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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Author Interview with Anne Rainey

Who exactly is Anne Rainey? We went right to the source to find out, and asked the author herself.

Anne lives in a small town way out in the middle of no-where-ville. She is a gorgeous blonde with wonderful curves and a money tree in the backyard. She never wants for anything and she always loves everyone. Of course, she wasn't always this way.

It all started on one "Rainey" day, as she was sitting on her comfy couch, reading a romance novel and sipping a hot chocolate. She realized the book she was reading seemed to lack a certain 'vavavoom!'. Thus, the talented, beautiful, and rich Anne Rainey was born.

Clearly, Anne is a mere figment. A ghostly figure that pops in and out of my head like a drive-by author. Nevertheless, I do so love it when she's visiting, because her imagination really is wickedly delicious! She'll bring you fantasies and erotic delights that will that will have you grabbing the ice water.



Anne Rainey is on the verge of setting the erotic romance genre on fire with her new release Haley's Cabin which comes out tomorrow, 2/27. She's a funny woman, a caring wife and a loving mother, but most importantly she can also write the heck out of a story.

I actually think I may be more excited about this interview and this book being released than Anne herself....okay well maybe not as much, but very very close!

I was fortunate enough to meet Anne Rainey over a year ago on the Lori Foster BB and right away she and I just clicked. She is funny, talented, honest, and just all around a great person.

During one of the many chats that went on over there it came up that Anne wrote, so of course I had to read some for myself. And OMG was I blown away!

It's no secret here that I love me some hot books and Anne brought on a whole new level of hotness that has me giddy with excitement. Along with great characters and an interesting plot line, the excerpts I've read for her exciting new book, titled Haley's Cabin has me dying for more.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Anne over the phone and through emails and I must say that she was just as great to talk to as she was to email with. She's extremely funny and there were no awkward moments throughout our conversations, for that I'm truly grateful because I'm a novice when it comes to interviews and I breezed right through this one, thanks in a large part to Anne.

While we conversed on the phone, I got to know Anne, the woman a lot more and I must say that she is, as Dylan would say, the BOMB DOT COM. Here are some quick excerpts from our phone conversation.

When I asked her how Hayley's Cabin came about, she surprised me with her answer.

"Hayley's Cabin wasn't supposed to be a story. It was a scene I wrote when I was in a poetry group. It was to help me in learning to write. Then I posted it on the Lori Foster BB and everyone wanted more. So I wrote more."

Here is the blurb about the book:

Every good girl longs for a chance to be a little naughty.

Raw from an ugly divorce and wrung out from her demanding job, Haley Thorne needs a break. When Haley’s doctor urges her to take a vacation, she heads to her secret cabin in the woods.

The very first night, Haley dreams of an erotic threesome that leaves her panting and aroused. When sexy police detective Jeremy Pickett shows up at her door, she’s shocked: He looks like the man in her midnight fantasy! Levelheaded Haley unleashes her inner seductress and has a little fun—handcuffs and all!


Having read bits and pieces of it, I had no idea she hadn't intended it to be a story when it started. HC is 38,000 words, a category length. About 120 pages. And when I asked Anne she told me "it took a couple of months to write if you add up all the days". The original release date was supposed to be Valentines day, but it's been pushed back a bit and is now scheduled for February 27th. Not V-day, but still in the month of love.

With this being Anne's first book published I wanted to know, what are the most frustrating parts of being an author and the whole writing process?

It's frustrating with edits because I always make the same mistakes! It's my fault and I just keep doing it. But for the most part it's not any harder than I thought it would be.

also...

I do so much research for the books (I've talked to police officers, programmers, and construction workers for different books) and I only use the tiniest of what I research in the actual book.

What made you want to write romance?

Well the first story I wrote was because a book I read was to tame and the hero was feminine. I thought 'that's not what a man would do', so I made my own hero. It was a paranormal book, back when they weren't so popular. I've never done anything with it, it's funny to go back and look at it now.

How long does it usually take for you to write a book?

If You Dare was the book that took me the longest to write. There was sooo much research! It is the first book in a trilogy I am writing. It's about two brothers and a step sister and their family business is a winery, and they are Italian. So there was much research on what types of grapes grow where in Italy etc. etc.

Anything in the works right now?

Right now am trying to get a short story done titled Taming Rozland. It is for a Summer Heat Anthology for this summer. A lot of great authors are in on it. It's a story about a guy from the wrong side of the tracks, and a rich debutant girl. The book may be in print, not sure as of now.

I also just recently found out that Anne has another book coming out in April 27th (my sister birthday!), from Forbidden Publications, titled Instructing Sarah. And from the sounds of it it seems like it's gonna be just as hot as HC. If you go to Anne's myspace page you can see video's she made for both HC and IS.

....on with the questions!

Do you need to have a certain set up for when you write? Like no noise and only at a certain time of day?

I can write anytime. The kids can be playing X-Box and it doesn't faze me. I go into my own world. Which is good cause then I'm not shushing them and they don't have to leave the room I'm in. And in the summer I can take my lap top outside while the girls are swimming. Although summer is the hardest time for me to write cause I love to go hiking with my family. I think it's good for them, and they come first, always.

With a lot of authors dabbling in different genre's I had to ask, would you write another genre?

I've written 2 thrillers. I would try my hand at anything but I think I'm pretty aware of what I'm good at writing and what I'm not.

I think the most important part is that she's aware of what she is and isn't good at. We've had to many authors stray from something that they are really good at and go into things that maybe they aren't horrible at but definitely aren't their strong suit, Julie Garwood.

Do you use people you know for a basis for a character? She had me rolling with this one and her reason. lol.

YES! If I don't like someone I can write them into my book and deal with them as I want to. lol.

Are you afraid of the reception that Haley's Cabin will get?

I'm getting a lot of good vibes from everyone on how HC will be taken but I'm still scared to death.

Are you worried what people will think of your f/f/m sex scene?

I wanted a straight woman that has never had a bisexual thought to read it and still think it is a very sensual and sexy thing. And go WOW!

When Annie and I talked it was actually right around the time there was a big to do going on with some authors upset over bad reviews in blogland. So I asked her opinion on it....What if you get a bad review? How will you react/feel?

At first I'll want to shove it down whoever's throat. Then I'll probably laugh. That's me. But I started off a reader and I do believe that you put your money out for that book, your entitled to your thoughts on it. Good or bad. And you have the right to share it with anyone. And it's always good to get some criticism to better my writing. (Ain't that the truth!)

What did you do when you got signed?

FREAKED OUT!

When do you think you'll allow your daughters to read your work?

My oldest daughter is 14, I think she'll need to be at least 16 before she can read my stuff. She has a boyfriend and he wants to read my stuff and I tell him HELL NO! lol, there's no way he's getting ideas from my work. My youngest is 11 so she has awhile.

With Erotica getting bigger and bigger there have been a lot of debates on the differences between erotica and porn. When I broached this topic with Anne she had something to say...

Porn has no plot it's all just sex. That's not what I'm doing. Erotica has it HEA, and there is a plot to it, it's just the sex scenes are hot and long. I could write porn if I wanted to but that's not what I'm doing here.

I get so frustrated with the closed door issue with sex. In movies it is so acceptable for there to be sex, and it is just rated R, not as porn. But to write about it there's this bit NO NO! I just don't get it. Why is it so hard for people to separate porn and erotica?


As an erotica author do you feel free to discuss the stuff you write about? And will you permit that type of stuff to be discussed on your message boards?

Kids have no place reading my books, just as they have no place watching a R rated movie. If you write it be prepared to talk about it. Sweet romance is great for some people just not for me.

What do you find the most sexy on a man?

SIZE! Women are lying size matters! lol. Also forearms, that does it for me. And hands. A huge turn off is soft hands on a man, they can not feel like chicks hands! The need to be work worn. My husband does a lot of outdoors work

How do you come up with what you write? How much enters your marriage?

Fantasy is a healthy thing and is not embarrassing, nothing should be taboo.

As a married woman I feel love doesn't stop at the bedroom door. It's not always pretty flowers. Sometimes it's dirty & that's okay, my husband definitely gives me a lot to write about.


When I asked Anne about her hero's and if she takes personalities from men she knows to create them we had some laughs. I got quite a few stories about her childhood growing up as the only girl, and the baby to boot. But here's her answer and a little of some of her stories...

I definitely use my husband as an outline for my hero's. And sometimes traits from my brothers too.

I have three brothers and I'm the baby. lol. We have a joker, a flirt, and a chauvinist. My oldest brother seems to think I should be locked up in a convent somewhere. I don't know how he thinks I got my girls cause surely I have never had sex! lol.

Just so you can get a picture of how my growing up with these brothers was here's a story.

I am 10 months younger than the youngest boy. I remember one time when I was in high school (we were in the same grade) and I had randomly told my brother about a boy in my class that was picking on me. He didn't even seem to be paying any attention to me as I told him this, and didn't even respond. Later when I went to that class the boy that had made fun of me came in and started to apologize, I was shocked! Then I noticed my brothers friend in the back laughing so I asked him what was so funny....he said my brother just beat the shit out of the boy in the bathroom! lol...
Yeah I also went to my homecoming dance with one of my brothers friends. Very uncomfortable.


Sexiest thing you own?

Does my sweat shirt count? lol

Three things your husband would say about you?

Sexy legs, pretty eyes, stubborn.

