Rape in Romance

It seems that everywhere we turn nowadays women are being brutalized by men, when even people like Bill Cosby, deeply beloved for decades, turns out to be a monster, capable of assaulting dozens of women while showing the rest of the world how great of a person he is.  Nothing has been proven, but the lack of any explanation screams guilt on at least some level.  Does he have the right to privacy, to not come out and categorically deny these accusations?  Yes.  Is it the smart thing, the thing done by an innocent person?  Hell, no.  It just makes him look worse.

Cosby’s not the only celebrity in hot water because of things he may have done to women.  There’s Ray Rice who knocked his girlfriend (now wife) unconscious and dragged her out of an elevator.  He may not have raped her, but these are not the actions of a loving boyfriend/husband.  Ray MacDonald of the San Francisco 49ers was arrested on domestic violence charges a few months ago because it appeared as if he hit his wife.  The charges have since been dropped, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he didn’t do it just that his wife decided to pretend that he didn’t do it, which is something that many victims of domestic violence do.  If you read the comments by the Santa Clara County District Attorney, it is clear that the reason charges were not filed was in part because his wife would not cooperate with police.  Did he do it?  Like Cosby, we’ll never know for sure. There’s Eminem, who recently rapped about wanting to rape Iggy Azalea.  He’s not a stranger to this type of thing–he, who liked to threaten his ex in his songs.  MTV even made a list of all the women he’s dissed in his songs.  CeeLo Green has an interesting definition of rape, which he claimed is only real if the woman remembers it.  I guess he must be a fan of Rohypnol. Last month, Stephen Collins, the actor most known for playing Reverend Eric Camden on 7th Heaven, was accused of molesting multiple girls over the years.  Last, there’s Roman Polanski, who was accused of but never convicted of raping a 13 year old girl back in the 1970’s.  His excuse–the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate by Charles Manson’s family in 1969.

Celebrities aren’t the only ones committing these types of crimes, although they are the ones we hear about the most.  We don’t hear about the normal people who beat and rape women because they’re not celebrities and no one particularly cares about them.  In truth, criminals can be anyone.  They can be a family member, a friend, your high school English teacher, or one of your coworkers.  You never know what is hiding behind the surface because what you see is rarely ever what you get.

Fairy tales always portray the bad guy as someone who is easily recognizable.  He’s the big bad wolf or a vampire, an ugly sea witch or an old hag.  In the real world, this is rarely the case (unless of course you’re talking Charles Manson, who carved a swastika into his forehead).  Ted Bundy was a Young Republican, which definitely wouldn’t endear him to me (but doesn’t exactly scream serial killer), a charming lawyer, and looked like the boy next door.  In his spare time, he enjoyed slaughtering women, a trait he learned early, having threatened his young aunt when he was only four.  Jeffrey Dahmer looked like a nice normal guy, but when he was not working for a candy company, he was abducting young men and trying to turn them into zombies by drilling holes into their heads and pouring acid in them.  David Berkowitz a.k.a. Son of Sam looked like a geeky dude, but he terrorized New York City by shooting couples in their cars in Brooklyn and Queens.

You’re probably asking yourself why a book blogger is writing about real life crime.  First, this is the type of thing that everyone should be talking about it.  Second, fiction isn’t a stranger to rape and for the longest time rapists were the hero.  Yes, you read that right.  The rapist was most often the hero.  This is true of many books, including Storm Fire by Christine Monson, which has a 3.69 rating on Goodreads.  According to the reviews, the hero was extremely cruel to the heroine because he blamed her father for his mother’s death, something that is frequently a plot point in historical romance novels (because nothing is hotter than falling in love with the daughter of someone who did you wrong).  Another book that is guilty of the rape as plot devise trope is Dark Magic by Chrisine Feehan, which is one of her Carpathian novels.  I have not read these nor do I plan to because I am not all that big on vampire romances.  From what I’ve found online, the hero rapes the heroine and then feels bad about it.  Boo fucking hoo.  Poor baby.  He couldn’t resist how pretty she was and wasn’t able to control himself around her, so he gets to rape her.  Nice guy.  Totally hero material.

