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Preview: Cubie's Confections

Cubie's Confections

A place to savor Romance books... from sinfully delicious paranormals to decadent historicals; from ambrosial urban fantasies to luscious erotica. Don't forget to check out my succulant Eye Candy! OVER 18 ONLY, PLEASE!

Updated: 2018-03-06T07:08:05.860-05:00


The Tudors Be Back!


I just watched the first episode of the fourth (and *sob* FINAL) season of The Tudors on-line. When I went to this link, I clicked the WATCH button, then entered the code HABIT FORMING when prompted. You see, an email from Showtime made it out to be some sooper seekret VIP Insider code, but it turns out that all you have to do is go to Showtime's Tudor's page and watch it there.

(image) On one hand, I can't wait to watch the full season, but on the other, I DO NOT WANT IT TO END!! It's so lush and addictive. Although there was one major problem with this first episode-- not enough Henry Cavill, dammit! And hooboyhowdy, that Catherine (or Kathryn) Howard (aka The King's mid-life toy) was just too damn stupid to live, or maybe it's just that she was just such a flighty teenage girl without a clue what was expected of her station. I mean, if I didn't already know what happens to her (and I checked Wikipedia just to make sure), I'd be HOPING it would happen!

And here's a sneak peek behind the scenes of the upcoming season:
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Damn that's good stuff.

The Runaway Paragraph


Finishing up my Passionate Plumes books. About to start my Reader's Crown books. Working. Getting tax crappola together to lug down to the CPA. Working. Prom shopping (aka The Death March) with Demon Spawn #3. College visits, housing contracts, etc. with Demon Spawn #3 (more fun, more money, more joy). Working. Running Demon Spawn #4 back and forth to sports. Working. Running back and forth to and/or for my Mom. Working. Wasting a good chunk of today filling out my DABWAHA brackets (instead of working). Trying to convince Mr. QB that he WILL be going with me to see Garth in Vegas and I DO NOT CARE how much extra work that heaps on our employees at the store- it's only for 5 freakin' days and they will just have to deal with it, dammit (although he told me that he DOES need to get away... to a deserted tropical island... with Heather Locklear... who he'll hunt down every couple of days... note that he neglected to invite me). Working. Finally made up a grocery list last Sunday between loads of laundry, may even find time to take said grocery list to "My Happy Place" (/sarcasm) before the Demon Spawn (aka the Swarm of Locusts) are reduced to gnawing on frozen cookie dough for dinner (not that they think that's a particularly bad thing, you understand, but then there won't be any cookie dough left for ME, and THAT is a VERY bad thing). Working.

(image) Oops, gotta go. My Josh is INSISTING that I need a relaxing massage. *sigh* Oh, the things I must endure to keep that man happy.

QB's February 2010 Quickies


"So, read any good books lately?""What did you think of...?"Here's my Quickie Reviews to answer to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer AshleyHighland Pleasures, book 1Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (A,A-)Flame Height: 5.5" out of 9"In our times, Ian would probably have been diagnosed as autistic as a child. But in the Victorian era, his father had him locked away in a brutal asylum. After inheriting the ducal seat upon their father's death, Ian's oldest brother demanded and received his release from the asylum. With his brothers' help, Ian then had to learn how to mimic "normal" human interaction without understanding or feeling it himself. Look, I'll make my thoughts short and sweet on the story that unfolds-- loved Ian, loved Beth, loved Ian's family. Marvelously, beautifully unique story and characters.Piquant Opines: KristieJ, Tracy, Karen Scott, Jill D, Dear Author-Janet, RTBeyond the Night by Joss WareAwakening Heroes, book 1Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. (A-,B+,B)Flame Height: 5" out of 9"I normally wouldn't give a second glance to a post-apocalypti​c SF romance- they are usually too bleak, depressing and hopeless- but I read somewhere that Joss Ware is another pen name for Colleen Gleason. Talk about extremes! From the Gardella Vampire Chronicles (aka Buffy Does Regency), to post-apocalypti​c SF? I was intrigued. And you know what? I couldn't put it down! I've already bought the next book in the series.A group of men go caving near Sedona Arizona in 2011. Something happens, and when they dig their way out, it's fifty years later, the world as they knew it has been destroyed, and they seem to have some special powers. Besides the romance between one of these men, Dr. Elliott Drake, and one of the descendents of survivors, Jade, this book introduces us to a mysterious race of immortal beings and their zombie-like slaves. Did the Strangers have something to do with the destruction of civilization? Who or what are they? We DO find out in this first book, and I've got to say that I never saw THAT one coming! Can't wait to find out what's up with the blondes.The hairs on the back of Joss Ware's neck should be permanently raised considering the cataclysmic events happening in spots around the world right now that eerily echo the events that happened in her 2011 reality.Piquant Opines: Book Binge-Casee, Book Binge-Judith, Katiebabs-Kati, Stacy, RT Queene of Light by Jennifer ArmintroutLightworld/Dar​kworld, book 1Category: Dark Chocolate - loved by some, just "meh" to me (C-,D+)Flame Height: 2" out of 9"This dark fantasy story SHOULD have worked, but it just felt too disjointed. I never figured out the difference between those in the Lightworld and those in the Darkworld- they ALL lived underground in dark, nasty subway tunnels. And why did they all hate each other? I never understood what kind of being Malachi (the male lead) was before he transformed into a... something (dunno what)... after touching Ayla. I didn't get how they went from mortal enemies to being, after a couple of brief encounters, twooly in luv and willing to give up everything for each other. I found it odd that poor, down-trodden, depressing Ayla suddenly decided she wanted to be Queen. I REALLY couldn't understand, and REALLY found it odd that I slogged my way through this entire book hoping it would eventually make sense and get better.Piquant Opines: RBTB-Amy, Feathered Quill, Night Owl, RT♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥Th-th-that's all folks! Three, count 'em, THREE, whole books for the month of February. No, really, you may rise... It's truly not necessary to bow down in the face of my awesome book reading prowess.Have you read any of these books? Feel free to review or link to a review in the comments. Even if you don't agree![...]

