Archive for the ‘ Authors ’ Category

DABWAHA, time for the obsession to start.

Being Scottish we don’t have ‘March Madness’ but I was introduced to the concept by the crews at Smart Bitches and Dear Author who have a ‘March Madness’ tournament every year for romance books.

It’s called DABWAHA (Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hellagood Authors.) 64 books, 1 winner. This is my third year of playing and I love it. I become so obsessed with it.

I hit Twitter with the trash talk, I obsessively check voting. I don’t really care about winning but that would be sweet, it’s just too much fun and it’s always interesting to see what wins. This year I have put all my eggs in the basket that is Meljean Brooks seminal steampunk romance ‘The Iron Duke’.

So far one round has been voted for and I am 6/8. It’s not too bad though because the matches I lost were low point values. The second round of voting it going much better and so far I am on track for 8/8. That makes a grand total of 14/16.

SUCK ON THAT BITCHES!

Future Reads and a little fangirly gushing.

Just when I think Goodreads can’t get any better, I get a funky email through today which tells me all the new releases for authors on my shelves for the month of March. This is great. It means no more trawling through release pages etc. No more constant clicking to authors pages for release dates. No more missing release dates for auto-buy authors.

If I haven’t said it before, I’m saying it now, I LOVE GOODREADS.

So this week, I plan to re-read the J.L. Langley ‘With/Without’ series in preparation for the new release in this series.  It’s been such a long time since J.L. brought anything out. I can remember main details of the series but it’s such a great read, I feel the need to refresh the memory. I love re-reading books. ‘With Abandon’ is released on March 22nd and I can’t wait.

I also plan to read Julie James ‘A Lot Like Love.’ I have all of Julie’s books but I have never gotten round to starting one. (The infamous TBR pile that consumes more books than I can read…) I have see quite a few really good reviews for this book and I am looking forward to it.

I’m also planning to it up a few Harlequin Blazes. I have fallen behind on my Blaze reading so I need to catch up.

What’s everyone else planning on reading?

To read, perhaps to listen?

I have been distracted this week due to family issues but I have still managed to keep up with some reading and I have rediscovered my love of (some) audio books. I have written about audio books before. I stand by what I say. The narrator makes of breaks an audio book for me. I can’t make myself overlook bad voice acting or horrendous accents. It ruins a lot for me.

In preparation for the new instalment of The Dresden Files ‘Changes’ by Jim Butcher, I’m listening to the books to refresh my memory. There’s been a lot of them. ‘Changes’ is instalment 11 or 12 I think. It’s one of the few series I have kept up with. I normally get ‘series fatigue’ by book 5 or 6. Jim Butcher, JR Ward, Lara Adrian, Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook, Lorelei James seem to be the only survivors of this condition.

Sometimes I wish authors would swap, what must be, the security of an established fan base and a nice big fat book contract, and take a chance. Write something new.

I suppose they feel pressured as well. When you get hundreds of letters and email asking when the next instalment is, I imagine it’s hard to disappoint people, even if the creative drive is no longer there. (Which is evident in a LOT of authors who write long and protracted series) I suppose it’s also hard not to listen to people who are there to advise you. Publishers need to make money as much as an author. Why take a chance on something you’re not sure will sell when you have a product (a brand in some cases) that sells really well? Maybe these authors find it hard to write that second series. Find it difficult to come up with new ideas so they stay in their comfort zone. Maybe some even like the notoriety? Who knows?

But I think audio books might be the answer to some of my series fatigue. I don’t feel like I am wasting my time when I am listening to an audio book while doing the dishes, or the laundry. Plus, a stack of  audiobooks just doesn’t look as intimidating as a massive stack of books can.

So I can maybe pick up some of those series I let fall behind. I left the ‘In Death’ books behind at around book nine, I think. I would love to pick that series back up but every book started to feel very samey to me. I could also finally get around to reading the last Harry Potter. (I know, I still haven’t read it AND I have managed to stay unspoiled! Don’t ruin it for me.) Does Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter books have audio? Are they any good?

I doubt they are as good as James Marsters is. I think they should pass a law that he should read all audio books from now on. Le sigh.

What about you all? When do you usually drop a long running series? What about good/bad audiobook narrators? Any I should stay away from?

