Tuesday, June 29, 2004

I just read Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I started it Sunday and finished it yesterday. What a great book. Definitely an A+. Sherrilyn just has a gift for making characters that you shed tears for and fall in love with. Julian really touched my heart and I felt for him in his pain. SK also has a great way with telling ancient history so that you're riveted. I admit I'm a history buff anyway, but she just brings it to light in a vivid and interesting way. And she seems fairly accurate in a way that Xena and Hercules aren't always. Her books make me want to go out and buy a book on ancient history and dive in headfirst. At first I was wondering if I shot myself in the foot reading the other Dark Hunter books first, but I'm glad I hadn't read this one. It gave me something to tide me over until Night Play comes out in August. This book has so many layers. I enjoyed the romance but also there was a family drama played out through Julian's relationship or lack thereof, with his godly relatives: Aphrodite, his mother; Eros, his brother; and Priapus, his other brother, who is also his mortal (or immortal enemy). I cried with Julian for his feelings of rejection by his mother, and the loss of his children. I also felt for Grace and her family issues. Her parents died in a car accident, leaving her alone in the world, with only their possessions and her memories to keep her warm at night. Since I lost my father last year, I could identify with her feelings of grief. Fantasy Lover is also very sensual. There are lots of scenes that involve exploring the woman's pleasure, and SK did this very cleverly with her premise. Julian is a sex-slave (and he cannot have an orgasm). IE he makes love for the woman's pleasure and is very good at his job. Grace had a bad first sexual experience that causes her withdraw from the dating world. She feels lonely, unwanted and unfulfilled, and her friend Selena gets the idea to conjure Julian out of his cage (which is a lovely ancient book.) Julian comes ready to serve, but Grace isn't interested in another empty sexual experience. So Julian must seduce her, while Grace tries to get his mind off sex and onto the modern world. This storyline makes for quite a few fun and poignant moments, as Julian gets to experience being more than just a sexual object for two millenia. Julian exudes one of a kind sex appeal that is irresistible, even and most of all to Grace. But he also makes her fall deeply in love with him. I liked how SK worked to build their relationship and also gave reader just enough sexual tension to add spice. This tension definitely builds since there's a reason why Julian and Grace cannot consummate. Instead Julian takes those opportunities to unselfishly bring Grace pleasure, not because he's supposed to, but because he loves her and wants her happiness. I don't want to tell too much, but I felt a need to rave about this lovely book. It definitely cemented my love of SK and her universe. Fantasy Lover ranks in as my number two favorite Dark Hunter book (although technically Julian's not one, he exists in their universe and so he gets counted.). Run, don't walk to get your copy of Fantasy Lover.

Friday, June 25, 2004

I read Lawless a couple of weeks ago. It was wonderful and engrossing. Diana Palmer just gets better and better. I love her ability to make us fall in love with her characters, flaws and all. I enjoyed Christabel and Judd, but I especially love Cash Grier. He's such an amazing character. He's got a seductive, enigmatic air. He also had a tenderness about him that was appealing. I must admit for a little while, I was more enamored of Chrissy and Cash as a couple then Judd and Chrissy, but eventually Judd proved his worthiness. Thanks to the little tidbits about Cash, I am doing something I rarely do. I'm going to buy a hardcover book, Renegade. This is Cash Grier's story and I must have it. I know it's expensive, but Cash is worth it, and I'm dying to read his story and see him get his happy ending with Tippy, who was briefly introduced in Lawless.
Lawless had wonderful exposition, storytelling, and sensuality. There's definitely something about Diana Palmer's ability to write love scenes. They are never explicit but they always involve the reader. This book definitely that some great love scenes. Even the mystery plot was more developed then usual. Normally Diana's books are light on this but I can see that she's feeling more comfortable with these types of storylines.
Overall, I have to give Lawless an A+. It goes on the list as one of my all-time faves by a favorite author of mine. The hours that I spent reading it were pure, wondrous enjoyment. And thankfully, I have Renegade to look forward to...

