Thursday, July 27, 2006

Four Things...

Tagged by Fiona.

And away we go...

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. School Librarian
2. Docent at a Children's Museum
3. Hallmark Store Employee
4. Salesgirl at a clothing store (I sucked at it.)

Four movies I would watch over and over (and have):
1. Clerks
2. The Lost Boys
3. The Royal Tenenbaums
4. Room with a View

Four places I have lived:
1. Levittown, NY
2. Middletown, CT
3. Lewiston, ME
4. Cambridge, MA (For a month! It counts!)

Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. Veronica Mars
2. Best Week Ever
3. Project Runway
4. America's Next Top Model

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Negril, Jamaica
2. Maine
3. Mexico City, Mexico
4. Mystic, CT (I need to get out more!)

Websites I visit daily:
1. Lots o' blogs
2. Television Without Pity
3. Does email count?
4. Even more blogs (I have some places I check once or twice a week, but not daily)

Four of my favourite foods:
1. Toast with Nutella on it
2. Macaroni and Cheese
3. Taco Bell Soft Tacos
4. Big Macs (Had one today. Yum! I always try to eat healthy.)

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Someplace on the beach
2. New Hampshire
3. Italy
4. Anywhere but Long Island (I need a freaking vacation!)

Four friends I think will respond:

I knew I would be unable to do this without explanatory comments.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison

A Fistful of Charms is the fourth book in Kim Harrison's series featuring witch Rachel Morgan. The previous books in the series are, in order, Dead Witch Walking, The Good, the Bad and the Undead and Every Which Way But Dead. I would characterize these books as Paranormal Urban Fantasy, similar in a way to Kelley Armstrong or Charlaine Harris, but with her own distinct style and world. These books take place in modern day Cincinnati, 40 years after "the Turn" brought Vampires, Witches, Weres and other supernatural races who had always lived alongside of humans, out into the open. "The Turn" has to do with a virus caused by genetically engineered tomatoes which affected humans, but not supernatural races. It ended up with the uneasy coexistence of the humans and others, and with the sad result that humans will no longer eat pizza (I feel for them all, but particularly those of Italian ancestry). The series revolves around Rachel, a witch, Ivy, a living vampire, and Jenks, a pixy. They were all formerly runners for the I.S. (agents for the law enforcement agency of supernaturals), and now they have their own firm and act as private investigators of sorts.

I had a hard time with the first two installments of this series. I found them to be slow. So slow, in fact, that I never finished The Good, the Bad and the Undead. Not that it was awful, but I kept putting it down, and then it was due back at the library, and I never quite got around to taking it out again. I had two major difficulties. The first was with the worldbuilding. Even though there was quite a bit of exposition, I felt like I never had a good handle on things. I could quite grasp the abilities etc. of the different races. Like, why are they called Inderlanders? Thats what the different supernatural races call themselves. And what's up with the vampires? It seems like anything and everything sets them off into a bloodlust. I remember Rachel kept referring to Ivy trying to "pull an aura," and I could never quite figure out what it meant. It sounded like she was giving someone the "stink-eye", as my sister would put it, but, there has to be more to it than that. Sometimes I felt like I was missing something. I also didn't care for Rachel too much. She seemed a bit bratty, and not too bright and always acted without thinking first. I couldn't get why she was appealling to all the other characters. But I enjoyed the third book (Every Which Way But Dead) a great deal. It hummed along nicely, and the greater role of Ivy's friend Kisten, provided a lot more insight into the vampires. I also began to see how Rachel was developing, and questioning her previous assumptions. She's learning a lot of new stuff, and the reader is along with her.

