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 jalapeƱo 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.