NYT Bestsellers: Romance Edition

I like information, charts, data.  SO I alway have a look at the NYT bestsellers lists when they come out. In particular the mass-market paperback chart. Where, I think it is safe to say that romance reigns supreme. (Most of the time.)

Lets have a look at this weeks Top 35 (Courtesy of NY Times)

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Cornucopia of books

So as I have told everyone who’ll listen. I am out of a job. My beloved bookshop, Borders, closed with the other 45 stores in the UK on 24th Dec. Great Christmas present, huh? There are some great blogs by ‘Borders Insider’ up on theBookseller.com and the experience they had in their shop pretty much mirrored ours.

This was the job that I loved so much and put so much time and effort into that I dumped bloglandia for it. Yep, I’m afraid I am one of those fair-weather friends. I was always around, reading blogs etc. I just stopped posting reviews, commenting on blogs and the like.

But I’m back now, jobless and friendless and with no money. As I was saying in my earlier post. I can’t afford to buy books in the volumes I had been. No discount..*sob* …*no pay*.  (Although Fictionwise seem to be making it a much easier decision by seemingly getting rid of the ‘across the board’ micropay rebates they had. What a waste of a membership now!!)

But in among all that confusion and fear and anger at losing a job I loved there was one small silver lining. We gots lots of books verra, verra cheap. And if they were selling them off anyways, I was damn sure gonna get my share.  I squirreled away books for weeks in wee hidey-holes all over the shop and then on the last day, when we closed the doors for the final time, I got to buy all the romance books we had left for  £1.

I finished counting and listing them. I got 632 books for £1. *HI FIVE*

Now a I have some doubles and titles I just wouldn’t read and I’m boxing that up and it’s going to The Edinburgh Cancer Center at the Western General Hospital. To bulk up their patient library, in the waiting areas and in the wards. On the days when I am there, I sometimes have to wait for a couple of hours if the consultant is running behind and I see a lot of the older patients reading etc. I think they’ll get a lot of use out of them.

The rest, well the rest is staying with me….*rubs hands*. My bedroom is like a big book monster has spewed all over it. Books stacked against the wall, books in boxes strewn all over the floor, piles beside the bed.  I almost overwhelmed as I got rid of the majority of my paper books when I switched over to my e-reader, Rafel. (That’s his name, cause he’s my hero..) But it’s really nice to have paper books again.

But look at them…

And that’s only one boxload. I’ve got another 6 boxes there.

Problem is I have a lot of older romance books and I don’t have a clue where to start. A lot of Celeste Bradley, Johanna Lindsay, Nicole Jordan.

My question is, are these old school historical/contemporary authors?

I’m never quite sure what constitutes ‘old school’ in romance, and if I’d like it? You know I’m a modern romance reader, I like my smexxin’ in my books.

So what is ‘old school’? Where is the line drawn? And would a dirty girl like me, enjoy old school romance?

No buying here…

So since my cashflow has trickled, I no longer have the readies to buy indiscriminately. What am I going to do?  I clocked up 376 books last year.

I’m finally going to tackle the TBR pile ‘o’ doom.  So instead of buying new books, looking at the pretty covers, putting them aside and never reading them, I am NOT going to buy any more books. Or specifically I am stealing borrowing an idea from Kirstie J over at Ramblings on Romance. See Kirstie’s goal is for every book she reads off her TBR pile she can then buy a book. No read, no buy. Except, I’m going more hardcore than that. For every 5 books I read, then I can buy 1 book. Except for my Blaze subscription, cause that’s sacrosanct.

So I have loads of books and series there I can get stuck into. My question is, what older (2009 backwards) titles should I read? Give me some suggestions. If I have the books there, I put ’em on the list!

Right now, I am reading Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series. And I’m really enjoying it…which has surprised somewhat.

Review redux: Full Moon Rising – Keri Arthur

A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, an organization created to police the supernatural races–and protect humans from their depredations. While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, a.k.a. assassin, Riley is merely an office worker–until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn’t be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming.…

Luckily Riley has two willing partners to satisfy her every need. But she will have to control her urges if she’s going to find her brother….Easier said than done as the city pulses with frenzied desire, and Riley is confronted with a very powerful–and delectably naked–vamp who raises her temperature like never before.

In matters carnal, Riley has met her match. But in matters criminal, she must follow her instincts not only to find her brother but to stop an unholy harvest. For someone is doing some shifty cloning in an attempt to produce the ultimate warrior–by tapping into the genome of nonhumans like Rhoan. Now Riley knows just how dangerous the world is for her kind–and just how much it needs her.

This book has been sitting in my TBR pile for ages. I finally picked it up and I have to say I really enjoyed it, even with the almost constant sexual overtones in the book.

Now I like my nookie in my paranormals as much as the next girl. I love Nalini Singh and Meljean Brook along with Erin McCarthy and J.R. Ward so a prude I am not. However, there is HUGE amounts of sex in this book, but it fits as it is part of the universe and the characters we are following.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Riley after the first few chapters but , sex aside, I found her to be an endearing mix of cynical and romantic. She wants the white picket fence, the kids and the one true soul mate, but she isn’t going to hide herself away while she waits. I found her to be a tad naive when it came to some of her relationships, but then this will hopefully be addressed in later books. (It is the first of a series.)

The ensemble of charcaters that surround Riley were also a lot of fun. Her much more cynical and harder gay brother, Rhoan is going through his own relationship issues. Her boss at the Directorate, who sees the potential in Riley. Potential she isn’t sure she wants to explore. Riley’s two main squeezes (I did say there was a LOT of sex, right) and how she deals with juggling them while wondering if one of them is her soul mate. And lastly, of course, Quinn. Hmm, lovely, brooding, vampire Quinn.

