Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005's Top Books

I don't think I've ever read a novel like this one. There was a lot of sex, a lot of language I didn't expect in a romance novel. The book was controversial (to say the least). AAR boards had threads dedicated to the book. A lot of readers didn't appreciate Valdez use of the C-word (among other things). Whatever...I didn't mind it because it fit the hot, sweaty and forbidden sex the lead characters were engaging in. The book is something that needs to be experienced. A review doesn't do it justice. All I can say is that I can't wait to see what else the author has in store. PASSION is the first of a quartet, after all AND the author's debut novel. Not bad!!!

This book introduced me to Elizabeth Boyle. Far superior than THIS RAKE OF MINE.

A lot of people don't like this book; I'm not exactly sure why. Personally, I loved seeing the heroine, a sudo-villian in previous books, fall in love before my eyes. The hero is dreamy and engaging. Loved it!

Excellent! I really enjoyed this one. A definite keeper!

I had never heard of Karen Ranney before this book (believe it or not). I thoroughly enjoyed this Cyrano-like novel. The sex scenes between the two characters were steamy!!!

I admit it...I love Lisa Kleypas, so I might be a little biased. I think she is one of the few Avon authors who is consistent in her writing. Not all of them are perfect but they definitely do not fall into Stephanie Laurens territory (i.e. BORING!!!). This book was the second in her Wallflower series; the first one, A SUMMER TO REMEMBER, lacked luster because of the obnoxious heroine in need of a maiming, but it was a lot better than most books out in circulation (by other authors, of course).

I love this new series by Sabrina Jeffries. The heroes were alpha, just as I like'em. Yummy!

I wanted a night with him, as well.

Loretta Chase's Mr. Impossible is quite possibly the BEST book of the lot. The characters were funny, intelligent and the Egyptian backdrop definitely made the story one I look forward to rereading again and again!

2005 was a year in which I purchased several books but didn't quite get to read them all. I focused, for the most part, on books published in earlier years. In 2006, I hope to read most of my TBR books. I will continue to buy but will definitely work on establishing some sort of book budget for myself, so I don't go berserk each time I enter a UBS or Barnes and Noble.

Happy 2006!!!

Northern California Rocks and Rolls

It's New Year's Eve and it won't stop raining. California is being hit by a major storm and it looks like some homes might seriously begin to rock and roll soon. I hope not, but California isn't exactly known for stable ground. Whether it's an earthquake or a mudslide, we're always guaranteed a bit of "excitement," if you want to call it that. I want it to stop already.

I don't mind being single (yes, this was a very abrupt change of topic)...I really don't. I like having my independence and I know that one day I will meet my hero, despite the fact that finding a good man has become harder than a game of Where's Waldo. I notice it mostly when I spend time with my parents. They're trying to understand how I could be single. How is that possible? Why am I single? Why have I not found anyone? Why don't I smile more often? Why aren't I nicer to men? Why? Why? Beat me! Why? Why? Beat me! Why? I know MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING was really a spin off of my life and it should have been called MY MEDDLING ITALIAN PARENTS!

I don't know why I'm still single. Every guy I've dated has been a douche bag to me and now I have become a bit more selective. I won't date anyone and I certainly would never sleep with just about anyone (as my mother, whose desperation has finally taken hold of her, suggested during the holidays). I don't discriminate...younger men, older men..fine! I don't care really. I'm not really that much into looks. Of course, I need to be attracted to my man physically but sense of humor and intelligence are far more important to me AND...well, I hate to say this but most of the men I've met lately are less than stellar in that department. The story here gets better.

