Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yes we can. Yes I can.

o hai. Yes, it is true. I have once again fallen down on my blogging duties. But I'm here to tell you why and to let you know that my negligence may continue until about, say, November 5.

I don't need to tell anyone that we in the U.S. are engaged in a landmark Presidential election. I have been following the news, feeling alternatively very hopeful, very angry, and very worried. Since last week, I decided that sitting on the sidelines and wringing my hands wasn't enough. If there's to be a change, it has to come from the bottom up. We're the ones that have to get engaged. Get our hands dirty. Come out of our comfort zones and talk to our friends and neighbors and complete strangers. So I've been volunteering my time at the local Obama campaign office here in my small VA town. After work, on weekends, any block of time that I'm not at work or school. And while I know that I won't single-handedly change the course of the election, I know that I'm doing a small part to help. I might just be doing data entry, talking to people as they come in the door, organizing groups to knock on doors or answering the phone. But when you take a few people and put them together, they can make a difference. Let me tell you how uplifting it has been to work alongside people in my city that I would have never met. The little white-haired grandmothers who grew up under segregation and never would have dreamed to see this day. The blue collar worker who just came from a long shift of work. The white collar worker who comes in to volunteer hours after a 2+ hour commute back from D.C. High school students coming in to man the phone banks or tally data. Black, white, young, old, rich, poor, right and left...they're all there. We're all in this together for each other and for our community.

So while I promise not to turn this blog into a political zone (frankly, I'm not all that eloquent and prefer to squee over books anyways), I probably won't be posting a whole lot for the next 40 days. I've got work to do! :-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

library loot

Avast! So after a list posted by ciara about pirate novels, I was inspired to try to nab a few piratical romance novels from my local library. unfortunately, my online search queries yielded only one of the books on her pirate list was stocked in my library. fortunately, it was quickly available and reserved for me. Over my lunch break I wandered the paperback shelves and grabbed a couple of other titles that I've not yet read. Actually, it's been eons since I've visited my local library. So there were some books there that I don't recall seeing before. My little haul...

I'm 2/3 through this already. It's kind of goofy fun. Lots of anachronistic language but cheerful and kind of slapstick. And you gotta love the old skool cover. CHEST! heh. But I am a little annoyed by the distinct lack of shivering of timbers. if you know what i mean. hey, i know. i'm shallow, but at least i'm honest.

I always cruise by the F and G section of authors with my head turned sideways to read the spines. Lots of F and G authors that I like. Feather, Foley, Garwood, Goodman, etcetera. Hey, lookee a Gaelen Foley book that I haven't read! Blurb talks of an "irresistible Major Derek Knight...newly returned from India." k, I do like those Knight boys. I'll bite. Of course, as all visitors to the foreign eastern lands, this guy is supposed to have mad skilz in bedz. kama sutra and all that. I'm doubtful cuz back blurbs rarely live up to their hype, but we shall see...

Have I mentioned how bereaved I am that Ms. Hunter continues to let her obvious talents of writing medievals languish in favor of more mainstream european historical aka regency boredom? *sigh* That said, I do like her writing style. So against my better judgement, I picked up this one too. I haven't read anything about it yet. No reviews that I can recall. An overused plot device is indicated in the summary (the ol' hero purchases heroine in bidding game from wastrel male family member thang) but who knows how it may turn out.

And to top it all off, I am STILL working my way through Loretta Chase's The Lion's Daughter. I had started it and gotten about 1/3 through before losing interest and putting it down for a month or so. Then in the past week, I've started back where I left off, reading a chapter or two at a time before bed. It's interesting because although I would think that a book that took me this long to get through would be one that I disliked, it's not the case. I'm enjoying it. But for some reason I'm enjoying it better by taking my time rather than racing through. hmm.

ahhhh, books. and the amazingest part is that they're FREE!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

shiver me timbers

I have a definite 'thing' for the mystique and romance of the high seas. Nevermind that I turn green and empty the contents of my stomach whenever I myself dare to step aboard a boat. In my imagination, I'm deftly making my way across the deck, nimbly climbing the rigging or navigating the open ocean with my mad math skillz (snort). The drama and the sense of adventure that accompany seafaring tales always interest me. Be it a hot romance novel set onboard a ship, Johnny Depp in a pirate movie (rawr!) or British period mini-series about the Napoleanic Wars...I'm there. So when my netflix delivery this week turned out to be an episode of Horatio Hornblower, even though I had forgotten putting it on my queue sometime long ago, I was excited to curl up on a rainy day (today) and watch it.

