Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March DIK Reading Challenge Links

This is a sticky post - for newer posts see below

Please post links to your DIK Reading Challenge submission in the comments of this post. (through 3/31/10 11:59pm)

Sweet Literary Couples

Hello ladies, today is my third and final day of posting here at the wonderful DIK blog for now. Today I'd like to discuss Sweet Literary Couples. Who are your favorites? Here's a few of mine:

Westley and Buttercup, The Princess Bride

Westley: Hear this now: I will always come for you.

Buttercup: But how can you be sure?

Westley: This is true love - you think this happens every day?

Rhett & Scarlett, Gone With the Wind

"And you do look gorgeous when you are mad. I'll squeeze you again-there-just to see if you will really get mad. You have no idea how charming you were that day at Twelve Oaks when you were mad and throwing things."
"Oh please, won't you forget that?"
"No, it is one of my most priceless memories-a delicately nurtured Southern belle with her Irish up-You are very Irish, you know."

Darcy and Elizabeth, Pride & Prejudice

"If you will thank me," he replied, "let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Good Guy vs Bad Boy

I mentioned in my previous post that I was re-reading Bridget Jones's Diary. In this book 30 something Bridget is involved with her playboy boss Daniel Cleaver, however the sweet Mark Darcy is waiting in the sidelines to mend her broken heart.

I have a few questions for you ladies today:

1. Who are your favorite literary Good Guys/Bad Boys?

2. Do you prefer a Good Guy or a Bad Boy? Why?

Monday, March 29, 2010

What Hero are you currently involved with?

Good morning ladies! I'm the Bookworm and I'll be posting for the next three days at the fabulous DIK.

I brought along some yummy chocolate covered strawberries:

For today, I thought we could discuss current Hero involvement.

I'm currently re-reading a favorite book of mine when it comes to chic-lit, Bridget Jones's Diary. Loosely based on Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, this book is a great dose of romance and humor.

The hero of this story is the rich and handsome lawyer, Mark Darcy. He is shy and reserved but a romantic at heart. Darcy is definitely the type of hero you bring home to mom. He's your all around good guy and at the end of the story, he saves the day.

My question for you today is, what Hero are you currently involved with? What are you reading?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

And the Winners Are...

Thank you all so much for entering into the Wicked Gentlemen giveaway.  If you don't win remember you can buy your ebook copy here or your print copy here.
The winners, chosen, are:




Please email me at redneyrae AT ca DOT rr DOT com and we'll get those out to you ASAP.  Congratulations!   

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Review of Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale and Book Giveaway

Belimai Sykes is many things: a Prodigal, the descendant of ancient demons, a creature of dark temptations and rare powers. He is also a man with a brutal past and a dangerous addiction. And Belimai Sykes is the only man Captain William Harper can turn to when faced with a series of grisly murders. But Mr. Sykes does not work for free and the price of Belimai's company will cost Captain Harper far more than his reputation. From the ornate mansions of noblemen, where vivisection and sorcery are hidden beneath a veneer of gold, to the steaming slums of Hells Below, Captain Harper must fight for justice and for his life. His enemies are many and his only ally is a devil he knows too well.

This is actually two novella’s that involve the same main characters but take place couple of months apart from each other. They both include Captain Harper, a member of House of Inquisition, and Belimai who is a Prodigal, a human-like demon.

In the first story these two men begin more or less a work relationship while trying to find Harper’s sister who has disappeared but the relationship turns into more by the end of the story. They get involved in a murder mystery plot that involves the killing of many Prodigals that is told in such a way that you just don’t want to take your eyes from the page – ever. The world that Harper and Belimai live in is a fantasy/steampunk/paranormal type world that is so richly told I couldn’t help but want to know more as I turned the pages.

Belimai for all of his addiction to ophorium and hatred of the Inquistors was a likeable yet sarcastic man. He felt that the only soft parts to him were because of the ophorium as described here:

None of them had understood that my moments of sweetness were pure ophorium. Everything that they seemed to love about me came from the needles they detested. The man they desired was an illusion, an ugly stone made briefly beautiful by a trick of the light. In their own ways, each of them had fallen as deeply in love with my addiction as I had.
But he really wasn’t, I felt, seeing the good parts of himself. He’s been tortured at one point which began his addiction, but that wasn’t what defined who he was – he just had a hard time seeing that. He had a dry, sarcastic personality that showed in different ways. In one of my favorite scenes he has to wait at a law office for hours. He’s bored out of his skull and has to listen to a clock that plays a little tune at every half hour.

The wall clock chimed out a popular tune every half hour, and steadily I grew to hate it. I had nothing to do but wait and brood over the disassembly of that happy little clock.
And then when he’s finally called into the office.

The only thing that truly pleased me was the prospect of escaping the wait­ing room before that clock went off again.
But for all of his sarcasm I believed that he was a good person and was rooting for him and Harper throughout the book… which was strange since this was really more of a fantasy mystery story with a little bit of romance on the side. I guess it’s the romantic in me that doesn’t let go.

