Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thursday Thirteen, Edition 35

Last Sunday, I speculated that I might, just possibly, be in a rut with some favorite authors. I asked for some recommendations, and you all came through, on Twitter and a few other sources.

In no particular order, here are

Thirteen Nineteen New (to me) Authors to Try:

1-2. P. N. Elrod & Edie Harris, rec'd by Karina Cooper
3. C.D. Reiss, rec'd by Christy
4. Pucked, by Helena Hunter, rec'd by Tiernan
5. Obsession, by Alice C. Hart, rec'd by Natalie
6-7-8. Lia Riley, Shelley Ann Clark, Shari Slade, all rec'd by Cherri Porter.
9. C. S. Pacat, rec'd by Angie. So much buzz about this series!
10. Mary Renault, rec'd by Tiffany Reisz 
11. Kate Canterbary, rec'd by Shelley
12. Zara Keane, rec'd by Penny Watson
13. Karina Bliss, rec'd by ODitor

But then, the recommendations kept coming! Even more:

14. Claudia Connor, rec'd by Crystal Blogs Books
15. Eva Leigh, rec'd by I Heart Romance
16-17-18. Samanthe Beck, KC Klein, Sara Jane Stone -- rec'd by Defying Tradition
19. Jamie Shaw, rec'd by Save Your Money for Books

There are too many authors and recommenders to tag here, so let me just say thank you so much, and I will read at least a sample from all of the authors in the next few weeks, and post some feedback either in reviews or in the Soup.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Soup - May 17

In The Soup This Week... conference news, musing about cross-posting reviews, Karina Cooper, and maybe I'm in a rut?

Soup Dish:  on my mind this week
As expected, I spent the week enviously stalking the #RT15 hashtag. Along with the all of the fun pics of romance lovers boozing it up, reuniting with friends, goofing with cover models and posing against sexy wall cling pics, I saw this tweet and I can't stop thinking about it:

Pam Jaffee (spelled wrong in the tweet) heads up the amazing publicity team that runs the Avon Addicts, the program I've been privileged to participate in for three years now. I've met her at the two RT cons I've attended and I doubt there is a savvier person in the entire "Big 5" romance publishing world.

That's a scary thought.  Change someone's career?  Note that she doesn't specify whether the change would be for better or worse. I tried cross-posting my reviews for awhile, but many of Amazon's policies about reviews (like stripping out the link to my blog) annoyed me.  Perhaps I'm being too selfish though.  I'm giving some serious thought to this.  Those of you that blog reviews more religiously than I -- do you cross-post? what do you think?

I am planning to go to Casey's Reading Until Dawn conference in October, but I need to get going on all the things I agreed to do! I can't believe we're in the second half of May already.  WHAT.

Oh, oh! guess what I found out about?  the Historical Romance Retreat conference for 2016.  This one is drive-able for me, the list of attending authors is STUNNING, and I adore Delilah Marvelle, so this is on my DO WANT list also!

And while we're talking about conferences, next year's RT will be in Vegas, which seems to be a bit of a polarizer, and RT17 is rumored to be in Atlanta.  I might break my every-other-year rule, because Atlanta seems cool. Well, not literally, it's not called Hotlanta for nothin'. But you know what I mean. I might be in the market for a roommate in Vegas, so if you're going too, maybe hit me up in August or September.

What I'm reading

Currently finishing up Engraved, by Karina Cooper.  It's the second to last in this steampunk/alt history/urban fantasy series, and so so interesting.  I love the world and the main character.  I'll be honest though, I'm finding this book a little slow-going.  It might be because I'm coming down with a delightful spring headcold, but it's also a function of the diction, which, in a bit of a nod to nineteenth-century penny-dreadful, is sort of deliberately lurid and ornate. I like it, but (because?) it slows me down.

