romance (if you can call it that). He lusts after her and she wants nothing to do with him. Some of their dialogue is pretty funny.

Eventually Derek and Justine team up to solve the curse and they fall for each other. The plot was rather convoluted at times and while there were some laugh out loud moments some of it was a bit silly to me. This quirky paranormal has no werewolves, no vampires, no fairies, trolls or goblins. Just a fire-breathing dragon. But it was worth picking up for the comedy alone.

My grade: B

Rowe seems to be a writer with potential. The next book, Must Love Dragons, is Theresa's story and has just been released. I may have to go shopping.

Bob & shopping

I'm sitting hear listening to my cat snore. When did she start that? I should be used to it by now. Bob snores every night and most of the time it doesn't bother me.

Bob and I have been shopping a bunch. Monday we went to Frye's Electronics and bought a new computer and telephone. Cindy talks about C-Rex. Well, I don't have a nice name for mine. I was just a bitch at the checkout stand. I'm not going to explain it. I'll just say that the clerk and her manager PISSED me off royally. I think I embarrassed Bob.

Anyway, on to IKEA. We saw a few things we wanted (an easy chair for the bedroom for me). Had lunch there (Swedish meatballs of course). I gave up red meat about 2 years ago (long story) but occasionally treat myself. Only problem I think is if you haven't eaten beef for a while your body forgets how to digest it. Gave me a little tummy ache but it was worth it. Very yummy.

Today we went to Home Depot. I looked at light fixtures and found one I liked. Bob looked at some crap while I followed him the hell and gone all over the damn building. But I was good, didn't complain once. Then on to Costco where we fought the crowds. Picked up 2 pumpkin pies and a pecan pie for Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's. A bunch of Costco managers were standing around and I overheard them say that they had made 1500 pumpkin pies last night!!! We made it out of the store for less than $100, quite an achievement for me.

The weather has been horrendously wet. Supposed to be the wettest November on record and it's not even over yet! And terribly windy too.

Now somebody please tell me how to get rid of Bob for a day. I need some me-time. I need to go to the bookstore. He's driving me nuts. I need some space. He used to hate shopping, now he seems to like it. Help!

Update: The sun came out this morning and should last till this afternoon so we had this conversation:

Bob: "I think I'll go golfing"
Me: *jumping for joy...woohoo* "That's a great idea, honey, get out and get some fresh air."
Bob: "Would you like to walk along with me?"
Me: *are you kidding me?* "No thanks, hon"
Bob: "I think I'll stop at Lowe's after"
Me: *thank you Jesus... he'll be gone for hours :)* "That's nice, have fun!"

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Perfect Weapon by Amy Fetzer

I love a good romantic suspense as long as there is a minimum of blood and torture of women, children and animals. OK, so sue me, I'm picky. Also, I don't want to get inside the mind of a sick serial killer. I always skim over stuff like that.

Anyway, I have heard good things about Amy Fetzer and thought I would give her a try so PW was my first attempt and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Dr. Sydney Hale is a scientist working on an antidote to the deadly sarin nerve gas in a underground government lab when they are attacked by terrorists and she barely escapes with her life. Captain Jack Wilson and three of his fellow Marines are working on a job for the department of Fish and Game and unwittingly get caught in the crossfire. When his three buddies are brutally murdered Jack is determined to discover who did this, and figures out that Dr. Hale is the key so he kidnaps her from under the nose of the NSA who are supposed to be keeping her safe.

What follows is an action packed, nail biting plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. However, my biggest complaint was that the plot was somewhat convoluted and confusing. There were several plot threads running though it with numerous scene breaks involving characters that were not set up and explained so I had no idea who these characters were which drives me crazy. Eventually, I thought "f*ck it" and quit trying to mentally organize and figure out who the characters where and just let their names flow over the top of my head, figuring all would be explained later. Which they were. If you concentrate mainly on the H/H, then you should be fine.

Jack and Sydney team up to solve who is behind the terrorist attack and figure out the government traitor. They were an engaging couple whose attraction for each other sparked plenty of sexual tension. Jack was a yummy hero suffering a fair amount of angst and grief over the loss of his buddies. Sydney was a strong, admirable heroine and was a complex character. Sometimes I get tired of this plot line.... h/h on the run for their life, trying to solve a mystery, having lots of hot sizzling sex. But Fetzer does it very well in PW. A very enjoyable read I highly recommend. I definitely want to try another by her.

