Romance & Rugby...

by tosca on Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I read in an article that Mills & Boon and the English Rugby Football Union have signed a contract to produce 8 new novels this year - a part of the International Billionaires series - featuring rugby players as the heroes. Now, being a New Zealander and, worse, a New Zealand lass raised on rugby (I have vivid memories of being dragged around to various Petone rugby grounds as a child and I wouldn't be surprised if my first words were not Mama and Dada but 'Come ON Ref!' - thanks Dad, geez) I was curious as to how the mix would work. And a tad bit apprehensive, as well. What I envisioned was, I dunno, geez, mud and romance and rugby boots and, dare I say it but dinner at Burger King or McDonalds (or even the pub with chips and tomato sauce on the menu). That wasn't the case :-)

The first novel is The Prince's Waitress Wife by Sarah Morgan and was due to hit the shelves Feb 1st to coincide with the 2009 RBS (hell, don't ask me what that is cos I have no clue) Six Nations' something-or-other (hey, I know NZ rugby sheesh) but I've just finished reading it right this very minute. I thought the title was pushing it a bit, I mean come on, he's a prince with screeds of money, an ex-special forces bodyguard, his very own kingdom AND he plays rugby. Ack! Was funny (as in humour ha ha funny) and also funny (as in weird funny) to be reading a romance novel and have the hero explain what a scrum is, or a tackle, or even a try. Am wondering if I can pass it off to my dad to read - although the lurid pink cover may just put him off. It could be paybacks for all those years of rugby!

Although they're (obviously) not all published and I have them in my TBR (to be read) shelf in my GoodReads account, in order the books are:
The Prince's Waitress Wife by Sarah Morgan (Feb 2009)
At the Argentinean Billionaire's Bidding by India Grey (March 2009)
The French Tycoon's Pregnant Mistress by Abby Green (April 2009)
The Ruthless Billionaire's Virgin by Susan Stephens (May 2009)
The Italian Count's Defiant Bride by Catherine George (June 2009)
The Sheikh's Love-Child by Kate Hewitt (July 2009)
Blackmailed into the Greek Tycoon's Bed by Carol Marinelli (August 2009)
The Virgin Secretary's Impossible Boss by Carol Mortimer (September 2009)

Ooh also! I've just finished reading The Darcy Connection by Elizabeth Aston. I discovered the book by fate/accident - was cruising the historical fiction shelves (as I have been doing lately) and saw the title and grabbed it. I know, I know - longtime fan of Pride and Prejudice, what a dork I am and I'm not apologising for it hah. Was initially apprehensive because it's a huge thing to think you can pull off a continuation of Austen's characters but it works. Well, it works for me. The Darcy Connection looks at Mr. Collins' daughters and it's quite comforting to think he's still a bumbling fool - only now he's a Bishop and (the former Miss Lucas) Charlotte is pretty much the backbone of that relationship. One of their daughters is named Eliza for Elizabeth Darcy and is very much as indepdent thinking as the original character. I had to keep in mind that it is all 20 years after Pride and Prejudice so what society will allow has changed somewhat and, I think, there was a motor car. It's book 5 in the series so have requested all of the earlier titles where, apparently, we get to know Darcy and Elizabeth's children. Oh, and the rotten Caroline Bingley is still in there and she married err Lord Warren so she's now Lady Warren and bitter over the fact that Elizabeth got Darcy - yes, even 20 years later. Talk about a grudge! Oh, hmm, one thing - there are some err what's the term? In some parts it's almost exactly Pride and Prejudice: young Eliza overhears a young man refer to her in a rather unfortunate way and they spend quite a bit of their time with him on the backfoot because of it; and the older sister is a tad bit too remote and cool - would've been nice to see her slightly more human/animated. Maybe if she had her own book she would be but I didn't quite think her impending marriage to the Marble Marquis (and no that wasn't his real title but perhaps they were well matched in temperament after all) was explained to my satisfaction ALTHOUGH they were very charming characters. Oohh and Mr. Darcy had a cameo role (if you can call it that in a book, erk)!

Ricardo Montalban

by tosca on Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ricardo Montalban died earlier this week (November 25, 1920 - January 14, 2009). For most people he would likely bring to mind either his role as Mr. Roarke...which of course reminds people of Tattoo constantly harping on about, 'Ze plane! Ze plane!' and desperately pointing into the air and, of course, he played the role of Khan Noonien SIngh from Star Trek. He and his wife were married for 63 years. How the hell is that for a story?? Thought it would make a nice inclusion in the romance newsletter for February. In rememberance I've got a couple of vids to post. One is him dancing with a very young Rita Moreno, using her to show Lana Turner how to dance 'tight inside, loose outside.' Am assuming it is actually dancing they're talking about but with that accent who knows :-) and who cares! It's absolutely delicious - especially this bit:

Montalban: I lead not you. You're not the man
Turner: Well, I don't particuarly want to be
Montalban: Good. That fits in with my plans exactly!
Turner: When did you have time to make plans?
Montalban: Oh, in a matter of seconds. In the stable.