Tonight, since most of my friends are scattered throughout the country, with most of them in NY and the others in LA or newly married (and you know those could very well be in Zimbabwe for all you see'em), I decided to spend a nice, quiet New Year's Eve home with my family. I just wanted to relax, watch a good movie, maybe even read a good book. My plans were shattered when my folks told me they were invited to spend the evening at their friends' house. I thought...OK, FINE. I'LL JUST SPEND THE EVENING AT HOME AND DO WHAT I WAS PLANNING ON DOING ANYWAY. Well, no...doesn't work that way in Italian families apparently because they now insist (i.e. demand through emotional blackmail) I come with them because they don't want me to be home alone. It would take a few blog pages to fully detail why I now feel obligated to join them in an evening which will be FUN for them but TORTURE for me. My mother, who is now going through her "change of life," freaks out over the most insignificant things. When I insisted I was going to stay home and just "chill out," she flipped and said I was ruining her life. Yeah...we women have a lot to look forward to when we hit a certain age. My challenge for this new year is finding a place to travel to next year this time. Believe you me, single or coupled, I won't be spending it here being tortured by well meaning, yet meddling parents.

On a bright note, I figured out how to work the blog sidebar. Special thanks to Kristie from the awesome RAMBLINGS ON ROMANCE for helping me out with this one. She suggested reading Nicole's BLOG HAPPY. I have a long way to go with figuring out the ins and outs of blogging, but I'm getting there.

I'm reading FORBIDDEN MAGIC and I can already tell it's going to be incredible. I couldn't stop laughing yesterday when I started it. The hero is so funny and, damn, so sexy! I wish I were the heroine!


I need help with sidebars! Every blog I read has book covers posted on the side. How do I do that? Blogger is no help! Please help!!!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Throw the Girl a Condom

Life's too short to spend it reading a horrendous romance novel. I normally force myself to finish a book, even a bad one, because 'til the end I believe the author's going to surprise me with some clever twist or breathtaking declaration of love. Tonight I wasn't feeling so kind and stopped reading before I broke out in hives.

It was mentioned that I read a lot of Avon, despite the fact that I hate them so much. True...true..I do...I can't help it because, deep down, I enjoy many of their authors' past works and I always hope I'll be rewarded in the future. However, I decided to distance myself from Avon for a bit and I picked up a book I purchased about a year ago at the local Walmart. I should have just stopped myself right there and watched JERSEY GIRL starring Jami Gertz instead. The book? TEMPORARY MISTRESS by Susan Johnson.

The book is essentially about an heiress who, at the death of her grandfather, finds herself forced to marry her fat cousin Harold; she escapes the clutches of her greedy relatives and finds herself on the doorstep of a splendid mansion which turns out to be one of London's infamous brothels. The heroine spills her guts to the madam and soon a plan is concocted by the two. THE ONLY THING THAT WILL SPARE HER A MARRIAGE TO HER COUSIN AND EXTREME UNHAPPINESS IS RUIN! Yep, the heroine's got to lose her virginity and be publicly shamed in order for her relatives to steer clear from her. I honestly didn't get how this would work, but whatever. The heroine and madam soon pick the Earl of Bathurst, our hero, to help with such a task. Tough job!

The book's premise, believe it or not, really struck me as having potential. I really thought I would be given more insight into the characters' thought process...oh, and a plot...yes, I thought Susan Johnson would give me a plot also. No such luck!!! The heroine went from virgin to slut in no time and even spied the hero getting a blow job from a whore. After the deflowering (which was really boring, by the way), there's the predictable separation. The wonderful hero then proceeds to have sex with every woman in sight. PIG!!! The guy must have been taking VIAGRA or was nuts! The Earl's "talents" were too much to bear.

For my own sanity, I had to put it away after about 135 pages or so. I almost wanted to save the heroine from this perverted nymphomaniac and toss her a few condoms (cause you know they didn't use any). I seriously saw them both expiring from the "French pox" or some other sexually transmitted disease. And the more I thought about how many women he had been with, the more my imagination ran wild. I soon began having flashbacks of college microbiology and the images of herpes, syphillis and all the other yummy STDs.

Sorry, this book is disgusting AND the characters are complete morons. The hero has no sense of loyalty to the heroine. I don't see this being a realistic depiction of love. We had a man soooooooo in love with a woman that he decides to sleep with everything in sight? I'm sorry but if that's love...well, I want none of it.

If you want a good sex-filled book, with plenty of romance and true love, read PASSION by Lisa Valdez.

