Saturday, April 28, 2012

What makes the Story Siren's plagiarism different to similar incidents from my perspective

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have said a peep about this.  But this time around I just couldn't keep my mouth shut, so here I am, jumping on the bandwagon.

I am not going to bother giving long winded explanations.  If you do a Google search using the keywords "Story Siren blog" you'll find a LOT and I do mean a L-O-T of information on the topic at bar. 

Now, if you have read some of the summaries you found, I encourage you to go here and here.

Why am I posting this at all?  Well, I have found several blogs that actually are of the opinion "that things have been blown out of proportion".  Since I think that plagiarism is something that will not go away any time soon, and given the fact that the perpetrator this time around (the owner of Story Siren) posted a non-apology "apology" (which is standard when plagiarists get caught), I would have just shrugged and moved along.  Let's face it, this type of incident happens and will continue to happen, and invariably with all due time they totally blow over.  However, that being said, this time around there is one fundamental difference: the actual victims of the plagiarism have been harassed by a bunch of friends and/or fans of the plagiarist.  The matter is now even worse, as the owner of Story Siren has kept quiet on that particular matter (the harassment), implicitly condoning the said harassment.

This seems to be something that is flying right over the heads of some people and what has motivated me to post my very short comment on this topic.  Again, plagiarism has always existed and will continue to exist, and this sort of incident usually does blow over quickly, but this time around the rules of the game have changed, and that is what makes this particular incident disturbing and upsetting in the eyes of many readers, as well as adding a major point of concern.  How is this bullying of the victims going to affect the acts of those that in the future may find themselves in the same position as the victims of this latest plagiarism scandal?  I don't know if it's the fact that this time it involved the YA online reading community and a couple of blogs that have nothing to do with reading; but fact remains that there is a rather disturbing element that has been thrown into the standard mix, and I can't help but wonder how is it going to influence online interactions among bloggers, readers, etc. in the future.  I guess only time will tell, but I do believe this is very much a matter of concern, and I do believe this time there is more than one difference that makes the matter go above and beyond a standard plagiarism scandal.


New releases and more new releases...

April 24th was new release Tuesday, and for the fist time in months, I found myself with a rather long list of new books that I wanted.  The budget did complain... and LOUDLY... but I figured that since this is not a frequent deal, I could manage.  Thankfully, several of those new releases went on sale before they were released (I got at least three of them at $4.99 instead of the standard $7.99 equivalent mass market paperback to ebook pricing).

These are the titles I got:

"Under a Vampire Moon" by Lynsay Sands - I love her Argeneau vampires

"No Longer a Gentleman" by Mary Jo Putney - the blurb caught my attention

"A Warrior's Promise" by Donna Fletcher - I like her historical romances, and have not read one of hers in a very long time

"Kiss of Pride" by Sandra Hill - this is her new paranormal series.  It involves Viking vampire/angels, we'll see how this one goes.

"All for You" by Lynn Kurland

"The Governess Affair" by Courtney Milan

It has been a while since the last time I bought that number of books in one sitting, given the prices of books these days.  Either way, I have to finish a post on Laurann Dohner that I am putting together as well as writing my review of Lynn Viehl's "Nightborn", but that hasn't kept me from starting to read "Under a Vampire Moon" or playing the Guild Wars 2 beta (the game is proving to be addictive, can barely wait for the official release).


Thursday, April 19, 2012

"The Lure of Song and Magic" by Patricia Rice

Disclaimer: I own this book.  Patricia Rice is a new-to-me author.

Time & Setting: California, United States, present day.

Plot: Dylan Oswyn (Oz) has been looking non-stop for his 5 year old son, Donal, who was kidnapped.  A cryptic online tip from someone he only knows as the "Librarian" tells him to find Syrenne, a former teen singing idol, who supposedly is now working in a daycare center.  When he finds her, she certainly doesn't look at all like what he was expecting.

Pippa (short for Philippa Seraphina Malcolm James Henderson) voluntarily retired from her very successful singing career as Syrenne, after some rather tragic events and a very public meltdown.  She lives a peaceful life, by choice, and enjoys working with the small children in the daycare center.

When Oz finds her and suggests that she basically come back to the spotlight, she outright declines.  However, once she finds out the reason why Oz wants to bring her out, she feels that she has no choice as the life of a little boy is in the line. 

