Thursday, February 27, 2014

Courtney Milan

Don't know how often you peruse our sidebar, but if you have a modicum of talent and are interested in self publishing, this is a must read:

The Temporary Wife by Mary Balogh

 It's been awhile since I've read anything by Mary Balogh. I loved the Simply and Slightly series and there's been a couple of stand alones since then. I'd forgotten what a good writer she is.

I bought The Temporary Wife in an unrelated duology. They're rereleasing her backlist in e and this plus A Promise of Spring were together. So far, I've just read the first story and then I just had to make this post.

I loved this story.

The premise may have been iffy, but the follow through was splendid.

Anthony Earheart, Marquess of Staunton is positive he hates his father, the Duke of Withingsby. He left his home precipitously and hasn't been back or in touch for eight years. Now his father has summoned him.

"He claims to be ailing. He reminds me that Lady Marie Lucas, daughter of the Earl of Tillden, is now seventeen years old - old enough, in fact, for the match arranged for us by our families at her birth to be elevated to a formal betrothal."

Tony will not be forced and he wants to embarrass autocratic father. So he advertises for a governess (he'll not "go lower than a gentlewoman") with the intent to marry her and present her to his father as his wife.  "She must also be impoverished, plain, demure, very ordinary, perhaps  prim. She must have all the personality of a - a quiet mouse." His 'wife' will only be needed for a few days and then she will be retired with six thousand pounds a year and etc., etc.

Charity Duncan applies for the job. Her father, a gentleman, died leaving nothing but debts. She and her oldest brother are working in London to support their younger siblings (4 of them!) and Charity is finding it difficult to find work.

Of course, she gets the job and of course, she turns out to be anything but mousey.

The thing is, the characters of these two protagonists and the secondary characters are so well fleshed out. I believed in their backstory and the reasoning for their gradual change of attitude. And through it all they remained true to themselves. I wondered if Charity might be considered a Mary Sue or a Pollyanna, but I never considered her so. She was just a very discerning young woman and she was a catalyst in the redemption of Tony's fractured family and Tony's fractured psyche.

There is a scene between Tony and his father which had me crying. I don't cry. I am a hardhearted bitch and I don't cry over books. I just don't.

Mary Balogh made me cry. She is just that good.

Of course, since it's a romance there is a HEA which comes sooner rather than later. This is one of those short Regencies that used to be published years ago. (Still may be, for all I know.)

I do recommend this book.  Highly.

She made me cry.

Amazon link

** for some reason it won't let me post the bookcover. I'm using Netflix ... I'm running out of engines, lol.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Letts

Another of my favorite books has been digitized, The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Letts. I'm not quite sure how to categorize her books, but they're not romances per se; I'd say they had romantic  elements and a deep understanding of the human psyche. I'd compare her to Fanny Flagg, another favorite of mine.

Caney Paxton is a paraplegic, injured during the Vietnam war. Along with PTSD, he has survivor's guilt because of the way he was injured. He's not left the Honk since it was built.

Vena Takes Horse and a badly injured dog show up at the Honk and change Caney's life.

The story of Caney and Vena and the others: Molly O, Bui Khanh, a Vietnamese refugee, and the regulars at the Honk and Holler, will warm your heart. All of them have problems and bad things can happen, but always there is hope and the resilience of the human spirit. Not everyone gets a happy ending (Mollie O and her daughter, Brenda), but the characters learn to accept what they must and then take their lives in a different direction.

Not all is depressing, there is humor too:

"A week later, the little locomotive in the city park was defaced with the word 'Niger' painted on its side either by a racist who couldn't spell or someone with an obscure connection to the age-old river which twisted its way through West Africa."


I highly recommend The Honk and Holler Opening Soon.  I loved all the characters, I loved the story, I loved the writing and the humor and even the pathos.

Amazon link

Monday, February 24, 2014

Rage Inducing Read

Have Their Cake and Eat It Too

Recently I read a series by Addison Fox, the Alaska Nights, three novels and a novella that were cute. Well, the first two novels were cute with two New Yorkers transplanted to a small town in Alaska where the men were a nice alpha looking but beta acting mix and it was fun to read their romances.

But then came the third book. In this book there was the hero and heroine who grew up together and he was a terrific hockey player who was recruited by a New York team and left town to pursue fame, leaving his girlfriend behind too.

I wanted to murderize the hero and slap the shit out of the heroine. It was a classic have his cake and eat it too situation that pissed me off no end. Enough so that I DNF’d yet another book.

This was something similar in KA’s Kaleidoscope book with the hero having a girlfriend but he and the heroine were friends and had a deep emotional/intellectual connection that bypassed his relationship with his girlfriend.

So basically these stories have the heroes getting anything/everything they want from the heroines and then leaving and coming back and again, getting everything they want. In KA’s book, the hero was an asshole and the heroine deserved better. In Fox’s book it went deeper and worse and I had a growing rage when reading it.

