Monday, December 29, 2008

Recent reads

So, I've gone insane and decided to spend to help stimulate the economy with what little pin money I have and read as much as I could.

Sadly, this time, the bunch of books I've read did not really suit my taste. Great writing. Interesting plots and some rather authentic, but I just didn't really click with any of it.


Flower of the Storm by Laura Kinsale
I keep hearing great stuff about her so I looked it up. The blurb looked incredibly interesting and I got it.
Very authentic, great writing techniques. Interesting plot.
Completely not my style.
It was kind of hard finishing it. The heroine irritated me to no end. The hero was great some times and an ass at other times. I am heroine-centric. So, sorry, this didn't work for me. A few times I kept asking myself if I was being shown things or being told and I couldn't quite be sure of one or the other. This happened during a love scene. Which had me pausing in the middle of reading it (at least twice, I think) to ponder it.
The style was to reminiscent of school days and I had trouble being drawn in.
I was kind of saddened by this. I really wanted to like it.



Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale
Another Laura Kinsale. I bought it the same time I bought the previous book. I liked the heroine even less in this one despite her quirkiness and uniqueness. The hero had his good moments and had a lot of moments where I was rather "bleh" about.
Again, same problems as previous book.
I really really wanted to like this book. It sounded so interesting and so different. But I kind of got bored with the dramatics and such. Is it bad of me? Probably. I am not one for drama these days.
It was well written and thoroughly believable at times.
I just couldn't get fully into it. There's a whole amnesia bit at the end where I thought it was completely unnecessary and I felt gave me complete moments of disbelief.
Otherwise, a well written book that was just not for me. Again, I don't think I'm going to be reading that controversial one. I'm not emotionally invested enough. I am sad about this.


What a Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden
I thought this would be a rather lighthearted book.
It wasn't.
I liked the hero well enough. I liked the heroine okay. I liked the secondary characters too. Somehow, though, it didn't seem to all fit together so well.
I don't know why. The writing is okay.
The plot, well, the very end had that minor twist where I just didn't really care for and felt kind of thrown in there.
Something felt missing at times and other times, my mind just started wandering.
It's probably just me. It seemed like a good book.
Interesting plot. A bit different.
Maybe I'm on historical overload.
I know what I am on overload from. Widows. I've read so many widows in stories I'm actually getting a little tired of just seeing it in the back blurb. It actually pisses me off even more when they don't write in the back that she's a widow and "slowly" reveal it halfway in the book. Not here in this particular one, but in a few others. What's wrong with coming out and saying she's a widow? Why is it such a mystery? Or the hero doesn't find out until later on and it's supposed to be so important? I don't get it and frankly, I'm tired of this plot.


A Rake's Guide to Seduction by Carline Linden
Same as above. I thought it would be a funny happy book.
I'm still not quite sure if it was or was not meant to be as such.
A part of it just felt contrived.
Some, I don't even think necessary.
The worst part, at the end, I felt like I was reading an altered/abbreviated version of the previous book.
I feel bad, but I ended up skimming a lot more than I should.
Again, this is all me and I'm just not clicking.
Really love the hero and heroine, but somehow, the story just did not come together for me.
I don't think I'm going to get the third, which makes me sad.





