Harlequin Blaze

Okay, I admit I love Harlequin Blazes. I enjoy the different storylines and love the added heat. I suppose I'm writing this because I just finished up a review of About Last Night... by Samantha Hunter for CataRomance. I review Blaze and a few other lines at Cata, so I read them a lot. *g* ALN is a March release and I really enjoyed it. I'm a sucker for the friends-who-become-more storyline. Probably because that's how my relationship with my husband went. You've got characters who already like each other and know many of each others secrets. I also liked the secondary romance that was much more fleshed out than others have been in books. So I think it was a fun book that I recommend. There's nothing deep, but I enjoyed it.

Next for me to read are Going to Extremes by Dawn Atkins and Shockingly Sensual by Lori Wilde. I really like Lori's cover. Man, I want that guy. I didn't get Carrie Alexander's Slow Ride for review, so I'll be buying it as soon as I see it in SuperTarget.

A question, would you mind links to reviews that I've written of books that I talk about here or should I just keep those separate? I haven't decided on this yet. Eh, if you really wanted to, you could just look them up, too.

And another question, why do Sundays go by SO fast???

On another note, I had a fun day today

Husband and I went to a pet show expo this morning. Was quite fun. They had agility and obedience trial exhibitions as well as lots and lots of dogs that people brought, including this HUGE, but very obedient Great Dane. And I saw German Shepherd Dogs. I LOVE GSDs. The local humane society was out in force and had this cute little kitten that was full of energy and kept chasing its tail. Very cute. And...I got to pet a tiger. So it was a cub....it was a TIGER. OMG, it was SO adorable. I want a tiger. Also got to see a doberman get scared of a sleeping tortoise.

Also went to a local bar where alumni from our college were getting together to watch our college hockey team play on tv. Amazingly enough, we won (we're having a bad season, if you check it out, we have a kick-ass hockey history). GO FIGHTING SIOUX HOCKEY!!!!!!!!! Ah, college hockey...

Also watched Moving Up on TLC. I'm beginning to really like this show. It's always fun to see what the previous owners think of what the new owners have done to their house. I love to watch TLC. What Not To Wear is another favorite. I sorta stopped being interested in watching Trading Spaces all the time.

The Protector by Gennita Low and One Way Out by Michele Albert

I've never read Gennita Low, but her books looked interesting enough for me to buy the first two (haven't read them yet, though). So when The Protector came along, I snatched it up. There were a few quibbles I had with it, but not enough to say I didn't enjoy reading it. The sex in the jungle while they're on the run from the bad guys was pretty darn improbable, but I let it slide. I like the more military feel she has for the story. Instead of glossing over details such as mission planning, she includes them. It gives a more gritty feel to the tale that I enjoyed. Also has a fairly strong female lead as well as another strong female who's a secondary character that I think was in the previous books. So if you're in the mood for a romantic suspense with a more military feel that has things that blow up, this is a good book. I like when things blow up. One reason why I like action movies and The Mythbusters. Things blow up. Ooooh.....

Since I read a ton of military-themed books when I was in my teens, I enjoy running into similar themes in my romances on occasion. W.E.B. Griffin has two series that are quite good, one deals with the Army and another with the Marine Corps. I've read them many times, but I've missed the later ones when I changed my reading habits around college. I recently picked up most of them at a library booksale, so I hope to immerse myself in them once more someday.

I also read One Way Out by Michele Albert. I also liked this one. It's fast-paced with some intriguing characters. Though the H/h hate each other in the beginning, I think they had a fairly good reason for doing so. Taking someone to court and accusing them of being a thief will bring about a certain amount of animosity and as these two weren't in any real regular contact, they didn't have any reason to talk things out, they just hated each other. *g* I enjoyed the paleontology angle and liked that Albert added enough to make the story different, but not enough to make me look for glaring inaccuracies. Having the H/h run around the country after their find could raise some eyebrows, but I still enjoyed it. It's not a very short book, but I found myself unable to put it down. It just zipped along, for me(no promises that it will do the same for someone else). So, I did like this book and will try to pick up some of her earlier stuff and look out for her in the future.

Another new look

We'll see how much I like this one. I don't really like how narrow the space for the posts are, but for the life of me, I do NOT know how to change it. And no clue why it goes back to the other template when you click on February archives. Can we say I'm html/css clueless? So who knows, next time you read this, I'll be on to something else. Gah.

