Don’t give up on me….

I haven’t abandoned my blog, I just have no internet yet. Right now I’m pirating a very weak signal from someone in the neighborhood’s unprotected wireless network. Tsk tsk- you should always password protect your network. I can’t get it often- just when it’s dark and cloudy LOL.

We are moved into the new house. Not unpacked, just moved. There seems to be an endless amount of boxes and things to fix-up and repair around the house. Complete one job and three more come to light.

Brianna is doing wonderfully and loves the new house. We’ve converted the sunroom into a playroom for her so she has one baby-safe place to play. And she is now the proud owner of 5 teeth with a sixth on the way.

Internet hook-up on Friday barring anymore unforseen complications (the last was due to the sheer laziness and stupidity of my ex-husband- long story told later!)

I miss my blog- I miss the world of blogging. I’ve gotten some reading done that I’ll share when I’m back for good. Cheers!

Condoms are a must in my book(s)

KarenS had a post on her blog about condom usage in books. This is a bit of a must for me and I have some rather emphatic feelings on the matter, so rather than clutter up her comments with what was turning into a rather long, ranty explanation, I decided to move it to my own blog.

First, let me start by saying that when I speak of condom usage in books, I’m speaking only to contemporaries because they are the books that I am supposed to willingly suspend my disbelief in and believe that it could possibly happen in today’s world.

I am very adamant about the use of condoms in contemporaries. I’m so adament that I was reading a book the other day and the hero/heroine have sex and they’re getting to the point of penetration and I actually thought- “if they don’t use a condom, I’m going to chuck this friggin book in the trash” Thankfully, they used a condom. I’ve gone on several rants about this on the EC loop. There are not many things that will cause me to heave a book to the wall, but lack of responsibility is one them.

Often, in reviews and readers opinions of books, you’ll here about how they hated the heroine because she was TSTL. They say that no woman would go down into the dark basement, without a weapon (or a flashlight) when she knows damn well a serial killer is after her ass. Putting herself in danger because the emotion of the moment overwhelms her- despite all warnings not to do something, she does it anyway.

Now, you have a contemporary, a usually intelligent heroine who, we’ll assume, has not lived in a glass bubble all her life. So she is fully aware of the prevelance of HIV/AIDS, chlamydia, and any other number of diseases which are potentially fatal. So she meets this guy, doesn’t know him too well but has unprotected sex. THAT is too stupid too live. Knowlingly and willfully putting her health and her life at risk because she was carried away by the moment? Nu-uh. I want a heroine who’s smarter and savvier than that.

I know someone out there is asking to themselves, “what about the hero’s role in this, shouldn’t he be just as concerned?” Absolutly, but in general, romances are written from the heroine’s POV so it’s her head that I, as the reader am in. I have noticed that authors usually have the hero stopping, without being prodded (excuse the pun) by the heroine and donning ‘body armor’. Now THAT is truly heroic. Caring enough about himself and her to stop and protect them both- whether from disease, death, or a pregnancy that their relationship certainly isn’t ready for. But if the hero doesn’t stop, I would consider a heroine a truly kick-ass, admirable character if she stops him and demands he suit up or ship out.

There’s another component to this besides the character of the…err… characters. Romance readers as a group are demanding romance novels that are smarter, more accurate (whether in historical, geographical, or timeline details), and that they can point to as books that are truly great. They are demanding books with a certain level of social responsibility. Like it or not, readers do learn and absorb details from the books they read. Right, wrong, or indifferent, authors have a role of teacher when they put ‘facts’ in a book. The audience for a romance novel is varied from age, class, education level, and culture and every book carries the ability to teach and impart certain truths that the reader might not consciously realize but will subconsciously understand and absorb. And I believe that if romance authors are going to demand respect for their craft, they need to keep in mind that social responsibility. And that includes having their characters use condoms.

To be read pile? What to be read pile?

