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Caitlyn Lynch, Author
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Writing and blogging about books!
Writing and blogging about books!

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Caitlyn Lynch, Author's posts

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I’m honestly not sure who to blame for the current trend I’m seeing in romance novels for bossy, controlling heroes. That sort of romance hero has been around since long before Christian Grey, but perhaps the overwhelming popularity of 50 Shades has created a resurgence? Whatever the reason, I don’t care for it, and Marco from Hot Shot is a classic example.

Let me give you a few samples from the book. The first one, you can read for yourself; it’s on page 5 of the book and is included in the first 10% sample you can read on Amazon without purchase.

He clearly regarded her as an airheaded blond bimbo, flirting with her but also mansplaining things to her that made her grit her teeth.

Honestly, I’m not sure there’s any way back from being a mansplainer. Fortunately, Marco doesn’t do much of it during the book, though he does spend a whole lot of his time objectifying Carrie in his mind, and treating her as though he’s the only one who knows what’s best for her - EVEN BEFORE THEY START DATING.

There was a particularly egregious example early in the book. Carrie had been out on a photoshoot and gone to a club after with some friends. They are drinking, dancing and generally having a good time when Marco arrives and promptly puts a massive downer on the proceedings by telling Carrie that she’s had enough to drink, grabbing her hand and dragging her onto the dance floor, and then when she chooses to dance with someone else, comes up with the following, really SPECIAL behaviour.

Oh hell no. She wasn’t dancing with anyone but him. (...) He curved his hand around Carrie’s upper arm and turned her away from the dips**t she was dancing with.
“Sorry man,” Marco said to the guy. “My girl’s not dancing with anyone else.”

Remember, at this point they aren’t dating. They haven’t even KISSED. She’s already told him that she doesn’t want to sleep with him, that “I don’t hate you,” she said dismissively. “I tolerate you.”

If a guy treated me like that, my next move would be to call the bouncers over and have him kicked out of the club for harassing me. If he carried on, I’d get a restraining order.

I could go on. I could tell you about Marco’s special name for his private parts. In fact, I’m going to, just to share the sentence that made me throw up a little bit in my mouth.

They were going to go home and do the sex thing, while he was going to go home and do the hand thing with Mr. Big while thinking about Carrie’s sweetly bouncing breasts.

That’s right. Mr. Big. And Carrie. But this isn’t Sex In The City; this is revoltingly objectifying and everything about Marco horrified me even BEFORE I realized that Carrie was going to give up her dream to stay with him.

This is a well-written and edited book; I didn’t find a single typo or grammatical error, and if you particularly like alpha-A-hole heroes, you may absolutely love it.

I HATED it.

One star.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.

http://amzn.to/2qD2UgV


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5 stars for Girl Unseen by Athena Daniels... another amazing paranormal romance in the Beyond The Grave series!
http://bit.ly/2r0ph2I

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5 stars for Nothing Like A Duke by Jane Ashford. LOVED the heroine in this clever Regency romance!
http://bit.ly/2qAXAud

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I first came across Lark and Rose, the two authors who together write as Christina Rose Andrews, when reading their story The Best Worst Valentine's Day Ever in Red Hots: A Valentine Anthology. At the time I knew that this was a writer that was going places, someone to watch out for in years to come, and I am delighted to have been proven correct with their first novel-length release in The Language Of Flowers.

This isn't your everyday kind of romance. From the very beginning it is set apart by being told in first person from the male perspective, and a protagonist with a disability at that. Cole Visser came back from Afghanistan missing quite a lot of one of his legs, but he doesn't intend to allow that to define his life. He still has issues with it, and there was a particularly poignant scene where Zara shows him just how little the scars matter in her eyes. Cole is a very sympathetic character and riding along with him as he does his best to muddle through the confusing situation he finds himself in when he discovers he's a father, I really came to enjoy his character.

Zara, on the other hand, I thought spent a good deal of the book behaving like a petulant brat. HOWEVER, there was a huge reveal near the end that totally made sense of all her behaviour and suddenly had me feeling rather guilty for judging her without knowing all the facts. The moral of that story, of course, is that you really do have to walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you can truly say you know them.

The Language Of Flowers is so much more than just a love story; it's an inspiring tale of second chances and forgiven slights, of two people with major traumas in their pasts finally finding their peace in one another without some 'magical cure'. I especially loved the parts of the book where Cole and Zara go to couple's therapy; that is how relationships SHOULD be portrayed in fiction more often, with people talking out their issues and working together to find solutions because of their belief in a better future.

