Posts tagged ‘love’

Loving Lisa: Three Reasons to Read Lisa Kleypas

I’ve been busy. Super busy. Sure I’ve been doing productive things that deal with productive details and result in productive business. But the real reason I’ve failed to post anything in FOREVER can be summed up in two words: Lisa Kleypas.

She’s addicting. Terrible, terrible woman. And by terrible I mean awesome. See, I’ve read the lovely Ms. Kleypas’ books before, but to my everlasting shame, up until this last week, I’ve only read her contemporary romances. Bad Lizzie! Oh no, see Kleypas’ real talent is for the historical–that random time period between Regency and Victorian. And man are those books good reads. So after devouring her Wallflower and Hathaways series–a total of nine books–here is my List of Lisa, three BIG reasons why Lisa Kleypas is an author to read and a paragon of romance-hood.

1. Her unexpected heroes!

In a world filled with dukes and earls and viscounts, Kleypas’ heroes are bold, unconventional, and sexy as hell because of it. Out of nine heroes, only 3.5 of them are titled nobility (one is a second son who becomes titled so he only partially counts). I know right? Dukes are like the bread and butter of this genre, and Kleypas instead choses to write about Gypsies, Americans, and self-made men. Thank god.

2. Her nicely flawed heroines!

She’s smart and pretty and accomplished and rich and dazzling and perfect and blah, blah, blah. Sometimes I want to attach romance heroines with a spork. They are just too perfect it makes my teeth hurt. Thankfully, Kleypas’ heroines are nicely grounded and likable. They don’t faint, swoon, giggle excessively, nor do they rush into danger, lack the ability to reason, or live the lives of virginal femme fatals. Evie has a stutter. Daisy is vertically challenged. Poppy is just fun. Readers will actually like these heroine!

3. The sex!

Nicely done. Not gonna lie. But more than the actual love scenes in these books, I really liked how Kleypas handles them. All of the characters involved realize the scandal of being compromised–aka having sex before marriage–and how disastrous it can be. So guess what? Most of them wait for the bonds of matrimony, which some people might claim is not sexy at all, but it really is, mainly because it’s the two of them learning to live and love after the clichéd “happy ending.” In Tempt Me at Twilight, she actually writes, “The London season is like one of those Drury Lane melodramas in which marriage is always the ending. And no one ever seems to give any thought as to what happens after. But marriage isn’t the end of the story it’s the beginning. And it demands the efforts of both partners to make a success of it.” Kleypas shows us those stories. And they are funny, dangerous, and sexy as hell.


October 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm 3 comments

A Softer Side of Romance

I am currently obsessed with a new show, and I’ll admit, it is a little shameful, but sometimes you have to have a guilty pleasure that you watch in your room, on your laptop, where no one can see you. And then you blog about it. See Oxygen, a completely random poppier and fluffier version of Lifetime, has this new show, The Glee Project, which is a reality show for the next Glee star.  I know. Really? How much can you milk Glee for before everything goes dry…because one TV show, touring concerts, and now a 3D movie? Those things just aren’t enough. You need a reality show. Duh.

But, back on track. See on TGP (The Glee Project), there’s this contestant, Cameron, and I think he is just dreamy. Too precious. Cute, great voice, hipster style, Christian extraordinaire.

And I have been a HUGE Cameron fan since Day 1. Literally. He was my fav. And then he was asked to kiss a girl and things started to spiral down hill from there.  Oh poor baby. Kissing can be scary. What if she had bad breath? What if she was a succubus? What if by kissing Hannah, he was thrown into a counter fairytale universe where he became a new Sleeping Beauty and the world ends? What then?!?

So Cameron, being a sensible young man, did what any ambitious contestant on a reality show would do. He quit. Because he was asked to kiss someone. And I just have to say: Bad Cameron, bad! Where does that leave me, the secret viewer with a voice crush on you? Huh? Huh?

But in Cameron’s defense…you can have love without the smut. Which made me think of two things: the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting which is not relevant to this blog at all, and one of my favorite types of romance: the Inspirational Fiction romance.

Yes, there are Christian romances.  People don’t tend to believe me when I tell them this.  They think, “Sex? Jesus? Romance? What?” But no. Misconception #1: Not all romances are smutty.  They are not porn thank you very much. They are love driven plots that can typically–but not always–include expressions of physical passion. Jeez. And Christian readers love love too.  It’s kinda a tenant of their faith. Love. So of course they have love stories. Read the Song of Songs.

