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.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Walk in Mile in Her Shoes

I haven't posted anything from ONE in a long time. We all have causes near and dear to us, but ONE thing about this organization that strikes a deep chord with me is the issue of water. Please read the email that was sent out last Friday and consider signing the petition. Can you imagine walking two miles every time your family needed water?

Dear Rose,

I want to make sure you saw this very important email from a ONE member you may have heard of: Matt Damon. In it, he shares the story of a trip he took with ONE to Zambia, and talks about the impact of clean water and adequate sanitation on the lives of people there. Read on to find out how you can make a difference for the 884 million people worldwide who don’t have access to clean water, by signing the petition below and asking your senators to cosponsor S.624, the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009.

Please cosponsor the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009 (S. 624), and help provide 100 million people with first-time, sustainable access to clean water and sanitation by 2015.

Thank you,
David Lane, ONE.org

---Original Message---

Date: Friday 12 June 2009 11:08:17 AM
From: Matt Damon, ONE Member

Dear Rose,

On my trip with ONE to Zambia, I walked two miles with a 14-year-old girl to a well—the closest water source to her village. I asked if she wanted to stay in her village when she grew up, and her face exploded into a huge smile. The translator said, "she is being very shy...she says that she wants to move to big city, Lusaka, and that she wants to be a nurse." Women and girls, like the one I met in Zambia, bear most of the burden of lack of access to clean water and adequate sanitation.

Women are more than twice as likely as men to be responsible for water collection, and on average, women in the developing world walk three and a half miles each day to collect water—time that could be spent in school or at work.

Right now there’s a bill, the Durbin-Corker Water for the World Act of 2009, that will enable us to help 100 million people gain access to clean water and sanitation by 2015. But it needs at least 15 more cosponsors to move forward.

Join me in signing ONE's petition and asking your senators to cosponsor this critical legislation: WATER FOR THE WORLD

Here's the text of the petition:

Please cosponsor the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009 (S. 624), and help provide 100 million people with first-time, sustainable access to clean water and sanitation by 2015.

Economically, water is one of the smartest poverty-fighting investments we can make.

My friend Ben and I met with the World Bank and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in Tanzania, and we saw how a lack of good water infrastructure is holding back businesses. We talked to Prosper Mbarewoai of Allied Chemicals, who estimated his detergent-production business is operating at only 60% capacity because he spends anywhere from two hours to an entire day just getting water.

The MCC in Tanzania is working to revamp the water treatment and supply infrastructure in two major cities, decreasing the risks of water-borne illness and enabling business productivity. In fact, every $1 spent on water and sanitation generates a return of $8 in saved time, increased productivity and reduced health costs in Africa.

Improving access to clean water and sanitation is also an investment in women, making possible the dreams of young girls in Zambia and beyond. To help make this change happen for her and 884 million others worldwide who live without clean water, please ask your senators to cosponsor the Water for the World Act.

Please join me.

Thank you,

Matt Damon, ONE Member


Friday, June 19, 2009

The beat goes on...

Just a bunch of miscellaneous and unrelated thoughts...

You may have noticed I still don't have any groove, rhyme or reason to my blogging or commenting. What's up with that?

I work with someone who's the MIL to author Rebecca Goings. When said co-worker came home from vacation she brought me FOUR (count 'em 4!) of Becka's books all personalized and signed to me. Is that cool or what? You can find Becka's books at Samhain.

One of the guys at work is getting married July 2nd. Guess who he asked to marry him? Is that just wild or what????

It's Father's Day weekend chiquitas... Can you believe we are six months away from Christmas? I can't. GG and I are spending the weekend with the boys and GFs. Can't wait!

I'm off today!! Vacation day and long weekend. Of course, this 15 minutes is probably the only time I will get on the computer, bummer that. OTOH, we are off to Disneyland!

My weight is stuck. I'm not gaining, but not losing either.

How many hours do you sleep? Or, maybe I should ask... How many hours do you have to sleep to feel rested?

I'm not blazing any trails reading this month. You may have noticed I didn't post a TBR Challenge review again. Read one, just no review.

Hey! Did any of you guys see this? Carolyn Jewel mentioned my mini reviews of her books on my May reading list. Does that rock or what? I'm starry eyed, what can I say?

Oh, and day before yesterday I got a surprise in the mail. I entered the Megan Hart contest for a copy of DEEPER and apparently was one of the lucky winners. That was a very nice surprise.

Guess that's it for now. I'm off to the races and looking forward to a relaxing weekend with the boys.