So I was really looking forward to FOC. This installment takes us out of the Hollows and off to Michigan, where Rachel and Jenks, having repaired their relationship from the last book, are trying to rescue Jenks' son, Jax, and Rachel's human ex-boyfriend, Nick from the clutches of some nasty Weres. Of course, they end up in posession of an artifact that could literally start World War III. I'm sorry, to say, that this book did not work for me nearly as well as the last one. It started off sloooowly. And Nick (first introduced in DWW)? Meh. I could care less about him. He was never particularly well-developed, nor was their relationship, so it was hard for me to care about the events in this story. Nick at the center, and very little Kisten and no Trent Kalamack (another central character from the first three)? WTF? No surprise that the story picked up when Ivy appeared on the scene. Some interesting developments in the Rachel/Ivy relationship, although both of their angsting is getting old. Rachel was pretty annoying too, with a lot of existential "But I will I be a good witch or a bad witch" crap. Shut up, you know you're going to do the bad stuff anyway. I started to get lost again with some of the concept and terminology (although maybe it's because I didn't finish GB&U). What's a "blood balance"? And I found the descriptions of Rachel's spell casting to be boring. Ultimately, there were too many times I wanted to skim to get to the next Ivy/Rachel scene or get back to Jenks (my favorite character).

Despite my negativity, I don't want to discourage those who enjoy the paranormal to try this series. I think it might work better for others than for me. The universe is rather angst-ridden and full of shades of gray (dark gray), but Harrison does a nice job of leavening the atmosphere with some genuinely funny moments. She's also created some really great characters. If you are looking for romance, I think that Harrison is not nearly as good as Armstrong or Harris with the romantic element. But that's because the most important and intriguing relationship being developed in this series is between Rachel and Ivy. I hesitate to call it a love story per se, and I think that Harrison's doing a nice job of keeping things up in the air. We know that Ivy wants Rachel as a lover, but Rachel's straight and scared and confused. I feel that Kisten (Rachel's current boyfriend) functions as an Ivy substitute. He's also a living vampire, but he's male and he lacks Ivy's heavy emotional baggage. I'm not sure that Ivy and Rachel are going to end up with a HEA, but I'm really curious to see where it's all going. For that reason, plus the fact that I want to see what's going to happen with some of the other characters, I will definitely keep reading, despite giving this one a C. Check out Kim Harrison's website here. She only has a few extras, but I found them quite helpful in filling in some blanks. If only she had a glossary!

Devon's Review Rubric

Okay, I've neglected attatching any kind of rating to my reviews, because I'm so rambly and I don't stick to any kind of format. Some long, some short, lots of detail, little detail...but then I was thinking, perhaps I should grant some kind of grade, because even if I say conflicting things, one would know how I really felt. So here is my rating rubric, to explain how I would assign grades:

A=I love, love, love it. I would definitely re-read it. I want to hug it and kiss it and be its best friend.

B=I enjoyed it. It was definitely worth my time, and worth other's time too.

C=I liked it. I don't have anything too great to say about it, but I don't have anything too bad to say about it either.

D=I wish I could say I liked it, but there was just too much lame stuff.

F=Oh the pain, the pain. Stay far, far away.

DNF=Did not finish.

Books will be given a plus or minus if they eke their way closer to the higher or lower category. I wouldn't give a grade to a book that I did not finish. I will continue to comment on DNFs, because sometimes you don't finish a book because sometimes there's something you really don't like about it, hence the DNF, but sometimes it's just not your cup of tea, but it might be someone else's (see The Ultimatum. Recently kristiej gave this a good review. I knew others would like this one better.)

Anyhow, my first review featuring my rating system will hopefully be up tonight (Kim Harrison's Fistful of Charms). This is going to be a weird one, because my opinion of the book kept changing during the course of it.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A scathing review...

Okay, so this cracked me the hell up.

Yesterday at work, in the guessing game entry box, was found a mysterious note that went like this:

Dear "Library",

I am appalled.
At your lack of Where's Waldo books.
I hate you.

A Concerned Citizen

My co-workers were actually pretty upset by this. I thought it was fantastic, particularly the use of the quotation marks and the "Concerned Citizen" bit. They thought it was two different types of handwriting, and I think they were worried that an adult wrote it. I'm not sure what the concern was exactly, because if it was an adult, it was a crazy adult, with crazy handwriting. Anyway, perhaps we could've compared the handwriting on the note to all the entries in the box, to figure out who the trasher was and let them know that a slashing attack on the library was inappropriate and wouldn't get them what they wanted. But that would be be stupid, juvenile and irrational. [And our reviewer was probably 10 years old] So we just checked to see how much Where's Waldo? we do have, and I think we're going to order more. Sigh.