Clickhere to buy your copy of Haley's Cabin, and find out all the other ways you can keep up with Anne Rainey and her work. We hope you had just as much fun getting to know Anne as I did a lot with the other girls here at SF. If you have any questions for Anne feel free to drop a line here in the comments and I'm sure Anne will be happy to answer them.

Oh and silly me...starting 2/27 if you stop by Anne's site and leave her a message in her guest book, letting her know what you think of HC or just her, she'll enter you into a drawling to win your very own copy of Haley's Cabin!

And no worries, you know we wouldn't leave you hanging without any teasers, so here it is. And Anne gave us a special SF peek that's not anywhere else, so enjoy. And remember that Anne said this when you read this excerpt: love doesn't stop at the bedroom door. It's not always pretty flowers. Sometimes it's dirty & that's okay.

Haley must still have been dreaming, because things this exciting just didn’t happen to her. Frankly, she’d never met a man like Jay, or Jeremy, rather. He was so straightforward. He saw what he wanted and threw caution to the wind. After being married to Eric, a man who put on a facade to get what he wanted, it was a refreshing change to meet a guy who felt no need to pretend.

Right at that moment Haley was a few scant inches away from Jay’s impressive chest. God, he looked delicious. She had visions of coasting her tongue over and around each of his nipples, down his torso, then unbuttoning his jean shorts. She’d watch them fall to the floor. Then she’d get to see his erection. Haley wanted her mouth on his cock. She ached to taste him. Honesty forced her to admit she wanted what he’d done to her in her dreams. This was a vacation, after all. A moment out of time. Haley yearned to take some memories back with her on Monday, when her fantasy ended and real life intruded. Something that would last her a lifetime.

After spending an erotic weekend with Jay/Jeremy Pickett, Haley had a sneaky feeling other men were going to seem pale in comparison.

“Can you take off your shorts for me, Jay?” Haley asked, feeling bolder now her mind was made up to take what she could from their encounter.

Jay smiled and in a hoarse whisper replied, “I already took off my top. It’s your turn.”

Okay, so he was going to play hard to get. No problem.

“It’s not really fair, though, because this dress is all I’m wearing.” Take that, she thought haughtily.

Jay’s gaze went south, bypassing her chest and going straight to the notch between her legs. She could have sworn she felt heat there, just from the intensity of his stare.

His silvery eyes changed to liquid mercury. His words nearly melted her in the chair. “My cock is going to feel so damn good inside you, Haley. So good you’ll forget all about your erotic dream. You’ll beg me, baby. That’s a promise.”

He stood to his full, impressive height and took off his shorts right there in front of her. Oh my, he was every bit as big as he’d been in her dream. He was full and hard and so ready for her that her mouth watered from the sight. All she’d need do was lean forward and he’d be inside her wet mouth.

With his feet braced apart, a hard, predatory look on his face, he demanded, “The dress, Haley, off with it.”

He was no longer the friendly, flirtatious man she’d eaten dinner with. Now Jay was an aggressive and dominant male. The raw masculinity of him turned her on more than anything ever had. If she hadn’t felt so confident about herself, the sheer size of him might’ve intimidated her. Haley was confident, however. She’d gained her confidence the hard way. And she knew, no matter how intimidating he seemed, he’d never hurt her.

Without standing, Haley slipped her fingers beneath the hem of her dress and inched it upward. By small degrees she bared her thighs. As she reached her bottom, she had to lift slightly to get the dress higher. Soon, it was around her middle. She didn’t get any farther. Jay’s hand was suddenly there, cupping her exposed mound. His nostrils flared and his jaw twitched, as if he wanted to do much more than touch. She liked the thought. Haley wasn’t the type to drive men mindless and it was empowering to realize she had that effect on Jay.

She wiggled, and he moved his hand away, seemingly reluctantly, and she took the dress off the rest of the way. Haley sat in the hard wooden kitchen chair, totally nude, while she let him look his fill. She only hoped he liked what he saw or she would absolutely die of mortification.

As if reading her thoughts, Jay groaned. “You look so sweet sitting there. So bashful with your legs pressed tight together.” He snared her gaze with his own. “I can’t wait to spread you open, to see that lovely cunt dripping from the first orgasm I give you, baby.”

She couldn’t think. Couldn’t even speak. Jay had taken the heavy weight of his cock in his hand and began rubbing himself as he spoke to her. The sight of him mesmerized Haley. His words penetrated, and she managed to ask, “First orgasm?”

A slow grin spread across his face as he crouched in front of her. He leaned forward and took her nipple into his mouth, softly suckling on her.

“Oh, God.”

Jay laved at her, loving in his assault. Haley could have come right there, without him so much as touching her clit.

Abruptly, he stood, staring down at her now glistening breast. “I’m really going to enjoy playing with your pretty tits.” He stopped touching himself and took her hand, pulling her out of the cold chair and leading her to the backdoor. When he opened it, a rush of brisk night air came in and she was reminded of the dream once again. It was chilly then, too, when she’d let him and Marissa into her house.

Together, they stepped out onto a stone walkway leading to a secluded spot which hid the Jacuzzi. Thick shrubs and colorful flowers formed a wall around it. They were in their own private paradise.

As he took her to the side of the hot tub, Haley noticed he’d set out candles. All shapes and sizes glowed everywhere—on the ground, the little outdoor table next to the tub and along one edge of the walk. The sweet smell of vanilla permeated the air. She wanted to comment on the romance of it all, but before she could, Jay leaned down and whispered another erotic promise into her ear.

“I’ll make you come so many times you’ll wish to be my sex slave.” He licked the spot beneath her ear, and her body shook and her mind went blank. “I’m going to turn you into a little wanton.” He moved farther down her neck, tasting her, nibbling on her overheated skin. “My own private submissive,” Jay promised, then he lifted away from her and ordered, “Get into the water now.”

She obeyed. There was really never any other choice. Every fiber of her being was tuned in and turned on, and she longed to submit to him. Just as he promised, she already ached to be his dutiful slave.


If you want a little bit more click here and read the peek Samhain has on their site.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Shadow Dance by Julie Garwood.


Hero: Noah Clayborne
Heroine: Jordan Buchanan
Category: Contemporary
Page Count: 400+
Grade: C

The eagerly anticipated novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author who sets the standards for romance. For years fans have clamored for a book starring beloved recurring characters Jordan Buchanan and Noah Clayborne who have been featured in past Garwood novels. Here they are in a very sexy and highly entertaining tale.

At last, we have Noah Clayborne's book, in which he falls madly in love with his best friend and partner's sister, Jordan Buchanan.

They're at her best friend's wedding, where Kate (the best friend) is marrying Jordan's yummy brother, Dylan. Kate's younger sister, Isabel gets a visitor, who says he's a relative of theirs on their MacKenna side. He tells Jordan that it was a disgrace that a MacKenna would willingly marry a Buchanan and because she got annoyed with the weird guy, she tells him that maybe she'll do her own research to see if there's any truth to the tales that the nutty professor was spoutin' at the wedding. While on the dance floor, Noah informs Jordan that she needs to get laid and loosen up because she's pretty much...boring. So because she doesn't need money right now after the selling of her computer chip and company which made her stinking rich, she tells him that she's going on a treasure hunt to find some lost treasure.

And she goes to Texas to find the guy and copy his research for Isabel and start her own research, to try to make sense of the stories that the crackhead professor was talking about. Nothing has been going right since she got to Serenity but that doesn't deterr her from her mission, well until she found the nutty professor dead in her trunk.

Ewww...

Because it's aparent that someone is trying to frame her, she calls her brother Nick, who's an FBI Agent and instead of getting Nick, she gets his partner, Noah Clayborne. The odious man who got her in this mess anyway, if he hadn't told her that she was boring and needed to be spontaneous, she wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. But she tells him what happens and he tells her to call the cops, report the body and then wait for him and Nick to get there, they're on their way.

So she hangs up with Noah, calls 911 and while she's on the phone with 911, she hears sirens which she thinks is the patrol unit sent to check things out, but while she's on the phone with the 911 peeps, the sheriff's car comes to a screeching halt and the two Dickey brothers jump out and one of them, hot head JD socks her in the face and stomps on her phone, ruining it.

Guilty much?

A bunch of crap happens, Nick and Noah finally show up and Noah sticks to her side like glue and more bodies show up in her trunk and it makes for a pretty good story but I was still a bit disappointed.

Not in the story so much but in the fact that I didn't get to know Noah like I thought I would have. There wasn't much character development where he was concerned and I was looking forward to that. At the end of the story, I still felt like Noah was a secondary character, sort of how I felt for Noah Maitland in Judith McNaught's Night Whispers.

Also, the love match between Noah and Jordan felt kind of rushed and forced. It was like, one minute they were just friends and then the sleep together and BAM, they're in love. It happened too quick for me which rendered it a bit unbelievable, but that's just me. I didn't see it coming and because of that I didn't really care for it.

Aside from all of that, the book was just okay. It wasn't her best, it wasn't my favorite, I was disappointed that this was how Noah's book turned out...I was just hoping for more and it fell short of that mark.

But one things' for sure...I'm looking forward to reading the next one, does anyone know if JG is going to write Walker or Aiden/Cordie's book? Gosh I hope so.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Slow Burn by Julie Garwood.


