Monday, June 9, 2008

Lazy Days of Summer

I know it's summer when I see the sunrise. I've mentioned before I'm an absolute owl. I write best at night, I think best at night, I even used to clean house at night. Now that we live in a townhouse I try not to do that because it tends to make for grouchy neighbors. But I saw the sunrise Sunday morning and realized it was summer.

Summer is hitting us with a bang this June. It's 94F right now and it's only June. My Brittany, George, is plotting another computer take over to register his complaint that momma isn't letting him out to point things in the backyard. At these temps the last thing I need is a dog who already has a seizure disorder becoming over heated. He is terribly angry and is lying with his back to me on the floor infront of the fan. Wendell, the dachshund, is quite happy. He has a fuzzy big brother to curl up against. He's over there right now trying to get Mr. Ticked-Off to play with him. And as the lizards and squirrels are resting in the heat of the day, Shiloh, the cocker spaniel couldn't care less.

The birds share George's irritation. They like being hung outside in the sun with a big bowl of water in the cage so they can bathe and sun themselves. It is however too hot for budgies right now unless they have a misting to play in and mine don't.

Then there is Gracie Sue. Now I love my dogs, I do. But I've come to the conclusion she is either deaf or the dumbest of all creation. The Dr. says she's not deaf. I've never had a dog reach three years old and not know its name. True, Shiloh thinks her name is "puppy" but she does answer to Shiloh, too. Gracie answers to nothing. You can call her, offer her cookies, she simply goes about her business. She doesn't know the words the other dogs know except "house." This is because she gets a cookie for going in her house. The rest, Shiloh and George especially, have very well developed vocabularies of over 40 words. I had a pug once who had an even larger vocabulary. Tootsie knew the difference between "Let's go to grandma's" which got her excited, and "Let's go to Grandma [insert ex's last name here]". That one made her curl on the couch in a ball and glare in defiance. She did not like Grandma [insert name here]. And it was mutual.

Gracie and I are going to have to have training sessions this summer. I'm going to have to walk around with cookies in my pocket to reward her every time she comes when I call, "Gracie" or "Gracie Sue". She's my special needs pup and we'll get there.

I finished the latest book on my TBR list, Marriage Mart by Kelly Kirch. I fully admit to being biased going into this book. I've been waiting on this one since I first cyber-met Kelly about a year ago. I loved her Cerridwen Press Release, Time for Love, and was certain this would be just as wonderful. I wasn't disappointed. The book is currently number 2 on Resplendence Publishing's best sellers' list for good reason.

I love historicals. Regency or highland tales are my favorites. Kirch has created a wonderful story of Lady Ester Richmond and Marcus, Earl of Rochester that is warm, comfortable and appealing. Reading this story is like sinking into your favorite chair, warm cup of tea at your side and all day to get lost in your favorite dream. Ester is the spirited and forward thinking woman we all love to read about. No fainting violet, is she. Marcus is the strong and commanding man we'd all like to see coming our way.

One thing I've noticed about Kirch's books is that she has two distinct flairs that set her apart. First is her dialogue. Kirch crafts conversations that flow. You could easily see yourself and your friends having these talks and saying these things. She manages to infuse wit and humor into her settings by making her characters articulate and comfortable.

That leads us to her second flair. Characterization. Kirch crafts her characters with ease. They are quickly defined for us and laid bare. The opening line of Marriage Mart tells you exactly who Lady Ester is. "Poppycock," Lady Ester Richmond announced. After all, what was one to say to such a thing, anyway? We now know Ester is strong willed woman who speaks her mind, but even more we know that she is someone who may just get carried away with herself and her plans. A well-bred lady who announces "Poppycock" at a nice tea with three other well brought up young women, friends or not, is one who does not always constrain her instincts.

Marriage Mart is a wonderful ride and the chemistry between Lady Ester and Marcus is delightful. The scene of their first intimacy was tender and gentle but retained that bit of laughter and humor that should always be a part of making love.
I did just finish another book, right before Marriage Mart that wasn't anywhere near as good.
My book group chose the book and it was essentially a fantasy romance. I won't name the book because I really don't want to recommend it even by reverse. It was the story of a woman who was taken as a body slave to a General who was known as the King's butcher. It was a f/f pairing but it broke the fundamental rule of a romance no matter who is doing the falling in love. There has to be a reason the two people fall in love. Partner A has to see something in partner B that draws them and visa versa. There just was no reason in this book for the General to fall in love with the body slave. Now I could get a temporary kind of love from slave to General because here is someone that protects her and treats her with dignity. The General allows no one, herself included to treat the body slave as a "body slave." But the slave was such a milktoast, rice pudding sort of person that there was absolutely no reason for the General to have fallen in love with her.
I've written heros who are hard to warm up to. Not all my guys have been as sweet and accommodating as Mark Ursine in Mating Stone. James Edwards, from Access Denied, was a prickly, argumentative and unpleasant sort of man. But he was loyal and caring and had a committment to family that could be seen. He was wounded, but it wasn't so hard for Leah to see the fact that it was pain and fear that caused him to be as harsh and closed off as he was. There was a reason she fell in love with him. There was a reason he fell in love with her though there was no initial physical attraction between them.

Now to find what's next. Checking my list...hmmm. I have a whole shelf full of books I need to read and a list of ebooks too. Up next, I think, is Mercedes Lackey's Fairy Godmother. I just did an article on fairytales in contemporary literature that will run in the June issue of eMuse. The book sounds interesting and has been on my to read shelf for about a year. Of course, I've got some very cool e-titles that are tempting me away.


Anny Cook said...

I'm in the middle of reading the fourth book in Mercedes Lackey's 500 kingdoms series. I think you'll enjoy Fairy Godmother very much. Might find it a bit of a surprise...

Sandra Cox said...

Great review of Marriage Mart. Congrats to our Ms. Kelly. And Jae, you can't have the dumbest dog, I do, though I love her dearly:)

Kelly Kirch said...

OH MY GOSH!!! Jae can you write reviews for me on every single book?! You rock! I thought you just kinda liked it. Not that you LIKED it. I'm very flattered and totally in awe of you. Besides, I kinda like that I have flares. LOL.

Amarinda Jones said...

I personally think Gracie is much smarter than she appears and she is onto a good lurk with the cookies so she's working it

Bronwyn's Blog said...

Kelly is an amazing, amazing author. When I rad her work, I feel like I'm sitting down with old friends.

Jacquéline_Roth said...

No. Believe me AJ, Gracie-bless her heart-is not smart. This is the dog that spins in circles as she walks and routinely whacks her head on things as she goes. She's also been known to try to jump into her house when the door is closed. She'll fall back, shake and do it again. She's adorable, but the little dear just ain't too bright.

disa said...