Pet peeves: derogatory names for genres

Ranting & raving is something I do periodically on this blog. Look for the “rants and raves” category for past rants and raves.

Man it is hard to muster up some blogging mojo this week, but if one thing fires me up it is this: ridiculous nicknames for genres that essentially put down the people who read them. Am I wrong in thinking the people who COME UP with these names have never read the genre they’re generalizing?

“bodice-ripper” – I don’t recall the last romance I read with an actual bodice in it, nor the last one where a bodice was actually ripped. This name irritates me so much. And everyone uses it. People I know use it and I wince. I know it conjures up covers like the one above, but romance is a genre that encompasses a lot MORE than that.

“Mommy porn” – Thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey, this awful label has suddenly appeared out of nowhere to describe.. whatever Fifty Shades is – light erotica? I don’t know, I just know I hate the term. Yes, lets define a genre with an assumption of who is reading it. And I don’t think “porn” is the right word there either.

I’m trying to think if there are terms like this for other genres that AREN’T usually associated with female readers, and all I can come up with was the one time I saw someone call SF&F fans “airship captains” and not in a very nice way. Hmm. There’s also the people who say they only read “real books” about “real people”, as opposed to fake books about fake people.  Am I missing some annoying little turns of phrase?

Pet Peeves: Spines in

Ranting & raving is something I do periodically on this blog. Look for the “rants and raves” category for past rants and raves.

This has been a peeve for a couple of years. I think that’s how long it’s been since I started noticing  bookshelves in certain furniture catalogs with the books shelved spine in. There is uniformity and the furniture can stand out.  This makes sense when you want a consumer’s attention to be on the furniture, not to be distracted by what’s on it, but this trend in decorating is annoying otherwise:

  • Unless you know all your books and where they go by heart, or you are going to have a hell of a time finding a book.
  • There is no way a guest could come in and discover a book.  No way to have a conversation about a book on those shelves.
  • It implies that a books function is as a design element rather than to be, you know, actually read.

Images are from Apartment Therapy. I am pleased to see from the comments that I am not alone in my dislike of the spine in thing.

A trend in the same vein, (but at least you can label the books in this case) is wrapping books in covers to display them:

Pet Peeves: That name sounds familiar

This has been on my mind for a while: have you noticed that there are a lot of heroines in books with a paranormal slant (YA, urban fantasy, paranormal romance) with similar names? I say this with love, of course (because really the most annoying names are the ones with a million apostrophes – ug), but I feel like I keep seeing the same names used. Here are some examples.

Genevieve/Gin/Ginny/Gwendolyn/Gwen or some variation
Meaning: Gwen is originally Welsh and means “Blessed Ring”.
1. Genevieve (Genny) Taylor from the Spellcracker series by Suzanne McLeod
2. Genevieve (Evie) Scelan from the Evie Scelan series by Margaret Ronald
3. The vampire Genevieve from the series by Jack Yeovil
4. Gwen Gelman of the Changeling series by Elaine Cunningham
5. Gwen Williams (YA) from the Others series by Karen Kincy
6. Gin Blanco from The Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep
7. Gwenhyvar (Gwen) from the Hunters Moon (Chronicles of Faerie) by O. R. Melling
8. Gwendolyn the Timid from Gena Showalter’s Paranormal romance Darkest Whisper

Kat or Cat or Kate or Cate or Katherine or some variation

Meaning: Kate means “pure” and is English in origin
1. Catherine (Cat) Crawfield from the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
2. Kate Daniels from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
3. Katherine Katt (aka Kitty) from Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch
4. Kitty Norville from the Kitty series by Carrie Vaughn
5. Catherine Marais from Melina Morel’s Institu Sceintifique series.

Meaning: Cassandra is Greek and means “she who entangles men”. She was given the gift/curse of being able to see the future but no one would believe her
1. Cassandra Palmer from the Cassandra Palmer series by Karen Chance
2. Cassie Roux from Seduced by a Wolf by Terry Spear
3. Cassandra Renfield from Jen Nadol’s The Mark (YA)
4. Cassie from Ice by Sarah Beth Durst (YA)

Other common names seem to be Faithe/Faith/Faythe and some variation, and Eve/Eva/Evie. OK maybe it’s not as much as I thought there was because the lists I came up with aren’t THAT long, but it feels like there are a lot. Am I crazy or what?

