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.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

DEMON ANGEL by Meljean Brook

Demon Angel by Meljean Brook

Just to begin and for the sake of full disclosure, I bought this book the DAY it came out. It had gotten so much great buzz and I didn't want to miss out on a good book, so I bought it. I bought it knowing that I don't usually like books about angels or devils. Not because I'm not religious or don't believe, but for me I just couldn't see or think of anything romantic about an H/H combo that was demon and angel. Suffice it to say it was definitely one of those 'it's not you it's me' issues.

Then after people read it and reader reviews started showing up, if you can believe it, I was more leary than ever. I was certain I wasn't going to like it. Yet the book remained in the small TBR that is in the table next to my bed instead of being rotated to the towering TBR in my office. It wasn't until Tara Marie's glowing comments about the next book, DEMON MOON (excerpt)that I kicked myself in the pants and wondered why I was being so silly when I hadn't read the blurb, an excerpt or even cracked open DEMON ANGEL. I decided I wanted to have DEMON ANGEL (excerpt) read before DEMON MOON was released.

It's hard to do a summary of this book. None that I've read really captured how I felt or my reaction to the book. My take is that there's a Demon with supernatural powers, Lilith who made a bargain with Lucifer because she didn't want to die. There's a Guardian, Hugh who really isn't an angel but a human who has been transformed into a being also with many supernatural powers whose assignment is to protect humankind. Over the course of two thousand years Hugh and Lilith meet time and again. Sometimes they are almost allies and others they are bitter enemies. Always there is attraction and desire between them. As time and the world go on each of them sees their role changing. Add to this machinations of Lucifer, hell hounds, nosferatu, vampires and the Guardian corps and you have a complex and compelling story. There is love, there is good and there is evil. There is pain, pleasure, condemnation, redemption. It was quite a ride.

I have to admit when I started DEMON ANGEL it was pretty tough going for me for about the first 70 pages. It wasn't until the story moved forward from 1217 that I started to really get into it. Another issue in the beginning, which is certainly not a flaw or fault with the book, was that I hadn't been challenged by my reading material in quite some time. This book isn't fluff. Which isn't to say there isn't humor and heart in the book, because there most certainly is. This is 423 pages where you have to pay attention. I enjoyed and appreciated that Ms. Brook counts on and believes her readers will follow her bread crumbs.

Don't be put off by believing or thinking, as I did, that this is just a story about angels. Ultimately this is a story of struggle. While anguished at times for Hugh and Lilith and their many conflicts and obstacles I relished it. It wasn't an easy read, but one I couldn't put down. I don't feel compelled just by curiousity to read the next book, but am anxious to see what else Ms. Brook has to say. This is a new and unique voice and I'm excited to see what the future holds. For now I'll just salivate and wish June 5th will hurry up and get here so I can read
DEMON MOON. I went back and read FALLING FOR ANTHONY in my copy of the HOT SPELL anthology. I immediately remembered reading the story the first time and it may be why I bought DEMON ANGEL when it came out. I must say the story had much more meaning for me after reading DEMON ANGEL.

Have I already said June 5th can't get here soon enough? Sybil has an excerpt posted here. It's different from the one I linked to above.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

What. Ever!

I was in a "mood" yesterday. I can't even blame it on PMS. Menopause maybe, but not PMS.

Anyway, everything was bugging me because I had these chores and tasks to do instead of being able to read when I had the house mostly to myself. Which translates to blissful silence without any interruptions and my favorite environment for reading, especially something as engrossing as DEMON ANGEL.

During one of the brief periods I had company my son Beanie was home between his college classes. In the process of a conversation that became increasingly heated he told me he wasn't going to talk to me again until "whatever evil Irish leprechaun crawled up my ass leaves". Yes, my son spoke to me like that. Unbelievable, I know. Of course, he looked as surprised by what he said as I was to hear it.

Was it wrong to remind him that I was glad he let me know the leprechaun was Irish as opposed to say German or French? I wonder what color the suit for the French leprechaun is? Besides, it wasn't nice to insult the Irish that way was it?

That wasn't all I said either. He apologized.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Book Binge

The chicks at Sancutuary's Finest have new digs. Go check out BOOK BINGE.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007


Well kiddies, I FINALLY have all my posts tagged. I've been doing it bit by bit since I converted to Beta and can now rejoice that it is DONE! One problem I have is tagging my posts with a gazillion cross references. That comes from my records management training and working in a law office. In other words, there is no such thing as too much detail. Someday, I'm going to go through each tag and change, delete, combine, but I'm happy just to have every one have some sort of tag.

I'm also finally reading DEMON ANGEL by Meljean Brook. The first 60 pages were tough for me to get through. It was (is) mostly an issue of me not particularly liking books about angels. However, it is sooooo worth sticking with it. I'm a little more than half way and really liking it now. I've been on such a reading roll since the first of the year I can't remember the last time I was reading a book for more than a couple of days, but I've been really busy and have tried to read this one and give it my full attention.

I read Holly's post about how much she was enjoying DEMON MOON and didn't have the time to read it. That's what's happened to me the last couple of days. My boys have plans this evening and it's leftover night so I should have some quiet time to finish the book tonight. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to do a review in the next couple of days.

