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review 2016-11-09 21:30
The life of an introvert, illustrated.
Introvert Doodles: An Illustrated Look at Introvert Life in an Extrovert World - Maureen "Marzi" Wilson

You may have seen black and white (and now often color) pictures depicting the life of an introvert. Talking to animals at parties, enjoying alone time reading a book or making art, being awkward in conversation, etc. and other common introvert tropes. Much of it is quite funny and probably relatable even if you're not an introvert.


Lo and behold, the author has collected her comics into a book! All color, all relating to introverts and introversion in some way. What introverts like to do alone, why introverts like to be alone, what it's like dealing with people when social interaction is draining, etc. Many are funny, many are relatable. Some are not strictly about introversion but reflect the author's likes: using a hat to protect a book from the rain for an example.


If you've followed the author it might not be anything new and you may have seen many of the comics before. I also somewhat wished the comics had been organized in some way (as far as I can tell they might be random or some order I don't know) or if there was a table of contents.


Still, I enjoyed the book and was happy to support the author.

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review 2016-08-23 00:45
A mini-manifesto for introverts.
The Irresistible Introvert: Harness the Power of Quiet Charisma in a Loud World - Michaela Chung

Introversion has become a bit of a "thing" lately. It's okay to want to spend time by yourself or not want to go to that party or need some downtime after hanging out with friends. Author Michaela Chung is presenting a "mini-manifesto" (as it says on the back cover) for introverts.


Overall it's a standard introvert introduction book. What it is, how we cope, how to handle situations like dating, work, communicating with friends, why we like to talk on the phone, etc. If you're already familiar with introversion, this is probably not very new stuff. If you're new, it might be a total eye-opener.


While I went into this knowing I'd probably know a lot of the material, I wasn't impressed. It's less of a self-help book and more of her own personal thoughts (the "manifesto" part). Some people would probably enjoy this style. Personally it bores me. I liked that it was not as dry and academic as say Susan Cain's 'Quiet' book but I never felt the author's voice really came through and compelled me to keep reading.


For the right person, though, this might really speak to them. It's not a long read and I couldn't help but think this could really work for a high-schooler or someone about to go off to college. Which is not to say someone older couldn't get something out of it (probably not younger than high school though), but it just seemed like perhaps a good going away gift or for a young adult who is trying to figure him or herself out personality-wise.


For an introductory book I personally recommend 'Success as an Introvert For Dummies' (yes, it's part of the 'For Dummies series but it's a really good basic text if you're completely unfamiliar with introversion) or 'The Introvert Advantage'. This book could be a good compliment to either one but I personally wouldn't recommend it as a stand alone. That said, I also wouldn't rush to read this book if you're already familiar with introversion. Borrow from the library or buy it super cheap.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-01-30 03:53
One-Eyed Dukes Are Wild
One-Eyed Dukes are Wild - Megan Frampton


I loved One-Eyed Dukes Are Wild, my third book by Megan Frampton. But then, there is such a lot to love about a rather introverted, awkward, very proper but not very eloquent Duke with an eye patch and a young lady who is not afraid to blaze her own path in the world.


I loved Lasham. I loved his very proper demeanor - carefully and correctly groomed within an inch of his ducal self - from the top of his head to the toe of his shiny boots - with not a whisper of scandal attached to his name. How refreshing it is to read about a Duke who is neither especially glib nor eloquent nor especially comfortable being the center of attention at ton events. More, I loved how he had this hidden very sweet, very irreverent (at times) and funny internal dialogue going on in his head that was at odds with how he is perceived by those who do not know him. Like the conversation of sorts he has with Lady Dearwood and her fellow "amateur daubists" at the National Gallery:


"Are you a fan of the visual arts, Your Grace?" She gestured to the group. "We are here for our monthly visit, we come once a month" - as the phrase "monthly visit" would imply, Lasham thought - "to gaze upon the majestic beauty of the pictures and become inspired in our own artistic efforts." She leaned forward, as though confiding in him. He resisted the urge to draw back. "We are all amateur daubists, you see, Your Grace."


