Bark's Book Nonsense

I read the good, the awful & all of the "meh" in the middle. Mostly horror & romance of all kinds.

Buy Me by Alexa Riley

BUY ME *Cortez Brothers* (Mistress Auctions Book 1) - Alexa Riley, Mayhem Cover Creations, Aquila Editing

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 by Stefan Kiesbye

Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone: A Novel - Stefan Kiesbye

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.

Reading progress update: Disc 1 - starting out right

Forbidden Love - Karen Robards

“I will do as I please and YOU will do as I please.”



This is an oldie and I doubt it will be a goodie but I’m listening to it anyway. It's read by a guy with a snooty accent that suits the "hero" perfectly. 

Hunger Aroused by Dee Carney

Hunger Aroused (Vampire Hunger #1) - Dee Carney

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.

Spirit Marked (Yaoi)

Spirit Marked (Yaoi) - Colter Hillman, Yishan Li

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 :(



Reblogged from Hol:

Riding Red by Alexa Riley

Riding Red - Alexa Riley

Well, it's no Trailer Park Virgin I'm sad to report. I thought it was extremely meh but people seem to love it, so what do I know? It takes forever and ten days to get going and when it does, it's just eh, is that all?



I'm not a fan of the "fated to f*ck, eh, love you and only you forevermore" plot device anyway. Even if I were a fan, this wasn't a good one, if you ask me. Too many words, too much sickly "sweets" talk (gag me), and a hero who is all snarly and grumpy. It wasn't romantic, or sexy or even vaguely interesting to me. It just made me a little grumpier and I had to walk away without reading all of the unrelated "extra" material that filled out half of the content pages. Grrrr.



Dogtripping by David Rosenfelt

Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure (Audiocd) - Jeff Steitzer, David Rosenfelt

This is gif heavy and I apologize. My brain is full and I can't string a sentence together this month.


I love dogs, especially goldens. They are such smart, sweet, happy go-lucky creatures.



But author David Rosenfelt and his wife might have developed a little dog obsession. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Especially when you’re as kind hearted and generous as the Rosenfelt’s. When David’s wife retired, instead of sipping martinis by the pool or spending their time golfing or some other cliché retirement thing, they took up rescuing old and unwanted golden retrievers and a few other mixed breeds that had fallen on hard times. Many husbands fear their wives walking into a mall and blowing the budget, this guy feared his wife’s visits to the shelter. She could never leave without bringing a few more home




One day they woke up and a few dogs had turned into, well, a whole heck of a lot of dogs (I think it was 50+ at one point!). But they wouldn’t have it any other way. These people are devoted and I enjoyed reading every moment of their story. This is some of their pack.



Be warned. If you read this you can’t ever unread it. If you someday end up spending all of your retirement savings on doggie food and vet bills and water for hosing off your poopy shoes, you’ll have to get in line behind me.



When the couple decides to relocate from California to Maine, they soon realize that it’s not going to be as simple as loading up one vehicle and taking a road trip. Flying was out of the question. At this time they have twenty-five mostly elderly dogs that spend their time sleeping, barking, eating and pooping. Twenty-five! Can you imagine? They end up renting three RV’s and are fortunate to have a crew of crazy adventurous people volunteer to take the trip with them. Yes, these people actually VOLUNTEERED. There really are people out there in the world like this and they give me hope.


Their story is full of the ups and downs of a life filled with dogs. Interspersed within the telling of the epic cross-country trip to Maine, Rosenfeld tells the stories of many of the dogs that have been a part of their lives and, of course, there are moments . . .




But Rosenfeld has a way with the words and a great wry sense of humor that never allows one to wallow in the grief for very long. I was sad when it ended because it ended. I think I could’ve listened to this book forever.


Very highly recommend. Especially you’re having one of those days when you fear for humanity.

Night Shadow by Cherry Adair

Night Shadow - Cherry Adair

GR Cleanup Originally Read in 2010


I'm quitting this one for several reasons:

1. It's boring. I was cleaning up the doggie droppings in the yard and found my mind drifting. If a book can't hold my attention when I'm doing that chore something is seriously wrong.

2. The heroine is a rookie who "forgets" to wear her safety gear on her 1st mission out. Seriously? I'm supposed to believe this? And, yep, you guessed it she gets shot. Not to worry though she's ok (figures).

3. It's #15 in a series and what I've read so far does not make me want to torment myself by reading 14 of these things to play catch up. Good lord people, 14 of them!

4. Hero and heroine have names that are so similar I don't know who the hell is who in this audio. And their last names are the same. And no, this isn't some backwoods horror/love story where they create two headed babies either. They're not even related. What are the odds?

5. I have no patience and this books requires lots.


Daddy Love by Joyce Carol Oates

Daddy Love - Joyce Carol Oates

I picked this audiobook up blind at a local library sale because I recognized the author name and, well, I’m not one to leave a cheap audio sitting on the sale table. Maybe this experience will teach me because right about now I’m feeling like I’ve been punched in the heart.

For those who remain unaware, as I was, and would like to remain that way, you may not want to read any further (though I don’t at all recommend this unless you want to send yourself into a debilitating state of depression). I thought I was tough enough to handle anything. Turns out I was not.

This book is about child abduction and does not flinch away from the pain, brainwashing, torture and tragedy inflicted on an innocent five year old for six years by a man who is a monster posing as a preacher. It’s also about the fallout that emotionally ruins the boys’ parents, who at the beginning of the story are deeply in love and very happy, but slowly begin to drift apart from the despair.

