A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

It's Halloween?

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Halloween. Not particularly my favorite holiday, and it arrives in my favorite season, so go figure. I think it all goes back to not liking to be scared and Halloweens of my childhood. I always wanted to stay home and handout candy instead of walk around in the dark with a bag and beg for treats. I was always terrified every time we rang a doorbell.

Then as a Mom I was always tortured between "buy a costume...make a costume" each year. We bought very few costumes so my boys had a wild conglomeration of get ups over the years. Most times they had the PC costume for school (dress up as your favorite character from a book...boys LOVE that!) and a scary costume for Trick or Treating. Although here in Southern California I haven't found Halloween to be quite as big a deal as it was when I grew up with school parties and fairs and community bazaars and such.

So with my grown up kids and a son with a birthday on October 28th we have LOTS of Halloween/Birthday parties over the years. This past Saturday was a case in point. Family, friends, kids, kids friends...I think there was about 30 people all told. I love having company and a gathering. I really, really do. However, this time I was in a flare period with my RA and the weekend ended up really kicking my ass. *sigh* These are the adjustments I hate to make and that remind me I haven't really accepted things as well as I like to believe.

Anyway, as a result of the fatigue I haven't posted in a while, but I have been reading. Today I downloaded a couple of stories from PBW's ebook challenge. If you haven't heard about it or checked it out, today is definitely the day to go take a look see. All the stories and authors with the links are posted on her site. I have to admire a working author who takes the time out to do this. Kudos to Lynn Viehl. I'm anxious to go back later today and get the link to HER story.

My posts might be a little sparse in the short term because sitting for lengthy period of time is pretty uncomfortable. Right now I'm off to B&N to check out today's releases. Have a Happy Halloween...hope you get all treats and NO tricks!!

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

My 5 Truths, My Name and Holly's Survey

This was posted below my Happy Birthday to my son. I'm moving it to the top because I'm too tired from the weekend shenanigans to do a new post today and I don't know if everyone saw it.

Last week Jodi tagged me to tell five truths. Here are mine and I hope they don't scare you all away.

1. For about two years I've wanted to pierce my nipples. Don't ask me why, I've just been fixated on the idea. I haven't because I'm 51 and I can't imagine anything more ludicrous or ridiculous. I keep thinking of visits to my Gynnie who I've known for years and his surprise when it's time for the breast exam. That and the fact the as sure as there is hellfire and Jesus it would hurt like a mother. I could maybe do it if Steadman and my sister Mary were to get drunk with me and take me to a nice sterile environment and then I could have a great drunk story to go with the piercings.

2. I still cry sometimes over our infertility even though I absolutely love and adore our two sons.

3. While I try to eat right, exercise, take meds and do all the right things for my rheumatoid arthritis I mostly want to wail and bitch about it.

4. In real life I have to curb my language all the time because one of my worst vices is my foul mouth.

5. The most significant truth about me is how important it is to me that the people I love, KNOW that I love them. The worst thing I can imagine is that my nearest and dearest wouldn't know how much they mean to me or how much I loved them.

There it is...my five truths!

Okay, now for my name. Thanks to Zeek I linked to find out how many people in the U.S. have my same exact name. I used Rosie instead of Rose Marie, my legal first name. As I commented at Zeek's blog, it turns out there are 16...16 women with the very SAME name as me. I think that's alot of people to have your same name when it isn't Smith or Jones. I was pretty surprised. Here's the link for you, if you haven't tried it already.

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Last, but not least is a mini-survey from Holly's site.

1.What makes you visit a blog? Lots of things make me visit a blog. The majority of the sites I visit are due to my interest in reading romance novels, but not all of them. I think what most of the sites I visit have in common is how genuine the people are.

2. What makes you come back to it? sincerity, originality, humor, common interest, human interest

3. Do you read the archives of a new blog you find? Or of ones you visit frequently? When I'm new to a blog I certainly look at the archives. If I've been away from my computer like when I'm on vacation I come back and go through archives of the blogs I most frequently visit.

4. Do you comment on all the blogs you read? Or only some? What makes you comment or not? In general I do comment at one time or another on all the blogs I read, but not on every blog every day. Sometimes I don't have anything to contribute, which isn't to say that I didn't find the posting interesting. Usually something has to strike a chord of familiarity for me to comment.

5. Do you like it when someone repsonds to your comment with one of their own, or do you not care? I do like to have a response, but it isn't always necessary or reasonable, some comments just don't require a response.

6. How often does a blog need to update for you to keep visiting? A few days? Once A week? Once every couple of weeks? This really depends on the blog. If it is a really good writer I can usually go longer between posts. Jennifer Crusie (Argh Ink) posts very infrequently. In general though, I'd like to see a new post at least once a week.

7. Is there anything you DON'T want to read about? If so, what and why not? If not, good on you. ;) As I've said many times...me...I'm a Nosy Nora. I like to read about it all. There have been a few occasions of TMI, but *g* but if you will blog it, I will read it.

