Thursday, April 30, 2009
The Huxtable family series by Mary Balogh: one the whole, disappointing. Individually, surprising. The first one, First Comes Marriage, was good but not great. Vanessa was a nice character but not terribly interesting. The second one, Then Comes Seduction, was thisclose to being a wallbanger for me. Katherine Huxtable was borderline annoying and Baron Montford was a total asshole. The way he treated Katherine at the beginning of the book and his whole attitude in general totally turned me off and I'm not sure who I disliked more: Katherine, the one who agreed to marry him or Jasper, for being so clueless about his feelings and motivations. I had a hard time finding a reason to finish the book but I powered on through because I had a feeling that the third one was going to be good. I was right - At Last Comes Love may be my second favorite book of all Balogh's books (right behind Slightly Dangerous). Margaret, the eldest sister and family matriarch at her ripe old age of 30, deserved a wonderful story. She marries the Earl of Sheringford, Duncan Pennethorne, a social pariah who she should have avoided like the plague. Instead she finds the man of her dreams. I was so relieved when I read this last one because the first two were so lackluster and I expect better of Mrs. Balogh. (I did like Jasper, Baron Montford, in At Last Comes Love though - he was the only one who initially supported Meg and didn't judge Duncan for his past.) I have enjoyed just about every one of her books and while there were a few exceptions, they aren't going to discourage me. I'm not going to get my hopes up about the concluding book in this series, Seducing an Angel, the story of Stephen, the youngest Huxtable and earl of Merton. It comes out in several weeks. Series grade: B-/C+
TV: First and foremost, R.I.P. Bea Arthur. The Golden Girls is probably my all-time favorite tv show ever. I watch it or at least turn it on everyday. Since Lifetime gave up the syndication right to it and WE and Hallmark Channel now have it it's all Golden Girls, all the time. I even made my husband a fan of it (it wasn't hard). My favorite character was always Dorothy because she was the strongest, the most outspoken and the least obvious of the three. Blanche was the sexy one, always in-your-face with her sexuality and unembarrassed of it. Rose was the sweet one, the one with the least amount of common sense but the biggest heart of the four. Sophia was the funniest one, operating without the filter between her head and mouth, insulting yet truthful. But Dorothy was the one I could most identify with or at least the one I most admired. She wasn't beautiful like the others, dumped by her louse of a husband who she was married to for 38 years, she was the rock of the foursome. Always allowing herself to be the butt of jokes and the straight man most of the time. She also had the happiest ending since she got to be the one who married by the end of the show. This lady had balls and wasn't afraid to let people know it and we will miss her.
Also in the subject of tv: The Unusuals. This new show from ABC has completely grabbed my attention on Wednesday nights at 10. I don't watch much tv anymore; I have a bunch of bookmarked links to entertainment websites that I haven't used in many months. Our tv is almost always on but I read during most of my downtime. But this show grabbed my eye because of Amber Tamblyn. I like her spunk and will watch her in whatever. She is not the star of this show however and we actually tune in and watch it while it's on, not later off of the dvr. It's about a police precinct in NYC that gets all the weird cases - a cat thief, a store that caters to people who want to murder someone, etc. It's funny but serious with a great cast and entertaining plot lines. Please watch it - good shows on television are hard to find and we (me and the husband) would like this one to stick around.
Finally, Robyn Carr. I read about her Virgin River series on Book Binge. Casee and company raved about Virgin River, the first book in the series so I figured I'd give it a shot. I got lucky and grabbed a copy on BookMooch (it's pretty high in demand). I read it the other day and now I'm hooked. Let's not kid ourselves - they're romances - but they're real. The first one is about a widowed nurse/midwife who escaped the grind of LA to northern Californian town that is barely a spot on the map. It made me laugh and cry and I can't wait to start the second one, Shelter Mountain, later today after I've finished my errands and such. I'm so glad I've found someone else to read. I read so much and so fast (I'm modest too, can't you tell) that finding an author with staying power makes my day. I'm grabbing up copies to keep since I can definitely see myself rereading them. That doesn't happen to me very often at all.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Today I'm all out-of-sorts. One of my eyes is mad at me for some particular reason (irritated and watering) and I'm having trouble deciding what to read. Last night I started The Archer's Tale by Bernard Cornwell. Not my usual type of read but it sounds interesting and it was interesting last night. Today, not so much. So I stood at my bookshelves until something grabbed my interest and picked Butcher's latest, Turn Coat. But after I started it, something didn't feel right. I love Harry Dresden and consume his books like the book glutton that I am but I wasn't feeling it, the thing, the feeling of happiness and excitement I get when I start a new Harry hardback. So, I put that one back and tried again. Settled this time on Pamela Clare's Surrender. Let's hope that her scottish accent is more along the vein of Outlander, not Groundskeeper Willie. Let's also hope that the problem I had with Turn Coat is a fluke and not something more serious. I've been wanting for a while now to reread the series so maybe I'll wait until I've accomplished that. As if.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
vampire. Just noticed that. So, this one was pretty intense. The werewolf king who is being tortured under Paris gets a whiff of his mate, chews off his own leg to free himself and about has a heart attack when he discovers that his intended is a vamp. Talk about a letdown. Emmaline and Lachlain definitely make an interesting pair. Vicious surrogate mommies and jealous pack members spice things up. The next one, No Rest for the Wicked, is in the mail, making it's way here. Whoo boy. Media mail is so damn slow :)
Elizabeth Phoenix once used her unique skills as a psychic to help in the Milwaukee Police Department’s fight against injustice. But when Liz’s foster mother is found viciously murdered—and Liz is discovered unconscious at the scene—her only memory of the crime comes in the form of terrifying dreams...of creatures more horrific than anything Liz has seen in real life. What do these visions mean? And what in the world do they have to do with her former lover, Jimmy Sanducci?
