Tag: Other Bloggers

Five Books Everyone Should Read: Jessica Tripler

Posted March 15, 2015 by Holly in Features | 3 Comments


Five Books Everyone Should Read is a new feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

Five Books Everyone Should Read

When I agreed to write this post I had no idea it was actually a torture device in disguise.  I mean, what avid reader can list just five books? Most can’t even list the best five books they read last week. And “everyone” just makes it even harder. Trying to think of a book I’d want my mother, husband, teenage sons, close friends, students, rabbi, and mayor to read scrambles my brain. To have any hope of getting this post finished this year, I’m focusing on romance and romance readers. And I’m going to cheat even more by listing types of books (with examples of course).


lord of scoundrels1. A romance classic. You can define “classic” however you want. I think of Georgette Heyer as a historical classic, Betty Neels and Charlotte Lamb as category classics, and Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan as PNR classics. I have only barely scratched the surface of classics in romance myself, but whenever I manage to resist the allure of the shiny and new and make time for an oldie-but-goodie, I’m glad I did. (H: I chose Lord of Soundrels to represent this category, since I consider it the best historical romance of all time.)

2. A romance featuring a sexuality and gender other than heterosexual with cisgender* characters (*cisgender just meaning a person whose identity fits with the gender that matches their That Certain Somethingbiological sex). M/m is the most popular, probably thanks to romance readers’ love of heroes, but lately I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of f/f and a transgender m/m romance. I could have combined this with #3 and just said, “read more diversely” but I wanted to separate out this particular category because romance is all about gender and sexuality. I think of all the literary genres, romance can have the most to say, and say well, about these issues. (H: That Certain Something by Clare Ashton was Jessica’s pick. It’s a Lesbian Romance.)



3. A romance featuring a main character who is a person of color (PoC). What counts as a PoC may vary depending the reader and the genre context. For example, as a Jewish reader of romance, I know it’s rare find a bollywood affairJewish main characters, so, in the context of genre romance, I do count Jewish MCs in the large “PoC” umbrella, but I probably wouldn’t in literary fiction. I have to look hard to find PoC protagonists (unless I want to read a category, in which case I just go to Kimani). It’s just so easy to keep reading historical and contemporaries (my favorite subgenres) with white characters. But there are great love stories I’d miss if I didn’t make the (not exactly Herculean) effort. In my reading life, I’ve been lucky to have a choice of protagonists that look just like me. I figure the more I buy and read diversely, the better the chance that some other young reader will get to read romance protagonists that reflect her background. (H: A Bollywood Affair is Jessica’s pick. Or The Nurse’s Not So Secret Scandal by Wendy S. Marcus.)

4. A romance in a subgenre you are sure you hate. That is how I felt about New Adult when it first became a big thing. I was like a toddler shaking her head in front of a plate of broccoli. I don’t like first person narration, I don’t want to read pushing the limitsabout college students, I don’t want to be the victim of some stupid marketing fad. And on and on with the reasons. But then I read Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limits series, and I loved it. As much as I dislike it when people dismiss the entire romance genre without trying it, I was just like those people when I dismissed NA.




match me if you can5. A romance you’ve already read. Until I started reading romance in my thirties, I did not have a comfort read. I did not even know what a “comfort read” was. I had books I loved and cherished, but none that I felt I could slip back into and get that wonderful feeling again. It took me a few years in the romance community before I felt re-reads weren’t  “cheating” (seriously, is there a Book God keeping score?). But now, the comfort read — Jennifer Crusie’s Anyone But You, or Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Match Me If You Can are my faves — is a regular (and guilt free) part of my reading routine. With the added bonus that I almost always find something new in a book I thought had no more gifts to give me.

Jessica Tripler
Bio: Jessica Tripler has been blogging at Read React Review since 2008 and at Book Riot since 2014. Romance is her go-to genre, but anything with compelling characters and a good plot will do.

