Bitchin' Blog Posts
: Good Shit vs. Shit to Avoid
by SB Sarah | July 27, 2011 | Wednesday at 10:14 am | 96 Comments
In my inbox this week is an email from regular reader Gry, who lives in Oslo, Norway, where the news has been terrifying and heartbreaking:
I live in Oslo. (‘nuff said, I think) I am also a very serious bookaholic.
Whenever I have a spare minute, you will vind I have my nose buried in a
book (or its electronic equivalent). So what kind of book should I choose
when the world has suddenly turned dark, violent and bloody?
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by SB Sarah | July 20, 2011 | Wednesday at 10:34 am | 82 Comments
Time for “Good Shit vs. Shit to Avoid,” with special guest PK, who is looking for a particular kind of heroine:
Oh baby, talk nerdy to me.
There was a great ad for some sort of high end kitchen appliance years ago
that featured a very cute lady with naughty librarian glasses and lab coat
standing next to a male model in a designer suit and it said “IQ meets GQ”
and it always made me smile. I love smart girl protagonists, I love quirky
geniuses! I love sexy doctors/scientists/academics/etc. I am looking for
books with heroines like that. Geeks, nerds, scholastic overachievers, etc.
There seems to be a good chunk of mainstream films where the nerd gets the
incredibly hot girl but I want books with nerdy heroines and perhaps not so
I am planning a vacation and would love to load up my Nook with tasty beach
reads and could use some help.
Ready, set, go - bring on your recommendations!
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by SB Sarah | July 08, 2011 | Friday at 3:28 pm | 53 Comments
If you’ve been on the Twittah, you might have seen my minor campaign for anyone under the age of 40 to Get Thee a Mammogram This Year. If you can do it, and if it’s possible in your budget and under your insurance, get a mammogram. Not only does it give doctors a baseline for future comparison, but there are more women in my world who are diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 40 than I ever believed possible. And, from what I have learned, women under 40 who do receive diagnoses often are in later stages by the time the cancer is caught. So if you’re thinking of getting your physical this year, ask about getting a prescription for a mammogram, too. (End soapbox).
With that in mind, I have a request for reading material from a woman currently kicking cancer’s ass: Bianca needs some help.
So about two months ago, right before my 31st birthday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. (Let me tell you – worst birthday present EVAR. I’m working on returning it, but it’s kind of a pain.) I have since had a bi-lateral mastectomy, and I’m now going through chemotherapy, which…
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by SB Sarah | May 16, 2011 | Monday at 10:06 am | 73 Comments
Kerry writes in with a specific type of book she’s looking for, in the hopes of building a reading list. Perfect for “Good Shit vs. Shit to Avoid!”
I’m really looking for recommended reads of a specific nature I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere (and please point me to the link if I missed it!). I’m looking for romances with multiple (not just two) POVs, specifically ones with a secondary romance. Not necessarily an HEA for the second, but separate characters, with their own story arcs, whose subplot interweaves with and enhances the main plot.
It seems like these used to get pubbed more, say, 10 years ago - early-mid Crusie comes to mind, or SE Phillips (who is hit or miss for me). But now it’s all “one man, one woman” (or “one person, one person”, since I don’t just read “straight” - ha, ha - romances). There’s got to be some recent ones out there - am I just missing them??
(NB: Hot smexing is fine, but I’m not looking for menage books! Nor am I looking for “secondary characters who will have their own story in the next book of ABC series.” This would be separate, complete…
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by SB Sarah | May 04, 2011 | Wednesday at 6:11 pm | 70 Comments
I’ve received two email messages asking for Navy SEAL romance recommendations.
I WONDER WHY.
So list night I asked on The Twitter if anyone would be interested in a reader-generated list of recommended SEAL and special forces romances. The response was very, very positive.
AGAIN. I wonder why. (Not.)
So if you’re thinking a military hero would totally rock your reading socks right now, bring it on. Lynn Raye Harris said last night that she would want to learn more about any “Special Forces romances…. Army’s Delta Force is pretty bad ass. Marine’s Force Recon aren’t slouches either.” Hell, yes. And we’re not limited to US military special forces. Bad Ass Mounties are totally welcome! Bring on a Special Forces Good Shit vs. Shit to Avoid!
My obvious recommendations are Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series, beginning with The Unsung Hero. This was, incidentally, one of the very first books I reviewed here back in 2005.
There’s also Brockmann’s Tall Dark & Dangerous series.
An early thread about this topic yielded a bunch of different recommendations, including Catherine Mann’s Wingman Warrior series.
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by SB Sarah | April 25, 2011 | Monday at 10:30 am | 41 Comments
A reader named Jacqueline contacted me to ask if I’ve ever read any Victorian romances - not romances set during the Victorian era, but written during the Victorian era. I had to think on it before I realized that if I had, they were in grad school syllabi gone by, and I didn’t remember much of them. Jacqueline reads some favorite Victorian authors every winter, and when I asked her for recommendations, boy howdy did she ever.
