Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Basilisk and Chimera by Rob Thurman

I'm going to cheat and just post links to my reviews...enjoyed both books immensely.  Read them in order, it does make a difference.

Ms. Thurman was in a serious accident but is thankfully home and recovering according to her website.  I wish her a speedy recovery and hope for more of her wonderful tales as soon as she can crank them out!



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Elder Race Series

I have really enjoyed the first three books in the "Elder Races Series" by Thea Harrison.  She has a refreshing perspective on certain mythological creatures such as dragons, vampires and griffins and each book has spotlighted a different aspect of these fascinating creatures.  The most recent is Serpent's Kiss and delves into the aging process of vampires with glimpses into the politics of that world.  My favorite thus far is still the first in the series, Dragon Bound, just because it appeals to my own sense of obsession and gives insight into a dragon's love for his/her hoard.  My review of Serpent's Kiss for Night Owl Reviews can be found at:

I am a little behind in my review books and have two due in the next two days so will probably be unable to post for the next couple of days as other obligations will take precedence so my apologies, I will try to compensate next week by catching up on some of the reviews that have been neglected for awhile.  Happy reading!

Split Second

Split Second by Catherine Coulter is another of her stories that combines the mystical with the hard-boiled realism of the FBI and the horrendous cases it deals with.  It is always heartwarming to get a glimpse of the deep love and adoration that exists between Savitch and Sherlock and their adorable son.  The three different mysteries are deftly interwoven even as the intriguing legacy that Carlyle inherits exacts its own form of payment.  An interesting look at the potential handicaps that agents face when trying to apprehend their perpetrator even while trying to protect the innocent (or not so innocent) bystanders.  An enjoyable and suspenseful read as usual.

I always enjoy reading Ms. Coulter’s work and I think that it is partly because her heroines have smart mouths (much like myself), no matter what genre she is writing in.  They tend to snap out a comeback without filtering it and often get themselves in trouble  but their sunny personalities tend to redeem them.  Many people are disturbed by the psychic elements that seem to be permeating the series but I think that is what helps set them apart from other romantic suspense tales.  I am not positive that I would have had the strength to make the same decision that Lucy does by the end of the book but I certainly understand her reasoning.  Anyway, I really enjoyed the tale and look forward to many more.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Release, Fetish, When Alex Was Bad and wasting Time was that kind of a weekend.  I have a task that I hate doing that I have procrastinated taking care of until the absolutely last possible moment.  So, of course, the plan was to spend the entire weekend taking care of it.  Ha ha!  Of course I jinxed myself when I posted in another blog that I hadn't been having my infrequent migraines.  I get an aura before they start, somewhat like the heat waves you can see shimmering off of hot pavement...and it grows until it begins to interfere with my I know that the intense pain in my head is about to show up.  Therefore, I was not very pleased to have that appear yesterday morning as I was starting my day.  I quickly took my medication and went back to bed and was pleasantly surprised to wake up with only a mild headache that, although annoying, was not incapacitating.  I didn't want to jump up and push my luck, so I read instead...yes, the minute I can focus, I read.  Why do you think the blog is called the "addict" and not the fan or aficionado?  Of course, the day was pretty much wasted by the time I was done so I figured, with true procrastinator's logic, better to start fresh today.  Unfortunately today was a replay of yesterday with the leftover headache being a little worse (which means it's a problem as I try to take care of the laundry or do anything else which increases pressure in my head like coughing or laughing).  Oh well, we'll practice mind over matter tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I went on an erotica rampage...I actually had read Release by Beth Kery a couple of weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised.  I have not read her works before but she can write a smoking love scene and she has a nice touch with the suspense element as well.  My only complaint is that I don't really like obtuse heroines and Genny is a bit slow to realize the danger that she is in for my tastes.

Fetish by Sherri L. King is a bit of a fluffy erotica tale combining an overweight woman and her search for her sexuality.  It's an adequate light read with some sensual scenes.

