Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Reviews - Blerg (Sorry Sybil)

I shouldn't do this.

No really. I'm probably asking for a shit storm to land here but, what the hell.


Yeah, if you're bored already or feel it's been done to death then you can move on - no hard feelings.

I'm coming at this in my normal nonsensical way. I'm not really sure where these quotes will take me but, in for a penny, in for a pound.

This might get gritty and if you don't like cussin' then get thee gone!

Ohhh, we have a few brave ones do we?

You've been warned!

If you have not been out and about then you might not know that there are exactly two sides to the debate of reviewing books. The side that says 'play nice' and the side that says 'honesty is the best policy'.

Okay, there are the fence sitters who say, some honesty with a play nice attitude can go far. It's not that I don't agree with this but, if you have read a truly horrible book then I don't think you should have to say you liked that it was printed on recycled paper. Although, that probably says it all. Now that I think on it, I may use that in future reviews.

Hey, you'll know I really didn't like something if I say it *wasn't* printed on recycled paper! Ah, we've got a secret code now.

Let's start with this quote:

Prolonged, indiscriminate reviewing of books is a quite exceptionally thankless, irritating and exhausting job. It not only involves praising trash but constantly inventing reactions towards books about which one has no spontaneous feeling whatever.

George Orwell (1903-1950) British novelist, essayist, and critic

God Bless him! Apparently he had to live in the world of 'play nice' and he makes it plainly evident just how much of a pain in the ass it is. I wish they could put a date to this little piece of wonder. Why? To look at the reviews before and after. Did he ever just give up and say, 'this is trash!'. How do you begin to trust a reviewer who openly says they can't say anything bad about someone else's work.

You don't.

I learned this the hard way, not from reviewers themselves but, from one Jayne Ann Krentz. At one point I loved this author's work and if I saw her name on a cover endorsing just how wonderful a new book was I would buy it. It didn't take me long to wonder just what the heck the woman had been smoking when she read the book. (This was before the internet) I started to notice that almost every book printed had a quote from her on the front. It actually began to backfire for authors (although they probably didn't know it) because I wouldn't buy a book that had her recommendation on it. I wondered if she was getting paid for every quote she put out there because this woman was busy and she had to be getting some sort of benefit from putting her name on less than stellar books.

My feeling is that JAK may be one of those people who believes you have to play nice. What I don't think these kind of people realize is that it is going to bite them in the ass sooner or later. By putting her name on just about anything she has made it so her name is no longer valuable or for that matter credible.

Let's get away from authors for now because truly, they are going to circle the wagons and who can blame them. I don't care what they say about reviewers as a rule because they are the ones getting the review. If they want to say that so and so has monkeys flying out of their butt because they couldn't see the wonder of their work, have at it. Doesn't have you coming off well in public but, do what you want. Maybe people will find you eccentric.

What about reader's who feel they have to be nice?

I personally think they are writing in their spare time. A reader is only looking for one thing and that is a great story. If a reader comes across a story that is a complete waste of time then they are usually upset and want to warn others away. I know as a reader, not only do I want to know what books a person loves, I want to know what books they hate.

Here's why.

There are books that I love that I know other people hate. Not only that, there are books that I have hated that others have said, they loved. The good news is that there is a sharing of what made a book a keeper or a tosser. Usually from that description a person is able to decide if the book would be right for them.

I have said it before and I'll say it just one more time. The year that Into the Fire by Anne Stuart won for worst romance at AAR, I did a little jig because I knew it meant it was going to be a keeper for me. Hey, it wasn't her best book but, I did love it!

The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. humorist, writer, and lecturer.

Braver words have not been spoken by a writer. Now, maybe he was trying to say that critics blow and not knowing that readers would one day have a way to communicate their love or hate of a book, he put his faith in the public who bought and loved his books. Hey, everyone loves a good pat on the back but, don't we all, deep down inside, know if we are truly deserving of such?

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) American editor, publisher, and author of the mora

I like this one. I have lived this one at times and I don't think it is any way to live. We need input to get better. We were born to make mistakes and to fail (I have done so miserably) and no, it is not fun to be down on the ground but, having been in university I could tell you exactly which essay I wrote would get a better mark than another.

I read an author's response to nasty reviews saying that while writing the book her family was going through a horrible trauma but that the book had to be written. She didn't tell people this but, since reader's couldn't possibly know what was going on in her life, they shouldn't be judging.

Okay, fair enough.

My interpretation of this? The author knows it is not their best work.

They know.

So why is it surprising that reviews will pop up saying, this book was a mess or good Lord, this person needs to stop writing! If an author is going to write, then write. I'm not saying criticism is easy or palatable but if a couple people saying you shouldn't be a writer is enough to get you to put your pen down? Then, you don't want to be a writer.

I am one of those people who believe the best is far behind Julie Garwood. Doesn't matter though. The writer in her gets up everyday and writes. She is a New York Times Bestselling author and must have lots of readers who love what she is doing today. I mean, if she didn't then she wouldn't still be publishing in hardcover and making the bestseller lists. Her career path took her away from what I loved best about her books so even though I won't buy them, there are many people out there who discovered her new work and liked what they saw. It's just that I believe she has done better.

I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works. An assault upon a town is a bad thing; but starving it is still worse.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) British author.

Ah, my favourite kind of person. I'll take the bad because it means someone out there cares enough to not only have read my work but to talk about it. Hey, I wonder if this is the guy who came up with the 'there is no such thing as bad press'.

To be fair, there are just as many quotes from people about the horrors of being criticized.

If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water's edge''

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) American speaker and motivational writer.

In all honesty, I have no idea what this guy is trying to say. My interpretation is that if you are going to say something bad, do it in a roundabout manner. Maybe behind the person's back? Although the more I think on it I guess he is saying don't speak it. Course, he is a motivational writer so he is more of a cheerleader than someone who will be honest in their assessment. I'm thinking Paula Abdul.

If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, then ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) Politician. President of the United States

I really want to read a book about this man's life. What I have read is fascinating and knowing that it is believed he suffered from social anxiety makes him even more of a hero to me. Obviously a man who understands false praise is worth nothing in the grand scheme of things. You can have a bevy of people telling you you are the best writer ever but, if in the end, you discover that there are many more in the world who believe you are not even close, then this will be what bears fruit.

I for one am grateful to have found so many people who love romance books and want to discuss the good, the great and the OMG what was she thinking! Before this we were treated to reviews that were just a run down of the plot with a couple of stars to show it was a gem. I assume it came from a generation scorned for their choice in reading.

Sure, some of that scorn is still there today, but, you know, bite me.

At this point it is time to take off those lacy gloves and let the genre finally get the respect it deserves. By allowing for open discussion and critiquing we show that we are not afraid of the literary world.

We know good from bad and we aren't afraid to prove it.

Now, if you'll excuse me I'm sure this post has shown my seething rage over - shit, what was it again Kristie? - and I will now check myself in for some counseling.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Story Time or Another Day in my Crazy Life

Some of you may know about my husband and his crazy ways when it comes to real estate and no, I have not found a straight jacket to fit him. Yet.

So let's start with the bane of my existence.

There is this special little website called MLS which means, shit, I don't know what it means but, wait ... Multiple Listing Service. On this little gem of a site you can literally look up any house that is listed with an agent anywhere in North America.

Now, I know you are all thinking, 'Shut. Up. You can shop for a house over the internet from across the country?'

Yes. Yes you can. Take a boo around the site. It is actually quite fun if you can look at it as a fun thing to *cough* kill some time at work, let's say. Wanna see what houses in your area are listed for? Do an advanced search and put in you street to see if anything comes up. You can also use the map to point to where you live until it gets to a zone that you want to look through.

I know you are thinking how in the world could this be such a problem. Well, my husband checks MLS everyday.


The damn thing is only upgraded as far as we know on Tues. so anything after Tuesday doesn't get listed until the following week. At least, that's what we have been told.

My husband has been addicted to MLS for about 3 years now and in his defense he found us two properties that we bought as a reno and flip. Now, some of you read that we lost the dream house exactly one week ago this past Sunday. In this past week Bob took us out and we saw 3 different homes. I was losing my mind!!

So, on Sunday I make a deal with my husband.

Bob is not to look at the MLS site for one week. He asks, what does he get if he can do it. I said, What do you want? He said, a thousand dollars in my coin account. (Now me being the romantic am shocked that money is what he wants!) Huh. I say. Money? Alright.

Well I wasn't exactly thinking about money, I was thinking that if you lost then on Sunday you could have your way with me.

