Thursday, December 24, 2009


May each person who has honored me by taking some of his/her precious time to stop by and read my blog have a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic 2010.

As always... Thanks for stopping by. Make it a great day!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review: Lauren Dane's Chase Family Series

There are some books that are just too good to banish to an archive list never to be read again; some characters too endearing not to keep in your heart.
Such is Lauren Dane's four-book series about the Chase family of Petal, Georgia.

The books are, in order, Giving Chase, Taking Chase, Chased, and Making Chase. They are contemporary romances that follow the Chase brothers: Kyle as he pursues Maggie, Shane in his pursuit of Cassie, Marc's campaign to win Liv, and Matt's efforts to win Tate.

And in support of their four sons are Edward and Polly Chase, the parents anyone would wish for himself. They love unconditionally, and are supportive and encouraging and never unjustifiably critical.
The Chase family lives in the small town of Petal Georgia and part of what makes these books so endearing is Ms Dane's creation of the small town experience; making the reader feel as if he could walk down the streets of Petal and feel right at home. The reader would be familiar with the different neighborhoods, the grocery, and the places to eat and hang out with friends.

The Chase brothers are all alpha males, tall, extremely handsome, sons of the most influential family in Petal, and all unattached.
Kyle, Giving Chase, is not the oldest brother, but his is the first story. He has watched his oldest endure heartbreak as Shane's fiancé cheated on him, breaking his heart and removing his ability to trust in a relationship. At the beginning of this story, Shane is dating a local girl, Maggie, who had a longtime crush on him. He feared developing feelings for her, so he dropped the relationship before it had a chance to grow. Kyle had always liked Maggie. He waited for what he thought was an appropriate length of time, according to the unwritten Chase Brothers' dating code, and began his pursuit of Maggie. As Kyle and Maggie begin to date, a stalker begins terrorizing her. Like all the heroines in these books, Maggie is strong and independent and works through the legal system to try to shake off the man who is pursuing her. But ultimately, the system fails her. The Chase brothers come to her rescue.

Shane, the oldest brother falls in love with a new woman in town, Cassie. Shane's book, Taking Chase, is the story of Shane's pursuit of the mysterious Cassie. His position of town sheriff was called upon in Kyle's situation, as it is here. Cassie was an abused woman who relocated to Petal and established a new identity to escape her old life and violently abusive ex-husband. Her strength and determination help her adjust to life in her new home. Shane, with a gruff and overpowering personality has to learn to temper his take-charge approach to life in order to win his Cassie. The former husband does show up to threaten Cassie. Shane ultimately resolves the situation and wins the heart of his love.

Marc Chase's love story, Chased, is very different than his brothers'. He has known Liv most of his life. She was involved with his older brother, Matt and viewed Marc as a sweet younger brother. Marc, likewise, viewed Liv as nothing more than a family friend, but then something changed, and Marc fell in love with the emotionally vulnerable, but outwardly pushy and aggressive Liv. She is almost six years older than Marc and therefore, even though their physical attraction grows, she views any relationship with Marc off limits. Marc, who opened a gym and personal trainer business, ignored Liv's objections and his more dominant, aggressive personality, which had been hidden, blossomed and captured Liv.

My favorite of the four books was Matt's, Making Chase. Matt, the most handsome of the four brothers was a firefighter. Physically perfect, but considered vapid, Matt had dated only the most beautiful girls around. He wanted to fall in love as his brothers had, but he was beginning to give up hope that there was a woman out there for him when a traffic accident and a thank-you box of cookies introduced him to Tate.
Tate was short, not thin and not traditionally beautiful. She was worlds away from Matt's usual type, and he couldn't help but notice the differences and embrace them, falling hard for the indomitable spirit and loving and protective heart of the most delightful heroine I've read about in a very long time, Tate Murphy.
At the end of Matt's and Tate's book, all loose ends are tied and all the relationships are neatly wrapped up.

Treat yourself to these four delicious love stories. Are they classic American literature? Are they exquisitely written? Are they flawless? No, no, and no. But they are feel-good stories about love, family, loyalty, and devotion. I left pedagogical reading behind me. Now I read for pure entertainment. Ms Dane's books did that well. Though not each book was a 5/5, overall I give the series an enthusiastic five out of five.