The miniseries is an adaptation of the naval adventure series written by C.S. Forester. During my peace corps days, I listened to several audio versions of the books and found them to be both exciting yarns of derring do but also a fascinating character study of a man who is both shy and cerebral but also fierce and courageous. During the course of the series, he makes his way up the naval career ladder by using his quick wits and intelligence as well as a bloody good lot of luck. In this particular episode, Horatio goes from being an unemployed captain (war being temporarily over makes for an oversupply of naval officers) to being put in charge of a ship and sent on a secret mission to France. As always, he ends up entangled in the thick of some action and we're treated to raids on forts, cannons being blown up, hand to hand combat and lotsa ships shooting at each other. What could be better than lots of men waiving their big swords around? Waiving their big guns? lol. *ahem*

What do these films have to offer the romance fan? Well, for one thing there is plenty of chisel jawed Ioan (prounced yo-ahn) Gruffud to gaze upon. Then there are those lovely sailing ships and period costumed sailors and officers. Best of all, the hearty male camaraderie and brotherhood amongst the characters is touching and dare I say, has a hint of something deeper? Ok, I'm sure it was never meant to be seen as such, but my mind goes where it will. heh. So sue me.

Go swash a buckle and check this series out.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lover Enshrined

Disclaimer: M'kay so this is totally not a "review". Because the way I see it...everyone who wanted to read this book has already done so and everyone who got pissed off at JRW after V's book has already decided not to bother. So rather than try to condense 500+ pages of book into one short review, I'm going to be lazy and just ramble about stuff that I liked/disliked/noticed/missed in Lover Enshrined.

That out of the way. First thing, this is not a romance. Repeat NOT a romance. Are there romantic elements? Sure thing, but in no way do they take center stage. But despite this fact or maybe even because of it, this book read better to me than the previous outting. There's lots of jumping around between the Phury/Cormia story, the JM/Blay/Quinn story, the lessers, the other random BDB dudes, Rhev (oh yes!), the Chosen (oh noes!) and the ever-more-violent war between the lessers and vamps. If you don't like the scene you're reading, just wait a minute cuz a totally new thread is going to be joined in a sec. Never a dull moment! Oh wait...yeah there are a few. Mainly anytime the "hero" is onstage. *sigh*

Phury is a disappointment. I have to say. He was never my fav Brother (yeah, that would be Rhage, duh) but I always had a soft spot for him and was looking forward to seeing him get his HEA. By the end of this book, as he was contemplating suicide I was urging him to go ahead and do it and save us all the trouble. Horrid, I know. But s'rsly. whine whine whine. Internal monologues. Woe is me. wahhhhh. And both he and Cormia indulged in my ultra-pet-peeve, the old "push you away for your own good cuz i am not worrrrrthy" schtick. ugh.

The upshot is that Cormia actually turned out to be ok. Her introduction in the previous book was less than stellar and I had zero hopes for her, but in fact she learns to grow something of a backbone and comes into her own. Not anything near the level of a Jane or a Bella, but still better than expected. Unfortunately, she and Phury spend most of the book separated for one lame reason or another. Cormia actually has more face time with JM it seems. I was kinda rooting for him to make a move on her and steal her away from Phury. Seeing as Phury couldn't make up his mind about her and couldn't be bothered to get with her. Would have served him right.

Speaking of John Matthew, I have to give him props. In the previous books I have always been bored with his parts and skimmed through them to get back to the main h/h storyline. He becomes much more interesting and complex in this go-round. JM, Blay and Quinn as a trio really work, and their interactions and coming-of-age probably are the best part of the book. Oh yeah, and did I mention that we finally do get a teeny tiny m/m kiss? mmm. I want Blay to have his own damned book. plz. kthx.