In the second story we get to know Harper a bit better when he’s off to visit his ancestral home without Belimai. As he’s waiting for the carriage to take ferry him away he hears a woman screaming for help. When he finds her he is told that he must assist a girl before she is killed. He runs to the house that she specifies only to find that the girl is already dead. With very little investigation he finds that the uncle has killed his niece after a long period of abuse. But the uncle, as well as the abbot who is Harper’s boss – is blaming the death on an intruder and covering up the true culprit just because the uncle is a noble and a friend of the abbot’s. Harper leaves the scene of the crime but is then in a fury to protect the witness, Belimai, his career and life. It’s a mad dash for him to get all of this accomplished but he finds that for all of his hard work matters are falling down around him. In the end he has to make some decisions for himself that are extremely difficult but truly showed me what a fine man he was. He was an incredibly loyal friend and relative who wasn’t afraid to stand up for what he believed in.

Wicked Gentlemen is a truly wonderful book with amazing world-building, gritty characters and a lovely romance. I adored the book and all of the little nuances of Harper and Belimai, as well as the secondary characters. I will definitely be reading more from Ginn Hale in the future.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Now on to the book giveaway:

This giveaway is being offered by Blind Eye Books. They have recently gone digital and their very first digital release is, you guessed it, Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale. This digital release is available through who BEB has partnered with.

2 copies of Wicked Gentlemen in ebook format are now up for grabs! Please leave a comment by 11:59pm tonight, March 27th to go in the running. Two winners will be chosen through and announced tomorrow.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Discarding Books from my TBR

I have a lot of books.  For those who know me this is not news at all.  Back in June I confessed the total number of books in my TBR.  I've read a whole host of books since then but I've also gotten a boat load as well so the number probably is very close to accurate.

Now of these books I have in my TBR there are quite few that I will never read - mostly print books, but some ebooks as well.  They were given to me as gifts by some poor misguided relative with excellent intentions or they are ones I bought and I've had for a darned long time and have just never read.  So why are these books on my shelves when I know, deep down inside, that they will never get read?  I know that they'll never be read but yet I have a hard time letting them go.  Why?  Is it the small hope that one day I will get to them?  Probably not, but I have a hard time discarding books that I haven't read.  Yes, I've done it in the past but it's not something I like to do.

So what do you do? How do you do it?  Are you ruthless?  Do you just give away the books that you know you won't read? If so, how do you decide which ones go? 

Or are you a hoarder like myself and keep them long past their expiration date? 

Also, I never get rid of ebooks even though there are some in there that I'll never read as well.  I think because storage is so simple the thought doesn't even cross my mind.  Do you get rid of ebooks?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Turning Books Into Movies

When I was in 8th grade I adored my oldest sister.  I still love her to pieces but thank God for her I don't follow her around like a puppy any more.  Of course she lives halfway across America so that makes it difficult as well. Ann had just graduated 12th grade and hung around with her friend Kathy and dammit I wanted to do everything they did.  

One of those occasions that I remember so damned well was when they were going to go see the Danielle Steele movie The Promise.  It had come out in the theaters and they wouldn't take me with them!  How dare they?!  They thought they were being quite clever and decided to give me the book.  They said that when I was done with the book they would take me to see the movie.  Well I finished that puppy in a day - of course they were shocked - but they still wouldn't take me with them.  (Ok, Ann took me eventually)  Now being in 8th grade I thought The Promise was a fab book so I was extremely excited to see the movie...which was crap.  I mean as far as I'm concerned it was utter and complete shite.   This was a poorly done "made for TV" movie that shouldn't have even aired on TV.  I was so stinking disappointed I could have screamed!

Another time this happened was many years later after having read Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  A great thriller that I loved.  I was totally excited to see that it was coming out in theaters.  Oh. Dear. Lord.  Suckage.  Seriously people?  You thought that was good enough to release? And then they changed the end of the movie to make it more fantastical.  Ug.  

Now I realize that no movie can truly capture the emotions that we feel while reading and no one person can be in my brain seeing the way I picture things (thank heavens) but it would be nice to see a close approximation to how events are described in the book.  Wouldn't it?

There are exceptions to the rule of course.  The first one that comes to mind is Jurassic Park (which my 12 year old watches every time it's on).  I thought they did a really great job of that one cuz let's face it, the book was so involved there was no way they were going to get every little nuance in the book taken care of in the movie.  There's also Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility which are incredible.  

Overall though, I've learned the hard way that some books are just better as books.  What books have you read that were turned into movies that you loathed?  Or on the flip side, what books were turned into movies that you adored?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"I Left My Heart In San Franscisco . . ." or So the Song Goes . . .

First, many thanks to Tracy for the invitation to be a guest blogger today. I am enroute from San Francisco where I and the hubby and one of our granddaughters spent a couple of days. I knew this day was coming up, but Tracy knows that I never travel without my laptop and I rarely if ever stay at a motel without WiFi. So I am sharing this as a "wandering one."