If you want to be turned off love and sex for life, be my guest and read TEMPORARY MISTRESS. I look forward to trading it in for another book at my UBS tomorrow. Believe me, I would love to throw it in the garbage and spare another soul, but I really need the book money.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Not too long ago, I had the displeasure of reading THE LORD NEXT DOOR by Gayle Callen. It was my first Callen book; the premise was inviting and I thought I would enjoy it. I had heard from a friend that Callen was a pretty good writer. Several book review sites confirmed this. However, after reading the aforementioned, I was seriously beginning to believe that, like Calvin Coolridge, my friend and the reviewers from ALL ABOUT ROMANCE were smoking some serious crack when they recommended this author.

Having finished my second Callen book (I had to give her another chance, in the event THE LORD was merely a fluke), I am pleased to say that I will not throw the towel in on Callen just yet. HIS BRIDE is a book that will quite possibly remain on my keeper list for some time. The love story is poignant and sexy. The hero, Sir Edmund Blackwell, is a hard working, no nonsense type of man who's been hurt in life but does not drown himself in self-misery, like some romance heroes (Jered from UPON A WICKED TIME..douce bag!). The heroine is strong, warm, passionate and very very aggressive, despite her innocence. The aggressive virgin act was endearing. It didn't irritate the crap out of the reader. I totally identified with her. Here we had a girl who desperately wanted to consummate her marriage; she's attracted beyond belief to her husband and he's...well, he's sleeping in another room because he's afraid to trust her because he thinks she's being used to ruin him (read the story; this actually makes sense and I might think the same thing, if I were the hero). She literally throws herself at him at a certain point and it's BELIEVABLE, REALISTIC, especially at a time when women couldn't just say FUCK YOU, IF YOU WON'T DO ME, YOUR LOSS. I'LL FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL.

The book held no whining, no hurtful behavior at the hands of the hero, all plot lines that tend to irritate the reader rather than captivate them. The story focused exclusively on the growing relationship of the two main characters and what characters they were. WOW! What a concept! I highly recommend this book. If one wants to start reading Callen, please please please begin with HIS BRIDE, an A!

Re-reads are next on my list: SUDDENLY YOU by Lisa Kleypas and A SUMMER TO REMEMBER by Mary Balogh.

Monday, December 26, 2005

2006 in Books

2 Little Lies - Liz Carlyle
Don't Look Down - Suzanne Enoch
The Lion's Daughter - Loretta Chase

Pride and Petticoats - Shana Galen
Lady of Sin - Madeline Hunter
Never Seduce a Scoundrel - Sabrina Jeffries
In the Thrill of the Night - Candice Hern

Three Little Secrets - Liz Carlyle
Lord Perfect - Loretta Chase
Her Master and Commander - Karen Hawkins
Devil in Winter - Lisa Kleypas
Portrait of a Lover - Julianne MacLean

Promise Me Forever - Lorraine Heath
His Wicked Kiss - Gaelen Foley
The Taming of the Duke - Eloisa James
Angel in My Bed - Melody Thomas
The Bachelor Trap - Elizabeth Thorton

Duke of Scandal - Adele Ashworth
What to Wear to a Seduction - Sari Robins (maybe...I find the premise intriguing)

She's No Princess - Laura Lee Guhrke
Her Officer and Gentleman - Karen Hawkins
Patience - Lisa Valdez

The Duke in Disguise - Gayle Callen (only UBS or library)
On the Way to the Wedding - Julia Quinn (I hate the title!!!)
Be Mine Tonight - Kathryn Smith

Simply Love - Mary Balogh
Never a Lady - Jacquie D'Alessandro
Lady Rogue - Suzanne Enoch
Only a Duke Will Do - Sabrina Jeffries
From London with Love - Jenna Petersen
Just One of Those Flings - Candice Hern
Patience - Lisa Valdez (author of Passion)
His Mistress by Morning - Elizabeth Boyle


The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell - Samantha James

Scandal in Spring - Lisa Kleypas


Primrose - Lisa Valdez

Books I still need to get from 2005 - Jenna Petersen's SCANDALOUS and Enoch's AN INVITATION TO SIN (which, to be honest, I almost don't want to get because I hated SIN AND SENSIBILITY so much).

