Tag Archives: romance novels

Ruminating (moo!)

Writer meme twilight

I’ve seen some peeps asking about NaNoWriMo, which I have participated in many times over the years, hitting 50K words on several occasions. I did not NaNo last year though, nor am I doing it this year. Frankly, I can’t imagine ever doing it again.

I achieved my goal of completing full-length novels ~ I have 4 novels, 1 novella, 4 short stories, and 6 books of poetry, all available for purchase on Kindle. None of them sell, partly because I despise marketing and partly because there are so many indie books for sale that it is impossible for an ordinary writer to get any attention, marketing or not. I have friends who advertise and they do sell more books, but the sales do not exceed what they spend on ads. And maybe the simple fact is that I am not good enough to stand out from the crowd… something to consider.

But doesn’t my love for writing overcome such a silly concern as making money at it? Well, yes and no. I can post poetry here on my blog to get my words seen by readers, and that’s satisfying even without financial compensation. Toiling away on a novel month after month only to get a handful of buyers? Nah. That is not appealing. In fact, my feeling right now is that I will be leaving my half-finished novels in the cloud until the end of time, or deleting them. It troubles my OCD to have WIPs lurking, so it’s more likely I will delete them. They are romances, so no great loss there.

I have something else however: a series of longer short stories that ultimately connect into a whole. About half are finished, which leaves 6 or so to write. I really like these and don’t want to abandon them, so I’m thinking about posting them here. I don’t want them lost in the mass of prompts and such, so I’ll have to figure out a better way, such as making a separate page for each.

There’s a quote going around about how writers turn into monsters if we can’t express ourselves. First, I think it is bad for anyone not to have an avenue of expression for their emotions, whether it’s writing, painting, or simply chatting to a friend. Second, as far as my “monster” tendencies, they have nothing to do with writing (or not writing) and everything to do with stressful circumstances. Finally, for the past few weeks, I’ve been watching more TV than writing, and I don’t feel the least bit monstery because of that.

But what if I didn’t even have a blog? Well, for most of my life I didn’t have one and that was fine. There were many years I wrote nothing but the occasional letter. I am still enjoying this blog though, especially since my refresh, and I appreciate the blogging community. But I do have to take the occasional step back and reevaluate all the things. I haven’t been participating in as many prompts as I used to, particularly the ones that specify word count and/or syllables. I find that makes my work sound stilted. Basically, I only do prompts that actually inspire my creativity, including words of the day when they combine to trigger a fictional scene in my mind or a burst of poetic lines.

~*~

Image from some meme generator.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

HC13: Ghost

Ghosted novel

Welp, I could not pass up the opp to plug my novel Ghosted. It’s received some good feedback, so if you haven’t read it yet, please give it a try. It’s an atypical romance/mystery and you may be left wondering if our heroine did experience something supernatural or simply a series of coincidences. I like to leave that to the individual reader’s interpretation. I look forward to any comments and also will love you forever if you leave a review on Amazon. Click here to purchase. Thanks in advance!

~*~

Image is mine. Written for Tourmaline’s Halloween Challenge.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Two Reviews [repost]

Couple silhouette romance

I read a couple romance novels recently and liked them both a lot.

The first was As Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye. There were many good things about this book, including great chemistry between the protags, something different in that the hero was a skilled tattoo artist (even though of course being a supertough ex-military dude), and fun side characters. I loved the hero’s brother ~ great sibling banter between them. There was also a bunch of funny banter among the military buddies.

I did have a couple minor issues with this book. The first was the meaningless addition of a stray three-legged dog ~ we already know the heroine is a caring, warm-hearted nurse. There was no reason to toss in the dog to bring this out. It felt completely arbitrary. And what’s with these missing-limb pets lately? They even thought of naming it Tripod! Gah.

I also had an issue with the plot. While using the abduction of the heroine’s brother to bring the protags together was fine, the massive depth and breadth of the secret involving her father/the hero’s commander was ridic. I’m sure the entire Baltimore police dept would really be in on that. The reason I’m calling this a “minor issue” is because we all know the plot is secondary in a romance novel. The character development and love story between the protags were rock solid. But I’d rather not get distracted from that by stupid conspiracy theories. Overall, ’twas a good book. (I bought the sequel apparently via the very clever one-click thingie at the end of the Kindle novel. D’oh.)

