Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oldies but goodies

As I have mentioned numerous times, I started reading romance when I first discovered erotic romance.  I know it probably sounds a bit weird, but that is exactly how I discovered romance almost ten years ago.  However, my "taste" for erotic romance started waning about four years after I discovered the sub-genre, and I would dare say it pretty much disappeared about three years ago.  To put it bluntly, I started getting disappointed and quite bored with it, not to mention the fact that a lot of what is sold these days as erotic romance, is either erotica or porn, definitely NOT romance (erotic or otherwise).  This got me into thinking about the good ol' days in which I just couldn't get enough of erotic romance.

Back then there were only a couple of epublishers of the genre.  Ellora's Cave, Liquid Silver Books, Zumaya Publications (via their imprint eXtasy Books).  Of course, Ellora's Cave was my favorite.  Back then they didn't have a set schedule and they were not the big operation that they are now.  Fans like me, would check the website on a daily basis, hoping that there would be new releases for that reason.  Many of us used to hang out, so to speak, in the old Ellora's Cave chat yahoo group (not the current one, the current one was restarted after a big brouhaha by which the original group was deleted).  Many of us were fascinated with the fact that we could actually talk to our favorite EC authors there.  I did meet a lot of great people there, and also met there author Judy Mays, who to this day, I consider a close friend even though we have yet to meet in person.  Those really were fun days and fun times were had by all.  Good memories. 

Anyway, I decided that I am going to post reviews to some of my favorite titles.  They, of course, will be old releases from way back when.  Some of them may not be even be available for purchase any longer.  However, I have kept all of the ebooks that I've purchased over the years, so I intend to re-visit some old favorites for purposes of posting my thoughts on those titles.  I will also talk about some old favorite series, some of which were discontinued by their authors -- sad is me  :( 

Stay tuned for the Oldies but Goodies posts.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Closing a chapter of my life

I started reviewing in the spring of 2003.  This was shortly after I first discovered romance (in the form of erotic romance).  I managed to get involved with three different review sites.  During the summer I ended up getting involved with a fourth one.  About ten months after I got involved with the latter, there was a crisis.  As a result, I stepped into the plate, and kept the operation running for a while.  Eventually I was made co-owner.  This week, after almost two years of pretty much wanting to leave, I finally took that step and presented my resignation.

Truth of the matter is that, in the beginning, I liked doing what I was doing and being involved with the whole operation.  However, over the past two and half years it turned more into a chore than something that was fun to do.  My sense of responsibility, however, was interfering and I kept changing my mind over and over again.  After dealing with the asshat author [boy, I do love that word ;) ] I realized I was pretty much done.  I had been unhappy for a while and the only thing I was getting was stress, and for what ... what I was doing wasn't even paying me a salary or any sort of compensation except in the form of self-satisfaction.  And to be blunt, I don't even like erotic romance (or at least most of it) any longer.  There is too much trash coming out from too many writers (I would not even call half of them "authors" as it's too big a hat for many of them) tagged as erotic romance, and I entirely gave up on it, except for those authors whose work I've liked for years.

Either way, I finally made the decision and I have stepped down and leaving the newsletter, for good.  I have a few "projects" that need to be completed, but I don't foresee that it will take me past October 31st to be over and done with them.  I know that my decision to leave will likely push the owner to make a big decision, but frankly, if it comes to that particular decision, I think it will benefit everyone.  Working for the newsletter became extraordinarily burdensome after a while, to be honest.  It was not a "fun" thing to do anymore ... it was a f***ing JOB with no other compensation except self satisfaction.  Though I do not regret having been involved with it, I think that had I even suspected how it was going to turn out to be, I would have never accepted the tag of "co-owner".  Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and I did bring this upon myself.  I was just too stubborn to accept reality.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Author asshattery

Recently, AztecLady of the blog Karen Knows Best, vented up a bit about reviewing.  As I was reading the blog post I got a rather interesting email from someone I will refer to as asshat author.  The author demanded, in an insulting, derogative, demeaning and arrogant manner that we remove the reviews of her books.  Of course, anyone reading this has guessed by now the reason why.  Since the three reviews (by two different reviewers) were less than glowing, of course, the reviewers do not know how to read.

Anyway, the exchange was rather interesting.  When I am dealing with people that are not all there, my answers are usually short and to the point for obvious reasons.  I copied her publishers.  Her reply was a LONG ranty email calling me names (bully, unprofessional, yadda yadda).  The few things that I said went right over her head despite them being very straightforward.  She got a lot of wind from a 5-6 short sentences email reply (which is the actual length of my email to her).  Yes, I did call her "unprofessional".  That was rather unprofessional of me, but frankly, she should be grateful the matter was not handled by my co-owner, as of right now, she'd likely have  a bunghole on her forehead as well as a second one on her ass.

Anyway, she's also the sort that needs to have the last word.  Not only did she email me yet again, even after I told her to "do as you deem fit" and pretty much implying "I am done".  She did proceed to post in her blog how shitty the review site is. At least she follows through with her promises  :>


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Abusing the "romance" tag

As I am doing my blog round (I only have time to read about 4 of them, in all honesty) I stumbled upon a comment in one of them, which most definitely was promo.  The post in question was a one sentence touting the "wonderfulness" of a book entitled "Soul Mate".  It pissed me off so much to see that comment that no, I am not bothering to post either a link to it or the author's name.

