Tag: Bookish Thoughts

Bookish Thoughts: #CopyPasteCris, KU Scammers and #NTRomNov

Posted March 8, 2019 by Rowena in Discussions, Features | 4 Comments

Holly: For the past few years, Rowena and I have been sort of bouncing in and out of Romance Twitter and Facebook. We keep up with what’s happening, but only on the peripheral. This year, we’re going to make an effort to stay informed and keep all of you informed, about what’s happening in and around Romancelandia. To that end, here’s a brief recap of some of the major stuff that went down in February.

#copypastecris

For those who aren’t familiar, last month a reader contacted romance author Courtney Milan saying she thought Courtney had been plagiarized by author Cristiane Serruya. Serruya initially denied the accusation, then later claimed a ghostwriter she hired had done it. As time went on, more and more passages were found, and it turned out over 34 authors had been “copied” from, including Nora Roberts, Maya Banks, Diana Gabaldon, Tessa Dare and many others. These are not small names in the publishing world.

Here’s the the most recent list CaffeinatedFae put together.

List of authors copied from

I have to say, Nora Roberts is the Queen of the Smackdown. She’s posted several times about the #CopyPasteCris situation. Her initial post “Plagiarism, Then and Now” really brought out why this is such a personal thing. Since then she’s updated her blog several times as more details come to light.

Which brings us to..

KU Scammers

From NR’s “Not a Rant, But a Promise” blog post, that went live 2/23/19:

I’m getting one hell of an education on the sick, greedy, opportunistic culture that games Amazon’s absurdly weak system. And everything I learn enrages me.

There are black hat teams, working together, who routinely hire ghosts on the cheap, have them throw books together, push them out–many and fast–to make money, to smother out competition from those self-pubbed writers who do their own work. Those who do their own work can’t possibly keep up with the volume these teams produce by these fraudulent tactics.

They tutor others how to scam the system.

Let me backtrack a minute. Last year, when Faleena Hopkins TM’d the word “Cocky” and created a shitstorm in the publishing community (Read our thoughts on #cockygate here), we learned about “book stuffing”, which is basically writing a short story for KU, but then stuffing a bunch of “bonus” content in the back (usually previously published books from the same series), which upped the pages read, and therefore the amount of money the author made. If you aren’t aware, KU pays per page read by the reader, so a lot of authors scam the system by “book stuffing”.

Now, with the #CopyPasteCris scandal, it’s come to light that more authors are scamming the KU system by doing what Cristiane Serruya did and hiring ghostwriters to help them throw together books to push them out as fast as possible.

Then it came out that authors are also buying and repackaging the same novel under different names/titles.

Shiloh Walker has a great thread up about it.

These people are literally SELLING & RESELLING manuscripts & copyright only to repackage, recover & release as a brand new book under another author’s name (with a shiny, new fake copyright, too). This is deceptive as hell. @AmazonKDP @Amazonhelp has been notified to no avail.

There’s a lot of stuff out there about the whole KU scamming thing and it’s a lot to sift through but here are some posts that went up on it all that you guys can read if you want.

SHILOH WALKER’S HOT TAKES: PART…WHO KNOWS? SO YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW TO SPOT THE SCAMMERS
Dakota Willink’s Thread on KU Scamming

I don’t even know what to say about that. I mean, as a reader I certainly don’t want to be scammed. I don’t want to contribute to the earnings of “authors” who do this. Yikes. But I have no idea how to stop, either, since Amazon makes it so easy for these authors to flourish.

#NTRomNov

After all of that gloom and doom, how about something that cheered us all up at the end of February? Did you guys check out the #NTROMCOM hashtag? Jennifer from Romance Novel News started up the Name that Romance Novel game on Twitter and it was so much fun. I will admit to not being as good at guessing these books as I thought I would be but it was still a lot of fun to read through the hashtag and make my guesses. I knew a lot but there were a few that stumped me good.

Here are some good ones from the bunch:

How did you do? There are so many other guesses to be made in the hashtag on Twitter and it’s a lot of fun to read through and participate in so if you’re in the mood for some great romance novel fun, head on over to Twitter and jump in!

We’ll be back with more hot takes, our thoughts on them and anything else that comes up soon. Have a great day guys!


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Bookish Thoughts: Rowena’s Ultimate Christmas Wishlist

Posted December 19, 2018 by Rowena in Discussions, Features | 5 Comments

Every month, Casee, Holly, and I tackle a different bookish and sometimes non-bookish topic together and this month, we’re sharing our wishlists with you lovely readers.

Christmas is right around the corner and like Casee and Holly, I have an ultimate wishlist of my own. It’s filled with bookish things and even some things that might be useful to the blogger in me. Are some of these items outrageous? Definitely. Will I end up getting all of them? Probably not. But it’s my wishlist and I’m going to keep right on wishing for these things. There are a couple of things that are definitely doable and I’ll probably end up getting them myself but for now, they’re on my wishlist.

Check it out.

