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

Advertisements

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

Reading as a Distraction from Real Life Shenanigans

medium_2832163100M:  distract me from wanting to throw up

J:  We can worry about writing and blog stuff when you’re back on track, if you want

unless you want to vent about how crazy stuff is

M:  I don’t wanna

I wanna go suck my thumb and rock in the corner

trying to buy this house has now reached the ridiculous. Giggle maniacally and then start crying ridiculous.

Due to lame mortgage guy being less than diligent performing his duties and weaver of not-so-true tales

But hey, I found a good new-to-me author

J:  oh, do tell

M:  Tamara Allen – she does m/m, but non-explicit. More fade to black

J:  interesting

M:  Amazing feels

great characters, detail, did I say all the feels?

J:  heh. you did

I am interested

M:  I read her novella (it’s free), If It Ain’t Love, and then one she had on sale, Downtime

Read them, and was “huh. that was good”

but now I can’t stop thinking about it and smiling

such good residual happy feels, so I just bought another – The Only Gold

J:  I am getting the free one as we type

M:  good feels in that one. Liked Downtime even better

Even more after I finished it, although that sounds a little weird

J:  it doesn’t at all

I love a book I can’t stop thinking about

M:  Huh. Downtime is not available on Amazon for kindle anymore. I just got it. Free on Smashwords, though

J:  it’s been so long since we really chatted that I can’t remember what I’ve read since then

I read the Kit Rocha you sent me, Beyond Pain

I did like that one the best so far

M:  the books in that series seem to get better as they go, which is unusual

J:  I’ve read a couple you rec’d

read the YA succubus one – Static

cute. I liked it.

M:  Yes, cute. easy read

J:  Read Eight Christmas Eves. Loved that one.

M:  I really liked that one

loved her character development in such a short story

J:  I knew where it was going, but I didn’t mind. in fact, I cheered because of it

M:  yes, yes

J:  oh! I read the latest Catherine Bybee, Fiance by Friday

M:  you said you liked

my mom read those and said they were cute

J:  I did. I think it’s my fave of that series so far

this hero was alpha and beta combined

very quiet, reserved, and ferocious

I  liked him a lot more than the others

Cute series. you’ll understand why I picked it up with the first story

heh

M:  I read part of another series – Songs of Submission by CD Reiss

it’s a serial/installment thing, though. Not a fan of novellas ending just to get you to pay 2 or 3.99 to see what happens next, but she had the first three of a seven book set bundled at a decent price

the first one – Beg – was free, so I tried.

J:  good?

M:  Yeah. I did go on to buy the first three bundle pack, and the fourth was free, as well

really pretty good for that kind of genre – erotica, rich hero, poor heroine

but well-written, sexy, and the heroine has a ton of backbone

J:  oh, that’s a nice change

M:  not the usual Mary Sue “oh my god, is that a penis? Ew, spank me with it.”

J:  hahahaha

I love you

I did read another cute trio in one book bundle

it’s an opposites attract thing

hang on…oh, heh

Opposites Attract by Cat Johnson

and I read Bit by the Bug by Michelle Pillow

cute but a little too long

M:  ooh, I haven’t heard of those

J:  the trio was really cute

short and satisfying

M:  I think you’d like the Downtime m/m book. the one guy is geeky sweet

I read a Lori Foster that was on sale, Run the Risk. I like her for good escapism reads. Like her heroes, and this was/is on sale for 1.99 kindle

I’ve read a shit ton

J:  I don’t know her stuff…

M:  another m/m by Josephine Myles that was good, Handle With Care

J:  you have been reading a lot

M:  Drawing the Line by Kimberly Kincaid – predictable, short, but easy read

J:  I like short. what’s that one about?