To places she’s never been before
While the police question Jimmy in the murder, Jimmy opens Liz’s eyes to a supernatural war that has raged since the dawn of time in which innocent people are hunted by malevolent beings disguised as humans. Only a chosen few have the ability to fight their evil, and Jimmy believes Liz is among them. Now, with her senses heightened, new feelings are rising within Liz—ones that re-ignite her dangerous attraction to Jimmy. But Jimmy has a secret that will rock Liz to her core…and put the survival of the human race in peril.
I got my copy of this book from the awesome folks over at LibraryThing. They give away books each month and last year the publisher handed out a 1000 copies through LT with the understanding that the recipients will write a review of the book they receive. I actually got two and it still took me until March to read it. I try to put off reading new books from authors that I like because then I'll have to wait another year before the next one and I hate that. Anyway, Doomsday finally made it last month. I had read the prequel short story "In the Beginning" that Handeland wrote and gave away for free on her website, in which we learn what happened during the end of Liz Phoenix's career as a cop. By the end of it I was intrigued. Liz Phoenix is a tragic character - foster kid, had abilities she's doesn't want or understand, suffered through heartbreak by the man she's still in love with, blames herself for the death of her partner in the line of duty, etc.
Tragic or not, I liked Liz. For maybe the first half, anyway. I thought the whole deal with Sawyer and gaining powers though sex was a turnoff. It reminded me a lot of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series and how disappointed I was when it became basically a vehicle for bad porn. Then she believed she could save Jimmy from his father's clutches with sex. That seems pretty naive to me, having seen what Liz had already been through. I was disappointed with this effort from Lori Handeland, having read and liked most of her Nightcreature series. I will probably read the next one, Doomsday Can Wait, even though this one was lukewarm.
What a week. The procedure I mentioned on Wednesday is over. It was a test, I should tell you, not really a "procedure." I was freaked out about it, as I had every right to be, but it looks as if everything is going to be fine. No cancer for me, yay :) Just about every woman (at least in this country, I guess) will most likely have to endure it at some time in their lives and mine was Wednesday. I'm deliberately being vague about this because I think it's stupid to share intimate information on the internet since you don't really know who is going to be reading it but I think you can probably read between the lines here anyway.
As I said, this experience has been rough for me and I learned something because of it. It is this: I should not write about books when I'm not altogether me. On Wednesday, I was completely out-of-sorts and wrote about The Vampire Shrink. I didn't like it; everything I wrote was something I thought or felt while I read it. I have certainly read goofier vampire novels than this one but I really ripped it and earned a comment from the author, Lynda Hilburn herself. Holy cow. I think of and write on this blog as if it's my personal book diary and I forget that it is on the internet and anyone can see it and so this morning, as I logged on to list the books I have read these past few days and noticed that I had a comment (proof that other human beings are reading this blog), and that comment turned out to be from the author of a book that I ridiculed, well, I almost sprayed coffee all over the monitor. If I had been Ms. Hilburn and saw what some unimportant nobody (in the book world) wrote about a book that she is most likely proud of, I probably wouldn't have been as classy as she was. So, in the spirit of graciousness and tact, Thank you Ms. Hilburn for wishing me luck after I made fun of your work. You taught me a valuable lesson about standing behind your work and kindness. I won't take back what I said but I will give it a second chance.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas (A)
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (B)
A Fountain Filled With Blood by Julia Spencer-Fleming (A)
The Vampire Diaries (omnibus #1) by L. J. Smith (dnf)
Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder (B)
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder (B+)
In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming (A)
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (A-)
Promises in Death by J. D. Robb (A)
Lord of the Beasts by Susan Krinard (B)
A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole (B)
I Only Have Fangs For You by Kathy Love (A)
Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh (A)
Slightly Sinful by Mary Balogh (B)
Slightly Tempted by Mary Balogh (B-)
How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks (B+)
Demon Angel by Meljean Brook (A-)
"Falling for Anthony" in Hot Spell by Meljean Brook (A)
Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh (A+)
Slightly Scandalous by Mary Balogh (C+)
Slightly Wicked by Mary Balogh (B)
Slightly Married by Mary Balogh (A-)
Hot Shot by Charlotte Hughes (B)
Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland (B-/C+)
A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh (A-)
Madhouse by Rob Thurman (B-)
How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn (A)
The Lady in Question by Victoria Alexander (A-)
A Kiss to Remember by Teresa Medeiros (B)
Dead to Me by Anton Strout (A-)
One Night of Scandal by Teresa Medeiros (B)
First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh (B+)
When the Duke Returns by Eloisa James (B)
(March total: 34, 2009 total:99)