Friday, December 13, 2019

Weres Wanna Know: Have you ever read a book because of a negative review?

Every time I scroll through Facebook lately I see the same ad from author Lauren Landish quoting a review that called her latest book, “Vulgar and trashy.” That book is currently a Kindle best seller so I'm not the only who doesn't think trashy sounds like such a bad thing. But also, I'm impressed with the author's ability to embrace the criticism. It can be tough to see someone dislike a book you love. I'm sure it's even harder for the authors. 

We all know in theory that not every book is for every reader. I saw a review on Instagram earlier this year that said something like, "This book was just not for me. It felt like a Victorian Weekend at Bernie’s." And my response was, "That sounds awesome. Sign me up!" But maybe that's just me? I read a three star review recently that said, "I just don't like the Fake Relationship trope." I usually enjoy it so that wasn't a bad review at all for me.

As a reviewer, I take some comfort in all of this. I often feel a little bit guilty writing a negative review so I'm going to try to keep in mind that I might actually be selling someone on the book. But I honestly can't think of a time when it happened. My really bad reviews tend to be more like "it was badly written" or "the protagonist was unlikable" and I'm not sure how that would be a selling point. So this all has me wondering:

Have you ever read a book because of a negative review?

We’re participating in the 2019 Discussion Challenge hosted by It Starts at Midnight and Feed Your Fiction Addiction. Check out all the December discussions!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

We Love Lists: Gretl's Best Books of the Decade

So it turns out making a Top Ten of the Decade list is easier than making one for a single year. It also happens that I started reading seriously in 2010, so these might be my favorite books of all time. These are books that blew my mind, kicked my ass, or made me reread over and over. 

In most cases, I included links to reviews or Read This F-ing Book posts so you can take this trip down memory lane with me.

Fair Game (Alpha and Omega #3) by Patricia Briggs
Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop

Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels #5.5) by Ilona Andrews

Of Silk and Steam (London Steampunk #5) by Bec McMaster

The Kraken King (Iron Seas #4) by Meljean Brook

Dirty Magic (Prospero's War #1) by Jaye Wells 

Burn For Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews

Pale Demon (The Hollows #9) by Kim Harrison

Heart of Obsidian (Psy-Changeling #12) by Nalini Singh

Wicked as She Wants (Blud #2) by Delilah S Dawson

How many of these have you read?

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Review: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

A Madness of Sunshine
Nalini Singh
Release: December 3, 2019
Goodreads Amazon
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh welcomes you to a remote town on the edge of the world where even the blinding brightness of the sun can’t mask the darkness that lies deep within a killer…
On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates.
That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement not to look back. But they can’t run from the past forever.

Eight years later, a beautiful young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.

It’s not long before the dark past collides with the haunting present and deadly secrets come to light.

During much of my teen years, I read almost exclusively thrillers and romantic suspense novels because that's the genre my small community library had the most of. I loved them! But by the time I was a junior in high school, I was burnt out on them. Since then I've maybe read one or two a year which is sad now that I think about it.

When I heard that Nalini Singh was writing a thriller, I could barely contain my excitement but I was a bit wary as well. I'm still really tired of the young beautiful woman gets murdered as a start to the plot of a thriller and that what I got from the synopsis. I shouldn't have been worried. Everything I love about Nalini Singh's storytelling in her paranormal books were present in this book.

I don't want to say a lot about the book because I think the experience will be better if you go into the story semi-blind. I will say that the characters felt real. Nalini Singh added her signature touch to all the usual thriller characters like the town gossip, the jaded detective, the angry and hurt heroine, and the untrusting locals.  I loved the small romance subplot so much! It added to the mystery and made the book even more enjoyable for me. 

I loved the setting so much! The description of this small town in a remote part of New Zealand makes me want to go visit and she totally captured the atmosphere of a small town even if it was a bit gloomy and distrustful because of certain events. I also loved the elements of Maori culture in the book! It made the setting even more richer which I didn't think would be possible. As for the mystery, this was more of a slow burn thriller but I was kept guessing until the very end.

