A Weighty Matter

How the hell did women in historical times stay trim – or at least not be the size of a small whale? For some reason I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Maybe it’s because I keep telling myself I’m going to start exercising and eating more healthy foods. Yeah, right. Anyway, the thought has crossed my mind numerous times and so I thought I’d put it out there. All of you can answer my questions for me since I’m shit at doing research and can’t be bothered! lol

I read at least 4 or 5 historical romances a month. In all of these the women eat 3 meals a day – and if they are having callers or making calls they are having tea and biscuits on top of it…sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon…sometimes both. Not to mention that one of the 3 meals they are having are most likely at a ball, especially during the Season, late at night, and they’re eating a 5 to 7 course meal.

Now that I’ve mentioned food I have to mention exercise…or the lack thereof. These women who are eating all of this food are sewing for entertainment. They’re strolling in the park or the gardens. They’re settling on the settee for a good read. They’re playing a rousing game of whist. Unless of course they’re in the country and then they’re doing a bit of horse back riding, which is good exercise.

All this brings me, once again, to my question: how the hell did women in historical times stay relatively trim? Or, at least not look like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow man? Now I know that women back then tended to be a little “fuller”, should I say. (Yeah, that’s a good term for me, fuller). They didn’t have the magazines flaunting anorexic models and certainly didn’t have television showing them unbearably thin women that they felt they needed to live up to. But really, how did they do it? Was it all the tea? Does tea have magical weight maintaining qualities? *makes note to contact Jenre*

There’s probably not one good answer but since my mind works in mysterious ways I had to get it down on paper (so to speak) and see what others thought on this subject as well. 

So what do you think? Tell me your thoughts. Tell me your reasonings. Or, if you want, just tell me I’m nuts and move on, no harm done.

Book Giveaway: More Than Words volume 6

Presenting…the sixth annual More Than Words anthology.

Little by little, one person at a time, we can make our world a better place. The five dedicated women selected as this year's recipients of Harlequin's More Than Words award have done just that, by discovering a seed of compassion, and nurturing it to effect real change in their communities. To celebrate their accomplishments, five bestselling authors have honored the winners by writing short stories inspired by these real-life heroines. (Stories written by Joan Johnston, Robyn Carr, Christina Skye, Rochelle Alers & Marueen Child.)

We hope More Than Words inspires you to look into your heart and find the heroine who lives within.

Every year Harlequin accepts submission for the More Than Words award.  Their mission is to:
**Raise awareness about worthy causes that are of concern to women
**Provide financial assistance to these important charities
**Engage employees, authors and readers and the general public in worthy causes and provide opportunities for them to make a difference

While I haven't read this book myself I have read the bios on the 5 women that were chosen for the 2009 awards and they are all amazing.

I have one book to give away to one lucky winner.  If you are interested in wining and reading this book just leave a comment on this post sometime before April 1 at 11:59pm and you'll be in the running.

What I Read Last Week

Good morning!

How are you all doing today?  Well I hope.  I know that some of you with children have them home this week for Spring Break - hang in there if you're home with them. :-)  My two are off next week and are so looking forward to it.  They love hanging out with their Papa (my dad) because he loves taking them places.  He's 75 but has more energy than I do!

This past week we got to attend my youngest daughter's 2nd grade play/musical - Life Cycles.  It was seriously adorable.  Everything went off without a hitch and I was so happy for them.  My girl got a little speaking part as "plant 2" and she was so proud (and so were we). :)  I'd love to share a picture with you but at this little shindig we realized that our camera sucks at distance and low light...even on the low light setting.  Ah well.  It's only a 3x zoom and normally takes great photos and video so I shouldn't complain but dammit - now I don't have good pictures! lol

It was also my hubby's b-day this past Saturday. The girls and I spent the morning and afternoon running errands and having lunch with my in-laws and then yesterday my parents, brother and niece came over for dinner.  It was a great time.

Because I was running around all weekend I didn't get very much reading done.  I think I read a total of 150 the whole weekend.  I know, shocking.  I started 2 books on Friday and have finished neither of them.  lol

So what did I read last week?

First was Hunter's Need by Shiloh Walker - book 11 in the Hunters series.  This was a book that I read for The Book Binge for review but it was also a book for my Finish the Series Project.  I think I still have 4 stories to go with the Hunters.  This was Analise and Duke's story.  She's a psychic with minimal psychic ability and he's a hunter/shapeshifter.  They have a nasty past with each other but they have a connection that neither can deny.  This was good, but not great for me.  I like Walker's writing but I didn't care for the heroine in this one and it really put a damper on things for me.  I'll let you know when my review posts on TBB.

Next up was Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale.  I loved this book.  Say, loved it so much I want to have babies with it.  Ok, maybe not that but still - it was fantastic.  It's now available in ebook as well so if you haven't read it - do it!  You can read my review here  5 out of 5 (this was also part of my m/m challenge)

Next up I read HardMan by Amarinda Jones for The Book Binge. This was the story of a girl at a fuck-me shoe convention and the convention manager.  They meet, grumble at each other and then have wild sex in a storage closet. They start a sexual relationship but soon see it's more.  Again this was a cute book but I did have some difficulty with the heroine.  I like Jones's sense of humor but the heroine and her snarkiness got to be just a bit much after a while.  3.25 out of 5

My next read was my Tracy's TBR challenge read for the week and one of my FTSP - One the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn.  I've finished the Bridgerton's!!!  Took me long enough, geez! lol  This one was good but probably my least favorite of the 8 books.  Gregory falls in love with Lucy and wants to marry her but she's promised in marriage to someone else...and her uncle is blackmailing her into holding her to the promise.  Don't get me wrong it was still a pretty good book but it was a little fantastical and a little sappier than I like.  Wow, that sounds like I didn't like it...but I did - just not as much as the others! 3.75 out of 5

Next was Totally Captivated volumes 5 and 6 by Hajinn Yoo (yaoi manga). I really love this series.  The story of Ewon who is more or less conned into working for a loan shark, Mookyul, but throughout the series Mookyul falls for Ewon and there's much angst and much sweetness.  It's beautifully drawn and it's definitely a keeper. 4.5 out of 5 for both books.

