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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I'm Schizo

NOBODY ASKED ME, but here are some of the many things rattling around in my head this morning:

Books, books, and more books. I have to say, and this is pretty incredible, but I am drowning in more books than I ever have at any other time in my life. I've been busy with real life events and I can't remember the last time I went a WHOLE WEEK without reading. Yes, you read that right -- one whole week! Pretty weird. Since I've read over 100 books since July that comes to some 5 to 6 books a week. Going on two weeks without much reading, I figure I'm about 9 books behind. All of which adds up to a horrendous stack of books next to my bed. Time to sort and organize...I can't stand the chaos. Of course, that didn't stop me from making a few purchases last night.

1. DROP DEAD GORGEOUS by Linda Howard. I've actually started this one and I'm into it.

2. EYE OF HEAVEN by Marjorie M. Liu. I've really enjoyed her books and am anxious to read this latest installment in the Dirk & Steele series.

3. The Nightwalkers: JACOB by Jacquelyn Frank. I've heard so many different things about this book and debated buying it after the review at Dear Author, but at the end of the day decided I wanted to read and see for myself.

4. PLEASURE FOR PLEASURE by Eloisa James. I was irked after the last book The Taming of the Duke, but I have enjoyed her books for the most part and couldn't NOT read this last installment of this current series.

Birthday Party. How cool is it that we are invited to my son's girlfriend's birthday? Makes me happy. I've mentioned a time or two that she's one great young woman (a reader!!). My son just recently told me...are you ready for this?...she reads Harlequin Blaze books but hides them from her friends. Sound familiar? Anyway, I told him she can borrow from my library any time she wants because she's only 17 and saving for college so she's got a pretty limited book budget. Of course, there are some limits to what I'd feel comfortable with her borrowing. Although, her Mom seems alot like mine was and doesn't appear to sensor her reading. What do you think? Let her have carte blanche or make recommendations?

Baby in the microwave. If you are sick of this topic skip reading this, but I've found I just cannot stop thinking about this. That happens to me sometimes. This mother who allegedly microwaved her one month old baby was just indicted this week a year after the infant's death. The news article I read said they had scientific proof that proved this woman, who brought the baby to an ER with a high body temperature, had put the baby in a microwave.

I have so many questions about this whole incident. Sometimes things come up in the news that I just get obsessed with. This woman has three other children. What made her snap with this infant? She was out to dinner earlier in the evening with the baby's father (husband?), why is she being charged? Maybe Dad did it. No, not more palatable, but why are they charging Mom? And finally, what scientific proof do you have that a one month old was in a microwave? Freaky, scary and while I'm wondering...I don't REALLY want to know. Know what I mean?

Procrastinating. This is not usually me. In fact, I'm a person who wants to get the list done so I'm free to do what I want, like READ. Recently I've found myself procrastinating. I'm blaming it on lots of things, but think it's really about fear. You know, putting off something because one is afraid they are going to fail or suck at something. Unfamiliar territory for me, the procrastinating, not the fear. Fear and worry are very good friends of mine. Sometimes I kick their butts and sometimes they kick mine.

Okay, speaking of procrastinating I have laundry and dust bunnies telling me to get my butt out of this desk chair and get to work.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Twenty-Six Years

Today is my 26th Wedding Anniversary. Sometimes I can't believe so many years have passed. Most days it seems like being married is effortless. Yes, I know that sounds hokey, but it's not because I'm easy to live with. I'm married to a wonderful man.

You know the very best thing? I still like my Prince Charming so much. We still laugh and love together. He is sweet, kind, gentle and not at all like the alpha males I read about. He is a very ordinary looking guy who makes my heart race. He has a dorky sense of humor, and believes he is funny and witty. He's a wonderful father, a patient and tolerant son-in-law and brother-in-law. He's my safe place to land and there's no place I'd rather be than in his arms. He kicks my butt when I need it and actually finds most of my faults amusing. Who wouldn't love this man, right?

Even though I'll have to email this to him if I want him to read it, (that's not a dig...honest!) I want him to know that I really wasn't smart enough 26 years ago to know that everything would turn out so well for us. What I didn't know about life in my 20s could fill volumes. What I can say now is that I thank God for whatever good sense I had in my commitment phobic fog that made me say "yes" to a guy that was nothing like the guys I usually dated. Who knew?!!!

Thanks for the last 26 years babe! The best is yet to be...


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Whoa Baby...There's a Whole Lotta Shakin' Going on...

Since last we met I, like many of you, have been quite busy. I've celebrated two birthdays with nieces, shopped, cooked and prepared Thanksgiving for my family, started my annual Christmas letter, and began decorating my house for Christmas. Okay, I didn't really do all this by myself the stalwart guys I live with helped out, but we've had one busy and some what productive week.

Yes, it is an unfortunate circumstance of my birth order (I'm an oldest child), my religious upbringing (Catholic) and the personality I was born with that I'm results oriented. Which in a nutshell means I like lists and crossing stuff off of them. Inevitably I over book the days and we end up moving items to another day. Then I have to go through my ritual of reminding myself to live a life and not watch my life. All in all it made for quite a week. Never a dull moment.