Follow Jessica on Twitter: @RRRJessica

Tagged: , , ,

The Book Blogger Test

Posted August 7, 2014 by Rowena in Discussions | 2 Comments


Photo Credit: Fighting Dreamer
Kookie over at Bookabulary tagged me to do this months ago and I’m just now getting around to doing it now, my bad Kookie! But here are my answers:

What are your top three book hates?
Bad book covers (ask Holly, she gets mad at me every time I skip a book because I don’t like the cover), authors behaving badly (I won’t pick up their books if they treat readers like shit) and reading a hardcover book with the jacket on. I just hate it.

Describe your perfect reading spot.
The perfect reading spot would be a reading nook with lots of pillows next to a gigantic window that overlooks the lake or the beach. All that natural light and comfortable pillows? I want to be there now…and always. 🙂

Tell us three book confessions.
– I can’t remember the last paranormal book that I’ve read. I want to say it was a Nalini Singh book but it’s been so long that I just can’t remember.
– I have sat in Church and read from some smutty books. Shh, don’t tell anyone.
– When I used to read print books, I dog-eared my pages to save my spot. For some reason, lots of readers hate this. 🙂

When was the last time you cried while reading a book?
I’m a crybaby all the time but the one book that comes to mind when I was boo hooing it up was Here’s Looking at You by Mhairi McFarlane. The heroine was bullied when she was in high school and she runs into one of the guys that tormented her back in the day and he doesn’t recognize her at all.  Her story made me cry my way through the entire thing. It was good.

What is your favorite snack while you’re reading?
Like Kookie, I hardly ever snack while I’m reading but my drink of choice to have on hand is either Dr. Pepper or Snapple Peach Tea.

Name three books you would recommend to everyone.
– For adult romances, Heart of Fire by Linda Howard. It’s one of those books that at first, I had no plans to ever read because it didn’t sound like something I’d enjoy but Holly made me read it and holy crap, it’s STILL one of my favorite books.
– For YA lovers, I’d probably go with The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It’s a fantastic story about two cancer kids who are just trying to find their own little infinities. I loved it.
– Unspoken by Jen Frederick or Before You Break by Christina Lee. Both are fantastic NA books. Loved them both.

Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf on your bookcase.

I don’t have a favorite bookshelf on my bookcase. I like all of my shelves. 🙂

Write how much books mean to you in just three words.
Always an adventure. 🙂

What is your biggest reading secret?
I don’t think I have one. At least, I can’t remember…sorry!

Tagged: , , , ,

The Story Siren is a Plagiarist, Not a Victim

Posted April 27, 2012 by Holly in Discussions | 17 Comments

Holly: Over the last few days, the blogging world has blown up over a plagiarism scandal. I first learned about it from the Smart Bitches website. After following the yellow link road, I was appalled and frustrated by what I was seeing. I’ll let you visit the SB site, or Grit and Glamour and Beautifully Invisible, for the full story. Here’s a quick summary:

Kristi of The Story Siren found blog posts written by Grit and Glamour and Beautifully Invisible, pasted them on her site, changed a few words here and there, then passed them off as her own. When confronted by them, she denied ever even visiting the sites in question. When presented with proof that she had, in fact, visited not only those sites but those particular posts, she then asked that the whole thing be kept quiet.

4 months later, when others in the book blogging community found her out and posted about it in public, she posted a non-apology on her site where she makes out like she did nothing wrong and is being persecuted unfairly. (I especially love the “In a way I feel as though it won’t matter what I say at this point. It seems that the verdict has been decided.”)

click to enlarge

Then she “clarifies” by saying she may or may not have done anything wrong, but she’s very very sorry she upset the book blogging community. She doesn’t, however, say she’s sorry for actually plagiarizing. Just for upsetting the book bloggers.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge

 You’ll notice those are screen caps from Google Cache? I had to use those because after all the double-speak and non-apologizing she did, she went and edited her post. This time she claims to have seen an idea and written her own take on it, which she didn’t know was plagiarism.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

You notice the part I underlined. She went from bad to worse. Grit and Glamour, who has behaved with nothing but class throughout this whole thing, was prompted to write a rebuttal Clarification post. I can’t tell you how bothered I am that there was a need for that post to get written.The way Krisit’s fan and readers have rallied around her disturbs me. Not because I don’t think friends should be loyal, but because what she did is wrong. A real friend doesn’t try to make the victim look bad. A real friend says, “Bitch, you done screwed up. Apologize and make it right.”

