Friday, April 29, 2005

Rambling along

Happy Friday Everyone! Not a lot happening for once. :P Today has been overcast with occasional bouts of mist. Supposedly we're getting heavy thunderstorms, but they've not arrived yet.

Managing a Brother Cadfael mystery & trying very hard not to order the ones I've missed just so I can say I've read them ALL. Hunted high & low for a list of the Susanna Gregory mysteries, but found nary a one. Trying to resist ordering those too. So far so good...

Finally bought a new storage box for the Easter goodies, they're finally ready to go back into the attic. Only five weeks late, but better late than never, right? LOL I hear you laughing. I'm not a procrastinator, truly!

The landscaper, trying do a thorough job for once- darn it, edged my flower bed beside the front step & managed to mangle my Iris leaves!!! Ok, I admit the bed did need edging & yes, the Irises are too close to the lawn, but jeez! Poor baby Irises, I hope they'll still bloom. :( My tulips are a no show. I swear that darned squirrel Nutkin ate them all. Greedy Bastard. AND yes the boxes of summer bulbs are STILL in my 'fridge. & NO I'm not a procrastinator!! LOL :)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Where have your used books been?

Have you ever wondered about the life & travels of the books purchased at a used book store? I purchased a hardcover copy of Travels With a Donkey in the Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson. I love his books & hadn't heard of this one. So, this immaculate book with a beautiful woodcut on the cover, turns out to have been published in Hungary & sold in Germany, although it is in the original English. I wonder- how did this beautiful little book (only 258 pages & includes An Inland Voyage about canoeing in Belgium & France) end up in a used book store in Virginia, USA? What sights did it see? How many homes did it wander through? Was it ever actually read?

I bought my daughter a copy of The Story of my Life by Farah Ahmedi. The cover is cheesy, but the description on the flap really caught my attention. I won't review it here, but suffice it to say, this girl (age 18) has really been through the wringer. Yet this book proves the triumph of the spirit & immense fortitude humanity has even under the most horrific circumstances. Luckily for me, my daughter is reading two other books right now- aside from school work- & wants to read this later. So I've taken to schlepping it around with me. IMO, it's worth a look if you like memoirs or want an inside glimpse of Afghanistan form a teenager's POV. FYI, this book is aimed at teens & is a quick read.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Burnout has set in, I'm afraid. I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm really struggling to read anything at all- never mind my beloved romances. I've decided to try anthologies, light humor, Old Regencies. Anything that is easily picked up & put down. Does anyone else have suggestions on slogging through burnout?

Part of it is simply that my obligations have doubled. Not quite the equivalent of working outside the home full time, but very close. Even when I bring a book with me, I'm often distracted & don't savor the book as much as I normally would if I were at home.

The other issue is simply that none of it really grabs me by the throat & screams "READ ME"- except the new LKH. Not that I plan to ditch my TBR, although that has occurred to me. I'm just very frustrated & cynical & ....I don't know.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Would you allow a man to choose your accessories?

OK, today's topic is entirely unrelated to books, but results from an observation I made this morning.

I was watching a couple (in their 60's, if that matters) who was perusing jewelry. The woman was very particular, or maybe just indecisive, but looked over several different different items before settling on one. She turned, in search of a large mirror, but her husband said, "That really isn't your style." She immediately put it down. I then said (smiling, trying to tease) "Well, change is good, right?" The wife smiled at me, but the husband said "Time to go." He took her by the elbow & led her out the door. What was that all about?

Is it me or does this sound overly controlling? Could be me, but there were odd overtones I can't properly describe here. I mean- it was a pretty aventurine & coral necklace (light sea green & orange) that looked good on her (blond & freckly & fair). It would have been a good accessory for summer & wasn't expensive. They could obviously afford it, so money couldn't have been the issue.

IMO, a woman should be able to choose her own things right?! She could afford it, he wasn't going to wear it- why should he care? It might have earned him brownie points (so to speak), with her. So what if it didn't meet his "requirements" or expectations of what a woman of their "station" ought to wear? Yes, he appeared to be 'that' kind of man.
Well, off my high horse now. Hope everyone out there had a great weekend!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Field trip insanity or How soon can I stay home & hide?!

