Tag: Holly Says

Bookish Thoughts: Full Book Lists Wanted, The Ripped Bodice is Accepting Patrons, Passionflix, Series Reading and #ShallowReaderBingo

Posted August 17, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 10 Comments

Wanted: Full book lists on author websites

Authors, please include a full list of your works, including short stories, on your website. I’m the type of person who likes to read a series (especially long ones) in order, including novellas. If I can’t find the information on your website, I’m going to be pretty annoyed. As an example, I’m going to use Ilona Andrews. On the Kate Daniels page, it lists only the full length novels. However, there is a link to the full list, including anthologies.

Clicking the Small Magics anthology link takes me to a full page list of the stories set in the world, including all short stories and where they fall in the line-up.

Authors, seriously. I need this in my life. Please, if you haven’t already, go update your book lists. Keri Arthur, I’m looking at you. The title of your novella and what anthology it’s available in would also be much appreciated!

The Ripped Bodice (the only exclusively romance bookstore in the Northern Hemisphere) is now accepting Patrons

From their latest newsletter:

Today we’re taking a new step that we hope will help us to continue to grow and thrive for years to come. Many members of the romance community have expressed a desire to support The Ripped Bodice from afar.

We’re excited to announce that we’ve launched a Patreon, and you can become an official Patron of the Ripped Bodice.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I think it’s great for those who want to support them but don’t live close enough to do so in person (I live in SoCal, but the 2.5 hour drive makes it hard to get down there on the reg). On the other hand, why offer a crowd funding service instead of pushing their online bookstore? Unless this is a way to help offset the cost of author and reader events at the store? That would make sense. Anyway, here’s the info:

Why become a Patron?

Our page has detailed information about giving levels and some of the fun and exciting things you’ll receive every month. While we will never stop communicating and sharing the goings on at the store with the internet at large, some of our behind the scenes tomfoolery will be moved over to the Patreon and be available just for our patrons.

For the first month of our Patreon, all our new Patrons will get 10% off our fly new gear!
Discount code only available till 9/5/17 (code comes in your thank you email)
You can check it out here!

You can donate $3, $5 or $20 (or more!) per month for various offers and discounts from The Ripped Bodice. Check out the Patreon site for details. There’s a Sherry Thomas short story being offered for new members, thanks to Berkley and the author!

Passionflix – Turning your favorite romance novels into movies and series… On Demand

Have you guys seen this? I can’t tell you how excited I am! Passionflix is a subscription streaming service that turns our romance novels into movies on demand. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little nervous about the quality of the movies being produced. We’ve all seen the traveshamockery at Hallmark and Lifetime (remember Rose Hill, the made-for-t.v. movie of For the Roses by Julie Garwood? shudder). Still, I’m hoping for the best.

Here’s what you get for your money:

Becoming a found member ($100 flat fee):

A 2 year Subscription (a 30% savings!)
Invites for a walk on role, Passionflix parties or set visits.
Voting privileges on our exclusive reality shows like Cast Your Book Boyfriend.
Help us find the next romantic leading man.
Discounts on Passionflix Merchandise.
Be the First to Know what’s going on Behind the Scenes.

Be an Early Bird Subscriber ($3.99 monthly fee):
Register your interest now and you’ll be invited to join when we launch for a discounted price of $3.99/month.

I signed up as a Founding Member. Despite my concerns over the (possible) quality of the movies, I’m excited about this.

Here are the movies already in production:

Hollywood Dirt

Alessandra Torre

While making a movie in a small Georgian town, Hollywood’s hearthrob Cole Masten casts spirited local girl Summer Jenkins as his leading lady, on screen and off.

Coming Sept 2017

 
 

Afterburn/Aftershock

Sylvia Day

Businesswoman Gia Rossi is determined to be successful in her new job, but when her ex lover Jax Rutledge waltzes back into her life, their passionate connection ignites not only in the boardroom, but the bedroom.

Coming Nov 2017

 
 

The Trouble with Mistletoe

Jill Shalvis

Real estate developer Keane Winters may have stood up pet shop owner Willa Davis in high school, but now he wants her under the mistletoe and in his life.

Coming Dec 2017

 
 

A Brother’s Honor

Brenda Jackson

While working to prove their father’s innocence and save the family company each of the three brothers come to terms with the past, find their own future happiness and unexpected love.

