Monday, May 31, 2010

Its Monday What Are You Reading!

From Sheila

I read a lot last week:

Sabina Clark - An Artful Lady A fun regency romance from the old Second Chance At Love line
Kimberly Raye - 'Til We Meet Again A fast paced paranormal romance from Silhouette Shadows
Ruth McCarthy Sears - The Encounter A cute if not ancient Candlelight Romance, very fun to read even though it was pretty dated
Jane Porter - King Of The Desert, Captive Bride An excellent novel from the Presents line. I generally don't care for this line because the heroes are too arrogant, but this one was really great

What I'm reading this week

I plan on finishing Tanith Lee's Darkness I, which I've sadly been reading for 2 weeks. I'm also reading Sondra Standford's And Then Came Dawn. Its one of the older Silhouette romances. I also hope to finally start Such A Pretty Fat, since I didn't get around to that one last week. I really need to start making headway in my TBR pile, because its really out of control. I need to buy more shelving or something. For Doctor Who fans, my house looks like Silence In The Library! (Only David Tennant isn't anywhere to be found)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What I'm Doing

What I'm Reading

I can't believe I'm still reading Tanith Lee's Darkness, I. I may be reading this one forever. That should be a sure sign that I should put it down and start something else, because its put me behind in everything that I wanted to read this past week.

I've also got a huge pile of old Silhouette Romances that I'm trying to work my way through. I keep finding books in my house that belong to my mom, and I can't pass them along until I've read them. I'm that kind of crazy.

What I'm Watching

I'm hoping to be watching the next few episodes of Doctor Who, which I have downloaded. I also hope to catch up with The Sarah Jane Adventures. I'm terribly far behind on those. I'm also debating whether or not I should start watching The Tudors.

What's On My TBR pile

I think its safe to say, entirely too much, right now.
All of the Sookie books
Janet Evanovich's 15th Stephanie Plum novel

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book Review: An Artful Lady

Author: Sabina Clark
Title: An Artful Lady
Publisher: Jove Second Chance At Love Regency 6
Publish Date: July 1981
Rating: 5 Stars

An Artful Lady is a delightful novel that will bring smiles to many regency fans. Its one of the few stories that has several relationships going on within the one story and Ms. Clark ties up all the loose ends beautifully.

The main story revolves around the widow Sara Roche, who is a portrait painter. Two men come into her life seeking her services as an artist, Christopher Ames, and American seeking to have his daughter's portrait done and Lord Edward Ramsey, who was looking to have his fiancee's portrait painted. The later ended up having his own portrait down.

Mr. Ames seems to be with Sara at every turn, enraging Ramsey, who is fast forgetting his fiancee, in favor of Sara. Ames isn't interested in Sara, but in her aunt Gussie. Then there is Amanda the young girl from the country who Gussie is bringing out for her first season.

The three characters and their love interests really work well together and getting all three to their happily ever after was quite fun. The best character was Christopher Ames. He was a thoroughly likable hero, even though he was a secondary one.

The only problem I had with the story was that her first love couldn't have been a perfect love. It would have been nice for Sara to have had a wonderful marriage prior to her meeting Edward, but that's only a minor irritation for me.

This was truly a wonderful fun story. I loved that everything wrapped up without any needless drama. I feel bad that my copy is falling apart from years of being in our basement, because this book would otherwise be one for the keeper shelf.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Finds

Another fun book meme care of Should Be Reading.

What great books did you hear about / discover this past week?

M.J. Rose - The Reincarnationist (Which inspired the now defunct Fox show Past Life)
Katie Crouch - Men And Dogs (This has been in all my bookstore emails this week)
Jean - Kwok - Girl In Translation

All three of these books are now on my wish list which is getting to be as long as the tail of Dicky Dragon.

Book Review: 'Til We Meet Again

Author: Kimberly Raye
Title: Til We Meet Again
Publisher: Silhouette Shadows 60
Publish Date: Jan 1996
Rating: 5 Stars

Mishella Kirkland has returned to Texas in hopes her healing touch will make her sister, Stacey well again. The only problem with her power is that a great evil seems to be following her. She sees visions of a blue eyed lady that offers advice. Then Raphael Dalton comes into her life.

