For the Imp’s birthday my sister bought her a counting primer, and she quite honestly couldn’t have found a better one. Just look at it!
I got myself a whole slew of Christmas novels and novellas that I figured I’d read and review for the holidays. That hasn’t worked out so well, I’m only halfway through my second one, so at this rate I’ll still be reading Christmas stories in April!
Still, I wanted to ask – does anyone have any recommendations for good holiday romances? Do you like holiday romances?
I did read a few last year, so I will give my notes on those (and the one I finished this year) for now.
Unwrapping Her Perfect Match by Kat Latham
This holiday romance starts with Gwen who’s at a charity auction to bid on her sister’s boyfriend (on her sister’s behalf), but after a conversation with another handsome rugby player ends up bidding on him instead. At 6’1”, Gwen has always felt like a giant, but “Little” John Sheldon makes her feel all woman.
I did like the chemistry between the two main characters in this book. Gwen has some baggage from something that happened to her in her youth, and it threatens to derail any relationship she’s ever had as an adult. John is quite understanding about the situation, and tries his best to help. Which doesn’t always work. I liked that when he acted like an ass, whether intentional or not, he did usually realise and would try to fix his behaviour.
There were a few things in the novella I liked less, but I can’t go into it without possible spoilers. Still good enough to read once, and you don’t have to have read the other books in the series to enjoy this one.
MILF on the Shelf by Nico Rosso
This is an erotic novella so it contains explicit language, in case that’s not your thing. It’s about a middle aged woman who takes the chance to feel something again with a younger man. I wouldn’t say it’s a love story per se, but more about finding a way back to yourself.
I liked that it has a Chinese-American heroine and an African-American hero. It’s also refreshing to read about an older woman/younger man rather than the other way around. I’d say it’s definitely worth the read as long as you don’t mind explicit language.
Christmas at Copper Mountain by Jane Porter
This was a sweet romance where Harley, still recovering from the loss of her husband and children, takes a temporary job over the holidays at a ranch to get away from all of the memories for Christmas. The owner of the ranch, Brock, is a gruff widower, and is out of the house most of the time – which suits her perfectly. Things change when Brock’s twins unexpectedly arrive home from school, something Harley didn’t sign up for.
When she realises that the twins have never celebrated Christmas, she makes it her mission to make sure that they do. To Brock’s initial dismay. (I personally got a bit of a von Trapp feeling early on, but it plays out quite well.)
The book is sweet, and it deals with the personal loss of both main characters quite well. However, I was very thrown when the book turned very Christian towards the end. I hadn’t realised that this was a spiritual romance, and it seemed to come out of nowhere, since there had been no real references of it up until that point. That did sort of ruin the book for me a bit, mainly because I didn’t expect it.
Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan
Ski Pro Brenna has been in love with ex-skiing champion Tyler for years, so she knows all about unrequited love. When an overbooked skii resort forces them to share a chalet for the holidays, they are both forced to look at their relationship in a new light.
I quite enjoyed this book, there’s a fair amount of unresolved sexual tension (though any actual sex scenes take place behind closed doors), and both main characters seemed realistic and interesting. Tyler is a single dad, which is quite new to him (the daughter has lived with her mom up until recently), and the feelings involved in having to now take care of his daughter seemed real.
This was possibly one of my favourite Christmas romances so far.
I read a few others, but they can’t have been very good, because I have little to no memory of them.
The Viscount’s Christmas Temptation by Erica Ridley
No memory of this whatsoever. I’m sorry.
The Twelve Nights of Christmas by Sarah Morgan
Little to no memory of this. The one thing I can remember is that the couple’s meet-cute is the hero finding the heroine naked on his hotel bed. (As I remember, she lost her job and worked in a hotel – so a friend/colleague told her to stay the night in the suite – then her clothes got wet and she had hung them up to try, only to fall asleep on the bed.)
A Christmas Kiss by Jess Michaels
I remember it being a Regency, and that it felt too short. It suffered from what a lot of novellas do – the lack of time for proper character growth. Everything felt just a little bit too rushed.
I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading lately when I work my waking night shifts. Writing at work has turned out to be difficult since it requires quite a bit of focus, and I need to always be aware of what’s going on. Reading works though, and you won’t hear me complaining about that.
With my newfound reading time, I’m finding new (and old) pet peeves in the books that I’m reading. It should be said that these are all personal views, and doesn’t mean that a story is any better or worse than any other. We all have our own preferences, and something that I enjoy might not be someone else’s cup of tea and vice versa.
