Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Loretta Chase 'Not Quite A Lady'

How have I never heard of this author? After starting this blog and spending some time on some romance websites I kept seeing her name and finally decided I needed to check her out. Count me excited. Clever, interesting characters who follow the basic confines of the genre, but bend the rules enough to keep the book interesting. Funny dialog, decent plot, good amount of sex; well, I'm very pleased. I can't wait for her next book.

Charlotte had a baby out of wedlock that she gave up ten years ago and she's made it her goal to never fall for anyone ever again, and certainly never to get married.

Historical Romance 2007: 5 out of 5 frothy hats.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Deirdre Martin 'Just A Taste'

The long awaited, much anticipated, finally completed, review of Stewart's request, Just A Lick. There isn't all that much to say about this one, it's an enjoyable light read that's not badly written. The characters are likable, the plot isn't too silly and it's fun to imagine yourself as a chef. There is sexual tension between our two protagonists but not much action until near the end.

Things I didn't like. Our hero lost his wife a year ago. That strikes me as way too soon to jump into another 'love of your life' relationship. When our hero has a minor breakdown and can't take Vivi into his bedroom, she reacts with anger. I would be sad and depressed if that happened to me, but anger? I felt like the cute French heroine went from saucy to bitchy about two thirds of the way through the book. She didn't become completely unlikable, but it was jarring given the characterization up to that point. And **(slight spoiler)** why does she dump him? Overall pretty harmless.

Contemporary Romance 2008: 3.5 out of 5 apple tarts.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lori Foster 'Hard To Handle'

I got this book from a friend and since I'm more of a historical romance novel reader, I had very low expectations. The first half of the book (save our hero's one-night-stand opening scene) was actually quite good. Harley is an extreme fighter who has had three title fights that he's missed, mom dieing, injuries, etc. He has retreated to his cabin in the hills to get himself ready for his next try at the title belt. The woman who rents him his cabin is the only woman whose never come on to him.....

Anastasia is a life coach whose got the hots for Harley but she's too intuitive to throw herself at him like all the other women in the area. When she acquires a stalker, Harley immediately steps in to take care of her, putting them in close proximity, etc. Hot, hard-fighting man protecting smart determined woman from mortal danger, yep, gets me every time.

Critiques: I have to mention his last name, Handleman, I mean really! Then there is Anatasia's pop-psychology drivel which became more annoying as the book went along, and finally the plot wraps up at warp speed at the end. Even his title fight is about two paragraphs.

Overall it's a quick light read with plenty of sex, very enjoyable.

Contemporary Romance 2008: 4 out of 5 extreme fights.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sherrilyn Kenyon 'Devil May Cry'

I'm here to prove you don't need a fully functioning brain to read romance novels. My first Sherrilyn Kenyon book was Upon the Midnight Clear, a shorter book that she wrote for Christmas publication. I liked the heroine but the emotional state of the hero and the relationship between these two were not engaging, probably due to the short length and quick writing. But since this writer is everywhere I figured I needed to give her another try.

I picked up Devil May Cry at the grocery store. Since this is book 21 in this series, I kid you not, I can live with the world/character quick downloads so as not to bore the people who've read, well, 20 of these books. And really the first half of the book, I liked. Ex-Sumerian fertility god had his godhood taken by Artemis, she's worried that he's plotting against her so she sends her daughter to check on him. Daughter Katra falls for him of course, but before they can attend to that they need to save the human race from the Sumerian demons who every thousand years need to be re-sealed into their prison by a Sumerian god. What's not to like.

Right around page 200 they start interacting with the bad guys, not fighting, but talking trash at each other for the most part. At which point Katra, who I've liked up until now, starts saying sarcastic things like, "Ooo, I'm the big evil. I'm gonna kill you all.....I'm just a demon windbag who likes to hear himself speak and I'm trying to intimidate you." Insert 'na na na', here. Then not too much later she and Sin are reviewing their plan of action and when he questions himself she tells him, '"I do know, Sin. I believe in you and your judgement." Sin was stunned by her conviction, and it meant more to him than he could even begin to put into words.' But on the next page the author gives voice to Katra thoughts as, 'Kat wanted to believe that, but in spite of what she'd said a minute ago, she wasn't sure.' I'm supposed to believe that these two are soul mates, that this relationship is the penultimate love relationship there is, that this is what I could someday experience if I'm lucky?? Seems to me I've had a couple relationships like this one and I do not want to read books about them!

I lost interest in the heroine when her voice changed from surprisingly honorable and truthful for a god, to trash talking sarcasm; and I lost interest in these two as a couple when the author allowed the plot development to get in the way of the relationship development. I didn't finish the last 150 pages, so it's possible that the book is amazing at the end but my life is too short.

Paranormal Romance 2007: 2 out of 5 demons.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Technical Difficulties Please Stand By

Since it looks like it will still be awhile before I'm up to reading trashy books at any sort of speed, I thought I would post a little explanation of my health condition, surgery etc.

In October of 2007 I found out that I have moyamoya disease. How did I get a condition with such an awesome name, well I guess I'm just lucky. Moyamoya is a relatively rare disease where (typically) the internal carotid arteries (main supply of blood to brain) narrow over time until they completely close off. I was lucky to present with a small stroke that caused some loss of vision. I say lucky because my brain re-wired itself in a couple months to compensate for the lost brain power and my vision returned to the same as before the stroke.

Moyamoya means roughly 'puff of smoke' in Japanese, which I'm told is exactly what it looks like on an angiogram. There is no known cause of moyamoya and no medical treatment. There are re-vascularization surgeries that involve drilling open your skull and bringing blood from some other artery into the brain, effectively by-passing the blocked carotid. I was sort of reluctant to just jump into that solution however.

So my husband and I did a couple months of research, pursued a oxygen perfusion test (PET scan at Washington University Medical School) to see if my brain was actually in any distress, and then had to weigh the risks of surgery against my personal version of moyamoya. I knew I was having some TIA's (temporary ischemic attacks) which wasn't a good sign, but my vertebral arteries that come up the back of the neck to the brain were very large compared to most people and seemed to have compensated for the lack of blood flow up front. In the end the PET scan confirmed that the right side of my brain was not getting as much oxygen as would be ideal, so we decided to pursue surgery.

Standford Medical Center has a neurosurgeon named Gary Steinberg who has been treating adult and pediatric moyamoya patients since the early 1990's. While re-vascularization surgeries are a fairly common neurosurgery, being a moyamoya brain adds a level of complication to your anesthesia that you really want your doctors to be familiar with. So with the blessing of our insurance company, thank goodness, off we went to Stanford.

March 19th I let them cut open the right side of my head, take my temporal artery, cut a hole in my skull and sew it to the middle cerebral artery in my brain. Then they closed up my skull with some cool titanium plates, sewed up my temporal muscle (think chewing) and stapled up my skin. On March 25th I let them do it again on the left side. Two and a half weeks later, my energy is still pretty low, and I have a constant low level headache. I'm still taking 400 mg of ibuprofen every six hours. Truthfully I can do most anything, just computer, reading, thinking too hard, getting my kids ready for school in the morning, all give me a whopper of a headache. Which is what posting this has given me. I hope I haven't given you one too.