Saying Goodbye...

As you may know, 15 months ago, I started in a profession I love.  Tattooing is amazing, and I feel I'm doing what I was meant to do.  However, it takes up most of my time.  I have less time to read, and even less time to write about the novels I do make it through.  I still love the Romance genre, but I find myself less and less inclined to search out new authors or highly reviewed books.  

I am proud that I kept up with this blog for the length of time I did, but now I know I need to focus on art and tattooing.  Thanks for looking and reading!  If you like to look at pretty things, art 
and tattoos, I can still be found on Facebook and Pinterest and occasionally Polyvore.

All the best, Laci Hess 

I forgot this series had magic in doesn't really need it - except that there's a ghost in the next one, so I guess it does.

"Love Letters from a Duke" - Elizabeth Boyle - 2007

A really fun read, great H/H - fun story - bit too many characters popping up from past books.

Kristan Higgins - "Somebody to Love" - 2012

Kristan Higgins is hit or miss for me, I hated "Catch of the Day" and loved "The Next Best Thing" - "Somebody to Love" includes guest appearances by characters in each.  It's a sequel of sorts, and I was really enjoyed it, even if it lost some steam towards the end.

I wish the copy I read looked like this one!

                           I read and books and made art in August and Sept 2012 - I did, I swear it!

"The Bargain (The Would-Be Widow) - Mary Jo Putney - 1999 (1988)

I'm a big fan of MJP, she's one of the pillars of the romance genre, and I'm always excited to find an older book I haven't read.  "The Bargain" is actually a re-issue of a Regency published a decade before, and introduces and references some beloved characters from other novels.  This book introduces the prematurely white-haired Scottish surgeon, Ian Kinlock who pops up in several other romances, and I loved seeing his own romance unfold.  In fact, for me this secondary romance overshadowed the primary one.  The premise is original, Lady Jocelyn must marry before she turns 25 or lose her inheritance, so she marries a dying soldier who gives his name in return for Lady Jocelyn providing an annuity for his only sister.  However in grand MJP fashion (see, "One Perfect Rose) he is not dying, just a missed piece of shrapnel and a opium addiction... My issue with "The Bargain" is not with the hero, David Lancaster, he's wonderful, but with the heroine Lady Jocelyn.  She reads as cold, even when she's being kind and generous, issues stemming from scandalous parents and an early supposed rejection, for much of the novel she is preoccupied with the Duke of Candover (Rafe, hero of Petals in the Storm, he's in the Archangel series) and it really takes away from David who is more deserving of her attention and loving her the whole time... Luckily she gets her act together, and a B rated MJP is still better than most authors on a good day...

"Only Yours" - Susan Mallery - 2011

This book succeeds where 'Woodrose Mountain" failed, and aside from the constant secondary characters popping up from previous books, it was a nice small town romance with a tortured hero, and I always love that...

"As an Earl Desires" - Lorraine Heath - 2005

Angsty, very angsty. (Which is not to say I didn't like it...)

Ten Things I Love About You - Julia Quinn - 2010

I thought maybe I should list 10 things I love about this book, but there is only one: 
the hero Sebastian. 

The list gets a little longer when I list the things I DON'T LOVE about this book...

1) The title
2) The cutesy employment of the title in this book, in the form top ten lists that take you right out of the story.  This is not High Fidelity, it doesn't need to be.
3) The villian. He's super gross.
4) The heroine's self-absorbed distant and manipulative Grandmother, she's gross, too.
5) The way the H/H deal with their respective families.
6) How Sebastian copes with PTSD.
7) How quickly the H/H fall in love.

Things I LIKE, but did not love, about this book:
The heroine, she's smart and good-hearted, but not quite up to scratch for a hero like Sebastian.  She's not an "ugly duckling" she's just country bred, and a little too naive for such an experienced hero.  Obviously thousands of novels have been written about a rake and his reformer, some of which are fantastic, this one just wasn't quite right.  I hate when the hero seems to be convincing himself he's in love, or it happens so suddenly, I just don't buy it.  In fact, Sebastian goes from not wanting to marry Annabel to proposing in a single scene...Annabel calls him out on this, too - but why not just write their story differently?  I really liked Annabel's cousin Louisa, if she doesn't already have her own book, she should.

This is just one of those books that wasn't awful, it was just a little bit off.   

