Sunday, July 29, 2007

I love stuff like this...

Stolen from Anne at Let's Gab:

I'm doing this for me and the husband. My answers in pink, his in green.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current street name)
Molly Echo Lobo Echo

2. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your middle name) D'Gia R'Ant

3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)

Red Whale Green Dog

4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)
Gianine Mineola Anthony Freeport

5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 2 letters of mom’s maiden)
Herdema Herriha

6. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The”, your favorite color, favorite drink)
The Red Pinot Grigio The Green Budweiser

7. NASCAR NAME: (the first name of your grandfathers)
Anthony Matthew

8. FUTURISTIC NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne and the name of your favorite kind of shoes)
Burberry Clogs Polo Timberland

9. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother & father’s middle name)
Marino Michael John Ann

Haiku Review Number 2

One More Time by Claire Cross

Couple still in love,
No longer communicate,
After shock, he leaves.

Neither is honest,
With themselves or each other,
Flawed but warm story.

Comments from the Peanut Gallery:
My feelings about this book are similar to the ones I had about Double Trouble: that it was flawed, but enjoyable. Ms. Cross is a skilled writer, her books have a nice emotional depth. Like Double Trouble, One More Time deals with expectations, the high ones that people have of themselves and the ones they love. How sometimes these expectations can stifle a person. This is definitely a romance, with an HEA, but also a novel about marriage and family, learning to be honest with yourself and others, and how to live with others.

OMT is about Matt and Leslie Coxwell, who have been together eighteen years and have somehow lost what made them fall madly in love. After Matt loses a court case, with awful and unexpected consequences, he leaves Leslie, convinced that she doesn't understand him at all. He takes off for New Orleans, home of a sexy ex-girlfriend. Understandably, Leslie is hurt, angry and resentful. But they both have a lot of self-examination to do, figuring out where and how they went wrong, before they could come together.

This one definitely resonated with me (especially having some communication issues of my own), but it wasn't perfect. I found the characters unsympathetic at times. Matt had just been a huge trauma, but I was a bit confused about his motivations in going to see his old girlfriend. He was definitely still in love with Leslie, but then it seems like his intention was to get together with the ex. Leslie was a bit hard. There were reasons why, but she was frustrating at times. I would've liked a bit more romance, it was a bit "How Leslie and Matt got their Grooves Back." I'll still give it a B-. It was a satisfying, emotional read. Try it if you like stories about married couples.

The return of the review haiku

It's been awhile, no?

Ghosts and Roses by Kelley St. John

Psychic Family,
Compelled to help troubled ghosts.
One plagued by hot dreams.

Gage must help victim,
Whose killer wants his dream girl,
Solid Blaze, fast read.

Comments from the Peanut Gallery: This book is saddled with the stupidest miniseries title evah: The Sexth Sense. Come on! I guffawed when entering it into Romantic Advances. I guess we should be happy the tagline wasn’t “I have sex with dead people.” But the description sounded interesting, and after reading the review at AAR, I decided to buy it. And it was pretty good, one of the best Blazes I’ve read. I polished it off on a round trip train ride to the city for Ellen S.’ thirtieth (So which is it? Filthy or Flirty? Happy Birthday!)

The miniseries concerns the Vicknairs, a family of Louisiana psychics who have been mandated by the family matriarch to help troubled spirits cross to the other side. Playboy ER physician Gage Vicknair’s most recent assignment is a murder victim who believes she was stabbed by the man who molested her and her three ‘sisters’ in a orphanage many years before. She needs Gage to help her warn and protect them. One of the women, Makayla Sparks, just happens to be the one Gage has been having intense sexual dreams about. But between her terrible past, and the present danger, they may not have a future.

