Thursday, June 30, 2005

Modern military realities

After some thought, I decided to, ah rant? No, maybe just explain. The Department of Defense (acronym, DoD) assigns military personnel, regardless of gender or rank, new duty stations according to DoD needs. The servicemember's spouse's or children's needs are rarely, if ever taken into account unless said spouse or child have extreme medical needs or other dire circumstance whereby the servicemember can ask for a duty station that accomodates the family member's needs. The DoD is not obligated to acquiesce in any way.

What this means in reality is that the future spouse needs to realize that if he/she marries the servicemember (sounds raunchy I know, but that's the word the DoD uses) the military's needs ALWAYS comes first. Therefore, you may move every three years. Every eighteen months. Your loved one may be deployed for months or years away. The spouse's career or personal needs, unless extreme, do not EVER enter into the DoD decision making. Many military spouses therefore often have careers that are easily transferable from location to location: nursing, teaching, civilian careers attached to the DoD, policing, EMT/paramedic, mechanic, etc.

The reason I bring this up is the Romancing the Blog column Margaret Meet Barbara by Laurie Gold and the Smart Bitches column each dated June 28th. The RTB columnist says she laments the heroines 'passivity' in becoming a teacher & the SBTB ladies continue in the same vein. Let me say, clearly & unequivocally- I AGREE. I dislike passive heroines intensely.

However, in this instance, the heroine could simply have decided to change her path to make it easier for her to be with the hero. Another choice would have been to have a commuter marriage. Rare is the servicemember who gives up his/her career to be with the wife/husband. Note, I said career. Career military personnel often deeply believe in the lifestyle & love the military. I have seen many, many couples struggle with DoD assignments because of the spouse's needs, but DoD always wins in the end.

No matter what the DoD claims, the actual reality for miliary families is 'our way or the highway'. Among the many, many claims being made: family comes first, spousal abuse & alcohol & drug problems are treatable without penalty, better housing & medical care, etc are indeed being improved. Very slowly. Since the war, & the finacial drain due to that, more slowly than ever. You, the family, play by their rules. End of story.

How do I know all this? My hubby was career military for 13 years. For various reasons, all related to a DoD assignment, my husband left the military because of family needs & the DoD refusal to accomodate us. In all of those years we were active duty, I could count on one hand the number of couples who left the military because of conflicts with assignments. It is more common now, but still we get odd looks when asked why we left the military. And yes, it is 'our' career since the spouse & family still play a major role in the servicemember's career.

BTW~ the only stay at home dads I've ever met were married to active duty military women.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Busy, busy, busy

OMG- the prep required to send a teenager off on a ten day overseas trip is amazing. Our oldest son is off on a trip with our church youth group and five adult mentors. If he hadn't gone on a trip last summer with my brother, I'd be an anxious wreck. As it is, there were a million last minute errands, preferably to a store on the other side of the area, with bad directions, in the pouring rain, with a cranky younger son &- to cap it all off- 35 minutes before they close. Luckily, we managed it & they had what we needed.

So here we are, hubby & I, with roughly a week alone together. My parents took younger son & his bike down to their house this morning at 9:30. My sister has daughter for another 7-10 days. What shall we do with so much time alone I wonder?! It is, actually, an early anniversary gift from my family. We shall clebrate our 18th anniversary this fall. Perhaps we ought to go away this weekend? Hmm....

The only book related thing I've done is weed my TBR down enough to put most of the books back in my room out on the shelves. Not all, but most. I also have a bag of books to take to the UBS. Damnit- I just looked across the room & realized my mother took some of my library books down to her house. *SIGH* Hope I shall remember to renew them tomorrow. Humph. Not likely, best to renew them now while I'm online.

Oh yes, the other book item- I've read half of Ann Lawrence's Lord of the Mist. SO far it's very good, much more involved than the last AL I read- can't be sure of the title, but I think it was Lord of the Hunt.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Folklife Festival & upcoming movies

Walked around the National Mall touring the Oman section of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Gorgeous aerial photo here. Calligraphy, henna, metal work, traditional reed huts, boats. Camels, although they're actually from Texas according to the Wash. Post. Halal (ritually prepared meats, similar to Jewish kosher laws) chicken & beef kebabs, hummus. Yummy, delicious food. Various dance troupes. Great fun, even in the heat!