Jealous Heroes

I'm on a mission. I must find a book with a jealous hero...someone who initially rejects his woman but then wants her back and flips out when he sees her being romanced by another, whom she is seriously considering marrying (obviously not because she loves this other dude, but because she has to marry someone). I often run across many books in which the heroine approaches the hero's mistress or ex-mistress or whatever, but I don't think I've ever read a book in which the hero goes all RAMBO on his love's would be (in his mind) lover. I need help!

I'm currently reading Gayle Callen's HIS BRIDE, which is a lot better so far than her recent THE LORD NEXT DOOR (do yourself a favor and don't read it, please!). So far I'm reading a very BEEN THERE DONE THAT plot line, but I won't give up on it because it seems to have potential AND, despite all my whining about online reviews sometimes giving me the shaft with their ARE THEY KIDDING ME? reviews, All About Romance gave it a good score. Supposedly the story is very character driven and the author focuses on the relationship between the lead characters. Yes, imagine that! No mysteries, spies and irksome subplots! What a concept!

The book is AVON, so anything's possible.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Ok...I know it's Christmas and I should probably put aside my distaste for AVON, BUT I can't. I have to point out my theory as to why D'Alessandro's RED ROSES MEAN LOVE was an A+ and her later novel WHO WILL TAKE THIS MAN? was a total stinker, an F-, if that's at all possible. I can sum it up with one word: AVON. RED ROSES was published by Dell and WHO WILL TAKE THIS MAN? is D'Alessandro's first book with AVON. Coincidence? I think not. AVON promotes the existence of mentally challenged heroines in romance novels! Those who don't adhere to their standards, the "rebel authors" (e.g. Lisa Kleypas), end up getting punished by having their books postponed (yes, I'm still irked about DEVIL IN WINTER! SO?), among other things! I anticipate the days of an author whistleblowing their asses!!! Ok, perhaps I'm going overboard here. I'm just trying to understand why authors tend to deteriorate once they hit AVON (again with the exception of Kleypas and Julia Quinn to a certain extent).

Kathryn Caskie has just signed on with AVON. Let's just hope she remains strong and doesn't fall victim to the AVON Talent Vacuum!

It's Christmas and...

my family is all downstairs playing cards (I'm horrible at that, to be honest) and I'm up here trying to decide what book to read. I brought over a bunch of books and I have no clue whatsoever what to read. I want to finish THE KITE RUNNER, but I'm in the mood for a naughty book, so that one's just gonna have to wait. I recently finished reading UPON A WICKED TIME by Karen Ranney. Oh, God...OMG...I hated it! I couldn't get over how much I wanted to beat the shit out of the book's "hero" (term seriously being used lightly) Jered. WHAT A FUCKING DOUCHE BAG!!! The heroine had some definite balls on her (more than the hero, I might add) for a great part of the book, but then at the end of the book she just forgives him for ever shitty (sorry for the poor vocabulary, but I am not only recovering from Christmas food coma, but I'm also very angry I spent a few hours reading this SHIT hoping it would get good!) thing he's every done to her and, believe you me, he did a lot. I mean, would anyone with a brain ever forgive a guy who:

1) took her to some sex club and then fucked her against some serious STD tainted wall?
2) kissed his whore of a mistress in front of her over and over and over again?
3) dumps her the night AFTER he pops her cherry in his home in the country with a bunch of strangers AND goes off to London to hang out with sluts and idiot buddies?

Yeah, most intelligent women would answer NO to that question, but Tessa, the heroine, after displaying a good set of cajones throughout much of the book, forgives him and makes love to him JUST LIKE THAT!!! MORON! I would not recommend this book to anyone; it's was something that, after a while, started resembling an episode of the Maury Povich Show.

In any case, now I'm trying to decide on a book. It's down to Gayle Callen's HIS BRIDE or a reread of Kleypas' SUDDENLY YOU. Choosing the latter would probably be a smart decision. I've read SUDDENLY and love the book; on the other hand, after Callen's THE LORD NEAR DOOR which put me to sleep, I really want to give this author a chance to redeem herself. I'm leaning towards Callen's book.

