It's so nice to have an extra day off. This is how we're spending the rest of it!
I read the good, the awful & all of the "meh" in the middle. Mostly horror & romance of all kinds.
It's so nice to have an extra day off. This is how we're spending the rest of it!
If you haven’t read “You”, stop right here and get to work on that. Hidden Bodies is a direct sequel to “You” and they really must be read in order. This review is a little spoilery so I'm going to add in the spoiler tags for anyone who doesn't want to know too much before digging in. Here again we catch up with Joe who is as nutzo, murderous, hateful and lovable in his own weird way, as ever. He is just living his life, working in a bookstore, minding his own business and occasionally worrying about a mug of urine he accidentally left behind after doing something terrible. One fine day a lovely, leggy blonde named Amy walks her way into his life and they fall in love. She is perfect. She gets him. But then, as will happen – especially if you’re Joe, she(show spoiler)
Because Joe is a sarcastic bastard and promises that he would never hurt an innocent animal, I’m giving this book a 3 ½ and I’ll be reading the next one.
You might be gasping at the title of this blog post, and it almost makes me cringe to even type it. Because I’m suggesting that you do NOT to buy some of my books.
Here’s a little story:
There once was a young, naive author who signed contracts with not one publisher but two who have screwed her out of money and rights. Unfortunately this author didn’t know what the future held. With publisher #1, at least she got recognition and a name. It was a chance at being published that others hadn’t taken on her.
But publisher #2 was a good publisher (at the time). They were at the top of their game, doing every conference and book function in the industry. Some huge names were published there, so this stupid author signed a CONTRACT FOR FOREVER RIGHTS. Yes, you read that right–rights will never be reverted (except under a weird little clause, which I’ll tell you about later.)
This publisher has cheated hundreds of authors. Their big ship was the Titanic with a huge gouge in the side but unlike the Titanic, this motherfucker won’t sink. They keep floating along–how is anybody’s guess. They’re wanted for thousands in back taxes and they’ve been attacked on Dear Author and many other prominent blogs. Still, they’re still kicking. Ain’t no Raid bug spray that takes this vermin out.
They’ve gone from paying monthly to quarterly, but for some authors, they stopped paying them altogether. In case you haven’t guessed, I’m one of these authors. The last check I got was in December 2015 and it was for books sold around March 2015. Now, in this industry, this is complete and total bullshit, folks. Holding onto funds is not right.
Say you work at McDonalds and one day you stop getting a paycheck. They say you’re getting paid ASAP. That day never comes. YET THEY TELL YOU THAT YOU CAN’T QUIT UNLESS YOU GET YOURSELF AN ATTORNEY AND FIGHT THEM FOR IT.
Yep, that’s what I was told. You can’t have your books back. You can’t get paid either, so here’s the big fat middle finger. Sit and spin, Em. I told them they’d breached contract by failing to pay quarterly as per their terms. Their response was, and I quote:
The only conditions set forth in the contract for reversion of rights are in clause 1.1. If your book qualifies (meets all the conditions listed), you may send a request for reversion of rights, stating it is based on clause 1.1.
Therefore your request for reversion of rights is not granted.
Ellora’s Cave Evil Publisher continues to hold all publishing rights to the contracted books. The author has no rights to distribute or sell these books in any format or channels.
So basically, they’re saying:
Oh, and Evil Publisher has also sold our rights back to us in many cases. Authors were mortgaging their fucking houses to get enough money to buy their own books back! I asked the price of my own books and was quoted $25,000 for my fireman series and $10,000 for each of the other titles.
Can I get a big FUCK NO?
Okay, here’s the real meaning behind my post today. If I get no sales on these titles, I can have rights back. I’ll let you make up your minds whether or not to buy these:
If it were me, I’d see these titles, close my eyes and flick on past them. Because buying them is equivalent to knowing little Asian toddlers are sewing your underwear 12 hours a day and losing fingers in the sewing machines.
With poor sales, I have a CHANCE at getting the rights back. Evil Publisher will return rights for poor sales (after they scratch their asses for undetermined amounts of time).
I feel like I’ve been silent long enough. Many other authors have come out about this bullshit, and it’s my turn. I’ve been waiting for the right moment when I could be heard and make a difference. If not to other authors, then dammit, to my own livelihood. As a single mom of 4 I want the money I’m owed. And if they won’t pay me, then I want these books back in my control so I can earn from them.
Instead of me asking you to help me shoot a book to the top of the charts, I’d like to see these rankings drop to 200 squillion on Amazon. WHEN I get these rights back (yeah, I’m gonna fight till the end of my days–or likely theirs), I promise to offer them all #FREE just because I can!