"What Happens in London" - Julia Quinn - 2009

Julia Quinn used to be a favorite of mine, and it was nice to spend an afternoon remembering why.   

Vintage shoot at Greenhouse Park...

"Woodrose Mountain" - Raeanne Thayne - 2012

This book thinks beading can save the soul, and doesn't shut up about it.  

Hitting the comfort reads so hard this week.

Still great.

...and so much lovely tattoo inspiration!

"Just One Taste" - Louisa Edwards - 2010

I very much enjoy the world Louisa Edwards has created, but I did not love this book.  

Time Management.

I need it. 

"High Plains Bride" - Jenna Kernan - 2007

I've had this book in my TBR pile for years.  It was on my looking for list, and I was excited when I found it, but never wanted to read it...

"A Stockingful of Joy" - Anthology - 2005

 Christmas in June, I know.  I feel it must happen every year, but I can't explain it.  I like anthologies when my attention span is lagging - or I'm actually busy (the case more and more, I'm happy to say...)
For the sake of saving time, I did not finish Susan King's Highland love story - so hard for me to get into medievals...  I read Mary Jo Putney's story first, but found it ho hum.  Thank goodness for Justine Dare's Western story - yes, it was pretty cliche - but I did not care one bit.  I very much enjoyed Jill Barnett's story, which featured not only an unusual setting (Gangs of New York era NYC) but a heroine who is, gasp 40!  That's a really big deal in a genre of 18-year-olds and spinsters at the ripe old age of 24. I'll be on the lookout for more books from Justine Dare and Jill Barnett - and see how they fair when they don't have to invoke the Christmas spirits. 

"Slightly Dangerous" - Mary Balogh - 2004

If Darcy had 5 siblings and Lizzie was a widow...(of course I love it).

Same face, different takes...

...and again.

These two have a very 70's Barbie feel about them.
Must be the saturation.

                                and the big hair....

"Portrait of My Heart" - Patricia Cabot (Meg Cabot) - 1999

I truly hope someone will stumble upon this in Goodwill and love it, because it has some nice moments and charm, it's just not a keeper for me...

Motivation Needed...

Why is it that on days where I have no tattoos, and nowhere to be, I have the energy to do nothing more than read a book?  And I justify it by saying I need it.   How do you find the balance between working and relaxation?  

Society gives us two days, then back to the grind.  But art does not follow the same path - they say you should be working, working, working and only by working will you be ready for opportunities and inspiration.  So when is it okay to relax?

I love my lazy Sundays, but they still involve laundry.  I love my Monday's off, but they still involve work/drawings/etc for the week.  There is always a count down and your free time is ticking away. 

CONES show (5/17/12) was great.

"The Last Waltz" - Mary Balogh - 1998

 For someone who doesn't really like the xmas season in real life, I sure do like Mary Balogh's version of it in her novels.  Unfortunately, "The Last Waltz" felt a bit repetitious in it's Christmas traditions, and I didn't like the hero/heroine or plot very much at all.  "The Last Waltz" was her final short-form Regency romance, moving on to write several hugely popular historical romance series, a few of which I love, so no regrets about the end of Regency's from me...

"Educating Caroline" - Patricia Cabot (aka Meg Cabot) - 2001

  Meg Cabot is best known for her Princess Diaries series and tons of other YA novels, but she wrote quite a few romances, published under the pen name, Patricia Cabot.  I've only read a few, as they're a little hard to find these days.   I'd place "Educating Caroline" among the wallpaper variety of historicals, it feels altogether too modern, just look at that cover design, come on.  However, Cabot's wit and a lovable hero leave you charmed enough to look past all that.

"The Hathaway Series" - Lisa Kleypas

I read these two out of order, but I had read them before...  No matter that I was just too lazy to stop and look for 'Married by Morning' (it was on the kitchen table) so I just started 'Love in the Afternoon.' Which is the final book in the series, and a little bit anti-climatic.  Beatrix is the most developed character when she finally gets her own love story, because she's featured in everyone else's stories, too. Her story is very much "Shop Around the Corner"/"You've Got Mail" inspired, and truly the letters were the best part of their story.

I remember being pretty disappointed in Leo and Marks' story the first time around, but that was due to some lofty expectations.  This time it didn't bother so much.

Overall, Lisa Kleypas is so good at what she does, even her mediocre output is better than most romances published today.  It's just that sometimes, what she puts out is amazing, so you want it all to be as good...