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Long ago, in a galaxy...wait a minute--it is now and just next door

Plagiarism keeps rearing its ugly, unimaginative head. In the past few months there have been plenty of instances where people are caught dead on yet them manage to pretend not to know what they did wrong.

Or they didn’t know they were doing anything wrong.

Or plagiarism just occurred. *cough*

Or they were doing their victim a favor.

Or because they are not profiting from it.

Or they thought it was their own work, how could they know they had copied and pasted the entire thing without attribution in the first place.

Or it was ignorance about what plagiarism really is (never mind writing and posting on the topic long before indulging in their own theft)

Or…anyway, I’m sure anyone with half a working brain cell gets the idea.

For those who are still struggling with the concept, a few pointers: when a person plagiarizes/steals the  words/intellectual property of another person, the plagiarist is the thief–the other one? That one is the victim. (more…)

Willaful Review: The Malorie Phoenix by Janet Mullany

Reviewing this brought to mind a moment from the t.v. show “Gilmore Girls” (a discussion of “The Donna Reed Show”):

Rory: My favorite episode –
Lorelai: Mm…tell me, tell me.
Rory: – is when their son, Jeff, comes home from school… and nothing happens.
Lorelai: Oh that’s a good one. One of my favorites is when Mary, the daughter, gets a part-time job… and nothing happens.
Rory: Another classic.

The Malorie Phoenix started off with a bang — literally. Pickpocket Jenny is seduced by the charming Benedict de Malorie at Vauxhall. She leaves with his stickpin, an heirloom jewel, and a bun in the oven. About ten months later, an ailing Jenny finds Benedict, hands him a baby girl (with the jewel sewn into her clothes) and vanishes.

Seven years later, Jenny’s new life as a courtesan ends with her kindly protector’s death. When some strangers hatch a bizarre scheme for her to impersonate a young woman Benedict once almost married, she embraces a chance to reclaim her child:

And now, possibly, she had the means to support her daughter. With independence and an income she could achieve a modest respectability. Roly had taught her many things, including how to manage investments and run a frugal but comfortable household… She could not and would not raise Sarah as the daughter of a courtesan.

The beginning of this historical had me settling in happily for a good read. It felt fresh and different, willing to go in unpopular directions — such as Jenny having had a good sex life with her old, fat protector — and take chances. The writing style seemed somewhat elliptical, with surprising gaps in the action, but that felt acceptable as a stylistic choice.  Even when the plot veered into utter absurdity with the impersonation plan, I tried to just let it flow over me and willingly suspend disbelief. I liked the beginning and I really wanted to keep liking the rest of it. (more…)

How much again?

How much again?

Saturday, April 28, 2012
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks

I was reading headlines–as I’m won’t to do when bored–when an article on ‘acceptable’ dresses for attending your high school prom caught my eye. I clicked right on, ready to get indignant at the prudery of parents and teachers (and I was–no shorter than three inches above the knee, with ruler in hand, really?).

What seriously knocked me over is reading about how families are expending around a thousand dollars between prom dresses, transportation, etc. An 18th boasts that she got away with a $500 dress, like that’s some sort of steal.

$500, at a bare minimum, for one night of your life.

No wonder so many of these kids grow up to incur debts of hundreds of thousands of dollars before they hit 30.

Book Bargain: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan - 99c At Amazon

Just had to Kindle this, it sounds too good to pass up, especially for the great price of .99c over at Amazon.com (0.77p at Amazon UK)

Oh no, she didn't! (sadly, yes, she did)

And for those of you tired of the plagiarism conversation, go somewhere else and look at some puppies and rainbows.

It seems that the latest version of the thief’s apology reads thus:

“When I first received the allegations of plagiarism, I was presented with the information and could not deny the facts. While the content was not identical the subject matter was. I thought only content could be plagiarized. Changing a few a words around with a thesaurus, or simple copying and pasting content. It seems as though taking a general topic and rewriting it is plagiarism. That is simply my own ignorance on the matter, and I should have known better. It was a confusion of inspiration and plagiarism on my part. I am not denying my actions. I was in the wrong. I read a post, I thought it was interesting and wanted to make it into something that would be relevant for book blogging.”

I guess it was just a matter of time for her to claim ignorance (more…)

What the fuck is her actual problem?

Have you ever dealt with a person who always takes exception to what you have to say, no matter what it is?

I mean, even when you agree with her, she bitches at you because you don’t agree with her enough. Or you don’t use her language to agree with her.

And if you don’t talk to her, she bitches at you for what you say to other people–people who are adults, intelligent and articulate enough themselves, mind you, to ream you a new one if they thought you deserved it, or if they felt you were attacking them.

