Catchup post for this last week

Well, this might be rather long. So beware.

Let's see....Last Wednesday. Last day of work for Nick. Forecast for Friday does not look pleasant. So we ended up leaving on Thursday instead. Drive out to ND was great. We listened to the System of a Down cd for the first time and enjoyed it. Also got a book on cd from the library so we listened to The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun. I liked it, but Nick's probably all audiobooked out. We went through the Twin Cities okay. It started to get really foggy between Fargo and Grand Forks and actually stayed rather foggy the whole time we were in ND. There were times that it let up, though.

Christmas was great and we both had a great haul. Ended up getting a new digital camera with Christmas cash. It's a Canon PowerShot S2 IS and has a nice fat manual to go with it. We got it just this morning after we'd ordered it earlier this week.

No bookstore giftcards, but I did get a very cute cat cartoon book from Nick, Scratch the Surface by Susan Conant from my MIL (I'd put it on my wishlist), and a Birds of Iowa book (also from my wishlist). And of course I bought books. Bought Unleash the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon and The Prey by Allison Brennan while in Grand Forks from Waldenbooks. I started and finished The Prey the day I got it. It's a definite must-read romantic suspense - and it does have romance!

I actually didn't get a whole lot of reading done during the vacation. Some because I got distracted by the Sudoku book I bought from SuperTarget. Had never tried it before, so that sucked me in. Also had brought Spook by Mary Roach that I have checked out from the library and read some of that, but haven't finished it. It's just not quite as good as Stiff was.

Oh, I did read ALL of Alton Brown's Gear For Your Kitchen. Well, except for the coffeemaker section since I don't drink coffee. But I read all the rest of it!

Also read some of Tabloid Tokyo that I'd bought for Nick. It was pretty funny.

Let's see...Christmas was good. Spent it with the in-laws. Petted Lucky the Yellow Lab lots. She's a bit chunky. Okay, she's a lot chunky. But cute.

Hmm...after Christmas. We shopped. I bought some new jeans and found that my lovely MIL can hem jeans. Woohoo! So she did a great job on a pair I bought.

Ate out lots, but I seem to have only gained maybe one pound. No idea how that works, but I'll take it. *g*

Also bought some books from the Barnes and Noble in St. Cloud, MN. We ended up leaving on Wednesday night to come home since the forecast had bad weather on Thursday for ND and then Friday for Iowa. So we split the driving and stayed in Owatonna overnight and returned yesterday afternoon. So we stopped in St. Cloud to eat and decided to kill some time to avoid rush hour in the Cities. So there I bought The Eight by Katherine Neville, The Decoy Princess by Dawn Cook (already read and loved it), and Dark Mirror by Marjorie M. Liu. Can we say having X-Men on the brain from buying this last book and also currently reading Shadow Touch may have had some influence on naming the cat Gambit? Well, that and Nick liked the sound of it, too. And well, can always say I just named him after a chess move...nah, truly, it was the X-Man.

Wow, this post is all over the place. Gambit's lying in the middle of the office floor. He seems to always want to be in whatever room we're in. Hope he doesn't mind being locked out of the bedroom tonight cuz we're going to try to avoid having him in there. Er, now he's in the litterbox. Good kitty. Er...where's that Oust? *eyes watering*

Oh yeah, we got a cat. Finally it was time. Good way to try out our new camera too. Who knows, might have to ask Angie how she puts video on her blog.

Hmmm...trying to see if I forgot anything. Overall it was a rather relaxing vacation. Good company, too.

Watched Madagascar tonight with Nick and Gambit. Was a cute, funny movie, though nothing special. Laughed quite alot.

Well, that's all for now, I think. Will have more later as I get back in the groove.

The newest member of our family

Well, here's Gambit, the cat we adopted today. He's about 2 to 4 years old (papers didn't agree). Very friendly and likes to be where we are. So far he's adjusted well. Was rather hard to get a picture of his face as he seems to always be in motion. Isn't he cute? And can you believe I got a non-black cat?

I have returned!

Well, got home this afternoon. This is just going to be a quick post, still catching up with stuff and a week's worth of blogging.

Weather is supposed to be bad tomorrow, but if not, the family here will be expanding.

Christmas was good. :-)

Happy Holidays!

Well, I'm off to the frozen North aka North Dakota. We're visiting the in-laws (good thing I like them). I'll be back around the middle end of next week. I do have internet access there, but don't know how often I'll check things. Hope you all have a great Christmas and gets lots of goodies.

And read lots of books! Good books!


And yet another futuristic on the horizon

Well, it's "TBA" as of now, but hey, you heard it from me first.

Nalini Singh's Slave to Sensation from Berkley:
A paranormal set in the not so distant future about a woman born into a race without emotions and her encounter with a group of sensual, passionate changelings.

Okay, so her site calls it a paranormal. I say "not so distant future" makes it a futuristic. So there.

But hey, it means there ARE futuristics not by Susan Kearney or epubbed or Angela Knight that are coming out.

Oh, and Patti O'Shea has a sequel to Ravyn's Flight called Eternal Nights that's in the works!

Trouble at Triskelion?

Maybe I'm out of the loop, but has anyone else noticed that authors seem to be leaving Triskelion Publishing? I know Theresa MacFarland is no longer there, and as I was looking for cover art for Love's Creation by Cher Mason, I also noticed it was no longer there.

