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Highland Hunk-Fantasy

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tartan-copy

I make good on my promises, even if they’re made while drunk and probably not a good idea. As I did in this Tweet a few months ago.

To catch anyone up who’s lost, I made the mistake of mocking the plethora of kilts in the romance section of Borders on my Twitter feed. It seemed really weird to me that there was so much goddamned tartan in that section. Innocuous statement I though. Immediately afterward, while I was watching a jazz band and drinking mojitos, I received a storm of indignant replies defending the kilted man (who I wasn’t insulting at all in the first place dudes!) Since I have a big guilt complex and a low tolerance for alcohol, after the concert I went BACK to Borders, tipsy, and purchased a number of randomly selected Romance kilt novels, pledging to read them and educate myself. I have now dubbed this genre: Highland Hunk-Fantasy.

Some things make you REALLY regret drinking. This experience definitely is one of those.

Yes, I read all of these books. Some I skimmed VERY LIBERALLY, but I did indeed make it through all of them. Barely. My exposure to romance novels isn’t that broad, but I love a romantic sub-plot so I figured this would be amusing and enjoyable! I didn’t realize that the whole point, the ONLY point in these romance books would be to GET THESE CHARACTERS LAID! Loins will throb on sight. Sheaths will “honey,” whatever that means. Forget escaping mad scientists/time travelers/evil Druids/businessmen, the world will stop because the chemistry is too much to bear! Bow-Chica-Wow-Wow Bagpipe-Style.

To be honest, Outlander was a wonderfully written book, highly recommended by the Twitterverse and quite unlike the rest (it was in the fiction section apart from the other oiled-up men). It’s interesting historically, it has a cool plot and a really touching romance. So, the experience wasn’t a total trash-fest, but almost LOL.

Back to the point, my task here was to evaluate the genre, and I came away from it with a few clinical observations:

-In general, Highland Hunk-Fantasy Heroes are HUGE and looming: ALL parts of their body *NUDGE NUDGE*. They will definitely be dark and dangerous and you wouldn’t want to meet them in a dark alley. Unless you wanted to have sex I guess, because they are MADE for it. “Natural-born predator”. “Man with a capital M.” I got the mental impression their brows were probably a little cro magnon, but maybe I was extrapolating a bit with all the grunting going on during the scenes.

-Per the covers, they are hairless and oil themselves up quite a lot. I guess just to moisturize, since they generally go shirtless and wear a kilt (nothing underneath OF COURSE!)

-They smell like spices, usually cloves, not unlike a pie, with a dash of leather or wool or just the general term “man” whatever that means (B.O.? I guess it does make a girl ovulate).

-They also have a heightened smell sense themselves. In one of these books, the hero declares that “He smelled WOMAN“. I nearly spit my tea out of my nose when I read that.

-They have no respect for clothing. They will rip anything off a woman, regardless of price, so be sure to go to Target and buy something cheap before a date.

-They will be sure to have had COPIOUS sexual relations with other women, because they’re certifiable studs duh. They are arrogant and know they can melt panties with a single glance. The only thing that throws them off is a plucky lady with sass, dubious fashion sense and a dash of low self-esteem. That perplexes them and wins their heart for some reason.

-Universally in their lore, whatever that lore may be, they are searching for “THE ONE”. I guess this is to reassure that although the stud has a history of lovin’ and leavin’, there’s a metaphysical roadblock in the near future that will prevent him from sleeping around on her after she “gives in” to him. So no worries (mostly virgin) lady hero, feel free to open up for business!

-During intercourse, and throughout the book afterward at odd times with their chosen, they will randomly scream out “MINE!” And the lady enjoys this.

There are other things I could list, but I don’t want to get too graphic. I think the end of my Twitter bargain is fulfilled and I was suitably punished, er educated. I don’t think I’ll be adding to my Highland Hunk-Fantasy Goodreads shelf anytime soon, but it was an interesting experience.

I’m gonna go read some Vampire romance now, LOL!

  • sam

    Oh great, now anytime a patron asks for help finding romance novels at the library, I’m going to think of this blog post and have to hold back on the snickering…I’m totally calling them Highland Hunk-Fantasy from now on.

  • tesla

    I don’t even think Outlander should count as Romance. It’s some fabulous blend of Romance-Time travel/sci fi-historical fiction/amazing. I’ve been a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon’s series ever since my parents let me start reading them around age 16. I’m still eagerly awaiting the next book.

