TBR Challenge Review: Imagine Me and You by Maisey Yates

Format: ebook
Pub Date: June 1, 2013
Publisher: HQN (Harlequin)
FTC: purchased by me

You'd think this month's theme would be conducive to me actually getting my review up early, but nope. As usual, I'm squeaking in under the wire. I bought this last year intending to read it because Maisey was nominated for a RITA. I didn't. I suck.

Imagine Me and You was part of an anthology headlined by Lori Foster called Animal Attraction, but I'm honestly (don't hate me) not a huge Lori Foster fan. But since I am really fond of Maisey's voice AND this is another friends to lovers story (I seriously can never get enough of those) I decided to dig this out of the digital TBR.

Samantha and Jace have been friends ever since high school. So it's not that surprising that Sam would turn to Jace when her lease runs out and she needs a place to stay. Even if it means bringing her giant, messy dog into Jace's immaculate house. Things take an unexpected turn, however, when the close quarters makes them both confront the blazing hot attraction they've been ignoring for years.

Jace is an interesting character: his mother was a hoarder, which means he likes things neat, tidy, and sterile. Letting Samantha move in with her dog is a huge concession from him, given his intense dislike of disorder. Sam is a bit of a free spirit, with her only constant in life being her best friend, Jace.

This is one of those stories where I wish it were a longer, full-length book. I wanted more of everything. My only gripe was that Jace seems to "get over" his love of order awfully quickly. Even with love-goggles, that's a bit of a stretch for me.  The best part of the book, as always, is the humor. Maisey Yates writes fantastic dialogue. The story is just intrinsically funny without being obvious about it. Definitely worth a read.

My Grade: B+


Review: Binary Witness by Rosie Claverton

Pub Date: May 2014
Format: ebook
Publisher: Carina (Harlequin/Harper Collins)
Length: 213 pages per Amazon
Why I picked it up: Recommended by several people on Twitter
FTC: Paid for by me

In my continuing efforts to thoroughly vanquish this reading slump, I'm switching up my genres. I recently asked for mystery recs on Twitter, my go-to place for peer recommendations, and several people responded with this series by Rosie Claverton.  After safely making it through the Kindle sample, I bought it. And I managed to read it in 3 days which these days is something of a miracle. Gone are the days I can read a book in a few hours. There's simply too much on my plate to have that much uninterrupted time.

I had hoped to keep up my good luck by sticking with print, but this book is a digital-first one, which means no print copy is available as of yet (if ever).

Although I liked the book, my biggest irritant was not really the book's fault: I kept getting distracted by the British slang throughout the story. I'm a devoted Sherlock watcher. Well, BBC mystery anything, really. I can usually puzzle out most British figures of speech without pausing, but there was so much of it (understandable given the nationality of the author (British) and the setting (Wales) that I was repeatedly dragged out of the story. It broke my reading flow, which in turn caused me to get distracted by the million other things I have going on. Which is why it took me three days to read 200 pages.


How Do You Defeat a Mega Slump?

It's no secret that I've been suffering through a serious reading slump.  The emptiness of the blog last year is a testament to that.

The anatomy of a slump for me is this:

Too many real life obligations (kids, kids' sports, school volunteering etc).
Too many unsatisfying reads in a row
Genre fatigue
Social Media kerfuffle exhaustion

In short, I had no time to read and didn't like what little I managed. I tried mixing up length. I tried doing audio. I tried rereads. I tried limiting my online interactions. Nothing seemed to work. 

And not being able to read was making me bitchy. Not just a little bit, but full on mega-bitch. I wasn't happy about not reading, but I couldn't seem to find my enthusiasm. I'm still struggling to find it. Reading used to be fun, but lately it's become a chore. I've stopped reading ARCs for the most part because it wasn't fair to the authors I was reading. Books that may have worked for me when I was in a normal reading mood were just not cutting it for me. My DNF pile was rivaling my TBR one.

I'm still not back to where I used to be, but I've made some important changes to help ease me back into reading. The first one is seeking out non-romance recommendations. I'm going to try to bring the mystery books back to the blog.

The second one is making better use of my alone time at night. I'm going to try for a blog post per week, even if it's not a review. I have plenty to blather about that isn't just grading a recent read.

The third is to head back to print. I've had better luck lately with physical books than ebooks. I'm not sure if that's because I tend to read on my phone and am easily distracted by texts or calls, or if it's just because the physical book stares at me, reminding me to read it, while the Kindle app is easily hidden.

Has anyone else had this problem? How did you fix it? I'd love to hear some other ideas.


Why Asking Your Readers to Fund Your Creative Process is Wrong

If you've been on social media the last day or two and are part of the book community, you probably saw the kerfuffle about the crowd-funding campaign by author Stacey Jay. In her now-cancelled campaign, she asks her readers to help raise $10,000 to help her produce her next book. But here's the kicker: most of that money was not earmarked for editing, cover art or any of the other admittedly expensive things that must be done to a finished manuscript prior to publication. This money was for LIVING EXPENSES while she sits back and writes the book! It's not written yet.

Here are some of the arguments I've heard that are supportive of the idea:

1. It's like an advance, something traditional publishers used to do all of the time.

2. Artists need to eat like everyone else.

3. It's voluntary. Don't like it? Don't contribute.

4. It's a commission. There is risk involved. All Kickstarter members know this going in.

5. Lots of Kickstarters pay their staff.

To understand what the fuss is about, you need to first understand that this is part of a trend. Most people made uncomfortable about this aren't objecting based on just this Kickstarter. [Full disclosure, I have contributed to two Kickstarters: the Veronica Mars Kickstarter and the Reading Rainbow one]

When I object to this, I do so knowing this is a trend that if sanctioned as an "ok" thing to do will continue to proliferate. It will grow. And I do NOT want to see that happen.


Review: Night Shift by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, Milla Vane

Pub Date: December 2014
Publisher: Berkley (Penguin)
Length: 378 pages
Format: mass market paperback (also available in e)
FTC: Purchased by me at Safeway

Happy New Year! Here's hoping that this year doesn't suck as badly as last year did regarding reading and blogging for me. Ugh, but it was a tough year.

I've managed to finish a book, though, and for the most part was very pleased with it. It's an Urban Fantasy anthology with four stories in it. I went into this without any marketing buzz because I was too busy to procrastinate on Twitter much during the fall. So yea! It wasn't tired by the time I got to it.