More Clouds

Yeah, I have a thing about clouds. I love them. So when I saw these while taking out the litter, I ran inside and grabbed the camera. These are just from right outside my apartment.

Dead Man Rising by Lilith Saintcrow


Okay, now that that's out of the way, I can begin this review. Okay, one more.
*squeeeeeee* Just a little one.

Dead Man Rising by Lilith Saintcrow. Sequel to Working for the Devil.

Bounty hunting is a helluva job, but it pays the bills. And it lets necromance Dante Valentine forget her issues—like struggling with her half-demon side and the memory of her lover's death.
Now psychics all over the city are being savagely murdered—and a piece of the past Dante thought she'd buried is stalking the night with a vengeance. Too bad she's got no way to tell which fiend—or friend—to trust. Or that her most horrifying nightmares are gathering to take one kick-ass bounty hunter down for the count.
But that's only the beginning. The Devil just called. He's looking for Dante's lover—the one he killed...

Dead Man Walking takes place almost a year after the events in the previous book. Danny has been working herself to the bone doing bounties to keep her from thinking about what happened. She's also been doing research on what Japhrimel did to her and what exactly she now is. The story really gets started when Danny's brought in on a case by Gabe where some people have been violently killed. But when Dante tries to speak with the dead, it's obvious that something incredibly horrific happened, something so bad that it's made even the soul insane. But the case takes a personal turn when it becomes apparent that Dante's past has come back to haunt her and she's going to have to use all her courage to face it.

Many of the characters from the first book show up here. They've all been changed by what happened in Working for the Devil. Jace is still around, yet Dante can't bring herself to be intimate with him as she still mourns Jaf. I really don't want to tell more because it would really venture into spoiler territory. Let's just say that Lilith doesn't make it easy on these characters. Of course, if you read the last book, you know that. She puts Dante through hell. Sometimes literally.

It's also a fast-paced book. Once I started it, I had a whole lot of trouble putting it down. I like Saintcrow's voice and her style of writing works for me. Obviously won't for everyone. But if you enjoyed the first book, this is a definite must-read. I like how it blends SF with urban fantasy into a rather unique book. I can't wait to read future books. Some have compared the first book to LKH's Anita Blake, but although they have main characters with similar professions, I felt that there's quite a difference in how they approach their magic and the paranormal. LS's books seem to incorporate more world religion into the mix, rather than just things that go bump in the night.

And, well, Dante is one kickass heroine. If you're ever in a fight with something nasty, you'd want her at your back. September, GO BUY THIS BOOK. If only so we can talk about how I can't believe Lilith Saintcrow did that. And then how she did this other thing and then the damn book ended. I mean, it ended where it should have ended and it was good for Dante to face what she faced how she faced it (how's that for cryptic?), but still...I can't wait for the next book.

Undead and Unpopular by MaryJanice Davidson

Once again, I thank god I didn't buy this. For MJD books, the library is your friend.

Betsy Taylor, Vampire Queen, already has plenty on her plate. For one thing, next week is her birthday—the big 3-1 in human years, and one in undead years. (Yes, she bit the dust on her birthday last year.) On top of that, she still has wedding plans to finalize—and it's not helping that the prospective groom is avoiding anything to do with it. And then there's her decision to stop drinking blood—something she has yet to share with Eric Sinclair, her fiancé—who also happens to be the vampire king...

So the last thing she wants to deal with is uninvited guests, even if they happen to be the powerful European vampires who have finally come to pay their respects the week before her birthday. Some of them don't want Betsy as their Queen, and will do anything to get rid of her. As if turning thirty last year (not to mention dying) hadn't been traumatic enough. And trying to give up blood is making her really cranky...But who has time to sulk? Well, Betsy does...

Umm....what should I say? It's funny, but only if you read and liked the previous books. Nothing really happens, even the zombie scene is highly anticlimatic. Honestly, the series is really getting old. Nothing's happening. Frankly, it's time for the series to get a bit more serious, or it's going to die a very painful death. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's already done that for many people. I'm not sorry I read it, but only because it took a short time to read and I got it from the library. otherwise....I'd be pissed to have spent money on something this disappointing. It seems that MJD always brings up something that seems important, but then drops it. Everything just gets dragged on and on and on, or, on the other hand, forgotten.

I do enjoy the humor here, but that's about it. As far as satisfaction goes, this doesn't give it.

Blech. Save your money.

On the other hand, her upcoming book Sleeping With the Fishes has the cutest cover.

