Friday Finds Oct 30th

Happy friday blogosphere! Today I’m participating in Friday Finds hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. This is a great meme to track and share with others and new, or just new-to-you, great books you discovered recently!

his-at-night-125x200His At Night, by Sherry Thomas – I’ve heard positive things about Ms. Thomas around for a while but have yet to pick up anything by her. However, this book is definitely gonna make me take that next step. Thanks to KB for the heads up on this May 2010 release! I am OBSESSED with Scarlet Pimpernel/Bruce Wayne type stories, a guy who pretends to be super shallow, vain, lame, foppish, a dandy, and not the sharpest tool in the shed, but really he’s hiding his super sekrit save-the-world persona! Like Jude Deveraux’s The Raider, or even more old skool, does anyone remember Secrets of the Heart by Kasey Michaels?

accidental-medThe Accidental Best Seller, by Wendy Wax: When I saw this summary on J Kaye’s giveaway for this book I was hooked. Even though I’m “just a reader” I thought the fictional story line following 4 authors with a behind the scenes  look at the publishing industry sounded really fun!

 

 

That’s all for me folks! Back to reading J.D. Robb’s witch, magic, evil, and myth filled Ceremony in Death, a perfect way to gear up for Halloween. Hope you have a great All Hallow’s Eve!

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Mailbox Monday Oct 26

dog-mailbox-rounded

 

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme graciously hosted by Marcia at the Printed Page. It’s a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

 

Not only did I get a great book in the mail a few days ago, but it was a PRIZE! Woohoo! Or should I say, yeehaw? I won Touched by Love by Tracy Garrett during The Great Western Drive, a blog event for Wild West book lovers.

touched-by-love

All it took was one touch… 

Tracy Garrett returns to Texas, 1847, with the story of a love that breaks all the rules…

 A TEXAS PROMISE…

 Jaret Walker is a loner, a gun for hire with a heart of ice. He’s never had anyone to call his own, and he likes it that way. But when a promise made to a friend leads him on a ride through the desert and to remote Two Roses Ranch where he meets Isabel Bennett, the woman he’s supposed to protect, all he can think of is making her his. She’s the kind of woman a rough-riding cowboy like him can never have. But her hot gaze tempts him like no other woman has before…

A SCORCHING DESIRE…

The moment Isabel Bennett lays eyes on Jaret Walker, she remembers the dreams she’s denied for so long. She’s sworn never to marry. It’s the only way to protect her ranch. But when Walker rides into her life, she decides to let herself taste what she’s giving up—a passion that burns through her with each kiss—and a desire that won’t be denied…

Well thunderin’ tarnation that sounds like a story I could enjoy! And I love the tag line on Ms. Garrett’s website, “Taming the west, two hearts at a time.”

I usually don’t seek out Westerns so I’m happy to have something fresh on my reading list! But just that one book in my mailbox this week, I’ve been buying them at the regular old brick & mortar stores here in DC since I needed the instant gratification of having new pages and shiny covers in my hands.

Fevered bookish thoughts

The lusty household was home sick this week and I have been apathetic about blogging, reading and commenting. The only meal I made in 4 days was the classic grilled cheese, tomato soup, and orange juice:

cliche yet so yummy

cliche yet so yummy

Oh, and a giant FAIL at easy mac, wayyy to soupy to eat, yuck. I’m out of practice as I was an easy-mac-expert in college. Especially at 3am. We mostly ordered out and had lots of tea. Since hubby had the real swine flu and I was just flu-ish and head-cold-ish I didn’t argue too much with his TV choices (like we usually do) and graciously let his swine-y self choose. So we watched lots of Deadliest Catch, football and baseball with a few Bonnie Hunt and Say Yes to the Dress shows interspersed while he was napping.

I can now highly recommend the movie Milk (I bawled at the end) but would not recommend Role Models so much.

We weren’t alone  however, as many of us who attended a huge blogger event last weekend in DC were stricken with the #pbandtunaflu, a twitter hashtag for the afliction. Sort of ironic that poor non-blogging hubby who was super nice to go along with me was the one who ended up with the actual swine.

But I think I was probably the only one out of all us poorly-feeling bloggers whose fevered and nyquil soaked brain had vague yet persistent memories of a children’s book stuck in my head but I just COULDN’T figure out what book it was!

I had dreams of the illustrations. Stirrings of happy nostalgic feelings. Breif snippets of my mom and I reading together. Maybe she read it to me when I was sick and that’s what triggered the memories?

All I know is that I hadn’t thought of this book in 15+ years and I could only remember a smaller, very short hardcover with a little girl and a white horse.

