The Drake Equation- Heather Walsh

Emily works for a non-profit that aims to reduce carbon emissions and global warming, primarily by targeting the personal use of gas-guzzling SUVs.  At her annual Give Up Your SUV for a Day rally, she meets Robert Drake, a PR guy for a car company.  Robert and Emily have sharply conflicting political views, but are drawn to each other.  They go on a few dates, where Emily (obnoxiously) argues her political viewpoints while Robert calmly offers his counterpoint to her arguments.  Emily learns that not all SUV-driving Republicans are idiots and falls in love with Robert.  However, there remains a fundamental challenge to their relationship: Robert’s workaholism.  Can these two very different people overcome their differences to be with one another?

I raced through the first two-thirds or so of this book.  I enjoyed the part about Robert and Emily learning to accept one another in spite of their differing political opinions.  They really had a great deal in common and their differences made things more interesting, instead of coming between them.  I especially appreciated Emily’s personal growth, as she was quite obnoxious in the beginning, clearly not used to being challenged, and of the belief that anyone who did not agree with her was some sort of Fox News-watching, uneducated idiot.   But the book really lost steam for me when Emily and Robert break up over his insane work schedule.  Emily sort of goes off track and becomes really discouraged with her work after the break up and I understand that that was a plausible reaction, but it just didn’t seem very organic to the story.

Overall, this was a good love story.  The characters had fun banter and taught one another a great deal.   They also an interesting and unique challenge to overcome; it is rare to be able to say the plot of a romance is fresh.  But for all that, there were some flaws.  This could have used a better edit, for sure.  There were a couple of errors that totally took me out of the story.  For instance, Emily and Robert shake hands and then, without letting go, they interlock fingers and begin to hold hands.  If they both used their right hand to shake hands, this would result in them facing different directions as they walk away.  So, while it was a minor point, it was super distracting.  And I felt like the author didn’t have quite the same vision for the end of her story as the beginning– it just wasn’t as tight or thoughtful and ended up feelings a bit anticlimactic.  If you are looking for a romance with a fresh plot, though, this is a good choice, especially if you don’t mind a little polite political discussion.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make Me Swoon

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme brought to you by the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish (the button also belongs to them).  This week’s theme, just in time for Valentine’s Day, is the Top Ten Books That Will Make You Swoon.

I haven’t been doing many Top Ten Tuesdays lately, but I enjoy a good romance, so this should be a fun topic!

1. Unsticky by Sarra Manning- A romance between two messed up people who get together in a very messed up way and somehow make each other better by being in love.  Yeah, that’s the kind of romance I can get behind.

2. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell- Falling in love with a girl you’ve never even seen is super romantic.  And Rainbow Rowell writes guys that are total marriage material.  Lincoln?  Yeah, you’ll want to marry this boy.

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë- As a teenager, I used to go back and reread the banter between Jane and Mr. Rochester just so I could swoon at it.   I love good romantic banter.  Also, I’m sort of into tortured, pompous, brooding romantic heroes and heroines that don’t compromise their values for a relationship.

4. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion- This book is just so cute.  And funny.  And cute-funny makes me swoon, what can I say?

5. Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon- I really enjoyed this book when I read it and it has a cute twist to it.  Fun chick lit, for sure.

6. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes- Ok, so this is more tragic love story than happily-ever-after, but I love Will.  And books about people making each others’ worlds a little bigger and brighter.

7. Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy- A romance where the characters are adults and can actually communicate about their fears and concerns about their relationship.  How novel and refreshing.

8. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay- Teens with troubled pasts meet and help each other along the road to healing.  There is romantic hand holding.  Enough said.

9. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell- More romantic hand holding.  And another marriage material kind of man (you know, if he wasn’t a teenager).

10. You Had Me at Hello by Mhairi McFarlane- A really enjoyable British chick lit with a best friends fall in love story.

What are your favorite books to swoon over?

