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Taking care of Business, by Megan Hart and Lauren Danetaking-care-of-business

Published originally in October 2008 in the United Kingdom by Black Lace, Taking Care of Business is being released in the United States on March 31st. I have read some of Ms Dane‘s work (Undercover, reviewed here) but nothing by Ms Hart until now.

I only mention this because during the first few chapters I found myself trying to identify which author had written which section or character. Not a good idea, because as long as I was analyzing the writing I wasn’t being pulled into the story, which is ultimately why I read. Once I stopped the guessing game, the characters and their circumstances grabbed me.

Before we get into the review, the usual warning: this is an adult novel, with adult themes, graphic language and explicit sex scenes. Minors, and any adult objecting to any of these, should avoid reading further, let alone the book itself. (more…)

wtf

What is fucking wrong with people?

A man who allegedly kept his daughter locked up for 25 years and raped her repeatedly together with his son has been arrested by Italian police.

The case has sent shock waves across the country and has already been dubbed Italy’s version of the Josef Fritzl case.

Prosecutors said the 64-year-old also ”groomed” his son to abuse his sister and to subject his own young children to horrific sex acts.

He has been named in the Italian media as Michele Mongelli and his son as Giuseppe Mongelli.

Detectives said the woman’s ordeal began when she was just nine years old.

Although she managed to escape once and tell police, her father managed to convince them she was ”disturbed”.

The woman, who has been named Laura by the media, was forced to live in a darkened room with no electricity and only allowed out with her father.

Detectives said her brother had also sexually abused his own children aged six, eight, 12 and 20.

The case was uncovered after a tip off. Police planted listening devices in the family home and car and heard the horrific details being discussed.

In one chilling transcript released by police the eight year old girl can be heard saying:”Dad – get your hands off me. You are a bastard, stop it.”….
A Turin police spokesman said: ”This is a terribly sad case. The woman had reported in 1994 that she was being raped but her claims were dismissed.”

I am so sickened by this, I cannot tell you how much. (more…)

And on this fine Monday morning (if any Monday morning can be called fine, that is…), let’s welcome author Larissa Ione to KKB. Ms Ione has graciously offered herself as willing victim erm… guest here today.

In case some of you are not aware, Ms Ione’s third Demonica novel, Passion Unleashed, releases tomorrow from Grand Central Publishing. The first title in the series, Pleasure Unbound, got quite a few rave reviews and authorly squees (check out Ann Aguirre’s) and the second, Desire Unchained, made the USA Today Bestseller list sortly after its release date. You can find much more about these books, the Demonica world and Ms Ione herself in her website. Now… onward to the grilling! erm… interviewing. (more…)

question1

Obviously this is directed at those of you who blog.

My best Blog-Thinking place is in the car. Mainly because I’m spending a lot of time in mine at the moment.

I come up with a blog post subject in the car, then the next time I boot up my laptop, I post my thoughts. Talksport.net, and Radio Five live, are also great places to find topics worth posting about.

How about you?

The Desert King’s Pregnant Bride, by Annie Westthe-desert-king-pregnants-bride-presents-us

This lovely category romance is my introduction to Ms West’s writing. I confess that I have a soft spot for sheikhs as characters because E.M.Hull’s The Sheikh was in fact the first romance I ever read. (Yes, I know—rape, Stockholm syndrome, the whole ball of wax. I was eleven, for crying out loud; I thought the ending made up for the rest of the book.)

Erm… where was I? Ah yes. The Desert King’s Pregnant Bride is much better than the blurb would make you think: (more…)

I’ve Joined The Twitter Revolution…

Saturday, March 28, 2009
Posted in: I'm twittering

twitter-logo

I’ve so far resisted Facebook, Myspace, and all of the other possible ways of sucking up time, but I decided to give Twitter a go.

If anybody wants to follow me, my username is Karenknowsbest, and you can find me on Twitter.com/Karenknowsbest.

cross-dressing

This week’s dilemma is as follows:

You’re married to Carl, and have been for over ten years now. You have two beautiful children, and you have a great relationship.

One day, you come home early to find Carl dressed in your clothes, with a fully made up face, the works.

