Monday, February 09, 2015

Where Is Your Bookmark? (02/10/2015)

What a lovely weekend we had! Mouse's soccer lessons started up again and this time one of her friends from school is in her class. It was a nice surprise for both girls. The other little girl is several months younger than Mouse and this is her first time playing soccer. It made my heart proud to see Mouse take the lead with her friend at times to keep her friend on task.

We spent Sunday decorating hearts and putting them on our Christmas Valentine tree. I think it turned out pretty well, don't you?  It was a fun family project.  I am not sure yet how I feel about having the tree up much longer, but Mouse wants it up for her birthday next month, so we'll see.



I finished reading Elizabeth Hall's Miramont's Ghost this past week and am now reading Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes. Under a Silent Moon is quite different from Into the Darkest Corner by the same author, which I read and loved a couple years ago. Under a Silent Moon is the first in the author's Briarstone Major Crime series, and it is written more in the fashion of your typical police procedural. I am enjoying it so far.

My husband began reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte recently. I think he got tired of waiting for me (we're supposed to read it together). I will likely be starting it soon to try to catch up. It is his first time reading Jane Eyre and it will be my third. I am nervous about him reading it as it is one of my all time favorite books.

What are you reading at the moment?  Is it something you would recommend?



Every Tuesday Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea hosts 
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where  
participants share the first paragraph (or a few) of a 
book they are reading or thinking about reading soon.


Here is the opening of Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes, the book I currently am reading:

(The novel actually opens with a dispatch log entry, which I am skipping over in favor of sharing the actual story narrative.)
.
10:52
In years to come, Flora would remember this as the day of Before and After.
Before, she had been working on the canvas that had troubled her for nearly three months. She had reworked it so many times, had stared at it, loved it and hated it, often at the same time. On that Thursday it had gone well. The blue was right, finally, and while she had the sun slanting in even strips from the skylight overhead, she traced the lines with her brush delicately as though she were touching the softest human skin and not canvas. 
An excerpt from the Publisher:
Two women share one fate. 
A suspected murder at an English Farm. A reported suicide at a local quarry.
Can DCI Louisa Smith and her team gather the evidence and discover a link between them, a link which sealed their fate one cold night, Under a Silent Moon?

Would you continue reading?


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies at Broke and Bookish.

This weeks' Top Ten Tuesday theme is Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes to Romances in Books.

Maybe you don't read romance novels or maybe you do. I know a lot of people I know are very adamant that they don't. Five years ago, that would have been me. At least not books labeled as "romance novels." It is hard to completely avoid books with even a little romance in them if you are an avid reader, so I imagine you have some thoughts on what you like and dislike about romance in a book just the same.

Like with every type of book, every reader has different likes and dislikes.  Just because something may annoy me about a character or story line, doesn't mean others feel the same. These are just my personal feelings about romance in books, whether it's a romance novel or a book with romance as a side story:

1. I recently re-discovered an interest in reading actual romance novels where romance is the main focus of the plot.  Admittedly, I still have a preference for books in which it isn't the only story. I read and enjoy those too occasionally, don't get me wrong. But put a romantic suspense novel or a paranormal-mystery type romance in front of me, and I am more likely to pick those up over the straight forward romance any day.  Crossover genre books rule!  

2. I want actual romance. Not just sex. 

3. I am not a fan of what's commonly referred to as insta-love.  A story in which love happens gradually or blooms out of friendship is easier for me to buy into. Insta-love, in my mind, would be more aptly named insta-lust. Which leads me to . . .

4. I do not especially like it when characters jump into bed together in the first chapter. Or even the second and third. I have read and enjoyed romance novels that begin this way, but more often than not, I end up rolling my eyes and it doesn't leave me with a good first impression of the characters.

5. Communication. I get that mis-communication and secrets are often key in creating necessary conflict between characters, not to mention in building tension. But there is such a thing as too much of that. All I ask for is balance. I know when a couple has just met and aren't sure they trust each other, they might not want to share everything--I get that. It's when they are in the actual relationship and hide things from each other than clearly should be shared that I get annoyed. 

6-7. I have very limited experience with gay and lesbian relationships in romance situations, and so will focus on the male/female romance threads in books I have read.  Notice the overlap? I could have probably made one list.  
Male love interests - I prefer that he isn't arrogant/conceited, seducing every woman in the tri-state area, and doesn't have stereotypical ideas about women.  I like a man who can see a woman as an equal, supporting her right to make her own choices and who is willing to stand up for her and with her.  Being a good listener and honest and open are also musts. I like to see vulnerability in the character. It opens up a character for growth, I think, and makes him seem more real. 
Female love interests - I like a heroine who is independent, resourceful, and doesn't always need a man to rescue her. She can be sassy or more down to earth or in between. Any of these doesn't bother me. I like it when the heroine is supportive of her love interest, and asks questions and doesn't jump to conclusions. Honesty and being a good listener are desirable here too. Flaws are also good here; having a vulnerable side is important, I think, for the same reasons listed above.

