December 31, 2007

Another year in books

It's going to be 42 here in Melbourne for the last day of the year. That is what is officially known as hot, hot, hot, hotty, hot. Not the weather for doing anything much other than floating in a well shaded pool or staying inside with the aircon on and reading. So as my second year of blogging draws to a hot close, I'm continuing the tradition I started last year and finishing the year with books.

This year my read list (being the books I read for the first time and remembered to add to the list and liked) is sitting at 160 odd, which is more than last year. That surprised me because I would've said I'd read a bit less, mainly because I think I took the train less to work, thus cutting down on reading time. So maybe I re-read less. But I'd still guess I'd re-read at least one book for every new book, so I'm still around 300 for the year. It's been a big year for fantasy and urban fantasy, so next year I'd like to find some new great contemporary romance authors. I've got some faves who are newish in category but not in Single Title contemps. And while I read more male authors this year, I'd like to read more again next year. So many books, so little time : )

So what were the favourites this year amongst these books? Again, no particular order...

Sunshine - Robin McKinley (I was actually surprised when I saw this on this year's list...I thought I'd read it last year but apparently not. And I've re-read this book at least three times this year, that's how much I liked it).

Working for the Devil - Lilith Saintcrow (in fact, I've really liked all four in this series and am waiting impatiently for the final book to arrive from overseas as we speak)

Agnes and the Hitman - Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

Blood and Iron - Elizabeth Bear (I've read most of Elizabeth's books this year and all were intriguing.)

Sleeping Partner - Kelly Hunter (and Priceless was great too)

Melusine - Sarah Monette (another book I'd picked up a few times in bookstores and never bought prior to receiving it for Christmas where I gulped it down and now really want the next two)

Twilight - Stephanie Meyer

Natural Born Charmer - Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Black Ice - Anne Stuart

Billionaire on her doorstep - Ally Blake

Ysabel - Guy Gavriel Kay

Kushiel's Justice - Jacqueline Carey

The Raven Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt

Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews

The Sharing Knife: Legacy - Lois McMaster Bujold

I hope 2007 gave you some fabulous stories and 2008 brings many more!

And here's this year's list in full:

