Tuesday, January 31, 2006

January Summary

For the January TBR Challenge at RTBC (on the Reader's Roundtable board) I read the following romances:

1. Bird in Hand

2. Fairy Godmother

3. Stealing Sophie

4. To Tempt A Rogue

5. Happily Ever After

6 & 7. Fantasy Lover & Night Pleasures

8. To Love A Dark Lord

9. Night Embrace

10. Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon- not reviewed, but is a keeper

I also read a thriller, Angels & Demons

2006 Children's Lit. Awards



Criss Cross by Lynn Rae Perkins

Honors List

Whittington by Alan Armstrong

Hitler Youth by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson

Caldecott Award (best illustration)


The Hello Goodbye Window, author: Norton Juster, illustator: Chris Raschka

Honors List

Rosa, author: Nikki Giovanni, illustrator: Bryan Collier

Zen Shorts, author & illustator Jon Muth

Hot Air, author & illustrator Marjorie Priceman

Song of the Water Boatman, author: Joyce Sidman, illustrator: Beckie Prange

Printz Award (Y.A. Lit.)

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Honors List

Black Juice by Margo Lanagan

I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

John Lennon by Elizabeth Partridge

A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson

Click on the links above for cover art & review information. I have purchased the Emmett Till book, the Rosa Parks book & Criss Cross for our collection. Happy shopping!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Cartoon Commentary

Hey, guess what? Pink Panther & original Tom & Jerry cartoons are still on Cartoon Network. I guess I live a sheltered life, but I found them by accident a couple of days ago. The DVR is set to tape them whenever they come on. T & J comes on up to five times a week, but I don't know about PP. We also DVR The Boondocks, but that one is edgy political & social satire/commentary as opposed to nostalgia. I've been collecting DVDs of 'old time cartoons' as the kids say. I just wish I could find DVDs of the shows Cartoon Network used to do. The ones based on directors & animators collected works, as opposed to by show. BTW, Bambi is coming out on DVD soon too.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

1 Review & a DNF

DNF: Warrior's Song

Written by Catherine Coulter in 1984 as Chandra, Coulter rewrote it & Chandra became Warrior's Song, first in a six book series. I managed fifty eight pages and gave up. The first problem- at the age of eleven Candra nearly strangles her mother to death after years of physical abuse. Problem two- her father purposely trained her in arms exactly as he would have trained a son & never denied her anything. Problem three- at the age of eighteen her father plans an elaborate charade to get Chandra married off. Individually, I could likely cope with any one or possibly two of these although each presents its own difficulties. Woven together as one plot, it is simply one device too many.

Review: To Love A Dark Lord

One James Patrick, Earl of Killoran, manages to twice rescue Miss Emma Langolet, from a hanging death. She in return very reluctantly agrees to participate in a mysterious revenge plot hatched by Killoran against his worst enemy. Like many, if not most, of Anne Stuart's heroes, Killoran is a tormented soul. Preferring to push people away first, few bother try and look below his initial presentation. Emma, though, being rescued twice, is in an unusual position of seeing behind one or two of Killoran's many faces. Against her better judgement she falls for him. Killoran never quite overcomes his need to hide his deeper feelings, but he is fortunate in Emma as she comes to understand his foibles. Another Stuart gem. Keeper.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Looking out my windows

Staring out my livingroom window & what do I see? The setting sun gilds one side of the enormous oak tree. All of the tiny branches look clearly drawn on the slate grey clouds pushing the sunshine out of the way.

Our neighbor across the backyard huddles on her porch, chatting on her cellphone. Rush hour traffic races by on the street behind her, headed who knows where. It is warm for January, only heavy sweatshirts or light jackets needed to break the wind. My bulbs will never come up this spring with these temperatures.

The birds, though, are here. A little black & white woodpecker loves the nuts in the feeder. The cardinal pair drop by once in a while too. The sparrows left once I changed the food in the feeder to mainly nuts. The bonus is the porch stays cleaner, but it turns out I miss the sociable little guys. Perching on the railing around the front step. Fighting in my neighbor's bushes.

The baby squirrel from last spring is gone, but I presume the little thief will return again soon. I need to clean up all of the dead leaves in my flower beds. Neaten the edges. Pull up the grass.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Evening Clutter

So, you know, I have nothing to say tonight. At all. I'm tired & watching COPS reruns. The officers are rescuing baby racoons in some lady's chimney. Stupid wench. No mesh cover over the chimney. Common sense is on special over at Kmart. On sale. Go buy some. Honestly.

