Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Crystal Passion - Jo Goodman


As you probably already know - Wendy has a weekly feature known as Random Romance Sunday where she randomly selects a romance novel and posts it up on her blog.  A week ago sunday that random romance novel was Crystal Passion by Jo Goodman.  I picked this book up at a used book store along with 8 other Jo Goodman books without even glancing at the back cover blurb - it's Jo Goodman - she's an autobuy so why would I bother.

Well last week when I saw Wendy's post and read the blurb...

When Ashley awoke from her drugged sleep, she found herself in the bedchamber of a dark-haired, steel-eyed stranger. Before she could escape, his powerful hands had pinned her to the bed--before she could scream, his lips had captured hers. Before she could explain that her guardian had tricked them both with a vile and ruthless scheme, the rapture of his searing, searching caresses drove all thought from her mind. All she could feel was hunger for his touch, thirst for his kiss, and yearning for ecstasy's endless pleasures...

Captain Salem McClellan was amused to discover that the Duke of Linfield's hospitality included a lithe young beauty to warm his bed. Tangling his fingers in her ebony hair, exploring the creamy satin of her flesh with burning lips, he felt the fire of Ashley's response beneath him. Too late, he realized her innocence and knew he could never leave her to the Duke's mercy. For he was enchanted by her fierce pride, ensnared by her rare beauty, and enthralled by the night of shimmering CRYSTAL PASSION

I couldn't believe it - this isn't the same Jo Goodman I've read and loved before it can't be!  Then I was afraid to ever read and just thought I would keep it so I would have the full collection on my shelves but then I thought No.  There is a whole pile of Jo Goodman books with ridiculous titles and over the top blurbs and if I don't read this one I'm not going to read any of them.

So I read it.


Thank God.  The blurb is way off.  That scene doesn't happen like that at all.  There are no forced seductions.  Although there is a non-consensual sex scene it is well after the scene that is noted in the blurb above and doesn't make the hero a domineering asshole (trust me on this).  I wouldn't call the prose purple - there were no turgid members to be found anywhere (although there was some sipping and laving going on).  It was kinda lavender I guess you would say - all flowery language used to get around saying what was actually happening.  It was quite boring actually and I ended up skipping most of the sex scenes.

And just to fill everyone in on the synopsis of the story since the blurb tells you a whole lot of nothing. The book takes place during the American Revolution and Salem (Jerusalem) McKlellen is a colonial captain who is in England looking to purchase one of the Duke of Linfields horses for his father. The Duke of Linfield is a seriously disturbed individual who happens to be the guardian of the heroine Ashley Lynne.  The duke is marrying her off to an impotent 80 year old man and just for his own enjoyment plans on having Ashley raped by the next man who stays at the Linfield residence.  Lucky for Ashley this is Salem and he's not interested in forced sexual encounters (despite what the blurb wants you to believe)  Anyhoo, once he realizes what a sicko the Duke is Salem decides that he wants to marry Ashley and get her away from her guardian and the two have to escape the Duke and try to make it back to America together. Oh and as a mini-spoiler there is a portion of the book where Ashley believes that Salem is her brother (although Salem is pretty certain it's a lie) and that was kinda icky for me.

I enjoyed both the hero and heroine.  The heroine was able to be naive without being TSTL and the hero was an all around great guy.  My only problem with the book was that it seemed to stall at about the half way point and never really picked back up again.  I found myself skimming over much of the last half of the book and I'm having trouble even remembering much about it other than the fact that I was ready for it to be over a good 100 pages before it was.

This was one of her first books though and I know how good she can be so I'm not going to have a problem picking up the rest of her books regardless of the ludicrous titles, cover art and blurbs.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Gold Coin - Andrea Kane

This is the first book I've read for the winter 2011 challenge.

