Category Archives: Blog News

The end of April is still April!

Hey there! Remember me? I’m back! And it’s even still April, like I promised!

As you may have surmised, I’ve had a wicked case of reviewer burnout since, oh, sometime last fall. What you may not know is that I’m also dealing with actual reading burnout, as in I’ve only read 5 books since the beginning of the year. Yeah, yeah, the struggle is real, but it’s been humbling for me. Part of it has been the ongoing adjustment to working full time again (in a job I love!) but the rest was just an inevitable reaction to the explosion in romance ebooks and my attempt to read anything and everything that sounded good.

In any case, I did set April as the end of my blog hiatus, and I’m honoring that commitment with a whole extra day to spare. In the next two days I’ll be posting reviews for my most recent reads, and I’m pleased to confirm in advance that all of them are quite good and worth the time I spent reading them. I also hope to get caught up in many of the other titles I missed reviewing in the past several months, with the caveat that I’ll be trying to pace myself to avoid a repeat burnout. With that in mind, I’ll also be declaring a modified variation of NetGalley bankruptcy on titles that are a year old or more, with my sincere apologies and understanding if future titles aren’t as readily available as a result.

But enough about me and my blogger blathering. I hope you will continue to visit and enjoy what gets posted here in the future with my sincere thanks.

Let’s call it a “blog sabbatical”…

As much as I’ve tried convincing myself otherwise, I need to step back from regular book reviewing for a while. You may have noticed that I haven’t posted any reviews in a few weeks. While at least part of that can be attributed to my baseball team being in the playoffs again this year (LET’S GO ROYALS!) the rest is what I can no longer deny is a full-blown reading slump.

So I’ve closed the blog to new review requests, though I hate having to do so. I still have several reviews owed to various people and publishers between now and the end of this year, and my intent is to get those out the door as quickly as possible. However, they may not post particularly close to the book release date, and for that I apologize in advance.

Once those reviews are posted, this blog will go on hiatus until April 1, 2016. It’s a distinct possibility that publishers and authors won’t wait around for me to get my reading mojo back, and I totally understand if they don’t. But I need my reading to stop feeling like work, and the only way I can see to getting there is to step back from active reviewing for a while.

I’ll still be available for beta and proofreading on a case by case basis. And I’ll still be on social media to share my opinion about books and baseball just like always. I look forward to seeing you all there.

UPDATED: My email from Scribd regarding today’s purge of several thousand romance titles

Allison C. (Support Desk)
Jun 30, 8:43 PM

Hi Michele,

I can certainly understand your confusion and any frustration this may be causing. You’re right, we didn’t do a very good job communicating this to readers who would be affected, and I am incredibly sorry for that. By now you’ve seen the blog post from our CEO, Trip, in which he explains some of the reasons why we have made this decision.

For the moment, the blog post offers a list of some of the publishers we will always carry. More importantly, we’ve heard your feedback and are working to make it more obvious from your Library which titles are expiring, without needing to open each book to find out.

We are still, and always will be, committed to our Romance fans and the Romance genre. We will continue to have a fantastic selection – thousands and thousands of titles – of Romance. Books and authors you love, and new material that will soon become favorites. We will never stop carrying Romance, and are still working hard to grow this category in a way that is viable for us and our customers.

We are focusing on growing Scribd across all genres – not just Romance – and this requires us to put our focus on other areas at times, so that we can offer a robust Sci-Fi collection to Sci-Fi fans, a robust History collection to History fans, and all the comic books and audiobooks that you could possibly imagine. In order to do this, we need to first even out the playing field.

And much like Netflix and Hulu before us, we’re always going to be rotating our selection, making sure that great independent content gets as fair of a shot as major bestselling titles.

I hope that this helps to ease your concerns. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can assist you with. Thanks again for writing in, and have a great day!

Best regards,
Allison C. – Scribd Support Manager
Scribd, Inc.

UPDATED 7/1/2015

After I heard back from Allison again with a question about my collections vs. my library, I asked her this question:

“There are dozens of romance titles in my library right now that are no longer coming up when I check the authors’ listings. They aren’t labeled as expiring, although I do have more than a few of those as well. Is there any indication of how long I’ll have before the ones not marked as expiring will still be available for me to read?”

And here was her response:

“We’re actually working on the expiration banner right now. Our engineers are putting one together that will let readers know how long they have (30 days, in this case), along with a link to Trip’s message to explain why this is happening. We hope it will clear things up, but if you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see, please let me know.

We should have this up hopefully within the next 24-48 hours. I’m working closely with them and with my own boss to get this pushed through.

