Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge

Mini Review Monday: The Poison Eaters by Holly Black

MiniReviewMonday

The Poison Eaters

Summary From Goodreads

Pick your poison: Vampires, devils, werewolves, faeries, or . . . ? Find them all here in Holly Black’s amazing first collection.

In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to the world of Tithe in two darkly exquisite new tales. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market and introduces a girl poisonous to the touch and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match. Some of these stories have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead, and many have been reprinted in many “Best of” anthologies.

The Poison Eaters is Holly Black’s much-anticipated first collection, and her ability to stare into the void—and to find humanity and humor there—will speak to young adult and adult readers alike.

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

I have enjoyed Holly Black’s work in the past, most notably Doll Bones which I read last year and loved, so I was pretty excited to see what creepy things were in store in this collection. The Poison Eaters left me feeling one of the worst emotions that I could have toward a book, I was apathetic.

Some of the stories were pretty enjoyable, with a bit of a creepy/dark feel to them, and Black’s signature writing style which I do enjoy. However, too many of them felt like the skeletons of stories, a bit of bare bones that needed more flesh to them, more depth. Others were dragged on to long, to the point where any shock factor was either forgotten if it was in the beginning, or seemingly devoid of point if it was at the end.

As harsh as that last bit sounds, the stories were fine, they just weren’t up to the standard I was accustomed to with her writing. I wanted more of the haunting elements and less of the tedious filler that I found. I enjoyed enough of the stories (around 40-50%) to give it a positive rating, but I can’t recommend it. Hopefully the next book by her that I read will be at the level of Doll Bones. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #77/365; Mount TBR Challenge #56/200; 2014 TBR Pile #56/50

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Gabriel’s Mate

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Gabriel’s Mate

Summary From Goodreads

After Maya is turned into a vampire against her will, vampire and Scanguards bodyguard Gabriel is charged with protecting her and finding her attacker.

Gabriel has never guarded a body as perfect as Maya’s. But while the sexual tension between them rises and the rogue vampire closes in on them, Gabriel can’t allow himself to give into the desire he feels for Maya. He fears to fully show himself to her despite the intimacies they share – afraid she will react like all other women when she discovers the horror he hides.

Will she run from him when she discovers his secret, calling him a monster, a freak, a creature not worthy of her love?

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

As is the case with the first two books in the series, Gabriel’s Mate is filled with danger, vampires, murder mystery, and a bunch of steamy sex scenes that are sure to get you in the right mood. The Scanguards Vampires series is easily my favorite full-length erotica books, and one of the few that I own in print (thanks to a giveaway ages ago). The series combines plot that you will actually care to read with some of the better naughty scenes that I have come across, both passionate and sometimes risque making for a lovely combo. There is also enough witty banter to keep you engaged and laughing along the way, enough to tone down the more serious parts.

Gabriel’s Mate is the most touching book as well as being potentially the most frustrating. Gabriel is dealing with multiple physical deformities that prevent him from being able to drop his guard and pursue love, not to even mention the lack of sex. However, while his plight is something to sympathize with, the other MC, Maya, buys into it WAY to easily. She barely bats an eye when she discovers his deformities, readily accepts whatever he story he tells her (being true doesn’t matter, trust me), and is all over him almost immediately. She’s way too trusting to be believable.

While the murder mystery and the sex in this one is just as great as the books that preceded it, and though I will probably continue the series sometime in the future, this one lacked some cohesiveness and Maya’s lack of hesitation pretty much anywhere in the story bothered me quite a bit. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was alright. The steamy bits will be enough for most readers I’m sure. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #75/365; Mount TBR Challenge #54/200; 2014 TBR Pile #54/50

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Mini Review Monday: Mind Games by Kiersten White

MiniReviewMonday

Storm

Summary From GoodreadsMind Games by Kiersten White

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

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

I wanted to like this book so much. Cool mind powers in a ninja/forced boarding school/asylum-like setting, a quirky MC and her blind sister who has a story just as interesting, all wrapped up in deceit and mystery. How could this possibly go wrong?

It is pretty simple. Take the story and all of its potential, jumble it up by bouncing back and forth between different times in the past and the present while also changing POV every so often, none of which has any regularity to it. Then make the MC try to act tough and pull off that persona when in reality she just whines and complains constantly. Follow it up with all of the potentially cool action scenes being messed up by mixing real-time action with a weird inner monologue that ruins any possible fluidity. Finally, make the romantic whatever-the-heck-that-was forced and awkward and the rest of the cast be bland and have no backstory to speak of.

