Books with kitty tummy

Excellent – a book blogs search engine. You can also check to see if your favorite book blogs are included and request that they be added.

Curious about what paranormal, urban fantasy, scifi, or fantasy releases are scheduled for April? has a great list.

Well, I just capitulated and ordered an ebook reader – I went with the EZ Reader (aka the Hanlin V3 and the BeBook), which is $229 after $20 mail-in rebate from Fry’s through April 3. It supports a pretty amazing list of formats. Yeah, yeah, I know, I was just saying that I was going to make my Palm Tungsten E2 last forever… but I finally got frustrated with 25 words/screen.

Like your book browsing to be atmospheric? Check out Obsidian Kitten’s post about some of the most beautiful libraries in the world and then look at pictures of some lovely bookstores. The Barnes & Noble  in the Historic Chateau Theater (Rochester, Minnesota) isn’t on that list, but it should be. (Bless flickr for having some photo sets of it.) I have fond memories of going to movies in that theater when I was very young and hoping a princess would come out onto one of the balconies.

Reading Update
A Taste of Magic by Tracy Madison. This was a completely delightful read! It’s classified as a paranormal romance, but only because there’s a bit of magic (along the lines of Like Water for Chocolate). I think I’d even recommend this to the dedicated contemporary romance reader.
The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance. This is an excellent collection containing 24short stories from authors including Kelley Armstrong, Carrie Vaughn, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Meljean Brook, and Rachel Caine.
Unusual Suspects: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy, edited by Dana Stabenow. This is a follow-up collection to Powers of Detection: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy, which I really, really enjoyed. I enjoyed some of the stories in this collection (such as the stories by Simon R. Green, Laura Anne Gilman, Dana Stabenow, and Donna Andrews), but I also skipped several stories I couldn’t get into. Sadly, the blurb on the front cover (“Includes a new Sookie Stackhouse story”) was the best part of said Sookie Stackhouse story.
Body Movers by Stephanie Bond. Romantic suspense. Probably a bad sign that I wanted to smack the two main characters for being stupid… throughout the entire book. I passed this one on to CursingMama – we’ll see if she has the character smackdown urge or not.
Master of Darkness (Primes Series, Book 4) by Susan Sizemore. Haven’t read the first three books in this series – I picked this one up solely because of the very nice Nathan Kamp cover. It was an ok paranormal romance. I might read some of the other books in the series. (Although I was amused that Nathan Kamp, with shaggy dark hair, was used as the model for the book’s hero, who had very long platinum blond hair. Heh.)
Passion Unleashed (The Demonica Series, Book 3) by Larissa Ione. Really, really good paranormal romance. I was utterly unable to put this book down and am glad I started reading it early enough so I didn’t have to stay up all night reading it, because I would’ve. I highly recommend this series! The only problem I have with this particular book, which is Wraith’s story, is that the dysfunctional Wraith feels a bit too akin to a mixture of Wrath and Zsadist from the Black Dagger Brotherhood. (However, Wrath’s and Zsadist’s stories were my favorite of the BDB, so…)
The Bride of Casa Dracula (Casa Dracula, Book 3) by Marta Acosta. Ah, Milagro De Los Santos, how complicated is your life! I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in this series to see what Milagro manages to get up to next. I think Acosta does a nice job of getting me thinking on issues of ethnicity and individuality, too, without beating me about the head with them.
One Hot Mess by Lois Greiman. Cocktail waitress turned psychologist Chrissy McMullen has a gift for finding trouble that’s second only to Milagro’s (see previous reviewette). And of course, brooding LAPD Detective Jack Rivera and his lecherous father, former California Senator Miguel Rivera, continue to spice things up. If you’re a fan of Lori Avocato or Janet Evanovich, you should give this series a try.

Mayhem was the long skinny upside down kitty in yesterday’s post. (While Chaos does love to sprawl upside down, he’s, um, not quite as svelte.) Here’s a tummy closeup for your tummy scritching pleasure. And her tummy fur is far softer than it looks. *scritch scritch scritch*

*sprawl* -Mayhem

Once Upon a Crime

On Saturday, CursingMama came over. We walked to French Meadow Bakery and Cafe for brunch (I had gluten-free Cajun hash browns with chicken chorizo – yum!) and then walked another block to the Once Upon a Crime Bookstore.

Once Upon a Crime was holding their 7th Annual Writes of Spring event, featuring over 60 local authors. If you’ve ever been to Once Upon a Crime, which is a wee shop in the basement of a brownstone, you’re probably wondering how they crammed 60 writers into the place, much less had space for anyone else. They managed the feat by having four shifts of 15 writers each.