Can you believe that it has taken me this long to give J.D. Robb a try? I picked up the first book, probably as an Amazon freebie, and I can totally see how addictive it will be.  I'm slightly put off by the gruesomeness of the murder though, which is kind of why I don't read murder mysteries in the first place.  With 30-some books, I need to watch my budget so I need to work out some kinks in my e-library account at the moment before I go glomming on this one.

I guess it's been a bit of a slow week in books because I can't think what else I've got.  A few things I'm looking forward to in the next months:
Maybe I need some new authors in my rotation.  Who's new that you love?

Outlander Watch... Och. I canna wait for Jamie and Claire onscreen.
So I missed an episode due to some traveling, and haven't caught up yet, and I'm kind of afraid to watch the finale. What's wrong me me??!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tuesday Soup - May 12

In the Soup Today:  #RT15 envy; old favorites and a new rave. 
Soup on a Tuesday? Whaaaaaa??? Sorry, it was a busy weekend!

Soup Dish:  on my mind
So, I'm on the "every other year" plan for RT, for a number of reasons, but I'm totally allowed to wallow in envy on my off years and stalk the Twitter feeds of those who are there this year.  Those key cards are to die for, and I heard there are JR Ward ARCs!!  Oh, the humanity!  If you attended the scrapbook session today, I'd love to see some of your pages!

On a related note, I really want everyone to stop posting to Instagram and just put the pics directly into their tweets.  Is that so wrong?  #ClickingThroughIsHARRRD #whine. 

Nalini Singh's latest installment in the Psy-Changeling series is due out on June 2, and you can read the first chapter here... the first paragraph blew me away plot-wise.  GAHHH.  I have no words.  Luckily the release is only a couple weeks away. 

If you haven't started this series, it's absolutely one you should glom onto, and hey, better late than never.  Singh holds a special place in my bloggy heart, because I received my very first ARC, Hostage To Pleasure, that I ever reviewed from a contest on her website.

But my Singh story started even before that.  I wrote a somewhat silly blog post about my "discovery" process, and it still makes me smile a little bit:

This is a love story.

This is a story of how a reader finds a writer to love. There are obstacles. There are questions and uncertainties. But as in all good romances, love triumphs, and the ending is a happily-ever-after. So, reader, settle in with a soft light, a scented candle, and whatever else gets you in the mood.

Once upon a time, there was a romance reader named… oh, let’s call her Nicola (nobody ever said I was subtle). Now, as the heroine of this love story, Nicola doesn’t quite fit the current mores and publisher’s preferences of innocence and youth. No, Nicola has been around. The dew is off the bloom, and she has multitudes of reading partners, not just a few. Frankly, Nicola is a bit of a jaded slut, reading multiple authors and books within days of each other—sometimes even the same day! Thank goodness there are no nasty LTDs (Literarily Transmitted Diseases).

A few months ago, Nicola started blogging about her conquests, dishing with other reading sluts about who gives good dialog and character, and who suffers the occasional (or chronic) plot flaccidity. Now, some people might find this unseemly, but Nicola and her readers consider it a public service.
If you'd like to read more, here you go.

I've also gotten word from the publisher that Joss Ware's post-apocalyptic romance series, The Envy Chronicles, has been re-packaged, and the final book is due out in July (I've been waiting ever so long!)  I did a series review on this one a while ago.  A little taste, in my own words, of these heroes:
Five men, restless, bored, frustratingly purposeless in our times; they're wealthy, athletic, handsome -- but rudderless and reduced to thrill-seeking. Frozen in time for 50 years, their awakening coincides with a culmination of events that lead to some shocking revelations on the depth of human greed and corruption.  The destruction of their world, and the gifts they are given, turn these dilettantes into warriors -- and that's pretty damn hot.

