Tag Archives: romance

Review: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer
Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THREE AND A HALF STARS.

I finished this book a few weeks ago in February. It was a good read. But something hasn’t set right in my mind.

It starts with a murder. And a ghost. And Colette Iselin, a teenager whose parents just got divorced and who is about to embark on a trip to Paris, France. Which, Ooo La La. Trés bien. I’ve been flirting with ideas of Paris lately. The story took off soaring between a muder, a ghost, and this angsty trip to Paris with some snotty and not-so-snotty kids. Oh, and a few cute guys (Jules, her tour guide in France), which never hurt a tale.

Anyone that knows me, knows I have a special place in my heart for a good ghost story. It had me right from the start. I enjoyed the beginning. It’s somewhere around the middle that this story lost it’s flair and panache for me. I don’t know if it’s because the murder/ghost chapters were too far apart for my liking. Not enough of them. Because, to me, it was more like a great YA romance story rather than a mystery…

to me anyway. Not that the romance was bad. It was interesting and sweet and had triangles and just a basic couple… Always a great tale, IMO. Except when I’m expecting international intrigue and murder more than love.

Long story short, I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the story I had in my mind. This is probably just a “me thing” where I get my mind set on something and wind up a little upset when it doesn’t fit.

I’d rec this if you’re more in the mood for love (and love in PARIS is a win!) rather than something that haunts. Again, it was a good, teen angsty, story that just needed more paranormal instances to make it really shine, IMO.

That and maybe a little epilogue to know what happened to Jules and Colette…

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The master list.

Once upon a time, I was reading a book written by Stephen King and happened upon a character named “Ace Merrill”. He lived in a little place of yore called Castle Rock, Maine. Well, that name/that location sent a smile to my face and memories into my brain. I knew this guy from that story that other time. Talk about being excited when I remembered little things that I loved about the town or couldn’t stand about Ace…It was like being in on a secret. I had to tell people, “Remember that guy from that place? Well, they’re back. No seriously. You have to read it.”

I blame Stephen King for this thing I have about linking my stories through characters, places, or just little hints. Even if no one else gets it, I know it’s there and am proud.

Lately, though, it feels like nothing is connecting. Not a story, a line, a name, or a title. I have a Tinkerbell journal full of notes for another Rom-Com in NYC I think I want to write for NaNoWriMo.

And if I do start writing on this, I will of course crossover locations or mention a person in passing–The Stephen King Effect. (The New York City thing for RomComs came from movies like The Secret of My Succe$s and What’s Your Number? {okay, so that’s Boston, but big city love story nonetheless} and even Something Borrowed.)

I like the idea of Sean and Gemma almost meeting at the same place that Kurt bought an apology latte…I like that Violet works with Sean while Charlie’s boss is Kurt. I like that this one hotspot is used for breakups and make-ups alike. What I don’t like is fishing through over 1000 pages of combined manuscripts to find that name or that place. That’s where the need for a master list of these tales comes into play.

I could just type a list on the computer. I have a few of those in OneNote and Word docs. But I like a solid journal with pages to flip through. I have images of places in my mind that I drew/draw that I like to reference in addition to photos. I like to keep the descriptions the same from story to story to make it more familiar…a home…like Castle Rock before it met its end.

There are three sections: The Stories which has either a book cover/promotional poster idea with a summary, characters, & locations. (The exact reason label makers were made.)

If Only in Our Dreams

Dreams can hold the best life has to offer. Who says they can’t come true?

Gemma has the worst luck with men. After this last date with the loser of her life, she’s ready to give up men. Her friends beg her for one more weekend–because they can choose a better guy for her–of blind dates. She agrees to one last weekend, though she’s regretting it already. Her friends will never find a guy like the one from her dreams. He’s hot and loving and the sex… Impossible.

Sean has the worst luck with women. After this last date with quite the drama queen, he’s ready to give up women. His friends beg him for one more weekend before doing anything drastic. After all, his friends can pick a woman better than the one from his dreams, right? Maybe not.

Life Imitating Art/Life Imitating Art

Every story has two sides, and Jana’s and Kurt’s are no exception. This duet of novels covers the same events, but are two entirely different tales. What he says is definitely not what she says about their lives from the moment they met.

Life Imitating Art: Jana Hampstead–pen name: JR Toscani–is a best selling romance authors of our time. After meeting her new editor Kurt, she realizes their story mimics the first story she’s ever written–Texas Violets, a fanfiction-turned-bestseller. Much like her characters, there’s ups and downs…and more downs…and he’s her editor, so that’s probably frowned upon around the editing firm. Oh definitely it is. Can Jana and Kurt put aside their differences and finish her new novel before their escapades can become office gossip?