Thankfully, this trend has more or less gone the way of the dinosaurs, although there are some modern books that involve rapist characters.  The one that immediately comes to mind is The Taker by Alma Katsu in which the main character, Lani, is brutally gang raped before being turned into a vampire-like creature.  While her rapist was not the hero, Lani and this man continue to have a sexual relationship even after the rape–a rape that was so brutal that she miscarried the child she was carrying and nearly died as a result.  There was also a lot of anal bleeding/leakage involved.  This was the point the book went sailing across the room.  Still, this book has 3.68 stars on Goodreads.  Inconceivable.

Unfortunately, this isn’t limited to books.  Television is just as guilty.  When I was growing up, I was a huge fan of General Hospital and Luke Spencer was one of my favorite characters–that is until I found out that he raped his wife before they were married.  This all came to my attention in 1998 when Elizabeth Webber was raped after being jilted by Lucky Spencer, Luke’s son, who felt guilty as hell when he found her in the park.  Because I wasn’t alive in 1977 when the Luke/Laura story was first written, I didn’t know their background until Nikolas told Lucky, who confronted his father.  To their credit, they did a really good job with that scene.  Okay, after rewatching the scene, I realize that they didn’t.  Luke makes excuse after excuse about how he was young and how he told Laura to leave.  Ugh.  I feel like I need a shower.  Nothing excuses rape.  Not age, not being drunk, not telling the victim to leave.  None of this mitigates what was done.  (The only time being intoxicated is a mitigating factor is when the intoxication is involuntary, i.e. the alcohol is forced down your throat, and that was not the case here.)

The thing that gets me with the Luke/Laura super-romance is that within a few years of the rape they were married and their wedding beat out the real life wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.  I mean really.  I’ve actually seen the wedding episode and it was really well done, especially the scenes with Luke and Scotty, who is oddly portrayed as the bad guy in the Luke/Laura/Scotty triangle and still is on the occasions Kin Shriner is on the show.

This wasn’t the only controversial relationship that General Hospital sold as romantic.  A year after Lucky found out what his father did to his mother, his best friend, Emily Quartermaine was abducted by Zander Smith.  He even tied her up causing her to break a window and use a shard of its glass to free herself, cutting the hell out of her wrist.  Of course, this gave Zander the guilts and was the start of their relationship.  Unlike Laura, Emily eventually broke it off with Zander, although it had nothing to do with the end of her Stockholm Syndrome and everything to do with the fact that Nikolas no longer saw her as a little girl (thanks to a recast) and had fallen in love with her, fulfilling all of her teenaged fantasies.

Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer is guilty.  In season 6 when Spike is going through a downward spiral after the end of his and Buffy’s (extremely unhealthy) relationship, he attempts to rape her.  She successfully fights him off and he goes in search of his soul because he never wants to do something like that again.  The very next season Buffy not only forgives him but also invites him into her home on multiple occasions and trusts him around her sister and dozens of teenage girls.

We can debate all of this for years to come, but in all honesty we won’t.  In a few weeks, the allegations against Cosby will be old news and no one will talk about it any more.  The only reason Ray Rice is still in the media is because he’s trying to get his indefinite suspension lifted because he feels it is a case of double jeopardy and the NFL is violating his 8th Amendment Rights.  (Dude, the Bill of Rights only applies to the government and the last time I checked the NFL is not the government.)

It won’t be long before everyone goes back to being deaf, dumb, and blind when it comes to crimes against women and that’s a shame because the only way to stop these things from happening is to talk about it.  We need to educate young men on how not to be rapists.  We need to hold colleges accountable when a girl gets raped on campus.  She shouldn’t have to drag her mattress around to get something done.  We need to be better human beings.

Binging: Books, Television, and Movies

There was a time when binging was considered a bad thing–and in certain circles it still is, but with the over availability of digital content, whether that content is a book, movie, or television show, binging has taken on a whole new connotation.  I’m one of the many people that like to over dose on a certain thing and I think that on some level some things are meant to be viewed in this way.  One of the shows that I was a huge fan of was True Blood, but I couldn’t watch it as it aired.  Instead, I would wait until the season was over and watch it all at once.  In a world where spoilers are overabundant, that was not an easy thing to do.  In a way, I feel the same about Once Upon A Time, but I have managed to keep up with it on a week to week basis.  I’ve recently done this with the 5th season of White Collar.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I stop watching once I get to the end, even though the 6th season started last week and will be building up until the end of the series.

I’m the same when it comes to movies.  A few weeks ago, I found all four Lethal Weapon movies on demand.  As soon as I started the first, I needed to watch the others.  It is harder to do with the Harry Potter movies, but I do it with them too.

