Showing posts with label rants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rants. Show all posts


Six posts within a year does not a blog make...

Yeah, 2014 was not a good year.

Here's an accountability/confession recap:

My Goodreads challenge? Ha! Non-existent. But a silver lining? Yes.
This has forced me to be more cutthroat with my DNF philosophy. By December, and even into January 2015, I was DNF'ing books after the first two chapters because they weren't cutting it.

New DNF policy: I'm no longer going by any page limit - just quitting when it sucks
Life is too precious to waste reading a book that disappoints me, at any time in said book. 
My TBR pile is too large at this point for me to ever feel bad about DNF'ing another book.

More book-related drama: I still get snark comments about my Goodreads post on The Red Tent. Yes, I get it. You're upset. But my post remains. And I've insulted the book, not the author as a person. Which brings me to my next point...

I've seen so much on bullying reviews and author-hate during 2014. Ugh. Can everyone on both sides of this drama please grow up, harden up, and then carry on with your lives while being aware of the energy that you bring into the world? (I know, pot calling kettle blah blah blah.)

My health took a tiny bit of a nosedive. I would brag about getting six hours of sleep. I BADLY need to get back into shape. No, not for fitting into jeans (although that would be nice) but more for my heart health.

Work BS depleted ALL my energy to focus on worklife balance. Above all else, even the "blogging," this must be corrected for 2015. Lots has been absolutely crappy since 2012, but no more. Change is happening. Transformation is now.

So, let's see if I can try to resuscitate this blog almost halfway through 2015.

NB: Every Mercury Retrograde in 2014 hit me super hardcore (especially in October - sweet balls, that was fucking awful). And we're moving into another one pretty soon, so I want to kick things off on a better note.

Now for GOOD news:
  • I'm loving me some Outlander on Starz.
  • I also discovered Cedar Cove - yup, although it's a super inspy-cozy romance/soap series, I love it!
  • 2014 has forced me to say "no" to more so that I can say "yes" to what I truly want. **shrug**


A Holiday (not) to Remember (by Helen R. Myers) -- FAIL

I truly wanted to love this one...


I saved this Harlequin Special Edition romance from LAST YEAR.  It's from November 2012, and it was advertised to me as part of the "holiday" line of romances.

Since I didn't get to it last year, I saved this one - totally anticipating the day when I could read about her saying "I do," and then pulling the ring box off the pizza - like the most delicious topping of all time, cheese dripping all over the place - but she doesn't give a shit because she's so damn happy! - but NOooOo. This one was bland as all hell.

I will probably never remember the story. I don't even remember their names anymore. I know they were in Texas and there was real estate drama 'bout his ranch he inherited or whatever - and it was just awful.

I will only remember the cover. With the pizza solitaire engagement.

Also, not that it matters to every reader ever, but there are constant/consistent errors about the Marines and the USMC, so everything automatically feels fake to readers who will know.  There is also most ZERO chemistry / romantic development between the characters - suddenly we're in love and we can't stop thinking about each other, right?  I got three-quarters of the way through this book, and I realized too late, "Wait, this isn't getting good at all..."  I skimmed as much as I possibly could on each page - still nothing.

And lastly: This doesn't take place during the Christmas season at all.  It ends right before Thanksgiving.  WTF.

I had to give it one star on Goodreads.

Massive disappointment.

I want my four bucks and four hours back.


Midnight Secrets (by Ella Grace)

 Dog tags and camo pants - looks like military action stuff is going to happen, right?   Nope!

Midnight Secrets by Ella Grace

Conflict: Big secrets - Who murdered her folks when she was a kid?  What happened to him that made him leave for the Army with out saying goodbye to her? Why is this town so frickin' secretive and weird? etc.

Those are the ONLY questions that kept me reading this book.
If this wasn't a suspenseful small-town mystery (so if it was just about him being an Army vet and her returning to town to rekindle what they had...) I couldn't have finished it.
Let me break it down because this was a lot for 400 pages:

The first chapter opens right away to the murder of the Savannah's parents (superbly written!) and I'm immediately hooked.

The second chapter jumps to when the hero (Zach) is 18 and saves the heroine (Savannah) from being gang-raped/brutalized at her prom (more on this horrible bullshit later).  She's the richest girl in town and he's from the "wrong side of the tracks". They're both gorgeous, etc. They don't talk about their childhood troubles too much. They fall in love... it's that cute kind of lovesick puppy-love that happens when you grow up in a super small town like Midnight, Alabama - and everyone talks about it and comments about "how in love you are" because they want to be all up in your BID-NAZZ. He's going to enlist in the Army and they're going to get engaged - HOORAY! [and that's not even the first quarter of the book...]

