Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting to know you...

I have decided to do a post about myself. I can’t believe I didn’t think to do this before now. I should have done this when I first started this blog. Oh well, better late than never. My goal is to let people know a little bit about who I am and the kind of books I like to read. That way they can decide whether or not my book reviews will be pertinent to their own tastes. I actually got this idea from the website All About Romance. They have a section that lists their reviewers and it tells a little bit about them and their book preferences. So without further ado, here is my own attempt:

About Me: I am 32 years old. I have been married to my husband Jeff for 9 years now. We met at Elon College, NC where we both graduated, me with a degree in Environmental Studies, Jeff with a degree in Sociology. I work for the University of Florida doing research on orange and grapefruit trees. I test the tree’s physiological responses to different types of stress ie, flooding, drought, salinity or insects etc. I have two lovely children: Annabelle (7 years old) and Jake (2 years old).

For as long as I can remember I have always loved to read. When I was in grade school, I read Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and Encyclopedia Brown mysteries. In my pre-teenage years some of my favorite authors included Christopher Pike, Richie Tankersley Cusick, and Lois Duncan. Then I was introduced to Barbara Michaels and Victoria Holt. I read VC Andrews and Sydney Sheldon. The underlying thing that all these books seemed to have in common was a mystery of some sort and romance.

Then when I went away to college I stopped reading. Caught up in my studies and my own romance with my husband, reading seemed to fall to the wayside. It wasn’t until well after my daughter was born that I decided to take up reading again. When I did, I was clueless as to where to start. I began reading some of my favorites over again. I also stuck to well known books on the New York Times list, like The Da Vinci Code and the Harry Potter books. Then, I had a friend recommend Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I was totally blown away by this book. Jamie and Claire’s relationship was so intense I couldn’t stop thinking about the book weeks after I had put it down.

I decided that what I clearly enjoyed reading about was about the ups and downs of relationships and the journey two people take to reach their happy ending. After reading Outlander, I didn’t have a clue where to go for more like it. I knew what I didn’t want and that was a surprise death of a lead character (shame on you Nicholas Sparks). I just wanted a happy ending. Was that too much to ask for? I started searching the internet for recommendations and to my delight I discovered that romance books had exactly what I was looking for. I started with books that were recommended from internet sites such as Romantic Times and All About Romance and the rest is history. Three years and 500 books later, here I am with more book recommendations than I will ever be able to read in my lifetime.

I just can’t get enough of: Friends to lovers theme, especially when the characters first fall in love as children. There is just nothing sweeter. Time-travel – there is something about the juxtaposition of an old fashioned hero with a modern heroine. Ambitious men who are overly protective; good girls paired up with bad boys; opposites attract with lots of witty banter. Mail order brides; marriage of convenience; epic historicals that allow the character to develop over the course of the story and lots of drama.

Pet peeves: Too much mental lusting or heady internal monologues; evil villains, just for the sake of being evil; big misunderstandings that keep the heroine and hero apart for a large part of the story; overuse of pet names; silly or goofy characters in a paranormal or historical.

Favorite Romance Authors
Karen Marie Moning
Linda Howard
Lisa Kleypas
Suzanne Brockmann

Authors most Glommed
Linda Howard
Anne Stuart
Lisa Kleypas

Best Author Discovery
LaVyrle Spencer
Catherine Andersen
Katherine Sutcliffe

Absolute Favorites
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer

Guilty Pleasure
Spell of the Highlander – Karen Marie Moning
Devil’s Bride – Stephanie Laurens

Favorite Contemporary
Heiress for Hire by Erin McCarty
MacKenzie’s Mountain – Linda Howard

Favorite Historical
A Kingdom of Dreams – Judith McNaught
Prince of Dreams – Lisa Kleypas

Favorite Alternate Reality
Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan

Favorite Series
The Troubleshooter series by Suzanne Brockmann
Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole

Favorite Non Romance
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien

Author Others Love that I don’t
Lara Adrian
Lora Leigh


Nikki said...

