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Showing posts by: Lynne Connolly click to see Lynne Connolly's profile
Feb 10 2017 10:30am

10 Classic Romantic Comedies You Must Watch

The recent article on romantic comedies seemed to omit anything before 1987. Although the list was utterly lovely, and included a couple of movies I really have to catch up on now, may this vintage lover remind you of some of the classics? My husband and I fell in love while watching some of these movies. No, I’m not that old, but we were students and we watched a lot of Saturday afternoon TV.

I know some are in monochrome, but I don’t care. They’re funny.

1. Top Hat

Yes, I know it’s a musical, but it’s also funny. As well as the sublime pairing of Fred and Ginger, there are some really great moments of pure romantic comedy. The scene after Ginger has come up to complain about the noise is wonderful. Instead of tap dancing, Fred spills dirt from a plant on the floor and does a soft shoe shuffle instead. Melts me every time.

2. Singin' in the Rain

More music! But the film within a film, the Scarlet Pimpernel-ish movie when they’re trying to get to grips with sound is so great, it has to be on my list.

[+8 More Classic Titles...]

Jun 12 2015 11:00am

Uniformly Waterloo: Fictional Veterans Cut a Dashing Figure in Vanity Fair, Sharpe’s Waterloo, and More!

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

The Battle of Waterloo took place on June 19, 1815, so 2015 marks the two hundredth anniversary. The UK is crammed full of exhibitions and commemorations. The battle and its aftermath changed the face of Europe for the next hundred years, so it’s a real landmark.

Enough of that. It also contained men in some of the sexiest uniforms ever created. Writers from Georgette Heyer to Bernard Cornwell created some of the most memorable heroes, not to mention sexy!

Uniforms could be almost any color, although the British army was predominantly red and the French army mostly blue. However, jackets of red, blue and green could be seen in each army, and everything from fancy gold lacing to plain brass buttons. Not forgetting the Highlanders! The Black Watch were notable by their plaids, for instance. Khaki was a long time in the future.

Some of them were translated to the screen. There are so many films that mention Waterloo, and so many books, that a full list would be just that—a list. So I’ve selected the ones I’m most familiar with—some classics and some popular novels.

Army uniforms were a lot less “uniform” than today, especially the ones worn on the battlefield. While colorful uniforms are still apparent in the ceremonial and dress uniforms, todays armies wear a form of khaki or camouflage as their everyday dress. Not so in the early nineteenth century.

[Ficitonal veterans that make these classics even more memorable...]

May 26 2015 4:30pm

First Look: Jessica Lemmon’s Rescuing the Bad Boy (May 26, 2015)

Rescuing the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon

Jessica Lemmon
Rescuing the Bad Boy (Second Chance #2)
Forever / May 26, 2015 / $6.00 print, $5.99 digital

For Donovan Pate, the lake town of Evergreen Cove is a minefield of tough memories-including the day he had to let go of Sofie Martin. Years later he still can't forget the taste of her lips and the feel of her killer curves. He knows he's too damaged, that he should stay away for her own good. But what the head says and the heart wants are two very different things . . .

Seven years ago, Donovan broke Sofie's heart. Now her career depends on playing nice in order to pull off the charity fund-raiser of the decade. She vows to keep things professional . . . yet working by his side every day doesn't make it easy to fight temptation, and it isn't long before she finds herself falling for this bad boy all over again. But loving Donovan means helping him face his past-so they can fight for a future together.

Jessica Lemmon is really getting into her stride with this book. While the first book featured a bad boy who wasn’t bad at all, the hero of Rescuing the Bad Boy behaves so badly in the prologue that I wondered if he could ever redeem himself.

Don’t worry, he does.

I will avoid spoilers, although it’s tricky with this book. I’ve kept any detailed comments to the Prologue and first three chapters.

I love the way Lemmon turns the tables in this book. The bad boy has reason to be bad. He has sex with the heroine, Sofie (who he calls Scampi) in the Prologue, then leaves town. When he discovers he has taken her virginity, he says flatly, “I don’t do virgins,” and leaves her devastated.

However, he has a secret that nobody knows about. Two, actually, but one only comes out later in the book, so I’ll leave that to discover for yourself. The first is that he left home after his Dad’s abuse got too much. He is the battered one, not her.

[Battered, but still loveable.]

May 6 2015 1:15pm

Baby Girl: 10 Moments That Prove Criminal Minds’ Morgan and Garcia Are Meant to Be!

Editor's note (3/25/16): Join us in saying good-bye to Derek Morgan here. *Sniffle*

Sometimes characters have a life beyond the show they’re in. Sometimes their onscreen chemistry is too much to resist. Magic happens, and then we’re in shipping territory.

