Book Club Chat Reminder, Links, and DABWAHA 2nd Chance Tournament!

Book The Chocolate KissReminder! Tomorrow at 9pm we'll be hosting the Sizzling Book Club Chat discussing The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand.

There will probably be intricate discussions of dessert and pastry. Ms. Florand will join us at 10pm ET for a Q&A. I hope you'll come by – book club chat nights are very fun.


I'm over at Kirkus today, continuing my series about identifying your favorite tropes and character types in romance. This week, in honor of Passover, I'm talking about identifying those things about romance you know you don't like – and can thus pass…over. Ba-dum-bump.

Just as identifying the character types and storylines that you like is a powerful and useful tool for finding more romances you love to read, knowing what to avoid is also a powerful and very useful tool. There is nothing less fun than realizing you are not enjoying a book at all. 

If you think about the books you really, really hated, the ones that made you angry, disappointed, or just plain bored, it's likely they have some common elements. Maybe all the heroines were very dim—or too stupid to live, as we often call them—or easily influenced by whomever is telling her what to do in that chapter. I personally dislike heroines who don't think for themselves, and who always do what they are told to do. Perhaps the other books you dislike all feature bookish, quiet heroes, and you prefer the take charge alpha-male-commando-badass hero type. Or maybe you really love mysteries and puzzles to solve alongside the hero and heroine, and dislike angsty, emotionally tense stories about people in tense arguments. These are all good pieces of information to help you identify the books you should avoid. 

ETA: How did this link not make it into the entry? I totally put it here. Wily link. Anyway. RWA has announced the RITA and Golden Heart nominees. Any books you think will win? Any books you think are excellent? We'll be putting together the RITA Reader Challenge very soon – stay tuned!

The Washington Post asked me to do a round up of the big romance titles coming out this spring – which turned out to be pretty difficult because they have these word limit things that I do NOT understand. And they're really fierce about defending those limits, too. WEIRD.

What books are you most looking forward to this spring? This week and next are hella-big release weeks!

DABWAHAVoting opens tomorrow, 28 March 2013, for the DABWAHA Sweet Sixteen, so get your vote mongering ready, and fill your tank with gas so you can drive from free WiFi spot to free WiFi spot to keep voting. The voting applies to both the DABWAHA tournament AND the Second Chance tournament – so if you're entered in both, get ready! You can make your picks online, and, since there are only 16 books, you'd think it would be easy, right? Alas, no, there are some very tough matches to predict.

There are excellent prizes for the 2nd Chance Tournament, too: Shannon Stacey provided the winner's prize, an iPad Mini with a complete set of the Kowalski novels. And debut author Jen Frederick has offered an Amazon Kindle Fire to the 2nd place finisher.

Interesting trivia: in the main DABWAHA tournament, 130+ people picked Archangel's Storm to win. In the 2nd Chance tournament, 140+ people have picked it to win.

So, what do you think: likely? Or will there be an epic upset? Who should we be voting for tomorrow? 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    cleo says:

    My anti-catnip is simple – asshole heroes (including but not limited to heroes that are overly controlling, possessive, abusive or just plain mean).

    Honestly, I think that’s one reason why I’ve been on such an m/m kick this past year and a half – there are not many asshole heroes in m/m – or at least not the kind of possessive, must control my lover, type asshole hero that is found in m/f romance.

  2. 2
    Phyllis says:

    Oh. With so many going to for Archangel’s Storm, maybe I should change my bracket to agree with them? Aw heck, I always lose horribly, but not horribly enough to win a prize. I’ll just leave it…

  3. 3

    I agree with Cleo regarding asshole heroes. I even have a hard time with “nice” heroes who are having an off day and behave like jerks, though I will forgive them if there is sufficient grovelling. If a hero is an asshole by nature, though, no amount of grovelling will turn him into someone I can read as heroic—it just becomes an endless cycle of bad behavior and apologies. When a heroine ends up with a character like that, I can’t help thinking of her as a doormat. I think I just dislike alpha heroes in general. (NOTE: I am significantly more patient with people IRL than in books. I just don’t have time to deal with fictitious drama in addition to real drama.)

    Aside from that, I intensely dislike romantic suspense, though I love me some action/adventure. I’m generally not a fan of love triangles (though they work for me sometimes), and I utterly HATE books wherein the heroine is helpless and must rely on the hero for protection/provision/whatever. It makes me want to shake her and yell, “Grow a backbone, woman! Take charge of your own life!”

    Captcha: way63. “There must be 63 ways to leave your asshole lover.”