How to Abduct a Highland Lord by Karen Hawkins
This author has always been a bit of a hit or miss of me in most cases. In this case, it was a miss. Of course, one should be suspicious of authors calling themselves goddesses, or gods gift to readers, or something like that. Not really a jab at this particular author, but she does call herself a goddess. I could have read it wrong, but I don't think so.
I swear I feel like I'm on a "want to like it, but really don't" streak and it's incredibly painful.
I wanted to chuck something at the hero every other page.
I wanted to hug the heroine and tell her to cry...or at least chuck something at the hero every other page.
According to the author, this is supposed to be a really funny book. She's big on humor and such.
At times I would read a page and rather than laugh, I'd think "oh, I think this is supposed to be funny." Other times, I did laugh. But mostly at the secondary characters.
So, given I know this was a possibility with this author, I'm probably going to look into the other books and give it a shot. I should have jus ttried the library before purchasing first.

~~~


Yeah, I never return books unless it was damaged during shipping.
Which happened.
Just last week.
Books came in.
Half were ruined.
Completely ruined.
Books.
Books I wanted to read.
This was not a good start.
On the bright side, you can look forward to these books at the next SoCal Bloggers event.
Unless someone wants it now.
I can send it out. :)
Still, I am a happy girl.
I have tons of books waiting for me AND everyone remembered how much I've been a book obsessed psycho,
I got a few Borders gift cards.
Whoopee! I am going on a shopping spree very very soon.
Ehehehehehehe.
In the meantime, I hope all of you had a wonderful X-Mas/Winter holiday.
Filled with rest, fun, and family.
Cards.
Presents.
And especially good memories. :)
P.S. Kinda been out of the blog loop. Family came to visit. Tons of craziness. Minor dating. And work blehs. New Year is coming up and I'm deciding if I should have a resolution. Like, stop putting life savings into books and don't run away to Scotland for sheep.
So, what's everyone planning for New Years?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It is

X-Mas eve and what am I doing?
Sitting in my room with my dog reading romance novels
(which shows what an enormous dork I am).
These books are not clicking with me,
not all at.
I'm slightly upset.
Want good books.
Give me good books!
Is that so much to ask for? A good set of quality reading?
Bahumbag.
Only one thing left to do:
Read more books,
and watch a movie or two.
Maybe Futurama.
Or my gift to myself of The Dark Knight.
Hehehehe.
A happy holidays to all my friends,
and to all a wonderful night.
Eh, I'm so lame sometimes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

book cover

My most anticipated book for 2009. I want it now. Need it. Need it like a flower needs water. July won't come fast enough. What a pretty pretty cover. So very pretty. I shall hug it to my tiny bosoms as I did Hostage to Pleasure. Oh yes, I never posted that photo. Well...we'll just have to wait until next year. Booookkksssss....

Monday, December 22, 2008

I've kind of been in hiding again

I've kind of been in hiding again. RL sucks.

Work is blah. I don't understand why people prefer long winded half lies to the realities of things. Instead, they tell me I need to be realistic. Yeah, makes so much sense. *rolls eyes*

The ceiling was being redone a few weeks back and everything was a mess (I have pictures somewhere). I ended up staying with my Grandparents for a few days along with the two puppies. Then, there was the carpet cleaning. I'm still trying to sort through the boxes to see where my books are.

Moving out is being delayed. Money. What can I say? Need it to survive. Economy is really bad and I'm still worried about my job. Booh.

I started dating again. It's sweet, but I cannot help this ominous feeling that my life is going to be over. So, I've been fighting the urge to pack my belongs, withdrawal my puny life savings and run off to Scotland. Why Scotland? I have no clue. It must be all the sheep talk. Hehehe.

In the meantime, I really need to stop reading so much. Apparently, having the local librarians recognize me on sight was not enough. Now, the local Borders employees know who I am, too. Not good.

Recent reads:

Kiss of the Highlander by KarenMarie Moning
It's a good book. Sadly, I didn't realize it was already 5 books in, but oh well.
Now I've back ordered the rest and need to read those too. I must say, I'm enjoying this quite a lot. I don't know if it was the author's intention, but I find it rather hilarious.
