The Meaning of TBR


As per usual, I added a few books to my TBR list on Goodreads. What is this list of books that seemingly keeps growing day by day? It’s not like a To Do List where most of the items must be accomplished. If you don’t finish the items on a to do list, there’re usually inconvenient consequences.

What does it mean to put something on a TBR?


I get truly excited every time I push that Want to Read button because I anticipate that I’ll enjoy every book on my list. I feel the same way about books as others feel about going to see a movie. Sometimes, I just want to read a popular book so I feel like I’m in the know.  When I fall in love with an author’s writing, I instinctively want to read every book they write. Other times, I fall in love with titles, book covers, book blurbs, or book reviews.


Instinctually I want to push that Want To Read button. I try and control my impulse to add too many books to my TBR. Let’s face it, even for the fastest of readers (which I’m not) there is a limit to the number of books that a person can consume in a lifetime. Also, my book budget isn’t bottomless.


The rational side of my brain knows that the reality is that I will never be able to read every book on my TBR even though my heart burns to read them all. On the good side, a large TBR means I’ll never be left without any suggestions for what to read next.

Should there be a difference between a Must Read list and a TBR?

As a book reviewer, I keep a running spreadsheet of the books I plan to read for the upcoming months.  This list is what I whittle down as my Must Read list.  I tend to accept a predetermined number of books from indie authors and a limited number of books from promoters and publishers.  I purposely leave openings in my list for last minute books that I absolutely Must Read. Also, as one of my reading goals for the year was to read books outside my usual romance genre, I try to leave the occasional space for one these types. When I get ahead of schedule, I pick a book from my TBR.


Friday’s Five Star Finds

Five Star Books

Five Star Books that I’ve reviewed in the past week

(click on book to read the review)

September 30, 2016

Angel in the Shadows by Amy Deason

A Gift to Remember by Diane Thorne

Another Gift to Remember by Diane Thorne

September 16, 2016

Under the Lights by Abbi Glines

September 2, 2016

Her Confession by S. Valentine

August 19

Tickle His Fancy by Samantha A. Cole

August 5

Rule by Jay Crownover

July 22

Bet Me Something by Aubrey Bondurant

July 15

Bound Beneath His Pain by Stacey Kennedy

June 24

Raw Redemption by Tessa Bailey

June 17

Let the Waves Come In by J.L. Leslie

That Girl by Rachel Strong

June 10

Colleen Hoover – November 9

June 3

Take the Money and Run by Samantha A. Cole

Legend by Katy Evans

May 27 

Stripped and Bound by Rebecca Moon

Love in a Small Town by Zoe York

May 20

Scandal Never Sleeps by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake

Roomhate by Penelope Ward 

April 29

Flirt by Laurell K. Hamilton

April 22

One With You by Sylvia Day

April 15

Sincerely, Carter by Whitney G.

April 8

Bound to You by Skylar Nightingale

Jason by Laurell K. Hamilton

April 1

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

March 18

Debt by Rachel Dunning

March 4

Helena Hunting – Pucked

Dani René – Broken By Desire

February 26

The Master by Tara Sue Me

February 19

Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren

February 12

Boiling Point by Tessa Bailey

Wild Aces by Marni Mann

A Sudden Crush by Camilla Isley

January 29

Brave Enough by M. Leighton

January 22

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

Prince Hudson by Lily Cahill

January 1

Blood Kiss by JR Ward

She Whom I Love by Tess Bowery

What Five Star Books have you read lately?

Similar Covers & Titles – Objectionable

I can’t bite my tongue any longer.  It really bothers me when cover images are used again and again.  I have heard the reasoning: there’re limited number of available images, everybody does it, excuses related to expenses, it’s no big deal, and it is unintentional.

I’m not necessarily convinced that reusing images is always such an innocent act.  I’m sure I’m not the only one that notices the same images being used over and over again. I think that there is a marketing strategy that makes it effective to the re-use images.  The more a consumer sees an image the more likely they’ll actually purchase a product.  That’s what mass advertising is all about.

This time I’m appalled.  Check out the image below.



Notice the image on the cover of Wallbanger, published November 2012.  The same image is on the cover of Bastard Boss, published September 2016.

Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be up in arms over this issue, but let’s now look take a look at the titles.


In February 2013 Beautiful Bastard was published followed by Beautiful Boss in February 2016.  Then Bastard Boss is published in September 2016.  I’m not accusing the author or publisher of purposely stealing the title from the Beautiful Series.  But again, notice even the font is remarkably similar.