New author alert - Colleen Gleason

I noticed this cover when I was reading the Wet Noodle Posse blog and had to click on it. Then couldn't resist the author's website. So now I really want to read this book. It looks like Buffy goes to Regency England. Hey, I'm all for that. Let's just hope the execution works as well as the concept.

Just sounds like a lot of fun.

The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason

Mackenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard

Yes, I have FINALLY read a Linda Howard book. Oh, and I guess this counts as another TBR Challenge book. I really need a synopsis? I'm probably the last romance reader on earth to read this.

A small Wyoming town is about to learn a few lessons — from a new schoolteacher with the courage to win the heart of a man who swore he had nothing to give....

Mary Elizabeth Potter is a self-appointed spinster with no illusions about love. But she is a good teacher — and she wants Wolf Mackenzie’s son back in school. And after one heated confrontation with the boy’s father, she knows father and son have changed her life forever.

Still paying for a crime he didn’t commit, Wolf Mackenzie has a chip on his shoulder the size of Wyoming. But prim-and-proper Mary Elizabeth Potter doesn’t see Wolf as the dangerous half-breed the town has branded him. Somehow she sees him as a good, decent, honest man. A man who could love...

Wolf’s not sure he — or the town of Ruth, Wyoming — is ready for the taming of Wolf Mackenzie.

You know, I actually rather liked this story. I didn't think I would. Now I wouldn't call myself an instant Linda Howard fangirl and I won't be gung ho about reading all her books, but I will try to read the rest of the Mackenzie books. Mary was a bit too silly for my tastes, but I did enjoy the romance here. I did figure out who it was right away and thought it all rather obvious, but the mystery was still fairly interesting.

Amazon, oh Amazon

Decided to buy some July books from Amazon tonight. So on their way to me very soon (since I opted for the free Amazon Prime offer) are:

They are:
Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
The Kept Woman by Susan Donovan
On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn
Whispers of the Night by Lydia Joyce
Crazy Love by Tara Janzen
Covenants by Lorna Freeman
Sins of Midnight by Kimberly Logan

Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase

Hey, I did Angie's TBR Challenge for the month! I know I bought this one because people kept recommending it. Lots of people.

Rupert Carsington, fourth son of the Earl of Hargate, is his aristocratic family's favorite disaster. He is irresistibly handsome, shockingly masculine, and irretrievably reckless, and wherever he goes, trouble follows. Still, Rupert's never met an entanglement--emotional or other--he couldn't escape. Until now.

Now he's in Egypt, stranded in the depths of Cairo's most infamous prison, and his only way out is accepting a beautiful widow's dangerous proposal. Scholar Daphne Pembroke wants him to rescue her brother, who's been kidnapped by a rival seeking a fabled treasure. Their partnership is strictly business: She'll provide the brains, he, the brawn. Simple enough in theory.

Blame it on the sun or the blazing desert heat, but as tensions flare and inhibitions melt, the most disciplined of women and the most reckless of men are about to clash in the most impossibly irresistible way.

So...I finally read it. I did. And I liked it. Not quite sure if I love it yet, though. But I liked it. Daphne and Rupert are quite the couple and I loved how they interacted. Since I'm sure that I'm the last person on earth to have read this book, I won't really get into specifics (well, historical romance readers). I loved the Egyptian setting and would love it if more books were set here. Reminded me of my Egyptian phase when I was a kid. It's a really fun book and the romance here is really good. And that's all I have to say about that. *grin*

The PMS Murder by Laura Levine

The PMS Murder by Laura Levine is the 5th Jaine Austen mystery.

Sometime-sleuth Jaine Austen struggles to make ends—and zippers—meet while living on a freelance writer’s salary in Los Angeles. When she’s not hunting down the latest flavor of her favorite ice cream, she’s tracking down criminals on her own Walk of Infamy... On the front lines of the battle of the bulge, otherwise known as trying on bathing suits in the communal dressing room at Loehmann’s, Jaine makes a new friend—a wanna-be actress named Pam—and gets a new job: sprucing up Pam’s bare-bones resume. Their feeling of connection is mutual, so Pam invites Jaine to join The PMS Club–a women’s support group that meets once a week over guacamole and margaritas to commiserate about love and life.

But joining the club proves to be more a curse than a blessing for Jaine. Though she is warned that Rochelle, the hostess, makes a guacamole to die for, Jaine never takes the warning literally. Until another PMS member— Marybeth, a relentlessly perky interior decorator—drops dead over a mouthful of the green stuff after confessing she is having an affair with Rochelle’s husband. Turns out that someone knew about Marybeth’s nut allergy and added a fatal dose of peanut oil to the dip.

