Tag: Holly’s Annoyed

Throwback Thursday Review/Rant: Trying to Score by Toni Aleo

Posted June 28, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review/Rant: Trying to Score by Toni AleoReviewer: Holly
Trying to Score by Toni Aleo
Series: Assassins #2
Also in this series: Empty Net
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 576
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: two-stars

In a captivating novel of second chances and healing hearts, the newest member of the Nashville Assassins pulls a power play to make things right with the one that got away.  Fallon Parker’s dream has always been to turn her family’s wine company into a runaway success and eventually start a cellar of her own. Since graduating from college, she has worked relentlessly to make that dream a reality, especially after taking a chance on love—and losing. By the time Fallon becomes an official sponsor of the Nashville Assassins, she feels like all her hard work is finally paying off. And then the man who broke her heart skates back into her life.   On the ice, Lucas Brooks is the NHL’s leading scorer—at least when he’s not in the box. Off the ice, he’s a mess, with all his anger and misery bottled up inside. He threw away the most important person in his life and has regretted it ever since. But when Lucas returns to Nashville in a trade, he’s determined to convince Fallon that he’s a changed man. The attraction is still there. The tension is electrifying. But the odds are stacked against them—especially after Lucas finds out that Fallon has been keeping a devastating secret.  Praise for Toni Aleo’s Nashville Assassins romances  “Aleo melts the ice and hits it into the net with her Assassins series.”—Award-winning author Jami Davenport   “Taking Shots is really the whole package. You get romance, humor, steamy sex, drama, and then it all wraps up with a great conclusion. I am amazed that this is Toni’s first book. She has come out in a huge way. I can’t wait to read more from her. Don’t hesitate for a moment to grab this book.”—Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews   “A little steamy, a little heartbreaking, and a whole lot of fanning yourself are in order this time around, readers. Are your cheeks feeling a little pink yet? Get used to the feeling.”—Dreaming in the Pages, on Trying to Score   “Empty Net is an honest, heartwarming, endearing story. . . . Toni Aleo doesn’t just write a story. She gives you the ability to experience the journey of her characters right along with them. Her stories are enveloped with passion, emotion, humor, love; and let me tell you, that girl knows how to write a sex scene that just makes you sweat!”—Guilty Pleasures Book Review   “Sexy and riveting . . . the perfect combination of love and lust.”—USA Today bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin, on Blue Lines

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review/rant was originally posted on November 29, 2011.

Warning: This review contains spoilers!! and bad words!!!

I downloaded this because the cover is hot and it features hockey players. Sadly it was a disappointing read. Had I realized it was a secret baby plot, I probably wouldn’t have requested it. I hate secret baby plots unless the heroine has a very good reason for keeping the kid a secret. Like, she tried to tell him but couldn’t find him. Or the kid is a week old and she lost touch, but tries to find him. When the kid is 6 and she’s refusing to tell daddy because she’s all wrapped up in how she feels? That doesn’t work for me.

Sadly, that was the case here. Fallon met Lucas when she was in college. They spent two blissful years together, until the day she walked in on him in bed with her roommate. Heartbroken, she leaves college and heads home. The problem? She’s pregnant. And she knows it. She decides she isn’t going to tell Lucas because he’s a cheating bastard and he’d probably just leave his kid like he left her.

Lucas is heartbroken when he realizes he cheated on Fallon. He was a mess, constantly drinking and using prescription drugs. After she left he got his life together, but it took some time. When he sees her 7 years later, he knows it’s his chance to get her back. Except he discovers Fallon’s secret – she’s been hiding his kid from him.

When Lucas confronts Fallon, she shows zero remorse for keeping his kid from him. She doesn’t apologize or offer to make amends. Instead she throws out wild accusations about the type of father she knows he’s going to be – the type who leaves and doesn’t support his kid – refuses to take child support and in general acts like a raging bitch.

To make matters worse, Lucas was a total doormat. At some point you have to say to yourself “this chick is a crazy bitch and I’m wasting my time”. He should have reached that point around page 15. He never did. Not in 350 pages.

Fallon was a bitch. In a complete role reversal, the hero was the doormat and the heroine was an Alpha-Bitch. She was wishy-washy in her feelings and actions, except her bitterness and anger. Those stayed consistent throughout the book. Right up until the very last page as a matter of fact. Why was Lucas so determined to be with her? It made no sense to me. She kept his kid from him, treated him like crap and in general needed to take a long walk off a short pier. I mean, I get her not wanting to be wit him. He cheated on her. But to keep his kid from him and say he’d be a shitty father because he cheated on her? That doesn’t work for me. Especially since her kid was the one who was suffering because of her hurt feelings.