When Alex Was Bad by Jo Davis is a bit hotter than her Firefighters series and was quite an enjoyable erotic read even though I personally was not impressed by their solution to a troubled marriage.  That said, the characters and scenes were hot and it was an entertaining story.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Perceptions and Seduce Me In Flames

I have what is probably an overdeveloped sense of personal space meaning that I don't really like people too close to me.  Of course, once I get to know someone the space shrinks somewhat but it is a quirk left over from childhood traumas.  I was waiting in line for a free concert sponsored by the local jazz radio station and sitting on the floor, reading a book (of course), did not want to be stepped on by the gentlemen in front of me and left a three foot space between us since I was waiting for my husband and mother-in-law to join me.  There was no rush since the doors wouldn't open for another 90 minutes so people were wandering off to eat dinner, including a pair of couples who were directly behind me and asked the woman behind them to save their place.  A security guard came by about 20 minutes later and told me that I couldn't sit on the floor (a surprise to me since it's the first time they have told me this and I have been to this place 3 times prior) and I was startled to hear the woman behind me exclaim "good!".  I, of course, stood up in the same spot that I had been sitting, i.e., I didn't move forward.  About 15 minutes later, this selfsame woman began verbally attacking me because she wanted me to move forward...I was flabbergasted!  She tried to enforce her desires by standing 4 inches away from me with her back to me, close enough that she was leaning on the book that I was holding in my hand!  I felt like I was dealing with a 2 year old.   Her response to anything I said was to hold her hand up in front of my face and tell me that she didn't want to hear it, to "shh"...what in the world does one do when something like that happens?  Her perception was that I was unfairly holding space.  Mine was that she was getting all bent out of shape for nothing...we weren't going anywhere for at least an hour and her closing up any empty spaces was a ludicrous operation since at least 6 more bodies (my 2 and the two missing couples) would still have to fit into the area.  I am not normally a physical person but I was sorely tempted to smack her...except, that would have meant that I would miss the concert and my husband wouldn't know where to find me.  Well, it did a nice job of raising my blood pressure and my poor husband got to hear my harangue as soon as he showed up to exchange places with me so I could go change.  He of course, ended up chatting amicably with the crazy woman's husband briefly.  (Which leads me to the difference in perception between men and women since he didn't understand why that annoyed me as well).  So what was the big deal?  Was her perception that I was taking up more space than I should have?  Is it like the freeways where I think I am following the 3 second rule and leaving enough space to brake in unforeseen circumstances while other idiots (excuse me, I mean drivers) see that as space to cut in?  I am sure that each of us thinks the other is a jerk and this is over as about a trivial a circumstance as is possible.  Now magnify that into people in positions of extreme's frightening, isn't it?
Anyway, that leads me to Jacquelyn Frank's Seduce Me in Flames, the sequel to her novel, Seduce Me in Dreams.  It occurs to me that I forgot to review that one as well.  The main character is a Tarian.  The female lead is a princess in a land that considers Tarians barbarians and savages.  He thinks she must be some protected royal being divorced from reality.  Part of the growth in their relationship is getting past the perceptions and learning about their true natures...but of course, that is the essential part of any relationship, isn't it?  Anyway, it was an enjoyable read despite a few inconsistencies (I thought the uncle acted out of character at the end and there was something about a weapon/undiscovered threat close to the princess which must have been a red herring because I don't recall finding out who/what it was). I will definitely look for the next in the series as soon as I can work my way through some of my TBRs.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Coping with bad things and Vampire Instinct

Vampire Instinct
is not a read for the faint of heart but fans of Joey Hill already know of her penchant for dark sexual tales filled with BDSM elements.  It continues the saga of characters introduced in the story of Dev and Lady Daniela (Danny) (A Vampire's Claim) but after even more horrific acts have been perpetrated by the fledgling vampires created by Ruskin and his cronies.  Readers should be aware that there are multiple rapes and severe violent crimes described in addition to the “normal” kinky activities associated with multi-vampire meetings in this series but there is also a very emotional tale conveyed which centers around coping with inconceivable trauma as everyone tries to help Elisa and because of her, the remaining fledglings as well.  The decision to send them all to an island where they come under the supervision of a relatively young made vampire named Malachi is tempered by the knowledge that this is a last-ditch effort to salvage the fledglings and by extension, their champion Elisa.  Malachi has himself been damaged by his past and has carved out a niche where he is able to isolate himself with those he is comfortable around and rehabilitate the wild felids that he has rescued.  He has a ruthless determination that is ill-prepared for the deceptively weak and mild-mannered human that accompanies the potentially irredeemable fledglings.  The epic battles between the two as they find an unexpected solace in each other are entertaining and enlightening.

