Friday, May 27, 2005

Friday thoughts

Began reading Asra Nomani's Standing Alone in Mecca last evening. If you're interested, I posted ( & included a link) about it on or near May 16. A fascinating & eye opening look at Islam from the inside. On the lighter side, I may also begin S. Brockmann's Frisco's Kid this weekend. Don't hold your breath though. I'll be traveling over the holiday weekend & may not read much.

As a side note- WTF is going on with the weather?!! Excuse the vulgarity, if you please. Yesterday the temperature was 50. Today 85. Ok, I'd been getting kinda moldy. I really do like & need the sunshine. You know, a little transition time temperature wise would've been appreciated. LOTS!

Stay safe & sane this weekend. Please spare a thought or a moment of silence for the War Dead of ALL nations on this Memorial Day.

In memoriam: Elias A. McQuaid, 1917-1983, World War II veteran & the unknown soldier who died in my hubby's arms in South Korea in 1992.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Now to answer the "Tag Questions"

1. Total # books owned :
I've no idea, actually. There are 5 6' bookcases & 3 3' bookcases in the house.
All crammed with books. I'd guess 2,000 perhaps.

2. Last books purchased:

In no particular order they are:
a) The Wild Wood by Charles de Lint
b) A Sorcerer's Treason by Sarah Zettel
c) Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
d-f) All by Kinley MacGregor: Taming the Scotsman, A Dark Champion, & A Return of the Warrior

3. Last book read : Intimate Enemies by Shana Abe.

4. 5 Books that mean a lot :

1. Courtly Love by Lynn M. Bartlett; this is the book that got me
started on romances

2. Splendor by Brenda Joyce

3 & 4. by Michele Jaffe: Stargazer & Water Nymph

5. Candle in the Window by Christina Dodd

I'll have to drop the "tag game" here though. The bloggers I would've tagged have already been. Yes, yes, I know- I'm a wimp & I'm letting the team down. So sue me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Chicklits & S. Abe

I was tagged by Tara over at Romance Reading Mom. Am too tired now to answer properly, but will answer tomorrow.

There was also an excellent post at Smart Bitches about Chick Lit. Good? Bad? Indifferent? I've decided not to tar them all with the same paint brush, but I'm unsure I really need/want/ought to enlarge my already overburdened TBR with more books. Entirely separate matter-nearly all of them are QP size & therefore much more $$. So, judgement suspended indefinitely except for something called Luscious Lemon by H. Swain; Cause Celeb by H. Fielding & Rachel's Holiday by *damn* I've drawn a blank. Marian Keyes?

Intimate Enemies by Shana Abe was excellent. The heroine was a touch on the self-sacrificing side & the hero pulled a stupid at almost the last moment, but was redeemed at the end with all being neatly tied up in pretty tartan bows. Seriously though, this was well done, rounded & thankfully lacking in 'dialect' (a pet peeve).

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

Back again. Did you miss me?! lol Another family emergency, requiring an immediate trip out of town. Naturally, I forgot to bring my current read, Intimate Enemies by Shana Abe. I wish I could say all will be well with the family situation, but I doubt it.

I did manage to plant my summer bulbs (remember them?).You recall they've spent the spring hogging room in my fridge while temps here weren't quite warm enough to risk tender flowers. Planted three dahlias & seven gladioluses. Only two of my white mid spring irises have bloomed, still no tulips. Drat the warm winter!!! I was gifted with a huge bunch of peony blossoms, they've perfumed my whole house.

Found a fun & irreverant new site called Smart Bitches thanks to Maili. Wonderful, insightful commentary.Mainly on romances, purple prose-you name it & it's likely been discussed. Check it out. Neat site.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Reincarnation,Wicca & destiny

Read Into the Wind by Katherine Kingsley. The heroine, Serafina Segrave has been raised in remote Wales by her maternal aunt & a faithful retainer in run down circumstances. The aunt has hidden Serafina's financial circumstances from her & raised her to believe in an odd mix of Wicca & Anglicanism. Meantime, Serafina daydreams & builds castles in the air around one Aiden Aubrey, Earl of Delaware who was formally betrothed to Serafina sight unseen when she was nine. Poor Aiden, he was nearly bankrupted by his alcoholic father & returns home from the Carribean to discover he has to marry Serafina ASAP or face breach of contract suit.

