Updates, What’s going on and What’s to come…

Hi Everyone!  I haven’t done just a plain post in quite a while.  I know that unfortunately I have been a bit inconsistent with things lately.  I truly apologize to all of my readers and authors who have been so supportive these past few years.  It has been a very hectic and busy Winter/Spring.  Between work and personal obligations I haven’t been able to allot the time needed for my books and reviews.  For that I am truly sorry.

I take my job as a blogger of book reviews very seriously.  I will not review a book that I cannot give a positive review.  I may put some criticisms in a review but I will not shame or flat out be mean to an author.   Also, I will not review a book that I could not finish. I feel that is unfair to everyone.   It is with this that you will see that most of my reviews are 3 and 4 stars on Goodreads and Amazon.

I’m sure your wondering what my point is.  Well, I am getting there.  I have decided to take a small hiatus in reviewing books that are being requested of me.  Due to the abundance of requests I have had over the last two years I haven’t been able to do much reading just for my enjoyment.  This is not to say that I haven’t enjoyed the books I have reviewed.  I have found many new and fantastic authors.  Authors that have honored me by coming back to me for all of their books.  That is truly what makes this fun.  But, as anyone will tell you everyone has their TBR list and mine hasn’t been touched in a VERY long time.  I actually had a great opportunity to meet many of the authors on my TBR list and I felt a bit ashamed that I hadn’t read their stuff yet.  So, it is this small hiatus that I will be tackling some of those books/book series’ on my list.

You will still be hearing from me.  I plan on reviewing all of those books.  These will probably be more mainstream authors that many of you have read or plan on reading.  Starting in August I will be back to my requested reviews and discovering new indie authors and some you will from previous reviews.

I promise this is a small summer hiatus and before you know it I will be back to all my new and wonderful indie authors.

Thank you all for understanding and please feel free to still contact me about books you find interesting, would like me to review or just want to share.  I just can’t guarantee I will get to them til fall.

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Let’s Party with a Huge Giveaway!!!

bannerfans_10686850Its been a busy two years.  I truly can’t believe I’ve been doing this for so long.  I have loved every moment.  When I decided to start my blog I wanted to share with everyone my love and passion for books along with my opinions about them.  I never realized that I would meet so many wonderful authors and be introduced to so many new worlds.  I have been introduced to many new book boyfriends, villains, heroines and so much more.  My love for reading has grown and my love for indie authors is new and wonderful.

I have realized that The Book Maven has become a living thing.  It changes and grows as the months go by.  It started out so small and I wrote about many mainstream authors.  Now, it has grown to something I never expected.  I have new authors who have become so dear to me and I must read their next book.  Most of them are new or emerging and I love that one day I will be able to say I knew them when.  One of the best things about this for me is being able to introduce all of you to these new and/or emerging authors.  I have had lots of comments telling me they are jumping on a lot of my band wagons.  I guess we are gonna have to make room for everyone.  🙂 pink-champagne-cupcakes1

Overall, the last two years have been so very important to me and the love and support all of you have shown is overwhelming.  I hope that in the coming days, months and years I can keep reading and writing a blog that will introduce you to the new and exciting worlds and characters that I am so lucky to meet.  Hopefully one day when I finally finish it you will be hearing about my work.  But, until that day I will be here reading and giving you all my opinions about those poignant or not so poignant books.

So, you have read all of my jabbering and now want to know about that huge giveaway right?  Well I won’t keep you waiting any longer.  Below you will see the list of authors and/or bloggers who have donated presents for you guys to win.  All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter and BAM!  you could be a winner.  Here are your possible prizes:

