Better Off Read: the July Book Round-Up

I feel like I read a LOT in July. Some for work, some for play. Fortunately, most of it was good stuff!

SuffragetteScandalVisions, by Kelley Armstrong (out 8/19, urban fantasy)
Riding the Wave, by Lorelie Brown (contemporary romance)
Mean Streak, by Sandra Brown (out 8/19, romantic suspense)
Have Mercy, by Shelley Ann Clark (erotic romance, e-novella)
Fanning the Flames, by Victoria Dahl (contemporary romance, e-novella)
Truly, by Ruthie Knox (out 8/5, contemporary romance, e-book)
Winning Ruby Heart, by Jennifer Lohmann (out 9/1, contemporary category romance)
Lay it Down, by Cara McKenna (romantic suspense)
Forged By Desire, by Bec McMaster (out 9/2, steampunk/paranormal romance)
The Suffragette Scandal, by Courtney Milan (historical romance)
Never Marry a Viscount, by Anne Stuart (out 9/23, historical romance) *Look for my feature interview with Anne Stuart in the October issue of RT Book Reviews!

My one foray into the backlist was Jackie Collins’ classic Chances, and you better believe I snorted that crack right up. No one does glittery, sweeping, scandalous saga like Collins.

Book What the Cat Dragged In: June Reads

June’s over already? What? I don’t believe you. But here’s here’s what I read during the month that stood out:

SummerRain Wicked Temptation, by Zoë Archer (historical romance)
 What a Duke Dares, by Anna Campbell (out 8/26, historical romance)
 Looking for Trouble, by Victoria Dahl (out 7/29, contemporary romance)
 A Promise By Daylight, by Alison DeLaine (out 8/26, historical romance)
 Witch With No Name, by Kim Harrison (out 9/9, urban fantasy)
*Check out my feature on the Hollows in the September issue of RT Book Reviews.
 The Mark of the Tala, by Jeffe Kennedy (fantasy/romance)
 Summer Rain, by Ruthie Knox, Cecilia Tan and more (contemporary/historical/sci-fi romance anthology)
 Suddenly Last Summer, by Sarah Morgan (out 6/24, contemporary romance)
 Fit, by Rebekah Weatherspoon (erotic romance, e-novella)

In terms of backlist catch-up, I kicked off June by reading Caught in the Act by Jill Sorenson, which I really liked.

Charming Rogue: Why Channing Tatum as Gambit Misses the Mark

I started reading The Uncanny X-Men in the 1990s, swiftly graduating from yoinking my brother’s weekly comic book haul to filling up my own boxes. My first major “X-Men event” was the Extinction Agenda storyline in 1990 and then I followed that into the blue team’s X-Men title and, of course, the 1992 animated series.

GambitsoloWhy am I kicking off with my X-credentials? Well, you know, Fake Geek Girl, etc. Let’s just get that bullshit out of the way. I know my X-titles. I know Gambit. I stole his first real appearance (UXM #266) out of my brother’s box and haven’t given it back. I had at least four Gambit posters on my bedroom wall. I kept his trading card. I had t-shirts. Hell, Gambit and Rogue were one of my LiveJournal icons. Ask me to name my top X-Men and it’s pretty easy: Gambit, Wolverine, Rogue and Jubilee.

So, you can probably understand why I haven’t been a huge fan of the movies — shakier than the ever-changing comic X-canon, poorly written, miscast blockbusters that do no favors to characters I grew up loving. Fox’s X-Men film franchise has been more miss than hit, and the decision to cast Channing Tatum in a Gambit spin-off only furthers the death spiral of a lackluster series. Flash, bang and star power are not the X-Men and — ironically — Gambit’s story, more than anything, is one about how a weakness for pretty faces can spell your doom.

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Book of the Draw: April and May Reads

April and May were such crazy months that I combined my “hot reads” list, for the sake of my sanity. (Such as it is.)

