Tuesday, June 28, 2016

That Dick Book: Strong Signal

Carolyn picked this book up (one of her 99 cent wonders) and I was looking for something to read. I don't know why but I thought this was sci-fi. It isn't.

This is an m/m erotic romance. Since I don't read m/m and have burned out on erotic romance obviously this wasn't the book for me.


Loved it. Except for all the sex. Skipped those parts.

It was really well written. Garrett is in the army, doing his last tour before hopefully finding a job as a mechanic in Podunk America and avoiding the alcoholism/poverty trap most people he knows falls into. Kai is a gamer with severe social anxiety who never leaves his apartment but lives online gaming (yes, you can make money that way, ask Pewdiepie or Rad Brad).

They meet. They start an online friendship that becomes flirting that becomes cybersex that becomes real.

There was a shit load of sex and I honestly skipped it. Which means I didn't read maybe about one third of the entire book. I'm just not that interested in dick descriptions.

But the characters were cool. Both were anti-social and they made sense in their own way as a couple. I rooted for them. Especially Garrett. He was the macho military guy who never came out but lived honestly (I thought), who was fighting a losing battle but putting his heart into the fight.

Really a great read. Just uh... too much dick.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh

I've been following this series (Psy/Changeling) since I first discovered it a number of years ago and all in all it's been satisfying. But this book ... despite all the 5 star reviews, this book  just didn't do it for me.

Here, have a blurb:

A staggering transformation has put the Psy, humans, and changelings at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: old enemies, new allies, wary loners.
But a century of distrust and suspicion can't be so easily forgotten, and it threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman's cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: a child who is both Psy...and changeling. 
To find the lost and protect the vulnerable - and to save Trinity - no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?

I thought this was to be the concluding book in the Psy/Changeling universe, but there are all sorts of threads left tangled and unsolved. Also, I would think this would be a difficult book to read for someone not invested in the series because all of the characters in Allegiance have had books of their own and while some backstory is allowed, it all felt rather superficial. There is no actual plot because nothing is accomplished except to retrieve a kidnapped water changling and even though this subplot was interspersed throughout the story, it still felt tacked on.  So much is crammed into this book that at times I felt like I was skimming.

There was also too much of Naya. She is the year old daughter of Lucas and Sascha, the couple in the first book, Slave to Sensation. We watched her crawl, we watched her walk, we watched her do this, that and the other, and it got real old, real fast. Especially since one of the other storylines were the pupcubs, the unborn offspring of a feline and a wolf. OK, I know that one of the main characteristics of the changlings are their love of family and the ties that bind them together. But this - this was just plain overkill.

Nothing was resolved; I can only assume there will be more books in this world. I have reached the point where I hope there will be no new characters introduced because my cup runneth over in that department. Look at this list and realize that almost all of them had parts in this book, plus some couples from a few novellas. My face was scrunched up most of the time, trying to remember who all these folks were.

Sascha and Lucas
Judd and Brenna
Clay and Talin
Dorian and Ashaya
Riley and Mercy
Dev and Katya
Max and Sophia
Drew and Indigo
Hawke and Sienna
Riaz and Adria
Kaleb and Sahara
Vasic and Ivy
Aden and Zaira

So, I did finish the book and I'll probably be buying any future books in this universe, but I can't wholeheartedly recommend this book which is a shame. What I would like is a book about the water changelings, how they formed their society, how they live, how they change. Or the flying changelings (can't remember what they're called). That would be new and interesting.

So, now I wait, lol.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Carolyn's July Books ... so far

Now is when I need the shit load of books I had ordered in the last few months because yesterday I got the Apple payback from Amazon. Now, I don't particularly like Apple and to my knowledge I haven't bought anything of theirs except my iphone. Which I don't need, I just need a phone to call Lori, could be any plain old phone.

But baybee, I got a VERY large settlement. And I have only three or four books listed for July. Isn't that always the way?? However, I did stock up on the rest of the Rizzoli and Isles mysteries by Tess Gerritsen so, yay me, lol.

Okay, here's my pathetic little list.

1.  Even Odds
     Author: Elia Winters
     Publisher: Simon and Schuster
     Releases: July 4, 2016
     Price: $1.99

Geeky meets kinky in this first deliciously sexy novel in the Slices of Pi series by RITA-nominated author Elia Winters, which follows the romantic rendezvous of the employees at PI Games, a gaming company based out of sultry Florida.

As a design manager at PI Games, Isabel Suarez is no stranger to the struggles of being a woman in a male-dominated industry. But when her team attends a gaming convention on the other side of the country, she figures there’s no harm in putting aside her professional demeanor for one weekend to participate in a risqué scavenger hunt. Why shouldn’t she let loose and have a little fun?

A careless romp soon turns into more, however, when Isabel ends up having a fling with Caleb Portland, an artist and animator, without knowing he has just been hired to partner with her at her company—and Caleb can’t bring himself to tell her. When they end up coworkers a few weeks later, they need to find a way to work together and keep things strictly professional. Caleb doesn’t want to take on a relationship and risk failure. Isabel doesn’t want to risk ruining the professional reputation she’s worked so hard to develop. But when faced with the undeniable sizzling chemistry between them, will either of them be able to resist temptation?

