Posts tagged ‘Jennifer Crusie’

It’s Your Last Chance…But Not to Dance

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon and I am sitting around in my p.j’s and bathrobe staring at my computer screen.  I know I should feel pathetic, but really, I don’t.  I’ve just finished all my work for my senior year of college.  I am done.  I am graduating.  In a week.  To leave the ivy covered walls of Higher Institution behind for a cramped single in the middle of NYC for Columbia Publishing Program assuming they got my deposit check which I am now worried about…

Now that I am done with the million papers that I had to write in order to graduate–Voodoo, slasher films, stories about being born again and my father–I have time to think about the epicness that is about to happen: Senior Week.  A week of drinking.  I mean a week of partying before graduation. I mean a week of solemn contemplation about what it means to be a graduate and leaving behind youth for responsibility. Sure.  But mainly, I am thinking about a tradition at my college: Last Chance Dance.

My future...

Oh the Last Chance Dance.  Basically, senior year you submit a list. A list of names. Of people. Of people in your year, who you didn’t hook-up with a underclassman but would really like to.  And then the school takes your list and cross-references it with other people’s list to pair people up for a last hook-up. It’s kinda of like a bucket list of guys or girls that you want cross off the ol’ to do list.  So while technically it’s a “last change dance,” it’s more of a “last chance to play tonsil hockey with that cutie from your dorm sophomore year.”

Is anyone else hearing vibes of fairy tales here? I mean there’s a dance….pretty much a ball.  A matchmaking school…pretty much your fairy godmother.  And there’s a time limit…you graduate the next day–aka turn into a pumpkin…pretty much the tale of Cinderella.  Oh yeah.  This is going to be good.

Problem? My list is non-existent.  I know I’ve had four years to think about it, but I procrastinated and then exams came and now my Last Chance list is due, and I don’t know what to do!  I’m like an unprepared Cinderella.  Thankfully, I have a team of mice ready to make this night a night to remember.  And by “mice” I mean my dearest friends! We’ve decided to all swap lists and fill each other’s out…here’s to hoping my prince doesn’t turn into a frog.

Romance Connection! Ironically enough, my upcoming reviews for RT BOOKREVIEWS is a sexy Cinderella story.  Perfect timing to get me prepared for my Last Chance Dance. But for those of you who’re feeling in a romantic fairy tale mood like me but aren’t getting an advanced copies in the mail, here are some other romance suggestions that will inspire your own Cinderella story!

What about you romance read? Have a favorite Cinderella story not mentioned here? Send me some suggestions!


May 12, 2011 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

It was Cute to Meet you!

I love a good “meet-cute.”  And I’m not talking about that time some random dude ogled me on a New York City street, leering, while saying, “Hey gurl, you kinda cute! Whaz yur name.”  Yes, it was a meeting, and yes, cute was mentioned, but that was not a meet-cute.

No, when I say “meet-cute,” I’m talking about that moment in romances and RomComs.  You know the kind.  When your two characters meet for the first time and sparks fly, fireworks boom, love blossoms, and you just know that they are going to fall into crazy, passionate, intense love.  Le sigh.

That random, zany, completely unscheduled moment? That is the “meet-cute.”  Not some guy on a street corner with a leer.

A great meet-cute can set the entire tone of the book.  It can be sappy, funny, spunky, passionate, zany, and too cute for words.  But regardless, a good meet-cute really gets me interested in my hero and heroine.  I can be ADD and slow to meet, slow to love, slow to cute, does not cut it for me all the time.  Sometimes, I just need an exciting “Capture My Attention” meeting, and the meet-cute gives that to me!

Now…a fun quiz time! Apparently, my cute-meet moments fall into the creepy category–just a little–but what about you? How will you meet your beau?

How Will You Meet Your Cutie?

1. It’s a typical Saturday. Thank God! You’re going to…

A. Ah, just the normal. Chill out, maybe get some coffee, buy a new book. A calm Saturday.

B. Who knows? Why plan when you can just DO!

C. Sleep. That g*# freakin D*@! neighbour ruined my beauty sleep last night with his loud car and disregard for anyone else!