Is there a point? I don't think so. I'm just avoiding getting on with my day. I started Fistful of Charms last night, but it's a bit slow.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ranty thoughts...

It's a Friday night, and everyone's asleep, and I'm sitting here nursing my highly iced glass of wine (I have no tolerance these days), and thinking. I usually don't have much to say about the various dustups that arise, mostly because by the time I get to reading, all the fun has past and I have nothing interesting to add. However, this
Highland Fling review crap
has got me a little annoyed. I won't rehash the whole thing, you can visit Sybil or Fiona to read about the whole glorious mess, but after looking at everything, and then reading this at KarenS' site, I am left pondering some burning questions:

A) Is there a difference between a bad review and trashing an author? I sure think so. Sometimes I think a book sucks ass. I'm not going to say otherwise. It doesn't mean I have anything against you, the author, just do better next time. Can authors tell the difference between negative reviews and mindless trashing?

B) What's up with "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all?" Last time I checked, a review was an opinion, a critique. Why does it have to be nice? Doesn't anyone read a newspaper or magazine? Are all the reviews of movies, television programs, art, etc. nice? C'mon, stop smoking crack (to quote Sybil)! Why on earth would a reader have to be nice about something, especially if they wasted their hard earned money on it, and if they back up their opinions with some reasons.

C) What does the author fear so much? Granted, if I were an author I'm sure I would stalk my reviews, and I would encourage my friends and fans to post glowing reviews. But, are they just so insulted by any harsh words, or do they think that potential readers are so flipping stupid that they can't tell the difference between a thoughtful review (be it positive or negative) and a stupid mess (positive or negative)? Perhaps your snarkiest readers are your most intelligent and thoughtful, and they wouldn't make a purchase based on a barely coherent, pointless review. It's this recurring feeling that I have that authors want to censor reviews because they think that potential readers are too dumb to make an informed decision that bugs me.

D) Finally, does anyone pay all that much attention to reviews on Amazon anyway?! Before I discovered blogs, I used to pop over to Amazon after I had read a book, to see what others thought. Between the content-less glowing reviews, the content-less nasty reviews, and the ridiculous Harriet Klausner (who reads sooooo many books she can't even get the summaries right), I would pretty much giggle my butt off. They are entertainment value only, by and large. If anything a mean review is more intriguing than a positive one. And look at crazy Laurell K. Hamilton. Shit-loads of negative reviews, yet she debuts at number one. Well, in her case, I think that she's made a pact with the devil so that people keep buying her books even though they know they're going to siz-zuck. Geezus, I almost checked Danse Macabre out the other day. I walked by, and was like, maybe I should just see for myself. It's the work of the devil, I tell you.

I'm thinking some folks gotta get over themselves, and just be happy people are reading their books. Even if I didn't like it, I still spent $$ on it, didn't I? Or at least the library did. It still goes towards your sales figures, doesn't it?

I hope this makes sense in the morning. I poured another glass of wine while typing.

ETA: This morning, I popped over to Alison Kent. I hadn't gone there before, because I had seen her comments everywhere else, and many people had referenced her, and I figured that I got the gist. But holy moly! I guess that there just is a disconnect between readers and authors. My post was about reviews, not professional behavior, but I was amazed at how authors and readers read the same words differently. The authors kept accusing others of twisting their words, while they twisted others' words. And don't get me started on the whole "just giving professional advice" thing. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. Urgh,if I could only find a book that would keep my interest, I wouldn't be spending so much time reading about this. It's more compelling than anything on my TBR seems to be. Gotta get out of my funk.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


I'm like the blogger extraordinaire today. A little free time on my hands, and napping kiddies. Anyhow, I've been tagged by fabulous Fiona. So here goes:

1) When did you first start blogging and why? I signed up for Blogger because I thought you had to to leave comments, and I occasionally commented at Squawk Radio. I didn't do anything with it until I found Smart Bitches, and through that, other blogs. I was doing a lot of romance reading, and it seemed like a good forum, writing getting my thoughts out. I saw it as an exercise in writing and thinking critically. It's something just for me, something fun that I love, and has nothing to do with the family.

