Dirty Little Secrets by Julie Leto

I'm really very, very happy that this book made it into my shopping cart at BN. I'd heard buzz on it, but I wasn't really sure if it was my thing. I'm happy to say that my decision to buy it paid off. This is one great book! Julie Leto may have started out as a category author, but I didn't think that showed in here at all. Just good writing and fabulous characters.

Book blurb:
When Marisela Morales sets out to stop her ex-boyfriend, Francisco Vega, from skipping out on bail, she has a secret agenda: revenge. She hasn’t seen Frankie in ten years, and back then, he broke her heart by choosing his gang over his girl. So when she tracks him down to their old haunt, a hot dance club in Tampa, she sets about seducing him into her trap.

Frankie has a secret agenda, too, and Marisela soon faces a tough choice: continue drifting through her twenty-something life--hitting the same town with the same girlfriends every weekend while struggling to find a job and pay the rent--or dive headfirst into danger with her ex. Frankie operates in a treacherous underworld full of arms dealers, assassins and sinister agendas--a world overrun with people keeping dirty little secrets--and only Marisela has the cojones to fight her way to the truth.

Sexy, sultry and action-packed, Dirty Little Secrets is a thrilling adventure in manhunting of the most dangerous kind.

I loved the characters here. They aren't all good or all bad. Marisela has made some mistakes in her past, but she certainly isn't agonizing over them. She doesn't join Titan, International over some idea of savng the world, but of the chance to maybe find a place in the world where she finally fits. And if it makes her loads of money, so much the better. I liked that she was allowed to be strong, yet there are instances where she's soft, but they're definitely in character. And she can kick butt with the best of them.

Frankie Vega is also great. Leto didn't try to make us sympathetic to him by making his time in prison some big misunderstanding or have him have had some kind of epiphany where he plans to go the straight and narrow for the rest of his life. Nope, he's unapologetic for his actions, though he realizes he probably didn't make the best choices. They've shaped who he is now, and without them, he certainly wouldn't be where he is.

I also liked how it has a decidedly Latin flavor, but we're not beat over the head with it. There's just enough stuff thrown in to make it feel real, not forced.

So...basically I really like this book. It's fresh and exciting and I really can't wait for the sequel Dirty Little Lies next year. I'll definitely be buying it as soon as I can.

There's a website about the book and series that you can find here. It gives more info about things. I'm feeling lazy today, so just figured I'd mention a little about why I liked it.

Dirty Little Secrets by Julie Leto - buy it! Or check it out from the library. Anyways, read it.

I'm back!

Well, I'm back from my trip. It was a bit chilly some of the time, but on Sunday it was quite nice. Which was great since that was graduation day and we had open houses to go to.

The flight: My stomach and planes flying through thunderstorms don't mix. I was SO nauseous on the way to MSP and actually broke out in a sweat about 20 minutes before we landed. It was NOT fun. The leg from MSP to Grand Forks was much better. Better weather and bigger plane equal a happy stomach.

Oh...AND they lost out luggage. Didn't get it until the next afternoon. So that led to a late night run to Walmart (I hate Walmart) for nightly essentials since SuperTarget was closed when we got into town.

I read Before I Wake by Anne Frasier while waiting for the first flight and finished it before we got in to MSP. Very fast-paced and quite good. It's one of those books where you really don't know who to trust or what the author is going to do. It was really good. Not a romance, although it has its moments.

I also read Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy and it was SOOOO good. I loved the main character, Joanne. She sees a woman running away from a pack of dogs while flying in to the Seattle airport. Desperate to save the woman, she rushes off to find her, even though people think she's nuts to run off after something she saw from a plane. Well, turns out what she saw was real and it is the start of events that turn her ordered world upside down. It's told in first person, but Joanne's one of those characters I just really like. The author really describes everything well, instead of glossing over things, like how dealing with magic feels like to Joanne. If you want a great urban fantasy, I highly recommend this one. It's got Native American shamanism, Celtic mythology, and police stuff all mixed up. It's very good. I want the sequel NOW.

Also read this weekend was The Da Vinci Code. Yeah, I'm a little late in reading it, but I didn't want to buy it in hardback and my mother-in-law already had it. It was fun and fast-paced. It seems one reason it may be so popular is that everything is just spelled out for you every step of the way. No "huh?" moments. So I liked it, but it's certainly not the best thing out there. I seem to remember reading some David Morrell books that were very, very similar years ago. I might try to find Angels and Demons sometime.

Now I'm reading Dirty Little Secrets by Julie Leto. So far it's really good. I'll tell you more once I finish it. I like the main character. Marisela is one cool chica and this has lots and lots of action.

Now I had brought Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter along too, but didn't get to it. I did try to start it, but it just didn't grab me. I think one reason is because the author keeps telling instead of showing that Mia Snow, the main character, is such a badass. I kinda got sick of having it shoved down my throat without anything backing those comments up. But it's only the beginning, so maybe I'll feel more lik reading it later. I do like the premise and I love this type of book, it's just that the beginning bothered me and didn't give me much reason to continue reading. So we'll see. I'm going to give it another try later.

