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Barks & Bites

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

Rise of the Thing Down Below
Daniel W. Kelly
We Are All Completely Fine
Daryl Gregory
Facial
Jeff Strand
The Dark Servant
Matt Manochio
Circus of the Damned
Cornelia Grey
The Woman Next Door
Barbara Delinsky
Fashionably Dead
Robyn Peterman
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

Bad Apples: Five Slices of Halloween Horror

Bad Apples: Five Slices of Halloween Horror - Edward Lorn

Looking for something to read on Halloween night? I don't think you can go wrong with this one.

 

The Riggle Twins by Gregor Xane

 

I had so many questions when I stepped into this story because the characters and the setting were so unusual. What are they? Where did they come from? What is going on?! Soon enough I just went with it and followed the odd Riggle twins as they headed out for their Halloween adventure to find two tributes before midnight. And it’s imperative they do so because “they don't want to die again . . . The first time was bad enough.”

This was a bizarre, horrifying and completely unpredictable little tale. As much as I love having my questions answered, in this case, I enjoyed the fact that we weren’t spoon fed all of the answers. It made things much more ominous and mysterious.

 

Pumpkin Head Ted by Evans Light

 

Poor Ted lives a miserable existence. He is neglected and abused at home and ruthlessly tormented by his peers. Halloween is the one night Ted can blend in and almost feel like he belongs. He dons a mask and people don’t notice his deformities and treat him like any other kid. Feeling brave, he visits the home of his biggest tormentor and starts a terrible chain of events that children will be whispering about for decades to come.

 

This is a story filled with rage, hate, pain and revenge and it was a gut-wrenching read. Don’t let hate infect your soul kiddos, that’s all I have to say.

 

Ghost Light Road by Adam Light

 

Billy was planning on spending Halloween avoiding trick or treaters, watching horror movies and drinking beer but his little sis calls and screws with his plans. Now he and her two friends are off to Ghost Light Road so they can spy a ghost, despite the rumors that people often do not return from their little visit.

 

These four dummies decide to drink some concoction of booze which may or may not be laced with some magickal mushrooms and, as young drunkards will do, proceed to make some truly dumb ass moves that have them discovering the reason why some folks never return from their trip to Ghost Light Road.

 

The twist was surprising. The story takes a bunch of horror clichés and mashes them together into something new. It was fun and a little gory and left me pretty happy with the outcome.

 

Easy Pickings by Jason Parent

 

Trevor is a big bully and Halloween us his favorite time of year, a time when he can terrorize his younger, weaker neighbors and steal their candy while cowardly hiding behind a mask. When he and his side-kick happen upon a young boy, without a parent in sight, the two make their move assuming he’ll be easy pickings. They were oh so wrong.

 

The true monster in this story gets what he deserves and I loved the gruesomeness of it.

 

The Scare Rows by Edward Lorn

 

A seasonal attraction called "The Scare Rows" has popped up in a small town, seemingly overnight, and all of the townsfolk are abuzz with excitement for the big show.

 

The big show isn’t anything at all what they could’ve concocted in even the darkest, dirtiest of minds. This one is down and dirty and darkly humorous so of course I loved it. Most of the characters are revolting which makes the outcome that much sweeter.

 

“Her lips and tongue seemed intent on polishing every individual kernel of starchy goodness.”

 

Pass me some of that popcorn!

 

Halloween Cats Have No Fear

 

 

love notes from Annie Wilkes

 

   

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

And stay out, sucker!

FREEBIE! Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha

Beyond Shame - Kit Rocha

This book is FREE @ Amazon (at least for today 10/21/14). Grab it if it interests you. 

 

An erotic dystopian novel? You have my attention. The world, ravaged by “solar flares”, has split off into “Eden” where the wealthy live in luxury and thrive beneath puritan rulers as long as they follow the rules. If they dare break them, they are cast out and forced to make their own way in one of the less desirable “sectors”. The sectors are ruled by gangs who live on the wild side; boozing it up, cage fighting for fun and screwing each other with no inhibitions.. Their lives are very different from the sheltered, stifling rules of Eden.

Noelle has just been booted out of Eden for being a naughty girl and wanting to indulge in some sex and drinkies. Despite the fact that her dad is one of the biggest big wigs in Eden, she’s shunned and spit out and now has to find a new life. She’s very lucky that she happens upon Jasper and Lex who take her in and immediately make her a part of their gang which is ruled by Lex’s lover Dallas. Noelle soon learns there is little luxury and no free rides in Sector 4. You strip, suck dick or wait tables. She ends up doing all three and pretty much loving the freedom and sexuality she’s finally allowed to experience without guilt and shame.

