Bea's Reading Den

I love to read romances, any kind!  Check out my blog over at beawriting.com for detailed reviews and such.  I am checking this out from goodreads...

Reading progress update: I've read 10.

Training Season - Leta Blake

So far I am really enjoying this book.

Book Review: Fish and Ghosts by Rhys Ford

 

This is an advance reader copy given to me by the author for an honest review.  As with all of my review, these are my own opinions.

 

To be fair, I have loved almost every book I have read by Rhys Ford.  There is something about how she describes a scene, a place, or a character.  Some of my past reviews of her books are found here: Black Dog Blues or Dirty Secret.

 

Basic Plot:

 

Tristan Pryce has a history of being thought odd and crazy by his family.  Now his family thinks Tristan has gone over the edge and they have called in professionals — ghost hunters!

 

Wolf Kincaid is a skeptic ghost hunter with a past.  He and his team journey to Hoxne Grange in response to Tristan’s family in proving that the haunting is all in Tristan’s mind.  But what both men find is more than ghosts, and perhaps a new future.

 

Wolf Kincaid:

 

Wolf is our alpha male.  He is passionate in his job and he has the adoration of his family.  I loved how Ford describes him:

 

 

And if he had a chance, he’d go back in time and kick the shit out of its builders too.  

 

At a little over six feet, he should have had more space to walk around in the upper floors’ hallways.  Instead, he felt like Alice after she had too many frosted cakes.  His elbows hurt from banging into the walls, and the household staff wouldn’t have to dust for cobwebs because Wolf was pretty sure he’d walked through all of the ones in the attic storerooms.

 

 

This quote hits perfectly because it describes both Wolf’s physicality but also his humor.  One of the best things about Ford’s writing is her sense of humor and Wolf embodies this.

 

There is a lot of back story for Wolf, mostly revolving around his family.  I would write about it here, but I fear that it would hamper his mystery and part of the plot.  So just know that his character goes from a repressed work focused man to fully appreciate his family, culture, and need for love.

 

Tristan Pryce:

 

I actually adore how Wolf describes Tristan:

 

Hell, Wolf thought, he probably was the one in the case and Tristan was the one setting him free.

 

Staring up the length of Tristan’s long, slender body, Wolf was caught by the man’s hooded gaze.  The duality of Tristan’s soul lay bare on his face, a delicate, pure innocence striated with a weary, tattered wisdom Wolf wanted to patch together with kisses.

 

His description captures Tristan’s character.  He is comfortable with the role of caretaker for the manor and the ghosts, as taught by his uncle Mortimer.  Now, he hides from life and the living by taking care of the dead.  Wolf sees how this affected Tristan’s life.

 

Strong Points:

 

As always, the strongest point of Ford’s writing are her descriptions.  She is an artist with words, painting a picture that is vivid enough for a movie.  There is a scene later on that is so macabre that it reminds me of something out of Stephen King’sThe Shinning:

 

 

The already dead lay about the fringes of the grand hall, caught in the throes of either their previous demise or the one newly created by their murderer.  To the left of them a rotund man wobbled on his bloated stomach, his torso stripped of a shirt.  Something was trying to work its way out of his body, stretching the man’s mottled skin along his ribs and distorting the man’s already deformed body.  His face was slack, and his tongue lolled back and forth as his body rocked from its parasite’s efforts to break free.

 

“Shittiest version of a black cat clock I’ve ever seen,”  Wolf joked to ease the tension he saw building up in Tristan’s slender body.

 

 

In the past series, Ford’s focus was on suspense.  One of her hallmarks is an explosive beginning like a Bourne movie intro.  This book is no different, but while there is mystery and suspense, Ford captured the creepy horror aspect perfectly!  I actually kept interrupting my husband while he watched TV to read quotes from the book.  This hardly ever happens when I read any of my romance books.

 

The other aspect I love about her writing? The humor.

 

Glass cherries dangled from her lobes, a row of four in each ear, and they chimed when she moved her head.  While they matched the printed cherries on her button-up shirt, Wolf thought it looked like she’d lost a fight with a fruit salad.

 

 

What could be better?

