Category Archives: romance

Read a Romance Month

The steamy month of August also happens to be Read a Romance Month. ¬†Yep, consider this a mid-month reminder or a call to read one for the very first time. ūüôā

Was that an eye-roll I sensed from some of you readers?¬†I’m sure it was. ¬†Why? ¬†Because romance is one of the most shat-upon genres.

Romance readers have had to deal with a lot of trash talk about their genre – especially those who are open about their reading preferences or proudly display those amusing covers in public. ¬†I’ve heard my share of trash talk in my day, some of my favorites:

  • You read romance? I thought you were smarter than that…
  • Oh…but, I thought you were a feminist?

Or when people find out that I write them:

  • are you writing the next 50 Shades of Grey?
  • Can you write about me?

Let me just be clear – you can be smart, feminist, and of any sexual orientation and enjoy romance novels. ¬†As for the questions for authors…well, everyone has their own answers to those.

So, in honor of the steamy month of August, treat yourself or challenge yourself to try something new and pick up a romance novel. ¬†There’s a sub-genre for every interest you might have. ¬†Do you like art? There are tons of romances involving painters, appraisers, sculptors, etc. ¬†Do you like murder mysteries? ¬†There are all kinds of excellent romance murder mysteries (check out some of the darker stuff by Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, or Sandra Brown). ¬†Do you like holidays, cooking, or knitting? ¬†Friend, we’ve got you covered. ¬†Do you like history? ¬†Bitch please, you KNOW there are historical romances. ¬†Just check out your local library, Amazon, or bookstore and discover something new.

And hey, take a picture with you new romance novel find…then post it on Instagram to prove that loving some romance is no crime. ūüôā

Here’s one I took with a bunch of free (FREEEEE!) used romance novels that someone gave me.

Clearly, I love romance novels and here are some of my personal favorites, if you’d like some recommendations:

  • It happened one autumn – historical and sassy dialogue
  • The hating game or Wallbanger – because I have a soft spot for heroes/heroines who start off not liking each other…
  • Eligible – an update on Pride & Prejudice
  • Just about anything written by my favorites Nora Roberts, Courtney Milan, Lisa Kleypas, and Julie James

Read one….or read like 5 in one week, because you’re gluttonous like me. ¬†Either way, enjoy!


Reading recommendations (because if I made time to read them, you know they’re good)

I don’t always get to read as much as I’d like…

Let me start over – if I read as much as I’d like to, I’d have little time for anything else. ¬†(I’m pretty sure the most important things – eating, drinking, and bathroom necessities I can do with one handed while reading.) ¬†Between school, work, and a limited social life, I don’t get too much time. ¬†But every once in awhile, there comes a glimmer of time – a few days, a glorious week perhaps, in which I can read.

The last two weeks I was able to partake in some blissful reading (YAY!!!!) and I know I’m late to the party on some of these, but here are some of my favorites from the last two weeks. ¬†If you haven’t picked them up yet, you may want to – they’re good for beach reads, train rides, plane rides, or even one-handed necessities of life. ¬†Enjoy!

1. The girl on the train

The girl on the train is a thriller that will take you on a ride (see what I did there, clev-er) 51zHXiTRq3L._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_through the events surrounding a woman’s disappearance told through the eyes of three narrators. ¬†Most of the time we follow Rachel, who is¬†struggling to get her life together after a divorce and gets kind of ….well, a bit obsessed with the disappearance of a stranger.

This booooooook! OMG this book! ¬†I feel like I need to do a whole separate post on topics that sprung to my mind while reading this book. ¬†The writer in me would love to go on about the views of different narrators and reliability of narrators (yes, on and on forever about the technique and why it can be so good when it’s done just right). ¬†Another part of me would like to talk to you about starting over after a divorce and emotional issues. ¬†But, alas, these are topics for another day.

The girl on the train¬†is a great thriller and a very fast read. ¬†Check it out before you go to the beach or travel for vacation, you won’t be disappointed.


2. Eligible 

Eligible is a modern day¬†Pride and Prejudice¬†that takes place in Cincinnati. ¬†Liz and Jane 41hnYP26jjL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_flew the nest long ago to go to NYC, but find themselves back in Cincinnati due to their dad’s health issues. ¬†Being back in town puts them the middle of aging parent drama, sibling drama, and oh yes, thrusts them into the paths of Bingley and Darcy. <sigh> Oh Darcy…

I love Pride and Prejudice РI love the original and I love many of the many revamps that have come along recently.  This version had a lot of fresh takes on the old themes and a few new twists and turns Рincluding the reality tv and not friends with benefits.