  • Georgie Tyler-ecopy of Doctors Beyond Borders
  • Linn B Halton-3 copies of Falling, Angels Among Us and a signed paperback of Never Alone.
  • Katie O’Sullivan-ecopy of Son of a Mermaid
  • Stephanie Keyes-Signed copy of The Star Catcher
  • JQ Rose-ecopy of Coda to Murder
  • AJ Nuest-Ecopy of entire Golden Key Chronicles
  • Theresa Rizzo-Ecopy’s of Just Destiny and He Belongs to Me
  • Stacey Jay-Signed Copy of Of Beast and Beauty
  • Melissa Snark-Signed copy of Hunger Moon
  • Lindsey Loucks-Ecopy of The Grave Winner
  • Jerrie Alexander-Ecopy of Hell or High Water and Cold Day in Hell
  • Darlene Jones-Ecopy of all 4 of her books
  • Bette Lee Crosby- Ecopy of The Twelfth Child
  • Gena Showalter-signed book
  • Kacey Vanderkarr-paper copy of Antithesis and Reflection Pond.
  • Andrea R. Cooper-E copy The Garnet Dagger
  • Bella Andre-Autographed copy of The Look of Love
  • Panty dropping Book Blog- 2.99 ebook
  • Coffee and a Good Book Blog- 2 I ❤ books stickers
  • Pepper Winters- Ecopy of Destroyed
  • Butterflies, Books & Dreams Blog- BBD Bookmark
  • Alyson Raynes-$5 Amazon Gift Card and Kindle Copy of Deception
  • Kandi Steiner-E copy of Tag Chaser and signed bookmark.
  • Forever Me Romance-Ebook up to $5
  • Joan Swan-Print copy of Shatter and Ecopies of Intimate Enemies, First Temptation and First Deception.
  • Melanie Codina-Ebook of Love Realized
  • Lisa Suzanne-How He Really Feels (He Feels, Book 1)
  • Halos and Horns Book Blog-$5 amazon gift card and swag pack.
  • Clarissa Wild-2 ebook copies of Fierce and Fury.
  • Jade C. Jamison-Ebooks got the Life and Quickies
  • Ella James-Ebook Trapped
  • Marie Wathren – Ebook All This Time
  • Jaden Wilkes-Ebooks Dirty Little Freaks and The Beast
  • Cassandra Giovanni-E books Flawed Perfection, Love Exactly and Walking in the Shadows
  • Jody Kessler- Ecopy of Death Lies Between Us
  • Sibelle Stone-1 Ecopy and 1 Print copy of Prudence and the Professor
  • Nancy Jardine-Ecopy of Beltane Choice
  • LJ Kentowski-1 Ecopy of Guardian of Fate and 1 Ecopy of Seeker of Fate
  • Michaela Dubelius-Ecopy of Decoy
  • Heather McCullom-Signed copies of Prophecy, Tangled Hearts and Siren Song
  • Lyndi Alexander- Ecopy Conviction of the heart by Alana Lorens
  • Lisa Renee Jones- Ecopy of If I Were You
  • Carlene Love Flores-1 Ecopy of Sidewalk Flower and Sin’s Flower.
  • Regina Morris-1 Ecopy of Enduring Service
  • Zack Love-1 Ecopy of Sex in the Title
  • Janice Horton-1 Signed copy of Bagpipes and Bullshot and 1 Kindle copy of How To Party Online
  • Wicked Book Blog-1 ecopy of Fixed Trilogy by Laurelin Page
  • Jennifer Wenn-1 ebook
  • Patricia Sands-1 ecopy of Promise of Provence
  • Skye Jordan-2 ecopies of either Reckless or Rebel

There is also a possibility of more prizes to come after I write this.  So, check back to see if there are more.

I really want to thank you my followers.  Without you I wouldn’t be striving to read as much as I do.  I also want to thank the authors who have been so wonderful to me.  Thank you all!!!  I look forward to more Birthdays/Blogiversary’s to come!

-Jackie, The Book Maven

Rafflecopter:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/OWEzMmQ4MDQ4Y2M4MjJhZGFjOTMzYmMwNzNmYjdmOjA=/

New Year’s Revolutions!