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Has Anyone Else Seen This?

Every once in a while I click on the link for Maili's blog to see if she's back or what's up. Yes, I know that recently there's been an error message, but I figure what the hell and check every once in a while. This is what I saw today.


Has anybody heard anything?


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

American Idol and ONE

Maybe all you AI fans already knew this, but as a One.org subscriber, I got this email today and thought I'd share it with you.

Dear Friends,

Tonight and tomorrow, one in ten Americans will sit down in their living rooms and tune-in to American Idol for a special episode called "Idol Gives Back."

We are excited to announce that Bono will be making an appearance Wednesday night on behalf of ONE urging the millions of Americans watching the show to join us in the fight against extreme poverty. Bono will meet with the Idol contestants to talk with them about ONE and the difference your advocacy is making in the lives of the world's poorest people. The Idol contestants will also perform "American Prayer," a song written by Bono and Dave Stewart about the AIDS emergency in Africa.

We need your help to make sure your friends and family are watching. Spread the word about tonight and tomorrow's shows! This is a great way to introduce friends and family to ONE. Invite them to join you in the fight against extreme poverty.

Forward this e-mail to friends and family and ask them to join today by visiting:

Wednesday night's show will be a two-hour special hosted by Ellen and featuring appearances by Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, Earth, Wind & Fire, Il Divo, Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Josh Groban with the African Children's Choir, Jack Black, Helen Mirren, Rascal Flatts, Quincy Jones, Carrie Underwood, Annie Lennox and many more.

We are excited about what the next two days could mean for the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty. Because of your continued support and involvement, extreme poverty is getting the national attention it so badly needs. When millions of people come together as ONE voice, anything is possible.

Thank you for your energy and dedication,

Susan McCue, ONE.org

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Sunday, April 22, 2007


I've seen these two books and picked them up and put them down so many times I can't even tell you. Apparently I have a deep suspicion of people who only have one name. You know like Cher, Madonna, and Sunny. I won't go into the weird explanation of why, but one of the reasons I didn't buy these books was that the author only had one name. I told you. Weird. Quirky.

All of which is ironic because after I read MONA LISA AWAKENING (excerpt)
I had to go looking for more info on the author, the next book, you know the basic reader stalking when a book really yanks our chain. Adding fuel to the fire of my curiosity was the ABOUT THE AUTHOR remarks at the end of MONA LISA AWAKENING and her plog on Amazon. Sunny is a family physician and Vassar graduate who surprised herself by writing an erotic romance. She's also a stage Mom for her two children and edits for her husband who is also a writer, Da Chen. Once I knew her husband was a writer I had to go to his website and get the scoop about him too. Maybe I'm more, or as much intrigued by this fascinating and accomplished family than maybe I was by the books. Maybe.

About the books, by now most of you know that the Mona Lisa books are about a woman, Mona Lisa, who is living her life working as an RN like a regular person. Well, regular if you call being able to sense and know what is wrong with people and how to treat them just by touching them. Mona Lisa believes that with time she will even be able to heal people with her hands. She hopes. She likes working in the ER and she likes helping people even though men have a tendency to hit on her all the time which sucks because she just isn't interested in any of them until...

Mona Lisa meets Gryphon in the ER. Gryphon is a patient who is not exactly like other people. He is an injured Moniere that ends up in the Emergency Room suffering from silver poisoning from a wound he received leaving his previous Queen. Mona Lisa immediately knows Gryphon isn't your average guy. He looks different, he smells different and he really lights up Mona Lisa -- literally. This meeting and Mona Lisa's subsequent decision to help Gryphon introduces her and the reader to the Moniere people who are sort of aliens who escaped the moon long ago. Mona Lisa also discovers that she is one of the long lost mixed bloods of their people who also happens to be a Queen.

MONA LISA AWAKENING goes along way to introducing us to this world and how it operates. I did find myself not happy with the author writing herself out of a corner or conflict by either a new character arriving just in the nick of time or Mona Lisa discovering a new power "accidentally" but in time to save herself. That was a little too convenient and comic book for me. Still and all I found there are elements to like here in both books.

The best thing about the books was Mona Lisa herself. I'm a sucker for a powerful, strong, intelligent woman who also has heart. Mona Lisa certainly is those things. Of course, it didn't hurt that at many points where Mona Lisa has tough decisions to make in this new life and world that she makes choices that made sense to me, even when it meant personal sacrifice or pain on her part.

Sometimes it's easier to read a book where there is a specific enemy that is clearly defined and we know what and who to watch out for, this book doesn't have that. One of the delicious things about these two books is that there are enemies and pitfalls every where. Much of the conflict comes from Mona Lisa adjusting to her life in this world. Knowing some of the dangers and hazards doesn't mean Mona Lisa knows how to cope with them. There is a constant learning curve and nothing stays the same. The Moniere world and surviving it is one of wits, intrigue and political manuevering.

