We all have different hobbies in life but my absolute favorite thing to do is pick up a book. This blog is dedicated to all of my ramblings.
Snow Falling on Bluegrass is the third book in Molly Harper's Bluegrass series. It is time for the staff retreat and of course Kelsey and Sadie have everything under control but mother nature has a surprise in store and even the wonder twins could not be prepared for this. A crazy snowstorm has blocked out power and closed down roads leaving the employees of the Kentucky Tourism Commission stranded at a buck lodge for a few weeks. Lucky for them the lodge has plenty of fire places and enough food to keep everyone fed. However being cooped up with your co-workers with no outside influence can be a bit much even for this crew. Kelsey in particular is having a hard time as she has finally broken up with Darryl but for some reason she has not told anyone and now Charlie (our awkward statistician from book one) maybe interested in her but it seems that Luke our savior from the lodge may also be interested. The biggest question her is Kelsey really ready to move on?
I have always enjoyed this series and I love it even more when Amanda Ronconi is narrating it. I am not always a fan of audio books but she is a favorite the way she brings Molly Harper's stories to life. Yet I digress I really enjoyed Kelsey from the first book My Bluegrass Baby and I missed her in the last book Rhythm and Bluegrass so I was really pleased to see her take center stage. It is nice to see her deal with why she stayed with looser Darryl for so long and the revenge at the end was funny thank you nerd boys. It was also nice to see some of the couples from the prior books especially Sadie and Josh.
The downside to the book is that it felt a little inconsistent between Kelsey and Charlie. The two of them have been in love with each other for years and they have always been friends. I get Kelsey is confused and vulnerable but some of her reactions to Charlie seemed out of character. Not to mention it was a misunderstanding and I had a hard time believing it would go down that way. Still though it was a quick funny read.
Sibyl Blackthorne used to live in a safe and caring family until her father passed away and in short order her life was turned upside down. Her mother married her uncle and he has sold her to the highest bidder a Scottish laird. When Sibyl meets Alister things are much worse than she expected and Sibyl plans to escape. She makes her move during a hunt for wulvers (men who change into wolves), but Alister is a a coward and has done something horrendous and Sibyl finds herself face to face with a big beautiful man who speaks to her in Gaelic. In the face of this horrendous act Sibyl must choose and as Raife carries her off into the highlands Sibyl has to figure out exactly what she is leaving behind and questions is she bringing danger to these people?
This was a wonderful story. I picked it up and thought meh I will give it a go, something different in the shifter world. I actually liked both Sibyl and Raife they felt rather real and their romance was sweet. Not to mention the action was also really good. I was just as interested in the politics as I was the budding romance.
Otherwise Engaged is the story of Amity a bit if a spinster who is making the most of life traveling and writing a book (lucky girl). As she is leaving a Caribbean island she sees a man who has been left for dead in an alley. Lucky for him Amity knows a bit about medicine and gets the man Benedict back to the ship where she saves his life. As they move from the islands to New York on the ship a relationship starts to take hold and Benedict promises to see her in London. When Amity arrives in London she finds herself in a scandal regarding her shipboard activities with Benedict the to add insult to injury she is attacked by a serial killer and barely escapes with her life. Several weeks go without any word from Benedict and once he finally shows up he is determined to save Amity.
The story sucked me in at the beginning and it kind of waned as the story went on but I liked connecting the dots. This was definitely more mystery romance than romance but it was sweet which is exactly what I wanted. Things I liked best was the conversations between Amity and Benedict, I also enjoyed the ironic plot twist with solar energy.
The challenges in this book is that the plots did not naturally come together if felt forced. Then the book lagged a bit in the middle. This is not her best work but it is not bad either.
The Savage King is the story of Ulyssa who is a military agent and has been sent to the planet of Qurilixen on a mission to ensure some Mafia does not leave the planet. Only she is thwarted because her targets daughter killed him, but leaving is not so easy she is trapped until the next transport can pick her up which is not for a few months. Well Ulyssa soon finds herself caught and kidnapped by King Ator who wants her for his harem. Only the King never comes for her because he too is murdered. Now the Kings son is about to become the new Savage King and well things get more complicated because the new King Kirill is not really ready to become King and he has feelings for this difficult woman.