 

In all honesty, there is very little that I would change about this book.  This section is where I determine if a book is a 4 star or 5.  In this case, it screams 5 stars.  In her other series, culture is a focus, especially Asian cultures, and while this gives the novels depth and uniqueness, it began to feel repetitive.  With this novel, however Ford takes that skill as a researcher and we learn a lot of ghost hunting!  I am actually interested in knowing if any of the technology descriptions are accurate in how modern ghost hunters operate.

 

Conclusions:

 

There were too many quotes that I marked for this review, which is a fantastic sign!  This is probably my favorite book of Rhys Ford.  I have always loved her suspense, but I found not just action, not just sexy love scenes, but a novel of substance.  

 

This book allowed me see that Ford has more variety in writing style, and this novel demonstrates her growth.  I think that if you liked her other novels, then you will like this no less.  So, if you are a fan, get ready to love this book, and if you are new to the author you will certainly love the story.

 

Bea

So, I was supposed to do a blog post about...

…. I have so many books for Advance Copy Readers, but I was blown away by this fan fiction Sterek last night (finally put the book down at 3:30am last night).  I just finished it, and let me just say that I was emotionally distraught while I read it, it was that well written.

 

So, this weekend, that is what the blogpost will be. Such an amazing book!

Hide of A Life War

Hide Of A Life War - Etharei

This is one of my favs because we get to see Stiles be Bad-Ass.  Which is something as a human, he would have picked up some tricks and skills as time went along.

 

Very nice different perspective.  Note that it is short and I do skim the flash back scenes on re-reads.

Cry Havoc by Ladyblahblah

Cry Havoc - ladyblahblah

This is one of my favorite Sterek fan fiction.

 

The Summary:

 

In Beacon Hills, the two-year war that’s been raging between werewolves and hunters has begun spilling over onto the civilian population. Meanwhile, in Boston, when the tattoo on Stiles Stilinski’s back is damaged on a late-night hunt he begins to have dreams that lead him across the country, drawn by an inexplicable conviction that he’s needed there. When he discovers that Derek Hale began the war after his mate was killed, Stiles finds himself being offered a strange deal: figure out how to bring the alpha's mate back, and peace talks can begin.

 

What is best about this book is how it takes established plot points and then expands it with new characters and new plots.  The romance is slow (mostly as we see afterwards and flashbacks.

 

A must read.

9 Beautiful Bookshelves of Questionable Functionality

Reblogged from MandyM:

Add Books Manually & Add Missing Book Covers

Reblogged from BookLikes:

New BooksTwo "Add" functions are available on BookLikes from today:  add books manually and add book covers.

 

From now on it doesn’t matter if you want to shelve unpublished books or self-published or from a local bookstore, now you can put on your Shelf all books ever existed. It’s called manual book adding. We have it online!

 

If you don’t find a desirable book in a search box you can easily ‘create’ a book from the scratch.

 

 

Click on “Add new book” after no results were found and fill up the necessary information of Book Title, Book Author, Book Cover, Book Description and ISBN. Click “Add Book” and add it to you bookshelf or create a post.

 

 

Second “add” function is about missing book covers. If some books on your Shelf lack covers, you can add them manually too. Click on a green book (no cover) and ‘Add cover' underneath it. Then choose image from your computer and voila. The book looks perfect with cover of your choice!

 

 

So what book will you add first?

The Boy and the Beast by Dira Sudis

The Boy and the Beast - Dira Sudis

This is perhaps, my very favorite Sterek fanfiction.

 

The Summary:

 

In which events in Beacon Hills go rather differently from the start, and a Beauty and the Beast (ish) story ensues. (Scott is not a teacup and no one sings about their feelings.)

 

 

What I loved most about this book is that it has such a slow build.  It starts off with Stiles getting into trouble at the old Hale House and Derek coming to his rescue.

 

 

The best part of this is that the characters are still true to the show, yet we have a completely new plot.  So many times in Sterek fan fictions while the stories are original, they really end up just being smut with no logic or plot.  But this is actually a very good, very original strong story.