That right there is what will result in a DNF for me. I made it through about 150 pages which is over halfway before giving up, refusing to read 100 more. Maybe my brain just wasn’t ready for all of the “mind games” that were going on, but it never felt cohesive or smooth and just no. Not for me. Plenty of people did enjoy this one, so I’m not going to say DO NOT READ or anything so drastic, but I certainly won’t recommend it. Blah. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #71/365; Mount TBR Challenge #51/200; 2014 TBR Pile #51/50; New Author Challenge #29/50

DNF


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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Mini Review Monday: Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

MiniReviewMonday

Storm

Summary From Goodreads

Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they have more power than you dream.

Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn’t want. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water—just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The storm is coming . . .

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

Storm was everything I had hoped it would be and more! All sorts of cool elemental powers were on display, but they weren’t overpowering or superpowery (that’s totally a word now) which was great. It made the characters, even as awesome as they were, seem mostly normal, even openly mocking stuff like the X-Men when the MC, Becca, would expect too much of their abilities.

The biggest surprise for me with this book was that, with such a large cast, I really enjoyed all of them. Becca was funny and sweet, Chris was adorable (something I’m sure he’d love to hear), and the rest of the brothers each had a unique voice, which makes sense given the rest of the series, but something that you can’t really take for granted.

Storm was so good that I didn’t even mind the love triangle, and THAT is saying something! It was fast paced, the romance was so sweet no matter what the pairings were, and the cool displays of elemental awesome were as fabulous as you could hope for. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and to see the world from the point of view of the other brothers, I know it is going to be a crazy ride. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #63/365; Mount TBR Challenge #45/200; 2014 TBR Pile #45/50; New Author Challenge #27/50; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #20/75

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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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Mini Review Monday: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

MiniReviewMonday

Attachments

Summary From Goodreads

“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . ”

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

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

I’m so glad that I saw Attachments on Katytastic’s book haul video because I really, really enjoyed it! This is my second Rainbow Rowell book, having read and loved Eleanor & Park last year, and I’m excited to get to Fangirl sometime later this year since so far Rowell’s books have been can’t miss for me.

Attachments is one of the rare books that kept me from putting it down even into the wee hours of the night, despite having worked the day before. I couldn’t get enough of the sweet and lovable characters, the witty banter, the turmoil that the MCs were dealing with, and the budding romances too! So much wonderful bookish goodness, just YES.

The only thing I have to say that is negative at all is that the ending was rather cheesy and a “I have to give my readers a happy ending or they’ll get their pitchforks out” kind of thing, but even that was fine because I wanted it just as badly as the characters did! Lincoln is this super sweet, if a bit misguided, charming guy that has been screwed over in the past and hasn’t been able to find his place since the fallout of that relationship. Beth is in an unsatisfying relationship with a guy who won’t commit, is trying to balance her feelings for her current guy (who she really does care about) with her new ones for the cute guy at the office, and all the while being a good best friend for Jennifer. The two are adorable.

There is so much to love in Attachments. Geekyness is all over the place here, the emails between Beth and Jennifer are sometimes hilarious, other times sad and touching, and the supporting cast is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Clearly I loved the book, and I’m sure (if you haven’t already read it) that you would too. Thanks so much for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #58/365; Mount TBR Challenge #41; 2014 TBR Pile #41/50

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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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Book of the Week: This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Grace Earl

BookOfTheWeek

Book of the Week

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Grace Earl

Released On: January 28th, 2014

Summary From Goodreads

A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends will help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.

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When I started this feature I said that it wouldn’t always be reviews. Sometimes I might go gif-crazy and have a bunch of feels, others might be bringing the author on to talk about the book, and there would likely be ideas I hadn’t and still haven’t even thought up yet. In this case I’m just going to talk to you and hope you care to listen.

This Star Won’t Go Out is a book I could never hope to do justice. It’s a story about Esther. It’s a book about love and the willingness to give it away freely no matter what the circumstances. TSWGO is a cause, one that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to give to other families that are going through rough times as well as to causes that Esther would have wanted to support.

