2.5 Stars
Er, is it a DNF when you say "fuck this!" with five minutes left?
Animal Attraction - Jill Shalvis

This book started off so well. At least much better than the first book. There was definitely a spark of something there between the hero and heroine more than sex. I appreciated that. Then when they did have sex it was the only scene for the longest time, there was even a judicious FTB. Then a flipped was switched and it seemed that suddenly Shalvis felt she needed to make up for less sex later in the book and there was more for no reason. Also, I really dislike when books end on sex scenes. It is infinitely worse when the book is needlessly extended to shove in yet another elongated, overly descriptive sex scene. Eight minutes left in the book and does the heroine take the hero to meet her family while they are in Chicago? Nope. Is there a cute little scene where she's showing him the city I doubt he's ever been to while the story sweetly fades into their HEA? Nooope.






Like another book I just finished reading. They get snowbound together. They really only just met, so do they talk for awhile, get to know each other? OF COURSE NOT. No, fifteen, FIFTEEN, pages of sex scene and then two lines at the end of the chapter that says they talked. THAT IS COMPLETELY THE OPPOSITE OF HOW A ROMANCE NOVEL SHOULD BE, DAMMIT!!!


*heavy breathing*


*glares at books*


"Romance" genre I love you, but you are on such thin ice with me. 

1 Stars
DNF at 64% – The Horrors of Domestic Violence Is Not the Horror I Was Looking For.
Ghost Road Blues (Pine Deep Trilogy, #1) - Jonathan Maberry, Tom Weiner

Jonathan Maberry is real hit or miss for me. I like the Joe Ledger series even though I generally hate his writing style. But I still keep giving him a chance. This book won the Bram Stoker Award so I thought I was in for something good here. If this is what they honor, then I don't actually get what the BSA is about.


Once again Maberry has about fifty million characters and we have to jump to all of their POVs. It didn't feel like there was any sort of cohesive story just random vignettes that pull together separately. It was all slow as hell. There were hints at horror elements, but not enough for there to be anything called horror, really. There was more of the human crime element.


Even the people that were obviously supposed to be the good protagonists weren't in my opinion. Everyone knew this guy Vic is beating on his 14-year-old stepson but no one does anything about it because Vic is friends with cops or some such nonsense. Our "hero" Crowe calls himself doing something by befriending the kid, Mike. On this night Mike had already gotten into an accident and was injured and Crowe knew that sending him home with his stepfather was a bad, dangerous idea but did it anyway because the Mayor told him to. When he leaves the kid to do the job he was tasked with and comes back to be told by a witness that Vic came to get Mike and full on punched him in the gut before tossing him in the car, Crowe was pissed. And that was about it. We're then treated to a very extended and graphic scene of Vic beating the ever-loving shit out of Mike. It was horrific and supposed to somehow be ameliorated because Mike realizes that Vic is nothing more than human during the beating? What the?


Back to Crowe and the very next thing he's thinking about getting home to his girlfriend and the meal she cooked him. That's when I was done with this book. There are no good guys in this story if they just let something like that go on and do nothing. He didn't even bother to go check on the kid! Then he realized said girlfriend was probably in trouble and that's all that mattered. Speaking of the girlfriend, the topper on my DNF was her running back to the farm where the killer who had kidnapped her and her family was instead of trying to get any sort of help.


I don't care about these characters at all. Except Mike and since he isn't getting help I can't stand to read/listen to more. I don't care about what's coming, if anything is coming because the whole thing has been boring as hell. And long as hell. I actually groaned out loud when I was halfway through because there was still another seven hours left! I tried, but it's not worth my time. I'm super disappointed. I was hoping to have a fun creepy/scary trilogy to get me through the rest of October.


ETA: I forgot to mention that the narrator was pretty awful as well. I actually ended up getting used to him eventually, but he was in no way good.

3 Stars
Finished: Locke & Key — Great production, but . . .
FREE: Locke & Key - Tatiana Maslany, Audible Studios, Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, Kate Mulgrew, Haley Joel Osment, Full Cast

You can tell Audible out a lot of work into producing this audiobook. There is a full cast of actors playing different voices, fully acting out their parts complete with sound effects.