While we were moving across San Fransciso Bay on one of the bay cruisers, I was think about what I might write what could possibly of any interest to blog enthusiasts at DIK. As we were circling Alcatraz, believe it or not I was thinking about the hundreds of inmates that had resided there during its heydey and what it must have been like. I think often that being in any kind of confinement must be made so much worse because of the lack of -- get this -- books. I know we live in an electronic age with our TV's and Wii's and such, but I am delighted to see what I believe is a resurgence of interest in reading. For lots of us it is delight in all kinds of books. I am a romance and mystery story junkie -- have been for years. I thought back over the hundreds of books I have read through my life and as always, I come up with a few that really got me "hooked" on romance all those decades ago.

Anya Seton was an author of a number of books, a few of which were made into very successful movies in the 50's and 60's. A number of her novels are classified at "gothic." Dragonwyk is one that was made during what is now called the Golden Age of Hollywood. But the novel that hooked me and still resides on my shelf and which calls out to me every few years is a HUGE historical romance entitled Katherine. Now one aspect of historical fiction where Seton excelled is research, and she has pulled it off in spades in this work. It is the true story of John, Duke of Lancaster, the favorite son of his father the King of England, and his mistress of 10 years, Katherine de Roet Swynford. They lived in the 14th & 15th centuries and it is John's son Henry, battling with his cousins over the throne of England, who in later years were responsible for that dastardly event known as the War of the Roses (a real war between the Lancaster branch and the York branch of the English royalty, not the movie about a divorcing couple. The Lancasters always wore red roses while the York branch favored white roses).

John & Katherine's love story is the kind that lights up the skies with its breadth and intensity. It is marked with the darkness of murder -- one of the duke's retainers, knowing that Katherine would not come to the duke's bed because she was married to one of the duke's knights, Sir Hugh Swynford, managed to secretly cause Sir Hugh's death in such a way that it was believed that Sir Hugh died of his wounds in a local conflict in France. Thus Katherine was free to be wooed and won by the Duke who was himself married, but on his side of things, what did that matter? In fact, over the years that they were together, the duke was married twice due to the death of his first wife.

Katherine bore four children to Lord John as well as bearing two children who were born before her affair. It seems almost a cliche to say that she was a person of conscience -- very religious in her own way -- and her relationship with the duke never ceased to rankle in her deepest being. When the Savoy Palace, her residence when with the duke, burned to the ground and her oldest legitimate child was missing, she took it as God's judgment for the 10 years she had lived "in sin" and left the duke's side and his bed. She searched for her daughter for years, even after returning to her husband's holdings and his castle which she was holding in trust for his son which she bore prior to her affair. The duke went on to father a daughter with his second duchess, a princess of Spain, but this spouse also died, leaving the duke a widower once more.

Out of the blue, Katherine received a messenger from John of Lancaster, requesting that he be allowed to visit her. They had not spoken or communicated for over 20 years at this point. His request upended her, upset her, overwhelmed her, and caused her no small amount of resentment that her hard-won tranquility and her now-calm life were once again in turmoil because of this "invasion" from the past. This upset was, in large part, due to her realization that she still loved him. After a great deal of thought and conferring with her confessor, she agreed to see John. He shocked her by informing her that he had been a busy guy. Having never stopped loving her and desiring to be with her now that his second wife was gone, he proposed marriage to her. She was shocked and almost beyond knowing what to say until he shared with her the news that he had done what all royals knew how to do in those days: he pulled lots of strings to the end that all four of their children -- three sons and a daughter -- were to be declared legitimate, thus being acknowledged by him, and given new opportunities for futures of their choice and certainly good marriages. As an additional gift, her oldest daughter, the one she believed had perished in the Savoy fire, was found to have run from that horror at the age of 14, been found by a group of Cistercian nuns, and had taken her in as an orphan. She was unable to speak and had lost her hearing because of some injuries in that fire. So she had not indicated her relationship to Katherine until she learned of her mother's marriage to the duke. She then realized that her mother's relationship had been legitimatized, her half siblings were now acknowledged, and she felt that she could reveal her relationship to her Mother Superior. Because of this she was able to spend an entire day with her mother. It seems that Katherine's "cup" was running over.

History tells us that John and Katherine married and reclaimed their love. They were together for the final four years of John's life. Their passion was still there, but it was no longer the hectic, frantic passion that was enacted in secret places. Rather, it was the joyous reunion of two people whose lives had been brutalized by the times and the politics of royalty, but whose love had endured. It was now the generous sharing of hours and days that each had never thought would be theirs. Surrounded by their children and those of Sir Hugh, they formed a truly loving family right up until the end of John's life and the years beyond. Katherine could look back on a life that had finally been graced with the best that love can bring.

I have to re-read this story every so often. It is the kind of story that never seems to lose its hold on my imagination and my heart. Seton's writing is so "above and beyond" that just her telling of this magnificent love story makes me wish that there was an Epilogue, and an Epilogue to the Epilogue, and so forth. So a keep it around so that every couple of years, I revisit those wonderful places and that distant time just to remind myself that love is love and people need it, no matter their station in life, their financial or social prominence, or their relationship to powerful people. In a world where love is so often trivialized and where abuse and obsession are often substituted for true affection and regard, it is good to know that in the morass of human history, in the mess people make of personal lives and political alliances, people can love and be loved from the depth where only true love can reside.