This is a beautiful debut novel and I look forward to many great things to come from Christina Rose Andrews. Five stars.

http://amzn.to/2qCLrUY
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Book Review: The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor

Poor Lady Claire Cavensham has had what as an Aussie I'd have to call a pretty rough trot. She lost her parents in an appalling accident when she was only child - an accident she survived and pretty clearly is still suffering from the trauma of - and though then taken in by the not-at-all wicked uncle (which was a nice change) bad luck seems to have dogged her ever since, to the point at which she herself has started to believe she might be cursed.

Losing her fourth fiancé in five years (it feels a bit like the litany of Henry VIIIs wives at one point... died, disabled, disgraced, cried off) is more than bad luck, though Claire doesn't know it at the time. Her erstwhile fiancé Lord Paul angered the wrong man, and now Alex, Marquess of Pembrooke, is out for vengeance, which means taking everything Lord Paul once held dear.

Including Lady Claire...

I liked Claire a lot and I felt a great deal of sympathy for her, particularly the way that Alex avoided telling her the truth. There was a great scene where she called him on it, accusing him of never apologising or taking responsibility for his actions; I felt like applauding. Alex was really pig-headed, never willing to take anybody's word for their actions, and to really the whole mess he made of his marriage was his own fault. Certainly Claire was innocent of any wrong-doing.

There was a rather shocking reveal towards the end of the book which turned on its head a 'fact' we thought we knew from the beginning, a fact which had driven Alex's motivations to that point. I have to say that this 'fact' being what turned him around didn't please me; he needed to change not because of external factors, but because of his own understanding that he had mucked up in a pretty epic way.

The book is well-written and I'd probably read the second in the series because I liked Lady Emma and Alex's friend together, but I can't say it was really enjoyable. I'll give it four stars.

The Bad Luck Bride is available now. Yet again, however, it's a case of a publisher making the ebook the same price as the paperback. One of these things is not like the other, folks. No wonder that big publishers are reporting declining sales of ebooks.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.

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There is a certain inherent distrust between the writers (and readers) of romance fiction and the devotees of literary fiction. Sharon Pywell, in a closing statement to this book, states that she never read a romance until after reaching adulthood, when she picked one up off a lending library shelf out of sheer boredom and a lack of something else to read.

The problem with coming to romantic fiction as an adult, as an author who already writes literary fiction, is the instinct to over-analyse things. Romances are about escapism, and here is where I think this author has fundamentally missed the point.

In writing a literary fiction novel about a fan of romance novels, including snippets of a supposed 'real' romance novel, the author has managed to create a book that is the absolute opposite of escapist. Full of drudgery, cruelty, sadism and murder, reading it felt like trudging through quicksand.

Literary fiction fans are snobs; they wouldn't begin to comprehend why a supposedly 'intelligent woman' would read or write romance. Believe me, as a romance author I've encountered more than my fair share of this kind of snobbery in writers' forums. There's a certain attitude that I must be only in it for the money (that would be funny if I was making enough to live on, really).

The truth is that a romance author writes, and a romance author reads, because we love the escapism of it all, the freedom to flee from a world that is far too often full of drudgery into one full of love and happy endings all around. Worst of all, even the romance novel within the novel, The Pirate's Lover, was terrible, and certainly not something that would have seen the light of day in the publishing climate of the 1930s when it was supposedly written. It reminded me vaguely of the rape-tastic Kathleen Woodiwiss books of the early 1970s. They were dreadful then and holding a similar book up as some sort of guide for anyone to live by in any era is absolutely ghastly.

There is no shame in enjoying romance novels, but by including such a rubbish one in a literary fiction book as an integral part of the plot the author only contributes further to the (extremely misogynistic) sneering stereotypes that literary fiction authors and readers already ascribe to those who enjoy romance.

I can only suggest that the author subscribe to the Smart Bitches Trashy Books blog and start reading GOOD romance novels. Maybe then she could try writing one herself and find out what they are REALLY about. Actual plot, decent pacing, characters that draw the readers in and a happy ending for EVERYONE we've come to care about.

Any one of those things in this book might have made it a half-decent read; as it was it took me two days to wade through it when my average read time for a book of this length is about 90 minutes. Not only that but it's left me in a bad temper because of the further wedge it drives in between the literary fiction and the romance fiction community, when I started it hoping that it would do exactly the opposite - that's why I selected it to read in the first place. One star.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.


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5 stars for Because Self-Publishing Works: Everything I Learned About How to Publish a Book by V.V. Cam.

HIGHLY recommended for all aspiring authors, this book will teach you in jargon-free language exactly what steps you need to go through to get your book to market.

And it's only 99 cents!

http://bit.ly/2oOtoK3

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4 stars for Lost Rider by Harper Sloan... absolutely OOZES Texas country!
http://bit.ly/2oZPOv9
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