Saturday, December 29, 2012

My New Kindle Paperwhite

This fifth generation Kindle, maybe one of my favorites. The previous Kindle disaster, known as the Kindle Touch, left much to be desired, with its problematic touch screen and design. It was so unpopular, it's no longer being produced. Unlike the K3, which still can be found on Amazon's Site.

So here's the deal. I never thought I "needed" a light for my Kindle. Or maybe it was just that I liked reading my Kindle naked, and I never wanted to be tied down to a cover, just so I could utilize a light. However, eye strain has been a real concern of mine these last couple of years.

Amazon was a little late on this year's Kindle release, so I had to wait a good couple of months after its release, before I could order it, due to being away on business. But as soon as I could, I ordered the fully loaded KPW (Kindle Paper White).  And gasp, I wasn't disappointed.

First impressions: I wish I knew Spanish.  Damn those 7 yrs of useless Latin.  As in, it reverted to a language, not of my choosing, and I had to get CS to walk me through getting it back to English. After that interesting start, I quickly noticed its petite size. Almost the same as the Basic Kindle, which I've been using for a little over a year. However, weight is definitely more substantial than the former, but still manageable.

Now for the clincher.  No more squinting or having to adjust my environment, in order to read more comfortably.  I'm also happy to say that the Touch Screen is very much improved over the previous Touch.

Pro:
  • Let there be Light (Yes it's awesome and I'm not using Tablet or LCD-Take that Ipad lovers)
  • Almost the same size as the Basic Kindle.  Fits a Quart Size Bag (Don't Ask), and old sleeve fits this one as well.
  • Touch Screen has been improved, and can be used covered up, without having to worry about accidental page turning.
  • You can also shut off the annoying recommendations, I noticed when I first began using it.
  • Sleek Graphite body, with wrap around rubber bumper.
  • New feature that tells you how much time remaining in the Book or Chapter.
  • The "Go-To" feature now has Chap selections 
Con: 
  • Heavy (but manageable)
  • Screen backlight uniformity is not consistent.  As in, I bought two of these and one had better uniformity than the other.
  • No Sound (This is not something I would ever use, but I know some people care).
  • Wireless On/Off, still in Settings Page, as opposed to being able to switch it in the Menu section.  This previous versions had this setting in the Menu bar, so why the change?  More navigation is now needed to change this setting.
  • Still no side buttons on the Touch. I want my buttons back dammit!  I would also love to be able to disable the touch feature.  That is, if they brought the buttons back.  I hold my reader with my left hand, which is the side I can't flip pages on.  No more one handed reading.  Lazy, but there it is.
  • Battery wears down way faster than advertised, and I always have it in airplane mode.  ??
  • Touch Screen is still not perfect.  I still have issues with skipping too many pages or not putting enough pressure to turn the page.
  • Still the same 6" size.  Why not bigger, but not the ginormous 10" please. 

In summary, even with its various imperfections, I'm loving this new Kindle version.  My eyes are happy, and so am I.  Having said that, I would drop this Kindle like a hot potato, if say, Amazon released a version with side page buttons.  Hint, Hint.

Kindles I've owned in order from best to worst:

1-Kindle Paperwhite: Not perfect, but probably the best thus far.
2-Basic Kindle: Perfectly Basic and Light, Keyboard navigation is horrific.
3-K3: Much improved Contrast and Case. Love if it wasn't so heavy and big.
4-K2: My first Kindle, yay ereading.  I didn't have much to compare it to at the time.
5-Kindle Touch: Just annoyingly bad. Such high hopes too.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Good Book, long beginning

The Vampire King
Book #1

Thirteen supernatural kings break through a vast loneliness to find their mate, after a female Were shatters long felt curse that seems to plague every supernatural being. Each story focuses on a king, their realm, and the mate they are destined to discover.

I actually liked this book, but it wasn't all roses. The majority of the issues happened at the beginning. Almost like the first half was written way earlier than the 2nd half. Let just say, the first half was  a hot mess.  And if you're able to trudge past it, you will ultimately be rewarded. Not to say, it's some-sort of UF breakthrough. But it's was different and satisfying enough to hold my interest and make me quite glad I read it.

Not your typical Alpha Vamp Romance. A lot of worldbuilding/backstory, to the point of too much too soon. More explanation, makes for a long drawn out beginning.  A well written and developed story, makes this a bit more intriguing than your run-of the mils.

Holy sub-plot. As in, too many are introduced at the beginning all at once. It's very difficult to keep them straight, keep my attention, and connect them all, along with all the characters introduced. Too many romances and couples are introduced in the first book as well. I can usually only handle about two at a time, but I think I  counted at least 4 budding relationships, within the first half of this book.

Overall, a really good book that breaks through your typical alpha-male vampire ParaRomance. Well written and somewhat unique, if a bit long-winded confusing in regards to the worldbuilding. Still the the romantic tension and storyline is reasonably good.  I look forward to more, especially now that I think this author has really reached her stride.
*********************
It was immediate for Roman. In three thousand years, he’d never lost control of his emotions, or his heart. But the moment he laid eyes on Evelynne Farrow, he knew she was the woman who haunted his dreams. And everything changed.

Everything.

Evie Farrow has always loved a good vampire romance. In fact, she makes a living writing them. While sitting in a coffee shop and working on her next mega-hot book, Evie is approached by a tall, dark, and handsome man who could have been pulled directly from one of her novels.

Unbeknownst to her, Roman D’Angelo is exactly what he appears to be – a vampire, and not just any vampire, but the king of vampires.

Unfortunately, while Roman is both ancient and invulnerable, Evie is flesh and blood. Just as Roman decides that he and Evie have a date with destiny, for reasons of their own, an ancient god and a homicidal vampire take an equally strong interest in her. To make things more complicated, there’s something very special about Evie. Something not quite human.

Can Roman fight off the incredible forces that would have Evie as their own long enough to win her heart, or will destiny betray him, and destroy everything he has ever dreamed of?


