Yes, I'm back. Safe and sound thank you very much. For those that have been keeping up with the weather - all that nasty snow, ice and chaos stayed south of Michigan. The only exciting travel story I have is that I threw up on one of my flights to Michigan. I'm talking The Exorcist here. Luckily I had the old barf bag (sorry "motion sickness bag") handy.
Let's talk gifts shall we? My older sister got me the first and second seasons of Dallas on DVD! I think I might have mentioned a time or two how much I loved that show as a kid. I used to stay up every Friday night and watch it with my grandmother. The younger sister got me the fourth season of South Park on DVD (Timmy!) and my parents got me a lovely book called Tea & Taste: The Visual Language of Tea, along with other assorted goodies.
But now to the boyfriend. Yes, what did Wendy's boyfriend - he of excellent gift giving taste - get her for Christmas? My very own English tea service. I'm talking the works here. I even have dinner and dessert plates for crying out loud. And while the cups and saucers are backordered (bummer), I finally now have a fancy tea pot and serving tray. I have visions of sitting round the parlor with my lady friends sipping tea, nibbling on cucumber sandwiches and discussing Jane Austen.
Never mind that I don't have a parlor. I do know how to make cucumber sandwiches though. Isn't that something?
As for reading - I went through two books on my trip - Little Girl Lost by Richard Aleas and Morning Beauty, Midnight Beast by Myrna Mackenzie.
Little Girl Lost is part of Dorchester's new Hard Case Crime line - their way of revitilizing the pulp mystery genre, god bless their hearts. This one was pretty good, despite the fact that I knew exactly where it was heading after all the principal players were introduced.
The hero is a young private detective who opens up the newspaper one morning to learn the girl he lost his virginity to in high school was shot to death on the roof of a seedy strip club. How she ended up a stripper is the mystery for our hero - since the last she heard she was on her way to becoming a doctor. So he begins to investigate on his own, and uncovers a whole lot about his ex-girlfriend that he doesn't like.
Morning Beauty, Midnight Beast was also pretty good, but suffered from it's short page count. The author glosses over a lot and I think this book would have worked better with an extra 100 pages.
The heroine is 8 months pregnant when she collapses outside the hero's seedy apartment building. He rescues her, pays her hospital bill (how come I can never find the independently wealthy men?) and promptly rides off into the sunset. The heroine cannot leave it be though, and feels indebted to the man. She just has to find a way to repay his kindness. So she tracks him down. Their relationshiop then evolves into her cooking and cleaning for him, and he teaching her how to survive in the big, bad city.
The heroine struck me as a little too naive at times, but I've read worse. The hero is wallowing thanks to his belief that he did wrong by his loved ones. The heroine is gorgeous. The hero is scarred. Hence the title. I really enjoyed the hero's younger sister - but unfortunately that is one of the aspects that the author chooses to gloss over. If ever a character screamed "Sequel! Me Me Me!" it was her. But the ending of Morning Beauty, Midnight Beast left me thinking the author had no such plans. Bummer.
Next up is Derik's Bane by MaryJanice Davidson. Davidson was a big "It Girl" in romance in 2004, and this January 2005 release will be my first by her. So far it's quirky and fun - but I'm a mere 40 pages into it...