by tosca on Sunday, January 31, 2010
I don't have love letters, I've never met a duke and I'm sure as heck no courtesan. So why the post title? I'm going to publish my Feb romance reading list - and I don't care what you think. Of romance or my choices :)
I 'came out' as a romance reader late 2008 and, even then, only because I took over Danielle's newsletter when she went on leave. With much misgiving (her leaving and my taking it over). What did I know about romance? I don't even believe in it for myself. With some trepidation I did some research (i.e. asked Google) and ended up at GoodReads hunting around for a group of people I could relate to. Found the Romance Readers Reading Challenges group and have never looked back. Now, as a matter of course, I'm quite blatant about the fact that I read romance (on the train, on the bus, at my desk, online, in hardcopy, on the lawn, in my house, at your house). Now, a year and a half later, I enjoy editing the newsletters and I enjoy romance novels in all their gloriousness. The good, the bad and the butt-ugly. If my library romance newsletters are any good it's thanks to the people and topics in this forum! So there.
2010 January monthly challenge - each month you're given 10 categories that will allow you to pick 10 books to read:
1. Book starts with "F" - A Fine Passion by Stephanie Laurens OR Forbidden by Suzanne Brockmann
2. Birthday book - To the Limit by Cindy Gerard (book 2 in the Bodyguards series) from LibraryLass
3. Geography: Indiana - Surrender of a Siren by Tessa Dare
4. Favourites pick - Menagerie Manor by Gerald Durrell (he is my idol)
5. Valentine's Day - Sometimes When We Kiss by Linda Goodnight OR Kiss and Tell by Diney Delancey
6. Black History Month - tbc
7. Romance genre: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance as edited by Trisha Telep
8. President's Day - Savannah: Or a Gift For Mr. Lincoln by John Jakes OR Home in Time for Christmas by Heather Graham
9. International Friendship Month - Intercourse by Robert Olen Butler as recommended by my friend Phillippa (subversive library staff member and book babe extraordinaire)
10. Reader's Choice - tbc
Read the month challenge : February - take the letters of the month, and find a book where author surname starts with this letter or a book title that starts with the given letter:
F - A Fine Passion by Stephanie Laurens
E - Edmund Bertram's Diary by Amanda Grange OR The Edge of Desire by Stephanie Laurens
B - Bare Necessities by Marie Donovan
R - The Rake's Wicked Proposal by Carole Mortimer OR Runaway Miss by Mary Nichols
U - Undressed by Heather Macallister
A - At Last Comes Love by Mary Balogh
R - A Rake's Vow by Stephanie Laurens OR Rational Romance by Melinda Hammond
Y - Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase
February pick it for me challenge - randomly assigned giver/givee pairings where random books are chosen and suggested (pairs view each other's bookshelves for ideas):
Fantastic recommendations by BJ Rose - 8 in all and I have to narrow it down to 1 from:
* Julie Garwood: The Prize
* Saving Grace
* Linda Howard: The Touch Of Fire
* Son of the Morning
* The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
* Sharp Objects: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
* The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
* The Sunday Philosophy Club
God defend New Zealand - 1 NZ book a month:
February: All Black's Kitchen Gardens by Tim Jones – nonfiction
That's my list for this month. Eep o_O
by tosca on Saturday, January 30, 2010
Sweeping statement (which are always the worst, aren't they?): I don't read a lot of NZ authors as an adult because I don't like them much. As a child, yes. As a teen, absolutely. As an adult - next to nil. If I see an NZ sticker on the spine in the library I quite happily cruise right on past. In fact, if it weren't for the library bookclub I wouldn't read any. Last year I read 'Mr. Pip' by Lloyd Jones and this year, so far, I've read 'The 10pm Question' by Kate de Goldi and 'Ruined' by Paula Morris. I enjoyed 'Ruined.' So much so, in fact, that I've decided to read 1 NZ book a month.
Why my unpatriotic stance? At the risk of looking dozy, I don't really identify with a lot of NZ books. Which sounds totally daft because I edit our romance newsletter and neither do I identify with a Greek gazillionaire tycoon nor an impossible virgin secretary, yet I read those quite happily LOL Maybe, then, it's that I identify too much. It's like...I don't read romance stories with Maori or African-Americans because the character voices - and the possibilities - would feel too much like I was looking into my sibling's backyard (although considering mainstream romance includes anal which has become the new oral eek). That would strike too close to home. It could *gasp* happen (not the anal-as-oral but the voices being 'familiar'). And I think I'd prefer to have it all one step removed (one giant leap backward for my peace of mind...).