Great post. I liked getting to know you better! Friends to lovers theme is one of my favorites as well. If you have not read Body Language by Suzanne Brockmann get it!! You will love it. Another book from Suz that has that theme is The Kissing Game!! Love it!!!!

Anyway, I also love mail order brides--a favorite is Mail-Order Bride by Maureen Mckade! That was the first book I read by her! Great book!

I don't really like Lara Adrian either. Oh well.

Jenny Girl said...

Great post indeed. It amazes me how quickly you read books. I thought I was fast! I totally loved the Outlander Series until the Fiery Cross. She just lost me with that one.
Anyway, I am defintely going to take you up on some of your recommendations. They are written very well and convincingly.
One of my favorite romance books was Knight in Shining Armour by Jude Deveraux. Time travel romance, you can't beat it. I tend to period books as well, historical fiction I guess. I also enjoy just good old fiction.

I would highly recommend the Twilight series by Meyer, if you haven't already read it. I am currently reading Gargoyle and it's definitely a little different. Good though. Alright then, nice to get to know you and I'll keep on reading books and your blog. Have a great weekend!

P.S. i recieved my book the Darcys and Bingleys. I am bringing it on vacation with me in november.
Thanks again!

Jill D. said...

Nikki, I definitely plan on reading all of Suzanne Brockmann's books. I have only read Prince Joe and all the books in the troubleshooter series.

I love Maureen McKade. I will definitely check out Mail Order Bride. Thank you for the recommendation!

Jenny Girl,

I actually wish I could read faster. I have so many books piling up I don't think I will ever get to them all!

I love the Outlander series, but man those books really drain me emotionally. After I read The Fiery Cross I had to take a break. I still haven't read A Breath of Snow and Ashes. I have to admit I am afraid to. See it is categorized as fiction, so that means anything goes, so an important character could die!

I read A knight in Shining Armour and while it is not my favorite, it was still a good book. I know it is a very controversial book for its unconventional ending, but I still liked it.

I am planning on reading the Twilight series. There has been so much talk about it, I have to see for myself what all the fuss is about.

I am glad you got the book The Darcys and the Binglys. Jeez that was fast. Gotta love the US postal service!

Kate said...

Nice to meet you! :)

Morning Glory was one of the very first romances I read in probably middle school - my best friend got me hooked on Lavyrle Spencer. I'll still read Vows every now and then, though I've read it about 8 million times in the last fifteen years.

Brie said...

It was lots of fun getting to know you. :) I've never read Outlander, though it has been pimped to me by many who have loved it. Maybe one day.

Jill D. said...

Kate, I have heard a lot about Vows, but haven't read it - yet.

Brie, Outlander is sooooooo good. But it is really long, I think maybe 1000 pages. You will have to set aside a huge chunk of time for that sucker.

RecoveringActor said...

Very lovely post!

It was actually your love of Outlander and Diana Gabaldon that brought me to your blog... it's one of my favorites as well. Although, i've been reading Fiery Cross for well over a year and I'm having one hell of a time. ABOSAA is just sitting there... waiting... lonely...

Bev(QB) said...

LOL. I realized that, as I was reading your post, I was actually nodding my head. Not just at the books you listed, but even before that when you talk about your history with books.

Looking at your list, I was trying to think of some older books that I think you'd like too.

Have you read Elizabeth Lowell's Donovan series? Fascinating contemporary romantic suspense that centers on a family that deals in gems and jewelry. My favorite is Pearl Cove (I think that's book 3) but be warned that she's never gone back and finished writing books for all the family members.

She also wrote a medieval series and a western series that are old enough that the men were still manpigs and the women were doormats, but there's just something really good about them anyhow.

Another classic is Celeste de Blaise' (sp?) The Proud Breed. It's a California historical western; a sweeping epic that you will remember forever.

I know you love KMM's Fever series, well Kmont turned me on to Amy Lane and her Little Goddess series. Only available in print through Amazon or ebook through iUniverse and a bit expensive, but I read the first one and then ordered the next two. EXCELLENT dark fantasy with some romance and smexxoring.

