Category Archives: Guest Post

Special Reader Guest: Alys

Hi friends! So I’d like to crawl into a hole with a fluffy blanket and just … sleep and rest for about a week, but I know I don’t get that. Alas. However, today we have a reader featured at ALBTALBS! These are some of my favorite posts, and I really hope you’ll read what Alys has to say. [Also – the pictures were sent embedded, which WP can’t handle – so odd formatting/whatever is on me. Forgive me.]

Unexpected MagicUm…hello everyone, this is little Alys from some blog somewhere with some twitter someplace and such and whatnot. Not really important. What is important is that for some reason, our dear Limecello (during a momentary lapse of judgment, I’m sure) felt that I was awesome enough to do a guest reader post for her much cooler blog and be on par- ok not on par, more like bask in the warm glowing limelight of equally cool writers/readers/guest posts. Continue reading

SWHM Encore: Guest Ki on Ada Lovelace

Hi friends! You’re like “whoa, what the heck, Lime, I thought we had a month off from Smithsonian Heritage Months?” And I had been all “yeah this is the close!” … But I ~changed my mind. I totally missed a message from Ki last month. (I didn’t even know she’d sent a file through Facebook – since when has that been a thing?!) So – I definitely wanted to include it, because Ada Lovelace was a badass. So everyone let’s get settled in to learn about Ada Lovelace, and thank you Ki for this lovely post! <3

Ada Lovelace Continue reading

SWHM Feature: Kim Lowe

Hi friends! Yes it is another Smithsonian Heritage Month! Or, whatever. I’d link you, but the Smithsonian website is down O_o. So, if you’re interested, the Women’s History Month government page is up. You might be all “but Lime – if this has been a thing, why didn’t you celebrate it last year?” Well, two answers. I had this sneaking suspicion even in 2013 that 2014 might kick my ass. Also, because I had no idea how the Heritage Months would go and figured “well, focusing on romance is kickass enough and sufficient for ALBTALBS.” But for 2015, we’re kicking it up a notch! So without further ado … here’s Kim with her contribution!

Jacqueline Cochran standing in uniform Wikimedia CommonsMy oldest son recently wrote an essay for a scholarship offered to military dependents. The topic was unusual – discuss a woman who contribute to WWII. He wrote about Jacqueline Cochran, a trailblazing woman in military aviation. She developed an interest in flying in the early 1930s, ultimately setting speed records along with Amelia Earhart. With the arrival of WWII, she volunteered to ferry planes to Britain and advocated for the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) once the US entered the war. After the war, she broke more records. From the National Aviation Hall of Fame: Continue reading

Guest Review: A Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Christina C. Jones

D.L. White’s review of A Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Christina C. Jones
Contemporary romance released by Christina C. Jones on September 8, 2014

A Crazy Little Thing Called LoveSimone is a woman on a mission: Stop being boring, and fall in love.
That’s easier said than done with no prospects on the table… or under the table… or near the table. Her luck changes when fellow neighborhood business owner Roman Taylor walks through the door of her flower shop.
Roman is single, successful, and sexy — everything Simone is looking for to embark on a whirlwind summer romance with the potential to spark an everlasting love.

But things are never as “perfect” as they seem, and Simone — and Roman — have to decide if they’re willing to risk their hearts when things get a little messy in their pursuit of a crazy little thing called love.

From time to time I troll social media to see what good books my favorites are talking about. If you’re a book lover, you always have your ear to the ground for what other people like and are reading… what’s new, what’s coming. I even have an addiction to NetGalley and Edelweiss because if a super awesome book is coming out soon, I want it. NOW. Continue reading

Special Reader Guest: David Faulkner

I can’t believe how we’re already so far into the new year. If you remember, the third Saturday of each month is reserved for a reader in the community, so the title (I wrote) is a mashup – Special Guest + Reader Guest, cuz honestly, aren’t non-author guests really  who are rare as blog guests? But enough of my musing – without further ado, this is what David has to say today!

~*~*~

A Nerd in Shining ArmorRomance novels for me were the bodice-ripper types my mother read when I was a young teen. They had nearly shirtless men and women who were all boobs and no waist. The back cover blurb mentioned castles and alpha males who forced themselves on women. Being a guy that loves curvy girls, who is a decidedly beta male, and one whose least favorite subject was history I didn’t relate to these books at all and thought all of romance was like this. Continue reading

Blogiversary Guest: Deelylah Mullin

I know right? Fucking craziness! Another post and BLOGIVERSARY!!! Well, as part of my social media call, Deelylah Mullin responded too! And she was all “hell yeah!” And I was like “*dudebro* YEAH!” So here we are! More festivities after Festivus! 😉 You know how it goes.

