Wednesday, 7 December 2011

I'm back! Although, technically I was never gone!?

You ever get that "oh crap, why do they let me out of the house feelin'?", I has that now, apparently I was the only one who was having the problem viewing my blog as it should be, so after clearing my cookies all is well.

But seriously - I get paid to work with computers - how did I not figure that out on my own???  Any way, it's back, so I'm happy.  It's been a crazy busy few week, what with work, Vinnie's and uni (I've got an assignment due Monday - procrastination anyone :D ), trying to organise things for Christmas and the biggest thing - trying to find a new house.  I'm moving, hopefully in the next couple of weeks, so it'll be bye bye family and hello Me, Myself and Sam!

The rest of the household is off to live out in the boonies in their new , already set up, Dan can now have horses house, which she is very excited about.  I think Holly & Rustyn are as well, there will be lots of animals to play with, so the kids are very excited.  I'm looking forward to living on my own, which at 32 years of age - I've never done!  It'll be a new adventure, I just wish I'd been good and saved my pennies so I could just buy a house now rather then renting.  But hindsight is a wonderful thing and it definitely won't help me none at this point in time.

So this Christmas I'll be moving a lot of crap, and by a lot I mean how in the hell can one person have so much stuff?  I swear, I'm one box away from an episode of Horders.  It's scary.  Crazy scary, I was sitting on my bed last night and got avalanched by boxes. 

Once I'm done moving (and after my school work of course), I'll be reading some Maya Banks I've been saving  and the latest Jill Shalvis  - I can't wait.  I also have a heap of DVD's that I've got recently, I'm still on my Tom Hardy bender, add to that mix, a healthy dose of Michael Fassbender, some Transporter and a large dash of period hotboys and my Christmas viewing is going to be toasty warm.  Time to get the magic bullet, limes and the vodka out, mama needs a cocktail!  But before all that where in Hell did I pack it???



So what is everyone else going to be reading/watching over the Christmas & New Years break???

C.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

How do I loath thee...let me count the ways...

Some asshat has decided to piggyback my blog address, since I'm not wonder woman when it comes to all things blog, I haven't been able to change this yet, but I have contacted blogger and hopefully my blog will be up and running as per normal shortly, sorry for the disruption guys.

C.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

What do you like to read?

Reader development - it sounds rather ominous I know.  But it's what I'm focused on at work at the moment.  I'm almost finished an online course (Frontline - Reader Development), which tries to focus on what readers want from their library opposed to what we give them and in turn - how we present it to them.  I've been doing lots of little displays, (which I should've taken photo's of), some of which have gone really well and a couple that have kinda tanked.

So what is it that you want from your library? Are you getting it from them?  Is it easy for you to find or do you have to go looking?  Do you know all the ins and outs of your library?

I know that as a reader, I can find my library lacking in some areas, a lot of the time we buy what we think our readers want, not what they actually want.  It can be hard to pick the right things, especially if you don't get feedback from patrons.  There are a select few patrons that know they can request items, but a lot of them aren't aware that it's a service we provide.  So that obsure love of Swedish poetry is not likely to be catered for - unless you ask for it.  But if you only read the latest 'best seller' we will no doubt have you covered.

As a staff member - I recommend books that I read to a few patrons, because I know they read the same thing.  The problem that I have is that for the most part, I buy my books, I don't get them through the library.  So I'm in a position where I will say: "XXXX author is awesome, you should definately try them!"  Then they're like: "Cool. Where are their books?" and I'm all: O.o - we don't got none. Sorry.

I, (along with another staff member who reads the same thing), have been trying to make extra effort to request the books that we read as well as buy our own copies.  And we're lucky that the genre we read the most, (romance - of all flavours), is popular and the books that we've requested so far, are getting lots of use.  I'm all for going that little bit extra, espcially when I know there are poeple who appreciate/will use it.

I guess the big thing I've learnt is if you want something from your library, you gotta ask - it's the only way to get it.  Otherwise, for the most part we'll keep buying crap that no one really reads - but hey, at least it looks pretty.  The other thing is that libraries need to think outside the box, we might not be charging you, but if we start thinking like retailers we're more likely to attract buyers (or in a libraries case - hirers!).

Something to ponder as we come to the end of another Hump Day, hope it's been fun for you.  I'm off to enjoy some poetry slam, until next time here's wishing you lovely things.

C.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Take the Cake by Sandra Wright

This review was originally published on the Australia Romance Readers Association blog.

Sometimes you just have to take life one cupcake at a time.  A story of delicious cupcakes and sweet, sweet romance. 

Kate Shannon is happy with the way things are. She has no love life to speak of, but what she does have is a successful cupcake shop in Greenwich Village. Michael Forrester has gone from enjoying the thrill of success to wallowing in the depths of despair. After writing a number of critically acclaimed novels, he has writer’s block.
What happens next is what you get when you combine friendship, cupcakes and good coffee with a substance called ‘the eternal breath’, all mixed up in a city like New York. Forget what you know about love, and Take the Cake.

What initially drew me to this book was all the cupcake action and the promise of a fun contemporary romance. Not only did Ms Wright deliver, but I got a great story, with lots of laughs and characters I enjoyed reading about. I loved the daily ritual of Wren’s quote fitting the girls’ moods and Kate’s matching cupcake. The banter between them and Emily, one of the other girls who works in the café, was well written and believable. I could see myself working there—Ms Wright captures the day to day well. Take the Cake reminded me of that perfect romantic comedy that we all love to watch. It was lots of fun to read. I also enjoyed the blossoming secondary romance between Wren and Michael’s friend David.