It's easy to lose track of new authors when there are so many old favorites to keep up with, which must be how I missed Erin Satie's first two historical romances.  I believe I have the Smart Bitch's bargain feature to thank for picking up The Orphan Pearl, and it's So. Damn. Good.  The last historical I read that I loved this much was Joanna Bourne's The Spymaster's Lady.  In fact, there are some similarities, I think, in very very good ways, but the characters are just completely different than Bourne's.  (Hmmmm. It might be fun to do a compare and contrast.)  I will hopefully get a review up on this one (how often do I say that?) but if you trust my reading recs at all, don't wait, go read it now.  Meanwhile I'll be glomming the first two by this brilliant author.

I think I'll forgo catching you up on my current reading in favor of not exceeding legal word-count limits.  If you're at RT, I'm super jealous, and hope to see you in Vegas next year....

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Midnight's Kiss, by Thea Harrison - Review

Title: Midnight's Kiss
Series: Elder Races
Author: Thea Harrison
Publisher: Berkely
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Reviewing: advance eARC
Reason for reading: I received an invitation to download the eARC in exchange for a review, and because it's Thea Harrison, I couldn't resist.

The Short Answer:
Another installment in a consistently, relentlessly fabulous PNR series.

The Blurb
From Harrison's website:

Ever since their scorching affair ended years ago, Julian, the Nightkind King, and Melisande, daughter of the Light Fae Queen, have tried to put the past behind them—and distance between them. But when a war breaks out between Julian and Justine, a powerful Vampyre of the Nightkind council, they find themselves thrown together under treacherous circumstances…

Kidnapped as leverage against Julian, Melly is convinced that her former lover won’t be rushing to her rescue. But when Julian gives himself up to save her, they both end up Justine’s captives. Armed only with their wits and their anger, Melly and Julian must work together to escape. But will they be able to ignore their complicated history, or will the fiery passion that once burned them blaze again?

Series Handicap:
On a scale of one to five, where one is "it isn't even a series" and five is "don't even think about starting here in the middle", I'd rate this at a two or three.  Although the series is well along, the Elder Races stories stand alone pretty well.  In my case, I happened to read the last two back to back, and they work really well as a two-fer.  If you haven't read anything in the series, I would suggest backing up just one book to Night's Honor, which is the story of Julian's most successful progeny; and the climax of that story serves as the catalyst for Midnight's Kiss.  Chronologically, they are very tight, with Midnight's Kiss picking up right at the end of Night's Honor. There is a bit of reference in both books to Julian's sire, Carling, but I think if you don't mind rolling with it, you won't be missing anything in plot points and only a bit of background in the way of Carling and Julian's relationship. (Her story is in Serpent's Kiss, novel #3 in the series, but if you're going to go back that far, you might as well start at the beginning.  You won't regret it.)

The Whole Scoop
Well, I totally loved it. It starts out feeling very much like a "damsel in distress" story, but Harrison has a way of boomeranging these kind of things.  Melly is doing OK, in some pretty dire straits, but just when it becomes clear that she's probably not going to be able to extricate herself on her own, Julian finds her. However, this is not a "white knight swoops her off and they ride into the sunset" sort of scenario.  He zooms straight into a big mess, and what I liked best is that it takes both of them to get themselves out of it.  It's one of those excruciating scenarios where they each have to watch the other get pushed to painful limits... on each others' behalf. 

At the risk of exposing myself as a dork on a whole different level than my readers already know, I want to interject a little bit of dorky philosophy that I have found to be pretty useful in my adult life.  The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey, is one of the few, if not the only, self-help books I've found to be really resonant and really applicable.  One of the things he posits is that interdependence is a higher state than independence (which is higher than dependence; interesting in terms of Covey's framework by not my point here).  Western culture and in many ways, romance protagonists of both genders prize their independence above nearly all else in their lives, and finding their way to interdependence is a key theme in romance.  The entire first half of Midnight's Kiss is an object lesson in the protagonists -- both of them-- coming to terms with their interdependence.

Beyond the heart-pounding suspense of the mutual rescue adventure which comprises the first two thirds or so of the story, the remainder will appeal to fans of epic fantasy in the political sense.  Melly and Julian are members of two different, very powerful factions in this world, and their union must be handled delicately.  And those that would challenge their position are dealt with ruthlessly.

