Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!
Enjoy 2011 responsibly ;)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Is That a Challenge?

I don't think I'm going to be finishing the A-Z Book Challenge like I was hoping.  New Years is less than three days away and I still have the letters R, Z, X, I, Q, U, and Y.  I don't see any point in speed reading though seven books.  That wouldn't be any fun.  I don't think think these sort of challenges are supposed to be stressful.  I probably could have done this one fairly easily except that I didn't plan out for different letters and there were a good five months this year I stopped reading romance.

But, despite not actually completing this challenge, I really enjoyed it, so I've decided to do a few next year!

The first one I want to do is the Off the Shelf Challenge hosted by BA Reading Challenges:

Off The Shelf!

The challenge is to read some of those books you already own.  Ya know, the one's you've been meaning to get around to for ages but are currently buried under all the new books you bought...  I chose the "tempted" challenge level, so I have to read 5 of those books in the next year.  I figure I'll do more, but I wanted to start off simple.

The next challenge is 2011 Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge hosted by Romance Book Maven:

The challenge is to read 10 contemporary romances (no paranormal, fantasy, or time travel elements) in the next year.  I decided to do this one because I like a lot of contemporaries, and I have tons on my TBR shelf so this seemed like a good way to knock some of those out.

The last challenge I decided to do is the 2011 Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Reading Challenge hosted by Nitty Gitty- Romance and Erotica Reviews:

To be honest I don't think I'll be able to finish this challenge.  The goal is to read 12 paranormal romances over the next year.  While that doesn't sound like a lot for some people, that's a heck of a lot for me.  I don't read a lot of paranormal- which is why I decided to try the challenge.  Even if I don't complete it, I'll still have expanded my reading horizon.  At the moment I feel like the books I pick are heavily tilted toward historical romance, and I want to break out of that a little and explore.

Anyone else participating in fun challenges?  Any reading goals for the New Year?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Welcome to the Dark Side

A lot of romance readers dip into YA fiction, myself included.  Some of my favorite books have ended up being YA-romances, which were much more complex than I expected.  I was intruiged today when I saw the article The Dark Side of Young Adult Fiction in the NYT's.  It's not an article really.  It doesn't take a side but presents a serious of opinions about why so many dark themes and dystopias reoccur in YA-fiction.  It made me take a moment to look at my TBR list and sure enough books like "The Hunger Games" and "Matched" were on there.

However, unlike some of the op-ed pieces, I don't think these are *new* themes to YA-fiction, but inherent to the genre.  I can remember being 13 and loving books like "The Giver" and "Z is for Zachariah".

Whatever your take is on YA-fiction and its various themes, the piece is well worth taking a look at.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa Baby

Merry Christmas!  I hope everyone is having a great day right now.  My gift to you is beautiful men ;)


This is a great video if you're like me and you go for your heroes tattoed up *cough*BDB*cough* Plus I just love this song.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

This is Bloody Good Stuff

Sorry everyone for the unexpected hiatus.  I swear I have not abandoned my blog (again)!  After the semester ended I decided to take a week to unwind, which I have thoroughly enjoyed.  I think the bags under my eyes are just about gone now.  I should be blogging more frequently some time after Christmas or New Years.

So I am now officially addicted to True Blood. My friend gave me the first season as an early Christmas present- I finished all 12 episodes in less than 2 days.  I practically cried when I found out that Netfix doesn't have the second season on watch instant.  Is the universe conspiring against me! Either way, the day after Christmas I am going to run out and buy the second season.  I don't think I can wait.

I'm a little on the fence though about whether or not I'm going to read the Sookie Stackhouse novels.  For one thing, my TBR pile is so high it's threatening to topple over.  And another, while I've read a book then watched the movie/series, I've never watched the movie/series then read the book.  I don't know how I would feel about that. Watching the next season is still a higher priority for me though.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

Bride and Prejudice (2004)
Genre: Romance/Musical
Grade: C+, but still recommended

Loving Pride and Prejudice seems to be a prerequisite for loving the romance genre. Ok, maybe prerequisite is a strong word, but I can probably count on one had the number of people who love the romance genre but aren’t lusting after Mr. Darcy. And how many of us have gotten into a debate about whether Colin Firth or Matthew McFadden played it better? Uh, guilty!

There are so many knock offs, spin offs, and take offs on Pride and Prejudice it’s impossible to keep track. So let me tell you about one of my favorites. Anyone ever heard of a movie called Bride and Prejudice? Yes? No? Well let me say this is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I’m going to come out and admit it’s not the best of movies, but as long as you don’t think about that too hard you can really enjoy it.

Bride and Prejudice is essentially Bollywood-lite meets American musical with a healthy serving of beautiful people. And it works. Because it’s fun! The landscape is gorgeous, you have bright colorful saris swirling all around, funny stereotypical Indian mothers running around arranging marriages, and people bursting into song in the middle of the street.

The worst part about this movie was that it made me want Indian food really really badly! I go to school in a small town and there are no Indian restaurants anywhere near me. I can’t wait to go home on break because there are tons of Indian restaurants near my parents house. Bring on the curry!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Can You Think of Anything More Awesome!?

Drumroll please... I am now officially a member of the DIK team!  Go check it out.

Honestly I'm a smidge nervous.  I've never done any guest posting before.  In fact, my first thought after I sent off the application was, "D.L. what have you gotten yourself into!?"  But everyone on the island has been welcoming, and I'm certain nobody bites.  Well, maybe some of the heroes do, but I wouldn't mind that ;)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review: A Man In A Million

Here's another old review I'm only now getting around to posting. I read this one about a month or so back and really enjoyed it.