What else? Why do some people expect preferential treatment just because they'd be inconvenienced if they had to follow the rules? And why are these same people pricks when they don't get their way? This wasn't my battle, but I witnessed it first hand. Luckily I'm not working with the public anymore, 'cuz this guy would've been out on his ear in a second if he tried to deal with me that way. Some people are just assholes from birth.

Hmmmm...nothing else going on I guess. Laundry needs doing. Need to finish the mending I started back over the holidays (remember?). Scrubbing bathrooms. Cleaning out fishtanks. Recycles need to be taken to the center. Grocery shopping. Whatever. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not.

Not currently reading anything. Finished the Sherrily Kenyon jag. Two special order
OP titles came in: A Sprinkle of Fairy Dust and Memories of the Heart. The Fairy Dust title is an anthology pubbed in 1996 with stories by: Elizabeth Bevarly, Elaine Crawford, Marylyle Rogers & Maggie B. Shayne. The Memories title is the most recent one written by Marylyle Rogers. It was published by St. Martin's in 1998. Set on the Welsh border & uses Taliesin (the bard) & Ceridwyn (the wise woman) as names. I couldn't resist.

I also bought P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern. Young woman is widowed young & with the help of a box of letters from her husband mailed upon his death, she must move on. At least, that's what the back cover implies. Sounded good to me. Like he cared enough to try and help her move on after he is gone. He sounds like I'd hope to be if, God forbid, I were to have a terminal illness. I'd try to help my husband move on & find happiness again.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Free Advertising

A quick KUDOS to CVS for their CVS Samaritan van that drives around the highways here & elsewhere helping people who breakdown and are in need of assistance. No, I haven't needed them (yet, knock on wood) but I have been stranded in the past & I think its a great thing.

I am now a huge fangirl of XM Radio. HUGE. If you have any type of regular distance driving, this is the one for you. Very few commercials. Always a great song somewhere. If you live in a traffic clogged area there are continuous traffic updates. Check the sattelite radio providers out. It's worth it's $$, I promise.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Catching Up

Still here everyone. There was a family crisis & Son #2 & I made an unexpected trip out of town at the last minute. All is well now, thank heaven!

Anyhow, as a result, I've no new ideas to offer or comments to make since I haven't had time to keep up with everyone & everything going on in Romancelandia or blogland.

Reading Night Embrace by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I definitely see Kristie(J)'s point about the heroes all being similar, but after thinking it over a little I remember Kenyon has set the series up so that the Dark Hunters are 'made' by the Gods when the Dark Hunters experience very strong negative emotions (grief, vengeance, anger, etc). I agree that this could all blend together after a while, but I personally like the heroine's challenge of trying to nurture a person who is emotionally stuck or who is initially cold. I do not read too many of this archtype in a row, though, because they wear on you.

I hope all has been well in your world over the last few days.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Review: Fantasy Lover & Night Pleasures

Written by Sherilyn Kenyon & published in 2002 by St. Martin's. Fantasy Lover is the prequel to Ms. Kenyon's Dark Hunter series, now totaling eleven. Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley MacGregor seems to be a love her/hate her type of author. I've yet to hear of anyone who was in the middle. Personally, I'm not a crazed fangirl, but I do like her work. I've many of her titles in Mt. TBR.

Kenyon set up a complex world wherein Greek mythology & vampires & were-animals & humans cooexist less than peacefully. Her heroes are tortured alphas without being too over the top & the heroines are modern women with typical strengths & weaknesses. It threw me off a bit, but these two stories are set in New Orleans. At first I had a hard time setting Katrina aside, but after a while I was ok.

Fantasy Lover has Grace Alexander, therapist & man hater after one scorching experience, as the heroine. Why is it that in Romancelandia the characters all swear the opposite sex are ALL, ______fill in the blank with your favorite negative adjective, after one single bad experience? While I admire Grace's unwillingness to hop in the sack with every hot guy who crosses her path, it was overshadowed by this cliche.

Julian of Macedon, former General, all around military genius & total hottie, pisses off one too many immortals & gets himself banished into a scroll (later a book) as a sex slave (for thiry days) for any woman who opens the scroll. Cursed forever, the only way to escape his punishment is to remain celebate during his thiry days with a woman who has Alexander in her name. Plus an assortment of other requirements.