Hmmm... I'll have to ponder over more older romances that I've read that you might have missed. I personally ADORED Bertrice Small's Skye O'Malley series but I know that her purple prose isn't for everyone.

I could not agree more about Lara Adrian. I read the first two of what I refer to as her Black Dagger Carpathian books and that was enough for me.

As for Lora Leigh, I'm just curious if you've only read her print books or you've read her original Ellora's Cave ebooks (which I personally think are better)?

Kara said...

Wow, I can't believe how many books that you have read that I love too - Spell of the Highlander, Outlander to name a few.

There are a couple of authors that I haven't tried, but because my tastes run similar to yours - I've got them on my To Investigate list!! LOL

nath said...

Hi Jill!! Great post, it's really nice to hear more about you!! and you have a son!! (I knew about the daughter :P)

I enjoy the friends to lovers theme also, it's just sooo cute :P

I'm on with you for Lora Leigh :P Hope we get to here more about you soon :P

Ana said...

It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance mademoiselle
; )

Jessica said...

Great post! I'm thinking I really need to read some Brockmann.

I also loved Outlander. It's one of my top 5 easily. But I lost steam after the third book in the series.

I could have written your list of pet peeves myself. Just reading that list made me feel a bit peevish, actually.

Jill D. said...

Recovering Actor,

Well I am very happy that you found this site and maybe you will be able to find other books that you'll like as much as Outlander.

If you are looking for another good book to try, I definitely recommend Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan. It isn't as long as Outlander, but the character development is just as strong. Give it a go if you get the chance.

Jill D. said...


I have read Elizabeth Lowell and your right there is just something about her writing. I read her medieval books and loved them. I have only read a couple of her westerns and I haven't read the Pearl Cove books. She was an author I had started to glom but never finished reading all her books. I will have to go back to the Pearl Cove books.

I love a good sweeping epic so I will check out The Proud Breed. Also, the Little Goddess series has peaked my interest. Thanks so much for the recommendations!

Here I thought this post would help other people find books they might want to read and low and behold I am getting good recommendations too. Sweet!

Jill D. said...

Kara, Welcome to my blog! I love the thought of helping people pick out their next favorite book! I hope some of my recomendations work out for you.

Hey Nath, I don't know why I didn't think to do this sooner. Silly of me, I know!

Ana, I was thinking about you since I read your Elizabeth Peters post. You might want to give Warprize a try. There is a large cast of characters and a great love story. Its a completely different writing style than Ms. Peters, but the end result is one I think you will enjoy. Just saying :)

Jessica, Oh you have to try Brockmann. I would start with The Unsung Hero. It's the first in her Troubleshooters series.

Lori said...

This was a great post! It's always so nice to learn more about the folks I interact with on a frequent basis :)

Nikki is right, Mail Order Bride is a great book. It rocks. (of course, Nikki and I agree on everything when it comes to books, so you shouldn't be surprised, LOL!).

And it sounds like you have some great reading ahead in the TDD series from Brockmann. Yummy!

Kristie (J) said...

Like others have said, it's nice getting to know more about you :-). One thing that's truly amazing is no matter how different we are, no matter where we come from, no matter what our various tastes in romance, we do have the love of romance books in common and I find that a very strong bond.

Jill D. said...

Lori, I am definitely going to add Mail Order Bride to the list.

Kristie, Very few people I interact with on a regular basis read, let alone read romance. Hence the reason why I find myself searching the internet for others who do. I love being able to talk about books with other readers. This online community is wonderful. I am so glad to share and discuss with others about the books I read. And you are right, even though we may not always agree, we still share a strong common bond.

Christine said...

Hi Jill! Great post! I know a lot of people rightfully don't feel comfortable revealing a lot about their personal lives on their blogs, but I love getting to know my blogging friends better! So thanks for sharing!

Sounds like you've got a great little family--I love the name Annabelle and Jake is a name I had on my list if we'd had a boy. Great taste!