It always feels good to have the housework done. I think I'm all caught up again...for the moment.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Teenager No Longer...

Happy 20th Birthday!

Dad and I couldn't be prouder. We love you Beanie Boy.


Thursday, October 26, 2006


My family are supporters of One.org. We joined last year when we went to the U2 concert because Bono was one of the organizers. I really liked their new promotion. Take a look if you haven't seen it already.

I'll be busy this weekend because it's my son's birthday on Saturday and we are having a birthday and Halloween party. Mostly my son's friends and some family too, but I worked today, so I'll be busy getting ready tomorrow.

Jodi tagged me to do the Five Truths meme. I'll try to get to it sometime tomorrow or Saturday.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Jonathan ...

I'll miss you forever...

Jonathan Jude Sanders
January 28, 1959 - October 24, 2004

In 2004 we lost my mother in January and my brother in October. It was a rough year to say the least. My brother was only 45 years old and had lived his whole life coping with physical handicaps he had been born with.

Losing your parents is not easy, but something you expect in the natural order of things. Losing your sibling is different. For me it was like losing part of myself because I was in this unit of nine children and Jonny is right in the middle of the birth order...a precious part of us that defined our family unit. With his loss I felt more hollowed out than when my Mom died, more like I physical hole was left in my body that nothing or no one could ever replace, change or fill that was just Jonny.

I have a beautiful diffenbachia plant in my home that was sent to our family when Jonny died. It's huge now and we just recently transplanted it into a bigger pot. I talk to it and call it Jonny and seeing it makes me feel better. I know I don't have to get over losing these people I've loved, but I am finding ways to live with their loss and after two years I feel blessed and content with that.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Cold as Ice by Anne Stuart

COLD AS ICE by Anne Stuart

Thanks to Cindy noting on her blog that this book was out earlier than it's October 24th street date. I sweet talked TGILW into stopping by the bookstore on his way home on Sunday to see if it was in for me. He found it and brought it home.

I was reading the last in the the Heart series by Robin D. Owens HEART QUEST on Sunday and really, really, really wanted to put it aside to pick up the Anne Stuart, but I was interested enough in the Heart book that I finished it on Sunday night knowing that I'd be home all day Monday doing laundry and cooking for the natives preparing for our Monday TV night of Heros and Studio 60.

Quick aside here, does anybody else think they have more commercials in Heroes than any other TV show recently? It seems like there is a commercial every other minute! I was a little disappointed the story didn't progress much this week, but there was lots of good content anyway.

Back to the subject of the book. So my niece came over Monday morning and interrupted the reading before it really got started, but I was undaunted. By mid-day I was into the book. With normal interruptions for regular life and Monday night TV I was able to finish it around midnight.

Whew! I don't know where to start. I was sort of breathless during parts of this book. Peter Madsen is a very dark hero. Mailynn had a post yesterday where she discussed the flap about Anne Stuart's characters in her last two books. Mailynn noted that spies do what they have to do to get the job done. That is their job. I would agree. Nothing in COLD AS ICE makes Peter a less attractive hero to me as a reader and certainly not to Genevieve. I think most of the uproar, if there really is one, is that telling the reader exactly what some of the bad things Peter has done are outside the realm of the traditional hero. The admission of killing women, or sex with both men and women would tend to turn the average romance reader from having any sort of sympathy or interest in a hero. Those sorts of unpalatable acts are only alluded to in a vague way in other spy type romances by using a single phrase like "I do what it takes to get the job done." Ms. Stuart is much more direct and explicit. We are clear that this is not a nice guy and he has done some very bad and ugly things.

None of which deterred me. I simply didn't want to put the book down. I kept wanting more, more, more. While I can recommend the book heartily especially to Anne Stuart fans, I don't feel like I got enough reason why Genevieve fell for Peter. Which is why I was turning pages frantically and re-reading their dialogue and almost humming more, more, more under my breath. To me, Ms. Stuart gave us plenty to work with for Peter's feelings toward Genevieve, but under the dire circumstances Genevieve finds herself in, less so her motivation for caring about Peter.

I get the sex part...I do. Being terrified can heighten sexual awareness. Peter certainly has experience using it and manipulates it to his advantage. So while I get not resisting the sexual temptation and attraction, I wasn't sure why she would fall in love with Peter? Is it her background? Those early days of idealism and being a do-gooder? Really good sex?

For me the plot and the bad guys were a necessity for our H/H to meet but superfluous to my need to know more about Peter and Genevieve. I was captivated by them as a couple and their individual stories. Of course they needed the plot to give them a reason to come together, but the dynamics between them were much more interesting than the background story of the Rule of Seven terror campaign planned by bad guy Harry Van Dorn.

