Tuesday, April 8, 2008

what I'm reading (today)

I finished Natural Born Charmer and also Kiss An Angel, both audio books, both by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I really do spend too much time with those earbuds in my ears, although to be fair, some of that was at the laundromat where there's not much else to do.

There's a post on the Amazon board right now about Why I can't be a romance novel heroine - and for me, I can't be a SEP heroine because I would have no qualms whatsoever about taking the hero's money and using it, and it just seems her heroines all seem to have this Honor thing about making their own money even though the heroes are rich as Croesus. I could be wrong about myself, though - I've never actually been offered a man's money, so maybe I would be stubborn about making my own. Today, however, I wish some Rich As Croesus man would come in and give me some money. I'm pretty sure I'd take it.

I do admire Kiss An Angel's heroine though, because she does that self-esteem thing, where she tackles a difficult project and completes it, which is truly character building. It made me want a project, but not shoveling elephant shit, thank you.

I got through some more pages of Ceremony in Death (JD Robb), and I do like it but not so much that I'm carrying it around, or that I will stay up late to finish it.

I've decided to start a Full Re-Listen to the Outlander series (Gabaldon), listening to books 1-3 before starting my first Listen to Book 4, Drums of Autumn. I'd been debating whether to just start Drums, or start over with Outlander. I think it will be more fun to have it all fresh in my head. I really had just recently gotten over my obsession with All Things Outlander - I can even go days without reading the forum - and I hope this doesn't reignite it, because it's so overpowering. On my last Re-Listen, I did manage to stop on book 3 and did not re-read books 4-6.

I'm listening to the opening of Outlander right now, on the ghost scene in 1945.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

what I'm reading (today)

Right now (I mean while I write) I'm listening to the last in the Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Natural Born Charmer. This is my 4th (or 5th?) time through it. I just love the narrator, Kate Fleming aka Anna Fields - a woman who died tragically in December 2006 in a flash flood in Seattle. Jeez, what an incredible talent this woman was.

Anyway, I just did a full re-listen starting with It Had To Be You - managing to get through about 1 per day. The first time through, I didn't like some of them - but now that I've listened more than once, I'm appreciating all the different characters and situations. After all - it's fiction. How can I judge a character who doesn't actually exist?

Listening to them all in a row does emphasize how this author has some themes that she uses over and over - characters who lost one parent (in a car accident) young, and were raised (poorly) by the other parent; characters who don't want to admit who their real parent is (usually famous) until the end; a rich hero and an impoverished heroine who doesn't want the hero's money. I don't find myself identifying with the heroines in that way - yeah, I would definitely take the hero's money. The worst was Gracie in Heaven, Texas - what was up with her? I'd have let Bobby Tom pay for everything, with no qualms whatsoever.

I like how Phillips incorporates a secondary story, often with an older hero/heroine, in the books. And I love to see the characters from earlier books pop into the newer stories.

I'm about 1/2 way through Ceremony in Death/JD Robb, in hard copy. I have the first 10 books in the series ready to read - I've found it's frustrating to start a series, and not have the next book waiting. But I'm not as drawn into this series as I had hoped, as I have been with other series. I'm not sure if it's because it's the same hero/heroine in every book, or because I'm getting tired of Eve being so - uh - dismissive of Roarke and his feelings for her. Or maybe I'm just not buying Roarke's unflagging love for Eve regardless of how dismissive Eve is - it ain't realistic. Yeah, yeah, it's fiction and it's in the future - maybe men are different 50 years from now. I just keep waiting for Roarke to give up and say, fine - get out. She's so mean to him! And he just "chuckles" and grabs her and ravishes her. As if.

Or maybe I'm not getting into this series because it's a graphic murder-a-day. With the Troubleshooter series by Suzanne Brockman, there were a number of different characters as well as a variety of plotlines even if there was always some scary/dangerous/violent situation; with Chicago Stars, no murders - and the plotlines were varied; with Outlander, it's mainly Jamie and Claire but so much variety. Well, I'll give Eve and Roarke another chance, but Roarke better show some real emotion, or else!

I'm also several pages into book 2 in Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles, but somehow I can't bring myself to get back into it. I really liked King Hereafter - and I have read so many good things about Lymond. I found it pretty hard to get into book 1, but by the end was starting to come around. Her writing (Dunnett) takes more concentration than my 1-a-day romance novels do, and I'm just so obsessed with them I can't stop. Sorta like, uh, brownies with cream cheese frosting. Like I made this evening (brownies I mean).

I've just downloaded all 44 hours of the 4th book in the Outlander series (Diana Gabaldon). I have already read all 6 books more than once, and have listened to the first 3 audio books 3 times. So - do I start with book 1 on audio, or just jump into book 4? Since I can't decide, it just sits on the ipod, waiting. I'm thinking I'll finish NBC and then... Kiss An Angel, Ain't She Sweet, and maybe Just Imagine (all for the 3rd time, or maybe 4th).

All this reading is pretty incredible for me, really, considering before I moved here, I barely had the attention span for anything longer than a 1-page magazine article. Now my magazines sit, unread, while I read - and re-read - a book a day. My paperbackswap Books I've Read list is 185 today (I did include some books I read years ago, so it's not an accurate count since October 07.) Of course when you count the re-reads, it's a lotta reading.