Sounds good right well it did not pan out for me. I will be upfront and say I did not finish the book I quit at about 40%. I really disliked Ulyssa I guess some would say she is feisty but I keep wondering what the hell kind of agent is she. She is mouthy and brass about the dumbest stuff. Why would you try to escape without getting some intel first? Needles to say she was a bit of an idiot. Then the two of them are just silly I guess communication does not really exist on this planet to boot even the erotic scenes just seemed blah. Add to that I think they referenced the 21st century like this is the past yet all of the attitudes and comments felt very much like modern day.
Suffice it to say I am glad I got this book for free THANK YOU amazon prime. I am a bit miffed that I wasted my monthly credit on this book but at least I am not out of cash.
Anyway people seem to really like this book and maybe it would have been better had I read Dragon Lords first but I did not and I am no longer interested.
Menage A Magick is the first book in Lora Leigh’s Wizards series.
The world of magick is in trouble, non magik people are getting stronger and defeating sorceresses meanwhile the wizards are still strong but lonely and incomplete. The problem is a millennium ago the Sorceresses decided to part from the Wizards and in doing so they have weakened their powers. Now the Wizard Twins Lasan and Drago have discovered their consort Princess Brianna and one would think yay world saved but alas no Brianna has some deep rooted fears.
As you can probably tell this book is plot light which is kind of a shame because it is actually interesting. Anyway the book is a quick read and I really enjoyed it but I hate the heroine Brianna is a pain in the ass. For 90% of the book is whines and cries and complains about injustice and not being able to make choices. She is even taking tips from a crazy lady, everyone knows the crazy lady is crazy and yet Princes Brianna likes to head her crazy words. She is in fact why the book is only 2 ½ stars instead of like 4.
Anyways not a bad book, the world is interesting and I wish it was a little longer to draw out the characters.
Oh and I took off another star for the price, $8 bucks come on, thank goodness for lending books or I would have missed this one
Death Row takes place in about the year 2249. The world is an interesting place combine of three races – male, female or sub-human. Men are the dominate race and a bit piggish. Women on the other hand are in very short supply (like 1 woman for every 500 men) and as such they have become more of a possession, often sold to the highest bidder to become a man’s play thing. Finally there are sub-humans and these are humans who have been infected with a disease which changes them into a zombie like savage beast. As for our hero Kerick has never been part of proper society in fact he has been imprisoned for 15 years and on the day of his execution Kerick fulfills his plan to finally escape and be free. Meanwhile Nellie Kan has defied the odds and become a scientists one who just happens to be seeking a cure for the sub-humans. Kerick and Nellie cross paths in an odd twist of events Kerick knows he wants Nellie at first sight no matter the costs, Nellie on the other hand does not truly wish to be mastered but things are spinning out of control and Nellie may not have very many options.
I am not sure why they called this a trilogy – it really is three novellas combined to make a novel, nor do I get the title Death Row??. Anyway the story line was unique and interesting. However the execution left a lot to be desired the erotic scenes are gritty and the dominance scenes chaffed a lot – it was belittling at times (i.e. providing oral sex while the male eats and then being fed scraps) initially it helped to create the world to show the injustice but by the third book it was like yeah yeah I get it. Then there were a few issues with the sub-plots some things just did not balance out and at the end I was like well what about this or that.
This is an easy read and parts of it are actually sweet and enjoyable and others made me roll my eyes. I got this through a lend which really worked out because if I had paid $9.95 I would want a refund.
Enslaved is the third book in the Trek Mi Q’an series. The story centers around Kil and Marty.
The way this one starts off was really interesting it seems Marty was a feminist back in the 60’s and somehow she gets pulled into a time warp and come out in a female dominated planet called Wani. Kil has finally decided it was time to assert his royal claim on Wani and in the process comes face to face with Mari (formally known as Marty). Kil is a bit slow and thinks to make Mari part of his harem but that plan quickly backfires.
This story was a lot of fun and I liked the crazy chase between Mari and Kil . I really enjoyed all of the different societies or worlds it was interesting to compare that to the first book. What I did not care for was the sub-plot of the three teen girls (nieces actually) and their mates. Cam seems like a different guy and I am not sure I like him at all. Dari being sent away to live with her sacred mate seemed premature and silly, why would she have to live with his family for 11 years over such a small incident? Personally the sub-plot muddled the story line and instead of me looking forward to the next book I am kind of dreading it.
Tess left home more than a decade ago to try her hand at a normal human existence. For awhile she was doing well living life as a model but fate has dealt her a blow and she has to come home to care for her ailing mother. Dealing with her mother also means dealing with her past. The thing is Tess is half human and half shifter, but she tries to deny her shifter half believing only the bad because her father left their family when she was young and Tess never grew past it. Coming home though puts her in conflict with her feelings and the local sheriff thinks he has found his mate in Tess. Now the only question is if Tess will ever come around or will she just take off again?
This is a cute story. For the most part I liked our heroine, she is not perfect and does cause some eye rolling, but generally speaking she is scared but not emotionally damaged and she expresses her feelings. I like that Calib feels the effects and tries to actually think through it. I think the sub-plots helped keep the story from getting stale and the author did a good job in using the sub-plots to expand the characters growth.
Having said all of the story is a bit cliché and while I was pleased with the physical restraint it was annoying always reading about just how they wanted each other sexually. I wanted them to need each other emotionally. Additionally some parts did not flow so well. I am glad I found this one on my kindle and I will be looking forward to reading book 2.
Avenger’s Heat by Katie Reus is the fourth book in the Moon Shifter series. This book is about Erin and Noah. Erin has been training to become an Enforcer and Jace has decided it is time for her to go on her first mission to New Orleans where pregnant shifters are going missing. However Erin is not going alone, she is taking Noah with her. This mission will not be easy, Noah has to confront his family and his past, Erin has to confront her past, they both have to figure out their relationship and in the middle of it all they need to get to the bottom of what has been happening to the pregnant shifters.
This story builds on the previous stories so it should really be read in order. I did enjoy watching the relationship between Erin and Noah fall into place. Even though the story takes place away from the pack there I did not really miss them. The story felt just as complete, there was some pretty good suspense, action and of course romance.
What drove me crazy about this book was the writing, not like plot or character development but just some of the mechanics. Like she is New Orleans for a day and already she is talking about good progress…Huh?? Or there are statements like “back then it would have been different” but back then was a year ago what was so different about the enforcer rules then?
Still the book was enjoyable but I did a lot of eye rolling and for that it made the book ok and not great.
Evernight is the fifth book in the Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan. The story picks up about a year after Shadowdance and is the story of Will and Holly. In Shadowdance Will and Holly have been captured by Amaros a fallen and he forces Holly to place clockwork heart into Thorne (aka Will), who just happens to be a succubus and at the time Amaros orders it done so he can see what will happen.
The events in captivity have caused Holly to become a recluse because she is afraid to leave her home. However Holly’s fears are not unfounded someone is still trying to kill her. Meanwhile Will is suffering physically, the clockwork heart has had an odd side effect where he is constantly in pain as his body turns into platinum and he is starting to lose his mind. In a moment of clarity Thorne decides to torment the one who did this to him and sets off on a mission to kill Holly. Holly maybe reclusive but she has built her house like a fortress and it has kept all of the people who would do her harm out except one Thorne. Holly feels responsible for what has happened to Thorne and she begins to sooth his pain but can obligation turn into something more?
The majority of this story is spent on the relationship with Holly and Will. At times it was heartwarming, funny and at others it was painful which was great and at times quite beautiful. I really liked Will he is so full of himself and cares nothing about proper society and decorum. I like Holly as well she is much more the thinker which at times maker her come across a bit cold at times. While I enjoyed watching the relationship between them at times I wanted to know what was happening with SOS and I missed Daisy and Poppy.
Part of my challenge with this story was the cheese factor. For example a woman is a recluse for a year and yet the trauma which has haunted her for a year is passed in the space of moments. This series like many other PNR books the relationship has this push and pull in the beginning where the hero is not very nice to our heroine. The theme appears to carry forward as our next hero thought it appropriate to bound his soul mate to him with an unbreakable rope… I think personally I could do for a change of pace.
I am hoping to be a bit vague in the review as I would hate to give away spoilers and while the cheese factor really irked me at times. I really did enjoy the story.
Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile is the story of Charley Bordelon a widow with a daughter at the start of her teenage years. Charley’s father has died of cancer and for some reason he has leveraged everything he has into buying an 800 acre sugar cane plantation in Louisiana. When her father passed Charley expected a normal inheritance not a plantation with conditions, but she is in need of a fresh start and decides that if her father wanted her to take up farming she would leave California behind and see what happens. But farming is not easy and now Charley has to manage family issues with her half brother and her grandmother as well as getting a crash course into managing a sugar cane plantation.