Googling “children’s illustrated white horse book” gave me umpteen thousand results. Amazon’s browsing categories feature was much more helpful, I was able to narrow is down to > children > hardcover > animals > horses and as soon as I scrolled through 2 pages I saw the title and BAM! I remembered it vividly, immediately, and had a little bit of a tingly rush looking at the cover:

charlotteandthewhitehorse

It’s for babies really, 0-4 years old I think, and it’s really the illustrations that make the book.* I remember them being soft, subtle, almost lovingly drawn, and so so very sweet. The story itself is also sweet about a little girl named Charlotte who convinces her father to let her raise a wobbly-legged white colt and let her take care of him herself until he can stand on his own.

Maybe my subconscious brought this book to the forefront of my sluggish brain after being bombarded with Where the Wild Things Are images with the movie coming out as Maurice Sendak also illustrated Charlotte and The White Horse 17 years before he wrote and illustrated WtWTA.

Or maybe I just remembered the comfort of reading this book as a baby and my poor tired body and fevered brain dredged up the happy feelings that I needed to get well.

I can’t believe I’m remembering BABY books though!!! Between this one and The Teddy Bear’s Picnic book and song I thought of the other day I am just on a roll.

*Those of you who know me in real life may guess another reason why I loved this book too ;)

Lusty Lexicon

Our household is full of compromise…well at least trades. Like I get to pick what we watch on TV Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (why he doesn’t want to watch America’s Funniest Home Videos, Grey’s Anatomy, and Ghost Whisperer I’ll never understand:) and then hubby watches football all weekend and Monday. Occasionally NASCAR, sigh.

This weekend while cheering on his beloved Jets (before they started giving him negative points in his fantasy football) we had this conversation:

Hubby: Mark Sanchez is such a sex cannon!

Moi: Pardon? A what?!

H: Haven’t you heard that before? A sex cannon, as in he’s awesome.

M: As in he’s awesome at sex?

H: No, just awesome, and maybe good looking too, it’s what “they” call Rex Grossman.

M: Well a of all Rex Grossman is NOT CUTE and b of all I have never heard that before. I am checking the internet…

rexgSo according to the world wide web it turns out Rex Grossman is/was nicknamed the Sex Cannon (again, he is not that cute, but Mark Sanchez? Yumm). Google away my friends, I didn’t find any fabulous links. I also accidently found stuff about Nick Cannon and sex, so be careful!

I also searched twitter for “sex cannon,” obviously the best way to see if this is a common phrase and it is NOT. Only 1-2 references to Rex Grossman. But I propose we add this to our lexicon.

We already have smexy and there are only so many times you can call a guy hot/hott, so why not sex cannon?

I’ll tell you who’s a sex cannon though, the Hero in my current read – Vaughn D’Angelo in Nalini Singh’s Visions of Heat. As evidenced by this scene (um, keep in mind he’s a jaguar changeling):

“Show me,” she whispered…

The T-Shirt she’d meant to sleep in floated to shreds at her feet – Vaughn’s claws had moved so fast she hadn’t even had time to take a breath. Eyes locked on her, he slid his hands down her back and under her waistband to cup her bottom.

She gasped as her breasts rubbed up against his chest, full and aching. When her panties disintegrated off her body, she barely felt it, so stunned was she at the pure sensuality that spread across Vaughn’s features. He’d been scared of physically harming her yesterday. Today he was in full control of his strength…but not his hunger.

He smoothed one hand down the front of her body and the roughness of his skin rasping over her navel had her holding her breath. The tips of his fingers touched her curls. She clenched her hands on his shoulders.

“So soft,” he murmured, and drove his fingers through the curls to cup her intimately.

Her scream reverberated off the stone walls.

Meow! I need to do a little more research to see how aptly my newly learned term really applies to Vaughn, so pardon me while I keep reading that scene. I might have to peruse some other lusty scenes. Just for research you understand!

Personal 16 Romance Novels in honor of Kathleen Winsor

The gorgeous and talented author Kathleen Winsor would have been 90 years old today. She is known as one of the pioneers of the romance genre after publishing Forever Amber in 1944 and was one of the first “romance novels” I ever read. The details in the story about events leading up to the Restoration, Charles II, court life, historical London, the plague, and trade with the New World in America are pretty much the only reason I got an A in my British History class. My final paper may have even read a bit like a romance novel itself ;)

Though she passed away in 2003, in honor of her October 16th birthday Maili suggested a tribute…with a list! I LOVE book lists! So here are my personal 16 favorite romance novels, straight from my heart to your computer. Not the “best” just the ones that I lust for and love most dearly, that are personal “A’s” for me. I have included only the “old skool” covers for your viewing pleasure:

gentle_rogueGentle Rogue, by Johanna Lindsey: Historical set in Regency London, Connecticut and the swashbuckling high seas in between with my favorite trope of a heroine disguised as a boy. Ms Lindsey is one of my favorite authors of all time.

