Tag Archives: Books

I found a new author…

I have a new author that I want to talk about. She is not a new author, and I have read all of the books from two of her series. Her name is Laurann Dohner. Yes, Laurann Dohner. She is an author that is part of the Ellora’s Cave publishing house. If you know anything about Ellora’s Cave, you know that the majority of their books are on the steamy side. Some of my favorite authors have come out of Ellora’s Cave – Jade Black and Laura Leigh just to mention a few. I was first introduced to Laurann this past summer when we were on our way to the Lori Foster Reader Appreciation Weekend (an annual trip for my book club). At that time three of my book club members were discussing the books. Two of us had not read nor heard of the books; but the discussion was so very intriguing. I was driving but Bertlyn checked her reader to see if she had the books on her reader because Tish said she had shared them with everyone. Bertlyn found them and began reading the first book. By the time we headed home she had finished the first book and was reading the second. I don’t remember what I was reading at the time, but I remember I wasn’t in a position to start the series. I believe it was another two months before I started it. By that time another book was released and everyone was raving about it (when I say everyone; that means my fellow book club members).

The first book had me hooked and I went through every one that I had back-to-back. The series that I’m talking about is the New Species series. It is about a species of humans that have been created by splicing animal and human DNA. They were created to be used as super soldiers and for other experiments. The stories are about how the species are dealing with their recent release, adjusting to living outside of the torture that they had endured, dealing with hate groups, the government, finding other members of their species, and finally, trusting, befriending and finding love with humans –full humans. I loved the series because the characters –the new species – were so endearing to me. They had an innocence about them that was a contradiction to the knowledge of suffering and torture that they endured. There are nine books in the series thus far, with promises of more to come. The books could be read as standalone novels, but I would recommend starting from the beginning. The series order is as follows: Fury, Slade, Valliant, Justice, Brawn, Wrath, Tiger, Obsidian, & Shadow.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the second series of Laurann’s that I’m currently finishing up. The Cyborg series.

These books are a little shorter in length than the New Species series (averaging around 160 pages on my Nook), but that does not diminish the story content. As a matter of fact, these are another series that I have read back-to-back with no problems (When I say with no problems, I mean that I don’t feel like I need to cleanse my genre palate. This can sometimes happen when I read a series consecutively. I’m digressing.) . The Cyborg series was recommended to me months ago by Ramona – from book club. She had read these before the New Species series and said that they were steamy and with a bit of humor included. I need to take a moment out to confess to you guys that my TBR (to be read) list is crazy long. I have heard people say “I don’t have anything to do read now.” I don’t understand that concept. I always have something to read! Now whether or not I want to read it is a different story. So I finally broke down and started the Cyborg series. Ramona was very correct. It is steamy and I found myself chuckling or smiling at the cyborgs. The Cyborgs are a race of people that was somewhat created by the government by growing test tube babies that were later outfitted with cybertronic implants to make them better soldiers and workers that the government thought they would be able to control (Governmental research is a trip isn’t it? I decided before I graduated that I didn’t want to work for a government research company just because I didn’t want to ever face the possibility of compromising my morals). When they realized that they couldn’t control them, they deemed them unstable and ordered the mass destruction; the cyborgs escaped and fled to another planet far away from Earth and are hiding from Earth trying to live out the rest of their lives in peace. There are still hostile feelings towards humans by some and they have laws that deem any humans as property and not citizens. The Cyborgs rely on logic and not emotions to make decisions. This is what leads to the bits of humor. They don’t understand human slang and they take everything literally. I have loved them, so much in fact that I have found myself becoming aggravated with outside forces like work and family that have kept me from spending all my time reading. I mean who wants to work, or cook, or clean, or help with homework right? The 6th book of the series was about the character that everyone has disliked throughout the series thus far, but when it was all said and done, I ended up liking him. Really!!! How does that happen? She’s just that good.

