Tuesday, December 31, 2013

King of Dubling by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau

I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I have to say that this book was not quite what I expected it to be, and I enjoyed that. The characters were felt honest to me. I really felt for Ciaran. He had been such a naive idealist before he was captured it broke my heart to see what years of slavery had done to him. There were times I was frustrated by him, but I always understood the anger and the fear that drove his words, and actions. Looking from the outside he does this that might seem stupid, but smart, and rational decisions by such a damaged boy would not have made sense or been honest to the character.

I really enjoyed Darragh as a character. He is strong in such a caring manner while still being a flawed individual. He wasn't the typical alpha male that shows up to fix Ciaran. He isn't that sort of controlling guy who needs to own someone else. He isn't a saint either, and I liked the balance between his protective nature, and his kindness and compassion. I liked how that played out in the character's bond over the story. It felt like their relationship was on a much more even footing, and I appreciated that. Ciaran might have been in a bad place, but it didn't mean that he was totally broken. I liked that Ciaran was such a strong person, to have survived the years of abuse by such an unbalanced character.

The plot was strong, and I liked that the world and the people in it felt honest to the post disaster setting. It actually felt like a world in crisis to me, and only added to my enjoyment of the story. The secondary were a complex bunch, and added to the depth of the plot. I loved the intrigue, and snarl of alliances that comprised this book. Overall a really well developed story with strong characters that I really enjoyed.

Em

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Secret by Brigid Kemmerer

I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for honest review.

I really enjoyed this book. It was nice seeing that Nick and Adam's relationship was given the same consideration that his brothers and Quinn's relationship received. Seeing them so obviously enamored with each other, and how well they supported and encouraged each other was wonderful. They really were just too adorable. I wasn't as enamored with Quinn's story, and wish they book had focused more on Nick and Adam. I did appreciate that her difficult relationship with her mother was more deeply explored, and I got a much better understanding for how much pain she was in. I did like her budding relationship, but it felt like it took away a bit from Nick and Steve's story, and I wish this had been more of a side short story than a part of this book.

I liked how characters in this story aren't static, and people have the ability to grow, and change, and that characters needed to learn about each other, so they could understand each other. It's a refreshing change from so many young adult novels, heck even adult novels, with cardboard villains, and heroes.

I think my favorite character in these novels continues to be Michael. I love how well he does taking care of his brothers at such a young age, and I will be very excited to read his book. Another fun, well written, and developed book in what is fast becoming one of my new favorite series.

Em

Always Saying Goodbye by Hollis Shiloh

I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a nice short story about love, and what drives people together, and what it takes to make a relationship work. I liked the characters, and I like what lead to their break up was neither outside forces driving them apart, or a silly big misunderstanding. I liked that their break up felt like it was rooted in the problems in their relationship, and the fears and pride of both men. I think the time skip really worked well in this story. It allowed me to feel the time, and the changes the men had undergone while they apart without having to give a minute by minute recounting of all seven years. I found the ending to be well done, and I liked that it felt happy without feeling unrealistic, or too sappy. It worked for the characters, and I appreciated that. Overall a nice love story for a cold winter day. 

Em

Friday, December 6, 2013

Strain by Amelia C. Gormley

I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this book, but I also think enjoyed is almost the wrong word. It is a dark, often hard book. The relationships aren't pretty, or sentimental, or really all that romantic. People come together out of necessity, out of situation, and out of convenience. There is a huge age gap between our main characters. There are elements of non-con, dub-con, and hard kink. Elements that would have usually sent me running in the opposite direction, but it this book it all works for me.

What makes these elements make sense to me is the setting of this book. The world we know has fallen away, and they are in a much darker, harder place. I appreciated how much colder, and practical people have become. It fits the setting, and seems much more authentic that some of the hearts and flowers stories zombie I've read. The plot was nicely paced, and I liked how much I found out about the history of what happened and the military unit along the way naturally instead of one large info dump.

I liked the depth to the character. No one, not even the secondary characters, were as simple as they first appeared. I liked that the more I got to know characters, the more I appreciated their depths, and complexities. I also have to say I love the strength to the female characters. It was nice to see them hold their own, and survive as best they can. Not damsels in distress in sight.

A strong, dark read that felt authentic and genuine. I appreciated the ending, it fit the feel of the story without feeling too bleak or hopeless.

