Not a Review (a book brag, with a side of cover wince…)

I have to share – because REASONS!!! All 290 of them!!!


Do you see my pretties??

They followed me home so I kept them.

Well, they followed me home, after I hauled them 20km in recycled bags in inclement weather. But the point is: They are now in my house and that means THEY ARE MINE. They have been adopted into the strange and decidedly eccentric family that is BlueCastle.

Shall I tell you how I came by such treasures??

Well, credit mostly belongs to my mother dearest. A veritable bloodhound when sniffing out bargains. She mentioned seeing a couple of boxes of old, vintage romances in an op-shop…and maybe they would be worth checking out?

This was me:


So I checked and BONANZA!

Of course, discovering a treasure trove of books is all very well, but it’s only truly a book-brag, if one can purchase said books for a relatively modest price.

So I tried to look all orphan-like as I enquired as to the price of these pretties.

Turns out they were 5 for $1. FIVE for ONE DOLLAR (!!!)

What followed was an in-depth cleaning out my junk drawers, key bowls and couches; (where I keep all my loose change for just such an emergency).

And now look at them:


they look so happy (I can definitely tell… 😉 )

Of course, I have no room for them – and will probably end up having to BUILD bookcases to house them; but they were all alone in a sea of sports biographies and already-completed sudoko books; I wouldn’t have been a true citizen of Romancelandia if I walked past that picture of despair… And I couldn’t SEPARATE them, they were all from the same family, the same bookcase; they were friends; they had EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENTS with their fellow books.

It would have been too cruel.

So I took them all.

Tell me you wouldn’t have done the same…

So that’s my brag*. Now for the side of COVER-Wince.

My newly appropriated rom-books are VINTAGE, some extremely so. An added bonus of the super-cute vintage romance is of course, the extremely dubious nature of the cover illustration.

Below are some that were just TOO terrible/good not to share:


Entitled A Wild Affair; but the heroine is…knitting. I am already intrigued. Also, where is the wool hiding, and why does the blue wool look separate to the sock? Is the sock even part of it? SOO many questions, I am hoping the book provides in-depth knitting answers at least.


To Quincy it was a cheap publicity stunt

Only because her young brother had entered her name in the contest had she agreed to go along with the plans when she was declared the winner.

The prize? An evening out in London with dreamy, sexy, international pop singer Joe Aldonez. Most women would willingly have changed places with her.

When the fantasy man became a flesh-and-blood one Quincy realized she’d fallen for his charm. But one glimpse of his sophisticated fishbowl life made her deny the dictates of her heart….




Now that is a hero.

The leather vest, the kilt, the bare chest, all mixed together with the days-of-our-lives-prematurely-greying hair AND the guitar.

Add that to the least masculine sounding noun for man-musician EVER? Absolute gold.

And the men in uniform stamp kills me. Everytime.


When Scottish folk singer Conner MacLaren dons his kilt and leather vest, he looks as glorious as his warrior ancestors–and he needs all of their legendary courage to win Leslie Turner’s heart. Her long-ago marriage taught her not to trust a musician again. But Conner, armed with a killer grin and potent kisses, vows to make her surrender to desire.



Aren’t the Loveswept ones so deliciously attrocious?

This one is apparently set in space. And possibly because in 1992, space suits were  least-sexy outfit in not just the world, but the universe (heh- pun intended); our hero and heroine float in this gravity-free environment with only towels. (The gravity-free inference is based on their hair…but I could be wrong.)


Adam Strade made her tingle like a rocket seconds before ignition, but Maggie Mullins reminded herself she was aboard the orbiting space station only to observe the maverick astronaut in the environment she helped design – not succumb to his deliciously dangerous flirting. She’d always been more of a pal than a temptation to the men she had known…but Adam’s sexy growl [I am not making this up!] made her blush, made her heart pound – made her yearn to melt in his arms, to know at last the electrifying heat ecstasy…

There’s more, but I can’t even.



I love this one, simply because at first glance I couldn’t tell who the heroine actually was. That is the prettiest male I have ever seen. The eyes. The hair. The sweeping neckline. the only difference between them is the cleft chin really. I thought maybe it was going to be one of those avant garde pulp lesbian romances from the seventies. But no, just another classic Star Publication.


It was Ella Shipley’s first big assignment for the POST to find the children outcast from Moroccan tribal wars had been into the valleys where they have mysteriously vanished. Accompanying her was the talented and handsome photographer Mike Shields, but like the rest of her colleagues, he resented her inexperience and the wase with which she made her way through the back door into Fleet Street. 

Ella was determined to prove herself and win their acceptance – but as the job progressed, she realised that her original motives were being influenced by new, unexpected and stimulating experiences. [Stimulating (!) lol ]

I am about 90% sure movie Behind the Candelabra (2013), took inspiration from this very book cover:


take the hair from one, add it to the suit of the other – hey presto!




That face on the heroine. Need I say more?


She vowed to clear her dead friend’s name. Laura Gibson was convinced that her childhood friend, Joan Connor, would never have worked for an “escort service.” Yet the police insisted that Joan was a call girl and had been murdered by a deranged client.

Laura was determined to unearth the truth. She was aided in her efforts by Brandon Powell, a no-nonsense private investigator. Together they concluded that Joan was killed because she knew too much–but about what?

As the facts began to surface, so did an unexpected love. Laura hoped she would live to enjoy it; someone else hoped she wouldn’t….