I highly recommend any books that Laurann Dohner has written. I haven’t read them all, but if the two series that I have read so far are any indication, then I feel confident in stating that you won’t be disappointed. Her books are steamy, they have a bit of humor and you really fall in love with all the characters – even the secondary’s.

Also if you want a good steamy read, and I have to say that based upon the huge interest in the Fifty Shades trilogy people love a little steamy, you should give some of the authors from Ellora’s Cave a try. These authors have been doing what E.L. James has been doing for years and possibly doing it a little better, I’m not knocking her, just saying she’s not the first.  It’s amazing how genre gets a book that an awesome Publisher and great marketing department invest some time in and when people pick it up they think they’ve found something new.  It’s not new; it’s just marketed better.

So, have you found any new authors that I should take a look at?  Share…I can always make my TBR a little longer.

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Book Review

Check out my review of Sylvia Day’s Bared to You on the Sugarbook blog.

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Books, Authors, and Mexican

This past weekend was my book club scheduled monthly meeting.  Because we were scheduled to do a phone interview with an author I volunteered to host because I had a speaker phone.  My good friend and fellow book club member asked what I planned to prepare for dinner.  She mentioned that she really loves my guacamole and Pico.  So Mexican it was.  I decided to make an enchilada casserole, black bean & corn salad, and yellow rice with cilantro, tres leches cake, guacamole and Pico de Gallo  with chips, and strawberry margaritas.

We talked to a new author, Casey Holloway, and talked about his book, Get’ N Hammered, which is the first of a series.  The meeting and interview went very well and you can check out our blog for more details.  

The food was fabulous (as usual).  Everyone always seems to get caught up eating the main courses and then is stuffed by the time dessert roles around.  I told everyone to stop eating and save room for dessert, I had a 13 x 9 pan of cake and I didn’t want to have it left after everyone went home. 

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As we were sitting discussing our next moves I heard something in the kitchen that sounded like my dogs tags jingling.  I call her into the room and guess what?…she has a beard full of cake crumbs.  Sad smile  My dog has never gotten up on the cabinets and tables….why did she decide to do it on this day?  I couldn’t be angry with her because I was the one who left the cake out on the table.  I didn’t get to try any of the cake because I never have an appetite after cooking.  Does this happen to anyone else?  So the next day I made myself a pan of peanut butter, caramel brownies. Smile 

I’m glad everyone enjoyed dinner (Stan and my baby doll included) and our book club has made another author friend.  Sugarbook Club is becoming a well recognized club within the Romance Writers world.  

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The busy season

I always knew the month of May was a busy one for me with the Babydoll’s birthday, ending of the school year, Babydoll’s choir Spring concert, Mother’s Day, etc.  This particular May I also had to add my annual Book Club trip to West Chester, OH for the Lori Foster Reader/Author Appreciation Event (check out sugarbookclub.wordpress.com for more about that) to the schedule as it is always the 1st weekend in June and that ended up including the last few days of May as well.  Oh yeah…did I mention my sister, her husband, and eldest daughter graduated this month.  My sister and her husband finished up Bachelor degrees and my niece from high school.

I was prepared to tackle this month.  I had my game plan ready.  One thing I could not, nor had I not, plan was the death of my grandmother.  My grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago when we had brought her up her from Louisiana for a visit.  She had doctors here because we just didn’t feel that she was getting adequate diagnosis where she was.  Not to say that the doctors where she was were not competent, just that here there was more thorough testing done.  Anyway, Mrs. Lady as I ended up calling her along with the formal Grandmother, lost her fight with the disease the same week of Babydoll’s choir concert and birthday (yes, there were in the same week – dress rehearsal and concert Wednesday & Thursday and party that Saturday. Surprised smile).  My family had to coordinate massive travel arrangements because we had to go back to Louisiana for the funeral and burial and we had quite a few of us coming from various locations.  It turned out we headed out the week in-between the birthday party and my trip that was already paid for.  But ended up missing Aleesha-Boo’s graduation (she’s going to get me for saying that – she Tweets that I always find a way to embarrass her; but I remember her as my beautiful niece who stole my stuffed bear when she visited before going to Italy.)