Characters: Oz and Pippa, the main characters, proved to be hard to resist (at least to me).  The book is basically a contemporary with paranormal elements, so I was not particularly enthused about it when I bought it, but seemed interesting based on reviews I read about it in other blogs.  I went in not expecting a lot, but I got "hooked" by the characters, and then the story, from the very first chapter.  Oz has a type A personality which makes him seem a bit assoholic at times, but it didn't put me off.  I also liked Pippa, despite the fact that she was very scared about herself and her "abilities", for very good reasons.  Pippa is someone that has known a lot of emotional suffering, yet she has managed to survive.  Headbutting was to be expected, but thankfully, I wasn't put off by it.  Oz also had certain abilities, and I guess that made him less of an ass as would have been expected under different circumstances.

I know that I have at least one other book by Patricia Rice, but I don't think I've read it, plus it is a historical romance, so I am placing her in my "author new to me" category.  I would love to see more books following this one, hopefully involving Oz's brothers, who intrigued me.  I guess we will have to wait and see.

I felt that the book flowed smoothly, I didn't find anything that threw me and the pace was quick.  The mystery surrounding Dylan's kidnapping/disappearance unraveled adequately and it was rather interesting to follow the unraveling of that mystery, while watching Oz and Pippa fall for one another.

I definitely recommend this title to lovers of both paranormal and contemporary romance.  I will try and read the historical romance shortly, to see how it compares. 


Monday, April 9, 2012

"True Colors" and "Natural Evil" by Thea Harrison

I have been catching up with Thea Harrison' work.  After "Dragon Bound" which started her series with a bang and a boom, I read "Storm's Heart".  I can't say I found it particularly interesting.  I haven't read "Serpent's Kiss" yet.  I did jump to the two novellas I am going to be talking about shortly, and I am currently tandem reading "Oracle's Moon", her latest, with Lynn Viehl's "Nightborn".

I own the books.


"True Colors" is a romantic paranormal novella with elements of suspense.  The heroine, Alice Clark, is a rare type of chameleon Wyr.  Her kind has been hunted and their numbers are significantly low.  There is a serial murderer out who has been targeting her kind.  The latest kill was one of Alice's closest friends.  Gideon Riehl is a detective for a specialized division of Wyr enforcement, the Wyr Division of Violent Crime.  He initially thought that Alice was involved, but then realized that that was not the case and that her life was actually in danger.  Of course, he protects her  he tries to unravel the mystery.

The strongest points in this novella are the main characters.  Alice is a school teacher, her nature is gentle and vulnerable, but she is very intelligent and sensitive.  She instantly realizes who Gideon truly is to her.  I truly liked her.  Gideon as a law enforcer could have come across as an alpha a**hole, but I was glad to see that he was anything but.  He was a good match for Alice, and definitely these two very appealing characters made the story.

One thing I didn't like was the fact that, given the elements of suspense in the story and the whole deal about trying to discover the killer and the killer's motivations felt like it was handled in a hurry.  This type of plot would have benefited (in my humble opinion) if the story had been a bit longer.  It was a rather interesting plot, but sadly, the shorter length did hinder its potential.

Overall, I felt that this was a very good read that will particularly appeal not only to fans of Thea Harrison, but also to lovers of paranormal romance.



"Natural Evil" was a rather pleasant surprise, to say the least.  The heroine, Claudia Hunter, was in the military (Special Forces) until recently.  She retired and is on a road trip when she stumbles upon what looks to be a very large dog lying on the road.  Realizing that the dog is still alive, she manages to rescue him, finding a vet that takes care of his wounds.  Later on, her suspicions are confirmed: the dog is not just a dog.

This is another novella with fab characters, though I have to say Claudia wins by a LONG stretch.  The plot is driven by Claudia, and though the hero, Luis, is yummy, it is Claudia whom we are mostly following throughout the whole story.  She's smart, kick butt, and boy was it fabulous to see her kick butt and take names.

Additionally, this story is also an older woman/younger man story.  Claudia is 40, while Luis is 27.  It does make for an interesting mix and I don't want to spoil the ending, but suffice it to say is not your standard "and they lived happily ever after" sort.

I definitely recommend these two novellas to anyone that likes paranormal romance, and they both can be read as stand-alones without issues.  The Wyr universe is very interesting, and the world creation is being developed a bit more in every book mostly via the characters themselves, as each book seems to be introducing new Wyr species/kinds.
Both "True Colors" and "Natural Evil" are published by Samhain Publishing.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

The span of attention of a gnat ...

