What Do You Think About Book Reviews?

Leave a review, please review, why are my reviews disappearing, starred reviews. It seems every other author discussion lately has been about reviews. But do we ask the READERS what they think about them?

I also asked this in my FB group, because so many authors look at this one way without wondering how readers look at this. As an author, we know how important reviews are for visibility. We also know getting readers to review our work is like pulling teeth out of a lion’s mouth. But why is it so hard?

As an author, maybe it would help to understand what’s the disconnect between readers and leaving reviews. So here’s something easier than a review–a poll–where you can voice your opinion about voicing your opinion.

A Twitter Milestone means it’s Giveaway time!

I’VE REACHED 120 FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER!

Giveaway time! I will randomly pick one entry from the comments on Twitter and in my FB Group. Yes, that means 2 winners, and 2 chances to win. Giveaway ends 5/17/19 11:59 ET

Owen & Makayla 3: Cover Reveal

Seventy-Two Hours Too Long--Buy Now

Cover Reveal! So, Valentine’s Day is not my favorite day. Even though I write love stories. Romance to me is not about being obligated to buy your loved one a card or chocolates (although those things are nice), it’s about how you feel and show your feelings to that loved one throughout the year for as long as you’re together, especially through the hard times.

So I feel like this reveal is apropos. “Seventy-Two Hours Too Long” follows Owen and Makayla as they make their relationship work through Owen’s impending trial. But Devon, silent yet annoying business partner, wants Owen locked away for good. With the trial date getting closer, will Devon pressure Owen into confessing? Can Owen and Makayla’s relationship survive the pressure? And what is Veronica doing here after all these years?

It’s love story at its core, but it’s love swirling in a dark and sinister cloud. Perfect for Valentine’s Day. *wink* AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW, RELEASE DATE 2/26/2019

Available for pre-order at most eBook retailers. Check back here if you don’t see your retailer today. Some take 72 hours (no pun intended!) to make available.

TV to Inspire: Shows I Watch

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine requested  that I send her a list of all the shows I watch. At the time, I was watching a show that she fell in love with (can’t remember what that show was?? Anyway), and I guess she thought I had interesting tastes in TV.

Well, I finally got around to creating this list. I pick my TV mostly by what I like in general: I’m a superhero nerd, I’m a writer, I love love stories, I love to laugh, and I like dramatic action. The TV shows I watch give me inspiration for some of my stories, motivation to work on my crafting projects, and some great new music for playlists (I Soundhound a lot while watching TV) among other things.

Here’s a good sampling of many of the shows I watch right now, categorized by my interests/likes. Some of these fall into duplicate categories, but I’ll only list them once. These are in no particular order.

Regularly Watching

Dramas (aka “Good Stories” or “Good Writing”)

  • Ozark
  • Manifest
  • How To Get Away With Murder
  • For the People
  • Succession
  • The Good Fight
  • The Bold Type
  • Queen Sugar –from the book Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile: This is here, and not in the TV from a Book section, because I fell in love with this show for the show itself. I didn’t read the book or have an appreciation for the book before I watched the show. Also, the cinematography is amazing (can’t get that in a book).
  • Black Love –Love what I have seen so far, just need to add it to my queue to keep watching.
  • Ballers
  • All-American

Action Shows/DIY shows (My “Weekend DIY Girl” side)

  • The Rookie
  • Blindspot
  • Legacies
  • This Old House
  • P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home
  • Growing a Greener World
  • For Your Home
  • Design on a Dime
  • Ask This Old House
  • Black Lightning (Honorable Mention– interest waning in season 2)

TV From Books (The “Nerd Bunch”)

  • Younger –from Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran
  • You –from You by Caroline Kepnes
  • The Flash –from the comic book series (DC)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale –from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Marvel’s Runaways –from the comic book series (Marvel)
  • Marvel’s Jessica Jones –from the comic book series (Marvel)
  • Marvel’s Luke Cage –from the comic book series (Marvel)
  • Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger –from the comic book series (Marvel)
  • The Gifted–from the X-Men and EXiles comic book series (Marvel)
  • Outlander –from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
  • Supergirl –from the comic book series (DC)

TV from TV

  • Homeland –from Israeli drama series Prisoners of War (2009)
  • Charmed (2018) –from Charmed (1998)