Let’s look back on the images again.  The cover of Beautiful Bastard is of a man (black and white) on a white background with the title boldly  imprinted on top.  The cover on Bastard Boss is of a man (black and white) on a pale background with the title boldly imprinted on top.

Were all these similarities intentional or not?

I don’t know.


But, let’s look at this from a slightly different perspective.

In cases of trademark infringement, the key element that is considered is the LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION.  In those cases, similarity is tested on: strength of trademark (Wallbanger and Beautiful Series were best sellers); proximity of goods (all are romance books); similarity of mark (cover and title discussed above); intent to benefit (don’t know); and others.

THIS IS NOT A TRADEMARK CASE! I just wanted to point out the similarities.  

I DON’T MEAN TO INSINUATE THAT BASTARD BOSS is like the stories in Beautiful Bastard or Beautiful Boss.  Nor am I insinuating the story in Bastard Boss is anything short of excellent (I have not read it yet).  In fact, I have read reviews that state that Bastard Boss is excellent, which is how I first saw and heard of the book.

As a book consumer, I am extremely irritated.

I feel like the publisher is trying to manipulate me through use of similarity.  I take great issue with this approach.

I should admit that I’m a huge fan of the Beautiful Series and truly enjoyed Wallbanger.  This fact certainly has influenced my outrage.  See my posts for these books:

Christina Lauren – Beautiful Beloved

Christina Lauren – Beautiful Secret 

Alice Clayton – Nuts

Alice Clayton – Rusty Nailed

Alice Clayton – Wallbanger




Additive Authors: featuring LAUREN DANE

Throw Back Thursday

There’s no denying that I get addicted to certain authors.  Looking at my archive of book reviews, there are certain authors that I’ve blogged about many times.  The books by these authors are consistently enjoyable.  Perhaps you may like these authors as well.  If you’re looking for new authors to read, I highly suggest this addictive author.



The story goes like this: While on pregnancy bed rest, Lauren Dane had plenty of down time so her husband took her comments about “giving that writing thing a serious go” to heart and brought home a secondhand laptop. She wrote her first book on it before it gave up the ghost. Even better, she sold that book and never looked back.

Today Lauren is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over sixty novels and novellas across several genres.




Lauren Dane – Brown Family Series

Lauren Dane – Delicious Series

Lauren Dane – Back To You

Lauren Dane – The Best Kind of Trouble

Lauren Dane – Broken Open

Lauren Dane – Cake

Lauren Dane – Chase Series

Lauren Dane – Federation Chronicles

Lauren Dane – Laid Bare

Lauren Dane – Making Chase

Lauren Dane – To Do List

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 8.55.28 AM

 to Lauren Dane for hours of enjoyment!


Shakespeare vs Contemporary Romance


Like most kids in high school, I was never a fan of Shakespeare.  In fact all of the mandatory reading in high school made me dislike reading.  To make matters worse, after undergrad, I went to law school where I was inundated with so much reading that I had a fleeting thought about reading for enjoyment.

It wasn’t until many years later that I started reading for pleasure.  This quickly progressed into an obsession and my blog.  I’ve read around 650 books – about 99% are romance books.  I may not be “well-read” in the Shakespeare arena, but I have a considerable number of romance books deliciously tucked into my head.

My teenage daughter found it odd to find me reading Shakespeare.  She wouldn’t bat an eyelash if she saw me reading an erotic romance, but when she saw me reading Richard III she shouted, “Why?”  Her tone of voice was amusing as she seemed almost appalled.  My honest answer was two-fold.  First, I’m helping out a friend with a project.  Obviously it is a good friend, because why else would I subject myself to Shakespeare.  Second, one of my reading goals for the year was to read a few books outside the romance genre.

Now, with age, a lot more reading experience, and a new perspective I have to admit that I’m still not a fan of Shakespeare.  Sorry, if that offends every English major out there.

I’m not an English major.  I majored in civil engineering, went law school, and am well-read in the romance genre.

How does Shakespeare compare to contemporary romance?

