Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Reads and Reviews

I'm doing the Goodreads Reading Challenge again this year. Last year my goal was to read thirty-five books and I read eighty. This year my goal is one hundred books. I got this!

This month started the year out right with twelve books. That's right, super mom with four screaming kids squeezed in twelve books this month! (Though a lot of these "books" are those romance novels split in three. It's a thing people are doing now and it is annoying. It's short enough to be a short story. The three together could be one book. But yeah, let's call it a "series".) Let's look at my reviews for what I managed to read for January 2016.

The Everlasting Chapel
by Marilyn Cruise

Rating: 4 Stars

Perfect ending to a great trilogy.
My only real complaint is that I think Scarlett fought too hard against Michael. Once she finally gave in to the inevitable, a happy ending was guaranteed. 

For more of Marilyn Cruise's books and buy links, check out her Goodreads author page.

Gravitas: Valkyrie in the Forbidden Zone
by Lynne Murray

Rating: 5 Stars

I adore this book! Humorous, action-packed, and full of jabs at society, this book has everything I could want and more.

For more of Lynne Murray's books and buy links, check out her Amazon author page.

by Desiree Morgan

Rating: 3 Stars

The story was sweet but it felt too short for my tastes. I would have liked more detail leading up to the car accident. More scenes of them interacting in the dreams to show Chase falling in love with Emily. A few editing issues here and there but nothing too distracting from the story.
All in all, a good quick read but didn't draw me in as much as I had hoped.

For more of Desiree Morgan's books and buy links, check out her Goodreads author page.

Five Dates
by Amy Jo Cousins

Rating: 4 Stars

Humorous, sexy, and fun! A great read that draws you into Devin and Jay's worlds and the realities of a relationship.  

For more of Amy Jo Cousin's books and buy links, check out her Amazon author page

Regina: The Monster Inside
by DM Singh

Rating: 5 Stars

An exciting leap into a magical world unlike any other. This book is full of characters that are unique and interesting. The heroine isn't perfect; she is young, makes mistakes, and often doesn't think her plans through. All of which makes her easy to relate to. Though at times the pacing is a bit slow, the story is otherwise engaging. Great read, can't wait for the sequel!

For more of DM Singh's books and buy links, check out her Amazon author page.

Ready To Were
by Robyn Peterman

Rating: 5 Stars

I really enjoyed this book. It has everything I could want in a were story: humor, heartbreak, action, sexy romance, and a kick-ass heroine. I was tickled pink by the no bullshit tone, the humor having me laughing my butt off quite often. I definitely can't wait to read the next installment! 

For more of Robyn Peterman's books and buy links, check out her Amazon author page.

Unmasked: Volume 1
by Cassia Leo

Rating: 4 Stars

A dark and intriguing story. A mysterious start to a trilogy that promises more action and turmoil to come!

For more of Cassia Leo's books and buy links, check out her Amazon author page.

The Viscount's Christmas Temptation
by Erica Ridley

Rating: 4 Stars

An enjoyable historic romance with original characters and a sweet story. 

For more of Erica Ridley's books and buy links, check out her Amazon author page

Chameleon Sea: Part 1
by Catherine James

Rating: 3 Stars

A good start to a series with vivid details and a sensuous story. 

For more of  Catherine James's books and buy links, check out her Goodreads author page.

The Girlfriend Wager
by Edward Davies

Rating: 4 Stars

An amusing tale about a group of teenage boys who make a bet: Which of them can get a real girlfriend and sleep with her within a year? As we journey with them through their failures and follies, we are reminded of youth and how strange and awkward those hormonal years are.
A fun read with interesting and hilarious characters.

For more of Edward Davies's books and buy links, check out his Goodreads author page.

I also read the short story "The Battered Bride" and Volume 8 of The Sandman. I look forward to a year full of more wonderful reads to come by some amazing indie authors!

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Treat

I want to give you guys a juicy little bit from my published novel Love Me Today, Kill Me Tomorrow from the Some By Day, Some By Night series. These vampires are not to be toyed with!

I nod my head and concede. Of course I do. I can’t say no when she’s trying so hard to smile at me. Christ, we are both a couple of idiots. Hiding our true feelings behind fake smiles. Her eyes give her away. Do mine, I wonder?

She pushes me back in the bed, pulling the slightly ripped sheet over me. I lay back on the pillow I slept on last night, sighing, wondering how my life ever came to this. A couple of weeks ago, I was in the middle of this threesome where I tore the girls’ bodies to pieces as I killed them, their screams of terror making me laugh. Now I’m in a soft bed, half naked, being pampered by a suicidal rich girl.
Life is a hell of a thing.