Em

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Waking Dreamer by J.E. Alexander

The Waking Dreamer by J.E. Alexander

When insomnia sets in I feel that you have two book options: a horribly boring one that will put you to sleep, or an wonderful one that you has you saying fuck it! I can’t sleep anyway, might as well enjoy it! Well when insomnia hit me last night I was very pleased I had this ARC. It was a perfect fit; it bit right into me and didn’t let me go until I finished it at 2:30am!

All I can say is that if you are looking for a really well done Urban Fantasy you will want to give this a try.

I don’t have the words to give this book the review it deserves. I am just too tired. All I can say is that if you enjoy pop culture, movies, sarcasm, magic, with a dash of romance give this a try, you will not be sorry!

I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review.

Rating: ★★★★★

- E

Monday, December 2, 2013

The 12 Days of Dennis by Jude Dunn

I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

This story had a cute premise, but it quickly became just too absurd to be believed. The ridiculously rich boyfriend, an indoor pool, a home theater, and an elevator felt more like a caricature than a real person, and I never really got a handle on who the main character was at all. The gifts started out a bit silly and just went south from there. By the time the eye rolling, overdone finale came I had lost all interest, and belief in the story. I had hoped for silly fun, but it read more like a farce, and lacked any of the warmth and spark I was looking for.

Em

Long the Mile by Ally Blue

I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I wanted to like this story more than I did. The multiple time skips left me feeling a bit too distanced, and too much of the character transformation took place off the page for me to feel fully engaged with the characters or the plot. The whole story had a bit  of an afterschool special feel to me, and sometimes it felt like the plot, and the characters were secondary to the message. What I did appreciate was the honest handling of homelessness, and how easy it can be for people to fall through the cracks. How hard it can be for people to improve their situation when they have a criminal record, or no fixed address or telephone number. I appreciate the honesty of that message, and even though I thought the story itself was a bit clunky, I’m glad I read it. It helped make me appreciate the support system I have, and how many times things in my life could have worse if I didn’t have those people.  

Em

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mindscape by Tal Valante

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Long Time Gone (Hell or High Water) by S.E. Jakes

I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions contained therein are my own and influenced by nothing, and no one, but me.

I was so excited when I saw this book on Net Galley. I really enjoyed the first one, and I was excited to read the sequel. I am very happy to report that this book did not disappoint. I love the paranormal touches throughout this story. Nothing too much just enough to add some interest, and a little creepy factor to the story. The swampy setting during and after the storm really played a large part in the story, and I loved the atmosphere it evoked. It almost felt like the swamp was another character in the story in parts, and I enjoyed that. It felt grounded in the location, and it brought the story to life for me.

The character continue to be some of my favorites. I enjoyed seeing them continue to grow, and learn about each other, and themselves. I liked the part sex played in the story. It wasn’t a story about how sex cured their problems, but more how sex can be used to help release tension, and aggression, and boy did they use it effectively. This book especially was scorching hot. I did, however, like that sex didn’t completely overtake the plot. It was smutty, but the smut wasn’t the sole focus of the story either.

The secondary characters were really well done in this story. I really liked Etienne, and the bond he and Tommy shared was nice to see. Tommy’s aunt was another interesting character, and I loved her strength, and spirit. Her friends were a fun couple as well. It’s nice seeing such a strong, committed, older gay couple who are still so clearly in love. The less savory characters were well drawn with a mixed bag of motivations, and personalities. They helped the story from feeling too flat or predictable.

The plot was fast moving, and nicely edge of your seat. More than once I found myself biting my nails wondering what was going to happen next. Once again I loved how it wasn’t the story of how Prophet and Tommy solved all of the problems by themselves. It was nice to see characters from this, and another related series coming back to play a large role in the resolution. Blue is one of my personal favorites. The resolution was well done, and, while I might have shed a tear or two, I appreciate that the author did not pull her punches to craft a sparkly happy ending that wouldn’t have felt honest to the series. No matter how much part of me wanted it to end better, I don’t think it would have worked. I was thrilled to see that Mal and Cillian are going to be getting what might be their own series. I really like Cillian, and found myself intrigued by Mal, and wanting to know more about him.

Overall I really liked this addition to the series, and the universe. It’s nice when a series only continues to get better, and I look forward to seeing where things go from here.

Em

Friday, November 22, 2013

Long the Mile by Ally Blue

 
 I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
 
This was a nice warm fuzzy story, which would have rated it a solid three star if it wasn’t for one thing…badly done time skips.

