Friday, April 27, 2007

Possessed by the Sheikh by Penny Jordan

Title: Possessed by the Sheikh
Author: Penny Jordan
Published: April 2005
Grade: 5/10

Why I Chose this Book:
I was looking for some very light reading while waiting for Marcus to come through surgery.

Stranded in the sands, Katrina was rescued by a robed man on a horse and taken back to his luxury desert camp. Despite the attraction that sparked between them, the Sheikh thought Katrina was nothing more than a whore. But no way could he leave her to other men. In order to protect her, he would have to marry her! But when he discovered, first hand, that she was a virgin - that changed everything!

My Comments:
I borrowed this from the library to be a quick and easy read while waiting for my son to come out of surgery from having his adenoids and tonsils out. It was quick, and I guess it was easy, but it was also cliched and kind of boring. I wasn't hugely impressed and this quickly ended my Harlequin cateory romance reading kick with a grand total of two books.

I've been reading message boards discussing things in romances that are out of date and annoying and I felt this book contained most of them. So it was interesting for ticking off the various cliches but that was about all.

It did what it was supposed to do - give me something else to think about while sitting waiting - but I won't be rushing out to find more like it.

Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop

Title: Heir to the Shadows
Author: Anne Bishop
Published: April 1999
Grade: 10/10

Series: The Black Jewels Trilogy, Book 2

First Line:
The Dark Council reconvened.

Why I Chose this Book:
Easy. I'd been totally hooked by Daughter of the Blood and had no choice but to keep reading.

In Heir to the Shadows, Jaenelle's vampiric, adoptive father, Saetan, and her foster-family of demons shelter her. To restore her memory and emotional balance, they move to Kaeleer, where Jaenelle befriends the kindred--animals with magical and communicative powers--and gathers a circle of young Queens. She also heals Lucivar, Daemon's half-brother, who offers a brother's love and a warrior's fealty. As she recovers strength and memory, Jaenelle resolves to restore Daemon and cleanse Terreille.

My Comments:
Wow, so like the previous volume of the trilogy, this book just blew me away.

Bishop continues the tale of Jaenellle with her growth to adulthood. At the end of Daughter of the Blood, Daemon, Saetan and Cassandra have rescued Jaenelle from Briarwood, too late to prevent her rape but soon enough to save her life and for Daemon to save her sanity. Saetan and Cassandra have stolen her away to Kaeler while Daemon was left behind to fight off the villians and barely escaped himself.

Heir to the Shadows opens two years later and while Jaenelle has healed physically, she has remained in a coma. Saetan has, rather forcibly, had himself appointed her guardian and waits, with growing impatience, for her her to wake. She does at the book begins, but she remembers nothing of what happened to her. Daemon, meanwhile, had gone mad in the belief that not only was he responsible for her death, but that he was the one who raped her.

Like its predecessor, this book sounds like it should be grim, dark and horrible, and yet Bishop avoids this. It is the world and the situation that is dark, but not the charcters, despite their power and often, their tempers.

The books skips through the years to end as Jaenelle reaches her majority at 20, but Bishop handles the time jumps deftly and I never felt that the book jarred because of this.

This is Jaenelle's tale, and it focusses on her - her growing understand of what it means to be Witch, her growing use of her power and her frustration to master its basics. But mostly, it is about her relationships with the people around her.

With Saetan, the High Lord of Hell, whom she calls Papa and interacts with both as the child/young woman she is and occasionally as the powerful creation she is under her human mask. With Lucivar who finds a sister in her, and learns trust and loyalty again after centuries of captivity. With the friends she used to sneak off to meet as a child, who we meet in person in this book, human and Kindred both. Each one powerful and influential, these are the ones what will form her court and her power base as, in the last book, she surely forges the new beginning for the Realms she was called into existence to create.

One character who is almost conspicuous by absence is Daemon, who appears and disappears as we saw Tersa do in the first volume, fighting for and losing a hold on sanity. It fits the story, is perfectly appropriate in fact, but his presence is missed all the same. Yet he is the final note in this part of the tale, as he climbs back out of the Twisted Kingdom, whole again and reforged to be the consort Jaenelle will need at the conculsion of the book.

