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.

My head hurts

And it isn't because I can't get into books. It's cold out and snowing. oh yay. Bleh. But Bones and House are on tonight! And I need to remember to tape Threshold. I never got around to watching last week's episode. Oops.

I checked out Daniella Brodsky's Diary of a Working Girl from the library, but returned it today unfinished. It was just too boring. Stereotypical single urban chick lit heroine needing to find love in the city and a job to pay for lots of expensive shoes and clothing. Boooooooooring. I just couldn't get into it.

Now I've started Talyn by Holly Lisle. I really hope it picks up, because so far it really hasn't held my interest. Right now I could quite easily put it down and not pick it up again. There's just no reason for me to care about the main character yet or even care about the events that are occurring. The writing is fine, it's just rather dull right now. I'll slog on a bit more before I decide to give up on it completely, though.

Also reading Scarlet Woman by Shelley Munro on my iPaq. Thankfully, it's good and makes up for the duds. It's a shape-shifter story set in New Zealand. I just love her writing and she's one of my favorite Ellora's Cave authors.

I also have to write up some reviews for some books I've read this month that I keep forgetting about.

Hunter, Healer by Lilith Saintcrow

Ahhh...the long (ok, not too long) awaited sequel to The Society by Lilith Saintcrow. There was a major (I mean MAJOR!) cliff-hanger at the end of The Society. Last night I finally got the time to read this one (and stayed up way too late because I had to read to the end).

The black-ops government agency known as Sigma has shattered the resistance, destroyed its infrastructure, and taken its best operative captive. It's about as bad as it can get, but Sigma's forgotten one thing.

Rowan Price.

Rowan is no longer a civilian in the shadow war. Her talents are almost fully trained, and she's become something she never dreamed of—a cool, clinical, lethal psionic operative. Working as Henderson's second-in-command, she's utterly focused on two things: repairing the Society's infrastructure and rescuing Justin Delgado. Yet under her shell of calm and gentleness, her rage is simmering… and it's about to break loose.

Delgado knows he can't remember something important. He puts up with Sigma’s beatings and questioning, the pain and the torture. Sigma keeps asking him the same question—where is Rowan Price? He doesn't know who Price is or where she is, but if he can escape Sigma one more time, he's damn sure going to find out. Because Price, whoever she is, holds the key to his fractured memories and destroyed soul. The only problem for him is getting out, and Justin Delgado is very good at solving problems.

Once he's out, nothing in the world is going to stop him from pursuing Rowan Price. But that may be the one thing Sigma's counting on.

Ahhh...I just loved this book. Rowan has grown a spine and is a confident, assured woman. She's got power and she's not afraid to use it to save herself and her friends. She also goes through some traumatic experiences that definitely shape who she is.

Justin...ah...Hmmm....He's just as wonderful a character as before, but going through Zed addiction and Sigma's clutches again have obviously changed him. I loved how it was obvious how much Rowan affected him in that even though he'd made himself forget her, he couldn't completely excise her from his mind. There was always a shadow of her there.

Lots of action here, not quite as much downtime as The Society had. All in all, I really enjoyed this one and hope there's more.

Montana Secrets by Kay Stockham

So I picked this one up for a purely selfish reason. She has a scavenger hunt on her website and the answers are only found in the book. Well, actually, even that wasn't going to get me to buy the book. Superromances aren't my thing, but when I saw this in the store, I just decided to buy it. And I'm actually glad I did. It's a very heart-warming story.

Secrets kept. Lives changed forever.

As a physical therapist, Grace Korbit has had some tough cases, but returning to her hometown to care for Seth Rowland will be the most difficult job she's ever had. When she left ten years ago, Grace was running from the secrets in her past. And from Seth.

After a riding accident left him in a wheelchair, Seth holed up in his room, shutting out the world. He doesn't want help from anyone. Especially Grace, considering she left him without an explanation ten years ago.

But what Seth doesn't know is that Grace had a really good reason for leaving…

Seth has already gone through six therapists when Grace arrives. Jake, Seth's brother and caretaker, neglected to mention that to Grace on the phone. Seth's angry at his injury and has been lashing out at everyone, even his young niece. Seth and Grace once dated, but that ended when she just left one day with her brother without telling him. And of course they soon realize that their feelings for each other are still there, blah blah blah... Well, you know what happens.

