Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

This week's Teaser Tuesday comes from page 161 of Tiger Claws by John Speed. I read the prequel to this book (The Temple Dancer) a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, partially due to a very unusual setting - 17th century India. I am not sure that I am enjoying this one quite so much as, even though it has some of the same characters, it feels very different! I also had a bit ofa hard time choosing a teaser that wasn't either incomprehensible without at least some explanation, or a spoiler, but I think I found one in the end.

Khalil pulls back from the edge with a sudden violence. "A Turtle! There can't be a turtle in a well that deep!"

Monday, March 30, 2009

Forbidden Fantasies anthology

Step inside Ellora's Cave, where passions run wild and the sexiest fantasies come true....
I must confess that I was very surprised when I went to the library the other week and found this book in one of the shelf end displays. I think I had just naturally assumed that there would be no erotic romance in my library. Or, maybe, because I haven't previously read any erotic romance, I just haven't looked for it!

The only thing that was a little disappointing was that the vast majority of these stories/novellas/whatever you want to call them are part of ongoing series, and you know that I can't stand reading series out of order. Oh well, when I started reading them I wasn't aware of that, and so I guess it didn't really affect the reading experience. All of these authors are new to me and there are a couple of them at least that I will be reading more from in the future.

Bossy & Clyde by Jaid Black

Psychic artist Kandrea Kane hires Damon Clyde to design her cozy new apartment, but she doesn't predict the erotic energy his masculine touch ignites in her voluptuous body.

One of the shorter entries in the book, at first I was thinking that this was one of the better stories in the novel. Instant conflict masks overwhelming attraction between Zandra and Damon. I did find the whole story very rushed, but I guess that's what happens when you have to get from conflict to happily ever after in just a few pages.

Legend's Passion by Jaci Burton

A night of anonymous ecstasy in the park with a gorgeous werewolf is a red-hot sexual release for Chantal Devlin — until a case of mistaken identity leads to a dangerous surprise.

Chantal Devlin has avoided getting involved too much with the pack werewolves as there is no way that she is ready to get tied down with a mate. When she arranges a hot date with an out of town werewolf, she gets amazing sex, but also big trouble when it turns out that he is now who she thought he was.

The man she had such hot sex with was actually a federal agent who was investigating a series of murders and now Chantal is drawn into assisting him with his enquiries.

Apparently this is part of the Devlin Dynasty series. This story felt quite complete, and I do like the world that this was set in, so if I can, I will be trying to read more.

Eternal Triangle by Ann Jacobs

When mortal master Chad Lalanne and his sensuous vampire submissive Katie invite Philippe d'Argent on an erotic trip into a Cajun paradise, the lovers unlock wild, forbidden desires on the bayou.

Chad is master of Katie, who also happens to be a vampire. He knows that he can not meet all her needs and so they invite Philippe on a trip with them. Philippe is a vampire, but he is also a submissive who has recently lost his master. Before long Chad is rethinking his strategy and deciding that he may want more than just a short time with his immortal bed partners.

Lady Elizabeth's Choice by Sahara Kelly

After a raw, passionate encounter that claimed Lady Elizabeth Wentworth's innocence months ago, Lord Spencer Marchwood decides the only way to win her love is to seduce her with sexual pleasures she can't refuse.

The first time I read this through I was a little disappointed. Yes, it was a historical but there didn't seem to be much recognition of the fact that Elizabeth would have been ruined by such a "raw, passionate" encounter. I read it again, and the second time around this didn't bother me quite so much, and I just enjoyed it for what it was.

When Spencer returns from his duties in Europe he finds that the woman he was planning to claim as his own has become engaged to another man. He decides that drastic measures are necessary, and so abducts her on the night that her engagement is to be announced to the ton, and sets about changing her mind.

Selfless by Sherri L King

While researchers try to determine who — and what — beautiful Eva really is, she relinquishes her darkest fantasies to the primal call of confident, golden-haired Dante, who rescued her from an evil scientist.

Compared to many of the other stories, this one took a long time to get going, as there was a lot of explanation to the be done of who Eve was and how she came to be at the centre where she was. Another story that felt quite complete, and had quite an interesting premise. This is part of a series, but I couldn't really figure out what other books were in the series.

Wild Ride by Cheyenne McCray

DEA agent Santiago towers over Tess with a Stetson on his head and smooth bronze skin she longs to caress, putting her on her naughtiest
bedroom behavior — and exposing her to a risky game of hot pursuit.

I think that this was one of my favourites in the whole book. Sexy DEA agent Santiago takes one look at Tess when in a bar at night and wonders where the quiet woman he kind of knows has gone. What follows is a passionate interlude, until his job interrupts in a most unexpected way. Again, this is appears to be part of a series, and I think I will be going out of my way to find out more. If this short is anything to go by, then I will definitely enjoy her other work.

Wicked by Lorie O'Clare

Tight-bodied lunewulf Jaynie Rousseau loves her freedom too much to mate...until strong, aggressive Cariboo lunewulf Perry Roth tempts her animal senses and arouses her lustful appetite.

When a description starts with 'tight-bodied', it's a bit of a worry, but in the end I quite locked this short. Jaynie finds herself in trouble with her adopted pack, and may find herself bought into submission unless she can get away, but will Perry Roth expect submission too, or something more.

