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.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Re-Read Challenge: Banner O'Brien by Linda Lael Miller

Banner O'Brien by Linda Lael Miller
Tapestry Books Copyright 1984

The first Linda Lael Miller books I read were from the used bookstore. My boys were small, my book budget even smaller as I was a SAHM. Frankly, I bought the Tapestry line because the books were older and less expensive than many books even in the UBS. Did you see the price? Only $2.95 I think I was paying something like 25% of cover price and less when I had books to trade.

Anyway, I fell in love with the Corbin family. BANNER O'BRIEN is the first book and is the story about Adam Corbin and Banner O'Brien both doctors in Washington territory in the late 1880s.

This month I didn't chose the book because it was on my mind and wouldn't leave me alone like last month's selection, LETTERS TO KELLY. This time I was looking at my bookshelves and couldn't make up my mind. In fact, I was favoring reading IGUANA BAY by Theresa Weir when, by happenstance, my eyes wandered to this book. I literally shrugged to myself and picked it up.

It's been eons since I've read this but I certainly remember how much I enjoyed it that first time. Vividly.

However, this time the reading experience was a bit different. I noticed right off that there wasn't much character development or time passing before the characters declared they were in love. Oh, not to each other, but nonetheless they each revealed they were in love by around page 60. I remember wondering what the rest of the pages were going to be filled with if there wasn't any more conflict or tension than that. I have no recollection of this bothering me when I read this before, but it sort of did this time around.

As it turns out the book has plenty of conflict, maybe too much for one book to handle. However, Ms. Miller does start a story arch in this book that will continue through the other books in the series.

You could certainly do worse than to read this or any of the other books in the series especially if you are like me and enjoy reading about this tumultuous and exciting time of change and growth in our country's history. One thing I did recall while reading and being re-introduced to the Corbin family, my favorite book of the series was CORBIN'S FANCY. So who knows, it might be my March re-read.

My final grade = C+

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Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm a believer...

Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I read this quote in a book or an article many years ago. It's been food for thought and conversation many, many times. Here's the thing, it works. Not always, not with everyone, but sometimes it works and it's pretty breathtaking when it does.

I mentioned earlier in the week that we got some tough news at work. Not the worst news, mind you, so far everyone is keeping their jobs, but there are cutbacks. If you can believe it, we are even cutting out our janitorial service.

So instead of finger pointing, arguing and trying to decide who deserves what portion of the budget pie, I'm working on taking the high road. I don't like acrimony and dissent. I especially don't want to be in that sort of environment day in and day out with the people I have to work with every day. Consequently, I'm going to believe in them and treat them
as if they were what they potentially could be, good, kind and decent people.

My question is, would you consider this manipulation? If you treat someone they way they could potentially be, or you hope them to be, are you giving them a chance to be something better, or are you manipulating them into being someone you want them to be?

While you think about that... I leave you with this. I love these guys.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Used Book Store

For the first time in a long time I made a visit to the used bookstore this past weekend. I was delighted to find a couple of books I've been looking for:

The Outsider by Penelope Williamson

The Trapper by Jenna Kernan

In my never ending search to fill out my Jodi Thomas back list I found another of her books as well, TO WED IN TEXAS. It's part of her McClain series and I'm working on getting them all.

'The Wagon Boss' painting by Charles Russell

I've really been in the mood for historicals lately. All periods. However, this week it seems westerns are on my mind. I couldn't tell you why either. It just is.
I've started reading THE TRAPPER. I'm about half way and really like it. No surprise there, I'm a huge fan of Jenna Kernan's writing. It resonates.

In other news, I broke my 'good' glasses the other day. Lovely. Fortunately I have a spare pair that are totally geeky. You sort of have to toss vanity aside when you need to see. Is it too ironic that I had my eyes checked on the same day the glasses broke? I think not. Sometimes the Universe speaks and if we're smart, we listen. It be time for some new glasses. Frankly, it's a good thing. My glasses are more than two years old and I'm ready for a change.

What do you think? Red frames?

Too much?

How about purple?