Let's hope the book's not as bad as Ranney's.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to all who read my blog. It's been a crazy year. I end this year with no love in my life, but I am not worried. I know HE will show up on my doorstep one day. It's hard during the holidays, as I get older, to not have someone in my life. I love my family, but I think I've reached a point where I want my own...does that make any sense? In the meantime, my exes are all getting married or engaged...all douche bags who probably deserve to be alone for the rest of their lives. And I? Well, I'm still looking for that special someone (I keep getting asked out by men I have no interest in; I say NO...what's the point?). I've been called picky and perhaps I am, but I've learned in life that it's ok to have high standards, especially when you're dealing with a little something called love and so...with the new year about to hit, I can only hope and pray for the love I read about in romance novels. I know he won't be perfect; I'm not either. Where is he? When will I meet him? These thoughts sound almost childish but I can't help but think them. Again, this year I ask, "WHERE'S MY HERO?"

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What Would You Do?

What would you do if you met a sexy studly intelligent rich funny witty amazing considerate compassionate loving affectionate man who loved you desperately and wanted to marry you, despite you being the most fucked up person in the world?

Would you:

a) reject him; tell him you don't love him, even though you do;
b) try to get him to marry someone you deem more suitable to him (even though again you are madly in love with him);
c) marry him on the spot and live happily ever after;
d) both a and b.

Well, if you're Meredith Chilton-Grizdale, the heroine from Jacquie D'Alessandro's WHO WILL TAKE THIS MAN?, you will choose d.

Now, let me tell you all something..I hated this woman. HATED HATED and HATED her; I couldn't for the life of me understand why the hero loved her; she was irritating beyond belief and I honestly wanted him at one point to tell her to fuck off.
The hero, on the other hand, Phillip, was a dream come incredibly sensual...a true gentleman and maybe that was the problem. The heroine needed a true beating. Eventually she saw the light and accepted him but it took a while. She had to admit her feelings at a certain point and I've noticed that D'Alessandro's characters tend to be somewhat honest with one another about that sort of thing, but...argh! It was so frustrating to read this woman's inner thoughts; her self-esteem or lack thereof was unnerving.

I won't let this book stop me from reading other books by this author. I was warned by other reviews that this book was a frustrating one, but I had to read it. It's the first in a series! In any case, I'm glad it's over and I'm looking forward to the next one: LOVE AND THE SINGLE HEIRESS. I hear it's pretty good. Wish me luck!

BTW: Today I'm not annoyed with Avon; I've been too busy at work (on my lunch break right now) to even let them get to me.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Currently Reading...

I really got into Jacquie D'Alessandro books after reading RED ROSES MEAN LOVE. WHO WILL TAKE THIS MAN? is the first in a series of friends and siblings. I like the book so far...not quite done. I love that her characters don't hide their feelings from one another. It's refreshing...and yes, it's an AVON book. I can't seem to help buying Avon authors' books, despite my hatred for the publishing company. I may find the tactics used by Avon deplorable, but I can't help but fall in love with the characters its authors least, not the ones they created before Avon got greedy, stopped editing and started postponing their books (I know it doesn't make sense to me either).

I Can't Wait Til These Books Are Out!!!

I didn't care much for the last MacLean book, LOVE ACCORDING TO LILY. The love story was overshadowed by a good case of the hero's hypocondria and the heroine's serious need of a slap in the face. However, I was intrigued by Annabelle and Magnus, so I'm eager to read their story. I only hope MacLean doesn't fuck it up like she did the last.

Yes, me like very much! I've enjoyed most of Loretta Chase's books. The only one that disappointed me was MISS WONDERFUL and I'll just blame that one on brain fever having affected Chase's writing abilities at the time. MR. IMPOSSIBLE, Book 2 of her new Carsington brothers' series, was a masterpiece. Funny beyond belief! The characters exuded sex appeal and animal magnetism all around. Now, the 3rd book in the series awaits us in March. I can't wait!!!

A book I have been looking everywhere for and it's now being republished. Miracles do happen! I've very eager to read this prequel to LORD OF SCOUNDRELS. Very eager, as a matter of fact. Glad my Chase collection will be complete. Coming out in January, it is a well deserved, albeit late, Christmas gift.

