Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Review: Angels' Pawn ~ Nalini Singh

So, when I woke up and found out that this had automatically downloaded to my Kindle (I had pre-ordered it), I was ecstatic. To say the least. Nalini is one of my all time favorite authors. The world she created in her Psy/Changeling series is unforgettable, completely realized, and very vivid. Her characters jump off the pages, fully three-dimensional, and are very frequently people I’d love to know in real life. And I feel I could walk around the corner and meet them. If only my timing was a little better. (Sidebar: Even though I’d be a little – okay a lot – nervous, I’d love to walk around a corner and meet Kaleb *g* /Sidebar)

When I heard about the new series she was doing with Angels and Vampires and Hunters, I was so incredibly excited to be getting something else from her, in addition to the Psy/Changelings I love. A whole new world to lose myself in, and new characters to love (and sometimes hate). Ever since I first heard about it, and then met Nalini at RAW last year, I’ve been practically bouncing around waiting to read more.

And now it’s here. Just a short novella. E-format only (see end of post for currently available options). I almost squee’d. And those who know me, know that’s not a normal occurrence. LOL.

Angels’ Pawn is an introduction to the world that we’ll learn more about in Angels’ Blood (due out 3/3/2009). A world where angels and vampires not only co-exist, but have an interesting connection. As a Guild Hunter, one of those that hunts rogue vampires down for the angels, Ashwini finds herself suddenly stuck between two vampire factions, and the angel wanting to manipulate them all, in Atlanta. She turns, for help, to Janvier, a vampire himself – who may have his own reasons for assisting her.

From the first moment I started this novella I was immediately immersed in the world. I couldn’t have stopped reading if there was a fire. Okay. I hope I could have at least paused to get out of the building, but you get the picture.

I’m continually amazed by Nalini’s ability to create fully realized characters, especially in novellas where the shortened format makes that difficult for a lot of authors. Angels’ Pawn is no different. Ashwini is a compelling character from her first moments pounding on a door. I’m completely intrigued by her, and really hope that we get to see more of her in the future.

Janvier. Wow. What can I say except I want to meet him. A native from the bayous, with an old world charm, and an apparently innate sexiness, he is just fantastic. Watching him play off of Ashwini, lightening the mood and at the same time ratcheting up their relationship throughout everything they were trying to accomplish in Atlanta was truly a joy.

I can not wait to read Angels’ Blood which focuses on Elena and Raphael, I believe. But I’m really hoping to see more from Janvier and Ashwini in the future. Their storyline was by no means complete – although the main conflict is tied up in the novella – we have lots more to hear about this pair.

Nalini’s said it, but I’m going to give this warning to those that need an HEA. This is not a typical romance with a bow-tied HEA at the end.

It’s a fantastic read, a great introduction, and I highly recommend it. If you’ve not read anything by Nalini Singh, I urge you to run out and buy everything you can by her. Her Psy/Changeling stories are absolutely fantastic, and this new series promises to be just as great. (For reading order go here)

Thank you Nalini for, once again, delivering a great story.

Grade: A-

Book Link

You can purchase Angels’ Pawn in Kindle format or Mobipocket format at this time.
Now also available as Adobe (pdf), Microsoft Reader, and Sony Reader formats.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Academy Awards - Public Enemies Short - First Look!!

Okay. I missed it on TV. But Kat told me about it, so I went looking. And I found it *g*

Here's the short. I can NOT wait to see this movie!!

It's about 22seconds in that it starts.

81st Annual Academy Awards

Angela: And they're starting!!

Check out the Red Carpet Post between Kat & I here.

Welcome to Hollywood's Biggest Night!!!

Oh! Hugh Jackman!! He looks great tonight.

LOL - Robert (Downey Jr.) is an American, playing an Australian, playing a black man. Where as me, I'm an Australian, playing an Australian, in a movie called Australia.

Kat: Jackman can do no wrong.

Hathaway's dress for the number was far better than the one she was wearing before.

Lucky Langella.

Jackman appears to be reaching out and petting the audience.

Again I say - WTF is Tilda Swinton wearing??????????

5 former winners standing in a half circle. I feel like it's a cult.

Angelica Huston is gorgeous.

Oh Whoopi. I love you. I have an irrepressible urge to watch Sister Act.

Cruz wins it. I was hoping for Viola Davis.