I also read Irresistible by Susan Mallery. This was a perfect romance novel; everything was exactly right. The main characters were good peeps with trust issues, and the slow untangling of those made for a great read. The side chars were interesting in their own right, and some also have their own novels, yay. I will probably be buying one or more of those, and possibly other books by Ms. Mallery. Irresistible had a very simple plot structure and no glaring over-complications thrown in at random. It skirted the edge of believability at times, such as with the meanness of the hero’s grandmother, but never crossed over.

OK, one thing. Irresistible had a gorgeous pink cover with a pic of a cupcake on it ~ gosh, I wonder if this influenced me to buy the book at CVS in the first place? But there are no cupcakes in the book, not one. The heroine baked a pie for the hero after he fixed her car and there were lots of other food incidents, but no frosting. I still gave the book 4 stars on Goodreads because I loved it, but really is it so hard to have covers that go with books? The worst are the covers of old where the hair color is wrong. Nothing worse than buying a novel with a pic of a swooning redhead in a pirate’s arms… only to find out she’s really a blonde. Horrible.

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

At The Duke’s Wedding [repost]

music romance roses piano

WARNING ~ SPOILERS ABOUND ~ CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

At The Duke’s Wedding is a collection of four novellas, all set at a grand old English estate during the week of festivities surrounding the wedding of the Duke of Wessex. Each novella has a different author.

1. That Rogue Jack by Maya Rodale. This story is incredibly, tediously stupid. Jack is a gorgeous moron who misplaces the heirloom wedding ring he picked up for the groom from a jeweler. Inexplicably, the bride-to-be requests great grand Aunt Whozis’ companion, Henrietta, to get moronic Jack to hand over the ring. They spend days sneaking around trying to find it because Jack, who is a moron, can’t remember where he put it. As they do this, they fall in love. That’s the plot.

2. I was going to stop reading after that first awful story, but decided that wasn’t fair to the other authors. Glad I continued. In P.S. I Love You (by Miranda Neville), the witty and poetic scarred-face Christian reluctantly agrees to write love letters to Rosanne for his boring but good-looking cousin Frank. Of course Chris falls in love with Rosanne because her letters are so charming, and she with him, though of course she thinks he’s Frank. When they all meet at the Duke’s place, complications ensue. Predictable, but actually good.

3. When I Met My Duchess by Caroline Linden.  This story is about the Duke himself, who is not some old gross gouty fellow but young and beefcakey, and how he falls for his betrothed’s hot and unconventional sister the moment she steps down from her carriage in front of his house. Liked it.

4. How Angela Got Her Rogue Back by Katharine Ashe. This story involves time-travel, which I don’t mind at all, if it makes some kind of sense. Even a little bit of sense will do. Modern-day Angela materializes at the Duke’s party 200 years earlier after reading a weird book and falling into a Michigan river. That was OK, but less so was the convoluted blackmail scheme she thwarts to save Viscount Studmuffin’s family. What really bugs the crap out of me though is when Angela ~poof~ vanishes again for no reason. I totally lost interest in the story right there. But I finished it and read the teaser for an upcoming story, which has the Duke’s little sister finding Angela’s cell phone…

Onward!

~*~

Image from Lovethispic.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Say Yes to the Marquess [repost]

wedding rings

This romance novel’s title is likely a play on the TV show “Say Yes to the Dress,” and it makes sense because Tessa Dare’s book is all about convincing the reluctant Clio she should still wed whazzface even though he ran off to do mysterious work for the Crown and she’s been all abandoned and gossiped about for 8 years. Rafe, whazzface’s hunky prizefighter brother, is trying to do the convincing.

I really enjoyed this book, except for when Rafe breaks character to give Clio a totally ridic flowery speech about her looks. Otherwise, the writing is top-notch. The characters are super-interesting and complex ~ not just the protags, but also her sisters, his trainer, etc. The twists and turns kept me guessing exactly how the story would get to the HEA, and I appreciate that. The one thing about the resolution I didn’t love was a “telling not showing” of Clio’s discussion with whazzface, said convo important to her character development.

There is cake in this book. A LOT OF CAKE. Wedding cake after wedding cake. There is a completely awesome cake scene that you need to read if you love cake and sex (who doesn’t love cake?). The leitmotif (!!!) continues throughout the story. I am particularly drawn to the cake in Say Yes because I never had a proper wedding cake, the lack of which I am convinced doomed my marriages.