M:  A cop and witness he’s protecting

Read Kiss of Fire by Rebecca Ethington – YA paranormal, interesting first of a series. Writing eh but the story was compelling

another YA that was free. The writing was really only okay, way too Twilight-clone, but I read through the three books – bundled

Blood Like Poison or something like that

skimmed through, mostly. she did have me wanting to know what happened

a couple others that were DNF – boring or too repetitive

J:  YA is a little sad lately

everything looks the same

M:  ooh, a Sandra Brown that was good – Envy. Interesting structure. Also on sale for 1.99

ugh, so many of the YA and NA are so much the same

I read a review of one – on Dear Author, maybe? – that talked about how so many are about kids dealing with adult problems

which happens, of course

but what about kids having kid problems? Interesting thoughts

J:  well, you know how I feel about it

I like to write real kids

maybe not real problems *cough* psychics

I really worry Oracles will be soundly trounced when it starts making the rounds because they’re actual kids

M:  well, hopefully it’ll find those who want real kids

refreshing

Speaking of which, I need more coffee. I shall refrain from supplementing with Kahlua while I wait for today’s mortgage fire drill emergency. Sigh.

brb

photo credit: underminingme via photopin cc

J to tha M Review: What M’s Been Reading

Our scheduled review and reviewer couldn’t make it today, so you get me again.

M Talks Kristen Ashley. And I Like

own-the-wind-2-3_4So, yeah, I’m may be late to the Kristen Ashley club, but boy, I have arrived. I’d heard her name and good things about her stories but never picked one up. Most of what I’d heard rumblings about was her Motorcycle Man books, and to be honest, that only slightly intrigued me. For no particular reason, really, other than I’ve simply never read any motorcycle club books or even watched Sons of Anarchy (although I have listened and grinned at J spouting all things Charlie Hunnan). But then, Ashley’s new Chaos series novel, Own the Wind, went on sale, and I do love a sale on a reputed good book, so I went and checked it out.

You all know how I love a well-written bad boy alpha hero with a heart of gold. Yep, sold. And swoon.

And, oh, Shy was. Swoony and alpha bad boy in all the good ways and a big old heart who loved his woman, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Yep, I got the starry eyes over him. And Tab was a great strong heroine who stayed true to herself while working to accept growing up and everything Shy was without wanting to change him. I love that, too.

Ashley has a unique writing style that took a little getting used to, but I fell right into the characters and story. The change in POV, and going from first to third in those changes, did throw me a little, but she didn’t use that often and while the technique did pull me out a bit, nothing that really bothered me. Also the time skipping ahead, the chapter and section breaks starting with “Three months later…” “Six Weeks later…” Wish that could have been smoother, but overall, very minor pulls out of the story and the story and characters were well worth the read.

I enjoyed the way Ashley handled the character growth while keeping true to their personalities and who they were at the core. A refreshing change from many romance plots, where often the alpha hero tuns into a whipped pile of whatev to prove he loves the heroine, or she becomes a doormat because he’s so hot. Both Shy and Tab did things they came to realize were mistakes, accepted their own failings as well as the others’, dealt with them, and moved on. Ashley is able to show you both sides of a situation, put you right in a character’s head and make you feel  their thoughts and actions are the right ones, then make you see the errors of their ways right along with that character, see both sides, balance and deal with them, and then move forward right along with the hero and heroine.

I also really liked the way she handled the “outing” of Tab and Shy’s relationship. They tried to keep their burgeoning feelings quiet to settle in and be comfortable themselves first, but when they are inevitably found out, instead of groveling for everyone’s forgiveness, Ashley had them handle it head on, stand up for themselves, point out how it’s no one’s business who they sleep with, they have no obligation to tell everyone who they’re sleeping with, and it’s no one’s place to make judgements about what they choose to make common knowledge about who they’re sleeping with. Bravo! So refreshing and yay! And even better, Ashley addresses both sides, showing how their friends and family could still be upset- and make that sound reasonable, too – that they felt they should hide their relationship for any other reason that those Tab gets into their shit about. I was cheering the whole way through that scene. I love getting pulled in and taking a side of one character, only to have the author skillfully show the other side, and have you cheer for them, too, and then take in the entirety of the whole situation. I wish we all had that ability in real life, and I don’t just mean writing about it.

So, yeah. I loved Own the Wind and will definitely by the next in the series, Fire Inside, and then go buy the precursor, the Dream Man series.

