Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Rant About Romance

Can  I just rant for a sec?


Seriously, I've read so many books this summer I can't count them. I tend to choose one genre and read it until I'm sick of it, and this summer it's all about NA/Adult romance.

It started when someone challenged me to read 50 Shades and I actually liked the storyline (although I really thought the writing was mediocre and I could've done without the butt play, but that's just me), what I did love was Christian's complex character and his struggles psychologically. And I loved that Anna could reach past his issues and help heal the little boy inside. Cheesey, I know, but true. I loved it.

That set my summer reading stage for a series of  cheep ebooks and Freebies that I downloaded to the good ole Kindle. Some of them were great reads, others left me  shaking my head wondering why people think that sounding like a bad 70s porn is romantic, but that post is for another day.

What's really driving me nuts is that the majority of smexy reads either center around Washington State or have control freak billionaires that constantly need their egos stroked.

Really, people.

Writers, hear me. Edward and Christian were not adored by fans because they were past the point of beautiful  and had more money than I have dirt. No, they were loved by millions because they wanted to protect and take care of their woman, being with the love of their life made them want to be a better man (or vampire, as the case may be), and, most importantly, these guys went out of their way to put her needs first.

It wouldn't have mattered if they were from the freaking mountains, liked to shave bunnies for fun, and didn't have two nickles to rub together. Maybe if they smelled like bad B.O. instead of some heady mix of manly scents and nature. Still, I think some readers may even have been able to look past that.

Can we please understand the premise here?

What drew millions of readers to these books were the actions of the men. Now I'm not speaking for the entire female population, Lord knows there are the cynics and extremists of the world already pissed at me for even attempting to find a commonality in a romance's success. It seems to me though that women who love these books want to feel adored. They want to feel as though they are the only one that can meet their man's needs. They want to be valued, respected, and cherished with a good dash of I-think-you're-the-sexiest-thing-alive-and-I-have-to-have-you-now added in.

See, in real life, woman are the ones that make sure everyone's needs are met. They usually are the last to eat, the last to bed, the one who buys generic for themselves but top of the line for the rest of the fam. They usually make do with what's in the closet while the hubby and kids get new clothes. These readers in real life go without in so many ways, and so they are attracted to a story where the protagonist's needs are important to the leading man. In short, these readers really just want someone to give a  flying rats ass if their emotional and physical needs are being met at all.

So, dear writers, here's my challenge to you. Write me a steamy story about a guy who isn't orgasmically good looking, doesn't live in Seattle, and actually works for a living. He can have hang ups and issues (although can we please tone down the I-can't-be-touched-and-I-need-to-control-your-every-breath thing). Let him fall for a girl who is beautiful to him. Maybe her hips are too round, or, I don't know, she has uneven boobs ... something. Write their story and let him overcome his hardships and want to be a better man for her. Let him love her, cherish her, but still throw her down and show her who's  boss every now and again. Let him find his way past her emotional barriers and truly adore her spirit, and allow her to do the same for him.

Now that's a story readers will flock to!

*End of Rant*
Whew! I feel better.

I think I'm going to start reading either sci-fi or YA for a little while.

Love Ya!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Review: MYSTIC CITY by Theo Lawrence

 Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself. 

So I totally lucked out and snagged an ARC of MYSTIC CITY at Half-Price Books. My review is for the ARC since I don't know what (if any) changes might've been made. Here we go!

The Good: I absolutely can't praise Theo's writing style enough! Can we say beautiful and the perfect example of Show don't Tell and Avoid Passive Voice. The descriptions are stunning. Each scene is brilliantly set and fully fleshed out. The characters are so unique, and you can totally connect with them in a real way. I'm generally not a dystopian fan, but MYSTIC CITY isn't the typical dystopian... at least, it isn't the struggle-every-moment-for-life kind. It's more futuristic than anything. I'm not sure what genre it's classified as anyway.

The progression of our protag's life is perfectly paced. Aria grows and changes throughout the story, going from the (non-cliche) rich girl to the caring young-woman who's willing to risk her comfortable life and promising future. And not just to win the guy but to save her city. Talk about an inspiring female lead! 

Our male lead, Hunter, is intriguing and by far the most mysterious part of the entire story. He proves himself to be swoon-worthy! He's not the kind of  guy you love to hate or admire because he's so wholesome. But he's real and genuine. Nothing about him feels fake or forced. He's the kind of boyfriend you would've actually wanted at 17. Too bad it's not that clean-cut for Aria.

The Mediocre: As the plot moves forward, there isn't a lot of "surprise" going on. I kept thinking, "Where's the mystery? What's the twist supposed to be here?" Really, it felt more like a contemporary novel with a futuristic setting. Like we know the obvious hurdles our characters have to overcome, so where's that *gasp* moment??? The outstanding writing and interesting characters kept me reading, but there were a few places where I just skimmed because it wasn't exciting. I will say there was one epic twist at the end I didn't expect which was fabulous! I love surprises! I just wish there could've been more.

