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Showing posts by: Charli Mac click to see Charli Mac's profile
Fri
Mar 8 2013 1:30pm

Isn’t It Romantic… Women’s Fiction That’s Really Romance

The Good Daughter by Jane PorterWomen’s Fiction is many things, with many labels and definitions. For me, it’s a good story that appeals to women, written by both men and women. It can be serious, sad, funny, heartwarming or heartbreaking. Some have a HEA, while others do not. I read them all. I’ve recently read a few that romance readers might also love, and may even consider to be a tried and true romance.

Jane Porter is no stranger to romance, but she’s also written a lot of women’s Fiction. Her most recent book, The Good Daughter, is the second book in her Brennan Sisters Trilogy and is totally romantic. The first book of the series, The Good Woman, is more in the women's fiction line, but still enjoyable.

The Good Daughter's Kit Brennan is tired of being the most predictable, grounded sister of their tight knit clan. Her fortieth birthday is right around the corner, and she's just broken up with the man she spent ten years living with. He never got around to popping the question, and never seemed like he was going to.

[Time to enter in a new love interest...]

Tue
Jan 24 2012 2:00pm

Snort! Sandra Bullock, the Queen of Rom-Com?

Sandra BullockOscar Winner. Producer. Avid On-Screen Snorter. And my favorite girl next door—Sandra Sandy Bullock is not some Bimbo Hollywood Barbie. With her hippy curves, distinct beauty, and flawless sense of self, this actress is by far the ultimate Queen of Romantic Comedy.

Her first big screen performance did not win her an Oscar, or any nomination, come to think of it. But it did christen her into the genre of the Romantic Comedy: 1992’s Love Potion Number 9. Later she swore off the romantic comedy genre, saying she bleeping hated them. Oh, Sandy, you cannot hate what you are loved for, my dear.

[Oh, how things change...]

Sun
Jan 22 2012 3:00pm

Getting Lucky in Lucky Harbor: Jill Shalvis’s Head Over Heels

Head Over Heels by Jill ShalvisHead Over Heels is Jill Shalvis’s third novel in the Lucky Harbor series, and I hate to say this, but it’s my favorite. I loved the first two, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve been waiting to see Chloe and Sawyer get together since I first met them two books ago. There’s something so satisfying when a couple you’ve been watching and hoping for over the course of a few books finally get together—plus who doesn’t love a slow, long, tense, smoldering Ha cha cha?

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I’m not a typical romance reader. But Jill Shalvis had me at Potato Chip. Yup, you heard me: Give me a heroine with a little junk in her trunk and a bag of chips and you got me. That was Maddie from the RITA-award winning, Simply Irresistible. In book two, The Sweetest Thing, teenage lovers reunite. (That is my all-time favorite trope, in any story. Must be because I married my high school sweetheart. But I digress.)

In the third installment, Head Over Heels, we finally get to see the romance we’ve been drooling over, waiting for with potato chip bated breath, to come to fruition. And Jill makes us wait even longer for said romance to be literally consummated. With every single page you feel the attraction, the sexual tension, and every hot as hell Ha cha cha moment, and there are lots of those.

That’s what I LOVE about this novel.

[And there is lots to love...]

Thu
Jan 5 2012 4:45pm

John Cusack, The King of Rom-Comedy

John CusackJust look at him. Isn’t he so dang handsome?

Sigh…

John Cusack has been one of my favorite leading men since the 1980s. I’m not sure if it’s the underdog characters he plays or those puppy dog eyes or that voice—that deep, indescribable voice that tells anyone listening he’s cool, he’s smart, he’s irresistible, and he always gets the girl.

Not in conventional ways, but he gets her. And I sigh, swoon, and ha cha cha.

[John Cusack FTW!...]

Wed
Dec 21 2011 10:00am

Love Actually: A Romantic’s Perfect Christmas Film?

The success of Love Actually is the movie that started the romantic vignette comedy trend—since then we’ve had Valentine’s Day, He’s Just Not That Into You, and New Year’s Eve.

Love Actually is by far the best: London, Christmas, lots of beautiful white people, hormones, and copious amounts of eggnog can really get the Yuletide cheer going. And with a cast like this, how can you go wrong? Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, Billy Bob Thornton, Rowan Atkinson, January Jones, Claudia Schiffer, Shannon Elizabeth, and even Denise Richards.

[Brits do it best...]

Sat
Nov 26 2011 11:00am

Lloyd Dobler Has My Heart: The Romance in Say Anything

John Cusack in Say AnythingTo know Lloyd Dobler is to love him. Diane Court is about to know Lloyd Dobler.