I'm anxious to see other reader reaction to see if anyone else can be more articulate about these two characters and this story. According to Ms. Stuart's interview at AAR (thanks for the link Renee) there are two more books planned in this series, one due in April 2007 and one in November 2007. Both characters for these future books appear in COLD AS ICE. I'm sufficiently engaged in her characters from this world and intrigued enough that I'll be racing to the bookstore to buy them when they are released.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rodney Yee & 8 Weeks of Yoga

Look under the word BALANCE and see where it says 8 weeks of yoga with Rodney Yee? Well, today my husband and I will begin week 8 of this practice. I can hardly believe we've been doing yoga six days a week for 7 weeks already. We've both lost weight and feel better than we have in a long time.

I don't want to give anyone the impression we are slim, svelte and atheletic people who have blithely picked up a yoga book and cruised our way through seven weeks of yoga practice. So not the case! We've grunted, sweat and clawed our way through the last seven weeks. We are just a regular middle-aged couple who noticed we are no where near as flexible or fit as we would like to be. Even after we complete this 8 week program, we will still have a long way to go. We just feel so pleased with ourselves because we made an initial commitment of 8 weeks and our goal is just 6 days away! The other thing, and it's also a biggie, is this program, the practice of yoga, has changed our lives. We believe it to be a lasting and life long change and have plans to continue yoga practice for the rest of our lives. That's a huge statement to make after 7 weeks, but we really believe it.

The time commitment has been challenging. The commitment to "do it right" by doing the necessary chapter reading and preparation each week, not to mention the day one practice each week is twice the length of the other daily practices at just about 2 and a half hours. Still and all it has been transforming. As with most good things that come into one's life, a person asks themselves why, oh why, oh why they waited so long to begin. TGILW and I have concluded it is because right now, this time was the time we were meant to discover yoga. Yeah, I'm getting philosophical on you now.

We had a beginners yoga DVD with Suzanne Deason last year. We practiced it for about a month, but it got monotonous and we were unsure if we were doing everything correctly. I recently took a couple of private yoga classes where I could get one on one instruction. If you can afford it (it's $60 an hour here) it is well worth the investment. Since I couldn't continue the private lessons and the group classes did not fall at times the worked with my schedule I had to consider other alternatives.

That's when TGILW and I found Rodney Yee's book. We were pretty intimidated when we looked at it...the pictures, the reading, the commitment. BUT, we thought we could do it incrementally, in our home, at our own pace and give it a try. Why not for $21.95? Lots cheaper than those private sessions. I'm so glad we took a chance and for whatever guiding spirit made us pick up this book.

We have spent a little more money because while we did have yoga mats, blocks and straps already, we didn't have bolsters and blankets. The book does give alternative items in your house you can use, but since we were making a commitment and felt it was going to be long term, after about 3 weeks we invested in the bolsters and some additional blankets.

We've since purchased a couple of other books by other instructors, but plan to re-do this 8 week program first. As you can see from the book title MOVING TOWARD BALANCE is exactly what we are looking for presently. Once we feel we are pretty centered we plan to further our yoga education and our practices.

Of course, I've checked out Rodney Yee's website and found he does weekly videos for a website called Lime - Healthy Living with a Twist. They are great little one minute or two minute videos. Here's one on balance which sort of sums up why we finally started yoga. We want to have choices with our bodies as we get older. We don't want to feel limited by what we can or cannot do.

My cup runneth over!! It is such a big change for us and has consumed a great deal of our time, effort and energy but has paid some big dividends too. I just had to share some of it with you.

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Reading and Emily Dickinson

Yesterday Wayne Jordan did a column at RTB about reading. For some reason it made me remember my 5th grade teacher Blanche Permoda. My Dad was doing a remote tour in Korea which means he was stationed at Osan AFB and we couldn't go. So my Mom packed up her seven children (there were two more to come yet!) and moved us back to be near her family in Anaconda, Montana.

There in a small worn out old mining town I was the student of a woman whose love of books and reading would influence me for life. She encouraged us to read, read to us in class, and told us we could do anything or be anything with a book in our hands.

When she wrote the phrase, "There is no Frigate Like a Book" on the chalk board and read Emily Dickinson's poem, it changed my life. I've never forgotten it or what she said.

by Emily Dickinson

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Going Home

What do you say to this 25 year old? I'm hooked on The Sandbox. If you have a minute, take a look at this. He obviously has parents, but I want to adopt him. I want to adopt them all. God speed guys. I hope you all get home safe and sound to your families.

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Book Check!

Book check...what's on your bedside stand? What book do you have your nose buried in today?

I'm reading
Heart Choice by Robin D. Owens. It's part of her Heart series and a futuristic. I read the first one, Heart Mate, as a rec by Sarah McCarty (posted on her board) and haven't been able to find the second one. This particular book is third or fourth in the series, but seems to be fine as a stand alone and I'm enjoying it.

Does the change of the season make you want to read a different sort of book? During the summer bookstores are always full of tables of "Beach Reads". Do you read different sorts of books depending on the season? I do find that I've been looking for a book I can really sink my teeth into, something thought provoking and with depth. I realized that I tend to look for those books in winter during our rainy season. It just occured to me now because we are having unseasonably cool weather for October and I'm usually trolling for heavier reading material after Christmas in January and February.