Next was another yaoi manga called Yokai's Hunger by Naona Bohra.  This was a paranormal manga that involved Norito and Koma - who had been pledged/promised to Norito in a past life.  They get together again but then have to deal with demons and Koma's brothers - almost the same thing.  It was pretty good.  The graphics were ok but made me laugh.  Norito's nose was always shaded so it looked kind of animalistic to me and he seemed to have, most of the time, one of his eyes shut.  It was just funny and I couldn't quite understand why the author did that.  3.5 out of 5

That was it for me last week!  I did have one review post this week on The Book Binge:

Happy Reading!

M/m Book Giveaway at Naughty Author Chicks

Today over at the Naughty Author Chicks Blog new author KC Burn is giving away a copy of her March 9th m/m release from Loose ID: MIA Case Files: Wolfsbane. Here's a bit about the book...

Agent Lachlan Carmichael has a job to do. A portal is open in Rothburg, and this time the Umbrae passing through it are creating werewolves. He needs to close the portal, even if it means losing two-thirds of the people possessed by the Umbrae.

So what if Adam Farelli, the town's screw-up, is the sexiest man he’s ever seen? Carmichael’s been content to live with 'don't ask don't tell' for most of his life. A gorgeous, shiftless layabout isn't going to convince him to step out of the closet.

But when Carmichael needs Adam's help to close the portal, he's unable to resist the temptation Adam represents. But his lies and lack of trust put Adam in danger when one of the werewolves, obsessed with Adam, kidnaps him. Even if Carmichael can save the man he's grown to love, he's going to have to convince Adam to forgive him.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Male/male sexual practices.

A review on DIK and a Book Giveaway

Still at DIK - can you believe it?  Today I'm reviewing Ginn Hale's Wicked Gentlemen and having a book giveaway!

Yep - Blind Eye Books, publishers of Wicked Gentlemen, has now gone digital and their first digital release is WG!  So they've offered up 2 ecopies of WG - wasn't that nice of them?  I thought so too.

So head on over to DIK and leave a comment in order to get in the running for the giveaway - the giveaway is only today, the 27th so leave your comment before 11:59pm (pacific) tonight.  

If you leave a comment here if will not put you in the giveaway!  You must leave a comment on my WG review post on DIK.

I'm Still at DIK But Now It's A Different Subject

Yep - I'm still posting at DIK today but now I'm discussing the discarding of books in a TBR. *gasp* I know!  Anyway - come on over and put in your two cents!  Oh, and you may see this guy while you're there!

I'm at DIK Talking About Turning Books Into Movies

That's right I'm over on DIK, um, I mean at DIK...yeah, that's what I meant.  Anyway I'm DIKing my time away over there talking about turning books into movies.  Come on over and say hi!

Doing Double Duty: DIK Reading Challenge & M/M Challenge Review: Angel's Evolution by T.A. Chase

This book was on Kris’s DIK list.

I’m a monster. Or so my father would have me believe. I’m imprisoned in a world I hate and fear. As heir to my father’s title, I’m expected to marry, but my secret desires may keep me from fulfilling those expectations.

One night a stranger kisses me. In his touch, I see the possibility of a life beyond my prison. My name? Just call me Angel and this is my evolution.

The story is told in first person present tense. It’s from Angel’s pov and he is a tortured soul. Not only emotionally, but physically as well. He led a pretty normal life until he was 10 years old and then his father started beating him relentlessly. Tying him to his bed and not letting him out. He was given no love by his siblings or his mother. Now all of a sudden his father is taking him out to balls. He’s not sure why and he’s certainly not prepared for the crush that the balls become. He’s uncomfortable in society, for obvious reasons, and tries to escape to the gardens whenever he can. On one such occasion he sees a beautiful man who he considers a god. He continues to see the man at balls and wonders who he is. At one ball he heads to the garden and is approached by his god – who kisses him. Angel is thrilled, but confused. Why did the man kiss him and how could he know that his kiss would be accepted?

Angel’s god is a Duke and one who has decided to live his life the way he wants…and he wants Angel. The Duke manages to get Angel away from his father but the road to recovery for Angel won’t be an easy one. Angel feels he is a monster and doesn’t know why he would be worthy of love from anyone.

This was an incredibly moving story. The way the story is told I truly felt the anguish and misery that is just seeping out of Angel (Angel isn’t really the characters true name – just a name that is given to him by the Duke and he adopts). He has truly been tortured both emotionally and physically and I just had to wonder how he would ever pull himself out of his self-loathing. But when Greyson came along he helped Angel see that he was a person with real feelings and not just a whipping post. And when Angel does realize he’s someone who deserves to be loved? Wow - I have to tell you I actually got chills it was so intense.

Now towards the end of the book when things were going better in Angel’s life I found myself thinking that it was starting to sound too good – all rainbows and butterflies. But then I stopped to think, when your life has been nohting but hatred and pain can it get too good? I don’t think it can – at least not imho.

This is not a light read by any means so if you’re looking for a comedy this is not the book for you. It’s a story with much angst but much happiness as well. It was a very good book and I’ll definitely be reading more of Chase’s work.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

What I Read Last Week

Well is was another quiet week at Casa Tracy.  For some reason this time change has been kicking my butt and I can't seem to get my ass out of bed in the morning.  Other than that not much to report. :)  On to the reading...

First up was Angel's Evolution by T.A. Chase.  This was a book that I read for both my m/m challenge and my DIK challenge as it was one of Kris's picks.  I'll post my review on Wednesday.