It's like ordering from a menu
in a favorite restaurant. I invariably end up wanting what I didn't order. Maybe this (and the bed making) are why my children think I'm crazy.

How about these babies?

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

There may be trouble ahead...

Like many people all over the country, today I heard that we have some troubled times ahead at work. Not good stuff to hear, but I figure as long as GG and my boys are safe and healthy we'll get through any tough times ahead. What else can you do?

Naturally like any red-blooded American my thoughts immediately turned to the Broadway musical. Why? I don't know. Blame my Mother. I grew up surviving crisis and Saturday chores listening to the soundtracks of Broadway musicals.

Of course Professor Hill manufactures the troubles in River City, but still, it popped in my head and made me smile.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Should I be worried?

Shmoo has been absorbed into the collective called 'The Twilight Zone'. Not the old TV series created by Rod Serling. Nope. I'm talking about the Stephanie Meyers' books.

It all started when Shmoo got dragged to the movie by his current GF. She's been a fan of the books and was anxiously awaiting the movie release. Since then, last November, they've seen the movie 5 or 6 times that I know of.

Then, you may recall, we had to go on the search for Edward Cullen's peacoat. That's what Shmoo wanted for Christmas. Shmoo became fascinated with James Dean at the same time. Between the peacoat and pictures of James Dean I thought he was having a major identity crisis.

Fortunately, we found the coat... Thank God for American Eagle.

Now several months later, many movie viewings aside, Shmoo is totally immersed in the books. He's already read TWILIGHT and NEW MOON. He just started ECLIPSE. Like any good reader, he thinks the books are better than the movie, but really likes Robert Pattison as Edward Cullen. RP is who he imagines as Edward when he reads. Or so he says. He discusses these characters like they are real people. Can you imagine?

It is sort of cute to see he and his GF curled up on our big puffy sofa reading the books. They will read for hours together. Isn't that a little abnormal for 18 year-olds? Staying home to read? I know, I know, I shouldn't complain. Especially since this GF is the nicest, kindest, gentlest girl. You just wouldn't believe. A real sweetheart.

So, what do you think? Too obsessed? So asks the woman with tubs of books in her tbr and who will obsessively search to get all the back list of an author she really likes.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Nalini Singh: Contests, Books, New Series

Our little corner of the world is all a-buzz about this. Favorite author Nalini Singh's gotta whole lot goin' on these days. Go by her blog and check out all the contest give-aways she's got going on. Why all the celebration and prizes?

Tomorrow, February 24th, Nalini has a special e-release of ANGEL'S PAWN that introduces us all to the new world she has created. Then on Tuesday, March 3rd, ANGEL'S BLOOD, the first full length book of the new series, releases.

Do I really have to say it? Go! Check it out.

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Hooray for Hollywood!

Good job on the Oscar hosting Hugh, but the Barbara Walters interview was... was... there are no words for your charming, warm, and completely engaging spot with Ms. Walters.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine? Yeah, bring it on!

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

My new challenge ain't got nuthin' to do with books!

Each year at the fire department we have a fitness guy come in and check us out. We do lab work, we take a dip in the fat tank to measure our BMI, we do sit ups, push ups, etc.

All in all I'm in good shape. My labs were good. I did both push ups and sit ups for the first time in 35 years. I'm counting it a major achievement that I didn't morph into primordial ooze. Good news, right? However, it's been a year and half since I've done any yoga or any kind of flexibility work out and I consequently got a horrible score for body elasticity and flexibility.

As for my body fat, well, to put it in the kindest terms, it's a few points shy of where it should be. I also found out I need to add

weight training

to my walking

and swimming.

So in addition to working on losing some more weight before RWA, I have to figure out how to add an hour of weight training 2 days a week. I know! Two hours is huge isn't it? I think I'll be happy to start with 30 minutes. Believe me, I haven't even figured out when or how I'll do that yet.

What do you do? Do you work out in the mornings? Evenings? During your lunch? I do a little of everything. Who knows anything about weights?


Friday, February 20, 2009

On my mind...