Angela: Congratulations Penelope! That opening song with Jackman was fantastic. I'm looking for a video of it to share here ;)

Aww. She thinks she's gonna faint. I have to say I love the emotional acceptance speeches the best.

Kat: Steve Martin and Tina Fey. My night is complete.

Angela: This is hilarious!
Tina: It has been said that to write is to live forever.
Steve: The man who wrote that is dead.

In Bruges! I really enjoyed this movie.

Kat: Screenplay - Milk wins it.

*sigh* I wanted In Bruges to win it.

Angela: I wanted In Bruges to win as well *sigh* I have to admit that I haven't seen Milk though...

Kat: Okay, Milk screenwriter got me with his excellent speech.

I love Steve Martin.

Ooh, adapted screenplay. I want Frost/Nixon to win.

Slumdog won. I'm 0/3.

Angela: I'm not surprised about Slumdog Millionaire's win for Best Adapted Screenplay. The buzz about this movie has just been huge.

I'm there with you at 0/3 Kat ;)

I just love Jack Black. He makes me laugh. With Jennifer Aniston.

Kat: Aniston's dress looks similar to Hathaway's. And Aniston pulls it off better.


Angela: It is slightly similar. And she does definitely pull it off better. But she looks comfortable in it, which I think accounts for a lot of it.

And no, I still haven't seen Wall-E. What? Don't look at me like that Kat.

Kat: Best animated short - I'm hoping for Presto. It was even better than Wall-E. I'm going to ignore you not having seen this, Angela.


Presto lost? What cr**

Angela: LOL. I'm sure we'll do a movie night with Wall-E at some point.

Kat: What odd sets they've got tonight.

Art Direction has some truly fabulous noms this year. I'm partial to The Duchess.

Benjamin Button won - yay Brad shot :)

Angela: Those are some great nominations this year! I think I would have been happy with any of them winning.

Good nominations for Costume Design as well. I always love some good costumes. I have to say The Duchess had some great ones.

And the winner is: The Duchess!!

Kat: The Duchess HAD to win. The costume design was flawless. If you look at the paintings of her and compare them to the movie, it's nearly exact (as in they changed the color). Beautiful, beautiful work.

Makeup - what? No Twilight?

Benjamin Button won :)

Angela: Ugh. Twilight makeup was awful. And here's Robert Pattinson. Maybe the smoldering is a natural look for him.

I'm glad Benjamin Button won for makeup.

Ooh. Romance in 2008 montage.

Kat: RP is trying to smolder on stage.

It isn't working.

Romance 2008 - yay montage.

I really want to see Last Chance Harvey.

Okay, stop with the excessive Twilight shots. Everything else was fab :)

Angela: Well, hell. Robert Pattinson didn't do smoldering very well in the movie either. *sigh*

That montage was fabulous. There's actually quite a few movies in there I want to see.

I think they're trying to tell me I need to see Wall-E Kat. It ended with a scene from that movie. LOL

Kat: Natalie Portman looks gorgeous *still crushing*

Ben Stiller's Joaquin Phoenix gag, lmao.

"You look like you work at a Hasidic meth lab." *giggle*

This might be the best presentation of the night.

Another win for Slumdog. I hope this movie lives up to all the hype when I see it.

Angela: Finally! Got to see Natalie's dress live. It's gorgeous. She pulls off that color beautifully. In a way I never could.

I'm worried that Slumdog won't live up to all this hype, for me. I hope it does though.

Angela: I have to say that I was not impressed with the skit with James Franco and Seth Rogan. :|

Kat: Maybe if it hadn't come soon after the hilarious Stiller-Portman skit, it would have been funnier.

I now have a moral dilemma. I don't want to see Pineapple Express, but James Franco is so cute....

Angela: Okay. I admit that I do want to see Pineapple Express. I've heard that it's good. But my eagerness was slightly dimmed by that skit.

Kat: Opposite effect for me. I normally hate stupid comedies, but my susceptibility to cute boys is high.

Ooh, an ad for Castle. I want to see this show.

Sweet - musical number.

Beyonce's outfit now looks better than the one she came in. Why is does she perform every year? There are other singers, which is nothing against her. Just like a little variety.

OMG, what did they put VH and AS in?

That musical number didn't flow as well as it should have.

Angela: Yeah, I liked Beyonce's outfit in that musical number. It was pretty good, but not as good as the one at the beginning.

Again with the 5 previous winners. Christopher Walken is fabulous. But his tie is skewed.