Classic Slash Trek


Broke Trek: A Star Trek Brokeback Mountain Parody (thanks again to eGuiders)

Seriously laugh out loud campy and hi-lare-ee-ous. Wait'll you see the simulated buttsecksoring. But be warned that it's mildly NSFW.

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Recipe for Sweet Beefcake Eyecandy


Look at him, now back at me... I'm on a horse.
(Thanks to eGuiders)

Is there anyone out there that DOESN'T know what commercial I'm referring to? And to prove just how effective it is, is there anyone out there that doesn't know what PRODUCT it's shilling? (Um, okay, maybe I should qualify those questions and ask if there's anyone in the U.S. that hasn't seen it?)

Leo Laporte of TWiT Live interviewed the guys who created the ad to learn how it was made. Don't be intimidated by the length of this clip. Not only are the facts of its creation really interesting, but with heapin' helpings of sweet beefcake eyecandy, you won't even notice that much time passing.

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And here's the short version they refer to in the above video. I hadn't seen this one.
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I Haz a Giddee


see more dog and puppy picturesI'm finally going to go see Garth in concert! You've got no idea how much this means to me. Seriously, I'm pretty sure I'm going to start bawling happy tears when he walks out on that stage! And my husband will be a total grump because A) He doesn't like Country music and B) I've always been straight-up with him about the fact that Garth is the only man I would ever leave him for (ignoring the fact that he's now married to Trisha, whose name I say in my head with the same inflections that Seinfield used to say "Hello Newman"). But we'll be kid-free and in Vegas, so Ima thinkin' I can find SOME creative way to exorcize da grumpeez outta him. *winkwink-nudgenudge*Back in the early 90's I was mostly listening to Oldies and Classic Rock radio stations because there wasn't really much of anything new and exciting happening in Rock music and pretty much nothing worth listening to in Pop. I don't remember what year it was exactly, but around that same time, NBC aired that first Garth concert special. So I figured I'd tune in a see what this Garth guy was all about and... HOLY SHIT! What IS that?! I want more, More, MORE!Naturally I went out and bought all the tapes I could get my hands on (yes I said TAPES- as in CASSETTES. Shut up. I had to work with what that MomMobile had.) and I loved every minute of them. Later, his greatest hits CD, The Hits, ended up saving my sanity, and that's not hyperbole. My mother was staying with us for about 6 weeks after having back surgery. At the time, my two oldest kids were in 1st grade, demon spawn #3 was a demanding toddler, and #4 wasn't born yet. Because #3 was so demanding I was only working part time and had to do much of my work at home whenever she would let me or when my husband was home to watch her. So, add my demanding mother into the mix, and a husband who resented the way she treated me so that the tension between them made things worse, and really, there were days I was sure I was going to go bug-fucking nuts postal.Only Garth's The Hits CD saved them all from Armageddon by Bevzilla. See my only escape was to go to the grocery store. So I'd go at night when it was dark and no one could see me. Then, after hurrying to get the groceries, I'd drive aimlessly around back roads singing to The Hits at the top of my lungs. Yeah, my singing would make your ears bleed, but at least singing along with Garth is easy enough that I didn't hurt myself trying. Anyway, after about an hour of that, I was always renewed and recharged and could go home and face the tension and pressure again for a few days until it built up enough that I needed to "get groceries" again. And Garth also brought me, a rock fan, over to Country radio. I always liked Country Rock groups like Buffalo Springfield, Poco, The Eagles, but Country WESTERN? Nuh-uh, no way. Too twangy. Or it WAS, before the appearance of Garth, the rest of the "Class of '89", and many others they later influenced. And I've continued to be a Country fan, although lately I've found myself listening to Classic Rock a lot again (too many sound-alike girl singers, I think).I always wanted to go see a Garth concert, but back when he was touring with that wild, kick-ass stage show, I just wasn't staying current with what was going on outside of home and work. So it never failed that, when he was playing in Cleveland or Pittsburgh, I wouldn't hear about it until weeks after the concerts were sold out.So when it was announced that he would be playing at The Wynn Las Vegas in a small, intimate venue a few weekends a year, I knew I HAD to go. But I didn't bother to try the first quarter because I knew there would be little chance I'd get through. So I've been waiting for the next quarter sale dates to be announced. Well Good News-Bad News. Good News- the tickets were going on sale this morning. Bad News- I'd be slogging around the slushy cold streets of Pittsburgh on a college visit with[...]