Not. Bright.

Yeah, yeah, I get what I did wrong but I guess I'll bet with Bob and go for you know, Bobby time ;) Bob said, but I get that stuff for free. I looked at him and said, not after wanting money over me for winning! At this, Bob said, he would get on the MLS the minute he got home. Funny guy.

Anyways, I think I messed this one up but, he managed to keep away from MLS on Monday. Couldn't not talk to our real estate agent but, he stayed off MLS and we had no house to go see last night. Super cool.

Tonight he came home and said, you are so getting lucky on Sunday night.

He found a house on MLS that was in one of the areas we are looking in. Okay. Good find. We go look at the house and it is overlisted by close to 100 000. We looked at selling prices over there the last few years and they are 100 grand higher and the whole house needs to be redone. Soooo not a move in a live.

Ah well. So here I am again. Living the life of a real estate gawker. Bob insists we will move this year. I give it until August at which point I will do up this house with new carpets and such because we are hosting Christmas this year and the house will look gorgeous!!

Now, what bet could I make that would make Bob fear losing? Thing is he knows me and I would never force him to do something he didn't like but maybe I should do it so that if he fails we put ... well, crap, if I'm not going to be living here much longer than it would only piss me off to put granite countertops (in Canada, easily 10 grand) in this house.

I wonder if there is a way to have MLS taken off the internet? Maybe I know people?

Ha! Nope.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Here's Where I'm At

First, no matter how diligent I am in filing things, I am almost never able to find what I need right this minute. It has taken me all week to find last year's tax information. I have no idea why it was where I found it but the good news is I *did* find it although earlier tonight I was ranting about how monkeys could do a better job of, well, anything compared to me.

So I've headed into my 'I'm useless phase' which is really good for the ol' morale.

Friday night my husband comes home and I have been sleeping because of the weird sleeping shit that's messing with me and when I wake up Bob tells me that the carpet we bought last week for the dogs is ruined and has to be carried out. Apparently the dogs were very sick and with the way Bob was going on, I was terrified I was going to find barf and poop on the walls. Let's just say, it wasn't pretty but I have a little steam cleaner and a mop and bleach. Dog beds were thrown out and two new ones were bought. It took me about an hour of cleaning and saturating the spots on the carpet while keeping the floor underneath dry so those new laminate floors we got don't swell up.

Finally, the room aired out and everything dis-infected I am able to let the dogs back into the house. While I am watching TV I can't help but notice that the sick smell is back. I decide Cody must have stepped in something so I take a bucket and wash his feet for him. I discover some sticky-mess on his side and clean that off also.

Seems better.

Tonight I couldn't stand to be in the same room with him for more than 15 minutes. The two of them are going to the groomers for baths but, the groomers always want to see their vaccination certificates.

Guess what I can't find?

The last four years are in the file but where the hell is this past years? Have no clue. I'm hoping they don't ask for it tomorrow and if they do I'm going to tell them I just need to use their doggy shower to get the vomit smell off the one dog. They won't even have to touch them. (Please God let them have the info on file! They didn't tell Bob when he made the appointment that they needed to see it and they normally do if they need to see it. Please God, please God, please God.) Seriously, the smell on the poor guy is unreal and it's way too cold to give him a bath outside and we don't have porcelain tubs so his claws would make a mess of any of our baths/showers and I'm not exactly sure what his fur would do to the drain!! Then there is the fact that he is HUGE!

So even though I finally found the tax info, I'm still mad at myself because now I can't find the dog's information which is always by my fingertips.

Oh, and then I go to put the tax program on my computer from last year but the stupid key code won't work and I'm all, wtf! so I write an e-mail begging for help when it occurs to me that I have a new computer so I may have to pay a fee to have them *let* me use the damn program that I already paid for on my new computer.


If there is one thing that will drive me nuts it's people nickel and diming me to death. Hey, if you are providing a service I can handle it but I paid for this freakin' program and I need to go through last years taxes to get a handle on how to do this years taxes!

I already gave you my opinion on that though.

My brand spanking new washing machine leaks water. Does Sears want to bring me a new one? I mean, I paid a small fortune for this and I don't think I should have to keep something that is obviously defective! I'm telling you, it's the year of the sucky customer service.

Oh and La-Z-boy still hasn't fixed our chair. There is going to be letters flying from this computer as soon as I feel a rant coming on!


You could call this a rant.

Friday, February 24, 2006

For Fun

Play Along!

Current Clothing: Jamma T-shirt covered in a cotton blanket because it's cold!

Current Hair: Day old, slept on, white trash look. I'm stylin'!!

Current Mood: meh. Although Rocky 'the yelper' is starting to get under my skin so I am quickly heading into Uber-bitch mode. You know it's bad when Bob says Rocky has been a pain in the ass all night. Rocky used to bark till I came down to watch TV with him but with him being deaf and stuff now, we swear he does it to see if he can hear anything. You'll be asleep and he'll start up. I have actually learned to shut him out while sleeping. As soon as this is done I will go down and watch some TV with him. Are we trained or what?

Current Refreshment: Boring water when I so want an ice-cold coke! My new thing is crushed ice in water. I eat the ice. Now, if only I could stop eating chocolate I may actually lose weight.

Current Annoyance: My one foot is asleep because I prop my feet on my desk. Did I mention that yapping dog? Just checking.

Current Avoidance: The good news is I am like everyone else and avoiding all cleaning projects. My next thing is to call Sears because my new washing machine is leaking all over my new floors. This seems to be the year of sucky service from stores.

Current Smell: Like Nicole, I can't smell anything which is a good thing because I either smell cat or dog, so smells are not welcome here. No. I don't cook. Oh, I did bake cookies today because my best bud and her little guy came for a visit but those kind of smells last a minute. Probably because we eat the cookies so fast.

Current Thing You Ought to be Doing: I'm supposed to be sleeping - I couldn't sleep today which freaked me out. I went to bed at about 7pm because I was seeing stars but Bob always wakes me by accident when he comes to bed and that's usually the death knell for the sleep. Oh, and the dog. (I wonder if I put the dog in the woods if anyone would hear?)

Current Thing or Things on Your Wall: A poem my hubby wrote for everyone for Easter the year my Gram passed, a poem he wrote for me, a nice saying about leaping, the word DREAM in huge letters and collage of paintings by local artist of our town. Oh and a wolf picture (used to be a huge wolf person) and an Adin Shade waterfall and a plaque my cousin made for me for Christmas about 6 years ago.

Current IM person You’re Talking to: Please, I can barely manage e-mail and I feel bad for you that you found my blog ;)

Current Jewelry: My MIL's wedding band (I think it is officially 58 years old now) and my engagement ring. Other than that, I can't wear jewelery because A) I'll lose it and B) I'll lose it.

Current Book: *sniff* I'm still struggling but I said that I would read what everyone wanted me to in the last post. So far, Jo Goodman is winning. Any other takers?

Your turn!

Thanks to Nicole and Tara Marie for helping me out of my blog block!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Shut! UP!

Ohhhhh, yeah.

Guess what I did?


OF COURSE NOT! *mumbling 'bought a straight jacket, unbelievable, these people!'*

Hmmm? No, I did not re-bleach my eyebrows and by the way, they are still streaked. Apparently they do not fall out and regrow as fast as I thought but I think they are cute now, so there.

You know what, now that I think about it, it might not seem like a great bit deal but, it is to me!

I ordered some books online. I decided to pre-order some books which I never do because I truly believe that I can get to the books before they can get to me and usually that's true but, get this.

By Friday, an entire week and four days before it's release, I should have my hot little hands on Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase!

Envy me.

Nah, don't envy, just was excited to see that I got the ship notice for this book today! Too bad it wasn't JR Ward's newest one because then you would have heard me screaming. It was the other one I pre-ordered in order to get the shipping for free. What'll really chap my ass is finding out that Chapters is shipping this from Vancouver then it could be a week before I see the book!

Hey, did you just say 'one could hope?!' Not cool!

Also coming are Pamela Clare's Surrender which, - holy crap! - shows as not released on the Amazon website although it should have been available on the 7th of February and I am sure I have seen many of my blogger friends with this in their sidebars.

And, taa daa, Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas should also arrive by friday before it's release date of March 7th also (hey, the site just changed it to 3 to 5 days)! I would be more pumped about this one but, uh, I haven't read the Autumn book yet because I haven't made the time and I do really like an author to be at least one book ahead of me.

Since I'll tear open the package with JR Ward's book and devour it in one sitting, I'll have to do it with others!

