Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Gayle Callen's THE LORD NEXT DOOR is the new Melatonin!

Gayle Callen's THE LORD NEXT DOOR took me completely by surprise...the book was not what I expected it to be. I expected to read a sexy, well-written romance novel. Instead, I got an excruciatingly boring, sexually frustrating piece of crap that ended a week long streak of insomnia. This book upset really did. It had so much potential. The premise from Callen's site goes a little like this:

"To rescue her family from financial ruin, lovely Victoria Shelby has no choice but to marry. Her options for a bridegroom are limited...until she remembers the shy servant boy next door.Then she discovers that her childhood friend is actually Viscount Thurlow--ruthless businessman, future earl, and a man whose family is shrouded in scandal.
After two rejected marriage proposals, David Thurlow needs a wife who will give him an heir, someone who will not only overlook his past but also be above reproach. Victoria is the ideal candidate--quiet, unassuming, and in desperate need of funds. But even as she strives to be the perfect wife, David's slow heated lessons in the art of seduction threaten to transform a "convenient" marriage into a torrid and passionate affair."

Sounds good, doesn't it? That's what I thought....well, needless to say the book was anything but. It has so much much potential, but nothing is done with it. Victoria is an idiot with no fire in her belly; she drowns in passivity. She's the least aggressive person you'll ever meet. There is no spunk to her, no feisty attitude. She's a cold fish. I cannot say enough about her. As for David's "slow heated lessons in the art of seduction," well, they've got the slow right! SLOW and BORING! The marriage turned torrid and passionate only after 250 pages. The book, mind you, is 300. What a waste! I won't buy another Callen book, but I will give her another me stupid! This time it's all about the library!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Brain Fever

I must be suffering from brain fever. I've been hearing a lot about it lately. Novel after novel, hero after's all "brain fever this" and "brain fever that." Brain fever is IN! Everyone who's anyone has it. I have no idea what the hell it is, but I'm assuming it has a little to do with insanity...if that's the case, then I was definitely suffering from it yesterday when I set foot into Waldenbooks and purchased a full priced romance novel. The book is Gayle Callen's THE LORD NEXT DOOR.

I still cannot believe I bought the book...I saw it, read the premise and HAD to buy it. Nothing could stop me. Of course, I immediately had to start it the minute I got home. I'm currently on page 100 and...well, it's an OK book so far. OK because nothing spicy has happened and the heroine seems too naive and accepting for her own good. The hero, I like; he's got so much potential, but if the book doesn't improve I will have to reconsider reading another Gayle Callen book. I guess it just strikes me as very predictable. Ok, so I haven't finished it which probably doesn't really give me the right to give the book a scathing review. I have 200 pages left and it may very well turn out to be a masterpiece with a slow drawn out beginning (i.e. MIDDLEMARCH, which I hated for the first 200 pages, but then quickly loved). It's just that I can easily predict who her next two books are going to be about; believe me, it's fairly obvious where her next books are headed...even the plot. I kid you not. Very very obvious. Once more, AVON used Font Number 16 for the book, which makes me feel even more cheated. I hope I have a better tale tomorrow once I finish the book. In any case, at this point I can only blame my purchase on brain fever. Let's hope it doesn't affect me again.

Friday, November 25, 2005

UBS Heaven

Today I went to my favorite UBS and managed to come out with a few goodies:

THE RAKE AND THE REFORMER, Mary Jo Putney (which I've actually read as THE RAKE, but I thought I would get the original...excellent condition, by the way).

WHO WILL TAKE THIS MAN?, Jacquie D'Alessandro, an author I now LOVE thanks to RED ROSES MEAN LOVE, a MUST NOT MISS book. Very good and no silly misunderstandings or brain dead heroines to ruin it all.

BRAZEN ANGEL, Elizabeth Boyle

FORBIDDEN MAGIC, Jo Beverley, which my friend Janet (who is as much of a romance lover as I am...maybe even more) highly recommended.

THE PERFECT WALTZ, Anne Gracie, which I now don't have to buy full price.

THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN, Helen Dickson. I have no clue whether this book will be a masterpiece or a dud. I've never heard of it. It's a Harlequin historical with a plot I haven't run into in a while (dad bequeaths his property to his business partner, but only if he marries his daughter...daughter is outraged; they marry in name only, blah blah blah). It'll be interesting to see how this author handles it.