Title: A Man In A Million
Author: Jessica Bird
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Moorehouse Legacy #4
Grade: 4 out of 5 stars

As far as bad boy Spike Moriarty was concerned, Madeline Maguire defined female perfection. When they'd met, she'd walked up as if she wasn't the most gorgeous thing on the planet and asked to see his tattoos. He - a tough guy who'd make grown men run - had just about passed out. But their connection was definitely had to be. Because he could never be the man in a million she was looking for, not with the things he'd done and seen. So for as long as she'd let him, he'd give her whatever she wanted. He'd worry about her walking away when it happened.

Before JR Ward decided to write paranormals about ass-kicking vampires, she wrote as Jessica Bird and wrote contemporary romances. I think I decided to buy this book based on a review over on Dear Author. I can’t quite remember. I already knew JR Ward had previously written under Jessica Bird and I was willing to buy one of her books based on a good review.

A Man In A Million was a pretty straight forward read compared to some of the books in the BDB series, which can have up to five different plot threads running at once. While I often love multi-layered plots, it was also nice to just focus on the hero and heroine. Spike is a French chef with a tragic past that he keeps hidden. After getting dumped by his ex over the issue, he believes no girl would want to stay with him if she knows the whole story. He keeps things casual so no one gets hurt. Pleasantly enough, he doesn’t come off as a womanizer either, but a nice guy who cares about his friends and sister. Mad is a competitive sailor, and though she’s fierce on the water, she is still insecure after always having being verbally put down by her overbearing father and now her step brother. A lot of the book revolves around her learning to stand up for herself, which Spike supports her through.

One of my absolute favorite aspects of this book was comparing it to the BDB. To begin, let’s look at the character of Spike himself.

“Spike was wearing a black leather jacket, a black-button down and a pair of black slacks. His jet-black hair was sticking straight up off his head in all directions, but instead of looking unkept, the jagged peaks emphasized the hard lines of his beautiful face. His big body filled the doorway. The hall. The whole apartment as far as she was concerned.
Oh, God, his eyes… Those incredible, impossibly yellow eyes were still hidden under heavy lids and thick lashes. And the tattoos… On either side of his neck, two elegant, curving designs marked his skin. In his left ear, he had a thick, silver piercing.”

Let’s see, does Spike fit the prerequisites of the Brotherhood? Wearing all black, including leather- check. A very large, imposing body- check. Tattoos and piercings- check. The only thing missing is a random “h” inserted into his name and then he’d be in Lesser-slaying business. A major difference between the two books, though, was that “combat boots” was used in place of “shit kickers”. For some reason I get the feeling that Silhouette wouldn’t have gone for that…

I would have rated this book a 4 just on the fact that Spike could have been a Brother, but I enjoyed it overall as well. It was fairly unique, especially for a Silhouette, which I don’t usually go out of my way to purchase.

First off, Spike and Mad know one another before the beginning of the book, and are already crazy about each other. So in theory it should be smooth sailing to a happy ending (yes pun intended since Mad is a sailor), especially since their mutual friend is playing matchmaker. But of course the book has the Big Misunderstanding. And not only does it have the Big Misunderstanding, but it has quite a few little misunderstandings along the way. It was pretty easy to forgive Spike and Mad though because, unlike most characters, they didn’t let the misunderstandings simmer. They actually bothered to go talk to each other! It was nice to see two characters repeatedly working things out, especially since communication is so important in believing the relationship with succeed. Also, the sex scenes were pleasantly steamy. I will never look at a motorcycle the same way again.

One touchy subject is that throughout most of the book Mad does have an eating disorder, which is not outright stated or dealt with. It seems odd that this isn’t mentioned since Spike’s profession is a Chef, ya know, food related and all. But by the end of the book Mad works out in her internal monologues that she’s going to start eating again, so in a way it is dealt with. It just seems an odd part of the plot since it wasn’t explicitly linked to her self esteem as other incidents in the book were, but rather lumped with her obsession with her training schedule.

Overall, I’d recommend this to any J.R. Ward fans, or any Silhouette fans who are looking for something a little different. It was worth going a little out of my way to find online (which isn’t my usual m.o. for book buying) and I’m also considering looking up some other Jessica Bird backlisted titles.

In other news...I managed to finish my final paper for Grammar at 12:45... 15 minutes to print and get to class! I won't say it was the worst paper I ever wrote, but it ranked in the worst five. What really upset me was about half an hour after turning in the paper I realized I had a cold. This could not be happening! I still have two exams and two final papers due next week! The okay part is that it's less than 48 hours later and I can breath through my nose again, so there is hope.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Look! Look!

Hey check it out! The New York Times has an article this morning about the booming sales of romance e-books.  And best of all, it treats the romance genre with respect!  The growing trend of positive representation of romance in the news is something I love to see.  Talk about a great start to my morning.

Here's the link: Lusty Tales and Hot Sales: Romance E-Books Thrive.  It's not a long read so hop on over there.

Ok, back to writing my final paper for my Grammar and Usage class.  Sounds fun right?  It's on gender biases in the English language and due at 1pm today.  I still have quite a bit to go.  Ek!  Wish me luck?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: The Kiss

Not exactly a new read, especially with the time crunch I'm under, but I realized I had posted this review on Goodreads within the past month but hadn't put it up over here as well.  Enjoy!

Title: The Kiss
Author: Sophia Nash
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Widows Club #2
Grade: 2.5 out of 5 stars


He had once been her cherished childhood companion, and then the man she lusted for in secret, but Georgiana Wilde hasn't seen recently widowed Quinn Fortesque since the day he married another woman and shattered her heart. Then fate intervenes and brings the man she dreams about each night back to her . . .
Returning to the estate on family business, Quinn would like nothing more than to turn the land over to Georgiana and leave the memories of his former life behind. But then the brooding marquis finds himself under the spell of the beauty he once left behind. With her barely concealed passions, Georgiana melts his coolly guarded heart. Suddenly his well-ordered world is in danger of crashing down. And it all began with just one kiss . . . .


