December 17, 2014

Romance and the Other Woman: Maybe this Christmas by Sarah Morgan

Cover description: A man carries a woman while they kiss. They are wearing winter clothes and it's snowing.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Warning: Unannounced spoilers, proceed with caution.

This post should be my “Best of/Favorites” list, but I just need to accept that, if the list is happening, it will be in January. I read many great books this year, but I don’t have the energy or time to put a decent post together. So instead, you get a review that I’ve been trying to write for over two months, but hey, it’s a Christmas books, so at least there’s that.

Here’s the deal: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that in a series featuring a bunch of hunky brothers, the most compelling one always goes last. This means that even though I loved the first two books (book one being my favorite) Tyler, the final brother, was always there, lurking and tempting us with the promise of a great final book. And although yes, the book was compulsively readable and almost impossible to put down, what started as a combination of anticipation and joy, slowly transformed into a ball of uncomfortable feelings, to the point where I’m not sure whether the unputdownable (<-- a real word, believe it or not) qualities of the book came from my original expectations or from the sheer trainwreckiness (<-- not a real word, sadly) of the story.

November 12, 2014

Hale No, RT!

Image description: the logo of RT. It's blue and it reads: RT Book Reviews, read smarter!

ETA 2: I'm adding this one on top of the post, because RT has issued an official, public statement condemning Hale's actions and saying that they are working on an anti-harassment policy. I'm happy to see that they take our concerns and safety seriously.

ETA 3: This is the last one, I promise (and hope!). This isn't about the Seal of Excellence. We know it was awarded way before everything happened; this is about the Book of the Year nomination (and yes, I know they are somewhat related). 

I say this because there's a lot of emphasis on the SoE, and I want it to be clear that that's not the issue here. Finally, unequivocally means there shouldn't be room for doubt, so I probably wouldn't use that word, considering that the Book of the Year nomination remains (as far as I can tell). 

I'll stop here, before someone starts subtweeting about me. Oh, wait! 

I have a love-hate relationship with “Best of” lists and book awards. Every year I celebrate when books I loved get mentions and nominations, and despair when the next book on the list is one I hated. But everyone with an opinion is bound to have mixed feelings each season, so I (mostly) roll with it, and in some cases, I just ignore the offending award.

The RT Awards nominees were announced yesterday and just when I thought that nominating the ignorant, terrible, no good, super-racist sounding Primitive Nights (I mean, Jesus Christ, go read that review so we can be miserable together) would be the worst thing I would find on that list, this happened:

Image description: screen-cap of the RT Book of the Year nomination for Hale's book.

Yep, Kathleen Hale’s book was nominated for RT Book of the Year.

October 28, 2014

Through the Nostalgia Glass: The Velvet Promise by Jude Deveraux

Warning: all the spoilers.

Cover description: old-school cover featuring a drawing of a man wearing a purple robe kissing a red-haired woman wearing a yellow dress.Welcome to the post that took me over a year to write! If you were wondering what took me so long, the answer is: I’m super lazy and my ability to procrastinate is close to a superpower, like I was bitten by a radioactive excuse or something. I was also a bit afraid to revisit a book that’s so close to my heart, a fear that, as you’re about to see, proved to be both right and unnecessary. But really, I was mostly being lazy.

The goal of this post (that may or may not become a feature, but I’m not making any promises) is to revisit beloved old favorites and see how they hold up to the reader I am today. This means that I’m interested in how my current context shapes the reading experience, and not in how the book’s past context shaped the way it was written.

October 22, 2014

Blogger Blackout

Blogger Blackout Badge Description: White noise picture over a black background. Under the image it reads: Blogger Blackout, Because Stalking is Not Okay
Badge made by Kaetrin. Image attribution: Jorge Stolfi 

I almost used a hashtag on the title, but I decided not to. You’re welcome!

By now, and especially if you are a blogger, you have probably heard about how author Kathleen Hale went through great lengths to obtain a reviewer’s personal info, her home address included, and then proceeded to use that info to visit the blogger’s house and call her at work. Then she wrote an article about it and The Guardian published it (I'm not linking to it, but I'm sure you can find it).

The rest is (ongoing) history.

October 5, 2014


The winner of WILD by Jill Sorenson is Lynn R.
The winner of RIDING DIRTY by Jill Sorenson is Justine.

Congrats, ladies! Please check your inbox and reply as soon as possible. If you didn't get my email, contact me at

To everyone else, thank you so much for stopping by, and thanks to Jill for providing the books and for the great interview. Have a great week!

October 1, 2014

Because I Never Learn from Past Reading Mistakes: In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

TW: Fat-shaming and fat-hatred.  

Cover description: A man and a woman sit on top of two wine barrels while a German Shepherd puppy looks up on them. The background is a winter landscape with a red barn.
To say that I have disliked Ms. Higgins’ most recent books is an understatement, yet here I am, reading and reviewing her newest. In my shameful defense, I still get excited when I see she has a new book out; I can’t stop myself from requesting it from NetGalley, and then I go home and read them in one sitting. I know some object to reviewers who read books they know they will hate, and I understand that, even if I don’t share the sentiment. But believe me when I tell you that the excitement I still feel about these books comes with a heavy dose of hope that this time they won’t punch me in the face with their gross transphobia, slut-shaming and casual racism. So think of this opening paragraph as a disclosure of bias and know that my subjectivity has been compromised.

In Your Dreams is about a desperate single lady, desperately seeking some desperate man who will be her plus-one at her ex’s wedding. As you can see, it’s a very desperate situation, after all, the only thing worse than going to a wedding alone, is if said wedding is that of your ex. Now, these books are very into single ladies who need a man to validate their lives, so the fact that this one repeats the pattern isn't a surprise, and although it’s a great source of perfectly valid criticism, it hasn't stopped me from reading all the books, which is why I’m moving on to my next complaint, also known as the moment the story sucker-punched me.

September 30, 2014

That One Time a Publisher Sued a Blogger

Image description: the Dear Author logo. It's a postage stamp with the illustration of a woman's profile and a round seal on top that reads Dear Author.

By now, you have probably heard that last week Ellora’s Cave sued Dear Author and Jane Litte for defamation.

When I first heard about the lawsuit, I thought it was a joke. My second thought was that my blogging days were over, because I was suddenly very afraid. Not only was EC suing a blog, they were also suing a blogger and using her legal name*, effectively doxxing her. Other things I briefly considered were stop posting negative reviews or stop the reviews altogether and just write general articles that didn't mention specific books. That’s not going to happen, but for a moment there it felt like the only viable option. Even if EC just wants to gag DA and frighten their authors into silence, the chilling effect, as Sunita puts it, is likely to inhibit other voices and criticism including authors, readers, and bloggers, which is why this is an issue that affects and concerns us all.
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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.