Oh my goodness, the time skips in this book; there were a lot of them. If you didn’t pick up on it, I really am not a fan of time skips. I mean I can deal with them if they are well done, but that wasn't the case here. The author jumps over a lot of the story that should have been included. I mean I wanted to know what it was like for Judah's first night on the street; I also would have liked to have more face time with the main characters in the beginning of their relationship. The author skipped over the first three months, my favorite time in a warm fuzzy romance such as this. I like that period of time when the feelings of friendship grow into love. I missed that. So here I am sputtering about that, when the author goes and skips over Judah's climactic moment of acceptance of himself, and having Toby in his life. There were also a few times when the author switched perspectives that left me very confused for a few moments.

So all in all I feel this could have been a better story if it flowed better, because the base line story was really heartwarming, and sweet.

 Rating: ★★
 
- Elspeth

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Freshman Orientation by Brandon Reed

I received this story as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a very short pretty silly story of instant lust that quickly becomes instant love. I found Ryan to be insufferably shallow, and being in his head got old fast. I didn’t have a good feeling for the characters so the sex felt flat, and shallow to me. It might have worked as pwp if it was a bit dirtier, but considering the ending the author seemed to be trying for an ending that didn’t fit either one of the characters. I saw no reasoning why Ryan would say that even in the heat of the moment. It just didn’t fit with everything he has said, and done up until that moment. It wasn’t a bad story, just lacking in many ways. If it had just stayed a hook up story I think I would have found it more believable, but the “happy” ending just didn’t work for me.   

Em

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things

I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Fun, funny, and informative. I found myself really interested in finding out more about the men, and women I had never heard of, and seeing different perspectives on people I thought I knew. I liked how unflinching some of the articles on some of the different people were, and they didn't avoid looking at the more negative attitudes, and judgments of many of them. Pretty sad how many older feminist leaders seem to be deeply transphobic. I did like the breadth of women and men included. They seemed to do a good job including important, and less well known figures from all groups without having anyone feel included just to be included.

They tried very hard to keep an open mind, but there were places that I felt were a bit disappointing. I didn't like some of the dismissive, and almost patronizing attitude they seemed to have towards Pagans and Wiccans. They are not all flaky Goddess worshippers or Hippies (that really shouldn't be a pejorative term), and it's pretty sad to see a book like this falling for those outdated stereotypes. I also didn't like the generalizations of "white women". Making blanket statements about any race should be unacceptable, and white women are no more a homogeneous group than any other race of women. I wouldn't make such a statement about another race of women, and it would be nice to receive the same courtesy in return. I did like the refusal to fat shame, and the respect shown to women of all sexualities, and gender expressions, and the attention focused on racism (except for that one small issues), and classism.

Overall a well researched, interesting book on a diverse range of people, and ideas. Both funny, and thought provoking. An enjoyable read that was really an immersive experience. Thanks to this book I found some really interesting art, some great music, and expanded my knowledge of the people who have and are shaping our world.
 
Em

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I am Pusheen the Cat by Claire Belton

I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.


This book was super cute, with just the right dash of wittiness. Pusheen reminds me of my old cat Fat Kitty, he was my Buddha cat. He would sit at my feel and beg if I was eating a ham salad sandwich. He also hurt himself when he got stuck in the garage, his "limp" lasted over a year mostly coming back when he wanted attention, or if he caught us looking at him.

So I recommend this book to anyone that has been owned by a cat.

You will not regret it.

- Elspeth

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Slave Catcher by Lilia Ford

A nicely developed short story. I liked how much I learned about the characters, and their world without a lot of forced information dumping, or stilted exposition. It felt like it flowed into the story naturally, and made me hungry to know more. I really liked Sam, and understood his moral quandary. I liked how he was introduced to Elia and the world of the bond mates, and I liked how things weren't quite as black and white as Sam expected. The mess of desire, repulsion, fear, and attraction was a heady mix, and I liked how his cousin's cryptic note played into his thoughts. It served not only to keep Sam more opened minded, but kept me more opened minded as well.

I was not a big of fan of Liam. I thought what he did to Sam was a bit hateful especially considering he didn't know Sam at all. Normally I would have some sympathy for him, but when I found out his reasons my sympathy dried up, especially in the face of his attitude, and demands. The fact I didn't like Zachariel either helped since part of me figured that the two of them deserved each other. I was surprised by how much I liked Elia. Earlier I figured I would have liked Liam better, but Elia's surprising independence, and intelligence won my grudging respect. His actions at the end of the story were really heartwarming, and I was glad that he was there when Sam needed a friend. Considering the place Sam was in I was glad that this story was not a romance, and that the events and people seemed to help him grow as a person. It seemed like just the thing he needed to move forward.