The Duchess, by Jude Deveraux: I also cut my romance teeth on Ms. Deveraux and so many of her books hold dear places in my heart. But especially this one, a feisty American heiress husband hunting in England and Scotland in the 1800s falls for an Explorer rogue hiding on the grounds of her fiance’s estate. All I know about peat, whiskey, and bustles I learned in this book as a teenager.

Slightly Dangerous, by Mary Balough: I love so many books in the Slightly series, but this 8th and final story about the head of the Bedwyn family really gets me. Also a Regency set book we have a radiant, fun loving heroine and a brooding, serious, overly responsible hero. The scene in the garden where she harshly sums him up and he remembers every word and proves her wrong? Ugh, to DIE for! And his quizzing glass! Oh how I would love to throw that monocle up in a tree too!

Paradise, by Judith McNaught: Another old skool author, she fits my reading preferences so well. I adore many of her historicals (more down the list) but Paradise is probably my favorite contemporary romance. It’s a little bit of a saga, and a little bit too full of business and corporate details but Matt Farell and Meredith Bancroft are one of my favorite couples of all time.

Match Me if You Can, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips: my second favorite contemporary romance. The way historicals revolve around the ton, the Season, Almack’s and house parties, I think contemporaries revolve around careers and the workplace as important markers in the story. This book has a perfect balance of who Annabelle and Heath are in their jobs and in their personal lives and how that shapes them and their romance. Plus I ADORE the secondary romance in this book.

lord of scoundrelsLord Of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase: since I’m assuming most of you who’ve got this far in my post are regular romance novel readers there is NO explanation necessary for this one. A Regency classic, just a beautiful story that makes my heart beat faster every time.

Emma, by Jane Austen: This is definitely a romance novel and I just adore Emma’s character because I may or may not be similarly meddlesome, occasionally rude, and have even been compared to Cher from Clueless once or twice (while I love Clueless as a retelling of Emma, I absolutely adore the Gwenyth Paltrow movie). Anyone with Mr. Knightly as a neighbor is one lucky lady!

Born in Ice, by Nora Roberts: of course there must be a La Nora in this list! A contemporary set at a B&B in Ireland I can remember exactly how old I was when I read the final scene, where I was sitting, and that I sobbed my little teenaged heart out. The whole Born In trilogy is my favorite of all La Nora’s works.

Slave to Sensation, by Nalini Singh: this book changed my life as a reader forever, see my post here.

It Happened One Autumn, by Lisa Kleypas: I love the whole Wallflower’s series and I think this one’s my favorite? A Regency following an American heiress in England (love them!) falling for her exact opposite (or is he?), a stuffy English Lord who doesn’t think you should, can, or would want to have sex more than once a week. They change each others lives forever!

Something Wonderful, by Judith McNaught: a sweet Regency with a back-from-the-dead hero who returns just in the nick of time as the heroine is about to wed another!

myladynotoriousMy Lady Notorious, by Jo Beverly: the first, and my favorite, of the Malloren family series, it is a Regency with the heroine disguised as a boy (again, my favorite!) and a fun-loving hero.

To Wed A Scandalous Spy, by Celeste Bradley: I haven’t really met any other big fans of Celeste Bradley, but I love her Royal Four series and this is my favorite of the bunch. There are so many Regencies with spymasters battling the French frogs in secret, but these are all so fun.

Evening Star, by Catherine Coulter: Yes! Another Old Skool author, I told you I just love them! Set in 1800s London and Rome the heroine is forced to observe and attend events at a high class bordello as a punishing lesson from her mother about the true ways of men. But no one expects her to be sold at the infamous Romance Flower Auction to a dashing American merchant! And then they fight, she runs away, he finds her, they fight some more, they have sex and then they fall in love. Yay!

Prince Charming, by Julie Garwood: A frigid English noblewoman is forced to marry a rough American lawman as they adventure across Wild West on a quest to find missing family members and love (I should get paid for this).

Son of the Morning, by Linda Howard: of course I HAD to include a time travel, it is one of my favorite sub genre’s. Even though the first 100 pages could be condensed significantly this is one of my favorite ways of handling how someone could speak, interact with, and have a happily ever after with someone from another time.

PHEW!!! That was fairly demanding. Now I am off to read all of yours!

Library loot: a surprise and an unrequited hug

Lists, big and small, are a part of a book lovers existence. Am I right, or am I right? Post-its on my desk, receipts on my coffee table, napkins in my purse, half forgotten ones in the back of my poor tired brain, even floating in my dreams, and occasionally I remember to put them on my blog

All of them are lists of books to either get from the library, Top 10 lists, ones the Border’s in Georgetown has in stock, the B&N in Metro Center has in stock, a wish list for when more lucrative times visit my house,  or simply just ones I’m thinking about writing a blog post about. Right now I have a Potbelly’s napkin in my purse that says:

Male Ps: Sharpe, Sherlock, HP (?), Travis McGee, Hornblower

I’m not sure what that list even means anymore, but I’ll post about it the next time that napkins sees daylight from my purse and I figure it out!

