Archive | September 2011

Book Review: Kindred Hearts by Rowan Speedwell

Kindred Hearts cover

(This review is by guest blogger Erin!)

Kindred Hearts by Rowan Speedwell
ebook/trade paper, 350 pages
Published May 2nd, 2011 by Dreamspinner Press

4/5 stars

(Note: there are some mild spoilers in this review.)

The set up is basically every Regency romance you’ve ever read: the hero is a rake with daddy issues who beds lots of women and reacts to any dare as if he were Marty McFly being called a chicken. His father, a duke, informs him early in the novel that he is required to produce an heir and thus will be marrying an on-the-shelf spinster with a well-respected father, and he’s to get right on that heir producing if he doesn’t want to get cut off. Luckily, said spinster turns out to be kind of a spitfire, albeit a plain-looking one, and when the hero meets her, he basically thinks, Well, okay, I don’t want to get married, but if I have to, she’s all right. Maybe this is not a sweeping declaration of love, but we’re not quite a third of the way into the book.

The story picks up again two years later, at which time our plucky former spinster has produced the required heir and has a spare on the way. While fireworks don’t exactly go off when our hero and heroine are in a room together, they have forged an easy friendship and the hero very clearly adores his young son. Things proceed, perhaps a little on the boring side, until the heroine’s brother comes back from the war. And then things get interesting.

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New Contributor Introduction: Erin, who likes trashy books

plaidSo hi, how are you? Alexis is letting me do some occasional contributing to her blog, so I’m introducing myself. I’m Erin. I go by “fshk” on the Internet. I’m a non-fiction editor based in New York City, and I spend my spare time writing romance novels.

Of relevance to you are probably my reading interests. I read lots of things. I have an English lit BA, which means I went to college and they implanted a chip in my brain that makes me pick up pretentious literary fiction when I’m in book stores. (I have a whole bookcase full of names like Chabon and Egan and Franzen and Eggers and I like it, so there!) And I have a pile of classics that are on my Best Books of All Time list (Jane Eyre is probably my most oft-reread book, although I do enjoy Faulkner and Fitzgerald and some of those dead white guys, too). I wrote a thesis on Toni Morrison. But I also like genre fiction a whole heck of a lot, especially mysteries and romances. I have been reading more romance than anything else recently, in fact, although there was a brief interlude this summer in which I read mostly nonfiction (I’m almost done with Moneyball—it’s good if you like baseball and/or statistics!). My particular area of expertise, such as it is, is LGBT romance, so I will probably be reviewing some of those for this site. I’m also partial to sports romances and romantic suspense with big burly alpha heroes. But I’ll read almost anything, so who knows?

I’m also a staunch advocate for ebooks, not just because I was a Kindle early adopter, but also because I think some of the digital-first publishers are taking some risks with what they’re publishing, and that is great for the industry.

So that’s a little about me. I hope to get a post up on here once a week or so.

Movie Review: The Lion King 3D

The Lion King 3D Poster

The Lion King
Animated, 89 minutes
Released June 24th, 1994 by Disney

I’m not going to summarize the movie in this review, because if you haven’t seen The Lion King already, I just feel sorry for you.

Warning: Don’t wear mascara to this movie if you have any emotional attachment to it. I teared up at so many moments. I can’t believe I forgot how frigging good this movie is. (SO FRIGGING GOOD, in case you forgot, too.) I felt like I was on the verge of tears the entire time. (Perhaps an exaggeration, but not by much. I’m not one of those people who cries during movies, but in the past couple of years Toy Story 3, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and now The Lion King have made me tear up.)

I went to a Saturday morning show, and it was packed with people my age who grew up with The Lion King during the golden age of Disney feature-length animation, and parents with their kids – many of whom were likely seeing it for the first time. It was such a responsive audience, for which I am grateful. Audience response is one of the reasons I go to the movies. You guys, everyone clapped and cheered after “Circle of Life!” There was that last drum beat (you know it), the title flashed in red across a black background, and the audience went nuts. People laughed at all the right moments, at things we laughed at nearly two decades ago and jokes I totally didn’t get when I was 11. I was riveted during “Be Prepared,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” hit me in a way it never did before.

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In Defense of Barbie

Girls playing with BarbieWhile babysitting earlier this month, I made an offhand comment about having 100 Barbies. This is perhaps an exaggeration, but I certainly had no less than 60. The little girl I was watching told me that her mother doesn’t like Barbie and thinks Barbie is stupid. (Possibly not the word she used. I don’t think this family uses that word, but it was something close to it.) She’s almost 5 years old, and she said this a little sadly while holding her one Ariel doll (from The Little Mermaid).

Clearly my parents had no such reservations, and Barbie in the 80s was a totally different doll than she is today, in many ways. But the thing she has never been in my lifetime is stupid. Barbie taught me that a woman can be anything she wants – a doctor, an astronaut, a rock star, a veterinarian, a teacher (like my mom) – and can look good doing it. (Many episodes of What Not to Wear have shown me that this is a hard lesson for women to learn.) In recent years Barbie has added such professions to her resume as computer engineer, architect, and art teacher (like me!). These are not the career paths of a stupid woman! On top of all that, she still leads a vibrant social life, apparently raises a slew of siblings, and maintains a healthy relationship with no visible signs of codependency. (We won’t talk about the Blaine years.) Isn’t this the type of superwoman we’re told we should be?

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