Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rest in Peace Anne McCaffrey!

It is with great sadness that I read that Anne McCaffrey has passed on at the age of 85, following a stroke.  A wondrous and prolific author, her books gave me countless hours of entertainment and imaginative expansion of my universe from her beloved dragons (yes, I still have a statue of Ramoth hatching looking over my shoulder as I type this) to the amazing psychics such as the Rowan and the charismatic entities who peopled her brain and brawn ships, the Petaybee inhabitants and the lovely Acorna and all of her good works.  Her dragon trilogy comforted me when I was hospitalized for pneumonia and I used to re-read it once a year for at least a decade.  The woman definitely had a way with words and I offer my sincere condolences to her family and wish her son continued success with his continuation of her writing legacy.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Desiree Holt's "Delicious Danger" and Uh-oh moments

Wow!  I have been wandering around various sites and was thrilled to win a backlist title from Desiree Holt!  I have read some of her Sentinel titles and know that she writes very spicy and entertaining tales.  I am fond of her paranormal works but have never read any of her Phoenix Agency series so I agonized over which to request.  I finally asked for Delicious Danger even though I was really intrigued by the excerpts from all three, despite the fact that normally I like to start at the beginning of a series!  I have to admit that I was swayed by the description of one of the characters...who weighs about 130 pounds, is psychic and...is a Caucasian Ovcharka named Xena.  No, I am not being racist...she's a dog and evidently plays a big role in the story.  I made the mistake of starting the story and it is enthralling but I really don't have the time to finish it right now so I am going to have to exert some willpower and do the things I am supposed to be doing...which leads me to...

Oprah has her "a-ha" moments, my life is full of "uh-oh" moments (or as those who know me are used to hearing...my "oh s**t" moments).   It has slowly dawned on me that not only is Thanksgiving on Thursday...and we are traveling on Weds. but I am also going to be at the mom-in-law's house tomorrow night because we have to help her with her own travel plans on Tuesday and we are supposed to go to the Auto show on Tuesday!  Yikes!  That means that not only do I have a pre-arranged luncheon date and multiple errands to accomplish before we tackle the L.A. freeways tomorrow afternoon but all of those things that I was supposed to finish (including the Christmas cards for the 9 soldiers that I have to get into the mail before Thanksgiving) need to be expedited.  Hmm, that includes trying to read some of the 8 books that are due to be reviewed by Dec. 6 and finish the book that I am trying to help edit but still have 8 chapters to go (because, what happens in Vegas for me is not a heck of a lot of work---too much to see and do---) so...now you know why I shouldn't be reading Delicious Danger right now (-:

My wishes for a happy holiday for all of you that celebrate Thanksgiving and a great week to all of the rest of you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Romance Reviews year end splash contest

Ok, I admit it.  I have been wandering around (gasp) another review site!  I think that I have already mentioned that I am incurable about entering contests and boy, is this a contest.  Unfortunately, it is a very time-consuming contest but they caught my attention with the cover-matching game that you can't actually win unless you answer some of the trivia questions underneath it.  They have some arcane point accruing system that multiplies your points and your entries for the matching game and one thing leads to another until, voila, you have just spent an hour or so reading about new authors and their newest works and have added to your TBR list.  An insidiously effective ploy!  However, I have won two new titles over the past two weeks (woo-hoo) and there are still the major prizes that I am in the running for.  So, as much as I hate to add to my competition (0:
here is the link....
Romance Reviews YES contest

Happy exploring!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Too much of a good thing & Don't forget to vote on Goodreads!

Being under the weather is a great excuse to snuggle in bed with a book (and it helps to realize that you have to key the settings properly on the iPad to get it to not shift orientation every time you wiggle) but unfortunately, it means that the books pile up without the reviews being done.  Beth Kery's very spicy Silken Rapture, Alison Sinclair's intriguing Shadowborn (the conclusion to the fascinating trilogy started with Darkborn and Lightborn), Tamora Pierce's fantastic Mastiff, Qwillia Rain's erotic and suspenseful In a Lover's Silence and my foray into m/m erotica, the anthology Frat Boys, an eye-opening and blush-inducing volume edited by Shane Allison, Kaylea Cross' thrilling Deadly Descent and last, but not least, J.R. Ward's Envy which is part of her "Fallen Angels" series.  Almost all but the last two are review books for Night Owl Reviews so it will be a few days before the reviews are written and the links are live but it must be said that they all kept me mesmerized...now it's time for a recharging of my batteries (figuratively and literally!).

In case you didn't know, it's time for the Goodreads Choice Awards, the narrowing down process is going on...where the top three in each category are chosen.  Get over there and make your voice heard if you haven't already!  Vote!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lord of Rage, Royal House of Shadows #2 and Mastiff!

