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, January 31, 2010

January 2010

Here it is...finally! January 2010 list. It was an eclectic month with oldies, categories, historicals, westerns and little bit of paranormal, a touch of contemporaries, and a couple of military suspenses. Just about everything I think. It looks like 14 is the magic number for January.

A MATTER OF CLASS by Mary Balogh

This was a clever piece and one I enjoyed quite a bit. When an Earl's daughter besmirches the family name in a foiled elopement her parents fear she is ruined forever. Their neighbors, people the Earl has disdained since they moved in 12 years previously, are wealthy but not gentry. They do, however, have an eligible son and ambition enough to marry him to the hapless Annabelle.

I bought the book because I was interested in the premise and did enjoy it quite a bit. However, I don't see why it had to be released in the "mini" hardcover for $15.95.
My Grade = B+

TOO HOT TO HOLD by Stephanie Tyler
Book 2 of the series, this is Nick and Kaylee's story. Nick is a former SEAL who is constantly pushing the envelope both in his personal and professional life. While on a mission he stumbles across Kaylee a reporter who is investigating information with global political implications.
Still enjoying the series.
My Grade = B

PIECES OF SKY by Kaki Warner
A western more on an epic scale. I liked this book a lot for it's scope and depth. Jessica has come west all the way from England to find her brother and get his help to take back their ancestral home and assets from their younger sister's shady husband. On her way she meets rancher Brady Wilkins. Brady is tough, honorable, stubborn and one of the hardest working men Jessica has ever met.

It's obvious Ms. Warner is a lover of the western herself with the loving details she has in this book. This is the first book of of the Blood Rose trilogy and I'm looking forward to reading the next two installments.
My Grade = B+

SWITCH by Megan Hart
Suggestions. On notes. Notes not meant for her... Megan writes such interesting stories and always gives us a peak into ourselves in the process. If you received an open note in your mailbox that didn't belong to you, would you read it? If you did, do you think its contents could change your life?
My Grade = B+

COMING UNDONE by Lauren Dane
The second book in what I call Ms. Dane's "tattoo" series, this story is about oldest sibling Brody Brown. Brody is a tattoo artist, a talent that helped him support and raise his two younger siblings. Not allowing himself to become involved with anyone seriously while raising his younger brother and sister, he's surprised to find himself enmeshed in his neighbor Elise and her young daughter's lives. LAID BARE was such a great read for me that I was a little let down that Brody's story was so tame. At the same time it provides a nice balance to the overall arc Ms. Dane has. I'm looking forward to Adrian Brown's book.
My Grade = B

STREET GAME by Christine Feehan
Another installment in Ms. Feehan's Ghostwalker series. No new ground, standard fare, but it fits the bill if you know what to expect.
My Grade = B

THE MANE EVENT by Shelly Laurenston
Is it telling that when I came to write a snippet about his book I couldn't remember a single thing about it without picking up the book? Pretty standard shifter fare here. Competently done.
My Grade = C

Once upon a forever ago I read Norah Hess. I don't have any on my keeper shelf which should have been my first clue before I picked up this re-release. I did muddle through this and recalled parts of it as I read as being one of Ms. Hess's tamer (no forced sex) stories. Another case of not enough meat to the story for me.
My Grade = C-

SIM # 1945 January 2009. I've read several of the Jones Gang books over the years and it had been awhile when I picked this one up at at a UBS during our December SoCal blogger UBS crawl. Tessa Jones takes in a beat up stranger in a blizzard who isn't what he appears to be. This is a Jones/Bravo crossover book.
My Grade = B

THE WEDDING PROMISE by Carolyn Davidson
This story about a young woman abandoned with her two younger brothers by the wagon train she was traveling with is taken in by a stranger and offered a marriage of convenience. Another UBS find this was a sweet western and I like mine with a bit more grit.
My Grade = C

BEAST by Judith Ivory
This is another book that's been in my tbr for forever. I also know it's on a lot of people's "best" lists. It's a DNF for me. I am putting it back in the tbr and plan to give it another try someday to see if it was one of those right book at the wrong time sort of things.
My Grade = DNF

THE BOUNTY HUNTER by Cheryl St. John
Another western "lite" this is a story of a bounty hunter turned sheriff who try as he might can't stop thinking about one particular saloon owner. Lily Divine is a mover and shaker in her little community and involved in many aspects of its welfare.

This book worked for me when it concentrated on the characters. I had a tough time believing a woman could be as successful in business with all men (the other saloon owners) as Lily was.
My Grade = C+

SCENES OF PASSION by Suzanne Brockmann
Living at home with her parents at 29 Maggie Stanton's life gets a well deserved shake up when a friend from her past comes back to town. Another UBS find and an old Brockman Silhouette Desire I'd missed previously.
My Grade = C

HOLD ON TIGHT by Stephanie Tyler Book 3 of the series. This is Chris and Jamie's story. I was anxious to see where Ms. Tyler was going to take us with Chris and Jamie after introducing them to us in TOO HOT TO HOLD. I liked the story starting out with Chris so vulnerable, wounded and struggling to remember the details of a mission gone terribly wrong. Could it get worse when Jamie shows up to investigate what happened? My Grade = B


Saturday, January 30, 2010


1. Yes I know I suck for not posting forever and then just doing a post that sends you to Access Romance. What can I say? That column is keeping me, barely, connected.