The summary on the back doesn't give a very clear description of the book.  Georgiana had also been married and widowed (thus her inclusion in the Widows Club series), and more specifically, was married to Quinn's cousin and their mutual childhood friend Anthony.  So of course a large portion of this book ends up being the "you still love him!"/"it was always you!" tango.

Most of the book really grated on my nerves. The characters themselves were extremely annoying. I can't name a single character from the book I would want to meet in real life. Generally their actions didn't make sense or didn't jive with how they were described. Quinn is supposed to be a diplomat- never once do we see him be diplomatic, in the present or in flashbacks of his past. In fact, his past seems pretty irrelevant except that we are told his dead wife was bad. Other than that we don't know anything about their marriage or why he married her in the first place.  Their marriage is a blatant plot device. And Luc, the "hero" from the first book in the series, spends most of the time strutting around acting like an ass. Not going to read that book... Though this is not usually a pet peeve of mine, everyone's actions were cpmpletely out of place for the time period.
The main redeeming factor of the book was its ending, which I found sweet and endearing. The final resolution to the Big Misunderstanding was fairly heartwarming, and if the entire book had been like the final 50 pages I would have given The Kiss between 4 and 5 stars. While that is not the case, I'm glad I pushed through to finish it, because the cute ending justified picking it up in the first place, but I would still not recommend this book.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Final Countdown

It’s that time of years again. No, not the holidays… FINALS WEEK!!! Only ten days until that hellish period marked by excessive amounts of caffeine, poor personal hygiene, and overwhelming anxiety about escaping graduating.

Whoever thought of jamming everything important into one week is an idiot. Really, colleges would be much healthier if we got rid of finals week… and fraternities… and Four Lokos. I’m still waiting for them to ban it here in Maryland. For those of you out there who don’t know what Four Lokos is, observe the horror:

I’ve been dealing with the stress pretty well *knock on wood*. I don’t have class on Fridays, and since I’ve been worried I’m getting sick I took today easier than planned. I stopped by Goodwill to check out their book selection. I was mildly disappointed- there were tons of paperbacks, but almost all of them were Danielle Steel or Harlequin Presents from the ‘90s. I think I’m just spoiled by some of the truly awesome thrift stores I’ve found back home. I did manage to find a few I wanted though.

1. The Heir- Johanna Lindsey

2. Not Another Bad Date- Rachel Gibson

3. Fast Women- Jennifer Crusie

4. Anyone But You- Jennifer Crusie

I also ended up going to Buffalo Wild Wings with one of my friends. I’m a total wings fanatic, and just last week she turned me onto their Blazin’ wings. On the menu the Blazin’ wings come with a disclaimer- “Keep away from eyes, pets, children: The hottest sauce we got.” Later I looked it up on the internet. It’s 200,000-350,000 Scoville units, which is 70 times hotter than a jalapeño pepper. And. They. Are. Amazing. Both times I thought I was going to die, but the endorphine rush is absolutely incredible. Even if you don’t like spicy wings, I would still recommend Buffalo Wild Wings. Their Sweet BBQ and Garlic Parmesan sauces are delicious without the zing.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: Every Frat Boy Wants It

Title: Every Frat Boy Wants It
Author: Todd Gregory
Genre: Gay Erotica
Series: None
Grade: 3 out of 5 stars


Jeff Morgan is about to get the education of a lifetime...
At eighteen, Jeff Morgan is the quintessential all-American boy--blond, blue-eyed, and a star jock at his small Kansas high school. Enrolling at California State University-Polk, Jeff plans to become a writer. He also hopes that the macho nature of fraternity life will help him get over his lifelong attraction to other men. The reality couldn't be more different...
Through Blair Blanchard, the drama major son of divorced movie stars, Jeff discovers the Beta Kappa fraternity, and enters a world where alcohol and drugs serve as an excuse for covert trysts between frat brothers...where the pledging process becomes a sensual, S&M-fueled bacchanal...where weekends in L.A. and Palm Springs are no-holds-barred adventures in sexual exploration...and where Spring Break is a boys-gone-wild porn movie come to life. Through every encounter, from intense couplings with older frat brothers to sizzling three-ways with hot new pledges, Jeff also deals with his increasingly complex feelings--for Blair, for a handsome new arrival, and for life within Beta Kappa itself.
Sexy, steamy, and incredibly erotic, Every Frat Boy Wants It proves that when it comes to learning all there is to know about mind-blowing pleasure, nothing beats hands-on experience...


The set-up seems fairly simple: Naïve, innocent Kansas boy goes to a big, California campus, and subsequently a macho frat where innocent Kansas boy gets his eyes opened by beefy men who like to get it on with each other.

And that’s what happens, sorta…  I think I got it figured out…

Something that really frustrated me throughout the whole novel is that there didn’t seem to be a central conflict.  Was this about Jeff and Blair’s relationship?  Was this about Jeff’s need to come out as a gay man?  Was it about just how incredibly ridiculous and dangerous frat houses can be?  Or was it really all just an excuse to write a series of disjointed gay hook ups?

I think this was supposed to be a gay erotica/romance because the central story kept circling around to the relationship between Jeff and Blair.  It’s not that romantic of a relationship.  Sure, they tend to fall into each other’s arms a lot proclaiming their love, but in the end Jeff still has a hell of a time keeping it in his pants.  One moment he’s confessing his love for Blair then two seconds later he’s screwing some of his frat brothers.  Seriously?  This probably wouldn’t have bothered me as much if they were both getting around, but I just felt sorry for Blair because it was clear Jeff’s actions hurt him.

