One mystery, one latina chick lit, and something a little hot

So I've read a few books in the past couple days. And lookie, I'm posting about them! No pics, so sue me. I'm heading off to work real soon.

Killer Insight by Victoria Laurie was read Thursday night. And was sorta the cause of me staying up way too late that night. Thank goodness I had the day off the next day even though I couldn't sleep in (friend coming over early in the morning) I'd started it in the evening and in to bed, but just when it was lights out, I hit the end where everything wraps up. You do not want to end a mystery there! So after too many "just a few more pages", I finally just took my book and went into the living room to finish so Nick could get some sleep. I liked the book much more than I did the previous book. This time, Abby and Dutch are having problems, and because of Abby's psychic intuition, she believes he no longer wants her in his life and breaks up with him. Well, and Dutch did make a huge Valentine's Day blunder. Well, Abby then goes off to Colorado (I think that's the state) for a friend's wedding and finds more action than she planned on when bridesmaids go missing and her high school crush shows up. Definitely a fun book and apparently just what I needed that night since I finished it so quickly.

Well, after reading Killer Insight, I immediately picked up Becoming Latina in 10 Easy Steps by Lara Rios. I'd already started it earlier this week, but hadn't finished it. Bad idea starting to read it when it's already late at night. It's a fairly large book. I really enjoyed it and wish I'd read it earlier. I really need to get over my aversion of buying trade paperbacks new since I don't think they're going away. There's a good review over at Paperback Reader, so I won't really say much here other than that it's a fantastic book. Oh, and there's a small teensy mistake in the PBR review. It's Tia Lydia, not Sonya. Sonya's a bitch, Lydia's not.

Also read and finished an ebook. Finally got around to Celestial Passions: Sheala by Judy Mays. I think I've had this book since almost when it first came out, yet somehow forgot I had it. Oops. Anyways, it's another big book, coming in at about 212 pages in Adobe format. SF romance that takes places after CP: Brianna and has many of the same characters. I enjoyed the book and it's definitely an Ellora's Cave book, but things are done pretty well and not just tacked on for titillation's sake. I don't like Mays' werewolf books as much, but I'll definitely buy the next book in this series when it comes out. Whenever it will come out.

Speaking of heading off to work, that's in 50 minutes and I'm still in my pajamas. Better get going!

Books, books, and more books. Which is a problem.

Okay, so I'm too lazy to make these into actual book posts.

The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh. Loved it. Thanks for the rec, Megan! This and Dancing With Clara are my first Baloghs read. I kinda read them at the same time. One at home, the other at work. I just loved how I knew I should hate Waite for the alpha that he is, yet somehow it worked. It really really worked and I got the impression that he really does fall in love with Mary by the end of the story. So good. Read it. I should take a picture of them on the shelf, they look so pretty. Well, except the ones that are on the FLOOR because Gambit knocked them over. He has a thing for knocking over piles of books.

Dancing With Clara was another good one, though not quite as good as TNR. I thought the ending fit well, though it's not precisely a HEA. Another book that I think I should dislike, yet I didn't. Now I don't know which one to read next. Either The Famous Heroine or The Wood Nymph, I think. But that might change.

Let's see....also started reading Becoming Latina in 10 Easy Steps by Lara Rios. So far it's fabulous. And read a bit of Spooning by Darri Stephens and Megan DeSales at work, but I wasn't impressed, so I don't think I'm going to get it. It was too...something. Almost stereotypical chicklit in a bad way.

Also forgot to mention that I read Taking the Cake by Kate Davies. It's a really cute contemporary and I really enjoyed reading it. It's an ebook from Samhain.

In other news....Nick and I will be "discussing" the book problem here at home on Saturday. *sigh* Okay, it really doesn't need quotes since we will actually be discussing it. No, he's not being unreasonable, we really don't have that much space here in the apartment for all the books I want. But still....*sigh* I'll live. I'll pout awhile, though.

Oh...but I did buy Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn today! I was so happy when I saw it. Imagine big intake of breath and an arm shooting out to grab the book and hug it to my breast. Yeah, I was happy. Am happy.


Yay! It's Friday! And I have tomorrow off!