Galen's second Avon book is one I've been looking forward to reading since I finished the first in her series WHEN DASHING MET DANGER. PRIDE's hero is introduced in that book as a dandy of the first order, a complete fop, but appearances can be deceiving. Find out why...I cannot wait for it.

Ok...I still haven't read the first book in Carlyle's new series. I hear it's really bad...really bad, but one never knows...a few reviewers hated DEVIL TO PAY and I loved it, so anything's possible. Of course, being the Carlyle fanatic I am, this book is just an auto-buy for me. I just hope the title isn't merely a hint at the quality of the novel.

I've read an excerpt for this book and it sounds good...not great...just...well...good! Gulp! However, since it is the first book to the eagerly anticipated ONLY A DUKE WILL DO featuring Simon and Louisa from Jeffries PRINCE series (really you just have to read this one...very good!), I have to buy it.

I think the two hot bodies on the cover say it looks hot! I'm getting palpitations just looking at the hero's, oh, my...the book covers the love story of Tom and Lauren, who have been mentioned in nearly every Heath book, but have always been relegated to Wallflower status, despite the heavy potential for romance glory. Finally (THANK GOD), Heath has penned a book for these two lovers. Heath is generally an excellent writer. However, her last book, A MATTER OF TEMPTATION, left a lot to be desired. To put it bluntly, IT SUCKED!!! I have a feeling this one won't. Just a hunch! Fans have waited too long for Tom and Lauren's story. Lorraine Heath will not want to disappoint and Avon? Well, let's just say they wouldn't want to incite their fans to violence by approving for publication a piece of shit, especially since they're still fuming over the postponement of Kleypas' DEVIL IN WINTER, due in March!

Saturday, December 10, 2005


I think I mentioned in a previous post that I HATED Elizabeth Boyle's THIS RAKE OF MINE. Well, AAR agrees with me. Check out the review:

To Buy or Not to Buy

This book sounds good...really good. I've never read Eloisa James before, but I am intrigued...definitely intrigued. A friend told me she's an incredible author and I should give her a shot. I want to. I'm going to hold off on buying the book full price because 1) I hate Avon and am sick of them swindling fans with their deplorable tactics, and 2) I'm broke. This is the second book in a series about 4 sisters (which Avon will drag out for a few years), so I'm going to have to buy the first book. I think it's called MUCH ADO ABOUT YOU or something like that.

Again, another series book. Book 2, to be exact AND, yet again, surprisingly, it's another AVON book (they sure love the cash cow series books have become). I hated the first book in Enoch's series, SIN AND SENSIBILITY. Again, HATED IT!!! It was boring; the hero was a moron and the heroine...argh! I honestly think she was mentally challenged. I hope the 2nd book is better than the first (I can't imagine it being worse, but Avon authors are always full of surprises). I love Suzanne Enoch books, so you can imagine how I felt when I read her last book and realized that she might have become another victim of the Avon curse (bad editing, asinine plot, no character development, etc). I really hope AN INVITATION TO SIN is a winner; I haven't read too many kudos on the Avon board as of late, so it's possible it sucks and no one's willing to say it outright. In any case, I'm not paying the full price for the reasons already given above AND because I don't want to spend more than $7 on book I'll only skim through.

This is a new author for me. I own a few of her books; however, they're all sitting in my TBR pile, so I don't quite know if she's the one for me. The book has received good reviews. I have been tempted, despite the precarious state of my December finances (Christmas and bills are killing me this month), to buy the book but each time I get the itch, I remember Callen's THE LORD NEXT DOOR (see past posts). Hmmm...something to think about.

Any advice???

The Sexiest Couple

I'm still trying to figure out ways to post books covers; it's frustrating because I always get an x or some error message. I don't understand how the other bloggers do it. I follow the directions given. In any case, here is the couple I picture whenever I read a romance novel. They're the characters from Stephanie Laurens' (AVON AUTHOR GONE BAD) Scandal's Bride, a surprisely good book. Enjoy!