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, November 30, 2009

29 on the 29th

Yesterday was my 29th wedding anniversary. Trust me, if you don't have many miles on your marriage when you hit 29 years you can be struck anew with how fast the time goes. Conversely you may also be stunned at how much living you've done in what feels like a short amount of time.

Like any couple that has been together for 29 minutes much less 29 years we've had ups and downs, good times and bad, happy and sad. At the end of the day all I can say is love endures. Love endures AND it helps to have a sense of humor. Oh and it didn't hurt that I married a man that "gets" me and loves me anyway. That's a big plus. Thanks GG you are the best man a woman could ever hope to spend her life with. Thank you for loving me even when I forget to buy you an anniversary card.

I'm over at Access Romance Readers Gab today. Come over and see what I have to say about passion and music.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009


From our house to yours
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Movies, Movies, Movies

So we bought the blu-ray of STAR TREK. Shmoo has watched it about 6 times already. GG and I managed to watch it over the weekend. We went whole hog and nerdy because we watched much of the second disc which had deleted scenes and the story behind the story, casting etc. Twas lovely. Man, that was a good movie wasn't it?

BTW, anybody know if Chris Pine (Capt Kirk) is going to be in an upcoming movie? Is there going to be another STAR TREK movie you think?

Next up was NEW MOON. Shmoo's GF had a birthday and they graciously let the oldsters tag along with them to the movie. I think it was better than the first one. They certainly are engaging and attractive individuals that Bella, Edward and Jacob, aren't they? Do we really have to chose a team, Edward or Jacob? Cuz I'm not going to.

We also went to see BLIND SIDE this weekend. I have to say that since I'm both sentimental AND a Mom I was teary eyed through much of this movie. It was well done and such a great story. Go see it, you won't be sorry. It's the best thing Sandra Bullock has done for awhile and her face doesn't look so "worked on" from plastic surgery.

I love movies, don't you?


Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Mandarin Sideboard

As many of you know, last year GG and I bought the BATV (code for big ass flat screen TV) and then a piece of furniture to go under the BATV. This was loosely referred to as our anniversary, birthday and Christmas gift to ourselves because these events all fall within 3 weeks of one another.

For the last couple of years we've been trying to do something for the house when we buy for each other. This has a dual benefit of getting some big ticket item we'd like to have and combines the money we've budgeted for our gifts to each other so we can afford the one big thing.

This year we've been contemplating the above pictured Mandarin sideboard. I feel guilty though. Sure it's coming out of the gift money. Sure we figured out a way to pay for the new heating and air-conditioning unit and ducting that makes me wince every time I think about it... BUT, and you knew there was one, it seems so decadent to go buy a big ticket item like this right now.

GG has no qualms whatsoever. Me? I worry. I worry about the economy, about saving more money, about our retirement in 9 years. Yes, 9 years... Is it too early to worry about that? No, I don't think so.

Anyway, because I'd really like to have the Mandarin sideboard we'll probably go ahead and buy it later today. Maybe. Probably. I think...

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Me, GG and a little book called SKIN GAME

After a fun time at the Tim McGraw concert GG and I decided to take today off and just be together. We love doing that. You might be wondering why I'm sitting here writing this post?

Isn't it obvious? I'm sneaking this in.

Because I bitch night and day about my phone GG told me we are going to buy me a new one today.

Me: I don't think so.

GG: I'm sick of you bitching about your phone.

Me: We are spending a gazillion dollars on new heat and air unit. I can wait.

GG: Well I can't. You are getting a new phone.

Isn't that bullying? I think it is.

Moving on to a trip to my favorite Borders...

Me: I'm just going to look for a couple of books.

GG: Riiiiight. I'm going to get a cup of coffee, want anything.

Me: Nope. (making a bee line for the romance section)

Perhaps 10 minutes goes by.

GG: I leave you for a few minutes and look at you.

Me: *frantically juggling about 7 books* Yep.

GG: What are you doing with another copy of SKIN GAME?

Me: I gave all my others away and I want to send my sister WarriorM a copy.

GG: You should write the author and let her know you buy a copy every time you're at the book store. *walks away shaking his head*

Me: Hey! I do not... and... she probably knows!

Yeah not my best come back. Who's he to talk?! HE is reading MY copy as we speak.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Who needs heat when...

I'm going to see Tim McGraw tonight. Although you wouldn't catch me arguing if say the gas company service planning department finally decided to call so we could get going with this project already.

This just in...