I'm back on the subject of bed making, again. Apparently I have some compulsion to talk about bed making at least once a year. Almost two years ago was my first rant sulk about making my bed and then just the other day I blamed my out-of-the-blue thoughts on editing on my leaving my bed unmade. Today's totally random question is, if you don't make your bed, do you leave out your sleep attire...whatever it is? Do you put it away, hang it, hamper? What??? Do non-bed makers also leave out their jammies?


He's Just Not That in to You. We went to see this movie last weekend. Fantastic cast. Really. However, this movie was supposed to be funny and clever. Me? I was depressed afterward. If this is what dating and relationships are like now, well, blech! I sure am glad I'm not out there trying to date, hook up or whatever.

Things I did like: the Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin story line. They were both very good. I give an honorable mention to the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston story line as well. Has anyone else seen this?


Equality Now. I'm still getting their newsletters but have been sadly lacking in posting updates or news. Things are horrid in Pakistan right now. It's actually terrifying to me how many places in the world women are mistreated as a normal every day consequence. It gives one pause when traveling. Some of the places I'm most curious about, like the Middle East, are the absolute worst places for women. Even though I don't post all the time I hope you will still give them a read and a thought now and again.


The Road Warriors and the Wounded Warrior Project. My sister finally got the donation page up for running group at her blog. If you want to donate to a great cause and inspire my sister and her friends to run go here and donate to the cause.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The final word: Decision RWA 2009

I've had more angst over this decision than one woman should. Normally I'm not a ditherer. I might take a while to decide, weigh the pros and cons, but I make a decision and stick with it. At least that's what I do most of the time.

This time last year I think I'd already registered to go to RWA. I'd been saving money since the prior July. I had stash money. My only anxiety was over whether I'd fit in. What I'd wear. Oh, and to school myself not to be a total fruit loop when meeting authors.

I came away with some thoughts on what a reader should and should not expect from an RWA experience. While attending RWA is a wonderful experience, it's also a professional writer's conference and a reader who attends should take that into consideration before going. Consequently, I'd been thinking that going every other year would be more than adequate. I'm not an author that needs to network and make contacts, but a couple of things gave me pause this year and had me reconsidering that decision.

For one, I love seeing all my blogger pals. Not everyone makes it to RWA every year. OTOH, some people do go each year, and holey moley, I don't want to miss seeing those people the one year they might be going. Yeah, that's convoluted thinking I know, but it's how my brain works.

Secondly, and this is the real corker, I saw that Linda freaking Howard was going to be there. Linda Howard. DIAMOND BAY, HEART OF FIRE, MACKENZIE'S MOUNTAIN, SHADES OF TWILIGHT... That's without looking at my bookshelf. I could go on and on. Love her books. Love 'em. If there was a fire or disaster and I had time to grab something, after getting my family out safe, it would be her books. Swear.

To add further to my angst Janet Evanovich and Anne Stuart are also speaking. *dramatic swoon* Turmoil thy name is Rosie.

Lisabea and I made a sort of pact way back last year that each of us would go to DC if the other went. Originally this plan included spouses. When Lisa was here last month neither one of us had made up our minds, but knew if we'd be going, our men wouldn't be. Lucky for us both of our G's were nudging and urging us to go. In fact, GG was so encouraging that if I didn't know he'd miss me and how expensive the trip is I would be suspicious he was trying to get rid of me.

Anyway a couple of days ago, on the very same day, LB and I emailed one another and just said, "Let's do eet". So we are. We are both going to RWA . If we do things right neither Washington DC nor we will ever be the same. Roomies. Pals. Buds. Cell mates.

Some things never change. Even though I'm excited, I find I'm still also, you know, a bit freaked out. Just like last year, I'm wondering what to wear, whether I'll fit in, and wondering if I won't act like an idiot if I get a chance to have a book signed by Linda Howard. Believe it or not I find comfort in my neuroses. It keeps my mind off the really scary stuff.