The last two or three days have been insanely busy. For some unknown reason, two of my kids had field trips. One into Baltimore to see the National Aquarium & the other into DC to take a tram tour. In between was piano practice, handbell choir, children's choir, potluck & organizing a craft sale at church. Oh yes- I'd also agreed to chaperone the trip into DC & then promptly forgot. Until the morning of said trip into DC, when the 9 year old says, "Boy mom, I'm glad you're coming today!" Mom- "Coming where?!" LOL

So, I've barely been able to remember my name & where I'm committed to go. I did manage to read A Stroke of Midnight, mostly while in the car. I'm going to have to read it again- not everything sank in the first time.

Re the discussion over at lovestoread about classic romance authors. Anne & Maili both make excellent points. I've only read one Kathleen Woodiwiss & none of Rosemary Rogers (have one in my TBR though). I really think of these authors (& others of this time period) as "old school" romances. Excellent given the restaints & requirements of that time, but not necessarily the stuff of immortal romance. Does that make sense? BTW, ought Roberta Gellis be on this list? If so, should I read the ones in my TBR? I only bought them 'cuz they're "must reads" not because I'm really interested. Know what I mean? Please offer any opinions or insight or advice!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Perking up~ or, better days ahead

Went book hunting today & bought four titles: Dreams of Stardust by Lynn Kurland, The Subtle Serpent by Peter Tremayne, Weeping on Wednesday by Ann Purser & A Stroke of Midnight by Laurell K Hamilton. As of tonight, all books are on hold until I finish the LKH. I've anxiously waited for this one & she rarely disappoints. Any opinions on any of these?

I finished Suffer Little Children. I got lost toward the end, but it wrapped up neatly. I really like the main character, so I've kept on with them although they can be a bit dry. I read a short story collection featuring this character (all by this author) whose stories had been published over a longer span of time. His writing becomes more animated & evolves in the newer works. Discovering this has helped me continue. I very much want to catch up & I'm woefully behind. Plus there's a beta hero in the works & I want to know *blushes* to they do the dirty in the end? Silly & juvenile of me I know, but there it is.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Sliver of sunshine amid the burnout

Finally finished the Honeymoon book. It was ok. Simply that. I'm a dedicated armchair traveler & am reasonably widely read within this genre. So, I have to say, this one was merely average. It had its moments, both good & bad. Thank heavens I didn't buy it.

Read Maili's rant over at McVane. (Note to self: I really need to make a list of favorite links on my sidebar). I've struggled with burnout for a year now. Mainly for the reasons she lists. I've stopped pushing myself to keep at it, honestly. I've built up a healthy TBR & have even flirted with getting rid of most of it, simply because I seem to be moving on in some ways. I've read romances for 25 years now. Characterization within this genre doesn't seem to have grown all that much even over such a time frame. I can't quite bring myself to toss them though.

On a brighter note, I started a Sister Fidelma mystery, Suffer Little Children by Peter Tremayne. Her character is so self possessed & assured. Not to mention three dimensional. Tremayne is a pseudonym for a reputable expert on ancient Celts & he manages to bring his expertise to the series without dragging it down. If only there was a drop of romance in them I'd be in heaven! Ah well...nothing's perfect!!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Two blahs & a possibility

Have to say, Honeymoon With my Brother is starting to pall. Oh, he's shown personal growth, had some extraneous sex he claims to feel badly about, offered some interesting theories on traveling in developing nations, etc. etc. etc. I'm getting a bit bored though...The brother begins to interest me, strangely enough. Perhaps because he is somewhat of a mystery?

Continued on with A Bitter Brew. I have to admit- I snuck ahead & read the last chapter & so there's no "AHA!!" waiting for me. Now the question is, "Do I care enough to learn the nitty gritty details?" Probably not.

Picked up a copy of Wicked by Shannon Drake. Purely due to the back blurb & the cover. The only other title I tried by her I couldn't finish. I have high hopes for this one though! Maybe I'll start that one & ignore the library books I just borrowed. Can anyone out there reccommend top notch Shannon Drake titles?