1. We are taking tomorrow off since we will be up late at the concert tonight. We plan to start our Christmas shopping.

2. We bought a pre-lit Christmas tree. Finally found one with lots of lights that didn't cost the earth. While I've been known to string the tree lights myself, both GG and I are delighted that chore is history. When you are picky about how the lights look it takes forever to get the tree lights "just right".

3. Beanie has to work on Thanksgiving at the Magic Kingdom. Major bummer. We think we will be venturing to the OC Thanksgiving morning and take him out to eat mid-day before work then we'll trek back here and go to my sisters for dessert with the rest of the family. At least that's the plan today. We've never eaten out on Thanksgiving, but I can't imagine celebrating the holiday without both of my children. It may be coming in the near future, but not yet...

4. Speaking of Beanie, he got second place in the open mic contest at his school. He was over the moon because most of the contestants were musicians. He has another "gig" on November 22. Someone asked him to perform for a group of *ahem* mature women. He was asked to include some material on Jane Austen, and Napoleon & Josephine Buonaparte. He's doing research. Just his comments on doing historical research for a comedy bit is funny. Honestly I never know what he's going to do next.

5. Proud Mama moment. GG mentioned to me yesterday how amazing it is that in this economy both of our boys have two jobs. Beanie got hired back as seasonal help at his favorite place in the world, nope it's NOT D-Land, it's Toys R Us. Maybe all those dinner conversations about there's no replacing hard work to achieve your goals really worked???

6. Just finished reading THE MARRIAGE BED by LL Guhrke and before that I read A BRIDE IN THE BARGAIN by Deeanne Gist. I'd heard pretty good things about THE MARRIAGE BED and while good, it didn't change my world. Very well done character development though. The Gist surprised me. While privately I consider myself a spiritual person and certainly one of faith I've never read a book specifically labeled inspirational romance before. This also was a pretty good book and I enjoyed the story based on the real life brides brought to Washington Territory by Asa Mercer post Civil War. Anybody else old enough to remember the 70s TV show with Bobby Sherman, HERE COME THE BRIDES?

7. Got the most recent STAR TREK movie on blu-ray for the BA-TV for the "boys".

Well I think you are all caught up. Usually when I do these lists I think of two more things as soon as I hit "publish". Ain't life grand?

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Life Happens...

Be kind to the woman on the corner holding out her tin cup. She just found out her 25-year old heating and air-conditioning unit is ker-flooey. Just the news you want a month before Christmas, isn't it? While temperatures have gotten a bit chillier here, we've been comfy enough in the evenings wearing sweats and adding another blanket to the beds. I am hoping we have the whole thing replaced by the end of the week so I don't have to head into Thanksgiving week with repairman wandering around. Also, it would be nice to have heat. Heh.

Now that we are over the initial shock that we have to replace the unit and the heart stopping cost, I'm philosophical. GG has survived yet another lay off at work and another pay cut. My job is going very well. At this point we are thrilled we are working and able to buy the new heat/ac unit. I've mostly been focused on being positive and optimistic that the economy is going to improve, and am hoping (and praying) that we see some change the first 6 months of 2010.

I'm off to do something more fun now, like write a book review, or read, or nag GG to make pancakes for breakfast.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Ice by Linda Howard

This is not a review. This is a commentary. I feel compelled to comment on how disappointed I am by this book not only for the lukewarm quality of the story and the characters, the pathetic lack of pages and content, but also my self disgust because I should have known better.

I'm beginning to believe I will never again finish an LH book and clasp it to my breast with a happy and bliss filled sigh.

Thank God I have those happy memories of her highly entertaining speech at RWA, and I got a signed book, AND SL Wendy got a picture of the moment. Otherwise, I'd be pretty inconsolable right now. Oh, and I have all those wonderful early books right there on my shelves to re-read. Maybe I can survive this disappointment after all.


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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Did I tell ya the one about...

Here's the latest from Beanie...

He went for open mike night at a bar in Long Beach only to be told that they only allow singers and no longer allow stand-up after an "unfortunate situation" with a comedian the previous month. Beanie was steamed for having to make the drive so he decided to console himself with a trip to McDonalds.

Normally one wouldn't expect Mickey D's to be a hotbed for adventure, but my Beanie Boy is a magnet for the unexpected to happen. There he was munching away on cheeseburgers trying to hide behind a pillar. Why? There was a group of five highly intoxicated gay men. Five men who found my lurking son attractive and apparently made overtures. Overtures that Beanie swears will scar him for life.

Okay, I admit it. I was laughing my butt off at this point to which my son exclaims, "Mom, you are laughing and I'm scarred for life!" I told him it was good fodder for his act.