Okay everyone, cross your fingers that I get that extra special e-mail saying Lover Eternal has shipped.


Pretty Please. *pouts adorably with a wee bit of a lower lip quiver and big soppy eyes*

Have I Mentioned?

Have I mentioned how much I love this guy?

No. Really. I love him.

I just finished watching Just Like Heaven and I can admit when I am wrong. I thought this looked silly and truth to tell I am sooo not a Reese Witherspoon fan.

Normally my bad movie radar is pretty good but I am one happy camper that it failed me this time!

I can't believe I loved this film! Okay, for Ruffalo alone I watched it but, I think it is wonderfully sweet and watching David and Lizzie fall in love is *sigh*. I should mention that I am not one of those who can recommend a movie because I love one of the actors. Ruffalo was in We Don't Live Here Anymore and it was horrid. I rent many movies because, hey, I'm up during the night and I hate watching infomercials so movies are my mainstay. Even when I know a movie is going to stink I usually end up renting it. Elizabethtown (I now get the whole Orlando Bloom fascination but, Cameron Crowe movies suck - sorry. I didn't know it was a Crowe film until I saw the credits roll and the over sappiness suddenly made sense). The Wedding Date (there was an awesome line but no chemistry). Still I rent them hoping against hope that they are more than they advertised. Lucky me, I found one!

Quick summary - a woman doctor who is all work and no play dies in a accident on the way to her sister's for a blind date. Her apartment is sublet out and a man who has not gotten over his wife's death moves in. Suddenly there are too many people in this apartment - one who wants the ghost to leave and one who wants to remember her life and why she's still around.

Even figuring a few things out I didn't care. I thought these two had real chemistry and *I* got upset when they weren't together on the screen! Not only that but there are cute comedic bits throughout.

I'm buying this movie. Bob loves these types of movies so it will be nice some weekend to pop this into the DVD player and watch it with him.

Don't you just love it when a movie surprises you?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Whadya Think?

Okay, guys. Desperate times calls for desperate measures.

The deal is that I am stumbling all over my TBR pile and can't bring myself to pick a book. Partly because the book has been reviewed many times by others (and when did I decide I was a cutting edge reviewer?) and I want you guys to enjoy reading the crap I come out with about a book you may or may not have read.

Ah, screw it. I just want to be a kid who gets told what to do! Seems to be working with that TBR challenge although I should pick up the gauntlet that Tara Marie threw down about reading a book from years ago that you loved to see if it holds up. I'm not sure I am ready to part with my dreams of what Shanna and Come Love a Stranger were to me. *sniff*

Moving On!

The books I am about to list are by authors I have never read but very much want to. I just don't know where to start. So, use me!! Pick an author you have always wondered about and use me as your guinea pig. There, now that there is something in this for everyone let's list some books.

Jo Goodman - A Season to be Sinful - Oh my, I had no idea she had written so many books! Hopefully this will be a great author for me and I will have a huge backlist to track down.

Susan Squires - The Hunger or The Companion - this series has me worried because someone stuck a vampire regency sticker on the front of the book. So I guess I am wondering if these books are hot and not just kisses and I *think* the Companion is the first in the series but would take guidance from you guys about that.

Gaelen Foley - The Duke - I think I may have read a book by this author before but I can't be certain because I sometimes get this author confused with Lois Greiman who's books I should buy! Thing is, the LG (can't find an author site) book I read was soooo heart rending and it was one hell of a rollercoaster ride and I'm not sure I can put that much emotion into a book right now!

Lisa Cach - George and the Virgin - hmmm, looks like she has moved on to chick-lit or some such.

Claudia Dain - The Willing Wife or The Marriage Bed - I know I have the first title but I'm not sure if I have the other one or not. With Bob setting up the library I have lost track of some of my books. Bad Cindy. Good Bob. Can you believe the authors I have not read!?

Deborah Blumenthal - Fat Chance - damn, I thought this one was a 2006 book but it is listed as 'Spring's Best Chick Lit 2004'. Okay, I've cheated a bit and started this book because I did this list last night although I didn't do the pictures and links until tonight. Anways, I have started the book and am not keen on the heroine but I will read a bit more before I go to bed and see what happens.

So, I will read the book with the most votes. Feel free to list your seconds and such because I may just sort the books in the order you put down and try to read them that way. Although, let's face it, I have a hundred more books I can put up here next. Oh and I can't read the same author's work back to back. Can't do it to them. Not fair to them or to me.

Since you have all seen my review style *here I thought heckling was beneath y'all!* you know what you are getting into ;)

Good luck to you and to me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Blog Block

Everything I have written in the last few days has turned out lame.

I think I have discovered the problem.

I have blog block.

Now, I'm not really sure it exists but, I'm sucking wind over here. Oh, sure, there was the brilliant follow-up to the epilogue post that was squashed horribly when I went to get the book I was talking about only to discover that it didn't have an epilogue. I was going to point out the good kind of epilogue and since I could only remember two I thought it was fine because they both illustrated a different point. Now, I only have one epilogue I can remember that was good and well, I guess it kinda makes it's own point.


Upcoming books? I don't have a clue. I don't even have a list! I'm trusting that they will jump off the shelf at me the next time I go to the bookstore. I know JR Ward should be out in the next few weeks and that Loretta Chase's next one will be out. Other than that, I don't have a clue. If I do have an idea of a book I would like to buy it is either by someone I have never heard of *screams of fear* or someone I have heard of and have 5 books of theirs that I have not read yet.

Oh, that brings up my new two book rule. If I haven't read an author's book and I have two at home then I cannot buy that new book.

Hey, it took me years to perfect this!!

I got lucky with Kleypas since I have like 9 of her books in the house. Also lucky with Julia Quinn although the first time I tried her I thought she wasn't for me. The last book of hers that I read did leave a bad taste in my mouth but I'm hoping it was a fluke. The character Colin was supposed to be charming but he was a jerk and very brutish. I didn't see anything of the character I had been led to believe he was.

Anyways, I'm obviously just rambling now and instead of being 'boo'ed of the stage I will leave with my dignity in tack.

Hey! Tomatoes!? You would throw tomatoes!?

I'm going to go and read something, so there.

Now, if only I could decide which frickin' book I want to read next!

I was actually writing a blog where you guys could pick the next book I should read (somebody gag Kristie! I'm saving *that* book and I'm not nearly in as bad a shape as I could be so, I'm not breaking that glass!) but then I decided it was lame because how can I possibly not pick a book?

I would suggest procrastination but I know that's not it. It's just fear that the book I will pick could be bad and also the feeling of being overwhelmed by all the good books I have laying around and need to be reading NOW! It's like trying to pick which piece of gold you would like to be made into a ring. They're just all so pretty and would make great rings.

Crap, I'm rambling again.

I'm a mess.

I do want to wish a certain someone a Happy Birthday - she knows who she is!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Are You Kidding Me!?

Get this.

I go to Amazon.com, okay, you all know how to get there so I'm not linking. Anyways, I go there and ask the little program there to show me books it would recommend in the 'Coming Soon' feature.

Three books.

That's it.

One of them doesn't even count because it is LKH's Micah which I am not touching with a ten foot pole!

They've got to be kidding! Not only that but their recommendations have been so far off the mark for so long now that I'm not sure if I have screwed up or if their program looks at my book list and thinks 'she'll read anything'.

Well, no, that's not right because then there would be a list of books, I'm talking double digits here in the coming soon section! They don't list Loretta Chase's new one which, hello! I rated the last one of hers 5 frickin' stars!

No, I get all this weird shit like Gena Showalter (never read) and Christina Dodd (read and don't understand half of what it going on in her books - they're above me) and OMG, could it recommend anymore Sherrilyn Kenyon books!? No, no. You can't put in the 'not interested' because they'll just fill the spot with some other author you have never heard of. On that note, does anyone here read Celeste Bradley? I've never heard anyone talk about her but, Lord, they must have a pile of her books at the warehouse because she is popping up all over my list!

This is what they are using as a selling tool?

'Yeah, we've looked at your reading history for the past five years and well, we've got nothing that will interest you. In fact, we'd prefer if you never shopped at our store again.'


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Your Daily Dose of Delirium

I have had a bit of a brain block for a while about books that are connected through family members or friends. I knew there was something about these books that bothered me and the other day I finally figured it out.

Here's where things are going to get dicey!

Say you read a book about Jack and Diane (or Wesley and Buttercup) and you love their story and at the end you know they will live HEA. At that point, they are usually youngish and have the rest of their lives to live.

