March 25, 2008

Thanks to my friends’s fabulous website Lights, Camera… History!, I decided to invest about 20 pounds a month into buying historical film adaption DVDs.

Budget: 20 pounds/month, 9 months long.

Total: 180 pounds

Budget remaining: 68 pounds


Here’s what I bought so far:

After The Sunset (Pierce Brosnan & Salma Hayek)

Doris Day & Rock Hudson Anthology (with Lover Come Back, Send Me no Flowers and Pillow Talk)

Emma (Mark Strong & Kate Beckinsale)

Emma (with Gwynneth Paltrow & Jeremy Northan)

Gosford Park (Jeremy Northam, Kristin Scott-Thomas)

Great Expectations (James Mason, Michael York)

Jane Eyre (Toby Stephens & Ruth Wilson)

Little Women (Susan Sarandon, Wynona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst)

Matrix (Keanu Reeves & Carrie-Anne Moss) 

North & South (Richard Armitage & Daniela Denby-Ashe)

Northanger Abbey (Felicity Jones & JJ feild)

Ocean’s Eleven (George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts)

Ocean’s Twelve (George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt)

Persuasion (Sally Hawkins & Rupert Penry-Jones)

Pretty Woman (Richard Gere & Julia Roberts)

Pride & Prejudice (Keira Knightley & Mathew MacFadyen)

Pride & Prejudice (Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle)

Rendezvous With Joe Black (Brad Pitt & Claire Forlani, Anthony Hopkins)

Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn & Humphrey Bogart)

The Legend of Zorro (Catherine Zeta-Jones & Antonio Banderas)

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Toby Stephens & Tara Fitzgerald)

To Catch a Thief (Cary Grant & Grace Kelly)

Twelfth Night (Helena Bonham Carter, Imogen Stubbs, Toby Stephens)

Wuthering Heights (Juliette Binoche & Ralph Fiennes)

And here’s my wishlist :

A Room With a View (Helena Bonham Carter, Rupert Graves)

Amazing Grace (Rufus Sewell)

Annie (Albert Finney)

As It Is In Heaven (Kay Pollak)

Becoming Jane (Anne Hathaway & James McAvoy)

Bleak House (Gillian Anderson) *

Bridget Jones 1 & 2 (Renée Zellweger & Colin Firth) 

Cranford (Judi Dench) *

Dangerous Beauty (Catherine McCormack & Rufus Sewell) *

Dangerous Liaisons (Michelle Pfeifer & John Malkovich) 

Dracula (Gary Oldman & Wynona Ryder) 

Fingersmith (Sally Hawkins) *

Great Expectations (Justine Waddell) *

Hard Times (Harriett Walter) TBR

I Capture The Castle (Rose Byrne) TBR 

James Bond: Golden Eye (Pierce Brosnan)

Jodhaa Akbar (Hrithik Roshan & Aishwarya Rai)

Krieg & Frieden (Alexander Beyer) TBR

La Vie En Rose (Marion Cotillard) 

Lady Godiva (Isabelle Amyes)  

Lark Rise to Candleford (Julia Sawalha) *

Lorna Doone (Amelia Warner) *

Love In The Time of Cholera (Javier Bardem) 

Mansfield Park (Hannah Taylor Gordon)

Matrix 2 and 3 (Keanu Reeves & Carrie-Anne Moss)

Middlemarch (Juliet Aubrey)  *

Mrs. Brown (Judy Dench)  

Ocean’s Thirteen (George Clooney, Brad Pitt) 

Our Mutual Friend (Paul McGann) TBR 

Persuasion (Amanda Root) *

PS I Love You (Hillary Swank)

Sense & Sensibility (Charity Wakefield) *

The Buccaneers (Mira Sorvino) TBR

The Duchess (Keira Knightley) TBR

The Horseman on the Roof (Juliette Binoche) TBR 

The Princess Diaries 1 & 2 (Anne Hathaway)

The Thomas Crown Affair 1 (Pierce Brosnan) 

The Thomas Crown Affair 2 (Pierce Brosnan) 

The Young Victoria (Emily Blunt) TBR 

Under The Greenwood Tree (Keeley Hawes)

Valmont (Colin Firth) TBR 

War & Piece (Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda) 

Wives and Daughters (Justine Waddell & Roger Hamley) *

Wuthering Heights (with Peter Davison)



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March 25, 2008

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January 17, 2008

I did something very bad today. One of my New Year Resolutions was to never EVAH be tempted again by a lovely nice book cover. Duhhh. It didn’t even take half a month and I already sinned.