Hero: Dylan Buchanan
Heroine: Kate Mackenna
Category: Contemporary
Page Count: 424 pgs.
Grade: B

An unpretentious beauty who rediates kindness, kate MacKenna doesn't have a bad bone in her body--or an enemy in the world. So why are bombs igniting everywhere she goes? The first explosion brings her face-to-face with a handsome Charleston police detective. The second one sends her into the arms of her best friend's brother--a Boston cop who's a little too reckless and way too charming for cmofort. But Dylan Buchanan won't let emotion prevent from doing his job: Someone is trying to kill Kate, and Dylan is the only one standing between her and the monster who wants her dead.

I finished this book in one sitting. So I guess it was good. LOL.

I'm still kind of unsure how I feel about this book because I read it so fast but I do love some Dylan Buchanan...man that man is frickin' sexy as all get out but I think his brother, Alec still has him beat as my favorite Buchanan, which surprises me since I love heroes who are big time flirts and trust me when I say, Dylan knows how to flirt.

So Kate, who doesn't have any enemies that she knows of can't seem to go anywhere without someone trying to blow her up, the first one could have been a fluke but not the second one. The second one, she was the only person around so it was more than a little evident that whoever is blowing things up is trying to blow HER up. That's when her best friend, Jordan Buchanan sends her brother, Dylan who just got shot in the line of duty (he's a cop) and is recuperating to Charleston to find out what's going on. Dylan is sweet on Kate so with little persuasion, he goes...even though he's miffed with her after the way she leaves Boston without a word to him.

I thought as a couple, Kate and Dylan were great. The chemistry between these two leaped right off the pages and I laughed whenever Dylan would back Kate into a corner or a counter and fluster her. I love reading about things like that and Dylan did a great job landing Kate because she was so lost without him. It was great crap!

This book is pretty fast paced, the flow was on point and Julie Garwood does a great job writing these two's story. You could tell a great deal of love was between these two, the end was a bit rushed but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. I enjoyed the entire book and am already anxious to start the next book, Shadow Dance.

If you read the rest of the series, I don't think you'd be disappointed in this book, it wasn't spectacular but it was still nice. It's no Killjoy that's for sure, but on the flipside, it's no Ransom either.

But still it's good.

Oh wait, what I loved most about this book is Dylan's nickname for Kate. How cute was that? And how unique...when he tells her that he loves pickles, Awwwww....I love it and I love him!

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Murder List by Julie Garwood


Hero: Alec Buchanan
Heroine: Regan Hamilton Madison
Category: Contemporary
Page Count: 425 pgs.
Grade: B+

Hotel heiress regan Hamilton Madison is flirting with danger. She agrees to help a journalist friend expose Dr. Lawrence Shields, a shady self-help guru who may have been responsible for the death of one of his vulnerable devotees. Hoping to find some damning evidence, Regan attends a Shields seminar, where the doctor his guests make a list of people who have hurt or angered them over the years and asks: Would your world be a better place if these people ceased to exist? Treating the exercise as a game, Regan plays along.

The experience is all but forgotten--until the first person on Regan's list turns up dead. Shock turns to horror when another name from her list surfaces as a corpse. While brutal murders seem to stalk regan's every m ove, her atteaction to the detective assigned to protect her grows. As the menace intensifies had a serial killer circles, regan must discover who has turned her private revenge fantasies into grisly reality.


I liked this book far more than I thought I was going to like it considering how much I didn't really care for the previous book which I read years ago, Killjoy. It's not that I hated Killjoy it was just that compared to Julie Garwood's historical/highlander books, her contemporaries weren't as good.

But I really got into this book, Alec was a fantabulous hero, I think he's my favorite Buchanan brother so far. You see, Regan Madison is in the hotel business. She's in the part of the business of giving money away. She's really good at what she does too, everyone loves her.

Everyone but the guy that's trying to kill her.

Alec Buchanan, who is brother to the hotties, Nick (JG's Heartbreaker) and Theo (JG's Mercy) Buchanan is a cop who is being recruited by the FBI, he finally takes the job as an FBI and his boss gets so pissed off at him that he tacks him with Bodyguard duty for the hotel heiress.

My favorite part of reading these books is watching the journey the couple go through while they fall a little bit in love with each other...bit by bit. The whole story that revolves around them forming feelings for each other, to me is just about the greatest thing. The romance in these books is just about one of the greatest things I can think of. It's why I read romance novels, to read about the journey to the happy ending.

Julie Garwood does a great job of setting up Alec and Regan's story, the way she brought these two together and the way she tells their story really had me so engrossed in the book that I zipped right through it.

I enjoyed this book a whole lot. I enjoyed Alec's sloppy sexiness, I loved his flirty confidence where Regan was concerned, I loved their first meeting, with him stinking to high heaven and her laughing at him. I loved how protective he was where she was concerned and I loved loved loved...him. He was the bomb, seriously.

Regan was a great heroine too, I really enjoyed Laurent from Heartbreaker and Michelle as well, but my favorite couple so far, is Alec and Regan...their story and them two as a couple really fit and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the entire b ook.

I loved how Regan, Sophie and Cordie met, how they became friends and stayed friends throughout each other's lives. It was really sweet.

Now, what I didn't like...I didn't like how we were left hanging about Aiden and Cordie, do they get together or not? Are we going to get their story soon or no? JG can't leave me hanging like this...seriously. Another thing I didn't like was not being able to meet Walker. After all the talk about him throughout the book, I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get to meet him at all. I hope that means that Walker will soon be getting his book, gosh I really hope so.

Aside from those two things, I really liked this book and totally recommend it. It's better than Killjoy and just as great as Heartbreaker and Mercy. The mystery surrounding the story kept me guessing throughout most of the book and the story fell neatly into place which I loved. The ending was great and Alec is a sexy hero...what more could you want?

Read it, you'll like it.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Stranger In Her Bed by Janet Chapman.


Hero: Ethan Knight
Heroine: Anna Segee
Category: Contemporary
Page Count: 384 pgs
Grade: A

When Ethan agreed to work at a sawmill his family is purchasing, he didn't foresee getting fired on his first day. He should be mad at the fiercely outspoken female foreman, but something about her seems disconcertingly familiar--even though Ethan is sure he'd remember meeting a stunning beauty like Anna Segee before.

Anna has never forgotten Ethan--or the schoolgirl crush she had on him before her father whisked her off to Canada. Now the shy, gangly girl is grown up and back in Oak Grove with a new name, new confidence and a newly inherited mill of her own. Her superb reputation in a male-dominated industry hasn't come easy, but even harder will be ignoring the sexy man Ethan has become...


So Anna Segee comes back to Oak Grove after many years away getting to know her long lost father and facing the life that she walked away from. The life her Grandfather, Samuel Fox left behind in his car accident.

Fox Run Mills is her inheritance, the one thing that her Grandfather left behind for her. Against her Father's wishes, Anna returns to Oak Grove to make a life of her own, one that didn't involve her over protective Father and pesky brothers making every decision for her, fixing every little aspect of her life for her. She came back to make a name for herself and live on her own two feet.

It should have been easy but Ethan Knight, her long ago Knight in Shining Armor keeps putting a cramp in her style. You see, he's living in a spare cabin on her land and she's his landlord. But the cabin isn't up and running to his liking so he's taking it out on her, which means he's sleeping in her bed and she's sleeping on the couch because she was in a car accident that Ethan saved her from. He drives her home, sets her up on the couch and he, himself shacks up for the next couple of nights while she's recuperating from her ordeal, sleeping in her bed. He takes care of her and becomes the kind of man that she ran away from. The kind that boss her around, makes decisions for her, tells her what's good for her and she hates it...

...almost as much as she kinda likes it.

When these two get into it, they really get into it. It was funny to see them yelling at eachother and arguing just because they love to be going at each other. They had fun razzing eacho ther and I enjoyed reading all about their little squirms.

At the beginning of this book I wanted more Ethan. I wanted to see what happened to him in the past (which was talked about in The Seduction of His Wife) that made him the way he is today. I wanted to know why he was so cynical where women were concerned. I wanted all the mysteries of TSoHW brought to light and I wanted to love Ethan more than Alex...why? Because even in Alex's book, I knew I was going to love Ethan more. He was more mysterious, held my attention more than Alex did and I really loved me some Alex.

And Janet Chapman didn't disappoint me at all because I DID love Ethan more than Alex.

Anna Segee was a capable heroine, it was great to see her making a life for herself apart from the family that babied her from the time she was brought into their family. She did well enough with the rebuilding of her Grandfather's Legacy and I loved her friendship with Jane. I loved seeing her make Ethan jealous with the men at the dance, I loved it all the more because Ethan wasn't all that jealous, he was so sure that she'd be going home with HIM that night and well, after all that, it was just so great. I love Ethan's Knight in Shining Armor complex. It suits him well.

It was so good to see Ethan's family in the book and meeting and seeing Anna's family was a great addition to the book and i was super happy with the entire book.

I know that Nicole liked Alex's book better than this book (only slightly but still) but I didn't. I loved Ethan and Anna's story better than Alex and Sarah's. It might be because I have forgotten a lot of A&S's story and E&A's story is fresh in my mind, but I liked the depth of this story, the flow of this story and the overall presentation of this book.

It was a good read and I'm so glad that I finally picked it up. For those of you that read and loved Alex's book, I would totally recommend this book for you to read as well.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie

Hero: Alex
Heroine: Nina
Category: Contemp
Page Count: 224, hb
Grade: A
Buy It: Here or here.
Part basset, part beagle, all Cupid . . . can a matchmaking hound fetch a new love for his owner?

