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REVIEW: Good Girl Gone Bad by Karin Tabke

Dear Ms. Tabke:

Good Girl Gone BadI have a feeling that after this review, you aren’t going to like me very much. Please try to remember that this letter is about your book and not about you. Because I hated it – the book, that is. It was the worst piece of drivel that I have read in a while (and that’s saying something since I just read some drivel last week). There are so many things that I thought were wrong in this book, I barely know where to start.

Let’s just begin with the fact that I have no idea where this story took place. You never name a town, a city, a county, an unincorporated municipality or even a village. Not even a fake one like they used to do in those old Silhouettes. There was some reference to “I hope you like California penal-orange” but that was it. So this book takes place somewhere in America, possibly in California and, I think, in the present day. But who knows. It could have taken place in Oregon or Idaho for all the detail you give about it. What I do know is that the County Sheriff’s department is handling a sting operation at a local strip club where dancers are disappearing. I don’t know why the County is handling this matter versus the city. I don’t know why the county detectives are called officers as opposed to deputies (I thought county officials were sheriff’s deputies and police people were officers). I don’t know why you choose to continually refer to your characters as cops when they are county employees.

I think you were trying to be clever and pretend like you knew what you were talking about by throwing out acronyms like PD, GO, and PC (probable cause). Unfortunately, when the reader doesn’t know what the hell you are talking about, it just makes everyone look ignorant. I think PD meant police department, but why does the Sheriff have offices in the Police Department? Wouldn’t that be where the police and not the Sheriff’s people work? I mean, in my world that is what takes place, but maybe in your alternate reality world that you forgot to tell us about it doesn’t. I was actually willing to set aside the issues regarding the technical aspects of the plot if the character development and growth are worthwhile.

Except the hero in the story is an asshole with a capital A S S H O L E. He makes Dane from Linda Howard’s Dream Man read like a beta hero. Ty Jamerson is one step away from the Missing Link on the evolutionary chart. Hell, maybe Ty is the Missing Link. He is a knuckle dragging, chest thumping, woman hating neanderthal. He does have a good reason (NOT) to be an asshole to all women around him and that is because his mother was a whore. Ty is unable to get past the fact that his mother was a bitch so he treats all other women as bitches. He constantly demeans the heroine (and other women in the book). He sexually harasses her. He treats all the women as if they are mere objects.

The heroine isn’t much better. Philomenia Zorn, aka Kat, aka Siren, is a candidate for the mental institution. My 3 year old neighbor refers to himself in the third person. “Joe is going down the slide next.” “Joe thinks that was fun.” “Joe likes his socks.” When Joe says these things, it’s funny shit. When your heroine says it, she sounds like a loon.

“Phil's heart thudded against her chest. Kat wanted to let loose, strip down to her birthday suit, and flaunt it all under Ty's nose. The thought left Phil mortified.”

Phil is a good girl who has alot of sexual hangups due to the fact that she was raised that sexual desire was somehow dirty. Yet, Phil can get into her character as a scantily clad cocktail waitress trading sexual quips in a nanosecond. How does she do this? By letting Kat come out and play. Phil refers to her inner sexual being in the third person and is found saying “Kat is this, Kat is that. Phil likes Kat.” That’s crazy. What makes it worse is when Phil starts stripping, Kat morphs into Siren. Yes, that would be three personalities for the price of one book. That’s crazy with a capital C R A Z Y.

In fact, now that I think about it, CRAZY and ASSHOLE go together like peas and carrots. Brillaint.

So what about plot if the characters didn’t work? The plot, besides the fact that your knowledge of procedure seems limited to what you may have seen on a bad and poorly researched television show, is that there are dancers from a local strip joint disappearing. One of them was an undercover “officer”. Zorn, an investigator for Internal Affairs, is tapped to go undercover as a cocktail waitress/stripper. Having no experience in undercover investigations, she is asked to go into this long standing sting operation. Ty is also undercover acting as the floor manager at the club. They hope to dangle Zorn as bait to stop the kidnapping and find out where the dancers are. Despite supposedly being undercover, Phil/Kat/Siren and Ty engage in many a discussion inside the bar and outside where Ty refers to Phil/Kat/Siren as “Officer” and Zorn refers to Ty as “Lieutenant.” They use their real names, not fake names. One of the customers recognizes Zorn from college (but apparently doesn’t realize that since that time she is a “police officer”). Very sneaky guys. No wonder the other undercover “officer” went missing. My neighbor Joe could have run a better sting operation.

I think this is supposed to be one of those ramped up erotic romances so maybe the sex will save it. But no. After all, you have ASSHOLE and CRAZY getting it on when ASSHOLE doesn’t even like CRAZY.

“Do you like me? At least a little?”
His eyes burned hot and he smiled. “I like you enough.” He cupped her breasts in his hands, thumbing her hard nipples. “Now shut up and strip.”

There is no love between these two and I don’t believe there ever will be. Belay that, I think CRAZY may love ASSHOLE but ASSHOLE is too much an asshat to love anyone but his own dick. Let me talk about that dick for a minute because do you know how many times ASSHOLE’s cock (your constant term) moved? Alot. It should have its own circus act. It twinged twice and twinged hard two more times. I think that is 3 twingings too many. But it also jumped (2), thickened (2), reared, stiffened, swelled, throbbed, twitched. I wonder at ASSHOLE’s ability to keep it in his pants, it was so animated. But ASSHOLE’s cock met a perfect match in CRAZY’s breasts which swelled and her nipples which were constantly stiff and stabbing little holes into her shirts.

This book was one hot mess from start to finish in all aspects of the story. Even the sex couldn’t save this from being an F because who wants to read about sex scenes that involve characters that you want to see offed by the bad guy?

Best regards,

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

59 Comments

  1. Karen Scott
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 04:15:06

    Let me talk about that dick for a minute because do you know how many times ASSHOLE’s cock (your constant term) moved? Alot. It should have its own circus act. It twinged twice and twinged hard two more times. I think that is 3 twingings too many. But it also jumped (2), thickened (2), reared, stiffened, swelled, throbbed, twitched. I wonder at ASSHOLE’s ability to keep it in his pants, it was so animated.

