Saturday, 29 September 2012

TED: The Global Food Waste Scandal - Tristram Stuart

Love, love, LOVE this TED talk

I have a huge thing against food waste. I've got to admit that I probably did it a lot as a child when I just didn't want to eat something, but now I regularly ignore sell-by-dates, scout out the 'reduced' items in supermarkets and even find myself peeling mould off bread that is otherwise perfectly fine to eat. I don't care if this makes you cringe; I despise throwing away food.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Too Tempting to Resist by Cara Elliott

Too Tempting to Resist (2012) (Grand Central Publishing)
Cara Elliott
Grade: B-
Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: shy of hot
Source: NetGalley
Lords of Midnight: (1) Too Wicked to Wed; (2) Too Tempting to Resist

Widowed Lady Eliza Brentford is nearly at the end of her tether with her younger brother's wastrel antics. All Harry wants to do is spend and gamble away money they don't have, give his liver a cause for concern with his excessive drinking and accumulate as many notches on his bed post as possible. With the notorious Gryffin Dwight, Marquess of Haddan as an idol, it's no wonder that Eliza is worried for the future of their family home. With a few more commissions in her work as an illustrator, Eliza will have finally saved up enough money to buy a small place of her own that she so desires, but until then, she'll have to live with her brother's debauchery with no way of stopping him.

Once Upon a Time: Hat Trick / The Stable Boy / The Return

Episodes 1.17, 1.19 and 1.19

Episode 1.17: Hat Trick

Could he get any broodier?
This was my third episode of Once Upon a Time before I started watching from the beginning and good thing that I had seen it before because our TV went weird and didn’t record this episode. What I will say will be very brief indeed because I can’t really remember much of it.

In Storybrooke, MM has escaped from jail and Emma has gone out to look for her. She meets an elusive man called Jefferson and gives him a lift back to his mansion. He invites her in and offers a drink; Emma, Emma, Emma. Surely as Sheriff and more importantly as a single, attractive young woman, you should have learnt by now not to accept drinks from strangers? Clearly not. She’s knocked out and when she wakes up, tries to escape. Who does she find behind a door when she’s looking for a way out? Only escaped fugitive Mary Margaret. Jefferson finds them, makes Emma tie MM back up and drags Emma away for a special task that he has in store for her …

Jefferson needs Emma to make his hat work so that he can return to his own land. Somehow, he knows that she is the saviour who can restore magic to Storybrooke and he is desperate enough to trap her in his home with his hat until it works again. Emma is still a non-believer and isn’t giving up that easily …

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught

Whitney, My Love (1985) (I read the 1999 reissue)
Judith McNaught
Grade: C
Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: that 80s type; controversial rape/almost-rape scene, depending on which version you read
Source: own, second-hand

The wilful and defiant Whitney Stone has driven her father so completely mad with her unashamed and brazen pursuit of the reluctant Paul Sevarin that he has decided to send her away to Paris with her aunt and uncle. Whitney is distraught; she is convinced that Paul is her one-and-only true love and to be separated from him like this (even though Paul has only ever given the impression that Whitney is a spoilt, childish little girl) ruins all her plans for the future she has planned for them. When it becomes clear that Whitney has no choice in the matter, she becomes determined to come back from Paris such a changed woman so that Paul will be falling at her feet begging her to marry him …

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Cover rant: Nora Roberts

My love affair with Nora Roberts is well-known amongst regular readers and well-documented on this blog. The recent covers for her US contemporaries have been great (Bride Quartet and Inn Boonsboro) – very dreamy and romantic – and I’ve loved them. There’s been some slight changes for a few titles for the UK versions, but they’re ones that I can live with.

NR’s books are constantly being reissued and none so more than ever for Kindle with brand new spanking covers to match. I’ve generally approved (MacKades, Dream trilogy, Stars of Mithra) because they’ve been great choices. NR has been writing since 1981, so her ‘contemporaries’ thirty years ago can’t really be called as such today, but she writes with such a timelessness that it doesn’t matter; her books could be set in the seventeenth century and you might not notice. While you can probably tell with the older books that it is slightly out-of-date, there is never enough to properly pinpoint the book to a set timeframe, and so I find myself not really caring that it is twenty years old and some practices just aren’t done anymore. This is Nora Roberts for Chrissakes: she’s The Master.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Angel by Tiffany Reisz

UPDATE!!!: I've found the proper Harlequin UK cover for The Prince! By 'proper' I mean that it matches the ones for The Siren and The Angel and isn't the one with the blindfolded guy or the piano and crop. A shame, because both are great but this one is truly beautiful.