That's always a plus.
Don't know why, but I really want to read happy stuff lately.
It deters me from trying to run away from life.
Hmmm...Drustan.
Gwen's smart and funny. I like.


The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning.
The one right after the previous. Again, did not know I was in mid series.
Also very interesting. A tad darker than the Kiss of a Highlander, but I enjoyed it just as much.
Although, I'm kind of worrying that maybe the rumors that too much romance novels destroy love lives with impossible expectations could be true in my case.
Or I just don't want to settle down and marry and want to run away.
Borders has it for $4.99 right now. :D



Lie to Me by Starr Ambrose
Okay, I saw a great review on Nath's blog and I was curious enough to get it on a whim. It's hilarious and adorable. Somewhat realistic, but somehow maintain this light-hearted feel. The sex scenes are not the hot stuff and rather short, but somehow, the writer made it very sweet.
I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

Tempted by the Night by Elizabeth Boyle
Invisible smex. Yes, KB, thank you. With that description, I just had to see what was going on.

It's actually another fun book overall, except for one scene with the dog. That made me a bit sad. Otherwise, I do recommend this to others for a bit of crazy impossible fun. Not too much angst, but just enough to drive the story forward.
I do love how the hero doesn't know the 'true' heroine's looks or name until towards the end. Kind of like the fantasy of caring for someone without caring about their looks. Although, they kinda just went at it rather than get to know each other first. heh.



Scandal by Amanda Quick
I've actually only read the author's Jayne Ann Krentz and they were always the more serious suspense, but I saw on Mrs. Giggles that it was keeper. So, again, buying books on a whim is sometimes a good thing.
This was actually a rather light-hearted book too! I really enjoyed the heroine. Of course, being from Asian decent, I did scoff and giggle at a few things in the novel concerning the hero's Asian influence. I do love reading how my view of Asian culture seems to differ from the norm sometimes.
You know who writes rather close to my view? Emma Holly. And she doesn't even use the Asian culture in the usual sense.


Riding Temptation by Jaci Burton
So I rarely win anything and this was no exception, but all the praising got me to go to the bookstore. I was thinking of buying Riding Wild, but I only had one coupon.
It was good. I rather enjoyed this although I am really tempted to count the number of times a certain word.




These two books, again, on a whim. Not bad. Enjoyed it well enough and will probably read the third, but I had trouble connecting with the characters. Some moments of scoff and disbelief, but all in good fun.









Sunday, December 21, 2008

UF randomness

From last week (CJ, I basically copied and paste from your text cuz it's much better than anything I can writer) " [t]here is a really interesting discussion/brewhaha on Urban Fantasy and paranormal romance touched off by this article by Lilith Saintcrow on Pat's Fantasy Hotlist and continued elsewhere, such as Book Smugglers and Babbling about Books."

This is going to be mostly rambling so feel free to skip. It's also filled with generalization and randomness:

Okay, what is it about literary people that enjoys splitting hairs, creating hierarchies, and trying to create these categorial boundaries? These ideas of more legit or acceptable types of books. Rules and edicts.


Why should anyone be ashamed or feel less qualified by writing or reading a certain genre? I just find it incredibly disheartening that it occurs even more harshly among specific groups.


Social pressure to fit into this ideology of some sexualized sexless martyr that's aggressive yet passive. Get a grip. Being the exact opposite is only painting oneself into a corner.


Dude, I read. Do you? I read romance. I read newspaper/articles. I literary and scientific journals (the latter for work). Philosophy. History. Social commentaries. Theories. And yes, let me repeat. I read Romance.


Maybe I'm missing the whole point. I have no problems with UF. Heck, you're looking at a long time comic book, sci fi/fantasy reader who used to dress up to convention (no, there are no photo proof ;p). What I do have a problem with is the fact people downplay the importance of something (or some one) in order to elevate another.