While Rochelle and her husband are the obvious suspects, everyone at that night’s meeting is under suspicion, including Jaine, putting a new job opportunity at a conservative downtown bank in jeopardy. So, instead of dishing dirt with The PMS Club, Jaine has to dig up dirt on the surviving members—an alcoholic widow, a sassy sixty- something, a too-fabulous honorary male PMS-er, and Pam. As Jaine delves deeper, she tunes into some truly sinister vibes, and it soon becomes clear: someone in this club thinks getting away with murder should be a privilege of membership...

While The PMS Murder is funny, it's very light. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I enjoyed reading it, but at the end, all I could think of was "that's it?" It's certainly a cute and quick read, but definitely not worth hardcover pricing. If you liked the previous books (and I did), you'll enjoy this one. It's light and frothy with all the elements of the previous books. the end, nothing really changes in Jaine's life. There's just not enough character growth for me to be completely satisfied. Yet I will probably read the next one in the series. But from the library or borrowed from somewhere. I read this one over a few lunch breaks at work.

I bought some ebooks!

So I decided to buy some ebooks tonight. And finally broke down and bought from Samhain. And really...they have some pretty nice covers there. Okay, some are iffy, but some are really nice. Angie, I even bought Melani Blazer's after saying I wouldn't ever buy her. And it was kinda because I thought the cover was so damn cute. I mean, isn't that the cutest cover? I love the look on the model's face. And then the cover and blurb of You'll Be The Death had me having to buy it. And 72 Hours because of reading Shannon's blog. And the Laurenston book since I usually love her stuff, even if the cover is my least favorite of all of these.

And oh ack, I see on Shelly's page that Pack Challenge will be revised for a Samhain release. Guess I'll be buying that when it comes out. Maybe even in print.

My new RTB column is up

You can read all of it here at Romancing the Blog.

Be nice.

Have a good day. I really didn't want to get up this morning. Of course, then Gambit wouldn't have gotten his yogurt, and we all know how much he loves his yogurt. I can hear him eating it right now.

More Liberary love

Yes, I know I spelled that wrong.

I really need to stop with the library thing. When I get books from the library, I feel obligated to read them first and then neglect the books that I've actually spent money on!

Just received:

I'd Tell You I Loved You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter (I know someone recommended this. And a few people have asked for it at work)
Captive of My Desires by Johanna Lindsey

Coming soon (as in one of the libraries has already received copies):
Cover of Night by Linda Howard
Claire Fontaine, Crime-Fighter: a novel of life and death and shoes by Tracey Enright
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Coming soon but slightly further off:
Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund

And can someone make the cat stop whining? My god he can be annoying. Loveable, but very annoying. He really hates the computer. Yet he doesn't whine at Nick when he's at his computer. Only if Nick's on my computer for some reason. Blech. Wonder if Nick would care to change desks....

The Marriage Spell by Mary Jo Putney

So it looks like I'm behind on writing blog reviews. So sorry. I'm going to try to catch up and post some of the more recent reads. These might not be as in-depth as usual (hell, they usually aren't that in-depth anyways).

The Marriage Spell by Mary Jo Putney is a paranormal Regency romance. No relation to her Guardian series. Strictly a standalone book.

One of the Duke of Wellington’s most respected officers, Jack Langdon, Lord Frayne, takes his family’s honor very seriously. He also hides a shameful secret: a talent for sorcery he has been raised to suppress and openly reject. But after an injury lands Jack at death’s door, his only chance at survival lies with Abigail Barton, a peer’s daughter and a skilled wizard. Her price: Jack’s hand in marriage. It isn’t long before Jack feels an irresistible attraction to his forthright new wife, whose allure is as intense as the reawakening magical abilities he can no longer deny.

Abigail had to make a great sacrifice to perform a spell powerful enough to save Lord Frayne, and although she cannot help but be drawn to her reluctant husband’s surprising sensitivity and kindness, she knows all too well his distaste for magic. Once she has Jack’s name and the child she has always longed for, she is determined to live apart from him so that he can preserve his reputation–and so that she herself can stay true to her gifts.

But neither Abby nor Jack reckons on the deep, long-simmering passions her spell ignites. They challenge each other’s extraordinary powers and deepest desires for the sake of a love that may cost them all they cherish most.

I really enjoyed The Marriage Spell. It's simple, but incredibly sweet. I also liked how MJP didn't use the Big Mis as a plot element. Abigail and Jack are some of the more open characters I've read about. Yes, the story shows their developing romance, but they go about it in a very real manner. I also really liked how magic is added into the mix. I much preferred TMS to Second Sight, which featured a similar paranormal element. Although I thought Jack got over his problems a bit quick in the end, I also did believe in the end.

