Reading the good, the awful and all of the "meh" in the middle. I'll read any horror, romance, erotica & M/M novel that comes my way but I won't always like it.
This weeks bag of sad and unloved books are headed out the door to find a better home! This is a bit of a PIA to do because I have most of these books listed at paperbackswap and half.com where they've been languishing for years. So instead of just tossing them all in a bag and getting on with my life, I have to look them all up and delete them. One bag at a time to a clutter free home . . .
There's a petition going around asking Amazon to force customers to post/review with their real names. It was started by Anne Rice/Todd Barselow, because she claims there are roving bands of gangster bullies intent on destroying authors (no mention of authors who attack reviewers who write reviews the authors don't like or reader stalking done by the bully site that Anne Rice aligns herself with).
If you want Amazon to know that you support keeping your right to privacy, please sign SPA Rick Gualtieri's opposing petition. (If you want to retain your anonymity on this petition, uncheck the box that says your signature will be displayed.) Feel free to reblog this post or start your own.
This petition was written by Todd Barselow, but the whole idea behind it was Anne Rice's. I believe Anne instigated it because of a thread on Amazon where she ranted about careerist reviewers and bully packs intent on destroying authors. And because she can't stand criticism.
The petition is getting lots of media attention, because Ms. Rice is using the clout of her name to send out press packages and the media is lapping it up without any research.
Fun fact about Todd Barselow's relationship to Anne Rice.
Awww. This is such a great book about first love and the reality of having really shitty parents when everyone else’s home life seems so “normal”. Where was it when I was fifteen? I would’ve loved and adored it and carried it with me wherever I went. It would’ve made me feel better, given me hope and made me smile when things were so awful I wanted to be anywhere but home. I bought the hardcover for my teen after reading numerous glowing reviews but decided to read it too even though I promised myself I’d stay away from YA after that heart destroying experience that was The Fault In Our Stars. I’m glad I did because even though I’m a few decades older than the target audience I thought it was a lovely story. So far my teen loves it too.
It’s 1986 and Eleanor has recently moved back in with her family after being ousted by her drunken step-father for over a year. There is no room for her, anywhere it seems. She sleeps in a small bedroom with her four younger siblings, doesn’t even have a toothbrush and has to make do with the ill-fitting scraps of clothing her mother brings home from thrift shops. When she steps foot on the school bus everyone notices her but no one makes room to let her sit down. She’s dressed weird, her hair is wild and bright red and Park can hear the snickering all around him. Impulsively he moves over and rudely barks at her to sit down. He instantly regrets it but now she’s sitting there and she’s not all happy about it. Now they’re stuck with each other for the rest of the school year and it changes everything for both of them.
Day after day they ignore each other on the long bus ride. Park is half Korean and, though he’s always lived his entire life with these kids, he’s never felt like he fits in. Befriending Eleanor (Big Red as she’s been dubbed) will instantly make him an outcast. But befriend her he does and it happens so naturally it never feels forced, fake or rushed. Their friendship starts out slowly and is based on their mutual love of his comic books and music (Eleanor owns nothing and he shares). Eleanor is opinionated, funny and sarcastic and he likes being around her. All the time. She likes him too. He’s kind of adorable. Their friendship/love story is awkward and sweet and filled with that angsty, gut-wrenching out of control emotion that first love inevitably brings. It’s also completely believable because of the way it’s told from both of their points of view. Alas, complications arise, as they will when you’re a teen and not at all in control of your life but I won’t give those away. You should read the book if any of this interests you. It’s a really good one!
The version I listened to on audio was read by two narrators who switched off depending on whose point of view was up. I liked this in theory because I never questioned whose head I was in which can be a problem when listening to audio BUT (oh, you just knew that was coming) the female narrator, Rebecca Lowman, has a lifeless delivery that did such a dis-service to an emotional, lively character like Eleanor. The male narrator, Sunil Malhotra, does a better job with Park. His voice is youthful and his take on Park’s Korean mom cracked me up but he tends to get a little monotonous at times too. The narration wasn’t a deal breaker and didn’t by any means ruin the book for me but it could’ve been improved. Some of my most favorite quotes:
“She never looked nice. She looked like art and art wasn’t supposed to look nice. It was supposed to make you feel something.”