I started reading The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh last night. So far I like it. Definitely doesn't start out like a stereotypical Regency. I also started reading Dancing With Clara by same at work during my lunch break. That I'm also liking. And read a bit more of Sword of Shannara after the lights were out.

Tonight Nick and I get to go to a sneak preview of the new Red Robin that's opening here. I love the place and even had our wedding rehearsal dinner at the one in the Tri-Cities, WA. We get a complimentary meal as they test run staff before opening for real. It should be fun and I can't wait to eat one of those delicious burgers and have a great drink. I love their speckled lemonade.

Fall has definitely arrived here as the weather has been in the 60s and getting much colder at night.

Fall has come

Oh yes it has. A high of 64 today. We even had frost on the ground in the morning earlier this week.

I finished up Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh earlier this week. Excellent book. I don't think I can say anything anyone else hasn't said already, but I want to say that this is one fantastic book. Definitely a must-read for anyone who likes paranormal or SF romance.

Also read Raven's Shadow and Raven's Strike by Patricia Briggs. While reading them, I found myself amazed that she packed in so much in so little a book, yet I didn't feel things were rushed or dumped. She's definitely becoming one of my favorite authors and a must-buy. I do hope she writes more straight fantasy.

Also started reading Sword of Shannara on my iPaq. I must have read this in my early teens, and now I can't remember much. It's like reading the book for the first time, although knowing a few things about the world and how it fits in with Brooks' other books definitely makes some of the reading experience different when Allanon is talking in the beginning about the history of man.

I had been reading Dexta by C.J. Ryan on my iPaq, but the story just isn't holding my interest right now.

Work has been good. It's Banned Books week next week, so we've been getting ready for that.

Also a perk of working in a used bookstore, getting to see stuff before it heads to the shelf. Like the 26 Mary Balogh regencies that I got yesterday. I knew some of them were hard to find, so I grabbed them. They will look so pretty on my shelf. Going to start with The Notorious Rake per Megan's recommendation.

Also saw the first season of The 4400. Borrowed it from a girl at work and watched the whole thing (it's only like 4 hours long) on Tuesday, my day off. Going to get the second season from her and watch that too. It's really good.

I really need to blog more!!

Books bought (and a slight rant)

The other night I had worked a late shift, but I was too wound up afterwards to head to bed right away. So instead I dinked around online and decided to buy some books.

So I ended up with these all rather different books:

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay (currently reading and oh it's good)
The Sword of Shannara trilogy by Terry Brooks
Dexta by CJ Ryan (who doesn't seem to have a website)

Bought them all from ContentLink, which seems to only have books from Random House. but it carries many of them in Mobipocket format.

"Many" being the keyword here. One of them I wanted to buy was only in Adobe or MS Reader format. Seeing as Adobe from pubs that DRM can sometimes be formatted strangely, I went with MS reader. Or at least I tried to. Site kept telling me I had to activate my Reader copy. Okay, I thought I already had, but what the heck, I'll go through with it again.

But nooooooooooo. According to Microsoft, I've exceeded my six activations. In their words:
If you format your computer's hard drive or you add new hardware to your computer, it may appear to be a different computer to the Activation process. Therefore, it may count twice against this Activation limit.

Let me tell you, basing activations on that is total crap. I'm sorry, but I do not leave my computer stagnant for any length of time. Things need to change. New stuff comes out, need new space or want the latest CPU. Or I just feel like reformatting. So I can't read my ebooks because you think I'm not supposed to change my computer setup??

Oh, you can request to get an activation added to your quota, but have they answered me since I emailed them two days ago? No. Did they ever answer me when I had this problem awhile back? No. Yes, you have to EMAIL them to get more. So I can't buy my book. I don't mind using MSReader, but not when it's DRMed. Then it makes it into a useless piece of crap software that I want to smash into little pieces. Except that it's software and that would mess up my computer.

Reading funk (and a bit of info on what I have read)

Well, for awhile I was in a reading funk. Couldn't get into any of the romances I was reading. And I'm sure it wasn't the books, but me.

So I went on to fantasy and read all of Kim Harrison's books. Others have written much better reviews than I ever could, so I'm not going to bother. So just read them. :-) Well, if you like urban fantasy, I mean.