Wait...relaxing AND boys... That's an oxymoron.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Countdown RWA!

One month people. One month from today I leave for Washington DC. I simply can't believe it! In many ways it is a surreal experience because one person's brain almost can't process meeting all those people in such a short period of time. Sensory overload anyone?

OTOH, I do know that under the skin we are all just people and I'm not really one to deify someone I admire and respect. OTOOH, holy crap I'm excited!!

I've already shared I want to meet Carolyn Jewel this year. I also want to see Ann Aguirre again, she's awesome. Ummm...oh, of course, the reason I made the decision to go in the first place...Linda freaking Howard! I've heard through the grapevine that Anne Stuart and Jennifer Crusie are going to be there. That's pretty cool. I will eventually make a list so I don't miss anyone I may never get a chance to see ever, ever again.

What about you? Whether you are able to go to RWA or not, who would be on your 'must see' list? What would you say to them if you could meet them?

As for what I would say to all these authors I admire so much? I'm usually speechless. Anyone who's met my chatty self probably doesn't believe me, but I've found that while I do want to compliment an author or get a signed book, I DON'T want to be obnoxious or intrusive. There's a fine line between fan and stalker. Heh.

So tell me my little chiquitas, inquiring minds want to know:
1) Who would you most like to meet and why?
2) What would you say to them?
3) What's the line between fan and stalker?

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Friday, June 12, 2009

The Spare by Carolyn Jewel

THE SPARE by Carolyn Jewel

I just finished reading this gem. This makes my fourth Carolyn Jewel book and I've enjoyed them all immensely. I was giddy when I found this at my local UBS.

THE SPARE, in this case refers to both Captain Sebastian Alexander and our heroine Olivia Willow. Sebastian, the youngest of three sons who has enjoyed a very illustrious and heroic career in the Royal Navy, has just inherited the family title after his brother and his wife were brutally murdered in their own home.

Olivia is the 'spare' guest at a house party the new Earl of Pennhyll, Sebastian, is giving. It's Sebastian's intention to try to kill two birds with one stone. He intends to use this house party to do his duty and choose a bride from among his guests. However, his real focus is to, by any means possible, pry the information out of Olivia's head from the day his brother was murdered.

Olivia was severely injured and wounded at the same time Sebastian's brother and wife were murdered. Unfortunately she has been unable to remember what happened because one of her injuries was to her head.

In the wrong hands the missing memory, the old maid village school teacher, and wounded war hero could have been burdened by heavy cliche. That's not the case here. Ms. Jewel has a light hand and presents this story in a very forthright and honest way.

I zoomed through this book devouring it with glee. While I can't say the resolution to all of these questions was a startling revelation, I can say that Ms. Jewel made the most out of small story with familiar plot devices.

I enjoyed this one and will continue the hunt for her backlist.

My Grade = B+


Thursday, June 11, 2009

The News

How do you get your news? Print? TV? Radio? Online subscription? I've become an online news junkie. It's probably been one of the biggest factors contributing to my non-blog hopping.

If I get intrigued or interested in a particular story (David Carradine anyone?) I'll read 10 different accounts of it from all sorts of publications from the staid and serious reporting (NYT) to the ridiculous (Pop Eater).

How do you get your news? Where do you have to see the story for it to be 'real' to you?

Just wonderin'.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dumber than a sack of hair...

Yep, that would be me. Have you ever wished someone a happy birthday and apologized for not mailing the card, but wished them happy and let them know how glad you are that they are them and that you have been thinking about them all day... yadda, yadda, yadda...

Well I did that very thing. Yesterday. June 9th. Of course it's JULY 9th that is SL Wendy's birthday, but she got effusive felicitations from moi yesterday.

Yesterday morning her birthday popped up on my PDA calendar. Or at least I thought it did. I was thinking about her all day. after my faux pas I checked my calendar again and sure enough it's listed on July 9th.

God knows how I did it what I did. But, I did it. In the interest of full disclosure I have to admit I even wrote myself a sticky note "Wendy B-day. Email!"

Of course, because Karma works this way, I will probably not remember her birthday at all next month. *heavy sigh* Fortunately, we will be flying out to RWA together, so I can always buy her a drink on the plane a few days later.

Mea culpa SL!
You have a friend who's dumber than a sack of hair. And, in the (likely) event I screw up in the reverse next month...


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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Fan Girl Squeeeeeee!

Carolyn Jewel has up on her website that she's going to be at RWA in DC. Well, at least she'll be at the Literary signing. Guess who is going to haunt her table? Yep, ME!

