Monday, December 10, 2018

seriously romantic: between the lines by sally malcolm

set in the small, coastal town of new milton, between the lines finds two men at a crossroads of sorts. luca moretti's family legacy has been his touchstone, but now it's in danger of being sold to a hotel conglomerate out to make it another luxury golf resort. he's too much of a ramblin' man to settle down, he has old hurts and wounds that won't allow him to take over for his mother. some of his anger rational, and some just covering some deep hurts.

and then there's theo wishart, who longs to be the ruthless businessman his father wants him to be, but who struggles with dyspraxia that makes him feel awkward and unable to read social cues. luca makes him feel like a bumbling idiot most of the time, but he also is the only person who has a viable solution for the majestic and as much as he wants to help luca preserve his family legacy, he is enough of a realist to know that it might not be possible.

luca and theo connect and it's both sweet and challenging. they are two different people, two bruised souls, but they also find so much acceptance in each other's arms. like it's possible that together they can do anything. it's enough to get both men dreaming.

this is a beautiful follow up to perfect day and spins a sweetly, angsty love story.

**between the lines will publish on december 10, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/carina press in exchange for my honest review. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

seriously romantic: bad reputation by s.l. scott

i was excited to realize that we were getting more of the everest brothers in bad reputation. and this story, it's totally a fairy tale. there's a princess who is trapped in a tower and she needs someone like hunter everest to set her free.

she was never supposed to meet him. never supposed to fall in love. he wasn't supposed to fall in love with her either.

what's keeping them apart isn't a small thing. it's her birthright. it's her country. it's her people.

this story is so dreamy and romantic. i love, love hunter as a hero. he's just so dreamy. how he fights for his girl is just out of this world swoonworthy. he knows that they are right together. they just need to find a way to make the world right for them.

**bad reputation published on december 7, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of s.l. scott in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for more information about the book...

Thursday, December 6, 2018

something from the archives: chocolate velvet - part 12

and fin.

and i think that finally wraps up all the fanfic i had stored up. crazy to realize it's been a 3-year project basically.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

simply business - some of my query box pet peeves

i've been a literary agent for over a year, and reading inbox queries for over two years. authors do a lot of things that start things off poorly. i mean, listen, every agent is different and will find different things annoying or off-putting. but since i'm making a concerted effort to get my query inbox under control, i have a lot of time to stew about this.

ergo, i'm just going to share some of my pet peeves because i need to vent about this somewhere.

1. not following submission guidelines

listen all agents have their own set of guidelines. some want the first ten pages, some want only the synopsis, some want one chapter, some want three, some want the pages attached in a word document, some want the pages attached as a pdf, some don't want any attachments at all! i get it. it's confusing and maddening.

and yet, if you are taking the time to query an agent because you think they'd be a good fit for your work, take the time to follow their instructions. it's really not that hard, and that extra bit of effort engenders so much goodwill.

2. not in my genre

most agents and editors are looking for work in specific genres. some have broader scopes than others, mine is actually fairly narrow. but it doesn't matter what i list, because i still get submissions that range from nonfiction to children's picture books. it's easy to think, why does genre really matter? but it does. here's why: most agents have a network of editorial contacts, they likely read in the genres they represent so they know what's selling, and they know how to position manuscripts competitively if they know the genre well.

my favorite is when people try making their square peg fit into my specific genre holes. "there are two random people who have a romantic relationship in my story." ok, fine. but i represent romance, where the central plot needs to revolve around the relationship. "oh, my story has a love story but everyone dies." guess what, it's also not a romance.

if you aren't sure how to define your manuscript, there are all sorts of resources that will help you ask the questions you need to ask in order to define what genre it falls in. do that, and read the agent's profiles and make sure your work fits into the scope of what they are looking for. that extra bit of homework will go a long way.

3. clearly forwarding an old query letter

my partner at the agency was closed to submissions, while i remained open. i cannot tell you how many people wrote a query to her, received our bounceback, and immediately queried me. she and i are actually looking for different things. we have a slight overlap in young adult, but the kind of fiction that appeals to her is different than the one that appeals to me and our manuscript wishlists actually do make this clear.

taking no actual time to consider whether i am really the right match for your work is actually really frustrating. the worst was actually when authors would forward the exact query they used for the other agent, one that they'd personalized, and send it on without personalizing it further. listen, i understand that it takes time and effort to write these query emails. but if you've already come so far, why half-ass it at the end? even if your query was appropriate to me, what you say by doing that is that i don't matter. if my time doesn't matter to you, then why would i want you as a client? the author–agent relationship should be a partnership.

