Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

What DA January is reading

As promised, I’m working my way through a bunch of Indie/Self-Published reads right now. I have a few reviews in the hopper. Those should be going up in the next few weeks. A few are things I’ve liked, but nothing I’ve fallen in love with. I picked several of the current books on my Kindle simply because of the number of positive reviews, just to see where my tastes line up with those on Amazon.

Here’s what’s on my Kindle this week:

Claimed by Evangeline Anderson – This one has a nice cover and a lot of reviews. I am thinking this might be greatness. I read the sample and her writing style was very easy and clean. I wanted to find out more, so I purchased. I am about 25% in and losing interest fast, though. The heroine isn’t winning me over, the characters are inconsistent, the hero is emo, and something called a ‘mating fist’ keeps being mentioned, and I just might be terrified of what it might be. I’m trying to finish this one, because I have a feeling it might be another epic review if the mating fist turns out to be as alarming as I think it might.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire – The cover on this one is foul. Just foul. What am I supposed to think about a multicolored tongue? This book has lots of positive reviews, however, and some devotees on the forums at Amazon. The romance in this is supposed to be intense. I bought it, but have only read a few pages so far. It’s classified as a romance for teens but right now it reads a bit older. I am guessing the YA category was selected simply for popularity.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

A Modern Witch by Debora Geary – I liked her voice in a shorter work that I read (review pending), so I bought this. Again, this has almost 200 reviews on Amazon, almost all of them positive. That is very impressive. So far though, the story opens with the heroine having a discussion with her brother about the bra in her shopping cart. And the brother tells her that the color will look good on her. My squick factor just doubled. Also, the book opens with formatting errors on the first page. Never a good sign. Yes, I do hold indies to a high standard. I’d point and laugh at any NY book that had an enormous error on the first page, too.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

A Knight In Central Park by Theresa Ragan – I just downloaded this one for free because I was intrigued by the cover. Ragan’s books seem to be popular and have a fair amount of positive reviews. The story sounds different, which is nice. However, I started it and I’m seeing typos galore, so this might go into the “Abandoned” pile. I don’t consider myself a grammarian, so if I’m noticing your typos? It’s bad.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Warrior by Violette Dubrinsky – This was sent to me by the author. I said yes because the excerpt was intriguing and seemed like the author could write. This seemed like a typical romance fantasy, but I thought that might be interesting. The story opens with an infodump, and I felt like the first 8% of the story was entirely unnecessary. It picks up a bit after the hero is introduced, but he is quite possibly the most toothless warlord I have ever read about. Also? I hate his name (Vulcan). The heroine has a porny name (Jaisyn St. Ives), and makes the worst decisions I have ever seen. She tries to assassinate the hero by running into his camp alone. She gets caught. She decides to lead her army on the front lines, despite everyone warning her what a bad idea this is. She puts her city through a siege and forces the warlord to fight his way in when he showed up to marry her sister. It would have been an amicable capitulation with no bloodshed, but the heroine decides that for her sister, she will go to war. Many, many people die so her sister won’t marry a man she is scared of. And then she decides to marry him to save this sister. They marry, have sex together, and then she stomps her foot every time he tries to rule the kingdom. This feels like the fanfic lovechild of a Julie Garwood fan, and I do not mean that in a positive way. I won’t spend 400 pages with a TSTL heroine, so into the DNF pile this goes.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

That’s what is on my Kindle this week. Has anyone read these?

All Best,

DA January

January Janes

January likes a little bit of everything. She's partial to unique paranormals, erotic romances, contemporary, and YA. She has a fondness for novellas and trying self-published works, though more of those are misses than hits. She still refuses to read anything that smells like literary fiction. January also changes this bio on a regular basis depending on her reading mood.


  1. Janine
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 12:38:56

    Um, that’s my new avatar, not January’s!

  2. M A
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 13:12:46

    I found Anderson’s “Claimed” a light, fun read. The heroine isn’t the most intelligent female in the world (or out of it, for that matter) but I love Anderson’s imaginative world-building.

