Guest Blog: Historical Vs. Contemporary Heroines

Posted October 17, 2007 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Discussions, Promotions | 5 Comments

First of all, a big thanks to the Book Bingers for asking me to write a guest post. I feel so special. 😛

So basically all I’ve got are some ramblings on characters: historical and contemporary heroines and characters in series.

Historical vs. Contemporary Heroines – what gives?

A hero is a hero – no matter what time period he belongs in. I expect the same characteristics from a man no matter when or where: a good looking guy, not too arrogant, but confident in himself and sexy to boot. This transcends space and time. It doesn’t hurt if he has an affinity for animals and he really gets the heroine. LOL But the heroine? That’s a different story. A virgin from the 1800s is going to be different from a virgin in 2007. The rules of society for our historical heroine are strict and she is to be innocent (but not naïve) and in need of a husband to cherish and protect her. (Hogwash, but you get the picture, right?) Any heroine who is a thinker and practical and kind of chafes at these rules is always a winner in my book. But a contemporary heroine has to go a little bit further to impress me. Why? Because I compare her actions to my own. And I know that I’m real and these are fictional people and they have a different background and blah blah blah – but if I were to put myself in that situation, that’s the criteria I use. Some situations, this would be hard to do. Like say Cormia from Lover Unbound. LOL That’s a bit out there, but I know what I like, and I don’t like her. Someone like Xhex, for example, impresses me. She’s a security guard – and that’s a heroine that floats my boat. So maybe I’m not necessarily comparing a contemporary heroine to myself, but more like an Angelina Jolie character. Ha ha (But I’ve got a girl crush on her, so of course I’m biased) But I’m sick of girly girls and I want a heroine that I can see kicking ass. So I judge a contemporary heroine more harshly than I do historical chicks, what about you? (As an aside, who know which heroine has got it going on? Victoria Grantworth from Colleen Gleason’s Gardella Vampire series. She kicks ass in a historical time. A winning combo!)

Characters in Series – my thoughts

Two things with this one. First – although I feel there are way too many series out there, I kind of prefer them. Especially with slightly longer series, where we really get to know the characters. I’m not a psycho rabid fan-girl who obsesses over the characters, but I admit I like to read about some of my favourites. Like Max and Gina from Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series. And hello, Robin! There’s one character whose story I was eagerly awaiting for ever. And I’m the same way now about John from the Black Dagger Brotherhood and Ash from the Dark Hunters. Sometimes though, this knowledge of a character hinders my ability to enjoy a stand alone novel. I mean, who are these characters? Why do I care about them? In reality, it’s the author’s job to make me care and get to know, and that’s fun too. But there’s no real emotional attachment. A prime example of a novel that throws my thoughts about this subject out the window is Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels. That novel worked because Jessica kicked ass, and then we got to know Dain really well. I really cared then! But sometimes, I don’t want to pick up a stand alone because I’m just lazy to get to know new people. I guess you gotta be in the mood for some strangers. But I find series comforting in a way.

Unless…the author freakin’ gives the character a lobotomy between books! That’s the second issue – when a character differs from book to book. Prime example? Lillian from Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflower series. Ugh. I really liked Lillian in It Happened One Autumn. She was kind of kick ass. But when we get to Daisy’s book? Who the hell is this whiny baby? I don’t care that she’s pregnant and worried about her sister moving away from her – she was horrible!! Another character who isn’t the same? ANITA BLAKE. But don’t get me started on her. LOL Just give me some good characters. That’s all I’m asking.

Am I off the wall or just hard to please? LOL Who do you think writes good heroines?

Thanks again ladies!!

Ames
Thrifty Reader

Review: An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer

Posted October 17, 2007 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: An Infamous Army by Georgette HeyerReviewer: Rowena
An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer
Series: Alastair-Audley #4
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: September 1st 2007
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 512
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

IN THE SUMMER OF 1815, with Napoleon Bonaparte marching down from the north, Brussels is a whirlwind of parties, balls and soirees.

In the swirling social scene surrounding the Duke of Wellington and his noble aides de camp, no one attracts more attention than the beautiful, outrageous young widow Lady Barbara Childe.

On their first meeting, dashing Colonel Charles Audley proposes to her, but even their betrothal doesn't calm her wild behavior.