A sexy and witty tale of romance and modern workplace politics, Even Odds is the latest winning entry in Elia Winters’ unique and well-loved erotic novels.

Well, it says it's erotic, so I have been warned. I just liked the premise and the price was definitely right, so I'll give it a try.

2.  Steadfast
     Author: Sarina Bowen  
     Publisher: Rennie Road Books (self published?)
     Releases: July 12, 2016
     Price: $3.99

She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have.

Jude lost everything one spring day when he crashed his car into an apple tree on the side of the road. A man is dead, and there's no way he can ever right that wrong. He’d steer clear of Colebury, Vermont forever if he could. But an ex-con in recovery for his drug addiction can’t find a job just anywhere. 

Sophie Haines is stunned by his reappearance. After a three year absence, the man who killed her brother and broke her heart is suddenly everywhere she turns. It’s hard not to stare at how much he’s changed. The bad boy who used to love her didn’t have big biceps and sun-kissed hair. And he’d never volunteer in the church kitchen. 

No one wants to see Sophie and Jude back together, least of all Sophie's police chief father. But it's a small town. And forbidden love is a law unto itself.

I love Sarina Bowen and I like her new series (all one book of it, lol). She's an autobuy for me.

3.  Among the Wicked: A Kate Burkholder Novel
     Author: Linda Castillo
     Publisher: Macmillan
     Releases: July 12, 2016
     Price: $12.99

Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called upon by the sheriff's department in rural, upstate New York to assist on a developing situation that involves a reclusive Amish settlement and the death of a young girl. Unable to penetrate the wall of silence between the Amish and "English" communities, the sheriff asks Kate to travel to New York, pose as an Amish woman, and infiltrate the community.
Kate's long time love interest, State Agent John Tomasetti, is dead set against her taking on such an unorthodox assignment, knowing she'll have limited communication - and even less in the way of backup. But Kate can't turn her back, especially when the rumor mill boils with disturbing accounts of children in danger. She travels to New York where she's briefed and assumes her new identity as a lone widow seeking a new life.
Kate infiltrates the community and goes deep under cover. In the coming days, she unearths a world built on secrets, a series of shocking crimes, and herself, alone... trapped in a fight for her life.
This is a great series and I'm so glad I discovered it. I like Kate and how she lives her life.

And one more June book, because I've become invested in the series ...

4.  Avenged (The Altered Series)
     Author: Marnee Blake
     Publisher: Macmillan
     Released: June 27, 2016
     Price: $3.99

Three terrifying months.
That’s how long Kitty Laughton has been at the mercy of the scientist who experimented on her town, killing over a dozen people and giving the rest of them unique powers. But Kitty doesn’t feel powerful, especially when she learns the crazy man plans to test his research on more unsuspecting people. She refuses to let anyone else die, but trapped with no one to help her she’s out of options…that is until sexy and exasperating Nick Degrassi arrives.
Special-ops soldier Nick blames himself for Kitty’s capture, and he’ll do whatever he can to free the quiet beauty, but close quarters and a shared secret bring an attraction that neither of them expected. With the organization that started it all making mercenaries for hire, Nick and Kitty must save themselves and stop a madman…before it’s too late.
The Altered series is best enjoyed in order.
Reading Order:
Book #1 Altered
Book #2 Avenged

I'm reading Avenged now. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with it but I'm able to put it down (when I had a sudden urge to reread Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt, for instance ;-) ) and pick it back up. Perhaps it'll grab me later in the book. Anyway, seemed a good idea to have #2 next in line.  

That's it for July. I'll have to find another way to spend my Apple bonanza but I've got a year to decide, so that's good. I wonder if I can buy videos with it ...?                                  

Monday, June 20, 2016

Bullet Journaling

So just between you and me... I love making lists. I'm a total sucker for writing things down in columns and doing it again and again. I just love lists.

And I love calendars. I love trying to find the perfect calendar that can also encompass my lists. Then I saw something about the Bullet Journal (BuJo for short) and I checked it out.

The reason it's called a bullet journal is because
  • it uses bullets
  • like this
  • as organization
But the best thing about it, I soon discovered, is that it's whatever you want it to be. So look up images for Bullet Journal and you see some really creative pages and artwork out there.

Mine is much more a tool for a calendar and various lists I want to keep. It's still a work in progress and I know some changes I'll be making in it as I continue.

 The first thing that the BuJo has is an index. Or a Table of Contents. It's a neat idea that you can easily find something you want to work on. (So organized.)

Then I have the year view calendar which is where I have (and plan to have) highlighted days when Mollie is out of school, holidays, birthdays and special dates.

Then there's month by day and a page of monthly goals, which is my list of bills and plans for the month.

 Then my calendar with space to note budget as well as events, thoughts and comments for the day.

