Thoughts

Things to Harlie likes in the book/blogging world! @UTCbookblog @PrismBookTours @GoddessFish @GiveMeBooksBlog

*EDITED*

I know, this blog was supposed to be up months ago and I’m sorry.  Life, vacation…you know.  Anyway, I didn’t take out a thing.  Enjoy!

I’m back!!!!!  This week is going to be busy.  The kid turns 12, in-laws coming in, and still don’t have a clue what the boy wants to do for his birthday!  *beats head on desk*  Oh to be 12 again…NOPE!

So, this week I decided to let you know what I actually like the book/blogging world.  Shocked, aren’t you?  Last week I had a list of what I didn’t like.

When I started to blog, I thought that it would just be a hobby.  Something to keep me occupied and busy.  I went into it blind.  We had recently moved from Dallas to East Texas and I was bored.  I went to Walmart and bought the book, Shadow Dance by Julie Garwood and I fell back in love with romance.  I went to the library and devoured everything that I could get my hands on.  The librarian and I became friends, too.  She would ask me for recs for books to buy for the library.  And yes, not just romance books.  I would also donate my old paperbacks to the library and watch them being shelved.  So blogging for me became a way for me to share my love of books.  I still love books.  My current library doesn’t have near the romance collection that I had before but OMG, their YA section?  Jealous.  Hell, even our high school library has more YA that I’ve ever seen.

But then, I found that I actually liked talking about books.  English was my favorite subject in high school and college because I got to read.  Score and the win for me.  I just treated blogging like writing a book report.  Of course, I didn’t do the whole spoiler thing and I still don’t.  What I didn’t anticipate was how much work actually goes into actually blogging.  Over the years, the blog has taken a life of its own and at one point I almost shut it down.  I just couldn’t say “no” to everyone.  My anxiety had anxiety and it was slowly eating away at me.  I took some time off and really thought back to the “why” I blogged and the blog itself.

I take breaks now.  Especially in the summer.  We go on vacation.  I know, it’s very old-fashioned.  But we do have two family reunions that we go to, also.  I realize that I substitute teach full time that maybe I should take the school year off but reading/reviewing/blogging is how I keep sane.  Taking the summer off, I can recharge.

So here is what I like about the book/blogging world:

Sisterhood

I know that I will never be as popular as my all time favorite blog, Under The Covers (http://www.underthecoversbookblog.com/) and I’m okay with that.  Francesca is the best in the business.  She doesn’t put up with the b.s. and she is a great sounding board for me when I get frustrated.  She runs a tight ship with her ladies and the professionalism is top notch.  I’ve seen a lot of blogs come and go but her’s is consistent and up to date.  I used to worry about a number of followers, likes, comments, etc. that other blogs have.  Each blog is different and that’s what makes us unique.  Plus, when I stopped all the craziness about being popular in my head and discovered my niche…the blog took off.

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Blog tour companies/Publicists

Blog tour companies come and go.  It’s just the nature of the business.  I’ve had some interesting companies that I have worked with over the years and the fly by nights are gone.  I feel bad for the authors that signed up with them but I learned a thing or two from them.  Like I said before last week when it came to publishers…clean up your own house before coming into mine.  I’ve had some truly dreadful ones that never got me stuff on time, not to mention never getting the book to read.  I used to completely stress out about it but I learned that it wasn’t my issue to deal with.  You can send email after email but when you get no response, you’ve done everything you could do.  Now, if I knew the author, I would definitely let them know what is going on.  Publicists are the same for me.  They are even more flighty than tour companies.

