Meet All About Romance Reviewer
Like Scout Finch, the proverbial tomboy who lived in her brother’s shadow, I don’t remember NOT being able to read. One of my favorite memories is of lying with my head in my mother’s lap and feeling her coffee-scented breath on my face as she read to us till it was time to leave for school. She had read the entire Golden Books children’s encyclopedia series to us twice by the time I was about 6.
It took me a while to discover romance. I remember the old, so-called “bodice rippers”, but never picked one up: not because of the covers, but because of things I’d heard about the “hero as rapist” theme. Oh, and because of some of the titles!!! I read everything else, though, and eventually realized that what I liked most about the books I enjoyed were the romantic parts. This realization crystallized about 11 p.m. one night, and the one store in town that had a romance without a clinch cover (which I naively thought might make the story less “over the top” than what I imagined the typical romance to be) offered up Sandra Brown’s Where There’s Smoke. I was hooked.My tastes in romance have evolved and mutated since then. I am like the diner who’s a regular at the smorgasbord. On my initial visits, I tended to gorge on a sampling of every item, but eventually, I learned to pick and choose the things that gave me the greatest ultimate pleasure. I also learned that, just because my dinner partner finds the pickled owl’s beak the crème de la crème of epicurean delights, it simply may not be my cup of tea. But although I consider my romance reading a relatively recent development, I distinctly remember reading books like Fifteen, and a host of books by Someone du Jardin. Then there were the gothics: Moura, Mistress of Mellyn et al; I adored them! And, of course, the classics like Katherine, Desirée, Jane Eyre, Rebecca, Frenchman’s Creek. Favorite non- romances include Prince of Tides, To Kill a Mockingbird, Shogun, The Bean Trees, The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife, Once and Future King, Lonesome Dove, Catch-22, The Tokaido Road (which leans toward romance), The Fixer, All the Pretty Horses. I love historical romances set in England, especially the Regency and Victorian periods, but will read other European historicals, as well. Favorite authors include: Adele Ashworth, Loretta Chase, Lisa Kleypas, Judith McNaught, Judith Ivory, Liz Carlyle, Mary Balogh, Anita Mills, Mary Jo Putney, Edith Layton. I enjoy historicals set in America: Dorothy Garlock, Lorraine Heath, Catherine Anderson, Brenda Joyce, Dana Ransom, Pamela Morsi. Favorite contemporaries include titles by: Susan Andersen, Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lisa G. Brown, Karen Robards, Linda Howard, Kay Hooper. I tend not to read sub-genres, like time travel or scifi or paranormal, but have been pleasantly surprised, most notably by Susan Grant’s Contact and Son of the Morning, Linda Howard’s foray into time travel. When I’m not reading, I am doing business as the owner of Creative Solutions, providing training and consultation in the areas of developmental disabilities (a field in which I worked for 23 years), management, computers and whatever else someone needs that I can convince myself I know something about. I settled in California about 20 years ago, after a nomadic childhood of the sort that comes of having a father who’s career Air Force. Other than a 9-year stint with matrimony (no kids), I’ve lived a relatively footloose and fancy-free existence, and have no plans, immediate or otherwise, to change that.
Personal Reading Tastes
What I’m a sucker for in a book:
Second chance at love plots, loved from afar plots, bad boy/good girl stories, arranged marriages, reformed rakes, scenes that start out predictably than go somewhere new, lusty but tender heroes, witty and/or intelligent dialogue, and strong heroines who aren’t shrews or dingbats.
What I don’t particularly care for in a book:
Pirate stories, extremely dark story lines with too little redemption/lightness, glaring historical inaccuracies, overly eccentric heroines, virginal contemporary heroines without a realistic backstory, and paranormal/time travel elements.
What drives me absolutely nuts in a book:
Big misunderstandings, Too Stupid To Live characters, long and unnecessary separations, cardboard characterization, sex by the numbers, emotionally abusive heroes, inconsistency in description, supposedly sexually experienced heroines who become clueless in the clinches, overuse of words like “gasp,” “lave,” etc., heroines who become wide-eyed at the first view of the hero’s endowments, and lustful thoughts at unrealistic moments or ad nauseum.
Favorite Romance Authors
Favorite Romance Authors
Best Discovery/Buried Treasure Authors
My Biggest Glom