Posts Tagged ‘steamy’

Can’t Stand The Heat

October 31, 2012

Can't Stand The Heat Book CoverTitle: Can’t Stand The Heat

Author: Edwards, Louisa

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 359

Geographical Setting: Manhattan, New York

Time Period: Present Day/Contemporary

Series: Recipe For Love

Plot Summary:  Miranda Wake is a fiery, headstrong food critic who wants to write a behind the scenes book on restaurants.  Meanwhile, Chef Adam Temple is about to open his very own Manhattan restaurant The Market, which focuses on seasonal, local food.  Sparks and tempers fly when a drunken Miranda first meets the deliciously hot-tempered Chef at the preview for his upcoming restaurant.  Blame it on the liquid courage through deceptively strong drinks that she ends up accepting a challenge by the infuriating Chef to spend a month observing and working for him in his kitchen.   The challenge becomes even more interesting when Adam discovers that this infamous food critic can’t actually cook.  As Adam starts giving Miranda cooking lessons at his apartment, the tension and sizzling heat between these two comes into full play.  Miranda starts to get material for her book while also trying to fight her feelings for the deliciously handsome Adam.  Meanwhile, she must also deal with her younger brother Jess who returns to live with her but has some big secrets of his own.  It is a steamy romance novel that also works for food lovers with its mouthwatering descriptions.  There are strong secondary characters, especially with the brother Jess’ storyline.  Romance readers can enjoy the passionate, independent romantic leads and their fiery face-offs in the kitchen as well as the bedroom.

Subject Headings: Love Stories, Restaurateurs, Cooks, Cooking, Women Journalists, Men/Women Relations, Interpersonal Attraction, Secrets,

Appeal: fast-paced, steamy, romantic, lighthearted, witty, strong secondary characters, upbeat, plot-driven, resolved ending, playful, multiple points of view, engaging, conversational, passionate

Three Most Relevant Appeal Terms: Lighthearted, Witty, Steamy

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Enjoy this contemporary romance novel that has a similar funny, upbeat tone and features another bet that places the protagonists together.  Minerva Dobbs has just been dumped by David before her sister Diana’s wedding because she wouldn’t sleep with him.  In order to cheer her up, her friends encourage her to approach handsome Calvin Morrissey.  But she overhears Calvin make a $10,000 bet with now ex-boyfriend David that Cal has a month to get Min to sleep with him.  This sets off a game between Cal and Min as the two characters try to play each other for their own gain.  But things get complicated and steamy when the two actually fall for each other.  Another fun and sizzling romance novel with an engaging group of characters.

Delicious by Susan Mallery

In the first book of Mallery’s Buchanan series, enjoy some more food with your romance as you get to know the characters Penny Jackson and Cal Buchanan.  The Buchanan family’s Seattle Waterfront restaurant is drowning and Cal is given the task of rescuing it.  He needs the best chef to help save it and that happens to be his ex-wife Penny.  Penny warily agrees to help as she tries to hide the fact that she is pregnant, but Cal has secrets of his own as well.  The two former lovers begin working together and suddenly the sizzling chemistry between them has returned.  Can they resist their desire for each other, or will they ultimately succumb to its succulent possibilities?

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Blue Bailey drops everything and moves to Colorado to be with her ex-boyfriend Monty.  But when she arrives, she discovers that Monty has moved on with a beautiful blonde and Blue is now stranded without a job or home.  When she runs into stranger Dean Robillard, she is forced to hitch a ride with this infuriating, handsome stranger who turns out to be the Chicago Bears quarterback.  Enjoy the steamy love scenes, great verbal banter and funny tone of this engaging contemporary romance.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Cooking from the Farmer’s Market by Jodi Liano, Tasha DeSerio and Jennifer Maiser

Did you love the descriptions of food and farmer’s market shopping in the novel?  Then you will enjoy this Williams-Sonoma cookbook that teaches you the “farm-to-table cooking” method.  Learn tips on how to shop at local farmer’s market while you try out the seasonal recipes provided throughout the book.

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl

If you want to know more about food critics and the restaurant world, then give this book a try.  Ruth Reichl was a food critic for New York Times in the 1990s before becoming editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine.  She discusses her experiences at restaurants she visited publicly as well as anonymously for reviews.  Savor the descriptions of her meals at restaurants, while also getting to know the beautiful art of restaurants and sample some of her favorite recipes and reviews.  A book that food lovers will certainly eat up.

Out of Sync by Lance Bass

An autobiography by N’SYNC pop group member Lance Bass that chronicles his life in the spotlight.  This book discusses his childhood, time with NSYNC and stint as a Russian cosmonaut.  But it also deals with Lance’s struggles with his homosexuality, which he attempted to hided from the public until he officially came out at the age of 27.  Here is a book that allows you to delve into a life story that deals with issues that were faced by character Jess in Can’t Stand The Heat.