For now, I've stuffed my Mother's guilt in a hat box in the closet and I'm ready to bring on the gin, scotch, good times. Here we come DC!
Anybody else make the big decision this week? I'm taking names and making plans.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TBR Day: Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase

Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase
Berkley Sensation /March 2005

Picking up a DIK from AAR that I had in my TBR wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Once I saw this title though, I didn't look any further. I knew I had it, I like Ms. Chase's writing style, so it was a no brainer.

This was an absolutely charming book to read. First of all, because I'm practically frothing just trying to type fast enough, this book had some of the best kissing scenes I've ever read. They were just plain wonderful on so many levels. These scenes were so complete. I can't remember ever feeling so much like kissing someone myself as I did reading these. And no, I'm not kidding, they were that good.

Secondly, I really like the brainac Daphne Pembroke and middle Carsington son, the incorrigible Rupert. Ms. Chase is wonderful in her descriptions of Daphne's voracious appetite to learn as she is in showing us Rupert's intrigue with all things Daphne. As we see Daphne's passion for knowledge, we see that Rupert is at first fascinated and then passionate about Daphne.

While this book was easy to read, Ms. Chase still manages to create enough of a diversion in her plot that it keeps the story steaming along quite nicely without distracting us too much from the engaging and burgeoning relationship between Rupert and Daphne.

The book takes place in Egypt and has bits of history, Egyptology, hieroglyphics, mythology and romance. It's important to note that all this stuff doesn't throw you out of the story. It's given to the readers through conversation and observation of the characters in such a way that you feel like you are along for the same ride.

What made this a DIK? I don't know. I didn't read AAR's review. However, I can tell you it's a delicious romp and adventure type of story with wonderfully drawn and whole characters.

I enjoyed it very much and I'm having a tough time grading it. Since I've just finished this I don't know how much it will impact me yet. I do know I might be digging out another Chase in the TBR for next month.

My grade = A-/B+

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shhh! I'm a girl Woman...

Suffagettes New York Circa 1921

Typically women don't...

Most women don't know how to...

Women often can't...

See? Men don't do
that. Only you women do that.

How often do you hear words like these at work, in the store, at church, even in your home? (Well they don't say them in our home-sweet-home within my hearing if they want to live to see the dawn.)

I celebrate many of the differences between men and women, I do. Really. I read romance for crying out loud. You can't celebrate men and women more than that, can you? Anyway, as my pal LB likes to say, "I love teh men". Of course she usually follows it with something steamy about man-love, but it works here and I'm stealing it.

My point is, I get a mite squinchy when it comes to comments that are subtlety, or not so subtlety, deprecating. You know the ones I'm talking about. Those sneaky treacherous words handed to you couched as a compliment when they are actually an insult to you and your gender?

Gender bias.

Speaking of stereotypes...and we are. This is from the Austrailian Tax Office site.

Did you shudder when you saw those words...gender bias? I'm hardly militant on the issue. Seriously. I'm not. And, I have to admit, there is a marked difference on how my sons view women and women's roles and men who are in power and in charge of a certain age and generation. I'm hopeful that the male attitude will continue to improve with each succeeding generation.

Cuz, ya know, otherwise I might get charged with a capital crime and have to get fitted with this new wardrobe...

Just sayin'.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Stole this...

After reading heartbreaking stories of loss in Australia and looking at devastating pictures of the destruction, I got a welcome break in an unexpected place. I saw this little ditty on Megan Hart's blog and had to share it. I needed the laugh. Desperately. Sugah Lumps, OMG!

BTW, for my gentle readers, a warning, this video is wildly irreverent and a bit profane. Beware before clicking 'play'.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Edited To Add

I grew up in a military household. My Dad used acronyms all the time. ETA meant 'estimated time of arrival'. Heh. These days we all know it really means 'Edited to Add'.

I'm not so much with the adding, but I'm always editing. Lord only knows what errors you may have found in my writing, but believe it or not, I edit and polish my writing before I click 'publish'.

I do. Really.

I h-o-n-e.

Lately I've been trying to write a couple of days ahead so I can go back before I publish and look at what I've written with a fresh eye. At least that's the theory.

