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Historical romances were my first love, but lately I’ve been noticing how much they snore, and wishing they’d take the damn garbage out.  The last one I tried to read has been getting rave reviews up the wazoo; I got to page 280, realized there were still 100 more pages left, and groaned out loud. (I’m not going to identify the book, since my current weird state of mind might have contributed to how little I was enjoying it.) Thank goodness Trouble At the Wedding came along before I decided to cart my entire historical TBR to the library. It would have cost a lot in gas.

It’s not that Trouble at the Wedding is the most gorgeous, deeply characterized historical ever, but it doesn’t have to be. (more…)

Moving In Rhythm is an m/m romance, but I might almost classify it as a novel. Not that the love story or love scenes are disappointing, but the story is largely about the personal emotional journey of one person, Mark, as he struggles with debilitating social anxiety and with coming out.

Mark has never been able to have a relationship or even tell his closest family members that he’s gay; a female friend has been his unwitting beard for years. (His guilt over her is yet another thing for Mark to feel bad about.) As the book opens, Mark is having one more meaningless encounter with an uncaring stranger, which is such a joyless, soul-killing experience, he decides he’s better off being celibate. (more…)

Well This Is Original…

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Posted in: Uncategorized

Got this email earlier. Seriously, do people actually fall for this crap?

From: “Mogoli Angelberg”
Date: 27 March 2012 21:20:02 GMT+01:00
To: hairylemony
Subject: loved your book

Just checked out your book on Smashwords, Chris and you’re so so talented. Do you have any suggestions for a budding writer like me?

What has worked and what hasn’t? Tried FB, Twitter, even book marks. I just don’t want to waste my time on things that don’t work.

I just read a couple EXCELLENT books on it. One was recommended by my friend called “Effortless Marketing”: http://amzn.to/EFFORTLESS I got it cause Mark Coker the Smashwords guy endorsed it and cause it’s free for the next 24 hours anyway. And it was surprisingly really, really good.

Do you have any other books you’d recommend?

If I’d written a book, I might have believed it a tiny little bit. If I was called Chris, I’d believe it even more.

Bloody spammers!

The Niqab…

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Posted in: Religion
Tags:, , ,

…An example of female subjugation or merely a religious practice that seeks to preserve a woman’s modesty?

Being a borderline feminist, I think it’s the former, especially as Muslim scholars can’t agree on whether it’s a religious obligation or not.

What do you guys think?

As I read Ritual Sins, I mentally shuddered thinking about the times I’ve heard women say thing like, “It’s easy for men to find out what women want — just read a romance novel!” God forbid any man should read this particular romance novel in search of dating tips. (more…)

New Kid on the Blog

Saturday, March 24, 2012
Posted in: willaful

Hey, everyone. I’m known in these parts as Willaful, though my willfulness sadly does not come with fiery red-hair, violet eyes, or a tendency to pound men with my tiny fists. I’m an avid romance reader and have been reviewing at GoodReads for a few years.

When Karen invited me to participate in her blog, my first thought (after “holy shit!”) was “This is really bad timing. I’m busy. I’m sad. Reading and reviewing have been very weird lately, because I’m busy and sad.”  But who am I to argue with Karen? I said I’d like to try, Karen suggested I could write about why I’m sad, if I wanted to, and since my feelings have had a lot of impact on my reading — and vice-versa — that made sense.

So here it is. Around two months ago I got the news that my friend J, who was battling cancer, was not going to win.  It kind of amazed me that the world didn’t just stop, especially amongst our group of friends. Parties kept happening. People kept right on posting silly links on Facebook. But possibly my reaction would seem just as strange to them: I pulled out my Nook and started reading a freebie ebook I’d picked up months before, The Reluctant Dom by Tymber Dalton. It’s a D/s novel about a man whose best friend is dying, who is chosen by the friend to take over as Dom to his sub wife. (more…)

Do you think she noticed?

Do you think she noticed?

Friday, March 23, 2012
Posted in: Adventures with Blog people

RRRJessica has a post about this year’s Book Blogger Convention and the controversy around how Reed is running things. I won’t repeat what I said there, as this post is about something else entirely.

In the comment thread, Katy L says:

I agree with some of the concerns about the setup of BBC, and I sincerely hope the BEA powers that be adjust accordingly (like they did by taking down the box for blog stats). I think if they listened to blogger concerns, and made the panels more valuable and interesting to bloggers, that would make the conference something I’d want to attend.

But honestly, I’m just a bit fatigued by all this righteous anger. Certain bloggers are always SO quick to take to twitter and their blogs to make a big scandalous bubble out of virtually ANYTHING that comes their way. Everybody loves a good bloodbath, and they’re all out for blood (or page hits). It seems like a HUGE to do about nothing.

