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review 2017-05-26 15:28
The Glass Slipper : Women and Love Stories
The Glass Slipper: Women and Love Stories - Susan Ostrov Weisser

The Glass Slipper is about the persistence of a familiar Anglo-American love story into the digital age. Comparing influential classics to their current counterparts, Susan Ostrov Weisser relates in highly amusing prose how these stories are shaped and defined by and for women, the main consumers of romantic texts. Following a trajectory that begins with Jane Austen and concludes with Internet dating sites, Weisser shows the many ways in which nineteenth-century views of women’s nature and the Victorian idea of romance have survived the feminist critique of the 1970s and continue in new and more ambiguous forms in today’s media, with profound implications for women.

 

The Victorians have a lot to answer for! The basic formula that they set in motion for the romance is still very much in use. The woman protagonist has to be beautiful, but not vain. She can be aware that she’s moderately attractive, but mustn’t put too much stock in it. She must also be stubborn (or spunky or full of vitality) because she’s going to need all her resources to win her man. And she better be a one-man woman—not too easily tipped into bed, as she needs to be sure that the man is truly interested in her, or she will be left alone and humiliated. There is no doubt that “alone” is a punishment and a sign of being “less than,” which makes me laugh, as it’s the only way I want to live my life.

Men in this genre are usually rich or at least comfortable financially, but billionaires abound these days. Then they should be hunky—broad shoulders, small waists, ripped abs—because why waste all that work on a regular guy, right? Plus, he should be powerful, both physically and in the world (Alpha male, anyone?). No wonder men don’t like to read the romance genre—who could possibly live up to that standard?

I can see why the author doesn’t really decide if romance is pro- or anti-feminist. I’m a feminist, but after decades of ignoring the romance genre, I find that I’m enjoying it again. I’ve never married and I don’t expect to. I don’t expect romance in my own life—my own relationship is a pretty pragmatic one. And yet I really do enjoy reading a good romance. I’ve read Ilona Andrews’ Burn for Me at least 3 times since January (and it really, really fits the Victorian pattern above) and I’m waiting on tenterhooks for the sequel White Hot. Does this make me a bad feminist? I don’t think so.

The author covers a lot of ground: Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Jane Austen, D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Disney princesses, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Harlequin romances, and internet dating sites, among other topics. Do we need to smash the Glass Slipper the way we need to break the Glass Ceiling? Or can we hang onto it for playing dress-up?

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text 2017-05-19 19:30
RT Booklover's Convention 2017 - Day Two
Outfoxed by Love (Kodiak Point Book 2) - Eve Langlais
What a Lady Craves - Ashlyn Macnamara
Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War - Lauren Willig,Joshilyn Jackson;Hazel Gaynor;Mary McNear;Nadia Hashimi;Emmi Itäranta;CJ Hauser;Katherine Harbour;Rebecca Rotert;Holly Brown;M. P. Cooley;Carrie La Seur;Sarah Creech,Jennifer Robson,Marci Jefferson,Jessica Brockmole,Beatriz Williams,Evangeli
An Extraordinary Union - Alyssa Cole
Ten Days in August - Kate McMurray
Kissing the Captain - Kianna Alexander
Forbidden - Beverly Jenkins
The Lawyer's Luck: A Home to Milford College prequel novella - Piper Huguley,Piper Huguley
Tycoon - Joanna Shupe

Day One post

 

 

Wednesday (May 3rd) was the official start to the convention. I skipped the 7am work outs since I was still jet lagged, but I could only make myself get a few hours of sleep (a habit that lasted the entire convention). I hit up the coffee shop for a venti-sized tea and a piece of banana bread (I don't trust hotel catering to have enough food for all attendees) and met up with a fellow COYER group member and BL'er Lexxie (Unconventional Book Views)! After having breakfast with Lexxie, I went to the welcome breakfast; the guest speaker was Karen Robards. I thought she did an okay job opening the convention, but it seemed a lot of her speech was about previous, long ago RT cons and not much about this one. That was another theme - most attendees are long time RT convention goers and there is a feeling of cliques and talking about the old times. Then the staff at RT each had to take the mic to talk (boring)...which authors in attendance used that time to start pushing their books to the readers at their tables. Lots of aspiring and current authors writing "dark, gritty" romantic suspense is my take away.

 

First reader event I went to was Trope Bingo. The organizers did not plan to have so many people attend this event and ended up scrambling to set up more tables. Then more people showed up after another reader event closed due to running out of supplies. I had fun at the Bingo and met some readers that wanted to talk about what their favorite/least favorite tropes were.