Many thanks for allowing me to share this remarkable story. And by the way, I really didn't leave my heart in San Francisco -- althought I love that city to distraction! It is a great place to visit and I wouldn't really mind living there. But my heart is already given away -- to my hubby of many years, my three gorgeous daughters and son, and of course, those six great grandkids who keep on bringing delight and showers of hugs and kisses into my life.

My best to you all . . . Dr. J.

(You can read more from Judith at Dr J's Book Place)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Are You A Epilogue Junkie? - Read The Following Warning Signs

Epi-lo-guian n. 1. a. One who has an insatiable interest or devotion in reading about characters' future circumstances. Someone who is so co-dependently attached to the story that when ended abruptly, feels a sense of loss, discontent and unfulfillment. 
Source: smokinhotpedia

We at Smokinhotbooks (K-Khan and KC) are avid epiloguians, or epilogue junkies. We become so obsessed about the future events of our beloved main characters that one of us even reads then end of the book to ensure the happily ever after is up to snuff. Ehem- K.C. 

Are YOU a Epilogue Junkie?? (please read the following symptoms/warning signs below)

1. You pass by white picket fences and immdiately think of Bella and Zadist from (Lover Awakened ) and ponder on how their youngin' is getting along.

2. After reading Josh Lanyon's Adrien English Series you often rehearse and act out a epilogue of your own where Adrien and Jake can be seen frolicking as lovers would on the beach, watching their dog Scout race after the seagulls. 

3. You've 'Live Journaled' (in vivd x-rated detail) about Mac and Barrons having moved well beyond the lust stage and are madly in love living in a delightful paradise after saving the world. (Karen Marie Moning's 'Dark series)

4.  If a story does not mention the utter happiness of the characters are some later event, you are left feeling bereft, cheated, adding on a tacky ending of your own. (cough, cough K.C.)

5. Finally, you participate in all active social forums with book characters and repeatedly hit "chat live" with Edward and Bella on Facebook in order to speak with them in 'real time'.

If you have one or more of the above listed symptoms consult with your local bookstore and read 1-2 romance books a day. Tell 'em Dr.Smokinhotbooks said so. 

It's okay we won't tell anyone, are you a epilogue junkie?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yes, I do like them long...

Hi everyone, my name's Lily and I'm so happy to be on the Island today. It was a lovely surprise when Tracy invited me to be a guest blogger (per Kris's suggestion). This is my first time as a guest blogger anywhere and I'm having loads of fun already. The weather's great, the men I see walking around are hot hot hot and for it being early morning the drinks they're serving are going to have me falling down onto one of these convenient hammocks pretty soon. Oh well, I'm sure they'll take good care of me.

Since Tracy's invitation I've been trying to figure out what to talk about before I list my six DIK books. What came to mind is size. I'm a definite 'size queen' although I can be satisfied with something smaller. Now please everyone, get your minds out of the gutter, what I'm talking about when I say size is the length... of a book, of course. I love to read long books, the longer the better. I think my love of big books came about when I read The Stand by Stephen King many, many years ago. That book totally grabbed me and pulled me in and even at 1152 pages I didn't want it to end. Since that time I've always preferred to read novels more than novellas and short stories. Not that there aren't great novellas and short stories out there and I do read them but there's just something about sitting down with a well written novel that calls to me.

Related to my love of big books is that I also love to read series. I think it's all tied in with my 'I want more' and 'no, I don't want it to end' mentality. If I fall in love with the characters I find myself just wanting to know more and more about them. They have their happy ending and then I'm curious, well what happens next? Maybe that's why I watched soap operas for so long. They kept giving me more and more to watch. I finally did stop when RL just got to hectic to watch them, even if taped them to watch later. But no way am I ever giving up my books!

And so here's my list of the six books I'd want with me if I were stuck on an island. My list consists of M/M books since that's what I've been reading for over three years now. Of course there would have to be a way to recharge my Sony otherwise I'd be out of luck as most of my books are in fact ebooks. In alphabetical order they are...

A Red-Tainted Silence by Carolyn Gray is an engrossing story that shows how love can triumph over pretty much anything. Nicholas and Brandon are musicians and have been lovers on and off for over ten years. The book uses flashbacks to tell the story from their first meeting at a high school play to the present as they try to overcome a life threatening event that Brandon rescued Nicholas from as well as dealing with a danger that they know is there but can't figure out who's causing it. This is a very emotional book and there is a lot of angst and crying but the complex characters, solid writing and emotional connection between Nicholas and Brandon that resonates throughout make this an engrossing and memorable love story.