But the main reason I question if this was truly intended to be a gay erotica/romance is because of the amount of time spent on Jeff’s initiation into the frat, Beta Kappa.  If there was anything I took away from this book it is to NEVER JOIN A FRAT!  Reading about the initiation and hazing is not for anyone with a weak stomach.  It’s an in-depth, honest look at drinking on today’s college campuses.  I’m surprised none of the characters were sent to the hospital for alcohol poisoning.  The thing is, I don’t really get what was the point of having all that detail.  None of it was part of the erotica… it sort of felt like two books mashed into one.  Book one- a study of Greek life on today’s campuses.  Book two- gay erotica.    

Another thing that was grating on my nerves by the end was the number of loose plot threads.  Blair states at the beginning of the novel that straight guys will do just about anything when they are horny, including fooling around with gay men and then pretending it never happened in the morning.  It seems to be implied (at least to me) that at some point Blair was in love with, or at least involved with another frat brother or straight guy who burned him.  This would explain why he’s so secretive about his and Jeff’s relationship and about his own past, but for some reason this is never explained to the reader.  It’s just left hanging.

Blair himself annoyed me by the end of the book.  He started off as this awesome character, full of mystery and glamour, and then just ended up being whiny and needy.  Even Jeff was bored with him, which made me completely doubtful that their relationship would last much farther than the end of the novel.  I can’t say too much more for Jeff.  He started off as this young boy from Kansas, and his innocence and constant discoveries is what initially gave the book its erotic edge.  By the end he was this coked out horn dog slowly dying on the inside.  At the same time, he was still a better character than Blair, because it wasn’t a weak character, just extremely unlikable.  The Jeff’s physical and emotional decay is supposed to be a blatant reflection of the toll that pretending not to be gay is taking on him.  The problem with this is that the decaying went so far that it seemed too abrupt that he would suddenly be ok again and that his and Blair’s relationship would be revived just by coming out of the closet.  Yea, that would go a long way toward helping, but he was pretty messed up by that point, and that’s saying something after all he went through to get into the frat.

The book’s saving grace that kept it from falling into the 1 or 2 star categories is that it was well written.  It’s painful when something is written well enough that you want to keep going, but the story isn’t compelling.  I’d be willing to try Todd Gregory again in the future, but I wouldn’t recommend Every Frat Boy Wants It, unless there is someone you are trying to scare out of joining a frat.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Please Don't Hold Me To It

I try to keep my promises.  Really, I do.  Except I'm terrible at keeping the promises I make to myself.  Like, "I'm going to keep up with posting on my blog" and, of course, New Year's resolutions.  Yea, remember those things?  Those wonderful grand promises we make to ourselves when we see a whole year spread out in front of us, full of endless possibilities.  Well, this year is coming to a close soon, and I am determined to keep at least one of my New Year's resolutions before I create a whole new set.

To quote one of my resolutions:
Participate in the DIK Reading Challenge. I joined up because hopefully this will help me with resolution number one. [Resolution #1 was to start posting regularly... sorry guys!] It's my first reading challenge, and I have always wanted to try one out.
Ok, for me the DIK Reading Challenge is shot, but there is no reason I can't finish the essence of the resolution, which was to participate in my first reading challenge.  In addition to the DIK Reading Challenge, I also posted on the Goodreads groups Romance Readers Reading Challenges section 2010 A-Z Book Challenge, which is exactly what it sounds like: during this calendar year read at least one book starting with each letter of the alphabet.  I think there is some leniency with the letter X though.

Here is how I've done so far:
B- Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas (3/19)
C- The Courtship Dance by Candace Camp (1/4)
D- Don't Bargain with the Devil by Sabrina Jeffries (1/6)
G- Gone With the Nerd by Vicki Lewis Thompson (2/1)
H- Her Secret Fling by Sarah Mayberry (3/7)
J- Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James (3/17)
K- The Kiss by Sophia Nash (In Progress)
L- Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase (1/24)
M- The Marriage Wager by Candace Camp (1/15
N- Never Seduce a Scoundrel by Sabrina Jeffries (2/8)
O- Open Season by Linda Howard (8/1)
P- Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (2/25)
S- Sinful Surrender by Beverly Kendall (11/19)
T- To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt (1/14)
V- The Villa by Nora Roberts (In Progress)
W- The Wedding Challenge by Candace Camp (1/3)

And ya know, with my Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks coming up, I think I might just be able to finish up the remaining letters!  Going through the books I own, here's what I know I'm going to read:
A- An Unexpected Pleasure by Candace Camp
E- Every Frat Boy Wants It by Todd Gregory
F- False Colors by Alex Beecroft or Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale
R- The Return of the Earl by Edith Layton
Z- Zoya by Danielle Steel

As for the remaining letters (I,Q,U,X, and Y) I welcome any and all suggestions before I buy or check out any books.  Wish me luck :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Digitize Me

It’s been a bit longer than I wanted to go without posting something, but three weeks isn’t as bad as my seven month hiatus, so I still have hope for reviving The Romance Girl’s Guide.

Today I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon of doing an e-reader review. Almost all the romances I read (as in 99%) are mass market paperback. Admittedly, I’m unlikely to switch to reading mainly digital. I love holding books, looking at their covers (yes, even the awful ones that give our genre a bad rep), flipping through the pages, turning to the back and reading the uselessly vague blurb, and even the clutter as the books spill off the shelves into boxes and across the floor. I know that sounds sarcastic, but I mean it. As a librarian’s daughter, raised around books all my life, I love the physical experience. Am I a format snob?

Despite all this, I definitely see the value of owning an e-reader. Going on vacation and trying to stuff a suitcase with the books I want to read has always been a pain, and bringing back the books I buy and absolute headache. And despite my ongoing defense of the genre, there are just some days sitting on the bus I don’t want to be seen with that cover. On top of that, more and more there are romances that aren’t even being published in print.