“Lalura had told him about her vision. Thirteen kings on a chess board – and thirteen queens….

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Future UF Debut-Release

In a Fix
Book #1

Really not bad for a debut. I don't say this often, but it starts off a tad too fast and deep in the thicket of things. It was a little confusing at first and a bit hard to get into for that reason. However, after hanging in there for a couple of chapters, it quickly turns more fun than cumbersome.

Fast paced and fun, edging slightly towards light-hearted and humorous UF story telling, Ciel is a for-hire aura-sort of shifter. I still don't quite get the whole slipping on another person's aura, without exactly shifting, and becoming another person for a time. In this story, there are quite a bit advantages to doing just that. Ciel slips on the auras of those who hire her, in order to help with their various social/professional problems. Her best friend and "honorary" cousin, Billy, is all jack-of-all-trade kind of guy, who is of course hot, and always insufferable. The other longtime man in her life is Mark, Mr. Secret Agent Man himself, her brother's best friend, and her full time and constant crush.

Suffice it to say, this book is chock-full of action, humor, and of course romance. Somewhat fresh and sometimes a little ridiculous, but never boring, you will see random and various things like evil Neo-Vikings, mean but cute kids, & humans getting catapulted. As I stated at the beginning, not a bad start. I really look forward to reading more. And isn't that the true test of whehter a book or series debut was truly successful?

 Warning: Some Sexual Situations-Humor, but no Sex. Some Violence, but nothing too grotesque.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wasting time with Shiloh Walker

The Ash Trilogy

This series is quite a departure from my usual reads. I couldn't quite tear myself away from it until I reached the very end of this trilogy. This had one of the best mix of mystery, thrilling-tense drama, and romance I've ever read, well, at least for quite some time. I think what made it extra easy to read was the genre mix, and not some saccharinely sweet romance that took center stage. I can't say the mystery is all that unpredictable, but the drama surrounding it was definitely enjoyable throughout.  Even with the early prediction, the ending turned out to be even more twisted and tense filled than I could have anticipated.

An extremely well played out who-done-it overall. I give the romance in these books a solid B+ and the mystery an A-, even though I guessed who the killer was about halfway through the first book. This one is definitely an easy and fast read that will keep you peeled 'till the end. A good way to pass the time, if I do say so myself.  I solid recommendation for a solid series.
*****
The scream Lena Riddle hears in the woods behind her house is enough to curdle her blood-she has no doubt that a woman is in real danger. Unfortunately, with no physical evidence, the local law officers in small-town Ash, Kentucky, dismiss her claim. But Lena knows what she heard-and it leaves her filled with fear and frustration.

Ezra King is on leave from the state police, but he can't escape the guilty memories that haunt his dreams. When he sees Lena, he is immediately drawn to her. He aches to touch her-to be touched by her-but is he too burdened by his tragic past to get close? When Ezra hears her story of an unknown woman's screams, his instincts tell him that Lena's life is also at risk-and his desire to protect her is as fierce as his need to possess her.


-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Friday, June 15, 2012

New series Recommendation

Inhale
Book #1

If you like whales...actually even if you don't especially like them, I would recommend this series. Okay, the first book in the series starts off more like a romance, with some animal storyline thrown in for good measure. An exciting ending and the promise for a continued/resolved romance subplot had me quickly signing up for book 2. That's when I knew this one was a keeper.
***********
After years of suffocating under her boss’s scrutiny, whale biologist Zoe Morgan finally lands a job as director of a tagging project in Hervey Bay, Australia. Success Down Under all but guarantees her the promotion of a lifetime, and Zoe won’t let anything—or anyone—stand in her way. Not the whale voices she suddenly hears in her head, not the ex who won’t take no for an answer, and especially not the gorgeous figment of her imagination who keeps saving her from the fiery hell of her dreams.

Gavin Cassidy hasn’t been called to help a human Wyldling in over a year, which is fine by him. Still blaming himself for the death of his partner, he keeps the guilt at bay by indulging in every excess his rock star persona affords. That is, until he’s summoned to protect Zoe from hungry Fyre Elementals and learns his new charge is the key to restoring order in the dying Dreaming. He never expects to fall for the feisty Dr. Morgan…nor does he realize he may have to sacrifice the woman he loves to save an entire country.

My thoughts after reading book #2, Exhale:
Holy shnikes, this one is a new favorite. The followup to Inhale, a recent discovery, was more than a little surprising. I have to say, this one definitely doesn't disappoint, and accomplishes in graduating from a promising series that has a good romance and some original animal storyline filler to full-on awesome intrigue and storytelling.

I'm at a loss for words at the moment, but suffice it to say, if you liked the first book, you will be blown away by this one. No saccharine cookie-cutter romance or predictability here. If you guess what ultimately happens, then you are definitely more observant and smarter than me. My only warning is that each book seems end with a semi-cliffhanger. If you hate those like I do, I would recommend holding off until the series ends.

This book starts right where the last book leaves off, with *redacted due to spoilers*. Yes this took an awful long time to happen, but these books aren't filled with unnecessary drivel like some other series (Shades *cough* of Grey *cough-cough*). There is an actual story, worthy of my full undivided attention. The whales take more of an active role in this book, taking on more anthropomorphic characteristics. It actually tugged on my heart strings quite a bit, and I'm not a whale lover by any means.  It's not that I don't like them, I just never really gave them much thought.

I can't describe too much more without giving the plot away, so I'll just say that this book is fast paced and well worth the read if you liked the first book. As in, yes that's my full on recommendation to try this series out.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Monday, June 4, 2012

Future Release PNR

Moonglow
Book #2

This one was really hard to judge objectively, since it followed Firelight, which I enjoyed immensely. I truly couldn't see this plot, about Ian the Alpha Were, being anywhere near as fresh or exciting as the first book. And although my eyes did start to gloss over when Were world-building hit full stride, I did ended-up surprisingly enjoying this book overall.

