Books read in November

Inarticulate by Eden Summers *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Enemies Like You by Annika Martin and Joanna Chambers *Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

Tell Me by Abigail Strom *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Highland Spring by Elizabeth Rose *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Twin Passions by Miriam Minger *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

Chase by Candice Blake  *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

Lachlan by Hazel Hunter *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Locked in Silence by Sloane Kennedy *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Royally Screwed by Emma Chase *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Enemies Like You by Annika Martin and Joanna Chambers
Seriously, if you like m/m romance, read this book.  Don’t read it for the spy theme or the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope.  Read it because it’s unique and hilarious and sweet and easy to read.  A perfect book to get lost in or to lounge by the pool with or to read on a rainy day.  Okay, whenever.  Ha ha!  I enjoyed it, can you tell?  The very beginning had me thinking ‘Wait, is this the book I thought it was?’ and then I was like ‘Oh damn!  That’s different.  Love it!’  From then on, I was in.  Let me know if you read it, and if you do, if you enjoy it!

Twin Passions by Miriam Minger
I didn’t have particularly high expectations of this book, but I did come away with a few grumbles.  If you can believe that a man can’t tell that the stable lad is actually the same lass he’s sleeping with, when the only thing to change is the clothes, then that’s fine.  I had my doubts, but you suspend your disbelief with books like this, don’t you?  I did feel the ‘disguise’ needed a little more substance, but whatever.  The thing that really bugged me was the head hopping – literally different points of view from paragraph to paragraph, and the fact that the author kept referring to things from a character’s point of view that the character couldn’t or didn’t know.  For instance, we’d be in the hero’s point of view, and the author would refer to him calling out to the girl working in the stables, but the hero didn’t know it was a girl and so it should have been referred to as the hero calling out to the boy working in the stables.  That makes sense, right?  I think if the book was written so we stayed in one character’s point of view completely for a whole chapter at a time, the book would be a decent three star and have potential for a fourth.  I think it would be a light, easy read.

 

End of The Year- Book Tag

This tag always weirds me out when I see it pop up, because it seems like something you should do in late December, reviewing your year of books. Instead, it’s more like an ‘Oh shit, the end of the year is coming up, have I read everything I wanted to read this year’ tag. Which is weird again, because are people really that anal about reading books in a particular year? It shouldn’t be that much work. Read what you want to read, when you want to read it.

Anyway, despite all that, I’m doing this tag. Why? Mostly because I just read the perfect book to answer the second question with. Ha ha!

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?
Need is too strong a word, but yes, there are books that I’ve started this year and left unfinished.

Between These Sheets

There is a LOT of sex in this book.  And angst.  Sex and angst.  I needed a break, and haven’t felt the urge to go back to it yet.  I think it’ll end up being a three star read, so it’s not awful, just not enthralling, you know?  58% complete.

Play of Passion (Psy-Changeling, #9)

While I think the Psy Changeling series is brilliant, and Nalini Singh is a fantastic author (and a Kiwi!  I’ve met her and have an autographed copy of the first book in this series), these two characters aren’t grabbing me as much as others in the series have.  I do, however, really want to finish this book, because I want to read others in the series.  This series has a strong story arc, so while each novel tells the romance of one particular couple, they really need to be read in order.  So yep, gotta finish this one.  21% complete.

Hard For My Boss

I couldn’t remember what this one was about (other than being an obvious office romance), and the blurb doesn’t give anything more away, so I opened it up and read a few pages… still nothing.  Ha ha, oops.  Clearly not memorable.  46% complete.

Served (Breaking Free Standalone Book 3)

This was good, but then I felt like they’d resolved the tension, and at that point I kind of gave up on it.  I know from the blurb that there’s more drama and action to come, but it’s frustrating when you get that to point in the book where you could happily say ‘The End’ and yet you’re only… 53% complete.  *facepalm*

Duty Bound

This book is old-fashioned and set in historical America.  I’m not wowed.  I’m leaning towards two stars at the moment.  39% complete.

Charming: A Cinderella Billionaire Story

I enjoyed the beginning of this book, but like Served, I felt like it got to a point and then just…kept going.  Hopefully there’s some more action ahead to gather back some momentum, but right now it feels like I’ve read the good bits and I’m just waiting for the end.  45% complete.

