Tag Archives: up for discussion

Looking for Recommendations

Looking for Recommendations

I recently posted this over on TikTok, and honestly, I’m just sharing it here so that I can find it and the recommendations under it again. But also, if you see this and have a rec, drop it for me.

As I say, I’m sick to death of reaching the end of a book and having to decide if I want to buy the next one or not to reach a satisfying stopping point. So often these days, I come to the end of a book and don’t feel like I’ve reached any sort of conclusion; it’s just a stopping point because the book reached X number of pages. I’m exhausted by it.

I recently ended up reading a seven-book series because it took seven books to reach a conclusion OF ANY SORT. The thing is, I didn’t know I was committing to seven books when I picked the first one up. (This seems to be a trend lately.)

So, I’m seeking recommendations for standalone books and series that I can buy compilations of. That way, even if the individual books don’t stand alone, I’m not constantly facing the same ‘do I want to buy another book or just walk away’ question. I’m looking for anything in the monster romance or similar PNR genres. And I’m totally OK with authors self-recommending. Who knows better what series have omnibuses than the author?

Anyhow, here the Tikety-Tok:

@seesadieread sometimes I know going in that a book is a #cliffie, but often I don’t. I like to know if I’m committing to A book or 7 books before reaching a conclusion. #recsplease #bookrecommendations #bookrecrequest #monsterromancebooks #monsterromance #monstersmutreader #monstersmut #pleaseshare #bookrecs #ihatecliffhangers #cliffhangers #wethair #showerthoughts #decisionfatigue #decisionfatigueisreal #seesadieread #reader #bookreviewer #bookplans #compilations #compilationtiktok #pnr #smuttok #booktalk #paranormal #monsters #monsterlover ♬ original sound – SadieF

see sadie read 2022 winter reading challenge banner

2022 Winter Reading Challenge

It’s that time of year again, time to set out my yearly Winter Reading Challenge. OK, it might be a stretch to call it yearly. I did a big one last year and a small one in 2017. But I’m aiming to make it yearly. How about that?

Here’s a little history/housekeeping first. In those past posts, I’ve called this my Christmas Reading Challenge. Then, at some point last year, I had an ah-ha moment and realized that was problematic. It excludes all the other holidays occurring at around the same time.

For me, Christmas is Santa and elves and shiny bows. I simply wasn’t thinking nativity scenes versus yule logs or menorahs. But once I realized even my secular use of the word Christmas was excluding other people’s celebration of the season, I swapped over to Holiday Reading Challenge (trying to be more inclusive). But that left me with consistency issues, as I’d said Christmas for the first half of the challenge, which annoyed me.

snowflake-Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from PixabaySo, this year I’m avoiding the issue altogether and going with Winter Reading Challenge. This has a second bonus benefit too. I read a ton of holiday books and stories last year (44)! Which is great, since the whole point of a holiday challenge is to clear holiday-themed books off my TBR. I tend to pick them up throughout the year, but find that I almost never want to read a holiday book in, say, June. So, it’s read them this time of year or not at all. And I enjoyed the heck out of it overall.

But, honestly, I also got really tired of holiday-themed books toward the end. This is partly just too much of a good thing. But it was also a symptom of the fact that a lot of the holiday-themed books I had on my shelves were/are contemporary romances, and I simply haven’t been craving contemporary romances lately.

So, the secondary bonus of making this a Winter Reading Challenge instead of a Holiday Reading Challenge is that I got to pick out books that give me Winter Vibes in general. That gives me a lot more books to choose from and, I hope, will avoid the holiday theme burn-out. There are some cons to this, though.

  • I own a lot of wintry books. So, the challenge pool is huge.snowflake-Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay
  • Clearing Winter books off the TBR isn’t accomplishing quite the same thing as clearing holiday-themed books off it.
  • There is a much bigger chance of accidentally reading books as part of the challenge, that turns out not to actually meet the qualification of the challenge.

This last one deserves a moment of consideration. I had to sit and think about what to do with such books. The manner in which I chose the books for this challenge was by going through my Goodreads shelves—only books I already own qualify—and picking out anything that gave me a wintry vibe, be it from the title, plot, or cover. I’m aware that there will be cases in which some element I took as snow-like (for example) might actually be stars or rain on closer examination, and the book might not be wintry at all. So, I thought on it…and decided that I get to make the rules, and they count anyway (though having an author named Winter does not). Giving me wintry vibes is pretty loosy-goosy, but I’m running with it.

As a result, my challenge reading pool currently has 12 short stories (anything under 100 pages) and 165 Wintry books (couple of those are compilations). Obviously, I’ll only read a fraction of these. Even starting as early as I am this year, with my current school schedule, I’m aiming for all the short stories (some of which are in series that require me to read books before reaching them) and 20 books from the challenge list; giving precedence to anything left over from last year’s challenge and physical books. (I need the shelf space!) Plus, some of these have been on my TBR for a long time. So, I’ll give a thought or two to age.

And yes, I do realize that it’s ridiculous to pick out 165 books, in order to choose 20 from that list. But it’s my challenge and makes me happy. So, just roll with it.

Ok, that was a lot of words to explain a simple idea. Let’s get to the actual books, shall we? It should be noted that (in most cases) if the wintry book was later in a series, I only added it to the list, not the preceding books. And if a whole series seemed wintry, I only added the first book in the series to the list (even if I might end up reading more than that first one).

Here are the short stories.

Winter short stories

Miss January
Paddy’s Power
Careened
Ozoni and Onsens
Illicit Activity
Counting Fence Posts
A Trial of Ice Blood
His Curious Mate
Deck the Demons
One Charmed Evening
The Greatest Gift
Family

Some of those are left over from last year. I pulled them from the running because they were 3rd or 4th in series. It’s my goal to read them this year. But we’ll see what actually happens.

Now for the bulk of the challenge, the full-length books. Last year I broke them up by length. I didn’t this year. I’ve simply ordered them by author. But I’ve clustered them just a little bit, to avoid a wall of text. (And let’s be honest, I’ll still probably read the shorter books first. Just to trick myself into feeling like I accomplished more if nothing else.)

Here we go:

2022 winter reading challenge 1

Gingerbread Mistletoe
Mountains Wanted
Only Gold
Blue Skies
Winter Rising
The Last Sky
Lady at Last
The Rising Tide
The Perfect Place
A Wedding in Twinkle Falls
Hint of Danger
Stealing the Wind
A Dance of Water and Air
Cursed: Broken
Intrigued
Cold Attraction
Decadence
Black Briar
Carried Away
Bring Me Edelweiss
Mistletoe in the Marigny
Impact Winter
Quest of the Dreamwalker
Christmas Spirit
Training Season
Will and Patrick Do the Holidays
Mr. Naughty List
Valor
The Dashing Widow
Blood Bound
League of Vampires
The Cold Beneath
The Ducal Detective
Mating the Omega
A Taste of Seduction
Star Found

2022 winter reading challenge 2Enchanted
Magic & Murder
Witching for Grace
Cedardale
The Cardinal Gate
Mystic Invisible
Witch Myth: Wildfire —> Review
The Alien Bride Lottery —> Review
Destiny Awaits
The Storm and the Darkness
Caleo
Mischief & Mistletoe
Shadow & Poison
Hara’s Legacy
Frost
Mistress of the Wind
Between Shades of Gray
Trapped
Cold Grey
The Coventry Carol
The Winter Duchess
Cherishing the Goddess
Once Upon a Midwinter’s Kiss
Dragon Dilemma
Quantum Cannibals
The Last Winter of Lonely
Cold Magic
Long Winter
Believed
Rule of Claw
Night In His Eyes —> Review
His Christmas Bride
Demon Slave
Winter Knights
Living In Ether
Song at Dawn

2022 winter reading challenge 3Murder Wears Mittens
Three Dog Night
Whiteout
Bits of the Past
Saving Eira
Chains of Frost
Spark of Lightning
The Skin
Wynter
Jonathan’s Hope
The Fallen Angels of Karnataka
Unbonded
Unwrapping Ainsley
Cabin Love
The Compeer
Winter Blom
Naughty & Nice
Once Upon an Academy
The Gentleman Devil
Handsome and the Yeti
Wolves and Daggers
The Fallen Snow
It’s You
Other Side of the Stars
The Unseelie Prince —> Review
Fallen Lady
Passing Strange
Lucky in Loveland
Withered + Seer
Shinigami
Kodiak’s Claim
Academia of the Beast
Fallen Empire
Lullaby
Taming Teddy
The Raven’s Flight

2022 winter reading challenge 4Academy of Magical Creatures
Winter’s Edge
A Beautiful World
London Holiday
Iron
Moroda
Pure & Sinful
Once Upon a Forbidden Desire
Devil’s Backbone
Tuyo
Cold Feet
Winter’s Heat
Murder in an Irish Churchyard
The Alps
Curse of the Wolf King
Snow Kissed
Black River Pack
Snowbirds of Prey
Snow
Minerva
The Power of Three
The Longing of Lone Wolves
Falling for a Rake
The Storm Glass
Princess of Lost Memories
Fae’s Prisoner
Darkling
Winter’s Fury
Ice Cold Death
The Tarot Witches
Winter’s Blood
The Distance Between
Parker
Coldheart
A Case For Christmas
Cold From the North

2022 winter reading challenge 5Cecilia
Spirits of Falajen
Alexi
Drunk, Blind, Stupid Cupid
What the Stubborn Viscount Desires
A Moment After Dark
Chasing the Duke
Shrewd Angel
The Dragon Warrior and the Princess
Awakened
Dust of Snow
Snowblind
A Very Shifter Holiday Boxed Set
Angeli
Skinner Luce
Boy Toys
Dragon Song
Eight Kinky Nights
Santa’s Wolves
Daughters of the Storm
From Out in the Cold
Blood Hunter
Seeking Snow Falls
To Catch a Fae

snowflake-Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from PixabaySoooo, that’s a lot, right? There are several genres in there, plus books of various lengths, ebooks, audiobooks, and physical books—so, lots of variety. And that’s assuming I don’t come across one or two I missed on my Goodreads shelves or pick up a new one (which I’ve promised myself I won’t do and, even if I do, it won’t count, but…we’ll see if I can stick to that).

As I said, I expect I’ll only accomplish a fraction of these. But this gargantuan list is what I’ve set aside to choose from. I think I’ll come back and link reviews as I post them. To make them easier to find. Anyhow, there you have it, my 2022 Winter Reading Challenge.

What do you think? Too much? Do you do reading challenges?

nightmare-by TheDigitalArtist:7177 from pixaby

Don’t be this guy.

It doesn’t happen often—once or twice a year, maybe. But occasionally I encounter something in or around book blogging that I choose to journal about. Usually that’s in the form of venting…some might say bitching. Semantics. But here we are again. I have another one.

This might take a little explaining and what I’m mostly trying to get at is an impression. So, it’s not super cut and dry. But I want to share the interactions I’ve recently had with an author and see if anyone else gets the same ick vibes I do. Again, this person hasn’t done anything overtly wrong, but something in every interaction—brief as they’ve been—has just been a little off somehow.

I’m not going to say who it was, or use any back-links. Because calling them out directly isn’t my point. Honestly, I hope they never see this. I’ll explain why at the end. (Though the internet is the internet. So, I have no control over that.)

The whole thing started over on Sadie’s Spotlight, which is a sister site to this one. Over there I sadie's spotlightgenerally post books promotion (book blitzes, spotlights, cover reveals, author interviews, etc). I don’t offer reviews. I have this blog for that. It does still focus on the same genres as See Sadie Read though. If I’m gonna play with books, I want it to be books I’m interested in.

Most of the content comes from tour companies. Meaning authors hire the tour company to arrange a series of promotional blog posts. And I get offers to participate, choosing those that look interesting to me. I do have a submit page for authors making their own arrangements, but I don’t honestly get a lot of submissions. I work mostly with the tour companies.

One day, I got an email from a tour company I post for regularly, asking if I’d pick up a particular tour. They were short on hosts for it. It wasn’t directly within my preferred genre cluster, but I said I’d share it just to be helpful. [My husband would tell me that this was my mistake. No good deed goes unpunished, after all.] There were no problems from the tour company side.

