A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

Full Disclosure

I have this info on one of my pages, but in light of recent events, I want to make it all very clear.

I am not an author or an aspiring author. The only writing I’ve ever had published and/or paid for is book reviews/articles about books and a few personal essays, unrelated to romance.

Actually, to be completely honest, I’ve toyed with writing a non-fiction book (also unrelated to romance) but I’m super lazy so the odds aren’t good.

To my knowledge, I only know one romance author IRL, and I never review or mention her books. (Or even read them… it just feels too weird!) I’m friendly with some authors online, though they may or may not be authors whose work I enjoy. I try to disclose whenever I’m reviewing a book by someone with whom I have a more personal relationship. I’ve never beta-read and am unlikely to; if I do, I’ll disclose. I did once spot read a book solely for formatting errors, as a favor.

The only connection I have with a publisher is that I write for “Heroes and Heartbreakers,” which is owned by Macmillan. What I choose to write for them is very much up to me. This was also the case at “Dear Author.”  I appreciate the autonomy I’ve had at both sites; I’m not sure I could work any other way.

I did not feel I could go on writing for “Dear Author” after yesterday’s revelations. The idea that I might have inadvertently reviewed, or even commented on, a book written by Jane made me extremely uncomfortable. It was sheer luck that she writes in a genre I don’t read very often — but I have done a First Look for at least one NA book at “Heroes and Heartbreakers,” so I kind of feel like I dodged a bullet there.

And I don’t like secrets in general, and don’t want to be involved with them.

If you have any questions at all about my knowledge/involvement, please feel free to ask me, here or privately. I can speak only for myself.

If you’re an online friend of mine and have an authorial/publishing relationship I don’t know about, I’d really appreciate you telling me.

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The State of the Grading

I reviewed Trade Me by Courtney Milan at Dear Author today and gave it a B-. I’m feeling pretty happy about the comment thread, which is mostly people enthused about trying the book. It makes me feel that people are really reading the review rather than just going by a grade, and that they get that not every book I like will be an A for me.

I often go around in circles over a book like this, wondering if I should grade higher because it has some special points like a non-white heroine. But I always come back to the same thought — that when I review, I’m really giving people a little piece of myself, and whether they share my tastes or not, they can only benefit from my opinion if I give the honest me.

Not at all sorry I gave up grading here, though. 🙂

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Jeannie Lin Glom, Book 2

Sunita, Jayne and I had a love fest for The Jade Temptress at Dear Author.  In some ways I’d say this is a superior book to The Lotus Palace — the mystery was far more interesting — but it didn’t touch me in quite the same way. Which is praising with faint damn, I assure you.

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No One Ever Went Wrong With a Book Reviewer By Writing a Sympathetic Librarian Character

I have a review of Jaded by Anne Calhoun over at Dear Author.

This was kind of a slow-burn book for me, but really worth it in the end.

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Fake Geek Guys Unite

I have a review of It’s All Geek to Me by J.L. Merrow at Dear Author.

What tickled me: Sparkling narration. And Daisies vs. Ghouls! I want to play that. 😉

What ticked me off: Nothing, but it is pretty slight.

Who might like it: Someone looking for a light, funny read with British accents.

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This n That

I have a review of Laura Florand’s The Chocolate Temptation over at Dear Author. This was the hard review I mentioned previously, and I have a terrible feeling that my earnest efforts will probably wind up just pissing everyone off.

Hub and I watched “Somewhere in Time” last night, a movie he remembers fondly from his childhood. Record players, typewriters, going to the library to research someone… it truly is a time-travel movie. And quite lovely… I was interested by how I noticed romance cliches yet found them completely appropriate and effective. I would’ve missed them if they weren’t there.  I disliked the ending; I think I’m just too old now to find it romantic.

I also noticed how much Reeve physically overpowers Seymour in their scenes, which I’m not sure I’ve ever been conscious of in a movie before. He’s so much taller and the way he crowds in and sort of takes her over… it didn’t bother me exactly, but I can see how it could feel intimidating.

I’m now wondering if there’s a t.v. trope for “the loveable stalker.” Another example: “An American in Paris.” No, they have stalking as love but I think this is a specific subset.

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Not letting myself make a price-point joke…

I’m at Dear Author with a review of At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey.

What tickled my fancy: It’s not quite the story you think you’re going to get. (Not a plus for every reviewer.)

What ticked me off: Too much of a Cinderella fantasy for my taste.

Who might like it: Fans of virgin meets billionaire stories

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