Monday, October 31, 2005

Review: A Rake's Vow by Stephanie Laurens

Ok. I'll just say this up front- I really dislike the heroine- Patience (jeez, what a Puritan name). She has no problems judging other people upon first sight & with no prior acquaintance. She also has no difficulties with acting like a complete bitch to her aunt's guest, pretty much without cause. She's insecure & jealous. For the love of God, I simply don't see what Vane Cynster loved in her beyond her beeyootiful ass & luscious tits.

Seriously though. Spencer Cynster, nicknamed Vane by his cousin Sylvester (aka 'Devil'), stops off at his aunt Minnie's house to avoid a driving rainstorm. This is supposed to be immediately after Devil & Honoria's church service celebrating the new roof the Bar Cynster paid for. While at Aunt Minnie's Vane is asked to stay a while (as they say in the South) & figure out who has been stealing small items from members of the household. There's also the small matter of the mysterious Spectre haunting the premisis.

Meanwhile Vane seduces Patience & falls in love with her, asking her to marry him. She refuses, based on her extensive knowledge of men (NOT) & the behavior of her long dead father. You know- instead of basing her decision on how Vane treats her, how the other men in his family treat their wives &, too, the fact that love based marriages were unknown & unwanted at that time. A woman of her station simply would not have expected it or thought it necessary. SO Patience spends the last half of the book deliberately leading Vane on, hurting him & playing stupid childish games because she's too immature to either cut him loose or be up front & honest with him. And, pussy whipped wimp that he is, Vane accepts it all & wheedles her into marrying him.

Just so you know- I had to finish this because I liked the cat, named 'Myst' like the computer game. Also I wanted to know how the mysteries were solved. Vane Cynster seriously deserved a better heroine than Patience.

Review:Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens

This is the first Cynster book. As I mentioned yesterday, I've read others in the Cynster series &, generally speaking, found most of them to be perfectly fine. As with any human being,the quality output can vary from project to project, however, I find Ms. Laurens' books to be of more even quality than other authors.

Sylvester Cynster comes upon Honoria Anstruther-Wetherby attempting to tend Bartholomew Cynster who has just been shot in the chest while riding in the woods near Sylvester's estate. To escape an impending thunderstorm the three take refuge in an empty woodman's cottage. There, Bartholomew dies. Naturally, Honoria & Sylvester are caught by Honoria's employer & two of Sylvester's cousins.

Devil Cynster, so named by his babyhood nanny, takes Honoria into his home & spends the next three months or so alternately ordering her around and wooing her. Honoria for her part resists for all she's worth, feeling Devil doesn't truly value her opinion. Honoria also has dreams & wishes all her own & is afraid that Devil doesn't respect her personhood. Devil in turn is perplexed by Honoria's intransigence.

In the end, the murder mystery is solved. Devil & Honoria learn to accomodate each other without trampling on the other's sensitivities. The timeline (9 months, roughly) is about right. I have a quibble or two about Honoria's resistance & one of her pathetic 'reasons'. For a woman who seems to be remarkably poised & well prepared for a prominant & imposing role, Honoria is really naive & irritatiing regarding one issue. In theend I chalked it up to a common fear many women have before marrying, especially if they are insecure or are marrying a dominant & powerful man.

This isn't a keeper for me, but I enjoyed reading it.


Sunday, October 30, 2005


Quite by accident I read Stephanie Laurens' Devil's Bride yesterday. Guess what?! Sylvester Cynster has...GREEN eyes!!!! O.M.G.-I never laughed so hard in all my life. See the entry titled 'Amused' a couple of days ago if you don't catch the reference.

I haven't read the Cynster books in order, but in this one the twins are described as having chestnut hair. If I'm not mistaken, didn't they have blond hair in their own books? I could be wrong, I've only read one of the twin's books (should that be twins'?) & that was a long time ago.

