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Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, #1) - Nora Roberts

Maybe I've reached a time where Nora Roberts and I will part company. We've been companions for many years now but for me, especially with the PNR books, there's a staleness to the formula that I can't get past anymore. Perhaps I'd be in a more forgiving mood if I didn't feel like I paid for and read this story already as part of the Three Sisters trilogy Dance Upon the Air. This is very much a condensed version of that one.

Why bother with providing the MC with anymore than a cursory back story when you can skip all that and set things up in the 1200's. Then we can have your character in modern day be aware of ALL of that information (through oral history from her grandmother) and know she's a witch and come to her ancestor's home and have them all recognize that of course she's the one they've been waiting for all this time and of course we'll teach you how to control these powers that you've manifesting. So blasé, magic/shmagic. 

There's no joy here, it's all very rote and checking ticks off in the boxes.

This is a fine story if you've never read any other Roberts PNR book. The shine is off for me though because I can see clearly how this trilogy will play out. I'd rather re-read the Three Sisters

Lemon Yellow: Making Lemonade - T.C. Blue

3.75

Lots of grief and heart break in this one as we read about Evan Monroe dealing with the loss of his long time lover, Bill, to cancer. Grayson Lantham is Bill's nephew who had lost touch and only knew about his uncle's death through an email sent by Evan. Gray comes to visit and pay his respects and the men form a tentative friendship that they maintain through emails and phone conversations. 

While there is the tug of attraction at that first meeting and a lonely fueled kiss initiated by Evan but this is slow, slow moving romance and one that I really enjoyed. I liked the friendship build between the two men and how they talked about how they were attracted to each other and didn't sweep it under the carpet. There is a lot of healing for Evan and Bill is never an afterthought but a strong presence in the story but not to the point that Evan is determined to never love again. 

I liked the secondary characters here. There was a nice romance for Sarah, Gray's sister and Troy, is a good friend to Evan and deserving of his own HEA.

One thing that bothered me was no mention of safe sex. The men have only known each other for a year and have sex with no condom. That's a bit of pet peeve with me and always tends to throw me out of the story. Still this read was a lovely build of both a strong friendship and romance.

The Door Behind Us - John C. Houser

Even though it's not my favorite time frame I seem to be reading more and more historical M/M books. Despite my prejudice against them the ones that I've read have never disappointed me. I think I need to have a look at others I've dismissed because of the "historical" tag because I think I'm passing on what could be quite a few good reads.

It's 1919 and Frank Huddleston has a problem, he was injured in the war overseas and now doesn't remember who he is or recognize his family and friends. His grandparents hire a keeper for him to coach him daily on his identity and his chores on their farm. The keeper is one Jersey Rohn, a war veteran himself, who lost a leg and suffers from shell shock. The men form a tight bond as they share experiences when Frank's memory begins to return. 

This becomes a road trip story as Jersey and Frank hit the road to find answers for Frank concerning his family and his memories and Jersey looks to get an artificial leg at one of the big city hospitals.

A bit part of the attraction of this story for me was the flow of dialogue. It felt authentically of the time period and was so charming and original to my ear. I loved the characters here both the MC's and the secondary ones as well, they all had very pronounced personalities. It was interesting to read about how Frank and Jersey pined for each other but didn't want to step over the line. How they come to reveal the attraction to each other was subtle and really fun to read. 

The story and characters aren't without its frustrations. For me, this centers mostly around Frank whose default to stress seems to be to bolt. Frank spends most of the story on the run, to find answers and to then to run for more answers or run from heavy truths revealed. That got a bit tiring but I did like how he got his act together. Also, despite the long distances traveled the timing of some meetings seemed a bit too coincidental but that was a minor quibble in a strongly emotional read.

There was also an unexpected epilogue weaved through the main story that ended with a very original and satisfying HEA. While I could fill in the blanks over time I will say that I could easily read more about these characters and how they came to build their life together.

Finding Frankie - Stormy Glenn

Drama! Killer Robots! Drama! Fucking! Drama! HEA!

Finding Frankie - Stormy Glenn

Drama! Killer Robots! Drama! Fucking! Drama! HEA!

Calling all m/m veterans!

Reblogged from Moss, of the division Bryophyta.:

If you could go back in time -- knowing what you know now -- to the dewy days when you first discovered m/m, what do you think you would give your younger self to read?  What would be the best launching pad for you to get into m/m?

