"Just the Sexiest Man Alive" - Julie James - 2008

For some reason, I haven't been reading much lately. I fall asleep after reading a few pages, and even books I'm enjoying knock me right out. It took quite a few tries, but I finally finished, boy, am I glad I did. I usually can't stand books with uber-rich leads, but Jason, a larger than life Hollywood bigshot (think Tom Crusie before he went crazy) and a well-off Chicago lawyer, Taylor, no stranger to a six-figure income herself felt pretty damn genuine. There were even a few scenes where I felt honest to god tears welling up. I enjoyed this novel so much, even the constant joking about the title didn't phase me!

"The Butler Did It" - Kasey Michaels - 2004

I had high hopes for this one based on the introduction, but unfortunately everything went downhill from there. I thought the plot seemed really original (apparently it isn't for those better read in the Regency genre, according to the Pandora's Box feature on All About Romance) the butler rents out his absent masters' townhouse while he's trying to find some inner peace in the country, master comes back to London unexpectedly, falls for the daughter of a family who is renting it. There's a wacky cast of characters, Michaels dedicates many pages to them, I found myself skipping ahead to the H/H scenes, then shutting the book altogether. This couple never seemed to really like each other. They fought and fell to the floor with passion, blah, blah, blah. I'm not buying it.

"Wyoming Wildflower" - Pam Crooks - 2001

I hadn't been reading much romance lately, I haven't had the attention span, but last night I did something I haven't done in forever - read a whole book in one sitting! I picked this book up at Goodwill the day before, with no other expectations than a good back cover blurb. (I'm a sucker for a hero who's been in love with the heroine for many years...) It hit all the right buttons and did some major heartstring tugging. Not a perfect book, but it felt pretty perfect yesterday!

"Club Dead" - Charlaine Harris - 2004

I skipped "Living Dead in Dallas" because it felt redundant while watching the second season of "True Blood", and went right to the third installment "Club Dead." I enjoyed it, and really it felt pretty much stand alone anyway. Super excited to read Book 4, which seems to be a real favorite, especially with Eric fans!

This Tumblr site rules...


I submitted my favorite pictures of mine!


Paula Arntzen
Found while bouncing from blog to blog to Dutch Design Week. Loving it.

Pet Peeves

Itchy noses. Fuck em.

People who don't move into an open left hand lane to allow you easier access onto a highway. It's just polite.

When a light turns red at a four-way intersection with no one waiting to go the other direction.

"The Handmaid's Tale" - Margaret Atwood - 1985

Well, I finally finished it. And it only took me a week and a half...(oh, and five years).

"Echo" - Francesca Lia Block - 2001

Awesome. The best and worst of L.A. from a native. A magically realistic tale of growing up with such an openminded perspective. A deceptively short read that lingers. Also, the cover art is perfect.

"Summer's End" - Kathleen Gilles Seidel - 1999

Forgot I read this one - it's like "The Family Stone" meets "Ice Castles" minus the triumphant blind skating.

"The Virgin Suicides" - Jeffrey Eugenides - 1993

Beautiful suburban girls don't hang around...

"Stardust" - Neil Gaiman - 1998

Finished up Stardust, the novel, earlier this week, spent the past two days watching Stardust, the movie, but not for the first time. Now that I can compare the two, I have to say I enjoyed them both very much, however I do wish I had read the book first. Gaiman's voice is wonderful, his words bring Fairie to life, the film uses CGI quite well to do the same. The movie is much more dramatic, which some might claim as a downfall, but I don't mind at all. The romance exists in the novel of course, but I'm a sucker for big proclamations and kisses it's perfect in the film version. The book and film end much the same, they simply take different paths to get there.

"Wedded in a Whirlwind" - Liz Fielding - 2008

Don't judge a book by its cover - while pretty, this cover doesn't really fit. The main characters are British (as well as the author) but the majority of the story takes place on an island in the South Pacific. In fact the H/H, trapped together in an underground temple, fall in love before they even see each other in the daylight. I found this an enjoyable read, although I wish I had read the heroine's brother's story first, as it is mentioned quite a bit. As for the title, this is a whirlwind romance - meeting, almost dying, bonding and falling in love essentially overnight - the wedding part seems really secondary. Sometimes I prefer brevity of series romance, primarily on days where nothing truly holds my attention. In this case, however, I would have enjoyed a longer more fleshed-out story. I'm always interested in how the author treats the H/H after the danger is over and each must return to their real day-to-day lives. I feel Fielding wrapped it up quickly and rushed the ending, probably to fit in the Harlequin format, and keep the page count down.

"The Annexation of the Living Room" - Christopher S. Bell - 2009

If you're looking at this blog chances are, you know Bell. He's prolific - music and novels and short stories, but this was my first. It made me feel angsty and depressed, so thanks? But for real, thanks for some great fake bands, and references to some great real ones - I still want those mixes. "The Annexation of the Living Room" is early in the Emment and Mary timeline, so there's some familiar names, and a lot to look forward to.