Even if some of the plot might be typical, this really is a well-written story. Seth's been paralyzed and part of the novel is him coming to grips with what has happened and starting the healing process. Grace has also been deeply hurt and emotionally scarred, although that sorta gets into spoiler territory. Suffice to say that although these two people have been deeply scarred, I really believed in the HEA here and wanted them to get together. I also liked the secondary relationship between Jake and his wife and them dealing with everything.

It may be a sappy story, but sometimes that's just what you need. So I recommend this one.

And it's got a kid. I keep reading books with kids! And non-annoying ones, too. Wow.

Kiss Me, Annabel by Eloisa James

I think I may have liked this one even better than Much Ado About You.

The RULES OF MARRIAGE...according to Miss Annabel Essex

A husband must be:


Make that very rich. She’s had enough of leaky roofs and thread-worn clothing.


London is the center of the civilized world, and Annabel has a passion for silk and hot water.

Good-looking would be nice, but not necessary. Same for intelligent.

Isn’t she lucky? She’s found just the man! And her chosen spouse is nothing like the impoverished Scottish Earl of Ardmore, who has nothing but his gorgeous eyes, his brain -- and his kisses -- to recommend him.

So what cruel twist of fate put her in a carriage on her way to Scotland with just that impoverished earl and all the world thinking they’re man and wife? Sleeping in the same bed? Not to mention the game of words started by the earl -- in which the prize is a kiss. And the forfeit...

Well. They are almost married, after all!

*sigh* Ewan was such a great character and hero. Seeing him interact with everyone aruond him shows the strength of character he has. And, amazingly enough, he's one of the first heroes I've read about who's religious. And it's obvious how much he loves Annabel and how much she loves him back even when she doesn't want to admit it.

Actually, all the characters here are great. I think what surprised me the most is how much I felt for Imogen. It's obvious how hurt and confused she is, though she's going about her grief in the wrong way. Makes me wonder who will be her hero. Making it Rafe might be too easy....but you never know. He's also another character who it would be nice to see have a happy ending.

Family is important in the book and I liked how the author mixed in all the other characters without making them feel like they were just fodder for more books. I mean, you know there will be more books, but you really do care about what is happening to them now. Especially Imogen. She's going to need someone special.

Black Friday, etc's that wonderful, infamous shopping day. Read the ads yesterday and wanted absolutely nothing. :-) We did go to Home Depot to get a Maglite. I don't know why, but I always get distracted by tools. Sometimes more so than my husband. "Ooh...that looks cool.." Never mind that I can't even really use the drill my husband bought me (well, I can, I just don't actually know how to change the bits *sheepish grin*). I still love that drill though. It's been used to put together lots of things that have made me very happy. Like, oh, bookshelves.

And we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Luckily they weren't having any huge Black Friday sales so it was safe to shop there. It's very easy to spend $50+ in a kitchen store.

AND....we passed a sign saying Huge Book Sale (or something like that) and went in. Lots of discounted books. Picked up The Traveler in a book club edition. They had plenty of other stuff and lots of trade paperbacks, but shelves are full so I didn't pick up any of those. I might go later on. I heard that they'll be open for a few months.

Also bought tickets for an afternoon showing of Harry Potter. Can't wait.

Okay...on to Turkey day events. We brined the turkey and it turned out perfectly. Had one little hitch in that though. Put it out overnight in the brine solution on our covered balcony. got down to like 16 degrees that night. So Nick had to chip off about an inch and a half of ice before we could rescue the turkey. *g* Other than that, it turned out great. My first pumpkin pie was excellent, too.

Also read a ton. Finished up Kiss Me, Annabel by Eloisa James, started and finished One Little Sin by Liz Carlyle, and started Two Little Lies by Carlyle. I should finish up Two Little Lies today. So reviews of all three will be forthcoming. All were excellent and very enjoyable. Lots of great characters.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve

Well, I've made my first pumpkin pie this afternoon. Looks yummy. Also thawed out the bird and plan to brine tonight. Long live Alton Brown! Well, brine after working out at the gym. Yeah, we finally joined a gym. So now I definitely have to work out. Starting tonight.

On the reading front:

Currently reading The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey and Death Row: The Trilogy by Jaid Black. I might put them aside for Kiss Me, Annabel by Eloisa James that I found at Wal-mart today. Also got One Little Sin by Liz Carlyle. Which was perfect since my ARC of Two Little Lies that I won from her came in the mail today! I'm determined to read them all by the end of the weekend. I've actually never read Carlyle. Oh, and bought a Silhouette Romance called The Marine and Me by Cathie Linz. It was a weak moment, but it looks so cute.