The build up between Kate and Michael was how I like to eat my cupcakes—in small bites, starting from the bottom and saving that tooth achingly sweet icing for last. Both were likeable characters and you wanted them to find their HEA. Overall, Take the Cake was lots of fun and well written, and I look forward to more by Sandra Wright. And for those cupcake aficionados out there, check out Sandra’s website—there are recipes for the cupcakes mentioned in the book.

C.

Weekly Hotboy - Inspirational Edition

I haven't done a Weekly Hotboy post for a while and I was chatting on Twitter today about hot boys providing inspiration.  So this post is for Rhian, may it inspire many, many words!!  I have the lovely Google Images to thank for all the salty goodness - enjoy - I know I am :)

Tom Hardy

Jensen Ackles 
 
 Charlie Hunnam
 
 Karl Urban

James Franco


C.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Sloppy Jones. Wonder cat, part time puppy & fearless defender of the 'hood.

Here's my girl, in her fave position, next to me in bed. I read, she sleeps.  It's a hard life, being a cat.
I think it's official - Sloppy has gone for good.  I'd been hoping she would just turn up one day, be there meowing her displeasure at being kept waiting by her inept human.  But it's been around two months now and I've not seen her at all.  She hadn't been well, a constant cold and mouth ulcer had been annoying her for weeks, plus she'd been loosing weight.  I'm terribly sad, she was such a lovely cat.  She used to drive me barking with all her meowing.  I think she was the loudest, most expressive cat I'd ever met, not to mention her belief that she was a rather large dog.  Wil and Sam can now relax - no more getting beaten up by a cat!  But for all my annoyance, I would never trade her in.  I miss her lots and wish she was here.  I loves you moo shoo, to the moon and back.

Sloppy kicking back on my lap.

Cheers to the best meow in the world, Sloppy xoxo

C.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Dewey by Vicki Myron


Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the WorldDewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I knew from the start that this would end sadly.  But I enjoyed reading about Dewey's escapades.  Who doesn't love a cat that can primp on demand!  And it was the stories about his fun with Vicki and the library patrons that I loved the most.  I used to play chasey with my cat Sloppy and this brought back lots of memories.  This wasn't fantastically written, but it was a fun read, (well up until about Ch. 26), then I was balling my eyes out, trying to see the floor while I was vacuuming. It doesn't help that I'm still feeling sorry for myself because Sloppy has gone missing.  Would I read it again - no, but I'm glad I read it.  The picture book is hella cute, with lovely illustrations.


View all my reviews

Buzz Off by Hannah Reed


Buzz Off (Queen Bee Mystery #1)Buzz Off by Hannah  Reed
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this up at work, first because I liked the cover, then the blurb got me.  This sounded like a fun read and it was to a certain extent.  I loved the beekeeping side of things and enjoyed the tourist side of Wisconsin.  What I didn't really like the bullet points, I understand this is how story thinks, but it got old fast.  I liked even less how her sister talks in abbreviated speech, BRB, OMG, TTYL - ugh!  Annoying.  I did love the relationship between Story and her beau, they were high school sweethearts and are slowly getting it back together.  I've started the next one, something I'd like to see as the series progresses is more of the mystery side of things.  Overall, an easy weekend read.


View all my reviews

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

 Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small American town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. She’s secretive, on edge. Over time she forms a relationship with the general store owner and his two kids.

I haven’t read one of Sparks’ books for ages, but I really enjoyed this. While it was still romance, it seemed like a bit of departure from his usual. I liked the alternating chapters between Katie and Kevin, giving perspectives from both characters, even if Kevin is a six pack short of a slab. I can’t imagine going through/surviving spousal abuse, but I think Sparks’ writing treated the subject well, it didn’t seem contrived and I thought the relationship between Katie and Alex was sweet. It may be that I haven’t read one of his for a while, but it doesn’t seem as formulaic as some of his work. As any author on a best selling list, he seems to churn them out and I know I stopped reading him because I didn’t think some of the stories were as strong as his earlier novels.

Apparently this has been optioned as a movie and I do love me a Nicholas Sparks movie adaption, I'm still waiting for The Lucky One, with a hella buff Zac Efron to come out.  Popcorn dinner here I come!

C.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

When life gets in the way...

I can't believe it is now July, over halfway through the year.  I remember, when  I was younger it seemed like it took ages for the year to come to a close - granted my events for marking the year were birthdays, Easter and Christmas.  But now, it seems like the years pass quicker, blink and you miss it!  Something I'm not entirely happy with.

I've been absent for the last couple of months, pretty much everywhere - okay not everywhere, I'm still chained to my desk at work, (not literally, that would be bad OH&S), but I've been busy with that, with uni, my Mum's been unwell and my cat, the lovely Sloppy Jones, has gone missing and by missing I think she's gone to that big catnip filled field in the sky.  She had been sick, with something that the vet couldn't identify, thus couldn't treat.  Which was frustrating to no end.  But I sure do miss her little quacking sneezing, which heralded her entry into a room.  She was an awesome cat.

I've now kinda depressed myself.  So quick - subject change - what else have I been doing - reading the first six books in the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh.  Which I am loving so far.  Great writing, I love the world building, the characters, the smexy times, where the author is taking the series, I've got four books until I'm up to date.  I love the whole damn angsty, sweaty, sexy world.  I'm a bit behind the ball on reading this series, it's been around for awhile and I was always going to read them, just later.  But I met Nalini at ARRC2011 and thought she's awesome, I'm going to read her books.  Now.  And I'm so glad I did.

