Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow, you’re only a day away

Tomorrow is the big day! It’s Move In To Our First Home with a Scary Mortgage Day!

I still can’t believe that we own a home! And yes I still sort of just want to take a nap and/or run away with a suitcase full of romance novels…

But I soothe myself by thinking, now that we OWN our first house we can make the home how WE want it – like built in bookshelves! I just have to convince the the other half of that “we” that he wants built in bookshelves too.

Although we are spoiling ourselves by hiring professional movers for the first time EVAR we still have our fingers crossed that Tropical Storm Danny will live up to it’s baby name and stay clear of DC, or just have a baby rain shower.

The packing has not been too fun, but our resident mutt’s cuteness is always good to cheer me up:

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Thanks for all your good wishes and I won’t have any internet access for a few days starting tomorrow…until Comcast deigns to show up at our new place, so I’ll be signed off for a bit. Have a good weekend y’all!

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Slave to Sensation, by Nalini Singh

This is not a review. This is a reaction.

This is not hyperbole: I have NEVER read a book like Slave to Sensation before.

It challenged me, it challenged my perceptions, my preferences, and my imagination.

I absolutely adored it.

It is unlike anything I have ever read. Given that I’ve read just over one hundred (100) books so far in 2009 I think that’s saying something…

I don’t read sci-fi/fantasy, some vampire paranormals are as far as I go.

But it wasn’t just the genre (sub-genre?) that was new to me – I think it was the writing. The imagination, the details, the personalities, the IDEA that these beings could exist – let alone battle evil and fall in love?!?! I’M in love!

Sigh, sign me up for another series addiction. Luckily I’m late to the game on this one so 5 more books in the series have already been written!

Set on a futuristic, alternate Earth in the year 2079 with 3 races – Humans, Changelings/shapeshifters, and the Psy with psychic abilities – I was utterly fascinated. Each race had defining characteristics, the way they spoke, moved, thought, and reacted belonged to them and them alone. That alternate Earth Ms. Singh created utterly captivated me.

The only times I’ve even come close to this kind of storytelling has been in movies, like Gattaca, Minority Report, hmm can’t think of any others right now…because again…I really don’t seek out this kind of stuff.

I’ve never read a book before where there are totally made up beings who are our hero/heroine. Sascha, the heroine, is a Psy. Her eyes are black with white sparkles. Black! With White Sparkles! When she is emotional the white sparkles turn into rainbow fireworks.

At first I was all, ugh, a non-human heroine? Yuck! Also in my imagination her eyes were like those old Windows Screensavers, like stars zooming towards you in a black field? You know?

But by page 10 I was being reeled in, hook, line, and sinker.

Sascha’s body is human, but her mind has extra powers such being able to speak mind-to-mind with other Psy’s and telekenesis. The exciting thing about this book is she has as yet unknown powers that do not fit the typical Psy profile and she must hide them from the others in her race, while at the same time exploring them.

The Hero, Lucas Hunter, is also very fascinating, even though he was not a totally new to me being like the Psy were. He is the alpha of the DarkRiver leopard changeling pack, but he turns into a panther. The added layers and twists to the legend, myth and magic of shapeshifters were all NEW and fascinating. The way his pack interacts, where they live, the hierarchy, the way they calm each other, the way they touch each other, the way even THEY are psychically connected is allll unique to Ms. Singh.

Again, I’ve never read anything like it.

I LOVED IT.

I’ve never read a book like that before because a futuristic Earth? With 3 races of beings? Color me disinterested.

But of course blogland is all abuzz with the Psy/Changeling series, I saw the first post somewhere about Ms. Singh maybe 4ish months ago and thought nothing of it.

I saw another few posts when the most recent book in her series came out and I was all “M’eh, not for me.”

But I was slipping closer to the edge, the Nalini Singh edge, ready to topple into the abyss of her amazing world-building.

I’m still on a reading high from the book so I feel like being a little silly (stick figure drawings inspired by Jill Pilgrim) so this was me:

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Here is one of my favorite passages because it not only shows how COOL our heroine is, but just how cool the world-building and the possibilities within the world are:

Sascha just realized she’d attacked the alpha of DarkRiver. Too bad. He’d been acting like a complete Neanderthal. Meeting those eyes, which had gone more panther than human, she put her hands on her hips and tried to pretend the telekinetic effort [to push him] hadn’t worn her out.