I have always tended to put off things I really want to watch or read, and I have never really been able to figure out why. I have come to realise that it is not a need to save something to keep that anticipation and newness for as long as possible, but something closer to fear. Yet, I've always known it wasn't fear of disappointment. It was while reading this book that I finally figured it out. The stuff I know is going to be good, the stuff I have been waiting for so eagerly; for those things I open wide my arms and throw myself off the cliff into the story. I hold nothing back and fall into the lives of the characters, aching for them, living the tale with them. And when I'm done, it takes me a while to surface again and find my way back to the real world. That's exhausting. It can even hurt. It's so very worth it, but it's not light, easy and distant. No wonder I tend to procrastinate.

This is that kind of book. Absolutely worth it and so much an amazing adventure.

When Darkness Comes by Alexandra Ivy

Title: When Darkness Comes
Author: Alexandra Ivy
Published: January 2007
Grade: 5/10

Series: Guardians of Eternity, Book 1

First Line:
"Oh god, Abby. Don't panic. Just...don't...panic."

Why I Chose this Book:
This was one I saw in the Barbara's Books catalogue and thought looked interesting. However, I just wasn't sure about it, so didn't preorder it. Since I was given some book vouchers for my birthday, I decided to use them on a couple of books that were in my "looks interesting but I'm just not quite sure" category. This was one of the two I chose.

It's been a hell of a day for Abby Barlow. In just a few hours, she's survived an explosion, watched her employer die, had a startling dream, and now she finds herself in a seedy Chicago hotel with the sexy, unearthly Dante, a man she both desires and fears.

For 341 years, Dante has stood as guardian to The Chalice, a mortal woman chosen to hold back the darkness. A terrible twist of fate has now made Abby that woman. Three hours ago, Dante would have used all his charms to seduce her. Now she is his to protect. And he will do so until his very death.

A terrifying plan has been set in motion, one that will plunge Dante and Abby into an epic battle between good and evil—and a desperate race to save their love...

My Comments:
This was a very strange book. It should have had everything to make it great - an interesting and almost new idea, a decent heroine and vampire hero, and some quick and sassay dialogue. The thing is, it totally failed to work. It failed for me and also for a friend I spoke to about it, so I know it wasn't me alone.

When I was reading it it felt like an okay read, but when I put it down, I really didn't care if I picked it up again. I finished it more out of determination than any great need to finish the story.

However, I have no idea why it failed. There was nothing I could put my finger on. It just did. Which makes this review pretty much useful and unhelpful, but I'm afraid I can't me any clearer. I also don't feel the need to waste any more time on it trying to figure out the why of its failure.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Silly Questions...

This week's From Our Blog to Yours from SSD.

question #1 who’s your dreamy dreamy steamy hottie (and hubby’s don’t count) don’t just answer.. post up a picture, I need eye candy!
Tony Head. Okay, so I have a thing for older men. (Even if I married a younger one.) Sue me.

question#2 what is the goofiest thing you’ve said/done this week?
I try hard not to remember things like that. I know I've got mixed up several times and had to be corrected by my three year old. "Silly Mummy" is becoming a common refrain at our house.

question #3 If I (or some random other person, as I can’t really answer this properly otherwise haha) walked into your house RIGHT NOW, what would embarrass you the most (be it an item, a mess, your fridge.. whatever)?
Definitely the wet (but NOT dirty) nappy I haven't thrown out yet.

question #4 what creepy things do you have living (or growing.. ) under your bed (due to lack of cleaning of course )?
Only dust bunnies.

question #5 have you ever done a drive by fart in the super market? Did anyone notice?

question #6 Finish this sentence… If I were a duck__________.
... I wouldn't be able to type.

question #7 google it … dude do it! ” your name is” __
Never interesting for me because I always hit the John Kerry websites. I'm not even American.

question #8 what colour are your underwear?

question #9 if you could be with anyone right now, who would it be? why? (I’m not talking dirty here people.. stay with me, focus! lol)
So I'm going to be sappy and go with my husband and son, both of whom I am with now (although said son is standing at his bedroom door crying because he doesn't think he should have to go to bed now).

