Joined the VF Hangout

Visited the VF Hangout on Goodreads.  And for the most part, it's pretty incredible (despite the name Vaginal Fantasy).  After watching all the Hangouts, to catch up to this month's Hangout reading list, I'm pumped because... they're reading historical romances!

To Be Read - by July 30th 8pm PST:  Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James and Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

This is what VF means by a cover with "creamy boobs"?

Never read an Eloisa James romance (definitely heard of her and seen her works)... and I was only a tiny bit miffed (this is just my first-impression) when VF carried this tone along the lines of "Ms. James is such a great romance writer, and even though she writes historical romances, she actually has an Ivy League education, and she also went to Oxford, and she's like super brilliant" - and basically extolling her for what sounded like her educational/class/social status - almost as if this excuses us from reading THESE historical romances (with "creamy boobs" on the covers) - because this romance author has such fine credentials...  (NOTE:  When I pick up my historical romances, I don't consider where the author went to get a doctorate...)

I picked up the paperbacks anyway (easier for note-taking than with the NOOK, although I admit that I need to look into this nook-feature way more) and started reading only the first chapter of Duchesses... and after only SIX pages, I have to say:

VF was right.  After those six pages, I put the book down in shock, telling myself not finish another page, because if I didn't stop right at that exact page, I would be sucked in, and thus sleep-deprived, and a huge mess for work.

Eloisa James is frickin' amazing.

She is on a whole other level.  And she even acknowledges her assistants for all the thorough research that gets put into this book.  (Not to mention she's just so darn classy in her acknowledgments and dedications!)  I'm a little too stunned to fully wordify what my reaction was - but I'm getting the feeling she's going to be like the Downton Abbey of romances...

My emotional reaction was something like this:

In terms of MacLean - I've never read any of her books before, but I checked out her site (looks good) I'm looking forward to reading Nine Rules, so I'll post about that too...

Update:  Eloisa was awesome.  The VF chat... was... too cluttered, I guess?  I don't know how to explain it - I guess it was better just listening to the discussion between the VF crew instead of trying to actually follow along with the questions/comments in the chat log.  Meh.  And no one seemed really pumped for historical romances.  As the VF crew would say in their own lolchat geek-speak, "I am disappoint."

Update 2:  I now realize that Sarah MacLean is a big deal.  She is massively updated in my Goodreads to-read list and I've used a birthday gift card to get a few of her books.


Romance (the genre)

I had a serious (albeit maybe semi-buzzed) talk with Mike... We ordered ONE DRINK to share at Joe's Crab Shack, and that was it since we had boxing the next morning.  And now that we're doing the boxing, any smidgen of booze tolerance that I once had is now completely gone.  Needless to say it's not even like a "fun" dizzyness but just insta-headache with a painful insulin surge.  But good gravy! - those Gone Fishin's taste RULL good! - and you get a Haribo gummy clown fish!  (If you're on any sort of no-sugar nutrition plan, obviously avoid these...)

Just like Nemo!  Sweet, delicious, tasty Nemo...

After telling him about reading romance novels (yeah, quite a few) and explaining where this all started, way back in the day (about a decade ago), Mike leans over the table to me with his great grin and whispers, "You mean you've read romances - aren't those like... soft-core porn?" (more teasing with raised eyebrows).  This launched a long-winded explanation of the genre and sub-genres, all their tropes in detail, and after much more storytelling and laughing - the brainstorming has begun!

It's absolutely mind-blowing to have such a supportive partner in Mike.  And he asked, "So why haven't you been reading more romances then?" Mainly because grad school took up a bunch of "free-reading" time and then I've got sucked into other books - as for 2012 it's been nothing but the Fire and Ice saga.  I also explained that I've met quite a few "genre-snobs" (the same people who have never fully read a good romance) which has sadly deterred me from any active advancement in reading more romance novels.  So it's only about two years worth of experience reading romances...

We confirmed, over one Gone Fishin', that it would be best to embrace the romance genre full on.

I'm thinking more along the lines of discussing my own findings/thoughts about various romance novels (and of the romance genre)...  and I'm curious to see where this will take any of my creativity...  And of course, this means more reading and more writing.