Like many of these scandalous bubbles, there’s WAY too much chatter, and NONE OF IT is about books. Lame. And how do these people have so much time on their hands?

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s way easier to write an outraged blog post with lots of twitter screen grabs and links than to actually read and review a book thoughtfully.

Obviously Katy L is entitled to her opinions and her fatigue with the issue, but I wonder if she even realized that her last sentence seems to take a potshot at her host (twitter screen grabs) even though I don’t see outrage in Jessica’s post.

(And let’s not even go into the upstanding quality of Jessica’s reviews)

It may not have been Katy L’s intention, but that sentence came across as rather passive aggressive.

Still, the part of the comment that truly bothered me is the judgement implied in the whole “it’s not about books, lame, too much time in their hands” bit.

Every time I go onto a review site the books being reviewed are historicals, what’s up with that?

Listen, there was a time when the only historicals I could read were American Westerns, I’ve moved on from those days, but I still don’t get the obsession for most of you guys. I confess I love, love, love period dramas on TV, but reading regency books, or any other historicals has always been a struggle for me.

So what’s the big attraction for you lot? Is it the clothes, the whole young women and their seasons thing? The ton? The Dukes and Duchesses? What?

What gives y’all?

She’s an Elloras Cave Author. According to Katiebabs her book Wrath, which is apparently part of her popular ‘Species’ series, is number fourteen on the list.

I understand that she’s been on the list before, and allegedly hers was the first EC book to hit the list. Not sure how true that is, but it’s still an impressive feat nonetheless. Never really heard of her though. It could be because my Google Reader is chock-full of unread posts, but she doesn’t seem to get mentioned all that often.

I want to know where her fan base came from, it seems to have sprung from nowhere. I can only think her success is from having a series that fans have invested in. I’ve always thought that writing a series is the way forward for authors who may not necessarily have a solid marketing machine behind them.

Have you guys read her? What are your thoughts? Is she worth trying out? (via Amazon obviously).

I’ve been on the internet long enough now that surely nothing should surprise me, but honestly, the depravity of some people is beyond the pale.

Footballer, Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the football pitch on Saturday, after suffering a heart attack. This happened in the middle of a game.

It seemed that everybody and his wife took to Twitter to extend their fervent hope that he would be ok. Whilst normal folk were left reeling by this incident, a couple of people devoid of any humanity, took to Twitter and used the incident as an excuse to hurl racist abuse and wish death upon him.

I want to know, what kind of mind would tweet this kind of abuse? (more…)

Azteclady Review: Sam's Creed by Sarah McCarty

This month’s TBR Challenge theme is catching up with a series. Well, I just had the right book languishing in my humongous TBR mountain range. It’s been nigh on four years since I read and reviewed Caine’s Reckoning, and almost as long has Sam’s Creed been languishing on the shelves, unread.

Sam’s Creed, by Sarah McCarty.

The second title in the Hell’s Eight series, Sam’s Creed is set a few months after the events of Caine’s Reckoning. To sum it up, the other seven to Caine’s eighth are following up on every rumor about stolen white women in the territory, looking for Ari Blake, Desi’s twin sister. In the course of this search, Sam pretty much stumbles across his own woman, Isabella Montoya.

A disclaimer, I think, applies here. This is an erotic romance. Not only is there sex in this book, there is quite graphic sex and quite a bit of it, with plenty of graphic language to go along with it. So, if you object to either or these, you may want to refrain from reading the review—let alone the book.

Let me be upfront about the fact that I did not enjoy this novel nearly as much as I did the previous one. Fact is, it was a rather big letdown. However, it is a testament to the appeal of Ms McCarty’s voice that I managed to sail through all 400+ pages of it in three, four sittings, without any major derailments in my reading, despite the things that irked me about the book.

First irritant, the back cover blurb: (more…)

Help! Blog Designer Needed ASAP!

Monday, March 19, 2012
Posted in: Uncategorized

I’m aware that this blog has needed a massive redesign for ages, however some of the prices for redesigns are out of my blog budget. Can you guys recommend somebody who does blog designs in their spare time? Cheap being the operative word here.

I need somebody who’s obviously fluent in WordPress code, in a way that I neither have the time nor the inclination to be, and somebody who’s pretty creative too would be helpful:)

If you or somebody you know wants to offer their services, you can email me at hairylemony @ gmail.com (without the spaces. Seriously, why do I have to even type that bit out??)

Thanks muchly!