 

Would you give yourself the Adrien English series? Or start with Vic and Jacob from Psycop? Or maybe you know you were secretly into alien dub-con even back then and some hot tentacle read right at the start would have cut down all that wandering through the genre? 

 

Maybe you wouldn't change a thing.  In which case, what did you start off with?

 

A fandom friend of mine is about to start reading published m/m and I'm her Gandalf, leading her through Moria.  It got me thinking about my own reading journey and what it might have looked like if I knew what I know now. 

 

What are your drums in the deep, friends?

Good Boy - Anne Tenino

Redemption!

When I started this I was not impressed with Sebastian. I really felt he was taking advantage of Brad and he was making my blood boil. I loved the turn around and there was communication! Real, honest, heartfelt communication that let the men resolve some pretty dire relationship issues. I love a story that makes me want to both throw my ereader at the wall and then hug it to my chest.

Nothing Serious - Jay Northcote

This was just a sweet story about two men meeting and falling for each other. Light on the angst but a lovely slow moving romance. Mark just ended a long term relationship with a woman and is moving to a new town he meets Jamie who works part-time for the moving company. They start seeing each other and the romance progresses to something more than just friends with benefits. I liked the men and the romance here but I'd recommend this one if you're looking for something with little to no conflict.

Serenading Stanley - John Inman

The story and the characters didn't work for me. I got really tired of Stanley constantly putting himself down and treating Roger pretty horribly, I'm not sure why Roger stuck around for the abuse. While I'm not expecting a laugh a minute I found the story pretty dreary and I cringed whenever Stanley's mother showed up on the page. I did love Sylvia's story though and did want to see how it ended, still this one was a struggle for me to finish.

Butterflies (The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal 2)

At the risk of repeating myself I adore Simon and Robert! The mystery of Mr. Feximal and the practicality of Mr. Caldwell balance out delightfully. Throw in some rather raunchy sex and give this to me for free? I couldn't ask for anything more...except I'm greedy and I want more please.

Re-Posting: Review Posting Tips on Booklikes

Reblogged from Debbie's Spurts:

 Just some things I've found useful posting my reviews.  Brief explanations follow with more detailed how-to's with screenshots when you click "read more."

 

  • Change the "Post date" field to be the date read to avoid flooding the dashboard feed (and your own blog page and timelines) with hundreds or thousands of reviews being moved over from other book sites.

 

  • Put a unique tag on your reviews so you can find them; for example, I'm adding a "Reviews from Spurts" tag (apostrophes and other punctuation can cause issues).

 

 

 

 *adapted from tip in http://krazykiwi.booklikes.com/post/579725/how-to-use-tags-to-fake-a-group-on-booklikes 

read more »
Source: http://donealrice.booklikes.com/post/637708/review-posting-tips

Review: Archangel’s Legion by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Legion - Nalini Singh

Archangel’s Legion (Guild Hunter #6) by Nalini Singh
PNR
Releases: October 29, 2013
Jove

 

Reviewed by Tori

 

Favorite Quote: “As you dream, know that you are loved.”

 

When angels begin falling from the sky and supposedly disease immune vampires are dying, the archangel of Manhattan and his consort race to find out who or what is attacking their city and why. The stage is set for war as angelic powers evolve and one unknown enemy’s goal to subjugate Raphael and all whom he holds dear.

 

Change is coming to a world not prepared for the effects it will bring. Angels thought long gone from this world are rising from their seemingly endless sleep while other angels are experiencing evolution in power. Called the Cascade, the last time one flooded the earth, millions died as the world was forced into rebirth. As a cloud of death rolls across the Manhattan skyline, hundreds of angels plummet to their death as the city watches in horror. Raphael and Elena mobilize their people and begin to save those who can be saved. This is only the first in a series of attacks against Raphael and his city that herald the coming of war. Raphael has his suspicions as to who is behind the aggression but is unable to confirm. Elena’s hunter skills become needed when vampires begin to show signs of a disease that is killing them. When the evil presence makes itself known, along with their intentions, Raphael begins to gather allies and fortify his home. He soon finds himself caught in the Cascade, unsure who or what he is evolving into and if he will survive the transition.

 

Archangel’s Legion is number six in Nalini Singh’s dark and lush Guild Hunters fantasy series. Singh brings us an epic tale steeped in violence, power, and love. Change and sacrifice are a major themes as this evolving world takes flight with new and intriguing paths to follow.

