28 February 2011

In Honour of 100 Cookies

Caveat: No cookies (or wolves) were harmed in the creation of this fairy tale.

A long, long time ago, in a town at the edge of a vast sea, there lived a young (OK, so I'm taking liberties, but this is my fairy tale) woman. This young woman was the sweetest... (Too much? I thought so.) This young woman was...rather (OK extremely) introverted. One day the young woman decided to venture into the online forest. She was warned not to stray from the path, not to stop on the way, and not to speak to strangers. But, no one warned her to be careful of...the cookie.

On her journey through the online forest the young woman met another young woman...we shall call her K. K was carrying a basket filled with cookies.
'Hello,' the young woman asked K. 'Where are you going on this lovely day?'
'I'm going to deliver these cookies to my online friends,' K replied. 'Would you like one?'
'Why, how big and moreish they look.'
'All the better to munch on,' K replied.
So the young woman very bravely decided to try a cookie. And it was moreish and the young woman was so glad she had listened to K' advice and was determined from then on to experience all the varieties and flavours of cookies available in the online forest. And she soon meet, through K, other knowledgeable young woman, who introduced her to many and varied cookies. And that is why the young woman soon reached the magical number of one hundred cookies!

The morals of the story are thus: 1) K is the most amazing cookie finder ever; and 2) cookies are moreish and completely addictive, but I have embraced this addiction with relish...and have now sampled 100 cookies!

So, what, boys and girls, do you think of cookies?

26 February 2011

Pet Peeves

We all have them. Don't we? Apart from the stalker plot (and we all know how much I love that particular plot, don't we? /sarcasm) my biggest pet peeve can be laid firmly at the feet of the written accent. For example:
'That was rude,' he muttered. 'E coulda said please at least.'
Or how about:
'So'm I, missus,' he replied with a little bow of thanks. 'Ye saved me a mort' o'trouble'.
Now, maybe you have absolutely no problem reading them there quotes. In which case I want your brain! (Which is very zombie like for someone who doesn't like zombies :) Me? My overly OCD brain stops on 'E coulda' and 'So'm' and 'mort o'trouble' and tries and tries to make sense of it. And when I finally work it out I've forgotten what the *insert swear word here* is going on! So, a book I was planning on reading next week, by an author whose books I have loved since I was a teenager, has been returned to the library. To be fair, the primary character is just rather too perfect. I was attempting to cut the author some slack, in remembrance of my feelings for her early books, but...I just couldn't. *shrug* So, I'm reading something else?

So, what are your pet peeves?

BTW, I'm amazed I was able to type this post, because my fingers are stinging. I am never, never, never planting such hot chili plants again and I'm never, never, never cutting up 15 of them again without a hazmat suit on! OW!

22 February 2011

I Am Here

When the 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch in September of last year I was very remiss about informing you of my status. You may or may not be aware that Christchurch experienced a second earthquake (magnitude 6.3; depth 5 km and centred 10 km southeast of Christchurch) at 12.51 PM (local time) today.

To clarify, I reside in Auckland, which is near the top of the North Island; Christchurch is approximately halfway down the east coast of the South Island (but slightly inland). I have distant family and a good friend (cyphomandra) in Christchurch - all are well. However, the effects of this earthquake appear far more catastrophic and devastating than the first, with reports of multiple fatalities and collapsed buildings, including the Christchurch Cathedral.

My thoughts are with the people of Christchurch.

20 February 2011

Landslide

Last night I watched American Idol. (I could explain my choice in TV programme, but...I'm sure you'd rather not know :) Currently, Hollywood week is screening in New Zealand - and last night was the solo performances. One contestant sang Fleetwood Mac's Landslide, a song I love.

Now, normally, I'm not a huge fan of remakes, particularly musical remakes...and that goes triple for a U2 song. (I've yet to hear a U2 remake I could tolerate.) However, I love the majority of Glee remakes (what can I say, I'm a Gleek!) and the Dixie Chicks' version of Landslide gives me goosebumps! So, here it is for your listening pleasure:



So, what song is in your head ATM?

