Conquering A Case of the Mean Reds

Hello, darlings! Miss me? Today’s post is all about getting over a case of the blahs and digging myself out of a reading rut. Now that I think about it, those two things sort of go hand-in-hand since books make me happy… Anyway, I digress.

Confession: I haven’t read anything for pleasure in nearly TWO months! That’s the equivalent of a year in bookworm time! In that time, I’ve found myself bouncing between apathy, indecisiveness, and paralyzing fear that when I finally choose a book it won’t live up to my expectations. If you’re a book nerd like I am, I’m sure you’ve experienced this before and understand where I’m coming from. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, believe me when I say it S-U-C-K-S!

Between the cold, gloomy weather and a perpetual case of the Mean Reds, it’s been a blah couple of weeks. The only things I had the energy for were scanning through TV reruns on Netflix, mindless internet surfing and scarfing down Oreos. Pathetic, I know.

After a particularly melancholy weekend involving sweatpants and one too many cookies, I finally decided to get off my ass, take charge and tackle my to do list, which includes reading a damn book already (and hit up the grocery store, but that’s a given)! So, I’m doing just that. After a pick-me-up latte and an uplifting 90s playlist — Spice Girls and N*Sync will always have my heart! — I’ve already crossed off numerous things on the list, plus scheduled fun and exciting plans for me to look forward to the rest of the month. On the book front, I downloaded a handful of sample previews on my Kindle and tuned in to my first #TeaTime (hosted by the gals at Epic Reads) today. I’m happy to report that I’m more pumped than ever to dive in and tackle ALL THE BOOKS!

ROAMING QUESTION: Have you ever been in a reading rut or stuck with a case of the Mean Reds? What did you do to get over it?

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’d Like To Start But Haven’t Yet

top ten tues

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme started by the lovely (and creative!) Jamie of The Broke and the Bookish. After following along since TTT’s inception and because list-making is a die-hard hobby of mine, I figured it was high time I made a Top Ten list of my very own! So I present to you:

Top Ten Series I’d Like To Start But Haven’t Yet

top ten new series

  1. The Hathaways series by Lisa Kleypas — Confession: I don’t read historicals but I’ve been eager to fall in love with them like many of my friends have. I’ve been told Lisa Kleypas is the perfect intro to historical romance and after reading the premise of this series it seems like a great place to start.
  2. Delirium series by Lauren Oliver — After hearing the buzz about this series on Twitter, I bought book 1 when it was a $2.99 Kindle Daily Deal. Now I’ve just got to actually read it!
  3. Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward — A dark paranormal series that is sensual and brooding. As a fan of The Vampire Diaries and True Blood (the TV shows) I think I’d really enjoy these.
  4. Play by Play series by Jaci Burton — I admit, the only reason this series even made it to my radar was because of the HOT covers! Of course, after reading the blurbs and finding them interesting, now I’ve got even more of a reason to give ’em a shot.
  5. Marriage to a Billionaire series by Jennifer Probst — The Marriage Bargain was a hit from Day 1 and after hearing the success story of the author (and how it’s been optioned for film), it’s high time I see what all the hoopla is about.
  6. Adrenaline series by Vivian Arend — After reading Falling, Freestyle, I became hooked on Vivian Arend’s sexy action romances. I’m sure this new series will not disappoint!
  7. Animal Magnetism series by Jill Shalvis — I love Jill Shalvis’ voice and when combined with cute animals that are part of the story, I’m betting I can’t go wrong with this series.
  8. Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa — Another Kindle Daily Deal that I gave into. The fantasy YA genre has piqued my interest in the last few months and I really want to read these to get a taste of what fey life is all about.
  9. Psy-Changling series by Nalini Singh — After witnessing all the crazed reactions to the recent cover reveal of the upcoming book in this series (#12, Heart of Obsidian), I knew I had to give in to peer pressure and see for myself what everyone was getting all worked up about (starting from book 1, obviously).
  10. Because You Are Mine series by Beth Kery — After the Fifty Shades of Grey craze, the Because You Are Mine serial became a hit. So much, in fact, that it’s been combined and turned into a full-length print book. So while technically it’s no longer a series, I’m still counting it as one since it started off that way.

And there you have it — my first Top Ten Tuesday and a list of series I need to read ASAP. Now it’s your turn!

ROAMING QUESTION: What do you think of my list? What series would you like to dive into?

Roaming Around the Web (4)

Time for another R.A.W. roundup!