question #10 close your eyes, what do you see? (well, not SEE see.. obviously, work with me, it’s 230am )
Black. The inside of my eyes are clearly very boring.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Favorite Earthling by Susan Grant

Title: My Favorite Earthling
Author: Susan Grant
Published: March 2007
Grade: 6/10

Series: Jasper Family, Book 2

First Line:

Why I Chose this Book:
I've been a Susan Grant fan since I read Contact and then started looking for her backlist. I thoroughly enjoyed the series that began with The Star King and I've kept getting her books ever since. This series is much lighter in tone and while I enjoyed the first book and plan to keep reading, I don't think these books have as much to offer.

Keira, warrior-queen of the galaxy, is as famous for her beauty as she is for avoiding marriage. But when an upstart little planet called Earth threatens her world with its fleet of spaceships, the fate of her people lies in her hands. She must bind herself to a barbarian from the rogue world--or face the destruction of her own!

Confirmed bachelor Jared Jasper knows that the trick Earth pulls on the alien invaders isn't a permanent solution. What they need is a peace treaty. It just never occurs to him that he will wind up on the bargaining table. Playing the pushover groom to a mouthy alien babe who knows how to use a plasma sword is not exactly his idea of fun. But with six billion people depending on him, he doesn't have much choice--sleep with the enemy...or bring on interstellar war.

My Comments:
A pleasant enough story, but this isn't one of Grant's best. It's a light romp, and I assume it was always meant to be, so in that way it succeeds nicely.

Jared is a nice character, Keira is okay, but we never really get to know either of them all that well - and they don't even meet until half the book is over.

I really enjoyed myself while reading this - and it was perfect for the mood I've been in lately - so I don't want to sound like I'm completely knocking this book. It's a pleasant, light read and if that's what you're in the mood for, it'll be idea. If you're wanting more than that, look for something else.

Matrimony with His Majesty by Rebecca Winters

Title: Matrimony with His Majesty
Author: Rebecca Winters
Published: May 2002
Grade: 7/10

First Line:
"Since the last two major college riots, we have to take what happened today seriously, Alex. I'm urging you to move yourself and your loved ones to one of your residences in the mountains away from the public where you're not so vulnerable."

Why I Chose this Book:
It came through my RSS feeds as a new release from I hate to admit that royalty stories tend to catch my attention. This one sounded like it might be okay and I bought it and downloaded it.

Darrell Collier is an ordinary, small-town single mom. And when Alexandre Valleder sweeps into her life, she's determined not to be pressured into marriage by royal command!

Alex is a good ruler and a responsible king. But one secret night, years ago, he rebelled a little. The result, as he's just discovered, was a child. Now he has to make things right. It will shock his family and shake up the monarchy. But first he must persuade this beautiful, stubborn commoner she has the makings of a queen!

My Comments:
This was a light, but pleasant and delightful little story. It was perfect for my mood of the moment, where I'm very low on energy and need a break from my more complicated current read.

Everyone is a little too perfect - the 12 year old with a chip on his shoulder about not knowing his father gets over it and adores Alex much too quickly for example - but I went into this for an escapist fantasty and that's exactly what I got.

Alex is heroic and noble and perfect and Darrel spends all her time tryig to do what is best for everyone else, but again, they fit perfectly in this lovely little tale.

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I'm a sucker for royalty stories. I like the fantasy of it (the reality I suspect can be pretty awful) and that's a lot of what got me to pick this one up. I'm glad I did. It was exactly what I needed at the time and I'm going to read and enjoy some more Rebecca Winters books I'm sure.

Friday, April 06, 2007

RIP Black Car

Our old and faithful car died today. Details on my livejournal to save the double post.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Kiss to Remember by Teresa Medeiros

Title: A Kiss to Remember
Author: Teresa Medeiros
Published: May 2002
Grade: 7/10

Series: Fairy Tales, Book 3 and/or Fairleighs, Book 1

First Line:
Sterling Harlowe had to draw up an ottoman and stand on tiptoe to peek out the drawing room window.