So...what about you?

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Love Actually

There is so much going on in my little corner of the blogosphere! CindyS isn't sleeping. Nikki is having cluster headaches. Wendy is still getting ready to move when she isn't ogling the cute guy changing out her florescent lights at work. Jodi found out she should be a martini for Halloween. Gabrielle reminded me how f**king fantastic it is to work in Paris. Holly has no heat for cripes sakes and her son has his first crush all in the same week. Karen can't believe how ridiculous the press is over Madonna's recent adoption when there are so many more news worthy things to report. Many of us are excited about new fall TV programming like Heroes, and returning favs like Grey's Anatomy. Tara Marie is thinking about starting a new business (go TM!) and my sister Mary is working on getting her groove back after making her latest move with her husband who is in the Air Force. Over at Let's Gab, Anne's got the news blues.

These are just a few of the sites I visit on a regular basis and things I remembered off the top of my head from the last couple of days. Today the potent combination of reading your posts got me thinking.
Anne's post about the negative and depressing news not only was food for thought, but reminded me of something I try to work on, especially when there are particularly sad or distressing events going on in the world. Sometimes it is very discouraging and depressing isn't it? But it also reminds me that I believe my role as a human being on the planet is at a minimum be a witness to what is happening. Then I try to do whatever small part I can by voting, by donations, by posting about what I see and feel is wrong. It helps me not to feel so helpless. Anne's post helped me feel connected to that feeling and to her in a small way.

While I have had a rant or two over the press going overboard and focusing or fussing about some celeb scandal, much like Karen posted today about Madonna, I commented that maybe someone else will feel compelled to adopt a baby and give it a home like Madonna has and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. If kids are helped, that's a good thing. My kids are adopted and we get mixed signals from people about it all the time. I know it's not the same thing as celebrities adopting third world kids, but I felt connected to Karen's post because of my adoption experience and the feelings that in general the western world focuses on all the wrong things.

There's news to be found on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The people who care and have a loved one serving are reading the accounts. Gabrielle opened my eyes and my heart this week with a link to
The Sandbox. The Sandbox was started by cartoonist Garry Trudeau, who does Doonesbury, for troops to post their thoughts. I cried. These are real people sharing their experiences. I'm a military brat, my sister's husband is in the Air Force. I feel connected to military families. I remember what it was like to have a Dad flying night missions from Thailand during the Vietnam war when everyone and their brother wanted us out of there and the war was so unpopular. Reading the thoughts of those men and women serving is so moving.

So my point is that even though one might be sitting at a PC or laptop and feel futile or superfluous, your thoughts, lives, opinions and book reviews touch the people who visit and read. So when
Zeek asked us a couple days ago about whether or not the men in our life think romance is porn and Kristie dedicates a whole post to our thoughts, I think back on all the subjects that were important in our lives this past week and marvel that the common thread is romance novels. Isn't that incredible? Isn't that amazing? Porn couldn't create a community like that, but maybe a love story could.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

About Book Reviews

Do you review every book you read? I don't. In fact, while I love reading reviews by other readers, the one aspect of my blog I feel the least secure about is my reviews. I'm not worried that a person visiting and reading my review, even the author, might not agree. No I'm worried about sounding like an idiot.

I read reviews at Smart Bitches and Dear Author all the time. Those are some seriously smart women. They frequently discuss aspects of a book that I don't give much thought to. Or, if I did have some feelings about the subject matter, I sure couldn't articulate it like they do. I call it reader reviewer envy.

When I like a book, when I like it alot, it is almost always because it resonated with something in me -- something personal to me or my history. Translating that in an articulate manner in a reader review is sometimes very difficult...or too revealing. Consequently, I end up not reviewing everything I read.

AngieW was recently wondering whether or not it was better to post on her blog that she hadn't time to post or just post nothing. I commented that I like a post just saying...hey my life is busy see you soon. At least then we aren't wondering what happened, for better or worse, to a person we've come to know.

I mention this because I was wondering about the reviews. Is it better to write a review of what you are reading even if you are going through a phase of just "meh" books? How about the content between book reviews. Do you like reading about personal stuff, life observations? What do you like to read on other people's blogs?

I don't like to post a bad review. I don't mind reading them. In fact, I very much appreciate them, if they aren't just a personal vendetta against an author. It gives me something to think about when I'm making purchases. Also, writing my blog has given me a new appreciation for authors. I can't imagine sweating to write a book, edit and re-read it a couple of times to prepare it for publishing and then have some chick in Southern California (me) with no particular experience writing a book review armed with a long history of reading books, romances in particular, give my book a review.

So, when I don't like something, I don't usually review it on its own. I might mention it briefly with alot of other books, but I won't single it out and say for instance, "This book sucks".

I also have never done an e-book review. I don't mean a published work that is also an e-book, but a book written for an e-publisher. Since most of what I purchase in e-book format would fall under the romantica, erotic romance category I haven't yet conquered the right tone to bring to such a review. I should also mention here that most of these books fall under the "Well, I didn't hate it..." category.