Yup, that's my span of attention.  I just discovered Pinterest (nevermind that the site has been around for a while now).  What do I do?  waste a lot of time creating boards, following people, re-pinning, etc.  Meanwhile, I am still updating my ebook library.  I have printed out several booklists from favorite authors.  My list of faves is LONG so I know that's going to take me a while.  Then, I go to Facebook and what do I do?  Get hooked on their hidden object games and on the latest quest line on The Sims Social.  I have a 1 foot pile of magazines to go over (I have quite a few subscriptions and I love to browse through them, plus subscription prices are super low these days).  I also want to start a Sith in Star Wars: The Old Republic, to play it with my husband.  Never mind that I haven't even reaches level 25 with my smuggler and am currently playing a Jedi Consular with my husband (who is playing a Jedi Knight).  Is there something smaller than a gnat?  Because really... span of attention ... what the hell is that...


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review "shorty": "Careful, He Bites" by Autumn Dawn

Disclaimer:  I own this book.  I have read all of the current published work by this author.

"Careful, He Bites" is a  short novella previously published by New Concepts Publishing under the title "Once Bitten".  This story involves a woman, Bali Itara, whose father (your standard totally deranged scientist) experimented on.  As a result, she is now slowly dying because of her altered, mutated genes.  Her best friend and doctor (who goes by the nickname Icki, go figure) suggested to her to be bitten by a member of an alien race, the Drac.  The Draconian males bite their mates to facilitate impregnation.  While doing so, they genetically alter the female.  He sends her to an acquaintance of his named Domino.

Obviously, since this book is novella length, there is not much room for development.  The story moves at a rather fast pace for that very reason, and sometimes it does feel a bit rushed.  However, the characters are attractive and that, along with the pacing, are enough to keep the reader engaged.

I do recommend this book if you feel like reading a futuristic short, however, if you are into "world creation", you may find yourself feeling less than satisfied.  I know I would love to find out more about the Drac.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Goodreads, Calibre and me - part four (quick update)

As I previously reported, I figured out the spreadsheet bit.  Sadly (for me) I realized that a bunch of books are TBR yet they all appear as read.  On top of that, another bunch of those TBR books have ratings *sigh*  My book shelf, as it currently stands, has over 650 books and I am not done adding yet.  I don't know if I'll ever finish this "project", I sure hope so.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blogger conventions, who knew...

I have to admit that I am clueless and oblivious about a lot of things online.  I don't participate in Tweeter (wouldn't know what to do with it anyway, and I hate using my tablet or my smartphone to type anything).  I don't visit a ton of blogs either.  This means that being up to speed regarding things like conferences and conventions is not exactly my forte.

Today I found out, courtesy of one of the few blogs I visit, that there was a "blogger convention".  It was organized by bloggers for bloggers, literally.  Recently, said Con was bought by the people that manage the Book Expo of America (BEA).  By "bought" I am assuming it means the "concept"?  Again, not a clue.  Anyway, it seems like in their attempt to change the nature/tone (from non commercial to commercial it does mean CHANGE, people) they haven't been forthcoming about what is it exactly that they are offering attendees.  They have also hit quite a few "snags" and there is still quite some room for improvement on their part, so to speak. (This is my source).

One thing that has become blatantly obvious from what I have been reading, however, and of course, to be expected, is that this event is now a marketing tool or rather a "networking" tool, networking because it looks like it serves the purpose of bringing together publishers and authors with bloggers... mega bloggers that is.  I understand that certain bloggers would certainly be interested in this particular convention, but for the truly teeny blogs like mine, it's pretty much useless, unless all you want to do is socialize and maybe learn how the big guys do things?  From what I am looking at if you are are not a "big name/big traffic" blogger it does look like there would be little interest in what you have to offer.  Publishers and authors want the attention of big blogs, the blogs with tons of traffic that can bring them business.

Personally speaking, I would be interested in a non-commercialized type of blogger convention.  I would still be a nobody, but I feel I would be able to learn more from such an event and find topics more relevant to my interests or more useful to me, than I would in a 100% commercial type of convention.  I don't get any "freebies" from any author or publishing company, so networking with them is not something that I care about, at least not at this point.  Add to that that (to use a gaming term) I am a "casual" blogger, meaning that I blog when I feel like it and upload reviews when I feel like it.  Topics of use to me would involve networking with other bloggers or listening to those bloggers who, mostly through their very hard work, can provide me tips on how to make mine a semi-successful one (again, operative words being "hard work", but still, I'd be interested to hear how they got there). 