The Triskelion site has always been one of the worst e-pub sites for navigation and ease of use, but I did like serveral authors there. So are these authors just moving on to better things, or is there trouble brewing at the publisher?

I do think TMac has gone with other pubs for some of her books (I guess Samhain is picking up all her Triskelion releases). Along with having a name change to Ciar Cullen.

And oh, Rachel Carrington isn't there anymore, nor is Vivian Hart. Kinja...hmmm...

So I hadn't realized how much I was relying on Kinja for my blogging needs until it went down over the weekend. Woe was me. I mean, I had to remember sites! I'm very bad at that.

Now it seems to be back up. And it look very different. Need to browse around a bit to see how things are, but I really shouldn't since I need to clean and get ready to possibly leave tomorrow morning for North Dakota. Blech.

Interesting category romance info

Looks like Harlequin is shaking things up again. You can read all about it at Alison Kent's blog here and here and here. Or at Jo Leigh's blog here. Or other places that I don't feel like hunting down.

Basically, shorter stories. And Signature Select's going bust. And a new dark paranormal line. And Desire is going Present-y.

How to add pictures to your sidebar

Since Màili's post on this has gone into the depths of cyberspace, I'm going to try to recreate it here. Or at least how I go about it.

First I use Picasa/BloggerBot to upload my pictures in the size I want (250 for my sidebar, would be less for others). You can also use Photobucket or another way to upload your pics onto the web.

Step 1: Using Bloggerbot, upload the image to your blog.

Step 2: In the Blogger page, open up the post you just made and save it as a draft. Now it's not going to show up on your blog as a post.

Step 3: Look for the link that's surrounded by these tags: <(a href:)> and <(/a)>
(minus the parantheses, of course)

It'll probably look something like this: <(a href='')><(img border='0' class='phostImg' src='')><(/a)>

Or it does on mine. You can also use Photobucket and cut and paste the Tag link that they give you. Just make sure that the pic is the right size. I like to use BloggerBot because it automatically resizes the images.

So you cut and paste the link into your sidebar under the appropriate header.

I'm using a list format on mine since I'm partial to Candy's kitty heads, so mine looks like this:


<(li)><(a href='')><(img border='0' class='phostImg' src='')><(/a)><(/li)>


Only minus all the damn parantheses since Blogger didn't like it otherwise.

Just email me if I don't make sense. I still don't know a lot of html, just enough to do most of the things I need to on here.

Well, I think this is how I do it. Anyone, feel free to correct me if I've screwed up.

Covers Galore!

Covers of upcoming books. Just ones that caught my eye. And well, looking at covers is fun!

The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey

Last weekend I was feeling kinda blah, so I grabbed this one off the shelf. I've read it before when I was a teen, but hadn't since. I consider it a classic, though, and am glad I grabbed it again to add to my library. It's still just as fun to read as it was the first time. It's the first in McCaffrey's Brain and Brawn series.


...but only her brain had been saved--saved to be schooled, programmed and implanted in the sleek, titanium body og an intergalactic scout ship. But first she had to choose a human partner--male or female--to share her exhilarating escapades in space!

Her life was to be rich and rewarding...resplendent with daring adventures and endless excitement, beyond the wildest dreams of mere mortals.

Gifted with the voice of an angel and being virtually indestructible, Helva XH-834 anticipated a sublime immortality.

Then one day she fell in love!

Ah...this is such a sweet book. The first few chapters read like the short stories that they originally were, but that doesn't take away from the story as a whole. I'd say this is one of my favorite SF stories and would probably recommend it to any romance reader who's interested in trying out some SF. For a story written in the 1960s, this is still a great one and one I'll continue to enjoy.

'Til There Was U by Dianne Castell

Cute, simple contemporary. Nothing earth-shattering here, but it was sweet. This is the first in a trilogy (I think, anyways) about the three O'Fallon brothers and a baby that a woman involved with their father left with them. So there's an over-arcing storyline involving finding the baby's mother.

Workaholic Ryan O'Fallon has made his name as an architect in a top San Diego firn in more ways than one. One the job, he's the go-to guy who can face down the toughest client without flinching. Off the job, he's got a rep for playing the field. The company lunchroom odds give his average relationship a whopping ten weeks and two days. And nobody knows better than Effie Wilson, Ryan's coworker and competitor. After all, she's won the last two pools on his lack-of-love life and has the Gucci shoes to prove it. Ryan may be Mr. Cal and Cool in the boardroom, but when Effie's around, he starts to sweat.

As if things weren't tense enough, Ryan's dad needs him at home just as Ryan's biggest project is taking off. There's no way Ryan won't help out his dad, but he's not about to let Effie stay and take all the credit. The only things to do is to bring her with him to Tennessee so they can work together. Now back in O'Fallon's Landing, with its slow, easy days and long, steamy nights, Effie's letting her hair down big time, going from a buttoned-up businesswoman into a full-fledged, no-holds-barred force of nature...the kind that's turning Ryan's world upside down and putting anything but business on his mind...

I enjoyed this. Like I said before, there's nothing really spectacular here, but it is a nice straightforward contemporary romance with just a hint of added steam. Not that much, to be honest. Which is fine. Effie and Ryan work well together and the thing that sorta keeps them apart is rather believable. And well, there aren't any big misunderstandings or anything like that.

