>> Monday, June 30, 2003
Hermione, if you're reading this, what's happening with your blog? I tried it yesterday and it had become "The Funny Farm", or something like that, and this morning it's just all green!!
Hermione, if you're reading this, what's happening with your blog? I tried it yesterday and it had become "The Funny Farm", or something like that, and this morning it's just all green!!
Rachel Wilder believed that investigator Abraham Chance had made her sister the scapegoat in an embezzlement scam, and she decided to do something, she didn't know what. When she showed up unexpected at his rundown home, and he mistook her for the new housekeeper, Rachel went along with his mistake.Nothing too spectacular here, but it did have some elements I especially liked. It was a B for me.
It didn't take Chance long to figure out that Rachel was no housekeeper. He decided that she had a secret, and he desperately wanted to know what it was, almost as much as he wanted her for himself. Rachel found herself falling passionately for this man who was supposed to be the enemy. Surely this man wasn't responsible for her sister's problem?
This year I've been reading many more anthlogies than I used to. The latest was The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown.
Lady Anne Bishop, who has been engaged since childhood to Maximilian Trent - Marquis of Halfurst. Maximilian's estates are in Yorkshire, and Anne's life is set squarely in London. Anne is taking advantage of her long-standing engagement with the fiancé she has never seen by essentially doing whatever she wants, within the confines of society. Maximilian has heard of some of her (rather mild) exploits and has come down to London to reclaim his bride. Only to find when he got there that he actually desires his bride, and wants her to choose him over the suitors she doesn't seem to be aware that she has collected. Rather than bully his way into her life, he sets out to win her love.This one wasn't very successful in showing that our protagonists are in love. He sees her and he wants her and that's it, they're definitely getting married! Additionally, the whole setup (her otherwise sensible, loving father betrothing his daughter at birth, just because) smelled of plot contrivance. I didn't get why Maximillian was so ready to marry the woman his father had chosen for him... Enoch gives no explanation for that.
Handsome, dashing Sir Royce Pemberley has had Miss Liza Pritchard as his best friend for over 20 years. What will he do when that intrepid lady decides it's time to marry and sets her sights on someone Royce believes is entriely inappropriate?A delightful story. In this one, I did believe that Liza and Royce were in love, and the way this came about was oh-so-romantic. I'm a sucker for friends-falling-in-love stories, and this was a particularly good one, especially because these two were very believable as friends.
All in all, a wonderful story. I wasn't terribly impressed by the two full-length stories I've read by this author, but knowing that she can write a story like Two Hearts is enough to make me keep trying her.
Lady Caroline Starling is becoming rather desperate to be free of he mother. She has forced herself to become quiet and unseen, as otherwise Caroline knows she would say and do the oddest things. She feels a quiet desperation and loneliness. Linney is quietly pleased to have caught the attention of the Earl of Pellering, while not harbouring any deep feeling for her potential husband. Terrance Greyson, Lord Darington, was wounded three years previously. A bullet in his brain has made speech difficult for him, and he often finds himself saying things he shouldn't, or unable to phrase what it is he truly wants to say.A potentially fascinating hero wasted on a ninny of a heroine and woefully underwritten. What a shame! I don't think I've ever read a hero quite like this one. The whole situation was full of potential, and the author didn't take full advantage. The ending, especially, was much too abrupt, and Lord Darington's problem wasn't even discussed.
Susannah Ballister was one of the most popular debs of the previous season, until the man that all thought would propose to her instead married another. Overnight she was someone to be pitied and whispered about, so she returned to the country to recover. Now in London again, Susannah is finding it difficult to smile while being the subject of gossip and enjoy her new role of wallflower.Another excellent story, and one written in JQ's witty, distinctive style. Susannah was a sensible, dignified sort of heroine, never afraid to stand up for herself. She was a bit "beige", if you know what I mean, but I liked her. David, too, was a serious guy, and it was lovely to see him soften and show his sense of humour with Susannah. The storyline was one I usually like, and it was very well executed. Very romantic, funny and sweet.
