Wednesday, July 30, 2014

STUFF


It seems like a long time since I’ve done a “Stuff” post.  That could be because it HAS been a long time.

 
One of the things that I’ve really been aware of since coming back from my extended absence is how dreadfully out of date this blog is.  It’s time for a revamp as I’m still showing books I read in 2011.  Who cares?  I don’t even care.  That was 3 years ago.  I will slowly be working on this but with only an IPad working it’s going to be slow progress.  But I’ve also been checking out the links to fellow bloggers on the sidebar and by the looks of things, I’m not the only one who took a powder.  Some of my fellow bloggers haven’t posted anything new since 2011.  And there are probably/hopefully many more new ones.  I was thinking if you drop me a quick note, I can add you to my sidebar as I (very sadly) delete some of the older former bloggers who haven’t been active for a while.

 Now this won’t be a quick process.  I still can’t get onto the internet on my home computer, only at work and through my IPad.  Without the ability to do Control C and Control – man do I love those buttons – it’s kind of hard to do much.  And even though work has dried up quite a bit lately – as opposed to those bygone and much missed days when it was even tough to get a bathroom break in it was that busy – I don’t feel right doing it at work.  I think management would frown and deservedly so.  It may just take a while.

 

I got some rather disappointing news today.  The contractor that I have renovating the bathroom has run into quite a snag somewhere else thus putting my reno back.  I was hoping to get it done next week; all the new stuff is in the store now and they said they would deliver it on the weekend.  But now he says he can’t get to it until the end of August.  I hope they will hold it at Home Depot until then.  Son #1 who moves about every 3 months it seems, is using my basement as his storage facility and no room down there.  I don’t want to leave my stuff outside for that long and I don’t have enough room to store it on the main floor.  *sigh*  Even more of a bummer – I already love my new bathroom in my head and I now hate the one I live with.  I don’t WANT to wait another month.  We’ve been working on getting it done since May and I’ve waited long enough says I.  It’s going to be ever so nice; no tub but nice big walk-in shower with gorgeous gray swirl tiles.  The floor will also be grayish gray swirls – they will look good together – and a blingy like black counter top on the vanity and very dark, almost gray, copper hardware.  The walls I’m having painted a gorgeous shade of salmon and will accent with shades of gray.

 

There will be those missing my tub though.  I have 2 new kitties.  I wasn’t going to get new cats after I had to have Cally put down when she got outside and was hit by a car, breaking her leg.  It was just too sad- and practically, too expensive.  But I realized I needed at least one cat again when I started talking to my fire detector.  You see, the battery was dying and it was “chirping” to let me know.  The chirping it made sounded just like a guinea pig we owned years ago and I was talking to it for about a week before I realized I either needed to get something living or see someone professionally.  I ended up getting to male kittens from the same litter I names Munch and Fin – I’ve long been a fan of Law and Order SVU. 

 
Now I’ve had cats all my life but I don’t think I’ve ever been as fond of any as I am of these two.  I’ve had them for a while now so they are no longer kittens.  They were taken away from their mama too early; I got them from a girl at work that got them from a neighbor who lied to her about how old they were.  They still suckle on stuff a lot.  A lot of different kinds of stuff; my head, my hair, my arm.  You should see them on fleece or flannelette.  They spread themselves out flat like pancaked squirrels, get their purring motors revved up full throttle and are off to the sucking races.  Munch – the more mischievous one loves to play fetch with a straw.  I throw it, he runs and gets it, brings it back to me and drops it right in front of me.  It’s a very fun game for both of us, though not so much for me at 3:30 in the morning when he’s up and rarin’ to go.  I found myself wondering if perhaps I was getting to carried away this morning though when I started giving them smootchie kisses – right on their kitty lips.
 
  Eeewwww.  Their favourite place to hang out now is in the tub.  I love watching them jump and run when I turn the shower on and they are still in there.
And a warning - though it's eeewwww to talk about kitty kissing, there will probably be many a story about my kitties.