2) What don't you talk about? I try to avoid talking about the kiddies. Its very tempting to let loose my potty training frustrations and whatnot, and it might even be interesting to another mom of little ones (I love hearing other's problems and solutions), but I would imagine it would be boring to just as many. And I don't want to scare anyone off from having kids. (Maybe I'll do a second mommy blog...)

3) Are you and your blogging persona the same person? I think I come off as a fairly quiet, subdued person to those I don't know very well, or don't like. But this is how I am in my head, and, I think, if you get to know me better. People tend to think I'm quiet and shy, but it's more reserve. I'm not all that nice (but my husband is). I'm curious what those who read the blog who know me in real life think. Does my blog voice sound like me?

4) How do you use blogging to build friendships? To be honest, I didn't really think much about it when I first started blogging, I just wanted an outlet for my thoughts. I didn't even know if anyone would read it. But, like many others, I didn't have anyone in real life who shared my reading interests, so it's been great reading the words of all these intelligent, opinionated ladies, who have such funny and great things to say. You can't help but to comment, because, they are so right on.

5) How would you describe your writing style? I think the way I write on my blog is similar to the way I talk, hence all the commas and parentheses. My mind moves faster than my mouth fer sure so I tend to interrupt myself a lot, and go on tangents. I try to be straightforward and not too mean.

I'm tagging:

Steph (something to kill time at work)
and anyone else who would like to partake.

I'm also going to do the 1st ten songs on your IPOD/CD player, b/c Dancechica tagged anyone who wanted to do it and I'm curious. Here goes:

1) Kiss Off-Violent Femmes
2) Ask-The Smiths
3) It could be sweet--Portishead
4) Naked Eye--Luscious Jackson
5) Free Ride--The Edgar Winter Group
6) No More Mr. Nice Guy--Alice Cooper
7) Hang on to Yourself--David Bowie
8) I Melt with You--Modern English
9) Manic Depression--Jimi Hendrix
10) Jealousy--Liz Phair

It's like nostalgia night around here. I really do have some post 2000 music on there, I swear.

First, cut all the straight guys...

So Project Runway's back. And I am super happy. They always have a lot of genuine characters, plus the cast members actually have talent (gasp!), and and there to further an actual career, rather than to turn their 15 minutes of fame into a lifetime of milking it for all its worth. Anyhow, the first two episodes have not disappointed. The crazy clothes are on the runway, and the bitchiness has started. Last night was a surprise to me--Malan had the worst dress, but I really don't like that Angela. She brings nothing to the table, and I really don't think she should agitate poor Vincent like that (more on him below). She has now replaced Jeffrey (more on him below) as my least favorite.

On to the straight guys. Now, I don't really have any problem with straight guys, just trying to be clever. But I want the two straight guys to go, albeit for different reasons. And I think they're going to both be kept around way past their prime, for the sake of good tv.

I don't like this guy. From his tattoo turtleneck, to his faux hawk to his disdainful attitude, he smacks of a 17 year old trying to be edgy and rebellious. Jeffrey, my dear, faux hawks are not punk rock! His 'attitude' seems like it might be good for conflict, so they'll probably keep him around, despite his lame 'edgy' aesthetic, i.e. make it shreddy and uneven. Oh well, if he shows a sense of humor,maybe I'd like him better, but right now it's hate at first sight.

Now, Vincent Libretti on the other hand, is a man on the verge. Seriously, he worries me. I don't want to see him have a nervous breakdown on tv. It's not funny, it's exploitative. He should've been gone with the basket hat. He seriously thought it looked good. My daughter has a similar style. She likes to put things on her head as a hat. I think he'll stay long past his expiration date also. Go home Vincent. Go enjoy sunny Santa Monica.

I guess I'll have to just wait and see. Wednesday nights rock!

The ever-increasing TBR pile...

