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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

So MANY books, so LITTLE time...

I swear I made the rounds in romancelandia blogosphere just yesterday, but I've been so busy the last couple of days it seems like forever ago. It wasn't as if the week hasn't been jam packed enough when today, unexpectedly, a guy I know from high school called and will be in town with his family to visit and wanted to get together. Normally I'm up for stuff like that but this week, this week that was supposed to be a vacation week and we've ended up running around like crazy people, not a good time.

At least I was brave and put him off from meeting tomorrow. We have plans to get away for a day and normally I would jack our plans and accommodate someone else's but I have been working very hard NOT to do that to my family. My Mom's death taught me that...don't put off things. So we're going to try and work something out for Friday late afternoon or early evening.

As you can see I probably won't be around much the next few days, but I do want to tell you about the great haul of books I got yesterday from Borders. As I've whined about before my closest bookstore is a Barnes and Noble and it is horrible about getting new releases shelved, so whenever I'm anywhere in the vicinity of the Borders store (45 miles away) I go. Yesterday, we had a couple of appointments in the area so I got to go browse and binge a little. I bought:

1. Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell
2. The Thrill of the Night by Candice Hern
3. Tough Enough by Michele Albert
4. Be Still My Vampire Heart by Kerrelyn Sparks
5. Her Only Desire - Gaelen Foley
6. The Leopard Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt
7. The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell - by Samantha James
8. Emma 2 (Manga) - Kaoru Mori

I've already read Claiming the Courtesan, which you have time to do when traveling in the car and waiting in doctor's offices. I'm just sayin'. I found this book to be an interesting mix of old and new historicals. Maybe I'll do a review of it on its own because I probably have more questions to pose than anything else about this one. Eventually, I hope to revive the post I lost in cyberspace about my recent reads and movies. Maybe over the weekend.

The Campbell, Hern, Hoyt, James and Mori books are all because of online reviews or comments. I have read Hoyt's first book and wanted to give the Leopard Prince a go as well.

I still have to search out the three Lori Handeland books in the Rock Creek Six series because I have a hankering to read some westerns. God forbid I should take any off the keeper shelf!

Just when I was weeding that TBR down to a somewhat respectable size too...


Monday, March 26, 2007


I worked on a post listing books I've read recently and movies I've seen the last couple of weeks and my dsl dropped and I lost it all!!! Aargh! I had links, I had pictures. Man I'm boiled about that. Maybe I'll work on it later and post it tomorrow. I just know I'm too cranky to do it again now. I'm supposed to be on vacation. TGILW is home and everything.

So instead you get this. Do you make your bed every day? I do. Well, mostly. There is the occassional odd day when I just say, "I'm not making my bed today." Then I usually go back in a half hour later or when I return from my errands and make the damn thing. I blame this entirely on my mother by the way. You get up, wash up, dress for school, MAKE YOUR BED, then if there's time left before leaving you get breakfast. It's a curse I tell you.

Don't get me wrong. I like the bed being made. I prefer my sons to make their beds, which they do about 3 days a week when I nudge and nag. It's just feeling enslaved by it that gets me.
Here's my bed. Well, let's just say it's my bed sometimes. I have another duvet cover so my bed doesn't always look like this.

Sometimes it looks like this instead:

So, did you make your bed today?

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Something New at My Barnes & Noble

Can you see what it is? By now you've seen or heard about the series KarenS has been doing on her blog about AA authors. Even if you don't want to enter the debate/discussion you should go take a look and get to know some of these outstanding authors.

I've mentioned a couple of times before that while we have a section for "Black America" for non-fiction writing, AA fiction writers are shelved by genre, which for me personally makes sense. Anyway, a single mass market paperback AA book rarely makes it to the center aisle, especially a romance. Zane, Gwynne Forster, Kayla Perrin, a precious few are regularly there and maybe a few others, but not often and not on a regular basis.

