Steamy Goodness Books to Read Instead of/In Addition To “Grey”

J:  Did you know there’s a new 50 Shades book called Grey? I just discovered that this morning.Grey Cover

M:  I’ve been seeing the ads on Amazon and Goodreads for weeks

Every day. Many times a day.

Now this makes me realize I’m spending waaaay too much time online and looking at books on Amazon

J:  I probably had an inkling it was coming but pushed it aside. Then I opened Goodreads to find my feed clogged with reviews. I guess it came out last week.

So, if anyone was wondering if I’d pre-ordered it, the answer’s no.

I did take a few minutes to go through some of my friends’ reviews, though

enlightening

M:  and…?

J:  well, the ones that didn’t like seemed to dislike for the same reasons I’d avoid it

There’s no inner goddess doing the meringue in this one, but apparently his dick gets its own POV

M:  omg

Just what we need. More dick POV

J:  Well, you know how I feel about the whole thing anyway. But let’s get real: about all books past, present and future. Is it necessary to tell the exact same story from another character’s POV? Ever?

M:  no

J:  If it covers new ground, maybe. If it starts before or after the first story… I don’t know. Mostly, no.

And I say this as someone who’d defo read Midnight Sun if it was released

and then probably hate myself afterward

M:  And I say as someone who, for fun, wrote a dual POV story once upon a time.

I like additional scenes, maybe

A lot of the time, what makes the hero so swoony is not knowing what he thinks but building from the author’s creation with clues they give you and adding your own take

I’d rather have hints given to me from the heroine’s POV than a straight POV change because it can be disappointing. Not living up to what I’d imagined in my head.

136465781773857117840880

J:  Like, part of me would love to read Ivan’s POV from Del Dryden’s The Theory of Attraction

just because I want to know how much he liked the heroine before they entered the agreement. Did he have a crush on her already or just take advantage of a willing participant?

I wanna know.

If he’d hinted at it at all in the book, I’d be happy enough, but he didn’t.

He never let slip how he’d felt before.

We can kind of hope… maybe see stirrings of it, but no confirmation

Heh. I’d just be happy enough with a tweet from Del saying “yes. he was crazy about her”

wouldn’t need a whole book about it.

M:  The wanting to know really pulls you in, though, and keeps you thinking about the story and characters. I mean, here we are, what, a year or more after you read the book and you’re still thinking about it? Cool.

I’d rather have hints given to me from the heroine’s POV or what the hero says and does rather than a straight blow-by-blow retelling.

J:  From how I felt after the original 50 Shades, there’s a high potential for ridiculous with Grey.

M:  well, yeah. I personally couldn’t get into the other books. The heroine annoyed me too much (among the usual technical headbangers that have been discussed ad nauseam)

and if his dick has an inner voice… Just noffyw grey

That’s one mystique that should always and forever remain so

end of conversation

I can’t even write about it without breaking into gagging giggles

A talking dick. eeeeeeeeee

J:  It’s obviously not the subject matter that sucks some folks object to

M:  no, like 50 Shades series or not, the plot and characters strike a chord

a deep one

and there are so many good alternatives or additions, depending on how you feel

J:  In all honestly, I probably wouldn’t have discovered some of these books without the 50 Shades hype

but now that I have, I don’t have much use for Grey. Just being honest. That’s probably mean.

13411163-21363451316181826

I think that’s maybe when I read Lila Dubois’s Undone Lovers series the first time. Did I send you that one, or did you rec them to me?

M:  I think I got the first one, Undone Rebel, on sale, maybe.

Ohh yeah, read her geekish dom and thought you’d appreciate. I liked the series. She’s republishing them with new covers this summer/fall, her website says.

J:  Definitely a fun read. All three from the Undone Lovers series were fun.

And now she’s doing the BDSM Checklist series, A is For.., B is For…, etc.

which I’ll buy fairly immediately

Oh, I did read the Science of Temptation books first. I remember that.

The Delphine Dryden geek dom series

M:  I liked those as well. Kind of Dom-lite, definitely good and engaging

J:  you know me and my geek heroes, too

M:  doing a good believable geek dom is pretty difficult, but both those authors/series pulled it off well

J:  ugh. the first dom in the Dubois series was my favorite.

I guess I like a bit of humanity in there somewhere

M:  you like a bit of geekiness in there somewhere. heh

J:  that, too

M:  like you said, one thing I do think is inarguably good about the 50 Shades popularity is that it brought erotica more into the light

J:  exactly

M:  Well-written, engaging erotica of all heat levels and types

classics like Emma Holly, Joey W. Hill, Robin Schone, Ann Rice’s nom de plume A. N. Roquelaure

Also opened the door for some great new more-on-the-sexy-side stories, authors, and series

Kit Rocha, Tiffany Reisz, CD Reiss, some of Kristen Ashley‘s, like her Unfinished Heroes series

41S8guclCULCREED-cover-198x300Raid-Cover-199x300Deacon-Cover-202x300

I like Kit Rocha’s Beyond series (the fist one, Beyond Shame, is free!). Some more than others, but all are solid. Sexy. Well written158308431604967716049679

And I liked CD Reiss’s Songs of Submission series (first one, Beg, also free, but heads up, it’s not a standalone) right up until the last one which made me all kinds of argh, but I’d still definitely rec

172587951737205817641484

of course, Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, but I only read the first two before I lost interest

J:  I read Kit Rocha’s first couple

They didn’t stick with me quite as much, but I’m pretty sure it was my craving for a little more geek

1768382217289038

I did love Charlotte Stein’s Control and Power Play

the heroes in those were so vulnerable

M:  I don’t think I’ve read those particular titles, but I do like everything else I’ve read by her

they shall go to the top of my TBR list

J:  we’ve talked about Charlotte Stein’s deep POV before

how it takes a bit to get into it, but then you’re INTO it

like, right in the heroine’s head

M:  yeah, her style kind of threw me at first, but then I was all in

J:  I’d read any of these again before reading Grey. Maybe even tonight.

brb

 

We’d love more suggestions, recs, and/or comments about books and authors you’ve enjoyed – share, share!

 

photo credit: Crotch.BlueJeans.Dupont.WDC.20may06 via photopin (license) (We added the speech bubble, so blame us)

Advertisements

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

We’re Back – the Worldbuilding Edition

J:  Hey, have you read the Irin Chronicles series by Elizabeth Hunter?2930716970_644598079b

M:  yep. You must have lent me the first one (The Scribe), and then the first and second (The Singer) both went on sale a little while ago, so I bought both

J:  The third is out. The Secret

M:  She does great worldbuilding

J:  yeah she really does

and there’s enough…supported information with her mythology

M:  I love when the worldbuilding not only pulls you in and feels like a true alternate reality, whether fantasy, paranormal, dystopian, or even contemporary just with different rules

J:  When an author not only makes me feel like I’m RIGHT THERE in the story, but also that the story could be right here with me, that’s what I love

Urban fantasy just absolutely kills me for that reason.

I’m not escaping to a new world… I feel like those characters have lived right here beside me the whole time

M:  makes you excited and curious and want to know more, even to live in that world

or know the characters personally

the curiosity and intrigue is the best, though. That’s when I know I’m reading something that’s a winner for me

J:  That’s what I loved so much about Twilight, actually

I mean, yeah, the gaspy, will-they/won’t-they romance, pain of teen love thing

she did that really well

but she also made me think, if only for a little while, that the guy next to me at the supermarket could possibly be a vampire

and that’s what I loved so much about Brigid Kemmerer’s Elemental series, too

and why I got super sucked into Elizabeth Hunter’s Irin Chronicles

(well, everything I’ve read by her so far, but most recently the Irin Chronicles)

M: yeah, it’s the intriguing wish fulfillment-fantasy-believability-intrigue thing

and it’s amazing when it is done well

and consistency is so important *coughJRWardcough*

I really enjoyed Hunter’s worldbuilding in both her series

made me want to know more and figure out the mystery. And cheer for a relationship for the MCs

J:  It’s amazing how much more I forgive when the world is solid

like, I believe the characters

and accept their flaws

and love them anyway

things that would piss me off beyond all belief if in a contemporary romance set in the here and now

I don’t know why I’m more likely to forgive, but I am

*coughEdwardCullencough*

M:  Haha. Yeah, that’s an interesting point, really

because it’s not real and we’re already plausibly suspending disbelief, maybe?