Thanks for all the advice on the previous post, folks. I have resolved to read all of these, and will try to review them all, even if just in Haiku form. But, yesterday, I got my shipment of Harlequins (The tagline for one reads: "Legally wed, but he's never said, 'I love you.'" That one should be a joy.) Then at the library last night, I picked up, A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison. Where to begin? I'm just lucky that I don't get charged overdue fines. (Shhh...don't tell.) I almost finished the Buffy book. It's pretty interesting, actually...if you're a huge geek! Just kidding, it's pretty fascinating, the in-depth analysis of a television show. Very academic and wonky, y'know, all Jungian Shadow Doubles and whatnot. If you're very into Buffy or pop culture scholarship, it may be worth your time. Otherwise, try the Buffy comics, if you need a fix.

Hi to Rene Lyons! I read your interview on Sanctuary Finest, and I was like, hey, one of my people! Italian-American from New York. Although I'm a bit Irish-American as well. I look forward to your book. Although I dislike Medieval romance, I love Medieval history (it was actually my major for awhile, many years ago). And vampires too!

I should start reading now.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Are any of these good?

In my efforts to stave off reading ennui (good historical word), I got some more books from the library. My pile is getting very big! Anyway, I was thinking that while I love historicals, but I always stick with the tried and true (Kleypas, Carlyle, Chase). I never try anything new.

With that in mind I grabbed these:

Once a Scoundrel by Candice Hern--Ugh, I felt weird having the circ lady check this out. I hate clinch covers. Is this author any good?

To Wed a Scandalous Spy by Celeste Bradley--I know nothing about this author, except that in one of her books, the hero has a very big shlong, which is why I picked up this one (does that make me a bad person?). But this is not it, apparently.

Untie My Heart by Judith Ivory--This should be decent. I loved "The Proposition", and I've heard a lot of good things about Ms. Ivory's books.

For change of pace, I also got See Delphi and Die by Lindsey Davis. I've been reading this mystery series, set in Ancient Rome, since I was a freshman in High School. Then I checked out Why Buffy Matters: the Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is the one I ended up reading. I'm about halfway through. I'm amazed by the proliferation of academic Buffy books. This author is reperatedly referred to as a leading "Buffy Studies" scholar. Buffy Studies? Can you imagine if it becomes a major one day? I can remember people scoffing at Women's Studies not that long ago.

So anyone got any hisotical favorites for me to check out? I want to try Julie Ann Long. A couple of bloggers have mentioned her lately, but she's not at the libraries I frequent. Although it's overdone, I do love the early 19th century setting. Not a fan of Medievals. Wouldn't mind seeing something set in America or elsewhere.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Review Haiku #1

Another "eh" book...let's see if I can do a review in seventeen syllables. This one was pretty easy actually, I think a lot of people are familiar with this series and, well, there's not a lot of substance to ponder.

Undead and Unpopular by Maryjanice Davidson:

Betsy still the same,
Hot Sinclair, why does he care?
More plot, more depth please.

Thank you, thank you. As you can see, I have little aptitude for poetry. For a more in depth review, click on the title to see what folks posted at Amazon. Nicole also wrote a review that was right on the money on her blog.

Now, usually I don't talk about children's books, but I read one yesterday at work that I was so impressed by, that I just have to mention it.

Rules by Cynthia Lord (a debut novel, no less), is the most memorable book I've read in awhile. I would recommend it for 9-13 year olds, most girls would like it, but you could probably sell it to boys too. Rules is the story of a twelve year old girl named Catherine, who is often embarrassed by her autistic younger brother, David, even as she is fiercely protective of him. One day, while waiting for him at OT, she meets Jason, who is a couple of years older than her. He is wheelchair bound and cannot speak. I would imagine he has severe Cerebral Palsy, although it is not explicitly stated. Instead of speaking, he points to cards in a book. Catherine, who likes to draw, is drawn to Jason, and finds herself making cards for his book, in an attempt to give him a wider range of expression. When a girl her own age moves in next store, Catherine finds herself uncomfortable due to her connection with David and Jason, and finds herself doing strange things.