I watched Charlie Rose the other night. I've blogged about him before. I love the eclectic variety of guests he has. He frequently has a guest for a whole hour which is such a better interview than the usual talk show fare. Anyway Nora Ephron who we all know and love as a witty writer, and sometimes director, of faves like SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE and WHEN HARRY MET SALLY is now doing a blog on The Huffington Post. In addition to that she currently has a book out which she was vamping on the show called I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK AND OTHER THOUGHTS ON BEING A WOMAN.

In the midst of their familiar and snappy repartee, as it was obvious they are friends, they jumped on to the subject of blogging. According to Nora, and god knows she knows more about writing than I do, a blog post is an immediate thing. If you are taking more than say 45 minutes to write, edit, etc. It isn't a blog any more. Whoa Nellie! Forty-five minutes? Crikeys chickies...I frequently take longer than 45 measley minutes. There's the agony and ecstacy of doing justice to a review...there are links to find for godsakes! Forty-five minutes my sweet petunia! Maybe for you Nora, not so much for me. Speaking of which I should be wrapping this puppy up because I'm nearing...okay it's only been about 20 minutes so far, but I'm not done talking yet.

Okay did anyone catch OFF THE RECORD on HBO? It's a new series where musicians will be interviewed by Dave Stewart, music producer and performer and get the scoop on the story behind the song. Bono and Edge from U2 were the first guests. Cool show and I always love hearing the stories behind the songs. This is another band I really enjoy. The latest video with Green Day is awesome. CindyS. posted it recently.

In light of me being too busy to read, not knowing what to blog, taking too long to blog, etc. I've decided to put a video of U2 performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 with Bruce Springsteen...seemed fitting

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving and some other stuff...

I'm exhausted! Yes, exhausted. I just spent a couple of hours catching up on all my favorite blogs. Almost everyone had posted something since I last looked on Sunday. That'll teach me to be off my blog hopping routine for three days. There are so many things I want to do and get organized online yet. For one thing I haven't tagged all my older posts before beta. *sigh* Someday soon I hope.

This is just a quickie to wish you all a happy and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We seem to all be busy and not much (for the most part) in the blogging or reading mood. My absence now and in the coming weeks will be less about having the blahs and more about just having lots of extra things to do. Also, inconveniently, my arthritis has flared up. Maybe it's stress related because I have so many things I want to do and projects started, maybe it's just the luck of the draw. In any case, I wish it would hurry up and go away because it makes me pretty tired.

Enough with the complaining though because I have a life filled with love and blessings. I often think of my life in review since my mother's death. I do this because I am trying to live my life and make choices so I have no regrets at the end of my life. Sometimes it's scary, but it is also fulfilling.

Well I'm off as our family festivities start today with my niece's 18th birthday party this evening. Two days of family fun!

For those of you who asked, seeing Steadman in Vegas was fabulous. I just adore the minx. We are going to try and get together next month for our birthday weekend too. It's great having a friend who works for an airlines...she can travel free to come see me! Love you Steadman.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Next 30 days...

...are going to be pretty busy. Lots going on with holidays, family birthdays, and anniversarys. I'm happy because my husband and I are both off this week. This means we have a head start on the next 30 days which will be busy, but fulfilling and fun as well.

Yeah, yeah, we will all be hearing all sorts of things about what Christmas REALLY means, and I agree, I do, but being busy and doing things for the season is also fun, it's just important to keep balance and not get so caught up in holiday preparations that you don't enjoy the holiday.

First up this week is Thanksgiving. Just my immediate family and my Dad this year. Of course, after dinner we will be going to my sister's house for a bigger family gathering and enjoy dessert together. That is if we aren't in a
tryptophan induced coma from the turkey.

Gratitude and thankfulness is an important part of my life especially when I'm feeling sorry for myself or blue. It really does help me to remember my great good fortune in life starting with my fabulous husband. Anyway, I'll be thinking of all the things I'm thankful for this week. When I'm at my lowest I always remind myself that there is a mother, daughter, sister, wife somewhere in the world walking miles for
water and all I have to do is turn on the tap. PERSPECTIVE...everything is perspective.

Speaking of things I'm thankful for...laughter and humor. We watched a good bit of
Comic Relief 2006 last night which was for Hurricane Katrina relief. I did a
post a couple of months ago around the one year anniversary of Katrina about a Spike Lee documentary about the conditions that still exist in New Orleans a year later. Last night between sketches and comedy routines Comic Relief did a great job of personalizing what individual families are still having to deal with. This is a good time and season to give...go take a look. BTW, for all you pet lovers, what happened with the animals is just awful. Monies from this event are also going to help the displaced pets.

You may have noticed my
ONE banner on the side bar. I hope, if you haven't already, you'll go check it out as well. ONE is not as interested in your money donation as they are in your participation. I don't participate in everything, I get their newsletter and sometimes I just hit delete because I'm busy or can't be bothered. I'm not perfect. But I do try to stay aware of the world around me and the things they are doing are so important. Right now there is a ultra marathon across the Sahara Desert (yes THE SAHARA DESERT!) to bring attention to the need for water. Matt Damon's production company is doing the project and Mr. Damon is narrating.