I really dislike it when rape or sexual abuse is treated casually or carelessly in romance novels, and I was a bit concerned, given the high heat level and short length of the Harlequin Blaze. But St. John pulled it off satisfactorily, not giving the horror of the past short shrift. She made the whole “dream lover” device work too, which is kind of a cheesy one, by writing the heck out of the physical and emotional intensity for the two characters. The dream dimension angle provided a safe space for the heroine to explore her sexuality, and to try trusting a man. I wish Makayla had a little more character development than “former victim”, but there was quite a bit of plot going on here, too. I agree with the AAR reviewer that, after a pretty good amount of suspense, the ending kind of fizzled by making the characters seem, hmmm, not too bright. I’d check out St. John’s other work. The other ones in the series have ghosts as the love interest, which I’m not into, but there are another three interesting cousins, who I hope get stories as well. B-. Give it a go, if you like ghosts or psychics.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Done, done, done. Loved it. I laughed, I cried, it was better than "Cats." I'm actually feeling a little bereft that there is no more. I'm not going to write a review, because I find it rather difficult to think critically about these books. I'm not quite a rabid fangirl. If others offer up a critique, I can say, yeah, I guess I can see your point. I can see some things I find weaker in Ms. Rowling's writing. But quite simply, it doesn't matter. Rowling's writing is intricate and so...sensory? What would be the word? I can see it, hear it, feel it. Every time I opened the book, I got swallowed up in it. On Wednesday evening I stopped because I felt it was entering the end game. Sure enough, when I picked it up Thursday evening, I knew right away there was no way I was going to bed without finishing the book. The action really jacked up, and questions started to get answered.

Some things: I was surprised to find myself crying over a particular character, and crying hard. I really liked many things about the ending chapters: how different threads were finished, how different characters were used. My department head made the controversial decision to put all the books in YA, due to torture/violence. Any thoughts? I've got to run, but now I am free to blog hop. Mailyn and Margee, I'll be coming after you.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Happy Reading!

Am off to read HP 7.

Don't do anything interesting while I'm gone.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Anyone, Anyone?

So I spent the evening yesterday reading the conversation on Smart Bitches about the choice of a couple of authors to "dress up" for the RWA literacy signing. It was an interesting discussion, actually, and people had a lot to say (there are close to 100 more comments now than when I shut down last night). Can't decide if I can be arsed to check out the new comments. But while wading through 409 comments, I learned some new and fascinating things and my mind was sent on all kinds of tangents. Here are some things I am curious about:

**Two of the authors under scrutiny are Liz Maverick and Marianne Mancusi who dressed up in the style of the new, anime/manga inspired Shomi line. There was a lot of discussion about the appropriateness of the outfits etc. as well as the appropriateness of wearing said outfits to the events. I'm in the camp that doesn't find the outfits all that shocking. They remind me of something I would've worn for a party in college. All that's missing is some Wine with Everything lipstick and a Rolling Rock. The outfits are part of their marketing campaign to set the line (and themselves) up as the cutting edge of romance. They're aiming to grab that twentysomething demographic that's outgrown YA and disdains Romance. Mancusi and Maverick are calling themselves the Rebels of Romance. Now I am interested in the books (hate the covers), and will try it regardless, but I was surprised to find myself irritated. It bugged me. It seems kind of like this forced, we're cooler than you, cheesy thing. I think its the "rebels" thing that makes me want to sniff and say, "Poseur". A real rebel wouldn't call themselves a rebel. On the other hand, someone in high school would. So perhaps these ladies are just writing to an age group which I am no longer part of. Ehh, I don't really care, I like that someone's trying for something a little different. Didn't care for it though, and was curious if anybody else had a reaction.

**Why Trade? Seriously, I'm not being snarky, what is the point of the trade paperback? Why pay 13-15 dollars for a big paperback? How do they decide if an author will be published in MM, Trade or Hardcover? Is there a reason, publisher-wise for it? I figure there must be, but what is it?

**Dude, did you realize that there are sites that charge for reviews? Oh, I'm sorry, for "guaranteed" reviews. Wow...that's interesting. When I reviewed for SLJ, it was all volunteer reviewers, and I would imagine its the same for most of the other major review journals. Is it cool to charge for reviews? Now I spent all of ten minutes looking around Two Lips Reviews, and I haven't bothered to check out their fee structure. Perhaps it is very reasonable. But I did notice that for the most part it was erotic romance of the electronically published type. Probably doesn't get reviewed in too many places, and I would imagine any exposure is good for an author. I just don't understand the ire directed at bloggers who review honestly, if harshly, who do it because they love to read romance, but no one has a problem with the idea of someone taking money to write a bland, generic review? For the record, if anyone wants a review, I'll do it for free. I can't guarantee an A, but it'll be detailed enough that anyone will know exactly what worked and what didn't. I don't get a ton of hits, but I'm sure I could get my sister to link, and she gets lots of hits :) I was just surprised, and a bit dismayed. I thought people were joking about 4 wet thongs etc.