  • Planning for Love by Christi Barth is currently free on Amazon. A contemporary romance that is the first book in the Aisle Bound series, it’s a must-download! Look out for the next book in the series, A Fine Romance, which will be released March 13.
  • Kristie (aka Kindle Gal) from Kindles and Wine posted a Q&A where she answers questions from bloggers (including myself!) and gives readers a behind-the-scenes peek at her personal/blogging life.
  • I’m sure you’re familiar with those awesome old-school pulp fiction posters —  you know, the ones that were on the covers of hard-boiled stories from the ’50s. Well, now you can make your own with the Pulp-O-Mizer tool! Totally free and completely customizable, the Pulp-O-Mizer will make a pulp fiction cover for your blog, book or Facebook page. I’m planning on making one & maybe even ordering a notebook or coffee mug with my print on it.
  • I come across random web videos all the time, but this one in  particular was SO awesome that I just had to share it: Soldiers imitating a “Call Me Maybe” video originally performed by the Dolphin Cheerleaders. The way those guys get into it totally. Makes. My. Day. If there’s one video you watch it’s this one, trust me!
  • And lastly, an app recommendation from me to you: Songza, a music site that plays songs based on your mood/setting/etc. For instance, right now it is Friday morning and the “Concierge” suggests playlists for: Working (no lyrics), Brand New Music, Working (with lyrics), Easing into the Day, and Enjoying the Morning. Cool, right? Best part: it’s free & ad-free! (PS: it’s also available on your computer if you don’t want to download the phone app)

ROAMING QUESTION: Have you come across anything interesting (romance/book-related or not) in the World Wide Web? If so, please share! I’m especially keen to links that feature cute animals doing even cuter — and quirkier — things.

Roaming Around the Web (3)

Time for another R.A.W. roundup!

  • My post on Meet Cutes was featured on the RT Blog! Give it a glance and feel free to share your favorite romance novel “meet cute.”
  • Shannon Stacey’s All He Ever Dreamed (Kowalski Family #6) was released this week and she stopped by the Harlequin blog to tell readers how to fall in love with a Kowalski. Because really, who wouldn’t want a man who looked like this?
  • Attention authors: do you have a book that’s polished & ready to be published? RT mag has a list of publishers currently seeking unsolicited manuscripts. Just make sure to give your story one more pass through Spell Check before sending off your submission!
  • GIF-filled Tumblr sites have been popping up in the blogosphere in what seems like every other day. Most of the time they get swept under the rug with the rest of ’em, but the Life in Publishing blog is one that I truly find hee-larious! If you’re a reader, writer, or publishing professional, I guarantee one (if not all) of these posts will speak to you. Why, just the other day I found myself LOLing at this one because it’s SO me.
  • Speaking of Tumblr, they have partnered with Chronicle Books to host a “Great Tumblr Book Search” contest. If you have a Tumblr blog that you think is perfect for publishing, submit your entry for a chance to share your creation with the rest of the world.
  • You already know I’m a sucker for cute animals doing squee-worthy things. Well, this one takes the cake: Scotland has released a series of photos featuring — wait for it — ponies in sweaters (Yes. Ponies! In sweaters!) in hopes of boosting tourism. According to Mashable, “The ponies, Fivla (red sweater) and Cinnamon (brown sweater), were photographed as part of VistScotland‘s “Year of Natural Scotland” campaign, which aims to celebrate the country’s natural beauty through landscape, art and wildlife.”Fivla & Cinnamon are achingly adorable in their knit sweaters. Amirite??

ROAMING QUESTION: Have you come across anything interesting (romance/book-related or not) in the World Wide Web? If so, please share! I’m especially keen to links that feature cute animals doing even cuter — and quirkier — things.

 

 

Nail Polish and Plot Combos

Confession time! One of my personal pleasures is painting my nails. I know, I know — pretty girly, right? To be honest, I’m not really a girly-girl, but it’s definitely one of my (feminine) thrills. When I’m feeling restless or looking for a change, I paint my nails. It sounds silly, but painting my nails gives me a sense of control and has the ability to dictate or imitate my current mood (bright nail polish = cheery demeanor, dark polish = moody and emo). In that sense, I believe nail polish is similar to books since both have a tendency to reflect someone’s personal life or transform her disposition.

That said, I thought it’d be fun to pair up books with polish colors that I think suit the story. Why match polish with clothes when you can match them to plots instead?

Sweet Kiss of Summer – OPI “Pink Flamenco”
A bold, friendly color to accompany the feel-good tones of this contemporary romance

Sweet Kiss of Summer + Pink Flamenco

Western Ties – OPI “Jade is the New Black”
Greenish hue to reflect the story’s countryside backdrop

Western Ties + Jade is the New Black

Hell on Wheels – OPI “Moonraker”
Metallic gray to match the motorcycle chrome & bad-boy angst

Hell on Wheels + Moonraker

Falling, Freestyle – OPI “Happy Anniversary!”
Frosty polish to go with the snowy, winter wonderland backdrop

Falling Freestyle + Happy Anniversary!