I really liked the maneuvering around the power and the politics in this book.  There are big stakes (heh, NPI for this vampire story), and Melly and Julian find their personal and political HEA in a most satisfying way, with a good handful of unexpected twists in the process.

On the meta side, I very much enjoyed the way Harrison gave a nod, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, to the current craze for motorocycle club stories and perhaps THE original romance trope, The Big Mis, in delightful and respectful ways.  Now, if she can work in a secret baby, a MMA fighter, and maybe a sheikh into her next book, we'll have to award some kind of TropeMaster (TropeMistress?) honor.

Bottom Line:
I love this series and everything I've read by Harrison.  There is no series sag here, and the books in general stand along better than many paranormal series.  So if you're already a fan, run don't walk to your bookstore or e-shopping cart; and if you haven't started the series yet, your biggest decision should be whether you want to start at the beginning of the series, or right here with this one.  It's a can't-lose choice.

Around the Blogosphere
If you have reviewed this story, feel free to leave a link in comments or let me know by email, and I'll be happy to edit it in.
Harlequin Junkie -- a new convert to Harrison's series
A Book Obsession gives it four out of five
a mini-review from BadAss Book Reviews (I'm not really sure if "Badass" is one word or two... filed under things I didn't know I needed to know...)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fangirl Scrapbooking

Whether you're headed to RT, another book con, or a fan conference of some other stripe, you might enjoy collecting and putting together a scrapbook to keep your memories, even if you don't think of yourself as a "scrapbooker."

I bought into the scrapbooking Kool-AidTM over a decade ago when my first daughter was small.  I've spent a pretty good percentage of my disposable income on tools and supplies (but still less than I spend on books!).  I hadn't been blogging long before I realized that I would never be able to hold on to all the signed books I was collecting, so when I went to RT for the first time in 2012, I combined two of my favorite pastimes.  If you think you'd like to give this a try, here are some of my top tips for scrapbooking your fan experience:

1. It all starts with the book...
I like 12"x12" books for my family scrapbooks, which gives me a lot of room to spread out.

Because I rather hope that these books will be appreciated for more than one generation, I use only archival materials and have page protectors on everything.  I mostly stick to papers, photos, and pens, and keep embellishments more minimal.

However, for my fan book, 12x12 is too bulky and awkward to travel with; and as for archival? Nah. I figure anything goes!  This one strictly for my own pleasure, fun and remembrance, and will not likely mean much as a legacy to anyone else.  So bring on the slick bookmarks and coverflats, 3-D paper flowers, key chains and pins, lace and ribbon, maps, brochures, tickets, boarding passes - if I can stick it to the page, it might be in there.  I chose a smaller book and a collection of neutral, sort of vintagey and typography-based accents and papers.  I love this book because of the pretty flourishes, the color, and the mix of plain and lined pages, pocket pages, and photo-insert pages (not shown, but they're there!)

A little introduction to the book, why not?

Here's a blog with some cool examples of what people have done with this type of book.

There are a lot of other options too.  If you're an Instagram kind of person, I saw an article recently for Chatbooks, which looks like an easy and inexpensive way to bind up some IG shots.  Although if you want to use it for autographs, you'd have to get creative and maybe create a book ahead of time of all the authors you want to meet and have them sign their page.

You could go the other direction and be very deconstructed -- you could even use larger flat swag like cover flats or postcards as the base page, and collage photos and signatures on top of them.  Punch a hole in the corners, add a binder ring, and voila!  Here is a similar example, using paint chips as the base.  At the scrapbook event at RT14, this is what we made (with card stock for pages).  You could easily add your flat swag onto it!

