March 26, 2015

Full Disclosure


By now I’m sure everyone knows that Jane from Dear Author came out as author Jen Frederick. This revelation has caused, and will continue to cause a lot of pain, anger, and disappointment (to say the least). So I wanted to come clean about my role in it.

A couple of years ago Jane emailed me to ask if I would help her with a secret project, when I said yes, she explained that she had written a New Adult book and asked if I would read it and told her my thoughts. I was happy for her, so I beta-read the book. After that, I also read the second book she wrote, Unspoken, and some chapters of books 3 and 4. I never had any issues with her writing a book, and I understood the reasons why she wanted to keep her identity secret.

Jane made a lot of mistakes, though, some of them very serious and perhaps unforgivable, and in hindsight, keeping it a secret was one of them. There were things I didn’t know, other things that I wrongly assumed, and some implications that never even crossed my mind until yesterday. I went from surprise to see DA reviewers feeling blindsided by the announcement, to appalled when I read about the times the books appeared on DA, and felt even worse when I read about the authors loops on the Passive Voice letter. And today I’m heartbroken after seeing the effects this is having in people who trusted Jane and Jen and in people who, regardless of how they felt about Jane and DA, are seeing the community suffer so much damage. I’m sad and disappointed for the role I played in this and for not voicing my concerns. I don’t regret supporting a friend, and I believe Jane always had the best intentions, but intentions don’t take away the pain or make the deception less bad.

I accept the consequences this will have for me, the blog, and my relationships with many people I like, admire and respect. And not only do I understand the criticism and anger, I think it’s entirely justified, and in many ways I share the feelings being expressed. I know this is probably a lousy apology/announcement, and you don’t have to believe or trust me, but I don’t want anyone to feel dismissed by what I’m saying here. I’m no longer Jane’s beta-reader, and I’m saddened by how many relationships have been damaged and for the breach of trust. I'm still sorting out my feelings and what this means for me.

Finally I want to make a few clarifications:

I don’t know who else knew. I made some assumptions that were proven wrong yesterday, but I always only discussed the books with Jane alone.

I sincerely like the New Adult... whatever it is (genre, sub-genre, etc.). I have been critical when I thought the book(s) deserved it, and when I've praised a book it had nothing to do with Jane or her books. You can check all my NA reviews here if you're curious. I've also been talking about NA since before I knew Jane had written a book.

I haven’t read the books Jane co-authored with Jessica Clare, in fact, I learned about them when I saw the first one on Goodreads. I also didn’t know about the Berkley deal until the publisher sent me its monthly ARC email. I say this because I’ve talked about how much I like Clare’s Games series, and I want to state as clearly as possible that those tweets and comments were motivated by my enthusiasm and nothing else. I’ve had a couple of interactions with Jessica Clare on Twitter (most of them were me asking her about new releases), but that’s as far as our relationship goes. I also never promoted or mentioned Jane’s books either here on the blog or in social media; I only mentioned the first one on twitter once during release day and I stated that I knew the author and that I had beta-read the book.
I’m not an author (aspiring or secret); I have no issues with authors who also review; I used to review for Heroes & Hearbreakers, which is sponsored by McMillan, but I stopped because I didn’t have the time. I’ve always been honest in my reviews and online interactions. I don’t beta-read for anyone else, and I have no inside information on any other book by any other author. My relationships with the authors and other industry members I follow go as far as what you see on twitter.

One last quick note: I won’t be online much until Sunday night, so I probably won’t have time to reply to comments until then, but I’m not ignoring anyone and you can always reach me through email. If this post seems rushed, is because I wanted to have it out in the open as soon as possible.

Thank you so much for listening.

March 23, 2015

Because It's Never Too Late: My Favorite Books of 2014


Image description: two open books one on top of the other on the foreground and a stack of books on the background.
Image Credit: Abhi Sharma

I don’t know about you, but I always thought that January  February  March needed more “Best of” lists. I mean, why so greedy, December?  Why do you hoard all the lists? Since I’m contrary like that (and didn’t have time to write this thing in December when I should have and then the months kept passing and it became The Beast to Be Defeated! GAH!!!) and because it’s never too late to annoy people with my choices, today I present you with my The Most Memorable List of Bestest Books that Ever Booked in 2014. It’s not going to be predictable or repetitive at all, so get ready to be blown away by so much awesomeness!

On a more serious note I must say that I always have good reading years, so you won’t hear me complain about having a hard time finding good books or coming up with ten titles to put on the list, but this year my productivity was so lacking and my reading so scattered, that even now, after I’ve had time to think about what I read, what I loved and why, I can’t even find the energy to remember. So memorable is a good way to describe these books, because they were the ones that first came to mind when I was having a hard time mustering the enthusiasm to blog.

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

Winners!



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 brie.clementineATgmail.com

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!
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FTC Disclaimer

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.