Added to that, the writing was filled with inconsistent dialogue and characterizations. One minute she was broke, the next she was refusing help because she didn’t need help from no one or nothing. Today she’s sorry she’s hurting her son and wants him to know his dad, yesterday she wanted nothing more than to keep them apart to protect her heart.The dialogue was strange, too. As the novel wore on, the speech went from refined southern bell to crazy southern redneck. “you ain’t gonna” and etc. It took me out of the story.

As if that weren’t enough, there was a weird sub-plot with her sister. The sister seemed pretty kickass until she hooked up with a guy who told her she was fat and hurt her in the bedroom. She refused to tell Fallon or Lucas who it was. Unfortunately Lucas figured it out. She begged him not to tell Fallon until she could do it herself – she had every intention of staying with the abusive guy, which makes absolutely no sense at all – and of course she doesn’t, so the whole thing was used to bring about the final big confrontation between Lucas and Fallon. I have no idea where that came from or why we had to read about it. It was silly and made no sense.

Normally I can overlook small typos or little idiosyncrasies in the plot. But when the story isn’t holding my attention I tend to focus on all the negative. That’s what happened here. The story was way too long and bogged down with constant repetition. At around 2 in the morning, I realized I still had something like 200 pages to go, so I opened the contents and skipped from chapter 16 to 28. I didn’t skim at all. I just jumped from chapter 16 to 28. I felt like I missed nothing. It was like I hadn’t even skipped a page. That doesn’t say good things about the story.

I did like the sister enough (weird abusive guy thing aside) to start her book. Sadly a few chapters in it already seems to be more of the same (minus the secret baby plot). I’m going to stick with it a big longer, but I’m wary now.

I’m totally bummed. I had such high hopes.

Rating: 1 out of 5.



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PSA: Authors, Don’t Spoil It!

Posted October 31, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 1 Comment

For years friends have been trying to talk me into watching Game of Thrones. My husband and I binge-watch shows regularly, but neither of us were really that interested in GoT. Finally, Ames and Rowena talked me into starting it.

Normally I’m all about spoilers. I don’t mind if I see or hear things about a show I’m currently watching or plan to watch (or books I’m reading or plan to read). My husband, on the other hand, hates spoilers. He won’t even watch the next episode preview because he doesn’t want to know.

We both went into GoT without really knowing anything about it. I didn’t pay attention to any of the posts about it over the years and neither did my husband. So I figured, what the hell, there are a lot of twists and turns, I’m going to avoid all spoilers. Y’all, it’s hard avoiding spoilers when you’re 6 seasons behind in a series and the current season finale is just airing, but I managed. I didn’t see a single thing that spoiled who lives and who dies, what intrigues were afoot, or anything else. It was like we were watching it in real time.

Until I read The Time in Between by Kristen Ashley. My husband and I had just finished Season 2, but there was a major spoiler for something that happens at the end of Season 3.

The spoiler was a huge one, detailing the events of one of the major events in the show (what happens at the end of “The Rains of Castamere” episode, aka The Red Wedding). And it was just casually mentioned on page as a throwaway comment. The hero and heroine were watching the show and bam, the hero throws out a major spoiler, no big deal (except it was a big deal, y’all! It really was).

Authors, please don’t spoil real-life shows in your fiction books. When I whined about this on Twitter, someone said “To be fair, that spoiler is four seasons old”. 1) I don’t care. A spoiler is a spoiler. 2) The show is still running, so there are a lot of people just starting it. 3) I avoided spoilers like the plague only to be innocently blindsided while reading a novel, ffs. That is not okay.

So, once again, here’s a friendly PSA from your local book blogger: AUTHORS, DON’T SPOIL REAL LIFE SHOWS IN YOUR FICTION NOVELS!


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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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STGrB: Keeping the Public Informed

Posted October 8, 2013 by Holly in Discussions | 0 Comments

slippery slope

Last year at RWA (2012) after the literacy signing, I sat down with Lynn and Blythe from AAR, Renee from Renee’s Book Addiction and author Jill Sorenson. We talked about many things, but one of our main topics was the STGrB site and what we can do to stop them. Sadly, there isn’t a lot. Because they’ve taken down the massive amounts of personal information they originally posted, things are sticky.

I suggested at the time we ignore them. Taking away their audience means taking away their power. Rowena said then that wasn’t going to work. They’d found a voice and they weren’t going away.  Obviously, since they’re still here a year later, that was definitely the case.

