Showing posts with label So Cal Bloggers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label So Cal Bloggers. Show all posts

What I Read Last Week

I can't believe how fast last week went. I guess when I'm off work I expect the days to go by slowly and they never do!

I told you all about my Christmas in my post last Thursday but then I had more excitement this past weekend. First on Saturday I met up with the So Cal Bloggers in Rancho Cucamonga and we had a great time eating, talking and swapping books (which apparently, according to the security guard in the parking log, is considered loitering. Yeah, whatever). Anyway, it was a fun time with Rowena, Holly, Rosie, Lori, Renee, Judith and newcomer, Lynda from A Fish With Sticks. I'm sad that we didn't get a group picture this time but oh well.

Then yesterday it was my "baby's" 15th birthday. She was in rare form yesterday and touchy as all hell - but we had a good day going to lunch, doing some shopping and then dancing our asses off to Just Dance 4. I'm a total dork when it comes to that and can only do the 1st level stuff but the kids like to point and laugh. :) Here's my child at the mall when we went out for frozen yogurt. Kris called it perfectly when I posted this pic on twitter - adorably grumpy. She wouldn't even smile at the camera because she thinks she looks horrible when she smiles - not true! Yep, that's my oldest!

Anyway, it was another good week. I'm still off work - yay! - and won't go back til Wednesday. Life is good. :)

My first book of last week was Dragon Lovers byJo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney, Barbara Samuel and Karen Harbaugh. This one sat on my shelf for a long while and I'm not sure why - I always say that, don't I? Anyway, I love dragons so this was a really great book for me. The four stories were different enough that I liked all of them. There was a pure fantasy, a medieval, a historical set in Japan and a contemporary and they all had good stories. If you like dragons this is a must. 4 out of 5

Next up was Chance of a Lifetime by Jodi Thomas and omg was it good. I love her Harmony series!! The stories included the quiet librarian and her best friend from high school and a lawyer in town who's trying to find the person who's trying to kill him along with his hot protector. I love the way Thomas weaves a story together and this one was no different. Great book. 4.5 out of 5

My next read was The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne by Jayne Fresina. The story is about a man who is looking for the man who supposedly stole his families diamonds and finds a family enemy instead. The heroine is actually the "guy" who as the diamonds but he won them in a gambling match. The pair end up together while one looks for his diamonds and the other tries to figure out how to tell him that she's the culprit. It was a fun read but it had a ton of different tropes involved that made it seem a bit on the ridiculous side. It was still good though. I'm just kind of wondering what the author will use in her next book since she used so many tropes in this one. 3.5 out of 5

The Impetuous Amazon by Sandy James is the 2nd book in the Alliance of the Amazons series and it was another good one. This is Megan's book and she is Fire. She has a bit of a problem controlling both her fire and her desire to kick demon ass in the middle of a public place. Johann is sent to try to help her but the couple has been in love for years - unbeknownst to the other - and their attraction hits nuclear levels. The problem is that Sentinels and Amazon's are forbidden to be together and that poses a huge problem. This was another great installment in the series. I really liked Johann a lot. I'll be posting my review next week of this book. 4 out of 5

A Marquess for Christmas by Vivienne Westlake was my next read. This is a Christmas historical and it was a good one. I'll post my review of it this week.

Last for the week was a couple of short stories by JL Merrow. I love her work and these were no different. The first was A Ghoul Like You that had a young man picking up guys in a bar that he thought were vampires and then killing them. Unfortunately he meets Niall and tries to kill him but he's a ghoul. The story is a bit odd but pretty darned good. Only about 19 pages so a quick read. 3.5 out of 5 
Then there was Tortoise Interruptus which had a man who sometimes turns into a tortoise being kidnapped and finding love. It was so cute and unexpected and I love Merrow's sense of humor - just a great story. 4 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:

Happy Reading!

What I Read Last Week

Happy Monday!

It IS a happy Monday even if I had to come back to work today after some time off last week.

On Wednesday RWA had their Literacy Signing and it was HUGE. Seriously. There were so many authors there and the ballroom was massive. I loved that the authors were given so much space to work but man, trekking that thing was exhausting. lol I got to meet and talk to a lot of great authors and get pictures with some of them. I had a handy sheet with all the authors and the table layouts and I STILL managed to miss some of the authors I wanted to talk to. Pooh. But here are some pics I got:

LB Gregg - Always beautiful with a wonderful smile on her face!

