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Entries in romance novels (4)


HipMamaB Lit: The Elemental Mysteries... Vampires for Grown-Ups

What does one write about after a post like my last one? Jumping back into make-up talk seems a bit frivolous at this point… so I’ll talk about books!

I love reading. I also love just how easy it is to read suggested books when you have an eReader. It used to be that someone would recommend something, you would have to write it down then hope that you remembered the name/author/note with the information by the time you made it to Barnes and Noble. Now I go on Amazon and download the book instantly. At least that was what I did when a friend suggested the “grown up Vampire series”, The Elemental Mysteries by Elizabeth Hunter, to me.

Billed as a “paranormal romance,” this series contains four titles that follow librarian Beatrice “B” De Novo and 500 year old vampire Giovanni Vecchio as they search the world unraveling an ancient mystery. While yes, it is a love story, I hate that it’s paranormal romance, because these books are really so much better than that.  

I loved the characters, I loved the story line, I loved the history and I loved the descriptions of the places they visited. The story dragged just a bit in book three and the beginning of book four, but by that point you are so invested in the story line that it doesn’t weigh the series down. The books are not silly or comical like other books of this genre can be, and while it is an “epic romance,” its not a smut read. The author does a fabulous job of weaving the story through all four books and while the romance between the characters is anticipated and felt from page one, it develops and grows over the course of the story arch.

Elizabeth Hunter is a independent writer that I’m amazed hasn’t been immediately snapped up (but maybe she has by now?). In an oversaturated market, The Elemental Mysteries series will remind you how good vampire books can be.

The four books in the series are: A Hidden Fire, The Same Earth, The Force of Wind, A Fall of Water. Bonus? They are all super cheap and sometimes free on Amazon and iBooks. 



HipMamaB Lit: 3 Books for {January} 2013

The best part of the past few weeks is that I actually had more time to read. A few train rides, self imposed “Pajama Days” and down-time while the kids played with their new toys gave me some much needed lay-around-and-read time.

And yet I was still up to 2 am reading a few nights…

Here are my picks for the 3 books you should should read in January 2013:

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

One of the other authors I follow on Facebook sent out a plea last week to help her friend reach number #1 on the Amazon sales list. I like this author, and the book was only $4 so I downloaded the book without much thought. While I had hoped it would be a good read, I was shocked by JUST HOW GOOD it was.

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies...

That's what Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she's never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he's nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn't at all who he's been claiming to be. When the secrets he's been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky's life will change forever.

I read this book in 24-hours.  I honestly almost cancelled a babysitter and a date night out to finish this book. While the characters are teenagers, this is NOT a book for teens.  It’s a bit of a romance, but more of a mystery.  I enjoyed the characters and felt their emotions – highs and lows. I also think this book would make a fabulous movie.

Summerset Abbey – TJ Brown

If you are fan of Downton Abbey, you will enjoy this book. It’s set in 1913 England, and while the storyline is different than Downton, it’s the same subjects… the high-bred daughters and the servants, their worlds and coming to terms with their place in society.

1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of society and the distant rumblings of war. . . .


So here is something that I’m embarrassed to admit – I only recently watched Downton Abbey. I KNOW. I KNOW. Why it took me this long I don’t know… but I will also say that I’ve had a glorious time watching both seasons back-to-back.  Reading this book before watching Downton Abbey I had a hard time visualizing some of the things that I didn’t know about – such as the bells that were rung to get the maids to come up and even some of the fashion and styles that are mentioned in the book. After watching DA, I realize what another great view of this lifestyle in the early 1900’s this book is... and I can't wait for book 2, due out in March!

A Passion for Him – Sylvia Day

Since Sylvia Day’s Bared to You was such a huge success, it appears that her publisher is jumping at republishing all of her older titles. This one is another piece of historical fiction, also set in England, also about a young lady trying to marry in her same social spectrum.


He wears a mask…and he is following her. Staring at her like no other man since Colin. But Colin is dead and Amelia believes she will never again shiver with pleasure, never again sigh his name.


Until her masked pursuer lures her into a moonlit garden and a single, reckless kiss. Now she is obsessed with discovering his identity. Perfectly attuned to his every desire, his every thought, she will not stop until she knows his every secret.

Just like her other novels, this one is a good, quick steamy read with lovers that shouldn’t be together but can’t be apart and multi-orgasmic virgins. All the things one would EXPECT in a good, sexy, romance novel. 

Those are my picks for the month - what books are you reading? 