**This one has nothing to do with RWA, but sadly I can't stop thinking about it. Has anyone seen Rock of Love yet? Train-wreck compelling, for sure. I can't quite figure out what makes this one so much more depressing than, say, Flavor of Love or the one with Peter Brady and Adrianne Curry. That motley crue of chicks they've assembled is very sad. Most of them seem to be taking it deadly serious, and I think my dogs are smarter. At least he didn't keep the weepy, fall-down drunk on. Like I said, it's funny for now, but I'm definitely laughing at them, not with them, and I could see that getting old fast.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Little Love in Space...

So my low-grade cold has turned into a high grade cold. On the up side, I've gotten quite a bit of reading done. On the down side, I'm achy and cranky and almost had a throw-down with the children's librarian because H-Bomb was late for Storytime. Seriously, I'm still fuming a little bit, and that says a lot for her rudeness because usually fuckwittery rolls right off my back.

Now that I'm feeling a little bit better, I've been catching up on all the post RWA blogging. I'm surprised not to see a bit more about the decisions regarding RWA publisher recognition and PAN status(if you are interested, see here for more info). I think it's for the best though, if the people affected the most just ignore it. I doubt it would affect reader purchasing decisions, and epublishers are definitely here to stay. A quick glance at my 2007 list of reads shows that some of my favorites of the year are from E-Pubbed authors (Michelle M. Pillow), or authors who got their start with E-Pubs (Christine Warren, Linnea Sinclair). I've definitely read some mediocre or downright shitty e-published books, but for each one of those, there's a Pillow, or Bonnie Dee, or Joey Hill. And though the past couple of E-books I bought were disappointing, I had a happy surprise with my most recent impulse purchase from Samhain, Starkissed by Lanette Curington.

Now, I would be lying if I said that my attention wasn't piqued by the Poser cover featuring a reptilian alien and a bitchy looking brunette in an awkward embrace. And I would be lying if I said that my interest wasn't further piqued by Samhain's warning: Graphic sex between a human woman and an alien male who is anatomically different from human men! A quick mental inventory suggested that I hadn't read any books with human/alien sex. They're always humanoid. Well, what was I waiting for? I bought it immediately, and then was concerned that I let my prurient interests get the better of my good judgment. But it was good! Quite good!

Starkissed is the story of Leith McClure, a human woman, and J'Qhir, a Zi male. They meet during a trade that is supposed to take place between Leith's family's shipping company and J'Qhir, the Warrior (the protector, really) of his people. Each is surprised to find the other quite interesting, rather than disgusting. After the transaction goes wrong (due to a typically cartoony romance villain who wants REVENGE and is pissed Leith won't let him into her knickers), J'Qhir and Leith are kidnapped and abandoned on an uninhabited planet. The planet is a protected sanctuary of sorts, and so no one ever goes there. As the two try to survive, they find their initial fascination deepening into friendship attraction and more. But can their burgeoning love survive when they are rescued?

This one doesn't skimp on the relationship development. The hero and heroine are not only different species, they come from very different cultures, and it is very interesting to read how they try to understand each other's ways of thinking. J'Qhir's people, the Zi, are a very isolated and insular culture, governed by strict rules. He is a conservative fellow, with a strong sense of duty, honor and responsibility, and his struggle to come to grips with his intense feelings for Leith, so alien (heh) from all he has ever known, is rather charming. Leith is less vivid to me, pretty much a typical young woman, intelligent and a bit impulsive. All in all likeable, except for a few annoying moments toward the end.

Yes, J'Qhir is not human, but rather reptilian. He was different enough that I didn't feel the author was wimping out, but not so much that it was squicky (know what I mean?). The genitalia thing wasn't too creepy or anything. I liked that during the love scenes, they didn't suddenly become porn stars. Leith is a virgin (she's 21), and J'Qhir is very inexperienced, and the sex scenes reflected that, as well as their deepening feelings for each other. It was a natural extension of their intimacy, not just thrown in for the sake of titilation. Leith was a little more forward than might be expected, but it went along with their respective personalities, J'Qhir being a rather cautious fellow, and a product of a repressive environment.