Celebrations, New Stuff, and All That Jazz Continue reading

Special Birthday Guest: Silvara Wilde

Hi dolls! May I please just start out with “family. ugh” please? I mean the holidays and bright + cheer and love for all – peace on earth and goodwill. … but my family it seems was made to test your willpower in all those things. So my apologies in being … well, more bad-me-ish than usual.

HOWEVER today I do have the distinct pleasure of sharing another birthday post with you! Whee! Today we have Silvara Wilde, as you see. I do “birthday calls” on twitter, and learned hers – gosh, years ago? And her birthday just so happened to fall on a post date this year, and here we are! … She tells it better 😉 so without further ado … Silvara!!

I have to say how incredibly excited I was to be asked to write a birthday piece for Lime’s blog. And also, how incredibly blonde I can be. See, it went a little something like this:

Lime: Are you writing me a birthday post?

Me: Uh, no. But I totally can! *thinking to myself ‘I don’t think I know her well enough to write her a birthday post? But I can try!’* What do you want me to say?

Lime: Your birthday is the 27th, right? It can be about anything you want!

Me: Ok! Wait… You want me to write a post about MY birthday? I was totally thinking you wanted one about YOUR birthday! *laughs loudly enough to scare her cats out of the room*

Lime: AHAHAHAHA! I’m not THAT much of a selfish bitch!

Me: Didn’t think you were either one! That’s just what my brain jumped to. This would be why the Gods made me blonde. *nods*

[This happened on twitter, and it was close enough to verbatim that I actually put it in quotes :X]
And of course, none of that was exact words or anything. Just a kind of outline/guideline of what happened. Still makes me giggle to think of it. So! Birthday post stuffs!

Silvara Birthday!

As you can tell, I was born on December 27th. This year, I am turning 37. I still can’t believe how old I am getting to be, especially as people who don’t actually know me usually guess my age anywhere from 17 to 30 max. I always attribute that to the fact I am less than 5 foot tall, have hair to my waist, and of course very good genes.

One year my best friend and I went out to dinner for my birthday. I was… 26 I think that year? Anyway, the hostess sat us, gave my friend the normal menu, then handed me the 12-and-under kids menu and asked if I wanted a lollypop! Thought my friend was going to bust something she was laughing so hard, and the poor hostess got so red when I mentioned that I was kind of hungry and would like the normal menu. Since I was 26 and not 12 and all…

I always hear stories from other people who have birthday’s on or near a holiday. They all seem to have family that decide since the holiday is so close to their birthday, they can just give the person one gift and say it’s for both. Makes sense right? Well, not really. But then I have been super lucky in that regard. My close family (parents and grandparents), always thought that would be pretty rude. After all, if I’d been born some other time, I’d be getting separate presents. So I always got 2 piles of gifts under the tree. One set in Christmas paper, and one in birthday paper.

The only bad birthday I ever had, – that I can remember at least! – was my 16th. 16th birthdays are supposed to be special, or so I’ve always heard. Mine sure was. That was the year that my Dad FORGOT my birthday. To this day, neither of us has a clue how that was managed. I got up that day and expected something fun, maybe going to the zoo or the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Even the Winchester Mystery House, since those were my 2 favorite places back then. (Now too, but I no longer live in California…)

Nope! Instead, we managed to do everything I HATED that day. All kinds of errands, visiting people I didn’t like, anything boring or that a teenager would hate having to do? Oh yeah, we did it. By the time late afternoon came around, Dad finally had enough of my bad attitude and yelled at me asking why I was in such a foul mood. I mentioned that he would be too, if HE had to do all the stuff he hated on HIS birthday.

I can still remember the look on his face, like someone had hit him over the head with a board or hammer or something. The lights dawned and you could just see the “oh crap!” in his eyes. But I don’t really remember anything else that happened that day. If we went to dinner, or anything good. But since I don’t remember more bad stuff, that at least had to have stopped.

Nowadays, I don’t really do anything much for my birthdays. I usually go out to dinner if I can afford to, and I’ll buy myself something I’ve been wanting. Last year my present to myself was the Sims 4. This year I’m still debating on a few things.

Has anyone ever forgotten your birthday? Do you get the dreaded “1 combined gift for both birthday and holidays?” if you have a birthday on or near a holiday? Tell me and Lime something funny that’s happened to you!

