31 December 2010

Frustration

Frustration is being so lucky as to win not one but two eBooks by an amazing author but be unable to read them because of formatting issues (as in format [square] meet eReader device/program [circle]).

Frustration is also deciding that an eBook won earlier this year that you can't read (please see above frustration) shall be purchased only to discover that said eBook has been released in every format (or at least it feels that way) except for the one required.
And frustration is also realizing that after 2 years of blogging I will have missed my self-imposed number of posts per month :( I like to aim for 10... Then again I could cheat and write two posts tomorrow and just date them 31 December...

So, what frustrates you about eBook formats/devices/programs or...anything?
Edited to add: Frustration is also realizing that even on annual leave finding time to blog-hop seems impossible...and I don't want to let anyone down by not visiting.

30 December 2010

With Intent

That's what I've been doing. Glomming. With. Intent. Or should that be with abandon? *grin* I felt like reading something...different earlier this week so I finally picked up the first book in Jordan Castillo Price's PsyCop series - Amongst the Living - and fell in love....with Victor Bayne. And after finishing Amongst the Living I picked up Thaw (PsyCop 1.1) then Criss Cross followed by Body and Soul and then Secrets. And now I have started Camp Hell. (I'm meant to be finishing Grand Conspiracy, but I just can't stay away from Victor...and Jacob. But mostly Victor :)

Victor just gets himself into these situations. It's really just the way his brain works. For example, he throws his mobile phone in the refrigerator in order to avoid explaining to Jacob who he was attempting to ring:
I stopped breathing as I wondered if he (Jacob) had a taste for lettuce, and, if so, whether he'd wonder why the romaine was checking its messages.
I could keep quoting...but I'm obsessed a fan *grin*

So, who was the last author you glommed?

Edited to correct spelling - thank you Chris :)

27 December 2010

Purpose

What is the purpose of a book exactly? Does it exist for enjoyment? For escapism? For learning? Does the answer to this question depend on the book's genre?

I recently (yesterday) finished reading His for the Holidays (anthology)...and I loved it! But reading it got me to thinking about the purpose of an anthology. For example, by the end of Mistletoe at Midnight (LB Gregg) I was asking myself why I hadn't read any of LB Gregg's books before now! And I own one! I honestly didn't want the novella to end, and almost felt...peeved that it did and that I had to read something else. But, finishing Mistletoe at Midnight lead me to Harper Fox's Nine Lights over Edinburgh, which ended up being my favourite of all the novellas. This was the novella that lingered (that still lingers)...had me asking questions...and wanting more. The characters (James and Tobias) were wounded and flawed, two character traits that I love. Their journey was not short or easy...and they still have so far to go. Even now, I still can't see the novella ending where it did. Yes, the ending worked, but *stamps feet* I want...more! Doesn't everyone? *grin*

And then I was struck by the 'why' of anthologies. Their purpose is to introduce readers to unknown authors...or to authors they know but are hesitant to try. Yes, sometimes these novellas are part of a series (am thinking of Burning Up, which contained a Psy-Changeling novella by Nalini Singh) but...anthologies are like a taste test. I'm not sure if this happens where you live, but here, if a company wants to introduce a customer to a product (I'm thinking of a food product), they set up a stall in a supermarket and permit the customer to try the product. And that's what anthologies are in a way. Well, not quite as you purchase anthologies *watches analogy fall apart* but they permit the reader to discover an author they wouldn't have otherwise tried. So will I be reading more stories by Harper Fox? Definitely!

So, what do you think the purpose of an anthology is?

25 December 2010

Wishing...

...you a happy holiday season and all the best for 2011.

The Christmas cards are all written and posted, and the presents all bought and delivered (which is a good thing as it is Christmas Day here). I am now officially on holiday from work...and from the family. And to ensure that the latter occurs I have unplugged my phone. Yes, it sounds like a desperate move, but asking my family to respect my request for space last year didn't work. So this year I decided to be proactive!

And now that I am on holiday...and I have a new modem, which seems to have stabilized by download speed, I'm planning to visit you all profusely. You have been warned *grin*

15 December 2010

Falling Over The Edge Of The World


The world is round, so travellers tell,
And straight though reach the track,
Trudge on, trudge on, 'twill all be well,
The way will guide one back.
A Shropshire Lad by A.E. Housman.

I haven't...yet. Fallen over the edge of the world that is. I've just been feeling...rather overwhelmed of late. Like a single drop of water buffeted amongst billions in a mighty river. And that is why I have been offline for most of this week...and why I will probably be offline until early next week apart from GoodReads...because the obsessive-compulsive in me has to express herself in some way or she will stage a massive protest). I miss you all and promise to be back with bells on (and with inane comments for your blog posts :) ASAP.

07 December 2010

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Last year I called Bah! Humbug! on Christmas. This year I am going one step further...I am officially labelling the pre-Christmas period a nightmare. Trying to sort Christmas cards and presents for one person (me) is hard enough - but for two other people as well? *heads desk* For a person as OCD as me you'd think I'd have lists galore...not really. I can't seem to concentrate enough to write lists ATM. Hmmm. In an effort to stay sane....OK semi-sane... I think I may just have to deal with what is required for one person at a time and get to me last. Plus, for some weird reason everyone's (OK one family member and me) dental appointments have fallen due in December. Because the one thing you want to be doing at Christmas is going to the dentist!

And that leads me to Christmas traditions...of the book variety. When asked by my family I always ask for a book voucher....and then they usually ignore than and purchase something they think I would like if I was somebody else :) However, saying that, in previous years 'Santa' always left me a romance anthology (usually historical romance) in my stocking. I used to spend Christmas Day and Boxing Day snuggled up with the book. Unfortunately, that tradition has...lapsed (for want of a better word with 'Santa's' passing) and I haven't really had the heart to continue it myself. (That and the selections haven't been as good of late). However, this year I've discovered m/m Christmas romance novels...including a m/m Christmas anthology! *bliss*
So, what is driving you nuts in the pre-Christmas period and what are you hoping that Santa will bring you this year?

05 December 2010

Random Facts

I have only been able to watch Alien to the end once...and that was over 5 years ago. I watched it while hiding under a blanket with my feet off the floor (because as everyone knows Aliens [and all scary monsters] lurk under couches...and beds [not so sure about closets myself, but I've heard anecdotal evidence that they do]) and my teddy (Ted E. Bear) close at hand. Not quite sure if Ted was there as protection or a sacrifice.... (That statement no doubt breaks a multitude Teddy ownership laws.)

It drives me completely bat crazy when I am asked if I want to make or change an appointment to a weekday morning. What I really feel like saying instead of a politely worded 'No. Thank you' is 'How do you think I am paying for x, y or z? By working...and since the majority of people work 9-5 you should assume that is where I will be.' I discussed this 'dislike' with the unnamed expert earlier this week...it all comes down to scheduling. I schedule...everything. And even a hint that the schedule may be...disturbed sends me into a blind panic. Why? Because my schedule makes me feel like I have control.

I hate being in the middle of a book and suddenly want to read another one. I'm like a cat: 'Oh, that shiny object is attracting my attention. I wants it!'

I still haven't completely forgiven my father for taping a documentary on surgery instead of the all-important Dynasty royal wedding (the only episode of Dynasty I was permitted to watch) between Amanda Bedford and Prince Michael of Moldavia, the latter being played by the scrumptious Michael Praed of Robin of Sherwood fame. (I am also convinced he was the [unintentional] model for The Last Herald-Mage [Mercedes Lackey] covers by Jodi Lee. What do you think?

Hmmm... *thinks* I wonder if the royal wedding is on YouTube...

My project over the Christmas-New Year period is painting the fence...and I'm going to replace my letterbox. So, now, whenever I drive anywhere I stare at letterboxes (which in itself is weird). I never knew there were so many different types!

So, what random fact about you should I know?

02 December 2010

Books 2010: November Update

Total to date: 113 books (eight books this month: erotic romance [one book]; fantasy [one book]; historical romance [two books]; m/m romance [three book]; yaoi [one book])

The 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge total to date: 37 books (two books this month) [I have a very strong feeling that I won't complete this challenge before the end of the year]

The 2010 Big Book Challenge total to date: one book (I'm still aiming to read my chosen book - Kushiel's Dart (Jacqueline Carey) - before the end of the year!]

The M/M Romance Challenge 2010 total to date: 21 books (three books this month)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2010) can be found at GoodReads.

Favourite books of the month?

* All or Nothing (James Buchanan)

* Inland Empire (James Buchanan) [What can I say, I adore Nicky & Brandon]

Currently reading:

* Grand Conspiracy (Janny Wurts)

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading this month: Hard Fall (James Buchanan) [Me? A fangirl? Ya think? *grin*]

So, what did you read last month?

30 November 2010

Concert

I am a creature of habit. Anyone who knows me will be laughing hysterically at that comment, because it is such an understatement it's not funny. Because I am...attached to my schedule, I find it hard to...do something outside the box, even if it is something I have planned. Last week I did just that...I went to a concert. And not just any concert - U2's 360 Degrees Tour!
And it (the music, the special effects...the show) was...mind-blowingly amazing. I still would like to see U2 just with one amplifier though...almost unplugged. Because their music speaks for itself.
So, what was the last and/or best concert you went to?
Computer update: I'm still on a go slow and my service provider is...investigating. So, no YouTube for me until it is sorted. However, I seem to be able to browse, albeit v e r y slowly!

29 November 2010

Go Slow

According to Wikipedia:

A slowdown is an industrial action in which employees perform their duties but seek to reduce productivity or efficiency in their performance of these duties. A slowdown may be used as either a prelude or an alternative to a strike, as it is seen as less disruptive as well as less risky and costly for workers and their union.
The short story: At one point on Friday I was seriously beginning to think that my computer and/or modem had instigated a go slow! (I was very tired on Friday.) Now...now I don't think this 'go slow' is deliberate.

The long story: Technomoron that I am, this 'go slow' has been occurring for at least a week - watching YouTube videos is like pulling teeth - and I kept thinking it was just a glitch! Finally, on Friday, while attempting (and failing miserably) to watch an episode of Project Runway (I won't say which season but FYI we are behind) I gave in and called my service provider. We chatted and I, at their suggestion, ran a speed test. According to my service provider, I should have one of the best broadband speeds in the country. (They wondered if I was 'sitting' on the exchange for it to be that fast :) But...according to the speed test my download speed is...one-fortieth what it should be. *GULP* So, they suggested I run a diagnostic. I had to download it twice (the first time the download timed out) and as of this morning said diagnostic had been running for almost 18 hours! I'll see what it says when I get home, but I'm hoping it's the modem and not my telephone line... *envisions large holes in the lawn*

In an effort to 1) discuss the issue; 2) download the diagnostic and 3) run the diagnostic I've been offline for *checks watch* TOO LONG! WARNING! WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS IMMINENT! Hopefully...someone will have it fixed (I'm a technomoron so that someone probably won't be me :) soon and I'll be back online in two shakes of a lamb's tail *grin*

So, I'm curious, when was the last time you had computer/modem/internet access issues and...how did you cope? (Luckily I've been reading the third Nicky & Brandon eBook, but I'm too close to the end and then what will I do?)

Edited to add: In case you are wondering how this post came to be considering I have no internet access I wrote it offline and posted it during my lunch break. Desperate, what?

24 November 2010

Absence Makes The Heart...Lose Interest?

I know the saying should be 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder'. But...does it? Grow fonder that is?

I was thinking about this the other night in relation to books. Writing a book takes time (among other things). And authors aren't chained to their computers (even though, secretly, in deep, dark places in the corner of our minds that we don't like to talk about let alone think of, we want them to be...or perhaps that is just me :) and have lives outside of writing *shock horror* so are unlikely to churn out books like a production line. (And would we like the results if they did?)

As a consequence of the time factor, there are often gaps between the release of books in a series (unless the author has the whole series written before publication of the first book :) But, I'm curious...what size gap is 'acceptable' (for want of a better word) and what is too long? Because, even though I don't like to tar us (humanity) with this brush, we do to all intents and purposes live in a society of instant gratification. We want more, faster and bigger than before. And, if we don't get it, we move on to something else. The next big thing. Anticipation eventually...dies.

So, if you have to wait 6 months for the next book in a series are you still anticipating its release? Do you want to pick it up? What if that wait was 1 year? Or 2 years?

22 November 2010

Inner Beauty

I had my hair cut this weekend. I vacillate between two extremes when I get my hair cut - I either tell my long-suffering (and very talented) hairdresser to do 'whatever' (because regardless of how brilliant the haircut is I'm never going to look any good) or I take along a photo (invariably of someone 'famous'). Does anyone else do that? On Saturday I took along a photo...this photo actually. (Ten points if you came name the person in the photo :)
 
And yes, I know I'm taking along a photo of someone half my age, but... I'm s l o w l y coming to terms with the fact that my hair is never going to be long and luscious :) See, like I mentioned in a previous post (Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow) I (for whatever reason) equate long hair with beauty. (Having that reinforced by a [male] work colleague hasn't helped this belief.) Unfortunately, I can't fight genetics. My hair is just not built to be long...or luscious.

I commented to my hairdresser that Emma Watson carries off the short hair beautifully - she looks gorgeous...and feminine. I just can't say the same about me. I look in the mirror and see...flaws. And that's the problem. I don't believe people - didn't believe my hairdresser on Saturday - when they (she) tell(s) me I'm beautiful. (*thinks* I think I've felt beautiful twice in my life.) Interestingly, that's one of the items on the list of the heroine from Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Sarah MacLean). The thing is, I think you have to feel beautiful (internally) before you can accept that you are beautiful...and that someone else believes that you are. And maybe that equates to love as well. You have to learn to love yourself before you can truly believe that someone else will love you. And to love yourself you have to know who you really are...flaws and all..and accept yourself as you really are. And maybe I'm wrong, but that seems to be the journey the heroine from Nine Rules is on. Thoughts?

18 November 2010

This Week

Earlier this week I discovered that Sony had FINALLY (apologies for the yelling, but it really has taken them far too long IMHO) released the Sony eReader in New Zealand. Only in black and silver mind....I mean why have a lovely brochure with lots of different colours of eReader but limit the actual colour choices available to two? 'You can have any colour as long as it's black!' My lovely friend, the very talented Meredith Shayne, lent me her Sony eReader (thank you Meredith!) so I could see what I thought. However, I think I prefer my iPhone. *ducks* I know! All the ranting about it not being available...it becomes available and I don't like it. Actually, I sort of did. The downside is that the touch option isn't very responsive and the buttons hard to push...not a good combination with my wrists as weak as they are... It is exciting though that Kindle, Kobo and the Sony eReader are now available here...just wish those pesky geographical restrictions would go away!

Last week while reading a post by the lovely Katiebabs from Babbling About Books, And More entitled Amazon's Top 10 of 2010 and RT Nominations I discovered Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Sarah MacLean). Katiebabs loved it:
Rules has one of the best wallflower ugly duckling heroines I ever read. Also verra steamy as well.
And this was echoed in the comments. Now, the wallflower ugly duckling heroine calls to me. I'm always...let's be honest here...whining about wanting more of this type of heroine. Wanting more of a heroine that I can relate to :) So, I threw caution (and my TBR list :) to the wind and borrowed it from the library. And I love it! The scary thing is...sometimes you get what you wish for. And I almost relate to the heroine too well...this morning the book made me cry:
She did not want to be that woman - the one of whom they spoke. She had never planned to be that woman. Somehow, it had happened, however...somehow she had lost her way and, without realizing it, she had chosen this staid, boring life instead of a different, more adventurous one.
I am so loving this book!

So, what's been happening in your world this week?

15 November 2010

Spring Cleaning

So, yesterday I sat down at my computer to commence a little (late) spring cleaning of my TBR list. *cue scary music* For someone who is rather OCD about, well, everything *grin* my TBR list has become rather messy. (Do I have to turn in my lifelong OCD membership?) You see, every time I read a review at various blogs or on GoodReads and think 'Yes! I want to read that book' I write the title and author on a post-it note. These post-it notes are then placed next to my computer, for eventual transfer to either my library hold list or my written TBR (library or eBook) list. Unfortunately, the post-it notes have been accumulating and accumulating and accumulating...

Therefore, instead of visiting blogs yesterday (apologies for being AWOL) I went through...the majority of the post-it notes (I still have some left - I swear they've been breeding when I wasn't looking) and added them to the relevant TBR list or not, depending on what I thought of each book's premise. What was interesting with this process was how things have changed. I'm currently in a YA 'no fly' zone ATM, so the majority of the YA books listed on various post-it notes were culled. It got me thinking about how a TBR list/pile/tower is in a way a living thing, reflecting our current likes and dislikes. And, yes, maybe I will be kicking myself in a few months when I suddenly go on a YA bender and have none listed in my TBR list, but...it seems silly to keep listing books that don't currently interest me. Doesn't it?

So, do you revise your TBR list/pile/tower regularly and, if so, do books fall by the wayside depending on which genres you are currently enjoying and which you are not?

13 November 2010

Villainy

I was blog hopping yesterday and swung by KristieJ's place (Rambling on Romance) just to check if she had written a new post. (Yes, I should really learn how to use Google Reader :) Re-reading KristieJ's last post entitled The Voices In My Head got me to thinking about villains...about the different types of villains and about which types work and which just don't. Previous to...I don't know when...it felt all villains were just that. Villains. The line drawn in the sand was very clear and they were all on the wrong side of it! But now...now I don't think all villains are created equal. Let's see...

* You have the truly evil villains who ooze pure evil. No 'why' about it. They are just EVHUL because they are. A good example would perhaps be the El Mages from CL Wilson's Tairen Soul series. Or the Sith from Star Wars. Hmmm. Maybe it's me, but the truly evil villains seem to crop up a lot in fantasy. Oh, and into this category falls the ever so frequent stalker who makes an appearance in just about every contemporary romance novel I pick up...and a few historical romance novels :) They stalk because they are obsessed and they are obsessed because....let's not detail that, let's just obsess and stalk the heroine, shall we? (Can you tell I'm not a fan of that particular plot device?) I'm becoming less of a fan of the truly evil villain. They feel....I don't know, rather one dimensional in their evilness.

* Then you have the villains with a reason (if one can call it that) behind their evilness. Greed mostly - greed for power, greed for money, etc. Greed. Revenge. Jealously. All those 'wonderful' human traits. I can understand them, but understanding does not mean condoning. The villain in His At Night (Sherry Thomas) falls into this category I think (although I'm only just over halfway through the book so he may move into the previous category as the book progresses).

* And that leads me to villains that aren't...or villains that are, but cross that line in the sand. Nope, I haven't gone mad (well, no more than usual :) Is it possible? Can a villain be redeemed? Such a cataclysmic shift depends completely on the author, whether he/she can pull it off enough that the reader can believe the redemption path. I think perhaps CL Wilson's Gaelen falls into this category. And maybe JR Ward's Zsadist? And can we forgot Darth Vader?

* And last but not least is the pretend villain. For example the (eventual) hero of a historical revenge novel who seeks revenge on the unsuspecting heroine, even though she herself has done nothing to the hero, it was actually her many-times removed uncle by marriage :) Or something to that effect. He's not really the villain, he's just...misinformed....and stupid. As for examples, I can't think of one...but there are many :)

So, have I missed any villain categories? What type of villain do you love to loathe?

09 November 2010

Hesitating

I've madly expounded on peeking and flitting and...now it's the turn of hesitating. I didn't start out to write a series of...whatever this is...but I guess it has kind of turned into that...somehow :)

This post has come about because I am hesitating (for want of a better word) in reading The Fugitive Prince (Janny Wurts). Janny Wurts is not an author to sugar-coat...well, anything. Her characters go through...hell. She is also, thank goodness, not an author who dismisses hope, so I know that everything isn't going to go pear-shaped. The. End. But, I've reached a point in the book where I just want to skip to the end. The tension has been tightening and tightening with each chapter and everything is about to blow sky high and...I don't know if I have the strength to keep reading :( I'm....afraid of what will happen to the characters and of my reaction to the events to come. And I'm not even talking about the main characters - I was reading a scene this morning in which the characters' names weren't even mentioned...and I was almost in tears. And, what's worse is, I've read this book before. I just didn't discover the layers, the nuances, the first time, which means I wasn't as emotionally invested as I am now.

This is rather different to how I felt while reading Keeping Promise Rock (Amy Lane). I wanted to peek because I didn't know the outcome - with The Fugitive Prince I know the outcome, I'm just not sure if I can successfully make the journey to the end unscathed. But...maybe reading a book unscathed isn't the point? After all, a good book will touch us emotionally, draw us in...

So, have you ever..hesitated while reading a book?

05 November 2010

Almost Heaven

At the beginning of this week my library system, comprising 14 libraries, amalgamated with the six other library systems in the greater city area. So, I now belong to a library system with...wait for it...55 libraries and ~3.5 million library items, including fiction (very important) and non-fiction books...oh, and CDs, DVDs, console games, audio books, foreign language and reference materials, plus 100+ eResources! Now, heaven for me would be being able to walk into a room in my house and pick up whatever book I wanted. *thinks* I don't think I'll ever have a big enough house for that...or enough money *grin* But...this seems pretty close :)

So, when it comes to books, what is your idea of heaven?

02 November 2010

Books 2010: October Update

Total to date: 105 books (13 books this month: fantasy [one book]; historical suspense [one book]; manga [nine books]; m/m romance [one book]; urban fantasy [one book])

The 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge total to date: 35 books (two books this month)

The 2010 Big Book Challenge total to date: one book (I'm still aiming to read my chosen book - Kushiel's Dart (Jacqueline Carey) - before the end of the year!]

The M/M Romance Challenge 2010 total to date: 18 books (one book this month)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2010) can be found at GoodReads.

Favourite book of the month?

* Banana Fish (Akimi Yoshida)

* Making Promises (Amy Lane)

Currently reading:

* The Fugitive Prince (Janny Wurts)

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading next month: Lord of the White Hell (Book II) [Ginn Hale]

So, what did you read last month?

31 October 2010

One Versus Many

Don't worry, this is not a 'The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few' post! *grin* But, writing A Piece of String earlier this week got me to thinking about the standalone novel versus the series. Which do you prefer?

I'm actually on the fence with this one... If you read a standalone and love the world-building and the characters and...well, everything, then you automatically want more and end up trolling the Internet for any information on a potential sequel (with the subsequent despondency when you realize that there is no sequel). I did this earlier this year when I read Tigers & Devils (Sean Kennedy) [expounded in Rainy Days and Mondays] and I do it every time I re-read To Ride Hell's Chasm (Janny Wurts). In the former novel I want a sequel (desperately!) so that I can spend more time with the characters (whom I love); in the latter I want to explore more of the world-building, which is fascinating!

With a series, I get to go back again, and again...and again. And that's a good thing (see above), right? Mostly... There are definitely some series I think should have stopped a looong time ago. Series that are going...nowhere. I think with for a series to work you need something new served up with the familiar...you need the connection (for example, characters and/or an overall plot arc) across the series but you also need to be hooked and engaged anew with each novel, whether it is with new characters or with the development of old characters. I think Nalini Singh does this very well with her Psy-Changeling series.

So, standalone or series...or does it depend? And is there a standalone novel that you think should have a sequel...or two?

28 October 2010

I Love My Pillow

At the end of last year, a very good friend of mine, the lovely cyphomandra, lent me one of her favourite manga series - Banana Fish (Akimi Yoshida). The premise of the series is as follows:
1973, Vietnam - an American soldier goes mad and guns down his buddies. Since then, the only words he has uttered are 'Banana Fish'...
Twelve years later, in New York City, police investigate a series of puzzling suicides and a dying man gives a charismatic young gang leader named Ash Lynx a vial of a mysterious substance.
I've been reading the 19 volumes s l o w l y over the past year - cyphomandra has been lending them to me in 'lots' (for want of a better word). This was my first introduction to manga (although I've since been introduced to yaoi manga by the fantastical Kris of Kris 'N' Good Books) and I honestly wasn't sure what to make of it...and how to adjust to the style and learn to notice not just the words but the images, which convey so much. (Yes, when starting this series I forgot the saying 'A picture is worth a thousand words'.) But, slowly but surely, the plot and the characters have crept under my skin....until last night, when I finished the main story (leaving two short stories in the final volume for today). I never thought that I would be so invested in the characters of a manga series that I would finish reading and want to either cry my heart out into the pillow or beat my pillow up in frustration....or both. (Yes, my pillow is very hard done by :) The connection between the two main characters was...so strong, and so apparent...in what they did and didn't do, in what they said and didn't say. It was...perfect in all of its human imperfectness because it accepted everything that each character was. No rose coloured glasses. Just acceptance...and love. *tries very hard not to cry again*

But, somehow, without realizing it, I was invested. There I was last night...on the edge of my seat...well, the bed...desperately turning the pages. Without giving to much away (although I think the previous paragraph might have already let the cat out of the bag :) the ending was...not what I expected. AT ALL! It's not that I feel cheated out of a happy ending, because life isn't fair, but...I wanted one. So desperately! I felt the characters deserved one. And...in a completely illogical way (but logical in my world)...I feel if the characters can survive all that they did and have a HEA, well, then...there is hope for me.

I read the two short stories late this afternoon, one set before the main story, one 10 years after. And the latter had me choked up and then crying...again. I've decided this is a keeper series, and even if there are 19 volumes I'm going to buy them! And I'm going to buy them backwards, which I know is a very non-OCD thing to do, but...I need the books that made me cry first.

So, have you ever finished a book/TV series that so moved you that you wanted to cry into your pillow...or scream in rage and beat your pillow up...or both?

26 October 2010

A Piece Of String

I stated reading a new book this morning - Seanan McGuire's Rosemary and Rue. It's the first of (to date) three books in the October Daye series. Although I knew going in that the series currently totalled three books, I have no idea how many books the author has planned for the series. And I'm wondering whether that should worry me. I've read all over the blogosphere of bloggers who won't start reading a series 'until the author has finished it'. Is that because they don't want the wait between books or because they want to know what they are getting themselves into? How committed does a reader have to be when starting a book?

A good example would be JD Robb's In Death series. I started reading it knowing there were over 20 books in the series (although now there are over 30 - JD Robb is very prolific :) At the time the sheer number of books in the series didn't bother me, but I was only just discovering the various genres and the online blogs, and my TBR list had yet to spiral out of control. Would I start it now? I don't know. I've never picked up a Sherrilyn Kenyon book (apart from Night Play, which I read because I wanted to read about a heroine that wasn't a size zero). I've heard lots of people rave about the series, but...for me there are just too many books. And this isn't a conversation about standalone books and series - that's (hopefully) later this week *grin* but more about how many books (in a series) are too many? When does the size of a series start to impede your desire to read it?

So, I guess the question I'm asking is not 'how long is a piece of string?' but...'how long should a piece of string be?'.

24 October 2010

The Hand Thing

I have a thing. A thing that makes me melt (don't worry, I'm not talking about that *grin*) in a gooey kind of way. (Think ice-cream :) And it's all to do with hands, or rather a hand, and where said hand is positioned. Hmmm. A picture is worth a thousand words (and far more interesting that wading through my babble), so I give you North & South (specifically from 2.35 minutes) [Video selected in honour of the lovely KristieJ of Rambling on Romance]. (And I apologise for not embedding the video, but I'm not actually sure how to do that....yet.)

So, did you watch it? When the hero cradles the heroine's head in his hand while kissing her. That is the thing that makes me melt. If I see a kiss like that I'm usually fast becoming a puddle on the floor. I think it's seeing all the implicit power and strength in the hero's hand directed into such a tender gesture.

So, what things make you melt (visually or in the printed page)?

Edited to add: Kristie - the lovely Richard Armitage is going to be in The Hobbit (as Thorin Oakenshield [leader of the Company of Dwarves]) and, if the filming is still happening here *crossing fingers* will be coming to New Zealand!

20 October 2010

Kiss of Snow (Nalini Singh)

Kiss of Snow is the tenth book in Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series. And the anticipated publication date is July 2011! Thank you so much to the lovely Kerry from Saving My Sanity for the heads up about the cover!

17 October 2010

What Ya Watching?

The Commonwealth Games is over for another 4 years *sob sob* so I will have to wait until 2012 (and the London Olympics) before I can re-immerse myself in multi-sport heaven *grin* Can I just say, however, that the final event - the gold-medal netball match between New Zealand and Australia - was a doozy! (And if you have never watched a netball match, you can watch the double extra time here.) I know the teams (and the umpires) can't hear you if you are yelling at your TV, but that sure doesn't stop me from trying, particularly in this match :) Does anyone else yell at their TV while watching sport?

Without sport dominating my week, however, I can get back to my eclectic TV watching... In between the gymnastics and swimming (among other events) I finished watching Season 2 of Fringe. All I have to say is: Bring on Season 3!!! Glee has also started (I think Glee is one of those shows you either love or hate - who apart from me is hanging out for the Rocky Horror Picture Show episode?) as has Stargate Universe (which is far more character orientated that the previous franchises - YAH!) And the DVDs of Season 2 of Supernatural and Season 3 of Criminal Minds also lurk. YIKES! I didn't realize I had so many TV shows on the go! And I haven't even counted Project Runway and New Zealand's Next Top Model (yes, the ANTM franchise has reached here :)

So, what ya watching?

13 October 2010

Counting

I know I've written some weird posts, but...this one is kind of out there (although if, like me, you exhibit OCD tendencies it may appeal :)

I know that many of us in the blogosphere record our TBR or BR (Been Read) lists online, through handy sites such as GoodReads, LibraryThing and Shelfari. But, I have a problem. I've just finished reading the Burning Up anthology...well, not exactly. I've just finished reading the Whisper of Sin (Nalini Singh) and Here There Be Monsters (Meljean Brook) novellas; neither Angela Knight's nor Virginia Kantra's novellas appealed (and I'm trying to listen more to what I want to read rather than reading by rote). And there is the crux of my dilemma. How do I record the reading of half of a book (so to speak)? With previous anthologies I have listed the anthology as a whole as a DNF in my monthly update, but referenced those novellas I did read. But...the OCD part of me has been twitching (in increasing intensity) at the thought of not counting the novellas. If I've read four this year does that equate to a whole book and, if so, how do I record it? *stumped* And where does all this leave my various reading challenges?

In all honestly anthologies rarely appeal (as far as purchasing goes). I'm too likely to run into a novella I'm not interested in (and then I begin to question the expense). In fact I only own two anthologies - Dreams Made Flesh (Anne Bishop) and On the Prowl. The former because it consisted completely of Black Jewel novellas (of varying lengths) and the latter because I fell in love with Charles & Anna - how could I not?

So, I'm curious, how do you, if at all, record the reading of novellas/anthologies?

Edited to add: Because I'm an idiot I've somehow managed to upset my wrists (my RSI has flared again), so instead of visiting y'all *sad* and commenting wildly, I will be sitting on the couch with an ice pack on my wrists. Hopefully they will settle overnight and I'll be back online tomorrow night. (And before you ask, I wrote this post before my wrists packed a sad :)

07 October 2010

Overwhelmed

Sometimes I get overwhelmed...by circumstances over which I have no control (e.g. family [although the jury is still out] and incompetence [I refuse to rant or this post will end up completely OT]) and by circumstances to which I cede control. Among the latter is my TBR list. Yesterday I read the following statement written by the lovely Mariana from Hips Like Mine:
Lesson learned: read what I want, even re-reads, when the mood strikes.
Why do I always forget that lesson? Why do I cede control over what I read to my TBR list and end up stressed and overwhelmed by something (reading) that is meant to be relaxing and enjoyable? Is it just me?

I'm currently reading:

* Rapscallion (James McGee) [historical suspense]

* Warhost of Vastmark (Janny Wurts) [fantasy]

And waiting in the wings:

* Kushiel's Dart (Jacqueline Carey) [fantasy]

* Rosemary and Rue (Seanan McGuire) [urban fantasy]

In other words, I'm surrounded by books and feel like I'm drowning. I don't think it helps that everything I'm reading ATM seems to be fantasy - I think I need to shake things up a little. So, my cunning plan? To read something else entirely! Well, not exactly. I'm going to try and reach the end of the sixth chapter of Warhost of Vastmark by tomorrow, and then read the Whisper of Sin (Nalini Singh) and Here There Be Monsters (Meljean Brook) novellas from the Burning Up anthology. Then I'll go back to Rapscallion and Warhost of Vastmark and (hopefully) finish both. That will leave me with Kushiel's Dart, Rosemary & Rue, the remaining volumes in the Banana Fish (manga) series and The Secret Tunnel (James Lear) *dies* I think I just need to focus on one book at a time and ignore the rest or I will seriously panic.

So, do you ever panic over your TBR books?

Alive

I'm alive. But...I currently feel beaten down by everything - does that make sense? I'm also rapidly coming to the conclusion that I am my own worst enemy; I seem pathologically unable to allow myself to relax and just...be.

And as my thoughts are all over the place ATM all I have to say is that I am enjoying the Commonwealth Games coverage. So, what have you been up to?

03 October 2010

Books 2010: September Update

Total to date: 92 books (nine books this month: fantasy [two books]; historical romance [one book]; m/m romance [three books]; yaoi manga [three books])

The 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge total to date: 33 books (two books this month)

The 2010 Big Book Challenge total to date: one book (I'm aiming to read my chosen book - Kushiel's Dart (Jacqueline Carey) - this month!]

The M/M Romance Challenge 2010 total to date: 16 books (three books this month)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2010) can be found at GoodReads.

Favourite book of the month?

* Lord of the White Hell (Book I) [Ginn Hale]

Currently reading:

* Rapscallion (James McGee)

* Warhost of Vastmark (Janny Wurts)

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading next month: Lord of the White Hell (Book II) [Ginn Hale]

So, what did you read last month?

Edited to add: Apologies for being AWOL again. My concentration is shot ATM - I hate family visits - and so reading and blogging are... *pulls hair* I just need to get myself to Tuesday afternoon...

30 September 2010

Press Pause

This post is, to all intents and purposes, an extension of a recent post entitled Three's Company.

In Three's Company, the lovely Chris from Stumbling Over Chaos commented that she tries to read a single book at a time, but if it's long and angsty she reads at least one short and fluffy book in the middle. And this approach is one that the lovely Mariana from Hips Like Mine also takes.

I tend to be very OCD about books...well, about everything *grin* I like to start a book and then finish it before moving on to another. (I know in Three's Company I mentioned reading more than one book at the same time, but that is definitely not the norm.) However, what Chris and Mariana mentioned feels slightly different. It's actively pausing with one book to pick up another rather than juggling two (or more) books at once. And it does feel like more of a pause, as the intention is to go back to the original book once...you've rested/reset your brain, right?

I think it's brilliant. Next week I hope to start Kushiel's Dart, all one million pages of it. (Yes, I exaggerate, but it if my Big Book Challenge book and it feels...ginormous!) And I'm completely petrified. Not just by the size of the book but by the complexity of the writing and the world-building. And then there is my OCD about pronunciation. I need to have a name flow through my head - if I stumble while reading a sentence I have to read the sentence again....and again and again. Did I mention the OCD? (Hope I haven't scared you all with that admission :) And Kushiel's Dart sure has some complicated looking names! So, I think I'm going to reward myself... What is fair? An ebook per 200 pages? Should the ebook be a novella? (And yes this means it will no doubt take me ages to read Kushiel's Dart, but I theoretically have until 31 December to meet my Big Book Challenge (although the book will be due back at the library
in 4 weeks :)

I'm waiting for someone to point out that if I don't want to read Kushiel's Dart no one is forcing me to. And this someone is right :) But...I do want to read it, but...being that it's so big it
feels like it will be a slog *ducks*

So, do you 'press pause' while reading? And is it to reward yourself or just to read something a little different?

28 September 2010

Random Thoughts

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to anyone with the following post, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

All these thoughts have been whizzing through my head this week. In no particular order:

* You know when you try to hunt for something you really need and you start to work yourself into a completely tizz trying to find it? It's only after you've found it that you realize that you had previously laid your hands on said missing object (that not found would lead to the end of the known world) during the hunt, but you were so worked up you didn't see it!

* I was thinking about the US military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy on the drive home yesterday. (I heard the word uniform while listening to a CD that the lovely Chris from Stumbling Over Chaos sent me [thank you Chris!] and my mind wandered :) According to Wikipedia:
Unless one of the exceptions from 10 U.S.C. § 654 applies, the policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability."
And that got me to thinking (not about the policy itself, because I have a very strong opinion on that) about whether the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is applied to other occupations (e.g. fire, paramedics, police) in the US? Because...don't all of those positions require high standards of 'morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion'? And don't those who serve in the fire and police departments and as paramedics regularly put their lives in the hands of their colleagues? So...what's the difference?

* Sometimes, when you're as flat as a pancake, having a puddy tat on your lap (especially when said puddy tat isn't a lap cap at all) makes a huge difference.

* I'm sure somewhere there is a math equation that explains why, when your holiday is fast approaching, time s l o w s!

So, what's been on your mind this week?

26 September 2010

Gutless

I had a phone call over the weekend. From a family member. Part of me was expecting the phone call; part of me was hoping not to ever have this particular conversation again... I'm not completely surprised by my response to what was asked - I reverted to type and caved. The only positives (from my side) in the whole conversation were that I raised two separate 'issues'. However, they were non-negotiable as far as the family member was concerned. And I caved on those too. I'm gutless. Completely gutless.

And before you ask, I'll be fine. I just...I just wish I could really escape into my books. Not be in the real world. Do you ever wish you could be anywhere else but here?

23 September 2010

Blocked

Earlier this year I wrote a post entitled Baggage in which I ranted (which is the more accurate, if not the most polite term :) about a particular book that I had serious issues with. In that post I wrote the following:
Do I want to read another book by this author? Yes. Because I am very sure that my issue with the book is due to who I am...and what baggage I bring with me when I travel into the realm created by the author.
At the time my answer to the question I posed seemed...obvious. And yet, even 6 months later, I can't bring myself to pick up another book by this author :( I have heard wonderful things about her writing and have read glowing reviews, but I just can't seem to take that first step. It's like I'm blocked. Every time I think of taking a chance I remember my original issues and walk away.

So, I'm curious (aren't I always *grin*) - have you ever had an issue with a book that has resulted in you being unable to pick up another book by the same author, even if that author is loved by many?

21 September 2010

Three's Company

For those of you who do remember the US TV series Three's Company (originally Man About the House in the UK), I hope I haven't thrust the theme song deep into the recesses of your brain...for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about...be thankful!

Anyway, the reason why the theme of Three's Company sprang into my head is that I am currently reading three books...yes, concurrently. Three fantasy books - The Ships of Merior (Janny Wurts), Traitor's Moon (Lynn Flewelling) and Lord of the White Hell (Ginn Hale). Interestingly I'm in the last 100-150 pages for all three books...

The other reason 'three' is on my brain (a la Sesame Street :) is because I've kind of gone backwards on my healthy eating and exercise plan...and instead of reaching my target weight I'm almost 3 kg (6.6 lb) - 2.9 kg (6.4 lb) to be precise - away from it! I'm not surprised - I've been devouring sugar like it's going out of business. (I'm mixing my metaphors something rotten, aren't I?) My theory is that my body is making up for the lack of sleep by consuming sugar...no idea if my theory is sound, but I'm sticking with it. So, I'm trying to sort the sleeping issues out...I just need to explain to my cat that feeding time at the zoo is not 2.30 AM...or 4 AM or any other AM before 6.30!

So, getting back to the book side of life - are you a one book gal (or guy :) or do you often have more than one book on your plate at a time?

16 September 2010

Clearing The Decks

After writing something along the lines of 'clearing the decks' twice this week I decided to do a little digging. According to the Free Dictionary:

Clear the decks 1. Lit. [for everyone] leave the deck of a ship and prepare for action. (A naval expression urging seaman to stow gear and prepare for battle or other action.) An attack is coming. Clear the decks. 2. Fig. get out of the way; get out of this area.

You see, sitting at home grinning at me (the covers are so pretty the books are definitely grinning :) are Lord of the White Hell Books I & II.

When Book I arrived I thought I would dive right in, but then I heard rumours of a cliff-hanger ending, so I decided to hold tight until Book II arrived, which it has. And here's where the 'clearing the decks' phrase pops up. I've heard how amazing these books are and I wanted to dedicate some quality time to them. (Quality time meaning no distractions - chores, people, other books, etc.) I haven't done that for a while - dedicating quality time to reading a book. I tried to do it with the later Harry Potter books - it kind of worked...when family remembered (eventually) that I'd asked not to be disturbed for the weekend.

So, when you're anticipating a book, really anticipating it, do you clear the decks so that you can devote time/space to it? Or do you just read in snatches regardless of what it is?

13 September 2010

The Forgotten

Last month at Dear Author I was lucky enough to meet the lovely Meoskop of It's My Genre, Baby. Meoskop recently reviewed The Sevenfold Spell (Tia Nevitt) and her review mentioned Robin McKinley, which got me thinking of one of my all-time favourite Robin McKinley books - The Blue Sword.

And thinking of The Blue Sword got me to thinking (I have no idea why) about another book from my teenage years - Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Sherwood Ring, which was first published in 1958:
Newly orphaned Peggy Grahame is caught off-guard when she first arrives at her family"s ancestral estate. Her eccentric uncle Enos drives away her only new acquaintance, Pat, a handsome British scholar, then leaves Peggy to fend for herself. But she is not alone. The house is full of mysteries — and ghosts. Soon Peggy becomes involved with the spirits of her own Colonial ancestors and witnesses the unfolding of a centuries-old romance against a backdrop of spies and intrigue and of battles plotted and foiled. History has never been so exciting — especially because the ghosts are leading Peggy to a romance of her own!
Elizabeth Marie Pope also wrote The Perilous Guard, which is a re-telling of Tam Lin set in Elizabethan England. And all of this got me to thinking about the forgotten books. The ones we loved when we were younger. I had a notebook in which I listed my favourite books. (I'm sure I still have it.) An early keeper list you might say *grin* And yes, there are still a few books from yesteryear that I have yet to purchase. One is Madeleine Polland's To Kill A King about a young Scottish girl becomes involved in a plot to kill William of Normandy. (She also wrote Children of the Red King, which I loved.)

My library finally did away with their copy...I so wanted it! I think I may have to just hunt down a copy before it is too late. Come to think of it, there is a strong streak of romance through each of the above books...maybe I started reading romance earlier than I thought?

So, what forgotten keepers do you have tucked away?

08 September 2010

Show & Tell

I will admit to not really knowing much about reviewing. Not much at all. And this is going to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by the following two sentences... One thing that always strikes me when I read book reviews is this phrase 'show not tell'. But what does it mean?

Earlier this week I finished reading A Fostered Love (Cameron Dane). Something that frustrated me with this book (and if I'm honest with a number of other books) is the lack of a why... If I'm reading a romance then I assume that the main characters will fall in love. Often they will say they are in love...or think it. But very rarely do we ever know the why - why have they fallen in love? I'm not expecting a bulleted list (although considering my OCD tendencies I wouldn't say no *grin*), but just an inkling of some sort. Or is love completely indescribable? Without an attempt at the why I feel...unfulfilled WRT the emotional connection between the characters. Interestingly, I read an Amazon review that compared A Fostered Love with one of my 'speak to me' keeper book - By Degrees (JB MacDonald). And yet I found them completely different. In By Degrees the why...while not explicitly stated...is vividly portrayed. And the love between the main characters feels...real...centred. Perhaps because it develops slowly, over months, and wasn't...condensed. (I must confess to not being a fan of condensed love...does that even make sense?)

I had another issue with A Fostered Love - the sex scenes. I actually wanted less of them! They felt...mechanical in a way, a step-by-step guide - I really missed the emotional connection between the characters. For me that's the most important thing in a sex scene. The characters don't have to say it, but I want to feel that love within the physical act. And in A Fostered Love it just felt like it was missing. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed A Fostered Love (and am looking forward to the sequel). I just...couldn't put my finger on the problem until now. I want to see the falling-in-love process, not suddenly have it presented to me - all wrapped up in a big shiny bow. Isn't half the fun of a present unwrapping it...trying to work out what it is, rather than just seeing it? The anticipation? Or maybe that's just me...

Apologies if I rambled incoherently... Then again, you may be used to it by now *grin*

05 September 2010

Ah, Who Are You Again?

Do you ever start reading a book and wonder who the characters are? And why they are where they are and for what reason? When I read Sea Glass (Maria V Snyder), the sequel to Storm Glass, last month I couldn't for the life of me remember who all the characters were. It didn't help that two of the characters had swapped bodies...and after finishing the book I still wasn't completely sure why they swapped...

I'm not a fan of information dumps, especially the 'in the previous book' kind. But...I'm coming to think that they are not all that bad. *shock horror* If there is a huge delay between the publication or reading of books in a series, then 'info dumps' surely fill in the gaps. And if the plot is incredibly convoluted it's nice to have a brief run through of all that has gone before, especially when the plot is all in the detail *grin* Right? But where is the line between just enough and too much? And do you prefer your information in snippets or a downpour?

Edited to add: Am still hanging in there - thank you all for your support. Am sure I will feel more myself once I get some sleep...which I'm working on :) And thank you for all your enquires WRT the Christchurch earthquake. Watching such a disaster on TV and knowing it happened...in a way just down the road...really brings home how vulnerable we are...

03 September 2010

Books 2010: August Update

Total to date: 83 books (six books this month: contemporary romance [one book]; fantasy [two books]; yaoi manga [two books]; young adult [one book])

The 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge total to date: 31 books (three books this month)

The 2010 Big Book Challenge total to date: one book (I'm aiming to read my chosen book - Kushiel's Dart (Jacqueline Carey) - next month!]

The M/M Romance Challenge 2010 total to date: 13 books (no change from last month)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2010) can be found at GoodReads.

Favourite book of the month?

* Stalking Darkness (Lynn Flewelling) [Seregil & Alec - I'm so excited about their developing relationship!]

Currently reading:

* The Ships of Merior (Janny Wurts)

* A Fostered Love (Cameron Dane)

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading next month:

* Lord of the White Hell I & II (Ginn Hale)

So, what did you read last month?

Edited to add: Apologies for being AWOL this week. It's been...a rough week, although I honestly can't put my finger on why. Hopefully I'll find my balance this weekend and be back lurking around your blogs :) Because I miss you all!

31 August 2010

Temptation Ridge (Robyn Carr)

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

I should rename the title of this post. *shrugs* But, I'm sure you all know right from the get go that this is less of a review and more of a rant. So, I finished reading Temptation Ridge (Robyn Carr), the sixth book in the Virgin River series, earlier this week. Those of you who follow my status updates on GoodReads will have a fair idea what I thought of this book.... but since I have a hard time keeping quiet... *grin*

So, where to start? Certain things still work well with this series - I love the small town feel, the connections between the various characters. What isn't working for me is the the 'collecting'. In a way, JR Ward does the same thing...characters appear that are just what the 'collective' ('You Will Be Assimilated' [sorry, had to be said *grin*]) needs. For example, this book sees the introduction of not only a character who renovates cabins for rent (thus providing tourists with local accommodation) but also a character who becomes the new family physician (he is also a trained paediatrician, which will come in very handy [see below]) for the town....lucky coincidence, huh? And I know for a fact that an OB GYN will be making an appearance in a forthcoming book. Actually, it is slightly disconcerting how many of the characters have careers related to women's health and children... But onward and upward...err....

Early in the book I read this stunning paragraph:
...Shelby had been thinking, I want to join the ranks of women my age, women who are my friends, both old and new, and have what they have - the relationship building, romantic and physical love, idealism and passion and even the struggles. She wanted all of it. She was due. She wanted to be whole. She wanted a man.
(And those italics were of the author's inclusion, not mine.) Those of you who are thinking of getting your eyes tested need not. You did indeed read what you just read. The heroine of Temptation Ridge (Shelby) wants to be whole...and to be whole she needs a man. I wondered what my problem was.../sarcasm. Which leads me nicely into the main theme of the book, a theme that seems to be the be all and end all for every character - marriage and children. And when I say every character I mean the men too - they hold birthing parties for goodness sake! Now, don't get me wrong, marriage and children isn't a bad thing. And I don't have a problem with happy families either (I'm just not quite sure what one is). But...families come in all different shapes and sizes, some with children, some without, some heterosexual, some homosexual, some related by blood and some by love. Yes the author is writing a heterosexual contemporary romance, but...once the characters fall in love does marriage plus children have to appear over the horizon like a tropical storm? For everyone? And in case you think I'm exaggerating, I've been reliably informed that Shelby (the heroine) falls pregnant straight away (not quite sure where that leaves her college plans) and, directly after giving birth discusses additions to the family. *heads desk* (And the pregnancy rate for previous heroines? 60% [And I'm not counting the heroine of the previous book who gave birth to her first child and then fell in love with the hero.]) Now, I'll admit, I haven't had children, so I could be completely wrong...but IIRC friends who have given birth have informed me that the last thing new mothers want to talk about straight after labour is having more babies! (To be fair, said friends did say that they started forgetting how bad the labour was as time progressed - probably nature's way of attempting to ensure women have more than one child :) But still!!! Would it hurt for the author to include a couple that might want to wait to have a child...or not want to have a child? *shock horror* And what about a couple who can't have a child...nope, had that with the heroine of the first book (Virgin River) and she had a miracle pregnancy...two actually.

The difference between the current (and previous) heroine(s) and 'other female characters' is quite...obvious:

He'd get into her without falling in love when she was a young women clearly designed for true love, for permanence.

Some good, old-fashioned, all-American, slutty girls, hanging out in the bar and buying drinks for straight men...They had high, perky boobs and fluffy hair. In spite of himself, he briefly considered how much sexier Shelby was in her jeans and boots, her white shirts with rolled-up sleeves and fresh face, leaving everything to the imagination.

OK. I think I can spot the difference. *rolls eyes* Oh, and before I forget - this heroine is small! And just in case I forgot that detail I was provided with numerous reminders - four in the first love scene - with the hero commenting twice that the heroine could only weigh 110 pounds. (I looked that up - that's only 50 kg!) I get it, she's tiny. Enough already! And then there is the 'I've fallen in love' moment. More and more I want to get inside a character's head and understand why they fall in love...what draws them to the other person. And more and more that doesn't seem to happen. Don't tell me you're in love....tell me why!

I could go on (and on :) about how darn nice every character is, how beautiful all the women in the town are and how everyone seems to love having numerous (and frank) discussions about sex and women's health. But, I'm sure my ranting has gone on long enough. This book, this series, is pure sugar. (Dentists everywhere will run screaming.) And you'd think, with all these issues, it would be easy to walk away. And part of me does want to give up on the series entirely...but part of me wants to know what happens with certain characters. *SIGH*

So, do you have a series you should probably walk away from, but you just can't give up?

26 August 2010

Archangel's Consort (Nalini Singh)

Isn't the cover gorgeous? Archangel's Consort is the third book in Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series. The book is scheduled to be released on 25 January 2011. A slightly belated birthday present for me perhaps? *grin*

So, who else is counting the days?

24 August 2010

Expectation

Note: In this post I discuss around a spoiler for Queen of Song and Souls (CL Wilson). I don't specify the spoiler per say, but...you may infer from the post something of its nature...

Remember my post on peeking? When y'all admonished me for...ummm...peeking *grin* Well, I picked up Queen of Song and Souls (CL Wilson) from the library the other week, and as is my want when doing so I was flitting through it. And flitting is fine, right? Ah, but the temptation to peek is there...you can see where this is going, can't you? I succumbed, and got my heart smashed to pieces by an event right at the end of the book. Yes, I know, I was peeking at the end of the book, so I got my just desserts, right?

The problem is, I can't forget what I learnt. And...now I'm not sure if I still want to read the book. I'm angry. I wanted...that particular issue to have a resolution. I should qualify that statement by saying I wanted a happy resolution (which is not what happened at all), although I think that should be a given considering I'm reading a romance. Or am I? Would you classify this series as romance or romantic fantasy? And if the latter, should I perhaps not have any expectations as far as happy resolutions go? (In all honesty I wouldn't if it were a straight fantasy novel.) Because in a romance, shouldn't I be expecting happiness? For everyone? (And now I feel like I'm channeling Carrie from Sex & The City with all the questions :)

So, how do you feel about a book when you expect one thing and get something entirely different (and not in a good way)? Should we, as reader, be expecting certain things from a book that has been classified in a certain way? (Yes, this is that age old question - is a romance a romance when there is no HEA - rephrased :) And in spite of this....lack of resolution should I read this book?

21 August 2010

The Ordinary Heroine

While cleaning the front door path today I was struck by something - I know I prefer ordinary heroines to...extra-ordinary (for want of a better word) heroines, but...what does everyone else prefer? (And no, I'm not quite sure what I mean by extra-ordinary...) See, I'm currently reading Sea Glass (Maria V Snyder). The heroine - Opal Cowan (aged 20 years) - has gone from having what she thought was little to no magical gift to a rather unusual gift (that everyone wants to exploit) and then to a very unusual gift (that everyone is afraid of). And then there is the not one but two (although that could be three) male characters who have expressed an interest.
And to be honest, I found Opal far more interesting when she didn't have all these unusual gifts. When she flew under the radar so to speak. And that got me to thinking about one of my favourite children's books - MM Kaye's The Ordinary Princess:
Along with Wit, Charm, Health, and Courage, Princess Amy of Phantasmorania receives a special fairy christening gift: Ordinariness. Unlike her six beautiful sisters, she has brown hair and freckles, and would rather have adventures than play the harp, embroider tapestries . . . or become a Queen. When her royal parents try to marry her off, Amy runs away and, because she's so ordinary, easily becomes the fourteenth assistant kitchen maid at a neighboring palace. And there . . . much to everyone's surprise . . . she meets a prince just as ordinary (and special) as she is!
I've always loved this book. The heroine is...ordinary, and yet in spite of that...ordinariness she... See, I used the phrase in spite of... What is so wrong with being ordinary? Do we want to read about extra-ordinary heroines because we want to put ourselves in their shoes? Be other than what we are? Is this perhaps why we (and I'm using we very loosely) voraciously follow celebrities...because we see their life as glamorous? As...not ordinary? Is it our way of cloaking ourselves in a little bit of extra-ordinariness? And is reading about extra-ordinary heroines just another part of that?

The weird thing is, I can't put myself in the shoes of someone extra-ordinary, although it is slightly easier the further removed from reality (in other words - fantasy :) the setting is. And maybe that's a self-image thing or maybe not. I don't know. But...I find I relate that much better to a heroine who isn't...souped up (yes, like a car). A heroine like Amy.

So, which do you prefer? The ordinary heroine or the extra-ordinary? Or somewhere in between? And if you read just m/m romance feel free to apply this question to the hero(es) *grin*

Edited to add: Apologies for being offline for most of this week. I have a heap of chores to get through tonight but I hope to be back online tomorrow visiting!

18 August 2010

Hands Up

Hands up who has stayed awake way past when they should have to read just one more chapter?

Hands up who has tried to squeeze in reading just read one more paragraph while in the middle of doing something else (e.g. walking)?

Hands up who has become so invested in characters that their heart pounds and their hands sweat?

Hands up who has become so angry at the actions of a character in a book (whether the hero, heroine, villain or a secondary character) that they have wanted to jump into the book and rip, tear, shred and rend? (Yes, I'm channelling the basilisk from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.) *looks sideways* Or perhaps just give someone a few home truths?

Hands up who has started talking to their book, perhaps uttering the immortal phrase 'I can't believe you just said/did that'? And perhaps while muttering has been given a strange look by a passerby (please refer to the second point)?

Hands up who has become so invested in a book that you were dying to finish it while at the same time dreading its end?

Have I missed anything?

I felt that way about Keeping Promise Rock (Amy Lane) earlier this year. And I'm feeling that way about The Curse of the Mistwraith (Janny Wurts). *pauses* Come to think of it, I don't think I wanted to rip anyone apart in Keeping Promise Rock...oh, actually I did (the stepfather). The ripping and tearing I want to do to certain characters in The Curse of the Mistwraith has to do with what happens to the clan women and children in the last two chapters. Yes, with my bare hands. I don't remember feeling this much rage when I first read the book, so obviously 'The Wall' has chinks... The jury is still out on whether this is a good thing or not.

What books have driven you to any (or all :) of the above?

15 August 2010

The Angst


Found on: The Book Smugglers

For the past few weeks, the lovely Ana & Thea from The Book Smugglers have been hosting a Young Adult (YA) Appreciation Month, with giveaways, guest posts and interviews, along with numerous reviews. They also issued an open invitation to write a YA post. And although I have been rather conspicuous in my absence of late (apologies Ana & Thea) I thought I would attempt to write...something YA *grin*

I had an interesting conversation earlier this month with a work colleague... We started with Twilight, but then branched off into a discussion about one particular pervading theme and how we, as adults, related to it. I'm referring, of course, to angst. Teenage angst. Something that permeates throughout the Twilight books and...a large majority of YA books. (Yes, I will stipulate that I'm generalizing :) Even though my work colleague is an adult and a mother, for her teenage angst makes sense. It was something that she had experienced as a teenager and thus could relate too as an adult. I confessed that I didn't get the whole teenage angst state of mind, but then, as our conversation continued, I realized that I wasn't what one might consider a 'normal' teenager. To all intents and purposes, my teenage days centred on and around one person and whether, on that particular day, he was in a good mood or not. Nothing else mattered, nothing else penetrated but making him...content (making him happy just wasn't going to happen). So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that teenage angst just....doesn't make that much sense to me :) Which is rather interesting because I usually love books with angst...

So, I'm curious. Do you read YA books and, if so, do you relate to the teenage angst? And, out of interest, do you think there is too much angst in the YA genre ATM?

11 August 2010

Vacillation

According to the Oxford English Dictionary:

Vacillate • verb 1 waver between different opinions or actions. 2 be indecisive: I vacillated between teaching and journalism. Origin: late 16th century (in the sense ‘sway unsteadily’): from Latin vacillat- 'swayed', from the verb vacillare.

Vacillation • noun 1 the inability to decide between different opinions or actions. 2 indecision: the First Minister's vacillation over the affair. 3 state of being unable to do something.

And its obvious from looking at GoodReads that vacillating is what the publishers of Deanna Raybourn's masterful (YUP, that's the word I want to use :) Lady Julia Grey series are currently doing.
Now, I know publishers from different countries decide on different covers. (Yes, UK and USA I'm looking at you!) I know that sometimes publishers decide that the adult version of a book should have a different cover from the non-adult version. (Yes, Bloomsbury I'm looking at you and thinking of the Harry Potter covers. Do you know how many time I had to explain while placing my pre-order for the next Harry Potter book that no, I didn't want the ugly adult cover, and yes, I knew that I was an adult but I still wanted the bright, non-adult cover.) Can't you just pick a cover and stick with it? Especially in this day and age when a reader can sit at their computer and order a book from the other side of the world! Do we need all this variety? I mean the covers for the first two books are just so different! I really, really, really want to buy this series, but until I have a definitive idea of what style of cover the publishers are going with I'm not parting with a penny. And I know I say that it's size that matters, but...if I'm going to buy all of a series in one go I would like to have the covers match. That doesn't seem too much to ask, does it?

So, where do you sit on the covers fence? Do covers need to match?

08 August 2010

Finally!

After what feels like weeks of (im)patient waiting, Amazon has finally updated its catalogue!! I have therefore been able to pre-order two books that I have been desperate to read for what feels like forever. Which books are these I hear you ask?

Lord of the White Hell Books I & II!
Aren't the covers so pretty? Thanks to the wonderfully sweet and lovely Christine from The Happily Ever After, who awarded me not one but two Amazon gift vouchers earlier this year, I pre-ordered both books yesterday! And well, yes, I will be waiting until October (not sure exactly when) for delivery, but...they are coming! *happy dance*

I also went a little mad and ordered five, yes, five books from The Book Depository at the end of last week. See, I had this epiphany. Five years after leaving the UK I still have a bank account there...and it has money in it! Not a lot, but it is in pounds. And The Book Depository's prices look rather good when you're buying in pounds and the postage is free! I was saving the money in case I went back - and I do hope to go back at some point - but I don't know when so I've decided to use the money for books! And so I bought:

* Flesh and Spirit (Carol Berg) [fantasy]

* Breath and Bone (Carol Berg) [fantasy]

* Ai No Kusabi the Space Between: Destiny (Rieko Yoshihara) [yaoi novel]

* Quis Custodiet (Manna Francis) [m/m]

* First Against the Wall (Manna Francis) [m/m]

So, I'll be lurking around the postbox for the next little while. So, what book(s) are you desperate to read ATM?

04 August 2010

Juggling

Sometimes I feel like I'm on the firing range, impersonating a target, but...instead of bullets, its books that are being fired at me. Books, books and more books. What's a gal to do? Dodge what I can and juggle the rest, right? Because...not everything is going to pass me by and end up stuck in a tree (which in this analogy is my TBR list/pile/tower etc.). Yes, I know as analogies go this one is bad because I've thrown both shooting and juggling into the mix, but...bear with me?

So, I'm juggling. But, it's not that simple because the items I'm juggling aren't necessarily all the same 'size' or 'shape'. Apart from size (which as we know from The Big Book Challenge is important), one book can differ from another in a multitude of ways. There's the complexity of the plot, the number of characters (and their depth), the author's writing style, to name but a few (what else did I miss?) that all contribute. So, how does one juggle all that?

When I was young I used to juggle books all the time. But then I grew up (Peter Pan - you never did appear and whisk me off to Never Land!) and in the turmoil that is RL juggling books became harder, so I stuck with just one. But, when it comes to those big books, reading the same book endlessly (for what feels like weeks and weeks) can be soul destroying (which is probably why I have been avoiding them and thus why I instigated The Big Book Challenge :) But, upon joining the GoodReads group Beyond Reality, I discovered this brilliant system. Beyond Reality has just started reading Janny Wurts' War of Light and Shadow (fantasy) series. It's a big series, with big books and a complex plot. Janny Wurts is one of my favourite fantasy authors, but her writing style is not...straightforward. She doesn't always use everyday words and...I suppose the best way of describing it is that her sentences have an unusual structure. This structure gives the sentences layers...nuances, but you can't skim through the book or else you lose the underlying meaning and the beautiful imagery. So, to allow for this, a cunning plan was instigated - to read one book every 6 weeks or so...or three chapters per week. It's brilliant! Three chapters is approximately 100-150 pages, which means you have time to read other books during that same week. And that's what I'm doing. I don't feel like I'm bogged down on one book, regardless of how brilliant it is; I don't feel like my TBR list is getting away from me. (Well, maybe ATM because the 'other' book I picked to read is another complex fantasy novel. Yes, I'm an idiot! Still loving both books though :)
And because this approach is working so well for me I'm going to use it when I read my 'big book' - Kushiel's Dart (Jacqueline Carey). As for when I'm starting it...when I take a week's holiday in a month or two *grin* After all, no sense is not taking advantage of my annual leave:)

So, do you read more than one book at once and, if so, how do you juggle them?

Edited to add: Sometimes I re-read my posts and honestly wonder what I've been smoking (except I don't smoke) they are so off the wall!

01 August 2010

Books 2010: July Update

Total to date: 77 books (12 books this month: manga [seven books]; m/m romance [one book]; urban fantasy [two books]; young adult [two books])

The 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge total to date: 28 books (four books this month) [Over halfway!]

The 2010 Big Book Challenge total to date: one book (Not Kushiel's Dart (Jacqueline Carey) - but watch this space!]

The M/M Romance Challenge 2010 total to date: 13 books (one book this month)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2010) can be found at GoodReads.

Favourite book of the month?

* Cheating Chance (James Buchanan) [Nicky & Brandon are...words fail me!]

Currently reading:
 
* The Curse of the Mistrwaith (Janny Wurts)
 
* Stalking Darkness (Lynn Flewelling)
 
And the book I'm most looking forward to reading next month:

* Sea Grass (Maria V Snyder)

So, what did you read last month?

29 July 2010

Throwing In The Towel

When do you decide enough is enough? When does a series stop becoming a joy and start becoming a...drag? When all you want is for the series to finish so that you can finally obtain an ending and move on... I've broken up with a number of series this year, when the effort required to continue reading outweighed the interest I had in both the series and the ending. And since a picture is worth a thousand words:

series interest/reading effort = passion (positive or negative)

And which series have fallen into the negatives already this year? Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series, Richelle Meade's Vampire Academy series and Laurell K Hamilton's Meredith Gentry series. (Apologies to those of who you believe I have just committed sacrilege.) Do I want to know what happens in these series? Well, yes, but not enough to keep reading.

When this post first popped into my head last weekend (because that's exactly how my posts arise :) I was in the process of divesting myself of yet another series - Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake. I picked up Skin Trade from the library on Saturday, but I just couldn't make myself read it. I started questioning whether I cared what was happening and realized I didn't. I thought that was it, and then I read the lovely Kerry from Saving My Sanity's post on her attempts to read Jacob's Faith (Lora Leigh). And it tied in with my musings over the weekend. I realized that I was seriously considering throwing in the towel on the Breed series too. I have been hanging out for Jonas' book (Lion's Heat) but...I've read a few reviews and I don't think the heroine and I are going to get on. And then I began to question whether I was reading the books for the characters, the overall plot arc or both...and if it's just the overall plot arc is that a good enough of a reason to actually continue reading a series?

When do you decide to throw in the towel on a series?

27 July 2010

Apathy

On Sunday night I was kind of at a loss as to what to read. I KNOW! There I was looking at the 80 books on my library hold list (and yes I will admit to being an idiot and not looking at either my eBook library on my iPhone or those books sitting in the corner of my room) and I was drawing a blank. A complete blank. Not one book appealed. I did manage to delete six books though that didn't interest me...oh such a sin *grin* I finally settled on Stalking Darkness (Lynn Flewelling) and Temptation Ridge (Robyn Carr)...or whichever arrived at the library first, which was Stalking Darkness.

And all of this got me to thinking. There I was surrounded by books and...I couldn't pick one. It's like the Rime of the Ancient Mariner says:
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
It's not the nightmare that haunts readers everywhere - book fail! No sirree! It's just that nothing appealed, even though I wanted to read. Hmm. Maybe it's not apathy but is instead complete and utter indecision. Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?

Edited to add: I wanted to apologise for being AWOL from the online universe of late....and for my lack of blog hopping. RL has been getting in the way, but fingers crossed this has settled and I'm back :)

23 July 2010

Making History

Those of you who have read Noel Streatfeild's delightful book Ballet Shoes (or seen the film adaptation[s]) will (hopefully) remember the following quote:
...get our names in the history books, because it's our own, and nobody can say it's because of our grandfathers.
I don't think I will ever be in the history books. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just...a thing *grin* And what brought all of this on you may ask? Well, I've been thinking about history lately...the history you make ever day. And the history of a family.

Yesterday I had two firsts. I bought my first every pair of ballet shoes!
 
And I attended my first ever ballet technique class! It was...interesting. I say that because being in a class of ten-year-olds was trickier than I had imagined. Mainly because they played the fool at lot, so I felt the teacher spent almost as much time explaining steps and asking them to calm down as we did dancing. The teacher thinks I might be better with the Advanced class. (Yes, the word Advanced had me freaking, but she said the ability range in this class is huge so I should be fine, especially considering I have been learning Jazz for a number of years. So, Advanced class here I come :)
Today was a reminder of the history we make just by existing. I walked past my old primary school (which I think is the same thing as elementary school and junior high [middle school] in the US) and met one of the current teachers. The school has had a number of recent renovations, including the building of a 14 classroom block. I pointed out to the teacher that the school was over 100 years old (something she didn't know). And then I remembered...I went to that school, my brother went to that school...and his niece, and our aunt, and my maternal grandmother's husband. Four generations. And while that won't got down in the history books I like the continuity.
So, I'm curious, how has history touched you today? (Not sure if I've written this question very well.)
Edited to add: the installation of the ventilation system is part way through. One of the installers is returning tomorrow afternoon to complete the installation.

20 July 2010

Hitting The Ceiling

You may have noticed I've been AWOL for the past few days. I haven't been on holiday, I've been...renovating. Yes, my first ever renovation project. (And I'm tempted to call it my last!) The plan was simple - install a ventilation system. First problem - the house is made of concrete blocks. So, I had to have a hole drilled in an internal wall (for a vent). And concrete drillers use water. I was absolutely....packing myself. But, the drillers did a bang up job. It's a lovely looking hole (if one can say that about a hole :) I should take a photo of it actually - document this project for posterity :)

Next was the ceiling. See, one of my roof cavities (where said ventilation system will be installed) has a ceiling, but it shouldn't if I want the heat to come streaming in through the roof. A family friend said I should be able to take the ceiling down myself...with a hammer. So, that's what I attempted to do. If you can, picture me in an enclosed space with ear muffs and safety glasses wielding a hammer. I had a small freak-out about asbestos, but...it's all fine - no asbestos in my ceiling, thank goodness. So, how far did I get? About one-third of the way. The material used for part of the ceiling should (supposedly) never be used for an internal ceiling! It was tough! And while trying to remove an annoying piece of ceiling (it didn't shatter very well and BTW my hammer handle is munted!) I suddenly saw daylight. It seems that part of the ceiling of the roof cavity is also part of an eave. So now I have a new addition - a crack in an eave! And the other two-thirds of the ceiling is an entirely new material that won't smash well with a hammer. So, I'm retiring from this form of building work.
And have I learnt anything from all of this? Yes. I've learnt that each job will take way longer than anticipated. I've also learnt that that where you see one job there will probably be at least two! I don't think I will survive renovating the bathroom! I'm also beginning to wonder whether painting the fence might be beyond me.
So, have you ever renovated anything? And, if so, are you good with your hands? *grin*
Edited to add: I hope to be back visiting everyone tomorrow.

15 July 2010

Speed

No, the title was not an excuse to include a photo of Keanu Reeves...

Anyway, I was looking at the lovely Kristen from Fantasy Cafe's latest Leaning Pile of Books and it got me to thinking about the publication dates for various series. For two of the books listed, the sequels are being released in quick succession. And the same has happened/is happening with a number of other series. Why? I know readers are rapacious for stories but...and maybe this is just me...sometimes it's overwhelming. Where is the chance to savour the story already told and to anticipate the one to come? The chance to chew the fat over the various outcomes (and rant about the delay)? Isn't it our right to rant about the delay between books? *grin*

I have to be honest, I like delays between books in a series. *ducks* Sometimes it's nice to have a break. I always worry I'll get tired of a series, tired of characters rather than just tired of a subgenre. So, why the short publication time? Does anyone know? And do you like the short publication times for some series or do you prefer to wait?

13 July 2010

Pulling A Tale

Sock puppets! Why? Well, this story starts...and ends...with socks... As to why I am telling this tale...I don't know. But in pulling the answer to a simply question - Where are your socks? - out from a family member I felt like I was involved in a game of 20 questions...or as I used to call it - Animal, Vegetable or Mineral.

I picked up said family member of Deja Vu fame to visit another family member on Saturday morning. Said family member had no socks on. So I asked why. It is very cold here ATM - it was 5 degrees Celsius at this morning - and I knew said family member was getting over a cold...and as every ailment is amplified and discussed I thought this was strange. But I had forgotten the first rule when dealing with this family member...any answer given can not be taken at face value. I don't mean that in a bad way. It's just what is. The answer I was given to my question about the whereabouts of the socks was that the family member had decided not to wear any (as it wasn't cold). Cue suspicious music. Remember the temperature...and said family member's cold? More questions followed. Eventually I was informed that all socks were in the wash. Hmmm. This hasn't happened (to my knowledge before). Yet more questions were asked. And then I was informed that socks had been worn that morning but were in the wash because they were wet. And why were they wet? Well, someone had thrown water over said family member...well, her legs. And so she had thrown water back.

A discussion then ensued about the rightness or otherwise in throwing water at someone when they had upset you. I had to explain that even though someone had upset said family member and thrown water, that did not mean that said family member could thrown water back. Someone else being 'naughty' did not mean she could be naughty. I'm not sure how well I did explaining that. I did not yell or shout or use bad language. I had to repeatedly explain I was not angry, just disappointed. However, as long as it did not happen again, and said family member walked away from future...confrontations, we would move on.

Oh, and the story doesn't end there. While I hope no further incidents of the liquid persuasion occur, I thought it might be a good idea to provide additional supplies (no, not of water!). So, we detoured and went sock shopping. The staff in the store were in hysterics as I had to keep explaining why we were buying men's socks. (Woman's socks just aren't thick enough or long enough IMHO, and since I wear men's socks I didn't think that would be a problem. In the end I explained the socks were for both men and women and said family member was happy to select an appropriate number.) And so on Sunday night I labelled nine pairs of socks! My new labelling tape & pen even came with a stencil...

I did discuss the situation with the residential care facility's nursing staff and we (said family member and I) apologised. And all was settled. Except...I don't know if I handled the situation correctly. Getting the story (and whether that was the whole story or said family member's 'interpretation' I don't know) was a struggle. Whether what I said will prevent it from happening again? I don't know. Said family member didn't come with a rule book. Sometime I wish she did, but humans, in all their shapes and sizes, don't come with instruction manuals. All I do is try and remain calm and explain things simply.

So, do you have any unusual tales from your weekend? Any interesting tales involving socks?