Apart from that, not a lot has been going down, just life in general, which always gets in the way of all the stuff I want to do.  Hopefully I can juggle work, uni and the blog, I'm behind on reviews I need to do at the moment,  too bad life isn't an episode of I Dream of Jeanie - it would make it all so much easier!

Have a great weekend guys, get out and play in the sun while you can.

C.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Be Near Me by Andrew O'Hagan - Book Club Read - February

 
Be Near Me by Andrew O'Hagan

278 pgs.

I have to admit, as far as the happy goes, our book club has picked some fairly dismal tales, from last months apocalyptic 'The Road', to next months WWII fable 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas'.  But first is 'Be Near Me', the story of an English priest in a small Scottish parish.  Behold...the blurb.  And bear with me, it's been a couple of months since I read this.

Over the spring and summer of 2003, Father David becomes friends with two young people, Mark and Lisa: by the year's end his life is the focus of public hysteria.

As he looks back to his childhood, and to Oxford in the fever of student revolt, Father David begins to reconsider the central events of his life and to see what may have happened to the political hopes of his generation.  Meanwhile, religious warfare breaks out on his doorstep.

I didn't particularly like this story, I thought it was well written, but it was just so damn bleak.  While reading it I felt the weight of the world, (seen through the characters), on my shoulders.  The characters of Mark and Lisa aren't terribly likeable.  They're selfish, rude, they steal and vandalise.  So you have to ask, why would Father David, befriend these kids - is it because he wants to help them, or is it because he's lonely and can't relate to the other adults in his parish.  I'm going with the second one by the way.  Apart from his relationship with his housekeeper, he doesn't seem to relate well to the other adults and I don't think he's happy with how his life has turned out.  The dinner he has with (I want to say bishop), a fellow priesty person is prime example.  His views on many things, Iraq for one - the war had only just begun - didn't seem in line with the Catholic church.  I'll say sorry again, I'm writing this from memory, so events are slightly fuzzy!

What I did love about this book, was after things had escalated with Father David and Mark and the 'religious warfare', you get to know the real Father David.  His early days at Oxford, I like this person, not that I disliked him later, I just felt he'd lost his way.  Ultimately, I don't think he ever really wanted to become a priest, and if certain events in his life didn't transpire, I don't think he would've become one.

Would I recommend the book after all that - yes.  I thought it was well written, and O'Hagan's ability to make me care about characters I didn't like is a good trait for an author to have.

As a book group we were lucky enough to meet the author, as he was on a book tour, promoting his latest book Maf the dog and his friend Marilyn Monroe.  O'Hagan wasn't at all like I expected him to be.  I think I still had Be Near Me resonating in my head, so I thought he'd be a sad, depressed, quiet man.  What he was instead, was a very funny man, with the gift of the gab.  I really enjoyed his description of his early life and his reading of Maf was great, complete with accents.

Until next time, when we tackle Nazi and 'The Boy in the striped pyjamas' I'll sign of and wish happy reading to all :)

C.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Road by Cormac McCarthy - Book Club Read - January

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

 307 pages

A father and his young son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast.  Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind.  The have nothing but a pistol to defend themselves against the men who stalk the road, the clothes they are waring, a cart of scavenged food - and each other.

Blurb taken from the back of the book.

I enjoyed this - as much as one can enjoy a scary post apocalyptic journey cross country.  McCarthy is almost lyrical in his writing, it reminds me of the ballads of Homer.  The way this is written helps with that general feeling also - lack of punctuation and no chapters.  It's like a story told in one giant, crazy, almost suffocating breath.  I think that McCarthy's desicion to not discuss the apocalyptic event that sent the father and son on their journey was the right choice.  In this story it's not about what has happened, but what's before the two characters.  I read this almost in one sitting, despite the subject matter it is an easy read, I didn't actually want to put it down, I wanted to know what happened to the them.

Be prepared to be horrified  Of course, one can guess at what type bad things father and son will run into, but it's not until you actually see the words on the page that it really sinks in, yes 'XXXX' is going to happen, (I'm attempting no spoilers, hence the XX bizzo).  But for all the horror and despair there is hope, love and joy, the smallest thing is a miracle - finding a can of coke, or food, just when they thought they wouldn't find anything.

The relationship between father and son is beautiful and I like that they don't have names, it adds to the story, brings it a strength and a belief, that this could truely be anyone.  And McCarthy did what I didn't think he was going to be able to do - I finished the story feeling hopeful.  All through the book I had in the back of my mind, this won't end well for anyone, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I haven't seen the movie version of this yet, but it's on my list of things to watch.  But I think it's going to be one of those movies where I need to be in the right mood.

What did everyone else thing of it? - the book or the movie.

C.

Up next for February is: Be Near Me by Andrew O'Hagan.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Wild Desire by Lori Brighton


Wild Desire by Lori Brighton

320 pages of awesome historical romance.  There's danger.  There's lovin'.  There's paranormal elements at work.  There's sexy men and bad guys.  And an Elephant.  Gasp!  Swoon!


First He Drove Her Mad
In what feels like a moment, Beatrice Edmund goes from being a proper lady cooped up in a stuffy Scottish castle to travelling miles from anything she's ever known, in the midst of the wildest adventure of her life. And at the centre of that adventure is the most infuriating, puzzling scoundrel on earth. She cannot take her eyes off him.