Why am I explaining all this? Well, I'd like to ask you something. Do you go back and edit your posts after you've published them? If you find an error after publishing do you correct it or leave it? What if you are suddenly struck with inspiration and have a better way of saying something, do you 'ETA' or just fix it and not mention the correction or change?

If you've been reading my posts for any length of time, you already know what I do. I go back of course. I can't just leave a misspelled word or incorrect verb tense once I know it's there, can I? That would be sooooo way not right.


These are the kinds of posts that happen when I don't make my bed. I think too much...about misteaks misstaches mistakes.



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Saturday, February 14, 2009

All you need is...Love

Print by Utamaro Kitagawa*

That is the true season of love, when we believe that we alone can love, that no one could ever have loved so before us, and that no one will love in the same way after us.
~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


*You can find this print and others at AllPosters.com


Friday, February 13, 2009

SCANDAL by Carolyn Jewel

Scandal by Carolyn Jewel

Imagine my surprise as I reached the end of this book to realize that I met Ms. Jewel last year at RWA, not at a book signing. Oh no. I met her in the Lobby of the hotel. It's so odd to see an author's picture and know you had a conversation with them. I did wonder a time or two while reading this if Ms. Jewel had already written it, was writing it or editing it during RWA.

My daydreams aside, I've finished the book. I'm sitting here looking at the cover, touching it and reabsorbing it into my psyche.

First thoughts? Good book. You should read it. How's that for a review?

SCANDAL is character driven, deeply so. It is also a gentle book, which I say with some reluctance because I don't want anyone to misinterpret what I mean by that. Sometimes when I want to read something crisp and quick or *ahem* sexy, if 'gentle' is used to describe it I often take it to mean the book is dull or sweet. While I've read books that I would characterize as sweet, I don't generally go chasing down the book aisles to find them.

That is not what I mean by 'gentle' when describing this book. I'm really telling you what the book isn't. It is not an action packed book. It's not loud or particularly colorful. It manages to be quiet, but stirring. You feel this book as you read it. At least I did, quite a lot.

The former rake, the Earl of Banallt shows up at the home of Sophie Evans, who is widowed and living with her brother. Sophie and Banallt were previously acquainted through Banallt's friendship with Sophie's dissolute husband.

Is it possible for a rake to truly reform? Banallt's previous behaviors are not sugar coated or characterized in such a way that one understands or empathizes about why he was such a wastrel. While the book does provide his back story it doesn't apologize for what he did in the past. He was unrepentant and even boastful of his vices.

Is it possible for a disillusioned widow to trust and love again? A young and impressionable Sophie was swept off her feet and into a scandalous marriage at a very young age. Now only in her twenties she is nonetheless convinced she will live out her days a widow.

Ms. Jewel does a wonderful job of making you 'feel' these characters. While reading it I found myself immersed in the thoughts and conflicts of the characters. I love when that happens. The tension is carefully built and so taut and teeming between Sophie and Banallt that I could hardly take a deep breath a couple of times.

My conclusion? This is a wonderful story. The language and dialogue have a texture of the time period which made the story all the richer for it. If you like Regency period historicals, you'll like this one.

My Grade = B+

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blue Diablo

Ann Aguirre, who you may have heard me rhapsodize about a time or two or ten is having a contest. You should go check it out. Don't even think about how completely awesome her Grimspace books are or how much I adore the singular Sirantha Jax, think of yourself and all the cool stuff you could win.

The book cover and clock below tells you everything you need to know about BLUE DIABLO, her new release due out on April 7, 2009. Personally, I can't wait.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Running, Warriors, My Baby Sister

What do these three things have in common? Well in an effort to get in shape my youngest sister started running last year. You may recall she did a half marathon with a bunch of her girlfriends and my main squeeze GG.