This seemed at first like it would be a totally maudlin setup. I'm not a big fan of the "problem novel". I find that they are often heavy handed, and condescending to young people, in a way. But this was fabulous, and that was definitely due to the characterization. Catherine is a normal, self-centered 12 year old girl, and she doesn't form a friendship with Jason, out of pity or wanting to be a do-gooder. Instead, she feels an instant connection with Jason, and is irritated by the adults around him, who are trying to speak for him, when they so obviously can't read him right. And Jason was an excellent character! Sometimes there's that feel of like, the saintly, noble disabled person who teaches the protagonist the error of her selfish ways, just by their goodness. Jason was not like that. Although you felt sorry for him, it's because he seemed like an intelligent and cool guy who was completely trapped in his body. You could see why Catherine would want to be friends with him, and their interactions are really cute and fun. Of course, there is the climactic ending, where Catherine chooses her imperfect friend and brother over the shallow but perfect, new girl, but again, not cheesy, because Jason seemed way cooler than the new girl.

I liked this book so much that once I was finished, I opened it back up to re-read. I can't help but wonder what will happen with Catherine and Jason. This one will stay with me awhile, and that's more than I can say about any of the adult books I've read lately. Tomorrow morning, I'll be gently suggesting to the librarian who runs the 4th and 5th grade book discussion, that it should be one of her upcoming selections.

Friday, July 14, 2006


How do people feel about pop culture references in their reading? Do you love it? Hate it? Feel it dates the book? Don't care? Since I've got a lot of useless pop culture knowledge floating around in my head (and since I'm very opinionated, it can be a double edged sword. I only like it in very small doses, and it can really affect my enjoyment of a book. If it fits the character it's great, but if it's, say, a 25 year-old urban hipster heroine who loves Celine Dion, then it's jarring. I hate the lame use of pop culture.

I've always been up front about my fangirly love for J.R. Ward. I actually pop over to her message board once or twice a week and lurk, because she lets loose some hints and tidbits and I'm a spoiler ho. Some kind (and obsessive) soul regularly updates a post called Highlights for Newbies, Lurkers and Occasional Posters. This is quite useful for folks like me who don't really want to go through all the threads, and just want to find the meaty stuff. So I'm popping in today and there was this post written by Ms. Ward, featuring Zsadist and Bella, the hero and heroine of Lover Awakened (out in Sept. 2006 yeah!). Before I continue I just want to clarify that this is not a scene from that book, rather more of a fan extra. Anyhoo, Zsadist, who has been established in past books as being musically talented, picks up his guitar to serenade his beloved. The song? "Arms Wide Open" by Creed, complete with lyrics. Haaate. Now some of you may disagree with me, you may think that this sounds sweet and touching, but it makes me want to puke. I had to scroll really fast to the end of the post because I felt so uncomfortable. Now, of course, it's not Ms. Ward's fault that I loathe Creed above all others, and they do have (had?) a lot of fans, but it just seems like an odd choice for Zsadist, the tortured, mean, disconnected and lethal one. He seems more like the kind of guy who would punch Scott Stapp in his cheesy, bombastic, rock-lite face. It just seems unbearably cheesy and out of character. I hope that Zsadist is not to be turned into a big old Care Bear.

Then again, maybe this doesn't bug anyone else in the least. The serenade, in particular, is pet peeve of mine. I remember that Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon wasn't one of my favorites, but I was enjoying it quite nicely until the end, (warning: this is a spoiler), when the hero sings to the heroine, and then everybody does the Macarena. According to her message board which I checked, it was supposed to be a Neil Diamond song he was singing. Now, unlike Creed, me loves the Neil Diamond, and the Macarena just made it so much worse, but things like this bother anyone else, or is it just my insanity? Any other pop culture pet peeves, like using dated slang or using current actors and actresses as the physical description of the character?

[I linked to the message board posts, but I think you have to register to see it.]

Thursday, July 13, 2006

What was I thinking...

