Tag: Reader Discussion

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.

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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.

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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.

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

Posted April 23, 2013 by Rowena in Reviews | 18 Comments

Source

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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How alpha do you like your men?

Posted March 5, 2013 by Casee in Discussions | 1 Comment

In books, that is… I’m reading the second book in Maya Banks’ Breathless trilogy. The first book, Rush, got me thinking about just how alpha some males have gotten since I started reading.

Linda Howard was the first whose book’s had what I consider an “alpha” male. Kell Sabin, Dane Hollister, and Gray Roulliard just to name a few. Then came Judith McNaught’s Matt Farrell and Royce Westmoreland. These men, these characters were the embodiment of alpha males at the time. When they wanted something or someone, they went after it and damn the consequences. They rarely gave a thought to what stood between them and their “goal”, which is always a woman. And these women the men ended up with were damn strong women. They didn’t take any crap, but they didn’t run away either.

When paranormal hit the scene hard (however many years ago), things changed. It was subtle at first then, well, less subtle. It started with the werewolves who can’t control their base desires when it comes to their mates. Or lifemates as Christine Feehan is famous for. Not so suddenly, it didn’t seem like the women’s decision. Aside from generally not liking Christine Feehan’s Dark series, Holly and I have talked many times about lifemates. She doesn’t like the series because the women literally do not have a choice once they kiss the Carpathian men. That can be alluring and sexy…for the first six or ten books. Then you start to wonder, do these new alpha heroes care more about what they want? That is something that is always up for interpretation.

Sexual submission is a whole other ball game. It was Rush and subsequently Fever by Maya Banks that got this whole train of thought started. While there were a few problems I had with Rush, it was immediately apparent that the hero loved the heroine. Of course he didn’t know it. I had a harder time with Fever. I had to put it down and come back to it more times than I expected. In Fever, it wasn’t about sexual submission, it was about complete submission. I’m not a feminist by any means. I’ve read my fair share of BDSM.

It just raised the question…what do we expect an alpha male to be today?

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Pretty Little Liars and Storylines I Hate.

Posted January 26, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 7 Comments


A few weekends ago, I took my 12 year old daughter with me to the bookstore to spend the gift cards that I got from Christmas. This was a happy time for me as I LOVE bookstores and I don’t get around to going to any very often.

Brenna, who reads when she has to and that’s it, came because after the bookstore, I was taking her to her basketball practice. So, in other words, she had to come with me. While we were in the store, she wanted me to buy her a Pretty Little Liars book and I kept telling her no. So of course, she gets upset.

She gets all pouty and goes downstairs to play with the nooks, the nook colors and all of the other stuff downstairs while me and the actual readers (my nieces Chaylene and Cheridan) continue to browse the bookshelves for books. We left with a bunch of books and Brenna got a Starbucks.

On our way to her basketball practice, she says, “Mom, the only reason you don’t like Pretty Little Liars is because of Aria and Ezra.”

My response? “Damn straight.”

If you aren’t familiar with the storyline between Ezra and Aria, this is it. Ezra is Aria’s English teacher and they’re in love. Yeah, I get that there were extenuating circumstances and that there’s a story here but I’m sorry, as a parent of a soon to be 16 year old daughter, I never ever want her to have a relationship with her teacher or someone in a position of authority at her school, on her sports team, etc…

This is a total deal breaker for me. It’s why I stopped watching Pretty Little Liars (never really paid much attention to the books until the show aired) and it’s why I stopped watching Life Unexpected. The minute Lux continued her relationship with her teacher, or the minute that the teacher continued the relationship with Lux, I tuned out.

My main gripe with this is that to someone like Brenna, it’s not a big deal. When she said, “It’s not a big deal, Mom.” I wanted to bean her in the head with a tennis ball.

Of course it’s a big deal. Teachers aren’t sent to schools to start relationships with their students. There’s a reason that it’s against the rules and against the law for adults to engage in relationships with children. When you’re 16, you’re still a child.

I get that the teachers met these students under false pretenses but when they found out the kids true age (when they showed up in their classrooms) they should have ended the relationship. What bothers me the most is that they continued the relationship. They couldn’t help themselves, you can’t help who you love and blah blah blah, I’m sorry but the right thing to do is to let that one go.

Kids treat this whole thing like it’s not a big deal. Brenna did. Chaylene and Cheridan didn’t think it was that big of a deal. They treat the whole thing like it’s something normal and I don’t want this to be normal. Kids should be kids, they should be running around town with their friends, getting into trouble, not doing their homework, not tying themselves down to an adult who was entrusted with their care and their education.

I know that it probably happens more than usual and that this is all fiction, not real anyway but I don’t want my kid thinking that it’s normal and that it’s okay. I want my kid to be out there playing basketball with her friends. I want her to laugh too loud and play kickball or dodgeball in the street. I don’t want her kissing her teacher or sneaking out to be with the adult that I send her to school to learn from everyday.

Any thoughts? Are there any story lines that you hate reading? Any deal breakers for you?

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