I'd say The Marriage Spell is a great book if you're looking for something sweet and simple. And I don't mean simple in a bad way. More that there's not a lot of dark conflict and it's not that complex. It's just a great romance. With some nicely added magical elements. And a rather nice cover, too.

It had been awhile since I read Mary Jo Putney and I think I'll have to start reading some of the books I've missed since I stopped.

I feel good!

Oh yeah. I slept well, it's raining and thundering outside. Glorious thunder. The kind that rumbles as it rolls in and makes your chair vibrate with the sound. Oh...I love it.

Yes, I'm weird. Thunder makes me go all mushy. I adore it. And lightning. Except when it threatens my PC, but even then, I still love it.

Ah...what a sweet sound.

A few ebook covers that are actually GOOD

Or at least in my mind.

And since I'm on my way to work, I'm just going to give you the links. Maybe I'll post the pics later.

Edge of the Knife by Mara Lee

Loving Fate by Emma Sinclair - in fact, I think I might pick this one up

The Outcast by Jayelle Drewry - sure, it doesn't show werewolves like the description says, but it was eye-catching enough for me to want to know more about it.

Star Struck by Lyn Cash - not a book I'd be interested in, but I like the cover.

The Orca King by Darragha Foster

The Necklace by Karen Monroe - I've always loved this cover

Under a Rogue Moon by Vivien Dean

Misled by Sylvia Day

Dakotah's Reading by Joy Strong - same model as Misled? But who cares, looks good.

Gypsy Heart by Sasha White

Believe in the Magic by Melani Blazer - just cute, almost makes me want to break my not-buying-Blazer rule.

I couldn't find larger pics of the Moxie Press covers, but you can see them at the site. And do go see them.

Strange Clouds

I was playing a video game in the living room when I noticed it was getting awfully dark. I looked out the patio door and saw the weirdest sky, so I went outside and took some pictures. Looks like there's a storm system coming in. But still, these are some of the coolest clouds I've seen. The sky just looks draped in material.

Just a few updates

Hello/Picasa hates me today, so I didn't update my sidebar like I was planning to.

Currently reading:
Mackenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard
Aussie Rules by Jill Shalvis
In the Dark by Judith Arnold
and I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Oh, at least The Amber Spyglass by Phillips Pullman. Almost finished with that. Only read it at work on break.

And on the Gambit front, his new food is helping and he's losing weight like he's supposed to.

I also need to start looking for a dress to wear to my SIL's wedding next month. Ugh. Well, I'm looking forward to the wedding, just not finding a dress.

I nixed the camera idea and figure I'll just stick with my larger Canon Powershot for now. What I want in a camera just isn't at the price point I can afford. So I'll wait. And treat myself to an mp3 player instead. I plan to get this one from Sony. On Tuesday, so I can use the free shipping offer. :-)

And Kinja seems to not be working. Hasn't updated anything since Saturday night. *cry* It's amazing how much I rely on Kinja.

Hidden Obsession by Joanne Rock

Hidden Obsession by Joanne Rock is the first in the Perfect Timing mini-series for Blaze. As in the Perfect Timing anthology, the Sex Through the Ages exhibit is the mechanism for the time travel.

A modern man.
A medieval babe.
Some long-distance relationships are unbelievable

LAPD Weapons expert Graham Lawson is in the midst of investigating a case when he's swept into some kind of elaborate hoax. Because there's no way he's in the Middle Ages... even if the setting is pretty authentic. Fortunately, he's landed in the closet of a delectable gentlewoman named Linnet Welbourne. An excellent vantage point indeed.

Fearing a potentially brutal future, Linnet is desperate to escape. Sure, Graham's sudden appearance in her wardrobe isn't exactly part of the plan-- yet Linnet trusts the peculiarly attired man. As they flee, Graham inadvertently finds himself opening up a whole new world for Linnet-- one free of sexual inhibitions. But even as Linnet's erotic education begins, Graham's eye is returning to his own time... and this could be one lesson he can't finish!

I really liked Perfect Timing and the whole time travel Blaze idea, so when I saw this in the store, I immediately picked it up. Actaully, that's all kinda strange since I really usually stay away from time travels. But anyways...I really liked this story. I'd say you need to read it with the idea that this is a fun read, not a deep one. No nitpicking about historical accuracies or anything like that. But once you set that idea behind, it's a fun, sexy book.

Graham is an LAPD detective working part-time as a weapons consultant for an action movie. He's also working on a strange case involving medieval weapons and sexual torture. Some evidence points to the Sex Through the Ages exhibit as maybe having something to do with the case, so he heads over to look at it. And well, ends up in medieval England. To be exact, in a wardrobe in a woman's bedroom in medieval England.