If you enjoy revamping of P&P or romance novels in general, you should pick this one up (I’m talking to you, Andrea). ūüôā


3.  Marrying Winterborne

I love romance novels, I really, really do. ¬†I used to call them cotton candy for my brain, 51gjzFcgesL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_fluffy, sugary, and just all around good fun. ¬†If you haven’t read any of Kleypas’ other books, I’d strongly recommend¬†It happened one autumn¬†and¬†A devil in winter. ¬†Marrying Winterborne is a book in a later and somewhat related series. ¬†You don’t have to read the Wallflower series first. ¬†But you should check them out if you like Kleypas’ style.

Marrying Winterborne¬†follows Rhys Winterborne, a self-made man who owns a large and successful department store, and Helen – a woman from old money¬†with a few secrets and who is trying to find (and assert) herself. ¬†A lot of romance novels deal with the beginnings of a relationship – the flirtation, sometimes distrust, the infatuation, and eventual love. ¬†This book instead deals with the deepening of a relationship and finding yourself, which was refreshing. I haven’t read the book before this one (Cold-hearted Rake), where these two actually meet (though it focuses on another couple), but it’s on my to be read list for sure.


Happy reading! ūüôā

Quotables – Challenge Day 1

Today’s quote is from a poem by Pablo Neruda: “I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”

I took this in Washington D.C. at the height of Cherry Blossom season.

Ah, how I love this quote – it’s so romantic that it makes my chest squeeze.

To me, it means having the kind of relationship where you cherish each other and¬†support one another in becoming what¬†you are meant to be…blossoming like flowers in springtime.

ūüôā <Sigh> ¬†What magic we spread with the right words…

Annie at¬†Gentle Kindness¬†tagged me in this quote challenge and I’ve (obviously) accepted – 3 quotes in three days because well, I love challenges…and quotes. ¬†If you want to play, simply put the link to your site in the comments section and I’ll check out your quotable posts. ūüôā



Romance Genre Guide to Getting Over Your Ex

The Romance Genre Guide to Getting Over your Exbecause you might as well take advice from the ladies¬†who always get their¬†happy ending ūüėČ

Everyone is always trying to give advice…what to eat (what the fuck are legumes?), what to wear (please stop,¬†Mom), and now how to date… oh joy, oh rapture. :p

I’ve been going through this divorce bit for several months now, and I think it’s time to explore how romance heroines get over their old relationships…if only to delve into the realm of silliness that I¬†enjoy.¬†¬† So, here we go:

  • Regency subgenre¬†– After¬†her old¬†beau is revealed to be¬†an evil rogue/engaged/married, the heroine forms an unlikely alliance with a rakish duke/count/viscount who ravishes her on a balcony while everyone else at the party dances the quadrille (be still, my¬†beating heart under this suddenly restrictive bodice).
  • Player subgenre – After a bad breakup, the heroine decides “no strings attached” is the only thing she has time for.¬† Rakish hero finds this outlook refreshing and then annoying when he accidentally falls in love with her…whoops.
  • Pirate subgenre¬†– Heroine stows away on a pirate ship after a break up… becomes a skilled sailor and swashbuckler, then shares her booty with the captain.
  • Boss subgenre¬†– Heroine throws herself into work by volunteering for a business trip with the boss and then¬†fantasizing about climbing… the corporate ladder.
  • Paranormal subgenre – Vampire¬†Ex – Heroine¬†gets a fabulous tan and starts hanging out with that rugged werewolf pack¬†the ex was always warning her about.
  • Paranormal subgenre – Werewolf¬†Ex¬†– Heroine gets her rabies shot, washes her neck, and goes to late night wine tastings with that¬†emo¬†vampire across the street.
  • Time-travel subgenre – Heroine avoids her ex by going way back in time and shows Mr. Darcy or a kilted hero that feminists are awesome.
  • Yoga subgenre – Heroine finds inner peace at a yoga retreat,¬†added flexibility comes in handy¬†when a rugged yoga teacher takes over her class.¬† Okay, this isn’t really a subgenre, but it SHOULD be…someone write it. :p

Hmmmmm romance novels give you so many options to move on from your ex.¬†ūüėȬ† But more than that, they remind you that if/when you’re ready, there are a lot of adventures waiting for you…both on the bookshelf and in life.¬†ūüôā¬† Happy reading to all!