Consequently I was so surprised and happy to see these AA books shelved on a center aisle pyramid at my Barnes & Noble yesterday afternoon that I took pictures. There is at least one AA on each side of the pyramid and they are shelved in the top four rows which means they are at eye level.

Can you see the authors names?

Picture No. 1 - top row
Just About Sex by
Ann Christopher

2nd row
One Night With You by
Gwynne Forster

Picture No. 2 - top row
A Lover's Mask by
Altonya Washington

Picture No. 3 - 2nd row
The Way You Make Me Feel by
Francine Craft

Picture No. 4 - 3rd row

Cannibal Moon (Deathlands) by James Axler (Okay I screwed up on this one. This is a re-release from a now deceased British author. I was so excited by my discovery that I didn't check it out before I left the store. You can see the cover here.)

The books are category romances and are the Kimani Romance imprint and you can find these and previous monthly listings at eHarlequin.com. This was a first to see these at my B&N. I hope they plan to continue to have this line every month.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Update on Shmoo


Here's another picture of my baby. He's actually looking alot better. The shiny stuff on his face is the ointment for the abrasions. His lips are almost normal size now which helps because he can eat a bit better and use a straw.

Today we go back to opthamologist for update on the eye. There is a tear in the corner near his nose but that is outside the eye. The tear they are worried about is actually on the cornea. The doctor didn't want it to tear any more or bleed again so Shmoo has been on bedrest. He's supposed to try to not cough or sneeze. Wednesday he said he had to sneeze really bad but tricked himself out of the urge.

It's like he's a toddler again because I have to wait on him for just about everything. He's a pretty good patient and hasn't whined or complained at all. In fact yesterday he had a couple of his usual sarcastic snarky remarks and I was actually glad to hear it because it means he's getting back to normal. Thank God for the TV series DVDs of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and FIREFLY. They have kept him quiet and occupied.

I want to thank all of you for your kind words and thoughts. I've passed them on to my kiddo. Keep your fingers crossed for us that our appointment later today at the opthamologist goes well.


The bleeding has stopped and the tear in the cornea appears to be healing but there is still alot of swelling. We have to go back next Friday again, but (THANK GOD!!) he is off bed rest and seems to be well on the road to recovery.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Global Warming - What Side Are You On?

I received the info below in an email from a very dear friend, a liberal btw. It's a documentary done by the BBC that presents an opposing view point to global warming. I'm of the school that all sides need to be heard and people need to make their own choices. While I think the arguments about global warming have been compelling ones, I always like to see and hear another POV. It is frustrating and provoking to think this important issue has been so politicized that we don't get to hear both sides. Can that be true? What do you think?

The video is a long one, but even if you only watch for a minute, it gives one food for thought.

A final thought, isn't there a way to proceed with caution with fuel, trash, etc. without denying a whole continent an opportunity to develop?


Monday, March 19, 2007

No Day Off for Me

Yesterday didn't quite go as planned. TGILW and I had a nice lunch together and we were just settling down to a nice quiet afternoon trying to decide if we wanted to read, watch a movie or, well...you know, when we got a phone call from my sister. My youngest son and his cousins got into a car accident on the way home from the beach. Her daughter had called from the scene because my son couldn't use the phone.

The beach had been cloudy so they were heading home early when they got caught in a chain reaction rear end collision on the freeway. Thank God the traffic was creeping along at about 15 mph. They all could have been hurt so much worse. The whole thing got started by a van not having brake lights. Anyway, my niece braked abruptly and hit the rear fender of the car in front of her the airbags engaged and beat the living hell out of my niece and my son.

I'm not complaining about the airbags. Better those than their little faces hitting the dash, steering wheel or windshield. Also, thank God for seatbelts. These safety devices in the car saved them from being hurt worse. It's just hard seeing the kids look so hurt and horrible. If you can stand it I put a picture of my son below. The paper cup was a makeshift eye shield as his right eye is pretty battered and has a slight tear in the corner near his nose. We have to keep watch on that.