Last week, Goodreads broke my trust by deleting user reviews without notice, citing a “change in policy” as the reason and touting the line that they would no longer tolerate reviews of “authors” but only of the books they write. This, as you can imagine, set off the book reading community. Many users felt as I did, and decided to take their book reviews, shelves and ratings and go elsewhere. The most popular place to migrate seemed to be Booklikes.com. I’m not a huge fan of the Tumblr-like layout of BL, but I’m reserving judgement for now, since the site is still in its infancy. I’m sure it will grown and change, just as GR did. (GR Update: Goodreads never did make an official announcement about this review change on their main page or in their newsletter, but they do have a FAQ About Reviews and Shelves up on the site now explaining their new policy. IMO, they handled the whole thing poorly, and this FAQ doesn’t make me feel any better.)

Though STGrB stands for Stop the Goodreads Bullies, the site owners aren’t content to keep their hate and discontent focused on just that site. As soon as they realized they were losing a lot of their targets because GR deleted reviews, they started to make waves elsewhere. The first place? Booklikes.com.

Last week, I tweeted a screencap Rowena sent me of a quote from Booklikes.com owner that showed up on the STGrB website. Seeing his response there really disheartened me. I thought BL might be an acceptable substitute for GR, but I refuse to associate with anyone who supports or is linked to STGrB.

Over the course of the next few days, it came to light that Booklikes had no idea what the STGrB website was all about, or how it got its start. Which means they aren’t associated with them, which is all to the good. As a matter of fact, when the nature and terrible start of the site was shared with him, Dawid Paiskow, CEO and co-Founder of Booklikes.com, was horrified.

What I realized, upon seeing his reaction, is that ignoring them isn’t the way to go. The only way to combat a site like STGrB is to continually remind the community how they got their start, and why they aren’t a site anyone wants to associate with.

For those of you who aren’t aware, the STGrB site popped up last year in response to what the writers at the site claimed were reviewers bullying authors at Goodreads. To be honest, I have no idea if there actually were/are reviewers at Goodreads who bully authors. I’ve never seen any evidence of it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’ t happen. What I do know is that any credibility the site had was lost when they decided to combat the “bullying” by being bullies themselves.

Some of their first posts were profiles of who they considered to be the biggest bully reviewers. These profiles included the real names, addresses, kids names and places they liked to frequent of the reviewers in question. As you can see in this post at Gossamer Obsessions, STGrB went way too far in their zealous need to “stop the bullies”.

Her personal information has been obscured, but it’s still perfectly clear how much they posted about her (such as her name, her husband’s name, her favourite restaurant, and where she can be found at certain times of day) for everyone to read. The orange squares highlight pertinent phrases and evidence of the post’s date. The pink square indicates irony.

That screenshot was taken from their site in July 2012, as you can see by the calendar right there on their sidebar. You also know it’s from the early days of their site, because they still have buttons from anti-bullying organizations on the sidebar, something they were asked to remove when it became clear their intent was harm rather than education.

STGrB eventually took down the damning information (though screenshots and the internet are forever), but they continue to defame and harass those they consider “bullies”.  I haven’t visited the site since it first went up, because I don’t want to give them more traffic, but I’ve seen screenshots and posts they’ve written. It sickens me that a site with that kind of background would be given legitimacy by sites like HuffingtonPost or authors like Nathan Bransford.

For further information, you can visit stopthegrbullies.net:

This site has been set up to provide truthful information about the actual aims and operations of the so-called ‘anti-bully’ website, stopthegrbullies.com.

I would encourage all of you to share this information with your readers, friends, family members, social media followers, etc. The evidence against the STGrB website is too overwhelming to ingore. They aren’t an anti-bully website. It’s important they not be given any more legitimacy.

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How Goodreads Broke My Trust

Posted September 24, 2013 by Holly in Discussions | 24 Comments

GRI joined Goodreads in 2009. Prior to that, I didn’t keep a dedicated list of the books I read. I had a vague idea based on my reviews and my read shelf in my personal library (back then 90% of all my reads were print). Many of my friends tracked their reads each month and I wanted to do the same. That’s the whole reason I joined Goodreads and the whole reason I use it now.

On Friday, September 20, at around 11:00 am, Goodreads Customer Care Director, Kara, posted in the Announcements section under the Help banner: Important Note Regarding Reviews.

She states that after careful consideration, they’re revising their ToS and review policy and will be deleting reviews and shelves they feel don’t follow the “spirit of Goodreads”. These reviews/shelves are ones that review the author rather than the book. An example given of a shelf that wouldn’t be allowed is “author-is-a-jerk”.