Again. PSH. Why are you wearing the skull cap? It's not flattering.

*sigh* RDJ. He was great in Tropic Thunder. And I still watch Iron Man repeatedly.

Heath Ledger should definitely win this. His performance in The Dark Knight was absolutely breath-taking.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger. Yay!

Kat: Bittersweet moment. His performance more than deserved the award. Everyone looks like they're about to cry. Lovely speeches by his family.

Angela: I'm just so glad he won.

I finally found a video of the opening with Hugh Jackman!!

Okay. This isn't exactly Oscars related. But I have to say. I'm not a fan of Tom Cruise, but that commercial with him and Jimmy Kimmel for Jimmy's show was hilarious!! LOL.

Oh. You gotta love good car chase scenes. Great montage here too of action scenes.

Visual Effects: Benjamin Button wins.

Sound Effects: The Dark Knight.

I actually just wanted to say that I love Will Smith's lapel pin. ;)

Kat: Will Smith is never leaving the stage.

That's okay. I like looking at him.

Angela: Alright! I found the 2008 Romance Montage.

I truly enjoyed it.

And a great presentation: Ben Stiller and Natalie Portman

Here it is Kat ;)

Kat: Thanks Angela :)

Is it bad I got bored, put it on mute during the musical section, and am now listening to Cool Rider on my iPod?

Angela: Well, if that's bad, then I guess I am too. I'm not really paying attention here....

Kat: Are you listening to songs from Grease 2? Because, really, I win with that. LMAO.

Another win for Slumdog *yawn*

The bright colors have shocked me back awake.

+1 to Slumdog for that.

Angela: Okay. You win LOL.

The bright colors and the beats actually woke me back up. Good job.

Okay. Alicia Keys looks fabulous. Love her hair and earrings. The dress looks good on her too.

Best Original Song: Slumdog Millionaire again....

Queen Latifah looks fabulous in that color blue.

Kat: Yes she does.


Paul Newman.

He was wonderful :(

Kat: Reese Witherspoon's makeup makes her look old.

I also wish they'd taken the black cr** off the dress, esp at the top.

Angela: Reese is so beautiful. But I agree the makeup wasn't fantastic there...

Kat: Marion Cotillard is unbelievably gorgeous and Halle Berry is just stunning. HB definitely another fashion favorite for the night.

OMG. Sophia Loren looks awful. The hair, the dress.......oy.

I think a bird crash landed on Nicole Kidman's dress.

Kate Winslet won. I adore her, but I'd be more excited if I hadn't been sure she'd win.

Side note: I now love Kate Winslet's dad. LMAO.

Angela: Yay! Kate!! Congratulations!!!

"I think we all can't believe we were in a category with Meryl Streep at all" *g* I love her. I'm so glad she won.

And her dad whistling when she asked for him to so she knew where he was. That was fantastic. LOL

Kat: "He has no genitalia and he's holding a sword." - Dustin Hoffman - LOL

Yay - Brad Pitt is on screen :)

Sean Penn wins it.

I guess I really have to see Milk.

Angela: LOL at Dustin Hoffman. *still chuckling*

Apparently Milk and Slumdog Millionaire are movies to see this year....

Kat: Kim Basinger looks lovely.

I’m not generally a fan of Sean Penn, but his speech is funny, honest, and sincere.

What signs of hatred were out there tonight?

Angela: I missed the signs of hatred, but I'm curious enough to search for it now.

His speech was great.

Kat: I like how they splice bits of previously nominated films in with this year's nominees.

Who wants to bet Slumdog wins?

Yep, it won.

*sigh* I was just more entertained by the categories where I couldn't predict the winner.

Angela: Totally unsurprised by the Slumdog Millionaire win. *sigh*

I agree Kat. The categories that I couldn't predict were the best ones to watch.

I have to admit that I'm a little biased against Slumdog Millionaire now.

Kat - this was a great time! Thanks for doing this with me :)

Kat: I'm a bit biased as well. But I do want to see Milk now.

Thanks for having me Angela :)

81st Annual Academy Awards - Red Carpet

Kat and I decided to watch the Oscars together this year...unfortunately time zone issues are threatening to mess with us, but we're gonna try this anyway.

First we're gonna talk about the fashion. There's always great dresses - as well as some horrible choices.

This post will be edited multiple times throughout the evening ;)

Kat: Thanks for having me Angela.

I'm watching E! right now.

