Favorites of 2008

My book tally for the year of 2008 is crazy! I can’t believe I read as much as I did. I know I read a lot each week but when you look at the totals it’s a real eye-opener. At least it was for me!

I read:
280 novels
72 novellas
49 short stories

Wow.

So after reading sooooo many stories it was extremely hard to choose my favorites but I’m gonna give it the old college try. Not all of these books were released in 2008 – some are older:

Favorite Paranormal: Demon Bound by Meljean Brook
second place goes to Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh

Favorite Historical: The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne
second place goes to Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

Favorite Contemporary: Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas
second place goes to Letters to A Secret Lover by Toni Blake

Favorite Fantasy: The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop (ok, I cheated on this one since it's 3 books)
second place goes to King of Sword and Sky by CL Wilson

Favorite Sci-Fi: The Host by Stephenie Meyer
second place goes to Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair

Favorite Suspense: Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann

Favorite Urban Fantasy: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
second place goes to One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Favorite Novella: Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs
second place goes to I Spy Something Bloody by Josh Lanyon

Favorite M/M: Death of a Pirate King by Josh Lanyon
second place goes to My Fair Captain by JL Langley (and believe me it wasn’t easy to choose between the two!)

Besides the ones I’ve mentioned above these are some of my other favorite reads for the year:

Novels:
Retreat from Love by Samantha Kane
Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
Lord of the Fading Lands by CL Wilson
Lady of Light and Shadows by CL Wilson
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Dark Needs at Night’s Edge by Kresley Cole
A Perfect Match by Shelley Bradley
Dark Desires after Dusk by Kresley Cole


Novellas:
Thicker Than Blood by Meljean Brook
Scions: Perception by Patrice Michelle
Tech Support by Jet Mykles


I hope you all have a wonderful New Year filled with many, many new books.

Immortal Warrior Contest!

Immortal Warrior - the first book in a new series by Lisa Hendrix. I read it this past week and I absolutely loved it. So I'm giving you the opportunity to read it and love it as well! If you would like to win this book you just have to do a couple of things to be entered!

1. Go to The Book Binge and read my review on Immortal Warrior.
2. Then email me at redneyrae at ca dot rr dot com and tell me what Ari's vision was.
3. Wait impatiently for contest to be over.

That's all there is to it! The contest will run until Midnight on Thursday, January 1, 2009 when I will choose a winner via random.org.

Have fun!

Update: Lisa Hendrix has added to the contest winnings! She will send whoever wins the book a signed bookplate to put on their IW copy. How cool is that? Thanks, Lisa!

What I've Been Reading This Week

Happy Holidays! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that most of you had a 4 day weekend. I can't believe I've had 4 days off - it went by so quickly!

We had a great time here in my house. I love watching the kids open their gifts - so cute! We did our immediate family stuff in the AM and then went to my parents house - about 30 minutes away - and had dinner and did other family gifts with my parents, my brother, his wife and his daughter. My sisters and their spouses live in Alabama and Kansas City, MO so they couldn't be with us which was a bummer, but we had a lovely time anyway.

I got a fab new phone for Christmas. Isn't it purty??? lol I know most people don't get excited about new cell phones but in the past I've either gotten the cheapo free phone that comes with my 2 year activation or my hubby's hand-me-down so actually looking around and figuring out which phone I wanted was something new and different for me. I love it! (and it's purple!!! My fav color!)

My oldest daughters b-day is in 2 days - oy. I always get stuck on what to buy her for her birthday since we just went through Christmas. I'm sure I'll figure it out, I always do. I've already bought her 1 gift so I just need a couple of smaller ideas. She'll be 11 so any suggestions are more than welcome. (yes, she'll be 11 - when the hell did that happen? I certainly didn't get any older *coughcough*)

My hubby and I went to a Clippers basketball game today. They suck! lol Just kidding (ok, maybe not so much). But I swear the first quarter they couldn't hit the broad side of a brick barn! Hopefully they'll get better soon. My sister-in-law won the tickets from her work and we were actually in the VIP section in a suite. Very cool - and extremely comfortable!

So I did very little reading this past week - no surprise. With holiday stuff and basketball games and phone shopping there was just no time!

So I read two books this week. That's right, two. But they were both really good which was a definite plus!


The first was Immortal Warrior by Lisa Hendrix. This is the first book in a paranormal series and I'm pretty excited about reading the next book. It's a historical paranormal which was a great blend for me. I'll let you know when the review will be up - and I'll be running a contest so keep your eyes open.
