8. I am not a fan of infidelity or cheating in books. As a back story where the hero or heroine has been cheated on is one thing. The subject of infidelity has popped up in my regular fiction reading on occasion. I tend to run the other direction when I hear a book is about infidelity.  That said, I have read a few books that deal with the topic that have been very good.

9. I do like a happy ending now and then--there's something refreshing about it, especially when I'm having a difficult day or week.  

10.. In novels in which romance is a side story, it doesn't always work out--and I'm perfectly okay with that too.  Relationships can be messy. 

What do you like or dislike about romances in the books you read?


© 2015, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

58 comments:

  1. I love the Valentine Tree! I think it's very creative! I'm sure Mouse had a fun time decorating them! :)

    I've "Under a Silent Moon" in my pile, along with her second book of the series. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on it.

    Romance books... Ah, they used to be my to-read books but as the time goes, I find myself reading more crime thrillers and suspense. I still love reading them, but only when the mood strikes or the story is interesting enough to pique my curiosity and attention. ;) I tend to be skeptical about the characters who fall in love at first sight, but that's just me. And I think there's something sweet and romantic to have the characters start a relationship after being friends for some time. This theme never gets old in my opinion.

    Happy reading, Wendy! :)

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    1. Melody - We had such fun decorating the hearts and then putting them on the tree. :-) It was a family project.

      I hope you enjoy Under a Silent Moon when you get to it. I'm about half way through. I have the next in the series in my pile to read too. I may read a book or two in between, but I am looking forward to that one too.

      I am glad I decided to give romance novels a try again. I've been pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy them. I had written them off for so many years.

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  2. Your valentine's tree is stunning! I enjoyed Under A Silent Moon very much and I want to get the next book in this series which was recently published - great choice. As for romance in books; I rarely read a straight romantic novel but I like it when romance is part of a wider story. I don' t like insta love either but I have read some cracking books where infidelity is the subject, The Mistresses Revenge by Tamara Cohen is very funny... great post.

    http://cleopatralovesbooks.wordpress.com

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    1. Cleo - Why, thank you! We're enjoying the Valentine's tree. :-)

      I am glad to hear you liked Under a Silent Moon! I do love a good police procedural.

      I enjoy a good romance novel now and then--especially when I need something to take my mind of work or something unpleasant in life. Mostly though, I prefer my romance mixed with another genre or type of book.

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  3. I agree with every point on your list, but especially #3 & #8. The insta-love thing can stop me in my tracks. The author needs to make ME fall in love with the characters first and that takes time. Just like in real life.

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  4. I agree with Melody, the Valentine Tree is gorgeous and such a great idea as well! 'Under a Silent Moon' is new to me but I really like the sound of the beginning! I think everyone has struggled with something creative at some point and the feeling of absolutely hating it and loving it at the same time is very familiar! Great intro but I think I'd have to read a bit more before making up my mind!
    Thanks for sharing :) I hope you have a great week!
    My Tuesday post
    Juli @ Universe in Words

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    1. Juli - Thank you. :-) I liked the intro as well. I like Haynes' writing style and think she's good at drawing out her characters bit by bit.

      I hope you have a great week too!

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  5. Fun idea for keeping the tree current! I like mysteries, so the opening caught my attention. My teaser & giveaway

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    1. Beth - I figured since the tree was still up, it might as well fit with the season. :-)

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  6. I love the Valentine Tree! How lovely! I like the intro as well Wendy and would keep reading.

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    1. Diane - We had fun putting all the decorations together. :-) So far, I am really enjoying the book!

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  7. I, too, love the Valentine tree. Cute idea. You know, this year we just shoved our tree into a big closet that we have. Of course, I had to take some other stuff out and shift it to another location, but still. My husband was delighted that all he'll have to do next year is carry it to the corner that we always place it. I did take the decorations off, but it's a pre-lit tree, so the actual decorating won't take long.

    Hope you enjoy the Elizabeth Haynes book. I'm looking forward to reading #2 in this series.

    I used to read romances years ago. Not very much now. Although I do have a few that are some of my "comfort" re-reads. I'm like you - give me a crossover romantic suspense or paranormal.

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    1. Kay - I'm so glad. Thank you! :-) I like your idea. LOL Our tree is pre-lit too. It sure does make things easier.

      I haven't read your review of Under a Silent Moon yet, but I have your review saved in my feed reader. It will be interesting to compare notes!

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  8. I am not a romance reader either, but I have read quite a few that have been downers and a few that have been amazing. I agree with all your points, especially with point 5 - that one is often the plot of so many books and it annoys me because I can't imagine that as something that happens to a lot of couples AND the couples end up living happily ever after. It almost feels like manipulation.

