Thursday, December 31, 2009

That Time of Year Again

I hope everyone has a great New Year's Eve watching the ball drop, drinking champagne, or whatever your traditions are. I always go to my best friends house where we watch the best of the Buffy/Spike episodes and drink Martinellis.

Since people have been sharing their resolutions lot lately I thought I'd throw my hat in, so here they are:

1) Start posting regularly. I've always been a sporadic poster, whether it comes to Blogger, Livejournal, or even Facebook. I'd really like to work on sticking to things. Unfortunately this will probably be the first to go since I have a full semester coming up.

2) Participate in the DIK Reading Challenge. I joined up because hopefully this will help me with resolution number one. It's my first reading challenge, and I have always wanted to try one out.

3)Lose weight. I feel like this is on 90% of people's lists and has almost become the obligatory resolution. However, I've lost 20 pounds in the past year, am in Weight Watchers, and see no reason why I can't keep it up. :)

4) Try out new genres. I read (and love) historical and contemporary romance, but want to branch out and try more paranormal and urban fantasy. So far I've only tried JR Ward's BDB, but since I like those books I'm sure there is a whole lot more out there that I'm missing.

5) Learn basic HTML. As you can see, my blog screams "under construction". I'm good with technology in general, but when it comes to HTML I'm left there scratching my head. As a student, I don't have the cash to hire someone to design a blog for me, but I see no reason I can't learn some elements and tidy it up a bit.

I'm sure more will come to me before midnight, but these are my five major resolutions I hope to keep. Good luck with yours and have a great time tonight!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Loss of a Treasure

Anyone who lives in Delaware or the DC metro area has (hopefully) heard of Lambda Rising. To sum up: for 35 years Lambda Rising has been Washington's premier LGBT bookstore, with one of the largest collections of fiction, erotica, memoirs, nonfiction/history, and tons of other odds and ends. They have some of the most wonderful and knowledgeable staff and has created a real sense of community.

That being said, I was upset to learn that both Lambda Rising stores are closing. Lambda Rising has always held a special place in my heart. It was where I bought Sweet Lips by Mel Smith and first discovered homo erotica five years ago. Since then I've developed a soft spot for the genre, though the bulk of my reading is still mainstream romance. I felt slightly better when I found out that it is closing because the owner is retiring, not because they are going out of business. Still, it won't be there anymore.

The second thought that crossed my mind: OMG yay a sale!

It was so awesome to walk in there and find all books 40% off! Despite having a $20 cash limit, I was able to walk away with some goodies.

It took me quite a bit of time to settle on one piece of erotic I wanted to buy. I ended up sitting in the middle of one of the aisles with my friend, flipping through a stack of books trying to pick one. I narrowed it down to three and with my friend's advice picked this one. The plot sounded fairly interesting, I liked that it's a historical, but mostly did you see that cover! Best. Erection. Ever.

Speaking of erections, this book was irresistible as well. I've been flipping through it and never realized until now just how much thought goes into a blow job. There is also this awesome chapter for guys about etiquette and considerations for your partner. Fellatio has never been so equal! The other reason I just had to get this is because my friend bought The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women. Maybe we'll switch when we're done reading our own.

I had the funniest cashier when checking out. The ridiculous cover of The Price of Temptation lead to some witty banter about the absurdity of many Harlequin covers and Nathan Kamp's abs. His exact comment was "I don't like a guy to be too ripped. I don't want to get rug burn just from going down on him". FTW!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry X-mas Everyone!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season! For me it has been a quieter Christmas than usual. Family, friends and I agreed to cut back this year, so gifts were really only sent to the little kids. Almost all the gifts I gave were baked goods. Everyone loved the kits I put together, though my waistband is really starting to feel it.

While I loved everything I got this year (despite the recession I had a fairly good haul) I was thankful to see that someone did think to send be a Borders gift card! There was a 25% off sale today at, and that $25 card was gone by noon.

Here's what will be arriving in the mail soon:

A classic. It's one of those books I didn't want to read until I owned a copy of it. Now that I had some spare cash I decided it was time to go and get myself a copy.

I own both Bound By Your Touch and Written on Your Skin, but couldn't find The Duke of Shadows the last two times I went to the book store. The buzz around Meridith Duran's books doesn't seem to end, but I can be really obsessive sometimes and didn't want to read the other two until I'd read the first, even if they're not a series.