Back in July 2009, DA Jane had a post asking whether or not abortion was acceptable for a heroine in romance.

As you can see, 70% of the voters said yes, it’s acceptable, and 30% said no, it wasn’t.

The whole question of abortions etc, has been a hot topic in America for the last couple of years, so I wonder if the result would change much now?

I feel exactly the same way as I did in 2009, if it’s handled carefully, then yes, why not?

I then asked myself whether I’d read a book where the heroine had an abortion, and honestly, I’m not sure. I guess once again, it depends on the book.

It was far easier for me to say yes to whether or not it’s acceptable, but somehow much harder to say whether I would actually pick up a book where the heroine had an abortion. The first question is almost asking me whether I’m pro-choice or not, and the second question seeks to determine whether I’d walk the talk.

I guess it’s similar to people saying they would like more “multi-cultural” books, but then just going back and reading the types of books that they always read, ya know, the ones featuring two white people on the front of the cover…

Anyway, how would you guys answer both questions now?

(By the way, never, Google ‘abortions’ using Google Images. Seriously, don’t do it. *vom*.)

I got this story from Alan Colme’s Liberaland blog.

Alan writes:

Michael John Kobulnicky, the public relations director for the San Diego Tea Party, was arrested Thursday (via PoliticusUSA).

According to East County Magazine, Michael John Kobulnicky is accused of offering a woman a ride on February 25, but instead of taking her home, he drove to secluded island, pulled the victim out of the vehicle, sexually assaulted her, and left her in the sand. San Diego Police Lt. Andra Brown said, “He dragged her out of the car and sexually assaulted her pretty brutally.”

East County Magazine reports:

“He dragged her out of the car and sexually assaulted her pretty brutally,” San Diego Police Lt. Andra Brown told ECM news partner 10 News in late February, shortly after the February 25 assault occurred…

After Kobulnicky’s arrest, the San Diego Tea Party issued a statement indicating that Kobulnicky took leave the group in January for personal reasons and had not been in touch since then, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. He has been removed from his position while the legal process runs its course, the statement said, adding that “”Our hearts and our thoughts go out to the victim.”

…According to his website, Kobulnicky supports Christian values, is a father of five sons, and is co-founder and president of the National Council of Americans, Inc, a nonprofit that helps youths.

…He is charged with rape, kidnapping, and forcible sex with a foreign object. Evidence includes surveillance video shot at a local convenience store shortly before the kidnapping occurred. Kobulnicky is being held without bail pending arraignment on Monday.

Good Christian values eh? Indeed…

What a horrific individual. Glad he got caught.

What Do You Think of This List?

Saturday, March 17, 2012
Posted in: book talk, random musings

I like looking at books that members of Goodreads have read, mostly because I’m nosy, but also because I’m always on the look-out to see if there are any books that sound interesting.

I came across a GR member who’d read the following books:

The Broker, John Grisham
The Shining, Stephen King
The Rainmaker, John Grisham
The Runaway Jury, John Grisham
A Time to Kill, John Grisham (a fan I think)
My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult
The Help, Kathryn Stockett
The Hunger Games
The Firm, John Grisham
Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
National Velvet, Enid Bagnold
Marley & Me, John Grogan
Secret, Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks
One For The Money, Janet Evanovich
The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger
Confessions of A Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella

No reviews for any of the above, just her five-star ratings.

When you look at that list, what comes to mind? What do you think of the list?

I’ve read just four of the books listed here, how many have you guys read?

I love this so much. Big investment firm with little or no integrity who wants to make oodles of money to the exclusion of all else? You do surprise me. (more…)

Now doesn’t this sound like a book worth mocking reading? I suspect it’s either self-pubbed or the ‘author’ has paid to get it published.

Check out this fantastic blurb – erm, or whatever it is, from Amazon.

Thanks for the great reaction to this book! (Karen: She’s totally deluded, check out the one star reviews hahaha!)

The story is steamy and quite unusual. I can see from one comment, however, that some people might think it’s too steamy. If steamy and sensual might offend you, then please be forewarned, this tale stimulates the senses. (Karen: Are you supposed to give your own review of the book within the blurb? Hahahaha!)

A handsome country music mogul tries to resist a gorgeous young virgin he has been invited to mentor. He can’t resist the virgin, of course!

She notices the country music mogul’s physical assets, including his big c**k. (Karen: Hahahahaha, lolololol!) She can’t stop thinking about him. Like all good stories, this one has some surprises that leave you wondering what will happen next.

In the end, the virgin understands the rationale for waiting before hopping in bed with men. But it’s too late. This is a great bedtime story. (Karen: Eh? Is she reccing this book to be read to children???)