6538757What I did buy after finishing was another Kristen Ashley book that was on sale, Rock Chick. I liked this one, too. Reminded me of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, but better, and Linda Howard’s To Die For. Light, silly, sexy, and fun. Ashley gives great bad boy alpha heroes. I’ll definitely continue on with this series. Each features different characters but includes old favorites, and they sound just as sexy-heroed and fun as the first.

And then. Looking through more of Ashley’s back list, what do I see? A series of anti-heroes? Be still my heart. I mean, I love a well-written bad boy alpha hero, but a bad boy alpha anti-hero? My excitement and joy knew no bounds. So, I bought Knight, and oh yeah. Very nicely done. Sexy and uncomfortable and wow and amazing and holy shit all in one. Not for the faint of heart, but if that’s your kink like it is mine, you’re in for a ride. I’m still a hot mess and conflicted and loving it all at once.

41S8guclCULAshley shows great versatility in her ability to go from a tough guy motorcycle club, a light hearted comedic romp, and a darkish erotica, although her heroes have a strong common thread of that bad boy dangerous alpha. Her unique writing style quirks and dialog style remain a little too similar throughout the 3 1/2 books I’ve read so far despite the vastly different sub-genres. That hasn’t really bothered me too much yet as it is different, fun, and sexy, but we’ll see as I read more into her backlist.

With more than twenty books in her backlist, I think you’ll find one that intrigues and I definitely recommend giving her books a shot if you haven’t already. If you have, give J and I your thoughts on what you’ve read and what you’d recommend a latecomer to the Kristen Ashely fanclub.

About the Author:

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.

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

J to tha M Review: The Transplanted Tales Series

Rounding Out our Kate SeRine Week Celebration

J and I were going to do a chat review of Kate’s Transplanted Tales series, but our best laid plans did not come to fruition for a couple of reasons. I’ve been lunatic busy and distracted this week, and J abandoned me for the Bobby Long concert in Atlanta this weekend, which, in all honestly is one of the only acceptable excuses for skipping out on your partner in crime, damn her. Second, we realized we’ve already posted all the things we adore about the Transplanted Tales and are bordering on being gushy, which gets close to that fluffcoud line. Since I’m left alone in the wheelhouse this weekend…well, you all know who floats the cotton candy boat around here (hint – it ain’t me). In that light, I made the executive decision to give you all the rundown on the novels that have captured our fangirl love and trust that you’ve picked up enough in the J to tha M chats here and here this past week to get that we’d definitely give the books in the series 5 monkeys right down the line.

I first heard about RED on a blog somewhere when the story first came out and was intrigued enough to put it on my want to read list. A few months later, a note from Kate’s critique partner, Cecy Robson, came across my local Greater Seattle RWA chapter loop that RED was free for the day. I mention this just to show that those free days really can work 😉 I immediately downloaded, and when scrolling through my Kindle carousel for what to read next, saw the fun cover and opened the book.

What do you get when you cross an egomaniacal fairy godmother, an arrogant genie, and a couple of wandering plagiarists whose idea of cultural preservation is stealing the stories of unsuspecting villagers and passing them off as their own?

If I were tossing back a few shots of Goose with the guys at Ever Afters, I might chuckle at such an intriguing setup for what has all the promise of a hilarious punch line–except the punch line of this little beauty isn’t funny at all. ‘Cause what you get, my friend, is a pissing contest of epic proportions.

After I read those first lines from RED, I knew we were going to be friends. Me and the book that is, and I wasn’t disappointed. Haven’t been, as a matter of fact, even three books later. Most of you know how much I enjoy clever twisties in the stories I read, and the Transplanted tales have that in abundance. I could go on and on how Kate has woven the classic fairytales and literary characters together in a way that makes you not only totally buy into her version, but wish there really were Tales from the land of Make Believe living in the Here and Now. If you enjoy a clever weaving of familiar stories and characters turned on their, um, tales, and incorporated into an original and extremely fun new world, give Kate SeRine’s Transplanted tales series a try. Then come back and tell us what you think!