Name: Margita Lidaka

From Barcelona, with Love

October 3, 2012

Cover of From Barcelona, with LoveAuthor:  Elizabeth Adler

Title: From Barcelona with Love

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 338

Geographical Setting: Los Angeles, Barcelona, Spanish Sierra Mountains

Time Period: Present day

Series: Mac Reilly, P.I.; Book 4

Plot Summary: Bibi Fortunata, a famous singer, is released from trial by a judge due to lack of evidence for the murder of her lover and his latest mistress, her supposed best friend. Rather than allow the scandal to affect her seven year-old daughter, Paloma, Bibi decides to leave her in the care of an aunt, and promptly disappears without a trace. Two years later, young Paloma meets TV detective show host and private investigator Mac Reilly, and Bibi’s family asks Mac to take up the case: find Bibi—if she is still alive—and reunite mother and daughter once again. Mac follows the trail to Barcelona, where he must discover the truth behind the murders before Bibi’s sinister ex-husband comes to take Paloma away, and claim her inheritance of a Spanish wine-making dynasty for himself. Moving at a brisk pace, and filled with plot twists, From Barcelona with Love is framed by the atmosphere and rich detail Adler evokes of cosmopolitan Barcelona and the more pastoral wineries and villas of the Spanish countryside. And the tone of the novel strikes a graceful balance between mystery and romance, as the story unravels the secret of Bibi.

Subject Headings: Barcelona (Spain), Murder investigation, Frameups, Women celebrities, Jilted women, Missing Persons, Suspicion, Detectives, Mothers and daughters, Murder suspects, Triangles (Interpersonal relations), Extramarital relations, Americans in foreign countries.

Appeal: compelling, fast paced, intriguing secondary characters, dramatic, vivid, series (characters), character centered, plot twists, resolved ending, rich and famous, steamy, contemporary, detailed settings, exotic, strong sense of place, lush, suspenseful, colorful, conversational.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: character centered, plot twists, detailed settings

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Spain: A Culinary Roadtrip by Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, and Gwyneth Paltrow

Spanish food and wine figure prominently in From Barcelona, with Love, and readers who may wish to learn more on the subject will likely enjoy this gastronomic tour of Spain co-written by a preeminent chef, the food critic for the New York Times, and a celebrity foodie.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adrià’s elBulli by Lisa Abend

There are multiple scenes in Adler’s novel that evoke the contemporary Spanish cuisine known as molecular gastronomy, that was first popularized by maverick chef Ferran Adrià. Readers who enjoy food writing and want to explore the topic further will find much to savor here.

Barcelona The Great Enchantress by Robert Hughes

For readers who want to learn more about the historic sites described in From Barcelona, with Love, award-winning travel writer Hughes here vividly describes the Spanish city which he has admired and visited for over forty years.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Someone to Watch Over Me by Judith McNaught

Readers who enjoyed From Barcelona, with Love may also like this steamy Romantic Suspense novel, which similarly focuses on relationships and the foibles of the rich and famous. Leigh Kendall, a Broadway star, awakens in the hospital after a car crash to discover that she is suspected in the disappearance of her well-to-do husband.

Veil of Night by Linda Howard

As From Barcelona, with Love is an example of the gentler side of Romantic Suspense, Veil of Night may appeal to some of Adler’s readers. Howard’s fast-paced novel is focused on romantic relationships, and is humor-inflected with an accent on mystery. Wedding planner Jaclyn Wilde must team with P.I. Eric Wilder to solve the murder of one of her clients, a bridezilla depised by everyone she came in contact with.

Winter Garden by Hannah Kristin

Readers who appreciate Adler’s story of family secrets, sense of place, and richly detailed descriptions of exotic locales may enjoy this story of a woman trying to uncover the mysteries of her mother’s tragic past hidden in a Russian fairy tale she used to tell her children. Winter Garden takes the reader on a journey from apple growing country in the Pacific Northwest to Stalin-era Leningrad.

Name: John Rimer

Secrets of the Lost Summer

October 3, 2012

cover

Author: Carla Neggers

Title: Secrets of the Lost Summer

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publication Date: 2012

Number of Pages: 344

Geographical Setting: Swift River Valley- New England

Time Period: Present day and 1938 (historical flashbacks)

Plot Summary: After suffering from a friend’s betrayal that damages her career, Olivia Frost decides it is time to walk away from her life in Boston and start fresh in her hometown. While Olivia is delighted to renovate her historic home in scenic Swift River Valley, she finds herself annoyed by the dilapidated house that neighbors her own. Dylan McCaffrey, California businessman and retired NHL player, is surprised to learn he inherited this crumbling shack from his father. Eager to investigate what brought his adventure-seeking father to New England and why he purchased this rural home before his sudden passing, Dylan heads east and quickly becomes engrossed in both his attractive neighbor and the mystery his father left him in Quabbin Valley. While trying to solve a seventy-year-old puzzle, Dylan and Olivia become fearful that their findings will not only explain Dylan’s unusual inheritance but also reveal a small-town secret that will change the lives of the people of Swift River Valley forever.

Subject Headings: Bed-and-Breakfast, Inheritance and Succession,  Interpersonal Attraction, Jewel Thefts, Men/Women Relations, Secrets, Treasure Hunting, Family Secrets, New England

Appeal: engrossing, gentle, heartwarming, romantic, closely observed characters, multiple points of view, flashbacks, steamy, detailed setting, historical details, straightforward style, conversational language.

