Tag: Reader Discussion

Summer Reading Challenge Recap

Posted September 19, 2018 by Holly in Discussions | 9 Comments

Casee: I went about this challenge all wrong. Holly explains it perfectly below. Considering the fact that I loved (almost) every book I read in this challenge, I (almost) feel awful for the books that I chose for Holly. I overcame my aversion to first person in the last couple of months and I am so proud of myself, I could pat my own back. I actually have time or two. I was incredibly happy with all the books, but one on my list. Here are the links to my reviews.

The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen
Sustained by Emma Chase
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs
Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

All but two of these books were in first person. Go me! So my least favorite read was The Year We Hid Away. It was too melodramatic for me. I just didn’t see in it what Holly and Rowena saw. I wish I did because I know that they adored that book. My favorite book is a tie between The Deal by Elle Kennedy and Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews. They were both such amazing books. I don’t usually do comedy in my books, but omg, The Deal was so funny and I loved every word. In Burn for Me, you have such a strong heroine, it’s impossible not to love the book. Overall, this challenge was a huge success on my part because I was introduced to two new authors and a series by Elle Kennedy that I would never have tried because it was first person.

Holly: Our Summer Reading Challenge has come to an end. It seems there was some confusion about how exactly the challenge books should be chosen. While Rowena and I chose books we thought our blogging partners would love, Casee chose books she thought we wouldn’t have read otherwise, whether she thought we’d love them or not. While I didn’t end up loving the books she chose for me, I can’t deny she pushed me to read outside my comfort zone. Below are links to my reviews.

Raphael by D.B. Reynolds
The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
The Trouble with Love by Lauren Layne
Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

My favorite read of the challenge was The Kiss Quotient. It was such a sweet, fun, often angsty read. I just fell right into it. My least favorite was probably Satisfaction by Lexi Blake, though I’d give a dishonorable mention to Raphael. The heroines in both books were awful. I couldn’t finish The Bourbon Kings, but I really did enjoy the writing, which isn’t something I ever thought I’d say about JRW.

Rowena: I’ll be honest and let everyone know that I’m surprised that I actually finished this challenge. I was not at all interested in reading several of the books on my list but I’m happy to report that both Casee and Holly chose well for me because I enjoyed every single book that I was assigned to read. Whether they chose books they thought I’d love or books I never would have read if not for this challenge, I’m happy with all the books on my list.

Untamed by Pamela Clare
Beyond the Night by Colleen Gleason (Joss Ware)
Coming Undone by Lauren Dane
In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard

My favorite read of the challenge made me laugh because I dragged my feet the longest to read this book. I just wasn’t in the mood nor was I even interested in reading a book set in this time period and quite frankly, I forced myself to read this book and I ended up really liking it. That book was Untamed by Pamela Clare. It had a Last of the Mohican feel to it and that’s not something I thought I was interested in reading. Boy was I wrong.

My least favorite read of the challenge goes to Beyond the Night by Colleen Gleason/Joss Ware. I actually enjoyed the book but I enjoyed all of the other books on my list just a smidge more.

Did you participate in any summer reading challenges? How did you do? Have you read any of the books on our challenge? What are your thoughts on them?


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Retro-Post: Personal Libraries- To Go All Digital, or Not…That is the Question.

Posted November 15, 2017 by Rowena in Discussions | 33 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.*****

Holly: I love how we evolve as readers and book lovers. I know my reading tastes and habits have changed over the years, and I’m sure all of yours have, too. I used to hoard all print books. Whether I loved the book or hated it, I kept the print copy on my shelf. Now, I’ve culled down my print library to mainly favorites and full collections. I know Rowena has purged most of her print library in favor of expanding her digital one. I still have a lot of print books, but I’m buying/keeping fewer and fewer.

This post was originally posted on April 23, 2013


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Rowena: When you’re a reader, you dream about having a library that rivals the library that the Beast presents to Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. You want to buy shelves to line the walls of your home and fill them with all of your favorite books. Then once you start building your library, you get a little thrill every time you pass by.

Soon, you fill up the shelf and then you have to buy another shelf. So you do and you fill that shelf up and pretty soon, you’ve got books coming out your ears because they’re everywhere. For a book lover, this is not a bad problem to have but what happens when you run out of space?

Ames and I were emailing back and forth when our personal libraries came up. I told Ames that I was thinking about getting rid of my print TBR pile and going all digital but haven’t actually done it yet because I’m scared.

