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25 December 2010

December Top 5: Our Favorite Christmas Shows

At Christmastime, we Broads love to watch Christmas movies and specials.  It puts us in the mood for tinsel and trimmings, and there's nothing like the smiles we get from Ralphie, Miss Piggy, and Opus.  So for our December Top 5, we give you the Christmas shows that make the holiday for us.


Alexandria/Moira

1.  The Year Without A Christmas/A Christmas Story
2.  The Muppet Christmas Carol/It's a Wonderful Life
3.  A Wish For Wings That Work/The Bishop's Wife
4.  Scrooged/White Christmas
5.  National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation/The Muppet Christmas Carol


 

1.  Alexandria:  When I was a child, my favorite Christmas cartoon wasn't Rudolph or Frosty but the one with the Miser Brothers-I'm Mr. Heat Miser; I'm Mr. Sun.  I'm Mr. Heat Miser; I'm Mr. Hundred and One.  I just loved those brothers!  As someone who hates the cold and snow, of course I liked the idea of a green Christmas, but the Freeze Miser was just fantastic too.  Still now, years later, I watch that cartoon and am taken back to when I was just a kid and the special aired each December on CBS. 



Moira:  "My father let out a string of profanity that hangs in a cloud over Lake Michigan to this day...Ralphie's father has always reminded me of my own father in many ways and makes this movie one of my all time favorites.  The narration captured the true excitement, humor, and childhood stress of the buildup to Christmas brilliantly. 




2.  Alexandria:  The Muppet Christmas Carol is my second favorite Christmastime show.  I just love the way this film treats the Dickens' classic.  Michael Caine is fantastic as Scrooge, and the muppets do an incredible job of bringing the story to life in a way only Jim Henson's muppets could. I've always loved that the Ghost of Christmas Present ends up looking like Santa Claus, and there are so many other parts of the movie I just love, such as when the clerks in Scrooge's counting house turn into islanders and sing "This is my island in the sun!" in response to Scrooge's threat after they complain about how cold it is inside and when Miss Piggy makes the toast to Mr. Scrooge, and their daughters sit on each side of her mimicking her, heads bobbing just like their mom's.  "To Mr. Scrooge...who I'm sure will be very merry indeed." 

Moira:  I first watched It's a Wonderful Life when I was around 10-12 years old, and it has been a favorite since.  It helps to put life in perspective. 

3.  Alexandria:  Not many people I know have even heard about my third favorite, A Wish for Wings That Work.  I remember seeing it only once, and thankfully, I had decided to tape (yeah, VHS days!) a bunch of Christmas specials for my daughter that year. (She's 21, so it's an old tape.)  But I still watch it each year and laugh at the incredibly dry humor of Berkeley Breathed.  Some of you may remember his comic strip, Bloom County (I think that's what it was named.).  From that came this holiday special featuring the penguin Opus and his one wish for some wings that work.  But it's not just Opus who makes this show.  There are Bill the Cat, who Opus explains had his brains replaced by tater tots a while back; Truffles, a pig who is having an identity crises and thinks he's a rhinoceros or a water buffalo; three ducks who act like the Three Stooges; and a host of other characters, including one voiced by Robin Williams, a kiwi whose wife Delores has left him for another bird with bigger wings.  "Oh my Delores!" Enjoy a wonderfully quirky take on the Christmas season!





Moira: The Bishop's Wife is another of my all-time favorites.  Carey Grant and David Niven produce the dry humor I find hysterical all while playing a priest and an angel.  Once again, this is a movie to refocus perspective. 

4.  Alexandria:  Another take on the Dickens' classic comes in at my number four favorite Christmas show.  Scrooged is just a wonderfully modern take on A Christmas Carol, and it never fails to put me in the Christmas spirit.  I like that this, just as A Muppet Christmas Carol and the original Charles Dickens' novel stresses a theme that it's never too late to make the necessary changes in your life to alter your future for the better. 


Moira:  White Christmas-Bing Crosby-Danny Kaye in a musical...what's not to like?


5.  Alexandria:  Rounding out my top 5 is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  To me, this film is a favorite because it covers all the extremes of the holidays:  exterior illumination, family, and neighbors.  What a combination! But ask anyone who's been around a Clark Griswold type at the holidays what this time of year is like and they'll tell you the movie isn't that much an exaggeration.  But for the Clarks of this world, I say even the overzealous deserve happiness and a damn bonus on Christmas! 



Moira:  Michael Caine makes an excellent Scrooge, and muppets have been a favorite of mine since childhood. It's also a musical, making The Muppet Christmas Carol a double winner for this Broad.








From both the Brazen Broads, we wish you a wonderful Christmas and a joyous New Year! 




19 December 2010

Interview with author Katrina LaCroix

We are happy to welcome Katrina LaCroix, author of Loose Lips Sink Ships, to the Brazen Broads Book Bash today.  To read our review of Katrina's darkly humorous book, click here.  

BB:
  Where did the inspiration for Avery Leigh come from?

KL:  I've come to the conclusion that there are far too many sane characters in fiction, and that's a shame because crazy people are the most fun to read about! I just wanted someone who had no inhibitions, no morals, no restraints to keep her from getting what she wants. That's how Avery was born. Looking at her on the page, the most shocking part about her might be how confident she is despite being completely out of her mind.

BB:
  What is your favorite scene from Loose Lips Sink Ships?

KL:  This is a hard question. I can't tell you how many times I laughed thinking some of this stuff up. I do love the sex scene, but I also love the scene when Avery finds out her younger sister is pregnant. Part of me wonders if Lori's master plan would actually work, the same part of me that I have to keep locked in the attic.

BB:  Do you feel more comfortable writing a female or male voice?

KL:  I do have an easier time writing females, though Avery is about as boyish as they come. For the most part though, I let the character's personality and motivation dictate their words and actions, without getting too deep into questions of "is this how a man talks?"

BB:  Do you plan stories out with outlines or just follow where they take you?

KL:  Although most of the time I do a lot of outlining, I didn't do so much with this one. As you pointed out in your review, this story is largely character driven, and so my goal was to have Avery and Carter bumping heads as much as possible. Most of the aspects of the story that don't directly have to do with their relationship came to me while I was writing it. I always say that it takes one brilliant idea to start a great novel and several more to finish it.

BB:  What are you writing now?

KL:  Now that Loose Lips Sinks Ships is out, I'm currently developing my next idea. Right now I've got this idea bubbling up for a more adult version of The Hunger Games, about a future reality TV show called "The 18 Year-Old Virgin" in which a group of hotties is thrown together in a house until there's only one virgin left standing. Is that a good idea? I honestly don't know. It would probably be filthy, and I'll have to wait for Loose Lips Sinks Ships to let me know if people want to read that sort of stuff.

BB:  Where do you like to write?