Three Appeal Terms: closely observed characters, detailed setting, historical details

Three Fiction Read-Alikes

Juliet by Anne Fortier

Fortier tells the story of Julie Jacobs, a young woman who finds herself pursuing a family treasure upon receiving a surprising inheritance. Set in scenic Italy, readers who enjoyed Neggers’ element of mystery in a detailed setting will appreciate the descriptive landscape and Julie’s suspenseful mission.

Moving Target by Elizabeth Lowell

Lowell’s romantic suspense novel follows Serena Charters as she tries to piece together a mysterious inheritance she received upon her grandmother’s shocking passing. During her quest for information, Serena seeks the help of Erik North, a writer/historian, to whom she is instantly attracted. Fans of Secrets of the Lost Summer will enjoy the mysterious, historical inheritance plot entwined in a love story.

The Treasure by Iris Johansen

Like Neggers, Johansen writes engrossing love stories that appeal to those looking for a suspenseful read. The Treasure takes place in 12th century Europe and follows the story of Selene, a young woman who falls in love with a former assassin who rescued her from slavery. Readers who enjoyed the historical references and fast-paced storyline of Secrets of the Lost Summer will appreciate this read.

Three Nonfiction Read-Alikes

The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor by Jerry Traunfeld

Along with her vivid descriptions of New England countryside in Secrets of the Lost Summer, Neggers also describes Olivia’s charming garden and farm-to-table cooking in great detail. Readers are provided with rich descriptions of Olivia’s obsession with freshly grown herbs, an element of this love story that may particularly engage readers with a gardening or cooking interest. For those who share Neggers’ fascination with herb gardens, The Herbal Kitchen cookbook is a strong nonfiction suggestion. Readers may enjoy applying Olivia’s cooking experiences to their own lives.

Quabbin Valley: People and Places by Elizabeth Peirce

This collection of vintage photographs depicts the lives of the people of Quabbin Valley from 1750 to 1938, when the land was purposefully flooded to create a steady water supply for Boston natives. Neggers discusses this historical moment and the affect it had on Quabbin residents in great detail. Readers who seek a visual representation of Neggers prose will enjoy this title.

Quabbin: A History and Explorers Guide by Michael Tougias

In the spirit of Dylan’s father’s love for adventure and treasure-hunting, Quabbin: A History and Explorers Guide makes for great additional reading for those who were taken with Neggers’ description of the New England landscape and its evolution since 1938. This title provides readers with a brief history of the valley as well as tips for those that may want to explore the area themselves.

Annotation by: Elizabeth Hopkins

Shattered

October 3, 2012

Shattered Book Cover
Title: Shattered

Author: Robards, Karen

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 388

Geographical Setting: Lexington, Kentucky

Time Period: Present Day/Contemporary

Plot Summary: In this fast-paced and steamy read; Lisa Grant grew up with wealth and privilege in Kentucky’s horse loving country.  But when the recession hits, Lisa loses her job with a Boston law firm and moves back home to care for her ailing mother and their vanishing finances.  She gets a research assistant job working for District Attorney Scott Buchanan.  Tall, dark and difficult Scott has known the vexing, unattainable Lisa and the Grant family since his teenage years, when they helped him escape his abusive, alcoholic father.  Lisa is sent to organize the cold case files and stumbles upon a family who went missing about 30 years ago.  She becomes enthralled in unraveling this mystery, especially since she looks just like the mother from the missing family.  The case heats up as does the chemistry and passion between Lisa and Scott.  There is a steady build-up to the dramatic conclusion, while fans of this genre will also enjoy the sultry love scenes.  A romantic suspense novel filled with mystery, danger and most importantly romance.

Subject Headings: Young Women, Cold Cases (Criminal Investigation), Family Secrets, Romantic Suspense, Arson, Rescues, Horse Farms, District Attorneys

Appeal: Fast-paced, Engaging Characters, Dramatic, Contemporary, Investigative Storyline, Suspenseful, Conversational, Detailed Setting, Romantic, Plot-driven, Accessible, Steamy, Descriptive, Resolved Ending, Plot Twists

Three Most Relevant Appeal Terms: Steamy, Suspenseful, Plot-driven

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Black Hills by Nora Roberts

As seen in Shattered, this read is filled with intrigue, danger, romance and has a rugged landscape with the story being set in the hills of South Dakota.  We meet childhood sweethearts Cooper Sullivan and Lil Chance; former sweethearts who have grown up and drifted apart.  Similar to Shattered’s Lisa Grant, Cooper leaves his investigator job in New York to return home and care for his grandparents while Lil Dare continues to work towards opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge. They reenter each other lives and must work together to avoid danger from a serial killer.

The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood

This novel links FBI agent Max Daniels and Dr. Ellie Sullivan, when Ellie saves Max’s life after a terrifyingshooting.  Like Shattered, this book has drama, suspense, great character names and especially hot romance.  You will get more of the strong verbal banter experienced in Shattered, as well as a strong heroine and tenacious male lead who will be unable to resist their mutual attraction.