I am one of the "little people" among hundreds if not thousands of reviewer blogs out there.  I even removed myself from Netgalley because as it grew, I pretty much became part of the non-desirables and didn't qualify to ask for any ARCs/books there any longer, not that I asked for a lot to begin with. so, at this point in time a marketing/networking former convention and now conference (the Bloggers Con is now going to take place during BEA, so sorry, but it can't be called a Bloggers Con any longer the way I am reading it) is of little to no use to me.  Of course, leave it to me to find out that such a thing as a Blogger Con existed when it pretty much no longer exists as it was intended or I would have been interested in.

C'est la vie...


Friday, March 23, 2012

Goodreads, Calibre and me - part three

Well, as previously reported, I figured the spreadsheet thingie.  Now I am looking at my list (now at a hefty 656 books in Calibre of which 619 transferred to Goodreads with no issues), and I realize that I have to try and detail which are read and which are not.  It wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that I can't see how to do it in bulk, instead of having to go one by one checking every title as "read".

On a side note, I am now printing book lists of my favorite authors, to make sure that my collections of said authors are complete.  Many of the books by my favorite print authors I have both in print and in ebook format.  I suspect that by the time I am done with this, I will have well over 500 more books added to my book catalog in both Calibre and Goodreads.  Thankfully I have a scanner and will be able to go relatively quickly once I tackle the print book collection.

Random thoughts: Should I check Shelfari?  Should I start my husband's Goodreads page?

The saga continues...


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Goodreads, Calibre and me - part two

Well, I am slow, but thankfully not entirely dumb, so it does seem that I've been able to figure out at least some of my conundrums involving Goodreads and Calibre.  I did have to go book my book on my current Calibre Library, to make sure the ISBNs were in the metadata for each title to be able to prepare a spreadsheet that, when imported to Goodreads, would allow the site to "recognize" each book.  My Goodreads list now is more accurate.  I now have to go through my previous Calibre library backup which got all messed up during one of Calibre's updates early last year (or the previous year, can't recall).  I got pissed off so I simply started from scratch, saving the older library to "fix" the problem at a later date.  Of course, procrastinator that I am, it didn't happen until today.  However, I am slowly getting there.  I am aware I'll not be able to finish this task today, as I have way too many books.  Now I have to figure out the how to send my Goodreads reviews to my blog, and then the widget for my bookshelf.

As I was going through my Calibre library fixing metadata, I realized that I am a shameful e-book collector the same way I used to be a print book hog.  There are quite a number of e-books that I have not read or that I don't remember having read.  I will have to start paying more attention and actually bother to "mark" each book as read or TBR (to be read).

I know that this is probably sounding like way too much work, but I am actually deriving satisfaction out of seeing that list of books grow, and figuring a way of cataloging/classifying them suitably.  I am also finding it satisfying to write down in a journal.  I had attempted this in the past, with no success whatsoever (I am not particularly disciplined.)  I discovered the journals, via another blog which I can't recall at the moment. I HIGHLY recommend them.  They come in two sizes (pocket and large) and they have leading questions in each page, which certainly do help out when jotting down notes.  FABULOUS FABULOUS FABULOUS!  I bought three: one large and two pocket, I am going to be placing another order really soon and likely buying a pocket one for one of my nieces.

On a side note, I am losing track of my husband's favorite authors and books, I think I am going to start a Goodreads private account for him, so that I can keep up.  I used to have to keep up for my niece, but the girl (who is smart and very internet savvy) has fixed that for herself, so no need to do that any longer ... WOOT!  Love her, but she reads a LOT and it was becoming harder and harder... not complaining here, just sayin'.  She has a humongo-list of TBR books she wants to read.

I shall report further when I figure out the "other" stuff involving Goodreads.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Trying to get into Goodreads... but it's annoying me

Well, I use Calibre.  Turns out there is a little add-on that supposedly would assist in synchronizing Goodreads with Calibre.  I still haven't figured it out.  Then I find out that I can use a spreadsheet of sorts to import my books list to Goodreads.  I still haven't figured it out completely.  Last but not least, I am trying to use the feature that would allow for me to post my updates to Goodreads into this blog, by just clicking a little box.

I guess I'll have to keep trying until I figure this out.  bleh!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I found a new-to-me author!

Nevermind that the author in question has been writing for decades... I am talking about Patricia Rice.  I started reading her latest book after reading a review at TGTB&TU several weeks ago.  I intended to put it aside when Lynn Viehl's "Nightborn" released.  Well, I just can't put "The Lure of Song and Magic" aside.  *sigh*  I am so impressed and loving it that I will write a review as soon as I am done with it.  (Sorry, Ms. Viehl!)... I am also so impressed and loving it that I had to say something here!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

"Spellbound Falls" book 1 of the Spellbound Falls series by Janet Chapman

First the disclaimers:
(1) Janet Chapman is one of my favorite authors.  I didn't particularly enjoy the first three of her books that I read (this was several years ago, and they were the first three books in her Highlander series).  Obviously, I didn't give up on her or I wouldn't be writing this review.
(2) I purchased this book.

Time and Setting: Maine, United States, present time.

Plot: The action takes place in Spellbound Falls, Maine, United States, shortly after the events that take place in "Mystical Warrior".   Mac Oceanus, the hero in "Spellbound Falls," played an important part in "Mystical Warrior".

Maximilian (Mac) Oceanus and his six-year-old son, Henry, temporarily move to Spellbound Falls to join a family camp ran by a young widow.  The camp was recommended by Trace Huntsman, the hero of "Mystical Warrior"  The camp specializes in assisting families communicate better with each other by sharing camp activities.  Since Mac is trying to learn how to be a father and to get to know his little son better, it seems like a good idea to give it a try.  He makes arrangements to arrive a few weeks before the camp actually opens, to give himself and Henry a headstart.  Since he has pretty much lost most of his power (read previous book to learn why and how), that definitely seems like a good plan.  Little did he know what was waiting for him in Inglewood.

Olivia Baldwin runs the Inglewood camp that Mac and his son go to.  Though the actual property belongs to her in-laws, she's the one that has made the camp what it is: a retreat for families that need help.  Olivia lives there with her 8 year-old daughter, Sophie.  Olivia accepted the early arrival of Mac and his son as he paid her a nice sum that will help her fix a few things around the camp that she couldn't take care of earlier, as she didn't have enough money to do so until then.  had no idea who Mac is and much less, how he's going to impact her life and change things around.

I utterly enjoyed Mac and Olivia's story.  Usually I find children in a romance a bit distracting, but the kids in this book played an integral part and it was cute to watch them interact with their respective parents and each other.  There was a substantial cast of secondary characters, including the heroines in books 2 and 3 of this series.  They all helped in moving the story along.

Even though I did read this book in pretty much one sitting, I did think that the way Olivia dealt with a series of issues was a bit too quick and convenient.  She seemed to take everything too much in stride, including the fact that the man she fell in love with was a supernatural being.  However, if you like this author's work, this is something that you will likely overlook.  As usual, she does provide a heartwarming story with very appealing characters that draw the reader in.

Characters: As it has been my experience in most of her previous books that I read, I fell in love with the main characters on the spot.  I thought Olivia's reactions to certain things were endearing, and her own insecurities made her very sympathetic to me.  Mac is domineering, but he doesn't come across as an obnoxious Alpha.  He comes across as a very protective very sure of himself  male.

The secondary cast of characters was attractive and helped move things along.  I would have loved to see a bit more conflict involving Olivia's mother-in-law or her suitor, the middle aged Simon, but I guess there is only so much that can be done when a story needs to be told within a certain number of pages/words.

As a side note, even though this book is part of a series, and it actually spins-off a previous trilogy (Midnight Bay), you don't really need to read the previous book to be able to follow the plot in this one.  I do think, however, that if you try this one first, you may end up wanting to read the previous one, and from the previous one, you are bound to end up wanting to read the whole thing.  Mac's background can be found in book 3 of  the Midnight Bay series.  So if you get confused, that's the one to start with.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Incest, rape, and all sorts of disgusting "goodness" being sold as "romance"

Over the past week or so, Paypal started enforcing (and modifying) certain policies.  These policies have to do with "adult content".  To make the story short, they will not allow their service to be used for the purposes of selling certain types of it.  It has nothing to do with censorship, and everything to do with business, as their business dealings with banking institutions and credit card companies have forced them to do so for financial reasons.  For more info, read this blog article from DA.