 

Next I went to the Maple Syrup and Mounties reader event. This was one of the best reader events of the convention! Funny, smart ladies (authors Viola Grace, Lucy Farago, Eve Langlais, Ashlynn Macnamara, and Mandy Rosko) who organized and prepared for the crowd. The swag was pretty great too. FYI: Eve Langlais is pretty damn proud that she was able to put a moose shifter romance on the best seller list (Outfoxed by Love) and Ashlynn Macnamara is proud of her books' butt covers (Eton Boys Trilogy). These authors not only enjoyed interacting with the audience (it was a rowdy quiz type of event), but they seemed to really enjoy being around each other. One of my highlights of the convention.

 

Lunch time and then I stood in line for the one reader event I was most looking forward to - the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books Reader Recommendation Party! It definitely lived up to my expectations. I ended up winning a raffle, so I took home a short story collection centered around World War I called Fall of Poppies. I have been eyeing this book for some time now and when I saw it on the prize table I had to grab it. The Bitches were as lovely and funny as they are on the blog and on the podcast. Another big highlight for me, as it was truly about the readers talking about books with other readers.

 

Some books recommended:

The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne (historical set during the French Revolution)

The Iron Duke Series by Meljean Brooks (steampunk)

Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper (paranormal)

Blood on the Earth (Soulwood #1) by Faith Hunter (spin-off of the Jane Yellowrock series)

Roller Girl (Lake Lovelace #3) by Vanessa North (f/f contemporary featuring a trans woman as one half of the couple)

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare (historical)

Bedchamber Games by Tracey Anne Warren (historical)

The Glassblower Series by Petra Durst Benning (historical)

Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy (fantasy)

The First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (sports contemporary romance)

Rites of Passage (Tulsa Thunderbirds #4) by Catherine Gayle (sports contemporary romance with HIV+ characters)

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1) by Amanda Bouchet (fantasy)

Anything by KJ Charles pretty much

 

 

The SBTB party was still going but I left after winning so I could make it to my first author panel, Welcome to Americana, featuring Alyssa Cole, Kianna Alexander, Kate McMurray, Beverly Jenkins, Piper Huguley, and Joanna Shupe. What a great discussion! Everything from the state of American historical romance (in terms of what is being published right now) to how they go about researching the history for their stories. Kate McMurray has a really great blog post on her website in regards to POC/LGBT+ people in historical romance not being present in mainstream historical romance and that readers really have to search to find the authors that are writing outside the mainstream. Most importantly, American historical romance is oversaturated with cowboys and mail order brides - and these authors are trying to expand American historical romance to include POC/LGBT+/urbanites. Everyone on the panel had some very thought-provoking things to say about racism, sexism, homophobia, and historical romance writing. Shout out to reference and research librarians for providing plot bunnies and historical research for the authors.

 

Took a much needed break from all the people, then headed to the Petticoats & Pistols party. Here the organizers actually had a big enough room that attendees could walk and mingle about without being crushed. I enjoyed the outfits the authors and cover models wore and the design of the party. Probably my favorite social event of the convention - it was low-key enough to take in at my leisure, but high-spirited enough to build excitement for the attendees. Here I got to meet Merry Farmer, a personal favorite of mine and talk with Joanna Shupe about her panel I attended. Shupe encouraged me to try my hand at writing historical romance. Maybe....someday.

 

After the party I was tired from being around so many people all day, so I got dinner and headed to my room. I didn't expect or intend to make this a very historical romance intensive day, but it is my favorite subgenre. So many new to me authors to try.

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text 2017-04-25 16:26
REVIEW BY DEBBIE - Falling Hard: Stories of Men in Love by Dale Cameron Lowry
Falling Hard: Stories of Men in Love - Dale Cameron Lowry
Nine of Dale Cameron Lowry’s best short romance stories, available for the first time in one book. 

Part 1: Falling Fast

Warm up with whirlwind romances that last.
Mi Alma — Ex-Mormon Alma Larsen doesn’t know the first thing about alcohol, so he hires bartender Damian Banks to help out at his winter holiday party. They build a friendship that simmers with sexual tension—and possibly something much deeper. Will this Christmas bring them both a love that lasts?
Loggerhead — Soon after they fall in love, Jake makes Eric a promise inspired by an old track uniform. But demanding work schedules at Jake’s four-star restaurant and Eric’s newspaper keep them from following through. Six years later, they take the honeymoon they never had, heading to the Florida coast in search of sea turtles—and rekindling their passion for each other in the process. 
Reading the Signs — The only thing twenty-three-year-old Theo De Jong expects when he enrolls in a summer school for linguists in New Mexico is to get more ideas for his master’s thesis in Dutch Sign Language. But then he meets the American sign language expert Alfonso Grossman, and sparks fly. 

