Becka's Babble

Ramblings of a Romance Writer

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Becka's Impromptu Book Review - THE DEVIL WHO TAMED HER

I must confess, I'd been excited to read this story ever since I knew of it's existence. But since I personally cannot stand hardbacks, I waited until the paperback came out. In fact, I had no idea this book was out in paperback until I went to my local Fred Meyer's and saw it on the book rack. Immediately my Inner Impulse Buyer squee'd like a schoolgirl.

Why have I been looking forward to it? Because I fell in love with Rafe, the heir to a dukedom in another of Johanna's books, aptly named "The Heir". The book wasn't about him, however, it was about a Scot who finds love with his best friend. Rafe was merely a secondary character in that book, along with the hateful shrew Ophelia Reid. Putting those two together in a single book and watching the sparks fly was interesting to say the least. And I must say, I enjoyed it a lot because I did read the previous book first a few years ago, but this book can stand alone without first reading "The Heir".

Basically, the plot is this: Rafe takes it upon himself to show Ophelia her "shrewish" ways and reform her to be a nice, loving woman. She's superiorly beautiful, and because of this, she's been made callous and cold-hearted, because none of her friends are genuine, and every man on the planet swoons at her feet due to her "bane of a face".

Of course, Rafe decides the best way to do reform her is to whisk Ophelia off to his Secret Underground Lair... **cough**cough** no, no, his family's secluded cottage in the middle of BFE.

Now, the premise, while kind of shoestring in and of itself, is actually kinda fun. I enjoy the bantering back and forth between the hero and heroine, as stories with a lot of heated passion can then erupt in heated passion of a different kind if you know what I mean (wink wink nudge nudge). This story does indeed have that, however, I was a bit disappointed by the love scenes.

Perhaps it's because I'm "spoiled" by being e-published, by reading/writing hotter stories, or perhaps I've just "forgotten" the heat level of a Lindsey book. Or maybe, Johanna is writing a little less steamy these days. I seem to remember certain hot scenes in "Hearts Aflame" that made my face flame, that's for sure. This book didn't quite have that heat level. While I don't read romance strictly "for the sex" (quit rolling your eyes, my male friends who have my blog on their RSS feeds...), it is the crux of a good romance, the culmination of the sexual tension, the climax (no snickering back there) of the relationship. I felt Ms. Lindsey "told" me rather than "showed" me what the characters were feeling.

Another peeve I had about this book was that so much time was spent talking about the heroine's beauty, that the hero gets pushed to the sidelines as far as his good looks. Oh, she talks about his golden hair and how handsome he is, but I never got a clear picture of him in my head of a romance hero, because no one was falling over HIM, other than some random mothers at the "ball" who wanted him to meet their daughters - and even that was glossed over. His characterization suffered due to all the time spent on Ophelia's characterization, and in fact, the scenes written in his POV (point of view) were few and far between. I would have LOVED a love scene in his POV.

Also, when they do return to London (which was too soon for me, I wanted them to spend a little more time at the secluded cottage/mansion), the book then felt like the movie Return of the King to me, with each new chapter someone else the heroine "makes up with" for being so rude and spiteful. Not that the plot is even remotely similar as RotK, but that the 500 endings Peter Jackson made us sit through was reminiscent of the last few chapters of this book. (Lubs Peter Jackson and LotR films to death, so don't be hatin'.)

The book started with a bang, a great lead up, fun times at the happy hideaway, only to be cut short to go back to London where tensions are high. I enjoyed the "taming of the shrew" aspect of the plot, but I did feel the book was a little long, and that the dark moment of the book went on for longer than it should have.

The book is predictable, so don't go into it thinking you won't see what's coming. However, just like a train wreck, you can't help but look! Not that this book is a train wreck, per se, because I did enjoy it and it was better than a few recent Lindsey offerings (A Man to Call My Own, anyone?).

To sum up, I wish the love scenes had been a bit hotter - and you know, I DO remember Johanna writing hotter. Chandos and his heated words... Challen and his arrogant ways... Royce and his erotic "play"... Angel with his sexy boots... Why was Rafe and Ophelia short-changed here? I don't know, but it saddened me.

I wish there had been more scenes in Rafe's POV. I don't want him to be a wallflower hero! Ms. Lindsey did try, but it fell flat, in my opinion.