Carl is horrified, but admits that for the past ten years, he has secretly been wearing your clothes and enjoying the sensation of looking like a woman. On the occasions when you’ve gone away with the kids to see your parents, he’s also dressed up, and gone out to specific clubs, where’s he’s known as Carla.

Carl explains that this is something that he has to do, and it’s not as if he’s cheating on you. He wants you to accept him as he is, cross-dressing habits and all.

What do you do? Do you accept that your husband doesn’t feel complete unless he dresses up in women’s clothes, or do you give him an ultimatum, whereby he has to either give up cross-dressing, or risk losing his family?

What do you do? *g*

pregnant-teen

I’m not sure how I feel about the UK’s plans to let abortion ads be shown on TV, in attempt to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies:

Restrictions on the advertising of condoms on television could also be relaxed under a shake-up of the rules put forward in an effort to halt high rates of teenage pregnancy.

Adverts for pregnancy advisory services could be allowed in prime-time evening slots on the major channels and radio following consultation by advertising watchdogs.

But advertisers must stipulate if the service does not refer women directly for abortion under the new proposals.

One of Britain’s biggest independent pregnancy advisory service, whose clinicians perform abortions as well, said it would immediately consider running adverts.

I get why they’re doing it, but I guess I’m afraid that it may lead to young people having abortions as if they were a form of contraception.

I think that promoting the use of condoms is a good thing, and should be a given anyway, but I’m definitely still undecided about abortion clinics airing promotional ads.

What say you?

Winter Kissed, a two author anthology by Michele Hauf and Vivi Anna

winter-kissed

Published by Harlequin’s Nocturne line, Winter Kissed is actually two short novels, under a hundred and fifty pages each. I was very excited when I got this book in a giveaway because I had not read anything by either of the two authors. Having heard good things about both, I was anxious to try their work.

I am rather sad to say that I didn’t enjoy either of the stories, for different reasons.

While both stories share a basic setting and general premise-paranormal beings and winter myths-they are not connected in any way. Please note that there are spoilers in this review for the first story. Since I’m extremely allergic to spoilers myself, it is not done lightly in my reviews; consider yourselves warned. (more…)

Rumour Has It...

boycottncp_banner

…That New Concepts Publishing are cash-strapped, AKA, not doing well. Oh please let it be true!

Would anybody like to confirm or deny these rumours?

According to a former NCP author, they’re still trying to sell unedited books via Fictionwise, and intentionally mislabelling some of the books, e.g. labelling books as ‘romance’, when they should come under the ‘erotica’ banner. Nothing new there I guess.

Apparently they’re also trying to hire ‘staff writers’. Pray tell, what the hell are staff writers?

Either way, I’m still waiting for this particular ship to sink.

Thanks to you-know-who for the heads up.

How Come…

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Posted in: random musings

beyondreach2 skinprivilege2

…Publishers feel the need to have different book titles for the same books in different countries?

For instance, Karin Slaughter’s last Grant County book, was called Beyond Reach in the US, and Skin Privilege everywhere else.

Why?

You know how often I’ve commented on authors behaving badly online? Sorta like airing all sorts of stinky laundry for everyone to see?

Well, I evidently need to learn to be more tolerant of others’ weaknesses and faux passes, given I’m definitely not without them myself.

To my fellow reader, please accept my apologies for the insensitive, ungrateful, rude beyond belief email I sent earlier. While it is true I wasn’t writing it for your eyes, there is no excuse or explanation that could justify the contents.

I am very very sorry.

ALL

Am I the only person who hates the idea of Google Earth? Over here we go crazy about data protection, yet we are seemingly embracing something that will no doubt make life easier for criminals?

What. The. F*ck?

Yes, I hate it. I hate it with a passion, and I’m 100% convinced that the next really bad thing that happens in the world, will probably be aided by GE. Just wait and see.

Anybody care to try to convince me that it’s actually a good thing?

I so don’t think so…

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks, random rambling

You Are Blooming Flowers


You are an optimistic person by nature. In even the darkest times, you are hopeful about the future.

You feel truly blessed in life and can sometimes be overwhelmed with emotions.

You have an artist’s eye. You are always looking for beauty in the mundane.

You have a good sense of aesthetics, especially when it comes to shapes and color.

(thank you to the BookLoversMessageBoard for the quiz)

say-what

Well, if one went by some of the dedications in some of the romance books that I’ve read, the answer would seem to be a resounding yes, however, I’m just not convinced.

I’ve read some of these dedications and often wondered what really lay behind them. Did the author really mean it, or was it just for show, or perhaps a marketing ploy?

When I read things like, “To my own special hero, blah blah blah” I can’t help but think in my head, “Who are they trying to kid?”

That’s very cynical of me I know, but more often than not, I wonder if the author does indeed consider their other half, their very own ‘hero’.

A while ago, I read a dedication from a well known author, that thanked the hubby for his unwavering support etc, etc. Yet, according to the grapevine, and according to people who’d met the hubby in real life, he was an arsehole in every way.

Now of course the rumours may have been untrue, but in my mind, there’s seldom smoke without fire. And as romance readers, I think we’re desperate to believe that our favourite romance authors really do have the types of heroes that they write about, so why lie?

Anyhoo, I think it would be interesting to get some stats on the divorce rate amongst romance writers.

What do you guys think? Do you, like me, wonder at some of the sugary sweet dedications to the author’s other half, that you read?

Random Question Of The Day No. 27897…

Sunday, March 22, 2009
Posted in: Uncategorized

aaarggh

What’s with the allergic reaction towards paragraph breaks, that some people seem to have?

FYI, Paragraph breaks are good. They make it easier to read long-arsed, rambling comments.

Ok?

Good.

This is totally Wendy’s fault

Sunday, March 22, 2009
Posted in: random rambling

myhero

(even though she blames Kwana)

Now you too can go get your hero on!

Random Question Of The Day No 20657…

Saturday, March 21, 2009
Posted in: random musings

question

Why do Catholics oppose the use of condoms so much?

Pope Benedict on Tuesday reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS as he started a visit to Africa, where more than 25 million people have died from the disease in recent decades…

“It (AIDS) cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem,” he said in response to a question about the Church’s widely contested position against the use of condoms.

Seriously?

(more…)

Glass Houses, by Anne Stuartglass-houses

This is a very old category romance published by Harlequin as part of its Men at Work line back in 1989. It is also my first (to my recollection) Anne Stuart.

Isn’t it amazing how good writing can come through even as annoying conventions make one want to tear one’s hair out? For example, please take a look at the back cover blurb:

Who is that sexy guy?

Name:              Michael Dubrovnik

Experience:       Millionaire and corporate raider. He has many hidden talents… seduction is just one of them.

Objective:         To acquire Glass House and its prime Manhattan location.

Until he met owner Laura de Kelsey Winston, Michael had never lost a negotiation. But the savvy businesswoman matched him move by move, kiss for kiss. And suddenly Michael was in danger of losing a far more precious commodity… his heart.

Boardroom Boys Serious in the boardroom-sizzling in the bedroom!

(more…)

what-would-you-do

This week’s dilemma is as follows:

You’re happily married, with two kids, aged six and eight. Your husband goes to the doctor one day, because he’s been feeling off.
Eventually he is diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Your husband needs vital treatment, and you discover that your insurance isn’t enough to cover for the care he needs. Months go by, and the medical bills mount up.

Your husband dies, and you struggle to bury him, due to the cost. But bury him, you do.

Your work does not pay well enough to cover all of your bills and your normal home expenses. You start getting behind with your mortgage payments.

A year goes by, and you now owe $10,000 to the bank, and the other bills are piling up. The bank eventually give you a foreclosure date, unless the money is paid up.

You are scared, and desperate. You don’t even have enough money to scrape for the cheapest rental property. You know that your extended family cannot help you out, because they too are going through their own hardships.

Your only choice is perhaps asking some cyber-pals to help you out.

You don’t want to do it, because in truth, you hardly know some of these people, and you don’t want to take advantage, especially when others are in dire need due to the downturn in the economy.

What do you do? Do you swallow your pride, and ask them for help, or do you risk being made homeless?

What would you do?