Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On My Short List...

...of Most Entertaining Commercials Evah!




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.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

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!

Phil Giganteaudiobook- The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie MoningAnyway, 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.

Aural PleasuresAs 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 8-12
The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden, Narrated by Tony Shalhoub, Macmillan Audio
Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine, Narrated by Sarah Naughton and a full cast, Full Cast Audio
WINNER: The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, Narrated by Neil Gaiman, HarperAudio
One-Handed Catch, by M.J. Auch, Narrated by Ryan Sparkes and a full cast, Full Cast Audio
Nation, by Terry Pratchett, Narrated by Stephen Briggs, HarperAudio

CLASSIC
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 Media
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, Narrated by Simon Vance, Blackstone Audio, Inc.

HISTORY
The Bloody Shirt, by Stephen Budiansky, Narrated by Phil Gigante, Brilliance Audio
WINNER: Gandhi and Churchill, by Arthur Herman, Narrated by John Curless, Recorded Books
The 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 Media
The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, by Annette Gordon-Reed, Narrated by Karen White, Tantor Media
Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood, by Mark Harris, Narrated by Lloyd James, Tantor Media

MULTI–VOICED PERFORMANCE
Family Audio Bible, Narrated by Dick Cavett, Marsha Mason, Andrew McCarthy, Martha Plimpton and Tom Wopat, HarperAudio
WINNER: Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan, Narrated by Joey Collins, Peter Jay Fernandez, Kate Forbes, Ezra Knight, Brenday Pressley and Tom Stechschulte, Recorded Books
The Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich, Narrated by Peter Francis James and Kathleen McInerney, HarperAudio
The 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, Inc

MYSTERY
A Killing Frost, by R. D. Wingfield, Narrated by Stephen Thorne, Ulverscroft Group Ltd
Cross, by Ken Bruen, Narrated by Gerry O'Brien, Ulverscroft Group Ltd
The Silver Swan, by Benjamin Black, Narrated by Timothy Dalton, Macmillan Audio
Swan Peak, by James Lee Burke, Narrated by Will Patton, Simon & Schuster Audio
WINNER: Voice of the Violin, by Andrea Camilleri, Narrated by Grover Gardner, Blackstone Audio, Inc.

NARRATION BY THE AUTHOR or AUTHORS
Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter, Random House Audio
Joshilyn Jackson, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Hachette Audio
Cokie Roberts, Ladies of Liberty, HarperAudio
WINNER: David Sedaris, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Hachette Audio
Maria Shriver, Just Who Will You Be? HyperionAudio

POLITICS — JUDGES AWARD
Descent into Chaos, by Ahmed Rashid, Narrated by Arthur Morey, Brilliance Audio
WINNER: Hot, Flat, and Crowded, by Thomas Friedman, Narrated by Oliver Wyman, Macmillan Audio
Mike's Election Guide, by Michael Moore, Narrated by Michael Moore, Hachette Audio
The War Within, by Bob Woodward, Narrated by Boyd Gaines, Simon & Schuster Audio
The Way of the World, by Ron Suskind, Narrated by Alan Sklar, HarperAudio

in the moodROMANCE
WINNER: The Dark Highlander, by Karen Marie Moning, Narrated by Phil Gigante, Brilliance Audio
Fire Me Up, by Katie MacAlister, Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, Recorded Books
Forbidden, by Suzanne Brockmann, Narrated by Traci Svensgaard, Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Mismatch, by Tami Hoag, Narrated by Jen Taylor, BBC Audiobooks America
Tribute, by Nora Roberts, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck, Brilliance Audio

SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY
WINNER: Calculating God, by Robert J. Sawyer, Narrated by Jonathan Davis, Audible, Inc.
Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke, Narrated by Eric Michael Summerer, Audible, Inc.
Ghost Radio, by Leopoldo Gout, Narrated by Pedro Pascal, HarperAudio
Skybreaker, by Kenneth Oppel, Narrated by David Kelly, Full Cast Audio
Sunrise Alley, by Catherine Asaro, Narrated by Hillary Huber, Blackstone Audio, Inc.

TEENS
Burn Journals, by Brent Runyon, Narrated by Christopher Evan Welch, Recorded Books
The Compound, by S. A. Bodeen, Narrated by Christopher Lane, Brilliance Audio
WINNER: Curse of the Blue Tattoo, by L.A. Meyer, Narrated by Katherine Kellgren, Listen & Live Audio
Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine, Narrated by Sarah Naughton, Full Cast Audio
Paper Towns, by John Green, Narrated by Dan John Miller, Brilliance Audio
The Uprising, by Margaret P. Haddix, Narrated by Suzanne Toren, Recorded Books