2. Consider your style. 
A kit or collection might be a good choice. I really love the kraft-paper pages in the Smashbook (and others) because you can add light or dark elements and they still stand out nicely.  I find that with white background pages, I keep trying to fill in the space and my pages get too busy.  If you choose something like mine, 7 Gypsies and Tim Holz (and others) specialize in that kraft/black/vintage style, but most craft supply places will have lots of bits that will work.

You might prefer lighter and brighter, pastel and dreamy, cartoony/humorous, or maybe a more beat-up industrial-looking style.  Or you might make each page different to suit the photos, souvenirs, or your exact mood at that moment.

Some of my favorite pre-made elements for this book are little journal and accent cards, like this:

You can layer a small photo or bit of memorabilia on top, write out some thoughts about that person/book/experience, or have your author sign it, if you don't want to haul your book around everywhere.  You could also just cut up some squares of lined paper and keep them with your conference stuff if you don't want to buy pre-made ones.

I also like to use ribbon, die cut frames, tags, and arrows. 

Cathy Maxwell on an RT12 panel

Washi tape is super-popular now -- I do like it but I find myself in sort of a rut and using only one or two mostly black patterns.  However, it comes in a whole rainbow of colors and all kinds of styles and patterns.  It's nice because it pulls double duty-- adheres things to the page while drawing attention to them.  You can also make a quick frame or arrow with it.

No photo on this one - signature plus swag

3. Take good pictures.
If you want your book filled with photos of you and your favorite authors, but you're camera-shy or self-conscious about how you look in photos, there are a few tricks that can be handy to know.  Maybe team up with a friend (or the person you're getting deeply acquainted with while you wait in line), practice using each others' cameras, and learn these tips:

  • Don't lean back, because: double-chins happen (ugh).  If the author is behind a table, it's all going to work better if she leans forward, or, if she doesn't mind, if you go behind the table with her.
  • Don't lean over or down.  If she's sitting, bend your knees and keep your back and neck straight.
  • Photos taken from higher up are more flattering.  If you've got a big group, try to get someone tall, or up on some steps to take the group shot.  Take it from high enough that everyone's face is tilted up.
  • If you're a sometimes yes, sometimes no, person about makeup, this is probably the time to say yes.  Just sayin'.
  • Have your friend take 3 or 4 shots just in case someone blinks or blurs.  Once everyone is in place, it shouldn't take too long.  (If the line is long behind you, maybe just two.)
  • Get some variety in your shots.  If almost all of them are you+author, from the waist up, that's fine and all but you can add some interest by taking some detail shots -- piles of books, pretty table decorations, a cluster of foofy cocktails; some pulled back shots -- the skyline of the city, the marquis of the hotel, a panoramic shot of the thousands of people at the bookfair; some things that interest you -- a series of shots of awesome shoes or costumes, or the random person carrying the tallest stack of books, the carnage in your hotel room after you and your roommates have dumped all your swag everywhere.
4. Take notes.
  • You might not want to scrapbook things immediately-- I don't; for one thing I still need to get photos developed.  I'm sorry to say that I have a few signatures that... I don't remember who they are.  I can't read 'em.  Oops.  I got smarter at RT14 and added small post-it notes to many pages if I couldn't read the signature.  Once photos are developed, you can add them along with whatever swag you've got.  Or nab a bit of washi tape and whack down the author's bookmark or trading card and you've got the start of your page.
  • Twitter sort of worked as a photojournal for me.  I tweeted my favorite photos along with a 140-character comment, so when I look back through my media feed later, I have great prompts to jot down a little memory for the page.
  • Remember those journal cards? You can write those up in real-ish time too and keep them until you're ready to assemble the page.
5. What supplies do you need?
The sky is really the limit with scrapbooks these days, especially if you're not too concerned with archival quality.  Browse pinterest a little bit before you commit. BUT: my advice, especially if you are just starting, is keep it simple.  My recipe for a beginner:
  • Small book, around 8x8
  • Small pack of papers in the same size as your book in a colorway that appeals to you.  Bonus points if it contains a sticker alphabet and some journal cards.  Here's an example by Tim Holz. You might not need 36 sheets but if you look closely you can see several of them can be cut down into journal cards or smaller embellishments.  You might notice in the shots of my book, you don't see any deco paper.  I just didn't need it for this book (so far-- I'm not ruling it out entirely).
  • One or two rolls of washi tape in a color you love.  These add up fast, so unless you know you like it, start small.
  • Fine tip sharpies in several colors.  Grab a silver one, as it shows up beautifully on dark backgrounds.
  • Post-it notes, for illegible signatures
  • Tape runner to adhere light, flat items (photos and paper). There are a zillion brands, I don't really have a favorite--and Glue Dots for adding heavier things like key rings, charms, thicker ribbon.  If you will be assembling your album later, you could leave these home.
  • Pair of scissors and hole punch.  Again, you could wait until you get home to use these, but if you want to do stuff on site, this is about the minimum.
You can make a fantastic album with nothing more than these things (or less, if you're a true minimalist!), your photos, and your goodies from the conference. I really really love mine!