    Pissing. My. Pants.

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  2. Karen Scott
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 04:18:55

    BTW, I think she’s actually called Karin, as opposed to Karen :)

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  3. Karen Scott
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 04:20:47

    Oops sorry, third post in a row, I just found this review by our fave reviewer:

    This is an exciting erotic police procedural romance that star “enemy combatants" struggling with desire and a difficult case. The action-packed story line grips the auricle once pedantic Phil is assigned to work with tetchy Ty and never slows down until the final heated altercation. Karin Tabke provides a strong undercover under the cover romantic suspense that lays bare the psyche of the lead duet even more than their SKIN.”
    –Harriett Klausner

    Dontcha just love her?

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  4. Jayne
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 07:47:18

    Phil/Kat and Siren sound like she/they need some long discussions with a psychiatrist. And medication. Lots of medication.

    Isn’t there a Seinfeld show with some jerk guy who constantly referes to himself in the 3rd person? And didn’t all the regulars think he was nuts?

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  5. Tara Marie
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 08:05:16

    Hey, I like Dane–LOL.

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  6. Jane
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 08:44:12

    agh. What is with me and the names? I think I has half asleep last night when I finished up and scheduled my posts. Obviously since tomorrow’s unfinished post went up today. Sigh. :(

    And I llike Dane too.

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  7. Alison Kent
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 10:46:17

    I haven’t read the book, but since Karin has been married to a cop her entire life, I personally would take her word on how law enforcement works in her story world. She has the experience of a lifetime to draw on, not to mention a reliable research resource.

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  8. Jane
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 11:58:04

    [quote comment="2952"]I haven’t read the book, but since Karin has been married to a cop her entire life, I personally would take her word on how law enforcement works in her story world. [/quote]

    That may be true, but it doesn’t show in the book. I find it incredulous that a sophisticated sting operation that has been long standing would put a person who has no experience in vice or undercover in a vital position. I also find it incredulous that they wouldn’t have alternative identities or that they would call each other by their official police/sheriff names on the grounds of the sting operation where there are customers and workers around to hear them. If that is how these operations are run in real life, I don’t know how crimes would be solved using undercover detectives.

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  9. Jay
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 12:11:42

    This is some funny shit.

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  10. Robin
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 13:36:01

    I don’t know why the County is handling this matter versus the city. I don’t know why the county detectives are called officers as opposed to deputies (I thought county officials were sheriff’s deputies and police people were officers). I don’t know why you choose to continually refer to your characters as cops when they are county employees.

    I live in an unincorporated area that is served by the sheriff and not the city police, but I don’t know if that’s what’s going on in Tabke’s book. Now that I’m in law school, though, I’ve been virtually unable to read most police procedural stuff in Romance novels (it really hurt with Eve Dallas, let me tell you). Romancelandia arrest procedures, interrogation scenes, and searches are the worst for me, because criminal procedure is so fresh in my mind. I have a feeling my former crim pro professor, who is an assistant US attorney and chief of the organized crime strike force in a major US city, would be beside herself at the way this udercover operation was run. Ah, ignorance is bliss sometimes, isn’t it?

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  11. Rae Monet
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 18:33:40

    I’m sorry you didn’t like this book. That’s a shame. And what a shame you feel the need to post your negative opinions/remarks like this so publicly, but that said, everyone is entitled to their opinions and this is your blog. Now I’d like to voice my opinion, if you’ll allow me…I loved the book. I consider whatever Karin has to say about police procedures top notch, I should know as I’m a former Law Enforcement Officer. I think her writing is fresh, new and wonderfully sexy. I love her literary voice and I hope to see many more books from her. So let’s hope the readers of your blog get to see both side of the coin here.

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  12. A Reader
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 19:07:30

    Ok, the book didn’t work for you, but I think you’re being a little unfair. It almost seems like you’re trying to do the snark thing, the way Smart Bitches does, but without the humor. Like the acronyms. I read a lot (which, FYI, is two words) of suspense fiction and acronyms are stock in trade for that genre. I may not *know* what they stand for exactly, but most of us learned to read unfamiliar words in context, say somewhere around the 2nd grade? And the bit about the heroine being insane because she refers to herself in third person, well the book is written in third person, as most books these days are, and the bit you quote doesn’t seem to be anything more than that. As for multiple names, well strippers have stage names, and if you’re going to criticize the other cops for not having undercover names, how can you criticize the heroine for having her real name, her undercover name, and her stage name? Finally, I don’t think a women finding a new identity freeing is insane. It’s what college girls do everyday. High school bookworm “Katherine” goes to college and becomes party-girl “Kat.” Ever read Anne of Green Gables? Watch Firefly? Names define us, and new names can help a person redefine themselves. It’s not insane.

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  13. Robin
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 19:45:21

    And what a shame you feel the need to post your negative opinions/remarks like this so publicly, but that said, everyone is entitled to their opinions and this is your blog.

    Why is it a shame? After all, Jane wrote a review of this book — at a review blog site — and gave reasons for every one of her opinions. It was, IMO, a rather lengthy review for a book that she felt failed. As to the law enforcement aspects of the book, if Jane is giving an accurate rendering of their presentation in the book, perhaps you can explain why she — or any of us — should find them “top notch.” Because what she described, especially in regard to the undercover op, sounds problematic to me on several levels. Why, for example, would the guy who works for the sheriff’s department be referred to as “lieutenant”? Where I live, in California, we would use “deputy” or even “sheriff,” as opposed to our city police department, where they use officer, sargeant, lieutenant, etc. Also, would an untried law enforcement person (officer or deputy) be tapped to pose as a stripper in such a delicate undercover operation? And would somone who took much time to set up an undercover operation (with all the complexities around safety, evidence gathering, entrapment issues, etc.) be speaking openly and revealing his or her identity as a law enforcement official? Seriously — if Jane is not describing the procedures as Tabke used them in her book, or if what she did described sounds proper to you, I would very much appreciate a detailed case for the defense on this book.

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  14. Jane
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 20:33:44

    I readily acknowledge that I am not Candy or Sarah from SB and that I can’t snark like they do. This review isn’t snarky. It’s my honest opinion of what I thought of the book. Dissenting opinions are welcome. That’s what comments are for.