My eHarlequin purchase came!

On Valentine's Day, all of the books at eHarlequin were 40% off, so I picked up a bunch that I'd been interested in.

The Pleasure Slave by Gena Showalter
Sex and the Serial Killer by Jennifer Skully (bought almost purely from the title, it's cute)
My Favorite Mistake by Stephanie Bond (only February Blaze I don't have)
The Medusa Project by Cindy Dees
Men of Courage by Lori Foster, Donna Kauffman, and Jill Shalvis
Men of Courage II by Lori Foster, Donna Kauffman, and Jill Shalvis
Deceived by Carla Cassidy
Contact by Evelyn Vaughn

Ahh...now to put them on the shelves and hopefully I'll get to them soon. Two of the Bombshells are in the Athena Force series, but I'm missing Catherine Mann's and don't want to read any of the one's after it until I read it. Herk....well, hopefully I'll find it soon and get to read the rest.

Anyone read any of these?

Hellsing - Impure Souls (Vol. 1) Posted by Hello

Hellsing Vol. 1 - Impure Souls

Finished Hellsing - Impure Souls this morning. Really enjoyed it and I have the second dvd on hold at the library. Hopefully I'll get it soon. Unfortunately, they don't have any of the other dvds, so we'll see when I watch more after the next three episodes.

Why I liked it: Great graphics, lots of blood, gore, but not overly so. Or maybe over-the-top in a good way. Does that make sense? Basically, it's got lots of blood. It IS about vampires, after all. Alucard has this whole anti-hero thing going on that made me rather like his character. I just got shivers over that slow smile he would put on before the shit hit the fan. I'm interested to see more about the Hellsing Foundation. Also, this show has some awesome music. Just great. As in, I want the soundtrack yesterday.

So, yeah..I recommend this one. At least the first three episodes that I've watched have been good.

Burnt Plastic - Yech

Ah...what a lovely start to my afternoon. Been doing laundry all morning (still at it, too) and ran the dishwasher. Well, I get up from my computer to get another load of laundry in and smell this weird smell. Can't figure out what it is or where it's coming from. Smell the box that UPS brought, nope, not that. Go smell the fountain in case the motor somehow conked out. Nope not that. Turn to the kitchen. Smell is strong here. Open dishwasher. Smell is REALLY strong. Look in bottom of dishwasher and pull out half a plastic spoon. BINGO. Ew, poor spoon. The other half is a melted mass of white plastic at the bottom of the dishwasher. No idea how I'm going to clean it up. And the smell is giving me a headache. Life sucks sometimes.

On another note, am starting (as in I've watched about 15 minutes) to watch Hellsing and so far it's pretty good. Also watched two episodes of Cowboy Bebop last night. I've seen all the episodes at one time or another, but it's nice to be watching them all in order. We're on the fifth dvd, got it at the library, and I found the sixth one at Target last week. We'll need to check out the movie as soon as we finish up with these.

Time to go for now. I need to go open up some windows. My eyes are starting to water.

P.S. Oh...I'm now listed on Romancing the Blog. No idea how I got linked there, but I won't complain. *g*

Survivor in Death, etc.

Ah....the In Death series. I love this series. I'm not sure why I like it, but it may be that I don't seem to consider it a series with individual titles. In my mind, it's one continuous story with the books acting more like episodes. I honestly can't tell you what happens in the individual books, nor can I really give you titles other than the first, a few in between, and the latest. Yet I really really love this series. Strange.

Started Survivor in Death on Friday, but only got a little ways in before exhaustion forced me to sleep (and a headache and the Tylenol PM). So I was determined to finish it yesterday. Read it on and off all day and then finished it in the evening. Is it a testament to Nora's writing that I got cried (well, teary-eyed) twice? Or was it just a bad emotional moment that had nothing to do with the book? Who knows, but I did really feel for the kid in this book and all the awfulness she had to endure.