The funeral was very nicely done with a minimum amount of drama.  And I stress the word minimum – this could have been a colossal event that went down in the history books of drama.  Better than any episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey.  I’m going to really miss Ms. Lady and her quick wit, sharp tongue, and abundance of love.  My dad used to call her the 4 foot general (I think she was around 4’10” or 4’11”, but she was a short one compared to my 5’10.5”)

My Babydoll’s spa party was another big success.  We had sent out 10 invitations, but I’m really glad only half of that showed up.  The girls had a good time getting facials,

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getting mani’s and pedi’s

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and drinking “champagne” from champagne flutes (plastic of course).  I spent three weeks making face mask and spa robes and they really didn’t wear them long.  You see, the control panel for the HVAC battery went out and so we were unable to adjust anything until we had a battery.  It had been cool enough throughout the week that we didn’t need to have anything on, but Saturday it got HOT.  By the time we found a battery it took a “minute” to get the house cool again.  The girls just didn’t want to wear the robes longer than what was needed for the facial.  I hired a wonderful young lady to do the mani’s & pedi’s and I did the facials.  It was loads of fun for everyone.   I can’t wait to hear what her thoughts of next years party will be.  She’ll probably coming to me soon with her thoughts on the matter.

Another big event was my Babydoll receiving a “Personal Best” award from the school Superintendent.  It was a surprise for her, and Stan and I had to act like it was school as usual that morning.  What made it super crazy was the fact that there was a lot of construction going on on the way to school that morning and I got her to school just in time to walk down with her classmates to the gymnasium.  I had to run back out to the car to get my purse and camera and find us a seat.  The only bummer was that I didn’t get a good picture of her getting her award.  The zoom lens that I’m currently using is not for my camera; it’s my husbands old lens and it was made for a Nikon that has the focus built into the camera and my camera requires the zoom to be in the lens.  I have to manually adjust the zoom and tight focus and sometimes my camera does not recognize the lens as being attached to the camera – usually at a crucial time like when I’m ready to take a shot.  Can you say birthday gift boys and girls?  This is what I did get (excuse her attire…it was PE day and I couldn’t dress her up without giving away the surprise)

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Memorial Day was spent relaxing and doing laundry (I had to go to work the next day and leaving for Ohio two days later.), but we did spend several hours in the French Quarter before we came home.  Can you say HOT?  I mean HOT!!

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I had every intention of sitting down to have Biegnets at Café du Monde and getting a Shrimp Po’Boy.  The line at Café du Monde was way too long.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the line that long.  I just kept walking on by.  We went to the shopping part of the market and I was able to find a few things (a gift for my Mommy’s birthday & a couple of souvenirs for Babydoll – she loves to bring home something for every trip we take.)

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My husband and daughter was able to get a crawfish Po’Boy, but we could not find a FRIED shrimp Po’Boy for me. Sad smile  I did get a icee – Tigersblood is the bomb, and found my Po’Boy once we got of the Quarter Smile man do I love those things.

With all of the traveling that I did, I’m glad I’m back home (for now) and I had a great time.  Even my grandmothers funeral trip was enjoyable because I had the opportunity to spend some time with family members that I had not seen in a while.  Aren’t we a handsome group (this wasn’t everyone either –  more like half)?

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My handsome brother in his suit (everyone wore a touch of purple because it was my grandmothers favorite color).

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The one I married 14 years ago…be still my heart.  He cleans up so nice.  He really isn’t a drinker…I think that was iced tea. Smile with tongue out

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My cousin from New York husband…all the men looked really good.