Nommin' Da Plumes


I once again have the honor of being a first round judge for the Passionate Plumes, awarded by Passionate Ink, the erotic romance chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Winners will be announced at the Passionate Ink gathering at RWA's 30th Annual National Conference July 28-31, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.As you know, my tired, old, baggy eyes aren't up to reading ebooks anymore. However, there are very few PP entries available in print. Last year I indicated a preference for print and well, let's just say I decided it was worth risking eyestrain in order to get a chance at a better selection this year.So I've received 5 ebooks. ALL are paranormal this time (YEAH!)- one about the Sidhe, one vampire, one werewolf, one based on Greek mythology in a contemporary setting, and one based on psychic powers. One's from Samhain so I have high hopes for it. Two are from Loose Id who've placed something in their PDFs that blocks me from converting to LIT (a pox on them for that) which means I'll have to read them in PDF instead of MSReader; which means no saving my place, no bookmarks, no sticky notes, etc. Which means they better be good because I WILL be irritated! Another book is from an epub I'm not familiar with. And the fifth is a cheesy sounding story from an epub that is known for its cheesiness. I'm trying to read that last one first to get it out of the way, but its constant scene jumping is irritating me to no end. Yowzer, is that Limburger I smell?I do have to give kudos to Loose Id and Samhain for including the blurbs and series sequence right at the beginning of the ebooks. That is SUCH an appreciated convenience!And since this year I will also be a judge for RomCon's The Readers' Crown™, AND since those books are due to be shipped next week, AND since it's my crunch time for work, don't expect to see me around much. I consider judging to be, not only an honor, but a responsibility I take seriously. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥And now because I'm still fantasizing about it and still hoping that once Microsoft releases its Windows Phone 7 Series (not that I'll give up my leetle pink Razr anytime soon) and HP releases its Slate, then maybe, just maybe, Microsoft will then turn to the release of what I consider to be Tech Pr0n, The Microsoft Courier. You have no idea how much I'm lusting after this thing. I watch the supposedly "leaked" videos with as much intensity as some people watch internet porn. Seriously, who needs that oversized, underpowered, censored-to-all-hell-by-Big-Brother Apple iPad when you can have this. Man, this better not turn out to be vaporware. I'm still disappointed that Microsoft didn't announce this baby at CES last month.Just look at it- the perfect size to fit in my purse; its got a clamshell book-like design so I can throw it in my purse without a cover; it uses finger touch or stylus (which I prefer); I can probably use MSReader for all my LIT ebooks, and I'm assuming that any ebook reading software for other formats that's available for Windows 7 will work on it; and... and... aw, hell, just watch the video pr0n:*le sigh* Was it as good for you as it was for me? [...]

2010 Audie Nominees Announced


From The Audio Publishers Association (APA):February 15, 201015th ANNUAL AUDIES® COMPETITION SHOWS STRENGTH OF AUDIO INDUSTRYWinners to be Announced May 25 at The Museum of the City of New YorkPrinceton Junction, NJ – The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has announced nominations for its 2010 Audies competition, the only awards program in the United States devoted entirely to honoring spoken word entertainment. Winners will be announced at the Audies Gala on May 25, 2010, at The Museum of the City of New York in New York City.Another record-breaking year with 1,056 titles entered, 2010 was a year of innovation for the competition. APA took the Audies into the 21st century and partnered with APA member, Audible, Inc., to distribute almost all titles for consideration digitally to judges. In years past, judges primarily received shipments of audiobooks on CDs and cassettes.Finalists for the most prestigious awards, Distinguished Achievement in Production and Audiobook of the Year, will be announced in the spring. The Distinguished Achievement in Production award honors an audiobook that demonstrates excellence in all areas of production. The Audiobook of the Year award recognizes an audiobook that, through quality, innovation, marketing and sales, has had a significant impact on the industry. Other categories for the judges' consideration included Audio Drama, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Humor, Multi-Voiced Performance, Mystery, Romance, Spanish Language, Thriller/Suspense and many more.“Each year the entries continue to grow in number and improve in quality and production,” said Janet Benson, APA President. “This is an encouraging indicator of the health of the audiobook industry. Also, such strong participation in the competition has allowed the association to plan for more widespread initiatives to ultimately help our member companies increase sales despite the challenging economic climate.”Here's a few noteworthy (sez I) categories. Read the complete Nominee List PDF here.AUDIO DRAMAFocus on the Family Radio Theatre: The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, adapted by PaulMcCusker, Narrated by Andy Serkis and a full cast, Tyndale HouseLittle Dorrit, by Charles Dickens, Narrated by Sir Ian McKellan and a full cast, BBC Audiobooks AmericaThe Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett, Narrated by Michael Madsen, Sandra Oh, Edward Herrmann and a full cast, Blackstone AudioThe Rivalry, by Norman Corwin, Narrated by Paul Giamatti, James Gleason, Lily Rabe, David Strathairn and Shannon Cochran, L.A. Theatre WorksThe Word of Promise® Audio Bible, Narrated by a full cast including Michael York, Richard Dreyfuss, Gary Sinise and others, Thomas Nelson Inc.Holy celebrities, Batgirls! The list of narrators in that category reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood. MYSTERYBlack Money, by Ross Macdonald, Narrated by Grover Gardner, Blackstone AudioDevil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley, Narrated by Michael Boatman, Audible, Inc.The Dying Breed, by Declan Hughes, Narrated by Stanley Townsend, Isis PublishingRevelation, by C.J. Sansom, Narrated by Steven Crossley, Recorded BooksThe Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1, by Arthur Conan Doyle, Narrated by Charlton Griffin, Audio ConnoisseurHmmm. That Sherlock Holmes anthology sounds pretty good. Adding to wish list. NARRATION BY THE AUTHOR or AUTHORSMichael Chabon, Manhood for Amateurs, HarperAudioKristin Chenoweth, A Little Bit Wicked, Oasis AudioNeil Gaiman, Odd and the Frost Giants, HarperChildrensAudioTim Green, Baseball Great, HarperChildrensAudioJeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses, Simon & Schuster AudioROMANCEDark Slayer, by Christine Feehan, Narrated by Phil Gigante and Jane Brown, Brilliance AudioThe House on Tradd Street, by Karen White, Narrated by Aimée Bruneau, Listen & Live AudioA Rogue of My Own, by Johanna Lindsey, Narrated by Rosalyn Landor, Brilliance AudioThe Untamed Bride, by[...]

We Dressed Up Our Barbies and Kens...


(image) ...but apparently teh menz like to dress up their playthings too.

(image) (via QueerClick) has an entire line of "designer wear for down there". WARNING: NSFW

I can't decide if my favorite is Pirate Hardwood (Yaaargh... Thar she blows!) or Stroker the Cowboy (YEE-HAH! Round 'em up and whip 'em out!) Coming soon (har) are Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Bone Yard.

So you say you need a last minute Valentine's present for your Mister and his Mr. Happy?

Happy 3rd Blogiversary to Me!


Yep, as of yesterday, this blog has existed for THREE YEARS!