Now, I've only read the J.D. Robb books and have never read Nora as Nora. I admit I wouldn't even be able to know where to start. Something new, something old? Somewhere in between? I'd hate to start off my Nora reading career with one of her more 'bad' books, or at least boring. I'm not much for straight contemps, but I seem to realize that I'm sort of missing something in the romance world by not reading Nora. I get the same gasps of disbelief when I mention not reading her that I also seem to get when I say I've never read Linda Howard (now what happens when I say I don't read Christine Feehan is another thing, another entry). Yeesh. Still haven't read Linda Howard, though I do have To Die For on my shelf that someone gave me.

So, if anyone's reading this and has read Nora Roberts, what should I start with? Probably wouldn't get to reading it anytime soon, but I'd like to know for future reference.

Changed the look, finished a good book

Due to the raging headaches I've been getting at night, I've changed the look here. Hope it works better. I hate pain and there's a reason I take allergy meds all year round. Gives me headaches otherwise and I don't need something ELSE giving me a headache once I've taken care of the other.

Finished Sit, Stay, Slay by Linda O. Johnston last night and now I want a sequel! I just loved this book. It was the perfect cozy mystery that had a heroine who wasn't TSTL even though she was working to clear her name. There's a bit of romance in this one, but it is definitely more mystery than romance. I enjoyed all the characters and had fun trying to figure out who was the murderer. I switched my choices quite a bit and the author does give out clues, like a good mystery author should. So if you're looking for a fun, light mystery (and like animals) this is a fantastic book. I give it a definite A.

Now I'm determined to finish Survivor in Death this weekend. Started it last night, but it was pretty late and I didn't feel like staying up to finish.

Now on to see how this day will unfold.

Books I bought last night

So I was killing time in Waldenbooks before it was time for my husband to go skating and I made a few impulse purchases.

Sit, Stay, Slay by Linda O. Johnston - so far this book is SO GOOD! It's a light mystery involving a former civil litigator who lost her license due to a scandal and sort of fell into the pet-sitting business. So now she's dog-sitting, cat-sitting, even snake-sitting a python named Pythagoras. She's going to one of her appts and finds the owner of the pet she's supposed to take care of dead. Unfortunately, he was also a former client of hers back in her law days, so she's now a suspect. That's pretty much where I got to last night and haven't had a chance to pick it up again, but I definitely will again tonight. I'll most likely mention what I think of the whole thing once I finish it, but so far it's just what I needed to read.

Ill Wind by Rachel Caine - I've heard great things about the Weather Warden series, so I couldn't resist finally picking this one up.

The Royal Treatment by MaryJanice Davidson - I like her Undead series and I have Derik's Bane on my tbr pile, so when I saw that this had been released into mass market size, I had to get it. Looks fun.

So that's what I picked up last night. It's not counting the books I picked up from the library bookstore yesterday when I picked up the Hellsing dvd or the books from the library I picked up when I went in again today to pick up Cowboy Bebop. *g* Got a Nora Roberts's one on an impulse since I've only read her J.D. Robb stuff (which I love and have Survivor in Death earmarked for a read-athon this weekend). Also picked up books from Annie Solomon, Lisa Scottoline, John Darnton, and Rita Mae Brown. And a bunch of Harlequin Medical Romances.

And to think I thought I'd never have anything to say in this blog.

Historical romances - what works, what doesn't

I never really seemed to have a problem with historically inaccurate historical romances. Call me shallow, silly, whatever, but I usually didn't. I just went along with the story and enjoyed. Now, however, I'm finding that a little hard and I blame it on one book: Desiree by Roberta Gellis. I received it for review for CataRomance. It's the February release for Silhouette's Signature Select Spotlight and once I got into it, I couldn't stop reading it. I just felt immersed in the story. Our heroine may be a virgin and a bit naive, but by God she's got a fairly good reason behind it. (well, most of the time). Now, I wouldn't say that the romance between the main characters dominates the storyline, but I think it worked quite well, enough for me to give it 4.5 stars. Our characters fall in love rather gradually, which worked quite well. It's that the setting was so incredibly well-done for a medieval. In the book that I'm reading afterwards, it's also a medieval, but I find myself pulled sharply out of the story when she mentions things about the setting. It's jarring, especially when I felt so good before reading Desiree. In Desiree, there was a real sense that religion *gasp* existed and meant something to the characters, there were fights *yay*, a castle was taken by stealth (in a manner that actually made sense), and the villains actually had real motivation other than pure evilness (though they'd still fall in the evilness category).

