Waving goodbye to Under The Dome

Waking up for an Under The Dome inspired nightmare at 5am today was the second to last straw. I tried to cuddle up on hubby for comfort but he was facing the wrong way (I can’t be the big spoon) and I didn’t want to wake him up to make him roll over.

But beyond the nightmare and loss of sleep, the very last, most wispy, tiny, yellow straw was the killing off of ANOTHER good guy. I dealt with the first 3 or 4 dying ok (by “ok” i mean i had nightmares about me being the next murder/rape/severed limb victim) as it is to be expected in dark/horror books. I mean heck, good people die in Sookie Stackhouse’s world all the time and I keep reading those!

But while I was reading it on the metro this morning these three plucky good-guy teenagers go out on their bikes to inspect the possible source of the Dome…and get radiation poising near the dead bodies of deer and a bear. I slammed the book shut (gagged a little to be honest) and vowed not to re-open it.

So I’m now waving goodbye to Under The Dome. I shall not be finishing it. Well…tonight, while I decide whether to watch my DVR’d American Idol, Real World DC, or the live Olympics I may try to skim the last 50 pages to find out if anyone in the Dome-covered-town survives the madmen, evil-police-force, air pollution, meth addicts, or radiation poisoning. But I have a feeling if the mysterious force-field-Dome ever lifts no one is going to be left. Certainly not any good guys.

The last time I read Stephen King was a bunch of short stories when I was about 12, now that I’m 26 I thought I’d be better able to handle it. But I was wrong. I’m like that dog that never learns about the electric fence and keeps getting shocked. Remember when I gave up on Michael Grant’s GONE series which is so super duper similar and so often compared to King’s Dome? Yeah I gave those up because they were too horror, gore, and sadness filled for me, I guess I needed another zap of the electric collar to make me learn.

I can’t decide of the electric collar analogy is the best for me or “curiosity killed the cat,” because I wanted to read Under the Dome due to my G*d-damn curiosity about how the force-field around the town came to be, how would people survive under it, and would it ever lift?

*sigh*

I’m still going to try and mix up my reading genres, because I know I can’t survive on a diet of just romance alone, but I won’t be venturing too far away for a while.

EDITED TO ADD LATE BREAKING NEWS: just skipped ahead 500 pages and read the last 50, thank goodness a few of the good guys made it. The ending and Big Reveal are so very very reminiscent of Ender’s Game if you read and loved that, then it’s totally worth pushing through Under the Dome.

Library loot: how bout a little romance with your horror?

My library loot today is playing another balancing game, similar to when I got The Road.  That time around my reading math was: “Depression from The Road will be equalized by no less than three (3) Romance Novels”

And although I swore off apocalypse and dystopian novels as they mirrored too closely the horrible natural disasters, wars, and terrorism in real life current events, my curiosity for Stephen King’s latest (and my reading skill at skimming through scary/sad parts) won out. Plus I was on the library wait list for 42 weeks, just getting to #1 was a feat too great to ignore.

So my current math is: 1072 pages of horror/gore/dystopian society in Under the Dome is offset by 3 romance novels and one exciting paranormal book.

Hmmm I actually think I need to add another happy ending to this group. I don’t know if 3 are enough to combat the severed limbs, radiation, and drug factories in Under the Dome. Scared and/or nauseous yet? I know I am!

So, here is my (hopefully balanced) loot:

  1. Under The Dome by Stephen King: I’m about 200 pages in and have been frightened out of my wits and lost my appetite, but I can’t turn the pages fast enough. I haven’t read King since 6th grade (I didn’t sleep for 3 days as was afraid of sink and shower drains for a while) but I’m holding together surprisingly well.
  2. Prince Charming, by Julie Garwood: This tale of an English noblewoman marrying an American mountain man to escape her evil family members and track down the kidnapper of her baby neices is one of my personal Top 16 Favorite Romance Novels. Sure I like Garwood’s The Bride or The Gift, but for some reason Taylor and Lucas’ love story in the wild west really gets me here *pointing to my heart* Published in 1994 it also falls under my favorite faux-sub-genre of romance novels: Old Skool goodness.
  3. Ashes in the Wind, by Kathleen Woodiwiss: Speaking of old skool romances, Woodiwiss is royalty in that arena. Yet I had never read her before I picked up The Flame and The Flower a few weeks ago…this is all due to my dear, dear Kati of Katidom. I thought I loved old skool romance, but she is a connoisseur if you will. I also told her of my penchant for heroines who are disguised as boys but the hero ALWAYS sees through their disguise and she told me I had to get my paws on this civil war story immédiatement!
  4. Love Letters From a Duke, by Elizabeth Boyle: I know zip, zlich, nada about this book or this author. Just saw it in the paperback romance novel section of the lib and liked the back cover blurb: 
  5. He’s at her service . . . Though she can’t afford the coal to heat her drafty Mayfair mansion, Felicity Langley still clings to her dream of marrying a duke—one she’s had since her very first curtsy. After all, she’s been promised to the very lofty Duke of Hollindrake for the last four years. Now all she has to do is meet him. But what Felicity doesn’t realize is that she has met her duke—he’s the altogether too handsome man who Felicity has just mistaken . . . for her new footman!