Smoke Screen by Sandra Brown

TV news reporter Britt Shelley wakes up next to rising star police detective Jay Burgess, but without knowing how she got there or how Jay ended up dead.  Disgraced firefighter Raley Gannon experienced the same occurrence 5 years earlier.  Now Ray sees a chance to get redemption through Britt Shelley, and they must work together to solve these murders while also dealing with their attraction to each other.  Although grittier, this is another fast-paced and plot-driven novel that deals with solving criminal cases while providing characters with great chemistry.

 

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

After Etan: The Missing Child Case That Held America Captive by Lisa R. Cohen

On May 25, 1979, 6 year-old Etan Patz was on his way to his school bus stop when he went missing forever.  This heart-breaking story generated headlines and consumed the nation.  This compelling true crime book explores the details of the case over the years and is suggested for readers who want to delve into a real-life missing persons investigation.

Kentucky Horse Country: Images of the Bluegrass by James Archambeault

A great read for those wishing they could have seen the beautiful Kentucky landscape described in the book.  This book contains vivid images of Kentucky Bluegrass land that includes beautiful horses, horse races and shots of the enchanting countryside.

The Science of Cold Case Files by Katherine Ramsland

Author Ramsland who spent a year working for well-known former FBI profiler John Douglas reveals the inner workings of the world of cold case files and forensic science, which the A&E’s Cold Case Files Television show is based on.  Great for those who want to learn more about the process of cold case file investigation brought up in Shattered, and also great for fans of TV shows like Bones and CSI.

Name: Margita Lidaka

Mama Black Widow

August 15, 2012

Author:  Iceberg Slim

Title: Mama Black Widow: A Novel

Genre: African-American, Urban Lit, GLBTQ

Publisher/Publication Date:  Old School Books, 1998

Number of Pages:  240

Geographical Setting:  Southside Chicago

Time Period:  1930s-1970s

Plot Summary:  Mama Black Widow tells the tragic tale of Otis Tilson, a 40-year-old gay drag queen living on Chicago’s south side during the racially turbulent 70s.  Much of the novel is told in a realistic way by Otis about how his family moved to Chicago from the south in the 1930s, and the hard times they had to endure from then on.  Most of the novel is spent examining Otis’s mother “mama,” a vile, manipulative, downright evil woman who basically destroys every member of the Tilson family.  She drives her husband away, coerced one of her daughters into prostitution, and a lot of innocent people suffer greatly by her hands.  The author of this novel, Iceberg Slim (former pimp) writes in a way that is both shocking and insightful.  The language is often blunt, candid, and very, very offensive.  Sex scenes are described in explicit detail, and tone often changes from jovial to deadly serious.  Issues such as integration, trade unions, Chicago’s underground gay scene, police brutality, and hatred for the white man are discussed at length throughout the novel.  Slim even admits in the introduction that he is not the greatest writer, but he writes for the common people, and “tells it like it is.”

Subject Headings: Chicago (Southside)–Police (Brutality)–House of Corrections–Plantations–Trade Unions–Black Power–Bars (Gay)–Drag Queens–Cross-dressing–GLBTQ–Pimps–Drugs–Guns–Prostitution–Religion–False Preachers–Sex–Erotica–Rape–Pedophiles–Martin Luther King, Jr.–Street Cars–The El

Appeal: Realistic, Shocking, Character-Driven, Blunt, Candid, Erotic, Frantic, Intense, Dramatic, Serious, Political, Steamy, Graphic, Comical, Gut-Wrenching, Tragic, Sad, GLBTQ, Sexy

3 Appeal terms that best describe this book:  Serious, Steamy, Graphic

3 Similar Non-Fiction works and authors:

Soul on Ice, Eldridge Cleaver

This non-fiction memoir by Eldridge Cleaver will appeal to Iceberg Slim fans for its ability to shock, outrage, and question the readers’ ideas of what it means to be black in America.  His memoir is both sincere, raw, and very engaging.  He says at one point, “I’m perfectly aware that I’m in prison, that I’ve been a rapist, and that I have a higher Uneducation.”  Cleaver made indeed be too offensive to some, but he always savagely honest.  He tells the truth and he knows it.

Manchild in the Promised Land, Claude Brown

Claude Brown is a young, streetwise criminal growing up in Harlem in the 1940s and 50s.  This novel does an excellent job of describing northern black ghettos in New York in a turbulent, thrilling way.  Everything from pimps, drugs, street vendors, local shop owners, police brutality, gangs, sex and violence, and the gay underground are discussed in this book.  This book is however, quite inspiring and affirmative because Claude Brown is one of the lucky few who “made it” in this brutal world.

Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City’s Gay Community,  Tracy Baim

This handy reference book guides the reader through Chicago’s long and rich history of the gay community.  Those interested in Slim’s descriptive scenes of obscure bars and drag clubs will enjoy the multiple photographs presented within these pages (both in color and black & white).  The book draws on many scholarly, historical, and journalistic sources and covers time periods from pre- WWI to WWII-1960s, and 1970s to the present day.

