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BarkLessWagMore

B&B (do it for the crumpets)

Reading the good, the awful & all of the "meh" in the middle. I'll read most any horror, romance, erotica & M/M novel that comes my way but that doesn't mean I'll like it!

Currently reading

We Need to Talk About Kevin
Lionel Shriver
Removed
S.J. Pajonas
Demons, Dolls, & Milkshakes
Nelson W. Pyles, Nelson Pyles
Slave Girl
Lisa Cach
Happy Herbivore Light & Lean: Over 150 Low-Calorie Recipes with Workout Plans for Looking and Feeling Great
Lindsay S. Nixon
The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks' Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Progress: 5 %
The Silver Chain
Primula Bond

Promises by Marie Sexton

Promises - Marie Sexton

Still cleaning up my database one ancient review at a time.

 

Promises is an emotional read about two guys who become friends and then fall in love. It’s a slow burn filled with fabulous sexual tension and lots of character exploration with touches of humor in all the right places.

Jared is a pretty content guy when the story begins. He’s co-owner of a hardware/auto parts store and loves his beautiful small town despite the fact that he’s gay and always has to deal with small town prejudice. If his life is quiet and a little lonely he’s good with that. He isn’t actively looking for love or following his dream of becoming a teacher for reasons that are later explored. But one day Matt, a tall, dark, newbie to town, walks into the shop and Jared’s quiet world explodes with passion, frustration and no small amount of turmoil.

I really enjoyed Jared’s character and it’s a good thing considering the entire story is told from his point of view. He’s a likable guy and though he’s drawn to Matt from the very beginning and not-so-secretly wishes Matt were gay, he’s not. Or at least he claims he’s not. As the two spend more time together watching football, camping and biking Matt starts to send out some confusing signals to Jared and its clear to Jared that the attraction is not entirely one-sided. But getting Matt to realize that is not an easy feat. Matt’s a police officer and is constantly harassed by his co-workers for hanging out with Jared and ignoring the bevy of beauties that are constantly coming on to him. And Matt’s father is an angry, drunk homophobic asshole. It’s quite the quandary and not an easy road but in the end these two work through all of the kinks and complications. The author doesn’t bring things up only to drop them, she forces these guys to take a long, hard look at themselves and make changes and they do.

Promises is grounded in the little details. How many books have you read where the two leads have perfect bodies yet they eat whatever they want and never seem to mention working out or getting sweaty outside of the bedroom? Perfection without pain just flat out bugs me. These guys are super fit but they work hard, get all sweaty and even get hurt. These little details make such a difference to me.

This one just misses being a five because there were some scenes that got a little draggy in the beginning but that’s a minor complaint. It’s romantic without going over the top smooshy sweet and I felt the love between the two, which is the reason I read romance (a lot of author’s tend to forget that part!). I’m anxious now to check out the rest of the books in the series and it looks like there’s at least six of them. (*Note to self: two years later and I still haven't read any of 'em, this is the story of my life)

It's been a week from hell for many of those closest to me and I've been too distracted (far worse than my usual distracted self, if you can believe that) and haven't been able to read a thing.  But I am learning some big lessons about kindness and perseverance in the face of pain and heartbreak. If my daughter, who deals with constant back and rib pain and suffers from anxiety, can still smile every day and believe that  "things happen for a reason" I guess I have to too.

 

But some weeks really do suck for no apparent reason. 

 

Here's hoping your week was better than ours!

 

 

 

 

R.I.P. Graham Joyce

Dark Sister - Graham Joyce The Tooth Fairy - Graham Joyce

It makes me incredibly sad to think that his latest book will be his last. If you're a fan of dark fiction and haven't read these two books I highly recommended them.

 

This was Joyce's gift to all of us: he understood something about humans and our capacity for cruelty and self-deception — but also our ability to understand something important in the gaps between certainty and confusion. If only we had a dozen more books from him.

 

I couldn't agree more.

It's FREE!

MILK-BLOOD - Mark  Matthews, Elderlemon Design, Richard   Thomas

Lilly is ten years old, born with a heart defect, and already addicted to heroin. Her mother is gone from her life, and there are rumors that she was killed by her father and buried near the abandoned house across the street. The house intrigues her, she can't stay away, and the monstrous homeless man who lives there has been trying to get Lilly to come inside. 

For her mother is there, buried in the back, and this homeless man is Lilly's true father, and both want their daughter back.

Just kidding ;)  

 

It's supposed to rain most of the weekend and I am so excited because it gives me an excuse to stay in and read. Anyone else get excited for rain?!