Yet this person, who has no dog in a fight that isn’t even taking place, comes at you loaded for bear, demanding (basically) that you shut up.

But, lest you think it’s lil ole innocent me (fragile flower of femininity that I am *adjusts halo again*) who is the problem, I have seen this same person do the exact same thing to…well, everyone else she comes in contact. It may take her a day or a few months, but no one who is present where she is escapes her constant harping.

Anyone wanna venture a guess, why does she do this?

(And bonus brownie points to whoever guesses who I’m talking about)

And People Wonder Why I Hate Organised Religion So Much...

Check out this utter knob jockey called Bruce, who had this (and loads more besides) to say:

“It is funny to see the charge of misogyny leveled at the Church by women who promote the female version of pornography. Both “romance novels” and porn objectify and destroy the dignity of men and women. The Church opposes this, because she believes in the dignity of men and women, and rejects our objectification. (more…)

20 years of change--still a long way to go.

Because half of humanity is still not treated equally like the other half: “as human beings women and girls should have equal rights to men under the law and equal opportunity to enjoy their human rights.”

Go to Equality Now and do your part to help change the world–for yourself, for your sisters, for your daughters–and for all the men in their lives.

This Characterization is So Not Working

When did it become de rigueur for all characters in paranormal romance to sound like self-consciously ironic teenagers? I’m not talking about young adult books here; I’m talking about adult — sometimes very adult — romances, with adult characters.

I’m currently reading I’ll Be Slaying You, the second book in the “Night Watch” series by Cynthia Eden. I liked the first book and I’m enjoying this one even more, because the story has a lot of exciting twists and there’s some originality to the vampire mythology. It’s really steamy too, and the lovers are brought together in an unusual way, rather than just mystically fated to be mates.

But check out some of these internal musings, chosen pretty much at random:

Oh, so not what she needed to be saying to Dee.

Okay, yeah, this was one of those moments in life that sucked.

‘he’ll tear you apart… Rip your world away and tear you apart.’ Ah, nice visual.

She’d been shot as a human, could still remember the fiery blast, and didn’t want to go through that again, thank you very much.

Leaving aside the fact that these are all verbal cliches — is there anything that would clue you in that these thoughts are coming from three different characters? The first book was the same: every single person thought in that terse, ironic slang that’s so ubiquitous, I’ve started thinking of it as Paranormal-Speak.  Perhaps I’ve just become more sensitive to it, but I remember the earlier books in J.R. Ward’s “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series as having distinct characters; more recent characters have all have the same internal voice, and they blend together in my mind.

Like I said, I’m enjoying the book. But I have a feeling the series is going to grate on me over time, the same way Ward’s has. Hot vampires and sexy shifters and weird magical happenings are a lot of fun, but to truly love a book I have to feel that even those vampires and shifters are, at heart, real people.

Azteclady reviews, The Heart of Christmas Anthology

The Heart of Christmas Anthology

After reading and enjoying Courtney Milan’s work, I have been keeping my eye out for a copy of this anthology, which contains her print debut, the novella “This Wicked Gift.” I am very, very happy to report that it didn’t disappoint—to the contrary, I enjoyed it soooo much!

But hold on, let me get this review back on track.

The anthology consists of three Christmas themed stories by Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick, and Ms Milan. Here is the back cover blurb:

‘Tis the Season for Falling in Love…

“A Handful of Gold”

Not only is Julian Dare dashing and wealthy, but he’s the heir to an earldom. So what do you get a man who has everything? Innocent and comely Verity Ewing plans on giving Julian her heart—the most precious gift of all.

“The Season for Suitors”

After some close encounters with rakes in which she was nearly compromised, heires Clara Davenport realizes that she needs some expert advice. And who better for the job than Sebastian Fleet, the most notorious rake in town? But the tutelage doesn’t go quite as planned, as both Sebastian and Clara find it difficult to remain objective when it comes to lessons of the heart!

“This Wicked Gift”

Lavinia Spencer has been saving her hard-earned pennies to provide her family with Christmas dinner. Days before the holiday, her brother is swindled, leaving them owing more than they can ever repay. Until a mysterious benefactor offers to settle the debt. Innocent Lavinia is stunned by what the dashing William White wants in return. Will she exchange a wicked gift for her family’s future?

Starting in reverse order: (more…)

Go figure.

Go figure.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks

So while linking to Maya Banks’ Colters’ Woman at B&N for yesterday’s review, I noticed that they had Colters’ Wife free as a promotion. No one to waste a chance (hello, poor beleaguered budget) I clicked on it faster than blinking–only to be told that I needed to create an account with them.