I did have some issues with the whole baby storyline and how it was sorta forgotten in the ending, yet it's obvious that's the thing that keeps going throughout the trilogy. It didn't have anything to do with the romance at that point, so I sorta understand why it wasn't dealt with further.

I checked this one out from the library and will probably do the same with the next one. But I will read the next one.

Touched by Venom by Janine Cross

Touched by Venom by Janine Cross is the first book in the Dragon Temple Saga. No idea how many books are supposed to be in the series.

Like her half-breed mother, young Zarq Darquel can't always hold her tongue as she should. A lowly peasant on a large dragon estate in Malacar, she goes unnoticed by the watchful eye of the Temple of the Dragon, despire her rebellious ways -- until she accidentally captures the attention of an eccentric and dangerous dragonmaster and unleashes a storm of tragedy. Her clan is plunged into destitution, her beautiful sister, Waivia, sold into slavery, and her mother lost to madness.

Desperate to find Waivia, Zarq and her delirious mother flee through the underworld of their land -- from the Zone of the Dead to a sanctuary for outcast dragons, through discovery and persecution. Consumed with the desire for revenge, Zarq develops a taste for the highly addictive venom drawn from the dragons she has been taught to revere, and sinks into a realm of bizarre magics. Here, influenced by the divine grace of dragon memories, Zarq glimpses possibilities of revenge and social revolution. But to achieve them, she must defy not just the sexual taboos and patriarchal conventions of her society, but the Emperor who rules her nation...

So..that actually pretty much summarizes the WHOLE book there. Zarq starts out as a nine year old and is about seventeen when this book ends.

It's hard to describe this book. it's bizarre and rather disturbing, yet surprisingly readable. I wanted to complain about how the author stops to explain the history of the land and society, yet reading those sections definitely gives you a better idea of what's going on. This is also definitely not a Euro-centric fantasy. I was actually reminded of my cultural anthropology courses when reading it. It's as if the author has taken many of the more "crazy" practices of primitive societies and set them to work here (yes, and some she's just plain made up). And it does work. We have a patriarchal society that reveres dragons and someone high up is probably addicted to them as well. Women are "unclean" and have their place - at the bottom.

Basically, I think you have to set aside what you think is taboo to read the book. You can't really put your own moral views into the story. Just let it go as it does.

In the end, I think I'll pick up the sequel when my library gets it. I'm curious as to how Zarq is going to gain her revenge on her society. I suspect she plans to turn it on its head in the end.

And beware, this IS a depressing book and even in the end of this one, there's no real resolution or real hope. There's also female circumcision, bestiality, addiction, and just plain disturbing stuff. Yet I did come away glad I read it. It's definitely not your normal fantasy fare.

Upcoming futuristic romance!

Just saw this on Patricia Waddell's site:

TRUE BLOOD, the first book in Pat’s new futuristic series from Tor Paranormal Romance. Scheduled release date ~ October 2006.

Someone’s out for blood . . . True Blood

~ ~ ~

The unexplained explosion of the space freighter Llyndar brings the League of Planets and the Korcian Empire to the brink of war. The Korcian Guard is on full alert, and the League is depending on Officer Danna MacFadyen of the Diplomat Corps to defuse the situation. At the request of her superiors, Danna puts her psychometric skills to work. Was the explosion tragedy or terrorism? But Danna’s soon burdened with another question . . . Can she work side-by-side with Cullon Gavriel, a handsome Korcian Enforcer, without losing her heart?

Fighting isn’t just in a Korcian’s blood, it’s in his very soul. An Enforcer by trade and a loner by choice, Cullon Gavriel arrives on Ramora with one purpose in mind: to find out who’s killing True Bloods. What he finds is a beautiful Terran female with the ability to step into the past. But can the information Danna gleans from her dreamscapes prevent future murders?

As the pieces of an explosive puzzle fall into place, Danna and Cullon step into a conspiracy that stretches across the galaxy to the capital city of the Korcian Empire, where shocking secrets are waiting to be discovered, and where the lines between power and politics, and life and love cross unexpectedly.

I think it sounds rather good. As I was putting up some posts on LoveSpace, I was thinking about how few futuristics seem to be coming out that aren't from e-pubs.

This and that and a purple spotted skunk was rather dull. Woke up to an unexpected visitor who also brought cramps and thus crankiness. Waking up to that is NOT pleasant. Damn cycle still is working the kinks out. Ah, perhaps that was TMI, but it felt good to vent.

Read a bit on the couch. Started 'Til There Was U by Dianne Castell. So far it's an okay contemporary, if a bit uneven. Interesting enough that I'll be continuing it. Also reading Touched by Venom by Janine Cross. You know, the one that has "venom cock" in it. It's...interesting in a very different way than the Castell. And a simple google of her name will guide you to the controversy (I googled to find author page which apparently doesn't exist).

I'm also on my third book for the Regency Challenge. Viscount Vagabond by Loretta Chase and it's pretty good. I also grabbed Lady Pamela by Clare Darcy from Paperback Swap.

Going to buy more cat stuff this weekend. I'm still waffling on the declaw issue, which I'll probably waffle about up until we actually get the cat. So that's a couple weeks of waffling. Well, minus the week in North Dakota. Or however long we're staying up there.