Say Anything is one of my all-time favorite romantic movies, and more than likely my favorite one from the ’80s: The music, the lines, and above all else, John Cusack gives this movie its place among the greats of pop culture.

Released in 1989, Cusack stars as Lloyd Dobler, an average Joe, taking the chance and asking the class valedictorian, Diane Court, out on a date. She’s beautiful, smart, and according to most people, out of Lloyd’s league. But to everyone’s surprise she doesn’t just say anything, she says…yes.

Mike Cameron: I don’t know you very well, you know, but I wanted to ask you—how’d you get Diane Court to go out with you?

Lloyd Dobler: I called her up.

Mike Cameron: But how come it worked? I mean, like, what are you?

Lloyd Dobler: I’m Lloyd Dobler.

Mike Cameron: This is great. This gives me hope. Thanks.

[He’s Lloyd Dobler!...]

Mon
Nov 21 2011 1:30pm

Breaking Dawn Part 1 Wishes It Were As Good as a Hot Mess

One big unhappy and creepy family.Words cannot express the sheer awkwardness of the movie Breaking Dawn Part 1, but this is a blog, and this is my post, so I guess I must. For all the die-hard Twilight fans out there, you may not want to read this. Fair warning if you proceed.

I wanted to wash my eyes afterward and in Men-In-Black style erase my kid’s memory. Hell, my memory along with it. My hubby still has this strange, WTF look on his face, three days later. If he could call child services on me for allowing her to read the book, then taking her to see it play out on the silver-screen he would. Yes, it was that bad.

[How bad was it? Warning, Spoilers ahead!]

Wed
Nov 16 2011 3:30pm

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told?: Paullina Simons’s Timeless Epic Saga

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina SimonsThe covers of these stunning novels capture their essence in three words, found right underneath the title: A love story. Impossible, some would say, that love could survive such atrocity, pain, and death. But it does. The love story of Tatiana and Alexander is one of the greatest ever told, in my humble opinion.

Paullina Simons’s tales do not fit one specific genre any more than Diana Gabaldon’s do. They teeter between history and romance. I’d be lying if I said that Simons had me at the first page of the trilogy; in fact she had me at the first page of book three, The Summer Garden. It wasn’t until I was halfway through it that I realized I was reading the last book of a trilogy. So of course I had to see how Alexander and Tatiana came to be together.

The Bronze Horseman tells the tale of a young couple brought together and torn apart by war. They endure starvation, the bombardment, secrets, lies, Leningrad and they survive certain death.

[And that’s just the beginning...]

Wed
Nov 9 2011 12:30pm

Jane Porter’s She’s Gone Country Is Really a Romance

She’s Gone Country by Jane PorterDoesn’t this blurb read like a romance novel? It’s got a jilted lady, bossy mom, and a hot as hell ex. It may be technically Women’s Fiction, but in my humble opinion, Jane Porter’s She’s Gone Country is really a romance novel:

Shey Darcy, a 39-year-old former top model for Vogue and Sports Illustrated led a charmed life in New York City with a handsome photographer husband until the day he announced he’d fallen in love with someone else. Left to pick up the pieces of her once happy world, Shey decides to move back home to Texas with her three teenage sons. Life on the family ranch, however, brings with it a whole new host of dramas starting with differences of opinion with her staunch Southern Baptist mother, her rugged but overprotective brothers, and daily battles with her three sons who are also struggling to find themselves. Add to the mix Shey’s ex-crush, Dane Kelly, a national bull riding champ and she’s got her hands full. It doesn’t take long before Shey realizes that in order to reinvent herself, she must let go of an uncertain future and a broken past, to find happiness—and maybe love—in the present.

[Sounds like prime women’s fiction/romance crossover material...]

Sun
Oct 9 2011 11:00am

Showing the Love: Jill Shalvis’s Simply Irresistible

Winning a RITA is a Romance Author’s Pulitzer Prize; it’s their time to stand at a podium chanting, “You like my writing! You really, really, like my writing!”

The RITA Hall of Fame is filled with authors such as Nora Roberts, Kristan Higgins, Barbara O’Neal, J.R. Ward, Tamera Alexander, Susan Wiggs, Lisa Kleypas, Kristin Hannah, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, just to name a few.

So this year, when Jill Shalvis won the Rita for best contemporary romance for Simply Irresistible, you can imagine her elation, being nominated six times before and all.

Maddie Moore’s whole life needs a makeover.