 

The series and this installment revolve around two main characters-the tempestuous archangel of Manhattan, Raphael, and his guild hunter consort, Elena Deveraux. The normally subdued romance roars to the forefront in this installment while the the fantasy aspects play hard and fast with outstanding world building and the dynamic characters who breathe life in this series.  The originality of the world and it’s characters is what keeps me hooked in this series. The lines between good and evil are blurred; giving credence to the knowledge that sometimes heroes and villains are only separated by a series of degrees.  Smooth writing, fast pacing, and engaging dialogue keeps you on your toes to the very end. Multiple sub plots are rich in subterfuge and adventure as you submerge yourself into the wickedly decadent and dangerous lives of the amazing individuals who live in here.

 

Though this series was originally touted as a Urban Fantasy, I feel it’s completely paranormal paranormal now due to its strong balance between the storyline and the romance(s). The plot and romance blend so effortlessly you’re often not sure where one starts and the other ends. While the plot is engaging and action packed, it takes second place to our main two protagonists, Elena and Raphael.

 

Raphael and Elena are a complicated couple whose passionate love affair defies all odds. From the beginning, we have watched as these two have fought death and each other, only to survive to fight another day. The romance is more pronounced in this installment as Raphael and Elena, now mated, deal with the turbulent nature of their relationship and all it entails. Raphael struggles with his overly protective instincts, unable to bear how fragile his love truly is in the angelic world while trying to make sure he never clips her wings.

 

“He watched her leave in a sweep of midnight and dawn, her wings unlike any other, and he knew he’d damn his own honor and take vengeance on the world should anyone dare lay a finger on her. “

 

As a much, much older immortal, his humanity is but a small flickering flame and almost entirely dependent on Elena and her influence. Elena hammers away at his authoritative nature everyday; making sure he understands the lines she will not accept him crossing. A majority of the story focuses on those lines.

 

Elena is still dealing with being the first made angel in thousands of years and and her role as consort/lover of an archangel who both thrills and terrifies her with his powers. She is also still grappling with the revelation that the gift that led to the murder of her mother and sisters comes from her father. The man who rejected her as a child without a backward glance. Elena does a lot of soul searching and emotional maturing. Her greatest fear is losing Raphael. She forever waits, quietly, for him to reject her as her father did. The strength of their bond grows both emotionally and physically as they continue to learn to dance with one another. They are the perfect couple. Both intelligent, strong, loyal, fierce about those they love, and utterly besotted with one another.

 

“Never had she expected to find him, to fall in love so deeply, wildly, insanely in love-and sometimes, her soul-deep joy in their passionate entanglement terrified her, the fear of losing him…”

 

Their chemistry continues to explode off the pages, becoming a rich sensual entity that wraps you in it’s lush embrace.

 

Singh does a fantastic job of blending the suspense of the story with the emotional journey of Raphael and Elena.  Non stop action speeds the story along as you frantically absorb all the nuances and shifts. The plot was remarkable in it’s elements and I found myself riveted as the story revealed itself. While there is a lot going on, Singh’s clear and concise writing style leaves little confusion. With each scene we watch Raphael and Elena face their fears and overcome obstacles while dealing with external factors that try to stop them. Neither plot nor romance is sacrificed. They balance and complement each other through the entire arc; merging together towards the end.

 

Engaging word play combined with explosive action and suspense creates a story you cannot put down. The supporting characters are intense, well developed, and intertwine with our protagonists to give us a rich, full bodied story. Complex and convoluted;  we see the good and bad are merely defined by degrees of separation and much that has played out behind the scenes comes into the light. Everyone here has an agenda and does not always play by the rules. I found each one to be a satisfying addition to the story. There are plenty here to cheer and hate with abundance. We see more the Seven, one in particular whose story has haunted readers since he was first introduced, and the additional Cadre members. Alliances are made as enemies come out of the woodwork, threatening the well being of all involved.

 

As we headed towards the ending I found myself gripped with tension. Singh plays it close to the vest and I prayed the story would end the way I wanted. The ending IS phenomenal though while it wraps up the main conflict, it introduces a new and interesting aspect that assures us we haven’t seen the last of this world nor its addictive inhabitants.

 

Once again Singh leaves me both satisfied and wanting. Archangel’s Legion contains the perfect balance of action, suspense, intrigue, and romance that makes this series a must read.