All those commentors who are blaming Grit and Glamour and Beautifully Invisible, sending them hate mail, telling them they’re jealous and – this one really takes the cake – saying they should be grateful Kristi stole from them make me heartsick. You know who I blame for the attacks on G&G and BI? Kristi. If she had stood up and taken responsibility for her actions, if she had spoken out and owned her actions, the could have gone down a whole different way.

Rowena: I’ve never been one to voice my thoughts in public about the blog world scandals. In this case, I felt that keeping quiet just wasn’t in the cards for me. For those of you who don’t know, I run a YA book blog called The Book Scoop. One of the book blogs that I read everyday was The Story Siren. I read her blog because she’s one giant fountain of information on all things YA. I respected her as a person and I was a total fan of her blog.

When I logged into my email on Monday morning and saw the story that hit the Smart Bitches blog, I was shocked. Completely blown away. I read every single post that I could find and followed the yellow link road until I was completely up to speed on what was going on.

I was speechless.

I followed the action throughout the entire day, waiting for a response from The Story Siren. I was interested in hearing what she had to say for herself because like her other fans, I kept wanting it to be one giant joke. The thing that really disappointed me was when I read this from Grit and Glamour’s original post about the plagiarism:

“In all honestly, I have never been to your blog or any of the blogs mentioned in this email until tonight when I cross referenced the posts that you had listed. I rarely if ever read blogs beyond the book blog community. But I could not agree more with your assessments of the posts. And I am sorry to say that I have no viable explanation. I even searched my web history to see if perhaps I had read the posts and had recalled them as I was writing my own.”

That was The Story Siren’s response to B and Vahni’s initial email, alerting her to their findings. That’s when things took an ugly turn for me because not only did she steal but she also lied. All respect, all admiration for everything she’s done for the YA book blogging community flew out the window. Because she got caught and instead of fessing up to her mistakes, she lied and then tried to hide the truth.

All of that still wasn’t enough for me to jump into the fray, but reading through her second “apology” and seeing each and every single comment that brushed off what she did as a mistake, and just all of the hand holding and there there-ing, was enough to boil my blood. There is nothing in this entire shitstorm for her to hold her head up about.

Let’s not forget that she lied, people. She said that she had never visited any of the sites when she most absolutely did visit those sites. Let’s not forget that just a few months ago, she was writing posts about how vile plagiarism is (H: interesting that she deleted that particular post, isn’t it?). She stole, she lied and she tried to bury the evidence.

How in the world can we trust anything that she says from here on out?

What really got my ass in gear to write this post was the treatment of the real victims in this case. I don’t give a good hot damn that they wrote the post that started this whole clusterfuck. Good for them. They had every right to be pissed and they had every right to post about it on THEIR blog. The Story Siren would have done the exact same thing (she did do the exact same thing) so the hypocrisy from her and her camp baffles the fuck out of me. It really pisses me off that the real victims here had to post their own clarification post. There shouldn’t have been a need for it. They didn’t do anything wrong.

The Story Siren is not the victim here, let’s not forget that.

To quote The Story Siren herself:

There is no excuse… “I didn’t know…. I didn’t mean to… I did it subconsciously.” No, you didn’t. You did know and you did mean to.

Plagiarism isn’t just copying and pasting word for word and passing it off as your own. It can be taking someones work and changing around the sentence structure, getting out your thesaurus and changing a few words here and there… basically taking the central idea tweaking it and passing it off as your own work.

Holly’s note: Look at Rowena getting all ranty and using dirty words and stuff. I’m so proud. *sniff*

Tagged: , , , , ,

March Madness Guest Post

Posted March 20, 2011 by Holly in Promotions | 1 Comment

Remember how I mentioned that Ashley March was hosting March Madness Party at her blog? I’ve been following along and the guest posts over there are pretty great. So are the prizes. Yesterday was our day to guest post. You can check it out here:

For details about the March Madness and how you can win stuff, click here.

This was supposed to go up yesterday but I was out of town. Sorry for the late heads up!

Tagged: , , , ,