Monday, December 26, 2011

100 Book Challenge Weeks 8 & 9

Lesson Learned: it's really hard to catch up when you're behind schedule on a demanding challenge like this. I've been reading every spare moment and I've just finished book #19, so I've "only" 7 books to catch up. That's a LOT of reading, you know! Ok, I did work the challenge on a 50-week year so that I had a two-week leeway, but I'm loathe to gobble that up so early in the year. What if I get really busy when my language training kicks in? Oh, lordy, I'm in trouble!

Oh well, the holidays have helped. Perhaps I can catch up and get a little ahead before the studies begin.

Book Review #15: Alex Craft – Grave Witch
Author: Kalayna Price
Genre: Fantasy

   Having read and enjoyed Kalayna Price’s previous novels, I was really excited to get this, her newest offering. However, the sales pitch on it should have been along the lines of: “And now for something completely different…”

In the beginning, I wasn’t sure I liked it, but Price is a brilliant writer and she held me captivated for the whole story. Now, at the end, I can’t wait for the next one in the series.

Alex Craft sees, and talks to, dead people. In fact, she’s on a first name basis with Death. She works for private clients, raising the shades of relatives so that they can ask questions such as “where did you leave the will?” An opportunity arises for her to work with the police, helping them solve cases, which she sees as a source of regular income – but she doesn’t realize it will come with a whole lot of life-threatening situations!

Price writes snappy, intriguing, well-formulated mysteries and you’re kept guessing throughout the book. I had figured out one of the characters (it was a little obvious), but other than that, she kept the thread tight and well-hidden. Brilliant writing, great story, lovely character and fun side-kicks.

More, more!

Book Review #16: Dynasty of Ghosts
Author: P.L. Nunn
Genre: Fantasy

This is one very different book, from an author who not only writes, but also illustrates her own books AND is a sought after illustrator for other author’s books. One talented lady! As if that weren’t enough, she is self-published. Talented and brave!

Dynasty of Ghosts is the tale of Illya, a simple mountain man/boy who joins the army as an alternative to joining the priesthood. He is thought to be fey, due to his fine skin, strange hair and eye coloring, and ability to see, hear, and talk to ghosts.

He meets up with Ashe, Prince of the country, reluctant Heir to the throne, and new companion-in-chains when the two of them are captured by the enemy.

I must admit to being unsure why Ms Nunn included the ghost aspect into her story. It is an excellent piece without them, and I was hooked from virtually the first paragraph. However, the ghosts added a quirky side-tag, and it was not disruptive to include them, so ok.

As a die-hard fantasy fan, this had arrows and horses and battles galore, court intrigue and jealous lovers, mystical lands and fascinating cultures.

Loved it!

Book Review #17: Divide & Conquer
Author: Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
Genre: Police/Detective Mystery

Yes, I returned to the last book I had in the series. I have it loaded and I figured I may as well read it, or it will hang around my neck like an albatross.

Actually, I’m glad I did. It opened with repartee and jokes in the first chapter that had me laughing out loud, had an action-packed plot, and then built up to an excellent finale. There was a lot of side angles that added to the interest and a development of both characters from “big tough guy” to “real live person”. It was terrific, and would have been an excellent end to the series.

Unfortunately, the authors are caught up in the joy of their writing and ended rather annoyingly. There is a book 5. I shall not be getting it. Maybe if I’d only read books 2 and 4, I’d work through a couple more, but I think I’m done.

Thanks anyway.

UFB – UnFinished Book

Every now and then I get a book I just can’t force myself to read. Once I couldn’t make the end of the first chapter. Most times I’ll give a book 2 or 3 chapters before I finally throw in the towel.

Due to this book challenge, I really have tried to finish books that I may otherwise have put aside. Especially as I’ve taken the time that I could be using to read another book. This challenge is time-sensitive after all. And danged hard work.

Anyway, so as to justify my time, I’m going to include a section for UFBs – UnFinished Books. At the very least so that I can humph about having to quit!

UFB: #1 A Promise Kept
Author: Stormy Glenn
Genre: WTF Knows?

