Just finished reading…Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey

My review of Beauty and the Werewolf is up at Book Binge! Head on over and see what I thought.

Beauty and the Werewolf

And, while I’ve been pretty scarce lately on the blog, I’m still reading up a storm. Come visit me over at Goodreads for my latest reads. Also, I’ll continue posting reviews over at Book Binge.

Meanwhile, I’m knitting like crazy, getting ready for Christmas. Regular posts will resume in the New Year!

December 15, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

So far, so good

sick teddy bearFriday’s surgery went well, though a little more complicated than they first thought. I’m still recovering, though, and am not sure how much I’ll be posting this week. I just wanted to say thanks for the get well wishes, and that I’m ok! I’ll probably be around Twitter and Goodreads before I get enough energy to write a complete blog post, so you can always swing by those places to say hi!

September 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm 9 comments

September 2011 Releases, part 2

Here are some of the books I’m looking forward to that were released last week and will be released this week:

Black GoldSeptember 13, 2011:
Black Gold (Takhini Wolves, book 1) by Vivian Arend

I’m always a sucker for a good shifter story, and this one sounds like fun.

Alaskan lone-wolf shifter Shaun never expects to be mated to a southern belle, but when he encounters researcher Gemmita, he is thrown for a loop.

My attention was caught by Gemmita, a woman who is trying to assert her independence and get out from under her sheltered upbringing.

I enjoy fated-mate stories, if I can be sold on the emotional connection (not just the sexual/magical connection). I’m hoping for lots of sparks of chemistry and romance from this one.

Down the Mysterly RiverSeptember 13, 2011:
Down the Mysterly River
 by Bill Willingham

A couple of months ago, my book club read the graphic novel, Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall, which I totally loved. Since then, I’ve been reading the rest of Willingham’s Fables series.

So, it was with great interest that I saw he now has written a middle-grade book. From the description, it seems like his wonderful imagination is in top form.

When Boy Scout Max, is lost in the woods, he encounters assorted interesting creatures, and flees for his life from scary hunters, known as the Blue Cutters. Max must solve a mystery in order to save himself, and his new friends.

Tempted by His TargetSeptember 20, 2011:
Tempted by His Target by Jill Sorenson

Excerpt here.

Jill Sorenson has become one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. I love her smart and strong heroines, and her sexy heroes. Also, she has a great way of incorporating gritty realism in a way that meshes perfectly with steamy suspense.

In Tempted by His Target, party-girl Isabel is wanted in a drug-related murder. It’s undercover US Marshal Brandon Knox’s job to bring her to justice. However, he finds himself protecting and fleeing with Isabel after he saves her from a murder attempt.

I find I’m really beginning to enjoy “on the run” plots lately (ala The Pharaoh’s Concubine, about which I posted last week), and Tempted by His Target looks like a fun one.

The Rift WalkerSeptember 20, 2011:
The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire, book 2) by Clay and Susan Griffith

Book 1 in the series, The Greyfriar was on of my favorite reads so far this year. I loved the swashbuckling romance amid a steampunk world, filled with creepy vampires, mysterious caped heroes, and kidnapped princesses.

Even the kidnapped princess, Adele, was a wonderful surprise, since she is no delicate miss. She was brave, independent, and smart. When the Greyfriar rushes in to rescue her, he’s just as likely to find that she has already rescued herself (or at least gone a long way in the process).  And, the Greyfriar himself is a great romantic and slightly tragic hero.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot of The Rift Walker, since that will give away events in book 1, and I’d hate to spoil it. However, I will say that I can’t wait for more of the Greyfriar and Adele’s adventures in The Rift Walker.

The Girl of Fire and ThornsSeptember 20, 2011:
The Girl of Fire and Thorns (The Fire and Thorns trilogy, book 1) by Rae Carson

I found the description of this book really intriguing. Especially, since it’s felt like a lot of YA is sort of blending together for me, and I was struck by The Girl of Fire and Thorns’ original premise.

Underachieving and underestimated, Princess Elisa lives in the shadow of her older sister. She bears the Godstone in her navel, but has never lived up to its heroic destiny.

Married off to an indifferent the king of a land in turmoil, Elisa must take charge of her life and discover her destiny as the bearer of the Godstone.

❀❀❀❀❀

So that’s what is on my radar for the rest of September. What’s on yours? Got any new releases you want to share?

September 20, 2011 at 5:00 am 7 comments

Support Sarah!

Jingle Bell Run

In random awesomeness, Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is running in the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell 5K Run on November 20, 2011, and is running in my honor!

SBTBLast night on Twitter, Sarah mentioned she was considering entering a 5K. I replied that while I’ve volunteered at the run, I’ve never been able to run, since I have arthritis. (More on that in a sec.) And, faster than you can say, “Wham, bam, thank you mam,” Sarah was registered for the run!

Then, came the most important part, the planning of the 5K wardrobe. Of course it had to have LOTS of jingle. Oh! And, the most fashionable of Menorah headwear.

