Showing posts with label NJ Bloggers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NJ Bloggers. Show all posts

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Minis: Sidecar by Amy Lane + Don't Say A Word by Beverly Barton

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. I'm late with my wishes since I haven't had a chance to really chat lately. Mine was quite nice! Nath, her sister Emilie and a couple of their friends came all the way from Canada and stayed over for a couple of days, and that's always fun for me. :) Then we had the opportunity to meet Christine and Mariana for dinner on Saturday evening and that rounded up the goodness of it all! We had a great time! Talked and ate, ate and talked! Of course I don't have any pictures! Nath and Christine took pictures because, unlike me, they are good at that. Maybe they can share those with you all later. :D

Anyway, I didn't really make the time for blogging, preparing my reviews for the week, or reading much during the weekend. However, here are a couple of mini-reviews about two books that I read recently.

Sidecar by Amy Lane (Click on title to read summary)

Sidecar by Amy Lane is a good story spanning a 25 year period of time. I really like the way Lane captured the time period (80's and on) by incorporating music, fashion and attitudes without overdoing it. The relationship between Casey and Joe was wonderful. I like that Lane features a bisexual character with some of the conflicts that present themselves along the way for a man like Joe who doesn't like to be labeled and who has needs that are different from Casey's. There are emotional moments galore in this story. Some of the conflicts are dramatic and a bit over the top at times, and the story is a tad over long. However, all in all an emotional and enjoyable read with great characters. (Dreamspinner Press, June 2012): Grade B-

Don't Say A Word by Beverly Barton (Click on title to read summary)

Don't Say a Word is Beverly Barton's last book, as sadly she passed away earlier this year. A romance suspense, it is part of a series, but as I found out it can easily be read as a stand-alone.

What impressed me the most about this story is how Barton had me guessing until the end as to whom the serial killer turned out to be in this piece. There are multiple murders to be investigated and the murders are gruesome! The story is told from three points of view, the heroine who just moved to town as a policewoman, the hero who is a member of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and a few chapters as seen from the killer's perspective. There are clues along the way, but there are also red herrings and they are good ones. So watch out for those!

I found that the romance was incorporated unevenly. It had a good beginning, a tough middle with little to no forward momentum, and then it moved rapidly toward the last third of the book with good results, although not with great sizzling moments. Overall, I enjoyed this book and consider it a solid read that I enjoyed on both fronts, but leaning more toward the suspense.  (ARC Kensington - Zebra, July 31, 2012) Grade: B

That's it for this Thursday. Ohhh, wait! Since I'm catching up, I'll let you all know what I'm reading. I'm all excited because I'm reading the latest western by Jo Goodman, The Last Renegade. I'm really enjoying it so far, but then I love my westerns and Jo Goodman is one of those authors that does it for me. Review to come! :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

This n' That: NJ Bloggers + Surprises & Thanks!

A week ago today, I had the pleasure of meeting with my fellow New Jersey bloggers. We are trying to meet at least once per season, if not more often, depending on our busy schedules. It was a pleasure meeting with Christine, Mariana and Natalie again!

This time Mariana chose the place and we met at The Melting Pot in Hoboken where they serve everything fondue! Cheese fondue -- just look at Christine's smile in the picture above! ;p We ended up having a yummy lunch filled with ooohs and ahhhs. Lunch was good, but the dessert was the piece de resistance! The Yin & Yang combination of melted white and dark chocolate was a sight to behold and I don't think there was enough left at the end to lick the bowl. LOL! We all loved it, and I walked away dreaming of strawberries and cheesecake dipped in chocolate. Check out my grainy pictures, doesn't that dessert look yummy?

Of course we also discussed books and our latest reads. Christine shared how much she enjoyed her latest read Eon by Alison Goodman, and she and Mariana recommended it to the rest of us. Natalie shared her surprise with her enjoyment of latest read Homefront by Kristin Hannah, and that turned out to be great because I just happened to have a book by this author in my bag of goodies that she took home with her! Mariana was all about our latest Internet Book Club read The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan, and I was waxing poetic about He Will Laugh by Douglas Ray and the merits of poetry (lol), plus the latest release by Victoria Alexander, My Wicked Little Lies.

We didn't exchange books this time, instead I just brought something for everyone and that helped me make room in my bookshelves. It worked out perfectly for all of us. :)

Thank you ladies for a great time! It was a wonderful, wonderful afternoon!


I do have two other great ladies I would like to thank. Back in November I put up two posts -- one post was about Pamela Morsi books I purchased and the other post about Mary Balogh books I received from my friend Reny. In one I mentioned that I had been looking for a particular book by Ms. Balogh, and in the comments area of the other there were some great recommendations from the wonderful readers/bloggers that visit.