Also picked up a veritable treasure trove of erotic romances at Half-Price Books yesterday. I got Elizabeth's Wolf by Lora Leigh, The Possession by Jaid Black (er, not sure it's my thing, but it was only a buck), The Forever Kiss by Angela Knight, and Secrets Vol. 3 - all for a dollar a piece. Also picked up Death Row: The Trilogy by Jaid Black for half off, about six bucks, I think. I'm almost done with that one. I have to say that I might have to regularly haunt HPB's clearance section.

Revenge Gifts by Cindy Cruciger

I tried...I really did.


In fact, she's an expert. Lace pillows filled with cat hair-for your least-favorite, most allergic relative; boxer shorts that set off metal detectors-for your cheating spouse; and her best seller at chocolates for your worst enemy, so you can watch gleefully as she packs on the pounds.

Tara's best friend warns her that all this revenge is damaging her karma, but Tara doesn't care about her next life-she wants to enjoy this one. Besides, her kitchen is full of cranky ghosts. Tara figures she'll be the same one day, when she leaves the mortal plane.

That might happen sooner than she thought, because someone has put a curse on her. A black cat, a black dog, even a black goat, appear, each followed by bizarre, almost-disastrous events. And it all started around the time Howard showed up. Howard says he wants to go into business with Tara, but it seems like he wants to go to bed with her. Unless he's the one who cursed her . . . .

Is this karma coming full circle-or destiny knocking on Tara's door?

I checked this one out from the library because I really wanted to know what all the fuss was about. People seem to be all over the place with their opinions on this one. Some love it, some hate it, and some are just meh. I'm not quite sure where I am, somewhere in between hate it and meh-land. Basically, I can't finish it. There just isn't that spark that makes me want to read on, that extra something that propels me to take it everywhere and ignore everything else. I just plain can't bring myself to care about this book. I'm only about a third of the way in, but a book should have a compelling hook by now and this one doesn't. So it's got a snarky heroine, but when you don't actually have any reason to wonder what happens to her in the book, why would I read it? I don't have a problem with Tara, it's the whole lack of well, anything. I mean, I don't even wonder who is sending her the black cat, the rooster, etc. *shrug* Cute idea, but it unfortunately just doesn't get off the ground. It's just...boring.

So...Revenge Gifts by Cindy Cruciger is going back to the library. I just can't bring myself to read it any longer.

Twice Upon a Roadtrip by Shannon Stacey

Earlier I mentioned that I'd ordered a bunch of books from Ellora's Cave and that Twice Upon a Roadtrip by Shannon Stacey was one I'd added. I really wasn't sure if I'd like it and really felt like I was taking a chance, but I'm quite glad I did. This is an excellent romantic comedy. It's hot, sexy, and incredibly funny.

When the going gets tough, Jill Delaney gets going…in the other direction.
This time the other direction has Jill hitching a ride with the senior center's Spring Fling tour to Orlando. Screwed out of a promotion, she's ready for some fun in the sun before it is time to balance her checkbook again.

Ethan Cooper just wants to get his mother settled into her new job so he can pick up the pieces of his own life. But first Mom's got a little vacation planned. Now Ethan has to survive a trip with a busload of retirees and one sexy but infuriating blonde, then he's home free.

But when they find themselves stranded and alone, Jill and Ethan are faced with making their own way south. Fighting scorching sexual desire and each other along the way, they give in and indulge in a little vacation sex—which doesn't mean they have to fall in love. After all, Jill's not ready to be domesticated, and Ethan's convinced she's not his type.

They never saw the handcuffs coming…

This is a seriously funny story. Jill and Ethan get into some pretty interesting predicaments. I also loved the romance. Pretty much, I loved the whole book and can't wait to read more. And it's getting late and I can't think of anything else to say. Bad me.

Crankiness, etc

Cramps => Cranky => Crabby = a not-so-happy Nicole

So...instead of the post on Fever by Kimberly Dean, I'm just going to say I enjoy the story and it was lots of fun to read. Definitely recommended if you want something short. I figure it was high time I started reading some of the ebooks that have languished unread in my iPaq.