As for Publisher #1, they aren’t a concern to me. They gave me a start when nobody else did. To me, it’s like saying I got 5 beautiful kids out of my shitty marriage. What concerns me right now is a publisher who can say screw you, get a lawyer, we won’t help you at all.
I hope you’ll continue to buy my MANY other titles. You can see them all on my website.
Thanks for listening to my rant and for following me and my books. Each and every fan is important to me, just as every author should be important to publishers. Overall, the publishers I’ve worked with have been amazing and gone above and beyond for me. I will continue to write for several publishers as well as indie publish. Don’t worry–I’m not lying down and waiting for the experience to end me.
Ellie’s miserable and wants to die. She feels trapped, is married to a man she doesn’t love and has realized that she only wants to be with a woman. If only for a night. She meets a stranger named Lori online and the two agree to meet for a night of sex, debauchery and death.
But, you see, although Lori wants desperately to die as well, she’s not being entirely truthful with Ellie. I’d be less than forthcoming too if I were hiding what Lori is hiding. . . Her secret is a doozy and I am afraid to say much of anything besides read this book if you like excellently written, thoughtful and extreme horror.
The Sadist’s Bible was truly terrifying. It’s set in the mundane world but then takes a sharp right turn into disturbia and never leaves. The imagery ranks right up there with some of the torments that befall Clive Barker’s unfortunate characters in his earlier works. I honestly don’t think I’ve read an erotic horror short so unsettling and under-the-skin intense since I finished Lucy Taylor’s Unnatural Acts back in 1997.
It also has a few unexpected and brief moments of humor.
“Nuttier than a squirrel turd.”
I seriously have to read everything this woman has ever written.
Someday I promise to write an actual serious review. But that day is not today. Instead I decided to pluck another great piece of literary fiction from one of my tbr piles.
The Stranger has been sitting on the bottom of a pile of other unloved books ever since I bought it brand new in 1997. Claudia is a widow in her 40’s and one day while strolling about her property, she spies a beautiful, naked young man having a good time with himself. She leaves him alone since he wasn’t harming anyone except maybe himself. Because that’s not creepy at all . . . Later that evening a storm moves in and she hears some frantic knock, knock, knocking on her front door.
What’s a girl all alone in the world to do? Why, open up that door, of course! Turns out it’s the young guy she spied on earlier. He’s afraid of the rain, I guess, because rain is scary, and he’s in need of a safe, warm, place to call home. He also has no memory of who he is but he sure knows how to make himself at home pretty swiftly . . .
Thus begins Claudia’s reawakening to the saucier things in life. Now she finds herself looking at everyone in her circle as a potential sexual plaything and they’re all up for it because, well folks, this is a Black Lace book, after all. It’s incredibly unrealistic but, hey, does anyone read these for the realism? So clothes are dropped and stuff happens between one, two, and sometimes three people that I will leave up to your imagination. In the end Claudia finds her womanly super-power and everyone is blissfully exhausted and I have learned two new words!
‘Oh God! Oh my God!’ chuntered Paul as she plagued and played with him.
Chuntered: to mutter or grumble incessantly in a meaningless fashion.
And, my personal favorite: Love-eye!
Nope, not that kind of love-eye! I admit I was afraid to look that one up but I think I got the gist.
This was okay in dribs and drabs but it got repetitive. I think I’m spoiled by today’s novellas. A full out novel about “awakenings” is possibly 200 pages too many.
This was the perfect palate cleanser after the last horror show of an audio I finished. I was a little worried when I began and feared it would be super sad. It says it is about the life lessons learned from the world’s greatest golden retriever, their Tara, who died too young of cancer, and inspired the couple to start rescuing old and unloved dogs. And there are life lessons here but much to my delight, this book tells more about the couple’s current menagerie and is just as humorous and self-deprecating as Dogtripping. Now they have 20, 30, 40? (I just couldn’t keep track) because one is never enough!
This book felt like reading a sequel to Dogtripping and that made me unbelievably happy. When I finished Dogtripping I was sad only because it was over. Finding this book was like a wish come true. Some of the stories were a little familiar but ask me if I care? I do not and I will not say anything negative about this book. We learn more about some of the dogs that were mentioned in Dogtripping as well as a bit more about their beloved Tara. It takes place after they’ve moved their California dogs to Maine. And surprisingly the dogs, all of the dogs,very unlike me or my dogs, love the cold weather.
I love reading about people who go to great lengths to save unwanted, unadoptable, sick and miserable dogs and make their final years happy and comfy. If you’re a dog lover you’ll love this book but personally I need to stop reading these before my husband and I become these people.