Well, as much as I miss my laptop, I have to admit that not having it has done wonderous things for my reading time. In the past week, I’ve read a stack of books. I’ve read half as many books in the past week as I did in the previous 5 months of this year. Did that makes sense? In the past week I’ve read around ten books. In the five months prior I’d read around 20. Wow huh? I figured I’d better take the chance to at least do a quick blog about each book before I forgot what I’ve been reading. Here we go:

Full Pursuit by Jasmine Cresswell and Final Justice by Jasmine Cresswell – read for Keishon’s TBR challenge and getting their own blog entry!

Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter- I ordered this book from Buy.com and was fairly excited to read it. In fact, I read it the day my order arrived. I have to give the author props for an original plot/storyline. The book tells the story of Mia, an alien huntress, who is trying to save her partner’s life and catch an alien serial killer who has been killing dark-haired, dark-eyed men. It was a fun read, different, and had enough plot twists to keep it interesting. The romance aspect, while at first had me wondering how the author would pull it off, was believable.

I would recommend it to fans of paranormal romance. And make sure you read the dedication and see if you pick up the typo which is worthy of a good laugh and reason enough to at least open the book!

Grade: B

Beyond the Pale by Savannah Russe – this book held so much promise for me. Another vampire book with a really interesting cover blurb. I also ordered this one from Buy.com and started to read it after I finished Awaken Me Darkly. I got…maybe 10 pages in. I might have given it 15. And was not at all interested in the story, the plot, the characters or what was going to happen next. So I skipped to the end and read the last two chapters after choosing pages at random to see if they would catch my interest. No such luck. And the last chapters didn’t do much for me either. I found the author’s characterization to be flat, unappealing, and frankly boring. This is the first book in what is obviously meant to be a series and I’ll be passing on the rest.

The most interesting part of this book? The cover blurb.

Grade: DNF

Her Kind of Trouble by Evelyn Vaughn (Silhouette Bombshell)- the second in the Grailkeepers books, following AKA Goddess. I actually liked this book better even than I did the first. It’s got a very Tomb Raider/Lara Croftish feel to it (and I’d be very surprised if I’m the first to make that comparison). This sequel is heavier on the romance than the first and provides some resolution to the questions left dangling in AKA Goddess. I’d recommend these two books for anyone new to the Silhouette Bombshell line who’s a fan of kickass action heroines.

Definitly worth tracking down on ebay or at the UBS. Read them in order though or you’ll be slightly lost.

Grade: B+

Baby Laughs by Jenny McCarthy – I didn’t read her first book, Belly Laughs, which was her humerous take on being pregnant. But when I saw this one in the bookstore at 40% off, I decided to give it a try. I thought it was just okay. I credit her with being brutally honest about what it was like for her to be a new mom, and there were definitly some funny parts, but I found it to be almost too simply written and rather choppy. And there were a few times that she handed out some misinformation about baby rearing that made me a little unhappy because they were just wrong. But I will say that I was grateful to read a couple of things- 1) if Jenny McCarthy can feel ugly and unhappy with her body image after having a baby then, by God, it’s got to be okay for me to feel the same way. 2) TMI WARNING! I thought I was an abnormal freak for having difficulty getting back into the swing of having a sex life and being able to orgasm but YAYYY, I guess not. Looks like Jenny had some of the same issues I had.

So, the book was mildly entertaining but not worth dishing out the money for a hardcover copy. Buy used.

Grade: C+

Come Up and See Me Sometime by Lucy Monroe – I got this book free at RT so it’s been sitting in my TBR pile for several months. I have to admit, I was curious because her previous book, a chick lit The Real Deal inspired passionate feelings in readers- of either love or hate. I never picked that one up but, hey, this one was a freebie so why not?