Back Cover Blurb
As children, identical cousins Anastasia and Breanna Colby swore always to protect each other. Now that Anastasia's beloved parents have died, she has come to live with Breanna...and Breanna's father, whose raging temper has locked his daughter into a life of fear. What is more, Anastasia soon realizes that her uncle is involved in a sinister scheme that places both young women in deadly danger. Fearing most of all for her cousin, Anastasia turns to the only help she can think of, the man who holds the reins to her considerable fortune-the fascinating, enigmatic Damen Lockewood, Marquess of Sheldrake.
From the moment Anastasia and Damen meet, blazing passion flares between them. But in the face of overwhelming peril-and threats on Anastasia's life-thoughts of love cannot be indulged. Not unless the mystery that entraps them is solved will they at last be able to pursue the future their feelings command them to share. But is the danger stalking them really gone?
My Thoughts
I liked somethings about the book (plot) and disliked other things (characters).   First my dislikes,
1. Identical cousins? Really?  I know their fathers were twins and their mothers sisters but to be alike enough that their parents can't even tell the two apart?  Come on.  Only a minor qiuibble I know but annoying enough to jerk me out of the story anytime it was mentioned.
2. Too perfect characters.  There were no shades of grey in this book.  You had the good guys (where you could all but see the glowing halo's over there heads) and the bad guys who you could imagine walking about in a cloud of their own toxic miasma they were so evil.
3. Romance? What romance?  Yes there was a  couple in the story but that was it.  This is the amount of time devoted to the romance. 
Anastasia: Hi, I'm Anastasia I'm incredibly smart, business minded and I won't let you boss me around.
Damen: Hi, I'm Damen.  I find your intelligence and business-sense incredibly attractive.
Anastasia: I love you.
Damen: I love you.
Breanna:  Thank God you showed up Anastasia to take this rich, charming and incredibly handsome gentleman off my hands.  Too think I almost had to marry him - the horror!  
And that's it.  Yes for awhile Anastasia had to pretend to be Breanna so Breanna's father wouldn't find out but that's it.  And there was no conflict in the relationship since they were both perfect.  How can there be?
4. Wallpaper Historical - while I don't consider my self an expert on  history by any stretch of the imagination I find it incredibly hard to believe any of the characters in this story acted true to the time period.  Viscount's and Marquieses as business men.  The girls had entirely too much freedom with zero consequences.
After all this what did I like?
The plot moved along quite well.  It was actually quite a good suspense plot although I'd consider it suspense light since you always knew what the bad guy was planning and so did the good guys so you could be pretty certain it was going to work out well for the good guys.  Even so it kept me turning the pages and was left on a bit of a cliffhanger so although I'm luke warm about the characters I'll be reading the second book.   I'm hoping to enjoy the next one a little more as Breanna didn't appear to be the "fiesty" heroine stereotype that Anastasia was.  I also hope her hero has some flaws and they have a few internal challenges to work out.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter 2011 Challenge

I've joined the winter 2011 challenge in the Readers of Romance Group over at Shelfari.

This is my list.

1. Reader’s Choice - The Gold Coin by Andrea Kane
2. Reader’s Choice - Beyond the Rain - Tess Granger

3. Reader’s Choice - nothing yet
4. Read a book by an author you’ve been wanting to try, but haven’t yet - Venus by Jane Feather
5. Choose a cover with a headless model - Not Quite a Husband - Sherry Thomas
6. Read an Enemy story http://likesbooks.com/enemy.html - Keeper of the Dream by Penelope Williamson
7. Read a book by Jill Shalvis or Nancy Warren -
8. For MLK Day: Read a Title with 'Dream' in it - The Dream Hunter - Laura Kinsale
9. A book where one of the main characters has a weird/uncommon name - The Perfect Match - Kimberly Cates
10. Read a Christmas themed book OR an author that first or last name begins with C http://likesbooks.com/christmas.html - Sea of Fire by Carol Caldwell
11. Read a book that has 2 words in the title - Sweet Release by Pamela Clare
12. Read a book by picking one off your Shelfari’s friends shelf (and list who you got it from to make it fun!) By Design by Madeline Hunter (Kristine G)
13. Read an American Indian themed book http://likesbooks.com/native.html - Tall Cheif by Dinah McCall
14. Read a book that has been on your shelf for a while (Out with the Old!) Key of Light by Nora Roberts
15. Read a book that was published in 2011 -or Dec of 2010 (In with the New!) - nothing yet

Between this challenge and the TBR 2011 challenge I should have plenty of reviews to post to my blog.  There are a few other challenges I may join as well.  It will definitely make it easier to choose which of the books in my enormous TBR pile I should read next.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 AAR Top 100 Results

Okay, so I managed to get my top 100 romances ranked into list form for AAR (although #40 - 100 are probably pretty interchangable).  Anyhoo, if my math is correct:

I've read 35 of the top 100 Romances
25 of my top 100 Romances made the list
Only 2 of my top 10 made the list (Outlander - Gabaldon and Knight in Shining Armour - Devereaux)
29 of the Top 100 are in my TBR pile
There are only 2 books I have no intention of reading on the list (On the Way to the Wedding - Quinn and Ransom - Garwood)

Here is the full list of AAR's Top 100 with my ratings/comments below.  I'm sorry if it's hard to read.  You have no idea how much time it took to figure out how to get this table into blogger without having to re-do the whole thing with HTML.

Okay - I can't get it to work properly.  It shows up in preview then disappears when I publish the post.  This may have something to do with the reason I keep dropping out of blog land.  I spend hours trying to get something set up on the blog - it doesn't work and then I don't want to look at it anymore.  Boo.

Okay so I sort-of got something to work.  Don't ask me how I managed to get the first one so easy to read and then not the rest.  I don't know and I'm not going back to do it again.  If you click on each picture it opens a little bigger.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Back Again

Who is the lonely bookworm?  If you asked me in 2009 I'd tell you to read my side blurb.  If you ask me now... she's a slacker!!!  Holy Moses - no posts since August and only a pitiful handful of posts all year.

Well - I'm back again.  It's been a busy/stressful year and I've had trouble finding time to read any of the other blogs let alone write my own.  I've filled most of my spare time with reading which is so very relaxing for me after spending so much time on the computer at work.  