J:  perhaps

but if you presented me with a contemporary realistic fiction YA about a boy who crept into a girl’s bedroom to watch her sleep, I’d throw the book out the window

M:  Exactly. Actions, reactions, situations in those made-up worlds don’t make me twitchy in a lot of instances where they would in a contemporary

J:  and the same was kind of true in Hunter’s Irin books

she writes strong females, yes

but sometimes strong to the point of being careless or stubborn

M:  that’s fairly typical for most romances – and a lot of other genres, too

makes the plot easier to forward

add conflict

but yeah. it gets annoying

I just find it an interesting thing that we forgive stuff in alternate reality stuff we probably wouldn’t in straight contemporary

but that’s a whole different subject and blog post

J:  Well, with Hunter’s Irin world, it was much like the vampire world in that I really felt like an Irin or Irina could be next to me

or *gasp* what if I’m part Irina?

she made the characters real in spite of their fantastic nature

and she revealed things in such a logical way that I never felt she was withholding information for drama’s sake (which is also probably another blog)

and so much of her world consisted of real places here – foreign to me, but still real

and so vivid in their descriptions that I felt I’d seen them before

M:  I think that’s such a huge thing, making the reader have that feeling of “maybe I could be one, too”

that ordinary person having hidden “special”

tapping into that inner fantasy

J:  she really does that so well

M:  I’ve read a couple that I was all fangirl over the worldbuilding lately

J:  do tell

M:  one was Ilona Andrews’s new Hidden Legacy series – the first. Called Burn for Me

Have to admit I’ve never read anything by her (them? It’s a hubs and wife team), but I shall remedy. Heard a lot of good things about her Kate Daniels UF stuff

but the Hidden Legacy series is about magicians, like wizards. Which is my fantasy superpower, so that was all win

and she did it so well, when sometimes it can be so eye-rolly

did a great job explaining not only how people came to have the powers (although I do admit I’d like to know more) and also building a whole social structure and hierarchy based on magic ability

and the hero. siiigh. one of my fave kind

J:  you do love the alpha heroes

M:  enigmatic, clever, arrogant, super powerful, and watching how the female MC makes him more “human”

I really liked

she’s all “you can’t do that” and he’s “um, well, I just did, soooo…”

a lot of fun, and not super romancey, more tension and character and worldbuilding

but the tension between the two is so well done, I didn’t need the straight-out sexytimes

and that’s delicious in itself

and she’s a great heroine – smart, capable, not stupid

J:  oooh, I actually prefer the tension and chemistry to straight-up romance, too

not so much the back and forth type, but the type where it builds naturally

and everything the hero says makes me just swoon

because I know that’s what the heroine has to feel

M:  well, he’s not blatant swoon – he’s privileged, arrogant, powerful

which sounds ick, but flaws so skillfully done you can see the heart in him

so when he does caring or swoony things, much more impact

and he holds all the power, literally in his magic and money and social status, etc., but she has more important things to teach him, like being decent and human and family and true caring

a lot of character development for both, which is so fun to see

it’s just total win in my opinion

J:  I’m on board.

M:  and dammit, I want to be a wizard

J:  hahahaha

I felt like that after Harry Potter (okay. I still feel that way sometimes)

M:  another one that I found really interesting was The Others series by Anne Bishop. The first book is Written in Red, the second Murder of Crows, and I’m about to start the third, Vision in Silver

and I could see why I totally got into the Ilona Andrews series, because, you know, wizards

but the Bishop series is about shifters. I’m not usually a shifter fan much at all, but these are good

great mystery and tension, and the word and rules she’s built are so different

J:  how did you end up reading it if you’re not a fan of the theme?

M:  I’d read a couple of reviews and rec’s on blogs, so I figured I’d give it a shot

and the whole world and social hierarchy between humans and the Others – so unique

the shifters are the top of the food chain and just suffer humans existing in their world

and it’s not just animal shifters, but elements and seasons and stuff

and more about the slowly building tension and relationship between the two MCs in this one, too

a lot of action and mystery and intrigue, great character development

but the worldbuilding – so good and thorough

J:  yeah, I really can forgive just about anything when it happens in a really great fictional world

M:  she did such a good job with not just the world but the different characters and interactions

a really vulnerable female MC that needs protection for damn good reasons that slowly unfold, a strong alpha male MC who finds himself all messed up with what’s happening but tries to do the right things

a true alpha in my opinion

and all the amazing imagination of animal and element shifters, how they’re shown and personified

it’s a winner

I like urban fantasy, but I also need that romantic element – just adds so much. and when the slowly building tension is done well, and the developing close caring just goes on and deeper, I’m all in

J:  well, you sold me

I’m gonna start with the wizards first, though. I’ve had a craving since Harry Potter

grown-up wizards are just too hard to pass up

M:  yeah, I really enjoyed that one

I liked the writing style better

not that I wasn’t hooked with Bishop’s series or anything, just sometimes I had to push a little, you know?