"Oh," he says, "that reminds me. I auditioned for this comedy thing at school and I'm one of the finalists."

"Really? That's great sweetie."

"Yeah, guess what material they liked best?"

"Bean, people are going to think I'm a horrible person!"


"Do you still tell people that we used to tell you that you would be "returned" because you were naughty and adopted?"

*More laughter*

"You know people are going to think your Mom really said stuff like that to you!"

"Oh my God Mom you are hilarious!"

"I'm hilarious because I don't want people to believe I ever said I was sending you back?"

To which my darling son replies...

"Did I tell you about my new routine where I talk about how you made us clean dirt?"

I just want to go on record right now. I NEVER, NOT ONCE told either of my children I could (or would) send them back for misbehaving or not cleaning their rooms. If you ever hear that I did, remember that it's just a joke... Then whistle and applaud loudly for the young comedian and imagine what a wonderful and tolerant mother he must have.

As for the dirt thing, let's just say there may have been dirt, there may have been rakes and Beanie might have been involved.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

RAINWATER by Sandra Brown

Rainwater by Sandra Brown

This is a story about a woman, Ella Barron, who owns and runs a boarding house during the Depression in Texas. The title of the book comes from the last name of one of her boarders, David Rainwater.

Ella's life is not an easy one. Running a boarding house with a seven year old son with special needs, Ella's life is one of hardship and endless chores. Into this world comes David Rainwater who has an affect on everyone who meets him during a volatile and tumultuous time in their small farming community.

Words you may have heard associated with this book like "tear jerker" "different" "not a romance" are all true. This is a slim volume of 245 pages priced at $23.99. Frankly a bold move for Ms. Brown when this book is not a romance and would not necessarily have her normal built in audience of romance readers. OTOH, I bought it, albeit heavily discounted, at Costco, so maybe marketing people know more than I think they do.

Unbelievably moved by this book, I'm writing this within hours of having finished it. Right now it is so fresh I cannot even think of the characters or the story without weeping. Consequently, I'm unable to grade this story right now. I'm trying desperately to decide whether or not I'm glad I read it, which is a little bit of irony because Ella and David have a similar discussion about Hemingway's FAREWELL TO ARMS and voice the same question. Can one be glad they've read a book when one knows in advance the ending might not be happy?

This book was devastating and even though I can't say whether or not I'm glad I read it, it was a compelling read. The second half of RAINWATER I couldn't read fast enough. Am I glad I met these characters? I guess I'd have to say yes. If I had read reviews in advance like this one would I still buy the book? I don't know.

I do know that I will be thinking about this book for a long time and wondering what I was supposed to take away from it. The best I can say to you right now is that if you want to read something different and something powerful, RAINWATER will certainly fill the bill.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

October 2009 Reading List

Don't faint. It's my October list before the month of November is over. A-mazing! Fourteen books for October. I'm happy with that. I sometimes wonder why I torture myself doing these lists, but I love reading everyone else's and in the end I like to have a chronicle of my own reads that isn't dry spread sheet statistics. Is that weird?

I finally posted my September reading list. For all of you who don't have a feed reader, you can find it here. I buried it in chronological order. Hey, it makes sense to me. I was stunned when I realized I read 17 books in September. It's been literally years since I've done that. Naturally this phenomenon made me wonder whether it was a spate of great books, my mood or the planets being in Scorpio or Libra, or Aquarius or something. At any rate, I'm enjoying the boon while it lasts. As of the writing of this post I've read 150 books in 2009. Ho-lee! That took me by surprise.

Here's October...

Deep Kiss of Winter by Kresley Cole & Gena Showalter
I found Ms. Cole's tale interesting and wondered frequently how in heck she was going to resolve the whole "freeze you with a touch" between the H/H. OTOH she writes strong and compelling characters. I'm a bit waffle-y on this one.
My Grade on Kresley Cole Story = C

Blood Game by Iris Johansen
This is a return to the Eve Duncan world. This outing finds Eve and Joe matching wits with a very scary and wholly evil serial killer. Although as I think about it, is there any such thing as a NOT evil serial killer? *shudders*

The good news is I could read the whole thing without scaring the total be-jeebus out of myself. I'm calling this a solid read because I got exactly what I was expecting from the experience.