 In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so not her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother-a ramshackle inn nestled in the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington.



Starting over won’t be easy. Yet Maddie sees the potential for a new home and a new career-if only she can convince her two half-sisters to join her in the adventure. But convincing Tara and Chloe will be difficult because the inn needs a big makeover too. 



The contractor Maddie hires is a tall, dark-haired hottie whose eyes-and mouth-are making it hard for her to remember that she’s sworn off men. Even harder will be Maddie’s struggles to overcome the past, though she’s about to discover that there’s no better place to call home than Lucky Harbor.

[It’s the place to be...]

Sat
Oct 1 2011 12:00pm

Adopted Babies Are a Well-Used Trope; Robin Wells and Jill Shalvis Use It Well

Annie posterNot all adoption dramas end in song, dance, fireworks, and with our own personal Daddy Warbucks. Romance readers expect more. Do they want tried and true tropes? Um, well yes, but at least change it up a bit. Put a new spin on that old twist!

What is more dramatic than the once hot and bothered teenage hormone-laced lovers reuniting when the evidence of their passion—said offspring—emerges from the shadows? Oh, the baby mama and papa drama! And there is lots of drama with a plot line like this. The biological blast from the past keeps the hero and heroine in close proximity, all the while reminding them of that one time when the earth shattered, time stood still, mountains moved, and Bruce Willis beat out all the other tadpoles upstream. Hey-oh!

Then there’s the guilt of giving up a child, from one or both parties. The aftermath of that alone is enough to fuel a novel. That guilt often turns into a form of acceptance for all involved and that usually has Mama and Papa doing the horizontal mambo again.

Adoption story lines have all the drama pre-fabricated and ready to go. It’s the author’s craft of storytelling that will set their novels apart.

[It takes the right touch...]

Sat
Sep 24 2011 2:00pm

The Magic of Moonstruck: “Ma, I Love Him Awful”

MoonstruckIt seems like yesterday I went to the movies to see Moonstruck: It was the first time my mom let me go to the movies alone with my friends. Dad dropped us off and picked us up after. I felt so mature and worldly.

Even at the tender age of eleven, I could see and feel the love and romance in practically every scene. I remember watching in awe as Cher transformed from the frumpy Loretta to the sexy woman she didn’t even know existed inside her. On the doorsteps of puberty myself, I remember feeling like I had a first glimpse as to what womanhood could look and feel like. I savored every line and every scene.

And there are so many great romantic scenes in this movie. I could have picked the scene where she meets Ronny in the basement of the bakery. Where she is supposed to ask him to come to her wedding to his brother, Johnny, and put their feud to rest. The sullen, lust-filled stares between them held nothing to the flames from the oven blaring behind Ronny.

[Nothing’s hotter than some good, old-fashioned unresolved sexual tension...]

Sat
Sep 17 2011 3:00pm

I’m Also Just a Girl: Notting Hill’s Swoonworthiness

Notting Hill poster with Julia Roberts and Hugh GrantHow can you go wrong with a romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant? The simple answer is you can’t. This charming little movie stole my heart when it was released in 1999. It also fueled some not-so-needed fantasies about meeting my Hollywood Husbands in a similar fashion (Men who I’ve mentally married. This is a separate universe from my real life so I am not technically cheating on my husband. Admit it, you have them too!).

Notting Hill is about an average Joe named William who owns a bookshop in Notting Hill. Clever title for the movie, don’t ya think? Anywho, in walks in Anna, world famous American actress, who just so happens to be filming a movie there. They start this little love affair, but Hollywood and the infamous paparazzi make it very difficult for William. Anna is also scrutinized by William’s family. Their two separate worlds seal their fate, that and the fact that Anna is still involved, to some extent, with a very famous actor. It’s not long until the romance ends and William is left out in the cold.

[But what about that HEA?...]

Thu
Sep 8 2011 3:00pm

Their Cheatin’ Hearts: Infidelity in Women’s Fiction

Hope She Was Worth It image via FlickrIt’s the oldest cliché known to man—and probably the first. It’s also the cliché that’s truer to life than most of us wives care to think about. We’ve all seen the Lifetime movie of the week, and we’ve all read this storyline like a bazillion-times in books and seen it on the big screen: That tired, old, beaten to death, sad-sad tale of the hubby cheating on the wifey with the younger co-worker.

Yawn. Yawn. Yawn.

