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Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell

everything I learned

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Take a dashing hero with a heart of gold and a mullet of awesome. Add a heroine with a bustle and the will to kick major butt. Then include enough contrivances to keep them fighting while getting them alone and possibly without key pieces of clothing, and what do you have? A romance novel. What else? Enough lessons about life, love, and everything in between to help you with your own happily-ever-after.
Lessons like…
-Romance means believing you are worthy of a happy ending
-Learning to tell the prince from the frog
-Real-life romance is still alive and kicking
-No matter how bad it is, at least you haven’t been kidnapped by a Scottish duke (probably)
Sarah Wendell is cofounder of one of the top romance blogs, SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com.

It took me forever to finish this book, but I really enjoyed myself!

EIKAL (as it is fondly called) is a love letter (essay style) to romance books and their readers. It’s very much preaching to the choir but it could also (possibly) persuade non-romance readers as to the benefits of reading romances.

I would also find this book to be highly educational for a romance reader to give to a non-romance reader who is clueless as to why people love romances so much.

For me, I felt that the book forced me to seriously think about what draws me to romance books. I often find myself reading romances when I’m sad or stressed or depressed. I never understood or even questioned why – I just did.
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Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie

Agnes and the hitman

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Take one food writer named Cranky Agnes, add a hitman named Shane, mix them together with a Southern mob wedding, a missing necklace, two annoyed flamingos, and a dog named Rhett and you’ve got a recipe for a sexy, hilarious novel about the disastrous side of true love…

Agnes Crandall’s life goes awry when a dognapper invades her kitchen one night, seriously hampering her attempts to put on a wedding that she’s staked her entire net worth on. Then a hero climbs through her bedroom window. His name is Shane, no last name, just Shane, and he has his own problems: he’s got a big hit scheduled, a rival trying to take him out, and an ex-mobster uncle asking him to protect some little kid named Agnes. When he finds out that Agnes isn’t so little, his uncle has forgotten to mention a missing five million bucks he might have lost in Agnes’s house, and his last hit was a miss, Shane’s life isn’t looking so good, either. Then a bunch of lowlifes come looking for the money, a string of hit men show up for Agnes, and some wedding guests gather with intent to throw more than rice. Agnes and Shane have their hands full with greed, florists, treachery, flamingos, mayhem, mothers of the bride, and–most dangerous of all–each other. Agnes and the Hitman is the perfect combination of sugar and spice, sweet and salty–a novel of delicious proportions.

“Okay, Shane,” Agnes said as Brenda’s clock gonged midnight. “I got Joey in the kitchen, a cop in the front hall, a dead body in the basement, and you in my bedroom. Where do you want to start?”
— Agnes and the Hitman, page 23

What happens when you take a cranky, homicidal cook with anger issues who loves to swing cast iron skillets, a hitman with family issues, an unsolved murder and a crazy ex-mobster’s wife and put them all together at a mob princess’ wedding? Lots of laughs, death and great food!

Agnes (AKA Cranky Agnes) is a nationally syndicated gourmet food columnist who is trying to plan her god-daughter’s wedding in her back yard. Agnes has staked her entire net worth in making sure this wedding goes off without a hitch so everything needs to be perfect. Unfortunately for Agnes, a crazy man with a gun breaks into her house one night trying to steal her dog – and Agnes finds herself in the middle of a downward spiral of murder, mayhem, and mother-of-the-bride hell.
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Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison (Elder Races, #1)

dragon bound

Half-human and half-Wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the Wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their Dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful—and passionate—of the Elder Races.

As the most feared and respected of the Wyrkind, Dragos Cuelebre cannot believe someone had the audacity to steal from him, much less succeed. And when he catches the thief, Dragos spares her life, claiming her as his own to further explore the desire they’ve ignited in each other.

Pia knows she must repay Dragos for her trespass, but refuses to become his slave—although she cannot deny wanting him, body and soul.

Pia is a young half-wyr (were) who had been trained by her deceased mother to always stay aloof from others and to run and hide. Due to a combination of loneliness and slacking off on her mother’s teachings, Pia made the mistake of telling an ex-boyfriend of some of her abilities – that no door is locked to her. The ex-boyfriend later blackmailed her into stealing something from Dragos Cuelebre – the only known dragon in the world as well as the richest, most powerful and ruthless businessman and wyr alive. Dragos immediately goes on a search for his thief, not knowing that she would turn his life upside down.
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Review: Legend (The Drenai Saga #1) by David Gemmell

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Druss, Captain of the Axe, whose fame was legendary, had chosen to wait for death in a mountain hideaway. But mighty Dros Delnoch, the last stronghold of the Drenai Empire, was under threat from Nadir hordes who had destroyed everything else in their path. All hope rests on the skills of one man.

As always, I enjoyed this book.

This isn’t a book to read if you want to think. Don’t read this for the prose, the characterizations or the dialogue.

Read this for Druss. For he is a badass.

If you like badasses who kill lots of people…and who just may laugh while doing it…I say to you:

Meet Druss.
5 Stars

Song of the Beast by Carol Berg

song of the beast

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From Carol Berg, acclaimed author of the Rai-Kirah series, comes the epic story of Aidan MacAllister, a musician beloved by the gods, whose voice and harp could transform the souls of men…

This review will be tweaked.

Aidan: the most talented bard of his generation, beloved of gods, follower of dragons and cousin to the king, is imprisoned and tortured for 17 years.

Why? Aidan is clueless.

This book follows Aidan as he struggles to live after 17 years of torture and abuse. It also focuses on Aidan’s journey to learn why he was imprisoned.

I didn’t expect to like this book. When I read the blurb I thought, “Sounds sad, not for me.” (I’m a wussy. No dark and gritty for me) The only reason I read this one was because it was the Fantasy Aficionados book of the month pick. As a Mod…I’m sorta supposed to participate. 😉

After jumping through hoops galore to borrow this book from my library…I still put off reading it for a day or two. Finally, I sat down one day to thumb through it…and I looked up several hours later. Finished.

Carol Berg is a wonderful storyteller. The way she crafts her words are something to stand up and notice.

I was right…this is a sad story. Aidan is a ruined wreck of a body when he gets out of prison. His triumphs – for the most part – are far and very small. The story itself is rather bittersweet…and there’s some major betrayal going on. And that’s what makes Berg so powerful an author: I HATE everything I just mentioned in a book! Seriously, I am very much a wussy reader who hates sad stories. But I could not put this book down. I doubt that I’ll reread the entire book but I did reread a few sections and the end already (thus the 5 stars).

I’m not going to lie – I cried like a baby reading this book. This book is heart breaking but the ending is full of…the beginning of healing, of hope reborn. I don’t know…it just touched me. A lot.

SPOILER BELOW!!  Highlight text with cursor to read.

The way that Narim stalked and set up Aidan throughout his life was simply disgusting to me. Someone should done the world a favor and stuck a knife in his back.