This isn't a detail that I'm going to quibble over, I'm just wondering. I'll review Devil's Bride and Devil Takes A Bride by Gaelen Foley this week. Also, Tabitha's Tangleby Emily Hendrickson.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


So, listen, I've been writing these little ditties since.. March? I think. Anyhow. Husband has always known this, but until yesterday never checked out the blog. He sent me a text message to check my email. Unfortunately the email went astray, so he says, "I never knew you prefer men with green eyes." Did you guess that husband doesn't have green eyes? He'd read the Sin & Sensibility review from a few days ago.

He worked a double last night & called me late to say good night & said, "We've been married eighteen years & I never knew you liked men with green eyes." Of course I laughed at him & wished him goodnight.

This morning he walks in & says, "You sounded guilty when I asked you about the green eyes." WTF?! OK, I'll admit to originally feeling like a kid caught with her hand in the cookie jar, but now I find his..PIQUE amusing. I wish he'd just shut up & get over it already. Are you listening, sweetie?! We've been married for eighteen years for heaven's sake!

Friday, October 28, 2005

For Jenster from RT

I don't post over there anymore, but I was there today & saw your message. One of the most difficult things about being in a cyber community is that I can't actually help my friends in person. I have to settle for prayers & messages & trying to keep in touch via email & message boards & blogs, etc. I have continued to pray for you & your family as you have walked such a difficult & painful path.

I'm afraid I don't have anything original to say- only cliches. Take it one day at a time. Be brave enough & humble enough to ask for help when you need it. One day when you're more settled we'll have to meet somewhere & have coffee & browse all day in a bookstore spending our children's college accounts.

My favorite prayer for the sick is the following (from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979):

O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need: We humbly beseech you to behold, visit & relieve your sick servant for whom our prayers are desired. Look upon her with the eyes of your mercy; comfort her with a sense of your goodness; preserve her from the temptations of the enemy; and give her patience under her affliction. In your good time, restore her to health, and enable her to lead the residue of her life in your fear, and to your glory; and grant that finally she may dwell with youin life everlasting; through Jesus CHrist our Lord. Amen

I'll pray for you a regular basis, until you let everyone know you're healed & settled & are ready to let go & move on.

Hugs & prayers & love to you & yours.

Tortured heroines

This..concept, idea, problem, issue? I can't think of the correct word I want but those are pretty close. I've noticed that there are quite a few tortured heroines running around Romancelandia these days. They probably pop up across sub genres, but I've noticed them most in paranormals & contmporaries with police officers/special agents/military men.

Often this is due to rape or physical/emotional/sexual abuse, murder of a loved one, etc. Now, I'm full well aware that in reality these women are far too plentiful & that they need (ought to demand) fulfilling, healing relationships with strong men who are able to cope. However, I am not talking about 'real life' so to speak. I'm talking about Romancelandia.

Why has this become so prevalent? Surely all human beings have baggage, but the vast majority of women are reasonably healthy physically, emotionally & spiritually. Can we, do we, empathize with such wounded heroines? At first, I didn't realize how much I placed myself in the heroine's shoes until I started running across more heroines I simply can't relate to.

Do vampires/werewolves/demons/assorted mythological men prefer tortured heroines? Does the extreme vulnerability of these women cause them to be more accepting of/needing/open to alternative creatures? These types of heroines also pop up in combination with police officers/special agents/military men. Are paranormal males or cops or special agents especially well equipped to cope with these types of women? You know, if I was a cop/special agent/military guy, I would want a strong, independant woman who could cope with the unique stresses of my career as opposed to a high maintenance, emotionally needy woman.

Perhaps these authors want their readers to believe that love heals all wounds & that there is hope out there for those women who have been damaaged by life's slings & arrows. Love as redemption. Love as the ultimate & only healing balm. I won't delve into my philosophies of personal growth & inner stregth, et al, here. Suffice it to say, I disagree with the premise that a woman must have a man (or werewolf or selkie or cop or Marine) to be healed, whole, complete, etc. In fact, I believe a woman won't be any of those things unless she heals herself.