 

Happy Friday all. I hope your weekend is filled with wonderful books.

Did I just grab a book titled "The Diaper Man"?

The Diaper Man - Vincent Todarello

Why yes, yes I did! And you can too by clicking on the link above. It's FREEEEE!

 

THE DIAPER MAN is Vincent Todarello's first installment in his forthcoming collection of short stories inspired by actual events on Long Island. 

This heart-pounding tale of terror takes place at an abandoned mental facility, where years earlier a deranged psychopath known as The Diaper Man escaped from the insane asylum one stormy night. Authorities said the lunatic was captured and killed, but the local urban legend is that he still roams the decrepit halls of the old crumbling institution. 

When some young kids venture inside for cheap thrills and to shoot a low budget zombie movie, they might be surprised to find that the old tale is true. 

The Diaper Man is a straight forward, gory, R-rated hack-and-slash fest in the style of Todarello's favorite film genre: 1980's horror. 

A true throwback, The Diaper Man pays homage to a time when it was okay to flash pointless, gratuitous nudity on screen, and when it was awesome to anticipate the creative ways the killer chose to dispense his victims. If you like all things scream, then you will love The Diaper Man. 

And don't forget to stay tuned for more short stories in Todarello's series of Long Island urban legends.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (audiobook) Review

The Time Machine - H.G. Wells, Derek Jacobi Meat - Joseph D'Lacey

The Time Machine (1960) was one of my favorite movies as a child. I guess I was a weird little girl because I absolutely lived for the days when I could find it on the tv on weekends. For some reason, I never did get around to reading the source material until now. And a big Thank You to SYNC for offering this audio up for free this past summer.

My first thought when starting this audio and hearing The Time Traveler’s wizened voice as he was blathering on about his stuffy dinner party plans was, “Uh oh, this is going to put me to sleep.”

I was wrong.

It starts out a little dry but it doesn’t stay that way for long. The host soon shares with his guests a strange and difficult to believe tale of time travel and gives them a frightening and disturbing glimpse of the far out future where he discovers humanity has evolved into two distinct classes and that there really is no such thing as Utopia.

I’m not going to give it all away if you are one of the few who haven’t read it or seen either version of the movie (I recommend the 1960 version). I loved this story. It was imaginative and entertaining and still accessible even though it was written in 1895. Wow. I still can’t believe that.

You should read it. Or better yet listen to this audio version read by Sir Derek Jacobi. He does a fabulous job voicing the time traveler even though, I have to say this, his aged voice made the time traveler seem a bit like a lecher whenever child-like Weena was cuddling and caressing him . . . Still, worth a listen. 

As a companion to this, I’d like to recommend MEAT by Joseph D’Lacey but only if you have a very strong stomach.

FREEBIE @ Amazon

The Best Boy Ever Made - Rachel Eliason

I skip most of these freebies but this one actually sounds interesting.

 

Alecia Mueller, a conservative country girl, knows how her life is going to turn out. She is going to grow up, meet “the one,” get married and live in the country. When her best friends Sam comes out as a Female to Male Transgender, she chooses personal loyalty and friendship over politics. But what if the boy that Sam is becoming is “the one?”

Ironside by Holly Black (Modern Faerie Tale Book #3)

Ironside - Holly Black

Still cleaning up my database one old review at a time. Sorry if these seen this before.

 

Ironside is the third book in the Modern Faerie Tales series that started with Tithe. Unlike Valiant, which was about an entirely new cast of characters (for the most part), this one brings back Roiben, Kaye and Corny and throws them into another adventure of love and faerie war.

Beginning right after the events in Tithe, Roiben is facing his coronation as King of the Unseelie Court. There is just enough back-story here to catch readers up without boring them to death or confusing the hell out of them. Holly Black does a great job with this, so much so that I can safely say you pick this one up without having read the previous two and not feel too lost (it had been years since I’d read Tithe). There are also some wrenching flashbacks into the terrible things that were foisted up Roiben during his service as Knight to the Unseelie Queen which instantly help the reader understand him better. Roiben was raised in the Seelie Court and is now torn between his roots and his new Kingdom.

So here we have Roiben doing his best in a lose/lose situation while trying to keep those he loves safe from the machinations of the Fairie Court. Naturally Kaye, his stubborn, young pixie love, refuses to listen to him and stay Ironside with the mortals. The fae folk cannot tolerate iron but Kaye can deal with it better because she was raised as a mortal. Kaye ends up in a heap of trouble because she is still unsure of Roiben’s love even after he says this:

“You are the only thing I have that is neither duty or obligation. The only thing I chose for myself. The only thing I want.”