I liked this book and will definitely read the next one but unlike a lot of people I didn't love it. I wanted to love it. I tried to love it. I honestly don’t know why I couldn't love it. It was violent and sensual and the characters were decently drawn but for some reason I just didn't find it Amazing, you know? It was only Pretty Good and I kept putting it down to do other stuff or play Dragonvale.

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Rejar by Dara Joy for .99 at Amazon

Rejar - Dara Joy

.99 @ Amazon today (10/20/14) but the lovely cover on the left was replaced with this leering Alec Baldwin hybrid. Since I had to look at, so do you :)

 

 

Caveat: I wrote this review sometime in 1997 back when I was nicer, used words like "magnificent" and "spectacular" and was much more tolerant than I am today. Damn, I've been doing this nonsense far longer than I thought!  I wonder if I'd still feel the same today? I'm guessing no.


In Dara Joy's 1996 release Knight of A Trillion Stars we were introduced to the lovable and very arrogant Rejar. KOATS ended with quite the cliffhanger and after waiting for what seemed like an eternity we finally learn the sexy Familiar's fate in Rejar.

Rejar, after tumbling through space for several months, finds himself tossed into a strange place called Regency England where he lands nearly in the lap of a most luscious female specimen. He decides this smelly world that offends all of his senses might not be quite so bad after all!

Lilac Devere was minding her own business when a handsome cat enters her carriage and settles in like he owns it. Despite her Aunt's warnings she takes this arrogant creature home and gets much more than she bargained for.

Rejar is a familiar from the futuristic planet Aviara. He's a descendent of a race of people who can change into the form of a cat whenever they wish. Along with their shape changing abilities familiars also have heightened senses, telepathic powers and extraordinary sensual appetites. However, once they meet their life mate and become bonded familiar's have an unshakable sense of devotion and never stray (remember this is a fantasy, folks :).

Rejar observes life on this strange planet and quickly learns that the only way to survive the brutal scrutiny of the ton is to create a persona they will fawn over. Using his powers of suggestion, he convinces Lord Byron that he is a Russian Prince and quickly becomes the most sought after man in Regency England. He's a man all of the women want but he is only attracted to the one whom he curls up with each night. The one who believes he is nothing more than a cat. But, arrogant fellow tha the his, he knows once she meets him in the flesh she'll fall head over heels in love with him.

Needless to say he's in for quite a shock when Lilac gets rip roaring mad and slaps his handsome face when he innocently states his intentions to "have" her. This only makes Rejar all the more determined to make her his. After all no woman has ever refused him! Just what kind of planet has he landed on?

When he realizes that Lilac is fated to be his life mate and he comes to the realization that he isn't winning her over with his stunning sex appeal he tries every trick he can think of to win her love.

Dara Joy has created a magnificent hero with Rejar. Anyone who has ever been owned by a feline will certainly understand and laugh out loud at his arrogant demeanor. His compassionate nature won my heart and while I didn't always agree with his tactics I realized he just couldn't help his sexy self.

The only problem I had with this story was the heroine. While Rejar was a well rounded character I found Lilac to be rather self-centered and uncompromising. The girl also had no curiosity. I think a hero as wonderful as Rejar deserved better. But, hey, maybe I'm just being catty. In Lilac's defense, I did enjoy her openness which made for some great laugh out loud scenes.

I really enjoyed REJAR for its bawdy and tender humor, scorching sensuality and unique storyline and highly recommend it to those searching for something a little different from the norm. Although this is a sequel it is not necessary to read the prequel, Knight of a Trillion Stars, first (although it is a spectacular book!). I'm looking forward to the next installment in this series when we will hopefully learn more about Rejar's brother Traed and the planet Aviara

Oh my heart. I just heard this on the radio and my 14 year old self cried in joy.  

Fair Game by Josh Lanyon Now .99 Cents @ Amazon

Fair Game - Josh Lanyon

I read this book a while back and it thought it was fantastic. You can grab it now while it's on sale for .99 over at Amazon.

 

4 1/2 stars Elliot is a former FBI agent, injured on the job, and now reluctantly working as history professor due to his bum knee. He doesn’t realize just how much he misses his old life until he gets involved in a missing person investigation and finds himself consultant to the FBI and his ex-lover Tucker. Their relationship simply ended when Elliot was injured and neither has ever resolved it. Seeing each other is drudging up uncomfortable memories for Elliot, who insists the two had nothing in common anyway. Except sex. Mindblowing sex. Elliot really misses the sex. Tucker apparently was very good at it.

