Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Am I the only one?

I started reading a new book last night.  The writing is pretty good, and the sex is pretty hot.  I should be really into it, nose buried in the pages right now.  And yet, I'm not. 

You see, here is the problem.  The heroine in this book (a category from the Blaze line) is a flight attendant who is engaged, with the wedding a month away.  Working her last international flight, she encounters a tall gorgeous Aussie (mmMmmm, good!)  She then Encounters him in the airplane's restroom.  Welcome to the mile high club!  It's hot.  There's light bondage.  BUT... she's engaged!  The H&h have that amazing instant romance novel connection, but she is already committed to another man.  No way around it, she cheated. 

As a reader I have my kinks (things that get me in a good way every time.)  I also have my deal breakers.  Infidelity is one of mine. I just hate it.  It can make me turn away from a well written novel in disgust.  Such behavior limits my ability to connect with the character.  I just... can't.

Do you have this problem?  Is there something else that is a deal breaker for you?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My DIK is up!

Yes, that's right, my friends.  It is my turn on the DIK blog again.  I started over there yesterday, and continue today and tomorrow.  Please stop by and join me!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January Book Club

It has been FAR too long since my last book club installment. I was looking back over previous selections trying to decide what to focus on next. We have read a chick lit/urban fantasy, a contemp, a paranormal romance, another contemp. No historical yet. I think I am going to wait on that one for the moment. Actually, I am thinking of picking a book completely outside my usual realm of choices. Our next book club selection will not be a romance. Shocking, I know! It was recently recommended (by a handful of people) that I try reading Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore. Now, I know myself. I get these great non-romance books with great intentions of reading them, only to allow them to languish on my shelves. Memoirs of a Geisha? Still sitting unread years later. Chocolat? I got about 45 pages in. The writing is beautiful, I just always get distracted by the crack that is romance. So today I am putting my foot down. I will read Lamb. I will finish Lamb. And bu God, we will discuss Lamb!

So anyone want to join me? I read the first 20 pages and laughed out loud in the middle of the car repair place. Seriously, this is funny shit. Come on! You know you wanna try it!

Due date: January 31st

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Review: Hero Under Cover

I have always thought that it’s the simple pleasures that make life worth living. Sure, the big surprises and gallant gestures have an impact, but the little things make the tough times tolerable. Listening to a (your) child giggle. A warm mug of tea or hot chocolate on a cold, snowy day. Holding hands with someone you care for as you walk down the street. Curling up under a blanket with good book.

Yesterday I hit the jackpot of used books. Among them I found one of the greatest of simple pleasures: a new-to-me book by a favorite author. This phenomenon happens so rarely. You think you have dug up nearly all of the author’s back list and have their newest hardcover release on your wish list. Then suddenly, without any warning you see their name gracing the cover of an unfamiliar title. “What’s this?” you ask yourself. “Surely this is not what I think it is! A Brockmann I have yet to read? Praise Jeebus!!!”

In Hero Under Cover Annie Morgan, an archeologist specializing in authenticating European artifacts, is under suspicion for the robbery of two museums overseas She is up to her ears in work and has the FBI and CIA breathing down her neck. When a friend of the family contracts her to authenticate a gold death mask, rare in that it was made of the face of a Navaho Indian, her troubles go from bad to worse. Worried over the security of the artifact, Annie’s client hires bodyguard Pete Taylor to ensure her safety and the safety of the mask. Threatening phone calls escalate to malicious pranks, leading Pete Taylor to believe that Annie may be in danger. This real threat, and the close proximity into which it has thrown the two, causes Pete a crisis of conscience. For while Pete is working to protect Annie from the threats to her life, he is also working to uncover her involvement in the museum robberies. In all his years of undercover work for the CIA, he had never felt so drawn to a woman. Never in his life had he felt this way. Soon Pete questions what matters most: gathering the evidence needed by the CIA or protecting the woman he loves with his very life.

This is classic Brockmann. Written in 1994 before she began her Troubleshooters series, her writing shows the promise of becoming what it is today, much the way you saw it in Body Language (go read that book if you haven’t yet.) She gives us her trademark strong, passionate hero. He is slightly less Alpha than her recent men, although certainly not lacking in take charge attitude. Pete is self contained and proud, yet he does not deny to himself the existence of the feeling he has for Annie.