Guilty Pleasures (aka “The Ratchet (the correct word is Wretched!) Bunch”)

  • The Real Housewives of Atlanta
  • The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
  • Vanderpump Rules
  • UnReal
  • Empire
  • Star
  • Claws

When I Need a Laugh

  • Grown-ish (Black-ish gets an Honorable Mention. I’m not really a regular watcher)
  • Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Insecure

Reruns I Keep Re-running

  • Star Trek: TNG
  • Star Trek: Voyager
  • Star Trek: DS9
  • Scandal
  • House
  • Living Single

Sporadically Watching/TBW

Upcoming Shows/Shows on my “To Watch” List

(They interest me, but I have yet to really dive in and put them as my favs.)

  • Game of Thrones–This is kind of like The Sopranos for me (see below). I missed the initial hype, and it’s almost slipping away (last season). It looks like it might be my kind of thing, but I don’t know. The 1st book is in my TBR pile as well.
  • Black Mirror
  • Atlanta
  • Harlots
  • Pose— Only 2 episodes in so far
  • Bosch
  • Killing Eve
  • Good Girls
  • Dietland–I’m trying here, for my sisters (the BBW club)
  • Good Trouble–new series
  • Star Trek Discovery –on principle, I don’t like what CBS is doing with its All-Access platform, and this show had issues in production, but I am a Trekkie, so I have to check it out. Plus, it got a Season 2, so…
  • A Million Little Things –see “This is Us” (below). Trying to get past the 1st ep. crying spell.
  • The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Also, I thought these two categories would be pretty cool:

Shows that a lot of people like, that I don’t/didn’t watch (& why)*

  • Stranger Things* — Aliens? meh. Trying to get convinced to add it to my queue, but I haven’t yet, so it stays here.
  • TrueBlood — The books are so much better and richer when it comes to story. HBO went overboard on the shock value and forgot the story. Also, one of the fun Easter Egg/tropes in the books couldn’t be repeated on screen because of fan response.
  • This is Us* — Watched 3 episodes, cried uncontrollably, can’t go back.
  • Grey’s Anatomy* — Got invested too late, couldn’t stay invested.
  • The Walking Dead* — I don’t do zombies. I don’t do much horror. (“Legacies” is hanging on by a thread with their latest episodes)
  • The Sopranos — Missed the hype. Not sure I want to go back now that it’s over.
  • Being Mary Jane (Is this one over?)* — ditto Sopranos
  • The Haves and Have-Nots* — Too soap-opera-y for me. Plus, I never got invested.

*still running as of Jan 2019

Shows that I wish weren’t canceled/that created a “ShowHole” even though they ran their course

  • Mistresses –from the BBC series Mistresses (2008): It was going off the rails, but the fact that it’s gone created a summer “showhole” for me. If they had kept the show in LA where Alyssa Milano could stay on, this might still be running.
  • Devious Maids –Created a fun-bingewatch “showhole” in the summer for me, but it was starting to lose it.
  • Sleepy Hollow –I wish this wasn’t canceled, but I totally agree with why. Google all the controversy about it. I’m totally with fellow fans on this one.
  • Fringe — Went off the rails, but I still miss it!
  • The Originals –obviously a vampire show can only go for so long, but I miss this one! Legacies can’t fill this showhole.
  • Reign –the CW didn’t really give this one a chance (same with The Coven–Although, I’m glad most of those actors got other roles in some great CW shows.)
  • Gossip Girl –I miss the drama and love-relationship aspects. And Ed Westwick. But if there was a good adult version of this, I wouldn’t mind–The show itself ran its course. (same for One Tree Hill and The O.C.)
  • The Client ListClaws fills this showhole nicely, but I do wish I knew what happened! I need closure!
  • Girlfriends –I still need closure.

What are some of your favorite shows? What more should I be watching?

Note: This is one person’s ginormously uncontrollable TV habit. It is by no means indicative of anyone sane.  Seriously though, I was not paid to mention, endorse (or disparage) any specific TV show, network, or TV streaming service. This is merely my opinion about TV shows and commentary on my personal choices.

 

#MyTinderSeries, a blog about…love?

