Guest Post by Author Jeffe Kennedy on Ebooks and Libraries + Giveaway

My featured guest for today is Jeffe Kennedy, the author of the marvelous fantasy romance series, Covenant of Thorns. The series concludes with today’s featured review book, Rogue’s Paradise, which answers so many of the questions that series fans have been waiting for.

In her guest post, Jeffe talks about one of the subjects near and dear to my heart, getting ebooks into libraries.

Rogues Paradise Button 300 x 225

I love that Reading Reality focuses on ebooks and ebook integration into libraries. This is partly because libraries and librarians have always been such a huge part of my life as a reader. As a writer, too, which is less visible to me. But more and more, librarians come up to me at events and tell me how my ebooks are in their collections and I should know how often they’re checked out and how their patrons just love, love, love them! I’m glad they tell me, because otherwise I have no way of knowing that.

I also appreciate that Marlene is dedicated to bringing ebooks into libraries, especially genre books, because I strongly feel that, without Carina and their willingness to take a chance on my digital series, A Covenant of Thorns, then these books might never have seen the light of day. That’s the terrific thing about ebook publishers—they’ve allowed books that don’t neatly fit into genre categories to have a chance.

rogues pawn goodreadsWhen I started Rogue’s Pawn,, I had no idea that I was writing a story that would “fall into the cracks between genres.” My tale of a modern woman, a professor of neuroscience who passes through a magical gate at Devils Tower and ends up in Faerie—exactly as in the tales of old—would maybe be an urban fantasy. Only with more romance. And sexier.

Okay, like many newbie writers, I had no idea what I was doing. I understood my story, but not how the marketplace worked.

Since I first started shopping that book—to praise for the writing and imagination, followed by rejection for marketability—the market has changed. Carina called it Fantasy Romance and now there’s lots more of those books out there. The Covenant of Thorns trilogy doesn’t sit squarely in Fantasy Romance, but it gets to be in the club still. More, the books have found readers and I’ve gotten to write others.

All because people embraced ebooks and the windows they open.

I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Jeffe KennedyJeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook. Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website:, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Foreword Literary.

To learn about Jeffe, visit her website or blog or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.


Because I enjoyed the Covenant of Thorns series so much, I want to give some lucky reader the chance to enjoy it too. So, the prize is the winner’s choice of Rogue’s Pawn, Rogue’s Possession or Rogue’s Paradise. These are all ebook only, so anyone can win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ebook Review Central, Carina Press, September 2012

Welcome to the First Anniversary Edition of Ebook Review Central!

The first issue of Ebook Review Central was published a little more than one year ago. But what it covered, well, that’s the anniversary part. Roughly this time last year, ERC started with the Carina Press titles from September 2011.

And here we are, back again, with the Carina Press titles from September 2012.

Carina Press publishes slightly fewer titles per month than they did a year ago; 15-ish now instead of 20. However, everything they publish gets reviewed. Every single title. Usually in more than one blog, and often by RT Book Reviews, or Library Journal Xpress Reviews, or both. It must help a lot to have Harlequin’s deep pockets, but that wouldn’t matter if their books weren’t consistently good. And they are.

Talking about good books, which titles did reviewers say were good this month?

Number one has to be the re-release of  Christine d’Abo’s Long Shots Books 1-3. Not just because it garnered another bunch of extremely positive reviews for the very nicely priced set, but because it got people to go back and re-review the three titles that make up the series: Double Shot, A Shot in the Dark, and Pulled Long. This series of erotic novellas is the story of the Long siblings, the coffee shop they own, and a local sex club named Mavericks. There’s one friends-into-lovers story, one BDSM story, and one male/male story to round out this set that is guaranteed to warm up a winter night.


Sometimes, the number of reviews makes a book a clear choice, just because so many people are talking about the book. The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James is that kind of story. Readers loved the idea of a normal woman discovering that she is a superhero with the power to save the world, and then they (well, we) all debated the merits of the details. The story has an absolutely fantastic opening scene, and the worldbuilding shows promise. Read Tracy’s review at Tracy’s Place for the positive spin and Mandi at Smexy Books for the so-so reaction.

The third featured book this week didn’t get quite as many reviews as a couple of other titles. But, every single reviewer who reviewed this book liked it. In many cases, they liked it a LOT. No mehs. no 2/5 or DNFs. Just a lot of good feelings about a fun book.