KL:  For me, it's not so much where I like to write, but the conditions under which I like to write. Perfect silence. No one around. Not drinking or eating anything. A solid couple of hours to myself. That allows me to get in my head and dig around until I find out what's in there. Most of the time I'm just writing at my desk, though I wish I had somewhere more exciting to write. My dream place to write would be at a frat party, though I doubt I'd do a word of writing. Maybe they wouldn't object if I just showed up with my laptop.

BB:  What's your background? 

KL:  I live by myself in New York City, but I'm actually from Western Pennsylvania. It can get pretty rural out there, and so the cool kids would always rent cabins in the middle of nowhere and do unprintable things. I'm lucky I made it to college, where I majored in Sociology. Basically, I got a degree in talking about my feelings.

BB:  Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

KL:  I love to read, and my favorite authors are too numerous to count. Most of them are completely over the edge in some way, William S. Burroughs, Stephen King, Sylvia Plath. Literature is about using these innocent little words to push the edge of what's acceptable.


Thanks so much to Alexandria and Moira at Brazen Broads Book Bash for having me! Loose Lips Sink Ships is available at Amazon.com and BN.com. I hope you like it!

We want to thank Katrina for joining us here, and we encourage everyone who likes a story with a real brazen broad to read her book.  You can contact her at
katrinalacroix@yahoo.com

14 December 2010

Euphemania-Ralph Keyes: Review and Giveaway

A Book About Why We Speak As We Do

We tend to read a lot of fiction here at the Brazen Broads Book Bash, so it's always nice to get our hands on some good nonfiction books almost as a way to cleanse our palettes sometimes.  Ralph Keyes book, Euphemania,  is the perfect mix of informative yet interesting.  In it, he shares the reasons why we use euphemisms so often in our daily speech. 

The main idea behind the book is that euphemisms are used to make the uncomfortable more comfortable.  Therefore, they're very common in discussions about sex.  One anecdote offered in the book refers to Jesse Jackson's threat during the 2008 election in which he stated he wanted to "cut off Barack Obama's nuts."  Keyes explains that the major news organizations struggled with how to report this, using euphemisms such as Jackson wanted to do something to his sensitive areas.  (It escapes the Broads why they couldn't just say Jackson wanted to castrate him.)

Euphemania is quite enjoyable to read and provides the answer to why some of the common phrases in our language have become so popular.  Often humorous, it's a fun read for anyone who appreciates the English language. 

We were provided a copy of Euphemania for review by the publisher Little Brown/Hachette Book Group, and are fortunate to be able to offer a copy to one winner in our giveaway. 

If you want a chance (or more than one) at winning this very interesting book, here's all you have to do:

For one entry, follow us.  (If you already follow us, leave a comment and tell us you're already a follower!)

For another entry, comment beneath this post.

And for five entries, post about this giveaway on your blog and link back to us.  (Just let us know so we can go visit your blog.)

The winner will be announced on Thursday, December 23 and the name will be forwarded to the Hachette Book Group, which will then send the lucky winner a copy.

Good luck!

11 December 2010

Life In The Slow Lane-Thomas M. Sullivan

Tales Of A Part-Time Driving Instructor, Or Personal Manifesto?.........

Life in the Slow Lane is mostly a collection of Thomas Sullivan's high-falutin' ever-so-progressive ideals; ideals which he implies all lower forms of evolved species (a.k.a. conservatives, rednecks, and those bastard capitalists who drive large SUVs) should embrace.  One example of which is found on page 81.....

".....town reeks of boredom and teenage pregnancy.  This is the type of place where people vote for republicans who don't care about them after the elections....... "

Sullivan spends much of the 166 pages of his book staring down the end of his nose, most certainly clad in hemp trousers, a chai tea concoction (in a recycled cup, no doubt) in his left hand while hugging trees and chanting some mantra about saving bacteria from extinction at the hands of greedy mega-corporations and their damned super-antibiotics - all the while certain that readers actually give a damn about his personal political/social views. 

Expecting a collection of laugh-out-loud anecdotes, this Broad was disappointed.  Sullivan's monologue of his lessons with teen aged drivers lacked heart and humor.  To this reader, the short recitations of the day's random events were mere filler between condescending reflections on those unfortunate souls in his path and the wearying discourse of a so-called "enlightened individual".  Oy Vey!

 star

~Moira

Thomas M. Sullivan's book, Life in the Slow Lane, is part daily goings on of a driving instructor written in the first person and in the present tense, and part screed to showcase his political ideas.  The result is a nonfiction book that too often reads like a lecture. 

The beginning of the book is promising, and this Broad had a few chuckles from it.  Sullivan's pursuit of a part time career in driver's ed is amusing at first.  I have to admit that the present tense format was unappealing to me from the very beginning, but as a writer myself, I allow for the creative choices of others. However, the problems begin before the first half of the book is finished.  Just as Moira had issues with his political stance seeping into the narrative, so did I.  Lines such as this on page 64 when Sullivan is discussing seeing a homeless man on the off ramp can be found throughout the book:  "The money for one botched nose job could house and feed this guy for a month."   While this may be true, I immediately ask, "What did you do to help this poor, lost soul, Mr. Sullivan?"  Or the one on page 76, which alludes to his belief that parents are incapable of teaching their children to drive: "This is one reason why I avoid driving in rural areas.  I don't feel safe when a kid speeding towards me is clueless because Dad diverted his educational funds into a new fishing boat."  Wow.  How supercilious can one get?

Mr. Sullivan's use of logical fallacies is rampant.  He particularly likes the red herring.  When he's discussing how the neighboring state of Washington doesn't require driver's education training and then introduces their spending money on combating West Nile virus to show how his pet issue is being neglected, he commits this fallacy.  This may work in comedy routines, but in this book, it comes off as whiny.

But very possibly the worst of his personal credos is found on page 121 in a chapter entitled, "Schlock and Awe".  "Being a good teacher is easy.  I know, from kids' comments and my past experience, that I'm decent at the job.  It's simple.  You follow one basic rule:  Never ever make a kid feel bad for making a mistake.  Never.  Teaching is the ultimate "do unto others" experience.  If teenagers become dejected while learning, they'll want to stop."  Teenagers can't feel bad or they'll cease to be interested in learning?  This is the mantra of the permissive parent and ask any teacher who has to deal with the darlings people like Sullivan produce just how easy teaching is.  Schlock indeed.

In between political comments and logical fallacies, Sullivan details his daily appointments to teach young Oregonians the fine art of driving.  And his dental appointments, strangely enough.  They interrupt his work narrative and create a dead stop each time, bringing what is often quite dry description of teaching people to drive into the even drier personal diary realm. 

I'm sure Sullivan has many humorous tales about his time as a driver's ed instructor.  Unfortunately, they aren't in this book.  What could have been quite an amusing ride through what is arguably one of the most fertile grounds for humor in education devolves into the author's chance to pontificate on the social ills he sees around him as he drives by during his lessons teaching those who can afford to pay him for a luxury similar to those he so soundly rails against time and again in the pages of Life in the Slow Lane

This book is perfect for anyone who is sure they know it all.  However, this Broad, even with her definite liberal leanings, finds the smug level of Life in the Slow Lane just too high. 