    Basically the kilted romance versus vampire romance can be summed up in a flair my sister sent to me on Facebook: Jaime and Claire make Edward and Bella seem like casual acquaintances.

    However, I am glad that you took the time to peruse a whole new genre. And many thanks for the condensed notes.

  • I love it – very astute! Kudos to you for making it through those books. I could barely get through Outlander as it was!

  • Yes, Outlander really shouldn’t be on the list, but so many people told me to read it during the “Twitter incident” that I added it to the pile. Thank goodness, because it really is a great book.

    • Giuseppe Gentile

      This post was sooooo funny. I have so many people I have to show this to who would love it. Do you mind if I twitter about it? or post it on facebook?

    • Caitlin Vanasse

      I’m not sure where you stand on this now (what with your Vaginal Fantasy book group) but I think to suggest that something is too good to be a romance novel does a disservice to the genre. I’m not sure where the official ruling would come down on Outlander but if it’s not in the Romance genre it would I think have more to do with general genre rules (are points of view shared, is the ending suitably happy/conclusive etc., who published it and how did they market, again not familiar enough with the genre as a whole to know these) than with quality.

  • Heh, my mom gave me Outlander back when I was in high school after she finished it, telling me I’d enjoy it. I got several hundred pages in before I realized there was a lot less slaying of English dragoons and a lot more slaying of … certain desires. After realizing that, I just couldn’t finish it (and it’s still one of the only books I’ve never completed). Had I arrived at the title of my own volition I might have kept reading, but having my mom give it to me made it just too weird.

  • Jez

    I would hypothesize that the kilts appeal to the little bit of OCD in every woman. All that tartan, all straight lines and 90 degree angles. It’s just that most people aren’t willing to openly admit that geometry can be sexy.

    Nothing says come and get it quite like an Oblong.

    And there is a sentence that i would imagine no-one has ever heard before.

  • Wow. I’ve worked in a number of libraries (right now it’s a private one without romance) and shelved/handled thousands of romances. For some reason, I never picked up a Highland one. I like the Regencies…comparative quality stuff like Georgette Heyer. They’re more focused on the hero and heroine coming together to solve a problem…and the problem isn’t that the hero is horny. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Now I’m feeling the urge to check out a Highland Hunk romance just to snicker. But the problem is that now that I no longer work at the public library, my ex-coworkers are the ones checking out my books. Makes me worry about being judged.

  • Ok, first of all.
    I didn’t see your tweet about the post, I just came here to read comments about the last post so I wasn’t prepared for the first pic, lol. So I was like “WTF?? Am I in the wrong site??”.

    After I had a better look I noticed that I was on your blog so I just LMAO!

    I remember that tweet. I may have commented on FF that I like Kilts, though I wouldn’t read a book like those, lol … I mean, “Tall, Dark and Kilted”……… *dies*

    Anyway… after this post, I think I don’t even like kilts anymore!

    So yeah, I guess the msg here is “Don’t check twitter while you’re drinking” ?

    Oh and I can’t wait for one of those authors find your blog! =P

  • Tynesha

    LOL I definitely don’t want to check out these books, that’s for the review. If the first one was bad, why keep reading them? Haha!

  • Well no one can ever say you don’t keep your word! And you have done us all a great service – no one will ever unknowingly venture into the ‘Kilt and Caber’ section again. If you find someone in there, you’ll know they want to be there!

    I suppose it could have been worse – there are other sections of the bookstore that are much more scary…imagine if you had been in the DIY section? You might have been fitting stylish yet affordable shelves for the last few weeks!

  • Asking for it are we? LOLing at Vampire Romance? You better get some mojitos & a Borders gift card & look for some glowering, dangerously sexy undead Fabios, cause the comments are so about to hit you…like a stake through your honeyed heart.

  • Tim

    Highlander is the only “Highland Hunk Fantasy” that should be allowed.
    A story about a man, his sword and his destiny.

    There can be only one.

  • J.D.

    Well as one of the few men in L.A. That actually wears kilts, I thank you for not making all of us sound like losers. Although I should straighten this out. We are not all hairless and oiled up. Although I should note that what we wear under our kilts is something of a mystery for most women. Thanks for spoiling it for them. Glad to know that we have our own romance novel genre.

  • I fail to understand how pasty-skinned and beer-bellied whiskey guzzlers in skirts have managed to inspire a whole genre of romance fantasy. I certainly wouldn’t inflict it on anyone.