Next up was a yaoi manga called Chocolate Surprise by Lily Hoshino.  I didn't really care for this one at all.  The graphics were just ok for me and the stories, well, were kind of frenetic. 2 out of 5

My next read was A Certain Wolfish Charm by Lydia Dare.  I read this one for The Book Binge.  It was a historical paranormal book about a Duke who is a shapeshifter and the woman that he ends up marrying - his young cousins aunt.  I had a few issues with the book but overall I liked it.  I'll let you know when my review posts. 3.75 out of 5

I read Downtime by Tamara Allen because I'm in the m/m romance group on goodreads and this was their book of the month.  I am so damned glad I read it.  Downtime tells the story of Morgan Nash who is an FBI agent in the middle of a stakeout when he gets transported to the 19th century - 1888 to be exact.  Ezra and his friends Henry and Derry were playing around with a book and instead of summoning a demon - which they really didn't think they'd do - they got Morgan.  It takes Morgan some time to figure out that he's no longer in the 21st century and he's determined to get back to his time now.  But the next day when they all return to the museum to send him back the book of incantations is missing.  Morgan ends up spending 2-3 weeks in 1888 looking for the book, trying to discover the identity of Jack the Ripper and falling in love.  He and Ezra are amazing together and I adored watching them fall for each other.  The other thing I liked about the book is its consistency. There were no great highs and lows but a constant flow of a wonderful story.  I never wanted to put the book down and was even crying by the end.  So good!  I'm so glad that this book was chosen for the monthly read as I probably wouldn't have picked it up otherwise.  (The cover doesn't appeal to me at all as the characters look much older than they are in the book)  5 out of 5

Next was a story by Savanna Stuart called Unleashed Temptation - book 1 in the Miami Scorcher series. Another shifter story about a woman, Carly, who has moved to Miami to have a change of pace and get away from her cheating ex-boyfriend.  She takes a job as an accountant at an auto shop and falls hard for the owner, Nick.  Of course the owner is a shifter and knows that she's his mate but he tries to go slowly so that she doesn't get scared off.  But there is an Immortal who wants her for his own and Nick's not about to let Carly get harmed.  A cute story with shifters, a possessive alpha male and a woman who knows what she wants.  Very nice.  4 out of 5 

Last but not least was To Wed A Wicked Earl by Olivia Parker.  This covered my Tracy's TBR challenge read for the week and probably my FTSP too (although there's only 2 books in the series so far).  This is Charlotte's story.  She befriends a total rake, the Earl of Rothbury, so that they can help each other.  But Rothbury has been in love with Charlotte for years and feels that he's too soiled for her.  He really believes he's not good enough because of his family background.  It's a light read and a cute one.  I did have some issues with Rothbury's character and his self-esteem issues that he only seemed to have with Charlotte.  I really would have liked to have delved further into his past and childhood to get a better view of who he was but it seemed that part was skimmed over.  I thought that Charlotte and Rothbury were very cute together though and it definitely made me laugh in a few places.  3.75 out of 5 

I am such a doob!  I completely forgot to put in her the other yaoi manga that I read this week.  Duh.  And I just did it last night. lol  I swear my mind is going fast.  Anyway...I read volumes 3, 4 & 5 of Totally Captivated by Hajin Yoo and loved them.  I was disappointed that I didn't have volumes 5 & 6 handy but I ordered them today so I'll get to read them in a couple of days.    The story follows Ewon who is working for a very young and handsome loan shark.  Mookyul has got his eye on Ewon though and wants him for himself - but Ewon isn't really into Mookyul...but he could be talked into it. :) All volumes 4 to 4.5 out of 5  Oh - and I would swear on a stack of Bibles that my volume 4 doesn't have that cover but that's the only one I could find so maybe I'm delirious! lol  I'll have to double check when I get home tonight.

UPDATE: I was totally correct!  My volume 4 has a completely different cover - here - I took a picture:

Isn't that freaky? Why couldn't I find this cover anywhere on the web - including Amazon where I bought it?  Twilight Zone shit, right there.

I'm sorry I haven't been good about letting you all know when my Book Binge reviews post.  Here, I'll play catch up:

Happy Reading!

Review: Mind Games by Carolyn Crane

Mind Games follows the adventures of Justine Jones, a hopeless hypochondriac who longs to be normal. Instead, she is recruited to join a psychological hit squad in a city terrorized by criminals with strange powers…only to fall for her most dangerous target!

Justine Jones is a hypochondriac. She is constantly under the impression that she is dying from an affliction called vein star syndrome. She lives her life in constant fear of dying. Despite this she does have a job at a boutique and has a boyfriend, Cubby.

After an odd meeting with the man that swindled her father out of money Justine is asked to join a psychological hit squad that is run by Packard. They’re called disillusionists and as described by Justine:
…dissilusionists are screwed-up neurotics who channel their overload of crazy emotional energy into others. It’s a kind of physics. A kind of energy physics. In a sense, disillusionists crash and reboot people.

Justine’s not sure she likes the idea of being on a hit squad of this kind, she thinks they’re kind of like vigilantes but she figures she’ll do it because when she “zings” someone – which is what they call it when they put their crazy into someone else – all of her fear disappears. But after she agrees to join she finds that things aren’t exactly what they seem. Like who is Packard, really? And why is he stuck in a Mongolian restaurant? Who put him there? And what the hell do they mean she can’t ever leave the disillusionists??

Justine is so messed up. I mean that girl is just positive that she’s going to die from vein star syndrome. Ok, her mother died from it, when Justine was just 13, but apparently no assurances from the medical professionals will assuage her conviction that there is something wrong. When she meets up with Packard and he takes all of her fear away she is one of the happiest people on earth. She’s carefree and uninhibited in what she can accomplish in her life…until about a month later when the fear returns. Because of the resurgence of her fear she returns to Packard and agrees to be on his hit squad – even though she has her reservations. But she’s all for getting the crime rate under control. She is put on a couple of assignments and though one goes horribly wrong, she perseveres. I really liked this about her – her strength in horrible situations. Once her fear is gone she’s quite a strong willed and minded individual and it just showed me how crippled by her supposed affliction she had been all those years.

When she finds out that she has basically become a disillusionist for life she feels betrayed by Packard – who is a man that she has become quite attracted to both physically and emotionally. The other members of the hit squad are all shocked that she wasn’t given a choice and Justine becomes determined that she will not be a disillusionist forever. She will find a way to be free! Despite her feelings of betrayal, however, she still wants to find a way to get Packard out of his prison in the Mongolian restaurant. But when she finds the “criminal” that put Packard into his prison she finds herself falling for him in a big way. How big of a criminal could the police chief be, anyway?

I have to tell ya that I’m not normally a reader of UF. Yes, I’ve read some but it’s not really my go-to genre. But since this was Carolyn Crane’s first book I had to read it and frankly the premise of it hooked me. Well let me tell you I’m so damn glad I read it! Mind Games is a wonderfully action-packed book. It’s got suspense, intrigue, crime-fighting, hot sex and hypochondria. What’s not to love? One of my other favorite things about this book is its dialogue. It’s got a ton of it and I loved that. I’ve found myself completely involved in Justine’s world, loved Carolyn's writing and can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Rating: 5 out of 5

News Flash! Pigs Fly When My Mom Reads an M/M Book For The First Time!

Ok, maybe pigs didn't exactly fly - my mom, Judith, never actually stated that she'd never read an m/m book. When I told her, which was no small feat for me, that I read m/m books she just kind of looked at me funny without saying anything for a few minutes. Then she said, "well, I guess I wouldn't mind that as long as it didn't have too much sex in it." Whaaaa? Why would I read something like that? lol I never in a million years dreamed that she'd read an m/m. Shows you how wrong I can be, huh?  So when we were talking on the phone recently and discussing doing guest reviews on each others blogs the idea struck. How about I ask my mom to review an m/m book? Why the heck not? The worst she could say was HELL no and disown me forever, right? Well, lucky for me, she didn't. She was slightly hesitant, but game none the less. I chose an author that I love and a book that wasn't totally raunchy for her first outing and told her to read Somebody Killed His Editor by Josh Lanyon. Without further ado...her review:

 Somebody Killed His Editor by Josh Lanyon – A review

Everyone I have ever known has wanted to be a success! From our earliest years we are encouraged to set goals and to project timelines in our lives so that we can “keep track” of what is important and how well we are doing in this process called living. Few people like to think of what may happen when one has reached the pinnacle of success and then must deal with the realities that no one ever stays on top of the mountain forever.

Such is the life situation Christopher Holms finds himself in this fast-paced and intriguing tale, set in the mountains of Northern California, and abounding with characters that boast of jealousy, secrets too embarrassing to relate, past relationships that have gone sour, and so forth. The scenario is reminiscent of the movie “Murder By Death” with the crush of writers, some wanting to succeed, some successful, and some dead. At a conference sporting the usual workshops and focus groups, Christopher is hopefully going to convince his publisher not to remove him from his “stable” of writers. He has been coerced into this meeting by his agent who is one of those “I'm going to succeed if it kills both me and you” kind of women.

In the course of less than two days, the bodies of a best-selling author and Christopher's editor are found, both of them by him. He immediately becomes the foremost suspect. Add in the presence of a successful, best-selling author, J. X. Moriarity, a former San Francisco cop with whom Christopher shared a long romantic weekend ten years earlier, and the suspense, emotion, acidic repartee make for a wonderful tale full of all the stuff of which great fiction are made.

The dialogue is funny and for persons who make their living as wordsmiths, writers can charm or crucify with fewer words than anyone on the planet. Josh Lanyon characters are full-dimensional and so well developed. There is great writing on every page. Now I love romance and there is a thread of romance running through this story. Christopher's “committed” relationship with another individual has just ended, one that has been a ten-year-long frustration because his partner has defiled their commitment with repeated infidelities. Now being faced with J. X.'s hurt and disappointment that apparently has never gone away from their involvement a decade earlier, Christopher feels the pressure of not only his soon-to-be-over writing career, but the pull of a deeper emotion and connection with J. X., one that is unexpected to say the least.

I think I love mysteries as much as I love romance literature. Mysteries seem to challenge the reader to run ahead of the author, figure out who the “bad guy” may be, and solve the crime. In this great book romance and mystery junkies have it all. What's not to like? This is a delightful book and a very, very good read.

Finally, this is the first romance I have read that is a male/male romance. It is not a genre I would have even been aware of until the book was recommended, but having read it, I am struck with the way the author outlined the relationship between Christopher and J. X. -- with all the tentative and caring nuances that are a part of any romantic relationship. But it illustrates that love is love, no matter who shares it. There are many straight people who would never read a book containing homosexual love. I am sorry to say that would have been me years ago. But I have grown old watching people and know that genuine caring and loving connection is precious and to be claimed under any circumstances. This romance is not a bawdy, in-your-face, inappropriate recitation of mindless sex. It is a gentle rediscovery to genuine connection and loving that has been let go for too long and is now a future possibility. It is the kind of romance we all hope to have in our lives, one way or the other.
 I give this novel a 5 out of 5 rating.

Yep, that's my mom.  Isn't she great?  I may be a little prejudiced but she does write wonderful reviews if I do say so myself.  She's got her own blog Dr J's Book Place if you want to check out some more of her reviews.  And I'm thinking I'll slowly be able to get her hooked on m/m. 