The crux of the matter being, can they do it? Will the gods reneg on Julian's punishment? Will Grace's patient succeed in killing her? I liked it & it will occupy a space on my keeper shelves because of the mythology aspect.

Night Pleasures is the 'official start' of the Dark Hunters series. The heroine is Amanda, a lady completely in denial of her paranormal powers & acutely embarrassed by her weird family. Kyrian, the hero, is an ex princeling who gave up his immortal soul to exact vengeance on his faithless wife. He is now an immortal demon killing being who owes allegiance to a vengeful goddess.

Will Amanda embrace her nascent powers to save Kyrian in the end? Can Kyrian let go of his past so they can live in the present? Will the Goddess let him go? Undecided if this will be a keeper. It'll hang out for a while, but after that we'll see.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

New Treasures

My newest treasures are:

1. Carlyle, Liz, The Devil to Pay- Woman disguised as a pickpocket gets caught

2.Hawkins. Karen, The Lady in Red-My Fair Lady plot in reverse (male is being 'remade')

3.Heath, Lorraine, As an Earl Desires- Head of prominent family must recover lost heirloom

4. Heyer, Georgette, Black Moth- Highwayman & my first Heyer (how have I missed her?!)

5. Hodge, Colby, Stargazer-Spacefaring ex convict

6. Kurland, Lynn, Dreams of Stardust- Time travel

7.Martin, Kat, The Handmaiden's Necklace- Hero falsely accuses heroine & must grovel forever, one of my favorite plotlines

8.Popp, Robin, Out of the Night- Contemp. Vampire

9. Potter, Patricia, Black Knave- Scottish Robin Hood type plot, but has dialect, so might be iffy to finish; we'll see.

10.Potter, Patricia, Diamond King- Scottish pirate goes to Brazil.

Best of all, I still have $30 on my trade credit!

Friday, January 20, 2006

TBR Confessional

Some of you know I have a four feet tall by four feet wide three shelf bookcase. This is the home of my TBR. It is double shelved (meaning two books deep) on all shelves plus two of the shelves have stacks of books laying sideways on top. I counted them last New Year's. It was maybe 275 titles. Since then I gave up counting the books because the ins & outs completely surpassed my math abilities & desire for numerical accountability. Besides, I was hiding some of them from Husand.

Today I completed my quarterly TBR purge and alphabetization. I pulled out a medium sized shopping bag of traditional Regencies (which are no longer being published on a monthly basis, BTW). I also pulled a paper grocery bag of mass market size paperbacks. Truth be told most of those had already been set aside, but still..

After the UBS totted all of them up my total came to $60. A mere drop in the bucket compared to what I spent last year, but every bit helps. Right? Right?! Ok, maybe not. I just need someone to soothe my guilty conscience.

Anyhow. I returned home and spent the an hour reconciling my collection of TBB post its, pages torn out of magazines, printed emails, etc. I now have a list of ten romance titles plus the RTBC Award nominees pages clipped, marked, stapled & in my purse. Previous purchases marked.

Friday nights are special for the Husband & the kids. Husband cooks dinner (tonight was sausage & bean soup & Italian bread), they camp in front of the tv & watch DVR'd tv shows and movies. Fridays I either hide in the bedroom or go book shopping. Guess what I'm doing tonight?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Review: Happily Ever After

Written by Marylyle Rogers and published in 1996 by St. Martin's, this is the second book in a family trilogy. I totally & completely fell in love with the first one, Once Upon A Time. This resulted in hunting down the next two books. It borders on being too flowery, which reminded me of older romances, and some of the dialogue is written in dialect (eeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwww). I loved the first one though, so I'm more willing to overlook flaws that would normally cause me to have second thoughts.

Lissan, half fairy half human daughter of the Fairy King & an human woman, falls through a fairy ring traveling back to 1115 from 1900 in Ireland. Rory, the local overlord, finds her and 'hosts' her in a magical cottage where she will be protected until he can figure out if she's an evil witch or a good witch. The push and pull of time, political problems, family obligations & powerful magic swirl around them as they slowly become 'friends with benefits' as my son would say.