Oh...and I get Lost tomorrow from Netflix. Or at least one disc. So far I love Netflix. And oops, I forgot to blog about Samurai Champloo.

and yeah, there's no purple spotted skunk. It just sounded funny.

Edited to say I'm NOT declawing ANY cats! I mean I'd get an already declawed cat from the shelter. I'm very anti-declawing cats.

Bra Shopping

I went bra shopping at Victoria's Secret yesterday. Had a comfortable bra lose its underwire the day before. So I'm in the dressing room trying on a million different styles in one size. Now in some of them, my cup overfloweth *g* yet wouldn't you know, there are like no cute bras in a DD in that store. And the ones that are in a DD are shaped all funky. More of a "they're big, let's schmoosh them". Um, hello? Lift and separate here, people, we do not need any schmooshing. Just because I might be a DD does NOT make the width of my chest bigger. I do not need you to make the damn underwire wider, I just need a bit more fabric in the cup. That's ALL I need. And why do you assume that none of your patrons want cute bras in larger cup sizes? Hmmm?????

*sigh* I did end up with a cute bra. And it's comfortable. And DH gave it a thumbs up.

Anyone else hate bra shopping?

It's the Naked Truth

Well...they both involve sex. *grin*

I still had to laugh when I saw the Good Girl's Guide to Bad Girl Sex in Barnes and Noble. The cover looked so similar to the Naked Truth. Didn't buy it then, figured I'd just head on over the and find the pic and then post them both. Well, BN doesn't have this cover version on their site. So, woe was me. Until I just decided that the book would be rather fun to have. And wasn't my first scanning job good? I'm impressed with myself.

Firefly and Netflix and um...

I've had the dvd set of Firefly since, oh, like May. And, oh, never watched it until yesterday.

Yes, yesterday. And damn, I'm so enjoying it. Just finished Jaynestown, though I think I'd seen that one before. I only saw a few episodes when it aired, mainly because Fridays during college are not usually spent watching tv. And I'm notorious for forgetting to tape things. Bad me.

AND we finally got Netflix. Samurai Champloo came in the mail today and I can't wait to start watching it. My queue is mainly lots of anime. I want to try so many, yet it's so damn expensive to buy them. I'm also afraid I'm going to get so much of what I want and not enough of what Nick would like to see.

Oh, and Lost is up after SC. I'm determined to get up to speed on it. I will I will I will. Yes, I will.

Now I'm going to go watch more Firefly and nurse this damn headache. It's one of those that's at the top of your head and gets worse when you move your head. It's a bit annoying. Okay, a lot annoying and I wish it would go away. I've had it most of today. I do not like headaches. I took my Nasonex last night. I should not have a headache. I should not. I should not be typing right now because I think I'm starting to be a little out of it. Yes, back to Firefly.

And the Sioux are playing the nasty Gophers tonight and tomorrow. Tomorrow we're headed to a local bar to watch a satellite feed with some other alumni who are in the area. It should be lots of fun.

A Singular Lady by Megan Frampton first book of my Regency Challenge is finished. Yay! I enjoyed this book and am definitely glad I picked up Megan's A Singular Lady.

For Love Or Money

During the Season, debutantes rush to London to find a man who'll fill their hearts with love--or their bankbooks with money. The Honorable Titania Stanhope is of the latter category. She simply has no choice--for her father has bequeathed his entire fortune to his mistress. Armed with velvet, dancing slippers, and a firm resolve, Titania heads to do battle in the ballroom in order to vanquish--and marry--a gentleman who can afford to keep her family from ruin.

Edwin Worthington, Earl of Oakley, wants nothing to do with money-grubbing young ladies. He wears scuffed boots and old jackets, allowing Society to regard him as the penniless black sheep of a wealthy family. But in reality he has a fortune--and no plan to marry--until he meets Titania, a woman whose sharp wit and keen mind are rivaled only by her lovely face. Can Edwin let go of his pride in order to follow his heart?

I finished this one up last night. It's a fun story, and I really enjoyed Titania and Edwin. I wouldn't call it perfect, as I didn't think Edwin and Titania really got to know each other as well as the ending would seem, but I still definitely had fun reading it and believe in their happily-ever-after.

There's a lot of charm and a delightful dry wit throughout. I especially liked the column snippets from 'A Singular Lady'. This was a blue-stocking heroine who I honestly believed to be well-read. I suspect there will be some very interesting debates between Titania and Edwin in the future.

So...if you're looking for a fun Regency romance, I'd recommend this one.

Edited to add Megan's website link. Oops!

Ways to earn your husband's undying devotion

Agree to go to NIN concert in February

Agree to make chocolate chip cookies at 8 in the evening.

Ways to make you wife happy:

Go out in the snow and cold to get Diet Dr. Pepper. (no matter that we were also out of eggs for the cookies)

Be your adorable self and gives lots of hugs.

Lots of se... oops, did I say that out loud? I suppose this one could go in the other category too. It's a mutual thing.

Now I need to go get the next batch of cookies out of the oven. -ttfn

I want to pull out my hair!