For Nina Askew, turning forty means freedom -- from the ex-husband whose career always came first, from their stuffy suburban home. Freedom to have her own apartment in the city, freedom to focus on what she wants for a change. And what she wants is something her ex always vetoed -- a puppy. A bouncy puppy to cheer her up. Instead she gets . . . Fred.

Overweight, smelly and obviously suffering from some kind of doggy depression, Fred is light-years from perky. But for all his faults, he does manage to put Nina face-to-face with Alex Moore, her gorgeous, younger downstairs neighbor.

Alex looks great on paper -- a sexy, seemingly sane, surprisingly single E.R. doctor who shares Fred's abiding love for Oreos -- but a ten-year difference in age, despite his devastating smile, is too wide a gap for Nina to handle. Ignoring her insistent best friend, some interfering do-gooders and the ubiquitous Fred -- not to mention her suddenly raging hormones -- Nina thinks anyone but Alex would be a better bet for a relationship. But with every silver-haired stiff she dates, the more she suspects it's the young dog-loving doctor she wants to sit and stay!


Nina has wanted a dog practically from the day her and Guy got married, he didn't. It should have been a sign. 15 years later she's divorced and ready to get her dog. It's her 40th birthday and she wants a perky happy puppy, what she leaves with is Fred. An older overweight depressed dog, but what does it matter when he makes her happy? That's what she wanted all along. But living on the third floor makes it a bit difficult for him to do his thing, especially without an elevator, so she teaches him to go down the fire escape out the window. All is fine until one time he doesn't come back.....

Fred seems to have found a new friend, he's climbed into the second story window instead of his third floor one, and meets Alex. Alex has been an ER doctor for awhile, his family has been harping on him to choose a profession. It would seem he has but coming from a long line of specialist doctors an ER doctor is NOT a profession. It's also been hard in the dating field, every woman he dates is ready to settle down and sprout children, Alex isn't ready for marriage let alone the fact that he doesn't want children. But when he meets Fred and returns him to his owner he thinks he just might have meet the right woman.

Because of a ten year age gap Nina is very weary of anything romantic with Alex. She's come up with every excuse, his age, his maturity, his .... well everything. But nothing can change the feelings she has every time he is near, or every time she thinks of him for that matter.

Alex doesn't care about Nina's age, and is determined to make sure she doesn't care either. He wants her to see him as a grown man worthy of her. But he still is weary to make THE move, scared she'll turn away and his chance will be lost.

With Nina's best friend that has the black thumb in relationships writing a book on her love life and pushing Nina into SOMETHING with Alex. And their 75 year old upstairs neighbor and her 63 year old boyfriend also dropping hints to how age never matters. And everything else Nina and Alex are fighting an uphill battle. Throw in Alex's older brother Max that's struggling with his life decisions and an alcoholic, cardiac surgeon father this book adds up to lots of fun and a great romance. Hell throw in a red lace incredi bra while we're at it too. This is the closest to a Bet Me book. I loved it! The entire feel of the story, the banter, the dog it just makes a perfect Crusie book. Were there faults? Sure I think Charity and Max should have had some type of ending weather together or with someone else. In the end Alex went a little over board with what he was doing to prove to Nina he was mature and stable enough for her, but he smartened up. So like I said, this one rates #2 right next to Bet Me. A definite great read. Go Get It!

Dylan's Turn:

Hero: Alex Moore
Heroine: Nina Askew
Category: Contemporary
Grade: A

This book was the bomb. Nicole already gave you the low down on this very book, so all I'm gonna add is that this was a very fast read for me and it captured my attention right from the very beginning.

I didn't even issues with the age difference between Nina and Alex. It didn't bother me at all, I loved the both of them too. Nina was dumb about some things but Alex was too and it didn't bother me one bit.

I loved the flow of the story and thought that JC did a great job telling this story. If you guys haven't read this book, you totally should because it's the bomb DOT com. I loved it! The only thing that I want now? Max and Charity's book. LOL.

Oh quick question though, did you guys pronounce Char as Char (like char broiled, or shar) or as Chair, like CHARity? That little bit through me off for a bit. LOL.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer.


Hero: Edward Cullen
Heroine: Isabella Swan
Category: Paranormal, Young Adult
Page Count: 563 pages
Grade: A

For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of an evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may just be beginning....

Legions of readers entranced by the New York Times bestseller Twilight are hungry for more, and they won't be disappointed by this gripping sequel. In New Moon, Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural twist. Passionate, riveting, and deeply moving, this vampire love saga is well on its way to literary immortality.


Dylan Says

Stephanie Meyer sure knows how to write some fantabulous books because New Moon was just as great as Twilight and I was just as much in love with Edward Cullen in this book as I was in the last book. This is the second book in the series, I don't even know what the name of the series is but I am a big time fan of Stephanie Meyer now. The woman knows her way around a pen and paper. I am literally wrapped up in her world and have no want to get out. She is beyond great, she's one of the best.

Now, Edward is missing through a whole chunk of this book but I cannot say that I didn't enjoy the book anyway, I sorely missed having him there to be with Edward and I was seriously heart broken right alongside Bella but I was just so happy that Jacob was there.

Jacob.

He was such a great character, another favorite of mine in this series. I liked him in Twlight but I liked him even better in New Moon. My heart hurt for him just as much as it hurt for Bella in this book and I think that's why I love these books so much. They ripped emotion after emotion right out of me and not once was I taken out of the book. I want a happy ending for Paris, I mean Jacob. Because it was more than evident in Twilight that he had a crush on Bella, that crush blossomed into something so much more and you'd have to be deaf, blind and dumb to not see that the reason why Jacob hates Edward so much is because well, read the book...then we can discuss this book but yes, suffice it all to say that I love Jacob Black. This book was just what I needed to bring me out of my Paranormal slump, I'm more than ready to jump into the next paranormal book, because I just love me some sexy vampires.

You guys should totally read this book, I don't want to get too into the stories because for Charm, I'm trying not to give away all the dirty details of the book, just READ THIS BOOK IT WAS GREAT!

Isabel Says

I'm torn. The story was good. Once I started reading, I was hooked. Stephanie Meyer knows how to tell story. However, there are parts I'm just not happy with. Edward missing from most the of the books. The he said, she said. Bella unintentionally leading Jacob on. Yeah she told him they were just friends and Jake said he understood. But saying things like, "You're breaking up with me!?" That's isn't something you say to your friend.

Jacob. I like him before he changed. After he changed, I was little annoyed with him. I understood the animosity with the vampires. But the whole protectiveness of Bella with Alice? I found myself annoyed with Jake. Hello, she loves Edward! She's practically family with The Cullens. You knew this. Yeah I know you have a crush on Bella and this feud with The Cullens, but you knew how Bella felt about them.

So yeah, I'm torn with the book. I liked it but there are parts I'm unhappy with. I'm gonna leave this one grade less for now.

Daphne Says

This book was one emotional roller coaster for me. I was shocked that Edward left so early in the story, it almost made me not want to read anymore. Especially seeing page upon page of the months that passed by. I thought that was clever, and gave the story a dramatic effect, but boy was it depressing. The majority of the story focused on Bella's friendship with Jacob. Ah, Jacob. Poor guy, I felt so bad for him. I know Meyer's compared the trio to Romeo and Juliet, but for me I thought of Ducky from Pretty in Pink, the classic story of the guy who falls for his best friend, who happens to be in love with the school stud. Another dip in the emotional roller coaster.

My heart really goes out to Jacob, but I still love Edward more. Why? I guess it's because Edward was always presented as a vampire, and he's been loveable from the beginning. Jacob is a great friend to Bella, but I just knew he would end up being a werewolf, and I had a feeling that the transition would be difficult for him. I think Edward has the advantage of being older, not just in his human age (17 versus Jacob's 15 or 16?), but also decades of living as a vampire. Anyway, the middle was a bit harder for me to get through, only because Edward wasn't there, but I still enjoyed the story. Up until the ending, where things got intense.

I personally enjoyed the last portion of the book, only because this is where the action and suspense occurred. However, by the end I was a bit frustrated with Bella. The fact that she asked the Cullens to take a vote on her immortality was just.... lame. By the end of Twilight I felt she was a bit hasty in her decision to be a vampire. Yes, I know she loves Edward and for her there is no ifs ands of buts... however, I wish she would not dismiss Edward's points so quickly. After all, he's lived as a vampire for a hundred years, so he knows what he's talking about. Anyway, going back to my original point, even though I disagree with her, it's still her decision, so why is she putting it to a vote? Ugh, that really annoyed me. Then, when Edward proposes to her, she's instantly hesitant. That's so contradictory to me, she can choose immortality in the blink of an eye, yet she's freaked out about marriage? I'm curious to see how this all plays out in the end.

Like Twilight, I thought New Moon was very well written. However, it's definitely not as good as the first. I am giving this one a B.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Witness in Death by J.D. Robb

Opening night at New York's New Globe Theater turns from stage scene to crime scene when the leading man is stabbed to death center stage. Now Eve Dallas has a high profile, celebrity homicide on her hands. Not only is she lead detective, she's also a witness - and when the press discovers that her husband owns the theater, there's more media spotlight than either can handle. The only way out is to move fast. Question everyone and everything . . . and in the meantime, try to tell the difference between the truth - and really good acting.

When I first started this series I think I read the first 6 back to back. Then the next few spread out. When I got to Loyalty for some reason I could not get through it. It was like I was on In Death overload. So I did what I never do, I put it down half way through it. As you know now I picked it back up and finished it (since I don't read out of order and I now am done this book) and seemed to right back on my In Death kick like I was in the start.