I really hope this is only the beginning of something more. I'd love to know more about Sam's history with his former clan, and what happened to him that made him lose his family. I want to know more about his mysterious cousin Adon, and I'd really like to see him live and in person. What I saw of him through the other characters made me really respect him. I'd also like to see more of Elia and Raphael, and the unique bond they share. The bond that Liam and Zachariel is supposed to be stronger, but I liked Raphael's respect for Elia better than the more stern, almost patronizing affection Zachariel has for Liam. I also want to see how Sam and Elia interact, and how that interaction will change both of them. Seriously, I will cry if I don’t ever get to know more. Big sloppy girl tears. Please, please tell me that there will be more.

Please.

Pretty please.

Pretty please with a cherry on top.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wallflower by Heidi Belleau

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks.

I have to say I really enjoyed this story. I wasn't sure quite sure what to expect when I began reading, but I was interested especially since Rob plays an MMORPG, and so do I. Though I have to say WOW, I'm sorry I mean Kingdom of Elves, is probably not the best choice if the author was trying to establish gamer cred. I know it's massively popular, but it's not necessarily a gamer's game, and it is vastly overused. If Rob was really as hardcore into online games as he appeared to be, chances are he's be playing something harder. Just a small issue, but knowing some pretty hard core gamers, I am not one, it doesn't ring true to me, and pulls me out of the moment just a bit.

I really loved Rob. I loved that no matter how insecure, and socially awkward he was that he wasn't the stereotype of the shy, virginal nerd. Can I say that was hands down one of the sexiest sex scenes I have read in quite some time. I found his quest for his own identity to be interesting, and complex. I respect the courage it took for him to explore both his sexual and gender identity beyond other people's definitions and labels. I also appreciate the lessons he learned, and the understanding he gained when he explored his feminine identity. I liked that being a girl was not as simple, or as easy as he first expected, and that it wasn't a story that shied away from the possible consequences of his exploration. Not that the exploration was bad, but that being female or feminine isn't the end of all his problems. That being female comes with it's own set of issues.

I had more problems with Dylan. It's not that I didn't like him, but even at the end I found his abrasive and confrontational nature a bit hard to deal with. I understand that, as a white girl, there is no way I would understand his racial, and cultural issues. I don't pretend I understand what it's like for him, but for someone who talks about how people, white people, try to define him he seems very comfortable making blanket statements, and generalizations about white people as a whole, and that annoyed me. I know the history behind the adoptions he talks about, and it is just as terrible as he makes it out to be. It is a blight on our history, but seeing his family at the end, and how loving, and supportive they were of his sister made me feel that he was doing them a great disservice by the way he talked about all white adoptive families. I'm sure they didn't adopt him with evil intentions, and chances are they had no knowledge of the government policies that dictated his placement. Chances are they were just a couple who were looking to love a child, and it felt like he carried a bit of anger he that directed at them that they didn't deserve. Seeing his poorly directed bitterness and anger made me lose a bit of respect for him, but he's still young, and hopefully with time he will grow up a bit. I'm not saying that I disliked him, but the chip on his shoulder was a bit much at times.

I did like Rob, and Dylan as a couple, and I liked how well they worked together. I loved how Rob never let himself be cowed by Dylan. That Rob wasn't afraid to call him on his attitude, and how respectful Dylan was of him. There was none of the big alpha top vs submissive little bottom dynamics in their sex lives, and it made for a better balanced relationship, and, for me, even hotter sex. It also made the characters feel that much more complex and dynamic. They weren't stereotypes, or roles, but fully developed and nuanced people. I really felt the connection between them, and I loved seeing their interactions. Their banter was truly entertaining.

I loved the secondary characters. They are a varied cast, and are just as real and complicated as the main couple. I love the support system Rob has with most of his roommates. I really enjoyed Max and Christian, and I'm really looking forward to reading their story. That's right I read book two without having read book one, and I didn't feel lost or confused. I think reading the first book will add to the experience, but I didn't feel that I lost out on anything vital waiting and reading it second either.