I'm having the most annoying computer problem ever! I keep getting "page not found" errors just about every time I try to click on a link. Sometimes refreshing once will get it up, sometimes not. It's driving me absolutely batty!!!!!!!!!!!! Especially when Firefox just gives you a blank page when that happens, so I have to go find the original link to click on it again. Grrrrrrr.....some pages work, other don't. Sometimes even Google gets a "page not found" message.

Bah, I'm going to go take my shower. I'm too mad to do anything else right now.

I want to pull out my hair!

I'm having the most annoying computer problem ever! I keep getting "page not found" errors just about every time I try to click on a link. Sometimes refreshing once will get it up, sometimes not. It's driving me absolutely batty!!!!!!!!!!!! Especially when Firefox just gives you a blank page when that happens, so I have to go find the original link to click on it again. Grrrrrrr.....some pages work, other don't. Sometimes even Google gets a "page not found" message.

Bah, I'm going to go take my shower. I'm too mad to do anything else right now.

This and that

Oops, I seem to have not written anything in a few days! Sorry.

I did not get selected for the jury I was pulled for. I was actually kinda sad about it since it was a big animal neglect case and probably would have been rather interesting. But it also would have been very long and cold and require going downtown for over a week. I did spend ALL day sitting on a hard bench listening to lawyer-ese as they grilled each and every other juror. Guess I was just down the list.

I got an ARC of Shadow Touch by Marjorie M. Liu in the mail today. They transposed some numbers in the zip, so it took a little sidetrip before landing in my mailbox. Can't wait to read it.

Also got Hot Spell by Mel! Also can't wait to read it.

Started Cara King's Regency Challenge at the Risky Regencies blog. Five Regencies in...well, not long. I'm beginning with Megan's A Singular Lady. Read some of it over lunch and then took it with me to the gym tonight. So far it's very good.

Still haven't started up the Midnight Work again. I think I might just put it on the shelf for awhile.

Wasn't in the mood for much romance last night, so I read some Doc Savage on my iPaq. I think it's The Land of Always-Night, but don't quote me. Doc's definitely hero material. And the stories are always fun.

A few non-Regency-set historicals

When I get bored, I tend to hop on over to Amazon and see what's coming out. I'd previously posted a cover to Lady Anne's Dangerous Man by Jeanne Westin that I liked. Wasn't until today that I headed over to the author's site. It's a beautiful looking site, so I recommend at least checking it out. I just love the cover. It has a artsy look to it and definitely appeals to me.

And...she's writing historical romance set in Restoration England. Nice to see something different. I might just have to buy the book just for that.

We also have Lydia Joyce's Whispers of the Night coming up, set in the Ottoman Empire.

Deborah Hale has The Bride Ship for Harlequin Historicals. It's set in Nova Scotia.

There's a western by Charlene Sands called Renegade Wife and another called Wyoming Wildfire by Elizabeth Lane.

Destiny by Helen Kirkman should be a Saxon/Viking story. Done before, but at least it doesn't involve the ton.

Another western, Midnight Marriage by Victoria Bylin. I like the cover.

There's The Bride Hunt by Margo Maguire, a medieval with the most godawful cover ever. Margo, when you saw that cover, you should've raised hell to get it changed.

And sadly, that's all I can find right now. The rest were all Regency-set historicals, so those seem to still be there. Though maybe I just got sick of looking. That could be it, too.

I also noticed a lot of discounting going on. There are going to be a lot of $4.99 books for popular authors next year. For instance, Sabrina Jeffries' Brotherhood series was that price. I saw others, but that's the one that I remember off the top of my head.

I'm going to hold off reading The Midnight Work for awhile. Maybe the errors will mysteriously go away.

Started Midnight Work by Kassandra Sims

And I think this is the worst edited book ever. First page starts out talking about "plane trees". yeah, they're "plain trees". The FIRST line of the book has an error! *ahem* I feel stupid here. Plane trees are an Old World name for sycamores. Just so you know. ;-) Hell, what was I supposed to think when the next line talks about the plain? Still doesnt explain the misspelling of Outremer.

And then there's a history lesson of sorts, but it keeps spelling Outremer as Outermer and it's driving me absolutely up the wall. How on earth did something like this get past editing and what was the author thinking??? I could forgive it once, not at least twice! That leads me to believe it was the author who screwed up and not some editor who'd never heard of it (though I find it hard to believe they'd never come across the word before). And honestly, if she gets Outremer screwed up, what else is screwed up?

And then there are some blog postings in it with grammatical errors, though I haven't decided if they're accidental or not. This is all in the first 17 pages, which is all I got to last night.

I mean, Midnight Work is interesting, but I see less errors in most ebooks! Honestly I spent quite a few minutes trying to figure out what the hell plane trees were.

My Waldenbooks trip and jury duty...

I asked Nick nicely to make a run to Waldenbooks tonight. It's on the other side of town and we were planning to go tomorrow, but I figured it would be less crowded tonight. I came back with quite a nice haul! Of course, I left my list at home and spent quite awhile perusing the stacks to find the books I wanted to get. They didn't all jump out at me the first time, or the second, or the third...

Oh...did I mention I spent all of $8.55 after my coupons and giftcards? Getting books makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Getting a good deal on books....I'm feeling positively toasty. Though does the cover of Tender is the Knight look right for a book that says it starts in 1876? The guy on it looks yummy, though. Oh, and Forbidden Magic looks meaty. 440 pages. I love a good long book.