~*~

Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Safe Haven, Part II [repost]

Couple holding hands at table romance

[Written in 2013.]

So, I’ve been noodling on this Safe Haven novel by the famous Nicholas Sparks. The entire concept of the book is much like a novel I read a while back called Running Wild by Linda Howard and Linda Jones (except SH was published first). Makes sense then that I’d do a compare and contrast ~ spoilers will abound, so if you’re planning to read either book and want to be surprised, you should exit now and check out some otters.

1. Basic premise. Heroine runs away from her life to escape Bad Man (abusive husband in SH and crazy stalker date in RW) and ends up in a small town in the middle of nowhere (North Carolina in SH and Wyoming in RW). She takes a job as a waitress.

2. Stolen ID. Heroine steals/fakes a new identity when she starts her life over because Bad Man is a cop who will not only find her if she resurfaces for one second under her old name but also kill her. He will also have immunity, natch, being a cop, or so she believes. She must therefore act secretive and weird, which intrigues the hero.

3. Hero has problems! In SH, Alex is trying to run his business and take care of his two kids, but the wife/mommy has died ~ oh no, now what? It is so hard doing all this alone. In RW, Zeke is trying to run his ranch and take care of his animals and workers, but his cook wants to retire ~ oh no, now what? Should he hire that secretive, sexy new waitress at the diner? Omg, decisions…

4. One slip-up. In SH, all it takes is one kind word from a neighbor to get Bad Man Kevin hot on Katie’s trail (IIRC, this is very similar to Sleeping With The Enemy). In RW, Zeke’s old cook does an internet search on Carlin, which pings Brad and lets him know that someone in WY is looking for his honey.

Here are some major differences in the novels.

5. The Bad Men. While both Kevin (SH) and Brad (RW) are horrible creeps, Sparks took the time to make Kevin an actual character you can feel some degree of sympathy for here and there. It’s interesting, in an awful way, to take that journey down to NC with him. Brad’s just a cartoon Bad Man.

6. The Good Guys. This is the opposite of the Bad Men. In SH, Alex is bland and boring; while in RW, Zeke is sexy and exciting. Alex is way too nice for a romance novel hero ~ then again, Sparks says his books aren’t RNs, but “love stories.” Gak. Okay.

7. Motivations. Sparks does a good job in laying out his protags’ motivations. Katie needs to escape the abuse; Kevin wants her back ~ and they both love each other (or did at one point) in a sick way. This is all believable. And even Alex’s sweet gentle kindness is believable, though not very sexy. The Lindas didn’t do quite as well in this area. We’re supposed to believe that Brad, a cop, went totally bonkers after a couple dates with Carlin, and began trying to kill her when she turned him down. Now I know guys can be nuts ~ I’ve been on a lot of dating sites ~ but even so.

8. Sex. Now this is weird. RW is a typical contemporary romance novel in that it contains a good amount of steamy sex between the hero and heroine. SH has none, zero, zilch. Actually SH has no sex between the hero and heroine, but what it does have are abusive sexual encounters (mostly fade to black type) between Katie and Kevin. Don’t you find this odd? Here’s a purported “love story” (not a “romance novel”) where there is no sex between the two main characters during the time of the story, yet there are descriptions of sex between other characters. It’s almost like Sparks is saying that his protags are too pure to be sexual.

Well, whatever. There’s enough room in the world for Sparks’ love stories as well as sizzling hot romances, right? It’s funny though that the Sparks’ books are respected and made into movies while romances are still best hidden away in brown paper bags. I mean, it’s perfectly fine to read Safe Haven out in the open while eating your lunch in the office despite the fact that there is a cute couple on the cover about to kiss, but I wouldn’t bring Running Wild to work with the shirtless cowboy cover since I know what all goes on in there. That’s meant to be read in secret while eating Double Stuf Oreos.

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Quickies 18

ship storm sea wreck

At first I didn’t remember why this image was in my media library when I searched for “ship,” but then I recalled the Roger Whittaker song “The Last Farewell,” which I featured in an SLS post. Yep, that’s where I used this pic. During my April 2021 blog refresh, I dumped tons of repetitive and/or unused images, and now I’m being much more careful to save space. Instead of grabbing a new pic every time I make a post, I try to reuse ones already in the library. I’m pretty proud of the fact that I have around 500 posts published and scheduled, yet I’ve used less than 10% of the media space allotted. At this rate, it will take decades to get close to the maximum and I’ll probably forget I even have a blog by then. Anyway, welcome to my quickie reviews of movies and/or books I’ve watched/read recently! I sometimes have spoilers, so read on at your own risk.

