Friday, December 02, 2005

November Book Review

I sure hope that in 2006, my reading totals go up...It's a little disheartening to see that my favorite hobby has taken a downward spiral this year...

6 books for the month but most of them were really good, so that's a positive. (smile)

Shopgirl by Steve Martin - 5/10

Stolen by Kelley Armstrong - 9/10

Rosie Dunne by Cecelia Ahern - 10/10

The Givenchy Code by Julie Kenner - 9/10

Dating Without Novocaine by Lisa Cach - 7/10

The Ex-Factor by Andrea Semple - 9/10

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Have people in general forgotten what having manners mean? Or have people become oblivious to saying thank you or please? Or do they just not care?

When I was growing up, I was raised to say please and thank you when asking for or receiving something. It's become a part of who I am today. Now, however, I look around me and see gratitude sorely lacking in people. It's sad to think this is what society has become.

Maybe I will just chalk it up to one more disappointment this year as this has been the year for me in disappointments. Maybe next year will bring out the manners in people. Maybe next year will find me being more reluctant in the area of gift giving.

Post Holiday Ramblings

Survived the holiday in one piece. Went to TX to see my parents. Had a good time but I really need to rethink the whole staying at their house next time. All of the cigarette smoke got to me and now I'm coming down with a sinus or upper respiratory infection, which is so NOT what I need.

Picked up some Zicam cough mist which seems to be helping the scratchy throat and cough and congestion. It's supposed to cut the life and symptoms of a cold in half. It's also supposed to reduce the severity of the cold.

I've reinjured my back today. Getting out of my bed this morning, I didn't have a light on and tripped on a footstool so I am back in pain but am taking the drugs left over from the last time. I am tired of this already. I've been using heat and ice alternately hoping that will help too and doing the exercises. I'll see how I feel tomorrow. If I still have pain, I will call Dr. White to get adjusted.

I bought a portable DVD player to use in the bedroom and also take with me on the plane when I go to Alabama in January. On the flight from Dallas to Phoenix last week, I was sitting next to a woman using a laptop to watch movies and thought it was a great idea to pass the time during the flight. Usually, I read, but sometimes feel nauseous after reading for too long on the plane. Happens all the time, especially if I try to read in the car. It's a Polaroid brand and has a 10" screen which is a pretty good size.

Friday, November 11, 2005

October Book Review

Here is my October reading review:

Conspiracy In Death by J.D. Robb - 10/10

Kill The Competition by Stephanie Bond - 9/10

Alone by Lisa Gardner - 9/10

Wedding Season by Darcy Cosper - 9/10

The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket - 9/10

Gobble Gobble Gobble

Oh my gosh, I cannot believe it is November and it's nearly half over already! Let's recap:

October was pretty good. Divorce was finalized on the 13th. Rob and I had been talking about going to counseling to see if we can rebuild our relationship. Decorated my apartment for Halloween and it looked fabulous! Had a tarot reading party on the Friday before Halloween and that was a lot of fun with some friends. Looking forward to doing that again in about 6 months.

November didn't start out too well. By the 4th, I discovered that Rob betrayed me YET AGAIN! How do I fall for this shit over and over? Apparently, while he was making promises to me about wanting to be together and working out our problems, he was exploring his feelings for someone else! A different someone else, I might add, than the first skank he ran off with. He really is the most selfish bastard I have ever had the misfortune to meet. So, now, not only are we not going to reconcile, there will not be a friendship thanks to his lies. I would rather be friends with Charles Manson....

I also finished physical therapy for my back. Hopefully, there will not be any recurrences. With my back injury, there is usually an 80% chance, which frightens me somewhat because I never want to go through that again. I will be looking into taking some Pillates classes which come highly recommended to me from the therapist and doctor and chiropractor.

Now, here we are on the 11th. Happy Veteran's Day to all our brave armed forces personnel currently serving our country and to those who gave their lives to serve that didn't make it home and to those who have served in the past and are deserving of this day.

This weekend, I am going to a Harry Potter marathon with friends where we will engorge ourselves on food and watch the three Harry Potter movies to prepare for next Friday when the new edition comes out in the theaters, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire.

More later....

Saturday, October 29, 2005

All done

Got the final divorce decree in the mail signed by the judge on October 13. So, now it really is all done and over with.

Not sure if I am happy about it or not. Maybe a little happy and sad and still pissed off that it all came to this in the first place. If he would have just opened his damn mouth and started communicating, maybe none of this would be happening...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Red Wine

Numerous people have recently told me that one glass of red wine each evening has wonderful health benefits. OK, I'll sip....

The problem is I am in no way, shape or form a wine drinker so I have no idea what is good. I tried a bottle of imported Sangria that wasn't bad. I believe the brand was Carlos Real Garcia or something along those lines. Then another person told me to try Yellow Tail Shiraz which is an Australian wine. Don't care for that. It's too bitter. I think I am definitely favoring a sweet fruity tasting wine.

Where do I begin?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

September's Reads

I'm sad and embarrassed to report that I only read 5 books in the month of September and all of them were audiobooks so does that count? I say it does...the upside is that they were all really good so it's definitely time well spent.

Sense Of Evil by Kay Hooper - 8/10

Puppet by Joy Fielding - 7/10

Honeymoon by James Patterson - 10/10

4th Of July by James Patterson - 10/10

Ready Or Not by Meg Cabot - 9/10

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Can you believe it?

On my way out this afternoon to run a few errands and join up with friends for a BBQ. Stopped at the dumpster to drop off my household trash. Nothing unusual there. Noticed the dumpsters were closed which is usually a sign that they were recently emptied and saw several bags of trash lying in front. Still, I didn't think anything unusual as they probably fell out when the trash truck picked up the dumpster, right? When I got closer, I saw a bag and there was a book sticking out of the top. Upon closer inspection, I see the bag is full of books! Was someone going to throw out these books like they were trash?!? Seems like blasphemy to me to actually throw away a book! What else could I do but rescue those poor books and bring them home where I will register them at and find them homes where hopefully someone will appreciate them!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Books read in August

Didn't do too badly in August with my reading...the links will take you to the book on my virtual bookshelf so you can read comments about it.

Breakfast at Stephanie's by Sue Margolis - 9/10

No Second Chance by Harlan Coben - 9/10

Seize The Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon - 10/10

Undead And Unappreciated by MaryJanice Davidson - 8/10

Turning Thirty by Mike Gayle - 8/10


I don't know what I did but I have thrown out my back. Since last Sunday (Aug. 28), I have been in excruciating pain. I was sitting at my new computer desk and stood up to get ready for work when I felt a cramp in my right shoulder. Didn't think anything of it and started rotating arm and shoulder around thinking to work out the cramp when I feel a very sharp pain radiate from my shoulder down my back. Went to the doctor on Tuesday, August 30. He told me I had strained a muscle or pinched a nerve in my neck! My neck! What the hell medical school did he go to? Yeah, I know everything is connected but I have full range of motion in my neck and no pain there! It's my frickin back that hurts. He gives me a prescription for Soma which does absolutely NOTHING for me other than to make me feel loopy. So, on Friday, September 2, I go to a chiropractor. I am a complete and total chicken and have avoided going to such places because of the horror stories I have heard about them. I am surprised and amazed that this chiropractor is different and uses different methods. After the treatment, I feel pretty good. Really good as a matter of fact. I'm thinking, "Great! I'm healed!" That was probably my first mistake. On Saturday, it was starting to tighten up again. I went for a pedicure because they let you sit in a massage chair and that felt good but by Saturday night, the pain was getting intense so much so that I was taking Soma about every 4 hours. Nothing was helping. Not the Soma, not ice, not heat, not massage. By Sunday morning, the spasms were so intense and painful that I couldn't stand upright and I was in tears. My friend MaryAnn and her daughter Samantha were staying over for a girl's night so they called her husband Lee to come and take me to the emergency room. Rob was with Lee so he came along to help. We were at the ER for 6 1/2 hours. They gave me an injection of Demerol which helped, but I had a bad reaction to it and ended up passing out. They gave me 3 prescriptions (Percoset, Skelaxin, and Motrin) and the drugs seem to be helping much more than the Soma ever began to.

Monday was a holiday so I ended up sleeping most of the day and taking the pills. I was able to get a doctor's appointment for Tuesday. Rob took the day off and drove me around to the doctor and to get xrayed. I'm going back to the chiropractor on Thursday. My doctor told me to continue going to the chiropractor and depending on what the xray tells him, I may have to get an MRI done. So, needless to say, it's been a rough few days that I will be glad to be done with.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Today is 6 weeks from the day I ordered my living room and office furniture. When I placed the order in the showroom, I was told 4-6 weeks. Rob, the soon to be ex, tells me that his living room furniture was delivered just over 4 weeks from his order. So, for the last two weeks, I'm wondering where the hell my furniture is! I am sick to death of sitting on this piece of shit futon that has served as my bed and couch since March. Thank God the bedroom furniture came last month and I have had a real bed to sleep in or I would have taken hostages already.

So, here we are at the 6 week mark and my furniture is FINALLY in. I am going down there today to pay off the balance and schedule delivery. It will be so nice to have a real couch and chairs in the living room (though I have discovered that Rob and I have bought the same couch) and the room will actually take on the shape of a living room instead of a studio/dorm room look. I will also be able to FINALLY unpack the last several boxes of office stuff.

It's the little things that mean so much...

Monday, August 01, 2005

Bad Blogger...

I've been a very bad blogger, it seems. So much has happened since the last time I posted, I hardly know where to begin...

OK, where was I? House sold late June and I stayed with some wonderful friends who were so gracious to open their house to me while I was waiting for my apartment to become available. I moved into the apartment officially on July 1 and have spent virtually the entire month of July just acclimating to having my own place and being physically on my own for the first time in my life. Still not completely unpacked, though I am getting there. I've been buying new furniture and have received the bedroom set so now the bedroom looks like a bedroom. Still waiting on the living room and office. I found the most awesome rolltop computer desk at Ashley Furniture and had to have it. So I decided to scrap the dining room and use that space as an office instead. Unfortunately, if the rest of the furniture is anything like the bedroom, my next move will be a real chore. I am still amazed at the size of the furniture, though it fills up the space quite nicely.

Haven't gotten as much reading done as I usually do but I am hopeful that will change. In the month of June, I read:

Truth Or Dare by Jayne Ann Krentz - 5/10. The story was OK. It is the sequel to Light In Shadow and I enjoyed that one better.

Body Double by Tess Gerritsen - 8/10. Very good story featuring Boston PD Detective Jane Rizzoli. I really like this character and look forward to more books with her in them.

The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket - 9/10. I'm quite enjoying this series about the trials and tribulations of the Baudelaire orphans as they try to find some happiness while eluding the clutches of the evil Count Olaf.

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong - 9/10. First time read by this author and I was very impressed. This book is the first in her Women of the Otherworld series. Bitten features a woman who happens to be the only female werewolf in existence. She's trying to make a life for herself in Toronto when she is summoned back to the Pack to help them track down a rogue werewolf who is attacking humans. I will definitely be looking for the sequel.

Every Boy's Got One by Meg Cabot - 9/10. Very good story. I really enjoy this author. This book is written entirely in emails and journal entry format, which made the book easy to read. It's about a cartoonist who accompanies her best friend to Italy to help out with her elopement. Along the way, she meets and hates the best man...but not for long.

July was an even slower month for me in terms of reading:

Eleven On Top by Janet Evanovich - 9/10. Another action packed adventure for Stephanie Plum. Still no decision on whether she wants Ranger or Joe.

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison - 9/10. Another new to me author. This book reminds me of the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. Rachel is a witch who is also a bounty hunter who teams up with a vampire to go into their own business. Only problem is, the company they work for don't react too kindly to paranormals wanting to branch out on their own. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

Dead As A Doornail by Charlaine Harris - 9/10. Another good installment in the series of Sookie Stackhouse. This book finds Sookie trying to deal with the aftermath of discovering her brother had been bitten by a Were-Panther and will change with the next full moon. To make matters worse, someone is attacking and killing shapeshifters. Could it be her brother Jason? Sookie has to find out the truth before her brother is next or worse...her.

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling - 10/10. Fans of the Harry Potter series will not want to miss this sixth book. I found the story to not be a happy one so I am hoping that book 7 will tie up all of the loose ends and resolve the unhappiness.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Going, going, gone!

The house has officially sold! Close of escrow was yesterday and my agent called me yesterday to let me know that title recorded the deed at 4:20 in the afternoon, so it is now official. I am "homeless." LOL

So now, I am waiting for the title company to call me to pick up the check. I can't believe after all the stress of the entire process that it is finally done. Now, we can pay off everything and get focused on filing the divorce and starting over. Feels kind of good and a big relief to have it done now.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Feelin' Good

Actually have some good things to share...

1. After less than 2 days on the market, the house is under contract for $6000 over list price!
2. If all goes well, the closing will be around June 30.
3. Someone at work thinks I'm pretty special. I was given a beautiful arrangement of roses and baby's breath. The roses are dark pink with yellow blended in. Kind of a hybrid and they are just beautiful and it was so sweet to be thought of.

At this rate, I should acquire the winning Powerball ticket this week...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Books read in May

Read 7 books in the month of May...

THE SINNER by Tess Gerritsen - 8/10 - Another case featuring Detective Jane Rizzoli and Medical Examiner Dr. Maura Isles that involves the murder of two nuns.

THE KILLING HOUR by Lisa Gardner - 9/10 - Another case featuring Pierce Quincy and Rainie Connor and Pierce's daughter, Kimberly. In this book, Kimberly is more of the primary character as she discovers a body on the grounds of the FBI academy.

FASHIONISTAS by Lynn Messina - 7/10 - Interesting story that takes place at a magazine where an associate editor finds herself in the middle of a plot to overthrow the boss from hell. Some interesting characters and a surprise twist at the end.

JUST ONE LOOK by Harlan Coben - 8/10 - First time reading this author and it will not be my last. Centers around a character named Grace and what happens when a photo of her husband taken many years ago with a group of people ends up in a packet of pictures she picks up from having developed. When she asks her husband about it, he denies that it's him and while she is upstairs getting ready for bed, he takes off. This begins a huge chain reaction of events that leaves Grace trying to figure out what is going on and protect herself and her family from sinister people who won't stop at murder to protect their secrets.

THE SWEETEST TABOO by Carole Matthews - 9/10 - Entertaining story about an English woman named Sadie who meets an attractive LA movie producer. They fall in love and she moves to LA to be with him. Despite their best intentions, they can't seem to get together. Enter Tavis, an up and coming actor who Sadie develops feelings for but thinks he is gay. I enjoyed the triangle though I don't think I would have been able to choose between the two men because they both had great qualities mixed in with their faults.

MURDER LIST by Julie Garwood - 5/10 - Unfortunately, not one of Julie Garwood's better books. I struggled through this book and lost focus many times. There were so many sub-plots going on that I had difficulty following them all and trying to figure out what was connected to what. The story centers on Regan who attends a seminar with her friends trying to expose the host as a fraud. During the seminar, the participants are asked to make a list of people that if ceased to exist, the world would be a better place. Regan forgets about the list until the first person on her list turns up dead.

TALES OF A DRAMA QUEEN by Lee Nichols - 8/10 - Another new author to me. This was a light and entertaining story about a woman starting over after her fiancee marries someone else. The main character, Elle, can't seem to get her life on track or hold down a job. She seems to be a flake at times and full of high drama, but very likeable.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

So Surreal

Sometimes, I feel like my life has taken on a sense of the bizarre. I often wonder how it got to be this way with little or no effort on my part; almost as if I have no participation in it. Rob moved out on Thursday as planned. I've taken it a lot better than I thought I would. Maybe that's because he has been spending more and more time away from the house doing his own thing with the skank and less time with me. I have to keep reminding myself that I am better off without his sorry ass. I also have to keep remembering how he has lied and betrayed me. All of the early promises of his support, help and friendship are probably lies too. He knows of the tentative move of June 30 but he's already making excuses of "need to see what is going on" that I can tell he's going to cop out and not help with the move. He's gotten what he wanted. People helped him so when the time comes to return the favor, he won't. I suspected he would do this so I don't know why I am even surprised. Just one more lie and betrayal to add to the list. Now, this is where the bitterness kicks in...I so hope she rips his heart out and stomps it into tiny pieces. I so hope he learns how it feels to be betrayed. I cannot wait to shed his presence from my life.

Because he's already reneging on his earlier promises to help, I had to hook up the DVD player yesterday. In all honesty, if I had taken on a more active participatory role over the last 18 years when it came to the installation of electronics and other things, I probably would have saved a lot of money. In typical Rob fashion (which is giving no thought to cost or logic), he tells me I am going to have to buy a whole new TV because the one I inherited has only one outlet and the splitter as well as the AB switch I bought weren't going to work as the DVD player uses an S video cable. I bought an RF modulator kit and brought it home and hooked it up because he obviously can't spare the time as he said he would. The only snag I ran into was getting audio output during DVD playback. That was easily resolved by changing the audio output selection on the DVD setup menu. A major accomplishment I feel and just in time to watch the new Michael Keaton movie, White Noise, which was very good by the way.

Another sense of the surreal is it is still May and we are already in the triple digits. Today is supposed to get to 111 with heat advisories. God, I hate this state...

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I did it!

I put an apartment on hold with a tentative move in date of June 30. If everything goes well with the sale of the house, I should be in my new place then. I was so excited and nervous and scared to death at the same time. My leg was bouncing up and down, which is strange not only to experience but to see....

Anyway, the apartment is in the same building as the one I was hoping for earlier, but it's diagonally behind the other one. The only drawback is the balcony faces west so I will have to do something to minimize that awful afternoon Arizona summer sun. With every downside, there is always an upside, right? So, the upside is where the first apartment's balcony overlooked the parking lot, the one I have on hold overlooks a grassy courtyard area. Very pretty...another upside....the leasing agent told me that if for some reason, the sale of the house does not go through as anticipated and I can't move in on June 30, they will transfer my deposit to another unit. I won't have to forfeit the deposit as I was afraid I would.

Rob is moving out on Thursday into his own apartment in Scottsdale. Not sure how I feel about it other than it really will be for the best for both of us for him to go ahead and leave. Now, I only pray that everything else will move along smoothly and to my benefit. :o)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Busy day

Today was a busy day. The pool table is gone! A couple of guys from City Billiards showed up this morning before 0800 to dismantle the table and take it out of here for the new owners. The great room sure looks odd now. But at least we can move around the room easier and there is more room for boxes. Rob took the day off so after the pool table departed, we went to IHOP for breakfast and then to Walmart to pick up a few items for dinner. Came home and packed several more boxes. Found all of my Christmas wrapping paper, ribbons and bows, etc. and couldn't find a box that they would fit in and be waterproof so I ended up with yet another rubbermaid storage box. This one sits really low to the ground and has wheels on it. It's called an "under-bed storage box" though I don't know if it will be going under the bed once I move. Anyway all of the various sized rolls of wrapping paper fit perfectly and there was plenty of room for the other accessories. Much more organized.

Went up to north Scottsdale this afternoon to look at a couple of the apartment complexes that Rob is considering. I think it comes as a shock somewhat to both of us just what moving into an apartment is going to mean. Not to mention all of the fees and deposits and what not that we will both have to cough up for each place. This whole process has left both of us feeling a little shellshocked. I will be glad when it's done and we can both move on with our lives.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Trouble Concentrating

Been having difficulty concentrating on books. One of the things that ending a marriage reveals to a person is there are no more walls or barriers to hide behind; or a book to hide in. My mind has been so wrapped up in the dissolution of my 18 year marriage, that it has been hard to immerse myself in a book. For the past several weeks, I have been reading the same books:

Dog Handling by Clare Naylor
Getting Over It by Anna Maxted

No, these are not self-help books, but by guessing at the titles, you would think so....

Also listening to Whispers by Lisa Jackson

Hopefully things will settle down soon and I get back into the one true passion in my life and that's reading...

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Answered Prayers by Danielle Steel

This novel about a woman's quest to find herself was published in 2002, so I'm a little behind with this author's work. She publishes them so fast, it's hard to keep up...

Book Description: This novel is about family and friendship, about one woman's struggle to break free from the past -- and the man who helps her triumph. And most of all, it is about daring to believe in... ANSWERED PRAYERS. On the outside, Faith Madison is the very picture of a sophisticated New Yorker. Slim, blonde, stylish, Faith has a life many would envy. Overcoming a childhood marked by tragedy, married to a successful investment banker and having raised two grown daughters, Faith has enjoyed her role as mother and wife, and the good life that emanates from their bustling Manhattan town house. But every step of the way, Faith has carried within her a secret she could divulge to no one. And with it, she has kept an even more painful secret from herself. For Faith, it is the sudden death of her stepfather -- a man who, like her husband, Alex, always remained just beyond her reach -- that will touch off a journey of change and revelation. At the funeral, painful memories flood back -- and an old friend reenters Faith's life. Faith is greeting mourners, when she hears a voice behind her and a single word that brings a quick smile to her face: "Fred." Only one person aside from her older brother, Jack, called her that. Brad Patterson was Jack's best friend, a long, lanky boy who teased, tormented, and protected Faith when they fancied themselves "The Three Musketeers" as kids. When Jack died years later, Faith and Brad came together again in their common, inconsolable grief, then lost touch once more amid the demands of families and busy lives a continent apart. Now a lawyer in California, Brad has reentered Faith's life just as she is making a decision that plunges her marriage into crisis. Determined to fulfill a long-held desire for a career of her own, Faith applies to law school against her husband's wishes, igniting a barrage of anger and recrimination. Faith's only solace is the correspondence she has begun with Brad, a man trapped in an empty marriage of his own, a friend she once lost and has found again. Soon e-mails are flying between them, bridging three thousand miles, sharing much-needed friendship, support, laughter. And as these two childhood friends rediscover each other, something extraordinary is beginning to happen. In the safety of their friendship, Brad will find the courage to make a decision he should have made years before. And Faith, too, is changing, beginning to believe in herself -- and in her right to grab hold of her dreams. Gathering a strength she never knew she had, Faith is finally ready to face the most painful step of all: of sharing the secret that has long been haunting her, and truly opening up her heart for the first time in her life. With unerring insight into the hearts of husbands and wives, lovers and families, Danielle Steel tells a wise and moving story of the secrets that wound and the choices that heal -- and of the second chances that come only once in a lifetime.

Book Rating: 8/10 - Danielle Steel used to be an auto-buy author for me; I couldn't get enough of her books. Over the years, I found myself disappointed many times and the stories seemed to all sound the same. I was afraid this book would follow the same pattern. It starts out a little depressing with the history of Faith's marriage and how Alex treats her but then draws the reader in as Faith's journey to finding herself begins with her decision to go back to school. The reader is given an inside look into not only Faith's life, but her marriage of 26 years and what her quest to have a life does to her marriage. The reader is uplifted at the recollections of Faith's past, her painflul childhood, her brother, and her friend Brad, who reenters Faith's life when she most needs a friend. I thought the author handled the blooming friendship and enventually the romance with style and grace. I also enjoyed being drawn into Brad's life as well. All too often, a story centers around one central character with supporting characters adding flavor throughout. I enjoyed that the reader gets to know Brad and you see his personality come alive on the pages. The author has created characters in this story that the reader will care about. Overall, a very enjoyable story about family and friendship. Ironically, I felt many times while reading this book that my marriage held an eerily similar view as Faith's...

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

New Book Acquisitions

Went to the library to pick up some books today...I picked up:

The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket (Book #4 in the Series of Unfortunate Events)
Honeymoon by James Patterson
and several others that I had to return before due to running out of time.

Went to Waldenbooks to use a 25% coupon I received in the mail. I used it to purchase The Cat's Meow by Emily Carmichael. I have enjoyed this author's previous books featuring paranormal activity and animals and I expect this one will deliver.

Book Description: When a cat plays cupid, it means love with the PURRFECT stranger...

Sparks (and fur!) fly both in and out of the courtroom in this sparkling new novel, second in Emily Carmichael's "Hearts of Gold" trilogy....

When workaholic attorney McKenna Wright returns home from the hospital following a car accident, she has the sinking feeling that her road to recovery is going to be a long one. Her memory has more holes than a piece of swiss cheese; she can barely recall her own name, let alone the details of the big case she's been trying in court. And then there's the fact that her beloved cat, Nefertiti, has suddenly learned how to talk. Or is it that McKenna has suddenly learned how to listen? Not that she wants to hear what Titi is trying to tell her, because it just might turn her world even further upside down. Such as the fact that the music star she's been defending isn't all that innocent. And worse, that the hunky prosecutor McKenna condemned on sight is guilty of nothing more than his criminal good looks.

But after losing her job and her house, and making no progress at finding her memory, McKenna needs all the help she can get to rebuild her life. She's determined to reclaim her fiercely independent former self, even if it means taking advice from her talking cat, listening to her bossy friends, or -- worst of all -- leaning just a little on the man she used to snub. Once her memory returns, she'll finally be able to put chatty felines and a certain entirely-too-handsome lawyer behind her so her life can return to normal. After all, normal is exactly what McKenna wants... isn't it?

Received my Red Dress Ink shipment today. They included a very pretty wineglass and a bookmark with the books. Here's what I got:

A New Lu by Laura Castoro
Book Description: "What was I thinking? Sex for the last time. That's what."

Five-O magazine lifestyle columnist Lu Nichols has led an ordinary life. Marriage. Career. Two kids. Now she's turning fifty, and the wear is showing. The kids are grown. The ink is dry on the divorce papers. Her boss wants to do an extreme makeover feature, starring Lu. And those bad oysters she ate have turned out to be something a little more permanent.

"I'm almost fifty years old, recently divorced. Now I'm about to be an unwed mother. And you thought you had issues."

Her soon-to-be-wed daughter is horrified. Her boss is thrilled; she can turn her delicate condition into a monthly expose. Her ex is AWOL. And the sexy, slightly younger doctor who delivered the news? Well, he hasn't run off screaming yet. And however it all turns out, there's one thing Lu can be sure of --- she's knocked up, but not out. And more than ready for a brand-new Lu...

Mim Warner's Lost Her Cool by Lynn Messina
Book Description: This could mean the end of cool as we know it...

So hip it hurts...

Want to know what'll be hot next season? Just ask Mim Warner, the best coolhunter in the business. But Mim's latest trend predictions ("slut" T-shirts for eight year old girls? Samurai swords for ten year old boys?) are troubling, to say the least.
Fearing that Mim's about to be out like last season's Capri pants and worried about what she'll say next, her staff implements a Mim surveillance mission. With clients fleeing in droves and everyone around her in a tizzy, Meghan Resnick, Mim's protegee, seems to be the only one in control of all her faculties. But watching Mim lose her cool is loosening a few of Meghan's own screws. Suddenly she's not sure of anything --- her career, her future, her ex-boyfriend, even her judgment. When Mim-watching leads to the scene of a murder --- with Mim leaning over the dead body --- Meghan can't help but wonder if her boss will be forecasting her next trend from Sing Sing.

An affectionate satire about the ins and outs of coolhunting, Mim Warner's Lost Her Cool mines the mysterious forces that make a trend come together --- and a woman fall apart.

Had I known I would be getting a copy of Mim Warner's Lost Her Cool, I wouldn't have bought the copy I already had...oh well. Speaking of strangeness...when I got to the mall today (where Waldenbooks is located), I was putting on my glasses and the lens pops out. Somehow the screw on the frames worked itself loose enough that the frames separated and out comes the lens. Luckily there was a Lenscrafters in the mall and they were kind enough to fix it for me. Wonder if it's a full moon...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket

This is the third book in the Series Of Unfortunate Events...

Book Description: Dear Reader, If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick-witted, but their lives, I am sorry to say, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and the one you are holding may be the worst of them all.If you haven't got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, a signaling device, hungry leeches, cold cucumber soup, a horrible villain, and a doll named Pretty Penny, then this book will probably fill you with despair.I will continue to record these tragic tales, for that is what I do. You, however, should decide for yourself whether you can possibly endure this miserable story.With all due respect, Lemony Snicket

Book Rating: 8/10 - Another good installment of the doom and gloom that is the lives of the Baudelaire orphans. In this episode, we find the orphans now living with their Aunt Josephine, a woman who is afraid of everything. I mean everything. The doorknob, the telephone, the stove, the lake. If you can think of it, she's probably afraid of it. When the dubious Captain Sham comes into their lives, Violet, Klaus and Sunny immediately recognize him as Count Olaf, but, of course, Aunt Josephine doesn't believe them when they try to warn her. When Aunt Josephine suddenly commits suicide, the children are left in further despair to learn that Aunt Josephine leaves instructions that the children are to be cared for by Captain Sham. The children immediately begin looking for clues to find out the truth about Aunt Josephine's disappearance and to avoid having to go live with Captain Sham. Looking forward to the next installment of this story.

Inappropriate Men by Stacey Ballis

Another new to me author...

Book Description: Sidney Stein has come undone, but who's going to pick up the pieces? "Don't get me wrong. There was -- there is -- much love between my husband and me. We aren't miserable, we just aren't happy. And we aren't really together that much -- it didn't used to seem to matter. But it's starting to matter. It's starting to matter very much indeed." With her marriage spiraling toward divorce, sexually confident and unapologetically sized-24 Sidney Stein finds herself drawn into an illicit affair with Geoffrey Fahl -- not only married and twenty years her senior, but also her father's business partner. Perilously close to falling in love with this man who is so very wrong for her and knowing there's no future in the relationship, Sidney decides it's time to turn her life around.Newly separated from her husband, Sidney dives into the dating pool. And after more than a dozen dates, a disastrous transitional guy and reconnecting with a high school crush, she can't help but wonder if it might not just be easier to let herself drown. But just as she stops looking for the ideal man, someone else arrives... and he might just be everything she never knew she always wanted.

Book Rating: 6/10 - I have to admit that, initially, I didn't think I would care for this story at all. Adultery themes really turn me off, usually. I skimmed over the poems, but I did enjoy the story for the most part. I thought Sidney was a realistic character trying to find passion and true love, though I didn't agree with her direction. I did like the author's voice and found her to be very witty, which came through in the character's personalities. The last 1/4 of the book seemed to drag for me while Sidney was waffling about what she was going to do about Geoff and having her email marathon with Joe. I think the author has a lot of potential so I will be looking for more by her to read.

The Ex-Files by Jane Moore

This is the first book I've read by this author and am very happy I did!

After five years spent maneuvering for Mr. Right, beautiful, feisty Faye Parker has finally snared a sensitive cutie named Mark. So when he pops the question, Faye is fully prepared to step out of the dating rat-race, call the caterer, and don the veil.

Just as soon as she has one last teensy-weensy little fling.

Then comes the dicey issue of the guest list. First there's Nat, Faye's ex -- a narcissistic fashion model hell-bent on flaunting his substantial charms in Faye's face, his latest Playboy bunny in tow. Next there's Kate, Mark's ex -- a woman so indignant she's not the bride that she's liable to slit Faye's zipper. And, of course, there's Adam, Faye's flamboyant sidekick, milking the chaos for all it's worth while shamelessly ogling Nat's abs. As the rehearsal dinner lurches toward the brink of a spin-the-bottle-fueled imbroglio, Faye must face the fact that marriage means more than a flawlessly executed reception. She's got a serious decision to make -- about Mark, about love, and about her own deepest desires.

Book Rating: 8/10 - I really liked this story! I laughed myself silly through quite a bit of the book. Though Faye comes across as a very shallow and selfish female, I found it hard to not like her. Of course, you had to know what was going to happen once Tony showed up in France, so that wasn't a surprise, but I was surprised she gave in as quickly as she did. Of course, if she had called Tony's bluff, who is to say how the story would have turned out. I also liked how the author takes the reader back in time to illustrate both Faye and Mark's previous relationships as well as giving us some background on Faye's mother. I thought Adam was a riot and think he would be a lot of fun to hang out with. I look forward to reading more from this author.

The Key Of Knowledge by Nora Roberts

This is the second book in the "key" trilogy and I've really enjoyed this series so far.

Book Description: Following hot on the heels of the first installment in Roberts's Key trilogy, this second book (following Key of Light) continues the story of three contemporary female friends chosen to free the souls of ancient demigoddesses called the Daughters of Glass. This time, the heroine is Dana Steele, a librarian who is sure that the key she's seeking lies in a book. As she begins her search, Dana renovates Indulgence, the gallery-cum-salon-cum-bookstore she is opening with her friends Malory Price and Zoe McCourt. She also spends sometimes passionate, sometimes vexing time with Jordan Hawke, the thriller writer who broke her heart years earlier when he abandoned her and their small Pennsylvania town of Pleasant Valley to seek fame in New York. Dana slowly realizes that the love they once felt for each other has not died-and that Jordan's writing is inextricably entwined with her supernatural quest. In the end, Jordan must join with Dana to fight the spells of the sorcerer Kane and fulfill the terms of her quest.

Rating: 8/10 - Very enjoyable. I loved the interaction between all of the characters, including Moe. I can't decide which couple I like the best. I definitely felt a kinship with Dana, since she is the booklover of the trio and Jordan is an author. Nora Roberts weaves a wonderful tale of romance, passion and magic around the reader in such a way that you feel like you are part of the story; experiencing and seeing everything the characters do. Kane was definitely more menacing and evil in this book, which tells me he will be even more sinister in the next book

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Bad Day

Can't seem to get my shit together today. Rob left yesterday to go to he says. For a man who is supposedly going to help a friend clear downed trees from his property, why does he need $200 cash and acne medication? Maybe I'm just a suspicious person, but something doesn't ring true here....

After work, went to Diana's to check on Tommy Kitty and wasn't watching my step (probably because I'm thinking about the above) and took a header on the sidewalk. One of the sections of sidewalk is raised and my shoe caught it just right and down I went. White jeans and mud definitely don't go together. My left knee is swollen, but fortunately I didn't scrape it up. Just sore...

Started reading Love Overbord by Janet Evanovich. Maybe it's just my mood (and probably this anti-social song I'm listening to...Hate Everything About You by Ugly Kid Joe), but this book isn't grabbing me. This book was published before her Stephanie Plum series, but the characters in this book all sound like the ones from that series.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Books Read in February

Here is what I managed to read in February:

BAIT - Karen Robards. I rated this book 8 stars out of 10. Fans of romantic suspense will enjoy this story that revolves around a woman who is the target of a hitman and the FBI agent assigned to protect her. The level of suspense kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. Great supporting characters give the story balance and the chemistry between Maddie and Sam was fantastic, as well. There were multiple plots occurring that confused me, especially Maddie's past and her connection to the mob and just who the villain was, but the author tied up all of the loose ends nicely. I look forward to more by this author.

HEIST AND SEEK - Amy Sandrin. Never have read anything by this author before, so I was intrigued as to how it would turn out. Unfortunately, it only rated 5 stars out of 10. The story revolves around a woman who, while working as a janitor in a bank one night, interrupts a robbery in progress and is subsequently taken hostage along with an FBI agent who was in the bank trying to catch the guy in the act. A lot of running in the woods, and hiding from the killer ensues and they end up being rescued, but it isn't over as the killer is killed by someone and now is after Robyn and Killian. The story was so-so, I felt. There were some good scenes, especially the one where Robyn adopts a stray kitten and tells Killian she named the kitten SAM (for Secret Agent Man).

AS SEEN ON TV - Sarah Mlynowski. I could only muster up 4 stars out of 10 for this one. Initially, I thought the premise of the story sounded really good and one that I would enjoy. Woman gives up her job, apartment, etc. to move to NYC to live with her boyfriend. When the job she was expecting falls through, she finds herself on a reality TV show called "Party Girls" where, with 3 other women, they go to bars, get pissed and pick up men. Now, I'll admit, I've never had much of an interest in some of the reality TV shows going around, like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, but I thought it would be interesting. Unfortunately, the story quickly lost its appeal as I couldn't find anything entertaining in getting drunk, pretending to be unattached and picking up strange men. Hoping I will have better luck with this author down the road.

THE REPTILE ROOM - Lemony Snicket. I'm trying to prepare myself for when I watch the movie as to what this story is all about. This is actually the second story in the Series Of Unfortunate Events. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and gave it a 9 stars out of 10 rating. In this installment, the Baudelaire orphans go to live with their Uncle Monty and assist him in his reptile room caring for the many reptiles. Unfortunately, Count Olaf soon makes an appearance and the orphans are again dealing with tragedy. This installment takes on a darker twist that I wonder if it will continue in future books. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens to them next and how they outwit Count Olaf.

KILL THE MESSENGER - Tami Hoag. Undoubtedly, the best book of the month. I rated it a 10. The story centers around a bike messenger who goes to make a last delivery one evening for a lawyer. When he arrives at the address to make the delivery, someone tries to kill him. Jace manages to escape, barely, and decides to go back to the lawyer's office to find out what is going on. Unfortunately, someone has gotten to the lawyer first and has killed him and now the police and the killer are looking for Jace. Totally awesome story with a surprise twist at the ending that really packs a punch.

MOTHER OF THE BRIDE - Lynn Michaels. Another new to me author whose story about the trials and tribulations of a wedding got an 8 stars out of 10 rating. There were several moments in this story that I laughed out loud and I really enjoyed the characters. After seeing what a wedding does to people, I'm glad I opted for the Justice of the Peace route.

THE NEXT ACCIDENT - Lisa Gardner. This book is a sequel, of sorts, to The Third Victim. Old characters are revisited and new ones are introduced. This one picks up with the plot of Quincy's daughter's death that was briefly touched on in The Third Victim. Rainie Conner, now a private investigator, is hired by Quincy to look into the circumstances of his daughter, Amanda's accident to determine if it really was an accident. I rated this story 8 stars out of 10. This author never fails to surprise me with the twists and turns and surprises she throws into her books. I'm looking forward to the next book, which features Quincy's other daughter, Kimberly.

IT TAKES A HERO - Elizabeth Boyle. This is a historical romance set in 1800s England. The heroine is an author whose books have made the daughters of the ton turn their backs on the marriage mart, which is completely unacceptable to their mothers. The hero is hired by one of the mothers to ferret out the author's identity and make her stop writing. Along the way, mysteries are solved, murderers are caught and love blooms. I gave this book a 7 stars out of 10 rating. The story had great characters and the heroine's Uncle deserved an Oscar for his pretense of being insane...

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

VNSA Booksale

This weekend was the 49th annual VNSA charity booksale. This organizations hosts a booksale every year on the second weekend in February in downtown Phoenix. You can see more about this worthwhile organization and the charities they sponsor by visiting their web page at

I try to go every year and I try to tell as many people about it so they can enjoy it as well. This year, I came home with quite a few books, I am happy to report and even some for Rob...

Here are the books I brought home for me:
BUNDLE OF JOY? - Ariella Papa
LOST AND FOUND - Jane Sigaloff
PUSHING THIRTY - Whitney Gaskell
THE EX-FACTOR - Andrea Semple
A CLEAN SLATE - Laura Caldwell
MR. MAYBE - Jane Green
A LITTLE HELP FROM ABOVE - Saralee Rosenberg
BOMBSHELL - Lynda Curnyn
MIKE, MIKE & ME - Wendy Markham
MILKRUN - Sarah Mlynowski
THE CLUB - Jane Heller
THE AWAKENING - Shannon Drake
KISSCUT - Karin Slaughter
DEATH DU JOUR - Kathy Reichs

And for Rob, I picked up these:
THE WINNER - David Baldacci
THE TESTAMENT - John Grisham
THE PARTNER - John Grisham
THE FIRM - John Grisham
THE SUMMONS - John Grisham
THE KING OF TORTS - John Grisham

And if this wasn't enough, on the way home, we made a pit stop at a Barnes & Noble where I bought the following new:
THE WEDDING DATE - Elizabeth Young (previously published as ASKING FOR TROUBLE)
THE LAST JUROR - John Grisham (for Rob)

Now, I just need to find shelving space for everyone...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Books read in January, 2005

Didn't read as many books in January as I hoped, but for the most part they were enjoyable:

Andrews, Mary Kay. HISSY FIT. 9/2004. B. [Rom/C] - I really enjoyed the Southern flair and sass the characters bring to this story. The lead character, Keeley is someone you can see yourself being friends with. The light mystery and romance really round out this book for enjoyable reading. I recommend this book.

Brown, Sandra. WHITE HOT. 9/2004. A. [Mys/Rom/C] - I loved the suspense in this story and the surprise twists the author takes the reader on. Sandra Brown is one of those authors that easily draws the reader so deep into the story, you wonder if you are there; especially with her descriptions of the sultry summer days. I also love animals that have a supporting role in a book. This one has a golden retriever named Frito who I think stole several scenes. I highly recommend this book.

Dyer, Chris. WANDERLUST: A Novel Of Sex And Sensibility. 2/2003. B. [Gen Fiction] - This is a new to me author and after reading this book, I will definitely be on the lookout for more by this author. This book follows the life and travels of a writer who writes travel articles for a magazine. The book is written completely in email format, which I enjoyed and follows our frequent flyer, Kate Bogart (affectionately known as Bogie by her close friends) as she traipses all over the world finding romance. I recommend this book.

Gardner, Lisa. THE THIRD VICTIM. 1/2001. B. [Mys/S] - Lisa Gardner delivers another satisfying mystery/suspense novel that is reminiscient of the headlines we so often see today. The story centers around a sheriff's deputy named Rainie Conner who is investigating a school shooting that has left two little girls and a teacher dead. Unfortunately, their confessed shooter is the sheriff's son. Several sub-plots add to the detail and richness of this story and I am happy to see that Rainie and FBI profiler Quincy will be back in a quasi sequel called The Next Accident. I recommend this book.

Lissner, Caren. CARRIE PILBY. 6/2003. B. [General Fiction/Rom/C] - I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this one or not when I started it. Another new to me author, Lissner weaves a tale around a young 19 year old prodigy named Carrie Pilby who has graduated from Harvard at age 18 and is trying to make sense of the world, find her place and be accepted for herself. Along the way, her therapist is trying to get her to leave her apartment more often, make friends, go out for New Years, go on a date and tell someone you care about them. I ended up enjoying this and watching Carrie learn to accept herself as well as others. I recommend this book.

Matthews, Carole. LET's MEET ON PLATFORM 8. 8/2004. F. [Rom/C] - Unfortunately, this book totally turned me off. Adultery, adultery, adultery. I couldn't plug in to any of the characters and their behavior left me cold. I think the author's intention in writing this book is to show how love comes upon us when we least expect it and from some unlikely places and that we don't always get to choose who we love. Having said that, we still are in control of ourselves and choosing to conduct a relationship with a married individual is wrong. That's just me. I would have been more accepting of this story if the leading man had perhaps been physically separated from his wife instead of still living with her...also the leading lady uses poor judgment in continuing to see him even after she finds out that he's married! Yuck. This was the first book by this author I've read, so I will try another in the hopes it gets better.

Moore, Christopher. BLOODSUCKING FIENDS. 1995. B. [Rom/V] - You would think by the title of the book that this is a horror novel. I labeled it as a romance because the cover says "a love story". The story centers around Jody, a woman with a problem. She certainly never asked to become a vampire but one night after work, she is attacked while waiting for the bus. She wakes up under a dumpster with strength she didn't know she had and a huge thirst. Along the way, she meets Tommy, an aspiring Kerouac writer who spends his evenings frozen-turkey bowling in a Safeway grocery store. They end up moving in together and falling in love while trying to catch the vampire who sired Jody and stop the vampire killings in the city. This was a wacky and off-beat story by another new to me author, that I enjoyed quite a bit. The ending leaves it wide open for another Jody and Tommy adventure. I recommend this book.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Bargain Books @

Not sure how I ended up at Amazon's web site, but I was there this morning and to my delight, discovered they have a bargain book section. I got 6 trade paperbacks for $26 that had I paid full cover would have cost over $60. Here's what I am getting:

A Girl's Best Friend by Elizabeth Young
Dogs Are Better Than Men
1. They never brag about their ex's stunning cleavage.

2. They don't moan or sulk if you're a half-hour late.
3. They never tell you a Brazilian would really turn them on.
After her most recent disaster with the King of the Unrepentant Jerks, Isabel "Izzy" Palmer is finally convinced that the only male she truly needs in her life is Henry, her lovable part wolfhound, part who-knows-what. Henry's faithful, he adores her madly, and he's great fun to sleep with. So who needs the additional heartache?
But even armed with powerful knowledge and a new resolve, Izzy starts to feel that familiar itch ... and it's all because of Nick. He's a vet for goodness sake -- confident, handsome and compassionate -- if a bit rough around the edges. After teasing her about Henry's unusual looks and questioning her most recent choice in men, Nick then has the gall to turn halfway charming. But he doesn't stop at halfway, and though she already has a best friend, Izzy realizes it doesn't preclude her from having a perfect match, too.

Does She Or Doesn't She? by Alisa Kwitney
Passion. The kind of tear-your-clothes off, scream-your-lungs-out, crash-into-the-furniture passion that changes lives.
It's what Delilah wants. It's what she craves. It's what she fantasizes about whenever her disinterested husband's not around. Okay, so it occasionally makes her late for the school run and distracts her from the fact there's no food in the fridge, but an elaborate fantasy life is a basic requirement for a fledgling soap opera writer. Lately, though, the oddest things have been happening in Delilah's real life. First, she discovers a couple of skeletons rattling around in her husband's closet. Then, she learns that the insolently sexy plumber who's been fixing her pipes and starring in her daydreams is really an undercover FBI agent. And now all the clues seem to point to the conclusion that she's the only person in New York City not carrying on a torrid affair. Which she intends to do something about. Or does she? Because there's nothing more dangerous than acting on your secret desire.

The Accidental Virgin by Valerie Frankel
There ARE no accidents...
FROM: Venus, Goddess of Love, 120 Main, Mt. Olympus

TO: Stacy Temple, lapsed temptress
Stacy, Stacy, Stacy.
You were so promising at the beginning: Sexy, smart, personable and funny. Great on dates and really great afterward -- if you know what I mean. But this is a sad state of affairs; or, in your case, non-affairs! It's been nearly an entire year and you haven't had your way with even ONE eligible male. You've been working so hard concocting sexy lingerie for -- and really, Stacy, if that little pink velvet bustier didn't put you in the mood, I don't know what to say! -- that you haven't even tried to be coaxed out of your own! Are you listening, Stacy? Seven days to find the perfect man -- or else!
Happy hunting!

32AA by Michelle Cunnah
Emma Taylor wanted an engagement ring and a job promotion for her thirtieth birthday.What she got instead was the boot from herboyfriend, the heave-ho from his Manhattan loft -- and the indignity of having to work for the weenie who stole her position. Her pals only add insult to injury by giving her the "perfect" birthday gift: a bottle ofbreast-enhancing pills. It would be enough to defeat even a well-endowed woman, but Emma's not about to let such twists of fate get her down, even as she sets out on the most grueling task known to humankind: apartment hunting in New York City. But sleeping in the backseat of her car provides an unexpected bonus -- she meets Jack, who's kind enough to invite Emma into his home ... in a strictly landlord/tenant-type of arrangement, of course. Perhaps things are looking up -- since honestly they couldn't get much worse. Emma may not be able to fill a bikini, but she's going to do that "life and love" thing right this time. Because no matter what else destiny throws in her face, she's determined to come out where she never has before ... on top!

The Dominant Blonde by Alisa Kwitney
The search for the perfect boyfriend AND the perfect hair color. Lydia Gold has a new body (size 10 at last!), a new hair color (medium ash), and a new boyfriend (not too sexy but -- she thinks -- secure). She's certain Abe is about to propose. Then he shocks her down to her roots by going missing with about three million dollars of her family's hardearned cash... leaving behind nothing but some lukewarm memories and a ring she's sure is a fake! Distressed, depressed, and dumped, Lydia turns to Liam MacNally for help. From the moment he sees her there is something about "Blondie" that he can't resist. So the ex-cop turned scuba instructor decides to help her get back her money -- and her pride. It's time for Lydia to start having more fun!

On The Couch by Alisa Kwitney
After going for more than a year without a date -- a record in New York City -- Marlowe Riddle has finally met a broodingly sexy, sharply intelligent man who is clearly interested in making more than polite conversation. The only problem: Joseph Kain is an NYPD detective clearly under the mistaken impression that Marlowe is a call girl. But while Marlowe does take money for spending time with strangers in her expensive Upper West Side apartment, she's a psychologist -- not Manhattan's answer to the Mayflower Madam! A fact she has no intention of telling Joe ... at least not until she finishes her research project on the "Behavioral Effects of Disguising Identity." But Marlowe's not the only one trying to secretively gain information ... and it's becoming increasingly unclear who is seducing whom. Because sometimes the only way to learn what a man really wants ... is to get him on the couch.

A day that involves the acquiring of more books is a great day, don't you think?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Kitchen Gadgets & Clothes

OK, OK, I admit it. I'm addicted to kitchen gadgets. The real kick in the ass is that I absolutely HATE to cook! Odd, I know. But, there is just something, oh I don't know, soothing I guess, about browsing through a kitchen store. For the past two weekends I have done that. Originally, I was on the prowl for a new garbage can for the kitchen. I want a stainless steel can (can't believe how bloody expensive they are!) and found myself at several kitchen stores and home interior design type stores. Went to a Home Depot Expo Design Center in North Scottsdale as well as a Great Outdoors, Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel, Bed Bath & Beyond, and a store I've never heard of before called Sur La Table, which sells all kinds of cool stuff as well as offers a culinary program (yuck, no thanks). Didn't buy a trash can but got lots of cool things instead. A stainless steel potato peeler with the big black cushy grip; 2 mesh strainers; this thing called Rub Away which looks like a bar of soap, but it's stainless steel. It's really cool. Ever mess with onions and garlic and can't get the odor out even after washing your hands? Well after washing your hands, you rub this Rub Away gadget in your hands as if it is a bar of soap and it removes the odors! How cool is that? Picked up some HUGE coffee mugs from Bed Bath & Beyond. They are ceramic blue that match my kitchen beautifully and are 24 oz in size. Need to get about 4 more. Actually Bed Bath & Beyond was the best prospect for the stainless steel garbage cans, but starting at $80 plus tax, it will have to wait until I get some overtime in my check or holiday pay or I win the lottery....

Then tonight, we went to an outlet mall in Tempe to a Linens & Things store where I picked up some plastic bowl covers and another outlet mall in Mesa where I picked up some pyrex dessert dishes (perfect for pudding or jello or using it to combine spices...), a garlic press and this cool tomato slicer with a finger protector that pushes the tomato through the blades without your fingers getting cut. For $3.50, I just HAD to try it. I really like the stainless steel gadgets like measuring cups, measuring spoons, etc. How many sets of measuring cups and spoons does one person need, right? My favorite is a set of 4 measuring spoons for "dash, pinch, smidge, and tad."

At the Home Depot Expo Design Center, we were blown away by this jacuzzi whirlpool tub that has a huge built-in flat screen television mounted. Oh my God! I would never get out of the tub if I had one of those! We almost fell over when we saw the price of $26,100! I was dying to ask a salesperson just how many of these tubs do they sell. Do people just whip out the old Visa or Mastercard and have the tub delivered? Would I actually tell people if I owned one of these tubs? Unbelievable!

On a side note...I hate shopping for clothes. I want a new outfit for work. I have to teach at the Police Academy next month and with the weight I've lost, all of my clothing is very baggy. For almost 25 years, unbeknownst to me, I have been buying the wrong clothing. I should be buying petite sizes. Always wondered why trousers and jeans were so bloody long. Now, I know. The problem is that although I need a 14 petite on my ass, I can't wear petite on top. I need a regular misses 14. So, how the hell do I buy clothes when everything is usually the same size top to bottom? I found the cutest suit in turquoise and black. The skirt fit great in the 14 petite, but the jacket was a no-go. Too tight across the back if I button it up and it just didn't look right unbuttoned. It's a conspiracy....wish I was one of the filthy rich who could afford a personal shopper to take care of this shite for me...

Friday, January 21, 2005

ABC Reading Challenge

For 2005, I have made a personal challenge to read as many books as I can. Of the hopefully hundreds I plan to read, I want to read a book from authors representing every letter of the alphabet. I think the only difficulty will come in finding an author whose last name ends in X. Do any exist? Must research...

Anyway, you can see how I am doing by looking at my bookshelf. Here's the link:

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Good Reading

In 2004, I read a lot of good books that I wouldn't necessarily rate as "keepers" though they were very good and I would recommend them. They are:

Little Bitty Lies by Mary Kay Andrews - In a suburban Atlanta neighborhood where divorce is as rampant as kudzu, Mary Bliss McGowan doesn't notice that her own marriage is in trouble until the summer night she finds a note from her husband, Parker, telling her he's gone -- and has taken the family fortune with him. Stunned and humiliated, a desperate Mary Bliss, left behind with her seventeen-year-old daughter, Erin, and a mountain of debt, decides to salvage what's left of her life by telling one little bitty lie... that starts to snowball until Parker turns up dead. Or does he? LITTLE BITTY LIES is a comic Southern novel not only about one woman's lifelong quest for home but also about all the important things in life: marriage and divorce, mothers and daughters, friendship and betrayal, small-town secrets -- and the perfect recipe for chicken salad.

The Girls' Guide To Hunting And Fishing by Melissa Bank - The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing explores the life lessons of Jane, the contemporary American Everywoman who combines the charm of Bridget Jones, the vulnerability of Ally McBeal, and the wit of Lorrie Moore.

High Maintenance by Jennifer Belle - There's a new property on the market. And she has great potential. Liv Kellerman has just left her cheating husband and, more tragically, their fabulous duplex with its Empire State Building views. Now Liv, alone for the first time in her life with few marketable skills, and crammed into a crumbling "fixer-upper" in Greenwich Village, is contemplating her next move...

Looking For A Hero by Patti Berg - Morgan "Black Heart" Farrell can't believe that the honey-haired siren is telling him the truth: that he's sailed right from 1702 into the twentieth century. He desperately needs to get back to his ship and his own time. But for now, the widowed Kate seems to need a man -- a REAL man -- who can protect and comfort her. Black Heart knows he may have brought danger with him from the past, but he can't seem to resist Kate's cupid-bow mouth with its fiery kisses. At first, Kate Cameron can't believe her eyes as they drink in the spectacular mystery man standing on an otherwise deserted beach. Never mind that he's wearing a cutlass and looks like he washed onshore from an off-Broadway production of THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Black Heart is the sexiest man Kate has ever seen. And she soon begins to believe that Morgan heart may not be so black... but that he may be the hero she's been looking for.

Something Wicked by Jo Beverley - Lady Elf wants to break out of her dull existence even if it is just for one night. Attending Vauxhall in disguise, she overhears a plot against the king. One of the conspirators is Fort, a man who hates all Mallorens. It was a night of danger and intrigue. Disguised as the mysterious beauty Lisette, Lady Elfled Malloren anticipates only fun and flirtation at the Vauxhall Gardens Masquerade. Instead, the dark walkways lead to an encounter with treason, a brush with death, and a night of riotous passion with her family's most dangerous enemy -- the elusive Fortitude Ware, Earl of Walgrave. His control is indisputable, his power unquestionable, his attraction undeniable. And after just one night, Elf knows she will never forget the man she should not love....

Tempting Fortune by Jo Beverley - Portia St. Claire's brother has gambled and lost, throwing her into the power of ruthless men. Their price for his life is her virtue, to be auctioned off in London's most notorious brothel....To retrieve an incriminating letter, Bryght Malloren once broke into a house where he was greeted at pistol point by a resolute woman... a woman he could swear stands before him, masked and trembling, on a madam's auction block....Unable to leave Portia to such a cruel fate, Bryght turns the private wager into a very public game of seduction, one that confirms his reputation as a shameless rake and keeps all of London society breathless with anticipation. But on a night shimmering with destiny, truth, and passion, those who tempt fortune risk losing everything... including their hearts....

Got Your Number by Stephanie Bond - Old flames never die... or do they?
Roxann Beadleman just received an ominous message that resurrects old secrets, and her debutante cousin Angora Ryder was just jilted at the altar. A road trip to accomplish things on a life list they made in college leads them back to their alma mater for Homecoming, and to the professor they were both in love with....But Angora doesn't know that Roxann is wanted for questioning in a police matter, or that a dangerous criminal could be following them. Detective Joe Capistrano is on their heels, too, determined to charm information out of Roxann and to protect her, whether she wants it or not....Once Roxann and Angora hit campus, their lives are turned on end. Professor Irresistible is majoring in Seduction, old skeletons are leaping from closets, and Detective Capistrano is closing in. Roxann and Angora soon find themselves thrust into a chilling lesson of murder, and if either of them gets out of this mess alive, could true love be at the end of their chase?

The Passionate One by Connie Brockway - He was a notorious rogue with a reputation for hell-raising and heart breaking. But family secrets forced Ashton Merrick to do his ruthless father's bidding -- and escort Rhiannon Russell back to McClairen's Isle. Ash suspected that his father intended to make the innocent beauty his fourth, ill-fated wife. But he didn't expect the passions she would ignite in his own wary heart.

Hello, Darkness by Sandra Brown - The gripping story of a woman haunted by her past and caught in a nightmare that threatens to destroy her future. It's a brilliant, fast-paced tale, electric with sexual tension, by one of America's most popular authors of sophisticated suspense. For Paris Gibson, her popular late-night radio show is both an escape and her one real contact with the outside world. Since moving to Austin to ease the pain of past, tragic mistakes, she has led a life of virtual solitude, coming alive only when she hosts her show. To her loyal listeners, she is a wise and trusted friend who not only takes their music requests but listens to their problems and occasionally dispenses advice. Paris's world of isolation is brutally threatened, however, when one listener -- a man who identifies himself only as "Valentino" -- tells her that her on-air advice to the girl he loves has caused her to leave him and that now he intends to exact his revenge. First he plans to kill the girl, whom he has abducted -- which he says he will do in 72 hours -- then he will come after Paris. Joined by the Austin police department, Paris plunges into a race against time in an effort to find Valentino before he can carry out his threat to kill -- and to kill again. To her dismay, she finds that one of the people she must work with is crime psychologist Dean Malloy, a man with whom she shares a history that had a catastrophic effect on both their lives. His presence arouses old passions, forcing Paris to confront painful memories that she had come to Austin to forget. As the clock ticks down, and Valentino's threats come closer and closer to becoming a reality, Paris suddenly finds herself forced to deal with a killer who may not be a stranger at all.

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot - She's just a New York City girl living with her artist mom...NEWS FLASH: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that's why a limo meets her at the airport!)DOWNER: Dad can't have any more kids. (So no heir to the throne.)SHOCK OF THE CENTURY: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material. Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmére, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne. Well, her father can lecture her until he's royal-blue in the face about her princessly duty -- no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what's a girl to do when her name is Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo?

Teen Idol by Meg Cabot - Ask Annie your most complex interpersonal relationship questions. Go on, we dare you! All letters to Annie are subject to publication in the Clayton High School Register. Names and e-mail addresses of correspondents guaranteed confidential. High school junior Jenny Greenley is good at solving problems... so good she's the school newspaper's anonymous advice columnist. Even if solving other people's problems doesn't make her own -- like not having a boyfriend -- go away, it's still fun. But when nineteen-year-old screen sensation Luke Striker comes to Jen's small town to research a role, he creates havoc that even levelheaded Jenny isn't sure she can repair... especially since she's right in the middle of it. Can Jen, who always manages to be there for everybody else, learn to take her own advice, and find true love at last?

Burning The Map by Laura Caldwell - A summer vacation that changed one woman's life....3 GIRLFRIENDS... 2 GREEK ISLANDS... AND ONE LIFE-CHANGING VACATION Casey Evers realizes that the choices she's made in her 26 years aren't exactly making her happy. In fact, her life is so ON course -- college, law school, boyfriend, job offer -- that it's actually OFF. So, before she slides into 14-hour days at a high-powered Chicago law firm, she decides to go to Rome and Greece with her two best friends for one last hurrah. The thing is, her best friends haven't really been all that close to her since she started seeing John two years ago, she hasn't been all that close to John lately, and she's awfully partial to Mediterranean men....

Mad About Mia by Millie Criswell - A story filled with delicious passion and a delirious sense of fun! It might be hard to picture impish Mia DeNero as a bodyguard, but what she lacks in size she makes up for in determination. So when straight-laced Nick Caruso walks into her office and says he needs protection from the mob because of a book he's writing, she doesn't hesitate to take the job. Moving the studious author into her apartment seems like the best way to protect him from shady characters. But soon after he's settled in, the thick, nerdy glasses come off and Mia starts wondering who's going to protect her from this irresistible new client? Posing as a geeky author on the run from the mob is making FBI agent Nick Caruso crazy. But if it will help him shut down a money laundering operation out of Little Italy, he can ignore the wimp jokes for a little while longer. It's harder to ignore the sassy woman he hired to be his "bodyguard." There are a number of things he'd like Mia to do to his body, and guarding it isn't on the list. As things heat up -- on the job and in the apartment -- Nick begins to see he's in danger of losing his heart to the woman he's deceived, and who is determined to save his life....

Crazy For You by Jennifer Crusie - On Wednesday, Quinn McKenzie adopted a dog and changed her life. On Thursday, she tried to get somebody to notice. On Thursday night, somebody did. When Quinn McKenzie decides to change her "beige" life by adopting a stray dog, everything begins to spiral out of control. Now she's coping with dog-napping, breaking and entering, seduction, sabotage, stalking, more secrets than she really wants to know, and two men who are suddenly crazy... for her.

The Royal Treatment by Mary Janice Davidson - In a world nearly identical to ours, the North won the Civil War, Ben Affleck is the sexiest man alive, Martha Stewart is a better pastry chef than insider trader, and Russia never sold Alaska to the U.S. Instead, Alaska is a rough, beautiful country ruled by a famously eccentric royal family, ostracized by the other royals, and urgently in need of a bride for the Crown Prince. In fact, ANYONE would do. But they have no idea what they're in for when they offer the job to a feisty commoner... a girl who's going to need... THE ROYAL TREATMENT.
Or, Things I've Learned Really Quick, As Compiled by Her Future Royal Highness -- Yeah, Whatever -- Christina. That's me.
1. Asking for cocktail sauce for your oysters will make the chef cry, then faint.
2. Telling jokes you picked up from the guys on the fishing boat doesn't go over really well at a fancy ball.
3. Telling the obnoxious younger royals you're going to kick them where the sun don't shine if they don't stop annoying you is guaranteed to make them follow you everywhere.
4. Must learn to curtsy, stifle burps, and tell the difference between a salad fork and a fruit knife. Don't these people ever use hands?
5. Must not keep thinking about Prince David's amazing eyes, lips, hands, shoulders, uh... wait, can I start over?
6. Waltzing: Head up, fingers down, don't let the tattoo show.
7. Remember: this is a business arrangement. That kiss in the gallery? The one that thawed the Alaskan frostiness down to a tropical heat? An aberration. Do not repeat... unless absolutely necessary.
8. The most important word in "royal family" is still family.
9. Becoming a princess is a lot harder than it looks.
10. Falling in love is a whole lot easier....

Vertical Run by Joseph Garber - You think YOU had a killer workday. . . Get ready for the FASTEST thriller of the summer!Each morning in his 45th floor executive office, David Elliot savors the quiet moments until the workday begins.
Until today, when his boss walks in and aims a gun at him. For the rest of the day, he will be trapped in his midtown office building, and everyone David Elliot meets will try to kill him. He has 24 hours to find out why. . .In Vertical Run, you can escape into a world on fast forward, a drama that plays out with electrifying intensity. No one who reads this book will ever see the office the same way again.

The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen - It is a boiling hot summer in Boston. Adding to the city's woes is a series of shocking crimes in which wealthy men are made to watch while their wives are brutalized --- a sadistic demand that ends in death. The pattern suggests one man: serial killer Warren Hoyt, recently put behind bars. Police can only assume an acolyte is at large, a maniac basing his attacks on the twisted medical techniques of the madman he so admires. At least that's what Detective Jane Rizzoli thinks. Forced to reconfront the killer who scarred her --- literally and figuratively --- she is determined to finally end Hoyt's awful influence. But this time around, the vendetta is more vicious than she ever would have imagined.

H Is For Homicide by Sue Grafton - His name was Parnell Perkins, and until shortly after midnight, he'd been a claims adjustor for California Fidelity. Then someone came along and put paid to that line of work. And to any other. Parnell Perkins had been shot at close range and left for dead in the parking lot outside California Fidelity's offices. To the cops, it looked like a robbery gone sour. To Kinsey Millhone, it looked like the cops were walking away from the case. She didn't like the idea that a colleague and sometime drinking companion had been murdered. Or the idea that his murderer was loose and on the prowl. It made her feel exposed. Vulnerable. Bibianna Diaz was afraid for her life. If there was one thing she knew for sure, it was that you didn't cross Raymond Maldonado and live to tell the tale. And Bibianna had well and truly crossed him, running out on his crazy wedding plans and going into hiding in Santa Teresa light years away from the Los Angeles barrio that was home turf to Raymond and his gang. Now she needed money to buy time, to make sure she'd put enough space between them. And the quickest way she knew to get money was to work an insurance scam--just like the ones Raymond was running down in L.A. The trouble was, Bibianna picked California Fidelity as her mark. And it wasn't long before her name surfaced in one of Parnell Perkins's open files and Kinsey was on her case. But so, too, was her spurned suitor, Raymond Maldonado. He had a rap sheet as long as his arm, a hair-trigger temper that was best left untested, and an inability to take no for an answer. He also had Tourette's syndrome, which did nothing to smooth out the kinks in his erratic and often violent behavior. All in all, Raymond Maldonado was not someone to spend a lot of time hanging out with. Unfortunately for Kinsey, she didn't have a lot of choice in the matter. Not after the love-sick Raymond kidnapped Bibianna. Like it or not, Kinsey was stuck baby-sitting Bibianna along with Raymond and his macho crew. You might say she was a prisoner of love.

The Anniversary by Amy Gutman - Three women reach the edge of terror as the secret past they all share is unearthed and turned against them! It's been five years since the execution of Steven Gage, a devious, charming psychopath who took the lives of more than a hundred women. In those five years, three women connected with his case have moved on. His attorney has rid herself of the stigma of defending Gage. A true crime writer has gone on to new projects after her bestseller about his rampage. And Steven's ex-girlfriend has made a new life for herself one where she won't be reminded that she once shared her home with a monster. But someone hasn't moved on. On the fifth anniversary of Gage's execution, each of the women gets a private note... a chilling message that lets all three women know they haven't been forgotten, and that in someone's dark imagination, Gage's legacy of terror lives on. At the time of his sentencing, Gage issued a terrifying edict that all three women hoped was meaningless. As threats against them turn deadly, the past explodes into the present. And one woman is in the fight of her life to uncover who is really responsible a killer who is determined to start up the string of murders right where they stopped.

Equivocal Death by Amy Gutman - Just out of Harvard Law School, Kate Paine is on the fast track at Samson & Mills, the nation's most powerful law firm. Assigned to assist the managing partner, Kate can hardly believe her good luck. But with the brutal murder of Madeleine Waters, a beautiful female partner, Kate's world begins to collapse. A mysterious warning from the dead woman hours before her death leaves Kate terrified and confused - could she be the killer's next target? Delving far beneath the firm's smooth veneer, she discovers a legacy of abuse and betrayal that may hold the key to solving the murder, as well as to her own survival.

Sis Boom Bah by Jane Heller - What can make sisters stop talking to each other for years? If it's the Peltz sisters, just about anything can touch off an estrangement. In fact, the latest spat between Deborah, a soap opera writer in New York, and Sharon, a wedding planner in Boca Raton, has lasted two years. But when their mother has a heart attack, the sisters rally around her and promise to behave themselves. The only glitch in their peace pact is Mom's doctor. He's single, good-looking, wealthy... and coming on to BOTH sisters.

Jean Sheridan, a college dean and prominent historian, sets out to her hometown to attend the twenty-year reunion of Stonecroft Academy alumni, where she is to be honored along with six other members of her class. There is something uneasy in the air: one woman in the group about to be feted, Alison Kendall, a beautiful, high-powered Hollywood agent, drowned in her pool during an early-morning swim. Alison is the fifth woman in the class whose life has come to a sudden, mysterious end. Adding to Jean's sense of unease is a taunting, anonymous fax she received, referring to her daughter --- a child she had given up for adoption twenty years ago. At the award dinner, Jean is introduced to Sam Deegan, a detective obsessed by the unsolved murder of a young woman who may hold the key to the identity of the Stonecroft killer. Jean does not suspect that among the distinguished people she is greeting is The Owl, a murderer nearing the countdown on his mission of vengeance against the Stonecroft women who had mocked and humiliated him, with Jean as his final victim.

Cry No More by Linda Howard - It is a sentiment Milla Edge knows too well. With an astonishing blend of savvy, instinct, and passion, Milla displays an uncanny gift for finding lost children. When all seems helpless, desperate souls from across the country come to her for hope and results. Driven by an obsessive desire to fill the void in other people's lives, Milla throws herself into every case -- all the while trying to outrun the brutal emotions stemming from a horrific tragedy in her past. Traveling to a small village in Mexico on a reliable tip, Milla begins to uncover the dire fate of countless children who have disappeared over the years in the labyrinth of a sinister baby-smuggling ring. The key to nailing down the organization may rest with an elusive one-eyed man. To find him, Milla joins forces with James Diaz, a suspicious stranger known as the Tracker who conceals his own sinister agenda. As the search intensifies, the mission becomes more treacherous. For the ring is part of something far larger and more dangerous, reaching the highest echelons of power and influence. Caught between growing passion and imminent peril, Milla suddenly finds herself the hunted -- in the crosshairs of an invisible, lethal assassin who aims to silence her permanently. Intense emotion... potent suspense... pounding action. Author Linda Howard weaves these elements into page-turning fiction. CRY NO MORE is a seductive thriller of heartbreak and obsession that moves with a vengeance.

Dying To Please by Linda Howard - Loyal. Beautiful. Professional. Impeccably organized. Potentially lethal. Sarah Stevens is a woman with many distinct qualities. First and foremost a butler par excellence, skilled at running large households smoothly and efficiently, she is also a trained bodyguard and expert marksman -- indispensable to her elderly employer, a courtly gentleman whom Sarah has come to respect and love as a father. Then one night she thwarts a burglary in progress, a courageous act that rewards Sarah her requisite "fifteen minutes of fame" with the local press. But the exposure is enough to catch the attention of a tortured soul who, unbeknownst to Sarah, will stop at nothing to have her for himself. Sarah's perfectly ordered life is shattered when tragedy strikes: her beloved employer is brutally murdered. The charismatic detective investigating the case, assures Sarah that she is not a suspect. Until lightning strikes twice. There's a second killing -- and this time, despite a lack of evidence connecting her to the crime, Sarah cannot escape the shadow of guilt. The only option left for Sarah is to carry on with her life. But she doesn't realize that a deranged stalker is luring her into an elaborate trap... one in which she, once ensnared, might never escape. For Sarah soon finds herself at the mercy of a man who will tend to her every whim, smother her with affection, and crush her in his all-consuming embrace.

Cold Blooded by Lisa Jackson - A woman's slashed, incinerated corpse is found in a seedy New Orleans apartment. Her killer is certain there were no witnesses, unaware that his every move was seen by a beautiful stranger -- from her bed in a bayou cottage on the outskirts of town....Weeks later, another violent vision shatters Olivia Bechet's sleep. Convinced a serial killer is stalking the city, Olivia turns to the authorities. But jaded detective Rick Bentz doesn't believe her -- even when a second body turns up, slain in exactly the same bizarre, ritualistic manner Olivia described....As New Orleans panics in the icy grip of a merciless killer, Olivia is frustrated by Bentz's skepticism -- and captivated by her attraction to him. But soon her dreams are invaded by images of another murder. One that has yet to be committed. This time, Olivia recognizes not only the victim's face -- but the murderer's. And both are closer than she ever imagined....

Deadly Love by B.D. Joyce - Welcome to the world of Francesca Cahill, crime-solver extraordinaire. Francesca is no ordinary heroine. She refuses to bow to convention, wears her heart on her sleeve, and is determined to right the ills and injustices of society. DEADLY LOVE begins Francesca's mad escapades when the neighbors' little boy is kidnapped right out of his bed during a society ball.
It is January 18, 1902. Francesca stumbles across the ransom note just as she meets New York City's newly appointed police commissioner, Rick Bragg. And Francesca can no more stay out of this investigation than she can stop herself from falling in love with the city's determined and powerful police commissioner. But little does she know that on this singular night, her life with change forever. Step back in time to the lost, magical world of turn-of-the-century New York City -- where the glittering mansions of society's elite are only footsteps away from the impoverished back alleys of the city's underbelly -- and into the heart of true danger and even truer passion.

Scandalous Love by Brenda Joyce - Rebelliously independent Lady Nicole Bragg Shelton refuses to be constrained by the stifling rules of Victorian England. And now desire has impelled the beautiful heiress toward a shocking liason with Hadrian Braxton-Lowell, Duke of Clayborough. Bound by the dictates of honor and duty to another woman, Hadrian is shocked by Nicole's daring conduct, yet entranced by her fiery free spirit and breathtaking sensuality. Though resolved to making the raven-haired beauty his mistress, he will never agree to wed her. But Nicole is no man's plaything. And she is prepared to risk heartache in order to satisfy her wild, uncompromising passion... and win the dashing Duke's unwavering loyalty and undying love.

A Once And Future Love by Anne Kelleher - When Richard Lambert's beloved wife dies, he thinks he will never find love again. Until, while exploring a medieval tower, he falls from the steps -- and into another time....When he wakes, he's in the body of his ancestor, who is near death from battle. As his wife nurses him back to health, she finds he is not the cruel man she knew. And he discovers a second chance -- with his one and only love....

The Wishing Chalice by Sandra Landry - All Hunter wants is the love of his lady wife. All Isabel wants is to give him her love. There is only one problem: He thinks she is his wife. She knows she is not. Mourning the breakup of her marriage, Isabel retreats to the serene English countryside to find some measure of peace and healing. There she stumbles upon an ancient pewter chalice -- and is thrust centuries back in time into the body of another woman. Suddenly she is married to a total stranger -- a fierce warrior who looks at his "wife" with undeniable yearning in his eyes.... Hunter had finally achieved his long-desired goal when the king gifted him with Windermere Castle -- and the hand of its beautiful lady, Doña. But his dream tasted like ashes, for although he was now her lord and husband, Doña despised him and vowed never to love him. But suddenly, Doña seems to have undergone a swift and bewildering change. She claims to have no memory of him, of the circumstances of their marriage and her hatred for him, and forgets even her own name. Now, Hunter has a second chance -- to woo his lady wife with kisses, and seduce her with pleasure until nothing or no one can keep him from his heart's desire -- no one, perhaps, but Isabel....

Killer Blonde by Laura Levine - A gal with a serious Ben & Jerry's habit and credits that include a tome entitled "I Was Henry Kissinger's Sex Slave" can't afford to be too picky about employment. So when a Beverly Hills socialite offers Jaine Austen megabucks to ghostwrite a book of hostess tips, it's time sharpen the #2s. So what if Jaine has to take dictation from a rail-thin lady of leisure in a bubble bath sporting man-made breasts that qualify as flotation devices? Pride doesn't feed the cat. A dubious job benefit is an up-close and personal view of the amorous exploits of Hollywood's ladies-who-lunch. But everything short circuits when Jaine finds her employer floating face down in her tub, fried by her own blow dryer.

Last Writes by Laura Levine - Wisecracking pen-for-hire Jaine Austen is back --- and she's about to discover that working on the set of a Hollywood sitcom is no laughing matter....Jaine still hasn't found a good man --- or a way to keep all those sugary snacks from going straight to her hips. But --- with a little help from her best friend Kandi --- she's finally landed a gig as a sitcom writer! True, Muffy 'n Me isn't going to win any Emmys. And her seedy office at Miracle Studios needs a little sprucing up, and a few dozen rat traps. But it sure beats writing boring brochures and run-of-the-mill resumes, so Jaine's not complaining. Until the plot thickens --- with murder...The trouble starts when Muffy 'n Me's hottest star, gorgeous Quinn Kirkland, is caught in bed with the barely legal actress who plays Muffy. Before long, Quinn's many jealous girlfriends start coming out of the woodwork, all bent on revenge...So when the no-good heartthrob drops dead after nibbling a poisoned doughnut, Jaine isn't terribly surprised. But who could have done it? A competitive co-star and a couple of scorned lovers top Jaine's list of suspects, but the police have zeroed in on her man-crazy pal Kandi. She fell hard for Quinn --- and nearly fell apart when she learned of all his other women. Now Jaine has to figure out who finally stopped Quinn's cheatin' heart --- before her best friend ends up behind bars...

This Pen For Hire by Laura Levine - Steamy personals ads. Daring declarations of love. Writer for hire Jaine Austen has penned them all --- and, in the process, glimpsed the truly desperate side of L.A.'s swinging singles scene. But when one of the love connections she made is broken up by murder, Jaine finds herself freelancing free of charge --- and uncovering more than she bargained for.
No one seems to need her help more than geeky, gawky Howard Murdoch. His request, though strangely stalker-ish, is simple enough: a letter proclaiming his undying love for Stacy Lawrence, a gorgeous aerobics instructor. The fact that he's never actually met the woman gives Jaine pause --- but she soons overcomes her misgivings, warms up her computer, and starts pitching woo on Howard's behalf. To Jaine's surprise, the letter is a success --- the unlikely Romeo lands a date! But his triumph is, sadly, short-lived. On Valentine's Day, Howard finds Stacy bludgeoned to death with a Thigh Master --- and is quickly named the prime suspect. Upon hearing the news, Jaine is shocked. Sure, Howard's awkward, eccentric, and a tiny bit odd. But a murderer? That's hard to believe. Especially after a little sleuthing turns up a whole bunch of people who harbored less than loving feelings toward the svelte Stacy. Like the woman who coveted her spacious apartment. The jealous wife who saw her husband's eye wander in Stacy's direction. The ex-best friend, who's still angry at Stacy for stealing her man...Things only get crazier when Jaine meets Stacy's handsome neighbor Cameron, whose blue eyes and boyish grin turn her knees to Jello. But Jaine doesn't have time for romance. She's got a murder to solve. After all, it's her fault that Howard's in jail. If she hadn't written that letter, the only cops on Howard's case would be the fashion police. Before Jaine knows it, she's become a nosier --- and bolder --- version of her usual self, flashing her Bloomies charge card in lieu of a press pass and lying her pants off in her quest for the truth. But Jaine had better wrangle her clues quickly, before a crafty killer catches on --- and puts a whole new spin on her ghost writing career...