In Moonglow, we learn more about Ian, the exiled Alpha Were, and about the curvaceous widow-Daisy, who he instinctively protects from the crazed Were that starts to terrorize the city. I give the banter and romance between the two MCs about a B+. It just wasn't as hot as the first book's MCs, since there really wasn't all that much effort put into building the necessary conflict or sexual tension, prior to them resolving their differences.

The Were subplot ended up being rather decent, even though I think I've read enough Were stories for two lifetimes. Thankfully enough, the book didn't just revolve around Ian & Daisy's romance woes, but also on the rest of the sisters & their own interesting supernatural lives, with a deeper focus on Poppy and Winston towards the end, presumably for the upcoming book's setup.  We also get a few nudging hints of a history & possible story between Ian's valet, Jack Talent, and Mary Chase. The weakest part of the whole thing for me was the ending and resolution to Daisy's mortality. It just seemed strange & somewhat unresolved, and the book left a lot of unanswered questions about  a couple of other characters as well.

In summary, this book was better than I expected, yet I was oddly disappointed that it didn't leave me with the same amount of excitement and satisfaction as the first. Having said that, I have to say that this has got to be one of the better PNR series I've read. I look forward to reading about Poppy and Winston in the upcoming book, Winterblaze.

Warning: Violence & Sexual Content

                                 0-Ember
                                 1-Firelight
                                 2-Moonglow (July 31, 2012)  (Ian/Daisy)
                                 3-Winterblaze (Mar 2013) Poppy/Winston

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Top Reads

The Janus Affair
Book #2

Another delightful and cleaver read. The plot was both well thought-out and enjoyable. The editing was much better than the first, making no room for any odd or uncomfortable slow points. I read this one quicker than the last. As before, the 3rd person narration shifts between different POVs, but all scenes seemed to have had a purpose and point.

 I'm also happy to say there is definitely forward movement between our two leads, as they face their romantic pasts. And damn, just as a resolution starts to come to fruition for the two partners, it ends. I really could have used another chapter, or maybe another book to be completely satisfied on that front. No doubt, the wait will be long and tedious, but I'm sure it will be well worth it in the end.
******
Evildoers beware! Retribution is at hand, thanks to Britain's best-kept secret agents!!

Certainly no strangers to peculiar occurrences, agents Wellington Books and Eliza Braun are nonetheless stunned to observe a fellow passenger aboard Britain's latest hypersteam train suddenly vanish in a dazzling bolt of lightning. They soon discover this is not the only such disappearance . . . with each case going inexplicably unexamined by the Crown.

The fate of England is once again in the hands of an ingenious archivist paired with a beautiful, fearless lady of adventure. And though their foe be fiendishly clever, so then is Mr. Books . . . and Miss Braun still has a number of useful and unusual devices hidden beneath her petticoats.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wickedly Imaginative, but..

Wicked as they Come
Book #1

This one isn't like anything I've ever read before. The plot is outlandish, but fun and entertaining. A well written, image filled, and easy to read book, that kept me glued, at least at the beginning. A jumble of different genres, Steampunk/Witchpunk, Fantasy, Vampirism, and Romance, makes this one difficult to categorically define.

The male protaginst is not your run-of-the-mil hot brooding alpha male lead, you get with most bodice rippers. A mix between Willy Wonka and Merry Poppins, with a dash of fabio for good measure. I don't think I've ever read a story with killer-blood sucking bunnies or caravans full of carnies. I don't normally equate carnies as being hot or all that interesting.

However, this good book does fail in one major way, and that's with its dispassionate tone. The interaction between the main characters and the dialogue just seems to fall a tad flat & emotionless. However, this might only be due to the style of the genre or the era that the alternative world emulates.  Either way, it was the main thing that kept this one from being a Top Read.
**************
Trish is a down on her luck, after a rather bad breakup from an abusive and controlling man. After she finds an old beaten up locket at an estate sale, the world as she knows it turns upside down. Muddled and divided between two realities, Trish has to find her way home before all is lost, including her sick and elderly Grandmother. But can she leave behind the wondrous and deliciously handsome Bludman, who is quickly whittling his way into her heart? Alice has nothing on Trish, as she flips between her normal life, as a broken hearted & rather bored hospice nurse to a courted gypsy who has the power of foresight.

In Summary, this book was Incredibly imaginative and well written, but I often found my mind wondering, leading me to put this book down on several occasions. Simply put, the lack of emotion, character ARC (Somewhat Shallow), and heat between the MCs (it just wasn't believable), prevented me from embracing it fully.  Those who aren't looking to commit to a whole series, will be happy to know that this books ends the current MC's story.

Warning: Sexual Content (2 scenes) and a bit on the Gruesome side

Similar Reads:  The Native Star, The Greyfriar, & Phoenix Rising

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

PNR Pick

Blood Law
Book 1

Pretty decent Shifter PNR. This one is about cursed twin Lycan brothers, torn apart by a blood law and a sibling feud. In order to break the curse and provide payment for killing his brother's mate, Rafael must give up his chosen. And in so doing, sentence his true love and an innocent to death.

The story starts off more akin to folklore than a run-of-the-mil romance. The world building turned out to be quite interesting and fairly good, and it also did a good job of offsetting the romance/love triangle subplot. The writing is pretty decent as well. As per usual, you have your typical alpha male and destined romance, but surprisingly enough, the Female protagonist is no ones's fool, even with her tank 1/2 past empty (as in starving and hurt) for a good quarter of the book.

The romance does get a bit muddy with the love triangle, but I thought the romance between the two MCs was pretty hot and believable. A nice twist at the end gives this one an added surprise that wasn't completely predictable. I really enjoyed this one overall, and only took off a star for the epic cliffhanger at the end. Way to ruin an already decent book. What can I say, I hate cliffhangers.

Warning: Cliffhanger Ending, 4 1/2 Stars otherwise.

Update:  Even though some parts were relatively okay, I could not bring myself to finish the 2nd book.   I made it about 80% of the way before I started skimming and calling it quits.  3 stars for Blood Right.