The book is a collection of stories from Esther herself, her friends, family, acquaintances, doctors, and others, but really it is Esther’s story and how she was able to speak through all of these people because of the impact that she had on each and every one of them. Esther was a nerdfighter, many of you know what this means (for those who don’t know click here for the vlogbrother’s video on it), something I also claim to be, but I never knew her, becoming one after her passing.

I would like to say so many things, how touching this story is, how amazing a person she must have been, what wonders she still would be sharing with the world if she were alive. I would love to say I have a connection with her, that I understand her, and that this book reaches me at a level I didn’t think possible. I want to say all these things, but in reality I never knew her, and while this book is beautiful, I couldn’t review it honestly, knowing that her life is something to be celebrated, but by those who knew her, not myself.

The book is a long one, filled with amazing stories, tender moments, and beautiful pictures (drawn and photographed), and something I highly recommend you read for yourself. I can’t do this story justice, only Esther can, and if you let her I know she won’t let you down. I never knew her, but I’m still inspired by the messages that she left behind, the things she stood for, and the life she lived. Thank you as always for reading, DFTBA, and remember TSWGO.

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #42/365; New Author Challenge #18/50

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: Taken By the Fairies by Celestia Dew

Frodo's Frisky Friday

Taken By the Fairies

Summary From GoodreadsTaken By the Fairies

Belinda is a young, innocent virgin fearing kidnapping and rape while traveling…instead she stumbles into a fairy ring and is transported into a fairy orgy. The fairies like virgins. They like them a lot.

Fantasy Erotica. 18+

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

Taken By the Fairies is an excellent naughty read as long as you go into it with the mindset of a humorous tale. Yes, the sexy times are a big part of it, of course, but for me what made this such a great read was how hilarious it was. Fairy orgies, globular breasts, thinking orgasms are brought on by fairy magic alone, and the ever popular gaping holes, all make appearances in this short story.

The sex scenes were pretty good in this one, just as with Taken By the Centaurs, and they are certain to get you aroused, well… assuming you are into fantastical creatures of course. Who isn’t though? Celestia Dew takes what a few other authors are doing with magical creatures and then adds a bit of depth and much better writing to it. Not to say her ideas aren’t her own, but in comparison to others trying to do this I’d say she is one of the best.

There are actual stories mixed in with the “fun times” in her novellas, even ones that are this short, and the characters are engaging enough to make you want a full-length version, something most erotica in my experience do not do. I definitely recommend it for a quick, funny read. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #41/365; Mount TBR Challenge #31/200; 2014 TBR Pile #31/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #16/75

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Killing My Kindle: Tommy Nightmare by J.L. Bryan

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: Tommy Nightmare by J.L. Bryan

Released On: April 10th, 2011

Summary From Goodreads

While Fallen Oak recovers from the Jenny pox, someone new is hunting Jenny.

Like Jenny, Ashleigh Goodling belonged to a pair of opposites with powers that mirror each other.

Now Jenny and Seth must face the opposite of love…

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Earlier this year I read and really enjoyed Jenny Pox, the first book in this series, so I was pretty excited to see what Tommy Nightmare had in store. Tommy Nightmare introduces a pretty large group of new characters, a lot of them becoming close to being MCs, but there was still plenty of Jenny and Seth from the previous book. There’s also another returning member, but I won’t say anything about them for spoiler reasons.

I really liked what Bryan did with Tommy’s character for the most part. He’s a badass, doesn’t take anyone’s crap, and uses his power, fear, to his advantage whenever he sees fit. Sure, that doesn’t make him overly likable, though his backstory does elicit some sympathy, but it is a logical path for him to take. My complaints for him are twofold. One, I wanted more of him in this book, he really only had about a third or so at most, probably less, and his sense of humor and pretty freaky power potential wasn’t expanded on as much as I would have liked. Two, in the second half of the book he was being manipulated, and despite showing some resistance for all of one or two pages, he just let himself be a puppet. It was disappointing.

The rest of the book bounces around from the previous MCs, Jenny and Seth, to other new characters that have other (admittedly cool) powers, such as Esmeralda and Alexander. There is also a regular human that has her own arc, but it doesn’t really need more than that mention. While the multiple points of view do help to give a full scope of what is happening in the story, it did make for a bit of a jumbled feel and I would just be starting to enjoy one section when it would jump to a different one. A little irritating.