I'm Ms. Jewel's latest squeeing fan girl. These books are so good I must be among legions. Lucky me, I "met" her last year with SL Wendy and was too dumb to know I was in the company of greatness.

Of course all this gushing aside I will probably be a complete dork and hardly speak when I go up to her table and genuflect at her awesomeness. Nonetheless, I'm excited she will be there.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Catching Up

I had a gazillion posts in my Reader. Really. A gah-zillion! I Read some. Skimmed some. Deleted some. All your latest and greatest. Of course I still feel disoriented and out of the loop, but hopefully time will take care of that.

OTOH, I can't help but be struck anew about how cool our wee little blogging community is. Romance novels bringing all these people together. It's amazing ain't it?


Sunday, June 07, 2009

May 2009 Reading List

With 17 books under my belt for May I was thinking that I had to be way ahead of my pace from last year. Turns out I've read 72 books so far this year. Last year at this time I'd read 68. Uh, yeah, so... guess I'm not setting any new records in 2009.

Which isn't to say I'm not extremely happy with reading 17 books. Cuz, ya know, I'm AM happy about that. Really. Truly. Happy. Now if all the rest of life were so easy...

Heck, I'm happy I got this list together and posted. We takes our silver linings where we finds 'em.

May 2009

I didn't buy the last book. Phury's book. I'm not going to buy it now that I've read this one either. For those of you who were subjected to my rant on Vishous' book I can only say this, "I HAD to buy this one." It appears that I didn't have the intestinal fortitude necessary to pass up reading Rehvenge's story.

My take on it? How can Ms. Ward be so good at creating situations and characters that are riveting and not be able to write better dialogue? Other than that it was a decent story and I'm not angry or bitter about the hardcover price. Go figure.
My Grade = B-

I read this on a Sunday afternoon and it was just right. Some books just are. This was a very entertaining little story. It won't move mountains, but it's sexy, light and fun.
My Grade = C+

VISION IN WHITE by Nora Roberts
I broke a cardinal rule. I started reading a Nora Roberts book that was part of a series before I had all the books. Big mistake. Big. I'm panting for the next book. I think I've bought four copies of this book for people that I know like NR's books, that's how much I liked it.

This series is called the Bride Quartet. Speaking of which has NR done a series with 4 books before? I'm thinking that are all in the 3s. Anyway this one is about 4 friends who each have individual businesses but work together to put on weddings. VISION IN WHITE is photographer Mackenzie Elliott's story. As already mentioned, I loved the book and didn't want it to end. There are a myriad of reasons, but most notably is Ms. Robert's ability to make the people and situations real. I can only endure until the second book,BED OF ROSES releases in December 2009.
My Grade = B+

EDGE OF DANGER by Rhyannon Byrd
Book 2 in the Primal Instinct series. The first book, as I mentioned last month was a very basic and fundamental introduction to this world. We didn't gain much more in this book and it sort of left me kind of flat. I already bought Book 3, see below.
My Grade = D

At least I was bright enough to wait until I had the first 3 of the Huxtable books before starting to read this one. {SIDE NOTE: I'm more than a little bit irked that 3 of these books came out in paperback in successive months and then the 4th and final book is in hardcover. Slimy Dell, very slimy.} Oddly, I've read the first and third books because those characters intrigued me the most. I plan to go back and read book 2. I don't feel like I've missed anything or hurt the series by reading out of order. Enjoyable.
My Grade = B

RELENTLESS by Lauren Dane
This is labeled an erotic romance. I wouldn't characterize it as that steamy. It's futuristic and I remember it as a very competent book. I don't remember being as invested in the characters as much as I should have been. For the most part I like Ms. Dane 's voice and either I'm getting used to her or she's getting better. I look forward to seeing what she does next.
My Grade = C

PURSUIT by Elizabeth Jennings (aka Lisa Marie Rice)
Very good romantic suspense which I bought because I'm a LMR fan and it had other elements I just love not the least of which is strong yet vulnerable H/H. Another very solid read and I enjoyed it so much I recommended it to GG. Yes, he read it too and said 'good book'. BTW, this also came out of my tbr.
Our Grade = B

A MOTHER'S WISH by Karen Templeton
This was my (Keshion's) TBR Challenge book for May because it was the closest thing I could find in my tbr that fit the friends to lovers theme.