They all had such a great time that most of them are doing it again this year. Some of the group are new and others returning. Only this year as an incentive they are going to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

They have also set up a blog so they can let their friends, family and sponsors know what the group is up to. It's called Road Warriors. WarriorM is the leetle seesteer. Hopefully they will soon have their Wounded Warrior PayPal account set up so if you were so inclined you could stop by and sponsor them. It's a win-win. You get to contribute to a worthy cause knowing you were also inspiring people to get fit by running.

Here's Lil Miss Speedy otherwise known as WarriorM. She's gonna kill me when she sees I posted this.

Speedy WarriorM and GG at the half marathon last year.

WarriorM and the every amazing CSR, her military man. She cleans up pretty good, don't ya think?

So that's my pitch. I hope you'll stop by their blog and the Wounded Warrior sites and check it all out.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lovin' this right now...


Monday, February 09, 2009

What I'm reading right now...

I'm taking a break from DOGS & GODDESSES. It's a little too much for me right now.

I've seen a lot of good buzz around the internet about this book. Thank goodness I was standing next to Nikki in Borders yesterday or I might not have remembered to pick it up.

Last night I decided to break into the new book. It's just plain wonderful and I'm enjoying it very much.

SCANDAL by Carolyn Jewel


TO RWA or NOT TO RWA... That is the question.

Are you going to RWA in Washington DC this year? I'd planned on going for no other reason than to meet up with some of my blogger buddies and to see DC. Originally GG was going to go too. DC is a city he had visited years ago (years and years!) and wanted a chance to go back and see the sights again.

Courtesy of AllPosters.com

Do you sense the big "BUT" in there?

Cuz there is one. Har.

Just before Christmas we found out GG and everyone else at his company, and I do mean everyone, was getting a 10% pay cut in January 2009. You don't have to worry or feel sorry for us, we are fine, but it does mean we have to give a second or third thought before making plans for a trip.

GG tells me to go ahead and spend the money and go to DC. However, he doesn't want to spend the money to join me on the trip. Frankly, I don't really feel all that great spending money for a trip for that was supposed to be for both of us. (Mother guilt anyone?)

While I haven't made a firm decision one way or the other yet. It has me thinking, thinking about what my rationale or reasons for going to RWA really are. I have to admit meeting the authors is lots of fun. I enjoyed a couple of the lectures as well. Meeting other bloggers? Well that was the absolute best part of the trip to San Francisco last year.

So are you thinking about it? Are the economic times playing a part in your decision? Should I tell you that I went to the RWA site and saw that Linda Howard (Linda freaking Howard!) is going to be one of the luncheon keynote speakers? Janet Evanovich, Eloisa James and Anne Stuart are speaking as well. The angst! The drama! The indecision!

What would be your reasons for going to RWA?
Are you going to be having lunch with Linda Howard this summer?

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Bye-Bye...All Gone

The famous 'simply gorgeous' auteur LB Gregg has taken off for parts unknown to us peasants. The SoCal Blogger gabfest get-together was, in a word, surreal. I turned to Tracy at one point and said, "I'm having a surreal moment. I met all these people online and here we are in the flesh with so much to talk about." Tracy said, "I know! Isn't it great?"

Eleven women who read books. Lots and lots of books. That's ... well, it's really something and all the words I could think of to put there just are not adequate enough.

Conversation in our car going home:

Me: Wasn't that amazing? Did you see all of us when we were swapping books? (rhetorical...he was right there.)

GG: You were having fun.

Me: So much fun.

GG: J (Tracy's DH) said you looked like a gaggle of geese.

Me: *laughing* I know. She said she was going to smack him for it.
What did you think?

GG: About what.

Me: What we looked like...

GG: *Pauses and smiling* Amusing.


SoCal Bloggers



Southern California truly does have it all. You didn't expect modesty from someone who lives within driving distance of Tinseltown did you? Guess what other truly awesome and tremendous thing we have? People who read romance novels and blog about them. Right here in rainy er...sunny umm... no it's *checking outside again* rainy Southern California. I am so fortunate to be acquainted with a group of fantastic chicks that we affectionately refer to as the SoCal Bloggers.

