Blogging in haste

For the first time in nearly a month, I am between tasks so I thought I would take a super quick moment to write a blog post. Earlier this year I accidentally agreed to take on more teaching and staff training than I should have. The past semester has resulted in my own studies being left far behind (I was already behind the point that I wanted to be) and my own reading for pleasure is barely happening. But, as experience has shown me, if I don’t read for pleasure, I lose my drive for both working and studying so I juggle my time around and between late nights and commuting to work I have managed to read a couple of novels and a handful of picture books.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 11.56.55 pmSarah MacLean’s No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

“He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of . . . absolution.”

I liked the premise of this book. The prologue is quite thrilling, starting out joyfully and then having Temple wake up covered in what he thought was Mara’s blood with a household of people staring at him. This feeling occasionally returns throughout the book but, though the plot was mostly sound, the writing style drove me batty. It constantly used the 3 repeats device eg “She felt it. She knew it. She mourned it” (made up example: not in the book). I actually like this device when it is used sparingly but unfortunately it wasn’t. I swear you could turn reading this book into a drinking game for everytime that this device is used. And you would be plastered by page 100. Overall, I found that the book was about 100 pages too long for my liking (but to be fair – I adore the conciseness of category romances). The conflict between Mara and Temple could have been resolved much earlier in the book and by the end I was gritting my teeth. It was a bit dark, being set in a hell with Temple as a boxing champion (ewwww – I grew up in a boxing burb of Sydney with several of my primary school classmates serving as sparring partners to long ago world champion Jeff Fenech and a boxing mad dad and I cannot see the appeal of grown men beating each other up nor the appeal of going out with a boxer). The book reminded me of JR Ward’s BDB series (which I did not like).

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.04.05 amDuel of Desire – Charlotte Lamb

It was hard to resist Alex.
He smiled arrogantly at her. “You’ve wanted me ever since we began working together four years ago. Admit it, Deborah.”
She turned away abruptly. It was true. She loved Alex St. James, a music-industry executive who had exercised his sensual powers over every beautiful recording star in the country.
But Deborah wasn’t going to become another victim of his practiced charm. She was engaged to a man who offered her affection and security. It would be foolish to throw all that away – even if she wanted to!

Several weeks ago, Miss Bates Reads Romance was tweeting about her #bathtubreading. I checked on my shelves and I had the same book. After a failed attempt at bathtubreading (I bathed and forgot to read), I managed to read it. I don’t know if it was my lack of time, the fact that it took me 2 weeks to complete a category romance (even from a beloved author) but, apart from the fabulous fashion descriptions, I struggled to connect with this book. It had all the trappings of a great Lamb read. The early career office paragon, the gentle boyfriend with an Oedipal complex (they always manage to say something along the lines of “mother can’t wait to meet you though do take care not to dress like a slut because mother doesn’t like that”) and, of course, Mr Ultra Smooth, ultra sexy, Richard Branson doppleganger, man about the town, watch those hot slacks, unbuttoned shirt and medallion resting in his sensual chest hair who spends the whole time in a jealous tizz, flaunting other women yet deep down inside needing to get down and dirty with the heroine who only wants sex if it is love to which they both succumb to by the end of her book. Charlotte Lamb though missed the mark for me on this one. Was it the hero (Alex) accusing the heroine (Deborah) of being a bitch too many times? Or was it Deborah’s incessant cleaning? Or was it that their nuptial bed was his mother’s own bed that she vacated especially for the occasion – another touch of the Oedipal hero perhaps? What I do like about Charlotte Lamb is that, in many of her books, the hero and/or heroine are with another person. She depicts her characters in relationships which they felt was right for them but it is the intense, passionate encounter that shakes them out of their complacency and makes the protagonist rethink their lives and what they want out of a patnership. I really want to write more about this but for now I will leave this thought to ruminate. Perhaps, it will be part of my next blog post.

As for my TBR, it is never ending. I had a rare visit to a bookshop as someone had given my son a $40 voucher but we walked out $250 poorer. This is why I rarely go to bookshops. I have no control.

The books I bought are “This Book is overdue: how librarians and cybrarians can save us all”. As I considered myself to be both of these job titles it was an autobuy. Now let’s see how long I will leave it sitting unread. I also bought “The Cult of the Amateur: how blogs, MySpace, Youtube and the rest of today’s user-generated media are killing our culture and economy”. I am sure this book will annoy me as I identify with the “amateur” label and I also bought Lynne Graham and Julia Quinn’s latest books. Somewhere between now and my next blog post I hope to have read them.

As for the rest of the month. I have had a paper accepted for PopCAANZ. I am very excited to be presenting but I am less excited to be travelling to Wellington. Everytime I mention my upcoming trip, people say “Whoa! Wellington. Windiest landing I have ever had!”. This does not make me happy. However, it is my first ever trip to New Zealand and I am looking forward to travelling to a country I have not seen before. I will be looking for some hot springs, for sure. My bookgroup (wellllll – let’s call it a reading group) is celebrating its 14th birthday this week. I have yet to choose a book to read (we all take our own book and review it for everyone). This month’s topic is 14 and I am open to suggestions. Essays, lyrics, poetry, films, scripts. Everything counts in this reading group and I am dedicating Friday night to reading so hit me with your recs!

2 thoughts on “Blogging in haste

  1. I recall reading this Lamb back in high school. The memory trigger was the blazer and hot slacks and all Deborah’s cleaning (uh, is there something wrong with incessant cleaning?). My high school had an entire book shelf of Harelquins, which meant my lunch hour was basically my ‘bathtub read.’ Have you read Elizabwrh Lowell? Her HM&B heroes had mo’s and chest hair…

    • Your high school librarian trumps mine. I can’t recall ever borrowing from my incredibly boring school library. The local library had some M&Bs but for the most part they were books that were handed around and no-one knew where they started (not our mum’s as they couldn’t read in English). I have not read any Elizabeth Lowell books either. Mos and chest hair means there is an addition to the groaning TBR.

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