Be sure to read the books in sequence. Though each is a stand alone book, each builds on the other and there will be much lost without the background of each previous story.

Ms Dane's own disclaimer: "Warning, these titles contain the following: explicit sex, graphic language, and some violence."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

TBR Explosion

Today was a very bad day for my TBR (to be read) list. It grew and multiplied as fast as a clutch of fecund rabbits. New authors found, well not "new" but new to me, such as Julie Ann Long, Connie Brockway, Eloisa James, and Moira Rogers.

Some TBR's are hard to find in the US; others are not ebooks. Most of my new books are historical romance. Three are western romance, yet another is contemporary romance with class disinctions, many are Regency's. I'll be reviewing all the books I've read here.

Many of my Twitter friends keep tweeting lucious books and I can't seem to exhibit any self control. My Kindle is full of samples as well as purchases. Both together add up to 833.

Another problem I have is that when I love a book, I mean REALLY love a book, I'll reread it four or five times which slows my progress through the TBR.
I'm rereading the Lauren Dane Chase brothers series now, which is a series of four contemporary romances. I'll be reviewing those soon.

As always...
Thanks for stopping by. Make it a great day!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I am new to the book review blogosphere. I'm learning my way around
it's unwritten rules and being introduced to the dedicated individuals
who read and review my obsession: books.

I want to thank some Twitter friends who have been very kind to share
their time and knowledge with me:,,,,, and

Because I read almost 30 books a month, I recently decided to begin
reviewing the works I read. I feel as if I'm displaying hubris to put
myself in the position to critique an author's work. As a writer
myself, I understand how precious each author's oeuvre is to her/him.
However, I know what I like and what I don't like. I know what touches
my heart and moves me emotionally and what leaves me flat. I know with
which characters I connect and which characters are one-dimensionally
uninteresting. Therefore, hubris or not, I'm in!

Since I will be reviewing scores of books here, I decided to dive into
a variety of novel-reading challenges. I never knew what those were
and Pearl and Colette kindly informed me. Challenges are self-imposed
contests in which you read a varied number of books which meet a
variety of criteria. I have signed up for eleven challenges: historical
novels, romances, 100+ novels/year, contemporary romance, mystery/
suspense,Wish-I'd-Read-That, Take Another Chance, 451 Challenge, Winter Reading Challenge, and Speculative Fiction.

I'll be reviewing the books I've read here and putting them into the appropriate challenge.

Thanks for stopping by. Make it a great day!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

So She Wants to Have Cancer

One of my Twitter friends suggested I read a blog ( and
respond to a comment made by a respondee named Heather. My friend was upset and wanted my reaction.

I read Heather's comments days ago and I'm still fuming. Furthermore,
I read the blogger's reaction to the response I left and found intense
ignorance and flippancy that still makes me grind my teeth.
Heather, the respondee, and Kelly, the blogger who writes RAwarrior,
were trying to tell people how miserable their existences are because
they have Rheumatoid Arthritis. They emphasized that having a terminal
disease would be a better alternative to having essentially a life
sentence of intense pain. They suggested bone cancer as a "nice"

I feel steam escaping my ears! I am furious.

When I was eleven years old, I got very sick, running a high fever for
many days--scarlet fever. Eventually the fever left, but my perfect
eleven year old joints had changed. I was left with rheumatoid
arthritis (RA) and a childhood in which I struggled through
increasingly painful joints as the RA deteriorated many of them. My
ability to do many of the things I wanted to do lessened with time. My
life direction was rerouted when, at seventeen, my dream of joining
the US Navy ended with knees so destroyed that surgery was required on
one to clean out bone fragments just so I could partially bend it.
When my friends went to Grad Nite after high school and onto
recruiting offices, I went into Orthopedic Hospital for what was then
experimental surgery. I spent the next year of my life on crutches and
in more pain than prior to the surgery.

I have lived most of my life with RA. I have lived most of my life
dealing with severe pain. I have lived most of my life with decreasing
mobility. I have spent NONE of my life wanting cancer. I have spent
NONE of my life wishing for death.