Not exactly an auspicious beginning to a marriage. Never having seen Serafina, Aiden confesses all to an innocent maid in a wood the day before his marriage. Serafina of course is quite upset to discover her groom is the embittered man from the day before- not her fairytale perfect dream husband. Throw in the meddlesome aunt, a conniving invalid, a harpy of a former mistress & some reincarnation and you have yourself an overly busy plot.

My biggest problem with this book is that I am supposed to accept that this young woman (21) has been raised to be completely innocent of the manners & deportment of her time & position. Yet the aunt made sure Serafina knew she was to marry Aiden and become a Countess. Aiden himself was well drawn, as was the invalid & the alcoholic father in law. I really had trouble coping with Serafina's flightiness, terror of sex & lack training. The whole Wiccan/Anglican/reincarnation side plot made things more complicated.

I've read other Kingsley titles & liked them, but this one had one too many problems. Nearly a wallbanger,but not quite.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Vampires, lite

I finished Love Bites by Lynsay Sands today. What a hoot! I thought this one was much funnier than the other two I read. Of course, that might be because I've been under the weather. Still- laugh out loud jollies were heard several times today. I appreciate Sands' vampires because they enjoy & appreciate & accept who they are. The vampires aren't looking for love to save their immortal souls or redeem their inherent evil.

I can accept love dramatically changing a person for the better. Enhancing your
best characteristics (& sometimes your worst). Not redeeming your immortal soul. At least as far as vampires go anyway. I want the hero & heroine to be reasonably comfortable with who they are (whatever species, human or vampire or whatever), but save the redemption of souls for other genres.

Monday, May 16, 2005

An Embarrassment of Riches

Yesterday was my birthday & I scored big in the book department!! Yippee!!! I was given:

1. Standing Alone in Mecca by Asra Nomani
2. The Asian Mystique by Sheridan Prasso
3. Mating by Norman Rush
4.Tiger Eye by Marjorie Liu
5. The Temptress by Claire Delacroix
6. Heart of the Flame by Tina St.John
7. Stealing Sophie by Sarah Gabriel

I was also given a DVD copy of The Lover, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. Very Delicious!! Sorry, no links for numbers 4-7 as I'm too lazy to hunt up links for everything.

*BIG SIGH* I finished The Beauty by Claire Delacroix late this afternoon. Great book. What can I say that isn't overly revealing & yet represents why I loved this book? The hero respects the heroine's choices & doesn't pressure her to change them despite his feelings for her. She accepts his reasoning & doesn't pout or try to "get revenge" or "punish" him. UM...That may actually be maturity? Not often seen,lately, in romances. At least by me. Also- an excellent couple of plot twists at the very end.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Templars & Scottish caves

I'm more than 3/4 of the way through Claire Delacroix's The Beauty. Beauty is a well done version of the kidnapped well born daughter who comes to love her captor theme. Hero is a physically scarred, tortured ex-Templar with vengeance on his mind- ok, justice if you agree with him. This novel is set in 1183 Scotland. Thankfully it is written in standard American English as opposed to a fake Scottish brogue (one of my peeves). Nicely done. Unique twist on the justice/vengeance problem. Heartwarming. Makes me wish I could drag DH off to an isolated Scottish cave- almost. If the cave had a hot tub & clean Egyptian towels....

Heavy thunderstorms tonight. Am off to sit on front step & enjoy. Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Mageworld & the UPS guy

Finished Angela Knight's Master of the Night last night. Now, I thought I'd never say this about a romance, but this book had so many sex scenes I found myself skipping them to find out what was going on in the storyline. I guess that makes it more romantica than a straight romance. Mind you, I like both & I'm certainly no prude- I was simply surprised that's all.

