Chasing Inspiration

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Books Read in June

Lover Enshrined by J. R. Ward -- Oh. My. God! This latest installment of the Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire series is, in a word, amazing! If you have not started this series yet, you must! It's not your mother's vampire series. Trust me, if you loathe the traditional vampire fare, you have a great chances of liking this series.

Nightkeepers by Jessica Andersen -- Mayan prophesies of the end of the world. Demons, prophets, mages and magic. This is the first book of Jessica Andersen's Final Prophecy series and it is not a book to miss if you are a fan of the paranormal/other. Seriously! The book is so well put together that it doesn't read like your typical first book of a series. It reads with such adept world building, character development and plot arcs that you are immediately thrust into the action and you believe every moment of it. Truly one of my best reads for June and perhaps the year. *grin*

Twin Targets by Jessica Andersen -- Jessica Andersen developed her storytelling skills writing for Harlequin Intrigue. Her latest Intrigue is perfection.

The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn -- Julia Quinn is back for me. I ran a bit dry during her Bridgerton series, but I've loved her last two books. I look forward to the sequel to TLDOW this fall!

My Immortal by Erin McCarthy -- Demons. Deadly Sins. Lust and a man who gives his soul. I really loved this book! It was different and dark and all twisty and turny. I will definitely give her next book in this series a try.

3rd Degree by James Pattersen -- Not as good as the first book in his Women's Murder Club series, but still a solid mystery. I had a serious WTF moment that shocked me to no end. I can't share or I'll give away a major plot point, but that alone made this a good book to read.

Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah -- This was a reread for me. And it was just as poignant this time as it was the first time. This book speaks to me about the resilience of the human spirit and the healing power of love.

4th of July by James Pattersen -- Much better than the 2nd and 3rd books. I grabbed onto the plot and felt the same twists in my gut as I imagine Lindsay did at various points. I did figure out some of the bad guys early on, but I was always a little iffy on the motivation so I'm glad there was a surprise for me at the end. *grin*

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger -- I started this before the evil gallbladder decided it needed removing. I haven't finished it yet. But I started it in June so thought I would mention it here. So far, I'm very intrigued by the plot...and the time travel.

Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson -- This was a good solid romance. Second chance at love is one of my favorite romance hooks and Rachel did a good job with this. I did with for a little more paranormal than the hint of it here and there, but that didn't keep the book from being a good read. It was also a satisfying end to this quartet of books about for single authors and the directions life, writing and love take them.

The Marriage Spell by Mary Jo Putney -- Wow! MJ Putney doesn't ever disappoint. I have loved everything I have read of hers. Okay, so I haven't read her paranormals except this one, but I'm sure I would enjoy them. TMS is romance and magic at it's best. There's amazing inner conflict, wonderful historic accuracy and characters you want to care about. I hope she follows this up with stories about the hero's three friends. Those are stories I would love to read. *smirk*

Dead and Loving It by MaryJanice Davidson -- An anthology with stories about a vampire queen's honeymoon, a mermaid and a wayward adventurer and werewolves. All with MJD's trademark snark and humor. I. Loved. It!

The Shadow & The Star by Laura Kinsale -- Wow. There are no words for this amazing book that travels deep into the soul to find restoration and love.

The Hidden Heart by Laura Kinsale -- The prequel to The Shadow & The Star and Laura's first published novel. I'm glad I read this story and I loved Tess and Gryph's struggles and the distant lands, but geographically and internally, that I was invited to travel. I think Laura is the author to break me of my historical novel drought.

Friday, June 27, 2008

SYTYCD - Lyrical Hip Hop?

Okay, so I watched this week on and off until my couple was on. Everyone on the show can dance but Chelsie and Mark move me. Sure, they are the quirkiest people ever, but they move so well together. And they let their moves tell a story. I love that about them. But then I'm big on stories. Surprise Surprise.

So, what is lyrical hip hop? Is this like a real thing? *shrugs* I don't really care. They look good, that's all I care about. *grin*

Am I the only one on the planet who had not heard this song until now? Damn! This song is perfect for my current WIP. Perfect. It sums up Mallory and her relationships so well. Another good reason to watch So You Think You Can Dance. It can lend inspiration to my writing. *grin*

I love what the judges have to say about this couple at the end of their routine, and I love learning more about what the dance was supposed to represent. Here's the longer version. It's worth watching. Even if you're sick of Bleeding Love. :)

More SYTYCD - Tango Baby!