THRILLER/SUSPENSE
Blue Heaven, by C.J. Box, Narrated by John Bedford Lloyd, Macmillan Audio
WINNER: Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith, Narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris, Hachette Audio
Executive Privilege, by Phillip Margolin, Narrated by Jonathan Davis, HarperAudio
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, Narrated by Neil Gaiman, HarperAudio
Sweetheart, by Chelsea Cain, Narrated by Carolyn McCormick, Macmillan Audio

AUDIOBOOK OF THE YEAR
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, read by Gerard Doyle, published by Listening Library
WINNER: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, read by the author, published by HarperAudio
A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs, read by the author, published by Macmillan Audio

Distinguished Achievement in Production
WINNER: Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L.A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren, published by Listen & Live Audio
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine, read by Sarah Naughton and a full cast, published by Full Cast Audio
Many Things Invisible by Carrington MacDuffie, read by the author, published by Blackstone Audio
The New Adventures of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer by various authors, read by Stacy Keach and a full cast, published by Blackstone Audio
Louis Vuitton Soundwalk: Shanghai read by Joan Chen, published by Soundwalk

About Audio Publishers Association (APA)

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) is a not-for-profit trade organization whose primary goals are to promote awareness of the audiobook industry, gather and disseminate industry statistics, encourage high production standards and represent the interests of audiobook publishers. Since 1986, the APA has worked to bring audio publishers together to increase interest in audiobooks. Please visit www.audiopub.org for more information.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Just Sayin'...

Dead and Gone inside cover page



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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

*WINNER* Blue Diablo Contest

Blue Diablo by Ann AguirreAnn Aguirre - Blue Diablo, Corine Solomon book 1

And the winner is...

KRISTEN

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

Monday, April 20, 2009

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

Blue Diablo by Ann AguirreAnn Aguirre - Blue Diablo, Corine Solomon book 1

Yes, 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)...

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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!

Christine Hendricks, Ann's Corine SolomonSince 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.

Cha Tae-hyun, Ann's ChanceChance 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!)

Olivier Martinez, Ann's JesseAs 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. She would have extended family, inlaws, cousins. This is stability. He represents everything she´s ever wanted. But is that what she wants, really? Should she make the safe choice?

Chance, on the other hand, has only secrets he hasn´t shared, including his real name and the identity of his father. He has a mother who is nearly as mysterious as he is, but with him, Corine will never have the sense of community and belonging she so fiercely desires. Is passion enough? Chance also has difficulty communicating and suffers from an inability to give of himself fully. In Blue Diablo, we see him struggle with that, and we see Corine´s reaction to his failure to meet her needs. But he loves her, desperately. It´s intense and bittersweet and heartbreaking at times.

As for sex, that will be handled differently in this series. Corine is a highly sexual woman, but she has enjoyed a series of one-night stands in Mexico, men she didn´t bother to get to know, and who fulfilled a physical need but not her emotional ones. Before she gives of herself again, she wants to know she´s found the person she can build a life with. That means she won´t be jumping in and out of bed, however much she may want to. No spur of the moment flings. She wants it to mean something, this time. She wants to be sure. That means there will be massive sexual tension before this thing is resolved and her heart is won.

Readers are asking me who she will choose. I honestly don´t know. A few them are surprising me by naming Kel or Booke as possible love interests. Well, I never intended that, but I honestly don´t know how her story ends. That´s part of the joy in writing: finding out.

What do you guys think? I invite you to speculate on who she might end up with and argue for your favorite. If you haven´t read it, you can pick someone at random. A random commenter will win a copy of Blue Diablo (if the winner hasn´t read it yet.) If the winner has read it, I´ll buy them any paperback they want that also costs $6.99.

And chat on!


♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Contest RulesContest Rules:
Leave a comment INCLUDING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS to have a chance at winning.

Contest lasts 24 hours and the winner will be randomly selected and announced here on this post tomorrow. Winner will also be contacted via email, and a valid email address must be provided for the comment to be entered in the giveaway. Good luck!!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thank for visiting, Ann, and thanks to the wild and glue-crazed Azteclady for arranging your visit. For what it's worth, I'm not sure who I think Corine should end up with (although, based on your casting pics, Jesse wins hands-down). You've left everything so deliciously open-ended. You gave us enough resolution to be satisfied for now, but I can't wait for Corine to let me back into her world. So, how long DO we have to wait anyhow?!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

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:

Blue Diablo by Ann AguirreAnn 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!

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AI Top ThreeAmerican 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 that occurred when he was "outted" (can you out someone who's already out?). Straight men do NOT sing Cher songs! DUH! Nothing shocking going on here people, move along.

The best way to describe his voice is that he's the luv child that resulted when Steven Tyler, Sam Harris, and Freddy Mercury got together and gang-inseminated a drag queen Liza Minelli impersonator. Yeah, sometimes he's over the top (an Indian influenced Ring of Fire, Adam? Seriously?! Holy Shit, Dude!). But what a gift he has! This kind of singer rarely comes along. And when he reigns it in and keeps complete control of his gift, the results can be unforgettably brilliant (although I'm not too crazy about the Elvis/Dean Cain look instead of his edgier look):



What's odd though is that the iTunes downloadable studio version is overproduced instead of haunting and stripped down like he did it live. My guess is that he was allowed more control over the live version.