“He’d thought he was over caring about what people thought of him. He’d thought that loving Eleanor proved that. But he kept finding new pockets of shallow inside himself. He kept finding new ways to betray her.”
“I don’t like you. I need you.”
Ahhh, first love! Five stars because I’m feeling easy today and this is one I’ll want to revisit.
Another bag of unread and unloved books is headed out to the donation bins. Yay me. It's hard letting them go but I've held on to some of them for over a decade and seeing them around, doing nothing but collecting dust, makes me feel like a hoarder and overwhelms me. I've culled the oldest, mostly those given to me by my mother-in-law and friends who no longer wanted them (I can never say no to more books!), because I'll never get around to reading ALL the books ever written in this lifetime. My dream is to one day have tidy shelves filled only with books that I'm dying to read. I've bought so many books that I no longer have any interest in reading that it's embarrassing. This is probably the 8th bag I've donated in the past year and it feels so good to set them free!
I haven’t read the Demonica series by this author and I’ve heard it is set in the same world as this new spinoff “Lords of Deliverance” series. I’m thinking I probably should have read the 6.5 books in the Demonica series first but reading a series out of order seems to be what I do. Now I will be the first to admit that I am a person who is easily confused and during the first two hours of this audiobook reading I was lost and overwhelmed by the brutal avalanche of information dumped upon my tired brain. There is a glossary, tons of character introductions and an elaborate setup that boggles. But I stuck by it and restarted it no less than five times because everyone seems to love this author and I’ve been told I give up too easily (and it’s probably true). And do you know what? It paid off in the end. Phew, that almost never happens!
Eternal Rider is narrated by Hilary Hubar who has a no nonsense way with her narration which suits the intensity of the book. Her manly-man characters are done very well but there are two characters, Ares and Arik, whose names and sexy growly, gravelly voices are so similar that I mistakenly thought they were the same person, adding to my continued confusion, until the book was nearly over! Huber’s female voices are strong and pleasant to listen to and I could always tell Cara from Limos. Unfortunately, something is a wee bit off in the production here, either that or the narrator was whispering, because I had to rewind and turn up the volume numerous times because the volume would go way low and I couldn’t make out the words.
Let me sum up the complicated setup for you, best as I understood it anyway. Eternal Rider is Ares’s story. Ares is one of four immortal siblings born out of a forbidden and unholy sexual tryst between sex demon Lilith and an angel who liked his drinky too much. The kiddos caused all sorts of trouble on earth and ended up being cursed and now they are “The Four Horsemen”. Yes, those four horsemen. They are bearers of the Apocalypse and each wear a seal that when broken releases their evil alter-ego and brings on the beginning of the End of Days. Ares is the God of War. He’s a tough guy, covered in armor that keeps his body and his emotions in check and whenever he walks in a room people get an urge to brawl. Soon after the story begins, the most charming brother has his seal broken and he transforms into Pestilence, bringing on the plagues and reveling in the death, the gore and the pain. Oh noes! Ares is worried because once a seal has broken they are all in danger of transforming into this:
1887 painting by Victor Vasnetsov
And then there’s something about called an agimortus that protects the seals (methinks) and can only be transferred to a fallen angel. Pestilence needs his siblings to turn evil and thus most of the surviving fallen angels have gone over to the dark side to avoid being stuck with an agimortus after learning about the broken seal and rampage. Really, who can blame them? I know I wouldn’t want a great big target for Pestilence on my ass. So somehow a human named Cara ends up with Ares’s agimortus engraved on her chest. As if that weren’t bad enough, she heals a wounded dog only to later discover the dog she’s named “Hal” is a hellhound. And he has bonded with her out of gratitude. If he dies so does she and he’s been taken prisoner and is being tortured. Ares tracks the agimortus to Cara and the two get embroiled in a race to save humanity all the while falling in lusty love.