1. Life of Pi, 2012 adventure-drama based on the book by Yann Martel. I haven’t read the book, which may be a good thing, because I see on Wikipedia that it’s much more brutal and gross than the film. I saw the movie when it first came out, in 3D, which was an amazing experience. However, I think I was too focused on the beauty of the filmmaking itself and failed to pay close attention to the actual story. Recently, I watched it again at home with a couple friends, not in 3D, and it was more meaningful. Or maybe I’m just older and more philosophical, who knows. Well, I’m definitely older! Anyway, I highly recommend this film if you haven seen it yet. It’s about the art of telling a story, among other things, and how in the right hands an unreliable narrator can hold our attention like nothing else. My favorite stories are from unreliable narrators, but they have to be done well. This one is superb and I was left wondering wtf just happened, but in a good way. Oh, there’s a shipwreck in the story, which is why I used the pic.

2. Bayou Fire, 2017 romance novel by blogger Sharon E. Cathcart. This was different from the typical romance novel. Instead of the usual conflicts between hero and heroine, the romance between Amos and Diana proceeds smoothly with none of the clichéd misunderstandings and forced drama we so often find in these books. What the protags have to do however is figure out why they feel such an immediate and intense connection the first time they meet. Then the book dives into the supernatural, which isn’t always my cup of tea, but here it was “believable,” relatively speaking, and I was down with it. There was a chunk of narrative devoted to a flashback, but the story didn’t flip back in forth in time to an excessive degree. I really enjoyed all the local color of New Orleans and the tidbits of history Sharon included. She also gave us a taste of the dialect, which was interesting. Unfortunately, there were quite a few typos, which, as I’ve mentioned before, seem to be widely prevalent in self-published works. But overall, I enjoyed the story and gave it 4 stars.

3. The Guest List, 2020 suspense novel by Lucy Foley. This is one of those “British” books I keep picking up lately ~ KU is loaded with them, as I’ve said. They are generally written in first-person, present tense (annoying) and narrated from multiple POVs (more annoying). They also tend to leap back and forth in time to an insane degree. This story, for example, could have simply been told straight up chronologically. There was simply no need for the dizzying switches from the day before the wedding to the wedding and afterparty. That was just weird. But to their credit, in these British mysteries, the plots are generally solid and hang together with an earned ending, and the protags are interestingly flawed. TGL is in this group as well and hooked me right in. I couldn’t predict what would happen and who the victim or murderer would ultimately be. Lots of people were pissed off at lots of other people for a variety of reasons, which was great fun. Oh, and one more thing ~ there were no typos in this book. None. And guess what? It was published by a house (HarperCollins). Even so, I gave it only 3 stars because of the annoyances mentioned.

More reviews soon…

~*~

Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Breakfast in Bed [repost]

french toast
[Written in 2014.]

I just finished this romance novel by Robin Kaye and gave it two stars (“it was okay”).

There were positive things about this book. I loved the way the protags interacted, grew emotionally, and changed. That was cool. But this theme Kaye is using for her series of interconnected novels about Italian studmuffins from New York who are fab at cooking and cleaning… is just weird. Yes, it’s different, so she gets credit for that. But at one point the buddies are talking about how vacuuming relaxes them or some shit, and OH COME ON.

It’s not that no men cook and clean. But to wax on about it? Bizarroland.

And something else bugged me. The hero, Rich, was this super-sharp, smart as a whip, psych professor. He was soooo in tune with everything Becca (and others) felt at all times. Rich was at the top of his game. But he completely misread why Gina dumped him at the beginning of the book. “Zomg, it’s cuz I can’t clean and cook like these other studmuffins!” I understand that this misunderstanding was necessary for the “plot” to work, but it made him look really stupid.

And does everyone have to have piles of money?

But the main things that drove me nuts about this book were the formatting and typos. I can’t understand why there were so many mistakes in a professionally published work. There would be a word italicized, and then several words after that word would be incorrectly italicized as well. Distracting. There were countless paragraph indent errors in dialog, forcing the reader to stop and figure out who was speaking. And there were constant word-split errors, such as “basket ball,” sculp ture,” etc. CONSTANT. Idk if in the dead-tree version these were hyphenated, and someone didn’t know how to reformat for Kindle, but whatever… it was awful!