“Still want to play?” It was a taunt she’d never have made before she’d started to spend so much time with changelings.

“Oh, yeah, kitten, I want to play.” Lucas moved towards her in that lighting-fast way of his, his emotions a mix of exhilaration and challenge.

She was ready. Using her remaining strength, she jumped backwards onto the table, the action almost catlike. Her Psy mind had watched the way the leopards moved and now it mimicked the beautifully smooth action. Lucas’s eyes widened as he found her halfway across the table. “You’ve been keeping secrets.”

“Poor baby,” she taunted.

He started to smile. “Come here.” – “Are you going to behave?” – “No.”

Her lips twitched. Feeling silly crouching on the table now that he was no longer chasing her, she jumped off to stand in front of him. His hand went to her neck again, holding her in a possessive grasp. Except this time, there was sensuality instead of anger in his touch. His kiss burned her though to her toes.

So I’ve only babbled on about the world building and romance, there is also a fascinating psycho killer sub plot where a woman from Lucas’s pack becomes the 7th victim of a Psy who is kidnapping, torturing, and eventual murdering changelings. Even this is linked the the traits of the Psy, because their brains are so powerful, they are overly cerebral, and by 2079 when the book is set they have eliminated all traces of emotion in their race. This superiority and cold calculation has caused a consistent percentage of them to be violent.

Honestly, the landscape of my reading has been forever changed. I feel like Slave to Sensation broadened my reading horizons, I can almost see it growing in my mind’s eye. Of course it IS still romance, but still!!!

Thank you to all of you who put up with my snooty self and continued to recommend Ms. Singh’s books!

Hodgepodge of Western Romance, BBAW awards, and thoughts on Blue Diablo

I recently won a grab bag of 10 random books from my favorite place to buy used romance novels online: Better Than Chocolate Book Co.

One of the books was a Western Romance and I set it at the bottom of my TBR pile immediately, as I just “don’t read Westerns.”

But then the Great Western Drive began in the romancelandia blog world with Wendy Super Librarian, Kristi(J), and Sybil at TGTBTU leading the charge!

So many people have hitched their wagon to this rodeo, definitely check our Kristie’s link filled post rounding up the others discussing favorite Western movies, actors, TV series, and cowboy/horse teams.

As I share a birthday with Roy Rogers I’m gonna have to go with him.

wantedman_millerSo like the open minded Lusty Reader I am, I have not only been dutifully taking notes on their Western recommedations to add to my Wish List (none of them I have ever heard of or read btw!) and also thought, “Why the heck not just rustle up that Western from the bottom of the stack and give it a shot?!”

So I am now reading A Wanted Man by Linda Lael Miller. Can I just tell you the hero has a loyal dog named Pardner? LOVE IT. And the hero’s name ain’t half bad either at Rowdy Rhodes ;)

Although nothing can EVER EVER beat the real cowboy names from when we went to the Houston rodeo!!!

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In other news, somebody (or a few ubernice somebodies!) nomiated me for a Book Blogger Appreciate Week Award  in the category of Best Romance Blog.

As other nominees sprung up in blog land I am just aboslutely awed and honored to be among them! Thank you sooo very much!

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bluediabloLastly I just finished reading Blue Diablo by Anne Aguirre. I loved the paranormal world building and enjoyed it overall.

It was hard for me to adore either of the love interests for Corine, as it always is for me for stories told in first person narrative. And I don’t adore love triangles in general. And because this is a series there was only ONE KISS in the whole book because the personal issues/relationship story line has to be elooooongated and draaaaaawwwn out to last the series. Which I didn’t really like.

Bare bones review: Struck me as a Paranormal Stephanie Plum book. My favoite character and scenes were all those with Butch, the dog Corine and Chance rescued who can understand what people are saying and respond with “yes” or “no” barks.

A negative comparison

If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all…

Well today is opposite day for me then, because I don’t have the nicest things to say right now. A few of my recent reads just did NOT work for me.

Here is the problem, I just read one of the greatest books ever written, easily one of the best romance novels of all time. So now maybe the ones I read around it just pale in comparison?

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase is beloved by male mathematicians and ranks first with thousands of romance readers. You see, the Hero? Is perfectly wretched, and wretchedly perfect for our Heroine. And she? Is awesomely cool, and coolly (sp?) awesome.

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Original lusty cover in 1995 and gorgeous recent reissue

I lost my copy sometime in college between all the dormroom moves and just bought a new one and reread it as SOON as it came in the mail last week. So the 2 books I read before it and 1 book after it just did come come anywhere NEAR as good.