He shares the same power as she, and they have a cosmic bond. Their power comes from a fallen angel, who expects their souls in return for its use. Mishella and Raphael have the souls of two lovers from hundreds of years in the past. If they can defeat the demon, they will be free of the evil and be free to love, and Stacey will be cured.

This story has just about everything, mystery, betrayal, and hot steamy sex. What else can you ask for? The best part is that the story is written so well, especially when Raye, gives the back story on the two lovers from the past. It really keeps you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the two present day lovers to come together.

The story has just the right amount of spice with the mystery and magic, that the reader is never overwhelmed. Plus the story moves along at a nice pace. The 240-ish pages fly right by.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Am Anal About My Books

I was at Goodwill today, perusing the used books when I happened across The Other Boleyn Girl. I've wanted to read that book for ages and ages. I pulled the book out and gave it a through inspection and put it back.


It was too beat up.

Granted the book was only 99 cents, but this is a book that will likely end up on my bookshelf for its life, and I don't want a copy that looks like it went through a war. None of the books I buy look like that after reading, so if its a keeper book, then I don't want the book to look that way when I bring it home.

My mother thinks I was nuts to pass up the book, but I just couldn't bring myself to bring home a book that I really hope to love that's already battered and broken.

Please tell me that I'm not the only one that would do something like this.

Book Review: The Encounter

Author: Ruth McCarthy Sears
Title: The Encounter
Publisher: Dell: Candlelight Romance 175
Publish Date: July 1975
Rating: 3 Stars

Ruth McCarthy Sears' The Encounter was written in 1975, and the world of romance and of women in romance was totally different then. The heroine Mara Belcourt has never gotten over her teenage crush on Richard Tudor, to the point where she's ruined for all other men, and she has several chasing after her.

Mara was given money to travel by her aunt Roz and she heads to Switzerland where she encounters and old friend (Kane Sheraton) and has a nasty encounter (someone tries to kill her). When she returns to the states, she sees her old crush and her heartstrings are tugged, even though she has the eye of Air Force Captain Andy Mann, who will be stationed near her home in Colorado.

Once home the intrigue that started continues, when Richard arrives, but he's not the same.

For a book from the 70s its actually pretty progressive in its subject matter. There's lots of talk of drug trafficking. The thing that bugs me about books in this time frame are the occupations the women have; nurses or librarians. Wow not even a token kindergarten teacher!

Mara comes across as shallow, what with her having a passel of guys after her, yet you really can't dislike her. Why? Because she's got that hope that she will win the affections of her crush only to spurn him in the end. Don't we all wish we could do that just once?

The twists and turns are really unbelievable, from a twin that was supposed to have been dead, but is back and involved in drugs to the two guys that stick around even though Mara really doesn't seem interested. How she ends up engaged to one of them at the end is really still a mystery to me, yet these 128 were quite engaging and fun, mostly because of how different category romances are written now.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday

This meme is from Breaking The Spine spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Janet Evanovich - Sizzling Sixteen

From Books-A-Million

Trenton, New Jersey, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has inherited a "lucky" bottle from her Uncle Pip. Problem is, Uncle Pip didn't specify if the bottle brought good luck or bad luck. . . .


Vinnie, of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, has run up a gambling debt of $786,000 with mobster Bobby Sunflower and is being held until the cash can be produced. Nobody else will pay to get Vinnie back, leaving it up to Stephanie, office manager Connie, and file clerk Lula to raise the money if they want to save their jobs.


Being in the business of tracking down people, Stephanie, Lula, and Connie have an advantage in finding Vinnie. If they can rescue him, it will buy them some time to raise the cash.


Finding a safe place to hide Vinnie turns out to be harder than raising $786,000. Vinnie's messing up Mooner's vibe, running up pay-per-view porn charges in Ranger's apartment, and making Stephanie question genetics.


Between a bonds office yard sale that has the entire Burg turning out, Mooner's Hobbit-Con charity event, and Uncle Pip's lucky bottle, they just might raise enough money to save the business, and Vinnie, from ruin.


Saving Vincent Plum Bail Bonds means Stephanie can keep being a bounty hunter. In Trenton, this involves hunting down a man wanted for polygamy, a turnpike toilet paper bandit, and a drug dealer with a pet alligator named Mr. Jingles.


The job of bounty hunter comes with perks in the guise of Trenton's hottest cop, Joe Morelli, and the dark and dangerous security expert, Ranger. With any luck at all, Uncle Pip's lucky bottle will have Stephanie getting lucky---the only question is . . . with whom?