All of this is really great, however, when adapting the graphic novel they did not adapt the action in the panels. So this was very much like listening to a television show. There were a ton of times where action was happening but the listener has absolutely no idea what is going on or what just happened (unless, if course, they are following along in the books or have read them before). I could follow along with the story for the most part but there were big gaps in my understanding. The people adapting the comic should have turned the action panels into exposition. Especially in this case as the authors were involved in the production. 


I can't complain too much, I suppose, as I got a decent amount of entertainment from this free audiobook. Thankfully my library has these in e-comic form so I'll eventually go through them. If you're going to listen to this I'd suggest you check to see if you can get your hands on the books to read along.


I liked the story itself well enough though the resolution of one element at the end didn't make sense to me. I didn't mind that it happened—I expected it to—I just wasn't down with the way it happened. And I really disliked some of the deaths. Speaking of which,

a lot of children die in this thing, haha. Like, I count two adults out of something like 50 deaths.


(show spoiler)


P.S. If you want to try it out, it is still free and will be until November 4th. Can't beat that price, at least.

Would have been a higher rating. . .
At Last - Jill Shalvis

But for the heroine's icktastic backstory. (Also having a teen come along that was in a similar (but less gross) situation was a little too on the nose.) And my not really feeling that the hero and heroine had much of a relationship beyond sex. It wasn't as bad as other books, there was a bit more talking and they had chemistry, but let's just say that all of the "this is more than sex" declarations both made read as protesting too much like other books I've pointed out in the past. I must praise the sex scenes though! No cringe-inducing euphemisms. They were clear and most of them were of a judicious length—not too long. (Except one where there was a confusing chapter break in the middle.) I'm still flirting with making the rating a three instead of that half. We'll see.

AAB (Awesome Author Behaviour)

This exchange gave me the good feelings. THIS is how wise and mature people respond to negative reviews. Secondary snaps for SuperWendy for posting the review in the first place.


Chapter Four — Oy vey.
Brave the Heat - Sara  Humphreys

I'm already hating the heroine. She left town, leaving the hero (and everyone else) without a word 15 years ago. She's back now and in their first encounter he had some underlying bitterness and anger. She acknowledges that it's her fault, but then thinks that she has her share of anger at him as she considers that what he did AFTER she left was a betrayal to her and something for which he should apologize. Turns out she did call back a few days after leaving and a "friend" told her that he had started screwing some other girl. She never contacted him. (Why would he not be the one she called if she "loved" him so much?) Never talked to him again. Took the story at face value and ran.


Like, even if that story were true (and I didn't even buy it and I don't know these people) she was gone. She broke his heart. Devastated him. How is that a betrayal of her? She says he must not have loved her as much as he said he did. Er, woman, you ran out of town without a word. You didn't trust him with what was going on. You didn't love him enough to even say goodbye. But he betrayed you and you think he should apologize to you? What? (Not to mention he's basically been alone and pining away for her this whole time and she married some rich dude five years after leaving.)

Maybe I could deal with it if she were thinking of her tumultuous thoughts when this was happening when she was 18, but no, even now she claims to have anger and thinks he "betrayed" her until she got the real story.


Of course, so far, she has not had to apologize to anyone for her actions or explain herself. Her BFF is one of those that will prop her up no matter what (she even had to go through herculean lengths to even FIND the heroine after she blew town and is perfectly fine with that). Everyone in town just kind of expects that the hero will forgive her and they'll be together and he'd be cast as the asshole if he didn't. A point that's moot now since once he found out she was divorced he was suddenly sunshine and roses asking her for a do-over. And he asked for it without asking her to at least explain herself. (He did ask afterward. She refused to explain. Still.)


How does he know she won't do something like that again? That he can trust her (I assume forthcoming) proclamations of love? We'll see how this resolves but I get the feeling she's going to be let off the hook completely which will annoy the bejesus out of me. I'm not sure if the author can pull out an explanation and apology that will get me to stop disliking her, but, again, we'll see. I'm just glad she ended up marrying a bastard. (Okay, maybe not the extent to which he was a bastard, but I'm just glad it wasn't a happy marriage at all.)



P.S. The audiobook narrator's voices are annoying.

2 Stars
Finished – Hell or High Water: What I know . . .
Hell or High Water (The Deep Six) - Julie Ann Walker

How sexy he finds her.

What he wants to do to her.

How long he's wanted to do it.

His feeling on all the parts of her body.