My grade: B+

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Haunted in Death by J. D. Robb

I'm a huge fan of this series and have read every one in a row. I listened to this book from the CD which was read by Susan Ericksen and was only 3 CD's long so it was basically a short story or a novella. I have asked myself why I keep sticking with this series through all 22 full length books, 2 novellas, and Remember When (I don't know what you'd classify that one).

In case you are one of the few people left who have never read this series before, let me give you an overview. The books are set in futuristic New York City beginning in the year 2058. Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas is one tough cookie with a lot of baggage left over from her sexual and physical abuse by her father when she was just a small child. In the first book, Naked in Death, she meets gazillionaire Roarke (a suspect in a murder case she is investigating) and they fall in love and they have lots of hot vigorous sex. Roarke also has his own baggage and throughout all these books I have enjoyed how their relationship develops and how their characters grow. Along the way we meet a bunch of other wonderful characters who appear in every book.

If you have read all of this series then be warned that HID does not add anything to Eve's character growth or her developing relationship with husband Roarke. Basically, what you have here is a murder mystery featuring a ghost but I felt a bit cheated because some of my favorite characters are missing (Summerset, Mavis, etc.)

I loved the mystery in this one but I don't read them for the mystery alone. I want Eve/Roarke relationship growth, I want the hot SEX, I want the characters. Well, there may have been one sex scene in this one but it flew by so fast it didn't leave an impression. Or maybe I was dreaming. So, sad to say, this one was a waste of time for me in some respects, but it was a good story.

My grade: C+

Upcoming books in this series:
Born in Death is just out Nov. 7th
Innocent in Death (2007)
Creation in Death (2007)

Friday, November 17, 2006

I'm back and ready to roll

And I really missed blogging! (let me know if I missed any good gossip so I can go rubber neck). I had a horrible day at work today. They are so mean... they actually want me to work. No time to peek at the internet and blog hop. No time for a lunch break so I ate my Lean Cuisine while I continued working. The only thing keeping me going is knowing that starting tomorrow I have 10 days off ... in a row even :) Tummy is under control but it really pisses me off that I have to avoid dairy. I'm in denial still.

So I see I need to update my sidebar and I have reviews to write. I also need to see if I can find a new free template. Getting tired of this one. I was thinking of maybe posting a review a day but that sounds overly ambitious. I have been reading but not as much as normal. Usually I can finish a book in 2 or 3 days but lately it's more like one in 6 or 7 days.

I updated to the new Blogger beta and, wow, it has labels. Cool! I hope they worked out most of the bugs because finding bugs in software is what I do all day at work and I don't want to have to deal with it when I'm trying to do something fun, like talk about books.

I also updated my yahoo mail account to the new Yahoo Mail beta. I'm a glutton for punishment.

Bob is taking the next 10 days off too. He wanted to spend time with me (how sweet :) and there are some things we want to do around the house. I hope it stops raining for a few days so I can send him off golfing. I don't want to hurt his feelings but sometimes I just want some time to myself. I have a huge To-Do list and hope to do a little book shopping. AND read as much as possible.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Time for a break

I've been a pretty lousy blogger lately. Work has been horrible lately and will be getting worse. We are supposed to ship our product on December 15 and that means some long hours and maybe have to work some weekends. I HATE THIS. My boss is throwing more responsibility my way too. I have to train a new employee today and Wednesday I'm scheduled to interview a potential employee. I like how he has such confidence in me but I find myself getting more anxious which causes me to procratinate about stupid stuff.

So the end result is I need to take a break from blogging for a short while. I am scheduled to take the week of Thanksgiving off so I'll try to pop in and post something then. I'm in a reading slump anyway after finishing Cold As Ice by Anne Stuart. Loved it! Peter is your typical Stuart anti-hero. I can't figure out why I love this hero type but it works for me. I loved the heroine too. She stands up to him when he acts like an a**hole. :)

BTW, I think I figured out my tummy problem which has been giving me fits since April. I'm lactose intolerant! I thought it was heartburn caused by stress. Went to a gastroenterologist and she did an endoscopy. I was starting to really worry but all she saw was gastritis from the heartburn. She has given me several heartburn medications (Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, Aciphex, etc.) to try and they have helped a bit but I still feel sick to my stomach most of the time. I remembered that my mother was lactose intolerant so I started taking those lactase tablets and wow do I feel better. I have never had problems with milk my whole life. I love milk. I had no idea that a person could develop this at my age.

I'll be back in a couple weeks but I'll try to keep up with everyone's blog.