This week’s final featured title is How to Date a Henchman by Mari Fee. It’s a fantasy romance about a  girl who works for a mysterious agency. One where she doesn’t know what’s going on in the basement. She starts finding out when she goes on a date, not with the guy who comes to visit the company, but, you guessed it, his henchman. Mayhem ensues. The biggest complaint about this story was that it was just too damn short. Everyone wanted more of the fun!

So in September 2012 for Carina we have erotic romance and superheroes. Back in September 2011 we had urban fantasy, shapeshifters and romantic suspense. Still sounds like lots of things going bump in the night to me!

We’ll be back next time with the Dreamspinner Press titles from September 2012!

Stacking the Shelves (21)

I look at the length of this list and thank whoever the patron deity of booklovers might be that these are almost all ebooks. (Anything not stated otherwise is a book in the key of e.)

Even though this is two weeks worth of book-stacking, I went a bit overboard. Again. But I think that swimming in a sea of books is just so much fun!

What about you?

For Review:
All He Ever Desired (Kowalskis #5) by Shannon Stacey
Bared to You (Crossfire #1) by Sylvia Day (print)
Break Out (Blood Hunter #1) by Nina Croft (revised and expanded edition)
Broken Promise (Promise Me #2) by Tara Fox Hall
Double Time (Sinners on Tour #3) by Olivia Cunning
Down for the Count (Dare Me #1) by Christine Bell (review)
Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland by Bill Willingham
The Gravedigger’s Brawl by Abigail Roux
Hot Ticket (Sinners on Tour #4) by Olivia Cunning
The Intercept by Dick Wolf (print ARC)
Moonshifted (Edie Spence #2) by Cassie Alexander
The Mysterious Madam Morpho (Blud #1.5) by Delilah S. Dawson
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover: The Second Rule of Scoundrels by Sarah MacLean
Prince of Power (Chronicles of Yavn #2) by Elisabeth Staab
Promise Me (Promise Me #1) by Tara Fox Hall
Reflected in You (Crossfire #2) by Sylvia Day (print)
The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda (Summersby #3) by Sophie Barnes
Semper Fidelis (Gaius Petreius Ruso #5) by Ruth Downie
Spectra by Joanne Elder (print)
There’s Something About Lady Mary (Summersby #2) by Sophie Barnes
What the Cat Saw by Carolyn Hart

The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton (The Burgundy Club #3) by Miranda Neville (99 cent sale!)
Dignity (To be Sinclair #1) by Eva Caye (free!)
The Scargill Cove Case Files (Arcane Society #9.5, Looking Glass Trilogy #0.5) by Jayne Ann Krentz (free)

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 9-30-12

Wasn’t the Naughty or Nice Blog Hop a terrific idea?  My vote would have been for mostly naughty, I think, but of course, I can’t enter my own hop. And I just finished a terrific romance that would actually have come down on the “nice” side of the equation. Mostly, I like a good story, no matter what. But then, I also like mysteries, where the point is a “nice” dead body, or science fiction, where the point is a fast rocket ship. I’m funny that way.

The winner of the Naughty or Nice Blog Hop at Reading Reality, and that $15 Amazon Gift Card is Laurie Goudge. The lucky winner has already been notified by email.

This week’s reviews (and a couple of giveaways) in addition to the Blog Hop… here’s a look back at the past week:

Ebook Review Central Featured Titles: #1 Doubtless by Cat Grant (Riptide), #2 Wilde’s Army by Krystal Wade (Curiosity Quills), #3 Bone Wires by Michael Shean (Curiosity Quills)
B+ Review: The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors + Chocolate Giveaway
A- Review: Blood and Whiskey (Cowboy and Vampire #2) by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall + Interview
A- Review: Willow Pond by Carol Tibaldi + Book Giveaway
B Review: Paradise 21 (A New Dawn #1) by Aubrie Dionne

Chocolate lovers take note! There is still plenty of time to get in on Suzanne Selfors’ chocolate, yes, I said chocolate, giveaway! She is giving away a chocolate prize to one lucky US winner to celebrate the release of The Sweetest Spell. And it is a very, very sweet book, and prize.

Speaking of chocolate, let’s look ahead to what’s coming up this week!

If you’re wondering how chocolate could possibly be relevant, I have the answer right here.