    5.  Sunshine, by Robin McKinley: This fantasy tale is also part of my loot thanks to further recommendations by the lovely Kati! And when I saw Neil Gaiman described it as “A gripping, funny, page-turning pretty much perfect work of magical literature that exists more or less at the unlikely crossroads of Chocolat, Interview With a Vampire, Misery and the tale of Beauty and the Beast. It’s not quite SF, and it’s not really horror, and only kind of a love story, and it’s all three while still being solidly Fantastique” I started to get a really strong feeling I would like it!

    So, even after typing up all that nice-y nice stuff about my four “happier” books, I still think I’m going to have to add more sweetness and light to my reading regimen after (if? im sort of thinking if a little teensy bit) I ever finish Under The Dome. Maybe I’ll make a little trip to my local bookstore and browse the happily ever after section a bit :)

    Library loot is a weekly meme hosted by Eva and Marg.

Curvalicious: A Different Kind of Heroine, A Different Kind of Publisher

Today brings a guest post from Karen Jones, Promotions Manager of Accomplice Press. As you know I’m a big proponent of curvy women and I may have blogged a little feast for your eyes on this before, but there are only maybe 2 to 3 good romance novels that come to my mind where I’ve read about more voluptuous heroines. So when Karen contacted me about their new Curvalicious line of romances I signed right up. For any writers reading my blog, make sure to check out the end of her post for the writing competition!

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As women, writers, wives, lovers and publishers the staff at Accomplice Press understands what true romance is all about.  It has nothing to do with your weight and everything to do with how you feel inside.  Curvalicious is romance at its finest; our curvy, intelligent, self-confident, sexy heroines will land the man of their dreams and have a happily ever after without losing a single pound or changing who they are on the outside.  These stories may be short in length but they will be filled with great dialog, intriguing plots and characters that women of all sizes will relate to.  Romance is about fantasy but everyone has a different idea of what that is so we are releasing two sub genres.  Curvalicious Sweet will have sensual love scenes, but no explicit language or sex and Curvalicious Spicy will have erotic romance containing explicit language and sex scenes.

Curvalicious is just what the book industry needs and Accomplice Press is the company to make it a priority.  We are a full service, boutique style publisher focusing on manuscripts that are often overlooked by the large warehouse presses.  DJ Alling is our brilliant CEO, Editor, Co-founder and the creator of this book line.  She beautifully explains why Curvalicious is so important to her in this quote:

“Society and the media have convinced women that men won’t find you attractive if you wear double-digit sizes.  This is reinforced by the romance book industry.  The leading terms used to describe a heroine are slender, thin, lithe, small, and tiny.  Real women read romances, and real women deserve to be able to relate to the heroines.  Romance stories are about fantasies, and as a large woman, I personally do not find it satisfying to fantasize about a man touching a body that I can’t relate to.  I also happen to know that men love women of all sizes.  Sexy comes from within.  That is why I created Curvalicious.”

Our mission at Accomplice Press is to give new authors a chance to share their voice with an audience that is ready to listen.  That’s why we are so happy to announce the Curvalicious writing competition.  Beginning on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2010 we will begin taking entries at curvecontest@accomplicepress.com.  We will be accepting submissions in two different categories, one sweet and one spicy.  All the requirements and details are available at Accomplicepress.com.  The competition will end at midnight on May 14, 2010. On May 28, 2010 two winning entries will be chosen, announced on Accomplicepress.com, then contracted and published in ebook format.  The top three submissions of each category will also be included in the first Curvalicious print anthology.  In conjunction with this writing competition Accomplice Press will also be holding a general ‘open call’ to all authors, with original manuscripts, who use their voice in unique ways that push the boundaries.

Accomplice Press may be the new kids on the block but we have years of experience and are dedicated to literary excellence.  Please share us with your friends.  We will be launching other specialized lines this July when we attend Romcon in Denver.  To keep updated on news and upcoming events please join Accomplice Press Chatter at Accomplicepress.ning.com

Succubus Blues, sunburned, and satisfied

*Bbrrrrrrrrrrrrr*

DC is welcoming us home with frigid temperatures, but my head is still spinning with beautiful memories of the beach, great food, and a fun reggae concert.

It’s also spinning with all the paranormal Seattle, historical London, and contemporary Texan settings, exciting plots, and unique characters from the three books I brought in my suitcase. But I really wanted to talk about the first one I read, Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead.