"Sizzling Sixteen" . . . so hot, the pages might spontaneously combust.

Just one month to go! I can't believe I've read just about all of the Plum books!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book Review: King Of The Desert, Captive Bride

Author: Jane Porter
Title: King Of The Desert, Captive Bride
Publisher: Harlequin Presents 2725
Mini-series The Desert Kings
Publish Date: May 2008
Rating: 4 stars

Jane Porter's King Of The Desert, Captive Bride, is probably one of the best Presents novels I've read. The story revolves around Sheikh Khalid Fehr and Olivia Morse. Olivia is imprisoned in Jabar for smuggling drugs into the country. Thanks to a plea from her brother, Khalid manages to get her out of the prison but not without consequences. He has to marry her.

Khalid is not your typical Presents hero. He's not super arrogant. He's not nasty. In fact, Khalid is the kind of hero, most women dream about. He comes and rescues a damsel in distress.

Olivia is the one that the reader begins to feel frustrated with as the story progresses. Khalid is buying her fabulous clothes and doing his best to make her comfortable and she's fighting him at every chance. Oh and did I mention the guy rescued her from what would likely have been a death sentence in a foreign prison?

There are definitely a few times when the reader is left longing to shake some sense into Livy. Especially when Khalid follows the old adage, if you love someone set them free, down to the letter.

Once again, its thanks to her brother's intervention that she gets her happily ever after.

This is definitely a Presents for the keeper shelf.

Monday, May 24, 2010

What Are You Reading!

It's Monday and Bookjourney wants to know what we've been reading and what we're going to read.

Let's Recap, last week I read:

Karen Robards - Green Eyes
Mallory Kane - The Sharpshooter's Secret Son
Jen Lancaster - My Fair Lazy (read this for a few giggles)
Debra Lee Brown - Gold Rush Bride

Currently I'm reading:

Tanith Lee's Darkness, I. I didn't start this one until the end of last week. Everything I picked up seemed to take me forever to get through, even the Harlequins I read to keep my sanity.

Jane Porter - King Of The Desert, Captive Bride

What I'm going to be reading:

Jen Lancaster - Such A Pretty Fat

My best friend and my second mom, got the chance to go to a book signing, since she is lucky enough to live in Chicago, where Jen is from. She bought me a copy of this book and had it autographed for me! It is now one of my prized possessions!

Book Review: Green Eyes

Author: Karen Robards
Title: Green Eyes
Publisher: Avon
Publish Date: Jan 1991
Rating: 2 Stars

When Anna Traverne, discovers a housebreaker her world is turned upside down. She's a widow staying with her brother in law and his wife, only he wants to make her his mistress in exchange for a roof over her head.

Thankfully the housebreaker leaves her with the emeralds he was stealing and she manages to make her way to Ceylon. A few months later, her housebreaker finds her, intent on getting the emeralds back and getting Anna in his bed.

This book just didn't click with me. There were just too many things that didn't sit write with me and made this book a bit too hard to finish. First, the housebreaker, Julian Chase. I can understand his jealousy of his half-brothers but he seems to take it a bit too far. I can perhaps understand hating Graham, because he wasn't exactly the nicest guy, but Paul is dead, and he never did anything to hurt anyone.

Anna is another confounding character. There's no explanation for why she took the charity of her brother-in-law after her husband's death. Though it is safe to assume that it was a result of too much debt on the plantation her husband had in Ceylon. Plus, why does she call her daughter, Chelsea, chicken? It makes no sense at all.

There's a lot about this story that bugged me, particularly at the end. How does Julian claim his title when he was supposedly hanged for theft? Plus, how is it that Julian found Anna so quickly but Graham took so much longer? One would think that her abrupt departure, when she was without funds would make her an obvious suspect, when it came to the theft of the emeralds.

I won't even begin with my feelings on the sex scenes, because I think the two characters should have spent a little more time out of bed then doing it might have made the story a bit easier to handle.

This book wasn't 100% awful, but there was very little to recommend it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What I'm Doing

I liked this meme so much that I'm going to do it again this week

What I'm reading:

I'm about halfway through Karen Robard's Green Eyes. Its a fairly good historical romance, though I'm not sure if its one I can praise highly. I'll reserve my judgment until I finish it though. It might get better. Right now I'm not holding out much hope though. I just hope I can finish it. I hate to abandon books.