I'm very glad I have new books; I always am, which is seriously making me wonder. I've always gotten pleasure from that really all it takes? Am I trying to escape reality (which isn't too exciting these days, believe me)? I don't know...I'm just happy I have new books to add to my TBR pile. I think I might need to do something with my dining room...I really want to turn it into a library/office. I don't really eat in it anyway. It's just me, myself and I, with dinner usually consisting of some grilled chicken or buckwheat noodles in front of the TV and then B-E-D. Ok, enough I'm starting to depress books...woo hoo!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I've Had Enough

Mary Balogh's SIMPLY LOVE, Book 2 in her Simply series, was initially scheduled for an April 2006 release. When I first heard of this, I was beyond upset. I felt like Dell, Balogh's publishing company, was trying to pull an Avon on fans and was I right!!! Going through my various e-mails, I noticed one from the Mary Balogh message board to which I subscribe. SIMPLY LOVE has been AUGUST...AUGUST? AUGUST? Are they fucking kidding me? August? Honestly, at this point I don't even remember who the book's about, what the point of the series is and why I would even care to buy a book published as a hardcover (did I forget to mention this?) a year and a half after the first of the series. Are they kidding?

Mary Balogh admits the publishers believe they will make more money in August. I admire her honesty...I really do and I love her...truly...her books are amazing. However, her last book, the first in the Simply series was appropriately named SIMPLY UNFORGETTABLE. If this next one isn't good, I honestly don't know if I'll be so keen on waiting for the following one. I'm annoyed!!!

In other news, the mystery of Judith Ivory has been solved...sorta...she's currently working on a new series set to grace book stores whenever AVON decides to release them. I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I read the same plots all the time. It's frustrating. The following is a list of the most recent (and common):

1. I thought you were hot, kissed you, was discovered by my parents in a compromising position, became ruined as a result, shunned by society, thrown out of my house, forced to become a teacher at a YOUNG LADIES OF THE TON school and now, 10 years later, meet you at said school, where your niece/sister is a student. We fight, make love, fight, break up, and finally get together after what feels like a zillion years (for the reader).

2. I promised my dead soldier friend that I would take care of his sister. I go to his home, meet her, fall in love, but refuse to admit it. You refuse to believe I might love you because you think everything I do is dictated by the promise I made to your brother. Ending is same as #1.

3. I need a bride; you need a husband...we agree it'll be a marriage in name ONLY. We are attracted to one another though, which is good, but it's only lust. I'll even sleep with you day and sex marathons. I'll be possessive and jealous of anyone who looks at you, but love? Nah, not for me. You see I'm traumatized because my mother was a ho and treated me shabbily. I cannot love and I never will; I don't want to be like my mother; I don't deserve love. I don't.

4. We're caught in a compromising position. We marry. Lots of misunderstandings. I'm a rake, unwilling to admit I'm in love. You're a bluestocking. You want your independence and will not forgo it to a man. You love helping the less fortunate, especially prostitutes. I hate it because I'm a duke and if anyone were to find out that my duchess does this, then I would be ruined and lose my place in Parliament or lose the respect of my peers. Whatever...eventually I end up financing a home for these tramps!

I don't mind these storylines...I really don't. Some authors take them and deliver a masterpiece...others though butcher them beyond belief. It's with these authors that I have issues. My personal favorite is the redeemed villain which tends to take on different plot twists. He's never truly evil, just misunderstood. I'm still waiting for an author to redeem a truly evil villain. I guess I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Books to Read

I probably have over 100 books in my Romance TBR pile (I have more in my other genre pile). I don't know how it started, but somehow I always seemed to run out of books to read, so I started roaming the various sites online and now I find myself having too many. The fact that I hardly have the energy and the time to read the books doesn't help.

I started reading THE KITE RUNNER, a non-romance, over 2 weeks ago. It's an amazing book, but I keep on putting it down for some reason or another. I must finish it this week.

I also need to start reading my Balogh TBR pile. A friend couldn't believe I had so many Balogh books left unread. I can't either...I was obsessed at one point with getting all of them (not there yet, but coming close), so I'm quite surprised that once I got'em I just put them aside, in a corner, left to collect dust.