Finally, with the Battle of Waterloo raging just miles away, civilians fleeing and the wounded pouring back into the town, Lady Barbara discovers where her heart really lies, and like a true noblewoman, she rises to the occasion, and to the demands of love, life and war...

I’d like to send a quick thank you to Sourcebook Publishing for sending us a copy of this book to be reviewed, I’ve been swamped with work so I didn’t have time to publish this review until right now but, wow…what can I say about this book?

I’ve never read a historical romance novel quite like this one. First of all, the dialogue in the story had my eyes hurting when I first started the book because it starts off at some party and their language was just so not something I’m familiar with in historicals but instead of turning me off the story, it made me want to read more…I actually felt like I was in the ballroom with Lady Worth, listening to everything going on around me. I could actually picture everything so vividly in my head because the words GH used to describe everything was just out of this world great.

It was easy to fall into this story because the writing was great. I was on Chapter 8 before I even noticed that I’d been reading for almost 3 hours one night, it was that smooth a read. I’ve got to admit though that when I first met Lady Babs I was not a fan of hers, I wanted Colonel Charles Audley to fall madly in love with the Devenish girl and when they had that little moment at the ball when Charles first comes back, I was hopeful even though I knew that Charles was going to end up with Lady Babs.

But over the course of the book, Lady Babs started getting a little better in my eyes even though she drove me batty at times where Charles was concerned, I mean the way she carried on and stuff, without a care in the world, causing the gossipmongers to flag their tongues drove me absolutely insane but when and where it counted, she came through and she won me over by the end of the book, she was a great heroine, a strong and solid one. I mean, I knew that there was goodness in her because she’s the heroine and I knew it was going to come out sooner or later but the things she did made me grit my teeth sometimes, I mean the whole almost breaking up the marriage of the close friend of the Worth’s, I was like, WHAT ARE YOU DOING???? But, alls well that ends well, because she drove me crazy but I never hated her throughout the book, she just made me sigh a lot. But man, this woman is crazy wicked strong, seeing her help those wounded men, if this were a movie I probably would have stood and applauded her, I liked her because of it.

As far as Charles is concerned, I loved him. I hella loved him even when I was shouting at the rooftops for him not to fall in love with Babs, I loved him. He was a good strong gentleman and I just loved him from the very first…I’m not much of a fan of the style of dress these guys used to wear but man Charles Audley was a sexy stud to me, just because of …HIM. LOVED HIM! I loved seeing him with his friends, I loved seeing him with his family and I loved seeing him battle wits with Lady Babs, I just loved HIM dangit!

Now before I started reading this book, I didn’t know a lick about the Battle at Waterloo…having read this book, I could probably teach a class on it…haha, just kidding, but that’s how great the details were in this book. I could feel the tensions rising, the hearts thumping, the panic trying to storm through the closer Napoleon got and everything was just seemed so real. The description with which she uses to describe the war itself and the soldiers and the deaths and everything was fantastic, there’s one death scene in here that gutted me but man, I hecka loved all of it.

I really enjoyed this book and I really enjoyed the characters, the story and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed history as much as I have while reading this book, reading this book reminded me of when I first started watching The Tudors, how I had to rush off to Google and google the battle of Waterloo just to read up on the whole thing because this book, even though it was gory, was so compelling and just out and out really good.

A definite must to read, I hella enjoyed this book and am truly grateful that I was given a chance to read this book because I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up on my own, so thanks Sourcebook Publishing for sending me this gem of a book, it’s a definite winner.

four-half-stars

Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

Posted October 17, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 7 Comments

Book description:

When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.

Wealthy beyond most men’s dreams, Cam has tired of society’s petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter….

I luuuuuurve Lisa Kleypas. It never matters if I’m not in a “historical mood”. I can pick up a Kleypas book and be engrossed in it from Page 1. Mine Till Midnight was no exception for me. I loved it. It also made me very happy that Cam didn’t end up with Daisy in the last Wallflowers book.

Amelia has been the caretaker in her family for years and years and years. As a matter of fact, Amelia is so old that she practically has one foot in the grave. She’s perfectly fine w/ being a spinster. Her mission in life is to see her sisters happily married off and her brother, well, alive. How old is Amelia you ask? She is a whopping 22 years old. Yep. Ancient. By this short paragraph, you probably have already picked up on the fact that Amelia is a martyr. Not in a bad way, though. Amelia loves her family and will do anything to protect them. That’s what is so great about Cam and Amelia together. Cam shoulders some of the burden that Amelia has held on her old-ass shoulders.