Okay, yeah, I recently went on walkabout for a few months, but that wasn't my fault. No really. In addition to just not having TIME to blog (hence this day-late post), the fact is that I really didn't have much to say. I KNOW... ME with nothing to say! What's up with THAT?!

But I think what started it was a string of favorite authors/series with less than stellar, or disappointing, or in some cases flat-out AWFUL books. That snowballed into a reading slump where most books I picked up just seemed like too much of a commitment. You wouldn't believe all the books scattered all around here where I read the first few pages, sighed, and sat it down because I just didn't feel like committing to the time required to read it. And when I DID decide a book was worth reading, it took me DAYS of start/stop reading to finish it! Really, I think I read more books in January than I I have in TOTAL over the past few months.

I'm debating whether to do a blog post/series of blog posts about the let downs. Try to exorcize the bad-read mojo by purging all my negative thoughts at once. I dunno, is it bad sportsmanship to only post negative reviews?

One of the scary things is that, even though I've eagerly devoured books by these authors in the past, once I hit these disappointing books, in many cases I haven't been able to read any other books in these series. Kind of like when you eat a favorite meal over and over again- can't get enough of it- but then that one time, the flu hit soon after eating your favorite. The next time you start to eat that favorite meal again, you can't help but think of all the swirling chunky bits you ralphed into the toilet bowl the last time you ate it.

QB's January 2010 Quickies, Part II


"So, read any good books lately?""What did you think of...?"Here's my Quickie Reviews to answer to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.Kitty's House of Horrors by Carrie VaughnKitty Norville Book 7See INDEX for previous books.Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (A,A-)Flame Height: 2" out of 9"Talk radio host and werewolf Kitty agrees to participate in a reality show along with other shapeshifters, vampires, and psychics. Filming in an isolated location starts off pretty much as Kitty anticipated, but then things suddenly start to go alarmingly wrong. The participants are being hunted. Some die. The best Kitty 2.0 story yet (Kitty Takes a Holiday is still my favorite Kitty 1.0, or pre-alpha, story). If you read this without reading the previous Kitty books, you probably won't quite understand why I enjoyed this so much more than many other Urban Fantasies. Piquant Opines: Fresh Fiction, Nights and Weekends, RTThe Magic Knot by Helen Scott TaylorMagic Knot series Book 1The Phoenix Charm Magic Knot series Book 2Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. (A-,B+,B)Flame Height: 5.8" out of 9"This fantasy romance series caught my attention with the recent release of book 2. So being the OCD Reader that I am, I bought book 1, which won the American Title IV contest. I'm SO glad I did! Set in present day Cornwall with side trips to Ireland and Wales, some of the fae live secretly among humans, while others still live within the faery realms. You know, I'm pretty sure Taylor has even found a way to enchant the ink in these magical stories. There has to be some geis at work because, once the covers are opened, it's impossible to close them until the final page is read. And before I closed the cover on book 1, I was ordering book 2 from Amazon (Yeah for 2-day Prime!).Just when I was sure I knew what happened next-- because I could see THOSE romance tropes coming from a mile away-- damned if Taylor didn't make a sharp turn nearly every time and gleefully skip away from the expected. (Spoiler hint: not all heroes have magic peens, and troo lurve doesn't always save the day- nor does it keep heroines from admiring other bits of sweet beefcake mancandy!)This series may end up in my Lava Cake category eventually. There's still a few unanswered questions that kind of puzzled me. Some may be answered when/if Nightshade gets his own book (pretty please?). But I'm afraid that the mystery of how Rose's mother managed to escape with all the things she escaped with (can't say more) will remain unsolved for the reader. And why didn't Michael and Niall's father bother telling either of them the truths about themselves? Of course we may find out more about him someday in HIS own book, too. Oh, and I was disappointed that we never heard from Niall and Rose (from book 1) throughout the entire 2nd book. Considering what they left behind under Michael and Cordelia's care, I just didn't find it plausible that they wouldn't be checking in or rushing back. But you know what? Set those questions aside for right now. Just sit back and enjoy taking the fun, magical ride that is The Magic Knot series.Piquant Opines: The Book Smugglers, RT, RT, TRSCall of the Highland Moon by Kendra Leigh CastleThe MacInnes Werewolves Trilogy, book 1Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)Flame Height: 5" out of 9"Contemporary Highland werewolf Gideon MacInnes goes for a walkabout in America before he settles down to become his pack's Alpha. When injured, his wolfie senses lead him to his mate, Carly Silver, an American who owns a Romance bookstore. A light, entertaining read. Kind of[...]