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The month of June promises to be just as busy (my Mothers birthday, my nieces baby shower, MY BIRTHDAY!!, MY ANNIVERSARY!!, family vacation) you know how my life is. Smile

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Reader Trip

It has been a couple of weeks since I have written a post and I’m so sorry folks.  It has been sooo busy in the Cork Household the last couple of months.  We had Babydolls birthday party in May and then the end of school (and I volunteered to chaperone the final field trip the last week of school).

I made cake balls for the Babydolls teacher that I were made from melted caramel and chocolate cake.  I then had my trip to the Lori Foster Author/Reader Get-Together to attend at the beginning of June followed by the surprise birthday party for my mother this past weekend.  I so wanted to post about the preparations for my mothers party but could not because she reads my blog and the surprise would be ruined.  I couldn’t put anything on Facebook or Twitter, because she would have found out about it.  It was a really weird week.  And to top it all off the Corks are off to sunny Fort Lauderdale this weekend so I might be slow in posting for another week. 😦  But boy do I need this vacation. 🙂

So let me tell you about the Lori Foster Weekend….

My book club mates and I left Thursday afternoon so that we could attend the Mystery Dinner hosted by author Duffy Brown that evening.  It was such a good time.  I don’t have pictures because I forgot to put the battery in my camera after charging it.  My character was Dee Dee Johnson (my maiden name is Johnson) who was a pick-pocketing waitress who might also be a little “slutty”.  I had on the shortest skirt ever (I hadn’t worn anything that short since I was 21) and it even helped us to an onion ring upgrade at Steak & Shake later that night. 🙂 

Friday we got up and spent some time at Jungle Jim’s. 

I was determined to purchase a few bottles of wine (five bottles of wine, one bottle of flavored vodka, three small bottles of Asti, and 5 small bottles of vodka and tea blends) and I had to buy some bar-b-que rubs/marinades for the hubby. 

The fire truck right above the hot sauce and barbeque section.

I also bought a few bottles of honey (need it for my hot tea). 

Aisle of Honey

 The store is such an adventure in itself, I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Cincinnati or surrounding area.  

Giant Pez HeadsYes...that is a pigs head. Who buys it I don't know.There's all kinds of iconic stuff like this throughout the store.i've never seen a bigger produce section in a store.The restrooms...they're really not Port-O's

The conference started on Friday and by the time we returned from the store it was time to register and join the festivities.  Along with the opportunity to meet the authors there are a large number of raffles that happen throughout the weekend with all proceeds going to the charity for the year (this years proceeds went to One Way Farm – a home for abused, abandoned, and neglected children).  You purchase raffle tickets (2 for $1) and place them in the bags for the baskets that you would like to win.  This year I decided to not get carried away with the raffle tickets because I do not win. 

My $20 worth of tickets

I have never won and I go to a couple of these events a year for the past four years.  I limited myself to $20 worth of tickets and didn’t have any high hopes for winning (I actually read during the drawings because I knew I most likely wouldn’t win), I just took it as an opportunity to donate to a worthy charity.   

Our group submitted a basket and this year it was big enough to warrant a spot on the big stage along with all of the other big gifts. 

 The big gifts usually include Kindle’s or Nooks and this year there was even a Pandigital. 

It was a great event.  I got the chance to attend “An Intimate Chat” with Nalini Singh – the author of the Psy-Changling and Archangel series. 

Nalini Singh

 Another member of our Book Club attended the “chat” with Mary Burton- whom I just happened to talk to at the continental breakfast line.

Mary Burton

 

I talked with a publisher and got information for my sister (who is writing a book) while standing in a line to get Nalini’s autograph (I’ve decided to get the cover for my Nook signed by all of my favorite authors which I will reveal after the RomCon event in August).    I did not win any baskets, but a few of the members of my book club did win (one won the most coveted SyFy basket).

We headed home on Sunday after making a stop at IKEA which was right across the bridge from our hotel.  Can you really be this close to an IKEA and not go in?  I think not.