Friday, June 11, 2004

Elements that I love in Romance Novels
1.Tortured heroes/heroines that overcome their demons in a realistic way and find someone who loves them and respects them despite their infirmities.
2.Scarred/flawed heroes/heroines.
3.A pure, true love story at the heart of the romance with a sensuality that evolves out of a deep, lasting connection between the hero and heroine.
4.Lots of interesting secondary characters with potential for their own stories.
5.Great conflict-internal or external.
6.A wonderful, rip-roaring adventure tale intermingled in a beautiful love story.
7.Virginal hero/heroine
8.Warriors or ex-warriors
9.Educated, intelligent heroes/heroines who get to solve problems and help people.
10.Pregnancies. I love books that have these! I think it's very much part of the happy ever after fantasy.
11.Men who are great fathers or who are wonderful with their children.
12.Beta heroes. I love them. Caring men who are masculine but not arrogant or overbearing.
13.Cowboy or ranching-type setting. I'm a sucker for a great western.
14.Women who are strong, intelligent, and go outside of the traditional, passive roles. Kick-butt heroines, warriors, horsewomen, women in traditionally male-dominated roles.
15.Family elements intermingled into the plot.
16.A great sense of humor and moments that make you laugh out loud.
17.Great scenery or setting that is slightly exotic or not run of the mill. Asia, Africa, S.America, Islands, Australia, etc
18.Hero and heroine who are complement each other's strengths and weakness and who truly stand by each other and love and support each other.
19.Men who would do anything for the heroine and help her to heal.
20.A great, truly terrifying three dimensional villain with realistic motives
21.Characters who although are not mealy-mouthed and unrealistically virtuous, have a strong sense of moral integrity and honor.
22.Heroes who truly can be faithful to the heroine. Once she's in his life, he sees no other woman.
23.Heroes who have respect for women and truly love them and see them as equals.
24.I love scholarly, bookish characters. They are so sweet. I also like nerdy scientist types.
25.Characters who have a little bit of old-fashioned values about them. Not sexist or narrow-minded though.
26.Small town books with a cast of interesting characters.
27.Books with characters who may not be beautiful or slender. They might be plain or plump. Not fashion model types. And the men that appreciate them.
28.Writers that write different genres but don't turn their back on their genre that they are most known for.
29.Victorian and turn of century setting.
30.Early 20th century setting. WWII.
31.Marriage of convenience or just plain married books.
32.Books that have an element of spirituality or some element of God in them.
33.Books where the characters know they are going to end up together early on.
34.Books where the hero pursues the heroine and means to marry her and have her as his partner early on. He easily acknowledges his love and need for the heroine.
35.Poignant tear jerkers with the oh-so important happy ending.
36.Retellings of old fables, fairy tales or folktales, or movies that give a new spin.
37.A lush sensuality that is rooted in love.
38.British hero in America.
39.Alpha heroes who have respect for their heroine but are protective and possessive.
40.Spy or epsionage books.
41.British set novels:Regency, Victorian, Medieval, etc.
42.Books that celebrate various ethnicities and feature characters of different races in a positive light.
43.Interracial love stories that show positive, committed love relationships.
44.Antiheroes that evolve and have a moment of true heroism or realization of self although they may retain those elements that make them quirky and interesting.
45.When a character who is reviled or treated badly by others gets some sort of acknowledged that they have been wrongly judged.
46.Deep stories that leave you thinking about the book long after you have finished it.

These are the things that make books keepers in my opinion.