QB's January 2010 Quickies, Part I


"So, read any good books lately?""What did you think of...?"Here's my Quickie Reviews to answer to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.A Love For All Time by Bertrice Small Sky O'Malley series, book 3Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (A,A-)Flame Height: 6" out of 9"For years, this 3rd book in The O'Malley Saga (copyright 1986, but I've seen references to a 1981 release date) was unavailable except for expensive used copies. So you might imagine how thrilled I was to FINALLY complete my set with this reprint. This one is about Skye's youngest brother, Conn, a charming Irishman considered to be "the handsomest man at court" and a particular favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. After he causes one too many scandals, Queen Bess marries him off to one of her wards, the relatively plain-faced heiress Aiden St. Michael. The story that unfolds is vintage Small (yes, kidnapping and harems are involved). The only reason this one isn't Crème Brûlée like the rest of the series, is because, since the male lead is Skye's brother, we know going into it that he won't meet an unexpected early death. LOL, yeah, sounds bloodthirsty, but one of the myriad reasons I love Ms. Small so much is that I never know which man will be the ultimate survivor who wins the HEA with the heroine. Piquant Opines:, AAR, allreadersWicked Enchantment by Anya Bast Dark Magick series, book 1Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. (A-,B+,B)Flame Height: 5" out of 9"Wicked Enchantment definitely lands solidly in the ROMANCE genre, but its DARK FANTASY elements are what attracted me to it. Back in the 1600's, the fae were decimated by Watt Syndrome, an illness that may or may not have been magically created by a race of druids known as the Phaendir. Taking advantage of the fae's weakened state, the Phaendir teamed up with humans to hunt down and imprison the remaining fae within a magical warding. This warded zone, Piefferburg, is still in existence today; its warding maintained by a sort of collective hive of magic within the Phaendir. Through Phaendir-guarded trade with humans, the high ranking fae are now fairly wealthy, but nonetheless remain prisoners within this area around the North Carolina Outer Banks. On a humorous note, how hilariously appropriate is it that the humans would have a camera crew inside the Seelie court filming a 24 hour a day reality show called FAEMOUS? That's the basic background of the world building. Apparently the series will delve into a quest to find the elements needed to break the Phaendir's warding of Piefferburg and be a free race again. In this book, one of the pieces had already been found which, as I recently found out, is Bella and Ronan's story, a novella-length prequel in the Hot for the Holidays anthology (I've since bought it but haven't read it yet). During the course of Wicked Enchantment we find out another crucial element has been in the possession of Aislinn, who had no idea what it was. In addition to a fresh take on fae myths and unique world building, this book centers on Aislinn, who is a high ranking member of the Seelie court, and Gabriel, an important member of the Unseelie court, and his attempts to persuade her over to "the dark side". Lots of twists, turns and surprises made this a very engrossing, fast-paced read. Having said all that, I personally would have preferred a bit more of an in-depth/extended look into the fae politics, but that's just my personal preference. However, I have to give Bast extra credit for just how much detail and imagination she was able to include within the framework of a romance (as opposed to an urban/dark fantasy). I would[...]

I Look FA-A-Bulous...



...thanks to RuPaul's Drag Race Dragulator (via (image) Miss Tipsie Belmont is absolutely Fierce on Stilettos, don't ya think?

And my blog has now had a bit of a makeover too. Nothing major, just less work because I decided to let my Amazon Wish Lists do most of my sidebar work for me. I also added a couple of new pics of chocolatey goodness.

Yep, I'm reviving this poor old lifeless blog. Oh, I may not post as often as I used to, but I WILL post. In fact, thanks again to my Amazon Wish Lists, I am actually working up a post on my January reads. I'll probably never review my whole backlog, maybe a few here and there, but I can start up fresh with January and proceed from there.

(image) Now, if only I can remember what little HTML I used to know.

Now THIS is news...


... worth blogging about!

(image) According to's Michael Ausiello, in the upcoming season of HBO's True Blood, Bill (Stephen Moyer, left) and Sam (Sam Trammell, right) "will forge 'not just any connection, [but] an erotic connection.'”

My bet is that, like Sookie with Eric (so far), it won't go any further than Sam having erotic dreams of Bill because he drank Bill's blood. But BOO-YAH!

(image) The only thing hotter would be me and Eric steaming up the sheets. Okay, so that would undoubtedly not be hotter for any of YOU, in fact, you'd probably castrate, sew-it-up, or otherwise personally mame yourself into permanent celibacy. But hey, I'm a fashionista in Charlaine Harris' fictional world (Dead and Gone), so I could always declare myself to be fictionally HOT too, right?

(image) Oh, btw, I've had to turn comment moderation on because I have a couple of persistant spammers/asswipes who have discovered this blog. What a fruitless waste of time. Get a life cuz I ain't clicking on, buyin' from, or friendin' the likes of you scumquats.

On My Short List...


...of Most Entertaining Commercials Evah!

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Thanks to eGuiders' Newsletter for the Heads-Up!

BTW, yes, I'm still alive, just never time to blog and seldom time to blog visit. As much as I love Summertime, it will be nice if/when I get the house back to myself someday.

2009 Audie Award Winners!


I promise a nice, long chatty post later about what I've been doing during my Blogosphere Break, but first I have to say that, in addition to being a bad blogger, I also really suck as a fangirl. If it wasn't for an email from Phil G today (SQUEE!), who knows when I would have remembered to check the results of last nights Audie Awards! DOH!Anyway, note the winner in the Romance book category-- uh-huh, that's right, Mr. Eargasm himself, Phil Gigante, for his brilliant narration performance of Karen Marie Moning's The Dark Highlander (the one with Dageus MacKeltar and Chloe Zanders)!!Although, as I've said before, they really should have created a whole new Series Narration category so he could win that one too. Right along with Johanna Parker. Oh, have I mentioned that I'm a Phil G. fangirl? Hmmm... I might have had a thing or two to say about him here and here, here, here, here, and here, oh and here, here, here, and here.As an audio book enthusiast (and in the interest of fairness), I want to congratulate ALL the deserving nominees. But really, there can't be too many other narrators that have fangirl groupies swooning over them, can there? Here's a few of the categories and winners. For the complete list, go to The Audio Publisher's Association (APA) site (which should have them posted soon) or, as I did, go to AudioFile Magazine's Audies page.CHILDREN’S TITLES FOR AGES 8-12The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden, Narrated by Tony Shalhoub, Macmillan AudioFairest, by Gail Carson Levine, Narrated by Sarah Naughton and a full cast, Full Cast AudioWINNER: The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, Narrated by Neil Gaiman, HarperAudioOne-Handed Catch, by M.J. Auch, Narrated by Ryan Sparkes and a full cast, Full Cast AudioNation, by Terry Pratchett, Narrated by Stephen Briggs, HarperAudioCLASSIC The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, Narrated by Grover Gardner, Blackstone Audio,Inc.The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, Narrated by John Lee, Blackstone Audio, Inc.Galapagos, by Kurt Vonnegut, Narrated by Jonathan Davis, Audible, Inc.WINNER: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, Narrated by Simon Vance, Tantor MediaThe Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, Narrated by Simon Vance, Blackstone Audio, Inc.HISTORYThe Bloody Shirt, by Stephen Budiansky, Narrated by Phil Gigante, Brilliance AudioWINNER: Gandhi and Churchill, by Arthur Herman, Narrated by John Curless, Recorded BooksThe Ghost Mountain Boys: Their Epic March and the Terrifying Battle for New Guinea – The Forgotten War of the South Pacific, by James Campbell, Narrated by Stephen Hoye, Tantor MediaThe Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, by Annette Gordon-Reed, Narrated by Karen White, Tantor MediaPictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood, by Mark Harris, Narrated by Lloyd James, Tantor MediaMULTI–VOICED PERFORMANCEFamily Audio Bible, Narrated by Dick Cavett, Marsha Mason, Andrew McCarthy, Martha Plimpton and Tom Wopat, HarperAudioWINNER: Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan, Narrated by Joey Collins, Peter Jay Fernandez, Kate Forbes, Ezra Knight, Brenday Pressley and Tom Stechschulte, Recorded BooksThe Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich, Narrated by Peter Francis James and Kathleen McInerney, HarperAudioThe Word of Promise®: Next Generation-New Testament, by Various Authors, Narrated by Sean Astin and a full cast including Codey Linley, AnnaSophia Robb and Jordin Sparks, Thomas Nelson, IncMYSTERYA Killing Frost, by R. D. Wingfield, Narrated by Stephen Thorne, Ulverscroft Group LtdCross, by Ken Bruen, Narrated by Gerry O'Brien, Ulverscroft Group LtdThe Silver Swan, by Benjamin Black, Narrated by Timothy Dalton, [...]

