Stormy Nights, by Jules Jones and Stormy Duffy

17 May

There really is no rhyme or reason why books languish in my physical and digital TBR Cordilleras of Doom.

Case in point: it had been a long while since I read anything by Jules Jones, though what I have read, I have liked, and there are a number of her works in my digital TBR pile.

So why I haven’t read more of her stuff? (I got nothing¹)

At any rate, back in August 2017, Ms Jones very kindly sent me a copy of this anthology for review. And while my reading has been iffy at best for a long time now, I read all nine stories in the book in one sitting just a few days after that.

Sadly, then the “can’t write to save my life” curse struck, fueled by current events, and here we are now, nine months later. ::guilty wince::

Warning: there is explicit sex and some light kink in all of these. If that’s not your thing, stop here. None of these are genre romance stories, with HEA/HFN, though all are full of hope and joy. Also, Jules Jones and Storm Duffy are two writing facets of the same author.

Stormy Nights, by Jules Jones and Stormy Duffy

This is a collection of nine short stories of varying lengths and genres; some are very romantic, some are more short erotic vignettes than stories, and one is an incredibly poignant fantasy with very strong romantic elements. There are merpeople, and fae, and just plain contemporaries.

In competition for the shortest blurb EVER:

Sex and love, lies and truth, shades in between. Happy endings and might-have-beens. Nine tales of these things between men.

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Someone to Love, by Mary Balogh

16 May

This is my (very) late entry in SuperWendy’s TBR Challenge for February. As with my January read, I actually managed to read the book on time¹ but I just haven’t been able to string more than a couple of sentences together for months.

Ah well, c’est la vie, non?

Warning: otherization/fetishization of the one Asian character in the novel.

Someone to Love, by Mary Balogh

This is the first novel in a series about the family of the late Earl of Riverdale, and how his death–and the secrets he kept until then–have affected their fortunes and their very lives. I found the premise very intriguing and read the book quickly and with general enjoyment.

While we are introduced to a rather large cast of characters (I had to check the family tree a couple of times during the first few chapters), as the author is setting up a series of books, the story moves along smoothly, at a sustained pace, to the last chapter or so.

But more on that below. Here, have a blurb:
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“Ready to Roll” by Suzanne Brockmann

19 Apr

I first got this novella sometime in early 2017, but I was lucky enough to attend RWA National Conference in Orlando that year in July, and I snagged a signed copy at the literacy signing.

Then it languished in the TBR room¹ until January this year, when I read it for SLWendy’s TBR Challenge.

Sadly, what with one thing and another, the review was not written on time :head hanging in shame:

Ah well, in the ‘better late than never’ category, here you have it.

Warning: one of the characters lives in an abusive situation, another (minor) character is the victim of spousal abuse; there’s homophobia and general bigotry. Oh, and some cursing.

“Ready to Roll” by Suzanne Brockmann

This novella is the third in a trilogy of short-ish stories set in the Troubleshooters’ world, centered on SEAL Izzy Zanella. The three stories take place within a year of the events in Breaking the Rules, which was the last novel in the series for half a dozen years,² until Some Kind of Hero came out.

Here’s the blurb from my print copy (yes, the repetitions too):
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Thoughts and prayers, and farting to the wind

16 Feb

(Originally posted to a restricted section at MyMedia, so I can’t link)

School shooting in the UK (Dunbane, 1996): guns banned. Guess how many school shootings since? Guess how many ‘regular’ massacres using guns since?

Massacre in Australia (Port Arthur, 1996): guns banned. Guess how many massacres using guns since?

Side effect in both places: the numbers of suicides reduced drastically, partly because most other ways to kill oneself give the suicide enough time to fear pain, to reflect, etc. that many/most call for help before it’s too late, or get other help instead of trying.

208 school shootings in the US since Columbine in 1999: oh, well, mmm…erm…
58 people killed at a night club in Orlando in 2016: oh, well, drinking, and sex, and homosexuals, and…
58 people killed and over EIGHT HUNDRED INJURED while attending a concert in Las Vegas: so tragic, but…well, the second amendment…and freedom…and that’s just the crazies…and…well…nothing can be done
Mass killings by guns (where at least four people are killed by someone using a gun) have increased steadily for years in the US, and gee, wow, the majority of the people killing people with guns are white AND have a history of domestic violence, but let’s point the finger at mental health instead of misogyny, while at the same time eliminating restrictions to own guns for people with mental health issues.