"I see," Lasham replied, wishing he hadn't given in to his desire to visit the gallery today himself.


(...)"Are you a painter yourself, Your Grace


?" Lady Dearwood's voice interrupted his thoughts. Just as well, it wasn't as though he could actually have any of the things he had been imagining.


"No, I just -" How to say it without sounding as though he were as insufferably pompous as Lady Margaret no doubt thought he was, although these ladies might be pleased at how ducal his approbation - or lack thereof - was. "I appreciate art." And left his words sitting there, hanging awkwardly in the air between them.


Wonderful, Lasham, he thought. No wonder he usually kept silent in company beyond the minimum of polite conversation. He was clearly terrible at saying anything without sounding like a prig, a snob, or a . . .or a duke. (27-28)


I really enjoyed the surprise of his piratical, rakish appearance hinting that he is mad, bad, and dangerous to know but that he is in reality quite different. An introvert.


And when had he become this awkward thing who didn't know what to do with himself?


Ah, of course. He could answer that, even if he didn't know where he should be standing at this exact moment. Forever. He had been this awkward for as long as he could recall, from first being sent off to school and then at his family's various homes, and in the House of Lords.


Always wondering just where he fit in, knowing he did, of course, because of what he was, but never because of who he was. (204)


And, I loved how Lady Margaret Sawford loosened him up a little and mussed him up a bit - the way she boldly discards his carefully tied cravat, ruffles his hair, and leads him into one adventure after another - from acting as 'the muscle' when she ventures into dangerous areas of London, to calming a rabble rousing crowd in dusty pubs, to dancing the night away at a dance hall, and to smoldering kisses in the back of the carriage.


"I was thinking that if you were amenable, we could enter into a reciprocal arrangement."


A what? And why did that sound both scandalous and wonderful?


He couldn't mean what Margaret immediately though he meant.


"What kind of arrangement?" she asked, acutely aware of Annie snoozing in the corner. Just as she'd thought, however, Annie emitted a soft snore that was either an actual snore, or the kind of snore she might emit if she wanted her mistress to continue an inappropriate conversation.


He glanced over at her, a spark of - mischief? - in his eye. "I have come to realize that I am not perhaps the most adventurous of souls." He turned away to gaze out of the window on the other side of the carriage. "In fact, some have accused me of being a stick-in-the-mud. If you would, I would like you to accompany me on some . . . adventures." (122)


For me watching a very proper man unravel and let go a bit is a fascinating and very satisfying reading experience. Like Sebastien in Judy Cuevas's Dance and here with the Duke of Lasham. I truly loved Lady Margaret for the way she took a very painful and embarrassing thing like Lasham's given name (which is a mystery even to Margaret for a good bit) and made him laugh at himself and at the ones who teased him about it, and even turned his hated name into a term of endearment.


"Why did your father choose Vortigern, anyway?"


Now it was his turn to groan. "He thought his son should have the name of a ruler. Why he didn't just choose George or William or even Arthur is beyond me."


"I like it. It's different."


"That it is. You can't imagine what young boys can do to turn your name into an insult."


Margaret laughed. "I can't imagine. Tell me."


"Wartigern was one of the most popular ones. Fartigern was also a big favorite. Hern, a few times. Then, Gernie for some reason. That one doesn't make sense, but it was used nonetheless."


"Gern sounds as though it is a boulder or something - 'The trees are just a few paces past the gern.' Like that." She hoped he would laugh.


Thank goodness he did. "Or something that is unpleasant, like an illness - 'The gern was responsible for three farmers' illnesses; hopefully it is cleared up now. That gern can be a nasty business.'"


She laughed, delighted he was comfortable enough with her to join in with the joke.

