Wednesday, April 01, 2015

So What If It Was Written in 2004?

That's what I ask - so what? I can't review this at my normal place because I believe it's out of print; the publisher isn't selling it any longer. I have no idea if the author has her rights back or not but I'm going to talk about it anyway.

The Sexiest Dead Man Alive by Jane Blackwood
Contemporary Romance
320 Pages
Heat was definitely spicy
Old publisher was Zebra Books, part of Kensington Publishing Corp. I guess you can still snag a copy at Amazon - the big giant.

The title led me to believe that I was getting a paranormal romance but it's not and I didn't. It's about a really famous hunky heart throb that is so traumatized by the paparazzi, that he's become a super recluse. He's so hidden that he's considered dead. A person can't get more out of the public's eye than being dead and gone, right?

There's a problem though. Extreme solitude comes with the pitfall of being lonely, and if that hermit's cooking skills run the gamut of toast, cereal and microwaved meals, things like that can make a person crazy. So what to do? Hire someone to cook for you, right? But, who is going to want to cook for someone they've never seen, nor will ever? That's the first hurdle Declan, the hero, has to face.

The heroine has her own issues. They're more unrealized dreams - she wants to own her own restaurant someday but has to have the funds to do it. She's worked like a dog but things just aren't moving forward fast enough and she's out of options. Until, she sees the want ad.

You know where this is going right? Yes, she accepts the offer. But, even only hearing Declan's voice, Rose has an immediate reaction to his voice in her ears and right away a reader figures out that the heroine is VERY receptive to the hero. Which is good because he's more than a little receptive of her. Even though she can't see him, he can see her and it's becoming an obsession.

So, the courtship begins. It has it's ups and downs like all romances do but Declan's chip on his shoulder is a bit more than even Hercules would want to deal with. Guilt. Later on in the story, the guilt is turned on its ear and what a surprise that was. Talk about levels of angst!

Rose is funny, has a very twisted and off-beat sense of humor and is a wiz with food. She is actually the stronger of the couple as Declan's mental anguish and misconceptions and fear, fear with a capital F, has a tendency to take this stud and mire him down in his own emotional quagmire. He's really messed up. My good opinion of Declan was an up and down yo-yo affair but he's basically a decent guy. I personally liked Rose the best. She is in love with him, but she's a survivor too and that is one personality trait I'm glad the author endowed her with.

I really wanted to give this a solid 4 out of 5 rating but I can't. Mostly because of a glaring edit goof on pages 90 and 95 - the exact same three sentences were used twice. It stuck out like a sore thumb. And, because this is a older book, I even highlighted it to make sure I wasn't imagining it. No, it's really repeated. Even the great Kensington Publishing house isn't perfect.

However, to combat that negative, let me share one sentence that the author wrote in this novel:
"... and gazed up at the few stars bright enough to fight the moon for the sky."

That sentence felled me.
It's simply beautiful, eloquent and a masterful imagery that struck me with wonder. I LOVED that sentence. I highlighted that as well in the book.

Despite Declan's shortcomings, and a few strange side trips, plus a heart wrenching family situation, this is a very entertaining read. It has some strong storytelling elements worth checking out and a romance that had some extremely funny and unconventional moments.

The Sexiest Dead Man Alive may be an older book, and the author might not be writing anymore, but if you are able to find this at a library, a book sale or a used book store, it's a deal to pick up and read. I'm glad I took a chance on it because I actually enjoyed myself.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Teachable Moment

One never knows when a teachable moment will appear.

Sometimes you can expect it because of the situation you are about to encounter - it's inherent in the environment.

Other times it takes you completely by surprise. Such was the case today.

I took my youngest to Best Buy to get a new router. Mine was starting to give up the ghost. We were leaving to head to another store in the mini-mall and we had to go down a short hallway that merges with the bigger, main one. In front of us was a petite person. We were maybe 15 feet away when she announces quite loudly, 'THERE YOU ARE! HOW ARE YOU??!!!!'

We turn to look behind us. There is no one there. We were the focus. Thing is, we had NO idea who this person was!

