Tag Archives: Mary Balogh

A tall glass of cold hero

Figuring out my personal canon, here—historical romances are bound to pop up. Among the more notable: Slightly Dangerous, by Mary Balogh. It’s a love story between two very sensible adults, very much attracted to each other, very much aware of how far they’re willing to satiate their wanting. They’re two adults, too, with the necessary barricades around their hearts—and seeing them ease up, seeing them let a little of their control go—it’s so satisfying. [Continue reading.]

Approximating normal

I’ve been—knock on wood—sailing calmer waters lately. Sure, my ever-lengthening list of gripes remains handy, but the clusterfucks are at a manageable, if not tolerable, level. I’m only able to articulate this now, actually—at the close of a day that’s oddly restful despite the terrible weather and the work that comes with it; at the close of a weekend that was fun and the happy kind of exhausting, give or take a few grumbles from my frail, mortal body. I’m in a good mood, if only because I’m not in a foul mood. Yeah, that’s cheery. Here’s another: The reading’s picking up, if only because the reading actually exists. [Continue reading.]

03102013: The weekend, in book acquisitions

First thing upon waking up, P. and I headed straight to one of our favorite Booksales, and after that we went to another Booksale; in the hours in between, he hoarded more knick-knacks and I drank my tea and smoked my cigarettes. (Do a riff on this, Sasha: How it’s the best thing to wake up one Sunday to the-man-you’re-mad-for-saying, “Let’s go buy books.” And later, a city or so away, the two of you mostly quiet in starkly lit stores—occasionally raising your head to find the other, to hold up a good find, to grin like the book-mad jackals that you two are.) [Continue reading.]

Alpha heroine, anyone?

Last year, I started reading Mary Balogh reissues, which promptly hooked me. It was a welcome change of pace, romance novels where prose, for one, mattered more than the hijinks the hero and the heroine commit themselves to on the trail to True Love. [I keep saying it, and I’ll do so again: Balogh’s prose is graceful.] It’s almost quaint, these renderings of the love story; and though they were rarely intense reading for me, they could aspire for the quietly romantic at their best moments. The archetypes—nearly institutions, really—are as vivid as they’ll ever be, and the Baloghs of the 80s and 90s are perfect examples of how the formulae of the genres work: Here’s the virtuous daughter, the brooding peer, the naïve but refreshing country lass, the flamboyant lord. And on and on we go, with tropes galore. [Continue reading.]

01142013: A book pile to cleanse the palate

I picked up The Drawing of the Three, the second book in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, because I wanted something hefty that would take me away from the bad juju flying around today. And so when Ronald wakes up at the beach (where The Gunslinger, first book, ended) and starts being eaten by the scariest, most ridiculous demon lobster in literary history—the man gets two fingers and a toe eaten, for fuck’s sake—I was thankful for someone to sympathize with, someone who made me think, “Well, he’s more fucked than you are, girl.” See, after being all, “I see serious problems ahead,” at page twenty, Ronald goes, “I jerk off left-handed, at least that’s something.” Yeah, let the Gunslinger remind you look for the bright side, Sasha. [Continue reading.]

01112013: With Salter, but mostly Ford

I’m about seventy pages in at the moment; already Light Years feels like a bitter reminder of the literary preoccupations I had in college: When I was much younger and, thus, had more promise—when I could write what I wanted to write, and I did it well, I believed so hard that I did it well. James Salter feels now like something I idolized then. [Continue reading.]

Finally: Goodbye, July!

I. Well, that month was particularly ghastly—mostly because Real Life came a-calling. And when it does that, things go very silent around here. But not just in the blog, mind you—but my reading life as a whole. No, that wasn’t a reading slump—that was Real Life wresting this little joy away from my cold, hard […]

Reading It Happened One Season, aka Another proof that I really do like historical romance better

Yes, yes, yes, I know I’ve already grumbled about the odd creature that is the romance novella. My main beef is the length, obviously—how difficult it already is to establish a credible romance worthy of its Happily Ever After in a full-length novel, what more in a breathless rush. I’ve grown privy with the methods […]