Recently, it has been made painfully obvious to me that I am a hypocrite. (This might have been a self-revelation, but still.) I read about love–I always have at least 1 romance or WF with romantic elements in my “currently reading” list on Goodreads. I write about love–my first published story was a romance. And I love writing about love: people finding love, people falling in love, people messing up in love. It’s my thing. But I am not in love, at least not right now. (My infatuation with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson doesn’t count, I’m told.) Hasn’t been a priority on my agenda, either. I was told that had to change.

So, I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts about my experience on Tinder, the sort-of newest hot dating app, and everything surrounding this little venture.  Um, sorry no X- ( or even R-rated) stuff here, folks. No name dropping, either–unless I’m given permission. But there will probably be a lot of blunders, a few frustrations, some straight up comedy, and maybe, dare I say…love? Who knows. But it’s sure to be fun. Join me!

Friday Fun Review of “My Favorite Half-Night Stand”

My Favorite Half-Night StandMy Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This the first novel I’ve read by Christina Lauren (writing duo Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings), but I have had Dating You / Hating You on my TBR list for 2 YEARS. Who knew I would love these ladies’ books so much? Why have I waited all this time! It was a coincidence that I came to read this book in the first place. So glad it happened, though. (Long story involving a mis-tweet, a comp title, and a lucky library visit.)

Premise/Overall
In any case, I’m here, and I loved it! I loved it so much that I could see a Netflix Movie made from it! It’s steamy, funny, poignant at times, and appealed to my nerd side.

Because I can’t seem to explain the premise correctly, I’ll let them do it. [from Goodreads] “Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single. So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Millie and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic. Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter ‘Catherine’—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon ‘Catherine’ and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.”

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Characters
All of the ensemble has their funny moments, and you will love all of them because they’re so relate-able. But this is Millie and Reid’s show. This is a dual 1st person POV Millie/Reid. Millie is great at wrangling the guys in, but horrible at handling herself. Reid is the all-American guy, and one of those impossible combos of All-American hunk who’s super nerdy. It’s like a Clark Kent/Superman kind of deal but at the same time. Alex and Ed are comic relief, but together they are like the Odd Couple—one goofy and emotional, the other a straight man. Chris is the only one that’s ever been married out of the group and is pretty secretive. I would say he’s probably the most grounded of the gang. You know them, you’ve seen them, you love them. That is all.

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The story/The sex/The movie potential
I can’t overstate how much this would be PERFECT as a Netflix rom-com movie. (JUST DON’T TOUCH THE DIALOGUE! It’s ridiculously funny and spot on!) You can say the F-word there, you can do the sexy stuff there, and lately as most of us Netflixers know, they are doing a lot of good Rom-Com movies. I’ve already got a potential cast below.
This is a great story line with a female protagonist emotional arc that is so #WomensFiction but is also delivering the erotic romance heat that we love. This is not your grandma’s romance story: there’s is at least 3 scenes worth of open-door sex. Not crazy graphic, but still steamy. Plus, these are a bunch of dudes and Millie hanging out, talking about hookups and such, so potty mouths abound. If you’re not hung up on that, then this is an awesome story. I read it in 1 DAY. And I’m a slow reader. Just get it, already. Geez.

Actor WishList for “My Favorite Half- Night Stand” (1st actor listed is my 1st choice where there’s more than one.)
Millie
— Lucy Hale or Leighton Meester
Reid —Miles Teller or Zac Efron. (Henry Cavil, only because I’m getting a Clark Kent/Superman vibe from Reid as I write this.)
Ed —Seth Rogen. (He’s been nicknamed a few times in this book, but he called himself a pasty Seth Rogen, and that stuck with me)
Chris — Kofi Siriboe or Jay Ellis
Alex —Manny Montana or Ismael Cruz Cordova (except Alex doesn’t have green eyes, and Ismael’s green eyes are smokin’ hot.)
Reid’s Mom — Debra Jo Rupp
Reid’s Dad —Ed O’Neill

If you’ve read this one, what do you think about the movie cast? Comment below.

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Free on Amazon: “Twenty-Four Hours of Freedom”

“TWENTY-FOUR HOURS OF FREEDOM” IS NOW FREE ON AMAZON!

If you haven’t gotten a copy because you don’t want to mess with the steps of adding a .mobi file, now you can download straight from Amazon! And it’s free! Huzzah! 😁😁😁

Click here to find out about “Twenty-Four Hours of Freedom”

Friday Fun Review of “The Awakening of Ivy Leavold”

The Awakening of Ivy Leavold (Markham Hall, #1)To see spoiler content, head over to this review on Goodreads.

