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.