2. Holy guacamole! I was shocked to realize that Academy Award nominations are next week. I'm further shocked to realize that I probably will have seen hardly any of the movies nominated.

3. Are you invested in the Super Bowl? Yeah, lots of history. Yes, I know the NO Saints are the underdog that has risen from the ashes, but just because he fills out a pair of jeans so nicely, I'd have liked to see Bret Favre make it to the Super Bowl. This from a woman without a favorite team and who rarely watches a game. I collect all my info by osmosis from the men in my life.

4. January was supposed to be the "slow" month at work. Yeah, not so much.

5. I've been asked to officiate another wedding.

6. I'm more connected than ever with 3 email accounts, twitter, facebook and a blog. How is then that I hardly ever get to go out and play?

7. Lisabea is visiting SoCal and we plan to drown her in SoCal blogger love on Feb 6. Wanna have lunch with us?

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Men Who Read Romance

Do you know any? Men who read romance novels? Do you have any of this little known species in your life? Well, I do. I'm talking about it over at Reader's Gab at Access Romance.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

One is the loneliest number...

Driving into work having a one sided conversation in my head about a book is just not the same thing as interacting with other romance readers online. It just isn't. It begs the question how I've stayed away from blogging and blog hopping for a record length of time in the almost 5 years I've been a blogger doesn't it? Well, maybe for you it doesn't but I sure wonder.

It's occurred to me several times to pack in my blog and call it a day already. Romancelandia can function just fine without one more voice in the darkness compelled to offer up her opinion. Really it can. It isn't that I can't think of stuff to say, or that I've gotten bored with writing and exchanging ideas with all of you. It has simply come down to a question of time.

I'm not special or any different than probably thousands of women across the world. I'm sure I'm no busier at work than many of you. I work an average of 45-50 hours a week. My day has gotten longer (for me) because I've added an hour of swimming or walking 6 days a week. That's the actual workout time. With travel to and from and showering after, my workouts become more like a 2-3 hour time commitment. This, as it turns out, makes all the difference in my blog time.

At first I was dividing my disposable time between reading and blogging. I missed my reading horribly. I was down to literally cramming 15 minutes here and a half hour there. Another factor was fatigue. With an hour workout added to the day I'm not up much past 11 PM these days and so my night time reading and blogging has become non-existent. It turns out GG, the boys and my other family members want me to interact some with them too. Can you believe that????

Even though I've mentioned most of this stuff before I've finally sort of wrapped my brain around the idea that my life is going through another change. If I want to enjoy my leisure time I have to learn to be less rigid and worried about stuff. It's been driving me crazy trying to "schedule" everything. *sigh* Same lesson, new day. I'm such a slow learner sometimes. So, once again it's Independence Day. I'm liberating myself to do whatever comes naturally.

There may be brief and short posts. Posts might not be as polished as I've done in the past. My blog hopping may be sporadic. I hope you will comment, email or share with me what's going on if I've happened to miss some big news you are sharing. I will do the same in return.

So it looks like I'm here to stay. I have no idea how this will all turn out in 2010, but I'm eager as ever to see what the year brings.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

December 2009

I only read five books in December. That says it all. It was quite the busy month, but then it always is. You'd think after all these years I'd have a bit more perspective and acceptance, wouldn't you?

Here they are.

HARD TO HOLD by Stephanie Tyler

I picked this book up by accident. Of course once I noted it was a SEAL book it pretty much closed the deal on me buying it. This first book is about SEAL Jake Hansen who on one of his missions rescues Doctor's Without Borders physician, Isabelle Markham from a near death hostage situation. Well done and an enjoyable read. My only beef is wishing for a bit more character layering.
My Grade = B

Re-read of a trilogy of stories in one trade paperback. Individually published by Ellora's Cave these three linked stories have Ms. Strong's own brand of vampirism and lore. It's on my keeper shelf and was a "lighter" vampire story and not as PC as some.
My Grade = B

STAND IN GROOM by Suzanne Brockmann
This is one of Ms. Brockmann's earlier works and one I hadn't read before so I snapped it up when it was re-released. This is a contemporary marriage of convenience story. Some interesting dynamics on this often used story device and your certainly see glimmers of the wonderful writer she is today.
My Grade = B-/C+

EARLY DAWN by Catherine Anderson
I hadn't read a Catherine Anderson book in ages but when I saw this was a western I decided to pick it up. Having read about Eden Paxton's siblings in earlier books I had no trouble jumping into this one and enjoying it.

After a horrible break up with her fiance in San Francisco, Eden decides to lick her wounds and move to Colorado to be near her loving and protective half brothers. On the way the train is robbed and Eden is kidnapped. Matthew Coulter is hunting the men who murdered his wife when he finds Eden their captive and has to decide whether it's more important to rescue Eden or exact his revenge.

This had the best things I love about westerns. Real people in extraordinary circumstances.
My Grade = B

SUMMER BREEZE by Catherine Anderson
This is an earlier book about the Paxton's that I had in my tbr and pulled out after reading EARLY DAWN. In this book Rachel Hollister has lived literally closed off from the world since the massacre of her family years earlier. When her only contact with the world, her hired man, is bushwhacked, her neighbor Joseph Paxton promises him that he will take care Rachel while he heals. But how do you take care of someone barricaded in their home?

I had some issues with the ending of this book, but if you like well written character driven westerns, you'll like this and who knows maybe the ending won't bug you.
My Grade = B