Readin' it Up on my Sony Reader PRS-T2


I like holding a book. I like the smell of books and the feel of the paper. I like turning the pages and once I’m done, either shelving them or loaning them to friends or family.

I’ve fought hard against eReaders because I never wanted to give up the feeling of holding a book. But now, that has all changed.

Like many other things in my literary life, I blame 50 Shades of Grey. I read it on my iPad before it came out in paperback and it opened up a whole new world to me. The world of “no one can see what you are reading.” Which is how I read all three 50 Shades in 4 days over Easter Weekend.

I’ve been using my iPad for reading more and more, but things about it were not perfect. I couldn’t take it to the pool and lay in the sun and read, it was heavy to tote around in my bag and I was always worried about dropping it or losing it. So when Sony sent me their new Reader PRS-T2, I was excited to try it out.

There are a few things I really like about it – like being able to read at the beach or in direct sunlight (thanks to the E-Ink® Pearl V220 touch screen), being able to toss the under 6 ounce reader in my bag, the AMAZING battery life, and being able to purchase books easily over the WiFi connection.

While at first I grumbled at the smaller {than my iPad} screen, I now like that people can’t look over my shoulder to see what I’m reading… as you know of my current addiction to the romance, supernatural and smut genres. And while it may not be fancy like a Kindle Fire – I really like not having to fight with my kids over who gets to use it.

Another cool feature is the ability to post a short passage from books purchased from Reader™ Store to Facebook directly from the device along with the book cover, author and title. That is, if you want people to know what you're reading... lalala!

But now let’s talk about that; What h been reading. I seem to have become the defacto go-to to find out the latest in good, easy to read chic lit books.

The Good:

Shadows of Night – by Deborah Harkness

This was the sequel to Discovery of Witches (#2 in the All Souls Trilogy)– one of my favorite reads of last year. While I did have to go back and read Discovery of Witches before reading this one, it was a good, easy read. It was the obvious middle-child of the trilogy, with lots of lines left hanging. But I can’t wait for book 3!

A Light Between Oceans – by ML Stedman

Amazing book about love, family and children and a lighthouse 100 miles off the coast of Australia. Its beautifully written and you can feel the characters plight and emotions jump from the (e)pages.

Night Circus – by Erin Morganstern

You MUST read this book. The scenes created in your imagination through the brilliant details of this book are insane. The words beautifully blend together to tell the story of a magical circus and the people that create it and love it. This is one of those books that as you read you can’t help but envision what the movie version will look like – and I’m hoping for Tim Burton/Danny Elfman collaboration on this one.

This is Where I Leave You – Danny Tropper

Heart felt story of a family forced to sit shiva together after their father dies. The pain of the main character is almost too much to bare at points, but its also a wonderful reminder that you may not know the people in your life like you thought.

The Romance

Love Unscripted and Love Unrehearsed -  by: Tina Reber

These books delve into what happens when a movie star falls head over heels in love with a small town girl he meets while on location. While every girl at one point has dreamed of George Clooney or Ryan Gosling just walking into you life and making you love him, what would it really be like? Could you watch him pretend to make love onset to the new hot starlet? Could you stand the media attention all of sudden coming your way? Do you just leave your life and business and go on location with him?

I was lucky enough that I finished Love Unscripted the DAY that Love Unrehearsed came out, because I may not have been able to wait. I really enjoyed the fantasy and the reality of the love story between Taryn and Ryan.

Gabriel’s Inferno / Gabriel’s Rapture – by Sylvain Reynard 

Another series climbing to the top of the best sellers list on the 50 Shades bandwagon, although this was more “troubled romance” to me than erotica. Once again its about falling in a deep love with someone that you can’t date and the repercussions of doing so. Lots of historical and art references, so I guess it makes it a thinking {wo}mans 50 Shades?


Bared to You – by Sylvia Day

This book has been number 4 on the bestsellers list right behind Christian and Anastasia for weeks now. While when I read it month ago after first reading FSOG, I thought it was almost an exact knock-off, my second read of the book leaves me thinking it’s actually better than 50.

While yes, Gideon is a mega billionaire with a tortured past and he meets Eve when she falls down in front of him, there are plenty of reasons to like this book better. First – the writing is much better. Second – there is no uncomfortable S&M scenes to winch through.

Book two in the Crossfire series comes out in a few weeks, and I’m just hoping we wont find out Gideon’s issues stem from being seduced by his mother’s best friend. But all in all, a good, sexy read. 


