Tuesday, March 25, 2008


So much for all my resolutions to blog more often! Again, apologies to all those people who popped by, hoping to read something new and were left disappointed! In my defence, however, I've spent two great months spending all my free time curled up on the sofa with some fabulous books from some top authors!

Looking at the massive pile of books which I've put in my keeper box, I started to wonder about settings. I know that most people love reading books set in exotic locations - Cyprus, Spain, Italy, Greece, South America, Australia, Paris, etc. Now, I enjoy reading books set in those locales, but maybe it's because I live in a country where the sun shines uninterrupted all year long, but give me a book set in Cornwall, Scotland, Yorkshire or rural England and I'm hooked! I just love the sheer romanticism of it all - the windswept beaches, the miles and miles of rolling countryside, the moors, the green hills, the derelict castles, and the beauty of rural communities.

So, what are you favourites settings?

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Massive congratulations to the wonderful Kate Hardy for winning this year's Romance Prize with the fabulous Breakfast at Giovanni's! I read the book and absolutely loved it. Kate is an absolutely terrific storyteller and I am so thrilled that she won the award in the centenary year for M&B with her 25th book!

The main award was won by Freya North, a writer I'm not that familiar with, as the first book of hers I tried to read, Sally, just didn't resonate with me. But her award winning title, Pillow Talk, looks like a great read, so I'll get it next time I'm near a bookshop, which, knowing me, will be pretty soon!

Monday, February 4, 2008


Today's the day when the winners of the RNA Romance Prize and the Romantic Novel of the Year will be announced, and this year, the judges have a really hard choice to make.

For the RNA Romance Prize, the six writers nominated are:
Driving Him Wild - Julie Cohen (M&B Modern Extra)
Breakfast at Giovanni's - Kate Hardy (M&B Modern Extra)
The Meditteranean Rebel's Bride - Lucy Gordon (M&B Romance)
The Secret Life of Lady Gabriella - Liz Fielding (M&B Romance)
English Lord, Ordinary Lady - Fiona Harper (M&B Romance)
Her Parenthood Assignment - Fiona Harper (M&B Romance)

They are six absolutely wonderful books which I thoroughly enjoyed, and although there can only be one winner, in my book, they are all wonderful champions of romance!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Romantic Novel of the Year Award

It's that time again - the Romantic Novelists' Association have just announced their shortlist for this year's Romantic Novel of the Year award. Six books have been selected from a long list which included best-selling authors such as Penny Vincenzi, Janet Macleod Trotter, Lisa Kleypas and Lilian Harry.

This year's shorlist is made up of five established writers and an up and coming writer. It includes Wales' answer to Catherine Cookson, Catrin Collier, with One Last Summer, a saga set in Russia. I've read a couple of Catrin's books and they were wonderful. Full of period detail, authenticity, tragedy, survival and romance, of course!

Previous winner Maureen Lee has also made the shortlist with The Leaving of Liverpool. I've read Maureen's previous award-winning book, Dancing in the Dark, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The third saga on the list is by new writer Catherine King. Her book is called Silk and Steel and again, it looks really good.

Next, we've got two chick lit titles - Adele Parks, Young Wives' Tale and Freya North's Pillow Talk. I never read anything by Adele; and the one book by Freya North I read, I couldn't get past page 12.

The last shortlisted book is by another previous winner - Jojo Moyes' Silver Bay. I read her first book Sheltering Rain and I had enjoyed it and this looks good too.

Best of luck to all the shortlisted books, and massive congratulations to them all. I look forward to the short list of the category romance books soon!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Resolutions, Anniversaries and Catching Up (again!)

I hope you've all had a great Christmas and I wish each and every one of you a wonderful 2008 that is full of joy, success, good health and happiness. As I take the Christmas decorations down, and begin to get back to normality, I've realized that, once again, this blog has been left to gather dust, so one of my resolutions this New Year is to update this blog more often.

I have to say that in recent years, now that both my children have grown up, Christmas has lost some of its magic for me. It's also becoming a tad too commercial for my liking, which probably explains the reason why I still hadn't bought anything on Christmas Eve and why my cards arrived after the New Year!

But, as Christmas is over, now we can look forward to a whole new year. I hope all my blog readers have a peaceful 2008 - and I hope that you'll be hearing a lot more from me!

Oh, and 2008 is the centenary of M&B! Now, as you've probably gathered, I'm a massive M&B fan, so I can't wait to see what this wonderful publisher have in store for us this year! I am sure it will be good!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Empty Vessels make the most noise...

As a M&B addict, I'm really looking forward to their centenary year. It promises to be a year full of wonderful books and I can't wait to get my hands on all the special releases which M&B will be publishing (especially the short stories with the 1980s covers!)

As their centenary approaches, the media spotlight has inadvertently started to shine upon the company and lo and behold the critics have already started to sharpen their claws and have begun to take up valuable space in newspapers proclaiming that these book promote patriarchy and are an insult to women everywhere as they depict women in abusive relationships with men who are rapists and abusers.

Julie Bindel's article in the Guardian had me shaking my head in frustration. Here's a journalist who based her argument on a 20 or so books she read 15 years ago. Yes, that's right 15 years ago, when the lines hadn't been split in the UK and when they were just known as Mills and Boon not Modern or Romance. Ms. Bindel then read the blurbs of three books and proclaimed that these books are forumlaic and mysgonistic. And to add insult to injury, she concluded her article with a quote by Andrea Dworkin who stated that M&Bs are 'rape with meaningful books'.

I just couldn't believe that the Guardian editor published this shoddily researched article! For one thing, Ms. Bindel has only ever read 20 books 15 years ago!! When M&B publish about thirty books per month! Secondly, she didn't even read a single chapter of a recently published book. Oh no, instead she just read three blurbs and concluded that she was right all along. Oh, please!

Thank goodness that the Guardian had the foresight to publish Daisy Cummings (fab M&B author Abby Green)'s insightful article about the company!

I still do not understand why on earth the critics think that M&Bs are such a threat to women and society. M&Bs readers know that they are not going to met a sheikh, a greek tycoon or a Regency rake, but they just enjoy reading compelling stories about two people falling in love.

Ms. Bindel admitted that she loves Martina Cole - a writer who puts her heroines through rape, prison and murder, but who in the end not only manage to emerge victorious, but they also walk into the sunset with the men of their dreams!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Another attempt at Catching Up...

I'm full of admiration for people who blog daily. As you can probably see from my pathetic attempts at blogging, even once a month is sometimes beyond me!

October and November have not been the easiest of months this year. A dear friend of mine had to have an operation and all my appliances from my car to my washing machine decided to give up the ghost. Now, looking back, I realize that have an appliance not working is a rather trivial matter, but with one thing coming on top of the other, I wasn't at my best this past month. But luckily, good news has come my way at last with my husband getting a promotion and with my son's graduation round the corner.

October and November has also been a time of reflection for me. The death of romance pioneer Anne Weale was a huge shock to me. I cut my reading teeth on Anne's books and her blogs, although controversial, always made for great reading. She was a woman whose intelligence and knowledge shone through every sentence she wrote so her loss will be deeply felt. With Mills and Boon's centenary coming up, I hope that M&B will publish some special releases as a tribute to the wonderful writers such as Weale, Charlotte Lamb, Betty Neels, Anne Hampson and Mary Burchell, who have helped make the company the success it is today.