Pet peeves: Monster Mash-ups

I’m going to put this under Pet Peeves, although this is more like.. an internal debate.

What do people think of monster mash-ups? What I mean by a monster mash-up is taking a famous piece of literature and splicing and dicing it and inserting things like vampires, werewolves or zombies to it. I think of a monster mash-up as actually using some dead author’s out-of-copyright words and putting in your own.

My first reaction to this idea was : I do not like it. It bothers me. My gut reaction is sort of like “Is nothing sacred?!” I guess I don’t have a sense of humor about it and kind of darkly eye each new ridiculous book that comes out and hops on the bandwagon. When AnimeJune posted a rant pretty much saying “WRITE YOUR OWN FUCKING BOOKS” I couldn’t agree more. Reading her rant makes me cheer.

But I’ve been thinking about it for a while because while I don’t like the idea of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I am ok with modern day retellings of Pride and Prejudice – taking the basic idea of P&P, putting it in a modern setting with your own characters loosely based on the originals. So I think to myself – ah, your feeling side doesn’t like it, but aiie, logical side is wondering if you you are kind of hypocritical.

Damn you, logical side.

In the past week there’s been a lot of brouhaha online about fanfiction. I think it started with Diana Gabaldon’s post calling it “illegal” (although I think fan fiction falls under fair use). I noticed that Diana Gabaldon was OK with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies because the copyright for the original work had expired:

“Now, it’s possible to do this without being illegal, if you feel you just can’t get noticed on your own merits (and that being noticed is worth whatever it takes): you just do it with characters that are no longer under copyright. I.e., characters whose author is dead, and has been dead for…it was 75 years, last time I looked (copyright exists for the author’s life plus 75 years). So if the author of your characters died before 1935, you’re home free!

And some writers do this to good—or at least profitable—effect. Note PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, for instance, or the many (many, many, many) imitators of Sherlock Holmes.

I think she’s right that the copyright has expired on Pride and Prejudice (and all the other Austen works) and so people can do whatever they want with it. There’s nothing illegal about literary monster mash-ups, despite what I may feel about them. And yet. I do think that it still feels wrong. Perhaps illogically so. It feels wrong seeing authors taking some dead author’s words, and then putting in their own.  I think that it’s too easy.  I wonder what the dead author would think if someone had taking their words and used them? I tell myself – well it’s not illegal, and it’s not plagiarism because they attribute the work to the original author, and it’s all for fun, so what’s the problem? Yeah. I don’t know. IT JUST BUGS ME SO MUCH! It smarts of plagiarism through legal loopholes!

And then I contemplate how much I love a good modern-day retelling of Austen, and isn’t that essentially fanfiction for sale? They may be using their own characters and settings but they are borrowing from Austen’s plot. Isn’t that plagiarism? Well, they’re taking the idea but not the actual words, but I see that there is a thin line and I may be splitting hairs in saying there is a difference.

Sigh. Anyway, I don’t like monster mash-ups. I do like modern day retellings. I do feel conflicted. Honestly – I want to have an open mind and maybe if I think about this more I will accept the existence of monster mash-ups, but the visceral, possibly hypocritical, part of me just wants the fad to die a fiery death.

What makes me even more hypocritical/confused is that I saw Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in graphic novel format, and because I feel like translating P&P into a graphic novel is different from straight taking Jane Austen’s words, I am more ok with it than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies the book. I’m not sure what to do with myself. This is like a crisis of faith.

Pet Peeve: Sex & Water

Good lord. Today has been kicking my butt. Car troubles plus crazy work = frazzled janicu. I was hoping to have time to work on my review for Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols but it just didn’t happen. And I thought I would do a reading rave first, but the one I was planning needs more research. So here goes with a little ranting.

Sex under water. I read about the hero and heroine getting it on in some underground grotto, pool, river, lake or ocean and all I can think is  “That is just NOT sanitary!” DO YOU KNOW how women are made? And how the thrusting that the guy is doing UNDER WATER is moving STUFF into her? Like.. microbes in the water, or eeee, SAND! *shudder*. Also these scenes don’t usually involve a condom, which is not good, but if there was one, I’m wondering about the risk of it slipping off in the water anyway. It’s a little better when the couple does it on the edge of the body of water, but I’m still thinking about dirt, UTIs or other not fun infections in the private bits. Also: OMG, CHAFING?!