She is what I would term - mentally young/challenged or having a mental disability. With everything being PC these days, I'm not too sure how to label her. The one thing that is clear no matter the label - she was a person, she was being friendly, if exuberant, and she was extremely happy to see us.

My youngest looked at me like a panicked deer. What do we do?

What we did was to continue walking up to her. Her with her multi-colored knitted cap, bicycle helmet perched on top of it, her back pack all puffed out, in her puffy blue coat and her knitted gloves. She held out her hand to shake and I did. Same with my youngest - he followed my lead. She asked for my name. I gave it. She smiled. She turned to my son and asked the same. He gave his name and she said ,"WHOOPS!" and giggled. "I forgot about my earbuds!" She popped one out and she smiled widely and asked my son his name again, which he provided, again. She smiled another big grin and I wished her a Merry Christmas, since it's still the season, at which she smiled again. Then she announced in her delighted, upbeat way, 'I'm going to Gamestop! They have lots of wonderful games there!', and did a complete about face and jauntily walked away at a quick pace.

My son was quite perplexed by the whole thing. Freaked might be a more accurate word. I explained that she had special needs and she still was due respect and cordiality - even if it was not the normal interaction between strangers. People like her don't think too hard about the meanness in life - they're full of joy. I am never quite sure how they manage to be happier than most but they often come across that way.

My son thought about it for a bit and said "She has a rainbow mind". I liked that. I really did. I love my kids and when they come up with beautiful wisdom and insights, they teach me as much as I try to teach them. Truly a teachable moment.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Fiction versus Belief

I have a gripe.

I recently read a book in an anthology in which most of the authors are unknown to me.
That's fine. Most of my favorite authors were introduced to me by reading anthologies in the beginning of my rediscovery of romance books. Since then, I always make it a point to read a few anthologies a year to find new authors and new book series to take on.
However, this one I did not like.

Sacrificed in Shadow by S.M. Reine in the Magic After Dark anthology.

The editing was fine
The pace was fine.
The author's voice was fine.
Even the basic premise of the story was interesting and engaging.

What I could not stomach was the underlying theme and the manipulation of the tenants of the Christian faith.

Yes, I realize that authors have the right to take poetic license.
I also realize that this tale is a book of fiction.
I also understand that for those that are not of the faith, don't believe or believe it's one giant fairy tale, the stories and history of the Bible are rich in creative fodder.

But for readers like me, I had a very difficult time separating my beliefs from the fiction written into this book.

Authors seem to love Lilith. She's a very wicked woman, I guess. Her story isn't part of my particular vein of Christianity.
In this novel, the author mentions that only the Star of David affected the heroine. Okay, that's fine. I never could understand why vampires were only ever affected by Christian symbols of faith. That always seemed a bit lopsided to me.

There was one statement where the heroine observed something that didn't bother her because it was blessed by man, not by God. I took umbrage to that because it's one of the things that IS changed by God through man - it is still touched by the Divine. It's not a ritual or tradition made meaningless because it's 'done by man'. It's an actual happening. So, I have to accept that the author took poetic license and made it to fit her world-building, which is again, fine. But if it's to subtly slide in her personal belief, then I, through my personal blog, will express my counter-opinion to that perspective and state that it IS touched by God and therefore relevant against evil.

Putting artistic interpretation of religion aside, I also felt that Lincoln, who featured so strongly in the beginning, ended up being a throwaway character. His actions at the end didn't thrill me. Oh, I understood his dilemma, but for all his strengths, he was weak. I had higher hopes for him.

The character of James was a conundrum. Hero or anti-hero, did the author give me enough to like him or hate him? I am not a fan of characters that practice duplicity on seemingly omnipotent levels. But I get the feeling that he was an excellent foil for the heroine.

As for the main character, Elise? Well, she was okay. She's a woman with a lot of emotional and physical baggage and her having to deal with them while trying to save the world did present some unique challenges. Was I sympathetic to her character? Not much.

I realize that this post is pretty darned negative to the story and it's probably because it's colored by my feelings - I don't enjoy stories that mess with demons and God and mix them up because I find them jarring and I want to argue about their misrepresentation.