19 February 2011

Imposing Contemporary Standards

I'm not quite sure where I am going with this particular post, so apologies if I end up taking a stroll to nowhere!

Last week I finished reading Bound By Your Touch (Meredith Duran) [historical romance]. This was my first Meredith Duran book and I loved it. But...it got me to thinking about whether historical books written today reflect contemporary standards or the standards of the time period they are set in. To put it bluntly, the hero and heroine of Bound By Your Touch have sex. Before they are married. More than once. And it seems like that is the case in the vast majority of historical romances, apart from those with the marriage of convenience trope, in which the marriage happens first and the romance after. (And I am sure there are other exceptions, I just can't think of any ATM :)

The thing is, throughout history, sex before marriage was not considered acceptable. (I should add a caveat: it may or may not be acceptable in today's society depending on who is reading the book.) I'm sure it happened - women have been having children out of wedlock since....since before the Virgin Mary. But...it's never been as accepted as it is today. And yet, the vast majority of heroes and heroines in historical romances engage in it. And why is that exactly? Thoughts?

15 February 2011

More Random Thoughts

Yes, more random thoughts. It's amazing what I think of when in the shower...or driving my car to work *grin*

Maybe this is me, but...what has happened to manners? And I'm not talking about the etiquette seen in high society but basic manners. For example, everywhere I look ATM people are yawning without covering their mouth. Honestly, if I wanted to see their tonsils I would have become a dentist!

Incredibly loud music in cars. And cars without mufflers. Why? Just....why?

Hawaii Five-O has just started screening here - is it meant to be as hilarious as I'm finding it? And...is it just me or has Grace Park (who IMHO is gorgeous) lost weight or is it just the camera angles?

I've been subverted. While driving to work I passed a cyclist. He wasn't dressed shoulder to knee in lycra (so I assume he was travelling from A to B rather than training) but in street clothes. However...he obviously hadn't thought about the how low his shorts might ride while...um...riding. So I caught a glimpse of his...can I say this...white boxer briefs. And the only thing that popped into my head was 'Perfect cookie for Kris' collection'!

So, what has popped into your mind this week?

12 February 2011

Relief

I'm talking about the kind you get when you finish a book and think 'Done! (Finally!)'. It's not that you think the book is bad (because then it would be a DNF, right?) but that it has taken you what feels like forever to read, and it put you through the wringer while doing so. And now that it's done you're just filled with relief....and maybe a small bit of satisfaction *grin*

Or maybe this is just me?

Edited to add: In case you are wondering, I've just finished Peril's Gate (Janny Wurts)! All 692 pages (in hardback format no less) of it!

Edited again to add: Apologies for being AWOL for the last few days. I was trying not to completely overwhelm myself, so stayed off the computer. Hopefully I will be back, with bells on no less, tomorrow!

06 February 2011

One Day At A Time

Caveat: I have a number of (online) friends who are currently going through rough patches (understatement of the century) ATM. The strength of character and bravery they are showing are...immense. This post is not, in any way, shape or form, meant to belittle their journey.

It's Day 3. Day 3 of the healthy eating plan with no Coca Cola. *sob sob* It has been...better than Day 2. Day 2 (yesterday) was horrible. I had no energy at all and a constant headache. (Anyone who says caffeine isn't addictive is lying!) So, why am I on a healthy eating plan with no Coca Cola? Well, I'm glad you asked! (Because it will allow me to rant...and thus distract me from thinking about a lovely, ice-cold Coca Cola...which would be perfect in this humid weather :)

As I have mentioned previously, I have been on (and off) a healthy eating plan for approximately 18 months...YIKES!...attempting to reach my target goal weight of 57.5 kg (126.5 lb). In May 2010 I was 100 g off my target and then everything started sliding south and by October had gone pear-shaped :) I went and saw the nutritionist last Friday and no surprise I now have 7 kg to lose :( I agreed with the nutritionist to go back on the healthy eating plan (and be strict). I also suggested that over the next 5 weeks (until my next visit) I would not indulge in Coca Cola. The thought did cross my mind to just cut back, but I know if I tried that I will fail. My body can handle one can per day when I am at my target weight and exercising, but not ATM. So, deprivation!
 
