J to tha M: What We’re Reading

amokN to tha A

M:  I’ve actually read some good NA books lately I think you’d like

J:  Oh yeah? No dark seekrits?

M:  Heh, no. All were on sale, too

The first one is The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen – 99 cents

J:  oh yeah!

I read her novella

I like her

M:  Fell Down was good

very solid. I enjoyed

J:  it’s hockey, right?

M:  kind of

J:  her novella was sports, too. Blonde Date.

M:  both MCs play/played hockey

J:  yeah. injury for the girl

looked a little close to home for me

M:  The hockey was more background (and – sigh – not super realistic, but eh)

J:  I’ll definitely read it. Not sure why I didn’t just snap it up after I read the novella because I really liked how she handled the alpha/beta hero in Blonde Date

I’ll start it tonight

M:  I remember you telling me you liked Blonde Date

J:  yeah. thought the hero was really cute in that one

M:  I liked Adam in Fell Down, too

although he does have a girlfriend through a lot of the book – a mostly absent one, but still

but the author made it work

and the hockey stuff…

he broke his leg and can’t play until it heals, but it’s like he just gets a free pass vacation from hockey

An upperclassman on the team, who has been playing for the past couple years? Trust me. He would not get a free pass vacation from hockey

He’d still have to train (as much as he could), have curfew, still have all the rules and schedule of the team

They’d find something for him to do. He’d WANT something to do

but instead, they put in in the “accessible” dorm and it’s like he’s a regular student

no mention of a scholarship or how it affects one, even though his family has no money and the school is super-exclusive

but, one of those things probably no one else would notice and it was only a minor irritation

the rest was totally worth the read

J: I read a cute one, too

The Bowler University series one. Make it Count by Megan Erickson

Dealt with issues. A little like my Side Effects and the to-be-finished-someday sequel, Soundtrack

Yeah, it was cute. The girl has always gotten by on her looks, but she really hates that people assume she’s stupid

She goes to tutoring and finds out her boyfriend’s BFF is the tutor

of course, she doesn’t think she’s good enough because he’s crazy smart

and I just really loved Alec

there wasn’t cheating–not from the main characters, anyway, except for the emotional kind

I guess that’s just as bad in some ways

but it was done in a way that you rooted for them instead of being upset by it

you=all readers (or at least me)

M:  oh, that does sounds cute

J:  it is pretty cute

I’ll get the second one, for sure

M:  how does the author handle the boyfriend? I can totally deal that kind of thing if it’s handled well

J:  the BF was obviously distracted and upset by something way outside their relationship

by the time Alec comes in, she’s feeling very neglected and alone

and when her BF is around, she just feels used

there’s a good reason Max (the BF) and Alec are friends, even if they aren’t much alike

and there’s a good reason the BF is getting distant

by the time things explode between the main characters, she’s broken up with Max

realizes she deserves better, even if it is Max’s best friend

M:  sounds nicely done

J:  it really was

there were a few will-she/won’t-she times where I wanted to punch her, but then, it’s understandable that she’s dealing with a learning disability, finally feeling like she’s worth something after all this time

and also the breakup and the emotional beating she takes when she gives in to her ex’s BFF

but Alec

he’s a doll

M:  ooh, that sounds interesting

J:  total alpha/beta

more beta. just alpha when he needs to be

M:  that’s always interesting, too

esp when it’s done well

J:  plus the next one tells Max’s story

and I’m excited to see how she redeems him

the general consensus is that she redeems him very well

M:  I really like those kind of stories

Hard to find good redemption tales, but there’s just something about them I really like

turning a character around

J:  I think it just recently released

so I’ll probably get it after reading the one you just rec’d

M:  The Year We Fell Down was kinda similar – the hero already has a girlfriend

that trope sometimes makes me frustrated–either it’s more on the cheating side or the BF/GF is a total douche, which I think is often a lazy or easy out

and the GF in this is pretty much a rich bitch cliche, but there’s an interesting reason he’s with her in the first place

which was good, because usually it’s not presented well

Makes me sit there and wonder if the MC is so smart and cool and wonderful, why is he/she with a douche?

If there’s a good reason, I roll right along. Otherwise, it’s teeth-gritting time

J:  yeah. like, it’s easy to hate the BF in this one, until the whole story is revealed

and then you hate him even more for just a few minutes

and for good reason

but then you also forgive

for good reason

M:  now you’ve got me really interested. I shall read

J:  It’s only $1.99

M:  it will go on my list when I’m in the mood for a good NA. I can only read those by rec anymore, as you know

some make me so ragey, but the good ones are worth it

J:  this is not the typical NA

well, it is in some ways

but not in those dark seekrits, party-all-the-time, where-are-the-parents kind of way

I don’t understand why so many authors think the moment a character turns 18 the parents can just disappear

or even high school story authors

M:  Well, kind of like the other NA I’m reading now–the prequel (Elemental) and first book in the Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer

The first one – Storm – is free right now. I’m only about 2/3 of the way through, but so far it’s pretty good

solid characters, editing very good, sucked me right in, decent suspense and mystery

it’s free – you should get it

J:  just got it

M:  The parents are conveniently absent, though

J:  sure, some parents are absent, but those aren’t the only kids who have great stories

and dude. if there’s ever a chance for humor or mortification in a high school/NA story, it’s when parents are involved.

use them.

