Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Birthday and ... time for a break

Yeah, it's my birthday. I'm really trying not to have them anymore but they keep sneaking up on me every year. In fact I completely forgot about it until my daughter called me around 9 am and wished me happy birthday. What? Oh! Yeah!

In other news... I've decided to take a break from blogging for awhile. I don't have many people stopping by anymore because I don't post that often. My life is just too hectic. The wedding is only a month away and I have been working non-stop trying to get the house ready.

I have two big projects going now. Project #1 is refinishing my kitchen cupboards. We talked about replacing the cupboards but that's a huge expense and I'm not sure how much longer we will be in this house. The cupboard doors are solid oak and after 18 years of buildup of oils from your hands, they look pretty gunky. Never knew we should have put knobs or handles on the doors. So Bob took them all off and I carted them off to The Furniture Spa where they dipped them in tanks of stripper. When I got them home I lined them up for a coat of varathane. Wow, what a difference. They look brand new. Just need to put on one more coat, then Bob gets to put on the new antique brass knobs and drawer pulls.

Project #2 is redecorating my living room. I finally broke down and hired a decorator. I have been trying for months to do something but I would go to furniture stores, lighting stores, etc. etc. and just wander around and come home with nutin'. I just can't do it. I have no artistic talent. So I hired a decorator and it's a great relief. She came up with a plan and I will do all the shopping. I have most of the major furniture ordered and it will be here soon. Then I get started on the small stuff (rugs, artwork, lighting, drapes). She has assured me that we will be able to get it all done before the wedding.

If I get a chance I'll post pictures. Oh, and I may get a review out for TBR day. Otherwise, I'm going to be AWOL for a while.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

REVIEW: Hidden by Eve Kenin

SETTING/TYPE: Futuristic Romance
SENSUALITY: Warm
COPYRIGHT: 2008 (release date July 2008)

THOUGHTS/OPINIONS:

Hidden is the sequel to Driven (which was one of my favorite reads from 2007). It's not necessary to read Driven first because Kenin again provides some first rate world building. This story is set in a futuristic post-apocalyptic world called the Northern Waste - like a Mad Max movie only set in the frozen tundra.

Tatiana (or TTN081) is the product of genetic engineering and the prologue (set in 2088) gives the reader an idea of the horrors of her early life. She was born in an underground laboratory and has spent her life being subjected to torturous medical experiments (like something out of Nazi Germany) along with her two siblings, Wizard (hero from Driven) and Yuriko. Duncan Bane is her tormentor along with Dr. Gavin Ward. These two are truly evil and creepy. They supposedly conduct the experiments to test her ability to heal and to make her stronger but I never really understood their main purpose.

Fast forward to the year 2093 and we learn that Duncan Bane is dead. Tatiana has recently escaped and is trying to keep one step ahead of Gavin Ward who now controls the New Government Order. She has come to Abbott's General Store to buy information when she meets a rag swathed settler named Tristan who intrigues her. The store owner is a slimy individual but Tatiana has been hired to recover a stolen ring and she thinks he has information. And she wants to find Tolliver, a scientist specializing in genetic and infectious diseases who works for Ward in a hidden lab where she believes he is testing a horrific plague he had created from her genetic code. She doesn't learn anything about Tolliver but does get a lead on the ring. And does recover it from a couple of Siberian ice pirates in a gruesome scene.

You see, Tatiana is one kick-ass heroine. Since her escape her dormant genetic enhancements have begun to gradually bloom. She finds that she can withstand extreme cold, read minds, heal from almost any wound, and has enhanced telescopic vision. When she confronts the ice pirate about the ring, she surprised herself (and me) when she severs his hand with just her fingers.

After recovering the ring and returning it to it's rightful owner, she makes her way to the Maori Talisman, a mountain of ice and rock, which she thinks may be a linked to Tolliver somehow. But instead she encounters a very odd scene. A group of settlers on snowscooters are chasing a lone man on a scooter across the ice and snow. When they catch him, it appears to be a case of vigilante justice but Tatiana has a hard time figuring out what is going on at first. But Tristan is one of the group. In the tussle with the culprit, Tatiana doesn't realize that she has been exposed to a deadly plague. Tristan invites her back to their underground compound with the promise of hydrogen fuel for her snowscooter.

What follows is a fascinating action adventure laced with some science and blended well with the romance. Tristan is an enigmatic character at first. Kenin likes to keep secrets about her characters and only reveals information on a need-to-know basis, thus keeping the reader in suspense. It was hard for me not to peek ahead (a bad habit of mine). One particular scene is incredibly tense when she and Tristan find their only route to escape the underground compound is through an elevator shaft protected by deadly laser beams. I was chewing my nails on that one. Tatiana is a good strong heroine although a little too trusting of Tristan when she first meets him. Both of them are rather tortured characters due to events in their past but Tristan's sense of humor lightened the mood on occasion. The romance builds slowly along with the trust between them. There is a very romantic and sexy love scene which takes place in an underground hot spring/pool which was well done.

Although the story dragged a bit through some of middle, I really enjoyed it overall. I liked Driven a tad better, but Hidden is a solid read with good characters, a mostly fast moving plot and a great romance. If you liked Driven, I'm sure Hidden will be worth picking up when it's released in July.

GRADE: B