The heroine, Avery, had an alcoholic mother and she was taking care of her all her life (she died maybe a couple of years before the hero returns). The hero, Roman is the hockey whiz who gets his big league contract and leaves Avery who he had a deep connection with and goes to New York for glory.

So how does Roman get to not be a douche nozzle?

He refused to make Avery choose between him and her mother because it would have caused her resentment ultimately.

Wow. So caring. So considerate. So full of douche nuggetry that I wanted to make this fictional character real so I could kick him in the nuts. Yeah, the rage was great.

Seems to me that Avery deserved to make the choice for herself. And maybe not spending her life taking care of her adult alcoholic mother and instead having her own life with more happiness and I dunno, less unhappiness that was none of her choice or fault?

Oh yeah, and of course the hero is losing his eyesight so that means that he’s going to lose his career so the reader knows right off the bat that he’s not choosing the heroine at all, he’s losing his career so he’ll come home and coach the kids and then the nice heroine who spent years nursing her mother can now nurse Hottie McHockeyPants.

To say I hated it would be an understatement. I wanted her to smack him in the face, get together with the hot young bartender who wanted her or go back to Ireland where there was someone who wanted her and stay away from a career in nursing those people who want to suck the marrow from her bones.

If the roles were reversed and the heroine came back after losing her career/sight and choosing the hero as a last resort she’d be called any number of names and people would tell him to set his sights higher.

God, I hated this book. I couldn’t get through it, the rage was so great.




Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Worst Book Ever?

This is such a DNF for me that I'm cursing my Kindle because I can't throw it on the floor, stomp the bejeezus out of it and then hide the remains in the cat's litter box.

So the book has a heroine who's an EMT but hates blood and could have gone to medical school but chose not to because others were more passionate about it and she didn't want to take their place. So she's a trained EMT who works admitting in a hospital (hey, I did that for 6 years!!) and her boss there gives green slips as write-ups (wha??) and says horrifically nasty things to her in front of co-workers and patients (sorry, bosses do it behind closed doors so they can't get in trouble).

Oh yeah, and the administrator who hangs out near the reception desk happens to be a cardiologist who apparently decided he'd rather make one-fifth the money and hit on the receptionist and ignore her co-worker who makes kissy sounds when he's hitting on her. Oh yeah, so realistic.

Then there's the phone call from the collection agency that threatens the heroine illegally and says if she doesn't pay her student loan (despite that they were deferred) says they'll foreclose on her parent's house (uh, again, the reality in this is NONEXISTENT!!!)

Oh wait: that wasn't the worst. The worst is how the book starts with the heroine and the hero meeting in the fucking boxing ring owned by the hero where they have illegal fights and later when he hurts himself and she examines him (cause she's an EMT, of course) she kisses his fucking boo-boo and starts to feel him up and then says it's because she's so empathetic.

I had to stop reading.

So I'm going to go firebomb Carolyn's house because she put this damned thing on my Kindle.

Damn you Carolyn, damn you!!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

How To Create a Bestseller

Found this today, linked from DA. Very interesting blog post. I need to narrow my genre.

C. S. Lakin

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sweet Caroline

Lori likes Tessa Dare stories.

I like Tessa Dare covers.

I guess that's what it is, because I keep buying them and why not? Beautiful covers. A blurb with a hook and a really good sounding plot. Hope springs eternal, as they say.

Then I get to reading and ... it's another DNF. The first book of hers I read, Goddess of the Hunt, the heroine Lucy was an idiot. The book was a DNF for me, my very first one.

I just tried her newest, Romancing the Duke and ... the same thing happened. I couldn't stomach anymore of the sweetness and light of the heroine and the out-of-era things like reenactments (not actors, everyday people reenacting a book). The plot was turning into a farce before my very eyes.

Dare's books are so treacly sweet; so much so that my doctor wanted to do a fasting glucose test on me after I'd read one. Her books have won lots of awards and she has beaucoups of fans, so I know it's just me, but some of her characters make me roll my eyes. And gritting is bad for your teeth, so my dentist says.

I must be one of those people who like angsty books. Or perhaps I'm one of those people who prefers their historical characters to act within the precepts of their era. Dare's characters read too modern to me and usually her plots too.

I hope Lori is enjoying these books. I'm going to have to get myself in hand and quit buying them. Even an old fart like me can learn to say no.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Under Locke by Mariana Zapata

Carolyn and I have been enjoying books about Motorcycle Clubs recently and Under Locke is one she picked up and I recently started.

It's a DNF for me.

There's two huge problems with it. The formatting is bad so I'm just annoyed. But the other thing is that she's a good writer but nothing is happening in the book. Even when something happens it's so ho-hum that it feels like nothing happened.