-Alexandria

08 December 2010

Down Home With The Neely's: A Southern Family Cookbook, by Patrick & Gina Neely with Paula Disbrowe

Some Eat To Live.....Others Live To Eat

Pat and Gina Neely, with Paula Disbrowe, share their recipes and their life experiences in their humor filled way.  Pat chronicles his family's humble beginnings and the love filled home he was raised in.  Losing their father at a young age, the Neely boys worked hard alongside their mother to make ends meet.  With their Grandmother's help, the brothers opened their first restaurant on February 29, 1988, and their success story is well known. 

The couple share their love story - which is quite endearing.  It is obvious as one progresses through the book that the couple have a great deal of love and respect for one another, for their girls, and for their families.  Both Gina and Pat share anecdotes on each double page spread along with a recipe or two.  Some are sweet, remembering a favorite Aunt, some informative, and many are seasoned with terrific wit and humor.  There is an additional section on barbecue meats handled by Tony Neely.....and the man knows meat!

The recipes are divided into ten sections including: Hog-Wild - Memphis Style Barbecue; Get The Party Started Neely Style; The Sweet Life - Favorite Desserts; and Southern Libations.  The remaining sections deal with salads, sandwiches, side dishes, and more.  Separate introductions by both Pat & Gina are preceded by a word from Paula Deen.  The recipes offered vary from simple to fairly involved, so cooks of varying experience will find a dish they can enjoy making.  My personal favorite is 'Get Yo' Man Chicken'...Ha! 

This Broad comes from a very large family, and we are always cooking and laughing our way through life, so I absolutely adore this cookbook!  I enjoyed both reading the Neely's book and sampling the recipes from its pages.  Congratulations Neely's on a job done to perfection.


~Moira

04 December 2010

Loose Lips Sink Ships-Katrina LaCroix

Now That's a Brazen Broad..........


Avery Leigh's life is in turmoil after her boyfriend, Carter, breaks up with her, and she determines that by hook or by crook, he will be hers again.  And so begins LaCroix's dark comedic glimpse into the life of a dysfunctional teen aged girl.

From the first, LaCroix writes with unabashed black humor.  Her main character, Avery, is pure malevolence, dealing friends and foes alike her brutal tactics to achieve her goals.  The character works, however, as LaCroix writes a hilarious version of the truly unrepentant bitch.  Avery becomes laugh-out-loud likable throughout the story as the reader discovers the bizarre home environment she must deal with and its effects on her young life.  LaCroix also scores a win - in that Avery, while ultimately remaining a true brazen broad, does grow (just a bit) over the course of her hysterical adventures with her minions....ahem, I mean friends.

Katrina LaCroix's story will not appeal to everyone (maybe not even to most), and this Broad struggles to place it in one genre.  It is assuredly comical, daringly dark, and would probably be best suited in the hands of well grounded women not afraid to laugh at what would happen if the "inner-bitch" were ever loosed upon the world......as long as it never actually happens.  Even though the characters are teens, this book is most certainly NOT for young adult readers.  Likewise, those desiring a tale of redemption, or good triumphing over evil will most likely find Loose Lips Sink Ships a disappointment. Contrarily, Broads who enjoy a chuckle at the (very) dark side of humor will find Loose Lips Sink Ships absolutely brazen.

star
star
 ~Moira

Deliciously Dark

Katrina LaCroix's Loose Lips Sink Ships is a story of characters.  Not tremendously plot driven, the main character of Avery Leigh drives the story to often wild places.  I can't remember any other book that included a scene with a female character chasing down her ex-boyfriend to a cheap hotel and rummaging through a hotel room's bathroom garbage to determine if he had been there.  Avery's singlemindedness in getting her boyfriend Carter back is the central idea of the story.  The other subplots involving the rest of the characters all lead back to Avery's story, but add further dimensions of crazy to the world these characters live in.  But make no mistake:  this is the story of one determined teenage girl. 

I enjoyed Loose Lips Sink Ships tremendously in parts.  The scene with Avery tracking down Carter to his job at the pizza place and her interaction with the teenage boy behind the counter is so funny I had to stop reading because the tears were making it impossible to see.  That the ending is significantly less dark than the rest of the story is my only complaint. 

But where does the story reside in the various genres of literature?  Moira and I agree on this that we don't know.  It's definitely humorous, but it may bleed over into chick lit, possibly.  I can say with certainty that this isn't romance, horror, steampunk, thriller, or mystery.  And it's definitely not YA.  This book wouldn't be appropriate for teenagers. 

In the end, Loose Lips Sink Ships is a funny romp through the teenage world of Avery Leigh and the people who suffer through her determination to reunite with her boyfriend.  Over-the-top, often bizarre, but in many parts funny as all hell, the story is worth reading. 






-Alexandria






01 December 2010

The Man I Should Have Married, by Pamela Redmond Satran

Should Have, Could Have, Would Have.......

Shocked when her husband of ten years, Frank, announces that he is leaving, Kennedy Andrews must pick up the pieces of her life and start over.  With a teen aged daughter in open rebellion, partly because of the separation of the only parents she's known, and in part from curiosity at finding her biological father, Kennedy agrees to help Maya locate him.  When both Maya and Amanda, the younger daughter, visit Frank for a weekend, Kennedy decides to revisit the neighborhood she used to live in with Marco, Maya's father, and then alone with Maya after their breakup.  Walking the changed streets, she hopes to rediscover the bold independence she felt during that time of her life.  But Kennedy gets more than she bargained for when she visits McGlynn's, the restaurant and bar she worked at all those years ago, for her former boss, Declan McGlynn, is still the man that sets her heart a flutter, and he's single. 

Kennedy had loved Declan all the years of their close working friendship, and she knew exactly the charmer he was as well as his love-them-and-leave-them attitude, which is why she disappeared from his life after sleeping with him ten years ago and married Frank.  Now, Kennedy is fairly sure she doesn't want to live her life "playing it safe" as she examines her past choices in response to seeing Marco, Frank, and Declan, the men she has loved and lost.

Pamela Satran's, The Man I Should Have Married, is a wonderful story in respect to a woman re-evaluating her life's choices, second guessing herself as she starts over, and re-discovering the woman within the wife and mother.  Satran blended realistically the mixture of joy at new found freedom, the fear of being alone, and the confusing world of love and sex for the woman re-entering it after so many years.

Satran tackles a difficult subject in this book, single mother/fatherhood, which is a topic I usually don't enjoy reading about; however, once I pushed aside my recalcitrance, I did enjoy the story with a few exceptions.  Maya, Kennedy's teen aged daughter was a bit over the top.  I appreciated her rebellion to a point, (not everyone has the "perfect" child....whatever that means.), but at times I felt like she needed her face slapped. (Maybe not politically correct, but honest)  I would have liked to see Kennedy assume the role of parent instead of friend.  Too often, Satran's main character goes along with her daughter's wishes to "keep her", and I found that disturbing, as this was primarily a story about Kennedy finding strength and taking control of her life, which she does in all areas except with her oldest daughter.  Satran did tone Maya down considerably, and it did somewhat marginalize the issue; nonetheless, this broad wanted Kennedy to command more respect from her daughter.

