An announcement, and a review.


The announcement first: this blog will be taking a break from reviewing books until at least Nov. 1, and possibly beyond then. I need to rethink what I’ll be reviewing, and it’s possible I won’t be doing any new releases. I won’t be accepting ARCs in the future.

But before I walk away for a rest and reassessment, I really wanted to get my review of Just for Christmas Night up. It’s a great book, the third in a series I’ve been enjoying, and it deserves some love.

Harlequin Kimani Romance
Published: 01 December 2014

Reasons I Might Actually Remember This One:The complete lack of slut-shaming. The heroine is no virgin, and she’s not ashamed of her choices, in spite of her own mother’s harshness on the subject.

Disclosure: I received an ARC in return for a fair and honest review. 

And about that disclosure: I just want to say in passing that while I don’t know Lisa Marie Perry personally, as an author she has always been pure class. She’s polite and friendly and for what my opinion is worth, she’s someone I feel safe accepting ARCs from and reviewing books for. 
 That all makes me sound a little crazy, right? Like, WHY WOULD I EVEN NEED TO SAY THAT? Well, in the light of another author’s spectacularly bad life choices and scary behaviour, it just seems worth specifying. 

just for christmas nightI’ve been waiting for this book, because Martha Blue was my favourite of the Blue sisters even when she was just appearing as a background character in her sisters’ stories. Raised by powerful determined parents (the mother is downright manipulative), she was the most rebellious, unconcerned with the family brand and with “image” and bent on having a good time.

Including, and ths is one of my reasons for loving this book, a good time with men. Martha doesn’t do “dating” but she does do “sex,” and I love non-virgin heroines who own who they are. The author doesn’t do any cop-outs, either: Martha isn’t secretly a virgin, or a virgin-to-one-particular-sex-act. When sex with the hero is special, it’s special because of Martha’s emotions about Joaquin, not because of any “this is the first time I’ve ever done X” thing.

Also, party-girl Martha has been keeping a few secrets from her family, and they’re in the opposite direction from her mother’s expectations. She’s been building her education and is more determined to manage her family’s brand–and more capable of doing so–than anyone has given her credit for. I loved it.

The only aspect I didn’t love is that she rescues a foster child, and I have an aversion to children popping up in romances when I’m not braced for them. But to be fair, her foster daughter isn’t an ordinary plot moppet, so there was no overdose of sweetness, just some reasonable compassion. So it worked better than most “suddenly, a child appears” subplots for me.


This house is full of books.

Like, crazy cat lady levels of full, only with books instead of cats. Admittedly the books are easier to shelve (though at this point not MUCH easier, because we are running out of shelves).

Part (okay most) of the problem:


Yeah, I know. I love books, okay? Also I don’t spend on much other “entertainment” stuff right now, and we next-to-never eat out, so this is where my entertainment budget has been going.

But between my urge to step back from reviewing new releases for a while, and my even greater urge to get through some of my TBR pile and clear some shelf space, I’ve reached a decision: I’m going to try to go six months WITHOUT buying books.*

This will also give me more time to work through my stack of Old School Romances, and maybe review a few of those for a change. (No one will show up on my doorstep for reviewing something ten or twenty years out of print, right? Right??)

*Except for the children’s Scholastic Book Club orders.

Well, UGH.

I don’t often update this blog, but this morning I have something I need to communicate, and it’s a bit of a policy statement. I apologize in advance for the sheer pomposity of that.

As you may already have read, the Guardian recently published a piece in which an author writes lightly and amusingly about stalking someone who gave her a bad review. No, really, that really happened. There’s a good list of links at Love in the Margins.

Obviously I don’t ever want to be stalked by creepy authors. I realize the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim: I’m not a well-known or prolific reviewer, and I can usually only find the energy to review books I enjoyed, not the ones I hated. But, you know…if the atmosphere surrounding book reviews has gotten so entitled and toxic that some authors think this was justified (and they do: there are people praising the stalker on Twitter), then I have no interest in participating.

No, honestly, I just don’t. Take your much-wanted stars and shove them somewhere in need of light, because I’ll no longer be providing them for any authors I don’t already know/trust/have reason to believe are sane. So the list of things I’ll be bothering to review just shrank considerably.

But the more important thing I wanted to say is this: I don’t Google myself, look for mentions of myself, or even read reviews of my stuff anymore. If you are reading anything I’ve written, you can talk about it (or not) however and wherever you want to: I promise not to whine, stalk, complain, or even look. You are allowed to have opinions of my work! Even negative ones!

So this is my one and only comment: Thank you for taking the time to read me. I’m delighted if you enjoyed the read, and sorry if you didn’t, but either way I’m not comfortable responding to reviews. I hope you understand, and that you know I’m making this decision with a lot of respect and affection for the world of readers.