Everyone has a favorite when it comes to romance novels. I tend to read mine just in the winter (when you can’t see over the snowbanks here in Oswego NY) I enjoy the historical type, but my truly beloved ones are over 100 years old and still hold up really well. So, here are the ones I suggest, luckily many are in the public domain, so they can be read on your device (I have a Jetbook myself) or just right on your computer. I’ve given the website to link to the book when available. Keep in mind when reading Victorian novels, the language is far heavier. You might get six pages of a…
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by SB Sarah | April 23, 2011 | Saturday at 4:08 pm | 36 Comments
Lent, the period of time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, is marked by many with acts of penance, fasting, and prayer. Sometimes, the fasting is of a particularly type of food. I know a few people who give up chocolate or wine or alcohol altogether for Lent.
Emily did something different:
Hello ladies of the Bitchery! I need your help. I am desperate for some book recommendations. I gave up romance novels for lent, can you believe it?!? I am fast approaching the end of the 40 day period and I need to know what’s new and what people are reading. I generally like historicals (anytime period) and I love Julia Quinn, Elosia James, Sabrina Jefferies, and Stephanie Laurens.
I wanted some advice on what should be my first book back in to my favorite genre and thought to ask you and your readers!
I can’t wait to hear from you and what everyone thinks! Thanks in advance!
WOW. My observance of Passover and my deep yearning for leavened bread is NOTHING compared to giving up romance novels for 40 days. What titles do you recommend for Emily,…
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by SB Sarah | April 21, 2011 | Thursday at 10:23 am | 109 Comments
Time for another Good Shit Vs. Shit To Avoid, this time prompted by Amanda, who is searching for books with strong female friendships:
I am looking for a book to read. I’ve been a little bored with the romance novel offerings and here’s why: Why doesn’t anybody ever have a friend? None of the women ever have any friends! I mean, sometimes they have a convenient “This is my friend, sometimes I see her in a park, a ballroom (if historical), or in yoga class (if contemporary). We talk for five minutes and then we don’t think about each other for weeks.”
In fact, the only romance novel I’ve ever read with a strong female friendship right at the center is “Bet Me” by Jennifer Crusie. I’d love to read more books about women who not only have moving relationships but great friendships with other women. Can the bitchery help?
It’s a tricky balance, since the friendships that contain those friends known as Sequel Bait must be heroine-potential but not overshadowing the heroine herself. Yet the friends must also be strong characters that reveal more about the hero or heroine—surely heroes…
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by SB Sarah | April 06, 2011 | Wednesday at 11:06 am | 97 Comments
I received a request from Stephanie, who is looking for a reading list, so I’m breaking out the Good Shit vs. Shit To Avoid category to help her build a full and happy Kindle:
I’m a female soldier about to deploy and need to fill up the old Kindle…..any suggestions? I’m looking for series with lots of books, in particular, as opposed to just individual books. My favorites would be more along the lines of stories about pioneers/Old West, but anything that doesn’t have to do with the military or soldiers would work…I’m looking for escapism here from my daily life…...those smoking hot soldiers with abs of steel that most of my civilian friends envision I spend my days with are usually just kids I have to take care of and keep out of trouble (and probably are just as annoying to me as that guy on the other side of their cubicle wall). Thanks!
Stephanie’s favorite pioneer/old west romance is Harper’s Bride by Alexis Harrington, but she also loves YA, “unless it involves the heroine getting married or thinking about marriage before she’s out of high school.”
Do you have any ideas for Stephanie’s reading list? Let’s make her…
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by SB Sarah | January 27, 2011 | Thursday at 12:49 pm | 142 Comments
A reader and graduate student named Kate emailed me this question:
“Intrigued by the concept of well-written, professionally published erotica, I downloaded some of your recommendations. After sampling several I found a pattern that bothered me and yanked me out of the story.
All of the male characters - and sometimes the females too - are described physically, right off the bat, as being tall, handsome, and having perfect sinewy muscular bodies that I’ve certainly never seen anywhere besides Michaelango’s David. I understand that romance and erotica are designed to be fantasies, and that the reader is assumed to be a heterosexual female who is inserting herself in place of the heroine and fantasizing about this male.
I don’t know where they got their information as to what real women want, because they certainly didn’t talk to me. My current boyfriend is overweight, and past partners, while running the gamut from skinny to round, have never possessed rock-hard muscles or perfectly chiseled features. *I’ve* never had sex with a guy who looks like that - why would I want to?
Perhaps if I found one who was a great match for my personality, I might, and I’m sure…
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by SB Sarah | November 25, 2010 | Thursday at 11:59 am | 59 Comments
First, it’s Thanksgiving here in the US, and I’m thankful for you. Yes, you, right there. Hi! Thank you for coming here to talk romance and books and general wittery and asshattery and wtfery, and for making this site so fun and very, very pink and red. You’re awesome. I hope wherever you are, you’re having a good meal.