The Boss's Christmas Baby - Trish Morey
Melusine - Sarah Monette
Devlin's Luck - Patricia Bray
Millionaire to the Rescue - Ally Blake
Rose Daughter - Robin McKinley
Worldwired - Elizabeth Bear
Scandal's Daughter - Christine Wells
Mine Until Midnight - Lisa Kleypas
Scardown - Elizabeth Bear
An Affair Before Christmas - Eloisa James
Hammered - Elizabeth Bear
Valiant - Holly Black
New Amsterdam - Elizabeth Bear
Water Elementals - Peter Dickinson & Robin McKinley
Spindles End - Robin McKinley
Succubus Blues - Richelle Mead
The Margarets - Sheri S Tepper
Saint City Sinners - Lilith Saintcrow
Stripped - Julie Elizabeth Leto
One Forbidden Evening - Jo Goodman
Forgotten Marriage - Paula Roe
Undertow - Elizabeth Bear
Steamy Surrender - Ally Blake
On the Loose - Tara Janzen
Billionaire on Her Doorstep - Ally Blake
Sizzle, Seduce, Simmer - Lots of cool aussie romance authors
The Pinhoe Egg - Diana Wynne Jones
Lover Unbound - JR Ward
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
Wired - Liz Maverick
Cafe du Jour - Lilian Darcy
Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch - Haywood Smith
The Hindi-Bindi Club - Monica Pradhan
Sleeping Partner - Kelly Hunter
Eat Cake - Jeanne Ray
The Sharing Knife: Legacy - Lois McMaster Bujold
The Thirteenth House - Sharon Shinn
If His Kiss was Wicked - Jo Goodman
Making Money - Terry Pratchett
Unshapely Things - Mark Del Franco
The Devil's Waltz - Anne Stuart
The Serpent Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade - Diana Gabaldon
Shakespeare - Bill Bryson
Bloodlines - Eileen Wilks
Spellbinder - Melanie Rawn
The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch
Mortal Danger - Eileen Wilks
The Devil's Right Hand - Lilith Saintcrow
Warlord - Elizabeth Vaughan
Tempting Danger - Eileen Wilks
Sight Unseen - Samantha Graves
Vicious Circle - Mike Carey
Ice Blue - Anne Stuart
Agnes and the Hitman - Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
Embraced by Darkness - Keri Arthur
New Moon - Stephanie Meyer
Hot for Him - Sarah Mayberry
The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever - Julia Quinn
Carnival - Elizabeth Bear
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
Bite Me if You Can - Lyndsay Sands
Queen of Babble in the Big City - Meg Cabot
Harry Potter and the Deathly Harrows - JK Rowling
Lean Mean Thirteen - Janet Evanovich
Candy Apple Red - Nancy Bush
The Prince's Outback Bride - Marion Lennox
Sugar Daddy - Lisa Kleypas
Stray - Rachel Vincent
Sex as a Second Language - Jamie Sobrato
Bad Behavior - Kristin Hardy
An Unladylike Offer - Christine Merrill
All Over You - Sarah Mayberry
Gabriel's Ghost - Linnea Sinclair
The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes - Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer and Anne Stuart
The Hero and the Crown - Robin McKinley
Nightlife - Rob Thurman
Desperate Duchesses - Eloisa James
The Hob's Bargain - Patricia Briggs
Talyn - Holly Lisle
Kushiel's Justice - Jacqueline Carey
Magic Lost, Trouble Found - Lisa Shearin
Magic Study - Maria V Snyder
The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell - Samantha James
The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley
The Leopard Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt
Deerskin - Robin McKinley
Talk Gertie to Me - Lois Winston
Lover Revealed - JR Ward
Out of Sight - Cherry Adair
Big Shot Bachelor - Nicola Marsh
Hellspark - Janet Kagan
Belladonna - Anne Bishop
Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews
Santa Baby - Jennifer Crusie, Lori Foster, Carly Phillips
The Secret to Seduction - Julie Anne Long
Beauty and the Spy - Julie Anne Long
The Raven Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt
The Scent of Shadows - Vicki Pettersson
Natural Born Charmer - Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Code Noir - Marianne de Pierres
Blood and Iron - Elizabeth Bear
Mystic and Rider - Sharon Shinn
Ysabel - Guy Gavriel Kay
Path of Fate - Diana Pharaoh Francis
Nylon Angel - Marianne de Pierres
Seducing the Spy - Celeste Bradley
Claiming the Courtesan - Anna Campbell
A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray
Dangerous Games - Keri Arthur
These Three Remain - Pamela Aidan
The Devil You Know - Mike Carey
Duty and Desire - Pamela Aidan
Blood Bound - Patricia Briggs
An Assembly Such As This - Pamela Aidan
The Last Bachelor - Betina Krahn
Cold as Ice - Anne Stuart
Sunshine - Robin McKinley
Priceless - Kelly Hunter
Murder at the Pleasure Gardens - Rosemary Stevens
The Greek's Virgin - Trish Morey
The Devil Wears Prada - Laura Weisberger
Black Ice - Anne Stuart
To Love and To Cherish - Patricia Gaffney
Tempting Evil - Keri Arthur
Kissing Sin - Keri Arthur
Eyes of Crow - Jeri Smith-Ready
The Hidden Heart - Laura Kinsale
The Perfect Kiss - Anne Gracie
The Shadow and the Star - Laura Kinsale
Desire Never Dies - Jenna Petersen
The Dark Side of the Moon - Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Husband Test - Betina Krahn
Matriarch - Karen Traviss
The Wife Test - Betina Krahn
The Book of True Desires - Betina Krahn
Dead Man Rising - Lilith Saintcrow
Circle of the Moon - Barbara Hambly
Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
Witchling - Yasmine Galenorn
The Rest Falls Away - Colleen Gleason
Awaken Me Darkly - Gena Showalter
Twilight - Stephanie Meyer
The Thunderbolt Kid - Bill Bryson
The Kitchen Witch - Annette Blair
The Husband Test - Betina Krahn
Angel Rogue - Mary Jo Putney
Born in Death - Nora Roberts
Cagebird - Karen Lowachee
Working for the Devil - Lilith Saintcrow
Charming Grace - Deb Smith

December 30, 2007


It's the day before New Year's did that happen?

I'm reserving my actual New Year's Eve post for the "I'm making it a tradition year in books post", so I guess today has to be the resolution post. This week has been all about doing whatever I felt like which apparently included chopping off my hair - an urge I've been trying to resist for about six months now but finally figured what the heck. My theory with hair is 'it grows', so I tend to change my style fairly often and it's been various degrees of long for about three to four years now. Which for me is a long time to stave off hair boredom. At least I've kept it longer around the face which makes the inevitable growing out process less painful (I hope). Now I just have to stave off the "hmmm, perhaps I should change the colour too" urges.

Next week I'm still on holiday but it will be back to the writing/exercising etc. I needed this chill week after a very, very busy year full of exciting and not so exciting things, topped off by the pre-Christmas flood. After six days of lazing around, watching dvd's, reading and doing whatever I feel like (go see Enchanted by the way, it's very cute and happy making), I can feel my brain actually starting to function again, which is nice after several months of feeling like it was about to explode : ).

So what do I want to do in 2008, apart from keeping up the indulgences to ward off the imminent brain exploding sensation?

