It has recently come to my attention via @SmartBitches Sarah that there is a certain level of demand for the Nora Roberts Bobblehead, which was produced in limited quantities as a promotional item for the Hagerstown Suns in 2007. See photohere at SBTB, and my post about the game as provenance for the Bobble-Nora.
Sadly, I have pack rat tendencies -- it's genetic. And a small house. So I go through closets and shelves fairly ruthlessly once a year, and keep an open box for Good Will donations year round. And my Nora Bobblehead recently was considered for donation.
But in light of the demand for the Nora Bobblehead, and with a desire that she go to a good home (defined as someone who loves romance novels generally and probably Nora Roberts' work particularly), I'd like to give her away.
So comment here at LiveJournal or at WordPress or Tweet me (@jmc_bks) your favorite Nora Roberts or JD Robb book, or just what you admire or like about Ms. Roberts, and I'll put your name in a drawing for the Bobble-Nora.
The contest will close at midnight Sunday, and the new happy home will be announced on Monday.
+ Bought two Kindle books by Georgette Heyer. Probably wouldn't have but for the anniversary sale ($1.99 each!). Otherwise, I can respect her place in the development of the modern genre romance, but have not been impressed by the books I've read. Regency trads aren't my thing for the most part, Carla Kelly being the notable exception. And she seems to have left the subgenre behind.
- Why is Cobra Starship touring with Bieber? Granted, it's the South American leg of his tour, but still, I didn't realize they had a significant overlap of fans; I though CS's average fan was several years older. Eh, whatever sells tickets, I guess.
- Dear IT peeps: saying that I'm the SysAdmin for that system? Fine. But as a practical matter, I am only acting/holding the position until a new higher up is hired. I have NO IDEA how to do what you want. When I asked the retired person who used to do it, she said that task was explicitly given to IT. I'm sorry the person responsible is on vacation in Montana during your critical testing period, but that doesn't make me any more able to do what you want. No love, me.
~ Looking at the line up of authors who'll be attending the National Book Festival next month, there are very few (3 or 4) that I might be willing to wait in long lines to meet or have autograph books. And genre fiction is extremely poorly represented, as usual.
~ The BIA essentially said last week that aliens in custody don't have to get the immigration equivalent of Miranda. I...am not sure what I think about this. And while I'm probably conflating a lot of things, I'm curious about how this works in conjunction with Padilla.
+ I'm pretty much over the Harry Potter books, although I am interested in seeing the last movie. The Pottermore website? Eh. But. I would consider buying a copy of Goblet of Fire and maybe Order of the Phoenix (my favorite books in the series) if they are going to be available DRM-free.
+ I read Marie Sexton's Promises over the weekend. It'a a gay romance novel, not really gay-for-you, but close to it, with one of the protagonists being firmly in the closet at the beginning and edging his way out by the end. Felt ambivalent about the book, and I'm not really sure why; maybe it was the narrator, who felt like he spent most of the book hiding, doing the safe thing, taking the path of least resistance every time, on the personal front and the professional front.
+ Found Promises via the DABWAHA contest. Most of the candidates I had not read, some I'd never even heard of, which is a sad commentary on my reading. My pick as champion was K.A. Mitchell's No Souvenirs, which was sadly trounced early on. In the first go-round, I picked books I liked. In the second chance tourney, I tried to pick what I thought was popular and would likely win, but even there my pick (Meljean Brook's The Iron Duke) lost. Clearly I don't have a finger on the pulse of popular genre romance. The ultimate winner was a contemporary by Julie James, whose first two books didn't really work for me. The runner up was Courtney Milan's Trial by Desire, which I meant to read but never got around to. Eh.
+ Go take Jennie's survey on reading romance novels. It's quick and easy. And it's for a school project -- she's working on her masters in library science, I believe.
+ Clay court tennis starts next week! Well, qualifying matches have already begun. But Monte Carlo! Barcelona! Rome! Madrid! Then Roland Garros!
+ Davis Cup ticket presale begins tomorrow. The $90 nosebleeds may be for the whole weekend, not just each day; I've got to call and see. Which does sort of change my position on the ridiculous pricing, because $90 for possibly five matches is way better than $90 for two matches.