So what about you? How much thought goes into your reviewing? Do you have a set plan for reviewing...so many a month, whenever the spirit moves you? I'm back to my first question...do you review everything you read?


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fred Head that crazy guy in Texas

Gabrielle Luthy lives in Paris. She has a great blog that I read almost everyday. Recently she has written a couple of posts about Fred Head the guy in Texas running for State Controller who is villifying his opponent Susan Coombs because she wrote a romance novel. I'm not linking to Mr. Head's site because I refuse to give him any help, however oblique, by having us all link over there.

Anyway at the end of her post yesterday(October 16th) Gabrielle has this great
video from You Tube. It's long...about 11 minutes, but funny in a scary "you've got to be kidding me!" way. If you have a sec...go check it out.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Dark Chocolate Moose Munch Bar

Look at this candy bar. It looks innocent enough doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t! There I was idling my time away like all the other Saturday shoppers at Target when my gaze fell upon the teal blue packaging.

Huh, I thought.
Harry & David? Harry & David make a candy bar? I thought they only did mail order. Is there such a thing as a Harry & David store? Hey, look at that…it says dark chocolate…DARK chocolate. There aren’t many of those, candy bars that are all dark chocolate. Small alert warnings and strobe lights begin to go off in the back of my head when I pick up a candy bar to inspect it more closely. Wow, it has almonds! I love when candy bars have almonds in them. Moose Munch? What’s Moose Munch? (Turn bar over) Oh, buttery light caramel corn. Lip licking and salivating now. Gee, this looks like a pretty good candy bar. I lay the bar on the counter to pay for it and almost immediately pick it up to put back in the display. C’mon you’ve been losing weight, you’re doing yoga every day…remember? You are eating healthy for godsakes! Hovering….hovering with bar over display. Screw it! I smack the bar down on the counter.

Yes, really happened. If anyone was watching me they probably thought I forgot my meds that morning. But I have to say…really good candy bar! It’s small, very rich and melts in your mouth. Really good creamy dark chocolate…which I happen to prefer which is why it was so damn tempting in the first place. Fortunately, my purchase didn’t throw me into a crazed chocolate eating binge either. I actually split the bar and ate half for dessert at my lunch and dinner. Yuummmmy for my tummy! Oh, and that noise you hear? That's me licking and smacking my lips in memory of the experience.
Pretty amazing candy bar eating experience for $1.99. Yeah, $1.99 is steep for one candy bar, but this one was worth it. *sigh* Now I just have to be sure I take a spotter with me to Target so I don’t run amok. I mean I can’t count on everyone being as distracted as I was waiting in the check out line and buying all the Dark Chocolate Moose Munch bars before I have to go shopping again. Best be prepared with reinforcements.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich

MOTOR MOUTH by Janet Evanovich

Book Description (from Booklist)
Alexandra "Barney" Barnaby has a degree in engineering and a passion for the way cars work. Her passion for NASCAR driver Sam Hooker, for whom she works as a spotter and R & D person, has been put on hold since his one-night stand with a salesclerk made it onto the Internet. When Hooker loses a race and Barney thinks cheating is involved--the fancy, electronic kind--a wild ride commences, one that begins in Miami, then moves to the Carolinas and back again A corpse shows up along the way, and there's lots of NASCAR detail (fascinating even if you're not a devotee) and lots of doggy subplot (Hooker's St Bernard Beans eats a box of prunes that ends up having a great deal to do with the plot). Barney and Hooker find themselves in one outrageously hilarious situation after another: saved by tough granny Felicia and her myriad Cuban American family members; clocking a bad guy with a six-pack; disposing of corpses in some remarkably icky but entertaining ways.

Okay, I am among the people who were really hacked at Ms. Evanovich about TWELVE SHARP, her most recent release in the Stephanie Plum series. Half of that book was just a rehash of the whole series. Maybe a fourth of the book was new material. Of course as a devotee of the series and a well known Nosy Nora I shelled out for the hard cover. I've thoroughly enjoyed the Plum series and have to say even with all its ups and downs in 12 books I was never so ticked off as I was at the end of TWELVE SHARP. I felt like I was robbed and cheated.

I was sufficiently irked that even though I had read and enjoyed METRO GIRL the first of the new series about Alexandra Barnaby and company I was undecided about whether or not to purchase the second book at all, let alone in hard cover. Alas the fates worked in Ms. Evanovich's favor. With a store coupon and my Borders discount I was able to purchase the book for under $15, down from it's unfreaking believable price of $26.95, that's $33.95 for our Canadian friends. I had one of those WTF moments and added the book to my purchases.
So, what to say about this book. Well, it's better than the first one. The first book was a very slow start for me, but I did enjoy it once it got going. I was into MOTOR MOUTH right away. Within the first 20 pages I laughed out loud. In fact I laughed several times in this book. There are many moments when Ms. Evanovich is at her quirky and witty best. I relate to someone cracking wise when in moments of high drama and stress. That's what we do in my family. Make a joke so you don't cry or go screaming into the night.

