Archive for May, 2006


Wednesday Writers Wreads: Lists edition

See what J Carson Black has to say in her guestblog on Murder She Writes.

Then hop over to Julie Leto‘s Marisela blog to see her maybe Rules.


Tracy Quan: Confessions of a Manhattan Callgirl

For some reason I had expected this to be a more literary novel, despite the pink, chicklit-style cover.

It's a good read, and not a preachy one at all. You could believe that you're stealing a peek at a real callgirl's diary.

The ending didn't sit well with me. It seemed as though she was ending it in such a way that she'd have another book to write. 

I'll still be getting the next book though.


Monday Madness: Publishing edition

Bev, you’re going to regret this.

Remember Subversive Romance™?

It now has a publisher, The Insanity Press!

But it only hits me now that I’m Publisher, Editor and *drumroll* Writer.

Help! I’m going to need to write a short story to be up on July 1st!!! Help!


Gena Showalter: Awaken Me Darkly

I think this book is better than Heart of the Dragon.

It stands out better, perhaps because AMD is written in first person and because Mia has Attitude. I do wish Mia wasn't "I look like a delicate little thing but I'm not" though.

I thought this was going to be a fun and sassy book, which it's not. That's a good thing, because I like darker books like this one much better.

I've read many first person romances where the other half seems two-dimensional next to the one in whose POV the book is written in. Doesn't happen here. 

Kyrin is his own person, not just the guy the author wants Mia to hook up with. I wonder if his sister is going to get her own story. I'd like that. 

And I like how Gena dealt with the soulmate/destiny/we're meant to be forever thing–read the book to find out. Different, but good.

This series is something to look forward to if you're into light SF romance.


Neil Gaiman: Coraline

It's a very strange sort of book. All of Gaiman's work is strange.

My bookseller mentioned to me that a lot of her buyers were adults, who liked it more than their children–Coraline is a YA novel.

I can see why. It's got a somehow adult feel to it, without Coraline sounding too old for her age.

I can't say I'd recommend it as a YA novel, but it's a pretty good read if you're an adult.

And no, I've yet to decide whether I like Gaiman.


Subversive Romance™: A new subgenre

The girl and the guy don't get together in Subversive Romance™. Heck, maybe she decides that she doesn't want him after all.

Girls don't need guys to live happily ever after. She needs money, and lots of it!

Coming soon to a bookstore near you from Insanity (because given the current polls, only a nut would try this) Press!

PS Maybe I can become the next Tina Engler?

PPS Or more likely, I'll become the next bankrupt publisher.

PPPS This is a very late Friday Funny.


An Industry Construct?

Categorization is an essential part of how and why a publisher decides to market a book.

Hence the beginnings of Genre–I'm talking specifically about romance.

The RWA's mission is to help it's members sell. Therefore it's definition would cater to that.

What interests me here is the possibility that readers are used to the HEA and that's the reason why they want it to stay–this in no way is meant as an insult to anybody.

Reading is a hobby. We do it because we enjoy it. It comforts us. And we tend to want things that comfort us to stay the same forever–that's why I refuse to throw out the ratty old nightdress I'm wearing as I type this (nearly 4am here).

So it does make sense to me that people want the h/h HEA to stay.

Alau brings up what romance once meant. I do, at some level, agree, but I also see that publishing is a business. It's not gonna fly if you tell the RWA membership that this is why you need to change the definition. The publishers would laugh in your face.

Now, if we tried that now, they would laugh at us too.

But a few years down the road, who knows?

PS It occurs to me that if an editor reads a romance manuscript of mine (not that I've any) today and realises I'm THIS blogger, I have a feeling she'll drop me faster than a hot potato. (maybe Angie can answer this question LOL)


Marie Brennan: Doppelganger

I wasn't going to get this book. It wasn't even on my wish list.

I don't regret buying, but the problem is, I probably wouldn't regret NOT buying it either.

It's got a great concept. The worldbuilding is wonderful. The divergence between Miryo and Mirage are clear, and yet not.

But the voice doesn't really click for me. 

I don't think I'll be getting Marie's next book, which is part of the same series, but I think this book is worth a read. 


Mandy M. Roth: Loup Garou

I won this from AngieW *mumble mumble* months back. So it's fitting that it's my TBR Challenge review this month. Sorta. 

I'm not sure I like the lead character, Lindsay. Somehow, she didn't work for me. It's nothing to do with the fact that it's a first person romance–I've read others and liked them. 

I felt as though I was being dragged from end of the emotional spectrum, to the other side, and back again without any logic to it. 

And the name of the hero, Exavier, got to me. I kept thinking about Professor Xavier and the X-Men. Tasty enough, but somehow he didn't quite live up to the whole prince of darkness thing. 

Basically, for me, the book started out really well, went to pieces in the middle, and somehow Mandy managed to glue the pieces back together for the ending. A coherent ending that makes me glad that I didn't quit in the middle. 

I was going to stop there, but then, it occurs to me that I'd really like to read Lindsay's parents story.

Oh and I've read another Roth book, but I can't remember it, or I'd recommend it to you.  