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The Tudors season 3 posterSeason 3 of The Tudors on Showtime- although it's scheduled rather oddly since the promoted episodes are available On-Demand about a week EARLIER than the promotion date. So, even though the the first episode of season 3 just aired this past Sunday, I've already watched the second episode On-Demand. Go figure.

Anyway, I mentioned before that each episode is like an Oscar-worthy movie, but have I mentioned that I have a complete Cougar Lust Crush on Henry Cavill who plays Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk? Fortunately, his character has only had a loose connection to the real life Duke of Suffolk, so I don't have much advance knowledge of what happens to him in the series. But DAYUM, I could nom him!

Henry Cavill Henry Cavill

nomnomnomnomnom


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Richard, Anita, Jean-ClaudeI haven't quite decided if this next bit of news gives me Teh Happy or not. Back in November 2008, I posted that IFC (Independent Film Channel) had commissioned Lionsgate to develop a TV pilot based on the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton.

Well, on March 31, 2009, the official announcement was released that the project is on IFC's schedule for Summer 2010. This LKH blog post contains several links to the announcement details. However I'm still trying to wrap my head around this being an IFC project. Yet Lionsgate is no lightweight in the industry, so this could be interesting or a disaster, particularly in light of the following section of the press release (bold WTF-ery emphasis added by me):

“‘Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter’ marks the first time in IFC tv’s history that we have created a fictional feature film for the network. IFC is appealing to its core base of men ages 18-34 who are looking for vampire content. The popularity of the network in this demographic indicates that there is a clear demand for films that delve into provocative topics and nothing is more classically provocative than vampire lore” said Jennifer Caserta, EVP and general manager of IFC tv. “Anita Blake fits perfectly with our successful original programming.”

“Laurell has created a fascinating heroine in Anita Blake and we quickly recognized the onscreen potential for this vivid character,” said Kevin Beggs, Lionsgate’s president of television programming and production. “We have an outstanding creative team and are excited to be moving forward with IFC, which will allow us to fully explore the complex world of Laurell’s highly intriguing and erotically charged novels.”


See what I mean? Are they mixing up the later books with the earlier books and producing one-handed viewing for the ComicCon crowd? BTW, I always thought that vampires were more popular with women.

So will this be entertaining or a clusterfuck... or possibly an entertaining clusterfuck?

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.


Bianca, Castelnuovo, Italy Bianca, Castelnuovo, Italy

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.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Save the Contemporary Romance?

Oh HELL NO!

AAAAAHHHHHHH... Make the bad words go away!!!!!


As 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 of 9, and I’d place it firmly in my M&Ms category with a Flame Height of 8” out of 9”.

But then I picked up the third book (second Contemporary Romance) I needed to judge. Oh Great Balls of Badness! By page 22 I had already chalked the book off as a DNF at least three times. Let me repeat—BY PAGE TWENTY-FREAKIN-TWO, I had already REPEATEDLY fought back the overwhelming urge to flush this craptastic tome down the toilet. But I didn’t want to fuck up the plumbing so here it sits and the thought of picking it back up causes gagging dry heaves in much the same way that the thought of drinking any more of the GALLON of thick, slimy, salty bowel prep before my December colonoscopy did.

The premise is silly; the coincidences absurd- a woman who can’t achieve orgasm decides to try uninhibited sex with a stranger AND DOESN’T USE A CONDOM. And oh yeah, the stranger just HAPPENS to be the professor who will be teaching her upcoming sexuality class (of course she doesn’t know this yet) that her ex-boyfriend signed them up for before they broke up (I understand he shows up later in the book for a ménage). Yet, during this CONDOMLESS RIDE ON A STRANGER, she bumps and grinds but gets frustrated because she can’t reach the Big O with this guy either. Yet neither Ms. TSTL nor the Sexpert ever touch her magic luv button. HellooooOOOOO... the clit, the clitoris... ever hear of it Mr. Sexpert? Ever read Cosmo magazine, Ms. TSTL? Shit, even my kids’ health classes at a Catholic high school show the clitoris in their female genital illustrations.

Look again...Or wait, maybe the author is saying that women who can’t achieve orgasm without direct clitoral stimulation (which includes all but about 27% of women) are sexually dysfunctional. Hmmm... or maybe the author doesn’t have a clue WTF she’s writing about.