Unsticky- Sarra Manning

Grace’s boyfriend dumps her very publicly in her favorite department store on her birthday.  Grace, who is starting to cause a scene, is whisked away to a fancy club by a well-dressed stranger.  This stranger, Vaughan, a very wealthy art dealer, has a proposition for Grace.  He’ll pay her generously to be his mistress/party planner.  Grace, who is in quite a lot of debt and is working a dead-end job as an assistant at a fashion magazine, is tempted by Vaughan’s offer and his extravagant lifestyle– after all, it would just be a business transaction with both Grace and Vaughan using one another to get what they want.  Over the length of their “mistress contract,” though, the lines between business and relationship become blurred and the two misfits find themselves facing a possibility they’re not prepared to deal with: emotional involvement.

This is one of those books where you end up loving characters that aren’t really all that lovable.  Grace has no faith in herself whatsoever, has major abandonment issues, lets people walk all over her, lies compulsively, and spends money she doesn’t have like it is going out of style.  Vaughan, on the other hand, is extremely moody, demanding, unsympathetic, and completely closed off.  Yet I was totally rooting for the two to work it out.  Grace had potential under everything and Vaughan had moments where he was actually a nice guy.

Reading this, I kept thinking about Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester.  Vaughan, like Rochester, is older, very rich, very moody, feels the need to play games in order to have love proven to him, and is hiding from a dark past (Vaughan’s is no where near as detailed or scandalous as Rochester’s, though, sorry), but can be very charming and sweet when he feels like it.  Grace is like Jane in that she is young, practically parentless/friendless, dependent, and in need of cultivating her own independence.  (Grace, however, doesn’t have the moral scruples that Jane does.)  Both couples start with an employer-employee relationship, yet find that they actually enjoy the company of one another far more than they expected to.  They also banter with one another similarly. Anyways, I am a HUGE fan of Jane-Rochester, so I think that is one reason why Grace-Vaughan resonated with me so much… and why I was able to forgive Vaughan for being a complete jerk at times.  (Seriously, there are things Vaughan does that should make me hate him, but I don’t.  I can’t.)

This was a book I had a really hard time putting down.  The characters would get stuck in my head and I just wanted to know what would happen. Could they possibly overcome their massive emotional immaturity and make things work?  Could Grace actually get herself together enough to feel like she deserved more from her career, her friends, herself?  How would things end for these two?  I’ve been having trouble staying engaged with what I’m reading lately, so the fact that this was so addicting speaks very highly of the author’s ability to construct interesting characters and to keep a well-trodden plot fresh and entertaining.

If you like romance, are a Rochester fan, or enjoy difficult characters, I would recommend you track this one down.  This has been the only thing I’ve read so far this year that I have actually been excited about, so yeah, go read this book.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Romances

Top Ten Tuesday button

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme brought to you by the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish (the button also belongs to them).  This week’s theme is the Top Ten Favorite Romances.

1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell– This book is the ultimate love-before-first-sight situation… Lincoln falls for Beth through the emails she exchanges with friend/co-worker, Jennifer.

2. Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon– This is a book about finding love and happiness in an unexpected time and place.  I really loved it when I read it, but it hasn’t stuck with me very well… still, I think it’s worth a read if you are in the mood for a romantic twist.

3. Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy– Now this book actually fits into the romance genre (the first two are more chick lit) and is probably one of the best romances I’ve ever read.  The characters have real fears and problems going into their relationship, yet they talk about their problems.  And interact like adults.  It also has a hot racecar driver as the male lead, so there is that plus, too.

4. On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves– Another actual romance.  This one has two people stranded on a deserted island.  I mean to reread it one of these days, as it was quite fun.

5. Bad Boys Do by Victoria Dahl– This romance involved academia and a microbrewery…  and those are a couple of things I really enjoy.

6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte– I will never get tired of the Jane-Rochester romance.

7. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn– Yeah, I’m totally crazy, I know.  But Nick and Amy’s relationship was definitely the most interesting marital relationship I’ve ever read.  And while “romantic” isn’t the best word for it… there is certainly an element of love gone wrong to it.

8. The Stephanie Plum love triangle– I am usually not a huge fan of love triangles because there is never much mystery to me who is the better choice for the protagonist.  But even though Joe Morelli is clearly Stephanie’s better choice, Ranger is irresistible.  So yeah, here is a love triangle I like because I want both dudes to win somehow.

9. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay– It’s always nice to see two very damaged people learning to love and heal.

10. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris– Oh, Eric, you handsome Viking vampire.  These books were pretty much just fun little throwaways, but I really enjoyed the Eric+Sookie times.

What are some of your favorite romances?  Also, am I the only one who has been craving chocolate like mad because of all the chocolate commercials this time of year?

Beautiful Creatures- Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Ugh.  I have had every intention of posting regularly this month, but life keeps on getting in the way… so without further ado, a review of a book I read over Christmas and am just now reviewing…

In Beautiful Creatures, we have Ethan, a high school student in Gatlin, South Carolina who is just trying to skate by as being normal until he can get the heck out of Dodge.  But then, he keeps having these dreams about trying to save an unknown girl and when he wakes from them, he’s covered in dirt or water.  The dreams are more real than he gives them credit for, it seems.  Then, shockingly, there is a new girl at school– the girl from Ethan’s dreams.  Lena and Ethan are drawn to one another, but face some pretty big supernatural challenges to their relationship.

So… this book’s premise sounded kind of cool.  There’s some Southern Gothic-ness, some romance, some paranormal, some family secrets, yes, please, give me some of that.  But this book ended up being… boring.  I don’t know how I made it through 563 pages because for most of them there wasn’t much going on, unless you count endless time watching the characters conduct research that goes no where.  The last few chapters were pretty exciting, but the book ends on a classic paranormal romance cliffhanger.  Usually cliffhangers, even of books I’m not 100% sold on, make me want to read the next book.  This time, I was just glad that the book was over.  Needless to say, I won’t be finishing out the series.

I know that this has a following, but I don’t really get why.  The romance wasn’t spectacular, unless you like confusing scenes about kissing leading to heart attacks (I didn’t even realize there was a heart attack until later in the book when they spelled it out for me).  Ethan is the narrator, which I was looking forward to because I typically like teenage boy narrators, but this book seemed more like it was narrated by a teenage girl than a teenage boy.  The book is too long and the plot paced too slowly.  There are some historical flashbacks to the Civil War and that is a neat element, but they were sort of clumsily handled in terms of plot development.  Overall, the book was boring and did not give me characters to love or an exciting plot to drive my interest.

If you are a big fan of paranormal romance, maybe this is for you, especially if you are eager for the upcoming movie.  But I don’t even read a lot of paranormal romance and I know it can be done better, so perhaps just spare yourself the boredom.

Chasing Perfect- Susan Mallery

As a fan of romance novels (and a former devotee of soap operas), I am willing to put up with quite a bit of angst, WTFery, and cliches.  Really, I am.  But every now and then something tips the scales.  Faults I might normally forgive instead leave me punching the book in anger.  (I don’t throw books because that would mean I’d have to get up and retrieve them, which is far too much work to put in.)  Chasing Perfect was a book-punching book for me.

Charity moves to Fool’s Gold, CA to become the town’s new city planner in the wake of a relationship gone wrong when a background check revealed her boyfriend was engaged to another woman.  Charity feels she’s inherited her mother’s terrible taste in men and wants nothing more than to settle down and make a home in one place, after a childhood of moving around constantly.  So she decides she needs a nice, normal man in her life because that’s what she wants– a boring, ordinary life.  Instead, she meets and falls for Josh Golden, a former Tour de France winner and ex-husband of Angelique, the gorgeous movie star.  Josh is NOT a regular guy, like Charity wants.  He’s famous and has girls begging to get in his bed.  But Josh does have demons of his own.  His protege died during a race ten years ago and Josh faces overwhelming guilt and anxiety about racing.

Josh decides he needs to face his fears head-on, to prove to himself that he’s not a quitter (or something).  So he enters a charity bike race being held in town.  Charity thinks this means he wants to return to the racing circuit and that he wants the life of fame again– including all the bike-groupie sex.  Their massive miscommunication comes to a head when Charity ends up oops-pregnant and Josh takes off without explanation, only a promise that he’ll be there for Charity and the baby.  They, of course, make up when they actually communicate their wants/needs to one another and everybody gets a happily ever after.