The other book was Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr. The third book in the Virgin River series was just as good as the first 2. This story focused on Brie and Mike but the thing I love about the VR series is that their story is interwoven with all the other stuff that's going on in this town. Just really good. I'm thoroughly enjoying this series and can't wait for the next book to come out (I just bought A VR Christmas) - which will happen in February with Second Chance Pass.




Ok - that's it. I know, I know....I'll do better next week, I swear! lol
Hope you all have a Happy and Safe New Year!

Happy Reading!!

Kreativ Blogger Award

Carolyn Jean at The Thrillionth Page was nice enough to award me the Kreativ Blogger Award for The Best Pimpin’Blog. Thank you so much CJ, it’s so sweet of you to think of me and my little slice of the intertubes. I have to say I do like to read…a lot! I’ll be the first to admit though that I need to get more reviews done. But when the kids are in bed and the chores are done I want to READ, not write! Lol I’ll try to do better on my pimpin in the future!

Anyway, here are the rules:
~Mention the blog that gave it to you.
~Comment on their blog to let them know you've posted the award.
~Share 6 values that are important to you.
~Share 6 things you do not support.
~Share the love with 6 other blogging friends.

Like Carolyn Jean, I'm changing the rules a tad. I’m only going to do 1 list and it will be 4 values that I support.

Friendship: I wouldn’t be who I am without the wonderful friends I’ve had over the years. Whether I am in contact with friends from my past or not, every single one that I’ve met have had had an impact on me and how I’ve lived my life and I love them all for that.

Honesty: I despise liars in every situation. If you can’t tell the truth, don’t open your mouth.

Loyalty: Believing in something/someone and sticking to it. My mother taught that to me a long time ago and I’ve never forgotten it.

Ethical Equality: I believe in equality for everyone no matter their race, age, sexual preference or gender.

Awards to others!

NOTE to winners: Pass it on if you feel like it, or just bask in the glory. (this was taken straight from CJ – she’s so good with words! I don’t actually have categories for specific things – these are just great blogs that I love to go to.

Amy at Romance Book Wyrm
Katiebabs at Babbling About Books and More!
Lisabea at Nose in a Book
Mary Kate at Adventures in Katidom
DIK – Desert Island Keepers (of course!!)
Carolyn Jean at The Thrillionth Page – I couldn’t help but reciprocate since I love your blog!

The Christmas Story

Luke 2: 1-20 (nrsv)

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Day!

What I've Been Reading This Week

So it's been a weird weather week. Last weekend my oldest was wearing shorts and by Tuesday I was having to hose off my car to get the ice off. Of course I live on the shady side of the street so my neighbors are looking at our side of the street like we've lost it! lol It finally warmed up to about 62 today which felt downright tropical!

Shopping for Christmas is almost done. Just a couple of little things for the girls' stockings and we're good to go. Such an awesomely wonderful feeling! *big sigh*



So I started out my reading week with a bang. I read Flat Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy and can I just say, I love her books! Seriously. Her books just give me that warm fuzzy feeling and they make me smile in their simplicity. I really loved this book about a widow and a younger man. So good.









Next was The Lady and The Dragon by Shelley Bradley. From what I understand this was her first book (please correct me if I'm wrong). At first it almost felt that things were strained in the writing, at least for me, but they soon loosened up and I really enjoyed the story. Cute story about a stowaway on a privateer's ship and what happens on the ship, after she gets to the Bahama's and then gets home.











After that I read Zen and the Art of Vampires by Katie MacAlister which I really liked a lot. You can see my review below.












Last on the list was A Bride for His Convenience by Edith Layton. This was an incredibly hard book for me to read. The hero was obviously marrying for convenience - a marquis marrying a commoner who's father was as wealthy as Midas - but he was just such an ass. I'm sure the author meant for him to be redeemed and for the reader to love him, but it never quite got to that point. He was....less vile in the end but that's about all I can say about him. The heroine fell for him so I guess that's all that mattered! lol Here's an example of why I disliked him.

He had gone into his wife's room (I can't remember if they'd actually consummated the marriage yet, which it took them a while to do) and she was upset about something. He came in and had a conversation with her. When she had fallen asleep:

He'd comforted her; that had been his errand. He'd have done the same for a young pup he'd taken into his house. Anyone who knew social animals knew how lonely it was for one who'd been taken from the familiar comfort of all the ther warm bodies in its litter to lie alone.'

I'm not sure why this got to me so much. Just him comparing her to a dog - even in comfort - just made me dislike him even more. I almost stopped reading about 230 or so pages in but then I felt that I had invested so much time (because I kept sitting the book down and picking it back up) that I thought I needed to finish it. Stupid, I know. And a waste of time.