Light in tone, this title continues the fairytale feel of the first. I was not able to find a website by Marylyle Rogers. St. Martin's does not list her on their website. The most recent book she published was in 1998. I am unsure what exactly her situation is, but I really fell hard for this series and I am glad they are nestled in among my keepers. I have read other titles of hers & they were good for what they are, but they didn't quite have that special something. Here is a list of Marylyle Rogers' titles.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Review: To Tempt A Rogue

Behind a horrid cover lurks a good book. Honest. Written by Adrienne Basso and published by Zebra in 2004, TTAR is set in Scotland in 1811. I've enjoyed other Adrienne Basso titles & this one pretty much pushes her onto the auto buy list.

Nathaniel Bennett, Baron Avery, has spirited his two nieces & nephew away to rural northernmost Scotland to escape the clutches of his greedy uncle. Needing a governess for them, his friend Duncan McTate hires Harriet Sainthill, sister of Viscount Dewhurst, to fill the position.

Harriet is the spinster older sister in an uncomfortable position in her brother's household. Jilted by her fiance upon his return from the war Harriet decides she needs some breathing room. The family appears to be loving & close, but she is ready for a change.

Nathaniel, meantime, promised his brother, shortly before Robert & his wife died, that he would raise Robert's children. Problem is, no supporting document could be found. Thus the children are at the mercy of the cold & distant Uncle. Hatching a plan with his friend Duncan, they spirit the children away while waiting for the case to wind its ponderous way through the courts.

My favorite scene hands down was when the virginal Harriet seduces Nathaniel. She tells him what she wants & what her terms are & she refuses to allow him to put her off. I liked the fact that they were able to talk to each other without mincing words or playing games.

I am interesd in looking for Duncan's story, if he has one. Basso's website is dated 2004 on the first page & other pages inside are screwed up, so I don't know what's up with her. Amazon says she had an anthology with Hannah Howell (Highland Vampire) last year. Also, Wedding Deception last summer. I plan to keep TTAR, at least for now.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Review: Stealing Sophie

Disclaimer: I am totally ignorant of Scottish history, other than a vague idea the kilt as we understand it wasn't seen until the seventeenth century. So, apologies to Maili in advance for being blisssfully unaware of any ignorance displayed in this story. One issue, given the poverty of this setting, would the tenant farmers pay tithes or taxes or whatever it was to both the English overlord & to their 'rightful' Scottish lord as well? Out of loyalty to the rightful Scottish heir as opposed to any legal requirement. I have serious doubts, but then again, not enough to actually research. This is Sarah Gabriel's debut title. Published in 2005 by Avon.

The first positive item, Stealing Sophie isn't written in some wretched made up brogue. HUGE positive in my opinion. Written out dialect (regardless of type or locale) is a major peeve. Minor curiosity, Connor (the hero) is an Irish name. Odd choice for a proud Scottish patriot hero.

Second positive item: the heroine on the cover actually matched the description of her in the text, including the color of her gown! I nearly died of apoplexy. The hero, naturally, has man titty galore plus a sword not actually used in the story, but, who am I to quibble when the art department obviously got Sophie right?

Third, their wedding night was the funniest & yet so true to life scene I've read in a very long time. Let us say simply that after a long & trying day running from the red coats (was that term actually used?) and Sophie's family plus a rushed wedding service Connor and Sophie have had a bit of whiskey. Therefore neither will own up to forgetting their wedding night. Did they do the deed or not? Sophie is pretty sure, but not completely. Connor, being a man & all, refuses to confess to a) having consumed too much whiskey and b)not remembering what happened & c) is amazed to realize that neither does Sophie.

The plot is as follows: Connor has promised Sophie's brother he will marry Katherine Sophia in order to prevent her arranged marriage to Sir Henry Campbell. Rob (Sophie's brother) then disappears and is feared imprisoned & gravely wounded. Honoring his promise, Connor kidnaps Sophie & marries her under duress after a long & exhausting run through the hills. They return to the ruins of one of Rob's castles & set about getting to know each other & their families' situation in respect to the English occupation & Campbell's powerful position as magistrate of the region. Who exactly is Sophie anyway? Why did Rob write out one sister's name & then ensure Connor kidnapped the other one? What role, if any, did Connor play in Rob's injury and capture? Can kidnapped brides truly find love even in trying circumstances?

So there you have it folks. An afternoon's worth of love, family loyalty, hot sex in the heather & dastardly villains. Throw in a fairy curse, a fiddle playing ghost & you're all set. Very heartwarming, but not a keeper. I intend to keep an eye out for other Sarah Gabriel titles.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Review: The Fairy Godmother

This is the first Luna title & was originally published in 2004 written by well known & widely admired fantasy writer Mercedes Lackey. I'd never read Ms. Lackey's work previously, but I now find myself wanting to hunt down her backlist. Hmm..perhaps the Baen Free Library will have some of her work. I'll have to look later. *Added later- BFL does have some of Ms. Lackey's work! YAY!