M:  haha – that’s a really good point

It’s like wanting to make the HS kids act like adults but in a teenage setting almost

so – buh-bye parents

and the kids can run amok like 20-somethings instead of HS students

J:  right. never happens

Also, the parents aren’t absent in Make It Count

I think perhaps the authors who leave the parents out must not have had a great relationship with their mom or dad

My parents were just as fun as some of my friends

and they found me hilarious most of the time, in all my seriousness

M:  I don’t think it’s that so much. More the convenience of not having the parents around so there can be amok-running for the main characters

I still managed to have some fun amoking in HS, and trust me, my parents were around

But it is harder for an author to figure out a way around a boy sneaking in to stay the night or go to crazy parties if parents are in the picture. Not impossible, but takes some work

I guess it’s easier just to kill parents off or have them work overnight shifts

Not to say it never happens in real life, but I doubt as much as it tends to be portrayed in books

J:  oh, I had some amok-running, too. It’s actually a part of being a teen, to get around the parents. and I think it should be a part of any story

M:  not sure why it isn’t

J:  even if the parents are absent a lot, they should still have some kind of influence

M:  and like you said, it’s a great point for adding conflict and tension

Actually, running amok sounds pretty good right now. Hmm. brb

 

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J to tha M: What We’re Reading

medium_4355677423

 

J:  I stayed up too late reading

in hindsight, the book was not worth it

and now I have a headache

M:  that seriously sucks

what book was it?

J:  um

At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey

it was okay

not worth the hours of sleep I didn’t get

eh, it came up in my search for a geek hero

just checked the reviews for it

I don’t know why, but I always like to see if others had the same objections I had

M:  I do that, too

I just looked it up – heh

virginity auction

billionaire winner

almost as bad as DARK SEKRITS

J:  yeah, but I was convinced by some of the comments in forums that this would be different

and honestly, those took a backseat to the things that really irritated me

M:  oh no

J:  oh, and there were dark sekrits

M:  double oh no

J:  I think my first real objection (outside of plot, which, really, we read the same books over and over anyway. If she could do something different and better, I could be a fan) was a technique issue

or maybe just laziness

in that something would be mentioned and then, to explain it away, the narrator would say something like “We had previously discussed his dislike for onions, so this new revelation didn’t surprise me.”

instead of going back to an earlier part of the MS and just writing in a conversation about hating onions

not that they discussed onions in the book

that really would have sent me over the edge

M:  hahaha

yeah, gotta be better ways to drop in backstory, even little details like that

J:  so flipping annoying

next, I think, was the controlling bastard wearing a sweet geek mask

when he was sweet geek, I adored him

I wanted one of my own

but then he’d go all alpha

and it was distracting

M:  a sweet alpha geek bastard

that’s kind of messed up

or sweet geek alpha bastard

J:  and it’s one of those wtf is wrong with you moments

regarding the author

because it’s obvious the controlling bastardy move was meant to be sweet, too

M:  funny how different people can see or think such opposite things in a behavior

I’m sure sometimes it’s meant to seem sweet – I’ve read a lot of that in books with a hero trying to be a “sweet” alpha

some work. some really don’t

J:  like, um

not trying to spoil it – but **beware, spoilers ahead**

though you’re probably not going to read it

so, he already knew her before bidding, but she didn’t know him

that whole anonymous gamer thing

so he found out about the auction and wanted to know what would make her do something like that

and discovered her mom had cancer and was in danger of losing the house

STALKER MUCH

then secretly contacts the mom through his corporation and starts the process for saving the ranch

all before he even bid on her

M:  of course

J:  now

a real man

would have faced down the girl with his questions and offered to help face to face

instead of stalking and invading privacy and sneaking around

and yes, I can handle forcing help upon someone who needs it

so much more than sneaky creepy help

M:  and giving her the opportunity to avoid putting herself on the auction block

yeah, creepy

So, instead of letting her know she doesn’t need to auction her virginity, he lets her go ahead and do it?

J:  well, the explanation in the book is that, as the anonymous gamer guy, he tried to talk her out of it

and she still was determined

so he won with the intention of never forcing her to go through with it 

M:  but still. he could have saved her that humiliation

this is my problem with the alpha male thing – a personal prejudice, probably – but a true alpha male who cared about his woman (whether she knew she was his woman or not) would just take care of her, not let her get into a position where other men would have even a glimmer of a shot at her or she would be hurt or humiliated, take care and protect her, even if she argued with him about it. There’s a whole other side of issues to discuss there, but in my mind, that what a true romance novel alpha male would/should do

but that’s my suspension of reality moment. Make me believe. Of course, what I believe is totally different than other people, so to each their own

J:  but that’s the thing

a true alpha is usually guileless

secrets maybe

sneakiness, no

M:  yeah. an alpha does what he thinks is best for the person he feels he needs to take care of, even if he doesn’t really ask first

J:  annoying how disappointed I’ve been lately with my reads, actually

M:  I’ve actually read quite a few really good ones

Read a couple by Laura Florand. You must try

Well written – she has such a flowing style. Not lyrical, really, but just smooth and engaging

urges you along with the character and story, brings on the feels, sucked me right in

She writes about chefs – top-of-their-game chefs

and really brings the profession in without being instructional or dry fact, you know? You learn as you become part of the characters’ lives

J:  I’m very interested in chefs

M:  The stories are so believable and she still mixes in all the emotion and reaction. I really enjoyed. The two I read were Turning Up the Heat and The Chocolate Rose (which is still free on Amazon for Kindle right now). Definitely plan on reading more

I think you’d like

J:  I’m on board

oh!

