Monthly Archives: June 2014

Review- The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell

Title:  The Art of Neil Gaiman

The Art of Neil Gaiman

 Genre: Biography

Author: Hayley Campbell

Publisher: Harper Design, May 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: N/A

Description from Amazon.com:

With unprecedented access to Neil Gaiman’s personal archives, author Hayley Campbell gives an insider’s glimpse into the artistic inspirations and musings of one of the world’s most visionary writers.

Over the last twenty-five years, Neil Gaiman has mapped out a territory in the popular imagination that is uniquely his own. A master of several genres, including, but not limited to, bestselling novels, children’s books, groundbreaking comics, and graphic novels, it’s no wonder Gaiman has been called a rock star of the literary world. Now, for the first time, Gaiman reveals the inspiration behind his signature artistic motifs, giving author Hayley Campbell a rare, in-depth look at the contents of his personal notebooks and early work, even some of his abandoned projects. The result is a startling, intimate glimpse into the life and mind of one of the world’s most creative visionaries. The book is the first comprehensive, full-color examination of Gaiman’s work to date, tracing the genesis of his creative life as a starving journalist in the UK to his life as a successful comic book writer and, ultimately, a bestselling novelist.

Complete with running commentary, interview text, and annotated material that contextualizes the visual material, this deluxe compendium contains never-before-seen material and promises to be every bit as inspired as Gaiman is himself.

**

Yes, I know, I don’t review many books like this but this one grabbed me and shook me and just didn’t let go.

Do  you know who Neil Gaiman is?  I asked my circle and only one person, well educated and pop culture oriented, knew.  Neil Gaiman is a renaissance man.  He can do it all and has.  He writes novels, movies and is the author of many comics. He speaks at college graduations because all those kids know who he is.

This is the definitive picture of Mr. Gaiman.  It is fascinating to read how he got his start and inspiring to read that it was due to constant effort, hard work and a lot of luck.  Gaiman fans will love this book and those of you who are clueless will really get an awakening.

There are many reasons to read this stunning book, the pictures throughout are awesome.  The picture of a man living his dream is awesome.  And if that doesn’t get you, then you will have awesome material for the next loft cocktail party.

Here is a treat for you.  It’s only twenty minutes out of your life and worth your time. (e-mail followers please go to my blog to view.)

 

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Recent Release Review- Shattered by Kevin Hearne

Title:  Shattered

Shattered

 Genre: Urban Fantasy

Author: Kevin Hearne

Publisher: Del Rey, June 2014

Source: Free for review from the Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

For nearly two thousand years, only one Druid has walked the Earth—Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword have kept him alive as he’s been pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company.   Atticus’s apprentice Granuaile is at last a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern equivalent of his old Irish name: Owen Kennedy.   And Owen has some catching up to do.   Atticus takes pleasure in the role reversal, as the student is now the teacher. Between busting Atticus’s chops and trying to fathom a cell phone, Owen must also learn English. For Atticus, the jury’s still out on whether the wily old coot will be an asset in the epic battle with Norse god Loki—or merely a pain in the arse.   But Atticus isn’t the only one with daddy issues. Granuaile faces a great challenge: to exorcise a sorcerer’s spirit that is possessing her father in India. Even with the help of the witch Laksha, Granuaile may be facing a crushing defeat.   As the trio of Druids deals with pestilence-spreading demons, bacon-loving yeti, fierce flying foxes, and frenzied Fae, they’re hoping that this time, three’s a charm.

**

I confess, I read the first book in this Iron Druid Series, HOUNDED, (loved it) but didn’t get back to the rest of the series until this book.  I thought that might be a big problem but it turns out it was no problem at all.  I fell right back into the crazy life of Atticus and Oberon(his telepathically talking dog) and didn’t have any problem with getting to know Granuaile, Orlaith (her telepathic dog) and Owen the new kid on the block or rather the 2000 year old geezer on the block.  This book is told from the three main characters point of view and has some rich humor and anxious moments abound.  I’m now psyched to go back and read those books in the series that I’ve missed. Try this one whether you’ve read the others or not.

P.s- I love the guy on all the covers of this series.  I have never seen a cover depict the main character so well.

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Filed under Book review, Books, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Deet’s Life- Dreaming of Period Drama Men

Austen Men real_men_wear_cravats_by_mybeckett-d37qbsa

 

(I swear I spent at least one former life in Regency England.)

Quotation-Jane-Austen-imagination-world-man-Meetville-Quotes-86974

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Filed under Deet's Life, Historical Romance, Movies, video

Review- All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins

Title: All I Ever Wanted

All I Ever Wanted

 Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Kristan Higgins

Publisher: Harlequin HQN, reissue Feb. 2014 (originally published in 2010)

Source: purchase

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

TURNING THIRTY HAS ITS UPS AND DOWNS…

For Callie Grey, coming to grips with her age means facing the fact that her boyfriend-slash-boss is way overdue with a marriage proposal. And that she’s way off track, because Mark has suddenly announced his engagement to the company’s new Miss Perfect. If that isn’t bad enough, her mom decides to throw her a Big Three-Oh birthday bash…in the family funeral home.