This undefined enemy is what I also found to be a drag at times. Sometimes I found myself thinking the author was covering the same ground over again. I don't like to be beat over the head with a point. In particular I'm referring to the Moniere Queens being territorial, jealous, and conniving bitches. I get it, and I get that Mona Lisa is different. Sometimes while I was reading the second book
MONA LISA BLOSSOMING (excerpt) I was thinking "Not again" or "Didn't we do this already?".

While I've mentioned Gryphon I haven't said too much about a M-A-N. Not to worry, there is man-o-plenty in these books. There isn't just one M-A-N. Mona Lisa has three guys who think she's all that. Gryphon, Amber and Halcyon. Three men -- all with pretty interesting stories and distinctive feelings for Mona Lisa. While most Queens of the Moniere seem to dally with just about anyone, anytime, anywhere, Mona Lisa is a bit more discriminating. None of these guys are your average boy-next-door and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mona Lisa.

There is also a coterie of characters in Mona Lisa's life and household that she adds through each step of her journey of discovery and adversity in her new world. Some of the Moniere are taking a look at the status quo and thinking that change is good and who better to align themselves with than the new Mixed Blood Queen with a penchant for doing things her own way?

At the end of the day, I have to recommend the books for having a kick ass heroine who doesn't know when to quit and who has alot of heart.

Sunny will be starting another series about the Demon World. The Demon World and it's inhabitants make appearances in the Moniere books. I've read the excerpt and have to say I'm looking forward to LUCINDA DARKLY, THE DEMON PRINCESS CHRONICLES (excerpt) due out in August 2007.

I caution mainstream romance readers that there isn't a traditional HEA to these books. It is an ongoing and continuing story more like episodic TV.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

I'm Busy Damn It!

No really, I have lots of stuff to do. Remember me mentioning how I have lists? Well, I started the week gangbusters but somewhere around Wednesday I lost steam. I'm not going to say this never happens to me because January 2007 was an all time "just doing the basics" period for me. Stuff happens.

This week I just have my average To Do list and I'm ignoring it and pretending I don't have to do those things. One of the items on the list is to finish an application for an administrative job with our local fire department. Yes, I'm looking for work again.

Lucky me my temp job was over in early December and I've been slowly looking for a "real" job again. Fortunately, I have the luxury of taking my time because except for the two months in the Fall working the temp job I've been unemployed since last June.

I've really enjoyed living life at a slower pace. I've never had a problem being home either. I was a stay-at-home Mom when my boys were very young. When I did return to work they were in junior high and high school. Even then, I went back part time at first so I was home when they were home.

Recently, I've been reading about so many of you having killer work weeks of 50 and 60 hours. Ugh! That takes me right back to where I was when I left my last job. I was putting in those kind of hours for six months and I was fried to a crisp by the time I left. Good job, good money, great boss, but too demanding for me to have a life outside of work. I kept hoping the hours would improve as time went on. I worked at that place for almost four years and if you can't figure out in that time what will and what won't change, then you are in real trouble.

Anyway, I'm feeling good right now. The rheumatoid arthritis seems to be in some sort of remission, my boys are older and needing me less. (Which as my mother used to say translates to "so I can worry more") So here I am. Looking for a good paying job, with good benefits and a benign work environment. No high stress and demanding stuff for me. Quiet, peace...that's what I'm looking for.

However, it's pretty interesting to see where my ambition is when I have been sitting on the application for the fire department for three days. The window for accepting applications closes next Tuesday at 5 p.m., so I have time. Right? I'm not really procrastinating yet am I? Doesn't it have to be something like Tuesday at noon with an incomplete application for it to be officially called procrastination?

Of course, I do have an interview for an admin job at our local junior college on April 30th. Maybe that's why I'm not hurrying up to apply for this other job. Nah...that's not it. Maybe the fact that the application is four freakin' pages and has to be done by hand. That might have something to do with it. (Who doesn't have their applications on line? Really!)

This morning I vowed to tackle the application first thing. No cleaning the kitchen first, blog hopping, leaving to do errands, reading, laundry...nope. Just do the application. So what have I done so far this morning? Made coffee, blog hopped, two loads of laundry, conversation with Beanie Boy about his job hunting and telephone conversation with GG.

This blog post wasn't on the list either. Guess I better finish it so I can continue NOT completing the application and go fix myself something to eat instead.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I was a little disappointed when I read the review by Jane at Dear Author of Linda Howard's Silhouette Nocturne release RAINTREE: INFERNO. Like many long time Howard fans I was looking forward to her return to category romance and anxious to read this book. I wasn't put off by the review at Dear Author. I don't always agree with every review I read and commented that I would be buying and reading the book for myself. How could I not? It was Linda Howard.

This book is part of a trilogy that Ms. Howard is writing with Linda Winstead Jones (book 2) and Beverly Barton (book 3). The gist of the books is that there are two opposing family/clans the Raintrees and the Ansara. Both families have various pyschic powers. The Ansara are the "bad" psychics and the Raintree are the "good" psychics. In this world all people with psychic powers are part of one of these two families. There are exceptions. Strays. A stray is a person with no family affiliation but has psychic abilities.

