More Books... and Bad Burritos!

I've mentioned Smart Bitches Trashy Books (SBTB) a few times, and yes, I am a fan.  The Sizzling Book Club Chat is excellent fun, and although I've only participated once, I'm already pumped for the next chat.

The previous book club chat was for What I Did for a Duke, by Julie Anne Long (also a Cali girl!) - and she actually joined us to discuss her next book, A Notorious Countess Confesses - which released today!

SBTB posted about a comment I made during chat - that I might "eat a bad burrito" the night before the book came out, and then I'd be home sick... Yup.  Just me, my e-reader, and the toilet... accidentally, of course ;)  Honestly though, I've never done this.  And I already get pretty bad stomach ailments, so I would never want to jinx this by taking a sick day - and then TRULY getting royally sick another day and suffering for it.  That's one of my worst nightmares.  For some TMI, let's just say that 2012 has not been a good year for me in terms of food poisoning traumas.  (I have officially broken up with Burger King.)

More importantly - judging from all the good feedback popping up so far (still less than 24 hours!A Notorious Countess Confesses definitely seems "bad burrito"-worthy!*

I want to start reading this tomorrow!  (Yes, I know, I rearrange the TBR list every other day.)  That's a total of seven books I want to complete for November (including the next Sizzling Book Club Chat book).  Hmmm...

*Maybe "bad-burrito"-worthy will be one of my book grades!  (Just kidding, sort of...)

A Love/Hate relationship with Product Placement

Check out my guest post on Bebe Knight's blog, Reading Until I Fall Asleep!

I talk about guns, shampoo, junk food, and the most amazing flashlight ever created!

I'm also shouting out a huge "GRAZIE MILLE" to Bebe for the Lover Reborn book contest/give-away
(and spiffy vampire pin just in time for Halloween)

Lastly, after reading through the news, I'm hoping everyone is now safe from Sandy.  
My heart and thoughts to out to you.


Obligatory Hurricane Sandy post

Hurricane Sandy is keeping everyone indoors...  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the power doesn't go out later on tonight/tomorrow.*  For now, I've got some massive piles of laundry in rotation, and I'm listening to the "Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" piano station on my Pandora.  Other than that...


Keeping my e-readers charged.  Today, (and hopefully not into tomorrow, because I'm hoping Sandy isn't that bad) I'd like to finish the following (not to be distracted by Pintrest, Facebook, YouTubing, painting my nails, and my cat being cute and cuddly):

Lover Mine by J.R. Ward (BDB Book #8) - so far into the first few chapters, this one picks up right where we left off in book #7.  And do not doubt... if I've got my paws on a BDB book - without interruptions - it will be devoured within half a day.  (Mwwuahahahaha!)

Slow Hands by Leslie Kelly - this was a free e-book from Harlequin in a series called "The Wrong Bed", which kind of scares me, but for $0.00, I can't complain too much.  Time to see what Harlequin Blaze is all about.  (Only about 200 pages though, so I'm hoping it's not too bad for a quick contemporary read.)

Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr - this is book #3 in the Virgin River series.  The main reason I want to finish this one is so that I can read A Virgin River Christmas (book #4) in late-November/early-December.  I immediately got sucked into the Virgin River series - and then immediately pulled the brakes when (spoilerish - you'll have to highlight the text below) I got to the part about the heroine's brutal rape (by a serial rapist she tried to prosecute in court) in the first two pages.  After reading that first-thing in the morning, on my commute to work, I closed the book right there and said, "Holy crap, I did not sign up for this right now."  I switched to Courtney Milan's Governess Affair novella - which ALSO involves (sort of spoilerish again, sorry!) a raped heroine (dammit!!) but I'm not exaggerating when I say it was superbly written, and I so badly need to do a review for that one.  Hers is another series I will get hooked into.

Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts - Haha! just kidding I will never finish this one, because it's dragging on forever, and I fall asleep on the train every time I try to read more than a paragraph.  Why? - Why can't I love this one?!  WHY?!  I started this over a year ago! - And it's about food!!  WHY.

Ok, happy readings everyone.  To all my East Coast peeps - please stay safe.

*(I'm sure I'll get more scared as Sandy gets more serious...) Please don't be more of a bitch, Sandy.  
I already see that you've taken lives.  :(


NaNoWriMo – A Truly Gratifying, Yet Terrifying, Experience

This guest post is from Bebe Knight! - If you haven't visited the Blog Roll yet, check out her blog at Reading Until I Fall Asleep

(And in case you didn't already know - NaNoWriMo 2012 starts in 3 days - 11/1/12.)


In 2009, after coming down from my Twilight-high, I started re-evaluating my reading selection. It wasn’t that Twilight was terrible… I just felt that Stephanie Meyer’s writing was below par. I was talking with my sister on my lunch break one day about this very subject when she said to me, “You should write your own vampire romance novel for NaNo.” And that was all it took for me to sit down and devise an outline!

Was I scared? A little. Not so much about trying to write 50K words in 30 days, but more so about failing. Be it my competitive streak or my sheer determination to complete what I set out to do, but a little part of me was petrified. That feeling intensified as November dragged on.

November 1st, I was golden. I sat down and wrote my whole first chapter that first day, kicking butt and taking names. It had to have been well over 3,000 words. The next day was much the same with my second chapter, and again the following day. It was when I reached the end of my third chapter I started to have a problem. I was drawing a blank and I ended up turning to editing to keep myself going, which turned into an even bigger problem.

Being the perfectionist that I am, I was nitpicking every little thing about those first three chapters and ended up redoing them about five times; this lead to me falling behind in my word count. My sister finally told me that I can’t dwell on the errors or problems that form from NaNo or else I would never finish. I just had to carry on and pretend they aren’t there until December 1st. And as much as it pained me to do so, I did just that.

I caught up pretty easily with my word count on my days off. Spending time in coffee shops to write sounds like a deliciously posh way to enjoy your NaNo experience, but I learned the hard way that I’m a people watcher. I spent more time observing the atmosphere around me and sipping my Vanilla Chai than actually writing. So back home I went and finished my 50K in the privacy of my own living room.

In the end, I had just over 50K words on November 30th, making me a champion! I pushed through hard times, learned my strengths and weaknesses as a writer and accomplished what I set out to do. I want to encourage anyone who has the writing itch to try it! The worst that could happen is you miss your mark, but you will learn so much more about yourself by attempting than by not trying at all. Good Luck! And May the odds, but ever in your favor.  :)



Messed around with Blogger templates for a bit... (I hate myself for losing touch with my graphic design roots.  Never again.  Must get Adobe CS back.  This is not my final layout/look.)

And I FINALLY updated the blog title.  "Throughout the Pages"

Inspired by a GoodReads review that I wrote (for Julie Anne Long's, What I Did For a Duke) ending with:  "Hilarity ensues throughout the pages."

Everything will ensue (or maybe not, I guess?) throughout the pages.  Romance, hilarity, drama, scandal, plotlines, and more...

I figured that I am a California girl (and I think about California every day) in D.C.
...and I feed my brain romance novels (among other things)...


Addictive Romance Analogies (J.R. Ward)

Currently reading Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward.

I almost forgot that reading J.R. Ward is like free falling from space.

At first you might think:  "Whoa.  That is a lot of book... Hmm... 648 pages in 8 Times New Roman... Ok. Ok... we can make this work..."

And by the time you're done with the first chapter... There's no going back.

AAAAh!  What going to happen?!  THIS IS CRAZY!! Can't. Stop. Turning. Page!

The other romances, they can be like an amazing hike through [insert your favorite National Park/Wonder here] - and you can stop and have a picnic every once in a while.  Maybe revisit that one picturesque spot you loved, and camp out a bit.  Yes, it's a beautiful discovery to savor.

Not with Ward.  No.  There is no camping.  No stopping.  It's gripping romance/action/drama on every damn page!  There is no "Hmm, I'll just bookmark this here..."  When you're NOT reading a cracktastically awesome J.R. Ward novel (like if you're working - because you need health insurance/food/shelter, or taking a shower, or flossing, or sleeping for at least 4-5 hours, or someone is interrupting you) - you feel it!  You KNOW something is missing.  