My list of things I'm grateful and thankful for is a long one and that is what I wish for people, to have a long list of things to be grateful for.

"If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.”
–Rabbi Harold Kushner

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Friday, November 17, 2006

The Week in Book Review

Before I posted yesterday's review of NO REST FOR THE WICKED it had only been a week since I posted my last review. For some reason it seemed like forever. Let me just say at this juncture that reader reviews are some of my most favorite things on the internet. Whether or not I agree with a review really doesn't matter. I just enjoy seeing other people's take on a book. While I occasionally have a review come flying out of my fingertips, I often struggle to adequately describe the book and my response to it. I so admire the people who review alot of books and do it well like at Dear Author or like Rosario does.

Anyway, I've finally gotten caught up putting all my books on my spreadsheet and realized I'd read quite a few books recently and no reviews. Since I'm leaving for Las Vegas later this morning and will be gone all weekend, I thought I'd do some quickie reviews of some the books I've read this week. It'll be tricky, because when I started this with NO REST FOR THE WICKED, it got so long it turned out to be a review of its' own.

PRINCE OF ICE by Emma Holly While this is loosely connected to Demon Daughter simply because it involves the Yamas, it is set in a completely different world than that of Demon Daughter. This book stands alone and aside from involving the same people and culture is not connected to Demon Daughter.

Ms. Holly knows the world and culture she has created thoroughly. It's in the details dah-ling, it's in the details! I have to say I really savor and enjoy when a writer puts us in a new world with all the nuances that make a place real. Don't you just love that?

The main characters Xishi and Corum are complex and not what you would usually expect from a Emma Holly couple. Xishi and Corum meet as children and are separated when Corum's mother fears he is too dependent on Xishi. When they meet again it is when Corum has gone to an exclusive Pleasure House to purchse a "pillow girl" and find Xishi and purchases her. It's not as icky as it sounds because Xishi has enthusiastically embraced her training and is thrilled to be reunited with Corum. Of course there are obstacles to their happiness, for one thing the difference in their class and for another a secret genetic flaw that Corum has and has hidden for years.

While fantasys are not as a rule usually my thing, this was a good book and I'll be looking for other books set in this world.

Bam also reviewed this book. It's a longer and more in depth review. Check it out here.

LIGHT MY FIRE by Katie MacAlister. This is book three of the Aisling Grey Guardian series. While I think it's possible to read this as a stand alone, you will be much better off understanding some of the humor in this book if you've read the previous two. The first one is YOU SLAY ME, number two is FIRE ME UP.

In this installment Aisling has moved to London and is trying to get on with her Guardian training. Guardians guard the hell gates from unwanted guests making appearances.

Most of the conflict is due to all the things Aisling doesn't know about her new world and being a Guardian. Aside from her training Aisling continues to have problems with her dragon mate Drake who isn't so keen on her continuing her training and wants her to take on her duties as his wyvern mate.

While this didn't have the impact or novelty that reading the first book did, it's an enjoyable light read and I'm interested enough to continue with the series.

SANTA BABY (Anthology Jennifer Crusie, Lori Foster, Carly Phillips) If I was grading this anthology I would give it a "C". Obviously from the title you can see that these are Christmas stories. Again, pretty light fare, but it provides an enjoyable afternoon reading. Crusie's far fetched but still enjoyable contribution was my favorite of the three. There's just something about her wit that tickles my funny bone. Nothing compelling or new here.

THE RULES OF SEDUCTION by Madeline Hunter Let me start by saying I continue to buy Madeline Hunter books because I've had far more enjoyable reads than not. While some of her books have made me snooze because it was a tried a true plot the one thing I can say for her she never phones the book in.

Here we have Alexia Wellbourne whose welfare is dependent on relatives who have taken her in after her father's death. When Hayden Rothwell arrives to inform her family that they must clear out of their house in order to pay off some massive debts, Alexia is certain he is solely responsible for their ruin.

This is a slight departure on the penniless woman about to be cast into the streets or prostitution because marriage is not the immediate answer to her situation. In fact there is a wonderful conversation early on between Hayden and Alexia where she lists the options she has for her future and lists becoming a "soiled dove". She purposely doesn't mention marriage because she has already dismissed it because she is poor and would mourn the loss of her independence.

Hayden is a somewhat buttoned down fellow struggling always to do the right thing. For the most part he stoically accepts he cannot let Alexia know the truth of how her family came to lose their home and assets. While there is no alternative but to have Alexia's relatives leave the house and London, Hayden finds himself trying to help Alexia.

I liked that there was strong sexual tension that both Alexia and Hayden are aware of, but not immediately acting on. As you know I'm a big fan of the characters acting appropriate to the time period and I feel that these characters do that. While there are no real surprises, there are a few interesting twists and turns along the way. I enjoyed this book more than the last few of Ms. Hunter's. There is no new ground here, but I enjoyed the book for what it is, a well written regency.