What it comes down to is- I have to be able to relate to the heroine (and fall in love with the hero). If I can't put myself in her shoes, at least a little bit, then I usually can't or won't finish the book unless there are plot issues I really want to wrap up. Too, I read romances for the happy, happy, joy, joy feelings. Working my through the heroine's heavy duty emotional & psychological issues feels like a betrayal of the unwritten contract between author & reader. Issues between the H/H are fine. Tortured heroes are fine too (a whole seperate entry, in fact). Extremely damaged/tortured/baggage laden heroines are not fine.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree? Disagree? Am I off my rocker? If you think I am off my rocker, you won't be the first to say so, believe me. Are these types of heroines more appropriate to specific subgenres within romance?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Review:Tall, Dark & Hungry by Lynsay Sands

I really prefer my heroes with some angst. SOME angst, not several lifetimes worth of serious psychotherapy. Yes, I realize I'm weird. So, honestly, my opinion of all of Lynsay Sands' vampire books is that they are well written, well characterized scorching romances. Very good for a light, quick read, especially when you don't want to or can't invest in a heartwrenching story that grabs your heartstrings & won't let go. So far as I can tell, this is what these books were marketed as & IMO, they live up to the billing.

Roaming around Ms. Sands' website, I discovered she is about do the happy & get married. Congratulations, Ms. Sands & I wish you & your husband to be many happy years of marital bliss (& fantastic make- up sex, LOL).

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Review: Sin & Sensibility by Suzanne Enoch

Valentine Corbett, Marquis of Deverill, has been enlisted to keep watch over Lady Eleanor Griffin, only sister of the Duke of Melbourne after she has given her brothers a written declaration of independance. Eleanor is the baby of the family & has squirmed under the collective thumbs of her brothers for years. She wishes to explore society on her own terms & without the constant interference of her brothers. Valentine, the only non family male the brothers trust, has been asked to spy on her & keep her safe from scandal. The problem being Eleanor asked Valentine to help her assert her independance & discover who she truly is outside of her family identity.

Eleanor starts off acting & sounding like a tantruming two year old & Valentine hides himself behind a facade he created years ago. Valentine has managed to hide himself so well, he isn't sure where the act ends & his authentic self begins. Eleanor for her part decides that what she is really looking for is inner strength & the ability to make her own decisions. Her efforts to become her own woman set off a great deal of inner turmoil & growth on Valentine's part. Of course, the biggest problems from Eleanor's point of view are: enforcing her declaration while abiding by its strictures and choosing an acceptable husband when only Valentine will do. For Valentine the issues are: decieving Eleanor and moving beyond the false facade he created, ie: will he be strong enough to grab onto the love Eleanor offers or will he continue along the path he has created?

When Valentine & Eleanor finally succumb to their desires the emotion courses through them so powerfully. I was so happy for them! Frankly, this is one of the most evocative & touching scenes I've read in a long, long time. Ms. Enoch is superb at revealing their individual reactions & motivations. Too, the aftermath is well drawn. Each character's reactions ring true to the person they were evolving in to (or from, for that matter).

I must say, I nearly put this down because I really, intensely disliked Eleanor & Valentine's only redeeming trait was his green eyes. I've a terrible weakness for men with green eyes. I persevered, though, & I'm glad I did. Valentine has beome one of my favorite heroes, ever (except maybe Jamie..). He needed a good woman & Eleanor needed a man who would help her be herself. Perhaps rakes really do make the best husbands!

Ms. Enoch's second title in this series, Invitation to Sin, will be released in early December.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Newest Treasures

I splurged at the bookstore yesterday & here are my newest treasures:

1. The Hunger by Susan Squires
2. Heart of a Dragon by Gena Showalter
3. Follow Me by Mary Beth Bass
4. Tabitha's Tangle by Emily Hendickson
5. The Music of the Night by Lydia Joyce
6. A Perfect Scoundrel by Martha Kirkland
7. Bewitching by Jill Barnett

What do you think? Any tresures? Any duds? Coming soon, reviews of Sin & Sensibility by Suzanne Enoch.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Review: Goddess of Spring by P. C. Cast

So, I have to say, I'm a total P.C. Cast fangirl. So, don't expect any real criticism. If you remember any Greek mythology, Persephone is goddess of spring & is married to/consort of Hades, god of the underworld.