Yes, the title is correct.  I am going with revolutions instead of just plain old resolutions.  I know I am a week late, but I figure better late than never to give you all an insight into where I will be strive to take my blog.  Please don’t panic…I don’t plan to completely upend my blog but I am going to start doing some new and different things.  But, also keep doing everything that has been successful this year.

First, I plan on adding some new additions.  I am adding Fresh Faced Friday to my blog.  This will introduce you and me to a new author.  Most of these I am choosing from review requests…so, authors out there if you want to be spotlighted then request a review and you will have an entire day just for you.  Another, new addition is going to be my Young Adult Corner.  I have started to read quite a bit of the Young Adult Genre so possibly weekly/bi-weekly I will post a review or author spotlight on Young Adult Corner.  Lastly, I plan on possibly adding on some contributing reviewers.  That way I can have a wider variety of reviews and you will benefit with more books, blogs and opinions!

What will stay the same will be the competitions, giveaways, blog hops (one coming in February) and tons of book reviews.  I know this doesn’t sound like much of a revolution, but change is always after a revolution!  These changes/additions will be awesome and I hope you look forward to enjoying them as much as I do in giving them to you.  So, here is to a new and exciting year for The Book Maven!  Viva La Revoluccion! 🙂

Update: Winner, Book Signing, Competition and More

Happy Sunday evening everyone!  Today is just gonna kinda be a hodge podge kind of post.  There are a lot of little things that have been happening in my world that don’t really need individual posts.

First, I want to thank everyone who stopped by in the recent days to support the authors I was hosting.  Thank you, also, to Lynne Silver and Rachael Wade for stopping by and sharing their awesome books.  With Lynne’s book came a contest and our lucky winner was Alethea.  Congratulations!  You will be contacted very shortly.  Keep your eyes peeled I will be having more contests and giveaways in the upcoming weeks.  I also have a lot of fantastic authors and books I will be reviewing, promoting, interviewing and guest posting.  For exact dates be sure you check out my Upcoming Events page.

Second, this week I had an awesome chance to go to a Deborah Harkness book signing.  Sadly, this is the first signing I’ve ever been to.  It was fantastic.  She read from her new book and did a Q&A.  It was quite a thrill for me especially since I’ve read both her books and have done an author profile on her.  Here are just a couple of pics from the signing.

Deborah Harkness answering Q & A

Me and Deborah Harkness

Third, I am planning a Big Baddies Competition.  I am going to take the baddest villains in the books that I’ve read and your suggestions and pit them against each other.  You guys will cast your vote to see who will win.  I’m not quite sure when I am going to start the competition, but I need your suggestions please.  Leave a comment below with who you think is bad.  I need all the villains I can get!

Finally, I just want to thank all of my new followers.  I hope you will enjoy the blog and if you have any suggestions or want me to write about any particular topic I am definitely up for ideas.  I have a brand new facebook page so please like it to keep up with all the giveaways, competitions and contests that not only I highlight but others I am supporting.  A big thanks again for all my followers!

When Friendships Attack

I promise I will have my author profile for everyone up tonight, but I just need to talk this out.  I think everyone has had that one friend who has crossed the line and double crossed you.  Some people do this for attention, others for control and others border on mental illness.  I will share a story and you can make your own judgement where this person lies.

I am part of a forum where we discuss books, men, sex, our personal lives etc.  This is a safe place and everyone on there is on there with the understanding that it is for fun.  With this being online you meet people from all over.  From Australia to New York to Texas to California to Canada…you get the idea.  So we all have different view points and different life experiences.  Thats what makes a group like this so awesome.  As adults you can have the freedom to discuss, “argue” and gush without it turning into something mean.