When it comes to books, I have the tendency to re-read series from the start, which is harder to do with some than with others–J.D. Robb, anyone?  Right now, I’m on the last book of the Ivy League series by Diana Peterfreund, the last two of which I’ve read twice before.  That’s the thing with binging.  I don’t need to start at the very beginning, but once I have begun, I have to finish it out to its conclusion.  Once I’m done, I’m not sure what I’m going to read or even if I’ll want to read anything.  A lot of times when I go through a period of binging I can’t bring myself to read anything for a while.  I’ve actually gone months without reading after one of these binges.  It is as if I burn myself out.  I already feel it coming on as I’m losing interest in the book I’m reading, although I look forward to getting back into it whenever I’ve put it away for any period of time.

Another part of it is that I get so excited to get to certain parts of things (no matter what form of entertainment it is) that once I’ve reached that part I don’t want to go any further.  For instance, when I re-watch Chuck, as soon as I’ve seen Chuck vs. The Other Guy I don’t need to watch any more of the series, although I will jump to other episodes that I really like (i.e. Chuck vs. The Subway/Chuck vs. The Ring Part II and Chuck vs. the Coup d’etat).

Am I normal?  Is this what we’ve come to?  At times, I wonder what older generations would think of how we spend our time.  Would they think we’re pathetic or would they wish they were able to do the same things?

Holiday Romances

As anyone who watched television knows, the holiday season is upon us once again, which means that there will be a slew of Christmas themed books lining the shelves of your local CVS.  Having grown up Catholic, I’ve read my fair share of Christmas romances, but let’s face it Christmas is but one holiday at the end of the year.  There’s Thanksgiving, which while not my favorite holiday (try sharing your birthday with a turkey and tell me how much you like it), it seems like the perfect holiday for a romance novel.  Not that we ever see those books.  Then, there are the non-Christian holidays of Chanukah and Kwanzaa, neither of which are found in very many romance novels that I’ve found.  Googling wasn’t much of a help in this endeavor.  Last, there is New Year’s Eve/Day, which would also be good romance novel fodder.  It did provide the perfect ending for When Harry Met Sally.  For those that want to delve into other holidays, here is a list of some of the books that I found (a surprising number of books were less than 100 pages, so I didn’t feel that they warranted a place on this list).


1. Once Upon A Thanksgiving by Holly Jacobs

It’s A Time For Giving And Receiving…Love

As if working and raising her family of five–four kids and one demanding cat–isn’t enough, Samantha Williams has been volunteered to oversee a Thanksgiving pageant at her kids’ school. So a relationship is the last thing on this stretched-too-thin single mother’s mind.

Until she meets the new interim principal–sexy, single Harry Remington. Her childhood friend.

Harry is welcomed into Samantha’s home as if he belonged. Being part of her sprawling family–even if it’s only temporary–makes him realize how much he misses having a real home. Best of all, he and Samantha are starting to trust each other. How can he say goodbye to all that? How can he leave when he’s just found the best reason of all to stay?

2. Music of My Heart by Dana Elian

Adrianna Whitaker has a lot of thinking to do. She carries the weight of the world on her shoulders in the the form of several emotional secrets, one of which will soon reveal itself whether she’s ready for it or not. Staying behind at the hotel while the rest of the band and crew flies home for Thanksgiving sounds like a great idea.

Luke Preston needs a break after five months on the road, and a week of uninterrupted peace and quiet is just too good to pass up.

So much for solitude. And just wait till the media gets wind that they’re holed up in the hotel together.

Without the band and crew around for distraction, Luke and Adrianna find that mutual admiration and respect is only the tip of the iceberg. A wonderful sonata of passion and compassion sizzles just below the surface. Soon the unexpected symphony has Adrianna wishing for things that can never be, and Luke entertaining thoughts of fatherhood.

With the help of one very sassy angel, perhaps these old friends will finally see what’s been right in front of them for years.

3. Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich

One autumn day Megan Murphy meets Pat Hunter, the handsome owner of a rabbit–who eats dresses. Hunter, the new pediatrician, is given an infant to care for, and Megan falls for both of them. Their attraction grows in leaps and bounds, especially when everyone they meet thinks they’re married. C.J. Critt keeps the action moving and the laughter flowing as Megan and Pat care for the baby, the rabbit, and each other’s hearts. Critt’s warm performance recounts a joint Thanksgiving, including an especially warm kitchen, and a romp through the town’s historic village. Evanovich’s romantic humor is comfortably performed in Critt’s relaxed and inviting voice.