Oh, decided I hadn't bought ebook in awhile so last night I made a run to Ellora's Cave and bought some. Midnight Man by Lisa Marie Rice was on sale and supposedly rewritten and reedited, so I bought that. Also bought Scarlet Woman by SHelley Munro since I've loved most of her books. Then decided I'd buy some more, but since I couldn't decide on anything, I went with books of authors whose blogs I read. So in went Twice Upon a Roadtrip by Shannon Stacey and Misled by Sylvia Day.

Now, I'm going to go sit on the couch and read and watch TV and hope these damn cramps go away. *pout*

In the Mood by Ellen Fisher ebook that actually had me going back to finish it. Lately, that's been hard to find. Well, actually, that hasn't happened at all lately. So kudos to Ellen for breaking my ebook drought. And with such a good book.

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Alyssa Stone was used to betrayal and heartbreak. Shattered by her first love's affair with her own mother, Alyssa lived in a daydream world by reading romance novels. But when her world collided with famous writer, Jude Patterson, Alyssa's fantasies came to a screeching halt. He couldn't write modern sex scenes to save his newest book. How could this incredibly sexy writer not get what made women hot? As Alyssa helped him rewrite smoldering sex scenes, as she kissed his tender lips, she couldn't deny the feeling that he knew more about how to treat a woman than he let on.... Could it be true that heroes really do exist...?

Okay, cute romantic comedy going here. I liked both characters, but it was Jude who I obviously liked the most. Obviously, you ask? Well, it seems Ellen was channeling my husband when she wrote it. I mean, red hair, lean, funny, good with his hands... There were a few more things that reminded me of Nick, but I'll not mention those. *eg* So yeah, I loved the hero here. He's just so damn nice! And so sweet in helping Alyssa get over her fear of intimacy. Ahh...everyone needs a guy like that. Sweet and focused on pleasing you in bed. Perfect.

This is a novella, so things go fast, yet it never felt like things were really rushed. I wondered a few times what Jude really saw in Alyssa, but in the end, I just chalked it up to "sometimes you just know" and in the end, I thought they had a chance to make things really work.

So...if you want a really sweet, but really sexy romance, go forth to New Concepts Publishing and buy In the Mood. Go! Hey, it's only $3.50.

She's Got the Look by Leslie Kelly

Wendy at Paperback Reader sent me this one to read and I finally got around to reading it. And now that I've read it, I'd say that I agree with their review of the book, but in the end, I did rather enjoy it more than they did.

Newly divorced and back in her hometown, Melody Tanner is ready to change her life for the better. Her girlfriends think it's the perfect time to revisit the lists they came up with as a joke at Melody's bachelorette party - a list of five men they could sleep with no matter what.

But when Melody looks at her list, she discovers two of the men are already dead. Worse, the homicide detective she contacts just happens to be her #1, former Marine Nick Walker.

Nick isn't taking the coincidental deaths too seriously, until the other two men on the list die suspiciously. Melody thinks the only way to keep Nick alive is to let him go. But Nick's willing to take the risk. Besides, if he does have to check out, there's no place he'd rather do it than in Melody's arms...

I have to say that this is about the most misleading back cover blurb I've read. I rather feel sorry for the author because of it. Makes me wonder if whoever wrote it actually read the book. Or read a rather different version than I did. Melody certainly isn't thinking about her listguys dying when she pushes Nick away, she's just being a coward. It rather irks me that the back cover blurb is so misleading, giving an expectation of one thing and delivering with quite a different one.

Ultimately, She's Got the Look reminds me of a long Harlequin Blaze. In fact, it probably could be shortened and released as one. Now I enjoy Blazes every once in awhile, so I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad one, it's just that things don't start to pick up until the second half and even then, I can't seem to figure out what took so many pages to tell. Even in this length, Melody and Nick's relationship seems a bit of a rush. The first time they have sex I was actually rather disappointed in the author as I kept wishing the lead up of dinner and conversation would actually allow these two some much needed talk. Instead, we get some hot and heavy sx that is supposed to be so emotional. Hence why it reminds me of a Blaze. Hopping into bed as a replacement for the getting-to-know-you phase.

There are some other things I think back on that I didnt really like. I would've liked it if Melody had come to a decision regarding her husband and his impact on her life before his scene. That scene just lessened my liking of Melody and gave an easy out to her problems regarding relationships. It was just completely unnecessary and served only to tie up a loose end.

