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Posts tagged “2014 Ebook Reading Challenge

Frodo’s Frisky Friday: The Wicked Merman by Kelly Apple

Frodo's Frisky Friday

The Wicked Merman

Summary From Goodreads

When her friend drags her off to the lake for some much needed R&R, Ari thought she’d be getting away from supernaturals for a few days. Sunning and swimming sound divine and it might help her shake off the funk of being parted from her beloved Guardian.

But when a girl who loves monsters ends up at a lake housing a merman, she’s going to end up doing a lot more than swimming.

Ari can’t resist trying to find the answer to the age-old question: How do mermen have sex?

This wicked merman is more than happy to give her some hands-on experience.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I have come to the conclusion that the Monstrous Tales series is going to be exactly what most erotica enthusiasts are looking for, at least if they enjoy the fantasy variety. It is a solid dose of “monster” and human coupling, an underlying story of isolated creatures that are pretty lonely, and a small bit of “regular life” drama thrown in. If that is what you are after then you will be more than satisfied as this is some of the best writing I’ve come across in terms of the sex scenes. Kelly Apple is innovative, she answers questions that come across perverse minds like ours such as “how do mermen have sex?” while giving a bit of a reality check when it comes to the day-to-day lives of these creatures, it isn’t all fantastical in fantasy land.

If you follow the blog, and this feature in particular, then you know that I’ve featured three of the four tales in this series making it somewhat of a staple akin to Leigh Wilder and the writers at Luna Erotica. The difference between this series and some of Wilder’s similar work is the MC in Monstrous Tales, Ari, is someone I can barely tolerate, where even the frustrating ones in Wilder’s stories have some redeeming qualities. The sex scenes, monsters, and story around her is excellent, but she is whiny, self-centered, and quite frankly bitchy when she’s not screwing something. Even then she isn’t satisfied and wants her Guardian, which is fine to a point, but it is stressed too much for me.

I’m going to keep reading this series and trying to tune out the MC’s whiny tendencies and frustrating lack of compassion toward anyone but the Guardian. The rest of what is going on is definitely worth it, but if you are looking for a character you can get behind (pardon the pun) this is not it. I still recommend the series, but just keep it in mind. Thanks as always for reading and have a great (and maybe a bit naughty) weekend! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #72/365; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #25/75; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #24/75

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Killing My Kindle: Beneath the Sand by Scott Zavoda

KillingMyKindle

Killing My Kindle

For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Beneath the Sand by Scott Zavoda

Released On: June 10th, 2013

Summary From GoodreadsBeneath the Sand

Have you ever worried that something is hiding beneath the sand? What if something brushed your foot one night on the beach?
Would you run? Could you?

Now that surfing, dating, and every aspect of a California retirement are off limits, he paints and pretends the beach isn’t so close. Things might have been okay, too, if he hadn’t found the new pile of sand in his house or thought so hard about the accidents.

He tries to do what they trained him back in his Vietnam days – focus ahead but never behind, but it’s hard to ignore what tickles and scrapes your feet, what whispers to you in the dead of night.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Beneath the Sand is a freebie I stumbled upon a while ago and I rarely get to read about military characters, be it active or formerly enlisted, and so I figured I would give this novella a shot. I wish I had passed. Beneath the Sand, unfortunately, does nothing to intrigue the reader or use any sort of twist or turn anywhere in the story. Essentially it took the obvious summary and just elongated it to ~45 pages of zero surprises and little else.

The MC is a war vet who is stereotypically (though not surprisingly or inaccurately) cynical and slightly off in the head, bemoaning this or that, and in general being unhappy with something even during the better times. There was nothing that drew me to care about him or the characters around him and so, when he experienced the loss that was clearly coming, I didn’t care. The mysterious sand is a simple concept and Zavoda wasn’t able to make it come alive for me.

The story was pretty simple, the relationships fine but not special in any way, and it was a sad and dull tale indeed. This was a rare time where I was glad the story was short. Oh well, they can’t all be winners. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #70/365; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #24/75

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January & February Wrap-up

January & February Wrap-up

Somehow it is already March! The first two months of the year went pretty quick, and while I’m not as ahead in my challenges as I’d like to be I’m at least on pace which is good. While I know a few people regularly check my widgets on the sidebar to keep up with my progress, I still figure a recap of how this year has gone so far wouldn’t be remiss. I’m going to go over challenges, my favorite books, my least favorites/biggest disappointments, and what I’m looking forward to in the coming months. Here we go! ^.^

Challenges

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge – The overall reading challenge I use to keep track of my progress, out of the 365 books I have for my goal this year (a book a day challenge in case you haven’t heard about it) I’ve read 62. I do count novellas in this, so it is a little padded, with 15 of them being of shorter length. I’m on pace, managing to stay a few books ahead, but I had hoped to have a bigger cushion at this point. Oh well, not a bad start!

 Mount TBR/2014 TBR Pile Challenges – The goals are different for these two (200 for Mount TBR, only 50 for 2014 TBR Pile) but I’m counting TBR books for both and am currently at 44 which is a ways ahead of even Mount TBR’s needed pace. I’ve done a pretty good job of trying to read TBR books for the majority of my reads, but since it is early in the year it has been easier since there just haven’t been that many books released in 2014 yet. As the year progresses this might be more difficult, but I’m thrilled with this progress! TBR book of note – Pivot Point by Kasie West

 New Author Challenge – This is one of my two new challenges this year and I’m having a blast with it! The biggest possible goal amount on this one is 50, and right now I’m at 26 which I’m pretty ecstatic about. I imagine this one will slow down if/when I work more on my next goal, but for now I’ve been experiencing plenty new authors and for the most part loving it! New Author book of note – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

 Seriously Series Reading Challenge – I do want to start, continue, and finish more series this year and I set a goal of 75 books total (rather than a series amount) and am currently at 19. This does mean I’m ahead of where I need to be, but most of these came in January, so in March I’m going to try to read and complete at least 3-4 series to get back into it. SSR book of note – Three by Kristen Simmons

 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge – This is my other new challenge this year and what sparked the idea for my weekly Killing My Kindle feature that is on Thursdays. I set a reasonable goal of 75 eBooks and am currently at 22 which is a solid start, just a bit ahead of my progress on SSR. I’m using eBooks for two features that run almost every week so I have no doubt that I’ll surpass 75 here, though I’m not sure by how much. Ebook of note – Fosgate’s Game by David C. Cassidy

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Favorite Books

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen – This was such a great read and the sequel, Lady Thief, was excellent as well. Love this Robin Hood retelling! ScarletUS.indd

The Unbound by Victoria Schwab – An excellent sequel to The Archived. The world is amazing, I love Schwab’s writing style, and the characters are excellent. Can’t wait for book three!

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch – I knew the serious material in this one, but I didn’t expect to get as emotionally invested as I have. This book is amazing, touching, and so sweet. All the feels!

Most Disappointing Books

Vitro by Jessica Khoury – My only DNF so far this year and with the potential it had this sucked even more than usual. Ugh. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge – A beautiful cover, a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and an awesome world, what could go wrong? Everything else apparently. The MC was whiny, the love triangle sucked, the book was jumbled and all over the place, and I skimmed the last 75 pages or so and found the ending to be exactly what I figured it would be. *groan*

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – I didn’t know you could make time travel, aliens, war, and a quirky MC boring. It didn’t seem possible, but Slaughterhouse-Five proved me wrong. What a drag to make it through this one, oh well.

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What’s Next?

More Series! – I plan to read at least a few series as I mentioned before including: Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Secrets of the Eternal Rose by Fiona Paul, The Heroes of Olympus, and Kane Chronicles.

Readathons! – Ides of March: Mar. 13-17th hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, UKYA Day: April 19th a 24hr readathon hosted by Lucy at Project UKYA, and Dewey’s Readathon: April 26th hosted by Dewey!

Read All The Books! – Seriously, I just want to read as much as I possibly can, get ahead on my overall reading challenge, and somehow keep blogging every day. Let’s do this!


Frodo’s Frisky Friday: The Dragon’s Bride by Leigh Wilder

Frodo's Frisky Friday

The Battle of the Dragon Slayer

Summary From GoodreadsThe Dragon's Bride

This is 18+ Shape-shifter erotica.

In the town of Paradise everything is perfect, thanks to the magic of a dragon. Every year the town must pay tribute in the form of gold, jewels, and a daughter of the town. Fiona’s perfect life is a bore–void of adventure and love. At first being taken captive by the dragon is terrifying, but once he establishes that he has no intention of eating her, she begins to warm to the idea of being his bride.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

In large part I could copy last week’s FFF review of Wilder’s The Battle of the Dragon Slayer (here if you want to read it) and it would apply, but this one does have a much different feel and tone to it. The Dragon’s Bride, like TBotDS, is light on the sex and features a pretty interesting story about a town in debt to a dragon. The sacrifice mirrors the previous book, though there is no relation between the two mentioned or listed, but what happens after is much different, and much more to my taste.

In my review of TBotDS I mentioned I wasn’t a big fan of the dragon appearing to be more of a beast than a sentient being, and The Dragon’s Bride fixes that. As the summary mentions this is a shape shifting dragon and regardless of form he is funny, sweet, and quite the charmer. I really liked his character, and though the MC, Fiona, didn’t blow me away the characters were well constructed and I would happily read more about them.

As for the tone, where as in TBotDS it was more humor/sex-crazed with more of an erotica feel, The Dragon’s Bride reads like a romance that just happens to include a sex scene at the end. The first half of the book is background, character layout, and giving us the magical setting all while the reader gets to enjoy Wilder’s excellent prose. The second half is grandiose, romantic, beautiful, and yes, pretty sexy too. Definitely a solid read if fantasy romance/light-erotica is your thing. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #62/365; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #22/75

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Killing My Kindle: Lessons III – Demonic Dolls and Other Morbid Drabbles

KillingMyKindle

Killing My Kindle

For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: Lessons III – Demonic Dolls and Other Morbid Drabbles by Michael Crane

Released On: July 30th, 2011

Summary From Amazon

A sister’s doll doesn’t take kindly to insults, and proves it.
A puppet maker believes his creations are out to get him.
A mother can’t stand her son’s new favorite toy… and for good reason.

In Michael Crane’s latest collection of terrifying and darkly comic drabbles, you’ll find out why Playtime is only fun for those with vicious intentions. In these thirty 100-word stories you’ll run into deranged toys with old scores to settle, homicidal sociopaths and other unapologetic creatures that lurk in the shadows.

In LESSONS III: DEMONIC DOLLS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES, nobody ever leaves Playtime in one piece…

Features bonus drabbles/shorts from authors David Dalglish, Daniel Arenson, Sean Sweeney, Imogen Rose and Jason G.Anderson.

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Michael Crane is at his best when he fires out quick, creepy, and humorous short stories, which is what all of the Lessons collections are. I enjoyed the first two Lessons collections quite a bit and got the hankering to read the next one recently, so it was time for III. So in the same style as the first two I will be giving a reverse-ordered favorites list, this time with my 5 favorites! ^.^

5. Never Date a Circus Clown – I imagine the inspiration for this one came from the Joker, and that’s really all I need to say about this one. Who wouldn’t read a short that reminds them of an insane clown? Exactly.

4. A Bloody Joke – Not everyone has the same sense of humor, and often comedians find that their jokes work very well on some crowds, but not at all on others. In this case the consequences are a bit more dire.

3. Downer – People when they are upset often say things they don’t mean, or are at least more extreme because of the emotions they are feeling, and Crane exploits this understanding in Downer very well.

2. Procrastinator – I don’t think the title really works for this one, but while the vampire joke is familiar and reminds me of one of the stories in Lessons II it still works pretty well. Another great ending on this one as well, if only Twilight could have been as sensible.

1. Confession Time – This was a truly hilarious story, not darker like some of the others, and the ending was priceless. Most of us have a guilty conscience to some degree, so when someone corners us trying to get us to confess it isn’t always obvious as to what exactly they are talking about. That is the situation in this story and it’s quite satisfying.

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #60/365; Mount TBR Challenge #43/200; 2014 TBR Pile #43/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #21/75

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: The Battle of the Dragon Slayer

Frodo's Frisky Friday

The Battle of the Dragon Slayer

Summary From Goodreads

The village of Breakwell Mountain has been plagued by a dragon for centuries. Every year a virgin must be sacrificed to save the village from certain doom. This year Adelie turns eighteen and she must draw lots with the other village girls, but Adelie has a secret. Deeply in love with the betrothed Bella, she knows there is no place for her in the small town. She has decided to sacrifice herself to assure Bella’s safety, her final loving gesture to a girl who can never love her in return.

The day of the sacrifice a band of gypsies appear, claiming the ability to slay the dragon. Gypsy prostitute Rohesia is a new dragon slayer. She’s been training since her youth to do what few can imagine–screwing a dragon into submission before stabbing it through the heart.

Armed with a sword, a knife, and a big jar of lube, Rohesia and Adelie take on the dragon together.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

As has been the theme with Frodo’s Frisky Friday, The Battle of the Dragon Slayer is a short erotica with a lot of humor in it. With all of the fantasy-themed ones I’ve read lately I went in with the mindset that it was going to be goofy, and I maintain that it makes these all the more enjoyable. What better to be snarky about than dragon sex? ^.^

However, unlike many of the fantasy erotic tales that are out there, Leigh Wilder manages to fill it with excellent writing and wonderful characters to go with the naughtier bits. I thought Rohesia and Adelie were a great pairing and definitely characters I’d be happy to revisit if that opportunity were to arise. They were a sweet match and though the time with the dragon was well done, I’d be even more interested in just seeing how their relationship progresses.

The only downside to this novella is what happens with the dragon at the end. I knew it was coming because of the whole “dragon slayer” thing, but still, the poor thing doesn’t know any better. Also, I wasn’t prepared for it being more of a beast as opposed to the sentient version you normally see, such as in Kelly Apple’s The Wicked Dragon. I can’t say I enjoyed the change, it’s more fun when they have personality to them!

Overall it was an enjoyable, quick read, and it has just enough “sexy time” for those looking for just that. I really enjoy Wilder’s work and I’ll continue to read her material as long as she is writing it. Check this one out, and Kelly’s for that matter, and see which kind of dragon tale you prefer! Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #55/365; Mount TBR Challenge #39/200; 2014 TBR Pile #39/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #19/75

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Killing My Kindle: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant

KillingMyKindle

Killing My Kindle

For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.

This week I took a stab at: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe

Released On: January 14th, 2014

Summary From Goodreads

So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drumbeats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks.

One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is painted across the island or why she is forbidden to cross it. Her every move—even her performance at the school dance—is graded as part of a competition to become valedictorian, a title that brings rewards no one will talk about. And Anne discovers that the parents of her peers surrender million-dollar possessions to enroll their kids in Cania Christy, leaving her to wonder what her lowly funeral director father could have paid to get her in… and why.

As a beautiful senior struggles to help Anne make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world without breaking the rules that bind him, she must summon the courage to face the impossible truth—and change it—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I was excited enough for this book that, despite being approved for it in eBook form, I bought a print one anyway. Looking back on it that thought process is rather confusing, just like my thoughts toward the book after reading it. The first half of the book reads much like a contemporary. Anne is in a school setting, she has classes, a girl she fights with from the very beginning, guys she falls for, etc. Sure, there was some weird stuff going on, but it read more like a contemp with mystery elements than anything else.

Then you get to the second half and BOOM! Paranormal weirdness, secrets are revealed and they are just freaking bizarre, and to top it off Anne just takes it in stride. She tries to make herself believe it is a regular school and all, but eventually just moves past that, rationalizes that the island is all magical/supernatural/whatever and tries to figure out even MORE about the creepy stuff going on. The last 50-75 pages are a blur of action, people constantly changing sides and revealing more about themselves, and it was really jumbled and gave me a reader’s version of whiplash.

Parts of the book worked for me such as the main setting (a creepy school that I enjoyed quite a bit), the bitter rivalry of the students, and the awesomeness that was a certain dance. On the other hand; love triangles with obvious endings, repetitious dialogue, and a frantic over-the-top pace that didn’t make me excited but confused, those elements didn’t work. I’m alright with the MC, some of the side characters are interesting (I actually really enjoyed her rivals), and the dynamics of the PTs give the series a lot of possibilities going forward.

Did I enjoy it? Somewhat. It was a decent read and I’ll likely check out the second book because this one ended in an irritating cliffhanger and I want to know what’s going on. I struggled with the beginning as well as the end, but there is enough here to warrant a look. This is a debut novel so hopefully book two will be stronger. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #54/365; New Author Challenge #24/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #18/75

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