This book proved more than I could bear. The writing is juvenile and the plot, such that I managed to understand, thin. I felt like I was reading a high-school submission. For example, in one paragraph, two short lines ended with “right now”. An idea is explored in one short, three line paragraph, and then repeated immediately after in the next. It was jarring and did not make for a comfortable reading flow.

To the person who recommended it, sorry, but this just didn’t work for me.

Book Review #18: Moon Called – Mercy Thompson Book 1
Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Fantasy

There are occasions when you stumble upon an author who thrills you such that you are delighted to discover she writes in series. Patricia Briggs makes this elect, and I loved this, her first book.

Mercedes Thompson, Mercy to her friends, runs a small one-woman garage. Her best friend is a werewolf, one of her best customers is a vampire, and she herself has a few.. interesting.. talents.

A young, injured runaway werewolf appears on Mercy’s doorstep and unwittingly launches her into a world of deadly foes, dangerous players, and hidden motives. Whilst she has some knowledge of werefolk, she is gravely undereducated on other aspects of the preternatural, as well as the extent of her own abilities.

I’m dying to give you more information, but this plot is so well laid out, with snippets being released slowly throughout, that it is difficult to work out what I can give you without giving something away. And it’s just sooo delicious to discover these little tidbits, I wouldn’t deprive you of the fun.

Now, I’m off to book 2. Can’t wait!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let It Snow

  1. Go to Google.
  2. Type in "Let it snow"
  3. Hit Enter
I particularly enjoyed the "defrost" button! :D

Thanks, Erica. Great fun!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

100 Book Challenge Weeks 6 & 7

Author: Stephanie Meyer
Genre: Fantasy

At over 800 pages, this is a tome and explains why the film version was released in two parts (something I only found out yesterday). It is split into three “books” in the content pages, books one and three being from Bella’s perspective, and book two from Jacob’s.

Although this was book four of the sage, it felt like I was ready a whole new series. Bella was different, less whiney and childish, more decisive and mature. The plot was more plausible and the action carried you along at a clipping pace, building suspense and drama. Exceptionally well written and impelling. Unlike the other books, this one made me wish for part 5, or perhaps the next saga.

Spoiler alert: Personally, I’d love to see a showdown between the Cullen coven and the Volturi. There was such a peak in the action, NOT having them taken down was a bit disappointing. Maybe there IS another set in the wings?

Book Review #12: Sticks and Stones
Author: Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Genre: Crime/Detective/Police

Ty and Zane are back and this time they’re on vacation. However, where “bad vacation” would mean my wallet is stolen or I lose my passport, they give an entirely new definition to the phrase “vacation from hell”. I reckon they’d ­welcome losing a passport, just for a break from the beatings, bombs, and bullets.

This time we get to meet the Grady bunch, and they’re nothing at all like the Brady bunch. One tough family, but honest and genuine folk, who believe in tough love. Zane gets to understand Ty a little more as he interacts with his interesting family, and Ty gets to grips with his feelings for Zane.

A fair bit of emotional stuff is covered in this book, not so much sex (my Freudian slip is grateful), and a ton of action to keep you hooked.

They even end with a teaser for the next book. Bugrit.

Now I have to get it.

Book Review #13: Fish and Chips
Author: Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Genre: Crime/Detective/Police

Even Zane couldnt keep Tys wavering attention for very long unless he had something shiny to wave around. Ty needed to be doing something or he began to go stir crazy.”
I LOVE that line. Well, those two lines. That’s exactly what I’m like, shiny doesn’t keep me occupied for very long either. Lately I’ve been working on finishing a project every week. Of course, this keeps my projects REAL small.

Where was I?

Yup, I dug straight back into the next book in the series. This time our intrepid and slightly battered heroes are undercover on a cruise ship, masquerading as a gay couple who are international dealers. Of course, the authors play this one up to the nines, doll!

Unfortunately, that’s the good part of this book.

It moved really slowly, and I didn’t find much police work, which is odd for a novel about FBI agents. In fact, we jump from our main characters being confused to a conclusion. How did we get there? Very unsatisfactory.

An introduction to the next book was included in this one, again. I didn’t bother to read it. I was too disappointed.

Book Review #14: Cybill Disobedience
Author: Cybill Shepherd
Genre: Autobiography

Shepherd is a talented actress, renowned comic, and amusing writer. However, here she is incredibly long-winded, writing with far too much detail. By chapter two I was already wishing for the Readers Digest Condensed version.