  • Jess

    I used to be a librarian, and one of my jobs was to sort through the donated books to see which ones we would add to our collections and which ones we would sell. We got some really awesomely bad romances. The pirate romances are, not unlike the Highland romances, pretty hysterical.

    After I changed jobs within the library, the co-worker who ended up sorting the donated books would occasionally leave a particularly bad romance in my desk. It’s all fun and games at the library!

  • I see these Kilted pumped up hunks on the covers and think, “Have they ever been to Scotland? Its cold, its wet, windy and cold” so if they are hanging out in just a kilt, a scratchy wool kilt at that, then there would be very little (no pun intended) throbbing manhood. So these manly McHunks would mostly smell like woodsmoke, sweat, wet sheep and Haggis, yeah Scot’s eat alot of sheep inards. Women just don’t find that sexy do they?
    My family is originally from Scotland, and I’ve worn a kilt before, and you have red hair, so I’ll get my Border Collie and you get your bodice and let’s meet on the moors.

  • This was basically just amazing to read. I laughed so hard, so many times. I’ve never read any type of romance novel myself (?!?), but… yes. Definitely just as I’ve always suspected.

    Also, I think it’s amazing that Spell of the Highlander was written by someone whose last name is “Moning”. Little bit telling, isn’t it?

  • For Vampire Romance -fest, you need to check out Twilight, if only for the lolz. They are filled with “his marbled brow” and glittering and all over awful writing and non-porn porn. Seriously guilty pleasure, but funny to read.

  • Okay, that was hilarious!

    You’re looking for good vampire romance? Let me put in a plug for my friend Tate Hallaway.

    http://www.amazon.com/Tall-Dark-Dead-Garnet-Lacey/dp/0425209725/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233719158&sr=1-1

    PS I almost said ‘plug my friend’ but given the context of your post I decided that probably wasn’t for the best. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Hmmm… Well, I’m not sure I qualify as “one of those authors.” I do write romance, albeit erotic romance, and I do wear kilts. But I most certainly am none of these: dark, hairless, oiled, huge. I have never attempted to track a woman by scent and I will never, ever, look at another human being and scream “Mine!”

    Felicia, you sound as though you have never been exposed to the “magic pussy” theory by name, but you certainly express it. I laugh about it. You won’t find that in my books, either. Hero must sleep with anything that heaves until exposure to the MP in all it’s sparkly goodness. Then he is her devoted slave forever. *head slap*

    There is good stuff out there in romance. But, just like in epic fantasy and SF, there is a lot of slop, too. Hey, some people like to escape I guess.

    And I do wear something under my kilt, usually. I have kids. Kids breed unexpected things. I learned.

  • This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. Seriously, submit it to a book review and be the highlight of the next edition.

  • Dirty dirty… hilarious.

  • I had no idea this genre existed! I have a secret desire to find an attractive Scottish guy with a sultry accent and marry him in a castle- and he must wear his kilt. Interesting.

  • As a proud reader of quite a bit of trashy historical romance (as in the show Lie to me, IT MAKES PEOPLE HAPPY) I would like to say that even in the world of romance, the ones you chose are a bit on the weaker side. Not counting Outlander, which others have pointed out, is a “real” book… unlike the ones with the pet wolf (just a guess from the cover…)

    However, Karen Marie Moning (yeah, its sorta like Donna Tartt, and Joanna Trollope. why?) has a contemporary fantasy series that takes place in Ireland, starting with DarkFever. Lots of angst and surprisingly not a lot of sex. But all yummy goodness.

    Sometimes you just want yummy goodness.

  • David M.

    Very impressed that you made it through them. I’m sure you did, ’cause God knows there can’t be a cliffs or a wiki version of any of them! Just glad to see you put an end to the Tipsy trashy tartan twitter topic. (Sorry, I need an Alliteration 12 step program)

    Mind if I ask a Guild question here rather than commenting again on the Ep. 10 post? For this season, have you filmed each episode separately or do you do more than one at a time then edit each. Just curious. Was thinking the party scene. With all the extras, props, etc.

  • I just read this post to my wife, who also once read some of these “in the spirit of scientific inquiry” (her words). We both laughed out loud. A lot.

    MINE!

  • As another guys who wears kilts (most days), I have to agree that these books do not paint a picture of the average kilted man. but I would say that that is true for the “hero” in many less imaginative romance novels. Guys who wear kilts come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Some of them “hunkier” than others. I’m also glad that you found a great book, I think I will have to check it out. I haven’t found many (can’t think of any that I’ve read that weren’t period) with a kilted hero, that would be nice.