Why I Chose this Book:
You know, I can't remember. I put a reserve on it at the library, and I don't really remember why now. I read Teresa Medeiros' posts over at Squawk Radio and I suspect it was after reading one of those that I decided to try out one of her books. I've read one before, After Midnight, and enjoyed it, but decided on a plain historical romance instead of more vampires in the sequel to AM.

Laura Fairleigh is playing with fire. With only three weeks in which to marry in order to gain the title to Arden Manor, the house she and her younger siblings are living in, the penniless beauty has no time for romantic dreams. She must seize any opportunity for matrimony -- before she loses her chance to keep her benefactor's prodigal son, the notorious Duke of Devonbrooke, from taking possession of her home. When fate presents her with an amnesic Adonis in the woods nearby, Laura is determined to convince the injured stranger that he is, in fact, her loving fiancé and hurry him to the altar. She's chilled to discover that the nameless man is in fact the dreaded duke, who will not be pleased to learn that he's been played for a fool -- even by a beautiful captor who has fallen in love with him in the process. Laura has only one chance to secure her future happiness. Somehow, before their rapidly approaching wedding night, she must win the heart of this rake who has a reputation to rival the Devil himself.

My Comments:
I have a love/hate relationship with anmesia and mistaken identity stories. On one level, the whole "being someone else" thing appeals to me, but the deception required doesn't. So I liked this story, but couldn't quite love it - even though it was (I a little embarrassed to admit) the amnesia that made me choose this particular book.

If well done - and I'm still a little on the fence about that in this case - the characters should have good reasons for beginning and/or carrying on the deception. That doesn't mean there won't be trouble when the truth comes out, but with time there can be understanding as well.

Laura's course of action is a little extreme, but plausible within the context of the story. The delevloping romance between her and "Nicholas" is nice and the revelation of his true identity well done.

Sterling's fury at being deceived is entirely reasonable and seeing them eventually working it all out was nice to read.

I think part of the problem is that Medeiros had to fit two romances in a single, relatively short novel. Both of them are between the hero and heroine, but they are quite different as they first fall in love as Laura and Nicholas, and then have to reconnect and do it all again as Laura and Sterling (and then Diana and Thane steal a bit of the story time as well).

Some of the thematic resolution was beautiful. Laura tells Sterling that Nicholas was the man he might have been if his life had been different, which was a lovely way to look at the two incarnations of the man, as I don't believe you can fail to be true to your fundamental self, even if you don't remember who that is. With his emotional baggage taken away, Sterling had a time to find that fundamental self.

His apology to Laura for making her his wife and treating her like his mistress was a lovely realisation for him to have - and something a few more romance heroes could do with figuring out.

All in all, an enjoyable read. I'll certainly be happy to read Medeiros again.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Catching Up On Some Book Comments - Mar 07

Thunderbird Falls - C. E. Murphy (6/10)Really, all I can say is "Meh". Not bad, but certainly not great either. I read the first half, then got kind of bored and skim read to the end. It's a very good premise, but I don't think the execution works for me.

Born to be BAD - Sherrilyn Kenyon (5/10)
Pointless really, but kind of fun. Just a quick time filler for me.

Date Me Baby, One More Time - Stephanie Rowe (8/10)
Silly, but fun.

Blood Price - Tanya Huff (9/10)
A story that stands up beautifully even 15 years after it was written. I thoroughly enjoyed this reread and may have to go on with rereading the rest of the series now. My only problem was that I kept expecting the characters to pull out cell phones and they didn't all have them.

Full Moon Rising - Keri Arthur (DNF)
Lots of people recommended this book (and the series it begins) to me and it certainly sounded like something I would enjoy. There was nothing wrong with what I read either, I just didn't get captured enough by it to continue. I have been told that it takes a while to get going, so on another occasion when I more in the mood, I suspect I might get further and find I really liked it. But for now I'm putting it aside until that other occasion.

Catching Up On Some Book Comments - Feb 07

Protector of the Flight - Robin D. Owens (7/10)
This took a long time to really get going and I found the section where Calli first arrived to be a bit by the numbers. Once she and Marrec started disagreeing the story started moving much better and the final section was excellent.

