opinion, Thoughts

Things that bother Harlie in the blogging/book world

Are you bored with me yet?  Wish I was reviewing more in the summer?  Tired of just a regular old blog post instead of the usual stuff?  Tough.  I told yall that I was going to blog more about stuff, rather it is personal or what I have found out in the 10 years since I started blogging.

Today I thought I would share with you why don’t read certain types of books and what completely turns me off, regardless of the author.

I’m a category reader.  There, I admitted it.  The tropier that better.  I’m a Harlequin reader to the core so those are the types of books that I’m more often going to read.  Sure, I branch out but when it comes to reviewing them for the blog, I get picky.  And let me remind you, that every reader and blogger is different.  I don’t have a posse to help me with the blog, so the opinions on the blog are solely mine and mine alone.  I don’t have guest reviewers or anyone helping me.  I’m sure that a lot of this post will piss some people off and that’s fine.  These are my thoughts and my alone.

So here goes the list:



I know, covers are tricky.  Honestly, I don’t like the bare, no hair chest.  I like hair on a chest.  I’ve never understood the whole manscaping thing.  I want a man that from the time they go to the shower, they are ready to walk out the door in 15 minutes.  If they spend more time in the bathroom getting ready, I’m out.  Plus, I’m not a big tattoo person.  I appreciate them but to be covered in them.  Nope.  Sleeves?  Seriously?  Where is your skin?  And don’t even get me started on the Roid Boys?  If you can’t hug yourself because of your arms?  That’s just gross.  Eat a carb.  Like a real carb.  Put down the shake and grab a real beer.  I want someone real on a cover.  Same goes for the women.  And please, stop with porn clinches when it comes to kissing.  No one kisses like that.  You know, they whole “his arms around me and I might just spontaneous orgasm from it”.  Just no.  Stop.


Authors and Publishers

Now, this is going to maybe piss a bunch a people off but it is something that needs to be said.  Authors and publishers that forget who brought them to the party in the first place.  Yes, debut publishers and authors that have gotten too big for their britches.  They decide that the people that followed them, read them, supported them from the beginning aren’t worth their time anymore.  As I said before, I have a list of authors that have crapped on me time and time again and they are no longer welcome on the blog.  In fact, I have stopped following them on social media.  Their bad behavior towards me and other people is not just unprofessional, it’s childish.  Just because I won’t become a minion to them and I have a functioning brain cell that I actually use, doesn’t make me the bad person.  This isn’t junior high.  You just lost a reader for life.  Karma is bitch and it will bite you in the butt sooner or later.

As for publishers, be kind to us.  We can make or break a book.  We bloggers talk.  Just because your marketing department has a turnover ratio like I change my panties, don’t get all pissy when we complain about not getting stuff and then come to us, the blogger, and blame us and then decide that we aren’t good enough for you anymore.  Mind your own house before you come to mine.  It’s the authors that lose in the end.  Readers, money…you are business, not a mean girl.  Oh wait, you are acting like one.  I’m out of your sandbox.  Why?  Because I can.  I don’t need that kind of drama.  I’m a grown ass woman and I act like one.  Maybe you should, too.


Street Teams/Reader groups

I belong to a couple of street teams that are beyond AWESOME!  You don’t have to give a kidney, your first born or your soul to belong.  They give you a task to do once a week or so.  Promo.  That’s all.  You don’t have to jump through hoops to become a member.  Once a week and you’re done.  Other teams…it’s back to the minion thing.  I have a life and it doesn’t revolve around that author.  I’m sorry if that’s cruel.  My life doesn’t consist of trolling FB every minute of every day.  Sometimes, I don’t even look at social media.  I’m lucky if I read email when I’m in school and the boy has stuff going on after school.  And please, don’t get pissy when I can’t participate all the time.  I still love you but I have other things that are more important.

Of course, this leads to the people in the groups/teams that instantly become the pets of the authors.  You know, the suck-ups, do-gooders and over achievers.  But I’ve said this before, this IS their life and I don’t judge them for it.  But the authors need to realize that the 75% of us on the team/group are fans, too and haven’t forgotten about you.  We’d like to be recognized, acknowledged every once in a while.  I’ve left teams/groups over less.