Each of us has had bad things happen to us, some of us have experienced more horrific traumas than others but it is how we have coped that shapes us as individuals.  Sometimes there is a multistage process that continues to percolate over the years and sometimes we are arrested at one phase...whether it be avoidance, resentment, acceptance, ongoing pain or any other of the myriad of responses.  Sometimes scars are physical and sometimes they are non-tangible but real nevertheless.  Our support system is invaluable and it can be an additional burden if we don’t have anyone to help bring us out of the darkness that we can fall into but it is important to realize that ultimately, we have to decide for ourselves how we are going to respond.  A beautiful quote in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Retribution is ascribed to the Tsalagi, and reminds us that “you should never allow your yesterday to use up too much of today.  The past is gone and tomorrow is at best a maybe.  Live for this moment because it may be all you’ll ever have. “  I think that this reminds us that we have to decide for ourselves whether we are going to allow things that have been done to us to swallow up our future or whether we will make the decision to live each day to its fullest potential and go on from where we are at this moment.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Levels of gratitude and Earl of Darkness

I am grateful for multiplicities of things every day...from the little things such as being able to move around without significant soreness (having had severe neck pain problems in the past it is always great to not need to visit the chiropractor in order to turn my head), absence of my intermittent migraines, appreciation for having air conditioning in 100+ degree summer heat, having a roof over my head and food in the house, my life...the list could go on forever.  I am humbled by the fact that one of the soldiers that I have met through the website thinks that she should be grateful to me.  I read that she and her fellow soldiers are tolerating heat that is 120 during the day with lows that are in the 90s and I feel that I should quit whining about it being summer in the high desert.

I became acquainted with her because she has started a library to give some of our brave soldiers paperbacks to read.  I sent her a couple of boxes of books and read about some of the other items that were being requested therefore I sent a small care package as well.  This brave woman is unable to see her family for months on end, has no store to run out and pick up a few things from when she runs out of toothpaste or shampoo and faces her conditions with cheerful tolerance.  She told me that she volunteers at a cheetah rescue facility and the picture on this blog is one of those that she sent me.  When I thanked her for sharing the pictures, she told me that this was the least she could do!  Such humility...from someone who shows us the meaning of selflessness and sacrifice.  And what do they ask for?  Snack cakes, something called Swedish fish...and dark colored hairbands (which, I discovered, are harder to find in local stores than I had expected).  I am humbled by making her acquaintance and by the knowledge that she is one of multitudes that make it safer for us to live our lives as we do.  I encourage others to take the time to adopt a pen pal and share good thoughts even if your circumstances don't allow you to send goody boxes.

Earl of Darkness by Alix Rickloff is the beginning of a series which combines the concept of humans with Fey blood and a plan to bring King Arthur back.  It starts with an earl who is desperately trying to save his estate and recoup his finances by marrying a rich bride.  An unreadable diary which is about to be stolen by a female burglar seems to be the key to the plan and causes the earl to become distracted by the one person who is able to read the diary, the burglar herself.  I am glad that I read the second book in the series first because I would have been really reluctant to do so given the horrendous villain named Lazarus who is introduced here and featured in the second book.  I couldn't establish a rapport with the main characters in this book because the hero is terribly hardheaded, has no qualms about establishing a sexual liaison with someone he has no intentions of marrying and is quite willing to force her to help him whether she is willing or not and the heroine is complicit in her own downfall even as she repeats her patterns but is singularly ineffectual at pretty much everything.