Love. It can be sweet and nice and it doesn’t have to be all physical. So here’s to you all you Christian love stories! Keeping romance alive in a softer way! And if you want more inspiration try Courting Trouble by Deanne Gist. It’s cute, sweet, romantic, and about a spirited 30-year-old looking for love in the 19th century.  I loved it. I also didn’t realize it was inspirational until I was in over half way. Always a good sign!

Romantic Question: What do you think about inspiring love? Do you think Inspirational fiction can mainstream, or are you like Cameron and not see the two worlds merging?

August 5, 2011 at 12:08 am 5 comments

That Might Be A Problem…

I’m a mildly possessive person in my personal life. I think it may be because I’m a middle child, but I really like my things to stay mine. That book? Sure, I don’t have a problem with you looking at it…reading it…borrowing it. But I will want it back. Mine. The same applies for relationships. That boyfriend? Bitch, please. Back up right now. Maybe I should work on that…

But that said, I am not very good with romances that involve mistresses, the other woman, sharing. There are exceptions…like in Iris Johansen’s early romance Wind Dancer.  I love that book.  So emotional and passionate and compelling. I mean the hero in that book is just way intense, but spoilers: he’s married. And I just had to deal with that little roadblock in the great relationship that is our couple’s epic love. However, I am not usually so cool with the idea that our heroine has to share the love of her life with some other woman. It makes me a little angry.  I don’t necessarily like to share, so why should my heroine?

Which is why I really related to the heroine in my latest review for RT BOOKREVIEWS. Oh yeah, Geneen and I had a lot in common in that regard. Birds of a feather. Mildly judgmental…but in a supportive and nice way? Check. Completely possessive of our love? Check. Often accused of not “thinking with our hearts”–which makes no sense at all FYI–and being a little too “rational” when it comes to relationships–like that’s really so terrible? Check.

Yup, Genny and I match. And if you’re thinking, “Hmmm. That sounds like me!” Then check out my review of The King’s Mistress by Sandy Blair (Samhain) out now!

August 3, 2011 at 12:04 am Leave a comment

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

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

Love Concussions: A Pondering

My friend recently explained to me that she has roughly “1.4 love concussions” a year.  What may I ask is a “love concussion?”  Is that a carry over from the good ol’ days when cavemen would bang their lady friends over the head and then drag them back to the lair?  Cause love concussions sounds painful and a little like blunt force trauma.

So apparently:

A concussion is a brain injury that may result in a bad headache, altered levels of alertness, or unconsciousness. It temporarily interferes with the way your brain works, and it can affect memory, judgment, reflexes, speech

I mean hold on one second.   When you think about it a concussion does sound an awful lot like falling in love.  Love, concussion, love, concussion.  Are they the same thing??? I mean let us break it down a bit.

1. “brain injury“–Yup, got it there. I mean love makes you ignore that big ol’ brain of yours in favor of the heart. And a lot of times it does result in injury.  So yeah. I would say that works.

2. “a bad headache“– Amen. I mean, really, men are often the cause of my headaches.  They are mysteries. Really straightforward mysteries.

3. “altered levels of alertness“–Again. Check.  People are usually a whole lot less alert when it comes to love.  Walking in to poles–my momma, forgetting that plan with that friend–you know who you are friend of mine.  Just little things that happen when you are high on love–or in this case feeling the symptoms.

4. “unconsciousness“–Had to reign in the dirty mind for a second. I will leave this one alone. Bad Lizzie. Bad.

5. “temporarily interferes with the way your brain works, and it can affect memory, judgment, reflexes, speech“-CHECK.  Seriously, check. Who hasn’t been stupid over a guy? I mean sometimes I think all I am is stupid over guys.  Guys make smart girls do some stupid shit generally–and colloquially–speaking.

So it looks like to me as if “love” and “concussions” are pretty much the same thing.  I mean obviously they are not–but the symptoms seem to match and if I were to Web MD my mysterious love-induced ailments, I might just make the connections.  That said, dearest friend, I have a book for you (a series for the series week!): Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense’s Turbulence by Dana Mentink. It deals with love, concussions, and love concussions.  May it help you through this rough time.

March 14, 2011 at 12:34 am 5 comments

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