My bedside book this week is Tanith Lee's Darkness, I. I haven't read a good paranormal in ages and this book has been on my TBR pile for yonks.

I'm not far enough into this one to give you any idea of what I think of it, although I would wager that its probably better than Green Eyes. Right now I'd have to say even Twilight is better than Green Eyes and I hate Twilight.

What I'm watching:

I'm playing catch up this week: I'm still watching Castle, as I've fallen asleep before the last two week's episodes aired.

I'm also watching Ashes To Ashes. I can't believe I'm viewing series 2 and 3 at the same time. I have two epis of the current series to watch, but I'm not ready to reach the end of Alex Drake and DCI Gene Hunt yet. They are 2 characters I've come to love over the past few years.

What's on my TBR pile:

Debbie Macomber - Hannah's List
Jina BaCarr - The Blonde Samurai
Phillipa Gregory - The Boleyn Inheritance

Friday, May 21, 2010

Childhood Reads

I've been doing a lot of cleaning in our basement for the last few weeks and in doing so I've unearthed a lot of books. This past week, I found two of my favorite books from my baby years.

Both were Little Golden Books. The first was The Bunny Book written by Richard Scarry. Scarry wrote just about all my favorite books when I was little. There are loads of them still in the basement including "What Do People Do All Day" and "The Best Word Book Ever." I must have spent countless hours reading those books.

The other book was Baby's Birthday by Patricia Mowers. I wish this one didn't cost so much. A used copy of this one goes for about $69.00 and my copy was used and abused when I was little and didn't know better.

These books totally shaped my childhood. I squealed with delight when I found them. Its a shame that they weren't well protected for the 20 years they resided in boxes in my basement. I can still buy a copy of The Bunny Book, but not Baby's Birthday and that makes me terribly sad. These books are definite classics.

Did you read Little Golden Books as a child? Which ones where your favorites?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Book Review: The Sharpshooter's Secret Son

Author: Mallory Kane
Title: The Sharpshooter's Secret Son
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue #1162
Publish Date: Oct 2009
Rating: 4 stars
Mallory Kane's The Sharpshooter's Secret Son is the third book in the Black Hills Brotherhood mini series.

This book really made me nervous while reading it. Mindy Cunningham is being held captive by one of the world's most despicable terrorists and its her ex-husband Deke's job to get her back to freedom.

Deke is a sharpshooter for Irina Castle's Black Hills Search and Rescue and there's something that he knows that has put his ex wife's life in peril.

Things get complicated when Deke gets captured trying to rescue Mindy, and when they are thrown together again he discovers that she is pregnant with his child.

The knowledge that Mindy was pregnant made the storyline feel even more tense. It left you worrying not only for her safety but for the baby's as well. Things were really working against them. Deke was hit with the taser more times than anyone ought to be and still he goes on, doing his best to get his ex-wife out. Plus every time they seemed close to escape their captors found them.

Mallory really knows how to write a good thriller, and this was more thriller than romantic suspense. You got a happily ever after, but the storyline doesn't end here, so the terrorist is still out there waiting for a chance to get Idina Castle to find out what she knows about her husband's death.

I haven't read the other books in this series, but this one was so good, that I'm going to have to hunt them down

Book Review: My Fair Lazy

Author: Jen Lancaster
Title: My Fair Lazy
Published Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: New American Library
Ratings: 3 Stars

Jen Lancaster always delivers the funny with her memoirs, and this one is no different, but it is. Inevitably the lady is successful again and sadly that took away some of what made her other books so great. She had problems like you and me. She was snarky like all of my friends. OK, she's still snarky but in this book she's trying to gain cultural enrichment so she doesn't make an ass out of herself at special functions etc.

I don't fault the lady her success, but the subject matter most of the time doesn't make for as many laughs. The best parts of the book revolve around her pets especially Maisy and the newly acquired Thundercats. Even though the Thundercats usually provide some laughs, its Maisy's illness that really gives you a glimpse at the heart of Jen Lancaster. I always find that animal lovers are for the most part good people, and I really think Jen is no exception.

I just don't get as many laughs out of her going to wine tastings and the opera as I would when she was struggling to make ends meet. So for me, I just can't relate as much to her anymore.