For my high school graduation I was given a first generation Kindle. Even with my hesitations about digital printing, I was incredibly excited. Since then I have only used it to read a small handful of books. This hasn’t been because of any unhappiness with the Kindle, but mainly because I already have a huge pile of TBR books that I already own and a really bad habit of walking into a bookstore and not walking out empty handed (I do not seem to be alone on this). Also, my freshman year of college I left it at home and decided not to ask my mother to mail it across the country. And if I’m truly honest, there has always been some ignorance on my part about the vast world of digital printing. Now years later my Kindle has collected dust and has trouble keeping a charge.

A few days ago a friend of mine lent me her Nook for some pleasure reading. I have NookStudy on my laptop for rented textbooks, but I had never used the actual reading device. I have to say I liked it. So I’ve decided to do a comparison between my experiences with my outdated Kindle and my friend’s Nook and see how they match up.

My favorite aspect of both the Kindle and the Nook was the screen. Neither had backlighting, and text size could be easily adjusted, so my eyes were never strained. Personally I think this is the most important aspect of an e-reader, as what I really want to do is read my book without any distractions. A slight distraction with the Kindle was the placement of the page turn buttons. They take up the entire side of the reader, so if I wasn’t careful where I rested my thumb, I was suddenly flipping through pages. This wasn’t too big a problem as my Kindle was in a case, but I can see how this would have been a problem for someone who was just holding the Kindle itself. I liked the page turn buttons on the Nook much more. The small solid buttons just required one firm push.

I was impressed with the battery power of the Nook. After reading an entire book the charge didn’t seem hugely affected. I won’t comment too much on my Kindle. It never seemed to be able to keep a charge for long periods of time, and definitely can’t now, but that might have more to do with age and my inability to learn about power settings.

Personally I found the Kindle easier to navigate. It uses a keypad and buttons, whereas the Nook used a small touch screen at the bottom portion of the device, which didn’t always seem to respond to me or do what I wanted it to do. Maybe it just took practice.

I asked my friend and found out shopping from the Nook is just like shopping on the Kindle. However, she said she always had trouble downloading books from a wifi location, a problem I never had.

If someone came up to me today and asked, “Whaddya think? Should I get a Nook or a Kindle?” I really wouldn’t have an answer. I’ve had great (if limited) experiences with both, and haven’t even gotten to check out the newer Kindles. What I can say is that, while I still love my paperbacks and clutter, I should get over my fear of the unfamiliar and start exploring the world of digital publishing, beyond the obvious stocked shelves of Amazon and BN. After all, a book is a book, and I love ‘em any way I can get ‘em.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Time Goes On

I feel so bad for staying out of the loop for so long. What has it been now- seven months? Wow, just two more months and I could have had a baby!

No, I was never preggers, if you're wondering if that's what kept me from the blogosphere. Rather I was consumed by transferring colleges, the world's worst waitressing gig at Ruby Tuesday (never eat there!), a series of disappointing flings followed by the break-up from hell. Seriously, I need some vodka in me just to remember this guy. I think I'll be sticking to my tried and true romance heroes for a while now, thankyouverymuch.

However, despite the insanity that comes with being 20 and alive, I did manage to squeeze some enjoyable reading time in there. Anyone who is friends with me on Goodreads may or may not have seen any books I recently posted. I unfortunately didn't have time to get a review up for "Lover Mine" but there was definitely some sqeeing involved when I read it.

I wish I could promise some more regular postings, but as it stands with my class load, and already horrible organizational skills, I don't know. I'll try to pop back from time to time, skip around to say hi on all of your blogs, and keep people posted of any projects or news.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

You like me.. you really like me!

I don't normally follow any type of Awards shows, but the 2010 Rita Finalists are up and I thought I'd comment.  I don't have top picks for all categories, but here's who I'm rooting for:

2010 RITA for Contemporary Single Title Romance Finalists:
Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl

2010 RITA for Historical Romance Finalists:
Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas

2nd Pick:
To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

2010 RITA for Young Adult Romance:

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
(You can read my review for this a few posts back here)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Grade Inflation

I'm quite excited.  What The Librarian Did just arrived from Amazon today.  I'm hoping I'll get a chance to read it in the next week or two.  I'm still swamped with work.  I'm just coming off of mid-terms, which is why I haven't been posting much recently.  It looks like for the next two months things are stacking up, so I might be going a week or so between posts.  *Sigh*  This semester is turning into a total roller-coaster.  Summer is looking more beautiful by the minute...

Something which popped into my mind earlier today when I was browsing on Goodreads is grade inflation.  And I don't mean the academic kind (though I really wouldn't mind if someone pumped some air into my chem grade o.O).  Goodreads has this nifty little stat on everyone's profile that says what their average rating is.  Mine is 3.40, which is fine considering 3.00 is about average.  In my boredom I began to hop through my friend's profile's and look at their stats and I began to see a trend.  Not only was the average "average" rating well over 3.00, but most were over 4.00, and even 4.50!  I know everyone has their own way of rating a book, but come on, is every book really that good?  What's so wrong with rating a book as average?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Happy and Some Reads

How could I forget this on my Mega Post of Happy Things?!?! I don't know how many other peeps are into web shows, but I love them.  It might be that they come in awesome bit size time portions (which can also be really annoying when you just want to find out what happens).
-Blue Movies is one of there really funny series.  Season One ended a while ago and I'm not sure when Season Two is starting up, but all the episodes are still posted.  The show centers around the dramas of a low budget rising pornography company and one of their new-to-show-biz interns.
2) Take180:
-They did this really great series a year or two ago called My Alibi.  Since it's over all the episodes are up and there's no need to wait for new ones.  That was possibly one of my favorite web shows ever.  Sort of a Breakfast Club spin off- a bunch of high school kids held in detention on suspicion of a prank.
**The other show of there's I really love is I <3 Vampires.  If you're into the paranormal scene at all check this one out.  I recommend it.  It's currently in the middle of Season Two, which is turning out to be much darker than Season One.  It plays off of the Twilight craze quite a bit.  I <3 Vampires is about two girls who are obsessed with a series of books about vampires, except the books turn out to be a little too real...**

Reading Update

Title: Her Secret Fling
Author: Sarah Mayberry
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: None
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Jake Stevens--star reporter and celebrated literary genius--is a snake. How else to explain the way he turns Poppy Birmingham's hero worship into loathing with a single conversation? So what if she's got a lot to learn about journalism? Aren't they coworkers now? On the same team? Jake can take his attitude and...