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  15. Lee
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 22:22:37

    Okay, I can say this much I was a deputy sheriff for twenty years, and my husband was for thirty years, we were referred to as Officer…By the bad guys, by each other, and the department. Not all departments, use deputy, and it was a county in California…And if the Sheriffs were handling it, it was in there district to do so, not the PD’s. As for Ms. Tabke’s reference to Cop Talk she knows her stuff, and was right on. If any one watches any of the cop shows, they’ll know that, its fairly easy to figure out…As for Ty, well I guess you haven’t spent much time around cops…And when you go undercover you better be able to fit in with your surroundings..This book was right on the mark, but remember it is fiction…Which is why its entertainment, and we read it to escape.

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  16. Jane
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 22:52:40

    I stand corrected by Lee as to the police names and references. I still don’t buy that it was a valid undercover operation. And no, if all cops are like Ty, I wouldn’t want to hang around them. Ty was portrayed as a man who had zero respect for women. He treated them like dirt and I don’t find that sexy in anyone, cop or not. As I said in my review, the technicalities could easily be overlooked if the story or the characters were better.

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  17. Juli
    Aug 12, 2006 @ 23:24:36

    Huh. Do you prefer Beta Heroes, Jane? I ask because I thought Ty was arrogant and a player, but hardly misogynistic, and that Phil was more than up to taming him. It would have been a problem if the author had paired him with some small-town school teacher heroine who’s just get stepped on, but in context, I just thought he was dangerously sexy. Sure, at the beginning, I wanted to smack him, but he grew, and isn’t that the point?

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  18. sybil
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 05:42:57

    And what a shame you feel the need to post your negative opinions/remarks like this so publicly,

    Good night, your kidding right? I think this is the stupidest thing I have read, in the stupidest place to put it, (by an author) in at least 24 hours.

    And I don’t mean that in a negative way…

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  19. Keishon
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 08:03:20

    Hmmmm. I’ll have to read this one.

    And really Jane, what are you doing giving and sharing your opinion–an negative opinion on this blog? You know better. :-)

    Great review. It’s intrigued me enough to seek this one out. I love a good police procedural but this is erotica too? Interesting.

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  20. Nicole
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 08:34:22

    I’m probably not going to read this one, but mainly because of what you mention about the hero.

    There IS a difference between alpha and alpha jerk and he seems to fall squarely in the asshole designation. I don’t quite get how some people think that if someone doesn’t like their hero to be a jerk, they must want a beta hero. Maybe we just don’t want a jerk for a hero.

    And Jane is welcome to her opinion. If she couldn’t believe in the storyline, that’s her deal. At least she’s mentioned exactly what she didn’t like so others can take away from the review what they may.

    I’d think that would be infinitely better than her just saying the book sucked ass.

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  21. Karen Scott
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 10:22:37

    And what a shame you feel the need to post your negative opinions/remarks like this so publicly

    So publicly? WTF kind of statement was that? I guess all negative reviews should be banned huh?

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  22. Rae Monet
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 11:32:54

    Okay, guys, give me a break here *rolling my eyes*. Should all bad reviews be banned? Pleazzzzeee. That said, I still really dislike seeing a bad review like this posted on Karin’s book, GOOD GIRLS GONE BAD. Mainly, because I don’t agree with it, and that’s why I assume there’s a comment section here, so you, as the reader can hear all the opinions. I LOVED THIS BOOK. I guess because I am an “author," when I see a letter like this, it makes me edgy, especially if I don’t agree with it. Okay, yes, I know what type of snarks that line of thought will bring-you’re an author-man-up-you have to take the good reviews with the bad. I know this. Which is why, I guess, when I see a review this bad, especially one I don’t think is warranted or agree with, I sympathize with the author and I know what reading these words will make them feel like. When you write a book, your putting a little piece of yourself out there for everyone to criticize and deep down, you’re really hoping your book will please them, take them away for a while, and it will be an enjoyable experience for the reader. Yes, I know, again, man-up, sometimes it doesn’t happen that way, sometimes they HATE the book, like this reviewer. As an author, you’re supposed to blow off the reviews like that, but no matter how much you try, tell yourself the bad doesn’t matter, I’m sorry, it still does, the power of words hurt. Maybe some day, when we’re all robots, we can shut down that part of our brain. So shame on me for saying shame on you for posting negative remarks? I don’t know, this is a lose, lose situation posting here. I could go on all day, defend my remarks, but what’s the point? Lost in all this jabber is my message. I LOVED THIS BOOK, and I don’t agree with this review. I think the author’s voice is fresh, new and sexy. I love the author’s background. I feel the fact she’s spend a good deal of her life as a cop’s wife adds a level of authenticity to the book other romantic suspenses lacks. I love the hero ;), the sexy premise, the layered plot. Am I going to go into law enforcement procedures issues, talk about what really happens on the street, give you the impression everything goes as planned when you’re out there, putting your life on the line everyday? NO. First of all, it’s fiction, so again, what’s the point? Despite the opinion’s the reviewer gives, I think you’ll enjoy the story, because there’s a lot to love with this book, and that’s my opinion. Okay, got my message out, now back to our regularly schedule snarking. :).

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  23. Robin
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 11:36:49

    So publicly? WTF kind of statement was that? I guess all negative reviews should be banned huh?

    Since the book is not yet released, I think it’s clear that the author has a number of loyal friends. Which IMO is fine, but if they are so set on defending the book, as a reader I’d prefer specific examples to rebut some of Jane’s points. Outside of Lee’s clarification that the deputies in the Sheriff’s Department can be referred to as “officer” (and thanks, Lee, for that), I’ve yet to see any comments in support of the book that explain why it was so great. While the controversy and quick defenses of the author (despite Jane’s comment at the beginning of the review that she was referring only to the book and not the author herself) might make me a bit curious, they’re not going to persuade me to spend 15 bucks for this book new.

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  24. Robin
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 11:44:06

    So shame on me for saying shame on you for posting negative remarks? I don’t know, this is a lose, lose situation posting here. I could go on all day, defend my remarks, but what’s the point? Lost in all this jabber is my message. I LOVED THIS BOOK, and I don’t agree with this review.