What Goes on Tour (The Texan Quartet #1)

I enjoyed this one, but just felt like a change in pace.  I’ll go back and finish this one, it’s good, but sweet, and I was looking for something a little meatier.  Not that I found it, but that’s why I put it down.  71% complete.

 

 

Do you have a spring book to transition into the end of the year?

This question originally asked for an ‘autumnal book’, but in the Southern Hemisphere, we’re in spring, not autumn.  And see, this is why I had to do this tag:

Highland Spring (Seasons of Fortitude Book 1)

Just finished this one.  I liked the plot, I liked the female lead, but the writing style meant it was never going to be a five star read.  Too much telling instead of showing.  I think the author had some great ideas, but the story didn’t deliver the wow factor that it could have.  And there was some heavy handed foreshadowing too, which made the book entirely predictable.  But still an okay read.  I’m giving it three stars.

 

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Not really, I’m terrible at knowing what books are coming out.  I went and checked out Maya Banks’ page, and saw she has some coming out next year that I’ll get.

Although the last one in the Slow Burn series sucked ass, I’ll still get the next one.  The first three in the series were fantastic, so I’ll give her a second chance to redeem the series.

I wish Maya would write the next one in the Montgomerys and Armstrongs series.  I’ve re-read them multiple times, and there was supposed to be a third book but she hasn’t written it yet.

 

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Ooh, tough call.  Um…  I was thinking about reading the next three in the series after Highland Spring.  Mostly because the plot of the last one in the series intrigues me.  They’re called Summer’s Reign, Autumn’s Touch and Winter’s Flame.

 

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

This one kind of depends on you knowing what you’re going to read, doesn’t it?  Which I don’t.  Well, um…  I guess any of the unfinished ones above could.  Mum’s just bought the Shattered Sisters series by Maggie Shayne, so I’ll probably give that a go.  They could be good.  I’ve got a couple of samples to try out, so maybe Sensing Danger by Wendy Vella or Mr Rich by Virna DePaul…  I guess you’re always hoping the next book is going to be amazing.  I mean, you’d much rather read a five star book than a three star (or worse) book, right?

 

Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?

Nope.   I get daily emails with book recommendations, and when I’m stuck for books, I go through the emails and download a bunch of samples, then I just work my way through the samples, buying the books that catch my interest and deleting the samples that didn’t appeal. That’s pretty much my modus operandi.  There’s not really even a TBR list or pile.  It’s just whatever I feel like, when I feel like it.

Books read in October

Finally got a chance to post this.  Didn’t read as many as I normally do.  Stupid real life getting in the way of escapism and my virtual life.  *roll eyes*

 

Jagged Edge by Jo Raven *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Static by L A Witt *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Hot Head by Damon Suede *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Alpha’s Temptation by Renee Rose  *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Saved by Lorhainne Eckhart *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Force of Law by Jez Morrow *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

 

Tropes

I’ve finally had a chance today to go through my emails today and I’m checking out the books recommended to me by the sites that send me ebook deals.  It made me think about the tropes that I do and don’t like to read.

I should clarify, I read romance novels almost exclusively.  I occasionally read fantasy or science fiction novels, but mostly romance.  Within romance though, I read in a wide variety of sub-genres.  It’s just that I demand my happy ending, and romance is the only genre that will guarantee that for me.

So, tropes.  I’m no expert on tropes, so I Googled some.  Here are the ones I have strong(ish) feelings about:

  • Anti-hero.  Aw, come on, we all love reformed bad boys, right?  😛  My husband was a hard drinking, fast driving, tattooed loud mouth when I met him, who was lucky not to have been behind bars.  Who’d have guessed he was also super sweet and romantic, and very good with babies?  Ha ha!  So yeah, I guess I like these ones.  He’s still tattooed and still loud, by the way.
  • Athlete.  I hate heroes who are sports stars.  Ugh.  No thanks.  It’s worse too when it’s an American sport that I’m totally clueless about.
  • Consanguinity.  No, no, no.  Stepbrothers and stepsisters, stepfathers and stepdaughters (it was this trope that actually led me to write this post in the first place), etc.  No.  No, no, no.  And while I don’t mind menage stories, I hate it when they involves siblings, for the same reason.  Or worse, twins.  Ack.  Nope.
  • Danger.  I’ve seen this written elsewhere on the net as ‘Heroine in danger’ or ‘Heroine needs rescuing’, etc.  It doesn’t matter to me if it’s the hero or the heroine (and I don’t just read m/f books, so gender sterotyping is a bit redundant anyway), but danger definitely adds spice to the mix.  I’ve said before that I don’t care how much torture my characters have to go through, as long as they’re guaranteed a happy ending.  I guess, I like to believe that no matter how hard life gets, it’s all going to work out in the end.  This is the extreme version of that.  Maya Banks does this trope really well, to the point that it’s become a kind of cliche in her books, but that’s beside the point.
    Whispers in the Dark (KGI, #4) Whispers In The Dark was a brilliant example of this trope.  Both the hero and the heroine go through some fairly extreme ordeals over the course of the book, and it’s a fantastic read.
  • Disguise.  I know it’s silly, but I really like the ones where girls dress up as guys and win over the hero as a male first.  I don’t know why I like them.  Maybe because I was a tomboy and often mistaken as a boy even well into my teens (I think I was 17 the last time it happened).
    Morganna (The Brocade Collection Book 4) by [Ivie, Jackie] Morganna by Jackie Ivie is one of the best books I’ve read with this trope, and I especially love how the hero falls for her while still thinking she was a boy.  He is attracted to her while he thought she was a male (and even kisses her, thinking her a man), instead of respecting or befriending her and then being attracted once her gender was revealed.  For a historical romance, that’s pretty cutting edge.  I was very impressed.
  • Fated mates.  This can work really well, but only if the author avoids the instalove pitfall of death.  Ugh.  I hate instalove.  If the match is fated, and they fight it, but eventually realise all the great things about each other and slowly fall for each other despite themselves, it can be a great read.  But no instalove!
  • Impairments.  This is probably very un-PC of me to say, but I love these.  I actually did a Writing.com site newsletter on this topic. Both physical and mental disabilities, so long as the characters are equal.  I read one where I felt the character with the mental disability was not in any way equal to the other main character, and there was a HUGE power disadvantage.  It felt…kind of pedophilic.  Ugh, no thanks.
    The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Mackenzies Series Book 1) by [Ashley, Jennifer]
    Song for Sophia (A Rougemont Novel Book 1) by [Densley, Moriah] The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley and Song For Sophia by Moriah Densley both have great male heroes who have Asperger’s Syndrome.  Both are excellent reads.  I’m sure Cole from Jaime Reese’s A Restored Man is on the spectrum too.  It’s never said, but I think his inability to know what is appropriate for a particular conversation or situation is a good indication.
    Never Seduce a Scot: The Montgomerys and Armstrongs by [Banks, Maya] Moon Craving (A Children of the Moon Novel Book 2) by [Monroe, Lucy] Never Seduce A Scot by Maya Banks features a fantastic heroine who is deaf.  That’s a great book too.  Moon Craving by Lucy Monroe features a deaf heroine as well, and I’ve re-read that book a number of times too.
    Speechless by [Fielding, Kim]Love Comes Silently (Senses Series Book 1) by [Grey, Andrew]Love Comes in Darkness (Senses Series Book 2) by [Grey, Andrew]I’ve read some great m/m books that use this trope too.  Speechless by Kim Fielding features a hero with aphasia which I’ve read multiple times.  And there’s Andrew Grey’s Senses series too which is built around the trope.  It’s starts with Love Comes Silently, with a mute hero, then Love Comes In Darkness, with a blind hero.  I enjoyed both those books (but warning, they’re tear-jerkers).  There are six books in the series, but the first two are my favourites.
  • Military.  I used to really enjoy these, and Maya Banks’ KGI series is a great example of this done well, but having now worked for two ex-military bosses, I no longer see military guys as a romantic ideal.  Nope.  And what’s more, I will no longer be recommending that my son signs up for the military.  The military changes you, and now I think it’s not for the better.
  • Second chances.  I’m not a fan of this one.  If it didn’t work out the first time, it wasn’t meant to be.  Not to say it can’t be done well, but you’ll have to have something really special to tempt me.
  • Time travel.  I’ve read books where this trope has been done really well, and I’ve really enjoyed them, but I’m always leery of them.  It’s so easy to turn this into a sad ‘been there, done that, got the t shirt’ cliche.
  • Ugly duckling.  I really enjoy these ones, regardless of which character is the ugly duckling and why.  Probably I enjoy them because I have pretty low self-esteem when it comes to my physical appearance, but never mind.