I have a signed copy of Knight of Pleasure that I got at the RWA convention this past summer. I wasn't blown away, but I did enjoy it a lot. Stephan is the hero of this one, and his character was my favorite part of Knight of Pleasure so I still want to give this one a try.

I have a soft-spot for M/M romance. I didn't use to read it that much but it's grown on me. I think I find that many of them have more of an emotional thrill than hetero romances. False Colors got rave reviews on Dear Author and sounded irresistible from their reviews, so I figured it was time to by myself a copy.

Best holiday wishes to everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Where do books come from?

I am (almost) finish with the semester. It is wonderful to have exam week out of the way. To say the least I've had no time to read romance over the past month, but that hasn't deterred me from expanding my TBR pile. Between the public library and various thrift stores my collection has continued to grow. I think a part of me got through exams because of the fact that I had the huge pile of books waiting by my bedside. I could see them, and I was dying to read them. My desire to read romances always increases with stress. But I knew I couldn't touch them until I had gotten through the semester.

Now that everything is coming to an end I can finally resume where I left off. I'm planning to do a review of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I finished the whole series just before things heated up. I'm probably going to do a combined review of all the books rather than each one individually. I can't say how excited I am for Lover Mine to come out next spring. John Matthew had long been one of my favorite characters. I'm taking ASL next semester, something I've been interested in for years. JR Ward has written both a blind and a mute hero, and for that I think she deserves major points for combining disabilities to romance in a respectful and kick-ass way.

Currently a lot of my TBR pile is coming from the public library. Until recently I never used the public library for reading romance novels. I try to support the economy and as often as I can I buy new. But with the recession I've been finding my means for obtaining romance novels has changed to almost exclusively to thrift and borrowing. This Christmas I'm trying to buy family new books as more of an effort to support the publishing industry, and I'm hoping to get some gift cards so I can get myself new books as well. Has anyone else found there method of getting romance novels has changed? Is anyone else making it a priority this holiday season to try to by new books for themselves or loved ones?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Review Dump

I know I haven't posted anything in a while, so I'm just doing a review dump for all the books I've reviewed in the past month.

5 stars

My high rating of Unlawful Contact is seriously boosted by the sex scenes between Marc and Sophie. This book gets seriously spicy.

The opening to the novel is when Marc (then known as Hunt) and Sophie first speak at a graduation party. He’s two years older, attractive and very popular. Sophie has just lost her parents, is alone and teased. Of course, Hunt sees past that all. The scene where she loses her virginity to him is one of the most romantic love scenes I’ve ever read. I think this is what really sold me on the book. It’s every girl’s fantasy. Almost every woman can remember wanting that “perfect” guy to notice you. There is something cathartic about having Sophie getting to live that fantasy.

The suspense aspect of the novel plays out well. There are more twists and turns in Marc’s past and the conspiracy against him and his sister than I can count. It was also great that Sophie didn’t immediately fall for him again when they see each other. She’s pissed and she should be. It made her character seem more real and made it more interesting to watch them fall for each other a second time. While the first chapter was hot, the sex scenes in the book become more erotic.

Some moments in the plot did seem to drag, especially when it came to progress in their investigation or Sophie’s job as a reporter. Nothing was ever slow or dull enough for me to want to put it down though. The only thing which did get under my skin a little was the complete care bear ending. Every character got everything they wanted. Within months all the good guys got of scot free while the bad guys got put away for life (not that it isn’t a good thing, just not very realistic based on how trials go). It just got a bit to warm and fuzzy for me.

I’d recommend this for anyone who likes romantic suspense and is looking for something that sizzles.

5 stars

During the first few chapters, I came very close to setting this book down and never picking it up again. Lady Irene Wyngate is determined not to marry, and insists on making this clear to everyone. It’s great that she’s an independent heroine, but I just couldn’t envision some woman talking to the ton at a ball and spouting out why she would never marry. While I liked that she was a modern, independent thinker, her talking openly about it didn’t jive with her deire to be considered proper.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the book. Her not wanting to marry (and the reasons she doesn’t want to marry) set up for good tension between her and Gideon. I loved their sparring. It brought both characters to life. And there were several wonderful, sensual love scenes.