This is a mystery with solid writing and strong sense of place. The romance is there, slowly building in the background but it’s first and foremost an intriguing murder mystery. I wasn’t expecting that because I’ve probably been reading way too many m/m erotica novels. I’ve gotten comfy with the main focus being (often) 100% on the relationship, the sexing and the conflicts within that relationship. Fair Game follows its own path and was a nice surprise.

Tucker doesn’t welcome Elliot’s interference on the case and isn’t at all shy about letting him know it. Working together is difficult for them; they have unresolved, unsaid stuff between them. Stuff neither wants to talk about. Both are resentful and have feelings of abandonment but talking would mean facing their feelings and these guys aren’t the type to have a big emotional row.

Elliot and Tucker seem like men most of us know (albeit probably much better looking). They think like guys, they act like guys and it was such a nice change of pace for me, having read more than my fair share of books that featured gay men who were, ahem, so fem and saccharine sweet I felt as if I were reading a fairy tale or someone’s idea of a dream man. Fair Game seemed less of a fantasy and more of a reality about two tough, stubborn men who have a connection and whether they’re willing to admit it or not want each other but can’t communicate. Instead they brood and let things simmer until it all spills out in the form of hot kisses and near sex. It was so real it was touching. Seriously, who doesn’t know a man afraid to talk about what he’s feeling and would much prefer to clam up and get naked?

I’m not a big mystery girl but this one never had me daydreaming or wishing I was reading something, anything, else. It was interesting; the characters well developed and there were more than enough suspects to keep me guessing and, yeah, the romance was lovely. If I didn’t have so many other books to read right now and a crazy busy weekend I would snatch up the rest of Lanyon’s work and hide away in my room until I’d read myself into a stupor.

Carrie by Stephen King (audio review)

Carrie - Stephen King, Sissy Spacek

This was the first Stephen King novel I read. I remember grabbing it from my dad’s nightstand and claiming it as my own. I was eleven. Eleven. It is the book that fueled my desire and lifelong love of reading. But eleven?! Reading it now I’m a little horrified that I read it at such a young age. It has quite a bit of sex and disturbing scenes but I turned out relatively normal so I guess no damage was done ;)


This is your classic bully revenge tale and it is as relevant today as it was back in the day. Carrie White was drawn with such painful vulnerability that it’ll make you ache for her and cringe at many of the scenes. Carrie’s an innocent, abused by her religious wingnut of a mother who never consoles but is quick to mete out punishment for the most ridiculous of offenses (such as talking to a neighbor).

 

“Go to your closet and pray!”

 

When Carrie doesn’t want to eat her pie.

 

“It makes me have pimples, Momma.

 

“Your pimples are the Lord’s way of chastising you. Now eat your pie.”

 

Can you imagine growing up with a mother like this? How can you not feel for Carrie?

 

Anyway, there isn’t much for me to say here. I remembered it being a straight-forward tale told by Carrie but I think that’s because I’ve seen so many of the movie versions between reading the book and now. It wasn't written that way at all. I enjoyed the flashbacks, news reports, victim on the spot interviews and such that composed the story and I’m glad I finally got around to rereading it. It held up incredibly well and the audio version that I listened to was skillfully read by Sissy Spacek who really knows the part.

666 Followers Just in Time for Halloween!

 

Welcome my fellow lunatics!

 

thanks for catching that Moonlight Murder.

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's Daughter - Megan Shepherd, Lucy Rayner

This is a young adult novel with a love triangle. You have been warned.

 

“Edward and Montgomery were suddenly both by my side, each taking an arm.

My face burned as I looked between them. Two boys, two sets of hands on my wrists. One rough and calloused, the other strong yet smooth. My emotions knotted tighter, threatening to cut off my circulation.”

 

Meh. Have 'em both. See if I care.

 

I picked it up knowing this and expecting the above because I was seduced by the plot. The “madman” is actually Dr. Moreau. Yes, that Dr. Moreau. The one who, in my dreams, creates these lovelies:

 

 

Dr. Moreau was basically run out of town and his reputation ruined after his nefarious experiments came to light. He abandoned both his wife and young daughter and high-tailed it to an island. Flash-forward a few years and Juliette is now a teenager eeking out a living as a maid. She stumbles across some evidence to the location of her long-lost father and, though she is haunted by memories of him, he is the only family she has left so she sets off an adventure to track him down. She may wish she had never found that first clue before it’s all said and done . . .

