Thursday, February 24, 2011

Go Obama!

In light of the recent determination by President Obama that the Defense Against Marriage Act is unconstitutional, I thought I'd post this fun little video I found.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Review: Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman

Wow, I'm on a real roll with my reviews here!

Title: Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman
Author: Lorraine Heath
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: London's Greatest Lovers #2
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

I am having so much trouble rating this book, so let me start with the good stuff.

I LOVED Stephen. I cannot even say this enough. Before I picked up this book, I was getting tired of the reformed rake plot, so it stands to reason I wouldn’t be too fond of Stephen. This guy was the biggest player ever and was in no hurry to repent for it. But unlike a lot of the reformed rake plots that have been starting to grate on me, Stephen didn’t just drop his womanizing ways because he found The One. His traumatic experiences in the Crimean War, and his guilt for being unable to remember them, spurred him to be a better person. It made his reformation believable. And in the end, he was a really great guy! He was so serious about doing the right thing and marrying the mother of his child, stepped up to the plate to become a father of a child he didn’t know he had, and was really determined to make sure Mercy was pleasured. Really, who wouldn’t want to meet a guy like that? Stephen alone gets 5 stars.

Mercy on the other hand… I couldn’t stand her! Don’t get me wrong, I could totally see where she was coming from. She truly did love Stephen and his son John who she had saved, and the trauma she endured as a nurse during the war did explain a lot of her actions. At a lot of points I did consider her brave and admirable. But her frantic drive to keep Stephen and John in her life, including sabotaging her husband’s attempts to gain his memory, left a bad taste in my mouth. I just ended up skipping everything between the wedding and when Stephen finds out the truth. I don’t think the lying bothered me as much as her disregard for other people and the consequences of her actions. I think a lot of people would feel differently, but it was enough to almost make this a DNF for me.

On a third level, I really enjoyed Lorraine Heath’s writing style. That was a plus for this book. I’ve enjoyed her before, so I think I might go through her back list and pick up some titles.

How do I sum all this up? The ending was wonderful, but I can’t ignore the fact that I had to skip over almost fifty pages to get to it. Take this review as you will. Overall, I can only give this book 2 stars.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review Mashup!

I have been so out of the loop over the past week and a half! Sorry for going totally MIA on everyone. My profs decided it would be a wonderful week to slam everyone with tons of material. I haven't even been checking my blogger feed :p I did somehow manage to squeeze in some reading, so to make up for my disappearance I'm just posting a sort of review mash up of what I was up to.  And Happy Belated V-Day everyone!

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

I’ve heard great things about this series, and with the final installment coming out fairly soon, I decided to check this out of my local library. While I did enjoy it immensely, I didn’t feel it lived up to all the hype.

I think my biggest problem with the book was Callie’s complete and total disregard for her personal safety and well being. She was an intelligent female, but then she would do things (like sneaking around at night alone) that made me wonder where all that good sense had gone. It was so unrealistic that nothing bad happened to her, and that kept pulling me out of the story. (Not that I wanted something bad to happen! I just wanted her to take care of herself.) Also some of the situations seemed too contrived to me, such as Ralston ALWAYS being where she happens to sneak off to. London wasn’t that small of a place.

The second half of the book was much better to me. I felt like that was where Callie really began to come out of her shell. It was especially fun when items on her list began to be completed in unexpected ways. Despite my complaints, I did enjoy the book in the end and think it deserves 4 stars.

Nine Rules to Break sets up well for the rest of the series, in particular Juliana’s book (the one which is going to be released soon). She was a fun character, and the tension has already been set up between her and the Duke of Leighton. I don’t know if this is furthered in the next book in the series, but I hope to read it soon to find out.

The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries

Like with Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, the release of a book spurred me to go back and start a series. Also, I’m a big fan of Sabrina Jeffries, in particular her Heiress series. She’s my go to author for a light, fun, historical read.

While The Truth About Lord Stoneville had all the elements of Jeffries’ style that I love, the book just didn’t work for me. Almost all of my issues can be isolated to Oliver. He seemed to have some real problems in the logic department. Because he was torn apart as a child watching his parents fight because of his father’s infidelities, he believes a marriage with children should be faithful. However, later he refuses to promise fidelity because it’s “just not in his nature”, but is still ok with getting hitch and having kids. Wtf? For most of the book I just found him annoying. He clearly believes everything his father did was wrong, but is so busy repeating those mistakes (often hurting Maria in the process) that he just came off as a hypocrite to me. Even if it’s unintentional, he’s constantly rubbing in her face how much of a womanizer he is.

I did like Maria very much. She wasn’t weak willed and was very resilient. Her cousin Freddy was a great addition too, even if he was rather two dimensional. 3 stars, and I can’t wait to read more of this series.

A Pirate’s Possession by Michelle Beattie

I’m not the biggest fan of pirate romances, but when I do go for them, I generally need them to be the over the top swashbuckling type, not the sappy, humorous secondary character type. This just wasn’t the sort of book for me.