Isn’t she such a great sport? <3 Everyone please wish Silvara a very happy birthday, and tell us what birthday mishaps have happened to you. >.> Misery  – and comedy – loves company, right? 😀 [I confess, making that image took an embarrassing amount of time. So everyone send Silvara virtual birthday cakes too!]

Special Guest: Birthday Girl Kimberley N!

Hello beautiful people! So you know I adore birthdays, so I always love having people come and celebrate their special day with us! Today we have Kimberley who is a member of the romance community. She’s a first time guest at ALBTALBS too! So extra fun and cause for celebration!

So without further ado, let’s welcome Kimberley!!

I love birthdays! Even my own, though I’m starting to avoid thinking about the number it represents.

As a December baby, my birthday has always gotten lost in the shuffle of holidays, school breaks, mid-term exams, fiscal year-ends, and all the other calendar distractions that occur in December. Even more unfortunately, my birthday is one of three – count ‘em, three – immediate family birthdays that land in a 15-day window in December (my sister was apparently my sixth birthday present; for the record, I wanted a train set). It’s hard to have my sad little birthday stand out in all the insanity, so what to do?

I make birthday resolutions.

This is primarily because I find that New Year’s resolutions evoke so much angst: the self-imposed quit/start/find/lose hell inevitably leads to months of guilt that I just don’t want. So long ago, I resolved not to make New Year’s resolutions.

But I need goals for the year. Who doesn’t? And since I don’t want stress on my birthday, my resolutions go like this:

  1. READ MOAR BOOKS. Never mind that Goodreads tells me that as of today, I’ve read 682 romance books this year. THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT.

 

  1. a) Find a really, really good maple fudge recipe. b) Make the fudge. c) Eat the fudge. Repeat B and C as frequently as possible.

 

  1. Introduce the new nephews – cutest and cleverest 5-month-olds ever! – to The Lorax. Or at least to Pat The Bunny.

 

  1. Get the bloody bathroom fan fixed so the steam stops setting off the smoke detector, FFS.

 

  1. Find books from new-to-me authors. The ones I already love just can’t write fast enough, or so they claim.

 

  1. Eat all the cookies. Except the ones with raisins. You can have those ones, cos BLERF.

 

  1. Learn to design and diagram crochet cables.

 

  1. Go to Spain (timing flexible on this one).

 

  1. Stop hogging the butter tarts. It’s nice manners to share, apparently.

 

  1. Learn that lists should end before #10. Who wants all that pressure?

 

Thank you to Limecello for making my birthday stand out this year!

Happy birthday, Kimberley!!! Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to play with us. Fantastic list. I might have to steal some of those. 😀 I hope you had a lovely and wonderful day! Everyone – remember to wish Kimberley the best birthday ever!

SHHM Guest: Ana Canino-Fluit

Hi friends! I’ve fallen behind again, but today I’m here! With another guest celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with us! Whee! Everyone – I hope you chime in. I’m grateful for all of you <3 (and for copy + paste)! Please give Ana a very warm welcome!

Reading while Latina by Ana Canino-Fluit

I am Latina romance reader and reviewer. Born and raised in Puerto Rico I have now lived nearly half of my life in the US Mainland and Canada. I have inter-married like so many Hispanics do, and I am raising my daughters to appreciate their multi-cultural (Dutch-Canadian & Puerto Rican) heritage. I am school librarian and I read and review romance as hobby. I read nearly all the romance sub-genres, everything from historical to science-fiction, although I tend to steer clear of inspirational and westerns. Romance like the rest of mainstream literature can be overwhelmingly white and while I am always thrilled to discover Hispanic authors and characters when selecting books to read I don’t limit myself to reading books written from a Hispanic point of view. But I do find myself looking for certain tropes, and story elements that in some way resonate with my experience of being a Latina. The particular tropes and story elements that appeal to me won’t necessarily appeal to another Latino or Latina whose experiences and background is different from mine but these are the tropes and story elements that I find reflect a bit of my reality.

Knowing the ScoreI love stories of newcomers or new people finding a place to belong in a small town or community. I left Puerto Rico to attend college and I have lived in many places across Canada and the US for work since then, so reading stories about the importance and process of finding supportive friends, and becoming part of a new community appeals to me. Two of my favorite series that return time and time again to the challenges and rewards of finding love, making friends and building relationships with peoples and places are Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski Family and Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor books.