This book put me in mind of the early Jayne Ann Krentz books, especially the ones she wrote under the psuedonym of Stephanie James. If you’re at all a fan you’ll know what I’m talking about. Arrogant, assertive, bossy, driven, dangerous, predatory take-what-he-wants uber-alpha hero. And a heroine who is (not) a virgin (but with only one sexual encounter, might as well be). He wants her from the start even though he thinks she’s a bad person of some sort. And then he realizes she’s just to good and innocent to have done what he thought she did. So he pursues her, gets her, claims her as his. And then something happens and he believes she’s bad again. And he treats her like crap. Has to grovel to win her love back. You get it, right?

This is the type of book that at one time in my reading career I would have LOVED. I am all about an alpha male. And one who has to grovel? Yum! I love me a good grovel. Or should I say I luuuurvvvee a good grovel? But this hero, in this book? Asshole. Okay, maybe I’m being harsh but I’m telling you right now, I’d of kneecapped this guy and kept on walking without a stutter-step. And the grovel was PATHETIC. Pathetic I tell you. He needed to do way more groveling and apologizing to be at all redeemable.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the book wasn’t horrible and at one time I might have loved this book. I guess my tastes have changed. And I think I’ll avoid re-reading some of my favorite JAK’s so as not to ruin my special fondness for them.

Pick up this book if you’re avidly re-reading those old JAK’s and the re-releases of her category novles written as Stephanie James. This will probably fill that taste for you.

Grade: C

Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan – the first in what is intended to be a trilogy focusing on the same couple and their romance, I completely enjoyed this book. I haven’t heard a lot of hype about it, but I saw it on Amazon when I was surfing for new books, and added it to my Buy.Com order. This was probably the best book that I recieved in that order, surprisingly, since it was the one I had heard least about. This is the story of the beginning of the romance between Lara (the Warprize) and the Warlord who claims her (giving away his name would be a small spoiler and I’m not going to do that here). It’s a fantasy romance that is reminiscent to me in some ways of a medieval historical, taking on shades of Julie Garwood at times with the heroine being a healer despite being a Daughter of the Blood (aka royalty) and is much beloved by the people (of course). Self-sacrificing and putting the needs of others before herself, with a half-brother who is cast as the villain from the start. I’m really laying it out in simplistic terms, but like I said, I thought the book was good and the development of the relationship between heroine and hero plausible. The books ends satisfactorily while still leaving plenty of room for the next two books.

I give Tor Publishing props for being one of the publishers to really work with markenting trends and publish books that satisfy the readers demands for something different.

I’m putting this book on my keeper shelf, I can see myself re-reading it in the future, and I was desperate enough to research when the next book would be released. All I discovered is some time in 2006 and from her blog (which she has a grand total of three posts on) that her deadline for book two was actually today!

Grade: A

Flirting With Danger by Suzanne Enoch – I have never read anything by Suzanne Enoch although I do know she writes historicals. But Sarah mentioned this book on Smart Bitches and I was curious enough to look it up on Amazon and then get it on ebay. I’m glad I did. This is the author’s first foray into contemporary and she started with a romantic suspense. From reading the author interview at the back, it appears she was inspired by watching an old classic film, To Catch a Thief (Cary Grant, yumm!!) only, in this book, the cat burglar is the heroine and our hero is a British billionare. I can see a lot of people finding the romance between the two of them implausible but I found the story to be creative and fun, without making me roll my eyes (which my husband tells me I do with some frequency). While the mystery in the book is wrapped up and some questions about their relationship are answered, the author doesn’t attempt to convince the readers that this is it, happily ever after for the couple. Nope, seems she too has a sequal planned, Playing With Fire. Release date unknown but also much anticipated!

If you liked To Catch a Thief, you enjoy a light-hearted romantic suspense (no deep, dark secrets or angst in this book) and are looking for a good beach read, this is worth a try!

Grade: A

Also read: Two Ellora’s Cave books as yet unreleased so I can’t talk about them 😉

Which actually, counting, brings my total up to 11 books in the past week. Yes, in the past seven days I’ve read 11 books. Holy Crap.

My recommendations? For romantic suspense, Flirting with Danger was entertaining and amusing. And from Tor Publishing, Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan for a good paranormal/fantasy romance.

