Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley~~DIK Reading Challenge

 The year is 1881. Meet the Mackenzie family--rich, powerful, dangerous, eccentric. A lady couldn't be seen with them without ruin. Rumors surround them--of tragic violence, of their mistresses, of their dark appetites, of scandals that set England and Scotland abuzz.

The youngest brother, Ian, known as the Mad Mackenzie, spent most of his young life in an asylum, and everyone agrees he is decidedly odd. He's also hard and handsome and has a penchant for Ming pottery and beautiful women.

Beth Ackerley, widow, has recently come into a fortune. She has decided that she wants no more drama in her life. She was raised in drama--an alcoholic father who drove them into the workhouse, a frail mother she had to nurse until her death, a fussy old lady she became constant companion to. No, she wants to take her money and find peace, to travel, to learn art, to sit back and fondly remember her brief but happy marriage to her late husband.

And then Ian Mackenzie decides he wants her.

My Thoughts:
As much I as I wanted to read The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, I put it off for reasons unknown. I think maybe because there was so much hype about this book and I read so many great and promising reviews I was scared to read it. Fearing that I would be disappointed in reading my first Jennifer Ashley book, because I was expecting so much out of it.

Ms. Ashley did a wonderful job portraying Ian's idiosyncrasies  associated with the not yet known diagnosed Asperger's Syndrome. Ian was considered the Mad Mackenzie, having spent his part of his childhood suffering the various tortures called medical science in an insane asylum. His older brother Hart wasted no time in getting him released immediately after their father's death. As an adult Ian is unable to make eye contact, is easily distracted, and has an amazing mind that remembers every detail of everything he reads, sees or hears.

Beth is a widow from the work house who was fortunate enough to land herself a position a Lady's companion to the dear old Mrs. Barrington, who upon her death leaves everything to Beth. Her first encounter with Ian leaves her breathless and questioning her own sanity along with his. Circumstances see Beth leaving for Paris and having Ian chase her there.

Beth lands herself smack dab in the middle of a murder mystery that is swirling around the Mackenzie brothers. Not only is Ian bound and determined to keep Beth safe and separate from the ordeal, he wants Beth for himself always. Beth having already turned down one proposal from Ian , he is need of a way to convince her to stay with him.

I fell in love with Ian and all of his little craziness. His protective nature and the inability to share feelings or understand emotions, his love of porcelain bowls,  everything about him. Beth was perfect for him in all ways. Neither of them fit into the box that Society has for all of the upperclass, but they fit together perfectly.

Ms. Ashley certainly didn't disappoint, and all of the rave reviews I read were completely true. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is certainly a 5 star read!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Raunchy Romance and Steamy Covers?!?!?---got a clue?

I am kind of wishing that I did my blog hopping yesterday. I didn't and now I am a day late in reading the latest criticism to the Romance genre and the avid fans. Thanks to Heather posting "What A Load Of Crock" yesterday, I was able to not only read the current criticism but also some of the responses that have been directed to the author of this ridiculous so called review.  The Berkley Beacon decided that they were going to Judge a raunchy book by its steamy cover.

I have to say that I definitely agree with Heather... what a load of crock!!! Did this person read the novels or did she/he do just what the title of the article say... judge the book by its cover and subsequent blurb? This drivel definitely doesn't deserve the attention that it's getting. To say that she/he has riled the fans of romance is an understatement. Nora fans every where are going to want to scratch this one's eyes out!! All of the commenters to the article have definitely done a superb job in letting the author of the article know just how far she/he has over stepped in stereotyping all of us who read these books.

I am not a single woman with a house full of cats. I am happily married, a stay at home mom with two kids, two dogs and yes I do own a cat. My cat would take offense to being a called a cat...she is more dog than my Westie. OK I know that Lancelot is not going to appreciate that comment, but hey what can you say...
I read romance because I enjoy it, just like I enjoy sitting down and watching an excellent movie. However I have found that I enjoy the book much more than I enjoy the movie.