 

Rating: A

Source: http://smexybooks.com/2013/10/review-archangels-legion-by-nalini-singh.html

Shelf, Writing Reviews & Reblog Updates

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

We're making organizing your books and writing reviews easier and faster. Today's Thursday release includes several updates concerning exclusive statuses, your reviews and reblogs.

 

On Your Shelf

 

NEW: Change shelf into exclusive status

 

Form now on you can change existing thematic shelf into exclusive status. Then the books will be shelved only with this exclusive status (former shelf) and any other default status (read, planning to read, currently reading) will be removed. This means that you don't have to manually reset the default statuses, it will be done automatically. 

 

To Change the existing thematic shelf into exclusive status, point on the shelf name and click the icon .

 

  

 

This change works in both ways. This means that you can make new status (former shelf) a thematic shelf again. However, the default statuses will not be brought back. Be careful and double check that you really want to change the chosen shelf into exclusive status and reset default statuses. 

 

Here are several other options available on your Shelf page:

 

1. Create exclusive status

 

You can still add new status to your Shelf (e.g.: Re-read) and shelve new book with this status. Here's how:

1. Just create new status (click +add exclusive status, type name and Enter).

2. Search for a book in search box on the top, click on it and select "Add to bookshelf" in book pop up.

3. Select new status in Edit Statuses sector and Save. 

 

OR

 

If you don't want to change the whole shelf into new status, you can manually reset default status on several books and keep those books with new status only. If you wan to reset the default status follow these steps:

 

1. Create new exclusive status on your Shelf page 

2. Click on the book on your Shelf.

3. Edit your statuses and select the one that fits you.

4. Click on the default status.

5. Click on the green default status on tab in book pop up - it will go white (deactivated).

6. Save.

Below are screens that show how it looks like in the pop up.

 

Default Read and Exclusive: 

Exclusive only:

 

2. Create thematic shelves

 

Thematic shelves help you to organize your books and keep those from the same series, author, genre together. To add new thematic shelves: click +Add new Shelf, type name and hit Enter. Then click on book on your Shelf and Edit shelves in book pop up. Remember to Save.

 

You can also rename and remove thematic shelves.

Hover over the Shelf name and you'll see two icons: "x" and little pencil. When you click on a pencil, you'll be able to edit shelf's name and if you select 'x', you'll delete the shelf. Your books will not be deleted, the books will stay on your Shelf page with default status but not on the thematic shelf (it will be gone). 

 

 

3. Table view

 

Table view shows your books in a list an has numerous edit options:

 

- Add to Shelves: You can select several books and add them to a given thematic shelf or change status.

- Sort by: You can sort by author, title, add date, read date, ratings and cover to add missing cover images.

Remove selected: You can delete several books from your shelf, they will be removed from your shelf page permanently. 

- Add: you can add ratings, shelves to single book, read date, review. 

 

Reviews

 

NEW: You can Go from your Shelf straight into Review writing mode. 

 

Now when you want to create a review straight from your Shelf, the rating stars marked on your Shelf will be auto-transferred to your writing mode and the text will be automatically marked as a Review

 

You can uncheck the review marker and change ratings any time in the writing mode. 

 

Reblog update

 

We made reblogs more transparent. From now on every time you reblog a given post (review, text, photo, quote, URL, video) an information about it and a link to original author of the post will be given on the top

 

More updates concerning reblogs are also in progress. As well as many many more :-)

Nighttime Dreams (Nighttime Wishes) - M.A. Church, Julie Lynn Hayes, Mika Star

Another great installment of this alien tentacle series. This one focuses on the sheriff Bryan and the alien second in command Daroshi. I did find Daroshi a bit too tentative for the big bad warrior he's supposed to be but that didn't impact my enjoyment too much. I loved that we got quite a bit of Ziang and Shawn as well. 

This one ended a bit abruptly so I'm definitely on board with book three.

Northern Star - Ethan Day

3.75

 

At times the sadness that Deacon felt was overwhelming but I loved the romance between the MC's, it was slow moving but super hot. I really liked that there wasn't a big fix at the end and that Deacon and Steve were working hard to make their relationship succeed. 

Pick Me Up - Rebecca Brochu

This didn't work for me as much as I was hoping it would. Bryce is a down on his luck teacher who is fending off the advances of a charming lawyer, Felix.