And something else. I know this is fiction, but you do not ever ever ever give a cat coffee or any caffeine! FFS, it’s easy enough to google. Coffee is a poison to pets. I couldn’t get past poor little Tripod slurping up coffee every morning.

I’m not going to buy another Kaye book. She’s a decent writer as far as the actual romance goes, but there are too many other writers out there to try. And no way am I going to slog through another messily formatted, typo-ridden novel with characters poisoning their kittehs. Bleargh!

~*~

Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Not So Purrfect [repost]

tigers

OK, so in my continuing mission to read various sub-genres of romance novels, and blab about them to y’all, I recently finished an adult shape-shifter story. If you recall (and why wouldn’t you?), I previously reviewed a young adult dragon shifter story and to my surprise enjoyed it quite a bit.

Not so the case with Her Purrfect Match by Milly Taiden. Gawd, what a pile of dreckage. Where to begin?

1. Loads of errors. I realize that we can’t all afford an editing service, but it’s terribly distracting to have screw-ups throughout.

2. No attempt to explain how the tiger-peeps came to exist or how they shape-shift, what it feels like to the shifter, etc. In the dragon story, I felt the wings stretching under the skin and the emotional conflict associated with shifting. Here? Nothing. Just bam, he’s a tiger now.

3. There is nothing “tigery” or even weird about the guy when human. He is simply an Alpha male who likes a lot of hot sex in the usual ways. Why bother with tigerness at all?

4. Author uses tigerness as a lame excuse for the usual noncommittal sex men like to engage in, with the only twist being that Tigerman needs to reproduce because enemies. Again, there is no reason for him to be part tiger. He is just an ordinary jerk, until of course he is REFORMED BY LURVE.

5. The heroine is annoyingly insecure about her “curves” and also super-dumb in much of the book. Forex, she doesn’t catch on that she has actually stumbled onto the man she was shifter-matched up with even after he keeps giving tiger cues. I wanted to smack her. Duh! It’s him! The guy! TIGER MAN. Ugh.

So while I am a bit curious about the heroine’s friend who gets matched with two wolf-shifters, I think I’ll pass.

(TWO WOLVES! Polywolfism. Is that a thing?)

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

The Gamers and The Titled [repost]

coffee notebook pen write list

I picked up The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl by Gina Lamm, a time-travel romance, which is a genre I used to read but have been avoiding for years. Thought I’d give it a shot.

First, I was disappointed in the set-up. We plunged right into Jamie’s gaming world, which was great, but her time-travel had nothing to do with that and simply seemed tacked on, like Lamm couldn’t think of how to cleverly get Jamie back to the 1800s via a computer game, or anything related to Jamie herself, so she’d just use some clichéd device.

Second, I really liked Jamie; she was an atypical romance heroine. Instead of being perky and resourceful, she was rather depressed much of the time ~ which was appropriate, considering her circumstances. This made me relate to her more. I also liked Micah; he didn’t always act predictably as the alpha hero, though he was one.

As an aside, what I’d rather see in a time-travel romance is an alpha dude out of his element and how he deals with that. It’s easy enough for some earl to be swaggering around getting his own way when he’s THE EARL and everyone knows it, but what about when he’s stuck somewhere new and has to rely only on his strengths and wits? Then what? But I haven’t seen a time-travel like that ~ all I’ve seen are women flung around through the centuries and having to adapt to different times with men.

Back to TGG and TSE. Most of the plot was too thin and obvious; otoh, the love story wasn’t overly complicated. There were just two people who had to learn to trust, and they didn’t have much time. Plus, there was Baron, the greyhound. I was heartily sick of dogs in romances due to Jennifer Crusie’s obsessive dogginess, but Baron was awesome, and now I’m cool with dogs again.

Finally, I did very much enjoy the last quarter of this book, which kept me guessing. Of course we all know how romances are going to end, so the question is how will we get there? I don’t want to be able to predict every turn of the road, and indeed I could not here. In fact, the actual ending was a complete surprise. So yay!

I’ll probably pick up at least the next novel in this series, Geek Girls Don’t Date Dukes, despite the fact that the title isn’t as cute as the other and the cover absolutely sucks. (This would not be Lamm’s fault.)

PS: I wrote this in 2013, but just now in 2021 reread it and bought the next book.

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.