I loved everything about this book and the added bonus of it being about 500 pages long was great. :)

Bareback by Chris Owen is one of the first M/M cowboy books I read. It's also the first one one that made me so angry I could have thrown it across the room, if it had been a print book, as well it's the first that made me cry. Jake and Tor are unforgettable characters and their love story, told over a long period of time, is volatile, sweet, super hot, very emotional, sad and above all it's a beautiful portrayal of a relationship with all the ups and downs that could come with it.

The added bonus in this one was the super hot sex scene when Jake and Tor 'played' with a couple of friends. It was the first foursome I had read and yeah, it was pretty darn hot! I also like how they expressed their commitment to each other with some very special 'rings'.

Kelland by Paul G. Bens Jr is an amazing book. It's not a M/M romance although there are gay characters as well as loving relationships. Kelland is a story of evil hidden behind the guise of goodness and piety and the effect it has on the lives of some of the people that come into contact with it. Whether that effect is felt first hand or as the result of damage done to a loved one it is nevertheless felt quite keenly throughout the book. It's a very well written and thought provoking story.

The bonus here is the flawless writing that totally captivated me. I did not want to put this one down.

My Fair Captain by J.L. Langley is a fabulous historical romance in a futuristic setting. It's a fun and engaging story and introduces one of the sexiest heroes I've read about, Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins. Nate is gorgeous, strong, smart, super hot, definitely swoon worthy and a total Alpha male. Especially when he's putting on a private show for Aiden. Nate is also the first character I read about with a piercing (Prince Albert) and after I Googled and saw that piercing and many others I added that little kink to my existing love of tattoos.

This story's added bonus aside from the PA were the super sexy scenes between Nate and his Boy. I loved both characters and some of the scenes between are amazing, very sexy and sweet at the same time. A wonderful combination.

Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy is a great book. It's an entertaining, funny and romantic story and I really enjoyed reading about Simon and Declan. Simon is sarcastic and sharp-tongued but also a nice guy and a great friend. Declan is a football player who's very popular. He's a great all around guy living in the closet mainly because of what he does. They meet at a party, in a very amusing way, and slowly become friends. That friendship turns to love and the ups and downs of their relationship over a two year period was very well written by Sean Kennedy. A great point to make is that only when I reached the end of the story did I realize there had been no explicit love scenes in the book. There is sex in the book, after all they are two healthy young men in love, but the scenes are not explicit and they don't need to be. The story works beautifully without them.

With such a wonderful story there's not much to add as a bonus but I will say that the excellent characterizations in this book and the ability that Sean Kennedy has to convey so much in a simple sentence is fabulous.

Zero at the Bone by Jane Seville is a gritty, action packed thriller that is full of suspense and action yet at the same time it's also an emotional and sensual story. The protagonists were both very appealing although quite different from each other. D is a hired killer and Jack is a doctor who witnesses a murder. When D is contracted to take Jack out his conscience, which doesn't let him kill innocents, stops him and instead he becomes Jack's bodyguard. These men are very different but as they spend more time together the sexual and emotional connection between them is undeniable. This was an awesome book, very intense and gripping with great characters and some very hot sex scenes as well.

This is another case where the excellent writing shines through. I really fell in love with the characters, D most of all and it was great seeing him come out of his self-imposed 'prison' and see him find his emotions, accept himself and finally be able to love. Awesome!


Well, my stay is almost over now but before I leave I'd like to thank all of the DIK ladies and of course anyone who dropped by today for the warm welcome. I've had a lot of fun here today and the memories of this beautiful island will stay with me when I get back to the little town I live in. I'd love to have you all come by my little corner of the web anytime you'd like. My blog, which in a little over a week turns one (hard to believe, it feels like it was just born yesterday) is simply called I Love Books. Pretty easy to remember and so very true.

I brought along a few friends to keep me company on the plane ride and now they're telling me they are having so much fun they don't want to leave. I guess I can't blame them. I'd stay on the island all the time, sipping on yummy little umbrella drinks and admiring the view, if I didn't have a RL waiting for me. Maybe I can use the excuse that I need to come back to get them so I can stop by for another visit.

Thanks for letting me come and play on the island.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Linda Howard

Linda Howard remains one of the favorite authors on my shelf. I love her taciturn heroes and occasionally whiney heroines. In fact, I like her heroes so much I am willing to overlook the flaws of these heroines, even when they grind my gears.

I think some of my favorite novels of hers were written during the nineties.

After the Night with Gray Rouillard and smart Faith Devlin embroiled in digging up nasty old family secrets.

Marni (not my favorite heroine) and Dane in Dream Man. I loved his solid cop presence and ballsy nature. Kinda overbearing, but I liked him anyways!

Random jungle book Heart of Fire with Jillian Sherwood and bad boy Ben Lewis looking for treasure and stuff. As I was slightly addicited to Romancing the Stone flicks, this story scored major points.

Jaine Bright and gorgeous cop Sam in Mr Perfect. I think it was the kitchen scene that did me in on this one! I have this in hardcover. It was sent to me by someone in the US. I luff it!

Linda Howard is one of those authors who I know I can sit down and read again and again without getting bored. Her books are truly keepers. This is not to say I haven't loathed a couple of her books! But, by and large, she just rocks my socks.