    So as the author’s friend, you were hurt for her. Understood. But as readers, that’s not the relationship we’re interested in, right? We want to know about the book. So a long post explaining specifically what worked for you in the book and why would make me far more likely to take your comments in and consider them seriously. A drive-by defense of the author or shot at the reviewer actually makes me more skeptical that the book IS great and can stand on its own as such.

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  25. Karen Scott
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 12:07:05

    Okay, guys, give me a break here *rolling my eyes*. Should all bad reviews be banned? Pleazzzzeee. That said, I still really dislike seeing a bad review like this posted on Karin’s book, GOOD GIRLS GONE BAD. Mainly, because I don’t agree with it,

    The problem isn’t that you disagreed with Jane’s assessment of the book, the problem was this senetence specifically:

    And what a shame you feel the need to post your negative opinions/remarks like this so publicly

    It kind of negated anything else you had to say on the matter.

    Besides, regardless of whether you agree with her or not, there were obviously parts of this story, that made Jane want to gnaw her own arm off, and quite frankly, she gave point by point reasons why this book didn’t work for her, and rushing in to defend your friend, isn’t going to make her change her mind about the book, neither is berating her for publicly posting her thoughts. Which. Is. What. You. did.

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  26. Rae Monet
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 12:20:30

    Specifically, without any spoilers, I enjoyed the hero Ty (oh and HOT, man or man can Karin write HOT COPS). As an alpha male, I liked to watch Ty him grow and learn as well as the heroine, Phil. Sure, as one of the other readers said, Ty might start out a bit annoying, but I always enjoy watching an alpha male eventually humbled by his mistakes, especially if they learn by them, which Ty did. I loved the eroticism in the book, I think Karin has a way of making a book hot and sex, yet at the base- still romantic, which to me, is a very difficult thing to do as an erotic romance writer, and even harder when you have to weave that level of sex into the suspense. I applaud her on doing this very successfully! I love her dialog, snappy and short, to the point, and sometimes fun- like real life. I hate tons and tons of dialog tags that subtract from what the characters are trying to say. Also, GGGB didn’t bore me with annoying descriptions that just take up space. IMHO, everything Karin writes in this book relevant to the scenes. As a reader, I really appreciate that skill in an author. GGGB is to the point, exciting, and kept me hooked the entire time I was reading it, kept me wondering what was going to happy next. Also, I really enjoyed the sexy premise of the book, the undercover operation in a strip bar, where the heroine can let her inner self run wild. I loved it! I thought it was a fun and fresh plot. I kept wanting to know what was going to happen in the next chapter. To me, that’s a good book. I thought the police procedures in GGGB were right on! I’m sure you can appreciate, as a former Law Enforcement Officer, how tripped up I can get when a book gets it totally wrong, so you can imagine my shock when the reviewer went on and on about wrong Karin got this part of the book. Please, of all the people, I would know. Sure, I’m a friend of Karin’s, but as a friend, I certainly wouldn’t post I love her book unless I loved it. As a friend, I hope she wouldn’t expect that of me. If I didn’t like her book, I simply would have kept my mouth shut, which is usually what I do when I don’t like fellow authors work. Again, because I know how hurtful words can be. I think Karin is a really very talented writer. I know a lot of people are going to LOVE this book and what’s coming in the future from her. I’m very excited to see what comes next from her. She rocks! I hope this helps those who are undecided about picking up the book. If not *shrug* oh well, I did portray my message, and that’s what’s important here.

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  27. Jane
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 13:11:50

    Rae, I think its great that you liked GGGB but I did not. No amount of “that’s how cops are in real life” and “you must like beta heroes” is going to change my mind. Ty was a real jerk. He demeaned Phil at every turn, criticizing her and undermining her self confidence which seemed counterproductive to the undercover operation.

    He romanced a young mother of a 2 year old to gain information by taking the daughter and mother to the zoo and eating with them with no thought to how traumatic that would be to the 2 year old. I did not see the character growth was so obvious to you. Neither did I think the transformation of the good girl, Phil, to Kat to Siren was fresh or innovative. I didn’t find the sex scenes to be anything special particularly given the amount of erotica/erotic romance I have read in the last several months.

    I don’t know that I could be more specific in why this book didn’t work for me. What a reader does with the information is unknown but I give readers more credit than others. See, I think readers can make up their own mind and don’t blindly follow the advice of others, particularly when confronting a negative review. Women readers aren’t sheep. On the whole they are pretty educated bunch.

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  28. Becca
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 13:17:12

    (despite Jane’s comment at the beginning of the review that she was referring only to the book and not the author herself)

    That’s a load of BS right there. The two Ja(y)nes adress the author in the first sentence of every review they post. They structure their reviews like letters to the author. Letters are personal, and this makes an otherwise “fair” review seem like an attack on the author from the get-go. It makes what would otherwise be tongue-in-cheek snark seem meanspirited.

    And, of course, it allows you to get up on your authors-are-whiny-bitches-who-can’t-take-the-heat pedestal whenever any of them shows up to voice their dissent.

    And no, I’m not a friend of the author’s. I don’t know her. I just loathe the approach the owners of this site take to reviews.

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  29. Rae Monet
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 13:32:18

    And so… we agree to disagree. *inclining my head to Jane*

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  30. Robin
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 13:38:22

    That’s a load of BS right there. The two Ja(y)nes adress the author in the first sentence of every review they post. They structure their reviews like letters to the author. Letters are personal, and this makes an otherwise “fair" review seem like an attack on the author from the get-go. It makes what would otherwise be tongue-in-cheek snark seem meanspirited.

    And, of course, it allows you to get up on your authors-are-whiny-bitches-who-can’t-take-the-heat pedestal whenever any of them shows up to voice their dissent.

    And no, I’m not a friend of the author’s. I don’t know her. I just loathe the approach the owners of this site take to reviews.

    If you hate this blog, I don’t know why you’d be bothered coming here, but that’s obviously your decision to make.