First Sharing by Jory Strong

In order to save their people, handsome, feather-winged Laith and his muscle-bound, bat-winged friend Rykken must convince delicate Cyan to abandon her earthly art for a life of carnal indulgence in a land far away.

For a couple of days, I have been trying to remember where I have heard the name Jory Strong, and today at lunch time I remembered. Not long ago this book was mentioned at Dear Author, and again in the last few days at Katiebabs there was a post about Jory's next book, Ghostland, which has a gorgeous, gorgeous cover. This was an interesting read, and like the Sherri L King entry in the collection was very different to read.

Over all this felt like a good introduction to erotic romance, and I have found another couple of authors that I will be trying to read more of! I am still surprised that I found this book at the library, and may just find myself checking the shelves in the romance section to see what other surprises I can find there.

Rating: 4/5

Love Bites Reading Challenge

How cute is that challenge button! No, even though I have joined challenges just for the buttons before, that is not my only reason for joining this time! I do enjoy some paranormal romance, and have plenty to read, I just need to hurry up and read them. This is a simple challenge:

All you need to do is read three paranormals with a romantic theme between 1st April and 30th June 2009.

My three books will most likely be:

Marked by P C Cast and Kristin Cast
Full Moon by Keri Arthur
Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

This challenge is hosted by Royal Reviews, and there are some other great buttons available too, incuding a couple of Bill and Sookie from True Blood and Edward and Bella from Twilight.

Weekly Geeks #12

I have been such a bad weekly geeker lately. Even on those weeks when the theme is one that I am really interested in (like last week's Historical Fiction theme) I just haven't gotten around to writing the post! So now that I am up at 5.15am on a Monday morning, this seems like the perfect time to write up a WG post! As to why I am up at this time, I went to bed early to read, fell asleep and then woke up at just after 4am and couldn't get back to sleep!

This week's theme is revisiting a theme that Dewey had last year about linking to each other's reviews. Here are the details:

1. Write a post encouraging readers to look through your archives (if you have your reviews in a particular place on your blog, point them there), and find the books that they have also written reviews. Tell them to leave a link to their review on your review post. For example, I've written a review for Gods Behaving Badly and Jane Doe leaves a link to her review of Gods Behaving Badly in the comments section of my review.

2. Edit your reviews to include those links in the body of the review post.

3. Visit other Weekly Geeks and go through their reviews. Leave links for them.

4. Leave a note somewhere on your blog to let people know this is your new policy.

5. Write a post later this week letting us know how your project is going!

This is a big undertaking but as Dewey put it, it's 'community building'. Have fun!

I have instituted this as a permanent policy on my blog, as evidenced by the "Linking Reviews" statement on my sidebar, and the feed footer comment that goes out on my RSS feeder every time I post! Having said that, it would probably be a bit more effective if I had actually written any reviews lately. Anyway ... I have an alphabet index that you can access here. Feel free to have a look through them and leave a comment either on this post, or on the actual post and I will add the links in as soon as I can.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

French and Saunders and friends do Mamma Mia!

Last year when Mamma Mia came out a group of us girls went along to see it. Since then I have watched it a few times, most recently last Saturday night during out Goddess Day after we had imbibed quite a bit of champers! That particularly viewing involved lots of singing and dancing around my friend's lounge room. I hadn't seen it quite like this before though:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Save the Contemporary

Jane from Dear Author and Sarah from Smartbitches have teamed up to try and Save the Contemporary. Now I am probably not the best advocate for contemporary romance, because I really don't read a lot, but when there is a chance to win one of 20 copies of the upcoming Lisa Kleypas novel, Smooth Talking Stranger, and also a chance to win a 20 book pack from St Martin's Press, then I am definitely interested.

I am not really sure why I don't read a lot of contemporaries. I don't have any real aversion to them, but the only ones I seem to be reading lately are really the previous two novels by Lisa Kleypas, Nora Roberts and Jennifer Crusie. I do own a few that I haven't read yet.

Are there any authors writing contemporaries at the moment that I really MUST read?

Speaking of DA and Smartbitches, how is everyone going in DABWAHA?

Library Loot!

This week's Library Loot includes the confession that once more I borrowed more than I took back, but I still am under 50 books out...just!

Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland - I think this is about the fourth time that I have borrowed this book. I really do want to read it, but I keep on having to return it before I have even started it yet. Maybe this will be the time when I actually read it!

Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon - Michele from A Reader's Respite and Amy from Passages to the Past are hosting the Outlander challenge. I haven't officially signed up, but the idea is to try and reread the book in the series in anticipation of the latest Outlander book, An Echo in the Bone which is due to be released on September 22. I actually own two copies of this book, but I lent it to one friend who I have since lost touch with (in fact, she has the first three books in the series). Once I realised that I wasn't going to see them again, I went and re brought the first three books again, and then lent the first one to a girl I work with who has had it for probably two years and hasn't finished it yet. I did ask her for it a couple of times, but because I am tempted by the reread challenge I have borrowed it from the library. I will definitely be nagging my colleague to give my copy back though. I don't really want to have to buy it for the third time.

The Iron Hand of Mars by Lindsey Davis - the next instalment in the Marcus Didius Falco mystery series set in Ancient Rome.

Sabriel by Garth Nix - Now that I am up to date with the Keys of the Kingdom series, I am looking forward to reading some of his other books.