Then it jumps to present day; Savannah is a ball-breaking prosecutor in Atlanta, and Zach is the sheriff of Midnight. Oh, and remember the rapist douchebag from the prom? He's the town's deputy... 
so he's paid to "keep the town safe"...

After a whole bunch of sketchy stuff, and some romantic flirting with passionate gropes - We find out that Zach left for the Army (without saying goodbye to Savannah) because [Spoilerish stuff: He got almost beaten to death up by the town scum-bag - who's actually his biological-father... so I guess he went through some crazy trauma and freaked out and just left.] Then after a whole ton of plot twists, and some sex, and more stranger-danger, and drama, and not trusting anyone in the story - I basically had to finish this to find out who killed Savannah's parents back in that amazing first chapter - and I had a mental list of three characters who could have been the killer - but it totally wasn't who I expected!

Why do I empathize with this heroine?  Of all the shitty childhoods we come across in romances - hers is pretty shitty - I mean, not the shittiest - but still... she manages to turn things around and completely focus on her career, and that's great - but when it comes to actually being in danger - she doesn't really take care of herself. Por ejemplo: when your prom date is totally drunk and starts groping on you and pressuring you for sex - in the middle of your school gym - how about you tell a teacher? But, oh wait, that would make you unpopular, right? And you're having so much trouble in that area - despite being the richest/prettiest girl in school with two older popular sisters, just because your parents were murdered, right?  Well, ok... teenage years suck, so I can understand, but then...  Ejemplo numero dos: If you're TOTALLY IN DANGER - and there are many signs to prove this to you - why would you ever spend any time alone? Seriously, CHAIN YO' SELF to that studly guy on the cover who will do anything to protect you.  Or at least get a few German Shepherds, or a gun, or a tricked-out home security system, or whatever - just don't sit at home like, "I guess I'll pack up these old albums and sell this tragic house woe is me".  No, don't do that.

Overall: I think this was more than "ok", but the actual romance takes a back seat in this one. Any feeling of "we used to date - let's hook up again because this is unfinished" is trivial when the characters have, not just one, but SO MANY stranger-danger situations going on in the plot.  Which brings me to another thought...  Why move back? Ever. Seriously. If you grew up in a town where everyone knows when you take a shit, and they really have nothing better to do - then you move away to Atlanta, or you join the military and travel around quite a bit - don't move back to that bum-fuck town.  It's stories like this that make me never trust anyone.  I can only recommend this for the romance reader who likes it heavy on the mystery and suspense.


YOU'RE in the wrong decade.

Working on my post for the TBR Challenge 2013 - January was for "short" books/stories - perfect for the 66 page novella I read, right?

Well, I had to give it 2 stars on Goodreads, and I mentioned that I would do a fuller review on my blog.  *sigh*  Everything was going okay until I got to this gem:

"...made him realize that she was quite possibly the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen
(even if she wasn't blond with blue eyes).  It very nearly took his breath away." - pg 44

What the fuck.

This very nearly took MY breath away.  No, really.  I completely closed out of the nook app on my android phone, took a few breaths, randomly looked around (to nowhere in particular) with the "WTF" look on my face - and then I had to psych myself up to re-open the nook app and continue reading.

Because we know who also favored blondes with blue eyes, right?  (Hint:  It's starts with "KNOTS" and ends with "ZEES".)  Did I miss the part about the hero ONLY preferring to court Aryan princesses?  Why did I have to know this?  Is our hero that selective?  The first 43 pages told me that he was sort of an "equal opportunity employer" when it came to seducing women.

This is where I will mention that I have described my hair and eyes as "shit-brown" before... but it's actually more of a chocolate-y espresso brown (which I dye religiously) and my eyes are more of a dark hazel or brown with goldish-green flecks.  So there.  And normally, I really don't care if the hero prefers blondes.  But I've never read anything along the lines of "blonde with blue eyes only".  Maybe I'm just too sensitive... but it is NEVER appropriate for me to think of fascism, eugenics, or brunette-dissing in the same context/thought with the hero.  EVER.

Am I overreacting? (Yes, I am, right?)  OK, full post to come...


Don't Throw Stones in Target...

There were two major factors that will impact the frequency of my blogging/romance project (whatever this is):

1 - The insane work project (duration of six months) is now "launched" (or under control and wrapping up quickly);  This means no more bringing work home or staying in the office until 8:30 p.m., so I'm hoping to "ride out" the rest of the year... *knock on wood*  (JOY!)