Well, today i found out one of the members has been having problems with another member.  Normally, I don’t get involved with this.  I figure its between those two people and they are adults and will work things out.  But, when I heard the extent it went I got really upset.  Without going into details and since this is third and fourth hand I will summarize.  Apparently one of the members of this group became friends with a couple of the other members.  This is not unusual, but the events that happened after the friendship began is what is disturbing.  One of the friends became very possessive.  She began acting that if she didn’t get her way she would say mean and hurtful things.  When that didn’t have the desired effect she began to attack others.  She tried to corrupt other members of the group against these persons.  I think what was most twisted was that she would send gifts to her friends family and husband.  This person would use any and all information contorting it to suit her needs.  She even went as far as contacting one of the authors that we all like and telling lies about a few of the members out of jealousy.

Now, I know that was all very vague and I am not using names.  But, when I heard that these very sweet and supportive people were under attack from someone who is either not taking her medication or in need of some I couldn’t just stand by and not say anything. So I am using this as my forum to vent about those people we have met in our lives that are just mean.  People who double cross, are back-handed and manipulative.

I don’t understand why people treat friendships like toilet paper.  They use it then shit on it and flush it down the toilet.  I am a very loyal person and take my friendships seriously.  People who live with hate in their heart and get their kicks from hurting others don’t deserve to have friends that empathize and care for them on a level they don’t deserve.  I experienced a lot of this first hand in High School.  The only thing is we aren’t in High School anymore and there is no reason to purposefully hurt someone.

So I ask you do you know people like this?

***To A, N, J, C, S, K and all the other wonderful ladies in IB.  I love you all and you all have been supportive and wonderful friends of mine.

An adventure in Mavenland

I have been meaning to write about my super busy Saturday.  It was literally a day full of a birthday, a 911 call, a wedding and vampires.  I know these don’t seem like they are connected at all, but believe me they are.

Saturday was my birthday.  It wasn’t a big one and if you ask I won’t tell you how old I am.  It’s not that bad, but I like to leave an air of mystery.  Well, my birthday started out with me getting up at the crack of dawn to go to my second job. I work at a gym for my second job.  This is normally a very easy job except for those days that go all to hell.  Saturday was one of those days.  I won’t go into all the details, but the biggest highlight was me having to call 911 because a woman passed out in the parking lot. She didn’t eat before her exercise class.  She claimed this happens often.  You would think people would learn, but I know better than to think that. So, me being the person who called had to stay later at work because of it.  This just set the tone of the day.

I proceeded to rush home to get ready to go to the wedding.  My husband and I hopped into the car and set out.  Now, I am going to preface this by saying my husband is a truck driver and knows the area.  That being said.  He missed his turn and we arrived at the wedding just as it was about to start.  It was a very nice wedding.  It was a beautiful ceremony and I wish them all the happiness. The wedding was a bit unorthodox with the groom being 30, the bride being 19 and her something new was the very visible baby bump.  I think this is going to be a very challenging road ahead but if they work together they can get through anything.  I would have to say there were two interesting parts to the wedding and reception.  First, the couple stood and braided a rope as a symbol of their relationship with God.  I didn’t realize what it symbolized until a bit later.  I thought at first they were incorporating the pregnancy and thought that was weird.  Guess that will teach me for not paying attention.  Second, I noticed there were a lot of children at this wedding.  There is nothing wrong with having children at a wedding, but when they are unruly and you can’t control them then that’s a problem.  It’s just amazing how people can just ignore children running around especially their own mother and grandmother.  Anyway, we ended up leaving before the cake was cut so we could do something for my birthday.  I chose to go to the movies.

What movie did I choose?  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Now, normally I don’t see movies I want to see because my husband and I have such differing tastes.  This was an anomaly that I got to pick whatever movie I wanted to see.  So I told my husband and he was very amicable about it.  I did put one stipulation on it.  I told him he wasn’t allowed to scream like a girl (he doesn’t like scary movies).  He promptly informed me “I make no promises.” I laughed at that.  So we went to see the movie and it was an excellent movie.  I would recommend anyone to see it.  But, one little warning do not take someone who is going to sit through the whole movie saying “I missed that in History class.”  Throughout the WHOLE movie.  I kept reminding him that it was based on a book, a FICTION book.  This did not stop the commentary.  Even though I had the peanut gallery sitting next to me I did enjoy the movie.  The rest of the evening ended pretty tamely with dinner and going home.