Life Imitating Art: Kurt Werner–aspiring novelist and editor at top firm Eckhart & Bernstien–has been suffering a writer’s block the size of Jupiter. Every word he types ends with a delete. The story isn’t there. Then he meets his new client, JR Toscani–real name, Jana Hampstead. She envokes a rage…a passion within him. Next thing he knows, his job is on the line, but the words are flowing like a river flooding its banks. Can Kurt find a way to balance an editing job, Jana, and a new story that just won’t stop before it all comes crashing to a halt?

Wings

Take my hand. I’ll take yours. Together we’ll do this. Until we find love.

Told through two different points of view.

Charlie Everett plays wingman for his best friend, hoping to pay off an old debt. Violet Granger is trying to show “Daddy” that she can make it on her own. One night of wing services, they meet and their world couldn’t be sweeter. But, like always, real life and exes can break some wings. Can Charlie and Violet spread their wings so love can soar?

There are a few more stories not mentioned here. And I’m trying to decide where to put these stories–here, Wattpad, or e-pub them. Plus, this has been great for my story blocked mind. My hands are busy drawing, coloring, painting. My mind thinks as I do this…to the point of generating a new idea for a story that hasn’t been told in YA or adult books that I’ve been able to find. I’ve got a few opening lines to the story I’ve been wanting to type on. And have expanded my old notes on this NYC Rom-Com series, though I have yet to come up with a title.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

all images are my own.
this post is filed under random blathering and writer’s block.

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Review: Waiting for Clark

Waiting for Clark
Waiting for Clark by Annabeth Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am torn as to what to rate this one. 3 stars for the deceptive length of the book. 4 stars for the story. So I’m settling on 3.5 STARS.

Sometimes you just have to don the cape and pray you fly.

This is the tale of a M/M romance. Bryce owns a comic-y bar. He and his friends are going to a local Comic Con in Portland, OR dressed as friends from the Justice League. Bryce has the duty of being the Caped Crusader. But who is going to be Superman?

Enter Clark. (Too bad it wasn’t Kent…but it was VERY close.) Clark is an “ex” of Bryce’s of sorts. They were roommates back in college before Clark went off on his scholarships to get his higher degrees. They shared a moment once, but it was quick and fleeting and that was it. Until Clark became Superman.

From there, the story has the typical cutesy twist and turns, with a moment of spice. I really enjoyed it. Wasn’t over-the-top erotic, wasn’t too sappy romantic. Just a fun, relatable–for me– read. I couldn’t recommend it more.

The only thing I didn’t like was the quickness of the story. I’m sitting on my Kindle at 85% and I’m actually done. The rest was typical fillers–author’s notes, acknowledgements, etc–and the majority was a preview of the next book. I don’t think this is fully the author’s fault, I mean, Kindles count all the pages and not just that of the story (wish that would change). My problem is that it wasn’t mentioned about a first chapter or pages upon pages of a preview. Frustrating! I really wanted more story for Clark and Bryce. Be warned that it’s there.

Overall an enjoyable read.

*I NEED A HERO READ – MAY 2016* NOTE: Instead of a generic hero theme, I should have made it a Captain America theme. I had no idea he was mentioned in this book that fully implies a DC comic world.

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Bookstore observations:

Books. They line every shelf, every aisle. As far as the eye can see. Well, except the cafe. The scent of new books fills my nostrils and my heart speeds up. I’m on a hunt for something to fall in love with. Something to read and cherish and mark in and love until the pages are broken and worn. This particular hunt is for that perfect RomCom.

I’ve read other RomCom-y almost stories…

I loved this back in its fic days… The first fic I have ever read, the book series is excellent, too.

The paperback version I own was given to me from Fics 2 Flicks. If they hadn’t sent it my way, I would have NEVER discovered this lovely gem.

And they are fantastic and on my favorites shelf in GoodReads. But they’re too Eromedy for what I’m searching for. (Eromedy is a term I made up when I wrote Life Imitating Art. The author in that story called her tales Eromedies…and I use it all the time now. It’s Erotic Romance meets Romantic Comedy.) Not that there is anything wrong with these stories, but I want something sweet and endearing and not all about the sexy times.