I did my usual 30 minutes of internet research and learned that this volume of X-Files comics were written back in the early days of the series. They are not book adaptions, nor were they ever tv episodes. This volume contains issues #1 – 9. I couldn’t wait to dig in to this because, well, original X-Files material (!) and the return of Mulder.
But, most tragically, the magic was not quite here. It showed up in glimpses but mostly I found myself a little bored and daydreaming for something just a wee bit more exciting.
So anyway, on to the issues.
Do Not Open Until Christmas starts off with a dead body and a stolen religious prophecy. Though the body is dead, it smells of roses. People think it’s been touched by the hand of God hisownself. Scully thinks otherwise. And Mulder? Well, he’s Mulder and thinks conspiracy! Cover up! Angels are aliens!
There was some fun dialogue here.
“You’re off the case! Go chase big foot!”
“I’d love to, Sir, but with all due respect, the season is wrong. Big foot sightings taper off in the winter.”
This one was probably my favorite for capturing both Scully and Mulder so well.
A Dismembrance of Things Past (Parts 1 & 2)
Mulder and Scully are ripped from slumber by nefarious government types in trench coats and shades who give them a file containing documents about a possible past alien visit in 1948 and the recent slaying of witnesses to the event. There are false memories, a mysterious gas, and possible alien experiments. It’s a lot to take in over a few pages and left me mostly confused until Part 2 which cleared most of it up. Well, as clear as an X-Files episode ever gets.
Firebird (Parts 1-3)
A shaman has come to a sacred site to die but before he can get close he finds a bunch of daft scientists come to disturb “The Firebird”. The panel then goes Kaboom!
Meanwhile, in New Mexico a man is run off the road and tumbles to a fiery death while trying to avoid a fox. The fox eerily watches this series of events with far too much interest for a fox.
The next panel features someone who is supposed to be Scully holding an ancient skull and bantering with Mulder.
Who is this imposter and WTF has she done with Scully? That’s all I really want to know.
Soooo, the skull leads them to New Mexico to investigate odd goings-on and just as I’m about to start daydreaming again
tentacles enter the scene! Yes, you read that right and though this may be a minor spoiler YOU NEED TO KNOW. There are tentacles herein! I don't think there is anything left to say here. Unexpected Tentacles = win
Strange deaths are occurring. Smiling bodies are found with holes drilled in their skulls. When one of the bodies contains an envelope marked “Mulder” and another marked “Scully”, the duo rush to the scene to find the killer.
This is a wonderfully weird story with some reality bending ideas.
Silent Cities of the Mind (Parts 1 & 2)
This wasn’t the best note to end the collection on, if you’re asking me. It’s a little vignette involving ritual cannibalism and explains why some weirdo is doing it. There is much ado made about the absorption of knowledge and talents after eating the dead. No thanks, I think I’ll remain painfully average then. Mulder and Scully are on a plane that just so happens to get struck by lightning and Mulder is taken captive by this hungry madman whose lap he nearly lands in! Imagine the odds of that for a moment, if you will.
This one’s kind of crazy. In addition to the weird coincidence, the eating of the human flesh, there’s a hidden city and a sacred artifact that Mulder thinks unsurprisingly believes may be linked to aliens. It’s all wrapped up in typical X-Files fashion but it wasn’t my favorite episode.
*There may be mild spoilers but everything I write about happens early on. I've left out the truly terrifying spoilers. You'll have to read the book yourself to discover them ;)
This is an oldie, the original copyright says 1983, and I had my doubts that it would be one of those hidden gems but I read it anyway.
You should probably know going in that things happen within this book that are not okay by me. There is some dubious consent, some unfair and ugly name calling, and some unpleasant slapping of all the cheeks. The hero is also a classic alpha-hole and the virginal heroine sees him as a stand-in daddy figure. Don't say I didn't warn you.
I pretty much knew I wasn’t in for sweet and romantic very early on when the “hero” says, “I will do as I please and YOU will do as I please.”
Believe him because he means it.
Megan has been the ward of 36 year old Justin, Lord of Sexton or Weston or somesuch. Anyway, he is a big shot in society and has loads of money and power and pretty much had zero to do with orphaned Megan for the twelve years she has been his responsibility. He’s simply shipped her off to boarding schools and sent her an impersonal gift during holidays. Now she’s 17 and has been tossed out of school for the third time or so and has decided that she is not going back and is staying in one of Justin’s homes. He decides to finally take some action and deal with his defiant, violet eyed minx all by himself!