Then He Drove Her Wild
Colin Fitch cannot deny he's drawn to Beatrice--but lust is all he could possibly feel for the sharp-tongued minx. Still, if there's a chance she can help him stop the madman he pursues, he must withstand her obvious disapproval. Yet withstanding the longing he feels for her is growing more troublesome by the second. . . And Colin has never been terribly good at staying out of trouble.

The blurb was taken from Amazon.com.  I received this book for free, from the author through goodreads.com.  So thank you Lori – it was fantastic!

This was the second book in the series, I hadn’t read the first when I started this, but while I’m sure it would’ve filled in more of the background of the story, Wild Desire was okay as a standalone read.  That being said, I’m now going to go back and read the first one, (Wild Heart).

This was a lot of fun, kind of what you might get if you crossed Indiana Jones with a romance novel.  Lots of swashbuckling adventure and swoony romance.

I liked both of the characters, they were well developed.  Bea isn’t your typical shrinking violet, she’s innocent about much of what goes on in the world, but at the same time she wants to get out there and have adventures.  I enjoyed her headstrong nature and her pluckiness.  She was a fun character to get to know.

Colin is rather lovely as well, a little bit anti-hero, in the beginning he’s more interested in finding the treasure he’s after.  But as the story progresses and Bea and Colin grow closer his priorities change.  He’s very much the ‘man’, cocky, stubborn and he quite likes to push Bea’s buttons. 

I love when the two of them first meet - he’s rolling drunk and she’s buck nekkid!  The main characters have great chemistry together and I really enjoyed the way they bounced off one another, whether it was in teasing or flirting.  Both characters have been hurt in the past, so it was great to see them deal with what held them back and move forward in their relationship.  I started this on the plane heading to ARRC2011 and I spent the whole plane trip cackling like a crazy lady – all signs of a good book in my mind.

There’s lots of lovely tension between the couple, one scene that springs to mind is when Colin and Bea get caught up in a street riot, and Colin has to cut Bea’s corset off – just mmm wow! Smoldering comes to mind and when their consummation scene finally comes around – hells bells, it was sexy, sweet and heartbreaking all at the same time.

One thing I didn’t expect was the paranormal theme running through it and to be honest it doesn’t take over the whole story, it’s only hinted at in the beginning, if anything it added to the adventure and danger that Colin and Bea were in.  It isn’t mentioned at all in the blurb and I only found out ahead of time because I’d read another bloggers review of the book.  The paranormal element is explored through Colin’s back story as the novel progresses.  I would assume if you were reading this after the first book, there would be more knowledge of the paranormal side of things, but as I said earlier, it doesn’t detract from the story as a standalone or if you’re reading them out of order.  If you don’t usual read paranormal, this would be a great introduction to it.  The story at its heart is a historical romance, but it has lots of adventure and the paranormal helps to complete the novel.

The only thing I don’t think gelled was the use of some of the language, towards the end Colin swears – shit, I think – nothing too out there, but it didn’t seem to fit with the story and on occasion Bea used ‘British’ insults and it seemed that these were only used because the character was from England.  Nobody else may think anything of this but I know as an Aussie, people think we talk like Alf from Home & Away – think gratuitous use of cobber, stone the flaming crows, maaate, or you could listen to any number of Kevin Rudd’s speeches – he used slang quite a bit.  It kind of pulled me out of the story a bit, but it was the swearing more so.

Overall, this was so much fun to read and I’m really looking forward to reading Wild Heart.  It was a fun, easy read, perfect for my holiday and it really set the tone for my holiday – lots of fun and adventure.  It’s a great historical romance and I really enjoyed the paranormal elements of the story.

C.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A Forever Kind of Love by Shiloh Walker


I was given a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.  

I've tried to write this without spoilers, but as awesome as I am, there may be some parts of the story that are mentioned.

A Forever Kind of Love by Shiloh Walker

Available in ebook from the 26th April, 2011.  From Samhain Publishing.

The ARC (PDF format), I received was 463K, 69 pgs, chock full of awesome.  


You can always come home.  Second chances come a little harder.  Chase and Zoe were the high school golden couple.  Football captain, cheerleader, prom royalty.  After graduation, though, Chase couldn’t resist the urge to experience life outside their small town. He didn’t exactly expect Zoe to wait twelve years for him, but now that he’s back, he finds some small part of him hoping she did.  It’s no big surprise she’s married. The kick in the face is she married his best friend.  Zoe was devastated when Chase left, but she’s filed those bittersweet memories under “Moved On”. She loves her life, and loves her husband. She has all she needs. And Chase keeps an honorable distance.

One cold, wet, miserable day, tragedy turns Zoe’s world upside down. Chase never expected her to simply fall into his arms, but a man can dream. Except his dream doesn’t include the fact that this time, she’s the one hitting the road…and he’s the one left behind. (Blurb taken from author's website).

Warning: This story contains heartbreak, heartache and one last chance for two lovers to find each other.

First off I'd just like to thank Shiloh for giving me the ARC to review, I'm a big fan of her books, I can honestly say that there hasn't been one that I haven't liked yet.  But before it's even more evident that I'm her bitch - hand me my pen Sabu I feel a review coming on...

Once again Shiloh Walker has managed to write a story that is like a punch to the solar plexus.  She has an amazing talent for writing characters that are damaged or in need of a second chance. And she manages to write them without them becoming trite, one dimensional and unrealistic.