I found Vincent, Nate’s second mate, to be a very distracting character. A dwarf pirate who was trying to prove his manhood was one thing, but he was so gabby and “get in touch with your emotions” that it got annoying and clashed with being a pirate.

I felt like a lot of Nate and Claire’s Big Misunderstandings could have been more easily resolved. It was utterly obvious that they were not on the same page about why they were mad at each other, and I felt like one of them would have said something revealing while they were busy sniping at each other. However, the dialog was carefully crafted to keep them both in the dark until the Big Reveal could later be used as a plot point.

I enjoyed the action scenes though. They were well written and propelled the plot forward while it lagged romantically. The fight scenes were some of the best I’ve read in a romance novel. I kind of wish they had been attacked more. 2 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Personal PSA

There's NO excuse for ABUSE.

Sounds a bit obvious, right? But I'm finding a lot of people are having trouble understanding this concept.  Last Thursday I blogged that my week hadn't ended on the best note.  I live in a dorm, and anyone who has ever lived at college (or in a New York apartment) knows that when the walls are paper thin you can hear EVERYTHING. 

Unfortunately what I heard was my suite mate verbally abusing his girlfriend.  They've gotten into fights before that have crossed the line into the gray area of verbal abuse, but this crossed the line and jumped off the cliff.  Shut the fuck up.  You're retarded.  Do you want me to hit you?

So why didn't I report him?  I was paralyzed.  The best thing I could do was leave the dorm altogether.  Last summer I took a seven month hiatus from blogging.  At the time I was in an emotionally and psychologically abusive relationship.  This was not my sole reason for not blogging, but my ex did make it very difficult for me to devote any time to my personal interests.  Listening to my suite mate, living on the same floor as him, sharing the same shower has brought up a lot of buried emotions that I blocked out for a reason.

This isn't the first instance of verbal or emotional abuse in my dorm alone.  My friend who lives on a different floor is in a similar situation where because of the paper thin walls she's been able to hear her suite mate say some pretty out of line things to his girlfriend.  Is my dorm just cursed with abusive asshats?!  I'm totally reading the fine print before room draw for next year.

While I was to paralyzed too report either guy, I did find my own way to take some action on the situation.  I designed a series of domestic abuse awareness flyers which I've posted all across my dorm.

The lighting on the pictures isn't the best since my friend and I ended posting them up at 3am.  I also did posters for emotional and sexual abuse.  (If anyone wants them, I can e-mail you them in word format)

Romance novels get a bad rep when it comes to abuse.  Look at the asshat heroes of Harlequin Presents.  But the romance genre is HUGE.  It can't be judged based on one series, or books published in the '70s or '80s.  Reading romance has always reminded me that love and relationships don't have to be that way, that people can respect each other as equals.  One of the first things I did when I got out of my abusive relationship was read tons of romance- it was really therapeutic.

If you or someone you love is in an abusive relationship of any sort, there is a way out.  No one deserves to be abused.

There is NO excuse for ABUSE.

Monday, February 7, 2011


YEA!!! Packers won last night!  Sorry to all you Steelers fans.  Well, sort of sorry ;P

Last Week's Recap:
Married By Morning by Lisa Kleypas
Loved loved LOVED it!  But really no shock there.  I feel like I've been waiting to read this book for ages and I can't believe I only got around to reading it now.  I was so upset when I found out Poppy's book was coming out before this one.  I remember thinking What?!  I have to wait a whole friggin' year for Leo and Cat's story?  In the end I had to wait longer since I've been so busy with other stuff but this book was sooo worth the wait.  Leo and Cat's sparring was so fun to read I almost didn't want them to get together.  Almost.  Lisa Kleypas writes some of the best humor.  I spent most of this book in stitches.  In traditional LK style, the chemistry sizzles right off the page and the whole Hathaway family makes regular appearances, especially Dodger the ferret!  5 out of 5 stars.

Wicked Nights With a Lover by Sophie Jordan
4 out of 5 stars, review here

Friday, February 4, 2011

TGIF: Hawt Football

TGIF everyone!  This hasn't been the greatest week for me, so I'm glad to see the weekend.  What's the best solution to a bad week- hot men and a funny video of course!

Since the Super Bowl is coming up I decided to go with a football theme!  I'm not a big football fan but I get shivers looking at these guys ;)

I was deeply distrubed when I was googling these photos(and no, not just because google images without safe mode is a mine field).  Why are they all white?!  I didn't want to use professional football players, so I mostly looked up models, but since a whole lot of pro footballers are black, wouldn't it make since to have some black models too?  Not that these guys aren't smokin', but what's up with all the white washing?

On a different note, look a funny video, because British people make us laugh:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: Wicked Nights With a Lover

Title: Wicked Nights With a Lover
Author: Sophie Jordan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Penwich School for Virtuous Girls #3
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What should a proper lady do when she believes her days are numbered?