Our family has endured catastrophic illness and loss so the impotence of suffering the slings and arrows of life is not a new one. However, this accident was a graphic reminder of how quickly one's life can change. Literally from one instant to the next your life as you knew it can change course.

I'm so grateful to have him home safe in his room even if he is a little worse for the wear. One good thing to come out of it? He doesn't want to venture on the freeway for awhile or far from home and says he will never, ever, ever, not have a car without airbags or not wear his seatbelt because they really work.
Here's the picture we took yesterday in the ER. His lips are swollen to about 10 times their usual size.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Achtung Baby!

No I'm not going to talk about music, or U2 in particular. Just a few things on my mind today.

On Reading. So I've been clipping along reading like mad and all the sudden two days ago, Friday to be exact, I can't get into a book. I've probably picked up about 10 different books trying to get into something and I got nuthin'. No spark of interest at all. So maybe I just need a breather.

On Bridget Jones. I'm one of those people who liked the Bridget Jones movies. Certainly I didn't enjoy the second installment as much as the first, but what's not to like about Colin Firth and Hugh Grant? I remember feeling after the second movie a vague sense of dissatisfaction with it. So it was quite nice the other night to see it on TV and start to sort of get into it. Instead of starting to watch it in the middle I put in my DVD and watched the whole thing. I quite enjoyed it. Maybe I was just in the right mood to get into it this time, or maybe I had too high expectations when it had its theatrical release. At any rate, I sure liked it this time around.

On Book Buying. I was looking over my list of books releasing in the next couple of months and three books popped out at me:

April 3rd
Ice Blue - Anne Stuart

May 1st
Night Lost - Lynn Viehl
Rainbow Inferno (Sil Nocturne) - Linda Howard

Home Alone. Unexpectedly today TGILW and I will be home...together...in our very own house...ALL BY OURSELVES! My oldest son has to work and my younger son went to the beach with his cousins. Even with only two kids we rarely have the house to ourselves. I have lots of family in the area, my kids have lots of friends. It just seems like there is always something going on. We are pretty excited to be alone but I'm not supposed to say anything out loud because TGILW is afraid we will jinx it.

Time to ta-tah if I'm going to get some quality together time with the guy I live with.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

What's Your Song?

Ever since reading Holly's post this week about music from the year you turned 18 I've been thinking about music and my own musical tastes. I've been on a sort of musical journey. I had a blast going through my own Top 20 from the year I turned 18. Even if you decide not to post your own list, it's a fun thing to do. You can check it out here.

The next thing I knew, Sybil had a
post up that included Madonna's 'Material Girl' video. My son asked me today why I keep singing a Madonna song when I'm hardly her greatest fan. Yeah, lovely, thanks Sybil! Not even Cher's 'Tramps & Thieves', also Sybil's post, could knock the material girl out of my head.

Night before last TGILW and I took a trip down memory lane with the John Denver program on PBS. Discussing JD's music made me realize how much music from my past that I had listened to over this week, songs I hadn't thought of in years. You know how music is...some songs bring very specific memories back to us with vivid detail. Lots of memories popped into my head this week...concerts, places, people.

When TGILW and I met we didn't have a country western album between us. We went to see
URBAN COWBOY with John Travolta and Debra Winger and the soundtrack from that movie was our first country western album. We now have lots of CW in our CD collection. We also have more than a dozen Broadway musical soundtracks, movie soundtracks, Frank Sinatra, Mob Hits I & II, jazz (Diana Krall anyone?), pop rock, classic rock, R&B, 40s swing music and even a couple CDs of meditation music. Very eclectic I'm happy to say.