What her breasts look like.

What her nipples look like.

What they taste like.

What her vagina looks like.

What her vagina feels like.

What her vagina tastes like.

Everything he wants to do with her vagina.

What he does to her vagina.

How wet her vagina is.

How sexy she finds him.

What she wants to do with him.

How long she has wanted to do it.

Her feeling on all the parts of his body.

What his body looks like.

What his penis looks like.

How erect his penis is.

How big and erect his penis is.

What color his penis is when it is super erect.

What his penis looks like as it is erect.

What the veins of his penis look like as he is getting erect.

What his penis feels like in her hands.

What his penis tastes like.*

What his penis feels like in side her.

What both their genitalia looks like as he moves in and out of her.

What both their genitalia looks like when he pulls out of her.

What the build up to orgasm feels like.

What the orgasm feel like and do to them.

How much they want to do all the sex again.


What I don't know . . .


Why in the hell these two think they're in love with each other.




Yeah, graphic (though not as graphic as the actual book) but I think represents my problem here well. This book was all show when it came to sex but nothing but tell when it came to them being in "love". They knew each other nearly two years ago in Syria is as much as we're given. In this book they're either talking about the mission or sex. There was one little spate of getting to know each other's backgrounds. "He loved her and now he wanted to know everything about her." Sigh. Okay.


Oddly, there was a secondary couple that met during the book and THEY had real conversation and I can see what they have in common and would like about each other outside of sexual attraction. Why couldn't we get any of that for the primary couple? I might listen to the next book if the library gets it if it is this secondary couple hoping that we'll get even more of a foundation since there is at least already one in place for that story.


The other major problem with future books in this series, aside from knowing there'll be an overabundance of graphic sex supplanting story and unnecessary POV jumping is this strange thing of Walker describing the women as so diminutive they look like children. Thankfully the heroine of this book was adult sized. But the hero of the secondary couple initially thought the heroine was a little boy. Then called her a sexy cherub. Uh, ew. At the end of the book the historian they hired showed up and it's clear she's going to be the heroine of a future book and she's described as looking like a little girl at first. What is that? That's so creepy. Especially when they're going to be paired with these massive former Navy SEALS. It kind of reminded me of seeing Hayden Panettiere and her husband at first. See? But worse because it's going to be so graphically described.


Meh. We'll see. If the library gets any more of this series in and whether or not I run out of other things to listen to I might listen to the next book.

37% — Yeah, I'm done.
Navy Orders - Geri Krotow

I'm not calling this a DNF right now for whatever reason. I can't explain it. I think I want to see what happens with other parts of the story, and I like the hero, but I just can't deal with this shit now. I'm yelling at the book and making wild hand gestures and it's just stressing me the hell out.


The ex dickbag showed up and she let him stay, too. He has now declared that they aren't leaving until things are better between Ro and her sister. Because she's pregnant and deserves to enjoy this time in her life or whatever the fuck. AND SHE LETS HIM SAY THIS SHIT AND AGREES TO SIT DOWN WITH THEM AGSGDHWNDJCNCSKSNCIEWMNSCOWICNEGANI!!!!!!!!! WHAT IS THAT?! And this one is even worse because the sister is a straight up asshole all around. I mean, even more than you have to be to do this kind of thing to your own sister.


Who knows if I'll ever be able to deal with this. Because I frigging hate this so much. Every time. WHY DO ROMANCE AUTHORS THINK WE WANT TO READ THIS CRAP?? Why is this a continuous trope? Why do heroines ALWAYS forgive? 




That's a real question, because I have to know who actually likes reading a heroine getting shit on and then forgiving and forgetting because that's super cool or whatever the hell.

Pg. 52 – Nope. NO.
Navy Orders - Geri Krotow

The sister has shown up unannounced, it has not even been a full page and I'm ready to set everything on fire. Remember this is the sister who married the heroine's, Ro's, finance while she was at war. Hobag sister has already bitched at Ro for cutting her out of her life. Said she needs to get over it, because she's pregnant with ex-dickbag's baby (his name is Dick, but it's just so apt in many ways). Bitched about where Ro lives being 'so far from civilization'. And demanded Ro let her in . . . AND SHE DID.


Nope. NOPE. If Ro just accepts this and helps this idiot out I swear to God it's DNF time. I don't have the patience for this even though I've had this book on my TBR forever and the author will be at the reader luncheon next month.