3-Blood Vow  (Dec 04, 2012)

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Top Reads

Blood on the Bayou
Book #2

If I had any doubts on whether this author was talented or not, this book squashed those ambiguous feelings with a vengeance. Everything that I had issue with in the last book seems to have been worked out for its followup. Brilliantly written and edited, with imagery to match. I couldn't help but get sucked into this book, right from the start. Jay has expertly crafted an interesting & unique world I definitely would like to know more of, and a likable and often funny self-deprecating protagonist, that has more issues than a hypochondriac (but great taste in beer).

Added to the already great writing is the exciting and original plot, and the thrilling twists that are presented along the way. The book starts about 3 weeks after the first, but there doesn't seem to be any great loss from that, especially with the recap presented at the top. For those reading the first two books back to back, they may find the small recap annoying and repetitive, but it doesn't last for more than a couple of pages, thankfully.

The only other faults I could find is the ridiculous love quadrangle we were introduced to in the first book. However, (A) it seems to make a bit more sense this time around, (B) I didn't find it completely gratuitous, and (C) the sub-plot is properly dealt with and possibly put somewhat to bed (pun intended) by the end. The last issue I had was the conclusion. The author did such a great job of keeping her readers along for the ride, but she quickly detours us by the end, when she skips a good chunk of time and just gives us a quick and dirty epilogue of events I would have rather have read in greater detail.

In summary, barring a couple of minor issues I had with it, I have to say this is one of the best books I've read as of late.

Warning: Some sexual content, but nothing too graphic.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Book Review

Framed
Book #3

*May Contain Mild Spoilers*

I liked this one better than the last. No wasted space and the pace was dead on. Even though I thought this book wasn't at all bad and it was definitely a step up from the last, I still had a couple of issues that kept me from marking it as a Top Read.

I'm still on the fence on whether I truly like or care about the protagonist. A particular issue I had were the non-sequiturs or inconsistencies by the protagonist. For example, even though Ruby spends a few pages on explaining that she in fact agrees with her friends, that driving is the last thing she should be doing in her current condition, she turns around and does exactly that in the scene that follows. My other issue is the sex scene. I can understand the author is trying to keep it clean, and in doing so, doesn't include much description on that front. However, when you say that the moment the couple "joins" they both come instantly, it just seems utterly unrealistic and ridiculous.

I also had issues with the dialogue in general. It just didn't seem to flow all that well or natural at times. And my last issue is with the Scooby-doo cliched ending wrap-up. Whenever the hero nets the bad guy at the end and he provides you with a super lengthy & neat explanation/monologue, with just a bit of prodding, that's when you know you've reached pay dirt. Don't pass go or collect $200 dollars.

In regards to the book's main plot, I never really felt any of the dramatic tension the conflict intended on building, since I never felt the protagonist was truly in any danger. Maybe I need to work on my suspension of disbelief a bit more. I also felt a lack of romantic tension and heat between Ruby and any of her many suitors. I actually I got more from the police officer she kept running into and maybe the odd scene where she befriends a lady shopping, which I guess wasn't intended judging by the turn of the events. And I almost forgot my biggest WTH moment, where my brain just didn't want to accept, was the big Sean reveal. I know, I know, this is fantasy and you should already have your I-Believe party hat on, but I don't think I'm buying what's being peddled on that front. Time will tell.

In summary, even though I had some "issues" with this book, I general liked it and really thought it was thoroughly entertaining and well paced. There's a lot of great scenes and wth moments. And if I can't decide whether I like the protagonist, I can safely say I do like her alter-ego and Cooper for that mater. Sean I can do without.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Really Good, But not for Everyone

Captive in the Dark
Book 1 of 2-Erotica

Altogether too short, but incredibly and surprisingly very good. I'm not an Erotica fan by any stretch, but I did enjoy this book. Well written and captivating, I couldn't help but read this in just one sitting. I was oddly entranced by both main character's stories, and their shared pain of depravity and strong will for survival. The author also somehow managed to create a redeemable and empathetic character from one willing to inflict pain & humiliation on others, just as others inflicted upon him.

"This isn't a romance. You're not a damsel in distress and I'm not the handsome prince come to save you."  No. He wasn't. In real life you had to save yourself.

Caleb is a man who spent half his life in the pursuit of revenge. Revenge against what others have done to him and his rescuer's family. In escaping the depravity of his early years, he slowly becomes the monster that he once abhorred.

In order to enact the final stages of his revenge, he sets out on snaring an unwilling victim to train as a submissive, for the purpose of selling her as a sex slave to the very man he has long dreamt of destroying. The only issue is that his surprisingly strong-willed and complicated captive might be a bit more than his experienced hands & heart can handle.

In summary, I enjoyed this book, but I definitely would have held back in reading it if I knew it ended just short of a satisfying conclusion. As in, this does end in a cliffhanger of sorts, and would have been better tackled after the 2nd book and its conclusion was published.

Warning: For Mature audiences only. This most definitely isn't for everyone, it's quite disturbing on so many levels. If can get past that, it really is a very good book.  Lots of sexually charged scenes, but only one with the full act. There is also violence, murder, Sodomy, and rape flashbacks, but nothing as far as cruelty or complete forceable sex by the captor-Caleb.

On a side note: For some reason this book reminds me of the Fever series.  The protagonist reminds me of Mac when she was a Priya and her captor has a bit of JZ.  It might have something more to do with the author's writing style though.  

2-Seduced in the Dark (Sep 2012)  Excerpts

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Caroline Hanson: ARC of Love is Mortal Auction

Caroline Hanson: ARC of Love is Mortal:

No, the book is not done yet. But a copy of the book will be auctioned off through Brenda Novak's Diabetes auction. The moment it's done you...