All of this has brought forth the fact that several ebookstores/epublishers had to get rid of certain type of content.  The content involves scenarios like rape, incest, barely-legal, bestiality, and what not.  This content in many cases (not to say all) was uploaded by self-published writers (I can't use the word "author" in this context, sorry).  What irked and surprised me was that that content apparently was uploaded to categories belonging to "romance" and even young adult.  Frankly, I could barely believe that any ebookstore or romance epublisher would allow for such a thing.  However, it was prevalent from all the comments left in the blogs discussing this.  I think that blogger Karen Scott says it best (and bluntly enough) in her commentary article in her own blog.  I posted a rather long winded comment to her article.  I couldn't agree more with her.

I believe this sort of "adult" stories have a market, however, that market most definitely has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with romance and much less, young adult.  These are several definitions of romance, as it pertains to romance as a literary genre:

Romance Writers of America:
For Wikipedia lovers:
Definition I am including because I liked it:

Taboo scenarios are not part of "romance".  They can be classified as fetish, porn, smut, etc. but not in a million years would any bona fide romance reader touch one of those with a ten foot pole... at least not with the mindset of "let me find a warm fuzzy romantic incest story".  They are a "niche", but not within the romance genre. Furthermore, those stories uploaded as part of the romance or YA categories, are nothing more than smut, and not the well written kind at that.  They are on the short side of the spectrum (not that there is anything wrong with that) but they lack the basic elements of a properly written short story (little things such as character development, plot, etc.).  They are written with the sole purpose of titillation/arousal, hence, graphic sex and nothing else.

It does boggle my mind that sites like All Romance Ebooks (ARE), which is purportedly an ebookseller of ROMANCE, actually had the site plagued with stories involving the sort of scenario I mention above.  Honestly, I did think that they would keep a close look at what was being uploaded to their site.  Sadly, I do think that if it hadn't been for the Paypal brouhaha, they would have not done a thing about it (or caught up on that unless they had started receiving a lot of complaints, me thinks), and that's a pity.

On a slightly different note, as I was reading comments, I was amazed to see that some people continue to mix up erotica with erotic romance and powrn, pretty much using the terms interchangeably.  "Oh there is no way to define  the difference, yadda yadda"  Authors like Shiloh Walker continue going in circles trying to explain the difference, to no avail (thanks for continuing to try Shiloh).  Oh well...


Monday, February 20, 2012

Jaid Black, the author that got me "hooked" on romance

This is going to be the first on a series of articles on authors that had an impact on my falling in love with romance.  I am going to start with how I "discovered" romance as a genre, and work from there, to keep some sort of logical order.

The impact of romance in my life has been such, that I remember distinctly how I "discovered" the genre.  I've told the story many times over, but since this is my blog and only I read it, I can repeat myself as many times as I want without fear of boring anyone  ;)

 As background, I had not been reading much over the 10-15 years prior to February 2003, despite my having been an avid reader during my childhood years, teens, and my 20s.  During the 1990s I didn't really read much except for Anne Rice, whom a co-worker recommended to me and I discovered during the early years of that decade.  Nothing seemed to catch my attention, and up until then (my getting "hooked" on Anne Rice's work), I was sort of averse to reading in English.  EVERYTHING I read before had been translated into Spanish.  Anne Rice was my "breakthrough" as it pertains to reading in the English language, despite my being bilingual, and working in an environment in which I did have to use both Spanish and English on a daily basis.

In February of 2003 I had a very bad cold that had me stuck at home for well over a week.  I had been wanting to find some erotica to read after re-reading A. N. Roquelaure nee Anne Rice's erotic re-telling of the fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty." Since I couldn't drive over to a brick and mortar bookstore for obvious reasons, I decided to go online and check on Amazon.  As I was browsing, I stumbled upon a book titled "The Empress New Clothes" by an author named Jaid Black.  The blurb intrigued me enough to want to get it, and that's when I noticed that there was no print version available for purchase, however, they were offering it on a "CD."  That annoyed me, but it didn't take me long to figure out that maybe, since they had it available on "CD", some other site may actually have it as a downloadable file.  Mind you, at the time I had not really read any books electronically, though it did seem rather obvious to me that it was a very viable option to be able to read a book using a PC... provided I could find books in the right formats that is.