I’m not necessarily opposed to a change like this at Goodreads. I think they made a mistake in not  addressing these types of problem at their inception. Like many others, I was initially surprised at how lax they were in monitoring the content posted there when I first joined. Then I got used to it and even came to expect it. Admittedly there has been a lot of negativity coming out of Goodreads lately. Authors abusing readers, readers abusing authors, etc. The sad fact is, the drama has ramped up so much many readers don’t want to even visit the site, much less review there. I think a policy change was needed after a group of authors created a website dedicated to “outing” reviewers and posting their personal information online, including phone numbers, addresses and places frequented by their families. Something needed to change, obviously.

What I am opposed to is Goodreads deciding to delete user content without prior notice. This is where Goodreads violated my trust. They started deleting content before they made their announcement and without notifying any of the users whose content was being deleted.

**Delete content focused on author behavior. We have had a policy of removing reviews that were created primarily to talk about author behavior from the community book page. Once removed, these reviews would remain on the member’s profile. Starting today, we will now delete these entirely from the site. We will also delete shelves and lists of books on Goodreads that are focused on author behavior. If you have questions about why a review was removed, send an email to support@goodreads.com. (And to answer the obvious question: of course, it’s appropriate to talk about an author within the context of a review as it relates to the book. If it’s an autobiography, then clearly you might end up talking about their lives. And often it’s relevant to understand an author’s background and how it influenced the story or the setting.)

They caught a lot of flak for the policy changes but stood their ground.

To clarify, we haven’t deleted any book reviews in regard to this issue. The key word here is “book”. The reviews that have been deleted – and that we don’t think have a place on Goodreads – are reviews like “the author is an a**hole and you shouldn’t read this book because of that”. In other words, they are reviews of the author’s behavior and not relevant to the book. We believe books should stand on their own merit, and it seems to us that’s the best thing for readers.

Again, I am not necessarily opposed to a change of this nature. But Goodreads made a major mistake when they deleted content without notice. They realized that and apologized, but stated the content could not be reinstated long enough to allow the users to export the reviews or change them.

One concern that has come up in this thread is that the content was deleted without those members first being told that our moderation policy had been revised.

In retrospect, we absolutely should have given users notice that our policies were changing before taking action on the items that were flagged. To the 21 members who were impacted: we’d like to sincerely apologize for jumping the gun on this. It was a mistake on our part, and it should not have happened.

While we misstepped by deleting them without advance warning of the policy change, the reviews still violate our review guidelines and can’t be reinstated. If we could, we’d love to retroactively export the content, but unfortunately it’s already been deleted. (Message 2704)

As the thread continues (3000+ comments and counting) Kara continued to respond to questions in a vague and somewhat condescending manner. I did not read all 59 pages (at the writing of this post), but I have grave concerns about the direction Goodreads is heading after reading some of Kara’s responses.

For example, when asked how Goodreads is deciding what shelf names are offensive, her response was:

We don’t comment publicly on individual cases, but in general, what we do is look at a shelf and see how it is used in context. In any case where we have decided to remove that shelf, we are confident that the shelf was being used in a way to review author behavior. (Message 2679)

So initially it was shelves with names like “this-author-is-a-jerk”, but when confronted with the deletion of a shelf named “hormel”, she admits they’re profiling shelves? That doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t like the idea that some nameless, faceless employee at Goodreads is looking at my shelves and deciding for me what I meant by naming/shelving as I did. The terms of the new policy are too broad. Users commenting in the thread are concerned about what they’re allowed to do and what they aren’t. I, too, am confused. Goodreads needs to be specific in what will and won’t be allowed.

The most glaring error on their part, however, is that there has been no official announcement about this policy change. They haven’t sent out an email to their members or made a front-page announcement. The only place this information is available is in the Help section under “announcements”. Goodreads has over 2 millions members and only just over 13,000 (at the writing of this post) have viewed that message. I don’t know about any of the other members, but this is the first time I’ve ever even visited the Help page. If I hadn’t been directed to the link by someone on Twitter, I wouldn’t have known about the changes at all. I’m afraid other members still don’t.

There are a good number of members who won’t care even if they do find out. But there are a good number who will. Why hasn’t Goodreads sent this to all its members?

Lots of people are jumping ship from Goodreads and heading over to sites like Booklikes, Libib and Library Thing.  I can’t say that I blame them. What about you? Will you be staying at GR and braving the stormy season ahead or are you moving your books and reviews elsewhere?

Here are a list of alternative sites. I’ve investigated most of these and admit I haven’t found one that’s as easy to use as Goodreads, but that could partially be because I’m not familiar with them like I am Goodreads.




The Reading Room

Booklikes (this is the site most readers are currently migrating to. The system is running really slow at the moment thanks to the influx)


Most of these sites give the option of importing your Goodreads library, including all reviews. I’ll update as I discover more sites.


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