It was a fun weekend. I didn't get in quite as much reading as I might have hoped, but I really enjoyed it. I love my in-laws.


Okay, I'm off for the weekend. Got my BN.com order. yay! Got my backpack full of books. (wouldn't it be funny if I'm too busy to read?).

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

Chick lit post at Màili's

Màili's blog and read this post. Go to it. Now. Read it.

Ah...now wasn't that nice?

I'm fairly new to chick lit, but I am really enjoying it and hope to read a lot of it this summer. Now I've got lots of ideas. I do need to read the ones I have out from the library soon.

Drive-by Blogging

Ah...hmm...what to say. Slowly getting ready for our mini-vacation back to North Dakota. My Barnes and Noble order with my books in it might not get here in time. Grrrrr. It's due for delivery on Thursday, but UPS has been known to delivery later in the afternoon sometimes and we leave around 2:30. So....*crosses fingers* I really want to read those books this weekend. Or at least be able to try to read them this weekend. We do have lots of things planned.

The day's purchases:

Since I'm broke my book budget on those three trades and buying art at the Arts and Craft Show last weekend, I hit the used bookstore in the Hiawatha Library. Ah...library bookstores are the best. Mostly bought categories. Can't beat $.25 a piece.

With Child by Janice Kay Johnson (I remember seeing something about it somewhere, so I just grabbed it)
A Home of Her Own by Brenda Novak (never read her, but curious)
Her Secret Alibi by Debra Webb (part of a series I have a few of)
The Unlawfully Wedded Princess by Kara Lennox (sounds crazy and kinda fun and Kara's quite sweet in chat and on her blog)
Familiar Obsession by Caroline Burnes (black cat...what can I say?)
Falling For Gracie by Susan Mallery (never read Mallery)

Only cost my two dollars even.

Also bought the new Seether CD that came out today and went out with Nick on a drive to listen to it. Oh....it's SO good. So if this is your style, I highly recommend it. I have the second song stuck in my head right now.

Also put on hold at the library for the future:

Marriage Most Scandalous by Johanna Lindsey
Sofie Metropolis by Tori Carrington
Beach Blanket Bad Boys by lots of authors
Origin in Death by J.D. Robb (I usually buy it, then I always seem to see the hardback in the used stores anyways)
Strange Attractions by Emma Holly (all the fuss about her, had to find out)

Got two anime dvds that I'd put on hold ages ago. Figures that they would come in just as I'm going to be gone. We'll see if I get to watch them in time. They're Ghost in the Shell and the first six episodes of The Slayers.

I really don't feel like going in and adding links, so tough. *g* I'm sure you'll survive.

My Barnes and Noble order, cuz I just know you want to know

So, I'm going on vacation starting on Thursday until Monday. I want books for the trip, right? Well, I wasn't really going to buy anything new, but on a whim I decided to buy some from Barnes and Noble since, hopefully, they would actually get here before we left. So...*crosses fingers* here are the books I hope to see around Wednesday afternoon.

Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter. I just couldn't resist it. Really, I couldn't. Bad me, but damn, it looks good. An alien hunter? Very cool.

This one I really didn't mean to get, it just sorta went into my cart. Really. After putting in Awaken Me Darkly and Urban Shaman, I didn't have enough for free shipping. And since the other books for June I wanted had 2-3 day processing time, I really didn't want to wait. So...I decided to take a chance on this one. We'll see if it was worth it. I hope so. There's a cool website about it here. I've read a few of Julie Leto's books before and enjoyed them, though they were categories.

I've been wanting C.E. Murphy's Urban Shaman for forever it seems and now it's finally out. Let's hope I soon find the time to read it. This looks like the start of a great series.

Now I just hope that these books get here by Thursday afternoon before I have to head to the airport. *crosses fingers again*

Other books I want that come out in June are:

First Date by Karen Kendall
Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughn
The Lady Lies by Samantha Saxon
Beyond the Pale by Savannah Russe
Unmasked by C.J. Barry

I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but these are the ones that I really remember wanting.

And yeah, I know the formatting is screwed up. I never know why the pictures post in slightly different formats when I do the same exact thing for each one. I'm mystified. Oh well. It still works.

The Givenchy Code by Julie Kenner Posted by Hello

Driveby blogging about The Givenchy Code by Julie Kenner

The review I wrote for The Givenchy Code is up. And yes, I really did love the book. I think it's because it combined things I really enjoy. Computer games, solving clues, action, hot heroes with military backgrounds...and a heroine who is NOT TSTL. I read this after there were a bunch of blog postings about what heroines should not do when they're in danger, so I think I paid a bit more attention to that when I read this. Doesn't happen. Now...some may think the premise is a bit odd. Basically, there was this hugely popular MMORPG (massive multi-player online role-playing game) called Play.Survive.Win. There are three people you could play, The Target, the Protector, and the Assassin. Basically, The Target has to solve the clues in order to win while her Protector protects her from the Assassin, who's trying to kill her before she wins. In The Givenchy Code, someone (I'm not saying who) has decided to bring the game into the real world and play God, so to speak. I liked how different the book was, yet it all worked.