That's my favorite page so far because I'm making notes about how I felt that day and noting the highlights.
 A page of color and a reminder to be kind.

 A budgetary challenge I saw someone else do and I decided to adapt it. My Tin Can Savings Challenge which every pay check I'll take an amount from the page and put the cash in a tin can (I have in my room). The idea is simple and since I'm so bad at savings I thought by turning it into a challenge and a game, it might be more effective.

I also have a few pages for word count on my current WIP and I plan to keep a list of books I've read as well as books I want to read. I thought I might also record book quotes that rock my world.

Anyway, it's fun as well useful and I'm totally into it.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

Well, I couldn't really give a fuck about Father's Day since my own father was an utter sociopath and my brother, whom I do adore, is a moderately awful father himself.

But I know there are men out there who are doing it right so a tip of the hat to them.

Big news: my sister got married yesterday. Seriously big news because it only recently became law that she could and she and her partner have been together about 18 years, have weathered a shit ton and stayed strong and true. They're an amazing couple and I sobbed like a baby when I saw the pictures.

Congrats Shari and Cheryl. I love you both so much.

Mollie and I are making Father's Day dinner for my brother tonight (yeah yeah, I know) (but he's a pretty terrific brother and uncle) and both the main dish and dessert are recipes Carolyn gave me so if it sucks, I shall razz her unmercifully here.

I'm trying to do my last rewrite on my book since I figured out what isn't working about it and I've discovered bullet journaling which is my new favorite thing and I'll post about later.

Binge watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix and also binge-ing on House. Although House is starting to get on my nerves because he's so unpleasant and for no good reason. Even he doesn't understand why he's such a bastard and so there's no growth of his character and he becomes tedious.

Mollie is enjoying her summer. Life is good.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lori, darlin'

(And any other curious folk...)

White Hot, next Nevada book

I cannot wait!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

I'm not into NA - really, I'm not. Well, except for Sarina Bowen. And Elle Kennedy. And I guess the characters are pretty young in Kylie Scott's Stage Dive series ...well, it all boils down to the author, doesn't it? It all boils down to the writing. So, have a blurb for a damn good book!

Farmers make the earth move.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago. 

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price. 

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way. 

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some. 

Warning: Contains sexual situations, gourmet yumminess, a steamy outdoor shower and proof that farmers don't mind getting dirty.
There's something about Bowen's writing, her voice, that just clicks with me. I become invested in her characters and I really don't need a detailed or complicated plot, just two people finding their future.  The secondary characters are usually likeable, people you could call friend. Bittersweet ticks all these boxes.

The protagonists in this book, however, are older. Audrey is 25 and Griffin is 27. Audrey considers herself a failure and is determined to prove herself to her cold mother (who reminded me a lot of the mother in Nora Robert's The Witness). Griff lost his father and a possible football career at the same time and is conflicted, but not in great angst about it.

What I particularly liked about this book is that misunderstandings don't happen, because the characters talk to each other. They aren't stubborn (well, not too much) and they listen well. It was so enjoyable not to be saying "Oh, for God's sake!" every other page.  

I wanted the book to continue. I wanted to see how the possible solution worked out (trying to avoid spoilers here). I wanted to follow them into their future.

I'm not heroine-centric but I loved Audrey. She complimented Griff perfectly. They were a pair of bunnies there for awhile, but for some reason Bowen's love scenes are perfectly readable for me, maybe because she's not counting penile veins and lavishing adjectives on body secretions.

This was so different from Seals and Marines and tough alpha males; although Griff is tough and moderately alpha, he is a softy albeit a grumpy one. I also didn't know there were so many types of apples or apple cider. 

I recommend this book, if only for the cosy feel alone. Best of all, the next in the series, Steadfast, is releasing July 12. But the one I really want to read is Zach's story, Keepsake. No date on it yet, but Zach grew up in a cult, is about 23(?) and a virgin. He spent most of Bittersweet blushing, lol.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Duke of Sin (2)

I had to read it. In the middle of my reading/writing/living slump came this book which rocked.

I disagree with Carolyn in comparing him with Mal only because his general personality was so much more evil and Mal (Mal and Val... heh) needed some ADD meds to get him on an even keel... howevs, the sudden declarations and bombastic speeches were very Mal like (Val and Mal... heh) so I won't argue too much.

What I loved: Val was bad. Bad, bad, bad. He had reasons (it's always the father in these books, correct Dr Freud?) but his evil was fun. He was a blackmailer, a kidnapper, a killer. Seriously, not a good guy. Yet his reasoning for why he did things was sensible in his world view and as a reader, I disagreed with him but loved his thought processes.

The heroine was fun. She foiled Val which made him want her more because nobody truly challenged him. That was fun. And she didn't try to change him to make him a better man. He wasn't capable of that. What she did was work against him to keep him safe.

And he never considered what she did betrayal. He understood her better than she knew.

This was a seriously wicked read and I can't recommend it enough. And if it was left to the cheesy cover I would never have read it.

Hated the cover. Loved the book.