My first inkling that something was a little awry came from the author’s answers to the attached interview. And again, I’m talking impressions here. But in the course of 12 questions, this author gave the impression of being smug and dismissive of the interview (and thus interviewer).

This came through in a number of ways. Several questions that could have been elaborated on were answered with a curt “no.” For example, “Do you write every day?” “No.‘ Or “Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?” “No.”yes, maybe, no

There’s nothing wrong with this, unless you consider what the point of a promotional blog tour and interview is. It’s to draw readers in, to gain interest. Such questions could have been cut or from the written interview, or better yet, redirected. “No, I don’t write everyday. I write in inspired, sporadic bursts of creativity that leave me wrung out, emotionally exhausted, and desperate for the next wave.” Or “No, I never get writers block, but sometimes this similar thing happens and I do this.” Instead, the reader feels slapped in the face, as if he’s sneered at them for asking about something so beneath him. Like, I wholly imagine that “no” accompanied by a derisive snort.

But then there was the last question, the absolute coup de grace, that looked like this (I cut the title to keep it vague):

What is the last great book you’ve read?

I don’t read anymore. I read most of the masters and learned from their insight. I had read so many books until I arrived at “————-.” I arrived at the end of the search and a different one began. There are many good writers today but I learned their insights long ago, and other than a change of costumes, they reach the same reality, maybe in a different language.

He doesn’t read anymore? He’s learned ALL the insights of the masters? Long ago, even? He knows the insights of ALL the good writers of today? From ALL over the world? I was so shocked (and appalled) by the arrogance and audacity of this answer that I made a whole Tiktok about it. (Which to, be fair, was super inappropriate of me, even if I didn’t name him.)

@seesadieread where do some people get the confidence to basically say ‘i know all I need to know and have no need to seek further knowledge?’ #authoriwontread #nothankyou #theaudacity #thearogance #arrogant #authortalk #authortok #bookblogger #seesadieread #yousaidthatoutloud #insidethought #ummm #icouldnever #booktok #booktalk #havealittlehumility ♬ original sound – SadieF

My husband heard me making it and asked, “MAGA?” (Meaning, of course, an older, wealthy-ish, straight, white, male, with a superiority complex.) I obviously couldn’t answer that. How would I know? But the…again, impression was such that I’d lean toward saying probably, yes.

But there’s more. The post over on Sadie’s Spotlight went off without a hitch. The author didn’t say thank you, which is fine. Not all authors do. But he did post a link on his Instagram saying, “amazing Q&A with —– on “——.“” (Again, I cut the identifying information.)

Given my above thoughts on the interview, I can’t agree that the interview itself was amazing. But I don’t think that matters. Because, given that background, I felt the amazing referred more to it being with him and about his book than about the interview questions, blog post or anything I (or the tour company that arranged it) did. Again with the self-importance. And, again, it’s just an impression.

Then came the email from him, through Sadie’s Spotlight’s submission page saying, “Hello Sadie! Here are my images for my book submission for review!” And let me pause here and reiterate that Sadie’s Spotlight does not offer reviews. The submission page does however say this:

I accept submissions for posts in the BROAD fantasy, urban fantasy, magical realism, PNR, sci-fi/fantasy romance, LGBTQ+ genres. I do accept YA, but not children’s books in these genres. If you’re book isn’t in this genre family, sorry this isn’t the place for you.

and this:

To preempt the question, I do not post reviews on Sadie’s Spotlight. However, if I ever do read a book that’s also on the blog I will add a note on the Spotlight with a link to the review on See Sadie Read. You are welcome to include a copy of a book, but I’m not making any promises in that department.

The point of these bullets is that authors are welcome submit a fantasy book for a spotlight on the blog and, if they include an e-copy, I might read it and post a review over on See Sadie Read, back-linking the to two posts together. But the submission is very clearly for a spotlight of a fantasy book and nothing else. There is no promise of review, none at all.