A Week In Reading

I used to do this on the now defunct Book Pron and I enjoyed giving my mini lightning reviews. I hosed the idea from Tracy over at Tracy’s Place. (I am unashamed in my pilfering of ideas.)

So what did I read this week?

It was a week of Kitty for me. I started on the Kitty Norville series by author Carrie Vaughn and really enjoyed it. I made it through five of six books. I haven’t purchased the seventh instalment yet, but I shall. Soon. Also managed to squeeze in Carol Lynne’s new one.

Kitty and the Midnight Hour.

I really loved the voice of Kitty in this first book and some of my favourite moments came from Kitty’s interaction with her radio audience. I also liked that Kitty wasn’t an alpha werewolf from the start. You know, get bitten and suddenly you are Amazon Alpha, the strongest, most sexually alluring  female werewolf on the planet. Kitty had issues with her pack and she was the lowest on the rung. It made a nice change.


Kitty Goes to Washington.

In this instalment Kitty is a rolling stone that gathers no moss. Going from town to town doing her show, she is finds herself in hot water when she lands in Washington. I enjoyed Vaughn’s vision of  how the world would react to supernatural elements being brought into the public domain. There was no mass hysteria but Vaughn managed to convey a sense of unease and tension through the whole book. Her description of how violated Kitty feels at the end of the book was really well done.


Kitty Goes On Holiday.

I loved this book. This was where it all changed. One minute I knew where the characters were going the next I was like ‘Whoa!’ And I loved being surprised like that. Plus, for some reason there were many places in this book where I was scared out of my wits. Some real evil mo-fo’s here.


Kitty And The Silver Bullet.

This is the one I had been waiting for. Kitty returns to Denver and faces her demons. It all felt a little anti-climatic at points but that is because it wasn’t a drama-filled angst-fest which I appreciated. Introduction of a few new characters was interesting and mention of ‘The Long Game.’


Kitty And The Dead Man’s Hand

This was where it fell apart slightly for me. The plot was a mess and unfocused and I didn’t really see the point of the book at all except as a lead in to the next book. T’was a shame but you can’t hit home runs every time.


Seb’s Surrender – Carol Lynne

My guilty pleasure is Carol Lynne. I know she writes basically the same story over and over but there is a kind of comfort in that too, you know. I know they are angst-ridden and the smexxoring is unrealistic but I kinda don’t care. Crack with a capital C. I liked this second book in her Bodyguards series much more than the first although the first was good too. Who would think you could have a security company that specializes in gay bodyguards? But it works. As always interesting set-up and characters are let down by the storytelling but I still enjoyed it. If you let go and just read she is fab.

So there you have it, not a bad haul for the week. What about everyone else? Anything particularly noteworthy, in an good or bad way.

UK vs. US

Sometimes I feel like I am in a South Park episode. The one where Butters is Professor Chaos and he’s trying to take over the world and every time he comes up with a plan his sidekick General Disarray tells him, ‘The Simpsons did it!’ It’s like that in Romancelandia a lot of the time. You come up with an idea and go looking for pictures or quotes and then find that someone had beaten you to the punch.

Example. I was going to do this post on Nathan Kamp and how he seems to be on every frickin romance novel cover and why the hell is this the case cause yeah, he’s good-looking but he’s not that good-looking. Went to get some pictures and saw that Jessica over at Racy Romance Reviews had all ready done it. And her post was so much more eloquent and rational than I would have managed I thought to myself, ‘Yep, I’m not gonna even try!’

The I was going to do this post on UK vs. US covers and saw that Meljean had done something similar over at Oddshots. But you know what. I have come to the same conclusion poor Professor Chaos did. Romancelandia has been around for aeons and will be around after I go and we always talk about the same subjects again and again and again so another repetitive blog post ain’t gonna kill us. Plus, I have pretty pictures I want to show you all…

So UK vs. US book covers.

There are different reasons for a change in cover which Meljean goes into in her blog post here. But I have to say, maybe it’s because I am from the UK, I think the UK edges out the US a lot of the time…*controversial* Let me show you.

Keri Arthur

I just prefer the UK one. It feels more evocative somehow. Although I do like the colour scheme of the US one, it feels like anyone with Photoshop could have done it (Although I know that isn’t the case..)


Nalini Singh

I prefer black over lurid pink. I’m not sure what possessed that particular choice. Admit it, you’d be much happier reading the UK cover on the train.