Part 2: Falling Fantastically
Because reality is overrated, these stories have elements of the fantastical.
Born of Fire — The fairies on Ireland’s north coast are notorious for kidnapping, and Aodhán of County Donegal has the scars to prove it. When the fairies abduct the handsome youth Cainnech, Aodhán seeks to free him—but risks losing his health and Cainnech in the process. 
Ghost of a Chance — When shy Jeremy Anderson meets mysterious and dapper Frank at his spooky old university library, their connection is instant. Their romance waxes with the full moon—but just as quickly, Frank’s interest seems to wane. He insists that he loves spending time with Jeremy, but then why does he keep Jeremy at arm’s length?
Far From Home — Rajiv met and fell in love with his husband, Mateo, when they were both members of the scientific team responsible for transforming Mars into a home suitable for humans. But years into their shared mission, Rajiv is ordered back to Earth to restore the barren lands of the American Midwest. With a little help from technology, the two men find innovative ways to nurture their long-distance relationship while they wait to reunite. 
Sweeter Than Blood — Keith was a vegan before a hot encounter with a stranger turned him into a vampire. In the year since, his sire, John, has tried to make up for the mistake by teaching Keith everything he knows about being a non-murderous bloodsucker. But temptation is strong in the form of Andres, a regular customer at the barbershop where Keith works. When Andres finally asks Keith on a date, the real danger begins. 

Part 3: Falling Deep
The deeper the love, the hotter the intimacy.
Rough Love — Blake thinks new boyfriend Michael doesn’t like French kissing. Michael thinks Blake doesn’t like rough sex. Neither are virgins, except in the art of conversation. Can they set things straight before the honeymoon’s over? 
Pacific Rimming — On Mike’s fortieth birthday, his husband, Ken, takes him on vacation to Vancouver Island in Western Canada to celebrate.

 

@DaleCLowry, @debbiereadsbook, #M_M, #Contemporary, #Fantasy, #Romance, #Collection, 5 out of 5 (exceptional)

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/debbie/fallinghardstoriesofmeninlovebydalecameronlowry
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review 2017-04-25 10:57
freaking A-MA-ZING collection!
Falling Hard: Stories of Men in Love - Dale Cameron Lowry
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian * A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. * Oh my days! I freaking LOVE this job!! I have, along the way, found some amazing authors I may never have come across reading for myself. Dale Cameron Lowry is one such find. This little collection of 9 short stories of men falling in love, or keeping that love alive, was nothing short of A-MA-ZING!! I've never read anything by Lowry before, unless I read it in a box set, but by golly the man can write short stories!! There is here a little bit of something for every one. Some contemporary, some new adult, some sci fi, some vampires, ghosts. The heat level for each is slightly different, some almost clean and some way more explicit, again, a bit for every one. There's no violence, not really, unless you count being bitten by a vampire :-) I have two favourties. Born of Fire - The fairies on Ireland’s north coast are notorious for kidnapping, and Aodhán of County Donegal has the scars to prove it. When the fairies abduct the handsome youth Cainnech, Aodhán seeks to free him—but risks losing his health and Cainnech in the process. AND Pacific Rimming — On Mike's fortieth birthday, his husband, Ken, takes him on vacation to Vancouver Island in Western Canada to celebrate. While Mike mourns his loss of youth, Ken encourages him to recapture it by bedding a gorgeous twenty-something man they encounter while hiking in Pacific Rim National Park. A night of no-holds-barred passion among the three men reveals a sizzling chemistry, and when Mike and Ken return home they find themselves longing to reconnect with the young Jason. Can what started as a one-night stand transform into a threesome that lasts? Two very different books, told in two very different ways. What I really loved about these books, was the depth of connection I felt to each and every character, and the connection to their world. Whether it be Ireland of old, or Mars, thousands of years in the future. Lowry nailed it, he nailed every single one!! Oh, and I should point out too, there is one story that is written, wait for it, wait for it ......first person, present tense. And ya'll KNOW how I feel about THOSE!! But here, because it's short, I really enjoyed it. So there *insert sticking out tongue and blowing raspberries at ya* So, because I actually managed to read this, in a single day at **whispers very quietly, please don't tell anyone** work, and because I enjoyed all 9 nine stories, and because I really REALLY want to read more by Lowry... 5 full stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2017-04-10 04:22
Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories
Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories - Stephanie Perkins

The cover of this book is a lie. It makes you think this is a collection of cute, lighthearted, contemporary summer romances. And while some of the stories fall under that, most of them do not. I was surprised to find a number of the stories were more sad or dark than lighthearted. The cover just doesn't fit for most of the stories here. I still enjoyed most of them, but this anthology was not at all what I expected.

