We pick the “Buried Treasures” of 2013

Starfish-beach-wallpaperIn 2013, self-publishing was mainstream, social media allowed authors more specific ways to publicize their work, and everyone had a strongly held opinion about what constituted a great romance novel.  This environment makes the idea of a “buried treasure” more difficult to define. So, let’s agree to accept this definition: a buried treasure is a book you loved you think isn’t as well known as it should be. Continue reading

Pandora’s Box: About That Night

9780425246955_AboutThatNig_CV.indd We’re back with another Pandora’s Box, this time featuring About That Night by Julie James. We have lots of Julie James fans here, so we thought it would be fun to get two reactions to her latest release. This time, we’re featuring Maggie Boyd and Heather Stanton in the box.

So, what’s happening in the latest installment in James’ FBI/US Attorney series? Due to events beyond his control, Kyle Rhodes skipped out on his first date with Rylann Pierce. He discovers the chemistry between them still in full force, though, when he finds himself face-to-face with her nine years later in a Chicago courtroom.

Rylann hadn’t expected to have to face the infamous Twitter Terrorist in court. It was, after all, someone else’s case. But when fate throws her once more into the path of the force of nature known as Kyle Rhodes, aka the Twitter Terrorist, , she is pleased with how she handles things. Cool. Professional. Totally over being stood up. She’s glad they had this moment of closure so he could see just how thoroughly she’d moved on.

Then she finds herself having to work with Kyle on another issue and starts to feel her detached manner being slowly eroded away by his charm. Does life really hand you a second-chance at love at first sight?
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Serious Series Addiction

ShadowfeverI’m a romance reader who loves series books.  Give me books for all the brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, pack mates, or even coven members and blood brothers an author can come up with; I’m good with’em all if they’re well done of course. Luckily for me, my three most favorite series books will all soon to be released installments and while I’m looking forward to the releases, each one will be somewhat bittersweet.  My love for them, tied to my angst and worry over seeing them end, makes me wonder if I’ll find other books to take their place and who else out there feels the same way about these books and others.

I’ve written about Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series before and I’m still just as addicted to it today as I was when I read Faefever for the first time.  I’m sad to see it end.  I began with the third in the series and it didn’t take me long to get sucked into MacKayla Lane’s world of Seelie and Unseelie Fae.  The first person narration, suspense plot, and unique setting work for me in almost every way.  With four books already released in the series, the final installment, Shadowfever, will be released on January 18, 2011.  Hopefully, as many questions as possible will be answered and Mac will finally be with Barrons, but if not, I won’t be completely surprised because I have visions of the Lost finale with it’s lack of answers and have a feeling this will be similar since there are so many questions that need answers.  Plus, I read on Moning’s site that she’s signed with Random House for three more books set in the Fever World, so while Mac’s story arc may conclude the problems may continue.  Regardless, I’ll miss Mac and Barrons and hate to say goodbye.

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Book Bully

meangirlsThis summer I had quite the shock when I discovered that my son’s peers could actually influence his reading choices at the tender age of eight.  Clothes were already an issue, but poor, naïve me didn’t realize book characters also radiate a sense of coolness or lameness among the younger set.  My world tipped when my darling son made the statement, “Harry Potter’s lame.  Insert name of cool neighbor kid here said so.”

Upon hearing this, I began to sputter, ask questions rapidly, and get really, really defensive.  Things like, “How do you know?  Have you read Harry Potter?  What makes cool neighbor kid an expert on Harry Potter? Harry Potter is soooo not lame,” all began to fly at my poor, defenseless son who really had no logical reply.  I don’t count, “Because he’s 12!” as a logical reply, at least not yet anyway.

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Preparing for the Top 100 Poll

womanreadingPolls and lists are exciting to me.  Hey, it’s the little things in life after all!  And, I’ve been thinking about my Top 100 Romances list for a long time now for the poll that runs through November 15th and I’m still not any closer to actually putting it in order yet.  I will be soon, but just not yet. (Sorry, AAR Pollsters!)

In the last year or so, I’ve been steadily making my way through the 2007 list and reading “new to me” authors and works that I’ve somehow managed to miss.  So far, out of the 2007 results, I’ve read 66 of those as well as other romance classics.  The biggest editions to my own personal library include J.R. Ward, Linda Howard, and Suzanne Brockmann and I even bit the bullet and finally read Stephanie Laurens’ Devil’s Bride. Susan E. Phillips and Jennifer Crusie have also made their way into my Kindle Library.

There are some books I haven’t read that I still hope to include before I compile my final list.  Of the 2007 top ten, two I haven’t read yet are Kinsale’s Flowers From the Storm or Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation.  I’ve also never read Connie Brockway’s three titles on the list and I’ve only read a few of Susan E. Phillips works.  Nor have I yet managed to read the very intimidating backlists of Nora Roberts.  Unfortunately, there’s only so much time in the day and several of these probably won’t be read.