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    1. Athira - Too much in the way of mis-communication has to wear on a couple, especially in the way of creating trust issues. I agree, it can feel like manipulation at times, especially if it's over done.

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  9. That would make me nervous too as Jane Eyre is one of my all time favourites, and I don't think my husband has ever read it so I'd be worried, I can understand what you're saying! That tree is so pretty with the hearts on it. Hope you enjoy the Haynes.

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    1. Lindsay - I really hope he will like Jane Eyre. So far he says he does, but he's still early on in the book.

      Thank you! I am happy with the way the tree turned out. :-)

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  10. You did decide to do a Valentine's Tree! I love it! A March birthday tree may be pushing it, but I remember several years ago my old college roommate kept hers up and decorated an Easter Tree - LOL!

    Under a Silent Moon looks good.

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    1. JoAnn - We did go ahead with it. :-) I'm glad you like it. I'm not sure yet how we'll do a birthday tree. Something to ponder. My mom actually suggested keeping it up and decorating it for Easter too. :-)

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    1. Kathy - Thank you! I am going to hate to take all those decorations down.

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  12. I agree with all of your points, especially 2, 3, 4, and 8. I don't read Romance novels, but I can enjoy a little romance inside a novel as long as it is handled well. Even some of the tropes you mention can be done well--the problem I encounter more often than I like, is that so many authors think the formula is all that is necessary.

    The Valentine tree is wonderful!

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    1. Jenclair - And I really don't mind the formula most of the time, but I do like to see an author get creative with it and make it their own, you know? That goes for any genre, really.

      Thank you! I love our Valentine tree. :-)

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  13. Under A Silent Moon is on my reading list...and I love that first line you shared from it. Have a great week!

    My post: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2015/02/first-chapter-first-paragraph-93.html

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    1. I hope you like Under a Silent Moon when you get to it, Catherine. So far, I am enjoying it. I hope you have a great week too!

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  14. I love your Valentine Tree! What a great idea....I once left my Christmas tree, just as it was, into March. It was an artificial tree, no worries...but it was a bit strange. How much better if I had turned it into a Valentine Tree.

    I am eager to read Under a Silent Moon, which I have on Sparky...I also loved Into the Darkest Corner.

    Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog. I also enjoyed your thoughts on "romance," which coincide quite a bit with my own.

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    1. Laurel-Rain - Thanks! Ours will definitely be up into March. Not sure about after that. It might be overkill. That's the good thing about artificial trees though. They last a long time. :-)

      Another Into the Darkest Corner fan! It was such an intense read! I hope you enjoy Under a Silent Moon as much as I am.

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  15. I skipped Top Ten Tues this week, as I'm not a fan of romances. But, on your first point, I do like books where romance isn't the only storyline...or even the central storyline. Throw some witty banter in there too! And hold the cheese.
    I wasn't really grabbed by the intro, but I love the cover!

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    1. Sarah - I figured I read enough books with romance in them, even as a side story, that I could come up with something. Admittedly, I don't feel quite up to level with those who read a lot of romance. It wasn't an easy topic for me though. But yes, witty banter is good. And definitely hold the cheese.

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  16. I've got Under a Silent Moon coming up and I'm very excited about it. I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying it. I agree with your top ten! While I do read romance I think I actually prefer a story where romance isn't all that's going on. The communication thing drives me nuts. Half the time I want to yell at them - Just talk to each other! Hope your husband enjoys Jane Eyre. Mine and I were talking books awhile ago and it turns out Wuthering Heights is one of his favorite books. I was blown away!

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    1. Katherine - I hope you enjoy Under a Silent Moon when you get to it!

      I consider you my go to expert on romance. Not that I want you to feel any pressure. LOL I've yelled at characters in exasperation before. Probably more than I want to admit.

      That's neat that one of your husband's favorite books is Wuthering Heights!

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  17. Good opening paragraph (or somewhere near the beginning). Quite compelling. I enjoyed your top ten and totally agree. Good luck with Jane Eyre.

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    1. Margot - I thought so too! I am enjoying the book so far. :-)

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  18. Oh, I love the idea of a Valentine tree!

    I'd definitely continue reading Under A Silent Moon! It sounds great!

    Great list! I don't like male love interests that are arrogant or posessive. It makes me want to put the book down. Misunderstandings drive me crazy! I should have put that on my list of dislikes. When a book turns into like, every episode of Three's Company, I just can't go on. Sometimes misunderstandings are necessary, but too many in one book is not good. Yes, I'm a sucker for a happy ending! Thanks for stopping by Michelle's Minions!

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    1. Michelle - It at least fits with the holiday. :-)

      Arrogance annoys me no end. I love your analogy to Three's Company--that's it exactly! It's so frustrating.