This is the 3rd book in the Valerie Dearborn series, and it's set to release this Dec.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Top Reads: A Perfect Blood

A Perfect Blood
Book #10

A top read for 2012. This book exceeded my relatively low expectations, stemming from the book's initial reviews and impressions. I found the book extremely well written/edited, constructed and just plain enjoyable. If I had to use one word to describe this book, it would be "Tension". As in, it's chock-full of it. Dramatic, Sexual, and Thrilling tension. I was so caught up in it all, I barely had time to lament about missing a of few of my favorite things like Big Al and the Ever-After. Big Al does make a couple of appearances, but nothing like he does in the previous books.

There is a lot of forward moment in this book, as Rachel's ARC comes full circle. This began in the last book, but it is taken one step further here, as she begins to not only see people and situations in new light, but starts to accept and trust those people, along with herself. Because we still have more than a couple of books until the grand finale, Harrison is taking these realizations a bit slow, especially in discovering and getting to Rachel's HEA. Not to say we don't get any interesting and meaty chapters between Trent and Rachel in this book. No, we still got plenty to chew on and enjoy, as we slowly gain momentum on that front as well. However, as one person put it, it's sometimes two steps forward and one step for those two, as it probably always will be until the very end.

The only complaint I have is the less than exciting ending. I wouldn't go so far as to call it cheesy as some have described it. More like somber compared to the rest of the book. It still felt satisfying, rounding out what is easily one of my favorites for the year, thus far.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely even though we do still have some time to wait to see everything come to fruition. Oh, but the journey will be oh so sweet.

I look forward to reading the upcoming Short, contained in the Novella-Into the Woods, set to be released early Oct. Written in Trent's POV, it is the events regarding Trent's covert operation to take his daughter-Lucy back, with Jinks by his side.

I'm Finally Free

Fifty Shades Freed
Book 3

A good conclusion with a decent ending/climax, but most of this book is filled with pointless filler. There is only some conflict and a somewhat purposeful plot, but you have to read almost to the end to glimpse it. The ending is like the beginning, mushy and very repetitive.  By about 75% of the way through, the book started skimming through time, marked only by repetitive text messages between the main characters.  The Sex scenes are all the same and quite boring. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen there, but alas, it never did. Overall this series is just fair. The only redeeming quality these books have is the endearing love story between the main characters. Other than that, this is really not worth the read. At least the writing improved as the books progressed.

With a bit of editing, I truly believe all three books in this trilogy could have been sized down to just one. Most of the books are filled with superfluous events, especially the first half of book #3. And although I enjoyed the books as I read them, I didn't feel they were all that special or satisfying by the end. I find it funny that with so much sex & S&M subject matter, I found little of interest or shocking and I don't read Erotica.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fifty Shades of Confused

Fifty Shades of Grey
Book 1 of 3

Only just released a couple of years ago, this series of erotic books and its author, is already being touted as being the next big thing, next to such names as Meyer and Rowling. So who is this author, and why does she have so many women's panties in a twist?

EL James is a British housewife that's turned author and literary sensation in a blink of an eye, and I'm not exactly sure why.  From a self-proclaimed freshman author who began her celebrity as a fan-fiction writer, with little experience other than being a devoted reader of the ever popular Twilight books.  I recently took a moment to sample her first book, which I found poorly written/edited and trite, yet impressively addictive and hard to put down.

The first book sets the stage in this melodramatic-romantic pseudo S&M series.  The book wasn't as bad as I first imagined it to be, when reading through the first couple of chapters.  It took some time to adjust to the author's style or the lack thereof.  And while the story isn't at all that fresh, and it rather unabashedly steals from many sources -Twilight, Pride and Prejudice, maybe even Fever's JB, it's still a decent read. It's a quick read and kept me interested until the very end, and the romance was definitely hot. With all honesty, that's probably why it has garnered so much attention.

I do appreciate that the protagonist is not some silly love-struck girl, without a confident bone in her body. She doesn't allow Mr. Fifty Shades boss her completely around, and she has hard/soft limits as well. Mr. Fifty Shades is as screwed up as you can get, even while being outwardly perfect. His personality, humor, and issues, somewhat remind me of Fever's elusive and enigmatic JB.

Now for the bad. I think the main problem with this author's writing style is her weak 1st person voice. It's somewhat reminiscent to a baser/animistic halting thought process, like we get when a author writes about a character's less than humanoid side. And while I still think the woman is just a mediocre writer that is still trying to find her bearings, I do think that it is more of her writing style that I initially had issues with. It would also behoove her to hire a editor and maybe try writing in 3rd person. There's definitely mistakes throughout.

My other issue is that this not all together fresh or original. However, after reading the first book and part of the 2nd, I believed originally was never in the plans for this author. Definitely facfict in regards to catering to her would-be fans or fellow readers.

Btw, book #1 ends with a cliffhanger, so you will most likely be in for at least two, if you decide to delve in. Having said all that, there still must be a reason why this picky reader kept reading. Yes I concede, it wasn't all bad. So if your'e in between books and you're looking for a good no-thought sexy/romance read, this one might be for you. If you are looking for an accurate, well thought-out, fresh read, then you might what to look elsewhere.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The 2nd Makes it Good

The Renfield Syndrome
Book #2

This has got to be one of the best followups I've read in quite some time. If you haven't read the first book yet, please do so before reading any further. These books have a bit of everything. Yes there are vampires, but there are also demons, witches, time travel, and other things that go bump in the night.

The second book starts exactly where the first book leaves off, with Rhiannon beamed into a bad episode of the Twilight Zone. And because I've always been a sucker for a nice mind screw plot, I really enjoyed this book, or at least the first three quarters of it. Overall the book was written, edited, and executed better than the first. In short, I devoured this book in no time flat.

And while I did like this book overall, I thought it fell short on a couple of key places. The climax may have been started too early, leaving a somewhat anti-climatic and disappointing ending. This happens when a majority of the book is a high-energy fantasy thriller ride, that doesn't let up until the climax, then ends in on a slower-somber note. My other issue was the predictable major turn of events, although the author did ultimately deliver what I was hoping for. There were also just a couple of mistakes/inconsistencies, one of which is blatantly apparent if you read the first two books back to back. It's hard to miss, that's all I'll say.