Mistress’s Master – OPI “Black Onyx”
Super black lacquer reminiscent of leather whips and no-nonsense Doms

Mistress's Master + Black Onyx

One Night with his Virgin Mistress – OPI “Privacy Please”
A soft, innocent sheer pink fit for a virgin

Virgin Mistress + Privacy Please

Fifty Shades of Grey – OPI “Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine!”
A dark, sensual gray for… Well, this one is pretty self explanatory

Fifty Shades + Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine!

South of Salem – OPI “Casino Royale”
A deep plum to accompany all the paranormal brouhaha

South of Salem + Casino Royale

 

ROAMING QUESTION: What would be your polish+plot picks? (alliteration ahoy!)

Roaming Around the Web (2)

It’s been a while since my last R.A.W. post, but with a new year, there’s all sorts of new and interesting bookish news and happenings.

  • Exclusively Yours, the first book in Shannon Stacey’s famous Kowalski Family series is currently *free* on Kindle and Nook. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this series so when I found out book one was free I downloaded it ASAP! I definitely can’t wait to read this one.
  • Harlequin is releasing a new imprint called KISS. The stories will feature “edgy, modern day characters” and is set to release next month in North America. The first batch of titles are already available for pre-order and to kick off the new line, Harlequin is currently offering Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly for free (Kindle/Nook) to give readers a taste of the KISS line.

    With my personal Harlequin challenge in the works, I’m adding the KISS line to books that count toward the challenge. Also, two words about the covers: bright and cheery. As someone who judges books by their covers, I’m already in love!

  • Reports of the USA’s first book-less library have been floating around the interwebs this week, making waves in the book world. Reactions have varied between embracing the technological advancement and outrage at the paperless blasphemy. According to reports, the 5,000 square-foot space will resemble an Apple store and patrons will be able to check out ereaders and ebooks, as well as use the library’s computers and tablets.

    A library without books? I dunno… What do you think about it?

  • As per my 2013 bookish resolutions, I’ve been on the prowl for books to read that are outside my usual romance genre. As if on cue, I came across this list of 13 most anticipated YA books on the RT blog. Cha-ching!

ROAMING QUESTION: Have you come across anything interesting (romance/book-related or not) in the World Wide Web? If so, please share! I’m especially keen to links that feature cute animals doing even cuter — and quirkier — things.

Peek to Pique: The Search by Nora Roberts

Peek to Pique

Welcome to the first edition of “Peek to Pique,” a weekly feature I created to share snippets of my current read, as well as books on my TBR shelf. The point of “Peek to Pique” is simple: to give readers a glimpse (peek) of a book in the hopes to entice (pique) them to add it to their own TBR. A peek to pique your interest. Get it? What can I say, I’m a sucker for alliteration. Without further ado, this week’s peek is from Nora Robert’s The Search.

***

As they came out of the woods, she looked up at the sky. “It’s cooling off. I could probably use the kindling. A nice fire, a glass of wine–of course, I won’t be able to get the bottle out of a beautiful cabinet, but I’ll live. I won’t be inviting you in, either.”
“Do you think if I wanted to finish up what we started back there I’d wait for an invitation?”
“No,” she said after a moment. “I should find that arrogant and off-putting. I have no idea why I don’t. Why don’t you want to finish what we started back there?”
He smiled at her. “You’ll be thinking about that, won’t you? I like your house.”
Baffled, she turned to study it as he was. “My house?”

***

P.S. As of now, the hardback edition of The Search is currently on sale for $3.99 on the Barnes and Noble site.

ROAMING QUESTION: What are you currently reading? Feel free to share a line or two in the comments!

To Boldly Go Where This Romance Reader Hasn’t Gone Before

In an attempt to fulfill my bookish resolution to read outside my usual genres, I’ve resolved to try my hand at sci-fi romance.

I’ve been on a “Star Trek” kick lately and while I wouldn’t consider myself a Trekkie, it got me thinking about intergalactic love affairs and the sci-fi romance genre in general. After reading my fair share of brown-haired heroes and hazel-eyed heroines, having a part-(or full!) alien main character may be a welcomed change. I admit that up until now I’ve never really been interested in the sci-fi genre, mostly because I’ve always been afraid that I wouldn’t be able to imagine or keep up with the descriptions, but then I realized how ridiculous I was being! If I can picture glittery vampires and post-apocalyptic death matches, I can do the same for outer space.

Between the world-building and interspecies interaction, I’m more than curious to see what the sci-fi romance galaxy has to offer. To that end, I’ve found a few sci-fi reads that pique my interest. Some of them are from Decadent Publishing’s 1 Night Stand series, since their short-story format is perfect for getting a feel for the genre without the intimidation and commitment of a full-length novel. However, I also found stumbled across a few full-length stories that also sound intriguing. I’ll definitely been adding some of these to my TBR pile.