 

Source: http://archiveofourown.org/works/751583/chapters/1403203

Strength Thy Name Is Family

Strength Thy Name Is Family - ShiningOmicron

Overall, I love this Sterek Fanfiction.  It has magical Stiles, which is always interesting.  The only problem is the at time sophomoric writing where plots are magically twisted and corrected.

 

Overall, it is one of my favorite Sterek fics and plenty long at 123,581 words.

Source: http://archiveofourown.org/works/606399

I wonder....

I wonder if I could upload my fan fic books here?  

Book Review: Illumination by Rowan Speedwell

 

Recently, I feel like I have read book after book and just never getting anything worth while to focus on in a review.  In away, that’s why I have struggled with this blog in the last month.  Well, that and moving to another state!

But then I cam across Rowan Speedwell’s Illumination.

 

Basic Plot:

We have Adam Craig, a musician who is tired, both mentally and physically.  What used to energize and bring him a high becomes dulled and his recreational highs are becoming too much.  One night, he drunkenly finds himself on a porch — owned by one Miles Caldwell.  Miles is a recluse, but he is strangely drawn to Adam.  As their relationship heats up, is it even possible for them to find a future, or is it better to walk away?

 

Adam Craig:

When we first meet Adam, it is clear that he is living the rock-star life style.  Lots of alcohol and lots of drugs, while we do not really get a “choir-boy” feel for him, we are sympathetic of his pain.

 

 

We see a man who understands he needs to stop, but doesn’t know how to and doesn’t have the support to be able to do so.

 

Miles Caldwell:

Miles’s character development is substantial, but difficult to discuss here because it is intrinsic to the plot.  We first meet him at his lake house, hiding out on his property without having left it in years.  There are reasons for it and his history is disclosed as it unfolds.

 

The eyes that stared at him, still wide with shock, were gold.  Not brown, not hazel, not even amber, but gold.  Gold like the 23K stuff he used for gilding.  Gold as Cennini.  ”Where am I?”

“My chaise,” Miles snapped.  ”My patio, my lake.  You’re fucking trespassing dude, and you need to get your ass gone.”

 

We see him in the beginning as a grumpy agoraphobic gus, but with more and more interactions with Adam he finds that his current lifestyle is not enough.

 

Theme Summary:

I could point out several themes in this novel, and they revolve around the title, Illumination.  In the most obvious theme, their meeting brings light into their lives and it becomes Illuminating to their lives.  But Mile’s work, recreating Illuminations, is also played on.  He describes their meaning:

 

Miles waved his hand dismissively.  ”That’s not the point.  The complexity of the design was perceived by the ancient monks who drew it as a way to describe the glory of God as a reflection of the complexity of life.  That and there really wasn’t much else to do in an Irish monastery in the eighth or ninth century.  The point is that it’s twisty and complicated and doesn’t really make rational sense.”

 

 

He then goes on to describe Visconti Hours Renaissance Italian:

 

 

“Look at the bright colors, the beautiful artwork, the florals, the animals and birds and how fucking gorgeous this thing is?  It’s complex, but understandable.  Relatable.  The colors, the gold- God, Dougie, this is fucking amazingly beautiful.  You can see this, understand this, appreciate this.  This- this is Adam.”

 

So, what I got out of this is that Miles was like the monks of the past, living isolated, studying and replicating something intricate and detailed, but there is no emotional connection there.  And then Adam walks into his life and now he sees these things in color and details.  He yearns to be able to stay with this embellishment of the heart, but he is frightened to do so.

 

I believe that was what Rowan Speedwell wanted the reader to understand.  There is more here in relationship to Mile’s work and art, but to discuss this topic further would spoil some of the plot.

 

Strong Points:

I enjoyed the humor in the book.  We deal with serious topics like family death, drug use, physical and psychological damage, so sometimes we need a little giggle.

 

“I think I woke up in The Twilight Zone.”  ”Could be worse,” Miles said, “you could have woken up in The Twilight Saga.

 

And well, anytime I get a Douglas Adams reference, my heart is happy:

 

They lay still and silent a long moment, then Miles raised his head and said blankly, “Forty-two?”  ”The Answer,” Adam murmured.