Anyway, thinking about all this music made me think about "our song". You know that song you and your special someone have tagged as being just yours and having meaning to your relationship? Yep, THAT'S the song I'm talking about. Until I met TGILW I thought couples having a song was dumb. I think of myself as being a romantic and sentimental, but having a song was a little over the top even for me, but here I am telling you we have one. While I can't tell you the circumstances that the song came to be ours to protect the innocent, or the guilty as the case may be, I can share with you what the song is.

Drum roll please...LONGER THAN by Dan Fogelberg.

Now I have to tell you. I have a cassette tape with the song on it. It was played at my wedding and I have that taped as well, but other than that we hardly ever think about or play our song. I have heard a muzak version on an elevator or two over the years and that can just about kill any song. Anyway, TGILW has even been known to forget what it is. While he isn't the most romantic guy by a long shot, he does usually try to keep track of stuff like that just to keep himself out of the dog house.

The sad sorry state of affairs is that we've outgrown our song. The sentiment is okay. I mean who doesn't want their love to last longer than fish in the ocean or the stars up in the sky? Mr. Fogelberg's voice is beautiful and it's a very nice song, but it doesn't evoke any strong memory or emotional attachment for me any more. I'm thinking we've outgrown our song. So I was wondering, can a couple UN-song themselves? What do you think? Can we just say, that's not going to be our song any more? D-I-V-O-R-C-E our song? If a friend or family member happens to mention our song we can just say, "I'm sorry you are mistaken, we don't have a song...at least not any more. We and our song went our separate ways and everyone's the happier for it. The split was amicable and we remain friends."

Which brings me to the point of this whole thing. I was thinking about my parents and my strong memories and emotional attachment to their song. My Mom and Dad used to dance in our living room and every time their song would play my Mom would say, "This is our song" and my Dad would say, "This is our song? I don't remember deciding that this would be our song." Or words to that affect. My mom also would talk about how one of the reasons she married my Dad was because he was such a good dancer. TGILW and I dance in our living room, sometimes I talk about my parents and their song when we dance. It's a great song. Give a listen.

How about you? Got a special song or musical memory?

'Stardust' written by Hoagey Carmichael
Performed by Nat King Cole

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

John Denver

Last night on our local PBS station they were having one of their fund raisers and showing a concert to generate interest. Well actually it wasn't a concert it was sort of a musical documentary about John Denver. It was pretty interesting and there was alot of narrative in the program by John himself discussing how he came to write certain songs and what they meant.

After incredible popularity for many years many comedians and our fickle pop culture began to make fun of his cheerfulness and young cherubic features. As we know now he actually had some very deep valleys and battled depression over the years. While their are several opinions as to whether or not he committed suicide almost 10 years ago I was struck anew while watching this program how beautiful some of his songs and lyrics are. They are thoughtful and evocative. John Denver music was one of the things TGILW and I had in common when we met. It was the only music that we had dual sets of when we married.

His song Calypso about the boat Jacques Cousteau used to study the ocean was written to bring awareness about the beauty of our oceans and our responsibility to protect our planet. He was speaking about conservation and ecology way back in the 70s. He donated all the proceeds from Calypso to the Cousteau Society. Pretty cool.

At any rate it brought back many wonderful memories. I went with a bunch of girlfriends in 1975 to a concert at the brand spanking new Universal Amphitheater to see him. The sellout crowd was on their feet most of the night and it was the first time I was to experience thousands of people singing with an artist at the top of their lungs. Just a great time and a great memory.

In 1977 after my family had travelled through Colorado many times driving between New Mexico (where my Dad was stationed at the time) and Montana where my grandparents lived, I decided to move to Colorado Springs. I lived there for two and a half of the best years of my life. To this day my brothers say I moved there because I loved John Denver music. The reasons for moving there are many, but I can tell you the only reason I left was because I met this guy, fell in love and he had a great job in...OHIO!