From here it gets all adventure-filled and yummy and super sexy despite all of the gloom and the death. Cara and Ares are well developed and compatible couple who heat things up in a most believable and imaginative way. After the excruciatingly long setup I fell in love with the storytelling and am going to jump right into the next book. The ending with Cara and Ares and the resolution of the hellhound problem was pure perfection that warmed my cold heart and made get all gooey eyed. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better ending if I tried.
Sheesh, my fingers are tired and this review is too long. If you’ve made it this far all I have left to say to you is read the book until the end no matter how it pains you. And I won’t lie, it may pain you. Just trust me on this, it gets friggin’ fantastic. Paranormal romance does not get better than the last half of this book.
Narrator Hilary Huber
Duration: 12 hours, 34 minutes
Published by Hachette Audio
I tried reading this while in the midst of a slump. It started out promising but lost me about 2/3's of the way in when I started rolling my eyes and forcing myself to turn the pages. Guess I just wasn't in the mood for bonny highlanders and virginal lassies making love while rape and murder awaits at every turn. The dialogue was annoyingly repetitive and though I'm always up for a lusty romp I just couldn't believe some of the actions of these two. And sorry but I find nothing heroic about a guy who wants to "claim" a woman who he believes has just been raped. Yuck, that's not romantic it's horrific.
In celebration of CRUELTY: Episode Three's release, I've decided to make Episode One available for free download until March 3rd.
Please, if you're so inclined, help spread the word.
Click the cover below to download from Amazon.com, or keep scrolling for international links.
I am so frustrated by my own stupidity. After over a decade of listening to audio, I really should know better by now. So I'm on disc 3 and have just realized that this is an abridged version of the novel.
I normally love the way Coben writes. Gone For Good and Drop Shot hooked me on his writing and I'm not even a mystery fan. His characters are usually compelling and a little snarky and the stories are always a little dark. This one just wasn't working for me in any way. It moved way too fast, the characterization was almost non-existent, the story line extremely confusing and difficult to follow and any dash of humor completely missing. Now I know why. They cut it out all out! Why, oh, someone please tell me why.
Does anyone purposely seek out abridgments? They do nothing but aggravate me. What a waste of three hours and it was completely my fault for not checking first. I just saw Scott Brick listed as the narrator and assumed it was the real deal. I'm tossing this one in a Goodwill bin and will search out the real book.
Because doggies are cute too and I haven't been reading anything ;) This is my red coon hound mix Bailey AKA Dobby AKA Dob Dob. That's Buddy in the background having himself a snow cone snack. Bailey was rescued from a high kill area in the south and Buddy found himself homeless after a divorce. They are both sweet as can be (I'm the only who bites!) and I love them to bits..
I just learned on the Indie Reviews website (which DOES NOT endorse paid reviewers) that this website is charging authors $100 a pop PLUS the cost of the book for the privilege of writing a review and here I am doing it for free, Her reviews must be effing magical. She will post them to her Channel "under construction", Goodreads and Amazon where she's a top 780,000 reviewer (wowza - I'm 1100 or something perhaps I can sucker people out of even more). Hell, $100.00 would give me the incentive to "turn around" a review in 2 -3 weeks too (just kidding).. Anyway, check it out before the page goes poof!
edited to add screen capture just in case
Now that I'm trolling for book reviews, I appreciate just how many 'professional'sites have popped up. I'm not talking about the legacy reviewers-name brands that have recently added 'self-publishing/Indie' reviews for about $500.00 per. No, I'm referring to no-name brands that are asking $350.00.
So I'm throwing my book reviewer hat into the e-ring.
MarketingtheMuse now accepting small press & 'Indie' books, ebooks, for review.
Fee structure: $100.00 paid in full, via Paypal/CC, plus the cost of purchasing the book online.
MarketingtheMuse Review Guidelines:
Before accepting a project, I require the first five pages be submitted. If the author can’t hold my attention for the first five pages, chances are, my review will not be helpful to your ultimate goal.
