Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Through the Veil by Shiloh Walker

If you thought you were familiar with Shiloh Walker's work... think again! Through the Veil is Walker's newest work and it hits the stand this coming Tuesday. The story offers us a glimpse to another side of Walker's talent by moving toward the Sci-fi genre when I, personally, had only read her paranormal Hunter series.

The story takes place between three worldly dimensions. Our contemporary world where we first encounter Lee, our heroine. Ishtan where Kalen, our hero belongs, and Anqar where the world is ruled by Warlords bent on destroying Ishtan for it's women. These worlds interconnect through gates that can be opened and closed by the Warlords and their power. Less powerful beings might not be able to open a gate to pass into these other worlds but they could look through the Veil between worlds and covet all they saw, like the females and the daughter's they produced. The women in Ishtan had powers that when breed upon produce strong offspring which Anqar needed. They had been losing their natural female population and this lead the Warlords to invade Ishtan and take the women as body slaves back to Anqar where they would try to breed upon them.
The Warlords had been raiding Ishtan for as long as anyone could remember.

Lee lives in the contemporary world but goes to Ishtan in her dreams. She fights alongside the rebel forces to stop the Warlords from destroying that world but she believes that it is all part of an elaborate dream. She wakes with bruises on her body but dismisses them as over active sleep patterns.

Kalen knows that Lee is a strong force that belongs by his side in Ishtan. He is capable of looking through the veil between his world and hers. He watches her confusion and her rationalization of the bruises she acquires in her fight, but doesn't know how to reach her to convince her of the truth. The convincing takes place early on in the book and then Lee moves on to struggle with her new reality because although she is a fierce warrior for the rebellion she comes to Ishtan in her new form as a novice. Her denial of this new reality is overwhelming and blocks her knowledge of how to control her powers.

Lee is a mystery not just to everyone around her but also to herself. She has no idea where she comes from and how is it that she is able to cross over to Ishtan from her world. Kalen only knows that Lee is important not just to the cause but to himself. He has loved her and desired her for many years but between getting shot at and evading a new attack there is little time for romance. now that Lee is back to stay he is ready to claim her for himself.

If you are expecting the story to be a romance you might be disappointed because although the romance and passion are there the main focus is on Lee and how she comes to unite her old self with the warrior she has become. The first 30 pages are difficult due to acclamation to the new world. The definitions at the start of the book is where this information should be since you will need to know this information from the get go. The definitions allow you to get to know the inhabitants of this new world because as soon as you start the book you are thrown into that world, no real introduction just slam-bam thank you ma.am.

But how do you introduce such a dark existence as those living in Ishtan have? The world building is extraordinary and so vivid that you can feel the desolation and the hopelessness when Kalen describes the future of his world. The story doesn't just paint the bleak panorama that exist now but the richness and vitality that existed in the past. You mourn the loss of Ishtan as you see it through Kalen's eyes. Wonderfully done!

Despite the difficult start, the book picked up and was a smooth read. There were parts that I would have liked to see more of the Warlords and their threat especially after I accepted the prominent Sci-fi theme. I would have liked to see more of the characters from Ishtan, not just their struggle. This would have made the story more robust and yet by the end not only was I looking for Kalen & Lee's happy ever after but it also left me wanting to hear Morne's story (he was the rebellion's healer and carried a history of his own).

I was divided about the grade on this one just because I loved many things about this book (the strong visuals, the strength of Kalen and his commitment to his people, the unique characters that brought the book to life) but in the end I had to bring it down because it was a difficult start and there was so much focus on Lee's dilemma and the part she was to play in the rebellion that I was left wanting more of the people of Ishtan, more of Kalen, more of Morne and Eira (the witch elder that trains Lee).

Grade: B

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Fun - Take 4

Yeah! Friday is finally here! I picked up my daughter at the airport last night and I have the day off so, I'm on cloud nine! Tomorrow my other girl comes to town and I'll have double trouble roaming the house!

We have a full weekend packed with fun stuff so I hope the weather holds. With tons of stuff on the To do list, let's start off the weekend right with some Friday Fun!

1. On my laziest day I like to Read! (Nothing better than to curl into bed with a good book and let the time roll by!)
2. Quilting makes me feel like I'm being productive. (After a day of quilting I have tangible proof of my work. Even when I'm at work there is no end product, just a constant stream of things to do, but when you sit down and take pieces of fabric, put them together and produce a work of art or just a hug that can be wrapped around a loved ones shoulders... now that is productivity!!)
3. I love little Gadgets and big TV's. (Love my eReader and any other small electronic toy I can get my hands on. But for TV's, the bigger the better - what can I say, I'm my father's daughter! LOL!)
4. This summer I want to Lose 15 pounds. (Since the start of the year I've lost 27 pounds so I'm hoping the trend will continue and I can get to goal soon.)
5. Reading made me start my blog. (I had been reading for a couple of years and saw many book review blogs popping up everywhere. I already kept track of my reading and kept short reviews in a file so I could go back and reference them when I needed to look back on a book I had read, so I thought why not put it out there on a blog so others looking for reviews could use them too. And I just started posting)
6. Red, Yellow and orange are my favorite summer colors! (my sister says they are too bright but honestly, they are the colors of sunshine and when you put them on, you get to feel happy from the outside in!)
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching the movies we got in the mail this week, tomorrow my plans include going to my weigh-in, picking up Lindsay at the airport and Game Night with friends and Sunday, I want to go to the Renaissance fair at Scarsborough!

Our Chef was on vacation this week but Tina stepped in and gave us a menu:


Wii, Playstation or XBox? Playstation! Absolutely!


Would you ever go skydiving? Never! I am scared of heights so skydiving is out of the question.


Name a sequel that you think is better than the original movie. Dang! This one is hard because I can name a few sequels that were just as good as the original but Better? Ah! Got it! Harry Potter. The first one had special effect that were lacking, the story as great but the Special Effects were poor while the subsequent movies have held the story lines and have improved on the imagery.

Main Course

Share your most wonderful birthday celebration. It would have to be on my fourth or fifth birthday. I remember that I felt like a princess. I had a special velvet dress that reached my ankles and I had my mother put my hair up in a beehive do. I remember feeling so darn special and grownup because I had my hair done up like my moms (this was in the late sixties, early seventies). I had my favorite teach from my pre-school there, her name was Betty and although my family and her were friends she was coming to MY party. I have many pictures of the event and when I look at them I still can feel the excitement of the day. I rate this one higher than my Sweet Fifteen (I'm Hispanic we celebrate 15 instead of 16) where awkwardness and boys had already poked there influences on me.


If you dare, post a picture of yourself making a silly face. I would dare but I haven't taken a picture in many years and least of all one making a silly face. I'll owe you thin one.

That's it for this week! I hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Booking Through Thursday - Books vs Movies

This weeks Booking Through Thursday combines two of my favorite topics, Books and Movies.Let's delve right in.

Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?

In a sense I have the same expectations from a movie than I do from a book. Entertainment. A picture of a fantasy come to life. A Suspense that makes me hold my breath. A thriller that has me tapping my feet with nerves. A Happy Ever After.

The difference between a book and a movie is that with the movie I rely on someone elses imagination to bring things to life and I can sit back and just enjoy their efforts. With a book, it's all on me. There are times when I do a better job in the imagination arena and when a book moves to film, I am sooo disapointed I don't follow any more of the series in that media (ie. Eragon) but then you have a time when the film is so well done, you will never pick up the book again (ie Jane Austen Book Club & Lord of the Ring Trilogy). And then you have those films that come from a screenplay and not an adaptation. You are completely at the mercy of the creative team and you go to be swept away (ie, X-files, Ironman, Sex and the City).

I was watching Oprah yesterday and she was saying how we, as individuals, find oursleves happy but not doing things that make us Happy. My sister and I originally agreed with the statement. Then on further thought I realized that I do things that make me happy just not based on some archaic definintion of 'Happy'. Reading makes me happy. I laugh and cry and invest myself emotionally in my reading. Movies give me the same sensation.

I will walk into a movie and (if it's a good movie) I will walk out with endorphines running rampant. I don't have to go skiing or go to a concert or go on a vacation to a far off land to be happy. I can do all that from the warmth of my home with a book in hand or a good movie on the TV. Wow, I've just diverge from this week's topic.

Do I want something different from a movie than from a book? No. I want to walk out of the movie with the same smile I get after turning the last page on a great book.

What about you? Do you expect something different from a Movie than from a Book?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bartlett Bro. Series by Suzanne Brockmann

I've been on a bit of a Brockmann binge lately. Seems that many of her earlier titles are bing reissued and these two peaked my interest, so I picked them up. They definitely were not of her later caliber but these were originally issued ten years ago (three years before Unsung Hero) so I think we can cut her a break.

First in the series is Forbidden. Kayla Grey seeks out Cal Bartlett when she hears rumors that Liam, the man who'd wanted to marry her, is believed to be alive and held captive in the jungles of San Salustiano. When this city girl arrives in Montana the first thing she does is almost die. Caught in a freak snow storm she finds herself being rescued by the same man who she came searching for, unfortunately sparks fly before they realize who is who.

Cal doesn't let himself get carried away but after saving the life of the city slicker, the attraction is a bit too much for him. Having her almost naked in front of him and he touches her. Just enough to realize that it's not enough. When he discovers that she is the woman his little brother fell in love with and was to marry, he feels as guilty as if Liam was alive. Then on top of that the little lady decides to renew the spark of hope he once had that his brother had survived the bombing of the bus he was riding in. It has been two years and those wounds are just starting to heal, but this woman is threatening his sanity, because he can't lose his brother again.

I'm not so sure about this one. The big issue with this was that there was no real foundation for the love these two claim to have found. It was definitely lust. There was really no reason for her to love him. He started pushing her away as soon as he found out who she was. She had experienced a traumatic event when she was younger and that bonded her with Liam but there was nothing that I could see to warrant her great love with Cal except that they were in a dangerous place and in a stressful situation. The saving grace of the book was really the search for Liam. Trying to discover if the police were good or bad. Not knowing who to trust. I think Brockmann sharpened her suspense but flopped on the romance.

Grade: B-

Following Forbidden we get Liam's story in Freedom's Price. Last we saw of Liam he is recovering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and just opening up. We find out that he has completely shut down after making some initial strides in his recovery. He has written a book on the atrocities of the war that held him imprisoned but he has not written about his own personal experiences. Those are the experiences that are driving him mad.

When Liam finds himself serving as a chaperon/guardian to the girl that saved his life in the jungle, he is not sure that he can confront those memories. Marisala was always his shining light, a brave 16 year old at the time she has now become an enticing woman. She has come to Boston to attend college but after a screw up with the dorms she finds herself living in Liam's apartment.
Marisala fell in love with the American journalist the first time she saw him in her father's house. Many years have past since that first encounter and she is no longer a child. She lead a revolution in her country, saw things that no child should ever witness, and now she is expected to assume the role of a meek young woman who should find herself an ordinary husband.

This one was better than the first. Brockmann put some meat in this story with Liam dealing with his trauma and Marisala trying to adjust to life after a war. These two were made for each other. The fear that had been pounded into Liam could only be overcome with the courage of a revolutionary leader like Marisala.The support system she brings to Liam enables him to recover from his trauma and allows him to love free of the torment that had haunted him for many years.
Would have liked to visit with Kayla and Cal but there is just so much you can squeeze into 250 pages and it did not deter from the story at all.

Grade: B

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich

Like most 'between the numbers' Stephanie Plum books, this one was just a bit on the dull side.

Stephanie finds herself in Atlantic City chasing after Grandma Mazur who has found a duffel bag full of cash and is spending it like there is no tomorrow. Stephanie is not the only one chasing after Grandma. Snuggy O'Connor, a little person who thinks he is a leprechaun, is also after the duffel bag and Diesel is after Snuggy.

It seem Mr. Leprechaun stole the money from a local mobster to pay for the surgery that would save his horse's life, but on his getaway lost the money (which is how Grandma Mazur has it). It seems Mr. Mobster is not the giving type so he is after the whole bunch of them, taking said horse hostage until he gets his money back. This is how they all end up trying to come up with a plan to rescue a horse that is being held for ransom.

It's a hodge pod of characters who don't really go together and the story was asking too much of us. It was nice visiting with the team again but I was not impressed and was disappointed.

Grade: C-
Format: Audiobook

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Fun - Take 3

Not only is it Friday but this is the last Friday before I have my DD back at home and that is something to be happy about. This is the longest time I've been away from my daughter ever and it has been a bit difficult (even though we talk a few times a week on the phone). The sad part is that she is coming home for just a week and then heading off to Japan for another 6-8 weeks. So, I'll be really trying to squeeze some lovin' the week and a half she is here. On top of that... I get to see my other little girl.

My surrogate daughter is coming to visit for a week too. It will be two years in august since I last saw Lindsay and I miss her and Jessie (my other surrogate Daughter) so much it sometime hurts (especially during their b'days and holidays) but I'll have my girls home for a week and will be counting the days until next Friday.

For this week lets do some fill-ins and some feasting to get me through the week.

1. There is absolutely NO way you can get me to bungee jump, skydive or do anything from far above! (can you say Fear of Heights?)
2. No AC in my car reminds me that summer is almost here! (yeah.. I live in Texas in case you didn't know. No AC is a b*tch!!)
3. I cannot live without my laptop. (I'm a techie, what can I say?)
4. Tole Painting and knitting are two things I'd like to try. (I love all things crafty but I have never tried to paint or to knit - well, I once bought everything I needed to knit but didn't have any one to teach me and knitting really can't be learned from a book)
5. When life hands you lemons you make lemon poppy bread. (Not as fond of Lemonade as the bread)
6. Riding my Granfather's tracker when we visited Puerto Rico in the summer is my favorite childhood memory.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to posting this, tomorrow my plans include my weight watcher meeting and grocery shopping ... maybe and Sunday, I want to read the ARC I have waiting for me next to my bed!


What is the nearest big city to your home? Dallas


On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how well do you keep secrets? 7, depends on who's secret and who I'm telling.


Describe your hair (color, texture, length). Short, Brown (for this week), straight (for today) but thick (a bit rowdy in the mornings)

Main Course

What kind of driver are you? Courteous? Aggressive? Slow? Depends on how close to that time of the month I am. Really it depends on where I'm driving and who is with me.


When was the last time you had a really bad week? NEVER!!! To have a bad week you have to be really negative, but to have a bad day is a whole different matter. My last bad day was April 25th. When I had to call the cable company for a discrepancy in the bill.

That's it for this week! See you all soon!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Booking Through Thursday - Manual Labor

So I missed last weeks Booking theme but I'm back on board this week. I was not feeling very much like a blogger when all I posted was my weekly Booking and Friday Fun so I resolved I was not posting again until I got a few of the accrued reviews out of the way. I still have a few more to post but at least I got several under my belt and I don't feel to guilty.

This weeks Booking through Thursday follows up on last weeks entry (which I missed but will post here this week anyway.. Sue me!)

Last Weeks read:

Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries–if any–do you have in your library?

Guilty! I have lots of writing guides. I went on a binge of these books a few years ago and I bought enough of them to fill a shelf on my bookcase. Since I moved to Texas I have not unpacked them.
When they were unpacked, did I read them? Nope. The only writing reference book that I have opened in the last ten years has been the Student Writing Guide my daughter bought in her freshman year of High school.
Dictionaries? Why?? Spell check works (most of the time).

This weeks follow-up:
Scenario: You’ve just bought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not?

Do you ever read manuals?

How-to books?

Self-help guides?

Anything at all?
If I buy any new gadget I do read MOST of the manual. I use the index to decide what part of the manual I need to read to get my gadget to do what I want it to do.

Okay more confessions of a gatherer. I love software manuals. I will go to Barnes & Noble and dive into the software manuals. Those that I buy, will be read and then saved as reference guides.
I also love Quilting/Craft books. I have so many How-to books on crafts in my library I don't have any place to put them. Other types of books I collect... Cookbooks. Love Love Love cookbooks with Lots of pictures. If it doesn't have pictures, I won't buy it.

Self Help books? Nope. Not a one. I just don't put much credit into them. I think if i ever feel the need Self Help I will go to a professional (Therapist, Financial Advisor, Dating Service, etc). I have seen too many fads pass by and what one person says will help you today will be a no-no tomorrow (like the dieting industry). I will pick up and inspirational book of poems or a motivational book (like Chicken Soup for the Soul) but beyond that... nope.

What do you read to improve yourself?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves

Monday, May 05, 2008

Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

I have been looking forward to starting this series for a very long time.
The first time I listened to Brockmann was when I picked up Flashpoint and I realized I stepped into the middle of a fantastic series with characters already established. I loved listening to the books that followed until I stopped myself and decided to start from square one. Unfortunately not all the books are available in Audiobook so I collected the first five in paperback. Last month I found the first in the series in Audio format and jumped at the chance to pick it up from my library.

Tom Paoletti is commander of Seal Team 16 and has suffered a head injury that has him on forced medical leave for 30 days. He takes advantage of the time and goes 'home' to visit his great uncle Joe. Tom grew up with Joe in Baldwin Bridge, MA where he earned the reputation of being a bad boy/delinquent. His visit starts off on the wrong foot from the moment he gets off his plane since he catches a glimpse of, who he believes, is a world renowned terrorist. Between believing that his injury has lead him to some serious hallucinations and believing that the terrorist is real he heads out in pursuit but loses the suspect. Needless to say his superior is not too happy with him and attributes the sighting to his injuries. He doesn't believe so but puts it to the side and heads home, where things don't get any better when he runs smack into Kelly Ashton, the one girl that has always made him feel more than what he felt comfortable feeling.

Kelly has been commuting between her practice as a pediatrician in Boston and Baldwin's Bridge since her father was diagnosed with Terminal Cancer. Her father is Joe Paoletti's best friend and is one of the riches men in town. He has had a rough relationship with everyone in his life and Kelly hopes to give him an opportunity to make amends before he leaves them. When she encounters Tom she really has no idea what to say. He had walked out on her, breaking her heart after sharing 3 unforgettable kisses the night before he disappeared from her life, 16 years ago. She has gotten over him, or so she says, but wouldn't mind exploring the physical side of the attraction which is obviously still vibrant in both of them. She will take the sex but this time, her heart won't be offered.

The book does not have a dull moment although I will say that the World War II subplot where we learn about the rivalry between Joe and Charles Ashton (Kelly's father) didn't do it for me. A similar subplot is carried through many of books in this series and is great for those that like to explore that era. It really didn't take away from the enjoyment of the book since it made us get to know Joe and Charles and to understand the bond of a friendship that lasted 60 years.

There is still another storyline in the romance of Mallory Paolettti and David Sullivan. David is the geek comic book artist that sees Mallory (Tom's niece) for who she really is and not the sex kitten everyone makes her out to be, She is a bit reluctant to give David the time of day since he has dweeb written all over his face (I kept visualizing Mac boy - Justin Long) but after he proves he is made of sterner stuff, she understands that she is doing to him what everyone has always done to her, judge her by what she looks like.

Then the final subplot, the terrorist attack. When the final confrontation came about I found it to go fairly quick but it did not take away from the edge of your seat action. Everyone was involved! Even Charles and his walker! Great start to what I know is a fantastic series!

Grade: B+
Format: Audiobook

Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday Fun

It's Friday again and the weekend is finally here. Yeah!! I'm so behind on my book reviews it's a joke but I've been so engrossed with my reading I really don't care! LOL!

A new Friday Fill-ins and Friday's Feast has hit the blogsphere.

Let's see what we are talking about this week....

1. Two of my favorite ingredients in a drink are Bailey's & Godiva Chocolate Liquor!
2. My daughter often amazes me. (You can see why when she posts things like this on her blog; From Good to Great)
3. You can keep doing that forever, the dog is Never going to get it. (My shit-zu Pepper was a bit on the hard headed side - loved her to death but sometimes you could not get her to move )
4. Take Politics and Friendships, mix it all together and voila! You have a Royal Mess!
5. If I had a yard with a garden, I would love to grow Daisies. (the most unpretentious flower out there!)
6. Pizza is best au naturel. (Yeah, you can add tons of crap on it but honestly, a plain cheese pizza is all you really need. The rest is decoration on perfection! - Can you tell I'm going through a pizza withdrawal)
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to catching up on some blogging & watching what I have on my TiVo, tomorrow my plans include going to my Weigth Watcher's Weigh-in and catching up on some sewing and Sunday, I want to go to the movies to see Robert Downey Jr as Ironman!


What was your favorite cartoon when you were a child? Candy Candy & Captain Harlock


Pretend you are about to get a new pet. Which animal would you pick, and what would you name it? I'm a dog person, so it would have to be a dog. When I moved to Texas I left my dog with my older sister and nephew because he had grown very attached to Pepper (short for Peppermint Dreams). My younger sister, whom I live with now, has grown an itch to get a pet but I can't bring myself to get a new pet when, in my heart, Pepper is still mine, but if I DID get a new pet, it would have to be a dog. Maybe a Chocolate Lab or a Beagle. I would name him/her something that would suit it's personality or looks. Can't put aside a name without looking at them in the eyes and getting to know them.


On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy getting all dressed up for a special occasion? 3 - I enjoy seeing the results but the getting there is such a pain in the Arse! I'm very much a jean / t-shirt type of gal. My sister is always harping on me that I don't have feminine cloths in my closet. Comfort before Beauty is my motto!

Main Course

What kind of music do you listen to while you drive? I don't really listen to music. I listen to Audiobooks. On the rare occasion I change the iPod to something musical it would be either Country (love the Dixie Chicks!), Alternative (Counting Crow rocks!) or Korean Pop (Bi/Rain is the bomb!!!)


When was the last time you bought a clock? And in which room did you put it? I don't remember ever buying a clock. I have an alarm clock that I inherited from my daughter when she went off to college. The clock that is in the family room was among my sisters possessions when we merged our stuff together in the new house. I have NEVER bought a clock! Interesting tid-bit I never knew about myself.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Booking through Thursday - Mayday!

This week's Booking column was so improbable that I had to really stretch myself.

Quick! It’s an emergency! You just got an urgent call about a family emergency and had to rush to the airport with barely time to grab your wallet and your passport. But now, you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to read. What do you do??

And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember….

I said I had to stretch myself because anyone that knows me knows that I ALWAYS have a book in my purse. When I go to buy a purse I take my book from my current purse and see if the paperback fits in the new purse, if it doesn't... no matter HOW beautiful the purse is, I don't buy it. Now with my eBook reader, sometimes I have 16 books in my purse :)

So in my fantasy scenario, where I did not have a book in an airport, what would I do? Head on over to the nearest magazine shop (you know the ones, they sell everything you never knew you needed on a flight) and pick up anything that could keep me from going mad. That could be a magazine of Logic puzzles, an Entertainment magazine or if lucky, maybe they have a good selection of books. I would also stock up on a healthy (or maybe unhealthy) amount of candy, chips, snacks, chocolate and gum. Then after leaving all my cash in the store I would sit back and be too freaked out about the family emergency to eat any of the 'cavities in a box' I just purchased for an insane amount of money or crack open the reading material I chose.

What would you do in a scenario like this?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

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