Here's some John Denver for you. I chose a medely he did of some of his more popular songs back in 1992.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

SUGAR DADDY by Lisa Kleypas

I was going to hold my review for a couple of days, but it turns out that today is Lisa Kleypas day at Sybil's site The Good, the Bad and the Unread. So it seemed like the right time to post my review. Be sure to go over and check out what's going on at Sybil's. There are sure to be lots of Kleypas fans and other cool stuff.

Like everyone else who has enjoyed Lisa Kleypas' historicals I was wondering why she would switch to contemporarys and at the same time have it come out in hardcover? While I do consider myself a fan, I can't say I've loved every book Ms. Kleypas has written. So it begs the question why I would buy a hardcover contemporary doesn't it?

First of all with my Barnes and Noble discount and the book being on sale I ended up paying less for it than a trade paperback, which I've purchased with a whole lot less to recommend them than mostly good track record I have with Lisa Kleypas books.
Secondly, I have to admit I was hooked in by the cover blurb. I did read a couple of excerpts on line as well. I went back and forth but justified the go ahead to purchase when the price was discounted.

When I started this 371 page book for some reason I thought it was going to be an easy and quick read sort of like Eve Plum books by Evanovich are for me. I have no idea why I thought this except when I browsed the book I saw that each chapter started with a half page of justified paragraphs. Let me just say this isn't a breezy sort of easy read at all. I was happily surprised to find myself being more engrossed and drawn into Liberty's saga than I expected.

Here's a summary from RT:

Liberty Jones grew up in trailer-park poverty in rural Texas, the child of a widowed mother with a mysterious past and a current string of no-good boyfriends. But young Liberty is smart, determined and willing to work hard to make her dreams come true. She’s inexplicably drawn to Hardy Cates, the boy down the street who forever claimed her heart at age 13. But he too has ambitions, and they take him out of town and away from Liberty.

Soon alone and with a young sister to raise, Liberty finds herself in the big city, slowly growing up and piecing her life together.

I have to say that I was sometimes confused by the twists and turns this story took. Some of them were interesting, some of them made me feel like Ms. Kleypas was uncertain and didn't know herself what direction she wanted her characters to go. While this caused me to wrinkle my brow a time or two it didn't take me out of the story.

One of the things I liked best about the book was the struggle Liberty and her family endure. It made me wonder if Ms. Kleypas has ever felt the pinch and worry of empty kitchen cabinets without enough gas for the car to get to work. Having lived through those things for brief periods of time myself, I was brought back to my fearful past. It's pretty difficult to relate that sort of paralyzing fear without some experience or story having touched you personally. It's hard to relate to another person how it feels to look into the future and know you have to "hold on", pray that nothing goes wrong so you can dig yourself out of a hole or turn things around. Like I said, having been there I was touched by how accurately Ms. Kleypas captured those scary feelings.

Which brings me to one of the things I wasn't so happy with. Liberty receives help, assistance or a boost at very convenient and fortuitous times. Ms. Kleypas masks these well in the story telling but any discerning reader will see right through them.

I also had some issue with some of the choices the characters made that didn't seem appropriate to me as well as one character change or character reveal that didn't seem to go with my understanding of the character to that point in the story.


I'm speaking of course about Hardy Cates. What is revealed about his character or lack thereof at the end of the book did not reconcile for me with the Hardy we met as a young man. Yes, he leaves to pursue his personal goals, but the fact that he took such good care of his family, helped out Liberty's family and others in the trailer park, and didn't take advantage of Liberty's youthful love and devotion says something about his character that I don't think can go away in pursuit of his goals. I felt this to be particularly true because he is a young man himself at the time. In many other romance novels his treatment of Liberty, by leaving, would be seen as the ultimate act of love and sacrifice. It was difficult for me to believe that Hardy became so jaundiced on his journey to success that he would become as cold a user as Gage describes him to Liberty after the two men meet.

I was excited by the prospect that Liberty would have this choice between these two dynamic men who both impacted her life so dramatically. I thought there was enough in the story about the two men without adding a hard edge to Hardy to make her choice more clear cut to the reader.