I've been feeling really blah and unmotivated to read. I've read one too many "not awful" but totally forgettable books lately. Is that just the name of the game with categories? Does the shorter length just make for shallower stories? Are the authors not encouraged to be innovative? So my solution? Go to Harlequin and buy another boxful of books. They were doing a buy 4 "beach reads" get one free thing. I don't know how I even ended up there. But of course everything just sounded fab. I'm like Oh, I really need that! Even though I had told myself that I would only get Harlequins from the UBS or the library sale cart. Here's my new batch:

Jack Riordan's Baby by Anne Mather

The Bought and Paid For Wife by Bronwyn Jameson

Blame it on Texas by Cathy Gillen Thacker

Back in the Bachelor's Arms by Victoria Pade

The Marriage Renewal by Maggie Cox

Got a little bit of it all--cowboys, bachelor doctors, tycoons with mistresses, marriages of revenge, and (I think) even a secret baby or two. Two Harlequin Presents! Oh good grief! Maybe something will be really, really bad. So I can at least get a scathing review out of it. I'm toying with the idea of putting all mediocre reviews in Haiku form, just to liven things up a bit.

Then I decided a needed some smutty romances as well, so I hopped over to Ellora's Cave. Bought not one but two books--Holding the Cards by Joey Hill and In the Arms of Danger by Madison Hayes. As for the first, well I've made no secret of the fact that I like the kink, but the second is Romantic Suspense, not my usual thing. But the hero is a British thug named Dicky, of all things. So I can hear and visualize Jason Statham in my head. He is one sexy balding Brit!

Finally I got Undead and Unpopular by MaryJanice Davidson from the library. So, something's got to snap me out of it.

Monday, July 10, 2006

There's no such thing as bad advertising...

If you've been reading any blogs to do with romance, you most likely already know that there was a dust-up at Karen Scott's Blog, regarding Changeling Press. It got a bit nutty, and I don't remember the particulars, but a lot of it revolved around their covers, which are, by and large, quite startling and even disturbing. I'm being nice here. Anyhow, the only reason I'm bringing this up because at the time, I wondered if the folks at Changeling stirred the pot in order to drum up traffic to their site. Then Fickle Fiona put this post up at her site. Looking through these covers, I decided to read some of the excerpts, and found myself making a purchase. So there you go. Sometimes even bad press (or snarky bloggers) can work in your favor, 'cuz I'm sure that others went to laugh and ended up spending also.

So of the 13 covers chosen by Fiona, these are the books that I purchased:

Ugly. Creepy Ugly. It does reflect the content of the story, but there's just something that makes you shudder. I chose this one because I kinda liked the excerpt. It was the story of a vampire who is disfigured in an attack, and so hides away, leaving his human lover in despair. But hey, the vampires decide to have a masquerade party, so he decides to approach her while masked. Will he just have one more night with her, or will she be able to accept him, scars and all? What do you think happens? You're right. This wasn't terrible (I feel like I've been typing that a lot lately), but not particularly memorable. There were decent sex scenes, but the hero and heroine weren't particularly developed and I didn't feel invested in the story at all.

There's something about this cover that simultaneously fascinates me and horrifies me at the same time. Dude is just so weird. That tiny head...the distorted, square body with the enormous muscles...the short arms...the hand on the cocked hip. I can't look at it for too long, or I start to feel a little queasy. No joke. In this case, the excerpt and description did me in. Guy's a yeti apparently. My mind immediately goes here. Wasn't that guy a yeti? Hmmm...okay. My curiosity got the better of me and, lured by the promise of yetisex!, I bought it. And it wasn't that bad. Better than I thought it would be. Very light in tone, rather tongue in cheek, which is the only way it could've worked. It revolves around the Paranormal Mates Society, sort of a for supernatural critters. So this Yeti is surprised to find his perfect match is a Brazilian Fire-Serpent, 'cuz he's, like an Abominable Snowman and she's so hot! Whatevah. Regarding the Yetisex, they both have human forms, although there is one scene where they get it on while she's a serpent and he's in Yeti form. I wasn't even squicked out because I was too busy trying to visualize what was going on. It was just strange, rather than sexy. There was also a light bondage thing going on, almost like an afterthought (as if Yeti-Serpent sex isn't kinky enough). Overall, a cute, breezy story.