Only a few months earlier, Amelia’s brother (Leo) became Lord Ramsay. A total unexpected ascent to the peerage left Amelia’s family unprepared to handle what came with the title. Quite suddenly Amelia finds that Leo is drinking more than ever and gambling money away left and right. When she goes searching for him, she meets Cam Rohan, manager of Jenner’s. More accepting than most of the Gypsy culture, Amelia is fascinated by Cam but determined to forget about him after he helps locate her brother.

As always, that’s easier said than done. When Amelia and family move to the Ramsay country house, she finds that their “estate” borders Lord Westcliff’s. She soon finds that Cam is a good friend of Westcliff’s and is helpless to fight her attraction to him. I loved their second meeting. It was laugh out loud funny. Cam, Lord Westcliff, and an inventor friend were testing a rocket launcher when Amelia unknowingly steps in front of it. Cam, of course saves the day by tackling her. It was very entertaining.

As for Cam, he is torn between his new feelings for Amelia and his need to roam freely like a Gypsy. Determined to leave Jenner’s and find his tribe, Cam doesn’t count on his need to stay with Amelia. There is one thing the Gyspies believe and that is to hold onto ones mate, no matter what the consequences. It doesn’t take Cam long to realize that Amelia is the one for him and that to be with her, he’ll have to give up his dream of every being “free”. It was a little convenient how Cam so willingly (and quickly) gave up what he had dreamed about for so long.

Kleypas also put some Gypsy lore in the book. See Leo was betrothed to a girl who died when Scarlet Fever swept through the town they lived in. He was madly in love with her and refused to let her spirit “move on”. Eventually he had to let her spirit go or he would have followed her into some bad place where she couldn’t move on. I had no sympathy for the guy. I mean, really. I understood he lost someone, but he had four sisters. Four sisters that were counting on him to be the man of the family. Him drowning his sorrows away almost killed his sisters and Merripen (a sort of adoptive brother).

I really enjoyed seeing the relationship develop between Cam and Amelia. Cam really had to force Amelia to accept help in dealing with her family. He also had to make her realize that marriage to him would not be a bad thing. I really enjoyed reading the banter between these two characters. There were also some extremely amusing situations w/ Amelia’s eccentric family. She has a sister that steals things, but doesn’t remember. The same sister also has a lizard for a pet which she lets loose at the dinner table during a dinner party at Lord Westcliff’s house. She only did it to distract the table after Leo was making a fool of himself as well as angering Lord Westcliff. But it was soooo freaking funny.

I am very much looking forward to the next Kleypas historical. In it, we get Merripen and Win (one of Amelia’s sisters). They are both prominent in this book and I think everyone that reads it will be looking forward to their story as much as I am.

4.5 out of 5.

Please tell me it isn’t true

Posted October 15, 2007 by Casee in Discussions | 22 Comments

Was anyone at either of J.R. Ward’s recent signings? The signing where she allegedly said that Blaylock is…wait for it…

GAY?????

Please, put me out of my misery. No, really. Can this series get any more unbelievable?

Honestly, I have nothing against a m/m romance. Take Jules Cassidy from Suz Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series. He’s finally getting his HEA in All Through the Night. Of course while I was reading Force of Nature, I was having nightmares of getting Jules finally getting his HEA à la Sam and Alyssa. Thank the Lord that she didn’t go that route. Anyhow, throughout the series, Jules was always blatantly, in your face gay. Which I thought was fab. Suz definitely pulled off having a gay character without offending her fans that may have been uncomfortable (or homophobic) reading about m/m romance. I also read Ellora’s Cave m/m/f and some m/m romance. ‘Nuff said.

Which brings me to my rant about J.R. Ward. Why-oh-why would Ward decide to make a character gay? She can go on all she wants about just being the messenger. You can be damn sure if she was really just the messenger, V and Butch would have been getting it on in Lover Unbound. So why, after the cop-out that was V/Butch love, would she decide to have a gay character? All I can hope that if this is actually true, that she will be true to the character she created. Yes, created. To evolve from one’s own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention.