So, if you want a really good medieval historical, I really recommend Desiree by Roberta Gellis. It's out this month and even though it's a single title, Walmart and Target seem to be shelving it with the categories.

So maybe this feeling of their inadequacy towards my historical romances will go away soon. I hope so, I need to read the ton that are on my shelf and I really want to enjoy them. Guess it'll be contemps and suspense for awhile after the current one.

Doc Savage

Ever since I was in my teens and my mother brought home this tattered, thin paperback and told me to read it, I've been hooked on Doc Savage. She'd read them when she was in her twenties when they'd be rereleased in paperback, as they were originally comics. Now, Doc Savage isn't for everyone, but I honestly think everyone should pick one up at least once. They're pure pulp, pure fun, and just pure guilty pleasure. I'd have to say the Man in Bronze is one of my ultimate heroes.

For those of you who are mildly interested, I found this website on Doc Savage in his various forms yesterday while blog-hopping. I think the wonder of blog-hopping is quite another post. *g*

And while blog-hopping, I found another website that was offering Doc Savage novels in ebook form. I was in heaven. I'm still in heaven. See, the appeal isn't to get my hands on another tattered book that is highly collectible (though I wouldn't mind having them someday), it's reading the stories. Sure, they're over the top, but once you dive into them, they're utterly delightful and exciting. Keep in mind that they were also written during the early 1930's. I love reading about the quest to right wrongs and help those in need. Not to mention Doc and his friends have cool gadgets. I like cool gadgets. *g*

Well, that's all for now. I hope someone will be reminded of the joy that is Doc Savage or that someone new will also find they enjoy this blast from the past and become a fan.

Books I read in January

Since I've decided to see just how many books I read in a year, I started an Excel spreadsheet where I've listed the dates of when I finished the book and what rating I thought it was. So it's two weeks into February... Guess I'll just let you know what I read.

Brazen and Burning by Ravyn Blackwood (Amber Quill Press)- rating: C It was an average book, not bad, but nothing special.

A Rose At Midnight by Sylvie Kurtz (Harlequin Intrigue) - rating: B

As Hot As It Gets by Jamie Sobrato (Harlequin Blaze) - rating: B

Fighting Fire by Alyssa Brooks (Liquid Silver Books) - rating: C

Hunter's Moon by Lori Handeland (St. Martin's Press) - rating A+ Now, I REALLY love Lori Handeland's take on the werewolf mythology and hope you'll pick this one up.

Electrial Storm by Isabella Jordan (Amber Quill) - rating: C

Eyes of the Leopard 1: Discovery by Isabella Jordan (Changeling Press) - rating: C

Seraphine Chronicles 2: Bewitched by Cheyenne McCray (Ellora's Cave) - rating: B

Unicorn Valley 1: Gryphon's Heart by Lena Austin (Changeling Press) - rating: B

Ordinary Charm by Anya Bast (Ellora's Cave) - rating: B+ I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this story and will definitely pick up any sequels that Ms. Bast puts out.

A Lick And A Promise by Jo Leigh (Harlequin Blaze) - rating: B+ Great hero and heroine in this one. I really liked it.

Deadline by Marly Chance (Ellora's Cave) - rating: B I'll definitely be reading more of her stuff after reading this one.

A Slave's Price by Shelby Morgen (Ellora's Cave) - rating: B I got this in a contest prize package of books and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. I keep meaning to find more in this series.

Born in Sin by Kinley MacGregor (Avon) - rating: A This is a seriously good book!

Getting It! by Rhonda Nelson (Harlequin Temptation) - rating: B+ Another really good book. The sequel Getting It Good! is also great.

Shattered by Karen Monroe (Liquid Silver Books) - rating: C Not bad, not great. Sorta in-between.

Amberley by B.L. Dodson (Wings ePress) - rating: B+ Really good Regency.

Miss Whitlow's Turn by Jenna Mindel (Signet Regency) - rating: B An enjoyable Regency.

Spies and Lovers by Leigh Wyndfield (Liquid Silver Books) - rating: B I've liked all the Leigh Wyndfield sci-fi romances I've read.

Never Send A Dog To Do A Woman's Job by Shelley Munro (Ellora's Cave) - rating: B+ This is the sequel to Talking Dogs, Aliens, And Purple People Eaters and it's SO funny. Snort water through your nose kinda funny.