Then during a job-related road trip, their relationship goes from antagonistic to hedonistic in no time flat. And suddenly Poppy can't think of anything more delicious than having a secret fling with Jake. But with all this intensity, can she really keep it no-strings-attached?

I know a lot of people are big fans of Ms. Mayberry, but I just wasn't feeling it.  I couldn't really connect to either character, and that just made the book fall flat for me.  This really comes down to personal taste, but Poppy was too bubbly and optimistic.  It might have been the Olympic athlete in her that had her always keep going, never give up, and keep her chin up high.  While Jake was a bit of a prick, I could relate to him more. 

I felt that Jake was justified in being annoyed with Poppy for getting the job at the newspaper.  There were tons of people who worked really hard in journalism and deserved that job.  Poppy worked really hard in her field and did deserve recognition, but didn't necessarily deserve rewards that she wasn't qualified for.  She didn't have a college education, and a full time job at the paper didn't seem to fit.  It seemed more like a midlife crisis.  I don't know.  I think I sound I bit mean, but it's mostly because Poppy spent most the book being stressed out rather than achieving something meaningful.  Other than being a big fan of Jake's works, there didn't seem to be anything pulling Poppy to a career at the newspaper, and I don't think writing was her passion.  

All in all, while Her Secret Fling didn't click with me, I'd be willing to give Sarah Mayberry another try in the future because the writing was ok and the sex was steamy.

Title: Lessons in French
Author: Laura Kinsale

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: None
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

"It was quite settled by now. She was born to be a spinster. The gentlemen would have to declare their undying devotion to other ladies. Callie would be too much occupied with developing a delicate constitution and a dependable recipe for tapioca-jelly."

She is, after all, Lady Callista Taillefaire, jilted three times in spite of her fortune and her father's best efforts to find her a husband. Now her greatest desire is to win the silver cup at the agricultural fair with her gigantic prize bull, Hubert. But when Callie's only old flame returns from his long and mysterious absence in France, her quiet spinster life turns upside down.

Dark-eyed, elegant and a magnet for trouble, Trevelyan d'Augustin has given Callie lessons in more than his language in the past. Her father put a harsh and humiliating end to any dreams of romance with a French émigré scoundrel, however, and Callie never thought to see him again. Swallowing his pride, Trev has finally come home to care for his failing mother, but his secrets and misdeeds follow him.

Callie soon remembers that nothing is ever peaceful with Trev around. The enormous Hubert vanishes into thin air, one of her former jilts comes back to woo her in a most determined manner--and her bull takes the town by storm! In the midst of these misadventures, Callie finds herself falling in love again with the worst possible man for her...

(Dear God, for the life of me I could not find a shorter summary, and honesty I was too lazy to write one myself.)

**warning, mild spoilers!**

I had mixed feelings about this book, but overall I really did like and enjoy it.  It was the first Kinsale I've ever read, though I do have a copy of Flowers From the Storm waiting patiently on my shelf.

It worked well as a light comedy, though a times I felt confused about what was going on.  Either too much action was going on too follow or it seemed like characters were saying (or thinking) one thing and doing another.  Often Callie and Trev seemed to be having these internal angst moments where they swore it was too tormenting to be near each other, and then go right along with their witty banter and flirtations.  Either I was seriously misreading or they were being over the top.

I really did like all the characters though, especially Trev and Hubert (the bull).  For a bull, Hubert had a lot of personality, even if he mostly was just stubborn and ate buns.  Admittedly, I have a soft spot for farm animals.  Trev, on the other hand, I didn't want to like, but I couldn't help it (sort of like Callie).  He bungles almost everything up, and makes more messes to cover for those.  Total boyish charm *sigh*.

Here comes the spoiler...
Something that did bother me though was that Trev was supposedly a virgin (if I managed to interpret that part of the story correctly). I don't know what it's supposed to add to the story, especially since it's rather awkwardly tossed in there.  Also, it's not believeable.  Trev wasn't in love with Callie until they met again, so what was he saving himself for?  Especially with so many chances?  It just seemed too contrived for me.

Nevertheless, Lessons in French was a fun, light read for me which I would recommend to anyone else who likes historical romances.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mega Post of Happy Things

I've been out of the blogosphere for almost two weeks now.  Like most of the population I've been under the weather, and then got backlogged with life and had no time to update.  So, to make up for that, I'm doing a Mega Post of Happy Things.  In other words, a big list of things that make me smile with as many links as possible.

