Sweet Rocket

Romance Reviews, Author Profiles and More…


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Browse On By — Friday Link Love

I don’t know about you, but like Johnny Cash, I always prefer hiding under a shrub to eat strawberry cake with my hands.

Happy Friday! Happy Friday? Happy Friday?!?! I’ve not made my mind up yet, babies. But anyway, here are a few things you’ll love:

Guess what that is? A never-finished Regency-era sampler depicting the solar system! Or so they say over at the Museum of Childhood, where a wonderful blog post about Georgian-era asterism-themed samplers awaits you…

Say, did you know that Anne Mather’s classic Mills & Boon/Harlequin Leopard in the Snow was made into a movie? With Keir Dullea no less? Even if you did, you probably forgot about it, so you should get yourself right over to  the awesome Cinebeat blog to read a really good piece about the first (and only) major theatrical adaptation of a Harlequin romance.  The movie was evidently atrocious, but the information about Harlequin/Mills & Boon and the challenges inherent in bringing the mid-70s style heroine-centric romance to the screen is well worth reading. Also: Keir Dullea does not like leopards. At all.

Meanwhile, over at Digital Book World, people are very concerned that self-published e-books are mostly kind of porny…

from Amazon.com

…and, come to find out, all those porny books are probably Amazon’s fault, since Amazon and that pretty little Kindle Fire there are the worst thing that ever happened to books, according the New Yorker’s George Packer, by making it too easy for any old yahoo with a porny story to tell to publish it. 

So there! Have a wonderful weekend, or at least as good a weekend as Johnny Cash was having when he crawled under that shrub to eat his cake!


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Browse On By: What I’m Loving This Week

Most of this week has been spent drooling over Dana Andrews. Simple as that. In the few moments I’ve managed to drag myself away from the TV/e-reader, here’s what I’ve been wasting my time on:

I’m a crazy cat lady. I’m also a music nerd. The love child of my fetishes is The Kitten Covers. I’m just pissed that someone else thought of it first (and has the talent to pull it off).

In the dark days before I fell in love with my new boyfriend Dana Andrews (damnit, why are all the good ones married/ancient/dead?!?!), I used to watch a lot of PBS. If you love American Experience, get on over to the American Experience site, where you can watch almost every AE episode ever, plus — big, big, big plus — see tons more supplemental information about nearly all of the episodes. It’s like that rabbit hole I told you about, only Internet.

Since we’re in the mood for movies, don’t let’s watch bad ones. Before you watch, go to DVD Verdict and read my pal Amanda DeWees’ reviews. Not just because I like her, either. Some of the reviews are better than the movies, seriously.Like this one. Oh, and Amanda talks a bit about her reviewing days at her own site.

Think you and your juvenile delinquent friends invented graffiti, old-timer? Hardly. From Anne Glover’s swoon-worthy Regency Reads site, I learned about some really degenerate Romans and Englishmen who just couldn’t get enough of defacing public structures. Only they did it with a chisel. Kind of makes your stupid spray paint cans look amateur, doesn’t it, homey?

At New Domesticity,Emily Matchar is making old domesticity as irrelevant as your graffiti. Not really. She’s just writing thought-provoking posts examining the current trend towards homemaking amongst post-feminist generation. And don’t even start with your “post-feminist” crap — those are Matchar’s words, not mine.

That’s all for now. I’ve got more drooling to do.


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Browse On By — More Sites to Help You Waste Time

I promise come next week I won’t be so lazy. I’ll actually write something, I vow. In my defense, I did spend most of the week on planes. No excuse, I know.

In the meantime, here’s another list of websites that I wasted lots of time with while I sat in airports/on runways/in conferences:

Lapham’s Quarterly touts itself as a “magazine of history and ideas.” It’s actually a rabbit hole that will steal your soul for several hours at least. Good news is, you’ll actually be smarter when you dig yourself out than you were when you went in. Win!

Do you spend hours on Facebook, looking at pictures of people you don’t even know/like, just because you’re nosy? Head on over to Look at Me, a tumblr full of old, weird photos that submitters find in the strangest places. It’s much better than looking at your best friend’s neighbor’s niece’s drunk graduation party pics, I promise.

Once upon a time, in a publication called Boston After Dark, a woman named Ellen Herst published a bizarre, fascinating piece about parallels between the Manson Family and Mel Lyman’s commune or whatever it was. Both the Manson Family and the Mel Lyman Family are the dirt swept under the rug of sanitized history, so Herst’s story is even more compelling. Go ahead and read it here. Dare you.

Nobody talks about nurse romance novels anymore. Hell, no one even knows about nurse romance novels anymore. Except Susannah, whose wonderful Vintage Nurse Romance Novels blog keeps the faith.

Feeling fat, stupid, boring, sad about your fashion choices and otherwise yucky? Going to The Selvedge Yard will only exacerbate your problems, but you’ll see lots of beautiful people, gorgeous things, and good writing.

Bob Sullivan, whose concerns are many and range from glass shower doors to Craigslist robberies, is worried about the gaping chasm between the Facebookers and the non-Facebookers. He’s as hysterical as usual, but still interesting and informative.

Maybe you don’t want to learn anything. Maybe you just want to laugh until Diet Dr. Pepper foams out your nose and your belly hurts. In which case, go straight to David Thorne’s page and have at it.


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Why I Love Pinterest

This is why I love Pinterest.

You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get from looking at old photo albums? That excitement you feel when you flip through a magazine or book full of pictures of pretty, quirky, disturbing or even frightening images? How about that slightly-overwhelmed anticipation that comes from entering a store full of things you love, even if you’re just window-shopping?

That, in three gushing sentences, is how I feel about Pinterest.

I’ve never been a big fan of social networking sites (I blog without a drop of irony). I took one look at Myspace — remember Myspace, anyone? — and felt queasy. I more or less quit Facebook because, frankly, I’m not interested in the minutae of anyone’s life, including those that I love. And don’t even get me started on Twitter.

But Pinterest is… different. While Pinterest is ostensibly a social network, it’s one that requires very little actual interaction. Instead of a barrage of tweets about what someone’s watching on TV or status updates letting you know that so-and-so is habing lunch and the fajitas are great, Pinterest is purely images (with a few slogans thrown in). The difference between Facebook or Twitter  and Pinterest is half-baked ideas versus the ideal.

You don’t get someone’s shrill political opinions on Pinterest. Rather, you get images of their favorite movie star or the sofa they’d love to have. No one takes pictures of their dinner and posts it to Pinterest — rather, you get 101 recipes that use Nutella. There’s no play-by-play of what so-and-so’s kids/team/TV show is doing. Instead, there are pictures of the best playroom/best sports picture/TV still. Pinterest is the aspirational, rather than the daily dregs.

But that’s not even why I love Pinterest. As much as I do adore seeing friends and strangers’ favorite recipes, cute animal pictures, decorating ideas, style inspirations and so on, what I really like is revisiting my own pins. As I troll the interwebs aand see things that I love, whether it’s books, old movie stills, beautifully decorated rooms, cats, vintage illustrations, toys from my childhood, my virtual boyfriends and so forth, I pin these images to my Pinterest boards. Pinterest is, for me, a scrapbook, a place I can paste the things that I love and visit them again and again and again.

Maybe in a year or so I’ll be over Pinterest the way I am Facebook and Twitter, but I doubt it. It’s hard to get tired of seeing all the little things that make you happy.  No matter what sort of day I’m having, I can rely on Pinterest for a few pleasant moments spent with the odds and ends that always make me smile.