Also read a cute YA fantasy book called Temping Fate by Esther Friesner (she of the Chicks in Chain Mail fame). It's actually a really fun book. Girl needs a summer job, but because of small-town mentality, she's not really accepted. So she ends up at a temping agency that ends up being one that works for the gods. Mostly Greek gods, but there are mentions of others, like Pele from Hawaiian mythology.

Also read some erotic romance. Started reading the Pure Sex anthology, and DH was quite happy indeed. *grin*

Also finished my TBR Challenge, although I have to write the reviews up. Read two Bombshells for that: AKA Goddess and Her Kind of Trouble by Evelyn Vaughn. Loved both of them quite a bit and wish Vaughn would write more in this series. Need to pick up Something Wicked soon.

Also reading Let's Pretend by Raine Weaver. So far I like it. It's cute and sexy.

Must Love Dragons by Stephanie Rowe

Single Female Dragon seeks love and good times in the big city.

Theresa Nichols is a red-blooded young woman—trapped in a red-hot dragon’s body. Then the chance for a real-live date with her cyber boy toy Zeke sends her running to Satan to strike a deal. After all, when you've gone without sex for over two hundred years, a night of good lovin’ is worth your eternal soul, right?

Single Male, ex-Dragon Slayer, seeks fiery sex goddess.

Zeke Siccardi is a private detective trying to live a normal life—and outrun his dragon-slaying past. Not easy to do when his sexy online paramour turns out to be a dragon with a contract out on her life. Now Zeke has to protect a woman he was born to kill. But with the love of a fire-breathing sexpot, how hard could it be?

Mona's back! And so is the cyber-sexing, pretzel-eating, perpetually horny dragon named Theresa.

Well, Justine and Derek are off honeymooning and Theresa is holed up in Quincy's (Derek's brother) apartment since Theresa and Justine's is still wrecked. Theresa's out of food and craving those pretzels when she decides to sneak out and grab some. Which she does, but gets shot in the process! I mean, if you were a chef and saw a dragon in your kitchen, you'd probably shoot it too.

Becca, Satan's Rivka, is back and plays a fairly large part of the story. I sense she may get her own story.

Zeke, Theresa's cybersex buddy and online friend is the hero. At the beginning of the story he's trying to see her in person, but Theresa's wary about that due to her dragon form. Well, she caves, but only after a trip to see Satan to make a deal. Deals with Satan are never good. So now Mona's in danger. Add in more conflict when it turns out Zeke is a dragon slayer. Hoo boy. Then more conflict when it turns out someone is out to kill Theresa.

There's a whole lot going on in this book. Perhaps too much. But that's not to say it's a bad book, it just doesn't quite live up to the expectations one might have after reading Date Me Baby, One More Time. There's still plenty of humor here, though, and it can get laugh out loud funny at times. Justine and Derek are on their honeymoon for most of the book, so we really don't get to see how they're doing. Zeke and Theresa have loads of chemistry, though whether it's due to a meeting of minds and hearts or just crazy dragon/dragonslayer pheromones is up to the reader.
But...I do think if you enjoyed the first book, you should read this one. Just don't expect it to be quite as hilarious. And like the first book, just sit back and enjoy. No overanalyzing. It IS, after all, about a dragon, a dragonslayer, Satan, and a shapechanging goblet named Mona. Along with various other baddies. But I love dragons. Hmmm....guess I Must Love Dragons. I crack me up.

So thank you Stephanie Rowe, for making me laugh. In a good way.

Can't wait for the next book in the series. Looks like it's coming May 2007. Argh, I hate waiting!

Editing to add that this is a November release.

Sex Idol by Shelley Munro

Are you Sex Idol material?

Can you strut your stuff on stage, turning on the audience—your judges? Are you experienced in all forms of sexual entertainment?
Calling all sex contestants on Earth and off-planet! We are searching for candidates to enter the ultimate in sex reality shows. The winner of the Sex Idol title will receive a fabulous prize package including an advertising contract worth over ten million credits. Pick up your entry forms from Robinson's, the makers of designer toys and sexual aids, and sign up today!

Sex contestant Antonio Perez sees the Sex Idol contest as an opportunity to reconcile with his former partner Sasha Greenacre. With Sasha at his side he'll have hot sex and an excellent chance at taking out the ultimate title.