4. Thanksgiving Daddy by Rachel Lee

Honor, duty and loyalty drove Major Edith Clapton to risk her life flying Combat Search and Recovery in Afghanistan. Hunger, desire and lust drove her into the arms of Seth Hardin, a gorgeous navy SEAL she had airlifted to safety. Their epic one-night stand in the shadow of the Afghan mountains has left Edie facing the most important mission of her life: motherhood.

After sharing her news, Edie is stunned by Seth’s insistence on being a father to his child—and the bewildering feelings this practical stranger has stirred within her. This wasn’t part of her life-in-the-navy plan! Should she flee back to military life for a desk job and single parenthood? Or give thanks for this unexpected family?

5. Thanksgiving Groom by May McGoldrick

Heiress Penelope Lear came to Treasure Creek, Alaska, in search of adventure. And to prove to everyone she’s more than just a pretty face. But when she gets lost in the middle of the wilderness—in chilly November—Penelope needs help. Her rescuer? The mysterious man who’s been missing from town for months.

Tucker Lawson, a handsome former lawyer, is now a man of the land—and doesn’t want to be found. As Thanksgiving approaches, he promises to lead Penelope back to Treasure Creek.

But will he go as her groom?


1. A Candle for Nick by Lorna Michaels

Mallory Brenner’s life was in a tailspin. Her son, Nick, had been diagnosed with a fatal disease and his best hope of survival was Dr. Kent Berger, the one man Mallory never expected—orwanted—to see again. For more than ten years Mallory had kept Nick’s paternity a secret and now, to save her son, Mallory would continue to keep it. Still, the more time the two males spent together, the harder Nick fell for his newfound hero…and the more Mallory realized how much she’d missed him. Kent deserved to know the truth, but while her son’s life hung in the balance, could she risk telling him?

Could she risk not telling him?

2. Eight Tiny Flames (from a Very Scandalous Holiday) by Christa McHugh

1944 Ardennes, WWII
Lt. Ruth Mencher has always secretly admired Capt. Joseph Klein, but it takes the lighting of a Hanukkah candle to uncover the spark of mutual attraction. Each night awakens a new facet of their relationship, but as the Battle of the Bulge begins, the approaching Nazi forces threaten to tear them apart.
New Year’s Eve/Day
1. Not Another New Year’s by Christie Ridgeway


After all, this year brought Hannah Davis nothing but the memory of her wandering fiancé marrying someone else behind her back. Now, sitting alone at a bar in Coronado, California, on December 31, she decides to do something radical . . . and lets a brooding good-looker take her to bed. But when a hysterical woman bursts into their room much too early on New Year’s Day, Hannah realizes this guy’s more complicated than she thought . . .

Ex-Secret Service Agent Tanner Hart screwed up, big-time! Hoping to temporarily boot some of the ghosts from his life, he hooked up with this sexy stranger for a hot one-night stand—only to discover she’s the woman he’s agreed to protect . . . from men just like him!

But a new year is a time for fresh beginnings. Despite the danger, the hoopla, and the hangovers, if Hannah’s brave enough to risk her heart again—and Tanner’s wise enough to realize he deserves it—maybe this one will be different.

2. Same Time, Next Year by Debbie Maccomber

James Wilkens was almost a Manning groom—because he almost married one of the Manning sisters. With that broken engagement behind him, he spends New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas…where he meets Summer Lawton. She’s just suffered a painful betrayal, and James promises her that in a year, she’ll be over it. To prove his point, he makes a date to meet her in Vegas Same Time, Next Year. Except it turns out to be more than a date—it’s a wedding!

3. Kiss and Tell by Suzanne Brockman

From New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann comes a funny, feisty, romantic tale about childhood rivals who discover the mystery of grown-up love.

When Leila Hunt is swept off her feet by a ninja at a New Year’s Eve costume party, she has no idea who the masked man is—but after he disappears into the night, she’s determined to find him. When the clock struck twelve, what began as a friendly New Year’s greeting quickly became the most unforgettable kiss Leila had ever experienced with anyone—including her absent boyfriend. But of all the possible suspects, Leila hardly imagines that the ninja is the same man who’s teased, tormented—and secretly intrigued her—since childhood.