 

Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo - This story starts off very strange with the main character's favorite story of why a side character came to her town involving magic. The story then switches to our main character spotting what she thinks is a sea creature in the lake and joining forces with a boy who comes to town every summer to research all sightings of the sea creature. She slowly falls for him over the summers, and it's fairly cute. Then the story takes a sudden turn when

she sacrifices her humanity to save the boy after discovering he's actually a sea serpent who can take on a human form for 3 months every year and they live out their days as sea serpents, turning human for 3 months every year.

(spoiler show)

 I wasn't surprised by the reveal about the guy which was hinted at throughout the story. It was the girl's actions that were very sudden. It was a weird end. Which goes with the strange start, I suppose. 3/5

 

The End of Love by Nina LaCour - This one was more on the sad side, not because of the romance, but because of the main character's situation when the story starts. Her parents are divorcing, and she is not taking it well. To get out of the house, she signs up for a geometry class to audit and finds that the girl she's had a crush on for years is taking it with her friends. They all end up on a camping trip where the girls confess their feelings. Overall, it's a rather cute romance. I liked the relationship between the friends. 4/5

 

Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray - This story ended up being a horror story which I was not expecting because of that cover. The main character works at a horror movie theater where the girl he has liked for a while also works. On the last night of the theater before it is shut down, a movie that is rumored to be cursed is played. When it turns out those rumors were true, the theater's staff must try to escape before the possessed movie goers kill them all. The guy finds the courage to admit his feelings as they're all fighting for their lives. It was a funny story despite some creepy moments. 4/5

 

Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block - This was another one that was more on the sad side of things. The main character only refers to herself and all the characters in the story by their first initial. She tells the story of the summer before college where she fell for a guy, but ultimately pushed him away out of fear. The story was okay, but it was hard to connect to any of the characters. 2.5/5

 

In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins - Another one tinged with sadness, although it takes a turn for the happy ultimately. The main character is returning to convince her ex-boyfriend to move in with her. She initially just sees it as wanting to rescue him from a life he didn't want, but eventually realizes she still loves him. The two were a cute couple and had nice chemistry. I enjoyed their romance. 4/5

 

Souvenirs by Tim Federle - This one is really more of a break-up story. Two boys who are working at a theme park over the summer got together, but decided on a break-up day early into their relationship. The story happens on that break-up day. I liked the main character, but wasn't too sad about them breaking up because the other guy really wasn't right for him at all. Naturally, this is one of the sad ones since it's all about a break-up, but it ends on the hopeful side. 3.5/5

 

Inertia by Veronica Roth - This story had a sci-fi element to it with a world where science has developed a way for people who are about to die to spend their final moments sharing minds with loved ones to talk and experience memories together, even if that person is unconscious. The main character finds out she was listed as one of the final visitors of her ex-best friend when he gets in a car accident and isn't expected to survive. The two reconnect as they share memories of their relationship and talk about their favorite moments and why they stopped talking. It was a nice story with several sweet moments between the two characters, but I didn't quite connect with the characters. 3/5

 

Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron - A guy and girl working at a resort scheme to get some of the guests who have been pining over one another for years together with a ridiculous, but fun scheme, only to discover at the end of it that another coworker was scheming to get them together. I enjoyed the plot to this one, but the dialogue was just too awkward and unnatural for me. It was like everyone was speaking in flowery poetry at one point. That's just not a style I like. 2.5/5

 

Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert - The main character is upset that her cousin is moving across the country with her girlfriend. At their goodbye party, she lashes out at the girlfriend. The girlfriend's brother is upset at that, but the two are forced to spend time together that night and ending up bonding over the upcoming loss of the person they're closest to, as well as losses in the past. I liked the main characters and their relationships with their family. 3.5/5

 

Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare - When the main character's dad runs away, she is forced to turn to her uncle and his stepson to help keep their dark carnival running. This was another story where the dialogue felt unnatural. I didn't feel any chemistry between the girl and her step cousin. And the plot felt rushed with a number of convenient coincidences all falling into place for the main character. I just didn't like the story at all. 1/5

 

A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith - This was my favorite story of the bunch. A girl working at a summer camp finally gets the chance to go on a date with her longtime crush. He reveals that he's autistic near the end of the date and pushes her away because he doesn't think they could work, but eventually comes back in a very sweet way. I loved the couple in this and their chemistry with each other. They had a nice relationship and were just ridiculously cute. 5/5

 

The Map of Perfect Things by Lev Grossman - A boy finds himself stuck in a day that keep repeating. Eventually he finds a girl who is also aware of this endless loop. The two decide to find perfect moments throughout the city that happened that day and create little challenges to help ease the boredom. It was a cute story that ended on an abrupt and bittersweet note after a revelation on why the time loop was created. 4/5

 

While I mostly liked the stories in this anthology, I really did go into it wanting a bunch of cute and lighthearted summer romances, so I couldn't help but be a bit disappointed that the cover was so misleading.

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