Our younger son & I saw Madagascar last night. Very funny. IMO, the lemurs & the penguins stole the show. Coming this fall are several childrens' movies. You know, with three kids, I rarely see anything purely for adults.

The new Wallace and Gromit opens on October 7th. The Disney Chicken Little movie opens November 4th. Then the adaptation of C.S. Lewis' 'The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe' opens December 9- link here.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Too picky?

Ok, so am I the only one who had an issue with the time frame in Frisco's Kid by Suzanne Brockmann??

Apparently so. RT Bookclub gave it 4 1/2 and AAR gave it an A. Mrs. Giggles didn't review it. The AAR review was accurate & I actually agree with it all. I just can't believe all of these miraculous transformation happened in a week.

Baen Free Library

Thought I'd mention one of my favorite websites, the Baen Free Library. Baen is a big publisher in the science fiction & fantasy genres. The website has entire novels by a large number of authors available as free e-reader downloads. The site is also set up so that a visitor can read complete texts while online. It is updated fairly regularly & has quite a wide variety of choices.

Personally, this has encouraged me to spend money on Baen authors whom I might not otherwise have read. I really like to read an author's backlist if I can find it- does this offset money lost by offering free downloads? I've no idea, but IMO, this creates a type of brand loyalty that creates a 'good vibe' among readers.

Bought myself a new cell phone yesterday- & then spent all my free time (HA, as if there's a lot of that) hunting for wallpaper & screensavers & ringtones. Yes I'm a geek at heart. The phone was actually supposed to be for hubby, but it has a color screen & is polyphonic ringtone capable &.....It's mine now. I had a two year old phone which is physically smaller, but with fewer bells & whistles. This is my problem, I like bells & whistles &, as mentioned before, have serious issues with waiting for something I want.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

True love & ideology (or doormat heroine)

Finished Frisco's Kid last night. Quick & mostly satisfying. I only have two issues. The heroine, Mia, is portrayed as being very anti gun & iffy on military men. I am supposed to believe that in one week she has set aside her pacifist, liberal principals to a) fall in love with & b) be willing to marry a gun toting professsional Navy seaman (couldn't resist, sorry) who intends to continue his career teaching others the SEAL credo- which is, in no way, pacifist or anti weapon.

Please understand, I am not putting her down for her beliefs. My eyebrows are raised in surprise that S. Brockmann would pair a liberal pacifist & a professional combat trained military man & then ask us, her loyal fans, to believe that in one week they decided they could set aside their political & ideological differences & agree to marry.

This pairing of polar opposites is common in 'real life' as evidenced by the well known political couple Mary Matalin & James Carville ( conservative Republican & liberal Democrat respectively). Here is a link describing them for anyone whose memory may be faulty, at Campus Times.
Back to Mia & Alan. I simply feel a week is too short a time for such a dramatic change.

The other 'minor quibble'- ok, maybe not so minor. Why is it mainly the heroine who miraculously sets aside her beliefs & convictions to get her man? You know, 'cuz no sex no matter how incredible & mind blowing, would ever cause me to set aside my beliefs & convictions. Now, I'm sure there must be at least one hero out there in Romanceland who has changed or set aside his convictions for his piece of ass ( sorry, soulmate), but I've yet to read about him.

Why is it always wrong for the heroine to simply have a week or whatever of hot, mind blowing sex & then say, "You know, I just can't agree with your ____ fill in the blank, but it was fun." Then move on & find some other hot guy who's closer to her? Does a week of pure, unadulterated sex automatically make her a whore?!

The relationship aspect, aside from this, is well done. The little girl is surprisingly realistic & is a major catalyst for the relationship, for Alan & for Mia.