D. You really don’t want to know…just in case the police ask any questions.

2. Man Candy at 3 o’clock. Peeking over you see…

A. A Duke! Nom Nom. So proper, so romantic. I just want to rip that . . .

B. Sex in a sports car. Tall, dark, and athletic. He’s the key to my ignition.

C. Shit. It’s that neighbour. He looks like a f*cking hobo. Has he ever seen a razor or a shower?

D. I can’t really tell…it’s hard to see…

3. Okay, don’t look now but Mr. Cutie is coming over. You…

A. Blush prettily and send him an enticing smile. Reel that big fish in honey!

B. Send him a smolder. You need a little good luck.

C. Glare.  Then proceed to chew him out for his rude and unneighbourly behavior!

D. Attack him with your mouth. YES!

If You Said All A’s:

Well hello, Ms. Traditional.  You are pretty much the epitome of the meet-cute: romantic, sweet, and almost possible.  Like Anna in the super sweet Anna and the Duke by Kathryn Smith, you’ll meet your cutie in a bookstore. Where in a moment of serendipity, both you and that hot duke will reach for the last book of poetry thus prompting you to share a soft, awww-worthy romantic moment. Well done!

If You Said All B’s”

Sup, Ms. Adventure. You don’t have a plan and never will.  A free spirit, you are the adventurous/comedy meet-cute: spunky, funny, and completely random! Like Blue Bailey in Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, you’ll meet that hunk-a-hunk-a burning love while randomly wandering down the side of a rural road dressed in a beaver costume.  Just go with that flow…you wont regret it. Yum!

If You Said All C’s:

Please don’t hurt me, Ms. Passionate. You are terrifying intense and spirited. With your fiery, take no prisoners attitude, you are the passionate meet-cute: confrontational yet meant for each other! Like Jaine Bright in Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard, you’ll meet that hottie cop, yell at him, and then rip his shirt off. Go get ‘im!

If You Said All D’s:

Pssss, Ms. Felon. Controlled and a little illegal, you are the random, crime-comedy meet-cute: funny, zany, and completely in the dark.  Like Tilda Goodnight in Faking It by Jennifer Crusie, you’ll meet your love trapped in a closet, as you attempt to steal a painting, before you get distracted from your mission by his scorching kisses. Gotta love those closet meetings!

So there you go my dearest friends! I give you the way to finally Meet Your Cutie!

Romantic Question: Do you have a favourite meet-cute moment from a book or film?

May 6, 2011 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

Confessions of a Wannabe Cougar

Hello, my name is Lizzie, and I am currently formulating a plan to become a Cougar.

Not quite there!

I know what you’re saying, it’s probably the same thing my mother has been trying to tell me: “Lizzie, you’re 22 years-old.  You can’t be a cougar.  It would be illegal.”  Okay, yes.  That is a valid point.  But I’m not talking about just any random predatory female. I’m formulating a plan to become the most elusive form: the College Cougar.

Senior year brings many things: mounds of papers, seminars that make you cry, nights of semi-excessive drinking, boatloads of worry about The Future.  But for the females at my college, senior year brings a curse.  A curse and a label: College Cougars (technically, we are called [Insert Name of College Here] Cougars, but for the sake of anonymity, I shall stick with College Cougars in this post).  Oh the College Cougar. An elusive creature, the CC only comes out at night, hunting for prey, younger prey, on college campuses across the United States.  There’s been quite a bit of press concerning the Cougar in society: older woman, younger man.  But rarely do you think of the term cougar applying to college students.  Demi Moore? Yes. Definite Cougar.  Little ol’ Lizzie? No way!  As I said before, I’m much too young.