Catching up on some book comments - Jan 07

I set up a new blog the other day - Lists and Such - where I am planning to leave some static reference pages like my TBR pile/mountain, books I've read in each month, that kind of thing. While starting the list of books read for Jan 07, I found that I have some short comments on some of those books posted on Library Thing, so I'm going to pop them in here, mostly so that I can link to this post on the one over there.

The Marriage Spell - Mary Jo Putney (DNF)
I actually really enjoyed what I read of this. It's just that around half way, I got distracted and skimmed ahead to find out what happened. After that, I didn't feel interested enough to read properly through to the end of the book. So don't let this review or rating put you off. This was a nice book in a nice setting that I think I would have really enjoyed and possibly recommened at a different time.

Demon Angel - Meljean Brook (8/10)
In a very ambitious first novel, Brook pulls off most of the things I suspect she set out to achieve. She has created a fascinating, complicated world and peopled it with equally fascinating characters.

Readers briefly met Lilith and Hugh in Brook's entry in the "Hot Spell" anthology. Here, their history is fleshed out in a series of short pieces that bring us up to the current day, where the main story begins.

Lilith is a demon bound to tempt humans to their own destruction; Hugh is a Guardian, bound to protect those same humans from the likes of Lilith. For all that, there is something between them from the first time they met when Hugh is still human, a naive 17 year old in the reign of King John with an innocence Lilith is sent to destroy. He in turn becomes determined to save her soul.

Eight hundred years later, Hugh is no longer a Guardian and Lilith is bound to kill him. None of this makes an easy beginning for a love story, but Brook crafts a lovely one here.

There are first time author problems in this book, mostly in pacing and clarity. Sometimes I struggled to be sure just what was going on - especially with all the bargains and wagers and complicated motivations floating around - and I remain unsure if that was my lack of understanding or the auhtor's lack of clarity. I expect the truth lies somewhere in between.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and I know I'll be buying more of Brook's work in future.

Crossing the Line - Trista Ann Michaels (8/10)
I like this series. Nice world building (although as a sf/f reader I would love more detail about it and its history), very engaging characters, hot sex and the hint of lots more tales to tell. I'm going back to read book one now.

Bound to Trust - Jaci Burton (7/10)
I chose this one to fit the mood in and because it looked like it might be fun. It was. Amusing but without any major depth, although the characters were appealing.

Star Crossed - Trista Ann Michaels (8/10)
I read book 2 of this series first, mostly for something to try and found I liked it. I went back to book one and I liked this one even more. To quote my comments on "Crossing the Line": I like this series. Nice world building (although as a sf/f reader I would love more detail about it and its history), very engaging characters, hot sex and the hint of lots more tales to tell.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Title:Natural Born Charmer
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Published: Feb 2007
Grade: 7/10

Series: Chicago Stars/Bonner Brothers, Book 7

First Line:
It wasn’t every day a guy saw a headless beaver marching down the side of a road, not even in Dean Robillard’s larger than life world.

Why I Chose this Book:
I've heard a lot of romance readers mention Susan Elizabeth Phillips are her books always sound kind of fun. When I do read romance, I read paranormal or historical, so I wanted to give a contemporary one. This is SEP's latest and it was in the library, so I decided to give it a go.

When millionaire Dean Robillard meets Blue Bailey, she couldn't be more down on her luck; her ex has stolen all her money and she's got no place to go. A football hero, Dean is taking a holiday while recovering from a career-threatening injury. He'd planned a solo road trip to get his head together. The last thing he needs is a damsel in distress tagging along for the ride. However, despite Dean's misgivings the two find themselves thrown together and soon Blue has moved into his home and is merrily turning his world upside down. Their attraction is mutual but can their relationship really survive when the only other thing they have in common is their distrust of love?

My comments:
This was a fun read.

Phillips has a snappy, cheerful writing style that flowed into her story, even when it was covering less than cheerful moments.

Both the hero and heroine were immediately interesting people - Blue with her odd name and her beaver costume, and Dean who is so initially amused by her. Their dialogue is immediately snappy, yet each seems to have an instinctive understanding of the other. The story soon shows that they both have more problems understanding themselves.