CursingMama and I were there to see Lois Greiman and pick up signed copies of her latest mystery featuring psychologist Chrissy McMullen and Lieutenant Jack Rivera, One Hot Mess. We experienced part of the first two shifts of authors, mostly by lurking in corners to avoid being trampled and crushed by the polite and well-behaved crowd.

Ms. Greiman braved said crowd and graciously started signing while store employees were setting up the table for her shift. Darn it, I forgot to ask her why the latest book deviated from the naming conventions of the previous books in this series (Unzipped, Unplugged, Unscrewed, and Unmanned).

Our purchases at Once Upon a Crime qualified us for the Indie Bookstore Contest – hurry, you have to make your purchase and submit a photo of your receipt by noon EST, March 31! (Qualifying purchases must be from an indie bookstore during the month of March 2009 and be for more than $0.99.)

While I was out gallivanting, the kitties were having a really rough weekend.

“…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…” -Chaos

“…mmm… sunbeams…” -Mayhem

Kitteh, kitteh, kitteh

Wendy’s giving away several copies of her new sock book – leave a comment by noon EDT, March 29, for your chance to win (although, since there were over 1300 comments by Thursday evening, I suspect you’ve all already left your comments!).

Author Barbara Bretton’s giving away some Elann Pure Bamboo yarn (color Devonshire Cream) – you have until the afternoon of March 28 to participate.

Neil Gaiman’s having a Twitter captioning contest with some very cool prizes – you have to submit your Twitter caption by midnight PDT, March 28.

Could that second picture be any cuter?! *head explodes from the cute*

These kitteh crayons are pretty darn cute, too.

The Romance Vagabonds celebrated Women’s History Month with a post about 12 influential romance writers, from Jane Austen to Nora Roberts.

How come my kittehs never helped me out like this when I was doing the online dating thing?! It might’ve gone better.

Hey tea drinkers – did you see the spiffy black kitteh tea cozy that Sydney found? (And she also had wildlife depredating her screens!)

Some cool typography tool and font download links from Lifehacker.

Please keep the folks along the Red River of the North in your thoughts as they brace for record-breaking water levels.

“Go away! I’m still embarassed about yesterday!” -Mayhem

Have a good weekend, everyone! Hopefully the intermittent snow spit we’ve had here will stop taunting us… but we are dry and warm and in absolutely no danger of flooding, so life is good.

If it snows today, I might whimper a bit

Wendy’s giving away a copy of Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts. Leave a comment by March 26, 4 pm EDT, for your chance to win.

You have until March 29 to enter moderncat’s drawing for a cute Red Tango bowling bag, compact, and pillbox. (Does anyone remember that I have one of those cute little bowling bags?!)

If you’re interested in helping figure out why bees are disappearing, Marsha has some information about how to get involved with bee research.

Obsidian Kitten is looking for some test knitters for her lacy Easter egg cloth.

This is the basis of my wardrobe – how about yours?

Sometimes it’s best not to ask too many questions when you get home…

Wow – I’m not sure my cardboard construction skills are up to making this spiffy cardboard kitty house from Martha… The question is, of course – will they like it more than a plain old empty box?

I had no idea you could develop film with coffee and vitamin C. Anyone ever tried this?!

For you ebook folks – a comparison price shopping site (still under development). Looks like Samsung’s Papyrus ebook reader will be available later this year in the US. The Foxit eSlick is already available, but doesn’t seem to support the range of formats my dream reader will. (And that would be why I’m slogging along with Mobipocket on my faithful Palm Tungsten E2.)

A month or so ago, Marta Acosta (author of the Casa Dracula series and owner of the Vampire Wire blog) asked what songs people thought might appeal to paranormals. I started to wonder if I had enough songs to put together a non-goth/non-metal vampire mix. I did! You can see the song list over on Vampire Wire. And if you’d like to put together your own vampire-themed mix cd, you have until April 1 to sign up for this swap. I’m already signed up!

“And you woke me up why?” -Chaos

Proof that parents actually like to receive bibs

Now and again I’ve taken some grief about knitting bibs for baby gifts (let’s ignore the fact that using the cats as models for the bibs might contribute to that, shall we?), but I finally have proof that a knitting parent who received a few bibs as a gift was inspired to knit more bibs! Really, what better evidence could there be? (Yes, you have seen the bibs in the linked post before…)

Saturday was gorgeous here – sunny and +60F. Most of the snow has melted. Unfortunately, it melted so fast that the ground is still frozen, so you end up with scenes like this:

Yes, that is a mallard swimming around the playground. I totally wouldn’t recommend going down the slides, which each had eight inches of water at the bottom (and a fine layer of mud immediately below that). We shall not even speak of the snow that’s predicted for tonight and tomorrow.