Annie is smart and determined. One of the things I love about Brockmann’s heroines is that (with the exception of Alyssa) most of them are realistic women. They are beautiful in the eyes of the hero, but are not described as beauty personified. While they are attractive, it is through the hero’s perception that she is found to be sexy and irresistible. Isn’t that a bit more the way love truly is? The person becomes more attractive to you as your feelings grow. The depth of their beauty is revealed through their depth of character. That is not to say that in the book, and often in real life, they were not attracted to each other from the start. Oh no, I’m not that idealistic. Pete and Annie felt and instant attraction, but both characters made choices not to act on it in the beginning. It was by knowing one another that their defenses were worn down. This also meant that the first time they made love it was exactly that, making love.

If you are a Brockmannite like me you need to find this book. If you enjoy her writing, but have been disappointed in the recent Troubleshooters installments, you need to find this book. If you have never read Brockmann... Well, you get my point. Go read this book.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hit the jackpot!!!

Today I was a brave soul. I ventured out in the vast white tundra that Chicago has become. My poor little Beetle barely made it out of it's parking spot, but she was a trooper and slowly slipped and slid her way down the side streets. After a brief stop at the bank to order checks (because I am dumb and never remember to reorder until I have used up the last one), I took a little stroll.
Chicago in winter can be in interesting place. One day we are buried under a blizzard. The next day it is 60 degrees. The snow was lightly, yet steadily falling, coating the city in a glittering veil of white. It was quite beautiful, really. I stopped at the Bourgeois Pig for a steaming cup of Mexican hot chocolate. Yum! Deciding that I may as well indulge to the hilt, I headed down the block to Swirlz, the only cupcake place in Chicago that offers gluten free cupcakes. Chocolate cake with a thin layer of chocolate ganache. Top that with raspberry puree and a think swirl of cream cheese frosting. Oh yes. It was good.

As I headed back to my car I was forced to stop at the intersection to wait for the light to change. On a whim I decided to pop into the second hand store on the corner. What makes this store special is that all profits go towards Children's Memorial Hospital. You can find furniture or clothes and help terribly sick children to get the care they need. I was wandering through looking over some rather unattractive couches when I saw a room further back. At first I thought it was a storage area. Not so. I headed back to take a closer look and that is when I saw it... books. Lots of books. Oh, the raptures I experienced! At first I figured I might find one or two decent titles. Oh baby was I wrong. I hit the mother load!

I am not sure how long I spent in there browsing through the shelves of books, but after all that time and a scant $8.27 later I walked out with:

Into the Fire by Suzanne Brockmann
The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
P.S., I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (because I adored the movie!)
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (another movie I adored)
The Horsemaster's Daughter by Susan Wiggs (sequel to Charm School)
Killer Secrets by Lora Leigh
Some Like it Wicked by Teresa Medieros
The Stolen Bride by Brenda Joyce
A Rake's Guide to Seduction by Caroline Linden
Hero Under Cover by Suzanne Brockmann (OMG, one I had never heard of!!!)
No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole (I really hope I already own the first one)

Yup, you counted that correctly, my dears. Eleven books for $8.27. That comes out to approx 75 cents per book, including the hard cover.

Jackpot, baby!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Returning to the fold

I am here. I am alive. I have returned... I hope.

Things have been a bit crazy in Shannon Land. NaNoWriMo kicked my butt and then abandoned me before the month ended. The holidays got crazy with chorus concerts and school holiday programs (never mind shopping and family parties!) I had a lovely out of town visitor that kept me busy for about a week. It is unusual to say this, but one week was not long enough. Really wish he were still here...

Just as everything cleared up and I was ready to start joining the blogosphere again.... WHAM! Literally. I slipped and fell on the ice in my school's parking lot, hitting my head on the pavement. I'm fine, not even a concussion (according to the ER doctors.) Sore muscles, head ache, a bit woozy. I am back to school, but perhaps should have stayed home another. Ah well.

Anyhow, I have actually been reading again. Yay! I have missed it so! I haven’t the time to do a review at the moment, but will be typing them up soon. Here is what I have o my list to review:

- Coming Undone (a category that I actually loved!)
- a Christmas anthology (sorry this is so late Nicola!)
- another OK category
- So Long and Thanks For All the Fish (not romance, but there is a sweet reason for my reading it)

In addition I will soon have a historical Western to review. My co-worker brings me books she has finished. Some are good, most are questionable. I have the entire series of "Seven Brides" written by Leigh Greenwood. The cover art is enough to make me run screaming. I was all ready to donate them to the local Salvation Army, but then Queen Bella Michelle informed me that the author is a man. Romance written by a man? This I had to try. I am only a couple of chapters in, so I will reserve judgment for now. I'll let you know what I think when I have read a bit more.