On the June 17th episode, Chelsie and Mark really did the Argentine Tango justice. Mark was so sleezy! It was great.

And if you want the preview and what the judges thought, here's a longer clip:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Recovery Milestones

First, I know that gallbladder surgery is not life-threatening. It's fairly routine and recovery is fairly quick - my fibro not withstanding. Still, it's nice to have some milestones to mark recovery by. Especially since I've never had surgery before.

I got in the car yesterday and went on some errands with A. Getting in the car means twisting and sitting down. That has hurt ever since the operation. Yesterday, it still hurt, but not too bad to keep me from getting out of the freaking house. We hit the library, Home Depot and an auto supply store. Then I came home and rested for a bit. Yay for getting out of the house!

I did dishes. I hate doing dishes, but this is a great milestone because of the twisting and jiggling that happens during dish washing. Now A thinks I should vacuum but I still have an embargo on lifting, pushing and pulling.

I put on my pants by myself today! I could bend forward enough to do this by myself. So exciting! I think I may even try to shower by myself later. Well, A will need to be in the bathroom just in case. But I like the idea of being more independent.

I ate pizza last night. And eggs. I've been avoiding high protein foods and acidic foods because I have no idea what not having a gallbladder will do for my digestive system. Both were just fine! Today, I will celebrate with either a Green Tea Frappaccino from Starbucks or ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery.

I'm still napping in the afternoon and need pain meds at bedtime, but I'm only taking Advil during the day and the body is doing fairly well. No dancing for me, yet. But I'm getting better and better all the time. Phew!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

When Weekends Go Wrong

Saturday was supposed to be my catch up day. I was supposed to mail out some books and gifts, go to the library to return some books, get groceries, pay the mortgage...all that good stuff. But, alas, it wasn't to be.

On Saturday, after waking up at 3:00 freaking a.m. to what felt like an iron ball below my sternum and sharp pain in my back, my body decided it was going to rid itself of everything I had eaten on Friday. And then continue to rid itself of stomach fluid. This went on for a couple of hours when I had enough and A took me to urgent care.

One blood test, an IV of nice rehydrating fluids and two doses of anti-nausea medication later, and I was off to ER because the docs at urgent care thought it might be my gall bladder rather than food poisoning or the flu.

I got to ER at 10:30am (or there abouts). More IV fluids and some wonderful pain medication helped to ease my suffering before they wheeled me up to have an ultrasound taken of my abdomen. Gall stones. Two freaking big ones. One blocking a duct. The prognosis? Surgery.

Funny thing is, I've never had any of the symptoms they asked me about. I've never had pain like this before. Never felt like I was having a heart attack or been wakened by pain like this. I've never had pain like this after fatty meals. Sure, I've had indigestion before, but have been diagnosed with mile reflux. Tums usually took care of it and life went on.

It was busy at the ER so they admitted me and then at 6pm I went down to see the doc. The surgeon was great. Very calming and very kind. He told me they would try to remove my gallbladder laparoscopically but if the stones were too big to be removed via my belly button, they would have to cut me open. The stones were almost too big, but they managed and I have four nice little holes in my belly.

I was in the hospital until Monday. The pain was not under control on Sunday so they kept me an extra day. It was kind of nice. They had cable. I don't at home. *sigh*

I'm still not at work. I'm sleeping a lot and it hurts when I do certain things, but I'm walking around, eating relatively normally and am not becoming a couch potato. Tonight, we're going to try a brief walk outside.

I have a tonne of gas. Some of it's from the carbon dioxide they use to push organs and such out of the way. Some of it is my body getting used to not having a gallbladder any more. But gas hurts. So does belching. And don't get me started with the hiccups. Ouch!

The Man's been great. Work's been okay. And my belly is hurting from sitting at the computer, so I'm going to go. Who knew that when I went to bed feeling fine on Friday that I would end up having surgery on Saturday? Crazy.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Crap on a Cracker!

The power went out last night.

This wouldn't be a bad thing except I had left my current WIP open on the computer and while I thought I had saved it, when I opened it after the power came back on today, two pages were missing. And it was two pages of rewrites I had made for a major plot change. I think they are some of the best writing I've ever accomplished. And yet they are gone. Poof! Into the ether.

