Thursday, June 30, 2011

Top 10: Favorite Series

I meant to have a post up today detailing the AWESOME time I had at the Literacy Autographing Tuesday, but between travelling and getting back to work I'm exhausted. 

So instead here are my top ten favorite romance series!
10. Legend of the Four Soldiers by Elizabeth Hoyt
9. Love by Numbers by Sarah MacLean
8. The Matchmakers by Candance Camp
7. The Hellions of Halstead Hall by Sabrina Jeffries
6. The Wallflowers by Lisa Kleypas
5. Domestic Gods by Robin Kaye
4. The School for Heiresses by Sabrina Jeffries
3. The Bridgertons by Julia Quinn
2. The Hathaways by Lisa Kleypas
1. The Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward

Pictures and a recount of Tuesday's events should be up soon :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

RWA Countdown!!!

Guess who's going to RWA... I'm going to RWA!  The Literacy Autographing at least. 

I can't afford the whole conference, but I am taking a bus up to NYC for the day and going to the signing.  How friggin' awesome is that?  So if any other readers/bloggers/authors are going to be up there and know of any events immediately before the signing (like I said, I'm only going to be there a few hours), let me know!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Show Your True Colors

Do you know what's in two days?

That's right!  It's the True Blood Season 4 premiere!  I'm getting chills just thinking about it.  In the meantime I've been watching (and re-watching) all of the HBO online promos, which are beautifully done and are only feeding the frenzy.

For the other TB-addicts, I would recommend checking out:
- (careful! some of the videos can be spoiler-ish)
- (a cute vlog for Jessica that ran parallel to Season 3.  I only just learned about it, but it looks like they're starting it up again for Season 4!)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Top 10: Authors @ 2011 Literacy Autographing

In this case "Top 10" is a bit of a misnomer, since I doubt there is anyway I could narrow this list down to just ten authors I want to see at the signing.   Here's is my list of authors that I am sooo excited will be there!

-Victoria Alexander
-Jo Beverley
-Karina Bliss (I will be bringing my copy of What the Librarian Did)
-Elizabeth Boyle
-Jaci Burton
-Jennifer Crusie
-Victoria Dahl
-Lila DiPasqua
-Laura Lee Guhrke
-Elizabeth Hoyt
-Sabrina Jeffries
-Eloisa James
-Julie James
-Robin Kaye
-Delilah Marvelle
-Sarah MacLean
-Kate Noble
-Julia Quinn
-Lynsay Sands
-Jill Shalvis
-Sherry Thomas
-Simone Elkeles
-Mary Jo Putney
-Courtney Milan

There's no way I can get to all their tables in two hours, but visiting any mix of these awesome women will be amazing. What authors are other people looking forward to seeing?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Movies: The Bounty Hunter

Title: The Bounty Hunter (2010)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Grade: B-

Milo Boyd, a down-on-his-luck bounty hunter, gets his dream job when he is assigned to track down his bail-jumping ex-wife, reporter Nicole Hurly. He thinks all that's ahead is an easy payday, but when Nicole gives him the slip so she can chase a lead on a murder cover-up, Milo realizes that nothing ever goes simply with him and Nicole. The exes continually one-up each other - until they find themselves on the run for their lives. They thought their promise to love, honor and obey was tough - staying alive is going to be a whole lot tougher.

This movie really surprised me.  I found it on Netflix Instant when I was browsing around looking for something mindless.  I was hoping a light romantic comedy would get me out of a stress induced funk I was in.  I was just looking for cotton candy for the brain.

The Bounty Hunter is never going to make it on any of AFI's lists or even my favorite movie lists, but I think it's better than some of the other romcoms out there.  What made this movie work for me was that it had a great mix of romance, comedy, action, and mystery.  I particularly enjoyed the physical comedy, and Jason Sudakis has a small but hilarious role.  There are a lot of plot lines that encompass these different aspects, but they were interwoven well.
I also really enjoyed the soundtrack.  All of the songs were top 40's, and several were songs I normally never would have liked, but everything fit well with what was happening at that moment in the film.  Also The Bounty Hunter had a very contemporary feel for me with the fashions and locations so top 40's seemed like a good pick.