J.D. Robb

Again much more evocative. I find the US covers really garish and it doesn’t tell me anything about the book at all.


Sherrilyn Kenyon

Admit it, it’s just much prettier. Although admittedly, the US covers have had a make over and I do prefer the covers with just the sigils on them to the lurid men covers they used to have.


Jim Butcher

I think the US covers for his Codex Alera series are like a badly drawn school project. I really dislike them.  (Although they are probably drawn by someone really famous.) I was so happy when Orbit brought the new UK covers out. I think they convey the fantasy feel without falling into the usual pitfalls of fantasy covers.


As for his Dresden Files series. I also prefer the, admittedly, boring UK covers. Why? Because as much as I like Chris McGrath’s covers he draws Harry with a freakin’ fedora on and HARRY NEVER WEARS ONE IN THE BOOKS. EVER! It really irritates me. So I prefer the UK ones cause they leave me to imagine the characters myself without putting ideas in my head. Of erroneous hats.


Ann Aguirre

I love the new cover for Ann Aguirre’s Corine Solomon series. It’s dark and moody much like the book (although there are lighter moments). I do like the US cover as well, I just like the UK more. Sometimes that happens. Even though the US cover is probably more representative of the character.


Eloisa James

No contest as far as I am concerned. It’s a beautiful picture and I love the little chess piece in the picture. It gives you a clue to the content but looks out-of-place there so you give it a second look. It’s just such a lavish picture. Very representative of Elosia’s work I think.


Julia Quinn

Although the UK covers are a lit too chick-lit in execution, I do think that they translate the sense of fun and humour that is apparent in Julia’s work. Unlike the US covers that are so vague they almost seem surreal.


However there are exceptions with Julia Quinn. The two ‘Cavendish’ books for instance. I much preferred the US covers. Go figure.


Lisa Kleypas

It’s not always the case that I prefer the UK over US either. I prefer the US covers to Lisa Kleypas’ newest historical series. The blue dress is stunning and much more interesting to my eye than the far away figure in the UK cover.  US cover win.


Rachel Gibson

I  do like the UK covers better. Again, they seem to convey a sense of fun. Although, that said, it is obvious that the UK publisher is trying to make this cover seem anything but romance as that is a dirty word in the UK.


It’s a subject matter that has been discussed ad nauseam and it’s true that while you know what you’re getting when you have mantitty or a back/dress combo, namely a romance novel, why does it feel that romance readers get the short end of the stick when it comes to cover art? Especially in America. Why is it that YA novels get beautiful covers like this?


And romance readers barely warrant any effort at all. Srsly, I CAN do better than this on Photoshop.

Why is there more effort put into a book for teens, than into a book for adults? Because that’s what it feels like. ‘Oh, they’ll buy it regardless so let’s not bother.’ But that’s a whole other subject for a whole other day.

(I’m probably going to get panned now from rabid Chris McGrath fans..*ducks*)

“Waiting On” Wednesday: First Drop Of Crimson

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at ‘Breaking The Spine’, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

First Drop Of Crimson – Jeaniene Frost

Publication date: 09/02/10

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Night Huntress series comes a breathtaking new journey to the dark side of desire.

The night is not safe for mortals. Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows–her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield–and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family’s past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness–and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who lusts for a taste of her.

He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human–even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the nightmare together . . .

Because once the first crimson drop falls, they will both be lost.

I recently discovered Frosts Night Huntress series and I had one of those Doh! moments. Like ‘Doh! Why did I wait so long to pick up this series. It’s freaking fabulous!’  The upside of that is I had 4 books to read at once and it was such a great set of books. I love Cat and Bones (especially Bones) and this book is the first in a spin-off series about characters we have met in the ‘Night Huntress’ universe but who deserve their own stories. YAY! Denise is Cat’s best friend and I suppose Spade is Bones’ best friend. And they get together. This is on my I–Would-Kill-My-Granny-For-This-Book’ shelf on Goodreads. That’s how much I can’t wait for it.

NYT Bestsellers: Romance Edition

I like information, charts, data.  SO I alway have a look at the NYT bestsellers lists when they come out. In particular the mass-market paperback chart. Where, I think it is safe to say that romance reigns supreme. (Most of the time.)

Lets have a look at this weeks Top 35 (Courtesy of NY Times)

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