Also, I think it's great that you have a degree in Environmental Studies (I think my oldest might pursue a similar degree in a few years)--it's such an important field of study for our country and planet. And who doesn't love oranges?! Yum! Go Jill!

I LOVE your 'I just can't get enough of' and 'pet peeves' lists. We have such similar plot preferences, although I haven't read so many of the authors you list! And no Lara Adrian? I heart her! ;)

Again, great post, Jill! I really enjoyed reading about you. :)

Jill D. said...

Hi Christine, Thank you for your kind words! I am glad to hear your daughter is showing an interest in my field of work. When I graduated from Elon, it was a fairly new major and I believe I was the second class to graduate with it.

I am not surprised to hear that we share similarities in our plot preferences and pet peeves. We do seem to read and enjoy the same books!

twobigmansandashrimp said...

Ms Jill... you amaze me. One day, when I find the right people, I am going to get you a side job (like you need it or have time, right?!) writing a column for some huge paper. I don't have time to read.. but who needs to?! I just love your blog!!!

Jill D. said...

Jill, Thank you for the wonderful compliments. Sometimes I do wish I could do this full-time and make money off it. But then I wonder, if it became my job, would I still enjoy it?

I enjoy reading your blog too! Your son seems so sweet. It would be so cool when he gets older if he could look back through it. Sort of like a baby book. He's not a baby, but you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jill,

just surfin on the net and looked up your blog! didn't know how much you really have read over the years, and your website is impressive, to say the least!

I can tell your blogger buddies that Annabelle and Jake are cute as can be, and that having a place like this to encourage others to read is amazing. Got to get reading again myself and will try some of your recommendations! I am very proud of you and your accomplishments!

Love, mom

Anonymous said...

I was serching for information on Karen Marie Moning and found your site. Im hooked! The Fever series are by far my favorite books!

While I LOVE romances, Im only 21 so some of the more intense romancing aren't quite for me, and I was wondering, do you read many books that aren't romance? For example one of my favorite books is Girl Interrupted. Or maybe another blogger can suggest some? I love pretty much any genre, especially mystery but get so overwhelmed at the library I just don't know what to look for.

Ive already written down 4 books from your list and plan on going to the library this afternoon! Im a student (in Horticulture!) so I usually read about 3 or 4 books a week when Im not memorizing latin plant names.

Thank you soooo much for your website! None of my friends read at all so I think Im going to like coming to you for adivce!


Jill D. said...

Hi Hailey!! Welcome to my blog. It is so nice to see a fresh face! Most of the books I read are romance. I am now branching out more into urban fantasy and I will read other general fiction if recommended by a friend. My friend Marg might be able to help you find something more to your liking for something other than romance. Her blog is She also has a long listing of other blogs and some may appeal to you.

I don't have many people who I can chat with about books and the internet has been a God send. It is so nice to meet you and I hope you will come visit me again.

What books are going to get from the library? Let me know how you liked them after you read them!

Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

I loved Moning's Immortal Highlander, and Joy Nash's Celtic Fire. I just read Dawn Thompson's Waterlord that was a lot of fun also. Great site!

Anonymous said...

Really love your site, would like to do a link exchange if possible - my email is - Thanks

Jill D. said...

Hi Terry! Thanks for stopping by and visiting me! Moning is one of my absolute favorites! I have heard good things about Joy Nash, but haven't read her yet. Thanks for the recommendation. I will look into Celtic Fire!

Book Chick City said...

I have just found your blog and love that I can sift through all your fab reviews! I have just started reading romance, especially historical, so I can't wait to read what you have to say. Great post too! :)

Emma said...


I would like to e-mail you some info and offer review copies of Harlequin and Carina Press books/authors. Could you send me your e-mail address?


Jill D. said...

Hi Book Chic City, So nice of you to drop by and leave a comment. I hope you visit again! I just recently read Patience by Lisa Valdez and I will be posting a review shortly. It was pretty good.

Emma, You can find my email address on my blogger profile page. I would love to hear what you have to offer. Please do keep in mind that real life has been getting in the way of blogging lately!