Tag Archives: meme

Top 3 Nora Roberts books?

The ladies over at Breezing Through have begun (or adopted from one of their individual blogs) a Top 3 meme — listing the 3 favorite books from a particular author.  And they began with Nora Roberts, queen of contemporary romance.

It was a lot harder than I expect to narrow my favorites down to three.   Given her huge backlist (100+ books in print), maybe I should not have been so surprised.

After an initial scan of all the books I liked enough to consider keepers,  I had to be ruthless.  Technically, the Eve Dallas books aren’t by Nora Roberts but by JD Robb, so Naked in Death was culled from the list even though it is my absolute favorite.  But it was published under  a pseudonym, not under her NR name.  And then I made myself pick the absolute favorite single title from my favorite trilogies or series.   In the end, it all came down to characters rather than plot.

Montana Sky — Ben and Willa made this book, along with the setting, which felt very original at the time.

Born in Fire — Maggie is an unapologetic bitch, and I like that about her.  Rogan is the prototype for Roarke.

Midnight Bayou — Declan Fitzpatrick + gender swap FTW!

Other honorable mentions:

  • The Chesapeake Series, especially Rising Tides
  • The Search
  • The rest of the Born in Series
  • Northern Lights
  • Luring A Lady (old SSE category)


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Courtesy of I took this Pierley/Redford Dissociative Affect Diagnostic, which seems kind of random. But then the results gave me this, which is sadly true in many (but not all) ways:

Often concerned with right and wrong, and punctilious in expressing it, you are best represented by the Customs Agent or the IRS inspector. Initially seen by others as cold or uncaring, you are difficult for those more spontaneous members of society to understand. You are extremely stable, responsible and dependable. You manifest an amazing ability to concentrate on the issue at hand, and are difficult to distract from issues that are important. You manifest a great sense of loyalty to your employers and your government. You tend to show love through a display of committed works, believing that actions speak louder than words. You are also resistant to change and tend to believe that the old ways are best. If a behavior has been successful in the past, why would anyone want to change? You work best in a controlled environment.

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2010 in reading

In no particular order, these are my favorite books of 2010:

No Souvenirs by K.A. Mitchell — contemporary romance
Marrying the Royal Marine by Carla Kelly — Napoleonic-set romance
The Search by Nora Roberts — romantic suspense
Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews — fantasy romance
The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook — steampunk romance
Fair Game by Josh Lanyon — romantic suspense
Not Knowing Jack by K.A. Mitchell — contemporary romance
Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs — urban fantasy
The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo — mystery
Hell Fire by Ann Aguirre — urban fantasy
Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews — urban fantasy
No Mercy by Lori Armstrong — mystery
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold — science fiction, the most recent installment of her Vorkosigan space opera series

If you made me narrow the list to three books:  No Souvenirs, Cryoburn, and The Iron Duke.

The new annotated edition of Persuasion gets an honorable mention, as does Critic’s Choice by Josh Lanyon and Roadkill by Rob Thurman.

Looking at my best of list, it’s striking that few European historicals (the bedrock of genre romance) are on my list, and also how much my reading is veering away from standard genre romance to less mainstream areas and to science fiction and fantasy.

Biggest reading disappointments of the year:

Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik — this wasn’t a bad book, but it needed better editing through the middle, which was slow as molasses during a hard freeze in January. 

Infamous by Suzanne Brockmann — it had all the usual elements to make a good Brockmann-style book, but somehow it just didn’t work.  Reviewed here.

(Best of portion originally posted at Readers Gab last week.)


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Supreme Court meme

From The Biochemist:

As was demonstrated in an interview with Katie Couric, Sarah Palin is unable to name any Supreme Court Case other than Roe v. Wade.

(Even in secondary schools, US history classes teach about landmark Supreme Court cases. This appalls me more than I can express.)

So. The meme: Post info about ONE Supreme Court decision, modern or historic, to your LJ to spread the fun. Any decision, as long as it’s not Roe v. Wade. Or comment with one.

My response to her: Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, in which the court said that there was no inherent executive authority in the event of national emergencies; the only powers held by the executive are those enumerated in the Constitution or delegated by Congress.

Griswold v. Connecticut, in which the court established the privacy right, despite the absence of the word in the Constitution, via the penumbra of other constitutional rights.

Afterthoughts: the embarrassing cases, like Korematsu (internment camps and racial discrimination are okay!), Plessy (separate but equal), Bowers v. Hardwick (consensual sodomy is bad!), and Dred Scott.

And then: Miller v. Albright, which addresses equal protection against gender discrimination in the immigration context.  (The statute treating the natural-born children of citizen-mothers and citizen-fathers differently did not violate the Fifth Amendment because of the parental relationship and heavier burden carried by the unmarried citizen-mother.)  I disagree with the reasoning of the majority, because I think it is based on an outdated gender stereotype.  But this was the first case I ever saw argued before the Court and I remember it fondly.


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100 Books meme

Borrowed from


“The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed.”
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them 😉

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien.  Started, never finished.
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman. 
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott  Well, I used to love it, not so much anymore.
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare  Haven’t read all of them.
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger  Overrated 
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy   Never finished
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky   Never finished
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck  Never finished
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood   Unfinished.
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens 
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding 
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce Started, never finished.
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro  Started, never finished.
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom  This is a classic of some kind?  Maybe of junk.
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad Read it in high school and again in college twice, once for a lit class and once for a textual analysis class in conjunction with Apocalypse Now.  Hate this book.  Afterthought:  one of the characters of Alex Carr’s The Prince of Bagram Prison was Kurtz — reference to this book?  I think so.
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo 

Read 37 books.  Attempted to read 7 more.  Have 10 or more TBR.


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Thursday 13: the Netflix queue

Thirteen Things about JMC
13 Movies in the Netflix queue

Movies or TV series I’ll watch…sooner or later.


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Six random facts meme

Tagged by CindyS and Ana:

The rules are:
1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your blog entry.
5. Let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs.

Six random facts about me?

1. I can put mascara (the only makeup I wear, and that sporadically) on without a mirror, which used to freak my roommates out – they were sure I would put an eye out with the brush. 

2. My favorite alcoholic drink is Licor 43 over ice with a twist of lemon and a twist of lime. But I have to stir it a bit and get some of the ice melted before I can sip.  And the best part of the drink is the last mouthful, after the lemon and lime juices have been leeched out of the wedges.

3. I am eight minutes younger than my (smarter, cooler) twin sister. 

4. I love ladybugs, but do wish that people would stop giving me ladybug-decorated objects for my home. 

5. I can touch the tip of my tongue to my nose; I can arch both eyebrows or just one at a time; but I cannot wiggle my ears. 

6. I’m totally fascinated by Kyle Chandler’s hair, which is a character all by itself and part of the reason I’ve become a fan of Friday Night Lights, my current tv favorite. 

I’m not tagging anyone, because this meme has been pretty much everywhere and there’s no one left. 


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What does it say about me that I love the idea of these Bittersweets?

AngieW’s post about car shopping reminds me of my last shopping experience. After I’d done my research (maintenance, warranties, customer satisfaction, pricing) and decided what I was buying, the first question out of the salesman’s mouth was, What’s your favorite color, honey? Uh, not a relevant consideration, thanks. No commission for you.

Thursday Thirteen
Thirteen e-books waiting to be purchased or read:

1. The Eternal Rose by Gail Dayton. End of her fantasy trilogy. But I’m not buying it until I’ve read the second book.
2. I Want Candy by Kim Welter Wong. I liked her chick lit and want to try this, which seems to be YA.
3. Margarita by Joan Wolf. A Venezuelan heroine in a British regency-set novel sounds intriguing.
4. Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America by Ellen Chesler
5. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo. I saw him on TDS or TCR last year and this book has been sitting in my cart ever since.
6. The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean by John Julius Norwich.
7. Original Zinn: Conversation on History and Politics by Howard Zinn and David Barsamian
8. Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow. I’m pretty sure that I have a hard copy of this somewhere in my house, but I broke down and bought an e-copy. As soon as I finish reading the e-version, the paper copy will appear.
9. Schrodinger’s Ball by Adam Felber.
10. Threads of Malice by Tamara Siler Jones
11. Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs. Because I love her Mercy Thompson series.
12. The Splendor of Silence by Indu Sundaresan
13. Middlemarch by George Eliot 

There’s some linking and verbiage that is supposed to be attached but I’m too lazy.  (c) to the Thursday Thirteen people.



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Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen items from JMC’s library record

1. Y: the last man (vols 7-9), David Gallaher recommended this series to me and I LOVE it. Social commentary, action, an extinction level event, what more could a reader want? 

2. The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella. WWII historical set in Italy, billed as a culinary romance, it caught my attention when Jayne reviewed it. 

3. The Guild of Xenolinguists, anthology of short stories by Sheila Finch. I liked the idea of SFF stories based on the way new races/cultures communicate, while avoiding the generic universal translator. 

4. The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa. I remember reading a review of this in which Edith Grossman was mentioned as translator. I keep seeing her name attached to good stuff, including Gabo’s work. So I picked this up. 

5. The Art of Political Murder by Francisco Goldman. The Economist included it in the year end review of books.  It has something to do with recent history in Central and/or South America.

6. The Boy Behind the Mask: Meeting the Real Tutankhamun by Charlotte Booth. Random pick up at the library. Speculation about his life rather than the artifacts in his tomb. 

7. God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making… by Walter Russell Mead. Another Economist pick. 

8. Flyer by Marjorie Jones. Post-WW1, Australian-set romance. Different.  But I tried reading on my long, long commute this morning (including a car, two buses and a train — sounds like the intro of a joke, right?) and it was not every engaging.

9. All Through the Night by Suzanne Brockmann in audio format. Michael Holland nails Jules’ character. 

10. Blood Brothers by La Nora. I’ll buy all three at once when the series is complete. 

11. Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Gabaldon. On hold. I don’t like DG enough to shell out for her in hardback, although I appreciate Lord John more than I do Jamie Fraser. 

12. Midnight Awakening by Lara Adrian. I’m on the fence about this series, so this one is still a library read. 

13. Geek High by Piper Banks. Jane’s review sounded good. 

I’m pretty sure that there’s some language about the TT that I’m supposed to include here, but I can’t find it at the moment.  


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The Results Are In

AAR‘s poll results have been posted.

Only four books in my top 10 made it on to the list, and of those, only one broke AAR’s top ten. Of the entire 100, only 16 of the books I’d list as keepers made it.  I’d read another 56 books appearing on the list, leaving only 29 “new” books…except most of them I have TBR or am not interested in or were DNFs.   I’m not hugely surprised, not even the appearance of JR Ward or the continued “dominance” of (IMO) the very pedestrian book which remains at the #1 spot.   ETA:  I take that back.  I am surprised that nothing by Carla Kelly made the list.

The few that overlapped…


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