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New reading

Happy Tuesday everyone,

It’s Spring Break for my baby doll and unfortunately mommy has to work and dad is out of town on business.  To top it all off, we are moving back to the house this weekend and I am having the hardest time getting myself motivated to really pack anything up.  I’ve gotten somethings packed up but friends and family that have visited in the past couple of days have commented that it does not look like I’m moving out by the end of the week.  I’m determined to get somemore done in the next couple of days…I promise.

I’m typically off on Mondays, so I actually had some time to hang out with my baby doll some yesterday.  We got up and tried to get my tags for the year, but I learned that the BMV is not open on Mondays (I went to two seperate locations and BOTH were closed).  If I got the plates after the 28th I would have to pay a late fee and I’ve had to do this for the past two years, so I was determined not to repeat the same process this year.  Okay, Okay…I waited until the last minute -yesterday was the 28th – but I wasn’t paying the late fee again.  I trudged home after making a quick detour to JoAnn’s and renewed my plates online – late fee avoided.

After that is was crafting for Kristian and I.  She scouted out her supplies at JoAnn’s while I perused fabric.  You see…I got the Nook Color this past weekend and after looking at the covers available at Best Buy and Amazon, did not see anything that struck my fancy.  I’ve made a cover for my Kindle so I thought I would make a temporary cover for my Nook until I found one that I really liked or until Stan “surprises” me with one.  On a side note, some of you may be wondering why would I buy a Nook when I already have a Sony eReader and a Kindle?  The answer is simple…technology upgrade.  Stan has been telling me that I need an iPad and I have been resisting it because I don’t want to give up on the electronic ink that is better on the eyes if you are a serious reader.  I’m a serious reader and my eyes have deteriorated over the years so that I now have to wear glasses all the time.  I don’t need anything that will contribute to the need for a stronger presciption strength.  I know that eventually our society will be leaning towards some form of tablet but I just don’t want to pay $500-600 for an iPad.  Research revealed that the Nook runs on Android technology and will soon have an upgrade (sometime in April or May)  that will allow you to use your Nook as an Android tablet.  Additionally, you will also be able to edit some Microsoft documents.  The Nook Color is $249…does anyone else see the practicality of getting the Nook Color and not the $500 iPad?  I initially thought to wait until Mother’s Day and hope that my husband got it for me with alot of hinting from me, but the more I thought of it, the more I became apprehensive that with this new upgrade the price may spike.  As I’ve stated numerous times on this blog, I’m all about finding the best deal.  If I waited around for Mother’s Day and the price went up, I would be kicking myself because I waited and I’m an instant gratification chick; once I make up my mind that I want something I usually have to get it.  I think it comes from the fact that I don’t gratify myself with purchases too often. 

I have to tell you guys that I really like my Nook.  So far I’ve only read on it, (and started a crossword puzzle) but so far I’m really happy with it.  I know someone may comment that the Nook Color has an LCD screen and not electronic ink, but I checked the reviews thoroughly (research people research) and there were no reports of eye strain or glare…even in sunlight.  Also for anyone that thinks I’m a little paranoid about the price going up with the new technology I just want to inform you that I’m not.  Last Friday, Stan looked up the Nook on HSN and they have the new Nooks with the Android tablet technology available for pre-order for $299.99.  Yep…the price went up. 

Here’s a picture of my new reader in the cover that I made. 

 

I’ll do a tutorial on how I made it later; it didn’t go as smoothly as I thought it would and I ended up exhausted and praying that I could be done soon.  Just thinking about typing it out makes me tired all over again. 🙂

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Superbowl weekend

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I hope that you had a great weekend.  I’m back to trying to post again regularly.  How was your Superbowl weekend?  Mine was quite relaxing.  This was Kristian’s weekend with her dad and I was determined to spend most of my weekend in the house.  You see  not only was it Superbowl weekend, but it was also rent weekend.  Everyone know that during mortgage and rent weeks there is not a lot of spending going on.  There may be those of you out there where this week is not a concern, but for most of the people that I know it is.  Add to the fact that it was rent week, the weather here in Indy has been VERY uncooperative and did not lend to getting out much. 