Thanks – M

Transplanted Tales by Kate SeRine

About the Books:

Red by Kate SeRine

RED

“My name is Tess Little. But everyone calls me Red.”

Once upon a time, a spell went awry, stranding Make Believe characters in the ordinary world. Since then, Tess “Red” Little—a/k/a Little Red Riding Hood—has worked as an Enforcer for the Chicago branch of the Fairytale Management Authority. But, consider yourself warned—she’s not just some waif with a basket of goodies. All grown up and with nothing to lose, a gun and combat boots is more her style. And Red’s new assignment threatens to be short on happily ever afters…

Someone is murdering transplanted Tales in gruesome fashion. The list of fictional characters capable of such grisly acts is short and includes more than one of Red’s old flames. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s another complication, in the form of sexy, enigmatic Nate Grimm, the FMA’s lead detective and part-time Reaper. Used to following her own rules and living life on the edge, Red has managed to avoid taking on a partner until now. But Nate’s dark side makes him perfect for a case like this. That is, if she can trust him. Because if there’s one thing Red knows for sure, it’s that believing in the wrong person can have big, bad consequences…

The Better To See You by Kate SeRine

The Better to See You

Once upon a time, a spell went awry and Make Believe characters were cast into the ordinary world. And the results aren’t always happily ever after…

Everyone thinks fairy godmothers can do no wrong. But if not for a certain spell mis-cast by Lavender Seelie, Cinderella’s former fairy godmother, the Tales would not be stuck in the Here and Now. Fortunately for Lavender, she’s about to get a second chance at a happy ending…

The Refuge, a sanctuary for wayward Tales, seems like the perfect place for Lavender to start a new life—especially when she discovers an unexpected ally in Seth, the brooding werewolf who’s been typecast as a villain ever since his run in with Little Red Riding Hood. But when humans from nearby towns start turning up dead, their bodies mutilated with archaic Tale symbols, Lavender wonders if Seth’s deep sensuality has blinded her to the truth. And that distraction could put innocent lives in danger. Including her own…

Along Came a Spider by Kate SeRine

Along Came a Spider

Along came a spider…

When Trish Muffet is attacked at a grisly crime scene, the last person she expects to come to her rescue is Nicky “Little Boy” Blue. But since walking away from everything two years before, Nicky’s been doling out vigilante justice as “The Spider,” taking on the vicious predators of the night in hopes it’ll lead him to his ultimate target – Vlad Dracula. And he needs Trish’s help.

Although Nicky’s renegade style goes against everything Trish stands for, she’ll do what she must to bring Dracula down. With danger stalking her, Trish knows the only person she can count on is the one man who has the power to leave her breathless. There’s no way she’s letting this spider frighten her away…

About the Author:

Kate SeRine (pronounced “serene”) faithfully watched weekend monster movie marathons while growing up, each week hoping that maybe this time the creature du jour would get the girl. But every week she was disappointed. So when she began writing her own stories, Kate vowed that her characters would always have a happily ever after. And, thus, her love for paranormal romance was born.

Kate is a member of Romance Writers of America and of Indiana RWA and has been a finalist in the Fire and Ice Contest (2010), the Finally a Bride Contest (2010), and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence (2013), and is the recipient of The Emily (2012) and the National Readers Choice Award (2013). She is represented by Nicole Resciniti with the Seymour Agency.

Kate lives in a smallish, quintessentially Midwestern town with her husband and two sons, who share her love of storytelling. She never tires of creating new worlds to share and is even now working on her next project.

Find Kate on her website, blog, Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for great Transplanted Tales prizes and swag from Kate!

