Category Archives: Conferences

Friday Night Book Reviews

Well, I’ve decided to try my hand at book reviews. I’ve done a few of them on GoodReads, but I thought I would try it here. I get more space here (or maybe, because it’s my blog, I feel like I have more freedom to write what  I want!)

Anyway, a little bit about me as a reviewer: I read everything. I’ve read everything from Sophocles to James Joyce to Salman Rushdie to Johanna Lindsay and David Sedaris (yes, I understand that they are wildly disparate). I read trashy romance novels (see here for my definition of trashy), literary fiction and memoirs. I read nonfiction and, occasionally, poetry. I’ve been reading a lot of middle grade, mostly because I like to read to my kid, but I want to read something that will be interesting to me. (Because it’s all about me, don’t ya know?)

So, for my first review, I thought I’d start with something a little out of the box for me. Contemporary categorical.

For those of you who know me, I tend toward historicals and paranormals, and the longer they are, the better. So, to start with a contemporary categorical is somewhat of a step outside my comfort zone. But I’ve tried to branch out a bit, and I’ve decided to start with this book.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I met this author at a conference I recently attended. She was really nice, so I picked up her book. The back cover sounded interesting, and because I was determined to try new things, I bought it.

WIthout further ado, here is my review for Natasha Tate’s An Inconvenient Obsession.

He loved her, lost her–and now he’ll have her once more…

The Carrington’s family island is up for auction… (Damn, I wish *I* had one of those)

Now, that’s an invitation Ethan Hardesty just can’t refuse. This groundskeeper’s son turned global entrepreneur has it all. All, that is, except a piece of the Carrington estate–the island that holds all his most pleasurable and painful memories.

Ethan doesn’t count of the beautiful Cate Carrington handling the transaction–and providing him with the perfect opportunity to take her into the bargain. But toying with the woman who was once the girl he loved and lost soon turns from a game into an all out obsession.

Fun, huh? Rich people obsessed? Alright, I’m game.

What I didn’t count on was liking these characters as much as I did. From the back cover, I rather thought that Ethan would be a wealthy lothario–the  handsome man-slut who is charming and witty and funny and takes nothing too seriously. What I got in Ethan was so much more than that. I got a dark and twisty hero with some serious flaws. Yet those flaws never seemed over-the-top. Skirting the edges, maybe, but never enough that I ever lost sympathy for him (being honest, those flaws made me like him even more). As for Cate, our heroine, it would be so easy to be unsympathetic… Beautiful and rich? But in Cate, we have a heroine who is scarred both literally and figuratively. And it’s those scars that make her so endearing.

Oh, and the sex scenes? Totally hot.

I detest star ratings, I really do, so I won’t be assigning apples, or robots, or stars or hearts. But I will say this: if you like contemporary romance, An Inconvenient Obsession should be a book on your “MUST READ” list. Because trust me, if it could keep me riveted (she who prefers her heroes with fangs), you will fall in love with these characters.

Recommendation: Highly recommended.

Next week: Jamie Brazil’s Prince Charming Inc. (Another contemporary? Wow, I’m seeing a trend!)




Hello Everyone,

So, I’m still fairly new to this whole “blogging” business, but I’m working on it. Trying to get myself out there, I suppose (although there are many who would argue that I was pretty far out there to start).

I recently returned from the Emerald City Writer’s Conference (ECWC), and it was wonderful, amazing… and intense. I met some great people while I was there, and I hope to stay in touch with them–it was so nice to connect with other writers! Everyone was so kind and supportive. At my very first event, I met Norma, who, when she pitched her story to me, sounded so confident that I was immediately convinced her manuscript must be awesome… and when she asked me about mine, I conveniently vapor-locked. I sat there, thinking desperately, “Oh crap, oh crap, someone wants to know what my book’s about and I… don’t know.” All of this after I’d spent almost five hours practicing my pitch in the car. And writing it out. And making the husband listen to it over and over and over again…

Speaking of, in typical fashion, every woman I talked to thought my husband was the best thing since sliced bread. I sometimes forget how charming that man can be… Could it be that he’s like poison: after enough exposure, you’re (relatively) immune? I wonder. In any case, it was more than once that some woman would ask: “Or, you’re married to him. Yeah, if you don’t want him, someone here will have him!” And I had to laugh, because, by the time we were getting ready to leave on Sunday, I think he was fairly well convinced that he’s the hero of a romance novel. If we had stayed longer, would he have been tossing his hair like Fabio, some buxom woman in a half torn bodice clutching at his shoulders while the sea churns behind them and the wind tussles his flowing locks?

Sad thing is, I think I gave him the idea. I’m  the one who told him that he’s the perfect hero: charming, aggressive, and a cop… What more could a writer of romance novels ask for? It would be so much more convenient if I wrote romantic suspense, but no, I harbor fantasies of vampires and demons… and the occasional cowboy (but not so big on the cowboys in real life; after all, they deal with cows, and anyone who knows me knows I don’t like cows. Moo).

In any case, I’ve completely gone off topic. That last Sunday of the conference, my husband–as part of the package he got for me to attend the conference–had arranged for me to have coffee with Brenda Novak, which turned into breakfast with all three of us. She was gracious and kind, politely listened to me (and the husband) ramble on about what was intensely exciting for us, but probably old hat for her. I think I held my own–I didn’t throw up (shocking!),  managed to string more than two words together in a few relatively coherent sentences, and didn’t spend the entire time obsessing about the giant zit that had appeared on the end of my nose the first day of the conference. And I’m telling you, this thing was HUGE. Not only that, but my entire nose had flamed up to a shade only slightly more subtle than crimson and was a little swollen. Sitting on the tip of all that beauty, like a large, white light bulb, was this immense pimple that no amount of coaxing could get to pop (it was probably all of the attempts that had turned my nose scarlet in the first place). I was Rudolph. The day that I pitched my book to the editors and agents, I must have reapplied my make-up five times. Strangely, said pimple was almost entirely gone by the time I  got off the airplane three hours later. Hmm. I wonder if I was stressed?

Overall, the conference was great. I had the opportunity to meet up with an old friend, make new ones, learned a thing or two, and got a couple of requests for my manuscript. And had coffee with a woman who has achieved what I one day hope to: to be a successful, published author. I can only hope that, if I make it that far, I’m as gracious and warm as she is.