Zac Efron seems to have taken a page from Robert Pattinson's book and gone wild with hair grease.

Miley Cyrus would be adorable if she didn't speak.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Kate Winslet and Angelina Jolie wear this year. Who are you on the lookout for on the red carpet?

Angela: Thanks for joining me Kat!! I'm watching E! too.

Miley Cyrus is a little scary to me.

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing Kate Winslet, and Angelina Jolie this year. I'm also just looking for anyone that's got great dresses. I'm always interested in what people choose to wear to this event.

Kat: I wish Joe McHale hosted E!'s show instead of Seacrest.

Guiliana's dress looks like a cheap knockoff of Kiera Knightley's Oscars dress from a few years ago. She nowhere near pulls it off.

So far there haven't been any fashion standouts for me. Here's some pics:

Angela: I actually like Miley Cyrus' dress. It's interesting and flatters her. I did really like Taraji P. Henson's necklace. I can't find a picture of it though.

Seacrest is somewhat annoying. I got a kick out of him trying to talk to one of the kids from Slumdog Millionaire that didn't speak English *roll*

Kat: Michael Sheen *squee*

I love the way Seacrest says “real” like it’s something extraordinary.

I didn’t even recognize Seth Rogan.

Oooh, I like Sarah Jessica Parker’s dress. It does not have a Miley feel. She looks adorable.

Natalie Portman!!! Why aren’t they showing her dress, dammit?

Here's Taraji:

RDJ just showed up. I think I might need a THUD mat for Angela ;)

Anne Hathaway doesn't look like she can walk in her dress.

Holy necklace Amy Adams! I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Robert Pattinson is here. His hair is shorter, but evidently he didn't get the memo about washing your hair before the biggest night in Hollywood.

Angela: OMG! Robert Downey Jr! He's looking very dashing!! I may need that THUD mat ;)

Robert Pattinson at least got a haircut before the Oscars. Unfortunately he didn't choose the wash & cut. *sigh*

I love Marissa Tomei's hair! But the dress...I'm not so sure about it. The way it gathers at the ground is just not right.

Wow. Seth Rogan looks totally different.

Kat: I love Natalie Portman's dress. I have a girl crush on her, I admit.

Anne Hathaway's dress, I do not like.

Ooooh, I *heart* E!'s flashback. Leo...........*inner 12 year old sighs dreamily*

Don't give me that look Angela. They put RDJ and Johnny in there too.

Now Brad and Colin....

Angela: I missed Natalie's dress! I'm bummed. Just saw her face, but she looked great.

Anne Hathaway's dress totally does not flatter her. I don't like it.

LOVED the flashback! Johnny Deep *sigh* RDJ, Brad, Colin. You can't get better ;)

Kat: Beyonce is wearing drapery.

Mickey Roarke looks like he fell out of bed and got dressed in the dark.

Meryl Streep has arrived. I love her. She's a Vassar girl too :D

Queen Latifah - proof that you don't have to be a stick to be hot. Can't see her dress though.

Angela: The best part of Mickey Roarke's ensemble is the necklace around his neck.

Queen Latifah looks great! I love that she's not stick thin. I'd like to see more of her dress though.

Jessica Biel looks harsh....I'm not sure if that's the angle or what.

Kat: What lessons did she take away from Elmo?

Seriously Seacrest?


They're glamastrating Anne Hathaway. They like it? I hate it. She looks washed out and stuck in there.

Angela: I don't know what their thing is for Anne's dress. That was awful. She looks uncomfortable, and it cuts up her torso oddly.

Here's Peter Gabriel. I totally wouldn't have recognized him.

Marion Cotillard - soon to be seen in Public Enemies. I like the top part of her dress which is all I could see.

Kat: OMG, Jessica Biel's dress is barfing taffeta. And I don't think her shoes match.

Not sure how I feel about the bottom of Marion Cotillard's dress. Top looks gorgeous.

Evan Rachel Wood – people shouldn’t be able to smell you coming.

Why can't they interview Natalie Portman?

It's Brad and Angelina!!!!!!!!

They look gorgeous. They disappointed me on the style front the past few times and I adore them, so now I'm happy.

Angela: Jessica Biel's shoes definitely do not match. They're black...with a cream or white colored dress. Which I wouldn't normally have a problem with, but it's jarring. And the drape at the front is just ... *shudders*

LMAO! I think I'd be horrified if someone smelled me coming for an interview o.O

Brad and Angelina! They look great! Love the neckline of Angelina's dress.

