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What John’s Been Reading, Week of August 30th

What John’s Been Reading, Week of August 30th

This past week was a blur of family vacationing and getting ready for school.  I just had my first day today as well, so my reading is already taking a toll with my energy.  High school throws punches like that.  My reading is going to hopefully continue at a semi-similar pace, and I’m going to be attempting to keep up more with reviews once I get organized.  These were the books I read during the last week or two of summer.

Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan

This was one of those books that I’ve picked up in my yard-sale searches (which are the main way I find romances anymore.)  I heard good things, and the author blurbed Ernessa T. Carter’s 32 Candles, which I loved.  It ended up being a read that I really enjoyed.  It’s set in the 90′s, so it deals with a lot of current issues of the time, and the commentary on male/female relationships and black male/black female relationships in particular was interesting.

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Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by David Levithan and Rachel Cohen

Love David Levithan.  Love his first collaboration with Cohen, which is Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  Was disappointed in this book.  There was some nice usage of complex relationships and fluid teen sexuality, but it all got bogged down by a lot of narrator hopping that made all of the problems (Ely and Naomi’s friendship, Naomi’s love for the gay Ely, Ely’s boyfriend’s image issues, ect.) feel like they were resolved too quickly.  Not to mention it strained credibility when it wasn’t just two but six or more protagonists that were speaking in incredibly observant narration for a teen mind.

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Guily Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

I shouldn’t have read this one, but I did.  It was fun, but there was some repetitive language that was noticeable and a lack of focus in the middle.  I have made it a goal to see how far I can go into Hamilton’s series without throwing in the towel.  Anita was already sexually charged in a subtle way, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that changes.  Even if it’s for the worst.

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Arise by Tara Hudson

A sequel to the YA PNR Hereafter that came out this summer.  I was asked to look over the manuscript.  I enjoyed the first book but felt it had a lack of oomph to the drama it would realistically show.  This one had some pacing problems in the first third, but it showed a lot more of the drama that would go on.  Not for everyone, but if you like YA PNR like I do, you’d find the series pleasant.

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Vixen by Jillian Larkin

This one felt like a meeting of the Private series with the 1920′s flapper fad.  It totally worked, too.  There’s a lot of drama and angst involved, but I love this setting.  All of the flapper outfits and attitude is fun to read about.  The pacing was a little slow for my taste.  It satisfied my historical fiction urge and gave me some brain candy to work with.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Vacations from Hell – anthology

This I picked up as another breather book.  Five short stories of amusing but limited entertainment.  Claudia Gray and Sarah Mylnowski balanced out the best.  Libba Bray and Maureen Johnson had good ideas but needed more room to work with them.  Cassandra Clare pretty much wrote a whole lot of nothing.  I’ve found Clare’s short stories cannot even go into amusing territory for me, and I was annoyed by some factual errors.  About video games.  From the past few years!  Kingdom Hearts 2 is primarily if not completely a signal player game, and it is not on the Xbox.  (I am a gamer on the side, if you couldn’t tell.)

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Safe Harbor by Christine Feehan

Feehan is a guilty pleasure.  I forget about her books soon after I read them, and the romance is primarily the same thing over and over again.  Her males border on far-too-alpha at times, and her females always end up retiring to be alone with the kiddies.  I find her writing fun if overly descriptive, and Safe Harbor was at least a fun addition to the series.  I’d read Dangerous Tides and hated the hero and his romance with the heroine.  I think I’ll have better luck with the Carpathians in the future.

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His Wife for One Night by Molly O’Keefe

The author sent this when I mentioned I was looking into trying Harlequin Superromance.  I found the main couple to have a good chemistry, and I liked the idea behind it quite well.  The lack of interaction between them in the first half and the lack of clarity on some issues from their past and present made it difficult for me to love the book, but I read through it quickly and enjoyed it.

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I also read a few books for school like O Pioneers!, Ethan Frome, and The Awakening.  I found them good reads, but I had problems fundamentally with The Awakening and O Pioneers.  I have a few books I’m going to read over the next few days as well, or that I’m reading right now.

The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen

This is one that is fun to read, but the fundamentals of the text are ridunkulous.  The book starts out that way without easing you in, and it has yet to stop.  I’m on page fifty and can already tell it’s pretty similar to Twilight and the BDB books.  (Seriously.  The group of guys/warriors called the Lumina all wear leather and have mated-trope things with this other race and it’s…yeah.)

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Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

I’m going to be reading this while I read Mephisto.  It seems to be pretty short, and I have an essay on it that is due in a few days.  Yes, I procrastinated over the summer.  At least I picked the play for last.

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Where Demons Fear to Tread by Stephanie Chong

Picked this up hearing mixed things.  I’m a sucker for angel books (see Mephisto), so I’m hoping that I’ll like the read.  If not the romance.  My experience with MIRA books has been conflicted, but I will deal with a lot of crap to read about angels.  Probably too much crap, but it’s worth a shot.