One of my favorite pairs to ship is Derek and Penelope in Criminal Minds, aka Morcia.

I have to confess a liking for the one-hour crime series that the US does so well. I was a fan of CSI from the beginning, and a recent convert to NCIS (we should talk sometime about the dual shipping there. Tony and Kate and then Tony and Ziva!) Every one of these has a quirky character who does the unusual, behind the scenes job – Abby is a great example. But for my money, none of them is quite as good as Penelope in Criminal Minds. An ex-criminal hacker herself, with a bizarre and wonderful taste in fashion, Penelope is socially awkward, but the best geek in the world on a computer.

[Garcia's hair may change a lot, but her love for Morgan doesn't...]

Apr 3 2015 1:00pm

A Feast for the Eyes: Wolf Hall’s Rich History and Expert Acting

Wolf Hall by Hilary MantelHilary Mantel wrote two books about Henry VIII’s Chancellor, Thomas Cromwell, the man who masterminded England’s split from Rome—and there’s a third on the way.

The break with Rome was done from necessity. England needed an heir if it was not to plunge into civil war, and Katherine of Aragon, Henry’s Queen, reached menopause without producing a male heir.

So that’s the background. It wasn’t that Henry got bored with Katharine and wanted a new bed partner, or that he was so randy he couldn’t keep it in his pants, or rather, trunks.

The two paragraphs above describe the most notable (for vastly different reasons) differences between Wolf Hall and The Tudors.

The Tudors was a festival of rumpy-pumpy, and any similarity to actual events was coincidental. It was one-dimensional and fun, the actors fully aware they were acting in frothy nonsense.

Wolf Hall is rich, multi-dimensional, rich with meaning and historical authenticity. There’s no reason why a viewer can’t enjoy both versions, but if you come to Wolf Hall expecting another The Tudors or Reign, then you’re going to be disappointed. Watch it, sink into it, and let it happen.

[It's like a calming bathtub of history...]

Mar 22 2015 11:00am

Come for Aidan Turner Skinny-Dipping, Stay for Love: A Preview of Poldark 2015

Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson as Ross and Demelza in Poldark 2015

If you were on Twitter this past weekend, you may have noticed quite a bit of chatter about a new Poldark miniseries starring Being Human (UK)'s Aidan Turner. The 8-part series is airing weekly now on the BBC in the U.K. and will debut as part of PBS's Masterpiece Theater in the U.S. this June. Whether you're watching each week now or anticipating its release in your neck of the woods, we hope you'll enjoy this preview of the show (with fond comparisons to the books and to the original TV series—which you can read all about in our 2011 post “Romp & Circumstance: Poldark—so please be aware there could be minor plot SPOILERS).

In the 1970s, a fever took the British nation. Poldark fever, to be precise. Robin Ellis took the lead part in this original BBC series, and it kept the nation riveted to its armchair for an hour every Sunday. Everyone said that the show couldn’t be bettered, that nobody should ever try, and this seemed to be borne out by an attempt at a revival by ITV in 1996. It became a cult. Mothers sent their children to bed early so they could drool over Robin Ellis in peace. Fans dressed up, and although this was years before conventions really got under way, they still met to re-enact their favourite scenes.

However, these are different times, and in 2015, a new Poldark (also from BBC) has the nation at it again—especially the female part. Twitter caught fire last Sunday after the second episode aired, and the new version threatens to become every bit as popular as its predecessor.

Originally Poldark was a series of novels by Winston Graham about his beloved Cornwall in the late eighteenth century. The central character is Ross Poldark, home from the American Wars to discover his father has died and the estate he has inherited is in disarray. Oh, and the woman he loves, Elizabeth, is about to marry his cousin Francis.

[How does the new TV series stack up?...]

Feb 17 2015 5:30pm

First Look: Mira Lyn Kelly’s Touch and Go (Febuary 17, 2015)

Touch and Go by Mira Lyn KellyMira Lyn Kelly
Touch and Go (Dare to Love # 2)
Loveswept / February 16, 2015 / $2.99 digital

Vivacious and successful, Ava Meyers is living her dream life, except for one thing: Ever since childhood, she’s been in love with her best friend . . . and she’s never admitted it. Back then, Sam Farrow was a damaged young man with a tough past. Now he’s supremely confident, super-sexy, and totally untouchable—until the night when Sam pretends to be Ava’s boyfriend to save her from some unwanted attention. In a moment of weakness, Ava finds out that a decades-long friendship is no match for blistering sexual chemistry.