    If you have not worn kilts, regularly, you’ve probably don’t have a very good idea what its like and what would be appropriate wear for what weather. Making blanket statements seems kinda silly, but maybe that’s just me. It seems to be one of the mistakes that the books made. But what would a geek wearing a pocket protect know? Oh wait, I don’t own one of those.

  • Emily

    So what is good vampire romance?? I liked ??? (please don’t kill me ๐Ÿ™‚ the Twilight books but they didn’t grab at me (pun intended) and I liked the Sookie Stackhouse books but I’d love to find out what else is out there.

    P.S. I reallly want to read all those books now. Is that somehow wrong or is it just me ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kilt romance, eh? I bet if I write one called “Kilts on Trampolines”, it would sell like hotcakes!

    As for smelling woman, more and more often they smell like breakfast jellies.

  • I’m not putting down any of the authors, just making fun of some of the silly similarities. ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually adore Karen Moning’s “Darkfever” series, I’m sooooo drooling for the next one!!!!

  • Keep reading Gabaldon. The next couple in the series are on par with the first. Her latest seems to be stretching the story for my tastes, but I still can’t get enough of the history and Jamie and Clare to put them down.

    I’m still trying to get over the fact that you are brave enough to post about these books. I remember the days when I was flying through the series as fast as I could but completely unable to tell my friends what I was reading. Poor torture and good for you! lol

  • Ade

    Haha Very nice ๐Ÿ™‚ Im a guy and somehow i find romance novels in my library at home. Im going to be honest and say ive never read one… Or have had the urge to… But ive always wondered how corney they were. THen agin i have read the twilight series and i am going to say they diserve an A++++ ๐Ÿ™‚ Wait… I have read A Romance novel.. Whats becoming of me??? Hahaha :)..

  • If you want decent Scottish lowland historicals, without any kilts (but with the nether regions otherwise mostly covered)and with a hero that’s medium and height and blond, rather than tall and cro-magnon, then try Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles, the first of which is The Game of Kings. These are extremely highly regarded, and enjoyable (though it’s a bit tough to get into the first one).

  • Oh seriously, this is the best post ever to read on a Wednesday morning just before work as I’m having my breakfast! (although the breakfast part made it quite a dangerous endeavour what with swallowing becoming rather hard while laughing so much).

    A personal favourite of mine has always been the term ‘quivering member’. Has me in stitches.

    And I used to read a lot of romance novels (I was a teenager and they were, disappointingly, quite tame actually) and there was this one scene that I never forgot. It’s a scene between the woman and the man in the story, I think the story was set in England (probably on the moors, the poor man’s highland I guess? Lol) and the woman was English, the man was American. It went something like this:

    ‘What are you doing?!’ she exclaimed in a near panic.
    ‘I am getting undressed,’ he replied.
    ‘Oh.. that’s probably one of your American habits.’

    I think that had me in stitches for about 3 years.

  • Rusk Dorsett

    I’m glad someone else notices this. As an employee of a National Book Store, we see these trends all the time. The other trend I find funny, is the “Paranormal Romance” or “Dark Fantasy”. They always have titles that are puns, or are play on words. For instance…
    “The Outlaw Demon Wails” aaaarrgh!

  • Lioness

    I agree with Simon – any of Dunnett’s historical novels are great – her mysteries are fun too.
    Thanks for this very funny review. I stopped reading bodice rippers some years ago so it is good to get an update on the genre. Thanks Felicia!

  • Dr. Pete

    Thanks for confirming my decision to reject an entire genre. I’ll stick to getting my soft porn on late-night Cinemax and Youtube ๐Ÿ˜‰

    As soon as I read “He smelled WOMAN”, I had this image of Animal from the Muppet Show in a kilt chasing the guest host yelling “I Smell WO-MAN!”

  • As a Scotsman myself, I feel the need to set the record straight on many of the disparaging comments made about the males of my nation.

    I am not deluded and realise that many of my kin can be both vulgar and stupid. And I would not presume to suggest that they are greatly dissimilar from any other male on the planet. However, what I can talk about is myself and the people I know personally here in the small country of Scotland.

    To begin with, the kilt is an extremely warm and comfortable garment and can be worn without issue in most weathers except extreme heat. However, in Scotland, this is rarely an issue. The sky is grey with clouds almost all the time. Our national flag symbolizes one of the few moments when blue sky was seen. However, even though the kilt was designed to accommodate the weather in times gone by, it is now relegated to special occasions. I wore one myself last weekend at a wedding, for example, as did many others. Outside of such events, it is fairly rare to see a Scottish man wearing his kilt.