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher - I have been trying to pick up this book for weeks, but the last time I had it on request the library catalogue suggested that it was the hold shelf, but I couldn't find it. Fortunately no such issues this time.

****Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Alessandra from Out of the Blue and Eva from A Striped Armchair****

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Last week I was all excited because my son was given a book to read at school that I have already read! This week is not so exciting. The teacher has changed the book because Mister Monday was too long. Instead the kids have now been allocated The Day My Bum Went Psycho by Andy Griffiths. I am trying to convince my son that he should still Mister Monday but I am not sure how persuasive I am being! Anyway, on to Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

I am having difficulty deciding which book to use for Teaser Tuesday this week. I am almost finished two books, Superior Saturday by Garth Nix and Venus in Copper by Lindsey Davis. It's a good thing that I am nearly finished because they were due back at the library two days ago! I have also started reading the book I got last night, and I am already carrying my next book around in my bag, mainly because if I hadn't been too busy chatting on the way home on the train tonight I would actually have finished Venus in Copper and been ready to start the next book!

Choices, choices.

I think I will go with Venus in Copper, simply because I love Lindsey Davis' voice in these books. Her Roman detective is cynical and a little shady, with a very rocky love life, but he reminds me of the gumshoe detectives of old - a lot of fun to read!

I am going to bend the rules and post a paragraph. The teaser comes from page 175:

The members of my family saw no reason to alter the habits of a lifetime just because I had produced an Imperial guest. Titus had already edged in, looking startled, before Helena and I could emerge with the kind of refined welcome he had learned to expect. My relations immediately grabbed him and sat him on a stool with a bowl of olives on one knee, to watch his turbot cooking. Next thing I knew everyone seemed to have introduced themselves without waiting for me, Helena was testing the fish with a knife-point, Petronius shoved a full winecup under my elbow, and the chaos redoubled while I stood there like a drowned vole in a thunderstorm.

Another award

Aarti from Booklust has awarded me the Proximidade Award. Thanks Aarti.

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award."

I am passing this award onto:

Dar from Peeking Between the Pages,
Kathy from Oklahama Booklady,
Kat from Book Thingo,
Rosie from Nobody Asked Me.
Ana O from Cosy Little World
Susan Higginbotham from Medieval Woman: Blogging with Historical Fiction Writer Susan Higginbotham
Cath from Read Warbler
Susan from You Can Never Have Too Many Books

Monday, March 23, 2009

An unexpectedly bookish day

When I left home for work this morning, there was no reason to think that my day was going to be any more bookish than normal. I had only one book in my bag because I knew that I wouldn't finish the one I was reading today. If there is any chance that I will finish my book I always take a back up just in case, but it wasn't at all necessary.

Then around lunchtime I got a text message from someone I know just a little bit (we'll call her A. for the purposes of this post). A. is a friend of a friend really but I did see her on Saturday, and whenever we do spend time together we get along quite well. Anyway, she had purchased tickets to go and see an author event in the city, and the person who was going with her pulled out at the last minute, so she wanted to know if I would like to go. I did think about saying no, but in the event the lure of an author event pulled me in, so I quickly arranged babysitters and said yes.

I was already leaving work early to do something in the city. Once I finished my appointment I still had about an hour and a half to fill, so I wandered down to the specialist romance bookstore. A couple of weeks ago I had gone to Borders fully intending to buy three books, and they didn't have any of them in. Today I went to the bookstore looking for those same three books and still no joy! Then I wandered up to one of the bigger bookstores in town to see if they had any of the books I was looking for. They had one of them (Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre), so I quickly snapped that up, had a bit of a conversations with some of the ladies who were in the romance section about the fact that they should really read Elizabeth Hoyt and Lisa Kleypas, a quick bite to eat, and then off to meet A.

After a lot of chat about mutual friends and then about various books (I really love talking books), we listened to Irish author Cathy Kelly talk about a few different things - her life, how she started writing, her new book, being friends with several other Irish authors including the fabulous Marian Keyes. I must confess that I haven't read any Cathy Kelly other than a short story in the Irish Girls About Town anthology so I was probably at a bit of a disadvantage, but she was warm and funny, and so of course I had to buy her new book which is called Once in a Lifetime while I was there, and seeing as she was there, I got her to sign it as well!

Funny thing happened while we were in the queue. A. met a woman who she used to know back in country Western Australia a number of years ago. The lady was on holidays in Melbourne with a friend and they decided to come to the event. A. had thought about not going tonight when her friend originally cancelled, but if she had she would never had met this person completely coincidentally! I love it when things like that happened!

So I went to work with one book and came home with three. Can't complain about that really! Although I really would love to have got my hands on Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh and The Sins of Lord Easterbrook by Madeline Hunter which are the other two books that I am trying to get hold of at the moment!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's time for Once Upon a Time III

It is time once again for the Once Upon a Time III challenge, run so superbly by Carl V from Stainless Steel Droppings! This is an annual event where the focus is on fantasy, fairy tales, mythology and folklore, and runs from March 21 to June 20.

fan⋅ta⋅sy: a genre that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting.(Wiki)

fairy tale: a fictional story that may feature folkloric characters such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, giants, and talking animals, and usually enchantments, often involving a far-fetched sequence of events. (Wiki)

folk⋅lore: the traditional beliefs, legends, customs, etc., of a people; lore of a people; The traditional beliefs, myths, tales, and practices of a people, transmitted orally. (Dictionary dot com)

my⋅thol⋅o⋅gy: a body of myths, as that of a particular people or that relating to a particular person; a set of stories, traditions, or beliefs associated with a particular group or the history of an event, arising naturally or deliberately fostered. (Dictionary dot com)

As he has done for several of his more recent challenges, Carl has designed a number of different levels of participation. I have chosen to accept Quest the First:

Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time III criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.