Thursday, November 16, 2006


The Gist: Kaderin the Cold Hearted is a Valkyrie who specializes in dispatching vampires. Kaderin has a particular and personal hatred for all things vamp because they destroyed her two sisters and Kaderin has never gotten over it. As a result her feelings and emotions have been put in the deep freeze making her a very efficient vampire killer and assassin.

Sebastian Wroth was turned into a vampire against his will. He's made good use of his time over the centuries studying and hiding from the world refusing to live as a creature he was raised to despise, curse and fear.

Kaderin comes to destroy Sebastian at a time when he doesn't see much of a reason to go on living. Their meeting is both dramatic and traumatic for both of them. It changes everything. It turns out Kaderin is Sebastian's Bride. She can't kill him and he suddenly has a new interest in life...Kaderin.

The Good: Sebastian's faith and belief that the two of them could somehow forge a relationship despite the overwhelming obstacle of them being natural born enemies. In fact, Sebastian's belief is so strong he turns some of the capabilities and limitations of what vamps can and can't do on its ear. He believes in them so single mindedly and tackles the overwhelming odds of them being accepted by any faction of the immortal world, that it's damn endearing and downright lovable.

The Bad: Kaderin just bugged me. Not because she is physically strong and capable, not because she is an obnoxious cold blooded killer of vampires...after all they are the hated enemy of the valkyrie. I just don't like when a character lies to themselves. Kaderin was written as a pretty intelligent valkyrie. It just didn't make sense to me that it took her so long to see the light, especially when Sebastian proved himself to her over and over again. It just bugged.

Sum Up: While Kaderin bugged me, I still enjoyed the book. It's not a book I can gush over, but it was good enough to keep me reading the series. Yes, I liked Sebastian much more than Kaderin, but the story and his character make the book worth reading. I imagine we will be hearing more about Sebastian's brothers in future books as we are sort of set up to do so.

Bam did a review of this book recently too. Take a look at what she said here. Read Scooper's review of NO REST here. Rosario did a review of the first book in the series A HUNGER LIKE NO OTHER within the last day or so. Check it out here.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jennifer Crusie Said...

Ms. Crusie weighed in on the Anne Stuart post on November 3 at Miss Snark. She starts off by saying she's Ms. Stuart's friend and then makes clear her opinion on anonymous blogging and just what constitutes snark. I posted a comment requesting she stick up for me if anyone ever bashes me anonymously. Now that is a friend.


10 Things in Romance I'm Thankful For

Over at Dear Author on Monday the Jayne posted a list of things to be thankful for in romance. Here’s the meme feel free to join in the gratitude. Go here and see the list Nora Roberts left at Dear Author. I love that woman just for participating with the community that reads, buys, and reviews her books. I don't know where she finds the time and energy to do all she does, but I surely do have a very high degree of respect for her. She certainly sets a high bar for other authors for dignity, class and talent.

1. For romance authors who continue to write even when writers, readers and publishers of other genres like to snicker at them.

2. For the growth and diversity of books within the romance genre since I first started reading them 3o years ago.

3. I'm thankful for the people I've met online who share the same passion for a good romance.

4. The way I feel when I'm reading a really good book.

5. The thrill and joy of sharing a good book with another reader.

6. The feeling of excitement and anticipation when a book you have been waiting for is sitting in your lap and you are about to crack the cover and start reading it.

7. You can do anything, go anywhere, learn, laugh, love, ANYTHING with a book in your hands.

8. I'm thankful for the internet and the added avenue to find a book you love or the instant gratification of buying an ebook and reading without leaving the house.

9. I'm glad to know there are people with bigger TBRs than me and there's a comfort knowing "you aren't the only one" with piles of books.

10. I'm grateful to every author of every book that opened my eyes through plot, a character, an event and helped me to see something, feel something or learn something new.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Trying to Catch Up

I've got a stack of books to add to my book journal. I still haven't tagged all my older posts, and I'd like to write a few reviews of the books I've read recently, but I'm beating off the natives for a chance to use the computer these days. Bear with me as I try to keep up with you all and also try to get a new post up every now and again. Hopefully once the kids get this ration of papers completed I can return to the regularly scheduled programming.

Who's still watching HEROES? Is that show not getting more intriguing or what? We've taken to saying "Save the cheerleader. Save the world." around here. Hey CindyS my younger son is ready to bash in the TV every time they break for commercials. We think there are too damn many. Has anybody Tivo'd it yet so you can tell us what the show's actual running time is without commercials? I'd be curious to know without actually having to do it myself.

I'm off to bed right now as it is 3:11 a.m. because after midnight was the first time Monday (yes, I know it's really Tuesday now) that I could get on the computer. Below is my 'GRAB THAT BOOK' contribution. The posts have been fun to see and read. So if you haven't done it...to steal Ames' line, consider yourself tagged!



Okay I wasn't officially tagged...that I know of, but I did read Ames blog that said "consider yourself tagged", so here goes. BTW, I had to do this twice because the first time I took the quote from the wrong page.


1. Grab the nearest book.

2. Open to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog along with these instructions.

5. Don't you dare dig around for that "cool" or "intellectual" book on your shelves. (I know you were thinking about it.) Just pick up whatever is closest.

...He was motivated by an urge for adventure and the hopes of impressing an unattainable lady.