HelenKay Dimon - Such a cutie
Holly, Jodi Thomas and moi.  Jodi is so very sweet and I loved listening to her accent.
Kira Brady - Haven't seen her in years (since SF RWA).  Love the hair!
Julie Anne Long - OMG total fan girl moment.  I tried not to make a complete fool of myself but it wasn't easy.
Sabrina Jeffries - Sweet and funny - she was cracking me up
Jessica Scott - So good to finally meet her after emailing back and forth.  She's adorable.
Elizabeth Hoyt - Another total fan girl gush over Elizabeth.  Yes, it was embarrassing.
Sarah MacLean - We saw her right after she had her own meltdown over meeting Linda Howard. :)
On Friday I drove back down to RWA (after taking Thursday to recover) and the So Cal Bloggers had lunch with Thea Harrison and her agent, Amy Boggs. We had a great time talking about Thea’s books, paranormal reads in general, books that we were looking forward to releasing and just lots of great stuff. Julie James popped by near the end and we all managed to get a picture together.

Renee, Wendy, Holly, Rosie, LB Gregg, Me, Julie James, Rowena & Thea Harrison
I loved just hanging with my buds.  I love talking books and family and just "being."  That's almost the best part of these things.

Wendy & LB Gregg
Rosie and her drink (ok, it was only a Pellegrino)
Rowena, Holly and I had lunch with Julie James on Saturday and then dinner with Carina editor Mallory Braus and Vivian Arend. OMG talk about a roaring good time. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a darn long time. Vivian kept Rowena and I in stitches, lemme tell ya.

Me, Holly, Mallory Braus, Vivian Arend & Rowena

I of course got to see all of my wonderful blogging friends, Renee, Rowena, Holly, Rosie, Wendy and honorary So Cal blogger, Lisabea aka LB Gregg and I met new ones as well. Overall it was a really fun time and I’m so glad I went. Next year I think I’ll have to save my money and register for the conference, I think it will be worth it.

Wendy, Rosie and LB dressed to kill for the RITA's.

While everyone was at the RITA’s, Holly Rowena and I went back up to our room where Rosie texted us to the minute info on the RITA winners (she’s such a giver, that Rosie). Somehow Holly and Wena got on a conversation about multiple partners and they started telling me about Coulter’s Woman by Maya Banks and how the men were all brothers. Now, the girls ask me, when said brothers are all doing their woman at the same time, wouldn’t one brother be tea-bagging another? And then went on to describe positioning, etc. I played dumb and they decided to reenact the scene for me, how gracious of them. Wena’s the woman, Holly is 1 brother, the pillow is another and well, the invisible one is behind Wena. Do you see the pillow tea-bagging? I gotta hand it to them, they did a fine job showing instead of telling. lolol 

Wena and Holly and their teabaggin scene.
Because of all this wonderful fun I had I didn’t get much reading done but it was all good.

I started the week with Return of the Viscount by Gayle Callen. This was the story of a woman who marries an old friend of her father’s by proxy as she’s in England and he’s in India. She never thinks to see him and frankly thinks he’ll be dead soon as he’s old. Yeah, he’s not old and he shows up on her doorstep. You can read my full review here but it was a really good story. 4 out of 5

Next was Now or Never by Michele Bardsley. This is the second book in the Wizards of Nevermore series and while it was a great paranormal it had basically no romance to speak of. Yes the hero and heroine were drawn to each other and it was made to read at the end like they would be together but really, no romance. Bummer. The story of the House of Ravens trying to take over the world was really good though and that saved the book. I read this for Book Binge. 3.5 out of 5

The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe by Sabrina Darby was a short historical novella having to do with an actress and courtesan who is hired by a man’s mother to bring him out of his war induced shell. I’ll post my review for this one tomorrow.

Last for the week was Men of Smithfield: Mark & Tony by LB Gregg (previously released as Gobsmacked). Yes, the Men of Smithfield are being re-released by Carina Press and this first book comes out next Monday. I’ll post my review of this one this week.

Well that’s it for the week. I KNOW not a lot of books but it’s hard to read when you’re having so much fun! :)

My Book Binge reviews that posted this week:

Happy Reading!

What I Read Last Week

Good morning!

Not much happened this past week until Saturday when some of the So Cal Bloggers got together. Wendy, Renee, Nikki, Judith and I met at Renee’s house and then moved over to the Covina Bookstore. For an independent bookstore it had a great romance section. We then went for lunch and then over to Barnes and Noble to check out their shelves. It was a lot of fun and always wonderful to see friends and talk BOOKS! lol I got some great recommendations from Renee and bought a book from a new-to-me author (whose name I can’t remember at the moment. lol). Here we are outside if B & N.

