Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SARBC Discussion: Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught

Welcome everyone to the Shaymless Aymless Romance Book Club discussion for September 2009.

Kati of Katidom selected Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught.

The Official Blurb:

The Countess of Havenhurst possessed a rare gentleness and fierce courage to match her exquisite beauty. But her reputation is shattered when she is discovered in the arms of Ian Thornton, a notorious gambler and social outcast.

A dangerously handsome man of secret wealth and mysterious lineage, his voyage to Elizabeth's heart is fraught with intrigue, scandal, and a venomous revenge.

Destined for each other, yet wary of each other's motives, Elizabeth and Ian engage in a dance of suspicion and passion that tests the very soul of their star-crossed love. As a twisting path of secrets takes them from London's drawing rooms to the mysterious Scottish Highlands, Elizabeth must learn the truth: is Ian merely a ruthless fortune hunter at heart?

Read excerpt here.

******************** DISCUSSION AHEAD ********************

1. Was this your first McNaught novel? If so, what about it worked? What didn’t?

2. McNaught’s heroes are famously dominant and have been described as “asshats” before. What did you think of Ian Thornton? Did he work as a hero? If not, what aspect of his personality didn’t work for you?

3. Throughout the book, Elizabeth finds people underestimating her. Did you find her reaction/manipulation of that fact to be funny? Or have a negative reaction to it?

4. One of Judith McNaught’s most famous writing tropes is the B.R.G. (Big Romantic Gesture), Almost Heaven is no exception. Did you find the BRG to be romantic? Give some examples of your favorite BRGs in romance.

5. Almost Heaven has one of my favorite epilogues. Do you enjoy epilogues in romance?


Monday, September 28, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

The first week of work went well as did the first official weekend after starting work. Found another kindred spirit and we visited each others homes to ogle each others books. What fun! And tried an Indian place (not bad but not spicy enough). But wouldn't you know it as soon as I relaxed that evil thing called the "Migraine" struck and incapacitated me for three days. *ugh* I really hate them and still think decapitation would work but its just too permanent a solution to really be feasible. I suppose it was just too much change all at the same time.

Week two was topped off by a lovely surprise from my newest book buddy with a copy of Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs ((((bookbuddy)))). Which I promptly devoured as soon as the weekend started (and of course I read it all in one sitting). Then on Sunday I went and found the nearest Trader Joe's (about one hour and 15 minutes away). A bit far for everyday stuff but close enough that I can stock up on Nuts about Antioxidants trail mix monthly. *happy dance* So its off to week three.

The much anticipated (by me) Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre is out tomorrow. Now the big question is do I go out and buy it tomorrow and stare at it for the rest of the week as it sits next to the reading chair whispering my name (which also sounds a lot like that little voice telling me that ice cream doesn't have calories) or do I wait until Friday to swing by the bookstore? Oh the agony!

And to think I will have to do this next week as well since Demon Forged by Meljean Brook is out the 6th (another Tuesday). *sigh* (And not to mention Deep Kiss of Winter being out the following week then Queen of Song and Souls two weeks after that... nope not mentioning those books and none of those gotta haves in November either... nope no mention of Blaze of Memory here at all... none!)

Much will power will be involved these two weeks since I know once I open the little devils I'll have to read them all the way through. Perhaps is best that I not buy them until the weekend...

but what if they sell out!?

Well it's a college town and there are many bookstores...

and many more readers...


Must buy, then hide until the appropriate time...
must not open books until after work on Friday...
*squints eyes and crosses fingers*

And don't forget to come by on the 30th for the Shaymless Aymless Romance Book Club discussion. We will be discussing Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TBR Challenge 2009: Countdown by Michelle Maddox

Published: August 2008 by Dorchester

Number of Pages: 293

Genre: Futuristic Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Stand Alone

Why This Book: Eve Kenin (aka Eve Silver) told me to read it at the 2008 RWA book signing because I liked her Shomi releases a lot. I am such a good, obedient little reader.

From the Author Site: THREE
Kira Jordan wakes up in a pitch-black room, handcuffed to a metal wall. She has 60 seconds to figure out how to escape. Thus begins a vicious game where to lose is to die.