So that is my preface. For why. These books didn’t really work for me.

n292489Laced with Magic, by Barbara Bretton – It took me a while to get into this one since I hadn’t read the first book Casting Spells as I got Laced with Magic for free as part of a random pile at RWA. So for the first few chapters I gave it a break. Maybe it just wasn’t working since I missed the set up in the first one. But then as I slogged through 100 pages, 150 pages, and onwards and nothing got better? I came to the conclusion that the world building was really shallow. The characterization was really shallow. And the switching back and forth between THREE first person narrative point of views (H/H and random 3rd character) maintained that shallowness. This is a hidden magical town in the beautiful Vermont countryside and the “Heroine” Chloe was supposed to be a sorceress in training. But almost nothing about her craft, how she learned the spells, the history of magic in her family, how she conjured up her powers, how it felt to her was ever explained in detail. The non-magical Hero was secretly planning on moving back to Boston the entire book and I really never got a strong sense for why he should bother to stay, his romance with Chloe was also…well…shallow to me. The last straw was when one of those three people who was telling the story from their point of view was *Spoiler*

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KILLED in the last chapter. And not only that, but guess what?!? The other two main characters barely gave it a second thought. The person who dies got ONE LINE of reflection from the others. They just said, “Oh well, they’re in a better place now.”

*End Spoiler* It was just so BLAH. I would only recommend reading it if you just adored the first book, but I already put this in my “to be donated to the library” pile.

38007395My Wicked Marquess, by Gaelen Foley – I adore Ms. Foley, heck I wanted to read her books so bad I borrowed them in large print from the library. But this one fell flat for me. Heidenkind’s un-review mirrors some of my thoughts, and as I commented on her post the real problem with this book was that I just couldn’t take it seriously! I was laughing AT it, certainly not WITH it, and I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be deep with a level of gravity given that the Hero was a trained, heartless, ruthless killer with razor sharp intellect. But his “secret club to protect the biggest secrets of Good versus Evil” a la Knights of Columbus seemed laughable to me. Their little club house reminded more of a little boys tree house with a “no girls allowed” sign. I mean Son of the Morning and The Da Vinci Code created a Brotherhood way cooler and more serious sounding that these guys. I was not impressed.

n306150Lord of Pleasure, by Delilah Marvelle – Have you ever taken a big gulp of soda expecting it to be Coke but really it was Root Beer? When that’s happened to me I find it just tastes HORRIBLE. I’m trying to explain how I expected one thing from Lord of Pleasure and when it wasn’t what I expected…I just didn’t like it.

So maybe if you check on my thoughts and know what to expect, it will be better for you.

I wanted to like this one, soooo badly for a multitude of reasons, number one of which being that I personally adore Ms. Marvelle. HOWEVER, I was expecting a traditional Regency with a bit of a naughty side, but instead this read more as a “fantasy historical” in that it such high fantasy beyond historical reality that I could not suspend my disbelief. Even though the heroine, Charlotte, is in Dire Straits, it still wasn’t believable enough for me why a Proper Woman of Society would work for a Not So Secret Sex School. The part that really seemed like fantasy was in her role as an Interviewer for the Sex School she got to ask the Hero all sorts of questions about his sexual history, about losing his virginity, threesomes, experience with toys, it was sort of a fantasy scene, like “don’t you wish you could ask your crush about his sexual past?” And the Hero’s family was CAH-RAZY sex obsessed, his mom was widowed and livin it up with lovers and “champagne parties” that her whole family knew about, she talked openly about sexual stuff in front her four daughters (teenagers and tweens), and they also know how cah-razy she had their dad had been when they were married with having THREESOMES with the lady who was running the Sex School now.

And YES I know some part of all romances are fantasy and don’t stick too close to reality, but what I love about Regencies is the “comedy of manners” and sharp drawing room dialogue fraught with innuendos while in public.

Lastly the word “snapped” was suuuuper over used. She snapped her hand up, he snapped his eyes to her, she snapped up straight, he snapped his hand towards her…Oy, enough with the snapping!

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PHEW it felt good to get that out. /Rant

I really don’t like writing so much negative stuff at once, but these books have also gotten good reviews plenty of other places so I urge you to formulate your own opinions!