You know, after really thinking about this book, I do seem to dislike it more than I thought I did. Well, I guess ultimately it's rather fluffy and insubstantial. It's not so bad when you get to the second half, but if you do read it, try not to think too much of it afterwards.

I do have several other Leslie Kelly books in my TBR pile that I'll get to. Perhaps she's just better at writing in the shorter category format.

Winter has arrived!

Here in Cedar Rapids, we just got our first snow of the year. Isn't sticking, but hey, it's still snow. Though now it's kinda sleeting. Yuck. Snow is good. Sleet is bad.

In other news, I actually felt like cleaning today. Wow. Oh, and Oxi-Clean is my new best friend.

Read Threads of Malice last night. So good. Creepy and disturbing, but I couldn't put it down until I was finished. Review to follow sometime. I think. Depends on my mood. *g*

Need to update my Currently Reading list. Trying to get a handle on my massive tbr pile. I swore I wasn't going to read Threads of Malice until I read something old, but as you can see, that didn't happen.

Also picked up a copy of Domino at Hy-Vee today. It's quite fun to read. Might ask for a subscription for Christmas.

And for your viewing pleasure: Engrish

Sunday Musings

It's cold. And it's only going to get colder. Forecast has a chance of snow on Tuesday. Wait...I like snow.

Got a new keyboard yesterday. It's nice, but different from my old one. I had a wireless Logitech one before and the new one is a corded Microsoft one. The husband didn't like the old one's tendency to not work when there were problems, so back to a cord it was. It wasnt like I needed a wireless one, it was just one I got for free (with a wireless mouse, too) during my sophomore year in college. The new one is all clean and free of crumbs! We'll see how long that lasts.

I also let Nick take apart the old keyboard and receiver. Well, actually I asked him too, but he was quite happy to do it. *g* Nothing like getting to take electronics apart.

I was going to start reading Just Perfect by Julie Ortolon, but I had a weak moment and started Threads of Malice by Tamara Siler Jones instead. Bought it on Friday while I was out. I loved Ghosts in the Snow and so far, ToM is just as good.

Also trying to get gift ideas for various people, myself included. I really don't know what I want for Christmas. I'm at a loss for other people too. Hrmph.

Covers I Like of Upcoming Books

Click on the covers for larger images.

Recipe Time! - Chicken Strudel

Okay, someone asked me about the chicken strudel recipe. It's really, really good. Got it off a Mr. Food segment on the news a few years back (er, sometime in college). It's easy and delicious.

4 to 6 servings

1 cup cooked chicken chunks
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped asparagus, thawed and drained
1 jar (17 ounces) Alfredo sauce, divided
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 of a 17.3 ounce package), thawed
Nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, asparagus, and 3/4 cup Alfredo sauce; mix well.

2. Unfold the puff pastry onto a large baking sheet. Spoon the chicken mixture lengthwise down the center of the pastry. Cut slits 1 inch apart lengthwise down each side of the filling.

3. Braid the dough over the filling, overlapping to form "X" shapes. Spray the top with nonstick cooking spray.

4. Bake 25 to 27 minutes, or until golden brown and heated through.

5. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining Alfredo sauce over low heat. Slice the strudel and serve topped with the sauce.

Now...I usually use a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. And I've been known to put more chicken in and more alfredo...Basically, it's hard to screw this up unless you keep it in the oven too long. It's not the best as leftovers, but not too bad. Mostly the puff pastry isn't as crisp as it is the first time.

Undead and Unreturnable by MaryJanice Davidson

Book blurb from Amazon since I'm too lazy to do one: Though she's the vampire queen, Betsy Taylor is much more like a princess. In MaryJanice Davidson's novels, this high-maintenance monarch is finally coming to terms with her new status.

They say Christmas is a time for friends and family. But with a half-sister who's the devil's daughter, an evil stepmother, a fiend living in her basement, assorted spirits and killers running amok, and a spring wedding to plan with the former bane of her existence, Eric Sinclair, Betsy is not sure she'll survive the holidays.

Oh, right. She's already dead...

Okay...thoughts on the book? It's funny, yet rather meh. There's nothing real new here and the lack of plot that the previous one had is still going strong here. There's a small serial killer thread, but it's not really something that has any bearing on Betsy and her friends. I got the impression that Laura might not stay so goody-two-shoes in future books, but that's about it. Betsy and Sinclair work out some problems and others crop up. Bleh.