However, I have no complaint that the next book is scheduled to be about our drug-dealing mafioso-esque friend Rhev. We get to know a lot more about him and his sympath side and he's not what he seems on the surface. I like how he's got like a dual-nature thing going and how he's both good and evil. Should make for some compelling drama in the next story. At least it sure better if it's going to be in frackin' HARDCOVER. Pffft. Library, here I come.

Other random thoughts. Nice continuation of the Z/Bella story. Z has really been a mainstay throughout the books and he always gets the best lines. And why the hell does my man Rhage only get a few little measly moments? And don't even get me started on the serious lack of V. As for Butch, he never was one of my favs so I didn't much notice his presence or lack thereof. The real star of LE tho. It's gotta be the cat Boo. (excuse for gratuitous LOLcat posting)

What else? Well, the lessers are more interesting and seem to have more of a gameplan this time. Omega is turning out to have an actual backstory and not just be there for the sake of villainy. And who knew...the Scribe Virgin is capable of getting talked back to! Most importantly (spoiler!) Tohr is back. Not in any kind of good shape but he's alive. I knew it all along. Some nice moments between him and JM. And oh YEAH before I forget...nice moments between JM and Xhex. Woot! The boy is growing up and growing into that hot big body of his. I can't wait to see what the future has for these two. I know I'm in the minority but I really dig Xhex. For all of the complaining people do about the lack of strong women characters in the series, she has gotta be the antithesis to the typical BDB heroine. so yeah, looking forward to that one.

All in all? This ain't yo' momma's BDB book! And by that I mean, this series has definitely moved from the romance category to the urban fantasy/paranormal category. As a romance reader it makes me a bit sad because I found the first 3 books to be totally riveting and emotional. However, I get that as Ward delves more into her world, the list of characters keeps growing and you can only cover so many of them in a certain amount of space. The good (or perhaps bad?) thing for me is that I'm still compelled to read them and I still raced through this one just about as fast as I devoured the previous installments. For all the goofy slang and over-the-top-ness, the BDB is still damned entertaining and I believe I am here for the duration.

(pssst, check it out. Gerard Butler as a vampire. LOL!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Good morning friends. Did everyone have a nice Labor Day weekend? I was just thinking to myself that one of the best parts of a 3-day weekend is that it is accompanied by a 4-day work week. yay!

Random notes for the day in no particular order.

1. Lisabea and I collaborated on a ManLoveMonday post yesterday. If you haven't already done so, you can read it here. It's fun and goofy and full of pretty menz photos. Hope you like.

2. Way back in February, I thought it would be fun to see how many people were already wishing for JR Ward's Lover Enshrined on paperbackswap.com before it was even out. 477! And for shits and giggles I put myself on the list to get it at position 478. Well, guess what? It just arrived on Friday. LOL! Think about that. Some 400+ people bought it, read it, and traded it out on PBS. That's a high traffic, high volume book there. To compare, I've been on the wait list for Judy Cuevas' Dance for freakin' EVER and I still haven't budged from number 33.

3. In reference to LE, I'm about halfway through it at this point. Initial thoughts include:
- Yes, Phury is a whiny baby and I want to slap him
- Cormia is not turning out to be as wussy as expected
- Normally I get really tired of the John Matthew interludes but this time they are interesting
- Like others have noted, this book is definitely NOT romance-centric. Pretty standard urban fantasy with a big cast of characters. Not sure how I'm feeling about that.
- Rhevenge!!!!!!
- Regardless of my jonesing for the old-skool type of BDB book (Lover Eternal *sniff*), JR's writing is still freaking addictive and I'm still compelled to find out WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! I had to force myself to put the book down and get to bed last night. So I guess that means the series isn't done with me yet.

3. I had a lovely time unplugging and relaxing yesterday at my cousin's country cabin up in WVA. My DBF and her DBF fished, and we gals lounged on inflatable rafts in the pond. Clear blue skies, sun, breeze, Corona beer and all is right with the world. Good times.