Monday, January 30, 2006
Hello, I hope you're doing well! I've been so immersed in writing my first contemporary, I've neglected a ton of things I need to do. Housework was the first to go *g*. I can't wait for you to read this book--for me it has been an incredibly exciting project, with much deeper characterization than I've ever done before. It is not romantic suspense--I'm leaving that to authors who are more accomplished at that, including the fabulous Xtina Dodd. I'm describing my book as an adult Cinderella story set in Texas, with a wide range of characters and a healthy dose of glamour. And there is a very strong love triangle, in which my heroine has to choose between two different but equally sexy guys (Oh, the agony!). What I have found really interesting is that my heroes seem to be very, very similar to my historical ones--I think they have the same kind of vibe and the same proportions of strength and tenderness. The dialogue is different of course, but the love scenes are just the same. Well, I'll go back into my cave and write some more . . .
I’m not going to lie. I’m happy she’s writing more books, but contemporaries? Hey, it’s Kleypas and I have no doubt it’ll rock, but I love historicals so much. The book does sound pretty spicy and I look forward to reading it, hopefully in this century (Avon might be planning a 2999 release for all we know…douche bags!). But don’t worry, Lisa has admitted that she hasn’t given up on historicals just yet…expect more to come!
UPDATE: book will be published by St. Martin's Press, not Avon, which means...WE WILL READ THE BOOK IN THE NEAR FUTURE...hopefully this year!
My name is Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent, the hero of Lisa Kleypas's long awaited A DEVIL IN WINTER, due in March. I am sexy, intelligent, delicious, jealous and an all around hunk...ladies, you won't be sorry you waited for me this long. I will take your breath away!!!
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Of all the dukes in England, Jered Marcus Benton, the Duke of Bedford, was the wealthiest, most handsome and most arrogant. And of all London's ladies, he wanted the tender obedience of only one: Caroline Richmond....
Why was I alarmed? Well, because novels like these usually end up pissing me off because the heroine is always so unrealistically independent for the times that I want to strangle her! It's fuckin' Regency England, for Pete's sake, not the 60's, and we always see Ms. Fancypants risking her life trying to help poor drunk pox-ridden whores. In the end, there's always someone trying to stop her or she gets cornered by chimney sweeps or sailors and the hero comes along to save the day, by beating the shit out of them. He later takes her to his bachelor pad or his townhouse and fucks and comforts her 'til she begs for mercy. She then runs away, disappears for about a month, finds out she's knocked up and runs into the hero when she's as fat as a whale. The hero, who's been looking for her for months, takes a look at her, realizes she's pregnant with his kid, gives her a 5 second scolding, tells her he loves her and they get married and live happily ever after! Paaaalease!
Thank God, I was wrong about this book. My friend did it again! She steered me in the direction of yet another winner!!!
In REBELLIOUS DESIRE, I found not only a plot worth sinking my teeth into, but I was also introduced to characters whom I will not so easily forget:
Meet the hero, Jered Marcus Benton, the Duke of Bradford, "Bradford" to his friends. He is a second son who becomes heir after his father and eldest brother perish in a horrible accident. Because of this (and a betrayal by a woman he loved in his youth), he goes from lighthearted and carefree to overpowering, hardened, distrusting rake in no time. He's arrogant, possessive, intelligent, sexy, funny, honest, vulnerable and - my favorite - jealous of any man who dares step within 10 feet of the heroine.
Watching him freak out inside each time he sees a man in the presence of the woman he lusts after (whom he has also fallen madly in love with) is truly a pleasure. The man doesn't know how to behave and wants to beat up every guy who dares even look at his woman. I love jealous heroes who go apeshit whenever they think of some other guy having sex with their woman. What does that say about me? I don't know and frankly I could give a shit! I love Jered and it's about time authors modeled more heroes after him!
Now for the heroine...meet Caroline Richmond, a ravishing British beauty sent to Boston to live with an uncle after a traumatic childhood event. The heroine is appalled by her feelings for the hero for about two minutes. Once she realizes she can't fight them, she tries to get the hero to love her. She never hides her lust or feelings of love for him. She doesn't shy away from uttering the L-word! There's no "I will do the horizontal mambo with him every chance I get, but will try to ignore him every other time." There's isn't even a "I don't deserve your love" thought going through this woman's head. The horror! She knows she deserves love. She loves the hero and she's going to get him! This sister is DETERMINED to get her man and she will CUT anyone who stands in her way (ok...I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea)!
I love heroines like her who are honest with themselves! Caroline doesn't even beat around the bush. She tells him she loves him from the start; actually she tells him often. If she thinks he's going to stray, she'll even ask him flat out ARE YOU GOING TO FUCK ANOTHER WOMAN? Another heroine would have said zilch, just assumed he had a mistress and given the hero the cold shoulder throughout a good part of the novel. She was a joy to read...truly!