In fact, so much time was spent on them getting to know each other, and getting past their differences, it slowed things during the middle section a bit. Also, as I alluded to before, Leith acts like an ass for a bit towards the end, wanting J'Qhir to read her mind, when he really ain't that type of guy (or critter). Luckily, that doesn't last too long. I would've liked an epilogue or something more at the end, because they had some obstacles facing them, and I wanted to know how it all turned out. Otherwise, this was an unusual and satisfying read, and one I'll be revisiting. A solid B+ for Ms. Curington. I'll be looking to see what else she comes out with.

Oh, and a big ol' thumbs up for Finders Keepers. I may not give it a full review, but it was very good. Linnea Sinclair rocks!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Becoming a Linnea Sinclair fangirl...

I've been having a rough week. The combination of "women's troubles", a low grade cold, some upcoming things I've been trying to plan, and the fact that my kids, dogs and husband all seem to be conspiring against me, have made me a woman on the edge. Grumpy, achy, overemotional and exhausted. Each night I retired to bed with Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair, only to fall asleep 10 minutes later. My preliminary assessment? Pleasant, but not memorable. On Wednesday night I took the book to bed, expecting it to lull me into a pleasant slumber. All of a sudden, something clicked. The book just took off for me, and two hours later I forced myself to put it down. I didn't quite finish it last night, because I was really sleepy, but I look forward to getting back to it today. Ms. Sinclair writes great kick-ass heroines, with enough vulnerability to make them likable. I also love her uptight, arrogant, but secretly lonely and sweet heroes. The author doesn't skimp on plot either. She's quickly becoming a favorite. I had meant to post this a couple of days ago, but Ms. Sinclair is also quite kind to those of s who can't get enough Branden Kel-Paten. She has posted a number of snippets featuring the Games of Command characters over at Alien Romances.

Up next: Three books of very different genres, which all suffered similar afflictions: the sacrifice of character development and believable romance in pursuit of sexual content.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Few Interesting Things...

--Best e-card site ever: Some Ecards. Found at Kat O+'s blog. Great possibilities.

--How do you feel about Nut Cream as the title of a gay werewolf romance? Fabulous? Delightfully Trashy? In poor taste?

--Speaking of the gay, if I hear or read the phrase "It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," one more time, I may start throwing stuff. Yo, I know Adam and Steve. They've been together for 15 years, they have a well-appointed home in Chelsea, and they want to know why everyone keeps singling them out.[Okay, that's not true, but I wish it was, because that would be awesome.]

Seriously though, homophobic arguments might have a skosh more gravitas, if they didn't always trot out that old saw. Really, was it Adam and Eve? Was it? That one was tired by the time I was old enough to realize why Uncle Jimmy's "friend" got invited to go everywhere.

Okay, so that little rant was totally OT but I'm getting a cold, it's that time of the month, I have to bring the monsters to Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday party, and go to work tonight. I got no patience for fools today.

I don't remember what else I was going to mention. I really need a vacation.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Happy Birthday

to Aunt Margee!

Yonda Lies the Castle of my Fodda: an original romance

Hark, is that a knight in shining armor I hear?

I hope it is Sir Go Diego Go.

It is I, Sir Cindy Crosby, come to sweep you off your feet. Marry me and we will rule together.

No way Dude, you just want my crown.

I will smite you and steal your outfit.

Haha, I am a feisty, crossdressing heroine, and I shall set off to find my true love, Sir Go Diego Go. Who knows what sort of adventures I shall find along the road?

To be continued...

I'll take a giant helping of douchebaggery...

with a dollop of "Italian" machismo.

Hold the condom, please!

My reading mood has been capricious lately. Terribly so. One moment, I'm interested in a really meaty historical, the next I'm thinking of going for a Romantic Suspense, then I'm like maybe a light contemporary, then two hours later...well you get the idea. When I find myself suffering from a short attention span, I often find that reading a harlequin or a e-book hits the spot. Even if it's mediocre, there is often entertainment value to be had, for good or for ill, and it gets the reading mojo going again. Since Lucy Monroe has served me well in the past, I picked up her HP Pregnancy of Passion (Miniseries: Expecting! She's sexy, successful and pregnant!).