With all that said I did enjoy much of what I read and the displays of power were really incredible. The different romances that went on, despite my usual distaste for triangles and various couplings taking over the story, were plentiful but really well done. I liked the dynamics presented and thought that they added to the story where as others I have seen it might detract. My favorite element outside of the powers was definitely the flashbacks to ancient times. Ancient Sparta and Athens were mentioned a few times and it gave the story a realistic feel, plus I just love ancient history so the more of that the better.

Even though there were elements that I mentioned that disappointed me this likely would have been a 3/5 if it weren’t for the ending. Without spoiling anything I can say that Jenny does a 180 in a lot of ways, runs off without thinking, and changes her entire persona because of one incident. Everyone else stayed true to their story arc, but Jenny? Nope. So needless to say I was really disappointed.

There are good points here, potential for the rest of the series, and enough to get me to read book three in hopes that it improves back to the level of the first book, Jenny Pox. Overall it was a disappointment and a giant drop off, especially in terms of believability and consistency. The writing is still really solid in quality, but maybe Alexander Death will settle down on the POV jumps and get back to the roots of the series that made it start out so well. I am definitely intrigued by Alexander’s character, which made only a brief appearance in book two. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #48/365; Mount TBR Challenge #34/200; 2014 TBR Pile #34/50; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #19/75; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #17/75

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

Frodo's Frisky Friday

The Wicked Woods

Summary From GoodreadsThe Wicked Dragon

It’s been five days since Ari and her green Guardian were forced apart. Ari’s determined to ride out the storm of sexual longing she feels whenever she thinks about him, but it’s hard.

When a dragon appears in her backyard, Ari is faced with a dilemma—send him on his way and continue pining or follow him into the woods to see what he can do for her. She’s already tried out a werewolf, is there anything a dragon could possibly offer to keep her mind off her missing beloved?

As it turns out, this wicked dragon might have a trick or two up his sleeve.

Warning: This book contains a dragon with an impressive package and a girl who likes getting gifts. No flight plans were filed (or interrupted) during their interlude.

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

Kelly Apple is at it again and this time she figured out how to make a dragon and human coupling work. I could stop right there as that is more than enough to warrant you reading this, but I’ll say a little more, just to tease. ^.^

While there was certainly love in the air in book one, The Wicked Woods, it was mostly sex-centered, and rightfully so being that this is erotica. Book two, The Wicked Wolf took that to new levels, focusing almost solely on pleasure and Ari’s supernatural fetishes, with a werewolf I might add. However, The Wicked Dragon develops the story a good bit, letting us into some of what is going on in the world of the fantastic, and showing more personality in both Ari, and the dragon that is introduced.

Sex certainly plays a part in this story, and it’s pretty satisfying if for no other reason then seeing how a dragon can, well… fit. To me, though, it is Max (the dragon), and how much of him we learn about that makes this a great read. Somehow in a story this short the dragon’s history, current state of his kind, and other secrets and backstories are all laid out, and all while Ari is busy getting soaked just looking at him. Check it out, it’s well worth your time, and thanks for reading. ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #35/365; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #13/75; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #14/75

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Killing My Kindle: Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

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: Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

Released On: October 14th, 2013

Summary From Goodreads

A chance encounter in the dark leads eighteen-year-old Daniel and the girl who stumbles across him to profess their love for each other. But this love comes with conditions: they agree it will only last one hour and it will only be make-believe.

When their hour is up and the girl rushes off like Cinderella, Daniel tries to convince himself that what happened between them only seemed perfect because they were pretending it was perfect. Moments like that with girls like her don’t happen outside of fairytales.

One year and one bad relationship later, his disbelief in insta-love is stripped away the day he meets Six: a girl with a strange name and an even stranger personality. Daniel soon realizes the way he pretended to feel about Cinderella and the way he really feels about Six may not be so different after all. Especially when the two loves of his life end up being one in the same.

Unfortunately for Daniel, finding Cinderella doesn’t guarantee their happily ever after…it only further threatens 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 haven’t actually read the full-length novels in the Hopeless series, but apparently this companion novel has been sitting on my Kindle for a while so I thought I’d give it  a shot. I’m so happy I did! Initially I was worried because of the whole insta-love thing even though it’s pretend and all, but it was done soooo well. From the first scene on I knew I was going to love this story.