Even with the blips I spoke of above, I was unable to put this book down. I enjoy reading a book that follows a character from childhood to adulthood. This interior POV about what shapes that person and their choices is one I thoroughly get into.

The last third of the book is the best part when we get to see Liberty as a young adult raising a child trying to make the right choices and decisions not only for her little sister but for her own life as well. It's not a big book about a big life (rich people notwithstanding) it's a story about choices. I liked it and, obviously from this long review, have been thinking about it since I read it.

Thanks to Sybil I went to Ms. Kleypas' site and was able to read an excerpt for a historical she is writing titled MINE TIL MIDNIGHT which is scheduled to be her next release. This is the story of Cam Rohan that Kleypas' fans have been waiting for.

Speaking of fans...if you haven't heard the news, one of Ms. Kleypas' biggest fans, Kristie(j) got a surprise package. I first read about it at Dear Author on Monday and had to go check it out. Kudos to Ms. Kleypas for recognizing a fan. You couldn't have chosen a more perfect or grateful recipient.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

When I was 18..

I know I said I was going to do my review of SUGAR DADDY for today. I actually have it done and will post it in the next couple of days, but I saw this yesterday on Holly's site and had so much fun doing it and listening to the songs again (don't you just love YouTube?) that I wanted to post my music list.

This is the list of the top 20 from the year I turned 18. I was surprised how many of these I remember and loved! This was fun. For your enjoyment, if you can be arsed, you can listen to the number one song while reading my list.

Here's the scoop. Go to popculturemadness.com. Click on pop music category and then click on the year you turned 18. Copy and paste the TOP 2O and then bold the ones you liked, strikeout the ones you hated and italicize the ones about which you were neutral. The ones you’ve never heard will stay unformatted

TOP 20 1972

1. Rock and Roll part II - Gary Glitter (oh yeah baby!)
2. American Pie - Don McLean
3. Lean On Me - Bill Withers (I love Bill Withers. My sister recently put this on a mix CD for us)
4. Rock and Roll - Led Zeppelin (Can you say CLASSIC!)
5. I'll Take You There - Staple Singers (Help me now...uh-huh...I'll take you there!)

6. Precious and Few - Climax (I danced to this song so many times in that single year between dances and parties I have dreams of shuffling around a dance floor with my head on some unknown anonymous male shoulder)
7. Let's Stay Together - Al Green
8. Coconut - Nilsson My brother's obsessive playing of this ruined it FOREVER!
9. Schools Out - Alice Cooper
10. Me and Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul
11. Layla - Derek and the Dominoes
12. Goodbye To Love - Carpenters
13. Burning Love - Elvis Presley (Saw him in concert in Vegas when this was hot!)
14. The Candy Man - Sammy Davis, Jr. (I started out loving this song, but it got too much radio play)
15. Operator - Jim Croce (I went through a Jim Croce phase like everyone else)
16. Horse With No Name - America (Saw them in concert a couple years later)
17. Nights In White Satin - Moody Blues (Our senior class song and prom theme!)

18. Anticipation - Carly Simon
19. Saturday In The Park - Chicago (an unfortunate date to a concert in 1976 ruined this group for me forever)
20. Get On The Good Foot - James Brown
To say I don't get this one is an understatement.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

About Book Reviews

I sometimes wish I was as disciplined a reviewer as Rosario or had the biting wit of Bam or that I was as concise & honest as the Ja(y)nes at Dear Author. I have opinions about books but I get frustrated condensing my thoughts coherently.

Recently I wanted to write a review of EC Sheedy's WITHOUT A WORD. I ruminated for several days when Dear Author did a review that really nailed the book for me. In a weird way this released me from the merry-go-round in my head that had been writing the review over and over again. My thoughts were now out there thanks to Dear Author and I no longer felt compelled to do my own review. Whether or this is a good thing (I'm thinking it is) or a bad thing I don't know, but I do feel grateful.