Just Sayin'...



You can imagine my reaction when I received this from Charlaine... so, um... are your ears are still ringing from The Fangirl Squee Heard 'Round the World? **

** Confused? Click here.

*WINNER* Blue Diablo Contest


(image) Ann Aguirre - Blue Diablo, Corine Solomon book 1

And the winner is...


Contact azteclady1 at gmail dot com ASAP with your physical address so she can mail your book. CONGRATS!

It's a Wrap: Ann Aguirre's Reader Blog Tour and Contest


Ann Aguirre - Blue Diablo, Corine Solomon book 1Yes, that's right, in between her world travels and calls to the gas company, Ann Aguirre has been doing a whirlwind Reader Blog Tour that ends right here before she jets off to RT Con in Orlando.Ah well, last week I finally gave up and cancelled my hotel reservations for RT Con (I had reserved suites at two different hotels just in case I ended up going). So, since I won't be meeting Ann in person after all (or you either, AZL), I'm at least lucky enough that she's stopping by today to share a bit of warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (Yep, it's that good).Read on to find out how you can also be lucky enough to enjoy a copy of Ann's urban fantasy, Blue Diablo, or if you've already read it, watch for Ann's alternate prize.But first, Ann dishes about Corine's sex life (note Ann's casting choices that I want to disagree with SO badly)...♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥By now, many of you will have read Blue Diablo. (If you haven´t, what are you waiting for?!) That means I can discuss the book in a bit more detail than I have done previously in the tour. Yippee!Since this is Bev´s blog, I´m going to talk about sex and relationships, or vice versa, maybe. [Bev: Whatever could you mean? ::bats eyes innocently::] In Blue Diablo, I explore the trope of lovers reunited or star-crossed lovers, if you will. That´s Corine and Chance.She broke up with Chance eighteen months before the start of the book, believing he didn´t love her as much as she loved him. She felt as if he only maintained a relationship with her because it was convenient, and he wanted to profit from her gift. So she left him in the middle of the night, after an accident that nearly cost her life.Chance represents many things to Corine: adventure, danger, excitement, potent sexual attraction. Blogger Katiebabs did a great job of describing him, in fact. Let me quote her briefly: ¨Chance is that seductive type of guy a woman would do anything for... a slick guy...¨YA author Stacey Klemstein, also known as Stacey Kade, had the following to say about the book: ¨It was so REFRESHING to read something different but still an urban fantasy, if that makes sense. Also? Chance is HOT. His ability in particular or his luck, however you phrase it, was particularly intriguing because it was like nothing I'd ever heard of before. I'm totally 100% Chance. I like Jesse, too, don't get me wrong, and he's probably a better long term relationship choice, but...I have a thing for bad boys. Not that Chance is bad exactly, just more dangerous somehow.I LOVE that about these characters too. Corine's gift is a gift but it hurts her and leaves her with physical marks. That, too, is something I'd never read before. And Chance is dangerous, not because you could get your heart stomped on, which is the usual kind of danger, but with his luck, you could end up being a victim. Basically, loving him could kill you.¨She has totally hit the nail on the head, regarding the conflict inherent in their relationship. It´s not just that they have communication and trust issues (and they do). There are also real concerns about his gift. He nearly got Corine killed once before because of his luck, and it doesn´t have an off button. (You´ll need to read it to understand, and if you´ve already read it, good for you!)As for Jesse, he represents safety and securty, home and earth. With Jesse Saldana, Corine could realize her dream of being normal, marrying into a family of ¨Gifted¨ humans, who have known about their abilities for many generations. Sh[...]