Artus was a fun character to write. Sexy but deadly. All male but emotionally vulnerable. His personality made for some explosive, and sometimes hard to write, scenes. This novel is not for the weak of heart, but you may just fall in love.

Interested in finding out what becomes of Artus and his willing victim, Alexus? The book is available in paperback and Kindle format on Amazon

Until next time, my dears!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

November - December Reads and Reviews

I last posted an update on the books I was reading in November last year. Let me catch you up to the end of the year so we can start this year fresh. I met my Goodreads Reading Challenge last year. In fact, I blew that goal out of the water. I intended to read 35 books and I read 80! 
Without further ado, here are the reviews for books I read from November 16th to December 31st, 2016.

Prince in the Mist
by Claudy Conn

Rating: 2 Stars

An okay read. I did feel that it lacked a lot of character detail and sensory detail, those small things that really draw the reader in. The story itself was good, if not predictable. The sex scenes fell flat.

For more of Claudy Conn's books and buy links, check out her Amazon author page.

Patriotic Duty
by C.J. Pinard

Rating: 3 Stars

Pretty decent story. The romance was sweet, sex scenes okay. I think my main complaint was the excessive action details. She opened a door, she locked a door, she relayed every single text conversation, etc. It was a good story but I think the fact that she was in denial about her feelings, and knew she was in denial, was overly stressed. I was just ready for her to admit her feelings and move on. Who could live for over a year that miserable?
A little more showing and less telling, and the main character being a bit more likable would have made this more of a memorable read. Not bad but not awesome. 

For more of C.J. Pinard's books and buy links, check out her Amazon author page.

Past Life Strife
by Christina McMullen

Rating: 4 Stars

A great read with an interesting take on angels, demons, and everything in between! Though a bit slow in places, I was drawn into this story and it's characters immediately. A wonderful start to a series. 

For more of Christina McMullen's books and buy links, check out her Amazon author page.

Fang and Claw
by Markie Madden

Rating: 5 Stars

I don't usually read the crime genre but this book was amazing! The strained relationship between Lacey and Colton is laid out in perfect detail. The supernatural element was almost irrelevant, the characters became so human in my eyes! Even during slow moments, the characters kept the story interesting, moving from forced kindness and stiff responses at the beginning to humor and playful banter by the end. And the mysterious case certainly kept me in suspense.
Great read! 

For more of Markie Madden's books and buy links, check out her Amazon author page.

Magic Resistant
by Veronica Del Rosa

Rating: 5 Stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It has everything I'm looking for in a paranormal romance and more! The world-building was wonderfully done. The insight into the characters was perfect. The building of sexual tension between Julia and Jackson was delicious. Even a mystery at the end to leave you longing for more! Very well done, a marvelous beginning to a series. 

For more of Veronica Del Rosa's books and buy links, check out her Amazon author page.

Ride Me Hard
by Shari Slade

Rating: 4 Stars

Sometimes when you feel like your life is going nowhere and you have nothing to lose, you make choices that any rational person would certainly question. Star just wants to lose herself with the sexy, dangerous biker who threatens her life. But will it be worth it in the end?
A hot, quick read that is a great start to a series. 

For more of Shari Slade's books and buy links, check out her Amazon author page.

Not For Sale
by Julie Nicholls

Rating: 4 Stars

Short but hot read that had me hooked from the first sentence. 

For more of Julie Nicholls's books and buy links, check out her Amazon author page.

The Black Chapel
by Marilyn Cruise

Rating: 4 Stars

I expected a quick, sexy read but was surprised by a well planned, emotional story that drew me in and kept me hostage! Great start to a trilogy, I must read the next book immediately.

The White Chapel
by Marilyn Cruise

Rating: 4 Stars

Just when things are finally looking up for Scarlett and Michael, the shit hits the fan and the heartbreak begins anew. This author has a unique talent for drawing me into the main character's life and making me sympathize with her, even when she makes bad choices. Excited to read the conclusion!

For more of Marilyn Cruise's books and buy links, check out her Goodreads author page.

Besides indie books, I read volumes six and seven in The Sandman graphic novel series and also started a new-to-me series, iZombie. I love the TV show so I was thrilled to read the comics. Completely different but still great!

Until next time, guys, be sure to enjoy a good read now and then to escape into an adventurous new world.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Joys of Parenting

You know how when you're in your teens or early twenties and you are out and about and witness that parenting disaster that every one of us has seen at some point in our life? You know, that kid having a hissy fit very loudly, somewhere very public and their mother is ignoring them or screaming and bitching just as loudly? You shake your head and wonder why they even bother taking their kid out anywhere.