Sigh. Silly, silly girl. But I forgive her because she’s young and not gentry and her life has been turned upside. Also, if it weren’t for her denseness at this point this would have been a very short and/or very different kind of book! She’s impulsive and insecure, yes, but also very brave and clever and she only has herself to rely on for rescue at several points during the book.

The bulk of Ironside is taken up with quests, a nasty curse, adventure, deaths, sarcasm, misunderstandings that didn’t get on my nerves, a separation between Kaye and Roiben (but worth it in the end) and a nicely done romance for Kaye’s friend Corny who finds himself a boyfriend (yay!). As usual, Holly Black doesn’t shy away from the dark edges, never goes all mushy and creates a fantasy world that is grounded in the realism of her characters. Some folks dislike her penchant for teen drinking, cursing and the horrible parental guidance but it all works for me in the world she has created. A world one will never find boring or vanilla. And it ends spectacularly well.

The Kult by Shaun Jeffrey

The Kult - Shaun Jeffrey

Cleaning up my old reviews. Sorry if you've seen this before.

 

The Kult is an action-packed serial killer novel with several twists and turns that were atypical of the genre.

When it begins “the Oracle” is planning his next murder and we get a little insight into his creepy head. He’s a guy bent on revenge, who meticulously plans his kills for the most impact, targeting the disfigured, the young, and the old. He turns his victims into pieces of art, dismembering them in various nasty and creative ways and leaves only pictures and clues behind for the police to decipher.

Detective Prosper Snow is leading the case, along with his newbie partner Jill Jones. He’s stumped regarding the clues but determined to find the sick SOB before he kills again. All seems like a standard serial killer novel, eh? But then Prosper receives an email and we begin to learn about “The Kult” and his involvement in it and realize that Prosper is keeping some pretty big secrets and that’s what sets this story apart and kept me reading until the very end. Don’t worry though I’m not going to spoil them for you.

This was a very well-crafted story that didn’t wallow too long in the gore for the super squeamish. It also featured some very imperfect characters which is always a good thing. I have to admit though, that Prosper as a character was hard to get behind. He’s carrying some major guilt which would put anyone on edge BUT he is so unpleasant and has this awful dismissive tone with his wife and some of his co-workers that it made it difficult for me to feel any sympathy for him. He’s stressed yeah, I get it, but that doesn’t give him an excuse to be a dick to the people closest to him.

I can easily recommend this to any fan of serial killer novels. Everything came together in a surprising way that made a lot of sense. And there’s one memorable scene with “the hatchet man” that was grisly, realistic and a bit hilarious (well, to me anyway). It reminded me a bit of the unexpected violence and depravity performed by the tiny women in Out by Natsuo Kirino. Great stuff in both, but only if you’re a bit twisted.

When Horror Stories Come True

Ursa Major - John R. Little, Frank Walls

I can't even imagine hearing a knock, looking out my window and seeing a 6' bear has arrived for a little tea, crumpets and a limb or two . . .

Worst cover ever? We be flexin'

Is it?

 

 I have to share this for those who missed it. Is this not the most awesomely awful cover you've ever seen? B&B

Source: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/giveaway/thoughtful-thursday-rename-this-horrible-cover-3
Reblogged from Olga Godim

My Pathetic August Roundup & A Word on Audiobooks

The Collector - Nora Roberts Biters - The Reborn - Harry Shannon, Brett J. Talley

I shamefully admit I read two books in August and I only enjoyed one of 'em. Actually that would only be one book since apparently "reading" an audiobook makes me "lazy" according to some person on GR who has written a whopping 1 review and is an expert on the matter. I will never understand why someone assumes you are lazy or cheating if you review an audio. For me, at least, it takes much more effort to stay focused on a book and the road (or at whatever task I'm doing) than it does to sit down and focus only on the written word. And you can't skim through the boring bits. Whateva I guess she caught me.

 

 

The Collector by Nora Roberts

 

Biters: The Reborn

 

I'm hoping this month will be better and that I will tear myself away from the tv at night. I blame that damn Big Brother show. Stay away from it. I wish I had. I also need to back off from podcasts so I'm able to cheat my way through more books this month.

 

What are your thoughts on audiobooks? Do you consider them a cheat or a way to read more books when you'd otherwise be wasting that precious reading time? 

 

I am terrified and terribly excited at the same time. Anyone else?