David Mann-Formsby, Earl of Renminster is the brother of the man that let her down. Influential in society, he makes an act of kindness that serves to restore Susannah so that she can once again take part in society. In doing so, David discovers that it is more than kindness that is driving him - he wants Susannah. All wrong for his brother, he finds he is complete right for himself and he sets out to make Susannah see that. For her part, Susannah is puzzled at why David, whom she knows did not approve of her, is aiding her and resolves that it must be pity, or at least sympathy, that motivates him. Now David must make a grand gesture to show that it is not pity that drives him, but love.
Monty Randolph plans to take a herd to Wyoming. He means to start a ranch for the family and one for himself so he can get out from under the irritating and watchful eye of his older brother, George. He's determined that nothing will stop him from succeeding, especially his neighbor, Iris Richmond, who wants him to take her herd to Wyoming along with his. The last thing he needs is a southern belle, steeped in flirting and vanity, on the filthy, exhausting trek over a thousand miles of dangerous, unsettled country. Her kind is strictly for looking at, not for buying. Neither does he need double the cows and double the responsibility. He already as three brothers along to worry about.Like in Fern, these people make no sense. I was fascinated by the setting and the info about the cattle drive, otherwise, this would have been a D. The book was worth slogging through just for Greenwood's research, but as a romance it was a failure.
Iris Richmond has nothing left of her father's fortune but a herd of cows. And if she doesn't get them to Wyoming, rustlers are going to take that. When Monty refuses to take her along, she puts her herd on the trail ahead of him and mixes the herds together. The continual danger of stampedes, rustlers, and Indian attacks drive the couple together, forming a relationship neither welcomes nor is able to deny. Beset by a thieving foreman and a long lost brother, Monty is the only person Iris can trust. And she means to trust him whether he likes it or not.
FridayFive questions for today:
1. How are you planning to spend the summer [winter]?
It's winter in my case, and I won't have a vacation, so nothing special for me!
2. What was your first summer job?
I've talked about this one before: I worked as an English-language city tour guide for the passengers of cruise ships arriving at Montevideo. It was only a few days a month, and it paid pretty well, plus I had fun and got to know lots of people.
3. If you could go anywhere this summer [winter], where would you go?
My friend Monica is going to be travelling through Europe and parts of the Middle East for a month and a half (she's leaving on Saturday, so I went for dinner to her house last night and she showed me her itinerary. Wonderful!). I guess if I could, I'd go with her.
4. What was your worst vacation ever?
I don't remember any big disasters. Maybe January before last, a tiny apartment in Punta del Este with my whole family. You don't want to be in the same apartment with my mother and only one TV. She has the worst taste ever in TV programming, and she'll listen to her choices at full blast.
5. What was your best vacation ever?
Either this last February in La Floresta (very peaceful, I did nothing but sunbathe and read for 3 weeks) or 2 weeks in Europe in 1994.
First novel in the popular series that begins with the inauspicious meeting of Betan astrocartographer Cordelia Naismith and Barrayaran Captain Aral Vorkosigan during a treacherous war. As captor and prisoner on an abandoned outpost planet, the honorable captain and the resolute scientist must rely on each others' trust to survive a trek across dangerous terrain, thus sparking a relationship that shares the struggles of culture and politics between their worlds.My first experience definitely won't be my last, this one was an A-. I loved the attention devoted to the world-building, though I think I might like even better something with less intrincate political intrigue. Even so, even I could follow this one easily, so it was pretty ok.
Of course, good, interesting universes and adventure aren't enough for me. SoH succeeded because it also had wonderful characterization. I especially liked Cordelia. She was strong and sensible and no-nonsense, but also compassionate and kind. All that, and a nice self-deprecating sense of humour.