Another issue I encountered was Aria's reaction to certain people in her life. Something epic would happen, and she was just like, "Meh. Okay." And while I get Lawrence's intent to keep her low key so she wouldn't give up the ghost so early, even her internal reaction was disappointing. Still, it wasn't enough of a let-down to stop reading. Also, Aria's best-friend Kiki is kind of annoying. I wish she would've been more likable. I'm a big fan of heroic secondary characters. I feel like they should really enhance the story and bring out a lot about plot and why our lead is the way they are. If you're going to the trouble to bring them up frequently, there needs to be a reason for them. Kiki was more like that irritating person you hang out with for the sake of obligation. She and Aria were so different in ways that would cause two people not to want to spend time together. I LOVED Hunter's bromance though.

There were several parts where I just skimmed through the story because it wasn't interesting. It didn't move the plot forward and felt more like a placeholder than an integral scene. There were maybe a total of 20 pages or so that could've been entirely culled, and no one would miss them. 

Conclusion: Based on the originality of the story, the lead characters, and the writing, I'd give MYSTIC CITY 5 Hats, no problem. But due to the slow plot at times, the mediocre secondary characters, and the lack of page-turning mystery, I'm going to say 4 Hats: still an awesome read and recommendation but not without a couple of flaws. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Win a Kindle Fire!

All right,
I know it seems like we've been doing a ton of giveaways this summer and not many reviews ... but everyone seems to be going crazy with giving away great stuff and so we can't help but pass it on!

One of our own Chirenjenzie bloggers is giving away a Kindle Fire! Enter below to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 5, 2013

Indie Bookfest 2013 Ipad Mini Giveaway!

Indie BookFest 2013 is all day long event (starting at 8:00 AM and ending at 5:00 PM) celebrating Indie Authors and Artists and their freedom of expression. Join some of your favorite Indie Authors for a day filled with book signings, sessions, and lots of good food and great fun! You won't want to miss the sessions throughout the day, where several panelists will be speaking on a variety of topics relevant to writing, publishing, promoting your books, and all things indie.

Indie BookFest 2013 will be held at the Buena Vista Palace in Buena Vista, FL, on August 3rd, 2013 ... just minutes from all the Disney and Universal parks! Everyone attending Indie BookFest 2013 will have access to special room rates while staying at the Buena Vista Palace. Turn this one day event into a fun little getaway and indulge in the sunshine and parks while you are visiting the Orlando area.
Register for Indie BookFest 2013
Sessions, refreshments, morning gourmet coffee bar, lunch, & much more? = $20
Fun hanging out with a great group of your favorite Indie Authors? = PRICELESS!
Eventbrite - Indie BookFest 2013

Not only is Indie BookFest going to be a day filled with a lot of fun and fabulousness, but it will also be a time to come together and help a local organization, A Gift For Teaching. We will be raffling off an AMAZING prize to one lucky winner, so be sure to come prepared to purchase a few tickets, rub a lucky 8 ball, and by doing so, help out local teachers and children in the process!
** Be sure to bring in some school supplies to be entered to win another wonderful prize ... everyone who donates will receive some special Indie BookFest swag!** 
Learn more about the 2013 charity Indie BookFest will be featuring HERE. We hope to see you all on August 3rd in Orlando, it is sure to be a great time!
Indie Bookfest is proud to announce that along with our stellar line up of over 45 indie authors such as: Shelly Crane, Kristie Cook, Tabatha Vargo, Amy Miles, Michelle Madow, Shanora Q. Williams, Quinn Loftis, C.A. Kunz, Tiffany King, G.P. Ching, Rachael Wade, Tawdra Kandle, Sarah Ross, and MANY OTHERS, that Isaac Marion (Author of Warm Bodies) will be a special speaker at the event! 
Eventbrite - Indie BookFest 2013

Be sure to stop by the blog and show your Indie pride and love of books by picking up one of these AWESOME tees! All proceeds go to finance the event! 
(Click on the pictures below to go to the blog to purchase!)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Trstan's in the Next Round!

We're casting our VOTE for TRISTAN KNIGHT from the Soul Savers Series by Kristie Cook AND YOU SHOULD TOO!!! Help support the underdog in the #NACrushTourney by VOTING FOR TRISTAN!!!

We're supporting Tristan 100% in the New Adult Crush Tourney and we need YOUR help by casting a vote! It's easy, only takes a minute. Follow the link below, check out the Advocate post that Lisa from A Life Bound By Books created, including the fan video, then at the bottom of the page cast your VOTE!!!

(Voting closes TODAY - Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 11:59PM EST / 8:59PM PST)

After voting, share that you've voted for Tristan on Facebook and Twitter using the following -

I voted for Tristan Knight in the #NACrushTourney & SO SHOULD YOU!!