When I was 14, I began to get mysterious pains in my legs. Over the next 4 years, I was diagnosed with pinched nerves, pulled muscles, and teenage-girl hysteria. (Seriously, I had 3 doctors stare me down and say nothing was wrong with me even though I KNEW my legs hurt.) However, when I was 18, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease—an auto-immune intestinal disease, that resulted in my seeing a rheumatologist. (Often, people with a Crohn’s will get a secondary form of arthritis during a flare-up.) Not only did I have Crohn’s related arthritis, I also had another, second form of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis. (Yes, I seem to have hit the arthritis jackpot.)

Arthritis FoundationOne of the best support systems that I found in my 20s was a young adults with arthritis support group. We met regularly for advice, support, and socializing, and volunteered for arthritis-related events, including the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell run.

Over the years, I’ve had 7 surgeries (including a revision on my right hip-replacement this past February), braces, medications, and more scans, tests, and x-rays than you can shake a stick at. The Arthritis Foundation provides research grants, education for people with arthritis and their families, and exercise classes, as well as lots of other incredible programs. You can learn more about them, here.

I’m so touched that Sarah is not only participating in an event that will support the Arthritis Foundation’s efforts, but that she will also be doing it in my honor.

Please support Sarah’s effort in raising money for the Arthritis Foundation.

Run, Sarah, run!

September 18, 2011 at 9:09 pm 9 comments

My weekly…um monthly…um semi-annual…update

Well, yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve done a “weekly” update, hasn’t it? <g>

On the personal front, the kid is back in school, and we are now in the midst of soccer season. Twice weekly practice, and weekly games make it a big part of our week. Things are pretty hectic, what with making sure soccer clothes are clean, and homework is done before practice. But, once we’re at the park, it’s all fun and games. :-)

Things are also going to get crazier yet, since next week I will be having surgery to remove my gall bladder. I’ve been told it’s a minor out-patient surgery, so I’m hoping I’ll bounce back relatively quickly. And, if nothing else, it’ll serve as a great excuse to spend the following week reading and relaxing. (Hey, I’ve got to take my opportunities where I can!)

Can you believe, that after almost a year of living in our place, we finally unpacked our books a couple of weeks ago? We’d been waiting for some furniture changes in our office, and I really didn’t want to have to move the books once they were unpacked. Our furniture situation was finally resolved, and there were no more excuses. And, while we did have to move the graphic novels over to the shelves that hold the comic book boxes—yes, we have custom shelving for the comic book boxes, can you get any geekier?— we were able to fit all of our fiction onto one wall, filled with bookcases.bookcases

Let me tell you, there is nothing more goofy than 2 Lit majors arguing over how to shelve books. If you were a fly on our wall, you’d have heard questions like:

  • Honey, should I put the Asian lit together with the Asian American lit? (Answer: a quick vehement NO)
  • Does Balzac’s Seraphita go on the European lit shelf or on the literary criticism shelf? (Answer: a ridiculously long debate that ended in putting it on the lit crit shelf)
  • Should Octavia Butler’s books be classified as contemporary fantasy or sci-fi? (Answer: a still debatable sci-fi shelving)

I have to say that my guy and I thoroughly enjoyed the day organizing our books. And, I actually spent an additional morning just playing among my bookcases (the 2 on the left, pictured here, and my other small “imminently tbr” in my bedroom). It felt so satisfying getting things organized and cleared up. We now even have additional guest sleeping space in the office, as well as a comfy reading nook, just for me!

Killing FloorI’ve just finished listening to Killing Floor by Lee Child. I don’t often read suspense-thrillers, but I’d heard so many good things about the Jack Reacher series, I thought I’d give it a go. It was a fun, pulpy read. Jack Reacher’s character made the book stand out. He really reminds me of Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name” character in the Sergio Leone movies. I’m still mourning the fact that Tom Cruise has been cast in the Jack Reacher role for an upcoming movie. You know. The 6’5″ 250lb  ex-military policeman. *headdesk* (This fact was broken to me on Twitter during a highly amusing and very depressing conversation with @younglibrarian@SonomaLass@cjewel, and @MeganMulry.)

This past weekend, I also read Pharaoh’s Concubine by ZA Maxfield and The Tempering of Men by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear. Both were excellent reads. Here’s a couple of mini-reviews I did for them over at Goodreads:

Pharaoh's ConcubinePharaoh’s Concubine by ZA Maxfield:

I really liked this romantic suspense. It put me in mind of Jane Seville’s Zero at the Bone and Brooke McKinley’s Shades of Gray.

Dylan and William go on the run, to prevent Dylan’s mobster lover from killing William in retaliation for a botched kidnapping attempt on Dylan. There’s lots of suspense and angst. Dylan’s character grows so much through the story, as he makes peace with his past and reunites with some of his family. I loved Williams low-key intensity, and his ability to see through Dylan’s pretty-boy image, and into his heart.

