Thursday, December 25, 2008

Road Trip

Yes, we're heading south tomorrow. Straight shot through Washington, Oregon and California. I think we'll go through Palm Springs on our way to Arizona to visit my dad in Yuma. Then tour Arizona a little, head out through Sedona and points north. Just Bob and me. He has a week of vacation he needs to use up and since I am unemployed right now, this seems like the perfect time. We are both sick of the cold, and snow. Another 2 inches today (Christmas Day).

I'm all packed and ready to go. Of course, lots of books are packed too since I love to read in the car. I can hardly wait to get some sun and stock up on my Vitamin D. Funny thing is during my annual checkup this year they checked my Vitamin D level (along with cholesterol and a bunch of other stuff). My vitamin D is WAY low. Around 20 when it's supposed to be 30 - 150. So this is a sign I must need a vacation in the sun, don't you think?

Here's the books I'm bringing along:

  • Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh
  • Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins
  • Flat-out Sexy by Erin McCarthy
  • Midnight Run by Lisa Marie Rice
  • A Bucket of Ashes by P. B. Ryan (an historical mystery - last in the Nell Sweeney series)
  • Seize the Fire by Laura Kinsale (this one has been in my TBR forever)


Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. We had a wonderful time at my sister's. But it was a close call. Almost had to cancel. She lost power around 10 am due to all the heavy snow that was falling but fortunately it came back on. Backup plan was to have it at MY house. Yikes. We also got a couple more inches of snow today and our lights were flickering. But it turned to rain thank goodness and the roads were slick as snot with rain on top of ice/packed snow. I hope it's all melted by the time we get back.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snow!


For those of you who don't know, I live in the Seattle area. Now we typically have very little snow. Some years, none at all. And I can't remember having a white Christmas in all the years I have lived here. Until this year....

Last Thursday we had about 10" of snow at my house. And instead of melting right away, like usual, the temperatures dropped and it has been cold ever since. We had another big snow storm on Saturday night and Sunday with winds 40 - 50 mph and about 6 more inches. Monday got up to about 33 degrees so some of the roads melted, but mostly the roads are covered with packed snow and ice. It's just a real mess driving since we have very few snow plows in this area. But I love my Chevy Trailblazer with 4-wheel drive. I can get around anywhere and driving is no problem.

The snow is supposed to stick around through Christmas Day so we get a white Christmas this year. They canceled church last Sunday (first time ever in the 25 years I have been going there) and may cancel Christmas Eve service. The church parking lot sits in a kind of "bowl" so getting in and out is a nightmare with about a foot of snow uncleared.

Here are some picture of my house with some looking out the back door at the deck:
















Notice the water faucet with the hose attached (next to the watering can at the bottom of the picture). Bob forgot to put the faucet covers on this fall. Good thing that faucet is next to the dryer vent so it stays warm. Another good thing - he's married to me and I noticed and harassed his ass about it. Sheesh!









Here's the pergola Bob built on the back patio:








It's pretty but I know I'm going to get sick of it soon.


Merry Christmas, everyone!

UPDATE: If you click on the top picture of my house and notice a strange object slumped near the left side of the garage (kinda looks like an old blanket suspended on a rope), well, that's the "Grinch". It's one of those blowup characters that are so popular now. The neighbor gave it to Bob last year. Very appropriate. I had to guilt him into putting up a couple strands of lights.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Best of 2008 List

So far. I still have a few more 2008 books to read that are sitting on my nightstand. (I "stole" this idea from DearAuthor).

  • The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne, Grade A
  • Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh, Grade A-
  • Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas, Grade A-
  • Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas, Grade A-
  • Moonstruck by Susan Grant, Grade A-
  • Delicious by Sherry Thomas, Grade A-
  • Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare, Grade B+
  • The Last Twilight by Marjorie M. Lui, Grade B+
  • Sex, Straight Up by Kathleen O'Reilly, Grade B+
  • Tempted by Megan Hart, Grade B+
  • Tall Tales and Wedding Veils by Jane Graves, Grade B+
  • Fire and Ice by Anne Stuart, Grade B+
  • Exposing Casey by Deanna Lee, Grade B+
  • Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin
  • Cutting Loose by Tara Janzen, Grade B+
  • Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase, Grade B+
  • Demon Night by Meljean Brook, Grade B+
Whew. That's quite a lot of books. I still have a few 2008 books to read before AAR's annual poll that may end up on this list. Most notibly:
  • Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh (love every book I have read by this author)
  • Broken Wing by Judith James (Kristie loved this book so this one has possibilities since she and I think alike so many times)

Reading Now: Guess what!? Broken Wing! I just cracked the first two pages. I better get back to reading :)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Recent good reads

I was looking through my book spreadsheet and discovered I have read an amazing number of books so far this year ... 135 (with 30 published in 2008). But I have only reviewed 20 books (8 published in 2008) this year. Pretty pathetic. Another interesting fact ... I have read 81 books from my TBR this year, some of which have been living in my closet for years. A couple of years ago my TBR had over 250 books. Now it's down to 107.

