Sweet Rocket

Romance Reviews, Author Profiles and More…


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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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Book Review: Some Kind of Magic by Theresa Weir

A book doesn’t have to be perfect to be enjoyable. If the writing is above average, if the characters come alive, even a lackluster plot can be interesting. Such is the case with Some Kind of Magic.

Synposis:

Claire is celebrating her birthday, having just been dumped by her gigolo of a boyfriend, and wishing something exciting would happen during a long, snowbound Idaho winter. Her friend Lizzy gives her a voodoo doll and a pair of S&M handcuffs as a birthday gift, and it’s not long before Claire has an opportunity to put both to use — on her way home from her birthday bash, such as it is, she’s taken hostage by an injured prison escapee. But is Dylan really what he seems?

I actually read Some Kind of Magic when it was released in the mid-to-late 1990s. I was a teenager then, and remembered loving the story. Time had dimmed my memories of this book, however, and I was anxious to re-read it when I saw that it was available as an e-book on Amazon.

If I wasn’t quite as thrilled with the book the second time around, I credit the fact that, as a more sophisticated reader, I saw problems with the plot that I could not have recognized when I was younger.

Still yet, so-so Theresa Weir is still better than 99% of contemporary romance novels.In fact, if this book were by anyone but Theresa Weir, I’d likely be raving about it — the problem is, if you’ve read any of Weir’s other novels, such as Cool Shade or Last Summer, then you expect nothing less than perfection. Some Kind of Magic doesn’t quite deliver, but it’s an entertaining read nonetheless. Despite an uneven (and at least in one spot, contrived) plot and some wishy-washy behavior by the hero and heroine, Weir’s talent elevates Some Kind of Magic to an enjoyable, if imperfect read. Weir’s gift is creating characters so believable that you feel like you know them, and Dylan and Claire no exception. Both are engaging characters, due almost wholly to Weir’s uncanny ear for dialogue; even when they’re frustrating, Dylan and Claire are fun to read. No one writes a tortured hero quite like Weir, and if Dylan doesn’t always behave the way he should, he always behaves in a way that’s believable for his character.

If you’re looking for a light, quick read that will have you laughing aloud even when you’re scratching your head about plot points, pick up Some Kind of Magic. I give it 3 out of 5 pairs of warm sweatpants. Even if you don’t typically read romance, you’d have to be a joyless sort not to like Theresa Weir’s romance novels, which can be counted on for quirky, out of the ordinary premises and memorable characters. You simply can’t go wrong with anything by Theresa Weir.

Did you like Some Kind of Magic, boo? Here are a couple more books like Some Kind of Magic:

In the Midnight Rain by Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind

Chain of Love by Anne Stuart