 
 
 

And going back to the Shades of Grey – am I the only one not looking forward to the movie?  I haven’t read the books, don’t want to read the books and I haven’t watched the trailer.  I’ve seen bits of it on some of the entertainment shows and I’m totally meh on the guy who plays the lead – Christian isn’t that his name?

 

And speaking of books into movies, what I AM looking forward to is Outlander.  Now the guy who will be playing Jamie DOES do it for me.  It’s going to be playing on Showcase here in Canada though not starting until near the end of August as opposed to earlier on Starz in the US.

One of my more popular posts a number of years ago was one I did on how much I hate the Charmin commercial with that stupid bear family.  I thought that would be the worst series toilet paper commercials ever.  Part of me is morbidly curious to check out the website – enjoythego.com.  But I was wrong.  Dead. Wrong.  Scarily and frighteningly wrong.  There truly is worse and now I’ve seen the worst of the worst and I’ll never be the same.  I’m referring to those commercials where the English lady takes a roll of toilet paper and I don’t know – wipes or something – into a dimly lit speed dating lounge and asks prospective men about their toilet paper/pooping habits.  There is a series of them but it wasn’t until this particular add came out that I started humming that song ‘How low can the go.”  Sometimes I greatly fear for our society.
 
Dang – I’ve missed doing this kind of ‘stuff’

 

‘til later

Recent Read

Hard Time by Cara McKenna

Hard TimeGenre: Contemporary/Young Adult

Steam Level:  In all honesty, this one was too hot for me in  a few places - and I'm not a prude

My Thoughts:
I wanted to love this book. I really, really wanted to love this book and I’m sad to say I didn’t. I liked it, but alas, I didn’t love it. And it would have been easy if not for a couple of things.

This is the story of Annie Goodhouse and Eric Collier. Annie is a librarian in the state of Michigan, a state hit very hard by the recession. One of the duties of her job is a once a week visit to the local prison to help write letters, teach classes, help with computer stuff, that kind of thing. The rules are very strict in as to prisoner/non prisoner relations and the chance of any kind of relationship developing is unlikely, but this is a romance, so of course one does. Right from her first visit she can’t help but notice one prisoner in particular, Collier is his last name. He soon writes her a very intimate letter and she replies by letter as any kind of touching or one on one conversation is out of the question. Thus begins a secret relationship. Annie had gotten out of an abusive relationship a number of years previously and as a result, was pretty frozen inside. And Eric Collier, as the prisoner turns out to be, helps, with his passionate letters, unfreeze her. She figures he is ‘safe’ as he’s going to be locked up for the next 20 years. There notes to each other are very tender and sexy. Eric keeps telling her if she wants to keep things going to wear a certain colour and he will know she wants to. He is very respectful of her and I really appreciated that.


But unbeknownst to Annie, Eric has been working on getting an early parole and when he lets her know that he is being released very shortly, she freaks. He had been convicted of a brutal assault and has no remorse. He was defending his sister and feels he was justified in what he did. He’s not a violent guy by nature; in fact he comes across as very gentle.

When he is first released she doesn’t want to see him, what was fantasy before is now becoming real. But the pull between them is so powerful, she very reluctantly agrees after a time and their attraction to one another is off the charts. Both have been celibate for five years and they more than make up for it.

So, sounds like a delicious storyline and I really liked both characters. I liked Eric a lot. A LOT. So why didn’t I love this story when in theory I should have? First off, it’s told in the first person. I have been reading a lot of first person books lately and amazingly, really enjoying them. Some have been keepers that I know I’ll be reading again. But in those ones, at some point the POV switches to the hero. And it doesn’t in this book at all. I REALLY would have liked part of the book to take place in Eric’s head as I found him to be a very interesting and most excellent hero. It just seemed that we were missing something that really could have made the story more rounded.

There was a scene towards the latter part of the book that I wish I could just wash out of my memory. As I said earlier, except for that one controlled act of violence, Eric is a gentle and even tempered kind of guy, almost a beta type hero. But Annie almost forces him to perform an act of a sexual nature that he was very reluctant to do. I found it bordered on cruel of her to expect him to do it; to the point it made me angry almost. She was testing him for some reason and I saw no point in it whatsoever. But because he loves her and wants to please her, he goes along with it. And I just found it degrading and vile and not at all romantic.