 

I really enjoyed most of this book. It has a very well done sense of place and maintained its creepy gothic “what the heck is going on” atmosphere throughout. The love triangle was unnecessary and I didn’t give a rats patootie about it but I’m too old to care about teen crushes and flip flopping between handsome boys. I wanted more gruesome surgery scenes but what is here was enough to make me happy.

 

“To me, blood smelled like home.”

 

I liked Juliette. She fears she is too much like her father; cold, a little blood-thirsty, perhaps, maybe even a little mad. She is very honest in her thoughts and I found this realistic as well as refreshing. She was the only character who really captured my attention.

 

There are many twists and turns and secrets to be revealed and I was surprised more than once at a few of the reveals but if I’m being honest it was way too long. Probably 80 or so pages too long. The backdrop, the horror (quite repulsive at times) and the evocative writing elevates this above most of what’s out there and the ending was perfect. If this interests you check it out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

 

Oops, almost forget to mention the narration. This copy was narrated by Lucy Raynor and her voice was lovely and well suited to the material. No complaints from me.

Lookie What I Found On Netgalley!

Rise of the Thing Down Below - Daniel W. Kelly We Are All Completely Fine - Daryl Gregory Circus of the Damned - Cornelia Grey Facial - Jeff Strand

Oooo, that first one, I cannot wait! Now I sit and wait with bated breathe for the approval/refusals to come rolling in. In the meantime, I'd better get reading my other books! 

 

What have you requested lately?

 

And, Char, this is all your fault. Your post inspired me to click over there and have a look and this happened in the span of 5 minutes. I had to click away.

 

Update: Got the Strand book. I love you Darkfuse :)

Amazon Prime is Giving Back $1.00 for "Non-Rush" Shipment

I know a lot of you dislike Amazon for very valid reasons but I still order from them because I despise shopping & it makes life so much easier. My husband has Prime and as I was leaching off of his account Sunday night, ordering a few early holiday gifts, I noticed a new Prime shipping offering. It said something like this (but don't quote me on it) "choose this option 5-7 day shipping & get a $1.00 credit towards a book or ebook."

 

What? They're going to pay for shipping & give me a little ebook present if I can have a little patience? I was skeptical, thinking I was reading something wrong, but no. In my email today was this notice. I don't know how long they'll be doing this but you might want to jump on it if you're a Prime member and doing some non-rush shopping.

 

 

Amazon.com Logo

 

Thank you for purchasing from Amazon.com.

 

Your recent order entitles you to a promotional credit which we have added to your account. This credit can be applied to your next qualifying purchase.

 

Promotion details:

Additional information on this offer can be found here.

 

You are receiving this credit because you selected No-Rush Shipping on your recent Prime order. To use your $1 credit, log on to Amazon.com or browse your Kindle device. Find the book or ebook you want to purchase and we’ll automatically apply the credit at check out. To view the selection of books at Amazon.com visit www.amazon.com/books.

 

The promotional credit must be used by December 31, 2014. This offer is subject to Terms and Conditions.

 

Thanks again for shopping with us.

Amazon.com
Earth's Biggest Selection

Slave Girl by Lisa Cach

Slave Girl - Lisa Cach

Here's my attempt at a short review. If you happen to make it all the way through, my apologies in advance, 

 

Nimia was taken by Sygarius as a war prize when she was a young girl. Treasured by her captor, she has avoided manual labor and anything that would mar her beauty. Why, you ask? Do you really have to ask? No? Well, let me tell you anyway.

 

Sygarius, even though he’s married and has a bevy of beauties at his beck and call (he is a roman warlord, after all), has been biding his time, waiting on the day Nimia comes of age so he can deflower her and make her his concubine. His wife is perfectly fine with this because she’s a lech too. Now that Nimia is oh-so-close to womanhood, she’s been inundated with live displays of every possible sex act imaginable and this has left her feeling a little funny in her nether regions and worried but eager for her initiation. But (oh you knew there was a BUT, right?) a young, handsome visiting barbarian prince captures her eye and sets fire to those nether regions. A fire that just may spark a war (I know, I'm groaning at my tired cliché here too. Why, again, aren’t those blurb writers calling me?!)

 

"This man, something within me said. This man will take my soul. I could feel coils of fate wrapping around me, squeezing the breath from my body. My heart raced, a cold sweat breaking out over my skin. Gods, what’s happening? Who is he?”

 

Better than this getting ya, I suppose.