Non-Romance Blogs I Follow
1. Lolcats: Who doesn't follow this one?  I'm also going to mention the numerous associated blogs I check out on a regular basis: ROFLrazziPundit KitchenGraphjamKludgesFailblogFailbook, and Hacked IRL.
2. Nathan Kamp: Book Covers: Ok, so this is sort of related to romance, but more under the hot men category.  You can probably recognize him because he's on tons of romance covers.  Did anyone else watch the pilot for Royal Pains just for Nathan's two-second cameo...?
3. Odd News: Mainly from the UK, but the articles are universally funny.
4.Oddly Specific:  I think this one is also associated with Lolcats, but I like it enough to give it its own line.
5. Picture is Unrelated: Another golden Lolcat cousin filled with WTFckery.
6. Sleep Talkin' Man:  From the UK as well, but this guy must have hilarious dreams.
7.  Stop Making That Duckface!:  You know someone who does it, and please, just stop.
8. manvszombies:  I've never really gotten into the whole zombie thing, but I get a kick out of this.  If you've read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies you might like it.
9.  WEDINATOR: Snark-worthy wedding moments.
10.  Cake Wrecks: This goes well with WENDINATOR.
11. XKCD: Geeky jokes for the nerd in all of us.
12. Autocomplete Me: When Google suggest goes awry.
13. Hunk du Jour: Self-explanatory.  Hot Men make me happy.
14. 5-Star Men:  More hot men!  Both this and Hunk du Jour are targeted for gay men, but I see no reason a straight woman can't enjoy it.
15. Indexed: Clever messages on index cards.
16. PostSecret: Sometimes funny.  Sometimes tragic.  I've been following this blog for almost six years and have gone to a few signing events.
17. FMyLife: As most this list proves, life's fails are entertaining.

On My YouTube Account
1. CommunityChannel:  Apparently spunky Asian-Australian girls make big youtube sensations.  Usually posts every 3-7 days with easily to relate to self-deprecating humor.
2. CollegeHumor:  I'm pretty sure MTV owns this.  They post pretty frequently with a variety of ongoing shows and series.  Really funny and some of the stuff is very well done.

Blog Awards
Tracy was really awesome and tagged me (quite awhile ago) for the Sugar Doll Award.  I'm supposed to list 10 things about myself and pass it on.  To be honest, I'm horrible about tagging other people so I'm just going to encourage anyone who wants to do this to post it on their blog.

My ten things:
1.  I'm obsessed with the Iditarod.  For those poor souls who do not know what the Iditarod is, it's the dog sled race up in Alaska.  (Anyone seen Balto?)  I've been known to get pretty big crushes on some of the younger mushers, my two favorites being Rohn Buser and Dallas Seavey.  Rohn isn't in the race this year, but Dallas is and I'm definitely cheering him on.  The race is still going on now, so check it out!
2.  I want to become a flight attendant.  Most people look at me funny for this.  Would I really want to deal with the insane hours and crabby passengers.  Well yea, I do.  I'd be awesome at it (I have amazing customer service skills) and the benefits would be sweet.
3.  I love the movie Repo! The Genetic Opera.  It's hard to describe, except that it's as campy as Rocky Horror and you get to see Paris Hilton's face fall off.
4.  I'm terrified of relationships.  I love reading romances, but there's a big difference between enjoying the story and actually being ready for a relationship.
5.  Cary Grant is my hero.  I have a nice little collection of his comedies, my favorite being The Philadelphia Story.
6.  I'm focusing on school right now, but one day I want to write romance.  Probably contemporary romance.  I already have a few ideas bouncing around my head.
7.  Red and black are my favorite colors.
8.  I have three stars tattooed on my body.
9.  I have two cats, Jesse (James) and Aby (which is short for Abyssinia, the source of the Nile), and a betta fish named Napoleon.
10.  I am not a morning person, whatsoever.  When left to my own devices I become completely nocturnal. This happened to me for a few weeks during my freshman year at college.  It was very inconvenient.

Just Friggin' Awesome
A couple weeks ago over at Smart Bitches there was a contest to promote The Marriage Ring.  The winner got a $1,500 gift certificate to Fragments jewelry.  My friend won!  I was in a state of shock for the first few minutes after she told me.  I'm so happy for her!

Whether you love it, whether you hate it, most of us can't take our eyes off it.

Yea, I'll be there.

Hot Men
Would any make-you-feel-better blog post really be complete without them?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

DIK Reading Challenge: Perfect Chemistry

Title: Perfect Chemistry
Author: Simone Elkeles
Genre: YA-Romance
Series: Series Unknown, but a sequel is coming out
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

At Fairfield High, everyone knows that south siders and north siders aren’t exactly compatible elements. So when cheerleader Brittany Ellis and gang member Alex Fuentes are forced to be lab partners, the results are bound to be explosive.

Neither teen is prepared for the most surprising chemical reaction of all – love. Can they break through the stereotypes and misconceptions that threaten to keep them apart?

*Beware. Minor spoilers ahoy.

Every now and then a book comes along that exceeds your expectations and makes you go, “Wow, I really enjoyed that.” For me, Perfect Chemistry was one of those books. I picked it up only intending to read a chapter or two, and finished the whole book in one sitting. I love the characters, the plot, and the writing. Perfect Chemistry was not what I expected. From the reviews and book trailer, I thought this was going to be a romantic comedy. Was it romantic? Yes. Funny? Yes. But Perfect Chemistry is more than just a humorous piece of YA fiction. It had some unexpected depth.

Both Brittany and Alex have some big issues in their lives. Brittany lives in a glass house. Her anxiety-prone, obsessive mother is determined to show the world a good face, no matter what happens. Her emotionally absent dad is no better, spending as much time as possible at work and away from the family. Her older sister has cerebral palsy, another one of the family’s secrets. Most of the tension in Brittany’s family comes from her parents wanting to send the sister to an institution while Brittany feels pressure to become the family’s perfect daughter.

Brittany was a bit of a stereotype. Rich. Beautiful. Head of the poms squad and dating the quarterback. Guys want to bang her and girls want to be her. Despite her sister and the problems with her parents, it was hard to feel too sorry for her. In terms of her social life, she’s the school’s princess. Her character does evolve as she stops keeping everyone at arm’s length and stops worrying about fitting the social mold.