  1.  If a romance author were to try and publish a book with as many characters as were included and alluded to in Richard III, a publisher wouldn’t even waste their time with a rejection letter.  Richard III would be sent straight to the circular file.
  2. Shakespeare not only uses the same name for different people, but often refers to the same person by different names without ANY clarification.  This is the crux of why I really disliked the play.
  3. Shakespeare requires a history background to actually understand the genealogy surrounding the characters.  I felt the play was like a long relationship problem on the LSAT exam (but not all the information was provided).  It wreaked of unfairness.
  4. The actual language in Shakespeare was challenging as I lacked a familiarity with old English.  However, by the end of the book I didn’t feel any need to read the translated easier version in the No Fear book.  I have come to love reading authors from other parts of the world where some of their phrasing or lingo is different from my U.S. background.  In fact I was completely amused by some of the odd phasing in Shakespeare that crept into modern language.  “No doubt.” was a particular favorite.
  5. It is unfair to plainly state that Shakespeare’s words are “superior” or contain more “depth” than current authors.  I have read some romance authors that are also linguistically beautiful.  In fact, their words come off the page like a song.
  6. Alternatively, I find that Shakespeare is similar to antiquated and wordy legalese.  Today’s law schools teach students to write with clarity and to write succinctly.  Old school ways should be left in the past.
  7. Great romance books have great characters.  The reader gets to know and understand the way the characters think.  Shakespeare lacked in this department as well.  While the reader does get to know Richard III, the other characters (all too many) were often wishy-washy and flat.
  8. Not truly knowing the characters made it unclear how to interpret their feelings through dialog alone.  It was like reading a text from someone and being uncertain if the sender was being sarcastic.
  9. There may be more use of thematic devices and other literary devices in Shakespeare.  I don’t mean to condemn Shakespeare as a barren book not worthy of any recognition.  However, I do take issue with the common misnomer that romance books lack in this arena.  Many authors use similar devices in their works.  Most reviews or book discussions focus on the entertainment value rather than a full blown deconstruction of romance books as considered as literary works.

I’m not suggesting that English teachers replace Shakespeare with romance books in their curriculums.  I believe that there is an educational value in learning HOW to read Shakespeare.

I take issue with people bashing those that prefer to read romance over traditional literary works.  It is very pretentious and egotistical to take such a position.



Additive Authors – featuring: Maya Banks

Throw Back Thursday

There’s no denying that I get addicted to certain authors.  Looking at my archive of book reviews, there are certain authors that I’ve blogged about many times.  The books by these authors are consistently enjoyable.  Perhaps, you like these authors, as well.  If you’re looking for new authors to read, I highly suggest these addictive authors.


b1d2ndxcms-_ux250_ Maya Banks lives in Texas with her husband, three children and assortment of pets. When she’s not writing, she can be found hunting, fishing or playing poker.


Maya Banks – Anetakis Tycoon

Maya Banks – Be With Me

Maya Banks – Brazen/Reckless

Maya Banks – Breathless Series

Maya Banks – Colters’ Legacy Series

Maya Banks – For Her Pleasure

Maya Banks – Four Play

Maya Banks – Linger

Maya Banks – KGI Series

Maya Banks – Kings of the Boardroom

Maya Banks – Pregnancy & Passion

Maya Banks – Sweet Series

Maya Banks – Surrender Trilogy

Maya Banks – Sweet Temptation

Maya Banks – Understood

Maya Banks – Unspoken Series

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 8.55.28 AM to Maya Banks for hours of enjoyment!


Celebrating Authors/Books that I didn’t blog about but haven’t forgotten (Week 7 – More Sweet than Sensual)

Throw Back Thursday.png

Week 7 – More Sweet than Sensual

Celebrating Authors/Books that I didn’t blog about but haven’t forgotten (Week 6 – Spicy Stories to Savor)

Throw Back Thursday.png

Week 6 – Spicy Stories to Savor

Elisa Adams

For Your Pleasure – Hot single female shall covet thy sexy single male neighbor.  They share a lot more than just a cup of sugar.  It is a lot more spicy than sweet.

Maya Banks

Surrender Trilogy – What does having a dominant lover really mean?  Here’s a few different perspectives.  Each story is great.

Unspoken Series – Okay, I accidentally read the 2nd and 3rd stories first.  The first is in my queue.  I have no doubt that the first will be good, as well. Have to appreciate Maya Banks for sneaking in a little menage in many stories. “Understood” was an unexpectedly good read.  I accidentally read the second in the series, “Overheard” first, which was outstanding.  (Maya Banks is the queen of writing menage stories) I was worried that “Understood” would not compare to “Overheard.”  Looking back, what a preposterous notion!  Maya Banks does not fail to disappoint in either book.  “Understood” gets right into the heart of the romance story between Jake and Ellie.  I was pleased that the book did not harp on the details of Ellie’s abusive past, but simply made it an element of her character.  The entire trilogy is now offered in one book, Unbroken (Unspoken #1-3).

Shayla Black as Shelley Bradley

Sexy Capers – Criminal investigation with sexual interludes.  Well balanced mix of the two.

