a kris ‘n’ good books challenge: what’s wrong with a guilty pleasure?

I’m sure many of us have a book or an author we turn to whenever we’re in the mood for something light and fluffy.

A guilty pleasure.

One of my so-called guilty pleasures, if the above cover wasn’t obvious enough, is m/m author Amber Kell.

Rocket science, they ain’t.  Stereotypical, they are.  Satisfying, yep.

And there’s also no doubt in my mind there are probably people reading this post right now and thinking that I’ve gone completely mental.

But, at the end of the day, isn’t that all a reader really wants?  To finish a book and think ‘not bad’ or ‘I liked that’ or ‘that was okay. now, I wonder what this one will be like?’.

Does a book always have to blow you away or leave you champing at the bit for more?  Can’t you just want to be entertained for an hour or so?

I wonder sometimes if readers, myself included, have become lost in the quagmire which this blogging and reviewing community can be and have forgotten that we read for enjoyment.

That many of us started reading romance because it’s fun.

Who gives a flying fuck if it doesn’t always make sense!  It’s happily-ever-after stuff, ferchrissake.

My challenge to all of you is to choose a book or an author you might ordinarily be embarrassed about admitting you love and celebrate them!

Guilty pleasure?  Fuck that.

Stop feeling like there’s something wrong with the stories you like.

Besides… guilt-free sounds so much better anyway.

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About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
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40 Responses to a kris ‘n’ good books challenge: what’s wrong with a guilty pleasure?

  1. Chris says:

    Erm. I just had a very unsatisfying read of Hellbourne 1-3, so… Is there something else you'd recommend that I might like a bit better?

  2. Lori says:

    “I wonder sometimes if readers, myself included, have become lost in the quagmire which this blogging and reviewing community can be and have forgotten that we read for enjoyment.”

    Kris, I couldn't agree with this more. So many are so caught up in the blogging and standing in the comminity that they forgot why they read in the first place.

    My guilty pleasure is Shannon McKenna. Her heroes are uber-alpha antisocial assholes, and her heroines are TSTL virgins who immediately drop into bed and love the dominance of the hero. Seems like that shouldn't work, but oh, how I adore her full-length novels. (Don't bother w/ her anthologies or novellas.)

  3. KB/KT Grant says:

    Dara Joy may have gone off the deep end, but every few months I have to read her sci-fi series. Knight of a Trillion Stars and Rejar are so full of smut and hilarity. Total keepers for me.

  4. Tam says:

    Stormy Glenn. One of my fave Doritos reads as I call them. Not a diet you can survive on, but oh such a delicious treat every now and then. Yep, pretty stereotypical and with plot holes and continuity issues at times, but for pure enjoyment, knowing exactly what I'll get, they can't be beat. Haven't read any new ones lately, not sure there are any out there.

    I do enjoy Amber Kell for similar reasons. I didn't mind Hellbourne unlike Chris and there is the whole alphabet series which seems to have died out at F I think.

    I think there is often an desire in the romance community to be seen at literarily worthy, since it tends to get a bad rap from many corners, so everyone is looking for that great deep book that will prove it's not just for housewives watching soaps and eating bonbons. A bit of self-loathing of the genre I think which can be destructive as well.

  5. Kassa says:

    I have no problems indulging in a guilty pleasure. In fact I can think of a few authors I do just that with. I read some Amber Kell – some are better than others. I tend not to review her work because for me it's sheer pleasure and I'd rather not have to list all the problems with it (of which there are many).

    Another one that comes to mind is Mary Calmes. Her books aren't exactly high brow but they tend to be intensely satisfying or at least I think so.

    I don't mind admitting I have guilty pleasures. I mean come on, what genre do we read? It's not all high brow 😀

  6. Kris says:

    Chris: Goodreads was invented for such occasions. Apparently. So they tell me.

    Lori: “So many are so caught up in the blogging and standing in the comminity that they forgot why they read in the first place.”

    Yep. We read romance! Meaningful? Realistic? Oh, c'mon. It's fun! That's not a dirty word in this genre. At least, it shouldn't be.

    KBC: I will wait for your author fan letter to Dara Joy with bated breath. 😉

  7. Chris says:

    Tam: The Amber Kell alphabet books were picked up by Silver Publishing and are being rereleased – and will probably make it further through the alphabet.

    Yeah, I do the Stormy Glenn thing periodically (and there are LOTS of new ones out there – not quite weekly, but close). And one of my favorite maimed lines from a book is from a Stormy Glenn: “That strange twinkled shinned in Dante's eyes again.”

  8. Tam says:

    Wow, he got a shin in the eye Chris? Ouch. LOL I'm hoping that Silver has re-edited the alphabet a bit. They were pretty rough. I'll look forward to future letters. 🙂 Someone could do their who alphabet series using only those books.

  9. Kris says:

    Tam: “Not a diet you can survive on, but oh such a delicious treat every now and then.”

    LOL. Love it. And, yep, Stormy Glenn is a Doritos read for me too.