This tale begins as the standard Cinderella. Ella Cinder's actual name is Elena Klovis. Instead of becoming the belle of the ball & marrying her prince, Elena's evil stepmom & stepsisters run off to 'foreign countries' in search of gullible rich men to fleece. Leaving poor Elena to face their debtors with nothing but a nearly empty house. Elena, broke & in rags, decides to become a household servant at the equivalent of a modern day job fair. Only, none of the locals wants to hire her for fear of what Madame Klovis might do when/if she returns.

At the very last moment, Fairy Godmother Bella swoops in & rescues Elena on her flying donkey cart. Elena is to be Bella's new apprentice Godmother. Eventually, Elena learns as much as Bella can teach her & Bella retires. During the course of routine Godmothering Elena takes Prince Alexander of Kohlstania into her household as a Failed Quester in need of serious reform. Time passes, as Alexander is more resistant to reform than anticipated.

Both Alexander & Elena's attraction grows steadily once he earns her respect. An unusual aspect I particularly enjoyed was that they experienced mutual interactive dreams, even when they slept in separate buildings & hadn't verbally expressed their interest in each other.

This novel works better as a fantasy than it does as a romance, which I half expected given Lackey's background. Alexander & Elena don't meet until two hundred pages into the story (out of four hundred seventy nine). Had this been a straight romance that could have been a deal breaker. However, the world Ms. Lackey builds is fully developed & well integrated into the plot and so I didn't quibble. Another issue is that more attention is paid to Alexander's reformation than to the growing attraction between them, but, again, this can be put down to Ms. Lackey's fantasy/sci fi background and to plot needs.

Ms. Lackey's research into world fairytales and mythology is obvious as you read TFG. Other than the Cinderella main plot, I counted no less than seven veiled references to other fairytales woven into the story. I'm sure I missed a few. I grew to like Elena & then Alexander as the story grew. Each overcomes a troubled background (Lackey makes an excellent case that growing up as a Royal isn't all it's cracked up to be) and they grow together. Ms. Lackey has a new fan & The Fairy Godmother is nestled among my keepers- as soon as daughter has finished it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Seasonal Poetry

I am completely uninspired today & so I present you with a few poems chosen from Everypoet.com

A Winter Night

My window-pane is starred with frost,
The world is bitter cold to-night,
The moon is cruel and the wind
Is like a two-edged sword to smite.

God pity all the homeless ones,
The beggars pacing to and fro.
God pity all the poor to-night
Who walk the lamp-lit streets of snow.

My room is like a bit of June,
Warm and close-curtained fold on fold,
But somewhere, like a homeless child,
My heart is crying in the cold

Sara Teasdale


Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Snow Song

Fairy snow, fairy snow,
Blowing, blowing everywhere,
Would that I
Too, could fly
Lightly, lightly through the air.

Like a wee, crystal star
I should drift, I should blow
Near, more near,
To my dear
Where he comes through the snow.

I should fly to my love
Like a flake in the storm,
I should die,
I should die,
On his lips that are warm.

by Sara Teasdale

Monday, January 09, 2006

So Very Old

Me I mean. Daughter just turned fourteen today & last week Son #1 turned seventeen. Nephew down the way turned the big five Saturday last. Son #2 & I made daughter's cake this afternoon. It turned out to be quite an unexpected culinary adventure.

The cake is based on a popular sweet cake our Latino neighbors serve for their kids' birthdays. Usually it is made as a three layer white cake with a custard/pudding type layer on the bottom & center cake layers. On the center layer are kiwi & strawberry slices. Frosted all over with standard white cake frosting & thickly patterned on the top with sliced almonds.

Now, first off, today the car is in the shop for new brakes. I thought I had all of the ingredients- do you remember the Alzheimer's post last week? Well, that's me.

So here we are, in the middle of baking, and I realize half of what I need was eaten by certain people who didn't ask if said items were needed for a recipe. No car & less than half of what I actually need to make this damned recipe. Thus we have boysenberry preserves melted & poured over the top in lieu of fresh fruit & cream cheese frosting in place of custard.