A distinct but related category of these types stories are romances about immigrants & ex-pats. People who not only leave their hometowns or states but are building lives in other countries. I love reading about the adjustments required to live in a different culture, the ideas and traditions we sometimes unconsciously carry from our home cultures and how they complicate our relationships. As someone who has negotiated the sometimes fraught waters of inter-cultural romance I love reading about it. Kat Latham has written a couple of stories with Ex-pats and bi-national couples which I really enjoyed (Knowing the Score & Mine Under the Mistletoe). I loved Mary Ann Rivers’ Live with its homesick Welsh hero, set on going home while slowly falling in love with a girl that has never left home. I also love Laura Florand’s novels, both the Amour et Chocolat and La Vie en Roses series, where the lovers often have to discover all that is lost in translation, the little cultural nuances, mores and cues that can lead to misunderstandings beyond simply not sharing the same first language.

LiveI love stories of misfits and outsiders, people who don’t quite fit in or and are not fully accepted by the culture at large. When I was growing up in Puerto Rico, I knew that I didn’t quite fit the idealized Puerto Rican image of beauty, and when I left home as light-skinned Latina, I got and still get lot of comments like “you don’t look Puerto Rican” and those comments are exhausting and wearying as they make you feel not quite right. Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series while first and foremost action packed stories of adventure and love that I fell in love with for their intricate world-building and steam-punky goodness, are also populated with people of color whose lives are complicated by how they look, what their heritage is or they ways their bodies have been modified. Delphine Dryden’s geeky and kinky characters in the Theory of Attraction series are misfits and outsiders of a different sort. I connect with these smart men and women whose differences from those around them might not be readily visible but still set them apart, and make them feel slightly out of sync with the rest of society.

I love strong and complicated family relationships. It is cliché to point out that Hispanics and [email protected] deeply value family, but what is less well understood is how complicated and difficult those extended family relationships can be. Divorce, substance abuse, distance, family expectations and aspirations complicate our families. In Lauren Dane’s books from her Brown Family series and its related novels to her Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction I find depictions of complicated families that are both honest and raw. Her family relationships are rarely straightforward; instead they are often sources of both strength and conflict. I love that she can acknowledge the role of our families of origin play in the families we build and their power to affect our relationships for good or ill. I recently read her novella Sway from the Delicious series, where we see both Daisy Huerta’s loving, healthy yet not idealized Mexican-American family and Levi’s complicated but close-knit WASPY family and how concern and conflict from both sides nearly derailed Daisy and Levi’s love affair.

Bitter SpiritsI love to read stories that assume and portray a multicultural world, which is rarer than you might think. I love books where the communities and groups of friends depicted are not all white and include more than a token person of color. I wish I saw more authors that realized that you can find people of color in all sorts of communities, big, small, urban and rural. I loved how vibrantly diverse Jenn Bennett’s 1920’s San Francisco is in her Bitter Spirits series, and the fact that we see people of color in all sorts roles going about their lives. In contemporary romance I really enjoy Audra North’s books for its everyday inclusion of people of color as main and supporting characters. I know when I read a person of color in her romances, their race isn’t “the issue”, but instead just a part of who they are.

When I was growing up in Puerto Rico it sometimes felt like machismo was the default male philosophy, and culturally we were raised to accept that you could tell the good ones from the bad ones because they listened to their Abuela, watched out for their nieces and sisters and that all the novias & chulitas would be set aside for the right one. Although I never let myself date a Machista or ever wanted a real live rake I still have a soft spot for stories of reformed rakes, of big strong men who know they are beat when they face a fierce grand-aunt like Lady Osbaldestone and are drawn to strong bossy women who don’t simply sit waiting to be rescued. I found my fix for this trope in the dozens of Stephanie Laurens Cynster series and Nalini Singh Psy-changeling novels which I binged on when I first found romance novels.

The Lotus PalaceOne of the most enduring telenovela tropes is that off a cross-class/Cinderella romance. In the telenovelas I watched as a child some rich guy was always falling for some girl from the wrong side of the tracks (who often conveniently was some of other rich guy’s secret baby…but that is another story). As a result of prolonged and sustained exposure to this trope, I have become very picky about the kind of cross-class romances I can enjoy. Unlike the telenovelas I watched as kid I want authors to address the real obstacles and sacrifices involved in those kinds of relationships. Two of my favorites are Jeannie Lin’s Lotus Palace, whose portrayal of deep family bonds, loyalty and sacrifice lend weight to Bai Huang and Yue-ying love and Cecilia Grant’s A Gentleman Undone, where Will and Lydia’s love is truly costly to them, costing them financially, in social esteem and even family contact.