Scared of what? I don’t really know but taking that first step to getting rid of my personal print library terrifies me.

Ames: I’m right there with you Wena. I recently purged my keeper and tbr shelves and what was left scared me…I’m running out of space! And considering one whole wall in my room is a bookshelf, that’s scary. LOL I decided right then and there that I would make the move to digital. But since then I’ve already come across a few problems. In the purge, I decided to put all my keeper books in storage until I had more space (meaning my own house haha). But lately I’ve been wanting to re-read some favorites and I can’t go digging through all those plastic tubs to look for specific books. So in some cases where the ebook was cheap, I just bought it…I want to make that switch to digital right? Right. But I can’t do that for every book.

And when it comes to new releases, my default thinking is still Chapters or Book Depository…it’s hard to really make that switch to digital. There are just so many factors involved in making that switch, that it does scare me to make that move to 100% digital.

Rowena: You bring up a good point. Purchasing all of your favorite books that you already have in print would get pretty expensive. But let’s be honest, how long have those books been sitting on those shelves? How many print books have you read in the last year? I can tell you that over 95% of the books that I read last year were all eBooks. And no matter how many times I’ve tried to participate in reading challenges to read more from my TBR pile, I fail each and every single year because I’m not reading print books anymore. That makes me sad.

Now, my TBR pile is nowhere near as huge as yours is (I’ve seen that wall of yours and am still so jealous!) but I still have so many books that I just know that I’m probably not going to read. I want to read them but I’m probably not going to so should I keep them? Send them off to better homes? My greed is getting the better of me, I know this but this is still a tough decision for me.

For me, I’m not buying print books at all anymore. I pre-order books right on my Kindle and when they come out, they get delivered straight to my device. Every other book that I get are ebooks for review through Netgalley or Edelweiss so my print book buying days are behind me. And have been behind me for the past year or two. It’s been more than a year since I’ve been to my favorite UBS too.

But I’m curious. How many print books have you read in the past year? How often have you read a book from your TBR bookshelf?

Ames: Because I’m a big nerd, I kept stats of how many books I read and in what format. I read 29 print books from my tbr pile last year. That’s like 85% e-books I read in 2012. And I can’t just keep adding to my tbr pile with print books when I’m mostly an e-book reader now. It just doesn’t make sense. But because I live in Canada, e-books aren’t the cheapest thing exactly either. So I still buy the odd print book from Walmart for example, where paperbacks are way cheaper. And this leads us into a whole other discussion about geographic restrictions. LOL But we’ll keep on topic. Sometimes it’s just cheaper for me to buy the print book. I do read from a variety of e-publishers though, so that’s one good result from looking past the big traditional publishers.

Another thing is keeping formats consistent throughout a series. I used to be bad for that and it’s a hard habit to break. But slowly and surely I’m getting closer and closer to 100% digital. If I’m working at getting digital copies of my keepers, the format issue won’t be a problem since they’ll all be e-books. One day…one day. Haha.

Rowena: So I guess the whole point to this post (there is one, we promise) is to find out how many people are still reading primarily print books. Are there any left? And when you think of the future, do you see yourself moving your personal libraries from print to digital?

Ames: I’m curious to know too, how buying digital has maybe affected your book buying habits. I mean, when it came to buying print books, I was always cheap. That’s still the same with e-books. LOL So I’ll shop around. I always look for good deals. Be it discounts or reward programs. And how many readers are now mostly digital?

Rowena: So, what’s the good word? Tell us about your personal libraries.  Are you going digital or still holding out for…something, like us?

 


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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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Retro Post: Should an author push their personal beliefs in their books?

Posted April 19, 2017 by Casee in Discussions | 22 Comments

Today I’m bringing you a post from 2009. Suzanne Brockmann was a big voice in romance back then. She was a big voice for gay rights. She definitely brought her voice into her books.

This was originally posted on August 25, 2009.


If you read between the lines as you’re reading, you can see that some books do reflect the author’s personal belief(s) (i.e., Political, Spiritual, etc.). I think that’s natural. I’m not an author, but I would assume that writing is very personal. So I don’t think it’s wrong if it doesn’t really impact the reader. However, after reading Hot Pursuit, I have to put my reader foot down and say enough is enough. Not that she’s going to listen to moi.