At first I didn’t know what to make of the plot since it focuses on the fact Gideon was kidnapped as a child and grew up in the slums of London. It’s a somewhat odd plot, but it provided enough twists and surprises to keep everything moving.

While this is not one of my favorite romances overall, I came to really like both the hero and heroine.

4 stars

Overall I enjoyed Knight of Desire. It definitely passed the put-down pick-up test. Most of the story is told from William, our hero’s point of view. I enjoyed watching his feelings and understanding of Katherine evolve. While there is a lot of action, William and Katherine’s relationship changes very slowly. The main conflict in their relationship is their lack of trust, so the book is rife with misunderstandings. They weren’t the wall-banger, TSTL types of misunderstandings but I did start to find them tiresome. William spent most of the book either confused or oblivious, but is never an overbearing ass-hat hero. I found Kate’s character more off-putting. She is clearly a strong woman able to endure a lot of hardship, but she didn’t seem active in making her and William’s relationship work until way into the book.

I was a bit hesitant about this book since it’s my first medieval romance, but I’m glad I got it. I think my decision may have been influenced by its gorgeous cover and the rave reviews it received a few months ago. There wasn’t too much detail and realism about the time period, but this worked for me since I find too much realism distracts me from the story. It was a fun read and I’m really excited for the next book in the series, Knight of Pleasure. The hero, Stephan, is introduced in this book and became my favorite character, so I’m thrilled he gets his own story.

3 stars

When I saw this was one of the harelquin freebies, I just had to get it. I mean really, have you taken a good look at that cover? It cracks me up! I don't know if I should start with the two fat, oblivious babies... or the way he's holding them like two wiggling footballs he scooped up off the ground while gazing optimistically into the horizon... or the strange jaw buldge that suggets a jaw tumor. I mean it looks like some oddball in a suit picked up some kids at the supermarket and brought them home to his wife. "Hey honey, I'm home. And look what I brought with me- two pudge identical tots! Now I can go one and fufill my dream of being the best baby collector in America..."

Ok, I'm done, but you still got to admit it's a truly snark worthy cover. As a book it was better than I expected, which isn't saying much since I expected it to be similar to the cover. It read more like a Harelquin Presents than a Silhouette Desire. That's were the most the secret baby and I-must-punish-you-for-lying-to-me plots come out. However, Nick Falco wasn't nearly as much as an asshat than Harlequin usually makes there hero's, so that was a pleasant surprise. Jenna, however, really got on my nerves. She was intent on martyring herself for her children, because her life could never be complete without them! To say the least, no depth.

Despite all it's shortcomings, this book was a freebie, so there's no harm in downloading it, if only to look at the cover some more.

Secret Fantasies and the Asshat Hero

From early romance with Fabio covers to today’s Harlequin Presents, the uber-alpha male is a staple of the romance genre. We’re all familiar with the symptoms: brooding, possessive aggression, a dark past, and controlling the heroine’s life for her own good. For many readers, this is enough to send the book flying across the room. Many feminists are enraged by the use of forced seduction. Many readers are disgusted by the emotionally abusive relationships between virgins and their Greek billionaire tycoons. But one thing is for sure, these books are still selling strong and aren’t going anywhere for quite some time.

I personally fall into the disgusted and enraged category. The last time I read a Harlequin Presents was months ago, and mainly because I was in the mood to write a particularly snarky review. My loathing of these heroes has nothing to do with this post though. What is relevant is my curiosity as to why women love these books, despite all the abuse the heroine is stuck with. After months of thinking and meeting women who love these books, here is my conclusion:

These alpha-males aren’t just assholes and pricks, but a reflection of a secret fantasy. Thinking about yourself and your friends, how many women do you know who have ended up in a relationship with the perpetual bachelor? The controlling prick? The over possessive asshole? The guy who blows hot and cold?

The list of these stereotypes is endless. So is the list of friends of mine who have ended up with one of these men, and still tried to make it work despite those traits. And guess what- they ended up getting hurt.