Friday, March 19, 2010

These Golden Pleasures by Valerie Sherwood.

I am late. Last time I posted I was so organized! Apparently this was a one off occurrence! O-o

So, this book should really should be on the DIK island but I don't think it is. It's one of the books that got me into reading romance novels and despite somehow going missing off my shelf, I still have rather fond memories of it.

I don't think I ever sat down and read it in its entirety. I'll admit to reading all the good bits by themselves (and often). I always read the bit where Roxanne finally ends up with the bad boy hero, it was epic stuff. I even took it away to Pony Club Camp and we all sat around in our sleeping bags with a torch reading it. Terrifically educational!

Roxanne lives the lifetimes of 20 woman and was still reasonably well adjusted at the end of the story. She is the stuff true heroines are made of; orphaned, beautiful (of course), clever (of course), well traveled (Baltimore, Georgia, Klondike, the South Seas and San Fran), attacked by some man in a wardrobe if I remember rightly or maybe a cupboard. Dreadfully unlucky in the love department she finally meets with Rhodes and rides off into the sunset. Absolutely classic Sherwood and despite it's many godawful flaws it was such a treasure.

After reading most of this glorious and totally old school romance I ended up with a love of secondhand book shops. I trawled through them looking for more Valerie and was able to read such classics as Bold Breathless Love (a love affair between asthmatics) and I came across Steve and Ginny from Rosemary Rogers, Shirlee Busbee and Kathleen Woodiwiss. I had what I guess you'd call a classical education in romance reading. hehe.

I wonder if anyone else read her books as a teenager and developed the same obsession with romantic literature that I did? Shanna, Her Shining Splendor, Gypsy Lady, and Sweet Savage Love - who else has these gems tucked away somewhere on their shelves?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

kris' confessions: reading taboo #3

So, it's time for my last confession and it's a biggie.

You ready??

Kris' Reading Taboo #3

My name is Kris and I read on the toilet.

Yeah, and who says that guys are the only ones allowed to do it??

Why is it such a friggin' taboo subject when it comes to girls?!

I say women readers of the world should unite by sitting down and taking back the toilet!

I mean seriously think about it for a sec...

Who is it exactly who sits down on the toilet the most??


Case closed.

Kris' St Patrick's Day Thought For The Day

Women Readers Say No To Double Standards:
Demand Throne Time Of Your Own!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

kris' confessions: reading taboo # 2

My next confession will strike at the hearts of bibliophiles everywhere and I'm sure will gain me no friends.

However, I shall gird my loins in the hopes that you are all firm (to the power of infinity squared) believers in the concept of honesty being the best policy...


Kris’ Reading Taboo #2

My name is Kris and I am a Spine Cracker.

*hangs head*

I know! *wailing* I’M SO SORRY.

But it’s not all my fault!
I swear!

I’m 99.9999998% certain that my house has a gremlin with an unhealthy obsession for book marks, which means I HAVE to lay my book face down to mark my place because there’s NO WAY IN HELL will I ever, EVA be one of those Evil Page Corner Turners.

Recently discovered stash of book marks in house where owner died in suspicious tbr-pile collapse circumstances.

Erm. I don’t s’pose anyone out there knows of a support group for spine crackers, do they?



You hate me now.

Don't you. :(

Monday, March 15, 2010

kris' confessions: reading taboo #1

It will come as a total surprise to those who are familiar with me that I am frequently can occasionally be a bit of an attention seeker.

Shocking, I know.

So, I thought why not play up more than usual during my 3-day return to DIK – and trust me there will be a hell of a lot of drinking and hitting on the heroes *mutterprobablyotherpeoplesmutter* involved as well - by owning up to
all most a few of my bad reading habits.

Theoretically I’m amongst friends, right?
Hopefully?? Ladies???


Kris’ Reading Taboo #1

My name is Kris and I am a Chronic Reader Of Endings.

I know it's a bad habit, but I can't help myself, especially

(a) when it's so friggin’ obvious where a story is heading that I want to see if I guessed it right, and

(b) when the story is complete and utter shite and I want to see if there is any reason why I shouldn't just stop wasting my time and put the book in the pile for the secondhand bookstore straight away.

Thankfully reading ebooks has meant that I’m unable to get to the end very easily. That is, I generally have to use two hands to co-ordinate, which requires me to put down the glass of wine I'm holding. Not going to happen.

With a print book, however, there is no chance in hell that I will resist.
I can literally count on one hand the number of books I’ve read that I haven’t flicked to the end.

I kid you not.
I am that bad.

What about you?
Are you a goody two shoes or an impatient cow total rebel like me?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sending out an S.O.S.--Need books so good they will trump labor pains

We're on an island of Desert Island Keepers--books so good they can't be put down. I'm going to up the ante and send out a call for your books that are so good, so gripping, so awe-inspiring, so moving, so action-packed, so emotionally-charged (but no crying) that they can distract me from hours of contractions. In a recent read, "Parentonomics," the author read his wife Dave Barry books during labor. I immediately told Mr. Wonderful to brush up his out loud reading skills--he would be put to work reading romance and urban fantasy of my choosing. Now I need a list, and I need it fast.

