Old favorites I read in 2010…have you read them?

So I read 278 books in 2010. Is that still an impressive number when I add that 70 of them were books I’d read at least once before? But I don’t re-read a book unless I love it, and some of these I’ve read literally dozens of times. So here are some of my favorite books, as evidenced by my re-read of them in 2010:

Naked in Death by JD Robb. I re-read this every year. What’s funny about that is this book wasn’t on my Goodreads at all. Yet I read it yearly, at least. I’ve remedied that situation and it now appears there. Sheesh! This is probably my favorite re-read ever. I wonder how many copies of this book I’ve gifted over the years.

Nalini Singh‘s Psy-Changeling series: Slave to Sensation, which is book one, remains my favorite of these, but I enjoy them all

Nalini Singh‘s Archangel series: not really that great of feat since there were only 2 to re-read

Ilona Andrews‘ Kate Daniels series: I think the latest, Magic Bleeds, is my favorite.

The Belgariad by David Eddings My favorite fantasy series ever. I think now it’s time to re-read the Mallorean again for the ten hundredth time.

Julie Garwood historicals. For someone who doesn’t love historicals, these are some of my favorite re-reads. I am so happy to start seeing some of these in digital release. A few of my favorites available in digital are Honor’s Splendour, The Lion’s Lady and Ransom. Many of my other favorites of hers are still not available digitally by legal means, unfortunately, including The Secret, The Wedding and The Bride.

Warrior’s Woman by Johanna Lindsey. I don’t care how many people hate this book. I love it. LOVE IT. And was so glad to see a digital release in 2010.

There were more random re-reads I did, but the list above shows the re-reads that I know I’ll read again in the coming years. Below are some that I re-read for various reasons but wouldn’t count them as books I read and re-read year after year.

CL Wilson’s Tairen Soul series, books 1 & 2. I wish there was more fantasy romance like this.

Sharing Knife series by Lois McMaster Bujold Fantasy romance. I think I may have liked the later books a little less on re-read this time (I felt impatience with Dag) but the world building fascinates me and book one is wonderful.

Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Yes, I did re-read them all, and let me tell you what I discovered when you read them all back to back. 1) Janet Evanovich does great sexual tension 2) Stephanie Plum actually grows as a character in book one. And then regresses back further in book 2 and never grows again. So you have a female protagonist who actually gets more inept and emotionally immature through 16 books. That takes some strange author talent!

In 2011 I’ve said I’m going to re-read the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (and now Brandon Sanderson), 1 book a month. I stopped reading around book 10 or so, so if I read one a month for the next year, I won’t have to wait for the last book in the series (it releases in November 2011).

So, anyone else love any of these books? What did you re-read in 2010?

Ask an editor: What do you love?

I think it’s only fair to follow the “what do you hate” post from earlier in the week with a post of the three things that are just about guaranteed to grab me when I’m reading

1) Injure the heroine: Yes, I’m a bit sick in the head, but I love it when the heroine is in mortal danger, and it makes the hero realize he can’t live without her and loves her. I love it when the heroine is shot, stabbed, traumatically injured in some way (not rape, ha!) and it creates a moment of loss for the hero so horrible, he can’t believe how bleak and colorless life will be without her (but you can do it without the melodrama of my description, lol).

2) Grovel: I love love love a good grovel. If the hero or heroine have wrongly accused their love interest of something, if they’ve thought they did something heinous, and treated them accordingly, and then find out…oh noes! they were wrong, then I love a good grovel. And I mean make it good. Make the person delivering the grovel mean it, and work for it. I don’t want easy forgiveness, I want them to crawl on their knees with the grovel. But this is a fine line, because I also don’t want the other person to drag on granting forgiveness for too long. And I don’t want the hero/heroine to lose their strength while groveling. I want them to grovel because of the strength of their personality, to make them seem even stronger. I also don’t want a grovel just because the other person feels wronged (and they really weren’t).

3) Insurmountable odds: I adore a book that creates a conflict so strong, so wrenching, that I have no idea how the hero/heroine are going to overcome it. The caveat here is that I need to also know and believe that they ARE going to overcome it (ie, have some sort of happy ending). I don’t want to be taken through the wringer and not get some sort of positive payoff in the end. This is why I love romance. I know the positive payoff is there. It’s also the reason I sometimes peek at the end of non-romance books, so I know if I should invest my emotional energy in the book and characters, or walk away.

Your turn. What things in a book will instantly grab you?

Ask the editor: What do you hate?