MOTOR MOUTH is an enjoyable and quick read. If you want funny and you want entertaining, this is the book for you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It was light, it was fluffy, it was fun. I think Barney and Hooker are terrific characters and I will definitely be buying the next installment. For all you pet lovers out there the addition of Beans, Hooker's St. Bernard adds to the high jinxs.

One final word of warning, not only is the price hefty, but the print is large. The book is 312 pages, but if the print were adjusted, it is more like 200 pages. When you consider the hard cover price of $26.95, that's pretty steep for 200 pages. I read this in an afternoon. So, if the dinero is no problemo for you then take the leap, it's a fun read. Otherwise, wait for the paperback...the funny will still be there at a much more reasonable price.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Maggie Osborne, Maggie Osborne, Maggie Osborne

Maybe I should have like an author of the month. Or, I should at least take a moment to congratulate an author when I read several of their books within a short period of time and find the books to all be of high quality and enjoyable reads. Such is the case with my recent reading, or re-reading of Maggie Osborne’s books. This past week I’ve read two of her books and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Here’s to westerns. Long may they live and be written!

SHOTGUN WEDDING by Maggie Osborne. It turns out I’ve read this book before and it’s only three years old! Why I didn’t recall that fact when I picked this up at the UBS, God only knows. All I can say is that it is a very worthwhile book and was just as good the second time around.

Annie Malloy is a woman of 25 who has decided to remain unmarried to maintain as much independence as she can in post Civil War Kansas. What I LOVED about this book is its reminder to us how mortifying, humiliating and socially devastating it was to find yourself “in trouble” in times past.

Yes, I know we aren’t all virgins when we get married and times have changed, but even 30 years ago when I was in high school we were still scandalized when a girl got pregnant. So reading how horrible and terrifying it really could be for a woman was honestly refreshing. You can write feisty heroines all you want, but society was very unforgiving to women. Annie is a young woman with a family who supported her and it was still pretty brutal. Anyway, I liked the reality of the seriousness of her situation written in this book.

I know I say it all the time, but it's really important to me that the characters are true to the time period. I can be more forgiving about the characters using something that wasn't invented until several years later more than I can behavior that is totally out of its time period. Once again, I think Ms. Osborne has captured her time period beautifully which gives this story alot of authenticity.

I haven't said too much on what the story is about besides a young woman in trouble. There are inevitable plot twists and turns on the path to HEA, but it is better that you read them than I discuss them. To me, this book is about the characters, primarily Annie and Jesse. There is not a smooth path to Annie and Jesse finding their HEA and some of it is predictable. However, the I couldn't help feeling how real these characters were and that is where the story shines.

Of course, I can't finish this review without mentioning a bit more about Jesse John Harden. Jesse is the town's new sheriff and has many a young lady fluttering after him, but he's fascinated by the independent Annie. With a past that many men would have trouble overcoming, Jesse Harden made peace with his choices and consciously made a choice to live life within the law. Jesse is easily the best thing about this book. Ms. Osborne has been able to take a strong man of his times, in a complicated and ambiguous profession and make him not only real to the reader, but explain why such a man would be interested in Annie.

Can you tell I liked this book?

A Stranger's Wife wasn't quite the same reading experience. To sum this book up all you need are these words, Jane Eyre in Colorado circa 1876. While the aspect of Lily Dale being plucked from prison to impersonate a political candidate's (the virile Quinn Westin) missing wife was a very interesting plot, there was a certain inevitably to the story. While Ms. Osborne takes pains to remind us that there is no way these two people can end up together we know there's an HEA and I think most readers will figure things out about half way through the book as I did. Still, the book is well written and the characters interesting.

I don't want to give the impression this was a bad book, but comparatively speaking to the other Osborne books I've read recently, particularly SHOTGUN WEDDING. The plot was stretched a bit too thin for me.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Just Because there are No Reviews

Doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. I’ve made comments around the blogospere about some of the books, but nothing has inspired me too much. So I’m going to do one of my lazy blogs with a few books. Famous last words…

SEDUCED BY MAGIC by Cheyenne McCray. I liked the first book Forbidden Magic, but I just never really got into this one. I was about half way through it when I just quit reading. Neither Copper Ashcroft the missing witch (and sister to Silver who stars in Forbidden Magic) nor her hero Tiernan “a powerful Tuatha D’Danann warrior” were very interesting to me. Because I liked the first book though I’m hanging onto it for now and will try it again later. Maybe this was just a frame of mind problem rather than *ahem* boring and uninteresting characters.

I'M IN NO MOOD FOR LOVE by Rachel Gibson. Maybe I had too high of expectations. But really, I don’t believe I expect an author to hit every book out of the park, but this was pretty much torture for me. I gave it more than half the book, but don’t anticipate trying to re-read it. Both of these characters seem TSTL and made no sense to me.