It's here! Today's the day. Sometime around 1 PM today we will be gathering together. Including myself there will be 12 women who have met just because we love books, romance novels in particular. We are a broad cross section in culture, age, and politics. We are married and single, parents and non-parents, tall and not tall, some of us wear capes, but at the end of the day we have a couple of striking things in common. Books and blogging. It's incredible. It's inspiring. It's a huge amount of fun.

The last time we tried to meet up was highlighted by a huge fire storm which resulted in a sleep over at my house. This time we seem to have invited a deluge as it has been raining for two days. I guess epic things happen when we decide to join forces.

Our group grows each time we meet. It's exciting and humbling. Later today I will be meeting Blanche, Thea, and Renee for the first time. At this rate we'll be needing a reception hall to meet. Doesn't that just boggle the mind?

My point? Don't wait. If you've been thinking about getting a group together in your area. Just do it. As much fun as you think it will be? It's MORE fun than that.

Here's the group who will be getting together today:

Lisabea (honorary visitor this month)


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Nothing feels better than...

...catching up on blog hopping and clearing out ye olde google reader.

...finishing a satisfying book.

...a clean house and the laundry being caught up.

...being home alone with a good book, a perfect piece of dark chocolate, a non-fat venti latte.

...the feeling I get moving through the water.

...seeing fewer pounds on the scale.

...the realization of how many people I have to love in my life.

...hearing the perfect song at the perfect time while driving.

...being wrapped in GG's arms.

...a good night's sleep.

...knowing I have friends. Good ones.

...a SoCal blogger get together.

I just listed whatever came out my fingertips and popped in my head.

What about you? Don't think too hard, just let 'er rip. List your 'Nothing feels better than...' list in the comments.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Great Buddy Award

Last week Holly from What Were You Expecting? and the Book Binge gave me the Great Buddy Award. I'm always amazed and humbled when anyone recognizes me for anything. On account of because it's so always so unexpected. Not to mention, but of course I'm going to, the fact that I think of my blog as a totally selfish endeavor for me to wax on about whatever is buzzing about in my brain. Trust me when I tell you, it's a wonder and delight for me every time someone visits and comments.

Anyway, this week I'm making the decision whether or not to go to DC for RWA 2009. I'm also looking forward to a SoCal Blogger get together this Sunday, February 8th at Victoria Gardens. Lisabea is visiting from back east AND celebrating the release of her first M/M e-book from Aspen Mountain Press called GOBSMACKED by LB Gregg on Saturday, February 7th. Looky, looky... (You send 'em to school, they grow up and make you so proud. Congrats LB!)

Seeing friends and buddies figures hugely in these decisions, so it makes sense that right now I'm thinking about all the wonderful, funny, intelligent, complex women I've met on the internet that have become friends. Holly's timely post made this a golden opportunity and moment to recognize my SoCal blogger buddies.

How this all works:
1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. Award up to ten other blogs.
4. Add links to those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message for your awardees on their blogs.

(I stole the paragraph below from Holly. Not only is she nice for nominating me... Recognizing me? Remembering me? she is also smart and funny.)

Ten sounds like a lot until you start trying to choose. But these are some of my favorite haunts, and some of my best buds.

Without further adieu...::drum roll:: The SoCal Bloggers! (Some of whom have already been nominated, but so what, right?):

Lisabea (honorary visitor this month)

What about you? Who are your buddies?


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Why do I resist?

Reining in the Rancher by Karen Templeton

Last year both Holly and Wendy wrote great reviews about a Silhouette Special Edition series by Ms. Templeton.

The three book series was called "Guys and Daughters" . The books were Dear Santa (SSE #1864), Yours, Mine ... or Ours? (SSE #1876) and Baby I'm Yours (SSE #1893). Since I'm as susceptible as the next person, I was sufficiently intrigued to give Ms. Templeton a try. So, of course, that's exactly what I did. I really enjoyed the series, but singled out Baby I'm Yours as the best of the three. I wrote a little bit about it here.

