Category Archives: General

Guest Post: On Fat Heroines (in Romance) by N.R. Lines

Hi friends! So this post was inspired by just an offhand comment about how fat heroines are [rarely] actually fat in romance, or there’s something ridiculous about them – e.g. the “fat heroine” has visible ribs the hero counts or runs his fingers over. Anyway, I then asked N.R. in the spring if she wanted to write a post, this was sent to me back in June, but I’m basically awful and had to put this off because scheduling and then time got away with me, so if anything is off, this is my fault. And also, thank you N.R. for your patience! I really hope you all take the time to read this post. <3

I’d also like to note that all covers shown here are recommended romances, regardless of placement in the post. I just like pictures, ok? 😉 

On Fat Heroines (in Romance) 
By N.R. Lines

We have a problem in the romance genre. It’s been a problem for as long as I’ve been reading romance back in1981, and likely much longer than that. It’s a problem that impacts many women , whether they know it or not. And few people seem to be talking about it. The problem: Romancelandia lacks fat heroines. Or at least fat heroines who are written well.

I have divided the fat heroines I’ve seen in romance novels into the following categories:

  • The Fake Fat Heroine
  • The Confident Curvy Girl
  • The Full Figured Fat Heroine

There are three types of Fake Fat Heroines. First is the heroine who the author is authentically trying to write as fat, but uses descriptors that could never apply to a fat heroine. For example, a truly fat, or even curvy girl will never be described as having jutting hipbones. A partner would never loving run their hands down the fat heroine’s ribs and feel the outline of her rib bones. These Fake Fat Heroines make me shake my head and laugh at the absurdity of it all. To fix this we need to be better at describing a fat heroine in a manner that is both realistic and affirming. We can do this, I know we can!

The second type of Fake Fat Heroine is the heroine who describes herself as fat because she is insecure about an aspect of her body. Fat or slender, we’ve all been there. But what if we stopped doing that? What if instead of making your heroine feel and see fat when she thinks about those insecurities we give her an insecurity that she overcomes. Pick one thing about herself, not her entire body. I get it, fat is that ubiquitous descriptor that is used to describe a woman who doesn’t feel right about her body. I’m in no way minimizing the issues we have as women, but as romance writers, perhaps we can do better and can find other ways to describe these insecurities. And we can write the stories where these insecurities are overcome in positive ways that don’t inadvertently put us fat girls down.

The final type of Fake Fat Heroine is more damaging. This is the heroine an author presents as a woman who believes she is fat, who sees a big girl when she looks in the mirror, but as we get into the story we come to realize the heroine isn’t a plus sized gal at all. Maybe the heroine has been called fat by family and friends because she’s a size eight instead of a size two. Maybe she was fat at a different point in her life, but has been at a lower weight for some time and is suffering from body dysmorphia. Maybe she is a trans woman who has some dissonance between how she feels in her skin and what she sees in the mirror. All we get from the heroine’s inner dialogue, and maybe dialogue with her evil family and friends, is that she is fat. Continue reading

New Feature? Kindle Freebies & Deals!

Hi friends! So I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time. What do you think? Would you be interested in posts like this, or should I not bother?

(If I don’t hear anything I’m just going to assume you don’t want this so please let me know. I mean, it’d be lovely if you’d comment one way or the other to just let me know. I feel like I’m talking to nothing these days…)

Anyway, N.B. these are all free at the time of posting so please check the price first on your own before you click. Or, just don’t come after me if it’s not free any more. Or not at a discounted price. I’ll list all the freebies, then the “deals.”

I’d also like to note I can’t personally vouch for all of them. These were just books I thought looked good or interesting.

You can just click on the cover and it’ll take you to Amazon. 🙂 Continue reading

What We’ve Been Reading in 2017

Hi friends! I always like to know what people have been reading, and more importantly, what they recommend. While this isn’t exactly that … (those posts come in reviews and later), this list and our grades should give you some sort of indication. This time, you’ll get a comprehensive lists from me, a general list from Babs, and Karen’s highlights.
 
I’d love to know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them! [I’m also as usual it seems like treading through quicksand, so we’ll see how we go with links.]
 