My plans for this weekend were to cook good, fun food, watch some great movies, and read, read, read.  Did I accomplish these plans?  Reflecting on the weekend, I have to say… yes.  Yes, I did. 

Friday I made pulled pork sandwiches with homemade bar-b-que sauce and coleslaw served with my weakness, French fries.  I had slow-cooked the pork Thursday night and Friday morning in garlic, onion, red peppers and a little beef broth.  I got home and quickly made a bar-b-que sauce (I added some North Carolina sauce that I received from a coworker…thank you Larry).  I made some coleslaw on top of the sandwich and man was it good. 

Saturday I did something that I rarely do…I slept in.  Typically I’m up early on Saturdays and I get to the grocery store and hurry back home to finish out my day.  Not so this weekend.  I woke up early (around 4 am) but went back to sleep (around 6am) and finally got out of bed at 8:30.  First, I sat down and updated my coupon book (it’s a thing of beauty I tell you and I will have to show you a picture of it in another post I promise I’m going to write about meal planning).  Then I made out my menu for the upcoming week (again another blog coming soon), a lot of which was centering around the Superbowl menu.  From this I made the grocery list.  It was snowing like crazy, but my Mom and I braved the elements; and 3 hours and 2 grocery stores later we were done.  I came home and had a light lunch.  For dinner I made steak (and chicken for my brother) tacos.  I had marinated the beef (and chicken) in a mixture of lime juice, canola & olive oil, jalapeño peppers, minced garlic, and cilantro for about 7 hours.  I cooked everything hot and fast in my cast iron skillet (I consider it a kitchen essential).  When you have steak tacos you need Margaritas.  My brother, his girlfriend and I had wonderfully delicious margarita’s that had to be made with my immersion blender because my blender was cracked and everything was running out of it.  OMG!…the margarita’s were great and they went perfect with the tacos.  I finished my J.D. Robb book, Indulgence in Death, and started the short story that follows it from the anthology, The Other Side, which had Possession in Death.  

Superbowl Sunday…I got up and pulled out the things required to make my dinner treats.  I went back to bed (can you believe it!!!) and finished the book.  Be still my heart, I finished the book.  Both books were a great read.  It was a lot better than the previous book, Fantasy in Death, it flowed faster and better and I wasn’t left waiting for the next big thing to happen or unfold.  For the superbowl menu I made buffalo chicken dip with homemade pita chips,

Buffalo Dip & Pita Chips

 

TGIFridays brand potato skins (they were only $1.66 a box), another fabulous pulled pork sandwich and pig cake.  The pig cake was a recipe that I got from The Pioneer Woman blog.  

A piece of pig cake

 

Can’t figure out why it’s called pig cake (actually I can…Kristian had some last night and she had the topping, made from whipped topping, crushed pineapple and vanilla pudding, was all over her face and hands – like she was pigging out on it – hence the name, I think) but man was it good.  Everything was good.  My brother complained that I didn’t make enough pita chips for the dip (cause it was really good), but I was completely satisfied.  I read some more of the book we are reading for counseling, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  I updated my book list and began reading the first book of a Susan Mallery series.  Now…I also watched two really good movies, The Social Network and RedThe Social Network is about the creation of Facebook and Red is a good action-packed, romantic-comedy that included great actors (Helen Mirren is the best, I want to be built like her when I’m her age.  My hips will be slightly bigger, but oh well.)  It was a great weekend…I don’t watch the game, so I can’t comment on it, nor the commercials, or the half-time show.  But I do know that congratulations go to the Green Bay Packers.  How about you?  How was your weekend?  What was your superbowl menu?

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