  4. 4
    Jaelwye says:

    Sarah, I wonder what you think ofJayne Ann Krentz? I’d say she meets your low gore/high adventure criteria quite well.

  5. 5
    Liz H. says:

    I tend to think of asshole heros and TSTL heroines (and often TSTL heroes too) to be so obviously bad that it goes without saying. But if it were, I guess there wouldn’t be so many of them huh?
    My big pet peeve is mega-rich/mega-successful heroes that spend no time working, let alone the 20 hours a day it would take in real life. (Please note exactly how hard 50 Shades hits all 4 of these. It’s like it was purposfully designed to make my head explode!)

  6. 6
    Liz H. says:

    Ok, I’m an idiot and can’t figure out how to directly respond to a comment. Is there a reply button somewhere that I’m oblivious to?

    @Cleo- Fingers crossed you read this. Any recommendations? I’m loving Josh Lanyon, really enjoyed Abigail Roux and Jordan Castillo Price, and had very extreme reactions to Heidi Cullinan (either loved loved loved, or was completely blah). What’s next?

  7. 7
    cleo says:

    @Liz H – it’s not you, it’s the system – you can’t reply to comments anymore.

    ok, m/m recommendations.  I’ve read and enjoyed all of the authors you mention, except Abigail Roux (I keep looking at her work but I don’t like romantic suspense, especially RS with serial killers, and that’s what she seems to write).

    Others to try.  Hmm, this is intimidating. 

    Marie Sexton is good – I started with Between Sinners and Saints, which is excellent but intense (it’s less intense than A Quiet Gentleman by Heidi Cullinan, if you read that, but deals with similar themes).  Her Coda series is less intense and enjoyable.  Promises is the first in the series.

    Sean Kennedy – he’s an Australian author.  Start with Tigers and Devils.  I haven’t read a lot by him, but what I’ve read has had mostly fade to black sex scenes.

    K A Mitchell – Collision Course or Diving in Deep are good books to start with.  She writes sexy and emotional contemporaries. 

    L A Witt – she’s hit or miss for me, but she’s really popular, and her hits really work for me.  My favorite is Covet Thy Neighbor, which just came out – it’s a romance between an atheist tattoo artist, who was disowned by his conservative Christian family, and an openly gay Christian minister.

    Anne Tennino – I started with Fratboy and Toppy, and the sequel Love, Hypothetically.  No angst in these books – just young love, with a sense of humor.

    Aleksandr Voinoiv – he’s an interesting author who writes in a huge range of moods / styles, including a couple series that plays with and breaks romance conventions (ie Dark Soul, which I’ve avoided so far).  I started with his collaboration with Amy Lane – Country Mouse, which I loved.  I also liked Skyfall and Incursion, which are both unusual but satisfying (for me, at least).

    Amy Lane – I’m almost afraid to recommend her.  She’s one of those book-crack authors with a lot of writing ticks – you either love her or wonder how the hell she got published and why she has a fan base.  I love her, but I’m also aware of her limitations.  She writes in a range of moods – from over the top angst and pain to more light-hearted but still emotional.  A lot of people love her Keeping Promises series, but it’s too ott for me.  I started with Country Mouse and It’s Not Shakespeare.  I also love Clear Water and The Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-bearing Critters (a knitting novella with a pattern for a cock cozy).

    I found the m/m reviews at Dear Author really helpful when I started reading this genre, more so than the m/m only review sites, because the reviews are written for a wider romance audience –

  8. 8
    Marla says:

    Oh wait – is it chocolate KISS or chocolate THIEF – for the book chat? (Pic is “Kiss” but link says “Thief”.)

  9. 9
    SB Sarah says:

    MY MISTAKE. Sorry. It’s KISS. DUR. I’ve been mixed up with the DABWAHA, which featured “The Chocolate Thief.”

  10. 10
    cleo says:

    @ LizH – a couple more thoughts. Petit Morts is a series of novellas written by different authors and edited by Jordan Castillo Price. It gets expensive – 17 novellas at 2.99 each but I loved them.  And it’s a good way to try new authors.  I also like the anthology Lashings of Sauce which is British lgbt short stories.

  11. 11
    Liz H. says:

    @Cleo- Thanks so much! I’ve tried a few of those authors; LA Witt was more of a miss than a hit, and I loved K.A. Mitchell (how did I leave her off of the list?!). Anne Tennino and Aleksandr Voinoiv are new to me, and I haven’t tried Sean Kennedy. Lots of reading to do now :)

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