There you have it everyone. My take on Suzanne Brockmann's 'Frisco's Kid'.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Love military heroes

Started Frisco's Kid by Suz Brockmann last night. Starts off great, no big issues related to the book. It does have a child as a central character, which for me is not a big deal.

The hero is a combat wounded Navy SEAL (who are completely delicious- I dated a SEAL pre hubby) whose anger & bitterness is totally realistic & understandable. My problem is my own. I had to have regular care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval. We live out the front gate from Quantico. Combat wounded veterans are a regular part of my life. Some of them are only two or three years older than my older son. Babies really.

I've continued with Frisco's Kid & am enjoying it, I think because it is set in California. Easier to set aside 'reality' when it takes place 3,000 miles away. Unfortunately for me, author Cathie Linz features Quantico as either a real or peripheral place in her books & I've been unable to set aside the fact that I live here. Do Brits have this problem with historicals I wonder? I digress. Linz's heroes are hunky, macho Marines & the stories are easy to read & fun. Unless you're me & live & work on & around Quantico & get to watch real, live Marines daily. Running even. Hot. Sweaty. I think I need to go do some errands now...on Quantico.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Hear my book budget rise

SO. I'm a news junkie. I subscribe to several different web news sites, get two local papers, the Economist- yadda, yadda, yadda. The result aside from a gift for water cooler/cocktail hour chit chat? A huge To Be Bought list. And I hate waiting. Our local library system believes in buying mainly dry, run of the mill, cookie cutter bestsellers written by monkeys. This means that anyone who likes books from the bottom half of the NYT lists or *gasp* anything not actually on the lists doesn't exist.

Unfortunately for me, I found three more hardcovers I really want to read. You guessed it, not one is listed by my library as a coming title. If you have a well funded, well stocked library support them as much as you can. Those of us suffering with a subpar library system are envious.

So what are these magnificent tomes you ask? One is an history of American women's political activities during the Revolutionary period. What women's political activities, you ask me? I 've no idea. Because you see- only men write political history, as we all know. NOT.

Founding Mothers by historian Carol Berkin supposedly reveals that, between feeding the screaming brats & burying their sons & husbands, women had quite a lot going on. The Christian Science Monitor has a review.

Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi, sounds wonderful. The author also wrote Persopolis & Persopolis II. This time she writes about women's intimate lives, including sex, gossip, men, plastic surgery in Iran. I'm a nosy voyeur & love looking into other people's windows. Especially when they let me. Seriously though, as a Westerner wanting to learn about other cultures this sounds good. Given the US- Iranian history & their closed society, I hope this reminds us we're not so different after all. BTW- this title is a graphic novel.

The Almond by Nedjma is billed as an erotic expose of the author's sexual awakening in a closed Islamic society. One review says the author uses too many food metaphors for sex organs & sexual acts, others say the book is wonderful. Personally, a woman who has to use a nom de plume for fear of being murdered for her words deserves my husband's hard earned cash. The lady divides her time between Paris & an Islamic country. Obviously, the title is likely to be filled with purple prose galore, but damn it- women's voices need to be heard everywhere.

There you have it, my next three gotta have 'em books.

Father's Day Activities

Afternoon everyone! Hope your Sunday went well. We spent a fun filled afternoon in DC visiting the Air & Space Museum to see the IMAX Spacestation 3D. We also walked across the street to peek inside the new Museum of the American Indian, which has the Best cafe menu of all the Smithsonian museums. Quahog chowder, wild salmon- yummy! We of course, did not find this out until we'd eated at A & S. McDonald's & Boston Market. Figures.

I want to return to the Indian museum soon. We toured the modernist exhibition which has beautiful landscapes done in driftwood collages (check exhibits link on above button) & amazing sculptures. There is quite a bit of pottery & beadwork in the third floor hall. The cases are beautiful- dulled chrome & glass. Nicely lit. Touch screen computers in front of each case allow you to see details- learn how the item was made, materials & provenance. There are also lit drawers in which you can see more items. We were only there for an hour or so, we missed alot.