Checking through the books I currently have on my to be read sooner than later (also known as the library books out list), the following books will form at least part of my list:

Superior Saturday by Garth Nix
Marked by PC Cast and Kristin Cast
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Fish Out of Water by Mary Janice Davidson
Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Dreaming Place by Charles de Lint
Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur
Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
Tangled Webs by Anne Bishop
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

For the full details of the challenge check out this link.


Thanks to Margo from Margo Treehugger for the "Where Life Hands You Lemons" award award:

Thanks also to Kerrie from Mysteries in Paradise has awarded me the Sisterhood award

Both of these awards ask us to:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.
It is late in the weekend here, so I am going to cheat a little and name ten blogs, three for one, and seven for the other. For the Sisterhood award, I nominate my fellow Historical Tapestry girls:

Kailana from The Written Word
Ana from Aneca's World
Teddy from So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

For the Lemonade award, I nominate:

Kristie from Ramblings on Romance
Misfit from At Home with a Good Book and the Cat
Michele from A Readers Respite
Amy B from Passages to the Past
Kasthu from A Girl Walks into a Bookstore
Kerry from Saving My Sanity
Nymeth from Things Mean a Lot

Misfit is a relatively new blogger, but I have known her for a while now through a couple of forums. If you enjoy reading historical fiction in particular, then you might find her blog an interesting one to start spending time reading!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I've read one!

After realising that I hadn't read any of the longlisted novels for the Miles Franklin award, I was a little concerned about the upcoming longlists for other awards, like The Orange Prize and The Booker Prize. With The Orange Prize Longlist announced yesterday, my curiosity is sated, and I have actually read one (The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser)! Haven't heard of some of the others, but never mind, but Girl in a Blue Dress was already on my TBR list!

Debra Adelaide - The Household Guide to Dying

Gaynor Arnold - Girl in a Blue Dress

Lissa Evans - Their Finest Hour and a Half

Bernardine Evaristo - Blonde Roots

Ellen Feldman - Scottsboro

Laura Fish - Strange Music

V.V. Ganeshananthan - Love Marriage

Allegra Goodman - Intuition

Samantha Harvey - The Wilderness

Samantha Hunt - The Invention of Everything Else

Michelle de Kretser - The Lost Dog

Deirdre Madden - Molly Fox’s Birthday

Toni Morrison - A Mercy

Gina Ochsner - The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight

Marilynne Robinson - Home

Preeta Samarasan - Evening is the Whole Day

Kamila Shamsie - Burnt Shadows

Curtis Sittenfeld - American Wife

Miriam Toews - The Flying Troutmans

Ann Weisgarber - The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Literature Circles and Library Loot!

I know I can tell from just looking at him every day, but there was another sign that my baby is growing up!

Tonight we were driving to the library when he started talking about the fact that they are doing literature circles at school. Don't ask me to explain, it sounds a bit like required reading but over an extended period of time and he has to do a summary of each chapter. My next question of course was 'What book is it?'. Mister Monday by Garth Nix. I got very excited and said something along the lines of I read that a couple of years ago! It made a reading mother proud!

As for the library loot we were on the way to pick up, there was actually quite a bit again!

Emma Vol 1 by Kauru Mori - Graphic novel that Kailana put me onto recently.

Angelique in Revolt by Sergeanne Golon - next book in this series that was originally released in the 1960s

Away with the Fairies by Kerry Greenwood - next book in the Phryne Fisher mystery series

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver- have been meaning to read this forever.

The Mysteries of Glass by Sue Gee - started reading the first couple of pages but then had to return it because someone else had requested it.

Fishing for Stars by Bryce Courtenay - got a bit further into this one before I had to return it unfinished.

Drood: A Novel by Dan Simmons - have been seeing this mentioned a bit around the place, and it is also Book at the Month at Historical Fiction Online.

I was also supposed to pick up Grave Peril by Jim Butcher but for some reason they couldn't find the book anywhere on the hold shelf. I am going to have to rerequest it again, but in the mean time some one else has it on hold too so it will be a bit longer than I would have liked to get to it!

****Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Alessandra from Out of the Blue and Eva from A Striped Armchair

How evil are you?

Saw this over at Passages to the Past

Raw evil score: 31.11%

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

I am not so much reading this book, as devouring it! I really enjoyed Garden Spells when I read it a while ago and I am very much enjoying The Sugar Queen as well. This week's teaser comes from page 189:

Ten minutes of this and their suits, coats and wingtips were soaked. This is why Faith sent Jake and Adam home with their dinner in paper bags, but with no dessert.

For they had been very bad boys.

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

When I originally signed up for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, I nominated three books:

The Last Queen by C W Gortner
Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn
Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland.