Here’s my excuse:

I had a very busy day today: getting up at half seven, teaching until half ten, spending the afternoon alternately working on some editorial reviews and drilling English grammar and vocabulary into my head. Then, with the feeling of having accomplished a lot, I left the library where I studied to catch the train because at 6 pm my English class would begin. On the way to the station I passed a lovely book shop called The Works. One of this shop’s many faults is to sell books in bulks, namely 3 for 5 pounds, or 3 for 10 pounds and so on…

Well, as if steered by an invisible hand, I went into this shop and saw five different Elizabeth Chadwick books in the “3 for 5 pounds” section. If I were an author I would probably kill for such lovely, gorgeous covers, as a reader, I didn’t stand a chance. I NEEDED to buy them. I can’t say that Elizabeth Chadwick worked very well for me so far. I tried Falcons of Montabard which I considered to be an average read, and I also had a go at The Greatest Knight which I didn’t even finish. I am not the biggest Medieval fan, but damn, I simply couldn’t resist. I mean, I payed approximatively 2,5€/book, wheras Amazon asks 10€ for them, on a cheap day, and it is practically impossible to find them through Bookmooch. And don’t you think that new books have a certain flair and charme to them nothing can rival? I really have to stop myself caressing them and raving over their covers 🙂

Oh yes, the sixth book I bought because of the bargain offer, otherwise I would have had to pay more LOL.


Reading Year 2007 in Retrospect

January 14, 2008

All together I read 261 books in 2007, 53.889 pages with an average page count of 206/book. Over 40 % I read were published in the reading year itself, followed by another 40% of releases between 2000 and 2006.

My best reading month was in November, with an inexplicable number of 42 books. To my defense *g*, eight books I read for work, and seven books I didn’t finish because of either writing style, plot or simple boring mediocrity.via www.lolcat.com

Out of 261 books, I gave 29 books keeper status, whereof seven were re-reads (in the following abbreviated as rr). All together I only re-read 13 books in 2007, whereas Dark Lover from JR Ward got the “worst” grade with a B.

5 A+ (Lauren Willig – The Secret History of the Pink Carnation; Linda Howard – Mr Perfect rr; Linda Howard – Now You See Her; Loretta Chase – Not Quite a Lady; Karen Marie Moning – The Dark Highlander rr)

8 A (Karen Rose – Have You Seen Her; Claire Thompson – Island of Temptation; Michèle de Lully – La Bonne; Jennifer Donnelly – The Tea Rose; Karen Rose – Die For Me; Julie Garwood – Ransom rr; Linda Howard – Heart of Fire rr; Jane Feather – Love’s Charade rr)

16 A- (Linda Howard – White Lies rr; Elizabeth Hoyt – The Raven Prince; Deanna Lee – The Penetration Diaries; Karen Rose – You Can’t Hide; Tielle St. Clare – Dragon’s Prey; Gail Faulkner – Into His Keeping; Jeanie LeGendre – The Gift (from Anthology Secrets, Vol. 1); Liz Carlyle – Never Lie To a Lady; Kimberly Dean – Highschool Reunion; Tami Hoag – Lucky’s Lady rr; Lisa Kleypas – Sugar Daddy; Tracy Grant – Daughter of the Game; Emma Holly – Fairyville; Sasha White – Wicked; Lauren Bach – Lone Rider)

Because of two community libraries at my disposal, I had an unusual high amount of “new to me authors”, namely 115. 21 one ended up on my DNF pile, and 40 I graded a C+ or below.