Melanie has been chosen to be the Target and she's getting her Masters in history at the moment. She already has a B.S. in Math and enjoys ciphers and such. She also has a thing for designer clothes, but she doesn't come off as shallow, more like and everyday person. So she likes to have designer clothes, well, she works to get them by working odd jobs around the city. She's smart, as it shows in the book, and I liked how much of the book revolves around using her intelligence to survive.

Matthew Stryker is the Protector. He'd been chosen before, in what turns out to be a trial run of the game and didn't take it seriously. That woman died. When he's told to protect Melanie,, this time he plans to take it seriously. Kinda cheesy name aside (but I admit to liking it), he's a great hero with good instincts. And he's hot. BUT, no boinking like bunnies when the bad guy is right behind them. I checked. Doesn't happen. Okay, boinking happens, it IS a romance, but in a safe place.

The villain is suitable nasty. Intelligent, but obviously unbalanced. The type who thinks hunting humans is the ultimate high. That kind of character.

*sigh* What can I say, I really did love this book. It's fast-paced and fun. It may have some flaws that I didn't notice, but I thought it was just plain fun and exciting. Now I need some of you to go and get it so someone can either agree or disagree with me.

I got tagged!

From Meljean:

Total number of books I own:

No clue, probably around a thousand right now. Maybe more, maybe less.

Last book(s) I bought:

Bought Return of the Warrior by Kinley MacGregor, The Moon Witch by Linda Winstead Jones, and Once Upon a Princess by Holly Jacobs last night. I hadn't planned to buy them, but was on a Symphony chocolate hunt with my husband. Went to Target first to redeem pop cans and I checked out the book section there as usual. Nothing I wanted. Well, Target didn't have Symphony bars and well, dear husband really REALLY wanted Symphony chocolate, so we went to Hy-Vee. Hmm...they have a book section, too. So I picked these up. Also picked up the chocolate. Dear husband made me pay. Apparently guys don't like to be seen buying chocolate and romance books together, even if they aren't for them. *g*

Last book(s) I read:

All review books. Big Girls Don't Cry by Donna Hill, Brenda Jackson, Monica Jackson, and Francis Ray; Caught in the Act by Pam McCutcheon; and The Givenchy Code by Julie Kenner. All were quite good.

Five books that mean a lot to me:

This is hard. I don't really think about this much. Honestly, I don't. So here are some of my favorite rereads from the past.

Beauty by Robin McKinley
Brighter Than the Sun by Julia Quinn
The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
Semper Fi, Book I: The Corps by W.E.B. Griffin (I remember stealing this from my dad and reading it. Love the early books of this series, as well as the Brotherhood of War series)

Tagg 5 people:

Ack...who HASN"T been tagged?

Tara Marie

eh...only 4, so sue me.

Blaze gets a new look in August

While I was at Alison Kent's blog today, I noticed she had up a cover for her August Blaze, Kiss & Makeup. It has a different look than some of the Blazes that I've seen recently, so I headed over to Amazon to take a look. Here are four covers for the August Blaze releases that seem to be the start of a new look. It's a look I rather like. They're also going up to 6 books a month in July (I think that's the month they start), instead of the usual 4 that they have had.

First up is Kiss & Makeup by Alison Kent. It's in the Hush miniseries that started with Jo Leigh's Hush and will have Thrill Me by Isabel Sharpe in June. It's an every other month thing.

I like the look of the cover, even though I went "huh?" at the sight of an actual room key on the cover in this day and age.

Next up is Jacquie D'Alessandro's Why Not Tonight? and again, I like the cover.

It looks like it's going to be a 24 Hours miniseries book. I'm looking forward to seeing how that miniseries will do. It's got to be hard to pack a good story in a 24 hour timespan.

Almost done. Here's Who's On Top? by Karen Kendall.

I like the imagery of her hand on top of his here. And it's sexy, but not in your face sexy. Nice. It also seems to be the first of a three-book miniseries by her that will continue in September and October.

And last, but not least, here's Texas Fire by Kimberly Raye (whose website doesn't seem to work at the moment).

Oooh...a cover with Texas in the title and no cowboy! It's kinda cute and makes you wonder why on earth a piece of sexy lingerie is hanging inside an old barn.

Well, that's all. This was sort of a drive-by cover post. I'm curious to see if anyone else likes the newer covers. Maybe I'll update it when I see more covers out.


Found the last two covers for August. So here they are!

Kristin Hardy's U.S. Male. I think this is in the middle of another miniseries. Which begs the question, is Blaze becoming a little too miniseries happy? From what I could see, it looks like Kimberly Raye's book is part of a miniseries too. Hmmm...

Well, I admit the cover is kinda cute.

On to the last one. Dorie Graham's The Morning After.

I really like the colors on this one. All the greens with the red kinda reminds me of the Garden of Eden and the forbidden apple. Cheesy, but true. AND...I think I see a miniseries logo there too. Bah.

Well, don't know much else about these books, but I do like the covers. We'll see how many I actually buy. I've already got a shelf full of Blazes that I need to read. Ack! Definitely Alison's, since I plan to follow the HUSH series. Maybe Jacquie's to see how the 24 hour thing goes.