Darkborn and vision

One of the questions I saw on one of the blogs (I think it was erotica author Delilah Devlin's) that I visited today asked what you would do if you were only able to see for 1 hour a month which was ironic considering I was reading Darkborn by Alison Sinclair at the time.  The intriguing premise to this story is that there are two societies coexisting but never crossing paths because one cannot tolerate the light and implied but not yet stated, the other cannot tolerate the dark.  Those who exist during the dark hours are necessarily the Darkborn and are physically blind yet can "sonn" which allows them to perceive far more than mere sight would allow.  The presence of two babies who are ostensibly Darkborn yet possibly sighted forms the nexus for the upheaval and violence that permeates the entire book.  A complicated relationship between mages and the Darkborn populace as well as a nebulous threat from beings known as the Shadowborn gives depth to the story which follows the Hearne family as it becomes the center of a whirlpool of upheaval and potential destruction of society as they know it.  Great secondary characters as well as a nice facility for world-building make this an intriguing read and whets the appetite for the other two books in the trilogy.  My Goodreads review:

I have always had a secret fear that I will lose my vision and be unable to read therefore the story resonated with me on a visceral level because these people use their own version of Braille and operate independently through the use of a different sense so they are by no means handicapped in the strictest sense of the word.  I did not enjoy the one or two audiobooks that I tried because they seemed so slow and I always fear that the voice of the narrator will destroy the story for me because I will find it to be inadequate or inappropriate for the story that I am reading.  I already find it irksome to compensate for my bifocals and often end up removing my eyeglasses entirely when I read.  Anyway, if I only had an hour of vision per month, I probably would spend it outdoors, reading and staring at my loved ones.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Forgetfulness as well as the benefits of libraries

I think that I mentioned that I am new to the blogging world and feeling my way along.  I have skimmed other people's blogs but have decided that I am going to have to limit my exposure because I am losing so much time between trying to write reviews for Night Owl Reviews, Goodreads, writing entries for my blog and playing Word With Friends (my terrible addiction to the Scrabble analog) that I am eating into my reading time for books when I get lost on the 5 or 6 blogs that I have become interested in!  I reviewed some of my previous entries and I am tickled to be slowly receiving comments and startled to have a follower (thanks and welcome Mary K!) and have discovered that I intended to talk about a couple of books and then promptly forgot about them.  I will state in my defense that I am uncomfortable posting anything until my Night Owl Review gets published because I feel that this is the proper etiquette...after all, I wouldn't have the book if not for the site so they should be entitled to the first review.  I have had the pleasure of reviewing about 100 books for them this year and am really grateful to have been given the opportunity to read so many great new titles.

I just finished Basilisk so I will try to post my comments about it over the next two weeks.  I have to get some of my library books read so I am going to tackle Darkborn  and Lightborn over the next few days to prepare for my review of Shadowborn but I probably will stray into a different genre somewhere along the way because too many in the same genre tends to give me literary indigestion...I get bored and satiated!   I have 3 more review books due over the next couple of weeks so have to get to those as well.

I am fortunate in the fact that the Los Angeles County library system gets a large number of current books and those that I can't get from that library are often available at the Palmdale Library.  Yes, some weeks we just make the rounds from one library to another but they are such great resources!  I use the online catalog to request my books and also to keep up with the new titles being cataloged...I hate reading books after a smoker or a messy nibbler has contaminated it so I really like to be one of the first in line to read the book.  Thus far, I was keeping my Night Owl reviews separate from my borrowed or purchased reviews on Goodreads but I am finally going to try to add everything to the Goodreads shelves.  One more thing to be aware of if you don't already know about it, the County Library system has made Freegal available to its patrons so that one can legally download 3 different songs per week (of the catalog that they have from Sony) and Palmdale Library (I am not sure about the other library system) has a foreign language training course through Mango so just remember that libraries are not just for books!

Friday, September 16, 2011

TGIF and Chimera

It's been a long week and I am very much looking forward to the weekend and catching up on my reading.  I am afraid that I have a few library books that need to be read before they are due as well as the giant stack of TBRs that are teetering in several different rooms.  I try to read the previous books in a series if the one that I am supposed to review is part of a sequence that I have not read.  Easier said than done sometimes but often gives much more insight than the brief synopses or offhand explanations that are often confusing if one doesn't know the entire series.