Unfortunately, I am still waiting for Mistress of the Sun to come in from the library, but instead I am substituting Angelique and the Sultan by Sergeanne Golon. Given that I finished that book today, I am done with this challenge!

Thanks to the girls from Royal Reviews for hosting!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

Turn on all the lights and check under your bed. Things are about to get spooky in Trenton, New Jersey. According to legend, the Jersey Devil prowls the Pine Barrens and soars above the treetops in the dark of night. As eerie as this might seem, there are things in the Barrens that are even more frightening and dangerous. And there are monkeys. Lots of monkeys.

Wulf Grimoire is a world wanderer and an opportunist who can kill without remorse and disappear like smoke. He’s chosen Martin Munch, boy genius, as his new business partner, and he’s chosen the Barrens as his new playground.

Munch received his doctorate degree in quantum physics when he was twenty-two. He’s now twenty-four, and while his brain is large, his body hasn’t made it out of the boys’ department at Macy’s. Anyone who says good things come in small packages hasn’t met Munch. Wulf Grimoire is looking for world domination. Martin Munch would be happy if he could just get a woman naked and tied to a tree.

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has Munch on her most-wanted list for failure to appear in court. Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity. Usually she gets her man. This time she gets a monkey. She also gets a big guy named Diesel.

Diesel pops in and out of Plum’s life like birthday cake – delicious to look at and taste, not especially healthy as a steady diet, gone by the end of the week if not sooner. He’s an über bounty hunter with special skills when it comes to tracking men and pleasing women. He’s after Grimoire, and now he’s also after Munch. And if truth were told, he wouldn’t mind setting Stephanie Plum in his crosshairs.

Diesel and Plum hunt down Munch and Grimoire, following them into the Barrens, surviving cranberry bogs, the Jersey Devil, a hair-raising experience, sand in their underwear, and, of course . . . monkeys.
I am not 100% sure that I get the point of these between the numbers Plum novels. With Stephanie struggling to sort out her love life between Morelli and Ranger already, it seems a little superfluous to add yet another man who wants to get it on with her, but I guess that while people keep on buying them, Janet Evanovich is going to keep writing them. I do wonder if Evanovich has an ending in sight for this series or if she is just going to keep going and going and going. All that may sound a little down on the author, which may be a bit harsh, because there were definitely some amusing moments throughout this book, but I am glad that I have stopped buying the Plum books and just get them from the library.

I did laugh a couple of times, the monkeys are initially amusing. If I still had a copy of the book I might be tempted to go through and see how many times Carl the monkey gave someone the bird. It was an awful lot of times and it got very repetitive after a while.

I was glad to see that Morelli and Ranger both played small parts in this novel. In at least one of the other between the numbers novels it was as if they both had dropped off the face of the earth! Some of the dialogue is amusing, especially with Lula.

"Ranger this and Ranger that," Lula said. "Don't none of you people think for yourself? I bet you can't wipe yourself without Ranger telling you."

Tank looked at her in the rearview mirror. "I'm telling him you said that."

"I might have misspoke," Lula said.
It seems that Lula and Tank have a few issues to sort out in their relationship, which should at least allow for this book to actually sit within the series a bit more.

As to the plot, well, Stephanie is after some FTA's and as usual she is having great difficulty in picking them up. One of them has gotten himself mixed up with some people that might be a little out of the ordinary and is planning world domination from his base in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Much hilarity ensues...or a little bit at least.

Mostly this is just same old same old and yet I keep on reading them, and I can't see that changing any time soon even if they aren't books that leave me laughing until I am crying anymore.

This is one of my reads for 2009 Pub Challenge.

By the way, I visiting evanovich.com for the first time in months today and it looks much better than it used to! Just thought I would throw that out there.

Rating 3.5/5

Other Blogger's Thoughts:

Passion for the Page
Savvy Verse and Wit

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What a weekend!

I am going back to work tomorrow for a rest! I have had such a great weekend! Haven't done any washing or cleaning or any of those other normal weekend tasks, but never mind. Today I went to Stitches and Craft show and managed to pick up some new ideas for making cards, as well as starting a bead bracelet that I am planning to keep building on! I can see this becoming a bit of an obsession, but we will try to keep this under control. The real highlight of the weekend was yesterday!

I mentioned that I was going to Sound Relief which was a fundraising concert for the bushfire victims in Victoria. There was also a concert happening at the same time in Sydney that also had some massive artists as well. I will try to summarise a bit!

As we were driving into the city it started raining. By the time we walked from the car to our seats we were already drenched, and because we were in the seat seven rows from the fence, we had no cover either. First priority was to buy some rain ponchos - a very attractive look I am sure you will agree! Little did we know that it was basically going to rain the whole day. Thank goodness it wasn't cold as well! (These photos are from later in the day but they show us looking a bit bedraggled! It was hard to know whether to leave them on or take them off. It was almost inevitable that every time I just about got mostly dry then it would start to rain.)Special shout out to the Channel V presenter who came out and announced that there was going to be no more rain at about 2 o'clock. She should probably stick to music!