What I Read Last Week

Well it was a pretty quiet week this past week - no science projects or belt tests.  That stuff always seems to happen at once, doesn't it?   This pretty much leads me to reading because I've got nothing else to say! lol

My first book was a read for The Book Binge - but also me catching up on my series as well. Yes, my March endeavor is called Finish the Series but it could also be called Catch Up on The Series since I'm so behind in some!  Anyway, the book was Atlantis Redeemed by Alyssa Day.  This is book 7 in the Warriors of Poseidon series and a a good one.  It told of Brennan who was cursed 2000 years ago to never feel emotion until he met his one true mate but when he was away from her he'd forget her.  Bummer.  I've sent in my review and will let you know when it posts.  4.25 out of 5

Next up was another attempt at the Finish the Series Project - which will now be known as FTSP.  I read An Impossible Attraction by Brenda Joyce.  It was a good read .  And I have to say I love the cover - simple but beautiful.  You can read my review here4.25 out of 5

After that I read Self Preservation by Ethan Day.  A funny yet touching story about a man who is still in love with his ex but finds himself desperate to get him back when he finds out his ex is getting married.  My review here3.75 out of 5

Understood by Maya Banks was a short story about a woman who had been married to a famous football star and was abused.  It's been 2 years and she's now ready to live her life again.  One of her good friends - and former best friend of her husband - wants her in a bad way and always has.  He's not about to let her head off with another man.  But is she really ready to take that next step.  This was an ok read for me.  It was a little predictable but very sweet and erotic.  3 out of 5

Another FTSP read was All I Want For Christmas is a Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks.  This is book 5 in the Love at Stake series (and I still need to read 6 & 7 to catch up) and it was a cute one.  This was Ian's story.  He was changed to a vamp when he was 15 on a battlefield.  Even though he was centuries old he hated always looking 15.  In the previous book he drank a serum that one of the vamps had invented and every day he took it he looked a year older.  It was extremely painful but he now looks 27 and is ready to find his true love.  He enlists the help of his friend Vanda but she ends up putting him on a dating site and he's inundated with vamps and mortals.  It just doesn't work.  Especially since he's got his eye on Toni - the new daytime guard. Only Toni's not exactly coming clean about why she's taking care of vamps.  I like this series because it's just fun.  Nothing too heavy, lots of humor and good sex...and vampires - what's not to like. 3.75 out of 5

Yes I was on a roll with my FTSP reads and grabbed Angel's Peak (Virgin River book 10) by Robyn Carr.  I have to say that I think book 11 - which I already bought - will be my last in this series.  If I hadn't already bought book 11 this would have been my last.  While I really like Carr's writing style the series, for me, has grown a little stagnant.  I think the first 3 books and A Virgin River Christmas were my favs and while good since then the books are just a little too much.  This story followed Sean Riordan.  He was in a relationship 4 years ago that ended badly - only he could never forget her.  Back then he was a playboy - even though he was in a committed relationship with Franci for 2 years.  He didn't want to be tied down to her by a piece of paper and certainly didn't want kids.  Well Franci didn't bother to tell him that she was pregnant when they parted.  Now they meet again and he's shocked to learn of his daughter.  But he's grown in 4 years and takes to fatherhood like a fish to water.  While I thought Sean was a complete ass for the first part of the book he really stepped up and was a good guy by the end of the book. The problem I had with this book is that it was like 2 stories.  The first story being Sean and Franci's and the second part being Sean's mother, Maureen.  I didn't have a problem with her story but I wasn't prepared to read 2 books in one.  I wanted more Sean and Franci!  3.25 out of 5

Last but not least....Mind Games by Carolyn Crane!  Yay me ! :)  I won this from Carolyn's blog and read it yesterday.  I'll post a review this week.  I'm not saying more. lol

Happy Reading!

(Oh, and the Ethan Day, Kerrelyn Sparks and Maya Banks books were also Tracy TBR Challenge Reads.  I really need to keep all these projects and challenges straight in my mind!)

M/M Challenge Review: Self Preservation by Ethan Day

Davis always assumed they would wind up back together, until Jack calls and invites Davis to his wedding to Tadd Austin, a prominent architect in Chicago. Jack's only known Tadd for two weeks, so whatever Jack feels for Tadd couldn't possibly compare to what he shared with Davis. There's no way in hell Davis can stand by and watch the life he always expected to get back slip away to some guy Jack barely knows. Tadd Austin, indeed…more like Toad Ass-ton, Davis thinks.

With his best friend, fashion designer Deseree Wildwood in tow, Davis has to shed his sweet, guy-next-door persona, and re-vamp his image into a self-confident, hot piece of eye candy. He's going to the wedding with only one goal in mind: to do whatever it takes to win back Jack. The Toad is toast!

Once in Chicago, Davis discovers it isn't going to be as easy as he thought. Not only is Tadd very un-Toad-like, but a mysterious British playboy named Alex Parker manages to interject himself into the mix. Only true love will survive as the tug of war ensues in this Bermuda love triangle from hell

Jack invites Davis to his wedding because Jack still loves Davis – but not as a boyfriend – more as a lifelong friend, even though they were once together intimately for 4 years. But Davis doesn’t believe that Jack is really in love with Tadd aka Toad because he’s only known him 2 weeks so he agrees to go the wedding, but his plan is to get Jack to realize that he loves Davis and not Toad.

Deseree gets Davis to Chicago early and gives him a makeover. He’s looking pretty hot by the time they meet up with Jack and Tadd. You can tell from minute one that Jack definitely still has feelings for Davis – but obviously not strong enough. Davis is freaking out because time’s a wastin and Jack is still moving along with his plans to wed Tadd.

In the midst of Davis trying to coax Jack away from Tadd he meets Alex. Alex is a playboy with a fantastic, kind of base sense of humor (that I enjoyed thoroughly) and is willing to help Deseree and Davis in their plotting against Tadd. But Alex ends up with much more interest in Davis.

In the end - and quite a bit happens to get us there – Davis has to realize that as much as he may think that he’s in love with Jack – he’s more in love with the Jack of his past. He truly doesn’t know the current Jack as they haven’t been together for 6 years. So what does he do? Give up or keep trying to get Jack away from Tadd?

This is my first read by Ethan Day, but it certainly won’t be my last. I enjoyed his writing style immensely and of course the wonderful sense of humor that he imbibed his characters with. I love humor in books and this was great.