A Few of My Favorite Things


No raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, just a few things that have given me Teh Happy lately:Ann Aguirre - Blue Diablo, Corine Solomon book 1 Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (A,A-)Flame Height: 3.5" out of 9"Today is the offical release date for Ann Aguirre's Blue Diablo. Yes, I read the eArc, but this one's a keeper and I'll be buying the print too.In case you haven't seen it yet, head over to Ann Aguirre's site to download her April newsletter (or you can join her Google group to read it). Why? Because AztecLady, who creates the newsletter, was apparently crafting with some of Tracy's glue and asked me to contribute a short piece on Urban Fantasy heroines. Here's the section of that article that pertains specifically to Blue Diablo (quoting myself. heh.):You know how you’ll often hear a guy referred to as “a man’s man”? Well Corine is “a woman’s woman” that I couldn’t help but identify and empathize with. Ann has given us a heroine who’s more BFF than avatar. She’ll have your back in a bar fight; but she won’t be bailing you out of jail because she’ll drag your butt out from under the bar and through the window before the cops ever get there. She loves food, drinks, and damns her hips. Corine sometimes has to bite her tongue to hold back inappropriate comments, and sometimes she doesn’t bother to hold back. She gets horny and gets satisfied, whether alone or with someone else—unless she’s denying herself to prove a point. She unabashedly appreciates a nice helping of eye candy. And, oh yeah, she also happens to possess a few paranormal gifts that have kept her on the run most of her life and get her involved with other not-quite-normal characters. Those other characters include her ex-boyfriend, Chance, who’s complicating her life again, but still needs to prove to Corine that he’s not just offering lip service (in more ways than one). Within just a few moments of meeting Corine I eagerly followed her away from my world and into hers. Is there anything better than feeling reality slip away as you settle into a great book? Blue Diablo reminded me why I love to read, and Corine reminded me why I love to read Ann Aguirre’s characters. Really, I could go on and on about Ann's new type of Urban Fantasy heroine but that quote pretty much sums up why Blue Diablo really is as nummy as "warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts". Read more about it here. And while you're on Ann's Site, check out her blog's sidebar to see all the stops in her Blue Diablo blog tour- she'll be here on April 20th. She's giving a copy of Blue Diablo away at each stop of the tour!Piquant Opines: Book Smugglers, Darque Reviews, Rosie, Katiebabs, RT Have you read this book? Feel free to review or link to a review in the comments. Even if you don't agree!♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥American Idol- or more specifically, Adam Lambert (at right in pic) and his opening acts Kris Allen (left), and Allison Iraheta (center). Okay, I'll add Matt Giraud in 4th place, but I think Danny Gokey and Lil Rounds are overrated and not unique enough. Same goes for Anoop Desaii, but I never did get Scott MacIntyre's appeal. Alexis Grace should have been part of my top 4 or 5.However Adam is the one I wait for each week, the rest just entertain me while I'm waiting to see what he'll do next. The term "gifted" gets thrown around way too often, but this kid truly does possess a gift. What I find hilarious is the non-scandal th[...]

Castelnuovo, Italy


Some of you may remember that my oldest daughter spent the fall semester (2007) of her junior year in college living in Rome right outside the Vatican walls and studying at Pontifical Urbaniana University within Vatican City (I think I have that name right).

The first three weeks that her study abroad group spent in Italy was in their advisor's hometown of Castelnuovo. While there, in addition to intense Italian language lessons, they explored the countryside, hiked a couple of mountains, and spent a day playing in the Aegean Sea.

The people of Castelnuovo and the surrounding towns like L'Aquila welcomed those kids with open arms and she will always have fond memories of her time there.

Right now, her professor is on personal leave in Italy (outside of the Castelnuovo area) to be with her dying mother. While everyone's prayers are with her during this time, it turns out that it also saved her and any new study abroad students from being in Castelnuovo during the earthquake that has killed so many and destroyed so much.

My daughter and every student that has been part of her college's Vatican studies program mourn with the residents there every time they hear of another death or see a picture showing the rubble of another building they became so familiar with, such as the apartment building they lived in and its adjacent restaurant, and the church where they attended Mass every week.

Most moving of all however, was the picture of Bianca, a neighbor's lovable pet whom they all spent time playing with, searching through the rubble for its missing owners.

We humans are odd creatures, aren't we? All the human grief and loss, yet it is a picture of a forlorn pet that has the most emotional impact illustrating the losses in that devastated area.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Castelnuovo and the surrounding areas.

Save the Contemporary Romance?


Oh HELL NO!AAAAAHHHHHHH... Make the bad words go away!!!!!see more Lolcats and funny picturesAs I said previously, THREE out of the five books I’m judging for this year’s Passionate Plumes are Contemporary Romances.Book one is from an author whose paranormal I judged VERY highly before. But this Contemp? Not so much. The heroine female lead has a nasty personal hygiene problem. After a double penetration ménage scene that involved condoms and copious amounts of lube, she pulls on her clothes and leaves. After another scene that involved anal sex and no condom, she again merely pulled her clothes on and left. Then came the complete gross out scene— after an entire night of marathon sweaty sex, her alarm goes off in HER HOUSE, and she gets up, gets dressed and goes to work.Now, I can hear you saying, “Bev, REALLY, do you honestly expect an author to detail every trip to the bathroom?” No, no I don’t. However, when an author describes in great detail every little thing the female lead does—from what drawer she pulled clothes out of to what she pulled out of each drawer and what color each item was- I think it’s reasonable to expect at least a brief mention that this woman also stopped by the bathroom to finish getting ready. I mean, they were awake BEFORE the alarm and she got out of bed as soon as it went off, so it’s not plausible that she was too rushed to pop into the bathroom to hose herself down. Instead, this author had the heroine pulling on each item of clothing as she talked to the hero and then rushing downstairs to feed her dog (I’ve chosen to presume she had a doggie door and the poor dog wasn’t expected to hold it all night and all day) and then out the door to work. At no point did she make ANY stops to take a shower, comb her hair, or even wash off. Note that there was also NO TEETH BRUSHING either and this skanky smelling woman WENT TO WORK THAT WAY! EEEEWWWWWWW! Can you imagine working beside this oozing spooge queen all day?!However, I DID make it through the book because the storyline wasn’t completely awful. Mind you, it wasn’t great, and I’d have a tough time calling it good, but it wasn’t awful. On the Passionate Plume Judging Scale of 1 to 9, I gave it a 5.8. I think I would let it just barely slip into the bottom (heh) of my M&Ms category with a Flame Height of 7” out of 9”. Wait, I take that back, the hygiene issue was a complete turn-off so I’m deducting Flame Height for that. So let’s say 6.5” out of 9” Flame Height.I decided to break up the Contemporaries with the two Historicals between each of them. They are both by the same author and are books 2 and 3 of a series. I finished the first historical (book 2 of the series) and it really wasn’t bad- VERY erotic and definitely pushes the envelope for mainstream press. If it was from an epub, I’d say it probably would receive one of their higher heat or flame ratings. As for the storyline, I often felt like chunks of the story were missing. Not characters or info from the previous book that I haven’t read, but sections that would help make more sense of the plot of THIS book seemed to be missing and I often felt like I’d walked into the middle of a conversation or scene. All in all though, I liked the characters despite their professed arousal at body odors (Yes, I’ll cut the historical SOME slack about hygiene), and I was COMPLETELY surprised by the identity of the villain and their motivations. So, this one gets scored 6.8 out o[...]