Didn't hang out long in A & S. We've already been there three times in the last 18 months or so. The IMAX was amazing. I forgot about motion sickness though. My stomach heaved a time or two while watching. Luckily we didn't see the Fighter Pilot movie! I'd've yakked for sure! I sat beside a tall, distinguished Australian gent. In town on business. Asked about good local restaurants. I hope he has a good visit.

Topped it all off with Chinese food at our favorite local restaurant. We've eated there since their son was a freshman in high school & was learning to wait tables. Hubby had spicy chicken & hot peppers, I had orange chicken, son & daughter had lo mein & oldest had sesame chicken. YUMMY!! And to think- last year hubby almost went to Afghanistan. We've had much to be grateful for.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Banned books & an interesting article

Inspired by the Smart Bitches entry dated June 17. I did some surfing & found lots of interesting facts about freedom of speech and banned books. Banned book week is 24 September to 1 October 2005. According to the ALA, the following books & authors were the top 10 banned for 2004:

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, author of the Alice series
Robert Cormier, author of The Chocolate War and We All Fall Down
Judy Blume, author of Blubber, Forever, and Deenie
Toni Morrison, author of The Bluest Eye, Beloved and Song of Solomon
Chris Lynch, author of Extreme Elvin and Iceman
Barbara Park, author of the Junie P. Jones series
Gary Paulsen, author of Nightjohn and The Beet Fields: Memories of a Sixteenth Summer
Dav Pilkey, author of The Captain Underpants series
Maurice Sendak, author of In the Night Kitchen
Sonya Sones, author of What My Mother Doesn’t Know

Amnesty International has a page which lists prisoners of conscience jailed for writing, publishing or reading controversial or banned materials. The Jefferson Muzzles is an organization which tries to expose threats to freedom of speech in the US. The 2005 award winners were some doozies, only a few of which I'd heard of. Scroll down & discover what amazing things have happened this year.

Somehow found an article in the Mt. Holyoke Alumnae Review about a few famous romance writing alums. Also some thoughts, pro & con, about our favorite genre.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Stalker hero

One of my hard & fast rules about romances is that I have to love the hero. No exceptions. Most often, I start out liking the hero before I've read much. Yes, I'm easy. Once in a while I come across a hero I dislike from the start. These are always wallbangers.

Yesterday, I started One Kiss From YOu by Christina Dodd. Set in 1806 London the hero is an American bent on revenge for a murder & wrongful accusation. The heroine is a 24 year old companion who has been coerced into temporarily taking her mistress' place in the hero's household . She has managed to avoid marriage & has traveled extensively across Europe & beyond with her mistress.

The hero has had Eleanor followed. He dismisses her servants without her permission. He tells her she will live in a gilded cage, her every need supplied at his whim & only as long as she is meek, submissive & obedient. When Eleanor attempts to escape, Remington spares the life of the groom who helps her only because she begs & promises anything in order to spare the servant's life.

As for Eleanor, she was an abused child who managed to escape the father by becoming a companion. Why an intelligent, well traveled woman would tolerate such treatment I can't imagine. Why an employer/friend would ask Eleanor to accept such abuse is beyond me. Eleanor is put in the postion of having to do what the woman asks because she has nowhere else to go and- basically the hero has effectively imprisoned her.

This is not the basis for the Cinderella type romance the cover page promises. The hero is written as a cold, calculating, vengeful man who is obsessed with the past & is bent on ruining this family at all costs. IMO, he is the villain. There is no care expressed for Eleanor save her bountiful heaving breasts, small waist & curvy hips & her supposed family ties. Said body parts hidden under the required 'ugly companion clothes' naturally.

Remington, aside from a name that reminds me of my husband's razor, is a stalker pure & simple. The behaiviors he shows are not those of a lovable, redeemeble man. Why should a woman with abuse in her past come to love a man who has no compunctions about manipulating & controlling her every movement?

This book heads straight into the trade bag. I have Candle in the Window by Dodd as a keeper. I enjoy her work as a rule. Not this time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Hurried hello

Went to Books A Million yesterday & bought a few goodies. The new Gaelen Foley, the new Ann Lawrence, two Jade Lee books from the Tigress series, a hardcover copy of The Illuminator for 50% off. Sorry, no titles. I'm rushed for time & am in the library under time restraints. Daughter bought two Katie Maxwell books, said they looked very funny.