It was not his place to disillusion Miss Wellbourne, however. Nor would she thank him if he did.

"I'm sure he was very brave," she said.

Can you guess my book?

The answer is below use highlight to see it.
The Rules of Seduction by Madeline Hunter


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Hey everyone, long time no blog. Yeah I know it's only Saturday and I have a post from Wednesday but that is one hellacious long time in the blogosphere. How do I know? Because I've spent the better part of the day trying to get to all my usual haunts and catch up with what you all have been doing. Reading three days worth of posts on the 30 some odd blogs I regularly visit not to mention the links and news and email I get distracted by, well let's just say it's been a daunting task.

Right now my sons are giving me all kinds of crap for monopolizing my computer. Puh-leeze. It's so hard not to go off on a parental riff from my past, but then if I did that I would be channeling my parents ::shudder:: that I just can't bring myself to do. I just told number one son to come back in twenty minutes when I have my post done and he just sighed and shook his head. They treat me like a crack cocaine addict and I haven't been on the damn computer for three and a half days. I'm bravely staring at the screen and continuing to type and staying silent and stoic. Heeeheee...it worked, he's stormed out of the room.

Which brings me to the next subject which is the new family member, one little puppy named Emily. Okay the dog is not even my full responsibility, son number two has taken to calling her "my dog" and does a credible job of handling most of the doggie duties, but he does go to school and yesterday they were both at Disneyland from dawn until dawn again. When numero dos isn't TGILW and I share the puppy sitting duties. Let me just say a baby puppy is exhausting! She's sweet, she's cute, but she needs an awful lot of attention and damn it I have things to do. One big point in her favor? She'll lay quietly next to me for an hour at a time and doze or just cuddle while I read. Yes, one smart little puppy. We've also made two trips to PetsMart in two days and bought more stuff for this dog... We're pathetic really.

I have been doing some reading. I just finished Emma Holly's PRINCE OF ICE. With people breathing down my neck to get on the computer I'm not providing any links and will hopefully try to review it in the next couple of days. It will also give me a chance to let my thoughts simmer for a while.

I can't believe it is already less than two weeks until Thanksgiving and about six weeks until Christmas!! Yikes, not THAT calls for some major list making. I've just gotten into the habit of writing 2006 instead of 2005 and in no time will have to try and remember it is 2007!

On Book Bitches blog I stumbled on the happy news that Susan Elizabeth Phillips will have a new release on February 6, 2007. That's just around the corner. I saved the link for the excerpt because I was going to send it to my sister, another big SEP fan, but decided she can find it here because I'm too lazy at this point to send her an email.

Hopefully there will be no fallout since I switched to Beta today. I have my fingers crossed all goes well and I don't regret it. I've always longed to have tags to help me search for info I have in previous posts. I will probably take a page out of Marg's book and go back through my posts and tag everything. I love lists and files...

I'm counting on this next week to be better than this last one and I'll be back on track which means I'll get back on my schedule. New puppies, parties, and job snafus wreak havoc with life. I haven't done any yoga for three days and THAT my friends is not good. A schedule of sorts let's me do all the things I want to without turning me into a raving maniac or a zombie.

Lastly, remember a while ago when I blogged about a special friend and mentioned it was time for us to get together? Not only has Steadman finally commented on my blog (I'm still in shock), but I'm going to be seeing her in Las Vegas next weekend!!! Woo Hoo! Thank God our husbands get along well because we will probably have an alcoholic beverage or three and talk our heads off. I can't wait! Just couples, no kids.

Of course, this could throw off the whole week's schedule...but what's that saying? Oh yeah...BUT WHAT A WAY TO GO!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Emily Haines

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I've obviously lost my mind. We have a new family member. Meet Emily Haines, named for some singer my son likes and new to our family as of Monday.

Nope, we weren't looking for a pet. We lost our schnauzer about 5 years ago and I haven't wanted another pet for lots of reasons the big one being none of us are home much. But sometimes one feels fate in the works conspiring to let you know that life happens when you are making plans.

My 16 year old's girlfriend has moved to Texas and he has had the blues. He had about two weeks to adjust to the idea and they have been an item for over a year. My two nieces went to the pound to adopt a puppy to cheer their mother (my sister) up. I got a call Monday morning that the temp part-time job I've been doing is on hold for the time being. Turns out my sister didn't want the dog and the puppy was slated to return to the pound early Tuesday morning. The nieces slyly call my sons to come see the dog. I freely admit I didn't want to be the bad guy to the sad 16 year old and told him if his Dad says "yes" they can keep the dog. This is where I was stupid...I thought he'd call and discuss it with me. Yeah, no...meaning, no he didn't call me to discuss it. It turns out he was ready for a dog in the house again. Yes, the rest is history. Emily has a new home.

Emily is supposedly a chihuahua and Jack Russell terrier mix, so she won't get very big, thank God. I'm not a big dog person. Heck, I'm not really a pet person. The pillow she's on in the picture is inside a laundry basket. Since I don't like chasing after her all over the house, she has a tendency to disappear under furniture, I put her in the basket in the same room with me and she usually sleeps because she is still a baby. I babysit. Because my sons know she's their dog and they are responsible for all things Emily. Really, I'm not going to get sucked in by that cute face...I'm not!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

CONSPIRACY GAME by Christine Feehan

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CONSPIRACY GAME by Christine Feehan

What it's about...