    Regarding your comment about the “personal” nature of the reviews here, I couldn’t disagree with you more. An author’s name is, IMO, as much a part of her book as the words inside it. How many authors write under a pseudonym precisely because they want to keep their personal life separate from their fiction writing? Had Jane gone on about how the person behind Karin Tabke’s name was a no-good horrible woman, THAT would have been personal. When the Ja(y)nes write their reviews, they are addressing the authorial persona, NOT the person who leads a life separate from the book. If, for example, you get called into your boss’ office, and he/she lets you have it for something wrong you did in the normal duties of your job, is that an unfounded personal attack on you, just because he’s directly addressing you and calling you by name? What’s the difference here between using Tabke’s name in the review itself and actually addressing it to her directly? It’s a gimmick, to be sure, but how come no one complains when a great review is written in the same fashion? If I absolutely love a book, does that mean I love the person who wrote it, as well? No, of course not. So why should a negative review be seen as so much more personal than a positive one, especially when it doesn’t in any way impugn the person behind the authorial persona?

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  31. Becca
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 13:50:37

    All right, two things.

    1. Readers and reviewers are not authors’ bosses. Not even close. And they’ve got no call to behave like they are.

    2. A boss taking an employee to task does so in private (a good one, anyway). A boss who would rebuke an employee in front of a crowd is either clueless or does it to shame that employee.

    So forgive me if I don’t take your comparison there as a reason to think what the Ja(y)nes are doing here is wrong. And just because others are reviewing the same way doesn’t make it right, either.

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  32. Robin
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 14:09:50

    1. Readers and reviewers are not authors’ bosses. Not even close. And they’ve got no call to behave like they are.

    2. A boss taking an employee to task does so in private (a good one, anyway). A boss who would rebuke an employee in front of a crowd is either clueless or does it to shame that employee.

    I totally agree with your first point, Becca; I should have chosen a different analogy. As to your second, authors put their work into the public for consumption and comment. Their work, by its very nature, is public. Obviously authors who want to be published aren’t thinking how great it will be to get negative reviews of their work; they’re hoping the public recognition will bring them great reviews, many readers, and lots of bucks. While readers aren’t the “bosses” of authors, we are the targeted audience, those for whom a book is mass published and marketed. And since that process takes place in the public realm, so do many reader comments, positive AND negative. This is especially true since most of these reader reviews are written for other readers, NOT for the author specifically. There is NOTHING in Jane’s review that addresses issues beyond those in the book. Since she’s not Tabke’s boss, Tabke, her friends, and her fans, can take or leave those comments as they see fit. But Jane expressing them, and keeping them within the bounds of the book itself, is NOT a violation of any moral or ethical principle, IMO. While the tone may be harsh in places, it’s the harshness that comes from being seriously disappointed in a book. And it’s a harshness directed at the book and not the author. If you go to a restaurant you absolutely despised for terrible food, horrendous service, and overpriced food, are you going to say nothing to your friends who want to go there? Are you going to make some polite and mild statement that the place was not to your liking, or are you going to give a detailed and forthright description of everything about it you hated? But in that situation, you wouldn’t have a nice mechanism for dissenting opinions as the Ja(y)nes do here.

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  33. Debra
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 14:12:08

    I’ve been coming to this web site for months. Several times I have been so fascinated with a bad review (think horrible car crash), I go out and purchase the book to formulate my own opinion. When avid readers spend a couple of hundred dollars a month on books, it is awesome to get recommendations to try and spend this money wisely. Reviews are subjective, people like different things. It’s okay that one person loved a book and another person threw the same book across the room. There are books I love that have received “D” reviews on reader’s blogs. The reviews are about the finished work, not the author or what type of person they are.

    It’s ludicrous to insinuate that negative reviews should not be published publicly as reviewing books is the purpose of this and many other like-minded sites.

    Thanks for all the great reviews.

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  34. sybil
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 14:15:55

    The wheels on the bus go round and round,
    round and round,
    round and round.
    The wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town. …

    LOL

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  35. Becca
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 14:31:15

    My issue is not with negative reviews in general. I never said I did. I’ve written them myself. What I feel is wrong is structuring it as a letter to the author. It entirely changes the tone of the review, and I have to say I don’t understand the point of it, anyway. Aren’t reviews written for readers? They’re not written to inform the author how you felt about the book, yes? Because what would be the point of that?

    Other than questioning the author’s research (clearly without realizing that Tabke had enough law enforcement connections to make sure she got that part right), there’s no personal attack in this post, no. There have been in others, though. Such as Jane saying to Sylvia Day in her review of ASK FOR IT, “The whole book seemed amateurish, like you are just learning how to write, plot, characterize.” If that isn’t an attack on the author rather than the book alone, I don’t know what is.

    If you were to ask the authors whose books were reviewed in this manner if they felt differently than if it was a review with a regular structure, I’m pretty sure they would say they do. I know you don’t care how a review affects an author. That’s your prerogative. Just as I have a prerogative to speak up when I think someone is being wronged. And if speaking up can make reviewers think about the way they express themselves in their reviews (not *what* they say, *how*), then great. Otherwise, I’ve only succeeded in satisfying my own conscience, and that’s okay, too.

    That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. :)

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  36. Karen Scott
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 15:29:05

    The baby on the bus says “Wah, wah, wah;
    Wah, wah, wah;
    Wah, wah, wah”.
    The baby on the bus says “Wah, wah, wah”,
    all through the town.

    Just thought I’d help you along Syb *g*

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  37. Jane
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 16:41:14

    [quote comment="3014"]Other than questioning the author’s research (clearly without realizing that Tabke had enough law enforcement connections to make sure she got that part right).[/quote]

    Why should I be sure I get this right? I am telling you what sounds right to me, as a reader, in this book and not the author. I can’t tell from the book that the author is married to a cop, is a cop, is a Martian. It read like a whacked out police procedure novel. Police being the operative word since in my jurisdiction and in all the police procedure novels I have read, the police are a city political subdivision.

    If you don’t like Dear Author format, please don’t come here. There are plenty of other blogs to visit. Questioning the writing of a book is not an ad hominem attack. It’s that the writing raised question in this reader’s mind.