Davis grew quite a bit in this book and I loved seeing that. He has flashbacks to college when he first meets Jack and then again from 1 year prior to the wedding. I think that the flashbacks helped us get a good grasp on their relationship without having a full info dump and that was much appreciated. I did see from these flashbacks though that Jack and Davis’s relationship was lacking a huge amount of communication. They just couldn’t talk to each other and let the other know what they were thinking and feeling. It was rather sad to see their relationship dissolve for such a reason but it does happen all the time – in RL and in books. There were a few parts of the book that I would have like to have seen expanded but I think that’s just my personal preference rather than an absolute necessity. :)

In the end I thought that Self Preservation was a fun read that I’d recommend if you’re looking for a humorous book with some serious parts thrown in.

Rating 3.75 out of 5 

Review: An Impossible Attraction by Brenda Joyce

Never say never…

With her mother’s passing, Alexandra Bolton gave up on love to take care of her family. Now, with the Bolton name in disgrace due to her father’s profligate ways, marrying an elderly squire might be the only way to save her family from absolute ruin. But when she meets the infamous Duke of Clarewood, old dreams—and old passions—are awakened as never before. Yet she cannot accept his shocking proposition!

He is the wealthiest, most powerful peer in the realm, and having witnessed the cold horror of marriage as a child, he has vowed never to wed. But Alexandra Bolton inflames him as no woman has ever done, and she also serves him his first rejection! Now Clarewood—who always gets what he wants—will choose which rules to play by. But when passion finally brings them together, a terrible secret threatens to tear them apart....

Alexandra Bolton’s father is a drunk and a gambler. He’s taken any of the money that the household has and has wasted it away on his own fun – not really caring about his 3 daughters…their present or their future. Their house has become threadbare and they eat very poorly. Alexandra attempts to help by taking in sewing for the local gentry. Now the Baron states that he must start marrying the girls off 1 by 1 because he just can’t afford to keep them. He states that since Alexandra is 26 she will be the first to go. Alexandra – always one to do what the family needs – agrees to be courted by a recently widowed local squire. She says she doesn’t care that he is 50 years old and allows the courtship to commence. On one visit Squire Denney invites Alexandra and her family to a birthday party he has been invited to. Since the family of the birthday girl was once friends with Alexandra’s mother, she agrees. Things don’t go well at the party – Alexandra almost faints and her father gets drunk and disorderly – but the family is “saved” by the Duke of Clarewood who has his eye on Alexandra.

The Duke of Clarewood is a hard man. He is a philanthropist and does well except with his own life. Not that anyone isn’t good enough for him, but he’s casually been searching for a wife for the last 10 years. He just get’s bored so quickly. He’s not interested in marriage at all. He sets his sights on Alexandra to be his new mistress even though he knows that she is being courted by the squire. He is relentless in his pursuit because he always gets what he wants. When Alexandra denies the squire and agrees to be Clarewood’s mistress it is the downfall of her life as she knows it and begins a roller coaster ride that takes her to incredibly wonderful highs as well as the lowest of lows. I’d love to tell you more of what happens but I truly don’t want to give away too much. There were so many surprises in the book that I didn’t expect and I don’t want to ruin that for anyone who is going to read the book in the future.

I have to say that as much as I liked this book that Clarewood was definitely not my favorite character yet I couldn’t stop reading about him. There were quite a few things about his character that were explained by his upbringing but he was still a pretty big bastard. He was supposedly the consummately patient man who never got upset about anything (on the outside) and certainly didn’t lose his temper. But this was something that happened again and again with Alexandra – several times in the book he yells at her and he’s not just upset…he’s pissed. On one hand it can be explained by the passion that he felt for her and possibly the feelings for her that he was denying but I’m not sure that I felt he redeemed himself sufficiently by the end of the book. Yes, he would react quickly and then think about things and realize he was wrong but damn he was stubborn about admitting it! This being said I think part of the reason I liked the book so much was the fact that he didn’t act like a typical historical romance hero.

For Alexandra’s part I very much enjoyed the realism of her character. Very thoughtful, loyal to her family, pragmatic but still being the type of woman who can dream of her prince – while thinking that there will be no prince for her. She was an extremely passionate woman and although I didn’t care for her actions in some parts of the book I did think that she handled herself very well most of the time – especially in the darker times in her life when her strength really showed.

There is also a subplot in the book that involves Clarewood’s mother and a man from America that she falls in love with that was sweet and touching as well. A lovely addition to the book.

This is book 12 in the de Warrene Dynasty series. I started the series at book 7, The Masquerade, when I randomly picked it up in the library and have been reading them since then. The books have been a great look into the many branches of the de Warrene family - this book following Clarewood who is actually the bastard son of Rex de Warrene and though it is part of the series I think it’s a pretty good stand alone as well. Again, while I had issues with some parts it was overall a pretty darned good read for me.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

What I Read Last Week

Greetings and Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a great weekend.  It rained here on Saturday and I was without a car so the girls and I had a lovely day of laundry, house cleaning, playing games, listening to music, dancing and reading.  I'm pretty sure a good time was had by all.

We had a busy week this week.  My oldest made a science project for the science fair that was very cool.  She did a great job on her display and I am very proud of her.  Here's the video of the project entitled Egg in a Bottle.  (Since my oldest burned her finger the first time she lit the match she had my hubby do the fire part of it for the video.)  Unfortunately we couldn't find a bottle that had a good opening for the egg and no matter how many times we did it the egg would break while going in, rather than going in whole. Bummer.

Here's a picture of her project display:

This past Friday my little Taekwondo master had yet another belt test.  She passed!  She is now a purple belt and I'm pretty sure she can now officially kick my ass.  They never reveal the score of the tests but I think she got a relatively high score.  She knows it all like the back of her hand but was really nervous this time because it was the first time she's had to break a board during a test (with a side kick).  Because she was so nervous she choked, slightly, when demonstrating her Hapkido (prior to breaking) but she got through it!  Yay!  Here's the vid of her breaking the board and her accepting her belt.