Not only that, but she's not perfect. She talks too much and laughs uncontrollably when she's nervous. Caroline is everything you would want in a heroine. I can't recall anything that I didn't like about her. She was smart, witty and sharp...what's not to like?
AVON should force its writers to read this book. A book in which the protagonists are both likeable? What a concept, huh?
I'm surprised I've never read anything by Julie Garwood. To be honest, I had never even heard of her 'til my friend told me I would love this book. Garwood's characters come to life and grab you with each page you read. I highly recommend this book and I look forward to reading more of her works. I checked Garwood out in All About Romance. Most of her books have received A ratings. How many other authors can say the same? I don't know if her current novels are as good as her older ones. REBELLIOUS DESIRE was written back in the early 80s. Much has changed in romance world since then. Authors who were once at the height of their talent have either fallen into obscurity, quit the genre altogether or are now at the top of their game. In any case, Garwood is now on my UBS TO BUY list. How many others knew of her existence and didn't tell me? Any books you would recommend by her? Any of her books you want to warn me against?
Saturday, January 28, 2006
I still cannot believe I found this book. Mary Balogh's older books are nearly impossible to find at a UBS. IMPOSSIBLE!!! I got it for $3!!! Unbelievable! Who would get rid of it? I hope it doesn't suck! Otherwise, it'll be taking a trip back to the UBS in the near future..oh, wait...maybe that's why they got rid of it...
This book always catches my eye each time I go to the UBS. I don't know why, it just does. Today I decided to end my misery and just buy the damn book. It looks sexy and I hear Holly mostly writes erotica. GOOD! If I'm not getting any sex in my real life, I might as well get it from a book!
I recently read a study on sex improving one's public speaking skills and lowering blood pressure. I'm frightened! At the rate I'm going, I won't be able to have a conversation pretty soon! Yeah AND, to add insult to injury, I'll have a heart attack as well. FANTASTIC! Like being single isn't hard enough with rent and bills and all of that...now I'm going to die and not be able to tell anyone to help me out!
Friday, January 27, 2006
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Eloisa James' new series is a good example. I own the first two books and am eagerly awaiting the third one, due out in a few months YET I haven't even started reading them. I don't know what they're really about, but I keep on buying them and hoping that I will ultimately love them. Does this happen to anyone else? I think I have a serious problem.
The books look good, but they appear way too complicated. Too many characters, I guess. I tried reading a James’ book a year ago and hated it. I don’t even remember the name of the book; I don’t want to remember it. I wiped it out of my memory ala Jim Carrey in ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (an excellent film, by the way). Why did I buy her other books? Well…1) I got them cheap at a UBS and 2) ok…I admit I allowed everyone on the Avon Board and All About Romance to convince me that I would enjoy them.
I’m now at a loss. I have no idea what to read next.
I just finished Teresa Medeiros's AFTER MIDNIGHT. Loved it!!! I was never into paranormal or vampire love stories, but this one is quite good...more historical than anything else. The hero in her next book is a vampire. I have no idea how she'll work his love story out, but I'm looking forward to finding out.
What should I read? Should I challenge myself and read Eloisa James or should I just say “FUCK IT” and go for a good old Galen Foley book or maybe reread a Kleypas or Quinn? Or read one of the books I recently got for $6.75 (still can’t believe it)? No clue! I guess I’ll figure it out tonight…nothing on TV, so reading it is!
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
What makes even less sense is when the hero just forgives and forgets in less than a paragraph. There's never any emotional "I will never forgive you for this" or "you've gone too far" from the hero...she leaves and is about to take HIS kid with her and he never flips out...not even a little bit. Of course, it is a romance novel and I do want a happy ending, so I don't expect him to hate her forever, but I would like to, FOR ONCE, see the heroine sweat a little, realize that she fucked up royally and beg his forgiveness. I mean, don't we always see the hero do this? Really, sometimes the heroine deserves the same uncertainty from the hero. I want to see a hero give his heroine a hard time so badly it hurts!!!
I was hoping for this in Jenna Petersen's SCANDALOUS. The book felt like a broken promise of epic proportions. The book was good, albeit unoriginal. The protagonists had some issues (but who doesn’t). I liked the fact that the heroine didn’t deny her attraction to the hero and allowed herself to enjoy the physical aspect of the relationship from the beginning. Of course though, she HAD to fight her feelings getting too deep (good luck!). I liked the story up until the point when the heroine decided to run away after getting pregnant and learning she was in love with the hero. It upset me because the hero had been through enough garbage in his past; he never knew his father and was looking for a clue to his identity (his mother refused to reveal his father’s identity – big bitch!) all throughout the book. You would she would be less selfish and just talk to the guy, reveal her fears about the marriage and what not, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…run away, run like the wind is what she did. At this point, since what she did was pretty fucked up, I thought the hero would lose it and give her hell. I was wrong. He just kissed her, told her he loved her and that is the end of the story. Even a rather tear jerking first meeting between the hero and his real father (yes, he finds him in the end) isn’t enough to remove the bad taste in my mouth caused by the heroine’s actions.