3 Similar Fiction works and authors:

Blow Your Mind, Eric Pete

The description of the book reads,”In this erotic novel of sex and revenge, Eric Pete takes the consequences of dark sexual fantasies one step further.”  This story is about Tanner Coleman, his wife Bianca, and her wild sister, pumpkin.  When a man named Henry shows up and blackmailed Tanner, their lives are changed forever in a truly twisted way.  Not for the squeamish, this hardcore erotic, steamy, violent novel will appeal to Slim fans for its challenging dialogue, absurd situations, and the pessimistic world view that “we all die, and it will probably be sooner rather than later.”  Very popular!

Drag Queen, Robert Rodi

Considering the titles mentioned above, Rodi’s novel Drag Queen is a bit more light-hearted and comical, but also very engaging.  One review describes it as “The Parent Trap meets Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert.”  Gay attorney Mitchell Sayer has just found out from his mother that he has an identical twin, who happens to live not far from him in Northern Chicago.  The thing is, Mitchell’s brother is now named “Kitten Kaboodle,” gown-wearing, stillet0 strutting star of Tam-Tam’s “All-girl” review.  Furious, Mitchell tries to force Kitten into “the real world,” but Kitten feels she has a few lessons to teach as well.  Comical, insightful, and full of the Chicago landmarks Slim famously paints throughout his books.

Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby, Jr.

This graphic, brutally raw novel of characters living in Brooklyn during the 60s and 70s examines the anger and rage of many diverse individuals in a time where justice seemed non-existent.  Considered a classic of modern American writing, this book, as Slim would describe it, “tells it like it is.”  There are crooks, hoodlums, pimps, prostitutes, drag queens, gay men and women, police riots, and strikes galore.  Gritty and serious, blunt and brutally honest.  Truly essential.

Fifty Shades of Grey

August 1, 2012

Author: E.L James

Title: Fifty Shades of Grey

Genre: Romance; Erotica

Publication Date: 2012

Number of Pages: 514

Geographical Setting: Seattle, WA

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: 1st vol. in Fifty Shades Trilogy

Plot Summary: As Anastasia Steele is about to graduate from college she meets twenty-seven-year old, CEO Christian Grey. Steele is bookish and does not have a lot of experience with men, but for the first time in her life, Steele has finally found a man that sweeps her off her feet. However, Grey is emotionally distant and has a dark past that he will not discuss. In order to have a relationship with him, Anastasia has to sign a contract agreeing to engage in a BDSM relationship. Anastasia is unable to sign the contract for fear that she will be emotionally or physically wounded and longs for a traditional relationship. The first book ends with a cliffhanger, leaving the reader wondering if Grey and Anastasia will ever be able to reconcile their different desires and have a happy ending. Readers will be impatient to get their hands on the other two books in this trilogy and find out how this romance ends.

Subject Headings: College students — Fiction. Businesspeople — Fiction. Man-woman relationships — Fiction. Erotic fiction.

Appeal: measured, humorous, romantic, distant, dramatic, eccentric, steamy, strong language, informal

3 terms that best describes this book: episodic, character-centered, sexually explicit

3 Nonfiction Read-a-likes:

Career Building through Fan Fiction Writing: New Work Based on Favorite Fiction, Miriam Segall

If you want to learn how to write stories based on your favorites books, TV shows, or video games, then this book will teach you the basics for writing successful fan fiction, and potentially turn writing into a career. E.L. James started out as a fan fiction writer and became a best selling author. If she has inspired you to try your hand at writing fan fiction, then this is a great book for you.

Kama Sutra: the Guide to the Art of Pleasure, V¯atsy¯ayana.

This 2,000-year-old Hindu instructional book for sex is considered to be the most famous work regarding erotic pleasure. If you enjoyed the steamy, sex scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey, and are looking for some inspiration, then check out this instructional guide to sex.

Seven Years to Seven Figures: the Fast-Track Plan to Becoming a Millionaire, Michael Masterson

If Christian Grey inspired you to become a millionaire, check out Michael Masterson’s seven to step plan to become a millionaire in seven years or less. It will guide you on how to increase your yearly income, invest, and save wisely. Masterson’s book offers real life examples ofentrepreneurial success stories that will show you how to become a financial and business success.

3 Fiction Read-a-likes:

Story of O, Pauline Reague

At her lover’s chateau, the female protagonist experiments with all sorts of sexual scenarios involving two different men. A book considered as racy as Fifty Shades of Grey, this is a great suggestion for a reader who is looking for a book as steamy, eccentric, and dramatic as E.L. James’s works.

Sweet Persuasion, Maya Banks

Serena has spent the past five years fulfilling the fantasies of her clients at Fantasy Incorporated. In that time she has been dreaming for her own fantasies to come true. When she meets Damon Roche, the owner of an exclusive sex club, she believes she has finally found the man she has been searching for. This is a book that shares a similar plot line as Fifty Shades of Grey, because both books deal with BDSM relationships. If you are searching for your next steamy, sexually explicit, and character centered story, then this is a good pick for you.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy

A book that is frequently mentioned in Fifty Shades of Grey, Tess of the d’Urbervilles is a classic read that questions Victorian society and ideologies regarding sex. Tess Durbeyfield tries to align her self with her well-off d’Urberville side of the family, but she falls victim to her cousin, Alec, who forever tarnishes Tess’s chance at a happy ending. This book is less sexually explicit and lacks strong language, but it is a great read-a-like for someone who enjoys a character-centered story, a measured pace, and is dramatic like Fifty Shades of Grey.