But I miss writing about my books and I tried the handwritten journal but it's just not the same so I'm back and I'm going to try to post more often.  I've joined the 2011 TBR challenge so that should guarantee at least 1 post a month.  I also joined a challenge over on Shelfari and will be posting those reviews here as well so you never know maybe even two a month.

It used to be easier for me to post at work prior to my "pro"motion (you know the kind where you get more responsibility, longer hours and the same pay??) but when I was moved to my own office I got stuck with the slowest computer in existence so doing anything internet related on my lunch is beyond frustrating.

Anyhoo, onwards and upwards.  I'm going to be posting about AAR's 2010 100 Top Romances List next but I'll need sometime to compare it to my own list and already read pile.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

E-Book Deal and Recent Reads

It's been a very busy few weeks for me.  I was on vacation last week and of course with the joys of full time employment that means double the work before I leave and double the work when I get back from vacation so I've been busy little bee.

In the meantime I have managed to squeeze in some reading.  The first book I read was To Speak for the Dead by Paul Levine which is the first book in his Jake Lassiter series.  If you've read some of my previous posts you may know that I'm a huge fan of Paul Levine's Solomon vs. Lord series (even though I loathe Victoria).  I'd been scouring used books stores trying to find the first book in the Lassiter series and having no luck.  Some time ago I'd signed up for Paul Levine's newsletter and a few weeks ago I recieved an e-mail that said Paul had re-released 3 books in e-book format.  The first two Lassiter books and one stand alone.  Not only that but they have been released at the (temporary) very attractive price of $2.99 - that's right $2.99 and what's more is that proceeds from the sale of the first Lassiter book goes to the Four Diamonds Fund which supports cancer treatment for children at the Penn State Hershey Childrens Hospital.  It's a win-win I had to buy them.

I've since read To Speak for the Dead and while I didn't enjoy it as much as the Solomon novels it was still a very good read and if your interested in courtroom legal thrillers I'd recommend scooting over to the website and purchasing the e-book.

I also read Missing Pieces by Joy Fielding - I spent the whole book waiting for something to happen and then it finally did and it was over in 2 pages.    Basically the writing was okay, the characters were thoroughly unlike-able and the suspense was non existent - just an overall mediocre read for me.

The last book I read was for the book club and I didn't expect to enjoy it but it's one of my best reads so far this year.  I'm going to post a full review on it later but The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton was totally awesome.  I finished the book and could not think of one negative thing about it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sookie and the Trouble Shooters

Well last week I read two more installments of series I have on the go.  The first one I read was All Through the Night A Trouble Shooters Christmas by Suzanne Brockmann and the second was Living Dead in Dallas by Charlene Harris.  I had mixed feelings about each of them.

Lets start with the Trouble Shooters.  While I did enjoy reading more about Jules and Robin  I was a little dissappointed to reach the middle of the book and realize this really wasn't a romantic suspense at all.  It was very much a contemporary romance with a bit of drama thrown in at the end.  Which is fine.  If I'm in the mood for a contemporary romance.  Which I wasn't.  I'm sure if I'd done a little digging around I would have realized this prior to starting but when I see Brockmann and Troubleshooters on the cover of a book I tend to assume things.  Otherwise I did quite enjoy the story.  I wish Will and Dolphina's story was a little more fleshed out since I really like Will from the previous book he was in but it is a novella so I can see why it was a tad abbreivated.

Now on to Sookie.  After I read the first book I mentioned that I had trouble warming up to Sookie.  I found I liked her quite a bit more in this book and I found the action/mystery was able to hold my attention more in this book as well.  My only problem this time is Bill.  He just seems so blah - like there isn't a whole lot of personality in there.  Eric on the other hand seems far more developed as a character and I find I enjoy the scenes with him far more than those with Bill but maybe that's intentional.  I haven't read a whole lot about this series other than that lots of people seem to like it so perhaps Sookie is going to go in a different direction.  I don't know but I don't really see whats so great about Bill.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Clubs

A few months ago I joined a book club with my cousin.  I'd been wanting to join a book club for quite sometime but I was never able to find one in my area.  My cousin won't read "those" books so we joined a general fiction club and since then I've discovered two things.

1. I enjoy general/literary fiction less than any other genre


2.  I seem to be a very different type of reader than readers of general fiction

I've never been a big fan of general fiction but every now and then I will pick one up that sounds interesting or that I've heard a lot of buzz about - 9 times out of 10  I don't get what all the fuss was about.  Well as I go to these meetings I'm realizing that the other people in the group seem to take away a lot more from these books than I ever do.  They find all kinds of hidden meanings and parallels to their own lives, life lessons, things that change their perspective on this or the next thing.  Meanwhile I'm sitting there and my biggest contribution is "I thought _________ was a jack ass."