OK lets get back to the title of this article for a moment...Judging these books by their steamy covers The Beacon reviews raunchy romance novels from Danielle Steel to Etherington's NASCAR sagas

The books chosen for this article are:
Full Throttle by Wendy Etherington 
Her Colorado Man by Cheryl St. John
Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts
Toxic Bachelors by Danielle Steele

Is it just me or is there nothing racy or steamy about these covers. They are surprisingly mild, and IMHO kind of boring!! Nora Roberts book is the only one that is showing being published before 2000, being published in 1981.

I am not going to break down this article piece by piece. Let it be known that it is blatantly obvious that this columnist didn't do her homework/research. She must have been in a hurry to meet a deadline with nothing better to write about. While romance books are not every ones cup of tea they do appeal to a very large group of people that come from all walks of life and are very diverse in professionalism and education. To insult these readers and the authors who write these books shows us just how ignorant and self absorbed, not to mention small minded, that this person really is.

And by the way I have never bought a book from the grocery store!!! My books come from book stores, Wal Mart (because there is not a bookstore in my town), and Amazon!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Newest Endeavor!

I have been pretty absent from my blog of late. I have checked in and done some blog hopping over the last few weeks, commenting occasionally. Now not only am I letting my blog fall to the wayside I am not reading. It really is aggravating!! I want to read. I have two books started, not to mention the task that I have set for myself of reading the Bible. Now my husband and I have started taking the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class through our church, this comes with more reading. I don't feel like I have to read, although I know I am suppose to read his book along with the class assignments...can't I leave that to my husband? I mean I just don't feel like reading anything.

And on top of the "required" reading I am suppose to help with the budget. Yeah Right! I haven't paid a bill in over eight years. Ron handles it all. He is a little bit of a control freak when it comes to that, and I just kind of let him have his way. Less headaches for me, right. It was really very hard for me to relinquish that control. I mean I had been working since I was 13 (in the family pizza place) and had complete control over my money. Yes I made some huge errors in judgment, not once but twice, when it came to allowing the person I was in a relationship have access to my credit card and bank account. I learned my lesson well the second time around. So letting my husband take over all of the bills was hard. I still have issues with it. I just dealt with it a little differently... I don't have anything in my name. I refuse to have anything in my name... I don't want that worry. Granted yes I know I am married and his debt is my debt, but it was just a little easier for me to say put the car in your name or no I don't want that credit card in both of our names. I do have a credit card in my name, but we never use it. OK never is too strong of a word. I use it occasionally and he makes sure that it is paid off when the bill comes in. Let me get back on track---BUDGET---Now in this class Dave Ramsey says that opposites attract and that means there is most likely a Nerd and a Free Spirit in the marriage... I immediately said my husband is the Nerd!! He is the one that likes the spread sheets, budgets, everything has its place and should be in that place. I am more of the free spirit. I am not organized at all! Nothing has a place...well except things like toilet paper and trashbags---you know what I mean the toilet paper goes on the holder and there should be a trash bag in every trash can!

The Nerd is suppose to make the budget and the free spirit is just suppose to show up to the budget meeting and make one change. My husband and I were discussing this this morning. He told me he doesn't think he can let me make one change. He can't relinquish that control. However for the Financial Peace to work we both have to be involved in the decision making of where we put the money and what name each dollar gets. I am a very easy going person, and would rather not fiddle with all of the hard work that it takes to make and maintain the budget, so I told him fine... give me an allotment of money each month that I can do with what I please, no questions asked and no bitching later. Of course he jumped at the opportunity.

But as I sit here this morning going over the conversation and the last two classes... I am thinking "You know, I am a Nerd!" I may not be into Excel spread sheets, graphs, and charts the way my husband is. But I don't spend willy nilly either. I only buy what I know is needed for the house and the kids. The only exception to this is my book habit. Which I really don't spend much on. Right now I think I am down to buying two books a month. Yes I get more than that a month, but I am trying to get all of this under control. With over 200 books to read I don't need to spend the money to buy new books. I only buy the ones that I have had on radar for over a month. If they slip from the radar then they don't get bought.