I have some companies that I will work with until they close shop.  Goddess Fish (http://www.goddessfish.com/) is the best in the business.  I had a few hiccups when I first started working with them but now…they are my go-to tour company.  Give Me Books  (http://givemebooksblog.blogspot.com.au/) is my other go-to company.  And of course, my source for anything Harlequin is Prism Tours (http://www.prismbooktours.blogspot.com/.  I have some publicists that I love, too and even when they have left one publisher, they always keep me in the loop.  I can sense the head-scratching right about now.  So what do I like about them?  It’s called professionalism.  Look it up.  It goes back to good manners, no b.s. and just doing their job.  And trust me, I’ve had publicists and tour companies drop me for THIER incompetency.  I still have the emails to prove it.

Aren’t they pretty?  *swoon*

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Friendships made and lost

I know, it sounds weird.  I’ve made some wonderful friends through blogging and I’ve lost some, too.  Life gets in the way, blogs come and go; I get that.  I met some wonderful fans from other blogs, too.  I remember when Author Blogs were HUGE!  Social media was still new and no one was on Facebook or Twitter.  Yahoo groups still ruled the roost.  When I was going in and deleting some emails from 2009, I got really sniffly.  I was re-reading some group emails from Yahoo.  I can honestly say that most of the ladies that I was in groups with, I don’t talk to anymore.  Sad but that’s the way life goes.  Do I miss them?  You bet.  The authors, at the time, were new and fresh.  They appreciated each and every one of us in those groups.  But when I moved to Facebook, I made new friends and found new authors.  Do I try to keep up with all those authors from yesteryear?  Honestly…no.  I have a few (maybe 3) that I’m still friends with and buy their books.  I’ve seen some very BAD behavior from authors from those groups and I don’t associate myself with them anymore.

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That’s about all that I’ve got right now.  I know that I had more dislikes but I picked my top 3 likes.  Tell me what you like about the book/blogging world.

 

Reviews, Thoughts

#Movie Review of Wonder Woman

Most people don’t know this about me but I’m passionate about comic books. I was devasted when they killed Superman and I still have nightmares about it. When I watch the new Superman movies, I basically hold my breath. Of course, in the last movie, Batman vs. Superman, I cried. It was awful. But I digress. I could argue the differences about Marvel and DC but it comes down to taste. Marvel is the light and DC is the dark. My kid (son) LOVES Aquaman. He buys the graphic novels and devours them. And yes, when Justice League comes out, we are seeing it.

Steve Trevor/Chris Pine *swoon*

Personally, I’m more of DC person.  Sure, Captain America is the BOMB, Thor is pretty and Black Widow kicks ass but Superman and Batman are my first loves.  The loves that no matter who plays them (well, George Clooney was awful and Christopher Reeve will forever be my Superman) are part of my childhood.  I’m a firm believer in good always wins out over evil.  When I saw Batman vs Superman, I was excited.  Hubs hated the movie but the kid and I loved it.  I’m a HUGE fan of Affleck so I couldn’t wait to see his take on Batman/Bruce Wayne and then we were introduced to Diana Prince/Wonder Woman.  Gal nailed it so going into her own movie, I was excited plus, Chris Pine.  *swoon*

He is actually the love interest for Diana Prince/Wonder Woman.  The banter between them throughout the movie is spot on.  Flirty, intelligent and swoon worthy.  Theirs is a slow build based on respect for one another and friendship.  In most action movies, the love interest is a sidekick but in this movie,  Steve plays a very important part in Diana’s growth as a person and ultimately, Wonder Woman.  No spoilers but you can definitely see the love between these two.  You can tell that Gal, the woman, is smitten with Chris.  Who wouldn’t be?  Plus, how often does the man actually get “saved” by the woman?

I realize that most women took their daughters to see this movie to show them that women are and can be empowered.  Unfortunately or fortunately for me, I don’t need Wonder Woman to make me feel empowered as a woman.  There, I said it.  I was raised by some very strong women that had to persevere just to get where they were in life.  These women empowered me.  Let me show you:

Left – Aunt Janie (maternal) Right – Stephenie (her daughter/cousin)

My Aunt Janie is a two-time breast cancer survivor.  Her husband, my uncle, had prostate cancer and dementia.  His prostate cancer came back.  She and Stephenie made the hardest decision of their lives.  Not telling him and then foregoing treatment.  He ultimately died last summer and it was the hardest thing that these two women had to deal with.  I found strength in their resolve and humor.  Stephenie is the older sister that I never had and my Aunt Janie is godmother.  They both have always believed in me, never judged and loved me for who and what I am.  Plus, Stephenie told me NEVER to waste mascara.  No one likes a raccoon.  Plus, I learned the finer things in life like cruising in a small town, Heart, Van Halen, Kiss and Kansas.  Just saying…

Nanny
paternal grandmother

Nanny, my nanny.  The one person in this world that never doubted me.  Loved me no matter what and I still miss her each and every day.  Born in Oklahoma during the land rush and raised by an Irish man and a step mother that hated her, she made something of herself.  Her Choctaw mother died when she was 7 so she basically raised herself.  She never missed a day of school and got her college degree when she was 60 years old.  Art major, minor English.  She taught me to believe in myself when my own mother didn’t, manners matter and love with your whole heart.  I guess that’s why I didn’t get married until I was 37.  She and my grandfather built a business from the ground up (Abstracts/Title company) and worked until she was almost 90.  My cousin runs the business now and is doing well.  She lost her husband when she was 65 years old to lung cancer and she never showed it as a reason to stop living.  In fact, she went fly fishing once and loved it.  Went back almost every year just because.  She learned to keep going no matter what.  She was surrounded by her many friends and family which gave her the strength to keep going.  When I got the call that she died, I was devasted.  She died at the age of 94.  I remember the church filled to capacity when I led the casket out of the church.  The day is still somewhat a blur but I do remember being the strength that my cousins needed that day.  She loved my husband from the very first time she met him.  And Brian (the kid) was the light of her eyes.  I am the oldest grandchild and I was spoiled.  Who gives a 13-year-old a fur coat from Neiman Marcus?  She did.  For Christmas.  Seriously.  *shakes head*  She was my strength when I doubted myself.  I learned from her to NEVER give up.  She didn’t and I vow that I will finish my college degree…just like she did.

So why this in the middle of the movie review?  Because I didn’t see the movie to be empowered.  I’m already empowered.  I don’t need a movie to teach me that.  However, I did want my son to see it to show him that woman can be strong in whatever they set out to accomplish.  I’m trying not to raise an asshole, jerk, male that sees the worth in all women.  He has only seen me cry a couple of times in his life and it scared him.  I am strong because of him and for him.  I’m actually not a feminist.  I wasn’t raised as one but I do believe that woman can do anything that men can do and sometimes better.  I know, I’m weird.  I was raised that family/home comes first.  Your greatest achievement is your family.  Work comes second.  I still believe that and I realize that’s very old fashioned but hey, it’s me.

 

Another thing, when I saw Robin Wright, I remembered Jenny from Forrest Gump.  I have never seen The Princess Bride, so my take on her is limited.  I remember how she was in Forrest Gump.  A bit lost but in the end strong.  Stronger because of the love that Forrest had for her since childhood.  Connie Neilsen kicked butt, too.  The fight/action scenes were top notch.  And yes, I know that a woman directed the movie and she did an awesome job.  The villains were necessary not just in the plot but for Diana/Wonder Women to realize why she decided to leave the island.  Let’s not forget that the men in the movie aren’t just window dressing.  It’s refreshing to see that they need saving, not the other way around.

This is a powerful movie that has it all.  Swoon worthing romance (that makes sense and defines our heroine), the action that is breathtaking, villains to hate, costumes that I would kill for and a plot that actually makes sense.  I know…a superhero movie that actually makes sense.  All the elements are there and there is never a lack of pacing.  Ms. Jenkins got it all right in the end and I applaud Warner Brothers and DC for taking a chance on her and Gal Gadot.  I can’t wait to see it again and own the DVD.

 

 

 

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:

 

Covers

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.