5/28/10

Jeaniene Frost: Book Watch

I am officially a Jeaniene Frost fangirl. I blasted through all of the Night Huntress books in one gluttonous rush. I've read the first Night Huntress world spin-off and even downloaded the first Cat and Bones book in audio format from audible. So, of course, I am now impatiently waiting for any new books set in that world.

Here's what's coming:

July 27, 2010
Eternal Kiss of Darkness
ISBN: 978-0061783166
Format: Mass Market Paperback
List Price: $7.99
(Currently 10% off at BN for preorders and 25% off at Book Depository!)
#2 in the Night Huntress World spin-offs. This one is about Mencheres.

It's also available at Borders, Powells, and Booksamillion.



August 3, 2010

Death's Excellent Vacation (anthology) ed. by Charlaine Harris and Toni Kelner.
Contains a Cat and Bones short story. Oh, and there's a few stories by other authors also. *g*
ISBN: 978-0441018680
Format: Hardcover
List Price: $24.95
(Currently 45% off at Amazon and Barnes and Noble via Preorder)
More buying choices: Book DepositoryBorders, Booksamillion, Powells



February 22, 2011
Cat and Bones #5

*sniffle* Yeah, it's really 2011!

Also, there's a novella set outside the NH world. It's in an anthology called Haunted by Your Touch, which has a release date of October 26th, 2010.

Disclosure: other than the Amazon links, I do not earn any commission for the book links provided. I just thought I'd include as many choices as possible for those interested. :)

My Husband's Birthday Present

Ok. I try not to do any product recs here, although I do post a cookbook review or two. But I just had to post something about the newest BBQ gadget I bought for my husband's birthday. It has a really long name: The ProQ™ Cold Smoke Generator. A fancy, technical name for what has to be the coolest, low tech BBQ gadget ever. Seriously.

My husband is the chef in the family. His spareribs are famous among our family and friends. He has a smoker, a grill, and just about every gadget known to man. But what he didn't have was a way to cold smoke effectively. Until now.

I ordered a Cold Smoke Generator directly from the UK for him. And by the end of the day I gave him his present,  I had enough smoked cheese for our house and most of the family. There's no learning curve. It is so simple to use. My husband could not be happier. And I get him to cook for me, which makes me happy, too. [ In fact, he asked me to post a blog review, he was so happy. The only time he's ever asked me to do so.]

You can find the ProQ Cold Smoker Generator at MacsBBQ. It uses a really fine sawdust that I was unable to find locally, though, so I ordered some from a site called Smokinlicious. If I hadn't already bought this for his birthday, it would be a great Father's Day present.

Note: It took about 3 weeks for delivery from the UK, but I have a feeling the delay was due to the Icelandic volcano, which disrupted air travel and airmail worldwide.

5/27/10

Smart Bitch Sarah's Summer Bookclub

Okay. I'm not much of a joiner [everyone who knows me is now gasping in fake surprise]. But here's a book club idea I can get excited about.

Smart Bitch Sarah, of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is hosting a romance book club all summer long. And, yea for me, I've already purchased the first book she's picked, One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare.

To find out more about the club, and the way cool partner Allromanceebooks.com, please click on the banner below.

Sizzling

Dark Lover by JR Ward [audiobook]

I've already read Dark Lover in print format, but the great thing about audiobooks is that you often get an entirely different experience listening to them--as if they are a completely different book.  I don't often listen to male narrators. I'm not sure why, but I tend to prefer women as narrators because too often the men employ an annoying falsetto for the female characters. Luckily, Jim Frangione does not do this. But he does have an understated style that takes a bit of getting used to. And an almost William Shatner-esque cadence to his speech that--once I got used to it--I found quite charming.

Dark Lover is the first of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books. And, as most BDB fans will tell you, it's not the best of the series. But, surprisingly, I enjoyed this book more on audio than I did in print. There's just something about the format that helped me focus on the words instead of the sometimes annoying extra H's in the names or the over-the-top product placement that the series is known for.

Before deciding to purchase (or rent) this, I highly suggest going to audible.com and listening to a preview. It will help you decide if the narrator will work for you.

Dark Lover is available in CD and cassette format direct from Recorded Books. You can also find a much more economical digital download on Audible.