Even though I’m trying to keep track of these things via lists, it’s still really pretty out of control. So much so that I got a notice from my library the other day of a book I had on hold that was now ready for pick up and I didn’t even recognize the title of the book! I must have put The Forgotten Garden on hold so long ago and not even kept track of it that it absolutely escaped me!

So I had a pleasant surprise of The Forgotten Garden waiting for me at the library, as well as Ender’s Game that I promised mylittlebecky I would read on her recommendation, but another treasure greeted me upon arrival:

DSCF0473

Notice anything about the top book? I took another picture for a “better” view, but instead it came out awful and blurry. My camera needs a spanking. I’m posting it anyways so don’t strain your eyes too hard:

DSCF0482

In case you can’t tell I AM THE FIRST PERSON TO CHECK THIS BOOK OUT! Huzzah!

On my way to the check out counter I did a quick walk through of the romance section to see if there is anything new. There is never anything new. Not in my library that is less important than a funeral home [yes you should click on that].

But soft, what pink neon light through yonder shelf breaks? It is a new release, and This Duchess of Mine is the sun!

I pranced to the counter in awe of my good fortune, bestowing a (scarily) large grin upon the librarian I exclaimed, “Look, I’m the first person to check this out!” She gave me a kind smile and concurred softly. I had this wild urge to ask her who orders the romance novels and hug them. I tamped that down, but the glow stayed with me…

Does anyone else get excited about being the first to borrow a book from the library? The uncreased spine, untouched pages, all unplundered until your hands claim it?

Library loot is a weekely meme hosted by Eva and Marg

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincet

my soul to take

I received this book as an ARC earlier this summer from Harlequin, my first ARC ever! (Happy now FTC?) I was super intrigued by the summary:

She doesn’t see dead people, but…

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about the need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who’ll be next…

So our girl Kaylee has a bit of a problem, well several…Her mom passed away when she was a baby, her Dad ran off to Ireland, leaving her back in the US in the care of her Aunt and Uncle, and one cousin who she doesn’t get along with in the slightest. Oh yeah one more thing – she gets an unbearable and inescapable urge to scream at the top of her lungs when she’s close to certain people…people who end up dying shortly thereafter.

This last part had me hooked, all the family internal drama is one thing, but the myth and legends of Banshees or bean sidhes was totally new to me, so I had no preconceptions and Ms. Vincent’s world enraptured me. From the very beginning I also loved the descriptive writing, I could almost feel how desperate and painful it was for Kaylee to hold back her screams in the first scene at a bar she sneaked into, surrounded by people, one of whom she knew was going to die.  The way she clenched her teeth, the internal agony she had to keep it in…I could almost feel it right along with her.

Although she went through this agony a few times in the book I didn’t feel the description got too repetitive, enough new parts of what banshees go through and what she was feeling were revealed each time to make each experience subtly different.

On the flip side I felt that too many areas of her powers, of the secret paranormal world, of her family history, of the dangers she was now exposed to were hidden from her too long. This lack of knowledge not only put her in needless danger from being put off from knowing more about her new situation, but also seemed to needlessly elongate the book. I feel like it could have been 50 pages shorter at least. Like her family and new boyfriend were withholding information from her on purpose to draw out events even longer.

I mean if I found out I wasn’t a human, but a wailing banshee prompted by imminent death I would want to know as much as possible right away! Heck, let’s stay up all night talking about it! Maybe I should find out more about my parents and aunt and uncle since they might be banshees too! But Kaylee gets stonewalled a bit here which annoyed me.

The suspense plot line of why so many girls were dropping dead in Kaylee’s town for no apparent reason kept me on my toes and also helped us the reader, to gain more insight into the paranormal world, as well as how Kaylee would handle difficult situations morally and personally. She came out on top every time, and not in a Mary Sue way.

I also like Kaylee’s voice, to be honest I hardly ever EVER choose books in first person narrative if I can help it, but Ms. Vincent does a great job balancing Kaylee’s teenager thoughts while on the path to self discovery. And she’s a bit wry, a little matter-of-fact which really appealed to me. Take this quote for example (near the end, but 90% spoiler free!)

My gaze fell to the room where ____  had died, ____ had been restored, and I’d whacked a psychotic grim reaper with a cast iron skillet. Weirdest. Tuesday. Ever.

Ending on a bit of a cliffhanger with her budding romantic relationship, return of her father, and more lurking mysteries in the paranormal world I can’t wait to read more about Kaylee and her developing life as a banshee. I recommend this book for teens and adult alike, anyone looking to read a little bit of dark adventure! Final grade: A- for me!

The next edition in the Soul Screamers Series, My Soul To Save will be released in January 2010.