Heavenly Detour by Joanne Meyer - A funny thing happened to real estate agent Annie Edelstein Dowd on the way to finally making it with a gorgeous guy. She died.... But wait -- it gets even better. Now, I'm back. As a ghost, no less, with no how-to manual for contacting the living. The worst part? (Besides my unfortunate drowning during the Sands Point party of the year, and just before I was about to... oh, never mind.) I have no way to do a little post-life kibbitizing with my ex-husband, Frank, he of the goyim name (my mother got over it), the twinkling blue eyes (I never got over him), and the insatiable curiosity (did I mention he's an investigative reporter?). Why does this airy-fairy, ooh-darling-I'm-speaking-to-you-now-from-the-great-beyond-so-could-you-lose-the-ruggelech-for-a-minute-and-listen-already stuff always work in the movies, anyway? The whole thing is so confusing that frankly, if I were alive, I'd go out and get drunk. In my case, that's not a viable option. "EVEN IN DEATH, YOU NEED A WOMAN TO INTERPRET FOR YOU...." The only person who is getting the message is Charlene, the cop assigned to figure out who could have pushed me into a pool and why. (I was murdered? Who knew?) So now I've got my hands full trying to remember what happened while keeping my family and friends from going off the deep end, so to speak. Plus, I've got to help Frank and Charlene find my killer -- but this ghost gig isn't as easy as it looks. And the kicker is, now that I'm dead, I just realized I'm still in madly, wildly in love with my ex -- and he's still carrying a torch for me. That's afterlife for you. "WHEN THEY SAY A WOMAN's WORK IS NEVER DONE... THEY AREN'T KIDDING." Suddenly, things are making as much sense as a bagel with cream cheese and ham. Somewhere out there, probably in Queens, is a murderer and all I want is to cozy up to Frank and run a replay of everything we never had. It's crazy. It's kooky. It's a little creepy. But hey, where there's a will, there's a way... and any woman who's managed to hold on to a rent-controlled, pre-war, one-bedroom can handle just about anything. Or die trying. Well, you know what I mean. In this wickedly winning, delightfully sophisticated debut novel, Joanne Meyer delivers a screwball comedy about love, hope, and the importance of being buried in real silk... where death is only the beginning of the year's funniest story.

The Paid Companion by Amanda Quick - The Earl of St. Merryn needs a woman. His intentions are purely practical -- he simply wants someone sensible and suitably lovely to pose as his betrothed for a few weeks among polite society. He has his own agenda to pursue, and a false fiancée will keep the husband-hunters at bay while he goes about his business. The simplest solution is to hire a paid companion. Finding the right candidate proves more of a challenge than he expected. But when he encounters Miss Elenora Lodge, the fire in her golden eyes sways him to make a generous offer. Her sorry financial circumstances -- and dreams of a life of independence -- convince her to accept. But St. Merryn appears to be hiding a secret or two, and things seem oddly amiss in his gloomy London home. Elenora soon discovers that this lark will be a far more dangerous adventure than she'd been led to believe. And the Earl of St. Merryn will find that the meek and mild companion he'd initially envisioned has become a partner in his quest to catch a killer -- and an outspoken belle of the ball who stirs a bothersome passion in his practical heart.

White Heather by Jaclyn Reding - Near the Isle of Skye in the western Highlands, Catriona MacBryan slipped through a secret door into Castle Rosmorigh. But the spirited Scottish beauty never imagined the truth -- that she was not Catriona MacBryan after all, but a titled lady robbed of her birthright by an enemy who still endangered her life....Once, Robert, Lord Devonbrook, had been a dashing second son, a man without a worry. Then a terrible fire destroyed his art collection worth a fabulous fortune. The only thing left was his title and Rosmorigh. Then he discovered a young woman trespassing in his home....

On The Bright Side, I'm Now The Girlfriend Of A Sex God by Louise Rennison - Fourteen-year-old Bristish schoolgirl Georgia Nicolson is now dating the Sex God --- also known as Robbie --- and things couldn't be any more fab. When they snog, life is marvy and gorgey and all that stuff. But then Georgia gets dumped because she's too young. Robbie admits she's a great kid, but thinks she might be more interested in his mate Dave, who is "a good laugh." To lure the Sex God back, Georgia decides to give Dave a go. She hopes that when Robbie sees her with another bloke, he'll go mad jealous and come running back to her.

Enchanted by Nora Roberts - Lovely, guileless Rowan Murray felt drawn to brooding Liam Donovan with a power she'd never imagined possible. And his breathtaking kisses convinced her he felt the same. But she soon realized her darkly enigmatic neighbor was as elusive as the mysterious wolf she'd seen lurking about her cabin. Liam was tormented by indecision. He understood he had no right to love Rowan, knowing what lay ahead. But the allure of her beguiling innocence overpowered his will until he could resist no longer. And he knew, if he was ever to make Rowan his, he had no choice but to reveal his incredible secret.

The Bad Beginning: A Series Of Unfortunate Events, Book #1 by Lemony Snicket - Dear Reader, I'm sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune. In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast. It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing. With all due respect, Lemony Snicket

Sunset In St. Tropez by Danielle Steel - The story of three couples, lifelong friends, for whom a month's holiday in St. Tropez becomes a summer of change, revelation, secrets, surprises, and new beginnings.... As Diana Morrison laid the table for six at her elegant Central Park apartment, there was no warning of what was to come. Spending New Year's Eve together was a sacred tradition for Diana, her husband of thirty-two years, Eric, and their best friends, Pascale and John Donnally and Anne and Robert Smith. The future looked rosy as the long-time friends sipped champagne and talked of renting a villa together in the South of France the following summer. But life had other plans....Just two weeks after New Year's, tragedy strikes the heart of their close circle, as Robert Smith suffers a sudden, unexpected loss. Without hesitation, Diana and Eric, Pascale and John rally to his side, united in their support, love, and shared grief. Convinced that a change of scenery is just what Robert needs, they urge him to join them on the Riviera in August. But as they soon discover, the ramshackle old mansion they rented in St. Tropez -- sight unseen -- is far different from the exquisite villa and sun-drenched gardens touted in the brochure. Cobwebs hang from the ceiling. Beds collapse beneath them. All while a would-be housekeeper in a leopard-skin bikini and six-inch heels sashays through the house with a trio of yapping poodles at her heels. But the biggest surprise of all is the woman Robert invites to the villa as his guest -- a lovely, much-younger film actress with mile-long legs and a million-dollar smile. Diana and Pascale hate her on sight. But the men are dazzled. And amid the crumbling furniture and the glorious sunsets, the strained relationships and the acts of forgiveness, more surprises are in store for the villa's occupants. With the last days of summer fast approaching, each couple finds themselves changing in unexpected ways, as old wounds are healed, new love discovered, and miracles unfold... all beneath the dazzling sun of St. Tropez.
By turns wise and moving, heartbreaking and wickedly funny, Danielle Steel's new novel is about forgiving without forgetting, about the sorrow that shadows our lives and the hope that saves us. And it is about once-in-a-lifetime friendships... the kind that heal, sustain, and change us forever.

Now You See Me by Tina Wainscott - Olivia was eight years old when she was trapped in the twisted fantasies of a kidnapper. Escaping with her life, the trauma left her blind, and her innocence shattered. But Olivia would escape with something else -- a psychic gift that has become her greatest weapon....
Sixteen years to the day, it's happened again. A little girl named Phaedra has disappeared. Olivia saw it happen. In her private darkness came the visions: the toys... the chloroform... the scissors... the cage.... Olivia shares the stark fear in the young girl's eyes, and the terrifying fate only Olivia can stop. But to find the fiendish killer and save Phaedra means returning to the terrors of her own past -- and opening her eyes to an inescapable new nightmare.

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger - A delightfully dishy novel about the all-time most impossible boss in the history of impossible bosses. Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, lands the job a million girls would die for. Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high-profile, fabulously successful editor of Runway magazine, Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts Prada! Armani! Versace! at every turn, a world populated by impossibly thin, heart-wrenchingly stylish women and beautiful men clad in fine-ribbed turtlenecks and tight leather pants that show off their lifelong dedication to the gym. With breathtaking ease, Miranda can turn each and every one of these hip sophisticates into a scared, whimpering child. THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA gives a rich and hilarious new meaning to complaints about The Boss from Hell. Narrated in Andrea's smart, refreshingly disarming voice, it traces a deep, dark, devilish view of life at the top only hinted at in gossip columns and over Cosmopolitans at the trendiest cocktail parties. From sending the latest, not-yet-in-stores Harry Potter to Miranda's children in Paris by private jet, to locating an unnamed antique store where Miranda had at some point admired a vintage dresser, to serving lattes to Miranda at precisely the piping hot temperature she prefers, Andrea is sorely tested each and every day and often late into the night with orders barked over the phone. She puts up with it all by keeping her eyes on the prize: a recommendation from Miranda that will get Andrea a top job at any magazine of her choosing. As things escalate from the merely unacceptable to the downright outrageous, however, Andrea begins to realize that the job a million girls would die for may just kill her. And even if she survives, she has to decide whether or not the job is worth the price of her soul.

'Til Death Do Us Part by Kate White - True crime writer and sometime sleuth Bailey Weggins took the media and mystery worlds by storm in Kate White's sexy and suspenseful debut novel, IF LOOKS COULD KILL. In Bailey's latest outing, she takes the plunge into a world of designer wedding dresses, domestic divas, and deadly nuptial doings...When she gets a call from Ashley Hanes on a frigid January night, Bailey's ready to tell her she's not pulling any of her Gloss magazine strings to get Ashley into a designer sample sale. But the Connecticut trust fund baby isn't looking for fashion favors; she wants to rehash the Cross / Slavin wedding. It turns out that Peyton Cross --_ the Vera Wang-attired bride and Martha Stewart wannabe --- is once again the talk of the town. Two of her bridesmaids have recently died in freak accidents and Ashley's terrifed she'll be next. Bailey's interest is definitely piqued --- she was a college roommate of Peyton's and a bridesmaid as well. Leaving her latest boyfriend behind in Manhattan, Bailey bundles up for the cold, scenic drive to Ivy Hill Farm in Greenwich, Connecticut, home of Peyton's burgeoning catering and gourmet food business. She's barely begun asking questions when Ashley becomes Bridesmaid Casualty #3. After Bailey is attacked by an assailant in a cashmere coat, she realizes she's been targeted by a well-heeled killer who knows how to dress for the weather --- which narrows the list of suspects to most of the population of Greenwich, including Peyton's employees and intimate friends. Before she knows it, Bailey is following a dangerous trail of clues that will take her from the elegant suburbs of Connecticut to New York's trendy Lower East Side to a fabulous oceanfront hotel room in Miami. With the clock ticking and a well-concealed murderer vowing to get her out of the picture, Bailey could become the headline of the next true crime story: Four Funerals And A Wedding.


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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at Happy Reading! :o)