The main character's love interests, both past and present, were quite different from one another and provided convenient avenues for Kennedy to explore the good, and not so good, reasons why she loved these men along with the effects of her cumulative choices.  Declan and Marco were far more interesting characters than was Frank, something I believe the author intended.  I would have liked to have known Declan McGlynn a bit better, there being a romance between the Irishman and Kennedy, but Satran's focus is primarily on what her heroine thinks, desires, hopes, and fears as she discovers herself anew and builds the life she wants.

starstarstar
 Worth reading, The Man I Should Have Married, by Pamela Redmond Satran is a quirky tale based on the experiences of women beginning anew.
~Moira

27 November 2010

November Top 5: What We're Thankful For This Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, we Broads went traditional on you and did a Top 5 things/people we give thanks for.  Some are to be expected since we're both mothers, but others may seem a bit off the wall.  We wanted to list things we truly enjoy, so those things that may seem minute or inconsequential to others but bring us some measure of pleasure are here too. From both the Broads, we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Alexandria/Moira

1.  Family/Family
2.  Friends/Friends
3.  Writers/Books
4.  David Gilmour's music/Cooking and enjoying food
5.  Nir Lavi/Mixed Martial Arts


#1 You Can't Pick Your Family, But We Would Have Anyway


Alexandria:
  I'm fortunate to be the mother of two wonderful children, a 21 year old daughter and a 14 year old son.  They both bring me incredible joy.  My daughter and I are the best of friends, and no one can make me laugh like she does.  She's funny, witty, and sharp as a tack, all things that make her one of the best people I've ever had the good fortune to meet.  My son is a typical teenage boy, all piss and vinegar sometimes, but he's one of the smartest people I've ever met and a talented musician who stuns me with his ability.  To my people, I say thank you for some of the best times of my life. 

Moira:  I'm thankful for my family.  My parents are always supportive, I'm blessed with five great children, and my husband has made it possible for me to stay at home and enjoy every day I have with them.  Our two oldest girls are now grown and on their own.  I'll always be their mom, but it's great to now be friends too.  Our three boys are still at home-and there's never a dull day with them.  From schoolwork to sporting events to supper, we have a great time.  I also have four sisters and four brothers, and we all add something different to the family. We wouldn't be the same without one another. I'm lucky to have them all.


#2:  You Gotta Have Friends


Alexandria:
  I can't imagine what my life would be like without my friends.  It certainly would be far duller.  I've been friends with Jeannie since 1973!  We've been friends for so long people think we're sisters because we act so close.  Jeannie is my tie to a time that was sweet, innocent, and wonderful.  We've been through a lot, but we always have a good time.  Moira and I have been friends since we met through our sons playing baseball all the way back when they were in 2nd grade (they're in 9th grade now).  To Moira I say thanks for being my cohort in crime here at the Broads and for reading my writing.  Marissa and I enjoy talking about being moms and our work, which can turn into a bitchfest, but we can't help it:  we're passionate people who still tilt at windmills.  So to you, Marissa, I say thanks for being a fellow Don Quixote. And to Yvonne, who is definitely the smartest person I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, I thank you for being so smart and so funny too. 

Moira:  I'm blessed with great friends. Girls, thanks for everything.  I have a few close friends, and in each relationship I share something I'm passionate about. My best friends is my sister.  There is nothing we don't share. She knows every triumph, hope, fear, and secret.  Alexandria and I share our love of books and writing.  We are both educators and are passionate about learning.  My friend Chris and I enjoy going to wrestling tournaments.  Our sons participate in the sport, and frankly, we'd probably keep going even if they didn't.  We also think our husbands may be related, as they behave much too similarly.  Tammy and I read and discuss our shared faith.


#3  This Is A Book Blog...

Alexandria: 
I am thankful for writers and their words.  Somewhere along the way, I morphed from just a reader to a writer.  I find great joy and pleasure in writing, and I attribute that to the writers I've experienced through my life.  From the classics I studied in college, to the works I read for teaching, to the books I read for the Brazen Broads Book Bash, they've all affected me.  And now that I call myself a writer, I not only see what goes into their craft but the happiness that writing brings me.  So to the writers who fill my bookshelves and the characters I write, I express my heartfelt thanks. 

Moira:  Books!  Long ones, short ones, funny ones, and steamy ones-I love them all.  Getting lost in a great story is one of the best ways to spend a day!  Proctish eine perfecta tag!


#4  These Bring Us Other Joys


Alexandria:
  For this one, I'm thankful for music in general, but David Gilmour in particular.  I've liked Gilmour's music for years, but as I get older I find myself enjoying it more and more, whether it's his solo work or his work in Pink Floyd.  Unlike when I was young and listened to it while doing illegal things ;), these days I find his music wonderfully written.  It's rather idiosyncratic, but David Gilmour's music is something I'm thankful for all the time.

Moira:  Some people eat to live; others live to eat.  You can probably guess which category I fall into.  I love to shop for food, prepare it, and eat it.  I also like to feed friends and family.  Sitting around the table with family, food, and a good bottle of wine...delish!


#5:  Now It Comes Out That We're Shallow Broads...


Alexandria: 
Nir Lavi.  See him?  He makes me happy.  You know why?  Look at him!  That's why.  No need to discuss this further.  If you believe in God, then thank him or her for Nir Lavi.  If you don't, then thank the magical world of genetics that produces such loveliness. (For a less clothed version of him, go here)

Moira:  Mixed Martial Arts!  George St. Pierre, Mirko Cro Cop, Martin Kampmann, Dennis Siver, Shogun Rua...I'm a thankful Broad.

22 November 2010

Marie Treanor Interview

We would like to welcome Marie Treanor to the Brazen Broads Book Bash today.  Her book Blood On Silk, out now from NAL Signet Eclipse, is a favorite of both Broads, so this is real thrill for both of us. (Click here to read our review.)

A little bit about the author:  Marie Treanor lives in Scotland with her eccentric husband and three much-too-smart children.  Having grown bored with city life, she resides these days in a picturesque village by the sea where she is lucky enough to enjoy herself avoiding housework and writing sensual stories of paranormal romance and fantasy. 

Brazen Broads:  When did you first understand that you wanted to attempt writing as a career?

MT:
  While I was doing a job I really hated!  I began to think of alternative ways to earn my living, and to consider what I actually enjoyed doing.  And since I'd been writing fiction constantly since childhood, with varying degrees of secrecy, I began to wonder if I shouldn't try it with a serious view to publication. Then, just after my youngest child was born seven years ago, I wrote my first romance, a novella length ghost story called Ghost Unlaid.

