A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

Not entirely everything about 2016 sucked

Books read, including shorts: 343, of which 29 were rereads. Below average for me, probably because of the last few months of 2016.

Books DNF’d: 32. Technically more, but I don’t usually make a record unless I’ve read further than the beginning.

Best book overall read in 2016: A Seditious Affair by K.J. Charles.

Best book (non-romance) and best depiction of an autistic person read in 2016: On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis.

Runner up (non-romance) : I Am Princess Ex by Cherie Priest.

Runner up (best depiction of an autistic person): Forget-Me-Not by Jordan Castillo Price.

Swooniest romance: A Gentleman’s Position by K.J. Charles.

Romance that most made me laugh and go Awwww: Manties in a Twist by J.A. Rock. 

Most entertainingly written romance: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

Best Golden Oldie (not a reread): The Lily Brand by Sandra Schwab.



Fun With 2015 Stats

I wasn’t feeling gung-ho about doing one of these, but then Jamie of The Perpetual Page Turner set it up so nicely, it seemed a shame not to try. But I reserve the right to leave some a whole hell of a lot of spaces blank, because my memory isn’t what it used to be.


Number Of Books You Read: 313 including audiobooks. (Yikes! This really shows how addicted I’ve been to computer games. My phone died near the beginning of the year; in 7 days of 2016, including several in which I felt too sick to read much, I’ve read 9 books.  I won’t be downloading those games again.)

Number of Re-Reads:  15 (I suspect this will grow in 2016.)

Genre You Read The Most From: Most likely contemporary romance and/or category romance.



1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

Nonfiction: Neurotribes by Steve Silberman

2015 romance: For Real by Alexis Hall

Backlist romance: Maybe This Time by Joan Kilby. Really a personal choice, because I loved the treatment of post-partum depression in a heroine so much.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton. Such an evocative cover and premise, but I found it very unconvincing as a fantasy, because the emotions of the characters seemed so unrelated to what was going on. I don’t know how it scored so many rave reviews.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

For Real, for reals. I hated the cover (sorry Alexis!) and wasn’t particularly interested in the plot.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I don’t really push books much. I know I sparked some interest in Whose Baby? by Janice Kay Johnson, but I don’t know if it led anywhere.

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Series: In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish. Really looking forward to more about the other characters.

Best sequel — or really, prequel: A Midnight Clear by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner. Loved the setting and the characters.

Best series ender: Hero of my Heart by Teresa Hill. (I assume this is the series end.)

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Janice Kay Johnson

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Forbidden by Charlotte Stein

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Dunno, but most likely a Harlequin Presents. 🙂

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertallii

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

Henry Page from the “Playing the Fool” series by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

The Monk Downstairs by Tim Farrigton; I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

Without question, Neurotrotibes.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

Too Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

I realized far, far too late that I can’t imagine God ever creating a man like this, and then making it a sin to love him.

From Lead Me Not by Anne Gallagher.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Shortest is probably one of the “Shadowhunter Academy” ebooks. Longest is probably Neurotribes.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Fairest by Marissa Mayer; I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

What is the opposite of a OTP? I hate hate hate Simon and Isabelle (“The Mortal Instruments”) together. I think they just got paired off because they were leftover and I don’t think they suit at all.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen.

21. Best Book You Read In 2015That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

Rex from In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

Quite a few, but notably Fairest by Marissa Mayer.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Sharing Space by Nina Perez.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Fairest by Marissa Mayer

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?


30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

First look at Blue-Eyed Stranger at Heroes and Heartbreakers.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Also at Heroes and Heartbreakers — the piece on love and ownership in Madeline Hunter’s medievals.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I know I’ve done some fun stuff on twitter, but it all completely escapes me. 😦

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

All the support I got after leaving Dear Author.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Being too depressed to read or blog.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

All the meta posts about disclosure. 😦

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

None, this year, which is kind of nice. Though also reflects that I haven’t been blogging that much, I guess.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I completed the TBR challenge every month, and I believe kept to my personal rules each time!