And then you have kids of your own and it's like oh, yeah, okay. I so understand now.

Because as parents, we just don't learn. Your kids are so cute and precious and everyone tells you how well-behaved they are during play dates or sleepovers.
So you're like, "Okay, we have to go to the grocery store later. You going to behave?"
"Yes, I promise."

And I'll be damned if we don't believe them. Especially when they act like little angels all day leading up to said outing. Cleaning up their toys. Eating their meals. Giving hugs and kisses freely. We get that gooey feeling in our mommy parts (those ridiculous parts that often tell us to pop another one of these little demons out) and think, oh, maybe I'll get them a treat while we're there. Since they have been so good. You might even mention that on the ride there.

But the grocery store or mall or wherever the hell we think we can take these animals is a completely different story. Things start out okay. You go down an aisle or two and they might say something overly loud and embarrassing here and there but you're used to that and just shrug it off. You let them pick out a treat after you grab a few necessities. 

Then they start the arguing amongst themselves. Bickering, pushing, smacking that gets rougher and nearly deafening as you try to push the cart or stroller. Maybe one offers to push the cart and starts running down the aisle. Shrieking and swerving, nearly taking out other shoppers who are just trying to get some fucking groceries, the baby in the cart laughing hysterically (and maybe suffering some whiplash around those corners) while you walk/run to catch up, your voice serious but still in control because you are not about to lose your cool in front of the other moms, elderly people, or single hotties watching this fiasco unfold. Most likely, they do hit a few people that you hurriedly apologize to while you attempt to retrieve your damn cart.

Meanwhile, the fight amongst the others has turned into a suspicious whispering and next thing you know, they are racing each other up and down the aisles.
You get your cart and youngest spawn back easily now because the other one wants to join in the game, despite your low, guttural threats. You're worked up, threatening in a resounding voice that you will put their treats back if they don't get back to the cart and chill out. They barely notice because they have disappeared down another aisle, their high-pitched laughter echoing across the entire damn store.

At this point, fuck the list you so carefully made. You just want to get the hell out of here so you can take them home and open up a can of whoop ass on these kids that they have never experienced in their all-too-short, and possibly almost at an end, lives. Hell, you're too exhausted to even go put their treats back.

Pushing down the aisles with angry purpose, snatching up screaming monsters left and right, you vice grip their little arms and drag them to the register. Whatever you have in the cart now will just have to fucking do. This is when the baby, who has been chill through this entire debacle, decides to scream and raise hell. She can't possibly sit in this cart a moment longer now that it isn't in motion and must be held by none other than, you guessed it, you. Holding a whiny kid on one hip, tossing crap from the cart to the register, the other kids finally realize just how pissed you are and begin to calm down. Or, they decide now is the time to start the I wants and hit the floor crying when you growl no. 

Fumbling in your purse for your wallet, someone (there is always someone, it might be the bag boy or another customer but there is always someone) takes this moment to comment on how beautiful your kids are. You want to say, "You want one? Here, take them all!" but you calmly smile and say thank you. And then they ask the worst question they could possibly ask you at a time like this. 
"Do you plan on having more?"
This is when your carefully placed mask of cheerfulness falters and you glance around at the little terrors, partially to make sure no one has taken off again, and say something along the lines of, "Oh no, I think I've had enough." Your inner mommy parts are in complete agreeance with you on this (though they will turn traitor later on, guaranteed) and you turn away, signaling that this conversation is so over. Because the next person that talks to you, whether it is some adult or one of your kids, is going to witness you lose your shit.
And this is how you get home with half the groceries you needed, completely stressed, and most likely now have to go make dinner. While they enjoy their damn treats. You swear up and down that you will never take them out again, knowing in the back of your mind that you will, probably within the next week, too. 

So you see youngsters, mommies who ignore the screaming tantrums are trying to do the right thing. They are trying to keep their calm and wait for the storm to pass. A kid can't scream forever, especially if they don't have an attentive audience. Mommies that are completely wigging out on their kid, possibly spanking them right in front of you in the checkout line, have been pushed past the point of rational thought and could give two shits what you think of their parenting skills.

Being a parent is being on a never-ending roller coaster. Up and down and around and around. It is fun and magical. It is nerve-wracking and exhausting. It is little hands slipping in yours and butterfly kisses. It is public tantrums and pushing boundaries. One minute you love it, one minute you can actually see your hair turning white. 

So for the love of Mother Nature, do not judge! There is no such thing as a perfect parent. We are all just doing the best we can here and that is all we can do.