Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bigfoot, Musicales, and Summer In A Glass


I'm gonna start with the upbeat, positive stuff first. Summer In A Glass.

If you have not checked out the wonderful blog Full Fork Ahead, please do. It has stunning photos, delicious recipes, and will inspire your culinary inclinations. KMont recently posted a recipe for White Sangria that makes me want to sit on my deck, stare at the sunset, and slurp down a pitcher of these delicious-looking drinks. Sangria is pretty much summer in a glass. Filled with colorful, festive fruit, all kinds of naughty liquors, sugar, and wine.....it's cold, it's fruity, it will knock you flat on your back and have you singing the Backstreet Boys at your next party. The perfect summertime drink!

I have 2 different recipes for sangria I make...one with white wine and one with red wine. I like mine sweeter, so once I added ginger ale instead of soda water. But to each his own!

(While you're visiting Kendra's blog, you might want to check out the recipe for lemon curd tart, too. I am obsessed with lemony things, and this recipe looks like the perfect ending to a summery BBQ dinner. What do you think?)

All right, onto the not-so-positive stuff. I have been reading a lot of lackluster crapola lately. Sure, every once in a while, I read something amazing and have a momentary bit o' happiness, but in general, I'm in a reading slump. In fact, I'm sort of sick of reading. In particular, reading romances. How could this happen? I don't know. But I'm thinking of reading some mysteries for a while. Either my expectations are too high, or I'm choosing poorly, or I need to do something totally different like run away from home, sign up for a glass-blowing camp in Vermont, and let my hair grow into dreadlocks. (I'm already working on the dreads...hee hee!).

In recent weeks, I've read a Julia Quinn (Just Like Heaven) that was not so heavenly. In fact, I am starting to think that Quinn will never get back her writing mojo. Writing witty banter is fun and cute, but adding serious emotional chops into a romance is the sign of a truly great author. Quinn has the ability to do this (Bridgerton series), but she no longer seems interested. The Smythe-Smith musicales have been a humorous addition to Quinn's historicals for a long time. But once the decision was made to write an entire book about one of these untalented musicians, then a few questions needed to be answered. Namely, why in holy hell are these young untalented girls being forced to perform in front of the ton and humiliate themselves? There could have been a cool story here. But the quick flash of humor (oh, look, it's another one of those crappy musicales) doesn't offer a real explanation for why a noble family looking to marry off its daughters would knowingly put them in a situation where they are humiliated and ridiculed. (And please....don't tell me that all of the parents and family members are so clueless and tone-deaf that they are not aware of what is going on). As all of us know, who have read 10 million historicals, there is nothing more important than appearances and proper protocol in the ton. So, yep, I find it extremely hard to believe that an entire family would subject its unmarried daughters to this year after year. Sigh. This book was nothing more than banter, no real magic. And I was disappointed (again). 

Then I tried a bigfoot book. Granted, it was a bigfoot book. But I am always on the look-out for something different and quirky and fun. This book could have been about a chef or policeman or CEO or really anything. Okay, the heroine was a tabloid reporter looking for a story, and the hero....was the story. But other than lots of sex, and of course the whole irritating erotica theme of Wow-We-Just-Boinked-Our-Way-To-True-Love-In-24 Hours-Or-Less premise going on, there was no reason to have bigfoot in this book. If I hear that a book is about bigfoot, then I want to see some bigfooty action....what does bigfoot do all day? where does he go? how does he live? is it interesting, cool, different? He spent all his time in the cabin boinking the heroine. I know...it's an erotica. What was I thinking? Sigh. 

I also read part of an indie book where the POV bounced back and forth from sentence to sentence within the same paragraph, and another historical where the evil step-daughter falsely accuses the hero of rape, rips her own clothes and smashes her head against the wall to appear "ravished" and....

I give up. See Penelope waving the white flag of surrender. 

I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Start reading mysteries for a while? Take the summer off? How about make a huge-ass pitcher of sangria and hang out? That sounds good!

In the meantime, if anyone has just read something utterly mind-blowing, please let me know. As long as it's not about bigfoot.

All My Best,
Penelope

3 comments:

Amber Skyze said...

That's bad when the POV changes in the same sentence!!! Hope you find a winner soon!

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Oh poor you! Look, there's this huge surge in romance because everyone knows romance sells - some old standbys are tanking - running out of new ideas while some of the newbies are raw, i.e., awful.
I am so cautious about what I read now that I upload samples to hubbie's kindle. I don't want to waste my money or my time anymore.
I read lots and lots of nonfiction. Pick up Into Thin Air or start in on some fantasy like A Game of Thrones - or maybe Tad William's series, The Dragonbone Chair.
Try to find Bless Me, Ultima. Great book. Or Mariette in Ecstasy. I bet you've read Children of Men and The Handmaid's Tale. Or maybe pick up Sharon Kay Penman's series about the English kings - yummy! Or The Dragons of Pern series? I love that!
Or even Bernard Cornwall's Winter King series.
Enough suggestions? Trying to get you fired up, girl, cuz I'm a little worried about the dreads. Next you'll be saggin' and you'll end up kicked off a US Airways flight and in handcuffs. :)
BTW, love those recipes!

Penelope said...

Hi Amber! It's a newbie mistake that I think a lot of indie/self-pubbed writers are not aware of. Makes it difficult to get through the story, though.

Hey Julia!--Thank you for all the recs! And I can't wait to read your new book!