The best part for me was the humor, oh my goodness was it excellent. Sarcastic, witty, snarky, just wonderful banter between all the characters, but especially between Daniel and Six is what sold this for me. The romance is so sweet and Hoover’s willingness to poke fun at romantic stereotypes and the usual tropes made it all the better and more unique.

Daniel was a great MC, though I preferred Six for obvious reasons (if you’ve read the story, no spoilers!), and the chemistry between them was perfect. Really, I have no complaints whatsoever for Finding Cinderella. If the humor and excellent writing are even close to as good in the full-length Hopeless novels then they are must reads for me. I will definitely check them out soon! Thanks as always for reading. ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #40/365; Mount TBR Challenge #30/200; 2014 TBR Pile #30/50; New Author Challenge #17/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #15/75

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Mini Review Monday: Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons

MiniReviewMonday

Breaking Point

Summary From Goodreads

The second installment in Kristen Simmons’s fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series.

After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.

Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….

Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.

Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways.

With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?

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

Breaking Point is a whirlwind of action. The book takes hold of you, thrusts you into the lives of Ember and Chase as they try to stay alive and find some source of hope, and refuses to let you go until you are just as much of an emotional wreck as the characters within.

Despite the supposed decision Ember must make that the summary for the book implies, it seems like she ended up doing a bit of both. At times her and Chase, as well as a few others (which changed throughout the book, though there was a core for a lot of it), were giving it everything they had to fight against their oppressors, but quickly resorting to hiding at others for fear of getting caught. With how fast the pace is in Breaking Point the true feelings of the characters gets a bit muddled, seemingly changing just as fast as their environment, and while it didn’t ruin the story it did make the book a bit disjointed at times.

Simmons does a lot of things well in the sequel to Article 5. She made me really feel the heartbreak and sense of loss and hopelessness that Ember and her friends often had. The relationship between Ember and Chase also was very well done, having rough patches and miscommunication just like real couples do, and never feeling forced or too perfect. Finally, no matter how many different areas the group was moving around in I could always get a clear idea of what they looked like, her descriptions were excellent and detailed, the imagery vivid and quite powerful.

Overall I felt that Breaking Point was an improvement over its predecessor. Ember is still a tad clingy when it comes to Chase, but she is starting to carve out her own identity, moving out of the “overly attached girlfriend” territory. The book was a bit jumpy at times, and I felt that a couple of scenes might have been rushed just a little, but for the most part the breakneck pace worked to the story’s advantage. Breaking Point will bring out the feels in bunches and it refuses to sugar coat any of them, which I loved. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #37/365; Mount TBR Challenge #28/200; 2014 TBR Pile #28/50; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #15/75

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Frodo’s Frisky Friday: The Goblin Market by Leigh Wilder

Frodo's Frisky Friday

The Wicked Woods

Summary From GoodreadsThe Goblin Market

“Goblin Market” was written in 1862 by Christina Rossetti. Now Leigh Wilder takes the suggestive imagery in this classic poem and builds on it. Eliza and Laura swear never to be parted by man or beast, but when Laura is tempted by the forbidden fruit of the goblin market, Eliza must go to great lengths to bring her back from the brink of death.

Contains erotic lesbian content.

Also included is the original poem and author’s notes.

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

This is Leigh Wilder at her finest in terms of showcasing her beautiful writing and abilities. It stays true to the poetry of the great Christina Rossetti, and maintains that classic feel, while still mixing in some modern touches to the older way of speaking. It’s fun, incredibly sweet, and truly quite romantic in some ways.

My only complaints, and they are minor, are that it is shorter than I had hoped and while there are some more risque scenes, they are brief. I think the latter part actually works for the most part, even if I wouldn’t have minded more given Wilder’s other pieces and how much I enjoyed them, and it keeps The Goblin Market lighter than I had anticipated. However, the length was disappointing, and while I understand staying true to the poetry and working within those confines, I thought there was room for expansion.