  3. Jane
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 13:12:59

    @Janine That is okay. We will get it fixed.

  4. Janine
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 13:16:44

    @Jane: Thanks for fixing it!

  5. RKB
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 13:27:17

    Beautiful Disaster I’ve been debating writing a review for on Amazon. It’s a totally screwed up book (ding dong females, “excessively possessive to the point of violence” men, co-dependency of the main characters and other stupidity), but yet I couldn’t put the book down. It was like a train wreck – you are like “That’s screwed up, oh no!” and yet you keep watching to the bitter end.

  6. LG
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 13:43:34

    “Mating fist”? That sounds potentially horrifying. The name “Evangeline Anderson” sounds really familiar, though, so I’m thinking I must have seen her on a list of recommended authors somewhere.

  7. Klio
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 13:55:58

    I am SO looking forward to finding out what the context for “mating fist” turns out to be. Also terrified. My imagination has already run away with it, into a really ungood place.

    Er…maybe it’s a special braided wedding-night up-do or a sexual position involving yoga…

  8. DA_January
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 15:07:48

    @M A

    It seems to have a lot of positive reviews! So far it reads very easily, and the sample was good. I just find myself wishing it moved faster.

  9. DA_January
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 15:09:07


    Good to know. I’m expecting it to be one of those ‘obsessive and possessive’ sorts of books, but I’m hoping it’s in an engrossing way.

  10. DA_January
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 15:09:58

    @LG I didn’t see the ‘mating fist’ mentioned until I had already purchased the book, so like you, I’m concerned.

    I have heard Evangeline Anderson’s name before as well, and my mind is associating it with EC (perhaps?)

  11. DA_January
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 15:10:25


    I am afraid my mind went immediately to fisting. I hope that is not the case.

  12. Klio
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 15:24:41

    @DA_January: That, or some sort of ritual beating of one’s spouse. My mind can’t decide. I’m hoping it’s neither, but, everything’s out there, somewhere.

  13. Nikki
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 18:23:35

    I have read all three of the books from Anderson. The heroines leave something to be desired and the world-building shows potential. Hopefully she can follow-through with it though by the 3rd book I began to feel like she hadn’t completely worked out her overarching plot as well as it seemed in book one. Honestly, the mating fist was not that exciting when you finally read about it. I suspended disbelief and found the books entertaining overall.

  14. DA_January
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 19:08:26

    @Nikki: I’m absolutely hoping to do the same. I realize they’re meant to be campy, so I’m hoping they’re campy in a fun way, rather than an eye-gouging way.

  15. Treasure
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 20:30:33

    I abandoned Knight in Central Park. Moved too slow, no new ground covered, it’s a fish out of water/time travel sort of thing. I got about a fourth of a way through and couldn’t take it any more

  16. Stephanie
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 05:04:21


  17. Stephanie
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 05:08:07

    Oh, I loved “Knight in Central Park.” “Beautiful Disaster” is a real guilty pleasure. I haven’t heard of the other ones yet, so thank you for sharing.

  18. CaroB
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 05:45:02

    I tried a few times to get through “Knight In Central Park” and finally gave up. I don’t think I’ve ever said this before, but if it hadn’t been a freebie, I would’ve asked for my money back. Grammatical errors and typos, while distracting, can be overlooked if there is enough talent in the writing or power in the story. This lacked… well, it was completely lacking either for me.

  19. DA_January
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 06:27:08

    Interesting – a lot of DNFs for “Knight in Central Park”. I’ll have to see if I can get through it.

  20. Bronte
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 07:02:57

    @DA_January Evangeline Anderson has written for both Elora’s cave and loose id. She writes some m/m as well as m/f. I find she can be a bit erratic but generally I’ve thought her stuff is a nice read.

  21. Jane
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 07:25:21

    Is this the Evangeline Anderson with Rock Hard and Thrust Deep as the heroes?

  22. Lo
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 09:51:25

    @Jane: LOL. No, it’s Locks Tight and Stabs Deep.

  23. DA_January
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 15:19:46


    Oh dear. Really?