Anyway, not much reading going on this week and probably not a whole lot this next one with Christmas and all.

Have a great week! Happy Reading!

Review: Zen and the Art of Vampires

White picket fences can be dangerous to vampires. Sometimes a woman’s gotta choose….

Pia Thomason doesn’t have a typical life, but she wants one: the husband, the kids, the house in the suburbs. With her fortieth birthday looming, she decides to do something drastic, and takes off on a singles’ tour though romantic Europe.
But the few guys on the trip leave much to be desired – un-like the two men Pia sees in a small Icelandic town. They’re handsome, mysterious, and very dangerous … Just the sight of them puts her in a dither.

When their paths cross again, Pia knows one thing for certain: Where vampires are concerned, love isn’t the only thing at stake.

Pia is not having a good day. First she's on this tour. It seems everyone is hooking up with either other people on the tour or the locals. She's talking to a 4 year old. A fellow tourist is driving her nuts with her complaining and telling her that Pia's getting over the hill and let's face it you weigh a little more than you should so you're not gonna get anyone. Needless to say the fellow tourist, Denise, isn't skinny minny either. All of this is making Pia a crazy woman!

While Pia takes a dare from Denise to try to get the attention of two gorgeous men that are hanging out in town she bumps into a woman, Anniki. Well, that starts the ball rolling into utter chaos in Pia's life. She's believed to be an esteemed member of The Brotherhood of the Blessed Light which means that she'll have to get married right away, she's chased around town and then ends up meeting up with, none other than, the two gorgeous men...Alec and Kristoff.

Alec takes an immediate liking to Pia and she takes a liking to him as well. But there's something kind of sinister and attractive about Kristoff as well - even though he scowls most of the time. Pia ends us sleeping with Alec and when she wakes up in the morning Alec is gone and Anniki (woman she ran into that day) is sitting in Pia's bathroom with a knife in her chest. Pia runs for her life and ends up with Kristoff, who she goes with and yes, has sex with...after he forces her to marry him so that she won't marry the guy from the Blessed light and come into her Brotherhood powers.

Although Pia is having strange feelings about Kristoff and being more and more attracted to him she feels that she is betraying Alec and tries to stomp down any thoughts of Kristoff that sneak in. While she's thwarting her feelings she goes to the Brotherhood and explains that it's all a misunderstanding but guess what they do....they make her marry the Brotherhood guy anyway! So now she has 2 husbands! Is any of this legal, she wonders?

I can't possibly go into everything that happens to Pia, Kristoff, Alec, Denise, Pia's friend Magda, the cadre of ghosts (yes, ghosts) and everyone else involved in this story. Suffice it to say that there was never a dull moment in the story.

This was a great book. I wasn't bored for one moment while reading it and I loved that! Although I have 1 or 2 Dark Ones novels in my TBR, I've never read them. I think I might change that now that I've read ZatAoV. The only bad thing that I have to say about the story is that the relationship in the end...and I'm not saying if it was Alec or Kristoff....is completely unresolved. I.Hate.That. lol I really do. I want to know what happens NOW dammit! :) And the next book, Crouching Vampire, Hidden Fang, doesn't come out until next May! I guess I'll have to find someway to make it through until then because I'm very anxious to know what happens next.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Review: Dog Wild by Melissa Glisan

This is a story about Lupercus, the Wolf Lord and a God. It journeys from birth to present with at least one trip down memory lane.

The story starts out with Lupercus being born. It’s a very fantasy like birth, in my opinion. He is born from the stars from what I can gather. He’s also a twin to Faunus who is a deer. I’m not sure from the story whether Faunus is a god as well. This part was somewhat confusing for me.

We are then thrust into present time in the life of Ashley Cooper. Ashley works at a travel agency after having being fired from her flight attendant job. Life is kind of boring but she has her dream man that she’s dreamed about for the past 10 years.

One day she meets Lupercus, her neighbor and things start heating up. Lupercus decides that Ashley is his mate and that nothing will get in the way of him making her so.

The way Lupercus went after Ashley was very caveman like to me, but he was from ancient roman times so I tried to keep that in perspective. He did kind of come to his knees for his woman by the end of the book and that was nice to see (always! ha!) so there was hope for him.

Ashley was a pretty wishy washy character in some parts of the story and then quite forceful in others. I felt she needed to pick a personality and stick with it.

This was a very different type of read for me. It’s categorized as paranormal – I’m sure because it has shape-shifters in it, but it seemed very fantasy-like. The talk of gods, being born from stars and the fact that his twin is a deer were kind of far out there for me and involved a certain level of suspension of belief. There was a lot of moving around in the book if you know what I mean and at times it was kind of confusing. Melissa does a great job with her sex scenes. Highly erotic and very hot.