I LOVE memoirs and have worked as a developmental editor for several memoirists. Click here to read what clients have said about my guidance.
I also love fiction but not big on Sci-Fi. I would say that ‘zombie’ and ‘horror’ fiction are not good fits but at the last workshop I ran at SCWC, a writer hooked me on the first 3 pages of her ‘zombie’ novel.
Nonfiction books are also good fits provided the subjects aren’t business or technology related. I love health/wellness/sports/psychology/sociology/biographies & cookbooks including ‘herbal’ cookbooks.
I will post all reviews on Amazon. I also will post on MarketingtheMuse’s Book Review channel (under construction) and will include the review, book cover and link to purchase. At the author’s request, I will also post on Goodreads.
Click here to read my Amazon reviews.
If interested, contact Marla at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please put Book Review in the subject heading.
Turn around, 2-3 weeks.
I picked this oldie out of the bag of audios rattling around in my hatch because I wanted something fluff filled for my latest car read and that’s exactly what I got. If you’ve read any of her romances you’ll know what I mean. They’re fun while you’re listening but pretty forgettable once finished.
This version is narrated by C.J. Critt who always does such a professional job with Evanovich’s quirky characters. She has a unique voice with a little grit and I always enjoy a book more when she narrates it.
Steve is the program director (or is he the owner? I’m not sure but regardless he’s rich and he's the boss) of a radio station called WZZZ. Daisy has a daily 5 minute spot on the station because she’s kind of popular after writing a book on making dog treats. She’s a woman who has way too many jobs to make ends meet while she works on a degree and attempts to feed her always hungry teenage brother. She’s a likable sort. When she learns that the traffic reporter spot has temporarily opened up she begs for the job even though she has no experience and, wouldn’t you know it, Steve is the one who trains her. Calamity follows. They fall in insta-love, a big lunk of a dog gets adopted, houses and cars are bought and a nutty old lady becomes Daisy’s new bodyguard (don’t ask) when a bad guy starts threatening Daisy’s well-being. That’s about it as far as the plot goes.
The book moves at a crazed pace and it was finished before it had barely begun. All of the characters are do silly things without thinking anything through. The romance (which is strictly PG-13) moves at the speed of light and there were no angst filled moments or deep emotional connections. It’s fun but at times felt like it was trying a little too hard to be cutesy and it wasn’t exactly original in any way. If you’re expecting reality you will be very disappointed. It wasn’t what I’d consider LMAO funny (nope ass is still there) but it’s pleasant, comfy and has its moments of charm. 3 1/2 stars? Yeah that sounds good to me.
Do yourself a favor and do not read the synopsis for this book. It’s hard to avoid. I accidentally did it myself when I added this book to my virtual shelf. For some reason, marketing decided to spoil the first part of the book in the very first words of their blurb. I can only guess at why they did it (to hook people in? to lure them in with the taboo?) but for me it spoiled much of the mystery surrounding the first few chapters of the book. I would’ve liked to have figured things out myself. I don’t usually whine about spoilers, I know I’ve given too much away in many a review, but this is one time I wish I could go back and unread something. It’s also likely that it’s the only time you’ll ever hear me admit to sympathizing with hit and run posters who call me a dumbass and yell at me for giving away too much.
Anyway, I read this unabridged version narrated by Kirby Heyborne who does a mighty fine job with the dark, seedy, crazed characters who inhabit this story. He also gets the teens down just right in all of their confused, upset, grief stricken, mean spirited and vulnerable moments. I always knew who was “speaking” and after reading many audiobooks I’ve realized this is a skill that only a small, talented few possess. Kirby’s narration added another dimension to the story and kept me listening even through some of the sloggier moments.
Without giving too much away, this book is about a 16 year old boy named Joey. Joey lives a sheltered life with his mom. He gets straight A’s, plays in the school band and has a best friend. He’s basically a normal, well-adjusted kid. But then tragedy strikes and he’s forced to leave everything familiar behind to live with a father he’s never met. Joey’s life pretty much goes all to hell from this moment on. There is a huge mystery surrounding his father (which all the blurbs spoil – DON’T’ READ THEM!). His father comes off as an uncaring, mentally unstable, very strange guy who neglects Joey and makes his life extremely difficult. As the story unfolds we realize there’s a lot more to him and all of the strange behavior begins to make sense.