I am so fortunate. Today I said on Twitter and Facebook,  “Do you have a burning question for an editor? I need a blog topic.” I got a tremendous response of some really great, amazing questions. Not all of them about editing, either! So I’m going to be using my blog, and the Carina Press blog, to answer the “ask the editor” questions in the coming weeks. If you’re not on Twitter (or Facebook), and you have a question, feel free to leave it in the comments!

Today, @romancinkatrina asked: Three things that make you hurl a book across the room faster than seeing a spider on the wall.

This seems like it should be such an easy question, right? But I really had to think about it, because I couldn’t immediately think of the huge hot button issues that I always know won’t work for me. But I did finally come up with a few things I came up with that are issues for me in reading:

1) Rape: no, not the use of rape in a book in general, but when the main character (usually the heroine but sometimes it’s a hero) is shown as having been raped recently, especially within the book’s timeframe, but seems to suffer no emotional or psychological trauma, and just merrily goes on their way. Rape is a horrible act, and using it as a plot device or a character device, simply to add conflict to the book, and then disregarding all the consequences of that conflict makes me insane, and it strikes me as disrespectful of all the people who’ve suffered this. Don’t show the heroine (or hero) as jumping into bed with their romantic lead soon after the event, don’t ignore that the tragedy of having this happen has the potential to change how they act and react, and who they are. Don’t make it just a convenience. Don’t just use it because you want something horrible to happen to your characters to show you’re not afraid to torture them. (for the record, I remain impressed with how Patricia Briggs handles this in the Mercy Thompson series)

2) Big Misunderstandings: I’m not a fan of this plot device, so it can pretty often make me want to kick someone’s characters in the head. The problem, for me, with the Big Mis, is that it’s just so often the result of two people who are too stubborn and stupid to just say “Why did you do this” and instead play these passive-aggressive games that keep them apart. Passive-aggression doesn’t make ANYONE likeable, and when the only conflict keeping two people apart is stubborness and stupidity, I figure they don’t deserve to be happy anyway!

3) Unclean sex: Oh, just ew here. I apologize to anyone who’s easily embarrassed, but this one’s going to be a little more graphic (Dad, stop reading). There’s a few things in erotic romances that bother me in regards to “unclean” sex. I’m no prude but I draw the line at books that portray the hero going from the back hole to the front with no sanitary clean up in between. Do you have any IDEA of the kind of bacteria and illness that can introduce to women’s bodies? Say it with me, “ewwwww!” Also, if you’re going to show your hero/heroine in a masturbation scene, and something happens immediately after where they have to go answer the phone/door, etc., can they PLEASE wash their hands somehow. Because again…ew. That makes me want to run for the hand sanitizer and bathe in it.

Bonus: I’m not entirely sure “hint of tuna” while kissing would make me stop reading, but if a book becomes too gross as far as bodily functions and “reality”, I will toss the book. I’d like some mystery in the relationship, please.

I also won’t continue a book if I can’t connect with the characters or if I don’t understand their motivation. Sure, I might not agree with their motivation, but I need to know why they’re doing something. Unlikeable characters I don’t understand can be a deal breaker for me in a book I’m reading.

Okay, you got mine. Your turn. What will make you throw a book (or wish you could throw it if you’re reading digitally) faster than seeing a spider on the wall across the room?

Kaye Chambers: Blood and Destiny

skitched-20100309-133958.dCWIfTzuU8Tl.jpg Once upon a time…

I pulled a book from the slush pile. Okay, if we’re being really accurate, it was targeted for an anthology I’d put out a call for, but it was an author I’d never heard of and it was sent to the slush pile. So my story stands. Anyway! The book and the author captured me with its paranormal/urban fantasy tone, with the fun story, spunky heroine and imminently readable author’s voice. I knew immediately that I was going to acquire Kaye Chamber’s Tiger by the Tail and publish this debut author’s first story. That was two years ago and, as with all of my previous authors, it was hard to say goodbye to working with such a talented author whose voice I find delightful and fun to both edit and read.

So when Kaye contacted me to give me an opportunity to read her newest release, Blood and Destiny, I jumped at the chance. And I’m delighted to give her book a bit of space on the blog, to tell you a little about it, encourage you to buy it (it’s a fun read, I promise!) and to encourage you to enter her contest. In fact, when I learned of the contest, I told her not to bother sending me a copy of the book, I’d buy my own so I could enter the contest and win!

First, the book:

When the past bites, bite back.

Ladies of St. George, Book 1

For Destiny St. George, shapeshifting lioness and private investigator, her best friend’s looming wedding is little more than a reminder of her failed relationship with vampire king Marcus Smythe. Tired of being only one of many mistresses—and dinner entrees—she’s stayed away from the vampire scene altogether. Until a missing-person case forces her to seek his help.