Spreading the lusty reading word

Perhaps you remember the amusing fellow who guest posted here when I took my one day of vacation earlier this year? Well when mylittlebecky scratched my back I vowed to scratch hers in return should she ever need me! Although she is probably scratching Chuck’s back while they are on vacation in Montana. [read into that what you will!]

Finally my skills were called upon! Today you may find me guest posting about imagination, rations, emergency plans, Waterworld (God I love that movie) and other fun stuff.

So head on over for your reading pleasure! We will be back to our regular programming tomorrow. I have some rants about 3 recently read books that I am working up the courage to share. Mainly because I don’t have too many nice things to say about them.

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Friday Finds (Aug 14)

Friday_FindsFriday Finds Time! I have been MIA from Miz B at Should Be Reading’s meme for a while since I finally have a real live TBR! The one or two books from the library I used to have to-be-read didn’t even COUNT as a pile, and now that I have a worthy TBR I haven’t been keeping track of new books I want for Friday Finds, I’ve been trying to not make a list of more books to buy since I already have so many!

Without futher ado here are a few great reads that just came on my radar:

tale_miss_percy_parkerThe Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, by Leanna Renee Hieber  – So the title’s a little bit of a mouthful but I DARE you not to lust for this book after you read KatieBabs’ review! This YA “Victorian Gothic Paranormal Ghost filled tale with romance that both teens and adults can read” will be released on August 25th, 2009.

 

 

 

the_girl_dragon_tattooThe Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson – I actually only just heard about this one, from my Mother-in-Law as she just read it for her book club. As soon as I looked into it I found out I’m totally late to the party on this one! Girl with a Dragon Tattoo has had so much buzz about it for a while, as the debut novel in a thriller-type trilogy, especailly as Mr. Larsson actually passed away right before being published. To find out more about the last 2 books, possible movie, and rumors of a 4th post-humus book you can visit his website here.

white_queen_gregoryThe White Queen, by Philippa Gregory – I love Ms. Gregory’s books, but didn’t know she had a new one coming out till I visited Planet Books and saw she was enjoying an ARC of The White Queen. I’m so excited for it’s release on August 18th! [As a complete side note, doing a Google Image Search of “The White Queen” to find the cover image did NOT give me the anticipated results, I was a little shocked!]

 

Did YOU come across as new-to-you books recently? Do tell!

Life is a highway…and all I want is a nap

These past few years have been a literal whirlwind:

I graduated college and moved to DC at 21 years old

Changed jobs and got a dog at 22

Engaged at 23

Married at 24

Bought first house at 25

So first off, YAY WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! Secondly…whew, that’s a lot of things checked off the “to do list” of life! So I was all thinking, oh yeah, got all the big stuff out of the way for a while…

I mean all these events seem HUGE to me, and they definitely are special, but when faithfully listening to my country radio stations I heard this song that reminded me this is how it’s going to be forever…

Darryl Worley’s Sounds Like Life to Me

…I say hey man, what’s going on
He said I don’t know where to start

Sarah’s old car’s about to fall apart
And the washer quit last week
We had to put momma in the nursing home
And the baby’s cutting teeth
I didn’t get much work this week
And I got bills to pay
I said I know this ain’t what you wanna hear
But it’s what I’m gonna say…

Sounds like life to me it ain’t no fantasy
It’s just a common case of everyday reality
Man I know it’s tough but you gotta suck it up
To hear you talk you’re caught up in some tragedy
It sounds like life to me.

Although I am wicked excited our offer was just accepted for our new house, and making a life, home and family with my amazing hubby…I really just want a nap. A vacation. A break from life.

Maybe even pack up 30 romance novels and run away to the beach.

It certainly didn’t help that I started reading a new book on the metro this morning and the VERY FIRST PARAGRAPH seemed like way too much of a sign:

Admit it. Come on. At some point in your life…you said, “Enough! I just wish I could pack up and leave this all behind! This job, city, this tired relationship [ok not that part!], this apartment, and just move somewhere! A-whole-nothing country, another culture, a new group of friends. Change my entire existence. Yeah, some place dreamy, beautiful, romantic, where life would feel like an endless vacation..Paris!” God wouldn’t that be great? You’d startle the hell out of your friends…and most importantly surprise yourself.

So while maybe that all isn’t applicable to me, I definitely connected with Klein in Paris Hangover from line one. Since I can’t go to Paris as we have to save money for a new sofa, to pay the electrician, install a shower door, change the locks, etc etc etc…I can at least escape there in a book!