The whole book was an on-again, off-again relationship for me but I think I’ll read the next one, Dog Wild 2, to see what it has to offer.

Rating: 3 out of 5

What I've Been Reading This Week

Howdy! How are you my friends? Did you have a good week? A good weekend? I certainly hope so.

I helped my brother move this weekend. He's rented this house for 12 years and the landlord gave them 6 weeks to find a place and get the heck out. They found another place to live, but they did no packing whatsoever until Friday. Now, I love my brother but he's a pig and I don't mean he's an ass - which of course he is, but I mean his house is/was a sty. I can't believe how disgusting some people can be and he lives with his wife and 13 year old daughter. At this time 5:52pm I brought the kids home to bathe (and bathe and bathe) but my hubby is still there. They have to be out of their house by today and frankly when I left I didn't think there was anyway in hell they were going to make it. If my oldest didn't have a speech to memorize by tomorrow (yeah...let's put things off til the last minute, shall we?) then I would have stayed. Of course even now I feel like a truck ran over me. Boy, I'm soooo out of shape! lol

I did get my tree up however! Yippee! The girls helped and we had a great time. I got started on my cards but will have to do them on my lunch hours this week at work. Needless to say with the moving I didn't get any shopping done. I'll work that in too...somehow...I'm sure.

Oh! And I'm sending this via our new computer! Yippee. This was the hubby's and my gift this year to ourselves. 3 GHz with a duo processor. That and my cable hook up and this baby flies! I friggin love it! I'm still getting used to Windows Vista but so far I've only had 1 issue so that's cool. Now I just have to move all my files from one to the other. Luckily the other is currently hooked up as well so I have access.

Anyway, this is what I read this week:



My first book was The Storm by Jean Johnson. Book 6 in the Sons of Destiny series. I liked this one the best so far. I was always curious about Rydan and this explained a lot. I have the next one so will read that soon and then only 1 more and it's over...yay! I know you're wondering why I'm reading if I don't LOVE the series but I can't seem to help myself! lol








My second book was To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn. Yes, I'm still reading the Bridgerton's! lol I know, seems like I've been reading them forever, but it's only been a few weeks, I'm almost done. This was a very well written book but of the series so far I think this is my least fav. Phillip and Eloise just didn't click with me for some reason.










Snowy Night with a Stranger was next. This is a historical Christmas anthology that has stories by Julia London, Sabrina Jeffries & Jane Feather. You read my mini (and I do mean mini) reviews here.













Next up was Hot as Hell by Helen Kay Dimon. I've read a couple of her books and enjoyed them. This one started off well for me but then just went downhill. The relationship between the h & h was on the line and there were serious trust issues. Their banter at the beginning was enjoyable but then the heroine started making me annoyed and I stayed that way! lol I really liked the hero though - he was great.







Next was Dog Wild 1 by Melissa Glisan. I'll be doing a review of this sometime this week.



Last on my list was my last Bridgerton for a while: When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn. I really enjoyed Francesca and Michael and this was a great read. I do have the next 2 books but they need to be back to the library soon. I just don't think I can read them right now - not because they're not wonderful, because they are. But because I have so many other historicals to read right now and I feel actual guilt when I'm reading one of those and not a Bridgerton! lol I need to take a break. Maybe after the first of the year?


That's it for me. I hope you have a wonderful week!
Happy Reading!

And the Slacker of the Year Award goes to....Me!

I have been such a slacker! I’ve been reading and reading and occasionally putting a review up for my guest reviewing but I haven’t posted a review on my blog in forevah! I suck and I have to apologize. I will endeavor to be more attentive to my poor little blog here. Bear with me…I’m apparently trying to do too much these days and things are falling through the cracks.

On another note: Who’s ready for Christmas besides Wendy???

What I've Been Reading This Week

Happy Sunday!

I'm a little out of it today - sore shoulder muscle. Seems that thing is always bothering me! Damn I hate getting old! lol

So here are my little hellions in all their glory. You can obviously tell the oldest from the youngest so no need for me to point that out. Aren't they cute? Man! I'm so biased! One of these days I'm sure they'll show some teeth. :)


So the first book of the week was also my first book of the month! It was An Offer From A Gentleman by Julia Quinn. Yes, still loving the Bridgerton's. This was truly a Cinderella story. When I first realized that was more or less the theme I was a litle leary as to how it would pan out but with Quinn's great writing it was very entertaining.