Review “Playing for keeps”

Ebook Review “Playing for keeps (A Neighbor from Hell Series Book 1),” by R.L. Mathewson

imageYay! I’ve found another good and cheap book series. ¬†The “Neighbor from Hell” series is fun and most of the books are on Amazon for $0.99 each (the only thing better than good smut, is bargain priced smut). ūüôā

The first in this¬†series is “Playing for keeps.”¬†Haley¬†and Jason start on the wrong foot – his drunken party guests have tried to skinny dip in her pool, his exes have had screaming fits on his front lawn, and he hardly takes care of the place…

But, an amusing confrontation over flowers causes a swarm of bees to erupt from an underground hive, and Haley and Jason are forced to spend an afternoon together waiting for the exterminator (surprisingly enough, this is hardly the weirdest event that has caused a hero and heroine to get to know each other in romance novel).   Anyway, during the afternoon, the two bond over baseball and Jason decides to take the timid Haley under his wing.

But Jason’s feelings are anything but brotherly, though it does take him a little while to realize it, and Haley is hardly unaware of Jason’s charms. Can Jason and Haley survive taking it to the next level?

Playing for keeps” is a fun¬†start to ¬†R.L. Mathewson’s Neighbor from Hell series. It’s a fast read, with plenty of steam and quite a few giggles as well. Can’t wait to read the rest. 4 out of 5 stars! ūüôā

Review “Escorted”

Ebook Review – “Escorted,” by Claire Kent

image¬†In “Escorted,” we meet Lori, a romance novelist in her 20s with a job she needs help with – getting rid of her virginity. ¬†She’s been unlucky in love, so she’s decided to hire Ander to take care of that one little issue for her.

Except it’s too good and once isn’t enough (sigh – isn’t that always the case?). ¬†The more time Lori spends with Ander, the more the lines of their “professional” relationship begin to blur. ¬†Can Lori keep her heart safe during her intense interludes with Ander?

My oh my, is this book steamy and it features a hot, brooding hero. ¬†Yes, it’s true and I won’t apologize for it – I love brooding, yearning heroes. ¬†I don’t know what that says about me as a reader, but there you go. :p

Anyway, Ander has a lot to brood about – a terrible relationship with his father led him to his current profession and he’s never been in a solid, loving relationship. ūüė¶ ¬†Then, Lori comes into his life and he has trouble keeping things professional…until he decides to give up all of his other clients to focus on winning Lori over (without her knowledge, of course).

Escorted,” was ¬†a fast, sexy read. ¬†The writing seemed a little awkward at times, but all-in-all, it was a good – with interesting characters and a fun plot. ¬†4 out of 5 stars, highly recommended and very steamy. ¬†ūüôā

Happy reading. ūüėČ

Review “Suffragette Scandal”

imageEbook Review: “The Suffragette Scandal,” By Courtney Milan

Frederica Marshall (Free) is a bold, young woman who¬†runs her own newspaper and fights for women’s right to vote.

Edward Clark is back in England to protect a childhood friend from his brother’s plot to destroy a woman who spurned his advances – a woman, unlike any Edward has ever met.

Edward offers himself as Free’s personal scoundrel (why can’t I have my own scoundrel?) and quickly partners with her to outsmart his brother’s evil plans to ruin Free’s business and worse. ¬†But Edward isn’t exactly who he claims to be…and if he reveals his true identity to Free, will she stay?

Ah yes, the last book in the Brothers Sinister Series (so named because each book has a left-handed hero or heroine Рyay, left-handed people).  As always, Courtney Milan did an excellent job of creating a strong heroine (outspoken, bold, and smart), an interesting and brooding hero (oh, we love the brooding), and an excellent story line in a historical romance setting.  5 out of 5 stars, though I am a little sad to be finished with such a fun series.

By the way – for all of you writers out there, Courtney Milan has a really great blog/website, where she talks about many things, including self-publishing versus traditional publishing options. ¬†Check it out. ¬†ūüôā

Review – Wallbanger

Ebook Review “Wallbanger (Cocktail Series),” Alice Clayton


In “Wallbanger,” we meet Caroline – poor Caroline, who has sadly lost her O. ¬†And how does one lose their O? ¬† Terrible sex, of course. ¬†Poor Caroline. ¬†Girl, I feel your pain.