Reading Update
Tall Tales and Wedding Veils by Jane Graves. Definitely recommended for CursingMama and anyone else who enjoys a well-done contemporary romance. It even had me sniffling near the end.
Happy Hour at Casa Dracula and Midnight Brunch (Casa Dracula, Books 1-2) by Marta Acosta. Funny, snarky, and delightful. I wouldn’t actually classify this as paranormal romance – they have more of a chicklit sort of feel. Definitely recommended. (I will neither confirm nor deny that I got a little sniffly near  the end of Midnight Brunch.)
Riding on Instinct by Jaci Burton. I won an advance reading copy of this book at Nalini Singh’s blog last month. This is the third book in Burton’s “er0tic romance” series about the Wild Riders, a group of bikers based in Dallas who work undercover for the government. In this book, the Riders are supporting a federal agent who’s working as a stripper in New Orleans, trying to find a rogue agent involved with Colombian drug runners. Burton can definitely write, but I need a little more story to support all the steam!
Kiss of a Dark Moon (Moon Chasers, Book 2) by Sharie Kohler. Um, the best part of this book was the Nathan Kamp cover. It’s a paranormal romance about evil werewolves and the people who hunt them. So-so writing, but there’s a big oversight a few pages from the end of the book that pretty much ruined it for me.
Mortal Sins (World of the Lupi, Book 5) by Eileen Wilks. This continues to be a well-written series, more urban or paranormal fantasy than romance. The main characters are FBI Agent Lily Yu and werewolf prince, Rule Turner. The series is complex and compelling. Recommended – and read it order, dammit. 😉
“A Dream of Stone & Shadow” by Marjorie M. Liu, from Dark Dreamers. A nice Dirk & Steele short story.
Date with a Devil by Anne Stuart, Cherry Adair, and Muriel Jensen. A merely ok collection of romance short stories.
Night Secrets by Cherry Adair. More T-FLAC wizards. Yum.
Dead Sexy and A Body To Die For (Harlequin Blaze) by Kimberly Raye. Hee hee – hunky vampire cowboy bikers who survive more on s3x than on blood! (Come on, you know I’m a sucker for the silliness of some of this stuff, right?) Usually I complain about people on the cover having tattoos that they don’t have in the book, but in both of these, it’s the opposite. Very rare.
Thai Die: A Needlework Mystery by Monica Ferris. Betsy Devonshire and friends are back, solving mysteries out of Betsy’s Excelsior, Minnesota, knitting and needlework shop. This was an ok addition to the series.

Things are going to continue to be cloudy and cool and rainy (maybe some snow on Wednesday) for the next several days, so I think Chaos has decided to hibernate. Wish I could join him.

*…zzzzzzz…” -Chaos

Now with 100% more tasty feet!

Jane is celebrating her fifth blogiversary with a contest! She’s giving away a gorgeous sock bag, Schaeffer Anne yarn, and one of her lovely photo calendars. For your chance to win, answer her question in the comments before midnight tonight (March 20).

Leave a comment for Wendy by noon EDT, March 22, for your chance to win a copy of Mother-Daughter Knits by Sally Melville and her daughter.

Lisa’s having another snow melt contest! Submit your snow pile melt date guess by 5 pm EDT, April 3, for your chance to win one of two extremely cool Nantucket Baggs. (These handy dandy tool bags will tempt nearly everyone, not just knitters.)

I have been listening to Swedish band The Chrysler on heavy rotation this week, particularly their song “First Blood.”

Happy vernal equinox to one and all. Unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere – then happy autumnal equinox to you!

Eeek! I’m glad this light is only a concept. (Eye of Sauron moment, anyone?)

Did you hear the one about the sheep and the Welsh shepherds?

Chicken sweaters. Huh.

Aren’t these cool cat beds?

I’ll have to show this and this to Chaos and Mayhem so they can see how lucky they are to just have to model bibs.

I can so see Chaos doing this.

Bad kitty!

Hey you cats – looking for tips on how to annoy your people? Look no further!

“My foot’s pretty tasty, too.” -Mayhem

The magic of 100

Trekking 100, that is – the most magical of Trekking colorways. A few weeks ago, Carole posted pictures of her newly finished Trekking 100 socks, which reminded me that I had a couple skeins of said colorway.

These are definitely not matchy-matchy. I didn’t even try – in fact, I knit each sock from the opposite end of the ball. Considering that, I was surprised at how similarly parts of the socks turned out.

*sniff sniff sniff* -Chaos

*sniff sniff sniff* -Mayhem

“Nothing to see here but more socks, Mayhem. Move along.” -Chaos

“But they are kind of stripey, big kitty…” -Mayhem