My first booksigning

I went to my first ever booksigning yesterday. It was for a local author, Cindy Gerard. She has her first romantic suspense out this month and it looks really good. I never would have heard about the signing if there hadn't been an article in the paper last week. The used bookstore where it was at is one I only go to every so often, even though I love it. After all, I do have a lot of books already, so I don't frequent the UBS regularly.

Cindy was really nice. I've never read her books, so I couldn't really gush about how much I loved her. *g* I did promise to blog about her book on here once I'd read it and then send her the link. So I'm going to work on reading the book sometime this month. Meaning sometime in the next week and a half since I'm going on a mini-vacation the last weekend of the month (to my in-laws. I LOVE my in-laws).

I really like the bookstore where it was at. I hope that they are expanding like it looked when I was there. I'm all for independent bookstore expansion. I think I need to make more of an effort to support the place, too.

I just wish that there would be more advertising about these things. I never would have heard about it if it hadn't been in the paper. I wonder how many other signings there are that I don't hear about. Guess I'll just have to make it a habit to hit the bookstore more often. Not to mention I love the ladies who work there.

Okay, on to writing some reviews of those books that are on my sidebar that say I've finished reading them. They were all pretty good, too.

The really long ebook post

Since there are some people out there who are thinking about reading ebooks or perhaps are interested in trying some of the erotic romance out there in the e-pubs, I thought I'd mention some authors that I've really enjoyed. All the book links are to the pub's page for that particular book. You can read the blurbs that way. Not all of these are erotic romance, either.

Shelly Laurenston writes some of the best werewolves and also writes strong female characters who really DO kick ass. Her books can be found at Triskelion Publishing. A nice thing about Triskelion is that you can find the number of pages the file will be in Adobe PDF under the book cover. It's a nice feature.

Werewolves series in order:
Pack Challenge (you gotta love an alpha heroine who's matched with an alpha male who knows when to just stay back and let her kick some ass all by herself)
Go Fetch! (Miki is a hoot!)
Here Kitty, Kitty (Hillbilly weretigers. 'nuff said.)
Pride Christmas in Brooklyn

She also has a shape-changing dragon story that's good:
To Challenge A Dragon

I loved every single one of these books and Shelly's books are auto-buys. Hope she has a new release sometime soon.

TV Bride by Meg Bellamy. Deals with a reality show ala The Bachelor and is quite cute. I don't like reality tv, but I still liked the book. Meg Bellamy also writes as Mardi Ballou for steamier stuff.

Rachel Carrington
has a couple stories at Triskelion that I enjoyed. They are Indigo Spell, Timeless Spell, and Under His Spell.

Again from Triskelion: Mayan Nights by Therese MacFarland. It's a nice contemporary novella with some paranormal elements. It's got a very sexy archaeologist in it.

Okay..on to Ellora's Cave.

The Aunts and the Dove by Cassie Walder. I don't hear much about this book, but I really enjoyed it. The main characters are Orthodox Jews and it also deals with shapeshifters. It's a very interesting tale. It's a bit long, but if you're in the mood, I recommend taking a chance on it.

Darla's Valentine and The Phallus from Dallas are two novellas that are by Samantha Winston and are quite funny. They're good for putting a smile on your face.

Tielle St. Clare's Shadow of the Dragon series is a favorite and I'm eagerly awaiting the fourth book in the series. Here they are in order:
Dragon's Kiss
Dragon's Fire
Dragon's Rise

Ordinary Charm by Anya Bast is good. It's a paranormal and the heroine is a size 14 witch. It was one of those stories that I enjoyed more than I thought I would.

Cheyenne McCray's Wonderland series is good. It's BDSM in a fantasy setting. Ordinarily I don't care much for that, but perhaps it was the fantasy setting that made me enjoy it more. Anyways, it's a series I enjoyed. Here they are in order:
King of Hearts
King of Spades
King of Diamonds
King of Clubs

Shelley Munro is another author I really like. Her Talking Dog series is a hoot and I was surprised at how much I loved her contemporary title.

Talking Dog:
Talking Dogs, Aliens, and Purple People Eaters
Never Send a Dog To Do a Woman's Job

Summer in the City of Sails (her contemporary title)

Another hot and funny title is The Pleasure Bot by Delilah Devlin. She also has a vamp series that I have some of the books to, but haven't gotten around to reading yet.

I also really enjoyed Reaver of Souls by Stephanie Burke. It was another of those titles that I was surprised at how much I liked it. It's definitely a tale about discovering who you really are and accepting yourself.

Annie Windsor has a series called Legacy of Prator that's based on Arthurian legend. Cursed, Redemption, and Avalon's Price (not yet released) are the books in the series. She also has a SF series that I enjoy called Arda. Those books are: Sailmaster's Woman, Sailkeeper's Bride, and The Captain's Fancy.

Sherri L. King's The Horde Wars series is another must-read if you enjoy paranormals. They should be read in order.
Wanton Fire
Razor's Edge
Manaconda (there's a short story in here that comes between Razor's Edge and Lord of the Deep)
Lord of the Deep

The Talisman Bay series by Ashleigh Raine is also good. Lover's Talisman and Forsaken Talisman are the ones out right now.