 

What could be better?

I really can not think of anything major that I would change about this book.  The characters are not perfect, they both make mistakes, so if you are looking for perfect characters with a sweet romp, this is not for you.

 

Conclusions:

I love any romance that has musicians.  Because I have come from a family of musician, when an author gets how to hear and write music and THEY GET IT, then it just makes my enjoyment of the book even more.  This book had a theme and storyline that I could identify with, which moved me and had tears falling toward the end.  There were times when I wanted to say, “just forget it, it’s too hard!”  But both of these characters did keep trying and their effort is worth it.

 

Book Review: My Hero by Max Vos

 

 

You’ve heard of the theme:  ”Gay-For-You”.  The negative side being that it’s unrealistic and tropey and not a realistic view of gay relationships.  The other perspective is that it can often be a sweet, angst-filled story of friends to lovers.  So which is true?

 

I can’t answer those questions because I am a straight woman.  I could propose some psychoanalysis that talks about sexual attraction, but just because I understand psychology does not mean I know how it feels to struggle with one’s sexuality.

 

This is a quickie review, because, while I did enjoy this book, it was a trope filled short book coming in at 189 pages.  This is the first time I have read anything by Max Vos and I am intrigued enough to try some other stories by him.  I will say that some of the covers of the other books by this author have made me shy away.  Quite honestly, they were more disturbing than sexy.  This one actually was relevant to the plot and characters.

 

Basic Plot:

Years after a youthful life-changing experience, Rich Miller and Johnny Milloway meet again in college.  The Senior, Rich had saved Johnny’s life at a swimming pool, but they lost contact until a chance meeting in college as Johnny is now a freshman and star football player.  Rich, is preparing the last step to competing for the Olympics in swimming and his focus should be there.  But somehow, Johnny becomes his friend and something more.  Is it for real or it is just a temporary hold?

 

Relationship:

As a “Gay-for-you” romance, we usually expect the two characters to be either enemies to friends or friends to lovers.  In My Hero, our guys turn into friends with benefits.  We see how they value this friendship and how Rich helps Johnny come to understand his sexuality.

 

Johnny reached for Rich.  They held each other and they cried.  For each other.  For themselves.  They cried together as only friends and lovers could cry.  They cried for a love that was both found and then lost.

 

While I do not have the perspective of a gay man, obviously the author does.  Mr. Vos has an excellent blog post talking about the realistic view of gay men in his books and can help us understand this “gay for you” type theme.  I really liked how he talked about his sex scenes and how he comes up with the chemistry and lovin’.

 

Strong Points:

 

The Sex Scenes:  This book is smoking hot and the sex scenes were pretty captivating.

  • The Diving Scenes:  I really enjoyed the sport descriptions, I would have loved to follow Rich as he tried out for the Olympics.

 

What Could be Better:

  • Too ShortAt only 189 pages, I wish we could have gotten more character and relationship development.  The scenes dealing with the Olympics were intense and I really wanted to know more about how the Olympics went.  That could have been a great place for development, both of the relationship and the characters.

 

  • Non-Safe Sex: There was a scene, late in the book where, if I had been one of the main characters I would have gone, “Time-out, I think it’s time to get tested.”  Now, it’s a book, I know and I am sure that these things happen, but I did not believe that the character would not have thought of the consequences.

 

Conclusions:

 

The author’s own words spells out how important a person’s honesty with their own sexuality is.

 

Our individuality, our self-confidence can sometimes unhinge the best of us, and I can only imagine what it must be like to question something as big as your own sexuality

 

What I liked about this book was how it must feel to struggle with sexuality.  For some, understanding might come young, but accepting it yourself might take years.  This novel is about love and acceptance and we see how both make Rich and Johnny better people.

 

Bea

Sooo. I had an epiphany…..

I just finished a blogpost over at my webpage:  So… Why do We Write Book Reviews?

 

And what it boiled down to is that, for me writing a book review is about starting a honest discussion on the plot and characters of a book.  For me, I have no agenda, it's just Be a writing a book review and hoping that it might be of value to someone else.