Now, I plead with romance authors. Please write a book in which the hero gives the heroine hell. I’m sick of them turning into pussy whipped wimps at the end of the novel…a little bit of this is all right, but give me a break. Chick runs away with the guy’s kid and he does nothing but beg her to love him and take him back. Are you kidding? Argh! Does someone out there know of any books with knocked up runaway heroines and non-pussy whipped heroes? Please let me know…I’m still looking!
Monday, January 23, 2006
I demand quality writing. Obviously, I’m a blogger so my posts aren’t getting edited by anyone before I click PUBLISH; I don’t have a team of editors or advisors or agents telling me to nix a post idea or what not, so one cannot really expect much from me (although I do hope you get some enjoyment from my blog). Avon publishes a lot of great books. Lisa Kleypas stands strong in the midst of Stephanie Laurens’s Cynster mess and a few other authors are merely going through a rough patch. I understand this. However, I don’t understand how a publishing company would allow their name to be attached to something that isn’t fit to grace a book store’s shelves.
Prices for historicals today range anywhere from $5.99 (rare) to $7.99 (I almost had a heart attack when I saw this one…and the book sucked, too…what a joke!). For $7.99 you expect a novel capable of transporting you into an alternate universe filled with plenty of good sex, hot heroes, intelligent heroines and humor. Instead, most of the time, you end up with a story you merely skim, forget you were even reading or end up just closing and selling to a local used book store.
I used to be one of those who’s only outlet for romance novels was BORDERS or BARNES & NOBLE. No longer. Today, I’m a UBS girl all the way (except for my faves…I will take a risk with them). Since becoming one, I’ve managed to accumulate hundreds and hundreds of books I will one day hopefully read…hard to find books, books that I think might be good because I like the cover, challenging books, fluffy and flighty books…it really doesn’t matter. They’re cheap and, if they stink, I can return them and trade them in for another. It’s easy, pain-free (for the fan) and it drives a point to authors whose works have deteriorated in quality and only disappoint.
I live in San Francisco. Unfortunately, all the book stores here have snobs as owners because none of them have romance novels. I kid you not. I spent a Saturday looking for one here and couldn’t find one. Lots of Science Fiction walls. Honestly, why Sci Fi gets more respect than romances is beyond me. In any case, when I want to go to a UBS, I go to a little one in the East Bay where my folks live and get all I want. The store is amazing and the lady loves me (duh!). Recently, I discovered another used book store gem.
A friend of mine, fellow romance lover, for months has been ranting and raving about her UBS. Yesterday, I decided to take the ferry over to her place and check this one out. My friend WAS NOT exaggerating…the book store is incredible! We went to two actually and they’re both awesome. 7 books for $6.75. Yes, I kid you not. I couldn’t even buy ONE historical, let alone SEVEN, for that amount these days. My lunch was more expensive than seven books. I still cannot get over it. How is this possible? I am still so very excited about this discovery. I plan on going there more often…quite possibly even renting a car to get there (like most San Franciscans, I have none).
What’s the moral of my story here? Ok….I’m longwinded, I know, but quite simply, don’t waste your money on authors who disappoint you over and over again or even authors you’re not quite sure of. I learned the hard way…hundreds of dollars spent on books that insulted my intelligence, made me wince and gave me acid reflux. Just not worth it. Trust me! Check out your local UBS and please don’t trust all the author website reviews (perfect example: Julianne Maclean’s site includes an excerpt from a review written by someone with her last name…obviously a BIASED relative); try independent review sites, like AAR (good one) or even Mrs. Giggles (if you want a good laugh). Whatever you do, don’t shell out more than eight bucks for a book, unless you 1) are the author’s #1 fan, 2) like the authors’ books in general, 3) think the author is a peach and want her to make some money. Just think: the less you pay for one book, the more books you can buy and enjoy. Thank me later!
I have many comments about Jenna Petersen's SCANDALOUS, which I enjoyed up until the last two chapters. The reason: the heroine.
Read a romance set in medieval times (something I don't normally do because I'm obsessed with the Regency and Victorian periods) by Teresa Medeiros. The book is FAIREST OF THEM ALL and I highly recommend it. The hero is a little too alpha but, considering the period, it makes perfect sense and I like me an alpha man!!!
I also read two chapters from Anne Gracie's THE PERFECT RAKE and decided to put it down. I'm in the mood for something lighter and her book seems too intense for me at the moment.
Went to a UBS from heaven yesterday, introduced to me by a friend, a fellow romance lover! What a day and what incredible deals...again more posts to follow.
I'm at work, wishing I were at home, but still I AM at work and need to get some stuff done. Can't wait 'til lunch.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
They're all hot! Christian, Damian, Ioan, Gerard....Christian, Damian, Ioan, Gerard...Gerard, Gerard, Gerard...man, that chick from Phantom of the Opera was an idiot!!! Dumb ass!!! Scar or no scar, I would have chosen Gerard over that wimpy mamma's boy in a sec!