Shadowland by Alyson Noel (The Immortals #3)

Shadowland: The Immortals - Alyson Noel

Still cleaning up my database one old review at a time.

 

I’ve given this series three tries now. That’s three tries too many and two more than usual. I have been disappointed for the final time. I Am Done. Done with the stagnant, shallow, and (in Ever’s case) stubbornly dense characters. Done with the New Age nattering on about energy fields and Wicca 101 lessons. Done with the endless faux sexual tension and the strung out destined to be together soul-mate crap. 

I should probably have some wine and chocolate and calm the hell down but I need to get this review over and done so I can move on and purge it from my memory which fortunately for me (in this case) isn’t very good anyway.

If you haven’t read the previous books in the series they are Evermore and Blue Moon and you really haven’t missed much. I’ll do a super quick synopsis to spare you from the unnecessarily long brain melting info. dump that goes on in the first few chapters of Shadowland. Ever is a pretty blonde cheerleader type who lost her entire family in an accident. But don’t fret because she doesn’t. She’s too busy mooning over dreamy guys. In Evermore she was made an immortal by drinking “immortal juice” given to her by her perfect, gorgeous, immortal boyfriend and soul mate Damen. They want to have sex (oh so very bad) but can’t touch because braniac Ever trusted a villain named Roman in Blue Moon and now her body fluids are toxic to Damen. They can’t kiss or bump any naked naughty bits or do anything else unless fully covered and there’s really no fun in that now, is there? They can’t even hold hands because Ever might get all clammy and sweat on him causing his ultimate fiery demise. Ahhh, the tragedy! So there you go. 

In Shadowland, they attempt to find an antidote so they can finally “be together” (euphemism courtesy of the author, I would’ve used much naughtier terms), Ever doesn’t listen (again) and gets herself into further trouble and then a new character named Jude (who is gorgeous and dreadlocked and gets Ever all a-flutter, shameless hussy that she is) is introduced because what the world needs now is another lame love triangle.

If I sound a mite sarcastic I’m sorry but I’m beyond irritated by these shallow and dimension-less characters. I had all three of these books on my Ipod and kept reading them hoping desperately that things would improve. But Damen is still totally amazing and crapping out white tulips and we are continually brutalized with Ever’s endless descriptions of his physical perfection. At one point she even waxes poetic about his “perfect rubber flip flop shod feet”. I Kid You Not. Oh and Haven is still a royal beeyatch while Ever continues to be Ever. No one grows at all in these books and it makes me crazy. 

But the worst fault here is that Shadowland blathers on for chapters without anything much of any excitement, importance or plot advancement happening. I could deal with this if I were enjoying even one of the characters but they continually disappointed and frustrated me with their perfection, self-centeredness or outright stupidity. And then the bit about Haven becoming . . . well, I won’t go there and spoil things for you in case you’re still wanting to read it.

I realize I’m rambling but this series is just not a good one, if you’re asking me. It’s not interesting, the characters are mostly jerks who I can’t work up any sympathy for and it’s not one I can recommend at all. I’m stopping here even though I think I still have two more of these books on my Ipod. I’ve already wasted too much time and if someone tells me they get better I am sticking my fingers in my ears and refusing to listen. Which is what I wish I had done with these audiobooks!

Freebie!

The Man Who Became Frankenstein's Monster - Robert Daicy

I love, love, love carny stories and noticed this one is FREE (for Kindle) when perusing my Amazon wishlist today. Happy Monday to me!

 

New York, 1926‒Anyone can make a good life for themselves if they are just willing to work hard for it. William Barker is such a man. He has a good job, a nice house, a son named James, and a marriage he is trying desperately to hold together. A tragic accident takes this life away and William finds himself alone in his house with terrible mental and physical scars that are a constant reminder of what happened. 


With no one willing to employ a man with such visible and disturbing scars, William is lost and has no answers for how to live his life. That is when he meets the man who will change that life forever, Roland Skelton, the owner of Skelton’s Spectacular Traveling Carnival. Where others saw a man to be shunned, Roland sees a man he may be able to help. 


Roland convinces William to join the Carnival as the headliner of the ten-in-one. With the name ‘Frankenstein’s Monster,’ William is a hit with the paying audience and finds that being onstage is a release from his pain and guilt. In time, William realizes that those he works with understand him better than he could have hoped. 


While working at the carnival, William finds a new happiness, an enemy, purpose, and even love. The Man Who Became Frankenstein’s Monster is a moving novel about a man who rises above adversity set against the backdrop of the golden age of the carnival.