I loved her introduction, snappy and to the point and very funny, and wish she had maintained that tone throughout the book. I suppose that diehard Shepherd fans want every nuance of every memory, from her earliest childhood to the modern day. It just felt like sitting through an old lady’s interminable photo album, only without the photos.

“The Last Picture Show”, Shepherd’s introduction to acting, had recently come up on one of the cable TV channels and Himself wanted to watch it. I sat through it with him, relatively unimpressed (sorry, Cybill), but when her autobiography popped up shortly after, I was interested enough to get a copy. Her description of that movie held my attention because of the connection, but even that was detailed almost beyond what I thought I could bear and I found the book very hard going.

In the end, Shepherd herself admits to using humor to cover sadness, and this book is inherently sad. I’ve been told there are three sides to every story: his side, her side, and the truth. This is Shepherd’s “side” and she defends her reputation with explanations and justifications. If all she says is true, she’s one maligned and misunderstood lady, and I empathise with her and all women who attempt to be so much more than they are in spite of the chauvinistic control of men. But there were several times when I wanted to ask “why did you stand for it?”

Would I recommend this book? Unless you are a major Cybill Shepherd fan, no. Sorry, but no. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

100 Book Challenge Weeks 4 & 5

Book Review #7: Sabbathman
Author: Graham Hurley
Genre: Police investigation

This book attracted my attention because of the tagline on the dust cover: greedy politicians who get a come-uppance. With the apparent illusion of our current politicians that the money they’re wasting is theirs, I liked the idea of them getting payback. Not that I think we should shoot them, but maybe they should be rotated a little more often, you know?

Anyway, this turned out to be written a few decades ago, when Ireland was still in a bloody war and shortly after the Falklands War. There was some really interesting input on war and its effect on people, quite deep, but for the most part the action was all about a policeman from Special Branch, and the police/MI5 showdown in the shuffle of politics.

The story is very well written and I enjoyed it immensely. The author has a knack for suspense, and there were sections were I almost wanted to skip forward to find out what happened to a character or sequence.

I guessed the bad guy really early in the book, then second-guessed myself, then went back to tagging him as the bad guy, then he wasn’t… Yup, a skillfully written conundrum with lots of red herrings.

The ending, unfortunately, did not really work for me. Maybe it would for others, but I felt it was not neat and realistic. I was unhappy with those who got killed, and unhappy with the final verdict. It just didn’t feel right to me, it felt more like the required “happy ending” you get in movies. However, Himself has commented that I shouldn’t bust the author’s chops over something minor when I actually enjoyed the book.

So it’s over to you. Read it, and leave me a comment on your opinion of the ending?

Author: Stephanie Meyer
Genre: Fantasy

It was in the news yesterday that the cast of the Twilight movies was in China doing hand and foot prints for their adoring fans. So I thought I ought to get back to the series.

Book 2 begins with Bella’s 18th birthday, one she dreads and wishes away because she is now aging and Edward, the undead, is forever 17. (I loved the line in the movie where Emmett asks Edward what’s it like to date an older woman!) Edward confesses to Bella that he cannot live, figuratively of course, without her and, should anything ever happen to her, he has worked out a plan for bringing an end to his existence. Vampires cannot just commit suicide, you see, they’re sort of indestructible as well as being super fast and gorgeous and all the other stuff they share with Superman and Chuck Norris.

This morbid beginning sets the tone for this book, which is all about Bella’s blue funk when an accident leads Edward to decide that Bella would be safer without him around to constantly bring her into danger, so he breaks up with her and goes abroad, leaving an empty spot to be filled with the other hero in our love triangle.

Bella, being Bella, mopes and is childishly inconsolable. However, her life takes a turn for the better when she meets up with Jacob, the grandson of her father’s good friend, the local chief of an ancient tribe.

Jacob is the shining ray of delight in this book, exuberant, content, a great kid and fun to be around. Fortunately this rubs off on Bella a bit, but she still manages to make me grit my teeth and want to shake some sense into her.

In order to be a love triangle and not just a tale of loves lost and found, Edward is reintroduced to the story in the usual convoluted manner of this author’s devising, which does, however, set you up nicely for the rest of the series. This must be the “explaining” book in the set.