The stranger she’s been partnered with—her only ally in this nightmare—is a convicted murderer. But if he’s so violent, why does he protect her? And worse yet, what is it behind those haunted sea-green eyes that makes her want to protect him?

No one to trust. Nowhere to run. And the only hope of survival is working together to beat the COUNTDOWN.

Hero: Rogan Ellis is a convicted rapist and serial killer who had completed four years of his 5oo year sentence in a maximum security prison before he became a contestant on a killer, literally, reality show called "The Countdown". Once a playboy with no care in the world but his pleasure and now a harden con with an agenda. But he has to survive the game. As the story unfolds you can't help but root for him and really want him to survive the game and come out on top. Too bad he was tied to Kira is so many ways.

Heroine: Kira Jordon was orphaned at 15 after her family was brutally murdered during a home robbery. She's survived by becoming a shoplifter and pickpocket. Now her only chance for survival is Rogan Ellis, a mass murderer. Whiny and annoying, she wasn't someone I could really get behind. Way too much of the "poor little ole me" going on to make her a really attractive heroine. Rogan was too good for her.

Review: A good story about a reality show gone mad. What happens when you can pay to watch someone else struggle in real life or death situation where there is no good choice and stay anonymous while doing so. You have "The Countdown". All the contestants are the dregs of society, the killers, the rapist, thieves and generally the unwanted. Of course, watching them struggle with morally corrupt choices isn't too horrible.

Michelle Maddox created a fascinating world set in the not so near future (minus the whole space travel thing and other world bits). The reality show was truly horrible but I kept waiting for Kira and Rogan to win and get to "Offworld" where they would battle the true horror. But alas, "Offworld" was apparently the paradise that its was thought to be (or at least that is where the story left off and will most likely stay as the Shomi line died).

The concept of "The Countdown" reality show isn't new. After all horror, blood and violence sells. Make it exclusive and it sells like hot cakes. Throw in some sex and voila you make it irresistible. This storyline really worked for me as I am not a huge fan of reality shows, and in particular those that show people at their worse. This is a ultimate horror in reality show. I don't understand what about them that fascinates people. I like my story carefully scripted with 'real' actors. I suppose its like watching a traffic accident, the helpless horror of being the bystander unable to help.

What I liked best: Rogan. *sigh* What a hunk, even if his is a convicted serial killer/rapist! You like him despite his bad reputation. But then again maybe because of his bad reputation.

What I least liked: The whole existence of "Offworld". First the name is really lame and second this "new world" was discovered just prior to the Great Plague which killed off most of the population. With the sudden decrease in the population, how did people get to "Offworld" and how did travel between the two survive when the rest of the world fell into disarray and chaos and technology taking a nose dive. The whole concept just didn't work for me. Now if was like Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, I would have been much happier but then the whole story would have probably had to change. *sigh*

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: If you like the post-apocalyptic romance (yes, I know its very specific) then you'll probably like this one. Its certainly a genre with room to grow. I'm a big fan of the end of the world scenarios and what's better than romance after "the end" has occurred.

Grade: B-

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wanderlust Winner

The lucky winner of their very own autographed copy of Wanderlust is...

Drum roll please....


Congrats. E-mail me your snail mail at 2aymless at gmail dot com and I'll get into the mail.

Monday, September 14, 2009

First Day of Work

Had a successful first day of work! Didn't get to meet too many people since I spent most of it with the other six new hires. Had a quick little chat with the boss-type-person who promptly told me that I would be taking over some projects from a fellow co-worker "who sits here" (points at empty cube). So I'll be working closely with Mr/Ms Invisible for the next couple of days. I hope my communication skills are up to it. *g*

My cube-neighbors are funny (especially the one on the right-side) so I think working there will be fun. *crosses fingers* I wasn't able to connect with the one person I know so maybe I'll run into her later this week.

Still have one used copy of Lord of the Fading Lands and Lady of Light and Shadow to give away (just e-mail me your snail mail). And there is still time to enter to win a signed copy of Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre (details here).

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Just reminding all you folks out there that you have until end of day Monday (14th of Sept) to enter to win an autographed copy of Wanderlust! See details here.