Pretty much the website describes the book as being a contemporary story involving the involvement of a female adult teacher and an underage boy in one of her classes.  I am sorry, but this is not "forbidden love" this is a story involving an adult and an underage (as in not of legal age) individual.  Just because the adult is a female, doesn't make it a romance.  Just because the adult is a female doesn't make it any less wrong than if it was a story involving a male teacher and an underage girl.  Bottom line, this is not romance, no matter how the author wishes to present it.

The romance genre continues being "exploited" in this manner whenever someone wants to sell a book that has some sort of romantic relationship in it, and the individual decides that since romance is the best selling genre in fiction in general, that's the easy way to get the bucks.  Call it fiction, for crying out loud, but don't call it a "romance".  Do these people really think that romance fans fall for this crap?  If someone does not believe that romance readers are not stupid, all they need do is research a bit online and they will find a good deal of author asshats that tried to pull that crap on romance fans and then had the balls to argue with the intended audience in romance forums like that in Amazon when they were slammed.

I don't doubt for a second that those books sell at least a few copies, but you can rest assured that those copies are sold either because those buying it were curious and wanted to see for themselves, or because the individuals in question were after the titillation factor or had some sort of "fantasy" and like reading that sort of story.  That some of them may be romance fans, I guess so, however, you are definitely not going to get a best seller out of it by tagging the word "romance" to it, contrary to popular belief, lovers of the genre are not stupid.

Sorry, but I am totally FED UP and SICK of that sort of BS.

<end of rant>

Friday, September 3, 2010

"A Little Bit Wild" by Victoria Dahl

Disclaimer: I purchased the book.

Time and Setting: Victorian England (Lincolnshire, 1847) 


I have to admit that one thing that had me a bit worried was the way the heroine was described in some reviews I read. I do tend to prefer the "proper" lady type of character, even if the lady in question is older chronologically speaking or someone with sexual experience but who is not particularly promiscuous. So I picked up the book not entirely sure if I was going to be able to get past the first chapter. As you have probably guessed by now, I was quite happy when I didn't find myself put off by Marissa.

Marissa is in her early 20s, but despite her age and the way she behaves, she does come across as somewhat naive, believe it or not. She doesn't know herself, she doesn't really understand lust and her own impulses, she's somewhat spoiled though not exactly bratty. She's also intelligent and she does care for her family despite her being the sort that responds to her own lusty impulses, though some may argue that giving headaches to her mother and her brothers isn't exactly the way to show that she cares.

Jude is in his late 20s. He is big, brawny and described more than once as flat out "ugly". He looks like a brawler more than anything else. He's the bastard son of a Duke, though his father recognized him and embraced him as his. He had a good life while living with his father and though he is a bastard, he's fine with his lot in life. His mother is a French courtesan.

I can't recall when was the last time that I read a hero that was sensuality incarnate. He's flat out SEXY. I loved that his sensuality was almost palpable. Another thing that I loved about him was that he truly accepted Marissa as she is and even liked her for being how she was, having noticed her "wildness" when no one else seemed to. Apparently Marissa was considered a paragon of propriety... but Jude knew better. I think I now have Jude at the top of my list of favorite romance novel heroes. I truly fell in love with him. I felt for him when, almost at the end, he is suffering because of a few things Marissa said without really thinking.


I don't think I need to go into a lot of details about the story. Marissa, in one of her impulsive moments, loses her virginity and gets caught by her own family once the act is over and done with. Though the man that took it wants to marry her, she refuses as she's not in love with him and much less, after he pretty much reveals that he planned to ruin her in order to force her into marrying him (she had rejected his proposals twice). As the family discusses what to do and decide that the only viable solution is to have her find a proper suitor and fast, Jude steps in (he's a close friend of Aidan's, one of Marissa's brothers) and offers to fill in that role. He likes the York family and has been attracted to Marissa for quite a while, though she never noticed him at all. She couldn't even remember who he was even though they had been introduced in the past. She pretty much didn't take any notice of him because of his ugliness, as she tends to prefer "pretty boy" types.

The story unravels as they get to know each other better and Jude endeavors to make Marissa want him for a husband, because he wants her for keeps.

The story also has a bit of suspense almost at the end, the conflict between the couple happens almost at the end as well and is resolved rather quickly, though it did not bother me at all, I hate melodrama.

The author's writing style flows nicely and I didn't feel that the story dragged/bored me at any point.

Although the sex scenes didn't depart from the current standard in mainstream historical romance, they were nicely written as well. I really didn't feel that there needed to be more sex in the story to make it work, though.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching Marissa grow as a character and also how she learned the difference between lust and love, when she realized that she had fallen in love with Jude. Though I am not exactly sure Jude was exactly in love with Marissa at the beginning of the story, it was definitely a certainty midway through the story. I would have loved to learn more about his past and also to see Marissa's meeting with his mother.

I am looking forward to the next installment in this series, though from what I could see online, I am in for a LONG wait, as it doesn't come out until next year :(