I have to admit tears (mine) were shed over the decision. When the nutritionist asked why I started explaining that it was the high point of my day. And that stopped me cold. The high point of my day is reading (in other words escaping) while drinking a can of Coca Cola. And could I mention any other high point? No. Other things that make me happy? Well, I like discussing books. But sometimes I get so caught up in making sure that I check everyone's blog (heaven forbid I slight anyone unintentionally and I know that I'm the one who puts myself under that pressure) that...it's not as much fun. So, well....no. And I feel that's kind of sad. I'm not really sure what to do about it...

In the interim I'm sticking (ATM by my fingertips as there is nothing like someone opening a can of soft drink to start Pavlov's reflex :) to the plan. My deal is to stick with it for at least 3 weeks. I'm not seeing the nutritionist until 14 March, which is 5 weeks and I know I'll be broken by then and pleading. I know how I felt about giving up Coca Cola last time - like I was doing penance. I feel like that now. Coca Cola is my highlight because it's my reward for getting through the day without locking myself in a closet. And I shouldn't feel that way, but I do. I am trying the unnamed expert's advice of prioritizing my 'things to do'. That's wasn't difficult yesterday when it was all I could do to...well, get up!

I do miss it though. The nutritionist suggested 3 weeks and then reevaluate. I'll see where I am at at the end of this month.
So, if you don't mind the question, what are your addictions and have you been able to wean yourself off them? And...do you want to?

04 February 2011

Books 2011: January Update

Total to date: 18 books (18 books this month: m/m [17 books]; suspense [one book])

The 2011 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge total to date: one book (one book this month)

The M/M Romance Challenge 2011 total to date: 17 books (17 books this month - YIKES!)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2010) can be found at GoodReads.

Favourite books of the month? (Where do I start?)

* Life After Joe (Harper Fox)

* Lord of the White Hell Book II (Ginn Hale)

* One Real Thing (Anah Crow & Dianne Fox)

* Promises (Marie Sexton)

Currently reading:

* Peril's Gate (Janny Wurts)

I think I can safely say that I've had a m/m month! So, what did you read last month and have you ever read a genre so intently that all others are kind of excluded?

02 February 2011

To Sequel Or Not To Sequel

Caveat: This post contains from slight spoilers for Lord of the White Hell.

I know the sequel question gets asked a lot by readers, me included. Sometimes a sequel happens, sometimes not. And sometimes you really wish it hadn't happened *grin*

When I finished reading Lord of the White Hell (Ginn Hale) I was immediately struck by sequel cravings. You know the kind, when you will beg, steal or promise the author almost anything for a sequel. Now, at the beginning of Book II I would have sworn black and blue that the characters I most wanted a sequel for were Javier & Kiriam. By the end, however, I had but one character on the brain: Elezar! Imagine my sheer joy when I visited Ginn Hale's LiveJournal only to have her ask the question I was dying to hear:
If you were to read another book set in the same world, who would you like to see in it?
(I hope the direct link to the question works inside a quote.) Cue rambling comments from me to Ginn on why Elezar absolutely needs a book. And then I read comments mentioning Alizadeh Lif-Moussu and Rafie Kir-Zaki. (Alizadeh has me fascinated because I am beyond convinced he is far older than he looks and his story so needs to be told :) And then someone mentioned Fedeles, and I was like yes.... In other words, I want multiple sequels! *grin*

So, have you read Lord of the White Hell and, if so, would you like to read a sequel? And more specifically, who would you like to read a sequel about? (Please don't just post your thoughts here - I am sure Ginn would love to know :)

Edited to add: For those of you who haven't read Ginn's books and who bravely read to the end of this post even with the caveat, the books are now available as eBooks from Weightless Books!