Okay - so there's a little bit more to my comments than just that but I don't notice all those other things in the book and I've been really trying.  I notice the characters and their growth, the authors storytelling ability, the plot, the actual story, writing style which the others may note in their observations but there certainly isn't a lot of discussion on it.

There is a certain amount of book snobbery going on as well.  It's not blatant "genre fiction is trash" snobbery but when last months women's fiction choice was originally announced there was a certain amount of eye rolling that went along with it and although most of the members did enjoy it they were certain to say "even though it had no substance" or something along those lines.   Also someone mentioned that there were a few other book clubs at the store and one of them happened to be a paranormal romance book club.  When one of the older ladies questioned what a paranormal romance was the general answer was "Oh it's basically sex with vampires".  Well no it's not and I find it irritating that someone who works in a bookstore can have that opinion.  There is an employee there who is always sticking her ______ recommends sticker on paranormal romances and she has enjoyed some very good ones.  I would think that you could at least maybe say "Hey ______".  "I don't get this genre but since a lot of customers seem to enjoy it maybe you could recommend a good one to me so I have a better understanding of it".  

Oh well.  What can you do?  I've thought about joining the paranormal romance book club but they seem to be reading a lot of book 2's, 3's, 4's etc.  which would mean having to read 2 or 3 books prior to the book club book and that would be a bit of a paranormal over dose for me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What I've been reading

So like I mentioned earlier I have still been reading I just have not been all that excited about it.  Here are the books I've read since my last posting waaaaaaaaaaay back in April.  This may be tough since it doesn't look like I've updated the books I've read on my Shelfari account since April and I don't have access to bookpedia at work but here it goes.

Night Keepers - Jessica Anderson

I don't remember a whole lot about this book other than a general feeling of Meh.  I seem to recall the hero being a ridiculous wuss who moaned and groaned and tried to avoid his responsiblity to save the world for the majority of the book.  I know, I know anyone would probably have to wrestle with the whole saving the world thing but that's not how I want my god-like heros.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley

Oh how I loved this book.  Flavia de Luce is the wonderfully precocious 11 year old amatuer sluth in this mystery series which surprisingly is aimed at adults.  Flavia is awesome.  That's all I have to say.  I love this girl.  If you have any interest in mystery series I strongly suggest you these ones a try.

The Shack - William Paul Young

I had to read this one for a book club.  For me quite frankly it was awful.  Although I was raised catholic 12 years of catholic education has made sure I'm not practicing.  Anyhoo, didn't like it and wish I could get back the time I spent reading it.  In a nutshell the narrators daughter is horrifically murdered and the narrator loses his faith in God.  God invites him to meet him at the shack where she was murdered.  God is there in the form of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and they continue to patronize the narrator (I forget his name) and talk about how much they love everyone for the rest of the book.  Blech.

While my Sister Sleeps - Barbara Delinsky

This was another book club read.  I also didn't particularly enjoy it.  I disliked most of the characters and I didn't particularly care about "What Robin would have wanted"

The last Three Adrien English Mysteries - Josh Lanyon

I thourougly enjoyed all this entire series - even when Jake was being a total dick.  At least he stayed true to his character.  I am very sad there will be no more of them though.  I sense a Josh Lanyon spending spree in my near future.

Annie's Song - Catherine Anderson

I read this back in April and although I admit that I don't remember a whole lot about it, I do remember that I loved it while I read it.  I believe I gave it a 9/10 in my log.

Industrial Magic - Kelley Armstrong

I didn't enjoy this one as much as Dime Store Magic.  I liked the story but I wish there had been more Paige and Lucas relationship to the story.

Dead Beat - Jim Butcher

Another solid installment of the Harry Dresden series.  Man I love Harry and all his sarcastic hilariousness.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan

I had high hopes for this one but about halfway through I realized I really didn't like it.  I still finished it but my main problem was the detached way the author wrote.  I never understood why some people didn't like first person narratives.  Now I do - when it's done like this it's extremely difficult to care at all about any of the characters.

I also re-read the first four books of Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth Series in anticipation of finally buying the last three books and then finishing the series - which now I probably won't be doing.  I started reading the Count of Monte-Cristo (which is gigantic) and I was enjoying it but it's one of those books you have to work at reading because it was written so long ago and translated and I really needed a break.  One day I'll go back to it though.  Otherwise I really can't remember what else I read.  I know there is more but I'll be damned if I can think of them now.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wildest Dreams - Rosanne Bittner

As you may have realized from my last post.  I loved this book.  It was a 10/10 for me.  I can't think of one thing that bothered me about it.  It also had the wonderful intangible quality that some books have that just grab you right from the beginning and don't let you go.

Blurb from Fiction Database

Lettie MacBride knew that joining a wagon train heading west was her only chance to begin anew, far from the devastating memories of the night that had changed her forever. But though she might leave the past behind, she never believed she would escape the pain of innocence lost, nor feel stirrings of desire for any man .... until she met Luke Fontaine.

