Saturday, January 25, 2014

Five cliché plot devices I never want to read again #Romance #Amreading

I’ve been very impatient lately with romance novels. Specifically, the ones with tired, over-used plot lines that are so cliché, even Lifetime doesn’t want to make them into movies anymore. Until authors find a way to freshen these plot devices up, I’m done reading them.  In no particular order, they are...

 1.    The relationship based on a bet. This usually involves a hot guy getting coerced by his idiot friends into asking out the mousy girl just to prove his manliness or whatever. We all know how this story plays out...
            * Girl ignores her inner alarm bells and agrees to date the hot guy who never gave her the time of day before.
            * Guy discovers mousy girl isn’t so mousy, only shy, and he starts to fall for realz.
            * Guy’s idiot friends let the secret slip that he only asked her out on a bet.
            * Girl is humiliated and dumps guy.
            * Guy makes dramatic statement of love in some adorably self-depreciating way.
            * Girl chucks brain out the window, leaps into his arms & rides off into the sunset.
            * Reader gags.

2.   The M/F best friends who are secretly in love with each other.  Tell me this...if you’ve been best friends since you were in diapers, don’t you think you would notice if your BFF was crushing on you? I guess I wouldn’t mind this plot so much if someone would just do something unique with it. Why does it always have to be on the eve of one character’s wedding to someone else before the best friend finally grows the stones to speak up? Lame.

3.  The love triangle hinging on a complete despicable, undeserving heroine. I’m actually one of the few people who will admit to loving love triangles when they are done right. (i.e. Infernal Devices, etc.) But so many books pit two equally swoon-worthy guys against each other in a battle for the affections of a heroine with the personality of wet cardboard. She spends half the book telling (not showing) the reader how spunky and tough she is, and the other half bemoaning her inability to make a decision. “I love him, but I also love him! Oh, whatever will I do????” Just once, I want both guys to realize she is totally not worth the effort and cut their losses.

 4.  The completely unbelievable virgin. She’s in her 20’s, college educated, indescribably gorgeous and sexy, but for some reason, has never done the deed. Really? Assuming the story is set in contemporary Western culture, as most of the books I read are, there better be a damn good reason why this girl is saving herself. It can be done, but so many authors don’t bother offering anything but flimsy explanations. Which brings to another annoying cliché...

5. The virgin to whore in ten short pages. Hey, I remember what it was like to be inexperienced and unsure. Sex, especially in the early days, can be intimidating and awkward. True, romance novels are supposed to be a fantasy, but is it too much to ask for a tiny bit of realism here? After all, the newness and discovery of sex can be incredibly erotic. No need to rush it.

Those are my five clichés I never want to read again. Can you think of others? Tell me about them in the comments below. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: COLLEGE BOYS by Daisy Harris #LGBTRomance

When soccer star Chris Fischer moves next door to an openly gay classmate, he doesn't realize the wall between their rooms will be so thin he'll hear his neighbor's every move. But soon he and Peter become friends, and Chris is intrigued—imagining what happens on the other side of the wall. Active on the Queer Student Council, Peter Cohen wishes he wasn't so damn hot for his straight neighbor. He can't tell if Chris is flirting or in denial or what, but Chris's innocent overtures lure Peter into flirtation that throws his world into chaos. Peter doesn't want to date a closet case, but he desperately, passionately wants Chris. Soon Chris must choose whether to run away from his new feelings or embrace a relationship with the guy he loves. And Peter must decide if he can give his heart to a guy who hasn't yet figured it all out.

I love stories of self-discovery. While I think most people have an idea whether they are gay or straight before they get to college, love and attraction are mysterious, and sometimes we can’t predict the direction our attractions will take. Seeing Chris discover love for the first time with a person he never expected was beautiful. Yes, the sex was hot, but it was the sweetness and honesty to the relationship between them that really drew me in. The awkward moments along the way were fun to read about.

However, the plot was a little light and predictable. Chris’s teammates on the his soccer team pretty much behaved in the predictable manner at the discovery of Chris’s relationship with Peter. There were no stunning revelations that I couldn’t see coming a mile away, but sometimes it’s nice to have a simple, romantic read that isn’t too heavy.

Overall, I give College Boys...

Plot - 3 bookmarks
Character development - 4 bookmarks
Love story - 4 1/2 bookmarks

Dream Cast (Otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Sam Claflin (Chris), Colton Haynes (Peter)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

5 Star review for GRAVEDIGGER’S BRAWL by @abigailroux

Dr. Wyatt Case is never happier than when he’s walking the halls of his history museum. Playing wingman for his best friend at Gravedigger’s Tavern throws him way out of his comfort zone, but not as much as the eccentric man behind the bar, Ash Lucroix.

Ash is everything Wyatt doesn’t understand: exuberant, quirky, and elbow deep in a Gaslight lifestyle that weaves history into everyday life. He coordinates his suspenders with his tongue rings. Within hours, Wyatt and Ash are hooked.

But strange things are afoot at Gravedigger’s, and after a knock to the head, Ash starts seeing things that can’t be explained by old appliances or faulty wiring. Soon everyone at Gravedigger’s is wondering if they’re seeing ghosts, or just going crazy. The answer to that question could end more than just Wyatt and Ash’s fragile relationship—it might also end their lives.

Forgetting the fact that Abigail Roux is one of my favorite authors right now, Gravedigger’s Brawl was almost a perfect read for the mood I was in. It had a little of everything: romance, ghost stories, history, strong characters and an exciting plot.

Very few ghost stories scare me, and I’m not going to say that this one did, but I definitely felt creeped out as the characters slowly moved from skeptical to scared. In fact, I think that was one of the great successes of the story. For most of the book, the strange occurrences in the historic bar were completely explainable by every day things. As a reader, I wasn’t sure whether this was an actual ghost story or not. It made reading it fun, like I was participating in the mystery, and not just reading about it.

I am completely obsessed with the character of Ash. He was unique, well-developed and had loads of personality. He's one of those characters that I will continue to think about for years. Wyatt was likable, but he just didn’t resonate with me in the same way. I suppose that makes some sense since he was supposed to be the stodgy historian-type, but I found myself wanting more from him. The chemistry between Wyatt and Ash was wonderful, but then, I think Ash could have chemistry with just about anybody. Even with the minor flaw in Wyatt, the dynamic supporting characters helped to make up for it.

While I love series books, it was nice to read a well-rounded, stand-alone that gave me a sense of completion. Not that I wouldn’t mind seeing these characters again in their next home, wherever that may be.

Overall, I give Gravedigger’s Brawl...

Plot - 5 bookmarks
Character development - 4 1/2 bookmarks overall, but 6 million for Ash!
Love story - 5 bookmarks (though I would have loved to see more of the romance between Noah & Caleb.)

Dream Cast (Otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Aidan Turner (Ash), Hayden Christensen (Wyatt), Chris Hemsworth (Noah), Tom Hiddleston (Caleb), Taylor Kitsch (Ryan), Lizzy Caplan (Delilah)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Celebrate my birthday by going on a #blog tour with me! #ARCADIA

Happy 2014!!!!

January is my birthday month, so I am celebrating by taking my dog & pony show on the road. Join me for reviews, interviews, guest post, excerpts and more.  

As an added bonus, the first book in The Arcadia Series, Arcadia's Gift is on sale on #Kindle for only 99¢!!!!