Lilith Saintcrow's post itself was merely a personal view about a very specific aspect. She is entitled to her opinion and so are those commentors.


My opinion is that there will be more and more genres as well as subgenres as more writers develop their craft. If you cannot be united in the fact we all love reading and writing, then we will always be divided and looked down upon. Romance readers/writers are often seen as a lesser group, a minority if you will. While we're stepping on each other to elevate a little of one subgenre above another, it's only a detriment to us all as we're all seen as readers of 'those books.' No one wins. No one is seen as more legit. Just bickering and division.


Romance isn't trash. Trash is just something and individual doesn't know what to do with. Recycle your trash. Read a romance. Read one of each subgenre. :D

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Italian Gourmet-Baby-Food Baron’s Ironically Pregnant Virgin Mistress

A little late, but:
If you haven't heard already, then you really must be living in a cave somewhere deep in the crevis of the ocean floor.
Those whom I proudly claim aquantence and friendship with (whether they want to or not) have created another wonderful series... He needed children for an advertising campaign. . .
All Cesar Machismo wants is to ensure the bambinos of the world experience the flavor explosion of his company’s newest baby-food, Thai Shrimp in Peanut Dressing. But when he goes to an orphanage looking for a new spokes-baby, he finds twins with eyes the color of pureed Cornish game hens. Mama Mia! He must take them home!
What he got was a ready-made family!
Content with her lot in life, Chastity Bliss slaves for her stepmother at the orphanage. This way she stays with her babies, though she can never acknowledge them. When Cesar adopts her twins, she follows as their nanny. What can she do? She has no choice, because though he doesn’t know it . . .
Cesar is their father!
Go read at:
December 15th - Carolyn Jean posts chapter 1
December 16th - Ann Aguirre posts chapter 2
December 17th - Tumperkin posts chapter 3
December 18th - Bettie Sharpe posts chapter 4
December 19th - Carrie Lofty posts chapter 5
December 20th - Meljean Brook posts chapter 6
December 21st - Kate Rothwell posts chapter 7
December 22nd - Lorelie Brown posts chapter 8
December 23rd - Dionne Galace posts all 8 chapters
You'll be glad you did. ^_____^

Friday, December 12, 2008

Quick update

Happy Friday everyone!

Just checking in really quickly. Things are kind of hectic right now, but soon. I have much to update. Books. So many books, although I'm also hitting a bit of a slump. Hopefully, this weekend will give me some free time.

Can't believe it's the holidays already. Where did the time go? How did this happen? Eh, screw it. At least the books I'm waiting for will be released.

How's everyone doing lately?

P.S. What happens when my secondary characters start stealing the scene?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bookworm Award

Ms. Nalini Singh tagged me with the Bookworm Award, how could I resist? ^_~ Thank you, Ms. Nalini!

Here's how it works: Open the book closest to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence, as well as two to five sentences following there.

He kisses me. It is a deeper kiss than what I gave him, and I am taken off guard by the slow heat of it, the pleasure. I am unfamiliar with intimcay, but my body responds as though born to it. I rise up against the Minotaur, clutching his back.

Tagged to play this:
Amy
Ana from Booksmugglers (I felt if I added Thea too, that would be cheating, like getting a two for one deal. >_<)
Carolyn Jean
Katie G
Katie Reus

Edit: Someone *coughCJcough* was wondering about what clip this came from. It's actually one of the stories in an anthology (I know, I know, I'm not big on them usually).

Minotaur in Stone by Marjorie M. Liu in Hotter Than Hell. This was the short story that inspired my little clay figure.

There are a few interesting stories in there, but this was one of my favorite. What's even more facinating, you never learn the heroine/narrator's name. Nor the Minotaurs real name. And, crazy enough, it had 3 sex scenes. I was rather shocked to see that in such a short amount of pages.

One of the other stories I really enjoyed was To Die For by Keri Arthur. That one had 2 scenes.

I seriously have no idea how authors do it. I'm having hard enough of a problem trying attempt at sexual tension in my stories.

Hope everyone's doing well. :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Revisiting old friends with new twist