Did I enjoy it? Sure. If you promise not to look for plausible (you are, after all, reading a book about the undead) or reasonably mature action, you will too. J

Book Review #9: Cut and Run
Author: Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Genre: Crime/Detective/Police

Ty Grady is a scruffy, seasoned FBI agent who gets a new partner. As is usual with police novels (when will they have one that is different?) he is seriously pissed at getting a partner at all, and even more so when he meets him and discovers he’s a Suit. Nattily dressed in coat and tie, Zane Garrett is equally horrified with his assigned “wreck of a partner” (quoted from the novel), and these two spit nails and fire with the requisite fervor these stories persistently provide.

Apart from the ubiquitous unhappy pairing, this crime mystery has a good plot. A serial killer with no apparent MO is littering the streets of New York with creatively presented corpses. The bosses suspect it’s an inside job, inside the Feds that is, and Grady and Garrett have unique skills that may assist them in bringing an end to these artistic offerings. Unfortunately, if the bosses are right, the killer knows their MO, and can dance around them in the light while they fumble around in the darkness.

With nothing to go on, no links between the murders, and no idea who in the Bureau can be trusted, it is only these rare skills that keep the two Agents alive and on the case.

I get the feeling that these authors are new to writing and will tend to polish up as they progress with the series. Yes, there is a series, but each book is a stand alone, so can be enjoyed individually. There were some sections that were somewhat amateurish in delivery, where I felt I was reading a draft more than an edited version. Yet they held my interest and I happily devoured the book, gobbling my way to the ending.

Er... well, there were a couple of sections that sort of made me choke and cough. While I have no issues with homosexuality per se, graphic writing of homosexual sex made my strict Anglican upbringing wing its way back into my adult consciousness with puritan distress. Oddly enough, watching a TV series with homosexual soft porn did not have the same effect, perhaps my imagination is raunchier? Hmm…

Yup, unfortunately, Special Agents Grady and Garrett turn out to be gay. And I say unfortunately because they are described as my personal version of love gods, and I despair when anything that gorgeous cannot be had by me, personally. I mean, come on, you’ve just wiped out my fantasy life! I adore big men with big muscles, wide chests, slim hips and … oh… weak at the knees here… they’re gay? No! The fates cannot be so unkind. Would I feel more comfortable with them being gay if they were, say, 5’8” and average looking? Hell yeah! Let’s be honest here, would you feel quite as happy if your favorite dreamboat, Brad Pitt or George Clooney, for example, were gay? See? And my imagination can make these characters as real to me as Hugh Jackman, my private hunk-of-deliciousness, in any role he plays on the silver screen.

However, the man-on-man action aside, I enjoyed this book and will definitely read another in the series. I may end up skimming past the sexy bits, though. A girl has to be able to dream a bit, right?

P.S. This is WAY cheaper in the Kindle version, if you have one.

Author: Stephanie Meyer
Genre: Fantasy

Edward and Bella are now accepted as a couple and she has received a promise of her “conversion” to the vampire state. However, in return for Edward being the one to convert her, he insists that they marry first, and this sticks in her craw. Seriously uncomfortable with an early marriage due to her mother’s bad luck in that department, Bella cannot reconcile herself to the same fate. Edward is equally stubborn in his position and the two are saved from an impossible argument by Bella once again being center stage in a life and death drama.

The vampire who desired her for dinner in Book One had a mate, who now desires her for revenge. This mate, Victoria, is determined to make Edward feel her desolation and creates an army of newborn vampires to wipe out Edward’s coven and help her kill Bella, so that Edward feels her pain.

Book Three is devoted to the development of this revenge, the development of Jacob into a fully-fledged wolf, and the development of the characters of and relationship between the vampires and the wolves. An awful lot of development in this one novel!

In order to defend themselves from the army of newborns, the wolves and the vampires forge an alliance, and a plan to protect Bella. It all comes together in a battle for survival between eons old enemies and the one vampire who wants Bella at any cost!