THE STOLEN BRIDE by Brenda Joyce. Okay, since I haven’t read a Brenda Joyce book in forever I admit I bought this book completely based on the title. I was intrigued. It is Brenda Joyce at her historical best. And for those of you who don’t like kidnap type stories the “bride” pretty much kidnaps herself. Sean O’Neill is a tortured hero and while it was close enough to be “alright enough already” Ms. Joyce does cut a fine line and succeeds. We know Eleanor de Warenne won’t abandon him. I liked it!

PLAYED by Barbara Freethy. This was another book I was looking forward to, FBI agent J.T. McIntyre’s story. PLAYED is a contemporary set in San Francisco as are many of (all?) Ms. Freethy's books. Since I’ve been in SF several times I enjoy reading about the background in her books because it's a place I'm familiar with and she does a great job giving you a flavor of the fab city.

While Ms. Freethy’s books are stand alones this book is related to TAKEN in that the villain Evan Chadwick continues his diabolically clever manipulation of people in this book. While I didn’t like this book as well as others of hers I’ve read, it’s a good solid read with interesting characters and a stolen diamond necklace.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My Little Corner of the World

Here it is...my little office. The desk where I sit to visit you all and the shelves of books that surround me.

Here are the shelves stuffed to the gills. There are at least double rows and in some cases there are books stacked on top of the double rows.

Here's the chest for our yoga stuff. Instead of being all over the room and on the floor we got everything in here now...bolsters, blankets, straps, and blocks.

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Here are some specific bookshelves showing my collection of Brockmann, Howard, Kleypas, Stuart, some hardcovers with Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery right next to Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Karen Robards. And a final photo to show that it's not ONLY romance novels. The guy I live with happens to like Clancy and Grisham too.

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Here is the infamous TBR basket. There are about 8 more books on by bedside stand right now too. It's hard to believe I'm constantly weeding out and trading isn't it?

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Going to the store...

Remember when your kids were small and you had to practically tie them down when you went into the store so they didn't touch or break anything? Or, worse worrying about someone making off with them? I was in a Wal-Mart once when an 18-month old was taken from her Mom's shopping cart, drugged, head shaved and clothes changed in the bathroom. Fortunately the Mother had gone to store security right away instead of looking for the baby by herself and they found the child in the bathroom. The store was locked up tight and people were let out 2 or 3 at a time. Scary!!

Anyway, when your children get older you start to worry a little less. Heck by the time they are 16 you figure it's no big deal for them to go look at Halloween stuff in Target while you are doing some shopping. As the minutes go by though the old fears can kick in. You might get worried and go looking for them when they don't answer their cell phone. Your heart pounds and your pulse accelerates as you go searching in the store. Then you might turn a corner and find this:

Remember all those years of "Look with your eyes, not with your hands!" Are all for naught, because when they turn 16 they open Halloween costumes and model them in the store aisles!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

THE DEPARTED directed by Martin Scorsese

Holy jumpin' catfish! Wow! Was this ever a movie. We went yesterday because all the fully loaded testerone people I live with couldn't wait. I have the trailer here as well. While this is an acting tour de force...it is very violent. It has lots of tension, suspense, twists and turns. I didn't once think of Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlett (West Wing), or Jack Nicholson as well...Jack Nicholson. I'm not a particular Leo DiCaprio fan but he is absolutely excellent in this film. So is Matt Damon. I admire Scorsese's respect for his audience and allowing us to figure things out on our own.

So if you like intense films, and can stand the violence that goes along with many Scoresese films, you should race out to get your tickets to this one. I fully expect it will have Oscar contenders.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Book Review and a New Job

TO FIND YOU AGAIN by Maureen McKade


It has been seven years since Emma Hartwell's capture by a tribe of the Lakota Sioux. But her recent rescue by the US Cavalry feels like anything but salvation. She has been forced to leave behind her beloved child, and return to the family who can't accept her, only to be shunned by the townspeople as an outcast. Emma is haunted by her life with the Elk tribe. She sets off on a dangerous journey, fueled by a fierce love of her son and fears for his safety, in an effort to find the tribe and reclaim him.

Only Ridge Madoc stands in her way. A former army scout with a keen tracking sense and a keener sense of justice, Ridge has been sent by Emma's father to bring her back--a task that will give him the chance of reclaiming some of the land that was rightfully his. But, he never expected a woman as determined and courageous as Emma. Now, Emma must appeal to Ridge to help her with her desperate quest, and Ridge must struggle with his desire for a woman who no longer has a place in his world...

This book confirms it. I'm definitely in a western frame of mind. Nothing else in my towering TBR appealed to me but this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. While I can't say it was as an emotional read as her book A REASON TO LIVE, it was still very satisfying.