I did attempt to take a couple of photos of my son at his first concert but I didn't realise that I had my camera on video soon, so there is a very quick picture of him, then some moving around, and then, the inside of a very soggy handbag! Whoops! I have to say that the concert experience wasn't a huge hit on the day, but today my son has done nothing but listen to Kings of Leon and talk about the concert (when he wasn't wingeing about being dragged around the craft show). Both the boys were bored pretty early on, and was over pretty early on for them. There is one picture of him looking a bit, um excited. I have to say a huge thanks to my friend, because I said to her that I would take the two of them home on the train because my son was complaining that he wasn't feeling well, but she took them back to my place instead and had a grand old time playing Buzz and SingStar. I felt a bit bad, but she said that she really only wanted to see Kings of Leon, and she offered so....

We arrived just in time to hear Jet open the concert and they were really great! Jet were one of two acts that were performing in both concerts, the other being Wolfmother. Even though the crowd was still building up, the fact that they are a Melbourne band meant that the crowd were really into them. When you are looking at the following picture of Jet, look at the sky and bear in mind that they came on stage at 12 noon.

Next up, Gabriella Cilmi, another home town act, and she did a pretty good set. I am a bit over her debut single which received massive radio airplay, but she did do a serviceable version of Whole Lotta Love. She can certainly sing.

During the day, we were crossing to the SCG where the other gig was going on so we got to see some Coldplay which was awesome. I was recording that at home, and when I was watching it today I have to say that their set was amazing, including a great version of You're the Voice featuring an Aussie favourite, John Farnham, and an unscheduled crowd run by Chris Martin during Fix You that had the security guys scurrying, but he looked like he had a great time. Unfortunately we didn't get to see that on the big screens in Melbourne but it was cool watching it back today.

Third act up and one of the highlights was Kings of Leon who were playing a sold out gig in Melbourne that night and so played relatively early in the day. They were awesome, and I will probably make an effort to go and see them if they come back again! The only disappointment was that they didn't sing Sex on Fire because it was the bushfire relief fundraiser, but I am sure that we all would have loved to have heard that.

Paul Kelly is a local legend, and he sounded great standing up on stage with his guitar and that was it. It was a complete change of pace to the other acts.

Augie March is another Melbourne band, and while I know a couple of songs, I can't say I know their music all that well. This is about where the kids gave up, but I did manage to convince them that it would be worth it to wander around to directly in front of the stage and have a look at the stage from that angle! It did look amazing to see all the people in the stands and on the ground. Absolute downpour during their set and we got wet...again!

Next up was Bliss N Eso with Paris Wells who are an Australian hip-hop band. I don't know any of their music, but they did really get the crowd going, up until the moment when they lost all sound. The crew did a great job of getting everything going again.

Another change of pace, this time from hip-hop to country and western with Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson. Kasey has such a distinctive voice, and when she sang 'The Captain' it reverberated right around the stadium. They were joined on stage by Troy Cassar-Daley, and they had a lot of fun, but I don't think the crowd was as into it as they had been for other artists!

The next artist up was Liam Finn. Now I will be honest and confess that I haven't heard anything that Liam has done before, so when we were planning when we would go and get some dinner and things we thought that this would be a good time to go, especially seeing as we didn't want to miss any of the acts that were coming up! I am not sure that we were actually right in that thinking because after singing a couple of his songs, he was joined onstage by his dad, his uncle and his mate, who are otherwise known as Neil and Tim Finn and Nick Seymour, who are otherwise known as Crowded House! We heard some of it while we were waiting downstairs in the queue for food! After all the rain we had there was a certain irony that when they sang Weather with You, the MCG was bathed in sunlight for the first time in the day! Not long after they went offstage, it rained again! They also sang You Better Be Home Soon which is one of my favourite Crowded House songs. I was trying to conserve memory on my memory card, but I ended up running out on both the card, and the camera, and ended up taking photos on my phone which I am expecting will be of very dubious quality, so here's a short (30 seconds) video.

I love Jack Johnson, and so watching him perform with just his guitar was amazing, and a bit mellow after the great excitement generated by the surprise Crowded House appearance.

Wolfmother was introduced by skate boarding legend Tony Hawkes. This was one of their first outings with a new line up and they were pretty good! They had played in Sydney earlier during the day, and the people in front of the stage were certainly enjoying themselves, but the sound was pretty average, where we were sitting at least. The highlight of their set was definitely The Joker and the Thief.

There had been a lot of hype around a special announcement that was introduced from Sydney by Toni Collette. It turned out to be a prerecorded statement by Prince William and Prince Harry. Not sure it needed to happen but the media has made a pretty big deal of it.

In the newspaper Kylie Minogue was being described as being a Special guest MC. The fact is that she didn't really introduce anyone, but she did come out and do a really good a capella version of I Still Call Australia Home. When I lived in the UK, this song used to be the theme song for Qantas, the Australian national carrier, and when it came on, it would be guaranteed to make me a bit emotional and homesick. I have posted a version of this song before here. Hearing 80000 people singing along was spine tingling.

For many people I am sure the next three acts were the highlights. They definitely were for me! Hunters and Collectors. Split Enz. Midnight Oil. All reformed especially for this gig and all sounding great! Hunters and Collectors are really my era, and they did fantastic versions of Say Goodbye, Do You See What I See, Throw Your Arms Around Me and The Holy Grail. This was probably THE highlight for me, along with Midnight Oil.