Now, you have to read about Jack's brother, Luke who was 5 years younger than Jack in his book. At this point, anywhere from 5 to 10 years could have gone by and suddenly the reader is re-introduced to Jack and Diane and a brood of kids. Everyone seems happy, there is a special smile that Jack gives Diane that Luke wishes he could give to someone else.

Okay. In case you need a clue, this is not about Luke.

I'm sorry but, I left Jack and Diane at their HEA and there were no children and life had possibilities and there was a feeling of a happiness and new found adventure. At that point, I was happy. I had been through some of the worst and best moments of their courtship and that is what I was there for!

Meeting Jack and Diane ten years later does not appeal to me in any way. I'm not sure what it is exactly but I kinda of like having the characters I meet in books, remain the way I leave them. I'm not even horribly fond of an epilogue that happens more than 3 years after the final page.

There are times when an epilogue is needed but sometimes the story can stand on it's own without it.

It was years ago, and someone told me what book it was and I wrote it down but, I have three other author's written down that also may have written the book I am thinking of so I can't be more specific.

I read this book in the late 80's early 90's and I remember really enjoying the story. Basically a woman is kidnapped by group of Indians and is kept by a warrior. I think he even marries her but he tells her all the time, he won't ever let her leave him and he'll always be by her side. She may have tried to escape a few times. The heroine loves him but doesn't not feel free. At the end of the story there is an attack and the heroine is standing alone at one point and can see her husband on horseback across the way. She waits for him to come to her and realizes that in that moment he is freeing her to leave or stay with him. Of course, she runs to him.

Okay, I'm a happy camper.


I'm not thinking it will be any big deal but it begins by talking about how over the years they have many children and then grandchildren and I'm like, huh? and then it goes on to say that when the heroine died the hero kept his promise to never leave her side. He stayed by her grave for the rest of his life and died 2 or 5 years later.


Now, I understand by reading a historical the next logical step is to realize these people are now dead. Thing is, I don't take that step. They're not dead because they are in that book over there. The above book killed them right in front of me!!! I guess the author wanted the reader to know that they did live HEA and then they died.


I remember being so floored by this ending and because it was right there it wasn't like I could go back three pages and be back to where I left them. Uh, no. They were dead!

Un. Cool.

Some might say, in most romances that have continuing characters, they don't die. Well, don't even get me started on Sandra Brown's Another Dawn that had the hero from Sunset Embrace die after 20 years in front of his wife and daughter who was the heroine of the book! My lid just about blew off!!

Let's back off the death thing.

I just don't want to get glimpses of a couple that I read about with a passel of brats and a bunch of in-laws and well, it's no longer about them as much as it is about family now.

This is where I have never understood people's fascination with Linda Howard's Mackenzies. In the first story you meet Wolf and Mary and read their love story (which by the way, does not hold up after all these years). I believe I read this book years ago and didn't bother with Linda Howard much at the time. Soon I learned that there were other books by her about Wolf and Mary's kids.

I started to read them but, then you would get the scene where Mary is looking at her husband who still looks good with grey in his hair and still makes her fires burn. Hey, in my head, at the end of their book, I knew they were going to grow old together, I just didn't want to see it!

I have not read Gabaldon yet (down!!) but when I went to the booksigning with my friend she said, Gabaldon didn't have much more room to write more than one or two books because the characters will die. I stood there with my jaw on the floor. 'How are you going to feel about that?' I ask my friend. She said she will sob her heart out because they are like her family.

Now, have you ever read a better reason not to read a book? I fall in love with a bunch of characters and have to be there when they die?

No. Thanks.

So how do you deal with the aging of a hero and heroine from a well loved novel? Do you find the glimpses into the lives to be too rosy. Would you prefer that if this is to be done by an author that the time lapse between the story lines be short? I mean, Quinn has a character whose book is out now that I have not read because I know her family is going to be there and when I first met her I think she was 10!!! Now she is going to have her own romance? Gah.

Just to make your brain hurt, I can handle a couple hundred years separation between family members. That way, yeah the original couple is dead but, I still know they are alive and young in the book I own.

Yeah, I admit it.

I'm weird.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare


Uh, did I mention it's a keeper?

Thank you to Keishon for ever establishing the TBR Challenge and to Angie for picking up the torch. I love you both. To Kristie, I give you my first born.

What? Too much?

I picked this one out of the TBR pile because Kristie had hinted *cough* in a few places that she rated this book as the best book of last year. It's a good thing every once in a while to pick up someone's favourite book because it helps you determine if their tastes are like yours.

Kristie is my long lost sister.

My only regret is that I already sent in my AAR ballot and I can't put Nicholas in as best hero OR put it up in the best western category OR in the most tortured hero category! Amazing how one book can change all that!

I don't like to post spoilers or even much about the plot of the book and even though I was going to post the blurb it sounded same old, same old so I winged it ;). I didn't read the backblurb before I read the book but, I do remember a dust up over at the AAR boards over the summer about Ride the Fire and I bought it because I needed to see for myself. So I went in knowing it was dark and it was a western. Good enough.


Extremely tortured hero (in every sense) believes he is not only dead inside but a danger to those around him so he leaves everything and everyone behind to lead the solitary life of a trapper in the most volatile area on the frontier. Six years later he is wounded and is forced to seek sanctuary in the cabin of a pregnant widow named Bethie.

To say she ain't happy to see him, understatement.

To say he was smooth in his appeal, overstatement.

Thus begins the story of two people who slowly learn to trust each other enough to want to live and fall in love for the first time. For those afraid the story only takes place in a cabin, rest assured there is plenty of movement and action but it thankfully, does not overtake the romance.

Nicholas is one of the best heroes I have ever read. He harkens back to some of the rough men I encountered early in my reading experience but who never quite made it to hero status. He makes it to hero status and it is wonderful! He is so far from perfect and his past is haunting and painful in it's reveal. There were things that he did that did not seem even remotely heroic but understanding the situation he was in, made it forgivable.

I'm not sure how to explain it but he didn't wallow in his guilt even though some might say he did. He just couldn't be around people so he left all he knew and loved to be out on his own for six years before fate pushed him towards Bethie.

Bethie is so sweet and smart and open. Her fear of men is well founded and not once did I find myself questioning her stance in the many situations she found herself in.

Get this, there was even a baby in the book!

I didn't blanche or wince or anything. Belle was in the book for all the right reasons and was dealt with realistically. There was also none of those painful moments of 'mommy-lust' where the mom gazes at her newborn like she is the only reason to keep breathing. No offense to the moms out there but, moms are people too!! She loved her daughter and that was enough. Nicholas loved her daughter and it made him even more of a hero because nothing about the baby was an issue for him.

Although this book is a keeper I would grade it a B+ in recommending it to other people because even though I loved it, I am able to see the imperfections.

Here's the thing.

The book was perfect until the last 60 pages. Until then story was about two people (and a baby - whatever) facing the harshness of the world together. They were each other's salvation and I was in this cocoon with them for most of the story. Yes, there were other people along the way, but it was Bethie and Nicholas' story.

Then they arrive at their final destination and the cocoon burst. I get that it shows how Nicholas has come full circle but the story became something else. I realized that *maybe* this book was from a series. There were character's that came on the scene that seemed to want my recognition and I didn't have it to give. Suddenly the cozy atmosphere is opened to a plethora of people and a kind of fairytale-ish ending.

That's all I'm going to say because I won't spoil it for others. So there. Oh, I will say that up until that point, the grittiness of the book was perfection. (It's a Chandler thang)

With all that said, I have to address the problem some people might have with this book.

It's not for the squeamish. Hell, it wasn't really meant for me! (I'm still struggling with visuals) I'd still suggest that it can be read. The opening bits can be skimmed and the final reveal - and you'll know it cause you see it coming - can also be skimmed so I am confident that someone could enjoy this without too much trauma.

When a western is well done there is nothing quite like them. I'm not even sure these kind of books should be called westerns because there isn't a cowboy in sight! Maybe it should be called a settler.


Something that doesn't invoke rawhide and cowpatties.

Even though I know that conditions were harsh, it is fascinating to read about people who could have existed and maybe even did, settling a land that was so very unforgiving.

Makes me realize we can do incredible things when we put our minds to it.

Too bad I can't get my mind on cleaning my house. No, no, it's now on tracking down every book by Pamela Clare. I can only hope that this was not a one hit wonder but I can't imagine someone with this amazing ability getting it right only once.