Five years ago, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. I had a partial
hysterectomy. Because of the way my legs were bent during that
surgery, I was unable to straighten my leg and walking became very,
very difficult even with a walker. No, I didn't want to die. I wanted
to live, pain and all.

Last year, I was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast
cancer. Painful injections, biopsies, and ultimately a mastectomy led
to chemo therapy. Chemo therapy deserves it's reputation. It is
horrible. I went through 5 months of chemo and was getting ready for
radiation. That didn't happen. Two weeks after I finished chemo, my
immune system which was already compromised by RA shut down and I
ended up with almost fatal systemic blood poisoning.
Heather and Kelly, I didn't wish for death. I fought like hell to
live. It was an almost two-month hospital battle and I've been mostly
bed ridden ever since. Yet, pain and all, I want to live and I want to
have as normal a life as I can.

How dare you speak so cavalierly about those of us who face the
battles for survival because of cancer. I can be mean-spirited and
wish you your cancer. But, rather than do that, I wish you compassion
for your fellow man, the ability to see beyond your own disability and
suffering to understand that others are worse off than you and don't
whine about it; and finally, I wish your families and you relief from
your self pity.

You have let your disease define and limit who you are. I refuse to do

For all who have read this blog, which today has been a rant, never
let adversity define who you are and never let it make you give up
hope. My mother used to say, "Where there's life, there's hope."
I hope for all of you a good and healthy life.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Review: When His Kiss is Wicked

I've just completed Kaitlin O'Riley's, When His Kiss is Wicked, the
first book in a series of possibly five books about the Hamilton sisters.

The story takes place in London as society adjusts to it's social
mores moving from Regency England to a more liberal Victorian England.
It follows the eldest sister, Colette, in her struggle to be a woman
in Trade, working in her now-dead father's book shop.

Lucien, Lord Waverly is the hero who at the book's beginning is mired
in Regency beliefs about the place of women in society. His transition
toward a more enlightened Victorian gentleman occurs throughout the

At the beginning, Lucien enters Hamilton's Book Shoppe with the
intention of buying books to read to his father who was incapacitated
by a stroke. When he had last been there, the proprietor, a middle-
aged man had helped him. However, upon this visit he met the former
owner's daughter, Colette, who has taken over it's management after
her father's death.

The two, Lucien and Colette are immediately drawn to each other and
their relationship begins.

I enjoyed the book, appreciating how well the difficulties in a
woman's changing roles in society were examined.

The secondary characters were nicely developed, their parts in the
plot development well-placed. As the reader I learned to care for
these supporting characters and found myself anxious to know what
would happen to them.

I give the book a 4.8/5. I couldn't put it down, reading through the
night to find out how Lucien and Colette resolved their differences.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Thought This Disease Was Dead

My youngest son developed a high fever last weekend. Then came a sore
throat. A day later, spots. My first thought was Chicken Pox. But
this is the person whom I exposed to chicken pox when he was 4 and 5
when his cousins and friends had the disease. He never caught it. So
when the vaccine came out, I figured why bother since he obviously has
a natural immunity. Anyway, no one gets chicken pox anymore. No one
except my son. This Thanksgiving weekend will go down in family
history as another strange weekend.

I love Thanksgiving weekend, but maybe I shouldn't. Two years ago we
had the Great Gravy Disaster when four cups of beautifully perfect
turkey gravy was dropped from our prep table and fell to the floor
covering everything from the ceiling to the cabinets and drawers and
floor. We were cleaning for hours. We found previously undiscovered
gravy hiding places months later. Another Thanksgiving, I was 5-1/2
months pregnant. That weekend, I miscarried. That was an emotionally
crushing experience I'll never completely get over.

...Now chicken pox. Maybe I'll learn to like Halloween better and have
turkey and all the fixings after Trick or Treat.

Now we enter the Holiday Season. My family will be together again in
three weeks. That will be a wonderful time. I hope your holidays are
full of family, happiness, good health, and love.

Thanks for stopping by...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Now Reading

I am just beginning Kaitlin O'Riley's
When His Kiss Is Wicked. It is a Regency novel, one of my favorite
romance genres. I'll review it in a few days.

