Tag: Stop Torturing Holly

Bookish Thoughts: It’s Time to See Other People, Changes to NYTimes Bestseller Lists, Cliffhangers and Kindle Unlimited

Posted January 27, 2017 by Holly in Discussions, Features | 7 Comments


​I’ve been struggling with contemporary romances that focus solely on the protagonists without any external conflicts. This has been on my mind since I finished Playing the Player by Amy Andrews, book three in the Sydney Smoke Rugby Series. The hero and heroine didn’t do much away from each other. They obviously didn’t live in each other’s pockets, but all their focus and attention was on the other. There were no breaks in the story where, say, the hero was at rugby practice, or out with his boys, that he wasn’t thinking or talking about the heroine, and vice versa. I enjoyed the story overall, but I would have liked to see them have a life away from each other.

This is something I’m seeing a lot more of lately. We’d come out of it there for awhile, but now even my favorite authors are sliding back into the habit of having them focus just on each other. Can we go back to the hero and heroine falling in love, but also doing things away from each other?


The New York Times had dropped their Bestseller lists for Manga and Graphic novels. They announced plans to revamp their lists, and indicated others may be done away with as well.  From the PW article:

“Our major lists will remain, including: Top 15 Hardcover Fiction, Top 15 Hardcover Nonfiction, Top 15 Combined Print and E Fiction, Top 15 Combined Print and E Nonfiction, Top 10 Children’s Hardcover Picture Books, Top 10 Children’s Middle Grade Hardcover Chapter Books, Top 10 Children’s Young Adult Hardcover Chapter Books, and Top 10 Children’s Series. Several more including Paperback Trade Fiction, Paperback Nonfiction, Business, Sports, Science, and Advice Miscellaneous will remain online. Readers will be notified that individual lists will no longer be compiled and updated by the New York Times on the relevant article pages.”

Among the lists that appear to have disappeared are the graphic novel/manga and the mass market paperback lists as well as the middle grade e-book and young adult e-book lists.


This week I discovered a new UF series. Shadows of the Immortals by Marina Finlayson. Stolen Magic, book one, was an Amazon recommended read. It was $3.99 so I figured I’d give it a go. I really enjoyed it, but it ended on a cliffhanger. Though I grumbled a bit, I bought book two (also at $3.99.), Murdered Gods, and read it immediately. And it ended on a cliffhanger. No other books from the series are out yet. Each book is listed around 260 pages, though they felt much shorter, especially the second book. Assuming the series stops at 3 books (though I have no idea, since I can’t find any information about it on the author’s website), I’ll end up paying approximately $12 for what is, in essence, a single full-length novel. If the author stops with three parts. Otherwise, who knows when it’ll end.

Look, I don’t mind spending money on books. Especially when I’m really loving a series. But this new trend of breaking a novel into parts and releasing it as a serial, with each part costing $2.99-$5.99, is really starting to irk me. Especially when they aren’t marked as having cliffhangers or being “parts” of a book, rather than full-length titles. Or maybe I’m just being cheap?

To be fair, both parts are available for free on Kindle Unlimited. Since I don’t subscribe, I had to pay full price for them. Which brings me to…


Is Kindle Unlimited worth the money? I’ve avoided subscribing thus far because there weren’t a lot of books available that I wanted to read when it first launched. Now it seems like they have a greater, more varied selection. Thoughts?

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Saying Goodbye

Posted December 27, 2016 by Holly in Discussions | 18 Comments

I’ve dedicated a good portion of the last 15 years to reading. It’s been my main (dare I say only?) hobby, passion and one-true-love. I spent many hours reading, discussing and reviewing books. I also spent a good amount of time and money collecting them. Thousands of books have passed through my personal library over the last decade. I used to keep every book I read, whether I loved it or hated it. Back then, if I had 5 books in my to-be-read pile I got anxiety. Then I slowly started weeding out the books I didn’t love and figured I’d never read again. And my TBR pile grew to 20. As time went on I culled a lot more of my print library, keeping only my absolute favorites and my full collections. And my TBR pile grew to thousands (though a good number of those are digital..curse you, one-click!).