While Dean and Blue are the stars of the book, Phillips makes all the background characters fun and interesting as well. I did feel that this was occasionally to Blue and Dean's disadvantage as some time that could have been used getting to know them better was sacrificed for the sake of the secondary characters.

Since those secondary characters made a sparkling cast I didn't really mind. Each one of them made an impression and it was nice to see them grow towards their own happy endings as Dean and Blue worked on theirs.

By biggest complaint was that I sometimes got a tell-not-show feeling from the text - not in regards to the plot, but in terms of the progression of Dean and Blue's realtionship. I felt I knew what was developing between them more because the text told me, than because I could see it for myself. But at the same time, I bought into it completely, and was very happy to see them happy together.

I can't really explain it, I think there was just a slight feeling of something not having been done quite as well as it could have been. But that didn't stop me liking the book and I'll happily read more of Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Nita Garrison was a wonderful character, and quite delightfully real. On first meeting she's a nasty old lady, but as time progresses we see what's hidden underneath, and that she keeps underneath instead of miraculously opening up and becoming sunshine and light as might have been done with her. Yet it is easy to believe it when Blue reveals that she's been anonomously helping the needy in the community for years.

So while I haven't given this a really high grade, mostly due to that elusive "something missing" feeling I'm left with, I really enjoyed the book. I read past my bedtime last night and had to make a conscious decision to stop instead of just keeping going until I was finished and paying for it in the morning.

I like SEP and I'm sure I'll be reading more of her work, although probably from the library at this point.

The Green and the Gray by Timothy Zahn

Title: The Green and the Gray
Author: Timothy Zahn
Published: 2004
Grade: 8/10

First Line:
The sun had long since set behind the trees of Riverside Park, on the western edge of Manhattan Island, and the lights of the New Jersey coastline were glittering on the Hudson River.

Why I chose this book:
I considered this when I saw it in my bookseller's catalogue as it was being published in paperback. I thought the story looked interesting and I knew I found Zahn nicely readable after reading his Star Wars trilogy a number of years ago. But I didn't have the budget to take the chance at the time, so I let it be. When I saw this on the shelf in the library, I grabbed it, happy to be able to read the story after all.

For seventy-five years the Greens and the Grays have lived quietly among us in the shadows of New York, alien refugees from a war of attrition that utterly destroyed the rest of their kind. Passing as everyday citizens, yet with powers and technologies unknown to humanity, each group has long believed that they are all that remain of their old world and their terrible conflict.

But now, to their mutual surprise, they have found each other, and the old hatreds and fears have once again risen to the surface.

And each side is preparing again for war.

On a cold October night, Roger and Caroline Whittier, a young couple struggling with their marriage, are accosted at gunpoint, and an unexpected burden is thrust upon them: Melantha Green, a twelve-year-old girl snatched from the hands of a peace coalition consisting of both Greens and Grays. The coalition had been preparing to cold-bloodedly sacrifice her in a last-ditch effort to prevent the impending battle...and it desperately wants her back.
As Roger and Caroline strive to protect Melantha and to understand the alien cultures they have suddenly been thrust into, they find aid in unlikely places. They're joined in their efforts by NYPD Detective Thomas Fierenzo, who's determined to prevent what he believes to be an impending gang war, and by Otto Velovsky, a former Ellis Island clerk who was present at the very beginning of the aliens' new life on earth.

Unlikely allies,unlikely heroes...and they have just one week to find a way to prevent New York City from becoming a battlefield the likes of which the world has never known...

My comments:
I certainly wouldn't have thought I'd wasted my money if I had paid for this. There are three phases to the story here, and the first and third appealed to me most.

The story starts as Roger and Caroline, New Yorkers with a stumbling marriage, are walking home from a night at the theatre. They suddenly find themselves guarding a young girl whole has marks on her throat to suggest someone has just tried to strangle her.

As they try to find out what has happened to Melantha and what they should do next, the questions get more and more puzzling until they find themselves unravelling a strange mystery with an answer they can't quite believe - that two factions from a war on another planet have settled in Manhattan and having recently discovered each other's presence, are about to renew their war. With Melantha as a bargaining chip in between.