This story was a little personal for me, I identified with Zoe and some of the things she goes through, so on my first read, I was crying like a baby half way through.  But this is something that 
I've come to expect from some of Shiloh's books, (in particular - No Longer Mine, Always Yours, Beautiful Girl, The Missing, Tempt Me).

Some ladies may hate Chase for leaving Zoe, but while he was a dick the way he went about leaving, I don't think the story would've been the same if he didn't - well duh!  Let me rephrase - Chase as a character, wouldn't have been the same.  I don't think he could've been the rock that he is if he'd stayed.  I also like that we met Chase first, that we got to hear his side, because once we're introduced to Zoe, there is more of a focus on her and what she's going through and what Chase is feeling for her.

I haven't spoken about Roger, mainly because I didn't like him.  I know he's going through stuff, but he seems like an arse - I'm not sure if that was Walker's intention, I certainly felt sympathy for the character - but beyond that, I didn't pay much attention.  This could also be because for Chase and Zoe to have their HEA he needs to be out of the picture.

I love that Zoe chooses to go away, for me it made sense, both as a way for her to heal and as a way for Chase to understand what Zoe would've felt when he left.  But damned if that whole scene isn't bittersweet and full of sexy pain.  Again, it didn't seem hoky, it was natural.

And then after the emotional rollercoaster, there's the squee.  Oh yes there's the SQUEE :)  I love Walker's consummation scenes, they're just so damn hawt!  This is light on in terms of the sexin', so if you're expecting it to be like some of her other titles, unexpect and keep reading, it's worth it.  This is more a story of reconnecting, of second chances and while the sexin' is part of that, it's not the whole story.

The only part I didn't love of this book was the ending - in that, I felt it ended too soon.  I felt kinda cheated, I wanted more dammit!  Yes, there was a HEA, but I wanted more of Zoe and Chase once they'd resolved their issues, I wanted to experience their HEA.  Which in part is because of the great writing, you're invested in the characters, you want something good to happen, and you want to be there when it happens.

One can live in hope that in all of Shiloh's spare time, (You gots teh bucket loads right??), she could write a sequel and let us know what's up *bat's eyelashes* - On second thoughts, *bakes cookies*, I've seen my eyelash batting and it ISN'T enticing at all.

So it's a hells yes from me, this was sexy, it was sad and just a little bit redemptive - but most importantly - it's what I've come to love about Shiloh Walker's stories, it's a beautiful, so real it hurts romance, with a sexy as hell hero and a stronger than she thinks she is leading lady.  

Can't wait for the next one :)

C.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Book Blogger Hop & Tag Along

Well I've missed out on the last couple of these, so I thought I'd dip my toes back in the blog visiting pool :)

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted by Crazy-for-Books

"Pick a character from a book you are currently reading or have just finished and tell us about him/her."

I've just finished an ARC of Shiloh Walkers' new ebook 'A Forever Kind of Love.'  Zoe is one of the central characters, I enjoyed Zoe her a lot, she seemed like such a strong character.  Her life from the get go hasn't been easy and while she has managed to find a wonderful husband, there are still things in her life suck.  I think the reason why I like Zoe, is that she's real as a character - or believable is a better way to put it, and a lot of that comes down to how the author writes, but also the story - it could be anyone's life.  Here's my full review.  



Question of the week: Do you have a favorite hero, so far, this year? If-so who?

Do I have a fave hero of the year of what!  I'm going to be greedy and have two :)  First up is Chase from Talk me Down by Victoria Dahl.  He's a bad boy, but he's a gentleman.  Which basically sums it up right there.  Oh and he's got a whole bunch of sexy tatts, muscles out the wazoo and he blows shit up for a living - ladies what more could you ask for.  What I do love about Chase is that he's ok being Jane's special friend, no strings attached.  He's happy to support her in whatever way she needs  But when it gets real, his feelings included, he puts his foot down and it's on.  My other hero is Brogan from Coyote Wild by Rhian Cahill.  He's such a lovely character, big, muscley and he means bid'ness (do you see a theme running through my heroes?)  This story has a paranormal element running through it, (he's a coyote shifter).  I love his go get 'em attitude towards his lady love El.  I do love my alpha heroes the most.  But I will say I don't think I could live with them always - I'd end up busting heads!

So that's if for the week, hope everyone has an awesome weekend :)

C.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Cairo Time - Movie Review

Cairo Time

Starring: Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig.
Director: Ruba Nadda
Running Time: 86 Mins.

Juliette, a fashion magazine editor in her fifties, travels to Cairo to meet her husband, Mark, a UN official working in Gaza, for a three week vacation.  When he is unavoidably delayed, he sends his friend Tareq, who had been his security officer for many years, to escort her throughout the beautiful and exotic city.  The last thing anyone expects is that they will fall in love.  

Cairo Time is a romantic drama about a brief, unexpected love affair that catches two people completely off guard.

I want to start this review by saying it’s nice to watch a movie with an Arab man who’s not trying to blow shit up.  In the media today, it’s impossible to miss the tension, the riots, the fighting that plagues that part of the world.  It was refreshing to see instead, these people portrayed in an ordinary setting, as a beautiful and dignified people.  Cairo Time is a beautiful love story with the lush landscape of Cairo and the pyramids as back drop.  It's renewed my interest in visiting the city.