Deidre Knight: Parallel Attraction

I don't typically like time machine books (you'll understand when you read it) because there's always the feeling, "if anything goes wrong, you can just try again."

But writing was good enough to distract me from that for the most part. Deidre has studied her craft, and it shows.

And Deidre has a really nifty trick: She describes Kelsey in Jared's POV, which means that she can describe Kelsey as totally gorgeous, without going either "I know I'm gorgeous" or "I know I'm not gorgeous but I actually am" route. Also, this is the second romance in a row when I was more interested in the bad guy than I was in the hero. Luckily, he's the star of the next book.

Which I'm getting, by the way. So if you're a para fan, you probably should get this book. Might not be a keeper, but it's definitely a lot better than some of the paras out there.

PS She is the Knight of The Knight Agency.  


Cheyenne McCray: Forbidden Magic

I only have a wee problem with this book.

The heroine was TSTL, and the hero didn't stop her. He told her there was something specific that she needed to do, but she doesn't do it and instead goes haring off after the bad guys. 

On top of that, the hero, whose name I'd have to check the book to remember, is bland. So's the heroine, who has the silly name of Silver.

If I pick up the next book, it'll be to read about the evil villains Junga and Darkwolf. This is a romance. I should be wanting to know more about Silver and hero. Not the villains! However, Cheyenne is a good enough writer that if she clicks with you, you'll be able to ignore all the above. Plus the Junga sex scenes are pretty darn good.

Now, people, convince me to get the next book! I really just want to read about Darkwolf and Junga though.


Stuart MacBride: Cold Granite

Lots of people die in this book. Lots and lots and lots. Okay, I'm exaggerating.

It's a fast-paced read, but not for the faint-of-heart. Really. If you like your happy ever afters, this probably isn't the book for you.

This is a very driven, very focused book–oddly enough, I'd liken his writing to my Idol's, which was how I heard about him and his hilarious blog. Despite its length, which I thought would make it kinda draggy.

I like Logan. He's got Issues, just like the rest of us. And it doesn't look like he's going to pull a James Bond/John Rain/Reacher on us–as in, he's not going to love and dump a different girl in every book. 

I'm definitely getting the next book, Dying Light.  


Bloggers Blogging ’bout Blogging: Reviewing other Bloggers

JM Carr has an interesting post here. She says she doesn’t usually read author blogs because she’s thinks it might influence her opinion of a book.

Eip, on the other hand, commented on a previous Blogging ’bout Blogging entry, saying that the great thing is that it makes the writer a Person.
Stephanie Rowe talks about a review in which the author’s personal life is mentioned. This is interesting, because the reviewer probably read about Laurell K. Hamilton‘s personal life in her blog. I won’t link to the reviewer, or even name her, simply because I think she went too far.

I review books here. I review lots of books by bloggers–in fact, if I read their blog, I try to review them here. I try to link back to them, even when I don’t like their books.

I like to think I’m honest. I like to think that the fact that I read their blogs doesn’t make me tone down their reviews if it’s bad.

And I like to think that my personal opinion of the blogger doesn’t affect what I write about the book.

I know I haven’t mentioned their personal life in my reviews. But I do wonder whether it has colored them.

Take Stuart Macbride, for instance. His blog is funny. But he doesn’t write funny books. In fact, my as yet unposted review starts with “Lots of people die in this book. Lots and lots and lots.” (will post it later or tomorrow)

If I didn’t know that they were the same person, I’d have been surprised.

And yes, I know book writing and blog writing is different. My blog hardly sounds like Vanessa Jane–though it’s rather closer to the Dalan story’s voice.

But it does make me wonder.

After all, I was reading Michelle Rowen’s blog before I read Bitten & Smitten, Marjorie M. Liu’s blog before I read either of her books, and I think as time goes on, this will become more common, for all us.

Makes me consider being nicer, but where’s the fun in that?

And remember, my fellow bloggers, it’s supposed to be fun. 😉

PS I know today’s entry is late, and tomorrow’s might be too, especially if I decide I want to sleep in.

PPS Wish me luck for exams.


Bloggers Blogging ‘Bout Blogging: unPubbed Promo?

I linked to this comment yesterday, I think. 

Tiana asks about unpubbed bloggers who use their blogs for promo. 

Jaynie R is definitely one. And oh hell. She's not on my bloglinks! Eeek! Will be dealt with ASAP–if you see this, LOL. 

Demented Michelle is another–this lucky chick is in France!! Jealous!  

Um, I'm not saying their blogs are exclusively for promo here. I'm just saying that it's there, okay? Given that they do run pretty frequent contests and stuff. *yanks foot out of mouth and hides* It never occurred to me that I, as an unpubbed, might eventually be able to leverage my audience into people buying my books. Until I saw Tiana's question, that is. 

T&T, throughout its many incarnations, was about me Writing something every day. Not that I do that still, given that I tend to write ahead.

Then it slowly evolved into a challenge. How many people will come by each day? Yes, I'm very competitive. Okay, not very, but enough.  

So it's definitely food for thought, my comrade Writers in (Promo) Arms!
PS I think I can keep riffing on this for the next few days.  