Jack Norton is a Ghost Walker. Ghost Walkers are a group of genetically engineered and enhanced soldiers. The enhancements are not only physical, but pyschic as well. Jack goes on a mission to rescue his twin brother and a U.S. Senator in the Congo. In the midst of the rescue Jack gets cut off from the rescue team and ends up captured and tortured.

Briony Jenkins is traveling with her brothers and is a member of the family flying trapeze act, The Flying Five. The Jenkins act is invited to perform at a festival near the jungle where Jack is being held. Briony was adopted by the Jenkins family and has been treated her whole life by special doctors provided by her birth father Dr. Whitney. The same Dr. Whitney who performed the genetic experiments on the Ghost Walkers and a group of little girls. Briony is one of those little girls.

Jack escapes the rebels and heads to Kinshasha where the Flying Five are performing because Jebediah Jenkins is a former comrade in arms and may be able to help him get out of Africa. Jack meets Briony and is immediately attracted to her but does not believe they can be together. He leaves her behind thinking he will never see her again.

When Briony discovers she's pregnant by Jack she goes to him for his help to protect her during her pregnancy, teach her survival skills and to keep their child from becoming another lab experiment by the determined and demented Dr. Whitney. Briony only turns to Jack to provide protection and nothing else.

That is my blurb and you can see why I usually use one from the author site or Amazon instead. It's hard to give you the gist of the story without giving too much of it away.

I enjoyed this book very much. One of the areas of the paranormal that really intrigues me is that of pyschic abilities and telepathy. Rosario did a recent
review of The Power of Two and mentioned the mind bond or link between the H/H. In that book the H/H communicate information to one another through a computer enhanced chip or link. In this book Briony and Jack can speak to each other telepathically due the the genetic experimentation that was done on them. While they don't actually read thoughts as much as they send thoughts to one another, when they communicate telepathically their thoughts or intention behind their thoughts is clear.

I like that. It eliminates the whole not understanding what the other person may or may not mean. They also have mental shields to protect themselves and to provide privacy of their thoughts. While I don't think I could live with anyone being able to just dip in and read my thoughts all the time (Carpathians) I do love the aspect of being able to sent a thought with its genuine intention behind it. I just love this whole aspect and am a sucker for it whenever I read it in a book.

Jack Norton is the definitive alpha in the military. He is absolutely confident in his abilities. He is both tough and tender. While Jack admits to being dominant and needing to be in control, Ms. Feehan makes an effort to tell us why Jack is this way.

Briony's adoptive family initially believe she is autistic because she withdraws from being touched. Due to the enhancements Briony has she absorbs the feelings and emotions of the person or persons she comes into contact with, like the huge crowds that come each night to watch her family perform. Coping with this has given her a steely core of strength. On occasion Briony does try to push the envelope of what she should do or attempt and a couple of times borders on TSTL, but remembering that she too is enhanced and feeling she can hold her own it is mostly forgivable.

The pregnancy is a big surprise to Briony because she believes she has been taking birth control pills for years. Part of the conspiracy by Dr. Whitney was to purposely get Briony pregnant to try to create a "super" baby.

Yes there is some tried and true stuff here, but the pacing is good there's lots of story and it was a dream to read...meaning the phrasing and flow went very smoothly for me. For me there was a little more depth and explanation of the characters than I've seen in recent books by Ms. Feehan and I certainly appreciated it here.

While the Carpathian story line has gone completely stale for me, this fourth installment of the Ghost Walkers was a page turner. I found myself along for the ride and anxious to read the next installment. So if you are still game for a good paranormal and you can handle an alpha male with a tender streak you'll like this book.

The next Ghost Walker book DEADLY GAME is due out in March 2007 and is Jack's twin brother, Ken's story. BTW, isn't it nice for these guys to have nice normal names like Jack and Ken? I thought so.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

DARK FEVER by Karen Marie Moning

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DARKFEVER by Karen Marie Moning

Blurb from Author Site

MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands. . .

Okay here's the thing, while I'm a KMM fan I didn't luuuurve all her previous books. I have my favs which are the two MacKeltar brothers' stories (don't make me look up the book titles, it's late!) were very enjoyable for me. Yes, I have read all her books because I glom an author when I like a book such as I'm doing with Maureen McKade right now. But, I haven't raved to all and sundry about KMM so I'm a fan but not fanatical.

I knew going in that DARKFEVER wasn't going to be like her other books and wasn't a romance. My hesitation wasn't over it not being a romance but that it involved the fae or faery. I'm just not a fan of this world much, don't ask me why because for me it's like asking why a person likes pancakes or waffles. Some people just have a preference for one thing or the other. One might ask why I went ahead and bought the book and read it. I have one word for you...AMES! Her review made me curious and in a weak moment on Halloween I found myself at the checkout with the book.

I'm getting to the review...really I am.