I only had enough flour for two layers so I poured the batter into a ten inch Wilton pan. I love this pan. My absolute favorite pan, hands down. It is big enough to comfortably feed us plus an extra slice or two for breakfast.

The cake turned out well in the end. The cake was a big hit despite Husband's suspicions about boysenberry preserves. Daughter didn't know about the fiasco & thus loved the cake.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Review: Angels & Demons

This doesn't count towards the RTBC TBR Challenge since I liberated it from my mom's stash. This is the first Robert Langdon book, set before DaVinci Code.

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, along with marine biophysicist Vittoria Verta, is racing to the Vatican in an attempt to prevent the murders of four Cardinals in line for succession to the papacy and to stop the entire Vatican complex from blowing up due to an antimatter bomb. Difficulties arise from their need to interpret mysterious, ancient, deliberately obscured clues before the Cardinals are killed. Then they must locate & disarm or remove the bomb.

All of this is upfront information provided immediately. There is a mysterious, disliked scientist in charge of a prestigious corporation. A charismatic young priest temporarily in charge of the Vatican until the new Pope is elected. A military man in charge of security who is mired in doing things 'the way we've always done them'. A young journalist recently hired into the BBC who needs to make his mark. Plus an Islamic assassin hired by an unseen boss.

Brown has written a spellbinding page turner that attempts to address science versus religion & faith while simulaneously keeping the reader hurriedly flipping pages racing toward the denoument just like Robert & Vittoria. I will not address his comments on this issue here except to say that I glossed over them because I was more concerned about the murders & the bomb. In the end, I was left wondering about the intersection of insanity & faith as well as human beings' reliance on 'proof' as an ingredient of faith.

I purposely held off reading this series because of the huge hype surrounding DaVinci Code. I do regret waiting and I'm anxious to read DaVinci Code but even so I'm a miserly bookaholic and will either read the library copy or look in the UBS for D.C. This is already a keeper for Husband, so I will simply add it to his shelf. From Brown's website, it appears the movie version of DaVinci Code will be released May 19th this year. Amazon.com says the third book in the series, The Solomon Key, is not yet available for preorder.

Parody Commercial

Via RandomReality.blogware.com comes this hilarious parody commercial. Click link above- be forewarned, finish chewing and/or swallowing first.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Bookstore splurge

So I just spent my entire month's book budget in one fell swoop tonight. It was in a good cause- avoiding the football game the men in my house were so determined to watch (Redskins vs. Buccaneers). I mentioned the other day how much I despise football?

I bought:

1.The Amber Room by Steve Berry- thriller based in Europe, Russia & the US

2.Queen's Ransom by Fiona Buckley- Elizabethan mystery; third in a series; female sleuth

3.The Hand of Justice by Susanna Gregory- 1350's Oxford, England; 10th Matthew Bartholomew mystery

4. A Grand Deception by Elizabeth Mansfield- Traditional Regency romance

5. Powers That Be by Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Scarborough- Reissue of sci/fi book revolving around a sentient planet whose native flora, fauna & peoples must save them all from a greedy corporate giant.

6.The Midnight Work by Kassandra Sims- Paranormal/alternate reality vampire (& other creatures) romance; debut author; TOR published

7. White Murder by David Wishart- The tenth Marcus Corvinus mystery set in ancient Rome; this one revolves around a murdered star chariot-racing driver.

8. A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson- Winner of the Golden Dagger Award for Crime Fiction; set in Portugal in the late 1990's & involves an old, suppressed Nazi plot & a murdered teenage girl in Lisbon.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Review: A Bird in Hand; A. Lane

As previously noted I am participating in the TBR Challenge & so I dug this out of my bookcase. Originally published by Signet in 1999 this is a traditional Regency written by Allison Lane.

Randolph Catherwood, Earl of Symington, heir to the Duke of Whitfield, is en route to authenticate a manuscript purported to be an original Chaucer. While enduring a horrendous thunderstorm he sees a Lady and her horse fall into a raging stream after the bank collapses. Lady Elizabeth Walton, mired in Cumberland by poverty & a cruel father is the local healer. She was returning home after treating her aunt for 'flu. After spending the night together in an empty cottage, Elizabeth lies about her identity & flees home refusing Symington's offer of marriage.

A complicated house party storyline follows. Included are the cruel & manipulative father, the meek & scheming mother, the greedy & shallow younger sister, hidden identities & a library full of rare manuscripts. The plot is a tried & true one, but the hero's claustrophobia makes him unique. Imagine that- a flawed hero!

