Monday, December 29, 2008

My Blog Anniversary!

I just realized that today is my one year blogging anniversary!!! I knew it was close, but actually had it in my head that it was on New Year's Eve. Good thing I was reviewing some old posts and noticed the correct date of my first post. 

I guess I just want to say that it's been fun blogging and getting to know readers from all over the world who share my passion for similar genres. I appreciate everyone who reads and comments on my blog. This venture wouldn't be nearly as much fun as it is if I didn't know there were people interested in what I have to say.

Cheers! :) 

Friday, December 26, 2008

Books in My Reading Queue

Here's a little run down on what I've been reading lately and the books I have sitting on my nightstand just waiting to be read. I haven't been reading nearly as much as I normally do in recent weeks, largely due to my preoccupation with all that's going on at home, but I'm hoping to write some reviews over the holiday break, and read and review a few other great selections I really want to get to.

In November, I read one and only one book the entire month and that was an ARC of Maximum Exposure by Alison Kent. Alison sent me the ARC over the summer in exchange for the promise to review it on or before release date and for the first time, I've failed my end of the author ARC bargain and for that, I apologize to Alison. I still plan on posting a review of Maximum Exposure, however, and hope to do it this coming week.

Last weekend, I finally finished reading The Windflower by Laura London for The Windflower World Tour, and will compose some final thoughts on the book very soon.

Right now I'm more than half way through reading an ARC of Veil of Midnight by Lara Adrian, the fifth book in the Midnight Breed series. It is the story of Breed Warrior Nikolai and his breedmate Renata and so far, I'm really enjoying it. The story arc is consistent with the overall series arc, and the relationship between Nikolai and Renata is developing at a realistic pace, which is so important to me. I'm also really loving Renata. All of Lara's heroines are strong characters and compliment their hero really well, but I think Renata just might be my favorite breedmate so far. She's a strong, well trained fighter and a survivor of the truest sense. But she's also compassionate and a bit vulnerable, traits that round out her character really well.

Next, I'll be reading Stranger by Megan Hart. I've had Stranger in my hands for over two months already and I'm really excited that I'll be reading it next. If you haven't yet read something by Megan Hart, I highly recommend you do, specifically a Megan Hart novel from the Harlequin Spice line. Megan is a phenomenal writer in a genre class all her own. Her Spice novels are a unique combination of romance, erotica and women's fiction all rolled up into one unforgettable package. Her characters and their stories will linger in your mind and in your heart for months after finishing one of her books. You can read my review of Tempted that I wrote back in February 2008 HERE. Also, Carolyn Jean of The Thrillionth Page recently read Dirty by Megan Hart and composed a really thoughtful and well written review that you can read HERE.

I'll then be reading and reviewing the recently released novel, What A Scoundrel Wants by Carrie Lofty that I won from author Ann Aguirre in one of her amazing contests.

Jaci Burton has also had a novella released this week that I'd like to read (but haven't bought yet...). The story is titled Unraveled and is a follow up to her Unwrapped novella that I read a few months ago. I love Jaci's writing style and her novellas are the perfect way to spend a few hours reading a simply lovely romance.

I was also gifted copies of the first two books in The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop from my dear friend Amy C from the Romance Book Wyrm blog and hope to get to them soon as well. Amy and I have very similar tastes in fiction, including a love of straight fantasy that may or may not include any romance (gasp!), so I'm pretty sure I'm going to love this Anne Bishop series.

And last, but certainly not least in my reading queue is Desired Unchained, the second book in the Demonica series by Larissa Ione. I was incredibly lucky and won an ARC of Desire Unchained back in October during the online reader appreciation party given by all the lovely authors at the Writeminded blog. Although I did not review the first book Pleasure Unbound when I read it back in June, many of you know that I absolutely loved it and am waiting on bated breath for more in this fascinating world. Desire Unchained is Shade's story and is to be released on February 24, 2009, but hopefully I'll be reading it in another week or two. Score!

So those are the books on my current hot list and hopefully I'll be sharing my thoughts on them in the near future.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

... from my home to yours.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Meet Lulu

She's a snow-girl that my youngest daughter and I made last Friday afternoon.

I suppose it's old news by now, but the NY metro area had a little snow-rain-ice storm late last week. The roads were a slippery mess before noon on Friday and consequently, the kids were dismissed from school at 12:30 pm. And what's a snow day without a little romp in the snow, so Anna and I got busy rolling, packing and piling snow to build a snow-girl. We brought her to life with eyes, a nose, mouth, hair, buttons down her front, and even earrings! We stepped back to admire her and my daughter said, "Her name is Lulu." And that was that. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

For my husband

Last week I made some comments in a Windflower Book Tour post here on my blog that were inappropriate, hurtful to my husband and not representative of my true feelings. The post has since been deleted and modified, but in it I wrote inappropriate comments about a construction worker within the post and in the comments. At the time, I suppose I thought it would be fun for my fellow blogging friends to have some "women's locker room" talk and giggles about the romance cliched construction worker, but am now  quite ashamed that I would ever suggest having a thing for anyone other than my husband, whom I love, respect, and cherish more than words can ever express.  