In summary, I loved this book because it was exciting and satisfying up until the climax. I'm definitely signing up to read the third book when it comes out.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Monday, March 26, 2012

Yes, yet another Vampire Plot

Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between
Book #1

A decent book that really got my attention more towards the end. I think I'm about done with reading any new vampire plots. They all seem to be relatively similar, with little that ever surprises me anymore. Another thing that stays true to the UF paradigm is the ever smart-mouthed & kick-assed persona of the UF female protagonists. I actually don't mind this protagonist or her smart mouth that much, because she is somewhat likable and sometimes vulnerable.

As per usual, the vampires are seductive cool beasts, and we again have a protagonist that falls for the HBIC (Head Bitch In Charge, for those that don't know). The only difference is that with her particular useful talent, to detect the twice dead, lands her in the middle of some unsavory characters and situations. There are some interesting back stories told, mysteries solved, and hot scenes to delve into, so it was definitely an enjoyable read, even if it was still somewhat predictable or common. The climax and ending is what really pushed this one into the definitely not bad territory. I would have been perturbed if the 2nd book wasn't already available. Yes, we are walking a semi-cliffhanger line here. Looking forward to more soon to quell my addled mind.

In summary, with only a couple of nit-pick mistakes and inconsistencies, I have a hard time not recommending this book, even with the over used vamp sub-plot. This book may have been published at the height of the vamp/UF fad for all I know, so I'll excuse the over used subplot, especially with the few fresh spins it does end up offering readers.

Just a side warning. If you decide to read this book, make sure you have the 2nd book handy.

Warning: Sexual Content & gruesome Voodoo-like Mayhem

*****
One bad corpse can ruin your whole day.  No one knows that better than Rhiannon Murphy.

She's left behind the flash and sass of Miami for the no-nonsense groove of New York City, eager for a clean slate and a fresh start. A bartender by trade, a loud mouth by choice, and a necromancer by chance, she's managed to keep her nifty talent hidden from those around her--until now.

The deliciously good-looking vampire Disco knows her secret, and when he strolls into her bar to solicit help investigating the mysterious disappearances of his kind from the city, she discovers he's not the kind of person that appreciates the significance of the word no. But in a world where vampires peddle their blood as the latest and greatest drug of choice, it's only a matter of time before the next big thing hits the market. Someone or something is killing vampires to steal their hearts, and unlike Rhiannon, this isn't their first stroll around the undead block.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Friday, March 16, 2012

PNR Picks

Alpha Instinct
Book #1

This is straight-up Shifter PNR, which is really not even my bag, but I do have to say this is one of the best books in that category that I've read. Well executed and very easy to read, I enjoyed this book through and through. There is plenty of action, story-telling, mystery, and romance.  Without sacrificing too much of the main plot, set-up for the follow-up is well laid out.  I definitely look forward to more.
*****
Ana Cordona has been a strong leader for the lupine shifters who survived after all the males and most of the females in her pack were mysteriously poisoned. As tough as she is, with no Alpha male, the pack is vulnerable to the devious shifter Taggart, who wants to claim both their ranch and Ana as his own. When Connor Armstrong comes back into her life, promising protection, it’s almost enough to make Ana forget how he walked out on her before—and reluctantly accept his offer to mate.

The minute Connor sees Ana again, it reawakens a raw hunger. He must have her for his bondmate—his wolf cries out for it. But his human side knows he must proceed with caution because of their complicated past. If he is to truly have her body and soul, he must go beyond his burning desire and win back her heart. Whatever it takes, he is determined not to leave her side again.

But Taggart and his rival pack are not their only enemies. A human element in town is targeting shifters. Their plan not only threatens Ana and Connor’s future, but the lives of the entire pack

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Future Release Review: The Prophet

The Prophet (Apr 24th)
Book #3

The Prophet is a solid book, with all the elements that first drew me to this series. As always, these books are well written and has a added creep factor, without rising to a level of Horror. However, I do admit that it took me an inordinate amount of time to get through this particular book. The book has less of scary and creepy feel as the second book, The Kingdom, but a satisfying and somewhat final conclusion, made this a worthwhile read.

With Asher behind her, Amelia returns to her life in Charleston and her haunted detective. A ghost of a murdered cop enlists her help, and she quickly becomes embroiled in dynamic mystery, full of lies, murder, drugs, and ghosts. And at the center of all this is Devlin's hedonistic dead wife.

I had numerous issues with this book, none of which had anything to do with how it was written.  Amelia is a different person around Devlin.  She displays a marked amount weakness, co-dependency, and lack of self-worth.  I spent most of the book wanting slap some sense into the woman.  Other mild annoyances include: revisiting the Devlin subplot, the lack of suspense & fear, and the cliched endings to the ghost & murder mystery subplot.    The ending alludes to this being the last book in this series.  If this is the case, I will gravely be disappointed.

In summary, I liked this book overall, but I can't say it was my favorite.  The pace was about the same as the others, but I found my interest waning at times. Having said that, I would definitely recommend this book to fans of the series.

Warning: One sexual scene, albeit, not too graphic.

This book is set to release on Apr 24th. I received an advanced copy via Netgalley.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A good Sci-Fi Read


Judging by the cover and reviews, I thought I was in for a steamy Sci-fi Romance ride. Well, it didn't end up ringing true to my initial impressions. This book is more like a Sci-fi thriller/adventure with romantic elements. I was very surprised on how well constructed and interesting this story turned out to be. No truly steamy parts, but definitely a very good read nonetheless.

Earth is a distant generational memory for a group of colonists traveling to their new home, Paradise 18. That is until an incident causes them to crash land on the closest habitable planet of Tundra 37. The mystery of this strange frozen world and the half human pilots, known as the Seers, suddenly starts to unravel.