The story was well plotted & tight. The hero was alpha enough without being over the top. The heroine was unusually accepting of the abrupt & amazing change in her circumstances, but hey, this is fiction, right? Honestly,I found Llyr more intriguing than Reese, but since his book just came out I'm in luck!

This author reminds me of a brighter Christine Feehan. Brighter in tone I mean. Similar to Robin Schone, even, except a paranormal storyline. You're likely to know what I'm getting to.

Finally found a chronological listing of Susanna Gregory's Matthew Bartholomew series. Of course,the only real problem was my own laziness. I've asked for two to be put on hold at a Borders near church. I've also discoved Gregory writes under the Simon Beaufort pen name a series (set in Jerusalem in the late 1000's). Unfortunately, no local bookstores have them so I'm going to order a couple via the net. Same goes for an author named Alys Clare.

Looks like if I'm to get my history fix it's gonna be through mysteries, not romances. The UPS guy is destined to be on my Christmas card list.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Susan Squires

I finished The Companion by Susan Squires last night. There is quite a bit of emotional growth on the hero's part & a big helping of understanding from the heroine. Action is reasonably slow early on. As I said earlier, much of the first section is dedicated to world building. The pace bustles along rapidly in the remaining third reaching our required HEA. The Compainion has dark touches which may unsettle some readers,but they aren't gratuitous and help explain both the backstory & the hero's outlook.

Squires' other realated book is Sacrament & can be read with greater understanding after The Companion. They are related, but it isn't necessary to read them in order. Personally, I feel that Sacrament has more emotional depth. The Companion explains more though. That makes them even in my opinion. The stage is now set for what I hope will be continuing stories about Squires' new world.

BTW- for those of you interested,Squires also has a short story in the anthology The Only One titled Sacrilege. This story is set after Sacrament.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Book update

Updating Veil of the Night by Lydia Joyce . It is a gothic beauty & the beast theme with definite overtones similar to author Robin Schone. It does require some suspension of reality, but my desire to discover their respective secrets overpowered my minor problems with the characters' behavior. A big plus in my book is that both the hero & heroine are in their early 30's. IMO, they demonstrate a remarkable ability to grow & evolve as individuals & as a couple, albeit on a timescale I found a bit too short. This is Joyce's first novel & I'm looking forward to her next one in the late fall.

Am also 2/3 of the way through The Companion by Susan Squires. This one feels as though the author is doing some world building to borrow a phrase from the sci fi/fantasy realm. The characters are well rounded & believable, although the stock character of the suddenly orphaned oddly educated heroine is a touch too convenient. Still, that's a minor quibble. This book has the makings of the start of a well built series.

Post Mother's Day "hangover"

Not due to alcohol (although some wine would have rounded out the day nicely), but because my children bought all of my favorite, most fattening foods & then sat down to watch me eat them all. And I'm mortally weak when it comes to Ben & Jerry's, macaroni & cheese, chocolate & Fig Newtons. How do you say no to your children when they know you love all these things? "We know these are your favorites, mom, that's why we bought them all." Not the small serving sizes either. I shared as much as they'd eat, but even sharing it there was still soooo much.....I must've gained at least five pounds yesterday.

I haven't read anything over the weekend. Went out with my mom & my sister Saturday. Lunch & then off to browse through IKEA. Once we returned home the Kentucky Derby was on. After dinner,all eight of us in our tiny apartment- what a hoot, I had to watch the opening stage of Giro d'Italia. All of those yummy men in spandex, plus the always amazingly beautiful countryside. What woman could resist? ok, probably alot of women, especially if they don't have OLN TV. I'm a self confessed pro bike racing junkie & spend most of my free time in the spring & summer following all of the Eurpoean races. No I am NOT obsessed with Lance Armstrong either.