Step One: Take a Lover . . .
After being told she will not survive beyond the year's end, prim and lovely Marguerite Laurent intends to live what remains of her life to the very fullest. Though she may never know love, she will know passion—and she agrees to a whirlwind romance with a former admirer. But hours before embarking upon her grand adventure, Marguerite is abducted—by an unscrupulous rogue who boldly announces his intentions to bed and wed her before the week is out!

Step Two: Live With No Regrets . . .
Ash Courtland pulled himself up from the gutter to become a successful man of business, and now he wants revenge on his one-time partner for betraying him. Still, his enemy's bewitching daughter is most certainly not about to surrender her innocence to the infuriating—if shockingly attractive—cad who took her captive. Yet with no more than a touch, Ash makes her tremble with desire . . . and resisting the heat of his passion could cost Marguerite her last, best chance for ecstasy.

Wicked Nights with a Lover was a fun read that I had no problem getting into. Both Marguerite and Ash are very strong willed and well matched for one another. It’s not your typical abducted heroine romance, which was refreshing. Marguerite doesn’t succumb to Stockholm syndrome in two chapters, feel sorry for Ash and fall in love with him. She fights him tooth and nail, not just because she doesn’t want to fulfill the prediction, but because, hey, he abducted her, remember?

I thought Ash was a very sexy alpha hero. The two of them had a lot of chemistry. The one problem I had with him was that the moment he realized he loved Marguerite, he was willing to lay aside all of his plans of revenge and do anything for her. He had years of pent up anger at her father and had spent all of his life being treated as an inferior. It was clear that he loved Marguerite, but those other feelings weren’t just going to disappear. Also, considering that he was willing to lay the revenge aside, deciding to send her away rather than risk losing her seems nonsensical. He did grovel enough at the end for me to forgive that brutish move.

This was my first Sophie Jordan and I’d definitely be up for reading her again! 4 out of 5 stars.

I’ve been meaning to write this review for ages and I’m only now getting around to it. At first there was a very specific reason I chose to hold off. My birthday was last month, and the big event of the day was that I had an appointment with a psychic! Doesn’t that go so well with this book?

This wasn’t just any psychic. Her name is Julie and my aunt had been seeing for years. She’s made several unique and accurate predictions, including about my aunt’s second husband and that she was pregnant with a boy. In other words, not the usual vague predictions that can be taken any which way the wind blows. I have the whole session recorded on a cassette tape so I can go back over it whenever I want!

My predictions weren’t anything as dramatic as Marguerite’s, but here are some of the highlights:

1. Let’s start with the romance, because I know that’s what y’all are going to want to hear about ;) I’m going through a rough patch emotionally right now, so I’m not interested in a romantic relationship. That wasn’t a prediction- I told her that. However, Julie said the higher powers are keeping any men I might have romantic relationships with out of my life until I become more balanced. More specifically, I will begin a romance (or have romantically charged months) between May and August this coming year.

2. I will be coming into money. Hey, sounds really nice right? This could be from anything, but will likely be from my own creative endeavors.

3. I need to get a blood test. She said it could be either diabetes or a thyroid problem. This was the really freaky prediction- I have a blood test for hypothyroidism scheduled for next week, and I scheduled it before
the reading!

4. I will be travelling soon, apparently to Canada. The travelling could be education related (that makes sense since I’m a student) or I could be working for an airline (which would be funny if that came true since that used to be my dream job before the economy crashed).

5. I will be getting new friends who are positive people. Ok, cool.

So nothing super specific (other than the blood thing), but it’ll be fun to look over these in a year and see how things matched up.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Apparently Dragons Are Scary

Hope everyone is having a good week.  We're about to be hit by ANOTHER ice storm.  Wherever you are be safe!

I know a lot of people a fans of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  I've seen it blogged about several times and it's been a best seller for ages.  I've never gotten around to reading it, but a few nights ago I was looking for a movie to watch and lo and behold, there it was on Netflix instant.  It's 2:30am and I get myself comfortably situated and set up for some Swedish cinema.  Now, can anyone see the problem with watching this movie in the middle of the night WITH NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF THE PLOT!?   Yea, there was some mental scarring.

Don't get me wrong.  I loved the film and I don't regret watching it.  I just wish I had a warning so I could have had a safety blanket and a tub of cookie dough ice cream on hand.  European cinema is way more graphic than American.  I know they're doing an American remake of the film, but even with a "R" rating they'll have to edit it way down.  The funny thing is I almost went to this movie on a date a few months ago- so glad that didn't pan out!

Seeing that movie has altered my reading plans for the week ahead.  At first I was considering downloading Anne Calhoun's new e-book Under His Hand.  I really loved Liberating Lacey, so I'd like to read more of her work.  However, after my recent experience, I think it's understandable why I'm going to wait a week or two before reading a book which focuses on dominance and submission.

Instead I think I'm going to hunt down something entirely light and fluffy.  I'm sure I have something on my shelves, but any good suggestions are welcome!