Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Check out Denyse Bridger's latest - REBEL HEART

I discovered author Denyse Bridger several months ago when I selected her Amber Quill Press book, HEART OF STONE, for Romance Junkies review. I loved her voice and was immediately hooked; I have since read three more of her books, ANY OTHER WAY, MIRAGE, and most recently, REBEL HEART. I highly recommend any of these books, but REBEL HEART should not be missed. Once you have read REBEL HEART, be sure to check out the continuation entitled REBEL KNIGHT, available on Denyse's website. I have loved it so far, and anxiously anticipate each new installment. Not only is Denyse a talented author with the ability to write heartfelt emotion, but she is just plain nice, a real sweetheart who truly appreciates her readers! I do hope you will check out Denyse's website, look at her extensive book list, and take a minute to visit her blog - there are links to both below. I am also anticipating Denyse's upcoming book SIMPLY THE BEST, an erotic/action novel to be released by Liquid Silver Books, and I would encourage you to keep an eye out for it.



This is my Romance Junkies review for REBEL HEART (4.5 Blue Ribbons):

When a beautiful young woman's life is shattered at the hands of a violent man, she never would have guessed that it would be the loving hands of another man who would put her back together.
Francesca "Frankie" Daniels was furious when her trusted old VW failed her by having a flat tire, in the middle of a violent thunderstorm, to boot. Her anger quickly turns to fear when she hears the roar of a motorcycle engine approaching. That motorcycle is carrying Nick Red Cloud, a gorgeous man whose every movement shouts the self-confidence of a man who is very comfortable with his masculinity. When he offers Frankie a ride to her house, she eventually accepts, seeing how the rain and wind have turned her into a sodden, frozen mess. Frankie is an emotionally damaged young woman after a violent attack and rape several years prior by someone that she trusted and looked up to. Extreme fear kept her from pressing charges and also prevented her from allowing herself to get close to anyone after. While she is extremely attracted to Nick, she is equally cautious and slow to let down her guard.
Nick Red Cloud is looking for Frankie, tracking her for a client of his investigative firm. He did not intend to fall for this beautifully feminine woman, but her gentleness and vulnerability were a pull that he could not resist. When he unknowingly brings danger and violence back into Frankie's life, it becomes apparent that she will probably never forgive him, or trust him again.
REBEL HEART is an emotionally charged example of the writing talents of Denyse Bridger. Frankie has dealt with the upheaval in her life resulting from the attack the only way she knows how. She sheltered herself from anything or anyone who could hurt her, virtually living in a self-imposed seclusion. Nick unintentionally brings past threats back into Frankie's life, and although he doubts that she will ever want to see him again, he is determined to see her attacker prosecuted and punished, and needs her cooperation in order to make it happen. Frankie has to face the demons from her past so she can move on with her life and allow herself to have a bright, love-filled future. Nick's tenderness is touching and sweet; he is patient and kind, passionate in his pursuit of Frankie's heart. Frankie's pain and fear is realistically written and her softening under Nick's gentle attentions is heartening. I recommend this book to those readers who enjoy tender romance, sizzling passion and a touch of suspense.

I feel I should note that there is a somewhat violent rape scene in a flashback that involves the heroine, but not the hero. It is essential to understanding Frankie's emotional state. I personally did not find the rape scene to be troubling or offensive.

Thanks for checking it out!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Memorial Day - Don't forget our heroes

Memorial Day. The day we honor those who have served our country. Do you go to your local parade to wave to the proud men and women as they ride by in convertibles? Do you wave a flag as they proudly march in uniforms that usually don't fit quite as smoothly as they once did (but are still worn with pride)? I hope you do. In my community, the Memorial Day parade is the least attended parade of all, which is just sad and, I'm sorry to say, speaks volumes about our society.