Some of the books at the top of my "I wish I had" list won't be out in time. "Magic Bleeds" by Ilona Andrews isn't out till May (and, damn, I wish I didn't read the teaser in the back of "On the Edge." Curran--how could you???) Joanna Bourne's "The Forbidden Rose" isn't out till June. The last book in Karen Marie Moning's Fever Series, "Shadowfever," isn't out till December. (WHY KMM?!?!?!!??! HOW COULD YOU LEAVE ME ON SUCH A CLIFF HANGER AND NOT DELIVER FOR A YEAR??!?!?!)

Patricia Brigg's latest Mercy Thompson book, "Silver Borne," will be out in time (and she's signing in Seattle on March 30), unless the baby decides to arrive before her due date (April 5th).

What's a girl to do? I'm not caught up on the new releases of the past 5 months, so please feel free to suggest your favorites. A book that Mr. Wonderful could possibly fall in love with too would be an extra plus.

Is your recommendation good enough to distract me from this?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Anti-Heroes are my Weakness

Don't let the sweetie pies in my hut fool you, the heroes who keep me up long after I've turned the last page are anti-heroes. These bad boys aren't concerned with chivalry and honor; they are out for number one and they don't care what baby, dog, or damsel gets in their way.

Their goals are in direct conflict with the heroine's, and their motivations are sketchy at best. Appearing at first to have their feet firmly planted on the dark side, these men somehow transcend awful beginnings to inch their way across the good/evil line and into our hearts. Somehow knocking the heroine about (Jerricho Barrons), stealing from her (Drake Vireo), or trying to kill her (Currin, the Beast Lord) becomes forgivable.

The ultimate coup for a writer is turning the villain of a previous book into the hero of the next book in the series. My ultimate love: Adam Black. This fae trickster from Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series toys with the MacKelter clan and their women until he finally falls foul of his queen and ends up banished, magic-less, and hunted by his own kind. This egotistical, all-powerful immortal falls for a human woman and finally--finally--realizes the true meaning of love and sacrifice. It is one of the best transformations I've ever read, giving The Immortal Highlander a permanent, superglued-on position on my keeper shelf.

How do writers make these morally questionable bad boys slip under a reader's skin? Talent, skill, magic muse dust? Is it extremely subtle "save the cat" moments early on? I don't know the secret to writing a redeemable anti-hero. I just know a well written one gives me goose bumps.

Who are your favorite anti-heroes?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Exclusive! The Eric Northman - Miss Doreen interview!

Another DIK island exclusive! Eric Northman, of Southern Vampire Mysteries and True Blood fame, interviews Miss Doreen to learn about author Carolyn Crane, and her soon-to-be-released novel, MIND GAMES!

Eric: Welcome Miss Doreen. I understand you are a reviewer over at author Carolyn Crane's book blog, The Thrillionth Page. That must be such an honor.

Miss Doreen: Thanks, Mr. Northman. And I must say, it is an honor. As you may or may not know, I feel very passionately about cowboy menages! I think they're outrageous! It's been my self-appointed duty to read any book where I suspect there might be a cowboy menage and then tell the world about it. Carolyn Crane supports me in this important mission

Eric: So, Carolyn Crane isn't into cowboy menages?

Miss Doreen: Heavens no! She's happily married, and you know, it's not an MMF type of marriage, and her husband doesn't even wear a cowboy hat in bed. I have quizzed her on all this repeatedly.

Eric: What is she into? Does she like vampires? And has she ever spoken to you about the sorts of hairstyles she likes to see on men? Also, does she prefer shaved chests? And, what if the man has blond hair? Is a bit of pubic hair alright then?

Miss Doreen: Eric, what does this have to do with Carolyn's Urban Fantasy trilogy?

Eric: So sorry. Miss Doreen, please tell me about Mind Games, the first book in Carolyn's trilogy, aka: The Justine Jones: disillusionist trilogy. I understand it's a really great read!

Miss Doreen: I have scoured Mind Games, and I can definitely report that there are no cowboy menages in it at all. Completely cowboy menage-free.

Eric: Is that all you have to say?

Miss Doreen: Kind of. Because I have news! It's huge news. The cover art for the second Justine Jones: disillusionist book, DOUBLE CROSS has just come out, and it's fantastic.

Eric: I know. I saw the cover yesterday.

Miss Doreen: That wasn't the cover! Come on, Mr. Northman, even you were suspicious of that cover. It was ridiculous. Here is the true cover:

Miss Doreen: What do you think?

Eric: * utter silence *

Miss Doreen: Double Cross is an erotic cowboy menage dystopian. You see, instead of avoiding the issue of cowboy menages (because, let's face it Mr. Northman, everybody knows that they're the 900 pound gorilla that everybody is thinking about, but will not talk about!) Crane fully imagines a world where cowboy menages are the norm.