But he’s not prepared for what he finds. He first spies her dancing like a hussy with his servants. He is ticked off and decides to take a bath before he fires everyone. It's then that she bursts into his room and spies his nakedness and feelings, well, they are awakened . . . She, apparently, grew up a whole bunch in the two years since he’s last bothered to see her and when they are forced to spend a lot of time together, for reasons, he simply can’t resist her lovely young flesh and seduces her. He is a virile man and he has needs, after all. This might be all well and good if he wasn’t married(!!) and an alpha-hole but he is who he is and naturally he lays the blame on her seductive little body. Even though he's old enough to be her dad and should know better. She freaks out when discovers he’s married and terrible things continue to happen until the very end of the book.
It’s too bad Justin had such a magical manroot. Megan likely would’ve had a much easier time noticing his faults and moving along with her life if he had been a dud.
But alas, it wasn’t meant to be and that body of hers continued to betray her wishes. The poor child.
“You’re a little bitch.”
Now some people may find those words seductive because this book gets five stars from many readers but I guess I am not one of them. It's only getting a 2 1/2 from me.
This book made me crazy mad and was all kinds of wrong but I only have myself to blame because I kept reading it. Justin was a jealous, despicable beast and nothing anyone says in his defense will ever change my mind and, yes, I read it to the very end because I couldn't stop myself.
I listened to this as an audiobook and the narrator was a guy that put on a snooty voice that suited Justin perfectly. I typically don’t enjoy male narrators in a romance but he even did okay with Megan’s voice too. If you must listen to this, I’d say listen to this version narrated by James Clamp.
This is the oldest book on my IPad. I was determined to get it read but I can't do it. DNFing. The writing is ridiculously cluttered. Here's a little sample.
"It’s like the portrait of a different girl. Her face is pale, cheeks flushed with red. Her eyes, her Halloween cat’s eyes, are sparking with anticipation. The mouth with its pillowy lips is open, as if I’m out of breath. Those lips earned the nickname Fishy, taken up by every bully at school. Here’s my tongue, running along the lower lip, catching on the curve because the surface is so dry. I giggle into the silence and bite my finger. There’s a drip, drip of water from one of the cubicles. I press my hands on my head to try to calm myself down. It doesn’t work. I press my palms against my hollowed cheeks like Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Do I want to kiss Gustav? Is that it? Do I want him to kiss me? I don’t know. Not yet. I’m off men, remember? Too much going on in my head for that. So, no. I just want to get near him. He’s deadly, the way he pins you like a butterfly. I’ve followed him here without question, but what’s going to happen next? "
Now imagine reading a full novel of this. I can't. Holy hell, my head hurts. Romance should never be this hard!
So, to switch things up and prevent complete brain rot, I decided to read some literary fiction today.
Hey, it could happen.
Just not today.
This is the third book that I’ve recently read by Alexa Riley. If you’ve read one Alexa Riley book, you already know what you’re getting into. You’ve got your virginal heroine and guys in heat and insta-lust to the extreme but this one has a little something extra. Two “brothers” (not really, just bro’s) whose lifelong dream is to
own share a lady and stuff her full of babies so she’ll be all soft and dripping milk. I didn’t make this up, truly I didn’t. And, well, things can get kind of messy when they are making their dreams come true.
When they first see farm girl Stella, who fortunately (for them) happens to have a lush of a dad who gambles away the family farm, they know she is “The One” and manipulate events and toss their money around in order to make her theirs. Ugh, yeah, you don’t want to be thinking about that too much.
Just as the “brothers” start truly living out their fantasy, a reality tv star, of all things, steps in and tries to ruin all the fun.
But no worries, it’s easy enough to skip over that contrived nonsense and that’s just what I did.
These books are terribly infectious. I don’t recommend you start reading them because you may be unable to stop even when you know you should.
Your House is On Fire, Your Children All Gone caught my eye with its title and fittingly creepy cover. But often a cover deceives me. This one delivers on the creep factor and is a quietly dark, infinitely disturbing book. Each chapter is told by one of five friends as they’re coming of age in an isolated, superstitious small town, in each chapter they either do something horribly disturbing or find out an equally disturbing secret about an adult in their life. Each story builds on the dread and horror of the previous tale. I had to read the book in dribs and drabs due to real life and would recommend reading it cover to cover if your short-term memory is non-existent, like mine. I found myself getting a little mixed up about who did what horrible thing because well . . .
It’s not a big deal, really, because all of these kids and people are pretty awful, in the most deliciously devious readable way, of course.
A few reviews have said this book is slow and boring and I’m the first one to admit a book is boring me to death (most do) but I didn’t find that to be the case with this one once I got past the beginning. True, the horror is more of the quiet type, but that doesn’t dull its effect at all. Horrible things are done and told in such a dispassionate way that it all seems normal and you are left to dwell on that.