Wendy's review really does this better justice, but what I liked most about this book is the world KMM creates. She does an excellent job of blending otherworldly beings with our reality. Instead of taking us to a made up realm she brings that world into ours...if that makes sense. This point is a crucial one for me because I hate when we have to take a trip, like in Sherrilyn Kenyon's books, to some mythical place with Ash or the other gods in her books. I HATE IT!!! It always takes me out of the story.

Hey, I know it's Romancelandia and real life in a book isn't really REAL LIFE, but I prefer earth as the realm if at all possible. Okay what about futuristics you say...I know, I know. I don't have this same problem with a make believe planet as much as I do Mount Olympus or Atlantis...so go figure. I guess I don't like mythical places or realms. I'm not much for elves, fairies, or trolls. Huh-uh, not for me. If there is an elf king in the story I'm outta there.

Anyway, these issues didn't bother me in this book. I liked that dealing with this new world is hard for MacKayla. I liked that we are learning about this new realm and the people in it as Mac is. Believe me there is lots to know and learn which makes wanting to read the next book more an act of curiousity than anything else. There is room for so much to happen, I actually like the feeling of not knowing or having it all figured out. There is room for lots of ambiguity in all the characters here which made it interesting to read.

No, this isn't a romance, but it is an fascinating adventure for one young woman. She ain't no wimp either. I liked that these changes were scary and difficult for Mac. I didn't know, until Wendy pinpointed it in her review, that it was refreshing to have a 22-year old who didn't know everything already, who when the story begins is sort of drifting through life in no hurry to rush into adulthood.

So I'll be in line for the next one...because I just have to know what happens next. I think that's the best sort of recommendation, don't you?

I still have some questions though which is why I'll be reading the next book. But for those of you who have read DARKFEVER, what I want to know is when scared sh*tless, beaten and rejected, what makes MacKayla stay the course? I know she wants to find her sister's killer...I do, but it has to be more than that. I'd be interested in hearing your theory. What keeps her going?

BTW, there's a glossary in the back of the book. I love that some of the definitions are a work in progress. How refreshingly honest! Yeah, I'm a nerd I read the glossary. I like when authors do this because then I'm sure I've derived the correct meaning from their made up words. Also, from book to book you can reference it to refresh your memory.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

MAIL ORDER BRIDE by Maureen McKade

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MAIL ORDER BRIDE by Maureen McKade

I saw this quote for the book on the author's website and I just had to put it here because it sums up how I feel too.

"There have been so many romances with the title "Mail-Order Bride," one of them was bound to get it right. McKade does with her tale of Kate Murphy..." -- Marcia Abramson, Detroit Free Press

Kate Murphy arrives in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado after selling off the family farm to settle her dead father's debts. She arrives believing that leaving Kansas to start over fresh as someone's mail order bride is her only option since she has no money or means of support. She arrives in the midst of a huge mining accident in which her fiance has been killed. There she is far from everyone and everything she knows with no money, no job and no friends or family. Terrifying circumstances for a woman of those times to be sure.

I liked the gritty realism of the period in this book. Set in a mining town Ms. McKade doesn't hesitate from the opening pages to let us know how awful mining was (and is) for men who work below the earth. To demonstrate how far apart her characters are Kate Murphy has an interest in astronomy and her last remaining cherised possession is an astronomy book while Trev Trevalyn is tied to the earth and mining from his Cornish roots to his current position as superintendent of mines for the wealth mine owner, Cromwell.

There is a mixture of fascination, attraction, guilt and hopelessness for both Kate and Trev regarding their relationship. Trev is not the typical hero. He has been married before and set his cap and won his wife in a less than honorable manner and one for which he feels remorse. The story finds him a widower and with two young children to raise. He wants nothing to do with another relationship and his focus is on keeping his well paying job and raising his children with more hope and opportunity than he had growing up. I appreciated Ms. McKade showing us his conflict with balancing what he knew was right with wanting to keep a good paying job to provide a secure and good future for his children.

Kate on the other hand struggles to feel something for the man she came to marry and now must mourn and bury. She also has the more pressing need of a place to live and finding a way to support herself. Fortunately she finds an older mining widow to take her in. Good for Ms. McKade for not immediately having these two solve all their problems by marrying and then using the remainder of the book having them get to know one another. I think this story is more honest and interesting the way she did it.

While Trevalyn admires Kate and sees her sensibility and smarts, he is far more interested in her to provide reliable and loving care for his children than a love interest for himself. Kate sees Trev's offer as an opportunity to make some money, re-think her life and a chance to study something she loves and gain some independence.

Obviously since this is a romance, these two people find each other, but I liked that it was a struggle and not a pat resolution for them to come together. Also, while there is sexual tension, and I enjoy the steamy (remember my review of
HOT NIGHTS?) I also appreciate that this book remained true to the characters and the times where a sexual relationship was not something a couple in a small community could jump into without repurcussions and a great deal of thought. In fact the issue is addressed in the book about the appropriateness of Kate coming and going to Trev's house and both their motives are questioned.