I have a few of those. Much like the books above, I own multiple incarnations of them or the entire series or both. They sit on my shelves and on my kindle. I pull them out on occasion to read through my favorite parts that I’ve bookmarked and/or highlighted. Much like the line in What’s Your Number?, the movie, each thing brings a patter to my heart, a smile to my lips. I love these books.

A few of my Absolute Favorites:

What’s Your Number?

Originally titled: 20 Times a Lady

Both by Karen Bosnak. One is a movie tie-in cover. I own both–in paperback and kindle–because I just love the story so much!
Did you know, in the books, the main character’s name wasn’t Ally Darling? It was Delilah Darling. Anyway…

Between the Lines  series by Tammara Webber

Boomerang series by Noelle August (a collab Veronica Rossi & Lorin Oberweger)

I don’t know what I loved most about these books. The drama. The humor. The story. They just snatched my attention and I couldn’t put them down until the last word was read, at which point I refused to put them down.

These are the types books I went hunting for.

I stalked my shelves first. I tend to hoard books like a squirrel readying his nuts for the winter. I buy them based on the appeal of the cover and a quick scan of the blurb. A few of my favorite books have been discovered with that process (see, The Night Circus). I got excited when I spotted:

Jane Austen Ruined My Life

I pulled it out and went for the description first. Read, read, read, and slowing down and…bummer. This turns out to be more Chick Lit than RomCom. I’m just not in that mood.

So I took to the web. GoodReads has lists and lists and I went straight for the RomCom list. Book after book. Found one that was highly rated and was supposed to be Cinderella meets Falling Down. Just off the pitch alone, I was had. And I got Perfect Girl by Michele Gorman on my kindle and read and read…all the way to 30% when I realized: CHICK LIT! NO! The break-up was inevitable…it just wasn’t working out. It’s not the book, it’s all me. Maybe I’ll pull an Ally Darling and try again in the future, but for now…

I have sadly found, a lot of Chick Lit is lumped into the RomCom categories. I don’t want a woman empowered  because she found her life path in a life of suckage, I want ROMANCE AND COMEDY! GET ME JAKE ADAMS!

(Take that back. I want COLIN SHEA more)

Now, I got excited when I came across The Nanny Diaries on Amazon and Goodread’s RomCom Lists.

And I truly adore the movie, so I thought, why not? The book and the movie align here and there, as it should. But the book took the more Nanny approach to life where the movie went all Harvard Hottie. And I wanted so much for Harvard Hottie to be the story. It wasn’t a bad book by any means, it was just not enough in the Rom to balance out the Com in the story. *heavy, slightly saddened sigh*

It wasn’t getting any better.

A friend (hi, kiTT!) recommended:

A Nicholas Sparks novel. (Found a copy at the bookstore!) It’s on my TBR list and bookshelf, but I’m worried it’s way too DramRom (Dramatic Romance) rather than RomCom…

While I was at the store hunting down that Sparks book, I searched for more RomComs…I’ll take anything movie related, television show related, or just a great, sweet story like it never before touching the screens of the world. I found the romance section and I was thrilled and full of hope. But as I walked through the books, my heart started breaking. These books had shirtless cowboys and southern belles, guys with long hair, historical tales, a dude in a kilt going by the name Outlander. Uh…somehow I wandered into the wrong place. None of them were for me. Totally out of my league and not really my type at all. Even if the shirtless cowboys did snag a peek of my attention…I’m no longer hanging at Billy Bob’s. Time to go.

So I wander past the graphic novel aisle, stopping to consider Saga book 5 and Captain America (The Winter Soldier, Civil War, and the so very heartbreaking, The Death of Captain America…Pass. I think I’ll save my breakdown and ten boxes of tissues for the movie, thank you) and enter the generic fiction shelves. I found a ton of Chick Lit, traditional fiction, a row of Stephen King, a shelf of Gillian Flynn…and oh, look! Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin (the current read)! All I needed was Something Blue. They didn’t have that, but they did have Baby Proof on my TBR list… but that’s total Chick Lit. Ugh. Okay…There were some Sophie Kinsella novels, though the one I’m searching for:

may just have to come in Kindle form. *heavy sigh* Shelf after shelf was not even close to anything I want to read right now.

I go across the main aisle and search the YA section…because I do love me some YA reads more often than not. Twilight barely exists anymore, only occupying a third of a shelf. Sad. But that’s not even RomCom genre. Shelf after shelf. Much like fiction, I notice groupings. There is a section of dystopian love where The Hunger Games and Divergent run into The Maze Runner.  They aren’t bad, but I am sort of tired of reading about heroines who conquer all. Then there is the strong heroine in the contemporary fiction. BTDT. Random fiction, a lot of which I have read already. And much like the fiction section, I am realizing RomCom seems like an antiquated notion these days.