The books aren’t going to show under the authors’ accounts right now because they’re essentially hidden until they expire in 30 days. We’re also working on making this a little more seamless so as to avoid the confusion of seeing “5 books” under the author’s title page, and then that number linking to nothing.”

I would like to thank Allison here, as I already have via email. for being so good about responding to these concerns that so many subscribers have right now. If I hear anything else from her, I’ll post it as another update to this post.

In the meantime, I strongly suggest if you are a Scribd subscriber with titles in your library that are now no longer available via search that you start reading those books as soon as possible, as it appears they will probably not be around 30 days from now. I know that’s what I’ll be doing.

This is what “chilling” means. This is what “chilling” does.

Late last night, I received a long and heartfelt email from a reader who had left a comment months ago on a review of a book that I’d posted earlier this year. I hadn’t liked the book much for very specific reasons, and this reader had agreed in a comment.

But now the reader was asking me to remove that comment entirely because of a fear of being sued, thanks to the recent lawsuit by Ellora’s Cave against the Dear Author blog.

Never mind that the EC suit is ostensibly about DA reporting on possible financial issues at EC. Never mind that this wasn’t even an EC book. Thanks to the chilling environment EC is attempting to foster with their actions, some innocent reader of my tiny blog is worried enough to ask me to remove a comment just in case. And I did.

And now I’m going to go donate more money to the Dear Author defense fund. Because this nonsense has got to stop.

Review by Sharon: Reputable Surrender by Riley Murphy

With this review, I am pleased to introduce Sharon as a new reviewer for The Romance Evangelist. Here’s her bio:

Sharon is a middle aged mom who reads every chance she gets. This has led to near disasters for her devices. Most of these near misses involve moisture due to her love of being in the water. Her favorite genres are historical, erotic, romance, fantasy, sci-fi, suspense, travel and young adult. She’ll try anything once and the weirder things twice. You can soak up more of her insanity on Twitter: @Mojitana.

Reputable Surrender (Trust in Me, #5)

Reputable Surrender by Riley Murphy
Series: Trust In Me #5
Sharon’s rating: 3 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided to The Romance Evangelist by the author in exchange for an honest review.

REPUTABLE SURRENDER is the final book in the Trust In Me series. You don’t need to read the other books in the series to understand the story.

Michael and Laren unknowingly meet at a BDSM club during a masked event. Michael steps up to disentangle Laren from an aggressive Dom but discovers that she is quite capable of handling things herself. She is feisty and Michael is intrigued. Their brief time together is over quickly as Michael leaves upon discovering her identity. You see, he’s promised a friend that he’d keep his hands off Laren. Since I hadn’t read the previous books I didn’t quite understand what the problem was, but the author did a pretty good job of catching the reader up.

Fast forward to 8 months later and Laren is in command in the boardroom of Michael’s office. She’s still as fiery as ever and Michael just can’t help but want her all over again. Once he gets the okay from his friend, Michael then begins his pursuit of Laren.

Unfortunately for Michael, Laren has a whole host of issues. She’s got a loser brother-in-law who can’t support his family financially. He makes poor investments so she is continually bailing him out because she worries for her sister and nephew. Her ex-boyfriend was an abusive jerk. And, finally, her ex-husband is a vanilla pushover. But Laren is bound and determined to prove herself in her field. She wants to move to the big city and work with her ex-husband at his company.

Enter Michael, the Reputable Dom. I’m not sure what makes him so reputable except that he is financially solvent and follows safe, sane and consensual BDSM rules. But he’s determined to tame Laren, his dragon. He is calm and patient with Laren even when she’s a mess over her family drama. He’s also ready to compromise in his own work life to be with her. But her trust will be hard for Michael to win after all her previous life disappointments.

In the end, those thought of as villains are redeemed and the true offenders are revealed. Through a series of twists and turns these two suffer and grow stronger together. Trust established and the foundation for happiness is laid.

Those who come to this book without reading the other four books in the series may feel a bit left out of the sub plots. And while I enjoyed the book, there were some turns of phrase that took me out of the world the author had crafted.

The relationship between Michael and Laren was steamy and sweet. He is a dominating man who knows that Laren needs someone to share some of her burdens. Michael is more than willing to be that man.

Although Laren was a strong, intelligent business woman, I felt she was portrayed as too much of a doormat in her personal relationships. Her sister and brother-in-law were a particular source of frustration for me as a reader. They were just terrible people. Their redemption at the end didn’t sway my opinion as to their awfulness.

The use of pet names (specifically Honey toast) that Michael used in reference to Laren began to grate on my nerves by the end of the book.

Some parts felt repetitive and uninspired. A few chapters felt over long. A couple scenes didn’t have good flow. A good editor could have solved many of these problems. Overall the book was enjoyable and I would recommend it.