I ran across one of hers on the lists I looked at last night

I should have gotten that one instead

M:  From what you’ve mentioned, I’m pretty positive you’d like much better

J:  I’ll buy after I finish work

or I won’t actually finish work

heh

M:  I burned through a bunch of Kristen Ashley’s that went on sale (The ‘Burg series is still on sale for 99 cents each) so I bought, but that’s a whole discussion in and of itself

my love/hate (but mostly crackalicious love) of her stuff

and, of course, Kate SeRine’s ARC of Ever After, but we’ll talk about that closer to release date

Also went on a tear of Heidi Cullinan’s m/m backlist

always well-written with lots of feels

and she can do that learn a lot about the character’s profession without being boring or dry

In her Special Delivery series, the one guy was a long-haul trucker, one worked in a casino (Double Blind)

very different but both really interesting and totally brought me into their world

oh, and one of hers, Dirty Laundry, where one guy was a bouncer and the other an entomology grad student

interesting, and she totally makes it work

J:  you mentioned that one before, I thought…

hmmm

maybe I found it in one of my geek hero searches

it sounds familiar

yeah, I have seen this one before

I’m even more curious now

M:  I just finished her A Private Gentleman – historical with a highborn lord second son who has a bad stutter and a “professional sodomite” or male prostitute

don’t know why, but I love those kind of setups, as improbable as they are

J:  ohhhhhh a stutter

why this makes my heart thump, I have no idea

Speaking of heart thumps, I’m still avoiding The Fault in Our Stars

because crying my eyes out until I have a gross headache is never my favorite

M:  oh, man, Fault in Our Stars

I want to read that, too, but scared for the same reasons

ugly cry

J:  we keep saying it, but we should get drunk together and just do it

gulp copious amounts of wine

and then cry it all out through our tears

M:  It’ll be interesting to see if that can make me cry. Those are few and far between, as you know

but I can gulp wine and pet you if it doesn’t

we just need to find a few hours when we’re both in the mood for that at the same time

J:  Speaking of gulping wine…

M:  Always the right time for that. brb
photo credit: miss miah via photopin cc

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

You Keep Using That Word

Princess Bride the 3M:  I did read some interesting books this week

not sure if you’ve had the time

I know how busy you’ve been the past couple weeks

J:  oh yeah? I didn’t get to read much at all. kept passing out the moment I opened kindle

M:  a couple I think you’d like

J:  oh, do share

I need to get some for the flight tomorrow

M:  Maid for Love by Marie Force

It was free – go download now! Part of a series – I’d read more

she wrote the Fatal Mistake book I talked about – the one with the baseball player that screwed up and was murdered

and I liked her writing to try another of her books – glad I did

this was cute and feel good

J:  and I like those

M:  yes, I thought of you while reading

nicely done.

I had a sports romance collection bundle of three books that I finally got around to reading

called Play Hard, and that’s still free right now, too.

J:  clever

M:  the first story was Fastball by VK Sykes – baseball player

I liked it after a slowish start

pulled me right along. The plot climax was a little far-fetched but still, a fun read all in all

a few homonym issues – the dreaded callused/calloused

and discreet/discrete that I can recall off the top of my head. Also a series I’d read the next

But…

the second – a hockey story – I really liked

Offside by Juliana Stone

the heroine is a female hockey player

this was really well done as far as the hockey and the uniqueness of the plot

J:  ooh, a hockey story you liked

there’s a rarity

M:  the hockey stuff was all spot on – she had me at “blown inside edge” of her skate

J:  heh

M:  and the UST – oh boy

I wanted to slap the snot out of both of them and shake the kindle. “Just do it, ffs!”

all in a very good way

just enjoyed all of it – about triplet sisters, so there’s more that I definitely plan to get

but so well done with the relationships and interactions between all the characters

J:  no dumb heroines for the sake of plot?

M:  no, not really

the only complaint I have is about the blatant comma abuse

and it was pretty bad

but I liked the everything else so much I just cringed a little and rolled along

oh, and the fact the hero had a hard on a couple times while wearing his jock (full cup, I’d guess, if he was in hockey gear)

From what I understand, that’s not only near impossible but extremely uncomfortable

the third I’d already read – The Proposition by Jennifer Lyon. He’s a super-rich MMA fighter

and I liked that one, too, but it’s a serial thing and $2.99 for each of the next two episodes

so that would be like seven dollars for the entire story (the first installment is .99)

I think I got the first free a while back. So, $6 for the entire book, and…eh

doesn’t compel me to buy at that price. 99 cents for each, I’d snap it up. Maybe even 1.99

J:  that is kind of pricey

but I’ve paid $6 for good kindle books before

M:  yes, so have I. And I’ve paid that and more for a serial that just snagged my interest

really was good, don’t get me wrong

but…I’m still skeevy about the serial book thing and the cost of each short, making people buy the next to finish the story

I’m better if I just see the whole cost up front, like a bundle, and then decide to buy or not

I don’t know

and then I started another story – I hate to name names, but omg – I DNF

she used words that don’t mean what she thinks they mean

and did that A Lot

to the point I made kind of a game out of it and giggled and highlighted, but there were so many, that stopped being fun about 30% in

J:  ooh

we could make something like that a drinking game

M:  seriously

it was o.O

“the gate opened with grandeur slowness.”