Of course you keep thinking about the next available minute to go back to reading.  It's like a pressure on your chest.  Like you're racing to the top of the water to gasp for air.  "YESSS!  Sweet sweet oxygen at last, I can finally get back to the book!  I thought I would die without this!"

Ok, that is all.  Back to reading.

(pics of Felix Baumgartner's leap - from National Geographic)


Obligatory Twilight Post: CHECK!

I first heard of Twilight (and the "vampire paranormals" sub-genre) in early 2006.  My initial reaction was:  Vampires?!  Oh, hell no...   I can barely handle the stress in time-travel romances.  However, within that same review, there was much discussion about J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood, so off to B&N I went... Per my previous post, I read Dark Lover first, and Twilight collected dust.

Fast-forward many months to November of 2006:  Freshly transplanted from CA to DC, and desperately trying to find a job, my daily routine involved waking up, applying for jobs online (and hopefully getting an interview), then reading to avoid a deep depression.  I finally reached Twilight in my TBR pile.  I was entertained.  I was hooked.  New Moon was waiting on my Christmas list (because eighteen bucks felt like a lot of money - unemployed, hence, no income).

Once I had my paws on a copy of New Moon, I decided to hold off reading it until Eclipse came out in July of 2007.  (I know. Never again.)  But then real-life drama decided to mess everything up, and without going into too much detail, it involved the absolutely heart-breaking illness (and eventual euthanasia) of an adorable much-beloved puppy... on the day that Eclipse was released.  To say, "It was traumatizing," is like saying, "Antarctica is a little cold."

The experience of reading Twilight was associated with being unemployed and a major life-transition, and then the experience of reading and finishing New Moon (and then buying Eclipse) was associated with the death of my adorable bulldog puppy.  Eclipse collected dust until November of 2007.

Nothing dramatic happened while actually reading Eclipse, but I shouldn't have to put a book down for three weeks and then pick it up again.  I was already confident that Bella was going to end up with Edward instead of Jacob.  Claustrophobia was starting to set in with all the characters whining or complaining about whatever.  I was very quickly starting to not care about the conflict.  Even worse, the middle of the story totally made me fall asleep!  (I never had to struggle to stay awake for the first two books - in fact, it was just the opposite - I had to force myself to bookmark the page and go to bed.  Around three or four in the morning.)

You know you're NOT into a good book, when...  You pass out... on a weeknight... fully-dressed... before you've even had dinner... (so basically, you're not sleep-deprived or naked, and you're hungry).

Overall, if I piggy-back off of Bebe's post...  I can't really say I was/am a Twi-hard.  (I introduced my friend Alicia to Twilight, and she definitely became a Twi-hard.)  My copy of Breaking Dawn is collecting dust...

I couldn't get past the second chapter, and I saw the movie anyway.  Yes, as campy as the movies can be, they're still comforting.  Like wearing crocs.  (No offense to any croc owners!)  And I still plan on seeing Breaking Dawn 2 when it comes out.  (Don't hate!)

(I'm just going to link the google-image search results for "twilight" for any twi-hards that need to see something Twilight-y right now.)


Because, normally, I NEVER* win contests

I'm always that annoying whiner who's like, "Aw - I never win contests!"  (Another reason I don't gamble.)

My Reaction (dramatic interpretation)

*Until now...


The Paranormal that Starts (and Ends) It All: Mini Ode to J.R. Ward

Once I'm done reading SBTB's Beyond Heaving Bosoms (a little over two-thirds of the way through), I need to finish Julie Anne Long's What I Did for a Duke (in time for the SBTB's Sizzling Book Chat on 10/23, 9 p.m. EST).  I just read the first two chapters, and so far I'm impressed.  (Plus, it's on sale for $0.99 at B&N and Amazon.)

The following paranormals are on my TBR list:  Jennifer Crusie's Maybe This Time (ghost story), Kresley Cole's A Hunger like No Other, and J.R. Ward's Lover Avenged.

I'm thinking I might go back to J.R. Ward since that was a series that I "put on indefinite hold" after I didn't finish Book #4 (Butch and Marissa's story).  I never picked up Books #5 & #6, and I was told to avoid #9 (which wasn't difficult since I stopped at book #3 and by this point I was already swamped with grad school...)  A few weeks ago, my good friend Alicia bought Book #7 for me - Lover Avenged - and demanded that I read books #8 and #10.  With all the excitement around Book #11, Lover at Last, coming out in March, I think that sounds like a good plan.  I wouldn't be "starting a series from scratch", and I still have a bit of time to go into "squealing fangirl mode" by March 26th of next year!