I liked the characters as Wilder portrayed them, and I wanted MORE, so perhaps it is a good thing that it was a short sweet sample of Wilder’s talents. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely. It is easily the tamest piece I have read by her, which isn’t much of a surprise given this wasn’t even filed under “erotica” unlike most of her others, and it was nice to see this side of her. I recommend it for poetry lovers, people who want to get their feet wet in something naughty before diving in, and just fans of great writing and/or LGBT works. Thanks as always for reading. ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #34/365; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #12/75

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Killing My Kindle: Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig

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: Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig

Released On: January 6th, 2011

Summary From Goodreads

Contained within are nine stories featuring bizarre beasties, mythological mutants, and overall “irregular creatures” – including flying cats, mermaids, Bigfoot, giant chickens, and mystic hobo hermaphrodites.

Horror, fantasy, science-fiction and humor.

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I have been in an anthology kind of mood lately I guess, especially ones with a twisted/dark side to them. So in the same vein as last week’s Killing My Kindle we have Irregular Creatures. Unlike Lessons II with its short stories that provide just a glimpse into the mind of the author, Irregular Creatures has some longer stories, novellas in and of themselves, and ones that are deeper and connect on more levels.

It starts with Dog-Man and Cat-Bird (A Flying Cat Story), a way to ease the reader into Wendig’s twisted brain. It’s exactly what it says, a flying cat story, but it’s not just funny (though there are laughs mixed in), it is also a look at what we perceive, what our brains will accept, and what is most important to us. Which leads to A Radioactive Monkey, and while that can also be taken in the literal sense it deals with perception on a different level, showing how people aren’t we make them out to be, and why it’s truly necessary to dig deeper to really know anyone.

To me it is not the creatures that tie these stories together, but the common theme of alternate perspectives, how we see the world. Product Placement shows how much we are willing to buy into what corporations and businesses sell us, not just their products, but the way they want us to live, to behave. It does this with alternate dimensions, but still. This Guy is a shorter story, and shows how much routine can blind us into believing we are living different lives then we really are, perhaps ones that seem more fulfilling or “normal” than the harsh reality.

Fairytale Life

Mister Mhu’s is a tad more sexual than I had anticipated finding in this collection, but it actually takes the widest scope of our world and how the vices we let take hold of our lives can completely alter our life views and thus the course ours take. Lethe and Mnemosyne is a short but pointed example on what age and suffering can do to rid our minds of all the cherished (or perhaps not so) memories they contained.

Wendig continues working through the variety of ways our brain can trick itself in The Auction where mythological beasts of all sorts, tricksters, and artifacts that wreak havoc on people’s minds all mess with a young boy. The Auction distorts his reality with the fantastical things just as we are often succumbed to through wonders of technology and artistic majesty.

Beware of Owner is a short example of old-fashioned thinking taken to an extreme, slightly off the track of the other stories, but interesting all the same. Finally Do-Overs and Take-Backs examines whether getting a whole new “better” life is really worth losing the one we already have, and everyone in it.

Life is Complicated

So what is Irregular Creatures? Excellent writing, dark humor, creatures ranging from beautiful to downright disturbing, and underneath one of the better examinations of the human mind out there in this kind of format. I definitely recommend it whether you want to focus on the surface or delve deeper, Wendig rewards both equally. I hope you didn’t mind me getting a bit philosophical and thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #33/365; Mount TBR Challenge #26/200; 2014 TBR Pile #26/50; New Author Challenge #13/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #11/75

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Mini Review Monday: Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

MiniReviewMonday

Roomies

Summary From Goodreads

It’s time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl’s summer — and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they’ve never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.

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

The first thing I have to get off my chest, and it is probably me assuming too much for the umpteenth time, but I did not expect Roomies to be so focused on life before college. I knew there would be a decent amount of that from the summary, but I thought a good bit would be the two girls coexisting and figuring that out, going around college, dealing with conflicting sleep and class schedules. The problem for me is that’s the college book I want, but that’s not what this is.

Now that I’m done getting that out of the way, let me talk briefly about the book. I’ve seen this categorized as YA and NA, for me this is completely in the NA category. There is a romance focus (seemingly for all parties involved), college-age MCs, and it’s a book about college life, or at least the time immediately prior to it.

Speaking of romance, this book, seemingly like all NA that I hear about or actually read, is filled with it. I like both of the love interests, they’re great, but they’re a little too perfect, and that was obvious right from the start. They apparently have no flaws, I wasn’t loving that, nope, not a bit.