Brazen Broads:  How did circumstances play out in your first bid to be published?

MT: 
Pretty well, actually!  I was lucky.  The first publisher I sent it to-an e-publisher, now out of business-accepted it, and I've been writing constantly ever since!  Incidentally, Ghost Unlaid has since be re-released by The Wild Rose Press...

Brazen Broads:
  What made you choose to write about vampires?

MT:
  I've always loved vampire stories, ever since I was a kid watching old horror films on late night television with my Dad at weekends:  Hammer Horror movies with Christopher Lee, the original Dracula with Bela Lugosi-great stuff!  When I read Bram Stoker's Dracula, I was hooked for good, and later Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire blew me away.  I soaked up vampire stories like a sponge.  I became fascinated with different "types" of vampire, with the idea that they didn't have to be completely evil, and yet the power of that possible evil could be very attractive. 

Enjoying them as I did, I suppose it was inevitable I should write a vampire story one day. (smiles)  Although it's the longest and probably the most gothic, Blood on Silk isn't actually my first-that was a humorous tale called Undead Men Wear Plaid, later expanded and re-released as Hunting Karoly by Ellora's Cave; and then there was the futuristic City of the Damned at Changeling Press and Freeing Al, again at EC. 

Brazen Broads:  In Blood on Silk, what was the inspiration for the delicious vampire, Saloman? 

MT:
  Lots of different inspirations!  It was how I saw him in my first "vision" of the story-rising in a cloud of dust from the stone sarcophagus to advance on my terrified heroine-that made me think of him as so ancient, and his personality grew out of that.  He had to have power, charisma, and humour, and he had to be distant enough to be unreachable, incomprehensible to humans except on the rare occasions when he displayed some slight hint of vulnerability. Through contact with Elizabeth, he does become gradually more approachable, especially as the series goes on, but he's never human and no one in the story, even Elizabeth, ever forgets that.

Brazen Broads:  In a guest spot on another blog you said, "I'm half in love with him myself."  Do you always fall for your characters?

MT: 
Sadly, yes.(smiles)  Maybe it's a good thing since it helps in understanding the heroine's feelings.  Obviously, I'm a trifle fickle, since my affections tend to move on to the next hero once my story's finished, but some heroes do stay with me longer than others...Giancarlo from The Devil and Via, Johnny from Ariadne's Thread, Drago from Gothic Dragon, Rab from Requiem for Rab...and Saloman, of course!  I think he'll be around for a while.

Brazen Broads: 
Do you feel there's a lot of you in your Blood on Silk heroine, Elizabeth?

MT: 
Yes, certainly in Elizabeth as she is at the beginning of the story.  She is loyal and has a strong sense of right and wrong, but is a little wary of people and doesn't form relationships easily.  Of course, I'm not as academically brilliant as Elizabeth, but I do get involved in historical research.  Like me, she's more an observer than a great participator, although as events overtake her, that has to change-she has to learn to fight for herself in a scary new world, and she streaks way past me. (smiles)

Brazen Broads:  Is there a novel in the making outside the Awakened By Blood series? 

MT:
  Well, I have a couple of ideas and I have started a new story just a week or so ago, but I'm not sure how any of it will turn out, so I'll keep the details to myself for a while!

Brazen Broads:  When will your next novel be released and can you give us a quick summary?

MT:
  My next new release is the second Awakened By Blood book, Blood Sin, in April.  Here's the blurb: 

Even if you stand in the light, you can dwell in the dark.

Months after her dangerous encounter with vampire overlord Saloman, Scottish academic Elizabeth Silk is still trying to cope with both the demands of her ancestral bloodline-which marks her as a vampire hunter-and the overpowering desire she feels for the immortal she brought back from the grave. But she is not alone in her fascination with Saloman. 

When Elizabeth tracks down a distant cousin from America, she learns he possesses an antique sword that has caught the interest of the Grand Master of the American hunters.  It is the ancient and mystical sword of Saloman-a treasure of vast occult powers and a prize beyond measure to both vampires and humans.  Now the race is on for possession of the sword.

Even as her enemies and allies shift their allegiances and battle for supremacy, Elizabeth must decide which will rule her own perilous fate:  unwanted loyalty or unholy love.

Before that, although it's not exactly new, there's a reissue of my Wolf Hunt novellas all together as an ebook collection at Changeling Press.  I believe it releases on Christmas Eve-three romances set in a futuristic world where the Earth government's response to an alien invasion threat is more terrifying than the invasion itself-creating killer werewolves from soldiers deprived from their old lives and identities.

Brazen Broads:  Thank you so much for stopping by the Brazen Broads Book Bash!  We wish you great success with all your writing and particularly look forward to your next Awakened By Blood novel, Blood Sin, to be published in April 2011 and more of the wonderful Saloman and Elizabeth. 

MT:
  Thank you! And thanks for having me-it's been fun!


You can find out more about Marie and her books at her website:  www.MarieTreanor.com
Catch all her latest news on Facebook too here!
Or subscribe to her Newsletter here!

20 November 2010

Perfect Score-Susan Roebuck: Review and Interview with the Author

Perfect Score by Susan Roebuck is in many ways a romance, but certainly not your typical romance.  The two main characters, Alex Finch and Sam Barrowdale, are males, but Susan Roebuck handles the romantic relationship that sits at the core of the story very adroitly.  Perfect Score isn't just a romance, however.  It's a story about the powerful and the powerless.

Alex Finch is the adopted son of Timothy Finch, his uncle.  He lives what seems like a charmed life on the surface, but he gets little love from his adopted father. A musician and sentimental heart, he meets Sam Barrowdale when they are both just young teens. Sam is a homeless boy, but despite his ragged appearance, Alex falls in love with him at first sight. Alex's chapters are told in first person, which is a successful technique to show how self involved he can be, but it also works to show Alex as the protagonist who causes much of the relationship between him and Sam to occur. 

Sam's story is much different from Alex's.  Told in the third person, the reader learns he's homeless and often in trouble with the law, and he suffers from several learning disabilities, which make people think he's stupid.  He's often called names like retard, but Sam is bright and sensitive, which is best seen in his care for the animals he takes care of and his relationship with his institutionalized sister, Amy.  He ends up working on Alex's mother's farm, and when Alex goes to visit her years after first meeting Sam, he once again sees him.

But circumstances keep Alex and Sam apart for more time. And when Alex gets his girlfriend Liza pregnant, his life is set in stone.  He will be a father to their child, as he must.

The story is on a deeper level about Alex's cruel and manipulative adoptive father, a very powerful man both Alex and Sam must struggle to free themselves from, and his actions that cause not only the main characters harm but the townspeople around them pain also.

