"My Name is Memory" - Ann Brashares - 2010

I've seen this book compared to both "Twilight" and "The Time Traveler's Wife" and I'd say it's closer to the latter in style and story, thankfully.  However it lacked the emotional impact of TTW and in "Memory's" defense the only real similarity to Twilight is a much older hero and eternal devotion to the heroine.   I enjoyed this novel, but the ending is abrupt - I hear there will be two more additions - right now it feels their story might have been more powerful as one book, I kept waiting for tears, but they never came.  Hopefully she has some powerful stuff coming up for the next two.  

The Hit and Miss Engines" (plus photoshop jokes)

and the real thing...

         I didn't take this picture (my camera went to a PGH show without me) - that's no reason not to fuck with it though, right?


"Scandal in Spring" - Lisa Kleypas

Finishing the baby of the Hathaway clan's story made me want to revisit the "baby" of the Wallflower series.  Still good.  The button scene gets me every time. 

"Love in the Afternoon" - Lisa Kleypas - 2010

Definitely the best of the last three...

Some sounds and colors

The prettiest granny afghan I've seen - $3 couldn't pass it up.
75 cent shelves and a new home for instruments worthy of display.

"He Loves Lucy" - Susan Donovan - 2005

This book earned a place on my Keeper Shelf a while back, but this was the first full re-read.  Still great.

Expired Film - pretty ok

Hazy Days

"Bet Me" - Jennifer Crusie - 2010

Still holding as my favorite contemporary romance ever, it's just nice to re-read the whole damn thing and fall in love with Cal and Min all over again.

Lens Flare addiction

"Never had one lesson"

Dear Emmy,

If you should ever decide a trippy sci-fi inspired 
solo record is something you are into, 
I have cover art ready to go.
Love, Laci Hess

MIF 162

Download from the link above and enjoy!

"Married By Morning" - Lisa Kleypas - 2010

Been pretty internet-less lately, so I'm making up for lost time.  I did go right out and by "Married By Morning" and I will admit to sneaking a peek at the AAR review written by Jane Granville before I started it.  I try not to allow reviews to sway me from something I'm anticipating, but I agree with her review completely.  It wasn't a bad story by any means, it just didn't live up to what I wanted it to be.

It's almost as if they like each other too much by the time they get their own book.  It's a little too easy on some levels.  The best thing prior to "Married..." was the incredible tension between them - always arguing to cover their growing attraction.  I wanted to see more of that. 

The real problem for me boils down to Catherine's character development.  I would have liked a different background for her than the over-connected one she got.  I'm a fan of the Jane Eyre - "Handsome Lord falls for Practical Governess" plotline - which he is and she is - but that isn't really what "Married By Morning"was. 

Series and connected books can be a double-edged sword.  In some ways you love seeing the family members who have already had their HEA, living out their HEA (typically by showing the first heroine 'increasing') and still very much in love with their hero.  However there can be too much.  Nothing is worse than an author who feels the need to rehash the first 3 books for readers dropping in at the end of the series, when you've already read the books she's summing up.  Kleypas doesn't really do that, just a line or two to refresh your memory, it seems she caters more to her faithful readers than those who may not have realized they're in the middle of a series. BUT, the family connections within the Hathaway Series are beginning to really bother me.  This is book number four and without trying to spoil anything, we now have 4 men, 4 women, and 3 sets of married siblings.  Two brothers married to two sisters, then a brother and sister married to a brother and sister (who are also siblings to the sisters of the first).  It isn't incestuous by any means, but it's starting to feel that way.  As if the Hathaways world is a little too small or they're such outcasts that there are no new people in it.  It's all much more complicated of course, there are secrets and surprises, but I have to say I'm thankful for Beatrix's story and some new faces on the way. 

"Tempt Me at Twilight" - Lisa Kleypas - 2010

Man, publishers must love a popular series.  It’s bank, right?  Of course there are the phenoms, such as Harry Potter and Twilight – but the same principles apply to romantic fiction.
1)  Keep the stories connected. 2) Keep the readers hungry for more. 3) Do your job and they will buy the next one.

The difference between romantic series and popular novels like Twilight lies in the focus.  The Twilight books are Bella’s continuing story, whereas romance series typically consist of siblings, each finding love in their own novel.  There was a time when I owned every book in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, now only two remain.  The series started very strong, the second book about the eldest son, Anthony,  “The Viscount Who Loved Me” remains my favorite.  However there were just too many brothers and sisters, I couldn’t care about Gregory or Hyacinth’s stories, as Quinn seemed to lose steam and my certainly my attention by the anticlimactic conclusion.  On the other hand, I believe Mary Balogh’s “Slightly” series lost steam midway, but finishes wonderfully with my most expensive romance purchase to date ($20 hardcover), of “Slightly Dangerous.”

Lisa Kleypas has been a successful fixture in romance since the early ‘90s.  “Dreaming of You” is an absolute classic - and she’s no stranger to a successful series.  Her Hathaway family stories feature times of day in the title, and they are loosely connected to the 'Seasons' series.  She is a writing machine, overlapping releases of a contemporary “Texas Trilogy” with the first historical in the Hathaway series, “Mine Until Midnight.”  She is truly talented, always writing strong stories, and occasionally writing fantastic ones. 

She walks a fine line with the Hathaway’s though, they are a close-knit family - always connected, and up in each others shit,  the danger lies in future stories overshadowing the current one.  I found myself excited for Win and Merripan’s story before Cam and Amelia’s is concluded, but not nearly as excited as I am for “Married by Morning.”  Leo, the heir and only brother has been shooting sparks with staunch governess and ladies companion, Catherine Marks for two books now.  In fact, “…Twilight’ ends with a cliffhanger and I can only hope that “Summer 2010” has arrived and I can find it a the drugstore tomorrow.   So, on one hand, Kleypas has done a marvelous job – so much so that I’m sure that if “Married…” lives up to my expectiations the previous three Hathaway novels may fall by the wayside.  Only time and comfort re-reads will tell. 

As for ‘Tempt Me at Twilight” itself I was presently surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did.   It reminded me of “Dreaming of You” and ‘Devil in Winter” (two faves) in that most of the story takes place within one very large space – this time the Rutledge Hotel rather than a gambling hell.  The similarities don’t end with the setting though.  As with Derek Craven and Lord St. Vincent, once again Kleypas has succeeded in winning me over by unraveling the layers of a complicated hero so well that you forgive his early transgressions and rejoice when he finds the ability to declare his love.