Aral Vorkosigan was a bit more of a cipher, since we didn't get his POV, but I liked what I saw through Cordelia's eyes (and, given the discussion we had about sympathetic homosexual characters on one of AAR's message boards, where someone wondered why we never see heros or heroines that have had any kind of same-sex sexual experience in the past, I found it especially interesting that there's a hint of it in Aral's backstory. I had 0 problem with this, in case you're wondering!)
I think I'm going to start doing the "Answer 5 questions on your blog every Friday" thing. I can't decide whether to use the questions at FridayFive or Las 5 del Viernes (duly translated into English, of course). Thanks Hermione for the url!
Anyway, it's not Friday, but here are last week's questions:
1. Is your hair naturally curly, wavy, or straight? Long or short?
Wavy, with LOTS of volume. It's also very heavy, and there's a lot of it. It's short, with the front part a bit longer, "to frame my face".
2. How has your hair changed over your lifetime?
I wore it loooong (almost to my waist) until 2 years ago, when I got sick to death of spending hours untangling it and drying it. I went to the hairstylist and told the guy "Do what you want, I just want it short". He actually spent a couple of minutes just staring at all the hair, telling me how this was every stylist's dream! First thing he did, before he started "styling", was cut most of the hair whole, and give it to me. I made a falsie with it, which I sometimes wear when I want a different look. As for colours, it's now at my natural brown, but it's been blond, red and black.
3. How do your normally wear your hair?
I never do anything with it (unless I have a wedding, or some type of formal party). I only towel-dry it a bit after washing it and then let it dry naturally. I either leave it loose or wear a couple of barrettes to keep it away from my face.
4. If you could change your hair this minute, what would it look like?
I've always wanted straight, straight hair, with absolutely no waves and almost no volume. That's what I get it to look like for special occasions. I don't mind the color, I actually like my natural color best.
5. Ever had a hair disaster? What happened?
One word: perm! I was 14, and the stylist managed to convince me that she had a new product that would give me permanent ringlets. It didn't, my hair just looked frizzy and I wore a ponytail for a couple of years straight.
Lorenzo (Ren) Gage is a devilishly handsome movie star, best known for his villainous roles onscreen and his playboy antics off. Isabel Favor is a tightly wound self-help guru and author of The Four Cornerstones of a Favorable Life whose own perfect life has recently come crashing down around her. Both have come to Italy to escape the endless rehashes of their latest misfortunes in the public eye, and the equally endless drone of self-criticism.I've seen this book blasted so often in message boards, that I approached it with trepidation. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that it was a keeper for me. My grade is an A+, and it's one of the best books I've read this year, and one my fave SEPs so far.
Ren and Isabel meet under what can only be described as unusual circumstances, leaving each of them thinking, thankfully, they'll never see the other again. Imagine their surprise when Isabel turns up on Ren's doorstep, her much anticipated rental villa belonging to none other than her ill-advised one-night stand. As might be anticipated, their fiery antagonism soon breeds sparks of a different kind.
Meanwhile, at the villa, all is not as it seems, and the two lovers find themselves playing amateur detectives, trying to untangle the strange behavior of the townspeople and of Ren's hired caretaker. As if things weren't complicated enough, Ren's ex-wife, Tracy, suddenly appears on the scene pregnant and with several kids in tow, ushering in a subplot centering on the nature of marriage in the real world.
I haven't heard of anyone online that actually liked Isabel, but I did, very much. Yes, she was a bit irritating, with her guru-speak and her praying everywhere and her insistence on always doing the right thing, but she meant well, and I appreciated how hard she worked, faced with horrible circumstances, to stay true to her convictions. Best of all, she wasn't at all judgemental of other people.
And BTW, about the praying and the fact that she called God "She": I was ok with that, even though I'm an agnostic who's not fond of organized religion. I think the fact that she emphasized spirituality and not religion per se, and the fact that her beliefs weren't exactly mainstream was what made it all palatable to me.