 

I am tired of hearing about censorship over at places like Amazon and Goodreads.  Now to be honest, I do not know the validity of these claims, for all I know the claims of misconduct are all just flamewars.  But it is enough that I do not feel comfortable really posting book reviews over there.

 

So for now on, my book reviews will be on my webpage (http://beawriting.com) and here. 

 

This week is just a condensed post from my blog (see link above for full editorial), but the move and new job has taken most of my energy this week.  For the next month my biggest concern is going to be making sure I get to keep my job and learning how to get around in a new state.  Let's not even talk about trying to find a new house and not live in someone's 600 square foot basement!

 

So, I might not be as vocal here for the next month or so, but I am still here and most likely just hanging around in the background!

 

Bea

Is Fahrenheit 451 the temperature at which Kindles melt?

Amazon, GrAmazon, is redefinining our experience of literature! Amazon has evaded having to pay tax and comply with labour laws in many countries, in many US states. Now it is getting around the various laws that protect free speech in order to define what people may or may not read purely for the sake of making Even More Money. America is a capitalist country, Amazon is only 'living the dream' and taking it to the extreme of that cliche, power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. The power of the monopoly.

 

For Goodreads, comments and shelves are to be self-censored under pain of summary deletion of anything that offends GR, because it is off-topic or criticises the author. Especially, or perhaps only, if the author is one of the Stgrb whose genius seems to be in their ability to generate negative publicity. Which is of course at the root of it. Since my reviews are generally snippets of my life, they are mostly off-topic, however they do not offend GR and so they still stand. So from this I gather that to offend GrAmazon in any way puts your work at risk of deletion. 'Offence' is always going to be "off-topic". What stunningly clever lawyer thought that one up, it covers everything!

 

The world of books already for many people defined by Amazon will also in the future be limited by them into the boundaries Amazon sets. At the moment they are deleting books with overtly sexual titles and others with sexual content they don't approve of. And should Amazon decide to make what they think is appropriate retroactive, well no-one actually owns a Kindle book, it is only rented, and I am sure in the terms of the rental there is a little tiny bit which says they can alter the words "if necessary" or perhaps replace the entire book by another (sanitized) edition.

 

Most people now, when they think of Eeyore, think of Disney's loveable soft-toy donkey and have no idea of the original irascible, cynical, loner of a character that A.A. Milne wrote. Sickly-sweet Disney is all about profits. It is so much better to have a happy ending, all-American accents and nothing to offend the parents so everything is rewritten to fit those parameters and so these stories pass into folk history with their literary origins forgotten. Imagine if the Little Mermaid had ended as in the original - the Mermaid has the choice between murdering the prince's new wife or committing suicide! So it was rewritten and it is the rewritten version that has become the standard.

 

How soon before books featuring paedophilia, rape and violence in a positive light are banned or reworked? Nabokov's Lolita won't be first on the firing line, Neither would the Q'uran with Muhammed marrying a 9 year old, and the Bible so full of threats, violence and murder. These books are too well-known to mess with, but self-published authors - they are on the frontline. Nenia is one of the first casualties

 

A couple of things to read, Nenia's blog and her 100-book giveaway.  And an old review of mine that is not at all on-topic but about the repression of books even today, Animal Farm.  

 

And then with Amazon's domination of the SPA market, the eBook market and the world's biggest bookclub, Goodreads you can forget any laws enshrining freedom of expression in books, because if it doesn't pass Amazon's ideas of what is right and fit to promote profits, it won't be published by them. Publish it any other way, and who will hear of it?  Did the books still burn if the people there who saw them on fire had no means to tell anyone else?  Did Goodreads censorship really happen if only 1,000 people knew and 19,999,000 don't?  

 

So censorship is not just deleting, it is making sure that no one knows there is any form of censorship in operation - firstly by threatening people so they self-censor and secondly by limiting drastically the number of people who know about it.

 

What we need is another book company to break Amazon's monopoly, but it won't happen, Amazon will just buy it. I have no solution to this problem. I forsee a sort of electronic version of Russian samizdat for those 'in the know', for the other 19,999,000 well they say you can't miss what you've never had. 