My Grade = B

Shadow Wranglers:Caleb by Sarah McCarty
Man was I disappointed with this book. It came close to a DNF and it is a testimony of my love of the PROMISE books that I stuck it out hoping. This my friends is a paranormal western and a big miss for me.
My Grade = D

No Greater Pleasure by Megan Hart
After being wowed by the first of the Pleasure Maiden books, last month's PLEASURE AND PURPOSE, this was sort of a let down. Skimming back through the book while doing this list I realize that it's because I didn't much like Quilla, the heroine.
My Grade = C

Holding Out for a Hero by Helen Kay Dimon
This is a book was a lovely surprise. I picked it up because I've been wanting to try Ms. Dimon and the back blurb sounded good. Some very nice tension and believable by-play between heiress Deana Armstrong and cop Josh Windsor and a heart breaking story. We have the requisite HEA, but it's not without it's twists and turns.
My Grade =B

Lady of Persuasion by Tessa Dare
When I read the excerpt for this book and Lord Toby was considering taking a bit of revenge on the younger sister of the man who stole his fiancee, I didn't quite buy it. Toby was such an affable and nice guy in the other two Dare books of this trilogy, it just didn't ring true for me. Nefarious bastard, Lord Toby is not. While this isn't a story that stands out, it was an enjoyable historical and very competently written.
My Grade = B

Covet by JR Ward
I expected more. Something new maybe. Nothing 'new' about this Fallen Angels series at all.
My Grade = C

Shadowlight by Lynn Viehl
This is an off-shoot of Ms. Viehl's Kyndred series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to see what she does next.
My Grade = B+

Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre
Third book in Sirantha Jax series. I had so hoped to do a separate review of this book. It was so good. Sirantha Jax finds herself as an ambassador for the Conglomerate trying convince the Ithorians to become allies. The catch? Ithorians have an almost genetic distaste for humans and look and talk a lot like great big bugs. Knowing that going in I wondered if my deep love and appreciation for all things Jax would be enough to carry my interest through the book. I don't know how she does it, but Ms. Aguirre held me rapt to the end.

There are some incredible scenes in this book. Once again the world grows and the characters change in response to what happens to them. I love Ms. Aguirre's writing even more. Me and science fiction, who knew?
My Grade = A-

Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Looking at the book sitting in front me trying to write something here, I tried to remember something about it. I skimmed a bit, remembered I liked it, but I couldn't tell you why. Hmmm... a toughie...
My Grade = B or C???

Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh
Here's a whole new corner of the Psy-Changeling world to explore that of the Shadownet, the Shine Foundation and of course our H/H Dev Santos and Katya Haas. I was intrigued and hooked from the first word. A worthy addition to the series.
My Grade = B+

Nightlife by Rob Thurman
Don't faint I don't think there's been another month in the 30 or so I've been doing these lists where I had 3 "A" grades in any single month.

Rob Thurman is another author I've been curious about reading each time I see a review pop up. Thanks to a conversation with Renee at our last SoCal blogger get together I picked up NIGHTLIFE. What a great writing voice and, at least for me, a completely unique story line with two brothers as central characters. Far from a traditional romance, I was charmed and hooked by the smart writing and characters.

My Grade = A-

Skin Game by Ava Gray
Loved this. See my review.
My Grade = A

To Desire a Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt
This is the fourth installment in The Legend of the Four Soldiers series. I was really looking forward to this one. A character who's been talked about and remembered throughout the previous books I was salivating and anxious to read his story. Reynaud St. Aubyn rises from the dead, so to speak. Assumed dead for seven years after his regiment is attacked by Indians, Reynaud returns home to find his father dead, his sister married and his uncle in his home and assuming his title.

I do think Ms. Hoyt could have done more with the adjustments that Reynaud had to make returning home to assume a life that is almost completely foreign to him, however this was ultimately a decent read.
My Grade = B


Monday, November 09, 2009

And the books go to...


Thanks to everyone who participated. If I could I would buy you all a copy of SKIN GAME because I really enjoyed this book.

Tetewa left an email addy in the comments, but I need flchen1 to email me at RnG1180 at aol dot com so I can make arrangements to send the book out.

There were 22 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

  1. Tetewa
  2. flchen1
  3. CrystalGB
  4. SJ
  5. Mindy
  6. Deedles
  7. JenniferB
  8. Patronus8901
  9. Silent Raven
  10. nath
  11. Erotic Horizon
  12. Tara Marie
  13. Renee
  14. Cathy M
  15. sula
  16. Mitzi
  17. Fiction Vixen
  18. Mitz
  19. Brooke
  20. LittleEagle
  21. Blanche
  22. Allison(’s)Reads

Timestamp: 2009-11-09 08:13:44 UTC


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Don't Forget...