5/26/10

Hump Day Classic Movie: Summer School (1987)

Viewer warning: Summer School really is quite a silly movie. But!! You should still watch it because of the following:

The cast.

This film stars Mark Harmon at the height of his 1980s popularity. It also stars Kirstie Alley. But the reason I have a twinge of nostalgia here is the presence of Patrick Labyorteaux as a teenager. I loved him in JAG as Bud Roberts, and he was just as adorable here. Mark and Patrick definitely look quite different from the few NCIS/JAG crossover episodes.

Also making an appearance is Courtney Thorne-Smith from Ally McBeal.

Plus, the fake attacking bunny scene is a classic. This film falls into the 'so awful it's funny' category, but I love it anyway.

5/17/10

Review: Love in the Time of Dragons by Katie MacAlister

Disclosure: This book was purchased by me, so the FTC can't say anything about my ethics. *raspberry* The book was read and reviewed while under the influence of serious cold medication, though, so be on the lookout for more than the usual ramblings.

Katie MacAlister's Dragon series is one of my absolute favorite paranormal series. And while I loved the Aisling Grey, Guardian series (featuring the green dragons), the Silver Dragons trilogy just didn't have the same spark. I picked up Love in the Time of Dragons anyway (Look at that cover, YUM) and was surprised to see it was a novel of the "Light Dragons."

Who?

Granted, it's been several months since I've read (or listened to the audio versions of) any of the Dragon series, but I could not remember a Light Dragon. So either I'd missed a major something or I'd just lost my mind.

Turns out I wasn't crazy after all *whew* The Light Dragon sept makes an appearance in this novel and feature two characters that we see but never really get to know in the Silver Dragon trilogy: Baltic and Ysolde.

5/14/10

Cookbook Review: Absolutely Chocolate: Irresistible Excuses to Indulge

From the editors of Fine Cooking magazine comes Absolutely Chocolate: Irresistible Excuses to Indulge. And that is a good description of this book: indulgent.

Although there is not a photograph of every recipe ( my preference) the photographs that are there are gorgeous. Whoever did the art direction for this book played up chocolate's inherent sensuality because--DAMN.

This isn't a book to be taken lightly. Everything is pretty much from scratch and the recipes are, for the most part, at least a medium skill level. Also, most of the recipes call for expensive ingredients--the amount of chocolate alone for each recipe is sometimes more than $10. But for when you want to  pamper yourself with a big, gooey, sticky chocolatey...something...this is your book.

There are some unusual takes on the classics as well as some great standard chocolate favorites.

My Grade: B

Digital galley provided by the publisher via Netgalley

5/13/10

BN.com changes shipping promo

I admit it. I was a bit peeved to find out that Barnes and Noble had stopped offering their "Fast and Free" shipping service for orders over $25. Living where I do, fast delivery was the primary reason I chose Barnes and Noble over the plethora of other online book vendors.

They still offer "standard" free shipping with a $25 minimum, but so does everyone else.

So, why did they change? They moved that 'fast' delivery as a member benefit to their Membership card program. The one with the $25 fee.

It seems they are taking a page out of Amazon's playbook with this move. And it doesn't make me happy.

I don't believe in paying a fee for a loyalty card. Ever. Either the store offers deals and service that I like or they don't. I don't want to be strong-armed into paying for a card that then requires me to be "loyal" to that company in order to make my investment pay off.

Which is why I'm not an Amazon Prime member either.

Initially, I expect to see an increase in BN Membership sales. (Formerly Readers' Advantage). Then I expect BN to increase the cost of the card.

Yeah, I'm an optimist.

That's not to say there aren't advantages to BN Members. In addition to the tiny discount members are given(for in store purchases ONLY), they are now getting free 3 BUSINESS day shipping from BN.com. With no order minimums. That's a good thing for existing cardholders. And much cheaper than Amazon's nearly $80 membership. But BN's fast delivery is not 2 day delivery. Or really 3 day delivery since it is only business days and itoften takes them 2 days to ship. Which means it could take up to a week to receive your books--even with the faster options.