Some of my pet peeves:
- Historical Inaccuracy
When reading romance, I will often allow for a little suspension of belief, as long as it’s not asking for too much. You have your couple waltz before it was actually a socially acceptable dance, sure – I’ll let it slide. However, if your hero has a tobacco plantation in the south of England and is a slave trader… Just, no. Slave trading was illegal for Britons after 1807 (the story took place in 1813-1817), and I could be wrong, but I don’t remember reading about British tobacco plantations? (That weren’t located in the West Indies etc.) I’m sure there were people who still worked in the slave trade, but then the author should have made it clear that he was doing something illegal.
Fortunately, this isn’t something that I see a lot of in published books (whether self-published or traditional), but I’ve been reading some stories on Wattpad and Fanfiction sites (I know, I know – but sometimes it’s a lot of fun!). When the writer hops between the points of view of the main characters abruptly, sometimes within the same scene it’s very jarring. Please change chapter or at least a section break to give me a clue that we’re now in someone else’s head!
I’ve mainly seen this in a couple of the very few erotic romances I’ve tried, but I know it sometimes happens in other books as well. It really creeps me out. When the hero is either talking about the heroine in terms that make her sound very young/girlish, or even worse calling her “baby girl”, “little girl”, “young girl” and so on. Extra squick points if he refers to himself as “daddy”. No, just no.
- Dubious consent
The book I’m currently reading has the hero more or less barging into the heroine’s flat at their first physical meeting (they’ve only spoken on the phone previously), and proceeds to spank her and do other sexual things to her, while she’s yelling at him to get out, to stop etc. It just made me very uneasy. Even while knowing that the author was trying to show him as dominating and her as a submissive who had forgotten how to be one (??!), it just didn’t sit right with me. Now, I’m no expert on BDSM, but isn’t the whole thing about consent and trust, in reality? You can’t just barge in and decide that you’re the new dominant without any base rules set? Correct me if I’m wrong.
- Series not advertised as such
This doesn’t really apply to series where each book is its own story with a beginning, middle and end (especially if each book is a new couple). But if you’re selling me a story, and it’s going to end on a cliffhanger – I’d like to know before I purchase the book, please.
These are some of my pet peeves, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some.
Do you have any pet peeves in books? What are they?
I love reading, always have, and I would like to think that being an avid reader also makes one a better writer. By reading you expand your vocabulary, you learn the rules of writing and sentence building, and you can get inspiration.
A writer that doesn’t read is missing out on something very vital. You have to study your art if you want to create something. That goes for everything, not just writing.
I don’t read as much as I used to, partly for lack of time and partly for lack of energy, but I do try do read as much as I can. My favourite genre is of course the one that I write myself; Historical Romance, more specifically Regency set romance. I read a lot of other genres as well though, anything from fiction to humour, from horror to fantasy. I won’t lie though, most of what I read will be romances.
Lately I’ve tried to expand my romance reading from nearly exclusively historical romance to contemporary. I don’t like it as much, but I have found quite a few good stories.
Growing up my switch from children’s books to adult books came early. I think I was eleven or so when I could no longer find anything of interest in my bookshelf or the young adult section of the library. Looking at the large amount of books in my mom’s library I asked her for a suggestion. She gave me Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon, and I loved it. That book got me interested in the fantasy genre, as well as the horror genre as I ended up reading most of King’s books.
In the next few years I read nearly all of Stephen Kings books (that had been published up to that point), nearly all of Dean Koontz’ books of the same genre. I also got very interested in fantasy, and devoured the books of David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Tolkien and many others. For a long time, my main discourse when it came to books was horror and fantasy.
I don’t remember who introduced me to romance novels, but it wasn’t until my early to mid-twenties that I truly fell in love with the genre. It was when I found wonderful authors such as Teresa Medeiros, Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn. This was also around the time that I gave up on trying to write a fantasy novel, and instead focused on writing romance. After writing many stories through my life, I realised that no matter the story – I had characters falling in love, whether I had planned it or not. So in the end, I decided that what I should probably be writing, is romance novels!
That is my story both of me as a reader, and as a writer. I do believe that the two are connected, and I will strive to continue reading as much as I possibly can.
What kind of books got you into reading? Are you still reading the same genres? If you’re a writer, do you mainly write in the same genre that you’re reading?
Yup, I’m still in school. Getting worried though, well, I suppose getting is something of an understatement. I’ve been worried all along. I keep having these fears that I’m going to fail completely. I can only hope it will not be so.
Also feeling generally unhappy with my life. Big surprise there, eh? Don’t really know what to do about it either. I hope it will get better as I settle in with being back to school and all.
Been reading a bit, read Julia Quinn’s latest book in one sitting. Then Julie Garwood’s in two. Now I have to choose what to read next, but I’m holding off a little since I have a lot to read for school.