4. not having completed a manuscript

i am not an agent who accepts things on proposal, especially if i've never read an author's work before. don't email me to ask if you have a good idea. or ask me before you've put pen to paper whether or not i have advice to give on your manuscript proposal. i am not an editorial service. yes, i work with my authors on editing and developing their projects, but i don't do this with joe schmoe off the street.

5. typos

listen, it happens to us all. but at the very least, spell my name, the title of your book, and your name correctly in your message. and not just in the body, the subject line of your email should be checked for typos too. this is the first chance you have to make an impression. get my name right and you are ahead of the curve, get it wrong and i'll certainly forgive you, but i probably won't forget it, and you've already got one strike against you. why do that to yourself?

6. not following submission guidelines

i can't say this enough, and basically, every single one of my pet peeves comes back to this. if you don't take the time to read and review and follow my submission guidelines, then don't bother submitting your query. if you are serious about wanting to develop a relationship with me as an agent, then following the submission guidelines listed on the website and reading up on my manuscript wish list should be easy enough to do.

at the end of the day, there will always be some queries that can only be categorized as wackadoodle. i often want to talk about those because they are so crazy and kind of hilarious, but i also don't want to be mean or belittle anyone, so i don't. but these are more amusing than annoying. annoying is when someone who might have a perfectly good manuscript fails to follow my guidelines and i have to decide whether or not i love the manuscript enough to overlook that kind of carelessness.

don't put me in that position, follow the guidelines.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

seriously romantic: my favorite half-night stand by christina lauren

millie and reid are clearly otp. as super smart university professors you'd think they'd be smarter about their love lives, but they are not.

my favorite half-night stand is a frothy, enjoyable rom-com that has a lot of heart. i love millie and reid's relationship. and the way they complicate their feelings for each other. how they misunderstand each other. how they open up to each other in unexpected ways.

millie is the one who really messes up here, and i love that she's the one who grovels. there are so many romance novels where it's pretty clear the heroine has been the one to mess up communication and the hero is still the one with the grand gesture. this is the main reason i dislike the grand gesture most of the time, because the wrong person is doing it.

but here, the way millie works her way back into reid's life is perfection. and i pretty much enjoyed everything about this book. the real friendships these characters have. the way they communicate with one another and how they see each other's failings. it's all so well-done.

**my favorite half-night stand will publish on december 4, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/gallery, threshold, pocket books (gallery) in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

seriously romantic: rough trade by sidney bell

the final book in the woodbury boys series, rough trade, finally sheds light on the ever-enigmatic ghost. abused in every way possible, ghost's moral compass is somewhat lacking. but he's trying to do the right thing.

his problem is that the right thing keeps blowing up in his face. on his way to share some important evidence with duncan rook, an honest police officer on medical leave, ghost is left fighting for his life with the evidence he was meant to put to use completely destroyed.

duncan isn't sure what to do with ghost, except he believes him, and he sees all his broken pieces and wants to help. but ghost is so damaged, it's hard to fathom that it would ever be possible for him to be whole and healthy enough to be the person duncan believes he could be.

this series is gritty and suspenseful and tells these beautiful love stories. there's so much angst and anger and pain, but there is also romance and this astounding love and healing that these characters go through. this is the perfect series capper and i look forward to seeing more from this author.

**rough trade will publish on december 3, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/carina press in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

seriously romantic: dance with me by alexis daria

dmitri's adorable younger brother nik gets his happily ever after in this holiday-themed dance off novella. dance all night introduces us to jess davenport, a ballroom dancer on the dance off who has a chance encounter with nik on new year's eve. they kiss and have a discussion about settling down where nik is clearly not into that idea.

nearly a year later, they run into each other at an ugly sweater party and nik wants a do-over. his views on settling down have shifted, and he believes that jess could be the girl he wants to settle down with. jess is skeptical. and she's been burned one too many times by others and isn't willing to take a chance on nik.

so he asks her for three dates to prove to her that christmas is magical. and she agrees, believing there is no way he is serious. but nik is dead serious. he's a guy who knows what he wants. he's not sure iess wants the same thing, but he's all-in. he puts himself out there emotionally in ways that are just super dreamy. it's so easy to love him.

i do love Jess, and i get why she is hesitant, but she also refuses to take nik at his word a lot of the time. and sure, it's not easy to trust people. but here's someone who has consistently been honest with you, maybe believe him when he says he wants a future with you? regardless of some of that frustrating hesitancy, this is a really fun and sweet holiday read.

i can't wait for more dance off novels.

**dance with me will publish on december 11, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/alexis daria/st. martin's press/nyla/inscribe digital in exchange for my honest review.