After years of denying his own feelings, Sam finds that one amazing night with Ava isn’t enough to chase away all the pent-up fantasies. So he proposes they spend a few weeks driving each other wild, exhausting their every desire, and then return to their perfect platonic relationship like nothing ever happened. But Sam’s plan has one fatal flaw: the part where they give each other up. Because the more they let go of their inhibitions, the more they’re tempted to never go back.

For readers wondering about Mira Lyn Kelly’s move from category romance to longer series romance, all the favourites are still there. Dogs, Chicago, quirky, nuanced characters you can believe in—this is a series I will be revisiting.

First, it’s a linked series about a series of friends. This is the second in the Dare to Love series, but you can read this without reading the first one, if you want to, although there are some spoilers for the couple in the first book, since they’re close to the heroine of this one.

[Are we okay with spoilers?...]

Jan 21 2015 11:45am

First Look: Jessica Lemmon’s Bringing Home the Bad Boy (January 27, 2015)

Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica LemmonJessica Lemmon
Bringing Home The Bad Boy (Second Chance)
Forever / January 27, 2015 / $6.00 print, $5.99 digital

Evan Downey needs a new beginning. Since the death of his wife five years ago, the brilliant tattoo artist has shut himself away in a prison of grief that not even his work can break him out of-and what's worse, Evan knows his son Lyon is bearing the brunt of his seclusion. Moving back to the lake town of Evergreen Cove where he spent his childhood summers is his last chance for a fresh start.

Charlotte Harris knows she owes it to her best friend's memory to help Evan and his son find their way again, but she can't stop her traitorous heart from skipping a beat every time she looks into Evan's mesmerizing eyes. Charlotte is determined to stay strictly in the Friend Zone-until a mind-blowing night knocks that plan by the wayside. Now, if they're brave enough to let it, Charlotte and Evan might just find a love capable of healing their broken hearts . . .

Jessica Lemmon's Bringing Home The Bad Boy contains a number of tropes; small town romance, friends to lovers, second chance romance and there’s a moppet. What it doesn’t really contain is a bad boy.

[Bringing home the good boy doesn't have the same ring]

Dec 5 2014 10:30am

The App Doesn’t Fall Far from the E-Reader: Reading Apps to Love and Use

A phone amongst the booksLast time, we talked about devices you could use to read. This time, we're tackling reading apps.

While a computer (PC or Mac) isn’t ideal for reading on, it’s an unbeatable tool for managing your books. You can use it to backup your library, and there is one outstanding program to help you. If you prefer to do the work yourself, you can file all your books any way you choose, just as you do everything else, and load them on to your device using drag-and-drop. But I’d strongly recommend installing Calibre.

When you have an eBook library as big as mine, it’s important to have a library that works in different ways. Anybody who has a lot of eBooks, this program is invaluable. You can put all your books on it, and you can install Calibre, and your Library, on any Windows computer you own. It also works on a Mac.

[Seems pretty all-inclusive...]

Nov 20 2014 3:45pm

Literary Devices: Different Types of E-Readers

First, what is an e-reader? When you stop to think about it, there are so many ways you can read an ebook, both in terms of devices and platforms.
Devices are the “things” you read on, and platforms are the program or operating system you use to read it.

First the “things.”

I’ve read ebooks for a long time now. I wear glasses with lenses so complex I have to take out a mortgage every time I need a new pair, so as soon as I discovered a device where I could adjust the size of the print, I was in heaven. I’ve read on the original Palm Pilot, on the first purposed e-reader, the Rocket, and on phones. Today my e-reader of preference is my Nexus 7 tablet, but I also own a Nook e-reader and until recently, a Kindle.

[ALL the things!...]

Aug 10 2014 3:00pm

Can Family Feuds Work in Romance Novels?

Rogue in Red Velvet by Lynne ConnollyToday we welcome author Lynne Connolly to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Lynne's Rogue in Red Velvet is the first book in the new Georgian-set series the Emperors of London. Rogue in Red Velvet has a country widow ending up in a brothel, of all places, and the man whose heart she broke is the only one who can save her reputation. Lynne's research into history reveals some intriguing scandals, including a few family feuds, which she discusses today. Thanks, Lynne!

Recently there haven’t been as many family feud stories in the romance novel. I read a lot of category romance—devour them, in fact, and while the marriage of convenience and the reignited romance have proved continually popular, the family feud has somewhat faded.

But when the muse strikes, it strikes and there wasn’t much I could do about it. That, and the resurgence of the more angsty historical romance, gave me a chance to write about something that’s fascinated me for most of my life. Along with writing about passion, tempestuous relationships and people falling in love, that is.

[Family Matters...]