My online search on "Jaid Black" brought me to the Ellora's Cave (EC) website.  I promptly got a copy of "The Empress New Clothes."  It didn't take me long to finish reading it, as a "full length novel" at EC back then, could roughly be considered a longish novella by print standards.

After reading the story I found out that it was the first in a series of books.  The series name is Trek Mi Qan.  This series is supposed to still be going, but frankly, I think the author completely lost interest in it.  To make the story short, Jaid Black is the pen name of Tina Engler, owner of EC, and once she became a millionaire, it does seem like writing was no longer a priority, which is understandable.  Pity, really, as her stories, even though not exactly elaborate or technically impressive, are quite fun, sexy reads, with characters that draw the readers in and which, even though some may argue don't have a lot of romance in them, still gave this warm, fuzzy feeling and "feel good" type of ending that I became addicted to as it pertains to romance in general.  This is why I'll always remember her work with fondness.  If I hadn't liked her stories so much, I wouldn't be here now, hooked on the genre.

It didn't take me long to purchase every single title under her name.  However, I pretty much "inhaled" them so I soon was going through everything they had available at the time.

Several years after, Jaid Black established an "association" with Simon & Shuster (via the PocketBooks imprint).  She had a series with them, and she also had several anthologies involving herself and other EC authors, published in association with Simon & Shuster.  However, there hasn't been anything out from her for well over two years now (or at least, I haven't found anything since, at least, 2009).

If you are interested in checking her work, click here.  You can usually find EC titles cheaper if you buy direct from the publisher's website, however, it's always a good idea to "shop around" so here is Amazon's page and Barnes & Noble's page.  The Simon & Shuster published books can be found at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, available as downloads (Kindle).

I haven't lost all hope that she will, somehow, come back to finish the Trek Mi Quan series ...

...however, I most definitely am not holding my breath.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Authors I used to love ... but not so much any longer ....

As I was attempting to read Christine Warren's "Black Magic Woman", I couldn't  help but to start thinking why did I bother.  The heroine in this particular book irritated the hell out of me.  To make the story short, I HATE heroines with zero sense of self-preservation (more on my personal definition of TSTL heroines in a future blog article).  The said heroine irritated me so much, that I just started skipping whole chunks of the story.  The hero wasn't particularly yummy (despite the wings and all).  I then realized that that is exactly what I did with the previous three books of the series.  That's when I started thinking of other authors whose books I continue purchasing even when I know the book will either not be read in a couple of years or, if I do try to read the books, I will likely end up skipping chunks of the story as well.

Along with Christine Warren, other authors that I seem to be sticking to, despite the fact that they don't do a thing for me any longer are: Lora Leigh (her Breeds series, which is the only one of her series I read.  I don't read contemporaries so her Nauti stuff I don't touch), Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dark Hunters), Nalini Singh (Psy/Changeling), Kresley Cole (Immortal's After Dark), and J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood.  I don't read contemporaries, so as with Lora Leigh, I don't read her contemporary stuff.  I don't bother with her 100% urban fantasy stuff either).

Frankly, I can't come up with a logical explanation as to why I keep trying.  All I can think of is that these authors were authors whose books I would look forward to almost desperately, and I would read those books in one sitting.  For this very reason, I keep hoping that the next book will be as good as the ones that originally got me hooked on a particular series.

Looking at the list, I also notice that all of the series are paranormal.  I don't fancy paranormal romance as much as I used to, truth be told, so maybe that's one of the reasons they don't appeal to me the same way. 

Why do I keep wasting money like this, I have no idea, but I hope to snap out of it soon, as money doesn't exactly grow in trees.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Random musings

I just noticed how what arguably is the most visited romance related blog uses the tag "random musings"...  I unsubbed from that blog due to a recent brouhaha involving the majorly full of herself owner that totally disgusted me about them.  How did I find out about this?  I googled my own blog to see if it shows in google search, and lo and behold, I found a link titled "random musings tied to that particular blog.

Another random musing courtesy of,


"The Norse King's Daughter" by Sandra Hill

I have loved Sandra Hill's work for years now.  I got hooked on all of her Vikings series and of course, her Navy SEALs series as well.  Her time travel stories are my favorite though.  For all these reasons, I was looking forward to "The Norse King's Daughter".  Sadly, I did not enjoy it as much as I was hoping I would.