I’m going to start with the controversial book Twilight. People are all over the place when it comes to Twilight, from screaming fangirls to people who scream if the books get anywhere near them. I ended up going to the midnight release of New Moon with a friend of mine and her guy friend. We leave the theater and she starts to wax poetically about Edward and his love for Bella. In my mind I begin listing all the reasons I can’t stand him. 1) He doesn’t let Bella decide for herself 2) he always insists he’s right 3) he stalks her… I look up to see her with her guy friend, or more specifically the guy she’s sleeping with but 1) won’t date her because he knows she’s still in love with her ex 2) he insists she be more healthy (for her own good) 3) he’s cheating on her…

And it clicks. She loves Edward because the men in her life have the same abusive traits as him. What could be a better fantasy than having a man act that way because he loves you!

I don’t think most women take stories such as Twilight as seriously as she does. I don’t think all the women who read and love Harlequin Presents and The Flame and the Flower are in emotionally abusive relationships. Chances are though that men like this have been in your life at some point. We know these men aren’t going to change, but isn’t it a wonderful fantasy that they act that way because of a strong, compelling and selfless emotion?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What I Did on Labor Day

I haven't even finished my current read and I'm already buying new books! In my own defense, there was a Labor Day sale at a Thrift Store in my area, so all the books ended up being 50 cents. Hello, two quarters each!!!! It was a hugh practice in self-restraint not to grab more.

The last of the Bridgertons. I have Francesca and Hyacinth's book's to go, but I found Gregory's with a stepback so I just had to grab it.

I remember that this got lukewarm reviews, especially since Mr. Cavindish, I Presume apparently just repeats most of this book. And the cover is pretty
aweful too. It's got this vapid-heroine-with-a-neck-crick thing going for it. But for 50 cents I'm willing to give it a go.

One of the Bow Street Runner's series. I haven't read any of the series yet, but I love Kleypas. I'm so excited for Tempt Me at Twilight's release!!!! In the meantime, I've gotten my mother hooked on Kleypas (major score) and she's now read the Devil in Winter and Scandal in Spring (my personal fav), and is ready to sink her teeth into the Hathaways. She seems to have develped an attachment to Cam because wherever we go she keeps comparing ever tan-skinned male to him....

I think I originally became interested in this because I keep confusing the title with The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (which was a fantastic book, fyi). From reading the back I can't see anything exceptional about it yet, so I'm reserving all judgement until I read it.

I'd never read a Medeiros, and I vaugely remember some buzz about her last year, so into the cart it went!

Finding this book was somewhat of a disappointment for the simple fact it was so much less vivid! I don't think it was because it was thrift since the spine wasn't cracked. Luckily cover color doesn't affect reading enjoyment.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Review: Too Hot to Handle by Robin Kaye

Rather than write a review of Too Hot to Handle, I’m writing a clarification of my rating. So far, I love Robin Kaye’s work. Romeo, Romeo was great fun and I think Too Hot to Handle started out on a similar vein. Overall, I’d give it more of a 3.75 than a full 4 stars.

A major problem I had with the book is that the filler was generally very dull. I found myself skimming over Mike’s conversations with patients and nurses and the practice, even though many of them were supposed to be sentimental. Similarly, I too much was revealed through dialogue, which is equally boring. It seems any two characters would end up talking and suddenly explain all their thoughts, feelings, and actions from over the past few years with a new found clarity. There are only so many revelations a person can have in the span of a day. This bothered me more than the unrealistic plot, as contrived behaviors pull me away from a book quicker than contrived situations.

I loved Mike as a hero. I don’t think he can fully be labeled a beta hero- he was definitely in control of many situations, but I loved that he was never overbearing and that he came grips with his feelings before Annabelle. I didn’t become as attached to Annabelle as I did to Mike, but I’m surprised how much I came to like her and understand her actions after how she was portrayed in Romeo, Romeo. I think this says a lot for Kaye’s talent. I am unsure of her character pairing in her next novel (Breakfast in Bed) as it seemed in Romeo, Romeo she was pushing them a different direction, but I am still eager to read it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Pretties

There are reasons you should never let me in a bookstore unsupervised...

I went shopping in Seattle yesterday, and though I'm on vacation, I managed to start getting anxious. To calm down I ducked into a Border's to purchase a copy of Nora Robert's The Villa, which was strongly recommended by a friend (Since I have yet to actually read something by le Nora, I thought it be good to start with something recommended). But of course, since I was upset, I left with more than just The Villa.