I loved the scenes at the cottage at the beginning of the book, but when they got to London, it kinda dragged for me, because that one-on-one intimacy was lost.

All in all, I enjoyed the book, and it gave me something to do today when I wasn't feeling too good to do much else. For a light day read, it's great. If you're looking for something meaty, you might be disappointed. But the cover is GORGEOUS and it was an entertaining read, even if I did nitpick it to death. LOL

Ms. Lindsey, I give your book three and three quarter stars (3 3/4 *'s) out of a possible five stars. Thank you for writing Rafe and Ophelia's story. I enjoyed it and it kept me occupied all day. You missed 4 stars only because I wanted Rafe to... gah, I don't know what I wanted him to do. Most romances revolve around the sex appeal of the hero and I just wasn't feelin' it. You would have gotten 4 1/2 stars if the sex scenes had been as hot as your previous works. The book would have been worthy of 5 stars if they'd stayed at the cottage longer. :P All those factors, however, knocked it down to a 3 3/4.

If you're a big fan of Johanna Lindsey, you shouldn't be disappointed by this book, except, perhaps, the factors listed above. :)


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Shocked and Saddened

This morning, I found out that one of my favorite singers has recently had a tragedy in his life. It was hard for me not to cry about it, since I've been listening to his music for close to 20 years. He's like a part of my family, almost.

That singer is Steven Curtis Chapman.

His youngest daughter, 5-year-old Maria Sue, was struck and killed by an SUV driven by her teenage brother. Apparently, he didn't see her in the driveway, and it's nothing more than a tragic accident. This is particularly heartwrenching, because Maria Sue was a little Chinese girl they'd adopted through Shaohannah's Hope, Mr. Chapman's adoption foundation.

I ask that you pray for Steven and his family, not only for the daughter that they lost, but for the son who took her life. I cannot imagine the guilt and sorrow he must be feeling. I do know Mr. Chapman's sons banded together to make a "band" of sorts of their own, called "Stevenson" (I believe), who also sing Christian songs, but the news article I read didn't mention the name of the son who was driving the truck.

Please, please, please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers. I've seen Steven Curtis Chapman in concert and know almost every word of his songs by heart. He is such a strong man in his faith and a pillar in the Christian music scene. I can only imagine the pain and suffering this family is going through right now.

To read the article, click here:

CNN Article

We love you here in Oregon, Steven. You have our prayers and sympathy. I pray you can find comfort in God's arms during this ordeal, and find the strength to carry on.

Much love and thanks for your music over the years,

Edited to add the web URL of a special blog set up to share condolences with the Chapman family.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Know This is "Old News", But...

I know this is old news, but I decided to share this with you anyway. On Sunday, Barack Obama had the largest rally of his campaign, right here in Portland, OR. It's estimated that over 75,000 people attended. Sure, some people attributed the large crowd to the GORGEOUS weather we had that day, or even to the "free concert" that opened for Obama - however, the band was The Decemberists, a local Portland band with a few thousand fans, I'm sure, who are mostly punk and alternative, if I am correct. But one thing's for sure - they don't have the following for THAT big a crowd. No, these people were out there to see Obama, and the awesome weather sure didn't hurt.

Portland itself is a very LIBERAL town anyhow. It's pretty obvious when you walk down the street. lol But I do so love this town regardless, even though I'm a registered Republican.

DH and I have been thinking more and more of re-registering as Independents, since we are growing more and more frustrated with the Republican party. We're definitely not Democrats, but I'll tell you what, I'm thinking hard about who I'm going to vote for this November, and Obama, if/when he wins his party's nomination, is looking more and more attractive the more I learn about him and his policies.

I've been watching the videos on his website,, and he is an excellent speaker, and speaks of tackling issues I want to be tackled in this country. I'm tired of "voting Republican just because I'm Republican". It's one of the reasons DH and I didn't vote in the Oregon Primary, because state law mandates you must vote for your party in the Primary. As an Independent, DH and I would be "allowed" to vote for anyone we want to, and that seems more "fair" and "equal" to me.