Because ‘freedom’ and ‘the constitution’ and ‘the sacred right to bear arms’ amirite?

FUCK ALL THAT SHIT AND FUCK THAT ATTITUDE.

edited to add: not even two days later, we have reports of a community college locked down for reports of possible gunfire, on the other side of the continent. February 14, Parkland, Florida.

February 17, Des Moines, Washington. update: apparently, this one was a false alarm. Absolutely believable, but untrue.

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Why is the romance genre inherently feminist?

2 Feb

(Originally posted to the Community section of MyMedia forum)

Because is written mostly* by women for (mostly*) other women, centering mostly* women’s needs, and pleasure, and joy.

And that, sadly (because women are just over half the human population of the planet, and still the immense majority of stories center on the male experience), it’s inherently feminist.

“Romance reminds us that women want, and it celebrates this fact. How sad that that’s subversive, but it is. Also subversive: the idea of women reading books that are escapist delights instead of “bettering” themselves via the male-adjudicated canon or, honestly, doing housework or tending to their kids. Romance novels are political because of, not despite, the fact that they are usually really fucking fun.”

(source: Who Gets a Happily Ever After)

* mostly and not all, because, you know who has embraced genre romance and the opportunity for positive representation it offers? Minorities, particularly those in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Because the idea of joy and love that triumph over the miseries of life is necessary for those to whom the world is already unwelcoming, simply by virtue of being

~ * ~

Please note that the piece linked, at the time I post this, states that Jules Cassidy, from Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series, is a SEAL. He’s not; he was written, from his first appearance on, as an out and proud FBI agent. I’ve contacted the author of the piece, and I hope there will be an edit on this at some point. But if not, now you know.

Biology, social conditioning, sex and pain

29 Jan

(Originally posted to the Community forum at MyMedia)

So.

#MeToo.

Women talking for a few weeks (perhaps just over a month?*) about their experiences with different levels of sexual violence/assault/harassment.

Lo and behold, to most women’s sorrow, yet utter lack of surprise, it turns out the most of the women we know have suffered some sort of sexual violence, and sometimes several different kinds, sometimes more than once over the course of their lives, sometimes at the hands of several different men.

And the natural response, from #notallmen, is to express their dismay that all this outpouring of female suffering…will make their dating lives harder.

That men will become afraid of dating, because “accusations of sexual abuse/domestic partner violence ruin lives!” (I can off the top of my head name at least an even dozen of male celebrities whose professional lives have suffered NO HARM, regardless of how many people bring receipts–hello, Woody Allen, Johnny Depp, Chris Brown, Casey Affleck, Donald Trump, Floyd Maywather, Kobe Bryant, Azis Ansari, Mike Tyson, James Franco, Al Franken, Joel Kramer, Kevin Spacey).

That mostly women accuse men to ‘gain something’ or ‘for revenge’ (the ultimate whine on that vein: Larry Nassar’s letter to the sentencing judge quoting ‘hell hath no fury’).

And, the icing on the WTAF cake: that women should consider/understand/learn about how men cannot control themselves because ‘biology.’ That this is ‘just how men are.’ The pseudo grown up version of ‘boys will be boys,’ if you will.

So, let’s talk biology, social conditioning, and pain.
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Silver Master, by Jayne Castle

19 Jan

While I was still indulging in the great Harmony series listening glom, back in August (ye, gods, it’s been almost five full months!), I listened to the next few titles in the series, though I agree with Wendy the SuperLibrarian: there is danger in glomming. Smaller irritants can become major annoyances, and things one does not notice while breezing through one novel, can stop one dead after seeing them repeated in four or five.

Warning: evil is explicitly equated with mental illness–for both villains.

Oh, and there is sex on the page.

Silver Master, by Jayne Castle

This is the four novel in the Harmony series. It’s also the first one in the series that clearly links this world back to the Arcane Society universe, of which I am most definitely Not. A. Fan. Oh well.

We are back in Cadence, with two new characters and new dust bunnies. Here’s the blurb (from the Fantastic Fiction website):
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