Where I just ate the Andrews one up

plus, snarky, arrogant adult wizard. Yeehaw

J:  I need a bookstore therapy session

Amazon will probably have to do

M:  I need therapy for my Amazon one-click addiction. Speaking of which…

brb

photo credit: hammer cuddle via photopin (license)

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

GRIMM CONSEQUENCES by Kate SeRine

medium_7516365696J: So

Nate

*sigh*

M:  I really loved this book. I think it’s the strongest of the series so far

Kate really tapped into Nate’s emotions, made me feel and wonder and worry and despair right along with him

I loooove when a story can do that

and a character

J:  I agree that it’s the strongest as far as emotional connection. I wonder if that’s because I was already in love with him from Red, at least a little bit

M:  part of it, probably.

I think it’s how well she hit the sacrifices both Red and Nate made, the selfless choices and decisions because of how much they love each other

J:  Never have I ever read a man who loved a woman so much without seeming corny or overdone

M:  exactly!

so selfless

J:  His devotion was so true

so real

that I never once thought “gross.”

M:  true to his character and a true alpha hero

the kind that doesn’t have to be a dick or pound his chest

he just is and knows it and does hero-y things

J:  well, he’s the embodiment of show, don’t tell, too

he’s not really the flowery-word type

but we never doubt how sincerely he loves her

M: he shows us through his actions

J: learning how far he’s come, too

that was a bit of a risk that really paid off for her

M:  yeah, keeping him mysterious would seem the safer bet

but, oh.

I liked him a lot before. Now I love. I have serious excitement when a character (and writer) can draw me in like that

J:  I had this profound thought that has now left me…

oh! how he’s more human now than he was when he was as an actual human

M:  yes!

J:  that kind of development isn’t easy to make real

to convince readers it actually does happen

after all, power usually corrupts

and he’s pretty damn powerful

and instead, he bettered himself

M:  We can get all technical and talk about character growth, the mechanics of how she showed that, etc. etc. blah blah

but there’s nothing like just being a reader and getting sucked in, hit with all the feels

but yeah

how he grew. how he loved. how he changed

J:  takes some kind of skill to make the reader believe this, you know?

M:  oh, yes, that’s what I’m saying

and to make it look effortless–that’s a serious talent.

J:  I love her. Kate, I mean

and him

M:  yes. this is such a good fun read of a series

J:  and holy if I’m not squirming waiting for Gideon

she’s made him ridiculously sexy with just a few mentions

I’m not sure I could handle a whole book about him

but I’m damn sure gonna try

M:  and holy jumpin around, that cover

you know of my deep and abiding love of good shoulders on a man

J:  I do

M:  yow

J:  Well, I have a deep and abiding love for men in leather pants

M:  and swords

J:  I don’t actually, but that cover makes me reconsider

M:  mmm. hits my happy places

J:  swords? really?

M:  haha – the cover does. shoulders and back and leather pants and sword

I can’t wait. August. sigh.

but the good news is, I pre-ordered, so it will magically appear on my Kindle.

J:  ooh, we should do that space sleep thing

where we go to sleep and wake up the day it comes out

M:  um

J:  nothing could go wrong there

M:  or, we could have a magic hurry up button and just make it come out now

waiting does not hit my happy button

J:  or develop psychic abilities and read it straight from her mind

M:  or beg her to just send it to us, but that might be a little too creepy, even for us

and she’s so super awesome

J:  well, I have my fingers crossed she reads this and hears our pleas

M:  no need to clue her in to the depths of our depravity

J:  I have zero cool

if I met her, I’d damn sure make a fool of myself

I have a history of that, anyway

M:  I’d just want to sit at her feet and have her tell me stories

J:  should we stop being creepy?

M:  heh. why stop now?

I’ve never been one for lists, like my top five favorite heroes

I’ve been hovering around 3 or 4 if pressed to name

but Nate made it into that mention, for sure

J:  I’m not sure who mine would be either…

I think I change my mind too easily

but he’s definitely there

today, anyway

M:  I have a few that make me swoon just remembering their stories

and Nate is swoony

and even though we were lucky enough to read an arc through Netgalley, I pre-ordered Grimm Consequences, too

although I might have to order a paper copy of Gideon’s story, just to have that cover

but Nate’s story is out in April, right?