Diet and Exercise – Oy it’s gone to the dogs completely. I’m starting again today with being diligent about the exercise and eating right. I did get on the scale and am up a bit. I had lost a total of 4 pound – which has now only 2.4 *sigh* ah well – just goes to show I can’t fall off the wagon. This proves that left to my own devices I will eat the house. lol

Reading…(if only I was as good about exercise as I was about reading! lol)…it was a good week. I read some good stuff:

First up was Big Bad Beast by Shelly Laurenston. I really like Laurenston’s heroine’s and the men who love them. This story was about Dee-Ann who is one bad ass mofo who you do not want to mess with. Restaurant owner Ric wants nothing more than to mess with her in many different ways. The book is a combination of Rick and Dee-Ann’s relationship, a story of Dee-Ann and 2 others working on a case for The Unit that involves a dog-fighting type setup only with hybrids and a small story of Ric’s father who’s a complete bastard. It was a good story but I had some issues with it. You can read my review over at The Book Binge if you’re interested. 3.5 out of 5

Next was the novella Unlocked by Courtney Milan. What a great story! Evan had a thing for Lady Elaine Warren and wanted him to notice her. He went about it all wrong, however, and ended up making her someone that was laughed at and ridiculed and ended up making him feel like a horrible person. Evan leaves and doesn’t return for 10 years. He’s become a completely different person and would like nothing more than Elaine to forgive him. He knows this isn’t possible but it doesn’t stop him from trying. Such a great novella. Smexy’s review of this book is what got me hooked. 4.5 out of 5

More Than Words Volume 7 by Carly Phillips, Donna Hill and Jill Shalvis is a Harlequin anthology that has stories that are based on amazing women. Three really good stories make up this anthology and it’s just a fun romantic book. You can read my review here. 4 out of 5

Kathry, the Kitten by Lavinia Kent was my next read. This is a novella that starts The Real Duchesses of London series. This was the story of the Kathryn, the Duchess of Harrington, who seems to have the perfect life except she doesn’t actually sleep with her husband any longer. She loves him and wants him back in her bed. She asks a friend for help but there are many other things happening that Kathryn doesn’t know about. This was a great little novella and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ll post a review next week. 4 out of 5 (This is an Avon Impulse that releases on the 28th of this month)

After that I went on a little Anne Brooke spree with the Delaneys. I started off with The Delaneys and Me which is a story about Liam who breaks up with his boyfriend and says some things that put his ex-boyfriends cousins (The Delaneys who are crime bosses) hackles up. He knows he has to pay for what he’s said and what the Delaneys come up with is scary but doable. They tell him that he can get his balls shot off or have sex with them. Yeah, which one do you think he chose? lol This was a short story (35 pages) that was so cute. I really liked the writing and the humor in the story was right up my alley. Yes there are twins in the story but no twincest. 4 out of 5

Next was Entertaining the Delaneys by Anne Brooke. The twins are contacting Liam a few weeks after their first encounter and want Liam to entertain one of their guests. He’s up for it as long as the twins are involved. Again, a funny story that’s quite short (also 35 pages) and pretty darned hot. Same fun humor as the first story which I love. 4 out of 5

The third story in the Delaney series (so far) was The Art of the Delaneys by Anne Brooke. In this story (42 pages) Liam and his boss are helping the Delaneys with a little art scam their running. The twins and Liam get up to a little fun in the gallery and make some decisions about their strange but compelling relationship. Another cute story and I can’t wait to read what’s up next with the threesome. 3.75 out of 5

My Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week was Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March. The story is about a duke who kidnaps his own wife. You see he married her for revenge and when she found out – the day after he wedding 3 years earlier – she decided to do everything she could to force the duke into divorcing her. She wasn’t actually as bad as rumor had it and despite her dislike of duke she couldn’t stop loving him. He’s decided he loves his wife and wants her back and with him only. I liked the story a lot but had some issues with the heroine. She wanted her freedom from the duke but it was because of the situation, at least that’s how I was reading it. But when they express their love for each other and he says he won’t divorce her she’s upset that she won’t have her freedom. Why would she still want it? 3.75 out of 5