SweetFilthyBoyThe Copper King, by Vivian Arend (erotic paranormal romance, e-novella)
The Broken, by Shelley Coriell (romantic suspense)
Lost, by Laura K. Curtis (romantic suspense, e-book)
Bootie and the Beast, by Falguni Kothari (contemporary romance)
Stranger on the Shore, by Josh Lanyon (romantic suspense, LGBT, e-book)
Sweet Filthy Boy, by Christina Lauren (erotic romance)
Tank, by M. Malone (contemporary romance, e-novella)
Out of the Box, by Audra North (erotic romance, sci-fi, e-short)
The Saint, by Tiffany Reisz (out 6/24, erotic romance)
Collateral, by Roxie Rivera (erotic romance, e-novella)
Beyond Solitude, by Kit Rocha (erotic romance, e-novella)
Beyond Repair, by Charlotte Stein (contemporary romance, e-book)
The Girl in 6E, by A.R. Torre (out 7/8, erotic suspense)

AscensionIn terms of older books, I went on a serious Anne Stuart glom with On Thin Ice, Risk the Night and Shadow Lover. I also zipped through The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho, Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas, The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan and last year’s excellent LGBT sci-fi debut from Jacqueline Koyanagi, Ascension.

Whew. That’s a LOT.

 

No wonder my Kindle chose May 29 to keel over. :/

Game of No: Why Rape is Not the Answer to Your Story Question

Writing a sexual assault into your canon? Take a look at this handy-dandy checklist first:

When is it Okay to Use Rape as a Plot Device?
Never.

And, yet, it persists. So many television shows, both daytime and primetime, revert to rape as a “deep” or “edgy” stunt to move a story forward, reveal a piece of characterization, etc. The latest being HBO’s Game of Thrones. Sonia Saraiya at the AV Club wrote a brilliant takedown of the show’s insistence on changing consensual sex scenes to rape scenes here and there’s not much I can add to that but my anger. And my exhaustion.

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Get the Book Outta Here: March Reads

March put me back on track in terms of reading early and often, and a bigger haul means a bigger selection of gems.

houseofglass

Flying, by Megan Hart (out 4/29, erotic romance)
Three Weeks With Lady X, by Eloisa James (out 3/25, historical romance)
House of Glass, by Sophie Littlefield (out 2/25, mainstream/thriller)
The Lumberfox, by Ava Lovelace (erotic romance, e-book)
Hard Time, by Cara McKenna (out 4/15, erotic contemporary romance, e-book)
Beyond Jealousy, Kit Rocha (erotic romance, e-book)

 

dreamsandshadowsThe Pals’ Pile (aka “Books I liked by friends of mine!”)
The Submission Gift, by Solace Ames (erotic BDSM romance, e-book)
Sweet to the Taste, by Alyssa Cole (erotic romance, e-short)
Dreams & Shadows: Prelude, by Mary B. Rodgers (contemporary romance, e-novella)
Once Upon a Tiger, by Kat Simons (paranormal romance, e-novella)

For my adventures in backlists, I finished Delirium by Lauren Oliver and the Iron Seas novella Wrecked, by Meljean Brook. Both were excellent, and I’m definitely going back to those universes sooner rather than later. I also finished Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinisters story The Heiress Effect, which was so wonderful and well written. And the secondary story features a Bengali lawyer with the last name “Bhattacharya.” !!!!

Quit Being a Twit: a Social Media Tip Sheet

I have been on the Internet for 18 years, used everything from IRC to AOL chatrooms to EGroups to Twitter, and probably made every rookie mistake you can think of in that time. Thus, I figured I would impart some of my hard-won wisdom about engaging on social media. This primarily applies to Twitter, because that’s where I live, but can just as easily be common sense for Facebook, Tumblr, etc.

1. Decide whether you are a company or a person, because those accounts should be approached differently. A business account is solely to promote a company, a brand identity and a product. That is not where you want to post cat videos and bitch about your co-workers. A personal account is more suited to talking about your work in general terms, your fannish peccadillos, grievances and how wasted you got last night.

Vampire-Diaries-drunk

2. Be yourself. If you don’t know who you are, Twitter is not the place to figure it out. Go for a walk. Journal. Make some “RL” friends. But don’t have a journey of self-discovery entirely on the Internet. Because it will be awkward, and the Internet never forgets.

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