So in an attempt to take a more active role in our financial state I am going to make myself sit down and read a book on Money! I am going to go to the website and I am going to print out the budget forms. And I am going to take all of this very seriously. Which means I might actually have an argument with my husband over money in the coming months. I might actually go out and get a job waiting tables. Why waiting table and not something else, well because it is an easy job with flexible hours and its quick money!! Plus I love the interaction with all the different people. I have always enjoyed working in the restaurant. I am thinking this came from working in the family Pizza place for so many years, I mean when I had Michaela I took her to work with me in her car carrier and set her on the shelf behind the register...She was on display not hidden somewhere dark. lol As she got older she would tag along behind me either in the kitchen or in the dining room. --OK rambling again-- But most importantly I want to blog about my adventure into my finances, the ups and downs of it, the aggravation of spread sheets, the creating of a weekly menu so I know exactly what to buy at the grocery store and what we will be eating that week, etc.

I am hoping that with this Financial Peace class and the two book challenges I am indulging in will give me the gumption to come back and blog on a regular basis again!

Monday, February 1, 2010

All Night With A Rogue by Alexandra Hawkins


Seduce Lady Juliana Ivers and then cast her aside: Those are his sister’s instructions. Alexius Braverton, Marquess of Sinclair--known as Sin to the ton--is happy enough to oblige, especially when he catches a glimpse of his target. Juliana is completely unlike the empty-headed chits who barely hold his attention for a week. A true gentleman would leave her to find a worthy suitor. But then, a Lord of Vice would never claim to be a gentleman.


Juliana is expected to marry well to improve her family’s finances, even if she secretly longs to make a living through her musical compositions. A dalliance can only complicate matters, though not even practical Juliana can help succumbing to the aptly named Sin. But one unforgettable night will draw her into a scandalous affair and a seduction begun as sport will soon become deliciously, dangerously real.

My Thoughts:

First let me start with saying that this cover is totally Awesome! I am loving all the red and the sensually posed couple.

The lovely Juliana finds herself in quite the predicament after she flees her dinner escort's unwanted advances. Stuck in a tree she has no choice but to bite her tongue when Sin and his lady of the moment wander into her view for their lovers' tryst. Sin comes to Lady Juliana's rescue and becomes completely enchanted with her. Leaving him standing in the back gardens without giving her name, he has vowed that he will find his lybbestre again and make her his...for the moment.

Sin's sister, Duchess Belinda, has taken a dislike to Juliana. She feels that Juliana has effectively taken Lord Kyd's affections, the one man that she is in love with, and she wants revenge. The spiteful Belinda has asked her notorious brother, in a Cruel Intentions (you know the movie I am talking about) sort of way, to not only seduce Juliana but to publicly dispose of their relationship and in turn effectively ruining Juliana and any chance of her making a good match. Not that Juliana has any intentions of following through with her mother's desires to marry... she has her own agenda which definitely contributed to the bulls-eye that has landed on her back.

All Night With A Rogue has a plot that is full of twists and turns creating a story that will hold your attention and keep you turning the pages. My only concern with this book was that the author, in my opinion, did not dedicate enough time (pages) to the love affair between Sin and Juliana. Their is definitely plenty to keep the story's flow moving, but I would have loved to see a little more between the couple. How  Ms. Hawkins would be able to accomplish it without having to take away from the side plots is beyond me... I certainly would not want to lose any of them. Juliana's mother was something to behold, I wanted to reach in and wring her neck quite a few times... I mean what was she thinking! I thoroughly enjoyed the tangled web that was weaved in All Night With A Rogue, and I look forward to reading more from the Lord of Vice series.

Rating: 4.5 stars
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