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  38. Jay
    Aug 13, 2006 @ 20:32:52

    [quote comment="3021"]If you don’t like Dear Author format, please don’t come here. [/quote]

    Awww, Jane’s so nice. Evil Jay would have just said don’t let the back button hit you on the ass on your way out Becca.

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  39. Karen Scott
    Aug 14, 2006 @ 02:47:12

    Awww, Jane’s so nice. Evil Jay would have just said don’t let the back button hit you on the ass on your way out Becca.

    Evil Karen would have told her to get the f*ck off my blog. I find that that usually works best with these people. (Even as they lurk to find out if I’m talking about them)

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  40. Tara Marie
    Aug 14, 2006 @ 09:51:19

    I wasn’t on-line much this weekend, so I’m playing catch-up.

    This book isn’t out until September and didn’t make it into the September RT. So, I’m curious, how did you get your copy, from the publisher or author or is it out in Ebook and I missed it? Were you asked to review it? Or was it a “hmm, this sounds good, I’ll give it a try” book?

    I’m having a hard time following some of the logic here…

    I’m sorry you didn’t like this book. That’s a shame. And what a shame you feel the need to post your negative opinions/remarks like this so publicly, but that said, everyone is entitled to their opinions and this is your blog.

    …I still really dislike seeing a bad review like this posted on Karin’s book, GOOD GIRLS GONE BAD. Mainly, because I don’t agree with it, and that’s why I assume there’s a comment section here, so you, as the reader can hear all the opinions.

    1. Does this mean negative reviews are okay as long as we agree with them?

    2. When exactly is it okay for a reviewer to post negative opinions/remarks publicly?

    3. Why is it okay to post negative remarks about the review/reviewer but not a book?

    And, as to Becca’s comments about the format–why come here if you don’t like what and how they’re posting?

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  41. Jane
    Aug 14, 2006 @ 09:58:45

    [quote comment="3034"]This book isn’t out until September and didn’t make it into the September RT. So, I’m curious, how did you get your copy, from the publisher or author or is it out in Ebook and I missed it? Were you asked to review it? Or was it a “hmm, this sounds good, I’ll give it a try” book?[/quote]

    I bought it from SimonSays.Com for $6.49. It was an advanced ebook release. I really love that program (plus the price point). I read the blurb and it sounded good to me because I love police procedure books and I liked the idea of the transformation of the heroine. Tt’s probably my favorite erotica/erotic romance theme – the releasing of inhibitions and finding your true self. That seems like a very honest emotional journey. Throw in a hot cop and I am usually sold. :)

    Getting me to buy a book, particularly an ebook that is 40% off, is pretty easy.

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  42. Tara Marie
    Aug 14, 2006 @ 10:17:27

    I really need to get a hand held reader. It’s not convenient or comfortable for me to sit at my computer and read a book. It’s the only thing going on my Christmas wish list.

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  43. Robin
    Aug 14, 2006 @ 12:14:17

    My issue is not with negative reviews in general. I never said I did. I’ve written them myself. What I feel is wrong is structuring it as a letter to the author. It entirely changes the tone of the review, and I have to say I don’t understand the point of it, anyway. Aren’t reviews written for readers? They’re not written to inform the author how you felt about the book, yes? Because what would be the point of that?

    If you were to ask the authors whose books were reviewed in this manner if they felt differently than if it was a review with a regular structure, I’m pretty sure they would say they do. I know you don’t care how a review affects an author. That’s your prerogative.

    I’m sure that some authors feel differently about each review that is given of their work; but simply because an author responds personally does not mean the review was personally aimed. When a reviewer comments explicitly on the quality of a book’s writing or plotting or characterization, that, IMO, is NOT personally directed critique, unless the reviewer calls the author a name, insults his/her appearance or family, or otherwise impugns him/her as a person. I don’t like name calling, and I’ve seen a number of reader reviews that I personally think go over the top. But I haven’t really seen them here. And if authors feel the format is uncomfortable, then maybe they shouldn’t read their reviews here, although that might be a shame, because sometimes I think these reviews provide valuable feedback on what did and didn’t work for readers. The first couple of times I came here, I had to adjust to the “dear author” schtick, but soon enough I realized that it was simply a clever device to set this blog apart, and since the reviews themselves are NOT aimed at the person behind the author, I see nothing wrong with it.

    Romance is a strange bird when it comes to critical discussion; the resistance to honest critique and forthright exchange of views still boggles my mind. There ARE readers AND authors who, IMO, clearly don’t play well with others, but no one is forced to visit the sites they frequent and host. Here there are honest and intelligent discussions of books and other interesting topics, in which both authors and readers participate. In other words, I just don’t think this is the blog to take to task for inappropriate reviews.

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  44. Lauren
    Aug 14, 2006 @ 12:48:05

    Just a comment to the “most authors would want a different format” thing – My book was reviewed some months back. I can’t say the “Dear Lauren Dane” thing bugged me although clearly my utter brilliance as an author was missed in my C+ review, snort.

    Reviews are subjective. Because people view art through a lens that’s colored by who they are and what their general life experience is. Some people lurve them some fated mates, some people don’t.

    Whatever. If any website disturbs you so deeply, it’s really easy to just not visit. I don’t go and read what Rush Limbaugh says, he hurts my head and makes me feel like kicking puppies. If the Janes make you feel that upset, it’s important that you not come here anymore. I’m actually not trying to be snarky, I think it’s important that we try and not purposely go to look at things that make us annoyed or upset. There’s enough aggro in life, why seek it out?

    that said, I’d probably read this book, I like police procedurals and reading the review, I can’t say I’m that scared off by it. Because, and I repeat (and believe me, I’m an author, I have to repeat this to myself from time to time) reviews are all about the subjective.

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  45. kate r
    Aug 14, 2006 @ 13:51:32

    This isn’t a complaint whine–it’s more than a “hum, interesting point” comment.

    I recall feeling slightly unnerved by Dear Author’s second person style–and my novella got a good review. The sensation of that Ja(y)nes were thinking of me, rather than the book as its own entity, caused that, I think.

    Hey, I don’t mind unnerved and I think it’s an interesting new style. . .but I do agree with Becca that for better or worse it feels a tad more personal.