About books. I bought Veils of Time, Lydia Joyce; Season of Wishes, Christina Skye; The Perfect Gift,Christina Skye; Acqua Alta, Donna Leon; & Death at La Fenice, Donna Leon. I've started Veils ofTime because the cover says "Some desires flourish only in darkness" ...&, well..I was weak. It has started off with a classic, time honored plot device- the sister of a scandal ridden, overspent brother is trying to pay up his debts to a wealthy titled man by offering her only possession of any value, her body. The twist that has hooked me,despite my having reservations about how this has been worked out, is that the hero & heroine each have secrets- & I want to know what they are! I'm hooked. Gotta find out what they're hiding. After that it'll be The Compainion By S. Squires.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Friday rambles

First off, just want to share my happiness that a friend has come through surgery well & is recovering at home just in time for her family to clelebrate Mother's Day with her! Congratulations & a complete recovery to you, my dear!!

For anyone still curious about the mystery book at Borders- it was a business book I'd ordered for hubby. :( Nothing fun at all, I'm afraid. I did buy A Thousand Days in Venice. I skimmed it in the store & it sounds glorious! I also bought The Companion by Susan Squires. Maybe not quite so glorious, but I do love Susan Squires.

OK, whine ahead...

It has gotten too d!@#$d cold here!! It's nearly Mother's Day for heaven's sake. We've had frost warnings two nights in a row & the kids have fussed in the mornings because the house is too cold. Their cheap mother, you see, has turned off the heat since & I quote, "It's May, darnit. Spring is here!" My poor summer bulbs are warmer in the refrigerator than they would be in the ground. I told you I wasn't procrastinating! LOL

Anyway, happy reading this weekend. Happy Mother's Day & I hope your family remembered that the best gift is a trip to a bookstore!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

An unplanned holiday for two

DH had an unexpected day off today. We spent the whole day window shopping & had lunch. Very relaxing. I actually hunted for sandals with him- very brave of him to offer, actually. I'm notoriously horrible to shoe shop with. Lucky for both of us, I found a comfy & cute pair at the Bostonian/Clark's shop in the mall.

I didn't, however, make it up to the Borders where my book is. :( That particular store is closer to DC (25 miles north of here) than where we were. Besides, I'm kinda hoarding my "secret" if you know what I mean. Not that DH cares about my books, but...Christmas books are special! lol :)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Odds N Ends

Finished The Good Wife by Elizabeth Buchan. I identified with the wife a lot, but I found the husband needed some filling out to be a more realistic person. Otherwise, I recommend it heartily. I also have Revenge of the Middle Aged Woman by the same author & plan to read it this week.

Oddly enough, I've been freezing & starving all week (no I'm not expecting, lol). I've soaked in more HOT baths & bundled into more layers of clothes. Starving is not so surprising. I never thought I'd wish for warmer weather when the Southern summer is coming up. DH says I'm a big baby. Probably true. :)

Anyway, Borders called me today & said "Your book is in." I don't remember what it is. It'll be like Christmas! If today hadn't been so jam packed I'd have it already, lol.

Am attempting to learn handbells. I don't read music, but I find I can count along pretty well. Highlighters also help, lol.It takes a surprising amount of sustained attention. Naturally, the sax playing son simply laughs at me & says it's only so difficult for beginners! Jerk. Fortunately, the music director is blessed with abundant patience.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Lack of time management

Which shall it be, then?! Reading or surfing & blogging? Doesn't seem to be enough time in my day to do both. :(

Managed to read two Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael mysteries: Dead Man's Ransom & The Rose Rent. Which, actually means that I have read the whole series. Now, if only I could find the S. Gregory mysteries!

Made some more progress in the R.L. Stevenson book, but will have to get a good map of Europe as I would like to follow his trip & see if I can find photos of some places on the web. Does that make me anal or weird? Both, likely, but that's ok. I knew that already. :)

Lots of rain this weekend, thank goodness. My flowers needed it. & no, for those of you keeping track, I still haven't planted my bulbs. I want to go hunt for some yellow rosebushes. I have the perfect spot in mind.