That's not to say that its not a good book, because I did get my fair share of amusement out of it. How can you not? I mean this is a forty-something lady who has been successful and is successful again and she watches more reality tv than is healthy for anyone! That alone makes for some laughs, however its just not as laugh out loud funny as her previous books, particularly Bright Lights, Big Ass, in which I had to read at home because I was laughing every other paragraph.

Its worth a read, but perhaps not worth purchasing in hard cover. More fool me, in this instance. If you've read Jen before, you'll like this book, but if you haven't, I'd suggest reading her previous books first.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book Review: Gold Rush Bride

Author: Debra Lee Brown
Title: Gold Rush Bride
Published Date: December 2002
Publisher: Harlequin Historical #594
Ratings: 4 Stars

In Gold Rush Bride, Debra Lee Brown introduces us to Kate Dennington who travels to California from Ireland to see her ailing father. Upon her arrival at Tinderbox, she learns she's too late and she also learns that women and foreigners can't own and operate a business in the town.

That's where fur trapper, Will Crockett comes in. She needs a husband so she can pay for her passage back to Ireland. The two are hastily wed but things soon turn out to be a bit more complicated.

Kate is a very spunky, loyal and loving woman. She cares about her family and wants to help them. That's why she hopes to make enough at the store to pay for her passage home and pay off the debt that is owed by her and her family that remained in Ireland. She also seems to find trouble wherever she goes and that makes the story more entertaining.

The problem both Kate and Will share is a lack of trust and too many things they want to keep secret from one another. That really keeps them from coming together faster, even though its quite apparent from the beginning of the story that there's chemistry between them.

This book is very light on the passion, which is actually a little bit unusual for historicals, but the story isn't suited for many passionate romps, so it definitely works.

The only thing that really detracts from the story is the ending. It just comes about too quickly and too easily, but other than that, this was definitely a great read that I would recommend to anyone that likes historical westerns.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This Meme is courtesy of Book Journey

I'm just about finished with the two books I posted about on Saturday. So I went to my TBR pile which is more like a mountain, a very large one at that, and I decided that Tanith Lee's Darkness I is going to be my next read. I mentioned this one in my last post as well, but I'm going to give you a little synopsis on this one now.

Book excerpt from Amazon & Publishers Weekly

In broad daylight young Anna is kidnapped while her mother watches helplessly and her father lies nearby severely wounded. But Anna is Scarabae, one of an ancient family of vampires who live like much of the rest of humanity but differ in that their lives extend for centuries. Also, they have an occasional need for human blood. Her abduction sparks old feuds and strange alliances among various family members. It is no secret that the mastermind behind Anna's kidnapping, as well as that of other children, is Cain, the most ancient vampire of all. Lee mesmerizes the reader with her exquisite rhythm as she tells a complex tale of adventure permeated with surreal and erotic images. This book follows Dark Dance (Dell, 1994) and Personal Darkness (Dell, 1992). Although part of a series, it can be read and enjoyed on its own.

I'm looking forward to starting this one tomorrow. Since its a hardback it will be my bedtime book which will take me a lot longer to read than most of my other books.

Last week's books

Lynn Jacobs - Folly To Love
Erica Spindler - See Jane Die
Anne Worboys - Aurora Rose

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What I'm Doing

I borrowed...erm stole this idea from Bite Club.

What I'm reading:

Jen Lancaster's My Fair Lazy is one of my two current reads. Its her memoir on trying to gain some culture in her life, even though she's a reality TV junkie. Its amusing so far, but not as funny as her previous books. If I'm lucky, I'll finish it this weekend.

The second book I'm reading, and lord knows I don't know why I have two books going at the same time is Debra Lee Brown's Gold Rush Bride. Its about an Irish woman who comes to California to claim her inheritance from her father only to learn she needs to be married to run the business. She enters a convenient marriage with trapper Will Crockett. I'm not sure why she's so keen on returning to Ireland, as she's not likely to get more than her passage back for the store, and her family is seeped in debt. Though that has me a bit confused, I'm really enjoying this one.

What I'm Watching:

Doctor Who: Series 5: I'm loving the new doctor and his companion. This has been a wickedly awesome series so far!

Ashes To Ashes: I want to go all leg humpy on Gene Hunt. I love his bad boy image. I would so toss back a couple of pints with him and snog him silly.


Here are some of the reads I hope to get to in the coming weeks...months..uh..