Tuesday, my guest will be Sheila Roberts, and the book she’ll be talking about (and that I will be reviewing) is her latest book, Better than Chocolate. While for some of us that may be strange thought, let’s just say that the story in the book makes a fairly good point. (Also the hero is allergic to chocolate, so his opinion on the subject is somewhat prejudiced.) The course of true love and the saving of a chocolate company and the town that depends on it, does not exactly run as smooth as a creamy caramel center in this small town romance. But the story is pretty yummy.

We switch from small town sweetness to the hard edge of military romantic suspense on Thursday with Christi Snow and her debut novel Operation: Endgame. Christi is a well-known romance blogger (Smitten with Reading) but this is her first time on the other side of the fence, and she’s hit this one out of the park. I’m really looking forward to her interview.

In addition to blogging, one of the things that I’m going to be doing this week is speaking at the Southeastern Library Association Conference in Macon, Georgia about one of my favorite topics, “Ebooks in Libraries”. Last week, my friends at Book Lovers Inc let me do the Bookish Rant for the week on that very topic, more or less. At SELA, I’ll be on the good side of the topic, introducing my fellow librarians to sources for terrific ebooks that libraries can get for patrons.

Last week, my Bookish Rant on How Much Does an Ebook Cost? was the flip side of the problem. My post was about the high prices libraries pay for ebooks from the “Big 6” publishers and the difficulties libraries have getting books from most of those publishers. Small and mid-size publishers, like most of the romance publishers, are much, much friendlier to libraries.

And last but not least, Banned Books Week starts today, September 30, and runs through October 6. This week’s Bookish Post at Book Lovers Inc will be about Banned Books Week, and I will also post it here while I’m off at the conference (scheduling posts is a wonderful thing!)

Anyone can participate in Banned Books Week. If there is no event in your area, you can take part in the Virtual Read-Out online. Just record 2 minutes reading from a banned book and why you think that book is important. The full info for participation is here.

If you want to be stylish while you read your banned book for Banned Books Week, or at any time during the year, Out of Print Clothing has a fantastic line of bookish t-shirts designed from classic book covers. It’s amazing how many of the truly iconic books, with instantly recognizable covers, have been banned.

Celebrate the Freedom to Read! Read a banned book.

Bookish Rant: How Much Does an Ebook Cost?

When you go to your bookseller of choice and buy an ebook, it costs whatever the dealer says it costs. Anything from free to $14.99 or the equivalent per country.

The real caveat isn’t the different currency, the “trick” is in that three-letter-word “buy”. Because as we all know but conveniently forget, we don’t buy our ebooks, or any electronic media, including software. We license it from the supplier. Which means that they can set the terms of the license.

Back to the question of the cost of an ebook. The price to an individual, meaning you and me, is what the seller (Amazon, B&N, Book Depository, etc.) says it is. Because that’s the arrangement that those suppliers have made with the publishers. You remember the publishers, and that little anti-trust lawsuit problem they have with the U.S. Government about, you guessed it, the price of ebooks? (If not, see this Bookish Rant)

About that cost of ebooks … have you ever checked an ebook out of your public library? Did you know that libraries have ebooks for you to check out?  They very definitely do, but there are a couple of issues, and they boil down to that cost of ebooks problem.

If you’ve ever tried to check an ebook out at your local public library, you might have discovered that there are a number of ebooks that just plain aren’t available at the library, but that you know perfectly well are available from Amazon and B&N. There’s a reason for that and it’s not pretty.

Those “Big 6” publishers in the price-fixing anti-trust lawsuit? (Only five are in the price-fixing suit, but the “Big 6” publishers are: Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins, Macmillan, Penguin Group, Random House and Simon & Schuster). Only Harper Collins and Random House currently license frontlist ebooks to libraries in the U.S. Hachette licenses backlist titles only. Penguin,  Macmillan and S&S just say no, although Penguin and Macmillan are “experimenting with some models of access”.  Scholastic Books, the publishers of The Hunger Games, also just says “no”.

This means that more than half the big publishers have said they don’t want libraries’ money, not at any price. Why? Because they are afraid, and yes, I do mean afraid, as in scared out of their socks (and wits), that people might borrow ebooks instead of buying them. This is in spite of increasing evidence that people who borrow books actually buy more books.