Too good to be true

However, the two main characters, Lauren and Elizabeth, were flawed in their own ways and those flaws were discussed and examined in multiple angles and ways. This I LOVED. Lauren could be a bit naive and holier-than-thou even when she wasn’t trying to be, while Elizabeth was self-centered at times and overly needy at others. Those traits didn’t detract from their characters, it made them realistic, and I thoroughly enjoyed them both. That’s why I was disappointed in their respective love interests, because that wasn’t there at all.

The writing was excellent and the plot was realistic, as each of them slowly made their way to understanding themselves, each other, and what college life (and not living at home) was going to mean. They both grew and became better people, even though sometimes tearing each other’s eyes out may have seemed like a good idea. The styles of Zarr and Altebrando flowed naturally and I didn’t really notice a change from one to the other, which was fantastic.

Brilliant

Overall this is a great contemporary read, but while I wouldn’t quite mark it as “contemporary romance” it isn’t far from, and that should be known going in if you haven’t read it already. It’s New Adult, and everything that age range has become to be known by, but it is done really well. Sure, I would have liked more college experiences, or less of a romance-focused plot, but it still worked, and that’s what matters. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #31/365; Mount TBR Challenge #25/200; 2014 TBR Pile #25/50; New Author Challenge #12/50

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Book of the Week: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

BookOfTheWeek

Book of the Week

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Released On: February 14th, 2012

Summary From GoodreadsScarletUS.indd

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

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First, allow me to give full credit to Christina from A Reader of Fictions for being the one who not only got me to buy this book, but hounded me until I felt that I HAD to read it immediately. Obviously with Scarlet being the book of the week this week I absolutely  loved it, but let me tell you why!

Scarlet is a freaking bad-ass! She operates much like a ninja, flitting from tree to tree, whipping her knives out whenever necessary with deadly accuracy, and staying in the shadows even better than the great Robin Hood. Oh, and she’s HILARIOUS! Witty retorts, great banter with the guys, and more than a few jabs at John Little, all which hit the mark. Her past haunts her, and she tries to keep a brave face on at all times, but once in a while her guard slips and I couldn’t help but want to give her a hug…which she’d probably give me a swift kick for. Loved her!

The rest of the characters are just as high of quality as Scarlet. Robin is pretty much what you would expect, though he has a slightly darker history, but he’s lovable, charming, and the hero everyone expects him to be. John Little is a tad more of a player than I remembered, but he plays the great friend/goofball role perfectly, and is quite funny in his own right. Much, the fourth and final part of the band, is the one you feel sympathetic for. He’s sweet, has had a rough time of things, and is somewhat simple, and you can’t help but like him. Really just a great group as a whole and wonderfully executed.

I Love Them All

The vividness of the world that Gaughen created shocked me. I could feel the wind blowing past Scarlet as she ran across the treetops, the dreary conditions that the commoners lived through as they struggled to survive, and the warmth of Tuck’s where the band gathers to regain their strength. From the dungeons, to the cave, and every marketplace that they visited in-between, all of it was clear in my mind, and I’m in awe of that.

It's so beautiful

As amazing as the characters and world is, the story is just as grand, and perhaps even more intricate. Somehow in less than 300 pages we learn about Scarlet’s dark history in great detail, plenty about Robin’s as well, and even John Little and Much each have their backstory, but it never felt forced or like a info dump, just beautifully woven in. There are numerous battles, daring escapes, betrayals, and romance, and it’s all blended in perfectly.

I have nothing bad to say about this book, nothing. The only thing I would note, and it worked for me, is that there is a way of speaking throughout Scarlet that took me a few pages to get used to, but once I did it enriched the whole thing even more. Again, thank you Christina for the recommendation, and for anyone reading this who hasn’t read Scarlet yet, do yourself a favor and buy it. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #30/365; Mount TBR Challenge #24/200; 2014 TBR Pile #24/50; New Author Challenge #11/50; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #13/75

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Fosgate’s Game by David C. Cassidy: Frodo’s Review

Fosgate’s Game

Summary From Goodreads

KINGS OF INDUSTRY. PAWNS OF FATE. LET THE GAME BEGIN.

For Chadwick Harlow, a peaceful, easy-going Englishman, after-dinner drinks with his business partner—a ruthless, hard-edged hunter—is a weekly affair. But when casual conversation takes a mysterious and menacing turn into the supernatural, his wits are put to the test in a deadly challenge. Clinging to life but praying for death, Chadwick must summon the will to survive, before all is lost in a terrifying descent into madness.