    “I think there is often an desire in the romance community to be seen at literarily worthy, since it tends to get a bad rap from many corners, so everyone is looking for that great deep book that will prove it's not just for housewives watching soaps and eating bonbons. A bit of self-loathing of the genre I think which can be destructive as well.”

    That's a really good point, Tam. I think you're right, especially how it can end up being self-destructive. It's just so friggin' weird for a romance reader to try and make another romance reader feel low brow about the stories they like. Or it's ironical. One of the two.

    Kassa: “I mean come on, what genre do we read? It's not all high brow :D”

    True that. *GRIN* Your descriptor of reading for 'sheer pleasure' is spot on and there's nothing wrong with reveling in that. 🙂

  10. Kiwi says:

    My guilty pleasures are the skinny Harlequins…not that they aren't fabulous in their own right, but I can buzz through one of those during a playdate or doctor's appointment.

    On another note…Who doesn't sometimes want a bit of meaningless fluff?? Those books where all the world is right, the hero is hot and the heroine actually likes sex… No thought required, no philosophical debates, no trying to remember what happened to whom when you read it last year, 2 or 3 books ago.

  11. Kaetrin says:

    I'm with Lori – Shannon McKenna is like crack for me – over the top but fun. I'd also add Tara Janzen – not quite as much sex but the novel equivalent of a really good popcorn movie, with disbelief suspended at the door. Except, I'm not actually all that guilty about it. 🙂

  12. Kris says:

    Kiwi: Some of my fave Harlequins and Mills & Boons are the Valentine's Day and Christmas anthologies where butterflies all but fart rainbows. I still get the odd one to this day. They're such meaningless fluff and, yep, who cares if they are!

    Kaetrin: I think the Mumma reads TJ. I will have to ask her if she feels guilt-free too. 😉

  13. Amy J says:

    Harlequin's are my guilty pleasures. *cowers from rocks being thrown*

    I make it a point in between every review book to read a book for pleasure instead of “have-to.”
    That way I don't get burnt out so badly on them.

  14. Tracy says:

    This Kell books are pretty addictive. “Rocket science, they ain't “. Lol! You got that right. And they're just fun. We all need a little extra fun in our lives from time to time.

    I tend to buy erotic romance -normally m/f…but then I don't end up reading much of it. I get too bogged down with things I HAVE to read for reviews and they fall by the wayside. I have a bunch of neglected m/m as well. I suck. LOL someday…

  15. Kris says:

    Amy: No rock throwing here. Well, unless it's by me, that is. I think your approach of reading for pain then reading for pleasure, etc, etc makes total sense. In fact, why not take out the pain and stop reviewing altogether, I say! 🙂

    Tracy: Didn't we get addicted on Amber Kell together? I vaguely recall fights over who was going to buy the next story in the alphabet series. LOL.

    You don't suck. It's getting bogged down in reviewing that does. Well, not really, but it IS hard work and not as easy as some people make it out to be.

  16. Jenre says:

    For me it's the Sean Michael shorts. Not his longer novels which are endless sex cos I get a bored of 300 pages of sex but the sip quickies that TQ put out of his every so often.

    They're pretty much all the same story just slightly altered, full of (often) BDSM lite sex with little subby guy and big Dom and have lots of repeated words and SM's signature way of writing the emotions of the characters. High brow they are not!

    They are totally delicious treats. Yum!

  17. Ingrid says:

    Reading this I praise the day that I don't have a review blog. I still read only for pleasure.
    But guilty pleasures are better still. These stories I turn to when when my TBR is empty.

  18. nichem says:

    I don't review either, so most everything I read is for fun. But for guilty pleasure reads, I'd say Carol Lynne– specifically her Campus Cravings and Cattle Valley series.

    I'll have to check out Stormy Glenn. I haven't read anything by that author. I tried one Amber Kell book (the A one in the series I think) and could barely even finish it. Are her other books better than that one?

  19. Emilie says:

    I have to go with Sean Michael as being a guilty pleasure read. Sometimes I just don't need plot.

    I thought of J.R. Ward, too, and those ridiculous gangsta vampires and thousands of extra “H”s.

    For light and fluffy, I looked forward to Indigo Knights: Squire for quite some time for my popcorn reading. Rabin so bi-curious, Izzy so adorable. I loved it. I love Hell, too, the book and the purple-haired little tyrant with the German accent.

  20. Kris says:

    Jen: “They are totally delicious treats. Yum!”

    Indeed they are. 🙂 I just read a short of SM's the other day and enjoyed it for being a typical short story of his/her's.

    Ingrid: I'm with you totally on the non-reviewing thing, Ingrid. So what are your guilt-free pleasures then? Fess up!

  21. Kris says:

    Richelle: I was thinking of revisiting Carol Lynne's story about… is it Nate? The one who's in the threesome?? I can't remember now. It's been that long ago.