I’ve met Suzanne Brockmann several times. I’ve listened to her speak. I lurrrrve her. I’ve read her Team 16 series from the beginning. I waited forevah for Sam & Alyssa’s book to come out. I was disappointed with it, but it didn’t stop me from continuing the series. I now get her hardcover’s from the library, but I still read them. Hot Pursuit didn’t make me decide to stop reading the series. It just annoyed the ever living hell out of me.

Suz’s readers should know that one thing she is extremely passionate about is gay rights. Her dedication to her son in Hot Target made me cry. Srsly. I was thrilled when she wrote Jules’ story in All Through the Night. If any of her characters deserved a happy ending, it was Jules. Occasionally her newsletters will inform readers of certain things that pertain to gay rights. To each her/his own, right?

I started noticing it several books back. If you pulled every passage having to do with what rights gay people do/don’t have out of all the books and put it together, that would be a book by itself. The point here isn’t whether or not I agree with her. The point is that all the facts and opinions she inserts really takes away from the story. Robin (Jules’ husband) was so glad he was married to Jules because if he wasn’t and Jules was hospitalized, he couldn’t see him because he wasn’t family. They live in Massachusetts because their marriage is recognized there. On and on about what they could/couldn’t do. And if that’s not bad enough, she also brought a new character into Team Sixteen. A gay SEAL. So now she’s going to be tackling the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that the military has. It’s not the character that I protest, it’s the reason she brought the character into the series.

After reading Hot Pursuit, I also have a good idea of her political beliefs. I’m reading a fictional story. If I wanted to read a political book, I would pick one up. So while I did like the book, I was thinking about this all the way through.

What do you think? Should authors push their “agenda” into their books? When is it going too far?


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Throw your desert island books out the window

Posted November 8, 2016 by Jen in Discussions | 5 Comments

Desert island books? Pshaw, that’s no good! Who can live on a handful of books? Instead, let’s talk about our desert island romance TROPES! If you got stranded on a desert island and could only read books with 3 romance tropes of your choosing for the indefinite future, what 3 would they be?

After a great deal of painful thought and ruthless selection, I have narrowed it down to just 3.

Wilderness Survival

This is my number one favorite romance trope, forever and ever. I LOVE wilderness survival stories and I will read just about any of them, even if they’re schlocky and ridiculous. See, I am hopeless in the outdoors or in any stressful survival situation, really.

wilderness-2

If stranded in the middle of a jungle or lost in the woods, I would be dead within literally minutes. Plus, real life survival is gross, difficult, and absolutely not sexy. But in books, I love to read about a couple thrown together to survive! Nobody dies from an infection, plunges to their death after slipping off a cliff, succumbs to hypothermia, or gets their head chewed off by a lion. Instead, at least one of them is a Bear Grylls-level survival expert, no creepy crawlies bite their butts while they’re getting it on in a cave, and they usually happen upon a waterfall or crystal clear lake to provide a timely bath somewhere along the way. It’s absurd but I eat it up.

Bodyguard

I adore a good bodyguard story. To be honest, I attribute this to my obsession with the movie The Bodyguard as a kid.

When he takes that bullet for her or picks her up and carries her to safety? good sigh (I used to just stop the movie before she gets on the plane at the end and pretend they stayed together. Stupid unsatisfying ending!) I flock toward romances where one character has to protect the other. Usually it’s the hero protecting the heroine, but I’ve even read a few where that was flipped. And the book gets bonus points from me if the protector has to move in with the protectee to do the protecting. Often it’s a cop or agent of some kind, and they need to move in to ensure that the person in danger has 24/7 protection. It is completely unrealistic and never happens in real life, but that set up does it for me every time. It gives so many great opportunities for sexual tension to build–they usually start out in separate beds but that moment when they end up in the same bed is my favorite!

Second Chance Love

My final trope would have to be second chance loves, where the couple was together before but split apart for some reason. And I don’t just mean a couple hooked up once but then never saw each other again–I mean a couple that was in love but that was pulled apart, either because of forces out of their control or just their own poor choices. When that happens, they both start at a place of wondering “what if”, and one or both of them usually carries some anger or resentment.

Then, they are reunited and slowly start to chip away at whatever challenges broke them apart in the past. I love seeing couples actually communicate and work out their differences through discussion and compromise, rather than instant fixes. When it works, the payoff is so, so satisfying.

Your turn! What would be your 3 desert island tropes?


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