My best new discoveries this year were: CL Wilson, Stef Ann Holm, Kelly Hunter, Sharon Sala, Hope Tarr, Jenna Kernan; Cheryl St. John, Charlene Teglia, Dorothy L Sayers, Elizabeth Hoyt, Tracy Grant, Lauren Bach and Jennifer Donnelly.

The big winner among the publishers is Harlequin with 29%, however most of the books I read from this publisher are work related, and weren’t personal choices. On the second place are e-publishers such as Ellora’s Cave, Loose-Id and Samhain with 17% (all of them are review books). On third place, no surprise here, my personal favorite publisher Penguin and Harper Collins with 11%. Various Brit publishers (8%), Randomhouse (7%), Grand Central Publishing (6%), Kensington, Simon & Schuster and Others (4%), Audiobooks publishers (3%) and Dorchester Publishing and Macmillan finish (1%) share the rest.

And to finish off, the results of settings and types. All together I distinguish between 20 different settings, with no reads this year in Dark Ages, Colonial US and Civil War. The big winner are Contemporary with 67,4%. Sharply, *cough*, followed by 8,8% Regency and 3,8% Historical Western. Other settings are Medieval, Renaissance, European Historical, Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Turn of Century, 1920s-1930s, WW2, American Historical, Americana and Sci-Fi/Futuristic which share a measly percentage between 3,1 and 0,4%.

Where types are concerned I separate between 22 different possibilities. 31,8% apply to Straight Romance, followed by 16,1% Series Romance, 8,8% Romantic Suspense. The big rest, namely Fiction, Paranormal Fiction, Mystery, Chick Lit, Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Vikings, Time Travel, Vamps/Shifters, Magic, Mythology, Erotic Chick Lit, Erotic Straight Romance, Erotic Paranormal Romance, Erotic Romantic Suspense, Gay, D/s, Lesbian and Ménage have between 8% and 0,4%.


Reading Resolutions 2008

January 12, 2008

Well, this is going to be interesting, I have never actively thought about my reading habits before, but after having had a look at my 2007 spreadsheet (from Excel goddess Rosario), I decided to change some things for 2008 and to try to get a little more structure into the whole .. urggg… system.

Ok, here we go:

  • Post results of my 2007 reading spreadsheet. (Unashamedly copying from Rosario here, but it’s the first time I have filled out one for a full year, I only discovered them in the middle of 2006, and now I wanna, toooooo. *squeee*, I am a list maniac, did ya know?)
  • Read and post review of Charlene Teglia’s book Miss Lonley Hearts. The poor woman sent me an ebook copy in October last year, and-uhmmm- yes, I didn’t even read the book yet. I am sorry, deeply ashamed. Slap!
  • I will, will, WILL stay inside my set up budget for DVDs until May, after that all bets are open *g*.
  • Research Burried-Treasures on AAR (you don’t want me to run out of books, nooo?)
  • More re-reading. I only re-read twelve measly books in 2007, that’s by far too little! I would like to achieve between 35 and 40 re-reads this year, with the bigger part done during the second half of the year when I don’t have my lovely libraries anymore *sigh*.
  • More reading outside my comfort zones. It is no secret that my all-time favorite genre is anything contemporary. Then there are historicals, and finally everything else with a paltry little number of reads each year. I have an aversion against spaceships and aliens, but I actually discovered that fantasy might, under the right circumstances, work very well with Yours Truly. Same goes for paranormals in a contemporary setting (assuming they don’t feature any fangs and fur), preferably with some witchy and/or druid plot (Karen Marie Moning, helllooo!).
  • No buying, trading and mooching of books anymore which I didn’t research. I know, for most readers out there that sounds pretty stupid, but yes!, I admit, I belong to those who are easily seduced by gorgeous covers (it also works the other way around) and flashy advertising. I am not that bad as it sounds, BUT I want to avoid at all costs, those most horrible of horrible reads, namely C graded books.
  • Since I started reading romance in 2001 I have come a long way. Whereas in the beginning I was happy for the book to have a .. uhh.. distinctive cover, I can honestly say that nowadays I am more discerning *g*. Yet still I sometimes feel myself pushed, forced (by the mighty unseen) to finish a book I find absolutely NOT engaging, and that hast to stop! I know this wish won’t fully come true, mainly because of my reviewing activity and work as an editorial reviewer, but at least where my private reading choices are concerned I want to have as little C to F graded books as possible. I would rather have an unholy amount of DNFs then to ever have to suffer through blandness again.
  • Now to my lovely blog. Well yeah, as already mentioned, my staying power where reviews are concerned is not worth writing home about. But I discovered, that writing reviews is, indeed, an excellent way of preparing for the CPE. So I will try to write a minimum of five to ten “oevres” a month.