We are never actually told why Eric committed the attack. We know that the person who attacked him was his sister’s ex-boyfriend. We can kind of guess, but it never comes out exactly. I thought this was a major point that was dropped and it shouldn’t have been. I mean the hero was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison. The reader wants to know why. But he won’t tell Annie as he figures it’s his sister’s story. And since we don’t get in his head at all, we don’t know.

And last, now this was an odd one for me *laughing* there was too much sex. Now I love a good love scene but I confess I started to drone out and skim and kind of wishing for more interaction between Eric and Annie on a less, shall we say, physical nature.

So overall I liked this book, loved Eric, liked Annie for the most part except for the one scene, but was disappointed that I didn’t love it. It would have been so easy.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Monday, July 28, 2014

Very Happy to say - Recent Reads


I was beyond thrilled when I heard Carolyn Crane won a RITA on Saturday night, probably not as excited as Carolyn, but thrilled nonetheless.  You see, she is a trailblazer.  She self-published her winning novel, Off the Edge.  This so goes with my last post.  She by-passed the big publishers thus making her books very accessible and reasonably priced for ereader readers.  Because of that I’ve read the first two books in The Associate series and got the third one within minutes once I heard it was out.

I really hope with this win for Carolyn Crane other authors follow suit.  While I want good authors to make top dollar, I hope they do make good money by self-publishing and I am VERY HAPPY to do my part to spread the word on what excellent books these ones are.  I read them a while ago and posted my review on Good Read – when I was locked out here.  So here we go!
 
 
Against the Dark (The Associates, #1)Against the Dark by Carolyn Crane

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Steam Level: Oh yeah

My Thoughts: I wish they had half stars here 'cause then I would give this one 4 1/2 stars. I save the five stars for books that will stay with me for years or ones that I have to reread right away - again and again.

But this one is very, very, very good. It's unusual and I love unusual. First off, our hero, Cole, is a self-declared nerd. He wears glasses and is heavily into logistics though I'm not quite sure what that is but he solves puzzles with vey few pieces. Though he thinks of himself as a nerd, he has definite un-nerd like tendencies. He is a member of a very shadowy organization called the Association which tracks down the bad guys. In this story he is undercover as a guard to areal sadistic monster. He need to get some documents that are locked up in a safe.

This is where Angel, our heroine comes in. She is a former member of a group of girl jewel thieves. She is the expert on cracking safes. Through a series of events, Cole tracks her down and blackmails her into helping him.

I LOVED both Cole and Angel. They are both fascinating well developed and well written characters. The sparks between them leap off the page. They are clearly perfect for each other. And the book is a perfect blend of romance and suspence. I inhaled the book and lucky, lucky me, I have the next one in the series uploaded and ready to read. This one gets a very well deserved thumbs up.lp

Grade: 4.5 out of 5



Off the Edge (The Associates, #2)Off the Edge by Carolyn Crane

Genre: Romantic Suspense 

Steam Level: Another oh, yeah

My Thoughts: I am so glad I came across these books. I love all genres of romance books, can't decide which is my fave, but I do so love romantic suspense when written well and Carolyn Crane writes vey well indeed.

This is the second book in the series and I sure hope she has more up her sleeve. Peter MacMillan is a member of a shadowy organization called the Associates. They go deep undercover to route out the bad guys. Macmillan as he prefers to be called is a wonderful mix of nerdy alphaness. He is a linguistic genius who wears glasses but also can withstand torture. (I don't know exactly what they did to him, something to do with brass knuckles and doing terrible things to his feet. I read that part with my eyes closed). He is looking for the villain who is selling a top secret weapon in Bangkok and he will be able to tell who this mysterious arms dealer is just by listening to him speak.


Laney Lancaster is working as a lounge singer in the hotel where the auction for the weapon is being held. She is in hiding from her vicious ex husband who she helped send to prison. Even from prison he has people looking for her and she is terrified she will be discovered and dragged back into a life of abuse. She writes her own songs and has the ability, through music to paint vivid pictures with her lyrics.