Anyhow, I thought you might enjoy a video from Obama's Sunday rally here in Portland. To give you some perspective, Dave Matthews gave a free concert in Central Park right after 9/11, and 80,000 people came and packed the park. Obama's rally was 75,000 people, not that much less. You'd think this man was the Second Coming! Where's the 5 loaves and 2 fish?!? LOL Enjoy the vid.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Becka's Movie Reviews

Without anything else awesome to blog, I thought I would regale you with my opinions of current movies, as if you actually give a damn. :P

If you haven't seen IRONMAN, drop everything you're doing **right now** and go see this film. It is arguably THE best superhero film ever made. I loved it, mainly because Robert Downey, Jr. stole the show. If there was any doubt about this man after his history with drugs, this movie has laid it all to rest. I knew he was a good actor, but in watching IRONMAN, I have learned that Mr. Downey is actually one HELL of an actor, and not just because I was drooling over him in his muscle shirt. He was perfectly cast, and I don't think anyone I know came away from that movie saying, "Well, that sucked. I'll never get THAT 2 hours of my life back." Go and see it if you haven't already. It's worth a theater trip.

Another movie worth a theater trip is The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. It has a different feel to it than the first movie, but that is to be expected 1300 years after the kids accidentally left Narnia. The places they know are now either destroyed or look totally different. The creatures are the same ones you're familiar with, but the enemy they must face is quite different. The one character that made me smile fondly in the theater, reminiscing about reading these books as a young teen, is Reepicheep. I had forgotten all about him, but upon seeing him "again" for the first time, I had to wonder how I'd forgotten him. He reminds me a bit of Puss in Boots from the Shrek movies with a big difference - he's a mouse, not a cat. LOL

Go see the Narnia movie. If you liked the first one, you'll like the second one.

The Mist. Okay, folks, you may or may not remember this little gem, but it was a campy movie made from Stephen King's famous short story of the same name. Upon it's release, this movie was forced to be shown in color, against the director's wishes. The studio thought showing it in black and white (to resemble a '50's B movie) wouldn't gel with today's young teen audience. Perhaps they were right.

But the director of this movie has released his Director's Cut version, and it's in - you guessed it - black and white. Now, let me just say that DH and I never saw the color version of this movie, nor will we now that we've seen it in B&W. The B&W seems to enhance something in this flick, perhaps giving it a grittier feel, and sort of "uncamping" it in a way, since yes, they know it's kinda cheesy, but when shown in B&W, you are kind of "expecting" that, and thus, the movie seems better than it would have been in color. Make sense?

Well. If you like horror and/or suspense, you'll like this movie. If you hate it when every movie under the sun has a picture perfect ending, you'll like this movie. If you literally get pissed off and start yelling at your TV, you'll like this movie. Now, I don't mean "pissed of and screaming" in a bad way. We've all yelled at the screen for the asinine things people do in horror flicks. But in this movie, you'll be so engrossed, that you'll literally want to jump through the screen and take care of fricken' business yourself.

Yes there is gore and bad words and all kinds of horror flick-y goodness. But this one won't scare you as much as it will f--k you up. DH and I fell in love with the B&W version of The Mist. If you happen to pick this one up at the video store, make sure you're getting the B&W director's cut. You'll be glad you did.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Becka's Moment of Zen

Here is an awesome video my DH made for his mom on Mother's Day. It was her present, along with a nice, shiny new blog. She was so moved and loved the video very much. Heck, it made ME tear up, it was such a beautiful vid.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy looking at crazy pictures of my DH from his childhood... :P Enjoy!

Mothers Day is for My Mom from Jim Goings on Vimeo.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Well folks, another milestone has been reached. I'VE LOST 40 POUNDS!! It's hard to believe myself. I've been working pretty hard toward my goal weight. I have a ways to go yet, but there is a (faint) light at the end of the tunnel!

I work out every day (except weekends - but lately I've been doing more active things on the weekends like bike riding, yard work, etc.). Usually Sunday is my day off of everything physical, and that's nice. It's recommended you have at least one to two days off a week, as your muscles need time to "heal" (for lack of a better word) from the work outs - then the next work out day is kind of a shock to the system and you start the cycle all over again.