I desperately need to plant the summer bulbs taking up space in my 'fridge. I ought to weed my flower beds. I ought to, I ought to I ought to...Maybe tomorrow. Or not. The weather is (hopefully) going to be gorgeous tomorrow & the kids & DH all have the day off. Perhaps we shall go hiking instead. :)

I also want ot run out & purchase the new Laurell K Hamilton book, the title of which escapes me at the moment. The newest Merry Gentry book. A friend has already read it & it anxious to chat it up in detail. I really need to get on the ball.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Evil mom strikes again

Well, here we are in sunny, windy, chilly N. VA supposedly enjoying the spring sunshine. In actual fact we are busy enforcing the Saturday chore routine- change your sheets, vacuum, dust. Wash your laundry. You know, the- "mom I thought this is what you're supposed to do" chores. I nearly died the first time my younger son told me this. I answered- "I thought these up just to torture you with them."

I also started reading Bitter Brew this afternoon. The one about the mass poisoning in rural Maine. Of course, I'm also reading The One Who Got Away, & the Dr. Phil book too. Oh yeah- Honeymoon With my Brother too. lol :) I'll make quick progress I can tell..

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Well. I wrote a long entry last night & supposedly published it- it must be out there somewhere as I had two comments emailed to me about that specific entry. However, I cannot find it anywhere except under the edit posts button. Did it go to Blogger purgatory never to be seen or read again except by me?! Tried to open the "lost posts" page, but the redirect won't go through. Lovely. Grrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!

Shall have to attempt another entry later, as chauffering duties call me away from the computer.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Travel memoirs, the pope & a romance drought

Can't believe it has been five days since I posted. Not that I've gotten much done, mind you! lol ;0 They say housework is overrated...
Finally gave up trying to read A Greek God at the Ladies' Club. It just doesn't appeal. No matter how many times I picked it up, I read one, maybe two paragraphs & put it back down again. Life is too short to force yourself to read what doesn't appeal.
Borrowed a whole bunch of books from the library. Several Ellis Peters books I've not read yet. An old Andrew Greeley Father Blackie Ryan mystery. A Bitter Brew by Christine Young which looks deeper into the mass poisoning at a rural Lutheran church in Maine back in 2003. Ultra Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes. Tales From the Drones Club by PG Wodehouse. And, last but not least, Honeymoon With my Brother, a travel memoir by Franz Wisner.
From the looks of it, the romance drought continues. I'm not going to fight it though. The TBR waits patiently, knowing I'm faithful & will return eventually. Look at it this way, I'm saving money! Sounds like I'm trying to convince myself doesn't it?
Anyway, the book Honeymoon With my Brother has captured me. I've dragged it everywhere. Also, the Dr. Phil book has been calling me, lol. I got so far as the part where you write out your goals & plans to reach them & then decided I need a break! Hahaha. SO it has sat there watching me while I read other things. I actually touched it today though. :)
Another issue which, surprisingly, brought me to somewhat of a standstill was the death of Pope John Paul II. I'm not a Catholic, although I do attend church regularly & am very active in my parish life. I didn't really pay overly much attention to his teachings, although I followed his travels regularly & I've kept up to date regarding the pedophile issues in the worldwide church. As a result, my reaction when he died took me aback. I've really been grieving. Of course, there was a major family tragedy late last month which really knocked me for a loop too...
Anyhow, it's good to be back in the saddle so to speak.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

An overscheduled day

Well, as predicted I did absolutely no reading today. I did manage to read the newspaper in between driving hither & thither (& yon too, lol). Didn't get to the gym. Jeez, what a day.

Glad it's finally over & I can sit here & surf to my heart's content. Ok, one good accomplishment- managed to eat balanced meals & no ice cream or get the idea. :) It's a start!