I can totally see him as St. Aubyn from Enoch's LONDON'S PERFECT SCOUNDREL. Christian Bale as Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Kleypas's upcoming DEVIL IN WINTER; Damian Lewis as...dear...do we have any red headed heroes...I can't think of any; Ioan Gruffold as Westcliff from Kleypas's AN AFFAIR IN AUTUMN. Do you have any favorite actors you envision playing your favorite romance heroes? Do tell...
Saturday, January 14, 2006
While reading a few romance blogs, I realized that many of us bloggers seem to be going through some inner turmoil. Lately, work has been a nightmare and I find myself going in at 6:30 AM and leaving around 5 PM, swallowing my lunch whole and holding IT in 'til I'm ready to burst BECAUSE THERE'S JUST NO TIME!!!
My family is currently dealing with the deteriorating health of my maternal grandfather. He's just never been the same since my grandmother died nine years ago. It's upsetting to watch and sometimes I pray that he be given peace. Not only that, but my mother is estranged from her two sisters, one of whom "takes care" (there's a reason the words are in parentheses) of my grandfather.
It's a difficult and painful situation. Here's a typical scene in the life of my mother's family: my grandfather goes to the hospital; we (my mother, dad, etc) find out 2 days later. My grandfather is sick; my mother's sisters refuse to tell us exactly what's afflicting him. My mother has contacted his physician and he just doesn't call her back. It's very frustrating! My grandfather knows zilch and is pretty much hanging on a thread. "WHAT'S WRONG WITH HIM?," we ask. TYPICAL ANSWER from my aunts? He's sick. NO SHIT!!! WHAT THE FUCK DOES HE HAVE? Oh, he's sick...argh! Again, it's frustrating because communication between my mother and her sisters ended a few years ago and my aunts refuse to reveal anything. They're the most spiteful, selfish, envious little bitches ever to grace the earth, the villians in the story of my life. Skanks!
Less than a week ago, I called my dear aunts and ripped them a new one, giving myself at the same time massive acid reflux and an irritable bowel syndrome relapse. My mother, in the meantime, is going nuts, crying all time (she's also menopausal), so visits to my folks tend to be a little nutty. Thank God for my dad who always has a sense of humor about this and looks to the bright side. He's the ITALIAN Pollyanna! Gotta love him!!!
Through it all, I have no one to vent to except co-workers (who, of course, are busy with work) and friends (who fuckin' never return my phone calls...jerks!). I have my reading, my volunteer work and my blog. It helps me somehow because I can get so much frustration out, I can help others and I can dream of living a life that is not mine.
I had to vent tonight. Sometimes I just want to forget about all this nonsense and move away from it LITERALLY, but I'm not a little girl anymore and I can't just deny it's occuring. I have to ride the pain and frustration that I'm feeling and hopefully grow from it. What else can I do?
Oh My Gawd! I can't take it. I simply cannot. I've been trying to read A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL for days and cannot do it. I HATE THE HEROINE! Gosh, she frustrates me so. I don't think she is the right woman for the hero and I want the hero to throw her out of his house, into the wild, to be at the mercy of wolves. Argh!
The book has potential. The hero, Lord Giles Walrafen for one, is strong, charismatic, sexy, but...argh again...I can't do it. Maybe it will get better; it is a Carlyle book, after all, and the ever picky Mrs. Giggles gave it a decent review (although she did mention hating the heroine, also). Hmmm...I don't know what to do. I am confused.
I hate it when authors couple their heroes with argumentative heroines and that is exactly what this woman is up to now (I'm on page 100). She's a servant in Walrafen's house, yet she finds it necessary to talk down to him.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH...someone fire this bitch already!!! They are so mismatched. Any decent regency matchmaker can see this. Why can't Walrafen??? Don't do it (or should I say DON'T DO HER!), Giles! Don't do it!!!
Maybe I shouldn't do it...read the book, that is...I don't know. I'm glad it's Saturday. I have time to decide. It's raining today and I so want to read a good book. What should I do???
Friday, January 13, 2006
(PLEASE NOTE: SPOILERS BELOW; IF YOU HAVE NOT READ AUSTEN'S PERSUASION AND WANT TO, PLEASE BEWARE)
To the question "What is your favorite book?," the answer is simple: Jane Austen's PERSUASION. The book tells the love story between Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth.
Anne, as a young woman, was in love with Frederick Wentworth, a young and inexperienced naval officer. After much urging and convincing by her family and, in particular, a close friend of her mother's, Anne is persuaded to break the connection with Wentworth because he is below her station and, thus, unable to support her in the manner to which she is accustomed.
Years pass. Anne is 27 and a spinster. She was never able to forget Wentworth and has lived a lonely life filled with regret. Wentworth returns after years spent away from Britain, now a Captain and a man of wealth. The old lovers meet. Wentworth is angry and bitter and, at first glance, no longer in love with Anne. Anne, still very much in love, resigns herself to a future of loneliness without Wentworth.