I’m not yawning so much at it in principle. Hey, it happens. There are husbands out there with the shallowest of egos and feel that the only way to keep the said ego erect—oops, I mean in check—is to have it literally stroked by someone younger than the woman he actually stood before some all powerful entity and swore an oath to honor until death did they part. Some guys forget that there is such a thing as ’til divorce do us part. That little one-eyed ego never thinks about those pesky details, does he?

[No comment...]

Sat
Jul 30 2011 4:00pm

The Women of True Blood: Pam vs. Sookie

Pam and Sookie in True BloodWe’ve often focused on the men of True Blood, and for good reason—an inability to wear shirts, serious sexual charisma, and many, many abs. But what about the ladies? So we thought we’d represent them as well, and do a H & H Throwdown on which True Blood woman you like the best. First off, we’ve got vampire Pam pitted against faery Sookie. Let us know in comments which is your favorite, and that winner will go against the winner of the next round.

[Voting for strong, opinionated ladies? Sign us up!...]

Sun
Jul 24 2011 4:00pm

The Men of True Blood: Sam vs. Alcide

I didn’t know we were going shirtless already...First came Sookie’s suitors, those Vicious Vamps, those Dynamos of Darkness, Bill and Eric. The votes are still being tallied, but round 2 is about to commence. This time around we are proud to present the Shapeshifter Showdown. 

In one corner we have “Sweetheart” Sam Merlotte and in the other corner, his opponent, Alcide “The Wild Werewolf” Heveaux. Remember the two winners of the weekend showdown will face each other in a King of True Blood final bout. So let your voice be heard!

[Bring on the Shifters...]

Tue
Jul 12 2011 9:30am

“You Look Good Wearing My Future”: The Awesomeness of Some Kind of Wonderful

Some Kind of WonderfulJohn Hughes wrote the 1987 teen romance classic Some Kind of Wonderful in retaliation for the ending in Pretty in Pink that he was forced to use by studio executives.

In the original ending Hughes wrote, Duckie and Andie end up together. What-the-what is right! Test audiences did not like it and preferred Andie and Blane kissing in the parking lot. Apparently hot boy and pretty girl in pink make the storybook HEA. Not Beauty and the Dork.

Poor Duckie, you say. Bah! We would not have Some Kind of Wonderful if Duckie won. Come on, you know how much this movie made you cheer, sigh, and almost cry.

[It’s not called Some Kind of Wonderful for nothing...]

Sun
Jul 10 2011 2:30pm

Isn’t It Romantic?: Romantic Fiction vs. Traditional Romance

Romance vs. The Romantic, Round 1When I signed up for this gig I kind of had to chuckle a bit. Me, writing for a romance blog? I am not the most well-read Romance reader. I actually had to go and read the books I first blogged about. There is nothing wrong with the traditional romance novel; I’ve read a few, and even liked some. I just tend to gravitate toward Romantic Love Stories than the straight-up category or genre romance.

Why? Hmm, I’ve been thinking about that. And I really don’t want to get cyber-shot here so let me stew for a second…

[*Insert Jeopardy jingle for your listening pleasure*...]

Sat
Jul 2 2011 2:30pm

“I Love You...Always:” Pretty in Pink’s Prom Scene

Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy as Andie and Blain in Pretty in PinkJohn Hughes’ 1986 classic, Pretty In Pink, is part of pop-culture history. The fashion, the soundtrack, the eclectic characters, and IMO, the most important of all, the love story, is what makes this movie legendary.

It’s the perfect Teen Romance.

She’s poor. He’s rich. They go to the same high school where the preppy well-to-do kids rule the school. A girl like that doesn’t stand a chance, unless she’s in a John Hughes movie.

[Que frusratingly infectious ’80s pop music...]

Fri
Jul 1 2011 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: Jeffrey Stepakoff’s The Orchard

Jeffrey StepakoffThe Orchard by Jeffrey Stepakoff
The Orchard
Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, July 5, $22.99

Dylan Jackson can’t let go of a past that haunts him. Grace Lyndon can’t run fast enough from hers. When their worlds collide they are forever changed and no longer able to stay lost in what was, opening them up to the possibility of what could be…

Jeffrey Stepakoff is no stranger to fiction; his credits include the Emmy-winning The Wonder Years, Sisters, Major Dad, Disney’s Tarzan, and Dawson’s Creek (as co-executive producer). His debut novel, Fireworks Over Toccoa, was a tale about the power of destiny, fate, and true love. Stepakoff’s words weave into your soul, leaving their imprint forever. When you turn the last page of The Orchard, you will not be able to deny how much his words have changed you.

[So...you’re saying you like it?...]