This book was longer than the previous two, far more cohesive, and extremely seductive. It draws you in and holds you enthralled for all three hundred and some-odd pages. The interplay and wit between Jacob and Edward is biting and brilliant, and your allegiances will swing between the two sides so that you are as much at war within as Bella. Excellent writing!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A dress, a dress, one year with one dress!

You can't have too many dresses.

So I've been told.

Some fashionista's tell you that you should have as many dresses as you can, as they're "an entire outfit in one". I know one fashion consultant who swears you should only have one LBD, because the secret to wardrobe success is mix and match, which you can only do with tons of skirts, pants and tops.

Either way, would you own only ONE dress and wear it for 365 days in a row? One entire year in the same dress? Yes, I'm guessing you'd wash it frequently...

Well, I'm not sure if this lady was a lunatic or a genius, but she wanted to showcase consumerism and thrift, so she decided to wear the same, one dress every day for 365 days and make it look different by accessorizing. It was an exercise in sustainable fashion as well as a fundraiser, and it raised over 100K for underprivileged kids.

From the website:
Thus, in May 2009, with fashion as her medium, and education her cause, U.P Founder Sheena Matheiken launched the Uniform Project, pledging to wear one little black dress for 365 days as an exercise in sustainability and a fundraiser to support the Akanksha Foundation— a non-profit organization providing education to underprivileged children living in Indian slums. And for the next year, Sheena reinvented her uniform by accessorizing with vintage, handmade, reused, or donated pieces.

Besides not having that joie de vivre or chic gene that means I would have no idea how to accessorize the same dress for 30 days in a row, let alone over 10 times that many, there's no WAY I'd wear only one dress every day for a year. I LOVE color and change and variety! Ok, so, she has actually managed to incorporate all three of those loves in her looks, but I'm too old to get away with most of them, and there's no ways I'd be allowed to wear a lot of them to my office. I'd be sent home by the boss to change.

That being said, I'm really impressed by her commitment and her success. Pop over to and admire her 365 looks. She's very talented.

Monday, December 5, 2011

100 Book Challenge Weeks 2 and 3

Counting 5 Mondays in October, 4 in November, plus today, I should have read 20 books already. I regret to advise I am woefully behind schedule, in reading as well as posting. To make up for not posting, I shall do two weeks simultaneously until I am caught up. To make up for not reading... yikes. Maybe I should find a novelette or two to give me some headway? Would that were possible. My own awareness that I'm cheating me keeps me on the narrow path. It's a rather annoying trait.

Anyway, on to the books...

Book Review #3: Rumor Has It
Author: Jill Mansell
Genre: Modern Romance

What is it about women that we are attracted to the men from whom we should stay far, far away? No surprises then, in this novel, when Tilly cannot resist notorious rake, Jake. (Oh, my, Jake the rake? Groan worthy! I wonder if Ms Mansell saw that one coming when she named her characters?)

Anyway, while Tilly and Jake are the main characters, this modern tale of love, loss, and lunacy actually gives you not one but three love stories. The main one is your standard g-b of the formula; there is a married man/mistress/wife triangle, which results in some marvelous bitchiness, and a wonderful gay man who is still looking for love.   

This story was well written, flowed well, and had the requisite happy ending. Don’t let that distract you, though, this is an excellent read and, if you prefer modern romances, this is the perfect Bed, Book, and Chocolate option for a cold, wet night’s entertainment.

Book Review #4: How to Slay a Dragon
Author: Bill Allen
Genre: Fantasy; Children’s Fiction

Ok, I must have missed something in the write up, because I didn’t realize this was a children’s story. However, by the time I worked it out, I was having so much fun, I had to finish it.

Greg is a normal earth kid, slightly wimpy, scared of the scbool bully, secretly in love with the school babe, who is magicked to Myrth to slay a dragon.

Say what?

Yeah, that’s his reaction too. He decides that this must be a case of mistaken identity and sets out to prove it. However, his traveling companions, Lucky – a boy of his own age who believes that everything that happens to him is the most marvelously good luck, and Nathan, the mystery man who seems know more than he should, believe in the prophecy that brought Greg to Myrth in the first place, and are determined to get him to the dragon’s lair to deliver the requisite coup de grace.

Fortunately for Greg, they meet up with the king’s youngest daughter who believes he is as weak and wimpy as he claims he is, and teams up with him to allow the real dragonslayer of the kingdom to get the glory.