Marshall Devlin is finally ready to face the terrifying truth: he’s in love with his best friend’s sister, and has been for years. There’s just one complication: Leila didn’t know he was her ninja. To win her, Marsh will have to woo her. But can he make Leila forget their decades of verbal sparring in time to stop her from making the biggest mistake of her life?

4. Secret Agent Secretary by Melissa Cutler

Passion ignites after office hours in this installment of the ICE: Black Ops Defenders miniseries

Bullets whizzed past as Ryan Reitano and Avery Meadows escaped into the night. How could Ryan have suspected Avery of being the mole inside ICE? It was true she was no ordinary secretary. The way she used her wits and her lethal stiletto heels against the gunmen pursuing them astonished the jaded agent. And that killer body he’d somehow never noticed before…

Too bad there wasn’t time to explore the possibilities. With Chiara’s men hot on their trail, capturing the mercenary was more than just a mission for Ryan. He had his own reasons for wanting the criminal dead. But with his surprising–and utterly enchanting–new partner, perhaps there’d be a chance for romance later…if they survived.

SECRET AGENT SECRETARY is book #2 in Melissa Cutler’s ICE: Black Ops Defenders series.

5. Countdown to a Kiss by Colleen Gleason

Four stories by four authors…one fateful New Year’s Eve
Four kisses at midnight…
Three different sisters…
Two old flames…
One bet that drives it all!

The Devine sisters return to their hometown for New Year’s Eve each year to attend the annual ball. Part of the tradition is their decade-old bet: whoever has no date at midnight has to kiss their nerdy neighbor Lewis Kampmueller.

Tess–burned by love, the glamorous Broadway star isn’t interested in a repeat performance…until she encounters an old flame.
Annabelle–when the local etiquette expert gets caught breaking the law, her heart might have to pay the price.
Grace–the tough FBI agent has an easy time being one of guys, but is she woman enough to keep a man?
Lewis–the shy nerd has made millions over the years…but is he smart enough to catch the woman of his dreams?

Who will lose the bet but win out in love? Four charming stories written by four different authors about one fateful New Year’s Eve.

The champagne is poured. The clock is ticking. Join the countdown!

To be honest, I have never read any of these books, although I’ve heard of several of these authors.  These are based off of a search of non-Christmas holiday romances; I will add another post on Christmas themed romances soon.

Presents for Book Lovers

It is that time again.  The holiday season.  Christmas movies and books are lining the shelves in all the stores and in a little under three weeks, shoppers will flock to every store imaginable for that perfect present at the perfect price.  In order to avoid the stores, especially the ones that have decided to open on Thanksgiving Day and keep their employees from having dinner with their families, I have put together a list of items for the book lover in your family.

1. This romance novel trinket case from Etsy.  There is only one available, so get it while it lasts.  However, the person who made it has a form where you can request a custom object, so even if this is gone, there is still some hope.

2. A Lost in Austen Bookmark.  Now, I’m not a big fan of Jane Austen, having never made it past page two in Pride and Prejudice, but I know her fans are legion.  This is the perfect stocking stuffer (or Chanukah present) for the Austen obsessed.

3.  Know anyone with an obsession over sparkly vampires?  Here’s a slightly expensive, but really cool (even to this Harry Potter fan) Twilight handbag.  It is listed at $65, but it will be worth the price to see the look in that special person’s eyes when she opens this up.  (There also appears to be versions of this bag for Harry Potter and Jane Austen as well.)

4. Gothic Romance Pocket Mirror.  According to the site, all mirrors are custom made out of vintage books and magazines.  This one is listed as $6.00, so it is the perfect price for one of those elusive stocking stuffers.

5. Dark Romances Book Locket.  These are really cute and according to the site, they fit two small pictures or quotes on the inside.

6. Romance Novel Pendant Necklace.  This is actually really cute and I’m thinking about getting one for myself.

7. Jane Austen Locket.  Yes, another Austen item, but will all of her fans, I figure it couldn’t hurt to include a second item.

8. Outlander Necklace.  Anyone who has read my blog in the past knows that I have issues with this series and the viability of Claire and Jamie as hero/heroine material, but with the number of rabid fans of both the books and now the television series, I’m fairly surprised that there aren’t more Outlander inspired items.  This one is really cool looking and would be the perfect item for the Gabaldon fan in your life.

9. Writer Tote Bag.  This isn’t particularly for romance readers, but is for that prolific writer in your life.  (Btw, as a writer, the message on the front is very true.)

