#SixForSunday – Bookish Hates

Six For Sunday – week #5

Six for Sunday (#SixForSunday) is a weekly meme hosted by Steph over at A Little But a Lot. The prompts for each week are up well in advance and they are a great way to share your love of all things book.

This week’s prompt is to discuss Bookish Hates, mine aren’t in any particular order but fair warning – I may get ranty!

1 – Misleading Blurbs

It doesn’t happen often, but I have read the odd book where the blurb felt as though it was referencing a completely different book. I wish I could recall one to name and shame, but sadly I can’t. Another blurb hate is when it tells me most of the plot, very often everything up to the last few chapters. I kid you not, I have read some of those too. I mean, I’m a girl who does read the blurb – I like an idea of what to expect as I read the book – but leave a few surprises and discoveries for me please!

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2 – Ebooks that end at 80%

Having spent many years adamantly declaring that I could, and indeed would, never swap my beloved physical books for an ereader, I now exclusively read on my kindle. A few years ago there was a whole furore in romancelandia over scamming “authors” (the quotes will become apparent later) partaking in an activity called book stuffing. This basically involved adding previously released books as “freebies” in the back of new releases. This wasn’t done out of the goodness of their hearts, but rather because Kindle Unlimited pays per page read. More pages = more money. Often the new story finished around the 20% mark, with hundreds of pages of repurposed stories making up the rest of the book.

Business men (who most certainly were not authors) paid ghost writers a pitiful amount of money for mass produced stories and made an awful lot of money with this unscrupulous behaviour. They went much further than that, often pretending to be female authors and encouraging their fans to disclose sexual fantasies and desires in order to buy books written to appeal to these very same fans. Amazon did eventually, after some big names became involved, decide to clean up their act. There is now a restriction on what percentage of a book can be previously published material, though you still come across the occasional book that has a LOT of other crap rubbish tagged on at the end.

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3 – Bad editing/lack of a beta reader

I read a lot if indie/self published works because despite the snobbery surrounding them, many of them are actually damn good stories that are well written. A lot of these authors also pay a frightening amount of money to have their books professionally edited, because a poorly edited book can ruin what would otherwise have been a thing of beauty. I can forgive the occasional missing or incorrect word – even traditionally published works contain the odd error or two. However when you can’t read for more than a page or two before yet another mistakes glares from the text, well it tends to become distracting.

Sadly, as with all things in life, along with the preponderance of good works there will always be some chaff too. A lot of the better authors have honed their skills on fanfic sites such as AO3 and Literotica, where readers are often brutally honest about what they read. Which leads me to the second part of this “hate”. Sometimes an author is so convinced by the brilliance of their ideas, so assured of their ability to accomplish the task of writing an entertaining book, they clearly avoid using beta readers. Or possibly have asked their parent/partner/best friend since childhood (delete as appropriate), because whoever did beta read it was clearly blowing smoke where the sun doesn’t shine. This is particularly obvious when nearly every review mentions the same issues, the same criticisms of the book. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE authors, a beta reader should NOT be someone who always tells you how amazing everything you write is. And if you are ever blessed with the opportunity to beta for an author, be honest! Worrying about hurting their feelings means you aren’t cut out for the job. Better to be critical now and allow them to produce the best book they can, rather than smother it in praise when it really isn’t that great.

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4 – When the whole plot is based on a secret

Just thinking about this is making me want to scream. I have wasted too many hours reading a book where the whole plot hinges on ONE secret. Where everything could have been sorted out at the beginning if someone had spoken honestly. Where there is a secret being kept because it is “for the best” even though it puts the protagonists life in danger not to know the information. Then there are the “suspenses” where the plot goes nowhere, where you are waiting the whole book for the “big reveal” which, yes, was that thing you suspected/guessed at within the first three chapters.

I now save myself the pain and misery but flicking to the last few chapters and seeing if I’m right. If the author has made the ending interesting enough I may then skim read from where I lost patience through to the end. If not I delete the book and mark it up as a DNF.

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5 – Far fetched storylines/plot points

This one is the literary equivalent of the action film. I’m sure you know the ones I mean, those where the hero is beaten to within an inch of his life, often shot too, but he manages to somehow scrape himself up off the floor and still save the day. Then there was Cape Fear, where Robert De Niro managed to survive being shot, beaten, burned and falling off a boat into a raging river. If it’s a fantasy story then I can be taken pretty much anywhere by the plot. However if you are trying to convince me, when the setting is contemporary, then please don’t sail too far from the shores of what is believable. After all, we all know there was room for two on that door – Rose needed to just shift her butt out the way.

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6 – Horror

#SorryNotSorry. There are many genres I can read but horror just isn’t one of them. If it’s something you love, well you can have my share too! It’s also the only one from my list that I wouldn’t actually want to see disappear. I’m so pathetic I couldn’t even bring myself to use the image I found of rows of skulls for this one – eek far too scary 😂.

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So that’s my soul bared about my six bookish hates. What are yours?

Book Review · Fantasy

// REVIEW \\ Terrestrial Magic

Terrestrial Magic
by Marina Ermakova

This fell between liked and really liked for me. There were some very good aspects but also some areas for improvement. The author had imagined a very intriguing world but parts of it needed a little more fleshing out. I believe that the author may have been trying to avoid an information dump, however some of the exposition came too late in the story, leaving me unable to build a clear mental picture, rather like trying to follow a TV show having missed one of the episodes.

I did find myself drawn quickly into this story, especially since it metaphorically started with a real bang. The story had plenty of unique features to it, and it didn’t feel the need to rely on tired and cliched tropes. Overall the pace was good, and I did find myself invested in the story enough to want to finish it. The heroine, Jordan, doesn’t come across as feminine at all, indeed at times I forgot I was reading a female character. She felt very genderless, which isn’t an issue and I’m very happy to read diverse characters, but I was never sure if it was deliberate or poor characterisation. It just wasn’t made clear enough.

In a similar vein, I also found Jordan difficult to relate to. Possibly she’s meant to be socially awkward, autistic or just plain lacking empathy, and whilst some of her internal monologue was enjoyable, there were occasions where it made her seem immature or emotionally stunted. Too often when emotions were portrayed it was in a telling not showing manner. For me to believe a character is feeling something, I want descriptions of the psychological or physiological effects of them. I’m very character driven, and I think the fact that I was very impassive about Jordan is why this wasn’t a better read for me.

On balance I enjoyed the writing, the author definitely has a pleasant “voice” and a good imagination, which she employed well in the creation of this book. Fleshing out of secondary characters was achieved to various degrees, though occasionally felt a touch repetitive – I got that Tony was grumpy the first half dozen times it was mentioned. It did feel as though this were the second book in a series, or a spin off book, because whilst the world building was colourful it was rather like a Turner seascape. You can see an amazing picture but none of the fine detail, however it is only the first book in a series, so I’m willing to allow that the author may have plans to paint in that depth of detail in future books.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Goodreads ~~

Genre ~~ Mythological Fantasy/ Alternate Reality

Most sensible people avoid fire-breathing carnivores that prey on humans. But Jordan has built a career out of studying such legendary animals, creatures thought mythological until their reemergence in the world three decades ago. She and researchers like her believe that knowledge is the key to reclaiming the land they’d lost back then, when humanity retreated into designated safety zones.
But when the humans moved out, the legends moved in. They were the descendants of mythical heroes, inheriting the powers of their ancestors, and they weren’t afraid of the monsters. Jordan never expected to run into a legend, but when a field expedition turns into a trap for her team, she realizes that one deliberately tried to kill her. It’s a diplomatic nightmare the Roman authorities might happily sweep under the rug. But if Jordan doesn’t figure out who attacked her and why, they could try again. Yet even if she does solve the mystery, what could one stubborn scientist possibly do to stop a powerful legend?

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Friday Book Blogger Hop

 The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer @ Crazy-For-Books. It is now hosted by Billy @Coffee Addicted Writings. Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end the following Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog. 

This weeks question is –

Do you share books?
If so, do you have a system to keep track of whom you lend books to?
submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews

No I don’t share books but only because I can’t. I’m exclusively an ebook reader and in the UK Amazon don’t offer the option of lending a kindle book.

I would lend a paperback to my mum or sister, and maybe my offspring – especially since they still live at home – because I know I can get them back! I’m not sure I would willingly lend a book to anyone else, not if it was precious too me.

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Book Review · Contemporary Romance

// REVIEW \\ Contender

The Everyday Heroes World
by Tiffani Lynn

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Whilst “straight” contemporary romance isn’t my go-to in reading terms, the author Tiffani Lynn definitely is. And she didn’t disappoint in this gentle, yet emotional story of two imperfect people finding their HEA. She had me sobbing within the first few pages – always a sign of great writing.

Normally if I struggle with a character it’s with an overbearing, conceited and irritating hero but, despite Keegan being a hot shot champion boxer with a troubled background. he was actually very balanced and immensely likeable. I couldn’t always say the same about Collins. Overall she had led a fairly charmed life, not easy, not perfect but comfortable. So the enormous chip on her shoulder occasionally made her quite irritating. However the author always managed to pull things back and allow me to forgive her, thus providing an enjoyable read that was neither too bland nor too angsty.

The book is quite short, perhaps because it’s part of another author’s “world”, so whilst we had well developed, complex characters it did feel as though the relationship side of things was a little rushed. Not so much in timeline context but rather that we didn’t get much opportunity to see Collins and Keegan just spending relaxed time with one another. I just needed a little more convincing of the strength of their feelings, a little more time with just the focus on them together but not arguing. It would have transformed this from a really good to a really great read for me.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Genre – Contemporary Romance

Tiffany Lynn’s Contender is a sexy, heartfelt, contemporary romance written in K. Bromberg’s Everyday Heroes Worlds project.
Officer Collins Sutton can take care of herself…
Returning to Sunnyville was never part of the plan, but after the death of their mother, she’s home to help care for her disabled brother. As she finds her footing being back in her hometown her path crosses with the new guy in town. Sexy, mysterious and not swayed by her usual brush off… Sunnyville might not be big enough for both of them.
Boxer Keegan “The Punisher” Ranger was once the light heavyweight champion of the world but he lost his passion for fighting when his mentor died. Now he’s focusing on building his new gym… and life. After taking verbal blows from Officer Sutton, the sassy redheaded sister of his new gym helper, he realizes something might finally be worth fighting for again.
Collins isn’t convinced that Keegan is the good guy everyone else in town thinks he is and moves in for a better look. As much as his dark eyes and wicked smile are a warning bell she draws closer to him. However, when he betrays the most important person in her life he just might lose his shot at being the only contender for her heart.

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Shelf Control Wednesday – #4

Shelf Control Wednesday 2021 Week #4

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out the introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the linked post, and jump on board!

I’m on a TBR clearing spree and this is one that feels like it has been on there forever. It hasn’t but given how much I enjoyed the first book, Fae, I can’t explain why it’s still unread! Book 1 was a very dark and gritty PNR, fast paced and well written and I’m hoping I love Book 2 just as much.

Goodreads –

Genre – Paranormal Romance

Immortal. Enslaved by an ancient god. Can she ever be free?Obey and survive. Those have been the words that Tara has lived by for over a thousand years. She is Faeoihn, an immortal warrior for the goddess Eltera, but none of that matters when she’s cursed by one of the gods in her pantheon to serve as a slave for eternity.
All because of a single battle, lost over two millennia ago.
When an assassin appears in the dead of night to take her to a new master, she doesn’t fight, because when you’ve lived in darkness for so long it’s hard to believe in the light. But this handsome, all-too-mortal man, has his own demons and his kindness might just be the thing to wake Tara up.
No women. No kids.
Simple rules to live by, but they have let Alaric deal with the life he’s been given. A life of privilege, money, and power – as long as he takes the lives he’s told to. When his mentor sends him on a job to kill a man and kidnap a woman, he reluctantly accepts.
But once he’s face to face with this beautiful, strange girl, he’s not sure he can turn her over when the call finally comes. As Tara and Alaric clash, their pasts catch up to them in a whirlwind that is inescapable, forcing them to acknowledge the mistakes they’ve made and see that with each other they might find salvation.
Can Tara find the will to fight again? Can Alaric betray the only family he has left to protect her?
Discover their destiny in this exciting dark, paranormal romance!

Publisher’s note: Tara is the second book in the Daughters of Eltera series. It contains dark themes, slavery, violence, damaged heroes, and gods and goddesses. If those things don’t interest you, please seek another book.