Coming 2018

 
 

Shallow Reader Bingo

Thanks to Willa on Twitter, I recently discovered Shallow Reader Bingo. You guys, this is amazing! It looks like it hasn’t been updated in a couple months, but I love the idea.

Series Reading – When is it Time To Say Goodbye?

While putting together a list of books I’m looking forward to in September, I started thinking about long-running series. Specifically J.D. Robb’s In Death series (currently at 45 books) and Hannah Howell’s Murray Family series (21 books). I had to stop reading the Murray Family series because I felt like each book was the same, so I’m not quite sure how it ended (or if it did). I’m behind about 10 books in the In Death series, but I wonder if it’s becoming stale (for the record, I’m not suggesting it is, as I’m so far behind, just wondering how long she can sustain it).

At what point should a series end? When the author is tired of it? When it stops selling well? Obviously, there’s no right answer to that question since each series and author is different, but how do you feel about open-ended series?


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Retro-Post: Pushing the Envelope (way) Too Far?

Posted August 15, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 25 Comments

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Rowena: Are you in need of a laugh this fine morning? Well, let us revisit an old post that Holly wrote about authors who push the envelope…too far? Haha, trust me. It’s well worth the read. This is a post that only Holly could write.

This post was originally posted on July 25, 2011.
Warning: The following post is graphic and not for the faint of heart. Read on at your own risk.

Sometimes I wonder what the people at Barnes and Noble think of me and my reading because I get some seriously strange recommendations from them. One of the most recent ones was Stroke It by Cassandra Curtis, which I believe is a self-published…I hesitate to call it a novella, since it’s so short, so I’ll just say story. It’s currently free for the Nook, and after reading the blurb I figured why not?

Exhausted after a coast to coast book tour, Laris needs serious R and R. The luxury resort along the Baja coast provides their guests with everything they could desire, including their own personal masseur. Former special ops agent Alejandro Maranta loves his job as an on-call masseur for the resort hotel. Using his unique gift for easing tension, he gives Laris a massage she’ll never forget.

I was surprised when I opened the book to find that it’s only 31 pages – and that includes the copyright, etc. I think the actual story is about 21 pages. Still, it was free and the blurb was intriguing.

Chick is stressed so she books a weekend at a luxury spa to relax. She requests a masseur to give her a “special” massage (it’s implied that there was a bit of matchmaking going on w/ the choice of masseuse) and dude shows up to make it happen.

A guest with a sore neck and lots of tension had requested a personal massage. Nothing unusual about that, except Enrique also used the code words – special services. He grinned, knowing it meant the guest was a woman who needed extra handling. Perhaps she’d heard of the enhanced techniques he’d developed for releasing feminine stress.

He shows up prepared to get her to relax. He starts by warming up her muscles and twenty minutes later the ache has left her neck. He stops and she begs him not to.

“Please don’t stop.”

“You want more?”

“Yes.”

“How much more?”

“I-I don’t understand.” She tried to turn onto her side but he placed a warm palm on the small of her back, stopping her.

“I have developed a special technique for easing stress. Inside and out. But it takes much longer than a thirty minute session, and it would require you to take your clothes off.”

“You mean sex?” Was he serious? Oh my…maybe dreams do come true.

“Much more than sex, a special stroke that massages more than muscles.”

“Oh.” Please let this be real..and my royalties cover whatever it costs. She made a fervent prayer. “Yes.”

So far I’m thinking..eh. Chick is willing to pay for sex? With a total stranger? Maybe I watch too much Cops, but I’m thinking hello prostitution sting. Anyway…

She lets him pull her clothes off and before she knows it she’s on the brink of orgasm. Then he tells her he’s ready to give her his “special stroke”. He started to enter her and she feels a pressure at her anus. Then he’s fully inside her front..and he’s sliding into her rear. She figures he’s got some kind of toy and thinks it’s pretty hot.

She has a pretty amazing orgasm and she rolls onto the bed, sated and happy. They start snuggling and she’s pressing against him. Oh, but what’s this? She feels not one, but two erections.

“I thought when I saw you pull something from your case, that you had a sex toy of some kind, maybe one that fit around your penis..”

“Ah..no. I took only condom from my case.”

“Then how…?”

“I am Were.”