Getting Off the Ground by LA Witt was a great novella that I very much enjoyed. Elliot is at the airport in Seattle waiting for the planes to get off the ground and in a freak blizzard. He’s going on his honeymoon to Hawaii by himself after he was stood up at the altar. He meets Derek in the airport who’s also heading to Hawaii but he lives on the islands. Derek and Elliot get to know each other and end up spending the night in a hotel room together that’s just amazing. But then it had to end because they’re going different places – or does it? I was little leery of Derek and Elliot’s getting together – even for a night - because of Elliot having just come out of this very long relationship where he was prepared to marry his partner. As the story moves on Witt explained Elliot and his ex-partners relationship in a way that I could accept Derek and Elliot together. I have the next book in the series or I might have been upset at the ending which was a bit abrupt. I’ll dig into book 2 this week. 4 out of 5

Collide by Megan Hart was my next read and it was so good! This book comes out on the 21st and I recommend it. The story of a woman who has the hots for an ex-independent film star-turned-artist-turned-gallery owner but he seems to not want to have anything to do with her. Then she starts having hallucinations about the man but it’s when he was 30 years younger. I’ll post my review this week and tell you more. 4.25 out of 5

Last on the list was a short novella I read for The Book Binge called When, Were and Howl by Jeanette Raleigh. This was the story of a woman who is a shifter but she turns into a mouse when she shifts – the rest of her family are wolf shifters – talk about different. She’s got it bad for her wolf shifter boss and wants more than anything to be able to shift to something besides a mouse. She gets an amulet that allows her to shift into a wolf but then she can’t get back to human. Is it all she’d hoped it would be? It was a cute story but left me hanging at the end of the story which I didn’t care for. I’ll probably read the next novelette just so I can see what happened! 3 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:

Happy Reading!

What I Read Last Week and RT 2011 Fun

Happy Monday!

I have a lot to tell you this week – aren’t you happy? lol The excitement started Wednesday when I got an email from Malle Vallik who is the Digital Director for Harlequin. She stated that along with Angela James, Executive Editor for Carina Press, they were having a dinner that night to meet with bloggers and get to know them a bit. Holly from Book Binge couldn’t attend but was nice enough to forward some other bloggers emails to her and mine was one of them – woohoo! I ended up at the dinner (at Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse which was excellent) with Malle, Angela, Lori, Renee (So Cal Bloggers), Katie (young librarian on twitter), Amber (Buried by Books blog), Sarah (Smart Bitches), Mallory (an editor for Carina) and Barbara Vey from Publishers Weekly. We had a great discussion about Goodreads and just talked about books for hours – so much fun.
From left to right: Renee, Sarah, Katie, Malle, Angela, Me, Lori, Mallory, Amber

On Friday I drove back down to LA and shacked up with Holly, Lori & Nikki for the weekend. We attended the Ebook/Graphic Fiction expo that day where I got to meet ZA Maxfield again, Belinda McBride, Mari Freeman, Mari Carr, Vivian Arend, James Buchanan, Angela Knight and many more. It was great meeting all of these wonderful authors. And of course I got to see my friends LB Gregg & Rosie after not having seen her for a year and that was a huge highlight. :) That evening after dinner at LA's famous Pantry we hung out in the lobby bar and talked to authors Beth Kery & Julie James who are just nice, nice, nice women. (I was doing my inner fan-girl squee and trying to act calm. lol) We were joined later by Lorelei James, Angela James and Jane from Dear Author which was very cool as well. I think others joined later but sadly after 2 margaritas my brain didn’t latch on to much. lol
Me, Julie James & Jane from Dear Author

On Saturday we attended the Giant Book Fair and it was incredibly fun. I got to meet and see so many wonderful authors – Shana Abe, Ann Aguirre (who I'm pretty sure managed to talk me into reading the Sirantha Jax series even though I'm not a sci-fi fan), Tessa Dare, Lydia Dare, Joanna Bourne, Elizabeth Hoyt, GA Aiken/Shelly Laurenston, KB Alan, Jennifer Ashley, Tara Taylor Quinn, Lorelei James, Victoria Dahl, Heather Davis, Ashleigh Raine, Jennifer Haymore, Jill Sorenson (who actually knew me by sight – how cool is that?*waves*), Delilah Devlin, HelenKay Dimon, Lila DiPasqua, Megan Hart, Courtney Milan, Kate Noble, Jeri Smith-Ready, Mary Wine, Veronica Wolff. I think I might have missed some in there but it was all a bit overwhelming but fabulous. I did miss Lynsay Sands, Shelly Bradley/Shayla Black who I had on my list but somehow missed them. I suck. lol