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Too Much (or Not Enough) of a Good Thing?

medium_5795161232J:  I’m trying to think of the stuff I’ve read lately

My nerd kick led me to Nerd in Shining Armor

ehhhhh

and Love Kinection

better than ehhhh but still not everything I ever dreamed of

I should actually say Shining Armor was cute

but not what I expected

and the author of Love Kinection took too much pride in the nerdiness, but the story was pretty cute

M:  Oh yeah? I like the titles

J:  It was just a big dump of the geekiest things the author could think of

like she polled people for ideas and then threw them all in there

pop culture references galore

you know how I feel about those

besides dating a book…

I mean, there was Buffy, Star Wars, Star Trek,

stuff I’ve never heard of, comic books, nintendo, nerdy references that only nerds get, joss whedon, conventions. it never ended

that was Love Kinection

cute story. cute hero

too much nerd

M:  it’s a fine balance, like the alpha bad boy/alphahole. Too much is sometimes…too much.

J:  yeah. I would have loved the story otherwise

and the Nerd in Shining Armor was like “what else can we get these guys into?”

psychic brother, psychotic boss, heroine from the hills of Tennessee (little offensive there, too, though I know there are people like that here), color blind hero, set in Hawaii, plane crash, overprotective mother

the hero was adorable, just as I’d hoped

and adoring, like the shy guys are

but I sighed a lot

M:  I finished the Alpha Bad Boys 7 book pack – 99 cents when I bought

I liked the Olivia Cunning stories, I’d read her again

and Shayla Black’s story was good. Worth buying for those three stories alone

Started out good with those, but the rest I pretty much skimmed through

like, major skim

J:  assholes instead of alphas?

M:  snoozeholes

J:  hahahahaha

M:  the stories from the third one on did not hold my interest

not so much alpha or enticing

I mean, I was expecting some serious, bordering-on-alphahole heroes, and none of them really were

I was a bit disappointed. Maybe my idea of alpha bad boys differs, though, so…

J:  I can’t handle alphaholes

M:  I like a certain amount of arrogant alpha

as long as they have a good heart

these weren’t heroes I’d pull together specifically for a collection of that title, but that’s me

and there is a difference between an alpha bad boy and an alphahole

so there’s that

but these were just…romance heroes

and not that they weren’t good heroes, but just not what I get excited about when I think of alpha bad boys

J:  I feel like I’ve read more than just the geek ones lately…hmmm

M:  I read a couple of Entangled Brazen that were/are on sale to celebrate their birthday

all were pretty good

Game for Marriage by Karen Erickson – football player hero marriage for convenience/bolster his reputation. I’ve read a few by her lately and they’ve all been pretty good

Officer Off Limits by Tessa Bailey – hostage negotiator hero who falls for his boss’s daughter, forbidden romance angle. I’d read more of her stuff

I started One Night with a Hero by Laura Kaye, military hero one night stand turns into next door neighbor and related complications

only a little ways in, but so far so good. I’ve read a few of hers before, too, and they’re all  solid good-old sexy romance.

J:  Ooh, an Entangled one comes out today about a geek

must go buy

M:  read a couple m/m that were free and pleasant surprises

Reaching the Edge by LM Somerton. On sale for 80 cents

and Yes, Sir – a free short erotic novella that was pretty steamy and decent. I’d read more from both of them.

I read a couple of Skye Warren books, too

they were solid, but very different subject material. dubious consent, non-consent, that very dark side of erotica. Definitely not for everybody.

J:  holy crap. when do you read?

has it been that long since we chatted about books?

M:  I’ve read a ton. the past couple of weeks have been hella stressful and distracting

so I read if I can’t write

the one click ordering is so dangerous

J:  I agree with that. I ration myself

hahaha

not myself. my books. my money

or I’d never do anything

M:  I tried, but fell into the purposeful delusion of “oh, it’s on sale. That doesn’t count.”

and wheee

I can find lots of good books on sale

but I do have a new house and lots of fun remodeling to pay for soon, so…

budgeting sucks

but then, “it’s only 99 cents. What’s 99 cents?”

times fifty

J:  it’s a lot if you buy one a day

exactly

M:  I figure I’m doing good with one a day

I mean, I don’t buy coffees or anything. No Starbucks on the island.

right? heh

J:  that’s how I justify my pedicures

lol

I don’t buy handbags or shoes, so….

M:  yeah, those aren’t my crack

Buying books? Oh, yeah.

Speaking of which…

brb

photo credit: Domiriel via photopin cc