Eden Cole

What He Wants – Doesn’t everyone want what they want?  Sometimes it is painfully awkward, difficult, and scary to admit what you want.  Is it worth taking a risk to get what you want?  Oh yeah. (M/M)

Lauren Dane

Chase Series – Small town, close family, and four wickedly passionate brothers.  These books have all the ingredients for great stories.   The beautiful stories unfold where the men find themselves wanting deeper committed relationships.  Their reform is moving. The abundant secondary characters in “Making Chase” richly add to the development of Matt and Tate’s relationship. What I liked most was the off the cuff, little addition at the end.  It was so much better than a wrap-it-in-a-bow, cookie-cutter HEA.  Wow!  Perfect ending to a book and series.

To Do List – Working diligently toward career minded goals is commendable but not always fulfilling.  Some of the best things can come unexpectedly, like a love interest that is strong enough to derail even the best laid plans.

Sylvia Day

All Revved Up – If you love someone, set them free.  So the saying goes.  What if, they come back?  What happens then?  I’m not sure if there will be a sequel to this story, but if there is one then I’ld would read it.

Wish List – Oh come all ye faithful, a sexual Christmas miracle.  Stephanie must have been just the right combination of naughty and nice to get her Christmas wish fulfilled.  A book that makes you sing, Fa La La La La La La La La!

Abbi Glines

Sea Breeze Series – Beware – totally additive reading!  The characters are young, mature, fun, sensual, and I cannot get enough of them.  Each book is excellent, but I suggest trying to read the series in order.  I still have a couple to read in the series – I’m only holding off because I dread the series being over.

Kari Gregg

You Melted Me – When you finally find the right one, it is worth it to work through the complications.  Sometimes, you just need a wake-up call to get the right motivation. (M/M)

Megan Hart

Broken – Monthly dates sharing explicit details of sexual conquests.  Is talking about sex a form of cheating in a marriage?  Tragic love story at its best.

Dan and Elle (Dirty, Reason Enough) – The simplicity of a intimate relationship is not always enough.  Sometimes you need to reconcile it with the difficulties of real life problems.  If you can manage that, the rewards can be tremendous.

Stranger – Paying for sex is one way to avoid true intimacy.  So what happens when someone accidentally gets under your skin?

Beth Kery

Explosive – Not your normal straight forward romance.  A lustful tale told in the most thought provoking order that I have ever read.  The way the character faces his revelations is brilliant.

Paradise Rules – I’ld like to order some sex on the beach.  This book had me blushing a deep shade of crimson.  The book is hotter than a summer day in Hawaii, where the story happens takes place.

Release – Things get really complicated after a threesome.  Murder mystery and passion all in one.

Wicked Burn – Sexual healing is just what the doctor ordered.  Well, at least it is sometimes a great way to forget about a seriously sad and complicated life.  Unfortunately, the two sides of life cannot remain compartmentalized forever.

Christina Lauren

Wild Seasons Series (Sweet Filthy Boy) – Running off to France with a man that can whisper sweet nothings in your ear with a French accent, who could say no to that?  Sounds like the best kind of summer.

M. Leighton

Wild Ones Series: Life on the wild side is always more fun.  Tired of boring?  Live vicariously through the characters.  All four books are lively.

Bad Boys Series: Awesome twist in the first book.  Love a book that can surprise me.  Then, it gets even better because there are two books that follow in the series.

Wendy S. Marcus 

Craving Her Soldier’s Touch, Secrets of a Shy Socialite –  I’m new to this subsection of romance novels known as medical romance.  While the medical elements exist, they do not detract from the romance elements and turn the story into a melodrama.  Pleasing romance!

Raine Miller

Blackstone Affaire – Warning – must have copy of the 2nd book, All In, in possession when reading the first in the series, Naked.  Naked has one of the funniest, best endings of a book I have ever read.  Plan to start reading All In IMMEDIATELY when you finish the first.  More books in the series, but I haven’t gotten to them yet.

Tiffany Reisz

The Original Sinners Series – Jesus H. Christ! and Holy Mary, Mother of God!  Sorry if these phrases offend you, but if they do – don’t read this series. If not, HOLY BDSM on crack!  Want a book that doesn’t just cross the lines, but goes so far past it that the line does’t even exist?  MUST READ this series (in order).  I’m so excited to read the next one coming out, The King. Check out her website, too.

Alegra Verde – 

Taking Her Boss – Sex in and out of the office.  Best of both worlds!  Who dominates where?

Natalie Wild  

Endless LoveShort fun read.  Great if you only have a small bit of time and need a quick fix of romance.