Genres/Sub-Genres that are tired

I realize that every reader has a different flavor that they want to read and that’s cool.  But what gets me is that for awhile now, I’m seeing the same plot/cover/blurb over and over.  Nothing is original anymore.  It’s like the authors are just cranking out books that seem to be selling and forgetting originality.  Again, I’m a category reader so it seems like I’m bashing my own reading tastes.  I’m not.  But I would like to branch out every now and then but I keep seeing the same thing.  Also, note that I hardly read erotic romance anything anymore and I think that’s where I’m having the most difficulty finding new books/authors to read.  It seems like my FB feed is nothing but erotic anymore.  I like it spicy but I also don’t need a sex scene in every chapter in full detail.  I want characterization and a plot.

Also when labeling the book erotic and it’s not?  Come on.  Erotic romance to me is the old Ellora’s Cave where there is sex before the end of the first chapter, BDSM/kink, menage, same-sex partners, sex in every chapter in graphic detail and I feel like I’ve read a porn scene.  I want emotion with my sex.  I also don’t need it shoved down my throat.  I have a functioning brain cell and I use it.  I can visualize the scene if written correctly.  My gauge for true erotic romance is the above.  Just because the couple goes down on each other and/or dirty talk doesn’t make it erotic to me.  And let’s not forget that is the hero is dominant in the bedroom, doesn’t make it BDSM.  Nor is it erotic.  Someone has to take the lead whether it be the hero or heroine.   That’s a 3 flame at best and pretty standard now.  Plus, I want the sex to be emotional, raw and move the plot forward.




KU/Kindle Unlimited/Exclusive

Here’s another topic that is going to piss some authors off.  I don’t do KU at all.  I have two readers.  One Nook (Samsung Nook) and a Kindle Fire.  I don’t like reading on my Kindle Fire anymore.  I need the bigger tablet (Nook) when I read anymore.  I realize that most review books are Kindle and that’s fine.  What I’m talking about are the sale/free books from Book Bub, etc.  I get all excited when I see a book that I have wanted to read and go to Barnes & Noble and it’s not there.  I understand that it’s a money issue and I get that but lately, I’ve been seeing books that were part of a series that I don’t have and low and behold, I go to B&N and they are not there.  Why?  Because they are now just available on Kindle.  Sorry but you just lost the sale/reader.  I don’t like how Amazon treats its authors and for that matter, it’s reviewers.  It is rare that I leave a review on Amazon anymore.  If you are an author, I post to Goodreads.  And yes, I don’t like Goodreads but they are less restrictive when it comes to reviewing. When I read for pleasure, I read on the Nook.



That’s it for now.  I had fun looking up gifs.  And yes, I’m a huge Star Wars fan and love Marissa Tomei.  Next week, I’ll blog about what I like.


Authors, Entangled, opinion, Reviews, Thoughts

Best of 2016! @entangledpub @HarlequinHeartwarmingAuthors @vastine7 @RachelBrimble @CLSkaggs @BooksBy_Sarah @RebeccaYarros @Sherilee_Gray @AdriennGiordano @MimiJeanRomance @MsMonicaMurphy @KTCastle_author @AlisonBliss2 @kennedyfoxbooks @CateBeauman @Naima_Simone

Shocked?  You should be because I don’t do lists on the blog when it comes to the “best of”.  I never have and I swore that I wouldn’t do it either.  I feel like these kinds of lists are just bragging to other bloggers that you are better than they are.  Bloggers are a different breed.  I’ve been bullied by authors, publishers, and bloggers since I started blogging 9 years ago.  I’ve almost quit a few times, too.  Jealousy has reared its ugly head, too.  I had to come to the realization that I will never be one of the “popular” blogs.  I don’t go to cons where most of the “popular” go to and let’s face it, suck up to authors and publishers.  They promise the world to them and most of the time they deliver.  Blogs like mine don’t operate like that and I won’t sell my soul to be that blogger.

I have not and will not become a minion and I have my opinion, which is quite different from everyone else.  I’m good with this because if you ever met me in person…what you see is what you get.  Bad behavior is something that I can’t comprehend nor do I condone.  I have many popular authors that other bloggers seem to adore that I won’t touch with a ten-foot pole.  They burned me earlier in my blogging career and therefore, they are not welcome on the blog…ever!

So enough of my tirade.  Here are my choices for the year 2016.  In no particular order:


Catch a Fallen Star by Amy Vastine.  Yes, it’s a Harlequin Heartwarming and its sweet.  But this book is pure perfection when it comes to the line.  Perfectly written, solid characters and a story that will tug at your heart.  Plus, it’s got the kind of romance that just sneaks up on you. (Contemporary Romance, Sweet, series)


The Lucie Rizzo Series by Adrienne Giordano.  Okay, so she writes Harlequin Intrigue but this series is a mystery series with romantic elements with laugh out loud comedy.  It’s set in Chicago and deals with an Italian mob princess that is out and in love with an Irish cop.  And the mysteries revolve around her dog business.  I seriously can’t make this up but Ms. Giordano did and it’s the best. (Mystery, comedy, romance, series, sensual)


Saved by the Fireman by Rachel Brimble.  My English Rose is the best.  I’ve been with her since she started writing for the Wild Rose Press and she never disappoints.  Never.  And this Harlequin Superromance series is the best.  I love Templeton Cove. (Contemporary Romance, sensual, series)


Breaking Him by Sherilee Gray.  This is one of the launch books for Entangled Publishing’s Scorched line.  Now, you know that I don’t review erotic anymore but the blurb intrigued me.  Beautifully written erotic romance where the sex actually makes sense and is necessary.  It’s raw, highly emotional and you will swoon throughout the whole book.  It’s all about trust. (Contemporary Romance, erotic)


Size Matters by Alison Bliss.  Good lord, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much reading a book.  This is the book that you need to read if you have ever had body image issues (ME).  Ms. Bliss has written a book that everyone one of us needs to read and realize that yes, size matters but it only matters to yourself. (Contemporary Romantic Comedy, spicy, series)


Bridesmaid Checklist:  Marisol’s Wedding by KT Castle.  This author sneaked up on me.  I read the first book in the series and while I loved it, one of the girls was awful.  Non redeeming.  Still not after this book but her behavior from the first book makes sense.  You need to read this series. (Contemporary Romance, spicy/sensual, series)


The Bachelor’s Auction by Naima Simone.  Yes, it’s Indulgence by Entangled.  They are my crack.  Tropy, sexy and just what I expect from the line.  This one was a treat.  It’s a childhood friend’s to lovers trope that is written beautifully.  You feel the love from the first encounter and it never lets up. (Contemporary Romance, spicy, series)


The Bridal Bouquet by Tara Randal.  It’s another Harlequin Heartwarming, sue me.  I love this line and this one deals with the bridal industry and a cop that is investigating a drug ring.  Seriously.  What makes this book special is that love is based on trust.  Not just from a lover but from your family, too.  Important message…that was well received.  (Contemporary Romance, sweet, series)

The Bodyguards of L.A. County Series by Cate Beauman.  Romantic suspense is what I cut my teeth on and Ms. Beauman doesn’t disappoint.  My favorite in the series is Falling for Sarah.  Beautifully written, creepy villain and a love story so romantic that you won’t believe it’s a suspense book.  (Romantic Suspense, series, spicy)


God of Wine (Immortal Matchmakers series) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff.  Paranormal is not my favorite but I just had to read this one based on the blurb alone.  I nearly peed my pants when I read this one.  Laugh out loud funny, features a heroine that is older and the secondary characters are the best. (Paranormal Romance, spicy, series, comedy)

Not a Hero by Sarah Robinson.  This book has all the feels.  A hero that has his demons from coming back from the war.  A heroine that won’t let him fail and secondary characters that are spot on.  If you are looking for a military romance, this one is for you. (Contemporary Romance, spicy, military)

Checkmate Duet:  This is War & This is Love by Kennedy Fox.  Travis and Viola.  The perfect enemies to lovers story PERIOD.  No one else comes close.  These women obliterated the trope and made it their own.  I dare you to read it and disagree with me.  I double dog dare you. (Contemporary Romance, series, spicy/erotic)

Unforgettable (Untouchables series) by Cindy Skaggs.  Again, romantic suspense at it’s best.  This one involves the mob. Like I told Ms. Skaggs, I base all of my romantic suspense heroes to Noah Clayborne from Julie Garwood’s Buchanan’s series.  Blake comes very, very close to Noah.  Yes, Blake is that awesome of a hero.  (Romantic Suspense, series, spicy)



Lastly, I have two surprises for the list.  As most know, I don’t read YA/NA because most authors bring too much angst for me to the book.  I had a great childhood and my 20’s were a lot of fun.  Okay, almost too much fun.  But I wasn’t abused, didn’t do drugs, etc. so I pretty much stopped reading the genres.  Again, I was happy so I want my characters to have fun.