    The second issue I feel I must address is the description of the Highlander as an essentially feral man who can do little but build muscles and procreate. If one actually looked at the amount we have sex in Scotland, it is about the same as in America. Needless to say, we are not all ‘getting some’ all the time. But I dare say, if we did, we would be so thrilled that a woman had actually allowed us to share bodily contact that we would be extremely considerate lovers in hope that she might let us do it again.

    But, at the end of the day, we are essentially an artistically and academically driven people. We take pride in the inventions we have given the world and the various Scottish people who have made their mark. We also have a free education system that takes us right through to the end of University should we prove to have the talent. For example, I am currently being paid by the government to continue my studies to PhD level and have never had to pay a thing for my education. This is perhaps more impressive when you see that many of our Universities are in the top 200 in the world.

    I hope people don’t mind my little comment here. I take no offence at the post (in fact I was delighted by the humorous look at the Scots ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and welcome anything that draws attention to my little country. But I thank you for reading my comment as well in the hope that it gives another point of view.

  • Kim

    I third the recommendations of the Dorothy Dunnett books. I liked the Lymond Chronicles, but my favorite of hers (and favorite of any historical novel really) is King Hereafter, about King Macbeth. It’s beyond brilliant.

  • Am I the only person who re-imagines what the Highland Dudes (or any fantasy dudes, for that matter) look like because the ones on the cover are always so awful?

    For instance, I usually insert Shia Labeouf for young, magically prophesied, undiscovered heroes (like Geraden from The Mirror of Her Dreams) and Daniel Craig for older, taciturn, exiled heroes (like uh, the guy in Tigana).

    Sorry. I just geeked out there for a minute.

  • While I am not really putting down any author, I think that I would seriously send a rabid, OCD, bipolar badger up my kilt before subjecting myself to that sub-genre. There is a reason I started being more picky on my horror titles. Let’s just say Anita Blake — somewhere around book seven or so. Just sayin’… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Felicia

    OOh Kiala, Tigana is actually one of my all time favorite books, nice mention, and Daniel Craig in it….yummay.

    Anita Blake was brilliant, but ya, about book 7 or 8 I was like, “she’s doing WHAT?!” Jean Claude was so hot too, why spread it around so much Anita? Sigh.

  • korkster

    Regarding Vampire/Werewolf/Zombie Fiction/Romances… here’s a couple I enjoy:

    1- Kim Harrison “The Hallows” series: Started off strong… we’ll see how the 6th book is. Her titles are modified Clint Eastwood Western movies, which I think is fun. “The Outlaw Demon Wails” = “The Outlaw Josey Wales”; “The Good, The Bad, and The Undead” = “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”; “A Fistful of Charms” = “A Fistfull of Dollars”; “For A Few Demons More” = “For a Few Dollars More”… you get the point.

    2- Patricia Briggs “Mercy Thompson” series is EXCELLENT! Werewolves, shape-shifters, vampires, fairies… I love how it gives you the insight to their species-specific political structure, and what cares they go through to present themselves to the outside world. And how they deal with things (shape-shifters) that don’t fit into their neat boxes. CHECK IT OUT.

    3- Jeaniene Frost “The Night Huntress” series is heavier in the VAMPIRE ROMANCE than the other series, but well done I think. A good read, and handles *potential* problems in the series differently than Kim Harrison does. I recommend this.

    Be careful what you LOL about! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Does this mean you are going to write one of these guys into the Guild? You seem to have done the complete breakdown.

    Chris

  • Adastra

    Yes, yes, yes! This review of the genre is spot-on. I originally picked up one of these books thinking it was about The Highlander films/TV series (erm, guilty pleasure). IT’S NOT.

    If you do read some “supernatural romances,” I would steer clear of any about vampires infected with nanites from the Lost City of Atlantis.

    Just sayin’.

  • That last sentence about Vampire fiction didn’t mean I was moving onto that genre, I’ve pretty much already mined the paranormal/adventure/romance genre, lol. It’s my soft spot ๐Ÿ™

    Korkster: Tried Harrison, not my cup of tea. Went about 4 books in before I really really lost interest in it. Coulnd’t connect with the main character.

    Patricia Briggs I really love, the 4th one just came out yesterday, I had Amazon overnight it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jeaniene Frost: I couldn’t get over how much the hot vampire dude was a direct ripoff of Spike from Buffy. I thought it was way too lame and obvious a copy. Disappointing too, because I enjoyed the first book a lot, but I guess having acted with Spike, having a bad knock-off made me irritated ๐Ÿ™ Maybe I’ll try another.