It's still funny, but honestly, it is NOT worth buying in hardcover. Get the paperback. I mean, I greatly enjoyed reading it and the time flew by, but there's really no substance here. I'll read the next book, but like this one and the one before, it'll be from the library.

It's McDonald's tonight!

Cuz oh....phyllo dough sheets and puff pastry sheets are NOT the same thing! No matter that the store put them in the place of the puff pastry sheets. They are not the same. chicken strudel. Instead...a quarter pounder with cheese and fries. There are flex points for a reason, right?

It's Monday, isn't it? Bah

Agh. I need to go out and do something. Well, besides grocery shop since I already did that this morning. I'm kinda disappointed because I didn't win a book contest where I missed the answer by having a letter wrong and it wasn't even a letter than really changed the answer. Silly to get bummed about it, but there you go. I admit it, I really wanted to win. But honestly, I don't need those books. I can live without them. Life is still good. Yeah. Right.

Nick's working late again. He's been on overtime for quite awhile now and just as soon as it looks like the end is in sight, something happens. I feel more sorry for him working such long hours than anything.

I think I'll make some chicken strudel tonight. It's kinda comfort food and will go nicely with this day. I also need to work on my resume (my pathetic resume) so I can submit it to someone who might just be able to find me a job in the same company as my husband (same days off and decent pay).

I'm cold. I should probably take a walk or go do some exercise video. I need motivation. I have no motivation. Oh wait, weight loss. There's motivation.

Nano...I like the idea of doing this in theory, but in reality, I have no idea what to put down. So I envy you people doing it. Good job.

I finished up Kitty and the Midnight Hour this afternoon. It was a pretty good fantasy book. Early Anita Blake-esque, perhaps. I look forward to the next book. Also had an ad in the back for Lili's Working For the Devil that I can't wait to get. Now I'm not quite sure what to read next. I started Goddess of the Sea, but we'll see if I continue. Might pick up a historical or something. And I should start Talyn by Holly Lisle soon since it's a rather fat book (well, relative to what I've been reading lately) and from the library.

Was supposed to go in to the dentist today, but I got a call a few minutes ago saying she saw my new mouthguard and realized it wouldn't fit. So she's going to make a new one and I'll be going on on Thursday morning. No wonder these things cost $250, it takes forever to get them to fit right! And it's almost a good thing I'm not working right now or it would be taking even longer with all these appts to go to.

I also have some books to blog about. Anyone want to know anything about The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey, Mew is for Murder by Clea Simon, or Undead and Unreturnable by MaryJanice Davidson? Or Kitty and the Midnight Hour?

Ghosts in the Snow by Tamara Siler Jones

I spent all of Sunday reading this book. I just couldn't put it down.

Back cover copy:
This unique debut thriller combines forensics, fantasy, and edge-of-your-set suspense like never before. In a world where sorcery is illegal, someone is murdering young women in ways that defy all reason -- and all detection. Only one man knows how to tracj such an untraceable killer, a man called to deliver justice by an onslaught of...GHOSTS IN THE SNOW.

For Dubric Bryerly, head of security at Castle Faldorrah, saving lives has become a matter of saving his sanity. A silent killer is afoot, savagely mutilating servant girls and leaving behind no clues and no witnesses -- except the gruesome ghosts of the victims. Ghosts that only Dubric can see.

Caught in the eye of the grisly storm is Nella, a linen maid working to free herself from a dark past -- if she can survive an invisible killer's rampage. But with the death toll rising and Nella under the protective wing of a man who may be a prime suspect, Dubric must resort to unconventional methods. With the future of Faldorrah and countless lives at stake, including his own, he can't afford to be wrong. And if he's right, the entire kingdom could be thrust into war.

I really did just love this book. It's got a great world, yet also has a wonderfully gruesome murder-mystery to be solved. I'd say this book would be a great entry to fantasy for any mystery readers. There's a great cast of characters and plenty of suspects for the murders. I really liked Dubric's character. Definitely a tortured man.

Oh...just go and read the book.

Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen

Book blurb: Regan McKinney, a studious paleontologist, isn't exactly accustomed to a life of high crime. But when a mysterious note from her missing grandfather leads her to a secret surveillance site maintained by a notorious special-ops task force, and headed by a smoldering ex-fighter pilot, even Regan can't resist the chase.