In this version Carolina is the owner of a chain of fancy bakeries in Tulsa OK. Inadvertently she summons Demeter (Goddess of the Harvest) and ultimately trades bodies with Demeter's daughter Persephone. Persephone, in Carolina's body, will run the bakeries while Carolina spends time in the underworld with Hades.

Somehow we are asked to believe that Carloinia's questions to Hades didn't make him suspicious. He thinks she's Persephone, who is a goddess afterall & ought to know many of the answers despite her supposed 'youth'. The reader is also asked to believe that Hades is practically a virgin. Ages ago he fell in love with a maiden who freaked out when he told her who he really was & she tried to commit suicide so he saved her by turning her into mint. Since none of the other gods & goddesses will associate with Hades he hasn't had a mistress/girlfriend. Not only that, he doesn't want to coerce a woman into a relationship. He wants a soulmate or nothing. Let me just say- eternity is a looooonnnngggggg time to be alone & lonely.

The upshot of the deal is that Hades overhears conversations between 'Persephone' and Demeter & winds up misunderstanding the situation. Persephone (Carolina) can't reveal the truth because Demeter forbids her & this leads to serious heartbreak.

Cast's world & her characters completely captured my heart. All of them. All of it. I was sucked in & it wouldn't let me go. Excellent stuff. Run out & buy it.

Friday, October 21, 2005

National Book Awards

I try to keep track of most of the book awards given each year. Our extended family reads voraciously & I print out the lists & use them for Christmas gifts. Usually I buy all of the children's books for my kids (not that they read them- I do). Anyway here are this year's National Book Awards, given last Wednesday:


E.L. Doctorow, The March (Random House)

Mary Gaitskill, Veronica (Pantheon)

Christopher Sorrentino, Trance
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Renè Steinke, Holy Skirts (William Morrow)

William T. Vollmann, Europe Central (Viking)

Children's Literature:

Jeanne Birdsall, The Penderwicks (Alfred A. Knopf)

Adele Griffin, Where I Want to Be (Putnam)

Chris Lynch, Inexcusable (Atheneum)

Walter Dean Myers, Autobiography of My Dead Brother (HarperTempest)

Deborah Wiles, Each Little Bird That Sings (Harcourt)

Anyhow, this weekend I'm reading P.C. Cast's Goddess of Spring and we're walking in the local breast cancer 5k. Currently watching a male contorionist on Cirque du Soliel's tv series Solstrom on Bravo- TOTALLY YUMMY!! Highly recommended!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hug your loved one today

I love autumn nights. Last night was perfect. Full (or very nearly so) moon, clear, crisp, breezy. Husband & I went for a long walk late last night. I wrapped up in a white shawl & we took our own sweet time wandering around our neighborhood. We've a mated pair of large owls living nearby & so we watched them hunt as we meandered along. For the sake of truthfulness, I ought to say I watched the owls while husband made sure I didn't wander off into the middle of the street. There are also quite a few bats despite the owls' atttempts to eat them all. They swoop & dart so quickly they seem to have managed to avoid the owls , mostly.

There's an intimate, cosy feel to walks at night that simply isn't there during daylight strolls. Perhaps it's because I feel less rushed at night. I'm unsure. We have a very long history of late night walks, husband & I. No matter where we've lived (& it has been quite a few locales across the US), we always walked, the later the better. I first learned about heat lightning walking with husband in the wee hours in Southern Virginia in the dog days of summer. Snowfall late at night along the front range of the Colorado Rockies. Thunderous rainfall & absolutely baking heat (even at 2am) in San Antonio. The relentless cicadas in Augusta. Playing spider on the swings(remember that game?) in a deserted playground at midnight an Valentine's Day.

So try it sometime. Bundle up your loved one & take a walk late at night. No agenda, no destination, no serious conversations. Just walk & enjoy each other. Remember why you fell in love. Reflect on your shared history. Keep each other warm. Make cocoa when you return.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Review: Bride of the Mist by Christina Skye

I think I'm probably one of the few who doesn't like this book (or Hour of the Rose, either). The plot tried to wear too many hats, so to speak. Adventure/suspense/paranormal/timetravel. BotM tried to do it all.