Please be aware that this book is written in the language of the characters (Karen: I so badly want to know what in the language of the character means, heh). So, the book utilizes their particular dialect. This dialect is quite beautiful though it might offend strict grammarians. (Karen: Oh this books sounds too delish to pass up!)

This story is for, and about, adults 18+ (Karen: Oh ok, it’s not for children then!)


Hahahaha! What a hot mess! Anybody want to take one for the team?

You can Kindle this from Amazon.com here. From what I can gather it was originally a freebie.

Happy reading!

The best male virgin romance I ever read was Bonnie Dee’s Bone Deep. Oh how I loved that book. (you can check out the review here)

The thing is though, there were so many great things about Bone Deep, that the fact that the hero was a virgin, was almost not that important. I mean, I’ve read other books where the hero was a virgin, but I haven’t necessarily enjoyed them.

What do you guys think of virgin heroes? Which books have you read, and did those books work for you? Would you like to see more virgin heroes, or do you ultimately prefer your heroes to be alphas who know their way around a woman’s body and are incredible in the sack?

(You can buy Bone Deep from Amazon.com here

I’m currently participating in a thread over at Goodreads entitled Do self-published ebooks have a bad reputation?

My answer of course was a resounding yes.

Because I can’t be arsed re-writing what I wrote, here’s my response:

“Most definitely. And as you allude to, poorly edited works full grammatical errors is one of the main reasons why. For me also, some of the hissyfits and unprofessional behaviour from some self-published authors ranting at reviewers/readers who did not like their work, have not helped the cause.

No doubt, a lack of editing and proof-reading skills will not help any aspiring author. But are those who push out poorly-presented novels spoiling it for the majority?

In my experience, I would say yes. Obviously I haven’t read every self-pubbed book in the world, but I find that there is a major difference in quality between the authors who have been traditionally pubbed, and trying out self-pubbing, and the authors who have turned to self-publishing just so they can see their book up in lights as it were, due to being rejected by every traditional publisher they’ve subbed to.

If so, what can be done to convince potential readers not to tar all self-published ebooks with the same brush?

Reduce the number of books that are error strewn. Increase the quality of editing, heck perhaps even have some kind of accreditation system where the reader knows that if a self-pubbed book has a seal on it that denotes quality editing, then the worst they can expect is to not like the actual story. I hasten to add that the seal of approval would not necessarily be given by a review site. I’m thinking something like The Self-Publishing Standards Authority. I just totally made that up, but you get my point.”

What do you guys think of that idea? Having a seal of approval from an official body that the self-pubbed book that you’re about to read, adheres to a basic standard of quality, e.g. decent formatting, professionally edited, minimal spelling and grammatical errors etc?

What would that body look like? Who would you prefer to run such an organisation? Reviewers? A panel made up of successful self-published authors, reviewers, editors etc? How would it be funded? And lastly, do you actually give a shit whether a self-pubbed book is well-edited anyway?

What a fun friends-to-lovers story.

Alice and Gabriel have been friends for years, and one night when one of Alice’s romantic entanglements ends in disaster (AGAIN), she ends up in Gabriel’s house, in Gabriel’s bedroom at stupid o’clock, lamenting the state of her love life.

Gabriel’s used to Alice bending his ear about what sluts men are, but he could really do with a coffee. Especially if Alice is about to cry. Gabriel really hates seeing women cry, and Alice is a regular walking sob-fest.

Alice has had a crush on her big brother’s best friend for ages, and the attraction keeps getting stronger. He of course sees her as just his best friend’s sister, something that frustrates Alice no end.

Whilst she’s crying on his shoulder, Alice detects a look of lust in Gabriel’s eyes – perhaps there’s something she can do to finally get Gabe to notice her as a woman? She wants him, and he seems to want her, so what’s the problem?

The rest of the book sees Alice doing her best to seduce Gabriel, despite his best intentions, with mixed, but amusing results.

I liked that the heroine was the aggressor in this relationship. Poor Gabriel, he didn’t really stand a chance at escaping Alice’s devious machinations. His protective instincts especially come to the fore when Alice informs him that she’s decided to date as many men as possible, in an effort to find Mr Perfect.

A hugely likable heroine, and a hard-done-by hero, who has no idea how to do DIY. Definitely a recipe for a good, fun book. Although I got this book free, I’d definitely read this author again.

One thing though, as with any heroine called Alice, I couldn’t help but continuously think to myself, “Alice, Alice, who the f*ck is Alice?”

You can buy this book from Amazon.com here. (It may still be free)