03 July 2012


According to the Oxford English Dictionary:

Dabble • verb 1 [with object] immerse (one’s hands or feet) partially in water and move them around gently: they dabbled their feet in the rock pools; [no object] (of a duck or other waterbird) move the bill around in shallow water while feeding: teal dabble in the shallows. 2 [no object] take part in an activity in a casual or superficial way: he dabbled in left-wing politics. Origin:mid 16th century: from obsolete Dutch dabbelen, or a frequentative of the verb dab.

If you're thinking 'Huh?', fear not! There is method to my madness. (Isn't there always? No, don't answer that :) I was finally getting around to some blog hopping tonight and happened upon the lovely Kassa from three am's review of The Saturnalia Effect. As I pointed out in my comment on Kassa's blog, to date I've only read one prison story - Scarlet Blackwell's And So Is Love (which BTW is amazing, but a very hard book to read emotionally [like all of Scarlet Blackwell's books]) so I was edging towards adding The Saturnalia Effect to my TBR list (it sounded like another emotionally hard read, which is right up my alley :) when I read the words 'supernatural element'. And everything stopped!

See, when it comes to supernatural elements I prefer books that either go there completely or don't... Kind of an either or rather than both. I'm just...not that into dabblers. It's like my brain either needs to be fully in logical mode or fully in imaginative mode. I kind of end up split if the book dabbles. Saying that, the Falls Chance Ranch series that I'm currently reading devouring (because let's call a spade a spade, shall we?) is a very obvious exception to that rule *blush* I've been racking my brains as to why the Falls Chance Ranch's supernatural elements don't bother me, and can only conclude that it's down to the strength of the writing...the authors have very cleverly presented both logical and illogical ('There are more things on heaven and earth...' *sharp look* Where did that come from?) arguments and left the reader to decide for themselves...

I guess what I'm saying is that while I try to avoid dabblers, I can be persuaded otherwise.

So, do you dabble?


  1. If the dabbling is obviously an important part of the story, yes. If it feels sort of shoved in there willy-nilly, no.

    For a well-written, powerful prison story, I highly recommend Protection by SA Reid.

  2. *takes Chris' rec down*

    I'm just like you. I prefer it either to be there full on or not at all. I tend to allow a certain suspension of disbelief with supernatural stories that's not there with contemps. So if it's dabbling I'm not sure how to take it. Is it realistic? Is it ok to not be realistic? It confuses me.

  3. I'm with you and Kassa. Either go there or don't but don't try to stick an element in just to try and make the story more interesting. If they have to do that then I usually don't want to read the book. It's like an m/f series I read - the author didn't do the supernatural element in the contemporary book but in the course of the series just did a time travel book and then expected that we as readers would be ok with just going on in contemporaryville as if nothing had happened. That's almost as bad as the dabbling in my book. :)

  4. I think I don't mind the dabbling too much.
    Btw I've never heard of the Dutch word 'dabbelen' and I'm Dutch as you know. ;) Weird.

  5. I agree. I want the supernatural elements to be completely believable. There are a few authors who add it in subtly or as a suggestion and still have it be believable, but for the most part it's very difficult to just add a suggestion of the supernatural. It's either all there or all not.

  6. @Chris - *shakes head* definitely no shoving!

    *reads about Protection* OMG it sounds right up my alley. I'm almost too scared to ask...HEA?

    @Kassa - exactly! I end up confused and thrown out of the story.

    @Tracy - *blinks* The author threw a time travel book in the middle of a contemporary series? OK...that's right up there with dabbling!

  7. @Janna - :) I'm wondering if dabbelen is very old Dutch... I find it fascinating where words come from :)

    Tasha - you're right, it is very hard to add the supernatural subtly. I thought the authors of FCR balanced the line well, you could go either way :)

  8. I didn't like The Saturnalia Effect quite as much as Kassa. I liked it okay but wasn't in raptures. The supernatural element was kind of necessary to get a HEA but it did kind of come out of left field for me. I didn't quite buy that there was true love between the characters either - I wondered if it was more Stockholm Syndrome or something? Just my take.

    But, I'm with you on the paranormal thing. All in or all out. :)

  9. All in or all out. :)

    Kaetrin - I love it! I'm not a fan of the whole out of left field thing either. I'm left wondering what I missed in the lead up :)