Nicole Williams 

Crash Series – Prepare to fall in love with Jude Ryder.  Both Jude and Lucy have a complicated past but also have a tight loving connection.  Just as the fans in the football stadium cheer on Jude, I feel the urge to champion Jude and Lucy’s relationship.

Laura Wright  

Wicked Ink Chronicles  – Awesome quick read!  It’s got all the ingredients for a great bedtime read – (1) Hot, muscled, talented tattoo artist that rides a motorcycle; (2) long-lost teenage love; (3) hot love scenes.  I would definitely recommend this book.  I’m looking forward to the next in the series: Shattered Ink, and Rebel Ink.

Samantha Young

On Dublin Street Series – Blimey! Undeniably great romance stories that revolve around different family members and friends in Scotland.  Each story is fantastic and can be read alone, but I suggest reading in order.


Letting Go by Megan Hart – This story is invigorating in the sense that it leaves the reader feeling the empowerment of Colleen.  It is all about embracing your own sexuality, which is the best way to find fulfillment.  Colleen finds herself realizing that it is okay to want and need and still be dominant all the same time.  It’s a big message for such a short story.

Seize the Night by Tiffany Reisz – A story with the recipe for the hottest first time ever.  Starts with a perfect kiss.  Add four years to allow your mind to dream, anticipate, and envision.  Sprinkle in a little explicit guidance.  Finally, add the woman of your dreams and the ideal opportunity.  What do you get?  The ultimate way to lose your virginity.  Besides, Julien and Remi’s amazing affaire, Merrick was an entertaining character.  His explicit mouth and presence adds comedy and spice to the story.

Harlequin Blaze August 2013 Bundle

Vicki Lewis Thompson – The Heart Won’t Lie Here, the main character is an author of westerns with romance.  This is a perfect set-up for a story because if he can write romance then he should be great in bed.  (Tee Hee!)  In fact, Michael ends up being so motivated from his relationship with Keri, he writes an additional heated love scene.  The chemistry between the characters works well because of the threads of commonalities that they share and the direction that their lives are moving.

Jo Leigh – To the Limit This is a great story to read if you ever had a Top Gun, Tom Cruise fantasy.  Does it get any better than a fighter pilot?  Answer, yes it does.  A fighter pilot that has wanted a girl for years and is grounded from flying due to an eye injury.  That’s a whole lot of frustration and energy to get out between the sheets.  The ultimate question is what is the measure of love: what are you willing to give up for it?

Isabel Sharpe – Half-Hitched  Love is in the air at a friend’s wedding.  Two friends each find the person they’re meant to be with.  You know it is hot, when after having sex a number of times, one couple realizes that they have never been together in an actual bed.  Sometimes loves comes at you quickly and knocks you over the head.  Other times it takes years.  Both, can be just as real and astounding.  All relationships can be risky.  If you really love someone, then they are worth the risk.

Meg Maguire – Taking Him Down Imagine a perfectly sculpted champion MMA fighter with sweat pouring over his tan latin skin.  Now, imagine that same man with a heart so big that he puts his family, mom and sister, first.  He’s sexy and has his priorities in order.  Absolutely HOT!

Sneak Peak (Shelley Bradley – Watch Me; Jaci Burton – Show Me)

Exhibitionism at its best!

Some Like It Rough (Kate Pearce – Some Like it Rough; Susan Lyons – Private Eyes; Anne Rainey – Cherry On Top)

This is a grand slam, bases-loaded, home run book.  All three authors knock it out of the park.


BEST EPILOGUE in the final book of a series

BEST EPILOGUE in a series.  I don’t offer up the title of being best lightly.  I have a lot of series that I love and I could never choose one series as my one and only favorite.  But as far as Epilogues go, Jay Crownover wrote the most perfect Epilogue in the final book of the series, Asa.

Here’s why:

  1. All the characters are mentioned.  I love that I get to remember all the characters.
  2. Every character reaches a happily ever after.  I’m very picky about this part.  This is key to a good Epilogue.  While I love my HEAs, I don’t want something that is over done.  Not every couple has to get married and have a baby to make it an HEA.  HEA doesn’t mean the characters need to win the lottery, per se.  Not everything needs to be perfect.
  3. The time span of an epilogue shouldn’t go too far into the future.  I can’t specify the exact amount of time that should go between the final page and the epilogue.  Each series is different.  Often times when the time span is too long the author falls into the trap of making everything work out.
  4. Jay Crownover offered a fantastic recap of how the characters related and why the series was entitled Marked Men.

I loved the Marked Men series and I highly recommend reading it.  

Marked Men Series.png

See Related Post:

How to end a book series?