+ The Spring Fling exchange fics have been posted. You should go read the one that was written for me. It is awesome: it fits into canon and fanon, and it made me all flaily and happy as I read it.
- WTF, LJ?
+ The US-Spain Davis Cup tie will be played in Austin! Road trip! Tickets go on sale April 4th. As soon as prices and availability are released, I'll be number crunching the budget to see how much PBJ I'll be eating to go :)
+ Dear Big Name NY Pubbed Romance Author: what the hell is "desert-style zero-scaping"? Do you mean xeriscaping?
+ RIP Elizabeth Taylor. I didn't really *get* you as an actress, but I appreciated your Hollywood Grande Dame status and your AIDS charity work. Your jewelry was pretty cool, too.
+ Galley Cat linked to this essay about being a book hoarder, which makes me stop and take stock. Because I do have a hard time letting go of any book once it has made its way onto a shelf in my home or office. Except maybe statutory supplements that are updated annually, it's easy to dump them in the office library's recycling bin.
+ It's ridiculous how appreciation for a particular actor will make you watch a television show that is otherwise not to your taste. For instance, I try to watch Mr. Sunshine sometimes because I ♥ Allison Janey.
+ I've now given up Chick-Fil-A's sweet tea and waffle fries because of this. (Courtesy of @redrobinreader, after I mentioned that I liked the tea but not the non-stop christian pop.) They were my "errands done" reward. CFA won't miss the little bit of revenue I put in their pockets nearly as much as I'll miss the sweet tea (why do so few places serve it and even fewer make it right?), I'm sure.
+ Daffodils are blooming everywhere. Which means spring is here. But is also awesome just because daffodils are such happy, cheerful flowers.
This cover art is lovely. The colors, the shading, the cover model, all gorgeous. It fits the plot and setting of the novel. The cover model looks, ethnically speaking, like the narrator/protagonist of the series, and her tattoos, which change with each book to suit the content, are gorgeous too. But the pose and wardrobe don't really match the narrator's character. Although she is comfortable within her own skin, human and coyote, she has experienced things in earlier books that left her conscious of nudity and how much skin others can see.
I know the author really likes the cover art, and a lot of readers do, too. And I even like it, too, when I disassociate it from the character it is supposed to represent.
I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here, other than this cover art, however beautiful it is, bothers me.
Read Treachery in Death last night, finishing it this morning. Liked it a lot, much better than the last In Death. Very focused on the police procedural aspect and the mystery, less focus on the personal relationships. Although they are very important to the plot, that sort of backs into the procedural piece. However. HOWEVER. If JD Robb/Nora Roberts doesn't get the fine tooth comb treatment from her editors -- a woman who makes her publisher POTS OF MONEY -- then I would be shocked. But still there are stupid errors like a case being referred to at different points as the Geraldi case and the Giraldi case. At hardcover prices and with a big name author, I expect better than that from the editorial department.
The Goofy Cat keeps getting up on the kitchen table. I've tried putting things on the table to block her -- nope, I come home and find them on the floor. I've removed the table cloth, thinking she liked the texture. Doesn't matter, she'll lay on the bare table. Whenever I see her or hear her on it, I race into the kitchen and pick her up, tapping her nose and putting her down. Nothing seems to make a difference.
My favorite khaki pants have gone missing. They aren't in the closet or the laundry basket or at the cleaner's. I was sure I dropped them at the cleaner's but Su says no. It's not like I could take them off and misplace them. They must have been sucked into an alternate universe with all the odd socks and earrings that I can't find.
Bought a copy of Where the Wild Things Are today. I have a copy already, but for the life of me could NOT find it. (Maybe it's with the khaki pants?) I figure now that I've bought another copy, my original copy will surface.
Okay. Married man reveals to his wife that he's gay, and is then shocked -- SHOCKED! -- that she bails on him, and doesn't want to sign up for his vision of the perfect life? Married to a man who prefers to fuck people other than her, who has essentially been lying to himself and to her about who he was? Secret lovers on the side to what end if you're going to stay married, or is theirs going to become an open marriage, which is probably not what she expected when she said "I do"? Where's the benefit for her? Sounds to me like he gets to have all the social benefits of a straight guy, plus the lifestyle of a gay man, while she get....what? How monumentally fucking selfish.