I pulled these two quotes because—first—this author’s book is a self published, fictionalized memoir, not fantasy. I even tried to verify it’s genre by checking Amazon and Goodreads. But the blurb section is 100% praise and not one word blurb or synopsis. [This is where my husband’s comment that I shouldn’t be nice comes in. I relaxed my genre limitation to accept a non-fantasy book in the first place and now all this.]

please-just-stop--1Second, since he was working with a tour organizer and had been on the blog three days earlier, there was no reason to self-submit a request for a spotlight. Which is beside the point, because—third— “Here are my images for my book submission for review!” isn’t actually requesting a spotlight (the only thing on offer). It isn’t, in fact, requesting anything at all. It is presuming I will review his book and benevolently providing me the images to use when I do.

A book I have not been asked or agreed to review—I have, instead been clear that I make no such promises—submitted via a form not intended for reviews at all, in a genre clearly not included in the accepted genre range, to be posted on a blog that doesn’t ever post reviews, and with no evidence that he’d ever even visited the blog I do post reviews on. (Otherwise, one would presume he’d have sent his email there.) And given all the other minor irritants, I can only read the tone as arrogant and assumptive. But again, it’s just an impression…another impression.

But wait, there’s more. Though only a little. I, of course, wrote him back and declined to review his book.

Thank you for contacting me about —–. However, Sadie’s Spotlight does not offer reviews and the book has already (and recently) been on the blog for a spotlight & interview. 
 
I wish you the best in future promotions. 
—Sadie
To which he responded:
It appeared u also would review so how was I going to sell myself if I told u look at the post u put up it might have been rude. Thanks

What’s wrong with that, you might ask. Well, other than obviously being dashed off and not reread (not worth the effort to proofread), it subtly blames me for his mistake. My submission guidelines obviously led him to believe Sadie’s Spotlight might also review books. The guidelines that say, “I do not post reviews on Sadie’s Spotlight.” The submission page on which question one is, sadie's spotlight question one and if you mark no diverts you to a screen that says,

sadie's spotlight declination screen

But my guidelines led him to believe I might be interested in reading and reviewing his fictionalized memoir. So, he’s not at fault. (There is an LGBTQ tag, so maybe he rationalized slipping it in on that technicality. Though I generally mean fantasy with LGBTQ+ themes.)

Plus, it addresses why he sent me his images (because it would be rude to just tell me to get them off the blog post), but not that he’s—surely knowingly—submitting his book (not just images, but his book too) for a review on a blog that doesn’t post book reviews—even if he’d actually asked me to.

So, again, we’re left with the arrogance to respond to my declination with blame and an excuse. As opposed to simple acceptance and/or maybe an apology for the mistake.

No one of the above flags is really an issue on its own. But all together leaves a very poor impression. Such that I truly wish I’d not agreed to post that first spotlight. He strikes me as the sort of man who will take everything personally (this post especially, should he find it). Thus my assertion that I hope he doesn’t stumble across it.

I can imagine him coming for me hard. Not in the real world, obviously, but online. (The author who once dealt with his anger over a poor review by writing and presenting to his critique group, a rape scene about me so vile that one of his critique partners felt compelled to look me up and warn me about it, comes to mind.) Or he might even go back to the original tour company and make their life difficult, because a random blogger they partner with said online that she thought he came across as an arrogant ass.

And I do recognize that I’m walking a precarious line here. I try very hard to be agnostic about the books I post on Sadie’s Spotlight. Not everything, even in the fantasy genres is going to be my cup of tea and the point is to hype books and authors up, not tear them down. So, this particular post is contrary to all my efforts over there. (And is part of why I’m not naming the author.) But sometimes a thing just has to be said, even if only in a blog post 6 whole people might see.

Besides a chance to simply vent, I do want to use this example as a chance to say to all authors—especially male authors (who I’ve anecdotally found to be far more guilty of this sort of thing)—to not be this guy. And if you are this guy, maybe think about not being quite so self-aggrandizing. It’s not a great look…certainly isn’t doing your book any favors. If I were to read it at this point, it would be 100% to see if the fictionalized memoir is as much author wish-fulfillment and chest thumping as it feels like it must be at this point.

sorry

Sorry, not sorry.