Another complaint I've heard is about SEP preaching at us. I don't know, maybe she did, a bit, but I think the preaching was mostly part of Isabel's characterization. And remember, when she got too preachy, Ren was always there to bring her back to Earth. Oh, I loved Ren! Cultured, bad boy Ren, wounded but not even knowing the wound still hurt.
I just adored Isabel and Ren together, the way thy bantered and how Ren teased Isabel and how he starts feeling attracted to her "goodness" despite himself. The book shone when showing us the characters falling in love with each other, something I always enjoy. SEP made me believe they were in love and perfect for each other.
I also liked the secondary characters and their "marriage in trouble" story. The 4 kids bothered me a bit (brats, the lot of them, except maybe for poor Steffie!), but the scenes where Tracy and Harry come clean about how they really feel about each other more than made up for this.
I loved the Tuscan setting, almost a character in itself, and I even enjoyed the "mystery" subplot, which I'm not going to spoil for you. SEP's timing was perfect with it. It stayed in the background most of the first part of the book, and we had only enough hints to make me intrigued about what was going on. When it came a bit more to the forefront, near the end, it never overpowered the romance (always a danger), but created a backdrop for it.
[Incidentally, e-mail me if you can think of other titles with a mystery subplot. Not a suspense subplot, with a villain after the protagonists, but one where they have to solve a mystery, one which is important to them but isn't life or death. Something like All Night Long, for instance.]
The ending, even the epilogue... awww!! I mean this in the best of senses, and keep in mind I have a low tolerance for schmaltz.
All in all, I really do think SEP is getting better and better. I'll have to see if I like First Lady better than most people do. I'm hopefull!
There are some books in my TBR pile that have been there for ages. Some, I know I'll get to them eventually, but there are others that I look at and wonder what I was thinking when I bought them. Sometimes I like to just grab one of these and force myself to read it, even if it doesn't sound appealing at first.
I get mixed results with this. I did that with Forbidden Garden, for instance, and I'm glad I read it. The one I tackled this weekend, though, wasn't that good. I'm glad I'm read it too, but only because I can now add it to my Trade List instead of having it clutter my bookshelves.
As the doyenne of Simply Southern Magazine, Tess Redding is the soul of southern hospitality -- or at least to the world around Mount Circe, Georgia. But when bad boy Flynn Garvey roars back into town, Tess's plans to leave Mount Circe are suddenly in danger of burning hotter than Atlanta after Sherman. Once upon a time the smooth-talking rebel broke her young heart, now Tess is just determined to have nothing to do with the mouth-watering, trouble-on-two-legs charmer.My grade for it was a C-, and I think I've learnt my lesson. No more Southern Fiction for me, I just don't like it.
But then Tess and her best pals, the Sweethearts, begin to receive anonymous blackmail notes that threaten to expose their youthful follies. Having her old exploits with Flynn revealed is the last thing Tess's sweeter-than-molasses image needs, and he is the only one who can help her. So all that's left for Tess to do is put on her best pair of pumps, march right on up to the man...and fall in love all over again.
For most of the book, I just couldn't relate to the characters and their problems. Who were this people? Do people like this really exist in this world? I didn't care what happened to them, and in fact, I think I didn't even like them, Tess, with her Southern Living magazine, Wylene with her beauty pageant school and her daughters named Jolene and Brentelle, after her husband Joe Brent... Everything was a turn-off, even the way they spoke.
The book got a bit better near the end, when the Flynn - Tess relationship finally got off the ground, and when they started to put their secrets to rights, but it was too little, too late. It saved the book from being a D, but it's not enough for me to recommend it.
Thursday 19th was a holiday here in Uruguay, the anniversary of the birth of our national hero, JosÃ© Artigas. I requested leave on Friday too, and I went on my own to Punta del Este for a little relaxation. It was horribly cold outside and there was nothing to do, so I just... read!
First, I reread Harry Potter #4, HP and the Goblet of Fire, to prepare for the release of #5 (I don't know when I'll be able to get it, but so far I've been resisting the temptation to read spoilers).
