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.


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.

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.  


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.


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.

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.


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.  


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.