2 - My older paperback romances are now sitting on my book shelf, so my original romance collection feels a tad bit more "complete", although I still have two or three books I need to repurchase.

I can breathe a big sigh of relief, and I am hoping that this means no longer going four weeks between posts!  My main focus now needs to be developing the site more; an actual blog title and "look", etc.  I want to commit to posting at least once per week.

Regarding the follow-up on Fifty Shades / Bared to You in the middle of a Target...  This has to be addressed.  My closest friends (and yes, even my own mother) already know how disappointed I am with the quality of writing in the Fifty Shades trilogy.  BUT I cannot truly judge (yet) because I haven't even finished the book.  Abandoned at page 25 on my nook (now in the "archived" section).  Since I can't give the honest critique, I'm just a genuine hater.

Here's my conflict:  Part of me is very glad that readers are now embracing this romance sub-genre (even if they're calling it "erotica" when it's basic "erotic romance fiction" ... and it should be in the romance aisle of the bookstore, but that's only my $0.02).  Another immature part of me feels miffed that so many "new-to-the-genre" readers can pick this up and suddenly declare such a fanatic appreciation for the trilogy - when I feel like they don't even understand a good romance - or what makes the romance novel so great.  And every detail involving the success of this series (or this "erotic awakening") is being analyzed to death:  Is it because the cover is so "tasteful"?  Is it because a friend recommends it, and then the reader can preface any discussion with, "I normally don't read these books, but a friend recommended this to me"?  Is it "safe" to read because it's on the bestsellers list?  (And by the way, it belongs right next to the romances, you know - in that section of the bookstore that you never frequent, full of all those books you make fun of or don't read...)  However, I have realized that society is taking their Fifty Shades all sort of serious...  I've even had colleagues at work bring this up... but even the most bizarre Fifty Shades experience I've had so far - when two random strangers started a discussion in Target (at the book section):

Lady 1: [Staring at Fifty Shades and picks it up to read back cover]

Lady 2: [Picks up Beautiful Disaster, and sees Lady 1 staring at Fifty Shades]

Me: [Walking over to the books and mentally telling myself, "Don't buy any more books.  Don't buy.  No books.  Ok, just look.  Really quickly."  Notices Lady 1 and Lady 2 and the books they're holding.]

Lady 2:  [to Lady 1 in a low voice]  "That's a really good book.  I just got done reading all three."

Me:  ["Oh, shit, Jena - Do NOT say anything.  Do not tell them how you couldn't get past page 25.  It's a free country; people can read whatever they want.  Don't be rude.  Maybe she's not even buying it for herself, it could be a gag gift *no pun intended* for someone else..."]

Lady 1: [with a slight accent] "Is it easy to read?  English is not my first language, and I am trying to read more.  Everyone is telling me about this book, and I see it is very popular."

Me:  ["Ok, never mind.  She's looking for smaller uncomplicated English sentences that a third-grader could read through.  The shallow prose in Fifty Shades will work..."]

Lady 2:  "Oh, you'll love it!"

Me:  [Looking up and slightly turning towards the other two ladies, pointing to Bared to You]  "Um, I heard that Bared to You book is pretty good, too... It has some similar elements like Fifty Shades, but it's supposed to be a little more... in-depth, with better writing... but I haven't read them yet..." *shrug*

Lady 2:  "Really?!  Wow - I'll have to check it out.  I just devoured the Fifty Shades trilogy!  I could NOT put it down... [back to Lady 1] it is really graphic, and there are a lot of racy sex scenes, so if that's not your thing-"

Lady 1:  [promptly puts the book back, picks up the HUGE shrink-wrapped trilogy box-set, and drops it in her basket without blinking]  Oh, that's okay then.  I am European.  I buy all three now.

That unforgettable look of self-confidence on her face.  As much as I dislike Fifty Shades, I'm really hoping that Lady 1 at least enjoys it (and then enjoys a real and well-written romance novel).

Bottom Line: If someone picks up Fifty Shades of Grey and then decides to read any other romance, then I'm happy... but alas, maybe some readers ONLY like Fifty Shades.  (I mean I LOVE the Fire and Ice saga, and I'm not running out to grab every other best-selling fantasy novel that hits the shelves.)  So if the consumer likes just the book, but not the genre - fine - I'll have to accept that.  Heck, if anyone is picking up Fifty Shades, just to read a frickin' book, then I'm glad.