So if you’re wondering why you can’t borrow an ebook of Sylvia Day’s Bared to You from your public library, it’s because she’s published by Berkley Books, a division of Penguin. J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy is being published by Little, Brown, and guess what? Little, Brown is a division of Hachette.

But some publishers do want libraries’ money. They just want LOTS of it. If you want to buy a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, it costs $9.99 as an ebook. If a library wants it, they can buy it alright, but it costs $47.85. Think about that for a minute and gasp. It’s still one copy. It can only be out to one person at a time, just like the print book. What makes the publisher think it’s worth five times as much? (If you want the entire gruesome picture, take a look at this price comparison from the Douglas County Libraries in Colorado.)

Libraries have very finite, and often shrinking budgets. If they spend a lot in one area to keep patrons happy, that money has to be taken from somewhere else. If a very, very popular ebook like Fifty Shades costs five times as much as it should, or if Gone Girl costs $25 instead of the $12.99 that it should, something else doesn’t get bought. Like more debut authors, or more genre fiction (like romance) or simply having more titles to choose from all the way around.

When the library purchases fewer titles to satisfy the clamor for high-demand titles on the best-seller list, mid-list and debut authors lose sales. They get lower advances for their next books, or publishers don’t buy their books at all. What happens then? It’s a vicious cycle. Or a circle towards the drain. (Insert your metaphor here)

Some of you are thinking that this won’t matter to you, that you either don’t use your local library, or that you only borrow print books. Or even that you only read print books. There’s a couple of other thoughts I’d like to leave you with before I get down off my soapbox.

Ebooks are now the dominant form of distribution for adult fiction in the U.S. More adult fiction is purchased in ebook format than any other format. More than hardcover, more than trade paperback, more than mass market paperback. Not more than all of them combined, but more than any one of them individually. And don’t think the day won’t come when ebooks do pass all of them combined for categories like adult fiction. This snowball is already rolling down that hill and picking up speed. And debris.

Publishers make more profit on hardcovers than they do on ebooks, so hardcovers aren’t going away. But authors I heard speak at Dragon*Con were saying that this is the beginning of the end for mass market paperbacks. Ebooks are more profitable for the publishers to produce than mass market paperbacks, and consumers are voting with their dollars for ebooks over mass market paperbacks.

I love the convenience of ebooks. I buy them in bed at midnight and they are right there, right then. But I want every book I buy to be available for my local library to purchase too, so everyone can enjoy them. (Libraries are fantastic for “try before you buy” for new-to-me authors)  What happens, not if, but when publishers only publish first-time authors in ebook, and libraries can’t buy those books?

Ebook Review Central, Carina Press, July 2012

The July 2012 Carina Press titles, at least when it comes to which ones got the most reviews, could definitely be said to owe something to the “Fifty Shades” effect.

The hottest books — in the erotic sense — were also definitely the hottest titles in the reviewing numbers.

Fifty shades of tie-ins!  Although the popularity of the book opened doors for more books that show a kinkier side of sex, it also spawned products in areas that the author couldn’t possibly have dreamed of. This one from Etsy may be the furthest after “Laters, baby” as later can get.

I’d much rather (make that much, much rather) get back to the Carina books.

First, I’d like to give a shout-out to Natasha Hoar’s urban fantasy title, The Ravenous Dead, which was one of the featured for Carina last month. Its date of publication seems to have changed, so now it’s on this month’s list. But I can’t feature it again, dagnabbit! Because it absolutely earned a featured slot this month, too. But each book only gets one bite at the apple, and The Ravenous Dead have already bitten.

So who are this month’s featured titles for Carina? I’m so glad you asked.

The number one featured title was so far out in first place that the sheer quantity of reviews is worth mentioning. The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden attracted over 40 reviews, all good or better. Those are pretty big numbers for an ebook-only title. What was it about The Theory of Attraction? Yes, it’s a BDSM story like Fifty Shades, with the virtue that it’s a heck of a lot shorter. Ms. Dryden’s story is also a geek love story, with two socially awkward scientists as the hero and heroine. Lots of readers identified with the couple and their geeky social circle. The geek dom made for a different twist on the trope: the hero was intelligent but not super-rich. RT Book Reviews described it as “erotic romance done right.”