3 Stars
Finished – When A Scot Ties the Knot: Oh, Tessa Dare . . .
When a Scot Ties the Knot - Tessa Dare

You write such interesting characters. And they have such great banter. In the second book of this series especially. Say Yes to the Marquess was so well balanced and there was so much talking and interaction between the hero and heroine that wasn't sexual. It was great!


In this book I loved our heroine Maddie and her quirks and ambitions. I loved how she handled Logan and the asinine situation in which she found herself. I loved she went out and got what she wanted in life. Logan I liked overall, but there was definitely that rocky start with him. Even if he was doing everything for the love of his men.


Unfortunately, in this book sex seemed to take over again like the first book of the series. Even though they didn't go full intercourse until very late in the book (thank god, otherwise it would have felt more than a little rapey) there were still a lot of interludes with touching, fingering, and oral. And I couldn't help but think if at least half of those were cut out and instead Logan and Maddie had more interaction outside of butting heads and basic get-to-know-you, it would have been a much stronger story like the second book.


Nor, of course, do I need the sex to be so graphic that I'm wondering if I'm listening to a romance or an erotica. There's a difference, dammit! I especially need authors to settle down with all the cock. Cock, cock, cock, cock, cock, I GET IT HE AS A COCK, GOD DAMN. Does it really need to be said twenty times in this scene? Or referred to constantly? I know, I know I'm a broken record on this subject and I probably will continue to be. What makes it entirely worse is when you have great books that are brought down by this element.  Authors and bloggers can take to twitter and whatever to mock me and others as much as they want to (and they do). I do not think I'm wrong that romance should be romance and it doesn't need nor gains anything from an over abundance of graphic sex.


Unless, of course, we're talking about lobsters. Then it's just necessary. 'She's drawn a lobster pillowbook . . .' Oh, my God, it kills me!!


Tessa Dare does really strong and interesting secondary characters and this book was no different. I don't want books for the secondaries in this book like I do for Phoebe and Bruiser from Say Yes, but I still liked them all a lot nonetheless!

3 Stars
Finished – Armada: The Aliens Were Her Father?!
Armada - Ernest Cline

No, that was Contact. That movie was annoying as hell.


I can't say the alien situation in this book was all that much better.


There is a lot that's enjoyable about Kline's writing. Even with sucky first person and all. He may be headed into overkill with the pop culture references but they are still fun references. And Wil Wheaton's narration is just plain great. He's not the best with accents, unfortunately, but he brings a lot to the characters and sound effects, etc.


There is a lot of preamble before the story actually gets going. It takes place over two days and a lot happens so some of hat beginning could have been cut to get into the action quicker and give more time to areas that need it.


The biggest problem with this book is plausibility. Obviously it's SF/F so you have to suspend disbelief. That's not the problem because everything you question about the alien backstory our protagonist, Zach, questions as well. Still, lampshading something that doesn't make sense without resolution doesn't make it better. It's like when Supernatural admitted to jumping the shark with Papa Winchester's third son in the title of the episode. That doesn't make it okay!!


At the end when

we're told that this whole thing was a test, created by an AI created by a conglomerate of peaceful alien civilizations it's like a giant bullshitometer goes off. What peaceful civilizations would provoke a war with another as a test and kill over 30 million innocents as part of it? Peaceful my ass. Zach questions some of this and it ends with him wanting to keep an eye on them because he doesn't buy into everything they said.

(show spoiler)

Well, okay, good. But that still leaves the reader in a state of WTF!? at the end. I also had a problem with Zach being allowed to make a choice for everyone.


Also, of course, I really hated what went down with

Zach's father. Pretty much everything about that part of the story I called beforehand, but that doesn't mean I'm okay with what happened. You mean he couldn't have come up with a better plan than a Kamikaze end-run as a distraction? With all the genius help they had? They could have set up another distraction. Just seems like a really dick move to reveal you're alive to your family after 17 years and kill yourself in the same damn day. Even if it is to save the world.


Not to mention them being forced to fake their deaths and stay solitary for so long was pretty damn dumb, too.


And can someone please explain to me why the Admiral was allowed to speak at Xavier's memorial a year later? The Admiral is the entire reason he's dead!! There is no way in anyone's hell I'd let the man responsible for my father's death speak at his memorial! WTF?!