This was a slowly unfolding story, nothing 'big' happens, and I love how Juliette (Clarkson) discovers Cairo, sometimes on her own, at other times with Tareq (Siddig).  They have fantastic chemistry together, which works well with the pace of the film.  Their magnetism is believable and it makes for some blazin' screen time.  And while they fall in love, it isn't acted upon and in part this is painful to watch - in a good way, bittersweet is the word I'm looking for!  But it is so much more effective and packs way more of a punch than if their romance was consummated.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable film, wonderfully acted and beautifully filmed.
Four Stars from the Russian Judge :)

C.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Tagalong and Blog Hop Friday

Okay this will be a quick flying trip on the blog today, I'm currently enjoying myself at the Swiss Grand Resort on Bondi Beach and am gearing up for the cocktails tonight to kick ARRC2011 off.  I'm positively excited!
Question of the week: Where is you favorite place to buy or swap books?


I have a few different places I like to visit, in person it's Collins bookshop in my home town, Rendezvous the Romance Bookstore in Melbourne, online it would be Amazon.com for Kindle and Book Depository for print books.  I'm always on the hunt for a bargain!  Because of the type of books I read - romance/adult erotica and YA mostly, I find it hard to take advantage of the second hand places close to me.  But really, it's not like I'm lacking in books to read!


Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted by Crazy-for-Books.

"If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?"


I'd love to be a character in Victoria Dahl's Tumble Creek series'.  Her books are so funny, she writes awesome characters, where the women are strong and they're not backward in coming forward.  Sadly my Tumble Creek hero, Chase, is taken.  That boy is so hot!  He can burn the words right off the page.  I love her humor and I love where the books are set, even though it's possible to get snowed in I just get the feeling it would be a cozy place to live.  Surely those girls need a lovely library lady to round things out :)

I'll have to add linkys later lovlies, but enjoy your weekend where ever you may be.  I'm planning to have a VERY good time. 


C.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Exploding Lemon Tart

In celebration for my departure to Sydney on Thursday, I made a lemon tart to take to work.  I must stress - it's a cheats tart.  As per Jamie Oliver's instructions, (and I always do what Jamie says, except for when it comes to iceberg lettuce), I've used a store bought pastry casing.  While it's blind baking, which takes 10 minutes, give or take.  I mix 1 tin of condensed milk and 1 jar of lemon butter together, I used a masterfoods one this time and it was the consistency of jelly, which I wasn't really impressed with, but at the point of quality testing it tasted good.  I prefer to either make my own or buy from the lovely lady at the farmers market.  But time was short and I was lazy!  Once this is thoroughly mixed, place into browned casing, then put it back into oven, I usually put it in for another 10 minutes, but that's because my oven likes to kill things.


So this is where the exploding part of the tart comes in - I often joke with a friend from work about the romance novels I read and how there's lots of 'exploding' at certain times - anyone who reads Lora Leigh will know what I mean!  Anyway, since it's a romance convention I'm going to and there's bound to be a whole weekend of exploding I added the heart shaped 'bomb'.  

These are the things that happen, late at night when I'm bored and have been drinking vodka.  Go with it - it's much safer that way O.o


And while I was waiting for my tart to cook, I decided to decorate these little ginger bread guys.  It was for an earlier post and I wanted a picture.  Anyway, these are kind of fiddly and I've since decided it would be much better to leave these for when I can use enforced child labour.  But until then, I did have to use my boning tweezers.  And vodka - hence the Quasimodo of the gingerbread land below!  Originally, I did tell myself it was to cover up his shame at being all blobby and conjoined together, but then I fessed up that it was more because I was lacking much needed hand eye coordination and plus I  like me some icing and the little choc thingys.


Oh so good n tasty!

C.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

ARRC 2011 is almost here!!



I'm so excited, this time next week the conference will be wrapping up, but I'm all aflutter at the moment, 5 and a half days and I'll be sitting in a room full of awesome writer and readers.  I'm looking forward to lots of things - the paranormal talk, and the erotica one, the book signing, the goodie room, the meet and greet, the awards dinner - okay basically everything!  I didn't get to go to the 2009 convention.  To be honest, I didn't know it existed, I was still pining away, wishing I could to go the RAW convention held by Lora Leigh, (which, one day I WILL get to).

I'm new to the world of ARRA, when I found out they were having a convention and there was an association you could join, I did.  I'm still exporing, occasionally I delurk to post a comment, but for the most part I'm just sitting back, taking it all in.  I'm hoping this weekend will allow me to forge a few new friendships, even if they'll mostly be online :)  But fingerscrossed, ARRA just keeps getting bigger.  I've already bought a tin you can't open, ready for when I get back, so I can start saving for 2013!

I'm going to try blog over the weekend about all the haps, lets hope I don't get too excited and forget to take photos.  Here's a link to the ARRC 2011 lineup

If you had a chance what would you ask one of the authors attending?  Feel free to ask a question in the comments section and I'll do my best to get it answered :)

Okay, that I believe was enough procrastination, back to my hella exciting Marketing Concepts uni reading.

C.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Book Blogger Hop & Tag Along Friday

It's another delightful Friday, I don't have much planned, cleaning, uni, and trying to organise myself for the ARRA Conference which begins next week in Sydney *happy dance*  I've got a few books I want to finish and a stack of DVDs I need to watch.  But before all of that lets get on with the friday fun :)

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted by Crazy-for-Books.  It turned 1 on March 5th and while I've only just started participating, I will still send a huge happy birthday!  This weeks question, my dears: 

"Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?"
 