Both of these stories were quite short. I read ebooks on my laptops using Microsoft Reader, and the first story was 84 pages, the second was 64 (I don't know if the pagination would be different with other programs). Neither took me more than an hour to read. I paid 3.99 and 3.49 respectively, and I just felt that it was too much. Am I wrong? The stories were okay, but slight and underdeveloped. I was left feeling like I could've spent that money on a Grande Mocha Frappucino. I would've spent as much time with the Frappucino, and I would've been left feeling more satisfied.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I'm looking for a Hugh Jass...

Is there a Hugh Jass here?

Normally, I try and stay away from the cover snark. I leave it to the experts. Also, the whole point of my Changeling Press experiment was to not judge a book by its cover.


Sometimes a cover speaks for itself. I didn't read this one, but I almost bought it. It sounds interesting enough, and I was curious if he had an enormous ass for a reason.

Also the cover to JR Ward's Lover Revealed can be found here. That Sybil gets all the cool news first. I think this'll be out March '07.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

This n' That

I read The Sex Quotient by Jamie Sobrato, another Harlequin Blaze. This had an rather lame premise: the heroine's best friend is a medical researcher whose most recent study has shown that orgasms reduce a person's IQ for a period of time. So Macy, the intrepid heroine, decides that she will seduce her work rival Griffin during a Vegas business trip. She will boink his brains out all weekend, while not coming herself, so that he'll be stupid at work on Monday and she'll get the promotion that they are in competition for. Hmmm...points for creativity! This started out bleh, got better and ended up bleh. The heroine is kinda annoying and I didn't really buy the transition from hot sexin' to true luv. But it wasn't awful, just fun and forgettable. I wanted to like the Blaze line better, because it seems the most contemporary--no virgin mistresses or marriages of convenience for the sake of the orphaned niece/nephew (Geezus Kee-rist, what a popular plot!). No that I'd make a generalization based upon 2 books. Sybil recommended Jo Leigh and Alison Kent, and Bam just positively reviewed one of Jo Leigh's books. I've still got a Silhouette Bombshell to read. If anyone else is popping by and would like to rec a Harlequin author and line, please do so. I'm enjoying the change of pace.

I made a purchase from Changeling Press, of the bad covers. At Dear Author, there is a 5% discount code. I have to admit, I was inspired to buy two of the titles from this post at Fiona's Farrago. Yes, I bought two of the horrible 13.

I'm so happy Deadwood's back, and so sad this is the last season. How hot is Timothy Olyphant's...posture? No joke, when Seth Bullock goes striding down the thoroughfare in his frock coat (or whatever it is), he cuts one fine figure. Geezus!

Am I right? Look at his posture. I loved this actor in Goand hated him in Scream 2, both out around the same time, but I didn't really appreciate him until Deadwood. But my real love is Al Swearingen, because I'm just a sick chick like that.

Monday, July 03, 2006


I'm still working my way through my Harlequin order. Finished Midnight Madness by Karen Kendall. I find it interesting to read the guidlines for the different category lines, to see what they are all about, so here they are for Blaze. This was fun and forgettable. The heroine was a bit annoying, with all her knee-jerk Republican hate (something I am never guilty of. Right.) The hero was quite likeable, although, since he was the governor of Florida, he made me think of this guy, which makes me think of this guy, which makes me feel a little sad. Anyway, the sex scenes were hot, but in the end, that was all there was between them, and I didn't buy the HEA. I give them 2 years for her to run screaming into the night, or for him to find a younger, hotter hairdresser.

I also read From the First by Jessica Bird. Jessica Bird is the name under which JR Ward writes Silhouette Special Editions. I really liked this at first, because one of my favorite type of storylines is when the hero has been eaten up with love for the heroine for years, but has some compelling (or not so much) reason for keeping away. Unfortunately, my enjoyment was marred by the fact that the hero, Alex, was a dick. He acted like an asshole and the wrap-up was too fast for me. I wanted a bit more groveling. I enjoy groveling in a man. Nowhere as good as her vamp books in my opinion, but I will probably track down some of her back list, at some point.

Happy Juy 4th, all!