But then, a lone crusader, Justine Jones' aunt, known only as "D" submits herself to a torrid cowboy menage--she journeys straight into the heart of evil in order to fully emerge on the other side of it. She describes the long, lusty sessions of MMF cowboy lovemaking in exact detail - every permutation - as a way of reflecting the dystopian cowboy menage society back to itself.

Eric: That doesn't sound like a very good book.

Miss Doreen: The cover blurb will be: a embedded reporter in a depraved and torrid world of cowboy menages! Get it? Embedded reporter.

Eric: I'd rather read about Justine Jones and her gang of neurotic vigilantes battling paranormal crime. That what entices me about Mind Games. I think cowboy menages would ruin that type of plot.

Miss Doreen: Well, you're in the minority, Mr. Northman! Cowboy menage dystopians are the next steampunk. You need to get with it. This is the book Carolyn Crane has to write if she wants to save her career. Deep down, I think she knows it. Don't encourage her by fawning over Mind Games.

Eric: I think you're making it up. I think you want Double Cross to have cowboy menages in it, but I bet if Carolyn Crane were here, she would say otherwise. Where is Carolyn Crane? I think we should call her!

Miss Doreen: What does the title Double Cross say to you exactly, if not a cowboy menage dystopian?

Eric: It says to me, Book #2 of a cool Urban Fantasy read.

Miss Doreen: Well you would be wrong. *Miss Doreen stands* Good Day Sir! *Miss Doreen storms out*

More about Mind Games here. Carolyn's blog, The Thrillionth Page here. Please report any Carolyn Crane sightings to
Part ONE of this interview series here: Eric interviews Little CJ!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Exclusive! The Eric Northman - Little CJ interview

Island exclusive! Eric Northman interviews Crazy Little CJ to learn all about Carolyn Crane and her upcoming novel, MIND GAMES!

Eric: Welcome, Crazy Little CJ. I'm so glad you made the time to be here today. For our guests who don't know, Crazy Little CJ is Carolyn Crane's childhood portrait, painted by an elderly aunt. Crazy Little CJ, I understand you have hung on Carolyn Crane's office wall for years, because her husband won't let you be in the living room because he thinks your eyes follow him everywhere. I think that is terrible.

Little CJ: Yeah. It is. And it's just Little CJ. You can drop the crazy.

Eric: Okay, let's get right to it. Little CJ, I am so in love with Carolyn Crane. You have to help me get inside her head. How can I make her love me? I had hoped that now that I am a TV star, she would think I’m special, but frankly, I feel neglected.

Little CJ : Join the club, dude.

Eric: But you know her better than anybody else. Please, Little CJ—

Little CJ: [interrupting] - Excuse me, sorry, this isn’t what I want to talk about. I’m sorry for your problems and all, but I’m here to unveil something.

Eric: Is it Carolyn Crane? Is she here? How does my hair look? Is—

Little CJ: [interrupting] - you wanna shut your fang box for a sec?

Little CJ: That’s better, TV stud. Okay, I wanted to unveil the cover of the sequel to MIND GAMES! The title is DOUBLE CROSS. It was DOUBLE TAKE but it got changed.

Eric: But MIND GAMES isn’t even out yet. Shouldn’t we be discussing MIND GAMES? I understand it’s fantastic.

Little CJ: Whatever on MIND GAMES. The book you really want to pay attention to is DOUBLE CROSS, the second in the Justine Jones: disillusionist trilogy. And I happen to have a sneak peek of the cover to show our readers today!

~ stony silence ~

Little CJ: You like?

Eric: Not really. I don’t get it. Why are you on the cover.

Little CJ: What’s wrong? I don’t look kick ass enough? Don’t you see my knife?

Eric: Yeah, I see it.

Little CJ: And? And what do you think of my sidekick?

Eric: It doesn’t make sense that Spectra would have a book with this sort of cover, especially as a followup to MIND GAMES, which is a fun, psychologically plotty, sort of sexy urban fantasy. This new cover feels more YA.

Little CJ: What are you? A publishing industry expert now? My sidekick and I fight crime through paranormal cuteness. When people see how cute we are, they think of all the children and baby animals in the world and decide not to be evil anymore.

Eric: What happened to the psychological hit squad? The neurotic vigilantes? The tortured mastermind hero? All the plot elements of MIND GAMES.

Little CJ: That's all history in the second book of the trilogy. Because, let’s be honest, after that hot tub scene in MIND GAMES, I felt like Carolyn needed to clean up her act. Or that psycho hunting cabin scene? Please. I’m trying to rehabilitate her image here.

Eric: Carolyn Crane’s image seems fine to me.

Little CJ: Yeah - to you maybe. Can you guess what my sidekick is named?

Eric: *sullenly* Vampire snack?

Little CJ: *kicks Eric in the shin* No, his name is Buttons.

Tomorrow: Eric Interviews Miss Doreen about the secrets of getting to Carolyn Crane’s heart. The Miss Doreen Interview here. More about MIND GAMES here.

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