10. A Personalized Romance Novel.  Yournovel.com will customize your own personal romance novel.  Choose a theme, input specific details (names, occupations, eye color, etc.), and place your order.  Prices range from $49.95 to $119.95.

Video of the Day 10/27–In Honor of Gilmore Girls on Netflix

I have to admit that I am a HUGE Gilmore Girls fan and I shipped Luke and Lorelai like crazy back in the day.  I remember writing on my old Myspace blog about how I wanted a guy just like Luke (I still do, but he can have a little Richard Castle thrown in).  For today’s video, I wanted to post this scene in which Luke describes the very first time the two of them met.  So romantic.

All the Paranormals…

It seems that October is paranormals month.  Maybe it has to do with Halloween being this month, but all I seem to want to read are paranormals.  I started out with older Kay Hoopers (Out of the ShadowsWhisper of Evil) and then moved onto her newer books.  To be honest, I had all but given up on this series back in 2009-ish because it just wasn’t doing it for me.  The writing had definitely changed and not in a good way.  I couldn’t even put my finger on what it was that wasn’t working for me; I just know that something was missing.  Now, I know what it was: the romance.  Many of the newer books are romance-lite.  For instance, Hostage, which was the first book in her most recent trilogy, didn’t feature any romantic interactions between the hero and heroine, and that is just not okay.  If you’re going to brand your books as romance, there need to be romance in there.  The only reason I kept reading after that book was because I was interested in Hollis’s storyline.  (Hollis first appeared in one of the earlier books, Touch of Evil, which is actually one of my least favorite books in the series, and she’s been popping up more and more as the series continues.)  It is actually ironic, because I wasn’t really keen on the fact that it appeared Hollis was taking over the series back when I stopped reading the books and now she’s the only reason I wanted to keep reading it.

Once I finished the last Hooper novel, I started in on the three most recent Krewe of Hunters trilogy by Heather Graham, who is one of my guilty pleasure authors.  I’m currently on the most recent of those books, The Betrayed, which takes place in Sleepy Hollow, New York and involves the legend of Sleepy Hollow.  I’m really enjoying the book, but there’s just something about it that’s putting me off.  I’m not quite sure what it is.  Maybe when I finish it, I’ll figure it out.

When I finish this, I’m not sure what I’m going to read next.  I’m suddenly feeling the need to re-read the Harry Potter series, even though I just finished the last book back in May.  (I didn’t read the entire series at the time, but now I feel like starting with number 1 and making my way all the way through the series, something I have never been able to do.)  I’m also thinking about re-reading the Ivy League series again.  I also want to read some historicals, since I haven’t read any of those since I finished the most recent Pink Carnation novel back in August.

Rebranding and Catching Up

To All of My Wonderful Readers,

Thank you so very much for staying with me over the last months–I know it has been a very long time since my last post back in February and I’m not quite sure why I’ve stayed away for so long.  Back in February, in the midst of that frigid Polar Vortex, I just couldn’t be bothered to do anything, except possibly shoveling, although with the new administration’s policy of not cow-towing to the ultra rich residents of the UES (Upper East Side for the non-New Yorkers), I didn’t have to worry as much about not being able to make it off the sidewalk as I had in the previous 12 years when the not-so-honorable Michael Bloomberg was mayor.  Yes, I am still bitter.  After that, I just got out of the habit of writing–not just here, but anywhere.  For that, I apologize.

In the last several months, a lot has changed for me.  First, I made the move from New York to sunny California, where I shouldn’t have to worry about blizzards or hurricanes.  Just earthquakes, but apparently, they’re not as common as non-Californians are made to believe.  Since I have been out here, I have felt one–the Napa quake from a few months back, and even that was barely a blip on my radar.

Second, I landed an actual, full-time job.  Since May, I have been hung up on by car dealers across the US and up in Canada.  Once, I was even cursed at by a car dealer in Florida, who called me back after hanging up on me just to harangue me for having the nerve to call him.  If he had bothered to listen, he would have gained a lot.  Oh, well.  Too bad for him.