Wentworth is on the marriage mart and several have their eyes set on him. Anne is convinced of his impending nuptials to another woman. However, in the end, she realizes that Wentworth has never stopped loving her! Not knowing whether Anne still has feelings for him, Wentworth puts his pride on the line and expresses his love and adoration for her in a tear-jerking, awe inducing, breathtaking letter that will leave any reader weak in the knees. If you don't believe me, read this:
I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, would I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us injustice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating in ....F.W.
Just writing this post makes my heart long for a Wentworth of my own...oh, what a man...what a hero. I wish more authors wrote heroes like him. There are a few, but lately heroes seem to have become so...so...superficial and dull. I hope I've turned some of you on to Captain Wentworth, for he is truly delicious. PERSUASION is not as popular as PRIDE AND PREJUDICE but, in my opinion, it is by far Austen's best novel.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
For those new to reviews or even Amazon, please please please DO NOT TRUST HER AMAZON REVIEWS! I learned the hard way. I still shudder when I think of her recommended Laurens' novel ON A WICKED DAWN.
I recently found all of her reviews online...it made me sick to read them. No offense to Ms. Klausner; I guess we all have different tastes, but give me a break. I don't think she's reading the same books I am! Check out her site: http://harrietklausner.wwwi.com/
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
The book is a prequel to the Cynster saga and covers the "love" story between Sebastian and Helena, parents to the five million Cynsters who apparently circulate Britain in the 1800s. If I'm not mistaken, the book was not published as the first book of the series, but came out only after a few of them had already hit the stores (so it's a prequel but isn't but is...whatever...I don't know). From the earlier books, we know that douche bag Sebastian cheated on his wife Helena a few years into their marriage. Well, actually...Laurens makes it sound like charity work on Sebastian's part. He felt sorry for some widow and did her a little favor! Yeah, I'm sure that's what Joey Buttafuoco told his now ex-wife, once upon a time. Anyhoo, the pity sex spawned Scandal Cynster (I think his name is Richard) who has his own book, SCANDAL'S BRIDE. Of course, Helena, being the door mat that she is, turns the other cheek, raises the child as her own and they all live happily ever after.
Sorry, if I had to throw the book out once I realized what was going down...I once mentioned my disgust for the story on the Avon board (this was a long time ago) and got verbally attacked by a few women who claimed that cheating was a reality of life and that it happens. True, it happens, I replied, BUT NOT IN ROMANCE NOVELS!!! Are they kidding? Why would I want to read a romance novel when I know the hero will cheat on the heroine in the future? I mentioned this and this one chick's panties really got into a twist; she accused me of living on Fantasy Island and what not...whatever.
I don't mind drug abuse, alcoholism in romance novels at all...but adultery? Give me a fucking break. No thanks! I'm not exactly sure what Stephanie Laurens was thinking or what she was smoking when she came up with this plot...just seems ridiculous! That was one of the first signs she was going off the deep end. The fact that she continues to write about the Cynsters is another. Gosh, I hate that family!!! Enough already!!!
I don't get why Avon doesn't recommend (i.e. DEMAND) that Laurens put an end to the Cynsters saga. Is anyone really excited about it anymore? Avon has a duty to its authors and right now it's in breach of it. Dirt bags!!!
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
I almost passed out when I saw this picture. Yes, ladies…this is Clive Owen. What the fa? He looks like shit run over twice. What’s wrong with him? Is he depressed? Did he just get out of prison?
Clive, talk to me…talk to me.
Lisa Kleypas once said that Clive Owen was the inspiration for DREAMING OF YOU’s Derek Craven (only the best romance hero EVAAAA). Clive is not looking too good these days. He looks like the hero from Mary Jo Putney’s THE RAKE AND THE REFORMER (also called THE RAKE) after a drinking binge. So upsetting!!!
Monday, January 09, 2006
I’ll still read the book because it sounds pretty good, but…well, to be honest, I dislike books in which the heroes are sexually inexperienced. I don’t know why…I just detest these books (especially when out of nowhere they turn into frickin’ porn stars with all the right moves) and now I’ll subconsciously put the book at the end of my pile. I’m irritated beyond belief that I had to find out this way. I guess that’s the risk I took when I decided to peruse the various message boards, but still…argh! I’m annoyed! ARGH!
Damn you, Avon…DAMN YOU!
Secondary characters, at times, serve only to spice up or speed up a storyline. Although they provide comic relief or set the moral tone of the story, they never run the risk of undermining the lead characters and robbing them of the affections of the audience. On some occasions, however, secondary characters are written with such passionate zeal and love that they steal the show…quite literally and leave the reader wondering who the book was about. We’ve seen this in movies several times. Prime example? Girl Interrupted with Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, in a supporting role…does any really remember Winona Ryder being in that movie? Angelina quite stole the show; her character was a troubled one, almost as much as Ryder’s, but Angelina’s personality and clear talent blew Winona right out of the water.