In so many ways I felt that The Bounty Hunter could have originally been a contemporary romance novel and now I was just watching it play out on screen.  The development of Milo and Nikki's relationship follows the same path that is seen in a lot of novels, right down to the Big Misunderstanding and how it is later resolved.  In fact, maybe that's why I liked this movie so much- I got to see it all acted out visually instead of just reading it!  It can definitely be argued that it's like that for most romcoms, but for some reason it was a lot more clearly defined for me in The Bounty Hunter.

I did think Milo and Nicole's romance could have been more dramatic or could have been taken more seriously at points, and Milo certainly went overboard with being a jerk once or twice.  Like I said, not the best movie ever, but very, very fun.  Team Aniston will also love this film- she looks absolutely fabulous in it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Lover Unleashed

Title: Lover Unleashed
Author: JR Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (#9)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.

When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide … just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.

I LOVED Lover Unleashed. I devoured it, reading during my lunch breaks and into the night. But despite how much I enjoyed it, I’m still only giving it three stars. The other BDB books I’ve given three stars to have generally been because the main characters annoyed the heck out of me, but other characters and overall story arc redeemed it for me. In this case, there was so much going on that even the main romance felt like a side plot!

Manny and Payne didn’t feel like the centerpiece of the story. Compared to past couples they weren’t given that much page time, and at the end of the book their situation didn’t feel resolved. Maybe their story arc will continue into the next book- there seems to be a lot of that going on.

In a lot of ways, Lover Unleashed felt like a way to introduce future plots- Panye/Manny was just the excuse used to create the book for it. The reason I still liked it (besides being a die hard BDB fan) is that most of these plots weren’t boring. In a lot of past books there’s been endless filler about the inner workings of the Lesser Society, and a bunch of baby powdered undead white guys can only be so interesting. The Lessers have all but disappeared in Lover Unleashed, which for the time being I’m quite ok with.

There were a few things missing besides the Lessers though. Like where was Tohr? Isn’t the next book his? Even Qhuay, had a limited presence, was heavily lopsided, with the reader often in Quinn’s head, but Blay seeming to breeze on and off screen.

So all in all, Lover Unleashed gets a big thumbs up for fun, but two stars knocked off for missing pieces and heavy plot juggling.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Top 10: Favorite TV Shows

Summer is a time for escapism- and what better way to escape than some good TV!

1.  Arrested Development.  Best.  Friggin'.  Show.  EVER!!!  Whenever I'm down in the dumps this is my go-to show for immediate pick me ups.  I should do a Top 10, or maybe Top 100, reasons why I love this show.  There's witty dialog, running gags, Ron Howard's deprecating narration, celebrity appearances, and a political and social awareness.  Why am I writing this?  I should go watch it now...

2.  True Blood.  I wanna do bad things with you...  I also want to steal Sookie's wardrobe.  She has some of the cutest dresses ever!  Like Arrested Development, I could make a whole list about all the reasons I love this show.  It's like crack- I need my fix.  Besides crazy, overlapping, outlandish plotlines (which apparently don't follow the books that much), you have fun characters (Pam and Lafayette being two of my favs), HOT men, cool special effects, and some awesome settings.  Can't wait for season four!  I've added a countdown to my sidebar.

3.  30 Rock.  Behind Arrested Development, I'd rank 30 Rock as my favorite comedy series.  It has an awesome cast (and guest appearances from various SNL cast members), and Tina Fey is amazing.  You will feel better about life after watching this show.

4.  Six Feet Under.  Dark humor created by Alan Ball, the same guy who did True Blood.  Not nearly as sexy, much more cerebral and often depressing (it's about a family that runs a funeral home), but I got hooked on it and am almost done watching all five seasons.  It's definitely good, but not for everyone.

5. NCIS.  Soooo cheesy.  Soooo good.  I once heard someone with an NCIS ringtone and actually squee-ed. 

6. White Collar.  I once actually turned down a date saying flat out, "I can't go out then.  White Collar will be on."  It was worth it.

7. Glee.  I love Glee, but it's also definitely a guilty pleasure.  All the boyfriend/girlfriend swapping?  The bands and sets that magically appear out of nowhere?  Singing and dancing in the hallways and no one seems to care?  It's ridiculous and over the top (especially compared to the first season), but I still watch every episode as soon as it's up on Hulu.