I am admittedly a huge marshmallow when it comes to pride in my country. My favorite song is God Bless America and I get teary-eyed every single time I hear it. I put my hand over my heart when the Star Spangled Banner is played, which draws the occasional odd look from some. I love our flag and display it proudly - my girls like to tease that someday I'll be one of those old people riding on a scooter with an American flag flapping in the wind behind me atop a six foot pole. Let's hope not.

Anyway, if you can't make it to a parade or a ceremony this weekend, maybe you can spare just a moment in silence, and give thanks for those who have served, fought or sacrificed themselves for our freedoms and to make our country what it is today.

The above photo is from the Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C.; I put it there in honor of my father who died in 1978. He proudly served as a sailor in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. I miss you, daddy.

Have a fun, safe holiday weekend!

God Bless America.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Brenda Novak's auction to benefit the JDRF

Author Brenda Novak is once again holding her online auction to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (http://www.JDRF.org). Brenda's young son has juvenile diabetes so this project is very close to her heart. The auction is approximately at the halfway mark, and I encourage you to check it out. There are many wonderful items up for bid and while a few are a little pricey for the average person, it's ok because there are plenty items that are very affordable. Thank heavens for those people with the fatter wallets who are able to bid generously! I was the successful bidder for some great books last year and am faring well so far this year on several items. Below is the link to Brenda's auction site - go, shop, bid!!


I have diabetes and I have three friends whose children were diagnosed very early in their young lives as having juvenile diabetes, so I can vouch for the importance of research funding in an effort to fight this very serious disease.

Thanks for checking it out!

Have a terrific, safe weekend,

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Author Jo Leigh needs information on amputation

From Jo Leigh:

I’m going nuts trying to find someone, anyone, to help me with the research on amputation. It’s so critical to the book that I can’t possibly complete the book without it. I’ve posted on loops and here, and all I can do is ask for one last favor from my kind friends - please, if you have a blog, if you have a writer’s loop, could you please ask if anyone can help? Maybe they know someone who’d be willing to talk to me? I would appreciate it more than you know. I’m at the end of my rope.
Here’s what I’m looking for - someone who has direct experience with a hand or arm amputation. They can reach me at jo_leigh@infostations.com.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Quote, please, I need a quote!

I have been too busy at work and in my personal life with kids, housework, book reviews, to put more than a sentence or two together coherently so I'm going to share some of my favorite quotes.

I don't know where the first one came from. My friend April gave it to me when my favorite aunt, one of the most important people in my life and who understood me far better than my own mother, died a little over three years ago. The pain was crushing and this brought some comfort.

they are not
the stars,
but rather openings
in Heaven
where the love
of our lost ones
pours through
and shines down
upon us
to let us know
they are

This one is just silly fun:
I'd rather be a could-be
If I cannot be an are;
Because a could-be is a maybe
Who is reaching for a star.

I'd rather be a has-been
Than a might-have-been by far;
For a might-have-been has never been,
But a has was once an are!
Milton Berle

One of my favorites (oh, how true it is):
"Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped."
Elbert Hubbard

Don't tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish.
Mark Twain

This one is in honor of my hubby, who is closing in on 8 months of being smoke-free - my hero!
Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times.
Mark Twain

Sometimes it's like you're a big pie settin' on the table, and everybody runs up and gets their piece of you. When it's over, the plate's empty.
Loretta Lynn

A goodie from Ivana Trump when asked about her preference for dating younger men: "I'd rather be a babysitter than a nurse."

Do you have a favorite quote or saying? Come on and share!!
I hope everyone has a terrific day!

Friday, May 12, 2006

May 13, Stamp Out Hunger!!

Tomorrow (May 13) is Stamp Out Hunger day - please don't forget to leave a bag of canned soups, veggies, tuna, meats and/or boxes of cereal, rice, mac and cheese, etc. for your postman to pick up. No glass or foods that have gone past their expiration date. Now why would anyone donate something old anyway? Probably the same people who donate stained, outdated clothes and worn out shoes to the Goodwill. It's insulting to those in need, as if they don't deserve better. Just throw it away, asshole!