Sasha is shocked when Antonio walks back into her life, asking her to train him. She's determined to keep her distance and guard her heart. Sasha doesn't want to step over the emotional line again, even though one look at the luscious hunk is enough to tempt an angel to sin…

I won this in the TRS Trivia Contest from Shelley. She's a favorite author, so I was glad to get this one. The story's not too bad, though not her best.

The story's set in what seems to be the near future. Or a far future where things have just been tweaked somewhat. Anyways, in this future, sex is now a competition sport and great athletes like Antonio are celebrities. Sasha used to be a competitor, but she's not any more. Antonio wants her back as his partner and is not above using some sneaky methods to get her. But of course this is a romance, so they fall in love (or rather more in love).

It's an interesting story. Usually I'd think this setup was a stupid idea and just an excuse to add in more sex, but I thought it worked. Perhaps because it wasn't always just to arouse, but it furthered the story and helped with the world-building. Not a lot of world-building, but it's also not a long story.

Anyways, I'd give it an average grade. Not bad, but not her best. It's a fun story.

Some interesting paranormal covers

I like most of these covers. And the books all look interesting.

Rogue Angel: Solomon's Jar by Alex Archer

Rumors of the discovery of Solomon's Jar—in which the biblical King Solomon bound the world's demons after using them to build his temple in Jerusalem—are followed with interest by Annja Creed. An archaeologist intrigued by the arcane, Annja pursues the truth about the vessel and its ancient origins.

Her search leads her to a confrontation with a London cult driven by visions of a new world order; and a religious zealot fueled by the insatiable desire for glory. Across the sands of the Middle East to the jungles of Brazil, Annja embarks on a relentless chase to stop humanity's most unfathomable secrets from reshaping the modern world.

Solomon's Jar takes off not too long after the events in Destiny (or at least nothing significant happens in between). It's another action-packed book with an interesting storyline. It's very Indiana Jones. Which means that there's plenty of adventure and the whole story is pure entertainment. We're not supposed to analyze anything, but instead just sit back and enjoy the ride. And what a ride it is. Annja's got a cool sword and great martial arts moves. She's a woman who can take care of herself and it shows. This series is almost what I think Bombshell should be. Strong women, action-oriented, entertaining. Hmmm....maybe that's what Harlequin should do for some of the really good Bombshell writes.

So if you enjoyed the first book, I'd highly recommend this one. It's just lots of fun to read. Can't wait for the next book.

Also, I was able to get this one as an ebook from eHarlequin's ebook boutique. I'm sure it's available elsewhere, too.

The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen


The Latin phrase is scrawled in blood at the scene of the young woman's brutal murder: I HAVE SINNED. It's a chilling Christmas greeting for Boston medical examiner Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli, who swiftly link the victim to controversial celebrity psychiatrist Joyce O'Donnell—Jane's professional nemesis and member of a sinister cabal called the Mephisto Club.

On tony Beacon Hill, the club's acolytes devote themselves to the analysis of evil: can it be explained by science? Does it have a physical presence? Do demons walk the earth? Drawing on a wealth of dark historical data and mysterious religious symbolism, the Mephisto scholars aim to prove a startling theory: that Satan himself exists among us.

With the grisly appearance of a corpse on their doorstep, it's clear that someone—or something—is indeed prowling the city. Soon, the members of the club begin to fear the very subject of their study. Could this maniacal killer be one of their own—or have they inadvertently summoned an evil entity from the darkness?

Delving deep into the most baffling and unusual case of their careers, Maura and Jane embark on a terrifying journey to the very heart of evil, where they encounter a malevolent foe more dangerous than any they have ever whose work is only just beginning.

Long live libraries who get books early and quickly get them on the shelves.

That said, this is another great entry into the Rizzoli/Isles series. I love that along with the crime, we also get a lot of the personal lives of Jane and Maura. I think almost more than the previous books. Things happen that will have some definite impact on future books. And then Tess kills off a character who I was sure wouldn't die. Yeesh.

As much as I loved the book, I didn't quite like it as much as Vanish. I suppose that immediate threat to the main characters wasn't there. That's not to say it wasn't good, because it was, but just that I didn't have that rush that I did for the previous book.

There are actually a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the book. I don't know if they'll crop up in future books, or if we'll be left wondering just how big all this really is. It all makes you think. Which is good. long until the next Tess Gerritsen book? I can't wait.