Last tip: PUT YOUR NAME AND CELL PHONE NUMBER ON THE INSIDE COVER!  I lost my book at one of the parties at RT12 and was so sad! Luckily it was turned in to lost and found but it sure would've been simpler if someone could've just called.

I hope you find this useful and that you end up with a wonderful book of memories, no matter what you decide to commemorate.  Plus, you just never know what might happen when you hand a blank page to an author:

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Soup - April 26

Sunday Soup is... lots of reading, a little bit of summer dreaming, and for some reason, a bunch of song lyrics.

Soup Dish:  [on my mind this week]
How is it possible that April is almost over?  I'm as bad as my kids, looking forward to summer and how much easier their summer schedule is on ME, what with the no homework and the "not schlepping my 9th grader to the bus stop at o'dark-thirty" before work.

Summer planning in general is underway. Camps, vacations, day trips. It's really amazing how short summers actually are when you start trying to accommodate multiple schedules. Hmmph.

I've also started stalking the #RT15 hashtag a little bit. I'm not going to go this year; I'm basically on the every-other-year plan due to the high cost, but they've just officially announced Vegas for next year. While I'm not necessarily a Vegas kind of girl, I think it's a great place for a big party, so I am tentatively in for #RT16. I will also be looking for a roommate, I think, this time around.

Other than that, things are pretty quiet, so I've been doing quite a bit of reading, maybe we should just get right to that bit.

What I'm reading

The Shadows, by JR Ward. I sort of feel like I should do a full review of this; there's plenty to think about.  My bottom line -- I didn't hate it, but I understand why other people did.  I feel like it's a pretty solid "second generation" BDB book.  By that I mean, not as good as the first 5, but back in a decent groove from the dark days of Phury's book.

Tricked, by Kevin Hearne.  I started reading this series about a year ago, and went on a three-book binge.  I really loved the world and I don't know why I waited this long to get back to it.  Great, great stories, well plotted with great characters and fun humor.  For anyone who loves mythology mixed in with their urban fantasy.

It Started With A Scandal, by Julie Anne Long.  The latest in the Pennyroyal Green series, this one was simply delightful.  I really enjoy how different Long's characters are from one another. What struck me most about this one is how really, really sweet it was.  The characters come to care for each other before being struck witless by lust.  I am hoping to do a review of this one (maybe a dual one, eh, Betsy?)

Driving in Neutral, by Sandra Antonelli. I really wanted to love this one -- it has all the ingredients that I want, and I'm particularly looking for older heroines these days.  And it was OK.  However, it was just OK.  It didn't really click into place for me, and I don't know why.
He says all the right things
At exactly the right time
But he means nothing to you
And you don't know why
 (lyrics from Vertical Horizon, Everything You Want)

I went on a bit of a Beth Kery binge, speaking of RT, and read 3 titles that I picked up at #RT14 (Because We Belong; Since I Saw You; and Release).  I had read one from her before and didn't like it much; it was a dub-con captive kind of thing where I didn't buy the justification.  These were good though; all three were the billionaire-BDSM trope but these have richly realized characters, high-stakes plotting, and the erotic scenes were super-hot, so all in all, I move her into the winning-author category for me.