There is no doubt that to have mainstream appeal, a story with a homosexual romance must be handled carefully, and Roebuck does it well.  There is little sex in the story, and what is discussed is brief and in the context of emotions, not just physical parts meeting other physical parts.  She succeeds with the romance between the two characters because she makes the reader care about them.  Alex can't imagine a world without Sam, even before they finally get together.  He's a character readers want to see happy because of his devotion to him. Sam is sweet and sensitive, but Roebuck keeps his sexuality ambiguous for much of the story, unlike Alex's, which is clear throughout it.  But when she finally has the two together, Sam's true feelings for Alex are revealed, and the result is a scene as sweet and sensual as any well written romance.

The epilogue of the story is told from Alex's son's point of view, and it's in this part of the book that the relationship between Alex and Sam can finally be seen at its fullest.  Sam has been the best part of Alex's adult life, even as Alex  has remained to the rest of the world a husband and loving father. 

Perfect Score is a touching story of two people who finally find happiness after years of struggling against the world around them.  Read it and focus on the story and it will be well worth your while.

Rating:  



-Alexandria


The Perfect Score..........
Susan Roebuck introduces readers to two unlikely characters in The Perfect Score,  Alex Finch, the seemingly classic underachieving spoiled rich kid, and Sam Barrowdale, an honest and hardworking young man who entered the world with two strikes against him.  An odd encounter when the pair are teens commences the entwining of their opposite but equally difficult lives through the years.
Roebuck's tale begins in the late 1960's, set in the heartland of the United States of America.  Against a backdrop of struggling farms and ranches, Sam Barrowdale ekes out a living as a hired hand, providing for his sister who is quite ill.  Sam's character is quite likable.  He is responsible and dependable.  Alex Finch, on the other hand lives a posh life miles away, and at first comes across as disdainful towards the poor, rural existence of his roots.  These differences leave plenty of room for conflict to erupt, but throughout the novel, as the reader begins to know Roebuck's characters, a terrific depth is uncovered in each man, opening the possibility for their relationship to develop and deepen.

This Broad admits that I was not particularly thrilled at the idea of reading a novel about a homosexual couple.  I would not have sought out Roebuck's book simply because the topic does not interest me.  However, after reading The Perfect Score, I commend the author on a well written story.  Roebuck's storyline was interesting and unique, holding this Broad's attention throughout, ably maintaining tension without venturing into ridiculous and unbelievable drama.  Her portrayal of the love interest between Alex and Sam was done tastefully, and she incorporated this into the novel without allowing their sexual preference to overshadow their innate personalities.  Both Sam and Alex were first and foremost men coping with life and family in their own way, and Roebuck's writing provided each with substance as opposed to relegating them to stereotypical caricatures.

There were a few things I did not like about The Perfect Score.  The beginning of the novel jumped around to cause pause enough that I had to go back once or twice to sort out what was going on.  Also, there were a number of loose ends that I would have liked to have seen dealt with.  Apart from these, The Perfect Score was, in this Broad's opinion, close to perfect. 
~Moira
starstarstar


We'd like to welcome Sue Roebuck to the Brazen Broads Book Bash today for a few questions about herself and her book, Perfect Score.

Sue Roebuck was born and educated in the UK, but she now lives in Portugal.  She has taught at various colleges and institutions in Portugal, and her interest in dyslexia started with a discussion over lunch with a colleague and friend. Nowadays Sue's mostly occupied by e-learning courses which, when no cameras are used, are also known as "teaching in your pajamas".  But, given a choice, writing would be her full-time occupation.

Working from home presents no problem for her since her office window overlooks the glittering Atlantic Ocean.  The huge container ships, tankers, and cruise liners, which are constantly on their way in or out of Lisbon harbor, are a great source of inspiration (or distraction).

She has traveled widely throughout the States and believes that "being born American is like winning the lottery of life".  If she could live anywhere, she'd live in the Catskills in Upstate New York.

Brazen Broads:  What factors led you to writing as a career?  Had you always planned to be a writer?

SR:  I'm pretty "run-of-the-mill" in this.  I've always loved writing and even won a prize at age 14 with a ridiculous little book (now I look at it).  But I couldn't live in a freezing garret, so I earned a living by teaching, which seemed to take up most of my creativity.  But I've always yearned to write so a few years ago I joined a large writing group in the States, wrote short stories, and got good critiques, which amazed me.  Now I do have more time on my hands so it's going to be writing, writing, writing from now on.  Ah bliss!  I can lose hours when I'm into a story.

Brazen Broads:  What made you choose to write a M/M story?

SR:  It chose me.  Originally, Perfect Score was set in the Catskills Upstate New York.  Alex was a famous musician at the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, and Sam was a girl!  But (because I tend to just write and not plan, ahem), everything changed, Sam became a different person, and I decided he had to be a man to be able to survive the horrors of his childhood.

Brazen Broads:  Do you have a favorite character in Perfect Score?  What is it about this character that you connect most with?

SR:  It's Sam.  He had to overcome such odds to become the tough-guy he is that I really admire him.  I know he didn't change much throughout the book (Alex is the one who turned into a different person), but I loved him from the start.  I got scared at one point in the book because I had his name as Sam Riverdale and then realized he had the same initials as me!  So I changed his name to Barrowdale.  I don't think I was writing about myself (anyway, I don't have dyslexia nor did I have a terrible upbringing!)  Mind you, I think I enjoyed writing Alex's parts in the book-I really wanted to get his voice right, and I think I did-he's such a twit (sorry, a Britishism there).

Brazen Broads:  Do you plan to keep writing?  What can readers expect next?

SR:  Too right.  It's already up and going.  It's called The Deepest Secret, and it's set between the UK and Portugal.  The MC will have a special ability (which I'm not going to tell you yet).  At the moment, she's a girl, but who knows how she'll end up.  There's going to be a female bullfighter in it too, but she'll be a very, very bad person.

Brazen Broads:  When will you publish your next book and what type of story will it be?

SR:  Help!  It's not written yet!  It'll be suspense, romance again, and with some very flawed characters, as usual.  I'll probably only think about publishing when the final version is finished (Perfect Score had twenty-seven versions...).

Brazen Broads:  What do you like to read when you're not writing your own stories?

SR:  It's funny, but I don't often read romances.  I had to read up on M/M to write Perfect Score and found some fabulous authors:  Alan Hollinghurst, Michael Cunningham.  My favorite book is the Ghormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake, which couldn't be more different to what I write about.  Although maybe there's something in the characters...now I come to think about it.

Thanks Sue!  It's been a delight reading your book and discussing writing with you.  We wish you great success with Perfect Score and your future books!




17 November 2010

Secrets of Harmony Grove, by Mindy Starns Clark


Harmony Grove, a quiet community nestled in Amish country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, becomes the center of an intense investigation after a murder takes place at Sienna Collins' quaint bed & breakfast.  The victim is Sienna's former boyfriend, Troy, and as the investigation progresses, Sienna learns that Harmony Grove has a history and secrets of its own.  These secrets have Sienna under investigation by the federal government.  Facing the possibility of losing her career, home, and prosperous lifestyle, Sienna turns to her family and her faith to find peace, hope, and forgiveness in her heart, while using her intellect to solve a mystery in order to clear her name.  When an intriguing and gorgeous detective working the case takes an interest in her, Sienna must decide what she truly wants out of life & love.