Uh..what? I didn’t see that coming. But ok, whatever. The author is trying something different. Except the chick’s reaction? Yeah, that doesn’t work for me. She’s heard rumors about this type of thing existing, but she didn’t believe it.

“Do not be afraid. I would not harm you…or perhaps you are horrified, si?”

“No! I just thought your people were a myth. Do..do you shift?”

He got up from the bed and proceeded to show her, only allowing the transformation to reach halfway, before returning to his human form.

“What are you?” She touched his abdomen with her shaky fingers.

“Half Were-Rhino, Half Were-Panther. I can take both forms or I can take a hybrid form.”

I just hit a wall. I’m pretty sure my head might have exploded. Were-RHINO??? Were-PANTHER??? HYBRID?!?! Then he asks her to dinner and the story is over. There’s no description of him in any form (Rhino, Panther or Hybrid), no reaction from the chick except to accept his invitation to dinner. Nothing. The story just ends.

Look, I understand pushing the envelope. But there comes a point where you’re pushing it way too far. This is it. I spent a good amount of time trying to imagine what this would look like. A huge rhino head on a panther body? A tiny panther head on a rhino body? A panther head with a rhino nose?

Tracy came over this weekend and we got to talking about the book. And naturally – because we’re immature like that – the penis came up. My husband and I were recently watching some program on tv (to my eternal shame I’m pretty sure it was MANswers) and they were talking about an elephant penis. Which is 6 feet long. SIX FEET LONG. So I’m thinking, if an elephant penis is 6 feet and a rhino isn’t that much smaller than an elephant and dude has a rhino penis..how big is it? And how, exactly, would that fit inside her?

My husband heard us speculating about this and took it upon himself to look up the size of a rhino penis. 2.5 feet. TWO AND A HALF FEET. Holy Mary Mother. Can you imagine? I couldn’t either. Luckily for me, Tracy – being the curious sort, you understand – Googled it. And what did she find? Oh look, a video.

So dude whips out one of those? But wait..there’s more. Because he didn’t just have a 2.5 FOOT rhino penis. He also had a panther penis. Can you imagine the logistics? Take a minute. Think it over. I’ll wait.

Are you horrified yet? Oh good, welcome to my world.

The moral of this story? Authors, feel free to push the envelope. As a reader, I want to read about new things. But, for the love of all things holy, think before you do it.


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Retro Post: Are You A Glommer?

Posted July 15, 2017 by Holly in Discussions, Reviews | 14 Comments

Holly: It’s been 9 years since I originally posted this. I still glom authors, but now I do it digitally. I’ve culled my print collection down to just old favorites. What about you?

This post was originally published May 22, 2008

Work has been kicking my butt lately, so I haven’t had time to write up reviews or post witty, thoughtful topics, so instead I’m recycling an old one.

From dictionary.com:

glom·ming, noun Slang.
–verb (used with object)
1. to steal.
2. to catch or grab.
3. to look at.
–noun
4. a look or glimpse.
—Verb phrase
5. glom onto, to take hold or possession of

I admit I’m a glommer. When I find an author I enjoy, I immediately start working on collecting his/her backlist. I believe the first romance author I glommed was Judith McNaught, followed by Lisa Kleypas. From there it blew up into a crazy, scary, awful thing that has now overwhelmed my life. I’m currently in the process of glomming Karen Templeton.

I even glom authors I don’t read anymore. Like Jude Deveraux. I stopped reading her years ago, but I’m still compelled to buy each and every one of her new releases. And you know, I have her ENTIRE BACKLIST. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve told myself to sell the lot of them on eBay and be done with it? Too many to count. Do you know how many times I’ve actually done it? None. And still, I keep buying her books as they’re released, because I’m OCD and have to have them all on my shelf.

Probably I need help..but let’s move on to you…

Do you glom? What authors? Do you remember your first? Are you OCD like me and collect books long after you’ve stopped reading an author? Or do you not keep any?


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Retro Post: Fifty Shades of Grey is Not Romance

Posted June 21, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 20 Comments

Retro Post: Fifty Shades of Grey is Not Romance

I (Casee) love this post. I have these books in my TBR pile. This is the second time this post has been reposted, but I feel that it is deserving. This post was originally posted in 2012 (when the books were published) and again in 2015 (when the movies were released).