I'm all a twitter! I'm unsure what that means but, I think I'm feeling it!

Till We Creep Each Other Out

In the spirit of the SB's post on creepy Valentine's Day stuff I give you this:

Creepy Couple

Hush, no words are needed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Self-Worth and Hell

Yeah, I don't think my self-esteem can take anymore.

Bobby just woke up and said, we needed a 'Do-Over' for Valentines Day.

Let's break it down.

A. I hate Valentine's Day. Always have. Comes out of the blue and I hate the heart as a shape and gaudy red hearts make me nauseated (lookit me all learning and shit).

B. The night before I hit my lowest day all year and crashed into a funk that was Uggggggly. It was so bad *I* wanted out of my own body. Finally wrote a huge letter saying all the crap that was in my head. I was smart enough not to inflict it on anyone. Still, I wake up, it's Valentine's Day and I don't know what the hell to write in Bob's card. It was touch and go and Bob being tenderhearted wasn't sure about what I was trying to say. Gah.

C. I go mental for monkeys. I say the word repeated in a weird voice and make quiet monkey noises whenever I get one (the stuffed kind because I am not into animal cruelty - or Cindy cruelty!). People buy them for me all the time because they get a kick out of my reaction. Seriously. It's a knee jerk reaction or I would stop it cause, it's not cool. My husband has never bought me one.

D. Keeping C in mind I open my gift from my hubby and discover an ape which is really cute and has a tag that says his name is Boom Boom and I immediately think of some song from years ago that goes something like 'boom, boom, boom lets go back to my room' so when I push the little hand it has jungle music (which I wasn't expecting). So I am saying how cute it is and stuff and not thinking anything of it and Bob says, yeah, it's an ape though. I look at him and go 'yeah, I know.' Which totally blew his mind because he thought I would think it was a monkey and it dawns on me that my husband was trying to get my 'monkey' reaction.

E. At this point I feel shitty.

F. We usually get cards from our cats and dogs.


So I had Bob's cards there from the puppies and kitties and he got upset because they didn't get me cards. (In all honesty, Bob loves to get cards, me, meh - I like them from people but shhh, don't say anything) So Bob feels shitty.

G. We go out to grab some food from a grocery store because my husband loves me enough to know that a restaurant on a normal day gets me freaky, Valentine's Day in a restaurant would send me over the edge. I make some dumbass comment about how I am going to buy myself some purple roses because they remind me of Gram. Now, Bob's upset because he didn't get me the right flowers which moves into the whole, he screwed everything up and he should have managed to buy that house for me.

H. Can we say out of control. Clean up Aisle Hell!!

I. We get home, snug on the couch after relationship patching. Bob sits up suddenly and is disoriented. He asks for water. While I am in the kitchen I hear him say, 'yep, there goes the room' which means the room in spinning. He's been getting this off and on. I bring in his glass of water and just happen to see his eyes. They are doing some wacky ass shit. I immediately tell him we're going to emerge which is not something I would utter under pain of death but I did because Lord, that there has to be a neurological thing and yeah, I'm thinking stroke.

Good News - Benign (means not deadly) Positional Virtigo

At least we know what the hell has been going on these last few days.

H. I discovered that if I could have only handled the sight of blood, bodily fluids and being around sick people I would have made one hell of a doctor. I had done a partial neural exam on Bob before the ambulance even got there. That's right, that e-mail is true and the doctor even said so. All the same, they ran a hell of a lot more tests. Still, if you are ever thinking you are having a stroke I could test you. You know. If you need something like that.

I. Valentine's Day usually ends with Bob and I feeling shitty because we didn't do enough or get the right thing for the other person or what have you. It's a general pain in my ass and I think Bob is starting to feel some ass burning also.

Caveat: I have to tell you that Bob has done some of the most wonderful things for me. Now they were in the early years of our marriage but life got crazy busy the last three years and I am sure the romantic Bob will show up again. The Bob who would get ready to go to work and even leave the house only to return with a bouquet of flowers and an announcement that he had taken the day off to spend it with me. Also, we have something around here called Cindy week and Bob week. Those are our birthday weeks. Basically it's just fun, fun, fun. My birthday blew so many chunks last year that there are still remnants of that crap laying around. Bob has said he wanted a 'do-over' for my birthday but, since my day is in August, I was too wrapped up in Christmas shopping and getting emotionally prepared for the winter.

Now, see, you're probably thinking I need a shrink.

Why would I do that when I have you!

On the book front I am still reading (I know) Ride the Fire and I am still loving it. If it keeps this momentum I will be able to announce a keeper. If I wasn't starting to get sleepy I would be really excited.

That's it from Planet Hell (I know, original but c'mon, where else could I be signing off from!).

Hope everyone else had a great Valentine's Day. No really. I'm serious. Ah, forget it.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Blue By You

Thanks everyone for the well wishes and the luck but it looks like the cards are against us. We lost the house by 6 grand.

I cried.

Poor Bob had a panic attack (I think he has started to experience them lately) when we wrote the offer, so for the hour we had to wait to hear I was taking care of him. When we found out he had to comfort me. Everyone says it wasn't meant to be and I get that. I'm just tired of schleping through other people's houses all the time. This house was it and I was done.

Ah well.

I'm going to watch Grey's Anatomy tonight and then sit and read for a bit *fingers crossed*. Edited - just finished Grey's Anatomy - not a good one when you are already blue. Had me tearing up again!

We went to my godson's house for his 5th birthday today and he was a sweety. When asked what he wanted for his birthday he would say a blue truck. That's it. If not a blue truck then a blue car or better yet, a blue taxi!! So the theme of blue holds true in this post :)

On his third birthday when he opened our gift he was so very excited and started yelling 'I don'n bewieve it! I don'n bewieve it!'. It was the most precious moment ever so I told him I wanted to hear him yelling ' I don't believe it!' when he opened our gift.

Not so much ;) By the time we got there he had already had a party at McDs with some school friends and I think he was surprised that they brought gifts. Then he had his older brother who is loud on most occasions constantly yelling 'gift time' every few minutes when it wasn't time for the gifts. I think it was all overwhelming but the little twerp did say the truck we got him was the wrong colour blue.

Little bugger.

I bought him one of those die-cast blue dodge trucks (like Bobby's truck - for years he called those trucks Bobby trucks because his uncle Bob owns one) just like Uncle Bob's truck and it cost 70 bucks!! The side view mirror broke off in the first few minutes. Not that I care about that because I want him to play with it like a toy. Just thought it was hilarious that we heard a snap so soon. His dad is into models and was saying he had to superglue the mirror immediately. Josh kept saying, Dad!! I need my truck!!.

Terribly precious.


First, I sat my butt down and started Ride the Fire. So far, yummy. Can't wait to sit and read again as soon as I can catch my breath.

Why am I out of breath?

Bob had an epiphany some time last night. It was a kind of 'fuck it' epiphany that said it was time to live large. Now, for just that alone I would have laughed.

Bob came in around noon (I went to bed at around 8am) and told me he had found our dream house. I have heard this so many time before I don't even lift both eyelids. He had an appointment to see it at 3:30pm. Apparently after going through the house, he told our agent, who has been with us for 7 years, that he was going to buy this house as a Valentine's Gift for me. John (real estate guy) said, Bob let me give you some advice. I have never had you and Cindy walk into a house and have the same reactions. Either one or the other loves it. You want Cindy to see it. So Bob decided he was right (smart guy) and they set it up for me to see at 6pm.

Bob bounced on the bed at 4pm and told me all about how he couldn't wait for me to see the house. It had everything. Yada, yada, yada. Bob's excited though and I know I will go see this house.

Holy Crap!! The house is gorgeous and backs onto park land, has an inground heated pool and these people have not scrimped on anything. We wrote the offer on the spot. First time in 7 years (except for the other house that is an hour out of town and well, that was a risk I wasn't nearly ready to make).

Anyways, we won't find out until tomorrow because the people are out of town until 4pm. Both Bob and John think there will be multiple offers in and we are praying that we are the ones chosen.

I can't believe we found a house we would both be happy in. Now, it's a small fortune but Bob said he would stay working until the mortgage was paid off - again. So not only a gorgeous new home but a husband committed to working!! AND the house does not need to have the carpets pulled up or anything. You move in and live! An extreme bonus for a house that is over 20 years old.

I think I must have bumped my head and I'm in a comma somewhere. I mean, c'mon! Talk about extreme change of life!

Hold on pants, we're making a u-turn! On that note, I'm feeling a wee bit nauseous. That's good though, right?