Well, what can I say that hasn't been said a thousand times before? It was excellent, and I liked it just as much as I did when I first read it. It's imaginative, intriguing, exciting, dark, and very definitely not just a children's book.
There were quite a few details I didn't remember well, especially about the dÃ©nouement, so I'm very glad I read it. I can't wait! (and Hermione, you can't imagine how much I envy you!!)
I was terribly embarrassed the other day on my way to work. I was on the bus, sitting next to this old guy, and when he got to his stop and started to get up, he said "Excuse me, please". The interesting thing was that he said it in English!
I was a bit taken aback by this, because the guy obviously wasn't an English speaker (his accent was pretty atrocious, if I may be unkind). So why did he speak to me in English? Uh-oh, he must have noticed I was reading a book in that language (of course I was reading! What do normal people do on buses?). And I say "uh-oh" because I was reading a romance, and I'd spent most of my trip reading a sex scene. The poor man must have got an eyeful!
When writer Michael Collins arrives at the home of celebrity Renaissance Man and millionaire Gordon Randolph to start the man's biography, he can't help but notice that his wife Linda seems to be both hateful toward her husband and terrified of something she can't name.This was a good read, but not one of Michaels' best. A B for me.
As he starts doing his research into Randolph's background he finds some disturbing but enigmatic results. Then Linda, whom her husband claims is insane, runs away and keeps running, with a bizarre old witch as her only solid ally. But Linda has a counter-claim about Randolph, that implies something far darker and more horrifying than mere insanity.
The supernatural plot was a bit too nebulous, basically. It was never too clear exactly what was going on. This is something that Michaels has got better at with time. Also, the final scene was a bit anticlimatic and felt too rushed.
The best thing about TDOTOS was the way Michaels paced it, gradually introducing enough clues so that the reader started realizing something was very wrong, and then what it might be. Michael's awareness of what was going on proceeded at a similar pace, and Linda's personality was revealed gradually too. At the beginning she seemed to be in a very fragile mental state, so it was great to see her show she wasn't crazy and behave like the strong woman she was.
Fun chore for Sunday morning: I've been going through my bookshelves looking for books to add to my Trade List.
So far I've found:
I've a costume party tonight!!! What's the occasion, you ask? Absolutely nothing. A friend of mine just got it into her head to organise one so she just did. Now my problem is that I only remembered about the "costume" part an hour ago, so I haven't planned anything. I think I might end up wearing an old Korean thingy (is a kimono only Japanese?) my mom bought when she went there 20 years ago. I'm going to freeze my ass off, but it's either that or an old can-can dancer outfit (what was my mother thinking when she bought that???)
She raced across the pasture, vaulted a fence, and landed, stunned and breathless, on top of the most handsome man she had ever seen. The bemused stranger stayed to capture the fancy of the brood of orphaned children in her charge, then stole Lauren Hill's heart with a searing kiss as he left. Lauren couldn't tell him she was a widowed countess fallen on hard times. She tried to forget him--until she saw him again at a London ball. The man who haunted her dreams was a duke, out of her class...and he was pledged to another woman.I tried, I swear! I read some 150 pages before I chucked it, but I just couldn't go on. I'd already set it down about 50 pages before, but I had convinced myself I had to finish it, but enough! I have too many more books waiting for me. Plus, there's another trader I know wants this one, and she always trades me for books on my Wish List, so I don't feel as guilty as I'd normally feel!
The ton is ablaze with talk of the ravishing Bavarian countess. Stunned, Alexander Christian, Duke of Sutherland, recognizes Lauren as the country girl who's captured his heart. Duty has forced him to pledge himself to another, to take his proper place in society and in Parliament. He wants one night with his blue-eyed enchantress, but will he be able to walk away from her again, or will he risk it all to be with the woman who fires his blood and makes him think of a . . . Wicked Angel.