Sooooooo I pick up Witness in Death and OMG! I loved this one! I really think this one may be my favorite so far. Well maybe I really like the one where Mavis got with her man, but I forget the title. Anyhow, I'm gonna tell you all now, I won't give away the 'who do it' but I am talking about the Peabody, McNab etc. etc. So if you've never read the story and don't want to know about these people's personal lives then don't read.

Okay so Roarke opens one of his new acquisitions (is that the right word to use?), a Theater, it's opening night and the main actor is murdered right there on the stage, in front of thousands of witnesses, in front of Eve, and with a knife that was supposed to be a prop.

One thing J.D. Robb is good for is jumping right into the action.

Obviously this books about the who did it, most of the suspects are actors so Eve, along with her aid Peabody, have to peel away all the different layers. Who's acting? Who's not? How can you tell?

Not to mention we all (well anyone who's read any of these books) know that Eve struggles with the nightmares of her childhood and this case hits close to home on more than one occasion.

I think Eve became even more .... human in this book. Not that she was some cold hearted woman before. But in each book, Robb peels away a little more of Eve's armor and shows her vulnerability, allows her to lean more on her husband. And not only that but we saw some of the same in Roarke this time around too. Or maybe it could be I just took such a long break from the books that I feel like it's all new. lol.

But really when Eve tried to go the extra step and show Roarke how much she loves him I laughed, felt nervous for/with her, and just loved seeing how much they mean to each other.

The highlight of this book for me? Peabody, McNabe, and Monroe! OMG let me tell you, I was skimming through looking for more on them and then would go back all excited cause I knew more was coming. I don't even know who I like more, McNab or Monroe. I thought I was all for McNab but Monroe touches my heart too. Even though he is a man whore. lol. But Roarke said he's put his money on McNab, and he's not known to lose.

I don't know how J.D. Robb does it though. I laugh, cry and am on the edge of my seat the entire time I read her books. Oh and not to mention am Hot hot hot! Usually when I read a book I take for granted how much work goes into it. But not with these books. I can't fathom how she comes up with all these ideas, and the twists. Then all the stuff she makes up in her world years away from now. It just blows my mind.

This book will go down as one of my all time favorites. Tonight while laying in bed with my husband I actually turned to him and said...."I just want to read that book all over again, I can't stop thinking about it. Usually I have them figured out but she had me till the last second with this one. I want to reread it to see if I can pick up the clues."

In ending I leave you with a few of my favorite parts. If you've read the book you'll know what I"m talking about, if not MOVE YOUR ASS TO THE STORE! Or library, like me, I'm trying to be thrifty. But anyway, here they are:

Peabody drunk, Feeney's cologne, Eve with her candy thief, and Eve selecting dinner ware for her night with Roarke.

Grade~ A+++

(I'll review Loyalty later, I'm not feeling the creative juices flowing on that one right now. lol)

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Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Choose: A quick death . . . or slow poison . . .

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace -- and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear . . .


Holly Says:

Before I go into my review, I just want to say...isn't that cover amazing? I think it's beautiful.

I first read about this book on Samantha's blog and I was intrigued by it. Her review made me anxious to read it, and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest by it.

Poison Study is the first person tale of Yelena, a woman sentenced to death for murdering the son of a high ranking General in Ixia (North). On the day she's to be executed, she's brought before The Commander's first in command, Valek, to confess her crimes. Instead, Valek offers her the position of food taster for the Commander. She's put on the spot: Die now, or possibly die later by poison. She chooses the possible poison. Yelena says that only a fool wouldn't accept, and that she is no fool.

The training of a food taster really surprised me. She was forced to sample a lot of different poisons so that she could recognize them in the Commander's meals, some of which leave her so ill she's incoherent for days. And if she survives her training, there's a good possibility she won't survive a plot to murder the Commander.

As Yelena finds out more and more about what's going on around her the entire picture changes, and she's forced to look deep inside herself for strength she isn't sure she possesses. Not only that, but a traitorous plot is revealed and Yelena seems to be right in the middle of it. Plus, the General whose son she murdered isn't happy to wait around and see if she dies by poison.

As the story develops, and I was shown more and more of Yelena's world, I was completely drawn in. And just when I thought I'd figured out what was going on, a new revelation would occur and I'd have to review everything I thought I knew about the story and characters. It truly made me think, which doesn't happen that often.

I also have to tell you that the romance was just an added bonus. When I first started reading, I didn't even think this was a romance novel. But as I watched Yelena fall in love (no, I won't tell you who with, read it and find out for yourselves), I was pleasantly surprised!

I truly admired the way MVS brought in new characters, as well. Though there are several by the end of the book, they were introduced gradually and I never felt overwhelmed or like there was too much going on at once. There was also a magical element to this story that I didn't expect, but which, I felt, was also an added bonus.

Overall I was extremely impressed. So much so that I immediately ordered the second installment, Magic Study.

As a first novel, I'd say Maria V. Snyder certainly left her mark. I highly recommend this book and look forward to more from MVS in the future.

4.75 out of 5 ( I didn't give it a full 5 stars because I had no idea it was the first book in a trilogy)

Poison Study
Magic Study

Isabel's Turn

I enjoyed this book. I started it last night and finished this morning. Because I had know what was going to happen. Would romance blossom between her and certain someone? What was criollo? A drug. I had to know.

I thought it was interesting how she went through the training to become a food tasters. Tasting the different poisons. The most deadly making her ill for a couple of days. The staff would bet on if Yelena would survive or not.

I liked her friendships with Ari and Janco. Loved how protective they were of her. They taught her to trained her to fight. When she became ill from tasting poison, they took turns watching her. It was very sweet.

There isn't a whole lot of romance, but you can feel it building it up. The twists and turns of the plot were also good and kept me guessing. I can't wait for Magic Study, the sequel to Poison Study to come out in paperback.

Grade: A-

Dylan's Turn:

Hero: Valek
Heroine: Yelena
Category: Paranormal
Grade: B+

So Yelena is up for execution because she killed a man. Before she is executed, she's offered a job as The Commander's Food Taster, she has to taste his food to make sure there aren't any poisons that would kill the Commander. She has to become an expert on poisons and Valek takes her under his wing and trains her in the art of poison. She proves herself time and time again to him and the book ends with me hoping to read more in the second book, Magic Study.

I liked this book a lot. I loved seeing Yelena's character grow in self confidence as the book wore on. I loved watching her stand up for herself and not having anyone fight her battles for her. I loved the friendship that blossomed between her, Janco and Ari. It was genuine and I enjoyed it. I loved how her relationship with Valek progressed throughout the entire story. They went from being very wary of each other to missing one another and then to loving each other. That was great, I got all giddy when Valek told Yelena that he was having criollo sent up to our room...hehe, it was great! The characters were great, the storyline was fantastic and all the espionage and spy stuff had me guessing right up until the last page.

Great stuff!

What I didn't like about the book was that it took a long time for the story to take off. It was slow to start for me but I'm glad I stuck with it. Another thing was Valek's tests, that man would drive me up the wall, though I thought he was a sexy man with his fierceness in the battlefield. All the tests he put everyone through and how he was so complex, it had me secondguessing him throughout the whole book...that could be a good thing, keeping me on my toes but it annoyed me some in the book. Aside from the slow start and the constant tests, I loved it!

I would totally recommend this book to anyone, it's great stuff, I promise!

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Thursday, February 8, 2007

Segregation and Racism in the Romance Community

I'm very opinionated. This is no secret. Have you read my rants posts here on SF? When something bothers me, or resonates with me, I'm very vocal about it.

Jane has a very interesting post up at Dear Author, regarding the reading of African-American romance.

First, let me clarify something before I go on: I still have no idea if we're talking about (by we, I mean Romancelandia) authors who are AA or characters who are AA. Maybe someone can help me out with that.

Basically, her post states that she hasn't actively searched out AA romances. And she admitted that she's a bit shamed by this. I haven't either..but I'm not ashamed.

Let me explain why.

I don't care if the author/characters are AA. Not one little bit. I don't look at the jacket picture of a book to see what the author looks like before I buy a book. I care about storyline, character development and the author's ability to draw me into her world. I have absolutely no idea what the ethnicity of the authors I read are. Well, some I do, because they have a picture on the jacket, or a blurb about themselves in the back of the book.

But for the most part? No idea.

Does that make me racist? I don't believe it does. I think it's more racist to actively seek out a book by an AA person than to just read what appeals to me.

Jane asks if we should institute a rule in Romancelandia, stating we read at least one different ethnic book at month. Maybe that would bring more AA (and others outside of our own ethnicities) authors/stories into the mainstream. But, well, the idea offends me.

I've read some novels featuring AA H/H's. Not many, no, but some. And it didn't bother me at all. Not one single bit. And I've seen some covers at my local bookstores (B&N and Borders) with African American's on the cover. I've picked them up and read the back blurb. If the story appeals to me, I buy it. If it doesn't, I put it back. Race has nothing to do with it.

Why should I buy a book solely based on the color of the characters in it, or the color of the author who wrote it? Shouldn't I buy a romance novel based solely on the storyline?

Which brings me to the point of my post.

We don't need to institute a policy in Romancelandia to get us to read different ethnic novels. What we need to do is write to our booksellers and publishing houses and ask them not to segregate a story by the color of it's characters/author. Would I read more AA novels if they were in the regular romance section? Absolutely. Why? Because it's there for me to pick up and browse through.