Name: Alison Kulczak

Lady Be Good — Susan Elizabeth Phillips

July 31, 2012

Author:  Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Title:  Lady Be Good

Genre:  Romance

Publication Date:  1999

Number of Pages:  372

Geographical Setting:  Texas (primarily Dallas and Wynette, a fictional suburb of Austin)

Time Period:  Contemporary

Series (If applicable):  Third book in the Wynette, Texas series

Plot Summary:  Lady Emma Wells-Finch—the prim, proper, and prudish headmistress of an English all-girls boarding school—is in a most unfortunate engagement to the despicable Duke of Beddington who threatens to close Emma’s beloved school if she does not agree to marry him.  Unable to turn him down, she has no other alternative but to get the Duke to call off the wedding by convincing him that he grossly misjudged her character.  Under the pretense of conducting research, Emma flies to Texas with the intention of ruining her good name through ten days of defamation and debauchery.  Only one person stands in her way: Kenny Traveler, Texas’ hottest and most (in)famous bad boy pro-golfer. Recently suspended by the PGA after his involvement in a series of scandals, Kenny is doing his darnedest to stay out of the tabloids so he can get back into the game.  So when Kenny is hired to assist Emma in her “research,” their opposing agendas—not to mention their innate attraction towards one another—puts more than a few roadblocks in their plans.  Lady Be Good is a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that is both sensual and sentimental, and is an excellent starting point for those new to the romance genre.  Phillips’s witty prose is engaging and full of juicy descriptive details sure to please almost any romance reader looking for something light, quick, and humorous.

Subject Headings:  British in Texas; professional golfers; PGA tour; love stories; headmistresses; blackmail; chauffeurs

Appeal: character driven, descriptive, detailed setting of Texas, dialogue rich, engaging, familiar characters, fast paced, funny, recognizable characters, sensual, steamy, sympathetic characters

3 terms that best describe this book:  Romantic comedy, sensual, and descriptive

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

            3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1)  Bud, Sweat, and Tees: A Walk on the Wild Side of the PGA Tour by Alan Shipnuck

Alan Shipnuck provides a thoroughly detailed, no-holds-barred inside look at what really goes on during the PGA Tour, both on and off the golf course.  This title is suggested to readers especially interested in learning more about the golfing aspects of Lady Be Good.

2)  My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler

The always irreverent and bawdy Chelsea Handler relates a number of funny sexual encounters from her life.  Suggested for readers who enjoyed the steamy and scandalous sections of Lady Be Goodbut are looking for something more salacious.

3)  Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell

This collection of essays from Candace Bushnell’s popular column in the New York Observer provides humorous and touching insights into the dating and sexual lifestyles of Manhattan’s upper and middle classes.  Suggested to readers who enjoyed the funny and steamy elements of Lady Be Good, but are looking for more general insights into men and women relations.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1)  Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

When Minerva Dobbs discovers that her new admirer, David Fisk, had bet his friends $10,000 that he can get her into bed within a month, she figures she can play him, use him as a date for her sister’s wedding, and dump him before the month ends.  Like Lady Be Good, Crusie’s Bet Me is a hilarious contemporary romance featuring an appealing and engaging cast of characters.

2)  Nothing but Trouble by Rachel Gibson

Former B-movie actress Chelsea Ross is in desperate need of work, so when she is offered $10,000 to be the personal assistant to former hockey star Mark Bressler, she eagerly accepts the position despite her employer’s cantankerous disposition.  Nothing but Trouble is a funny and amusing contemporary romance between a strong female character and a professional sports player that readers of Lady Be Good may enjoy.

3)  Texas Bride by Joan Johnston

A historical romance set in late 19th-century Texas, Miranda Wentworth is forced to become a mail-order bride when the Chicago orphanage where she lives kicks her and her siblings out and marries Jake Creed, a failing Texas ranch owner struggling with the memory of his late wife.  Texas Bride is suggested to readers looking for a romance novel with a heavier western theme that is more serious in tone than Lady Be Good.

Name:  Zach Musil

Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender

April 11, 2012

Author: Nick Krieger

Title: Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender

Genre: Memoir, GLBTQ

Publication Date: May 2011

Number of Pages: 202

Geographical Setting: San Francisco, California

Time Period: Present

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: In this insightful memoir, Nick tells the story of how he discovered his gender identity did not align with his biological sex and the transition he went through. Nina feels like an out-of-place lesbian but as she learns about gender fluidity and the transgender subculture, she realizes she identifies as a man. The book explores what being transgender means in relation to dating, friendship, and family.  The memoir is humorous, extremely honest, and heartwarming as issues of love and acceptance are explored from a trans man’s perspective.

Subject Headings: Transsexuals — San Francisco, California — Biography, Sexual minorities — San Francisco, California — Biography, Identity (Psychology), Sex role, Transgender persons, Female-to-male transsexuals

Appeal: easy, introspective, quirky, character-centered, complex, steamy, thought-provoking, insightful, contemporary, details of transitioning, humorous, graceful, unpretentious

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: character-centered, insightful, and thought-provoking

Relevant Nonfiction Works and Authors:

The first man-made man: the story of two sexes ,one love affair, and a twentieth-century medical revolution, by Pagan Kennedy.