Oh...I saw something interesting at Waldenbooks. They carry Loose Id print books among the NCP and EC books. I'd never seen LI books in a store.

Good thing I got some books as I get to appear for jury duty Monday morning. And walk in the snow across a bridge to get to the courthouse from the parking garage. Well, I do have to call again Sunday night to confirm. Something about cases getting settled over the weekend.

Since she has not reappeared...

It's December. Màili hasn't shown. I think I mentioned something about Scottish historicals if she didn't come. Or close enough. And wouldn't you know, I have some Scottish historicals in my tbr pile! So now I need some help in deciding what to read. Here are the choices. Think they are suitably disturbing?

Think maybe the artist was channeling Braveheart? That guy is pretty scruffy-nasty. And that's some orange hair on her.

And finally, in all it's plaided glory!

Now on to finding more Scottish Historicals on Amazon!

You Only Love Twice by Lori Wilde

I've really been on a roll with good books. This one isn't out until March 2006, but a bit of buzz can't hurt. *g*

Back cover blurb:
COMIC-BOOK HEROINE ANGELINA AVENGER battles dastardly criminals and alien invasions. But her creator Marlie Montague's life isn't as exciting...until Marlie opens the front door and finds the business end of a pistol pointed right at her. Her plan: to channel Angelina fast! Recruiting her new next-door neighbor, who looks like a rock-hard action hero, couldn't hurt either...

The last thing Navy secret agent Joel Hunter expected on this surveillance gig was a luscious brunette bursting through his window. Now he and Marlie are blowing the doors off a full-blown conspiracy with more double agents than a Bond flick. But in between shootouts and squealing tires, the mystery that is Marlie is making Joel's heart go thump thump thump. is she a femme fatale or an endearing bookworm? And how does she leave him both shaken and stirred?

The Bond references are very apt here. You Only Love Twice reads like a great action movie where things are rocketing along. You don't care that you don't get a chance to stop and breathe and think because it's such a wildly fun ride that it doesn't matter. Lori Wilde's written a seriously fun spy/conspiracy theory romp here that I ended up reading in a matter of hours.

Marlie's creates a conspiracy theory-based comic with a kick-ass heroine named Angelina. It's obvious Angelina's another side of Marlie, perhaps the assertive, carefree woman that Marlie wishes she was. Having her father accused of being a traitor to his country and being killed has tainted Marlie's opinion on the government and is the reason she writes about conspiracy theories and other things that go bump in the night. Don't worry, she isn't a kook, just has a healthy sense of skepticism.

Joel...he's not happy about having to do surveillance on her. He's pretty sure there's no way she's a threat to national security, she just writes comic books with a rather anti-government bent. She's also the daughter of the man his father killed and they once knew each other as children (but she was very young and doesn't recognize him now). He finds himself interested by the woman he knows is hiding behind the black and white of her life. And well, when she breaks into his house escaping from an assassin, it starts off a crazy chain of events that has both of them set up for murder and other things and on the run from the authorities! I loved it.

I wouldn't call this a romantic suspense even though the hero is a former Navy Seal and now a secret agent and the plot involves a government conspiracy. It's more of a action/adventure romance. And there is romance here. Marlie and Joel have some great chemistry, but also start to like each other just for who they are. Joel isn't as fleshed out as Marlie, but I still liked him. His ex-wife is also a character and I was impressed with how Lori Wilde portrayed her. It's definitely not the norm. I especially loved the end. It was sweet and cute and definitely an "ahhhh" moment. March, you're going to go get the book, right? Or at least think about it. Remember, You Only Love Twice by Lori Wilde.

The Greek's Christmas Baby by Lucy Monroe

You know, I really liked this book. Despite the typical Presents title and cover, The Greek's Christmas Baby is a rather good, emotional story.

So what happens when young woman gets swept off her feet by Greek tycoon and then learns she's pregnant with his child? Well, he immediately marries her and whisks her off to his Greek island. Greek alpha male now has beautiful, good-in-bed, complacent wife to come home to after globe-trotting for work. Now what on earth could go wrong? Add in beautiful Greek personal assistant who wants Greek tycoon for herself and hates beautiful wife. Beautiful wife sees what Greek PA is up to and tries to tell her husband, who brushes her off (as he's a guy and couldn't possibly have had bad taste in PAs and PA is family friend, blah blah blah). Enter in car trip where wife tells Greek alpha husband that things are not working out and that she wants a divorce. Greek husband is shocked and in that moment they're hit by another vehicle. Talk about drama!

Did I mention beautiful wife is pregnant with their second child? Story starts off in the hospital where Eden (wife) is on bed rest to prevent a miscarriage. Aristide (husband) is in a coma. When Aristide awakes, he's suffered a loss of memory - specifically, he has no recollection of Eden. Kassandra (his personal assistant) uses this to further her own goals and paints Eden as an opportunistic whore who trapped Aristide into marriage.

Well, things go on from there. It's all full of drama and that drama works. Kassandra knows how to twist the truth perfectly and since she's know Aristide for ages, he trusts her more than a woman he doesn't remember. I think I liked this story so much because the alpha male here (Aristide) really gets punished for his alpha-tendencies. His inability to believe he could be wrong about Kassandra causes lots of tension and Eden has every right to be hurt. There are plenty of misunderstandings here, but I felt that many of them were valid. And as much as Aristide is definitely an alpha hero, he's also just as much a real guy with all the foibles of men we know and love. Like, oh, taking things for granted (no, Nick, I don't mean you specifically) and thinking the romance isn't needed once the ring is on.

Suffice to say, I just really liked this book. I don't read many Harlequin Presents, but I think I will definitely continue to at least buy Lucy Monroe's. She may often have heroes that I want to shake some sense into (not here, actually, though) and virgin heroines, but she does pack a lot of emotion in her stories. So if you're in the mood for a Christmasy story that won't take too long to read, I recommend picking this one up. I'm glad I did.

The Pregnancy Test by Erin McCarthy

Ordinarily, I’m a fan of pink—lovely color, does smashing things for the complexion. But not when it’s the bright, glaring stripe staring back at me on the pregnancy test. Then, pink is the color of major oops, of morning sickness, of boyfriends who seemed decent but now are part of some Jerk Witness Protection Program.

Still, I’ve got a few things going for me—bitter humor, a divine right to eat till I’m the size of Marlon Brando, and good friends who’ve managed to get me a job interview with one Damien Sharpton: in need of a personal assistant, and some say, a good, swift kick in the arse. If you want to make a lasting impression, by all means, toss your cookies in your future boss’s wastebasket, which is located directly between his excruciatingly sexy legs.

Apparently, Mr. Gorgeous-But-Unbearably-Anti-Social must like personal assistants who violate their trashcans, because I got the job. And if I can avoid him via text messaging for the next nine months of free health insurance, everything will be just fine. Except that he’s just asked—no, insisted—that I go with him on a business trip to the Caribbean. Gulp. Ordinarily, this would be cause for celebration. Ordinarily, I’d shave my legs, pack my bikini, revel in day-glo drinks and my seething lust for Mr. Swarthy-And-Secretive. But there’s nothing ordinary about this situation…which means it could be absolutely extraordinary…

I really loved this book. Which was surprising since it does deal with pregnancy, something I usually avoid like the plague. Mandy is just such a wonderful character. I loved how she didn't really feel sorry for herself and her unexpected pregnancy. She just did what she had to do and got a job to support herself. Damien...I just loved him. The way he adores Mandy and his actions when learning she was pregnant... Well, you just need to read it for yourself. Lots of laughs (this is Erin McCarthy, after all), but also lots of characters with common sense. There were times when I cringed thinking some stereotypical bad-romance things would happen, but they were usually turned on their head and left me surprised. I loved it. So...go out and read Erin McCarthy's The Pregnancy Test! And the cover looks much better than the online scan...

Now..I just hope my mind isn't trying to tell me something with all these books with kids and pregnancy. *grin* Nah, I doubt it. Next up - The Greek's Christmas Baby!

November 2005 Books Read

November was a very good month. Even despite a few times of book blah-ness, I seem to have forged ahead since I read quite a few books. I've linked the titles to blog reviews (if I did one).

Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen
Mew is for Murder by Clea Simon - cute cozy cat mystery
Undead and Unreturnable by MaryJanice Davidson
The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey
Ghosts in the Snow by Tamara Siler Jones
Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey
Death Masks by Jim Butcher
Almost Perfect by Julie Ortolon - I really liked this
Threads of Malice by Tamara Siler Jones - just as good as GITS
She's Got the Look by Leslie Kelly
In the Mood by Ellen Fisher
Fever by Kimberly Dean
Just Perfect by Julie Ortolon - really liked this
Twice Upon a Roadtrip by Shannon Stacey
Kiss Me, Annabel by Eloisa James
One Little Sin by Liz Carlyle
Two Little Lies by Liz Carlyle
Montana Secrets by Kay Stockham
The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
Hunter, Healer by Lilith Saintcrow
Scarlet Woman by Shelley Munro
The Pregnancy Test by Erin McCarthy
You Only Love Twice by Lori Wilde

Oh dear, seems I was pretty remiss in writing reviews of the books I read. Oops. I actually liked all of them. Finished the last two just last night.

Interesting things

Go to Yahoo and type in "nicole blog" without the quotes. Isn't that cool? yes, I'm easily amused. And no, I wasn't searching for my blog. I found it when I was checking my Came From stats on Stat Counter. I'm not actually sure what it means or why I'm first, but it's interesting. Er, works on Google, too.

Reading The Pregnancy Test by Erin McCarthy and I think it's my favorite of hers so far. Hoefully the end is as good as it's been so far.

I was going to wait until December to listen to Christmas music, but I caved and have The Lost Christmas Eve by Trans-Siberian Orchestra on winamp right now. And I get TSO mixed up with Mannheim Steamroller all the time! I like both, but well, they are different.

We're also supposed to get three inches of snow tonight. Brrrrrrrrrrrr

I cave - Book Meme from all over

So....25 or so book things about me. Hmmm..

1. I'm not entirely sure how I choose books. Sometimes cover, sometimes author, title....I mean, I grabbed The Greek's Christmas Baby from SuperTarget on Monday! So I'm far from consistent. Well...I suppose Lucy Monroe's books are just a guilty pleasure. And I bought Leslie Kelly's newest Blaze even though I found her last book kinda meh.

2. I tend to shelve my books aesthetically. They sorta go by genre, but really, it's by what I think looks pretty. Authors are usually together, but not always. And there's a shelf in the living room with fantasy/science fiction that seems to be going by publisher. And it drove me nuts that some of the pubs had changed book height over the years, so things were a bit uneven. Book height....very important. There seems to really be no standard.

3. I read in the bathroom. And for some reason find it embarrassing. (hi, Nick. yes, I read in the bathroom, though you probably already know.)

4. I have bought books purely because the author had a contest where the answer was only found in the book. And usually they're ones I wouldn't have ordinarily picked up, but they're usually quite good. Like Kay Stockham's Montana Secrets. I liked that book.

5. I used to be one of those awful, gushing, five-star-giving reviewers and now find it rather embarrassing. Okay, really embarrassing.

6. Yes, I have been known to skim the sex scenes in even erotic romances.

7. I hate Christine Feehan's books. Okay, strongly dislike. And I've tried more than a few.

8. Just a year or so ago I wouldn't be caught dead reading a contemporary.

9. I reread books. Not as much as I used to, but I still sometimes will pick up a favorite. This isn't so bad with romances, but I've reread a ton of my fantasy books. Cuz when a new book in a series came out, i'd read all the previous ones. Any idea how many times I've read Eye of the World by Robert Jordan? *g* Also reread Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth quite a few times. And early Cussler. And many of my Anne McCaffrey books (I really want to pick up The Rowan to read again). And my David Eddings ones.

10. I have a thing for cat books. I have a fair number of cat mysteries and I've been known to buy a book purely because it has a cat on the cover.

11. J.D. Robb books are the only romances I will contemplate buying in hardcover, yet I've never read any actual Nora Roberts. I do have a few now, so I should rectify that.

12. I buy purses based on being able to fit a paperback in them. Usually don't fit a trade size, though. I'm too short to go too big with my purses.

13. I love to buy humor books for my husband, yet I hardly ever read them myself. Instead, I love to listen to him laugh and then have him either read me the passage or show me. I love it when he reads parts of Dave Barry to me.

14. I can read books without cracking the spine 99% of the time. Even my Robert Jordan books don't have cracks in the spine! You can tell which books I've gotten used or lent out by seeing spine cracks.

15. I mostly read in bed before going to sleep and on weekends in the afternoon in the living room. Hardly ever during the day on weekdays (er...unless it's in the bathroom *g*).

16. I used to dog-ear my corners. I think it started when I was young and a friend's mother got mad at me for putting a book open upside down when I couldn't find a piece of paper for a bookmark. No clue why dog-earing a book was better than what I'd done. But now I have about a million author bookmarks so when I pick out a book to use, I grab a bookmark right away to put in it.

17. I bring way too many books on vacations because I'm always afraid of running out of things to read or not be in the mood for something.

18. I often decide what to read based on mood. Early Julia Quinns are great when feeling depressed.

19. I usually have multiple books started at once. Right now there are seven books on my nightstand with bookmarks in them that I haven't quite given up on finishing sometime soon.

20. I don't really like reading hardbacks. I think it's because I read in bed curled on my side holding the book with one hand. Gets tiring when it's large.

21. I dislike books with children in them. Though for some reason I seem to have picked up several that have children in them and I didn't mind them. But usually if there's a child on the cover, I'll immediately pass it by.

22. I'm a cover snob. I don't care about the adage "Don't judge a book by its cover". With hundreds of potential books to read each month, how am I supposed to at least start on figuring out what to read?

23. I love cartoon covers.

24. My reading tastes seem to be constantly evolving. I was going through a all-romance phase for awhile, but now other genres are creeping in again.

25. I'm awful about remembering H/h names even in books I really loved.

Okay, that's 25 and I'm not going to wrack my brain for more.

Scarlet Woman by Shelley Munro

I think I'd say Shelley Munro is one of my favorite authors from Ellora's Cave. I seem to consistently like her books there, anyways.

Emily Scarlet's husband left her for his secretary and died in a car accident—all on the same day. Now, six months later, Emily has emerged from her chrysalis of painful memories. And to prove she has what it takes to attract a man, she's determined to experience one perfect night of passion.

An ad in the newspaper catches her eye. The Middlemarch ball presents the ideal opportunity to find a man. Emily catches the "love train" to Middlemarch and heads for one night of uncomplicated sex to wipe away her husband's vicious taunts.

Feline shape-shifter Saber Mitchell has a problem with his four boisterous younger brothers. They're out of control. It's too late for him, but he hopes to get his brothers mated and settled, and the ball is the perfect place to introduce them to marriageable women.

Unbridled sex is the last thing Saber's expecting, but one glimpse at Emily Scarlet changes his mind. Sex with her is a necessity. They dance. They make love. One thing is clear—a single night isn't enough. Saber must have her for his mate, but Emily isn't so easy to convince…or trust.

This isn't a deep story, but it was fun. Emily and Saber have good chemistry and they're cute together. Saber's brothers are fun and it will be interesting to read their stories.

The only real problem I have is that time goes by and things are supposed to have happened off stage. I kept thinking something was missing. Perhaps the story just should have been longer. And the journalist plot was just completely forgotten about in the end. And Maggie....

But even though I had issues, I still enjoyed the story.