(show spoiler)


Sorry this review isn't as helpful to you if you don't want to read spoilers. It's just one of those times it's impossible to talk around what happens.


There are definitely fun aspects to the story but I didn't enjoy it as much as I did Ready Player One.

4% — Oh boy.
Navy Orders - Geri Krotow

Only a few pages into this book and it's not going well already. Our heroine was just perfectly okay with her fiancé having married someone else while she was deployed and breaking up with her after. Yes, it's probably true that in the end this is the best thing as they didn't really belong together, but that doesn't negate the betrayal and unmitigated assholery it takes to do something like that. Yet she was even apologizing for not being enough!!


She did, at least, get pissed off when she found out the woman her fiancé married was her sister


But good lord, am I going to have to sit through another bullshit forgiveness storyline here? Probably, because she'll come to terms with it like all the others especially since she wasn't initially pissed off at the fiancé. Siiiiigh. I hate that.


*hopes she'll be pleasantly surprised anyway*

Chapter 11 — I call bullshit.
Armada - Ernest Cline

There is a lot of questionable aspects about this alien invasion story that I don't buy, but thankfully Zach, our protagonist, is questioning everything that doesn't make sense. Humans suck. Of course they could be making this up and it's really us doing the attacking. Too bad he's straight up being manipulated to enlist right now. 


But something that's niggling at me, granted it's very minor but bear with me, is the idea that Star Wars was an anti-alien propaganda film. To us Earthlings everyone in that movie was an alien. The primary conflict wasn't between alien species anyway, but between the Sith and Jedi — multi-alien species groups using different sides of The Force. 


So, it seems to me that as propaganda that film fails big-time. 




P.S. - Safari spellcheck recognizes Jedi but does not recognize Sith. Rude.

Chapter Four — Okay, Walker, who is this book supposed to be about?
If You Know Her - Shiloh Walker, Cris Dukehart

Because in the first three chapters we're tortured with Psycho-POV more than three times longer than the hero and heroine's POVs combined. On top of that, before the story has really started, before we find out more about the heroine even (other than what we know about them from the first two books) we have to suffer through an exceedingly long, excruciatingly explicit rape and murder scene. Why in the name of all that's fucking holy was that necessary?


It wasn't. All of it just made me want to flounce this book. I might have if I weren't indisposed at the time. But I made it through the first two books so I want to know if I'm right about who the killer is. Even my hopes the heroine wouldn't be as annoying and bitchy as she was in the last book have been dashed so far. I hope it gets better.  I hate it when books make me all ragey. Especially right off the bat. 



4 Stars
A++ Love Scenes!!
Hot Point (Firehawks) - M. L. Buchman

The sex scenes in this book were note perfect. Decent length. Some faded to black. Enjoyable as I wasn't being slapped in the face with stupid euphemisms I hate or needlessly explicit terms. It was about the hero and heroine coming together in love and not Tab A into Slot B screwing.


I wish the library had more of her books on e-audio. It's another of their weird decisions to buy the 10th book in the series and nothing else.


(Yo, Booklikes, what's the deal with putting up the back of the book as the cover??)


!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
0.5 Stars
Necessary Women: The Very Epitome of Why Brain Bleach Should Be Real
Necessary Women and The Mean Time (Short Stories) - Karin Slaughter

That's a lot of angry tags for such a short book. (Just Necessary Women as a stand alone audiobook.) 


Damn train wrecky accident. I accidentally hit the "borrow" button when I was looking at this book instead of adding it to my list so I could look into it later. So, because it took up one of my borrow slots for the month I listened to it. It's 20 minutes, what's the worst that could happen? 




Graphic enough incest, cannibalism, and an unsurprisingly fucked in the head little girl. 

[EXTRA SPOILER YOU SHOULD REALLY NOT READ] . . . who murders her mother for having sex with her father because he promised her they weren't anymore and she was his only but she saw her father performing cunnilingus on her mother so little girl cut off her mother's genitals and fed it to her father unbeknownst to him. Now, months after the mother's disappearance father has found another woman—which he tells little girl while she is giving him head—whom little girl wants brought to dinner on Sunday . . .
[told you not to read]

(show spoiler)


Enough said.


Seriously, fuck everything. I need to take another shower.