But see on my campus, well, it’s slim pickins for a underclassman in the Love Department.  What can I say, it’s a small school.  But once you get to senior year?  Really what are your options? You’re at the top of the ladder.  Senior boys are dating freshman girls.  We don’t have a graduate school, so there goes anyone else.  What’s a girl to do?  Easy. Date a younger boy.  Hence the College Cougar.  It’s a curse like lycanthropy.  We can’t really escape it.

Now, of my friend group, four have dated or are dating younger men.  Initially, I was like, “Okay, live and let live.”  But recently everything changed.  My roommate has decided to make our apartment group shirts.  Epic T-Shirts of awesome.  Problem? She wants them to say Entering Cougarville.  Not cool cause as I’ve yet to make my entrance into the world of Cougar-ness.  I DONT GET A T-SHIRT.  Hence my newest quest: date a younger man.

I think my best course of action is honesty.  Approach the prey, say “Hey, I want a T-shirt, go to a movie with me?” And take it from there.  I have it on good authority that to become a CC, I just need one date with a younger man–isn’t it funny how labels can stick?  Sigh.  I think it would just be easier if we changed the T-Shirt slogan, but my roomie isn’t budging and she hates me.  Okay, not really, but she’s a bit evil. So there you go dearest friends. My confession.

Romance Connection?

While Cougars are not exactly popular in romance novels, they do pop up from time to time! So if you are like me and looking to get a super awesome cougar shirt, you’d better study up by reading on of these lovely romances!

    • Transported back to the Regency period, surrounded by those hunky younger lords? Take your cues from a steamy historical romance:
    • Modern day gal like me? Your guide-book is a contemporary romance:
    • Find yourself in dangerous waters with a younger hottie?  Try an exciting romantic suspense:
    • Fall through a magical time ring and involved in an epic saga during the Jacobite Revolt? This is your book:

There you go! I hope you enjoy a little Cougar-ness in your life.

April 13, 2011 at 1:55 pm 4 comments

Green Is the New Blond: Seeing Romance Plots in Everyday

A few weeks ago, my friend Ria’s mother came up to visit.  Over the typical “getting to know you” brunch–involving the our favorite local diner, made-to-order donuts, and hashbrown casserole so good it makes you sigh–she asked me that dreaded senior year question: “what do you wanted to do after college.”  Eick.  Over the past year I have been getting that question a whole lot.  So after a while, my answer has gotten pretty automatic. “Oh, I want to work with romance novels.”

Now, instead of giving me that look–the one that says “and here I though you were a smart young woman”–and replying with the polite equivalent of “what’s a girl like you doing with a book like that,” she calmly replies, “Oh! I have a close friend who loves romances.”  Wait. what?!?  Where was the double take? The embarrassed laugh? The questioning look?  Did she just calmly accept what has taken me and my parents years to come to terms with? We still haven’t told family members that the book magazine I interned with over the summer was formerly Romantic Times. Woah.

You are green with envy at the awesome wig, I know

Okay, so yeah, Ria’s mom was refreshingly non-judgmental about my ambitious goals, but on a whole, it was just a small blip in the craziness that was midterm week.  She left shortly after that brunch and I moved on to the deadlines and papers and exams.  Then a week later, I get a facebook notification.  “Ria’s Mom has commented on your profile picture.”  Interesting.  I mean honestly it is an epic pic of me in an awesome green wig in honor of the St. Patty’s day celebration a school.  But still I didn’t exactly expect her to comment on it.  Just one line. She asked, “Do heroines in romance novels typically have green hair.”  And I started to think…hmmm…have I ever encounter one with green hair? Let me think before I post a hasty “nope, not normally.” Let me see…

Yup.  Jennifer Crusie, Getting Rid of Bradley.  The heroine accidentally dyed her hair a nice mossy green. Bam! Under a minute. Connection made. Book secured. Success!

So I quickly go start typing a response comment in the little comment box, all the while thinking, “Wow, who would have thought that there would even be a character with green hair much less that I would know who she is?”  So there I am patting myself on the back for a connection well-done, when I realized: I could be that character.  She had green hair.  I had green hair.  She loves dogs.  I love dogs.  She loves a cop.  I love all cops. OMG! The same?  Well, not quite, but still.  It got me onto this path.