Tanith Lee - Darkness I
Jackie Collins - Hollywood Wives The Next Generation
Michele Hauf - Her Vampire Husband

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Book Review: Folly To Love

Author: Lynn Jacobs
Published Date: December 1989
Publisher Harlequin Romance #3020
Ratings: 3 Stars

Olivia Morris is left with the debts her father created when he passes away from a stroke. She then takes a temporary job with interior designer Ross Courtenay, going through the library and sorting through the books there. Which results in the couple falling in love, except there are pitfalls, those being certain gossipy and jealous members of Ross' staff.

The story itself is cute and well written. Olivia and Ross are well suited. I love how he comes to her aid at all times, from when she falls to the financial rescue, but he doesn't really go all alpha male on her. He romances her with picnics and wine. What girl wouldn't fall for a guy like that? He's also teasing and flirty. Ross is definitely one hero that you can truly fall for.

What keeps this book from being great is the ending. When the jealousy of one of Ross' employees gets to be too much, Olivia runs. It doesn't really fit with the character and it definitely doesn't fit with a woman in love however inexperienced she might be. On top of it all she runs home, which is the antique store which is up for sale and has no phone or much in the way of furniture. It truly makes you question this girl's sanity.

Thankfully, Ross finds her and gives her a happily ever after, but the conflict at the end isn't believable enough and makes Olivia look childish. It spoils an otherwise excellent story.

Something New: Book Ratings

I have a hard time rating my reads, but I think for the sake of reviewing I'm going to start doing that.

But starting with my next review I'll have the following rating system:

1 Star: Not worth the time to read it.

2 Stars: Not terrible but not good either

3 Stars: A good read

4 Stars: A great book that I would recommend to a friend

5 Stars: A keeper shelf book

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Book Review: See Jane Die

Erica Spindler's See Jane Die is a suspenseful thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very ending. Its also one that doesn't give you a clue at the "whodunitt" either, so if you're like me, its pretty darn hard not to flip to the last page to see if everything worked out well for the chacters in the story. Jane Killian is a woman with much to live for. After a boating accident as a teen left her disfigured, she has rebuilt her life and her face, thanks to many surgeries. She has a promising career as an artist and a loving husband (Dr. Ian Westbrook) who is a plastic surgeon and a child on the way. That is until a woman from Ian's past turns up dead, and he looks like the most likely suspect.

To make matters worse, her semi-estranged sister was on the case. Then the notes start. Notes that very likely may have come from the boater that tried to kill her years earlier.

Jane starts out having it all and slowly but surely the killer takes away her security, starting with her husband, and then one by one, people she's worked with and friends.

The characters are written very well. The tarnished bond between the sisters really adds tension to the story.

By the time you reach the end, you aren't sure that Jane isn't going to lose it all. And the killer? Well, you'll never guess who it was, until you read it. Hands down one of the best thrillers I've read in a long time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book Review: Aurora Rose

Anne Worboys and her two star-crossed lovers: Nicholas le Grys, the second son of the Rundulls and Rose Snape the granddaughter of the butler. They are a wonderful example of people that should never fall in love with each other, but they do.

The result has consequences for both. Nicholas' love for Rose finds him accused of murder of a man who attempted to rape her, in a time when there really was no justice for the lower classes. When the two escape to London together things go from bad to worse.

Ultimately the two end up married to different people. Nicholas, because he drunkenly proposed to Cressina (who looks much like Rose) and Rose because her unborn child needs a father. They also end up on the same vessel headed to New Zealand.

Both characters are very strong willed and both marry people that let them trod all over them. I don't know which spouse I felt sorrier for, Cressina, because Rose was always there in the background and because she had the male child or Daniel, because he was really just a pawn and that's why I find it hard to like Rose.

Rose is very manipulative and she doesn't seem to care who she uses to get what she wants, which is Nicholas. Her lack of love for her children other than Giles is disturbing too.

The author did do a wonderful job at showing the colonization of New Zealand and the troubles the settlers faced from the natives. It proved to be a very exciting read at times. The book read more like a saga rather than a romance novel and one that was rather hard to put down.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cleaning & Books

I've been doing a lot of cleaning around my house and its inevitable that in doing so, I'll unearth books. My mom was a big reader before her eyes started failing her. So reading was naturally part of my life.