The Tempering of MenThe Tempering of Men by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear:

A wonderful visit back to the Iskryne world. It’s such a fascinating civilization. I love what Monette/Bear do with the sexual politics and gender roles. Yet while those issues never overtake the story itself, they greatly inform the plot and culture. Vethulf and Skjaldwulf’s stories really shed a lot of light on their characters. It was great to learn more about them, and their relationship dynamics are so interesting. I found myself reading slower and slower as the book progressed, so I could stretch out the story. It’s going to be tough waiting till 2013 for book 3 of the series. The only reason I didn’t give this 5 stars is because I was so disappointed that Isolfr was such a peripheral character. I really missed him.

Song of Scarabaeus

I’m currently reading Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy. I’ve heard so much buzz about this sci-fi romance, and was thrilled to find it when I went to the Borders closing sale in Rancho Cucamonga. I really like the originality of the world, and Finn and Edie’s relationship. I’m already planning on reading book 2, Children of Scarabaeus.Hellbent

I’ve also started Cherie Priest’s Hellbent in in audio. I really enjoyed the first in the Cheshire Red series, and though the narrator sounds a little too smirky at times, the narration is mostly well done.The story itself is really good, and I like how Raylene, despite her desire to be a tough cookie, keeps finding herself taking care of those around her.

Later this week, I’m hoping to get to Midnight by Ellen Connor, Good Girls Don’t by Victoria Dahl.

So, that’s what’s been going on with me. What’s been going on with you? Read any good books lately?

September 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm 10 comments

September 2011 Book Releases, part 1

Another big release day is coming up! Here are a few books I’m looking forward to getting my hands on:

One Salt SeaSeptember 6, 2011: One Salt Sea (October Daye series, book 5) by Seanan McGuire

This series has become one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series. The author weaves a good, fast-paced story for Toby and the gang. And, I also enjoy the theme of what it means to be a hero—especially through the eyes of a woman— on which Seanan McGuire often touches. I also enjoy the chemistry between Toby and Tybalt, the King of the Cats.

Archangel's BladeSeptember 6, 2011: Archangel’s Blade (Guild Hunter series, book 4) by Nalini Singh

While I didn’t enjoy the last book as much as the other books in The Guild Hunter series, I do enjoy the series originality. I’m excited about Archangel’s Blade, because this is the first book that will depart from Elena and Raphael’s relationship, and focus on Dmitri, Raphael’s second in command. I’m hoping this will shake things up a bit. My hopes are high, since I’ve already been hearing great buzz about it.

Never EnoughSeptember 6, 2011: Never Enough (Brown Siblings, book 4) by Lauren Dane

I’m still behind 1 book in this series, but am really looking forward to Adrian’s story.

I’ve really enjoyed all of the stories, and (eldest brother) Brody’s most of all. I like how we get bits and pieces of the other siblings’ stories without sacrificing the central relationship. Dane always conveys the depth of the main characters’ feelings so well.

I just LOVE this cover!

MidnightSeptember 6, 2011: Midnight (Dark Age Dawning trilogy, book 2) by Ellen Connor (aka Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty).

I had really high expectations for Nightfall (book 1 in the trilogy) and it lived up to all of them.

The world is dark and gritty and the action is intense. I’m looking forward to seeing how Chris, who is just beginning to become hero material in Nightfall, fills that role in Midnight.

Three years pass between the 2 books, and I’m really curious about how the world has developed during that time.

CipherSeptember 6, 2011: Cipher (Southern Arcana, book 4) by Moira Rogers

I read books 2 and 3 last month, and am so excited I didn’t have to wait long for Cipher.

Kat and Andrew’s story has been unfolding slowly over the course of the series (& boy has it been a bumpy ride!), and now they will finally get their HEA.

One of the great things about this series is that the wolf/supernatural politics are just as absorbing as the romance. I also can’t wait to see what will happen after the events in the previous book.

❀❀❀❀❀

That’s a lot for 1 week, isn’t it? Is there anything coming out this coming week that you’re excited about?

September 2, 2011 at 5:00 am 9 comments

My Real-Life Hero

Today, I’m sharing the identity of my real-life hero at DIK.

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Come and tell me about yours!

July 21, 2011 at 12:12 am 1 comment

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Vintage pin-up girl reading
Urban Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Mystery, M/M, Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, audiobooks, it just goes on and on...
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Pleasure and Purpose

Pleasure and Purpose (Order of Solace, book 1) by Megan Hart

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Feed

Feed (Newsflesh trilogy, book 1) by Mira Grant Audiobook narrated by Paula Christensen and Jessie Eisenberg

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A FEW BOOKS FROM THE PILE…

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Can’t hardly wait!

September 20, 2011:
Tempted by His Target
Tempted by His Target by Jill Sorenson

October 4, 2011:
Angels of Darkness
Angels of Darkness with stories by Meljean Brook, Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, and Sharon Shinn

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