All that being said, I believe it's true that this story will actually appeal to many paranormal romance readers because they more than likely can let this kind of stuff roll off their backs and take it with a grain of salt. If the book entertains them, then it's all good. There are other things that go on, dialogue, descriptions and environment that were well written and made the book easy to read.

At least I did give it a try. I did read the entire book to give it a chance to wow me. It just came up against this mental line in the sand and it's not until I read a story like Sacrificed in Shadow that I'm reminded that I actually have one. I'm pretty lenient on a lot of things, I've even read some M/M and BDSM books, (NO, not 50 Shades), and I'm not a fan of zombies At.All. But if I had to choose to read a book that twists my belief system or zombies, I'll read the zombie book.

I'm still in process of reading the rest of the Magic After Dark anthology book, but this bothered me enough to vent and the only place I can do that is on my blog.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mickee Madden Fans - Rejoice!

I just checked Amazon!  Mickee did it!  She finally did it!  The SIXTH and final Baird House Book is published as of December 2013!!!   Here are all the links that fans have been waiting for.

And if you are missing any in the series: 

ALL of Mickee's Books can be found here on Amazon:  LINK

Did you know that Mickee now has a Facebook Page?  She sure does!

And since her son, S.L..contacted this humble blog to alert us that Dreams Everlastin' was coming out, I found out that he too is an author.  Not that I should be surprised, right? **VBG**

So, if you are interested in checking out her son's books: 

S.L. Madden: 

And he has a Facebook too!

This is a WONDERFUL way to start 2014.  I'm a happy reader. 

Addendum as of 1/31/2014 - Mickee found the original post in 2005 and shared this for her fans:

Hello everyone!
Found this link in my emails and decided to check it out. You're all making me blush. :-)
My email address is

So, there you have it. Straight from the author. Can't get better than that!!! **GRIN**

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Spider Tale

A week ago I came home from work.  Someone was waiting in the door.

A huge black fuzzy spider as big as a quarter.   I'm not fond of spiders.  At. All.

I realize that it was more scared of me  - not that I could tell for sure, based on my own speeding heart rate - but it was jumping and hopping all over the place to get away from me.  The problem was, it kept jumping and hopping into the door.  It needed to go in the opposite direction!

After much corralling with a very long stick, it made it to the side of the door and crawled up under the siding.  As long as it did not come IN my house with me, I was fine.   Crisis averted.

Cue a week later:

 I'm upstairs getting supper ready and my eldest says, "MOOOM, you might want to come see this." I mosey on over, "What?" He says with a gleeful glint in his eye, "What's the big black thing crawling towards your office?"

I go down a few steps and squint. EYES POP. IT'S A SPIDER!!!!!'

Yep, that huge quarter sized, eight legged, freaky spider made it INTO my house and was making a beeline straight into where I work. No. Way. Not just No, but HELL NO!

I run back into the kitchen to find a clear glass and a stiff card and I'm at that sucker. My youngest 'wants to see' and I practically snarl at him. "Do NOT get close to it, do NOT make it run into my office, STAY AWAY! 

I march over stealthily and Woosh, firmly slam that the glass over the huge arachnid and gently slide the very stiff, thick and hard to bite through card to trap it under the glass. Why glass? To make sure that sucker is IN there! I wanted to make sure I could see my nemesis at all times. No surprises, no sireebob. 

Then, I make the kids open the back doors and I march outside with eyes still firmly watching the enemy as it preens and cleans its fangs. I brought that sucker to a wooded area a good fifteen feet away and then let it Fly! I flung that spider into the brush in the hopes that it will find a NEW home that has nothing to do with MY home. 

I walked with pride back into the house, mission accomplished. My eldest did NOT look happy. 

"What's wrong?" I ask. 

"Mom, you're a bummer. I was waiting for you to go all panicky, you know, screaming, and freak out and do girly panic stuff and you just .... I don't know...just handled it. You're no fun!" And he proceeds to walk off in a huff. 

Huh. Go me.