I have now finished Reflected in You,  the second book in the Crossfire Series. My feelings are a bit muddled about this one. Even with its resemblences to FSOG, Bared to You is the better of the two books. If you read Bared, then you (obviously) have to read Reflected. You won't hate it, but you may not love it. It's just so much of "Really? Why would you do/say that when you KNOW he/she is going to be pissed??" that it almost gets boring. Between the sex and fighting, I found myself wanting them to end their relationship. I mean, how much can two people take 3 weeks into a relationship? 

But, it kept my attention and was an easy read. I hope book 3 doesn't take as long to come out, but I'm wondering if they are on a 1 a year schedule now?


Have you read any/all of these books? What's on your current MUST READ list?


*Disclosure: I received the Sony Reader PRS-T2 as part of my participation in the #SonyMoms program. For more information and specifics on the new Sony Reader PRS-t2, please visit the SONY website. Opinions are my own!



My foray into bad, bad romance novels

I was in a big of a reading rut a few months ago. Trudging through book four of the Game of Thrones series had left me on a book downturn, opting to play Words with Friends at night before bed rather than my usual reading time. Then I read the 50 Shades series, and kicked off a reading frenzy… of really freaking bad books.

After reading 50 Shades I started reading all the posts and reviews online about the series,  and who may possibly play whom in the movie, which led me to multiple articles on what to read next. Since I haven’t read a Harlequin since the summer I worked as a swim teacher back in college, these lists were all books I had never read or heard of that were cheap or even free on iBooks.

So a’downloading I went.

Each book was stupider than the next, yet I still read on. It’s completely embarrassing that I gobble these lame stories with horrible writing up as much as I have… but after the month we had, I guess I just needed a mental break from reality. As I read on though, I discovered something about these books. More than just a formula for how the story develops, the similarities ran very deep. And while yes, all men in romance novels have chiseled abs and all women have full, creamy breasts – these book’s characters all have the SAME characteristics. Note that some of the books I’ve read came out a few years ago – before the 50 Shades series. So it’s not who’s copying who in these books, its more this is the reality of a romance novel.

So single ladies out there, listen up! To land the love of your life, keep these things in mind..

Things I Learned About Love/Attraction from Romance Novels

Men like clumsy women

According to romance lit lore, there is nothing more appealing to a man than a woman who stumbles and falls – a lot. Apparently there is something endearing or cute about a woman who can’t walk through a doorway without ending up on the floor. Interesting side note – these same women only seem to fall during innocent times such as business meetings or while in the kitchen on a stool. Never when they have been talked into wearing 5-inch stilettos to a nightclub.

Virgins/Inexperienced Women Have More/Better Orgasms

Screw the sexual prime of your late 30’s early 40’s – apparently the best sex of your life is really if you’ve managed to hold out your virginity until your early 20’s. Then BAM! You are suddenly squealing like a porn star in night one.

Men Like Smart, Driven Woman With No Self Confidence

The billionaire may want you to be his kept woman, but HELLZ NO – you WANT to work 10 hours a day in your crappy job because GOD DAMNIT I’M WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR. But I’ve never felt pretty, my hair is a disaster and I don’t like to shop because I hate to look at myself in the mirror and HOW COULD this beautiful, rich, powerful man find ME attractive?

Because really, I meet powerful working women with no confidence all the time – don’t you?

Men Like It When You Bite Your Lip

Whatever. Want to turn a man on – according to EVERY ROMANCE NOVEL written, just bite your lip in mock concentration. He will apparently take you then and there.

The Hot Guy You Hate and Think is a Total Jerk is the Man You Will End Up With

Duh. Ladies, don’t bother dating the men you like and are nice to you – waste. Of. Time! Look for the ones that make your blood boil and that you consider slapping on a daily basis. That’s the man for you.

Men CAN Commit Early In A Relationship

Is it really the ultimate fantasy of a woman to have a guy on his knees crying and pledging his undying love for you after one date? Really? That’s not just a tad bit creepy/needy to you? According to romance books, us women want a guy to follow us, stalk us and be within 5 minutes of us at all times even if we’ve demanded a night out with our friends.


What I really want to read is 50 Shades A 10 Year Anniversary. Will they still be taking themselves to the red room of pain after dealing with an 8 YO with ADHD and a 6 year old that throws tantrums like a 16 YO? How often will she be feeling that quickening when she can’t sneeze without peeing a little? And, the question WE ALL WANT to know – will she still be able to keep those silver balls in after a few kids?