I hope your day was less harried than mine!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Overcoming first impressions

Managed to read another 15 pages or so in the almost a wallbanger. I decided to to keep at it until chapter 5 & then make a final decision. Then again, I may just drop it now & try something else...Decisive aren't I? LOL ;)

My initial dislike makes it hard to be neutral & then keep reading. If I'd've enjoyed the first 20 pages, then I'd surely finish it. I didn't though & now I find myself critiquing everything as opposed to relaxing & enjoying the story.

There's not likely to be too much reading time open in the next few days. I've several dayime commitments, plus extra chauffering duties. I really need to get back into the gym habit too.

Last two weeks I've only gone three times instead of the six to eight I ought to've gone. *gulp* I always feel & sleep better when I exercise- you'd think it'd be a no brainer. It's so easy to be "too busy" though. Maybe schlepping the gym bag around everywhere would serve as a visual reminder to make exercise a priority? Then I wouldn't have to rush home, get my stuff & go back out- a fatal event. There's always something of high priority at home that takes precedence over going back out to the gym.

Hmmm. I'm getting busier. I'll have to be much more organized about scheduling priorities & taking time for myself. The classic dilemma, I'm sure. Anyone have any tips?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

New (to me) review site

Idly hunting for new review sites the other day, I came across this site . Never heard of them previously, but they've reviewed some titles I've buried in my TBR. It's always nice to hear as many different points of view as possible. Naturally, I've not read any of the nominees (or winners) but perhaps I ought to move them higher in the pecking order.

Personally, I try to use reviews to thin my list of absolute must haves & to look for reasonably accurate story synopses (sp?). There are things that are big no-nos- like adultery & weird or innapropriate name choices, especially in historicals. It's easier for everyone involved if I don't need to rant after purchasing a book, yes? I didn't waste my money or time and I've helped support a different author who didn't have one of my pet peeves as part of her story. BTW, I still haven't resumed that book from yesterday..which shall remain nameless.

On a more mundane issue- how is it humanly possible for two boys to compile 10, yes 10, loads of laundry in one week?!!! Not that I washed them, you understand, but even so! They switch off weekly. This weekend was the younger boy's turn (he's 9). Whine, whine, whine, but he did it all with only minor assistance. Then he was made to change his sheets. Poor boy. I'm so evil. He claims he'll earn enough to have a maid & "won't have to worry about laundry & clean sheets, mom." LOL ;P

Friday, April 01, 2005

Grumpy & disappointed

I think I'm being too picky, but is it possible for a secondary character to turn you off enough to stop reading a book? And about one of the main characters- if this person makes a serious error in judgement & is then punished, how much time ought to go by before they recognize & admit their error? And another thing (lol), can the language be too informal? Too slang-y, if that's a word.

This book isn't a wall banger yet, but it has definitely started me off on the wrong foot. Contemporary language is fine, slang is fine too. There is a point, however, when it becoomes irritating. Another thing is that one of my pet peeves is adultery....

Well, it's late so I'll just put it away for tonight & try again in the morning.


Mythology, kites & rainy weekends

Ok, I've picked a few romances to keep me busy this weekend. Greek God at the Ladies' Club by Jenna McKnight. Aphrodite's Passion by Julie Kenner. Goddess by Mistake by P. C. Cast. They all sound light- which is exactly what I need this weekend.

It's supposed to rain tropical style all weekend here, so my original plans to drag the kids to the Smithsonian Kite Festival tomorrow are likely slashed. Ditto planting the 8 boxes of summer bulbs I bought last weekend. The kids, of course, want to go "malling". Yuck. I'm in desparate need of fresh air & light & wind. Maybe I'll take them for a hike. I really wanted to see the kites. They're bright & cheerful & nearly touch heaven soaring way up in the blue. Perhaps they cheer God up too! lol :)

I've started Dr. Phil's Ultimate Weight Solution. This is the first Dr. Phil book I've ever read. His ghostwriter manages to capture his tone & "voice" quite well. That alone makes the book worth reading, lol. I'm only two chapters into it so far, so we'll see how it evolves. I'm faithfully answering his questions though- I can hear his voice in my head! It's kinda creepy.

So- no more delaying. Off to the gym & then back here to sit on my keister & surf all night!