What made me hate this so much? Well, again, I found a book that pushed all my hot buttons. Many of the problems I had would have been bearable alone, but the accumulation was too much. Case in point, the virgin widow. I'd rather not have to read about this character, but I've been known to like some (see, My Lady's Pleasure, or Wicked Widow). Here, it irritated me to no end.
Oh, and I hated Lauren. She's so good! Stupid kind of good, of course, the type of woman who gives up her inheritance because she doesn't deserve it, when she really does need it. And of course, she keeps sacrificing herself "for the children". Literally, at one point she's thinking about how her uncle had practically sold her into marriage the first time, and she thinks how "she had done it for Rosewood and for the children". These children, BTW, are orphans.
Look, I admire people who are kind and good, but there is a fine line between being good and being a perpetual victim and martyr, and Lauren goes way across this line. And the worst part is that all this is just bad characterization on the part of the author, she wants her readers to love Lauren, so she has to make her just perfect. It's overkill, basically.
Apart from all this, everything felt so clichÃ©d! (Lauren's parents, of course, had died in a carriage accident. Just one example.) The only original-ish element was having the hero be engaged to someone else, and this was something I hated. To me, a guy who's engaged and still thinks nothing of pursuing another woman is the worst kind of skunk. And the operative words here are "thinks nothing", ok?
A mess. Just that, a mess.
Fern Sproull, a young, swaggering opinionated ruffian, dressing and behaving like a cowboy, is determined Hen Randolph will hang for killing her cousin. She's equally determined that a fancy lawyer named Madison Randolph isn't going to get his brother off. Fern has spent the last eight years of her life outriding, out shooting, and out cussing every man in her path, and she's not about to let the man who murdered her cousin get off just because he's one of the Texas Randolphs. But how is she going to know what tricks Madison gets up to unless she follows him around?This one was not even remotely as good as Rose. I'd give it a C at best, and I'm actually grading up because I like the author's writing style, which immediately sucks me into the story and keeps me reading even when I'm wanting to tear my hair out because of some plot point. I'm also giving the book extra points because I find the setting very interesting. It's not the stereotypical "Western" setting, full of saloons and gunfighters, and the author manages to create a vivid world in which his characters live. I also liked the main plotline: I was intrigued by Fern's cousin murder, and I liked that the mystery subplot didn't overshadow the romance.
Madison Randolph, the brother who abandoned his younger orphaned siblings to go to Harvard during the Civil War, has come to Abilene, Kansas to defend his brother against a murder charge. There's not much love lost between Madison and his family, but he's certain Hen isn't a murderer and he doesn't mean to let him hang. The fact that an obnoxious female who dresses like a man and acts even worse intends to stop him only encourages him to prove he's the very best at what he does. The suave, sophisticated Madison is appalled, first to discover that under all that dirt and bluster is a woman, and secondly, that he's intrigued by her. But Madison soon discovers the female isn't so obnoxious after all and that the ties of blood can never be broken.
Tess Norton knows that Dash Black is way out of her league. She just looks after his houseplants, for heaven's sake. But she can't resist a sizzling fling with the sexy media king before she settles for Mr. Ordinary someday.I like Leigh's voice and style. She feels modern, and her heroines are more real and modern than most. This was something I liked in this book, though I had a couple of problems with it. A B-.
Dash has never experienced a woman like Tess in his life. Hot…sweet…sinful, she occupies his bed — and his mind — day after day. She's a welcome distraction in theNew York frenzy that he calls home. For Tess, he knows he's just a man to do. Not a man to marry. But sometimes sex and romance can get all mixed up when you least expect it.…
Next, I reread The Gentleman Thief, by Deborah Simmons. I adored this book when I first read it last year, so I lent it to my friend. She hated it. Really, really hated it. Hated Georgiana, hated the plot, everything. I decided to reread this, then, to see if I felt any differently about it.