Hey, I'm not done yet.

Jordan Summer's Atlantean Quest books were among the first EC books I ever read. The Arrival, The Exodus, and Redemption are the ones out now. She mentions on her blog/website that she's working on the fourth book. Also there's Atlantean Heat, but I haven't read it. Actually, I'm not quite sure I read the third book either. Hmm.

Interested in some SF romance? Judy Mays' Celestial Passions: Brianna is really good. I can't wait for the sequel that's supposed to come out this year. The Empress' New Clothes by Jaid Black was fun in a campy, sexy way.

Okay, on to another publisher. New Concepts Publishing this time. Ignore the covers. They aren't my favorite.

Autumn Dawn is a favorite author from here.

Historicals (these two are connected):
The Woman Inside
The Other Woman

Darklands series: Teasing Danger, Something Wild This Way Comes, and Bad Moon Rising (I haven't read this one yet).

She has some other books, but I can't remember what I thought of them right now.

Jaide Fox. She has a couple of hilarious futuristic romances from here. Intergalactic Bad Boys and Intergalactic Pain in the Ass. She also has a historical called His Wicked Ways that I enjoyed. I haven't read all of her books, so I can't say how the rest of them are.

Ultimate Warriors is an anthology about superheroes that I liked.

I also liked Myra Nour's Volarn series. Love's Captive and Heart of the Dragon.

Okay...I think I've written enough for now. I'll write another post someday soon about ones I've missed.

Amazon hates me

Why you ask? Because they finally shipped my birthday order and sent it USPS!!!!!! ARGH! Cheap bastards. Oh..they give you a tracking number, but it doesn't mean anything. AND it takes forever to get here from wherever they ship from. Grr...I want my books! And my dvd set.

Here's my order:

Seduced by Beth Ciotta

Firefly - The Complete Series

Click Here for Murder by Donna Andrews

Blade Dancer by S.L. Viehl

Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews (I'd read the first few pages in Barnes and Noble and it seemed pretty interesting)

Bio Rescue by S.L. Viehl

My Favorite Mistake by Beth Kendrick

Most of these were bought from the bargain section of Amazon. i.e. really, really cheap. MFM was only 4.99. And the Viehl books were only paperback prices. So was Hissy Fit and I think the Donna Andrews hardback was only 3.99. Really...how can a bookaholic resist prices like that? There were also lots more chick lit in there, if you're interested.

I'm really looking forward to getting Firefly since I never saw all of the episodes when it first aired. I was in college and well, Friday nights weren't good for watching tv and I sucked at remembering to set the vcr.

AND...oh oh oh! I see that LOST is available for pre-order on Amazon now! Woohoo! Again, I suck at setting the vcr and/or sitting down to watch a tv show when it airs. So once I'd missed a few episodes, I stopped watching it and figured I'd get it on dvd. Maybe someday we'll get a dvr.

How I started reading romance, or the evolution of a reader

Well, after my yearly physical/pap at the doctor this morning (being female sometimes isn't all its cracked up to be), and somehow managing to get out the door without peeing in a cup (I'm sure they'll be calling, but really, I don't want to pee in a cup.), I came home to blog-hop. I had mentioned in Sybil's blog that I too had never read Nora Roberts, although I had read her as JD Robb. I've also never read Amanda Quick/JAK except for those Jayne Castle books (she writes some rather awful futuristics, but they're strangely enjoyable). I have also never ever read Linda Howard. So AngieW posted on HER blog about her horror that these people (Sybil and I) had never read these paragons of the romance world. Well, the explanation of why I haven't ever read them requires telling about how I managed to read romance in the first place.

I grew up reading...and reading, and reading and reading. I also grew up with a mother who despised romance. I admit this colored my perception of the genre for quite awhile. According to her, romances were all a rehash of the same boring plot with silly characters and no real meaty story. And as I had plenty of other things to read, I never bothered to see if she was really right. The only romance I ever came into contact that anyone read was a girl in high school who would read her Jennifer Blake books (oddly enough, that girl was named Jennifer Blake, too). And let me tell you, the silly covers on those never made me want to read them. I read many other books and always had one with me. Favorite authors were W.E.B. Griffin, Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, Bob Mayer, Robert Jordan, Tad Williams, Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks, Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Tanya Huff, Robin Hobb, Catherine Asaro, Guy Gavriel Kay, Sheri S. Tepper, Raymond Feist, David Morrell, Frederick Forsyth, Joseph Finder, Kathy Reichs, and countless other authors and books. In my mind, I didn't NEED to ever venture into silly, stupid romance territory.