Split Enz were a bit before my time, but I did enjoy their performance, and definitely sang along to the songs I knew like I See Red, Six Months in a Leaky Boat

To close, Midnight Oil really rocked the place, in an awesome set that included songs like Beds Are Burning, Power and the Passion, King of the Mountain and Blue Sky Mine. The lead singer of the band is now our Federal minister for the Environment, Culture and the Arts, and has been in politics for a number of years now, but he has lost none of his energy when it comes to entertaining a huge crowd. It seemed fitting that the skies had finally cleared and just above the roof of an iconic sporting venue, there was a clear view of the Southern Cross star formation (this is the formation that appears on the right hand side of the Australian flag) and the moon.

I was wet for more than 12 hours (my trainers are still wet) and I don't think my handbag will ever be quite the same, but it was totally worth braving the weather, and the rush to leave the car park along with thousands of other people, to see such an awesome lineup. The reformed bands all sounded great. Over the next few days I am hoping to sit down and watch some of the acts that performed in Sydney, including at least one more reformed band (Icehouse) and what I suspect was an awesome closing set in Sydney that featured Barry Gibb (from the Bee Gees) and Olivia Newton John.

To give a quick taste of how awesome Hunters and Collectors and Midnight Oil were in their heyday, here are a couple of Youtube clips!

And one of John Farnham and Coldplay from Youtube:

I am assuming that there will be some kind of video release of Sound Relief and I am totally planning to buy it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Off to Sound Relief...can't wait!

Today I am taking my son to his first grown up concert, and it's a good one!

Soundrelief is a fundraising event to help support the victims of the recent bushfires in Victoria. The event in Melbourne is going to be MC'd by home town girl Kylie Minogue.Amongst the bands that are playing today;

Midnight Oil (reforming for this gig)
Hunters and Collectors
Split Enz (reforming for this gig)
Jack Johnson

There is another concert being held in Sydney and that features some great acts as well:

Hoodoo Gurus

and loads of others!

And now, I am off to get organised otherwise we will be late!

Friday, March 13, 2009

2009 Miles Franklin Longlist

Last night the longlist for this year's Miles Franklin award were announced! I am ashamed to say that I haven't read any of them, and hadn't heard of a few of them!

The Pages - Murray Bail
Wanting - Richard Flanagan
Addition - Toni Jordan
One Foot Wrong - Sofie Laguna
Ice - Louis Nowra
Fugative Blue - Claire Thomas
A Fraction of the Whole - Steve Toltz
The Devil’s Eye - Ian Townsend
The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas
Breath - Tim Winton

In fact, of all those authors I have only read one book by one of those authors and that was Tim Winton.

The Miles Franklin award is arguably the most prestigious prize awarded for Australian Fiction.

I am a bad Aussie!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'd like to thank my primary school English teacher

Over the last couple of months I have been terrible at acknowledging the awards that I have been given. It's not because I don't appreciate them, because I really, really do, but just that I never have had time to finish off the posts. I even started more posts going into long stories about finding the perfect awards dress, shoes and jewellery but never quite finished those either. When I receive an award I either save the post in Bloglines, or start a post here, so doing this tonight has the effect of having a bit of a clean out of drafts and saved posts, which is a bit overdue!

So here is a list of the awards that I think I have received over the last couple of months. Sorry if I have forgotten anyone.

Thank you so much to the following people for giving me blog awards:

From Catherine Delors:

From Ana and Leya from Wandeca Reads

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award."

From Arleigh at Historical-Fiction.com

Started by the blogging team at Jane Austen Today the “aim of the Excessively Diverting Blog Award is to acknowledge writing excellence in the spirit of Jane Austen’s genius in amusing and delighting readers with her irony, humor, wit, and talent for keen observation. Recipients will uphold the highest standards in the art of the sparkling banter, witty repartee, and gentle reprove.”

From Dar at Peeking Through the Pages and Kathrin from Secret Dreamworld of a Bookaholic, Chris from Book-a-rama

The Prémio Dardos is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.

From Ana at Aneca's World, Holly from What Were You Expecting and Julia from Julia's Book Corner - The Bookworm Award

From Teddy Rose at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

From Marny the Bookworm - Lets Be Friends award

From Cinderella at World of Royalty blog:

From Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise

I hope I haven't missed anyone, and if I have I am very sorry! I promise to try and do better next time...if there is a next time!

Oh, someone cue the damn music please!

Problem? What problem?

Yesterday afternoon at approximately 4.30pm, I went to the library and picked up all the books that were there waiting for me. A couple of hours later I was checking my account for the due dates so I could add it to my spreadsheet to help me keep track of the due dates and renewals when I noticed that there was already a couple of more books to pick up.

Today at approximately 1.30pm, I went to the library to pick up those books. An hour later, there were already two more books there ready to be picked up.

No really, my library list is definitely still under control. Maybe, just a little bit, still under control??

Today I started reading Angelique and the Sultan by Sergeanne Golon on the train. No problem there either, until you see the cover, which is, shall we say, a little sultry! A lovely 60s style sex kitten pose on a book set in the 17th century! Excellent!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Library Loot!

This week has been a busy library week. I am so not doing well at keeping the number of books out down to a reasonable level.

This week I picked up:

TheWinter Sea by Susanna Kearsley - I've borrowed this before but not been able to read it. I hope to this time

Sin and Scandal in England by Melody Thomas - I've read a few of this authors books and liked them, but I had forgotten about them a bit.