Finally all unpacked and all the books put away into there appropriate spots. Due to some creative rearranging I have discovered lots of additional space for yet more books without having to go buy another book case (although I have tentatively scoped out a wall for the additional book case).

Boxes unpacked: 80-ish (I packed 65 and what the movers packed - they really really love packing paper, I made 12 13-gallon bags (49 liter) of the stuff.
Time Unpacking: approximately 24 hour (not counting eating and sleeping breaks)
Trips to the store for "things": 8
Trips to the grocery store: 3

During unpacking I discovered that I have four copies of Lord of the Fading Lands and three copies Lady of Light and Shadow. Why do I have so many?! And where were they before I unpacked them! *sigh* Anyway... I'm going to giveaway two copies of Lord of the Fading Lands and one copy of Lady of Light and Shadow. They are well loved (abused, depending on how you think of them). Its first come first serve. E-mail me your address and I'll ship them out on my next trip to the Post Office (sometime next week).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The BIG Drive: Part 5 and 6

The big drive is now over and I'm reporting to you from Indiana. (Thank goodness I was able to find free wifi at Barnes & Noble - books, coffee and free wifi could it get better?)

Highlights for Part 5:
1. After leaving Salina, KS it was more corn fields and what I later learned was soybeans.
2. Missouri is more interesting to drive through than KS. They have corn, soybeans and the occasional hill to drive up or around.
3. Weather was really lousy. Overcast all day.
4. Got to relatives hows (no wireless *sigh*) and lots of visiting eating and then some card play.

Highlights for Part 6 and THE END:
1. Discovered a used bookstore (A-1 Books) in Overland, MO (just south of St Louis). Acquired an additional 8 books and they were off my TBR list *smiles proudly*.
2. Discovered the leasing office closed at 5:30pm and that I really should have left earlier or skipped the bookstore (like that was going to happen).
3. Discovered the Pepper the Prius will indeed go over 100 mph (161 kph)*blink* and still get a fairly decent mpg averaging out at 41 mpg
4. As far as I have discovered there are no major highways that go through Bloomington.
5. The nice folks at the leasing office stayed open for me for an additional 15 minutes so was able to get keys.

1. Got lost trying to figure out where in the hell I'm living (apparently one should update their in-car GPS discs because if they are over 5 years old then its quite likely that some roads and places do not exist.)
2. Bought lots of bleach and bleached the hell out of the bathroom because I can stand any mold even if its in the caulk around the tub. Much happier now.
3. Discovered the whole foods grocery store and it's cheaper to eat organic in CA (go figure)
4. The aerobed worked great after figuring out how to keep it from deflating.
5. Movers will be here later today! Two whole days before the best estimated time of delivery!
6. Cable guy comes tomorrow so should have internet at home sometime tomorrow afternoon!
7. Already discovered a fairly decent used bookstore (The Book Rack) (across the street from B&N, sometimes getting lost has its perks).

Now off to buy some bathroom things and more groceries.

So the stats:
Distance: 2383 miles or 3835 km
Driving time (minus stops and detours): 35 hours
Books read: 2
Books acquired: 21

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The BIG Drive: Part 3 and 4 and Award

Didn't have time to access internet yesterday and woke with twitchy,itchy fingers. I think I may have been experiencing internet withdrawal.

Part 3 Highlights:
1. Woke up really, really early because my friend had to go pick up someone in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at 10am to start is fishing vacation. (yeah I wasn't too impressed with his vacation plan either, guess I just don't like fishing that much). And lets face it I really didn't want the responsibility of locking up his house. With my luck I would locked myself out and then would have had to wait for his house sitter to show up so that I could get the rest of my things.
2. Was the longest leg trip at 551 miles (887 km).
3. Lots of hills again (in the mountains, go figure) so mileage was okay (still averaging around 44 gpm)
4. Got to relative's house in the early afternoon. There was lots of visiting and gossiping then eating (wonderful meal with a great glass of wine) then more visiting and gossiping until it was past bedtime. Since was up really really early (before that big bright thing in the sky was even remotely visible).