If I have any complaint it's that the characters aren't honest with themselves...let alone each other about their growing attraction and feelings. Just when it reached the point of "oh for godsakes people" they both seemed to wake up out of their trance. After creating these two pretty sensible and forthright people I was disappointed Ms. McKade chose to make them clueless about their relationship with one another.

This is a good solid read. I would classify it more as a historical set in the west rather than a western.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

You Gotta Have Friends...

A couple of blogs discussed friendship today. Holly talked about being a true friend in her post and to a degree this was also the subject of AngieW's post today as well.

This is what I commented at Angie's blog:

"A friend who can be honest without motive, personal gain or to hurt you, who genuinely just wants to help because they love you. Hang on to them…hang on tight. I have sisters, so ’nuff said, they thrill to grill me all with a kiss and a hug. But my closest friend who choses to be in my life as I do in hers…well, she’s a treasure beyond measure. "

I guess I'm sort of cynical because while several people at both of these blogs commented on their personal friendships, I have found both honesty and loyalty in short supply in real life. In fact, I talk to my two sons about personal integrity all the time. There simply aren't that many people with the courage to be honest, loyal and true...all things I think you need to be a real friend.

No offense to Holly, but I can't put telling a girlfriend her new blouse is unattractive in the same category as telling her she needs to go to rehab, or that a boyfriend is a lying, cheating scum, or her kid is a bully, or her daughter is a klepto. Try telling your parents you aren't going to another holiday if they are going to be drunk and have the rest of your family, who feel the same way, get mad at you for rocking the boat.

The thing is...it's hard to be honest. It is even harder if you absolutely know that what you say or do is going to hurt someone and that your only motive is to help someone you love and care about. Perception is everything. What if the family member or friend you are honest with thinks you suck for your honesty? It happens. People say they want the truth, but I've found that's not always the case. Being honest ain't for wimps. It's hard after the dust settles not to point to oneself and say...see me I did the right thing and everyone is pissed at me! No one wants to hear that or acknowledge it. You have to be ready to accept the consequences of being a good friend and sometimes that might mean the relationship is never the same, but the friend gets better or out of a bad situation. It's effing hard!

Honesty and integrity aren't things you employ when it's convenient. I think they have to be a part of everything you do. It's not just being the bringer of the news, sometimes you are the person receiving the news. So when a friend or family member is there in the trenches with you, holding your hand and supporting you no matter what the situation, that is everything. Forgiveness is huge with any friendship or family because as sure as there is sun in the morning everyone screws up sometimes.

As for the talking about people behind their backs, I've found that walking away from a conversation about some bitch or bastard that I'd love to add my two cents worth is hard. Being fair to people you don't like is even harder. The Golden Rule is easy to live by with the people you care about, but not so much for the guy who has no teeth (I kid you not!), reeks of BO, is rude and wants to rent an RV site for the night. So, not participating, even just by listening, has been hard for me. Stuff like that happens in the work place all the time. But I've found that I really got sort of poisoned just by listening to all that negativity. So now, nosy as I can be, I "just say no"! Well, to be "honest" I mostly say "no!" *g*

So while I have many acquaintances that I love and enjoy in my life, besides my husband, I have my sisters with whom I'm mostly honest (you know who you are) and one...one true friend that is all the things I've talked about here. I feel incredibly blessed for the abundance. They are all the more dear for their uniqueness.

BTW, I don't mean to imply I did any or all of those things listed...some are real life experiences and some are just examples. God forbid you all think I'm out there being a little Miss Fixer or Co-Dependent. Ack!!

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

My Haul from the Bookstore

Ames posted a great review of DARK FEVER by Karen Marie Moning. While I'm a KMM fan I wasn't sure whether I wanted to buy this book in hardcover since it has the fae in it. For some reason the fantasy, fairy, elf world just doesn't appeal to me. But what with Ames' review and the excitement of Halloween and all the cute little kiddies dressed up I lost my mind and bought the book. Yeah it was actually part of my November book allowance and I put quite a dent in it last night with my purchases.

Here's the list:

DARK FEVER by Karen Marie Moning

PASSIONATE THIRST by Cameron Dean (new to me but somebody recommended her and I'm giving it a try)

KNIGHT OF DARKNESS by Kinley MacGregor (aka Sherrilyn Kenyon) This is a Lords of Avalon book. I have the other one in my TBR. But I didn't want to chance not having this if the first one is good.


CONSPIRACY GAME by Christine Feehan

VALLEY OF SILENCE by Nora Roberts (Book 3 in Circle Trilogy). I now have all 3 books and have yet to crack one. But now that I have them all, maybe it's time to give them a go.

I went to the store to get Kresley Cole's book NO REST FOR THE WICKED, but no such luck. I have to work again today, but I'll go looking for it again on Friday.

I just finished MAIL ORDER BRIDE by Maureen McKade. I'm so glad I found this author thanks to Wendy (Super Librarian). Ms. McKade has been a real find for me. This wasn't your typical mail order bride book seeing as how the groom was dead in a mining accident upon the bride's arrival. It was a good read.

Now I'm anxious to read Feehan's book as I've been enjoying her paranormal series and of course I'll probably read KMM's book right away too. I'll be too curious to leave it and it IS a hardcover after all.

So, what's everyone else reading?

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