The un-employment rate in Puerto Rico has been very high for a very long time, so my whole life my parents have the stressed the importance of education and work-ethic to the point that I didn’t realize that till I was in college that many people did not in fact go on to get a college education, but in my life it simply wasn’t optional. I was taught to value and respect those who humbly worked hard jobs to provide for their families and to provide opportunities for paid for work for others whenever possible. I look at my family, at my grandmothers who both worked and managed business. My great-grandparents who farmed and ran a bakery and as result I rarely feel a romance is complete if it doesn’t address the significance and value of work or the impact of struggling to make ends meet. I find myself deeply drawn both to stories where characters have to negotiate work-life balance because the characters love their work, are so good at it that it can easily consume them, like Julie James’ FBI series novels and Emma Barry’s Easy Part series and to novels where characters work hard in less than glamorous settings (Cara McKenna’s After Hours and Hard Time), where work is not identity but necessity.

After HoursThis is just a small part of the tropes and story elements I enjoy, as I haven’t mentioned some of my favorite writers and books, but their appeal to me is not something I can easily tie back to my Latina experience but are instead things I like simply because of all the other things that form who I am beyond my race, like my love-hate relationship with librarian romances and my aversion to billionaires. What are the tropes and story elements that connect the most deeply with you? I would love to hear your recommendations of books that fit some of these tropes and elements and I haven’t discovered yet. You can find me on twitter as @anacoqui and find my reviews on my blog.

So – what are your thoughts?! Chime in! (And have you read any of these books?)

Special Guest: Birthday Girl Sonoma Lass!

Hello my friends! It’s birthday month, and a Saturday, which must mean it’s time for a reader post. Beyond that, today is Sonoma Lass’s actual birthday – so everyone please wish her the happiest and best of birthdays! I also hope you’ll answer her question, because I’m curious as to what you have to say as well. <3

In looking over the list of books I’ve finished on my Kindle lately, I see less genre romance than I expect. I’ve started and then abandoned more than I care to admit, and I’ve put my head down to finish a couple because I wanted to review them. And I realized, somewhat belatedly, that the problem I’m having is one that I almost never mention in the reviews I write. So here it is: I am tired of beautiful people.

I know that one aspect of romance is the fantasy – two people overcoming obstacles and finding true love, in a way that many people in real life never manage. Depending on the sub-genre, a lot of those obstacles may be ones that most readers will never face. And I have heard reader after reader say that they want to read fantasy characters in their romances – beautiful, talented, extraordinary people falling in love.

BUT I have also heard readers say that they wish for more variety in the genre – including older main characters, fat main characters, and others who aren’t beautiful in the conventional way. And I do see some of those books, but mostly I see beautiful people. And that’s getting dull.

Now, some of these beautiful people don’t realize that they are beautiful – we get ugly duckling storylines, or books where the heroine has low self-esteem and doesn’t know that she’s gorgeous. But in the end, these are still books about beautiful people. Not what I want.

I myself am not beautiful. I’m not “ugly,” and when I was younger I had a conventionally “good” body, facility with make-up, and reasonable fashion sense. So while I’ve never been “the pretty girl,” I’ve never felt repulsive either. The key thing is, I have never felt that a man was interested in me based on first on my looks. But the men who have loved me have found me beautiful TO THEM; they love me, and they love my face and my body because they are the package in which the woman they love is wrapped. The handful of times in my life that I’ve felt really “in love,” that’s been part of it, and certainly is in my current long-term relationship.

My partner is a good-looking guy. He’s not a “hottie,” a hunk, or matinee-idol handsome, and he’s put on a few pounds since turning 50, but his is the dearest face in the world to me. I can appreciate conventionally attractive men, but they don’t make my heart flip over the way he does. Because I’m in love with him, and so however he looks is how the man I love looks, if that makes any sense.

In my mind, that’s a much greater thing: loving someone so much that whatever package they come in is dear to you. That means that if they gain weight, go bald, get sick, have surgery, or just plain get old, they don’t have to worry that you’ll stop loving them, because conventional, external beauty wasn’t a big part of the picture in the first place. I want to read about that kind of love, because that’s the kind of love that I can believe will really last.

It’s not that I never see these stories; just not enough of them lately. So what do you think – do you prefer beautiful main characters? Are there particular books that you think are relevant here? Do you have recommendations for me???

[Fabulous post, thank you! And happy birthday SL!!!]