I also really loved the Melbourne setting. It’s refreshing to get out of the US of A in a paranormal. There were mentions of areas and suburbs I know of (Thanks Neighbours and The Secret Life Of Us)  and it all seemed a little more exotic then a normal paranormal .(Try saying that three times quickly!)

So if you like fast paced action with a healthy dose of scientific & government conspiracy and a LOT of sex then you are going to frickin love these books. If you prefer to keep it to yearning and chaste kisses these are so NOT the books you want to be reading.

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This was previously posted on goodreads.

Review Redux: Oleander House by Ally Blue

When Sam Raintree goes to work for Bay City Paranormal Investigations, he expects his quiet life to change-he doesn’t expect to put his life and sanity on the line, or to fall for a man he can never have. Book One in the Bay City Paranormal Investigation series. Sam Raintree has never been normal. All his life, he’s experienced things he can’t explain. Things that have colored his view of the world and of himself. So taking a job as a paranormal investigator seems like a perfect fit. His new co-workers, he figures, don’t have to know he’s gay. When Sam arrives at Oleander House, the site of his first assignment with Bay City Paranormal Investigations, nothing is what he expected. The repetitive yet exciting work, the unusual and violent history of the house, the intensely erotic and terrifying dreams which plague his sleep. But the most unexpected thing is Dr. Bo Broussard, the group’s leader. From the moment they meet, Sam is strongly attracted to his intelligent, alluring boss. It doesn’t take Sam long to figure out that although Bo has led a heterosexual life, he is very much in the closet, and wants Sam as badly as Sam wants him. As the investigation of Oleander House progresses and paranormal events in the house escalate, Sam and Bo circle warily around their mutual attraction, until a single night of bloodshed and revelation changes their lives forever.

It is very much a story of two guys in the closet because although Sam accepts that he is gay, he doesn’t really shout it loud and proud. Bo on the other hand is so far back in the closet, I think he might have a second job at Monsters Inc.

I really enjoyed the paranormal aspect of the storyline. It relied more on the creep factor, like old school horror than outright gore. I also liked how Ally showed the monotony and repetitiveness of the job. It’s not all running along darkened corridors with poltergeist at your heels. It’s reviewing hours and hours of video and audio punctuated by library research (Dork that I am I would love that aspect!). She portrays it like any other job. The only difference is it’s not nine to five.

Now, that sounds really boring, I hear you say and it is in real life but Ally manages to have this little thread of ‘not quite right’ running through the whole book, so you feel on edge the whole time you are reading. Plus all the boring work is interspersed with some really great characters. Getting to know the team was a delight.

I loved the main character of Sam. He was this really weird mix of confident and vulnerable. He was sure in his own sexuality, but he wasn’t comfortable with others knowing. When it came to his relationship with Bo, he was constantly saying to himself ‘No, not this time. I’m not getting involved with him,’ only to turn around and give in the minute Bo spoke to him. I do that all the time. With me it’s chocolate though, not swarthy male paranormal investigators. But he wasn’t a complete wuss. I was rooting for him when he called Bo on his behaviour and told him to stop sending mixed messages.

It took a little bit more time to get into Bo’s character. It was mostly the braid thing. Bo has a long braid of black hair. I’m not into long hair on a man and I have to say, it took me quite a while to find a happy place in my head for the braid. Bo was so mixed up. I would have liked some head time with him just to see where his thoughts were but it was not to be.

As they were just starting out in the romance department and Bo wouldn’t even admit he was gay, it wasn’t a scorcher. That wasn’t to say there wasn’t any relationship stuff, there was plenty, just not a lot of action. This doesn’t bother me, it’s nice to see characters taking it slow instead of jumping into the sack asap. The sexual tension is bubbling along nicely in this installment.

I have two gripes with this book. One was the ending. It just suddenly stopped with no real closure. I get that this is a series but it felt like someone went ‘OK, word count achieved, that’s me done.’ I was reading along merrily expecting a wrap up chapter but no. A short epilogue and that was it. It left me feeling kind of cheated but I can guess that Ally was trying to show that investigations whether paranormal or ordinary in nature, rarely get all neatly tied up with a bow in real life. Still, a little warning next time, dude.

My next and biggest gripe with this book was purely cosmetic. It was the cover. Damn but it was an ugly and cheap and home-made looking piece of shit. I can just guess Ally being really excited that she was getting published only to be handed that horrendous excuse for a cover. I would be gutted to link my work to that. It seriously sucked as you can see at the top of the post. It looked like someone just took a picture from ‘Town & Country’ and stuck some curly font on top. I could do better. See here’s one I made earlier….

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This was previously posted on the now defunct Book Pron. And over on Goodreads.

I’mmmmmmmmmmm back…for a while.

So here I am, new year and I’m unemployed again. Feel sorry for me.

While I have all this time on my hands I automatically drift back here. I’ll probably post for a while since I’m bored and then give up again once I’m gainfully employed.  Who knows, maybe I’ll stick to it this time. LOL.

Expect the usual ramblings and book stuff. I kinda miss reviewing books.

Meh….

I haven’t really been here in a while. I haven’t been taking care of this place. Defintely not.

 

So should I just let it go or start the cleaning for Christmas?  It’s not like it has any real purpose other than to have somewhere to deposit my verbal diarrhoea.

I’m not sure, I kind of like the idea of blogging, I can never just blog tho…