 

All hail capitalism without controls.

 

 

I Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore by Jet Mykles

 

Dustin has always worked hard and his focus for the past few years he has been all work.  Now that he is ready to get back into the dating world, will he find someone in which to settle down?

 

Bryce has always been the cute twins who loves to party.  He meets Dustin at a club and the chemistry is hot.  The complication?  They live in different states and live in different worlds.  Can they make it work?

 

Relationship:

The relationship is pretty tropey.  Older “set in his ways” Top who finds the twink irresistible, but his lifestyle is just not appropriate.  Not much development here.

 

Strong Points:

I loved the scenes when we had Dusty and Bryce together trying to do “couple’ things.  Certainly the sex scenes were hot.

 

What Could be Better:

I could not get into this one.  I am not sure if I rushed reading it, or if I was just not in the mood for light.  There was a LOT of sex and very little plot.  I actually started to skim the sex toward the end.

 

Conclusions:

I love reading Jet Mykles novels.  There is just something light-hearted and carefree about them.  But this was all sex and very little plot.  We did get some conflict with the personal story, but if you are looking for action, this is not it.  If you want sex, then here you go!

 

Bea

Book Review: Tats of Honor by Vona Logan

 

Other Reviewers: Goodreads

 

This is the first time that I have read a book by Vona Logan.  The funny thing about this post is that the first time I read it, I gave it a 2-Star review.  Which is unusual, if I give a book that low of a star, I usually don’t re-read it.  But here I am, doing a post for this book and after a re-read, I loved it!

 

Basic Plot:

After several personal losses, Kegan Andrews flies to New Zealand for a 3 week vacation.  The cabinet-maker makes new friends there in Dominic Lewis and Lisa.  Dominic is still recovering from the loss of his long-time partner, Alex.  Can the two men put their pasts behind them to create a new future together?

 

Kegan Andrews:

We are supposed to identify with Kegan’s character.  He struggles with the death of a close friend and he is betrayed by his fiancé.  I love the physical description of Kegan, he is that rough-looking tattooed bad boy (at least in appearance).  What we come to understand is that he is truly a sensitive man who has felt lost and overwhelmed for a long period of time, trying to make his life fit someone else’s expectations and not his own passions.

 

 

He had loved her as best he knew how – been loyal to her, convinced she was his future wife and the mother of his children.  How could he have been so unaware as to miss the signs?

 

 

And we can relate to this.  How often have we overlooked that little niggle in the back our minds because we don’t really want to analyze what it means?

 

Dominic Lewis:

Dominic is our dark, quiet, and mysterious man that draws Kegan’s interest.  In fact, Dominic provides us a memorable quote toward the end of the book that really demonstrates his perspective.

 

 

“There’s love and then there’s love.  I don’t know what the hell she had felt for you, but it’s not the love I know.  Yes, love doesn’t fix everything or protect your relationship from pitfalls, but the love I speak of perseveres.  Though strife and temptation may rear their ugly faces, deep love conquers them and renders them powerless."

 

 

So, we all seek this type of love, and often we settle and ultimately those relationships fail.  It is worth taking the time to wait for this type of relationship.

 

Strong Points:

Sometimes, you are in the mood for a love-fest.   You know, there is conflict, but it is internal.  In Tats of Honor, we see this in action.  There are no fist fights or danger, but rather we see how these two men circle each other.

 

What could be better?

At 116 pages, this is a short book.  I think for what happens in the book, perhaps it did not need to be a very long novel.  I would have loved to have read a bit more of perhaps back stories or further develop the couples interactions.

 

One of my complaints would be that the secondary character, Lisa seems to be fairly flat of a character and her presence was there only to provide a very weak conflict plot.  It would have helped our length perhaps if we had a bit more conflict with her and developed her character.

 

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed this book!  It kept me engaged and entertained, certainly in parts I cried.  If you are looking for an overall sappy and uplifting novel, give this romance a shot!

 

Bea

Currently reading

Training Season
Leta Blake
Progress: 10 %
Evenfall (In the Company of Shadows, #1)
Santino Hassell, Ais