Sweet Rocket

Romance Reviews, Author Profiles and More…


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The Great Romance Reading Fast of 2015 Ends

myrnaloy

Myrna Loy and baby Shirley Temple wish you Happy New Year!

I, for one, have high hopes for 2016. I went on a romance reading fast for most of 2015; for the first time in my adult life, I went months without reading a single romance of any kind.

So what happened? Nothing, really, except that one after the other, I picked up a whole mess of romances of every genre, length and publication date that just didn’t do it for me. Eventually, I just decided to read in other genres until the mood passed.

In hindsight, I think this fast served as the romance reading equivalent of a palate cleanser; now that I am easing back in to reading romance, I find myself even more discerning about what I read, and in turn, more analytical. Good news if you are the person who likes to write (or read) about romance!

Even better news? As I rejected romances one after the other, I began to notice a pattern emerging of a handful of problems that would make me refuse to finish a book. If that’s not fodder for the mill, er blog, I don’t know what is.

This post does, then, serve as fair warning. Because I am a narcissistic twat  love you and want you to be happy, I’m going to share my revelations with you in occasional “Why I Didn’t Finish the Book” posts. And I hope a few bravest of the brave will chime in with your own stories.

As I have begun to read romance in earnest again, I will also be sharing some reviews. Buckle up, darlings — this is going to be a long, bumpy ride!


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Ringing in the New Year, Randomly

Gratuitous vintage Andy Virgil illustration, just because I can.

Happy New Year already, guys and dolls! I hope all your holidays were spectacular, and that your new year has gotten off to a wonderful start. Sweet Rocket is getting off to a wonderful, if belated start; here are a few newsy-type things I think you’ll enjoy:

Friends + Madeline Baker = Love

Late to the party as always, I’m just now getting back to my blogging chores. So guess what greeted me when I opened my dashboard? Sweet Rocket exploded last week. All without my knowledge.

The reason was, as it often is, totally random: over at BuzzFeed, one Julia Pugachevsky created an, um, interesting quiz about which Friends character one should hook up with.  Said quiz included a link to an image in one of my all-time favorite Sweet Rocket posts, Hideous Romance Novel Covers, the Madeline Baker Edition.  No, that makes no sense to me, but then I don’t ever remember watching Friends (before you toilet paper my house, I’m not a TV watcher, but I did love Seinfeld). Do go over and have a look and help me to understand how Madeline Baker and Friends are related. In the meantime, if a Friends quiz means a wider audience for the understated glory of a Madeline Baker romance novel cover, then carry on, BuzzFeed, carry on!

Open Library Is Exploding, Too — With Vintage Romances!

If you, like me, find that most of your romance reading is of the yellowed and crumbly variety, you’ll swoon when I drop this bomb on you: Open Library seems to be adding more vintage romance and vintage Gothic romance novels every flipping day!  Seriously. I eliminated about 5o percent of the titles on my Amazon Wish List while waiting to exchange two frozen legs of lamb and a huge bag of clean laundry for a vintage Pioneer hi-fi receiver (thank you, Little Brother — when the receiver’s hooked up, you’ll be the first to be blasted with “Jerusalem” by Emerson, Lake and Palmer at 3:00 a.m. Wait for it).

An Assortment of New Links in the Blogroll Awaits You!

Speaking of yellowed and crumbly, I finally got around to updating my dusty Blogroll. I’m criminally lazy sometimes, really. I added a slew of new blogs and websites I thought Sweet Rocket readers might be interested in, but to make things even easier for you, here’s a rundown, in no particular order:

  • Sweet Rocket on Tumblr: Shameless self-promotion, yes, but for your own good, promise. The Sweet Rocket Tumblr is where most of my romance ephemera ends up now, so if you Tumbl, do follow me there. There are a billionty bizarre romance novel covers, strange love letters, weird love songs and other romantic oddities for your enjoyment.
  • Miss Bates Reads Romance: There is something infinitely pleasing about finding another person who loves to read what you love to read, and it’s pleasure ten-fold when that person writes about the books, and writes about them so well. Only a curmudgeon wouldn’t love Miss Bates’ reviews.
  • Eight Ladies Writing:  Reading about writers and writing makes one a better reader. The ladies at Eight Ladies Writing will inspire you if you aspire to write romance, or if you just love to read romance and enjoy a window into the creation of romance novels.
  • The Regency Redingote: My love for all things Regency is well-documented; reading The Regency Redingote makes reading the Regency a richer experience. So much Regency-era history and ephemera, sigh… I can waste hours on this blog.
  • Book’d Out: Shelley Rae (I hope I got the name right) at Book’d Out reads a dizzying array of books. She’s an Australian book blogger, and I like seeing what readers around the world are reading.
  • Shallowreader: Shallowreader is a very special romance reader: a librarian! Another Australian blogger, Shallowreader reads and writes about more than just romance. I enjoy her insights into reading as a librarian and her reviews.
  • SB James, Doing the Write Thing: Again, I love reading writers on writing, and SB James writes from a perspective that romance readers, especially, can appreciate: that of a self-published writer.
  • A Writer Afoot: Barbara Samuel (aka Ruth Wind) is one of my all-time favorite writers of Harlequin/Silhouette titles, and I also love her historicals and single-title romances. Her writer’s blog is inspirational and aspirational.
  • Amanda DeWees: Maybe I fibbed when I said there was no certain order to this list. I added Amanda DeWees’ site because it’s gorgeous, and for another reason you’ll have to read on to discover…

Upcoming Reviews!

I am making myself accountable to you, dear readers, this year: if I promise you I am going to review more books, I hope some of you will send me nasty messages if I fail to do so. I’ve got a backlog of vintage Harlequin, historical, and Gothic romances I need to work through, but I’m going to start by reviewing Amanda DeWees’ Nocturne For a Widow, which I posted a teaser for back in the good old days of 2014. Look for that review this week. As for the rest, I entreat you: don’t let me be lazy.

Happy 2015!


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It’s Good Friday, Ya’ll!

James Garner and Audrey Hepburn are feeling springy!

 

Hey there, hi there, ho there everyone! Happy Good Friday! Here are a few links to things I hope you love:

Get thee over to Tumblr and check out Judging the Book.

For those who like to write fiction, do check out 10 Can’t Miss, Surefire Secrets Of Torturing Fictional People by Charlie Jane Anders over at io9.  The title’s a little misleading — it’s more about character development than torture, and it’s an excellent read with advice I wish more authors would take!

Speaking of writing advice, I also enjoy author Jennifer Cruise’s blog, Argh Ink. I just love to read writers talking about writing.

And to sum up today, here’s Leslie Jamison at the Virginia Quarterly Review talking about a unified theory of wounded women that will make you wonder if you’re reading VQR or Cosmo. That’s not an insult, really.

Have a wonderful wonderful weekend, and try not to eat too many Cadbury eggs (I will. Shamelessly).