I also want to note, Babs put me to shame with her organization. While I then also separated my books out by month, I can’t speak to accuracy of timing. Especially since you know, I was loopy for most of it.
 
As a refresher, this is the basic ALBTALBS “Grading Scale.”
A = OMFG BEST BOOK EVER – LOVED IT. LOVED IT AND IT MADE ME LOVE EVERYTHING.
B = Really great book. You should read it.
C = Good book. Average, enjoyable read.
D = It was good, but there were some problems, or the reader had [significant] issues with certain aspects.
F = this was not a good book. I am angry I read it.
DNF = Did Not Finish (Either the book was truly that terrible, or I wasn’t in the mood, or whatever else. I just didn’t finish.)

Winners and June in Review

Hi friends! A day late but no dollars short because giveaway winners are being announced!!!

Also, if you’re a stranger to ALBTALBS, personally, I’ve had a lot going on and am currently in PT and I might not always be 100% timely. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

For the author post giveaways … I’m going to defer to them to pick winners unless/until I hear otherwise … so yes I’ll be reaching out to them and maybe you’ll want to check this space [this specific post] for any changes.

So you know, these are all the birthday posts, and if authors haven’t posted winners yet maybe you can still comment and win. 😉 Continue reading

Mary Katherine Goddard and the Declaration of Independence

Hello my friends! If you’re stateside – or an expat, you know that today is a holiday in the … [god, I want to write “good old US of A but … these days…] anyway. I’m trying to be adult and discuss something obscure, and cool, not “manly firmness.” (Which yes is in the Declaration.)

I wrote this post two years ago … so I won’t repeat. But if you’d like to re-read the text of the Declaration of Independence, it’s all there.

I first learned of Mary Katherine Goddard from a RT on twitter from Loretta Chase & Susan Holloway Scott, sharing this article from the Washington Post. (Which actually annoyed me because some of the attempts at … snark? Modern day relatability? … Felt like it was trying too hard to desperately engage middle school mean girls. … Of course I’m one to judge, me using “relatability.” Whatever.)

But then! I found this from Harvard!

The Goddard Broadside was the first printed version of the Declaration of Independence specifically intended for preservation. It was the first printed broadside to use the title “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America”. It was the first version of the Declaration to list the names of (most of) the signers. And, it is the only “official” version of the Declaration of Independence to be printed by a woman. Mary Katherine Goddard’s imprint at the bottom of her broadside proudly presents not only her full name, but also the city where Congress met for two crucial months, and where she lived and worked for over forty years.

So today, we celebrate America, the Founding Fathers, and Mary Katherine Goddard, who we should all know about but don’t. Because beyond this printing, she did a lot of amazing things. (Which you should read about from Harvard, WaPo, or heck even Wiki.)

I’ve included an image of the Goddard Broadside, which I got from the Library of Congress.*

*Unfortunately the version you can save makes it hard to see Mary Katherine Goddard’s name at the bottom, but if you click through to the LoC it’s there and you can zoom. 🙂

An Embarrassment of Riches: Massive Avon Books Birthday Bash Giveaway

Hi friends! The birthday approaches!!! … I wish I had a week to just sleep. Instead I’m reading like crazy and only getting two hours of sleep a night and stumbling around which we all know is especially not great for me right now. XD

So – I hope I get this all right! This giveaway will have two – count them TWO winners, who will each win nine books. … I know. It’s fucking crazy – and AWESOME!!!

What, Lime, are the books you ask? Well. Let me tell you!!! You’ll be getting sets of print books from Ilona Andrews, Lisa Kleypas, and Sarah MacLean.

And yo O_O SOME OF THESE BOOKS AREN’T OUT YET!!!! AHHHH!!!!

Ilona Andrews launches a brand-new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire . . . Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile situation. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire. Then she's kidnapped by Connor

*Pst the kindle version of Burn For Me is currently on sale for $2.99

The Hidden Legacy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm…and their relationship burns hot Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor

From Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, the thrilling conclusion to her Hidden Legacy series, as Nevada and Rogan grapple with a power beyond even their imagination… Nevada Baylor can’t decide which is more frustrating—harnessing her truthseeker abilities or dealing with Connor “Mad” Rogan and their evolving relationship. Yes, the billionaire Prime is helping her navigate the complex magical world in which she’s become a crucial player—and sometimes a pawn—but she also has to deal with his ex-fiancée, whose husband has disappeared, and whose damsel-in-distress act is wearing very, very thin. Rogan faces his own challenges, too, as Nevada’s magical rank has made her a desirable match for other Primes. Controlling his immense powers is child’s play next to controlling his conflicting emotions. And now he and Nevada are confronted by a new threat within her own family. Can they face this together? Or is their world about to go up in smoke?