Macmillan hears her singing, and being the linguistic expert he is, is drawn into her music where he very reluctantly begins to feel again, something he hasn't done since his family were all killed in a bombing years before.


Their worlds intertwine and they have language as well as attraction as a strong pull between them as they begin to work together.

I loved the deliciousness of Macmillan. While much of his explanations into the world of language went over my head; he could go deep into the explanation of a single sentence, it was fascinating reading it. He was a vey well written and well rounded character.

Laney I found a wee bit more problematic. I really liked her, but I found her a bit too trusting of the wrong people for too long. It was obvious that there was something off about them but she refused to see it. Though considering her situation I did understand her need to trust someone, even if she did trust a bit wrongly. She was terrified of being found. As I said it was just a wee issue in an otherwise wonderfully written Romantic Suspense novel. While it seems many like this one better than the first one, Against the Dark, I think I like the first one just a tiny bit more. They are both great reads though and I anticipate more in this series, fingers crossed.

Bottom line, I highly recommend Off the Edge.

Grade: 4.5 out of %

Friday, July 25, 2014



 

I think I’ve said before – oh so long ago now since I took a lengthy sabbatical – that my reading life has been turned upside down over the past couple of years. I was a hold out to ereading, being one of those who said they loved holding a book too much, purchasing eBooks was too complicated, I like book covers – well some of them, etc. etc. But I bowed to the electronic age and purchased a Kobo. It was OK but I still read more print books than eBooks on the Kobo. Then I got an IPad and that is when my reading life was forever changed.
 
  •  The books had covers. Coloured covers. And if it’s a naked guy cover, no one knows.

  • I could get books either through Kindle, Kobo or IBook’s which means I can do comparison shopping for the best price.

  • It’s backlit so I can read at night without lights. If the hydro goes out, I can still read. I was listening to Coast to Coast AM this morning before getting up – a fascinating, yet at times chilling show it is and they were saying we are due for a huge solar flare that will knock out electricity all over the world. I may not be able to cook or get money out of the bank or call anybody or get gas or any number of other terrifying things that will result (see – scary show) but I WILL be able to read

  •  I can carry hundreds and I do mean hundreds of books around with me at all times

  •  If a book starts to bore me, or it’s so ramped up for one reason or another and I need a break, I can easily switch to one of many jewel games.

  • I can adjust the size of the font; the later in the day, the more tired my eyes get. Can’t find my reading glasses? Simply increase font

  •  I can do a real quick look up if I’m reading a good book and want to know if there are more. I don’t have to put the book down and go to the computer

  • Buying a new book, in my pajamas, at 3:30 in the morning if I can’t sleep

  • Investigating a book; checking Good Reads, Amazon, that kind of thing The pros of having an IPad and reading on it are limitless. Probably a good 97% of the books I read are now eBooks.

And this has rocked my reading world. So, if this is the case for me, it must be the case for some many others – SO - I can’t understand how the big publishers can charge MORE for an ebook than for print. Yes I’ve read a few articles technically on why they do this; behind the times, trying to stick it to Amazon, other reasons. But I only care about ME and other readers. And I care about AUTHORS. We are both losers. For the most part I don’t read the same books I did a few years ago, even last year. I’ve stopped reading so many authors I’ve loved in the past and it hurts that I don’t.

But I WILL NOT CAVE to corporate greed and bickering because on huge corporate greed might be making more than the other. And in that battle, in my little corner, Amazon is coming out so far ahead. Because I don’t pay stupid prices, most of the books I’m reading these days are from authors I’d never heard of even a few months ago. The prices are SO much lower and even better; I am really liking many of them. A lot.