My Romance Novel Pet-Peeves

1.Rakes with no reason d' etre-just sleazy men sleeping with anything in a skirt. And the heroine is just panting for them. Did it ever occur to the heroine that it's really gross that this guy slept with half the ton, or town?
2.Really mean heroes who treat heroines like crap. Uber-alpha hero.
3.Stupid, silly heroines who mindlessly go from one scrape to another. Women are just as intelligent and capable as men are, and even if we need to be saved, it doesn't have to be because we need a keeper.
4.Transplanted modern-day heroes and heroines in a period piece. Please try to make the dialogue and behavior fit the period!
5.Rape between hero and heroine (Seduction is okay).
6.The Secret Baby. So tired!
7.When the characters think they just want to sleep together and never envision a future until practically the end of the book.
8.Adultery--The big no-no! Instant wallbanger if one of the characters cheat on the other! I grit my teeth if the hero is an inveterate cuckolder of other men. For instance in historicals, the rake who sleeps with other men's wives because they are available.
9.Meaningless sex scenes that don't complement the story.
10.Heroines who decide they're going to have an affair just to do it and then get married to the boring guy or go back to being sedate.
11.Fling books! The characters get together to get it on! Yuck.
12.Sleazy characters who have no respect for their bodies (rakes, slutty heroines who sleep around, etc.) Promiscuous characters of any types!!!
13.Cardboard thin suspense plots. Just write a straight romance.
14.When the book about the character you've been waiting for with bated breath is a disappointment after the author got you to fall in love with that character in the previous book.
15.When the character you love and have been dying to read their book is paired up with a love interest that is decidely inferior.
16.When the next book in the series comes out in hardcover :(
17.When historical authors stop writing historical books and go to...Romantic suspense, women's fiction, paranormal, or chick lit! Ugh!
18.When the hero believes everything the sleazy, evil ex-mistress tells him but thinks the sweet, innocent heroine is a gold-digging bimbo. Sorry, read too many Harlequin Presents.
19.When the hero is a total prick to the heroine but she still wants to sleep with him and manages to fall head over heels for him.
20.When the author doesn't write a book about the character that you really want to read a book about.
21.When the epilogue to your book has the death of the most-beloved character. That's the absolute worst!!!
22.When the epilogue to your book doesn't feature happy ever after with children or a pregnancy! I'm sorry but that's definitely part of the fantasy to me. I love children.
23.When the author sets you up to love a secondary character like they're going to get their own story and then kills them off or makes them evil so you don't want to read their story anyway.
24.When the hero and heroine break up in the middle of the book and sleep with other characters! Makes for instant wall-banger.
25.When the hero/heroine doesn't believe in the hero/heroine and they turn away from the character and believe everyone else. Especially when they should know the character better then that.
26.When the plain Jane or plump character gets a makeover or loses weight and then the hero notices her! I hate that!
27.When you buy a book and it turns out that it's paranormal and you really didn't want to read a paranormal book.
28.Anything with a heroine/hero who is a practicing witch.
29.Buried New Age elements in a storyline. Sorry I hate that stuff!
30.When one of the characters never says I love you, or they do something really awful but don't apologize adequately for it.
31.When the sheltered, virginal heroine decides to sleep with the hero just to know what sex is about without any concerns for propriety, accidental pregnancy or respect of her chastity and then refuses the susequent marriage offer.
32.When the hero tries to make the heroine his mistress because marrying her is out of the question when it really isn't.
33.When the hero/heroine doesn't respect the hero/heroines dreams or beliefs and forces them to conform to their image or expectations. That's so not right!
34.Shallow hero or heroine who doesn't grow or change for the better.
35.Slave-owners who are cast as the hero and heroine who blithely own human beings and don't realize the inherent wrongness of it.
I think that's most of my pet peeves...

Sunday, June 06, 2004

You know I ought to be better about editing my blogs because I realized that I listed the wrong book by Jill Gregory as most disappointing read, which I later decided was superceded by Out of Sight by Cherry Adair. It was actually Cold Night, Warm Stranger. D-Oh!!