I see the author acknowledges her editor

oh no, she paid for this? 😦

I mean, sometimes there were three instances of not-right words on a single page

is there a term for that? When you use a word that isn’t right?

J:  I think it’s just called “wrong”

M:  Heh. A Princess Bride word – “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

J:  bless

well, I read a couple more holiday ones

one was Sleigh Bells in the Snow

and we could make a drinking game of how many times she used the word “chemistry”

story was wonderful

made me feel all warm and fuzzy

and then she’d use that damn word again

sometimes twice in one page

sorry. author was Sarah Morgan

the first time I read it, I thought, “cute. what a nice way to put it.”

665th time, I was “omg. if this guy wasn’t so cute…”

but he was cute

and that made enjoying it easier

but she should fire her editor for not catching that

M:  I hate when little stuff like that pulls you out of a great story

J:  I wish I’d had time to read more

but I did actually sleep well this past week

so there’s that

M:  Hopefully you’ll have some relaxation time during your holiday trip to Ireland. I’ll miss you.

J:  Leaving tomorrow. Speaking of which, I better go pack.

brb

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Same Old Story

medium_2252983146M:  I’ve been reading a lot

so many, I can put them in categories

big authors, YA/NA, romantic suspense, paranormal, m/m

J:  I’ve been reading a lot of sports romance

oh, and I read a Ruthie Knox holiday romance

cute cute cute

M:  which sports romances?

J:  mostly from Entangled

a cute football series, MMA, boxing

uh

Karen Erickson, Gina L Maxwell and Christine Bell

respectively

M:  I’ve liked everything I’ve read from Karen Erickson

oh, and Christine Bell’s Dirty Trick was on sale a while back. You read and liked, so I bought. Haven’t read that yet, though.

I’ve read a few YA/NA some I liked, most left me very eh

oh! Jeanette Grey’s new one got delivered to my Kindle last night

I plan on reading that tonight

J:  Oh, crap

what’s the name of her new one?

I had it marked somewhere and then promptly forgot

it looked cute

M:  When It’s Right

J:  thank you

Dirty Trick is cute

familiar trope

kind of “siiiiiiigh, really?” in places, but she made me not care

M:  I do have to talk about the NA/YA ones

J:  please do

M:  I read a couple really popular ones – they were free or on big sale, so I thought I’d try

J:  you know how I feel about most of them

M:  yeah

J:  I’ll try not to go all ranty on you again

M:  I feel pretty much the same, and most of the ones I read recently did nothing to change my opinion much

hoping Jeanette’s keeps my faith

So, I read The Edge of Never from JD Redmerski

so many raves about it, thought I’d give it a go

and…

eh

wasn’t bad, really, just very…

eh

have you read it?

J:  I haven’t, no

I think I’ve only vaguely heard of it

looking it up now

M:  it was a self pub that got picked up by a big six, I think

the writing wasn’t bad, but it had huge plot holes and did fall into the typical cliches of the genre

J:  oh nooooooo

M!

Dark Secrets

there are Dark Secrets in the flipping summary

M:  yeah. find me a NA without Dark Secrets

but in this one, oh, the plot holes

and Drama for drama’s sake

not entirely impressed

I fell into the “yada yada, let’s just get this over with” and didn’t take much away from the reading experience

J:  I’m so sorry you had to go through that

M:  well, it wasn’t worth being sorry for – I’ve read those I want some sympathy afterward for suffering through

this one was just a great big eh

but thanks

and that brings me to another NA that I read good things about, but was even more eh

and Oh, The Cliches

holy good giddyup

J:  do tell

I want to examine this summary, too

M:  The Secret of Ella and Micha

J:  ah jesus

Darkest Secrets

can someone write a summary without Dark Secrets?

M:  Depression, bipolar, suicide, goth, must change, must run away from those who care for heroine, alcoholism, don’t call or contact anyone for eight months and then casually return from college where she took refuge (with no explanation how she paid for it – that I recall, at least) and move back in next door to the guy she left and then get all flaily when she (GASP!) sees him

plus, let’s hit every YA hero characteristic that we can  – a hero who plays guitar in a band and races cars and climbs in her window every night to curl up around her

and…

wait for it…

has a Tattoo

J:  it’s the same book

M:  oh, and cancer

and parents who are conveniently absent

J:  over and over and over again

M:  this one was EVERY book over and over again

the hero doesn’t have cancer, sorry. another throwaway character does

J:  someone has to

M:  sigh

but, a couple YA/NA I did enjoy

Play With Me by Piper Shelly

cute

some holes, typical conveniently lax parenting, boy lives next door and they spend time sneaking in and out of windows

My mom and dad must have had supernatural hearing or something. I  never would have been able to sneak people in and out of my bedroom through the window like Grand Central Station when I was growing up

J:  I didn’t even try

M:  I mean, does that really happen? Maybe just because I didn’t do it, I don’t think anyone else realistically can?