Does he manage to escape his destiny, or is he doomed to be the latest pile of bones at the top of the dragon’s tower?

You’ll have to travel along with Greg as he finds out; facing trolls, witches, strange creatures, and some seriously annoying companions along the way.

The humor is rollicking, the sarcasm is delightful, the adventures are exciting, and the author gets a gold star!

And now...

Twilight:- the end of the day, the period between the setting of the sun and darkness falling.

Twilight Saga:- ... huh?

Yup, I was one of the few who remained blissfully ignorant of the Jacob/Edward rivalry and the ensuing split of adoring fans into “us” and “them”.

However, my friends tired of me not getting the jokes or misunderstanding the memes, so I was dragged from the Dark Ages and given a set of the books.

Author: Stephanie Meyer
Genre: Fantasy
Book 1 introduces us to Bella, a 17 year old girl who moves in with her divorced dad when her mother remarries. Bella is apparently really good looking with zero knowledge of the fact, somewhat cynical about life in general, and rather self-contained. She takes over the job of caring for her dad, cooking and cleaning for him, and he tries to work out how to be a father to the daughter he previously only saw for a couple of weeks a year over the summer holidays.

Bella starts the new year at the local high school and meets the normal, average kids that have grown up in this small town. She also meets a boy who immediately attracts her attention, both because of his extreme good looks and his extremely odd behavior. Edward seems to hate her on sight, and she can’t figure out his problem.

As it turns out, his problem is her.

Edward finds her intoxicating, in a somewhat unusual way. You see, Edward is a vampire, and she fills him with an excruciating and exquisite bloodlust. Managing to control his desire to have her for dinner, the two find themselves falling in love.

Despite the difficulties of a disapproving father, jealous schoolboys, and being in love with the undead, Bella discovers that her greatest problem is not being eaten. Not by Edward, but by another vampire who fancies her for a “snack”.

I found this book very easy reading, quick to get through. Bella is 17, so I guess she was in the midst of the standard teenage hormonal turmoil, but I did find it hard to believe that she could have such a mixture of ‘old soul’ wisdom, young naiveté, and such blatant stupidity. There were times when I found myself thinking “Seriously?” Maybe I’m just to old to remember the follies of youth? Dunno.

However, it was not enough to turn me off the book entirely. There have been a plethora of undead-related books and movies just lately, and I’ve got to admit I don’t know if this story was one of the originators of the trend or is riding the coattails of it, but it certainly fits well into the genre. If you like tales of the undead, this one should make you thirsty for more.

(Har har har - very punny. I slay me! Sorry, the pun was unintentional, I only picked it up when I was editing, but figured it could stay if I acknowledged it. *Grin*)

Book Review #6: The Irish Warrior
Author: Kris Kennedy
Genre: Medieval Romance

The land-hungry king of England has turned his greedy eyes to the kingdoms north and west of his country, and Scotland and Ireland are braced for war to defend their freedom.

Senna de Valery is not worried about war. She is more concerned with building her business as a wool merchant and the survival of her ancestral lands threatened by the debts of a drunken, gambling father,  Believing she is being offered sorely needed funding to expand her business, Senna travels to Ireland to do business with the dastardly Rardove. She quickly discovers Rardove’s true intentions as he imprisons her in his castle with an arranged marriage to him set up for the morning. Despite being severely beaten and having had the fingers of one hand broken by Rardove as a lesson in obedience, she concocts an escape plan with a prisoner in the castle’s bowels, the Irish Warrior of the novel’s title.

Finian O’Melaghlin was actually an envoy on behalf of the Irish King unethically prisoned and tortured, his men individually and cruelly killed one by one. Senna is an angel sent just in time to rescue him, and the two manage their Houdini act.

It turns out that Senna is a key figure in the brewing war, the reason for Rardove’s interest in her, and she becomes a pawn in an increasingly dangerous chess game between the three nations.

We are swiftly introduced to the Irish Warrior’s sexual prowess as the two travel across country to a clandestine meeting with a Scottish spy, and then back again to return to the castle of the Irish king. This is definitely an x-rated novel, and the copulating is frequent and frenzied.