The Awakening of Ivy Leavold by Sierra Simone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How did I get here? Researching romance author websites for inspiration on what to do with my own led me to Sierra Simone’s site, and to her limited-time giveaway of this book.
This took me two days to read only because I had to put it down for adulting time. I usually don’t read historicals, and I’ve lately been turned off by the virginal woman/rich older guy pairing. But I 5-starred the first book I read by Sierra Simone, Misadventures of a Curvy Girl, so I thought this was a safe bet. Turned out to be an entertaining historical romantic suspense. Now of course, I have to have all 4 books.
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The Premise: Nineteen-year old Ivy Leavold is now alone in the world, homeless, and being sent to live with her late cousin Violet’s widower, Julian Markham. Pretty, young girl; rich, handsome dude living in a dark, shadowy mansion? No need to read further; we know how this is going to go, right? Wrong.

The Setting: I usually read contemporary, so I don’t mention the setting, but here I feel I should. This is a historical novel set in England in 1879. The women are wearing gowns and chemises and corsets, people are riding in open-faced horse-drawn carriages or walking, and the mention of the Prince of Wales is NOT Princes William and Harry’s dad. This plays a part in my review.

The characters: This is told from Ivy’s POV, and her POV is a refreshing one. She’s down-to-earth, a mixture of high-society and sassiness, virginal, but somewhat knowledgeable about sex. And this is where the time period comes into play. What made this character believable was that it’s 1879. A virgin who hasn’t been taught about sex except for the unholy lesson or two from her worldly cousin makes sense. In a contemporary novel, I would find this eye-rolling and fake. Here, it works. Plus, her out-of-line sassiness, her constant mentions of her church teachings (v. what she’s actually doing), her upbringing/genes v. others, and her station in life—if she doesn’t stay with Markham, she’s going to have to work *gasp*–are all believable and don’t come off as overdone or hokey. If she were acting like that in 2019, I would have been like “Get a Life, girl!” and put this book down. But I appreciate her more for this mix of personality traits in 1879.

Mr. Markham is in his 30s, not a settle-down type but not really a playboy (that’s his friend Silas—who I’d love to see get his own book! I like to see a charmer get knocked off his feet by a self-assured woman). He’s a bottled-up guy with a tendency to be rough. My first thought was, this guy’s a Dom, or at least a bit kinky. But I pulled back a little on that because again it’s 1879, and men treated women like helpless pets who need to be cared for and scolded when misbehaving. It gives the novel that edge that keeps you wondering. And then there’s the mysterious death (or more??) surrounding him. It will be interesting to see what others thought about him.

There are a lot of other characters that I loved and loved to hate. I can’t wait to see how some of them figure into the story in books 2-4. They are the ones that make you feel like this could totally be a movie.
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The story/The sex/Overall: Confirmation that Curvy Girl wasn’t a fluke: Sierra Simone knows how to write a sex scene! She has the right mix of sensation, emotion, and physical description to keep you reading and interested. I never once had to go back and wonder if I missed something. Even in the (view spoiler). This is how a romance novel should read.

And again like Curvy Girl, there’s real story outside of the sex scenes. This is definitely a romantic suspense. There’s shadowy Markham, mysterious death, lots of gossip, police investigations. And not just thrown together with a predictable ending, either. I am still trying to figure out some things that I know will not reveal themselves until Book 4. And while you get an HFN—which is a must for a romance novel—you know there’s more to the story and you want to read on. All of the series is on my TBR list.

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An Instagram Milestone means it’s Giveaway time!

I’VE REACHED 100 FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER!

Giveaway time! I will randomly pick one entry from the comments on Instagram and in my FB Group. Yes, that means 2 winners, and 2 chances to win. Giveaway ends 6/2/2019 11:59 ET

Reveal – of sorts – for my upcoming novel

So you say you like hot guys? Well, there are two in my upcoming debut women’s fiction novel, Living Between Dreams. And today on Twitter, I revealed who would play them if LBD (my pet name for this novel) ever becomes a movie. So if you don’t follow me on Twitter, but you’re curious, check it out below!