The book takes the precarious perspective of various people aboard the ship. One a disabled but very sharp girl, that doesn't really fit in the new world the colonists are working to build. Another is the perspective of one of the Seers, a once human girl who is now more machine and controls the ship, along side her twin sister. Through her flashbacks, we get a bit of a glimpse back to the Old Earth and the causation of the devastation that catapulted these survivors into space in the first place. We also get to see the story from Gemme and Miles perspective, which held the majority of the romance in this book.

I thought the romance was spot on, but a bit tame. More YAish than I first expected, but it was still good. The best part of the book was the main story. Well constructed and damn interesting, I thought every perspective and scene was well placed and edited. It all seemed to fit well together. However, I do have to comment that there seemed to be quite a few mistakes or typos throughout, but not enough to be truly distracting.
*******
Gemme is a hi-tech matchmaker who pairs the next generation of Lifers aboard the Expedition, a deep space transport vessel destined for Paradise 18. When the identity of her lifemate pops up on her screen, she's shocked that he's the achingly gorgeous and highly sought after Lieutenant Miles Brentwood, a man oblivious to her existence.

Believing everyone will think she contrived the match, she erases it from the computer's memory. Just as comets pummel the ship and destroy the pairing system forever. With the Expedition disabled, the colonists must crash land on the barren ice world of Tundra 37 where Gemme is reassigned to an exploratory mission, led by Lieutenant Brentwood. Only in the frozen tundra does she understand the shape of his heart and why the computer has entwined their destinies.

In summary, If you are looking for a good Sci-Fi story with a bit of romance, then this book might be for you. As a self-proclaimed UF lover, I really did enjoy this book. If you are looking for steamy romance, then I would suggest a book called Demon Possession. This book is labeled as book #2 in a series, but it reads like a standalone and I didn't miss anything from reading this book on its own.

Note: Safe for 15+
-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Best Buy gift cards w/ eReader purchase

Best Buy gift cards w/ eReader purchase: $20: Kindle Touch, Nook touch; $25: Nook Color; $30: Kindle Touch 3G

This coming week's Best Buy ad features free gift cards with eReader purchases. The eReaders are otherwise typical MSRP. The rewards are as follows:

* Kindle Touch (w/ special offers): $20 gift card (Price: $100)

* Nook Touch: $20 gift card (Price: $100)

* Nook Color: $25 gift card (Price: $200)

* Kindle Touch 3G (w/ special offers): $30 gift card (Price: $150)

This ad is valid for next week, 2/12 - 2/18. Doesn't say if this promotion will be available online.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

$50 Walmart Gift Card w/ Kindle Fire Purchase

Walmart Stores are selling the Kindle Fire 7" 8GB WiFi Tablet + $50 Walmart Gift Card for $200. So, essentially Walmart is selling the Kindle Fire for $150.  This deal can be had on Walmart online.  I'm not sure if this deal is available in the store.  Valid from Feb 5th-14th.
Walmart Link   Slickdeals info Link


In sad Sunday news, my PC's hard drive finally shit the bed, after yet another unceremonious power surge (however it was like 9yrs old, so it had to have happened sometime). This has got to be the 10th power surge I've experienced in my new place.  I finally waved the white flag and order a couple of UPS' in anticipation for the next siesta. Anyways, it might be quiet around here until I get my new hard drive.

Phase 3: Weekend Project

The center was sitting at my doorstop yesterday, right after returning from my 4th hardware store visit. Trying to find the best color of stain and method is proving a bigger challenge than finding the right piece of furniture. I do have staining experience, but mostly with Minwax waterbased stain. The oil is way too messy, odoriferous, and takes forever to dry. This time around, I had to ditch the waterbased, since they don't come any "natural" looking colors.

Okay so here is what it's supposed to look like unfinished and assembled.


This is what it looks like, right out of the box:


Materials:
1-Minwax Gel Stain (Cherrywood)
2-220 grit sand block
3-Oil based Pre-conditioner 
4-Oil based Satin Polyurethane 

Of course after reading the instructions, my excitement dwindled a bit, because now I have to run to the store, yet again, for wood glue this time.  

My only issue was where to start.  Should I sand each piece first outside, then assemble and stain or stain and assemble?  I have a bit of a predicament with not a lot of room and a apartment rule against staining, so I'm going to have to do this on the D-L and mostly inside.  I hope I don't suffer any brain damage as a result. 

So I decided to stain everything first outside, then assemble at the end.  My first go with the gel stain turned out pretty good, but I'm unsure if this is "The" color.  

The gel is thicker than I imagined and has the consistency of pudding:


One coat on a unseen piece of wood:


This is two coats later, and while it's nice, I'm still not sure whether I should get another color and go over it.  I plan on adding one more coat later tonight.  I might go two-toned later after assembly.  


At this point, my tv console is looking more like the item below, than my original inspiration.  Please chime in if you have any suggestions or tips.  Thanks


Update: After lots of sweat and tears (okay, there weren't many tears involved), I finally finished. Yippee.  Now I'm working on my first computer build this weekend

Finished Product:


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Weekend Project & Ramblings

I'm currently in the middle of a major Entertainment upgrade, which is sort of silly for someone who doesn't even have cable/sat and spends most of the time reading.  The uprgraditis hit me about 7 months ago, when I departed from my last place in Northern Cali. Unable to easily rid myself of my back-breaking old CRT, I was resolved to handling LR Audio and my bedroom's A/V setup for now.

Phase 1: Living Room
Old: 5-Speaker Sony HTIB w/ AVR & Sub
          Zenith dvd player
.
New:  RX-v671 Yamaha 7.1 AVR ($340)
            1 Polk Center ($99)
            2 Polk Towers ($215)
            2 Boston Acoustic CR67 bookshelf Speakers Surrounds ($99)
            HSU VTF-1 10" Subwoofer ($399)
            Panasonic 3D BD Player (Free-After Selling Avatar 3D)

Phase 2: Bedroom
Old:  20" Samsung CRT
            Pair of Bose Computer Speakers
            Sony dvd player
.
New:  37" Panasonic LED Tv  ($430)
            1 Pair of BA CR67 Bookshelf Speakers ($89)
            8" Outlaw Subwoofer ($175)
            Old Sony AVR, from HTIB
            Panasonic 3D BD Player (Free -After selling Avatar 3D)
            Belkin Universal Wireless Tv Adapter/Bridge ($16.99)

Phase 3: Entertainment Center
I actually like my old entertainment center. It matches the rest of my furniture and it has plenty of space to hid all my junk, however it doesn't fit anything bigger than a 37" LED tv. I sort of figured I painted myself into a corner all those years ago when I bought the darn thing. So the old center goes, and that's the part where I'm currently at now.