This is an interesting story. I did enjoy reading about the complexity of the characters how guilt caused people to be overly sympathetic or how a person could be so down on himself that no matter how much they tried they continuously made a mess of every situation. The relationships between the characters felt authentic and it is very compelling. Even the descriptions of landscape was enticing I will admit I have no interest in how to grow sugar cane but by the end of the story I felt vested in the fields as well. I listened to this book on audio and I loved the narrator she had just the right pitch and speed bringing the story to life.
While I enjoyed a great deal of things about the story there are a few significant challenges. The first is the book moves so very slow and while there is a richness in the descriptions at times it bogged down to the point where I would literally listen to an hour and put it down for weeks. The second is there are some holes in the plot that I never quite gained any resolution for example why would a man leave Louisiana pour all of his money into a plantation then leave only that to his daughter with such significant stipulations, when he himself was not a farmer? To me it would have made more sense if the father had left it to both his children with all of those stipulation. The final issue was at the end there are some loose ends, I wanted to know if Miss Honey ever really apologized to Charley after she saw the choices Ralph Angel had made and what happened with her partners and the bit with Hollywood at the end made my eye roll come on there had to be a better way.
Wild Wolf is the 6th book in the Shifter Unbound series by Jennifer Ashley. This is the story or Graham and Misty. If memory serves correctly we first met Graham in Mate Claimed and he is the burly rough alpha to a group of wolf shifters who are on the edge of going feral. Graham is closed off and instead of really working through his emotions he tend to bury them. On top of that he was forced into sharing his alpha role with Eric and his pack is determined to see him mate with a wolf shifter. Misty is a human who finds herself in a crisis unfortunately the situation is not only dangerous for her but also to Shiftertown
I have never been a fan of Graham, he was always a pain in the butt. Even after this book I am still not quite a fan per say but I understand him a lot more. Misty was the perfect balance for him. I love that she is a florist I think that made her seem more nurturing and it was nice seeing Graham through her eyes.
My favorite characters in the story are the wolf cubs. These guys are so cute and I enjoyed how rambunctious they were. I also liked the introduction of Ben and I hope we get to see more of him.
This book does move the story line along and I think Jennifer Ashley did a great job moving it rather subtly so you did not lose track of the main couple. It was also nice to see some of the older characters come around.
All and all a fun read!
Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos was such a wonderful surprise I so thoroughly enjoyed it!!
The story is about a young man Andrew Grayson. He lives in a ghetto in the North American Commonwealth and life is rather crappy. You have no money and no hope of becoming better, you don’t even have food instead you are given these soy rations for your daily caloric intake. Andrew wants out and a new way of life so he does what many young men do and enlist in the armed forces. The world is at war and people are building colonies in outer space. Andrew just wants to live long enough to complete his terms of enlistment so he can either go to a colony or live outside of the ghetto on Earth.
The writing in the book is solid, I felt like I was drawn and vested into the world. The world is a lot bleak but he does a nice job bringing in the human compassion maybe (not sure that is the proper turn of phrase). My point is the world is bleak and gritty but there are these moments spaced throughout the story and you think life for Andrew not so bad. I really liked the action scenes and thought they were well done.
I had one issue with the book. I wanted more insight in the world building. I never understood which countries are in the North American Content nor how is it governed? I also wanted to know why we are at war with Russia/China. If all people do is accept rations and no one is working how does the country make money? I mean this is affecting almost a billion people. The good news is the book ends like there is the possibility of a series so YAY hopefully my questions will be answered over time.
Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons is basically a book about meditation. He takes you through five parts: 1.) Why Meditate; 2.) Why you think you cannot meditate; 3.) The physical benefits of meditation; 4.) Living up to your potential; and 5.) How to meditate. He also tries to show a connection between ‘worldly successful’ people and inner peace.
I think most people know that Russell Simmons has changed his life and is now all about yoga, meditation and promoting veganism (if that is a word). As such he wrote a book to help people find their way to mediation and I think it is great. There are a lot of people who may not know anything about mediation or where to start and this book could be a guide. Not to mention he could also be a game changer for those in the rap industry.