Mindy Starns Clark serves up a terrific mystery in Secrets of Harmony Grove.  She created interesting characters within and without the Amish community.  Sienna Collins grapples with the age old issue of finding balance in life, and Clarks's addition of Christian faith into Sienna's character grounded her nicely.  Clark also kept interest high throughout the story by introducing a mystery within Sienna's family.  Sienna discovers that her grandfather had married a Jewish woman he had nursed to health after being with the allied forces that liberated one of the German death camps during his WWII service.  Sadly, his bride died within a year, leaving behind a cache of diamonds that clues claim are hidden on Harmony Grove Bed & Breakfast property.  Rumors about the hidden jewels have swirled around the quiet community for many years.  Now Sienna must uncover whether Troy's murder, her investigation, or both are connected to the Collins' family jewel mystery, organized crime, or all of the above.

The Secrets of Harmony Grove is an enjoyable read. 
~Moira 
starstarstar

13 November 2010

Unbelievable-Lori Foster

Unbelievable?
Lori Foster's two story compilation entitled Unbelievable includes the stories Fantasy and Tantalizing.  Interestingly, these stories are from the late 1990s, which means certain things in the stories seem odd, such as the car phone one of the men has and the impressed reaction the female in the story has to it.  Overall, however, it's not the anachronisms that damage the stories but the basic ideas of the stories themselves.

The first story, Fantasy, involves an incredibly sexy man named Sebastian Sinclair who is taking part in a charity auction of handsome men and a woman named Brandi who sees him and is enchanted by him.  When her sister "buys" him for a five-day vacation for her birthday, Brandi is introduced to a world of romance and seduction that helps her to become a real woman after a trauma years earlier. Cue the wedding bells. 

The second story, Tantalizing, involves a woman named Josie Jackson who goes on a blind date with a man her sister arranges for her, but in fact the man is a friend of her supposed date, Nick Harris, and they spend a night together that changes her life forever.  She ceases to be the straitlaced workaholic and becomes sexually adventurous, and of course, marriage comes at the end.

Both stories are similar in that they involve big, strapping men as the romantic heroes who are protective of the women they love.  Both have small, very feminine women as heroines. None of this is bad.  I like the old fashioned man who takes charge.  It's sexy.  What I don't like are female heroines as virgins. Both of these stories revolve around the central theme of a big man introducing a sweet virgin to sex.  You know what that means?  Lots of discussing of sex.  Sex is good in romance.  Talking about sex isn't good or sexy.  It's awkward. And the changes the women go through in the span of mere days just don't work in stories that have no supernatural or paranormal elements to them. Once again, the issue is if a writer has decided to stay within the confines of everyday life, then the stories must reflect this.  Characters can certainly be swept up in the romance, but fundamental changes in personality in the span of just a few days is ridiculous.

The additional problem that both stories in Unbelievable have involves conflict.  In the first story, the conflict is psychological, but it's taste specific and unbelievable (no, I'm not trying to be cute here).  If a reader is turned off by the type of psychological conflict or that it's unrealistic then Fantasy won't work for them.  The second story suffers from a lack of interesting conflict.  Sure, the sister's intruding in Josie's life is conflict, but it's common and boring.  Nick is reported to be a womanizing SOB, but he never acts like it, so there's no real conflict.  He likes Josie, she likes him, and the only problem is that the sister doesn't like him.  Yawn. 

Overall,  Lori Foster's Unbelievable is an easy read and may be enjoyable, if you prefer your romances to be the sweet and everyday variety. This Broad, however, likes her romances a little less pedestrian. 

Rating: 
-Alexandria


A Ridiculous Fantasy......

Bidding on men at a charity auction seems scandalous to Brandi, but her sister, Shay, thinks a get away vacation with Sebastian Sinclair is exactly what Brandi needs.  Out bidding the crowd, Shay wins the gorgeous Sebastian, whom she knows quite well, and gifts him to Brandi for her birthday.  The two are attracted to one another - and alone for the next five days, nestled in a mountain cabin.  It won't be smooth sailing, though.  Brandi has a past trauma that threatens to steal away her chances at happiness.

Foster wrote a great male character in Sebastian Sinclair.  Strong, smart, and sexy, Sebastian projected confidence and trustworthiness - two characteristics this Broad adores.  Unfortunately, Foster's storyline in, Fantasy, is one of my pet-peeves in romance, and in revealing my aversion to her topic of choice, I become the spoiler.  It must be done.  Like many authors, Lori Foster writes her female character, Brandi, as a past victim of rape.  For eight years, this woman has been haunted by a consuming fear, leaving her unable to be near another man, but amazingly, she hauls her cookies to a remote cabin for a five day getaway with an unknown hunk of man meat.  Even more astonishing is the idea that in less than forty-eight hours, Brandi succumbs to the patient charms of the delicious Sebastian, engaging in a long overdue sexual awakening.  Bloody infuriating!
The idea that the trauma of rape, with all its ugly after effects, will be vanquished in mere days by a prince charming and his incredible penis of "com-passion" just doesn't sit well with this Broad.  A romance writer could tackle this topic realistically and write a great story of grown love and trust in which the heroine does overcome (with the help of a prince charming), but, Fantasy, is not that story.

Tantalizing ........Timid To Terror In Less Than A Ten-Count......

The second story in, Unbelievable, introduces Josie Jackson, a young woman/possible workaholic tired of being the straight-laced good girl her sister requires. When her blind date switches places with his wild counterpart of a business partner, sparks fly.  Virginal Josie and her love interest, Nick Harris, go from blind date assessment to freak-hair-fly affair faster than a leg kick from Mirko Cro-Cop sends his poor opponent sprawling to the mat in unconsciousness. 
Tantalizing, is more sex than story, and while a great love scene is a very welcome addition to romances, interesting characters, a developed plot, and dialogue are must have ingredients to truly tantalize, something this story didn't deliver for this Broad.
~Moirastar

10 November 2010

The Bridal Quest, by Candace Camp

After her father's death, Lady Irene Wyngate vowed she would never marry.  Her alcoholic father terrorized her family while she was growing up, and Irene determined she would rather remain a spinster than to put herself at the mercy of a man, even if that meant enduring the whims and self importance of her brother's wife, Maura.  Fate, and Gideon, the Earl of Radbourne, however, have something other in mind.
Gideon, who had been kidnapped as a child, survived on the streets of London never knowing his good breeding.  His uncle, the Duke of Rochford, manages to find him, Gideon no longer a child, but a grown man and successful businessman.  Of course, the 'ton' hesitates to accept him, as he lacks the refinement they deem appropriate, but Gideon's Aunt Odelia believes everything will be remedied once Gideon marries well.  She enlists the help of successful matchmaker Lady Francesca Haughston, who allays with Gideon in his quest to woo the resistant Lady Irene, believing in the power of love to conquer the nightmare of the Lady's childhood.
Camp adds additional interest to her story by conjuring the mysterious events of Gideon's abduction amid his difficult adjustment to life as the new earl.  Lady Irene is a delightful female character, not something fellow broads hear me say often.  The author gives her intelligence, common sense, and a great wit, writing superior dialogue in the exchanges between well written characters.  Her heroine remains constant throughout the novel in her convictions, and it was wholly appreciated by this reader.  The supporting characters played integral roles in Camp's story, their personalities able to shine without stealing the spotlight.  Focusing on romance rather than sex, Candace Camp creates delicious tension as Gideon and Irene interact with one another;  their obvious attraction suppressed beneath heated verbal sparring and increased by watchful observations.
The Bridal Quest, is the first novel by Camp this broad has read, and I will describe it as absolutely wonderful!  It is sure to please a broad looking for a great romance.