  • Ha! Very funny! Gave me the energy to start my crazy, busy, drive-kids-all-over-do-homework-make-dinner afternoon!

  • LOVED IT! I’m really glad I wasn’t drinking tea (or anything else) when I read your post. It would’ve been a permanent part of my keyboard. There are some things you just don’t want to have to explain to your computer repair guy.

    Felicia, hon, I’ve got one piece of advice for you — don’t walk (or stagger) into Borders while drunk. Friends don’t let friends buy books drunk. (Though I would have loved to have seen it.)

    Lisa

  • korkster

    I agree with your assessment on the “vampire romance” series, Felicia. They weren’t numbered in preferred order, but chronological to when I read them.

    Yeah, the Harrison book were cool at first, but about book 3 you could feel that the author didn’t like the path the story was taking, and decided to change gears. It made following the series less fun, but once she cleared it up in the last book, we’ll see it’s a better path.

    Patricia Briggs was referred to me by a 60-year-old surfer dude. Great series so far. Am so JEALOUS that you have the book! *must get drunk and stagger into Borders in search of it- my new quest in life* ๐Ÿ™‚

    Re: Night Huntress series: Bones = Spike? Really? I get the physical appearance (which is below JM-par), but they don’t act the same in my head. Spike was cooler for sure! But he wasn’t an organizer, and he bollocks anything that had to do with procedure and such. I guess I liked it because even though it wasn’t great writing, the girl wasn’t a wuss, their romance wasn’t suddenly killed (by Bones dieing or some mysterious “we can’t be together for mystical reasons” crap). There’s a solid relationship between equals who view things differently and are struggling to make it work. I just don’t see many relationships lasting long in the fantasy world.

    These are the only 3 I’ve read so far (I’m a newb.) Thanks for providing your insight!

  • Ok, now I’ll go buy the other Night Huntress books hehe. Convince’d! I should do a blog post on my faves of the genre, I certainly am a whore for a dark mysterious otherwordly stud character ๐Ÿ™

  • JimG

    I really like vampire stories and I loved the shows Buffy and Angel. I just never really understood the whole romance though between aged vampire and young female. It always came across kinda pediphile creepy. It never bothered me too much in Buffy as it wasn’t front and center, but with other stories like Twighlight…

    It’s the whole morality of it I guess. You know 45 year old guy starts dating a 13 year old everyone wants to burn him at the stake. 300 year old guy starts dating a 13 year old and all of a sudden its romantic.

  • Jamie

    Your review is actually a pretty fair assessment of romance novels in general (not counting the sci-fi/fantasy/vampire sub-genres, which I haven’t read too much of). There tends to be LOTS of hairless, oiled men on the covers whether Scottish or not, very interesting anatomical descriptions, and some pretty hysterical writing. Plus a whole feminist critique (along the “MINE!” line, the man-whoring, etc.) that I won’t even get into. I used to read them constantly – now I only read what I consider “the cream of the crop” – Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, etc. Actually pretty much just Nora Roberts these days.

    And the Outlander series defies categorization – it’s romance, it’s historical fiction, it’s a tad bit fantasy. Read Voyager (the third in the series) and there’s an amusing scene that picks on trashy romance novels.

  • Myra

    Glad you liked Outlander.

    First, Ms. Gabaldon was inspired by an episode of Dr. Who featuring a kilted companion.

    Second, Ms. Gabaldon has an M.S. in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a Ph.D. in quantitative behavioral ecology. On top of that, she also wrote comic books for Walt Disney back in the 1970s. She’s been a BBS/internet geek since the old Compuserve days.

    She also has some great podcasts – I love the way she describes the types of characters she writes – onions, mushrooms and hard nuts.

    How can you not admire a writer like that?

    Having said all the above, I highly recommend the first three books in her series. The rest are okay, but not as good.

    For the rest of the Highland Hunk stuff – I don’t like romance novels. I’d rather read Clive Cussler, who writes what I call romance novels for guys.

  • I’m not one for the highland hunks and your list made me laugh out loud. I did read Outlander a few years back but I didn’t like it very much.

  • Nora Roberts is one of the coolest people on earth–incredibly supportive of other writers and fiercely devoted to the romance genre. She’s had endless opportunities to go “mainstream,” like Janet Evanovich and many others who started in romance have done, but has stayed with the genre that gave her her chance.