GR Cleanup Project Read in 2010
Jasmine’s a nurse who is feeling crappy and is sent home from work early. She’s a trooper though and decides to walk, as she normally does, but on this fateful night she happens to walk past Corin who recognizes the “scent” of change. He is a vampire who holds the title of “Executioner” and it’s his job to destroy all unauthorized vampire fledglings. And this one is definitely unauthorized. Her smell intoxicates him and he follows her home.
Jasmine’s a bit taken aback to find a stunningly gorgeous male in her home but she goes with the flow (hey, I can’t say as I blame her). Corin wastes no time explaining what is happening to her body and that he’s there to destroy her in three days’ time. As Jasmine is overcome with the “heat” of change (think Anita Blake’s ardeur) she is told by Corin that the only way to soothe her need is spicy food, chocolate or sex. There aren’t any chick flicks and boxes of Godiva’s lying around so guess what they end up doing instead? After petting her throbbing need into submission for the moment, Corin calls in her existence to the “Council” thus sealing her fate. He must kill her in three days or they will do it for him. He instantly regrets it because, damn, she smells like cinnamon and he finds himself falling in lusty-love. Yummy.
It all starts out fun and sexy and I was looking forward to learning more about both Corin and Jasmine but soon after the setup the story turns into a humorless, running from danger, angst-fest and I was disappointed. Corin is dripping with drama, the poor vampire-man. His past is seriously dark and tortured, I’ll give him that. He’s been raped and tortured and forced to serve a sadistic master at some point in his long existence. It’s not pretty stuff and we only get to see glimpses of it (darn!), but you get the gist that it was a very bad time for him. It’s turned him into a deadly serious vampire. I can take angst, I will even go so far as to admit I’m a sucker for angsty romance, but this one just didn’t draw me in. I never once got that heart-sick feeling that tells me I’m reading an unforgettable romance. Sadness. I even ended up skimming a little and I don’t usually do such things.
As for the storyline, there were far too many things that were not explained in enough detail for me. But the two that stand out are Jasmine’s vampirism (she was poked with an infected needle) and the little fact that Corin is already bonded to his male maker. There was much fuss made about Jasmine being “a new breed of vampire” but it just didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Also the whole sharing blood and bonding thing left me wondering about a lot of things. What if The Big Bad Master Vamp (sorry, his name has escaped me) got a sudden craving for Corin’s fine bum and showed up demanding kinky m/m sex? Would Corin still be forced to oblige? And would Jasmine enjoy watching? (probably not, she’s not me). Seriously, I fear for Jasmine’s HEA.
I liked Jasmine. She was a nice character and she was a good match for Corin. She stood up to him and even tried to save his sorry ass but I would have enjoyed this story so much more if the prose weren’t so overblown and we got a little bit of “getting to know you” time between the two characters. In the end, it all seemed too rushed, much like many of Jasmine’s orgasms.
GR Cleanup Project Read in 2010
Meh story, pretty artwork. Tatsuki's entire family is slain by an evil but shockingly beautiful male demon. Tatsuki swears vengeance but is waylaid by a leopard/man who "marks" him with a temporary tattoo of the leopard people (apparently his "spirit" has been marked). As he heads off to wreak revenge on the demon-man with the pretty face he is further waylaid when he's kidnapped by a traveling circus, whipped by a fat man (who thank the good lord of yaoi doesn't rape him) and is then forced into slavery. Some guys just can't catch a break, eh? There he meets another young slave named Keo who stars in the acrobatic show. After Tatsuki watches Teo fly through the air with the greatest of ease in his tight little costume, they fall madly in love and run away together. They have steamy sex in the forest that is totally blocked out by various body parts (grrr), as is the way with most of this yaoi. Turns out Keo is marked by a beast too. Damn, what are the odds? Because of this they have to go through some trial to become shaman's or somesuch for the forest folk but meanwhile Tatsuki is having bizarro dreams of the demon who is trying to seduce him. More weird and confusing things happen, the demon does bad things to Tatsuki and sweet little Keo and it ends at an abrupt and confusing HEA. Was it all a dream or no? I'm so confused. Why do I read these? They make my head spin.
The second story is a total stinker. It's about a boy and a clockwork boy who get all kissy face for no other reason than they are the only two boys on the planet (why? who knows). There is no substance AND the artwork is just not good.
I can never keep up with my feeds. Please know I love you all and it's nothing personal. It's not that I didn't like your post, it's more likely I didn't get to see it :(