One such stray is Lorna Clay. Lorna wanders into our hero, Dante Raintree's life when she decides to gamble in his casino. Lorna tries to discreetly win and fly under the notice and radar of casino security by not winning large sums of money or staying in one place too long. Unfortunately for her Dante has a very astute security chief who spots her and brings her to Dante's attention.

Dante uses his psychic skills to literally push his way through and explore every nook, cranny and memory of Lorna's brain. Yes, Lorna herself characterizes this as "brain rape". I however did not have the same issues with it that some other readers have had. If we are taking the leap (this is fiction) that psychic ability does exist and that there are two opposing families that have remained at war for centuries then Dante's actions as the head of the Raintree clan isn't so hard to understand. He was trying to find out if Lorna was a threat to him and the Raintree. Even the compulsion he puts Lorna under didn't bother me too much because I still had high expectations for the rest of the book.

Lorna is hardly a victim. She seems strong, intelligent and capable to me. She's had to be to survive on the streets by herself for so long. In fact if I have a beef about the whole thing between them, it's that once they clear the air, which took too long, the discussion and absolution of the brain invasion is beat to death. Bad boy he shouldn't have done it, but if he had it to do over again he would. I get it and you don't have to tell me three times for me to understand that. Lorna has much more issue with the compulsion Dante uses. This too goes on for too long and went beyond its purpose and use as a story device.

To me this book lacked substance. At one point I turned to GG and said "where's the beef?". Some of you will remember that line from a long ago commercial that complained about the miniscule sized burger patties. Like those long ago commercials this is all bun and no meat.

To shamelessly steal from Jane's review, this story does have all the expected Howard elements. But I agree with Jane's observation that it lacks the heart of Ms. Howard's best books. I kept hoping the story would turn a corner and make a point, have a plot, build some tension. Anything. It really never did. Of course we are left with all sorts of loose ends so we will buy the next installment. I was pretty irked. I was left knowing very little about the two characters in this story and wondering why I would be following them to the next book.

I do have the impression from the excerpts I've read from each of the next two books that the stories are taking place at the same time which will leave alot of loose ends to be tied in the third one.

It's not that there isn't a good premise here that I would be interested in reading. Stories involving psychic abilities are some of my favorites. Unfortunately, this was a big miss and an even bigger disappointment.


Jane told me about the review of RAINTREE:INFERNO at AAR in the comments to this post. If you are waffling about this book you might want to check it out. Although for as many flaws as Leigh Thomas found with the book, many that are similar to mine, I can't believe it got a 'B' and it was one of the better books read by the reviewer this year. Wow! Makes me wonder if we read the same book.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007



Warner Brothers & Steven Spielberg

16 May 98 - Brain Food
"Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?"
(Pinky) Whoof, oh, I'd have to say the odds of that are terribly slim Brain.
(Brain) True.
(Pinky) I mean, really, when have I ever been pondering what you've been pondering?
(Brain) To my knowledge, never.
(Pinky) Exactly. So, what are the chances that this time, I'm pondering what you're pondering?
(Brain) Next to nil.
(Pinky) Well, that's exactly what I'm thinking, too.
(Brain) Therefore, you *are* pondering what I'm pondering.
(Pinky) Poit, I guess I am!

I have no expectations that people are pondering what I'm pondering at any given time or on any given day. However, here's what's been racing around my gray matter the past few days.

As I've mentioned before when some tragedy happens in the world. It is sometimes pretty unbearable to watch or read the news about those happenings. However, I feel the least we can do is bear witness as citizens of the world and do what we can within our small sphere of influence to change things.

Today I'm full of grief for the family and friends of the people who were murdered at Virginia Tech yesterday. I grieve for my country that refuses to make the changes we need to with regard to gun laws. The Bill of Rights giving us the "right to bear arms" is over 230 years old. We live in a different time and century. We have to do something to stop the violence. Is it more important to perserve the right to carry a gun than to have a free, safe and open society?

Sometimes I shake my head and lack the understanding for the fights and muckraking out here in the blogosphere. Conversely I'm pretty proud to be a part of a community that has taken on the tough subject and discussions that have been raised recently with the rape/forced sex issue brought up with the current release of CLAIMING THE COURTESAN by Anna Campbell. Yes, there are as many opinions as there are people, but most of what I've read while put in strong terms has been a free and open dialogue without personalizing it or name calling. If for some reason you have seen where the conversation broke down and got nasty, please don't link or mention it here. I've been happy to see the topic discussed intelligently without deteriorating to generalities and snark. Some of the sites where I've seen good posts and discussion are:
Dear Author, Wendy aka Super Librarian and Argh Ink (Jennifer Crusie).

How many times have I put clothes from the washing machine to the dryer? I've been married 26 years. I have one husband and two children. I do laundry a couple of times a week. So how many times? Sometimes I'm shaking and tossing clothes into the dryer with impatience, sometimes resentment, and sometimes with a joyful thanks that I have these people to do laundry for. Sometimes, like today I feel connected to all the women of the world who are beating their clothes against rocks, walking miles to get water to do wash, carting clothes to a laundry mat, or like me walking out into their garage laundry room to wash their family's clothes. As different as we are, we are also the same.