Kat: Non-newsflash: Seacrest mangles Spanish.

Penelope, you're beautiful (and possibly wearing hte same dress as the last 5 you wore), but blocking my Angelina view.


There's Winslet. Err......it looks like she couldn't make up her mind so they pieced together 4 different dresses.

Angela: Okay. I've just realized that I don't agree with E! at all on the fashion. Ugh. They like Penelope's dress, and Jessica Biel's dress. *shakes head.

Philip Seymour Hoffman. No. No. That is NOT a good idea.

I'm a little disappointed in Kate Winslet's dress. She looked so gorgeous the last time I saw. But her hair looks great.

Kat: Watching Brad and Angelina on ABC. Classic looks, beautiful on them. They're fun and charming to watch. People are asking them the most convoluted questions. Awww, Mickey Roarke and Sean Penn are Brad Pitt's idols.

They need to stick with shoulders-up shots on Winslet. She is reminding me of Emma Thompson tonight. Not a bad thing.

I think I got cheated. No Portman interviews.

Angela: Tried to run my dog out quick during the commercial break, turned out to be not so quick. LOL.

I missed Brad & Angelina??!!

Kat: Seacrest got about 10 seconds of Brad. I laugh.

Angela: RDJ looks really good. *sigh* I can't wait to see more of him. He's had some great movies lately. Lots of fun :)

Switched to ABC's Red Carpet show.

Kat: Time for ABC too.

Tim Gunn is asking Amy Adams silly questions.

Amy Adams:

I like SJP's dress, save for the belt.

Nixon couldn't be here tonight. No, really?

Angela: Angelina's got lime green earrings on. Slightly unsurprisingly, she pulls it off.

Amy Adam's dress choice this year is a lot better than the previous few times.

Kat: See Tim Gunn physically hold Angelina hostage for an interview.

Okay, I don't want to be reminded of CD's fugly dress, even if Valentino designed it.


Angela: Great pictures Kat!! Well, a great selection ;) I still don't see why Robert Pattinson can't wash his hair.

Robert Downey Jr: "That'll be darn swell." LOL. His wife is wearing a gorgeous dress.

And here's Anne Hathaway with that awful dress again.

Kat: Ya know, if you back up far enough, AH's dress doesn't look so bad.

Miley is STILL on the red carpet talking?

No, sweetie. Hannah Montana the movie won't bring you to the Oscars.

Angela: Ooh. The winning envelopes - LOL.

Miley's trying to milk it for everything it's worth.

Meryl Streep. Her daughter is beautiful. I like the color of Meryl's dress actually. Goes well against her skin.

Kat: Meryl Streep!!!!

I love her. The dress is kinda unremarkable. But ya know what? It doesn’t matter. It’s Meryl Streep.

More pics. I do not like MR's outfit and WTF is Tilda Swinton wearing????

Angela: Tilda Swinton apparently thought her dress top should blend completely with her skin. It's washing her out completely!

Overall - I haven't seen anything that I just LOVED tonight. But there were definitely some good ones.

Kat: Loved Jolie and Portman

More pics:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter Series

I absolutely adore Nalini's books. Added to that, she's an incredibly nice person that I had the pleasure of meeting at RAW (Readers Appreciation Weekend) last year. I've been following her Psy/Changeling series since Visions of Heat was released, which is the second book in the series. And have made sure to get all of her books since then without question. Although I buy a lot of books, there are few authors that I buy each one with a huge sense of anticipation. I'm happy that Nalini Singh is one of them.

So when I heard she was going to be doing a new series about angels and vampires, I was very excited.

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she's the best—but she doesn't know if she's good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, only one thing is clear—failure is not an option...even if the task is impossible.

Because this time, it's not a wayward vamp she has to track. It's an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other…and pull her to the razor's edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn't destroy her, succumbing to Raphael's seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break…
Courtesy of Nalini's website

There is going to be a special e-release out later this month called Angels' Pawn, which is going to get us into the Guild Hunter's world early.

I can't wait to get started on this series. Nalini always crafts a very vivid world with extremely three-dimensional characters. Add to that the angels and vampires aspect, and it's sure to be another great series. Check out the countdown widget to the right. I'm definitely counting down!

If you haven't read Nalini's books, please run out and pick them up today. You can get the reading order here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I've Got a Fever...