At this point I was desperate and hit the interwebs to find out if there was ANY chance- even an eentsy, weentsy one- that this sludge heap got less stinky if I could just force myself to read further. Okay, as expected the usual culprits are saying it’s one of the Best.Books.Ever. in exchange for being quoted in print. And RT gave it 4 stars (WTF?), but what’s REALLY scary is that the last Contemp I need to judge was only given 3 STARS by RT! ::*meep*:: So if this fecal matter is a FOUR STAR, then speaking in relative terms, the last Contemp WILL be flushed and damn the plumbing bill! Or there’s some m/m interaction in it. Because when it comes to m/m, an RT 3 star is the equivalent to a straight romance’s 4 or 4.5 star. ::*sigh*:: Somehow I doubt I’ll be that lucky.

A search through my Google Reader subscriptions turned up only one “regular” blogger who mentioned this piece of crapola- Kati and she gave it a D+. So, I’m assuming it doesn’t get any better and I don’t know WHAT I’m going to do about this book. And how the hell am I going to get through that LAST Contemp? NO ONE in my Gooogle Reader has reviewed it! But the blurb sounds like it might lean toward romantic suspense so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. At least I should be able to get through the last historical since it’s a sequel to the other historical I read.

In the meantime, these books had almost completely wiped out ANY urge I had to read. Now keep in mind that I haven’t read an entire book in TWO FREAKING MONTHS (just bits of anthologies) so I SHOULD have been open to ANYTHING and devoured it like a ravenous beast. THIS WAS NOT GOOD, PEOPLE!

Blue Diablo Book CoverBut I had one hope and I had deprived myself long enough. In case of emergency, open eARC. GOD BLESS ANN AGUIRRE! Within just the first few pages of Blue Diablo, I said to myself, “THIS is why I love to read.” Seriously, I’ll write my full review shortly (Ann will be guest-blogging here on April 20th), but my mental movie reel started up right away and allowed me to escape the awful Contemps. And it hasn’t stopped (Yes, Jen and MB, I’m a dork). Even though I have had to frequently put Blue Diablo down and tend to other matters ::grrrr::, the movie stays in Pause mode in my head just waiting for me to hit the Play button again. No, wait, that’s not quite right... it’s also as if I need to hurry back to it so I don’t miss anything. Okay, I realize that probably makes more sense in my head. Nonetheless, halfway through and DAYUM I’m enjoying the hell outta this one! Like I’ve said before, I’m not able to read many ebooks on my PDA anymore, but this one is well worth the risk of eye strain. Unfortunately, I had a queen sized headache all day yesterday and didn't dare try to look at that screen.

However, I STILL don’t know how I’m going to be able to read those last two Contemps, but right now I couldn’t care less because, even though it APPEARS that I’m sitting here in front of my computer in the Land O’ the Grey (NE Ohio), the truth is that I’ve escaped to Mexico and Texas. See ya in Laredo!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

True Life True Blood

Bill and Sookie



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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Best Laid Plans


"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
_ Novella

It 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- Historical
3- 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 rankings

Yeah, 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, Historical, Contemporary. Last year I received a book about Demons, Dragons, and Angels. Any ONE of those themes would have had me running the other way, but I kept an open mind and was surprised by a strong, enjoyable story.

TITLE Book CoverIf I start to feel overloaded on Contemporary ménages, I’m going to use that as a perfect excuse to take time out and read the ARC for Ann Aguirre’s Blue Diablo that I’ve been denying myself the pleasure of for far too long. Unfortunately, I’m about to start end of month work crunch again, so I don’t know how far I’ll get on any of these books until I’m done with that.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy 2nd Blogiversary to Me!

Belated Blogiversary

Actually, it's a BELATED Blogiversary because I trusted my memory (BIG mistake) and thought I popped my blogger cherry (in a post aptly titled Virgin No More) on February 17th, 2007. Turns out it was February 10th. DOH!

Friends in low placesSo here I am two years later. I've made a lot of online friends, more than a few enemies, and a handful of frenemies. There's a few people that I no longer care to visit, some that have made it clear that I shouldn't visit, but even more that I follow in Google Reader and would definitely miss if they weren't around. I think there's probably a reason why certain people play a part in our lives (cyber or real) for a while, and then when they are no longer needed because they've fulfilled or failed to fulfill whatever our initial needs were, we drift away or something happens to take them out of our (cyber or real) lives and we move on.

A lot of days (actually it seems like MOST days lately) I'm sure that I have nothing more to say. But then something silly or impassioned or bawdy will set me off and I'm back to posting and commenting again. Hell, you guys would have to turn off your blog comments to get me to shut up and leave you alone. And in case you don't realize it, I really appreciate those of you that drop by this blog and make blogging so much fun!

The very first Sweet Beefcake Eye Candy pics I posted were oldies but nummies. I find it interesting that they illustrated how I saw certain characters in books (LKH's) and here I am two years later discussing how I envision characters in books again (Madelynne Ellis').

Butt KisserAnd OMG, I was bitchin' about Sunny and her Monere series back then, yet I'm STILL reading that damn deritive, yet addictive, sludge. It's a SICKNESS I tell you and I owe every single LKH "negative fan" a huge ass-kissin' apology for any and all thoughts I may or may not have expressed that involved words that in essence meant "If you don't like them, don't read them." It seems I've fallen on my own sword and I can't get up!