This was a rough go at first. I wasn't sure if I'd make it. We have Elisa, the illegitimate daughter of an American actress and a Sicilian businessman, who now lives in Italy and works as a jeweller. A year ago, she entered into an intense affair with her father's friend, Salvatore di Vitale, a security expert. It ended badly when she became pregnant and he rejected her, sure that the child was not his. Depressed and alone Elisa miscarries. Now having made the attempt to go on with her life, poor Elisa is in for an unhappy surprise, when Salvatore shows up at the behest of her papa, who fears that she is in danger (for reasons that aren't all that interesting, so I won't get into it).

Salvatore has been suffering from a bad case of Sicilian guilt and fears he caused Elisa's miscarriage. His solution: to marry her, of course. Even though Salvatore still believes she's a slut,'cuz her papa told him so. The man who saw her only during summers while she was growing up. But a Sicilian man must take the word of another Sicilian man, after all. And she turns him on so much, she must be a dirty whore. But he'll marry her, because he hurt her and he feels bad. Kill me now. I was hating this guy so much, I was blaming him for the damn miscarriage. It gets worse as the depth of his douchebaggery is revealed, because of course Pops wasn't calling his daughter a ho. Anyone with half a brain cell might've asked for clarification, rather than jumping to a nasty conclusion. And it turns out he made another bonehead move, which had me shaking my fist.

Our heroine Elisa is very unhappy with Salvatore's reappearance, but she still loves him, so she drops her drawers. And he takes the opportunity to try to knock her up again. I know, I know, sounds awful, but the book actually got better as it went along. Monroe does a very good job at showing that Salvatore is indeed, a dumb shit. She explains his reasoning without excusing it. Chalk it up to Sicilian this or that, it was a smokescreen to protect his feelings, and he effed up big time. Salvatore definitely shows geniune remorse as he realizes what a fucktard he was. And Elisa makes him suffer. But not enough for me. Although a good job was done explaining his actions, the hero was still too much of an asshole for me to really get behind the HEA. I will give it a C+ though, because at least I was able to understand Salvatore a bit by the end.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Challenge Roundup

So I'm not so great with the willpower thing. Same reason I don't do diets. Also the same reason (during college) I would find myself swearing up and down that I'd never drink again, only to get stinky that very night. I read a grand total of 4 books out of the 20 on my list. Two others were DNFs, although I would not completely rule out attempting them again. In addition to that, I read three books that were not on the list (my bad), and bought 12 others (my very bad). Ah well, I think the act of listing them will help to keep them on my radar. I think I will be getting to some sooner rather than later though, in particular the Hoyt and Stacey books.

Man, summer is a busy time. I feel very behind on blog-hopping, as well as reading. Alas, lounging by the pool with a fun read is not an option for me. I glance at the other moms enviously as I chase the Destroyer. I think the lifeguard on duty at the kiddie pool cries inside when he sees us coming. No more staring into space, wondering which 7-11 parking lot he's going to hang out at tonight. The Destroyer is going to make him work for his pay as she throws herself under the water, flailing and choking and insisting that she can swim all by herself.

I'm getting excited for Harry Potter time. Both Book #7 and Movie #5. I have to see if my "Republicans for Voldemort" T-shirt still fits. We're doing a program at work, and I got drafted to help run it, since I'm such a geek since I'm full of brilliant ideas. There was a fun article in the local paper about the various theories and what has been debunked and not. Plus, a little crash course for those who don't care (although I can't possibly understand why you wouldn't).

For the past couple of days, Sybil has had the Shomi launch authors guest blogging. I think this line looks very promising. BUT, gotta admit I'm not feeling the covers. I'm not one for anime/manga. Don't have anything against it, but I don't have anything for it, either. The covers are too cutesy, to me. I hope it finds its intended audience, because the blurbs are pretty good. I particularly like the sound of Driven by Eve Kenin, who also writes historical Gothics as Eve Silver. Anybody out there read any of them? I haven't read a good Gothic in a long time. Anyway, go check it out. Sounds different.