Getting Real by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Julie Elizabeth Leto, and Jennifer LaBrecque (Silhouette Signature Select) - rating: A I don't like reality tv much, but I LOVED this book.

Feline Breeds 2: The Man Within by Lora Leigh (Ellora's Cave) - rating: A I like most of Lora Leigh's books, mainly her Breeds series. I sometimes (lots of times) want to slap her alphas upside the head, but I still really enjoy her books.

Dragon Lords 4: The Warrior Prince by Michelle M. Pillow (New Concepts Publishing) - rating: B+ This is the last of her Dragon Lords series and I must say, I enjoyed them all. Michelle's books are hit or miss for me, but I think this is a great series.

Silver Fire by Arianna Hart (Ellora's Cave) - rating: B+ I definitely liked Ari's werewolves and hope to see more of her future world.

Getting It Good! by Rhonda Nelson (Harlequin Blaze) - rating: B+ Sequel to Getting It! and a really fine book. Tons of sexual tension!

Here Kitty, Kitty by Shelly Laurenston (Triskelion Publishing) - rating: A Shelly's books are an auto-buy for me. She has some of the best female characters around.

Okay, that's all for January. I started it on the 7th, so not sure what I read in the first week of the year. I seem to have read a bunch of good books. Yay!

Futuristic erotic romance - funny?

I'm a fan of SF/F and that's what the majority of my reading material was before I discovered romance. So I tend to lean towards wanting to read the same stuff in my romance. But oh, some of these authors just do NOT get it. I'm currently reading Jaid Black's The Empress' New Clothes from Ellora's Cave. Now I've read lots of books from EC. Some are good, some are not so good. So far, Empress is right smack in the middle. While I'm rather enjoying the book, there are many times that I'm brought out of the story and find myself giggling over certain things the author has done.

And now for those things that I dislike in futuristic erotic romance that I'm reminded of when I read this book:

1. Human women are always whisked off to some world ruled by massive, barbarian-esque men where men are strong and rule the world and women are only there to give them pleasure.
2. Said women are always "clothed" as little as possible. See-through cloth reigns supreme. Let the ogling commence!
3. These authors like to pick and choose which words they want to change to highlight that you're on an alien world. I'm not talking like using an alien word for money or animals, I mean like, for example, calling a vehicle that seems to fly a "floating conveyance". Puh-lease! You're just making me laugh! Either call it something else or make up some alien word and always use that to refer to it. This use of weird words is one reason I giggle while reading Jayne Ann Krentz's futuristic romances. Though, yes, I still read them. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.
4. Flowery words for male appendages *g* Again, I laugh everytime testicles are referred to as "man sacs". Now, I know this is not specific to futuristic romances, but it still irks me.

Well, I think that's enough for now. I will still read this genre, but I'm sure I'll still be laughing at these instances as they occur in the books I read.

Now more about the book. It's the basic alien barbarian king who's seven feet tall finds out his soulmate is on another planet and goes to get her, not caring that she wants to stay right where she is with her friends and family. Said alien doesn't care and thinks that because she's his soulmate, they will live happily ever after and have lots of good sex together. Human woman is NOT happy with all this, especially when she realizes that skimpy clothing is a must-wear. She tries to resist, he befuddles her brain with passion until she can't think straight. He can't understand why she isn't happy, she thinks he's a stupid oaf, but a cute stupid oaf, and oh, "why can't she resist him, she finds herself so attracted to him, yet doesn't want to be".

I haven't quite decided if she's a TSTL heroine. I'll let you know once I finish the story.

And for a futuristic erotic romance that really works, read Celestial Passions: Brianna by Judy Mays. It's also an Ellora's Cave release. It's fabulous and the sequel should be out soon. I can't wait!

Edited Feb. 18,2004:

Finished Jaid Black's The Empress' New Clothes. It wasn't too bad, but it was by no means a spectacular book. I'd give it a C+. It's certainly erotic (though not terribly arousing) and interesting, but there were things that just made me giggle a little too much and the heroine is occasionally TSTL. Not to mention I'm kinda tired of the whole ultra-alpha male. All in all, I didn't mind reading it and I actually might read more books in the series. I just know not to expect much out of them and just enjoy the show.