In the second position we have another erotic romance, and another boundary-stretching and review-grabbing title as well. Sharing Hailey by Samantha Ann King pushed at the erotic romance envelope in a different direction. Hailey has always had a crush on her two best friends, Mark and Tony. But Mark and Tony are best buds, and don’t want to mess up their friendship by forcing Hailey to choose between them. Solution: the three of them get together! It’s perfect until Hailey’s abusive ex returns and tries to spoil everything. This story has 29 reviewers behind it, so far, all of them generally thinking it was pretty good or better. Again, 29 reviewers is a lot of positive feedback. This one looks worth checking out.

It was much more difficult to decide on the third spot. Two books were very close. But by a whisker, the featured slot goes to Rogue’s Pawn by Jeffe Kennedy. Rogue’s Pawn is the first book in her Covenant of Thorns series, and it’s a contemporary fantasy/urban fantasy with a touch of fantasy romance. Gwynn the bored academic in 21st century America crosses over to Fae at Devil’s Tower Wyoming and becomes a powerful but totally untrained sorceress–one who nearly gets killed as a danger to herself and others in her first day on the other side. Everyone wants a piece of her, and everyone wants her to be their pawn. Only one fae, a trickster named Rogue, might possibly have some of Gwynn’s better interests at heart. If Rogue has a heart. This is one twisted, dark and decadent fantasy world.

If I were giving honorable mentions, and I can, one would go to Karen Erickson this month for A Scandalous Affair.

Ebook Review Central will be back in two weeks (no issue next week because of the Labor Day Holiday!) with Dreamspinner Press.

Stacking the Shelves (15)

There’s a terrible old joke about being on a seafood diet. You know the one, “I see food and I eat it”. The kitty in the picture may be the only one who can get away with it–or the only one who looks cute while saying it, anyway.

I think there should be the biblioholic’s version of that joke. “I see books and I want to read them!” It doesn’t make nearly as good of a pun, but it probably explains the tiny meeping I hear from my iPad as it complains about all those books I stuff into it.

Maybe I’m just hearing things.

What’s stacking your shelves this week?

For Review: (As always, everything is an ebook unless specifically stated otherwise.)

Wolfishly Yours (Westfield Wolves #6) by Lydia Dare
The Map of the Sky (Trilogía Victoriana #2) by Felix J. Palma
Dark Soul: The Complete Collection by Aleksandr Voinov
The Reluctant Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons #1)   by Sandy James
Broken Promises (Seasons of Invention) by J.K. Coi
Blue Nebula (Blue Universe #2) by Diane Dooley
Making Sense (Sensual Healing #2) by Serenity Woods
Haunted Sanctuary (Green Pines #1) by Moira Rogers
King of the Damned (League of Guardians #2) by Juliana Stone
A Lack of Temperance by Anna Loan-Wilsey
The Buzzard Table (Deborah Knott #18) by Margaret Maron
Stranded by Anne Bishop, Anthony Francis and James Alan Gardner
Forbidden (The World of the Nightwalkers #1) by Jacquelyn Frank
This Case is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova
The Moonstone and Miss Jones (Phaeton Black, Paranormal Investigator #2) by Jillian Stone


Lucifer’s Daughter (Princess of Hell #1) by Eve Langlais
Once Bitten, Forever Burned by Eve Langlais and Stacey Kennedy (free!)
A Map of Time (Trilogía Victoriana #1) by Felix J. Palma (print)


ARCs, Stacks and Hauls

“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”

The quote is from Desiderius Erasmus. How totally appropriate, but also one I’ve lived by long before I knew it existed. My mom would tell you I spent my allowance on books when I was a kid. And generally owed her future allowances.

I’ve always collected books. More books than I could read at any given point in time. I love having the choice of what to read next. It’s not the object, it’s the content. Ebooks suit me just fine for most things, and they take up less space. This is a big deal when you move as often as we do, and when you own as many “dead tree” books as we do.

Still over 2,000. We haven’t even unpacked them all from the last move. In December.

About ARCs. I’ve worked in libraries that received ARCs in lots of different ways. One of my former places of work (FPOW) was in a major metropolitan area. The city newspaper still had a significant book section on Sundays, and received books for review. The newspaper donated their review copies to the library. About once a month we received an industrial pallet-load of books, mixed ARCs and “real” books. The “real” books often went into the collection. But the ARCs, never. Staff had the pick of the ARCs for collection development, reading copies, whatever we liked. But they were never put in the collection. If you are wondering what the newspaper got out of this arrangement, they got a tax write-off.