Tomorrow is puppy course time again with Bailey. I hope he behaves!
And… *drumroll* I’m finally back to writing! I just finished chapter three of Winter’s Tale (working title) and feeling quite pleased with myself. So incredibly happy to be writing again. When I’m not writing I’m about ready to start climbing the walls, or at the very least bang my head against it…
Otherwise called a Book Fair…
I was at one yesterday, and it was brilliant. What better thing could there be than a huge room filled with discounted books? The most expensive book I bought was $8 and that was a hardcover! (The cheapest was probably about $1.50)
As always I probably went a little overboard. I bought 31 books. But hey, for those prices.. who wouldn’t?
I got some Stephen King novels (I like to collect them) as well as a Dee Davis book I had thought about ordering, so that was awesome. Then a few romance novels, lots of fiction and a few classics. On the whole, it was a very good day indeed.
It’s a good thing it’s only once a year though *lol* I can never catch up on my reading since I keep buying new books.
So I managed to miss my first Sunday. I said I would post every Sunday, and the first one that comes along, I forget! At one point yesterday I was actually thinking about the fact that I needed to get online to post, but then it simply slipped my mind since I was doing a lot of other things.
I’m reading a book at the moment, and I don’t actually like it, but once I start a book I generally want to finish it. Maybe I want to give it the opportunity to better itself. But in this case it doesn’t look too good. In its defense it was written in the era of the bodice-rippers, but that doesn’t help much if you were never much into those stories. The motivations of the main characters are simply not believable, and the way the act and react.. it’s just horrible. I swear I actually cringe at some points.
Then there is this one tiny little detail that always bothers me. Why.. Why do people have their characters ride a stallion? I’m not a horse fanatic, but even I know that you don’t ride stallions. They’re too spirited. And when the heroine actually had her own stallion.. well, that wasn’t believable at all. I’m sorry. Sure, maybe there’s the odd time when someone rides a stallion, but it’s not very common because of the less than pleasurable traits stallions usually display.
Does anyone else have any pet peeves? Or books that simply aren’t your cup of tea?
I’ve come to the conclusion that I should not – cannot – enter a bookstore any longer. Because if I do, I’m bound to come out with a few more books for my bookshelf and much less cash than I had when I entered.
I love books.
I’m addicted to books.
I cannot stop buying books.
The ironic thing is that at the moment I have no time to actually read books. I have a whole bookcase now filled with books I’ve not read yet. And still I keep buying them. I can’t help myself. I just have to.
I recently acquired a gorgeous copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes. I had to. How could I not? It had gilded edges on the pages…
I do read. Whenever I can. It’s just not very often. In fact, I read Eloisa James’ Taming of the Duke (finally) this weekend. In one sitting. Unfortunately that sitting was from 1am to 6am (so I’m rather tired today!). I just wish I had more time to read. Eventually I will.. I hope. Maybe then I can catch up on all the unread books I have. (Last count it was more than 100… and I’ve bought more since.) If I can buy less books for a while maybe I could even catch up…
Does anyone else have anything that they buy too much of? (Not that I necessarily think I have too many books.. I do love them, afterall. I just wish I had time to read them as well.) Do you have a hard time resisting the allure of certain things? Clothes? Movies (I must admit to buying a fair few of those as well)? Anything?
Or am I the only ‘addict’ in the room?
Have you ever thought about how long a book is? Yes, it’s 400 pages, or 236 or whatever. But how long did it take you to read? I’ve realised that some books take a whole lot longer to read than others. Isn’t that odd?
I read the latest Harry Potter in 2.5 days. That was 500 pages or so. I’m currently reading a book called Blackbird House, which is really good, but it’s taken me two weeks already and I’m not even halfway. This book is maybe 250 pages. Isn’t it funny how we read some books quicker than others? Or at least I do. Admittedly it might also have something to do with the fact that I don’t have a lot of time to read at the moment. I used to read for an hour before going to sleep, but because of lack of time I now spend that hour writing on my manuscript instead of reading. So my reading time is currently varying between limited and non-existing.
But that’s the thing though, isn’t it? When it comes to certain books we make time. It doesn’t matter if we have to clean our house, cook dinner, or whatever it is that you currently need to do. You still read.
I have a few authors I read where I have that. I just put everything aside when something comes out and read their new book. Those authors are J.K. Rowling (of course), Julia Quinn and Teresa Medeiros. Any other author I can somehow contend myself for a bit before opening that book. Some authors I might not be able to put down once I start, but I can put off the starting. These three authors though. I don’t know why, but I’m unable to not read them.
Does anyone else have something similar to this? Do you read some books quicker than others? Are there authors that you simply cannot put off reading?