Side Trip: We have been looking at homes in a certain area that were built 20 years ago and I am shocked at how people do not update their decor. Not only that, they don't try to maintain the house. The last house we were in had carpets that looked like a remnant from the 70s and the price they were asking for the house was ludicrous because I would easily have to spend 50 grand to upgrade just the flooring!! All these people are moving and I have said to Bob 'no kidding they are moving, they realize it will cheaper to go buy a new house than to try and update the one they are in!'. So I guess I was feeling like I was getting poorly treated hand me downs. Hey, the house I live in now is from '58 but Bob and I have upgraded the house relentless over the last ten years. This house is completely different from when I moved in. The funny thing is if we stay here another two years it will be changed again to keep current. Ah, well. Maybe it's just me.

I'm off to blog hop for a bit and then maybe I can get some reading in.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Updating my Non-Life

Have I started to read the book for the TBR Challenge? Hell, have I read anything besides a drive-thru menu board in the last few days?


Have I cleaned out that closet of horror?


Have I had a nervous breakdown?


At least that's the good news. I hope it's the good news. We'll know after an hour with Bob.

Last night the whole debate on 'should we, shouldn't we' buy the dream house and make a huge move came into play - AGAIN!! I asked Bob if there was some kind of kickback he got from work if he put me in an institution. He said he had checked but, no. Ha. Ha.

So the circle of my life revolves around quit dates for Bob's job. Oh, and then there was the whole 'they're closing up shop. No, for real'. Three years later Bob is the boy that has cried wolf to too many people and no one listens anymore.

Except me because, like, I have this condition that causes me to have anxiety. So every time he picks a date to quit I get geared up and try and curve spending and well, *cue Oprah* we don't live our best life. Hey, maybe I am kidding myself and Bob's life is all chocolate and roses. I mean, I don't know what the hell is going on in his head lately. Even his ex-wife says she doesn't understand him anymore.

Maybe he is the one who needs a straight jacket. I may have to look into that.

End of circle tonight was that he has to move from this house this year because we have outgrown it.


We've been looking at houses for 10 years.

I'm sick to death of it. I'm starting to get a martyr complex because I just feel like saying 'fuck it' let's just fly by the seat of our pants and if we end up broke and out on the streets well, I'll know who to blame.

Yep, good stuff for the old marriage.

Sorry, I needed to vent and the friends I normally vent to are all busy with their own crap right now. (Aren't we all)

The February blahs are now in full swing.

You may want to avoid this place until March.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Just Some Fun


Which Firefly (or Serenity) Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Since I loved this show I couldn't believe I found a quiz for it. I know I'm not the only one who loved the movie so I thought others might get a kick out of this one. I thought I was going to end up as the mechanic so I am way flattered that I am Zoe!!

This one is because I really like what it had to say and I was honest as hell about my answers. Cool.

What is your Inner Soul trying to say:

Description: Your inner soul is content with the way it is. In general, you are a very sweet, caring person! Occasionally you can work up a storm your anger getting to the best of you, but otherwise, youre just yourself most of the time. You love to kick back and hang out with your friends, but you also enjoy time by yourself to read a book and catch up on your studies. You love the wildlife and you can always seem to make the day better. Your lover/friends/family is/are the luckiest person/people in the world, because people like you are rare to come across. You love life and live it to the fullest but always still have your head in reality.


Symbol: A snowflake (bliss to encounter)


What Is Your Inner Soul Trying To Say? (For Girls and Guys; Contains Pictures)
brought to you by Quizilla

On that happy note, I'm off to bed! Hope you all have a great day! My plan is to attack my house like a team of garbage collectors are ready to haul stuff out the door.

Course, I need to sleep first! Yep. A shocker.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Blah, Blah and Gah

You Should Get a PhD in Science (like chemistry, math, or engineering)

You're both smart and innovative when it comes to ideas.

Maybe you'll find a cure for cancer - or develop the latest underground drug.

First a big thank you to Jay for once again pointing me in the right direction. I have now figured out how to get these quiz things to post on my blog. Oh, yeah. You can thank Jay. I think it's funny that this quiz came out with this because I am way too lazy to find a cure for dry skin let alone cancer. As for an underground drug? Do we really need another one?

Also, a big thank you to Renee for reminding me that in order to alphabetize your favourites you have to do it from windows. Not IE. Because, you know, it can't be that easy. And Nicole was right. The restore made it so my favs were alphabetized. I don't get how that can change but, it does. Now I know how to fix it. Until 6 months from now when I won't remember and be forced to ask again. Cause I'm lazy.


I'm not reading enough. Then again, I'm not cleaning enough, cooking enough, getting out in the fresh air enough or socializing enough. It's actually at the point where I won't go see anyone because I don't want to inflict myself on anyone. Yeah, how's that for healthy thinking!

I keep telling myself it's because I am overwhelmed but, DUDE, seriously, can I really be this overwhelmed!? The good news is I am still showering. That's got to count for something. Right?

I think we need a dumpster.

Our house was fine for years but at the ten year mark everything exploded out of the closets and now crap is everywhere. Okay, I'm not as bad as some of those people on TV but, I need permanent places for some of this stuff!

I have all this scrapbook stuff and *whispers desperately like the kid in Sixth Sense* I don't scrapbook!! It's an illness I tell you. I got a special tote for well, toting stuff around and a special file thing for filing coloured paper and then I got this embossing kit which even my scrapbooking friends shrugged at!! I don't have enough space in my hall closet for coats let alone a square meter of scrapbook stuff.

You know what happened this weekend!? Bob, bless his heart, rearranged my library!! He dusted and cleaned all the shelves with Murphy's Oil Soap and it is beautiful again. He said all bashful like 'I didn't put the books back in any order, I figured you'd want to do that.'

I frenched him.

The whole alphabetical thing was throwing me off and now everything is all messed up again and it feels like home! I'm grateful for sure but, I'm pissed at myself because I couldn't get the energy up to do it myself. (He even bought a cute little space heater because it is the coldest place in the house - am I spoiled or what!?)

So things are going to have to get done over the next few days or I will enter into a funk that will cause one hell of a meltdown. I hate when you know it's coming.

First, I have picked Pamela Clare's Ride the Fire to read because Kristie is gushing and I need to know why. Good news is it will fulfill my 'new to me' TBR challenge over at Angie's.

Second, I put my votes in for the AAR Reader's Picks because I was causing myself all sorts of stress trying to find all my 2005 books to read. I figure if I haven't read it yet, then it's going to be a while before I get to it. Good news is it actually felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. My problem is that I voted wrong for the 'most disappointing'. I've been blocking Max and Gina's book from my mind so well that I didn't put it up for this one and if you've been here for a bit you know I totally lied about 'most disappointing' read. Unintentionally, but, ooops.

I have no third which makes me wonder why I write the way I do. I'm also worried I have 'exclamation pointed' this particular blog to death but, I'm freaking out!

Did I mention the 40 zits I have on my face? I haven't had acne this bad since I was 17. I don't know whether it's the stress of the last few weeks (have I told you all about that - nothing big, just regular shit that I should be used to by now) or if my skin is now changing. It's gross. I keep washing my face but the grease just floats to the top. Ugh.

Oh, and I have been taking 2 peppermint oil pills when I wake up to help with the extremely gidgey tummy I have been having. Normally I only take one a day and it keeps my stomach fairly tame. Bob's illness of last week probably caused 'hysteria tummy' - extremely upset everytime I eat anything so I decided to up the peppermint. I don't know if you know this but peppermint is also an appetite suppressant. Now, I've never noticed this before but, egads, I am all kinds of nauseous. And full. Extremely full.

On that note, I should say that I take peppermint oil pills for what we think is IBS (could be just a dairy reaction although I was raised on milk and my mom says Billy and I drank her out of house and home) instead of taking a prescription only because I take something for my panic attacks and I figure that's enough weird chems wandering through the system. Other than that, I know nothing about the stuff so don't go running and buy a whole bunch to get thin. I'm a fatty and it don't work.

I've rambled on enough. Aren't you glad you stopped by? I'll try to be perkier tomorrow. Maybe some fun stuff for posting. Ohh, more quizzes because I'm a sucker for faint praise from my computer.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Sybil's Questions - My Convoluted Answers

Oh yeah. It's that time again.

Leave now if you value your sanity.

Damn, I wish I could leave but that's a whole other story for another blog session. You can consider that a warning.

I'm not sure I am all that qualified to answer some of these questions but since I do have a definite opinion about romantica I figured, what the hell.

