Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Finished Series I Haven’t Finished Reading

I love Tuesdays (or as my son has taken to calling them, Scooby-doos-day). It’s the day I don’t have to do daycare drop-off and can leisurely enjoy a cup of coffee at work. It’s the day one one of my favorite podcasts releases a new episode, and of course, it’s the day for The Broke and the Bookish‘s fun weekly meme: Top Ten Tuesday.

This week’s theme feels tailor-made for me. As much as I love losing myself in series, there are so many I’ve started and can’t quite finish. I rarely read them in order, especially if they’ve been out for a while, and, thanks to my love of spoilers, I’ve been guilty of starting at the end more times than I care to admit. Here are a few series I haven’t managed to finish yet, am holding off wrapping up for one reason or another, or will never ever complete.

Top Ten Tuesday

1. Jackson: Girl’s Night Out by Victoria Dahl
I started with the last book in this series,Taking the Heat, and loved it so much that I went back and purchased the prequel novella. My journey to complete this series is currently underway.

2. The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
As much as I wanted to enjoy Divergent, it just didn’t happen. I’ll have to content myself with watching Theo James as Four on the big screen.

3. The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
I just started this trilogy thanks to a recently released omnibus and plug on NPR’s Book Concierge. I’m totally in love. It’s brilliant, funny, escapist high fantasy and I’m already lost in the world of Sky.

Cover: I Loved a Rogue4. The Prince Catchers by Katharine Ashe
Started with the last book in this trilogy and just haven’t moved the rest up my TBR pile yet!

5. Rogues of the Sea by Katharine Ashe
Started this series in the middle–just to keep things interesting–and although seafaring romance isn’t usually my thing, I’ll make an exception from time to time, especially when it’s for Katharine Ashe.

6. The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy by Tessa Dare
As much as I adored Goddess of the Hunt, I wasn’t in any hurry to spend more time with Sophia. I’m sure she’s a fully realized character in Surrender of a Siren, but I found her a little too meek and biddable to be interesting in Goddessespecially when held up against Lucy. That said, I did end up reading A Lady of Persuasion, just to see how poor, beautiful Toby would end up. Dare did not disappoint.

7. The Stud Club Trilogy by Tessa Dare
This is probably my least favorite Dare series, and I think it might have something to do with the publisher. The Stud Club Trilogy was published by Ballantine Books, and I felt as though the first two books could have used a heavier editorial hand. Dare is always a lovely writer, but something about the storylines felt a bit clunky. I have the third book in the series and will read it eventually, just not any time soon.

8. The Affairs by Moonlight Trilogy by Juliana Gray
A Lady Never Lies is amazing, y’all. There’s an unwanted house party of circumstance, car racing, and a duke running naked through the forest. In fact, after writing this, I’m prompted to move this entire trilogy up my TBR pile.

9. The Bachelor Chronicles by Elizabeth Boyle
I actually don’t know if this is a completed series (Mad About the Major was just released earlier this summer), but I’ve danced around these books for the past year. I love being able to read them out of order as I find them at the library.

Season for Surrender10. Holiday Pleasures by Theresa Romain
Because these are set around Christmastime, I’m holding off reading the last two books in the series until the temperatures fall below 40. I highly recommend starting with Season for Surrender if you love a good rake + bookworm love story.


Libraries and Romance Novels, Part 1: Self-published Books

More often than not, my professional life as an academic librarian and my love-of-books life as a romance novel reviewer and blogger intersect. That happened earlier this week when I stumbled across two different pieces–an academic journal article and a blog post–that brought together these two worlds. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about them here or on my blog about librarianship, but I thought this might be a nice place to start. I’m focusing today on one of those works, the blog post, below, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

As I was scrolling through one of my favorite librarian groups on Facebook earlier this week, I noticed a link to Why Librarians Don’t Want Your Self-Published Book, originally published and written by Molly Weta, blogger at Wrapped up in Books last week. Molly makes a straightforward case for her reluctance to add self-published books to her library, which is primarily about the time, money, and the effort needed to vet, acquire, catalog, and process self-published books. The availability of independently published ebooks on Overdrive via Smashwords makes it (debatably) easier for libraries to share these works with patrons, but she still feels as though print poses a problem.

As a librarian I’m well aware of the stressors on our time, limitations of shelf space, and the need to build a collection that meets the needs of library users. But as a public library patron, a reader, and a romance novel reviewer, I’m know that some of the best authors in romance, and some of my favorite authors in the genre, are all indie-authors. Obviously Courtney Milan and Grace Burrowes immediately come to mind, but I’ve also greatly enjoyed recent works by Michelle Boule and Sandra Schwab, both of whom self-publish. I was pleasantly surprised to find Milan and Burrowes’ books on the shelf (and in Overdrive!) at my local public library. I think the romance community’s very vocal authors, readers, reviewers, and bloggers are at the cutting edge of incorporating self-published works into libraries and promoting them to a wide audience. That said, I will admit to being hesitant about agreeing to unsolicited book review requests. I can’t guarantee that I’ll like the book in question, and I don’t know if the requestor is only interested in positive press. I’m much more inclined to pick up work by a self-published author if I’ve communicated with them on Twitter, or if they explicitly state that all reviews–even negative ones–are welcome. Thankfully, that’s more often been the case with many of the indie-authors I’ve met.