There is enough of a plot and enough twists in the tail to keep your interest even if the sex is a little, um, enthusiastic? There were times when I felt that the plot was only a vehicle to move the two main characters from one sex scene to another, there was just so much of it. I’m an advocate of great sex, but seriously? Half the book? Hmmm….

Well, that’s just my opinion and you should read the book and form your own!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our new foster child

We are fostering a cat for our local humane society. She was abandoned and has developed an irrational fear of humans. With love and kindness, she may recover enough to be homed.

She built herself a "fort" by shoving back the back seat cushion of the chair she hides under and I managed to zoom in to get a photo of her.

Occasionally she comes out from hiding and hides behind the coffee table. This is a zoom of her there.

Isn't she cute?

Monday, October 3, 2011

100 Book Challenge Week 1

This week I’ve read some romance novels - the so-called “chicklit” offerings that have been around since the 1800s, and immortalized in my memory by Mills and Boon, Barbara Cartland and, more recently, Harlequin Novels.

Chicklits all seem to follow the same formula: girl meets boy in the first five pages, she melts into his arms and they live happily ever after in the last five pages, and the middle is filled with a merry-go-round of misunderstandings, hurt feelings, temper tantrums and fits of angst that could mostly have been avoided with some simple communication skills.*

Why these are considered the bottom of the barrel escapes me. They’re obviously popular, having been in print for over 200 years, and usually less mindless than the gunk that clogs the TV screen nowadays, but everyone is embarrassed to admit they read them.

Well, I’ve been reading them since I was a starry-eyed whippersnapper, and still read them today. They’re usually light, frothy, no-work reads that are excellent for down time.

*For fun, I shall refer to the formula in future as: g-b; g*b; g+b, or just g+b. :)

Book Review #1: Bewitching
Author: Jill Barnett
Genre: Historical Romance
(Currently only available in Kindle edition.)

Yes, it follows the ancient formula, but with an extremely interesting twist. The heroine is a witch, and the misunderstandings revolve largely around how her human beloved gets to cope with his magical missus. I also enjoyed the new trend of exploring the background, feelings and thoughts of the hero; it adds an interesting depth to the story.

The story tells how the Duke of Belmore discovers a woman on his lap shortly after being dumped by his fiancée. The woman in question, Joy, was attempting a translocation spell and, as often happens to her, got it wrong. She materializes on the startled Duke in the middle of a deserted road. Her first problem is to fabricate an explanation of what she is doing there, her next is how to convince the Duke of her otherworldly powers after he marries her in a snub to the aforementioned ex-fiancée.

There are some brilliant scenes in this book, and I laughed out loud several times. I particularly enjoyed the Carribean cook, the marvelously mischievous weasel, and the consequences every time Joy sneezed.

A standard plot with an extraordinary wit, this was a thoroughly good adventure and I’d love to read some more of Ms. Barnett’s work.

Book Review #2: Lord of Scoundrels
Author: Loretta Chase
Genre: Historical Romance

Another historical romance, but in this one the leading lady is an accomplished, confident, intelligent woman who goes to rescue her idiot brother from the so-called Lord of Scoundrels, It is rumored that he is the devil incarnate, and he certainly considers himself such. So it is with great surprise that he finds himself put firmly in his place by Jessica, who immediately recognized both his arrogance and his weaknesses. That did not spare her from the powerful attraction she felt for him from the moment she laid eyes upon him, nor him from the same emotion. Sparks fly in this novel, both in words and deeds, and it’s quite a ride.

The unusual experience of a totally altogether woman was refreshing, and the repartee between the two protagonists was such fun; you could almost feel the frustration reverberating from the pages as they locked horns.

Oh, and Jessica’s grandmother had me in hoots! I want to be like her when I get older. Wonderful, wise old woman. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Photo

Apologies for not posting yesterday. We had a bug invasion and I had to take the house apart, get rid of the bugs, and then put it together again. I was too exhausted to do a post after that.

But it was a great excuse to rearrange the entire house again! :)

We have stunning sunsets here, and I managed to get a couple of fairly good pics out of the 7,000 or so that I took. >.<

Enjoy, and have a great weekend. See you on Monday!

Sunset, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Business District, Port Moresby

Anchored cargo ship, Bootless Bay