In the last few weeks I've been working at getting the basement cleared out. Not an easy task and in doing so I keep finding books, most of which are old Candlelights and Harlequins and such. This is presenting me with a problem. I hate to donate books to charity when I haven't read them.

Do you know what that means?

My to be read pile has grown some more.

Can I get an ARGH, please?

I'm working at reading a bunch of books that a friend gave to me ages ago. I'm currently reading 2 books, one a rather epic historical novel about the settlement of New Zealand and the other Jen Lancaster's latest offering. I'm halfway through both. Maybe by the end of the week, I'll have them both finished, before I buy any more books! (or find any!)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Book Review: Susannah's Garden

Debbie Macomber's books never disappoint. EVER. Susannah comes back to her hometown to deal with a mom with failing mental capabilities and a 20 year old daughter that is getting mixed up with the wrong guy.

As always, Debbie focuses more on relationships rather than love and passion. Her books touch your heart, because there's something about everyone's life in Debbie's book.

Susannah is in a rut when she goes home to Corville. She's frustrated with life and maybe a little bit frustrated with her husband Joe, and she's been dreaming about her high school sweetheart. Coming home and catching up with her old friends and discovering family secrets makes her determined to find out what happened to that ex (Jake).

She gets way more than she bargained for in the process. The story takes on a bit of a suspenseful turn when she hires a PI to find Jake.

The last chapters will definitely surprise most readers and it really makes for a happy ending for more than just Susannah and her family.

Debbie has created such wonderful character's; Susannah, the dutiful daughter, unsure of her marriage and how to deal with her mother, Vivian, her mother who is having a hard time coping with the loss of her husband and the changes in her mental health, Chrissie, the young daughter, a bit spoiled and longing for fun for the summer, Carolyn, Susannah's longtime friend who is finally willing to let herself fall in love.

When you read the book, these characters will become your friends and neighbors and when you finish the last page, it will be like saying goodbye to old friends. This is a definite winner.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Not So Perfect Reading Environment

I always think I'm going to be able to read while I sit on the most uncomfortable chairs ever made, which grace just about every waiting room in Mon Valley Hospital. I went to the short stay unit with a tote bag full of books, hoping to get through at least one of them. If I couldn't do that, I had my mp3 player loaded with the most recent Doctor Who episode too.

I really hoped to get more than just 1/3 of the way through the new Jen Lancaster book, but between the chairs and the noisy TV, I just couldn't tune anything out.

I hate that.

This was such a minor surgery. It was an outpatient procedure. I wasn't even worried about anything. I knew when all was said and done, my father would be home either today (which he is) or tomorrow. So it wasn't even my mind that was keeping me from reading, it was all the outside forces that were driving me CRAZY!

I don't need a completely quiet environment to read, but there was just too much going on in that waiting area today. I think I managed to read about 120 pages of the book and now I'm too tired to even contemplate reading any more. All I want to do is sleep and rejoice tomorrow at 9:30 when this past 24 hours of hell is declared officially OVER!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book Review: Little Earthquakes

Little Earthquakes is a novel of friendship, motherhood and loss. Jennifer Weiner has really created a wonderful story that you don't want to put down.

The novel revolves around the lives of 4 women, three who meet at a yoga class during their pregnancy and a fourth who has returned home to recover from the loss of her child.

All three women experience a "little earthquake" that rocks their world and changes their lives.

The women's struggles with their pregnancies and dealing with their new additions were depicted perfectly. None of the women had it easy and the outside forces.

Becky is a chubby chef with daughter Ava and mother-in-law, Mimi who would try the patience of anyone.

Kelly is an events planner with baby Oliver and an out of work husband that is enjoying his unemployment more than she'd like him.

Ayinde is a newscaster, with preemie, Julian. She is married to a professional basketball player who does the unthinkable.

All three of these women are tied together by Lia, an actress who returns home to put her life together. Together she helps them with some of their smaller problems and they help her with her grieving process.

It was hard not to love every character because their problems were those that so many women face daily, trying to juggle their lives and motherhood. But what really made me love this book was how the bonds of friendship never broke once.

This is one of those books that will have you feeling a wide variety of emotions while you read. This was a fantastic book!