Roger and Caroline become futher embroiled in the building danger and are forced to rediscover each other and their own personal strengths as they attempt to find a way to prevent extra-terrestrial war from exploding in the middle of New York.

The book has a copyright date of 2004 and there is a clear resonance here to the attacks of 911 and the hold that day has left in the New York skyline and psyche. It's is laboured, just touched upon, but the link is there and I feel it strengthens the book rather than making light of such real life tragedy. (Although, I accept that as a non-American I may read that differently than some other readers would.)

I thorougly enjoyed the first half of the book, as Roger and Caroline, along with a New York detective working on an initially seperate track of investigation, slowly unravel the mystery of Melantha and the Greens and the Grays. However, I found myself feeling rather bogged down in the third quarter as that time was spent mostly of figuring out everyone's motives, tactics and lies. Once that was fairly much sorted and the action got underway again to try to stop the brewing war, I felt the story picked up again and I was soon enjoying the ride again.

This isn't a world shattering novel, nor does it break a lot of new ground (although the final revelation of the origins of the Greens and Grays was a clever twist). Instead it is an entertaining read with a solid plot and an interesting set of characters. Pick it up, sit yourself down and enjoy the read.

Monday, April 02, 2007

April Plans

Over on From Our Blog 2 Yours at Sweet Shoppe Designs, Aggie asked what people's April plans were going to be. At that point our life was rather in flux and I didn't really have any plans at all. That changed on Saturday, and now I have the major points on the month sorted out.

You see, on Saturday we got a letter from the children's hospital giving us a date for Marcus to have his adenoids and tonsils out. He's had breathing issues from before day one when I was being given steriod shots to fast-track maturation of his lungs when it become clear he was going to be born 13 weeks prematurely.

While he was only on a respirator for about 4 hours, we was on CPAP for 6 weeks or so and on low-flow air for the better part of another month. All his prematurity issues have related around this or side-effects of this.

Many have resolved themselves or been corrected but the latest (and hopefully the last) is taking out his adenoids and tonsils. He'll have to stay in for at least 24 hours as they monitor how his breathing adjusts to having the obstruction removed as right now the pressure involved is really high and he'll have to learn to breathe at a lower pressure.

He has to be at the hospital at 7.30am on 18th April.

We had been waiting to find out the date before making Easter plans, but now we have it we're going to go down and stay with family for Easter before coming back up here and getting ourselves ready for the operation.

He has a busy week before the op, with a meeting with his Early Intervention Assessor on the Monday, an appointment with his Speech Therapist on the Tuesday and then hospital and the operation on Wednesday. (And the kid is only three!)

Then he needs to stay home for at least 10 days to recover and adjust, which takes us up to the end of the month. Since I usually use his daycare days to get some rest to recover from his home days, this is going to be hard on both of us. Dave is taking the rest of that first week off so we'll both be home on the first few days, which will be good. After that, we'll have to see how we manage.

So we've got a busy and, for me at least, slightly scary April ahead of us.

But if this does as much good as everyone hopes (Marcus sleeping properly which means Kerry and Dave sleeping properly and an improvement in Marcus' oxygen uptake and hopefully his speech as well) it will be well worth it all.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I'm Sorry

I'm Sorry
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

For the Sweet Shoppe Designs Sugar Free Challenge #9 (28 Mar 2007)


Last week, I saw the ENT for the results of your oximetry test. He said that while your breathing issues weren't critical, your oxygen uptake was really quite bad and he wants to take out your adenoids and tonsils as soon as possible. He wants to do it at Starship because they have an ICU on hand if it is needed. You see, the pressure is so high when you breathe that your body will need time to adjust to the smaller effort required to breathe once the obstruction is removed. There is a very small chance that this could lead to you dragging fluid into your lungs at first before you adjust. They will need to monitor you, and take you to ICU if that does happen.
Last night, you were upset and I let you fall asleep in our bed with me. I was lying there, listening to you breathe and I realised that I could hear how hard you were working to draw air into your lungs with each breath. I am just horrified that I didn't figure this out months ago. It's been like this since you were little, you've been having apneas all along as well, but because I'd got used to that when you were in the NICU, I just ignored it and chalked it up to being normal for you. I am so very, very sorry that I didn't figure it out sooner. I could have done something earlier and made your life so much better before now. I wish I'd been a bit quicker on this, but I wasn't and all we can do now is get on with fixing the problem.