~Moira
starstarstar

06 November 2010

Night Pleasures-Sherrilyn Kenyon



One Immortal Greek General Plus One Conservative Accountant Equals Mojo & Magic In The Big Easy.....
Ancient Greek Legend, Kyrian of Thrace cries out for vengeance against his betrayer while dying a horrific death, and his request is heard by Artemis, goddess of the hunt. In exchange for his soul, Kyrian is inducted into her army of Dark-Hunters, immortals who roam the earth exacting revenge on vampires and daimons, protecting an unknowing human race from the evil that preys upon them. Both a blessing and a curse, Kyrian's powers enable him to battle dark forces skillfully, but prevent him from gaining his heart's desire, real love.

Amanda Devereaux, one of nine sisters in a family of paranormal junkies wants nothing more than to be normal. Denying the supernatural gifts she possess, Amanda works as an accountant, loving her quiet life and hoping to meet Mr. Right, settle down, and have a family.

Irreconcilable as light is to dark when they meet, the pair, under the veneer of difference, long to possess the realm of the other. As Amanda and Kyrian resist opening themselves to the other, she out of reluctance to embrace the mystical, he out of fear to trust his heart to another, forces unite to destroy the Dark-Hunters and the human race. A shrouded prophecy of the Dark-Hunter with a soul vanquishing Desiderius, a powerful daimon, and restoring the hope of peace is the only inkling of possible success. Kyrian and Amanda must find a way to relinquish their fears in order to fulfill the promise and realize their heart's desires.

Kenyon writes a wonderful backstory for her Greek general. It's interesting and dramatic in all the right ways. Amanda is also well done as a straight-laced regular girl wanting her prince charming, and introducing Kyrian as just that makes terrific conflict; but Kenyon fails in her attempt at blending Amanda into her eccentric family in a believable way. The gaping chasm between their perceptions of reality didn't match the obvious otherworldly happenings in and among the New Orleans Devereaux clan. Apart from this problem and some awkward dialogue, including wisecracks amid what should be terrifying situations, Kenyon's story is still an enjoyable read (This broad is a bit of a sucker for tales involving mythology.). Night Pleasures, is one novel in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series, and I may read another for comparison, or check out one of the author's many other novels.

Recommendation:




~Moira


At Least It's Not Prince Of Ice...

There are many times in my life when I don't like something and have the comfort of knowing that if I look around me, there are others that feel the same way. As I was reading Night Pleasures I realized that this is not one of those times. If you walk through the romance section at any major bookstore, you'll see that Sherrilyn Kenyon has her own bookcase among all the other writers. She's that popular. Based on this book, I honestly can say I don't know why.

As a romance novel reader and reviewer, I'm used to reading stories that play fast and loose with plot. Sometimes the rest of the story (i.e. sex) works well enough that the plot devices don't bother me too much. Dialogue is often difficult in romance novels because it rarely seems like characters should be saying what writers have them say. Kenyon's story suffers both in plot and dialogue, often badly enough that I had to put the book down.

Her family is just unbelievable and not in the way that you'd say something incredible is just unbelievable. No, it simply isn't believable that Amanda, the straight-laced business type would have any contact with people who hunt vampires and tell fortunes for a living. That a man who looks and acts like an ancient Greek god would want her is even less plausible. At least her family would have a reason for being around her. Kyrian has none.

But the biggest problem in this book is the dialogue. It's worse than J.R. Ward cringeworthy. It's put the book down worthy. Sentences like "Okay, now she was majorly impressed" made me question if I was reading a high school girl's journal. And the way Kenyon has Amanda interact with Kyrian reinforces my idea that he wouldn't have anything to do with her. "Hey yummy leather guy" and "macho babe boy" are just two ways Amanda refers to him in their conversations. Really?

Night Pleasures is not my cup of tea, but millions of Sherrilyn Kenyon fans can't be wrong. I accept that I may not run with the pack, but this book is one I barely was able to finish, and only did so because this is a review Moira and I were scheduled to do together.

But keep in mind, I like this, so I'm used to tilting at windmills (or whatever the case may be).

Rating:




-Alexandria

03 November 2010

The Ruthless Charmer-Julia London

The Bad Reputation Of An English Rake ........Is So Very Good...
Lady Claudia Whitney is disturbed at the re-appearance of Julian Dane, Earl of Kettering and notorious rake, during her visit to France.  Harboring hidden love Claudia flees, returning to England, unable and unwillilg to trust herself in his presence.  Julian is the unrepentant rake Claudia imagines, with one curious problem of his own.  He has loved Lady Whitney for the last few years.  The memory of tragic events their shared history evokes, and each one's belief that their love is unrequitted threatens to keep them separated until the fateful party at Harrison Green's London home.  Julian pushes further than he should with a proper lady of Claudia's social standing when he realizes her desire matches his own; and when gossip-monger Mrs. Frankton happens upon them in a questionable position, Claudia's reputation is bound for ruination.  Julian proposes the only acceptable alternative, marriage, and at her father's insistance, Claudia has no choice but to marry the man she is certain will break her heart.

Julia London nicely brought the couple together in The Ruthless Charmer, however, once together the pair make one bad relationship choice after another.  Honestly, London's male character has the more level head of the two, and for being a rake, he is quite responsible in his business dealings.  Overall, Julian Dane's character is ably put together, London writing just enough torment into his soul and swagger in his step to make him tempting.  London also described some very passionate scenes between the newlywed couple worth reading.  Her heroine, Claudia, brings to light the plight of many womens' sufferings in the early 1800's through her extensive charity work, which was perhaps the most redeeming quality of Lady Claudia's character.  Regency romances abound in drama, and The Ruthless Charmer, is no exception.  Readers should be prepared, for London's drama in this novel is .....ruthless.

Recommendation:  * * * _ _  
The Ruthless Charmer offers a smooth English rake for readers seeking that particular poison, but is otherwise an average period romance.

~Moira

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