    And, I can say from personal experience, she was a huge fan of BtVS. I’ll bet she watches The Guild now.

  • Joe I’m obsessed with JD Robb books, so if Nora Roberts watches The Guild…SQUEEEEEEEEAL!

    • One thing I can tell you, Felicia, is that if Nora doesn’t yet know about The Guild, I’ll try to find a way to alert her to it. I think she’d love it.

      I’m a writer, and I can tell you that I love your writing on the show as much as I do the acting. It’s not just funny lines and great characters, but a sense of pacing, of timing, that comes from real talent. You’re really, really good….and I’ll bet Ms. Roberts would agree.

  • hyper

    This is proof that after hours open book shops are a Very Bad Idea.

    I hear good things about the nurse romance genre from a friend. she proof reads these books for a living. A horrid, horrid living… ๐Ÿ˜›

  • You twittered that you’re looking for comics with girl/fantasy bents. As it happens, I create a critically praised comic with a girl/fantasy bent — it’s about a ten-year old orthodox Jewish girl who fights trolls.

    I’m a fan of “The Guild,” so I’d be happy to send you a freebie — email me if you’d like a copy.

    (Forgive the off-topic-ness!)

  • So as a social experiment, should we men see what happens if we scream “MINE!” in the middle of intimate acts? And by we, I mean everyone else, since I could only bust out laughing and ruin everything.

    As a guy who attends way too many conventions each year, I think there’s definitely something to this chicks-dig-men-in-kilts thing — though for the record I do not think Utilikilts are actual kilts. They are skirts, dudes, and you might as well get the pumps and pantyhose to go with them.

    Fun blog, and a look into a corner of the bookstore that frightens some of us.

  • Can I ask an annoying joey-come-lately question? I haven’t figured out how to insert a picture into that snowman chalk outline next to my comments. So, one of you folks with a pic, or a cool avatar, or something, could you clue me in? Thanks–J

  • You go to “Gravatar.com” and attach a pic of yourself to your email account. That way wherever on the internet you post a comment, it will show up if you use that email! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope that helps, and you don’t really look like a snowman IRL hehe.

  • Having worn one a couple of times, I have to say that kilt-wearing is an extremely comfortable experience. They’re toasty warm, and the breeze is very pleasant (if you wear it properly, of course). However, they seem to turn women into raving nymphos, or at least makes them assume that it’s perfectly acceptable to “check if the rumours are true” (not that this is a bad thing, you understand, although being groped by your friend’s drunken wife can be socially awkward). I suspect that this transformation, coupled with the assumptions about the effect harsh climes have on men is where the vogue for rugged, oiled Scotsmen comes from. That and the perpetually irritating Mel Gibson.

    I hate that movie.

  • Ben

    Testing my brand new gravatar account…I hope it works!

  • Ben

    WOW!!! That’s cool! Thanks Felicia!

  • Seriously don’t know if I have the endurance to make it through any of those books. Haha. But, I commend you. I’m still trying to catch up on half the series I started an age ago. Once my daughter is born, I’m sure I’ll have even less time. Gotta at least finish the last couple Drizzt books.

  • Well, now that you mention it, white on top, kinda fuzzy, prominent schnozz….

  • See? Joe Frost!

    (Lucky for all of you, gravatar let me crop out the kilt and the “I SMELL WOMAN!” tee-shirt.)

  • Theo

    “They are arrogant and know they can melt panties with a single glance.”

    I tried that once, but melting panties isn’t as sexy as it sounds. In fact, the molten synthetics left a rather nasty smell in the place and my partner still hasn’t recovered from the burns yet… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Wow, Felicia – you have smart readers! There’s a reason I refer people to your site when they ask for scifi/fantasy recommendations. ๐Ÿ™‚
    However, I agree with Dani – the giant man-boobs all up in m’face every time I visit the Flog lately are somewhat alarming. Hilarious, but alarming.

  • Thanks for a most amusing post. I may just have to get my guy to break out the kilt and oil himself up ๐Ÿ˜€

    (Btw, pseudo-Spike is sometimes enough! Going to have to check out those books…)

  • Wildride Robert Roy

    You should definitely consider adding a kilt wearing character to the guild. But instead of the hunky type, more of a geek who knows he doesn’t fit in, so he goes out of his way to stand out.