 

 

 

This book exists to set up a series. It’s only 70 pages or so long so I didn’t go into it expecting anything too emotionally involving or complete and thusly I was not left feeling too disappointed at the lack of relationship development or closure. This book is about the sexy bits and, I have to admit, the sexy bits are pretty good. Lisa Cach is a good writer. I’ve read a few of her books in the past and even gave one of them five stars because it managed to make me laugh a lot (George and the Virgin). But this one isn’t funny so it’s only getting a 3 ½.

Nimia is a very young heroine and her loyalties are torn. She has a lot of growing up to do and she needs to stop being so easily swayed by whatever arrogant hot man is nearest. That bugged me a bit, well that and the fact that she risks her own life in order to have some hot sex with Mr. Sexy Barbarian but she does show an inkling of backbone so I hold out a big glimmer of hope that the sequels improve.

 

If you’re looking for heart eyes and romance you won't find it here. The relationships are purely lustful. Not that there's anything wrong with that and I will seek out the next installment. But, but, but, but I do hope the author does the right thing and finds a new favorite word for the feminine bits other than cunny. Anything will do, really. I'm not all that picky. That word just grated on my last nerve. With that said, I will leave you with my little ode to Nimia’s irresistible and insatiable little cunny and hope this will be the final time you ever have to stumble across it unawares.

 

Cunny like honey.
Morning dew on rosebud waits.
Touch sets Rome aflame.

 

*I received this book from Netgalley.

I've been busy reading, for a change, but I'm doing some major review writing procrastination right now. I can't seem to bring myself to get started. What works best for you? Do you just sit down and do it or wait for inspiration to strike? I have to do the former, if I did the latter I'd never post another review again. I guess it's time to step away from the internet and get down to writing before I mix up all of the books in my head. 

 

Reviews may or may not appear later. 

 

It was a gorgeous day so we grabbed the dogs, my bag full of unloved books and headed out to a fabulous beautiful park which, in its previous incarnation, was once a famous zoo/amusement park. Now it's a lovingly maintained dog friendly place and it just got a whole heck of a lot better with the addition of an adorably oversized Little Free Library which is kept well stocked by the community. I dropped off nine books with Bookcrossing labels and walked away without taking any home with me. Aren't you proud?  

 

Is anyone else here a bookcrosser (or am I the only complete geek here?) and do you have any Little Free Libraries nearby?  I am so ridiculously excited about this! 

Warrior by Zoe Archer

Warrior - Zoe Archer

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

 

I must have started and stopped this book at least twenty times or so in the past few months, always putting it aside for something more pressing. I chalked it up to being over-extended but when I finally had a day to lounge around and do nothing but read I still had a heck of a time getting through it. And because I can’t pinpoint anything in particular that was wrong with the story, I am completely frustrated. The premise sounded good enough adventure, lust, and magic and all of my friends loved it to pieces (and shoved it upon me, curse them) but I just can’t share their enthusiasm for it. It dragged on for chapters at a time, hooking me for a moment and then losing me again. I really had to struggle to stick with it so for that I can only give it three stars.

Gabriel is a newly retired soldier who stumbles upon a fight, jumps in to help and is asked to deliver a message from the dying man. Gabriel, having nothing much better to do than find a dull wife and start making babies, doesn’t refuse and travels to Mongolia. This is how he meets Thalia and how he gets involved in a mysterious world of secret hidden magic after joining her on an action packed mission to find and protect a valuable “Source” (of magic). She is unlike any woman he has met but, as even he admits, he hasn’t met many women other than the working kind while he’s been in the military. Still, he deems her much more attractive than the delicate, boring ladies of England. She resists the temptation that is Gabriel for 100 or so pages which felt more like 1000 because she was burned in the past by some other guy. But, hot damn, he’s physically gorgeous and perfection personified so you all know how this ends, right?

Sadly, as much as I tried, I never shared in the chemistry between Gabriel and Thalia. Sure I was told they exchanged lots of lusty thoughts and smoldering looks in between trying to save the world from evil-doers but I wasn’t feeling it like I should have. I did enjoy the unique Mongolia setting and appreciated all of the research the author clearly put in to bring the place to vivid life. And though Warrior had a good solid story with non-annoying characters it didn’t resonate with me in any way. There was a lot of action and adventure as well as plenty of one on one time with the characters so I can’t say it was boring but I too often found it difficult to stay interested even during the spicier scenes (true story I’m afraid to admit). Right now I am annoyed at myself for buying the rest of the books in this series brand new before even reading this one and seeing if I liked the style of the author. Ah well, lesson learned.

If there is anyone out there who had a similar experience and then went on to read book 2 can you tell me if it’s more of the same?

Soon . . .

 

Anyone else watching?