So here’s my guess about what’s going to happen (assuming Blaylock is gay). Blaylock will get a man crush on Qhuinn. Blaylock and Qhuinn (I can not call him Q b/c of James Bond) will be the next Butch/V. Qhuinn will take pity on him and maybe there will be a little man-love. Then Blaylock will meet his mate who is a transsexual. Therefore, he is “cured”.

So can anyone out there actually substantiate the rumor that Blaylock is gay?

High Country Bride by Linda Lael Miller

Posted October 15, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments


Book description:

One ranch. Three sons. Only one will inherit…and on one condition. Tired of waiting for his sons to settle down, Arizona-territory rancher Angus McKettrick announces a competition: the first son to marry and produce a grandchild will inherit Triple M ranch. Now, three distinctly different, equally determined cowboys are searching high and low for brides.

If Emmeline Harding knows one thing, it’s that she can’t hold her liquor. And though she’s not sure how she came to wake up next to a stack of gold coins in a brothel, she fears the worst. Fleeing town as a mail-order bride, she wonders: how will she ever confess her past to her handsome new husband?

Freedom-loving Rafe McKettrick is a man of strong beliefs and stronger passions and he’ll do anything to win the Triple M — even marry a stranger. To his surprise, Emmeline’s charms beguile him even as the secrets he senses she’s hiding ignite jealousy and suspicion. But when a visitor from the past enters the high country, the newlyweds have no choice but to give up on a marriage in name only and seek a union that satisfies them body and soul.

When I first started reading romance, I read a lot of Linda Lael Miller. I soon learned that I really don’t like her heroines. They are too bossy, too spinster-ish, too obnoxious. I could see almost every one of them organizing feminist rallies and turning their husbands into cute little lapdogs. So why did I read High Country Bride? Because it’s a Western. I also read the trilogy with the contemporary McKettrick brothers and was curious about the historical ones.

After Angus McKettrick tells his three sons that he will leave everything to the son who marries and has children first, Rafe knows exactly how he’ll get ahead of his brothers. He’ll send away for a bride. The problem with that is that it takes longer than he hopes for his bride to actually arrive. By the time she does arrive, he’s forgotten all about sending for her.

Emmeline Harding left Kansas City in shame. Growing up in a boarding house (read: brothel) and being raised by her aunt was unconventional to say the least. Her aunt was always determined to raise Emmeline to be respectable, sheltering her as much as possible. That all changes on the night that Emma decides to pretend to be one of her aunts “girls”. After drinking too much while talking to a stranger, the last thing Emmeline remembers is kissing him in the hallway. The next morning, she finds herself almost naked in bed with a stack of coins on the table beside the bed. She is horrified, but that is nothing compared to what her aunt feels after seeing what Emmeline has done. So Emmeline decides to register with Happy Home Matrimonial and soon finds herself married by proxy to Rafe McKettrick.

After meeting her husband, Emmeline has hopes that her marriage will be more that a marriage of convenience. As she finds herself falling for her husband, she struggles with her secret, not knowing how much longer she can keep it to herself. That choice is soon taken out of her hands when the man from the brothel arrives at the ranch, looking for work. Any hope Emmeline has that she won’t be recognized is put to rest the very day he arrives. It’s clear that he remembers exactly who Emmeline is and that night that she’s trying to forget.

This book wasn’t exactly bad, there were just some things I didn’t like about it. I don’t like when men are portrayed as “manly-men” and then when they speak, the are “shy”. That bugs me. Every time Rafe said something to Emmeline “shyly”, I was like WTF??? Emmeline herself kind of grated on my nerves, too. I understood her internal struggle to keep a secret that could ruin her marriage and the new life she was trying to make, but geez. Make a decision already.

When she finally did tell Rafe, I was really disappointed with Rafe’s response. “You were a whore?” is what he asked her. Pul-lease. Talk about double standard. And it wasn’t like she actually meant to do it. What makes it worse for Rafe (and this is totally understandable) is the man that Emmeline was “with” that night, is actually his half-brother. So I could understand his anger there. When he found out what really happened that night, he couldn’t swallow his pride enough to go to his wife.

The shit really hits the fan when they find out that something was wrong with the proxy and they’re actually not married. Fun times after that.

There are three more books in the series. I picked them up at the ubs and will read them…eventually.

3.5 out of 5.