It seems everyone is talking about Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. Whether you read it or didn’t, loved it or hated it, I bet you’ve either talked about it with someone or read about it somewhere. Maybe you only heard the title mentioned and know nothing else about it. Or maybe you’ve read it 18 times and can recite it line-by-line. Whatever the case, it’s out there.

First, let’s just get this out of the way: I read all three of these books in a day and a half. As soon as I finished the first one, I bought the second. Likewise with the third. I paid $9.99 PER BOOK for digital copies. It’s possible I was drunk at the time (or should have been). Especially while reading the third. That was just a big ball of WTF rolled up in 500-something pages.

There’s been a lot of criticism on many fronts for this trilogy. I’m not going to touch on the fanfic aspects, because frankly I know nothing about fanfic and I’d only come off sounding like a moron (if you’re interested, author Kate Davies posted an interesting piece about fanfic and Dear Author did an entire series about it) . I’m also not going to address the “mommy porn” label that’s been ascribed to these books. The term makes my head want to explode and I have too much to live for. I will say that “mommy porn” is insulting and it makes me want to punch someone in the junk (because I’m sure a man came up with that).

I would like to address two misconceptions that bother me greatly about this series.

This is a romance novel.

I disagree. While there are many similarities, what keeps this from being a romance in my book is the nature of the relationship between Christian and Ana, the main protagonists. Yes, it has many of the same tropes we find in romance: Billionaire, Tortured Alpha Hero becomes intrigued with Virginal, Malleable Heroine. She thinks she can save him and he only wants her for sex – but then becomes intrigued by her and decides he wants to keep her. On his terms, of course. Which she, naturally, doesn’t agree to. Much angst ensues. Until finally, Happily Ever After (complete with rainbows and unicorns a meadow full of wildflowers and mention of tasting breastmilk).

I know what you’re saying to yourself. You’re saying OMFG what do you MEAN tasting breastmilk??? “Gee, Holly, this sounds an awful lot like a romance novel to me.” And yes, I know on the surface it seems that way. But the truth is, at its core, this is a book about a sad, troubled man who tends toward being abusive and the woman who enables him in being this way.

After reading this trilogy I wanted to write a post titled Why Stalking Is Not OK. Actually, I still kind of want to write that post. But for now I’ll just say it here. Stalking Is Not OK.

I know some novels in recent years have glorified stalking. Most notably for me – probably because it’s marketed to young adults – is the Twilight franchise. But Edward sneaking into Bella’s room to watch her sleep without her knowing was nothing compared to this.

Let me outline a few examples for you.

A. Ana drunk dials Christian one night and he freaks out over the fact that she’s drunk and demands to know where she is. She hangs up on him. 15 minutes later he shows up at the bar. When questioned, he reveals he tracked her cell phone to find out where she was.

“How did you find me?”

“I tracked your cell phone, Anastasia.”

Oh, of course he did. How is that possible? Is it legal? Stalker, my subconscious whispers at me through the cloud of tequila that’s floating in my brain, but somehow, because it’s him, I don’t mind. (Grey p.57)

B.  Christian sends Ana gifts to and drives her home.  Only, she never mentioned where she lives, so how did he know?

“He pulls up outside my duplex. I belatedly realize he’s not asked me where I live – yet he knows. But then he sent the books, of course he knows where I live. What able, cell-phone-tracking, helicopter-owning stalker wouldn’t.” (Grey p.74)

C. He returns unexpectedly from a trip because she meets a friend for a drink instead of going straight home. Yes, he actually cancels a business trip because she met a friend. He specifically told her to go home and when she didn’t, he rushed home to spank scold her.

D. Despite having only known him for a few weeks, he knows her social security and bank account numbers. And he accesses them without her permission.

Now, Ana does call Christian out for his behavior. But she does it in a way that says she doesn’t think it’s a very big deal. Personally I would have stabbed him in the throat called the cops the very first time he said he used my cell phone to track my whereabouts 5 days after I met him. But that’s just me. Ana sort of laughs off most of the things he does. If she does become angry and points it out to him, he apologizes and she forgives him. And then he does it again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

As I was reading, I kept wondering in what world it’s ok to do the things he did. Were we, the readers, supposed to accept his behavior because Ana did? Or perhaps I was supposed to accept his behavior because he was just a sad little boy on the inside? One who was “Fifty shades of fucked-up” from the emotional and physical abuse he suffered as a child? Because that doesn’t work for me. Honestly, that just freaks me out even more. An unbalanced, self-proclaimed “fucked-up” guy is stalking me at my place of work, knows every detail about my life and follows me around town without my knowledge or permission? I don’t laugh it off and say “now, now, be a good boy”. I run screaming in the opposite direction.