But okay–free book, some hoops, not bad.

Account created, click and…”give us your credit card information.”


Sorry, what?

If the book is free, what the fuck do you need that for?

Cue email to customer service. Their reply: “We provide free NOOK Books to enable our customers to test the NOOK App on their device of choice. ”

Well, fuck.

See, I am techno impaired, both by nature and inclination. If I can’t “point and shoot” then it’s useless to me.

I never download any free kindle books because I won’t download the kindle app, and now I know that I’ll never download any B&N books either.



Azteclady reviews, Maya Banks' Colters' Woman

Colters’ Woman, by Maya Banks

So it has taken me years but I finally got around to grabbing a copy of this earlier title of Ms Banks’ (the version in my hands is the extended version, published in 2010—the original publication date is October 2006).

Before the review—or indeed, the blurb—a warning: this is an erotic novel, with very graphic sex scenes. Not only that, but it involves a ménage à quatre. If you are a minor or have problems with sex and unconventional relationships, do everyone a favor and read no further.

So, on to the review. (more…)

Why does anyone care...

…whether a plagiarist apologizes or not?

Yesterday I read one of the latest cases where a plagiarist is caught, confronted and shamed (with the inevitable “leave the poor plagiarist alone, she’s suffering enough as it is” comments thrown in).

What baffles me is the repeated expectations for an apology.


What does an apology change?

Look, not all crimes¹ are equal, and I’m not going to call for pitchforks here, but plagiarism–and particularly repeated plagiarism–is not an accidental thing, there is intent. A person cannot inadvertently copy and paste chunks of other people’s work and then forget it’s not his/her own work.

Given this, what is the value of an apology? How can any apology over a deliberate act be anything but, “sorry I got caught”–which is no apology at all?

So, why does anyone care to receive an apology from a plagiarist?


¹ Plagiarism = theft, ergo, crime

Under Construction…

Monday, April 23, 2012
Posted in: Uncategorized

You may have noticed that the blog is looking slightly out of sync, well no worries, in case you couldn’t tell, the blog is currently under construction. Normal service will be resumed shortly. In the mean time, if there’s anything glaringly funky, can you let us know in the comments section?


Thanks muchly!

Once more with feeling: the misogyny of organized religion.

I posted a couple of days ago about the homophobia of many visible Catholic priests. The absolute lack of connection that the Catholic church has with the real world and the lives of the people within it has motivated many of us to renounce our once-faith.

That is bad enough, right? But for those in the church who cling to the belief that there is something good in the institution, even when some of its leaders are flawed and misguided, we have this:

The Vatican published a report on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious criticizing them for spending too much effort on poverty and social injustice and not enough on their male leadership’s anti-abortion and anti-gay agenda.

Seriously? Is it possible for any institution whose focus are the teachings of Christ to spend too much effort on poverty? Well, paint me purple and call me Herbert.

From the article:

Public disagreement with the bishops — “who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals” — is unacceptable.

The bishops…who are men.

Because women are, you know, inferior and unworthy.

Which is why Pope Benedict, may karma catch up with him soonest, has declared it an impossibility that women would ever be ordained. That would be akin to admitting women are as human beings as men, for goodness sake!

So now some other bishops will take over and rewrite the Conference statues and shit, to make sure the nuns adhere to the letter of the church–Jesus’ actual teachings be damned.

Way to go, assholes, way to go.


Currently Reading: The Duke's Perfect Wife by Jennifer Ashley

…and totally loving the heroine.

Here’s the blurb:

Lady Eleanor Ramsay is the only one who knows the truth about Hart Mackenzie. Once his fiancee, she is the sole woman to whom he could ever pour out his heart.

Hart has it all–a dukedom, wealth, power, influence, whatever he desires. Every woman wants him–his seductive skills are legendary. But Hart has sacrificed much to keep his brothers safe, first from their brutal father, and then from the world. He’s also suffered loss–his wife, his infant son, and the woman he loved with all his heart though he realized it too late.

Now, Eleanor has reappeared on Hart’s doorstep, with scandalous nude photographs of Hart taken long ago. Intrigued by the challenge in her blue eyes–and aroused by her charming, no-nonsense determination–Hart wonders if his young love has come to ruin him . . . or save him.

This is the fourth book from the Highland Pleasures series, and it’s scrumptious so far.

You can buy The Duke’s Perfect Wife from Amazon, here, and from Barnes & Noble, here.

Can Silicone-Enhanced Breasts Ever Be OK For A Romance Heroine?