Over the summer we bought a new house and moved. The new house has a ton of natural light – which is wonderful, – but all the windows take up wall space I could have used for bookshelves. I decided it was time to brutally cut down my print collection. I kept pretty much only signed copies and my full collections. Linda Howard, Lisa Kleypas, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nalini Singh, etc. These are the collections that include very book by the author. Some signed. All in great condition.

One of the largest – and most prized- of my collections, the In Death series by J.D. Robb disappeared in the move. I’m pretty sure it got put in with the donation boxes, though I can’t be 100% certain. I spent years collecting them. The full, complete series, including novellas, mostly in hardback. It was beautiful. And it’s gone. Gone.

It wasn’t until we’d been in the new house a couple months that I noticed they were missing. We still had some boxes in the garage that hadn’t been unpacked and I figured they were mixed in with those. Eventually all the boxes were unpacked and the books still hadn’t turned up. I called the places we usually donate to, but they didn’t have them. Either they were donated elsewhere or they were already gone by the time I called.

Over the years as I switched to mostly digital reading, I’d been slowly purchasing my favorites in e-format, so I have pretty much the entire series in e already, but that doesn’t lesson my anger and sadness over the loss of these beloved books. My heart is broken.

Back in February of this year, my husband’s aunt moved in with us. She has dementia. She’s a huge reader and books give her great pleasure. But she has strange ticks that come with her disease. One of them is hoarding/hiding books and destroying them. She pulls pages out and crumples them, bends and creases the covers and, in comes cases, even shreds them. I have no idea why. I don’t blame her for it. It isn’t something she can help. However, before we moved my entire collection of books was at her disposal and she destroyed a number of my books. Some of them weren’t very important to me, but others…oh how I mourn them. Several signed copies, or ones given to me directly by authors. The pain!

Most people don’t understand. “They’re just books, Holly”. Or “You can buy new ones.” Both are true. They are just books and I can buy new copies. But that isn’t really the point. It’s hard to say goodbye. And while these may be just books, I was pretty damn attached to them.

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Characters Everyone Loves – Except Me

Posted July 26, 2016 by Holly in Discussions | 5 Comments

Rowena recently posted about characters she hates. I have a long list of characters I hate, too. This post is about the characters I hate yet who everyone else seems to love.

Derek Craven from Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas – Everyone always goes on and on about Derek and Sara, but the truth is they both drove me crazy. Sara, with all her running around like a moron thinking she’s safe in London, was TSTL 99% of the time and Derek was way too EMO for my tastes.

Roarke from the In Death Series by Nora Roberts – Now, before you decide to flog me..it isn’t that I don’t love Roarke, because I do. It’s just I don’t read the series for Roarke. I read it for Eve. She’s amazing! She’s a total badass. Roarke is just..an added bonus. Though I will say in the more recent books, Roarke has lost a lot of appeal for me. He often comes across as a placeholder than anything else. It’s depressing. (Disclaimer: I am behind about 7 books, so things may have improved with him.)

Brodick from Julie Garwood’s Ransom – Mostly I spent the novel wanting to either junk punch him or karate chop him in the neck. Brodick and I are not friends. The dirty, underhanded way he manipulated Gillian makes me rage-y this day.

Daphne Bridgerton from The Duke and I by Julia Quinn – That sperm stealing, no-apologizing hooker! Okay, she wasn’t that bad, but I couldn’t get over her lack of remorse for what she’d done. While Simon acted the fool, too, at least he had the good grace to feel sorry for it later. Daphne just went on her merry way.

Sam Starrett from Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann – Look, I just like my heroes to not throw up and/or cry every 5 seconds. Once in a while? Okay, fine. But all the time? Notsomuch. 