Problem one: I have a hard time believing two people who initially intensely dislike each other suddenly fall deeply in love while being pursued by a bomb & gun weilding madman. Not only do they have time to fall deeply in love, the hero spends most of his time obssessing over how to get into the heroine's panties as opposed to worrying about how to keep each other alive. Now, kids, if I'm truly fearful of a madman who's after me with guns & bombs, the last thing on my mind will be sex.

Problem two: the heroine continues planning her magazine shoot pretty much as though the attempted kidnapping/bombing/stalker issues don't exist. She happily faxes, gives away 'free sample' merchandise out of her hotel room, deals with a nasty ex fiance (who also happens to be in the magazine publishing biz) & quizzes the new love of her life about his castle. The only nod given to governmental interference is that the H/H will be followed by undercover Scotland Yard detectives.

Problem three: I really wish there was more direct interaction between the ghost & the H/H and/or the ghost, the H/H & the past lives of the lovers. Adrian & Gideon (the ghost & his cat) were fascinating and I wish they had a more substantial role in the story. There are instances where the heroine has flashbacks to medieval couple falling in love under similar circumstances. I found myself wishing Ms. Skye had written their story instead.

Ms. Skye's pacing & dialogue were excellent as was the build up of sexual tension leading to the final culmination. For me, one or two of the plot devices would have been more than enough; ie:time travel & past lives or ghosts & past lives or ghosts & serial killer adventures- you get my point. The attempted combination of them all was simply too much.

It is my understanding Ms. Skye will be trying a new direction in her contemporary series. I look forward to reading Code Name:Baby which will feature genetically enhanced dogs, their trainers & Navy Seals. Click the link above for more information.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Review: Duke of Sin by Adele Ashworth

Originally published in November of 2004, Duke of Sin is set in the summer of 1856. Featuring widow Vivian Rael-Lamont, florist, attempting to blackmail William Raliegh, Duke of Trent, into giving her a handwritten Shakespearean sonnet. Vivian herself is being blackmailed by an actor who threatens to reveal her long held secret thereby ruining Vivian's standing in her small Cornish community . William too has scandals & secrets in his past leading him to become a recluse on his estate. William realizes that Vivian is merely a pawn in someone else's larger scheme and strings her along while investigating her background in an effort to determine who the master puppeteer is. Slowly, Vivian & William become emotionally & physically entwined despite the fact that each realizes the other has held back important information.

This is one of the best romances I've read in a long time, despite the use of several well worn Romancelandia plot devices. All of which I heartily dislike except that in this story most of them make sense. I would really like to discuss some of theses cliches, but the plot revolves around them, you see, & I can't very well ruin the surprise now can I?!

The backstory involves a woman with what I took for manic depression- the only time I have read of this particular malady being used in a storyline. There are several scorching sex scenes, a couple of them involving mutual masturbation- very well done & not terribly purple prose laden.

There is, naturally, your required HEA ending, although I wanted to know if Vivian would give up her floral business upon becoming a Duchess. An issue Ms. Ashworth does not touch upon. Tara of Romancereadingmom mentioned that there was a controversy about this title, but I don't remember what it was & now, after reading Duke of Sin I don't see what the problem was.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Mini review-athon

Spent most of the week continuing to indulge in my traditional Regency stuffathon. I also read Adele Ashworth's Duke of Sin which I will review tomorrow.

1.Lady Leprechaun, by Melinda McRae- Two ten year olds attempt to run away to Ireland to prove (or disprove, depending on which child you are) the existance of leprechauns. The father of one & the mother of the other team up to hunt them down. Aside from the implausability of the runaways, the hero & heroine simply didn't catch on with me. The growth of the heroine in particular was nicely done, especially at the end of the story. I just really didn't care.

2.A Passionate Endeavor, by Sophia Nash- Wounded officer returns from the war to recuperate at his father's estate with the assistance of the daughter of a prominant physician. There are persistant interfamilial problems & the tenants are obviously neglected. I really liked the heroine, who was well drawn, but the hero never really caught on with me. The hero did, however, have dyslexia which played a big role in this storyline. The villain was too obvious.