    The use of “you” is powerful. I took a few workshops for PR writers [back when bosses paid for it] and the instructors stressed when delivering bad news (such as complaints), avoid using the word “you.” It’ll make the receiver defensive and unable to hear the actual news. With things like product recalls, also stay away from second person POV–and of course first person. (Use plenty of passive voice, so there’s no responsible party, ie us.)

    Of course if it’s good news, a glowing report, or a promo directed AT the reader, make “you” every other word. Make it allllll about them so they can feel like winners and glow along with you, too.

    Anyway, this conversation reminds me of those workshops, which were probably called something alliterative like Powerful POV. The subject is interesting, is all. No demonization at work here, she says in third person passive.

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  46. kate r
    Aug 14, 2006 @ 16:15:46

    Robin says

    Romance is a strange bird when it comes to critical discussion; the resistance to honest critique and forthright exchange of views still boggles my mind. There ARE readers AND authors who, IMO, clearly don’t play well with others,

    I’ll bet that’s true in every genre. I’ve read claims that the over-wrought response is because Writers are Sensitive Artists. I think it’s because they’re people.

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  47. JulieLeto
    Aug 14, 2006 @ 16:17:09

    I’ve gotten both a very good and pretty bad review here for two different books. The style does not bother me because, well, that’s the style they’ve chosen. It’s not like they singled ME out to write directly to. You can’t go to Mrs. Giggles and not expect to be raked over the coals just like you can’t come here and expect that the review won’t directly address you.

    Just my opinion. In THEORY, the personalized style should bother me…but I accept it as they’re “schtick” (no disrespect meant–it’s the gimmick here) and go with the flow.

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  48. Bev (BB)
    Aug 15, 2006 @ 12:09:37

    Just thought I’d toss out the thought that as a reader, I admit that the review format used by this blog took me back initially. Mainly because I’m an intensely strong advocate of the simple fact that the audience of reviews should be readers, not authors, and to wave the “dear author” salutation in the air in this way seemed rather like waving the red flag in front of the bull. ;p

    Yes, there is an argument to be made that the definition of review does include critical analysis that could be targeted at the author, but let’s face is that is not the purpose or audience of most reviews. Most are more recommendation than critical analysis and the ones that do blur that purpose and audience line bother me. A lot. Which is why I don’t get involved in most review discussions – the lack of clarity of what we’re actually talking about bothers me even more than the ruckous over “bad” reviews.

    Once I figured out what the two Ja(y)nes were trying to do, I let it go, secure in the knowledge that they truly weren’t actually directing their comments at the authors themselves, except as a framing device. I do recognize the difference because I’ve seen plenty of reviews that are directed more at taking the author to task than recommending anything to the reader. I’ve always found the former suspect not because they aren’t needed but because they seem to appear at the worng place and time to be of any use to anyone but someone’s egos. So, had I thought the Dear Author reviewers were targeting authors and not readers, I wouldn’t have come back. Problem over.

    The thing is, and this is extremely important to remember, if I ever thought they were breaking thier own guidelines, I would not hesistate to say so. Strenuously. Nor do I believe other readers would either. I’m not talking about rabid fangirls of a particular author there, but just regular readers of any author who would also recognize when they weren’t the ones being served by the review.

    Conversely, we also recognize when authors are only looking out for their own interests and not ours. That may sound harsh. It may not. Sometimes reality just can’t be sugar-coated, you know.

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  49. Rae Monet
    Aug 15, 2006 @ 12:31:09

    {I’m not talking about rabid fangirls of a particular author there,}

    I take exception to this remark. I feel I adequately defended my position on why I enjoyed this book and did not agree with this review. I am a reader. Do you believe because I’m an author and know Karin Tabke that I can’t read her book and enjoy it? I think the message here, in all this talk about the format of the review is getting lost. I did not agree, at all, with this review. I think the points Jane brought up about the book are not sufficent to rate this book an F. I did not have the same feelings as she when I read this book. I didn’t have a problem with sense of place, I liked the “asshole” hero. I enjoyed the heroine, the erotic words in the book are normal for the genre and didn’t bother me, Karin police procedures where right on, in my humble opinion. I didn’t have an issue with the hero taking a mother and child to the zoo. I think Jane’s remark about that issue was silly. I thought the plot was believable and fresh. So, no matter what the format, reviews are reviews. I just didn’t happen to agree with this one. That’s my message. I’m going to go off auto now for this post. I think I’ve made my point and it seems I’m just re-hashing the same thing over and over and it’s getting old.

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  50. Bev (BB)
    Aug 15, 2006 @ 12:52:41

    {I’m not talking about rabid fangirls of a particular author there,}

    I take exception to this remark. I feel I adequately defended my position on why I enjoyed this book and did not agree with this review.

    Rae, I’m sorry that you apparently misunderstood anything I said but I would point out that if I was addressing my comments to or about any particular person in this discussion I would’ve said so upfront. What I was, however, referring to with the “rabid fangirl” phrase is a general phenomenon that occurs quite frequently online. Whether it is or is not occurring here remains to be seen.

    Also, I would be the first and last person to defend anyone’s right to say what they thought about a book and/or disagree with what someone else has said. Simple disagreement and different opinions, however, do not change Jane’s opinion on her own blog. Should it, Rae?

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  51. sybil
    Aug 15, 2006 @ 12:57:25

    I think it is great you liked the book. There is more than one book I have liked jane didn’t.

    And it takes nothing away from my enjoyment of the story. But I would never expect her to NOT post her feeling on a book just because I didn’t agree.

    That is what I took issue with in your post. Not that it matters either way because it is just my opinon.

    As for the format here, if a person doesn’t like it they shouldn’t read it. Unless jane/jayne have started to tie people up and force dear author on them… and if they have I am soooooooooo hurt I was left out.

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  52. Robin
    Sep 04, 2006 @ 12:05:26

    Okay, I finally worked my way through this book, and I have to say that I found much of it troubling. I was troubled from the first scene, in which the veteran cop Ty, who is supposedly fighting for his professional life, can think of little but throwing Phil onto the table and having his nasty way with her. That scene, IMO, sets up a very uneasy relationship between the romance and suspense elements of the book, in which two characters who are supposed to be deep undercover in a delicate and urgent operation can barely focus on anything but their attraction/repulsion to each other. Consequently, the suspense aspect of this book never felt real to me, because the characters were able to ignore it so cavalierly, and the romance aspect suffered because the characters just did not have the time and opportunity to grow into healthy loving people, IMO.