Books to read

Well, I finally visited a Borders Books for the first time in my life. Yup, I may have lived many places, but none of them had a Borders anywhere near. Now I feel like I'm missing out as there isn't one here, just a Barnes and Noble, which, imo, is not as good as Borders. WAAAAH!!!

So...on to the book thing. Not gonna mention review books until I finish the darn reviews for them, so these are my fun books. I bought "Wicked" Women Whodunit by MaryJanice Davidson, Amy Garvey, Jennifer Apodaca, and Nancy J. Cohen. I just started the first story and so far it's a hoot! I just love MaryJanice's humor and I liked how she has incorporated characters from her previous novellas into this one.

Oops, okay, that was one book. So sue me. I need to go do actual work now. *gasp*


Wasted time and reviews

So here it is, after 1 p.m. and what do I have to show for my day? Nothing. Well, I finished up a review and, as I wasn't sure it would fly, sent it off to my review coordinator. I'm finding all this talk about the uselessness of online reviews rather disheartening, mostly because I completely understand their viewpoint. I like reviewing. I like reading a book and telling others what I think about it. Usually they're good books and I can just gush about them, but now that I've been reading SO much, my tastes have changed. I have a better grasp of what I like and what seems to work than I had before. And now that I've realized this, I don't think I can go back to the way I was before. Is this a good thing? I'm not sure yet. All I know is that I feel rather disillusioned by the whole review thing and at the moment, I just want to finish up my review books that I currently have and then go on to reading books I bought for myself. And if they're bad, I want to say so. I have many friends here online that are proponents of the "say nothing bad about the book, we don't want to hurt the author's feelings", yet is a review for the author in the first place? Yes, it's very nice to get back a letter from an author who just loved your review. Gives me warm fuzzies, but is that really why I'm doing this? I don't really think so.

You know, it feels good to write all this out. No wonder blogging is so popular. Now I really need to get something done. Guess it's on to running those errands I've been putting off all morning and part of the afternoon.

Valentine's Day

Now, I LOVE Valentine's Day. Probably because my husband proposed to me on that day and it's the day we started officially dating. I have many fond memories of Valentine's Day. Yeah, I can understand why people think it's a Hallmark holiday, but it does mean so much more. For me, it's a day of celebrating love, whether for my husband or for my family. I know we don't need a holiday for that, but do we need a holiday for Thanksgiving? We could just gives thanks all year round too.

So...I like V-Day. Going to go out of town for the weekend and have some fun with DH. Go to a museum, have "fun" in the hotel, shop a bit. Basically have fun. Not sure if DH thinks the last one if fun, though. But he's a good sport for me. One of those millions of reasons why I love him. Not to mention he can spontaneously do romantic things like surprise me with flowers a week or so ago. He's a keeper.

Blogs are addicting

So here I've wasted another couple, ok, a few, hours reading blogs and various other postings around the web. Why do I find other people's opinions on things like pet peeves and problems with bad reviewing so very interesting that I forget to do the laundry, clean the bathroom or do the other myriad things that need to be done today? Perhaps my life is just too boring.

All this talk all over the place about the content of on-line reviews has really made me think. Am I doing anything when I write my reviews? Is it worthwhile to even continue? I used to think that if even one person bought a book from a review I wrote, I'd be happy. Now I get to thinking that hey, all books are NOT created equal and if you don't buy a book based on one of my reviews, well, that's good too. Reading reviews is about finding new books and authors to read and if all we ever hear about are the good things, well, what's the point? There are a few review sites that basically tell all, thought mostly the bad, that I don't like, but I do like the few reviews I see where they actually point out the weak spots in a review, yet also highlight what they liked. I recently read a book that was so-so, yet I did enjoy reading it. It was a quick, fun read, but nothing I'll ever read again. But if I give this book a 3 or a 3.5, people will most likely pass it over for the other 4 or 5 star reviews. It's a good book, dammit! Just not THAT good. Sometimes I'm just in the mood for a light, fast-paced read that doesn't necessarily delve deep into its characters. And afternoon book that's quick and easy, kinda like just grabbing a piece of gum instead of something more substantial to eat.

Perhaps I'm not making much sense. Of course, this blog is just for me. None of my friends or family know about it, so if for some strange reason, you actually come across this, please post. I'd love to know how on earth you found me.