Knowing that pressing Destiny is not the way to convince her to give their relationship another try, Marcus has been waiting her out—and his patience is rewarded when she steps into his nightclub. Now is his chance to lure her back into his arms. This time, he plans to keep her there.

Destiny’s not sure which is worse: working with Marcus, or trying to remember all the reasons she called it off with him. And when it becomes clear the case is an elaborate trap to avenge a millennia-old grudge, she finds herself caught between love and instinct—while the clock ticks down on an innocent victim’s life…

Product Warnings

Vampires determined to take more than a bite out of the heroine. A lioness sure that she’s going to have the last word.

You can buy Blood and Destiny at a number of places including: My Bookstore and More, Books on Board, and Amazon Kindle.

Now, for the contest from Kaye’s site:

Do you have an ereader?

No? Do you want one?

That’s right, folks. In celebration of the release of BLOOD AND DESTINY, I will be giving away a Sony Pocket Reader to ONE lucky winner.

How do you enter? I’m so glad you asked!

Simple: SAVE YOUR RECEIPT when you purchase BLOOD AND DESTINY between March 1st and June 21st.

EMAIL (or forward) the receipt to chamberskaye @ gmail.com (remove the spaces, please)

That’s it!

You don’t want to buy the book? That’s okay, there’s an alternative way to enter.

Email me for details!

Full details are on Kaye’s site. I’m led to understand that right now, the odds of winning look good. Heck, let’s be honest, this will probably be one contest where your odds are better than many, many (most) others and the prize is awesome. You don’t even have to buy the book to enter, but I think you should!

Goodreads part II

Last week I mentioned I’d been using Goodreads to track my reads and my thoughts on some of the books. Some of you said you liked my reviews, thanks! One of the things I wanted to ask in that post, and didn’t, is how you use Goodreads. I often feel like there’s a lot more potential I could be getting from the site that I’m not, because in the past I’ve focused on just tracking my books, and I feel a little overwhelmed about venturing outside my own library.

For instance, I know there are discussions that occur there, but are those only in group areas or are there non-group areas? And how do I track people’s reviews and get notified of them? By following? It appears that I have lots of friends, but am not following anyone. What does following do?

Also, what groups do you recommend? When I first joined Goodreads, I wanted to use it to track what I was reading. I moved “up” to adding mini-reviews when I felt moved to do so. It’s nice, because any time I’ve reviewed here on the blog, I’ve always felt like I need to have a lengthy, more detailed and formal review. On Goodreads, I can just slap a few thoughts down, mostly for myself but if someone else finds them useful, yay!

I guess what I’m looking for is to hear from some of you as to how you use Goodreads, other than just tracking your own reading. What are some of the best features of Goodreads, in your opinion, and what do you wish more people would take advantage of, that they might not know about?

All Romance eBooks feature

As part of All Romance eBooks’ 28 Days of Heart campaign, I’ve been featured as the 12th of 28 romance bloggers. You can check out the interviews of all 28 here, or scroll to day 12 to read my interview!

Read on for more about the 28 Days of Heart Campaign:

In conjunction with our 28 Days of Heart Campaign to raise funds for, and awareness of, heart disease, All Romance is also taking the opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the wonderful romance blogs that help make the eromance reading community thrive. Every day in February, our newsletter will be profiling some fantastic romance blogs that we know you’ll love as much as we do.

During the month of love, when everyone’s attention is focused on matters of the heart, All Romance eBooks (ARe) is helping to fight the number one killer of women, heart disease, with their 28 Days of Heart campaign.

Beginning February 1, 2010, ARe, the digital bookseller that owns All Romance (www.allromance.com) and OmniLit (www.omnilit.com), will release one new novella per day for twenty-eight consecutive days. All proceeds from the sale of these shorts, which will be offered exclusively on AllRomance.com and OmniLit.com as individual eBooks, will be donated to the American Heart Association.

The stories cover all the genres, from Gay to Interracial, Paranormal to Historical, Contemporary to Sci Fi. They were generously donated by both best selling and up-and- coming authors from some of your favorite publishers including Kensington, Berkley, Pocket, St. Martin’s Press, Ellora’s Cave, Cerridwen, Samhain, Total E Bound, Loose Id, Phaze, Liquid Silver, Torquere Press, Siren, Amber Quill and more!

The stories range between 10,000 and 20,000 words, so they are a perfect sweet (or more accurately spicy) Valentine treat. Each includes a forward by author Charlaine Harris (of True Blood fame) as a show of support for the charity the stories will benefit. Indulge yourself this year for Valentines Day—enjoy one of each, and know you are helping a worthy cause at the same time.

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