1 Night Stand Sci-Fi Shorts

Full-length Sci-Fi Stories

 

 

For those of you who are hesitant about trying the sci-fi romance genre, I suggest reading this post from Decadent Publishing which asks, “Why Are You So Afraid of Science Fiction Romance?”

ROAMING QUESTION: What’s your take on sci-fi books? Do you prefer them to normal, earth-based settings? Inquiring minds want to know!

Live Long and Prosper!

Live Long and… Read Romance!

2013: The Year of the Bibliophile

Happy New Year!

A new year calls for new goals, new resolutions, and… a new site! I finally got around to giving RtR its own domain, which means I’m now a .com instead of a dot-wordpress-dot-com — much easier to remember & say, yes? Yes! There are still a few wrinkles that need to be ironed out and things that need to be transferred from the old site, but for those following me (Bueller? Bueller?), please update your list to include:

ROAMINGTHROUGHROMANCE.COM

In addition to a new site, I also have a list of bookish resolutions for the new year. I’ve been in a bit of a reading rut lately and I’m not only determined to fall back in love with reading and all the perks that come with it. That said, I’m proclaiming 2013 the Year of the Bibliophile! The List:

  • Become more involved in the book-blogging community. That means making more of an effort to comment of blogs I love and also to participate in book hops, challenges, and read-a-thons.
  • Read a minimum of 50 books this year. I fell short in my quota last year and I’m determined to hit my goal this time around!
  • Review all books at least two weeks after reading them. Even if it’s a short review, getting my thoughts down on paper (er, computer) right away will make it easier to write the review and I’ll be less likely to forget what I liked/didn’t like about the book.
  • Create a blogging schedule and post at least 2x/week. This will be a bit challenging for me, at least in the beginning. I really want to become more regular with posting and I think having a schedule and queue of topics would help me achieve this.
  • Read 3-5 books outside my comfort zone. Not necessarily boring books I’d dread reading, but interesting reads I wouldn’t usually pick up. This includes genres I don’t usually flock to, like non-fiction, dystopian, historical romance, etc.

I’m likely to add more to the list as the weeks go on, but (for the time being) these are my top five bookish goals for the year. As for the new site, please bear with me as I continue tweaking things here and there. My Type-A side won’t let me relax until everything is *just right* — which means multiple late nights ahead!

ROAMING QUESTION: Do you have any goals or resolutions (book-related or otherwise)? If so, I’d love to hear ’em!

Deck the Halls with Holiday Reads

Christmas Tree CartoonLess than a week until Christmas and I don’t know about you, but I’m giddy with holiday spirit! Between classic Christmas songs (anything by ‘Ol Blue Eyes Sinatra) and movies (“Love Actually” is my personal favorite), and a sense of overall public merriment, I’m wrapped up tight in a blanket of holiday warm ‘n fuzzies. This feeling only comes once a year so may as well soak it up like an apple cider-loving sponge is what I say.

It’s easy to get into the Christmas spirit, what with reindeer figurines sprinkled on lawns and colorful, blinking lights strung up everywhere. However, my favorite way to get excited about the holidays is curling up with a holiday-themed book and a big mug of hot chocolate topped with extra whipped cream. It’s a bit on the nose, I admit, but what can I say — I’m easy to please. Between the guaranteed happily-ever-afters and slightly fantastic miracles that tug on your heartstrings, it’s easy to get swept up in holiday cheer after reading a good Christmas story.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of holiday reads out there to get your fix. In fact, I went on a downloading binge spree a couple of weeks ago and ended up with over a dozen Christmas stories to help get me in the mood for Santa’s arrival. And, since it is the season for giving, it would only make sense that I share the wealth with you, dear readers, in case you were on the hunt for some Christmasy short stories for yourself. Go forth and download and enjoy this mini reads. I guarantee you’ll come up feeling just a bit more jolly and a lot less Scrooge afterward!

'Tis the season for Christmas stories!

  • Four for Christmas $2.99
  • Save Me, Santa (anthology) $2.99
  • Mistletoe Mischief *free
  • Gnome for the Holidays *free
  • A Wizard for Christmas $0.99
  • There’s a Dead Elf in Santa’s Workshop $0.99
  • Be Mine for Christmas $0.99
  • Loveable Christmas Angel $0.99
  • Blue Christmas $0.99
  • Dirty Little Christmas $0.99

ROAMING QUESTION: What’s your favorite holiday movie/song/book? Do you have any special rituals to get you in the Christmas spirit?

*prices based on Amazon Kindle store and are subject to change