In my blog travels today Marg mentioned she was caught up with her reviews. I asked her if she had review deadlines, was reviewing for other publications or organizations or if she reviewed everything she read. She answered that she reviews everything she reads. Holy crap!! Was my thought when I read her reply. I have no where near the patience, talent or perseverance to review every book I read. In fact the thought of doing that is overwhelming. My current book count for the year is 113. There have been 107 days in 2007 and I've read 113 books. Yes, I had a truly slothful January and read like crazy. Yes, there are some shorty ebooks in there, but as you can see this comes to more than a book a day. I can't imagine trying to review them all. Kudos, to you Miss Marg. I admire you greatly for your steadfastness and your reviews. I love reading your reviews and other readers who are as prolific in their book reviews. Sadly, I will never be among your ranks.

However, I am going to be posting my thoughts on Linda Howard's latest Silhouette Nocturne in the next couple of days. I read it over the weekend. Anybody else had a chance to read it yet?

That about covers this series of ponderings. God knows what it will be next.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Birthday-less Month

Ahhh...we used to say. Whew! We used to exclaim. April, once upon a forever ago used to be the month with only two birthdays. Thanks to marriages and births, which happen with alarming frequency in our family, we now have lots of birthdays and celebrations in the month.

Seventeen years ago today April 16th was also a Monday and tax day and a precious baby boy was born. Our Shmoo entered the world!


For Steadman

Here she is Miss K-Rock clutching "Lola" that Aunt Rosie sent her for her second birthday. She's such a ham.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

So I was thinkin'...

So thinking, thinking, thinking since I finished DIRTY. One realization is how happy I am to know I have my HEA with GG and my boys. Looking back over my life I certainly have had plenty of opportunities for my life to have turned out differently. I honestly couldn't say whether that is by design, fate, or stupid luck. In any case, I'm grateful for my sack of rocks.

I've also been thinking and pondering over the Rock Creek Six series. I've finished JED and am almost done with NATE. While I'm enjoying all the books I think SULLIVAN is still my favorite. These books aren't as historically accurate or deep as I usually like my westerns, but as I was watching my nephew's high school baseball team play today I found myself thinking about Rock Creek, Texas. Which if you've ever been to a high school baseball game you will know how remarkable that is.

My mother's family is from a small town in Montana. As a kid I loved visiting there and knowing everybody in town. Everyone always knew when we were visiting, where we'd been and how long we were staying. Until I was in my teens I couldn't imagine a better place to live. As I got older and past my teen years I didn't think I'd like living my life in a fishbowl so much. Here in the bedroom community I live in Southern California life is very anonymous. Three years ago we hosted a neighborhood potluck BBQ so we could get to know our neighbors because there were so many new ones. Out of the 8 families that participated only two are still here and two more houses were built on our street. So there are essentially 8 new families. I know the names and am acquainted with only two of those families. You can't get more anonymous than that.

My point is this. I'm beginning to think there has to be something in between. Like it says in the 'CHEERS' theme song it's nice to have a place where everyone knows your name. For that reason I went to the same UBS for years and I have had the same nail salon for probably 10 years and hair dresser and dentist and gynnie. You get my drift. Roots, relationships, connections are important.

So not only has it been fun reading those Rock Creek books, but I've also enjoyed getting to know the characters and the community over a period of time and several books. Ms. Handeland in particular does a great job of reminding us in her books how the town is changing and growing up as the series progresses. So once again I find myself thinking that living in a small community like Rock Creek sounds kind of nice.

I'll write more on the books when I finish CASH the last book. I'm thinking about reading something else in between just to prolong it and so the series isn't over.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

DIRTY by Megan Hart

This book was not what I expected. Coincidentally after I finished reading it mid-day yesterday my husband phoned. I was sort of weepy telling him I'd just finished a book that was supposedly an erotic romance and it had sort of knocked me on my ass. My dilemma in trying to do any sort of review of this book is that it has so many personal emotional triggers in it that I don't know if I can give it an honest evaluation as a book on its own.

I do think that a writer has to be pretty darn talented to write life situations and relationships so accurately that a reader would find them personally identifiable. I found myself wondering if Ms. Hart had experienced some of the same situations she put her characters in for her to so accurately capture their emotions. There is no way to fake to a child of an alcoholic parent what it feels like to be abandoned by a parent consumed with their addiction unless you've experienced that sort of loss first hand. At least I don't think so. Reading words coming out of Elle's mother's mouth that I've heard first hand from my own mother was a little bit freaky I have to say. While I've never suffered the trauma that Elle did, there were many quirks to her personality that I have in common with the character that made it a bit uncomfortable and emotionally draining to read at times.

So while I'm caught up in the turmoil of these personal emotions it's difficult to talk to anyone about the book and remove those factors. One of the first things I did when I sat down to write this was to look for other reviews. I immediately went to Dear Author and found a
review that Jane did of DIRTY back in January. Since I was hardly around from mid-November to mid-January working on my heritage scrapbook project I missed most, if any, buzz there had been about this book. To tell you the truth I don't know how or why it got into my TBR. Somebody somewhere that I read a review or blog about it must have liked it.