Frankly, if the blurb accurately represents the narrator, then the author has dug herself a really deep hole to get out of, because he seems like a total asshat.
On to look for other books.
11. Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase
European historical published in 2005.
I think I've read this one. Maybe? If I can't remember it, I probably wouldn't have included it on my ballot. Frankly, I don't get the Chase love. It's rather like the Gabaldon love in some ways -- other people adore her writing, but it doesn't really stand out to me.
12. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
European historical published in 2002.
This is Colin's romance with Penelope, yes? I remember enjoying it. It may have been the last good Bridgerton book for me.
13. Paradise by Judith McNaught
Contemporary published in 1991.
Oh, I remember this book! It's a complete soap opera! I read it on a McNaught binge during the summer of my freshman year of college while I was laid up with acute appendicitis. Absolutely loved it with all my teenaged heart. Not sure if it would stand the test of time though.
14. Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase
European historical published in 2006.
Haven't read it, not inclined to do so.
15. It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Contemporary published in 1994.
This was perhaps the second SEP book I read, the first being Hot Shots, which I loved. Loved this one, too, although upon reflection some of the things I thought were so awesome about the book (heroine owning her sexuality and image) seem less so. What I mean is, as much as I appreciate Phoebe's manipulation of stereotypes to her advantage, the near-virgin heroine seems like a genre romance cliche: she owns her sexuality but only to a certain degree, otherwise it she has to fit in genre parameters and true promiscuity (a word that I don't use pejoratively) would not be acceptable.
16. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Contemporary published in 2004.
Love this book. I would be on my list. Maybe in my top 10 but definitely the top 20.
17. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
European historical published in 2000.
Read this one after The Viscount Who Loved Me, although it was published first. One scene toward the end made it a total wallbanger for me.
18. Not Quite A Husband by Sherry Thomas
European historical published in 2009.
Have not read it. It's on the TBR, I think.
19. The Bride by Julie Garwood
Medieval published in 1999.
I've probably read this one, since I glommed her early in my romance reading career. Her medievals are all pretty interchangeable for me, I think. Haven't read anything she's put out in the last 5 years at least, though, since her transition to contemporaries and suspense did not intrigue me.
20. The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne
European historical published in 2008.This book had some pretty prose, I think, but the plot was a bit much for me. Think I read the follow up book, but not Bourne's more recent offering.
On the whole, more European historicals, and only two books I would put on my list of favorites or keepers.
First, on cover art. While browsing at the bookstore over the weekend, two covers struck me but for entirely different reasons. Kevin J. Anderson's book, The Edge of the World, was face out in the SF/F section, and it caught my eye because the cover art reminded me of the covers used for Naomi Novik's Temeraire series. The blurb reads entirely as fantasy, with no sort of AU mix of dragons with "real" history like Temeraire, but I'm kind of curious now. Is the Temeraire artwork derivative of the cover art of earlier fantasy books? Or has the popularity of that series now seen as a hook for other series?
And the other cover that caught my eye? A paperback edition of Kelley Armstrong's Industrial Magic; I'm not sure when this cover art surfaced, but it's definitely not the original. Frankly, the black and white checkerboard effect made it hard for me to focus and would NOT have moved me to buy a copy. (Although, to be honest, I wasn't in the market for this particular book since I have a copy with the original cover art, purchased back in 2004 when the book was first released.)
Second, on two books that failed the bookstore skim. You know, reading a chapter or two to see if the book is worth the cover price before you get it home and realize its a clunker. Shadows at Midnight by Elizabeth Jennings seemed promising: romantic suspense but with a heroine who seemed to have it together in the back blurb. Did she? I'll never know. The prologue was in the hero's POV and he came across like a misogynist ass: he had a very low opinion of women, generally, based on military bar groupies and presumably something that prompted an internal monologue about military wives cheating on their men who are away defending their country. Because military men don't cheat? Whatever. Next.
Sebastian Junger's War...okay, I get that when a journalist is embedded with a platoon, journalistic impartiality usually disappears based on familiarity and all. The first couple of chapters read like an explanation or justification for American blunders and/or failures in Afghanistan, and as I read them, I wondered if Junger (or anyone in the upper ranks of the platoon) had done even the smallest amount of research on the history, sociology and geography of the Korengal valley before, you know, deploying there. (In the interest of full disclosure, I thought the documentary, Restrepo, which was filmed during the embedding, was much more interesting and nuanced than the book or what little I read of it.)