His name is Brick.

He is a demolition expert.

I am sure he knows NEVER to play with dynamite.


That cover y’all.

That cover.

The blurb is here. Because I couldn’t get through it with out dying from laughter at the purple prose.



I am GOING to read all these. It is going to be SO much fun.

I will (most likely) keep y’all posted on the finds in my book brag.



Valancy: currently alphabetising her new friends (of course that is normal behaviour (!) )


*there is of course some inherent issues regarding the purchase of 2nd hand books. On one hand, the author doesn’t receive any royalties for the re-selling of a book; but on the other hand, I have discovered so many new authors by way of second-hand books and then subsequently bought numerous brand-new books from the same author, in which they DO receive loyalties. Add to that the reduction of waste in re-selling, the minimisation of carbon footprints and trees dying — and well – you kind of have a whole, big, ethically grey mess.

There are points for and against…in this case though, I feel like it would have been a TERRIBLE waste for these books to simply be thrown out (which they were in danger of); especially when soo many of them are out of print. They looked at me all sad and pathetic-like and I just couldn’t say no. But that’s me. You may feel differently:



Header Image: Ramon Casas, Jove Decadent (Impulsive Young Woman), 1899, oil on canvas, Private Collection

16 thoughts on “Not a Review (a book brag, with a side of cover wince…)

  1. First, I’m in AWE. Second, you’re my hero/heroine, whatever … BECAUSE any rom found anywhere MUST be rescued. Romance and archives are not mixing. You’ve done the genre a service. Love them all. Also, I admit to book-envy. But I’m also super-happy-squee-excited for you!


    1. I was SOO excited when I found them – I’m usually always on the other side, where someone goes: oh you like vintage romances?? I just had boxes come in – but we just threw them away (!) or the like! So often its just crushing disappointment – but this time – VICTORY – for myself, for roms everywhere! l0l. I give full credit to the previous owner who painstakingly collected them and kept them safe all these years; BlueCastle is indebted to them! 🙂


      1. THIS happens to me ALL THE TIME. Like … oh, my aunt used to read those, when she passed on to the Big Romland in the sky, I tossed 20 boxes of them. Had I known, I’d have GIVEN them to you. *take a stake, put it through my heart, why don’t you* SO GLAD YOU GOT THESE!!!

        Liked by 2 people


    And I FEEL A SWOON COMING ON AT THE SIGHT OF SO MANY BOOKS! I am pretty sure there are going to be some lovelies hidden there, no matter the cover and the blurbs (I mean your Dixie Browning post proves that, doesn’t it?)

    Are there any Betty Neels in there? Oh, I am so looking forward to you writing some more about some of these!


    1. I have found a couple of Neels so far (they tend to be veeerry thin across the ground – possibly because no one ever wants to get rid of them!) but they have gone into my extra-special-tbr-pile.

      I wonder if there is a formula for the ratio of ugly-cover-to-really-good-story…Because some of them are HIDEOUS to look at, but hide a glorious story underneath.

      Bookcover = (plot + character) * (Hero’s amount of facial hair + heroine’s eye colour)/page length squared?


      hmm – perhaps it needs some work…lol 🙂

      (I love Community – and CHANG is AWESOME – I must watch them again!)

      Liked by 1 person

        1. ooh – VERY good point…I’m not sure – maybe it needs a companion Likert scale to define them (maybe between 1 & 10 )— or a scatter graph to measure statistical dispersion…and then weighted — which still doesn’t tell me if its good or bad… hmm

          Or I just need to not spend so much time procrastinating, instead doing actual work.

          Ahh Mondays 😉

          Liked by 1 person

            1. OMG – like estimating the relationships among variables (!) Or Bivariate — where two measurements can be made for each observation…?! OK, I totally need to get onto this!!!!

              Excuse me, I’ll just be in the corner TOTALLY geeking out…

              THANK YOU!

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations, Miz Valancy, you win all the prizes in all the contests, and you didn’t even need to enter!

    Now I’ll be sitting here in the corner, waiting for the occasional mention/review of the pretties.

    (Which should always be alphabetized by author, then by publication date. Except when a series was published out of order, then there’s twitching.)

    (Yes, I have issues, why do you ask?)


    1. That is EXACTLY what I feel like! Oh so LUCKY!
      Ditto on the alphabetising,and pub date…although I sheepishly admit to also colour-coding them according to cover, and then arranging them from light to dark ….

      AND the publishing out of order??? arghh – also – when they publish a series, but change the cover designs so the newest ones don’t match the old ones????


      Liked by 2 people

  4. OMG! Where is this amazing place? And are there any books left? You far surpass my weekend haul of 30 retro romances (6 for $1 but the choices were few and I drew the line at the ones which had been nibbled by mice or had damp damage from being read in a bathtub). I especially covet your Charlotte Lamb books!


    1. It was like a Christmas Miracle…only not at Christmas… And it was one of those completely random teeny tiny church op-shops. Someone went into a nursing home and their family just donated them. (Although they did say there was probably about 500 (!!!!!!) of them to start with, but they hadn’t been stored properly and were mouldy and damaged so they had to THROW them away (I mean really – stabbing me would have been less painful!)
      30 is a GOOD haul but —- and am totally with you on the mice and bath-tub ones…) Knowing someone MAY have read the book I am reading in the bath is one thing; but actual evidence of it TOTALLY makes me squeemy…I can’t even.

      Liked by 1 person

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