Well, there's a bit more to the story than this little blurb tells you. Basically, a bunch of guys who were juvenile delinquents get together in a super-secret government agency. Nothing new there, really, but it does make for a fun story. Crazy Hot is definitely crazy and hot and I couldn't get enough of it. I just loved it. Enough that I ran out and bought Crazy Cool. Things go a bit quickly for Regan and Quinn, but I think I bought into it because I just enjoyed everything else so much. They do go from lust to love pretty quickly. It's an over-the-top tale, but it worked for me. Fast cars, explosions, naked men, car chases...what more can you want?

Code Name: Baby by Christina Skye

I enjoyed Christina Skye's other Code Name books, so when I saw that another was out, I had to get it. I enjoyed it, but not quite as much as the others.

Book blurb from eHarlequin: Navy SEAL Wolfe Houston is on a mission of national security: protect one stubborn — but gorgeous — civilian in charge of training valuable government assets. But tracking down four genetically enhanced service dogs and guarding their furry backs 24/7 is going to take all of Wolfe's tactical skills. The dogs' unsuspecting trainer, Kit O'Halloran, doesn't know that deadly mercenaries are determined to kidnap her charges. With hostiles to evade and bullets to dodge, there's no time to waste — so why is Kit pressed against an adobe wall by moonlight, reveling in the hot magic of Wolfe's slow, skillful hands?

Wolfe is fascinated by Kit's devotion to her puppies, especially Baby, the incorrigible runt of the litter. But two other trainers have died under strange circumstances — and a foreign government has just posted a staggering bounty for Kit's capture. Before Wolfe can explore their white-hot attraction, the two are on the run, forced to decide which of their secret contacts is friend...and which is deadliest foe. Only Baby can lead them through the storm to safe haven in each other's arms. Good dog!

Code Name: Baby is pretty fast-paced and mostly a lot of fun. I actually didn't realize that Kit's friend was being set up for a book of her own until I saw that she'd be starring in the next book.

Hmmm...I really should have written this immediately after I read the book, because now I'm forgetting things. Well, while I did like the book, it just didn't have that extra spark I got from reading her other romantic suspense books. I don't know, maybe it has something to do with them moving from Dell to HQN. Maybe Dell only had room for Tara Janzen (whose book is next up on my list to write about).

Go forth and read

My Romancing the Blog column, that is. You know, so I don't feel bad that I'm the only neurotic packer.

In a funk

I seem to be in a funk lately. I don't like being in a funk. I've been depressed before, it isn't fun. Now I don't feel as bad as that, but when things that you usually love don't evoke the same feeling as before, you kinda worry. Gah, I need to get over this.

And I need to finish up my RTB column. Ooppps.... Thank goodness most of it is done.

There's a library sale this weekend. Big annual one. And I don't want to go. I'd bring home way too many books and have no place for them to go. So just not even going to tempt myself. No booksale.

That said...I went to three different bookstores today. Two were used and one was Barnes and Noble. I had to buy Crazy Cool by Tara Janzen after I finished Crazy Hot last night. It was so good. Good enough that I had to run out and buy the next one. And then I have to wait til February til the next one? Oh, the horror!

Also bought Christmas Cats, a holiday anthology. It looks good. And has a cute kitten on the cover.

Books read in October 2005

Ah...October turned out to be a rather good month.

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
Courting Claudia by Robyn DeHart
Get a Clue by Jill Shalvis
Only With a Highlander by Janet Chapman
Killer Blonde by Laura Levine
The Demon's Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow (beta copy, but I'm counting it)
Shoes to Die For by Laura Levine
Seventy-Seven Clocks by Christopher Fowler
Decoy by Brandi Michaels
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Witch Way to Murder by Shirley Damsgaard
Shop Till You Drop by Elaine Viets
Kill Me Twice by Roxanne St. Claire
The Naked Truth by Amy J. Fetzer
Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
Private Demon by Lynn Viehl
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris
Sandstorm by James Rollins
Candy Apple Dead by Sammi Carter
Code Name: Baby by Christina Skye

Hmmm...a nice variety this month. 7 mysteries, 11 romances, 2 fantasies, and 1 action-adventure/thriller. Of the romances, 3 were romantic suspense, 3 were historicals, 3 were paranormal, and 2 were contemporary. Like I said, a nice variety of things this last month. I also enjoyed all of them, though Decoy was probably my least favorite and the only one that I don't plan to read more by that author. All the others are ones I enjoyed.

Yes, I'm feeling too lazy to link today.