What are some tropes that you like or dislike?  They don’t have to be romance ones.

Books read in September

When You Dare by Lori Foster *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Savor the Danger by Lori Foster (audible version)  *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Ghost by J M Dabney *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Joker by J M Dabney *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Head Hunter by Alexis Angel *Star**Starw**Starw**Starw**Starw*

Found at the Bookstore by Christi Snow *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Rule Breaker by Lily Morton *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Grasp by E Davies *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Family Man by Devyn Morgan *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

All the Way Home by Devyn Morgan *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Friendly Fire by Cari Z *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Pegasus in Flight by Anne McCaffrey *Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

What Chris Wants by Lori Foster *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

An interview with author Phil Taylor

Do you think humour differs significantly between countries or cultural groups?
There are definitely differences. The Americans are much funnier than the Brits. No, I’m just kidding. I love my blogging friends from the U.K. and I laugh at their posts all the time. I don’t know if the differences between cultures or countries are significant, but I think there are some. I like the differences though because they teach me different ways to use humour in my writing.

Are there niche humour groups, and if so, which one do you belong to?
I’m sure there are niche humour groups, but I don’t pretend to know them all. I’m sure that if you Google some stuff that you don’t want in your search history you can find some very niche humour groups. If I do belong to a niche group, I think it’s deadpan sarcasm.

You’ve been blogging since 2005. How has your blog changed over time?
My blog has definitely changed over time. For instance, now sometimes people read it. I’m more structured now and I definitely put more time and effort into it as my audience has grown larger. When my blog was in its first few years, I definitely took more chances with my humour and what I posted more closely approximated my humour in real life. Now I try to write for a broader audience.

How much do you consider your audience when creating posts? Do you write for the audience, or for yourself?
First and foremost, I write for myself. I write what I enjoy. For my audience, I try to write to make people laugh. When there is a big headline tragedy in the world I try to write something funny completely unrelated, so that, if even for a few minutes, it takes people’s minds away.

Are there rules for blogging? Should there be?
Yes. Rule #1, if you’re reading this, you must subscribe to my blog. Other than that, I don’t believe there should be rules. In general, I don’t think that rules are necessary. The blogging world is a very Darwinism kind of place. If people don’t like your blog content, they won’t read it.

Other than those in the comedy genre, what kind of blogs and books do you enjoy reading?
I like horror and suspense. Stephen King and Dean Koontz are two of my favorites. I also like sociology based books like those written by Malcolm Gladwell.

What did you do to celebrate the release of your first book, White Picket Prisons?
White Picket Prisons by [Taylor, Phil]
I didn’t really do anything. To be honest, everyday felt like a celebration because people I knew and strangers from all over the world were contacting me by social media and telling me that they enjoyed my book. That’s the best part of any book for me, not the writing or creating, but just talking with people.

Has the writing process changed significantly between your first book and your most recent one?
Absolutely! When I wrote the first book I imagined it as a stand-alone and I didn’t know if I’d ever write another. Now, when I imagine a story, I think about all the possibilities going forward not only for the story I’m writing but for the characters after the current story.

Tell us about your latest work, Time to Lie.
Time to Lie (Landon Bridges' Story Book 1) by [Taylor, Phil]
Time to Lie is a new twist on the time travel genre, not only in how the time travel is accomplished but how Landon decides to use it. Also, the time travel isn’t the star of the story. Landon’s growth as a person is actually the story.

“Landon, c’mon! Hurry up!”
Idiots, I said to myself. I slammed the door behind me and ran. My footsteps pounding down the hallway echoed off the aged tile floors and painted cinder block. Without slowing down, I pushed open the swinging door at the end of the corridor with my outstretched hands. I didn’t worry about anyone’s safety – just barreled through the door, banging it against the wall. My feet skittered a little as I tried to turn on a dime. When I faced the elevator, my eyes met hers for just a split second before the doors closed, severing our all-too-brief gaze. Maybe it was my imagination, but I swear I saw her pupils begin to dilate and the corner of her mouth turn upward before the spell was broken. I stood there, breathing heavily. Somewhere – I think it was Twitter – I read, the first kiss is not with the lips, but with the eyes. If that was the case, I was pretty sure my eyes just tried to make out with her, with tongue.
Time to Lie by Phil Taylor

The new book is noted as ‘Landon Bridges’ Story Book 1′ – how many books do you envisage the series being?
I haven’t envisioned an end point to the story. The medium of time travel opens up a lot of possibilities. As long as people enjoy Landon and his friends, I’ll keep writing more stories.