In many ways Brittany’s character is easier for the average teen to relate to than Alex. Parents, siblings, social anxiety and pressure to have sex are universal teen issues. Alex’s problems go beyond that, and I think that also made him a more fleshed out character than Brittany.

I love Alex’s character. He’s poor, Latino, and in a gang. Perfect Chemistry doesn't skirt around the issues the way a lot of books do. When it says Alex is in a gang, Alex is in a gang. I don’t want to get too much into Alex’s gang life as it’s such a major part of the plot, but I like that the issue wasn’t made light of. He may not run major drug deals or shoot people, but he carries a loaded gun most of the time and leads a violent lifestyle. It didn’t feel fake. He may have a heart of gold somewhere deep down, but that doesn’t make him warm and cuddly.

For a YA romance, I found it fairly steamy. Things never get graphic, but a lot of scenes are emotionally charged. Elkeles really brought out the thrills of young love. Everything is in first-person, so readers get a good sense of a character’s thoughts and emotions. I don’t usually like romances in first person since I want to know what both characters are thinking, but the chapters alternate between Brittany and Alex’s point of view, taking care of that problem.

Some people felt Perfect Chemistry was cliché. Yea, it is. The clichés were almost unavoidable. Star-crossed lovers are about as cliché as you can get without moving into archetypes. But the theme is played with enough to feel fresh. The only cliché that got under my skin was that Alex and Brittany’s sister connected after meeting. It just felt like shorthand for “Look! This guy is so much better than your current jack-ass boyfriend.” I didn’t like when the sister was used as a plot device. The ending was cliché too, but after everything they went through I was happy with a warm and fuzzy ending and care-bear epilogue.

Another small thing that did annoy me was the timing of events. Ninety percent of this book takes place between the beginning of the school year and Halloween. That’s maybe ten to twelve weeks for our two love birds to get over their mutual hate, become attracted to each other, decide to break the social mold, and fall in love. The short time span didn’t bother me. It’s a staple of the romance genre that once you've meet “the one” obstacles shall arise and be conquered in short order. However, the remaining ten percent of the book moved in five month spans. I found the change in pace jarring. I would have preferred if the timing of the book was more even, but by the end I was so eager to see what happens that it’s probably good I didn’t have to wait.

To sum up, if you like YA fiction, go read this book! This is one of the few books that has wowed me lately. I’m excited to see there is a sequel, which is about Alex’s younger brother, coming out in a few months. I’ll definitely be reviewing that some time later this year. 5 out of 5!


In My Mailbox

Ok, this isn't breaking my challenge because I did buy these at the beginning of February, way before I decided to go give up book-buying for a few months. It took them so long to get here because of the blizzards. All from, all totally old-school.

This is the book that started the round of book-buying. It was on one of the Smart Bitch's Help a Bitch Out pages. It sounded interesting so I decided to look it up, and of course one thing lead to another...

I was actually really excited to find this book. I was browsing through the seller who had Night Games when I saw this cover and recognized it immediately. I've been looking for it for years- it's one of the first romances I ever read, probably around when I was 13 or 14. I found it on my grandma's bookshelf when I was visiting for a week. Pirates, amnesia, men who don't communicate- classic. I suppose I could have just called her and asked, but it just felt too awkward.

Both the category regencies are throwbacks to the beginning of my romance reading days as well. I used to buy a bunch of Harlequin Historicals at yard sales. I always like having them around for short, light reads.

Thanks everyone for your support of my no-buy challenge. It's daunting to see how many other people have tried and failed, but if I don't make it at least I'll be in good company!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Challenge: 5-month No Buy

After looking at my income to book spending ratio, I've decided to set up a new kind of challenge for myself- I will refrain from buying books for five months.

I would have done six months but there is no way I'm going to the RWA Lit Signing and not buying stuff.

Knowing me, this challenge is probably going to be one of the hardest I do this year. I love buying books almost as much as I love reading them. I love the way they feel, the smell, the un-cracked spine. Retail therapy is a total drug. I buy when I'm stressed, when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm bored.

Because of my spending problem, I now have a very large TBR pile(s), so I'll hardly be without books. I also am going to stop getting stacks and stacks of books from the library, as this does nothing to help decrease said TBR pile. On top of everything I just don't have the time this semester to read as much as I would like. My free time is quickly disappearing, especially since everyone over here is in a crunch because of the blizzard.

But (don't you just love that there's a but), I have decided on a set list of books being published in the next few months which are the exceptions:

March 16
What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss
-I think Wendy reviewed this on her blog recently. The main reason I'm reading it is that my mom (who is a librarian) saw the cover and cracked up, so now I just have to know what happens.

April 27
Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
-Self-explanatory. John Matthew is one of my favorite characters so I'm really psyched for this book to come out. The one bad thing is that it's being released in hard back, which I'm not a big fan of. I'm really obsessive about having all my series in the same format.

May 25 (This is going to be a really good day...)
His at Night by Sherry Thomas
-I've been a huge fan of Sherry Thomas ever since Private Arrangements came out a few years back. She's the only author who is solidly on my auto-buy list.

Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas
-I was just blogging about the Hathaway's a few days ago when the covers were released. After the ridiculous cliffhanger at the end of Tempt Me at Twilight, I'm really for this one.

Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
-I almost didn't include this book. I don't think JQ's recent novels have been as great as the Bridgertons, and this cover is awful. But I do still enjoy her works, so I'm putting it on my exceptions list.

June 29
Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas
-I'm glad this one is so soon after Married by Morning. Now I don't have to worry about any cliffhangers.

July 6
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley
-I loved The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. I'd list it as one of my favorite romances. So of course I'm glad the next in the series is coming out.