Ok, that’s all for now … but it’s already late. Who knows what I will actually think of when I am fully awake.



January 11, 2008

I did it again. Two DVDs for together 4,09 Pounds *g*.

And the winner is:

Gosford Park (with the Jeremy Northam *sigh*, even though his performance as Mr. Knightley in the Hollywood version of Emma is blah, he is a mean actor!)

The Legend of Zorro (Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas)

Oh yea, forgot to say, they were both sealed and new *hehe*.


I couldn’t resist

January 8, 2008

Before I start seriously re-organizing my blog I quickly need to post about today’s spoil of war. I came back to Glasgow yesterday, and one of the first things I did today after work was some major grocery shopping. Instead of only buying food, I also spent some money on DVDs, even though I won’t be able to watch them until June. Because of some stupid reasons I currently can’t buy the laptop of my dreams (a lovely, shiny, little gadget with a DVD player), still there’s a new found addiction to satisfy and some innocently lying around money to spend.

Pretty Woman (seen countless times, and I needed to replace my cassette).

Wuthering Heights (With Juliette Binoche and Ralph Fiennes)

Sabrina (Humphrey Bogard and Audrey Hepburn)

Doris Day & Rock Hudson collection (best film couple to cheer up a rainy day) with: Love Come Back, Send Me no Flowers and Pillow Talk.


I am back

January 4, 2008

My new year didn’t begin four days ago, but today with my 28th birthday 🙂 God, I feel so old HUMPF. Anyway, I have been a lazy blogger, no surprise here, but I would like to continue my experiment and decided that since I am ill and not in any condition to party, dawdling around with my baby would cheer me up.

I used to be quite good with Photoshop, but since I haven’t worked with it for over a year I unfortunately discovered that my memory isn’t the same as it used to be (GAD). My Internet connection here is playing crazy, too, so I don’t have the visual editor from the WP program and for coding I am not in the mood, so it’s only arranging the basics today. But at least I am trying *g*.

I intend to blog about more than reviews, since those are the worst for me to write (but very educational *cough*). I also have tons of New Year resolution concerning my reading habits and of course, if Fortuna is willing, I will have my CAMERA at the end of the months so that I finally can post some photos from Scotland.


Anthology If This Bed Could Talk

November 12, 2007

Copyright: 2006

Pages: 206 (trade-size paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Straight Erotic Romance, Erotic Paranormal

Publisher: Avon Red

Author Website: www.KimberlyDean.com,www.LynnLaFleur.com (sorry, the Poser doll s’not not NOT sexy)

Grade: A, DNF

Unrequited Kimberly Dean

After years of secret longing for his brother’s wife, Tyler rejoices when she is set free and ripe for new love—though it may take a prolonged seduction to convince wary Trista to open herself up to pleasure once more.

Victim of Deception Lynn LaFleur

When a woman moves into an old house, she is suddenly tantalized by erotic dreams that cause her to shed her every inhibition . . . leaving her vulnerable to the very real, very irresistible ministrations of the man who’d once broken her heart.

First of all this anthology also contains a story by author Liz Maverick which I didn’t read because of it’s futuristic/sci-fi setting. Simply not my genre, sorry. I also tried to get into Lynn LaFleur’s story Victim of Deception, alas, after reading about two silly masturbating ghosts and a stupid hero who already fucked up once with the heroine and doesn’t recognize a second chance when it smacks him in the eyes, I didn’t want to spend anymore time on this author.