See, people ask me all the time what I like about romance, and I reply the passion.  I love the build up, the emotions, the crazy screwed up interesting characters who are sometimes so real I mentally continue their stories through mind fanfiction–as in I mentally not physically continual their stories in my own fictional tales.  Try reading Christine Feehan’s Dark Series and just try not to write your own mental fan ode to her sexy Carpathians.  Oh, those sexy hunky men. So Alpha. Yum.

Such a stud muffin

But the whole “green” hair incident made me realize the main reason that I love romance novels:  no matter where you are in life or what you are doing, you can relate to some element in them.  I can see myself in the heroines.  My crazy stories match their crazy stories! (Heavenly music!) Ok so sure, I am not a psychic woman who finds herself the lifemate of a sexy 1,000 year old Carpathian.  And yes, I am not really, a green-haired woman with a terrible ex and a super sexy cop popping up in her life–if only–but as I hope this blog has demonstrated, these stories still have aspects that connect to my life in the most random of ways.

Linda Howard loves strangers….strangers love me.  Category romances deal with the “accidental” date/marriage….I never know when I am on a date. Jennifer Crusie calls men muffins/donuts…I compare men to cakes/cupcakes. People fall in love and get concussions….my friend has “love concussions.” I sleepwalk….one of my favorite heroine sleepwalks. Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ character sets a lot by lists…I can list until the cows come home.  My life and romance novels go hand-in-hand, and no matter where I am in my life, I can always find something to relate to in the genre I love the most.  Sure the sex is nice, but the passion, the romance, the off-the-wall plots, those are the things that keep me coming back.

So dearest reader, do you agree?  Why do you read the romances? Or why don’t you read romances? Is it all about the sex, or do you find aspects of yourself in the characters?  Do you find connections between your life and the lives of your favorite heroes and heroines?  I certainly do, but then again, I have been told often enough that I can be a bit strange!

April 3, 2011 at 2:59 am 3 comments

Steaming Up Spring Break: Some Suggestions!

I am faced with a lovely 13 hour drive in the car tomorrow about to embark on my last spring break. EVER.  Well, probably for a long time unless I end up working in education.  I think adults call “spring break” vacation or something odd like that.  But anyway, in honor of my final foray into irresponsible, youthful vacays, I am dedicating this post to spring break reads…and some spring break romance suggestions.  I’ve got my kindle all packed–with wonderful romances that is–and don’t you want to know what made the cut? As I said before, I love me some lists.  So here it goes:

Whatcha Readin? Lizzie’s Epic Plans for Poolside Reads:

Damanding title no?

1. Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  Finally, after waiting for months, I have the time to pick up SEP’s newest release.  For those of you who are SEP fans, Call Me is Teddy Beaudine and Meg Koranda’s story.  Those names sound familiar?Think back…coming to you yet? If you said, “Wait, aren’t Ted and Meg the children some of our former SEP favorite characters?!?” Yes! They are.  Let’s see if their story is as good as their respective parents’ 🙂

2. The Perfect Mistress by Victoria Alexander.  This spring break, I am taking chances on some new authors for me and stories. A spicy Regency period historical, this book sounds charming, funny, a little spooky, and undeniably sexy, as it follows Lady Julia Winterset and Harrison Landingham, Earl of Mountdale.  Come on–who doesn’t want a little historical seduction to go along with their spring break?

3. His Heir, Her Honor by Catherine Mann.  I am not typically a HUGE fan of category/series books that deal with the whole “having a baby” theme.  I don’t know.  They don’t usually apply to my life or where I am right now.  Goodness.  College student + babies +pregnancy = scary as shit.  But I LOVE the title. Plus, maybe I need to expand my horizons and all that…

Past Readings? Lizzie’s Epic Former Poolside Reads:

1. Anything by Jennifer Crusie.  I know, I know.  Y’all are tired of me going on and on about Crusie.  But…I first discovered her on spring break, so I cannot not suggest her as a spring break read.  Plus.  Her books are so funny and sunny and the perfect reads for a lazy afternoon by the pool.  Go with a class like Welcome to Temptation or her newest Maybe This Time. You’ll fall in love–assuming you are not a robot.