This is what says about Water Sex and Infections:

Having sex in a pool or Jacuzzi poses a higher risk of infection. According to research at the University of California, Santa Barbara, water teeming with microbes can get forced into the vagina. “Sometimes residential (and commercial) hot tubs, pools and Jacuzzis are not chlorinated adequately, increasing the amount of bacteria they contain and the likelihood of an infection. Even if the water has a chlorine level in accordance to government standards, there is still a risk of infection.” Also, “chlorine may disrupt healthy bacteria and change the natural pH in the vagina leading to a yeast infection.”

Having sex in the ocean or a lake can also pose problems. Although these places do not pose chemical/chlorine issues, according to Health & Sexuality columnist, Lisa Hermann, you should “be aware that natural bodies of water have the potential to harbor some unusual bacteria and/or amoebas” which could put a woman at risk for a urinary tract infection.

Women are more susceptible to infections during water sex due to their anatomical differences. This risk includes sexually transmitted infections, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and the added issue of sexual friction (due to less lubrication) that can result in irritation and micro-tears to the vaginal walls. These tears open up a direct route for infections and could increase the chances of catching a sexually transmitted disease.

Do I need to be thinking about this stuff when I read a sex scene? NO!! Please make it stop.

Now.. am I crazy in thinking these thoughts when I read one of those scenes? This is normal right? To think this? Right?

Kitty no!
original kitty image is from here

Ranting and Raving at Janicu’s book blog

Part of being a book reviewer is having opinions. Many of them! And sometimes I feel like I encounter things in books or about books that I either want to rant or rave about but it doesn’t really fit into the context of a review. It feels like something to put in a separate post.

I’ve been storing a few rant and raves so I’m starting a new “feature” in this blog, where I will ramble happily or um.. possibly crazily about something.I’ve been prettying up my wordpress (I changed the font on the header and added a byline), and since I’ve been having fun making pretty things, I made a couple of little banners to signal my rant or my rave.

Reading Raves! Things that make janicu as giddy as a schoolgirl.

Pet Peeves! Things that make janicu a crazy lady on the internets.

ETA: The images I used are Pandora by John William Waterhouse and the image from the cover of The Emerald City of Oz, illustrated by John R. Neill. The fonts are Ozone and Neogrey Medium.

paperback to hardcover

Zeek from the blog The Way I See It posted that book 4 of the Mercy Thompson series, Bone Crossed, is going to be hardcover!


You know, I'm a big fan of this series, but I don't like hardcover. I think the last fiction book I bought new in hardcover was back in 1996. If an author I really like comes out in hardcover I will wait a whole year or more to get the paperback. I will choose trade paperback over hardcover. I am not a fan of waiting, but I'll wait. If the series started out hardcover, i feel ok, it's my choice to wait till paperback since I prefer paperback. But when the series started out paperback and then went hardcover – so now I have all these paperbacks, and you want me to buy a hardcover mid-series? I can see how this benefits the writer and the publisher, like it's a big deal to get a hardcover rather than a paperback, and I think the author makes more royalties on hardcover and so if the author can keep writing it helps the reader. All good in theory, but on a personal level it doesn't really make me happy. I don't like buying hardcover.

I might have bought it if it was trade paperback. I might have bought it if it was the first book in a new series. But hardcover mid-series when I already own all the books in paperback …I'm probably going to have to get it at the library and buy it when it comes out in paperback. But I feel disappointed I have to wait.

Other people complaining about this hardback issue.

The flip side of the coin. And a debate.


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I changed my mind

Remember how I was talking about switching to Amazon for pre-ordering because B&N took longer to give me my books? I changed my mind. I can wait.

On Dear Author I've been following a story about someone who gave a book a three star review, but because the author was gaming the system, her review just kept getting deleted over and over, no matter how many times she complained to Amazon. Now she's become someone of "bad standing" and can't post reviews at ALL.

I had this whole rant but really just look at the evidence yourselves.


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Some interesting links

Just a few links to thinks from other book blogs that I saw today and thought were interesting.

On online reviews:

A link to sfsignal – "How have online book reviews affected the publishing world?" – different opinions from the sf community. I noticed a lot of comments along the lines of "blog reviews aren't as in depth and professional as offline reviews". I'm thinking – isn't that sort of the point? Anyway… I shall make interested murmurs. This book blog is definitely not professional.

Results of the "Ethics in book reviewing survey". Looks like I agree with the majority of these results. "76.5 percent think it's never ethical to review a book without reading the whole thing." – I'm ok with reviewing and saying "I could not finish" and saying why.