3.Lord Dragoner's Wife, by Lynn Kerstan- A long seperated couple reunite in Paris after the husband attempts to divorce his wife in England (but changes his mind when he realizes how difficult it would be). The wife has long loved her husband from afar, but why she can't really say. The husband, who initially ran from both his abusive parents & his marriage by joining the military, would really prefer to ditch the wife & coninue to be an undercover spy. The problem being that a) his wife refuses to return to England & b) peace is breaking out. I liked the heroine, but hated the hero because he basically refused to grow up. Also, he did some really shitty stuff to his wife & then didn't grovel enough to satisfy this reader. That is a major turn off. No big grovel, I don't like it. Besides the heroine didn't demand a grovel- which is also a big turn off.

4.Birds of a Feather, by Allison Lane- A chaperone is hired to supervise the debut season of a very young miss whose mother cannot be trusted & whose father is busy trying to resurrect his fortunes at home in the country. Somehow, the chaperone manages to irritate the Ton's most prominent & powerful arbiter of chic. He's convinced she is after his brother's fortune- this knowlege provided by his overly controlling, super bitch of a mother. Why he believes mother this time & never before or since I couldn't figure out. They marry because they are caught in a compromising postion & the hero begins to exhibit the same overly contolling behaviors as his mother. Somehow, the heroine falls in love with him, he does a very late & barely acceptable grovel & all's well that end's well. Maybe. I really couldn't see any warmth or humanity in the hero other than his love for his brother. He was too conceited & self absorbed.

5.The Devil's Due, by Rita Boucher- Katherine Steele flees London with her young, traumatised daughter Anne & her nursemaid, Daisy, and winds up in a deserted castle in mid Scotland posing as the widowed Lady MacLean. In actuality, Lord MacLean is very alive & wants to hide in his crumbling ruin & lick his wounds from the war. They manage to accomodate one another & slowly fall in love while trying to heal. There is a strong subplot of trauma & childhood sexual abuse. A nicely done tale of two wounded souls finding happiness together. Bonus- the hero is physically scarred & suffers with what we would call PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Bonus for me anyway. I have a thing for wounded heroes.

6. Lady Silence, by Blair Bancroft- Frankly I couldn't finish it. I read the first four chapters & the last two & I was done. The initial premise, an abused, abandoned young girl finds refuge in a large, wealthy, monor was plausible. The fact that they kept her without searching for her family after learning she could read & write & do math was hard. The fact that she pretended to be mute & the hero magically 'outs' her ability to speak & still keeps her around was too much to swallow. Then at the end she turns out to be a long lost heiress & fabulously wealthy. Way too many coincidences. Story partially set in Bath.

One homerun amid the outs. I liked #5. The rest were competant, mostly.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

This & That

I just finished Sandra Heath's Marigold's Marriages. Quite an adventurous little yarn, disguised as a traditional Regency. Druidism, stolen inheritances, time traveling & shape shifting are all wonderfully fitted into this excellent little book. Highly recommended for an afternoon's diversion.

I've been listening to Jean-Yves Thibaudet's The Magic of Satie. Dreamy & slow with occasional bursts of brightness. Perfect for a silvery, rainy day like today (or yesterday or the day before)> I'm not complaining though, we need a long slow rain. The trees & shrubs have been steadily folding in on themselves in pain for want of water. The whiskers that used to be grass have cautiously turned green, as though the chlorophyll had run away.

Hmm. A contented day, saith the little housemouse. Washing machine humming, dryer full, dishwasher swishing along. Children's heads bent over their books. I finally succeeded in wrestling my hair into a proper French twist with a single comb- quite a feat for a woman with hair to her waist. Someone else cooked dinner & yet another person cleaned up. What more could a woman waant?

