Update on Random Romance Happenings!

I blinked, and these past two weeks flew by.

In chronological order:

Watched Like Water for Chocolate (Como Agua Para Chocolate) on Hulu.  (Gertrudis is my favorite!)

Majorly binged on Downton Abbey with Mike.  He knew I loved me some Downton Abbey Season 1, but when he saw the first five minutes of Season 2, he said, "...what is this?"  There was no looking back.  After pausing and explaining a little bit, we finished Season 2 in one day.  (Thank you, Hulu!  Be quicker with Season 3, please...)

Started reading Virgin River by Robyn Carr.  Another gem, and I'm hoping to be hooked on the series!  The first chapter alone made me miss California something fierce.  Like a suffocating pain.  At every beautiful description of the NorCal mountain area...  Yup.  Romance is like that.

Finally caught up with all the SBTB podcasts.  Insightful.

Bought a bunch of NOOK books on B&N.com - oops.  (But they were bundled with reduced prices!)

Messaged Taylor Reynolds via GoodReads.  (She made some excellent points on the SBTB podcast #30 about the Veteran/Military Hero genre; Not Every Man in Uniform is a Navy Seal.)  I'm extremely looking forward to discussing romances with her.  She's already gave me great recs for Courtney Milan and creative blogging/writing/focusing approaches!  Yay!

And I discussed Fifty Shades of Grey and Sylvia Day's Bared to You in the middle of Target.  (More on this later.)


Romance Elements to Consider

Some reviews might turn into a rambling train of thought, but I want these to be pretty thoroughly graded/rated.  By what criteria?  What (critical) elements?

Here's what I'm thinking of so far: (And I'm sure as I continue into "Romancelandia" this criterion is subject to change.)  Update as of 10/11/2012 - after reading SBTB's Beyond Heaving Bosoms, I need to rework these rating standards.  But for the sake of keeping these original thoughts "organic" I'll let these standards remain in case they cross my mind during future reads:

1 - Does this have a Happily Ever After (aka "the HEA": two characters find love and happiness after a conflict)?  What about it?  Is the main central plot line about the developing relationship of these two characters?

2 - Is the phrase "I love you" expressed/spoken by both characters?  (This is my own issue.  Some readers don't care.  I do.  This part is important to me, but I'm unsure if it should be a "critical" element in the evaluation.)

3 - For more of a "Sarah Wendell-ian" approach, Is the heroine a place-holder for female readers? Or does this book ONLY focus on the male(s)/hero(es)?  Discuss/Expand.

4 - Intensity.  Passion.  Heat.  Intimacy.  Enough said.

Still much more reading to do, and I didn't read as much this week as I should have!  Busy busy work week.  I've been reading Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet #3 Savor the Moment on my nook during the commute/ride to work, and oh my hell is it ever   p a i n f u l l y   slow.  Not sure if balancing the contemporary of the Nora Roberts with the Paranormal of the Sherrilyn Kenyon Fantasy Lover is such a good idea.  I think the Eloisa James during last week was like the "Brazilian Barbecue" of romances... you feel sooooo full and satisfied at the end of the meal, you couldn't possibly take another bite.  You'd have to wait and let it digest for quite a while...

Per Alicia's recommendation, I downloaded J.R. Ward's Father Mine and at only 90-something pages, it was "just right" for a busy week.

I don't think I'm going to continue with the Vaginal Fantasy Bookclub/Hangout only because I'm getting the hunch that they'll move away from romances (paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy or otherwise)...

OK. More reading and catching up on the SBTB podcasts.