This is a healthy, loving relationship.

No. This is a sad, destructive, abusive relationship. Over the course of the three novels it becomes slightly less destructive and abusive, but only slightly. When I finished the third book I did so with a heavy heart and a bad taste in my mouth. Yes, they are eminently readable. But they’re also depressing as hell.

The mind games and emotional bullying Christian indulges in to get his way; The fact that Ana seems more like a victim suffering from Stockholm Syndrome than a woman in a healthy, loving relationship. These are textbook signs of an abusive relationship. Cutting her off from her friends unless he’s with her or can control the environment she meets with them in, following her on a trip to see her mother even though she expressly asked for time alone to digest things, having her followed and spied on, buying her a computer and a Blackberry and a car, so he can get in touch with her whenever he wants, ordering for her and steamrolling her when she complains:

“Two glasses of the Pinot Grigio,” Christian says with a voice of authority. I purse my lips, exasperated.

“What?” he snaps.

“I wanted a Diet Coke,” I whisper.

His gray eyes narrow and he shakes his head.

“The Pinot Grigio here’s a decent wine. It will go well with the meal, whatever we get,” he says patiently.

“Whatever we get?”

“Yes.” He smiles his dazzling head-cocked-to-one-side smile, and my stomach pole vaults over my spleen. I can’t help but reflect his glorious smile back at him.

These are not signs of a healthy relationship. That Ana tolerated this behavior – and even excused it, or worse, came to enjoy it – does not make it okay.

I think the worst part, however, is the way he casually dismisses her feelings. Especially in the beginning when it comes to being a submissive. The first time he spanks her, she’s very upset afterward. She tells him she felt demeaned and abused. His response?

So you felt demeaned, debased, abused & assaulted – how very Tess Durbeyfield of you. I believe it was you who decided on the debasement, if I remember correctly. Do you really feel like this or do you think you ought to feel like this: Two very different things. If that is how you feel, do you think you could just try and embrace these feelings, deal with them, for me? That’s what a submissive would do.

And naturally, she’s thrilled he thinks of himself as hers, and brushes aside the fact that he’s told her to get over her feelings and let him humiliate and debase her.

As the series continues, Ana learns to stand up for herself a bit more and Christian learns to give in to her occasionally – oh wait, no. That didn’t actually happen. The author told us that’s what happened, but the actions of the characters didn’t change a whit.  Christian still ordered Ana about, cutting her off from her friends and managing her life whether she liked it or not. And she let him.

This does not a romance novel make.

Are these books very readable? Yes. Are they enjoyable? I would say no, but I think that depends on the individual person reading them. Are they romance novels? Not even a little bit.

Fifty Shades of Grey is not a romance.

*I made some minor editorial changes to the revised post


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Retro Post: The Chin Affliction

Posted May 15, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 10 Comments

This month I had to share with you Holly’s Chin Affliction. If anything, I think the Chin Affliction is even more prevalent today.

This was originally posted on November 17, 2009.

Have you noticed how active chins are?

“She thrust her chin out”

“Her chin came up”

“She lifted her chin”

You notice all the quotes I used above reference females. The Chin Affliction is most often used to showcase a stubborn and/or independent (though IMO many times these traits are interchangeable) heroine. The hero insults her and her chin comes up to show she isn’t intimidated. She faces an unfamiliar situation and her chin comes up to show she’s unafraid. She becomes angry and her chin thrusts out in challenge.

This is something that’s bothering me more and more lately. I like to call it The Chin Affliction. It bothers me because I feel like the moving chin is often an easy way for authors to show emotion. Her chin coming up symbolizes something, which takes some pressure off the author. Plus, I don’t think I’ve ever raised my chin in my life – not when I was angry or scared or being stubborn. It strikes me as a somewhat childish gesture, and frankly it annoys me.

Have you ever even noticed The Chin Affliction? Does it bother you? Is there something else that keeps cropping up that annoys you?


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