Thoughts and Opinions

Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2014

I’ve been blogging for not quite a year, but here’s my most popular posts so far.

Open Library-Borrow Books for Free

This one makes good sense to me, because hey, who doesn’t like to read free and legally?

Dear Author Legal Defense Fund

Probably the most shocking thing besides the stalking to have happened in the romance blogging community in the past year. My thoughts on the actual event didn’t get so many hits, but man did the community rally.

Inn at Last Chance

This one really surprised me, I gave it a middling review and inspirationals aren’t typically my milieu.

Free – Wrecked by Meljean Brook is Free

I guess this one it is not terribly surprising, people love free. It’s not still free of course, but it is still an excellent series.

Review – Air Bound

Christine Feehan is a highly polarizing author, but love her or hate her, she’s big business in the paranormal romance genre.

Goodreads “Ask the Author”

Ask the author is a really cool thing Goodreads is doing. Yeah, I know anyone can do it (that is in fact what makes it so very cool) but damn was I excited the author actually answered my question.

Sweetest Surrender

This post was from back at the start of my blog, I didn’t say much, but I really did like the story. While I wouldn’t say I’m a fabulous blogger yet, at least I can say I’ve improved.

Review – Moonshine Takhini Wolves Book 4

Arend is a prolific writer across several genres. I really enjoy her work, but she probably isn’t one of the most well known authors yet, so it surprised me that my posts on her books get so many hits.

Review – Dark Blood

Out of over 100 posts I made since I started this blog in April, only two of them were for Christine Feehan, and both of them made the top 10 list. Apparently, polarizing gets the hits. As much as I liked Air Bound, I kind of didn’t enjoy Dark Blood. My final summation: “So, as much as I am complaining, I am giving this 3 stars because IMO, Feehan’s heroes have become much less rapey and FINALLY we have a hero that checks consent, because it kept me entertained, and actually entertained enough that I will likely still read the next book (I just can’t quit Feehan), and nostalgia-because I have now been in this series for 26 books and apparently I just can’t quit Feehan.”

The Collector

This is another one of my earlier posts, so I suspect the number of hits has more to do with the length of time that it was up rather than any intrinsically helpful,quality in my review.

I am not sure what this pattern tells me, but it is interesting to see how I have progressed in my blogging style. I am looking forward to the coming year and future books to Read and reviewed.

Thoughts and Opinions

Just how politically correct does a fiction blogger need to be?

Last week All About Romance posted an announcement that they were starting a companion series to their “Dreamboat or Douchebag” series, which resulted in such vitriol that an apology was posted. The original post stated fairly clearly that some of the title ideas were in jest, but apparently some people were outraged. I struggle with this a bit for several reasons. One, by the nature of the topic you just aren’t going to be able to use a “nice” descriptor, it would completely defeat the purpose. Secondly, while there was some outcry against the use of the word douchebag to describe the men, it never seemed to reach these levels AND it was mostly framed as an issue of why a feminine gendered descriptor was an insult to men. So it wasn’t about the men and consequently, to me, that smacks of the worst sort of hypocrisy. Thirdly I am somewhat conflicted on the idea that it isn’t acceptable to judge fictional characters. For me at least, things that would never fly with me when it comes to real humans, I don’t find so outraging when it comes to fictional characters. I just have this feeling that both when writing the characters and when judging them, since it is fiction, it should remain a safe place to explore this sort of thing without the moral issues that come into play with real people. Maybe I’m wrong on that, maybe I’m contributing to the negative cultural mores I rail against in real life, but those are my feelings.

As far as the actual title goes, I favor “Keeper or Kick-her-to-the-curb”. And I favor it not specifically because of the lack of outraging or denigrating terms, but BECAUSE I feel that sometimes only a bitch or a shrew will do. So I’ll likely continue to judge fictional characters, and I’m likely to think of them in terms that some people will find objectionable. Probably the only difference I’ll make is to try to explain my motivations and meanings a little better. And I hope All About Romance doesn’t decide to scrap the project, because frankly it’s fun to judge, and it’s also extremely illuminating to see just how differently people interpret and judge things. Frankly I kind of thought that was the whole point in blogging about fiction, because taste is so subjective and it’s certainly not universal.
5 star review

Goodreads Choice Awards 2014 Review – The Martian

The Martian
by Andy Weir

This is definitely not remotely a romance. The vast majority of the time this novel focuses on one solitary man. Now that I have that out of the way, on to the review. I picked this up because it was the only Goodreads Choice Award Winner that piqued my interest. It was outside of my normal bailiwick, but I do enjoy the occasional science fiction story, so I figured why not. And I am so incredibly glad I did. Some of the thrill was probably just the palate cleansing effect of reading :shudders: NOT ROMANCE. But, I think most of the effect was the fact that this is a legitimately good and interesting book. It is commonly described as “Apollo 13 meets Cast Away”, which if that makes you want to read it I say go for it, but if it doesn’t, well I think that is actually a horrible description. Mine? Mark Watney is Q from James Bond meets MacGyver… ON MARS! He is hilarious, with this irrepressible spirit, and he has this incredibly smart/sexy thing happening and he survives everything Mars has to throw at him with intelligence, science, and creativity. Honestly, I’d love to hang out with him in person, maybe stand him for a beer, and have his babies. Wait, that just slipped out, so maybe this is a romance…mine.

Just for fun, here are some of my favorite quotes:

“My asshole is doing as much to keep me alive as my brain.”

“I’m the King of Mars.”
“I don’t want to come off as arrogant here, but I’m the best botanist on the planet.”
“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped.”
“I’ll call it a “pirate-ninja.”
“As with most of life’s problems, this one can be solved by a box of pure radiation.”
You’re sending him to space under a tarp?”