My Desert Island Books
1.The Shadow and The Star by Laura Kinsale
2.Seize the Fire by Laura Kinsale
3.Rules of Engagement by Christina Dodd
4.A Well-Pleasured Lady by Christina Dodd
5.Lone Rider by Lauren Bach
6.The Mercenary by Cherry Adair
7.Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
8.The Texan's Wager by Jodi Thomas
9.Night Fever by Susan Kyle (Diana Palmer)
10.The Last Mercenary by Diana Palmer
11.Enamored by Diana Palmer
12.Born in Sin by Kinley MacGregor
13.Taming the Scotsman by Kinley MacGregor
14.Dance With The Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon
15.Mackenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard
16.Night Shadow by Laura Renken
17.My Lord Pirate by Laura Renken
18.Forbidden by Jo Beverley
19.Perils Of The Heart by Jennifer Ashley
20.A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey
21.Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
22.Angels Wings by Anne Stuart
23.Ritual Sins by Anne Stuart
24.Lord of Danger by Anne Stuart
25.A Rose at Midnight by Anne Stuart
26.The Soldier and The Baby by Anne Stuart
27.Ice Station by Matt Reilly
28.The Lunatic Cafe by Laurell K. Hamilton
29.Annie's Song by Catherine Anderson
30.Baby Love by Catherine Anderson
31.All Through The Night by Connie Brockway
32.A Dangerous Man by Connie Brockway
33.Never Love a Cowboy by Lorraine Heath
34.Iguana Bay by Theresa Weir
35.The Princess by Jude Deveraux
36.The Awakening by Jude Deveraux
37.Sweet Liar by Jude Deveraux
38.The Proposition by Judith Ivory
39.For the Roses by Julie Garwood
40.The Charm School by Susan Wiggs
41.My Darling Caroline by Adele Ashworth
42.Velvet Angel by Jude Deveraux
43.Vows Made In Wine by Susan Wiggs
44.Fate by Pamela Leigh Starr
45.Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann
46.Be Mine by Cait Logan
47.Night Fire by Cait Logan
48.Savage Thunder by Johanna Lindsey
49.Wicked Lies by Laura Renken
50.Kiss And Tell by Cherry Adair
51.Tell Me Lies by Claudia Dain
52.Scandalous by Karen Robards
53.Nobody's Angel by Karen Robards
54.The Baby Bargain by Dallas Schulze
55.One Secret Too Many by Vanessa Grant
56.Kiss An Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
57.Man of Ice by Diana Palmer
58.Connal by Diana Palmer
59.The Duke's Covert Mission by Julie Miller
60.The Patriot by Lynn Michaels
61.Lions and Lace by Meagan McKinney
62.The Merry Widow by Meagan McKinney
63.Until Dawn Tames the Night by Meagan McKinney
64.Master of Desire by Kinley MacGregor
65.The Arrangement by Lyn Stone
66.Angel by Johanna Lindsey
67.The Wicked Truth by Lyn Stone
68.Fire and Rain by Elizabeth Lowell
69.Only Mine by Elizabeth Lowell
70.Courting Miss Hattie by Pamela Morsi
71.The Winter Soldier by Diana Palmer
72.Mischief by Laura Parker
73.Secrets and Lies by Maggie Shayne
74.The Price of Innocence by Susan Sizemore
75.Special Gifts by Anne Stuart
76.Notorious by Katherine Sutcliffe
77.Shadow Play by Katherine Sutcliffe
78.When Venus Fell by Deborah Smith
79.Rafe's Revenge by Anne Stuart
80.Shadow Dance by Anne Stuart
81.Lazarus Rising by Anne Stuart
82.Rancho Diablo by Anne Stuart
83.Glass Houses by Anne Stuart
84.Brave the Wild Wind by Johanna Lindsey
85.Watchers by Dean R. Koontz
86.Again The Magic by Lisa Kleypas
87.Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas
88.Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas
89.After the Kiss by Joan Johnston
90.Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
91.Delaney's Desert Sheik by Brenda Jackson
92.Fire and Desire by Brenda Jackson
93.Indiscretion by Jillian Hunter
94.Mistress of the Groom by Susan Napier
95.Reckless Conduct by Susan Napier
96.One Night With His Wife by Lynne Graham
97.Indecent Deception by Lynne Graham
98.Bittersweet Passion by Lynne Graham
99.Tallie's Knight by Anne Gracie
100.Lost in Your Arms by Christina Dodd

A hard list to make...But along with my Bible I think I would be good on a desert island with these books.


Saturday, June 05, 2004

I thought I'd take a page from the AAR (All About Romance) site and give you a short overview of my romance reading tastes.

Favorite Romance: Seize the Fire by Laura Kinsale
Favorite Romance Author:
Anne Stuart
Christina Dodd
Favorite Funny: Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Most-Hanky Read: tie between Never Love a Cowboy by Lorraine Heath and Dance With The Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Most Luscious Love Story: Anything by Lisa Kleypas
Most Tortured Hero: Zarek from Dance With the Devil
Feistiest Heroine: Jessica Trent from Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Favorite Hero: three way tie between Samuel Gerard from The Shadow and The Star, Zarek from Dance With The Devil and Carter McKoy from The Texan's Wager
Favorite Heroine: Jessica Trent from Lord of Scoundrels
Favorite Couple: tie between Jessica Trent and Sebastian Ballister from Lord of Scoundrels and Bailee and Carter McKoy from The Texan's Wager
Favorite Family: The Drakes by Laura Renken
Most Annoying Hero or Heroine: The hero from The Velvet Promise by Jude Deveraux. I hated him so much that it's the only JD book I actually gave away. What a total bastard (pardon my French)
Best Discovery/Buried Treasure: Jodi Thomas
Your Biggest Glom: Lisa Kleypas
Best Villain: Daniel De Ribard in Rightfully His by Tracy Grant. What a manipulative, amoral scumbag.
Favorite Medieval: Born in Sin by Kinley MacGregor
Favorite Regency: Tallie's Knight by Anne Gracie
Favorite European Historical: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
Favorite American/Western Historical Romance: The Texan's Wager by Jodi Thomas
Favorite Contemporary Romance: Some Girls Do by Leanne Banks
Favorite Series Romance: The Soldier and The Baby by Anne Stuart
Favorite Romantic Suspense: Ritual Sins by Anne Stuart
Favorite Other Romance: Dance With The Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Author You Gave Up On: Catherine Coulter
Author Others Love That You Don't: Nora Roberts
Most Disappointing Read: Out of Sight by Cherry Adair
Worst Read: I can't really say right now
Most Purple Prose: Sinful Secrets by Thea Devine