I'm sick over this, but figure it's God giving me a lesson in backing up and saving every thing. Early. And often. *sigh*

And I figure if I could write something amazing, I can take what I remember - the emotion behind the scene and some basic set-up material - and I can writes something equally amazing. Just different. Because there is no way I can get all the words back from yesterday.

So, I'm going to go make myself a fruity blended alcoholic beverage, put in The Bourne Ultimatum because Jason Bourne is a source of immense inspiration in his angsty hotness, and start again. And back up. And stop kicking myself in the ass because what's done is done and all I can do now is move forward, right?

I hope you all are having a better weekend than I. Celebrate the small moments this weekend. It's always good to be celebrating something! I'll raise my fruity blended drink to you during my own celebration. *grin*

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Books Read In May

Small Favor by Jim Butcher -- OMG! This series just gets better and better. Geeky yet some how hot hero who battles his baser side in order to fight the good fight against evil. Complex bad guys. Women, and men, in peril. This book has it all! It's really too bad JB only puts out one book a year for this series cuz I don't want to wait for more. I want it and I want it now!

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips -- This was a reread. I love this book. It's a great, funny love story that focuses around family and forgiveness and trust. Love it!

The Hollow by Nora Roberts -- People are split about this book and this trilogy so far. Personally, I loved it! Fox is my man. One of them anyway. But I think I'm going to love Gage best. He's got a hint of bad boy and Naomi loves her bad boys, lol! Anyway, this is paranormal light, but amazing character development and a great love story.

Don't Hex with Texas by Shanna Swendson -- I'm a huge fan of Shanna Swendson's Enchanted, Inc series and really hope her editor does the smart thing and contracts her for some more books. Magic/fantasy meets chick lit in a refreshing way. Love Shanna's voice and her heroine is not a flighty shopaholic but a smart woman who loves deeply and because of that love is willing to sacrifice. Mix in some of the fantastical and you have a great storyline!

Stars of Mithra Series by Nora Roberts -- (Hidden Star, Captive Star, Secret Star) I enjoyed hte series and I think Captive Star is my favorite with Hidden Star a close second. The series became contrived with the last book, but over all, a fun way to spend a couple of afternoons.

Bikini Season by Sheila Roberts -- What do you get when you have four women who all have body issues but all love food? The Bikini Club. This is a wonderful story of camaraderie and believing in oneself. A great story.

Hunters: Heart and Soul by Shiloh Walker -- Not as good as the previous Shiloh Walker books I've read but still entertaining. I'm looking forward to meeting SW at RAW in September.

Express Male by Elizabeth Bevarly -- A cute book. And a rerelease. It's a fast read and interesting. I found myself wanting more of the secondary storyline than the main characters, but still a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer -- Okay, I like the books. I really do. But I do not understand the fascination with Edward. I feel like I need to reread the books once I finish the last one. LOL.

Without Remorse by Tom Clancy -- I like Tom Clancy. I love this book. John Clark is one of the best and most complex operatives in the history of fictional operatives. And this story shows you why. Even if you don't like political or military intrigue, read this book. Seriously.

1st to Die by James Patterson -- This is the first book in JP's Women's Murder Club series. I really liked the TV Show and wish ABC hadn't axed it. Anyway, the book was good. I'll read the series. They are quick reads, and while not overly gory, had a high enough body count to satisfy my blood lust while also having some great angst and character development that didn't focus solely on the murder investigation.

The Touch of Twilight by Vicki Pettersson -- Another amazing installment of VP's Signs of the Zodiac series. The angst is notched up and the action is sublime. I swear, with each book this alternative Las Vegas becomes more and more real. If you have not started this series and your looking for a paranormal series that has nothing to do with changlings, were-creatures or vampires, this is your series!

2nd Chance by James Patterson -- Not as impressed with the second book in JP's Women's Murder Club series, but it was a solid effort. We learn more about Lindsay's dad and there is more bonding around crime and personal crises. I hear there are some jaw-dropping moments in the third book so I'm looking forward to that.

I also read some non-fiction books in May. It was a nice month for reading. June is looking hot with several new releases of some of my favorite authors. Now, if I could figure out how to make more time for reading...