It hasn’t passed my attention that within romance, enhanced breasts are usually hung on the ‘bitchy other woman’, as if somehow having silicone implants automatically makes her a bad person. This has started to annoy me a little bit. I don’t know, it just seems a tad judgemental.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the heroine had breast implants just out of vanity. I guess it’s not a romantic notion, and let’ face it, no woman wants to read about a hero who’s had his pee-pee surgically enhanced, but I sure am tired of lazy authors giving implants to The Other Woman Who’s Hot For The Hero, in order to confirm her status as a whorish bitch.

Any of you guys read a book where the heroine had a boob job for non-health related reasons?

These guys are perfect examples

of why I no longer consider myself Catholic–more, they make me ashamed to admit that at one point I was Catholic.

Bishop John Nienstedt violates the separation of church and state, directing priests in his diocesis to ‘to defend and define marriage.” Just over a year ago, he used church funds to pay for anti gay marriage DVDs to be made and distributed in his state. (Why again are Catholic churches tax exempt when they are obviously and publicly engaging in politic issues?).

Bishop Daniel Jenky compares Obama’s policies to Nazi religious prosecution (yes, he did go there).

And newly minted Cardinal Timonthy Dolan, for whom “The definition of marriage is a given:  it is a lifelong union of love and fidelity leading, please God, to children, between one man and one woman.” (so what, when the husband beats the hell out of everyone else in the family, or both parents neglect, abuse or kill their kids…why is that considered marriage, then?)

/rant (for now)

Willaful Review: But That Was Yesterday

My read for SuperWendy’s “New To You Author” TBR challenge is also a big step out of my comfort zone. My associations with “Native American” romance are so bad, I wouldn’t even have owned But That Was Yesterday, if it weren’t part of an anthology. But I happened to read the author’s note about alcoholism and stereotyping, and was intrigued enough to give it a try. This new to me author may well be my next glom, because it’s one terrific book.

The main characters are Sage Parker, a Lakota alcoholic who’s trying to rebuild the life he pissed away through drinking, and Megan McBride, a white engineer who works with him on a road project. When Megan asks Sage for help in dealing with another Indian whose drinking is interfering with work, Sage sums Megan up quickly — and accurately — as a well-meaning bleeding heart, with no genuine understanding whatsoever of what it means to be Indian or alcoholic.

“He saw through her. She was a caretaker, a do-gooder, pure and simple. That was the characteristic that drew them to one another, and the one he had to avoid.

Still, he wondered what she had seen when she looked at him through a woman’s eyes.”

Despite frequent clashes over her naivete and interference, Megan and Sage develop a friendship and Sage begins to share some of his personal identity with her. This was my favorite part of the book: I thought the portrait of Sage was wonderful, because he’s neither completely Americanized nor mystically “other” — rather, he’s a believable person whose personality includes elements from both of the cultures he’s lived in. I think this was most profoundly expressed in the context of Sage’s alcoholism, because part of fighting it has been embracing the spiritual ideas he grew up with and then discarded:

“He remembered when prayer had been suggested to Megan at Medicine Wheel [an AA-like group Sage started]; he’d had the sense that she’d rejected the idea as ineffective. He remembered a time when it had been suggested to him and he’d laughed, too.” (more…)

Azteclady reviews Zoë Archer's, Warrior

Apparently I’ve managed to keep up with SLWendy’s TBR Challenge for the third month in a row! (given how crazy my work schedule is, and how little reviewing mojo I seem to have these days, I am honestly amazed by this). This month’s theme, a new to me author. Drumroll and welcome to…

Warrior, by Zoë Archer

Despite having read many positive reviews of Ms Archer’s Blades of the Rose, to the point where the lot of them exist physically in the humongous, ever growing, mountain range of a TBR pile, I had been resistant to, you know, actually read them. What if I didn’t like them?

Well, I should have trusted the instinct that made me grab them in the first place, for I enjoyed Warrior very much indeed.

From the back cover:

To most people, the realm of magic is the stuff of nursery rhymes and dusty libraries. But for the Blades of the Rose, it’s quite real, and in danger of being misused by a powerful enemy…

In hot pursuit…

The vicious attack Capt. Gabriel Huntley witnesses in a dark alley sparks a chain of events that will take him to the ends of the Earth and beyond—where what is real and what is imagined become terribly confused. Intrigue, danger, and a beautiful woman in distress—just what he needs.

In hotter water…

Raised thousand of miles from England, Thalia Burgess is no typial Victorian lady. A good thing, since as a Blade, she’s trying to protect a priceless magical artifact. Huntley’s assistance might come in handy, though she has to keep him in the dark. But this distractingly handsome soldier isn’t easy to deceive…

Despite the wonderful covers, there is not much steampunk in this series (or perhaps it’s more evident in later installments). The premise of the series is this: (more…)