I fell in love with her YA Vampire Academy series, but for the life of me I CANNOT properly give a grade to or impartially tell you about Succubus Blues.

I know what a succubus is from previous exposures to this mythology: a female demon seducing men in their sleep. I knew the protagonist in this book was a succubus (obvi!!!!). I knew that meant she’d probably be having sex with lots of men/maybe not nice men/as well as her potential love interest, for demonic reasons as well as struggling with her morality.

I just didn’t really think this through in relation to my personal reading preferences. I was more like, “Oh, Richelle Mead, she’s great, I’ll read this random book she wrote.” And then about 15 pages in after the heroine, Georgina Kincaid, shape shifts into a dominatrix demon to have sex with a single, fat, ugly, 30-something living in his parents’ basement, I was squicked out.

I kept reading since I was on the plane, but that type of heroine is just not for me. I’ve blogged about it before, but totally non-human heroines with very different agendas/goals/morals/eating habits/life forces are a real turn-off. For example: 99% of the time, no matter how lauded the character, author, or series I will not pick up any book where the heroine is a vampire.

*putting my fingers in me ears* I can’t heaaarrr you! Don’t try to tell me how great x, y, or z is, I won’t do it. (Although I am this.close to trying Molly Harper’s Nice Girls Don’t series, but don’t try to push me on it!)

This is so personal and I absolutely KNOW it’s not true in the slightest for many readers. I will absolutely keep trying paranormal-different-species-heroines, and sometimes get pleasant surprises, like special-psychic-powers from-a-whole-new-race-of-beings Sacha from Slave to Sensation. Even though she was quite alien (her eyes are totally black with a field of white stars that sometimes turn into multi-colored fireworks) her personality, her desires, her ethical code, her reactions to others…all I could relate to. 

In Succubus Blues even though the mystery surrounding who was killing off other paranormals in Seattle, how and why did Georgina become a succubus, what secrets about the paranormal world hierarchy and beings are her superiors keeping from her, and can she fall in love with a human man? were alllll great story lines with fun fast-paced plotting I couldn’t get past Georgina herself.

So yeah. Sorry about that.

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MOVING ON. As I recovered from my sunburn (yes I let some Twitterers see my chestal area) after our FIRST DAY in the sun, I really enjoyed my other two reads, Lisa Kleypas’ Blue Eyed Devil and Loretta Chase’s Don’t Tempt Me. I can’t say I adore Lisa Kleypas’ contemporary-set books nearly as much as her historicals but her past two following the Travis siblings finding love in Texas have been quite entertaining.

It was a very satisfying vacation, a big part in thanks to my reading materials being so good! Ugh, I can’t imagine enjoying a vacation where I didn’t like the books I brought! That wouldn’t make sense to a non-bookworm I’m sure, but for us readers I think it really makes a difference.

I Love…

I’m fairly ambivalent about Valentine’s Day. Don’t love it or look forward to it in great excitement, don’t hate it, nor does it annoy me. It’s just there, another day to tell and show hubby how much I love him. However; I did really adore a blog post by one of my favorite blogger’s Pioneer Woman, in honor of this love-filled holiday. It lists some of the things she loves, and since I’m on vacation right now this isn’t too hard of a post for my sun-baked mind to come up with.

I LOVE…

our rescued mutt, Kedzie

my spot on the couch

goat cheese

fleece jackets

Simon and Garfunkel

nutella

Nalini Singh’s books

flip flops

thunderstorms

spooning with the hubby

ruffles, bows, or ribbons on my clothing

jasmine green tea

when my parents visit me

reading by the fire

rare steak

the romance novel section of a book store

the smell of fresh cut grass

jeans that lift my butt up

Britney Spears

Riesling wine

the happily ever after ending of books

Grease

memories of my sister and I at our all-girls summer camp

the way hubby proposed

What do YOU love?

In My Suitcase (escape from the blizzards of 2010)

Y’all. It’s like a war-zone in DC with these blizzards. I feel like our flight made it out in between bombings or something. Like there was a lull in the battle for 12 hours and our plane was just able to sneak out. Yes we left 3 days later that we were supposed to, but we made it! Hallelujah!

I tried not to be too smug in my last post, but I think our first 2 flights getting cancelled was a little bit of karma for me posting too soon about escaping the blizzards. When I was packing on Tuesday I refrained from posting the pictures of the excellent reading materials in my suitcase until we were safely in Florida! So here we are, and here is my suitcase:

I saved up my last two People Magazines, it was hard letting them languish on the table, but they are too perfect of beach reads to waste on metro rides to work. I also brought 3 recent library finds and all-new-to-me reads so I’m very excited for Lisa Kleypas’ Blue Eyed Devil, Loretta Chase’s Don’t Tempt Me, and Richelle Mead’s Succubus Blues.