Another Secret Revealed!


I'm guest blogging over at the DIK Ladies blog today talking about... well... DIKs! Oh, and Secret Coves. And there are hot menz involved.

Intrigued? Click here.

True Life True Blood



Well, this is an interesting exclusive interview from TV Guide via Popeater today:

True Blood's True Romance

True Blood stars Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin say it’s true love. The pair—who play romantically linked 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton and telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse on the HBO series—have confirmed they are dating. “We are together,” Moyer told TV Guide Magazine exclusively on the True Blood set—right after finishing an intense scene where Bill and Sookie have a major lover’s quarrel.

Moyer and Paquin’s real-life romance first sparked at the True Blood audition, but the couple decided to wait to go public. “The reason it was dodged last year was very intentional on both our parts,” says Moyer. “It was very important to me that the cast and crew we were working with didn’t feel it was fickle, and didn’t feel it could possibly potentially encroach on their lives, you know, just like, ‘Oh the two stars are having a thing.’ We didn’t want to take anything away from the show. The show is the star, not the two people having a relationship.”

So where is this romance going? Well, it seems Moyer, 37, and Paquin, 26, are living together—at least on this side of the pond. Moyer, who is British, divides his time between Los Angeles and London where he has two young children from a previous relationship. “It’s just exciting and that was there from day one,” Moyer says. “We always take the piss out of each other and are silly with each other and it is great. We’re very, very happy. She’s the best.” —Kate Hahn

I imagine gettin' it on for the cameras every week let's you get to know someone fairly quick. I wish them all the luck in the world, but how many times have we seen serial monogamists in the acting community who find a new "true love" on each different project.

Having said that, I can't help but wonder if producer Ball will luck out and this real life romance will start hitting the skids, as Hollywood romances usually do, about the time that Bill and Sookie part company. Wouldn't THAT make for some genuine scenes! I know... my bad.

The Best Laid Plans


see more crazy cat pics"I am determined to not read another book until I've got my sidebars updated including writing QB's Commentaries and updating my index for all the books I've read in the past few months!"‘memba that proclamation in the last post? Uh... I probably should have checked the calendar first. SOOOO can’t happen this time of year!You see, once again I have the honor of being a first round judge for the Passionate Plumes, awarded by Passionate Ink, the erotic romance chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Results of the first round voting will be announced sometime in April, with the final results announced at RWA National Conference in Washington D.C. July 15-18, 2009.I’ve been really lucky so far and have only received books in my #1 ranked genre, Paranormal. This year, however, I received NO paranormals. Instead I received two of my #2 ranked Historicals (in print), and THREE of my #4 ranked Contemporaries (1 ebook, 2 print, all appear to be menages). I don’t know if that means there was a dearth of Paranormals this year (say it ain’t so!), or there was an overabundance of Contemporaries and everyone got some, or if there is really any significance at all to the genre I received.To be fair, I did select a preference for print if possible and that might have something to do with it. I figured anything to prevent more strain on my eyes, right? But then again, last year I selected “No Preference” and received paranormals in print. Maybe it’s just a spin of the wheel.As big an honor as it is to be a first round Passionate Plumes judge, I still have to quibble with the way they categorize the books. I just don’t think the categories make sense:_ Contemporary_ Historical_ Futuristic/Fantasy/Sci-fi_ Paranormal / Time Travel_ NovellaIt seems to me that “Futuristic/Sci-fi/Time Travel” should be together and “Paranormal/Fantasy” should be together. Actually, Paranormal and Fantasy might even be separate categories. But the real puzzler for me is that NOVELLA is a genre category. HUH? Doesn’t that just refer to the LENGTH? So how can I say whether I do or do not want novellas when it would depend on the genre/theme/subject matter/whatever?Really, it’s almost impossible to rank my preferences, so this is what I ended up sending in:4- Contemporary- (rank 1-2 if m/m)2- Historical3- Futuristic/Fantasy/Sci-fi (Fantasy rank= 1-2; Futuristic Sci-Fi rank=5)1- Paranormal / Time Travel (TT rank= 3-4)-- Novella- Yes, ranked within the above genre rankingsYeah, I know, confusing. But then so are the PP categories.Anyway, back to the books. I really am not too crazy about straight Contemporaries, yet here I am with THREE of the things to read. And not even just three Contemporaries, but apparently three M/F/M ménage Contemporaries, so there might not be much variety among them. RUH-OH! Ironically, the Contemporary ebook and the two Historicals are written by authors whose PARANORMAL stories I’ve enjoyed in the past; in fact I previously judged the ebook author’s Paranormal with a very high score in a previous PP year. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad omen.But, because I take the honor of judging for the PP awards VERY seriously, I am determined to keep an open mind and judge each book on its own merits again this year. So to help facilitate that happening I plan to read a Contemporary, then a Historical, then Contemporary, Historica[...]