"You can't gern here, you have to go over there if you want to," she said, adopting a broad London accent. (254-255)


Margaret affectionately teases Lasham about his name when she takes him to Cremorne Gardens. Though he has absolutely no idea where he's going or what Cremorne Gardens is, he's comfortable with her, and trusts her, and is determined to step outside his comfort zone.


He settled back inside and nodded to her: "On our way. A garden, you say?"


"Much more than that," she replied. "It's got restaurants, and balloon ascents, and dancing pavilions. It will be too early for dancing, but we can wander about for a bit, perhaps find something to eat, like oysters or eel pie." Her eyes sparkled in delight, and he found himself smiling in response, even though he most definitely did not want an eel pie.


"It sounds enjoyable," he replied, trying to keep his voice from being stiff.


"It is, Gernie," she said, her face alight with anticipation. (280)


Lasham's given name is not the only mystery surrounding him. There's also the matter of how he lost his eye. Many possibilities are bandied about - in battle, a duel over a lady, a riding accident, an object tossed through a window, even an encounter with a bear.



Actually, when he was eighteen, he was overindulging in wine, went to the cellar to get a bottle of champagne and the cork popped him in the eye. This revelation comes close to the end. 

(spoiler show)



I enjoyed watching Lasham's confidence in himself grow and how pleased he is when he recognizes he is not nearly as tied in knots as he was before he met Margaret. His progress is very evident in his encounter with Lady Dearwood's at her soirée:


"Thank you for the invitation," Lasham replied. "It is a lovely night for a party, isn't it?"


Lady Dearwood's expression faltered. In truth, it was raining quite hard, so much so that Lasham's feet were squeaking because of the water that had gotten into his shoes on the short walk from the carriage to the house.


"It is, Your Grace," she said firmly. Apparently she'd decided it was better to agree with the duke than debate how "a lovely night" would be defined.


"And this is a lovely party," he continued, deliberately using the same word so as to make his entire opinion suspect in her eyes.


When had he got so devious? And more to the point, why hadn't he started before? It was fun to watch Lady Dearwood wrestle with the information that he had just provided - that he categorized a rainy evening and an evening party into the same description, which must mean . . .


He saw when she gave up parsing it. "Your Grace, the beverage table is over there, and of course, I can summon someone to fetch a glass, if you could tell me what you prefer." (295-296)


For a man who struggled mightily choosing the right words for any given social situation, this is progress indeed for him to control a tedious, unwanted social encounter by injecting a heaping dollop of his own particular brand of devilish humor. I was cheering him on actually. Lasham will probably never enjoy being the center of attention, but he's learned to manage his discomfort and take a bit of fun along the way.


I was almost as invested in the outcome of the "Georgiana and the Dragon" (authored by A Lady of Mystery, aka Lady Margaret), the tasty little snippets that led off each chapter as I was in the slow-building romance between Margaret and 'Gernie." I enjoyed how these passages served as a whisper of things to come between Margaret and Lasham, and I did wonder if Margaret and Lasham didn't share more than a little with the dragon who did not want to be a man.


One-Eyed Dukes Are Wild is a mix of light and frothy with a little serious food for thought thrown in. I especially appreciated how the story of the "Absolutely Unattainable, Not To Be Wanted Anyway, Piratical and Awkward Duke" and the "Slightly Scandalous Lady of Mystery" kicks off with such simple, yet thought-provoking questions: "What would you do if you could do anything you wanted?" What is happiness? How do you find happiness? I think the best answer is what Vortigern discovers:


"There is a difference between not knowing what happiness is and not being happy, though, you understand," he said, gripping her shoulder more tightly to punctuate his words. "I might have been happy. I am, I suppose, sometimes." When I am with you. "I just am not certain what it is, precisely. Or how to recognize it when it occurs to me."



She drew back from him, her mouth curling into a warm, soft smile. "That is why we are adventuring, is it not? Happiness is an adventure. Does this," she said, gesturing to the hall behind them, still filled with dancing couples and loud music and chatter and common folk, "make you happy?"