Next up was Prince Joe by Suzanne Brockmann. A great story about a SEAL who is a look alike for a prince. Joe steps in to take his place when his life is threatened. Joe falls hard for the media consultant, Veronica, and sparks fly. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.








After that I read a novella for review on The Book Binge (if you haven't guessed I'm now a guest reviewer for them so I'm trying to read at least a book a week for their reviews). This book was called A Candlelight Ghost by Ellie Moonwater. I think you'll be be able to read the review sometime this week. I'll keep you posted.






The day it was released I ran out and got the Dead After Dark anthology. I read the novella by JR Ward first which was great but did leave me with some questions. Later in the week (Saturday - I'm kind of going out of order here) I read Sherrilyn Kenyon's Shadow of the Moon and Susan Squires Beyond The Night. Kenyon's novella was wonderful. The story of Fury Kattalakis and the Arcadian woman he's always been in love with but who betrayed him. Squires novella was a good as well. I haven't read her stuff but this may have been a short in a current series. I haven't read the 4th story by Dianna Love yet, but I will.




Next was Be With Me by Maya Banks. I hadn't read any of her work before but I will definitely be reading more of it now that I've read this one. This is the story of Regina who has been best friends with Cam, Hutch and Sawyer since her childhood. But there's more than friendship there and they all know it. Regina is avoiding the men but the guys have decided it's time for them all to be together. The guys also know that Regina will never choose between them so they've all decided that they are all going to be together. Not necessarily always in a group setting but together. The problem is getting Regina to go along with their plans. The whole story line is a tough one but one that I thought was incredibly well done. Oh, and the sex - woooey - get the bucket of water to cool off with when you're reading this one. Those 3 men are hot, hot, hot.



Next up was Romancing Mr Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. The story of Colin and Penelope was wonderful (although IMO Penelope was the greatest part of this book, by far). I'm telling you the scene in Penelope's drawing room when she's asks him to kiss her because she's never been kissed before is beautiful. It reminds me why I read romances. That wonderful feeling you get from just the simplest yet incredibly romantic moments. *sigh* So good.




Anyway, that was my week in reading. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.
Happy Reading!

Mini Review: The Story of Son

So I picked up the anthology Dead After Dark with stories by Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward Susan Squires and Dianna Love. I immediately jumped in and read the Ward novella. I wanted to share some thoughts and see what others had to say - if you'd read the story.

Claire Stroughton is a beautiful lawyer who would rather spend the night with a legal brief than the man of her dreams. Then a routine client meeting turns dangerous—and deeply sensual—when she is held captive by a gorgeous man with an unworldly hunger…

Claire goes to Caldwell, NY to have a client sign a will. While in Caldwell Claire ends up locked in a basement with a vampire, Michael, where she will stay the entire Labor Day weekend so that he can feed.

Ok - I'm not gonna give away the basics of the story. I want to talk more about the whole vampire thing. I don't get on Ward's forum any longer just because it's so friggin overwhelming so maybe some of this has been discussed there - if any of you know, let me know.

So since this story takes place in Caldwell I assume that Michael the vampire is a civilian in the BDB world. No part of the BDB world is mentioned but given the city I assumed that to begin with. However, there are parts of his vampire life that just didn't fit with what we know about Wards vamps so I began to doubt myself.

Examples:

Women were brought to Michael once a year for a weekend so he could feed. Once a year? And from a human? Wards vamps can feed from humans, but they suffer for it. This guy didn't seem to be suffering.

Michael had been confined since his 12th birthday when his "evil" or "vampiric" tendencies began. Even as a 1/2 vamp Wards vamps don't transition until around 25 years of age and even then they would need to feed from a vamp to make it through.

Fang like teeth growing at age 6.

Then there are mentions of things that would make me believe that this was supposed to be a civilian in Ward's BDB world:
Bonding Scent
Dematerializing
A Butler that seems awfully like a Doggen but more or less evil. But then that brings me back to if he's a Doggen wouldn't he know that the vamp needs to feed from another vamp?

So I liked the story. It was a nice little romance and I enjoyed reading it - Ward does romance well, that's for sure. But the questions that it brought to mind threw me for a loop and my little pea brain just doesn't get it.

So, help me. What are your thoughts. Have you read the book?
(An why did they call it Dead After Dark? Don't they come alive after dark? Wouldn't Dead Until Dark be a better name? These and other questions! lol)

Slippery When Wet

Why, yes, yes I am. Kind of like a large seal or a porpoise.

Oh wait, that's not why I'm posting. I'm posting to let you know that I've done a guest review for Katiebabs - that wonderful chick. Go here and read my review for Slippery When Wet by Kimberly Raye.