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

Listen to the Moon by Rose Lerner. (This is technically a 2016 release, but I had an early ARC.)

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

The next book in the Diviners series by Libba Bray.

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I don’t know of any.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. I think this is the end of the series, and I’m waiting to catch up when it’s all done.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

To read and write for fun and only do as much as I feel like doing.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Haven’t read any yet.

1 Comment »

An Addendum

I realized that I wasn’t clear in this short post I wrote awhile back.

I have absolutely no objection to authors commenting on my blog. I was only thinking of author comments on reviews of their own books. I have gotten some very sweet comments, but as I said, they stop discussion (of the review or the book) dead.

Anything else is fair game. I enjoy chatting with many authors because they’re passionate about the genre and have a lot of knowledge about it that’s different from mine. Also, MST3K jokes.

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I fell behind in my TBR challenge reading — rough month, won’t go into it — but I am reading something and will post late.

I’ve decided to ignore the plagiarists and just keep going… too many assholes have already ruined my fun. Though it makes me glad I gave up standard review formats.



I realized I hadn’t addressed author relationships or beta reading in my disclosure post, so I added a paragraph.

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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.


Back to Basics part 347

I cut way, way back on ARCs, but still manage to have enough to work myself into yet another anxious panic. As I sat here, trying to prioritize all the work I feel like I need to do — made all the more fun by having a cold — a thought floated into my brain, seemingly out of nowhere:

What do you want?

It stopped me cold. What do I want, indeed? It’s so ridiculously easy to lose track of that. What do I actually care about? Which books do I think are important to share? If I don’t feel compelled to read a book or write about it, why should I bother?

Maybe I need to make a huge sign to tape over my computer, that says What do you want?

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I know they mean well, but…

Every time an author posts a comment on something I wrote, it’s instant death for the comment thread.




Shocked and Surprised!



I had two minor epiphanies last night, neither of which is probably particularly revelatory to anyone else.

One is that Twitter just doesn’t work as my only place to play with my friends on the Internet. It’s loads of fun, full of smart, witty, kind people. But many of them are authors, and it’s their space too; I censor myself there and feel justified in doing so.

How I miss having a place to share my random observations as I read a book. I still use GoodReads a bit, but it’s so hard to get a book conversation going now. Maybe I’m being stupidly stubborn not to use it in that manner?

The other is that, after having cleared out my arcs and enjoyed a blessed few days of peace, I’ve been obsessing over not having read enough good books for my Best Of lists, and trying to cram a whole bunch more reading in, in very little time. In other words, I managed to find yet another way to turn reading into homework. Go me.


Looks a Little Different Around Here

I’ve removed the grade categories from this blog. I may also remove the “reviews” category, though I’m still pondering. Perhaps I’ll rename it… suggestions?

This is a move several of my blogging friends have made, and it resonates with me. It’s a way of moving past formats and expectations that came from outside forces — Amazon, GoodReads, NetGalley — and focusing on what we really want to say.

RRR Jessica wrote a piece some time ago about how blogging had changed in recent years, and one of the things she pointed out was the uniformity of review format. At the time, I didn’t really grasp what was wrong with this, but I think now that it’s an expression of review bloggers becoming cogs in the industry. Nothing intentional or sinister about it… but I know that when I receive an ARC, it makes me feel like I need to take a more “professional” approach to the review. And that inevitably changes my voice.

I’m not entirely giving up ARCs or professional reviews, because I get a lot out of it. I appreciate the people I get to work with, the opportunity to reach a wider audience, and that I earn a little money, even if it’s more symbolic than anything else. (I bought my husband’s birthday present with money I earned! It’s really from me!) But I’m cutting way, way back on ARCs. There’s nothing like realizing that a book you really wanted to read has become homework to make you see the downside of them. And as I think someone else pointed out — Sirius? — that defeats the purpose of getting them early, because the anticipation is gone. I can totally see getting a book read and reviewed sooner than I otherwise would have because I waited for it to be released. And even if I don’t, it will be done with much more enjoyment.

And that is, after all, what this is supposed to be about. Our love for books and reading and the fun of sharing our opinions.


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