I had to stop reading because as good as Ms. Zapata's writing is, boredom is never a good choice to leave your reader with.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Kaleidoscope by Kristin Ashley

I am a self-confessed KA fangirl. Utterly pathetic about it too. I could reread Motorcycle Man a dozen times probably and enjoy it as much each time. So a new contemp. by KA had me all aflutter, a twitter and a-whee!

What a fucking disappointment.

This story is Jacob Decker and Emme. Deck was in the book about Chace and Faye, another one of those big, strong men who work the law enforcement in the shady ways but mostly legal. He’s 7 foot 4, 390 pounds of solid muscle and his dick is 14 inches long when limp.

He’s also a genius. We know he’s a genius because Deck and Emme constantly remind the reader that he’s a genius. As if a woman would need reminders that Deck is a genius because of things like this:

“Now, layin’ this shit out for you, I fucked up,” he continued. “In a big fuckin’ way that I been dealin’ with since summer. Hung up on a bitch, and Emme, honey, I know you two were once tight and women don’t like men referrin’ to women as bitches but there’s no denyin’ what Elsbeth pulled this summer exposed her as just that. I thought she was what I wanted and my only shot at gettin’ it and to be the man I felt I needed to be, I’d selfishly let that go. I been kickin’ my own ass about that for fuckin’ years then kickin’ my own ass when it hit me that I shouldn’t have been.”

Fuckin’ A, that man’s a genius. Why, he’s like the Doctor Ruth and Miss Manners of giganto Colorado tough guys.

So KA pulls every Colorado couple she’s ever written about into this story and suddenly we’re treated to the big haired crowd of heroines who have all been kidnapped and had their lives threatened because of the big dick brigade. But wait: KA has a kicker in this story… Emme was kidnapped as a child and because of that she has emotional issues.

Spoiler:  Later in the book a woman gets kidnapped and Deck freaks out and calls out the big dick brigade knowing that it was Emme but she’s at work ordering Mexican food so red face for Deck!!

What else? Well, they have sex about 100 times and Deck lets Emme know he’s into a little kink but then they never do show any kinky stuff except that Deck likes to treat his dick like a battering ram and his woman like the wall he’s battering through. Good times!

And Emme is an independent woman who has to face the fact that her man is a genius and almost always right and she’s a little woman and almost always wrong and if he hadn’t come into her life and battered the hell out of her vagina with his battering ram of love, she’d still be all disconnected and unhappy.

And he’s such a romance hero:

He pressed his hips into hers, she stilled and he growled, “That went a lot faster than I reckon you were ready to go, but doesn’t matter. This is where we are now and this is the beginning. And don’t piss me off by stayin’ angry when you now know you got no call to be and tryin’ to push me away by tellin’ me that wasn’t as hot and fuckin’ great for you as it was for me because I won’t believe you.”

Awwww, my heart went pitty pat.

Anyway, reading what I just wrote I realized that maybe this was KA’s tease to her loyal readers. Kind of a tongue in cheek way of showing us that this is what her writing would look like if it was done by a heavy handed, uncaring author. So we should appreciate what she can do because if we don’t, there might be more books like this one.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014


Lyrical was acquired by Kensington and is now their ebook outlet and I got my rights back since my books evidently don't have enough sex and they did absolutely nothing to promote them. So we've been making new covers for them (or Lea has, with Lori and I driving her crazy)

Lori's got Mariposa up on Amazon and here's a link if you want to check it out.


It's at Amazon only for now, but we will be spreading our wings soon.

Thank you Lea for a beautiful cover. You are the best! And thank you Lori for your support and suggestions and executive decisions.  :-)

I'm going to post each cover as they're done and put up. I'd really like to get some feedback. Keep in mind Mariposa is a 'sweet' romance.


I'm sure you've noticed the cost of food is rising, all due to that nebulous 'cost of living' excuse. Have you also noticed the amount of food you get for the price you pay is significantly less?

I first noticed it with Ritz crackers. We'd bought a couple of boxes and we still had one box in the cupboard. The new boxes were significantly shorter. They'd cut the number of crackers in a stack, but of course the price didn't change.

Toilet paper. Much narrower. Somehow it doesn't work as well, or is that just me? I haven't checked before and after prices but you're definitely getting less even if it's for the same price.

Bacon. I liked to buy the Hormel bacon with 4 slices in a microwave bag. It cooks in the bag; it's not just a warm up. I would have sworn when I started buying it there were 5 bags, each with 4 slices. Now there's 4 bags. Then the price went up $2.00 and I stopped buying it. I mean, TWO DOLLARS? I like bacon but... no, just no. A shame because there was less mess and it made damn good sandwiches.

I'm sure there's loads of other examples, but these are the ones that pissed me off and made me post a rant, lol. If you can add some more, I'd be glad of it. Maybe there's other items I need to boycott.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

What Happened

to Dear Author?