1. Write and have fun writing. We do our writing goals for the year at our Christmas crit group meeting, so they're all set.
2. Lose more weight and keep up the exercise
3. Have a long holiday (combining this with RWA National).
4. Enjoy life!

Short and sweet but there you go. I don't have any too terrible habits to kick (well, apart from diet coke but a girl's allowed one vice and I refuse to do working and writing with no caffeine).

What about everyone else? Any resolutions? Plans? Challenges? Whatever they are, may 2008 be fabulous for all!

December 29, 2007

Indulgences again

I'm not sure this list will be greatly different from last year but let's see....

My list of stuff to indulge in for 2008 to ensure my mood resembles the orange cat in this picture!

1. Live music and music generally
2. Pilates classes (I love them and therefore deserve to indulge even if they're not the cheapest thing on earth).
3. Dancing of some sort...I keep thinking about it and have two wips with dancers as protags so I need to do some again myself.
4. The girly things...facials and makeup and sparkly nail polish and hanging out with the gals
5. Relaxation - meditation, massages and naps and feeding myself stories in various forms
6. Quilting - learn some more, do some more
7. Scents - especially roses
8. Learning something for fun
9. Food adventures - both out and at home

PS The orange cat insists all you really need is carpet that conveniently forms pillows for you but he's a cat...I'm trying my list first!

December 27, 2007


For those paying attention, ooops. I wrote my last post on Christmas Eve but for some reason it didn't post, so I posted it last night but in my post turkey fest stupour, forgot to change the title. Hope you all had a fabulous celebration of whatever holiday you were celebrating.

So anyway, this time last year (though I swear it feels like maybe a few months ago), I did a Jenny Crusie inspired list of indulgences for 2007. I thought it would be a good idea to see how I did before working out a 2008 list.

Indulgence number 1:

Things that smell good. Aromatherapy, perfume, flowers, lotions and potions. I find scent can really lift my mood so daily applications of yummy aromas.

I'm giving myself a tick on this one. I've been using my burner a lot, bought new perfumes and yummy smelling soaps (helped by the fact that no more construction at work means my mould allergy is back to the odd itch when I garden).

Indulgence number 2:

Relaxation. More massages (I think I managed a whole 1 in 2006 so topping that shouldn't be hard lol). More meditation. More naps or couching with my story fix in whatever form when I need it.

Half a tick. I upped my massage quota to a massive 2 (which is double the previous year) but more would've been better. Meditation was patchy at best. Napping, however, was high on the agenda. One day I will learn to remember that when I'm most stressed, I'm most resistant to things that will undo the stress and just do them anyway. I did kick back into the exercise but that's not really an indulgence.

Indulgence number 3:

Girly stuff. More facials, manicures, pedicures, spa days, makeovers and pampering whether at home or elsewhere. If it includes hanging out with the gals, even better. If we can also add pink champagne, perfection!

A tick. I had facials and manicures, a couple of makeovers, even a wardrobe makeover with Mum. I did masks and manicures/pedicures at home too. More would be better, of course, but I did them.

Indulgence number 4:

More music, particularly live music. Every time I go to a concert I remember how much I love the sensation of loud live music, basses vibrating through your chest, singers pouring their hearts into songs and the energy of the crowd. And it doesn't have to be the ginormous stadium variety. More musical adventures in general but some more live stuff in particular. If there's dancing involved even better. Singing along goes without saying.

Hmmm, I'll pass this too. I definitely bought a decent amount of new music on iTunes this year. I went to see Pink, the Indigo Girls (in a smaller venue so that counts), Rent at the movies (not live but my fave musical anyway), the War of the Worlds, the Producers and I'm sure there must've been some other stuff in there too. Music is good. Next month is Bon Jovi (hawt rock dudes! yay!).

Indulgence number 5

Do some fun short courses or whatever that have nothing to do with writing. Something weird and wonderful just because it sounds cool. Rope some of the gals into trying them too!

No tick for me : ( I did a few writing courses but nothing else that falls into this category. I did start pilates reformer classes which was a change from mat but that's not quite the same. One for next year. Oh, wait a minute. I did do a quilting class (only a half day but still) and did some quilting stuff. Maybe a quarter of a tick?

Indulgence number 6

Cook more. Try new recipes, both healthy and indulgent. 3 or 4 a month. Traipse around some markets and experiment.

Half a tick. Cooking in general was very up and down this year, depending on how busy I was. I did try some new things out but not as much cooking for fun as I'd like.

Indulgence number 7

A real vacation even if it's a long weekend or something. Most of my leave tends to be writing related these a trip somewhere that isn't.

Another nope. The lulu weekend away was writing related, so that doesn't count. And going to Dallas ate my annual leave. But in 2008 there will be trips to Tassie for weddings, some non-writing related travel around Nationals and, hopefully, a trip to see the brother and sil at some point.