No chance of getting full length reviews done for all of my reads this year but here are some quickies of three 2008 books that are worth checking out:



TITLE/AUTHOR: Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase
SENSUALITY: HOT!

THOUGHTS/OPINIONS:
Chase has demonstrated her genius yet again. Set in 1820's Venice, YSW is a wonderful book full of charm and wit. Francesa Bonnard is an unapologetic courtesan. In fact, she calls herself a "great whore". After she is publicly humiliated and divorced by her husband, she flees to the Continent and becomes a notorious and much sought after woman. James Cordier is a spy for the English government and is anxious to retire and return to England. But his last assignment is to steal a packet of letters from Francesca that are potentially damaging to her ex-husband's political career. Francesca and James are wonderfully intelligent characters, the dialog is witty and the setting was so unusual and realistically portrayed. The humor is wonderfully written as well. This is a very funny book. Here is the first paragraph:
"Penises. Everywhere."
Ha! That caught my interest immediately and the story never let me go. And the sex scenes are nice and steamy. But there is a lot of depth to this story too.

GRADE: A


TITLE/AUTHOR: Death Angel by Linda Howard
SENSUALITY: HOT!

THOUGHTS/OPINIONS: I'm having a hard time figuring out how to describe this book. It has an odd paranormal element to it that kinda freaked me out but overall I think I liked this book.

Drea Rousseau is a mistress to Rafael Salinas, a very dangerous crime lord and malicious killer who hires assassins to do his dirty work. After one such hit job, the assassin asks for a few hours with Salina's mistress as part of his payment so Salinas just gives Drea to him, and they spend some hours in some scorchingly hot sex. Whew! The assassin is a cold blooded killer and the "hero" of the book and we eventually find out his name is Simon Goodnight. Hmmm, so both the "hero" and "heroine" are both thoroughly unlikeable characters. Drea has been playing stupid in front Salinas for a long time but now she is desperate to get out of her situation. She outsmarts him and pulls some sneaky moves and gets away with a mountain of money. But Salinas sends "The Assassin" after her.

I don't want to spoil the story for you so I'll just say that Drea ends up turning her life around and totally redeems herself. Simon eventually realizes he loves her and protects her from Salinas. I really came to like Drea. Now Simon is a total mystery and we never find out who he really is and what makes him tick. The ending was rather abrupt but I liked it anyway. I don't think this book will appeal to everyone but Linda Howard is a must read for me. And the sex scenes alone are worth the price of the book (paperback only - due out in April 2009 - otherwise get it from the library). But then I'm slutty that way.

GRADE: B-


TITLE/AUTHOR: Tribute by Nora Roberts
SENSUALITY: Warm

THOUGHTS/OPINIONS: Roberts is a very consistent author and her skill is evident in this book and I really enjoyed it quite a bit. A lot of her recent books have had paranormal elements with ghosts and whatever but this one had none of that and I was so glad. I think she should stick to straight contemporary because ghosts just don't do it for me.

Cilla McGowan is a former child star with a lot of baggage. She returns to her famous grandmother's old neglected house in Virginia and decides to renovate it. Cilla is a pro at remodeling houses and I was fascinated by all the details of turning a run down disaster into a beautiful home. Roberts definitely did her homework in that area but if house renovation is not your thing, you should probably skip this book because while the story was good, it wasn't all that gripping. Ford Sawyer lives across the street and writes graphic novels. The story hinges around a mystery involving the death of Cilla's grandmother many years ago and was pretty tame but was so well written I enjoyed it anyway. Cilla is a very strong, smart woman and very likeable. Ford is what I would call a beta hero but yummy in his own way. A pretty good read all around.

GRADE: B



Sorry for the shortness of these "reviews". I have a few more 2008 book to review so those should be coming up shortly.

Reading now: Under the Wire by Cindy Gerard. This is a romantic suspense with a younger man plot line (one of my favorite). Very good so far.