1. Kindle Oasis

Every few months, I’ll start getting an itch for a new gadget. I already have a Kindle Paperwhite and there is absolutely nothing wrong it, but I really want a Kindle Oasis too. I love my Kindle Paperwhite. I love that it’s strictly for reading and even though there are ads, I don’t get distracted when I’m reading a book on my kindle because there aren’t any games on there or the internet, just books and more books. The Kindle Oasis has everything that a Paperwhite has, even the waterproof thing but for me? I really want those page turning buttons so this one is definitely on my wishlist.

2. Apple iPad Pro

A lot of people don’t understand what a commitment blogging is. I’m constantly on my phone, checking the blog, jotting down notes for blog posts, tracking our stats, making lists of books I want to read and review for the blog and just all things blogging, all the time. I’ve been looking at the iPad Pro because I can do so much blogging with it and it’s like a small computer that I can get a keyboard for and just go to blogging town, so yes, I want this iPad and I don’t even care that I already have an iPad mini.

3. A 2019 Fully Booked Planner

I’m a huge planner nerd and I’ve already got my planner lined up for next year (I actually bought it back in September, haha) but after coming across this book blogging planner on Instagram, I’ve decided that I want it. I’m one of those planner nerds that decorates their planner with stickers, and washi tape so the ideas of what I can do with a book blogging planner are plenty. I already bought a reader tracker for next year to track my reading so technically, I don’t even need this planner…but I still want it.

4. Brooklyn Bruisers Sweatshirt

You guys, I think Sarina Bowen read this post a few months ago and answered my bookish merchandise prayers. She’s got mugs, travel mugs, hydro’s, shirts, t-shirts, and everything Brooklyn Bruisers and I want this sweatshirt bad. I’m sending this link to my daughter Brenna for real.

5. Kindle Sleeves

I think these things are super cute and I’ve wanted one for the longest time. I haven’t gotten around to buying it because it seems like such an extra thing to have but I still want it but I think I want someone else to buy it for me so on my Christmas wishlist it’s going.

What’s on your ultimate Christmas wishlist?


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Bookish Thoughts: Holly’s Ultimate Christmas Wishlist

Posted December 12, 2018 by Holly in Discussions, Features | 3 Comments

Every month, Casee, Rowena and I tackle a different bookish and sometimes non-bookish topic together. This month, we’re sharing our Christmas wishlists with you lovely readers.

For me, Christmas is about giving, not receiving. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things I’d like to see for me under the tree. I went with a more practical list, rather than the one I was considering (castle in Scotland, 6 month world cruise, Tesla Model S etc). The things I listed are attainable, but I know I won’t be getting them for Christmas.

Stony Island Arts Bank Library Bookshelves
Stony Island Arts Bank Library, Chicago (USA)
1. New Bookshelves

I have a gorgeous, 20 foot wall in my entry way I would love to cover in bookshelves. I keep bugging my husband to build me some, and he keeps looking at me like I’m crazy. But y’all, I need them! Ones that look just like those at the Stony Island Arts Bank Library in Chicago. They’d be perfect.

2. Kindle Paperwhite

I don’t need a Paperwhite. I have a perfectly good(ish) Samsung Tab I use solely for reading (I prefer it to a dedicated reader because I read across many platforms). I still want it. I want it for reading at the beach and at the pool in the summer. And this new version is waterproof, so it would be great for reading in the tub, too.

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab a 8, 32gb

I currently have the Galaxy Tab 7. It works fine (mostly) but I’d really like a new one. Since I have an iPad and a Windows Tablet, I can’t really justify asking for a new dedicated reading tablet (the only thing I want the Galaxy Tab for). And yet…Sigh. I want the additional storage and upgraded processor of the Tab a8.

Wine Glasses for Book Lovers

4. Book Related Wine Glasses

I’m in love with these stemless wineglasses from CustomKreationGoods on Etsy. Wine + Books + Bookish Wineglasses = Best.Christmas.Gift.Ever.

Silver Prius Prime Image

5. Prius Prime

If this is my ultimate wishlist, I can add a new car, right? I have a perfectly fine car now, but I commute 45 miles each way to work. Having a hybrid would be wonderful. I used to think the Prius was really ugly, but I really like the style of the new Prime. Plus, it gets 133 mpge.

What’s on your wishlist list this year? Anything outrageous or are you pretty reasonable?


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Bookish Thoughts: Casee’s Ultimate Christmas Wishlist

Posted December 5, 2018 by Casee in Features | 7 Comments

Every month, Holly, Rowena and I tackle a different bookish and sometimes non-bookish topic together. This month, we’re sharing our Christmas wishlists with you lovely readers.

Christmas is the season of giving. I love buying gifts for my family and friends. I often get so excited that I want to tell everyone what I got them. I’m quite impatient. I start my Christmas shopping in November, so the time between the buying and opening of the gift seems even longer. I usually don’t think about what I want. When I do, it’s actually difficult. I’m pretty lucky in life insofar as I don’t have to wait until Christmas to get the things I want (within reason of course). Making a list like this really reminds me how fortunate I truly am. With all that said, there are a few things I really, honestly need. Number one on my list is an absolute necessity. Absolute.