The key I've learned with work outs is to switch them up and change them. Your body gets "used" to doing the same ol' thing, so if you do one kind of work out every single day, you won't lose weight as fast because the muscles become in tune with the work out and thus, burn less. So I have these DVD's I'm following, Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home, and they're wonderful. I have the 1, 2, 3, & 4 mile walks on DVD, as well as a Fast Firming DVD with a resistance band and a You Can Do DVD with a stability ball. I do the walking almost every day, depending on what else I want to do that day. I try to do the strength training (the band and the ball - with weights) twice a week, and then I'll do a shorter walk if I do the strength training. On a day I don't do the strength, I do a longer walk, thus mixing it up for my muscles, as they don't know what they're going to get day by day. :P

I've started drinking my allotted 8 cups of water a day. It was hard at first, but once you get used to it, it's not so bad. One water bottle is 16 oz. Since a "cup" is 8 oz., drinking one full bottle is 2 of your cups of water. Therefore, I drink four of these water bottles a day. Here's how I do it.

I have breakfast every morning - no exceptions! It's not that hard to pour a bowl of cereal or scramble some eggs with toast. After I eat, I drink a full bottle of water before I exercise. I don't chug, although I have had to make myself chug on occasion to get it done. But I sip off it until I'm done, which isn't that long, because I don't procrastinate about drinking it. Once that's gone, I'll do my exercises and immediately afterward, I'll drink another water. Two down before lunch!

Throughout the afternoon, I'll have another bottle I sip from, and then my final bottle comes with dinner. I do still have one soda a day, usually with lunch. I truly believe upping my water has helped me lose weight. Not because I feel more full (well, there is that) but because keeping my kidneys hydrated allows my liver to do *its* job of metabolizing fat. Not only that, but the combination of exercise plus increased water consummation has sped up my metabolism.

Not to mention the breakfast. I also believe breakfast plays a pivotal role in keeping my metabolism going.

Anyhow, 40 pounds is just about the equivalent of a 5 gallon jug of water you have for your water cooler at work. Those actually weigh about 41.something pounds, but you have an idea of about how much weight that actually is. WOW! That's a lot! My youngest daughter weighs around 43 pounds. I've just about lost HER from my body! Amazing stuff.

My goal was to get to a 50lb loss before our camping trip at the end of May. Not sure I'll get there, since I just cracked the 40lb mark today, but all in all, I'm able to put my wedding ring back on without forcing it, so it's a happy day!


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Sleeping With the Fishes

The end of an era... The Goings pool is no more. Here is a pic of the pool two summers ago, all nice and blue and $$hundreds$$ of dollars worth of getting there from the black sludge that used to lurk within when we first bought our house.

Every summer, it has continued to be $$hundreds$$ of dollars worth of beautifying it from the winter nasties to the summer swimmies. Not to mention the electric and water bills every summer from running the pump and filling it little by little over the months when people splash and such. We were constantly filling that thing. I'm confident the water that was in there recently was not the original water it had once contained.

But the thing is just so *ugly*. An eyesore, really. DH wanted to paint the sheet metal white, to make it a little more "friendly" to the backyard, but even so, it was covered 7 to 8 months out of the year, just sitting there not being used. Not to mention the big tree that overhangs the pool eventually dropped its leaves into the water every fall.

In short - an above-ground Dough Boy pool = no fun in Oregon. A below-ground pool with a heater in a covered lanai is another story altogether. But alas, we didn't have that. After we had our deck rebuilt, we had to take out the firepit the previous owners had built in. We were saddened, as many a happy time had been had around the firepit.

Therefore, in the middle of our yard, we are going to rebuild it - correctly this time - with bricks and mortar in a covered pagota with patio furniture and cobbled concrete - not "just"a slab. It's pretty much gonna rule.

So today, we disassembled this pool. Since we had just uncovered it from winter, the water was funkytown. Over the past week, we've been draining it - wasn't that horrible as the water pretty much soaked into the ground and didn't flood the yard like we thought it might. Then we hired a guy to come and help us cut up the sheet metal with a "saws all" and we cut up the liner into small pieces. Someone from Craig's List is coming by later today to pick up the scrap metal and aluminum.

This pool was 24ft. Having it gone from our backyard makes our yard that much more HUGE! Having a new firepit is exciting! I can't wait to have it again, as we'd spent many a night out there yakkin' around the bonfire. Now, it's going to be so much BETTER!

Goodbye, pain in the ass pool! Hello big-ass backyard!


Friday, May 02, 2008

Becka's Random Twitters of the Day

  • 19:17 @mpeace, please try with email posting, it looks like there is some kind of issue with LJ + Atom #
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