J:  Yeah. She had to push it back a bit

I will order a print copy of them to complete my set

M:  oh yeah. and Nate’s story, more novella length

which was perfect. so much packed in

J:  oh! that’s what was so impressive about it

I mean, we knew the characters through Red

so that was helpful

but she still managed to make them MORE in such a short number of words

M:  I don’t think you necessarily have to read Red first, but it really helps understand and love the characters

and, I mean, why wouldn’t you?

J:  that’s exactly what I said

why deny yourself the joy?

M:  Let’s do a giveaway when Ever After comes out in August

J:  yes

M:  All the others in the series

J:  we should go for broke

ask her to sign hard copies of all of them

and then run away with them

I mean

and then watch people line up for them

M:  Hate waiting. Appletinis will help. brb

Grimm Consequences. Transplanted Tales #1.5

Have you read The Transplanted Tales series? Let us know if you have or not, and tell us what you think!

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

2013: What We’ve Read and Liked. A lot.

medium_4186292315J:  Our favorite reads of the year. First, I should thank you for getting me to read again

it’s been a fun year

and I’ve been amazed at how much time I actually have to read when I make myself do it

M:  when you look forward to it

I still maintain you can’t write if you don’t read

for a whole myriad of reasons

plus, just the whole experience and worlds reading opens

I love

J:  for me, I didn’t think I could write if I did read. because I wanted all my free time to go toward writing

of course, I still only read just before bed

so more often than not, I pass out before I even open the kindle app

but I’m getting there

M:  I’ve read so many book this year, I’d be scared to keep count

but a few stick in my mind as favorites

J:  I’m guessing a few of those favorites will match mine

M:  Kate SeRine’s Transplanted Tales series, of course

Red, The Better To See You, Along Came a Spider

J:  yep

if I named a number one, that would be it

M:  Yes. Downloading Red was one of the best things I did this past year

and still my best example of how offering free days for your ebook works big time

I love everything about that series and her writing

jeebus, her imagination

J:  the connections she makes

and the leaps that don’t end up being leaps at all

Nate is still my number one hero for the year, but he’s closely followed by Ivan from Delphine Dryden’s first in the Science of Temptation series, The Theory of Attraction

because geek

M:  Kate does great heroes. All three so far are great.

And I did like Ivan, too

but the Transplanted Tales series just has it all, in my opinion. Solid writing, amazing world-building, great characters, hunky heroes, intriguing plots

can’t go wrong

and, I’ve rec’d to a ton of people and haven’t heard that even one didn’t enjoy

my mom actually went and ordered the print copies from her local bookseller to have and hold, she enjoyed so much

J:  well, plus Kate’s super nice

M:  oh, yes. that’s just a bonus

Great series and an author who is so, so nice and genuine

she deserves all the good

J:  I agree

what’s next?

M:  Ben Monopoli, of course

Homo Action Love Story: A Tall Tale was just a huge, rollicking romp

J:  oh, I finally read it!

M:  and?

J:  oh, I loved

silly question

I don’t know why I forgot to mention

I read it a couple months ago while we were kind of on hiatus

M:  I think Boots McHenry gets the award for best character name ever

J:  I have to agree with you there

but if I were to choose my favorite of his three, you know I’d go with The Cranberry Hush

M:  all his books make the list

so many feels, and such amazing diversity in his writing while still maintaining that level of response

J:  I’ve not cried so hard reading a book in ages

M:  to me, that’s the sign of a good writer

J:  also, nice guy

M:  also very nice guy, yes

J:  but seriously. Sobbed.

M:  amazing story

J:  who’s next?

M:  well, I know you didn’t read, and I have some things to say about this one

J:  off you go

M:  Lover At Last by JR Ward

J:  oh yeah

M:  I loved and hated this one – I have such complicated and conflicting feels

I love Qhuinn. Love him. One of my all-time favorite fictional characters

But JR Ward. Argh. The Black Dagger Brotherhood has become so frustrating

I loved this one because Qhuinn finally got his HEA

but, the completely outrageous lack of research and expectation of suspension of disbelief – the plane scene, for example. So outrageously wrong in so many ways.