While I read 4 to 5 books a week there has to be some intangible something that makes me want to review a book. With EC Sheedy even though I had some issues with the book all I thought at the end of it was that I wanted to read more books by this author.

With the last book I actually reviewed, NIGHT IN EDEN by Candice Proctor, I wanted to comment on how nice it was to read a historical with sexual tension that still had lots of color, detail and layers to the characters. I never know what it is that will make me feel like I want to share my views on a book. Frankly I want to review more books, but this remains a largely unrealized goal for lack of discipline to make myself review something without my woo-woo nudge.

As mentioned above another reason is my feeling that I don't get my thoughts and opinion condensed and coherent. I sometimes feel my reviews are a pointless ramble. Yet, I so enjoy reading what other readers think about books, no matter the format or lack thereof. It is one of my very favorite things about the blog-o-sphere.

Today I just feel moved to mention how humbled I feel by all of you talented people out there. For the variety of books you review, old and new, for the reminders of favorites, for opening doors to new genres and authors, and most of all for your honesty, thank you, thank you, thank you. My reading has changed because of it and I can no longer imagine my book buying experience without it.


Friday, March 09, 2007

NIGHT IN EDEN by Candice Proctor

By now everyone knows all about my blues over my favorite UBS closing. I picked up a few books there, but mostly shopped for family and friends and was able to use half my credit. I hope like hell they get the other store.

Anyway among the books I picked up for myself were Candice Proctor's NIGHT IN EDEN, SEPTEMBER MOON and THE LAST KNIGHT. Since I was in the mood for a historical, and my reading is always about what mood I'm in, I decided to read NIGHT IN EDEN first because both Tara Marie and ReneeW had commented recently how much they liked the book.

Here's the blurb from Ms. Proctor's web site:

Bryony Wentworth's life is shattered when she is convicted of manslaughter and transported to New South Wales in 1808. Sentenced to indentured servitude, she is given to Hayden St. John. A hard, embittered man left with an infant son by the death of his gentle wife, Hayden has little but contempt for the muddy, vermin-ridden convict on whom he must rely. But Bryony is a survivor. As they journey through the outback to Hayden's rugged station, Bryony rediscovers her own strength even as Hayden finds his salvation and rebirth in a love as forbidden and dangerous as the land that surrounds them.

I'm so glad I read this book. This was a good historical in the best sense of the word. There is alot of depth and layers to the book. There's nothing more rewarding for me in a book than when an author knows the period well. I enjoy the small things and details that add so much color and texture to the story. I don't want to give the impression the book is burdened or slow by this because it isn't. Both Byrony and Hayden are well drawn and true to the time period without being stereotypes.

So many times in historicals I cringe when the heroine makes a TSTL move or seems to act totally out of the time period, place or the character we've been shown already. It happens so frequently in historicals that at several points in this story I was waiting for this to occur. Thankfully it never does. It was refreshing to see Byrony and Hayden actually communicate with one another and have the author avoid the plot device of one or another of them hiding or avoiding the truth to create a twist.

Ms. Proctor has plenty of sexual tension between these two and doesn't take any easy roads for them to be together. It was great to see she had plenty of twists and turns without having these two intelligent and resilient people be unable to have a rational conversation between them.
I sure am glad I was able to find this book.

It was originally published in 1997, but it is worth the search to read it.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

My Favorite Used Book Store

I got a phone call Monday afternoon from Linda the owner of my favorite used book store. Linda has worked at the store for about 16 years and owned it for probably 5 of those years. We usually speak on the phone a couple of times a month. She will call to let me know the latest edition of Romantic Times is in and I call her with a list of authors or books I'm looking for and she will look them up on the computer and pull the books for me if they are available.