What made you decide to mix horror with humour?
I flipped a coin and it came up heads for humour. No, just kidding. It wasn’t a decision to mix in humour. Humour is part of who I am and I don’t think I could write about anything without mixing in humour. I wrote Landon as a character I would be friends with if I knew him in real life.

Have you got a bottle of something special set aside for when you receive the call about the Thurber Prize?
Aaah! The Thurber Prize! That would be the ultimate. Forget the Pulitzer, I want the Thurber Prize for American Humor. I haven’t planned the celebration yet. I’ll do that when I get nominated. Trust me, it will be a big celebration involving a champagne, a ballroom in New York City, all my blog subscribers, The Rock, and a fair amount of exotic animals.

You can find out more about Phil at these sites:
The Phil Factor
Amazon
Facebook
Twitter

Book lover’s tag

I found this little quiz over at Watching the Daisies.

Do you have a specific place for writing?
If I’m writing on my laptop, I’m usually sitting in my recliner armchair with my feet up.  If I’m handwriting, I’m usually at the kitchen table.

Book mark or random pieces of paper?
I actually collect bookmarks, but rarely use them.  If I’m reading a hardcover book, or an old book that’s fragile, I’ll take the time to find and use a bookmark, but with a paperback I usually just fold down the corner of the page.
My favourite bookmarks are the leather ones you can buy at historical sites in the UK.  Loved buying one at each special place we visited!

Can you stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter?
Honestly, I struggle to stop even at the end of chapter, would rather just go until the end of the book, but stopping midway down a page or midway through a chapter would really bug me.

Do you eat or drink whilst reading?
If I’m hungry or thirsty, sure.

Music or TV whilst reading?
Doesn’t matter, I’d tune it out anyway.  🙂  My husband often points out that he’s had a conversation with me and I’ve not heard a word of it.  Oops!

One book at a time or several?
If I’m reading more than one book, it’s usually because one has bored me.  I prefer to read one at a time and finish it before starting the next one.  Sometimes I go back and finish (or try to) the one that bored me, sometimes they never get read.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?
I’ll read anywhere, but my favourite place is curled up in bed.

Read out loud or silently?
Definitely silently.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?
I’ve been known to skip pages on a re-read, or if a sex scene is overly drawn out, but usually I just read cover to cover.

Break the spine or keep it like new?
How do you read a book and keep it like new?  A book is there to be enjoyed.  Just read it.  This is like people who buy perfume for ‘a special occasion’ and then never wear it.  I don’t get it.  Live in the now, people!  Ha ha!

Do you write in your book?
Only if it’s a non-fiction, like a textbook or cookbook.  I do write inscriptions when I’m gifting books, especially to children.

What books are you reading now?

Product DetailsProduct Details
Right now I’m re-reading Lori Foster’s Edge of Honor series.  It’s been ages since I read it, and I was talking to my mum about it as she’s just started it, and it inspired me to re-read it.  I’ve read When You Dare, and now I’m reading Trace of Fever and listening to Savor The Danger on Audible.  I’m looking forward to reading A Perfect Storm again.

Favourite childhood book?
Product Details Um…  I’m not sure.  I don’t really remember much about the books I read as a kid.  I read all the time, so it was rare for a book to stand out.  The first books to really stay in my memory were Anne McCaffrey’s Brainship series and her Talent series.  Man, it’s been a long time since I read those books.  I was thinking of them recently, actually.  I must re-read Pegasus in Flight.  I loved that book.

All time favourite book?
Product DetailsProduct Details
 
It’s impossible to pick one, of course, but the book I’ve re-read the most is Morganna by Jackie Ivie.  In recent times, I’ve fallen in love with A Restored Man by Jaime Reese.

Nominating some others to complete this quiz (if they haven’t done so already):
Rachel Peck
Jessica Cauthon
Parichita Singh
Angela at Books and Opinions
Reb Kreyling
Christina Weaver