The Winding Ways Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini - next book in the Elm Creek Quilt series

Kiss the Night Goodbye by Keri Arthur - I think there has been a bit of a mix up with this one. I don't remember requesting it, but it was there waiting for me to pick up today. The other thing is that it is the fourth book in the series, but I haven't read the first three yet, and I don't often do reading books out of order. This one will be going back to the library in the next visit.

In the Woods by Tana French - I have been aware of this book for a while now and decided to finally request it a couple of days ago based on a review of one of her later books that I saw at Lesley's Book Nook.

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton - I have been meaning to read this series for years. Today I was browsing the audiobook aisle, and noticed that they had a number of the later books in the series available, so picked up the first book in the series to read and then I can move onto listening to those that the library does have.

3 Willows: A New Sisterhood Grows by Ann Brashares - Another Secret Sisterhood or something different? I guess I will find out in due course.

The scary thing is that I only went to the library a couple of hours ago, and I already have two more books there to pick up already.

****Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Alessandra from Out of the Blue and Eva from A Striped Armchair

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Reminiscing about ARRC - Part 2

I am determined that tonight I am going to finish writing up my ARRC experience, before I can't remember anything anymore, but first I need to refresh my memory of where I got up to in the last post!

The last couple of hours on Saturday afternoon were allocated for book signings, goodie room visits and Author speed dating sessions. I had decided against book signings on Saturday afternoon as I figured that most people would try to see Mary Janice Davidson and Sherrilyn Kenyan that day. The queue for the goodie room was also huge. I wasn't really 100 percent sure what to expect in the goodie room, as when I have heard them talked about in some of the overseas conferences they have sounded like loads and loads of books and other goodies. There were a few books there, but they were mainly extra copies of the books we had already received in our conference satchel. There were lots of little bits and pieces, quite a few bookmarks, some pens, badges, candles amongst other things.

By far the least attended was the author speed dating session which is I guess a bit disappointing, but then in another way it was quite good for the few of us that were in there because it was really very casual and intimate. One of the people who I was intending to catch up with over the weekend was Tez Miller and it turned out we were sitting right next to each other for most of the session! Among the authors who we heard from were:

Alison Stuart- historical romance set in 17th century.
Amy Andrews - writes Mills & Boon Medical category romance
Elisabeth Rose - writes for Avalon Press and Wild Rose Press, and has great covers
Jess Dee - Samhain author
Lexxie Couper
Margaret Tanner - writes romance with Australian settings in different periods
Tracey O'Hara - who showed us her awesome cover for her book that is due out later this year.
Melanie Milburne - also writes category romances, and had us all giggling with stories about talking to her surgeon husband in the middle of operations.
Jordana Ryan

I snuck out early as I really wanted to get Alison Stuart's books and get them signed...mission accomplished, then back to the hotel for a chat and to get ready for dinner! Now I had a plan. I had managed to get myself a bed with a couple of friends, and so the plan was to pop open the champagne whilst getting ready and then go off to dinner. That's not quite how it worked out however! The champagne didn't get opened until after I got back from dinner, but we still managed to get through it!

During the day I had had a brief chat with Kat from Book Thingo about sitting together at dinner, so I was sure that I would have at least one person I knew to talk with. I needn't have worried though, because we were sitting with Kat and her librarian, Samhain authors Jess Dee and Lexxie Couper, and several other ladies and it didn't take long a all for everyone to start chatting away. It is fair to say that we had a blast, and guaging by the noise from the other tables they were all having a blast as well.The dinner started off with some antipasto which was nice, but nothing to write home about, the main courses were either chicken or lamb. I liked the chicken but the salad/vegetables it came with were a bit strange and I am pretty sure that the beans were a bit cold when they weren't meant to be. The highlight food wise was definitely dessert, although it did seem a bit of a travesty to watch the young ladies over the other side of the table leave some of the scrumptious mini cakes from Brunettis and watch them go back to the kitchen. I think the only reason they didn't come around our side of the table was that it was going to be a bit awkward watching the five of us squabble over who was going to have which cake! I must schedule a vist to Brunettis for some full size pleasure before too long!

The conversation flowed, the wine flowed, and there was much levity to be had. Most heated discussion was around the very profound topic - who are the hottest Aussie men! Of course, Hugh Jackman got a mention, as did Jessie Spencer, Eric Bana, Adam Garcia and a few others. Unfortunately, a few of the discussions had at dinner need to stay at dinner, because, well some of them may not be exactly safe to read! LOL!

During dinner there were several awards given out. Unfortunately, we were sitting a bit towards the back, oh, and I was too busy chatting to take photos of everyone! The winners were:

Stephanie Laurens

Melanie Milburne

Sherrilyn Kenyon

Kat also won a great prize for writing the book review voted best by members of the Lounge during the lead up to the conference.

Just as we were all dispersing Kat grabbed me and said "We have to get a photo", to which I inwardly cringed, but outwardly agreed! Turns out Kat can make almost anyone look good! The photo that she has up on Flickr is probably the best photo I have seen of me for a while!

Back to the hotel where there was lots more chatting and laughing and drinking with the girls, along with some strategic planning on how we were going to tackle the signing room on Sunday!

I won't get to finish tonight, but there is not much more to tell. I will save Sunday's tale for a bit later.


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