I really enjoyed the conclusion to this story. It remained true to the complexity and tone of the story, and it really worked well for me. Not everything went as I expected, and I liked that. There were people that disappointed me, and others that defied any ideas I had about them. Overall it was a really strong story about identity and acceptance, love and friendship, and about being true to yourself, and your desires even when you are in the process of discovering what that identity looks like, and what you truly desire. Becoming the person you wish to be is not a simple process, and one I'm not sure really ever really ends, and I love how that plays out in this story. Truly honest, and heartfelt. I can't wait to read more especially after what takes place in the end.
 
Em

Bad Idea by Damon Suede

I received this book as an Arc through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this story. The characters seemed liked fully developed, flawed people not simple flat stereotypes. They weren’t just awkward nerds, and I loved the chemistry they had together. There was some rough edged dirty talk that, in another book would have turned me off, but in this book I was so grounded in who the characters were, and their connection it felt like it fit, and worked for me. I liked that the characters don’t fit the typical roles that their physical size and personality would usually have put them in, and that their sexual choices do not define them as people outside of the bedroom.

The secondary characters are a well drawn, and diverse group. I really liked the game developer, and Trip’s friends. They added a lot to the story, and I liked that the focus wasn’t simply on Trip and Silas’s relationship woes. I liked that they had an honest falling out, and that there was no silly misunderstanding, or soap opera style twist that drove them apart. Their time apart served a purpose, and in the end it made for a stronger story and relationship.

I really enjoyed the geek subculture. It was nice to see it acknowledged that people are diverse in their geeky interests just as their other interests, and liking one doesn’t mean you have to like all of them. I really enjoyed Silas’s tick references. That was a great show, and it made me smile every time it came up. The convention aspects felt genuine to me. I haven’t been to a comic convention, but I have been to an anime con or two, and there is definitely an element that lives down to the reputation.  The unwashed hallway sleeper guy is real.

Overall I really enjoyed the honest feel to the story. The rough edges, and the imperfections of the characters made it seem more real, and I appreciated that. It’s nice to read a story that feels a little less poetic, and a little grittier and more genuine.  

Em

Friday, October 18, 2013

I am Pusheen the Cat by Claire Belton

I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have to say that I was a fan of the comic before I picked up this book. There is something about the drawings, and the sense of humor that just really works for me. The author does a really good job capturing the nature, and attitude of cats, and reminds me of the cats that have been part of my family over the years especially the ex-Tom cat, Tommy, that adopted my parents last winter. I love the not too sweet humor that fills this book, and the drawings never fail to make me smile. Perfect reading for me while I have a cold, and it will be on my go to list for the dark days this winter.

Em

Stoned by Shelley Munro

I received this story as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a fun, short love story. I liked seeing how the friendship between Marc and Tarquin sustained them throughout the curse, and how it developed and grew into love. A nice change from so many of the instant love stories out there today. I would have liked to know a bit more about the sorcerer, his wfie, and the curse in general, but that's probably just the fantasy fan in me. There is something to say about having that part of the story staying a bit mysterious. I liked the balance between the two men, and how, after so many years, their opinions and thoughts grew and changed. They might have been trapped in stone, but they didn't spend the entire time feeling sorry for themselves, or trying to recapture a past that was long gone, and I appreciated that.  Overall it a sweet story without being sappy or cloying with characters I cared about.
Em

Monday, October 7, 2013

After the Fall by L.A Witt

I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Another really good installment in the Tucker Springs novels. I really liked the characters, and the romance in this one. They had a nice balance, and I liked that they took the time to get to know each other before they slept together, and before any of the I love yous start. It made it feel like a much stronger, and more genuine connection for that. I liked the sweet, and fairly uncomplicated nature of the romance. They did have their issues, but there was nothing too terribly dark, or heavy, and no terrible angst. It also didn’t overdose on the sugar and sap either. It was a perfect story for some rainy day reading. Did I mention there was a horise *cough* I mean a horse. Yeah, that was the icing on the cake for me.

Em

Friday, October 4, 2013

Beyond Eden by Kele Moon

I received an ARC of this story from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I didn’t enjoy this story at all. The characters seem more like stale types, the all powerful master, the perfect “slave”, and the eccentric artist and I never got a feeling for them as living breathing people. The domination, and the pain seem to be more Paul’s way of dealing with his father issues rather than something he truly desires, and it’s too much of a magical cure all for me. Why get therapy when someone can literally beat your problems away. I thought I would like Eden in the beginning, but over the course of the story you find out that Eden is a tomboy, and therefore more like a man than a women, so that’s why she’s more sexually confident, and adventurous than those other women. This combined with the florid overwriting, ham handed imagery (the garden of Eden, angles, and devil how original), weak characters, and stale plot was the nail in the coffin. I’m so sick of erotic novels, especially by women, they buy into all the old notions of female sexual  passivity and feminine weakness. It’s 2013 for goodness sake it’s seems about time to realize that men aren’t the only ones who enjoy sex, and who might even more than just plain vanilla sex either. Nothing about any of the rest of this story won me back, and I was counting percentages until the end I saw coming from the very beginning. There might be good m/m/f out there, but this is not one.  