8. SNL.  I don't watch this regularly, but I love SNL.  If you don't you have no sense of humor and should not be friends with me.  Go away now.

9. House.  Admittedly I feel off the House-wagon about two seasons ago, but it still ranks as one of my favorite shows.  Hugh Laurie is amazing.  Kids shouldn't watch this because he makes drug addicts seem cool.  Can I have him?  Thirteen would be another good reason to watch the show.  Olivia Wilde is gorgeous and I like her character.

10. Boy Meets World.  Total throw back y'all!  Why aren't there more reruns of this show?  Corey and Topanga were the It couple of my childhood.  And why did my favorite teacher never live in the house next to mine?  Mr. Feeny!  MR. FE-EE-EENNY!!!  It was so awesome.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Reading Ain't Just For Fun

Remember how I said I'm taking that course next semester on Popular Romance?  My prof e-mailed all of us to give us a partial reading list!

Books required for ENG 2272 Popular Romance Fiction
Pamela Regis
Fall 2011

Maurice by E.M. Forster
The Sheik by E.M. Hull
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Montana Sky by Nora Roberts
Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander by Ann Herendeen

I have to read all of them so I can practically guarantee they'll all get reviews as well.  There's a lot of diversity in the material chosen (which makes sense since the course also counts as a multicultural credit).  I can't wait to get the rest of the syllabus!  Anyone read any of the books listed?  Thoughts?

ETA:  Just ordered the books off!  They're shipping out from three different sellers and should be arriving over the next two weeks.  :D

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Top 10: Events of My Summer (so far...)

Good job, D.L., good job.  You said you would abandon your blog again, didn't you?  You said you wouldn't go weeks and weeks in between posts, reviews and commenting on other blogs, didn't you?  Even went as far as making it a New Year's Resolution, DIDN'T YOU?  Ok, I confess, I did, I did!  Forgive me?

Since for the umpteenth time I've gone MIA, I though I'd open up this blog revival post with a what-has-D.L.-been-up-to update (because you all really care, don't you?).  Normally Top Ten is something I do on Thursdays, but Happy Sunday!  Here are the Top Ten highlights of my past month:

1.  I finished exams!  Oh yay baby!  No more tests. No more papers.  No more Virginia Woolf!  (I had a whole course on her- to say the least, I'm glad it's over.)

2.  I went to the beach!  To my great shame, despite living in Maryland I had not been to the beach in four years.  Count that, four years!  Admittedly I'm not much of a beach person (I hate how sand sticks to everything), but that amount of time was just unacceptable.  I can now say it has been remedied.

3.  I started my summer job!  I work for my college's Conference Services, so I end up doing mostly odds and ends: setting equipment up, taking it down, inspecting rooms, directing cars, info desk, and lots and lots of laundry.  It's actually pretty fun though.  Pay is decent, and they house and feed me.  The hours are crazy though, literally.  Some days we work twelve hours, some days less than one, and we never know ahead of time.

4.  I drove a golf cart!  This was actually part of my job, but it was pretty sweet.  And no pedestrians were put in danger. will not point out that it's summer and there are no pedestrians on campus...

5.  I got this summer's first paycheck!  And better yet, I haven't blown it yet!  I haven't deposited it yet either, but that's something else entirely.

6.  I've eaten dessert every single day!  Often every single meal.  And only gained one pound.  It's the main benefit of having a job which is several hours of physical labor a day.  I suppose I could just stop eating so many sweets and lose some weight, but I'm in the healthy weight range, and red velvet cake taste so darn good.

7.  I went to the movies!  I saw both Priest, which was so bad it was awesome, and The Hangover II, which was just tons of fun.

8.  I got a tan!  This is the first summer since I was a kid I've managed to get a tan, and I'm quite pleased with it.

9.  I got a summer wardrobe!  There is nothing I love more than a cute, breezy dress and now I have several.

10.  I followed my own advice!  Remember when I reviewed He's Just Not That Into You?  I really liked it, even made my own set of dating rules based on the book.  I actually put them into place... and sucked a bit, because (just like the book said) instead of having a guy who wasn't that into me, I had no guy.  Well, I guess I am a little better off... one down, on to the rest of the male population.

I have tons of news and reviews I'm hoping to get up over the next week or two- even though I've been out of the blogosphere I've still been reading.  I hope everyone else is having an awesome summer!