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I haven’t had quite a birthday before.  A birthday beginning with a 911 call and ending with Abraham Lincoln slaying vampires.  All I have to say is I wonder what my next one will consist of.

A Letter to Bullies

To the Bullies:

You stand proud amongst your friends as you sling slurs.  Slurs that berate someone for their appearance or for things that have happened to them.

You stand with your wall of ignorance and intolerance to support you as you tear down someone before the eyes of those cheering you on for more.

You stand looking down on those who are different.  Different in your mind, but to those who you’re looking down upon don’t find themselves very different.

You stand leaning on those chanting for you to keep going.  To go farther with the unbearable and the unthinkable.

While you stand, we sit and rise above your low blows and your low curses.

We rise to a level that you will never be able to achieve.  A level that is unattainable to you because all you can do is tear down and hurt.

We rise with our friends to walk away with our heads held high even as your still spouting your viscous slurs about our appearance or references to our traumatic past.

We rise so that when the time comes we are the better for having withstood your torment and will be able to face any challenge that comes our way.  So, in reality by tearing us down you help us to rebuild and be strong for we know we will always rise and be the better for it.

You will never be able to say that.  You tore us down because that is all you know and what you have been taught is acceptable.  The true difference between you and us is that we rise above and you will always sink below.  We will transcend and you will only sink lower.

Sincerely,

Those of us who have overcome.

**************

My blog is not normally so serious, but I had to address this today.   I read an article today about a woman who was tormented on a school bus by middle school children.  The teasing and bullying got so bad that the woman was brought to tears.  It really impacted me because it just reminded me of how cruel children can be.  No matter what age the person being bullied is it still has the same outcome.  There is never a winner.  Just one person feels better about themselves because they tore someone down to make themselves feel better.  You also have the victim who continually asks themselves “Why me?”

Having been someone who was bullied and teased tremendously growing up I could relate.  The pain that woman felt is the pain many of us have felt and some have felt on a daily basis for years.  When I started thinking about this topic today it really got me to wondering how children learn that this is acceptable behavior.  I wondered if bullies/mean kids begot more bullies/mean kids.  And if that is the case then do victims beget victims?  I am sure there is come correlation and validity to this, but honestly I think children are just not told what is acceptable and unacceptable anymore.  Sure there are kids with diagnosable disabilities but this is not the majority.  I think the majority just haven’t been told that they can’t treat people that way.  This, however, is not an excuse.

I can tell you this though.  If one of those children on that video were my son he would learn what is acceptable and not by spending his summer helping that woman around her house and mowing her lawn and doing her gardening ALL summer.  I know this seems weak but I no doubt he wouldn’t enjoy it.  But, I just hope that I raise a child who knows from the beginning what is acceptable and what is not.  I truly think these children need to be taught a lesson and not one by an outsider.  Their parents need to step up and finally teach their children something that should have been taught a long time ago.  Respect others.

A History Lesson and a Versatile Blog Award

Hello kiddies, today I am going to break out my historical knowledge and educate some people who really need it.  What has precipitated this is a very disturbing image I took notice to today.

I was driving to go get lunch this evening.  Yes, my lunch break is in the evening since I work nights.  Anyway, I digress.  I drove over to McDonald’s to pick something up really quick.  What do I see sitting in the parking lot?  4…yes count them 4 suped up pick up trucks all having 2 confederate flags hanging off the back of the tailgate.  Now, I said to myself I wonder if whomever owns those trucks actually understands the significance of those flags.  What they truly represent other than the bastardization of them as symbols of being a “redneck.”