Tara Marie had mentioned in her comments at the Dear Author review that she had picked up this book a couple of times and put it down and just couldn't get into it. I had the same experience. In fact I was in the process of a book purge when I picked DIRTY up and was leafing through it and reading bits to see if I should try to read it one more time or put it in the bag of books to be traded. Somehow, this time, I kept reading.

Here's the blurb from the back of the book:

This is what happened... I met him at the candy store. He turned and smiled at me and I was surprised enough to smile back. This was not a children's candy store, mind you--this was the kind of place you went to buy expensive imported chocolate truffles for your boss's wife because you felt guilty for having sex with him when you were both at a conference in Milwaukee. Hypothetically speaking, of course. I've been hit on plenty of times, mostly by men with little finesse who thought what was between their legs made up for what they lacked between their ears. Sometimes I went home with them anyway, just because it felt good to want and be wanted, even if it was mostly fake. The problem with wanting is that it's like pouring water into a vase full of stones. It fills you up before you know it, leaving no room for anything else. I don't apologize for who I am or what I've done in--or out--of bed. I have my job, my house and my life, and for a long time I haven't wanted anything else. Until Dan. Until now.

For me this blurb doesn't do the book justice or accurately give you an idea what the read will be like. I guess I get how this is called an erotic romance. Sort of. Is there sex? Yes. Is it really hot and wild? Not particularly. I would classify this more as a dark urban contemporary romance. Besides Jane's review I read most of the 13 now posted on Amazon as well. I don't see where alot of people have had the same reaction as me. For one thing I don't see much of the personal identification I had with the character and situations. I can understand from Jane's review her problems with seeing Elle as not very likable. Although I don't see Elle as flat and gray as Jane does and I realize that while I was reading I was trusting the author not to let me down and give me a pretty good reason for Elle's behavior. Ms. Hart does do that. Although I have to say that the book takes too long to start giving the reader peeks and hints as to why Elle is the way she is.

I was disappointed that we don't know more about Dan than his just always reacting to Elle. Why is he able to accept her and the restrictions she places on their relationship. What makes Dan tick? I don't think we get to see any (enough) of that. I am glad though that Elle is not a whiner or complainer. She's found what works for her so she can function somewhat normally and she's doing it.

For me this book is about redemption and the claiming of one's own life. Who harder to forgive than ourselves? For those reasons it made DIRTY a very worthwhile read. How I will feel about the book ultimately I don't know. Many of my thoughts are still swirling around my own personal demons. Only time will tell. I do know that I went to Ms. Hart's web site I found myself interested in her next Harlequin Spice release due out in May called Broken. I'm looking forward to reading it and comparing the experience to this book.

A final note, as usual when I really like or am intrigued with an author I go looking for other books of theirs to glom. There are many of Ms. Hart's to choose from at Amberquill Press both erotic and non-erotic titles. Interestingly I didn't purchase a single one. Like DIRTY that languished in my TBR for several months I didn't feel compelled or interested to buy after reading the blurbs and/or excerpts from those books. Maybe I'll figure out why about the same time I find out how I came to have DIRTY in the first place.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Extra Extra

My 23 year old niece is a writer. She's alot of other things too like funny, quirky, bright, a college graduate, and she has a weird obsession for Dane Cook. She's decided to start a blog. Remember when you first started posting? Didn't you want people to come by and visit and comment? I know I did, even though I was wondering if I really had anything to say and whether or not anyone would care. It's so nice when you graduate into that phase of just enjoying the people and the experience.

At any rate, I would appreciate you going by and checking out Marianne's blog called LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING. I wisely told her to start with Word Press and she did.

Hopefully we will be able to coax her to post or link to some of her short stories. She isn't a romance writer. She writes more contemporary life type stuff. Funny and quirky...like her.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Home Alone!

I could clean house, do some laundry...work on my son's scrapbook. Am I going to do any of those things? NO!!! I'm home alone and I'm going to stay in my jammies until noon, eat breakfast in bed and read in complete silence. I've even banished the dog to the back yard.

It's quiet. It's calm. It's waaaaay cooool!


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Spring by any other name...

Spring Flowers
by William Merritt Chase

So which is it? How do you celebrate your Easter meal? Lamb or ham? Is there such a thing as a traditional Easter meal? This is just more of the stuff I wonder about.

No lamb or ham for us this year. Our family opted for Easter brunch. My sister is hosting but we are all bringing something. Me? I'm bringing the fresh fruit and champagne. We plan on having mimosas at our Easter brunch. So no big Easter dinner. Easter brunch.

What is really different for Easter this year is that one of my sons won't be home. Easter morning we are taking Beanie Boy to the airport. His spring break is the week after Easter and he is going to see a buddy who goes to school in Pennsylvania. Yeah, weird place to go for spring break isn't it? They plan to spend a couple of days in Philly and then a couple in NYC. There are three of them altogether. Three 20 year olds in NYC. Yeah, I won't lose much sleep over that one.

However you are celebrating...whereever you are celebrating...with whomever you are celebrating...HAPPY EASTER!