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

I stumbled across Fosgate’s Game while I was on Amazon searching for deals, because as we all know what I need is MORE BOOKS. >.> Ya, I might have a small book buying problem, but oh well. This one was free though, so huzzah!

What drew me to this book is I’ve played chess casually since elementary school. I was lucky enough to go to a school that had a chess club (a mixture of elementary and middle school kids, mostly the latter), and have loved it ever since, even though I don’t play as much as I would like to. Anyway, so I saw the cover and figured chess + supernatural elements + some sort of “deadly challenge” was bound to equal awesome, and it did!

cthulhu chess set

The story is mostly set in this creepy and ominous study with a strong thunderstorm outside, as these two “gentlemen” discuss the newspaper that they run and how one of them, Fosgate, would like to move up in popularity. We get this creepy tale, involving the chess set of course, and much of it is set in Germany which is a favorite of mine. There is also some discussion of WWII which was pretty interesting, I’m all for more historical content in my books. ^.^

Without spoiling the story I will say that the games of chess do play a huge role, and the supernatural elements are equally gruesome and fascinating, with the lone disappointment I have being that the actual games they played weren’t described at least a bit more in detail. Maybe that would ruin the pacing or the dark atmosphere, but it would have been fun for me anyhow.

The dialogue is excellent, and the whole thing had somewhat of a noir feel to it. Both characters were engaging in different ways, and watching Fosgate and Chadwick descend into madness was very entertaining. Overall, just a great short story and I definitely would recommend it. Thanks as always for reading, I’m off to go play a game myself! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #29/365; Mount TBR Challenge #23/200; 2014 TBR Pile #23/50; New Author Challenge #10/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #10/75

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Killing My Kindle: Lessons II: Another Morbid Drabble Collection by Michael Crane

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 II: Another Morbid Drabble Collection by Michael Crane

Released On: January 7th, 2011

Summary From GoodreadsLESSONS II by Michael Crane (book cover)

A sinister puppet finally makes a new friend.
A man learns about his bleak future.
A killer has another painful lesson to teach.

From the author of LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES comes this terrifying and amusing follow-up. 30 100-word shorts about horrible ghouls, monsters and deranged, bloodthirsty lunatics. In these drabbles, you’ll run into kid-hungry goblins, sadistic dolls, zombies and psychopaths who believe that violence can solve just about anything.

Disgusting, creepy and darkly comic, LESSONS II: ANOTHER MORBID DRABBLE COLLECTION is bound to entertain, as well as horrify.

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Michael Crane is at his best when he fires out short stories like these, quick bursts of wit and a little dark humor, and Lessons II is filled with 30 such works of gorey awesomeness. I really enjoyed the first Lessons collection which I reviewed early last year, and felt like this was a good time to give II a shot! So in the same style as the first I will be giving a reverse-ordered favorites list, this time with my 7 favorites! ^.^

7. Guest – Had one of the more unexpected twists, something that is pretty hard to do with only 100 words, and it made me think of True Blood. That’s my only hint. ^.^

6. Homework – Oh substitute teachers, how fun it can be to take advantage of them. My mother having been one for some time also added some extra enjoyment to this funny little story.

5. Intervention – This is definitely one of the darker stories despite its lack of gore, but there is a pretty serious message here too. I could use a drink…

4. Fortune Teller – This one had me in stitches. Fortune tellers already take advantage of the public for the most part, not that I blame them, but this is to the extreme, and it’s awesome.

3. Rats – This is included and this high up purely because it reminded me of The Princess Bride and the rodents of unusual size. I need to watch that again soon! As youuuuu wiiiiiish!

2. Dental Work – Dentists and dentist offices, not my favorite environment or place to be, so this had an added freak-out factor. They could do anything while you are knocked out! O_O

1. Solution – This story is, for me, Michael Crane at his best. It’s gorey, dark, twisted, and freaking hilarious. The ending is fantastic and I absolutely didn’t see it coming. One of life’s little problems solved, huzzah!

I don’t think it will be another year before I read Lessons III, these are just too fun to read and I could always use a good laugh. If you haven’t read the first Morbid Drabbles I would check that out, as well as the rest in the series, you won’t be disappointed. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #26/365; Mount TBR Challenge #21/200; 2014 TBR Pile #21/50; 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge #7/75

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