More Than Friends (Friends #2) by Monica Murphy.  Like I said in my review, she “get’s” it.  One of the most realistic books that I have ever read.  It felt like I was reading about my own friends from high school and I’ve been out of high school for 32 years.  Plus, Tuttle and Mandy.  Enough said.  A teen romance that is swoon worthy, believable and I need the sequel like yesterday.  (Contemporary Young Adult, sensual, series)

Wilder (the Renegades #1) by Rebecca Yarros.  Dear Lord in Heaven.  Wilder.  Wilder.  Wilder.  Extreme sports, college on a cruise ship and chemistry between people that will not be denied.  And to think that Nova’s story is coming next month.  I’m not sure the Kindle will be able to keep up.  (Contemporary New Adult, spicy, series)

So I bet you are wondering where the other genres are like historical, sci/fi, fantasy, etc.  I read them but I have learned from my readers to the blog, that their tastes are my tastes.  If you are looking for m/m, erotic/BDSM, go to http://www.harliewilliams.wordpress.com.  I review them over there.  Plus, I review on Amazon under the name Brian’s Mom.

And yes, this blogger listens to what her reader’s comment/read/share when it comes to content.  I started this blog for me to share my love of what I like to read.  Again, not popular by industry standards but at the readers that I have, appreciate me.  As do the authors.


So there you go.  My top 14 books of 2016.  Every one of these books is on my keeper shelf.  Do yourself a favor and find that one author that you have NEVER heard about and read the book.  Or pick a genre that you normally don’t read and take a chance.  You might surprise yourself.  I know that I did and I’m glad that I gave some genres another chance.  I know that authors appreciate it when someone finds their little gem of a book and reads it.










Authors, opinion, Samhain, The Wild Rose Press, Thoughts

Reviewer’s thoughts on the publishing world #Samhain


I’ve always loved this but it just never quite fit for the blog.  Anyhoos…

My thoughts on Samhain closing it’s doors.  I am sad.  I’ve met some great authors through them.  Even fellow reviewers that have become good friends.  I even pitched a book to them at a conference.  Nothing but professional and kind.  Even though I was never on their preferred/review list, this blog featured their books often.  In fact, my first ever review was Emma Jay’s Two Step Temptation from February 23, 2011.

I am glad that they are going out with their heads held high and a positive note.  There are some that we are STILL hearing about because their bad behavior and I fear that it will happen again.  Secret Cravings Publishing went out with their heads up and Samhain will do the same.  Samhain is a class act through and through.  From editing, covers, the “warning labels”, authors and especially the groups that I belong to that are associated with them.  I feel for each and every one of you in this trying time.

Most authors, I sense are going more hybrid than anything.  This saddens me and alarms me to some degree.  Not that I don’t love the indie author but as a reviewer, I’ve read some really bad indie books that should have never made the light of day.  From the cover to editing, to being lied to from the blurb to the overall plot of the book…I just shook my head.  This is where the publisher comes in and makes the book better.  I feel as if the indie author just wants the sale and the minions to follow.

In my opinion, that’s not how publishing should be.  Writing is an art, not a NASCAR race.  The author should learn the craft, be patient and try to NOT be the next Nora Roberts.  It took her a few years before she even caught on and she was traditionally published.  Readers will come to you if you put out a quality product and don’t care about the sale.

This is the problem I have with the smaller presses folding.  They had the quality but not the sales.  Readers want instant gratification and the next Fifty Shades book.  Okay, maybe NOT that book but they want the book that everyone is talking about or that the media is trying to hype.  One of my all time favorite small presses is The Wild Rose Press.  Constantly putting out great books from a great company.  They never disappoint, just like Samhain and Secret Cravings.  I never had to worry that the book was going to be poorly written, the cover sucks or that the blurb lied to me in some way.  That goes a long way with this reviewer.

So you can see why I don’t review much anymore.  The quality isn’t there for me and I have a life that doesn’t revolve around publishing and trying to be the biggest and best review site on the block.  I tried that, didn’t work out and it made me sick for a couple of years.  I will stick with the presses that I know and love.

As for the indie writer, I will support you too and you know who you are.  The quality is there for me and you don’t disappoint.

If you want to hear my thoughts as a writer, here is the link to the author site.

Author link