Bad goes to worse when Callie stirs up a relationship with the town’s single—yet not so warm and fuzzy—veterinarian, in order to flag Mark’s attention. So what if Ian McFarland is more comfortable with animals? So what if he’s formal, orderly and just a bit tense? Friendly, fun-loving and spontaneous Callie decides it’s time for Ian to get a personality makeover. But, dang—if he doesn’t shock the heck out of her, she might actually fall for Georgebury, Vermont’s unlikeliest eligible bachelor….

**

Kristan Higgins is my new favorite contemporary romance author. I’ve reviewed a few of her recent books and now I’m delving into her backlist. This one, ALL I EVER WANTED, has some mixed reviews and I truly have to disagree with the negative ones. This is a delightful romance with ups and downs and it has the ring of authenticity. You know, like the events portrayed could actually happen, that the characters are actually walking around on the street out there. I love the way Ms. Higgins portrays extended families. She doesn’t sugar coat their dysfunction but she also shows how familial love conquers those foibles. Callie and Ian do not fall in love immediately. There is a believable build up with stumbles along the way. This is another gem from Ms. Higgins. Read it, you’ll like it.

 

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Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, Romance

Review- How To Lose A Duke In Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke

Title: How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days

How to Lose a Duke in ten days

 Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Laura Lee Guhrke

Publisher: Avon, April, 2014

Source: Purchase

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

They had a deal . . . From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.

But deals are made to be broken . . . By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?

**

The description makes this book sound like a typical frothy historical romance but it really deals with the emotional issues of a rape victim in Victorian times.  Though it is a dark subject, the author brings hope and love to the heroine even though she resists it almost to the end of the book.  The hero is a man with enough sympathy for the heroine to help her overcome her traumatic past.  He is to be admired for his protectiveness of Edie.  Ms. Guhrke’s dialog is believable and her characterization is period accurate. I recommend this book to Historical Romance readers.

 

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Review- Lady Wild by Maire Claremont

Title:  Lady Wild: A Wicked Games Novella

Lady Wild

 Genre:  Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Maire Claremont

Publisher: Bard Productions, May 2014

Source:  Purchase, Kindle

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Victorian England is about to go wild… Lady Ophelia longs to be daring and bold, but her mother’s illness has stolen her creative fire. Condemned to an isolated country cottage after the death of her idealistic father, she and her mother are forsaken by family and all of society. Disappointed by those she once trusted, Lady Ophelia lovingly nurses her mother knowing that her own dreams of being an artist will never be realized. That is until she meets a devilish aristocrat who reawakens her desire to be wild. Viscount Stark has never known love. Reputed to be a rebel and a rake by all, at heart he is anything but. When he meets Lady Ophelia, he is struck by her haunting presence. Will he continue to play his wicked games and risk ruining the last of Lady Ophelia’s wounded heart? Or will he dare to be the gentleman he always wanted to be and find a love he never thought possible?

**

I jumped at buying this Kindle e-book because I had read only one other novella by Ms. Claremont and I had liked it…a lot.  Well now, after this delightful book, I will be on a mission to read all of Ms. Claremont’s backlist.

As other avid Historical Romance readers will attest, after hundreds of romance stories it is difficult to come up with an original premise or plot, that is where this story shines like a new sun.  Oh yes, we have a tortured hero and an equally tortured heroine but the methods that they go about to save each other are original and most welcome to this reader.  Of course they couldn’t have managed if it were not for Lady Ophelia’s mother’s intervention.  She was a wise and loving woman.

I highly recommend this book and also my first introduction to Maire Claremont in ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A DUKE (a co authored anthology with Delilah Marvelle).

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Huge Library Book Sale 2014

 

Yay! It’s that time of year again when the “Friends” at Adriance Memorial Libray in Poughkeepsie, NY have their annual book sale blow out.  I know, you’re thinking how great can a used book sale really be.  Well this one was held in an empty, Stop n Shop supermarket and it filled the entire store.  Here take a look…I’m not all the way to the rear of the store, about half way back and facing the front to take the picture.

Library book sale 001

And here is another view to my right…

Library book sale 002

I scored 15 mass market paperbacks for $7.50 and a $.50 donation.  Here are my books, shoes and bathrobe …

best of my books

Bathrobe? You went to the book sale in a bathrobe???? No, Silly, I got caught in a downpour of rain leaving the sale, running to my car.  I peeled off my soaking wet clothes when I got in the house and donned my bathrobe.  Lucky for me I took a waterproof tote bag to carry the books.

P.S.- The sale runs through June 17th at the Stop n Shop on St. Andrews Road, Hyde Park, NY.  If you are in the northeast it is worth the trip from anywhere.

 

 

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Filed under Books, Contemporary Romance, Deet's Life, Erotic Romance, Historical Romance, Holiday, Mystery, News, Novella

Recipe Deet’s Eats-Deet’s Homemade Pizza

Deet's pizza

This recipe uses a food processor but it can be done by hand, just knead the dough for a few minutes.