When I received the call on Monday I just figured it was Linda letting me know RT was in. However, I received the news that Linda was unable to reach an agreement with the owner of the shopping center she is in for her new lease and she will be closing the store on March 23rd. Worse yet I have to use my credit up by this Friday. I have a ridiculous credit at this store because I have a generous book budget each month and while I try new authors by purchasing at the UBS I still buy alot of new books as well.

So I've been calling friends and family to see if they need any books and I'll look for them today and tomorrow. It's unlikely I will be able to use all my credit, but that is nothing in comparison to the loss I'll feel over losing a favorite book haunt.

We still have another UBS in the area. It's not far from where my son goes to high school so I pass it a couple of times a week when I pick him up. I just don't go to this particular store very often. Linda's store was the only UBS around for many years and I started going to that store in 1986. That is longer ago than some of you were probably born. The store has always been clean, well organized and Linda was always so friendly and accomodating.

To say I'm going to miss it is an understatement. Linda's looking for another location, but we have had a big building boom here lately and rents and housing have skyrocketed. I think the owner of the shopping center is short sighted to raise rents (it doubled!) and put a good, steady and reliable tenant out, but nobody asked me what I thought.

So I'm really bummed about my favorite UBS closing, It just doesn't feel right since that store has been such a part of my family's reading experience for so many years. My sons bought their first comic books in that store. I tried many authors for the first time by buying a used book and then glomming their back list and buying new. Linda was often reading the same books and authors and was always someone you could talk to about your latest reading binge or family drama.

My fingers are crossed that she will find another location, but she doesn't sound hopeful. It feels like the end of an era.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

About What You Said...

I read in a recent post on Holly's blog that she wasn't commenting at her usual haunts, but she wanted to let her friends and visitors know that she was out there reading and visiting and would be back to her usual posting soon.

It made me stop and think about my own comments. You know I don't know if it's just because I've sort of settled into blogland or what, but my compulsion to read and comment everyday at most of the blogs I visit has just sort of gone away. Mostly because I don't think I have anything new to add to the discussion.

When I began my adventures in blogland, I was reading and lurking at different blog sites for quite a while before I'd comment. Once I started commenting though, the flood gates opened. Somehow I began to feel like it was rude to visit and not comment even if I was only echoing what someone else said. Sometimes the blog topic was too interesting or provocative not to comment. Then I went through a "that isn't clever or witty enough" stage and would agonize about what to say.

Yeah, I suffer from worrying about people I haven't met liking me. Sad, but true.

Now I just comment when the spirit moves me. Like tonight for instance, I felt compelled to say something almost every where I visited. Could I tell you why? No. Then again sometimes I don't comment for a week. Again, why? Dunno. The great thing is I don't think about it (much) or worry about it, which is nice.

One thing I don't do any more is read or comment when there are already more than 20 or so comments. Unless for some strange reason I happen to see a post early and comment, you can bet if there are lots of comments (80? 100?) I won't read them all and I won't add to them. Too much work usually and more often than not someone's being snotty to someone else and I'm just not interested.

Anyway, I thought Holly's note to her blog visitors and friends was nice. So like her, I'm just letting you all know I'm still visiting, I'm still enjoying your posts, reviews, anecdotes about your life, but sometimes I just don't have anything to say. Which isn't to say that the next time I visit I won't leave a comment that should be a post on my own blog.


Friday, March 02, 2007

The Joshua Tree

These pictures are for my pal and fellow cross stitcher, Gabrielle. The good digital camera is AWOL so I took these with my phone and they aren't the best quality.

This is the family tree I cross stitched in 1985 using a Joshua Tree for the family tree since we live in an area where they are a part of the landscape.
It was a Christmas gift to my parents and when my Mom died in 2004 my Dad thought I should get it back. I have it hanging on a wall in my bedroom right now, but I don't know if it will be its permanent home. For another thing, there are alot more of us now and I don't have enough room to add everyone to it! But it is a precious reminder and I enjoyed every stitch...I kid you not. I was so excited to stitch something so personal and completely designed by me.

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