Well, in a manner of speaking, anyway. I'm talking about the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. It has easily become one of my favorite series, and with just 2 books left in this planned 5 book series, I am anxious for the next book Dreamfever.

Currently I'm doing a re-read of the first book, Darkfever, in which MacKayla Lane (Mac) discovers that life isn't as easy and pink as she thought it was. Mac is a southern girl, who spends her days lounging by a pool trying to decide which color pink to paint her nails. Until she gets the call that her sister, Alina, has been murdered while studying abroad in Ireland.

As Mac puts it, her life is divided by this call, this line of demarcation, into the time before the call, when Alina was alive and the world was normal, and the time after the call, when everything she knew was wrong.

When I first picked up this book in November of 2006, I remember thinking that it looked like an interesting premise, set in one of my favorite countries in the world. Little did I know that I was in for a years long ride, waiting, biting nails, speculating, and ultimately left wondering what was going to happen next.

I've loved this series since I opened it. From the first chapter on. It's written in first person point-of-view, and Mac's voice is compelling to me. Seeing everything unfold through her eyes is, I think, the best way to experience this story. You learn, and question, and make mistakes right along with her. And then you learn from those mistakes.

I like that there's not always a good option. But sometimes Mac just has to take the best one available to her at the time. It may cause trouble later down the road, but it's really the only way at the time.

And I absolutely love Jericho Barrons. When Mac first meets him in Barrons Books and Baubles he's an immediately compelling character. You don't quite know if he falls on the side of good or not. Or if he's there to help Mac or not.

He's an enigma. Too many secrets, too much learned, and yet not nearly enough. Two and a half years later, and I still sit here speculating, thinking, and wondering about him.

And then there's V'lane. Prince of the Fae. Telling Mac he's there to help her. And everytime he sees her, she desires him so much that she strips on the spot. Because that's his nature. Incredibly hot. But is he helping Mac, or serving his own interests.

The story is compelling, interesting, and pulls you through all the twists and turns of Mac's journey to find her sister's killer and everything else going on that Mac had no idea about. Barrons calls her a lamb in a city of wolves. Can she survive long enough to do what she swore to do?

I've started a re-read on the series. Looking for the little tid-bits that might be clues, looking for things that are defintiely questions I hope to have answered, and just for the pure joy of reading the story.

The first book is Darkfever, then Bloodfever, and Faefever. All of these are released. Coming up is Dreamfever (August 25th 2009) and Shadowfever, which should be the final book in the series.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Pomegranate Phone!!

Thanks to Tessa for sending me the link for this awesome new phone!

You gotta check it out


I really gotta give props for this impressive, innovative ad. Made me chuckle and grin and watch all over again.

Thursday Thirteen: 3

Okay. I missed a week. I completely forgot about it in the middle of writing a scene that came to me suddenly.

But I'm back this week with it! And because I'm longing for summer, I'm going to list the 13 movies that I'm looking forward to this summer (and beyond).

1. Public Enemies
Directed by Michael Mann, and starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. Depp is John Dillinger and Bale the man on his trail in this crime thriller set during the crime wave of the 1930s that subsequently gave birth to the FBI.
I'll admit - there are about a million reasons I'm so stoked for this movie. I think this era is fascinating. I love Johnny Depp (he's an incredibly nice, gracious person). And parts of the movie were filmed in the town I live in.

2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Year 6 for Harry & Co. at Hogwarts. Lots of stuff happens. This is one of my favorite books of the series, and the trailers look just awesome! I've got high hopes for this installment of the Harry Potter movie franchise.

3. G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra
I loved playing with G.I. Joes as a kid. And the posters were the first thing that pulled me into this movie. I admit, I'm a sucker for a good action movie. I hope this one lives up to it.

4. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
I love Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. I think he's got the attitude down. Plus Gambit's gonna be in it!!

5. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Optimus Prime.

6. Angels & Demons
The prequel to The DaVinci Code. I admit I liked this book better than The DaVinci Code.

7. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
The first one was just fun. I hope this one is just as good.

8. Terminator Salvation

9. From Paris with Love

10. Knowing
Yes, yes. I realize it's released in March....but that's still warmer than it is now ;)

11. Sherlock Holmes

12. 2012

13. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

And because I couldn't stop at 13...