What I suppose I don't understand, however, is why they're separated in the first place. I admit that I don't know enough about the inner workings of a publishing house to even speculate on this. Is it because, as Ro suggested on Sybil's blog:

But there’s a double-edged sword in this entertainment industry: african-americans dearly want something to call “their own”. White america is the dominant “culture” and immigrant communities are bonded by their common languages and customs–but black people? We’re left out in the cold, a bit forlorn as we grasp for something that isn’t “tainted” by the past history of this country. Hence, institutions like HBCU, BET, or the imprints for african-american fiction,etc exist.


She goes on to say:

But they end up hurting everyone, and we’re left with explosive situations such as this one. The frustrations and fears of a mid-list/new author struggling to break into mainstream is tripled in the black writer who would like their work to be viewed outside of the “black niche market”. But their desire is ignored simply because they’re black, and they’re published under that imprint(Dafina, Kimani Press, etc) whose marketing plan is the same for every author simply because the aforementioned niche exists.

So, if I'm understanding correctly, publishing houses are forcing authors to publish their books based on their "niche", which in this case would be AA romance. That doesn't make sense to me.
You're telling me that because the characters of a certain novel have skin that isn't white, they're published under certain "lines" at publishing houses? Well, that's what we need to address.

If the "niche" Ro was referring to is, for an example, Urban romance, I can see that. Just as I can see the need for erotic lines and paranormal and etc. But if an author's work is being published in that specific line simply because her novels feature black h/h's, well, that's wrong. And we, as readers, should protest this.

But I have to wonder if it isn't the AA authors themselves who have brought this on. If you're an author, can you tell me, do you want to be known as a black author, or simply as an author? I don't think you can have it both ways.

If you want to be known as an AA author, if you feel that's your niche, and you're excited about being published by an all black publishing house, than great. But don't complain that you want entry into mainstream then. Because you can't have your cake and eat it, too.

If that's not the case, however, and your publisher won't let you break out of the "niche" area, then let us know. We, as readers, can be very powerful. And I, for one, have no problem writing letters to publishers and booksellers.

Now, what we all really want to know is:

Racism In Publishing, How Does It Affect You?

Are you an African American author who’s been published for at least one year? If so Karen Scott wants to hear from you.

She’s conducting a survey based on the racism within the publishing industry, and whether or not it’s as prevalent as some believe. She’s looking for black or African American authors who have been published for at least one year.


She would like to know about your specific experiences within the industry thus far. She wants to know how AA authors feel about the current shelving policies, and niche marketing. She wants to know who you feel is to blame for the problems that you face. She also wants your suggestions on how things can be improved upon.


In all, there are twenty questions in the survey, and all that she asks is that people be as honest as possible. Confidentiality is assured if requested, but for the findings to yield more weight, she would request that she be granted permission to directly quote from the answers given by the authors.


She’s hoping to poll at least 100 AA authors, in an effort to ensure that a fair representation is achieved.


If enough authors agree to participate, (and depending on the findings) the results may well be sent to representatives within media and press. No promises that Oprah will hear about it, but all efforts will be made to get the message out.


If there are AA authors out there interested in participating in this poll, please e-mail Karen at hairylemony @ gmail. com (without the spaces) with the subject header ‘Please send me the survey'.


The deadline for the survey to be completed and returned to Karen is March 1st 2007

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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Isabella Swan's move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balance precariously on the point of a knife -- between desire and danger.
Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.


Oh my God. I love this book. Thanks to Mailyn and Holly who pimped it. Thanks to Jazz who bought it for me. I LOVE YOU ALL!

I love this book. I made the mistake of starting it at night after watching Top Chef. Made myself put it down so I could get some sleep. Took with me to work and got very little done. I kept reading paragraphs here and there. I seriously considered leaving work early so I could finish the book.

The story just sucked me in. It is told from Bella's point of view which I enjoyed. Not every author can make first person pov work. Kind of bugged me cause there were times I wanted to know what Edward was thinking. However according to the website, Stephanie Meyer is rewriting Twilight from Edward's point of view. It will be titled Midnight Sun. YAY!

Other then one moment, I loved Bella. When she learns Edward is vampire, it doesn't really phase her. She just asks questions about about it. Even asks if she can watch him hunt. Which shocks Edward. He tells her she should be afraid. The one moment where she does have her TSTH, I totally forgive her for though. Because I understand why she did what she did. What I also thought was cute is she's clumsy and accident prone. Poor Thing. Edward is constantly telling her to be careful.

I love Edward. I want him. I want to do a million naughty things to him over and over. Hot damn. I don't know where to even begin to describe him and do him justice. He's just wonderful. Funny, caring, concerned, tender, serious, tortured. You don't even know how tortured. The first day he meets Bella he wants her blood. He explains her blood just smelled so sweet. In the excerpt of Midnight Sun, he actually thinks of ways to kill Bella. Morbid, I know. But he controls the blood lust, he fights it. He ends up falling in love with her. At prom he tells Bella, "He called you pretty. That's practically an insult, the way you look now. You're much more than beautiful."

Edward is vampire but he's different. For instance, these vampires don't have fangs or get all fangy when they bite. (A la Angel in the Buffy series) They just have sharp teeth. They can also go out in the sun, but they try and avoid it. Edward can also read minds, but he can't read Bella's. It's very frustrating for him.

There is a sequel to the book. New Moon. However, I hear Edward is hardly in it. There is also another book to come, Eclipse. I've read on her website that this is supposed to be an on going series. Which to me kind of sucks. I do want to read more about Edward and Bella, but I don't want the series to go on and on. You know what mean? I have my HEA for Edward and Bella imagined in my mind. I afraid if I keep reading, it'll ruin it. Or I'll just get frustrated saying "WHEN WILL THEY BE TOGETHER! Also the books are being released once a year.

Read this book. It's awesome people.

Grade: A

Dylan's Turn:

Hero: Edward Cullen
Heroine: Bella Swan
Category: Paranormal
Page Count: A lot
Grade: A

This book was fantabulous!

I was hooked from the very beginning and more than a little intrigued by Edward Cullen and the rest of his family that sat at the far table and kept to themselves. The pale creatures that everyone was afraid of and yet all loved and envied because they were so damn beautiful.

I inhaled this book and am quite astonished at how fast this book became my favorite. It's my favorite book of 2007 (for me since this book didn't come out this year) and I am so hot damn eager to start New Moon, which I ran out and bought right after I finished this book. It was that good for me.

Where to start? I loved Edward. I loved how Bella got to know him, I loved how when he decided to stop running from her, how strong he became because he withheld from the temptation to kill Bella so many times because he wanted her blood that much, I loved how he wanted to hurt her just as much as he wanted to save her from himself and herself because she was a total klutz. I loved how he took care of Bella and how he loved her. I loved the way he dazzled everyone and most importantly I loved reading the excerpt from Midnight Sun on Stephanie Meyer's site where we see Bella's first day of school through Edward's eyes. Oh how I love this vampire. He is SO the bomb.

I really liked Bella too...she was the bomb DOT com. Even when she did well, read it and find out, I wasn't that mad at her.

But more importantly, I loved Edward. hehe.

This book was really good, it had a good storyline and hot damn it was addicting...make sure you guys read this book, seriously..it's the bomb.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Seduction of His Wife by Janet Chapman

He set out to seduce her for all the wrong reasons -- but found himself falling in love with her for all the right ones.
Alex Knight is dead -- or so everyone thinks. A widowed logger baron with a risk-taking streak, he took on a South American engineering project and was reported dead after a rebel attack. So when he turns up back in Maine very much alive, his grieving family is shocked. But the biggest shock is Alex's, when he discovers he's now married -- to a woman he's never met.

Sarah Banks is ready for a change from running a quiet Bed & Breakfast, and working for the Knight family offers not only a bigger opportunity, but also the family life she yearns for. So she's glad to help secure custody of Alex's orphaned children, whom she's come to love, by marrying their father by proxy before he's legally declared dead. But when Alex returns, the sexy, determined woodsman upends all of Sarah's plans. Because suddenly she's married to a passionate stranger with an easy smile...and tumbling headlong into a fiery dance of seduction.


I really really enjoyed this book! I mean really, when it was over I kept wishing I was still reading it. And not for any out of this world reason. It was just a good, funny, romantic read. I have really grown to love Janet Chapman and the way she writes. If I'm correct I think most, if not all, of her books are based in Maine. Which is where she lives. Maybe that is why they are all so real, you can feel the place and fall in love with it. Even without going overboard with descriptions, which she does not do. And she usually has kids in her books too. Sometimes this can really put a damper on a story but not a JC book. It makes them so .... warm and definitely adds some funny quirks. Also I love series and she does great ones. The Pine Creek Highlander series (must reads I loved them all): Charming the Highlander, Loving the Highlander, Wedding the Highlander, Tempting the Highlander and Only with a Highlander. Then her Puffin Harbor Series: The Seductive Impostor and The Dangerous Protector. And now this book which I don't know the name of the series yet but I know is one. So do you think I can stop raving on JC and get to the review? Well okay if you insist. lol.