This August 2008 SSE#1916 was recommended by probably a gazillion people, but most notably Holly from Book Binge and Wendy our intrepid Super Librarian. This had some absolutely great elements regarding missed opportunities and getting past them. It also deals with adoption issues. Sometimes well, sometimes not. Of course everything comes full circle and there is the HEA, but some of the subject matter bothered me so I didn't grade it as high as some other Templeton books I've read.
My Grade = C+

SURGEON'S LADY by Carla Kelly
Since I read my first Carla Kelly last year for the TBR Challenge I've been a huge fan. Unfortunately there was just something missing in this one. I can't quite put my finger on it, because it's an interesting plot and characters when we find a widowed 'lady' helping out in a naval hospital in Britain in 1809. Normally Ms. Kelly's characters are so realistic that I feel an immediate connection with them. I just didn't get into this book like that. Still very well done and researched.
My Grade = C+

HARD AND FAST by Erin McCarthy
I didn't intend to buy this book. While I've enjoyed many of Ms. McCarthy's books, her last book set in the NASCAR world FLAT OUT SEXY didn't do much for me. I took a peek at this one in the store and decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did. This one had all the elements I love best in a contemporary, a bit of realism, great dialogue and a somewhat believable premise. On top of all that it was a fun read.
My Grade = B

This was my (Nath's) Re-Read Challenge book for May. I originally reviewed this book back in October 2007. I revisited my review to see if I'd changed my opinion at all. I have to say I think I've enjoyed the book more with the second reading. Maybe enough time has passed that I'm not putting so much pressure on myself or Ms. McCarty to make sure every book is the perfection I think PROMISES PREVAIL is. This is the first book in Ms. McCarty's Hell's Eight series. SAM'S CREED is the second book and the third book TUCKER'S CLAIM is due out in October 2009.
My Grade = B

I read the next two books out of order MY WICKED ENEMY is the first book, but the blurb on MY FORBIDDEN DESIRE intrigued me so I read it first. Sue me. Is this what they call urban fantasy? It's contemporary with magic, witches, mages, demons, etc? It doesn't matter what you call it, I loved this book. It's edgy, irreverant and has ambiguous characters as the H/H. Can't wait for the next installment.
My Grade = B+

MY WICKED ENEMY by Carolyn Jewel
After reading MY FORBIDDEN DESIRE I want through my tbr to dig out MY WICKED ENEMY not believing I'd left it lingering so long. Again, no adverse results from reading out of order and a very good read. All of which is strange since I'm not your run-of-the-mill fantasy type reader. At all. I'm looking for every Carolyn Jewel book I can find now.
My Grade = B+

EDGE OF DESIRE by Rhyannon Byrd
Book 3 in the Primal Instincts series. Better than 2 but still not as in depth as I would have liked to see this series get. Maybe more books to come? I dunno. I think I'm done with this series.
My Grade = C

This was a surprise because I happened on it in the bookstore and didn't know Ms. Adrian had a new Midnight Breed book out. This is book 6 of the series and while I found my interest waning with the last book, I quite enjoyed this one. After what happened to Andreas Reichen in the last book I was glad to see him get his HEA. My Grade = B-

NOT QUITE A HUSBAND by Sherry Thomas
Having been online and out in Romancelandia in a very limited fashion for more than a month now I was surprised to see sort of mixed reviews for this book. The heroine in this book could have been very unlikeable in the wrong hands, but I found this historical interesting and refreshing. I love when characters go through their self-discovery right there in front of us.
My Grade = B

Read out of order again. I skipped the middle Huxtable sister's story because I HAD to read Meg's (Margaret Huxtable) story. As an oldest myself who often had the care of younger siblings I identified with Meg and wanted to see how Ms. Balogh was going to handle her HEA. As it turns out, quite well. As conservative as Meg is, and as careful as she was with the reputations of her younger siblings, she finds she still has the will and interest to take a risk with her own life. Very satisfying read.
My Grade = B


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Reader Rewards

By the hair of my chiny-chin-chin... I got my post up at Access Romance Reader's Gab tonight.

I'm talking about all the things I do so I can reward myself with reading time. Doesn't everyone? Make deals that is. How do any of us carve out time to read if we don't make deals with ourselves to get the "real life" crap done? Huh? How?

In other news...

Guess what? Don't faint. I'm almost done with my May Reading list. It might get posted before the second coming.

Guess what else? I had both a re-read for Nath's challenge AND I read from my TBR for Keishon's challenge. Wa-hoo!

Guess what else? I can't believe I actually got a post written for Access Romance, so why don't you cut me some (serious) slack and go read it. Hey, it's not much, but I'm back in the saddle... sort of.