Anyhow, the heroine is an independant, intelligent woman of twenty four & the hero is thirty one. They manage to have actual conversations &, despite the plot machanisms, get to know each other in a mature & realistic way. Each has their flaws, but those are nicely tied in. In fact the characters are surprisingly accepting, no rose colored glasses here.

An enchanting & quick read. Highly recommended, especially if you like romances leavened with flawed yet appealing protagonists.

MAILI is back today! Run over there & say hi & tell her never to leave again.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Don't call me "Little Lady," pal

Some good news for a change! The golden snail we bought for the goldfish tank has not been eaten (yet) and is merrily slurping away on the slime ringing the top edge of the tank. We're still afraid the fish will eat him, so we've decided to wait a few days before naming him (or her). He's bigger than the other one was- perhaps that's the difference.

More good news- the tire was replaced in a timely fashion by the oh so helpful & polite (HA!) Pep Boys staff, leaving us with only the brakes to repair~ on the other car, naturally. While wandering around Pep Boys I did see some very cute Cheshire cat floor mats, just down the aisle from the flower embossed steering wheel covers. They'd probably get more female customers if they'd train the staff not to act as if every woman who walks in is wasting their precious time. I brought Husband with me this time- they were much more helpful to him. I'm so surprised. I thought for sure someone would call me 'little lady.'

Wally World was shockingly empty of patrons when I stopped by to pick up Son #2's inhaler. They already have Valentine's Day candy & home decor out. Honest. You could've knocked me over with a feather. The after Christmas sales are barely over for heaven's sake.

Daughter's IB application has been filled out & is ready to be mailed tomorrow. Son #2 has presented me with a small list of ingredients necessary for a chemistry experiment next week. Pennies, ammonia, bleach, red cabbage juice, etc. Sounds fun doesn't it? Son #1 is trying to climb out of a hole he's dug himself into grade wise. He's forever hauling himself out of one hole, saunters along ok for a while then falls into another hole. He drives me batty.

For the January Romantic Times TBR Challenge on the Reader's Roundtable message board I'm currently reading A Bird in Hand by Allison Lane. Her website is a pain to figure out unless you're already familiar with her work. Many of the descriptions, blurbs & book info don't include title information. You have everything else- awards, H/H, plot, etc. No title. I hope she isn't paying them much to host her. They didn't do her much good.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

TBR Challenge Resumes

Over at Romantictimes.com the To Be Read pile challenge has resumed. Go to the website, locate the Reader's Roundtable message board, scroll down to the December thirtieth entry by Anne E., marked TBR Pile Challenge & pledge hopw many titles from your TBR pile you promise to read this month. At the end of the month Anne E will remind everyone of their promised book count & we will 'fess up as to how well or how badly we've done. I've promised eight.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Home again. Our visit went pretty well, although #2 son's asthma & allergies really flared up while the gang stayed at my in law's house. It has been a very, very long time since he stayed there & my fears were confirmed. He didn't have an asthma attack, thank God, but I doubt they'll be permitted to stay at the in law's overnight again.

My parents are well, all things considered, as is my sis & her newly expanded family. My brother & his GF have returned to the sunflower state taking with him my newly incubating future niece or nephew.

I am surrounded by smoke infested laundry, floors that need scrubbing & carpets that need a thorough vaccuuming. My darling Husband's back aches from the too soft mattress at mom & dad's. Calgon take me away! I know, I know~ I just returned.

And now for the good news-

Maili says she'll be back by the end of the week


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

Just a quick note to say hey to anyone out surfing today. Had a sip or two of champagne at 11:55 pm & toddled off to bed. Poor Dick on Rockin' New Year's Eve sounded pretty rough, though. I'm sure it was a huge motivation to work really hard in rehabilitation though.

Husband is outside with my Dad playing with chainsaws & stacking wood etc. The usual man stuff. Children are at my in laws, cooking from what I hear. Birthday cake for #1 son who will be seventeen (O.M.G.- where have the years gone?) tomorrow. Blackeyed peas & something or other because that's the traditional Southern New Year's dish. Fried chicken, macaroni salad & potato salad.

This was not a good day to restart my vegetarian eating plan. I think I'll bring over some veggies & dip or salad ingredients or something. Otherwise I'll...I can't say starve because I'm plump enough to survive quite a long fast, but..I'll have to have self control or something equally adult. Perhaps I'll make a huge pot of coffee.