Let's get to it!

1. How do you define erotic vs erotic romance in your personal reading or reviews?

Okay, I'm taking this question at face value and not going to over analyze what I *think* it might be asking.

I believe that erotica is just plain sexual fantasy. It may have emotions attached but for the most part it is not about love or romance and is about sex. I'll be honest and say that I have not read a published erotic novel. That said, I was searching for independent romantic stories on-line one day. This was before e-publishing and I had just discovered fan fiction. Anyways, I ended up on a site with erotic stories. In reality the story I read was quite tame but I realized that the writer and reader were looking to experience a stranger fantasy. It was about a woman during Mardi Gras who meets a masked man in the street, they have sex and then they part and she heads home. That's it that's all.

Now, for me, this doesn't work but then I don't have stranger fantasies because I am a huge scaredy cat and even while reading the story I was worrying about 'what if he is an axe murderer!'.

I think erotica could be wonderful for woman and men to experience their sexual fantasies without reality intruding. There is a part of me that thinks I should try some erotica but I have heard that S&M can dominate that genre and I also have a mind block to that. At least I think I do. I'm not into dominate / submissive stuff but I do enjoy power stuggles. Hmm, S&M doesn't equal D/S though, does it?

An erotic romance would be a romance with sexually explicit encounters. In all honesty, I think this would work for me better if the H/H were married or have been friends or lovers for a while. That way, I know there is a trust that allows for some of the more erotic types of sex. I'm not sure I buy into two people meeting, stripping their clothes off and then falling into a dominate/ submissive sexual relationship right off the bat. Oh and D/S makes me loopy. Not only that, I think if an author is going to tackle an erotic romance that the relationship alone should be what the story is about. One of the so-called erotic romances I read had a romantic suspense plot weaved in and then the book ended with them deciding they should get married and have kids after knowing each other for 3 days. And not so much knowing each other in 'where you been all my life?' but in the 'sexual gymnastic event' with a few words like 'harder' thrown in. I guess great sex equals great marriage. *snort*

There are two books by Jayne Ann Krentz called Gift of Gold and Gift of Fire that have a recurring H/H and I believe in the sequel, the hero ties the heroine up and it was just a very hot bit of sex because the reader knew they loved each other. Nowadays it might read tame but it was definitely a scorcher when it was written and it was not labeled erotic romance.

2. Do you have any personal examples of authors you feel fit the two?

Okay, straight erotica, no. Erotic romance I have read some Secrets Anthologies and not one of the stories I read in 3 of these books worked for me.

MJD had one that was a blatant rape fantasy and it didn't work for me. I don't mind forced seduction scenes but, this was a rape and I now know that's not for me.

Oh, now wait. I think the second one was about the female werewolf and although the H/H fell on each other the moment they met there was a scene at the end of the book that did blow me away. Definitely had not seen that done before. Yep, me likey.

Shannon McKenna - being published in the Brava line I knew they were supposed to be HOT. There was lots of sex but it wasn't hot for me.

3. Where do you feel romantica fits in between erotic vs erotic romance?

Here, I was using romantica and erotic romance to mean the same thing.

4. Is the sensuality rating something you even pay attention to before you read a novel? Or do you look after? Do you find yourself agreeing or disagreeing?

Hell yeah! I don't even bother to read books characterized as sweet or subtle. For a while, I wasn't even looking at books that had a warm rating but in truth, I find that books that have a warm rating are normally hotter than those with a hot to burning rating. Anne Stuart gets rated warm and I find her books hot! Suzanne Brockmann's books have run the gamut from sweet (uh, no) to hot. Geez, Linda Howard's Killing Time is rated as hot and it was so bland in the sex department that subtle may have been a better way to describe it! Also, Cry No More was rated hot but I don't really remember any sex between the H/H. Weird.

So I do look at the sensuality ratings but they are subjective to someone else's thoughts on what would be hot, warm, cool, or kisses. It's almost like we need a different rating system but then, it would only be interpreted differently by everyone again! I'm not really sure you can call them sensuality ratings as much as sex ratings. There have been romances rated hot because the villian has skanky sex in the book. To me, sex isn't the only thing that should come into play with sensuality ratings. But then again, I love Stuart and find her writing very sensual. Others read her and find her harsh.

Before romantica hit it big, the ratings for sensuality held more sway. Now that romantica has come around, I find they are there to let a reader know that they may encounter sex of the non-vanilla kind.

5. If you do look at the ratings before - you are looking for hotter stories? Or are you looking for the sweeter ones?

I am now looking at warm to hot levels. If an author I have not read gets a burning rating then I probably won't try them unless there is buzz about the book.

6. If you write, is the level or page amount focused on sex something you even think of when you plot out a story (if you outline) or do you just 'let the characters lead?'?

Oops, not a writer. As a reader, I like the sex but I need there to be lots of sexual tension. Not just a 'oh I have an itch and you have an itch so let's scratch' kind of sex scene. I almost need there to be drama. Not 'fiddle-dee' drama but conflict about how each person feels. Or maybe it's a vulnerability. I love it when a character says something I wasn't expecting, a surprise emotionally.

7. Do you think we are flooding the market with too many hotter books? Or are you happy to see so many new erotica lines?

I think there is such a push for sex in books that publishers are not looking for proper characterization, realistic time frames or romance for all that. It's too bad because I do like hotter books but maybe what I consider hot has nothing to do with sex and something to do with how the characters feel about each other. Oh, on that note. I read Passion by Valdez and I found that book very sexy and hot but 'lo and behold the book had a plot outside of the sex. I could also see how these two people were infatuated with each other through the sex scenes.

8. Where does BRAVA fit in with erotic vs erotic romance?

BRAVA is not erotic or erotic romance. It's just sex with a HEA tacked on. It just doesn't make any sense to me. I've tried a few Brava's and have been left out in the cold. Now I see the Brava ensignia and I run!!

Well, there you go. My thoughts on erotica and erotic romance. I'm looking forward to reading how other people feel about erotica and erotic romance.

Maybe I will find some authors to try!

Just My Normal Crazy Ways

First, I just finished colouring and highlighting my hair. Oh and I trimmed my bangs but, they need to be done properly when I'm more in a mind to fuss with them.

At least I can see.

At the age of 2 I had white hair it was so blonde. By 10 I was just blonde. By 15 I was dirty blonde and by 22 I was mouse poop brown. I'm a touch on the lazy side (hey!) so I used to go for highlights so I always had that dirty blonde hair look. Then I decided money was tight and I started to dye my hair. I'm pretty sure I picked the lightest blonde I could find the first time I coloured my hair.

Stopped traffic I did.

Anyways, years later I dye my hair light blonde and now that those highlight kits are out I seem to have something going on because I get more compliments on my hair than I ever have before.

Then I notice my eyebrows are black.

So, I start putting a little dye on them for about 10 minutes and they are a touch lighter and I don't notice anymore.

Tonight I was at the highlighting stage and realized I hadn't put any colour on my brows so I took the wand and put some highlight on them. I checked after 10 minutes and it didn't look like anything was happening so I shrugged and left it on for 20.

I now have zebra eyebrows.

The good news is I can't stop laughing at myself.

35 years old and it only dawns on me as I look at my new striped eyebrows that that little concoction you mix up is straight bleach.

We'll see if anyone notices. *snort*

Second, I restored my computer to it's factory settings!! Whoohoo, wha..

Huh, I was expecting more excitement.

Anyways, I can now see pictures, I can see banners, I saw a beer bottle over at Jay's blog and I could see the Smart Bitches birthday decorations! And I finally, finally, got to see LLB's banner for reader comments at AAR. I'm telling you, there is a whole new world out there for me to see.
It also turned out to be much easier than it used to be. One time it took me a week to restore our computer but, since then I discovered that the disc that was with the unit was scratched. Being cash strapped kept the thing from being thrown into the street and I'm pretty sure it was just pure luck that 654th time that it loaded. After that one, I told Bob we wouldn't be able to restore our computer again. There was one other time after that but I was able to duct tape that bitch back together.

Today, it took the computer 10 minutes to restore itself.

I cleared my calendar for this! I'm not sure what to do with all this free time. We lost all our files and old e-mails but, what the hell, we'll call it spring cleaning and be done with it!

Oh, I lost all my favourites too. On that note, anyone know if you can alphabetize your bookmarks in IE? I did it once a few years ago and it makes things easier to find but I haven't been able to figure it out again. Ah well, I had like 40 bookmarks. I guess I will stumble upon those sites again some time.