He glanced over her head at the hall, then returned his gaze back to her and slide his hand down her arm to take her hand in his. "It does," he replied, hoping she understood precisely what he was trying to say. (222)

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text 2015-08-25 14:44
Are you properly caring for your introvert?

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text 2015-02-19 16:13
Hideaway: Recluse in Historical Romance
To Charm a Naughty Countess (Matchmaker Trilogy) - Theresa Romain
The Lightkeeper - Susan Wiggs
By Tessa Dare Romancing the Duke: Castles Ever After - Tessa Dare
The Lone Warrior - Lori Austin
Fool Me Twice - Meredith Duran
Daisy - Leigh Greenwood
My Shadow Warrior - Jen Holling
The Prince of Midnight - Laura Kinsale
The Texan's Wager (Wife Lottery Series #1) - Jodi Thomas
The Summer of You - Kate Noble

Do you sometimes just want to get away from it all? Well, recluses do it with style.  In Historical Romance, they do it drafty castles, windswept ranches, and manors on the moor. 


Here are some great Recluses of Historical Romance for your reading pleasure! My lists are never in any particular order.  I left the more obvious Beauty and the Beast retellings for another time. 


1. To Charm a Naughty Countess by Theresa Romain


Can a reclusive duke...


Brilliant but rumored mad, Michael Layward, the impoverished Duke of Wyverne, has no success courting heiresses until widowed Lady Stratton takes up his cause—after first refusing his suit.


Win London's most powerful countess?


Caroline Graves, the popular Countess of Statton, sits alone at the pinnacle of London society and has vowed never to remarry. When Michael—her counterpart in an old scandal—returns to town after a long absence, she finds herself as enthralled with him as ever. As she guides the anxiety-ridden duke through the trials of London society, Caroline realizes that she's lost her heart. But if she gives herself to the only man she's ever loved, she'll lose the hard won independence she prizes above all.



2.  The Lightkeeper by Susan Wiggs


Once, the sea took everything he loved… 

Jesse Morgan is a man hiding from the pain of his past, a man who has vowed never to give his heart again. Keeper of a remote lighthouse along a rocky and dangerous coast, he has locked himself away from everything but his bitter memories. 

Now, the sea has given him a second chance. 


A beautiful stranger washes ashore, the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Penniless and pregnant, Mary Dare is a woman who carries painful memories of her own. 

With laughter, hope and joy, Mary and her child bring light into the dark corners of Jesse's world. But when their friendship turns to passion and passion becomes love, secrets from the past threaten to take it all away.


3.  Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare


As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde
Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens.
She never doubted romance would be in her future, too.  The storybooks
offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off.  One by one by one.

  • Ugly duckling turned swan?
  • Abducted by handsome highwayman?
  • Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and... Heh.

Now Izzy's given up yearning for romance.
She'll settle for a roof over her head.  What fairy tales are left over
for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who's never even been

This one.


4. The Lone Warrior by Lori Austin


Rose Varner needs a man…

But not just any man. The one known as “White Ghost with Hair of Fire.” He may be the only way to rescue her daughter, Lily, from the Cheyenne. Legend has it he was once the Cheyenne’s captive, but his courage impressed them so much that they accepted him as one of their own. Yet the man Rose finds seems far from legendary…

Luke Phelan’s tortured past has driven him to live as a recluse in the Smoky Hills of western Kansas. Having vowed to keep his distance from the Cheyenne, Luke refuses to accompany Rose on her rescue mission. But her bravery in the face of dangerous odds changes his mind. Now as they ride toward their destination, they’ll battle outlaws, bounty hunters, and their own rising desires before finding Lily. But the cost to Rose will be high, and her budding love for Luke will be put to the test…


5. Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran


Sensible and lonely, Olivia Mather survives by her wits - and her strict policy of avoiding trouble. But when she realises that the Duke of Marwick might hold the secrets of her family's past, she does the unthinkable, infiltrating his household as a maid. She'll clean his study and rifle through his papers looking for information.