Deet’s Eats- Homemade Pizza

1 recipe Easy-Peasey Crust

1 jar of Pizza sauce(use only half of jar, freeze the rest)

1 package of sliced pepperoni (use only half of package)

8 oz. shredded mozzarella

1 onion diced

Oregano, garlic powder

(optional: toppings of your choice)

Easy-Peasey Crust

Preheat oven to 425  grease a baking sheet or pizza pan

¼ c very warm water(not hot)

1pkg. yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

Combine above and let sit for 5 min.

2 cups all purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon olive or veg. oil

Place flour, salt and oil in a food processor. Pulse to combine.  Drizzle in while the processor is running, the yeast mixture.  Then drizzle add up to ½ cup water just until dough comes together.  Continue to process dough for 25 full turns around the bowl.  Place dough on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.  Spread out the dough on the sheet using your fingers, top with pizza sauce, herbs and onion.  Bake for 10 min. then top with mozzarella and pepperoni.  Bake for another 10 minutes.

Serves 2 as a meal with a tossed salad and ice cold beer.

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Review- The Perfect Match by Kristin Higgins

Title:  The Perfect Match (book #2, The Blue Heron Series)

The Perfect Match

 Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Kristin Higgins

Publisher: Harlequin HQN, Oct. 2013

Source: Purchase

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

What if the perfect match is a perfect surprise?

Honor Holland has just been unceremoniously rejected by her lifelong crush. And now—a mere three weeks later—Mr. Perfect is engaged to her best friend. But resilient, reliable Honor is going to pick herself up, dust herself off and get back out there…or she would if dating in Manningsport, New York, population 715, wasn’t easier said than done.

Charming, handsome British professor Tom Barlow just wants to do right by his unofficial stepson, Charlie, but his visa is about to expire. Now Tom must either get a green card or leave the States—and leave Charlie behind.

In a moment of impulsiveness, Honor agrees to help Tom with a marriage of convenience—and make her ex jealous in the process. But juggling a fiancé, hiding out from her former best friend and managing her job at the family vineyard isn’t easy. And as sparks start to fly between Honor and Tom, they might discover that their pretend relationship is far too perfect to be anything but true love….

**

What’s not to love about a handsome man with a British accent? That’s right there is nothing not to love. Oh yum! Kristin Higgins can bring us this delightful Holland family and their neighbors and friends once again.   There is real drama in Honor Hollands life and Ms Higgins makes us feel all the emotion even bringing on some tears but then she will have us laughing out loud on the next page. Having read both THE BEST MAN and WAITING ON YOU, the first and third books in the Blue Heron Series, I could not wait to read this book. I was not disappointed and could not put this book down. Delightfully romantic and oh, so, sexy.

 

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Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, Romance

Release Day Review-Knight of Love by Catherine LaRoche

Title: Knight of Love

Knight of Love

 Genre:  Historical Romance/Erotic

Author: Catherine LaRoche

Publisher: Pocket Star, June 9, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5++

Description from Amazon.com:

In this saucy romance, an English lady turns the damsel-in-distress tale on its head as she escapes her malicious fiancé and fights for both her life and that of the lustful rebel that has become her protector. Lady Lenora Trevelyan, a naïve yet stubborn young lady born to the highest noble houses of England and Germany, finds herself betrothed to the brutal Prince Kurt von Rotenburg-Gruselstadt. But after she is cruelly bruised and flogged by her fiancé, she decides to take the reins of her fate. In the midst of a German revolution, Lenora escapes Kurt’s iron fist and embarks home to England. She quickly finds herself in the hands of a rebel group and their robust, gentle, and handsome leader, Wolfram von Wolfsbach und Ravensworth, the English Earl of Ravensworth. Lenora struggles to deny the passion she feels towards the frustratingly chivalrous Earl but her desire for him continues to bloom. Wolfram hungers nothing other than to fight for democracy and civil rights in uniting Germany and to protect what he assumes is his damsel in distress. Through nights of immeasurable pleasure, Lenora and Wolfram learn that their passion is no match for the revolutionary chaos that ensues. And when Lenora discovers that her protector’s life is threatened, she must risk everything to save her Knight of Love.

**

Ms LaRoche has written a good story.  She can write action, and dialog equally well.  Her characterizations are spot-on.  Lenora is an admirable heroine, fighting for her life amidst the horrors of war and evil.  Wolfram is a slightly misguided hero, making some poor choices in the name of chivalry and love. The Prince is the personification of sadistic Evil.

In spite of my misgivings, I can recommend this book, but only to those who have no problem with a plot that is filled with graphic violence, sexual assault and marital rape.  This is not one of the throw-back novels to the 80’s where these themes were prevalent and routine, this is a new novel debuting in 2014.  Do I have a prejudice against this type of novel? Yes, I make no apologies, this is how I roll.  I sincerely hope that this is not indicative of the direction that Historical Romance is heading.

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