Last, and most recent, I have purchased a domain name, which is why this blog is no longer called The Romance Reader.  As part of my job, I am constantly telling car dealers of the importance of having a website, about how it gets their brand exposure, and all the while, here I was sitting around with this great blog and a ton of awesome readers, not following my own advice.  How careless of me.  If my manager hadn’t pointed out to me how affordable domains are (even though I already knew this, I just hadn’t connected it to my own situation) I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now, so if you are happy to be reading this, you have him to thank (and somewhere he is now feeling really happy with himself and has no idea just why that is).  That said, most domains are affordable, usually around $12-$20 per year; theromancereader.com, however, was not.  You see, it is considered a “Premium Domain,” being sold for nearly $7k.  Yeah, I don’t have that kind of money, so it was back to the drawing board.  After trying out several different names in my head, I came up with The Fiction Vixen.  Catchy, right?

If you already have me bookmarked as The Romance Reader, have no fear!  That domain still works and it will redirect you to The Fiction Vixen.  You will always have a way to find me.  (Plus, the facebook page is still listed as The Romance Reader because it is ridiculously hard to change a Facebook name.  Who knew?)

Thank you again, Dear Readers.

The Fiction Vixen (formerly The Romance Reader)

P.S. I promise not to stay away as long next time!

February Books

Doesn’t it always seem as if new books come out in February?  I wonder if the publishing industry has a “sweeps” period like television and they choose to release more books during this time than in others because it makes their statistics look better.  Anyway, I’ve already posted about the new Karen Rose novel, which came out on the 4th, but there are several other books coming out this month.  (All publication dates are subject to change, so don’t blame me if you can’t get your book on the date I’ve listed.)

1. Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb.  (Available 2/18)  This is the latest in the In Death series, featuring Lt. Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke, a billionaire with a shady past.  I’ve posted about this series a lot and it is one of the only series that I’ve stuck with through all of its ups and downs.

2. Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis. (Available 2/18)  As my long-time readers know, I’ve recently gotten into this series and I absolutely love it.  I pre-ordered this book back in December.

3. The Trouble with Honor by Julia London (Available 2/25)

4. Evening Stars by Susan Mallory (Available 2/25)

5. Tell Me by Lisa Jackson (Available 2/25)

6. All a Heart Needs by Barbara Freethy (Available 2/27) 5th book in the Callaway Series

7. City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn (Available 2/25)

8. Lost in Love by Kate Perry (Available 2/12)

9. Let the Dead Sleep by Heather Graham (Available 2/25)

10. Books 1-3 in the Fatal Series by Marie Force (Available 2/11)  (I reviewed the first book in the series Fatal Affair last year and didn’t like it very much–I DNF’ed it.)

11. All I Ever Wanted by Kristen Higgins (Available 2/25)

12. Mesmerized by Candace Camp (Re-issue, Available 2/25)–my first historical romance, which I read my senior year of high school.

13. The Rustler by Linda Lael Miller (Available 2/25)

14. Captive Embraces by Fern Michaels (Re-issue, Available 2/20)

15. When the Duke was Wicked by Lorraine Heath (Available 2/25)

16. The Bride Says Maybe by Cathy Maxwell (Available 2/25)

17. Borrowed Dreams by Debbie Macomber (Available 2/25–might be a re-issue as it is subtitled “Debbie Macomber Classic)

18. Vampire Most Wanted by Lynsay Sands (Available 2/18)

19. Sex for Beginners Box Set by Stephanie Bond (Available 2/15)

20. The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (Available 2/25)

If you know of any other books that are coming out this month, please let me know.  You can send me a message on the facebook page.

New Karen Rose Novel On Sale Today!


Today’s the day–the newest Karen Rose novel, Watch Your Back, hit American shelves (it has been out in the UK since November).  This book features Stevie and Clay, and I have been looking forward to this book since they first appeared together is You Belong to Me.  Here’s the synopsis from Ms. Rose’s website:

A cold case reopened. A murderer re-emerging more deadly than ever before…

Baltimore Homicide Detective Stevie Mazzetti has suffered losses no woman should have to endure. And, despite it all, she’s still a fighter. When she learns that her ex-partner might have miscarried justice, she’s determined to put the past to rights, even when she becomes a target.

It’s former Marine Clay Maynard’s job to see the risk in every situation, but he doesn’t have to look hard to find the danger surrounding Stevie. Since the minute he first saw her, Clay has wanted to protect the wounded officer, and he started loving her not long after that. So when Stevie attracts the attention of a vicious psychopath, Clay will do whatever it takes to keep her alive. That is, if he can stay ahead of a killer with everything to lose—and something terrifying to hide…

Sounds interesting.  I can’t wait to read it–I got my copy off of Amazon for $5.99 this morning.  What are you waiting for?