The same occurs with Carlyle’s BEAUTY LIKE THE NIGHT. The story is overrun with secondary characters who will not sit still. Bentley “Hell-Bent” Rutledge and Ariane Rutledge, the hero's younger brother and daughter, respectively, have pages dedicated to them; the reader soon becomes engrossed in their lives, she (I'm assuming the reader is female) cannot help but want to hear about them more than the lead characters, Camden and Helene.
I thought BEAUTY LIKE THE NIGHT was OK...just ok..it was not one of my favorite Carlyle books. Camden and Helene’s story was constantly being interrupted by the presence of Ariane and Bentley and I couldn’t help but want it to continue. I never developed an attachment to Camden and Helene’s love story. I wanted them to succeed in their quest for happiness but honestly…well, I almost did give a fig about them. I knew this book was in trouble when I began skimming most of their scenes because I was so enthralled by those including Bentley.
Carlyle seemed torn between wanting to give Camden and Helene “their” story and wanting to pen one for Bentley at the same exact time. We know Bentley eventually gets his story in THE DEVIL YOU KNOW but I sometimes I felt it unfair for Carlyle not to have focused her attention more on Camden and Helene. Everytime I would read a scene including Camden and Helene, I almost thought it was an afterthought on her part...I had a picture of Carlyle sitting at her computer writing about Bentley or Ariane and then realizing the book was about Camden and Helene. At times, I felt frustrated because I wanted to know more about Bentley and the true source of his anger towards his perfect brother. THE DEVIL YOU KNOW explained everything to me and, having read it before this one, I knew all there was to know about Bentley BUT I wish BEAUTY had given the reader more of a hint as to what troubled good ole “Hell-Bent.”
Unfortunately, BEAUTY LIKE THE NIGHT seems more like a prequel (a long prequel) to THE DEVIL YOU KNOW and, quite possibly to Ariane’s future story (I HOPE!!! Carlyle hasn’t revealed whether she will write Ariane’s novel…yet).
It’s not only BEAUTY LIKE THE NIGHT which contains secondary characters who steal the story. Carlyle’s George Kimbel, valet to most of her heroes, begs for a story of his own and one cannot help but be enthralled by him. Unfortunately, Carlyle has firmly stated that Kimbel will not get his own story and this saddens me because, although he may not look like the typical romance novel hero, he definitely has the personality for it.
Most writers know the harm they will be placing their lead characters in if they choose to feature a magnetic secondary character. Kleypas knows well never to make Derek Craven an integral part of any novel (besides his own, of course). Unfortunately, she made the mistake of including Lord Westcliff in A SUMMER TO REMEMBER and nearly had him and his heroine’s spats (he has his own book, IT HAPPENED IN AUTUMN) steal all the thunder (SUMMER is my least favorite Kleypas book and, honestly, I loved every minute of Westcliff in that book).
I love secondary characters, but it frustrates me when the author takes it too far and dedicates an entire book to them…that was only one of the reasons I didn’t care for BEAUTY LIKE THE NIGHT…it could have been shorter! The book is better than others I’ve read but it’s a great disappointment after NO TRUE GENTLEMAN. I would still recommend the book…it contains characters worth the read, but don’t expect a masterpiece.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
A little birdie recommended I go to the FOG CITY DIVAS website for a feature on romance novel covers. Check it out, folks. The site is listed under links; just go to blog, once you get there. It’s a pretty good article/blog written by Candice Hern (little birdie and fellow San Franciscan), author of the award-winning ONCE A GENTLEMAN and the upcoming IN THE THRILL OF THE NIGHT (Feb’06). Thanks to Candice for letting me know about the story; I thought it was great and it got me thinking about AVON and some of their lame covers (not all, I actually like Lorraine Heath's and lately Elizabeth Boyle's covers very much). Candice Hern no longer writes for Avon; I praise the Lord for this. The cover of her new book is proof of this. I have to be honest and admit that, as much as I enjoyed her ONCE A series books, I hated the book covers. To be honest, the heroine in the ONCE A GENTLEMAN cover looks slightly sick and half asleep (the heroine was anything but). Whatever...I'm glad she (Ms. Hern) got out before it was too late.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
I am delighted that the book will be released. I love Liz Carlyle and recently finished NO TRUE GENTLEMAN, an incredible book with a delicious hero and wonderful heroine. Carlyle’s characters are honest and straight forward in their dealings with each other, something we don’t often see in romance novels (at least, not in a majority of AVON books). All I ask for when I read a romance is intelligent lead characters and Carlyle certainly delivers.
That said, I am over the mood right now. The fact that A WOMAN SCORNED will be gracing book store shelves once again is good news indeed. All that remains is the rerelease (hopefully, one day) of Lisa Kleypas’ old books, which are hard to find even on Ebay!