Book Clubs: The Discussion Kind

I truly suck at getting things read on time for groups that discuss books, and then when it comes to typing up a response I'm much worse. I wanted to get Michelle Hauf's Her Vampire Husband read by today, for the discussion over at The Bite Club, but to no avail. I kept finding new books and starting old ones so that I never got around to reading that one.


I have no structure when it comes to stuff like that, plus, I don't want to start a book when they announce that months read because, the story won't be fresh in my mind.

It doesn't help matters that I can't stop buying books, even though I just pulled about 30 books out of a box in my basement that I was given by a friend years ago.

And then a few weeks ago a friend gave me a book flyer (you know who you are) and I've been going through it and marking off the books I want to buy.

I probably should just try to hunt them down at the library but that would probably be too easy, and I can never do things the easy way.

Its things like this that keep me from reading books for discussion. Oye!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Book Review: Dreamboat

This story started out so cute, but it got a bit slow for me about midway through. I'm not sure if it had to do with the situation I was dealing with when I was reading it. Either way, it as much as I loved Felicity and Dr. Steven, the story just didn't do anything for me.

The best part of the story is the beginning, when she goes on the blind date with the neurosurgeon. All the things that went wrong just made it so much more funny. But once the funny wore off, the story sort of hung there waiting for what was going to happen next to happen, and it didn't seem to be happening fast enough.

It was also hard dealing with the way he initially treated Felicity. The good Doctor had no people skills whatsoever and yet they both seem drawn to each other. And even though Felicity seems to be his bad luck charm, they end up in bed. Huh?

The secondary story, of Dennis and his dad Carl tries to help the story along but it really doesn't succeed well. You only feel sorry for the single father who is being subtly accused of abusing his child, when the kid is "actually" accident prone.

Its not all bad. Steven's temper actually makes for some humorous scenes, especially over the bicycle that he ran over and at the end of the story before they get their happily ever after, so it wasn't all bad, I just thought it could have been so much better.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Book Review: Downtown Debutante

Kara Lennox's Downtown Debutante is a fun, fast-paced and often funny read. Its the second book in the author's Blonde Justice series and focuses on Brenna Thompson an artist swindled by an ex-lover and Heath Packer who wants to put her in jail for a crime that she didn't commit.

There's so much to love about Brenna, from her quirky fashion sense to her unladylike appetite! I love that she's always eating or wanting to eat. I also love her passion for her art, which is jewelry making and her passion for seeing her ex, Marvin brought to justice before he can swindle someone else.

Kara's three ladies, Cyndi, Brenna and Sonya are really memorable characters. I love the bond they share, even if it is that they are all victims of a crime.

Heath is the only one I have just a bit of a problem with. He's the perfect hero, but I think as an FBI agent, he trusted Brenna much too quickly. Even if he was questioning whether he still wanted to be part of the FBI, I think he would have been more thorough, and he definitely would have known that they would have had Brenna's phone tapped.

Aside from that, I loved the story, especially the night they spent in the French Quarter in NOLA, drinking hurricane's and getting drunk.

Lennox's characters really get to you, and make you feel like you're their friends. She also blended just the right amount of passion with suspense to satisfy the reader. This was a great read!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New Sweet Valley High

I don't know about you guys, but when I was in junior high (yeah when I was in school we still had junior high and not middle school) all of my friends and I read the Sweet Valley High books.

Well guess what?

It seems like the creator and writer of that series is working on a book called Sweet Valley Confidential

These books were so cheesy back in the day, but then again most romance novels in the 80s were still pretty cheesy. That doesn't stop me from wanting to read this as soon as it comes out sometime next year though.

I can only imagine what Liz and Jessica have been up to since their high school days!

My Taste Must Be Strange

No matter what I do, I can't seem to find someone who enjoys the same kind of books that I do that wants to talk about them. Even on the boards at the harlequin website, I can't seem to find anyone that wants to talk about books. Its more, talking with the authors, which is very cool.

But I really want to talk about books I've read that other people have read as well. I want discussion. I realize that its hard to generate discussion on romance novels but surely some people out there have to have opinions on the books they read, right?

I know in NYC there is a special reading group that one of my favorite romance authors participates in, but I'm not in NYC, I'm in rural PA. Why are all the book discussion groups for popular or deep thought provoking fiction?

I want to read and discuss romance and chicklit! I wouldn't object to a mystery or two if they were good ones either.


I know I'm not the only one reading romance. Our local Goodwill is always full of books, so I can't be the only one.

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