If you're looking for something different to your usual romance or SFF fare like me, I can't recommend picking up this book enough. Nalini Singh has resparked my interest in the thriller genre enough that I'll definitely be looking for more to add to my reading list for next year.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

  4 / 5 Stars

Monday, December 9, 2019

Review: Nevermore by J.C. McKenzie

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(Raven Crawford #2)
J.C. McKenzie
Release: November 25, 2019
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
Rundown waitress, part-time private investigator, and half-fae shifter, Raven Crawford, always gets the opposite of what she wants most. She works two jobs but can’t pay the bills. Her confrontation with Queen Lloth has unexpected and unfortunate consequences, and her love life is a hot mess.

With failure and disappointment honed to painful perfection, Raven’s life is riddled with complications, including her troublesome attraction to the lethal Lord of Shadows. When her latest case leads to a group hell-bent on destruction, she must decide who to trust. Will she choose wisely, or will she fail once again and become the next casualty in a war between the Mortal Realm and the Underworld?

I'm liking the Raven Crawford series so far, but I really wish I could love it. The supernatural PI is an Urban Fantasy staple, but it's also one of my Favorite Things. And Raven seems to spend more time on PI work in this book than she did in the first one. She's working two different cases, though both involve regular humans. Parts of those cases even feel ripped from the headlines as we learn more about the anti-supernatural hate groups in Raven's city.

On the Supernatural front, Raven is now Queen of the Underworld having killed the previous queen. But she's not doing any ruling, just slowly learning to use her new powers while her boyfriend Cole covers for her. I like the fact that their relationship is growing but I'm not 100% comfortable with the power imbalance. It makes Raven feel too child-like. I'm hoping that as the series continues, their relationship will become more equal.

I'm also curious about how Raven might reconcile her mostly human past with her supernatural future. I'm looking forward to learning more about the underworld and the rest of the mythology as the series progresses. And I'd like to see more of Raven's twin brother Bear. I enjoy the supporting characters in the series and the mythology is an interesting blend of Norse and Fae. Overall, I feel like the series has great potential, it's just not quite living up to it yet.


My reviews of other books in this series:
Conspiracy of Ravens

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Really Short Review: The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

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The Blacksmith Queen
(The Scarred Earth Saga #1)
G.A. Aiken
Release: August 27, 2019
Goodreads Amazon
When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken.  

The Old King Is Dead

With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals. 

Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned …

I was expecting The Blacksmith Queen to be a Fantasy Romance. While it does have a compelling romance plot, the multiple POVs make it feel more like a Tolkien-style adventure. The dragons, dwarves, and elves help give that impression too. The tone is is light, though. And family is more important to these characters than the found family you expect to find on a quest together.

As the title suggests, Aiken has fun subverting stereotypes. The plain, bookish girl is not the princess heroine and the role of Drunk Uncle is played by a female cousin. Even the love of family Keeley and Caid share is the opposite of the usual fairytale characters. They both have two living, non-evil parents along with assorted siblings.

I really enjoyed The Blacksmith Queen, but the ending is very much a "to be continued." I’m looking forward to finding out what’s next.


Library Love Challenge
37 books/ 12 goal

Monday, December 2, 2019

Month in Review: November 2019

Is it just me, or is November the craziest month? I had my daughter's birthday, then a birthday party  and a Friendsgiving before I even got to the Thanksgiving mess. At this point, I wouldn't be sad if you told me I don't have to bake anything ever again. It's usually a terrible month for reading too, though this year wasn't so bad.

Here's what the Weres were up to in November:

Check out our November Book Hauls!


Rose Red

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Kindle Unlimited
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Rose Red
Backlist Books


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Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
The Royal Bodyguard by Lindsay Emory
The Firefighter's Cinderella by Sonia Weiss

We Love Lists
Books Rose Red Wants to Read Before 2020

Our Most Anticipated December releases:

Dec 3
A Madness of Sunshine42351996. sy475
A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh
Wicked Hour (Heirs of Chicagoland #2) by Chloe Neill
Reverie by Ryan La Sala

Dec 10
A Delicate Deception (Regency Imposters #3) by Cat Sebastian
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