And yes, I do the #bemyLI Twitter challenge most weeks. I also do the #1linewed challenge where I reveal lines from Living Between Dreams. I am so excited to share this novel with you that I can’t help it! It’s been a long process, but a good one.

If you’d rather not know, then…. Spoiler alert? Is that a thing in this case? well, whatever. Enjoy!

Friday Fun Review of “Misadventures of a Curvy Girl”

To view the spoiler content, head to Goodreads. 

 

Misadventures of a Curvy GirlMisadventures of a Curvy Girl by Sierra Simone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, can it be I just starred this and went on my merry way? I was all in my feelings about this one!
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The premise: Ireland heads out from the city to rural Kansas to take some photos for a KS Chamber of Commerce promo campaign. She meets Caleb and Ben, roommates who are attracted to her and want more than just to help her get some photos… Oh, and did I mention that Ireland is plus-sized?

The characters: I love Ireland! She is multifaceted, emotional, spontaneous, loves who she is (even while she is insecure about how others feel), and isn’t afraid to flaunt. As a plus-sized woman myself, she speaks to me as a woman who is comfortable in her own skin, but super aware of how she thinks others perceive her. Not all curvy women are either super-accepting, or super-insecure about their bodies. For 90% of us it’s a journey, and it’s constantly being affected by what we are taught, our environments, and our own self-acceptance. I like that we’re catching her kind of in the middle of that and that (view spoiler).

The first hero we meet is Caleb, all-American nice guy farmer with an emotional side. I absolutely loved him at first. I also kind of didn’t like Ben at first, either.

Ben’s ex-military, PTSD, somewhat of a Dom attitude (this is NOT BDSM, his tendencies just remind me of some Dom tendencies). But then Sierra Simone gave Ben his first chapter in his voice. And I fell in love with Ben more than Caleb. So even though this is not a triangle, I was #TeamBen. He’s messy and commanding, and messed up, and loveable all at the same time. That’s attractive to me. Caleb’s more of a puppy dog–cute and cuddly, and understanding. Put them together and you’ve got the perfect guy.

The Plot (aka The Sex): So, I came to this title (or was reminded about this title) after I went to a writing workshop where the presenter (author Naima Simone) mentioned that “Sierra Simone knows how to write a sex scene!” I’m always looking for someone who really knows what they’re doing when it comes to a sex scene, because I always feel like I need help in this area of my writing (I do a lot of fade-to-black, and that’s part of the reason). When I found out Sierra wrote this book, I remembered it was on my TBR list. Fate. I had to read it.
After a few chapters where I was seriously uncomfy at my desk at the office (in a very public place with a lot of dudes), I posted on Insta, “Do Not attempt to read this at work. You will burst into flames and catch your desk on fire.” It is that hot. Some people were disappointed there was no M/M sex, but I’m glad there wasn’t. I wanted everything–especially the sex–to be about affirming Ireland. And they did. A lot. Um yeah.
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What I wasn’t expecting was the rest of the story being so wonderful. It wasn’t just a pause between moments of sex, it was a full story. And not just for Ireland and her weight concerns. We saw an arc for Ben, we saw the town characters, we saw how people deal with intolerance. It made you cry and laugh and feel sexy and satisfied. And I had high expectations going in. This surpassed them.

Preferences/Reservations/Overall: My one sticking point is the “throuple” but I want to make it clear, this is MY issue NOT the author or the story (hence the 5 stars). If you read the blurb, it is clear this romance is a threesome and not a love triangle. I knew that going in. I guess because I immediately identified with Ireland, I was disappointed in the fact that this is the relationship she ended up with. Why? Because it’s not a conventional coupling. I’m okay with a throuple in general, but here, I wanted to show that yes, even a plus-sized woman can have the relationship that the magazines and the TV shows talk about: the rich tall buff guy doesn’t always have to get the skinny, movie-star gorgeous girl. Sometimes that guy wants the voluptuous chick with the streak of purple hair. I got over myself for Ireland, Caleb, and Ben, because this works here. But I still think even more envelope-pushing in our society would be to have a Rebel Wilson-type end up with a Chris Hemsworth-type in a penthouse in Manhattan. A throuple would be reasoned away “as something weird, anyway.” Again, just me.
Overall– this was a scorcher romance that spoke to me on so many levels! It checks all the boxes. Made me sing some Drake afterwards.
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