Alastair de Grey has a single reason to live: vengeance. More beautiful than Lucifer, twice as feared, and thrice as cunning, he'll use any weapon to punish those who fooled and betrayed him - even an impertinent maid who doesn't know her place. But the more fascinated he becomes with the uppity redhead, the more dangerous his carefully designed plot becomes. For the one contingency he forgot to plan for was falling in love...and he cannot survive being fooled again.


6. Daisy by Leigh Greenwood


While Tyler Randolph is prospecting for gold in New Mexico to get the money to build the hotel of his dreams he finds a woman wounded and left to die in a blizzard. He can't take her into Albuquerque because he doesn't know who's trying to kill her, so he takes her to his cabin. When the killers come after her, he makes it his job to protect her. Tyler is a loner not used to have a woman around. He's very self-conscious about his tall, lanky body and the fact that he isn't handsome like his brothers.

Daisy Singleton has no idea who killed her father and tried to kill her, or why. Awakening with a head wound in a strange man's cabin, she doesn't know whether to be afraid or angry. Being stranded in a mountain cabin with a silent, kind, bossy, bear of a man is frustrating. She just wants to go to Albuquerque and stay with her friends, but Tyler won't let her leave because he still doesn't know who's trying to kill her. When Daisy tells Tyler she's engaged to be married, he hustles her down the mountain.

Although Daisy stays with Hen and Laurel and Tyler returns to this mine, their story isn't finished. There remains a killer to unmask, Daisy's independence to establish, and the need to learn the truth about their feelings toward each other.


7. My Shadow Warrior by Jen Holling


Rose, the youngest of the MacDonell sisters, is more concerned with her father's mysterious illness than with her impending marriage to her childhood sweetheart. A gifted but frustrated healer, she decides to beg help from William MacKay -- a reclusive laird who is renowned not only for his ferocity, but also for his healing powers. Denied entry to his fortress in the cold, harsh mountains of the far northwestern highlands, Rose uses cunning to force her way in, and William is duly intrigued with this bold slip of a girl. But securing his help may not be enough to save Rose's father. For there is something darker at work in the glen, something more powerful than William's and Rose's magic combined, and only the soul-deep passion that shadows their mutual desire can help their love prevail.


8. The Prince of Midnight by Laura Kinsale


He was once a legendary highwayman. Now he’s a recluse in a ruined French castle, with only a half-wild wolf for a companion. When Lady Leigh Strachan comes looking for a man to aid in her revenge, she is disillusioned to find that the famed Prince of Midnight could not help even if he cared to—which he does not. S. T. Maitland wants nothing to do with his legend, or with this fierce, beautiful, broken woman . . . until the old thrill of living on the cutting edge of danger begins to rise in his blood again.


9. The Texan's Wager by Jodi Thomas


Thrown off a wagon train with two other women and trying to avoid jail for a murder they committed, Bailee Moore agrees to enter a "Wife Lottery"—a ploy concocted by the Cedar Point sheriff to secure wives for the men in the small Texas town. For the sensible Bailee, however, marrying Carter McKoy is like exchanging one life sentence for another—especially since her new husband hasn't even seen fit to utter a single word in her presence. But still, she can't help thinking that something about this strong, silent farmer could be the key to leaving her troubled past behind…and making a worthy wager with her heart.


10. The Summer of You by Kate Noble


Lady Jane Cummings expects her summer at Merrymere Lake to be hum-drum compared to London, but when rumors of a local highwayman lead her to discover the handsome gentleman Byrne Worth, nothing can keep her from Merrymere's most wanted.


Please vote for your favorite Historical Romance Loner on my Goodreads list: Hideaway: Recluse in Historical Romance

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