On Saturday we had a So Cal Blogger/Author get together in the lobby bar and invited anyone and everyone to attend or stop by and say hi. We were joined throughout the night by Zoe Archer, Sabrina Darby, Eden Bradley, Nico Rosso, Jill from Romance Rookie, Holly, Lori, Renee, Rosie, Rowena, Beth Williamson, Lorelei James, Vivianne Westlake, LB Gregg, James Buchanan, Rhiann Cahill, RG Alexander, Stephanie Dray & Susanna Kearsley, Colleen Gleason, Lisa Hendrix. Did I miss anyone? Sorry if I did. 

KB Alan, Vivianne Westlake, Lisa Hendrix

Zoe Archer, Renee & Lisa Hendrix

Amber, Nikki, Holly, Renee, Sabrina Darby in the back there with Stephanie Dray next to her.  James Buchanan has her back to us with the lovely black and white jacket...and I can't tell who the others are.  Anyone?

Lorelei James, Beth Williamson, the back of LB Gregg and the side of Colleen Gleason

Lori & Rosie & the back of Rowena on the right

Holly looking adorable & Me (I apparently have really squinty eyes and 1 wandering eye.  Who knew?)

We headed up to the Carina Press party for a bit where I met some other great authors, Caridad Pineiro, Dee Tenorio & Hunter Raines among others. And Carina gave away an IPAD2 and a Nook Color – neither of which I won – bummer. 
Nikki and others at the Carina Press party

I gotta tell you that I haven’t had that much fun in a long damned time. Every single author that I met was just as nice as could be and was more than willing to stand or sit and talk about books as well as a myriad of other subjects. I’m so glad I went!

My co-worker just handed me this comic that he cut out of the paper so I thought I’d share. Funny.
Click on picture to enlarge

Ok – what did I read this week?

I started off the week with Dead on Delivery by Eileen Rendahl. This is book 2 in the Messenger series and it was a good one. I didn’t like it quite as much as the first because I think there was less action and because our heroine, Melina, was a bit stressed throughout the book. She had every right to be but her stress kind of fed through the book. If interested you can read my review here on The Book Binge. 3.5 out of 5

My next read was Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger. I am now firmly a fan girl of Steve Kluger. I read Almost Like Being in Love and it became one of my favorite m/m books. I ordered LDoS from the library and dug in and it was so. damned. good. It’s not a romance but a story told in epistolary style about a 12 year old boy, Joey, back in 1936-1942 who needs a father figure in his life since his father re-married and wants nothing to do with him. He latches on to the 3rd baseman for the NY Giants, Charlie, and starts writing him letters. Charlie doesn’t want to be latched on to but eventually the two become friends. The story follows their friendship and how Charlie changed Joey’s life but Joey had such an affect on Joey’s as well. It was hilarious and heart-wrenching and just an absolutely fabulous read. 5 out of 5

Next up was Secrets of a Proper Countess by Lecia Cornwall - another book I read for The Book Binge. This was the story of Isobel who is at a masked ball and can’t keep her eyes off of the Marquess of Blackwood. The Marquess approaches her and they end up having more than a little fun in the garden. He wants to know who she is but she has to have a squeaky clean reputation because if she doesn’t her son will be taken away from her. This was a romance/spy for the crown/evil in-law story and on some levels it worked for me and others not so much. I’ll let you know when my review posts on TBB and you can read more of what I thought. 3.75 out of 5

Last for the week was The Good Thief by James Buchanan. This was a great story about Caesar who is a thief who cases and breaks into houses for a living and Nate who is a beat cop. They meet at a party and end up going home together and really love being together but the next day Nate’s a bit of an ass and then Caesar finds out he’s a cop and decides not to leave his number. When Caesar breaks into a house and finds some horrible pictures involving kids he takes them to Nate and an investigation begins that puts Nate and Caesar firmly together. They finally realize that they’re falling for each other but how can a cop and a thief live happily ever after. I really liked this book. Buchanan really knows how to suck me into the book and keep me there with the relationship. She really knows how to balance the romance with the sex and the other parts of the story and I really enjoy that about her books. Good stuff. 4 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted this past week:

That’s it for me. I’ll leave you with a picture of a place I saw when Lori was driving me to the train station. Do I really want those two things at the same time? I don’t think so.

Happy Reading!