Adventures in Iowa

Or at least a corn maze in Iowa. At Bloomsbury Farm, to be exact.

Cute. Oh, there were also animals at this farm, not just corn.

And on to the actual maze:

That white sign in the background is the entrance to the maze. To about ten acres of corn maze, I think.


More corn.

OOoh....more pieces to the map.

And more corn. It was actually pretty fun. Lots of lots of corn.

Bridge. Now how the hell do we get to the bridge?

Eventually we do. Here's two views from the bridge. As you can see, Iowa is rather flat. With lots of fields.

And that's all the pics of the maze. It all looks pretty much the same when you're in it. Here's a pic of a goat cuz's kinda cute.

And llamas!

Well, we had fun. It started to rain while we were there, so we didn't do the second half of the maze. Since it was starting to rain (and I suspect Nick might have been getting slightly hungry), we decided we'd had enough fun and went home.

Where I finished up The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen. Very cool book. Someone I didn't expect to die dies.

I'm off to the library

For the second time today.

Because they have The Mephisto Club waiting for me! *squeeeeeeee* I know what I'll be reading tonight.

Well, I have to break for the Powerman 5000 concert, but that's it.

How to make the best chocolate chip cookies (very biased opinion here)

As I'm sitting here making cookies since I forgot to make them last night, I thought I'd give out my recipe. Well, make that my slight adjustment to the Toll House recipe. It makes really yummy cookies that are a bit more chewy than the regular recipe.

Basically, substitute half the butter (and don't you dare stick it in the microwave to melt) for shortening (I usually use butter-flavored Crisco, but have used the trans-fat free stuff with good results). And then use the caramel/milk chocolate swirl chips. They are to die for good. I dare you to eat just one cookie.

Oh, and don't forget to refrigerate the dough in between batches. Makes it so it doesn't spread out quite so much while baking.

Errr...Overbaking is not good! And I think the Airwave baking sheet I use makes a difference too.

Bad blogger

Yup, I've been a bad blogger the last few...weeks, months? Something like that.

It really needs to change. I'm still reading, dammit! So I should have plenty to talk about. Oh yes I should. Like I just finished up Divine by Mistake by P.C. Cast and started in on Solomon's Jar by Alex Archer. Both were bought as ebooks from eHarlequin's ebook store.

And I really should read Dark Lover.

And I recently read Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs. Excellent fantasy and I want to read the sequel.

Also read What's the Difference? by Mental Floss magazine. Good book and recommended if you like trivia.

Don't forget to watch House!!!!!

Yay! Season premiere of House tonight! And then Standoff afterwards. That looks interesting. And recording the two hour Dirty Jobs episode. :-)

*smacks forehead*

Conversation while watching What Not to Wear:

Me: Apparently tunics are in style this fall.
DH: I don't have a twin.
Me: Huh?
DH: Think about what you just said.
Me: *smacks forehead*

Ooph. So bad. But so funny at the time. Well, still is funny.

*for those who don't know, DH's name is Nick.

Ah...the goodness that is new books and loads of shopping

So I went shopping today. Was my day off. Had money to spend. Let me tell you, that is a good feeling. Very good. I am now in possession of a seriously cute green cord blazer from Younkers. And Lane Bryant has 40% off all their jeans, so I bought three pairs. None of their tops fit anymore, but the jeans still do (damn butt). I'm not quite sure what I'll do when I no longer can wear their smallest size. It's sad when the low rise jeans still go up to my navel. But I do like the jeans I got. Their average length is about right for me. Seems for a short person (not quite 5'2"), I've got long legs. Let me tell you, petite lengths don't even touch the tops of my feet! Anyways, I spent ALL day shopping. Felt good.

Oh, and bought Gambit a new water bowl. You can see it here. It's been running since around noon. I'm not quite sure he's used it yet. He seems very wary of it.

But on to books:

Dead End Dating by Kimberly Raye
Pale Immortal by Anne Frasier
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
Out of This World by Jill Shalvis
True Blood by Patricia Waddell
Treason Keep by Jennifer Fallon
Heart Quest by Robin D. Owens

Ermmm....seems to be the month for paranormal/futuristic/fantasy stuff.