Fairytales never mentioned the dangers of becoming a swan


2. Iris Johansen.  Another great spring break read.  Her romantic suspense stories are spooky, edge of your seat, and completely engaging.  Just what you need on a relaxed vacation.  A little spice and danger.  I really love The Ugly Duckling and The Face of Deception.  Only bit of advice–before starting one of the Eve Duncan stories–like her newest release–pick up Face of Deception.  It gives you the background and really will make the whole experience so much clearer.

3. Ransom by Julie Garwood.  A clear, fun, passionate, and suspenseful medieval romance.  Two things make Garwood’s book epic–in my opinion at least–the dialogue, which is witty, clever, and very realistic, and the characters who are more than one-sided stereotypes.  Sure the hero is a hunky, warrior, laird Alpha male who is a little cynical, but he is also protective, understanding, and too sexy for words.  Plus, Gillian the heroine is not TSTL (Too Stupid to Live), which is always really nice in my books.

4. Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh.  A clever, sexy urban fantasy, this book is wonderfully written and really the hero Raphael?  He is simply angelic–note: he is actually an angel.  The first book in Singh’s Guild Hunter series, the book takes place in a world where angels and vampires are out in the open.  Some danger, some hott sex, some good reads.  Perfect for the beach–cause you just might need the ocean to cool off after this one 😉

So there you go my dearest friends.  Some books I hope turn out to be great, and some books that I personally think are worth multiple reads.  Trust me dearest friend, if you are looking for something to spice up your spring break and really get you warm, take a look at some of these books and bon voyage!

March 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm Leave a comment

Just dessert, Please! Cupcakes, Cookies, and Men.

My friend–let’s call her Sarah–recently turned to me and said, “Your next post should be about men and how they are like nuclear power–useful but damn hard to get rid of.”  Going by Sarah’s past experiences, I would have to say that the analogy certainly works.  Some of her former boyfriends have been very nuclear.  They start off all great and powerful and well…as she said…useful…but then BAM, something happens–a break-up, a fight, etc–and they become completely unstable.  One guy literally called her every day for a month after they broke up. So, yeah, for Sarah men are like nuclear power.  They are tricky, sensitive, and hard to dispose of properly.


Sweet, Firty, and Fun--The Cupcake

But I like to take a little more positive view of the opposite sex–if we are the “fairer” does that make them the “fouler”–anyway back on track…to me, men are not like nuclear power: men are like desserts.  Now, get your dirty little mind out of the gutter dearest.  I don’t mean the analogy like that and no jokes about “eating” them.  Seriously.  What I mean is there are a variety of lovely, not so lovely, and slightly odd men out there, just like desserts.

When we were in high school, my friend Gabi and I had a secret code.  When we saw someone we liked, when we met a new guy, when we were attracted to someone, we would rank them by their dessert type.  Over break this winter, Gabi and I sat eating cupcakes at a local bakery.  “So,” she says to me, “any cakes lately? Or cookies?” Laughing, I joke back that actually I had my eye on a really nice organic cookie, filled with wholesome bran and natural sweeteners, but didn’t think it was going to last. Gabi gives me an incredulous look and says, “An organic cookie? As in natural?!?” After all, I am typically a sprinkles kind of gal.