If you are feeling just a wee bit too happy with your life and want to tone it down, oh about a zillion notches, this story will do the trick. It is awful. Not the writing but the subject matter. I can almost guarantee that when you finish, you’ll feel worse than this:

I think I am traumatized. I honestly do not know how to rate this story. Devastating things happen in it that will haunt me forever but the writing and the emotions it evokes force me to give it a four and ½ but I can’t really recommend it. If you have children, dogs or a heart you may want to steer clear of it.

Reading progress update: I've read 30%.

Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure (Audiocd) - Jeff Steitzer, David Rosenfelt

These people are nuttier than me!  


I'm listening to this on audio and, if you're a dog lover, highly recommend what I've read so far. It's funny and heart-warming and restores my faith in humankind just a wee bit.



I am missing my books and talking about books so much. I have zero spare time but will be back soon(ish). I hope you're all well. Please don't unfriend me during this forced hiatus :(

The Lucid Dreaming by Lisa Morton

The Lucid Dreaming - Lisa Morton

GR Cleanup Originally Read in 2010


Spike is a 20 something violent paranoid schizophrenic who was locked away when she forgot to take her meds and went a little crazy with a knife on a homeless man. Her life consists of living in a medication muted haze surrounded by other various levels of disturbed folks. Recently her predictable world has been interrupted with an increased number of inmates and the place is getting terribly crowded. One day things are ominously quiet, her favorite nurse never arrives with her meals or meds and she ventures out to find blood smeared walls and to discover that the world has indeed gone crazy. She stockpiles her drugs to retain her sanity and fears she may be the only one immune to the “dream” epidemic.

This is a unique take on the apocalypse. People are dreaming when they’re awake and doing terrible things and you don’t have your typical cast of heroes. Spike is mentally unstable without her drugs, with them she’s a bit off kilter but not as dangerous. She hooks up with a hunk suffering from the dream sickness but she likes him because he has sweet dreams and he seems to like her too, even during his few moments of lucidity so she takes care of him. Danger looms, however, when Spike has a run-in with a band of baddies (and there’s always a group of baddies in a book like this) who are using people as slaves and/or breeders to continue on their quest to rule the new planet.

This was a well written little story that held my attention all the way through. It wasn’t overly gory, just purely entertaining mainly because of Spike’s observations. Sure, there were unanswered questions, and I’d love to read an expanded version of this story someday, but I enjoyed it for the tightly written little novella that it was.

It's 11:20 PM and I just finished working for the day.



I will return to you all in a few week with any luck. I have had no time to read or review or eat or think about anything but numbers.  

Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

Exclusively Yours - Shannon Stacey

GR Cleanup Originally Read in 2010


Joseph Kowalski and Keri Daniels were high school sweethearts but Keri left Joe broken hearted in order to chase her dreams. Now 18 years later, he’s a reclusive best-selling author and she’s a reporter for an entertainment magazine whose editor has just discovered her past relationship with Joe and demands she get the scoop on the guy. If she refuses she’ll risk losing her job and any chance of moving up a rung or two on the ladder. Keri’s worked hard to get to where she is and leaves behind sunny California to travel to the small New Hampshire town where she lost her virginity to a boy named Joe in the back of a 78 Ford Granada to the sounds of Whitesnake.

Said boy, now all grown and super sexy, talks her into joining him and his large extended family (he is single, without kids) on a two week vacation camping in the deep woods of New Hampshire without cell phones (no texting for help!), computers, or luxury bathrooms. Keri is appalled, especially when she learns she’ll be sharing a cabin with still hot Joe, but agrees for the sake of her career. The premise is too, too cute. Living in New Hampshire and coming of age in the 80’s (to the dulcet sounds of Whitesnake, Poison and Ratt -- remember them?) this book really resonated with me on a nostalgic level. The author got the feel of NH camping down pat and reminded me of all the reasons why I haven’t done it in a decade or so. Joe is a fabulously warm and lovable hero with a realistically messed up family who you’ll probably love and despise in equal measure. This book is as much a reunion romance as it is a tear-inducing family drama-edy. Keri and her unending quest to be someone other than a “mom”, “girlfriend” or a “wife” is where things fell flat for me. Personally, I can’t connect with a woman so hung up on her career that she’d leave her true love in the dust. But that’s just me, I married my high school sweetheart and we’ve been together since ’87 so I’m lucky and probably pretty biased.

Despite Keri, and her obsession with being “Keri, an important someone” I enjoyed this book a lot. When Joe and Keri reunite the sparks fly and they’re both forced to face their past mistakes and figure out a way to get along without losing their hearts all over again. Joe was devastated and made some poor choices when Keri left him the first time and all that heartache, angst and pain must be dealt with before they can move on. It’ll all bring a tear to your eyes, I swear it. The plot isn’t anything terribly exciting but it felt very real and honest and I will definitely check out what this author is up to next.

Currently reading

Forbidden Love by Karen Robards
The Sadist's Bible by Nicole Cushing
X-Files Classics Vol. 1 by Sam Shearon, Charles Adlard, Stefan Petrucha
Progress: 25/100pages
Lessons from Tara: Life Advice from the World's Most Brilliant Dog by David Rosenfelt
Lovely Little Liar by Inc. ABCD Graphics and Design, Marcie Clyde, Patty Devlin
A Bed of Spices by Barbara Samuel
Woodland Knits: over 20 enchanting patterns by Stephanie Dosen