But BUT BUT BUT, there’s still Kimberly Dean’s jewel left, Unrequited, and the story is so absolutely fantastic that I decided to keep this anthology collection. My second ever on my keeperself right next to Sasha White’s Lush collection.

After eight months of single life Trista is more or less pushed back into the dating circuit by her well-meaning friends. Hurt by her previous marriage to a cheating never – do – well professional sportsman, Trista’s hormones are crying “hello world” while as her heart is still hurt and careful to trust again. Tyler is Trista’s ex brother in law, one of the few people who stood by her side when things went wrong with her ex-husband Danny. Trista secretly loves Ty but she’s not quite ready to give herself to him in fear of loosing his friendship all-together. Ty has been in love with Trista since his brother brought her back home years ago. When he sees her with a slimy date in a rocker bar, his self-control snaps and mission “win Trista’s heart” sets in full force.

This 100 page anthology story doesn’t contain a lot of plot, actually 80 % of Trista’s and Ty’s lovestory happens between the bedsheets, but oh my, when Kimberly Dean writes it, it’s a real treat. The best I can compare her writing style with is Lisa Marie Rice, only with a dash more appreciation for sexual adventures and with the author’s own brand of sensuality. Usually I am bored when the sex starts ten pages after the story’s beginning, but I count this author to a selective few exceptions that can sell me sex pure with little plot. It is hot, sensual and steamy and despite the story’s shortness the characters seem so wonderfully alive and realistic that I wanted them to have the whole book instead of some measly 100 pages.

Wow, I think I have to re-read this one again soon, it was simply too delicious 🙂


Mary Burton – The Lightkeeper’s Woman

November 11, 2007

Copyright: 2004

Pages: 299 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Americana/Straight Romance

Publisher: Mills & Boon Historical Romance

Author Website: didn’t find anything, what a shame

Grade: B-

North Carolina, 1884: Caleb Pitt, solitary lighthouse keeper, once believed love was eternal as the sea, for Alanna Patterson promised him for ever. But, despite her vow, she left him to drown in disgrace. now, years later, she’s reappeared in his life, beautiful as ever … and just as seductive.

The passion Alanna shared with Caleb has always burned in her memory, and now, faced with marrying another, she has returned to discover if Caleb still holds any smouldering feelings for her. Is it time to put tragedy behind them and find lasting love?

When I discovered that the libraries here in Glasgow are literally stuffed with all kinds of Mills & Boon goodies I mobilized my email buddies and asked for good historical recommendations. The Lightkeeper’s Woman was the first one in this mini-project.

Forget the blurb, it’s simply stupid, especially the second part.  …and now, faced with marrying another, she has returned to discover if Caleb still holds any smouldering feelings for her. GAG GAG, BLEARGH. Blurbs like that are a sure reason for me not to touch such books, thankfully there are people out there who are more resistant than yours truly.
First of all, big HUGE brownie points for the setting and the hero’s occupation. A lightkeeper *sigh*, I know in reality a lightkeeper’s job is far from romantic as part of the story reveals all too clearly, but oh my, all my girly hormones are melting in delight 🙂

If it was for the hero and the plot idea I would have given the story a straight A, but Alanna, a heroine that sometimes flirts too much with not being likable, made me mark this book as B-. The reasons why I didn’t feel too close with her are totally subjective, and in some points – I admit – rather silly. I guess for many other readers this story could still be a real jackpot book.

First of all, I have bad connotations with the name Alanna. Who ever invented it is not my favorite pal. Secondly, Alanna used to be a spoiled woman who could spend whole days pouting because of some fashion issues. I have come upon a number of heroines who cleaned up nicely after such an idle past , Alanna only convinced me partly. Mainly, I think because her behaviour turned into (sometimes) such saint and angelic dimensions that I could only blink in incredulity.

Admittedly in the two years she separated from the hero, lost her father to suicide and all her worldly possessions to creditors she changed a lot, but a healthy dose of egoism and consideration for herself would have made her more believable.

Still, Mary Burton is a delightful new discovery and I will definitely read more from her work. Hopefully she has some other books with an interesting setting like this one!