Friday, May 22, 2015

Survivor 30 and Courtney Milan Isn't For Me

These two subjects have nothing at all to do with one another.

But Trade Me by Courtney Milan came out awhile ago and everyone gushed about her great contemporary and I thought I need to try it. So I did. And I had to DNF it.

Courtney Milan's voice just doesn't work for me. Not in her historicals and not in her contemporary. I wanted it to. In fact I kept reading long past the moment I realized I disliked it trying so hard to find a reason to keep reading but no... Didn't like the characters, thought the plot was implausible and just cannot read her.

Taste is what taste is.

Speaking of taste: I've not kept my Survivor addiction a secret and last night (as of the writing of this) was the season finale and Jesus, Joseph and Mary was it something to watch.

To begin, this season has had some of the most unlikable players ever. Not villains, just plain unlikable people. I would have been happy if a monsoon had swept the island and ended the season early: everyone who was even slightly worth watching got voted out too soon and the miserable pissants stayed.

It was also a season full of some of the worst televised misogyny outside of C-Span. With Dan casually saying that someone should strike Shirin and shut her up, Will's tirade where he told Shirin that nobody in the world loved her or missed her (as well as everyone just watching the train wreck till Mike showed up and shut it down)... and the men's casual treatment of Sierra as a nothing in their alliance. Oh it was hard shit to watch.

So last night Dan said he would never have said that about Shirin if he knew her history with domestic violence and Jeff nailed him: domestic violence or not, that remark is and will always be wrong. And Will's half hearted apology which Shirin refused (bless her, fuck forgiveness when the person asking for it is just pandering).

Mike won the game (yay) by winning almost all of the challenges and just proving to be a better player than the others. Carolyn (Mama C) wasn't very nice and seeing the anger on her face when she discovered Shirin was invited to Season 31 and she wasn't, was a piece of televised chocolate (yeah, you were bitchy and false to your friends and you might have played a good game but you're not a good person).

And that gorgeous hunk, Joe, with his tight little man-bun is returning for another chance in Season 31 too so maybe life on the island will be better next time.

Here's hoping.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Il Divo: The Song That Won My Heart - Senza Catene or Unchained Melody

I had to post this; I think it's a better rendition than the CD recording. They would make great Romance heroes (and have ;-) )

The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

Gray doesn’t make friends with women. He has sex with them. Until Ivy.
The last thing star tight-end Gray Grayson wants to do is drive his agent’s daughter’s bubblegum pink car. But he needs the wheels and she’s studying abroad. Something he explains when she sends him an irate text to let him know exactly how much pain she’ll put him in if he crashes her beloved ride. Before he knows it, Ivy Mackenzie has become his best texting bud. But then Ivy comes home and everything goes haywire. Because the only thing Gray can think of is being with Ivy.

Ivy doesn’t have sex with friends. Especially not with a certain football player. No matter how hot he makes her…

Gray drives Ivy crazy. He’s irreverent, sex on a stick, and completely off limits. Because, Ivy has one golden rule: never get involved with one of her father’s clients. A rule that’s proving harder to keep now that Gray is doing his best to seduce her. Her best friend is fast becoming the most irresistible guy she’s ever met.

Which means Gray is going to have to use all his skills to win Ivy’s heart. Game on.


Have you ever read a book that's so  fucking good you can't stand it and then out of nowhere it becomes a completely different book?

The Friend Zone was that book for me.

Ivy and Gray are an awesome couple. They become best friends with an easy chemistry. Funny and brash, they're complete equals and delightful to read. I mean, I was in love with both of them by page 2. This was easily one of the best books I'd read this year, it was so delicious.

For possibly 70% of the book it was all fun and funny with heart felt sexual longing and good heat and believable. I freaking fracking loved it.

Then they became a couple. Maybe 70% in. It was awesome. Gray was the perfect hero and Ivy was a fun heroine and they loved each other and should be a HEA and life is good. If only the book ended there.

It didn't.

So we know that Gray's mother died of cancer. And Ivy's parents are divorced, but both successful. But none of that really matters except for understanding who these characters are. But then after everything they get together and in the last part of the book:

Grey's brother, hitherto unmentioned, shows up to fight with Gray. Unnecessarily.
Ivy has a lump on her breast and Gray freaks out.
Gray falls apart because his mother died from breast cancer.
Ivy doesn't have breast cancer, she's pregnant.
Gray wants to get married.
Ivy doesn't want to get married and doesn't know if she wants the baby.
Ivy decides to have the baby.
Gray plays an important game and Ivy miscarries during the game.
Gray is mad that the big game wasn't interupted so he could be with Ivy.
Gray's dad shows up for no reason whatsoever and disappears as quickly.
Ivy and Gray get over the miscarriage.
Ivy and Gray decide to get married.

It was like this perfectly wonderful book with amazing humor and heat that suddenly, so near the end, became a fucking soap opera. It was horrible. I was so pissed.

So my suggestion: read the book because it's wonderful. When Gray and Ivy become a couple, pretend the book says THE END and stop reading.

You'll thank me for it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Woo Hoo!

The Lady Julia series by Deanna Raybourn is going to be a movie!  (of some type)

"So, chickens, how much would you enjoy knowing that the producer of the Lady Julia series has been emailing me about CASTING? I can't say anything beyond this: he's a genius and his ideas are wonderful and I'm dizzy-happy. YOU WILL BE TOO!"

