Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Bout of Books #7.0

Bout of Books

For those that don't know what Bout of Books is... here you go...

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

^^^ Erm.. yeah... what they said. I am all over this readathon thing this time (having missed yet another 24 hour readathon due to a lack of twitter on my phone). Whilst I can not dedicate all of the time that I wish I could, I shall read as much as possible. My aims are rather unusual this time round- I have a currently reading list on goodreads.com that includes several half-finished books. I just want to complete them. At this precise moment, these include Pride and Prejudice, The Memory Collector, The Dark Glamour and Nobody's Angel. There are probably more, but this is a pretty good start to a loooong list.

By midnight on the 19th of May, I plan to have got to the point where those half read books cluttering up my conscience are Gone, read, Done and Dusted. Anything extra is a bonus. Blogging might be nice too.
Yay, Bout of Booooooooks!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Discussion: 'What is the appeal of paranormal romance?' - a question pitched by my boyfriend

Now my boyfriend, the lovely Pook, has the uncanny ability of asking a seemingly simple question that quickly develops into a full blown debate, complete with strategic thinking pauses. Why am I telling you this? Well, two reasons really.
Firstly, he has insisted that I write about him on my blog so that he can "be famous"- I snorted at this suggestion.
Secondly, he asked me the other day just what the appeal was of paranormal romance novels... and it ended up becoming a fairly complex conversation about the female psyche and how a woman's desires were reflected in her reading material.
Because we are mighty cool like that.

So, What indeed is the appeal of paranormal romance?

1. It's damn sexy stuff.

Seriously, authors of paranormal romance know what constitutes damn good sex, and they know how to describe it.

Prime Example: Chapter 32 from Halfway to The Grave from the Night Huntress Series is talked about (erm... typed about?) with a knowing reverence by the bookish community. The entire Night Huntress series has been added to my TBR pile solely because of the universal borderline-orgasmic descriptions of the famed Chapter 32.

2. Engaging characters

The characters in paranormal romance are not afraid to be totally kick ass. They all have attitude, and sass, and a general complexity that a lot of books in other genres (*cough* vaguely realistic chick lit *cough*) generally seem to be lacking in. They all have such potential to be developed into full characters, and so they often are, given the chance to be protagonist in later books, because they deserve it.

3. The world building

Create a world from scratch, and you can add in so much stuff. There are seriously no limits to how far authors can develop their own little universe- and this means the scope for writing series with many instalments is so vast. Truly amazing paranormal authors can write ten, twenty plus books in their universe of choice, developing secondary characters and giving them the story they deserve, as well as progressing the stories of previously covered and well loved characters. Sherrilyn Kenyon, Nalini Singh, Kresley Cole- all rock at this expanding their huge concepts way beyond their first book, bringing in new characters successfully to keep the whole thing fresh (rather than reusing a single protagonist repeatedly past the point of exhaustion).

4. The community and the fan-girling

The more supernatural and fantastical (and sexy) books get, the stronger the community support seems to be for them. Watching people fan-girl en masse over twitter, facebook and goodreads over the latest instalment in a their favourite paranormal romance series is always fun, especially when I join in with the fan-girling. (Please see any and all of my Nalini Singh references. Fan. Girling. Out.)

5. The men...

Oh, yes. The men. Archangels, Changlings, Vampires, Demi-Gods, Dark-hunters. You name it, they are hot, hunky, and so so....

Sorry, I got distracted. The word Phoar comes to mind. Can someone please help me articulate why the men in paranormal romance are so perfectly... Seriously, all of the words that come to mind are food associated. Scrumptious. Yummy. Tasty. I think I have worked out the secret to paranormal romance being so awesome. Its definitely the manly manly men, who are all beyond human in their extreme butch manliness of extremely sexual masculinity. pssh, human men can not compare.

So, why do you love paranormal romance? Let me know in the comments :)

Friday, 12 April 2013

review: Toil and Trouble, by H. P. Mallory

Title: Toil and Trouble
Author: H. P. Mallory
Format: Ebook
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Add this: Goodreads

The second book in H. P. Mallory's fantastic Jolie Wilkins series, Toil and Trouble continues straight from where Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble left off- in the middle of a paranormal war. Jolie awakes from a magical coma, having won the allegiance of the Fairy King in a battle, to find herself severely weakened, and the entire magical population about to go to war against each other. And they aren't just fighting for territory, or for power. They are fighting for Jolie herself- her power to reanimate the dead has attracted all the wrong sort of attention, naturally (something that was set up fantastically in the first book, which a total must read). So, prep for battle is ongoing through the book, which I thought would get boring, but doesn't as it builds slowly, and is broken up by much sexual tension/banter with both Rand Balfour (the infuriating Warlock that Jolie should totally be with- my God they need to just sort it out), and with Sinjin... who is there to confuse Jolie sexually and to totally delay her and Rand's relationship. 

And then there is the time travelling thing. And it all gets complicated, but I kinda figured out half way through how it was going to pan out (in the plot reveals, but not so much the plot developments), and got very non-nonsensical in my "Oooh, I know what could happen!" and "Aw, they wuv each other!" remarks... Yes, I talk to myself... problem?

Anyway. Jolie rocks, still. In fact, she rocks more in this book than the last. Her magic gets stronger, and she embraces the whole kicking ass thing, whilst retaining her loltastic personality. Rand is deliciously uptight, facing a decision between love and honour- I love that the reader finds out so much more about his history- afterall, a warlock who is over 100 years old has a lot of history to find out about- and this made him so much more accessible. In fact, I did swing from team Sinjin firmly into Team Rand. 

Overall.... 7.5 stars. So. Good.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Review: First Catch Your Husband: Adventures on the Dating Front Line, by Sarah Bridge

Allow me to introduce you to the incredibly funny, laugh-out-loud-on-the-train-and-get-stared-at book, First Catch Your Husband: Adventures of the Dating Front Line. Sarah Bridge has written a biographical account of her dating history, covering the time from which a slight fear of shrivelled ovaries hit her, causing a renewed vigour on the dating front.

Sarah has definitely had more than her fair share of dating misadventures... Ok, this is a hard review to write without feeling like I am criticising Sarah Bridge personally.This is not just her writing, but her real life, her love life, that I am discussing. It feels kind of personal. Lets try this again, with slightly less judging and more reviewing...

Sarah has had way more than her fair share of dating disasters- blind dates with green suited weirdos, singles events where no men turn up, and a financially (and physically) exhausting collection of hobbies pursued to increase your chance of running into "The One", or at least, a vaguely good looking man with similar hobbies to you. Sarah also goes into the various other aspects of the single life- sympathetic and pitying looks from friends, poorly phrased zen advice from newly un-single friends (who are suddenly pros at life, especially dating, even after years of failure).

The writing is funny, but marked with a vague tone of desperation and maybe a tinge of self-pity. There were moments where I felt almost sorry for Sarah, and every other single woman past the age of 30. And yet, as the book progressed, you could almost see her mental state developing, which was somewhat reassuring. Whilst there were some really slow parts, when Sarah is mid-anecdote, she is a superb story teller of awkward but hilarious stories over lunch with the girls, type stories. I began reading this on the tube, and soon had to stop, after receiving weird looks for me laughing out loud.

A mixed bag here... A very honest, borderline critical look at the world of dating in your 30s, written by an intelligent and vaguely funny woman, who is incredibly brave for putting herself out there like this, baring soul for biographical purposes. Funny, but not spectacular. 5.5 stars