I really wanted this:

But at $1400+ and not having the opportunity to check it out first, it wasn't really an option for me.

So instead I bought this unfinished center for $311, with the hope that I can recreate a similar look of the uber expensive one.  It took almost a month to receive it, but now I'm pretty excited with the possibilities. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Overpriced E-Reads

I've never heard of St. Martin's Griffin Publishing House before today. I'm not usually all that interested about the ends outs of how my daily entertainment makes it from author to reader, but when two of my most wanted new releases are priced higher than a steak dinner at Sizzler, I take notice. I don't know what this publishing house is thinking pricing an e-book so high, considering it takes zero dollars to produce or distribute it, minus the fees associated with selling on different sites.

Here is hoping that this isn't product of a greedy cooporation, but just the extra costs associated with the production and marketing of these books and maybe a donation to helping this company with their yearly altruistic endeavors, like helping the very need kids of Bavaria out. Because there are needy kids there as well, I know, I looked it up.

Third Grave of the Left
Book #3

E-Price: $10.99
Book #2 E-Price: $9.99




Saddie Walker is Stranded   
Book #2

E-Price:  $9.99
Book #2 E-Price: $14.99 discounted to $9.99

New Release: Haunted

Haunted  2.99
Book #2

This is the second book in the self-published UF series by Ms. Natusch. A well written and edited book that continues Ruby's interesting story. I found this book well paced and quite witty at times, but I do have to concede that I thought the first book was in a league of its own, even with a few minor complaints.

So why didn't I like this one all that much? It's hard to pin-point exactly why this book never entirely drew me in, but if I had to say, it was probably the lack of character development and its thin plot. Everything about the first book worked to bring me in. From its engaging beginning, where we find Ruby mysteriously hurt and sitting under a tree, not knowing how she got there, to the thrilling ending where she makes her heroing escape with her new found friend Cooper. Overall, I found the first book's plot very tight and completely thrilling from beginning to end.  But I can't really say that about the second book, and we don't really progress all that much through the series' main plot either. I thought this book was fine, however I really never found myself entirely vested in the plot or the characters, like I did with the first book.

As I said, the plot runs a bit thin, with the first half consisting of Cooper becoming a troubled roommate, Ruby taking in a friend's teen, and Ruby attending dance class. This book's story is definitely a slow burn, as we discover the true mystery behind all the weird occurrences in Ruby's life around mid-point. And once I did get into the meat and potatoes of it all, I just didn't find it all that interesting or had enough wherewithal to care about the outcome of anyone, especially young Peyta.

Not much of the series' main plot is covered until the very end.  And that part seemed rather rushed and just a mere afterthought. We also don't get much interaction between Ruby and Sean throughout. Because of this, we get little in the way of sexual tension or romance in this book, especially compared to the first.

In regards to character development, it felt like the focus was more on Ruby's friends, rather than her, and her ARC sort of suffered as a result. In addition, I found myself disliking Ruby more and more, as the book progressed, due to her vindictive, snarky, and nagging behavior. Her venom towards Sophie also seemed a bit excessive and I found myself actually rooting for Sophie by the end, and I don't think that was author's intention.
*****
After his near death experience only months earlier, Cooper’s behavior is rapidly deteriorating.

So what does Ruby do? She adds a new roommate into the mix. When her friend Ronnie is abruptly called away for a family emergency, Ruby takes in Peyta, Ronnie’s highly intelligent and overly observant teenage daughter. With an increasingly unstable Cooper in the house, Ruby fears for Peyta’s safety.

But when Peyta’s behaviors become as perplexing as Cooper’s, Ruby finds herself juggling a series of lies to ensure their safety as well as her own… Until the lies, and the bodies, start dropping.

In Summary, while I do think this book is well written, it just didn't hit the same notes for me as the first. And because of that, it was a miss for me. Still, I'm curious and anxiously await this author's next effort.

Warning: Expletives freely used.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Future Release Pick

The Kingdom  
Book #2  (Mar 27)

One of the most haunting & unnerving series I've read, gets even scarier. Another well written read, that starts off a bit subdued, but quickly escalates to an eerie thriller that reveals plenty.
*****
Deep in the shadowy foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies a dying town. Amelia has been commissioned to restore an old cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina, but she quickly comes to the realization that she was brought there for another purpose entirely.

And while our haunted and handsome detective doesn't make an appearance in this book, there's still plenty of hot romance to be had, as Amelia uncovers the mystery behind the strange town that is Asher Falls. What makes this an especially good read, besides the eerie backdrop, is the amount intrigue, family betrayal, incestuous like affairs, and secrets that are uncovered, along with finding out how it all relates to Amelia.

Somewhere between a Dark Fantasy and a Horror, I found quite a few scenes to be completely unnerving and extremely creepy.

“His voice came from the bottom of the stairs. He was no longer in the chamber with me. But the arm was still holding me....  I was alone in the chamber with Emelyn Asher’s withered corpse.”

In Summary, if you liked the first book, then you will definitely enjoy this one. For those who are craving a bit of thriller/horror with their Fantasy, this is the sure ticket. Reaching my top favorite series to follow, I look forward to reading more in this series and anything this author has to offer.

Warning: Some Violence & Sexual Content, but no sex.

I received an advanced copy of this book via Netgalley.  This book is set to be released on March 27th.

2-The Kingdom  (Mar 27, 2012)
3-The Prophet (Apr 24 2012)

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-