I recall one Stamp Out Hunger day several years ago when I placed my bag next to the mailbox. I saw my daughters each make an additional trip to the curb and thought they were so thoughtful to add more to the bag. Oh yeah, they were very thoughtful - every can of tuna, peas, green beans and lima beans was gone from my cupboard. Funny how the Spaghettios were still there. Stinkers, both of them.

I hope you'll open your cupboard tomorrow and help fill your local food bank.

Have a terrific weekend!


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ciar Cullen's The Biggest Kahuna

I don't know who has or hasn't read Ciar Cullen (fka Therese MacFarland) http://ciarcullen.com/, but if you haven't, I would suggest that you stop unknowingly torturing yourself immediately and check her out. I've recently (yesterday) read her latest release, THE BIGGEST KAHUNA and have already started to reread it. This is a new release from publisher Loose Id - check it out here - http://www.loose-id.com/detail.aspx?ID=239 Now I don't hold myself out to be a huge fantasy/paranormal fan, but Ciar's work is too much fun and too cleverly written, to ever miss.

My favorite of her books is THE GHOSTS OF KEY WEST (THE BIGGEST KAHUNA runs a very close second). I still feel that GHOSTS is one of the best ebooks I've ever read. Also by Ciar and not to be missed are (from Samhain) THE WIZARD OF TIME, THREE NIGHTS IN GREECE, MAYAN NIGHTS, and OUT OF MY LEAGUE. Ciar's upcoming releases, THE SERPENT HOUSE and LORDS OF CH'I also look to be great and I'm looking forward to reading them as well as two books that I haven't read but have heard unending praise for - THE PRINCES OF ANFALL and DARK PRINCE OF ANFALL.

KAHUNA takes place on the island of Maui, where Shark God, Kalahiki Kamahoili and his sister, Pele, the Volcano goddess, have spent the past two thousand years. When Nikita Michelson leaves Chicago and an ugly divorce behind her for a new start in Maui with her brother and his family, she isn't looking for love. Love is exactly what she finds though in Kal, who adores her and wants to spend eternity with her. Kal has only loved two other women in his two thousand years, and neither was willing to make the sacrifice necessary to gain immortality. He isn't sure he can withstand the heartache of losing Nikkie, but it doesn't look as if she's keen on the idea of sacrificing herself to the volcano in order to be with him forever. The secondary characters in this book are priceless and I can't wait to read more about Pele, who is written with incredible bite.

While you're checking out Ciar and her books, please also look at her new blog - it's great fun!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Bad Boys of Summer

June brings the release of another great Bad Boys anthology; BAD BOYS OF SUMMER offers up the talents of Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy and Amy Garvey. While it's no secret that I've been a huge fan of Lori and Erin for several years, this was my first time to read Amy Garvey and I enjoyed her story very much. I hope you'll read my review and be persuaded to get your own copy; this is a fun book with a multitude of emotions.

Kensington Publishing Corp.
June, 2006

LUSCIOUS by Lori Foster. When Bethany Churchill moves in with her twin sister, Marci, the last thing she expects to find is a man who is interested in her. Not her gorgeous, self-assured, confident sister, but her. SWAT officer/landlord Lucius Ryder, also known as “Luscious” to the all-women tenants in his apartment building, wants Marci for the magic she can work with his newly acquired, badly abused dog. Marci has the gift of “reading” dogs, understanding what is troubling them and what makes them happy. Lucius wants Bethany strictly for himself and once he sets out to seduce her and prove to her how he feels, she is more confused than ever. Once you throw in the eclectic personalities of the women in the apartment building, Bethany’s lack of self-esteem, Lucius’s abundance of self-confidence and the dangers of his job, you have a well-rounded story with all of the feel-good qualities that Lori Foster is known for.