The Confederate flag is well-known as a symbol of the confederacy during the Civil War.  What most people don’t realize though is that it wasn’t really a symbol at the time.  The Confederacy or the South didn’t have a distinctive flag that was flown.  A few military groups from southern states used it as a rebel flag but that was few and far between at the time.  In time, it did become a symbol of the South and all they were fighting for.  Which despite what most people think was not slavery.  It was for states rights.  They thought that the Federal government didn’t have the right to tell them what to do regarding their property and lands.  Unfortunately, slavery fell under the property line of their grievances and hence the focus of the war became slavery.

But, back to the flag.  The actual popularity of the flag didn’t actually pick up until WWII when many military units with southern nicknames used it as a symbol.  It was even flown in Okinawa after the island was taken by the United States.  However, the military rarely used the flag as a symbol after the war.  Unfortunately, the cultural significance of the flag is what causes the most uproar. But neither the cultural nor the historical has any reference for those young teenagers driving those trucks.  I did finally find out who was driving those trucks.  For those teenagers, the flag represents the South (which is interesting enough for another blog considering they are living in Pennsylvania), rebellion, the possible correlation of the flag and the level of redneckness you have and just plain ignorance.  These kids have no idea what that symbol is or what it truly represents to people.  But, to have two of the large flags flying out of the back of your truck is just plain ridiculous.  If only these kids would open a book and educate themselves instead of taking a symbol and making themselves represent what they think it represents.  Open up your minds kids.  You might be surprised you don’t have to be what you think you ought to be.

Ok…enough of the serious.  Onto the second part of my blog.  The cool little Versatile blogger award.  I wasn’t 100%  about this award.  Honestly, I think it’s a bit of a made up award, but still an award is an award.  But, if everyone gets one isn’t that kinda like the participation awards you used to get in the Science Fair at school.  Anyway, I want to thank lightningpen for nominating me.  I gladly accept the award no matter the hoops you have to jump through to get it.  So, I will follow the rules like a good little award winner/participant and nominate 15 others and tell you 7 very random facts about myself.

So, here are the rules for accepting this award.  You have to tell 7 random things about yourself. You have to nominate 15 talented blogs. And finally thank the person that nominated you and include the Versatile Blog Image in your acceptance blog! You can follow this link to get the button to put on your blog: versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com
Here are 7 random things,
1. I collect porceline dolls (yes the ones you can buy on QVC)

2. I have been in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  Singing and Dancing 🙂

3.  I once went to a work conference and instead of attending the actual conference went sight-seeing.  They never missed me.

4.  I have smacked the back of the head of a theme park mascot.

5.  I once forgot to turn my cell phone off in a movie theater.

6.  I have been a part of the Oprah book club

7.  I believe in Santa Clause 🙂

Now without any more hoopla here are the nominees!
1. http://noseyrosie.wordpress.com
2. http://selena-lost-in-thought.blogspot.com
3. http://caszarekwriter.blogspot.com/
4. http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com
5. http://jodiambroseblog.com
6. http://exlibrisheather.wordpress.com
7. http://emilyguido.com
8. http://prettylittlepinkthings.com
9. http://butimbeautiful.wordpress.com
10. http://chattygirlbookreviews.wordpress.com
11. http://halliechandler.wordpress.com
12. http://mariewetmore.com
13. http://foreveronreading.wordpress.com
14. http://chicklitgoddess.com
15. http://oneanna65.wordpress.com

All of my nominees are accomplished writers and I enjoy their blogs immensely.  I love following them and they are very deserving of this award.

 

Father’s Day Funnies: Memories of a practical joker.

Today is Father’s Day and it’s a day to celebrate those who are father figures in our lives whether its your actual father, a favorite uncle, a beloved grandfather or even a mom who is like a father.  This is my 8th Father’s day without my father.  He passed away from colon cancer December 2003.  So, this Father’s day I wanted to remember all of the crazy things he used to do.  He was well-known for playing jokes and being able to convince anyone that anything was true, even when most of it was false.  Today I am pointing out some of my funniest memories of my dad.  I know he has so many more than this, but these are just my favorites.