A Money Tree

This is my number one. Número uno. Numéro un. I always knew that putting a kid through college would be pricey. But the thought was always in the abstract. Like seriously, it was forever away. Forever and ever. Now my oldest is living in the dorm and going to school full-time about four hours away from home. Not only that, but my youngest is a junior in high school. While the thought of “when did I get so old?” has run through my head, the more important question of “which body part should I sell to pay for this?” is on a loop. Thus the money tree. It doesn’t even have to be a large one. Just a small one. Like six feet tall would be nice. With as many leaves as the trees in my backyard drop. Yep, lets get it done. It would also help me buy all the books I ever wanted. That would just be a huge bonus.

iPad Mini

Because I’m such a nice wife, I gave my husband my iPad when his died. Which obviously equals me needing a new one! When you add the fact that my Kindle is start to fail, well, it all makes perfect sense.

 
A kitten

On August 7, 2018 I had to put my sweet Molly to sleep. She was sixteen. She was nine months old when we got her. My daughter was also nine months old when we got Molly so they grew up together. We’re a cat family (cats aren’t evil!) and we are ready to rescue a kitten and/or cat. We aren’t picky, we just want to rescue rather than buy. I have to admit that I did see some really cute kittens, but they were actually asking $600/ea. For real. So yes, I’ll take a kitten for Christmas please. It would also be nice to have a kitten to snuggle with while I’m reading. I miss that.

New Kindle Paperwhite (without ads)

Like I mentioned above, my current Kindle is starting to fail. It’s freezing, restarting, all the normal things that tell you that Amazon has started to send updates out to the old Kindles to slow them down so you’ll buy the new Kindle. No, I’m kidding. I don’t know if they do that. We all know that it’s Apple that does that. Ha.

 

This bookshelf

I first saw this bookshelf on Pinterest about two years ago. I literally begged my husband to build it for me. I don’t know where he would have put it, but I wanted it anyway. He looked at me and laughed in my face. Laughed. In my face. My husband is a handy guy. He builds things. He likes DIY things. He does stuff like that. But he laughed at me when I showed him this. Since it is that time of year, perhaps it’s time to show it to him again. Again, I would have to find somewhere to put it, but details right?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What’s on your wishlist list this year? Anything outrageous or are you pretty reasonable?


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Standalone Series Books: Yes, That’s a Thing

Posted November 6, 2018 by Holly in Discussions | 5 Comments

Holly: Lately, Rowena and I have been increasingly frustrated with the number of authors who label their books as standalones when they are, in fact, part of a series.

The Chase by Elle Kennedy is the first book in the Briar U series, which is a spinoff of the Off-Campus series. Yet the description says, “A sexy standalone novel from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy!”

The blurb for Part-Time Lover by Lauren Blakely says, “From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lauren Blakely comes a sexy new standalone romance…”, yet it features characters we met in Wanderlust (Part-Time Lovers series).

Rowena: It seems to me that this is a new development, at least in romance because I don’t ever remember going through this before. Books in a series could be read as standalone but they were linked by something. Some of those series were linked together by characters, some were linked by the world that they were set in, and sometimes they had a story arc that went through multiple books, but that last one wasn’t necessary or even the case for every series. I can’t agree with what Holly says above enough. It is possible for a book to read as a standalone but still be part of a series.

She also mentions that there are some readers that prefer to read standalones and that’s fine, you should be able to love and want what you want. We prefer to know that characters we meet and love in one book, also show up in their own books…because then it’s not a standalone, it’s part of a series and should be labeled as such.

I just finished reading Sleepover by Serena Bell and though the book is listed as a standalone, I just know that the hero’s brother Brooks is going to get his own book because the ending led the reader to believe as much. The ending also announces the engagement of a couple from another book that was released back in June of this year. So this book is definitely part of a series and is linked together by the characters but if you were a new reader of this author (like me), you wouldn’t know that. “Sleepover is a standalone novel with no cheating, no cliffhangers, and a satisfying happily ever after. This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.” Yet, it follows Do Over and Head Over Heels.

She’s not the only author that is guilty of this. She’s just the latest one that I’ve read and my frustration continues to grow and grow and grow. Holly hears about this frustration every time so we figured it was time to write this post.

Here are some examples of series with books that can be read as standalones but are linked together under the series umbrella.

The 21 Wall Street Series by Lauren Layne

This series follows three friends who work together on Wall Street. You don’t have to read the first book to get the second book, or the third book. The only thing that links these books together are the heroes in each book are friends. That’s it.

FBI/US Attorney Series by Julie James

Here’s another series that doesn’t need to be read in order. Each book can be read as a standalone and the series follows a different couple in the same world.

Colorado Mountain Series by Kristen Ashley


The same deal applies here with this series. They don’t really need to be read in order but there are recurring characters in each of these books. Some characters show up in all of the books, some show up in only a few but the common link in these books are the characters. The point is, the books can be read as standalones, but they’re connected in some way.

I’m not sure if this is a publisher thing or an author thing but whoever is in charge of making these decisions, please change this back. If books are linked in any way, readers should know that. I’m not sure when books being part of a series became a bad thing but I promise, I don’t see it as such.

The more you know and all of that…


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