Em

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Going Down for the Count by Cage Thunder

I received this book as an ARC thorough Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I had really hoped that this would be a fun, and sexy read. Maybe something a little sweaty, a little dirty, and a bit kinky. Sadly this was not to be. I’ll sum it up for you:

Some incredibly shallow, unlikable characters engage in some detailed, but mind blowing dull wrestling (the amount of words dedicated to wrestling outfits, and exact positing almost put me to sleep) wherein our male lead triumphs over sexy muscle boys, and in some truly terribly written sex scenes  makes these boys his bitch. Over, and over, and over again. It read like a young boy’s masturbatory fantasy. Actually it read like a very young boys revenge/masturbatory fantasy because there was an almost mean edge to the writing which made it less like a sexual encounter and more like violence and humiliation, and it made me almost uncomfortable to read. I also have to say it read like an ode to asses, and cracks. I swear that he never saw an ass that was less than beautiful.

The characters did not help the story any either. None of them seemed to have any depth. The main character especially seems shallow, and underdeveloped. He seems to flit from man to man, and has very little loyalty to anyone besides himself and his own needs. He talks about how “in love” he is with Bill, who tells him flat out that they will never work, but still he moons over him while he fucks any number of interchangeable muscle boys over the course of the story. It changes a bit when he meets Mike, but even that relationship doesn’t seem to be really all that different from any of the others. They have some truly cheesy bad dirty talk, and some of the same old nasty sex. Then there is the guy in Texas, and more of the muscle studs. A friend talks to him about his feelings, and I swear that he changes his mind about things as his friend talks to him. He seems to have very little self knowledge, or thoughts about anything besides wrestling, and sex, and it grew really tedious to read.  

The summary talks about him falling in love, but I didn’t know who they were talking about, and even after the epilogue  I was still wondering how I was supposed to know that these two were in love because there really wasn’t anything in the story or in the character’s attitude that made me believe that they were in love. The plot was non-existent, and it seemed to just be wrestling and sex scenes strung together with a bit of filler.  

Overall a weak story that had nothing in the writing, the characters, or the plot to hold my interest or my attention.  I never knew wrestling could be quite this unsexy, but I guess I was wrong.

FYI – If I never read about another wrestling mask and outfit it will be too soon. I swear change those items to designer shoes and handbags and he would give an shallow woman in bad chick lit a run for her money. Oh, and mullets are NOT sexy, curls or no curls. Just no.

Em

Friday, September 27, 2013

Made of Stars by Kelley York

I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review contains a mild spoiler for the ending. 

A really well written story of friendship and love. I really liked all the characters, and the depth of their bonds with each other. I loved how Ashlin, even though she didn’t get what she thought she wanted, was never made out to be the bitchy, jealous female, and how her love for both her brother and her friend never wavered. I really liked Hunter, and his need to appear to be strong, and protect those he cared about. It never came off as overbearing, or possessive, just very loving. I liked Chance as well, and even though I felt like I had a hard time getting a grasp on him, his purity of heart shined through. I liked their father as well. Their family connections were not the usual, but that didn’t make Ashlin and Hunter any less brother and sister, nor their father any less loving. It was nice to see some strong adults amongst the rest.

The plot was well developed, and I was quickly drawn in by the story and the style of the writing. I liked that things took a little while to develop before the main thrust of the action began. It gave me a much better feel for the characters, and only deepened my concern for them when things started to go wrong. That ending <spoiler>be forewarned there is not HEA or even a HFN broke my heart a little, and a petty part of my wanted to hate this book for that, but in the end I know it is that it</spoiler> was the only honest way to end this story. After I finished I was still wondering, and worrying a little about what would happen to the characters now, and isn’t that the mark of a great story.