Other libraries I have worked at do sell ARCs at book sales, or they end up in the Friends of the Library book sales. I haven’t worked at a library that has put them in the collection, but I know it happens.

But what does any of this have to do with ARCs now? I can hear the question from here. The recent #ARCgate mess brought up a lot of questions and it made me think about the present and future of ARCs in general, and what any mailbox-type post looks like in particular.

I do get a lot of ARCs. More in one week than I can read in a week. I’ve always picked up more books in a week than I could read that week. The difference now is that I’m getting a lot of eARCs instead of deliveries from Amazon and B&N or borrowing books from the library.

But the ARC “stack” can look like a book haul, and that isn’t the purpose of it for me. I choose eARCs because eARCs are a win/win. My eARC does not automatically deny any other reviewer the same eARC. That’s the beauty of NetGalley and Edelweiss. No print, no postage, not necessarily a limited number of ARCs the way that a print run by its very nature limits the number of ARCs.

And no print ARCs left on my shelves at the end that I’m not quite sure what to do with. Because the last thing my house needs is more print books. One of the clear messages of the whole ARCgate mess is that what you should do with your ARCs after you’re finished is very, well, unclear.

What I’m curious about, dear readers, is how you feel when you see mailbox-type posts on book blogs. Do you see them as the blogger doing a bit to promote books that she or he might not have time to review? Do you see them as bragging? Do you find them useful for adding to your own TBR pile? Do you care?

Please share your thoughts! I’ve been having a serious re-think on this topic after ARCgate, and I’d love to hear from you.


Ebook Review Central, Amber Quill, Astraea, Curiosity Quills, Liquid Silver, Red Sage, Riptide, May 2012

This Ebook Review Central issue covers the May 2012 titles for a whole host of publishers; Amber Quill Press (all its bits), Astraea Press, Curiosity Quills, Liquid Silver Books, Red Sage Publishing and Riptide Publishing.

And another month ends. Next week, we’ll start the June coverage and begin inching up on the calendar again, but not too close.

Because of the continuing mess surrounding the “Stop the GR Bullies site” and the whole discourse about whether posting a bad review, even a snarky bad review, constitutes bullying. I’d like to point out a very professional exchange of comments between one reviewer of Rachel Van Dyken’s Upon a Midnight Dream and the author, the publisher and the publicist. The exchange occurred at Books with Benefits and concerned both the book and the cover art. While the cover art review was intentionally snarky, the book review was well-written but not a positive review of the book. However, both reviews referred to the work and not the person and the entire discussion on all sides remained totally professional and positive in tone.

(For those looking for an interesting, well-written and snarky author’s take on this mess, I recommend John Scalzi’s post, “Bad Reviews: I Can Handle Them, and So Should You“)

Back to Ebook Review Central.

The number one featured book was a complete surprise. Curiosity Quills published one title in May. And, as is usual for them, it’s a genre-bender. Part paranormal romance, part urban fantasy, and a touch of YA. And it’s book one in a series, so there will be more. I’m talking about Wilde’s Fire by Krystal Wade, the first book in her Darkness Falls series. The concept is a classic; a girl dreams of a magical world, then leads her sister and her best friend through a portal, and discovers that magical world is real. But it’s not a dream, it’s a nightmare after all. Reviewers were all over the map on Wilde’s Fire, every rating imaginable from 5/5 to DNF (way more reviews on the high side!). But so very many people read it and wrote about it, equally passionately. When 32 reviewers take the time to review something, not including reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, it’s absolutely worth taking a look at.

Featured book number two this week is from Riptide Publishing. All four of the titles Riptide published in May were from their Rentboys Collection, but the one that stood out for the reviewers was Priceless by Cat Grant. This blend of three tropes really pulled at reviewers heartstrings because of the power of the writing. Trope number one is the nerd romance. Professor Connor Morrison is so busy with both his physics professorship and the technical firm that he and his best friend are trying to get launched that he doesn’t have time for relationships. He’s too busy and too driven. Wes Martin is a student at Connor’s college. With no scholarship and no family behind him, Wes does whatever he has to do to graduate, even hooking through a website. But they keep running into each other, some of those meetings orchestrated by Connor’s business partner. Connor doesn’t have time for a relationship, and Wes doesn’t want Connor to find out that some of his johns rough him up. A lot.  A major wake-up call about what’s really important in life, and some serious rescuing made this book shine for a lot of readers.