As a result, I received two books in the mail from two generous and thoughtful ladies!

In the comments area of the Morsi post, JenM recommended The Charm School by Susan Wiggs (1999). When I mentioned that I had only read contemporary romances by this author, but had never read her historical romances, she offered to send me the book and did so immediately. I was quite touched by Jen's generosity!

At that time Jen also recommended Conor's Way by Laura Lee Guhrke, the latest rage around the web (going by all the reviews, lol). Hey Jen! I finally got that book at a great price... 0.99 cents for my Kindle. Thanks for the recommendation. :D

Then! I mentioned that I was missing Indiscreet (The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse #1) by Mary Balogh (1997), to complete the series, but that it was next to impossible to find the book at a reasonable price. Well, I received a wonderful surprise on Valentine's Day when a copy of this book arrived at my door all the way from Canada from sweet Ames! She found it at a used book store and thought of me. She made my day!

Thank you JenM and Ames for your generosity and thoughtfulness!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

NJ Bloggers: Dinner, Books and the Heat!

Christine, Mariana, Natalie and I decided to have our NJ Bloggers Summer's get together last Friday, July 22nd. It was the single, hottest day of the month in our area... that day the heat index hit 114℉ or 45.5 ℃ in our area. It was brutal! But, we were determined and met anyway.

Christine was coming from home, Mariana and Natalie were lucky enough to be working from home that day due to the heat, I had to go to the office but was released early -- by 3:30 p.m.  Unfortunately, buses were breaking down left and right because of the weather, and by the time I caught one and arrived home it was 5:00 p.m. and I was feeling a bit fried from commuting. Brutal!

After a quick shower and change, Christine and the ladies picked me up and we took off for our meeting place, Houlihan's in Weehawken. We sat inside because it was too hot for enjoying outdoor sitting that day, but our table had a wonderful view of New York City and the Hudson River, and soon we were all relaxing. We had a cozy, lazy time and all had tasty dinners and great drinks (I'm having one of those martinis next time, Christine!), and shared one of their delicious desserts (they're huge!). Our conversation strayed toward the personal, but I can say that we were all quite proud of Christine's dedication, persistence and how brilliantly she has met her athletic challenges. She was still sporting the identification number from her last endeavor, which was temporarily tattooed by the sun on her arm while she biked... I wanted to take a picture of it, but if you haven't figured it out yet, this is not a picture-taking group. [grin]

We left our bookish discussion and book exchange for later. This all took place after dinner while we sat on a bench by the Hudson River. Christine brought a whole box of books so we looked through those, chose our books and left the box in the trunk of her car. Mariana and I brought tote bags brimming with books, so all four of us settled down on a bench to check out what we wanted from each other.

Despite the sheer amount books available, this time I only chose six books that I've not previously read. From Christine's box I chose four historical romances:
  • With Seduction in Mind by Laura Lee Guhrke
  • The Seduction of An Unknown Lady by Samantha James
  • The Highlander by Heather Grothaus (new-to-me author)
  • Barely a Lady by Eileen Dreyer

From Mariana's books I chose two romance suspense novels by Linda Howard, plus a few first edition romances by Nora Roberts for my collection -- I've already read these books by NR and still have them all, most of them in collections of three, but I still wanted these! I split those with Natalie who is a great Nora Roberts fan and is still making her way through her backlist. Here's the list.

  • Open Season by Linda Howard (Hardcover)
  • Now You See Her by Linda Howard (Hardcover)
  • Local Hero by Nora Roberts
  • Untamed by Nora Roberts
  • Blithe Images by Nora Roberts
  • One Summer by Nora Roberts
  • Sullivan's Woman by Nora Roberts
  • A Will and a Way by Nora Roberts
  • Unfinished Business by Nora Roberts
  • Genuine Lies by Nora Roberts

I read Genuine Lies a long time ago and thought it was part of my collection, so when I saw it in the bunch I past it along to Natalie, who past it back to Mariana, who gave it back to me and somehow remained in my possession. I thought of giving the book to my daughter, but when I went through my books at home realized it was not there. How could that be? I MUST do an inventory of my NR books! So, thanks Mariana for insisting. You all know what that means, right? Now I have to re-read it. LOL!

Anyway while all this was going on, Christine, Mariana and I exchanged and shared impressions from our RWA experience about authors and books with each other and with our sweet friend Natalie who didn't attend. Plus, we shared our thoughts about our latest favorite books and reviews, grading reviews, ARCs, publishers and publishing... all of it as we perused and discussed some of the books we were exchanging, and tried not to think of the heat! By that time it was almost 10:00 p.m. and I'm pretty sure we were all thinking: water! shower! So, we finally drove away and said so long, hopefully until our next get together in the Fall.

One last thing... Happy Belated Birthday, Natalie!