14. Watchmen

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Review: Sex for Beginners Series - Stephanie Bond

I'm going to start this out saying that I don't normally read series romance novels. I just never feel like there's enough page time for me to really connect to the characters. However, every once in a while there comes along a series book that I proves me wrong, and I really enjoy. In this case, I got three.

The Sex for Beginners Series by Stephanie Bond are published under the Harlequin Blaze line. I was recommended these by Kat. And as she doesn't usually steer me wrong, I went and had them delivered to my Kindle right away.

Watch and Learn is the first in the series. Although truthfully, they can be read in any order. There is no connection between the novels, other than the main catalyst - which only gets the story going.

Gemma is a woman going through a huge change. Getting a divorce is never easy. But when she opens the mail one day, and recieves a letter from herself describing her most intimate fantasies - she decides it's time she got a life again.

Lucky for her, Chev, her sexy new neighbor, is all for enjoying the shows that Gemma's venturing to put on. Because Gemma's fantasy is to be watched.

But when Chev wants to make it more personal, will Gemma be able to open herself up to something more?

I really enjoyed this book. Gemma's a great woman, that I have a lot of respect for. It's not easy going through such a devastating change, but she does it. And manages to find herself in the process. Chev is handsome, kind, and wonderfully hot. I really loved seeing these two dance around each other, and towards each other.

A good fun read, with great characters that jumped off the pages. Gemma's motivations, and fears were easily understandable. As was watching her go through the process of discovering herself. I never felt that it was rushed, and everything moved at a believable pace for me. The book just made me happy.

Grade: B

In a Bind is the second book in the series, although it's the last one I read.

Zoe is an international flight attendant, doing her last flight to Australia before her impending wedding, when she recieves her letter from herself. Her fantasies? Bondage. Which she's never gotten to experience, and it's unlikely she ever will with her fiancee.

Colin is a passenger heading home on the same flight. Colin's a sexy corporate cowboy, more than willing to fulfill Zoe's fantasies.

Will Zoe be willing to risk it all for some mind-blowing sex? Or is there more there for them?

I absolutely loved the chemistry between the characters. Loved Colin. But I had a couple of issues with this one. The fact that Zoe is cheating on her fiancee rubbed me wrong. It doesn't always in novels, so I'm not sure why it did in this book. But I could never quite get past the fact that she'd promised herself to another person, and still proceeded to have the affair. It was a small thing in the overall scheme though. Because I truly felt that Zoe and Colin were great together. Very well matched.

The other small thing I had an issue with, was the safe words that they chose. They just pulled me out of the story. Safe words are meant to be used in a certain way. That's why they're safe words. And the way they were being used - although it's how the characters directed that they be used - isn't consistent with that.

Like I said, two very small things. Overall I really liked this book though. Again the actions and motivations of the characters were real, understandable, and convincing. And Colin is incredibly sexy.

Grade: C+

No Peeking is the final in the Sex for Beginners series, to this point. This is my favorite of the series.

Violet is a work-a-holic. But owning your own business will do that. She's extremely self-reliant. When she recieves her letter, she's reminded that she's never found that person that's been able to make sex good.

Dominick is a client of Violet's. But he'd like to be so much more. And when he invites her to Miami for a working holiday, he plans to do everything he can to get that.

Violet knows she won't be able to withstand his sensual attack for long, and of course she doesn't. Dominick seems to know just how to touch her. Knows just what she wants and needs.

Will they be able to continue this mix of business and pleasure? Especially when Violet finds out that Dominick's been keeping a secret...?

I don't think I can do this book justice. Violet is someone I'd love to be friends with. Dominick is someone I'd definitely love to do some extreme sports with (which is his business). Watching them fulfill something in each other, and learn something about themselves was truly a joy.

This is a great trilogy, and I find myself hoping for more in the series. There is one recurring character in the trilogy, that made me smile every time she showed up. And I'd really like to learn more about her, and her sister.

Grade: A-

I'll definitely be looking for more from Stephanie Bond.

Watch and Learn, In a Bind and No Peeking... are all available here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I'm in Love...

With my Kindle.

For as long as I can remember - okay, not quite that long, but for quite a while now I've been listening to friends, and peers laud the benefits and joys of e-reading. And I was disdainful.

I love the feel of holding a book in my hands. The smell that you get from the pages, the texture of the page, the joy of turning the pages. Everything about books. I've loved them, literally, as long as I can remember. From the first book I remember my mother reading to me (More Spaghetti I Say), up through R.L. Stein, onto the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, continuing to the likes of Jennifer Crusie, Nora Roberts, J.R. Ward...I've always loved books. As my To Be Read and Keeper shelves will attest to.