Nope

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Dear Romance Characters, Stop Breathing So Much

Posted April 12, 2016 by Holly in Discussions | 5 Comments

I have a confession to make: I think breath is nasty. Obviously the act of breathing is very important, but breath itself is pretty gross. I do not want my husband, kids, or dogs to breathe on me. Not anywhere on my skin, but most especially not in my face. I don’t care if they just brushed their teeth or popped a mint or chewed some gum. I do not want their nasty, moist mouth air anywhere near me. I am never going to be the mom who checks her kids’ breath to see if they really brushed their teeth.

That carries over to my reading, too. I do not want to read about characters and their nasty breathing. Of course I want my characters breathing (you know, unless they’re vampires or undead or something where breathing isn’t a requirement), but I do not want their breathing to become part of the story.

“Her breath fanned against my cheek.”

“His breaths soughed against my lips.”

And the worst one of all,

“Our breaths mingled.”

No. Just no. I don’t want that. Ever. But most especially in the morning. Morning breath is…. No. I just can’t.

Just me? Is there something you can’t read about?

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Reading #November9 (+ a Giveaway!) by Colleen Hoover

Posted November 9, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Reading #November9 (+ a Giveaway!) by Colleen HooverReviewer: Holly and Rowena
November 9 by Colleen Hoover
Published by Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: November 10th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Romance, New Adult, Contemporary, General, Fantasy
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.
Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.
Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

Rowena and I agreed to read November 9 by Colleen Hoover so we could review it together. She started it in the morning. I started it in the afternoon of the same day. The Premise:

inigo montoya

Girl is having awkward and painful breakfast with her father when boy in the next booth over comes to her rescue and pretends to be her boyfriend. They spend the day together and agree to meet up every year for 5 years on November 9th. The story is only told during their November 9th meetups, so everything we learn about the characters we learn from their meetings one day a year.

We kept messaging each other as we read. Things like:

giphy

Me: OMG! This book is adorable!
Her: I KNOW! I’m loving this.

You guys, I’m serious. This book was freaking adorable. The banter. The wit! The romance! The humor!

giphy (1)

She was busy during the day and didn’t get much reading time in. I had the same problem. We were both frustrated because we just wanted to get back to the book.

Picard

Finally, around 8pm I had a chance to really sit down and dig into the story. It was freaking adorable!

giphy love

So there I was, cruising right along, loving this adorable story when BAM, I got to the Fourth November 9. I was like, WTF JUST HAPPENED RIGHT NOW!?!?

giphy Brave

I couldn’t read fast enough. I had to see what was going to happen. AND THEN IT GOT WORSE, YOU GUYS. IT FUCKING GOT WORSE.  MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!

I finished the book and texted Rowena:

2015-10-20 15.58.17

 

I was so overcome I took to Twitter:

Nov 9

Nov 2nd 9

I waited for Rowena to finish the damn book. Finally she messaged me around 11pm.

2015-10-21 10.20.03

Then I sat back and waited, because I knew what was coming. I knew.

2015-10-20 15.57.10

I know, Rowena. I know.


Finally I texted her around 12:30am to ask if she’d finished the book. She called me at quarter to 1.

 

Her: Holly! What was that?  I can’t even right now.
Me: I don’t even know. I…it..I just…
Her …
Me: …
Her: I fucking hated that book.
Me: Same.
giphy no

The next morning I sent her a message.

Me: I’m still thinking about the book.
Her: Me too.
Me: …
Her: …
Me: I fucking loved that book.
Her: Same.

giphy happy

 

Okay, so for all that, the truth is we loved this book. It was a wild roller coaster ride neither of us wanted to end. We laughed, we cried, we got so angry we wanted to smash something…

It was perfect.

 

Holly’s Grade: 5 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 5 out of 5

 

Giveaway: Win 1 of 5 prize bundles of one signed copy of NOVEMBER 9 and a pair of #November9 sunglasses! Contest is open until November 30th. Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter or click here*.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Please Note: This is not a Book Binge sponsored giveaway. Winners will be contacted direct via the publisher.

Gifs via GIPHY

five-stars

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