Thirdly, I really enjoyed Josh Lanyon's Fair Game and K.A. Mitchell's Life, Over Easy.
And lastly, J.A. Konrath seems to label drop in his Jack Daniels series as much as J.R. Ward does in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Did it really matter what kind of pants Jack wore? They were a bit of a surprise in comparison to her 1986 Nova, but maybe the point is to demonstrate her quirks and individuality? I enjoyed Rusty Nail, the third book of the series, and think it stands well on its own since I read it after only reading the first book, skipping the second. Why skip the second? Convenience only: a hardback edition of Rusty Nail happened to be remaindered and I got a copy a few weeks ago for $2. I can't resist a book bargain like that.
Let's see, what else is new on the reading front? Um, not sure. I'm still contemplating Ilona Andrews' Magic Bleeds and do mean to write about it sooner or later, probably later.
My refurbished Kindle has arrived! I hadn't realized how much I missed CK (Cherry Kindle-ade) until I was holding her successor in my hands. Must resend some content that I did not purchase through Amazon. And think of a name. And maybe buy a cover? Forgot that Kindle 2.0 did not come with a case. Hmm, does Despair do Kindle covers?
My tickets to the US Open have been printed and mailed! The Biochemist asked me today if I was going to the Legg Mason Classic in order to ogle Hot Sauce. I'd decided no, being prudent and also because I feel like I'm hemorrhaging cash right now. But really, how often will I have the opportunity.
Also, check this out. It's almost as sweet and adorkable as Dinara Safina's chocolate cake vs. tennis clip from last year.
Things that made me /o\ today:
Janet Evanovich wants $50 million for four Stephanie Plum books? Okay, I get that she still sells a lot of books, but I thought publishers were putting the kibosh on big payouts like that, given the tight economy, slowing sales, and high dollar flops they've suffered the last few years. I dunno. I'd be kind of disgusted by a demand that size no matter what the source; say if James Patterson or Nicholas Sparks or whomever wanted the same. It's like Lebron James' contract. Or Alex Rodriguez. At a certain point, it just looks greedy, selfish and full of hubris. Courtesy of several different publishing twitterers
And, courtesy of TeddyPig, RIAA: keeping law firms in business! $58 million in legal fees in order to combat piracy and collect a whopping $2 million in damages. I get the idea of deterrence as a reason to keep fighting, but at some point the cost has to outweigh the deterrent effect...which seems kind of nil TBH.
And lastly, after using four different blog posts on completely unrelated subjects, I got the following:
Okay, the basic set up of this book fails. Hero, the best man/man of honor for bride does not get along with bride's brother. Hate. Refusal to be in the same room. For years. But bride reassures him that brother (rancher still living/working in her hometown) won't be at her wedding...which is being held in her hometown. So he's okay with spending a long weekend there, because his nemesis won't be there.
Hero is painted as being smart and good with people, but it doesn't occur to him that BFF's brother not being at her wedding is, well, weird? That it's a little odd for otherwise close family to be out of town or otherwise unavailable or absent from big family celebrations? Especially since the wedding wasn't a spur of the moment thing?
The whole set up feels kind of forced, petty, and juvenile. Why waste energy on lies or bitching? It's her wedding, suck it up and be pleasant for a weekend.
There'd be no book then, I guess. Eh. Deleting that sample from my reader. Next!
+ Went to Let's Dish with M this weekend. Before starting on the new dishes, I needed to cook the last remaining dish from our last visit, shrimp & corn chowder with cornbread. The cornbread is a little...weird, in terms of texture and taste. There's bacon in there. It was probably supposed to go in with the vegetables and shrimp, but there may have been a little confusion (and too many cooks involved in the measuring and mixing).
+ Someone keyed three cars on my block on Friday night. Including mine, dammit. Back door and back quarterpanel on the driver's side. I'm hoping it can be buffed out but am afraid it may be too deep for that. And I'm not sure I want to put a huge amount of money into the cosmetics of a 10 year old car.
+ Finished Megan Whalen Turner's A Conspiracy of Kings, which was good but not as good as The Thief. Of course, my expectations were probably unreasonably high. The lack of Gen's POV was one big draw back for me, and I found Sophos hard to trust as a hero in the middle of the book after how the book began.