So, I've decided to set some goals for myself:
2. Finish Kathryn Smith's INTO TEMPTATION

Pretty lofty goals, if I may say so myself. This week is a busy one for me. I need a vacation in which all I do is read, sleep, eat, and read!

Friday, November 11, 2005

It Better Be Good

On a recent Avon board post, Julia Quinn responded to a fan's request for some tidbits on her last Bridgerton book. Ms. Quinn stated that if she were to respond to such a question, she would never finish writing the book. Now I have a few comments to make. First of all, she's still writing it? The book is supposedly (with Avon you just never know) out in June 2006; shouldn't she have a rough draft by now? I'm not part of the publishing world, so I have no idea what the deadlines are and what not, but I can't help but recall the same response being given back when Hyacinth's story, IT'S IN HIS KISS, was being written. The book was...IS...a disaster! No character development, no sexual tension. It had to be one of the worst books I read this year.

What happened to Julia Quinn? What happened to the author who created the dreamy Anthony Bridgerton??? Recently, I had the immense pleasure of rereading THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME and I cannot help but think that the Quinn who wrote THE VISCOUNT and the one who wrote IIHK are two different people. THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME was funny, poignant, was everything a romance reader wants in a book. IIHK didn't even come close...not by a long shot. IT'S IN HIS KISS struck me more as a book in its development stage than one in its completed state.

Where am I going with this? I suppose I'm annoyed at the fact that some of my favorite authors no longer do it for me. Back when I first started reading Quinn, I went to all the bookstores in my county, just to find all of her books. Today, I'm not even excited about the last Bridgerton, Gregory. I guess I'm expecting another bullshit book that I'll end up keeping only because it's part of a set.

It's no secret that several Avon writers seem to have developed a cut and paste writing style, as of late. Nothing they write is groundbreaking or original. Errors run rampant in their books, either with timeline, character names getting mixed up, or spelling errors. (Now, I understand authors' can't catch it all, but that's why they've got editors. If I'm spending $7.99 on a book, I expect spelling perfection)

Today, the more they write, the more they disappoint. To sum it up in a few words: STEPHANIE LAURENS, JOHANNA LINDSEY (not Avon writer, but she sucks so much, so deserves a mention), JULIA QUINN.


Friday, November 04, 2005


The Avon message boards are boring me to death lately. As expected, no one ever responded to my query regarding Judith Ivory. I’m not surprised. I did manage to write a quick few lines to Ivory’s agent. Hopefully, I’ll get some response. I don’t understand all the secrecy. Is she part of the Valerie Plame/CIA leak investigation as well? In any case, with the exception yet again of Lisa Kleypas (yes, I am biased…so what?), I believe Avon authors have stopped creating butterflies in my stomach…or, at least, their characters have. My most recent Avon read was THIS RAKE OF MINE by Elizabeth Boyle. Now, I enjoyed SOMETHING ABOUT EMMALINE and, believe me, THIS RAKE OF MINE was not bad by any means, BUT it wasn’t one of the best romance novels I’ve ever read either. Maybe my expectations for the book were too high or maybe…just maybe…I’m sick of the overused “You ruined me, so now I’m going to become a social graces teachers in a school for young ladies” plotline. Hmmm…maybe, I just don’t know. How many times can you read a book with the same recycled storyline before you start pulling your hair out?
Again, the book was good; it wasn’t bad. It was good…just incredibly unoriginal. I don’t know. I guess I was expecting something that didn’t occur 5 years later or 10 years later. Authors are always letting the years just fly and they never really explain in sufficient detail what the heck the heroine went through or how the douche bag hero reformed. It always explained in a paragraph or two and then back to the present. The reader never gets a chance to see the hero reform or experience the heroine’s pain…just a bunch of empty words. Is it the authors’ fault or Avon? Well, what do you think? AVON, of course. Why? Because they have the ability to demand a rewrite or different plotline. They have the ability to force the author to find some original thought and fast. What would it take for Avon to actually do something beneficial for their authors and for the fans? I honestly don’t know. I’m just 100% certain I’ll be reading another “ex virgin turned teacher in hiding” book in a couple of months by another Avon author.