Readers interested in more stories about being female-to-male transgender might enjoy the story of Laura Dillon. The book explores the medical ramifications of transitioning in the middle of the 19th century as well as the social journey. It is denser but explores the details of physically transitioning in more depth.

Valencia, by Michelle Tea

Readers who enjoyed the detail of being a part of an LGBT subculture in San Francisco may also enjoy Tea’s memoir about the lesbian culture there. Tea’s writing is also straightforward and honest, and definitely maintains a humorous tone throughout just like Kieger.

She’s not the man I married: my life with a transgender husband, by Helen Boyd.

A portion of Nick’s book describes his first romantic relationship while transitioning. Boyd’s book is told from the perspective of the wife of a transgender person. This is actually the second memoir Boyd has written on the subject, and it offers a more humorous look at her life with her male-to-female partner, as well as insights to how her sexuality has changed as a result.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

I am J, by Cris Beam

Beam’s book is a popular exploration of one teenager’s realization they were born in the wrong body. J is biologically a girl but feels intrinsically like a boy. The coming-of-age tale explores methods of transitioning J undergoes as well as his first romantic interest. The book is also character-driven and studies interpersonal dynamics between characters.

Written on the Body, by Jeannette Winterson

A complex book about a narrator given neither a name nor gender, and their consuming love affair with a married woman. Readers who are interested in reading more fluid interpretations of gender might want to read this classic story.

Jumpstart the world, by Catherine Ryan Hyde

A teenager falls in love with her next-door-neighbor only to realize he is actually a trans man, leading her on an emotional journey of acceptance. People who are interested in learning more from the perspective of family and friends of trans men might like this engaging novel and the poignant journey it creates.

The Boys on the Rock

April 11, 2012

Author: John Fox

Title: The Boys on the Rock

Genre: LGBT

Publication Date: 1984

Number of Pages: 146p.

Geographical Setting: Bronx, N.Y.

Time Period: 1968

Series (If applicable): n/a

Plot Summary: It’s 1968 in the Bronx and Catholic High School sophomore, swim team star, and narrator Billy Connor is gay and knows it and likes it.  Unfortunately, he has only been able to explore his sexuality in very frequent, detailed, creative, and enthusiastic masturbation sessions that the reader will come to know very well.  Billy, not wanting to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, is a Gene McCarthy supporter who meets Al, the head of the local McCarthy campaign office.  Canvassing soon leads to lingering dinners at a pizzeria, which leads to making out, which of course leads to the sex that Billy has longed for.  Billy is very talented in graphic and detailed accounts of his and Al’s lovemaking, leaving not a thing to the reader’s imagination.  While Billy feels newly free and empowered by his relationship with Al, is it really love?  And is it a love that will last?  With the tumultuous Democratic presidential primary and a colorful cast of neighborhood friends and eccentrics as a constant backdrop, Billy brings the reader along for the first few baby steps he will take onto the path that will lead him to the man he will become.

Subject Headings: Coming of age stories, Gay teenagers, Eroticism, U.S. history–1968, Presidential elections–1968, First love, Homosexuality, Graphic sex–homosexual, Graphic sex–heterosexual, Political assassination, Gene McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy, Bronx, Competitive swimming, Catholic school, Homophobia, Nostalgia, Masturbation.

Appeal: Quick-paced, bittersweet, candid, passionate, adolescent, horny, dramatic, edgy, sexual, graphic, gritty, impassioned, nostalgic, naive, sensual, romantic, unpretentious, foul-mouthed, colorful, unrelenting, rebellious, melancholy, vivid, sexually explicit, steamy, issue-oriented, introspective, retrospective, political, historical detail, urban, colloquial, dialect, direct, unaffected, hormonal, empowering, gay, sweaty, messy, intimate, personal discovery, sexual discovery.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: adolescent, gritty, sexually explicit.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Joy of Sex: The Ultimate Revised Edition by Alex Comfort

The Joy of Gay Sex, Revised & Expanded by Charles Silverstein and Felice Picano

The Joy of Lesbian Sex: A Tender and Liberated Guide to the Pleasures and Problems of a Lesbian Lifestyle by Dr. Emily L. Sisley and Bertha Harris

Yes, I know three books are not one book, but I feel I must evoke an “apples and oranges” (and “pears”[?]) exception in this case.  For people that may find appeal in any of these works, two titles will be completely useless (sort of) to them.  And the goal is to be able to satisfy 100% of readers, yes?

There is so much graphic sex and language in Boys that it would seem almost impossible that a reader wouldn’t take some stock of their own romantic life at some point.  These seminal, highly respected, and somewhat clinical works are certainly the “safe” and “tasteful” (yet graphically illustrated) suggestions that could be a stepping off point for a reader who may want to explore better or newer ways in which to get their freak on.