I’m pleased with this current trend of re-releasing old novels. With the emergence of less than stellar works by some of our favorite authors -cough…Enoch…cough…Heath- it’s nice to know we won’t have to pay a bundle for the books that made us the romance lovers we are today.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Do people go on picnics anymore? I don’t think I’ve seen a picnic table set up in years (with the exception of amusement park settings where you’re pretty much forced to bring food from home because a hot dog costs $10). It’s quite sad and it really shows how much the world has changed. Everything these days is about money; there’s little room for relaxation. What happened? When did we forget to stop, look and listen? Life is passing us by and we just work work and work these days.
I think I really need a vacation. I think it’s fairly obvious I need a LEAVE THE COUNTRY type of experience. Something exciting, different, challenging. I started saving money today. I’m determined to go to Great Britain, you see. MUST and WILL go there. Gosh, is anyone feeling this restless? I am craving an adventure. My friend, Meghan, is feeling the same way.
Oh, well…in the meantime, let me just say that I wish I were Catherine, the heroine from Carlyle’s NO TRUE GENTLEMAN. If only, I could be as bold as her…wouldn’t that be nice?!? Would be even better if Max de Rohan graced my bed..my goodness! Great book! More happier postings to follow…
Monday, January 02, 2006
Since I'm off to work tomorrow (and therefore will have my brain occupied by it 'til the weekend hits), I decided to check out a few authors' websites and found this description of a new Elizabeth Boyle book, due out in August. Check it out:
HIS MISTRESS BY MORNING
When prim and proper Charlotte Wilmont inherits a ring that grants each bearer one wish, she inadvertently wishes to be the woman Sebastian Marlowe loves. And when she wakes up the next morning, she is the woman he loves . . . she's also his mistress.
Call me crazy, but it's sounds cute and I'm eager to know how Boyle will pull this one off. I can only hope this Charlotte chick isn't having some sort of "Bobby's Not Dead He's Only Taking a Shower and the an Entire Season of Dallas was a Dream" experience; Boyle would definitely be jumping the shark, if this were the case (although, honestly THIS RAKE OF MINE was a pretty big great white in itself). One never knows with Avon; they always lift my spirits and allow me to hope for great plots and endless hours of pure romance fun and then they crush all my hopes by releasing A-bombs of shit!
In any case, I do hope the book turns out to be a good one. I loved SOMETHING ABOUT EMMALINE, after all. I'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I am reading NO TRUE GENTLEMAN and it is quite delicious...well -I should be more specific- the hero Max de Rohan is the best piece of romantic meat since Derek Craven...gosh, he's mesmerizing! Back to reading and then bed and then...wooooooork! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
I always refrain from buying Teresa Medeiros books. I'm not exactly sure why, I just do. I once bought ONE NIGHT OF SCANDAL and didn't care for it. I went to my favorite UBS today and, having left my TO BUY list home, decided to skim the aisles. The book sounds decent from the back blurb and Medeiros books tend to get good reviews. The book's going in my TBR pile anyway. I've decided to read all my Liz Carlyle books next.
Ok...I know what you're all thinking. Why is this chick always buying books that reek of AVON? Honestly, I don't know. I needed something light and fluffy, after reading Jo Beverley (for the record, I don't dislike Jo Beverley books; I just have to be in the right mood for them and I don't think I have been recently). I've never read a Margaret Moore book; apparently, she no longer writes for AVON. It looks like a quick read, so I might just interrupt my Carlyle reading one day for it.
I looked everywhere for SCANDALOUS by Jenna Petersen. I hear it's really good. Unfortunately, it's never at the UBS...NEVER...which, come to think of it, is a very good sign! I'm going to be strong and not buy it new. After much thought and consideration, I've decided to use my BORDERS gift card towards the purchase of a few historical biographies and perhaps Loretta Chase's THE LION'S DAUGHTER (which I guarantee will be impossible to find at any UBS).
Off to work tomorrow...argh! I don't want to go!
I'm not exactly sure what to make of Jo Beverley; her books always get great reviews and most readers tend to adore her characters. I always struggle to finish her books; they're very long and I always think they could be shorter. I recently finished her book FORBIDDEN MAGIC.
Left penniless after her parents deaths, Meg Gillingham is in dire straits. Her landlord has threatened to throw her and her siblings into the winter streets unless she surrenders her young sister to his lechery. Reluctantly, she turns for help to her only legacy: a magic statue that will grant wishes - for a price...
Meg never expects the statue to bring her a marriage proposal, especially not one from a handsome earl. But Lord Saxonhurst lives amid dark secrets, and even Meg delights in her seductive husband, she hesitates to trust him. Soon a villain will use her doubts to try to destroy their union and their lives. Now Meg must put her faith in another knd of magic - the magic of love.
The heroine must figure out a way to get out of the mess her parents' death left her in; short on funds, she in deeply in debt and has not paid her parents' friend, Sir Arthur, any rent on their cottage in months. Sir Arthur offers her a very simple solution: his help in exchange for her sister Laura. Meg is desperate, so decides to use something she promised herself she would never use: a magic family heirloom called the Sheelagh ma gig (or whatever the fuck). She makes a wish and next thing she knows an earl is asking for her hand in marriage.