Now whether he made these plans in the stable or WANTS to enact these plans in the stable is unclear - but who cares when he talks like that LOL It's a gorgeous vid - so watch and enjoy - and thanks to the wonderful readers on SBTB for the link!

This second vid is with the beautiful Cyd Charisse - and gosh that dress is deceptive. Seemingly simple looking and then she starts kicking and flipping it and the bits of colour comes through, shaking and shimmying and wow.

Image taken from L.A Times article.

Books books books books books - everywhere we look...

by tosca on Thursday, January 15, 2009

ARGH! Found the Olathe Public Library (Kansas) website by accident (prefer to think it was fate). Came across their Subject Guide listing. From there I found my way to their Readers Advisory page recommending sites with book reviews, suggestions etc. and uhh I am skipping my lunch break to go through them ;-) I know, what a dork heh. So ok, here are the ones I really liked or found quirky, in no particular order:

* Book Club Girl who is dedicated to sharing great books, news and tips with book club girls everywhere - In the first 5 mins alone I have found 9 books to request *gulps* where the hell will I find the time ack

* Amazon Top 100 - updated hourly (psst I want that job - ok no I don't but it might be nice)

* Harper Library - makes a good readers' advisory tool, too. I saw a book cover on Book Club Girl (The Birth House by Ami McKay) which, when I clicked on it, led me to Harper Library with 2 or 3 suggestions below that were similar to that one. I see that they also have a 'Download a free e-book' link. The words 'free' and 'e-book' are guaranteed to lure me in. They also have their own Top 10 Lists to peruse.

* Mathematical Fiction - was never my forte in high school (hello, I took 3 languages, science and music) so more out of curiosity I wanted to see if there were many...and yes there were!

* Online Book Clubs - hah I don't have to rearrange my oh-so-busy (not) schedule to attend a book club in person. I'm lazy and I can do it via email YAY ME. Signed up for a couple (curiosity really) to see what I shall see. Every Mon through Fri they send me 5 min selection from a chapter and by the end of the week I'll have read 2-3 chapters. New book every Monday. Hmm, my only concern is...what happens when I read those 2-3 teaser chapters and we don't have the book in our library system for me to finish??? That would suck. Majorly :-) Boohoo.

Umm don't really enjoy the sites where I have to enter what kind of plot I like before it suggests anything. I judge books by their covers and I refuse to apologise for it. So there! Egads - lunch break over - serious hat on. Bubbye =)

Good Reads : Romance Readers Reading Challenges

by tosca on Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I like Good Reads - and the few of you who read this will know that because I've said it before: I like Good Reads! I like it even more this evening (yeah, it's 11:49pm on Tues 13th Jan, 2009 and I have a whole stack of books to read and instead am playing online) because I've found a group called Romance Readers Reading Challenges. The description of the group reads: If you love to read romance novels, or just read, and you like reading challenges, come and join this group. If you look at your TBR list and don't know which book to start with, worry no more. We will give you a reason to. Each month we will give you 10 categories that will allow you to pick 10 books to read. You are welcome to review, discuss and rate these books.

Now because the first challenge was only just posted today-ish there are only 5 challenges instead of the usual 10. And they are:

1. New Year Challenge: In with the new, Out with the old: Read a book that has been in your TBR pile for so long.
2. Beginnings: Read a book that is the first in a series.
3. Tournament of Roses: Read a book that has a name of a flower in its title.
4. Winter Season: Read a book that has a word that starts with "W" in its title.
5. Martin Luther King Day: Read a book that has an African-American character in it or read a book that is set in the South or in a Southern state

Have posted my answers already. Was thinking that perhaps this is something we could adapt for our romance newsletter - not 10 and maybe not even 5. Maybe err 3? Roughly 30 days in a month means about umm 3 every 10 days. It's doable - highly doable. As I type this I'm seeing in my head a number of regular customers at our branch who take out 5-10 in one visit and are back again a few days later. I think we'd need an incentive of some sort - only I'm not sure what. Maybe a copy of the Firefighters 2009 Calendar - yeah? Hmm, yeah.

I think this may be my shortest post ever *gasps* Egads! From me and the Dixie Chicks (we're both not ready to make nice) a bientot =)

Dear Author, Banksy's art in New Orleans, a surfeit of Romance, Elvis & Memoirs and lashings of Super Dickery

by tosca on Thursday, January 8, 2009

Well, today I found that Dear Author is blocked at work :-( Alas, what will I do now?! Ok, I do have some other 40 book related RSS feeds to get me through the day BUT not half are as funny and insightful and downright delicious as Smart Bitches Trashy Books, Pop Sensation, Judge a Book and Dear Author. Grr bah humbug. Image taken from Teleread.

Was desperately hoping to be able to view some of Banksy's graffiti art in New Orleans while over there but a September article in NOLA's Times Picayune Lagniappe section states that a lot of it is now GONE or defaced - oh the irony of graffiti being vandalised. Even more ironic when you consider that his artwork sells for thousands in art galleries around the world. Idiots. I'm devastated! Some are still there so I hope to track those down. For those among us who do not know, Banksy is a British street artist (it's interesting to note that he does not call himself an artist but there's no doubting his talent). According to Brian Sewell's Art Directory Banksy has managed to keep his real name from mainstream media, which is pretty damn clever considering his art pops up anywhere and everywhere. Take a look through his site because his art work is clever, witty and very subversive - esp the New Orleans stuff ;-) It's separated into Indoors, Outdoors, Drawing & Film. Manukau Libraries holds a copy of his book Wall and Piece which you can request (I have). My list of his stuff to see while on holiday is getting progressively smaller...

Thanks to our NextReads Romance newsletters I have read so much romance over the last few weeks - and still have screeds more to go. For some daft reason I thought it'd give more integrity to the newsletter if I had actually read what I was recommending - which has upped our issues loads and given me plenty of food for thought (ideas for themes anyway). Thought that it would be a good idea to make up an advance list of themes for the year ahead in case some of them aren't totally suitable to our collection. With help from various staff throughout Manukau Libraries (mostly Natalie) we have an exciting list - I won't tell you what they are, but keep an eye out all the same. I will say one theme will be Men Who Write Romance Novels - and yes there lots and I have read quite a few already. Am also working my way through everything I'm recommending for the Biography & Memoir newsletter and the Pop Culture (and yes, this month's theme is Elvis because I'm going to Graceland next month and I have never understood the hype, in spite of having been raised on his music/movies and yes, I did read all of our system's biographies AND I watched all the dvds, too). It was his birthday yesterday. He would have been 74 (which makes me wonder, what did he have that made him so damned iconic even after his death and would he still have it today?!). Our Jan theme for Bio is Memoir Under Fire which was kinda inspired by the latest furore over Herman Rosenblat's fake memoir, and is a selection of books that have been investigated as to their truth. But sshh, mum's the word. Image taken from Ick Music.

Thanks to Natalie for showing me Super Dickery! Lone Wolf and I were talking about Rex Parker's Pop Sensation and then Natalie pointed us both in the direction of Super Dickery - and now my subversive internet life is, once again, complete-ish (until the next site is found). I guarantee, if you enjoy a lost of the sites I've recommended on this blog/rant then definitely try this one :-) And if you don't like it then I don't care LOL

Slideshare - adding powerpoint presentations to Blogger

by tosca on Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hi de hi campers! Just a quick post (yeah, so sue me, I always say that and never ruddy well mean it). Our lovely Summer Reading Programme is underway and, for once, I'm not involved in check ins. Huh - go figure. I'm not used to that. So, anyway, the programme - titled Get your game face on! - has a blog and it's run by our lovely Jolene (take a bow, Jolene). You can view the blog here. Jolene flicked me an email asking how to add a powerpoint presentation to their blog - and I was stymied because - D'OH ME - I hadn't ever done it before and didn't think I'd ever have to. One thing I'll give Jolene is she never asks me boring questions. A couple of days ago I had found my way to Slideshare by accident (or fate, who knows, I ain't questioning it) and joined without actually having anything worth adding. A quick hunt on Google today showed me that my Slideshare account was going to be put to use. Very easy process to join, even easier to upload a powerpoint file. What wasn't so easy was finding the damn Embed code..........never occurred to me that I'd have to activate that in the account settings. Yeah, so thinking isn't always my forte! Another quick Google session (5 secs at the most) pointed out the error of my ways and, after making sure that the Embed option was enabled, I was able to grab the code and paste it into the Gameface blog to test it. YAY ME ;-)

'Cause Jolene's an independent kinda learner (gotta luv those types, eh) she asked for a quick set of instructions so she could do it herself from now on! That involved having to set up an account for Manukau Libraries (here's our public Slideshare page which doesn't have any files atm 'cause Jolene's about to add some so be patient) so staff can use it when they need to. Nice and easy. Shoot, wish it was all that easy heh =)

Oh hmm, another update on Bloglines and work access - no go, I'm afraid. It was thought that staff would still be able to access sites via Bloglines that work ordinarily wouldn't allow us to. Am gutted but that's beyond my control. I mentioned in a former post that I had re-routed everything through Feed My Inbox to deliver directly to my work email in the meantime until a resolution had been reached. Kaka thing of it is is that it meant all of my feeds were a day late - who the hell wants to read the Herald a day late LOL So I have imported ALL of my bloglines feeds into Google Reader instead. You may remember from a previous post I wasn't so keen on G-Reader but desperate times mean my options are limited. And, sshh don't tell anyone this, but I'm actually getting the hang of it AND enjoying it.

I gotta say, first my work access to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books was curtailed *cue tear* and then a lot of the image generators were blocked *whimper* and THEN my access to Bloglines was taken away *cries* and THEN my ruddy access to Rex Parker's fantabulous Pop Sensation blog was yanked *sobs*. Shoot - it's enough to make me think it's personal :-)