On series:

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books contributor Sarah is on explaining why some series drive her crazy. I think she explains it better than I have been able to when I get into my series/pet peeves rants.  I hope this embedding thingy worked.

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More on series

My pet peeves with series has to do with the fact that there are a LOT of series out there. It's a lot to juggle in my mind and keep track of, especially since it takes years to finish a series. I like series, but its easier to start one that is finished than one that's ongoing, and easier to start one by an author I know I like than a new author I'm not sure of. I think that I may actually prefer standalones. Authors that write mostly standalones – Neil Gaiman, Robin McKinley, Patricia McKillip (besides the Riddlemaster of Hed). Actually – duologies and trilogies are fine too. Open ended series.. beginning to feel tired. This is the list of series I'm reading right now:

1) Wen Spencer - need to start book 4 of 4 in the Ukiah Oregon series

2) Wen Spencer – need to start book 2 of 2? maybe in the Tinker series

3) Patricia Briggs – read 2 out of 7(!!), in the Mercy Thompson series (book 3 – Iron Kissed is out Jan 08)

4) Kim Harrison – need to start book 3 of ??? (5 so far) in the Hollows series

5) Rachel Caine – need to start book 3 of ??(6 so far) in the Weather Warden series

6) Rachel Caine – need to start book 2 of ?? (3 so far) in the Morganville Vampires series

7) Dawn Cook – need to start book 2 of 4 in the Truth series

8) Kat Richardson – need to start book 2 of ?? (2 so far) in the Greywalker series

9) Faith Hunter - need to start book 2 of ?? (3 so far) in the Apocalpse series (I don't know the name of this series really)

10) Michelle Sagara – read 2 of ?? (5 so far) in the Cast in series (book 3 will be out August 07)

11) Garth Nix – started reading his Keys of the Kingdom series (book 1). Waiting for book 7 of 7 to go through it since its fast reading. YA.

12) Anne Bishop – I read book 1 of her Ephemera series (prob a trilogy), not really interested in continuing. Maybe.

13) Mindy Klasky - Need to read book 4 of 5 in her Glasswright series.

14) Moira J. Moore – Need to read book 2 of ?? (around 4 so far) in her Hero series

15) Anne Bishop – Read her Jewels trilogy, need to read her 2 other books from this world (continuations?) - Dreams made Flesh, Tangled Webs..

16) Sharon Shinn – Read book 1 of her Twelve Houses series.. not sure if I want to read 2 and 3 out of ??.

17) Karen Chance – Read book 2 of ?? in her Shadows series.

18) S. L. Viehl – Reading book 1 of 7 so far in her Stardoc series

19) Marie Brennan – Reading book 2 of 2 in her Doppleganger duology (I think)

20) Louise Rennison – Read book 2 of ?? (7 so far) in her Georgia Nicolson series

21) Casey Daniels – Read book 2 of ?? (at least 3 so far).. in her Pepper Martin series. Probably will not continue.

22) Ilona Andrews – Read book 1 of 2 so far of her Magic series

23) Lilith Saintcrow – Read book 2 of ?? in her Dante Valentine series

24) Karin Lowachee – Read book 1 of 3 in her series, will continue eventually.

25) Katie MacAlister – Read up to book 3 of her Aisling Grey, Guardian series, not really interested in continuing.

26) Janet Evanovich - Read book 1 of … ??? 13 so far in her Stephanie Plum series. Not interested in continuing.

27) MaryJanice Davidson – Read book 1 of ?? in her Undead series

28) Holly Black – Read book 2 of 3 in her Modern Faery Tale series.

29) Kristen Britain – Read book 2 of 3 (I think) in her Green Rider series.. Not really into it.. may finish though.

30) Ellen Schreiner – Read book 1 of ?? (3 so far) of her Vampire Kisses series

31) Sophie Kinsella – Read book 2 of ?? (5 so far) of her Shopaholic series

32) Kelley Armstrong – Read book 1 of ?? (8 so far) of her Otherwold series

33) Stephenie Meyer – Read book 1 of ?? (3 so far) of her series

34) Clare B. Dunkle – Read book 1 of 3 in her Hollow Kingdom series

There are other series I'm not going to even mention here since I'm now very tired. At least 10 more. At least.

K – I figured out another pet peeve – NOT KNOWING when a series is going to end!!

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