Whiney Ass Cry Baby OpinionSomehow, though, as I browse through some of those first few blog posts, it seems surreal that it's been two years since I wrote them. Sure seems like it's only been a month or two! Damn, I went off on a lot of F-bomb laden rants and nauseating whines. Either I've mellowed a bit since then or maybe it's just that I'm more cognizant of the fact that a few people actually READ what I rant/whine about and, when I realize later how asshatty I sounded, I also realize that I probably should have just STFU. Ah well. Live and learn that not every single thought in my head needs to appear on my blog.

Huh Whoa HuhTo honor this auspicious occasion, I've decided to dial down my over-the-top decorating theme and replace the cherry blossom strewn chocolate wedding cake background that I've had for two years (except for the Holiday snowflakes) with something more than a wee bit different. Let me know what you think or if it's displaying hinky. I couldn't decide between that matching header that you see or some chocolate books on a black background that I have. Who knows, I may change it again. We'll see.

But lest you think I've suddenly acquired good taste, let me assure you that the rest of the over-the-top confections theme WILL remain unless I someday grow tired of Eye Candy and Books. At which point, please shoot me and put me out of my misery, kthx.

Da Rules SezI've also decided that I need to remember the main reason I have this blog-- to keep track of books I've read and books I need to buy. With that in mind, 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! Will I be able to hold out that long? We'll see.

Speaking of my index, I did a quick fix over there simply by getting rid of the cherry blossom strewn chocolate wedding cake background and replacing it with a chocolate silk background. That's pretty much all I'll probably do over there for right now since it uses a standard Blogger template that I really don't want to bother messing with. We'll see.

And now, on to Cubies Confections, year 3! Anyone wanna come along for the ride?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

From the Jeff Files

Yes, it's another of my brother-in-law, Jeff's, endlessly forwarded emails:

All women should live so long as to be this kind of old lady!


Sweet Little Old Lady


During one Sunday's service, the Minister asked, 'How many of you have forgiven your enemies?'

80% held up their hands.

After a rousing sermon on forgiveness, the Minister then repeated his question, 'How many of you have forgiven your enemies?'

ALL responded this time, except for one small elderly lady.

'Mrs. Neely? Are you not willing to forgive your enemies?'

'I don't have any.' She replied, smiling sweetly.

'Mrs. Neely, that is very unusual. How old are you?'

'Ninety-eight.' she replied.

'Oh, Mrs. Neely, would you please come down in front & tell us all how a person can live ninety-eight years & not have an enemy in the world?'

The little sweetheart of a lady tottered down the aisle, faced the congregation, and said,












'I outlived the bitches.'
Old Lady Flip Off

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory!

Madelynne Ellis and I have a mini-discussion going on about what characters look like. The problem is that I really can't disagree with the creator of the characters in question, now can I? I mean, after all, SHE's the ONLY one that REALLY knows what they look like, right? Yeah, yeah, Madelynne and other writers say they like it when readers interpret books in their own way, but as far as I'm concerned, the writer is the ultimate authority on her creation. UPDATE: Madelynne picked up the gauntlet and ran with it on her own blog.

AGW Book CoverSo anyone who's been around here any length of time knows that Madelynne's A Gentleman's Wager is one of my all time favorite reads and re-reads, followed closely by its first sequel, Phantasmagoria. My recent gushing about The Tudors started this entire discussion since, at one point, Madelynne mentioned that Jonathan Rhys Myers (with long hair) reminded her of how she pictured Vaughan (from AGW, etc). Jonathan Rhys MeyersI remember that when she compared Vaughan to JRM, my jaw dropped because it was SOOOO different from how I had pictured him. Vaughan is as close as I will ever get to truly understanding what writers mean when they refer to their characters as if they were living breathing people, so it's very hard for me to let go of my OWN image of him and drop in Madelynne's instead.

But how does the writer let her readers know what those characters look like in her head? Here's the thing, no matter how detailed a writer describes the physical characteristics of one of her characters, the fact is that, unless she can point to a real life person and say "He looks EXACTLY like so-and-so", then each reader will have a different picture of that character in their head. And then to further complicate matters, none of us can directly beam our mental images onto a piece of paper so we therefore have to again turn to photos of real life people to convey what WE are envisioning and we can seldom find a photo that EXACTLY matches OUR interpretation either. Thus board wars have started. GAK!

Jonathan Rhys MeyersAnyway, Madelynne said she was curious to see how I envisioned Vaughan and Lucerne.

As I said before, Madelynne thinks Jonathon Rhys Meyers reminds her of Vaughan (or vice versa): "Not so much as I picture Vaughan as JRM, as JRM occasionally produces an expression that is entirely Vaughan. It's flashes of Vaughan rather than a totality."