Part 4 Highlights:
1. Had nice breakfast and was off at 8-ish (that bright thing was up and about)
2. Once out of the mountains it was very, very flat and quite boring. But not nearly as boring as the salt flats.
3. Not much in eastern CO or western KS. Corn and other growing stuff and some hay rolls and bales.
4. The Pruis does not like flat roads with no starting and stopping. Currently getting 42 gpm now.

Now only have one more night before hitting my new hometown. Completed 1725 miles of 2383. Hopefully there will be internet at my next stop but not counting on it. Stay with some more relatives so mostly will stay up yakking again and waking with those dang twitchy, icky finger.

Award *blush*: JennJ of Sapphire Romance Realm gave me a Lemonade Award!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The BIG Drive: Part 2 and an Award

I have official completed leg 2 of 6. Leg high-lights:

1. The Great Utah salt flats are really boring. Miles and miles of nothing but white stuff (that apparently is not snow *g*) on the ground. And really, really flat.
2. Averaging 44.4 MPG today. Lots of going up into a higher elevation.
3. There is supposedly a giant used bookstore in Salt Lake City. My friend gave me the choice of going to a high school football game or the bookstore. One guess which one I chose? Because everyone knows how much I loathe love football especially that stuff kids play.

And while I wasn't looking the lovely Leontine gave me an award.

"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all. "

My nominations go to:
KB of Babbling About Books
Donna of Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings
Lusty Reader
My Favourite Books
Orannia of Walkabout (although I think she already got this award)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The BIG Drive: Part 1

On my way out of CA I stopped at my local new & used bookstore (Bounty Books) and said a fond farewell to Darlene and Cindy. Of course I also walked out with eight books. ^_^

I have official completed leg 1 of 6. Leg high-lights:

1. The Sierra Nevada mountains are pretty. Lots of deep blue lakes and green evergreens.
2. Nevada is really boring to drive in. And they are doing so much road construction and have so many speed limit changes cruise control is almost useless.
3. Averaging 47.4 MPG (7.78 km/liter)
4. According to a billboard I saw, I've stop in the place that is "Half Way to Everywhere" Nevada. I'm thinking that its just another way of saying middle of nowhere. But that would describe most of Nevada.

And thanks for all the support. Moving to a new place won't be so hard with all of you out there. If I get lonely I know that all I have to do is go online and be instantly surrounded by my pals.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The BIG Drive

The car is all packed with all the necessities (books, some clothes, books, lotion collection, books, some munchies, books, computer, and books). My pretty little Prius has never been more than 380 miles (612 km for you metric folks) from where it was bought. And after nearly 5 years it only has 37,000 miles on it. So it a big adventure for the car as well!

Tomorrow I will be leaving my beloved Bay Area to drive almost all the way across the country to my new home in Indiana (2300 miles/ 3700 km).

And as my friend put it, I am going to be living in the middle of nowhere. *sigh*

Having never lived away from the Pacific Ocean I have no way of judging how close to the truth that is. I will be moving to a college town so it can't be that bad (crosses fingers) and I am within driving distance of Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinati which all have large airports with flights to "everywhere" (again previously mentioned friend).

So I'm off to start my new adventure starting tomorrow and who know what will happened. Hopefully only good things! *crosses fingers*

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SARBC: Book for September 2009

It's Kati of Katidom's choice and she's taking us back to the old school with an oldie but gooodie! The Shaymless Aymless Romance Book Club book for September 2009 is:

The official blurb:
The Countess of Havenhurst possessed a rare gentleness and fierce courage to match her exquisite beauty. But her reputation is shattered when she is discovered in the arms of Ian Thornton, a notorious gambler and social outcast.

A dangerously handsome man of secret wealth and mysterious lineage, his voyage to Elizabeth's heart is fraught with intrigue, scandal, and a venomous revenge.

Destined for each other, yet wary of each other's motives, Elizabeth and Ian engage in a dance of suspicion and passion that tests the very soul of their star-crossed love. As a twisting path of secrets takes them from London's drawing rooms to the mysterious Scottish Highlands, Elizabeth must learn the truth: is Ian merely a ruthless fortune hunter at heart?

Read excerpt here.

Copyright 2007 ID Media Inc, All Right Reserved. Crafted by Nurudin Jauhari