See, some men are cupcakes.  These are the really sweet guys, usually cute, not drop dead handsome, but cute.  The cupcakes are fun, flirty, but stable.  In many ways, a cupcake is the perfect dessert.  It’s not too much to handle, but a right fit.  I love cupcakes.  Some men are cakes.  These are those oh-so-gorgeous men you see on the subway or in your office.  The cakes are great–the epitome of everything you could ever want in a guy–but the cakes can be a bit too much.  A bit overwhelming, and sometimes, a bit too good to be true.  After all, you really can’t keep a cake all to yourself or it goes stale.  And finally, some men are cookies.  They are sweet, nice, good.  These are the guys that are the most stable.  The everyday guys.  I think most people end up with cookies because, really, cookies are easygoing and always around.

So on that winter afternoon, Gabi and I talked organic cookies, about how they were good for you, how they made you feel good about yourself when you had one, how they can be sweet but also really solid and dependable.  We talked about how odd it was for me to be interested in an organic cookie–after all they are close to nature and really quite different from my typical favorites of Heath Bar Cookies or cupcakes.  And while we discussed the pros and cons of these desserts, we were really talking about guys.

Muffins and Men

A bit immature, I know, but when you go to a gossip filled high school consisting of about 60 kids per grade–sometimes, a bit of code is exactly what you need.  Now, when Gabi calls me up, despite being a way out of high school, we have gotten into the habit of talking desserts.  Its a system we both understand.

And one I think Jennifer Crusie understands as well.  In her book Faking It–a hilarious, LOL-worthy contemporary romance–she compares men to muffins and cookies, saying, “Muffins are for the long haul and they always taste good. They don’t have that oh-my-God-I-have-to-have-that thing that the doughnuts have going for them, but you still want them the next morning.”  And I would have to say: Gabi and I certainly agree.  Therefore, in honor of spring break, the lovely Ms. Crusie, and my last post on funny contemp romances–dear friends, pick up Faking It. It’s worth it just for the muffin analogy.

Cupcakes, cookies, cakes–even pies, torts, and bonbons.  Which do you prefer?  Do you have a different classification than me, dearest friend? And remember if you ever hear me talking about a lovely earl grey cupcake:  it may be more than just dessert!

March 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm 6 comments

Suggest Me Something: LUIP or “Laugh Until I Pee” Romances

A new week. A new suggestion. This week in honor of my upcoming SPRING BREAK–thank you God by the way–I am going to suggest one of my favorite subgenres in romance: the pee-in-your-pants-it’s-so-funny contemporary romance or as I like to simplify it: The LUIPs or Laugh Until I Pee romance novels.

Trust me, the expience is way better than it sounds.

In contemporary romances–romances which take place in modern times–there are quite a few authors who write witty, funny, lol-worthy books. These books I term LUIPs. They are usally a little quirky, some are slightly suspenseful, but all of them are the book equivalent of a really good romantic comedy.

So as I said, Spring Break’s a comin, and my friend Amanda and I were taking a break from our hellish midterm studying at the local 24 hour coffeeshop, discussing our plans for beach vacations and warmer weather, when she turns to me and goes: “So what should I read?” Obviously, Amanda has not been reading my blog, but because we are friends and I love any opportunity to talk romances, I happily suggest one of my favorite authors: Jennifer Crusie.

Jennifer Crusie's Manhunting

My dream life....

Oh man, I love that woman. I have a serious girl crush on her. She is witty, clever, funny, smart. Her characters are great, sexy, complicated and completely kooky. Oh, Jennifer Crusie. How I wish you would write the story of my life. Sigh. Jennifer Crusie can almost literally make me laugh until I pee, as TMI as that may be.

I read my first Jenny Crusie book over spring break when I was fourteen. It was Bet Mea lovely story filled with laughs and Krispy Kremes. Some of my other favs include: Welcome to Temptation, Manhunting, and Faking It. Therefore, in honor of Spring Break, Amanda, and my idol: I suggest the LUIP romances to you my dear reader. Some other classic authors:

All of these authors have at one point in time made me literally laugh out loud in some embarrassingly public place–trains, plains, once even church. So for all of you going to the beach, pool, or even just to relax at home for Spring Break–you really can’t go wrong with any one of them.

May your pants stay dry but your laughter flow free.

March 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm 2 comments

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