Time 1968: War Abroad, Riots at Home, Fallen Leaders and Lunar Dreams

The United States +1968= CRAZY: MLK shot, RFK shot, protests, race riots, political riots, cities on fire, Vietnam, Tet Offensive, Chicago Democratic Convention (police beatings and rioting and the MC5, for those too young), drugs, sex, rock and roll, men on the moon—and those are just the headlines.

While the rebellion, protest, and awakening of Billy’s 1968 took place mostly in his head and underwear, there is much happening around him that will inform a bevvy of decisions, political and not.  Here is an overview of that year with lots of color pictures.

Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution by David Carter

One year later from Billy’s awakening, the gay community of Greenwich Village rose up against police harassment to spark the beginning of the gay rights movement.  I can vividly picture Billy chanting slogans and punching cops in the face.  Here is a timeline of the events leading up to, and the riots themselves, as well as the aftermath.  This comprehensive account is the result of hundreds of interviews, public and sealed files, and a decade of research.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Forever by Judy Blume

If one took a plot synopsis of Boys and replaced the Bronx with a woodsy, well-to-do suburb, and weekends of beer in the park with ski trips, and animalistic gay sex with meticulously thought-out hetero sex, and Billy with a Katherine, and a cowardly Al with an impossibly sensitive Michael and then washed everyone’s mouths out with soap, one would be left holding a copy of Forever. Had those who have taken the often challenged Forever (ALA 7th all-time) to trial had known that Boys may have been right around the corner, I shudder to think at the number of libraries that may have burned.  While certainly trying to please entirely different audiences, these two books are identical thematically, giving Forever large appeal to the reader who may have picked up Boys hoping for a sentimental tale of teenage sexual awakening, but just not as sticky.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Luckily for the high-school kids that populate Boy Meets Boy, Levithan has created a bizarro-world town where there is no prejudice of any sort, especially sexual.  This bodes well for a school that features a Harley riding cheerleading squad and a cross-dressing star quarterback/Homecoming Queen.  The book centers on Paul, who thinks he finally may have found true love in Noah.  Simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking, Levithan brilliantly illustrates that freed of the burden of prejudice, hatred, and ignorance these are just kids, whatever their sexual orientation, awkwardly trying to find their place in the world and maybe a little happiness, too.

Best Lesbian Erotica 2011 by D.L. King, Giselle Renarde, Kathleen Warnock and Kirsty Logan

Best Gay Erotica 2011 by Johnny Murdoc, Natty Soltesz, and Rob Wolfsham

Sweet Confessions: Erotic Fantasies for Couples by Violet Blue

Again, I must use the “apples and oranges” rule exception.  For any reader of Boys that enjoyed the very detailed and descriptive sex scenes, here you go: a little something for everyone.

Name: Bill S.

Vision in White

April 4, 2012

Author:  Nora Roberts

Title:  Vision in White

Genre:  Romance

Publication Date:  2009

Number of Pages:  325

Geographical Setting:  Connecticut

Time Period: Contemporary

Series:  Bride Quartet

Plot Summary:   Mac is the photographer in a successful wedding planning business that she runs with her three best friends.  Her days are not only filled with photo shoots, development, and constant meetings, but also the drama that comes along with weddings.  On one of her photo shoots, she meets Carter, the brother of the bride, and together they must overcome several challenges in their budding relationship.   This lighthearted romance with realistic, well-developed characters will warm your heart.

Subject Headings:  Weddings, Wedding Photographers, Wedding Planners, Friendships, Mother/daughter relationships, Teachers, Romantic Relationships

Appeal:  Romantic, Lighthearted, Sensual, Series characters, Well-developed, Character-centered, Steamy, Realistic, Heartwarming, Strong secondary characters, Humorous, Contemporary

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Romantic, Character-driven, Heartwarming

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Exposed:  Confessions of a Wedding Photographer:  A Memoir by Claire Lewis- Exposed:  Confessions of a Wedding Photographer describes the author’s experiences as a wedding photographer.  Readers that are interested in Mac’s profession will enjoy Exposed:  Confessions of a Wedding Photographer.

I Know Just What You Mean:  The Power of Friendship in Women’s Lives by Ellen Goodman- I Know Just What You Mean explores the value of female friendships.  I Know Just What You Mean will appeal to readers who enjoyed the special bond between Mac and her best friends.

One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead- One Perfect Day examines the wedding industry and common complications that wedding planners face.  One Perfect Day and Vision in White both have weddings and wedding planners as a subject. 

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors (why they are similar):

Once Smitten, Twice Shy (Wedding Veil Wishes, 2) by Lori Wilde- When her wedding videography business begins to fail, Trish makes a wish on her best friend’s magical wedding veil to get out of debt. Like Vision in White, Once Smitten, Twice Shy is a character-driven, heartwarming contemporary romance that deals with the wedding industry.

What I Did for Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips- Actress Georgie York must deal with the complications of a failing career, a failed marriage, and the reappearance of her former sexy costar.  Both What I Did for Love and Vision in White are steamy, humorous contemporary romances.

Wild Man Creek (Virgin River, 14) by Robyn Carr- Colin Riordin and Jillian Matlock make a connection in the small town of Virgin River while trying to escape the complications of their stressful lives. Like Vision in White, Wild Man Creek is a character-driven contemporary romance.

Elissa