I can’t imagine it was that commonplace or easy, but who knows

anyway, Play With Me was pretty cute

J:  NA or YA?

M:  more YA. I think they were juniors or seniors in HS

J:  I’ll put that one on my to-read list

M:  there was another one I read that wasn’t bad, but I can’t remember. They all ran together.

J:  well, I’m glad there were a couple that weren’t cringe-worthy

reading should be fun, not cringy

M:  it should

so, tell me about some you’ve read

J:  Well, I’ve read what’s published of those three sports romance series

the first is always adorable

then the second kind of goes overboard with the kick-ass heroine

I’m all for strength, but when it’s just a plot device…meh

the Entangled Brazen line is all a bit trope-y

but most of the time I don’t care

the story is cute enough to stand on its own

the cutest was Game for Marriage

the whole pretend marriage trope

M:  I read that one – I liked.

J:  the second cutest, I think, was maybe Seducing Cinderella

the MMA fighter and the mousy doctor-turned-sexpot

the Pygmalion trope

the third cutest was Down for the Count

I think

yeah

left-at-the-altar-by-cheating-fiance trope

boxer Galen

then all these heroines had fierce best friends who got their own story

which was often the old-flame trope

M:  I heard about Seducing Cinderella but didn’t buy because I heard the hero knew a little too much about girly stuff when trying to make over the heroine

that he thought and used expressions that an alpha-guy MMA fighter most likely wouldn’t use

J:  aw, but he was really a good hero

M:  yeah, but you like them a little more beta than I do sometimes o.O

J:  there were some times in all of them where I went O.o

usually in dialogue

M:  but you liked the Cinderella one?

I might give it a try if you did

J:  I did

I liked all of the first ones

you might like all of the second ones in the series

it would only make sense

M:  I read an Entangled Brazen by Tessa Bailey and really liked. I plan on reading the rest in the series and more of hers

J:  which one?

M:  Protecting What’s His

J:  I keep checking that one out

M:  I read another in the series, Officer Off Limits

liked that, too. I’ll read the rest for sure

J:  I’ll go for it, since you liked it

I read the Wilde ones

not bad for suspense

M:  In Protecting What’s His, he’s a dirty talking hero

and she did a good job with it. A lot of times, it sounds forced or just weird or totally out of character, but this was pretty darn good

J:  the second book in the MMA series had a dirty talker

M:  there were a couple of really good rawr lines

it’s hard to do good dirty talk

most times I just think, wow, you’re an idiot or an asswipe

but not this

a couple of Stupidgirl moments but nothing too terrible

having people ignore voicemail messages for days seems to be the new way to get around today’s technology to build suspense

it’s one thing not to notice you have voicemails – that can happen. I’m proof. I don’t see my cellphone for days sometimes

but to see a message waiting and know who it’s from and that it’s probably important but ignore and go on merrily risking your life when the knowledge could save you…

that plot device is getting old

J:  yeah

lose the phone, at the very least

drop it in the toilet or something

M:  I read another one that was semi sports related, but that’s kind of a big rant. Might be better for another day.

J:  heh

M:  heh. Just wait. Anyway. Off to read Jeanette’s When It’s Right.

brb

photo credit: Barka Fabianova via photopin cc

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

We’re Baaaaaaack!

poltergeist_theyre_back1-300x178J:  Yay, M got a new house! I’m so excited for you, I won’t even grumble about how much I missed you

(I missed you)

M:  I missed me, too. Sheesh.

hubs and I have had probably the most stressful weeks ever

and we’ve been through a lot

J:  I dunno… Things were pretty nutty here, too

funny how it all happened at once for both of us

My job loss, your lying sack of crap mortgage guy…

M:  but, we took everything they threw at us and made it work. We were not defeated!

and the new place is amazing, so…

J:  Exactly. We both came out on top. Your awesome house, my awesome list of clients that allow me to be self-employed once more… I have no more complaints. for now.

M:  now, no more excuses not to write

J:  ha!

M:  except for, you know, all the remodeling, the other job, life in general…

J:  life would be amazing

on the upside, we can now carve out some time for writing, reading, and FFYW

I know you didn’t go without books during your absence

I’ve got a list a mile long, so yours is probably twice that

M:  I read a bunch

not as much as usual, maybe

that tells you how stressed out I was – I couldn’t even read there for a couple weeks

J:  I picked up more novellas through my craziness

shorter=finished

M:  I did read a couple good ones. I just finished one I think you’d like – Betting on You by Jessie Evans

J:  that sounds familiar. I wonder if I looked at it already?

M:  hero left and hurt heroine, now he’s back to own up to his mistake and try to make it up to her

I think it’s still free

pretty good. I liked both characters. A little too much of “made him feel” and “making her feel,” but that’s pretty minor

other than that, writing was good, too

it’s a series, and I’ll definitely get the second

J:  oh, I have looked at that one

I’m glad you liked it

M:  I’d rec

and I won a copy of Skye Jordan’s Reckless on Michelle’s blog (MsRomanticReads). I’d had it on my to-read list after seeing the blurb

I really liked. The conflict had me wanting to shake the heroine a little bit, but the story was great and really sexy, and she made it all work.