Haunted by his own secrets, Luke could never blame Lettie for what had happened in the past. One glance at the pretty red-haired lass was enough to fill the handsome, harddriving pioneer with a savage hunger. This was the woman he wanted by his side as he fought to build an empire -- to tame a land that only the strong could take and only the courageous could keep.
Against relentless snows, murderous desperadoes, and raiding Sioux, Luke and Lettie would stand together, bound by a passion that ran deep. But violence and tragedy would stalk them, and in this time of endless tears and brutal challenges, they would face a heartrending choice -- to abandon a lawless land before it destroyed them, or to fight for their ... Wildest Dreams.

When I first started this book I wasn't sure I was going to like it.  Bittner does something a little different at the beginning and has Lettie and Luke meet then skips forward 7 weeks to a point where the two are already in love with one another and just haven't let the other know.  At that point I thought to myself - I'll give it a hundred pages - if I'm not buying this relationship by then I'm out.  Ha!  I don't even know when I hit the 100 page mark because by the time I came up for air the first time I was already almost 250 pages in.  Luke and Lettie still have so much more to learn about one another and so much to go through you see them fall in love again and again over the course of the novel.  
On to Luke and Lettie.  Luke is Alpha in all the right ways and Beta when it comes to how he treats Lettie.  And even with all that being said Bittner still manages to give Luke flaws that make him real and all the more likable for it.  Lettie is a wonderful heroine and so very strong.  From being able to overcome her traumatic past and love her son to being there every step of the way to support Luke even if it means having to shoot someone.
These two don't have it easy.  There are some terribly heart wrenching moments in this book and there are also some really touching happy moments.  It is definitely a roller coaster but it is so worth it to get to the ending.  In my opinion this book  was everything a good western romance should be.

I was stuck in Limbo...

...and now I'm back!  I hope.

I'm not sure what happened but I seemed to get stuck in this bizarre slump.  I was still reading and still enjoying reading but I just couldn't get excited about it.  I didn't want to write about what I was reading, I barely kept up my book log with dates and ratings, I stopped visiting the reading blogs/message boards and I wasn't even particularly interested in buying books. 

It was weird.

Thank God for Rosanne Bittner.  I needed a really good, angsty, great big thick western saga to pull me out of it and Wildest Dreams definetely fit the bill.  I can't remeber the last time I was this sucked into a book - to the point where I was cancelling plans with friends just so I could read more of it.   I finished all 600+ pages in two days and would have been shorter if I could have gotten around a few of the inconveniences of real life.

This book reminded me of why I love westerns so much.  I love how so much of the conflict comes from the dangers of living during that time and not foolishness from the hero/heroine.  The women had to be tough to survive back then so you are almost guaranteed a wonderful strong heroine (not fiesty - strong).  The men were not always rich and had to work to feed and protect their families. 

I'm so happy that the last time I was at the UBS there was an entire shelf of Rosanne Bittner novels.  As soon as I've saved up my money I'm heading off to scoop them all up. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Escape Artists

See these two adorable bundles of fur??

They look cute right? HA!

They are my nightmare.

The black and white bunny on the higher shelf would be Brodie - he's the original bunny. The con-artist. The one who tricked me into thinking rabbits were totally awesome. He's also deaf.

The dark brown bunny on the lower shelf is Abbie or as I like to call her Destructo-Bunny. She only has one eye (she came like that I swear).

So a little background information. I'm a huuuuge animal lover and I always, always, always have multiple pets. When my hubby and I moved into our first apartment I was there maybe 5 minutes before I started investigating what kind of pets would suit. I managed to convince Steve (hubby) that a rabbit would be perfect - the main selling point... we could clicker train him!!! (Yes, you did read correctly earlier he's deaf so that worked well).

 Anyhoo, we adopted Brodie from a local rabbit rescue and he was a fantastic apartment bunny. He was free range, never destroyed anything and always used his litterbox. So then I got it in my head that Brodie would be happier with a friend. And really what could be better than one bunny?? TWO!!!

Enter Little Miss Abbie Sunshine.   It was love at first sight for these two.  Which was great- until Abbie got all nice and settled in.  Then she brought out her alter ego - Destructo-Bunny.  Nothing was safe from her.  Books, carpet, furniture, cupboards, surround sound systems all were defenseless victims of

this ones teeth and claws.  Then do you know what happened????  Brodie joined in - he thought it was the greatest thing since bananas.

Now on to the original point of my post.  These two holy terrors live in my basement.  In an area that is larger than any of the extra bedrooms in our house - on the far side of the basement (away from the stairs).  Carpeted on one side/floor on the other, lots of toys, all the hay they can eat - trust me these bunnies are living it up down there.

So tonight when I get home from work I make my way down the stairs to feed them their dinner and who is waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs??? Brodie.  At the bottom of my stairs on the wrong side of the gate.  Wonderful. Do you know how many places there are for a rabbit to hide in a basement that is largely used for storage and laundry??? TONS!!  Thank GOD Abbie didn't figure out how to escape because she does not care for us humans.  She is a pet store bunny and had little to no interactions with humans at all for the first year and a half of her life and she does not care for us all that much now - unless we have food and we don't touch her.