One example of the importance of being familiar with the series can be seen if one reads Rob Thurman's Basilisk without reading Chimera first.  Thurman always writes somewhat uncomfortable scenarios but not to the point where I have to stop reading.  Her talent lies in her ability to make a disturbing character personable and appealing.  She sucks you in with the first paragraph and chews you up and spits you out still wishing for more.  Chimera introduces the Korsak brothers, Stefan and Lukas, who were separated 10 years in the past when Lukas was kidnapped.  Scions of an infamous Russian mobster, the two are reunited after Stefan has devoted the intervening years to finding out what has happened to his younger sibling.  The young man that he rescues has no memory of their history and has been honed into a weapon but is ill-prepared to exist in a normal life.  Stefan wants to atone for what he sees as his culpability in all that happened to his brother but they each have secrets and baggage that have to be addressed.  A startling ending which makes me quite happy that I already have the next in the series to read!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A plethora of blogs, Kim from SOS Aloha and Retribution

I had the pleasure of meeting Kim at the Romantic Times readers’ conference when it was in Los Angeles this year.  She is a remarkable combination of empathetic warmth and enthusiastic avalanche.  She emanates such a welcoming and positive energy that one cannot help but respond in like manner but she looks so casual and laid-back that one fails to immediately realize how inexorable she is at achieving her goals.  My world has expanded geometrically since I have met her and now I have been sucked into the maelstrom of the blog world.  Reading the posts on her blog yesterday (SOS Aloha) wherein she requested that people either introduce their own blogs or list some of their favorites made my head spin even more at the concept that there are so many of us out there sharing our thoughts even as I was grateful to her for the opportunity to slowly creep out of my shell and throw myself out for public perusal.  My mind has been boggling since MySpace became popular and I still fail to understand where all of this data is being housed...Tweets, blogs, Google, etc.--does it all get converted to some esoteric pool of energy which we sip from periodically?  Is there some gradually evolving sentience that will become revealed such as in Nailini Singh’s or Orson Scott Card’s universe?  The question that I frequently pose to those that know me is...who really cares what I am saying?  Maybe if you know me already then you might be interested in my viewpoint but otherwise what does it matter?  Then I started thinking about why I write reviews...not only does it give me an amazing opportunity to read an incredible variety of books...but I  try to share my opinion so that like-minded individuals can have their interest piqued (or not, as the case may be) so I guess that my blog will just be an extension of that while it gives more of a flavor to my personality than my rather technical reviews.

Retribution by Sherrilyn Kenyon tells of Abigail Yager who was indoctrinated by the Daimons at a young age and has been trained to hunt and kill Dark-Hunters while she searches for the one who killed her parents.  Unfortunately, she thinks that William Jessup (Jess) Brady is that person despite the fact that he was tragically enamored of and separated from her ancestress Matilda but has never lost the love that he has for her, despite the paternal source of her descendants.  I was less than enthralled by this book but I am not a strong fan of the series which is imaginative but just doesn’t gel enough for me.  It is somewhat formulaic to me and it is important that the reader is very familiar with all of the interconnections among the beings in order to follow the stories.  I really admire Ms. Kenyon’s ability to create a wide variety of beings but I just don’t form the strong connection to her characters that I do with other series.  Ironically, I kept waiting to see the horses that Jess was so fond of and that he gave as his excuse for the extensive house that he purchased in Las Vegas and that is just one of the dangling ends that I wanted tied up in a neat bow.  I just have one of those minds that likes things to be orderly and to me the stories tend to meander around---but that doesn’t mean I don’t read them as time permits and that I don’t think the series is not worth just isn’t one of my favorites.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blogs, blogs everywhere and Enthralled

One of the puzzles that I have constantly faced with the explosion of social media is why in the world would anybody care what I have to say or what I am doing a particular day.  I admit to being relatively faithful about entering books on my Goodreads shelf but that is more of a selfish act because I read so many stories that I am likely to forget the premise of a particular series no matter how much I like it.  There is only so much room on my mental “shelf” and as I age, the shelf seems to be decreasing in size.  I am always amazed by the breadth of information that our brains are capable of holding, just think of the songs that you remember from your late teens that you can hear the first few notes of and know immediately whether the melody line is correct, let alone the artist singing or the words being sung.  Just think of how much information that is and how many songs that you learned in a single year!  And we are not even beginning to use the potential capacity of our brains.  But, as usual, I digress.  Each blog that I have looked at has links to several others.  Clicking on the links leads me to other sites and giveaways that require comments which necessitate your logging in or registering on yet another site...which leads to additional e-mail...and one could spend hours lost in the blogiverse without appreciably accomplishing everything.  However, I am a person who enters contests for everything...which one year led us to actually traveling to Michigan on a private plane (with the other winners) and watching a NASCAR race...I can only surmise that I must have been aiming for the second prize (probably a large screen television) because that is not a prize I would have ever been aiming for.  Anyway, what I am getting at is that not only do blogs give you interesting snippets about the blogger but the bribes for reading and commenting can be quite entertaining...but that is not a characteristic of my blog...yet.  One of these days I may actually get a follower but of course I will have to let people know it exists and link it to my Goodreads, Night Owl Reviews and LibraryThing accounts.  I seem to be acquiring “friends” on Goodreads somehow without really trying so maybe this will eventually take on a life of its own since I am usually relatively reticent about trying to attract attention.