I was cooped up inside since Friday, staring at this stack of books, it was beckoning me to pick one up for entertainment during the endless hours of snow…I resisted with the hope I’d be able to read them in sunny Florida, and I’m so glad I did!

But as we settled into the condo last night I took a peek at the books nestled under the bedside table. I needn’t have brought any with me after all! Don’t you love when you travel and the hotel or rental house has a bookcase of books to borrow, or you can leave behind your own for the next visitors? It’s always so interesting to see the array offered, from the typical Tom Clancy and John Grishams, to maybe some Oprah book club picks, and there are ALMOST ALWAYS a few solid romance novel choices. I feel like it gives you a clue into the owner or previous vacationer’s personalities and you can imagine them reading the same story as you while soaking in the sun on the balcony.

In this case the row of romance novels left behind was too perfect for words, and I would be saving my library books and reading these now if they weren’t slightly mildewy:

I wonder if you can Febreeze books? Because those two Judith McNaughts are really calling my name, I haven’t read Once and Always since I was about 13 years old, and it brings back fond memories. There’s a Linda Lael Miller and Rosemary Rogers. So many classic names! And I’ve never even heard of this Linda Howard book, Loving Evangeline?

Always better to have too many reading choices than not enough! I just might have to clean some of these off depending how quickly I read the others as we are here for another SIX DAYS. Yay.

I may not be around much online, but we are currently stealing internet from someone else in the condo building named “zach,” so thank you zach for not protecting your wireless internet connection! We weren’t expecting to have one so I’ll at least be around more than I planned. For now…it’s off to the beach!

Life’s A Beach

Ooooh a title that’s a double entendrrruh (i say the french pronunciation since i’m snooty like that). The 2nd part of the double entendre comes into play at the end of the post, so stick with me!

So life’s a bitch here in DC with over 14″ of snow downtown and another 5 hours of the storm ahead of us in a city that is totally unequiped to handle this kind of weather. Restaurants, metro, buses..all shut down. My office closed at 2pm yesterday and will most likely be closed on Monday. I heard the grocery store near us is open, but no cashiers, it’s all self checkout only.

This is exactly why I didn’t move back to Chicago after college! I had my share of blizzards growing up and DC is definitely not supposed to have them. People here totally freaked out though. When I was sitting at work on Thursday I watched twitter with growing trepidation as pictures like Mandi’s popped up of empty shelves, and one of the Whole Foods near my house that had a line just to GET IN to the store. The DCist also had some great pictures of the crazyness that was the grocery stores the day before the storm hit.

Seriously people? You’ll be inside for maybe TWO DAYS!!! No need to freak out like this. Yes I am a superior Northerner, but still, the lines and grabbyness were ridiculous. However, I needed lemons, garlic and onions for the recipes I was going to make over the weekend. The reason I didn’t buy more is due to the second part of the double entendre which we’ll get to in a sec. So I did brave the Harris Teeter by my work in Arlington, VA knowing that the stores near my house in downtown DC would be way too swamped. I got in the 30 person line and promptly busted out my current read, Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan. I didn’t care how dorky I looked reading in the grocery store line, at least I was entertained for the 40 minutes I had to wait!

Anyways, I’ve been up since 8am today and haven’t seen a single car on the road, just one plow that was a private contractor for the church across the street, it is so beautiful and quiet out there! The snow is still coming down, but the worst is behind us…we even had thundersnow last night!

Here is a picture of our street:

I also took a little video of Kedzie and I out on her walk, please ignore the high pitch of my voice, it sounds so obnoxious, so I’m just going to excuse that by saying it was only like that since I was talking to the dog. Also please excuse my hyperbole of “the funniest thing I have ever seen in my life” needless to say, I have seen funnier:

I uploaded two other videos here if you want to subject yourself to my ramblings even further, but you have to admit, Kedzie is adorable.

In case you can’t tell by my tone I am not put out by this storm IN THE SLIGHTEST. Part of my positive attitude is because I think it’s beautiful and know we will be warm and comfortable and lack for nothing, we are lucky like that. But also life is about to be a REAL BEACH for us as we are heading to FLORIDA tomorrow. Fingers crossed that our flight won’t be cancelled! When we made our reservations months ago hubby wanted to fly out on Friday so we could have an even longer vacation, but I argued for Sunday so we wouldn’t have to put the dog in the kennel for even longer. I am so glad he listened to me, because all flights were cancelled Friday and Saturday.

We’ll be here for the next 8 days:

And I’m all stocked up on books for our 75 degree beach reading weather. Not only do I still have some of this library loot left over, but I went to the library again and have a few books I bought recently that I’ll be bringing with me. So I’ll do an In My Suitcase post before we go. Don’t be too jealous, but this vacation couldn’t have come at a better time! Hope you’re all staying warm and dry!