This year I decided to get out of my comfort zone a bit (or maybe step back into it, I'm not totally sure yet) and pick 12 (ok, I lie, I picked 14 in total, maths was never my forte) books across kids, teens and adults (fiction and nonfiction) to try. In any one month I read anywhere from 20-30 books, so fitting in another 1 or 2 could be interesting. Or awful. I'm about to find out. There are no re-reads on this list - every book will be a first-time read for me - as if I were an impossible virgin secretary but yet not o_O
I had no clue which author, book, genre etc. to start with seeing as it had been years since I'd read NZ-anything and queried that on twitter. @senjmito suggested starting with NZ authors I follow. Which seemed so logical I couldn't help but laugh. So, I'm starting Feb with one of his books :) Here's my list - all links lead back to the Manukau Libraries catalogue ('cause that's where I work d'oh):
January: Ruined by Paula Morris – teen fiction
January: The 10pm Question by Kate de Goldi – teen/adult fiction
February: All Black's Kitchen Gardens by Tim Jones – nonfiction
March: Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley & Gavin Bishop – junior fiction
April: The Raging Quiet by Sherryl Jordan – teen fiction
May: The Book of Fame by Lloyd Jones – adult fiction
June: Jerusalem Sonnets by James K. Baxter – nonfiction
July: The Fat Man by Maurice Gee – junior fiction
August: Violence 101 by Denis Wright - teen fiction
September: The Christ Clone by David McLeod - adult fiction
October: We Will Not Cease by Archibald Baxter – nonfiction
November: Bow Down Shadrach by Joy Cowley - junior fiction
December: I am not Esther by Fleur Beale – teen fiction
Depending on time constraints I hope to re-read the two titles below. They're books I first read years ago and enjoyed so much I happily re-read them about once every two years:
No Ordinary Sun by Hone Tuwhare
The Haunting by Margaret Mahy
I will probably tweet my thoughts about each book as I'm reading so you'll get sick of me really quickly (quicker than usual, that is) and will post updates as I go along. All books on the list above have been added to my TBR (to-be-read) list in GoodReads, with 'The 10pm Question' and 'Ruined' crossed off. YAY.
by tosca on Monday, January 25, 2010
Maybe my definition of romance is in serious need of an upgrade :) What I really want to know is - to borrow a question from the Smart Bitches book 'Beyond heaving bosoms: the Smart Bitches' guide to romance novels' - is anal the new oral? You may snicker and wince (lord knows I did reading it) but I'm finding this is popping up in a lot of male/female books I'm reading. And I ain't choosing these books on purpose, not with that little gem in mind. I make the distinction male/female because I also read a large number of male/male romance novels. In that genre I'd expect to find the 'new oral,' so to speak. I'm not a prude so I was surprised to find that a few of my library books I picked up last week (about 4 or 5 in total), all male/female novels, also contained the new oral in practise.
I read Cheyenne McCray's 'Luke: armed and dangerous' over the weekend because I'm a sucker for a cowboy story (go on, tell me those chaps don't make you happy!). Wowsers - plenty sexual tension, plenty of sex play and it was all maybe a little bit too much for my tiny mind. The hero/heroine decide to get it on in the office in the stables (I know - horses, hormones - I don't get it myself) and he leaves his stetson on (ok, that part I get) and his chaps (yeah, I get that part, too) and, after the obligatory round of missionary position (sheesh I hope my mum doesn't read this) they decide to try the 'new oral'. With barely a how-do-you-do. At that point my eyebrows reached my hairline and my eyes slid sideways and I thought to myself, 'Is this the new romance novel now? And when did I miss that happening?' 'Cause it's not something you'd miss, huh. I mean, it's not like a 'Whoops!' moment, is it? And, while I'm on the subject, is it something we can expect to find in a Mills & Boon? Hell, is it there already and I missed that, too? Seriously, is it or isn't and if you know can you leave a comment!