It may have started to change when my grandmother died. She had a ton of books and we were going through them, deciding which ones to keep and which to donate. I'd come across a little pile of Harlequin/Silhouette books. They all looked suitably silly, but for some reason I decided to try them out. And they were silly and stupid. So I felt vindicated in my avoidance of the romance genre, but apparently it wasn't done with me. There was a tv movie based on a Julie Garwood book that I kinda enjoyed. So me being me, I wanted to read the book it came from. *gasp* It was a romance. But damn, it was enjoyable. And thus I read more Julie Garwood books. And then I think I moved on to Johanna Lindsey. All of these were from the library. No way was I going to actually spend money on a romance. Uh uh. I treated them like guilty pleasures and never read them in public, just in the privacy of my bedroom at home. I read some bad ones, but I usually stayed strictly within historicals. I had no desire to read a contemporary romance and I thought of Nora Roberts as the epitome of that which I disliked. Same with Linda Howard. They just weren't on my reading radar. I stuck with historicals for quite a number of years. Julia Quinn was a favorite and still is. Also Stephanie Laurens and Mary Jo Putney. Still no contemporaries or those disgusting categories.

Through all this I was still reading quite a bit of SF/F and other books such as mysteries, action/adventure, thrillers, etc. I think I'm in college by now. Still mainly historicals and still mainly in secret. No one I knew would ever admit to reading romance and I knew many of my friends didn't read much at all, let alone romance. I decided to branch out at the local library a bit and ended up reading the Jayne Castle futuristic romances. Hmm...as far as good sci-fi went, they kinda sucked, but I enjoyed the romance part of them. And well, they melded together science fiction and romance, which I was really beginning to read a whole lot of. I also remember trying Dara Joy...but man, even though I was new to reading romance (relatively), she sucked.

Now, I don't remember when I found Sherrilyn Kenyon, but I do remember reading her first book and going wow, I love this. I do think before that I did try to branch out before that into paranormal romance since it tied in with SF/F. And then since SK readers were supposed to like Christine Feehan, I tried her books. Library had them, yay, checked out the first two. Tried to read them. ugh...they were definitely wall-bangers. Hmm..maybe I need to try something different. So I read her new series, Shadow Game. Ugh, couldn't finish that one either. This was 2003, so you know, not that long ago. I think I tried one other book of hers since she had so many fans, I couldn't believe that an author could be so well liked and have such stupid books. But yes, she could, so Feehan is one of those authors on my not gonna read it list. Obviously works for others, but I don't get it.

Somewhere around 2003, I think, I started to hear about erotic romance. It most likely came about in my hunt for contests around the web. I don't know how many authors I learned about when I went to their site to enter a contest, but it's a lot. Sometime in there, I heard about erotic romance and also at the same time sites looking for reviewers were popping up. Hmm, I thought, this sounds interesting. And so one of my first erotic romance reads was an ebook for a review site. It was interesting, mainly I think for its novelty. But I enjoyed it and looked for others. And gradually I acquired more. I didn't particularly like reading on my computer, but I did like all the different stories that I could find online. So began my search for a handheld ebook reader. Luckily I'm now married to a geek, because he didn't think it too odd to want to spend a couple hundred dollars on a gadget just to read ebooks. Okay, more than a couple hundred since ultimately I decided on an HP iPaq 4155 and it was on sale for $405 when we finally bought it. I was so afraid that once I'd bought it, I'd find that I hated to read it. Thank goodness that didn't happen. I LOVE to use it and use it almost every night to read. I think I've become quite an expert on using it and have managed to make it do all the things I want it to do. Things like the problems with reading pdf files I've fixed (you CAN have virtually no trouble reading pdf files on a ppc), or figuring out why my SD card said it was full before it really was (turned out NOT to be a bad card, but that I needed to put them in folders). It took work and a lot of internet searching, but I found all my answers. I like my ebooks, but I have noticed lately that I'm getting bored with erotic romance. So much of it is all the same and rather monotonous.

Through all this, I still haven't managed to read a Nora Roberts book, or a Linda Howard, though I have picked up some recently. BJ gave me some to try: Jewels in the Sun and Sea Swept. I also got To Die For by Linda Howard. I haven't read any of these yet. I also saw Northern Lights at Paperback Swap and since I had some credits, I decided to give it a try, so that's on its way here. I also read some Kathleen Woodiwiss early on, but honestly....I don't like her and don't quite get her appeal. I've also never read Georgette Heyer, even though I enjoy reading Regencies. I also never read Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, LaVyrle Spencer, Judith NcNaught, Jude Deveraux, or any of the authors I hear so many people started out reading. And honestly, for the most part, I have no desire to read them. And I read Gone With The Wind in 5th grade, but really, that doesn't count as a romance. It's a classic. Despite the awful clinch cover.

I also managed to start reading categories in here, though my start as a reviewer at CataRomance really made that take off. And so I love to read Harlequin Intrigues and Blazes and Flipsides. Not Presents as much, they have some pretty silly titles and storylines, but I do like Lucy Monroe depsite the silly titles. I also usually avoid anything with a baby or children because those things are not in my life and won't be for awhile. I mean, why do you think I endured what I did this morning?! So that usually means no Superromances, Special Editions, etc.

Well..that's sorta an idea of where I got to where I am now as far as reading romances. I still prefer many mid-list authors to the bestsellers. I also am starting to read more contemporary books, but I lean more towards romantic suspense or romantic comedy than straight contemp. I think in my mind a straight contemporary romance reminds me of a drama movie. And I hate those.

