Tag Archives: Romance Novel

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.]

Inhaling fluff

If you know you enjoyed a romance novel, but can’t fucking remember why you enjoyed a romance novel—can you still actually claim that you enjoyed the romance novel? Do you still have a worthwhile blog post if all the blog post delivers is confusion over forgetting what a romance novel is about? [Continue reading.]

On Regency drunks

For the TL;DR crowd: The Rake is a powerful and compelling exploration of a hero’s fatal flaw; the brandy-swilling hero narratively pushed to an addiction. Read it for that. And if you like long discussions of how to run an estate, idk. The romance is secondary to Reggie’s development as a character and his struggle with his alcoholism, which I understand and I respect and am actually quite thankful for—but, unfortunately, it’s a distant second within the narrative. A little more effort could have been put in to make Alys seem to me as compelling? A little more angst and love and passion? A little more conversation that didn’t involve sheep? [Continue reading.]


I don’t take lightly the whole “Books That Changed Your Life” tag, y’all—but The Dark Knight Returns changed my fucking life. This book caused the very landscape of my reading to change—the bowing bookshelves that hold my growing collection [!] of comic books can attest to that. TDKR barreled its way through a barricade I had unintentionally built around a whole genre of literature, gave me new great things to fall in love with, and has since ensured that I will spend my last days at the poorhouse. Vengeance! Justice! Human decency! Badass machinery! Angst parties! Story lines that do not condescend, that bring everything good about the novel into a glossy book-as-object! The artistry that goes into each page, how threaded with thought these books are! And, as I’ve been saying for months now: Nothing fucking beats an aging Batman in a rearing stallion! [Continue reading.]

Because I deserve December

Seems rather telling re what kind of reading year 2013 has been, I know, but: For December, I am going to read books that I really want to read. That is: I’m going to read books I’ve been saving up as treats. So out trot the Anna Campbells and the Sarah MacLeans, the Stephen Kings […]


There remains shame in bewailing one’s difficulty with reading—never mind that stepping into books has always been a salve, a sanctuary for my sanity, my exhausted-with-feeling soul—more so the overwhelming gladness that a semblance of a reading life has returned, in light of all that’s happened. This is the shift, I suppose, when one belongs to a nation in mourning: Everything shall be [must be] held against that light. [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.]

In praise of oddness

Cutting to the chase: MacLean’s One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is the first romance in a long, long, far-too-long time that had me floored; it’s the best historical romance I’ve read in recent memory (or, judging by my Goodreads, in a year or so)—it’s one of the most affecting books, no matter the genre, that I’ve ever spent a handful of hours with. It had me muttering, over and over, “Oh man, you’re a good book”—and almost despairingly; I would look up to P., who I’d shooed away early on and complain, “This is such a good book!” [Continue reading.]

Of doe-eyed women

This is a great volume to have in a romance-reader’s shelf, in an art-lover’s stack of coffee table books. But I wanted it to be an invaluable book—and a little more effort, a lot more digging through the stacks, a lot more reading of the actual books featured, would have made it thus. [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.]