Sarah Kelley has had a hard and sheltered life. She lived on a island (born and raised) and only knew the bed & breakfast her parents ran. When she is fairly young both her parents die within a few years. She falls into a loveless marriage at the age of 17 and some years later finds herself widowed. When Grady Knight comes to her B&B with his grandchildren and sons he offers her a deal she can't refuse. Soon she is moving to the woods of Main to keep house for this family with a promise of a Sporting Camp for her to run. But things turn for the worse when the Knight family thinks they lost their oldest and the father of Grady's two grandchildren. Alex is presumed dead so in order to save his grandchildren from being drug through courts and fights with their other grandparents he has Sarah married to Alex by proxy before anyone knows he's dead, and she adopts the children. Only Alex isn't really dead....imagine his surprise when after running for his life in a jungle in Brazil for over a week he comes home to find himself married! He was married once to a money hungry woman that left him and his kids, and no thank you he doesn't need a new wife. And one night of a little to much to drink and a hot dream turn Alex and Sarah into lovers the tables turn. Alex asks Sarah to give the situation some time, if they act to quickly everyone will know Grady forged the papers and he'll get into trouble. But as time passes and Alex learns that Sarah isn't the quite little mouse he thought her to be he starts to think a divorce is the last thing he wants. But as Alex tries to convince his wife to stay just that he not only has to battle her demons of her past marriage but also a mystery person or persons that are invading his mountain trying to destroy his families business.
And one of Alex's forms of seduction? He reads Sarah's romance books! And when she finds herself bedridden for a little bit he reads them to her. And they are none other than the Puffin Harbor Series by JC.

This book will have you laughing while you cheer on Alex with his seduction of his wife. And Grady's sometimes not so subtle match-making schemes. But not to worry, I might have wanted this book to go on forever but I'll get more in February. The second book in the series is coming. The Temptation of Her Love, Ethan's book. Then we have Paul the biggest flirt. And who knows maybe Tucker and Delaney will get their own stories, Alex's children. I can hope!

Oh and one of the only things I didn't like about this book? It isn't even related to the story. It was the cover. I actually really like the cover, but the mans RIGHT hand is in the picture and there's a wedding ring on it! You wear your wedding ring on the LEFT hand. HELLO! Sorry but that really bothered me.

Grade~ B+ (would have been a A but Sarah did annoy me a little at one point. But she made up for it.)

Dylan's Turn:

Hero:
Alex Knight
Heroine: Sarah Knight
Category: Contemporary
Page Count: 258 pages
Grade: A

I LOVED THIS BOOK!

This book had me all warm and fuzzy all over. I didn't want to finish reading it but couldn't help myself, I just zipped through this book like my life depended on how fast I can read this story. I swear being picky on new authors and new books in general is the way to go because the books that I've always been scared of reading because I didn't think I'd enjoy are the very same books that I've read and just absolutely fell in love with!

I wonder when my luck will run out.

I absolutely loved this book and loved the characters. I loved the setting, the storyline and I loved the Knight family.

Alex was a fanastic hero. And the way he was trying to be the best hero for Sarah totally won me over because you don't meet many guys who will willingly read a romance novel and then try to seduce his wife with the things he learned in the book.

It was so cute.

I loved Sarah, I thought she was a great heroine and she was perfect for Alex, but not just Alex. She was perfect for little Tucker and Delaney. She needed them just as much as they needed her. She loved the Knight family with all that she had and she took good care of them. It was fabulous to read about the love she had for them and the love that was returned unto her.

I loved Grady and his manipulative ways. I loved the fierce devotion he had for his sons and grandkids and I love how his heart was still big enough to love his new daughter in law, Sarah. I won't tell you guys how the storyline is, since Jazz already took care of that, but I really did like this book and I know you guys will too. Delaney was great, the whole fishing scene was too cute and I'm so glad that Delaney stuck with her "Mom"...it was so great and then Tucker's determination to see his Dad's marriage to his Mom as right and real, just stole a little piece of my heart. Gosh this was good.

Thanks to Daphne, Jazz and Grace for pimping this book to me and holy goodness, ya'll need to read this book...because there's more where this came from.

Ethan Knight, who is Alex Knight's brother gets his book next and I cannot wait for that. Jazz, Daphne, do you guys know when Ethan's book comes out? I'm so looking forward to that.

I loved the Knight brothers, Alex, Ethan and Paul. I loved the whole sense of family they had, you guys know that I'm sucker for family storylines and this one was one of them that just had me wrapped up in the story, it was just fantastic!

Read it, now!

Isabel's Take

I didn't care for it. Sarah bugged me. The story didn't really grab me. I liked how Alex were reading the romance novels together. I thought that was cute and how Alex highlighted all the love scenes. When Alex tries to teach Sarah to drive, that was funny.

Other than that, Meh.

Grade: C

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Monday, February 5, 2007

Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern

From naughty children to rebellious teenagers, Rosie and Alex have stuck by each other through thick and thin. But just as as they're discovering the joys of teenage nights on the town and dating disasters, they're separated. Alex's family move from Dublin to America - and Alex goes with them. For good.

Rosie's lost without him. But on the eve of her departure to join Alex in Boston, Rosie gets news that will change her life forever - and keep her at home in Ireland.

Their magical connection sees them through the ups and downs of each others lives, but neither of them knows whether their friendship can survive the years and miles - or new relationships.

And at the back of Rosie's mind is whether they were meant to be more than just good friends all along. Misunderstandings, circumstances and sheer bad luck have kept them apart, but when presented with the ultimate opportunity, will they gamble everything for true love?

After reading PS I Love You, I raced out and put my name down at the library for Cecilia Ahern's other books because I just *had* to read them. And today just happened to be my day..so I picked up Where Rainbows End, raced home and started to read it. Now let me tell you..by the third chapter I had probably laughed out loud at least sixteen times. No joke. I just couldn't help myself. The things that Rosie and Alex said when they were but 5 years old..oh it's priceless.

At first, I thought the first chapter of "letters" between Alex and Rosie was just the authors' way of introducing us to the characters and setting the scene..but after the first 5 chapters being the same as the first, I quickly flicked forward (without looking too closely and spoiling the story) and I realised that the entire book was made up of letters, emails, IM-ing, and various other communications like that to tell the story. I was a bit skeptical with this form of story telling and I wondered if any author could pull it off. But amazingly, even though the story was told in letter/email and whatever else format, I was still thoroughly engrossed by the story.

There was not one page in this book that I wasn't cheering on Alex and Rosie wishing and hoping they they'd finally sort through the obstacles and just be together. But I guess Cecilia must like to torture her readers, because I was in absolute agony the entire time..becoming giddy with excitement at the possibility that their HEA is on the rise, and then to have it come crashing down because life happened.

Seriously, I love the whole "The One That Got Away" and the "Best Friend is my soul mate" type plots..but towards the end of this one, I didn't know if my heart could take any more separation between Alex and Rosie. It was so obvious that they needed to be together. I understand that things happen that alter our course in life, but oh my gosh, did Rosie and Alex have so many life changing moments that affected their HEA! I just wanted to shout: Enough already! Haven't they been through enough to prove that they belong together?! I was so upset for them and their missed opportunity. No really, I felt like I was the one being deprived of my HEA.

Personally, I would have been far happier if Alex and Rosie finally sorted through everything a few years earlier than they did, because wow..their battle for love was such a long and hard one. I only wish that they spent of that time together, than trying to sort through their lives.

But even though I would have liked a HEA sooner, I still liked this one very much. I laughed out loud alot, especially in the earlier chapters and I became very teary eyed when I read some entries. You'll see what I mean when and if you read this one. I'd love to say I'd want everyone to read this one..but this one might not be everyone's cup of tea. There's alot of bad timing and life changing consequences from one error in judgement..so you've been warned. But if you can handle that, then I'd say..definitely pick this one up to read.

4/5

Dylan's Review:

Hero: Alex Stewart
Heroine: Rosie Dunne
Category: Chick Lit
Page Count: 400+
Grade: B++

Sometimes you've got to get things wrong a few times before you can get them right.

First off, I didn't think this was the same book that Grace reviewed a while back because it had a different title, but then I started reading the book and by page 7, I was laughing out loud and grinning from cheek to cheek, knowing this was the same book that she was talking about.

I swear, this story was one gigantic emotional rollercoaster for me. I loved it just as much as I hated it and I think I hated the book because it took them SO long to get things right. They just kept going round and round and I didn't know how much I could take anymore.

I totally picked this book up on accident, thinking I was just going to see what the story was like, just kind of browse through this book because I had already just started The Stranger In Her Bed by Janet Chapman.

But I forgot all about Ethan's book (I know the scandal, huh Grace and Jazz?) once I started reading this book. I was so engrossed in this book that my niece, Chloe who is not a reader begged me last night to hurry and finish the book so that she can read it for school. She needs an SSR book and thinks this book will be just perfect for her.

I loved seeing Alex and Rosie grow from young snot nosed kids with magicians at their parties to elementary school kids who hated double maths on Monday. I loved reading all about Rosie's 16th birthday and the trouble that Alex and Rosie got into. I loved everything about this book, except the big IT TOOK YOU LONG ENOUGH crap that kept them from each other, for all those years.

This story, the best friends falling in love storyline is one of my all time favorites and the one that got away, well yeah Grace can tell you all about how much I just love this storylines (it's a storyline love that we both share) and this one fit those both to the tee.

It was great just as it was horrible that so many things got in between these two being together. Cecilia Ahern did a fantastic job of wrapping me up in Alex and Rosie's world, because I was rootin' them on since the beginning, after the book ended though, I felt emotionally drained and I called Grace crying because I was so happy and so worn out by the book, but by golly I did love the book and Alex...gosh I loved me some Alex, even when he was being such a dummy head...