The temperatures have abruptly soared into the sauna range. If my car would only stop overheating I'd be happy. Can't have everything I suppose. My left upper leg & forearm are toasty brown already due to sun & heat from driver's window. I need to go to the pool & even myself out or I'll spend the remainder of the summer striped.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Great music & better weather

Spent a wonderful day at an outdoor concert in crystal city (Arlington, technically) listening to DaVinci's Notebook and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. We were early & so managed to find excellent seats in the shade from which we had great views of the stage. For once, the vendors didn't gouge prices, I was pleasantly surprised & pleased. Even the kids enjoyed the music! The littlest one had had enough by the last hour though, but then swing isn't exactly his favorite genre anyway. Traffic on the parkway was pretty light, you can't ask for more- good music, good food, no traffic, gorgeous weather.

Star Wars VI- Return of the Jedi, won't play after chapter 21 on the DVD. Bummer~ I love those Ewoks. Hubby loves Leia in her metallic bikini too. Off to Wally World tomorrow to exchange for a new box set. Have to take oldest child to dentist first.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Frustrated & Perplexed

All of the uhm..heated discussions regarding "appropriate standards". Not to mention the related issues between erotica & romantica, language, the quality of book covers (or lack thereof), RWA, etc- is becoming exhausting. Admittedly I do have a tendency to avoid confrontations & conflict, but this is ridiculous.

Everyone whines about wanting more respect, better writing & editing, more or less revealing covers, more or less sex, etc. Here we are, fighting like kids in school. "I'm right. I said it first. I'm older. Nyah, nyah, nyah...My boobs are bigger..I'm not sharing!" For heavens' sake, I feel like Charlie Brown listening to Lucy & Linus. Ok, I don't remember Lucy & Linus fighting about boobs, but you get my drift.

Surely there is enough cash & readers to satisfy all of the feuding camps? This is America- land of multiple Visa, Am Ex & MC. You know, if there's a fantastic shoe sale you can always find a way to buy that cute pair (or two) you have your eye on.

There seems to be an assumption that the romance shoe sale has only two pairs left & there are five chicks fighting for them. You know, like the Filene's Basement wedding dress sale. One chick holding twenty dresses & screaming that no she can't give any of them up.

IMO, there are plenty of women out there who buy the various flavors & these women seem to have ample cash to go around. The financial numbers alone "justify" romance. Why are we women so fixated on external justification? Why the hell do we need someone else to pat us on the head & say "You're a good girl." ?

Money talks & bullshit walks. Seems to me our money speaks pretty loudly. Romance's detractors could be likened to the greedy bully outside the candy store. He wants more & isn't above threatening & taunting the kids who come out of the store laden with candy in order to get more loot.

Completely different topic now

Found the Star Wars trilogy on sale at Wally World & just had to get it. Only $43. Of course this means that we will now have a SW marathon until all movies & extras have been viewed. No big deal I guess. It's a convenient reason to avoid getting anything substantial done this weekend. Oh yes- also bought a copy of The Incredibles (DVD).

Friday, June 10, 2005

Squires' Body Electric fizzles

Tried to start Susan Squires' Body Electric & haven't had much luck. I know Tara recommended it. I enjoy Squires' books usually, but this is the second time this one is a non starter for me. I'm reluctant to toss it since I feel like I ought to like it & ought to read it all, but I can't do it. Life's too short to force yourself to read something. This isn't high school after all.
Taking the kiddies out shopping this evening. Might be a bookstore along the way...I'll let you know if I buy anything. I see ice cream in my future. LOTS of ice cream.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Star Wars III

Thoughts for all you Star Wars fans out there. Yeah I know there are a gazillion blogs/boards/fansites & whatnot out there, but I don't have time to surf all day- only half. So here goes.