Anyway, Caroline moves into a fabulous apartment owned by her boss.  All is well until nightfall.  You see, the neighbor next door has a rather interesting sex life.  And has such <ahem> prowess that Caroline can hear his bed banging against the wall (knocking down a picture off the wall at one point) as he spends time with his ladies.

But one night, this becomes too much and Caroline stalks to his door to confront him. ¬†Except she’s wearing a pink nightie and when he opens the door he’s wearing a sheet that leaves little to the imagination.

Caroline and the Wallbanger (real name Simon) meet again at Caroline’s boss’ party….and not surprisingly, they have chemistry. ¬†But, due to Simon’s committed-ish relationship with three women (yes, three, but not in one sitting), Caroline decides that they should only be friends.

…But, Simon has some serious sex appeal (obviously, this is a romance novel after all) and as Caroline gets to know him, she discovers that he’s got a great taste in music, is funny, interesting, and can cook the best meatballs ever. ¬†(Side note: ¬†Men, cooking is sexy. ¬†Very sexy. ¬†Extremely sexy if the food is edible…and not mac & cheese.)

Can Caroline take the next step with him…and can Simon be the man to bring back her missing O?

So, first of all ¬†– this book is written in the first person. ¬†Ages ago, I refused to read any romance novel written in the first person. ¬†But I’m so glad I’ve since reversed my decision. ¬†“Wallbanger” is hilarious and fun – and filled with the witty hero/heroine banter that I love so much. ¬†Alice Clayton’s style in this novel (this is the first of hers that I’ve read) is light, easy, and so fast to read.

Five out of five stars for “Wallbanger.” ¬†ūüôā

Review: “Dirty Trick”

Ebook Review of “Dirty Trick (A Perfectly Matched Novel),” By Christine Bell

image¬†In “Dirty Trick,” we meet the part-owner of a dating service, Grace Love, and her neighbor/best friend, Detective Trick Mathews.

In Salem, Halloween is a huge deal and Grace finds herself without a date to the best party in town. ¬†Maybe she’ll meet Mr. Right (or hey, maybe Mr. Right Now) on All Hallow’s Eve…

Trick has been coyly trying to prove to Grace that they should take their friendship to the next level and that he is no longer <ahem> a man-whore. If he dons a mask and sweeps Grace off of her feet, maybe he can prove to her that they would be perfect together….

Hmmm…lying to your friend (especially in disguise) is a big no-no. ¬†But, as we’ve learned in the past, in romance novels – anything¬†goes. ¬†Can Trick sweep Grace off of her feet and still keep her trust?

Dirty Trick” was a little different than your average friend romance. ¬†Usually, in this genre, the friends add sex to their relationship for fun and then gradually fall in love (or realize that they’ve been in love with each other for a long time). ¬†In this one, Trick’s disguise allows him to hook up with Grace – which he didn’t plan on, but doesn’t really stop either. ¬†He does feel guilty, but can’t seem to stop himself from meeting her for a second time and puts off telling her the truth…which is a plot device for drama and makes the hero look like a weenie.

It’s a tricky thing, having your hero or heroine lie in a novel – and a very narrow line to walk as an author. ¬†Too many lies (or omissions) or lame motivations for lies and your readers will balk. ¬†In my first novel (which is still in rough draft form), my hero doesn’t reveal his true intentions to my heroine for quite some time. ¬†You see, he aims to steal something from her. This lone piece of my story made me struggle to finish – and struggle to come up with a good reason why my hero would do this. ¬†Now in romance novels, there are heroes that do a great many things that normal people really shouldn’t (this happened in the Wallflower series and I still absolutely loved one of the heroes). ¬†In some novels – ¬†circumstance, charm, or pure writing talent allow us to look past it. ¬†In my case at least, I’m still chewing on how to “fix” the lying issue in my novel. ¬†Or at least let my readers in on the motivations earlier in the story, so they don’t dismiss him entirely. ¬†Ugh. ¬†But alas, complicated heroes make a more interesting story – and also make authors go through several re-writes. :p

As for “Dirty Trick” – the characters have good chemistry, the dialogue is pretty good, the setting of Halloween in Salem is neat, and the story is fairly good…points taken off for a hero that should have come clean sooner or at least a heroine that figured it out on her own! ¬†I give the story a 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Side note: ¬†Sorry I’ve been a bit of a slacker with my posts lately. ¬†Life has gotten complicated (as life is wont to do). ¬†But my wi-fi signal is strong and my reading appetite is still un-quenched! ¬†And, I am determined to get back to my regular posting schedule – yay! ūüôā

Happy Reading!