Bloggers Blogging ’bout Blogging


Yes, the oddest things make me happy. Though I guess if an editor read this they'll know NOT to let me title my own books. LOL.

Okay, to the topic at hand.

PBW guestblogged on RTB about blogging today.

Like I commented over there, I do quite a few of them. Quite a few I picked up from PBW. 

Today being a Friday (at least in other parts of the world), people are asking her questions, and Tiana asked about blogs by unpubbed writers.

There are many of us. Too many to list, though the On The Make section of my links are for unpubbed writers. 

Whether this will translate to sales is still up in the air, though perhaps Diana, Scott Lynch and Kelly Parra, amongst others may find out. 

HelenKay Dimon may already have an idea. I think she was the first blogger I read who sold after I had already begun reading her blog. 

Of course, we aren't the only bloggers with sales. Clotilde Dusoulier of Chocolate & Zucchini and Adam Roberts of Amateur Gourmet have also gotten book deals–I don't read political blogs and so I don't know of any, at least of the top of my head. I believe Heidi of 101 Cookbooks is already published–not sure whether it predates her blog or did promo for her book precipitate it. 

I think non-fiction bloggers may be able to make better use of their audiences. Fiction is more different from blogging than non-fiction, in my view. Especially with respect to food bloggers (whom I'm still unsuccessfully trying to join), whom readers know can produce good recipes. 

This is all conjecture. I'm hardly an expert after all.  


Elaine Cunningham: Shadows In The Darkness

I picked this up after reading the first 2 of her Liriel Baenre books from Forgotten Realms.

It's not bad, though hardly worth the praise given by her blurbers, IMHO.

Her FR books were written better. I think her voice isn't quite edgy/sharp enough for urban fantasy, at least the kind she is writing.

Other than that, she's a good writer and she did a good job on this book. I'll probably pick up the next book, but I'm glad I waited to get the paperback for this one and will do the same for the next one.


Marjorie M. Liu: Tiger Eye

It is always good to be right. Tiger Eye is much better than Marjorie's Crimson City book.

Though the plotline is a bit like Sherrilyn Kenyon's Fantasy Lover.
In other words, it involves a guy cursed to eternity in a magical object and cannot die, awakened by the heroine.
But Marjorie is a better writer, Hari less cliched and Dela more interesting. I've never been to Beijing (it's really cold there you see LOL) but it feels like I've been there through Dela's eyes. 

I'd have liked to hear more about Dela's talent and Hari's past. I do think that this book didn't delve deeply enough into either of the two lead characters. 

This book moved pretty quickly, and the suspense element was pretty well done. The secondary characters are interesting (check them out here), but it's not so heavy-handed that you think that they are just there so she can introduce them for the next books in the series. 

There were one or two details that she didn't tie up in this book, but I hope she did in the next book, Shadow Touch. I'll get this one when I see it–seems that she sells pretty well, because my bookstore owner said she's recently reordered all the books. 

On the whole, I think para romance (and romantic suspense ones who like their paras) readers should pick this one up and give it a try.  


Christine Fletcher: Tallulah Falls

Most books, I read and enjoy the story. That's it. I don't get themes, and I'll go 'huh' if ask me about them.

Not this book.

It's about a girl named Tallulah, and her quest to help a friend. A friend with 'issues'.

And it speaks to me in a way most books don't. Maybe because I've been on both sides of the fence.

Tallulah is a rather confused 17 year old. She wants to help her friend, but there are other strings tugging at her. A new love, responsibility, a family back home.

Not everybody will think it's the right ending. It's not the perky, life is now perfect, happy ever after most people expect.

I think it is pitch perfect. Tallulah comes of the little detour better for it, because she sees herself clearer than she ever had before.

This book is a T&T Must Read.

Disclaimer: I won this book from Christine


Jane Jensen: Dante’s Equation

This is a very information-dense book. 

Ms Jensen seems to expect you to be able to keep track of all the rather esoteric information. As a rule, I'm able to do that, but this was a big book, and the book was slow, as Ms Jensen doesn't seem to know how do give the reader information without chunks and chunks of exposition.

To be fair, she did the worldbuilding for the scifi part of it well, and it was well-plotted. On top of that, she is no doubt a better writer than .

But it was hard to feel anything at all, even hate, for the characters, and that was the final straw for me. We won't even get into the rushed ending, rushed because the book is close to five hundred pages in trade paperback size with tiny font and the publisher probably wanted to cut it short. 


Katherine Garbera: Night Life


Sasha wants to be a real Bombshell but isn't.

And FYI, Ms Garbera, Sasha as a heroine name is tooooo done. It's supposed to be cool, sassy and a touch exotic. Well, it's not any more.

I thought maybe the hero could save the book.

Kane couldn't. It's hard to save the book when you're 2-dimensional–better than being 1-D but not quite good enough for 3-D.

And in the later parts of the book, Sasha's kid, Dylan, seemed to disappear off the pages. Gee…I guess that's what happens when you need a plot device in the beginning and not in the middle.  

I think this could make me swear of Bombshells permanently–this book will be the straw that broke the camel's back, and there have been worse ones than this Bombshell.