Off to commence chauffeuring duties. Perhaps perfect contentment would include having a driver?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Lemon Drop

Younger son has a cute 'honey bear' hamster, supposedly male but we haven't checked it to determine the sex. We only have one, so I don't suppose we absolutely need to know. It/he was christened Lemon Drop before we left the store. Extremely curious, it has thoroughly explored his new home and is now asleep in his exercise wheel. I argree with him- exercise is overrated.

We made the error of buying two different brands of cages as the packaging claimed the brands are interchangeable. Wrong. Lemon drop is in the larger cage & I now need to hunt for tubing & acessories for him. Daughter has a craving for a hamster of her own & asks can she use the smaller cage if she decides to buy one. I figure, why not? She hasn't decided yet.

Anyhow, the weather has finally cooled off to some semblance of autumn. You know- under 80. Only 60% humidity. Husband & I hope to take the kids out to a corn maze before the end of the month. Nothing like getting lost in a farmer's field for laughs!

Working on reading Marigold's Marriages by Sandra Heath. So far so good. Youngish widow is fraudulently deprived by her brother in law of her support & her son's inheritance. Run off of the estate as soon as the will is read she knocks around England, desperately hunting for a respectable position and ends up in an inn where she meets a man acquainted with her deceased husband's family. Many characters named after either birds or flora, hints of Druidism are popping up. I'll let you know how well it continues tomorrow.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Chit chatting

Son has had cake & ice cream at each grandparents' home & now has enough hamster habitat items-tubes, condos, exercise wheels, etc- to fund a hamster refuge. Husband is fully on board with said idea, telling me we will have to have two hamsters, so that I (meaning me, not husband) can name one. I don't remember wanting/needing/desiring to name a hamster but I do enjoy naming creatures. I had a great time naming our bettas (Hector, Achilles, Caesar & Attila). The goldfish were simply dubbed Pirhanas (sp) since they're always hungry & they ate the snail we put in there to keep their tank clean.

It has rained for the last two days straight with no let up. I'm glad for it, honestly. My garden has been parched for months & the butterfly bushes were barely hanging on. The humidity has been extremely high & I'm likely to develop mold on the siding by the front door as that side of the house faces northeast. Oh well. Older son always wants to earn extra money. He can scrub the siding for me.

Forgot Duke of Sin at home but found two Regencies in the bottom of daughter's bag. They're sitting by my bedside patiently waiting a quiet moment.

I've decided I want to pad & cover the headboard & footboard of my bed, so my mom & I have been combing her vast collection of catalogs for just the right fabric. I've pretty much decided on either matelasse or a high thread count tone on tone patterned sheet made into a slipcover. The bedroom, if you remember, is pink & I'm trying to keep the atmosphere from becoming frou frou. I found a nice striped sheet but it's only 200 count & I don't think it'll be strong enough to make a durable slipcover. I like the washability of a sheet though...We'll see.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Happy Birthday, darling

Today is my younger son's birthday. He's ten. The past years have flown by, I look at him and I am amazed at how big he's getting. My memories of when & how I went into labor are crystal clear, but don't ask me where my copy of Cake Doctor went. I promised DS I'd make him the buttercream & lime curd recipe for tonight. Instead, we've decided on a key lime recipe I found on Recipe*zaar. It's bizarre, really. I just had the damned book yesterday.

So other than rushing to the grocery store, doing several errands, & playing chauffeur- I've plenty of time to bake his Key Lime Cake. HAHAHA. Because, you see, the new recipe calls for different supplies than the Cake Doctor recipe. A mother's work is never done, or some such trite saying.

Anyhow, I've pulled Adele Ashworth's Duke of Sin out of my TBR. I can't decide if I'll actually read it this weekend or return it & choose something shorter. We're going out of town this weekend & I'm unsure if I'll be able to settle in & really pay attention to this.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

So I think I'm in love. This series has started with much promise. The world is unique with its own mythology & terminology. I am a major fangirl of vampire romances, but have had major issues in the last year or two with certain commonalities within the subgenre that really bother me. I am SO happy to report that this debut features none of them!

A vampire world wherein the vampires are proud of their race, ie: don't feel like they need to be redeemed or need to regain their soul. A world where the humans who live in the vampire community are cut from whole cloth, undamaged & strong. There will be an ongoing external villain or two. Plus chances for conflicts within the community.