B&N Membership Information

Review: The Vampire and the Virgin by Kerrelyn Sparks

Kerrelyn Sparks is usually a go-to author for quirky, sometimes hilarious vampire novels. They always have substance and serious issues, too, but the books are usually so filled with charm that they end up feeling lighter than they really are. I'm not quite sure what happened with this book, but it is clearly NOT light, not funny, and ultimately not as good as the rest of the series.

The book opens with Robby MacKay, a character from several previous novels in the series, intent on revenge for the torture he endured at the hands of the Malcontents (bad vampires). Also a vampire, Robby is just now recovering from his wounds and, due to lingering anger issues, is sent by his boss (and great, great grandfather) Angus to a remote Greek island for four months of physical rehabilitation and mental healing. While there, he meets Olivia Sotiris, an FBI agent with a paranormal ability of her own, who is also recovering from emotional trauma on the island.

5/10/10

Review: A Lady's Guide to Improper Behavior

It's not often that I am both entranced and repulsed by a heroine in a romance novel. Usually I either love them or hate them. Theresa (Tess) Weller is a heroine that I think might rub some readers the wrong way, but a character I both loved and wanted to smack upside the head.

Our hero, Colonel Bartholomew (Tolly) James is much more evenly appealing. The book opens with him--wounded quite badly and the sole survivor of a massacre-- hiding out in the Adventurers' Club, away from the sympathy and pity of his family. His family's persistent requests for his presence, though, force him back home where he encounters Tess Weller at a dinner party. Despite being rude and provoking a mild argument, he seems to capture the attention of Tess--someone who is never rude, always proper, and is somewhat obsessed with remaining a paragon of unexceptional behavior.

Review: the Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter

I really wanted to like this book. I've heard great things about the author. Great things about this series. But unfortunately, The Darkest Passion failed to connect with me.

My main problem was with the angel, Olivia. Her naivete came across as blond bimbo-ish instead of unworldly. And her abrupt transition into a sexual being didn't help that impression. Aeron's character was better, but still lacked the emotional depth I was expecting.

 It could very well be that this book was not one to read out of order. It is not a stand-alone story but part of the Lords of the Underworld series. There was such an excess of back story here that the main characters got lost. The romance got lost. And I got lost as well. There was simply too much going on and very little emotion involved in any of it. At least between Aeron and Olivia.

The book did improve, but it wasn't until the last 1/4 that I felt at all connected to the characters. And, for the most part, the characters I connected with *weren't* the main characters, but those on the edges of the story.

Considering the number of people who love this author and series, I'm thinking it's just me. This didn't work for me at all.

My Grade: C-

5/5/10

Hump Day Classic Movie: Encino Man

Ok, I'm stretching the definition of classic quite a bit here. Encino Man came out in 1992 which means it is a mere 18 years old. But what makes this  a classic for me is the number of film quotes I have in my personal lexicon that came from this movie.


A few caveats for those who haven't seen this movie yet.

1. It is a teen comedy. Meaning it lacks a lot of emotional depth and the plot (as always) seems to revolve around girls and being popular.

2. It has Pauly Shore in it.

3. It is not politically correct. Not even a little bit.

4. The plot is sheer farce and incredibly silly.


On the plus side, though, this is one of Brendan Fraser's first films. It also stars Sean Astin and Michael DeLuise. And although I usually dislike Pauly Shore, this is a part tailor-made for him.  The movie as a whole is charming, funny, and very memorable. Not something I often say of a teen movie.

The European version of the film was called California Man.

5/4/10

Review: First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost

Spoiler Warning: Do not read this review or this book unless you've read At Grave's End. Or you don't care about having a significant plot point spoiled.

I was a little reluctant to read this book after I finished my Cat and Bones marathon read. I'd read the reviews posted by admitted Frost fangirls and was almost regretting the fact that I'd already purchased the book. Most of the reviews were less than stellar. They spoke of disappointment and annoyance. Of being let down. Of sub-standardness.

Again, it's probably because I haven't been waiting for months on end for this book that I think I might have a different perspective here. This is not and was never meant to be a Cat and Bones book. For one thing, the Night Huntress books are written from Cat's first person POV. This book is written in the 3rd person. So you're not going to get the same connection from it that you do from the NH books--because you're not hearing Cat's snarky one liners.

Gifts for the Baker