And…his and Blay’s story had so much potential to be amazing. Super amazing, with all the feels, because he’s such a complicated character that feels so much himself (and did I mention amazing? ‘Cause he is)

I can’t help feeling it missed the mark in living up to all that

J:  sometimes it’s hard to live up to the potential, especially if there’s just SO MUCH potential

M:  well, I know there was a lot of expectation for this particular book

but this series started out with great emotion and feels, but has kind of gone away from that as it continues

I mean, as I’m reading, I could actually note the scenes where the opportunity for something amazing was there, but just wasn’t developed

not just an overall sense of overhyped expectation not met, if that makes sense

J:  it does

I’m sad it didn’t quite hit the mark

but sounds like it still left an impression

I have the first one in the series, Dark Lover, packed in my laptop bag for tomorrow, btw

M:  worth the read

the series and characters are so great and so frustrating at the same time

my mom and I call it the “Yay! Factor”

you know it’s wrong and stupid, but…”Yay!” You’re so caught up, you don’t care.

J:  well, I’ll finally know what all the fuss is about

M:  we could do months worth of chats on both the awesome and the wtf-ery of that series

J:  heh

let me get caught up

I’ll let you know after I read the first

anything else on your list for the year?

M:  I’m really enjoying Kit Rocha’s Beyond series, as far as erotica

Beyond Shame, Beyond Control, Beyond Pain so far

I know you weren’t as enamored, but I’m hooked

And CD Reiss’s Song of Submission series was a good alternative to Fifty, right up until the last part of the serial/series – book 7

I disliked so much, it ruined the whole experience. Big bummer.

J:  oh, I started that one

but didn’t go past the first

M:  no? Didn’t like?

J:  I think maybe the hype for BDSM?

I dunno

because I loved Del Dryden’s stuff

but it wasn’t the same old thing, either

M:  what were your faves?

J:  well, definitely Kate and Ben

and then my little geek love kick brought me to Delphine Dryden’s The Science of Temptation series

which I just adored

but that’s because I do love the betas

M:  I really liked the first one of the series

I haven’t read the rest, but I will

J:  and then I loved Charlotte Stein’s Control and Power Play

again, beta heroes

M:  I don’t think I’ve read those yet

J:  I enjoy her a lot

very deep pov

takes a bit to get used to it

feeling EVERYTHING the heroine feels

but then you’re so deep you can’t get out

M:  I read another of Charlotte Stein’s that was like that

did take a little getting used to, but I enjoyed

the one with them on a boat – Curve Ball

J:  oh, shit. Elizabeth Hunter

how could I forget?

Her vampire series, Elemental Mysteries, was excellent. A Hidden Fire, This Same Earth, The Force of Wind, A Fall of Water

but her new book and series The Irin Chronicles, is just wow

The Scribe

I loved

cannot wait for the next one

M:  I enjoy her stories, too

J:  I liked them enough to buy them for my mom

I don’t usually do that

the only other author I’ve sent her way is you

M:  there is a meandering-ish quality to her stuff that keeps her just on the edge of making my fave of the year list, I have to admit

I can’t quite put my finger on it

J:  have you read The Scribe yet?

it had a slow start, but all those things that made me pause in the vampire series were smoothed out in this one

M:  I did, and I liked

maybe too much time spent in the character’s heads? I’m not sure

J:  perhaps

but then we really know the character, too

M:  definitely a new fave author

J:  something she seems to like to do is make the good guy appear to be the bad guy in the beginning

I think that might be the extent of my faves this year

M:  I do like the good guy/bad guy juxtaposition

a couple new-to-me authors I’m looking forward to reading more of next year

Karen Rose – I read her You Belong to Me, romantic suspense

really liked it

and Rebecca Zanetti.  I had a ton of love for the first in her Sins Brothers series, Forgotten Sins, up until one certain scene that seemed just way over the top for me, and then the story and heroine took a completely different turn. So weird. The first 2/3 I loved a lot. Last 1/3, not so much

but I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next in the series, Sweet Revenge, to see if it is as awesome as the beginning of the first book

J:  I choose stuff based on what’s in front of me at that moment

so I don’t even know what I’m looking forward to

I know there’s more from Kate SeRine coming

and Ben has a novella out that I need to get

M:  the next two in the Transplanted Tales will be out in 2014

J:  I’ll be all over those

M:  Grimm Consequences – more about Nate and Red

and Gideon’s book, Ever After

J:  guh. Gideon.

M:  Wait. Whaaaaat? Ben has a novella out?

the hell? and how did I not know?

J:  erm

I forgot to tell you?

Stag: A Story

M:  well, if that isn’t the perfect brb ending, I don’t know what is.

gonna go order.

brb

Happy Holidays, everyone!!

photo credit: shawncalhoun 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