Silver Silence, by Nalini Singh

28 Jun

Over the years, I’ve stopped being blindly loyal to authors I once adored.

Most often, because there’s some change in the direction of their writing that doesn’t align with my own growth as a reader. Occasionally, I grow increasingly unforgiving of their writing tics, to the point where I cannot longer enjoy the story.

Either way, I tend to continue buying and reading books in a well loved series, because there’s always hope that the magic will happen again.

Or, perhaps, I just don’t know when to quit.¹

Which brings me to the Psy/Changeling series.

Last year, I thought I was done. Finis. The End. Game over.

However.

I was already invested in getting the next four story anthology, which…didn’t suck too terribly.² Add another year of the horrible, terrible, no-good reading slump, that stubborn hope, some amazon reward dollars…and here we are.

Caveat: explicit sex and some adult language in the book; a lot of ranting and spoilers, for both the series and this book, in the review. And I mean a lot–particularly the ranting. Proceed at your own risk.

Silver Silence, by Nalini Singh

This book is the sixteenth full length novel set in the Psy/Changeling universe, but it’s supposed to start a new arc in the overarching storyline of the series. If I understand correctly, the first fourteen books were “The Age of Silence,” the fifteenth book was…whatever it was, and this one starts “The Age of Trinity.”

The cover jacket blurb:
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An Unseen Attraction, by K.J. Charles

21 Jun

I’m cheating just a teensy bit by choosing this a my TBR Challenge review of the month. But hey, the novel was in the digital TBR Cordillera of Doom, so it counts.

While I enjoy Ms Charles’ online presence immensely,¹ and despite having at least three other of her books in the TBR Cordillera of Doom, I had not yet read any of her fiction. Then, our Queen Librarian of the Universe, Wendy the SuperLibrarian, reviewed this book recently, and I was most intrigued.

As it often happens, I discovered that I had already purchased it a few weeks before, and, since I had not only read a whole new-to-me book that week, but actually wrote a semi-decent review, I decided to dive right in.

And yay, I really liked it!

Reader, beware: there’s explicit sex and adult language; there are also references to sexual abuse of a character who is not in the story.

An Unseen Attraction, by K. J. Charles

This is the first book in the Sins of the Cities trilogy, set in Victorian London in 1873. There’s fog. Serious fog.²

Clem manages a lodging-house for skilled artisans in a very diverse neighborhood in London. Rowley, one of his lodgers, is a taxidermist, called a preserver (or stuffer) at the time.

And there they are, two gents going about their business as normal, until things…change.

Here’s the blurb from the author’s site:

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Dukes Prefer Blondes, by Loretta Chase

14 Jun

Recently the lovely Keira reviewed this novel at Cogitations and Meditations, and after reading her wonderful review, I just had to look it up, with a view to checking the price, perhaps snag it.

Turns out, I already owned it.

I am not exactly sure how long this book has been on my digital TBR pile (frankly, I’m a little afraid to look too closely at these things), but, probably from the first time it was offered at a reduced price.

Long story a bit shorter, this meant I could start reading it on the spot, without budget guilt.

Reader, beware: while there’s very little explicit language, the bedroom door is open.

Dukes Prefer Blondes, by Loretta Chase

I didn’t realize it until I was already a few pages in, but this novel is connected to Ms Chase’s Dressmakers trilogy¹. The heroine, Lady Clara Fairfax, is an important secondary character in the first two books.

Our hero, brilliant barrister Oliver ‘Raven’ Radford, may be not-so-distantly related to a duke, but he’s not what one would call a great catch for the daughter of a Marquess.

Or, perhaps, that’s exactly what he is.

Here’s the blurb, from the author’s site:
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Child brides

31 May

Originally posted to the Community forum at MyMedia

When I tell people that I’m a feminist, I am often told that I should stop worrying about catcalling and other harassment, because it’s “not so bad,” that I should worry more about things like FGM or child brides in other, frequently Muslim, countries. Because here, in the glorious USoA, women have it sooooo good already, we should stop with the whingeing and complaining.

However, being a whole person, I can care about multiple things, and, turns out, I am concerned about child brides.

Particularly child brides of the Christian variety in the USoA.

Right here, right now.

Girls as young as 10, some already having given birth from rape¹, are forced by their own families to marry their rapist. Usually, this man is much older–an adult himself, so it can be anywhere from 10 to 15 years older than his ‘bride.’

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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 being 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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