  •   Mr. Ed-When I was around 4 my Dad asked me if I knew how they got Mr. Ed to talk.  I, of course, didn’t know.  He told me that they stuck a carrot up his butt and that made him talk.  My mom proceeded to tell him that he shouldn’t say that to me.  He thought I would never remember what he told me.  That was 28 years ago.
  • The Mall-My dad was well-known to avoid us passing any kind of store my brother and I would want to go into while at the Mall.  So, each time we passed the store we wanted to go into he would say, “We will stop when we pass it again.”  We managed to NEVER pass the store again.  We would walk around the outside of the Mall through the parking lots just to avoid the store.
  •   The Lazy River-This is one of my favorites.  When we would go to a water park as kids my dad would go on one ride.  The Lazy River.  This is the ride where you would sit in an inner tube and ride the currents of the pool.  My dad would ride on this for hours.  Yes, hours.  How did he get away with this you may wonder.  Well, he would keep to the outer edge of the river and swim away from the lifeguards.  He did this every single time.  I think after a while the lifeguards would just ignore that he never got off.
  •  Swim shoes-I’m sure everyone has seen these before.  They are meant to be used at the beach or the pool so that your feet are protected.  I hated these shoes.  I still hate these shoes.  Why?  Because my dad wouldn’t just wear these shoes in the water park or beach.  He would wear them anywhere.  I still get embarrassed thinking about it.
  • Phillies Game/Phillie Phanatic– This only happened once.  I think that is because I was becoming wise to the fact that I had to question what my dad said.  In this particular occasion my dad told me to be sure to sit and watch the entire Phillies game because he was going to be sitting in the dugout with the team.  He told me I had to pay really close attention to try to see him.  And I like the gullible kid I was I sat and watched the whole game.  And guess what…I didn’t see him.  My dad kept the ruse up by eventually introducing me to a guy he proclaimed was the Philly Phanatic.  My mom finally told me when I was a bit older that my dad didn’t know the Phillie Phanatic and that he never sat in the dugout with the Phillies.  My dad just laughed.
  • Birthday’s in a restaurant-This one for once didn’t have anything to do with me or my brother, but it happened without fail.  Every time my family went out to dinner with my parents best friends and their family it was always someone’s birthday.  EVERY time my dad would wait until his best friend, Mr.H, left the table. He then proceeded to tell the waiter/waitress that it was Mr.H’s birthday.  So, when Mr. H came  back the whole wait staff would come out and surround him and sing Happy Birthday or whatever other song rendition that restaurant did.  I do think the best thing was that Mr. H never knew it was coming and he never connected that the birthday song was for him until it was too late.  I would say the look on his face was priceless.

Reminiscing about some of my dad’s more ornery moments reminds me of my most favorite memory.  My dad had a way of making all of my birthday’s special.  He would manage to fill my bedroom with balloons.  I still recall waking up to see the colors of all the balloons.  It made me feel special every single time. To this day on my birthday I wake up hoping to see balloons in my room.  Writing these funny moments down makes me feel a bit sad that my son won’t have the opportunity to buy into any of these jokes or be duped by a very convincing Grandfather.  I guess that just means my brother and I have to keep up the legacy.

Happy Father’s day!  I miss you dad.

Girls Rule…Boys Drool…or not?

A theme I have noticed in a lot of the books I have been reading lately is the development of strong alpha female characters.  There aren’t as many stories that focus on the female character being the damsel in distress. There are a lot of female ass-kicking characters now then there ever were.  But, that being said there are quite a few book series that feature very overly Alpha male characters.  You are hard pressed to find many series that balance the two well.  A series in which both are Alphas and work well together.

Female characters such as Anita Blake, Charley Davidson and Mackayla Lane, to name a few, all have very similar character requirements.  They are tough, witty, strong both of character and physically and yet still very feminine.  They are exquisite examples of Girl Power.