Em

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Northern Light by E.J Russell

I received this story as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

There was a lot of promise to the story. The premise was interesting, and I loved the ghost story aspects of the plot. The connection between Luke and Stefan felt real, and I liked their chemistry. Overall though it felt like the story was a bit too rushed. It felt like events moved too quickly for me to get a handle on the characters, and the conclusion felt a bit abrupt and lacked the kind of punch I would have liked. I would have liked to see how things worked out with Luke's employer. I also would have liked to get a better handle on Edward's relationship with the painter. It felt more like obsession than real love, but that's probably because the only opinion I was given. I would have loved to know what either man really thought of each other, and if there was anything to the love that drove the ghostly aspects or if it was just the painter's obsession with his subject. Too many important questions felt like they were left unanswered, and what was presented was a bit too neat an ending considering the obstacles and problems both men are facing. I think if the pacing were slowed down a bit, and people, events, and relationships were allowed to develop at a bit more natural pace this would have been a four star read for me, but not as it stands now.

Em

Northern Light by E.J Russell

Monday, September 23, 2013

Shelf Inflicted: Banned Books Week and Goodreads Censorship

Shelf Inflicted: Banned Books Week and Goodreads Censorship: It's that happy-clappy time again! Banned Books Week draws attention to the many and various attempts to censor what kind of reading m...

The Devil at the Crossroads by Cornelia Grey

I received this story as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

An interesting take on Robert Johnson's legendary tale. The writing is compelling, and even though the story is short I felt like a got a good feeling for the characters and their situation. I loved the slight twists on the tale, and the implications that things might not be quite as bad as feared.

Em

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Agamemnon Frost and the Hollow Ships by Kim Knox

I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Another enjoyable installment in a fun new series. Unlike many second books the plot in this story continues to move forward, and it didn’t feel like a filler book. The story was fast paced, and an entertaining read. It did feel like Mason did spend a bit too much time angsting over Frost, and their relationship, but at least there are reasons for Mason’s dependence on Frost in the plot. Mason has had every bit of humanity stripped from him, and Frost is the only one who can keep the voice in his head at bay. A bit more character development might have helped me feel a bit more invested in these books, but the love story is only a very small part of this book, and I was glad to see that the alien plot is still the driving force of this story. A fast paced and entertaining read I’m looking forward to seeing how events play out in the next book.

Em

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Little Pony Mane Tales volume 1

I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Before I start I’d like to say a big hello to all of my fellow original My Little Pony fans.

I think part of the reason I liked this story so much is that this is what I kind of wished My Little Pony was when we were kids. Not that I didn’t love My Little Ponies when I was a kid a legion of plastic ponies, a little stable, a castle, sticker books, and yes some unfortunate clothing (cut me a break I was a kid in the 80’s) will say very differently.

When Elspeth and I tried to watch one of the original movies as adults I hate to admit it, but it was bad. Okay not  just bad, but terrible. So bad I apologized to my parents sort of bad.

Reading the newer My Little Pony comics they have a lot to appeal to the younger set. The colors are bright, and the artwork expressive and bold. The ponies are a nice mix of personalities, and temperaments. The importance placed on the value of friendship, loyalty, and being true to yourself are nice without feeling too much like heavy morality tales, or lectures. I also appreciated the little asides, and some of the humor that is aimed at the more adult set. Nothing offensive, but enough to gives adults who will probably have to read this more than once to an eager child or two something to smile about, or you know people without kids, like yours truly, who read for their own reasons.

Darned good reasons let me tell you!

Overall it was a fun, and enjoyable read. One that made me feel that The My Little Pony from my childhood was as enjoyable now as it was then. Feel grateful My Little Pony fans of today that there is a better chance that when you’re my age you will be able to look back on your childhood show and not cringe the way I do.

Em

Monday, September 16, 2013

Light by Nathan Burgoine

Light by Nathan Burgoine 

I received a copy of this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this story. The plot was engaging, and I appreciated that there wasn't a love triangle. I loved the tone, and mood of the story. The writing style was nice, and fit the mood of the story really well.

The characters were well drawn, and interesting. I liked that Kieran never felt too dark, or angsty. It made for a refreshing change from many stories of this genre. It was nice seeing that Kieran wasn't the toughest or most powerful character around. It made him more relatable, and I liked Miracle Woman. I was surprised by how much I liked love interest. He was far from the controlling jerk characters of his ilk tend to be, and I loved seeing the connection between the two of them grow. I liked the secondary cast. There might have been some interesting characters, but they felt like people instead of stereotypes.

It was nice to see a woman with such strength, and character. The ending was well done, and a bit unexpected. I liked that things didn't play out exactly how or why I expected early in the book. A fun read.