Hmm...I think I'll stop now. This has gotten rather long. But hey, now you know lots about me. I think, anyways. I'm sure I've missed things. But it's a start. And does explain why I haven't read Nora Roberts or Linda Howard. Which is why I started this whole post in the first place.

Got Fangs? by Katie Maxwell

Awhile back, I had the urge to read some current YA books just to see what was out there. It sorta fizzled, but I did check out Got Fangs? by Katie Maxwell from the library. It had been sitting on top of Jennifer Crusie's Getting Rid of Bradley for awhile now and I realized that it was time to once again renew it since I hadn't gotten around to reading either of them. Bad me. Well, hmph, library wouldn't let me renew Got Fangs?, so well, you know, I had to read it. It's due back at the library tomorrow. It's a quick read, but I rather enjoyed it.
All sixteen-year-old Francesca Getti wants to do is have a normal life where she's one of the crowd, blending in so no one will know just how much of a freak she is. Dragged to Europe by her mother (a witch) to join GothFaire, a travelling band of psychics, magicians, and assorted other oddities, Fran has to cope with not only the normal angst of always being a fish out of water, but also with her own fate as a psychometrist, someone who can tell things by touching objects. Enter one Moravian Dark One (referred to by most people as vampires) named Benedikt who claims Fran is the key to redeeming his soul, a mysterious horse who seems to have an involved past, an immortal friend who remembers what Mozart was like, and a demonologist who thinks he's Elvis, and you can understand why Fran despairs of ever fitting in.

Well, it didn't take me long to finish this book, but I had lots of fun reading it. Fran would rather be anywhere but where she is, and thinks of herself as a freak because she's a psychometrist and is surrounded by witches, demonologists, and Moravian Dark Ones (yeah, the same type as in the MacAlister vamp books). I think I actually liked this one a bit more than I did the MacAlister vamp book that I read. Silly me, can't remember the title and I had gotten it from the library so I don't have it on my shelf. It's not so much romance here, it IS a teen book, but there's obviously going to be more books in the series and I'm interested to see how things go between Fran and Benedikt. Unfortunately, there isn't a release date for the sequel yet. *pout* All in all, an enjoyable way to pass an hour or so in the afternoon.

Maybe one of these days I'll get around to reading the Crusie book. And I have The Art of Undressing by Stephanie Lehmann checked out, too. And Charlaine Harris' Shakespeare's Landlord. Oh dear, one of these days I'll finish them.

Loose Diamonds by Daria Karpova

I've had this book for quite awhile and never got around to reading it. No real idea why. Maybe because I heard there were vampires in it and I really haven't been in the mood for vamps. But the other night I couldn't decide what to read, so I started it. And finished it.

Blurb from Loose Id:
Cherise Sartori, a jaded heiress to the biggest jewelry empire in the world, has done it all and lived to tell Vogue about it. So a locked case delivery on the way to wild party in Rio seems like old hat. Until everything goes wrong. First Cherise is kidnapped. Then she learns that her kidnapper believes in vampires. And she believes Cherise knows something about them because of some scattered memories and strange dreams of ancient crypts, ancient secrets…and lots of blood.

If being bait for something evil in the jungle isn’t bad enough, she seems to have attracted the attention of rogue archaeologist Leif Gerritsen. Cocky, handsome, and downright dangerous, Leif has her thinking about sex -- and him -- from the moment she meets him.

But in the fight for survival, distraction can be deadly.

Loose Diamonds is a very fast-paced book. It doesn't really let you sit back and think about it as it goes from one action-y scene to another. Daria Karpova is very adept at setting the scenes and I was impressed at how well I visualized everything even though she never stops and describes things in the middle of the action. The only problem I had with the story is that I'd completely forgotten that it was a novella. I'm reading it in LIT format, so I don't know how many pages it has while I'm reading it. I get to the end and I'm like, "wtf? It's over? That's IT? I want MORE!" I wanted more in a good way, but I was a bit disgusted that it ended and I didn't get more. I hope the author has plans to expand the story. The romance is very understated and it's more lust than love as it takes place in a matter of days, not to mention Cherise isn't really in contact with Leif for a lot of the story. There is a paranormal aspect, but I thought of this as more of an action story, than a paranormal, even though it's a fairly important part of the story.

So...if you're looking for something fun and fast-paced with lots of action in a short story, I recommend Loose Diamonds. Just don't go in expecting much real romance. I did enjoy it, even with my wtf moment at the end. I'll definitely look for more of her work when she releases something new, which she hasn't yet. I hope we meet Cherise and Leif again.

The Captain by Lynn Collum

Hmm...I guess I forgot to post anything about this one. For those of you who mentioned that I needed to talk about the books I read...most of them are in the archives. I've talked about most of them. But...on to The Captain and why I really enjoyed this Regency.