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  19. Your tree is beautiful! Can't wait to see you make it into a 'birthday' tree!
    I don't read a lot of pure romance books. Like you, I prefer a story....suspense, historical, etc....that the romance just happens to be one component of. Of course, if there IS a romance, I prefer a happy ending!

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    1. Kim - Thank you! I'll definitely post a picture when we do the birthday tree. :-)

      Happy endings are really nice when it comes to romance novels.

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  20. Such a cute idea for the "all-around holiday tree". I would leave it up for her birthday, have everyone who comes in the house hang up a homemade paper ornament...and then pack it away :)
    I read Into the Darkest Corner last year or so and oh boy, was a bit intense for me, pushed my envelope pretty far. However I will consider her newest one since you say it is written somewhat differently, more a procedural.
    Thanks for the interesting post!

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    1. Rita - I love your idea of having all the guests hang up a homemade paper ornament for her birthday! That would be fun.

      Into the Darkest Corner was intense. For quite a while after I found myself checking my locks and windows more often than usual. I'm about half way through Under a Silent Moon and it's not nearly as intense in that regard. It's definitely a different type of crime fiction novel.

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  21. I'd like to get a list of some good romance novels, not the Harlequin kind.

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    1. Harvee Lau - I'm not the best person to ask given I have only recently begun to read romance novels again. Maybe Sarah Jio's The Look of Love? Or Sarah Morgan's Sleigh Bells in the Snow, which is a little more traditional romance but has strong character development and a good story.

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  22. Nice list of turn ons and turn offs for romance in novels. Heres my link for my TTT post this week: http://captivatedreader.blogspot.com/2015/02/top-ten-tuesday-top-ten-things-i.html

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  23. I like the tree. Some people leave them up year round and decorate for holidays and just neutrally in between. Nice idea I wish I had room for.
    So what are some examples of romance novels you have enjoyed, Wendy?

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    1. I've heard of people doing that. I imagine if it were to stay up year round (which I sincerely hope not!), it would be plain most of the time.

      Straight romances I've enjoyed more recently would be Sarah Jio's The Look of Love. Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn (which I suppose is more a cross-genre book really, but the romance is a big focus), and Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan. These all from just last year.

      If you are talking cross-genre, Cathy Marie Buchanan's The Day the Falls Stood Still. Really more of a historical love story than a romance. Such a beautiful book. Pride and Prejudice. Jane Eyre. Kelly Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld books, Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series. Anything by Karen Marie Moning.

      I could probably go on and on. LOL

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  24. Great list and I like the teaser. I'd keep reading.

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    1. Yvonne - Thank you! I am enjoying the book quite a bit.

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  25. That's a nice top ten list, just in time for Valentines week. Your tree is very festive! I like your opening paragraph, the book sounds like one I would enjoy. Kelley at the road goes ever ever on

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    1. Kelley - Thank you! It was a timely topic. :-) I am nearly done with the book and am not happy that my lunch break is over and I have to wait to finish it later. :-(

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  26. Sounds like a fun weekend and the Valentines tree is too cute!
    Under a Silent Moon looks good, I'd keep reading.
    Nice top ten list, I agree with 2-4 especially. I'm not a fan of infidelity in books either, but I did pick up one book called Adultery by Coehlo when I saw it offered on Amazon Vine and I found the author dealt with the topic fairly well.
    I also do not like unprotected sex in romance books, which I see often enough in romance and I don't like the pregnancy cliffhanger, which I keep seeing in New Adult Romance books.
    Happy Valentine's Day!



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    1. Naida - It was fun! I really liked Under a Silent Moon. I can't wait to read more by Haynes. It's so different from the other book I read by her.

      Unprotected sex in romance isn't something I've come across much--maybe because I haven't read extensively in the genre. Although in the book I just finished, there was an incident--and the couple talked about it, which I thought was at least good. It wasn't ignored or taken lightly.

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  27. I love the Valentine tree too! So much fun. Gage loves our Christmas tree but I couldn't wait to get it to the basement mid-January!
    I used to read a lot more romance novels and need to get back into the habit of reading them more. A great romance novel can leave me in such a happy place :)

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    1. Stacy - Thank you! It's been a big hit in our house. :-) I would have taken the tree down long before this if Mouse hadn't been so insistent we keep it up. I'm indulging her, I know. This wasn't a battle I felt was worth putting my foot down, I guess. :-)

      I do like that about romance novels. I like the happy feeling I get when I finish one.

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  28. That's nice reading Jane Eyre together. What did your husband think?

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    1. Susan - He's still working his way through Jane Eyre. He's not as dedicated a reader as many of us are. He likes to take his time. :-)

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  29. I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on Under a Silent Moon. It is very different that Into the Darkest Corner but still really great in my opinion. I love your valentine tree! Too cute!

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    1. Samantha - Yes, it was very different from Into the Darkest Corner, wasn't it? I really enjoyed it though.

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