  24. Estara
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 16:46:28

    If you want to read a plot comparable to Warrior, but actually well done with sympathetic characters, try Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan.

    Good independent romance I have read by Moriah Jovan and Ann Somerville. Good fantasy with a romance twist by an independent can be found in the Darest series by Andrea K. Höst.

  25. DA_January
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 21:17:16

    I read Warprize and was not a fan. Strong start but lost steam in the middle.

  26. Debora Geary
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 00:36:03

    You know, in 10,000 readers, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard that comment about A Modern Witch’s opening :-). Now I can’t think of anything else!

    Ah, well. I hope if you get beyond the first page to the second, you’ll find the remainder of the book an enjoyable read.

  27. Courtney Milan
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 16:17:26


    I don’t know what exactly January was referring to, but this is a result of interaction between a Kindle rendering weirdness and the Kindle’s generation of samples. It works like this.

    1. The Kindle rending weirdness.

    Imagine you’re using html to encode your book, and you do something like this:

    <a id=”chapter1″><p class=”heading”>Chapter One</p>&lt/a>

    Your HTML code won’t validate, because the anchor tag needs to be contained within the paragraph tag.

    So instead, you set it up like this:

    <p class=”heading”><a id=”chapter1″>Chapter One</a></p>

    Problem fixed?

    No. Because now Kindle jumps specifically to the anchor, and starts rendering at “Chapter One”–meaning that it doesn’t actually grab the formatting that you’re using.

    This effect is particularly bad if you upload an MS Word file with a linked table of contents.

    For whatever reason, the Kindle anchor in your book that references the place where the Kindle should start rendering, and open to, starts mid-tag.

    If you want, send me an e-mail and I’ll show you a screen shot.

    You can fix this by moving where you have your anchor in an HTML file. I know of no way to fix it if you’re uploading a Word file.

    So here’s the second issue:

    2. Even if you got this right in your actual file, when Kindle generates a sample (and the sample it generates is a separate file that it saves on its server), it makes some changes to your original file, and it can screw up the formatting. It’s not visible on all devices, either, but it is visible on Kindle for computer.

    So the first thing I see when I open up your sample on a Kindle-for-computer application is this:

    “2em” width=”2em” align=”center”>Chapter 1

    I assume this is what January is talking about. You have to monkey with the anchors to fix it.

    January: You can tell this is a Kindle rendering issue, and not a problem in the way the file was constructed, because if you press the page back and page forward buttons, this will disappear.

  28. Courtney Milan
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 16:24:29

    So posting anything that renders as HTML is a pain in the butt and every time I edit it loses anything that isn’t right, so assume that lt up there is really a less than sign and I’ll be happy.

  29. Debora Geary
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 17:32:36

    LOL – thanks, Courtney. I’ll be downloading and testing my file again – I tested comprehensively on my initial upload, but clearly something’s not working right. It still renders great on my Kindle. Argh.

    January: I hold myself to those same high standards – I appreciate the heads up.

  30. Courtney Milan
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 18:03:20

    @Debora Geary: It’s a problem with the sample, not the file itself as far as I can tell on extremely preliminary testing.

    The way that Amazon generates the samples actually breaks various things for some implementations of Kindle reading apps.

  31. Debora Geary
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 18:46:33

    Thank you. I upload a .mobi file to Amazon, ironically so that I can control formatting… The sample is generated by Amazon, and it leaves a few things to be desired. Once I get my little dude who had dental surgery today to bed, I’ll see if I can troubleshoot.

  32. JenM
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 13:51:46

    Beautiful Disaster – it really is a train wreck, but strangely compelling. Co-dependent and obsessive doesn’t even begin to describe these characters. They are actually college age, not teenagers and when reading the book, it helped to think back to what it felt like when I was that age. My biggest problem with the book was Abby, the female lead. She was, hmm, how do I put this politely? C*ck-tease is the word that comes to mind and believe me, I don’t use that word lightly. It’s no wonder poor Travis was so confused, the mixed signals she gave off would give anyone whiplash, let alone a typical college aged guy with an overactive libido.

%d bloggers like this: