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Lynxie

Coffee2words

I write, read and review, I blog frequently and love anything to do with books and writing, including editing. I am a Book Nerd and I wear that badge with pride.  http://coffee2words.wordpress.com

Currently reading

What Tomorrow May Bring
Deborah Rix, Shelbi Wescott, Joseph A. Turkot, David J. Normoyle, Cary Caffrey, Samantha Durante, Megan Thomason, Jenni Merritt, David Estes, Susan Kaye Quinn, Tony Bertauski

I think this was the best Shadowlands book so far.

— feeling love
This Is Who I Am - Cherise Sinclair

I think this was the best Shadowlands book so far. With a great mix of erotic scenes, real life and a side order of crime syndicate and FBI, the story just flowed.

Sam as our male lead showed another side to the Gods of Shadowlands; older, sadist and emotionally closed, all something a little new! He didn't always get it right, he wasn't always perfect!

Linda, our female lead and submissive in this book, was again, something a little different. Older, mother, and masochist, Linda is also a survivor and tough as nails. Not that the other subs weren't, but this was just different, more real!

Despite the S/M relationship being a strong part of the story, and not to my tastes, I thoroughly enjoyed the story with all of it's ups and downs.

Things in the bedroom got a little repetitive and dare-I-say-it 'boring' at either of their homes, but Shadowlands play sessions were amusing and exciting despite being pain related. Towards the end of the book things got more interesting which helped the pacing around the climax.

I liked that serious relationship issues, including failed marriages and communication concerns were explored and felt very natural to the relationship. This was by far the best representation of relationships I've seen from Cherise.

Some of the supporting cast had large life events in this book which was a nice touch to remind the reader that the lifestyle isn't all sex and chains, but that real life continues too, with all its craziness.

If you're put off by the S/M relationship, don't be, it was handled well and the pain rather delicately described. Quite a few explosions and pleasure waves were ridden between these covers.

To me, this was one of the sadder tales in the Shadowlands series. And that's not because the others lacked sadness, but more that these characters felt very real, with Linda's self-loathing and doubt and Sam's emotional withdrawal. They both did and said things that real people do. 

The added sweetness of Conn, Sam's trusted canine companion, and the lovely ladies of Linda's seaside hometown wrapped things up nicely.

I am quite interested to see what happens in book 8, the next one in the series! I will be getting to it in short order!

I loved the Irish history and legends that coursed through this book

The Shadows - Megan Chance

I went into this book with a little trepidation. Despite normally not doing so, I had managed to stumble across a few of the other Goodreads reviews before I started, and they weren't all glowing. Pacing seemed to be a major concern from a number of reviewers and lack of plot driven excitement. 

Well, I'm happy to say that while the story as a whole was slow, I didn't find it dull. When working with trilogies or series it can be difficult to get the world building and plot driver levels correct to keep your readers engaged and provide the information they need. 

Megan managed to introduce a large cast of characters, each with complex backgrounds in a way that didn't overwhelm the reader, provided teaser information and whetted the appetite for books 2 and 3. 

Complexity of characters was lacking in some of the later introduced characters, but I'm sure they'll be explored in more detail in the next book/s. The main cast had quite a lot of time to unfold their natures to the reader and do so in a manner that I don't really trust yet, but I feel that was the intention. 

It feels to me that Megan will portray a character in a certain way to start, only to have that original idea smashed by some later revelation. This is quite ingenious as it allows for character growth that the reader experiences too.

I loved the Irish history and legends that coursed through this book and long to delve further into the Sidhe and Fianna. 

The biggest blow to this book was the love triangle. I am hoping it is redeemed later in the trilogy, but I'm not holding my breath.

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review**

It might be more to your tastes than mine...

Worlds Within Worlds - Tahlia Newland

This is another example of fantastic writing from Tahlia, the prose was spot on, crisp and taught where it needed to be, and soft and flowing as needed too. 

The characters were an interesting mix, starting with slightly quirkly Prunella (Ella) Smith, who Tahlia assures readers is not her (although between you and me, I couldn't help but see Tahlia's face when I brought up Ella's face in my mind). My favourites by a long shot were Merlin the cat and James. James is the sole reason this book gets shelved on my 'a-lil-sexy' shelf.

This story consists of several threads and weaves them together to form a strong, eloquent book. However, the overall message certainly sat in the spiritual realm, which is where it loses me and my interest. I can't say I get the buddhist belief system and this was far too engrained in the story for my liking. 

I did enjoy Kelee's story that threaded throughout the tale, including the communication between Kelee and Ella. This was compounded by the fact that I have read some of Tahlia's Diamond Peak series; I was glad to get some background information on some of the characters I'd already met. 

Where this story came into its own was the interestingly complex look at badly behaving authors and their war on honest reviewers. Having been on the receiving end of some minor indie author angst for my own honest reviews, I found the whole story a bit too explosive. This being said, I have heard of some pretty crazy reactions from people for constructive, yet negative reviews, so Tahlia's fictional account isn't completely outside the realm of possible. 

I can't say this was my favourite of Tahlia's books, but it was an enjoyable, interesting mix that kept the pages turning. If you're interested in metaphysical and magical-realism books, give this one a try, it might be more to your tastes than mine.

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

A very young Young Adult or kids fantasy

The Mansion's Twins (At the Crossworlds Book 1) - Rose Channing

You know that feeling of uncertainty, the mixed emotions and the flat feeling of lack of excitement?

uncertain face

Well, that's how I feel about this book. It has a lot going for it - a unique and twisting landscape and world for its characters (of which there were many), magic and mayhem in equal amounts as well as an unusual plot. 

What didn't work for me was the level the story was pitched at. We have so many young adult books about magic that this felt like it didn't fit, even for all it's unique qualities. This felt too juvenile to be considered Young Adult and felt more squarely pitched at children, not just those who enjoy the young adult genre. 

description

A few things I noticed:

31% - Anyone who grows to(o) close to them will breath(e) in the magic...
32% - "Shouldn't you (delete massive space) two be out...
52% - "There's a trapdoor her(e),"

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review**

I only wish we were given more...

The Nameless One - Kathryn Meyer Griffith

The Nameless One is a short horror story set in Egypt. It follows husband and wife, Laura and Julian Bennet, who are Egyptologists looking for an elusive tomb. 

The book blurb leaves little left to explore when you actually read the book, but given its length, that's not entirely unexpected. 

The pace felt a little fast, some of the richness of Egypt missing because of this and the writing style. There wasn't a lot of time given to building up the world around Laura and Julian, which I felt was quite a shame.

If given a bit more sensory information, this story could have been very creepy and horrific.

This is marketed as an erotic horror, but the erotic content is very light on and no great detail was given. The opportunity for exploring the erotic nature of the idea in this book was missed almost entirely, which was a shame.

Overall, this read well, if a little clipped, had a reasonable plot and had the beginnings of a good story with likeable characters. I only wish we were given more.

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

Not Fiona McCallum's best, but still might appeal to horsey people who don't mind reading about characters that are annoying and downright unlikable.

— feeling angry
Leap of Faith - Fiona Mccallum

This is the third Fiona McCallum book I've read, and the second one I've rated two stars. There's one main reason this book tanked in my opinion. 

Apologies in advance for the tirade below:

Jessica, the main character, is a self-centred, immature and selfish adult-child. The constant inane babbling of her inner thoughts drove me batty, and her complete inability to think about anyone outside of herself left me wanting to wring her scrawny neck. 

Add to this continued form of abuse to the reader, Jessica's incapacity to put basic symptoms of pregnancy together after the reader was subjected to copious PG-rated coitus between Jessica and Steve, her rough-on-the-outside-but-soft-on-the-inside husband, and you're left wondering how this TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) character even made it to adulthood. 

Considering the amount of inner dialogue the reader is subjected to, Jessica's character has very little character growth, the one tiny speck of change really didn't warrant the 220 pages of torment within the covers. What's with that?! Really? Are there people like this in the world?

This book gets added to my swear-tastic shelf, not because it has a lot of vulgar language in it (there is a little, it's fairly light on), but instead it's added because of the quantity of vulgar language it elicited from me as I read it.

The ONLY reasons this book gets 2 stars instead of 1, is Laurel and Hardy, the farm dogs who were adorable, and the Plain-Jane-but-not-really, Faith. The little filly, Faith, is a welcome piece of sunshine and amusement to the book. If only we'd spent more time in her mind and less in Jessica's. 

I was left thinking:

Throw it in a dumpster, burn it

Not Fiona McCallum's best, but still might appeal to horsey people who don't mind reading about characters that are annoying and downright unlikable.

**Note: I was provided a copy of this book from the Publisher in return for an honest review**

An eye-opening read, albeit a little overwritten in parts.

Fractured Angel - Ken Williams, Rania Meng, Quentin Whitfield

Fractured angel is a fictionalised, but realistic look at homelessness and the mental illness that goes hand in hand for a lot of the homeless.

It is obvious that Ken has spent many years working with the mentally ill and homeless of Santa Barbara to be able to produce the rough, raw and gut-wrenching characters that pop up throughout Fractured Angel.

The various homeless, alcoholics, drug addicted and mentally ill characters were full of real, human characteristics and felt very real to read. This was probably the highlight of the book, the way the reader is given a glimpse of these people as real people, and not just a number or one of the faceless masses shuffling around the streets.

I quite liked the main male character, Kerry, that I'm sure was a fictionalised version of Ken, he too felt real. A war-torn, tired and battered veteran.

I didn't much like the female lead, Lynne. Her naivety was a little too much, and her emotional baggage a little too heavy to feel real. That's not to say she didn't have redeeming scenes, but she just didn't gel for me.

This book does not glorify or colour what it's like to be a homeless person in the US, it simply allows for the reader to see past all the preconceived notions one might have about them and allows for a connection to be formed.

An eye-opening read, albeit a little overwritten in parts.

The book could do with another pass over by an editor, there were a few small issues throughout, that I didn't take note of, that would help tighten the overall professional feel of the book. 

One thing I did note:

6% - ...Lynne rushed passed (past) the assemblage...

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

This will certainly not be the last of J.D. Carabella's works I'll read!

Nocturnal Voyeur - The Complete Series: A Tale of Passion, Pulp and the Paranormal - JD Carabella

I am not sure why this would ever be broken into five shorter stories and sold seperately. This works so well as one larger work, I really can't imagine only being drip fed the story. If nothing else, it would have stopped the nice flow the story has, and made it more difficult for the reader to rejoin the characters on their journey.

Speaking of the characters, they were quite enjoyable, even though Mack does fall into a few of the trope pitfalls. I really enjoyed Fiona's character with all her stubborness and foibles. I would have liked a little more development for Fiona, and Mack needed more room to grow as well (no pun intended). Fiona really makes the story, but she's given so little time to develop in between all the action (both in the bedroom and out of it) that it did feel like we were racing after her in the story so didn't have time to learn what we needed about her.

The mix of Native American Indian mythology, magic and the paranormal regulars (were-animals/shifters), provided a delightful paranormal flavour to this romp through the 1930's timeline and gave the story a uniqueness that has been missing from some of the paranormal romance/erotica stories I've been reading. I'd have loved some more time to explore the history, mythology and explanations of the magic system, but we're only really given but a tiny glimpse of it.

The story left me with some unanswered questions; ones I hope can be answered with another story following Fiona and Mack. Or, perhaps some of the answers are explored in J.D's other series in the same world - Arrested by Passion. I'll have to check them out to see :)

While the writing wasn't perfect, the overall feel of this piece was quite polished and the story provided a quick, entertaining read for those who like a bit of bite with their erotic reading. Unfortunately, the insta-love aspect niggled a bit. It wasn't a total mess, but it wasn't flawless either. I think a little more character building and development would help with the feeling of it all being a bit rushed and make the insta-love seem less clunky and more 'destined lovers'.

The sexy scenes were provided in large quantities and quite varied in sexual preference, tastes and kinks. This was nicely done, though at times I did wonder if they were all really needed, or if it was a particular penchant of J.D. to enjoy writing smut, so she came up with a plot that allowed for a lot of the short snippets to be present and still fit nicely in with the story. That's not a complaint, merely an observation. 

In terms of hotness, not all of them floated my boat, but given the quantity and varied content, I'm sure almost all erotic readers will find a scene or fantasy to please their tastes within the covers of this book. 

One word of warning: this book does contain what some would call dub-con or non-con elements, along with some pretty brutal tentacle rape scenes, is littered with foul language and some intriguing, yet extremely depraved scenes. 

This will certainly not be the last of J.D. Carabella's works I'll read! 

A few things I noticed:

7% - a few erotica faux pas (everyone being sex Gods and Goddesses and rolling continuous orgasms) - admitedly pretty common in paranormal romance/erotic stories, but weirdly I still expected more from J.D.
9% - ...I know Theo was fond of you, (delete space)"
10% - ...and lie(lay/laid) awake for a few hours...
12% - Mack still stood still (awkward wording consider revising) 
32% - ...shortness of her shirt(skirt), which ended above the knees...
49% - they had been Cheekbones and Silence previously, not Smiler 
94% - Mack was large in ever(y) sense of the...

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review**

The characters felt stilted and unnatural.

One Hundred Days - Mark Morey

One Hundred Days is a partially fictionalised account of how Australians were part of winning World War One.

While I found the story to be intriguing and providing some new concepts and ideas about how the Australians were involved with the war, the writing lends itself to a war strategy book, more than a fictional story. 

The characters felt stilted and unnatural. Less like characters and more like people represented by a number of pieces of factual information. For example, each person is introduced by their name, then their physical attributes rattled off in a list-like manner. Hair, eye colour, height and weight (especially when it came to the soldiers). And all the women had meaty/fleshy arses - which annoyed me too.

It was obvious to me, from the writing style that Mark has spent a lot of time working in the IT field, the way sentences were structured and the story flowed, was like a simplified and basic version of something far more complex. Like an IT person trying to write an 'IT for dummies' version of some complex IT issue. This is how the story of One Hundred Days felt. All facts, little emotion, simply written - almost in bullet point (pun not intended). 

This withdrew me, as a reader, from this story. It presented the tale in a clinical and unemotional way, which meant that I felt nothing for the characters. There were points in this story that should have come across as harrowing and highly emotionally charged, but alas, I felt little for the characters and had no emotional connection. 

The writing style aside, this book needs a serious edit. There were a large number of easily fixable issues (a lot listed below), but the one thing that annoyed me the most, was the overuse of the word 'and' to link two otherwise separate ideas together. This was done a lot in dialogue, but it also happened in the other text too. This was most annoying because it made the writing feel strange. People just don't talk like that.

An example from 9% through:
They reached the steps of Flinders Street Station and Alec kissed Dorothy's cheek. "Goodbye sweetheart and thank you for coming out with me."
"Goodbye sweetheart," she said. "Thank you for the evening and I really enjoyed being with you."
Alec stood at the base of the steps and watched until Dorothy disappeared out of sight. It was truly wonderful to have her as part of his life, and maybe one day they could marry. Alec was sure that would happen, and then he would be the luckiest man in the world.

Overall, this was an interesting look at how Australia played its role in WW1, but with little emotional connection with the characters and fundamentally flawed writing, I just can't give this any more than 2 stars. With a good edit, this could be a good addition to war history books, but as it is, it needs a lot of work.

The things I noticed:
9% - ...the war will be over before your (you're twenty-one.
- Then he was then free to go. (Excessive overwriting including dialogue with excessive use of 'and' instead of shorter sentences.
19% - After a week of fine of (delete of) weather....
24% - behind the (delete the) Billy still holding the...
25% - and he was (too) embarrassed (to) recount...
- Repetition of parade ground training came to some use.
30% - ...identifiable (by) their untidy clothing, Random lines and paragraphs from here are bolded text.
32% - ...you seem to be over (t)he worst...
34% - ...eyed the pile (in) his locker...
44% - ...that was bad lack(luck) for Charlie...
46% - ...Martin wondered (what) he was going to do...
68% - The(y) picked him up...
71% - ...cripples/. (Remove /)
81% - the text is italicised for a number of pages when Simone and Martin talk of their histories.
- ...I lived there for four yea(r)s...
89% - I didn't understand." He said in French. (")I really speak English." 
91%- ...the front net(not) yet tested...

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review**

Insta-love of the right variety

The Seduction - Roh Morgon
Insta-love of the right variety, this short piece takes the reader on a journey with Erica, the woman who falls in love with the car of her dreams.

A great mix of seductive writing and technical information, this one certainly packs a punch. My favourite part was the freeway ride. 

Definitely worth the few minutes time investment.
 

 

I will check out more by Jeff Young.

Fox Chase - Jeff   Young

Fox Chase is a steampunk fantasy/paranormal short story about medium, Kassandra Leyden, as she assists in a life threatening situation.

Action-packed with a steady stream of information, this felt a lot fuller than its few pages. Well written and good, intriguing characters that capture the reader.

I will check out more by Jeff Young.

I would recommend this one!

Un-Conventional - Tony Talbot

Well this was a fun little tale. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and even the backstory of a slightly strange sci-fi show with a small but loyal following of fans, even though I'm not a huge sci-fi fan myself.

This was amusing and very enjoyable. If you feel like trying one of Tony's short stories I would recommend this one.

I would certainly recommend this one.

Time Out - Tony Talbot

This was a fantastic short story, full of amazingly well written scenes and just enough information to make the story gut-wrenching.

 

A little paranormal twist thrown in for good measure and you have yourself a pretty awesome little story.

 

I would certainly recommend this one.

Reads well but lacks depth

The Snow Owl - Jon Hartling, Heather Hartling

The Snow Owl is a fantasy/paranormal story that rambles and twists in its writing about a young family who experience a rather interesting event.

I wish there'd been more time to explore the events leading up to the climax, I feel there would have been a greater emotional attachment to the characters. As it stands, this reads well but lacks depth.

Blood, mud, cops and asthma puffers

Hole - Tony Talbot

This is a short mysterious tale of a man who joins us digging a hole in his backyard. The story takes us through the mystery of why he's digging it and where his wife and housekeeper are.

 

Blood, mud, cops and asthma puffers; this is not my favourite of Tony's but it's an enjoyable short story.

I wish it was longer...

What Dragons Prefer - Dayle A. Dermatis

A very short fantasy story about a dragon seeker who is asked to help out a town.

Not for the kiddies, this one includes some adult themes, sexual advances and such as well as innuendo.

I quite liked the ending, I wish it was longer so we could get to explore the world and characters more.