The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne

28 May

…or how I DNFed a book most everyone else seemed to love.

The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne

For months, I heard everyone and their pet poodle praise this book, so I snagged it at some point when it was on sale.

I don’t know how it was that I didn’t realize it’s written in first person present tense–which I do not like. As far as I’m concerned, first person is incredibly difficult to do well, and present tense can be gimmicky. I have enjoyed first person present tense before (Ann Aguirre’s Grimspace books, for example), but it’s very rare.

One of the reasons first person is tricky is that it’s harder to read for the other characters, when you don’t connect with the main character.

I also didn’t realize this is the author’s debut until I looked up the blurb; the writing does not read like a first effort.

The first few pages are smooth and engaging, and I felt myself pulled into the story. Among the pulls is the fact that the story is set is the offices of two ailing publishing houses merged into one, still failing, company.

Blurb:
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Traditional publishing, and the risks thereof

26 May

Originally posted to the Literature forum at MyMedia.

I’ve written here, more than once, about genre romance being the single most successful genre in publishing. Not too long ago, genre romance accounted for about 40% of income for traditional publishers.¹

Since the late 70s/early 80s, romance sales have floated other fiction at pretty much all the big houses. To this day, many of the big advance names in so-called literary fiction never earned those advances back–while romance writers of the same caliber routinely do.

Those literary books may earn all the important prizes, and get lots of review space in the big papers, while romance is generally dismissed as pabulum and ‘mommy porn.’

But everyone in publishing knows that the money comes from genre fiction, and that genre romance brings in the lion’s share of the revenue.

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Writing diversity: sensitivity readers

23 May

Originally posted to the Literature forum at MyMedia. I have imported a few
of those posts here under the Publishing tag, if you are interested.

While it may seem, particularly when reading the “classics”¹ and the ‘great literary fiction masters’¹ that there is a default in characterization (heroes are straight able bodied white cis males, and most often, of Anglo Saxon descent), the reality is that people come in many more flavors than that.

In the past few years, readers who do not fit this ‘universal’ characterization, have started seeing themselves represented in the fiction they pay good money to read, in still small but increasing percentages.

All good, right?

Except, not all representation is good representation.

If the one homosexual/non-binary/non-gender conforming character in the work is written as a deviant.
If the one person of color is either a criminal or a victim.
If the one immigrant speaks broken or no English.
If the one female character with speaking lines is there exclusively to either be killed or rescued.
If the one neuro atypical person is either a savant or an idiot.

In short: if whatever diversity is there, consists of clichés, that representation is more harmful than the outright absence of anyone who doesn’t conform to the white, straight, male characters of yore.

Enter sensitivity readers.

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Catify to Satisfy, by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin

18 May

This review is for our very own, awesome, Queen Librarian of the Universe, SuperWendy’s TBR Challenge.

The theme for this month is Something Different, and boy, oh boy, this is different.

How different? Well, it’s somewhere between interior design and self-help, neither of which I ever read.

(Spoiler: if you enjoy either of these types of books, or the show, you’ll probably want to skip this review)

Catify to Satisfy, by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin

A dude at work often gets print ARCs directly from publishers, and every so often he goes around the office, handing them over to people according to what he knows of their interests. This is…a very hit and miss way of giving books away.

Because I rescued two kittens. back in the fall of 2015, he just knew I would love this book, and so he handed it to me, with an admonition to let him know my thoughts.

Seventeen months later…::crickets::

But where are my manners? Here, allow me to introduce you to our characters, via the blurb:
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Understanding consent: a cup of tea

13 May

Originally posted almost two years ago to the Community section of MyMedia.

I thought I had posted something about it here as well at that time, but a search shows me that I hadn’t. Unfortunately, people (mostly men, but not just men), seem to continue to struggle to understand consent as a concept, so I’m remedying the oversight now.

~ * ~

A couple of months ago, someone sent me a link to a blog post that used an innocuous, simple analogy to explain consent.

Why even go there? Easy. As the author, one Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess, explains, it’s because it would seem people just don’t get it:
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The Girl Who Knew Too Much, by Amanda Quick

9 May

thegirlwhoknewtoomuch

I received an ARC for this novel sometime in late 2016, and it was one of only two new books I read in the months following my mother’s death.

Although I have not yet written any reviews for them, I own and love all of Ms Quick’s early historical novels (Surrender, Mystique, Ravished, etc). In later years, I had given up on her books, after growing a bit fatigued by some writing tics, and frankly tired of the Arcane Society novels.¹

However, the cover caught my eye, and the blurb makes it clear this novel is not part of a series. Best of all, it’s set in California in the 1930s!

Warning: there are a couple of murders, though not much gore; there’s adult language, and sex on the page. If any of these bother you, avoid this one.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much, by Amanda Quick

I liked many things about this novel, starting with how well the setting is rendered. I felt immersed in the period without awkward lectures or info-dumping. Both of the main characters are complex and three dimensional, and their world is populated by three dimensional, complex people.

The suspense thread is a lot more layered than the blurb would make one think, and the story is told from several characters’ point of view, which allows the reader to believe she knows more than our hero and heroine.
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Women have it SO good.

6 May

(Originally posted to the Community section of MyMedia)

Another day in that Utopia where “women have it so good.”

A couple of months ago, Oklahoma State Representative Justin Humphrey kindly explained that women who become pregnant are merely hosts, stupidly deluded into thinking that it is their own body going through the pregnancy. Therefore, and whether that pregnancy is simply unplanned, not wanted, or the result of rape, those women ‘invited it in’ and should therefore be required to obtain the father’s permission in order to obtain an abortion.

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