I very much recommend. I may have to do a review of it for the blog

J:  as you mention, I’m going to goodreads to mark them

I’ve been on an Entangled Brazen kick, I think

I read a cute little series by Katee Robert

Two Wrongs, One Right

Chasing Mrs. Right

and Wrong Bed, Right Guy

all cute

and some stuff by Christine Bell

M:  I enjoyed the ones you rec’d – the two Delphine Dryden ones – How to Tell a Lie and Art of the Lie. I love her heroes. And Friday I’m in Love by Mari Carr

I’ve read a couple by Carr, and they’re good, light, fun reads

J:  I want to read the rest of that series by Carr

but I need to be rich

the Kindle versions are over $5

M:  ugh. I hate that.

oh, Riptide Publishing is having a birthday sale. If anyone is reading Anne Tenino’s m/m series, they’re on sale

I loved the first book – Frat Boy and Toppy, but the rest were pretty pricey

but I may have to sneak in a couple since they’re on sale

J:  Oh, you’ve mentioned those

I’m still not in an m/m mood

M:  those are fun, cute, and sexy when you are

oh, and the last in the CD Reiss series came out on Monday – the Songs of Submission series – called Sing

I was really looking forward, and…it was okay. not what I expected

went down the drama llama route, and I was hoping for the same intensity as the rest of them

so the characters and writing was still as good as the others, but the plot arc, eh

I’ll read more of hers. she’s starting a new series about the hero’s sisters, and the first one sounds good

J:  I did start the first one

M:  I liked. and I’m not usually a fan of the serial thing. I did start reading when 6 of the 7 were complete and only had a couple weeks to wait for the last

but I really did enjoy the characters and story

J:  it’s on my list to read tonight

I fell asleep just after starting.

not a comment on the book. it was 2:30 am

I should have been asleep anyway

M:  I read The Satyr’s Curse by Alexandrea Weis, and it was okay

J:  Okay, you read a lot more than I did

M:  I really wanted it to be really good – the plot was intriguing and the writing wasn’t bad, but…I probably won’t buy the rest in the series unless they’re free or on sale.

J:  Ooh, know what I’m excited about?

Elizabeth Hunter has a new one coming out soon called The Scribe: Irin Chronicles Book One

Not from the Elemental Mysteries

but it still looks pretty damn good

I think October 15

M:  I saw that a while back. I will definitely check it out

J:  impatiently waiting

Let’s see… Christine Bell, Down for the Count

read that one last night

liked it a lot. the heroine was a bit neurotic, but it actually made her cute

and jeebus, Galen

I’m a fan

I want more Galen books

she’s the author of Dirty Trick — sexy nickname for Patrick

M:  good hero?

J:  yeah. he managed to be sweet, hot, understanding, patient. you know. perfect.

it was a left-at-the-altar trope

M:  I do love a good hero

J:  oh, and he’s a boxer

ugh. he gets her a necklace with a boxing glove charm and asks her if she knows why. she says, “because you’re a fighter.” and he says, “No, because you are.”

M:  ooooh, good one

I like

what I don’t like is that it’s raining again. Weird for Seattle, I know.

good for staying in and writing, though. Gonna curl up in my corner and try to finish Rory.

brb

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

In Which We Go From Bitching to Snot-Sobbing

2010-10-04-DeadPoetsSociety1989CD2.avi_003839798J:  What’s up today? You’ve had marketing on the brain

M:  Ugh. No fun. Let’s talk fun. What have you been reading – that’s fun. Plus, I’d like to readdress my feelings on the Kristen Ashely Rock Chick books at some point

J:  I don’t know if I’ve read much I could crow about lately

everything’s been just…nice

I read another Entangled Bliss

part of a series or collection by Sara Daniel

Cute

M:  I haven’t heard of her

J:  I’d read another that was also cute but the end was laugh out loud while also a little swoony

so I gave this one a shot

and it was just cute

then I read one of the novellas in my quest for the hottest geeks

um, shit

what was the name?

Gaming for Keeps

good. lots of good tension

but another of those where the characters had to out-geek each other with all their nerd references

M:  again, too much of a good things sometimes isn’t good

That’s exactly what I ran into with the Rock Chick series

J:  nope

really he was an alpha who knew a lot about geeky things

M:  ohh, yeah, that’s not a true geek hero

although an alpha who knows geeky things sounds pretty good to me

J:  oh well

siiiigh

you know what I want

that guy who’s adoring and tongue tied and maybe a terrible dresser

M:  haha

we have such different tastes

J:  but underneath he’s strong and funny and a perfect partner

and he says those things that make you swoon inside because you know it’s not a line

you know it’s exactly what he means

and that he had to really work hard to get the words out, to put himself out there

and he loves fiercely, though shyly

yeah

anyway

Rock Chick and too much of a good thing

M:  haha

yeah, but actually too much of the exact same thing

exact

same

thing

and I mean, the same scene, setting, dialog – almost letter for letter

just different book title and different character names

I guess I should have figured when I noticed all the books have almost exactly the same cover, just different colors

and that exactly reflects the contents

bottom line is, I read I think through the sixth or seventh one in the series

and I did enjoy enough to buy at full price and keep reading

but I facekindled when I got to that exact same dialog and setting and topic scene

word for frickin word

J:  *grumble*

it’s the same thing Evanovich did

M:  well, it’s worse than Evanovich

at least with Stephanie Plum, it actually IS the same character, so acting and talking and using the exact same style is acceptable

J:  oh!

these are all different Rock Chicks?