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Friday, April 06, 2007

New Arrival

REESE by Lori Handeland
Book One of Rock Creek Six Series

It's here! It's here! Finally the first book of the series arrived in yesterday's mail. I can finally start this series. Of course I only have five of the six books. RICO, which is book number three still hasn't arrived, but surely by the time I'm finished with REESE and SULLIVAN it will show up in my mail box. Right?

Gotta go. Gotta read.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Cruisin' Again

What a relief that I feel pretty caught up on the doings in my little corner of the blogosphere. I think I've finally made the rounds to all my favorite places and am up to date. Lots of stuff is going on out there.

I've mentioned it many times before, but I really am in awe of the reviews that get put up each week. I've been muddling about trying to do at least one review a week. You know make a hard and fast commitment to reviewing at least one book a week. I can't believe how prolific some reviewers like
Rosario and Dear Author are. Unreal. I'm so grateful too. Wendy posted a list of favorite books and authors a couple of days ago. It reminded me how many books I've read because of her reviews and recs. Tara Marie too. God I love you all for that. Nothing better than finding someone who has similar tastes and knowing that a good review from them probably means you are in for a good read too.

BTW, I can't wait to try and find some Terri Brisbin books after both Rosario and Tara Marie gave her books a favorable review this week. Thanks guys those books sound great.

I've been talking about the review that got eaten by blogger and can't even begin to try and re-create it. Usually I'm stubborn about stuff like that and just slog in and re-do it right away, but it was late and I was getting ready for our days off and just sort of blew it off.

However, I do want to mention some books I've read this past month that are noteworthy.

AND THEN HE KISSED HER by Laura Lee Guhrke
This was a recommend from Dear Author and Tara Marie. I would probably have never picked up this book on my own without reading those reviews and recommends. Great book with a heroine who is smart and independent and yet written true to the time period.

VISIONS OF HEAT by Nalini Singh
I've read some reviews that didn't think this book was as good as the first one. I however don't feel that way. I feel more drawn than ever into this world and found myself puzzling over some of the questions posed in the story (the alternate net construct for one thing). I liked Vaughn and Faith and enjoyed this book very much.

ICE BLUE by Anne Stuart
Yeah, I know she's not everyone's cup of tea, but I've enjoyed the Ice books. I like those hard to like heros. I figure this is probably because I would never tolerate having anyone like them around in real life. I will admit there is some repetition here in character traits among these ice cold killers of the Committee, but I just jumped in and accepted it all at face value. I lived in Japan for three years as a military brat when I was junior high school age. I love that country and was thrilled to have a hero be half Japanese and have part of the story take place there. In fact I told GG that we should think about taking a trip there. Wonderful country and very rich and interesting history.

I actually picked this one up on a whim. I'd picked up and put down Vivi Anna's HELL KAT several times when it first came out not really sure if it would be my cup of tea and ended up not buying it. When I picked up BLOOD SECRETS and read the blurb that it was a CSI team with a vampire, a werewolf, a witch and a human comes into help them solve a crime I had to buy it. This was a Silhouette Nocturne release and I hope they plan to continue the series because I can't wait to read the next book about this unusual CSI team in the Valorian Chronicles. The cast is great and I can see endless possibilities for some great stories.

This book was reminescent of historicals from the 80s but with a modern twist. The Duke of Kylemore will not appeal to everyone, but I was too curious not to read the book and too fascinated by it once I started reading it not to finish. Ms. Campbell doesn't take any easy roads and it wasn't hard for me to believe that people like this existed or that they could eventually find love despite the controversial forced sex. I don't see how an avid romance reader could pass up checking this out. I found myself thinking about it after I read it, so I'll definitely be looking for the next one by Ms. Campbell.

I enjoyed HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE VAMPIRE the first book in the Love at Stake series as good campy fun. I struggled through the second book VAMPS AND THE CITY and was very undecided whether or not I'd try the third book. While my reaction is somewhere between the first and second books BE STILL MY VAMPIRE HEART has its moments. I will probably continue with the series, but hope that Ms. Sparks will decide whether or not she is going to make this a campy, funny type of series or a straight vampire story. The books seem a little conflicted to me on what they want to be. If you are sick of vamp stories and you don't like any of the cutesy stuff, or modern day vamp politics, this series won't be for you.

SEPTEMBER MOON by Candice Proctor
Thanks again to Tara Marie for turning me on to Candice Proctor! This was another historical set in Australia. Just great well drawn characters. One of the best things about this story was that Englishwoman Amanda Davenport didn't have a problem falling in love with Aussie outback Patrick O'Reilly, who had been deserted by his wife six years earlier and left with 3 children. Amanda wasn't conflicted by his prior marriage, because she understood he had been abandoned. Her conflict was more honestly and realistically her difficulty in adjusting to life in the outback. I also applaud Ms. Proctor for not using the old tried and true plot twist of resurrecting the prior spouse at the last moment to throw a wrench in true love. Good read, nice and meaty with a full bodied story and characters.