If Andrew Morrow knows anything, it's his own mind. He has no intention of following through on an arranged marriage to merchant's daughter Jacinda Blanchett- especially when he loves another. He'll set out for India to make his fortune. But eight years later, returning to England the captain of a ship, victorious, wealthy, and expecting to wed the woman he left behind, he finds his father living in poverty, his "beloved" married, and his unwanted fiancée missing under mysterious circumstances. His rash decision was the first link in a chain of misfortune, but he's determined to break it- and when he tracks down Jacinda, he knows it won't be easy. For she is as stubborn as he, and too alluring to resist. Suddenly, marrying this bold young woman is the only fate he will consider- as long as he can convince her that the passion flaring between them is proof of love…

I really had fun with this book. No drawing rooms, not a lot of titles to worry about, just fun. Jacinda is disguised as a boy when Andrew first meets her, but her disguise works. She also saves him from being pressed into the Navy. *g* No Big Misunderstanding, no stupid reason to be disguised as a boy, no too stupid to live actions. It's not a terribly meaty novel, since it is trad Regency length, but I did enjoy reading about Jacinda and Andrew falling in love. I also liked seeing a Regency that had a different setting with many elements I don't recall reading about in them, such as the press gangs at the docks. We do have a mystery (which ties into why Jacinda's hiding out), but it's essential to the plot, not one that's just tacked on. Although the cover DOES have a ship on it, there are NO high seas adventures here. But the hero is a sea captain. :-) and well...yeah, he does have a title too.

So...I recommend this one. And hey, it's only $4.99, so you're not out much if you don't like it nearly as much as I did.

My birthday

I've been poking away at my review books, so I haven't been blogging much. Thank you all for the birthday wishes.

The day before my birthday, Nick told me to stay home in the afternoon because of a surprise. So I waited. Glad I waited, too. He had a blue Endless Summer hydrangea delivered from a local nursery. It's just gorgeous. He'd remembered that I'd wanted hydrangeas for my wedding, but they weren't in season, so I had roses. You can see examples of the plant here, in case you're curious. I've already snipped off a blossom and have it in a vase on my kitchen table.

Day of my birthday was also the release date of some books I was looking for, so I headed off to Barnes and Noble. Oddly enough, I did NOT come home with any of the books that I went looking for. They were Lady Midnight by Amanda McCabe, To the Edge by Cindy Gerard, Once Upon a Sofa by Myretta Robens, and The Lady is Mine by Judith Laik. Oops, I was looking for Before I Wake by Anne Frasier and I did get that one. They just didn't grab my attention as much as I hoped they would. I might pick them up later on, or perhaps get them from the used bookstore or Paperback Swap.

I did come away with four books, though. And only one is actually a romance. And it's a time travel. Normally I hate time travels. Hmmmm.

I read the first few pages and it looks good. It seems I've been buying more mysteries lately. I guess my reading tastes are evolving once again.

I really liked Play Dead, so looking forward to reading this one. I'm also interested to see how Màili liked it.

The only romance in the bunch. I read the first few pages and the writing seemed to be what I was in the mood for.

I'm not sure why I picked this one up, but it was one of those special price editions and looked interesting. We'll see how it goes. I know she also writes romance under another name.

So that was my bookstore haul on my birthday. Nick also got me the cutest Mutts book and some anime dvds (Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex Vols. 1 and 2). He also cooked some of his killer Emeril pork chops for supper. MMMMmmmmmmmmmmm. Yum. Ah, I love my husband.

Okay...next up, what I spent at Amazon with my birthday gift certificate from my parents.

April books read and other things

Okay, so I've been busy and haven't posted much. I thought I'd at least give you all the list of books I read in April. Here you go:

As An Earl Desire by Lorraine Heath
Ill Wind by Rachel Caine
If Angels Burn by Lynn Viehl
The Greek's Innocent Virgin by Lucy Monroe
Unveiled by Kristina Cook
Summer in the City of Sails by Shelley Munro
Storm Watcher by Lilith Saintcrow
Silent Warning by Kathleen Long
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Hello, Gorgeous! by MaryJanice Davidson
Star Quality by Lori Foster, Lucy Monroe, and Dianne Castell
The McKenzie Artifact by Alison Kent
The French Connection by Tracy Kelleher
Chasing Secrets by Kelsey Roberts
Bodyguard by Beverly Havlir
He Loves Lucy by Susan Donovan
The Captain by Lynn Collum
Come Up and See Me Sometime by Lucy Monroe
Princess Ai Vol. 1 by Misaho Kujiradou, Courtney Love, and D.J. Milky
Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 1 by Nobuhiro Watsuki
Hellsing Vol. 1 by Kohta Hirano

So....21 books to bring my year total up to 92 books read. And here I'm complaining that I'm not getting as much read. Hmmm...

Also bought some books in the last week:

Talk of the Ton by Eloisa James, Julia London, Rebecca Hagan Lee, and Jacqueline Navin
Till Next We Meet by Karen Ranney (never read her, but the reviews seemed good)
You've Got Murder by Donna Andrews
Fire Me Up by Katie MacAlister
Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine
Hellsing Vol. 1 (already read it and want more!)

My birthday's on Tuesday and I hope to get some shopping in as it's the release date for some books I want that I haven't been able to find yet.

I want:
Lady Midnight by Amanda McCabe
To the Edge by Cindy Gerard
Before I Wake by Anne Frasier

Thinking about:
Once Upon a Sofa by Myretta Robens
The Lady is Mine by Judith Laik
Daring the Highlander by Laurin Wittig

Well, that's all for now.