I assumed it was all the same character

M:  these books are all about different characters, but they all act exactly the same. the writing style is exactly the same. their speech patterns and thoughts, actions and words, behaviors

all exactly the same

oh yes, each book is about a different couple

well, different names. slightly different situations – but only slightly

J:  I felt Evanovich’s other series were Plum in different places with different names

the Motor Mouth and the whatever the one with Diesel is

I didn’t even finish the one book I picked up

and I frickin’ LOVED Plum for a long long time

M:  yes, she does have a style. and style is okay. The Rock Chicks were Exactly The Same

J:  wild

I hate that for you. You were so into it

M:  yeah, the first one in the series was awesome. the second one was great. Even the third I really liked

but I was starting to think…weird. all these couple argue about the same thing, in the same way, with the same behavior and habits and ticks and thoughts and ideas and…

wait a minute

it is all the same

AND THEN

I read about the newest and supposedly last book of the series that just came out this week

and I heard she did a self insert into the book

J:  oh nooooooo

M:  oh yes nooooooo

J:  Clive Cussler!

M:  yes

she hinted that one of the minor secondary characters had leaked stories about the Rock Chicks and the Hot Bunch (a whole ‘nother >.< there about that name)

but this character figured they wouldn’t mind or notice (a whole ‘nother plot point that is >.< after she’s built their personalities throughout the series, but okay)

and so this secondary character decided to write books about them, and her pen name is Kristen Ashley

J:  I’m really confused

M:  Yeah. Exactly. So I really think it’s a good idea for me to not read the last one

J:  it’s probably okay if I stay that way

M:  well, I’d recommend reading the first two or four

and I really recommend reading her not-self-published book I read – Own the Wind

a lot of what I found “huh” in her earlier stories was absent in that one

I’m really glad I read that first, and I will buy the second, Fire Inside

and like I mentioned in my mini review thing on Saturday, I loooooved Knight

J:  well, I hope her whole “same story, different cover” doesn’t carry over to other series

M:  yeah. anyway

I’m in the mood for a snot-sobby story

J:  O.O

I’m never in the mood for those

M:  haha – I know

J:  but I’ve heard The Fault in Our Stars is a good contender

or did you already read that one?

M:  I even just looked through Harper Fox‘s backlist. She does great sobby m/m

I haven’t read the Fault book

I want more relationship snot sobby, not I’m-sick-and-dying sobby

J:  I kind of have a hard time picturing you snot-sobbing

not gonna lie

M:  you do have a point there

I can’t think of the last time a book made me snot-sobby

J:  I get teary-eyed over geeky love confessions

so, let’s be honest, a tearjerker isn’t a great idea for me

M:  Not like Dead Poets Society

J:  oh God

I tear up just thinking the title

M:  that makes me ugly cry every damn time

J:  ugh. I cried when the dog died in Grey’s Anatomy. stop.

M:  but I do like reading a snot-sobby that gets a tear in my eye. maybe rolling down a cheek if it’s really good

I think Harper Fox was the last one to do that

No, wait

Definitely Ben Monopoli

J:  ugh

sobs

but I love him

I did sob

you know this

trying not to wake the husband at 2 am ’cause he’d think I was crazy

M:  Ben needs to publish another book

J:  he said he’s working on something, didn’t he?

oh the sequel to Porcupine City

which will take years

yearssssss

M:  let’s go bug him

brb

J to tha M: J Brings Up Goodreads

And Off We Go…

medium_6478709717J:  So, what about Goodreads? good or evil?

M:  I’m not on it much

J:  But many readers are. what about readers who go straight to the bad reviews before deciding if they want a book?

how relevant are the reviews on Goodreads as compared to those on Amazon?

Are they even relevant at all?

Does goodreads serve a purpose in that readers can share books with friends the way they would by word of mouth, or has it become useless because of shameless marketing?

M:  I think it’s a balance like anything else

I don’t think bad reviews tank a book–unless they’re ALL bad

It’s hard for authors to read bad reviews–we’ve all been there

but, looking at it from a purely reader standpoint, it’s true that most bad reviews actually help convince me to buy a book

it’s weird, but I think most readers don’t trust the gushy, glowing reviews

what with the pay for review scandal and the realization that a lot of people get friends and family to leave reviews

and some (not all) of the more professional review sites seem to be somewhat…how shall I say..biased toward giving good reviews

J:  It’s hard to give a bad review when you get a free book

M:  I skim through the 3, 2, and 1 star reviews to see if what people are saying are things that seriously bug me

I find those actually more honest and informative for the most part

of course, there are trolls, and they seem to be on Goodreads more

but I think I can tell the difference, as can most readers

J:  I think Goodreads does serve a purpose

in that readers have a place to give honest opinions and writers have a place to share their work

but as with everything, it’s been abused in many ways

M:  yeah. that happens when human beings get involved in a social group atmosphere

and I think it started with the intention of just being a sharing and talking about books you read

but it’s become such a commercial marketing tool, too

and wearing both a reader and writer hat, I can see both sides

but it’s kind of a shame, because now it’s hard to trust any reviews you read–to take them at face value

I mean, we’ve touched on this before. I’ve see author groups where everyone passes around a copy of their book to everyone in the group and they all leave reviews for each other

(and not just Goodreads groups)

and books get a whole bunch of reviews

and yes, they say they don’t expect or require a good review, but…

J:  I agree. In those circles, they’re all often friends

and as much as I tell people your book is awesome, they know I’m your friend

M:  I mean, if you give an honest not-five-star review of a book that didn’t appeal to you, what are the chances other people in the group are going to ask you to read theirs, or want to give your book a good review, honest or not

J:  and there is that

M:  and how many readers who aren’t writers know this is what’s happening? they just see a bunch of high reviews and think they’re from people who just picked the book up on their own and decided to review

reviews have just become goal numbers, like a lot of things

how many followers

and to me, if you’re just looking to increase numbers and improve algorithms, you’re losing what books should be at the core

simply writing a story that appeals, or reading and sharing the same

J:  And also take some of the joy out of writing them

M:  exactly. and reading them

I saw something the other day, where a blogger reviewed a book, and then at the end, encouraged people to go “like” her reviews on Goodreads and Amazon

J:  siiiiigh

M:  so now, not only are authors looking for more and higher numbers, so are reviewers

and I’m not completely naive. I know the great and mysterious Powers That Be tend to look only at those kind of numbers – whether you’re a reader or writer or a whatever it is you do

higher numbers give you more power and influence in whatever world you play in

but it’s still kind of **sigh**

J:  It’s hard not to clamor for them when you know that’s what others are looking at

You want to be above it. outside of it

M:  it’s hard not to get caught up in all that and lose sight of the joy of reading and writing

but I still cling to my version of the fluffcloud that if you write an appealing book, all those numbers will follow

J:  it’s just hard to trust that when you’re not sure how people are finding it to begin with

M:  and I say “appealing,” not “good,” because different people’s definition of “good” varies

J:  sure, one person tells one person, etc.

but Goodreads was supposed to be a way to get it to that one person

M:  an author can scrounge up 30 or 40 5 star reviews from friends or professional circles or whatever, but not 500 or 1000 (not saying that authors with 30 or 40 5 star reviews are doing this, but you know what I mean)

those are the books that I trust appeal to a wide audience

that’s the kind of book I want to write

the kind that as soon as you’re done, you want to talk about it and tell everyone

I love that feeling, and, man, it would really feed my own personal happiness to be able to give that to others

so I try to make that my goal

J:  Well, I tend to think your book rests in that category

but it hasn’t been seen by enough people yet

again. people probably don’t listen to me when I talk about it because I’m your friend

M:  well, thank you. It’s a start, and I’m always wanting to learn more, do better, put more emotional oomph into the next thing I write

I want to make that connection I feel after reading a story that really hits me

J:  the thing is, every book has “issues”

depending on who’s reading it

I mean, Twilight, which I’m prepared to admit hooked me, had stuff that pissed me off. made me roll my eyes or question my attachment

there’s always something

no matter what you do or learn, you can’t make everyone happy

M:  no, and that’s hard to accept, especially when you read that critical review

but what one person doesn’t like might float another’s boat

and it doesn’t always make sense, simply because everyone is different

I mean, I can read two books that have similar issues, whether grammar, structure, plot or character development

and in one book, I can’t get past it

but in another, even though the issues are similar, the story or writing or characters hit that chord

and I can overlook those same issues that made me DNF the other book

so…I’ve just decided it’s magic

J:  sometimes

M:  you can’t necessarily define or explain or reason, but you know when you read if it’s there or if it isn’t

J:  look how much you actually had to say, even though you’re not on Goodreads much

M:  not much was actually about Goodreads, though

J:  Goodreads is just the tool

heh. tool

M:  Goodreads, Amazon, the whole review thing

the whole chasing numbers thing

I think that’s my dissatisfaction with a lot of social media

it’s not about communication so much, but chasing numbers. making yourself feel important, powerful, liked

J:  As long as you don’t let it blind you to the fun

M:  exactly

J:  you don’t have to succumb to the numbers game

M:  but I think a lot of people do

J:  and still use Twitter for fun

M:  if you find that kind of thing fun, see

and some people don’t

J:  I find talking to you on twitter fun

M:  I don’t find talking on twitter particularly fun

sometimes it is

but it just ain’t my thing

J:  no worries

M:  I like talking to you, just not on twitter. heh.

I love chatting and communicating with other readers, writers, everyone

Just not on a forum where everything has turned into something else. Am I using the right words? Good content? The right hastags? bleh.

When I chat with someone, it’s because I want to and enjoy it, not because I should or have to. If that makes sense.

J: Sorry if I knocked you off your fluffcloud. You’re so rarely up there.

M: Right? Here’s my swandive off the fluffcloud

brb

 

photo credit: Arek Olek via photopin cc