The Earl of Saxonhurst is desperate to get married in order to spite his grandmother and prevent her from concocting some devilish plan to ruin his life (they don't exactly have the best relationship); he has his servants look for someone who is desperately in need of marriage; they find Meg. Soon the two are married. Meg forgets the magic statute at her old house and it's soon stolen by Sir Arthur; she doesn't tell her husband because she's afraid he'll dump her ass if he finds out (even though he insists he had to marry her because of the grandmother, she believes he'll still dump her because he'll think she tried to trick him with magic...whatever!).
The story proceeds with Meg lying through her teeth in order to get this statue back; all at the same time, the hypocrite develops a high and mighty stance and tells her husband FLAT OUT that she won't sleep with him until he makes peace with his grandmother. She wants his to be one big happy family. Argh! The back blurb is a bit misleading because it indicates that the "villian" nearly destroys the characters' marriage. This is false. The heroine did a pretty good job out of that all by her lonesome self. Her lies were really getting to me at a certain point. There's a part when she goes to visit Sir Arthur; he ends up dead somehow and everyone's looking to hang her, believing she killed him. What does she do? Does she run to her husband? NOOOOOOOOO...why would she do something crazy like that, when she can run to her husband's evil grandmother instead? I had enough of her and her reasoning and that was just the last straw for me.
Sax, the hero, won my heart. Never have I encountered a man with so many issues who's come out so remarkably well. What a delight! His interactions with his servants and his eccentric ways of dealing with anger made me laugh out loud. The fact that he really seemed to be happy with his marriage and his new family (Meg's brothers and sisters) really touched me.
Now, there were times when I liked Meg. Whenever she interacted with Sax, you could cut the sexual tension with a knife, but I really didn't appreciate her lying to him so much. It was unnecessary and I felt betrayed for him. She should have known better; everyone around her was telling her she could trust HIM and NOT HIS GRANDMOTHER, yet she never listened. Whatever...the book wasn't a complete loss. I would give it a strong B. I might one day reread it, but I think I'm done with Beverley for a bit. Her books really get me thinking...they're challenging and I love the challenge...I just wish her heroines were more likeable.
Next - another non-Avon author.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Shawshank Redemption II is not something I thought I would be reading when I purchased this book. I don't even know why AVON even bothers putting this red-headed bimbo on the cover. I wanted a romance novel, not some depressing guilt-ridden tale of a man fucked up by jail.
Over at Avon, it was Elizabeth Boyle's turn to do a Ruined Virgin Turned Teacher story in September. I would have been OK with the story had the heroine not been depicted as a useless piece of dirt. She almost got the hero arrested for murder! Why heroines like this one get heroes in the end is beyond me. I guess that's why it's called fiction (although I know plenty of real life skanks who get'em, too).
Could you ever in your wildest dreams imagine yourself asking your brother how to have sex? Well, imagine no longer...experience it in this novel, quite possibly the most asinine I've read this year.
Hero was a major stud in the books leading up to this one. However, Julianne MacLean decided that she had to castrate him and remove his balls once she gave him a book. What a wimp he turned out to be! And Lily? Girl pretty much forced him to marry her. Pathetic!
I'm confused....wasn't this supposed to be Hyacinth's romance? I don't recall reading a love story.
JUST ONE TOUCH...that's pretty much what this book got from me. I skimmed it because it was so bad. I have no plot recollection. Thanks, Avon!
The author's debut novel was PASSION, which I consider one of the best books of 2005. PASSION is the first book in a quartet. Passion is the heroine of the first book; Patience and Primrose, her sisters, each have their own book as well. After playing around with the computer a bit, I learned from THE ROMANCE READER that "PATIENCE and PRIMROSE are scheduled for release June, 2006 and January, 2007." Valdez then plans on ending the series with CHARLOTTE. I don't remember there being a Charlotte in her first book; I don't know if she's a sister or cousin or friend or what. I'll have to reread PASSION and figure that one out.
Apparently, once the PASSION quartet is completed, Valdez plans on writing a Georgian romance, entitled THE RED RIBBON, "a stand alone book featuring an icy heroine by the name of Olivia Winterton, a charming and devil-may-care hero, James Markham, and a villainess, Marie de L'Amboise." Sounds like this author knows exactly what she's doing. She definitely doesn't seem to be suffering from any writers' block.
The fact that a romance novelist would provide this much information about future books is astonishing. I hate to say this but it's hard to get anything out of certain writers these days and by "certain writers" I'm referring to Julia Quinn; her novels are always surrounded by a shroud of secrecy ala Harry Potter. I hope her last Bridgerton book merits the secrecy because Hyacinth's story was, without a doubt, the worst book of 2005 (list to come).
Well, I better get back to the champagne and then B-E-D. Good night and happy 2006!