    Amber Kell's alphabet series was pretty rough. As Tam said, though, it is being re-released so hopefully it has been reedited as part of that process. As for recs… can I direct you to my shelves at goodreads? I hear that goodreads is a useful was of finding books that might appeal. 😛

    Emilie: Jet Mykles' Heaven Sent and Indigo Knights series are great recs for pleasurable re-reads. Hot and fun. 🙂

    Oh, and I love this – “the purple-haired little tyrant”. That's such a perfect descriptor for Hell. LOL.

  22. nichem says:

    Yep Nate, Rio, and Ryan. The first in the series was one of my least favorite, though. There were several in a row after that one that I liked, but some of the newest ones haven't been quite as good (I think she is close to 20 now). All in all a prefer the Campus Cravings series a bit more, but there's some good ones in both series.

    Goodreads you say? I think I've heard about that site. I'll have to check it out. 😛

  23. Jackie says:

    Since I have a two year and seven month old, I live on guilty pleasures because I have to jump in and out of the books so much. Mine are amber kell, Kim dare, carol Lynne, jet mykles, Shawn lane and m.j. O' Shea. I love being able to finish one of their books during a nap time:). I have other authors but then I would sound biased;)

  24. Kris says:

    Richelle: “Goodreads you say? I think I've heard about that site. I'll have to check it out. :P”

    You do that. *sociopathicrainbowtroutstareofdeath*

    Jackie: A 2 and a 7 month old? Yeah, I bet you like quickies. 😛 Kim Dare is an author who I read for short and sweets too.

    “I have other authors but then I would sound biased;)”

    Gee, I wonder who…

  25. orannia says:

    Does a book always have to blow you away or leave you champing at the bit for more? Can't you just want to be entertained for an hour or so?

    I think the second question answers the first 🙂 Because reading is meant to be entertaining. How one is entertained depends on what you want and whether the book delivers on that. Sometimes, something light and not requiring mass investment of the emotional or time variety is all that is required.

    I used to read a few of Amber Kell's books (the alphabet stories :), and follow her blog. But…I began to get frustrated when I realized that everyone else reading the blog wanted the same type of story, the same type of characters. I didn't want a perfect character, or the same scenario. But when we had a 'chose the storyline' and everyone pretty much went for the same scenario as before, I stopped reading.

    I can't think of a guilty pleasure author ATM…

  26. Kris says:

    Orannia: “Because reading is meant to be entertaining. How one is entertained depends on what you want and whether the book delivers on that. Sometimes, something light and not requiring mass investment of the emotional or time variety is all that is required.”

    Well said. People's view of entertainment differs greatly as it does when it comes to 'reading' for entertainment. A number of us here have that we read hot, fun and nonbrainhurty stories for sheer pleasure. Others could read non-fiction or mysteries, who knows! And who cares!

    What I do get tired of, though, is being made to feel like a second class citizen in the romance world just because I like these kinds of reads. Especially when the romance genre varies just as much as any other genre.

  27. Ingrid says:

    I have lots, like Carbon and Ash by Chris Owen. The one that got away by Urban and Aile. Some of the Campus craving series. What the car dragged in. Off world by Stephanie Vaughn. MFC by JL. Lover and commander by Jez Merrow to name a few

  28. Kris says:

    Ingrid: I reread The One That Got Away whenever I'm in the mood for an m/m that oozes of sexual tension. It's hot as hell. 🙂

  29. You know my answer to this already hon…

    I literally could not live without my floss read…

    Ms. Kell is definately on my list….

  30. Stormy Glen is the one for me too. The roles are so predictable but I love seeing what new shade of lip gloss she is going to use this time.

  31. Kris says:

    EH: “I literally could not live without my floss read…”

    As in fairy floss, EH? 😉

    Miranda: “The roles are so predictable but I love seeing what new shade of lip gloss she is going to use this time.”

    I'm loving the fact that we all have our different way of describing our guilt-free pleasures. 😀

  32. Floss as in Candy Floss – Sweet…

    🙂

  33. Kris says:

    We call it fairy floss here, EH. 🙂

    Sweet, light and fluffy, and resulting in sticky fingers… if you're that kind of reader. ;P

  34. Chris says:

    I think that's what we call cotton candy.

  35. We have Cotton Candy or Candy Floss…

    Are yours mostly pink and blue as well?

  36. Kris says:

    Chris: It is. Tracy's girls and I had a big discussion about it when we went to Disneyland. 🙂

    EH: Yup. Pink for girls and blue for boys. Nothing like gender coaching through sweets.

  37. Kris says:

    *takes a bow*

  38. orannia says:

    What I do get tired of, though, is being made to feel like a second class citizen in the romance world just because I like these kinds of reads.

    Not. Fair. At. All. No one should ever put Baby in a corner! *grin* What I mean is (in all seriousness), you should be allowed to read and enjoy whatever you like. No one should ever try and tell you what is 'acceptable' and what is not. That is their label. Sorry. I'm really mad!

  39. Kris says:

    Orannia: It is their label. It's good to read that so many people are on the same page. 🙂

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