The Angel (2012)
Tiffany Reisz
Grade: B+
Genre: erotica like you've never known erotica before
Sex scenes: hotter than the eighth circle of hell (you have to read it). Contains the most sadistic yet strangely titillating sex scene I've ever read. I swear even the most hardened erotica readers might be slightly put off, though this may be my relative inexperience in the genre peeking through. Also contains homosexual sex scenes, threesomes and lashings of innuendo to blow your mind (amongst other things) away; there's nothing that Ms Reisz doesn't (or won't) do
Source: NetGalley
The Original Sinners (The Red Years): (prequel) Seven Day Loan (1) The Siren, (2) The Angel, (3) The Prince, (4) The Mistress

Ms Reisz has no qualms about sticking her hand in your chest (amongst other places …), yanking your heart out and leaving you still breathing to boot. And the worst thing is, she’ll enjoy doing it and you’ll be left begging for more (I know I am). The best kind of erotica writer.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

Chasing Fire (2011)
Nora Roberts
Grade: B
Genre: romantic suspense
Sex scenes: mild
Source: library

Rowan Tripp is an experienced smoke jumper and for half of the year, she spends her time risking her life for the thrill of fighting fire. She has followed in the footsteps of her father, ‘Iron Man Tripp’ who has long retired from the business and Ro is every bit as good at her job as her father was. With a new crop of rookies to train and torture, as well as the usual fires to put out, Ro is going to be busy.

Ro always makes it a point never to sleep with a colleague, and definitely not a rookie at that. Gulliver Curry is persistent like she’s never seen before and Ro finds herself persuaded by his boyish charms and good humour. As always, it’s a tough summer and Gull provides light relief and a shoulder to lean on whenever Rowan needs it. As the summer progresses, it seems as if Rowan is going to need it a lot …

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Sacrifice by S. J. Bolton

Sacrifice (2008)
S. J. Bolton
Grade: A
Genre: gothic thriller horror
Source: library

In my experience, ‘S. J. Bolton’ and ‘happy endings’ are not used together in the same sentence. Now, I’ve only been blogging seven months, but I’ve already reviewed Awakening, Now You See Me, Blood Harvest and Dead Scared; Sacrifice makes it a full complement. I would describe none of the first four titles as having a happy ending. Sure, the crimes are solved, the bad guy is locked away/punished and the protagonists are no longer in danger, but their futures are often left uncertain and Ms Bolton perversely leaves us unsatisfied with the paths she’s made for the characters we’ve come to love. The exception is the secondary couple in Dead Scared, so there’s some hope left in me yet for her future works.

Sacrifice was Ms Bolton’s first novel and it’s a chilling and stunning debut. Annoyingly, it’s the book I’ve read last, but what can you do. It’s terrifyingly good and I’m finding it very hard to measure it against her other novels; one thing I do know is that it is a definite keeper.

Key of Light by Nora Roberts

Key of Light (2003)
Nora Roberts
Grade: A
Genre: contemporary romance / supernatural / magic
Sex scenes: mild
Source: library
Key: (1) Key of Light

It has not been a good day for Malory Price and she is in danger of seeing her Malory Price Life Plan go down the drain after twenty years of careful planning. She’s had her dream job at The Gallery for seven years, but has almost got herself fired in a single day. Not only did she call her boss’s new wife a bimbo, but she then spilt a latte on said bimbo’s suit (genuinely by accident) and is now driving through a storm to the magnificent Warrior’s Peak after an ominous invitation to a party that no one else Malory knows has been invited to. What she finds is beyond her wildest dreams …

It quickly becomes apparent that Malory and two other women are the Peak’s only guests. Dana Steele is a librarian and single mother Zoe McCourt is a hairdresser; besides being more-or-less the same age, they have never met and have little in common. Or so they think. All are agreed that this ‘party’ is more than a tad creepy, but their hosts, the stunning Rowena and majestic Pitte have no bad intentions towards these three women ... on the contrary, Malory, Dana and Zoe could be their saviours …

Monday, 3 September 2012

Notorious by Nicola Cornick

Notorious (2011)
Nicola Cornick
Grade: C
Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: middling
Source: library
Scandalous Women of the Ton: (4) Notorious, (6) Forbidden

Lady Caroline Carew is society’s most sought-after and successful matchbreaker and has recently arrived in London for her latest job. Her newest targets are Miss Francesca ‘Chessie’ Devlin and the higher born Fitzwilliam Alton, heir to the not-inconsiderable Alton estate. Once she has secured a proposal from Fitz (which she will later gently turn down) her work is complete; with the money that she will earn from this job, she will have enough to settle down to a respectable life with the twin boy and girl she has promised to raise as her own. What ‘Caroline’ didn’t rely on was Francesca being the younger sister of James Devlin …

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Hunter and The Hunted by Kelley Armstrong

The Hunter and The Hunted (2012) (short story collection)
Kelley Armstrong
Grade: B+
Genre: urban fantasy
Sex scenes: not even mild
Source: NetGalley
Otherworld Tales omnibus


The Hunter and The Hunted is a series of three short stories featuring Kelley Armstrong's heroines of her Women of the Otherworld series.

Story One is called Stalked and follows Elena and Clay on their honeymoon. After years of being together on-and-off, they have finally taken the plunge and got married; this is the first time that the proud parents have left their twins while they go and enjoy themselves. It's not quite the relaxing break that Clay had planned for his mate: there's a mutt trailing them and Clay is trying his damnedest to keep this fact away from Elena while he removes it from the equation.