“…apparently, I smell like a skunk took a shit on some sweat socks. This is the happiest day of my life.”

3.5 star review

ARC Review – Watch Me

Watch Me

Watch Me
by Cynthia Eden

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

OK, so you need to know up front, I adore Cynthia Eden. Her books tend to be like crack for me. And this book even more so. By that I mean, it is addictive, with a quick short high, that doesn’t last long, and leaves you scrambling for the next one, often with very little memory of that previous high.

This is romantic suspense lite, there isn’t a lot of depth to the plot or the characters, and the mystery while tricky wasn’t really explored much, it was just BAM and there it was. Don’t get me wrong, I really did enjoy this book, I am looking forward to the rest of the series, and it was just a ton of fun while it lasted (so altogether a whole lot better than crack), it just isn’t likely to go on my re-read list.

Chance Valentine is the secretive, dangerous, and sexy body guard. Gwen Hawthorne is the feisty but loving heroine. They have years of back story, but we really don’t get to see any of that, and of course they love each other (and always have).

3.5 stars


Free – Wrecked by Meljean Brook is FREE

Ok, so the title says it all. But Wrecked is free over at amazon.

Even more interesting, Meljean has contact to get an epub from her if kindle isn’t your thing.

Since I read this series in order, I am a bit unqualified to determine how this fares as a stand alone, but this is my absolute favorite steam punk series. So I highly recommend it.


Review – Dead But Not Forgotten Stories from the World of Sookie Stackhouse

Dead But Not Forgotten
edited by Charlaine Harris

OK, so I am a sucker and I borrowed it. I mean really, how many ways are there to hose a fan base? Now we have fan-fic of her series? But I really wanted to see MaryJanice Davidson’s take on Eric. While I never felt the antipathy so many people felt toward Dead Ever After, I remained somewhat dissatisfied with Eric’s ending, and After Dead really only made it worse. Hind sight is 20/20, and re-reading only makes it truer, so going back and re-reading the ENTIRE series made me see even more clearly that it was always only and ever Sam for Sookie. But still, I adored Eric and I didn’t like how his ending was left. And I really enjoy MaryJanice Davidson, so I figured this was a shot, much like when I tracked down the book Scarlett when Gone With the Wind left me too depressed. And much like Scarlett, while the tone was a little off, it was good to see my favorite characters overcome. MaryJanice Davidson gave me back the 4 steps ahead of everyone, devious and conniving Northman. So I am going to take my Davidson provided Eric ending and enjoy it.

The rest of the stories were hit and miss, some of the authors were obviously not as familiar as they should have been with the source material, and tone and characterization were problematic throughout. I don’t know that I would actually recommend this to anyone, and I certainly wouldn’t advise buying it, but if your library or a friend has a copy you could borrow, if you are anything like me about needing closure, you might open it up to Widower’s Walk.


Goodreads Best Books of 2014

Goodreads annual reader poll results are up here.

I’ll admit that it is hard to get into it when my personal favorite books didn’t win. Honestly, I think there should be more romance categories, but that is a personal bias. One winner did however pique my interest, in the Science Fiction Category Andy Weir’s The Martian seems like, despite the fact that it isn’t remotely romance, it may just be my cup of tea. but, if you are a loss for what to read next, dig through not just the winners but also the nominees, there is some great stuff out there.

4 star review

Review – Night Shift

Night Shift
by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, and Milla Vane
Night Shift

I was ecstatic when I saw this book coming out. It has 3 of my absolute must read authors in it.

Secrets at Midnight (Psi-Changeling 13.5?)

This novella stars Bastion and a new character as his heroine. I flip flopped a lot on this one. It just seemed somewhat uneven in terms of the plotting and the pacing. I went from aww that so sweet I love this, to what the heck that is just crazy, several times. And there is quite a twist in terms of Changeling physiology. It wasn’t necessarily bad; I just think it suffered a bit from the shorter format and time frame. While this could probably be read as a stand alone, I wouldn’t advise it. 3 stars

Magic Steals (Kate Daniels 7.5)

This is a Jim and Dali story, and I adore them. I will however admit that I threw a bit of a temper tantrum when I realized this story was set during magic Rises rather than after magic breaks. Tantrum done, I dug into the story and I adored it every bit as much as I expected to. We got into both of their heads so much and Dali got to know Jim so much better too. And there is a really touching scene with Dali’s mother. I am really enjoying seeing their story unfold, and these short stories work for them because we know so much about them and their lives from their relationships to the rest of the characters in the Kate Daniels world. I remain, as ever, conflicted on whether I want a full novel for them post haste (so I can gobble it down the unseemly greed), or if this unfolding through short stories is the better plan to prolong the enjoyment. This is absolutely not a stand alone. You have to at least read magic Dreams which was originally printed in Hexed, if not the entire Kate Daniels series. 5 Stars

Lucky Charms (SPI 0.5)

I could not get into the voice of this story and the plot just didn’t interest me. Presumably this is a stand alone as it appears to be a prequel. DNF

The Beast of Blackmoor

This was way, way darker and way more explicit than I was expecting from Meljean Brook AKA Milla Vane, but I suppose that is why it is under a different name, it isn’t the same as the rest of her books. That is by no means a bad thing, as it is really well written and the characters are well rendered even in this short format. It was just a surprise. It features an interesting peak into a new almost medieval fantasy world with deities who act dramatically and concretely in the world. fascinating stuff and I hope we see more like it. This is absolutely a stand alone. 4 Stars

Altogether I am rating this 4 stars