While I was blocked out of the blog and after the mojo started coming back, I started posting reviews to Good Reads. I have quite a few now of Amazon Digital books and just a very few of the big publisher books. I would have done them here – but, well, I was locked out of my own ‘home’. So all of this long winded post is just to say that in up-coming posts I will be focusing a lot on reviews by mostly epubbed authors I’ve enjoyed

‘til later

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Word of Advice

 
I can while away many an hour on Amazon, just browsing around; looking up authors backlists, checking out reviews, following other books which are recommended.  I was having fun this morning doing exactly this.  There was one author’s whose book popped up as recommended so I followed so see what I thought.  The synopsis of the book looked interesting so I thought to check out a few reviews.  I usually start at the one star ones because sometimes what bothers the reviewer might not bother me and one can be sure it’s not a ‘fan girl’.  When I did this, I saw the author had made a MAJOR FAIL.
 
Authors take note and DO NOT DO THIS.  This particular author had responded to the bad grades and when I read what she had written, I had an “oh no you didn’t” reaction.  The first reviewer didn’t say much in her review but did say she enjoyed the book.  The authors response?  She requested the reviewer change her grade!!!!!!  Seriously!!!!!  She wrote that!!!!!! 
 
The next low grade was even better – in a ‘boy is this a bad author thing to do’ way.  She accused the reviewer of being mean and as there were so many positive reviews, she didn’t understand why the reviewer would do this; she must be one of those people who got off on bringing other people down  AND THEN she requested that she not read or review any more of this authors work.  A huge WTF??  I read the review and I thought it was well written and the reviewer had been clear on why the book didn’t work.  She made no slight to the author personally.  So why the author had to do what she did is a complete mystery.  Of course there isn’t a chance I’ll try her now because she was so stupid in what she did.  They could be the greatest books in the world but her behavior made sure that this reader will never know.
 
I think many an author knows this, but for those who may not – not everyone is going to love your books.  I would say almost impossible that any writer will get universal high marks.  So instead of getting your knickers in a knot, accept this as an ‘it is what it is’ attitude.  Take something from bad review if possible.  In the case this morning, the negative had some issues the author could work on and try and improve instead of telling the reviewer not read her books anymore.  I can’t imagine a more absurd statement.  You don’t think that’s going to make its way around the wires?  It made it to me.  Because I like to ramble and my motto why say in 10 words what I can say in 100 I wrote more than needed.  So in 10 words
 
AUTHORS, DO NOT REPLY TO BAD REVIEWS OF YOUR BOOKS
 
‘til later

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Anatomy of a DNF


The following is the opinion of the post author only and does not reflect probably many different reviews. In fact, looking at other reviews on GoodReads and Amazon I’m in the minority

When I buy a book it is with the intention of if not loving it, at least liking it a lot, though sometimes not even the a lot applies.  But then there are the books we readers call the DNF which stands for Did Not Finish.  Not everyone has DNFs.  Some readers do finish every book they start, a philosophy I don't hold myself.  My reading life is littered with DNF'


 

At times it seems like every book I read I give high grades.  But that is not the case.  I’ve debated on doing this for a while and decided to go ahead.

 

The following is the opinion of this blogger only and does not reflect probably many different reviews.



When I buy a book it is with the intention of if not loving it, at least liking it a lot, though sometimes not even the a lot applies.  But then there are the books we readers call the DNF which stands for Did Not Finish.  Not everyone has DNFs.  Some readers do finish every book they start, a philosophy I don't hold myself.  My reading life is littered with DNF'.  There are any number of reasons why I DNF a book and the following is one of them.

Her Kind of Trouble by Sarah Mayberry.  Before I go further, I have to say I’m a big Sarah Mayberry fan.  I have all of her books and have quite enjoyed most of them, though a couple not as much as others.  But this is my first DNF book by this author.  Vivian Walker is the heroine and Seth Anderson the hero.  I didn’t like Vivian from the first page.  She is a wanna be fashion designer and when she passed her course, promised she would design a special dress for her sister.  And she didn’t.  She just didn’t have the mojo but instead of calling her sister and letting her know she just couldn’t find her designing muse, Viv ducked her sister calls until finally it was too late and rather than finding that special dress for that special day, her sister had to buy one off the rack.  When I think ‘What a thoughtless selfish bitch’ right off the bat, it’s not a good sign.  But I believe redemption is possible and I’ve loved her books in the past so I kept going.  Seth is the brother of Jodie, Viv’s sister’s fiancĂ©e.  They meet briefly at the rehearsal; they had never met before, and each think the other is hot.  Seth is a musician and as such is quite a tom cat on the prowl if you know what I mean.  They size each other up and there is an attraction.  Then the meet again at the wedding, have another brief conversation and then ‘hook up’ in a limo.  It was at this point that the author really began losing me.  They talk to each other maybe a total of half an hour before acting like dogs in heat. I have no problems with sex scenes and though I prefer the hero/heroine to have a good relationship developed before they get horizontal, I accept that is not always the case.  But after having two brief meetings they do this at their respective siblings wedding is IMO just plain trashy.