Just to clarify, before I continue, I'm not a complete dunce. I did remember liking Ms. Templeton's writing. The 'Guys and Daughters' series left enough of an impression that I picked it up her next two SSE releases. The conundrum is my resistance to reading them. Why the resistance? I really couldn't tell you. I don't know. I would just look at the books and think, not now.

Now to the reason why this is worth mentioning...

The current series Ms. Templeton is working on for SSE is 'Wed in the West'. Reining in the Rancher (SSE #1948 Jan 09) is the second book of the series. It's also the book I picked up a couple of nights ago. I was looking for something light to read before I went to sleep and thought a category romance was just the ticket. This particular book just happened to be handy, which is really code for 'it was on my night stand'.

The plan, because I always have one, was to read about 25 pages turn out the light and get a good night's sleep. Riiiiiiight. I picked up the book at around 9 PM. I put it down, finished, at around 12:30 AM.

From page one I was hooked. This is a simple story and so implausible on some levels that it's very implausibility is what sort of makes it believable. At least that was the case for me. It was a wonderfully well paced little gem that I couldn't read fast enough.

I didn't read the first book in this series, A Mother's Wish (SSE #1916) and it didn't impact my reading Reining in the Rancher at all. I do, however, have A Mother's Wish in my tbr and you can believe I will be reading it soon.

So, don't resist like I did. If you haven't tried Karen Templeton, you should. This was a great quick read with characters you can care about.

Strong B grade for me.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

DARK OF NIGHT by Suzanne Brockmann

DARK OF NIGHT by Suzanne Brockmann

This isn't so much an interview as it is a stream of consciousness of my thoughts about reading this book.

Life is hard. Life is complicated. And, boy oh boy...life is messy!

Once again I'm in the shower, the place I do some of my best thinking, and I just can't shake my thoughts about DARK OF NIGHT. Is it the characters? The plot? The ending? What? What? I'm thinking...and thinking...and thinking.

The stories that Ms. Brockmann writes, whether about her Navy SEALS or the gang at Troubleshooters Inc., in theory would seem a bit implausible. However, that's never what I'm thinking when I'm reading her books. I'm usually wondering how I would react in the same set of circumstances.

Would I find love? What would I do after excruciating loss? Do SEALS really come and go with as much frequency as her books imply? And, most frequently, I'm wondering how I would endure being a military wife. Could I, with a life and career of my own, in love with a man who's life and future are dictated by someone else, stay in that relationship? Accept our lives being tossed about by the Navy's whim? Do I have enough spine to endure the worry and separation?

Back in the shower I'm wondering whether it says more about me or the writer that I'm thinking this much about the book. Like the proverbial mouse on the wheel over and over again I'm trying to break down why Decker and Tracy, the most unlikely of friends, much less lovers, won't let me go.

I bought this book because as a general rule I love the way Suzanne Brockmann writes. Not every book is a grand slam, but I've never left one of her books feeling cheated either. I also bought it because I wanted needed to read how Ms. Brockmann was going to resolve the surprise ending in the previous book INTO THE FIRE. Frankly, though, I really enjoyed the focus on the relationship dynamic between Tracy and Decker.

One other thing I was conscious of while reading this book was the dense and complex world Ms. Brockmann has created. More so than many other books and series, her characters populate more than one book and may have a secondary story in another book after they've been the focal story. Conversely, a single or group of characters can have secondary story lines for several books before taking center stage.

It makes the reading both more fun and more frustrating. However, it is always a marvel to see these characters from previous books grow, evolve and see their lives go on beyond the book they 'starred' in.

As I was reading DARK OF NIGHT snippets and vignettes of characters came and went through the pages. I was amazed that these didn't feel like add-ons and one dimensional people appearing on the page. Some how Ms. Brockmann retains their character integrity and often enhances it.

At the end of the day and this book, I find myself thinking about what loving someone means. How far do you go? How much do you endure? Is it really 'falling' in love or walking straight ahead knowing that it's going to be hard and saying 'yes' to it anyway?

So maybe I should have started by saying,

Love is hard. Love is complicated. And, boy oh boy...love is messy.

Good book. B+ from me.

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