Most disappointing read and to avoid: Beyond the Pale by Savannah Russe

One interesting thing that I did note. Of the 8 romances that I listed above (leaving out Baby Laughs since it’s non-fiction), 4 were written in the first person (Warprize, Beyond the Pale, Awaken Me Darkly, and Her Kind of Trouble). It used to be that finding romances- and often popular fiction of any kind- written in the first person was rare. It seems to be becoming a popular and more widely used POV. I have to admit, I used to thoroughly dislike first person POV but changed my mind several years ago, somewhere along the time I started reading Janet Evanovich and Laurell K. Hamilton. I now enjoy a strong author voice who can write in first person. The books written in that POV seem to be the ones I enjoy most.

I’ve started: The Good, The Bad, and The Undead by Kim Harrison. This was an impulse buy at the RT bookfair. I was not a fan of the first book, Dead Witch Walking and didn’t recommend it to anyone. But, I was curious so I picked it up. I’m not reading it all at once, the story hasn’t grabbed me like that, but am reading it in between other books.

Also started: The Forever Kiss by Angela Knight. Picked it up, read a few pages, put it down. This is another that I picked up at RT, a freebie. I’ll probably come back to it but wasn’t in the mood right now. I think vampire books aren’t doing it for me lately. I’ve read a handful (Sunshine, Minion, Beyond the Pale, Dead as a Doornail, and If Angels Burn) besides this one and the Kim Harrison book and only two- Dead as a Doornail and If Angels Burn have been great. The others were just- meh.

So now, I’m in the process of trying to get into the Elizabeth Lowell’s Color of Death. Don’t tell me I’m hitting a reading slump already?

Quick! Get me to Detox!!

It’s official. I’m a blogging addict. It’s been hard for me to spend more than 5 minutes at a time at the computer since I sent my laptop away (sniff, sniff). It’s been great on my reading because I can lay on the living room floor with the baby and read. But I miss blogging. How much do I miss blogging? I’ve actually HAND-WRITTEN three blog entries. So, while you all think I haven’t had a new blog entry since Friday, I have in fact, had three 😉 Okay, so you can’t see them and it probably is more like journaling than blogging, but I got the ideas down and will be typing them in. Just as soon as I have time. Sometime after Brianna turns 18, I expect.

So, yeah, I’ve been reading and it’s a good thing, working on my TBR pile, because half of my Buy.com book order came in today along with two books I won on ebay. Add to that the hook-up I’m getting on the book swap group that Sybil and KristieJ started and I desperately needed to read some of those TBR books. And I even plan to blog about them. Soon…err…really soon.

Oh- and to the person who gave me a chuckle by finding my blog by searching “mommy sexy bottoms”, thanks and I’ll bet my blog is sooo not what you were looking for. I will tell you though- I am a mommy, my husband thinks I’m sexy- and that my bottom is sexy, thank goodness.

And to the people who keep googling my username (angieW)- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- you’re not going to find anything shocking. But if you do, let me know, maybe I could write a book about it.

It’s a done deal!

Yep, Josh and I are finally home owners. After several months of stress and dealing with a dishonest, horrible realtor, we have finally signed the papers and the house is ours. Too bad I can’t have the satisfaction of knowing I never have to see that woman again (the realtor) since she’s best friends with our next door neighbor and lives on the street behind us. But I can have the satisfaction of steering all friends far away from her!!

No blood was shed this week between Josh and I, although it was a near thing a time or two. I had my shovel sista, Mandy, on standby 🙂 Hopefully we can get moved and not be at each other’s throats quite so much.

The big move takes place next weekend so the next week is reserved for packing. Bummer.

On top of that, I’m sending my laptop in for repair- although we do still have the desktop, it’s not as convenient to use while keeping track of a 7 month old. So I’ll be largely offline the next few weeks. So, if my blog entries are less than frequent, don’t give up on me! I’ll be back!!

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