If you wandered here by accident, check out Bell's stuff and more at myideaoffun.org!

"The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie" - Jennifer Ashley - 2009

So, this book had a lot of hype, and then in return a bit of a backlash. For me personally, this book brought me out of reading funk. Although this novel went a little overboard on the love scenes, I found both the heroine and hero endearing and real, even when the events around them were not. Of the hero's three brothers, I am really looking forward to two upcoming stories. However, the one brother is a huge asshole, so we shall see if Jennifer Ashley can pull off his redemption.

L-Cat & Leftovers

I am...

...in such a reading slump. A deadly combination of being busy and attempting to finish Harlequin Special Edition books I'm not interested in.

"An Inconvenient Duchess" - Christine Merrill - 2006

Not a terrible book, but more publishing mistakes and typos than I've ever noticed in any other novel ever. I couldn't figure out any sort of pattern, but often letters would be dropped and no punctuation at the ends of the sentences. I feel badly for the author, but it was really weird (and distracting) while reading, really took me out of the story.

"Forbidden Love" - Christine Flynn - 2001

Lately I've been grabbing series romance from the library without knowing anything about the authors or how good the stories inside will be. Sometimes they are just okay, sometimes I don't finish them, but this time I hit the jackpot. Apparently my favorite "wrong brother" plot should just be "wrong sibling." In this case the hero is engaged to marry the older sister, when he realizes he has developed feelings for the younger sister (who has a major crush on him). He ends the engagement before invitations are sent, but the wronged sister's family still hates him. "Forbidden Love" is too dramatic a title for this nice love story, "Second Chances" or something of the like would be more appropriate. Both leads are honorable and good people who tend to put their family's happiness before their own, so of course, you can't wait for them to find happiness together.
Maybe it was just my mood, but this book was tugging some major heartstrings - now if I can just convince the library to trade paperbacks so I can keep it!

New Authors....

"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie is hands down, without a doubt, my favorite contemporary romance. Frankly, I can’t even imagine ever reading one as good or perfect as it. When I consider the pressure to write another one, forget it! I block up just thinking about it. I completely understand Jennifer Crusie’s current undertakings, mostly focusing on multiple author stories of action and fantasy (“Agnes and the Hitman” “Dogs and Goddesses” etc.) So now that Crusie has moved on, I found myself trying new authors for my funny contemporary fix, and I’m so glad I did.

First I found Susan Donovan through excellent reviews at “All About Romance.” Both “Take a Chance on Me” and “He Loves Lucy” were highly recommended and are sitting pretty on my keeper shelf right now. 2/2 for Donovan: now I’m looking for her backlist. Plus, this is a woman after my own heart, she talks about Tom Waits, and quotes Bill & Ted – I’m in.

Another author I’m very excited for is Christie Craig. At first I thought it was just clever marketing when I saw Craig next to Cruisie in the bookstore, like how Julia Pottinger goes by Julia Quinn and sees her books right alongside those of bestselling author Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz). But then, I looked at the copyright - as I have learned to do - and it’s not a ploy, it's her real name. Plus one for Craig. Also, “Gotcha!” was one of the sweetest books I’ve read in a while, so plus two. She also has a few books under her belt I’m excited to read, and more great things to come I hope. Thank goodness for generous friends who aren’t afraid to buy an untried author and then share the goods!

So, as much as I love Jennifer Crusie’s style and humor and will re-read "Bet Me" 'til its binding crumbles, I can rest easy knowing some talented authors are stepping into those French heeled bunny slippers!!

"He Loves Lucy" - Susan Donovan - 2005

A plus-size heroine, a sexy trainer, and a wonderful love story for two characters who deserve it. So great!
I loved it!

"Gotcha!" - Christie Craig - 2009

A fellow romance reading friend gave me this, and my first reaction was, "Wow! Look at that cover!" I loved it, both the cover and the novel. Sweet and funny and not even a little kinky despite the kuffs on the front. I love when a hero falls fast, so fast the heroine isn't even sure if she likes him yet, but of course she comes around. Craig is relatively new on the romance scene, so I'm pumped to read her backlist, and then anxiously await more stories as good as this one!


Started a charm bracelet made from earrings who've lost their mates.

Remember how Levi's have the sizes on the back?

I guess cowboys didn't mind it much, but my 13-year-old self sure did!

"Dead Until Dark" - Charlaine Harris - 2001

So, I went on a total bender at the library. I decided I wanted to read the Sookie Stackhouse books, because people have been telling me I would love "True Blood" - the HBO show based on the Charlaine Harris mystery novels. So, I checked out every one I could find, and went out and bought the first installment, "Dead Until Dark." I finished the novel the night before I borrowed the show on DVD from a friend. I see many hours being consumed in the next week or two, well who am I kidding, I got the DVD on Monday, and I'm already on episode 6! It's sweet, it follows the first book, but adds a great character in Tara, Sookie's best friend, and rounds out some people only mentioned in the novel, like the flamboyant short order cook Lafayette. It's graphic and dark, but still surprisingly funny. I'm hooked.