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Online Organization: One More Thing I Need to Do

ShelfariSince it’s summer, I have time to do some things I don’t always get around to during the school year and, while my husband often calls it wasting time, I call it a better way to enjoy a hobby.  One of those many things is organizing my books but not in such a way to invite real labor – that would be work after all.  Unlike Rike, who recently wrote a post titled Storing All those Books, my books aren’t so neatly organized in reality but online it’s a completely different story.

Right now my books are currently living in boxes as the result of a move within the last year.  I’m not happy about it, but it is what it is.  In our old house, my husband obtained some old kitchen cabinets, refinished them, and hung them in a storage room off our garage for my book storage.  Honestly, it was one of the most romantic things he’s ever done for me.  In our new house, I don’t have a space like that yet, but we’ll work something out eventually, though I’m sure I’ll have to provide some incentive.  Yet even when I had my cabinets, I placed books where ever I had room without really organizing them.

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Into the Glom

clip-art-library-booksHow often do you find yourself in the middle of a fixation on the works of one particular author and feel, for a little while at least, that you just can’t get enough?  In other words, do you glom?

Goodness knows I do and the results run the gamut between eternal love and agonizing avoidance.  For me these gloms always start out simple enough; I’ll pick up a book by an author (usually one I’ve never read), don’t want the experience to end, and try to recapture it with the next book in the series or try to find that same spark in another of their works.  If I’m lucky, my gloms come when I’m out of school so I have time to savor the storytelling.  If I’m not so lucky, I find myself cramming in bouts of reading in between grading papers, planning lessons planning, waiting in parking lots, and so many other stolen moments.

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The Pregnant Heroine

ackermanmorningAs so many of us have blogged about our reading preferences lately, I began thinking about my own romance likes and dislikes.   As I’ve gotten older or simply have read more, I’ve noticed differences in my reading preferences and have often wondered why those tastes change.   Way back in the day, I loved the pregnant heroine, but now, not so much.   I don’t know if it’s because I’ve passed that period in my life – a been there, done that  attitude -  or maybe it’s simply that there aren’t as many pregnant heroines  in Romancelandia  these days.

When I began reading in my early teens, I could only get my sneaky little hands on my mom’s books and, sadly, those were the old bodice rippers of the 70s, 80s, and even into the 90s.  The ones I remember the most were mainly the Woodiwiss and Lindsey books where the heroines were usually pregnant or at least ended up that way for a good portion of the book.  They weren’t the only ones, of course, but those are the ones that standout in my memory because of the pregnancies, or maybe even because of the violence.  I’m not terribly scarred – I promise. Regardless, for a younger me marriage and pregnancy were the goals I wanted to obtain after I completed my education and established my career and I gobbled up those books.

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Do You Believe in the Slump Buster?

48826434As part of the  ongoing discussion about reading or really the lack thereof, I must admit that I’ve been in a major reading slump for the last few months.  Obviously, I’m not the only one.  Recently Sandy wrote an post on The Reading Slum That Will Not Die in which she blames a book for her lack of reading interest.  Jean followed Sandy’s piece with her own where she discussed A Solution to the Reading Slump, which involved taking a break from reading to end a slump.   Now, I’d like to throw out there the idea of a slump buster – a book so good that it in and of itself will bring you out of a slump.   At first, I thought such a thing didn’t exist, but now I know and I believe.

My slump was caused by what seemed like both an inundation of mediocre books, as well as upheaval in my personal life that left me with little time to read and when I get out of a habit, it’s incredibly hard to get going again.  I can’t say I didn’t read, because I did, but I lost the desire.  I read a couple of books that were good, not great, and certainly not inspiring and I just wanted….no, needed…. a book that would make me fall back in love with romance.  In other words, I needed a true slump buster.

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I Haven’t Done My Homework

27313682I’m going to admit something extremely embarrassing in this post.  Please don’t condemn or judge because I’m slowly working to overcome what I perceive as my deficiencies.  Do you ever sometimes feel like there’s unofficial “required reading” for romance?  Or maybe that you’re missing elements of romance knowledge which would enable you to be a more informed reader simply because you haven’t read certain authors or you’ve missed some of tomes that are considered “great” works?  I do and I hadn’t realized until recently just how much I’ve missed along the way and how much catch-up I still have to complete.

I’m almost embarrassed to write that in terms of big, sweeping, epic romances, I’ve managed to miss The Bronze Horseman and Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons.  I’ll be on the verge of taking the plunge (because I do want to read them) when I’ll read comments about their story and back out because I fear it will  be too heart-wrenching of a journey. The same applies to Diana Gabaldon’s Jamie and Claire.  While I’ve read Outlander and loved it, I can’t make myself continue yet because of the time gap.  Nor have I read Dorothy Dunnett and the Lymond Chronicles, but I plan to – very soon.  All of the above – sacrilege, I know.

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