The final book in this feature is Dirk’s Love by Marisa Chenery, published by Liquid Silver Books. Dirk’s Love is book six in the Roxie’s Protectors series, giving it that built-in audience that often has reviewers chomping at the bit for a book. Dirk is a werewolf, and this story is absolutely a paranormal romance, but with a cyber twist. Dirk has created an online matchmaking service for werewolves to find their soul mates. It turns out that his one employee is his soul mate. Looks like the service works. The only problem is that Ryann’s ex-husband has other ideas. And when Ryann discovers that Dirk is a werewolf, it takes her a while to decide that the wolf is not a monster after all.

That’s a wrap for this week’s Ebook Review Central. We’ll be back next week with the Carina Press June 2012 feature.

I have a question for you! Can you think of a great title for this multi-publisher group post? The title up there is a really long mouthful. Please help me out by posting your ideas in the comments.

Ebook Review Central, Samhain Publishing, May 2012

Happy Monday! That means that Ebook Review Central is back. And we’re featuring Samhain Publishing’s May 2012 titles. And what a diverse group of titles they are!

Samhain covers everything imaginable, and this month is no exception. On one side, they have the nostalgic days of yesteryear, with their Retro Romances. And as far on the opposite corners from Retro sweetness as it could possibly get, Samhain has both a Horror imprint on one hand and this month two Science Fiction Romance series; Joely Skye’s Minders series for those who prefer their SFR to be Male/Male Romance, and the anthology series Midnight Justice, for those who prefer Male/Female SFR romantic action. With 35 titles in the list, there was bound to be something for everyone.

Also a few titles that may not have been for anyone. Some things didn’t garner any reviews this month, even on Goodreads and Amazon.

There was one title that seems to have been for just about everyone. At least, a lot of people read it, liked it, and said so. This week’s number one title was easy to pick! Joely Sue Burkhart’s Yours To Take stood out from the very large crowd in the list with 16 reviews, including top ratings on several blogs. Why was Yours To Take so well received? It looks like several factors. This is book three in Burkhart’s Connaghers series, and series books have built-in, or pent-up, demand. Added to that, Yours To Take taps into the ongoing interest in BDSM/Kink stories stirred up by 50 Shades. The Connaghers series should be on a lot of lists for readers interested in stories to read after that, and the whole series (Dear Sir, I’m Yours #1, Take Me #1.5, Hurt Me So Good #2)  gets high marks from reviewers.

The second featured title for this week is Hard Tail by JL Merrow. This Male/Male contemporary romance is a sweet love story that deals with some very hard issues. Tim gets laid off and divorced, at just about the same time. That kind of cosmic kick in the pants makes you re-examine which way your life is going. While his brother recovers from some injuries, Tim steps up and manages his bike shop for him. After all, he has the time. Time to discover that he’s a lot happier managing the bike shop than he ever was in the corporate world. And that part of the reason his marriage died is because he’s never let himself think about how far in the closet he’s been. But Matt, the repair tech at the bike shop, reminds him of why. But Matt has some problems of his own. An abusive boyfriend that he needs to free himself from before he can be ready to be involved with someone new. Reviewers loved the humor and discovery in this story. And also Tim’s cat clearly owns the bike shop and everyone in it.

The third and final featured title is the Midnight Justice anthology. This is a superhero romance containing three separate books, Blade of Moonlight by Kimberly Dean (#1), Superlovin’ by Vivi Andrews (#2) and Breaking Bad by Jodi Redford (#3). What you have here is a universe of good versus evil, with secret identities and crime fighters with super powers who fight in masks. Except that unlike the caped crusaders on TV, there’s also a lot of kinky sex involved. There’s also mind-controlling soda. Just in case you ever wondered about the “Secret Formula” for your favorite soft drink. These just read like sexy comic-book style fun to most reviewers.

So there you have this week’s features for Samhain Publishing. Kinky, bike-riding superheroes. Wait a minute, that’s not all in the same book. Maybe someone will have to write that one.

After looking at the Midnight Justice superhero stories, I simply can’t resist the Batman thing. So, we’ll be back next Monday with another exciting episode of Ebook Review Central. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!