Best Book Boyfriends of 2012

December 30, 2012 at 12:32 am (The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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I avidly read The Lit Bitch and a recent post included a top 12 book boyfriends list: http://thelitbitch.com/2012/12/29/top-12-in-2012-book-boyfriends/.

Cute concept, fun blog idea, but as I scrolled through my 74 books of the year, I realized that I didn’t read a lot of books in which there were boyfriends to pick from.

I started out with How to Buy a Love of Reading, and I think Hunter set me into a mood that I just couldn’t get past.  There are other boyfriends I read through the year, but I barely remember them.

I don’t recall the characters in The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.  Regardless of what I thought of the book when I read it, no one in it made a lasting impact on me.  I actually had to refer to my own review to remember Seldon’s name.

The Great Gatsby is a fantastic novel, one of my favorites, but Jay Gatsby is not someone I’d put on my list of literary love interests.

jace_wayland_by_sallysalander-d4wi4bgI did read The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series and there are plenty of boyfriends to be had in those books, and they are lovely, and romantic, and intense; but none of them lived up to Hunter.

I did read Inhale, the first of a series called Just Breathe, which is an urban fantasy erotica piece, but the characters there are what the genre calls for: super sexy, the end.  Don’t get me wrong, sexy is nice, I think my husband is one of the sexiest, but I need more out of a character I’d want to put on a boyfriend of the year list.

RoryRory Williams, for instance, the man who waited, the Roman centurion, one-half of a couple known as The Ponds on Doctor Who… he could go on a boyfriend of the year list.  He’s just heavenly, and wonderful.  But this is about books, not TV shows.

I read a lot of Agatha Christie this year, and she’s all mystery and not a whole lot of romance.  Although a love story emerges here and there, it’s rarely more than a motive or plot device, therefore how can anyone in her books make the list?

On the other hand, I read cozy mysteries too.  I like Cleo Coyle and her coffeehouse series.  Cozy mysteries almost always have a boyfriend, but with there always being a boyfriend, I don’t often get the chance to delight in any of them.  They are there to make the protagonist feel good or bad, have a romantic scene of some sort, and then on to the next guy.  In real life, I’m morally opposed to most of the relationships that pop up in cozy mysteries.  But, I figure it comes with the territory when reading about murderers and investigators.

Scrolling down my list of books read this year, I come to Karleen Koen’s Through a Glass Darkly.  Sorry girls, I can’t recommend Montgeoffrey to anyone.  He is the basis of all Babara’s pain… a ladies man, a cheater, and ultimately also gay.  How many strikes can you add to a relationship before I’m just really tired of the guy?  It makes the heroine incredibly interesting, but I can’t let Montgeoffrey anywhere near my book-boyfriend list.

So it comes down to the fellows in A.S. Byatt’s Possession, the cutie-patootie Sam in Michael Grant’s Gone, and Hunter of HTBALOR.

Byatt’s romances in Possession are powerful and intriguing, Sam Temple in Gone is a cute kid with the potential to be an incredible man when he’s all grown up, but I have to hand it to Hunter – he captured my heart.

Hunter is intelligent, sweet, broody, keeps a journal, and sadly is also an addict.  Reading the conclusions of my own blog post, I find myself in disbelief… what does this say about my taste in men that I want to pick the suicidal one as book-boyfriend of the year?  And that Marius of Les Miserables didn’t even make the short list of final contestants?

Who is on your list?

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Through a Glass Darkly – A Review

August 16, 2012 at 6:46 am (Events, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I am reading from a first edition. Click the image to view the most recent book cover.

Title: Through a Glass Darkly

Author: Karleen Koen

Publisher: Random House

Genre: Historical Fiction

Length: 743 pages

*Spoilers*

Depressing. Intense. Captivating. Intriguing. Dramatic. I end this book exhausted.

Karleen Koen has effectively dragged me tooth and nail, screaming, begging to stop, through roughly 6 years (if I followed the timeline correctly) of Lady Barbara Alderly Montgeoffrey’s life.  It was long, excruciating, and well, brilliant.  I am so tired, feeling as though I lived through it myself, and wonder how Koen managed to write 700 pages of this 1700’s soap opera without bawling her eyes out daily.  The children die, the brother commits suicide, the husband has a male lover… can anything go right in this poor woman’s life? The only solace was knowing it was fiction, although I was constantly reminded of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire whose life was pretty awful and unfortunately true.

Even more, up until the last few pages, I wondered how on earth two more novels could possibly follow this one (I didn’t realize while reading that Dark Angels is a prequel, not a third piece of Barbara’s life).  But now, I find myself itching to get to the library or book store to see if the second book (Now Face to Face) is available.  What will happen to Barbara in Virgina?  It’s ridiculous how a book I whimpered through has me so captivated – guilty pleasure at its finest.  It seems I’m full of guilty pleasures lately, what with my recent Cassandra Clare binge.

I feel terrible reviewing this book, describing it so crudely.  Koen states on her site:

“This was such an innocent experience for me, writing without realizing others would read me and have opinions about everything. I’ll never be able to write with the innocence this book displays, but it’s my goal.”

and I don’t wish to be the person that adds to that loss of innocence.  The book is good, it really is.  Just probably isn’t the best of books to read while plodding through Les Miserables.  It makes it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel in the middle of a rough week!

I can’t wait to discuss this book with other readers, as this is the first official Half Price Books Humble Book Club pick.  Koen is a Houston resident, so I thought having a local author on the Book Club’s first set of titles would be both exciting and appropriate.  The meeting will be held September 3rd from 8 – 9pm, led by yours truly, and I’m getting very antsy.  There’s still time to pick up a copy and read the book in time to join the discussion! You won’t be sorry, and there will be more exciting event announcements for September to come… So stay tuned, and start enjoying your Karleen Koen binge now.

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