What I couldn’t bear about this book was that the big stumbling block in this relationship was the lack of communication.  Charity makes these ridiculous assumptions about what Josh wants out of life and instead of confronting him or communicating with him (despite the fact her friends keep telling her he’s not a mind-reader), she just decides he can’t be the man she wants him to be and writes him off.  Then again, Josh seems to know what’s bugging Charity, but refuses to tell her what’s actually is motivating him to enter the bike race.  I know this is the stuff of romance novel cliche, but I just couldn’t believe these two were in love when they couldn’t even communicate with or trust one another.

Charity is also an incredibly inconsistent character.  Within the course of two pages, she goes from being overly-trusting (the regular guy she dated, but had no chemistry with turns out to be a criminal) to being slow-to-trust (explaining why she doesn’t trust Josh to do the right thing about the baby).

And then I had an issue with how Josh’s emotional problems were presented.  His anxiety surrounding racing sounded a lot like PTSD or at the very least panic attacks, but he is able to simply solve his ten-year-long emotional problems by toughing it out, refusing to seek psychological treatment because that is the “weak” thing to do.  I disagree with the idea that mental illnesses (like PTSD or anxiety disorders) can or should be solved through “toughing it out.” Seeking appropriate treatment for mental illness is a difficult enough step without it being stigmatized as “weak” and “unmanly” in pop culture.

What I did like about this book was the setting.  Fool’s Gold is one of those small towns filled with interesting characters (like the bartender with a mysterious past and warring hairdressing sisters) and secrets and yet everybody knows everything about everyone else.  Also, there is a somewhat hilarious “problem” facing Fool’s Gold: a man shortage.  This leads to some funny conversations for Charity and will set up some interesting scenarios in future books, I am sure (this is the first in a series).

But while I liked setting, the main characters and plot felt overly cliched to the point that this was more frustrating to read than anything.  I wasn’t invested in the characters’ love story and that’s really the whole point of a romance novel.  Plain and simple, Chasing Perfect was far from perfect for me.

TGIF: Comfort Reads

image courtesy of

TGIF at GReads is a fun feature for answering a book-blogging question posed by Ginger.

This week the question is: Comfort Reads: Which books do you go to for comfort & familiarity?  Is there a type of book you seek out when you’re needing that extra bit of comfort in your life?

Reading in and of itself is a comforting activity for me.  There is really nothing better than curling up with a good book and escaping into another world.  I often end up reading in the bathtub when I need to unwind and it almost doesn’t matter what I am reading.  So to broadly answer this question: fiction!  To more narrowly answer it, I suppose when I am looking specifically for something to perk me up I turn to romance and chick lit.  Usually something like Jennifer Weiner or Nora Roberts or the Jessica Darling series.  I turn to these sorts of books because they make me laugh and cry and because they promise a happily ever after.  Usually they keep me glued to the pages and distract me from whatever it is I need distraction from.  Also, the stories tend to be a little formulaic, but that is sort of reassuring, too.  Most of all they are hopeful sorts of stories and that is a certain mood-improver for me!

Do you like to read for comfort?  What do you like to read when you need a little pick-me-up?

Lola and the Boy Next Door- Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door

So sometimes I have to do Goodreads summary+bullet point reviews because it is the best way for me to organize my thoughts and because I waited way to long to write a paragraph review because I’ve been reading like a maniac and not writing because dude, baseball is on TV.