I managed to read Jill Monroe's Lord of Rage although I seem to have been reading the series somewhat out of order.  I received Nalini Singh's Lord of the Abyss and Jessica Andersen's Lord of the Wolfyn through Netgalley and mentioned them in my blog a few days ago but I had originally forgotten that I had won Lord of Rage through a chat held by the Knight Agency (which was a complete shock since I am usually too slow to get the answers to the trivia questions in quickly enough--very frustrating, I wish they would use a drawing or something since one person won most of their Christmas prizes last year).  I still have not read Gena Showalter's contribution to the quartet and that may be a goal for the distant future.  This was a play on Goldilocks and entertaining but I still think that Lord of the Abyss is still my favorite of the three that I have read although I wished it was longer.  I was pretty bummed to discover that the remaining pages in the e-book was an entirely different story---it's amazing how tunnel vision keeps you from noticing the entirely separate title that is listed!  My Goodreads review of Lord of Rage is at this link

I should also mention that I finally received Tamora Pierce's Mastiff (which I have been impatiently awaiting for far too long).  I started last night and must say that it was worth the wait although I was really upset by the twist.  It is always embarrassing to try to explain to one's spouse why one is reading quietly in bed and suddenly needs loads of Kleenex!  I have offered to review it for Night Owl Reviews so I will hold off on additional comments for now except to say that I was pretty disappointed with Amazon.com since I had it on pre-order and they still didn't ship it until the beginning of November even though it was supposed to have been released Oct. 25 or so!

Death Magic and 'star miserliness'

Eileen Wilks returns to The World of the Lupi with Death Magic and reminds us why the series is such a favorite with her readers.  Lily and Rule are getting closer to their wedding, trying to please her family and his pack but there are many external forces that they have to deal with as well, especially given Rule's high profile as the "face" of the werewolves.  I love this series, if only because the meld of cultures is so fascinating...I really liked the book that featured Lily's grandmother changing into the tiger and showing everyone else a thing or two!  Adding dragons to the mix and the issues of the werewolves "coming out" give such an intriguing flavor to the series.  The secondary characters all have such interesting backstories of their own that it is tempting to hope that they will continue to be featured in their own books rather than having such brief cameos.  My Night Owl Review is at this link

I read a blurb on Goodreads the other day asking whether you are a 5 star miser.  I most definitely am.  It is relatively rare that I will assign that rating to a book and for me, it will only be given to books that I would (gulp) pay to purchase in hardcover format and read over and over again.  I used to have certain books that I would faithfully read every year (e.g. the Lord of the Rings trilogy) but somehow don't seem to have the time to do that any longer.  Most of the hardbacks that I read are checked out from the library unless I have received them to review so I have to REALLY like an author to be willing to purchase (and fill up my overburdened bookshelves) a book in that format.  I am still very old-fashioned in that I prefer to have a print copy of a book because I just can't seem to bookmark and get comfortable with scanning through my e-books.  Anyway, the books that I really like are usually given a 4 1/2 star rating...those that I am caught re-reading long passages even as I am trying to write the reviews get a 4 3/4 and those that I sit down and start over as soon as I finish the first time get 5 stars!  That's my idiosyncratic system...I am sure that everyone has a different version.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Royal House of Shadows Quartet and good news for my friend

Four very popular authors combined their talents to contribute to a series of books about the Royal House of Shadows, each story loosely based on a familiar fairy tale which is given a paranormal twist.  Gena Showalter's Lord of the Vampires started the series, followed by Jill Monroe's Lord of Rage, then Jessica Andersen contributed Lord of the Wolfyn and Nalini Singh very nicely tied up the series with Lord of the Abyss.  This was an inventive way to showcase the talents of four different authors although I have not managed to read the first two as yet, I do already have Lord of Rage on my TBR pile (thanks to the Knight Agency) and I did enjoy the alternate versions of Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast depicted by Andersen and Singh.  An intriguing bonus was Ms. Singh's Desert Warrior which conjured up the lovely Harlequin series romances popular in past decades with its exotic location and intriguing sheik.  My Night Owl Reviews links are:  Lord of the WolfynLord of the Abyss 
Desert Warrior

We had excellent news from our friend in Maine who was in the running to win a special truck from CAT.  The contest was open to residents of the United States and Canada and it was based on receiving the winning number of votes and we received the ecstatic news that he WON!!!  We have been so thrilled on his behalf and consider it mind-boggling that he was able to generate enough vote but it just goes to show you that it's always worthwhile to throw your hat in the ring...never know what you'll get unless you try.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Motivational seminar

Wow!  I attended a motivational seminar yesterday which was provided at a very nominal cost.  It was pretty mind-boggling to be able to listen to such luminaries as Generals Colin Powell and Stanley McChrystal, former First Lady Laura Bush, retired Coach Lou Holtz (coached at Notre Dame), Joe Montana, Bill Cosby, Rudy Giuliani, and three people I had no prior knowledge of:  Rick Belluzzo (former president of Microsoft), Marry Buffett (Warren Buffett's daughter-in-law) and Krish Dhanam (wow....an amazingly charismatic speaker).  There were the requisite commercials (they had to pay to rent the Staples Center somehow) but I must say that I was most impressed that all of the speakers reminded us that success can be measured in many ways but being an ethical person who treats EVERYONE with respect and compassion is the biggest key.  Everyone had an anecdote from their past painting them in a less than flattering light but the overall message was that they overcame that negativity and have gone on to bigger and better things.  A wonderful reminder that even when things look dark and depressing, it is important to keep going and find a way to get past those things and not allow them to chain us down.  Another pervasive theme was to let go of the grudges and other negative feelings from your past that hold you down because they aren't helping you but rather are harming you.  A difficult lesson but one I'm going to try to work on (-: