Monday, 23 January 2012

Book Review: My Hot Bedtime Stories (Volume 1) by Laura B. Cooper

The only word I can use to describe this novella is juvenile. Honestly? It reads like a pre-teen boy's wet dream. This isn't an excerpt from the novel, just an example of what it's like:

I wanted him to fuck me. He slid his hot cock into my wet pussy. It was wonderful.

I threw up in my mouth a little bit just writing that. I don't know how the author of this short story collection managed to keep her dinner down...

Speaking of which... I actually had my doubts that the author actually IS a woman. Seriously. I have never - in my whole life - heard a single woman say "I love to suck cock!" - much less say it the four or five times she does in this novella.

Also, to call her an author is an over-statement. There was only just enough story to lead into the sex and nothing besides. Am I asking too much of written porn? Maybe I am - but what I want is an excellent fucking story (pardon the pun) with some nasty sex. Please? Anyone...?

Needless to say, there was nothing hot about these bedtime stories and I most definitely will NOT be looking for the next volume.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Book Review(s): The Woman in White and Crescendo

The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
This was on my reading list for The Nineteenth Century Novel. From the start, I was surprised by how intresting it was. My homework tells me that The Woman in White was the first - and best - of the 19th-Century 'sensantion novels.' It doesn't say how totally engrossing the book is. I simply could not put it down.

The thing that I loved best about the novel is the way that you have to piece the mystery together yourself using narratives from the different characters involved. And to say that Wilkie Collins handles the characterization masterfully is an understatement.

Sometimes I read a so-called classic novel and I think that the only reason it makes it into 'the canon' is because the people who put it there want to show how clever they are by appreciating a work that is either so far out there or so boring that no one else wants to read it. *cough,cough,Dickens,cough,cough* The Woman in White earned it's place among the greatest novels of time. It is beautifully crafted and thoroughly enjoyable.

Crescendo (Hush, Hush: Book 2), Becca Fitzpatrick
I have to say that I think this was probably more well-written than the first - which is rare with teen lit. It wasn't simply a rehash of what had come before (Can you tell what my hang-ups with teen literature are?) but a whole new story.

The story moved fluidly on and kept me engaged right up to the end. It also surprised me because I wasn't able to predict who the 'baddie' was until just before it was revealed to the MC - a rare occurance. The twist at the end even came as a surprise and made sure that I'll be picking up the third book.

The only flaw I found with Fitzpatrick's writing is that sometimes the narrative can feel a bit detached from the MC even though it was written in first person. I don't want to read that a character did something 'as if to' if she's telling me the story. Tell me what you did and why. But it didn't happen often and it's the only thing that let the story down.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Tackling the Monster.

I've been waiting for the DH to clear out his mom's room for six months now. I didn't press him - for obvious reasons. But six months is long enough. So, I waded in and started to do it myself. The DH rather reluctantly joined me.

We've been at it for two days straight so far and have cleared out six bags of garbage plus six bags and one box destined for the charity shop. We've been to the dump once and to St. David's charity shop in Risca twice. St. David's isn't just the closest charity shop to us, it also raises money for hospice care. There's something right about the MIL's stuff going to help them out - she almost ended up there, after all, before we insisted that she come home.

The frustrating bit is that we've barely made a dent. We've cleared one wardrobe and about a foot of floor space. Seriously... This woman should have been on Hoarders. I've made a lot of progress in the rest of the house and the DH even cleared half of the garage but we've been avoiding her personal space - not just because it was her personal space but because shit was piled up above our knees! It's been a nightmare and my allergies are not thanking me. But, it does feel good to see progress being made.

When I spoke to my mom last night and told her what we were doing, her response was "Oh? And what are you turning the room into? A NURSERY?"

WTF?

Seriously, Mom. I'm almost thirty. The DH is going to be 43. We've been married seven years. I think some ships have sailed.

Besides, my mom has 10 grandkids and 2 great-grandkids. What does she need me for?

Friday, 6 January 2012

Shelfari: 50 Book Challenge

I'm taking part in the 50 Book Challenge on Shelfari. Have for the past few years, in fact.

The 50 Book Challenge is pretty straight forward: You challenge yourself to read 50 books in one year. Of course, some of us are more hardcore than others so we have to up the ante a bit. My goal for 2012 is 80. You can find my running tally here.

Last year's goal was 70 and I made it to 72 books for 2011. In 2010, I made it to 67 books (with a 60 book challenge). I bet it would be interesting to look back over the lists for the past two years and compare them to see if my reading habits have changed. One day, when I've had more sleep, I may just do that.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Book Review: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe

This book was one of the Christmas presents I got from my mother-in-law last year - her last Christmas. It was also one of the best gifts she ever got me.