The Game of Tag answers - and no one guessed the correct 2:

  1. I was born in Germany. Incorrect: I was born in Illinois but 2 of my siblings were born in Germany.
  2. I've never ridden on a motorcycle. Incorrect: I've never ridden my hubby's motorcycles but I used to ride on my brother's cycle when I was younger.
  3. I lived with my parents until I was 26. Correct: Yep, except for college I lived with my mom and dad until I was 26.  
  4. I went to college in Oklahoma. Incorrect: I went to college in Kansas
  5. I've been pregnant 5 times. Correct: 3 miscarriages and 2 kids.  
  6. I was on the All Star Softball team in high school. Incorrect: I played softball in high school but never made any All Star team.  If any of you had seen my right hand throw at the time you'd know why. lol
  7. One of the many places I've lived was Palm Springs, CA. Incorrect: I've lived many places in CA but never Palm Springs.
  8. I'm the only natural born child in my family - my siblings were adopted. Incorrect: All of my siblings are natural offspring of my mom and dad.
  9. I'm allergic to milk. Incorrect: I'm allergic to wheat, eggs and tomatoes, but not milk.
  10. I almost chopped my index finger off in the garage door closer when I was 10. Incorrect: Although very close to the truth!  I did almost chop off my finger this way but I was 5 or 6 at the time so anyone who picked 10 wasn't far off!  Brothers suck and they get you into all sorts of trouble!
I looked over my Goodreads lists this weekend to try and figure out exactly how many series I had to finish in order to complete my Finish the Series project that I gave myself for the month of March.  Holy Shit is all I have to say.  I have way more series to finish than I thought - the list was more than a little daunting.  I may have to make this a project for March and April...maybe May as well!

So...what I read this week:

First on the list was Shalador's Lady by Anne Bishop.  Such a great book!  I just loved this story as I do all of Ms. Bishop's books.  The continuing story from The Shadow Queen involving Cassidy and her reign as Queen in Dena Nehele - only one of the members of her court is trying to push her out and replace her with a nasty ass Queen.  We get a lot of Saetan, Lucivar, Daemon and Jaenelle as well as Kindred in this book and it was amazing.  I read this one for The Book Binge and will let you know when my review posts.  5 out of 5

Next I read Catch Me If You Can by LB Gregg.  I adore this book, I gotta tell ya.  Just a wonderfully funny, sarcasm filled story with a great whodunit and a lively romance.  I can't wait to see what's up next for Caesar and Dan.  You can read my review here. 5 out of 5

Next up was Wicked All Day by Liz Carlyle.  I really enjoyed this book...to a point.  There were parts of it I loved and then other parts when I just wanted to crawl into the book, sit down with the heroine and have a little talk with her.  If that didn't work I'd slap her. lol  The heroine is caught en deshabille with her closest friend and is forced into an engagement with him.  He wants to do the right thing but is hopelessly in love with another woman and is miserable.  Heroine is starting to have feelings (or more like acknowledging the feelings she's had for years) for the friend's older brother but is trying to do the "right" thing where everyone is concerned.  It's a good book, yet, a little heavy on the saintly acts for my liking.  3.5 out of 5

Bareback Cowboy by Carol Lynne was my next read.  This is a story about a man who takes a vacation from life by going to a working ranch in Montana.  He falls for one of the hands but he's only there for a week.  His father is an extremely rich man and is insistent on his son's goal in life - the problem is that father and son have very different goals.  I read this one for The Book Binge as well and will let you know when my review posts. 3.75 out of 5

My Tracy's TBR Challenge read - as well as one of the books that I read as part of my Finish the Series project - was Dark Lover by Brenda Joyce.  This is book 5 in the Masters of Time series and the 3rd book in the Rose Trilogy.  We joined Sam Rose as she was put on assignment to cover Ian McLean.  He is the son of a Master of Time and has plenty of white power.  The problem is he's out of his time - as he should be in 1527 - and he's using his power to be an art thief.  He's now come into possession - by thieving - of a page from a very powerful book. He's going to sell it to the highest bidder unless Sam can stop him.  Besides this Ian and Sam are incredibly attracted to each other and trying to stay away from someone they know is not good for them doesn't seem to stop them.  This was a good trilogy ender and I enjoyed it.  I think that the good guy who's had a horrible past who's can be redeemed is one of my favorite tropes and I think Ms. Joyce did a great job with this book.  4 out of 5

I finally got to the manga that's been sitting on my shelf for too long.  I'm in the swap and apologize to whoever's been waiting for it.  I finally pulled it out and I really liked it.  They were Crimson Spell volumes 1 & 2 by Ayano Yamane.  She does a fantastic job with the graphics and the fantasy story.  Wizards, dragons, cursed swords - it's all part of the story.  I'm looking forward to reading volume 3 when it finally comes out.  4 out of 5

Then it was the yaoi novel Body Language by Aki Morimoto.  The first few pages of this book were almost enough for me to put it down.  One of the men was known for treating women really badly and it was a huge turn off for me - but since I knew the books was about 2 men I persevered.  The one guy is complaining that he hasn't had a date in 2 months so his best friend offers himself up - since he's been in love with him for a couple of years.  But the best friend hasn't ever had sex before.  The 2 start a relationship but the best friend keeps thinking that it will end soon and when he misinterprets something he sees it almost does end.  This was good - not great, but good.  I had some issues with some things but overall, not bad. 3 out of 5

Last on the list was Something About You by Julie James.  I loved this book.  I love her writing and I hate that we have to wait so long between releases! lol  This story was just fantastic.  Cameron - an assistant U.S. Attorney and Jack - the FBI agent who believes that 3 years earlier Cameron had almost ruined his career.  Now Jack's on a case that involves Cameron who ear/eye-witnessed a murder.  But Jack and Cameron don't really hate each other as much as they say.  I think what I like about Ms. James' writing is that yes, the h/h started off with some angst between them but the story is mostly external turmoil.  She didn't write a story that had the suspense part of it as well as h/h's who had internal issues with say...past relationships, hating women/men, never going to get married, etc.  It was just a great romance along with a great suspense plot.  I also very much enjoyed the fact that we know whodunit right off the bat - we just don't know what's going to happen because of that. 5 out of 5

Happy Reading!