IT’S ABOUT TIME by Erin McCarthy. Prosecuting Attorney Trish Jones has been stood up. Again. After waiting for an hour for her date, she makes her way to Ryan’s Pub. There she runs into Caleb Vancouver who, with empty beer bottles covering the bar in front of him, appears to be successfully drowning his sorrows. It turns out that his ex-wife is getting married the next day and he’s trying not to think about it. Trish eventually gets him sobered up and they enjoy the rest of the evening in pleasant conversation. After last call Trish drives Caleb home, to her home, and they spend an incredible night together, followed by an incredible morning. When Caleb hears Trish make a flip comment about their relationship to her friends, he doesn’t understand why his feelings are hurt when he has only known her a scant number of hours. But he’s determined to turn those hurt feelings around and convince Trish that there is something unique between them that is worth pursuing. It promises to be fun, especially when Erin McCarthy is the one getting them together.

WISH YOU WERE HERE by Amy Garvey. Photographer Mackenzie Pruitt is excited to begin renovations to the beach house she has inherited from her deceased aunt. Her top priority is getting the ramshackle backyard shed spruced up to use as a cozy little photo studio. When carpenter Leo Dawson shows up to do the work, Mackenzie is certain that he is the most gorgeous man she has ever seen. These two are steam-worthy from the word go and begin a red-hot relationship almost immediately, but Leo is hiding a secret and there’s no way they can have a future together until he is willing to share his past with Mackenzie. Amy Garvey’s contribution to this anthology is a wonderfully romantic story that practically sizzles on the pages.

This book should be required summer reading; whether you toss it in your suitcase, read it in the car, or tuck it in your beach bag, you’ll be glad you did!


Friday, May 05, 2006

Mammo Update

Had my special views mammo this a.m., the radiologist read it while I waited and then sent me up for an ultrasound. Said the ultrasound confirms that there is something there, but he suspects it's just a cyst. I'll go back for a recheck in six months. Very stressful morning.

Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers, they are very much appreciated!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend; I'm just about to take off for OU. Be safe.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

The middle-aged co-ed, one woman's story

I'm off to college this weekend! Actually I'm going to Mom's Weekend at Ohio University http://www.ohio.edu/ where my oldest daughter, Lindsay, is a sophomore. I went last year and had a blast. OU has the most beautiful campus, a charming little downtown where every other business is a bar, pub or tavern (of course, it is #5 on the list of party schools nationwide), and is surrounded by scenic rolling hills and valleys (aka "hollers" to the locals).

There are always a gazillion activities going on, but come Mom's Weekend they pull out all the stops. We can't begin to do every single activity, but some that we are participating in are the Walk for the Cure on Sat. morning, in benefit of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and after freshening up we are going to two craft markets, one consists of women-owned local businesses that offers clothing, jewelry and crafts, another craft show which is touted as offering "fine arts and crafts," that will be followed up by another visit to the syncronized swimming exhibition by the OU swimmers (you may laugh, but we went last year and it was very impressive). Sat. night will probably be wrapped up at a small downtown coffee shop called The Donkey, which has live entertainment on the weekends.

My day tomorrow will start at the gym, since I can't go Saturday morning as usual, I'm making up for it , then home to shower before going to the hospital for my special views mammogram. After that I'll be packing up for my special weekend with Linny! My best friend since 11th grade is going with me, she'll act as stand-in mother for Lindsay's roommate whose mother isn't going. A good time is guaranteed!

I hope everyone has a terrific weekend! Be safe if you're on the road.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Jill Shalvis Rules with AUSSIE RULES!

Jill Shalvis has an upcoming release (June '06), AUSSIE RULES, another excellent book that I have been fortunate enough to review. This is a great book with a bold heroine who is the character bringing emotional baggage into the storyline. Her struggles are excellently written, as are the pain and weaknesses of the secondary characters. I have read all but two of Jill's books, and have yet to be disappointed. My very favorite of her books is a little SIM titled SERVING UP TROUBLE, and I can't begin to count the number of times I've read it. It is just plain sweet, but isn't lacking when it comes to emotion, suspense and sensuality. For now though, I suggest that you go preorder AUSSIE RULES - below is a link to Amazon together so you can do that as well as a a link to Jill's website. Be sure to check out her blog, where you are guaranteed a chuckle as she shares almost daily stories about her wonderful family and their beautiful mountain home.