Anita Blake, of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Series,  is also known as the vampire hunter.  Her series revolves around her but also include a male counterpart, Jean Claude.  The stories illustrate her strengths, weaknesses and her ability to over come them herself not relying souly on Jean Claude to bail her out. The story between her and Jean Claude also does not lead to them automatically jumping into bed.  She sticks to her guns even though there is definite chemistry there.  She is not the shrinking violet or damsel in distress.  In a fight you wouldn’t mind having Anita Blake at your back.

Charley Davidson, of Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson Series, is also known as the Grim Reaper.  She is a part-time private detective who can communicate with the dead because she is the light that spirits must go into.  She is one of the funniest characters I’ve read in a long time.  She also has a male counterpart in Reyes.  Now, she and Reyes have had hot, sweaty sex but she still keeps her wits about her and still questions the Son of Satan’s  (Reyes) motives.  Charley is definitely headstrong and no non-sense but very relatable.

Mackayla Lane, from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series, is our most human of the three female characters I chose.  She does have special powers but it’s not really something most people would want to have.  She can see the Fae without their glamour.  Which means all the awful and ugly facades come crashing at her.  The only reason she learns of these powers is because she leaves her very isolated Georgia home town to Dublin where the Fae are very prominent.  It is here she meets one of the best Alpha males that has been written, Jerricho Barrons.  Mackayla isn’t always the strong character she develops into.  It is her situation, determination and Barrons incessant bullying and pestering that drives her be become what she needs to be.

Since we have covered the female characters we must give props to some of the very strong male characters out there. But, I find that many of the male characters are parts of groups. The Black Dagger Brotherhood and the Lords of the Underworld are some of the strongest male characters that are currently placed on the bookshelves.  They know how to be both sensitive and totally take someone out for messing with their mates.  These men are all Alpha males even though there are leaders in both groups.

J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood contains ALL strong characters.  Each one of them must overcome obstacles from Vishous and his need for pain, Rhage and his inner monster, Zsadist and his tormented past and John Matthew and his human past to name only a few.  But, with overcoming these problems whether physical or mental allow for them to grow as characters and still kick ass and show the Lessers who is boss.  These males take care of theirs and no one better ever threaten what is theirs or face the dire consequences.

Gena Showalter’s the Lords of the Underworld are a bit more complicated considering most of them are two entities.  One half is the man and the other half is the demon they house.  These Lords face similar issues like that of the Brotherhood except they are constantly fighting themselves. Most of the Lords must do things like consistently lie, win every challenge or cut themselves or they are in immense pain.  These cursed men fight those who are trying to destroy them while still protecting their mates.  These men, like the BDB, are strong-willed Alpha males.

I have covered both strong female and male characters.  There are only a few series’ that offer partnerships that allow for both to be Alphas or dominant.  Cat and Bones from Jeaniene Frost’s Nighthuntress series and Elena and Raphael from Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter Series are two that stick out to me.  Both of these strong couples support yet protect each other.  Both allow for dominance and strength in each other while accomplishing their goals.  This type of relationship is rarely seen in novels.  I believe it’s probably just very difficult to write.  It is much easier to have one central character be the dominant.

All this being said, I still am at a loss to which I prefer.  Whether I like the strong, witty, fun female protagonist or the domineering, overly protective/sensitive male protagonist, I am unsure.  But, if those two get together I know they most likely will have fireworks and really sexy love scenes.  And, who doesn’t like a good sex scene?

What do you prefer, A Female Alpha or a Male Alpha? 

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Favorite Book Series

Eternal Guardians by Elisabeth Naughton Dark-Hunter by Sherrilyn Kenyon Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter Lords of Deliverance by Larissa Ione discovery of witches love at stake
The Fallen Angels by J.R. Ward Fairy Tales by Eloisa James Night Huntress by Jeaniene Frost Fever by Karen Marie Moning Guild Hunter by Nalini Singh Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews
Mercedes Thompson by Patricia Briggs Midnight Breed by Lara Adrian The Hollows by Kim Harrison Witch by Carolyn MacCullough westfield wolves
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