Playing a Game of Tag

Tam at Tam's Reads tagged me on this one. You have to give 10 statements about yourself, only 2 of which are true. And you my pretties get to sort out the truths from the lies. It's harder than you think, seriously. 
  1. I was born in Germany.
  2. I've never ridden on a motorcycle.
  3. I lived with my parents until I was 26.
  4. I went to college in Oklahoma.
  5. I've been pregnant 5 times.
  6. I was on the All Star Softball team in high school.
  7. One of the many places I've lived was Palm Springs, CA.
  8. I'm the only natural born child in my family - my siblings were adopted.
  9. I'm allergic to milk.
  10. I almost chopped my index finger off in the garage door closer when I was 10.
Good luck to you all.  I'll let you know the "real" answers on Monday in my weekly post. Who to tag, who to tag? How about .....
  1. Lea of Closetwriter
  2. Lesley of LesleyW's Book Nook
  3. Amy C of Romance Book Wyrm
  4. Ms. M of Moonlight to Twilight 
  5. Christine of The Happily Ever After
Have Fun!

Blogger Awards

Christine of The Happily Ever After... blog awarded me this wonderful award recently and I'm just thrilled to have it. Thank you, Christine.

Before passing on the award, there is a fun survey I am supposed to do using single word answers only. I tried my best, but couldn't answer them all with single words.

Your cell phone? Lotus
Your hair? Red
Your mother? Wonderful
Your father? Amazing
Your favorite food? grandma's spaghetti
Your dream last night? can't remember
Your favorite drink? coffee
Your dream/goal? to live in happiness the rest of my life with my wonderful family 
What room are you in? office
Your hobby? reading
Your fear? driving off of an overpass
Where do you want to be in 6 years? I have no idea.  Just with my family.
Where were you last night? home
Something that you aren't? even tempered
Muffins? pumpkin
Wish list item? new wardrobe
Where did you grow up? everywhere
Last thing you did? played with the layout on my blog
What are you wearing? clothes
Your TV? is there
Your pets? none
Friends?crazy in a good way
Your life? normal
Your mood? happy
Missing someone? not at the moment
Vehicle? sedan
Something you're not wearing? my glasses
Your favorite store? any bookstore
Your favorite color? lavender
When was the last time you laughed? today
Last time you cried? a few weeks ago
Your best friend? funny
One place that you go to over and over? work
Facebook? rarely
Favorite place to eat? local Mexican restaurant

I'm passing the Over the Top Award to the following bloggers whom I think have blogs that are over the top in an extraordinary way:

Kris at Kris 'n' Good Books Just a plethora of wonderful stuff and beautiful cookies as well.
Jenre at Well Read Jenre puts up review after review and they're all so well thought out. I'm amazed how she does it day after day
Renee at Renee's Book Addiction Renee's reading tastes are so diverse - I love going there and seeing what she's been reading.
Wendy the Super Librarian Where else can I go and read about wonderful Harlequin's, Librarian info and Sports all on the same blog? And she's just had her 7th blogiversary. 7th!

This next award is for recognition of all those great bloggers out there who blog despite all of the day to day distractions. They take time from their busy schedules to plan and post content and still find time to comment on eveyone else's blogs. This was awarded to me from Sayuri at Damn Heart...  Thank you Sayuri!!!

and I am awarding this to:
Ana and Thea over at The Book Smugglers They have such a diverse blog - I just love it and there's always something new and wonderful to look at.
Chris over at Stumbling Over Chaos  If you haven't checked out her linkity posts you're totally missing out.  I really wish she'd work harder on those things. ;)
Mandi over at Smexy Books  She has something for everyone and posts almost daily.  How she does it I don't have a clue, but I like it.

Next is the Sugar Doll Award, given to me by Janna from Erotic Romance Reader. A fairly new blog to me but I'm loving it.  Thanks for the award Janna!

I am supposed to list 10 things about myself, then pass the award on to some other bloggers!  Okay, here it goes:

1. I love coffee and would drink it all day if I could.  But I know my limits and am down to a mere 24 oz a day now.  Aren't I good?

2. I used to own a pot-bellied pig named Hamilton. He wasn't an inbred pbp so he got quite large - short but large.  He came to just about mid thigh on me (I'm 5'5") and weighed about 125.

3. A long time ago in a land far, far away I dated a guy named Tracy.  Yes, it was weird.

4. Everyone in my family plays an instrument except me. My oldest sister plays the piccolo, flute & piano, my brother the trumpet, my other sister the clarinet and piano, my mom the piano and organ, my dad the piano.  I play the radio.  Well, I play the kazoo but I'm pretty sure that doesn't count. 

5. I rarely watch tv.  Maybe 1 show a month if I just happen to be passing the tv and my hubby is watching a show that catches my eye.  I read - who's got time for tv?

6. I've lived in Illinois, Idaho, Michigan, Oklahoma and California.  I've moved 21 times in my 44 years.  That's just wrong.

7. I love my family and friends endlessly (Janna had this one on her list and it's so great I had to keep it)

8. I hate to cook.  I'm not good at it, never learned properly and it drives me nuts that I have to do it to feed my family each night. *sigh* but I do it cuz I love them and I need to keep Child Protective Services away.  Anyone want to come over and cook at my house...daily...for no pay? 

9. My husband has had one Harley or another for the past 5 years and I've never ridden on any of them.  Not that I don't want to but we couldn't exactly pack up and ride whenever we wanted to with 2 small children so he's had to go by himself.  Now that they're getting older it will be easier.  Someday.

10. I love my blogging friends.  I love talking books with them and getting to know them - even if it's virtually.

Because I would love to learn a little bit more about them, I am passing this award along to the following bloggers.  I visit some of these blogs on a semi-regular basis (when I get a chance) and I know about them but I don't know them - others are brand new to me so I want to get to know them. :)

Congrats to everyone - enjoy!