Go read this book! Gosh I want to experience the "silence".

*sigh*

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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Every Breath You Take by Judith McNaught


Hero: Mitchell Wyatt
Heroine: Kate Donovan
Category: Contemporary
Page Count: 485 pages
Grade: A

Unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and riveting suspense: These are the trademarks of beloved author Judith McNaught. With millions of devoted fans and ten New York Times bestsellers to date, McNaught is a writer whose work just gets better with each new novel--and Every Breath You Take is the book readers have been waiting for. Returning to the lavish Chicago setting of her popular novel Paradise, and revisiting some of that book's characters as well, this story will captivate in inimitable Judith McNaught style.

High atop a snow-covered hill, the stately old Wyatt mansion is perched like a crown, its stone spires pointing upward, its stained glass windows glowing like colorful jewels. Such opulence means success and, surely, happiness. But on the eve of wealthy philanthropist Cecil Wyatt's eightieth birthday, all the money in the world won't bring back his missing grandson, William Wyatt. The only thing for certain: Foul play was involved.

The family, the police, the media--all have tried in vain to discover the young man's fate. Now suspicion has turned shockingly toward William's own half-brother, the rather distant and enigmatic Mitchell Wyatt.

Kate Donovan never dreamed that a chance romantic encounter on a tropical island paradise would tag her as a suspect in a high-society murder case. But after Kate tangles with the darkly charismatic Mitchell Wyatt, she finds herself cast in a shadow of guilt and mistrust. As the Chicago police tighten their net, it will take all of Kate's ingenuity to clear her name. With her calm, cool wit, and the help of a man who may or may not be a dangerous catch, Kate vows to claim the life and love she desires.


Holy wow I loved this book. I don't care about the unprotected sex, I don't even care about Mitchell's preference in music anymore, I just effing love this book. What I loved most about this book? Seeing old characters that I absolutely LOVE come back and actually have a role in the book. To see all of my old favorites back in action, with Matt and Meredith Farrell, Zack and Julie Benedict, holy goodness Zack Benedict is one of MY favorite JM men, holy goodness it was just fanfreakin'tastic to see them all again. I loved loved LOVED IT!

But it was more than that, I started off annoyed that JM's heroes were so lofty, reserved and cultured...just once I want to read about a JM hero who is normal, someone I can see falling in love with and actually having a chance with, but the further I got into the book, the less I cared about all of that stuff. JM just took all of those thoughts away with the rest of the story.

Kate and Mitchell meet on the small island of Anguilla and they have a memorable few days together and then JM busts a reminiscent storyline of Perfect by making Mitchell a suspect in the murder of his brother but then later on, he busts a Paradise and there's a long ass gap between the last time Kate and Mitchell saw each other and the time they see each other again...talk about DRAMA!

I loved it.

My most favorite part was the end...his answer to the priest at their wedding (ya'll knew they were going to get married, hello??? It IS a romance) and the phrase that he has engraved in her wedding band, gosh I loved me some Mitchell Wyatt. He was so friggin' awesome. I loved that though he was pissed to high heaven with Kate after all that time and then the events that led up to him seeing her again after all those years, to see his hatred for her melt away filled me with such tenderness for him that I just wanted to gobble him up!

And with Kate, there were times that I wanted to Daniel son karate kick her in the face but more than anything, I understood her reaction, I didn't agree with it but given the circumstances that surrounded her decisions (the first batch of decisions) I didn't really blame her. But that second batch of decisions, I was disappointed in her but when Mitchell forgave her, I did too...because of her reasons.

Oh I just loved this book to pieces...Gracie girl, if you haven't read this book, I implore you to read it because it was the hot diggity bizomb and I just KNOW that you won't be disappointed, but dude did you read this already? If you did, why didn't I know about it? Gosh this book was the bomb, LOVED IT!

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Friday, February 2, 2007

Do Fat Girls Need Love Too?


It has come to our attention that some of our readers/lurkers took issue with one of my (Dylan) reviews, Good In Bed by Jennifer Weiner. Their issue is something we here at Sanctuary's Finest have discussed amongst ourselves before. So let me start by asking you guys a question.

Do you guys like reading books with large heroines?

Several heroines come to mind when thinking about this topic. There's Minn Dobbs from Jennifer Crusie's Bet Me, Bride McTierney from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Night Play and from one of the latest books I've read, Heather Wells from Meg Cabot's Heather Wells Series. Now all of these heroines were not the skinny model types, they were solid, plus size women that we see everyday around town.

Some of us may be plus size women ourselves and there's nothing wrong with that, I don't hate, I congratulate but what I want to know is it's one thing to be friends with plus size women and to be a plus size woman but would you want to read about these same kinds of plus size women getting their freaky freak on with the hottie hero in our books?

Do you or don't you?

I personally have no qualms about reading books with large women starring in them. It's one of those non issues for me. Now, I won't say that incredulous thoughts like, "Yeah right, these gorgeous stud muffin guys that ALL women are fawning over is going to choose and fall in love with so and so plus size heroine.." don't pop into my head from time to time because they do. As much as I would LOVE to believe something like that (I'm not a small girl, let me tell you), I just don't see it happening. Most all of the men that I come in contact with at work, at Church and just around town are all fawning over and falling in love with the Heidi Klums and the Jessica Alba's of the world. Women like Sara Ramirez and Queen Latifa, who are beautiful women, don't get the attention and the adoration that other women (Heidi Klum and Jennifer Lopez) do. At least we don't see it very often.

I'm not saying that men don't love large women but most men usually go for smaller women and to prove my point, we've asked 10 different men that we know (very good looking men too) if they'd give a larger woman the time of day against a skinny model type woman.

My brother, Pete, who is one of those extremely handsome men that girls just can't help but fall in love with, had this to say on the matter, "If she pays like she weighs then she can stay, baby!" and after some scolding on my part, finished on a more serious note saying, "Honestly, larger women don't even make it to my radar. But it depends on what you think is fat, I don't consider you (me, Dylan) fat, but you think you're fat so everyone has their own interpretation of what is fat. Now if we're talking sizes, then I'd say anything over a size 16 is fat and no, I probably wouldn't try to get at her."

That seems to be the general consensus from all the men we polled. "No, we don't even look at larger women." Is that right? No, not necessarily, but it is reality. Whether it's society, or the way we were brought up, or whatever, weight does factor in when it comes to attraction.

Are there exceptions? Absolutely. But the normal response from a man is the one you see above.

To take this a step further I (Holly) surveyed women, asking what they're typical fantasy weight is. The average response? Size 7. As a follow up, I asked them how they see themselves when they fantasize about the perfect man. One of my best friends, who's probably a size 14 said, "Oh, girl, I see myself as all kinds of skinny, and more beautiful than anyone else in the world. Is that real? Hell no, but this is my fantasy, right? I can be whatever I want to be."

In my opinion, that's what it comes down to. Fantasy. I think one of the reasons larger women are scarce in romance novels is that no one, whether your small and petite, or large and in charge, really fantasizes about being big. Are there exceptions to this? YES! But I would imagine that if we (as women) were totally honest, no matter what our sizes are right this second, in a perfect world - a fantasy world - we'd be a size 2 and so gorgeous we'd blind me.

I'm not saying that's reality, but it's fantasy. And that's what romance novels are, the ultimate fantasy. A romance novel offers us a chance to escape to another world, where the fat girl gets skinny and grabs her man, or the beautiful woman who's abused by her family is rescued by the dazzling, orgasmic, fantastically hot hero. In our own personal fantasies, I'd be willing to bet that we don't picture ourselves at 500 pounds. So why do we want to read a book about it?

Personally? I don't care. It doesn't bother me one bit if the heroine is bigger than a size 3. I actually prefer a more "normal" looking heroine. A size 12 is the national average, you know.

But other women, Jazz included, prefer not to read about that. We could start some psycho-babble bullshit and say it's because they aren't comfortable with themselves, but I don't believe that. I believe that it all just comes down to personal preference.

For myself, I may not mind a bigger heroine, but man, I cannot stand it when a heroine is older than her hero. Especially if the main focus of the story is their age difference. I don't want to read about a heroine who happens to think the hero is "young enough to be her son". Sorry, doesn't work for me. Does that mean other people agree? Nope. I happen to have some very close friends who prefer that particular storyline, but it's not for me.

And you know what? That's fine. You have your preferences and I have mine. That doesn't make either one of us wrong, just different, and there's nothing wrong with that.

To be totally honest, I would actually prefer to see more "large" women featured in romance novels. Why? Because it makes it more real. When I read Night Play and Bet Me, my heart melted because those heroines weren't a perfect size 5, and those heroes loved them - all of them - for who they were. It didn't matter to Cal one bit that Min was larger than average, and Vane's comment to Bride when she asked him to make her skinny had me tearing up (won't spoil it for those who haven't read it, but man was it touching!). I love that.

Same with He Loves Lucy by Susan Donovan and Jemmima J by Jane Greene. Those heroines were bigger than "average" too, but I adored reading about them - sex scenes and all.

What it all comes down to is personal preference. You have yours and I have mine. What I might like, you might hate. That's ok. That makes us different. And you know what? That helps authors sell books. If we all liked the same thing no one would get published, right?

But I'm curious, what's too much fantasy and too much reality? You tell me. What exactly do we want in our novels? Are we ok with large heroines and short heroes? Do we want rich men and poor women? Are we too demanding? Is it possible to strike a good balance between fantasy and reality?

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