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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Strictly Romance



Evidently, August is Celebrate Romance Month! (It's also National Catfish Month, National Eye Exam Month, and my personal favorite...Water Quality Month).

Back to romance!

I recently watched one of my all-time favorite movies again (for the 10,000th time)...STRICTLY BALLROOM. And it made me realize that all of my favorite things about romance are packed into this one, quirky, kooky, adorable Australian film.

For those of you who have never seen it (OH MY GOD! HURRY UP AND WATCH IT RIGHT NOW!), STRICTLY BALLROOM is a 1992 film about a risk-taking ballroom dancer. The characters are colorful. The ballroom dance outfits are outrageous. The music is catchy. And...well, here's my list of why this movie is #1 for most romantic in my personal stash!

A DOZEN REASONS WHY STRICTLY BALLROOM 
KICKS ROMANCE ASS

by Penelope


1. The hero has moves. As in, dance moves. SEX-AY!

2. There is an ugly duckling-to-Cinderella-transformation story. Swoon!

3. There is a grumpy, underhanded villain. With a super bad toupee!

4. There are plenty of dramatic black moments.

5. There is fantastic, quirky humor.

6. There are hilarious secondary characters, including Scott's sweet father, insane mother, 
various and assorted ballroom dancers, and some cute kids, too!

7. The setting is perfect. From the cramped practice studio, to the enormous ballroom, 
to Fran's quaint home. They all perfectly complement each scene.

8. The heroine is overlooked and underestimated by everyone. 
But she has an iron will and determination that sparkle. 
As well as a sweet vulnerability that make the viewer cheer for her happy ending.

9. The hero is a cocky, swaggering know-it-all at the beginning of the film. 
But he gets taken down a peg or two by this geeky girl. And her dad. 
And suddenly...he gets it. The big picture. 
Not just about the dance. But about...the love. And romance!

10. The music kicks ass.

11. The dance kicks ass.

12. The scene at the end of the movie where Scott slides along the floor right next to Fran, 
then stands up, staring at her with the most intense, incredible look on his face, 
kicks romance ass like there is no tomorrow.

Clip Time! WATCH THIS!
(I recommend watching the whole clip, but the stand up-hot look is at 2:03.
HOLY HOTNESS, BATMAN!)




All of the things that make this movie pure gold are the same things I look for in a romance novel. Character transformation, setting that comes to life, secondary characters who add wonderful texture to the story. Humor that makes me laugh out loud. 
And sweet, vulnerable, optimistic love. Love that makes characters willing to take chances. 
Love that shows two people they are stronger together than they are alone.

VIVA ROMANCE!
 

For more posts about why romance kicks ass, check out the CELEBRATE ROMANCE website
All your favorite authors are there chatting about LOVE, baby!
Also, Laura Florand's post is up today. Check it out!

Love is in the air,
Penny

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summer Updates and Awesome New Reads!

Louise Penny in Norwich!




You're probably wondering where I've been! Well, it's been a super busy summer. I was here...



...at the Newport Kite Festival!


And then I was pickling vegetables...



And then I went to Northern Vermont...



And then I went to Central Vermont...



And then I went back to Vermont with Bobbi Ruggiero to see Louise Penny in Norwich...


 

 (more about this incredible pilgrimage later---)


And then I saw this owl at VINS...



And then I got this totally appropriate soap in Vermont...


  Yes, you are right. I'm having a very Vermont-y summer!


Okay, now onto the BOOKS!

I read two amazing books recently. Completely different, and both wonderful.


 
1.  LOVE AND SHENANIGANS by Zara Keane

 New-to-me author Zara Keane has created an adorable, quirky, funny, and romantic world in a small Irish town. I was totally charmed by this first book in her series. The characters are colorful, the humor is spot-on, the setting pops off the page, and the second-chance romance is oh-so-satisfying. 

She has a lovely novella coming out soon (in August), and more full-length books in this series. Check out her website for more information.

I highly recommend this book if you love small town romance, quirky characters, fun comedy, and settings that make you want to get a plane ticket to Ireland!



2. VIXEN by Julia Barrett


I was NOT expecting this.

To be honest, I had no idea what this was.

Since Julia is a friend of mine, I knew she had a new quickie out, 
but she didn't really tell me what it was about.

Well.

Well. 

Well.

I FREAKIN' LOVED THIS STORY!

I love fiction that is unexpected, and unique, and well-written, and intriguing, and fun, and has twists you don't see coming, and has the promise of more to come in the future that is exciting and new.

VIXEN is all of these things and more.

It's a VERY quick read, an amuse-bouche that will whet your appetite for more stories in this brand new world created by Julia Barrett.

It mixes comic book-style superheroes with medicine and science, with intrigue and suspense.

It's bloody, bloomin' brilliant.

I think it's being categorized as sci fi-fantasy.

Starting TODAY it is also FREE!




So, that's my quickie update. Vermont and pickles and kites and Louise Penny 
and two awesome new books.

My August project...




 Hee hee!

Ciao,
Penelope