This is my Romance Junkies review for AUSSIE RULES:

AUSSIE RULES by Jill Shalvis is the endearing tale of a high-flying, independent woman and the Aussie who broke her young heart years before. Surprisingly, he might just be what she now needs to stay grounded.

Melanie Anderson’s entire life has always revolved around flying, even if it is on occasion flying by the seat of her pants. At 26, she is the owner of Anderson Air, her very own charter service. Unfortunately, her business and the other businesses in the airport she manages are barely scraping by. Mel works extra hard to keep things running, because the handful of employees she has are like family to her. The woman who practically raised Mel and owner of the airport, Sally, has gone missing leaving Mel with huge responsibilities. Just when Mel doesn’t think the situation could get worse, it does. Bo Black returns to town. He was the object of Mel’s affection years earlier and then he broke her tender heart and left. As if Bo’s return isn’t bad enough, he brought with him the deed to the airport. He claims that Sally lost the airport to his late father in a bet; making him the current owner.

Bo doesn’t waste time trying to track Sally down, he believes she may be in possession of some extremely valuable property of his father’s. He is also quick in attempting to rekindle a relationship with Mel as the cute sixteen-year old girl he left ten years ago has grown into a beautiful, sensuous woman.

Mel’s nature is to protect her heart since it has been broken so many times by those she cared for; she is very slow to trust and even slower to love. Bo is a determined man and eventually Mel’s resolve begins to soften. Will Bo be able to convince her that he truly wants her and not just the secrets that are hidden at the airport?

Jill Shalvis has the incredible talent of creating characters who are intelligent, quick-witted, and gorgeously sexy while giving them just the right amount of weakness to keep them from being unrealistically perfect. The secondary characters in AUSSIE RULES are strong enough to be requisite to the story, but they do not overpower Mel and Bo or the feelings that they are discovering for each other. Readers witness Mel’s painfully damaged emotions soften and grow for Bo and will admire Bo’s sweet sensitivity to Mel’s feelings.

AUSSIE RULES is a book that I will be rereading in the future; it has all of the characteristics that earn Jill Shalvis her very own row on my keeper shelves.

Monday, May 01, 2006

In Search Of . . .

my inner skinny woman. I know she's in there. Somewhere. Through diet and exercise I'm trying to get her to show her face. Oh, but she's a stubborn little lassie.

A long-time friend and I have been going to a women-only workout center three times a week for two months now. I know what you're thinking. A gaggle of geriatrics in jogging suits on exercise bikes, sweatin' to the oldies. Nope. We have a circuit of weight machines, steppers, joggers, exercise balls and yes, there are exercise bikes. We love it! We're all ages and we laugh, joke, commiserate and support each other for the hour we are there, with no hulking, sweaty men around to see us sweat, jiggle or to lift our weights aside with their pinkies so they can lift their 2,000 lb. weights. No one thinks anything of it if someone has to run to the restroom before doing the leg press. I have an exercise ball at home that I use every night to do crunches and I've been walking my ass off, up and down the stairs, around blocks and blocks, and across huge parking lots. My basset hound Fred has even lost some weight since he is my not-so-enthusiastic walking partner. He would rather watch me roll around on a ball in the living room from the comfort of his doggie bed than be an active participant in my quest for good health. The cat can't even watch me on the ball - she simply leaves the room. It's not pretty.

I've seen a few pounds fall off, but the inches are finally starting to melt off and I feel very good about myself and my progress. Someday I just might be able to trade my 2 liter belly for a 6 pack of abs. Hell, who am I kidding? - I'd be happy with a single frozen juice can.

What do you do in the name of fitness and exercise?