The blogger mentioned above manages young adult (YA) and graphic novel collections for children and adults. I don’t know a great deal about publishing in those genres, but perhaps they might not have the same robust self-publishing / indie-publishing community found in romance. I know that a lot of romance bloggers are librarians, a lot of librarians are romance readers, and more than a fare number of romance authors are library users (and librarians, too!). So I’m curious about your thoughts on incorporating self-published works in libraries, particularly in the romance genre.

  • Librarians: To what extent do we have an obligation to highlight the voices of independent authors and publishers? If the primary focus is meeting the needs of our users, and our users want self-published romance, shouldn’t we be making it more readily available?
  • Indie-authors: How do you approach your local (or not-so-local) libraries about incorporating your books? What’s worked for you? What’s surprised you?
  • Readers, reviewers, and bloggers: Do you want to see these self-published romance novels at your public library? Do you work to incorporate them into collections?

Happy Women’s Equality Day!

Today’s the day to celebrate some seriously badass ladies. 95 years ago today women were granted the right to vote in the U.S. when the 19th Amendment was certified into law. Check out these amazing feminists from the Flickr Commons Archive:

What does this have to do with romance novels? Quite a bit, in my opinion. I read romance novels for love and sex and angst and escape, but I also read them because they feature some of my favorite heroines in literature. Women in romance novels are strong, interesting, complex, and multi-dimensional, and the women who write these fascinating heroines are some of the smartest ladies I’ve ever encountered.

So celebrate Women’s Equality Day today by picking up your favorite feminist romance novel and giving it another read. I’m leaning towards The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan for obvious reasons. What will you be reading today? Who are your favorite feminist heroines in romance?

Review: When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare

When a Scot Ties the Knot (book cover)

As you now know, Tessa Dare is on my author auto-buy list. I will pre-order anything with her name on it and anxiously await the day it magically shows up on my Kindle. She could write a love story between a linen napkin and a teacup and I would devour what would likely be their witty, beverage-related banter for hundreds of pages. That said, I was so excited to get my hands on an advanced reader’s copy of her latest Castles Ever After release, When a Scot Ties the KnotIt’s out TODAY, so head on over to your favorite print or ebook seller and buy it already.

PurchaseHarperCollinsAmazon |  Barnes and Noble |  iTunes  | Google Play

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Harpy Illustration

Review: Storm in the Mountains

Storm in the Mountains

Title: Storm in the Mountains
Series: Turning Creek, Book 2
Author: Michelle Boule
Purchase: Amazon, Google Play, Kobo, Nook, AllRomance

I’m a big fan of Michelle Boule’s Turning Creek series. It’s quite the departure from my usual historical romance reads, but it brings together two genres that have a special place in my heart. Her unlikely pairing of fantasy and history makes for surprisingly refreshing romance with an undercurrent of mystery. It’s a style that I love and falls squarely in my comfort reading camp. So take out your favorite blanket, pour yourself your best loved brew, and get ready to fall in love.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My Auto-buy Authors

I’ve decided to join the Top Ten Tuesday bandwagon! This weekly feature/meme was created by the wonderful reviewers at The Broke and the Bookish and is a way for you, dear readers, to better know your bloggers. Each week brings a different theme to a top-ten list, and this week’s theme is Auto-buy Authors, those well-loved contemporary writers whose books you always pre-order, one-click, and download without even reading the synopsis.

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Review: Dancing in the Duke’s Arms

Dancing in the Duke's Arms

Title: Dancing in the Duke’s Arms (novella compilation)
Authors: Carolyn Jewel, Shana Galen, Miranda Neville, Grace Burrowes
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

I used to have two very silly, spoiled, and yes, adorable Pomeranian pups that enjoyed the occasional romp in our local dog park. One strange day we set them loose at the grounds only to discover that there were 5 other Pomeranians at the park at that moment (with one very sad Chihuahua in the mix). Another dog owner (ok, me) exclaimed with the crazy-eyed joy of a ridiculous-pet-parent, “Oh my god, it’s like Pomerania! Pomeranians in the wild! Pomeranians everywhere!”

So apparently there is this magical place in 19th century England that is the equivalent of that moment, only with DUKES. That place is The Dukeries, a concentration of ducal estates in one area of Nottinghamshire. It’s the setting for Dancing in the Duke’s Arms, the latest novella compilation by romance lovelies Grace Burrowes, Carolyn Jewel, Miranda Neville and Shana Galen. Dancing is basically the matrimonial equivalent of Oprah’s Favorite Things. YOU GET A DUKE! AND YOU GET A DUKE! EVERYBODY GET’S A DUKE! So yeah, I would have purchased this collection immediately had I not been given a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Who doesn’t love a good duke story (or four)?

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