Hmmm, I'm thinking that's about a 50% success rate. Not terrible but not great. More indulging needed in 2008. So I need to think about what that should be. More later!

December 24, 2007

'Twas the night before Christmas

And all through the house
The carpets were less soggy! : )

The jetblower thingy has been blowing and blowing. It is loud. Imagine being on a plane trip for over two days and not getting anywhere. But it seems to be helping dry things out. Not sure what happens next, guess that depends on what the insurance assessor says.

Apart from last minute Christmas preparations and hanging around my house wearing earplugs and or noise cancelling headphones (I am the fashion queen!), not much to report. I've learned how to rip up carpet and stack a lot of my possessions on the few teeny tiled surfaces in my house. I managed to pour cereal over my keyboard (yes, I know, I know, don't have liquids near the keyboard but seriously, writers need to eat and drink while typing). The grey cat gets her stitches out shortly, the big bro is arriving for Christmas and then it's off to the folks.

Merry Christmas and stay dry everyone!

December 21, 2007

A day in highlights

Promised phone calls from insurance - 1
Actual phone call from insurance - 0
Promised visits from council - 1
Actual visits from council - 0
Promised visits by carpet rescue - 1
Actual visits - 1
No. of cats freaked out by very noisy jetblower drying carpet - 2
Hours spent waiting around for visits - 10
Planned activities missed - 2
Hours spent in pouring rain bailing out path in backyard and unblocking drains to ensure carpets get no soggier - 1 so far
Fun had - 0

Number of Mel's over the whole thing - 1

December 20, 2007

Rain, rain go away

I know we NEED the rain. I know we're having a drought. But we do not need several weeks rain in several hours and I do NOT need soggy from underneath carpets.

Just when I was all happy to be finally finished work and on holiday, I drive home (which took forever thanks to the RAIN), walk into my house and think, hmmm, what are those weird dark patches on my carpet?

Sogginess, that's what. I know there are people with much worse damage and hey, I don't really like my carpet but still, I didn't want to spend Christmas dealing with insurance and the council. I wanted relaxing. And writing. Sigh. And grumble. And where's the wine?

PS At least the books are all dry and the computer works!

December 14, 2007


So the grey cat has come through her operation okay, though she is currently in post-operative hide-in-the-wardrobe-and-glare-reproachfully mode. She has also escaped the indignity of bucket head so far but has an impressively naked chest, which looked pretty funny given she's a fluffball. So all is good, or will be when she forgives me.

The orange cat has spent the day alternating between yowling to go into the cat room (where the grey cat is incarcerated as she's not allowed out for a day or so), yowling to be let out and yowling at the front door to be let back in. I'm thinking it might be a good night for ear plugs.

I spent the day tidying my house which had been viciously attacked by mess fairies yet again. Pesky critters those mess fairies. Someone should make a spray. But at least I've excavated to a reasonable level that a last minute run around in the morning before the lulus arrive for our christmas get together should take care of.

It's an exciting life. But four more working days to go and then it's Christmas. I've mostly done my Christmas shopping and mostly written my cards so I'm feeling semi-organised for once. I've even scored cheap plane fares for the wedding I'm off to in February. That's extra organised!

And now I have to go see if the grumpy grey girl will eat some dinner.

December 09, 2007

Cats and catnaps

Thursday the orange cat was at the vet having his annual jabs and quarterly arthritis drugs. He did not appreciate them. Friday morning the grey cat had to go and have her blood test (she did not appreciate missing breakfast and I did not appreciate getting up early on my day off). She expressed her annoyance by hiding under the lavender bush all day and I had a nap. Anyway, turns out the tablets aren't quite cutting it for her thyroid anymore so she has to have her thyroid out next week. In the mean time we are shovelling pills down her throat to see if her levels will lower before the surgery to make it safer. I was offered the choice of her being irradiated but that involves her being at a special vet for up to 10 days after the irraditation (as she'd be too radioactive to be out and about!!!) so I figured let's try surgery first.

So apparently what was on my list of things I want for Christmas was "stonking big vet bills". Note to self, next year, pick something cheaper. Of course, to get over the sticker shock, I did what any sensible gal would do and went and had a makeover at Bobbi Brown. They made me look un-sleep deprived and not like I was suffering from sticker shock, so that was fun. Yesterday, the VT and I had brunch in Maling Road and went wandering around the shops in search of Christmas gift. Net total things book each (at least mine was a gift). We proved that there is such a thing as gift shop overload (a condition that can be rectified by applying scones apparently). So there is still more christmas shopping to come.

Brunch was followed by more napping (self diagnosis - I am tired...I even slept until 10 this morning which is something I rarely do anymore). Then watched The Fountain (which made me wonder if I was perhaps still asleep...all I can say is pretty but odd). Today there will be some writing and some doing of chores. It's a whirlwind of excitement round here!