Paper from "Sweet Memories" by Nancy Kubo; stamped alpha is "Real Stamped Alpha" by Lisa Whitney; button alpha is "Bubble Alpha" by Stephanie Burt; flower from "Flower Patch" by Dani Mogstad; butterfly from "Felty Flies" by Dani Mogstad; heart from "Beaded Hearts" by Amy Martin; photo frame from "Vintage Frames 2" by Nancy Comelab; font is KGD Kerry Print.

The Artist at Work

The Artist at Work
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

For the Sweet Shoppe Designs Spin-a-Lift (18 Mar 2007)

This is a spun lift of Dia's Butterfly Bush.

Doodled paper from "Prince Edward" by Katie Pertiet; green painted paper from "Artsy Fartsy Vol 1" by Lisa Whitney; yellow painted paper from "Artsy Fartsy Vol 2" by Lisa Whitney; fold template by Karah Fredericks; paint brush and paint strokes from "Brush Strokes" by Kim Hill; paint drops on brush from "Rainy Days and Mondays" by Dani Mogstad; paint splats from "Paint Splats" by Kari Q; doodles by Carrie Bombria; alpha is "Plasticine Alpha" by Nancy Comelab; fonts are Pea Lacy and BabOonjaZzbaSsoOn.


Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

For the Sweet Shoppe Designs Cookie Decorating 101 Challenge #5 (28 Mar 2007)

It was a delight to see the joy on your face when we visited Butterfly Creek.

Based on A Mother's Heart by Raine O'Dell; template by Teresa Ferguson; butterfly from "Painted Butterflies" by Amber Clegg; right side orange paper from "Love Me Tender" in the "This Love" collection by Dani Mogstad; middle orange paper from "Solids" in the "This Love" collection by Dani Mogstad; left orange paper from "Summer Sunsations" by Jen Reed, Jeanine Baechtold and Krista Mettler; brown journalling paper from "Backyard Explorer" by Lynn Grieveson; scalloped brown paper from "Fudge Dream Supreme" by Robin Carlton and Lauren Grier alpha is from "As Time Goes By" by Megan Willmann; font is KGD Kerry Print.

Butterfly Creek

Butterfly Creek
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

This is a lift of MandaBean's Papa's Peaches.

Everything is by Tracy Ann Robinson. Background paper from "Peek-a-Boo Lovelies"; frame (recoloured), small pink butterfly and spotted tape from "Recall" in the "Memories are Made of This" collection; large purple butterly, flower tape and overlay (altered) from "Recollect" in the "Memories are Made of This" collection; cardboard and flowers from "Revisit" in the "Memories are Made of This" collection. Fonts are Beautiful ES and Beautiful ES Caps.


I have come to realise that I enjoy reading about books almost as much as I enjoy actually reading books.

I can waste hours reading blogs that talk about books.

There are so many books out there that I will never read and this gives me a chance to find out a little more about them. It also introduces me to books I might want to read and sometimes to a new author or series I would never have found otherwise.

But mostly, it just lets me read about books as opposed to reading books.

I don't read a lot of Romance (I mainly read paranormals, which probably shows my fantasy/SF reading roots), but I love reading about it. I love reading the various discussions that rage in blogland about it and I have a bunch of romance blogs on my RSS reader. I especially love Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels which provides a wonderful, healthy dose of snark with intelligent discussion.

Then there are those dangerous things - people's blog lists on their own blogs - which can take me on all sorts of interesting travels to a huge variety of blogs. It was while following the links on Reading Adventures this morning, while conscious that I wasn't actually reading my current novel, that I realised just how much I enjoy reading about books. I'm still exploring all the links Marg has provided and finding several more to add to my RSS feeds.

Between scrapbooking blogs, book blogs and stitching blogs, I spend quite a bit of my time reading what other people have to say. I guess it's no wonder I don't seem to get as many actual books read as I used to do.