You have until midnight (PST) tonight Sunday, November 8, 2009 to comment on my November 4th post for two chances to win SKIN GAME by Ava Gray.

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

SKIN GAME by Ava Gray

SKIN GAME by Ava Gray

When I tell you this book is dark I'm not teasing, enticing or even tempting you. It's dark. If you squirm when the morals of the central characters are somewhat questionable, then this book might not be for you. Me? I loved it!

A paid assassin and a con woman. No two ways about it in most books called "romance" those characters would definitely be the "bad guys". While there is no question throughout this book that both Kyra and Reyes are not necessarily someone you might invite home to dinner, they are also attractive, extremely intelligent and live by their own set of moral standards. I found myself questioning how I could like someone who gets such a thrill of a well played con. At the same time, I couldn't help but admire the ingenuity, cunning and sheer joy the characters found in their play. It doesn't hurt that they are both intelligent, well built, and thoroughly engaging.

Of course there's a whole lot more going on than just two people on the road drifting and grifting their way across the United States. There are circumstances from events that have taken place prior to the book's beginning that bring Reyes and Kyra together. This book focuses heavily on these two characters as they discover not only each other but to a great degree themselves as well.

While I have always loved reading about dark characters, this has generally come to mean that the person, male or female, had some significant back story to explain why they've taken the road less traveled. Or, they are misunderstood, undercover... In other words, some device or twist is used to explain why the character(s) are morally ambiguous. Not so here. Kyra and Reyes have a strong internal compass. They are both very clear about who and what they are. No apologies. In fact, Kyra takes pride and joy in a well played con. She can't imagine any other life for herself.

This review would be incomplete if I didn't mention that there is an interesting paranormal twist. This element is woven fairly seamlessly and believably into the plot. You'll have to tell me what you think about it after you read the book.

I hated having to put this book down and in fact read it in two sittings. The first third I read on an airplane. For the rest of it, I stayed up half the night reading in a hotel room at a work conference. Now that's engaged reading. It's no exaggeration to say I enjoyed every minute I was reading this book, marveled at the author's deft hand and the feeling that I was actually watching the story of these two people's lives unfold before me. Nothing contrived. Nothing premeditated.

There is an excerpt of the next book in the series SKIN TIGHT at the back of SKIN GAME. I can't wait to see what comes next.

My Grade = A

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Green Lantern

Green Lantern & Cat Woman

We gotta winn-ah!
So humble! So shy!

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Give Away & An Update

Life is so busy it is ridiculous. Honestly, I keep thinking next week will be better... Next week will be better. The fact is this time of year is nuts at home and at work and I'm embracing the concept. Sort of.

Do you have to fight the urge to do ab-so-lutely everything on your list every darn day? I do. It's irritating. Yet. I'm struggling to change my mindset. Aaaargh!

As I write I have three stacks of books next to me. The 5 remaining books to add to my September reading list, the 14 books to enter and post for my October list, and the 2 books I've already read in November.

Yes, when I'm too tired to pull up a chair to the computer and write any more, after sitting in front of a computer for 9 hours at work, I come home and wallow in my reading.

Stuff I'm excited to tell you...

GG and I are going to see

Tim McGraw with Shmoo and his GF in a couple of weeks. Yippee! It's so appropriate since Shmoo recently admitted he has always secretly liked CW music but didn't want to let us know. Like we'd be so devastated? Heaven help us Hannah! The lengths he goes to...

Shmoo is at the halfway mark of his EMT class. It is really getting tough now. He's nervous about keeping his 80% average to stay in the class. When he's not working one of his two jobs he is studying. His GF is a sweetie and she's been cooking for him and baking cupcakes. He's so spoiled.

Beanie dressed up as his favorite super hero for Halloween and went out with a bunch of his friends who also dressed up as super heroes. They got lots of attention and people were asking them all night to take their pictures with the Justice League.

Too funny. Anyway, my own Beanie Green Lantern ended up winning a costume contest to the tune of $200. He's over the moon.

In further Beanie news... He's continuing with his stand up. He's graduated from the coffee house to a bar. Of course since he's new kid on the block he didn't go on until 12:30 AM but he was very happy with his first outing.


Now to the important stuff. I went to the bookstore yesterday and bought two copies
of Ava Gray's SKIN GAME. I liked this book so much, I will be giving away these two copies from names randomly chosen from anyone who comments on this post until midnight on November 8, 2009.

I will announce the winners on Monday, November 9, 2009.

So comment away. In the meantime, I'm hoping to get my book lists caught up, my blog hopping caught up, and some reviews done.

It could happen.

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