Back in early 2006, after reading about the popularity/brilliance/addictive-ness of both Stephanie Meyer's Twilight and J.R. Ward's Dark Lover, I decided to read a paranormal romance to check out the vampire hype.  The good mistake was that I read Dark Lover first, and now J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) stays in my heart as the one "constant" paranormal romance series.  I say "good" and "mistake", because this ruined a lot of other popular paranormal serials for me.*  I couldn't start Hamilton's Anita Blake novels because I only kept thinking of BDB.  Nothing else could compare or satisfy.  I didn't even inhale through the Sookie Stackhouse series as quickly as I needed a J.R. Ward fix.  (Most drug-addicts start with excessive marijuana-smoking and then move on to more dangerous drugs; No one "starts" with crack or black-tar heroin.)

Bebe at "Reading Until I Fall Asleep" sums it up wonderfully in her serial review of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood:

"The series of ten books released thus far brings every emotion that you can think of to the page; hope, fear, joy, grief, ecstasy. J.R. Ward’s writing is so imaginative that I was really starting to believe these guys were real! What I love about each book is that you are already familiar with the character when they get their own book. Ward introduces you to them way in advance so you see their trials and tribulations through other people’s eyes. You grow to love each and every character and honestly yearn for their HEA (happily ever after)."

Yeah, there were a few moments in Dark Lover (Book #1) that I was rolling my eyes a bit (my brain had to adjust to the BDB-lingo and mucho machismo), but by the end of Book #1, it's the human-factor and conflict that got me hooked.  Furthermore, I remember every book that has made me cry... but the one book where I told myself, "This is not supposed to be happening, I cannot be crying to a vampire book!" - is in Lover Eternal when Mary tells Rhage about her cancer.  (And I confirmed with myself that I was NOT PMSing at the time.)  That scene was my unforgettable "point of no return".

There has also been a lot of discussion in Romancelandia regarding some of the BDB books (mainly a few) that didn't have the perfect HEA that the reader wanted.  Her stories are definitely action-packed and violent.  There are big weapons, nasty bad-guys, and some major fight scenes.  No character is safe.  Danger with a capital "D", right?  But even better, J.R. Ward respects the creative writing process and isn't going to loose sleep if you don't like the way the story ends.  We are reminded that this is essentially her series, and these are her characters, and it's a world that she's creating for us.  (See any of her interviews on YouTube.)  And hot damn if she didn't get everyone's attention!  The extreme reaction from her fans only speaks volumes about her amazing writing.  I've only seen fans get this angst-y about a writing process (not to mention the wait-time between books) with George RR Martin's epic Fire and Ice saga.  We whined about certain BDB books as if she was throwing scalding oil on us - and it's only because we truly love the series.  I can't wait to catch up with the BDB again!

* (I have yet to read the Patricia Briggs' Bitten series - among with many more that were mentioned in Beyond Heaving Bosoms.)


I was about to title this post "Now I've got Bosoms!", but I stopped myself...

I finally purchased Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels and Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels.  And I'm not just saying this as a fangirl...  Ok, yes, I am.  They're brilliant! And my perspective has been completely altered!  (Ok, significantly enhanced.)

And after reading through the first five chapters of Bosoms, my hunch was right:

This completely changes/improves my romance literacy!

Next, I need to purchase/read Pamela Regis' A Natural History of the Romance Novel - and quite a few other books that are referenced/discussed in Bosoms.

This also changes (completely reconstructs) my evaluation method that I first considered for my reviews.  I need to be thinking not only of the characters and conflicts, but also plot clich├ęs, place-holders, constructs of purity, and other smarty-pants analysis stuff - so much more...  Is it wrong that these two books are already starting to look like my texts from grad school?  In only four days they're completely marked-up, tabbed, dog-eared, and creased.

So my next goal would be to finish the Bosoms and Everything by the end of this week, and then work on a few draft reviews...