In your honor (yes, YOU) I’ve made a donation to Feeding America, the national network of foodbanks here in the US. I hope your appetite for the funny and the silly and the romance and the heuristic discussions of mantitty have been sated, and that you’ll come back for seconds and thirds and (duh) dessert.
Second, let’s talk books! And thanks! What book TOTALLY rocked your world this year? What book did you read that you are most thankful for? Me, my list is long - and yes, I’m writing it down. Expect entries like, “The one where he’s a bartender and she gets pregnant, only it’s not a secret.” You? What book was your best of the year, that you’re thankful for having read and enjoyed?
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by SB Sarah | November 23, 2010 | Tuesday at 11:11 am | 62 Comments
Good Shit vs. Shit to Avoid time! I had an interesting email (many of them are, thank you, thank you) about books featuring the heroine who is surprised by a relationship - and by someone’s interest in her:
I’m looking for a book where the heroine is genuinely not interested (romantically) in the hero. I know, I know, it’s supposed to be a romance novel, but lately I’ve lately been reading books and watching dramas (asian tv) where the heroine with zero pride will throw herself at the guy. She usually goes through great humbling lengths and all of her friends, family, the hero, and sometimes the whole town watch her “antics” to get her man. I just think it’s sad that the heroine:
1. Has nothing else going on for herself like family, friends, hobbies or work (if contemporary)
2. Dismisses other guys around her who might like her and may be worthy of her because everyone else not HIM. Not even kisses or dates!
3. Usually watches her hero date or pursue other girls while she is eaten up with jealousy.
4. She doesn’t get her man until the END of the story and I just have to…
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by SB Sarah | November 02, 2010 | Tuesday at 10:33 am | 64 Comments
Anonymous forwarded the following to me, and of course, I have to inflict it on the rest of you. Enjoy.
Kerrelyn Sparks’s Eat Prey Love is, in my opinion, a What Not to Write, but the “werepanther spooge” part sticks out.
Some background: Our hero is a shapeshifting werepanther, and when he is killed, he comes back to life and kinda goes up a level in strength, abilities, etc. all Marty-Stu-like. And when he comes back to life, he needs sex. The first time he dies, he hasn’t quite hit that point with our heroine yet, so he has to go off into a corner of the cave they’re stuck in and, well, take care of himself. On the way out of the cave, the author somehow feels compelled to draw our attention to the puddles of werepanther spooge left on the cave floor by our masturbating hero.
“Watch your step here.” He maneuvered her to the left.
She shone her flashlight down to see what he was avoiding. It was a whitish puddle. “What is that? Rainwater with chalk or lime deposits?” She beamed her light at the ceiling to look…
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by SB Sarah | October 30, 2010 | Saturday at 2:22 pm | 34 Comments
Rani writes in asking for help with a book she read 10 years ago, or thereabouts:
It has been driving me crazy not being able to recall this book. Please, please post this to your readers so I can finally get some relief.
Read it about 10 years ago and it’s stuck with me this whole time.
It’s 1800s. Girl somehow ends up in the spying business. She has a spymaster, who was the guy she ends up falling for. The thing that stood out was that they were in a location that I wasn’t used to in romance novels. Eastern Europe. Prussia? or Russia? Maybe Vienna? and not in England. I think she lost her father. Her father was the spymaster of her spymaster. That’s how she gets involved.
For some reason, I also remember the book having a purple cover. Very nondescript cover. No half naked pic of her instead like a glasses or something.
I remember this book being so interesting because it was one of the first spy romance novels I had ever read where the girl becomes the spy. Unlike the guy being the spy and just bringing the girl along.
If nothing else, can…
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by SB Sarah | October 25, 2010 | Monday at 10:53 am | 62 Comments
Oh, it’s a beautiful thing when food imagery is used in sex scenes. It’s all 9 1/2 Weeks spliced together with Iron Chef - wouldn’t that be the very best in a sensual interlude? Unless we’re talking snack foods, as Kathleen discovered:
Thank you for pointing out the Books on the Knob website. I have had a lot of fun downloading the free ebooks. One of these was The Bite Before Christmas by Heidi Betts. In the story “All I Vant For Christmas”, I read something that belongs in the “The What Not to Write” category.
Sex linked with food is heavy in this story (vampire hero thinks the heroine smells like peaches and cinnamon, sex talk with steak and ice cream sundaes mentioned, etc.), but this one ... well….
Not that he was worried about her level of readiness. Her nipples were pointy little diamonds in the centers of her full, luscious breasts, her breaths were coming in tiny shallow pants, and he could feel the dampness between her legs just from where they pressed together like Twinkies inside their cellophane wrapper.
I found myself trying to…
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