Goodreads Summary:

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

  • The characters made this book.  Lola is awesome.  She loves to dress in costume and is pretty artsy and while she really loves this about herself, she has moments of insecurity about it.  Because she’s 17 and that is what being 17 is actually like, even if you are one of those quirky-cool girls like Lola.
  • Lola has two dads, Andy and Nathan, and they are also awesome.  They are pretty protective of Lola, but in a way that actually allows Lola to make her own mistakes.  In return, Lola does what she can to live up to their expectations.  This was one awesomely healthy parent-teen relationship for YA… Even though Lola doesn’t always obey her parents, she respects them and doesn’t spend the whole book complaining about them being either absent or unfair.
  • Cricket is the super duper nice, mechanically-inclined boy-next-door.  He’s a total nerd, but in the cute, quirky way and he is seriously nice.  Cricket has been pining for Lola for years and that is just so swoon-worthy.  Seriously, Lola, you gotta pick this dude.
  • One big obstacle to Lola and Cricket getting together is that Lola already has a boyfriend and she hasn’t quite realized he’s not the guy she wants him to be.  I actually liked the handling of this because I was totally that girl at one point in my life (I met my husband when I was dating someone else) and I have gotten some pretty nasty reactions to that fact (even though I broke up with the other guy before starting to date husband).  You don’t get to pick when love comes your way and sometimes it’s not exactly convenient.
  • The only thing that bugged me about Lola and the pacing of this book was that she wasted SO MUCH TIME on her rocker boyfriend, Max.  Max was a total tool who was way too old for Lola and I really hated him for just being a jerk whose instinctual response to everything was anger.  Lola isn’t in love with him, just the idea of him (I hate that phrase, but it’s totally true here) and it eventually got frustrating to see her keep going back to him.
  • This is considered a companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss and Anna and St. Clair appear rather frequently as minor characters.  I haven’t yet read Anna and the French Kiss and picked up Lola when I saw it at the library (my branch didn’t have Anna).  I have to say that St. Clair was ANNOYING in this book.  I still plan on reading Anna, but if it hadn’t received so much love, I might not.  Seriously, St. Clair was kinda icky in this book.
  • This is a cute YA romance that deals with some big issues (dating older boys, homosexuality, adoption, liking two boys at the same time) in a very honest manner.  Not very steamy, but then again, most YA isn’t.  I’d definitely recommend if you like YA and romance!

Other Reviews:
Brandyn @ Brandyn’s Book Blog loved this so much she read it three times in one month!

(If I left out your review, holla at me and I will link you up!)

Attachments- Rainbow Rowell

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Set in 1999 in Omaha, Nebraska, Attachments is the story of Lincoln, a 28-year-old man who moves back in with his mother after finishing years of worthless (but fun!) degrees and takes a job at a newspaper as an internet security officer.  His job entails the monitoring of company email, reading the emails of his coworkers to ensure they are not using it for personal reasons and sending memos to those who break the rules.  Lincoln stumbles across a series of personal emails between two coworkers, Beth and Jennifer, but he can’t bring himself to send the two a memo.  First off, they aren’t really breaking any serious rules and secondly, he finds them intriguing and funny, like friends he’s never met.  Soon, he realizes he’s got it bad for Beth, even though he’s never even seen her… but how do you ask out someone whose personal emails you’ve been reading?

Attachments is such a fun read.  It is a love story, but also a growing up and finding yourself story.  Lincoln is such an awesome character.  He’s a geek who loves being a student (something I can relate to) and plays Dungeons & Dragons every Saturday.  He’s incredibly decent and kind-hearted, too.  He befriends an older widow at his office, helps his friends move without complaining, is a devoted son, brother, and uncle, and knows that if he wants to begin a relationship with Beth he needs to be completely honest with her about the whole reading-her-emails thing.  He starts off shy and shut-off from the world around him, happy to depend on his mother for shelter and meals and social interaction.  By the end of the book, though, Lincoln has grown up quite a bit and comes into his own.  It is quite refreshing to see a 28-year-old character that hasn’t got it all figured out yet (something I also can relate to), but who slowly makes his way towards creating his own happiness.

In addition to a loveable main character, this book illustrates a great female friendship in the emails between Beth and Jennifer.  You never really meet either character, but you can see how they support one another and joke with one another and are just plain old good friends to one another.  They’re hilarious and make me miss my old work friends with whom I would exchange instant messages all day.  It’s really lovely to see a healthy and realistic friendship between two women characters!