I've been trying to make a dent in the backlog of books that I already own, since my budget has been squeaking a little bit lately, so I dug into a title on my Kindle, Recipe for Seduction, from the Madewood brothers series by Gina Gordon.  (Surely I am not the only one snickering like a thirteen year old boy at the notion of a hero named MADEWOOD.  Madewood.)  Aside from that, this was a sweet* contemp with a friends-to-lovers trope, with bonus "brothers' best friend" and "heroine who raised her siblings" sub-tropes (is that a thing? I guess it's a thing now.)  I think the central conflict was waved away MUCH too easily, and possibly to a wall-bang degree if I'd been reading in a more critical mode, but the majority of the book worked for me so I'm forgiving the [really, pretty terrible] ending.

*sweet in that it's emotionally very tender, not that it lacks erotic heat.  It's pretty medium-high for that.

Outlander Watch... Och. They're back, they're back!

I really enjoyed the witch-trial episode.  I thought the places where they deviated from the book were actual improvements and made more sense (particularly the thing about the smallpox vaccination mark).  I forgot to watch Return to Lallybroch! I can't believe it.  I'll have to make time this evening and hope I can remember how to work On Demand.

Random Other Thing:

Big Head Todd and the Monsters is my all-time favorite band.  I don't go crazy for bands the way I do for books and authors, and --I know this is a mystifying stance to many of my friends-- I don't really love live music all that much, mostly because I'm just cheap.  For the money, I'd rather be someplace comfy and not so crowded and be able to repeat my favorite songs and skip my not-so-favorite ones.

Even so, I've seen BHTM more than once live, most recently at a summer mini-festival near my home.  They played for less than an hour, sharing the stage with Bare Naked Ladies and Blues Traveler, and it was just a really nice, laid back show.  I came across an article about them in my social media feed today, and started thinking about how long I've loved this music and what brought me to them and keeps me a fan.  The article talks about
Squires’ driving bass and Nevin’s frenetically precise drumming provided a seamless backdrop for Mohr’s rootsy, earnest baritone and, most important, his artistry on the axe
... but it's always been about the lyrics for me.  Although Bittersweet is their biggest hit, the song that clobbered me was It's Alright:
You can turn back the tide
Of the cold tears from your eyes
The pangs of wounded pride you hold me

Did someone do you wrong, yeah
Good lovin's as good as gone, yeah
Maybe you ain't as strong as you wanna be

It's alright if you don't wanna go home
It's alright if you don't wanna be alone
It's alright if you don't wanna go home
I understand, I understand, I understand
But then the reprise of the chorus changed it up:
It's alright if you just wanna go home
It's alright if you just wanna be alone
It's alright if you just wanna go home
I understand, I understand, I understand 
Because the contrast of those two, and the notion of someone who understands you either way... well, it just it me where I lived.  If I had to pick a favorite though, I also love Broken Hearted Savior so, so much.  I think the lyrics aren't quite as brilliant, but the combination of them plus the deep, twangy moody guitar still totally gets me:
And every heavy night
Takes out the little life that's left within her
Every man she gives her love, he takes it
And leaves her with a dinner
Our love was once a flame, now I'm just a forgotten name
Am I the only one to blame for ever loving her?

And I'll love her yet, though she has done me wrong
And I'll bring her back, though she has been long gone
And I'll always be her
Broken hearted savior 
It does remind me of the modern angsty romance hero though -- how many of them are broken-hearted saviors?  And does it get any better than that?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


If you're a new reader, you might have missed this post.  It seems relevant to current Romlandia events, and it was kind of one of my favorites.  Enjoy!


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