When did it go against the rules for a basic love story to exist? Does it really matter if a girl falls for a guy or vice versa or guy for a guy or girl for a girl? Because it seems like if a girl falls for a guy, she broke some law and the universe will come to a halt. I’m not saying have the MC be a weak little thing and give up her life for the football captain or whatever…even if I do love me some Sixteen Candles  and Jake Ryan types. I’m feeling like any fluff and fun that used to be so easy to find has just fizzled into nothing. And if the guy falls for a girl, he’s seen as weak. And if the guy falls for a guy, then it has to be about him dealing with it instead of just being in love. And same with a girl for a girl…UGH. WHERE ARE THE STORIES OF LOVE WITHOUT A LIFE-LESSON-DRAMA TO GO WITH IT?

Which truly concerns me. Because those are my stories. I love the not-life-lesson-drama and the heart and the fun. I adore the moment someone admits their feelings. I love the chase and typically the happy ending no matter the cliché. I’m a sucker for such things. I’m DYING to read a story like this. I’m on the verge of writing a story like this. Which bring me to the next concern…

If they are so out of sync with the world these days, would it get published? Would it be worth a write? That’s a major thought…one that makes me pause and think of all the sci-fi, the dystopian, the stories of strength and virtue…is a RomCom just nothing in the world of publishing now? Because I know I am hard pressed to find a good RomCom-y movie these days. (Which I can’t wait to see My Fair Dude! Wish it was a book!)

I hope I’m just overthinking again. Because something in my gut is yelling at me to write this story.

In the meantime, I did pick up one book (that hopefully fits this love story idea) since I recently acquired the companion story on my Kindle and I was desperately searching for this one:

I just hope it’s as cute as the book jacket summary reads.

And PS… I totally bought the second one just because of the cover alone. (I have a weird book/page art thing. I have a whole pinterest board dedicated to that obsession.)

So to any of my readers, followers out there…if you can recommend a GREAT ROMCOM, please do. Comments, email, twitter…tumblr…any of them. I am desperate for a new love! I can only Colin Shea for so long… (going on five years now…Who am I kidding? This will probably last for an eternity.)

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#PitMad is tomorrow.

Am thinking of participating.

Am thinking of how to pitch Human Touch.

Not paranormal, but with a ghost. Romance all the way. Definitely a YA series for this half.

I’m leaning towards doing something someone told me last year to avoid doing. Maybe it will be just what I need to do to make this work. I’m going to bring in the tales that this story kind of grew from. I’m talking split-aparts. To others, this is more like soul mates–although I will argue this to my death–they are not the same thing.

Years ago before Google was the go to search, I yahoo’ed the term split-aparts. There wasn’t much at the time. I mean, this was the dawning of the internet when I looked it up. All I found was a simple Japanese folktale about a man and a woman who met each other and realized they were halves that completed a whole. They lived and loved long lives. And when it came time to move on into the next world, they laid side by side, hand in hand so that their souls would move onto the next world together.

Sweet. Simple.

A few years ago, I came across the Greek version of this tale. Pretty much the same thing, except it gets a little freaky and weird. But then what Greek mythological tale doesn’t. Yeah, I’m looking at you Oedipus, even though you can’t see that.

{Greek Mythology}

Was that Oedipus jab too soon? Anyway…

I like to make things difficult. Twist them until they’re barely recognizable. That’s what this story is. A very weird, long, twisting, epic version of tales like these with ghosts, humans, Heaven, Hell, Atlantis, worlds both on this side of life and the other, the other side’s answer to the FBI, the occult, high school, the 80s, now, Michael J Fox, Rick Springfiield, and purgatory…It starts off slow yet fast, confusing and sweet and builds into something that takes you to places that are either so real it’s like earth or so made up it couldn’t possibly exist. All nice and neatly wrapped up within tales of love, lost loves, hateful bullying, another important issue I won’t mention without screaming spoiler alert, cheating significant others, fidelity, jealousy, life and death.

And that’s all within the first three books. The last three are this and more. (Something just clicked yesterday…a problem I was having in a specific piece of the story…problem solved now) I’m excited to get them finished. More excited for someone other than myself and two others to actually give this tale a read.

Now, if I can get that description down to 140 characters, I’m going to so rock #PitMad. Assuming the term split-apart doesn’t chase anyone off…

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