Enthralled is an anthology edited by the prolific and entertaining Kelley Armstrong and new to me author Melissa Marr.  I have read and enjoyed most of Armstrong’s works since she began the Otherworld series and leapt at the chance to review this work when I noted that both she and Rachel Caine (another author that I have followed since her Weather Warden series started) were contributors.  This is a work that is virtually impossible to swallow at a single sitting and I had to take breaks and allow my mind to uncrinkle enough to absorb the next story since each conjures up its own reality and disparate characters.  Very thought-provoking and sometimes icky (to me) storylines...being bait for cannibalistic Girl Scouts who are trying to earn their badges, vampires in drag, harpies who want a finger as payment, etc. but always entertaining and well-written.  A great addition to several young adult series without being essential to the series themselves, i.e. a nice bonus to read but there will not be a significant gap in the series if you miss this work (temporarily, I hope).   Ok, hopefully I will get back before the week is up to post my thoughts on the new anthology featuring J.D. Robb and friends, The Unquiet, but let me say that I was really sad to get to the end of the book...all of those tales were quite enjoyable as well!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lazy Sundays, Kiss of Frost, Golden and Captive Surrender

There's nothing more delicious than remaining in bed with a good book (and the iPad for a rousing game or three of Word with Friends) for a leisurely morning.  The thunderstorms of yesterday have passed through so there is no longer the musical rhythm of water beating on the roof but the air is delightfully cool so there isn't that urgency to get up and escape the heat.
Some of the most recent titles read include the entertaining addition to the young adult series Mythos Academy that Jennifer Estep is penning, Kiss of Frost.  A new addition to the tales of Gwen Frost, a gypsy teen who lost her mother to what was supposedly a tragic accident and who subsequently has been thrust into a bewildering world that includes Valkyries, Spartans, and others who have an intimate knowledge of gods and goddesses.  Gwen not only has the typical discomfort that comes from being the relatively new student in school but she has been thrust into a millieu that is comprised of wealthy teens who take their privileges for granted.  Added to this is her unusual ability to touch items and either know their history or details of the people who have touched the item (the gift of psychometry).  Gwen gets to battle a Reaper who has targeted her even as she struggles with her attraction to Logan which doesn't seem to be returned and she reluctantly attends the greatly anticipated (by her classmates) Winter Carnival.  Reviewed on the Night Owl Romance site.

Also read thanks to NetGalley and Carina Press were the two erotic entries, Golden by Joely Sue Burkhart and Captive Surrender by Linda Mooney.  Golden is a pretty intense novella centering around an Emperor's consort who has been trained to serve with her acceptance of pain and suffering as a sexual tool.  Well-written and a nice demonstration of the dangers of court life with its protocols and machinations but probably not to everyone's taste.  Captive Surrender has a Star Wars flavor with its wide variety of aliens but with a very spicy twist since the two main characters are forced into a sexual relationship for the titillation of subscribers around the universe.  The condemnation experienced for breaking the taboo of interspecies sex is a perfect example of the inflexibility of laws with no allowances made for extenuating circumstances.  Interesting premise and it would be nice to read additional adventures featuring the two former law enforcers as well as more in-depth descriptions of the backstories which were lacking in this tale.  Another tale not for the squeamish and the mating ritual is inexplicably barbaric but the overall story was entertaining.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Juggling acts