Personally for me it was a bit of a letdown, in fairness I have read a few books on meditation and yoga so it may not come as a surprise that it felt like a lot of what people already know. I think the biggest let down was the how to meditate part. His advice was to sit for 20 minutes and internally chant Rum. This is not bad but it kind of missed a lot. Now I am no expert but it sounds like he is talking about the ‘Bija Mantra” which is actually rather interesting part of the Vedic tradition anyway these are tools used for expansion of the mind through the power of sound vibrations. In other words you create transformation though sound. Rum is one of the sounds and it is used on the third chakra which represents the ability to control your life. But what if your issue is about feeling secure or your ability to speak your truth? You would use a different sound and for the life of me I cannot understand why you would do this mentally. Eventually silence comes but initially it is the sound that quiets the mind. Also I wanted him to talk about success differently, money does not equate to success and I was looking for examples of that.
Getting off the soap box I did listen to this book on audio narrated By Herbert Point-Du-Jour. He was fantastic. I am sure if I had read the book I would have rolled my eyes but listening to it on my ipod allowed my mind to consider how this book would be useful for someone else. His voice is quite soothing and he reads at a great speed.
Final thought if you are already into meditation skip this book or borrow if from the library. If you are interested in mediation and have no idea why or where to start this is a good intro but then check out youtube or a meditation teacher and figure out what will work for you.
*The audiobook was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Murder of Crows is the second book in A Novel of Others series by Anne Bishop.
I cannot think of a better great way to summarize this book then what can be found on Anne Bishop’s site http://www.annebishop.com/b.murder.crows.html
After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.
The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murders of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside's shape-shifting leader—wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of a future threat.
As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.
The book was wonderful. I loved how the story expanded beyond Meg, Simon and the Courtyard. In this story we get to see a lot more of the world and are introduced to a plethora of new characters. The only sad thing about the expansion of the new world is I miss getting to read more about some of the characters we met in the last book like Jake and Winter. The plot for this story is fairly straight forward so with all the new introductions and new places it was easy for me to keep track. While the story expanded it did so by going deeper into the politics and relationships between humans and the others.
My favorite thing about Anne Bishop’s writing is her focus on relationships. It is fascinating to watch Meg and Simon figure out how to be friends. Simon is a wolf and he is unsure how long he wants to hold his human skin, he also worries that being human so much is changing him. Meanwhile Meg is a blood prophet who has never been able to make choices and with so much turmoil happening her need to cut is greater than ever not to mention she is finding it a challenge to not accidentally break her skin. Likewise there is the relationship between Simon and Monty, Monty struggles to understand the terra indigene’s outlook on things without alienating the humans. Then Monty has his own issues with his daughter which I hope gets resolved because it just breaks my heart. While I could go on and on the point here is how these character’s interact with each other just makes the story even better.
The narrator for the book was Alexandra Harris. She has quite the smooth voice and while I enjoyed listening to her narrate and perform the voices of female characters, I did not care for her work as voicing the male characters. She also read a bit slower than I would have liked and so I solved that by speeding it up on my ipod. In a perfect world she would be partnered with someone like James Marsters and for me this would have been the perfect audio book.
No Mercy by Jaid Black is the second book in the Trek Mi Q’an series. This book features Rem the youngest brother who was bound to a woman who was not for him, unfortunately the years he spent in the loveless marriage and seeking out his true sacred mate have left him scared and on his way to becoming more beast than man. In a last ditch effort Rem travels on to Earth and finds his scared mate Giselle. Giselle is not the typical woman she is a thirty-five year old spinster who is also a virgin. Rem thinks she is perfect and is tickled to death that his mate is covered in ‘spots’. Meanwhile Giselle is on a roller coaster on the one hand she can sense his bouts of near madness but on the other she just needs a minute to herself to understand this new world.
The sequal to The Empress New Clothes was solid but not as great as the first. I liked seeing other dimensions and Giselle’s reactions where very funny. While I enjoyed this book there were a few things that were lacking. I could not quite figure out how Rem and Giselle grew from lust to love and in part I think this was challenging for me because women are really playing such a subservient role. While Rem is different than he was in the first book while that should be expected because he is devolving I thought he would have been more understanding and accommodating to Giselle instead he just needed to suckle her breasts every five minutes. This book also checks in on the characters from the first book which was nice but a little distracting and I think several scenes took away from the romance between our hero and heroine.
All in all a solid read, I still enjoyed it just not quite as much.