Em





Friday, September 13, 2013

Fairies in my Fireplace by R.L. Naquin

Warning: This review will contain spoilers.

First off I want to say that I am trying my hardest not to just squeeee and gush about this book. I will probably fail cause this book was just that good, I just want to point out that I am trying.
This series has easily become one of my top ten favorites, it's a series that I drop all other titles I am reading to pick up the new installment. Possibly to read the whole series again.
These books make me happy, and I just want to shout out to the book world that you really need to read them...really...please...I want people to talk about them with!

Okaaaay, to the book at hand...Fairies in My Fireplace is book three in the Monster Haven series. We start off not too long after Pooka ended. Zoey and the gang are exhausted with the hidden coming to her in droves. Something, or someone in the world is hunting the hidden, and Zoey as the last Aegis is the only refuge.
That is until it comes to town and strikes in her backyard.

There is a ring of Hidden trafficking, and they have one of her own.

This is all I want to say about the main plot like cause it was just so well done, so connected to the first two books that it was pure joy to read.

There were a few new characters in this, and I hope a few stick around for the novels to follow. Kam, how I love you, with your Pat Benatar outfit, exuberant nature, and constant failures to do housework. (Poor, poor Maurice).

#shake

The prom dress scene was just so much awesome, it had me giggling like a fool.
Now I want to warn you about the ending. My heart, it was just so much. The feels. There were many. So, so many.

I loved it, and I really hope my friends with too!
- Elspeth

Engines of the Broken World by Vanhee

I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Did you ever start watching a movie thinking that the ideas and the plot sounded really interesting only to discover that the movie wasn’t quite strong enough to carry the all the ideas it was trying to. You can see where the plot is trying to go, but it never quite gets there, or if it does it does so in such a fractured and disjointed way that you felt left behind long before the ending is reached. This is how I felt about this book. It seemed like an interesting concept, and it started off pretty interesting, but by the end it had fallen apart for me. 

The characters were interesting, but I found them frustrating. The answer to the big question for a part of the book seemed so obvious to me, but it wasn’t until I was ready to scream at the main character that the reason they weren’t able to find the really blatant answer. It made sense, but I would have liked a bit more leading up to that point. I found Merciful to be annoyingly dense at times, and while I understand she had a limited education, and limited social interactions, but the way she seemed to believe anything and everything people told her drove me crazy. She didn’t seem able to process information, and form her own opinions. She thinks about how she doesn’t necessarily trust different players, but when they tell her things she just seems to go along with it even when information she is given is contradictory. If she really doesn’t trust anyone why is she believing everything they seem to say no matter what? It just never made sense to me.

The other characters are interesting, but they seem to fit roles more than they are actual people.  Her brother is the half wild boy, her neighbor the wise old woman, and the half crazy lady in the mountains. Even when the “angels” come in they only add confusion to the story. The second “angel” especially just muddied the waters of the story. It was like his story line just came in too late to make sense, or add much to the story. It felt like it was a big part of the story, and should have been worked in better from the beginning. I actually felt that way about the first “angel” as well. It felt like there was more there I should have known about earlier. It felt like the angel story line was never quite as developed as it should have been, and the parallels between it and Merciful’s world never quite came together. I could see where they were supposed to, and I could infer some, but it wasn’t as fully formed as  I would have liked especially considering it was a major plot point.

The ending felt a bit rushed, and dragged out at the same time. It was a rush to get there, and when we finally do there’s a lot of talking in circles. She talks to one player, believes them. Talks to another player, believes them, and so on and so forth.  Then she finally takes action, and it makes no sense to me considering what came before, and her personality. I can see what impact the author wanted this ending to have, but nothing that came before was strong enough to make me invested enough in the story for me to care. If the plot lines had worked better, and the characters more consistent and complex it might have worked, but as the story stands now it didn’t.

Em

Monday, September 9, 2013

I wanted to get my review of Fairies in my Fireplace by R.L. Naquin done tonight, but today was a loooooong day.

So I will leave with a tease...



 
Pat Benatar and the boobies of doooom!
 
 
- Elspeth

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I figured out how to add the "followers" button today. There are a lot of things I like with this blog site, and then there are some things that irritate me. I hate that some gadgets have adds that I cant remove. It's been so long since I played with HTML, I need to brush up on my skills!

- Elspeth

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Today we to alleviate boredom Em and I decided to go to the "big city" for some fun. The first store we stopped at has some cheap sunglasses so we picked up some.

Commence hipster day!



Fail!