Ms. McKade does not write wimpy women or women who do the TSTL things that drive us all crazy. Emma Hartwell is very much a woman of her times who is coping the only way she knows how with the circumstances she is in. My heart was in my throat when she had to make the decision whether or not it was in her son's best interest to be raised by her or the Lakota tribe he knows and is accepted by. If you knew you would be bringing your child to a place where he would be shunned, not allowed to go to school, spat upon and hated would you still take him back to your world? Or, would you leave him some place where you knew he was loved and adored and would never be judged as being "half"? Could you do it even if you couldn't stay and raise him yourself? What would you do?

Ms. McKade did a great job presenting this dilemma and all the realistic arguments pro and con a mother would be making before a choice is made. That sequence in the book is wrenching and emotional.

Ridge Madoc is just the sort of self contained and stoic man of the west I enjoy reading about most. He is very reminescent of Louis L'Amour heros. While a tough man of his times, he not only is respectful of Emma as a woman, but respects her as a person who has survived very difficult circumstances and who deserves and has earned the right to make her own choices.

So I finish this great historical that was published in 2004 to read this post at AngieW's site that included parts of a letter from author Brenda Joyce about the state of historical novels in the romance genre. It made me wonder when did we readers stop buying them? I don't remember making a conscious choice not to buy historicals. I have noticed there haven't been as many to choose from.

I hadn't read a good western in some time until Wendy spoke about Maureen McKade and it sent me to the bookstore to buy the recently released A REASON TO LIVE. You just don't hear about or see many historicals on the store book shelves any more. Wendy's comment today was that we need diversity. Amen to that! I'll never understand any industry...music, books, TV, movies glomming to whatever is hot at the moment and dumping everything else. Is it that complicated to be diverse?

A final note...I've taken a part time job. Yeah, who knew? I thought I was retired too!! It's just two days a week and that's all I want right now. So my first day is tomorrow. Then since my son is on fall break we will be taking off a few days so I probably won't be around much this next week. Don't you just love the Fall?

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Monday, October 02, 2006


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Book Description (from Amazon)

Cathyrn Deen has it all -- extraordinary beauty, wealth and privilege. A former southern beauty queen turned mega-successful actress, she has happily led a fairytale life. When a fiery car accident on a California highway leaves her horribly scarred, she secludes herself at the wild mountain farm she inherited from her bohemian grandmother, high in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Though determined to spend her life hiding from paparrazzi and curiosity seekers, Cathyrn is drawn into the warm, supportive local community via her indefatigably loyal cousin, Delta Whittlespoon, famed owner and head chef at The Crossroads Cafe, a legendary mountain diner.

Delta draws Cathyrn out of the shadows with the help of another area recluse, transplanted New York architect Thomas Mitternich, who is struggling with his own demons. Thomas still hasn't come to terms with the deaths of his wife and son in the World Trade Center on 9-11.

Together, Cathyrn and Thomas slowly begin to forge an amazing life together.

The hardest part of writing a review is being able to adequately explain what my reading experience was like. I remember pondering when I started this book how I would describe it to another reader. I wondered if I could describe it and do the book justice. I've read this review a couple of times and I'm not sure I do. I hope you'll read the excerpt at the Belle Book site before you make a final decision.

While it took me a few chapters to get into the particular style Ms. Smith used in this book...that of going back and forth between the H/H POV to tell the story, I was fully emersed in the journey Ms. Smith was taking me on. This was another one of those occasions where I was glad I picked up the book on a Sunday when I could read with little to no interruption.

This book is multi-faceted and multi-layered. Every page has texture. The characters are not "like" any other characters Ms. Smith has written about. This is one of my favorite things about her writing. The characters in her books are whole and unto themselves in each story. While familiar themes of the south and deep family roots might repeat themselves in her books, the characters are individuals with so many layers that they could not be confused with any other character.

I ran a gamut of emotions while reading this book because I was so entrenched in the painful journeys of Cathryn and Thomas individually and as a couple. These are people who have suffered...terribly, horribly. Yet, Ms. Smith shows that most of us want to move on, want to be better, even when on some level we don't really believe we will be better, we try anyway.

While I wouldn't call this book dark, it is hardly a light and fluffy read either. It deals with real life issues. Usually when characters don't have to worry about pesky things like making a mortgage or rent payment alienates me from a story, the fact that Thomas and Cathryn don't have particular money issues is used as a device to show how having money can actually isolate a person from their own life. Money can be used to isolate a person from dealing with their problems.

What bugged me? Belle Books is a small pub house co-founded by Ms. Smith and some other southern women writers. So I understand that it is probably a small operation. However, my complaint is about the editing in this particular book. I can't remember another reading experience where editing has bothered me so much in my read. I've experienced some bumpy rides with editing before, but I usually can pass it by. Maybe because I was so immersed in this story is why it bugged me.

Sometimes the errors came up so unexpectedly that I had to re-read a passage several times before I realized there was an actual error and that I wasn't missing something in the story. The errors were small typos like an "if" placed where there should have been an "is". This happened about half a dozen times. While it annoyed me...and I want to warn others about it, it would not and does not stop me from recommending this book.

This was a very worthwhile read with characters I'm still thinking about and wondering "What would I do in their shoes?"

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