Why her family had elected to spend an entire season in boring Bath, Georgiana Bellewether couldn't fathom. Nothing to stimulate her inquisitive mind ever happened here -until the night Lady Culpepper's emeralds were stolen! Now, if only she could keep her mind on the case and her hands off the enigmatic man in black - the beguiling Lord Ashdowne...!Well, I still loved it. An A. It was one of the funniest books I've ever read, and one of the most refreshing.
As the newly made, ever-responsible Marquis of Ashdowne, Johnathon Saxton bemoaned the lack of excitement now marking his days. But when quixotic, exotic Georgiana Bellewether literally stumbled into his arms, he knew he'd caught himself an armful. The woman was a disaster in the making!
When twenty-two-year-old Haskell Malone accidentally discovers damning proof that the dead was hero whose name she bears is not her father, she is shattered. The revelation only confirms the dark fear that has haunted her since childhood. In fact, what little she knows about her birth and her mother's subsequent death, is a fragile web of evasions and lies.A good one, a B+ for me. As I posted a little while ago, I tend to group Michaels' books into several categories. This particular one would be straight suspense, with nary a sign of the supernatural. I like the creepy ghost stories best of all, but this is still Barbara Michaels after all, so it was still an excellent read.
Determined to expose the truth at any cost, Haskell takes a job at Chicago's famed Oriental Institute in the city where her mother once lived and loved. But as she searched the shadows of the past, she finds that the truth can sometimes be deadly.
Earlier this week I read Lady of Desire, by Gaelen Foley, book # 4 in the Knight Miscellany series. My favourite in that series so far is Lord of Fire, and LOD hasn't supplanted it in my preferences. It was a B-, while LOF was an A-.
Impetuous Lady Jacinda Knight is the daughter of a scandalous woman--and Society predicts she'll follow in her mother's footsteps. Then one night, in flight from an arranged and loveless marriage, Jacinda finds herself alone on a dangerous street face-to-face with Billy Blade, the notorious leader of a band of thieves. His stolen kisses awaken in her a longing for a man she can never possess.I enjoyed LOD. Analysing it, I can think of quite a few flaws and things that bugged the hell out of me, but the fact remains that, on the whole, it left a positive impression.
A handsome outlaw running from a secret past, Billy Blade has never met a woman like Jacinda--her fiery innocence and blossoming sensuality set his rebel's heart ablaze. Having turned his back on the privilege and power of his tyrannical father's house years before, he vows to return to reclaim his title, Earl of Rackford--to win the love of the ravishing beauty who has stolen his heart.
Turns out the Uruguayan NT plays a friendly against South Korea next Sunday, so Nacional won't be playing this weekend. Which means I'll be spending the weekend in Punta del Este and won't be here for Operación Triunfo comments chat :-(
Hmm, maybe I could borrow my uncle's laptop and take it with me? I can't very well tell him what I really want it for, but I'm sure I can come up with a good excuse before Friday!
I'm very careful when choosing category books to read. Picky, picky, picky. I only buy them when they come highly recommended by someone I trust. Years ago, I used to go down to the newstand and buy loads of Harlequins (Spanish translations), just from reading the back cover blurbs. I managed to read such stinkers that way! I've only kept 4 or 5 books from that part of my reading life.
I thought it might be a good idea to give a category a chance at random, just to see if I managed to hit a winner. So, I grabbed my friend's list of books and just stabbed at it, then asked her to loan me that one.
I'm sad to say I did not hit a winner. In fact, I tossed it at page 30.
The book was Accidental Roommate, by Charlotte Maclay, and it managed to find all my hot buttons and punch them for all it was worth.
Hannah Jansen lives with her father and helps him run the local hardware store in her excruciatingly small town. And at 28, Hannah is sick to death of being wholesome and dependable. A break in the big city is just what she needs. When her hotel mixes up her reservations and puts her in the same room as rancher Holt Janson, Hannah considers her options. Now fate has given her an honest-to-goodness sex symbol for a roommate!Ok, so I start the book... uh-huh, a 28 year old virgin. Lovely. Wonder if she'll have a real reason to be a virgin at that age. Maybe she wants to save it for her husband? Maybe she's religious? Even though I don't feel that way, at least it will be plausible! Nope, doesn't seem like it. She lives in a small town and, even though she's quite attractive, she never had an opportunity to have sex. Right, ok. Strike # 1 against the book.