Then there are some retro-fun times in this book… namely Y2K.  Which will always make me think of New Year’s Eve 1999 and how I was standing out on my friend’s back deck watching fireworks and thinking “I’ll always remember this night because the world didn’t end.  I survived Y2K and will tell my kids all about this significant historical moment.”  And you know, I was 14 at the time, so I felt like hot stuff to be out on my friend’s deck, drinking sparkling cider, staying up past midnight, and surviving Y2K.

The thing about this book is that I think it will appeal to some of you who mostly read YA or who aren’t really into your typical romance novel.  There’s a character growing up.  It is a sweet story about falling in love, but that’s not all it is and there are no sexytimes included.  And it is all very fun and pleasant reading.  I urge those of you who like a story about love and friendship and growing up and who have a weakness for nerdy boys to check this one out.  I think you’ll enjoy it!

Thanks for the recommendations/reviews:
Brandyn recommended this one to me as a change of pace from all the YA I was reading.  Thanks, Brandyn, I really needed a change of pace last week and this far exceeded my expectations!

Dixie @ Gone Pecan alerted me to the fact that Lincoln was a D&D player, which is (sadly) something that clued me into knowing that I would like the guy!

Additional goodies:
So I was surfing the web and decided to google Rainbow Rowell and see what she is up to these days and lo and behold, she’s posted some deleted scenes from Attachments on her blog!  So yes, get to these goodies when you have finished the book!  Also, Rainbow Rowell has written another book which is already out in the UK, but won’t be in the US until 2013.  Adding it to my TBR list…

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Romantical Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme brought to you by the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish (the pic also belongs to them).  This week’s theme is Top Ten Genre-of-Your-Choice Books.

So… I’m still sort of new to the genres I’ve been exploring lately (fantasy, YA contemp, YA dystopia, etc.) and I went through a major, major romance phase* in my late teens/early twenties… so I decided to give you a few of my favorite romantical books.  I don’t promise that any of these have actual literary merit, but romance is not for making your brain think big thoughts.

Small Town Girl by LaVyrle Spencer – This was my first true romance book and I was hooked.  The girl: a famous country singer returning to her small home town.  The boy: Boy-next-door, divorced, with a daughter who has a promising future in country singing.  If I recall, there was some good steaminess in this one.

Stupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane – The title comes from Nirvana lyrics.  The couple meets in Seattle and goes on an adventure to meet the Starbucks CEO to present the boy’s big idea- Cinnamon Toast Crunch flavored milk.  I remember so much about this book, even though most romances are disposable… so yeah, it’s a goody.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer – The first book only.  I know not everyone loves this one, but I am putting this one on here because it reminded me of being in love as a teenager.  For some reason, love is a lot more intoxicating and all-consuming as a teenager.

Luke by Jennifer Blake – I have a weakness for romances with cowboys/southern gentlemen as the romantic heroes.  This one is guy=southern gentleman and gal=romance novelist.  I read this one in high school and really liked it then and read a few of the others in the series.  Not sure if it’d still hold up, but it does have a Louisiana gentleman in it, so probably.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – I love this book because Jane is such a wonderful and independent character, but I also love the romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester.

Milk in My Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey – This is a romance about an interracial couple and is told from the man’s perspective… both of which are anomalies in the world of romance.

Divergent by Veronica Roth – This is a dystopian YA, but I really liked the romance between Tris and Four.  Four is all tough-guy on the outside and vulnerable on the inside.  He’s also one of those strong men that still respects a strong and smart lady.  Gotta love a romantic lead like that!

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris – This is where Sookie hooks up with Eric who has lost all his memories and turns from an evil mean vampire to a super sweet, manly Viking vampire.  Super steamy.  This is best read with Alexander Skarsgard (who plays Eric on True Blood) in mind as Eric.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – A tearjerking love story.  I love tearjerkers.

In the Garden series by Nora Roberts – It’s Nora Roberts.  There is a ghost.  And gardens.  And a big ol’ mansion with lots of people (and a ghost) living in it.  So, basically, awesome.

*So major that when I got together with an old high school friend recently, she reminded me of how popular I was on a band trip because I brought along a REALLY trashy romance novel that including a scene where the character’s clothes were “shucked” from her body.  This led to much teenage giggling about shucking and the words it rhymes with…