I realize that for a lot of couples, it is perfectly acceptable to 'check out' other men and women while in each other's company and to even comment freely on their sex appeal, but my husband and I are not like that. We've always strived to keep our thoughts to ourselves and our eyes on each other, not because of insecurity or untrustworthiness, but out of respect, love, caring, and exclusiveness for one another. Not only did I cross those lines with last week's blog post, but I did it publicly--both actions I deeply regret. I want to apologize to my husband in the same forum in which I violated his trust carelessly and without respect to him and our marriage. Some may think what I wrote is trivial and its ramifications insignificant, yet it is never trivial when the trust between husband and wife is jeopardized and the bond between them weakened.  

This post is dedicated to my husband . . .

The man whose thoughts of love, companionship, and affection are always for me.

The man whose eyes could take their fill elsewhere, yet only fall on me.

The man who never hesitates to do what it takes to make me happy.

The man who stops at nothing to keep me physically safe and emotionally secure.

The man who does whatever necessary to help heal my body and soul.

The man who satisfies my needs, both physically and spiritually.

The one and only man who is the hero to my very own happily ever after.

I love you.

I'm so sorry. Please forgive me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Windflower is now docked in . . .

U.S.A. Pictures, Images and Photos New Jersey, USA.

Have you gotten wind of The Windflower World Tour Yet? It's a blogging extravaganza that was started by Ciara Stewart and Ana of The Book Smugglers. You can read the details of The Windflower World Tour at Ciara's blog HERE, but basically a single, rare copy of the 1984 romance novel, The Windflower by Laura London is being sent around the world between twenty-three blogging friends in order to acquaint romance readers with this historical romance novel that is beloved of many romance readers and considered classic old school romance that shouldn't be missed. Each blogger has two weeks to read, review or discuss the book on their blog, and post a picture of The Windflower in their town/city before shipping the book off to the next blogger. So far The Windflower has reached the following ports:

UK flag Pictures, Images and Photos Cambridge, UK.
Ana of The Book Smugglers discusses The Tour and reviews the novel.

U.S.A. Pictures, Images and Photos Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Carolyn Jean of The Thrillionth Page discusses the Windflower.

U.S.A. Pictures, Images and Photos Alabama, USA.
Kmont of Lurv a la Mode discusses the novel and reviews it as well.

I encourage you to click on those links and read the Windflower posts by those three wonderfully insightful bloggers. Be sure to read the comments in those posts as well for some really interesting discussion. The observations and insights into this much loved classic novel by different readers is fascinating and I'm really curious to see how it is received on the remainder of the tour.

And now The Windflower has landed in my port. Well, technically it landed here almost a month ago and shamefully, I let it sit in my bunk without cracking it open for a few weeks. Out of fear of having to walk the plank on The Windflower Tour, I begged for mercy from my fellow Windflower shipmates and asked for an extension. In order to defend my reason excuse for not having started it yet, I present the following picture of The Windflower sitting on my once upon a time kitchen window sill when my kitchen was being gutted back on November 13. 

The verdict from my Windflower shipmates? I have gratefully been granted an extension. I'm so glad that I did, too, because I finally started reading it and guess what? I like it! I'm about a hundred pages in and am actually fairly captivated by the characters and plot. Yes, the language is often "flowery," and yes, the author can be overly verbose and descriptive on topics seemingly completely irrelevant to the story, and yes, the characters and plot devices seem a bit stereotypical and cliche, but really, so far . . . I find it a bit amusing, quite entertaining, and kind of sweet.

The fact that I'm entertained by the relationship between Devon the rogue pirate and Merry the young, innocent, virtuous fair maiden is a bit disconcerting. I shouldn't be enjoying Devon's aggressive, unwelcome advances toward Merry. I shouldn't be enjoying her feeble, barely successful attempts at stopping his advances. But I can't help it! I love when Merry fights Devon both verbally and physically as she struggles to escape his embrace, all the while trying to understand and control her newly blossomed sexuality. And just when I think Devon is the ultimate jerk, he says or does something that makes me think he sees something in Merry that he's never seen in another woman. She stirs something in him that no other woman ever has, making her worth all the trouble in the world to keep. Assuming she figures out she wants to keep him as well, that is.

So I continue on with The Windflower, curious to see where the goings on aboard the pirate ship, The Black Joke, takes me next . . .