So, thanks Ms. McCray for blowing my tiny mind - and for making me realise how easily shockable I am LOL I didn't think that was possible. I think I really am going to have to pay more attention when I read. Maybe I'll get to the point where I won't think it's unusual enough to comment on. Is that a good thing? I'm still not sure. Until then, I'm gonna be asking, is anal the new oral in male/female romance novels? Is this like a bra burning moment and did I miss it that, too? Hmm...
The half-Greek, quarter-Brit, one third-Dutch tycoon megazillionaire alpha playboy's pregnant boss's mistresses second-cousin's virgin secretary...
by tosca on Saturday, January 23, 2010
The boss's bedroom agenda by Nicola Marsh - nice light read although I did think that the heroine could well have been sued for sexual harassment had she been a male. Eek. I liked the hero. Slightly geeky CEO of a museum (do museums have CEOs? shows how much I don't know) who falls (well, it was mutual falling) for an impulsive, flighty, shoe-a-holic and press gangs him (ok, she didn't have to press him hard) into an affair while assuring him that she can maintain a professional manner by day. Uhh don't know about anyone else but I'm pretty sure I couldn't do that. That little trick where you imagine people naked, imagine how much worse the giggles would be when you have seen the other person naked. Egads. So, the title half-lived up to its name. He was the boss, yes. He had the agenda - not really. She did. Enjoyed the book anyway :)
by tosca on Thursday, January 21, 2010
I already knew that I could set my twitter status to update my Facebook status at the same time - only sometimes I get comments from friends/family who say, 'Wtf? Eh?' Especially when I'm having an ongoing conversation with other tweeters. It can get confusing. Found out today that I can be selective (ooh err I know - me, being selective, go figure) about which tweets I send to FB.
@andyy has this handy little Facebook app called Selective Tweets. It's easy to set up and start using. If you already have the FB Twitter app remove or disable it first, and then use this one. For each tweet you want to send to update your Facebook status simply add a hashtag and fb at the end, like this: I can update Facebook via Twitter #fb
The unfortunate incident of the 'F' word in the audiobook (and the resulting giggles, snorts & guffaws)...
by tosca on Saturday, January 16, 2010
I don't have good luck with audiobooks. I definitely remember listening to them as a child, so it's not like I've never heard them before. But somewhere between Dr. Seuss stories on tape and being 34 yrs old today I lost them. Or they lost me. Maybe we lost each other. I think it's more likely that I still associate them with kiddy books and kids learning to read and can't make that bridge between child and adult. I used to listen to Sunday Stories on the radio, years ago, and I loved those! They were my favourite part of Sunday morning! The only adult audiobook I've enjoyed to date was 'It's only a show' by the very funny Garrison Keillor. Probably because it was a mix of radio jingles, songs, readings etc. with a cast of people (as opposed to one reader doing three very bad accents).
Tried again, this time with 'Swallowing darkness' by Laurell K. Hamilton. As far as the books are concerned I'm not enjoying them as much as earlier ones. Mostly because I get confused with all of the menage scenes and, I don't know about anyone else, but when a book becomes mere sexual gymnastics in your head you end up going to sleep sitting up in your chair still. Was a bit hesitant - if I couldn't handle the 'F' word read aloud how the heck was I going to handle ménage scenes? Apparently really easy - too easy, in fact. I spent the day wandering around the branch listening to the reader's very soothing voice. So soothing that I zoned out for the rest of the day. Couldn't remember what happened in the story, or what any of the characters may or may not have done/said/intimated/kissed. Another bad audiobook experience.
by tosca on Tuesday, January 12, 2010
A few months ago I used Stanza on my ipod touch to read ebooks ( when I had a macbook - before I killed it 'playing' with it - now we never speak of it except in hushed tones). Liked Stanza. Loved it. Wanted to marry it. Raise its babies. Today...I'd like to take to it with a hammer.
by tosca on Monday, January 11, 2010
Nothing flash, just with it being a new year and all I'm prob going to come across screeds of top reads lists etc. One that caught my eye was the BBC's 'The big read - top 100 books' in particular. I have read most of them although there are a few I hadn't, so those will be on my TBR list for 2010 - you'll know them by my rather pithy comments in brackets (. Italicised titles are ones I've read:
by tosca on Sunday, January 3, 2010