+ I just remembered that Carla Kelly's new Harlequin Historical, the third of the naval trilogy, will be out in June. Which means that the ebook will be available from eHarlequin on May 1st. Since I have immediate gratification issues, I'll probably download an e-copy, then buy a paper copy in June. I suppose it's a little early to be asking what Ms. Kelly will be working on next, isn't it?
+ My local Target has remodeled and now has a huge grocery section. One stop shopping, presumably so it can compete with the nearby Walmart? The selection isn't quite as good as my regular grocery store, but was good enough for today's errands. Will still be getting veg from the farmers' market, though.
+ From the dentist: stop drinking soda, and if I must drink it, drink it with meals only. Even tea would be better than soda. Here's the thing: my diet Coke consumption (12 oz per day, without caffeine) is loads better than it was six years ago (48 oz per day, with caffeine). I can only drink so much water, juice, and tea before I long for the fizzy stuff. It's an addiction and I'm not sure how or if I can whittle my consumption down more, short of moving someplace where pop is much more expensive. (When traveling, I tend to drink no cola, since it's usually more expensive than other beverages. It's much the reverse at home, though.)
+ Mom emailed me about the upcoming family trip to Ireland. She's worried about being stranded in New York after reading about the European flights grounded due to the ash spewed by the Icelandic volcano whose name I cannot spell or pronounce (begins with an "e"). I don't really understand this concern. If the flight (which is more than a month away) is grounded or canceled, we have trip insurance. And if it's canceled entirely, there are multiple ways of getting home from NYC. If I were inclined to worry about this (which I'm not, surprisingly, since I used to be a worry wart), I'd be a more concerned about being stranded in Ireland, since it's slightly harder to get home from there. *shrug*
+ Dropbox seems to have deleted all the quotation marks from an html document I uploaded. The punctuation is there in the original when I look at it on my laptop, but gone when I view it in dropbox on my iPhone. Which is weird, and also hard to read, especially since there are not many dialog tags to mark the conversations otherwise.
( Screen shot behind the cut. )
Next, check out the Bracket of Evil. Who to vote for next?
Thirdly, reading and watching Generation Kill is doing terrible things to my blood pressure and my opinion of the American military as an institution.
And lastly, I'm in a horrendous reading slump. A Conspiracy of Kings? Meh, set aside after a chapter. The Redbreast? Same. Scoundrel's Kiss? Made it to three chapters, but also set aside. I'm not sure what to try next.
I was tempted by the Novel Idea book vending machines at Gatwick yesterday. Probably I wouldn't have bothered, having enough to occupy my attention on the flight already, but there was a book by Jo Nesbo displayed. And Avid Reader LOVES Nesbo's books, reviewing and recommending them. So I figured out if I had enough change left in my pockets left after my spree at WHSmith (fruit gums! water! magazines to read!) to pay the 4GBP. Yes! So I went over to inspect the vending machine only to see that Every Single Book was sold out! All of them!
Clearly some people like the idea of book vending machines at departure gates :)
The use of floor space:
Waterstone's in Piccadilly seems to have a HUGE amount of open floor space. As I wandered from floor to floor, I mentally compared it to the Borders at Penn Plaza. Not an entirely apt comparison, I know. But both must be outrageously expensive in terms of rental cost per square foot. The Borders is wedged full of shelves and displays, admittedly only on two floors rather than the seven (?) or more that Waterstone's enjoys. Do they have better inventory and sales tracking, I wonder, that they can leave so much floor space...empty?
The display windows (on the Piccadilly Street side) were rather sparse, especially in comparison to the cram-packed windows of Hatchard's up the street, which I noticed at the time. Intentional mirroring, I suppose?
The cover art to the UK editions of Naomi Novik's Temeraire series is gorgeous. Was tempted to buy copies for the art alone. Was also intrigued to see that the back blurbs were different from the American editions.
Patricia Briggs' Alpha & Omega books were/are distributed by Ace and have the same cover art as the US editions, but the Mercedes Thompson books are distributed by Orbit and have very cool black and white art that I find much more appealing than the US editions, which I find to be...a little garish and heavy on the boob and belly emphasis.