Wolfsbane and Mistletoe is a short story collection combining our favourite four-legged - and bloodthirsty - friends with the holiday season. It's the best work of collective fiction that I think I have ever read. This book had me laughing out loud in the middle of work, it was so funny, and I can honestly say that there wasn't a single story in it that I didn't like.

I think my favourite two had to be The Werewolf Before Christmas by Kat Richardson and SA by J.A. Konrath. I won't say too much - "Spoilers, Darling!" - but I will say that they both deal with the true origins of Santa Clause. My least favourite being the one by Charlaine Harris. (But my love/hate relationship with that particular author will have to be the subject of another post.)

If you are into werewolves and other wee beasties that go bump in the night - these stories also feature vampires, mages, faeries, etc. - you HAVE to read this book.

ERHS 1998 Bands Slide Show

As the dreaded 30 began creeping up on me, I started to get a bit nostalgic and, yes, morose. I started thinking more about the friends I left behind when I moved to this country and started missing them even more. I wish I could say that I've mastered those feelings and am now a happy, carefree preson - but I haven't and I'm not. It doesn't help, of course, that 1. I have another 10 months to dwell on turning 30 and 2. depression and anxiety have always been my biggest enemies. (Well, those and ninjas...)

I hit a particularly low patch last week and was really feeling like I just wanted to crawl under a rock and die. That was when something special arrived in the post: a box containing four DVDs from my - our - marching years. (And many, many chocolate chip cookies.)

The DVDs were a result of my last trip to America. We went around to all the Band Moms until we found one who still had our marching tapes and who actually knew where they were. Then, I took them to a shop to have them converted onto DVD. It cost about $50 for the four of them and took about a week to burn but was 100% worth it when they arrived on my doorstep.

How happy was I? Uber. But, it wasn't enough for me to just enjoy the DVDs, I HAD to share them with my friends and fellow band geeks. I thought it would be easy to just rip them and copy them to You Tube... Wrong!

All in all, I tried about six or seven diffeerent DVD rippers and had ZERO joy with any of them. Finally, I gave Magic DVD Ripper a try and hit the jackpot. It takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to rip but gets around the pesky anti-copy protection built into the discs. Now, I could have a little rant about how I specifically told the guy at the shop to copy them in .avi to make it easier for me to make copies but, like the capitalist pig he was, he made them as proper DVDs, thereby wasting hours of my life in ripping them - but I won't. Honest.

Anywho... Then I had to find a video editing program to use because the guy who made the DVDs for me copied them exactly as is off the tapes meaning there was an awful lot of blue screen. I don't have much experience in the whole making/editing videos thing - I'm into words - but, through trial and error, I eventually came across VideoPad Video Editor which is ridiculously easy to use - and, of course, also takes F.OR.E.V.E.R.

So, after about three days of work, several downloads, and much frustration, the first (and shortest) video went up on You Tube:



I don't know how many people will appreciate the work that I've gone through to share our memories in this fashion or how many people will even take the time to watch them BUT I will persevere because, if seeing these videos makes even one person who was feelin' a bit down and lonely (like me) smile, it will be worth it.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Book Review: Possession by Missy Maxim

Ugh.

I wish I hadn't started the year with this book. I don't often read erotic fiction because it tends to be so poorly written. (Or should I say so poorly edited?) But, I was in the mood - if you know what I mean - and this seemed to tick the right boxes.


I should mention as well that this was my first Kindle download for my iPad2. I didn't know whether I'd like reading off the screen (tried it once with my Nintendo DS and found it too awkward) so I went with something around the £1 mark. Big mistake?

At least I didn't pay any more for this book. (Always look on the bright side, right?)

The novel had a good premise: A virginal young woman gets kidnapped by a vampire who wants her for a courteasan. He leaves her at a finishing school for demons with the instructions to leave her untouched - something her tutor has a difficult time doing. Sounds good, right?

It would have been if it had been written by a decent author.

One of the main things that bothered me about this novel was the dialogue. Every character in the book talked essentially the same way although they were different sexes, species and had different backgrounds. The British slang was both over used and badly used. Perhaps Missy Maxim has never met an actual British person before because she does not seem to know that, slang words aside, they speak differently than Americans do. It made the whole novel feel false.

There were other problems with the story, of course, things like lack of characterization and lack of focus - but the other main thing about the novel that really bugged me was the sex. It was sold as an erotic fantasy but the only thing the sex scenes (yeah, both of 'em) made me fantasize about was reading a different book. But in all fairness, I kind of made my mind up when she used the phrase "his prick." Boo.