This book was dark and dirty and quite mean and I could not tear myself away from it even when things got a little slow here and there. I had so many questions I needed answered (and I got them all too!). I found Joey to be a well-developed and sympathetic character. He evolves into a different person when he is forced to adapt to a situation that is disturbingly strange and he manages to hold it together better then I could’ve at his age. Many reviews seem to be bothered by the fact that Joey didn’t seek out any sort of outside help (regarding the bullying) but I understood his tendency to endure and deal with it all himself. It’s hard to read though and probably isn’t a book for everyone.
I thought the underlying storyline was unique. It blends the nightmare of high school with the real life horror that awaits Joey when he arrives at his dad’s shack and learns his secrets. It’s about humanity, impulse, wanting to belong and to be loved and accepted while being forced to hide in the shadows and shun society. There is an odd cast of characters inhabiting the pages; outsiders by choice, some mentally unstable, and some on the edge of insanity. It was fascinating reading about these people. The end goes a bit too over the top suspense-wise for my liking with a big storm of the century adding tension to an already tense confrontation. But that’s just me. I don’t care for action scenes overmuch. Despite those minor nitpicks, this is an audiobook worth picking up if you don’t mind reading about some things that might turn your stomach a bit.
Can you believe this nonsense?! Can someone get these authors a box of diapers and a binky to suck on?
This is going to be a bit of a rant.
Some "authors" claim they are being bullied by reviewers and started a petition to Goodreads to put a stop to it.
Stop laughing, I'm serious. It's here:
I would like to start a petition for readers who have their name listed,( on a site that shall not be named), as a bully, for NO good reason, with no proof.
I would like to start a petition preventing independent authors from leaving comments badmouthing reviewers whenever they get a bad review.
I would like to start a petition to stop authors from asking readers to POINT OUT exactly where they made mistakes mentioned in a review. (Get your own beta readers to point them out to you. Do NOT ask a reader/reviewer to prove to you that you messed up.)
Unless Goodreads can stop the things I have listed above, this petition should not even be considered by any lover of books. It's laughable. It's a joke.
/end of rant
I fear this may be an ongoing and never-ending series. . .
I am the author from Ukraine.
Recently I have published my book on Amazon.
I ask You to buy my book (*Amazon book link deleted)
I need your help...
Please support the young author.
WTF people, why do I get shit like this on a daily basis? I am not wealthy. I do not have endless free time on my hands. I have NO SYMPATHY FOR ENTITLED YOUNG AUTHORS or OLD AUTHORS or PURPLE AUTHORS who send out this kind of email. All of my sympathy dried up long ago. Make your own way in the world young one, toughen up and support YOURSELF by writing something worth buying. You know what I ask? I ask for someone to support Me! I'm a good person (most of the time) and I really dislike having to drag my ass out of bed each morning to go to work so I can feed myself, my pets and my family and buy a few books to read each night before passing out from exhaustion. Do you think you can help me?
*I have deleted the author info. to spare them their dignity. See, I am a nice person!
Looking for the perfect blend of sweet and spicy? Then do I ever have a recommendation for you.
It was just supposed to be another hookup for wealthy workaholic Malcolm. He needed to blow off steam after a stressful week and what better way to do it than having some no-strings sex with a willing submissive? When his date doesn’t show up at the bar on time he refuses to wait and instead sets his sights on a cute vacationing American who has been eyeing him.
Malcolm enjoys being in control and during his first conversation with cute but too chatty Owen he lets him know exactly what the score is.
“You talk too much. I’d love to see you gagged.”
Whoa! How’s that for a come on line?
Owen’s on vacation in London to see the sights with his ex-girlfriend. They’re just there as friends and she’s ditched him to get some action. This is how he ends up wandering into the vaguely sleazy pub all by his lonesome. He’s bi-sexual and looking for a good time but he has his misgivings about the gorgeous but too arrogant stranger.