Wildfire will be out July 25, 2017, but you could get it early!

A twist of fate . . . Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own. A clash of wills . . . Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains: Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

A ruthless tycoon Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better . . . A sheltered beauty Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable . . . the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with… Marrying Winterborne

New York Times bestselling author LISA KLEYPAS delivers the unforgettable tale of a strong-willed beauty who encounters her match in one of London’s most notorious—yet irresistible—rakes . . . An eccentric wallflower . . . Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger. A cynical rake . . . After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain. A perilous plot . . . After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy—and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven . . .

Lady Sophie’s Society Splash When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocracy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin . . . it’s filled with it. Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment! Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring. War? Or More? He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .

Lonesome Lily turned Scandalous Siren Miss Lillian Hargrove has lived much of her life alone in a gilded cage, longing for love and companionship. When an artist offers her pretty promises and begs her to pose for a scandalous portrait, Lily doesn’t hesitate . . . until the lying libertine leaves her in disgrace. With the painting now public, Lily has no choice but to turn to the one man who might save her from ruin. Highland Devil turned Halfhearted Duke The Duke of Warnick loathes all things English, none more so than the aristocracy. It does not matter that the imposing Scotsman has inherited one of the most venerable dukedoms in Britain—he wants nothing to do with it, especially when he discovers that the unwanted title comes with a troublesome ward, one who is far too old and far too beautiful to be his problem. Tartan Comes to Town Warnick arrives in London with a single goal: get the chit married and see her become someone else’s problem, then return to a normal, quiet life in Scotland. It’s the perfect plan, until Lily declares she’ll only marry for love . . . and the Scot finds that there is one thing in England he likes far too much . . .

The one woman he will never forget… Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one. The one man she will never forgive… After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist. A love that neither can deny… The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS

You guys! The Day of the Duchess is out today! So! Also, happy release day to Sarah MacLean! 🙂

How do you win? Two options. A) Tell me something fun or interesting about birthdays. A favorite birthday memory, present, whatever. B) Tell me your favorite Avon author or book! Both! 😀

I’ll keep this giveaway open until July 5th, and will name the two winners in the comments, so remember to check back to see if you won! (I will not be reaching out to the winners. I think we all know I’m not organized enough for that.) And while you’re here, please check out all the other wonderful birthday giveaways!!

[Smithsonian Heritage] Pride Month Guest: Jason T. Gaffney (Plus Ed Gaffney & Suzanne Brockmann) AND a Giveaway!

Y’all!!! I know, that post title is a mouthful is it not?! But how fun and exciting, right? 😀 Seriously I hope you’ve checked out the other Pride Month posts here at ALBTALBS (all tagged), but I’m really excited about this new post, and how it’s delightful and different from what we’ve been seeing. (Diversity in all things! <3) 😀 I hope you’ll give a warm welcome to Jason T. Gaffney, Ed Gaffney, and Suzanne Brockmann who yes, are all first time guests! Thank you all for joining us! 

Classic Category Romance Tropes

Fixing FrankSuz Brockmann interviews Jason T. Gaffney and Ed Gaffney, authors of Fixing Frank, California Comedy series book #3, from Suzanne Brockmann Presents

Suz: So far, in your California Comedy series, you’ve used the “marriage of convenience” trope in Fixing Frank, where frenemies pretend to be engaged while contestants in a reality web series; the “friends to lovers” trope in A Match for Mike, where childhood friends meet again after a long-ago estrangement—and sparks fly; and the “Cinderella make-over” trope in Creating Clark, where a nerdy coffeeshop owner asks a hot actor friend to help him catch the eye of a another man. What do you think is the appeal of these tried and true romance tropes? Continue reading