Candle In The Window

I just completed Christina Dodd's Candle In the Window. It was a beautiful love story of two people who had little in common and seemed completely mismatched except for a shared trait, their blindness. Saura, the heroine was blind from birth and due to the diligence of her mother and maid, Maud, learned to function as well as a sighted woman--so well, in fact, people who didn't know would never have suspected her handicap.

William was blinded in battle. Though the reader can sense that he will regain his sight eventually, it his trip through his handicap along with Saura's help that cements their relationship.

Threats to the couple are a side plot of suspence which moves the relationship along and keep the reader guessing throughout the book. The resolution is not a big surprise, but it is well done and not an insult to the reader's intelligence. There are no extraordinary, magical escapes, nor complex, unrealistic explanations. There is a logical conclusion which proves Saura's value to William, because of the skills she honed in her blindness.

The secondary characters were well developed and a varied group which helped detail life in a medieval castle. One character, Raymond, gets his own book, Castles In the Air. These are stand-alone books. I read them out of sequence and will reread Castles In the Air since I now know Raymond's backstory.

I give Candle In the Window a 4.8/5 rating. It's a lovely book, rich in medieval history, suspense, and romance. Miss Dodd's writing is once again captivating.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rearrange Furniture

We've lived in the same house since 1979. My sons call it the Old Homestead because it's the house in which they were raised.

There is something uniquely different about our house: once something enters its space, it becomes a permanent captive and never leaves again. I married one and raised a family of packrats. My oldest two sons moved out years ago, yet their closets are exactly the same as when they lived here. I was told to keep everything as is.

One of the most "lived in" rooms in my house is the family room. At this moment it looks like a tornado followed by a hurricane hit it. It needs reorganizing and stuff has to GO. There are stacks of clutter everywhere. In the midst are my dogs' toys, blankets, pillows, etc., which they insist on dragging into their favorite room.

I think it would be easier to move to a different house than it is to rearrange 8 pieces of furniture. I know just how I want the room. I've visualized it for over three months. It's too bad I can't interest anyone else in my vision.

It's frustrating to be disabled. It's doubly frustrating to NOT be able to do things by myself that I used to do. If I was still capable, the family room would have been done last August.

I have not given up hope...yet my hope is growing dim. I'll let you know if my vision becomes a reality!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cast Iron Pizza Pan

My latest obsession is kitchenware whether gadgets, tools or cookware.
After cooking since I was eleven, I've found that cooking has lost its
magic. I concluded that the magic was gone because I've been using the
same tried and true stuff as I always did. Time for a change!
Being wheelchair bound and therefore no longer able to work off my
counters, the first things I had to buy were items that allowed me to
cook from a prep table that was at a good working level for me. First
purchases: portable electric grill, portable electric griddle, toaster/
baking oven, and portable electric burners.
Next purchase was a cast iron skillet. Le grand experiment. It was
love at first cook. No more pouring off excess grease from browning
meat--the pan absorbs it. No more braising meats and having to
transfer them into another pat for roasting--the cast iron skillet
goes from cooktop to oven.
The next cast iron experiment was a pizza pan. The pan was said to be
perfect for the task--5 star rated on Amazon. I bought it and tried a
store-bought Digiorno four-cheese pizza. The results were amazing. The
pizza was evenly cooked and the crust was nicely golden and crisp
throughout. The pizza rivaled any takeout and went one step better:
it was hot!

I have some new enamel-lined Dutch ovens coming. After that? Who

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Welcome to my blog

This is my debut venture into the blogosphere. I rarely have nothing
to say and usually have my family's eyes crossing as I wax eloquent
and sometimes not so eloquent about topics that move me, books that
I've read, kitchen products that were helpful, and anything referring
to my pets.
As I write my first post, I ponder how significantly life has been
changed by the Internet. Not a new thought, but one which strikes me
Through the marvel that is social networking, such as my very
favorite, Twitter, Facebook, etc., I have met and converse with people
worldwide. Some share my love of romance novels, others my fascination
with Scotland, still others my obsession with my two toy poodles, and
others who share my health problems, my love of family and country.
My hope for this blog, which my son Mike set up for me, is to share my
myriad thoughts which come from the many voices in my head and thus
the name vox capita.
I can't guarantee that I'll blog everyday, but I'll try
Thanks for checking in friend.