“When his mother had talked about having an adventure, she probably hadn’t meant find a random British psychopath and get gagged, tied and dismembered.”
Owen lets lust and his sense of adventure override commonsense and he leaves with bossy Malcolm. They spend the night having a kinky fun-filled time and boy is it well written. Malcolm attempts to play the role he is so very good at but soon realizes that Owen doesn’t play by the rules. Malcolm even loses control, something he never does, and he enjoys it far more than he’s willing to admit aloud. The next morning neither guy really wants to say goodbye just yet so they don’t. One night turns into a few days and as the guys start to get know each other out of bed cool, always in control Malcolm finds himself getting attached to his sweet, sexy new lover. But eventually Owen must return to his real life.
Owen is such a super nice guy written with a wicked sense of humor and sarcasm that I loved him from the beginning. He’s also not a pushover and was the perfect match for someone like Malcolm. Honestly though, Malcolm is a character I would typically dislike a whole helluva lot just because I have a thing against wealthy, yuppie asshats who are all “jaded and cold” just because they can be but he’s not really this guy at all. He has so many small moments that prove otherwise that I didn’t want to smack him for too long. Owen saw through him quickly so it wasn’t an issue anyway. Only with Owen could Malcolm relax and truly be himself and damn if that didn’t melt my own cold heart. Still, in the end, I never quite understood why Malcolm felt the need to act the big bad asshole to the world at large but I’m sure there is a story behind it somewhere and I would love to read it.
Country Mouse really surprised me. After reading Dark Soul by Aleksandr Voinov and Keeping Promises Rock and Chase In Shadow (holy hell just thinking about that book makes my heart weep) by Amy Lane I was all geared up for some crushing angst, or at the very least a little dangerous violence-laden sex, but instead I found a tender and often amusing story about two guys finding love with only a little bit of butt smacking and a whole lot of scorching sex. Not that I’m complaining! If you’re looking for a lovely read about two guys getting to know each other in and out of bed without any drama, fighting, jealousy or other angsty-ness I can easily recommend adding this one to your reading list. I loved it and that’s saying a lot seeing as it lacks the darkness I’m typically drawn to.
John desperately wants to be a rock star but no matter how many lessons he takes his voice will always be the thing holding his band “Ragman” back from fame and fortune. He knows this and it eats at him but he’s determined to make it big. Making promises he can’t afford to keep, he convinces a beautiful, kick-ass guitarist named Stephanie Case to join his band. Soon after a strange man approaches him, a man who smells bad and seems to know far too much about John and who tempts him into making a deal that gives him the voice of his dreams but at a hellish cost.
You pretty much know where “Voice” is going from the eerie opening chapter but watching it all unfold with a relentless sense of dread in the pit of your stomach is what makes it such a page-turner. But it’s also the well-crafted band dramatics and tricky relationships that also kept me turning the pages. The situations felt genuine and I appreciated the fact that the people here aren’t caricatures when they easily could’ve been. Case, the female guitarist is a tough bitch but as the story develops she struggles to rein in some of the darkest edges of her personality and even makes a friend despite herself and develops into a real, albeit, flawed person. No one is vilified here. Even Gina, Danny’s workaholic unsupportive wife, is given the chance to show an understanding side in a heartbreaking scene with Danny.
The point of view switches, especially in the earlier parts of the story were a bit disconcerting but things smoothed out. The descriptions are vivid and get right to the point:
“He had a voice to match, too—thin, tiny, and scratchy, warbling like an anorexic basset hound.”
“The band laid into something that sounded like a version of the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” that had been knocked down, stomped on, and finally kicked in the head for good measure.”
and my favorite squirm-worthy description:
"John could see the flesh of his neck, maggot-white and pulsing."
There’s a lot of weirdness in “Voice” as Ragman develops a following of the world’s creepiest super fans. But it was never overly brutal or gratuitous even as the death toll and horror escalated. Creepy stuff, I enjoyed it immensely.