I saw this being pimped on Dear Author. Not only did it look good, but I realized I've never read a western! There's a whole romance subgenre which I have neglected. So when I saw this lovely cover peering out at me from the shelf, I had no choice but to get it.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Lisa Kleypas. Of course I've been wanting to try her new contemporaries. I went and purchased Blue Eyed Devil about a week ago and was smacking myself when I relized I got them out of order. Mistake fixed.

I've been wanting to read Meredith Duran since The Duke of Shadows first came out, so I've been waiting a while. I was fairly bummed out that by the time I made it to her booth at the Literacy Signing she was already sold out. I'm probably not going to start these until after I have The Duke of Shadows, but I'm most certainly looking forward to them.

Flyboy- Karen Foley

Flyboy can best be described as dying relationship with two partners stubbornly ignoring their problems- it was only saved by the sex.

To accurately describe the book, I should probably give it two ratings. One for the plot and one for the sex appeal. I’d give Angel and Sedona at least 4 to 5 stars for setting the pages on fire. Even for a Blaze, Flyboy was heavy on its erotic appeal.

While I ended up giving the book 3 stars overall, I came very close to giving it 2, or maybe 1 and a half- because the plot was just so freaking absurd. If I hadn’t pushed myself through the very beginning it may have become a DNF. While it’s believable that there is sexism in the military, it’s a bit extreme to have the plot focus on a secret “Membership” where people are promoted by their sexual exploits during business trips.

One thing in the books favor is the lack of drawn out Big Misunderstandings between the protagonists, though I do think those are more common in Presents than Blazes. While there were a few Big Misunderstandings, Sedona and Angel managed to work things out within a few pages, instead of drawing stupid issues out through the entire book. And they both actually chose to deal with their issues and feelings, which was refreshing. No, what really makes this book a wall-banger is its absurd plot line.

I think what I love most about this book though it is its cover: massive phallic imagery! How on earth could I resist buying a book with a cover this blatant and hilarious!? And the cover model… abs to die for. The book might not be a keeper, but the cover is.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pimpin other news

It was to irresitable to keep from spreading this on the interwebs: the Harlequin Presents Asshat Hero has come to life!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why I Shouldn't Own Dogs or Blogs

First off, I should at least acknowledge that this blog is painfully neglected, and will likely remain so for long periods of time. I have the horrible tendency of starting something (such as this blog) and maintaining its upkeep only in short sperts.

With that said, I can still be found at goodreads if you want to keep up with my readings, though any reviews (when eventually written) I'll also post over here.

I'm also extremely happy now that I've discovered how to use Despite my youth, I'm a bit behind on the electronic bandwagon, and previously have balked at perchasing anything anywhere but trusty amazon. I am not good with change. But today my first order from arrived: Suddenly You, A Man in A Million, Flyboy, Unlawful Contact, Flowers From the Storm, Open Season and Midnight Bayou all for a whoping $20.33. I was quite happy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

RWA Literacy Signing

Yea, I totally meant to have this thing up and running waaay before now, but like with all things in my life, I tend to procrastinate. Getting to the point- Wednesday's Literacy Signing was by far the highlight of my year. I spent way more money then I should have (especially since I'm just a college student without a job) but every cent was totally worth it. And it went to a good cause, right?

Highlights of the event:

-Meeting Julia Quinn: I cannot say how awesome this was. I only brought two of my own books to be signed and one of them was Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. Julia Quinn was so incredibly nice and took time to talk to all of her fans.

-Meeting Sherry Thomas: I think this may have been one of the few times in my life I was truely starstruck. I'm pretty sure I started babbling like a lunatic, which wasn't helped by the nasal congenstion from my sinus infection (really, who gets a sinus infection in summer!?). But here's the truly amazing thing. When I asked here to make the autograph out to "D.L.", she asked "Oh, is your e-mail the.distant.light?" OMFG!!!! I had forgotten that I had left a comment on her blog that morning, but it is soooo kick ass that she remembered. Epic moment in my life!

More exciting pictures are to come!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kindle: Wohoo!

Exciting news! I now have a working Kindle! I'm already fiddling with it and can't wait to start using it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 1

Hey Everyone,
Welcome to what will be my new romance blog. As you can see it's still under construction, but soon enough I'll have up my TBR list, reviews, thoughts on upcoming releases, and whatever else pops into my head. Until then, you can find me on goodreads @ Feel free to friend me there.