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Dear Author

Tuesday Midday Links: Rumble in the jungle

A reader emailed me this morning to apprise me of a feud which erupted between Laurell K Hamilton fans and PC Cast fans taking place primarily on the two facebook profiles of the authors. Apparently in Awakened, a YA book by PC Cast, one character makes a dig Anita Blake and Laurell K Hamilton:

Im pissed! Just finished P.C Casts Awakeing house of night series one that i liked untill this book on pg 203 when they not only diss Anita but also diss Miss Hamillton. "whos anita blake?" stevie rae askes "vampire killer chick written by a human chick who has a Totally Tragic fashion sense" Pissed me OFf

and LKH responded with:

Thanks everyone who told me that I get slammed in the P. C. Cast book. I would never have known since I don’t read them. Apparently, they do read me, so thanks for that. The duo who are P. C. Cast are quite mainstream in their fashion sense. Not surprised they don’t like mine. I would never, ever criticize another writ…er in my own books, let alone their personal appearance. When did being nice go out of fashion?

Fans of LKH went over to the PC Cast facebook page and started hurling insults, enough so that LKH felt compelled to post this:

Thanks to everyone who defended my honor with the slightly snarky mention of me in the P. C. Cast book, but guys, my point was – be nice. In your zeal to defend me, some of you have been mean & said far worse things to, & about the duo that writes as P.C.Cast. Please, don’t. No one else’s bad behavior gives you the ri…ght to behave badly, too. You can disagree, but mean makes everyone stop listening to your point.

I think this is the first author kerfluffle of 2011. LKH is no angel. She’s slung quite a bit of crap on her own blog at other writers.   She opens herself up to criticism of a personal kind by inserting herself and her sexual experiences into her books.   She is encouraging her readers to defend her. That said, do you think PC Cast went over the line by insulting LKH personally in the book? Or is this all in good fun?


The Kindle for iPhone App was upgraded yesterday to allow sideloading of ebooks (mobi worked for me) via the iTunes program (detailed here) or by simply emailing yourself the file and using the “Open in” feature. Kindle has also released an App for Windows Mobile.


A literary agent from a prestigious agenting firm has opened her own self publishing, author services house. Leila Dewji, age 27, left Sheil Land Associates (who represents authors like Diane Setterfield), to form Acorn Independent Press Ltd. with her brother.   From the description, it sounds more like a vanity or subsidiary publishing firm rather than a self publishing firm.   Or what Thomas Nelson and Harlequin offer through Author House.

Acorn Independent Press Ltd. offers premium self-publishing services for authors who want to launch in a big way; with fantastic editorial, design and production services as well as sales and marketing services to get books reviewed and stocked. Acorn produce beautiful books and e-books which they put in to international wholesale and distribution channels to reach readers all over the world.

This follows Curtis Brown Agency launching a writing school.   I suspect we will see more and more agents offering publishing services.   Publishing organizations will continue to struggle with defining the term “published author.”


The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has announced its selection for the 2011 Reading List.

The Reading List annually recognizes the best books in eight genres: adrenaline (including suspense, thriller and adventure), fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction and women's fiction. This year's list includes novels that will please die-hard fans as well as introduce new readers to the pleasures of genre fiction.

For romance:


"A Matter of Class" by Mary Balogh, Vanguard Press (9781593155544)

A lady is ruined. A merchant's son is trapped. Class differences loom large in this charming and playful take on the arranged marriage. Balogh's Regency gem, where nothing is quite as it seems, is filled with affection and wit.


"Faro's Daughter" by Georgette Heyer

"In for a Penny" by Rose Lerner

"The Viscount Who Loved Me" by Julia Quinn

Short List:

"Barely a Lady" by Eileen Dreyer, Hachette (Forever) (9780446542081)

"The Forbidden Rose" by Joanna Bourne, Berkley (9780425235614

"The Iron Duke" by Meljean Brook, Berkley (9780425236673)

"Something About You" by Julie James, Berkley Sensation (9780425233382)

According to YoungLibrarian, the short list are the runners up and the “read alikes” is a list of books that are similar to the winning book.


A teen blogger writes about her interest in an upcoming new line from St. Martin’s Press that is targeted at older teens and actual young adults.   (YA line is targeted to 12 years and older or 9th grade and up).

I’m sixteen, in case you’re wondering.

That doesn’t stop me from wanting to read about characters older than 18. I’d sure as heck love to go into the Young Adult section and pick up a book about a college freshman adjusting to their new life of freedom, stumbling around a huge campus, fighting with their roomate, and groaning about cafeteria food and being a poor student. I’d sure as heck love to read a book about a protagonist that sets off on an adventure after they graduate from high school, or who’s just taken up training as a cop or joined the army or taken a job you can’t do while still in school. I’d love it to bits if anyone wrote a book about a college junior’s experience as a study abroad student.

St. Martin’s new line is called “New Adult” and is described thusly:

“…[n]ew, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin's Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult-’a sort of an "older YA" or "new adult."


Publishers Weekly reports that publishers saw huge increases in ebooks sales over the holidays.

imon & Schuster reported a 150% jump in e-book sales for this holiday over the same period last year. Random House reported an impressive 300% leap, and Kensington said its e-book sales for this holiday season climbed a whopping 400% over 2009. Here is a compilation of publishers’ top five bestselling e-books (in descending order) for December 25 and 26.

The top selling title for Kensington was His Conquest by Diana Cosby.   At $3.79, I’m going to have to buy it myself.