We all have plenty of things in our lives that we juggle.  Some of us have children, many of us have jobs outside of the home, family obligations (sometimes more than one family!), pets, hobbies, church, community...sometimes I think that we have been conditioned to be unable to say no.  My late brother-in-law was incapable of saying of course, sometimes he would frustrate those of us who were depending on him and unaware that he had committed to be in two places at the same time.  Even with all of his talents, he never mastered that ability!  We loved him dearly anyway but I learned to be selfish after watching him.  He worked so hard that he had a year's worth of vacation and sick time accrued which he unfortunately needed in the last year of his all too short life and I swore that we would learn to take time for ourselves and say no occasionally.  It doesn't prevent me from feeling somewhat selfish but one of my favorite sayings is "we are not promised tomorrow" and that helps me limit the number of things that I commit to juggle at any one time.  Of course I can't juggle real items, having no coordination, but that doesn't stop me from trying!  Anyway, that is my explanation for the lack of entries for the past few days and undoubtedly for the next week since I know that I will be juggling work and home and probably will have to reduce the extracurricular activities...and reading ALWAYS takes precedence...but once I pick up again, I will probably have plenty of books to comment on, especially since I have had the privilege of reading the most recent Mythos Academy work by Jennifer Estep, Kiss of Frost as well as two very spicy erotica works, Golden by Joely Sue Burkhart and Captive Surrender by Linda Mooney as well as Dragon's Bride by Jo Beverley.  More on those later.... 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

One of the forums that I regularly visit on Paperback Swap is the RAOK (Random Acts of Kindness) site.  There is a separate forum where people ask for all kinds of things as well as one where people post the items that they have to offer.  It's pretty amazing what gets posted although there are plenty of commonplace things, including coupons of all sorts.  I am always fascinated by the requests for bookmarks because I seem to acquire (and lose) tons of bookmarks all of the time and there always seem to be plenty at the library as well as most bookstores and, if all else fails, there's always a random envelope of something lying around for me to use.  However, I digress.  It seems to me that if we all practice RAOK several times a day, we will be less stressed.  Often it requires very little effort on our part...letting that person out of the driveway while we are waiting for a red light to change, encouraging the person who only has 1 or 2 items to charge out ahead of you, even smiling at every person you pass by can brighten someone's day at little cost to you (unless of course you have a toothache and smiling is painful!).  It all is in your perspective, I of course am incurably picky about proper spelling and grammar and make it a point of mentioning it to people if I can find contact information.  The person that I am contacting could consider me an interfering busybody but I really want to save them from the embarrassment since I know that I tend not to see my own errors once I have written something.  Anyway, I think that if we all make a conscious effort to practice RAOK we will find that nice warm fuzzy feeling replaces some of that tension that permeates our lives and perhaps we will improve each other's situations a little at a time!

NOR books Death Magic (Eileen Wilks) and The Moonlight Brigade (Sarah Jane Stratford)...more about them tomorrow...or later today, depending on how you look at it!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Blood Challenge and Slow Ride

I am a fan of Eileen Wilks and she just keeps reinforcing my love of her Lupi series with each subsequent novel.  Unfortunately, I have had Blood Challenge sitting on my TBR pile for several months but finally took the plunge since I also have the sequel, Death Magic to review.  I am in awe at her ability to create a perfectly believable world that she still manages to stretch the boundaries of imagination as she adds new and amazing twists.  Lily Yu and Rule Turner have settled more comfortably into their love for each other and are still going forward with their controversial decision to marry.  Cullen and Chynna play a role in this complicated novel that introduces someone who becomes essential to Benedict but there is yet another mantle in peril which would unbalance the packs even more.  Lily must face the very real danger to those who are around her even as she strives to better understand her own abilities.  An exciting read that still underscores the deep emotions of the lupi.

Slow Ride (reviewed for NOR) by Erin McCarthy was pretty slow for me.  Plenty of the author's trademark sensual scenes but a relatively unremarkable read but I don't know how much of my distancing is the resonance with the heroine, Tuesday Jones, mourning the loss of a parent as I am myself.  I think I don't like her retreat into the wine bottle as a coping mechanism (I don't drink so that is not an avenue I would pursue) and her heedless abuse of those around her who forgive her because they love her.  The love scenes are hot but the story was less intense than some of the others in the series.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hard Evidence, Bad Boys in Black Tie and Blood Rock

Hard Evidence by Pamela Clare is the second in her I-team series, features Tessa Novak and FBI agent Julian Darcangelo.  I am reading this piecemeal because it is taking me awhile to retrieve all of the books in the series (and I was at the mercy of the local library which only had a few) so I started with Breaking Point (which has an eye-catching cover!).  These are great books with a bit of violence, hunky heroes, self-reliant heroines (the shooting lesson in this one brought back memories of my attempt to fire our gun at the shooting range which emphasized the fact that I have limp noodles for wrists when the ejected shell shot up and caught in between my glasses and my eye---fortunately I was not burned!).  Anyway, nice chemistry between the two characters, tough backgrounds that are overcome, great investigative work by Tessa (go researchers!). 

Bad Boys in Black Tie  is an anthology by Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy and Morgan Leigh.  The first two are favorite authors but I have not read Ms. Leigh's work (at least not that I am consciously remembering).  Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for these (I do go through periods of satiation with a particular genre) but none of them particularly grabbed me and made me root for the characters.  There are cute scenes in Ms. Foster's Good With His Hands but I found myself a bit irritated with the female lead, CJ White in Miss Extreme Congeniality.  I guess this goes back to my previous musings on achieving that is tough to resonate with everyone and probably even worse when one is limited to a certain number of words.

Blood Rock is by Anthony Francis, a new-to-me author.  It starts with a bang and the action never seems to abate, which is both good and bad.  Very imaginative blending of paranormal creatures such as vampires and were-people with magicians that utilize tattoos or graffiti.  Having neglected to read the first book, there is a bit of backstory and debts and obligations that interconnect many of the characters and the love life of the main character, Dakota Frost, is disturbing to me on several levels (which has nothing to do with her gender selections).  I was a little shocked to read some of the reviews on Amazon accusing the author of unsavory things and I think that people need to deal with their own issues and stop projecting.  This is a great book, just a little dense in terms of characters and politics and the constant killing is not to my tastes.  Interesting twists, especially a weretiger with Tourette's syndrome and the somewhat sentient graffiti but a little dark for me.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

That special something that grabs you

Those who know me are aware that I read an incredible number of books (she says modestly).  I have toyed for years with the idea of writing one myself and my husband always tells me that I should, especially when I guess where the plot is going on the movie we are watching.  I just have never thought that I have that spark that some authors do which just carries you along.  Many of the books that I read have the right elements (and yes, I don't think a book is worth reading if it doesn't have that HEA--happy every after ending because we have enough to depress us in real life without being depressed about some fictional character!) but they just don't quite sync together enough to make me want to know what is going to happen or care about them.  It's hard to put my finger on exactly what that special spark is which of course drives me nuts as a scientific person so I waffle about what I would write and then, how does one find someone who "gets" what you're writing about?  There are all of those editors who rejected some of the well-known authors of today and conversely, there are those books that I can't imagine having been published at all.  I will continue to ponder away and one of these days....

Friday, September 2, 2011

Giving in to the pressure

Ok...I have steadfastly resisted doing the Facebook or Twitter thing.  I evidently signed up to Twitter once upon a time because my brother contacted me...much to my surprise!  I have an opinion about just about everything but am never sure that anyone would actually be interested in hearing about it.  We will find out!

I have been frantically reading to try to catch up with the myriad of library books that will be due over the next couple of weeks.  Fortunately, I only have two review books that are due by the 6th (!) but somehow I have eight or nine that will be due by the end of the month.  Added to this is the fact that I overextended myself to send books to one of my adopted soldiers in Djibouti so I have very few credits on PBS and am at the top of the list for several titles on my wishlist.  A couple of the people that I regularly trade with are very patiently waiting for me to pay them so I have to get some books posted so that I can earn credits.  Finally, I made it to Borders which is having its last 10 days of existence sale (boo-hoo!) so that I added 23 books to my very tall TBR pile.

I gave up on Home Improvement:  Undead Edition because it was just too morbid for me, especially freshly recovering from the very uncomfortable experience of having pneumonia just last week.  I am currently reading Hard Evidence by Pamela Clare for my own entertainment (although I have FINALLY gotten a copy of the first in the series, it is next on the TBR), just finished editing Eric Johnson's Another Day in Paradise and am almost done with Blood Rock by Anthony Francis which was offered in an e-mail in return for a review.

I guess that will be it for now...