Sunday, April 27, 2008

RT Book Reviews 2007 Award Winners

The Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention just concluded this past week in Pittsburgh, PA. At the convention they announced the 2007 award winners. Here are some of the highlights of books I thought were fabulous. It's nice to see these author's talent recognized.

Best Contemporary Romance: All About Evie by Beth Ciotta
Best Vampire Romance: Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward
Best Paranormal Romance: Touch of Madness by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp
Best Romantic Intrigue: No Regrets by Shannon K. Butcher
Best Urban Fantasy: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Best Urban Fantasy Protagonist: Rachel Morgan from For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison

If you're looking for a new book to read you can't miss with one of these.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This American Life

My sister got me listening to this very cool radio show on NPR called This American Life. It's the most quirky, different and interesting show on the radio. You can hear the most random stories about life in America that are entertaining and thought provoking. Also, I have to confess that Ira Glass, the host of the show is my geek crush. The show has gained so much in popularity that it's now on Showtime. You can get the podcast (like I do) of the show on iTunes if you can't be bothered to find out the schedule on NPR. Check it out, it's pretty great. 

If you want a little taste of Ira's sense of humor and bit of what the show is about, you can see him on a recent episode of Letterman:

Monday, April 21, 2008

From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

I was so happy when my review copy of From Dead to Worse showed up at my door. I've been a fan of the Sookie Stackhouse series from the first book and I've come to really like all of Charlaine Harris's books. She has a few other series that she writes that are all a little bit different but have her signature sense of humor.

In this 8th book of the series, Sookie finds out she's not as alone as she thought she was. Two people enter her life that have the potential to change just about everything. One of them (I think) explains why vampires like Sookie so much. The other person (I predict) will be someone that she can really identify with and will have a very big impact on her life in a positive way. Sookie seems to have crap luck with men yet again when Quinn goes MIA after they survive the bombing of the vampire summit in Rhodes. In addition, her dumb ass brother makes her pay for his own foolish mistake. If that's not enough, former boyfriend and werewolf, Alicide Herveaux draws Sookie into a violent power struggle in his pack.

I feel like there's so many things I can't give details on otherwise it will spoil the book for you. The bottom line is that it's a great story. Charlaine deftly manages to avoid the pitfalls that other authors have experienced when their series goes hardcover. She keeps things fresh and interesting but at the same time bringing you back to a familiar world. Definitely A+. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Contests at Harper Collins: Win a Camera, a Tropical Vacation or a Birkin Bag

I'm going for the Birkin Bag myself. I may just have to check out the book Bringing Home the Birkin as well...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

High Noon by Nora Roberts

Dear Author and Smart Bitches recently held a March Madness style tournament for books. One of the books that made it to the finals is High Noon by Nora Roberts. I figured if it was that popular with readers I should check it out. This book reminded me a lot of Blue Smoke another book by Nora which scared the crap out of me. If you haven't read High Noon, in a nutshell it's about a woman who was held hostage as a child (along with her mother and brother) by the mother's deranged ex-boyfriend. The lead negotiator on the case became a father figure in her life and she eventually joined law enforcement herself and became a negotiator. Since it's romantic suspense there is a crazy bad guy who wants to kill her, as well as a handsome entrepreneur as the love interest. Drama, chaos, and romance ensue with the requisite happy ending. Add a dash of Savannah southern flavor and you have a best-seller.

I really did enjoy parts of this book but there were some pretty disturbing scenes as well. It started me thinking about romantic suspense in general and I think I've come up with the equation for this genre:

1 lovely young woman who can take care of herself! 
1 gorgeous man who is not put off by above young woman's independent streak 
1 psychotic a-hole who wants to PUNISH! and or KILL! the lovely young woman. He cannot be dissuaded from his goal because he is INSANE!
= Romantic Suspense a la' Linda Howard, Shannon McKenna, and Nora Roberts

I think the bottom line for me is that there has to be a really compelling story to make me forget the stress of waiting for the insane killer to strike. Shannon McKenna does a great job with this and as a result is a writer who has made my auto-buy list. I think I'll stick to Nora's romance for now.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Book Crafts

I like to think of myself as a crafty person but I'm really not. I don't have enough patience to stick long term with hobbies or even enough to do a project for more than a few hours. I admire people who can make neat handmade stuff though, so I read the Craftzine blog. They have a project posted today where you can make a handbag out of a recycled book. For all you crafty peeps or crafty wannabees like me take a look at this project. There's even a video tutorial.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Linda Lael Miller Books & Scholarship

Until a few weeks ago I had never read anything by Linda Lael Miller. Her books for the most part appeared to be historical westerns and that's not a category I like to read. A friend loaned me her book Deadly Gamble and I really enjoyed it. I think one of the reasons I liked it so much is that it's set in Cave Creek, Arizona. It's part of the Phoenix area which is where I lived for many years. There's a little extra draw for me reading books where I'm very familiar with the setting. The other bonus was that it was not a historical but set in present day. 

I never would have picked up the book on my own since it looks like a western. That brings me to a pet peeve of mine; books whose covers in no way reflect the actual content. Just looking at the cover you'd think it's about a cowgirl who lives in an abandoned desert town. The story is actually about Mojo Sheepshanks (who does not wear chaps, by the way), a young woman with a mysterious past and a wacky alias that she chose for herself as a child. She has a few unique gifts including getting slot machines to pay out for her and talking to dead people. Mojo is the kind of heroine I like, nothing keeps her down for long. It's a great series that's more mystery than romance, I've already read the second book Deadly Deceptions and I'm looking forward to the next one. A cool tidbit about the author, she gives scholarships for women seeking to improve their lives through education. For more info you can visit her website

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

RWA Fights Illegal Downloads of Romance Novels

Romance Writers of America is listing the sites where you can illegally download romance novels in an effort to "fight" the growing problem. Umm, so why are they telling people where to go to get free stuff? Just sayin...

Read the full article at Publisher's Weekly.