My next project is to find the book that will be read for the TBR challenge. I'm not sure this is a good time to read a new author because I just finished Anne Stuart and well, you already know *gush* so I'm trying to be fair in picking a book.

While at a certain chain store I picked up a copy of Diane Gaston's latest (we were buying a bunch of other stuff so one book can be purchased in such a case) because I can't find the Mysterious Miss M which has received good reviews. The Wagering Widow has had good reviews but, I'm kinda stalling.

Eh, I got a month. Wait.

*scribbling, mumbling* carry the one...

Crap, I only have 21 days left.

I can't take the pressure!!

I know, I'll go look in the mirror. Sure to lift my spirits.

Damn, it's still funny.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Great Book Blues

Anne Stuart.

The Devil's Waltz.

I just finished this book and the great book blues are settling in so fast I already have tears in my eyes.

Funny how I have never written her a fan letter but, I'm not sure if Ms. Stuart would consider 'I am a slut for your books!!!!!' a compliment.

Her next book isn't out until Novemeber.

My heart bleeds a little.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Auto-Buy Questions

Read at own risk. Time warping may occur. General dizziness and mass confusion have been reported but these effects have been mild. If you have PMS reading this blog will only piss you off. In cases where people need logic and a rational argument this blog may cause a stroke.

I tell you, this internet world is getting bigger and bigger.

On that note, take a bathroom break, get a snack and put your feet up because this is going to be a looooonnnnngggg post.

I was over at Kristie's who was talking about a Crankyreader post that was then picked up by AG (new person to me - HI!) and returned to Kristie. What the hell, let's bring it on over here too.

AG posted many questions about how people deal with their auto-buy authors and I have decided to see if I can answer each one. Kinda like a meme.

1. From AG's post: What about the romance factor? Does that outweigh a tight plot and great pacing? And is the way sex is handled important to you too? Would you remain loyal even though the steamy scenes and romantic tension is clumsily handled, despite a superior plot and previous track record? Do you get turned off by overly explicit descriptions? And how important is a 'happily ever after' ending to you?

Ho-kay, this is going to be a bumpy ride, buckle up!!

I'm looking at the above paragraph as a whole because if I broke down the questions, well, my answers would get silly.

Hey! No throwing things! Ahem.

Would I remain loyal if certain factors of a story got out of hand? Well, let's pull out my past, present and future auto-buy list and see if we can answer this.

First, let's start with Linda Howard. That woman can write one hell of a book when she is on her game. Steam, tension, plot and a HEA. Yum. Dream Man and Duncan's Bride are the books I am thinking of here.

At this point in her career she is firmly on the auto-buy list. Then I read Son of Morning. This was not a romance for me. For 3/4 of the book the reader is following the heroine who is getting smarter and more self-sufficient in protecting herself. She then meets the hero and she becomes this 'wee bit of a thing' that couldn't find her way out of a wet paper bag.

Course, maybe it's just me. Others loved this book. Good on 'em.

This book is followed by a few ho-hum reads that leave me wondering if her best are now behind her. I stop buying her books for a while but I hear about how everyone hates After the Night and I know I have to read it because I will probably love it. I do. Thus begins the reading of the rest of her books available at the time.

Here's where things get dicey. I loved Cry No More but it wasn't a romance. I don't care what anyone says, it isn't a romance.

*covers ears and hums*

Good book. Not so much romance. Still I buy the next book which was To Die For which was a first person narrative that I enjoyed but the hero made me want to throw things and, well, meh.
Killing Time.

Lord, did that book ever kill time. What a waste. Boring, no sparks, nada, nothing, zip.

Will I buy Linda Howard again? I'm not sure but I know I won't shell out for a hardcover. Not at this point. Still there is the hope she will be able to bring the heat again so even though I don't list her as an auto-buy author I guess she is on the 'wait and see' list.

So that is an author going from romance moving more toward suspense. Julie Garwood lost me when she made the move even though I did follow her with her first book. Again, not a romance so no more Cindy time.

Suzanne Brockmann did something totally different to get knocked of my auto-buy list.

She strung me along. Wait. Maybe she didn't fulfill a promise made. Hmmm, thinking time.

Where was I? Oh!

I had been waiting years for Max and Gina to get their story and what did I get? Damned if I know but, it blew!! Instead of remaining true to Max's character she bent him into every hero she has ever done. He was no longer this island of a man, a dark character who needed Gina and for Heaven's sake he was singing Elvis songs. He sang! Bitch, please!

Now, it's not Brockmann's fault because she is the author and can write whatever she wants. It's my fault for letting myself be led by the nose. I have no interest in getting to know her characters if every one of them turn out the same at the end of each book. Sam was an original, I'll give her that. (Damn, some of the best scenes between Max and Gina happened in this book also!) After that, the men started to meld together into these heroic, patriotic, verbose characters. She had Cosmo who, up until his book say all of 6 words, waxing poetic about his job. Uh, who is this guy?

Edited: Oh Lord! I wiped Flashpoint from my brain!! Talk about a romance with sexual issues. The hero couldn't last 10 seconds in the sack. Ohhh, sexy.

So Brockmann can still bring the sexual heat. She can still have a great plot. Maybe where she has stumbled is in characterization. So, that can get you bumped off the list. This is one author I know I won't cave on. I have followed her since her first Harlequin and have loved most of them but her last book broke the camel's back.

Crap. I'm really not this much of a bitch but, I LOVED MAX!!

Sex in a book. Here's what I think about that. If there is no sex, I'll probably not buy any more of your books. Debbie Macomber used to be an author I bought all the time until her books closed with a chaste kiss between the hero and heroine. B-bye.

To sum up. I need consistent characterization, romance, sexual tension, great sex and a plot.

C'mon, I'm not hard to please!!

2. From AG's post: What happens when an autobuy crosses genre? Would you give her a chance too, and try reading the books? And if she returns to writing your favourite kind of romance, would you give her another chance? I know there are some who are disinclined to put a former autobuy author back on the list once they've dropped them. So, here's another question: would you give her a try if friends you trust and who share similar tastes recommend this drop-out's latest sensation to you?

Hmm, may have answered this in part earlier. I will happily cross over with a romance author as long as romance is still part of the equation. I read an interview with Jennifer Cruisie where she basically said it was time for her to move on from romance. Good enough. I won't buy her next book. I loved Bet Me but getting the news that the next book won't necessarily be a romance pretty much closes the door.

I know myself that this is unfair. I mean, I read LKH and Janet Evanovich and new to me Kim Harrison and I'm not expecting a romance. If I get one, bonus! The problem with following a romance author into another genre is there is that part of your brain that wants what it once had. I want another Anyone But You. I want another Duncan's Bride. Hell, I want another Garwood historical but I won't beg and these author's need to move on.

So off with you. I'll be fine and they'll be fine and life will go on. I mean, if I can survive the loss of Garwood and Brockmann, there isn't an author alive I can't get along without.

Damn. That sounds mean.

Not trying to be mean. Just saying that I respect their decision and they have to respect mine. No harm, no foul.

Someone who was dropped from my auto-buy list with a resounding thunk was Katherine Sutcliffe. The infamous book with no ending. I swear I finished Devotion and wondered where the rest of the pages were. When I read Sutcliffe's response that 'everyone knew what was going to happen, why did she have to spell it out?' I promptly dropped her. I actually like to see the end of a story. Yep. I like my HEA and damn, that guy had some serious groveling to do. Apparently, knowing that means I didn't have to read it.

*mumbling* What a stupid, dumbass thing to ...

Whoops! Onwards.

In my eyes as a reader the author decided she was done writing the story and some sap of a publisher published the book. Bad, bad publisher. Always make sure the book has an ending.

So years, and I'm talking years, later Darkling I Listen came out and there were friggin' ticker tape parades. I couldn't go anywhere without hearing about this book so I decided I had to try it.

Can we say KEEPER!!! Loved it. I have now gone and bought all the books that I did not buy since Devotion. I haven't read them yet but I did buy them.

Edited: I forgot that Sutcliffe wrote a sequel to this book *eight* years later called Obsession. I guess I wasn't the only reader to think she got ripped off. Sooo not going to read this book!

So yes. An author can do something extremely harmful, for me, and one day get back into my good graces. It would just take some serious internet buzz, a possible listing as one of the year's best books and, in case Brockmann ever stops in, some cold hard cash.

Course, the cash doesn't mean I'll post something nice about your book.

So, you guys want to know my convoluted approach to MaryJanice Davidson?

What did I say about throwing things!?