For me, the anwser is several!  I have so many books I want to read, I tend to try an read as many as I can.  All at once.  When it comes to books, I don't have a lot of impulse control.  I usually have at least three on the go, but at the moment I've reading five.  In print, ebook and audio formats.  I'm never without a book.  I know, I have a problem - but admitting it's the first step, right?
 
Photobucket
18 & Over Book Blogger Tag Along Friday is a weekly event hosted by Laurie at Bitten by Paranormal Romance.
What was your favorite book you read last month?
Okay, I'm going to cheat and put two down, basically because one is adult reading - Tempt Me by Shiloh Walker. Seriously freakin HOT!  This may only be a short story, but it packs a punch.  I've got a lady crush on Shiloh, I can safely say I've loved everything of hers I've read, she is such an excellent writer.  The other is a YA book: Shiver by Maggie Siefvater  I couldn't put it down, it was so well written.  Bittersweet, angsty, painful and beautiful all rolled in one.
 
There was lots of swoonage from me in February - but I think that's mainly 'cause I'm just a little bit dramatic.  Have an awesome weekend everyone - enjoy yourself :)
 
C.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Well it's that time of year again, St Patrick's Day.  Hope what ever you're doing to celebrate it is lots of fun and doesn't get you into too much trouble!  I've got a meeting after work then more work, so I won't be doing much - I did buy a book today (what I can't help it, besides it's all about Irish...stuff).  Plus there's the whole "I was going to patricipate in Irish Short Story week", but since it's ending today, I don't think I'll be completing that one.  So instead I bought...Come Monday by Mari Carr.


This is the first in the Wild Irish series.  I've been umming and ahhing over getting this series for ages, I've got no doubt I'll love it, but I was trying to be good dammit.  I blame Tarn, she bought the cake in today and MADE me eat some.  It was very delicious.


You'll have to excuse the poor photo, I should've made the background a bit nicer, but I was worried that another staff member would eat it before I could get a photo.  It was presented way better than my photo gives credit, you couldn't tell until you cut it that it was green inside - half the fun.

Along with reading Come Monday, I think there may be a Guinness and a viewing of Boondock Saints on the cards tonight.  Which really is all a girl could ask for...okay I could ask for more - like the hot boys from the movie to be delivered to my door - but since Ima lady I will do no such thing...O.o

C.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Weekly Hotboy

I thought since there was a whole lot of talk about period dramas in my last post I would pay homage to them in my hotboy section.  What could be more delightful than salty goodness from the age of chivalry.

 
This isn't the original Mr. Darcy, but he's still my favourite, Colin Firth has a lot to answer for when it comes to my rediculous standards about men (hence my being single!)
Matthew McFadyen as Mr. Darcy, he was quite lovely, I loved him even more in Little Dorrit, even if he was totally clueless.  Here he is at the end of P&P, a little bit frazzled for all his wanting of Miss. Bennett.
Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton from North & South.  I could seriously watch this over and over.  This is from the "Look back at me." scene - pretty much guaranteed to make you squee!
Elliot Cowan, another Mr. Darcy, from Lost in Austen.  I enjoyed this version of P&P a lot, I don't know how it went down with the purists, probably as good as the zombies did.  But this scene is hilarous and oh so sexy at the same.  I love the little smirk and half smiles from this scene.  Makes me think he's got something naughty to hide.
Tom Hardy, as Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights.  He was fantastic in this and even though I would've been whacking you upside the head constantly, (because lets be honest, sometimes he is a truly maddening character), I would've waited for you.

I could keep going, but I'm going to pretend I'm a lady with modest appetites :)
I got told off for not having Rupert Penry-Jones and I'm not one to disappoint!  Here he is looking all gallant as Capt. Wentworth.  Don't you just want to scruff him up?

C.

Monday Madness

I had big plans for bloggish stuff over the weekend, but between some kid wrangling and me not feeling my shiny best I didn't get to do anything - which is usually the way when I get my planning on.  But what did I find when I checked in this morning, some fantastic new followers - welcome, enjoy, feel free to comment and generally have a good time.

Beautiful things arrived in the post last Thursday, perfect for the mood I've been in the last few weeks.  The cute has come from Pretty Whimsical on Etsy.  The pendants are made using wooden scrabble pieces from the 40's and 50's.  I'm in lust at the moment, they're just so darn cute! 

I've been watching lots of period drama - the latest being the 2008 itv version of Wuthering Heights, with Tom Hardy portraying Heathcliff, he was so good, to me he nailed the character, thank goodness I was lying down - there was swoonage.  Today Wide Sargasso Sea came in for me so I'll get to snuggle on down with that tonight.  I've seen the '93 version before, but not the lastest version.  I'm so looking forward to Jane Eyre, which is coming out this month.  Hence me watching Wide Sargasso and hopefully I can get our bookclub to read Jane Eyre this month.

Here's the trailer...I just hope that it gets released in Australia the same time it does in the US.  It looks deliciously menacing.


So what's your favourite period drama?  Which adaption do you like the best?

All links are from IMDb

C.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Book Blogger Hop & Tagalong Friday

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books and runs from Friday to Sunday.

This weekend's question/topic: Who's your all-time favorite book villain?

There are a couple that come to mind --

Hannibal Lecter from Thomas Harris' series was hella scary - possibly because I read 'Silence of the Lambs' when I was quite young.  Talking about scary books read when I was too young (I used to read my mum's books when she wasn't looking): Cujo the dog, from the Stephen King book of the same name.  I was terrified!