I've been buying books at a much faster rate than I can read them again. I have to go on a buying moratorium until I finish reading a few books. I'm in a western sort of mood again. I've ordered the Lori Handeland books that are part of the Rock Creek Six series. I received NATE today and am anxiously awaiting Reese and Rico. Once I have them I'll be reading that series. I can't wait. Other than that there isn't a whole lot I'm waiting for in April except for
Karen Robards new release. I'm a fan from way back and have been intrigued by what I've read about the new HC Obsession. Oh, I also already ordered the Linda Howard Silhouette Nocturne release Raintree book. I'm hoping to have that May release in my hot little hands in the next week or so.

What are you excited about coming up in April or May?

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

We have a Winner!!

You'll never believe what absolutely splendiferous thing happened to me last week. I won ebooks!!!

First off I got an email early in the week from Angie (Nice Mommy/Evil Editor) saying that I won the Shannon Stacey ebook ON THE EDGE which was a Samhain release last week. I won just by commenting the previous week on Angie's site. She does book give aways each week called FREE BOOK FRIDAYS. She announces at the beginning of the week which of her releases (she edits for Samhain) she will be giving away. Anyway, I was excited to win and happy to be able to try a Shannon Stacey book.

Then on Sunday I was catching up on my emails and while reading and responding I got my newsletter from Madison Hayes and Rhyannon Byrd. These two authors are published by Ellora's Cave and put out a newsletter called Pure Magick. You can sign up for it by going to their sites or on Yahoo Groups. So there I was trying to catch up on emails and thinking I really didn't have time to read the newsletter. So, of course I opened the newsletter to read it. For once being a Nosy Nora paid off. As I was reading through the newsletter I saw my Yahoo addy listed as being the winner of TWO ebook downloads of Madison Hayes' books. Can you say gob-smacked?!! I could hardly believe my eyes and read through and looked at that addy about three times before I emailed Madison Hayes and give her the info to have the downloads I requested emailed to me.

Three books in a single week, I can hardly believe it! Even though I have thanked Angie and Madison already by email I just want to say it again. Thank you very much. The books are appreciated and I look forward to reading them.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Spring Vacation

Spring Vacation wasn't really much of a vacation. We had lots of doctors' appointments and lots of chores to do. On the upside, we got to sleep in most mornings, I got a visit from a high school classmate I hadn't seen in several years, we saw my oldest son perform in the play MOUSETRAP and we made a trip to Disneyland, so it wasn't all drudge.

Besides, it's always nice to have that feeling like you've caught up on chores around the house somewhat, because let's face it household duties are never done. There's always something.

Anyway, I wanted to touch base because I always feel so out of the loop when I've been off line for a few days. Besides I also wanted to give people an update on Shmoo's recovery from the car accident and clear the air and my mind of something that's been nagging at me.

Sometime ago Jane (from Dear Author) mentioned that she refers to her husband as Ned because of her love of Nancy Drew. I have to tell you that I thought that was pretty cool, and well, cute. I haven't really been all that wild with referring to my husband as the guy I live with, even though I've been known to call him that. These are the things I muddle in when I can't fall asleep. Anyway, I thought about giving my husband a name for someone in literature, like Jane did. Someone that I really liked or had special meaning. However, either the name was too long or it was a name I'd already given to my children. Yes, my sons have names of characters from books. No kidding.

The tag "the guy I live with" got shortened to TGILW which I have to say is a pain in the butt to type. Consequently, I’ve been racking my brains for another dear name for the DH. One of the nicknames I had for him when we were dating was Gorgeous George. For those of you old enough to remember, the real Gorgeous George was one of the first outrageous wrestlers who developed a ring “persona” and became quite popular. TGILW is NOT flamboyant; is not particularly extroverted; hates the color pink; detests anything flashy and is a pretty conservative guy for the most part. Which obviously is the reason I nicknamed him Gorgeous George in the first place. So I figured, it's as good a name, if not better than TGILW so henceforth TGILW will be known as Gorgeous George or George or GG. Crikeys, I'm still conflicted. But it is easier to type.

As for my dear children, two males one recently turned 20 and one about to turn 17, I am christening them anew as well. Hence forth my older son will be known as Beanie Boy (or Beanie) for those of you who remember the Beanie and Cecil cartoon show. Oy! I’m really aging myself there. My younger son is christened (already) as Shmoo. We originally stole his name from the Seinfeld episode when Jerry and his girlfriend were talking baby talk to each other and calling each other “Shmoopy”. Somehow Shmoopy got shortened to Shmoo and it stuck. So you got it? Good. Enough with the names. I can quit obsessing about that now.

Now for the quick update on Shmoo. He is doing very well. The skin on his face is still pretty pink and looking like he is recovering from a bad sunburn, but it is remarkable how well his face has healed. His eye is doing well also. The tear seems to be healed, but he is still sensitive to light and has some slight blurring. All of this is a normal part of the healing process, so we are happy about that.

Below are a couple pictures of Shmoo. If you saw the pictures from the accident you can see how great he looks now.

Thanks again to everyone for all your kind thoughts, prayers and encouragement.

From Rosie, Gorgeous George, Beanie Boy and Shmoo.

Left side still looks sunburnt.

He is such a goober sometimes!

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