Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm tired...

Hey, did you know I've been blogging for two years now? This is one of the longest stretches of time that I've stayed with a hobby. It all began with this, on 11/14/05. Sigh. How far we've come. Or not.

Anyhoo, life has been super hectic, but that's name of the game this time of year. H-Bomb is still sick. He puked at school yesterday. Apparently due to to an ear infection. WTF? I know it's the school thing, but he was such a hale and hearty kid. A walking advertisement for the bennies of breastfeeding. I'm taking advantage by having a lounging around day. I'm sitting on my butt, reading and posting.

Although I've been leaving this blog to languish, I've been slutting around again. My first post at Access Romance/Reader's Gab can be seen here. What do you think of pop culture saturating romance? I also reviewed Fairyville by Emma Holly at TGTBTU. Lisabea, have you read any Emma Holly? May help you with the old slump. Well written ER in several subgenres.

I'm calling out to the internets, has anybody successfully made their Ipod Touch into an Ebook reader? I got one from my hubby recently, and a bit of poking around suggests that I can hack it, as DA Jane was able to do with her Iphone. I was able to get the Installer and the Ebooks app. onto my Iphone, but from there it went weird. I am having major difficulty figuring out how to get the files onto the Ipod. I have a feeling that the different directions assume a level of knowledge and technical expertise that I do not have. I got a "Network Connection Refused" message every time I tried this, and I found some other stuff here, but the easiest ways to do it seem to require a Mac OS. Word seems to be that Apple will be coming out with its own Ebook app in February 2008. Perhaps I should just wait. This guy found a way of doing it without hacking the IPod, but again I'm clueless. Not tech savvy enough to know what "Apache" and shit means. Bye the bye, if you're considering an e-book device of some kind, get thee to Jane's series at Dear Author. Start here, and you can access the other installments as well. Lots of good information. Be sure to read the comments for other opinions and suggestions.

Happy Turkey Day!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Take Me Home, Country Roads...

One of my least favorite romance storylines is the one where the city girl ends up in the country, learns the value of hard work and country ways, and gives end her materialistic life to be a rancher's wife or something. I often find it heavy handed and hokey, which is weird because I love it on tv, and I often entertain fantasies of moving to the middle of nowhere. But Robyn Carr's Virgin River trilogy had been given high marks by some bloggers I respect, and I had picked up the books at the library for $1.50. Needing a change of pace I decided to give it a go.

Melinda Monroe, an L.A. nurse practioner/certified nurse midwife, impulsively accepts a job in the small town of Virgin River, California. She is looking for an escape after suffering the tragic loss of her husband. Virgin River begins with some stuff right out of Northern Exposure: Mel drives off the muddy road, and gets rescued by an crotchety old man who turns out to be the doctor she was hired to assist. He takes her to her disgusting cabin, where she promptly falls through the porch and back into the mud. Quickly realizing that this was a colossal mistake, she ends up at the local bar and grill, owned by a gorgeous ex-Marine, and finds out that the old Doc didn't want her around, anyway. The next morning, planning to make a quick exit, Mel literally stumbles over a newborn baby girl on the doctor's doorstep. Her calling won't allow her to leave an abandoned child. And thus, Mel's plans slowly start to change as she finds a new beginning in Virgin River.

This book started off well enough. I knew what was going to happen: Mel would fall in love with the eccentric residents of the town, with country medicine and with the ex-Marine, Jack Sheridan. I liked everything, but my attention started to flag, as it has been lately. I even put it down for a couple of days. Yesterday I decided to give it one more chance while waiting in the OT office for my son. And I became completely engrossed and polished off the book in a matter of hours. When I finished, I sighed, popped a cold one in honor of the bar setting, and opened up the next book, Shelter Mountain. I read Shelter Mountain into the wee hours of the night, so engrossed with these characters was I, and finishing it earlier this afternoon. Later this evening I will probably begin Whispering Rock. I need the closure!

I really fell in love with the characters in Virgin River. The characterization was very strong in this book, the setting very vivid. But what really stood out to me was the way Carr focused on the internal conflicts of the heroine and hero. Mel fears that she will never get past her grief and love again. As her relationship with Jack develops, she feels almost as though she is betraying her husband, as well as fearing losing someone again. Jack was a lovely hero, a strong and steady type. He had always been married to the Marines, so when he falls like a ton of bricks for Mel, it takes him by surprise. But he fears he will always come second in her heart. It was sexy, romantic, moving and emotional and no big misunderstandings or contrivances. Just a troubled soul finding home and love again. A B+.

I was intrigued by Jack's Marine buddy and bar cook, Preacher, so I dove into his story, Shelter Mountain, right away. Preacher is a big, scary looking guy who keeps to himself. Late one rainy night as Preacher is closing up, Paige Lassiter comes into the bar with her son Christopher. Right away, he can tell she's in trouble (the split lip and black eye being a clue), and he feels driven to help. Preacher is a really shy guy, who has always hung back because people find his looks intimidating. But as he gets involved with Paige and Christopher, and falls in love, it gives him a new confidence and purpose. In Virgin River, Paige finally begins to feel safe from her abusive husband. She gets back her confidence as well, and can't help but fall in love with Preacher, who loves and accepts her in a way she has never experienced. Unfortunately, abusive men are not easy to get rid of.

AAAAAAA!! I liked this one even better than Virgin River. It deals unflinchingly with domestic abuse, and it put me through the wringer. I have to admit I cried several times, not only with the main plot, but with subplots as well (Ricky and Liz, Mel and Jack). I am definitely emotionally involved with these characters :) Preacher was great, and I really loved seeing these two people, so isolated for very different reasons, bring each other to life.

I'm looking forward to Whispering Rock, although I'm not enamored of Mike Valenzuela (the hero), because I want to find out what happens next. There are a couple of characters who keep recurring, and I'm curious to see if they get some closure (the pot dealer guy, and Cheryl the drunk). These books have taken me out of my reading slump, and I would definitely recommend them to anybody interested in a character driven contemporary. Not a vampire, demon or secret agent in sight.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I get around...

I've been feeling seriously crappy. A cold is kicking my butt, and seriously infringing on my reading and writing time. I've only managed to finish one book, an EC novella, for review at The Good, the Bad and the Unread. Standard fare, not great, not terrible, but I'd be interested in checking out other stuff by the author, Sherrill Quinn. I also have a post up at Book Binge regarding the difficulties in parting with books.

While I'm being a blog slut, I may as well mention that I will be contributing to Access Romance once a month. Access Romance is a fun site to explore, lots of stuff there. It is a site meant to foster communication between romance writers and readers. They have a feature called Reader's Gab, with monthly contributions by JMC, KristieJ, Tara Gelsomino and Robin. Access Romance is now expanding to include me, Rosie,Amanda and RfP. Today's contribution is the debut by Rosie, concerning a topic likely to be of concern as my kids get older. Check it Out!

Right now I'm reading Virgin River by Robin Carr. Promising so far. Perhaps I will actually finish something to review on this blog!!