I've participated in the Blog Hop a couple of times now, but I thought I'd add myself to the Tagalong Friday meme as well.  So here 'tis lovelies :)

18 & Over Book Blogger Tagalong Friday is a weekly event hosted by Laurie at Bitten by Paranormal Romance (Please excuse the clunky links, I couldn't get it to work the way I wanted).



This week's question: How many book do you read in a month?

So far in 2011 I've managed 20 books in Jan and Feb, but I usually average around 15 or so in a month.  It just depends on what my work load is like at uni and how late I've had to stay at work - sadly, even though I work in a library, they don't pay me to read books all day!

That being said I have some lovely new books to read over the weekend, bring on the Nalini Singh! I wish this one was twice as long - I've got so much to do.

C.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Book Blogger Hop

 Book Blogger Hop
 
Book Blogger Hop is a lovely, weekly meme hosted by Jennifer@Crazy for Books. The Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  

This is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!

This week's question:
"Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?"
 
I actually missed out on adding my name to this weeks linky, but I thought this question was perfect for me this week as I changed my blogs name last night - This is the blog formerly known as "How Do You Like My Blog Now Hans Brix."

I started this blog in 2008, when I was completing the 27 things web 2.0 thingy for work.  Team America had just come out and puppet Kim Jong Ill had a special place in my heart (let's be honest, he still does).  And so I named my blog to reflect that.  My blog is mainly about the books I read now, with a smattering of movie reviews, thoughts on tv, music and anything else that takes my fancy.  Hence the name change. 

C.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Hello Autumn!

As I woke up this morning, I was greeted with seasonally appropriate weather.  The tiny pitter patter of rain and somber grey skies.  Summer this year was a non event really, not that I'm complaining, as much as I love the beach, my favorite time of year is Winter.  I love the cold and there is nothing better than snuggling down in bed with a good book and a cup of milo, Sloppy purring at my shoulder.

Now is the time I love visiting my Cuj, okay I love visiting anytime, but there something about sitting in her garden in the Adelaide Hills, drinking tea all afternoon, eating tiny gingerbread men that my niece, Josie, has decorated.  Then you get to go inside and sit in front of a toasty fire, with more cups of tea.  Tea is a thing in my family, well that and nibbling, do very well.  I think it's ingrained and what a tasty trait to have.  How cute are the gingerbread men :)

Time to bust out the scarves methinks, it's layering time :)

C.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

ARRA 2011 Conference

I'm getting quite excited now, it's only about five weeks until I get to visit Sydney for the Australia Romance Readers Association 2011 Conference. Yay! I've been trying to work my way through books from the list of authors that are visiting. if only I didn't have to work - it would be so much easier!

I'm looking forward to the keynote speakers: Anna Campbell, Cindy Gerard and Nalini Singh.

The other authors visiting are: Maggie Anderson, Any Andrews, Keri Arthur, Heather Boyd, Berengaria Brown, Rhian Cahill, Shannon Curtis, Christine Darcas, Jess Dee, Michelle Douglas, AB Gayle, Anne Gracie, Lisa Heidke, Kelly Hunter, Fiona McArthur, Nicole R Murphy, Maggie Nash, Tracey O'Hara, Cathleen Ross, Karen Simpson Nikakis, Helene Young.

The following authors are panel moderaters: Karlene Blakemore-Mowle, Jennifer Brassel, Lexxie Couper, Kate Cuthbert, Erica Hayes, Melanie Milburne, Bronwyn Parry, Paula Roe, Denise Rossetti, Kandy Shepard and Annie West.

(I did have links to all the authors pages, but for some reason Maggie Anderson plotted evil things and took over all the linkage, so here is a link to the ARRA website so you can have a look at each authors website/blog - check them out, there are some great authors attending).

So far I've read:

'Coyote Run', 'Coyote Home' & 'Coyote Wild' all by Rhian Cahill,
'Doing Logan' also by Rhian Cahill,
'Secrets in the Marriage Bed' by Nalini Singh ,
'Innocent Baby, Wife of Shame' by Melanie Milburne (Link to the book is from LibraryThing, as I couldn't find it on Melanie's website).
'His Christmas Angel' Michelle Douglas,
'Carnal Connections' & 'Loving Lydia' both by Berengaria Brown.

All of which I enjoyed, this is the first time I'd read any of these authors. Some of which I probably wouldn't have read if not for ARRA, so that's great. But the standout has to be the Coyote series. There was serious swoonage, squee and general feelings of awesome, Rhian Cahill has a way with words, she's a fantastic author. I can't recommend the series enough. I'll have to add my reviews for these later.

C.

Monday, 21 February 2011

It's Book Blogger Hop Time!

Book Blogger Hop


Crazy-for-Books has put the blog hop up on her site again, here's my contribution :)

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs

This weeks question:

"What book(s) would you like to see turned into a movie?"

I'm going to go with what is fresh in my mind - I read it on the weekend - loved it!

"Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater


This was brilliant, I couldn't stop reading until I'd finished - but at the same time, I didn't want it to end. I own the second book and spent a half hour tearing up my room trying to find it, but alas it is in that 'safe' place I often put things and now I have to wait until a copy becomes available at work. A separate review will be up on the blog this week.

So until next time, happy blog hopping, I'm off to discover some new blogs myself.

C.

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