Saturday, April 20, 2013

Time has gotten away from me but the books haven’t


DSCN0870Boy, it has been a long while since I updated everyone with my books….sorry about that.  It has been a rough couple of months at the Burkett household.  February was the scariest month of my life when my 23 yr. old son was in a near fatal motorcycle accident.  We raced to him from Florida to North Carolina where amazing doctors patched him back together. I won’t leave anyone in suspense, he is recovering with miraculous speed and all prognosis from his medical team is for a full but long recovery. 

Then I had some surgery in March.  We returned from NC in time to begin a string of doctors appointments and medical tests.  The surgery was the last week of March and it was very successful.  I too am recovering with remarkable speed and ease.  Thank you God for the good family genetics!

What time did I have for reading?  For those of you who are rabid readers like me you are more likely asking the question when did I have time for everything else in between books?  Well, to be honest there was a lot of waiting going on.  In NC we sat for a week at Zack’s bedside or in the OR waiting rooms patiently (or not) for Doctors to tell us what was going on and for Zack to wake up. There was more waiting as I went through my on procedure.  I spent my time wisely with several books.  I will tell you honestly when we first got to NC and Zack’s status was uncertain I couldn’t read.  I couldn’t concentrate enough to follow a story.  I went to the craft store and picked up some yarn and hooks and crocheted granny squares.  The repetitiveness of looping yarn over hook was soothing and I could listen to what was going on around me while I crocheted.  Once we were told he was out of the woods and the tears dried up I picked up a book and lost myself.  Enough about accidents and doctors, what the heck was I reading?  Well, let me tell you…..

The Reluctant VampireLynsay Sands “The Lady is a Vamp” is a fun romp with the Argeneau family of vampires.  This time Jeanne Louise Argeneau who has been working on research to discover why 2 of her relatives have to use fresh blood instead of the bagged stuff has been kidnapped.  The kidnapper is a human who works in the research facility with Jeanne Louise.  He has figured out what she is and he wants her to turn his daughter who is dying from cancer.  Romance, silliness and mix-ups ensue.  You know how it ends and that’s okay because it is the story not the ending that counts with Lynsay Sands.  I think I have mentioned my one complaint regarding Ms. Sands writing and that is her abuse of the word wryly!  A page doesn’t turn without reading it once or twice and in a 200+ page book that is a lot of wryness.  Please Ms. Sands pull out your thesaurus and discover some new expressions.  I give the book a B.

The Inn at Rose Harbor (Rose Harbor #1)Next up was Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series spin off.  “The Inn at Rose Harbor” is set in one of my favorite make believe towns of Cedar Cove.  The story follows Jo Marie Rose, a young widow who has decided to start over after losing her husband Paul to the Afghan War.  After a year of mourning she quits her job, moves away from big City Seattle to little town Cedar Cove and buys a bed and breakfast.  She renames it Rose Harbor Inn in honor of her husband.   I really enjoyed coming back to Cedar Cove.  The story revolves around Jo Marie’s first two guests who have come back for opposite reasons but find they are putting to rest some similar emotional demons.  All the neighbors of Cedar Cove are here.  I was so happy for Jo to meet Grace and Olivia.  Peggy Beldon stopped in with sage advice as an experienced Innkeeper.  It was a wonderful mix of new and old melding together and creating a heartwarming story of regular people living regular lives and finding meaning in them.  This was book one of the series and I have already got book two on my pickup list, “Rose Harbor in Bloom.”  B+

Dark Storm in hardcover Christine FeehanChristine Feehan got the juices going with another Carpathian adventure.  This time it takes place just below a volcano in a Brazilian rainforest.  Dax is a Carpathian hunter who has trapped himself into an ancient volcano with the evil vampire Mitro.  His mission to keep the vampire contained and if possible kill him.  He has been fighting this battle for nearly a milenium but he hasn’t done it alone.  Arabejila was Mitro’s lifemate and he chose evil over her.  She and Dax trailed him to the volcano and cursed him to the fiery prison. It has been the responsibility of her descendants to come to the volcano every so many years to refresh the curse and keep the evil one imprisoned.  It is now Riley and her mother’s turn to once again perform the world saving task.  Of course this is Christine Feehan’s world and things go wrong.  The silver lining is Dax discovers his lifemate in Riley.  No one does and erotic scene better than Feehan!  She is downright Lava hot!!!! And she does it with sexiness and class.  I am giving this one a B only because the storyline is pretty much the same in every book but somehow it just doesn’t matter.  Yum!

Jayne Ann Krentz’ is moving her “Dark Legacy Series” to merge her paranormal crystal storyline with her Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle personas.  “Dream Eyes” is a current times story revolving two powerful psychics in Gwen Frazier who can see ghosts and manipulate dream energy and Judson Coppersmith who is a powerful hunter.  The two of them come together to solve the mystery of Gwen’s dear friend Evelyn’s death and the possible connection between this murder and a series of murders that happened a couple  of years prior.  The only problem is the serial killer is dead.  Gwen knows this because she was the one who killed him.  It is a pretty good mystery and of course the romance is great.  What made me perk up my ears in this story was Judson uses a piece of unusual amber to tune and recharge his psychic strength. Sounds a lot like what Jayne Catle’s  Ghost Hunters do, doesn’t it?  I think it will be fun if and when she finally has the first expedition to Harmony and finally find out who those aliens were.  She gets a solid B.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Author for January: Sheila Roberts

So, I made the commitment that I would read at least one new author a month in 2013 and I am off to a good start.

Sheila Roberts has been around for a while but this is my first visit with her and her town of Icicle Falls.  After reading “Better than Chocolate” it won’t be my last. 

Why did I choose this book?  To be honest I liked the cover of the book.  The big cups of hot chocolate with floating hearts I couldn’t resist.  It just shouted sweet romance and it didn’t disappoint.

Ms. Roberts writing is similar in style to Debbie Macomber.  Her books revolve around a small town in the Northwest called Icicle Falls and the people who live there.  These are light frothy books.  While there is real conflict in the story; it is handled with a light and silver lining kind of touch.  Each story is complete in itself but is richer for reading the previous installment.

“Better than Chocolate”  features the Sterling family who run the chocolate factory.  The first chocolate candy recipe came to Great Grandma Sterling in a dream.  The rest, as they say, is Icicle Falls history.  Now the factory is in big financial trouble and eldest Sterling, Samantha needs to come up with a good plan to save her family business and the jobs of those depending on Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company.

Enter newly made Bank Manager Blake Preston, former high school football star and now by the book businessman.  The future of Sweet Dreams and the Sterling family is in his hands.  Of course Samantha resents him on first meeting and sparks fly between them. 

The story is filled in with a whole cast of supporting characters like Bill Will the swaggering dancing cowboy.  Samantha’s mom, Muriel Sterling is a writer of self-help books. Then there’s Cass, the owner of Gingerhaus Bakery.  She is one tough cookie.

The Sterling sisters throw everything they have at saving the company and that of course means a chocolate festival over Valentine’s Day weekend.  To make it even sweeter they host a Mr. Dreamy contest.  I can see you smiling.  I know I was.

There is nothing steamy in Ms. Roberts story.  Truth be told the romance between Samantha and Blake is secondary to the community of Icicle Falls.  This was perfect for a cozy weekend by the fire Sheila Robertswith bread baking and stew in the crock pot.  It was that comforting and lovely.

It was great meeting Ms. Roberts and Icicle Falls.  I will definitely be visiting again.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

January’s Reads


My First book of the new year is Iris Johansen’s “What Doesn’t Kill You.”  It is a spin off of the Eve Duncan series and unfortunately not as good.  Catherine Ling from Eve’s series is the main character here.  Other characters like CIA Chief Venable, the mysterious Hu Chang, and John Gallo who was the father of Eve’s murdered daughter join Catherine in what should be a fast passed race against time to save a potential important figure.  There was too much thinking and talking and not enough doing.  There was one note to all the characters.  They all talked a lot about their thought processes without ever explaining anything.  Too many pages waiting for action.  It ended with a sequel in mind.  Let’s hope there’s a little less talking and a lot more satisfaction in the next one.

Next on the list of go to authors was a disappointment.  “After Moonrise”  is two short stories by P.C. Cast and Gena Showalter.  I have read both of these authors several times even though I haven’t written about them.  I enjoy them.  I can always count of Ms. Showalter to be fast paced and P.C. Cast to be pretty steamy.  They didn’t disappoint in these areas but I couldn’t finish P.C. Cast’s “Possessed.” 

I can stretch my imagination pretty darn far, almost to transparency but this was too far for me.  Psychic Detective Kent Raef, (I like the switch with Raef being the last name), gets a murder case.  A set of beautiful twins; one of them is murdered and is possessing the other in the hopes to catch her killer.  I actually like the premise.  I am totally cool with them all being beautiful and physically perfect.  What I am not ok with is Kent having sex with the dead twin and it isn’t via the living possessed twin’s body.  It is the ghost that suddenly becomes corporeal for a bout in the sack.  Really?  I realize there is a taboo for me in fiction and that is sex with dead people.  I am also not a fan of Angelic romances either but sex with dead people, even in spirit form are off the reading list for me.

I headed toward the 2nd short story.  “Haunted” by Gena Showalter was only a little better.  Sorry Gena.  At least this time all the people having sex were ghosts.  This story had more of a  “Sixth Sense”  to it.  There was a fairly decent crime to solve and the characters were interesting.  It was a straight up romantic suspense except for the 2 main characters.  There is actually a fun little character/plot twist to this story that worked well.  As you may have surmised I finished this one.  My problem with both of these stories is I personally believe that death is death.  There may be a hereafter but it doesn’t include bungalows in Oklahoma where spirits are shacking up.  Even worse I don’t think I would want that to be real.  Somehow it implies an earthly future and that offends me a little.  I want to move on to something higher.  Don’t get me wrong.  Sex is great!  I love it but I am thinking the hereafter has more for me than a physical act.  I don’t know what it will be but I guess that will be part of that adventure.   I have steered away from these kinds of stories in the past and after these two I am convinced I will stay clear in the future.  Please P.C. and Gena come back from the heavenly plane and stick with the paranormal and romance.

Stephanie Bonds didn’t disappoint with “6 Killer Bodies”. I like these characters.  I see a lot of myself in Carlotta.  She is a caretaker and loves her charges and yet longs for the day when they can take care of themselves.  Her brother Wesley reminds me of a young man I know.  He wants to do the right thing but his compulsions and insecurities are always getting in the way. Obviously this is the 6th book in Ms. Bond’s series and I like them.  There is a nice love triangle tension thing going on.  The mystery of the Charmed Killer played well across the last 3 books and I am rooting for Carlotta to pick the right guy.  I also want to kick her father’s ass.  Sorry for the profanity.  This has a Stephanie Plum feel to it without the tongue in cheek humor of Janet Evonavich’s writing.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of light moments in Ms. Bond’s writing but I never laughed out loud at anything either.  Finally, there are 2 great plot twists at the end which, for me, made the whole book worth it.  One spoiler, it isn’t the discovery of who the Charmed Killer is either.

So this is it for my familiar authors.  Tune in for my review of a new to me author, Sheila Roberts’. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Catching up on my reading and other stuff


glassesclinkingHappy New Year!!  Can you believe it?  It is 2013?  Wow!  This has been a busy year.  I know, I know.  It’s been a while since I last posted.  I am sure all 8 of my readers have wondered where I went.  Well, to be honest I got distracted with travelling, wine making, gardening and crocheting. 

I know, that’s pretty busy, right?

All that fun didn’t mean I wasn’t reading.  It was just having too much fun with the other stuff to be writing.   My journal is chocked full of writing.  I just didn’t get it on the blog.  That was wrong of me. It’s not that I have a ton of readers but I love to write.  I want to share my thoughts with whoever is reading my writing.  The other problem is I am in a rut.  I have been reading the same nine or ten writers for a while now and while I am enjoying the books it isn’t enough to write about. delusionindeath

Recently, as I was travelling to North Carolina for Christmas,  I read J.D. Robb’s “Delusion in Death”.  It was a fun fast paced read.  Someone was murdered in a seemingly impossible way but Eve Dallas along with her crew, especially Roarke, solved the crime in less than 72 hours. 

I also read Sherrilyn Kenyon’s new Dark Hunter offering, “Time Untime”.  Again it was a fun read.  Lot’s of “End of the World” excitement but it wasn’t new.  Artemis’ Dark Hunter finds the love of his life,timeuntime they save the universe and                                           she immediately gets pregnant and they live happily ever after.  Now I love happy endings and I love my series books but I cannot tell a lie, they start getting old and I worry that you, my readers, are getting bored with my one note scribing.

So I have decided to change things up a bit.  First, I am going to post twice a month.  I know, all the “Build your Blog Websites” say “Post baby Post.”  My plan is to give you a consistent blog to visit rather that 20 posts in a month and then nothing for 3 months. One post is going to be an author I have never read before.  The other post will be a run down of my usual faves with shorter reviews.  If a book comes along my way that is just beyond fantastic I will add a review then. 

Another change I am making is the launching of  Here you will find a collection of my writing about…well…everything.  Here you will find my blog which is a wine pairing group.  I will shortly be adding my notes and thoughts on living a more creative life.  Sure that sounds kind of hokey but I have found out in the last few years I like growing things, cooking them up and sharing them with friends.  I also love making things from jewelry to afghans to wine.  I am creating a place I can keep track of it all and I thought it would be fun to invite you into my crazy world of being Mame.

Welcome to the new and improved Besotted Bookworm.  I wish everyone a wonderful, successful and most of all happy 2013!