I am not going to write a full review, but rather briefly mention why it did not work out for me.  First, the characters.  Neither Drifa nor Sidroc were "sympathetic" characters from my perspective.  For some reason, to me, they both felt "flat," if you know what I mean.  Second, the plot, probably because neither Drifa nor Sidroc were characters that I particularly appreciated, I pretty much had little to no interest in following the storyline.  Last, but not least, the ending felt abrupt.  I was like, "is this it?" picture Gobber the Belch, on "How to Train your Dragon" as Stoick finished scaring off the dragons from their lair.  Sadly, there wasn't anything as interesting as what they faced in the movie, after the ending line of the book.

Sandra Hill is one of the authors in my auto-buy list.  Like with all of the other authors in my auto-buy list, I don't expect to love every single book she has published.  That being said, I look forward to try her newest series, which involves Viking angel vampires... or something along those lines.  I am hoping it is going to be as much of a fun ride as her other series have been, and the premise sure does sound like it is full of fun possibilities.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

"Dragon Bound" by Thea Harrison

Disclaimer: I purchased this book.

It has been a while since I last posted a review (my "review" of J.R. Ward's latest was more a pseudo review than an actual review, in all honesty, but mostly because I was rather pissed off with what the author did with the story than anything else).  Anyway, when I finished reading Thea Harrison's "Dragon Bound" I started this review, but somehow never got around to actually finish it, so here I am, finally posting some thoughts about it. 

Time and Setting: Present day New York/alternate universe


Pia Giovanni was blackmailed by her ex to steal something from the hoard treasure of Dragos Cuelebre.  He's the only living dragon, extraordinarily powerful in more than one way, and very much feared by everyone.

This is the blurb.  Sorry, but the book has been out for a while now, so there is plenty of information circulating on the net pertaining to the plot as well as many reviews, hence, not going to summarize anything.

Overall Impressions:

I found that I liked it more than I expected.  Main reason is that I have been growing tired of paranormals, and have become very selective as to what paranormals I pick for reading.  I am now mostly sticking with the tested and true works of my personal favorite authors.  Right now I can't even remember what convinced me to try this one, I do think it was a either a comment or a review from someone whose taste I know resembles mine.  I am very glad I followed my gut and purchased the book.

Basically, if you like Kresley Cole's Immortals after Dark or Shelly Laurenston's paranormal series, you are bound to like Thea Harrison's paranormals.  This particular book, the first of the series, I still think is the best of the lot.  Both main characters were a lot of fun to read.  There was a lot of bantering going on, an Alpha male (though I didn't find him to be much of a jerk, contrary to other books with similar heroes) having to deal with a very smart yet vulnerable heroine who I thought was quite likeable.

The pacing was quick, so I felt the story was a breeze to read.  To me pacing is important.  If a book starts up "slow" , to my taste, I quickly lose interest and that's when the book turns into a DNF one (pacing and the characters are at the top of my list when it comes to deciding if I am going to finish reading a book or not).  Thankfully, my main elements of criteria were met and exceeded my expectations.

The book is fully stand-alone though it is the first of what is supposed to be a series.  This means it has a beginning and a full end as it pertains to the main characters love story, there is no cliff-hanger as it pertains to those two characters.

I have yet to catch up and continue reading the series, so I am hoping I will enjoy them as well.

Romantic movies with happy endings

I was watching "Tangled" (yes, the Disney movie loosely based on the fairy tale titled "Rapunzel") and I got to thinking how there are quite a number of fabulously romantic movies out there with HAPPY endings.  I do include Disney's cartoon/CGI movies in this category.  I tend to prefer fantasy movies though, i.e. "Stardust" based on Neil Gaiman's illustrated story of the same title, or romantic movies based on favorite books like Daphne DuMaurier's "Rebecca".  Somehow, I don't like overtly dramatic romantic movies, even if they have happy endings as well.

Some of my favorite romantic movies include:

"Sense and Sensibility" - the Emma Thompson version
"Pride and Prejudice" - the 1940s version with Laurence Olivier or the 1995 miniseries.
"Persuasion" - both the 1995 and the 2007 versions (though the later did change the ending in a BIG way)
"Beauty and the Beast" - the Disney version
"Tangled" - Disney
"Wall-E" - Pixar

And the list keeps growing...