Dear Bitches, Smart Authors Podcast

71. Discoveries You Envy, What Makes for Great Romance, and a Reader Email about Alpha Males

This conversation started with Sarah MacLean in late November, and then continued online, after which I asked Jane about it, too. Sarah MacLean, in the latter part of our interview earlier this December, started talking about our favorite books and what makes a great romance.

Then, Jane and I discuss one reader's email about her impressions of misogyny in the popular contemporary and new adult romances that were finalists in the GoodReads awards, and whether this reader is out of step with the romance community as a whole. (Hint: we don't think so.)


Book When the Duke was Wicked - Lorraine Heath Book The Last Wicked Soundrel novella Book Instant Attraction - Jill Shalvis Book The Devil in Winter

Book Rock Chick - Kristen Ashley Book Mackenzie's Magic - Linda Howard Book Nalini Singh - Books 1 - 5 of Psy-Changeling

Book Bitten - Kelley Armstrong Book The Golden Chance -Jayne Ann Krentz Book Family Blessings - LaVyrle Spencer Book Tangled - Emma Chase

Book Beautiful Bastard Book Katy Evans - Real Book Until You - Penelope Douglas Book Nicholas Sparks - The Longest Ride




But wait, there's more! 


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And don’t miss Before Jamaica Lane, Samantha Young’s all-new romance novel, on sale in January!





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  1. 1
    Lizzie R says:

    Great podcast.

    I totally understand “you get to read this for the first time envy” but one of my first book buys was based on an amazon review where the reviewer said exactly that – I envy everyone who is going to read this for the first time – and with such a glowing review how could I not.  To this day I rue the time and money spent on that bloody book, and have yet to try anything by that prolific author.

    This was at the beginning of my return to reading, and now I have much better resources to select new books to read however first time book envy still works with me depending on who is saying it.

  2. 2

    Regarding series: I love them, but I also can’t hang for more than about ten books. Janet Evanovich, JD Robb, Suzanne Brockmann, Diana Gabaldon (four of her gigantic books equal ten normal ones!) – I’ve given up on all of them. I can go back and read the earlier books in each series, but I’m just not interested in the later books, even though I love the characters.

    Does anyone else have this problem?

  3. 3
    SB Sarah says:

    @Taylor: NO. You are not alone – I am the same way, though I rarely make it to 10 like you do!  It takes enormous trust for me to continue to follow an open-ended series because I have to continually believe in and trust where the story is going (and that it has an end!). With Evanovich, I gave up, mentally picked a person for Stephanie to be with, and ended it in the privacy of my own brain.

    So you are totally not alone in that one.

    @Lizzie: I know how you feel. When my reaction varies so much from someone else’s, I wonder (a) if I misread the wrong book because we clearly didn’t read the same one, and (b) what’s wrong with me?! It’s worth SO MUCH to have readers whose opinions you trust and whose tastes align with yours. One of the best parts of discovering reader communities online, I think.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Wendy says:

    I have to agree with you about the value of Goodreads being in the finding of readers whose tastes align with your own and getting recs that way, Sarah. As for its ratings and reviews being indicative of the quality of the reads, it’s worse than useless in many ways. Many GR users rate books but don’t bother writing reviews. And rave reviews mean nothing, because there’s a community of fellow writers at GR who solicit reviews from, and provide five-star reviews to, each other.

    I am an active reviewer there, and have had authors ask me for reviews. One romance book I read (and found immeasurably execrable) got a five-star review from a 60+ male GR author and member. I found this curious, so checked his profile, and it actually included the words “I will never give less than a five star review”. (He’s changed that, since. Can’t imagine why.) The author of this same book gave her book a five-star rating.

    When I rate a book, I rate it based on my own tastes and preferences (secret baby = bad; friends-to-lovers = good), and for my own reference, mostly. I assume that’s what other users do, too. I am interested to read reviews of books that catch my interest, but I don’t put a lot of faith in ratings with no review, brief reviews, or badly-written reviews.

    I am a total GR snob. I admit it.

  6. 6
    Cordy says:

    I’m a recent goodreads user, and I have been very disappointed at the crummy quality of it in terms of finding new books to read. I am apparently an incredibly slow learner, because I tried a half dozen books with hundreds of ratings averaging 4.2+ before realizing that I was wildly misreading the reviewing culture.

    I’ve found it slow going to work out how to find people with taste like mine – plus, Internet social awkwardness! I’m not totally sure what the site etiquette is in terms of following other reviewers, especially when their data is set to private. Okay to send a “Hey, I saw your comment on this book and we seem to have similar tastes” email, or weird?

    (Internet social awkwardness=the worst.)

  7. 7
    cat says:

    Sebastian from Devil in Winter is definitely one of my favorite heroes.

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