So 40 minutes later I'm still chasing this cheeky little bugger around the basement - the most aggravating part -  it's not like he's hiding the whole time he comes right out to see you, head butts you, bites your sock but damned if you're getting your hands anywhere near him.  So suddenly I have a brainwave... NANNERS!!!  Why the heck didn't I think of nanners earlier???  So I go upstairs and get myself a banana and plop myself on the floor by the gate and proceed to share my banana with Abbie.  It takes a few minutes since he can't hear me but suddenly there it is between those two boxes - a nose and it's twitching.  Sure enough here comes the little stinker right across the floor up into my lap and helps himself to my banana.  It took a total of 3 minutes to get him that way.  Wow - did I feel foolish.

Despite all this they are still the cutest bunnies in the world so I guess I'll continue to feed them (that's a joke please don't call the humane society on me).  They are two of my babies and I adore them despite their stress inducing behaviors but bunnies most certainly are not for everyone :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Back Cover Blurbs


A couple weeks ago I picked up this book at Chapters for two reasons 1. I thought the cover was gorgeous 2. The back cover blurb made it sound fantastic.

This is the blurb

In 19th century Britain, Lavina Huntington's husband seems to appreciate her lively intellect and is eager to expand his wife's education from nature studies to the bedroom arts. Lavinia absorbs all he has to teach and glories in the birth of their son.

In 21st century Los Angeles, geneticist Julia Huntington studies the human genome, seeking the origins of human emotion. As passionate about her marriage as she is about her life's work, Julia is delighted to discover that she is pregnant.

Separated by nearly 150 years, Lavinia and Julia suffer the same shock when their men abandon them. Their powerful love becomes painful hate; their intense passsion transforms into icy logic. The genes of the Huntington women have formed their emotions - now their life experiences drive them to make decisions which they, and those they love, may not survive.

Now in edition to the blurb these are the little review snippets that were also included on the cover

"A must read for fans of smart, sexy books" - RT Book Reviews
"Steamy sex scenes make this a page-turner" - Booklist

"Part murder mystery, part psychological thriller, part commentary on genetics and human behavior, sexual jealousy, and betrayal, Soul is both provocative and unputdownable" Good Reading

SPOILER ALERT - FYI there are going to be a number of spoilers below so if you don't want to know stop reading.

I know blurbs are usually somewhat incorrect and I know not to believe all the glowing quotes on the books - HOWEVER, I do still use them to get a general idea of what is in a book.

Let me break these down

In 19th century Britain, Lavina Huntington's husband seems to appreciate her lively intellect and is eager to expand his wife's education from nature studies to the bedroom arts. Lavinia absorbs all he has to teach and glories in the birth of their son.

Okay, so far so good. This isn't too far off. I wouldn't say he is eager to expand his wife's education to bedroom arts since you know he's actually gay a Lavinia's youthful body is close enough to a boys that he can manage to perform on enough occasions to knock her up.

In 21st century Los Angeles, geneticist Julia Huntington studies the human genome, seeking the origins of human emotion. As passionate about her marriage as she is about her life's work, Julia is delighted to discover that she is pregnant.

This one they actually got right but really it's pretty vague I imagine it would have been more work to try and make it wrong.

Separated by nearly 150 years, Lavinia and Julia suffer the same shock when their men abandon them.

Well first off this gives me the impression that Lavinia's husband abandons her in 19th century Britain - I found this intriguing what did a woman do back them when their husband leaves them? Well just to be clear Lavinia's husband doesn't leave her he just stops having sex with her once her body becomes to womanly for him but still remains a pretty decent husband. He admires his wife's intelligence and allows her to assist him in his studies and still treats her very much as a treasured companion. Understandably, this isn't enough for Lavinia but I mean really when most marriages among the aristocracy were marriages of convenience I imagine she was better off than most other wives.

Julia's husband does leave her - for her best friend - while she is pregnant. Class act he was. I was actually looking forward to his death through the whole book.

Their powerful love becomes painful hate; their intense passion transforms into icy logic.

Ummmm, not really. There wasn't a whole lot of hate through the book lots of time with Lavinia and Julia feeling sorry for themselves and still being in love with their undeserving husbands but not a whole lot of hate. Icy logic - okay they can have that one but since it was absent for more than 3/4 of the book I don't think it counts.

The genes of the Huntington women have formed their emotions - now their life experiences drive them to make decisions which they, and those they love, may not survive.

What??? Where was this in the last 25 pages of the book? Whoop de do. Something that barely makes up a fraction of the book should not be a selling point on the back cover.

"A must read for fans of smart, sexy books" - RT Book Reviews

I like to think I'm a fan of smart, sexy books. It may have been smart but it was pretty low on the sexy scale.

"Steamy sex scenes make this a page-turner" - Booklist

I don't know what book I was reading because there were a couple of sex scenes which came across as emotionless and detached but I'd hardly say they kept me turning the pages of this book.

"Part murder mystery, part psychological thriller, part commentary on genetics and human behavior, sexual jealousy, and betrayal, Soul is both provocative and unputdownable" Good Reading

This is the big one for me. This is what sold me on this book and caused me to put back Meredith Duran's Bound by Your Touch and pick this one instead.

Murder Mystery - NO. There was nothing murder mystery about this at all. NOTHING. No one even died until the very end and their was no doubting who did it.

Psychological Thriller - Sure if your biggest fear is being bored to tears this may be terrifying.

Commentary on Genetics and Human Behavior - I guess I can give them this one. Sort of.

Sexual Jealousy and Betrayal - Okay they can have this one too but even that's not enough to sustain an entire book.

Provocative and Unputdownable - umm I guess that's subjective so I can't really argue but I wasn't feeling it. I'm also pretty sure unputdownable isn't a word.

Now overall this wasn't really I bad book. I finished it so it couldn't have been horrible but I was so annoyed by the time I finished it that it really knocked my enjoyment of the book down a few pegs.

The fact is this is a book about how two women in different times deal with their husbands abandonment on a day to day basis. They didn't do this by plotting elaborate murders then trying to get away with it. They did it by moping and feeling sorry for themselves for 400 for the 430 pages.

I'm really really annoyed at the Publisher right now. Although two of my most favourite fantasy series ever were published by Tor and out of 17 total books read I have only 3 with grades below 8/10. I can't see myself picking up another book by them unless I've done considerable research on it first.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Learned Something About Myself Today...

...I do NOT enjoy having the bedroom door slammed in my face. While I've read several sweet romances where the love scenes take place behind closed doors I can't say I've ever read a book before where the door is figuratively slammed in my face.

I just finished reading Lori Copeland's Promise Me Today which was a actually a very cute story and lovely light hearted western. HOWEVER, this was the first book I've ever read where there is a huuuuge build up to the the love scene and then the author gets thisclose to the h/h finally making love only cut out right before the good stuff happens. Now I'm not saying I need sex in my romances - I don't - I've enjoyed quite a few romances that were kisses only but this is different. I honestly thought for a moment that I was missing a section of the book I mean how do we go from this to that?? Why is she alone all the sudden?? And how exactly did our extremely talented hero (aren't they always tho?) manage to take the innocent heroine's virginity standing up?? Yes that's right I even know how they were planning on doing it since they were already in position before the author insisting on closing that damn door.

I can't help it I feel ripped off. That is such a big part of the story especially considering the conflict between the two leading up to this particular scene. Was he gentle? Did he talk to her? What did he say? Did they resolve anything or did they just ignore it and enjoy themselves? Did they talk to one another after? Was she happy? Was she ashamed? Was he?How the heck am I supposed to know this? It certainly wasn't made clear after the fact. The more I think about it the more frustrated I get.

Nope. I don't like this. Not one bit.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

All Over The Map Here

So it's been almost a month since I last posted - what have I been up to??? Mostly reading - lots and lots of reading. Here is what I've been reading since my last post...

Contact - Susan Grant


It amazes me how much my hormones can play a role in my enjoyment of a book. I was only luke warm on this book for almost the entire first half. I didn't care for any of the characters but wasn't bored enough to quit but then BAM!!!! It was like overnight I went from indifferent to enthralled. All the sudden I loved Jordan and Kao and HATED all those whiny useless passengers (honestly I was hoping someone would just open a hatch and dump them all into space). Anyhoo, I'm not sure if I loved the book or just thought it was okay or if it's somewhere in the middle but either way it's definitely a book worth trying if the subject matter (alien hijacking) sounds interesting to you at all. The romance was very well done and the end of the book had me on the edge of my seat and up far past my bedtime. I don't want to give away any spoilers but the only problem I had (after my overnight change of heart) was that the story could have continued on rather than ending when it did.

Ice Blue - Anne Stuart

Museum curator Summer Hawthorne considered the exquisite ice-blue ceramic bowl given to her by her beloved Japanese nanny a treasure of sentimental value—until somebody tried to kill her for it.The priceless relic is about to ignite a global power struggle that must be stopped at all costs. It's a desperate situation, and international operative Takashi O'Brien has received his directive: everybody is expendable. "Everybody." Especially the woman who is getting dangerously under his skin as the lethal game crosses the Pacific to the remote and beautiful mountains of Japan, where the truth can be as seductive as it is deadly….