VaughanI envision Vaughan as fitting the descriptions of beautiful and intensely sensual, but with no androgyny because there's something still very masculine about his beauty. The pic at right is pretty damn close to how I see him, but Vaughan's a bit less "hard" looking with a touch more of the TYPE of beauty portrayed in this next pic (although the pic on the right definitely captures the brooding/plotting Vaughan):

Young Donovan Lewis

But his build is closer to this pic, although his muscles don't bulge quite as much. Definitely not as slim as JRM, but still a bit on the wiry side:

Manuel Casella


Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that Vaughan is VERY close to the same vision I have of Jean-Claude from Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. They are close enough that they're pretty much interchangeable in my head, no matter how hard I fight it. So here's Jean-Claude/Vaughan on the right in the comic adaptation of the ABVH series:
ABVH


Yeah, I know, I've spent WAAAAYYY too much time thinking about this.wacko

Okay, so that's as close as I can get to how I envision Vaughan. Now Lucerne is MUCH easier because Jason Lewis is about as close as a guy can get to how I envision him:
Jason Lewis
Jason Lewis
Jason Lewis


So, whether you agree with me or not (and please do let me know), at least we've had a nice bit of eye candy today, haven't we?In the mood

2009 Audie Nominees Announced

From The Audio Publishers Association (APA):

2009 AUDIES® COMPETITION BRINGS IN MOST ENTRIES TO DATE!

Nominations Are Announced in 29 Categories

Princeton Junction, NJ – The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has announced nominations for the 2009 Audies competition. Winners will be announced at The Audies gala on May 29, 2009 at the New-York Historical Society in New York City.

The only awards program in the United States devoted entirely to honoring spoken word entertainment drew in a record 1,000 entries from audio publishers this year, reflecting the health of the audio industry. New this year, the category Distinguished Achievement in Production joins Audiobook of the Year as one of the most prestigious audiobook honors. Nominations for these two juried categories will be announced this spring. The Distinguished Achievement in Production Award goes to an audiobook that demonstrates excellence in all areas of production, while the Audiobook of the Year recognizes the audiobook that, through quality, innovation, marketing and sales, has had the most significant impact on the industry.

“Not only did we receive a record number of submissions this year, our judges commented that the quality of the entries was better than it’s ever been,” said APA President Anthony Goff. “Our industry has worked hard to raise the bar and we look forward to recognizing everyone for their accomplishments.”

The Audies gala brings together narrators, authors, producers, publishers and media to celebrate the best audiobooks published in 2008. Categories for judges’ consideration included Fiction, Non-Fiction, Inspirational/Faith-Based Fiction, Multi-Voiced Performance, Romance, Science Fiction, Spanish Language, a special Judges Award in the Politics category and many more.

Winners in all 31 categories including Distinguished Achievement in Production and Audiobook of the Year will be announced at the New-York Historical Society, located in the heart of Manhattan, overlooking Central Park. All gala attendees will have the unique opportunity to tour the Society’s docent-staffed archives.

Finalists in this year’s competition include the following titles [for the complete list, go to the APA site]:


CHILDREN’S TITLES FOR AGES 8-12
The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden, Narrated by Tony Shalhoub, Macmillan Audio
Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine, Narrated by Sarah Naughton and a full cast, Full Cast Audio
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, Narrated by Neil Gaiman, HarperAudio
One-Handed Catch, by M.J. Auch, Narrated by Ryan Sparkes and a full cast, Full Cast Audio
Nation, by Terry Pratchett, Narrated by Stephen Briggs, HarperAudio

CLASSIC
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.
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, Narrated by Simon Vance, Tantor Media
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, Narrated by Simon Vance, Blackstone Audio, Inc.

HISTORY
The Bloody Shirt, by Stephen Budiansky, Narrated by Phil Gigante, Brilliance Audio
Gandhi and Churchill, by Arthur Herman, Narrated by John Curless, Recorded Books
The 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 Media
The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, by Annette Gordon-Reed, Narrated by Karen White, Tantor Media
Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood, by Mark Harris, Narrated by Lloyd James, Tantor Media

MULTI–VOICED PERFORMANCE
Family Audio Bible, Narrated by Dick Cavett, Marsha Mason, Andrew McCarthy, Martha Plimpton and Tom Wopat, HarperAudio
Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan, Narrated by Joey Collins, Peter Jay Fernandez, Kate Forbes, Ezra Knight, Brenday Pressley and Tom Stechschulte, Recorded Books
The Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich, Narrated by Peter Francis James and Kathleen McInerney, HarperAudio
The 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, Inc

MYSTERY
A Killing Frost, by R. D. Wingfield, Narrated by Stephen Thorne, Ulverscroft Group Ltd
Cross, by Ken Bruen, Narrated by Gerry O'Brien, Ulverscroft Group Ltd
The Silver Swan, by Benjamin Black, Narrated by Timothy Dalton, Macmillan Audio
Swan Peak, by James Lee Burke, Narrated by Will Patton, Simon & Schuster Audio
Voice of the Violin, by Andrea Camilleri, Narrated by Grover Gardner, Blackstone Audio, Inc.