Best of all (& my personal favorite) tortured heroes aplenty. Two odd things. One, which I mentioned yesterday, is the names of the men. I ranted at length on this issue, so scroll down if you want to know what my issues are.

Two, the warriors' speech rubbed me the wrong way for most of the book. At first I couldn't quite work through what my problem was. Their diction & word choices simply sounded odd. Finally, last night I realized that while it sounded odd to me, the speech patterns & word choices are similar to young men my son knows. So, while they may sound odd to old, doddering moms like me J.R. Ward seems to have caught authentic rhythms & patterns used by young men.

The other problem I had with this story is the time frame. The hero & heroine meet, have great sex, fall in love, get married & become King & Queen in roughly two weeks. Initially the heroine thinks the hero is a stalker & her friend the local cop thinks the hero is a drug dealer for most of the book. I have problems with this, but since this (the short time frame) happens frequently in romances it isn't really a huge deal for me.

It has been difficult to write this without dissolving into a rant against other series. I wanted to detail Dark Lover's strengths & weaknesses, not write things like "well, the heroine wasn't this or this so I really enjoyed it." Strong, rounded characters, tortured heroes, dastardly villains, excellent world building, the promise of plenty more to come. I can't wait! Besides, when was the last time you read a vampire romance where the vampires listened to rap, drive Cadillac Escalades & are Red Sox fans !!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Horrible names

I survived the overscheduled weekend. I only managed fifty pages of Dark Lover (the red vampire romance I wrote about yesterday), but what I read I've enjoyed.

I have to say though, the names of the male warrior vampires is getting to me. Wrath, Rage, Vicious, Torment, etc. none of which is spelled properly. I'm sure their mothers didn't originally name them that. Can you imagine, "Wrath, honey, come inside & brush your teeth, daddy's ready to feed you." NOT.

My initial theory is that these vampire warriors are similar to Suzanne Brockmann's SEALS. Ultra macho military types who have a weak spot for certain women around whom their uber alpha behavior goes out the window.

Their names (the vampires' names that is) seem to me to be an extension of some authors' enjoyment in giving military men stupid nicknames. Not only this author, but many others who feature military heroes. So far as I know (my husband & I were active duty combat military for twelve+ years) no one but pilots have a 'call sign' or nickname used by his cowrorkers, a la 'Maverick'. I've never met a military man whose wife called him anything but his given first name. The most common name behavior in the military is that they call each other by their last names (including female servicemembers) & often don't even know the first names of their coworkers unless they are truly close friends.

The other thought that crossed my mind while mulling over the names is that they are similar to the Four Horsemen. Bringers of justice, etc. etc. etc.

OK. Rant over. I'm manging the God awful names in this otherwise wonderful book.

Maili, if you're out there- I miss you!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Bookstore adventure

Took a few minutes to thoroughly embarrass myself at a local Borders in search of a book highly recommended by Romancereadingmom (otherwise known as Tara). I'd rushed out of the house, late, on my way to buy a baby gift for my sister's shower. Naturally this meant I'd left my little notebook with the all important directions, gift ideas & 'books wanted' list on the table at the house. Hubby had pulled a double shift overnight & was asleep so I didn't want to awaken him with the phone.

I figured I was already late & the Borders was across the parking lot from Target (where I'd just bought the babygift). So I waltz into the Borders, march up to the computer & enter what I thought the title was. The computer laughed at me & said, "No, dear, that's an old Anne Stuart book. Try again." I realize I'll have to look another time when a clerk walks up & asks if he can help. Now I have to admit a)I don't know the title & b)I don't know the author, but I do know that it's red, has vampires & is a romance. The clerk & I share a laugh after I tell him he won't know what it is either & I'll just return another day & aren't customers like me annoying?

Meantime daughter has disappeared deep into the graphic novel section. As I wander in search of her, I turned a sharp corner & there they were- faced out on a display shelf right in front of me. Hooray! Mission accomplished.

BTW- I've read fifty pages & it's great! Thanks, Tara!