But still I continued on.  It’s now 10 years later and Viv has come back to Australia after years living in the US.  Seth has given up being a musician and is now a bar owner.  He’s also about to be father.  He’s 34 and his baby mama is 24.  Again, just ick, just ick.  She also seems to be a number of crayons short of a full box and any respect that I didn’t have for Seth anyway disappeared.  But the book totally lost me and if it were a paperback may have hit the wall, was when Seth questioned the wisdom of making Viv a guardian for his two nieces along with himself.  He didn’t think she was “mature” enough.

 

I disliked both of these characters already, but at this point they were both completely non-redeemable.  Even if they turned out to be the greatest hero and heroine in the world, I dislike them intensely.  And that abhorrence unfortunately is too deep.  I will still read her – I’ve enjoyed way too many not to – but this one is an indisputable

 

DNF

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Decisions, Decisions

Gack!!!!!  I have 8 books I just added to both my Kindle and my Kobo and I want to read them ALL!!  Right now.  Which to choose?  How to do it?

However , that choice is taken away as my iPad is only charged 40% and the flowers in my gardens little voices are being choked out by weeds.  Therefore this difficult decision will have to wait.

In other news, I've been doing a lot of reviews at GoodReads because I COULD get into them.  And with that handy feature I saw and longed to use, looks like I can copy and paste them into Ramblings.  So hold onto your hats.

And looking around, it seems I have a lot of updating to do here.  I still can't get the Internet working on my desktop, my laptop is pretty much toast and it will take much figuring to copy and paste stuff on the iPad, but hopefully, look for me to get into the 2014's.  Until then, it will kill me, but I'm pictureless

Well, time to pull those weeds out by their roots now that the rain has stopped.

'til later.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

O.M.G. Finally

Thumbs up to my roomie Wendy, Superlibrarian for guiding me through helping me back in here.  I've been trying off and on for months now.  When one forgets a password, that can thing very hard.

I've had so many things I've wanted to blog about but couldn't get in.

I'm sad, sad, sad that I can't make RWA this year but here in my little neck of the woods it's The Year of the House.  I have 8 years worth of wear and tear I'm having fixed all within a month or so period of time starting last week including:


  • New screen door
  • Ceiling checked for water leak (thankfully there wasn't any) BUT
  • Ceiling painted
  • Railing to basement fixed
  • New lock on back door
  • Various cupboards and drawers unstuck
  • New front porch step with railings
  • New backyard fence
  • New aluminum siding and last but biggest project
  • BRAND NEW BATHROOM!!
We are talking floor tile, toilet, shower stall to replace tub, new vanity & sink, totally new color.

While all this stuff really needs done, in an odd way a lot of it dates back to the broken leg.  The basement railing kept coming off so I was nervous going down those stairs. -  flashback time.  Even though I did have quite a hoot with my stoned on pain killer broke fibula/tibia, I don't really want to go through it again.  I had NO rail on the front porch so I stopped using it completely.  And since I much prefer showers to baths and was getting more and more freaked out stepping up and into the tub, a walk-in shower became more and more appealing.  And since I was getting a new shower and my Reno guy told me I needed a new toilet and I've hated the vanity for years, I decided to go for broke.

So with all that, the added expense to head to San Antonio was just too much.  But I will be thinking of all my peeps, wishing I was there with you all.

Well I've got my feet back in the blog water again so I'll end with my signature sign off for now.....

'til later and since I wrote my new password down this time I won't be gone as long.