Did you really buy into the motivation behind Anakin's turn to the dark side? The whole "I can't live without Padme" thing. Even taking into account his being taken away from his mother & being a former slave. Yadda yadda. Did anyone else see the irony in the fact that Padme dies of a broken heart Anakin created- when supposedly he turned against everything he was ever taught for her. Including mores likely taught by his mom. I'm sure his mom would have wanted him to become evil personified (& murder dozens of innocents, natch) just to keep Padme alive. The Padme who died because of him, ha ha ha.

Ok. This ties in to my reading philosophy. I can forgive a lot of errors, suspend belief, ignore irritating problems etc if the characters motivations are real to me. I have to believe this person is real. I need to relate to the character at least a little. Not possible in the case of Anakin. At least for me. My husband & my mother have said I'm too independant for my own good. Possibly I can't relate simply because of my own personality? Doubt it, but what do you think?

BTW- loved Padme's lavender negligee with the pearl accents that went around her body. Unbelievable part- her sleeping in it. Yeah- I could sleep lying on all those little pearls. Especially while pregnant. I had plenty of trouble sleeping while I was pregnant never mind sleeping on dozens of pearls. Never mind they'd horribly tangle in her long thick hair. NOT. You know, No problem wearing it around the apartment- whatever. To the Senate meetings. Not to sleep in though.

Also loved the lizard with the feathery head. Would love to spend the long desert nights consoling Obi Wan. My sister & I are fighting over him.

Enjoyed the movie though. Beautifully shot. The Wookies were totally cool. Droids with personalities (not to mention beating hearts). Wonderful world building. I wish Lucas would film the last three movies of the nine he used to say would make.

Maybe I can sneak out & see it again.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Calgon take me away

I'm back again. I missed you guys. It's rough nursing a sick kid when you're sick too. Child #3 came home Friday with what we initially thought was stomach flu, but he has yet to fully shake it off. Hubby & I now suspect he has a mild case of food poisoning from the school lunch Friday. Meantime, I had stomach flu myself bad enough for hubby to dig out the heavy artillery (otherwise known as phenergan) Saturday night. All better now, but spent Sunday woozy from the phenergan.

SO- Monday, daughter calls from school at 9:15. She was bowled over by the class romeo during PE & slammed her head on the ground. "I have a terrible headache can I come home?" Rush over there, She looks fine only tired. Pupils equal & no blood anywhere. No fainting. No vomiting. Bring daughter home. Install on couch where she promptly falls sound asleep. Call hubby. Whine at hubby (while he's at work- my favorite). Hubby- VERY ALARMED- must keep daughter awake. NO meds. Only ice. Is she slurring? Pupils ok? Now I'm beginning to think, should I be more worried? He is a nurse after all. So, spend Monday afternoon keeping child #2 awake & supplied with ice. Also child #3 needs large amounts of various stomach meds due to ongoing symptoms.

Now it's Tuesday. Still have #3 at home, but he's symptom free so far. Perhaps tomorrow I'll be sending all of the kids to school & maybe they'll stay there. Yes, I'm an impatient, unsympathetic mother. I cherish my days puttering around the house. ALONE. I suppose part of the problem is that if I'm sick I simply want to hide in my room, undisturbed, with ice water, tissues, the radio & a stack of magazines (not enough attention for books). Topping it all off, I'm unreasonable enough to wish children & husbands are the same way when they're sick.

Somehow I managed to read Susanna Gregory's Bone of Contention. Matthew Bartholomew, teacher & physician & his friend Br. Michael, a Benedictine, also teacher & Sr. Provost at Oxford University in the mid 1300's become involved in a complicated plot featuring fake religious relics, arson, rioting & unrequited love. Several red herrings. Excellent. Rich in detail & intricately plotted. I hope to start #3 in the series A Plague on Both Your Houses tonight.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Hippy Women Everywhere Rejoice

According to a study quoted by BBC online, women with hip measurements over 40" live longer. So- all of those round, sexy female fertility statues may be right after all. Women really are intended to be voluptuous. Check it out- Curvier Women.