NARRATION BY THE AUTHOR or AUTHORS
Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter, Random House Audio
Joshilyn Jackson, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Hachette Audio
Cokie Roberts, Ladies of Liberty, HarperAudio
David Sedaris, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Hachette Audio
Maria Shriver, Just Who Will You Be? HyperionAudio

POLITICS — JUDGES AWARD
Descent into Chaos, by Ahmed Rashid, Narrated by Arthur Morey, Brilliance Audio
Hot, Flat, and Crowded, by Thomas Friedman, Narrated by Oliver Wyman, Macmillan Audio
Mike's Election Guide, by Michael Moore, Narrated by Michael Moore, Hachette Audio
The War Within, by Bob Woodward, Narrated by Boyd Gaines, Simon & Schuster Audio
The Way of the World, by Ron Suskind, Narrated by Alan Sklar, HarperAudio

ROMANCE
The Dark Highlander, by Karen Marie Moning, Narrated by Phil Gigante, Brilliance Audio
Fire Me Up, by Katie MacAlister, Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, Recorded Books
Forbidden, by Suzanne Brockmann, Narrated by Traci Svensgaard, Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Mismatch, by Tami Hoag, Narrated by Jen Taylor, BBC Audiobooks America
Tribute, by Nora Roberts, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck, Brilliance Audio

SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY
Calculating God, by Robert J. Sawyer, Narrated by Jonathan Davis, Audible, Inc.
Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke, Narrated by Eric Michael Summerer, Audible, Inc.
Ghost Radio, by Leopoldo Gout, Narrated by Pedro Pascal, HarperAudio
Skybreaker, by Kenneth Oppel, Narrated by David Kelly, Full Cast Audio
Sunrise Alley, by Catherine Asaro, Narrated by Hillary Huber, Blackstone Audio, Inc.

TEENS
Burn Journals, by Brent Runyon, Narrated by Christopher Evan Welch, Recorded Books
The Compound, by S. A. Bodeen, Narrated by Christopher Lane, Brilliance Audio
Curse of the Blue Tattoo, by L.A. Meyer, Narrated by Katherine Kellgren, Listen & Live Audio
Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine, Narrated by Sarah Naughton, Full Cast Audio
Paper Towns, by John Green, Narrated by Dan John Miller, Brilliance Audio
The Uprising, by Margaret P. Haddix, Narrated by Suzanne Toren, Recorded Books

THRILLER/SUSPENSE
Blue Heaven, by C.J. Box, Narrated by John Bedford Lloyd, Macmillan Audio
Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith, Narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris, Hachette Audio
Executive Privilege, by Phillip Margolin, Narrated by Jonathan Davis, HarperAudio
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, Narrated by Neil Gaiman, HarperAudio
Sweetheart, by Chelsea Cain, Narrated by Carolyn McCormick, Macmillan Audio

About Audio Publishers Association (APA)
The Audio Publishers Association (APA) is a not-for-profit trade organization whose primary goals are to promote awareness of the audiobook industry, gather and disseminate industry statistics, encourage high production standards and represent the interests of audiobook publishers. Since 1986, the APA has worked to bring audio publishers together to increase interest in audiobooks. Please visit www.audiopub.org for more information.


Note that Phil Gigante received two nominations again this year. WOOT! However, I personally think they should create a whole new award category just for his brilliant narration of Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series. In addition to our Phil, I'd like to see Johanna Parker nominated for her narration of Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire series.

Really, why not have a Series Narration category? Maybe it's because series are more common to genre fiction instead of the [finger quote]serious[/finger quote] oh-so-intellectual books?

Monday, February 9, 2009

QB's Video Quickies

QB's Quickie icon"So, WATCHED any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's the Quickie answers to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

These are the DVDs and On-Demand movies I've been watching during my previously mentioned recent anti-social crabby(ier) bitch(ier) weeks.


Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)

The Age of InnocenceThe Age of Innocence: A love triangle set in New York Society during the Victorian Era. Beautiful to watch, seems to be fairly true to the period, but it's really rather sad, depressing, and kind of pointless. Worth watching once through On-Demand, but I doubt if I'll bother watching it again.


The Duchess Movie CoverThe Duchess: One major flaw marred what should have been a great movie- We’re not shown how Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire went from a silly, naïve 17 year old to become a politically savvy, sought after trendsetter with Princess Diana like popularity. Otherwise this movie is worth watching for the not quite accurate, but truly STUNNING, period costumes, 18th century British setting, and the vivid portrayal of the inequality between women and men and how little personal freedom women had.