With the eHarlequin December special(they were half off, how in heavens was I supposed to resist?!?!!), I decided to surge a little and plunge right back into ebooks Harlequin/Silhouette again (thought I'd quit both these nasty habits, too). So, taking a leave of my senses, I went insane and bought these:

* Forbidden: The Billionaire's Virgin Princess
* Housekeeper to the Millionaire
* Hired: The Sheikh's Secretary Mistress
* The Rancher's Rules
* In Bed with Her Italian Boss
* Accidental Mistress
* Public Scandal, Private Mistress
* King of the Desert, Captive Bride
* The Spaniard's Defiant Virgin
* The Italian's Rags-to-Riches Wife
* Scions: Revelation
* The Boss's Christmas Proposal
* The Greek's Forced Bride
* The Ruthless Magnate's Virgin Mistress
* Bought for the Sicilian Billionaire's Bed
* Ruthless Billionaire, Inexperienced Mistress
* Virgin for the Billionaire's Taking


(Italicized=read)
...and realized why I stopped. Brain sugar. Not the good kind. Did I used to suck these in like candy? Really? Some of them weren't too bad, so far, Jane Porter (always good, but Presents are too short) and Robyn Donald (new author for me) had plots more intense and interesting. Lucy Monroe's were very slice-of-life romances. But what I really noticed was the smex...as in, it's really tame. When did this became tame to me? What have I been reading that these intimate scenes were like...I don't know, simple PDA rather than "get a room." And, shockingly, I wanted to see some "get a room." O_o

Then, I became concerned with all these unbalance power relationships where the h/h were in a working relationship. All I can think when reading certain 'risque' scenes was lawsuit and felt like a complete prude. I don't like boss/employee relationships; at least not the ones portrayed here. One particular book actually disturbed me quite a lot where I really couldn't see how they would live happily together.

Now that I'm halfway through, I realized I should have bought more...especially Silhouette Desires and Harlequin Blaze. Too bad for me.

I'll just have to be content with going insane at Borders every other day after work. Hehehe.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

after a minor lurk mode

To make things easier, I've input easy read bold words. You can skim to what you want to read. ^____^ Yes, I think I'm getting brattier too.

Thanksgiving- I hope everyone had a wonderful time eating, resting, sleeping, or working. What am I thankful for. Lots of things; food, books...um...food. ^_~ Nah, I have lots I'm very happy for and especially being able to meet all of you. I have no idea why any of you would consider me a friend given that I'm really really odd and weird, but I'm extremely happy for your friendship. One day, I'm sure that badge of annoyance certificate shall be used and given to me by you, so here it is. ^_~

(angry little girls are really cute)

Recent reads:

I read Only With Your Love by Lisa Kleypas. It was Ciaralira's fault, but I liked it well enough. A bit old style (obviously), but it was good. Hmm...pirates. Not my usual thing though.

My friend lent me Densha Otoko/Train Man. Based on an actual event where the author basically compressed and reproduced the actual forum postings.

A geek seeks help from his online friends and learned to grow into a confident individual in his first relationship. It's pretty sweet and although perverse (as all men are and incredibly more so there, but obviousle cleaned up in the book version), this a great look at the new wave of the techno/internet revolution and interconnectiveness of the current global connection. Or in short, internet can be helpful too. Not the crazy bad kind, but the genuinely sincere and kind people all being connected through the global net.


Yes, A Mermaid's Kiss. I decided to see what all the mermaid physiology discussion was about and I must say, this is rather interesting. A bit long and parts where I wouldn't have minded being cut, but other times, very well placed information injections. Great retelling of a story and very interesting world concept.

Overall, my feelings are conflicted. Not about the mermaid part, but the writing/style. It's both refreshing, yet...something feels off. I've reread this book countless times and I cannot pinpoint it. Eventually, I'll write a review, but in the meantime, I'm really looking forward to the next book, A Witch's Beauty(want it now). Again, given my hesitancy about this book, the next would either be really good, or follow with the current trend. Besides, I have several things figured out already and I can sort of guess the possibilities. Then...it'll fall back to my current predicament. We'll see.

~~~

The Simpsons Movie.

I'm always behind on things since I never followed trends. The problem with going at your own pace is to be behind in almost everything. Nonetheless, this was a great movie. Border sales hurrah. :D Now I have the songs of Spider Pig in my head. Doomed Irish romances, but not so doomed this time. And missing the old days of more hardcore aspects of The Simpsons.

Seriously, I'm still singing the Spider Pig song in my head. LOL. It is a sweet and well done film based on the series. Some underlying themes, some dramatic moments and lots of comedy. Definitely enjoyed this more than I thought I would. :)

Things weren't all relaxation and fun. My dog was sick over the break. At one point, at night, she would leap off into my boxes and piles of books only to crash onto the floor in an attempt to go downstairs and out into the yard. Usually, she just nudges me. She's all better now, but it certainly freaked me out. She did it three separate times with me throughout the evening. Again several times during the next day. Mom, Sis and I had to take turns shoving meds down her throat. Literally because she kept spitting it out. My poor baby was so exhausted she slept through an entire day. No worries though, she's all better now. :)

NaNoWriMo.

I did not reach the goal. I didn't even reach my own goal and have hit the biggest block ever. Still going to try to finish the story and am very happy I participated. I've learned so much already, especially about my writing skills, techniques and to realize how much more effort I need to put into writing. Daydreaming is great and easy; writing is gruesome and hard, but all the more fun. I really look forward to learning even more as I continue this horrid attempt at a story as well as future attempts to write random crazy stories.

Big shout out to KB for your endless support and emails. :) I know I was getting whiny and crazy. That darn sheep. O_o
Any suggested reading for inspiration? I need to talk with my muses.

Bitter, me?

No way.

Okay, maybe slightly. All right, I'm incredibly bitter at times. Only at certain times.

My friend informed me that I don't let go of things, then said my attempts at moving on were merely trying to forget.

So I have over 20 years of pent up anger, injustice, and outright bitterness. I don't hold grudges. I really don't. I'm not the vengeful type anymore than I would talk crap about bad things. I happen to say things as I see them. Yes, truth hurts and not many want to hear them, but I do try to live to my principles. It's getting harder though. As I'm getting older, I've begun to realize how hypocritical this society is; all the double standards, the injustices, and outright prejudice. It takes me longer to deal with certain things, yes, but in most cases, I rarely get effected that much. How to put it? It's really hard to get on my bad side, you actually have to be working extremely hard to get there, but given how it's so hard to enter my 'bad list,' it must have been some severe crap in my eyes.

Yes, other people deal with the same things. A lot of people have had to deal with worse. I'm just trying the best way I can. Of course, when I asked around on a) am I extremely bitter and b) how should I deal with it- people answer yes and don't know.

Hmm...this seems to be making me more bitter now. Dang. Talk about reverse effect. >_<


Random musings:
Trying to move out during a recession is hard, but not impossible.
A work in progress.
Worried about keeping my job and maintaining an income.
Should be fine with my puny savings.

Reading slumps suck.
Want to read something innovative, interesting and uplifting.
And romance.
Can't seem to stop from being so picky though.

I love Border, but they are usually full price and there are never enough coupons.
I'm hesitant to buy from Amazon.com given their current trend of problems and disrespect.
Barnes and Nobles are sometimes okay, other times...also problematic.
Love used, but need to support authors when possible.
Where to buy and save?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Realization hits

when you're partially down the toilet...


(My sister's baby. Isn't he adorable?)

My first NaNoWriMo and I've already learned a whole lot.

1. I'm great at imitating someone else's writing style, but have yet to discover my own. Back in the days of school papers, one learns rather quickly to adapt and write what teacher want to hear. It's less about 'learning,' and more about 'conforming.' Granted, I was luckily to have the handful of teachers and professors to encourage my own skills. Sadly, a few years of being beaten down by social expectations does tend to make one forget her own skills. The problem is; how do I relearn what I've forgotten?

2. Outlines are a lot different when you actually write from them. People can tell you all they want what should be on an outline, but only you will know what you need to be on the outline before you start. P.S. Need character descriptions.

3. Dictionaries and thesaurus. Need them. Carry them. Never let go.

4. Don't start with second person perspective only to realized it should have been in third person.

5. Everyone writes at their own pace, the important thing is to write. BUT, if stuck, grab a piece of paper and write something completely random. Or, better yet, write on how freakin much it sucks to be stuck in a runt and complain endlessly.

6. Wordcount envy is unavoidable despite being happy for friends. *sigh*

7. Write again next year. Or keep writing. :)