I haven't read any other Anne Stuart books outside of the Ice Series (I know, I know I'm getting there) but man do I ever love the heros in these books. The heroines tending to be rather interchangeable but the hero's definitely make up for it. I know people tend to find problems with these books but I enjoy them so much while I'm reading them that I don't notice any of them. I'm just along for the ride and I love every second of it :)

Dime Store Magic - Kelley Armstrong

Forget the cackling green hag in "The Wizard of Oz", forget Samantha from "Bewitched". Real witches are nothing, NOTHING like this. For years real witches have hidden their powers, afraid of being persecuted. They have integrated so well into the community, you could have a witch living right next door and never know about it. Take Paige, for instance, whom we first met in Kelley Armstrong’s novel Stolen. Just an ordinary twenty-something who runs her own website design company, worries about her weight and wonders if she’ll ever find a boyfriend. Okay, so she’s leader of the American Coven and guardian of Savannah, the teenage daughter of a black witch. Really, life is ordinary. But then a telekinetic half-demon, Leah O’Donnell, shows up to fight for custody of Savannah. And although Paige is ready for her, she’s not quite so prepared for the team of supernaturals that Leah brings with her, including a powerful sorcerer who claims to be Savannah’s father.When all hell breaks loose -- literally -- and Paige is accused of witchcraft, Satanism and murder, the Coven, fearing exposure, abandons her. Cut off from her friends, Paige is forced against her better judgment to accept the help of a young sorcerer lawyer. And she quickly comes to realize that keeping Savannah could mean losing everything else.

I put off reading this one for well over a year despite how much I liked the previous two books. I really had no desire to read a story about Paige. I did not care for her in the last book and I wasn't sure how Armstrong was going to change that for me. Well, first off in the year between books I was able to forget a lot of the things that bugged me about Paige. Second of all getting inside Paige's head gave me a much better perspective of Paige and what made her tick and you could see where she was coming from and why perhaps she came off rather grating in the previous novel. I really liked Paige she was sarcastic and funny and tougher than she appeared to be - she was also easier to love than Elena was because she doesn't have that bitterness there. I also loved Paige's love interest Lucas Cortez he was quite different from the male werewolves. A charming, slightly geeky, smart alec sorcerer who is also a lawyer. Ahh loved him, loved him, loved him. There is a scene right after Paige and Lucas have sex for the first time (one of the best love scenes I think I've read to date actually) where I went from just really, really liking Lucas to bumping him up into my Top 10 heros.

I went to the cold cellar and grabbed a bottle of wine. When I returned, Cortez was still wrapped in the clean sheets, watching me.
"Good?" I said, holding out the bottle."Hmmm?" He blinked, then looked at the bottle. "Oh yes. Wine. Good. Great."I laughed. "I suppose I would be insulted if it was the wine you were staring at."He grinned then, a slow lazy grin that did something to my insides."Guess I'm still in shock" He said."Don't tell me I'm the first damsel in distress who's ever seduced you.""I can say, with absolute certainty, that you are the first woman who has ever even tried to seduce me, on or off a case."

Why did that scene make me love him so much?? I don't really know I think it was very refreshing not to have the typical totally gorgeous hero who has had sex a million times and seduces the heroine because he knows how much she wants him.Anyways, great book and I think it's my favourite in the series so far. I'm especially happy to see that their story is continued in the next book.

Recent DNF's

The Silent Rose - Kat Martin

This was a real disappointment. Especially since I have two other books by her in my TBR pile. The first chapter of the book was written very well and was incredibly spooky. I really thought this book was going to be great. Well - after that it was just boring. I got about a 100 pages in and couldn't take it anymore. I didn't like the hero or heroine at all and nothing happened. It's a shame really.

Ghost Story - Peter Straub

Once again BORING. I wasted 200 pages of time on this before deciding that whatever most people found scary about this book just didn't scare me.

Stardust of Yesterday - Lynn Kurland

Another author who I have multiple books in the TBR pile that I've never read before. Well - this book was just silly. I didn't really get the appeal of either the hero or the heroine. She wore feety pajamas for God's sake. I didn't even think they made those in adult sizes. It was also very boring the two of them fell in love almost right away and then a whole lot of nothing happens (you know something is coming though if only it got there sooner). I gave up after a 100 pages.So in that last month I read an entire books worth of pages that went no where. Quite frustrating actually. Thank God for the 3 amazing books that more than made up for it.

What I'm reading Now.

Currently I'm reading the first Sookie Stackhouse book ( I know I'm way behind on this one) and I'm really enjoying it. I'm not completely sold on Sookie yet but I think I'll come around to her. Bill and Sam I quite like and I'm interested in seeing more of Eric.

What else have I been up to... My husband and I are currently working on Freedom35. We figure if we aren't having kids, already own a house and we're both fortunate enough not to have any student loans to payback we really should be able to retire at 35 :) Anyhoo, this means I'm living on a "Till Debt do us Part" budget and storing the weekly money in labelled jars. I only get $12.00 a week for books so for the last 5 weeks I've been saving up my book money to do one big shop. I couldn't wait any longer and rather than going to the UBS where I could stretch my money farther I decided to go to Chapters with all those wonderful new book smells.Well am I ever glad I did that Chapters was having their buy 3 get 1 free paperback sale PLUS all young adult books were 20% off PLUS the 10% I get with my IREWARDS card. I was in book heaven. I managed to pick up 8 new paperbacks plus a young adult novel for $60.23.It was awesome. Here is my new loot.