The wardrobe belongs to Linnet. She's a virtual prisoner after being promised to a tyrant. Linnet is understandably surprised to find a man in her bedroom. Yet she finds herself trusting Graham as they escape from the castle and set out on the lam. I dunno quite how it worked in the book, but I bought into it. And then there's the dildo that actually ties into Graham's case. Yup, you heard that right. Oh, and the chastity belt. *grin* Like I said, it's a fun book. I liked both Linnet and Graham. Time travel always boggles my mind if I think too much about it, so I decided not to. SO if you think you can do the same, I recommend picking this one up.

I think I'll try to get the next Perfect Timing book, too. It's Highland Fling by Jennifer LaBrecque. Should be interesting. Maybe I should make Màili read it. I mean, wouldn't it be cool to see her head explode?
Gambit eating yogurt

Testing to see if this will work. *crosses fingers*


So...Gambit post is on draft now since it screws things up. So anyone who has put video on your blog, how do you do it?

Videos schmideos

Well, I finally tried to take a video using my digital camera. Of course, I then ended up making it too long to post through YouTube, so you'll have to wait until I figure out how to crop it to make it work. And then you can see the cuteness that is Gambit grooming himself. *g* Okay, as cute as any other cat, but he's mine. So he's cuter than yours.

Had another 1:30 to 9:30 shift today. Makes the day fly, it seems.

Also...Blue Man Group is coming to Moline. We saw them once before in concert and really enjoyed the music. Yay!

Also finished reading Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher. Can I cry now that I realize I've read all the series so far and now have to wait for the next one? *cry* I LOVE the Harry Dresden series. So great.

Cameras shameras


I'm trying to buy a camera. Something small and easy to use, but takes pretty good pictures. And uses SD cards. But man, it's so damn hard to decide on something. If I find one that looks interesting and seems easy to use in the store, it ends up getting bad reviews. And if one camera gets good reviews in one place, it gets not-so-good ones in another. Blech.

So...anyone know of a good compact camera that uses an SD card, takes pictures fast and with good quality? And it fairly small? For example, I've been eyeing the Casio Exilim models. And preferably under $300. Probably something that's impossible. Blech.

Yes, I can eat crow. Sorta.

So over at DearAuthor, they waxed poetically about Mobipocket. About how easy it was, how much smaller the files were....

So I decided to try it tonight. And really....I rather like it.

I do confess the reason I was leery about trying something new was more that I'd gotten in a rut and well...I knew what I had worked. And it does, rather well. Mobipocket just might work a bit better. But I still won't admit that Adobe is the devil (except with the DRM'd books). It really does work perfectly well on my device. This is more for html and docs and rtfs.

But....I've got a problem.

It'll convert my pdfs and my htmls, but won't touch my .doc files or my .rtf ones. I keep getting this pop-up:

Please install Microsoft Word to complete this conversion.

Then another pop-up: The file format is not supported.

Now...I HAVE Word. In fact, I have Office 2003. Help.

So huh? One thing about Mobipocket seems to be the rather annoying support forum that seems fairly useless.


Wherein I show my utter lack of an ear for music

Seems my computer speakers are dying. Had Nick not mentioned that the music we were listening to on Pandora was sounded really bad, I probably wouldn't have noticed. Honestly, I didn't notice until he started fiddling with the wire connections. And hey, there was a rather large difference. :-) So hopefully he will be able to fix that connection so I don't have to buy all new speakers.

Work went well. Spent my first shift on the buy counter all by my lonesome. Well, I had help, but technically it was mine. Scary. Well, actually, it went well.

Now I'm home sweet home. Nick's PC is overheating, so he's fooling around with it. I'm just hanging out. Kinda bored. No one ever seems to be online anymore to chat. Boo hoo.

Still reading. Started The Amber Spyglass at work today. Read it while eating a delicious BBQ pork sandwich I'd brought from home. Finished up reading Angel With Attitude by Michelle Rowen. Review forthcoming.

Still thinking about changing my blog. Ack. I'm incredible sentimental about my current template as it was so nice of a lot of blog friends to come together to create it, but on the othe hand, change can be nice. And I wouldn't mind a three-column template. Now if only I can incorporate cats, books, and a few other things. Hmmmm....

Uff da, it's Monday

I have a lovely closing shift at work today. Currently I'm home for supper, but have to be back soon.

Finished reading The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman and Her Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik. Both were excellent, absolutely wonderful. Also still reading Hidden Obsession by Joanne Rock. It's a time-travel Blaze and so far it's rather good.

Anyone else reading anything exceptional?

I'll probably blog more on Wednesday, which is my next day off.

Of interest

While searching for something else, I came across info about a new chick lit mystery series--starring a werewolf.

Her site: Karen MacInerney and here's her blog. More info in this post.

Then this:

Step Into Darkness by Naomi Bellis. It seems to be set during the French Revolution. Interesting. Coming out in September.

And, oh dear me, British Bad Boys by Nancy Warren. So Màili and KarenS, what do you think?

And a Roman romance! Liberty by Kimberly Iverson. Vewwy vewwy interesting. I'm not sure if the cover on her site is the right one, or the one on Amazon.

And here's a link to a cover for the new Nocturne line. Again, interesting. I confess that I kinda don't like it. It's too much in-your-face.

And completely off topic, but does anyone else make their neck and shoulders hurt when they sneeze? Owwwwwwwww.

Why The Naked Marquis by Sally MacKenzie is a big fat DNF

And I have a few reasons. Most of them dealing with the fact that this book bears an unhealthy resemblance to Brighter Than the Sun by Julia Quinn. Which happens to be one of my favorite romances.

1. Hero's name in TNM is Charles. Hero in BTTS is Charles.
2. Heroine's name is Emma in THM, Ellie in BTTS.
3. Hero in both off-handedly proposes to the heroine because they want/need to get married quickly and get it out of the way.
4. Both heroes are threatened with violence shortly after meeting the heroine. In TNM, a porcelain dog is thrown, in BTTS, Ellie drops Charles.
5. Both heroines are vicars' daughters. And both have another woman worming her way into the family. Who happens to be a widow.
6. Both heroines are considered spinsters.
7. TNM has a page where the hero says 'splendid' several times. Which is another JQ book. Okay, so nothing wrong with the word, but after I was already comparing it to BTTS, it drove me nutty.

I'm sure there may be more instances for comparison, but these were enough to make me defintiely compare TNM to BTTS. And The Naked Marquis definitely suffers from that comparison. The heroine is dimwitted and stupidly naive. At least in BTTS, she was intelligent. The banter that was such a delight in Brighter Than the Sun just falls flat when done in The Naked Marquis. Emma's reaction to the other woman was incredibly stupid. At least Ellie in BTTS has an intelligent mind.

What's more, I remembered all this. I'm notorious for not remembering details in books. But well, BTTS is one of my favorites. It's one of those books that you can just pick up and flip through and read a scene or two while enjoying the fabulous writing.

And all these comparisons happened within the first 47 pages. I had to put it down after that. I just couldn't read any more. It was an insult to my intelligence and I just couldn't stand to read such a stupid knock-off.

Thank goodness I got this from the library instead of buying like I'd planned. No more Sally MacKenzie for me. The Naked Duke was just so-so, so this book on top of it has made me cross her off the list.

Bits and Pieces

Ah, poor Gambit. He's sitting by my chair with a decidedly peeved look on his face. And keeps mewing at me to get off my butt and feed him. Never mind that he got his last bit for the day half an hour ago. And ate it all.

I finished up Crazy Wild by Janzen last night. Bet you thought I'd actually read it already. Like when it came out in February. Guess I was just saving it for a rainy day. Hmmm....I think it actually was raining. Well, loved it. Will have a review post up sometime. And oh, I cannot wait for Skeeter and Dylan's story. But of course I need to read Crazy Kisses before that. Which I already have on the tbr shelf. :-)

In other reading news, I finished The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman at work. Read it the past three days during my lunch break. And now I've started on the second in the trilogy. So far it's really good. At home, I started The Marriage Spell by Mary Jo Putney before work and then read a bit tonight. And so far it also is very very good. I hope I continue to feel that way. It seems I'm in the mood for alternate reality England in the 1800s. I'm not sure what will be next. I've certainly got plenty of choices. Including The Red Heart of Jade by Liu. :-)

And on another note, isn't Liu gorgeous in that photo on her homepage? I want her hair. I really do. And the cheekbones and...hmmm.....anyways. Good night. Time for me to head into the shower.

Perfect Timing by Julie Kenner, Nancy Warren, and Jo Leigh

Again, I've been lazy. It's not that I haven't enjoyed these books, it's that I haven't the time to sit down and write about them.

What if the best sex you ever had was . . .

200 Years Ago?
After breaking off her engagement, Natalie Bowman finds herself in the 1800s being auctioned off as a sex slave! She's even more shocked when the highest bidder is Andrew Greenwood -- the fiancé she dumped.

80 Years Ago?
Uptight Sylvia Preston is terrified when she time travels to a twenties party. But when Tucker Green gets her dirty dancing, Sylvia wants to see just how uninhibited she can be -- in bed with Tucker.

60 Years Ago?
When history student Betty Kroger is transported to WWII, it feels right -- and even more right to show sailor John Stevens what sex is like twenty-first-century style!

Overall, I really liked this anthology. Especially because of the Kenner and Leigh stories.

Julie Kenner has set her story, Those Were the Days, in the 1920s. Definitely not a usual setting and one she does well. I like when I finish a short story and really believe in the romance. And in here I did. I liked the backdrop of radio and the beginning of talkies.

Pistols at Dawn by Nancy Warren was probably my least favorite. Possibly because I didn't ever feel like I knew the main characters. They were already engaged, but we never really saw what drew them together. It just felt off for me.

Jo Leigh's Time After Time was fun. Again, you don't often see romances set in this time period, even though it would seem ripe for them. I liked how Betty's love of the age made her fit in and truly find herself. And I liked how we got a good sense of who John was, what made him tick. And I loved the conflict in the story.

Like Alyssa, I think I'm going to have to try some more of these time travels from Blaze. I think I'm going to try grabbing Hidden Obsession by Joanne Rock when I see it in SuperTarget. I really like the cover, too. And it's the guy going back in time, for a change.

More Library Love

Ahh....want to know what my recent library haul was?

The Marriage Spell by Mary Jo Putney
Dark Side of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon (which means I need to read that wretched Wren story really soon. hey, what lovely alliteration!)
The Baby Merchant by Kit Reed (sounded interesting)
Undead and Unpopular by MaryJanice Davidson
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood by Sy Montgomery
Wonder Woman: Land of the Dead

I think that's it for June books I had on hold.

Once Upon Stilettos by Shanna Swendson

I have no idea why it has taken me so long to write this review. Sheer laziness? Probably.

Anyways, more Katie, more Owen (yum), more magic and mayhem!

Book blurb shamelessly grabbed from Shanna's site:
Click your heels three times and say,

“There’s no place like Bloomies!”

Katie Chandler’s life is pure magic--­literally. As an executive assistant at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., she’s seen more than her share of fantastical occurrences. A mere Manhattan mortal, Katie is no wizard, but she’s a wiz at exposing “hokum” pocus, cloaked lies, and deceptive enchantments. And she’s fallen under the all-too-human spell of attraction to Owen, a hunky wizard and coworker. Owen, however, is preoccupied. Someone has broken into his office and disrupted top-secret files, and it reeks of an inside job. CEO Merlin (yes, the Merlin) and taps Katie and her special ability to uncover the magical mole.

Keeping her feelings in check while sleuthing alongside Owen, Katie is shocked to discover that her immunity to magic is waning, putting her in grave danger. Soon she’s surrendering to the charms and enchantments of everyone and everything around her, including a killer pair of red stilettos. Katie must now conjure up her natural instincts to get to the bottom of the break-in, regain her power, and win the wizard of her dreams.

If you liked Enchanted, Inc., Once Upon Stilettos is a must-read. If only for more Owen! And there is some in here. And most likely more in the following books (there WILL be following books, right Shanna? Right?!) I just love the voice here and the antics that Katie gets into. And her relationship with Owen. And how she deals with temporarily losing her magical immunity. I also loved how it was explained. Made lots of sense.

I got a copy from the library since when I tried buying it, no one had it. *pout* So I'll have to get a copy sometime soon. It's just a wonderful book. Light, not not too light. And cute and sweet and funny and magical. With a bit of romance thrown in for good measure.

To Serve and Submit by Susan Wright

To Serve and Submit by Susan Wright

Book blurb from Susan's site:

Between domination and subservience exists a realm of sensual fantasy unlike any ever dreamed...

Marja was born a child of the fens, young, beautiful, and free. Her days were spent searching for bog iron for her poor family and communing with the spirits of the land who both guard and guide her. But her contentment is broken when a man comes to her small village and buys her from her father to transform her into a pleasure slave.

The handsome Lexander is well-known as a procurer of slaves for the pleasure house of Vidaris, where Marja is to be schooled in the arts of seduction and carnal delight. Though frightened, Marja grows to love her master and discovers her nature as a true submissive. But when Lexander grants Marja her freedom, she discovers that not all are so kind. Like the warriors who care nothing for those they conquer - and show no mercy to those who oppose them.

Now, Marja must accompany a fallen noblewoman on a perilous journey to save the land that's so precious to them. And Marja will have to use all of her strength, skills, and cunning to survive in the war that is about to engulf them all.