  • Pob

    Wow, you hold yourself to a high standard… I’d say that have shown yourself to be steadfast in keeping a promise… and also shown that you’re a bit of a masochist. I’d have said one one those novels would have been punishment enough! No need to sacrifice yourself on the, uh…. throbbing, oiled, tartan altar… (Is there such a thing? and why am I suddenly compelled to get a kilt…)

    If it’s going to help produce entries like this can I enroll you in the Sangria of the Month club or something?

  • Wildride Robert Roy

  • Wildride Robert Roy

    Let’s try this again:

    Mine!!!

  • You finally read some of the kilt novels! Hahaha. I’m glad you endured enough of them to write an amusing blog post about it.

    I can’t remember – did we ever talk about Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake novels?

  • I read about 10 of the Anita Blake articles. I could definitely write a great blog post about it and why I stopped reading, but like the books, it would be rated X lol.

  • Erm, Anita Blake books. sorry.

  • I also read a bunch of ANita Blake books. When they got totally X-rated, I stopped reading.

    Speaking of Vampire romance fantasy, have you tried Tate Halloway’s series? Three (so far?) First book is “Tall, Dark, & Dead”. Good characters.

  • Ach no one ever writes about us lowlanders.

  • You are a very brave woman. i have read romance novels a lot since i was 15 (i was handed a bag of about 15 Mills and Boons – i think they are published by Harlequin in te States) and have been addicted ever since…but i only acquire books usually as gifts from people. heh.

    What you were reading is obviously a sub-genre of the romance classic the bodice ripper. This sub genre is probably quite popular because guys in kilts (omgawd i almost wrote quilts……lol that would be funny!) with scottish accents are HOT! but yeah – total neanderthal man just does NOT do it for me so i dont read such crap. even though i definately read some pretty lame stuff! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Y’know, back in the early days of the Web, I’m pretty sure that Harlequin had their writers’ guide (framework/formula) available, specific down to what needed to happen on which pages, for download. No longer, alas, because if they did, I’d totally be working on the story of the lonely woman who lets herself be seduced by the hunk wandering around town wearing a quilt over his naughty bits.

      OK, maybe it’s not such a bad thing they don’t supply said guide anymore…

  • I am so going to ask you about the Anita Blake novels at SDCC this summer…if I remember to do so! I’m currently reading 9th book in the series, but it was hard to get into. I don’t know how many more books I’ll read if the content strays to far from what the earlier books focused on and gets too X-rated.

  • MissAmande

    ” plucky lady with sass, dubious fashion sense and a dash of low self-esteem”

    OMG Felicia, you just described me! I might add that as my bio on Twitter/Facebook!
    As for the buff Scottish dude photo, eww, give me David Tennant anyday…..

  • Old post, I know, but I was scanning your blog for books to read.

    I too, shun the men in kilts. Still, I decided to give Kresley Cole’s IF YOU DARE a try because, well, she’s Kresley Cole.

    Absolutely loved it. I’m still afraid of trying out other kilted books, but this one rocked. I’ll definitely be buying the other two in the trilogy.

  • OK this post is clearly like a year old, but I just found it, so it’s new to me. Now that monster romance is mainstream, we are looking to scary new places to satisy our literary love jones. Groundskeeper Willie bodice-rippers? Icky. Kudos to you for having the stamina to power through those books!

  • Hi, this blog is very interesting.You are a very brave woman.Ms. Gabaldon has inspired me very much. I have read romance novels a lot since i was 18, and have been addicted ever sinceโ€ฆbut i only acquire books usually as gifts from people..

  • Great post and now I know what to do, thank you! Actually this Blog post helped me a lot. I hope you continue writing about this kind of entry.

  • Wow- this blog rocks man!

  • I have to confess that i typically get bored to learn the whole thing but i believe you can add some value. Bravo !

  • Lukaina

    I keep coming back to this review, just for fun and for some giggling in the right parts.

  • Thanks for the story and the review. Now I don’t have to buy them to read. Saves me time.

  • Great write-up, Iโ€™m regular visitor of oneโ€™s site, maintain up the nice operate, and It’s going to be a regular visitor for a lengthy time.

  • Sam

    I’m so sorry to hear you picked up the classic crappy romance novels! If you want to try again, Laurin Wittig writes serious Scottish historicals, and does tons of research to make them as realistic as possible! Plus her covers are yummy ๐Ÿ˜€

  • watch the newet movie scarymovie5 here:

  • Connor MacD

    Ha, great blog! Here’s a lighthearted Scottish romance with a lot of humor: http://www.amazon.com/Scottish-Romance-Chicks-Seduction-Highlander/dp/1499354045

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