Also found on BBC online, a "new" nearly finished book by Alexandre Dumas. Here's a link to the article. Hopefully it'll be in English soon.

Library Goldmine

Finally hit paydirt at the library yesterday. Found a veritable treasure trove of books. Some I've hunted for at the UBS, fruitlessly. In no particular order they are:

1. Falconer's Crusade by Ian Morson- Set in the late 1200's in Oxford England featuring the equivalent of a professor as a sleuth. Cross between Ellis Peters & Candace Robb. Very readable & not history lite. Finished this last night.

2.A Plague on Both Your Houses & A Bone of Contention by Susanna Gregory- Books 1 & 2 of the Matthew Bartholomew series, set in 1300's Oxford as opposed to Morson's series. I've read another book by Gregory further along in the series. They are well rounded & historically detailed, while capturing your interest quickly. I've looked for these for a long time.

3. The Queen's Man by Sharon Kay Penman- The first in a mystery series set in 1193
featuring one Justin de Quincy, an educated man, but without familial ties to boost him along. Borrowed solely on Penman's reputation.

4.Something Rich and Strange written by Patrica McKillip and illustrated by Brian Froud- Found in science fiction section. Borrowed because of McKillip's fantastic reputation & Froud's beautiful line drawings. Appears to be an illustrated novella length fairy tale.

5.Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey- Fantasy. She wrote the Kushiel trilogy, which I dearly love. I've read that this one is slow to build momentum, but it is one of a group, so we'll see.

6.The Bookman's Wake by John Dunning- A mystery. Second in a series, first title (Booked to Die) unavailable. Features antiquarian bookseller & former policeman Cliff Janeway as the sleuth.

As Mentioned above, I read Falconer's Crusade last night. Writing style is similar to Ellis Peters, but more historically detailed. Falconer, a professor, has a new student who may have witnessed a gruesome murder while wandering lost in Oxford. Political, religious & racial themes. Very good, especially if you're a history buff.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Meandering along

Nothing new or exciting happening, unfortunately. Still chipping away at Standing Alone in Mecca. Starting to feel moldy due to the British weather that persists. Need to weed the flower beds again. Oughta clean the house. Coulda, woulda, shoulda, oughta. You know the deal.

Plan to haunt the bookstore tonight. Not really looking for anything, except the new Feehan book Ocean of Fire. Also oughta (there's that word again) return a book that sits beside my front door longing to take a ride back to the library.

Visited Mrs. Giggles yesterday. The woman's too funny. Even when she disses two of my favorite books. If I ever write a novel I'll be sure to take note of her observations- she's often dead on. Scroll down to her take on spy/adventure romances. She's completely right. There's also a good conversation happening over at Smart Bitches regarding erotica/romantica writers who feel they are being frozen out of RWA. Regardless of which side of the arguement you're on, it's an interesting discussion. Over at RTB Monica has a great column (scroll down a little. It has chocolate in the title.

Have a good weekend, everyone. Read, read, read.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Book misers celebrate

I hope the New York Times doesn't sue me, but in today's online edition there is an article with LOTS of links to sites that sell books cheap. In for a Penny details various websites which sell, list, calculate or otherwise assist booklovers in finding used books dirt cheap.

Yes, I realize used bookstores are double edged swords, particularly from an author's POV, but my wallet sighs with relief anytime I can save a few bucks. Maybe I'll need those pennies to defend myself from the NYT, :P.

Volcanic library noodles

Went to a library sale near the kids' dentist & found a couple of interesting hardcovers, which cost me the whopping sum of $1. Krakatoa by Simon Winchester and Along the Edge of America by Peter Jenkins are both in excellent condition &, hopefully, will be good reads. Then again, for $1 I suppose it doesn't matter much. There were no romances or mysteries which surprised me, but there was quite a large selection of titles in different Asian languages as well as Spanish. I hadn't realized it, but the library & the dentist are in a large immigrant community. I'm glad the library system is reaching out to the local community even in this time of belt tightening. There is a Vietnamese noodle shop across from the library which looks yummy & I shall have to try some next week.