Love the books:

Can't wait for the movie! The first book, Silent in the Grave, has the best opening sentence(s) I've ever read: "To say I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor."

Oh yeah ... and off we go!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Some Thoughts

I'm reading Eloisa James' memoir Paris In Love which is a compilation of thoughts and Facebook posts during the year she lived in Paris. I followed her on Facebook that year and was entranced with her Paris writings but stopped following when she came back to the states and just became another Facebook author plugging her wares.

The book is lovely though but misses having an actual narrative. I love books about Americans adapting to foreign countries because I could never do it but I find it so terribly romantic.


This is Western Week in my little town of Honoka'a. We went to the kick off parade where we saw a lot of people on horseback.

The big part of the week is the block party on Friday. I plan to attend. Rumor has it that if one is a properly bad girl, one can get thrown into the hoosegow.

I have a goal now  :)


I haven't been writing in almost 8 months and have started slowly getting back to it. It's hard and exciting at the same time. The possibilities come flooding back and it's wonderful to exist in that place. But on the other hand there's a fear now that I just can't write anymore.


While sitting watching the western parade yesterday, my brother kept exclaiming how much he loved living in a small town.

I was at the dump the other morning (we have no trash service, or mail...) and a man got out of the car ahead of me and was possibly in his early 60s, shirtless, brown and gorgeous. I mean, body of a 30 year old and drool worthy.

I really love the small town too.


My daughter went on a school sponsored camping trip and one of the boys was trying to claim her as a girlfriend. She wasn't having any of it but there was satisfaction  in her that it happened.

Even if one doesn't want a certain fella's attention, doesn't mean you don't appreciate that someone wants to give you some.

On the other hand, she intends to make sure he knows she doesn't want his attention so I pity the young man.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow

A shy girl with no family, Maria knows she's lucky to have landed in the sewing room of the royal household. Before World War I casts its shadow, she catches the eye of the Prince of Wales, a glamorous and intense gentleman. But her life takes a far darker turn, and soon all she has left is a fantastical story about her time at Buckingham Palace.
Decades later, Caroline Meadows discovers a beautiful quilt in her mother's attic. When she can't figure out the meaning of the message embroidered into its lining, she embarks on a quest to reveal its mystery, a puzzle that only seems to grow more important to her own heart. As Caroline pieces together the secret history of the quilt, she comes closer and closer to the truth about Maria.

I read this book in a day because I was fascinated with Maria's story. An orphan who becomes an accomplished seamstress whose life is altered horribly when she catches the Prince's eye.

The story is told through two views: Maria recounting her story to a psych student on tape and then Caroline's story, who discovers the quilt Maria had made and goes on a journey to discover Maria's truth. And her own.

I'll say I didn't like the ending because it was too neatly tied up and false but I loved the book. Maria's story of her imprisonment  in a mental institution and the world's refusal to listen to her truths and dismiss them as fantasy... it was a great story. And knowing that there was historical truth in it, that women were hidden away when they were inconvenient.

The writing was good. The story with Caroline was more obvious and by the numbers. Not a romance at all and not a happy book, it was a good read and Maria's story was compelling.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

True Pretenses by Rose Lerner

I can't get the book cover to load so pretend you're looking at a picture here...

The blurb: 
Lively St. Lemeston Book 2
Never steal a heart unless you can afford to lose your own.
Through sheer force of will, Ash Cohen raised himself and his younger brother from the London slums to become the best of confidence men. He’s heartbroken to learn Rafe wants out of the life, but determined to grant his brother his wish.
It seems simple: find a lonely, wealthy woman. If he can get her to fall in love with Rafe, his brother will be set. There’s just one problem—Ash can’t take his eyes off her.
Heiress Lydia Reeve is immediately drawn to the kind, unassuming stranger who asks to tour her family’s portrait gallery. And if she married, she could use the money from her dowry for her philanthropic schemes. The attraction seems mutual and oh so serendipitous—until she realizes Ash is determined to matchmake for his younger brother.
When Lydia’s passionate kiss puts Rafe’s future at risk, Ash is forced to reveal a terrible family secret. Rafe disappears, and Lydia asks Ash to marry her instead. Leaving Ash to wonder—did he choose the perfect woman for his brother, or for himself?

What a fucking fantastic book!

Ash is a perfect hero with a horrific background, a con he's running and a heart as big as  an ocean. He thinks little of himself, mostly because of the secrets he carries, but he really is stalwart in many ways.

Lydia is a good heroine. She's mired in grief since her father died: she's a politician without politics, a hostess without a social life, an heiress without money. Her brother who she's hanging all her hopes on is secretly gay and quite miserable.And very, very good at running away.

So when Ash and Lydia spin into each other's orbits... it's beautiful.Ash wants Lydia for his brother, Lydia wants Ash and truly, Ash really does want Lydia for himself.

The best part of the book is that Ash and Lydia are both con men in their own rights and much of the cons they use involve honesty. So Ash slowly tells Lydia every truth about himself, Lydia slowly faces the truths of her own life and ambitions and a beautiful love story unfolds.

I liked everything about this book. There was such a huge vulnerability to Ash where he was a walking, gaping wound but still strong and so needing someone like Lydia to love him as she did. And Lydia was so strong and aware but capable of seeing her own faults and slights and becoming a better person.

One of the best books I've read this year. I can't recommend it highly enough.