I really feel that the cover does a disservice to this book. The main character is neither blonde, nor is there that much bondage in the book. Nor do I even think she wears a corset like that.

Anyways, I rather enjoyed this book. It's set in a pseudo-Norse society with some other cultural influences via trade. Marja is sold for a few cows to Lexander as a pleasure slave. But...if she truly hadn't wanted to go, she wouldn't have. She has some free will here. It comes out that Marja is a submissive and gains pleasure from being submissive. Yet it is that aspect of her personality that saves the day. She isn't a doormat despite what one might think.

I think one reason I enjoyed this one so much was that it was very different. It required thinking a bit outside the box in terms of Marja. It reminded me a bit of reading Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart (which I plan to read again soon so I can move on to read the rest of the series). It's not quite as lush as Carey's book, but it's also not as dense. And while the story can be erotic in places, it isn't nearly as much as the cover would suggest. There aren't any gratuitous sex scenes here. But it's also not a tame book. There is rape and murder, although it all fits the book well. Horrid things happen, but it isn't entirely depressing, so don't fear.

And at the heart of the book is a rather nice romance. I wouldn't read the story for the romance alone, but it's always nice to know it's there.

Sharpe, Waldenbooks, and that damn knee

Okay, so it's my day off today. Played a bit of Oblivion on the Xbox and also watched a bunch of shows that I'd tivo'd. Including Sharpe's Rifles. Ahh....I really liked it. Also got the next one recorded to watch one of these days and plan to record the rest.

Also watched more What Not to Wear. It's very different from the TLC version, much funnier.

And did laundry. Lovely laundry. Laudry that is piled high on my bed at the moment. Oops. But I have an excuse. My knee started hurting again. Damn knee. And another thing that bites about the pain is that I occasionally feel like it's wet in that area, so when I'm wearing pants, I keep looking down expecting there to be blood or something seeping through. Odd feeling, really.

And went to Waldenbooks. Well, and Penney's for a look at pants for Nick. Which was a bust. One length was just too short and the next one up was too long. ARGH. Then we headed to the library. There's a branch in the mall there. So I picked up Dead Beat by Jim Butcher. Just read Blood Rites and really liked it.

So I bought books. Here's the list:

California Demon by Julie Kenner
The Shadow by Shelley Munro
Undressed by Kristina Cook
Dark Need by Lynn Viehl
Primal Man by Marguerite Turnley (a Rocky River Romance book, figured I'd try one)

And I noticed that the erotic romance/erotica section in romance is getting quite large there. Now it takes up a whole half side of the shelves.

And I feel proud of myself for heading to the gym even though I didn't feel like it and my knee hurt. So I took it easy, but still spent twenty minutes working out. Felt good.

Fun in the Sun? I think not!

I don't even have the stomach to post the cover here, but you can see it here. My god, that hair is nasty. That that that....I'm speechless. Do they really think that model is appealing?

All I can say is "ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww".

I never thought the day would come, but I almost think Fabio would be preferable to that guy. And yeah, I'm pretty sure I know who that model is. I'm just going to be nice and not name names.


My poor eyes. Why, EC? Whyyyyyyyyy? Why are you inflicting such awfulness on us?

*yes, this is only my personal opinion, but hey, it's my damn blog and I think that cover is butt-ugly

The days need more hours

So I think I just plain need more time in the day.

Stayed up later than usual last night to finish reading Blood Rites by Jim Butcher. I so love the Harry Dresden series. Now I need to get to the next one from the library.

Also started reading the The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman during my breaks at work. So far it's really good. And I got my ARC of The Red Heart of Jade! Can't wait to read it. And still reading Angel With Attitude (thanks Michelle) and The Fire Watcher (thanks Lilith) on the PPC.

Work is going fine. Oh...perhaps you'd like to know what I've grabbed in the last couple weeks.

The Wild One by Danelle Harmon
The lady Who hated Shakespeare by Susan Carroll
A Scandalous Publication by Sandra Heath
Lord Harry's Folly by Catherine Coulter
Spring Kittens and Snowflake Kittens (both Zebra Regency anthologies)
Priceless by Christina Dodd
Codename: Blondie by Christina Skye
Looking For Trouble by Anne Stuart
Crave the Night by Susan Sizemore
Pirate in My Arms by Danelle Harmon
Wicked Words 10
The Companion by Susan Squires
River of Eden by Glenna McReynolds
The Ladies' Man by Lorraine Heath

I think there are a few others, but those are the ones that are around my desk. but really...I need more time in the day.