    Like Jane, I was terribly frustrated with the way Phil and Ty rarely ever address each other by their undercover names while they are in the strip club; how they managed to keep the op a secret from anyone was impossible for me to discern.

    It bothered me that upon reflection, I could find not ONE emotionally healthy character in this book. Until very close to the end, Ty thinks that all women are lying whores (like his mother) and Phil is so worried that Ty “likes” her, that she’s not, IMO, properly focused on if and why she likes him. Of course the fact that he keeps walking out on her, only to practically chase her down later doesn’t help. But maybe that should be a clue to Phil. I’m still unclear as to what really caused the epiphanies in both these characters.

    The one passage in the book that stood out to me as self-aware and cogent is one in which Phil explains to Ty that she is not like his mother because she is just an “inhibited young woman” trying to come to terms with her sexuality (and how many more whoring, drug addled mothers do we need in Romance? Can’t any of these characters come from average screwed-up families?). Anyway, I think this passage contains the intended theme of the novel. And ussually I’m kind of a sucker for novels in which the heroine finds that sex is a liberating rather than rule-bound thing. However, setting this book in a strip club and having Phil transform LITERALLY overnight into the club’s most popular dancer (a woman who, up to this point, had one unpleasant sexual experience and had NEVER been kissed) threatens to make the novel and the characters charicatures, IMO.

    I think most of the problems in this book stem from the forcing together of the police procedural/suspense (which, beyond all the cop talk struck me as very problematic — i.e. Ty is practically arrested when a guy turns up dead at the club. That is, the lead investigator on this delicate and urgent undercover case seems in imminent danger of ARREST after little or no investigation) with the Romance. Here’s the sentence that illustrates that best for me: “Joy lit up her world, despite the bodies in her house and having learned of her father’s betrayal by their own.” Even without the context that sentence sounds to me like two dissonant chords being played at the same time.

    I also think this book needed more copy editing, to excise images like “a whole suitcase full of baggage” and mistakes like “confusion reined” — maybe in the print version some of this will be fixed?

    It is not easy thing to take a woman with deep and complicated sexual issues and have her come to terms with those, especially by setting her up as a waitress/dancer in a strip club with a guy who has zero respect for women. I absolutely understood why Ty and Phil would be drawn to one another, but I could not buy their relationship as a romance. Especially when it seemed that they should be more focused on those poor kidnapped girls. Even under the best of circumtances, I think Romantic Suspense is one of the hardest sub-genres of Romance to sell believably; even Linda Howard’s books often strike me as an uncomfortable mix of romance and suspense plot. I have to agree for the most part with Jane on GGGB, though — this book did not make me a believer.

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  53. Karen Scott
    Sep 04, 2006 @ 15:57:36

    I absolutely understood why Ty and Phil would be drawn to one another,

    You did? Wow, I didn’t even understand that part. Ty was a lunatic, and Phil was the kind of heroine I’d happily blow up with an Uzi. Hmmm maybe they did deserve each other…

    If Jane hadn’t done such a stellar job in reviewing this book, I would have happily taken a carving knife to it on my blog.

    I can categorically confirm that GGGB sucked Great Big Hairy Donkey Balls.

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  54. Robin
    Sep 04, 2006 @ 18:02:11

    You did? Wow, I didn’t even understand that part.

    Well, sure; Romance is full of heroines with low self-esteem who are drawn to men who avoid intimacy and commitment. How often, then is the heroine “cured” by the hero’s nine inches of pure love, and the hero “healed” by the heroine’s magic (practically) virgin vagina?

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  55. Daisy
    Oct 15, 2006 @ 16:16:10

    On one of the romance loops I read pretty regularly, I saw that Cosmo just bought this story. I’m not sure if it validates Jane’s contention that this story sucked, or the other readers’ opinions that it was great! ( I liked the story, btw. And Jane, you do so snark!)

    xoxo
    Daisy

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  56. Lisa
    Jan 12, 2007 @ 17:55:58

    Jane,

    I just finished this book today by the way.. and I throughly enjoyed it to be honest. But I just wanted to say one thing… this book is FICTION! Of course not everything is going to be to the ‘T’ of real life situations. Chill out and dont poke around EVERY little detail in a book, and just learn to enjoy the reading.

    Sincerely, Lisa

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  57. Dena
    Oct 24, 2007 @ 02:44:51

    Dear Jane,

    Did you by any chance forget that this book was fiction? And purhaps if the police procedurals where more accurate and detailed that what you would have is an extremely long, not so erotic book? I don’t mean to sound condescending towards you, you are of course allowed to express your opinion as openly as you wish, but when I picked up this book, believe me, location of characters and undercover workings was the last thing on my mind.
    I just want to also mention that I loved the hero. Yes he could be an asshole and had issues…much the same as Philamina. As you pointed out yourself “Crazy and Asshole” do go together. Unless I missed some rule that all protagonists have to be happy, issue free uncomplicated people?

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  58. Jen
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 19:56:13

    This was a piece of crap.

    Predictable, every cliche in the book, crap.

    But I paid my money at a train station in Philadelphia coming home from a concert and read it all.

    So I guess crap got me. And got me jealous. As Stephen King said in “On Writing,” (paraphrased, ’cause I’m too damn lazy to reach over and pull it off the shelf): there is the moment when you think I can, no, I AM writing better than this.

    Thank you for inspiration for National Novel Writing Month.

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  59. Deb
    Nov 04, 2010 @ 16:53:34

    I am way late to the party on this… I did like the book quite a bit, although I can understand the feelings of those who did not. It’s been so long since I read it that I can’t really outline specifics at this point.

    The one thing I did want to comment on is that in the county I live in here in GA, we have the Gwinnett County Police Department. There are separate sherriff-related officers/deputies (I think) but the offical name of the County-level law enforcement group is “Police”. So it’s not impossible. So many different ways counties and municipalities handle this stuff.

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