The Other Boleyn GirlMovie CoverThe Other Boleyn Girl: This was lovely to look at, but once I got curious about its authenticity, it lost some of its glitter. All in all it was still watchable because of the lush costumes and scenery. But they can't quite make up for some awkward scenes, particularly the ones that portray Henry as pussy-whipped and gullible rather than a self-centered ruler who presumed his own deification.


Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. (A-,B+,B)

Across the Universe Movie CoverAcross the Universe: Set in the mercurial 60's and early 70's, this musical uses Beatles songs as much as dialogue to tell the story. It could have been hokey, but it was thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing. It’s amazing how universal and timeless those songs are. I watched this one on On-Demand but I might just buy it since it's worth repeated viewings.


Wall-E Movie CoverWall-E: Very cute and certainly entertaining, fantastic animation, but I’m a bit mystified why it landed on so many “Best.Movie.Ever.” lists.


The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Movie CoverThe Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: I enjoyed this one even more than the first one mainly because the Pevensie kids were older, which made the fight scenes a bit more plausible. Although I feel guilty for pervin’ on the guy who played Prince Caspian, Ben Barnes. He’s a flat out nomnomnom, but the mushy scenes between him and Susan (Anna Popplewell) can, at best, be described as awkward and forced. Glad to hear there’s going to be another Narnia movie after all, especially since Ben Barnes is set to play Prince Caspian in that one too.

North & South Movie CoverNorth & South: No, not the American mini-series with Patrick Swayze, this is a 2004 BBC production set during the early Victorian era. Thanks to KristieJ and Marta Acosta (who is a fan of his Robin Hood), Richard Armitage became a must-see. N&S offers an absolutely outstanding immersion into the time period- our first look inside the mill was both beautiful and horrifying.

I was a bit disappointed with the development of the relationship between Margaret (Daniela Denby-Ashe) and John (Richard Armitage) though. It seemed they went from curious then longing glances to the proposal with nothing in between. His sudden declaration of love and her angry reaction to it came out of the blue and the entire proposal scene lacked credibility, although the deleted proposal scene adds a bit more explanation. Nonetheless, that’s the only major misstep in this lush BBC mini-series and their relationship from that point on will have you biting your fist.

Of particular note is the relationship between John and his mother (unforgettably played by Sinead Cusack), the unlikely relationship between John and one of his workers, Nicholas Higgins (Brendan Coyle), and the contrast between the lives of those in the tiers of the upper classes versus the lower working class. I highly recommend this one. But, what was up with those butt-ugly hats that Margaret wore, even after she could afford better?


Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (A,A-)

The Tudors, Season 1 Movie CoverThe Tudors, Season 1: Oh.My.God. Every episode is like an Oscar-worthy film. I missed the first couple when they first aired on Showtime and gave up. Man, do I regret that! The only trouble is that I don’t know British history well enough to reliably recognize which characters will and will not prove to be significant. So it bugs the hell outta me whenever certain characters are on screen unless I stop and go look them up in Wikipedia.

Oh, and I’ve had to take the series' historical accuracy with a few grains of salt since Henry Fitzroy dies as a child in this story, unlike the real Henry Fitzroy who died at 17 (although, according to Tanya Huff, he was actually turned into a nummy vampire at 17). In addition, one of my favorite storylines involved Henry's sister Princess Margaret and his close friend Charles, Duke of Suffolk. Not only was it short lived (literally), but it turns out that the Margaret portrayed here didn't really exist and some bits and pieces of the REAL Margaret and her sister Mary's lives were incorporated into the fictional Margaret.

Ah well, it's still an absolutely amazing and addictive production. I'm ashamed of myself for ever thinking that shows like Dallas and Dynasty were addictive entertainment, particularly when you take into account that, for the most part, the events of The Tudors really happened. BTW, the cover for season 1 cracks me up- note the headless women.


Still to come: I've slowed down now that American Idol and Lost are back on. Although I've found myself parked in front of the TV on Thursday nights now too. CSI has become must-see again, and I find Rufus Sewell in Eleventh Hour completely captivating, almost mesmerizing. However the show would be seriously "meh" without him.

The Tudors, Season 2 Movie CoverThe Tudors, Season 2: I’ve only watched the first episode so far, but season 2 looks like it will be just as absorbing as season 1.


Movie CoverElizabeth: I saw this a long time ago, but I think I'll appreciate it more now that I'm older, and watching The Tudors has helped me become more familiar with the events prior to this story. The only thing I remember about it is that The Virgin Queen was misnamed and I remember her funky transformation at the end of the movie. Plus I'm hoping it will help clear up some historical events that I'm curious and/or confused about. Those peeps had some verra complicated relationships!


Elizabeth: The Golden Age Movie CoverElizabeth: The Golden Age: I'm curious to see how this compares to Elizabeth's portrayal as a character in Bertrice Small's Skye O'Malley series. Yes, that's right, I've said it before and I'll say it again... Everything I know about British history I've learned through Romance novels (and now DVDs).


HAH! Looking over that list, it seems that I have a definite preference for period films, doesn't it?