But then I started hearing about eInk. And I got curious. So I started researching, and really listening when people talked about their e-readers. I learned a lot. Most of it I'm sure I've forgotten, but the one thing that really appealed to me about e-readers was being able to take my favorites anywhere. All the time.

See, I have this problem. When I travel, I like to read. So I usually end up with my carry-on bag packed full of paperback books that I think I may be in the mood for. And I'm inevitably never in the mood for them. I always wish I had brought something else, or I'm just dying to re-read a favorite. So the idea that I could put my entire library of favorite novels onto one small device, and have them at my fingertips was supremely appealing.

The other thing about ebooks for me is that I hate reading on a computer. I look at a computer screen all day for work, and a good portion of the evening too for pleasure and writing. I don't want to read on a computer. It hurts my eyes - which are far too sensitive, but what can I do? But with eInk screens, it seemed that there was finally something that I could use, not get a headache, not hurt my eyes, and still fulfil everything I was looking for in an e-reader.

I looked at the Sony and the Kindle seriously, and dreamed about an iLiad, and have to admit that I got some very good advice from fellow readers and friends. But what sold me was the wireless feature on the Kindle. Granted it's only good in the United States right now, but that works for me. Plus I already have a small addiction to Amazon.com, so it worked for me there too.

And as my Kindle-pimp (as I call her) so perfectly put it: It changes the way you read. And she was right. I got the Kindle for Christmas, and I am so supremely happy with it, that I can't imagine what I did without it. Not only have I put my favorites (where available) on there, but I've been reading a lot of books that I never would have normally read.

I had an extensive ebook collection already. You may ask why, when I hated reading on computers, and had no e-reader....and it's a valid question. The answer is that I just love books. The stories, and worlds that they take me into - I wasn't about to ignore a whole section of published works just because they weren't in print. So I bought, and stored, and waited. Then I converted, and emailed and downloaded everything to my Kindle. It was pretty painless I must say, and it didn't cost me a dime to do.

I take my Kindle everywhere. I have it in my purse all the time - except when it's charging, or I'm reading on it. I read when I go on break at work, when I take lunch, when I take my dog to the park, and just when I'm sitting on my couch at home.

And as a person that's frequently reading more than one book, the ability to save my place in whatever book I'm reading, and switch to a new book is wonderful. It gives me a freedom I didn't have before with paper books.

I've noticed a few things while I'm reading my Kindle.
  1. It settles perfectly in my hands - while in the case that I rarely remove it from - and holds just like a larger paperback.
  2. I don't have the problems with the buttons that I've seen a lot of other people complain about. Yes, they took some getting used to, but I'm pretty comfortable with the placement now. I would like a 'previous page' button over on the right hand side - because the one on the left is a little awkward while it's in it case (and as I said, I don't really take it out of the case).
  3. And while I'm caught up in reading, I've raised my hand up to turn the page, just like I would a paper book. I always kinda laugh at myself, and then press the button, but that just goes to remind me how comfortable I am with it.
  4. I've also noticed that I read faster. And I read pretty fast to begin with. But now I'm flying through books.
  5. I'm also a person that keeps books in pristine condition. I have to read a book at least 20 times before you'll even see a crack in the spine. Books are treasures to me, and I treat them that way. As such, I've never written notes in books...no matter how much I would have liked to. The Kindle gives me the ability to take notes, mark passages and pages that I want to remember, and then export those notes later. That is such a bonus to me.
  6. There are a few minor software upgrades that I think could do the Kindle a world of good. The ability to sort the books is very limited, and I would like a way to customize that. And some minor other changes. But those can all be done via the wireless network as upgrades - if they ever implement them.
  7. I do have to say that as much as I love the wireless network, and being able to download books right from the Kindle device - it's a dangerous thing to my bank account *blushes*

So. Have I given up paperbacks and hardcovers? Nope. I can't do it. Can't part with them. There's still something to be said for holding a paper book in your hand, and journeying through the pages into whatever world the author has laid out for you. And I suspect this will always be true for me. I love books. And I think that one day - when everything is electronic, I'll cherish my books even more.

But I've definitely seen the light when it comes to ebooks as well. Count me as a convert.

What about you? How do you read? What do you love (and dislike) about either ebooks or regular paper books?
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