I don't read Westerns, but I was intrigued by certain comments about Leigh Greenwood's Seven Brides Series. Since it turns out a friend has the entire series, I borrowed the first entry, Rose, out of curiosity.
George Randolph, the oldest brother and patriarch of the family, needs someone to wash, cook, and clean for the brothers on their Texas ranch. Rose Thornton accepts that job. She arrives at the homestead to find six men ranging in ages from six to twenty-four years old. The house looks like it hasn't been cleaned in years, the clothes practically stand up and beg to be washed, and everything in the kitchen is black with soot and grease. She soon discovers she's in the midst of a truly dysfunctional family. The brothers don't seem to like anybody, and that includes each other. They don't much like Rose, either. Once they learn her father was an officer in the Union Army, they vote to send her back to town.I liked it, it was a B. I did find some problems, but it wasn't that I was dissatisfied with what made it a Western, just that certain things in the story didn't completely work for me. I'll very definitely read the rest of the series, since I really liked the characters (call me snobbish, but on the whole, I don't like to read about uneducated characters), the feel of the book and the type of story (i.e. not a lot of emphasis on gunfights) and the author's voice.
George Randolph was an officer in the Confederate army. He feels responsible for his family, but wants to rejoin the army, the only time when his life was ordered and predictable. Rose sets out to convince George that he's not only a father figure to his brothers, he really wants a family of his own. With her. At the same time seeks ways to repair the fragile bonds that hold this family together.
I'm in a VERY good mood. Nacional completely outplayed Peñarol yesterday!
The stadium was completely full... 65.000 people. We had to get there about 2 hours early to get a good place. Luckily, there was a "preliminar" game between the youth teams of Nacional and Peñarol, which ended Nacional 5 - Peñarol 0, so we weren't too bored ;-)
When the teams entered the pitch it was really incredible, especially because every Nacional fan had brought a roll of toilet paper to throw when the Peñarol players entered (simbolizing that they were so scared they were crapping in their pants, or something like that). It must have been thought up by TP makers!
The first 25 minutes were all Nacional. Abreu scored on the 18th minutes (inspiring chants of "los clavó, el Loco los clavó!") with a beautiful header and then 3 minutes later he started a counter-attack, running the entire pitch with the ball and giving it to Peralta, who dribbled past a couple of Peñarol defenders and scored again.
On minute 26, penalty for Peñarol. Bengoechea took it, and it was record vs record. Nacional keeper Munua was trying for the record of the most minutes without receiving goals, and if Bengoechea scored, he would have the record of the Peñarol player who scored the most goals against Nacional. He scored :-( It seems we fans were really looking forward to Munua getting a new record, since someone the mood after that was more appropriate for a team that was receiving a thrashing than for one ahead by one goal.
For the rest of the first half, Nacional looked a bit depressed, and Munua had to save a couple of Peñarol attempts. They looked better in the second half, dominating the game and scoring (Abreu again!) on the 30th minute. The remaining 15 minutes were just celebration.
With this game, both Abreu and Peralta have scored in every Clásico they've played. This was probably "el Loco"'s last match in Nacional this season, since the AUF is very likely to suspend his abilitation next week, and he said goodbye to a standing ovation from over 30.000 fans.
There are only 3 games left and Nacional is 9 points ahead of Peñarol, who are # 2 in the standings. Just one more point and we're the Champions. Now I'm wondering if I should go to Punta del Este next weekend, as I was planning or just stay here, go to the stadium and (hopefully) celebrate the championship and then Sunday night play "comments chat" with Hermione and Guada.