Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Soup - November 29

In The Soup This Week... Tessa Bailey, Lavinia Kent, and Cynthia Eden, plus a review of Amazon's brick and mortar store.

Soup Dish:  on my mind
Hope those of you in the US had a lovely holiday weekend. I have been doing more laundry than reading, but since it's usually the other way around, eventually that catches up with you, right?  

So Amazon's new store is not new news anymore, but I was pretty excited by it! My favorite bookseller person from my much-lamented local Borders is now working there which makes me really happy for her, too.  I managed to work in a visit last week during my Saturday running around.

It's located in an upscale Seattle shopping center that I'd never been to before, and while I think it was a good choice of location for the store, it's probably not going to be a destination for me. A) it's far and inconvenient from my house; and B) the shopping center is really crowded with awful parking and a bit rich for my blood.  It's an interesting experience though; they really are trying to understand what makes the in-store experience different from the online experience and optimize those things in the store.

Amazon's concept of a small, highly curated selection makes sense for most brick and mortar stores these days -- I think that is one of the main things that an indie has to offer. They are facing all the books, not just featured titles, which makes for a beautiful display, especially in sections like cover art  YA and Sci-Fi Fantasy, where we are seeing some really gorgeous cover art.

However, as a romance reader, the innovations that they are trying are not ideal. If I'm browsing, I like to have a lot of choices. They also chose to split up the section into paranormal, historical, and contemporary, which in theory I like, but at that point each section was only a couple of shelves. There are three bays total for romance. Here they have erotica and historical:

one-third of the Romance section

So while this might not be the store for me, but I think it's interesting what they're doing with it. Generally, I agree with the Motley Fool's take on it: Here's Why Amazon's Move Into Physical Stores Makes Sense.  And I might be in a minority -- it was quite crowded when we were there and my contact says that they had lines out the door on opening weekend, and limiting people coming in by people going out, like a hot dance club on Saturday night...

Well-dressed crowd at the new Amazon store

I never mock the sex scenes in the books I review because a) it's such an easy target and b) what one person finds ridiculous another may find intensely erotic. The sex act really is both-- if you're lucky. But I'm always up for a good list, so here is the Chive's Worst Sex Scenes Written in 2015. I'm just going to say, in most cases, I've read worse. This one though, I'm pretty much in agreement with the article:
“Her mouth was intensely ovoid, an almond mouth, of citrus crescents. And under that sling, her breasts were like young fawns, sheep frolicking in hyssop – Psalms were about to pour out of me.” - from Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen
Sheep frolicking in hyssop? And son, that is not Psalms, I'm just saying.  Credit to Roselynn Cannes for the link.

OK, just because... funny. Hat tip to Lexxie Callahan for the link: Farmer's Market Hot.
"Farmer’s Market Hot is a wholesome kind of hot. Rugged but approachable."

What I'm reading
Over the last two weeks, I went through the New Adult "Broke and Beautiful" trilogy by Tessa Bailey (currently on sale for less than $7 for all 3 full sized books).  I really liked the first and the third, and the second was good character-wise except I really did NOT like the premise of an undergraduate student seducing her professor. I know I'm Officially Middle Aged here, so get off my lawn etc, but the notion that you couldn't put your hormones on ice for a month until the semester is over, when your future and his are both at risk otherwise? kinda pisses me off.  Aside from that, I enjoyed the characters and their pairings.  Think "Friends" except everyone is hot and everyone pairs off.  The angsty "I've lost her" scenes from the heroes' points of view reminded me a bit of JR Ward, though slightly less profane and you know, without the vampiric bloodlust.  I will add that reading some good NA is helping me pin down more specifically what I am not crazy about in this genre.

Bound by Bliss, by Lavinia Kent. Everything you might like about regency romance, but crossing on into erotica with some mild BDSM. I'm already a Lavinia Kent fan, and enjoyed this book a lot too.

Burn for Me, by Cynthia Eden.  Strong read. The paranormal premise is fresh and exciting -- the hero is a phoenix, who rises in fire after dying, with some demonic overtones, and the heroine is immune to fire. I feel like this should have impressed me more.  Don't get me wrong, it was a good read and I think I will read on in the series.  But the plot meandered a bit and the violence was extremely graphic and kind of relentless. That's pretty standard in paranormal/UF, but I am losing my tolerance for it. I think that's why I come back to Regency so frequently-- some of it is suspenseful, but there are rarely extended torture scenes or multiple bloody murders.

That's it for this week.  What are you reading? What's in YOUR soup?

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