Help a Girl Out: Black Dagger Brotherhood Qhuestion

So I'm currently reading Lover Mine by JR Ward.  So far so good but I'm just not that far into it yet so I'm reserving  my thoughts on the book until I'm done.

However, I appear to be having a serious brain lapse and it's making me a bit crazy.  I seem to have forgotten, entirely, exactly why Qhuinn is JM's ahstrux nohtrum. Yes, it's been 2 years since Lover Enshrined but I should not have this faulty of a memory!  I remember Qhuinn being disowned from his family but other than that my brain is a blank.  Why was JM in need of a bodyguard?  

It's embarrassing for me to ask but dammit - it's making me nuts!  (ok, nuttier)


DIK Reading Challenge Review: Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare

There was only one rule on the frontier—survival.

So when wounded, buckskin-clad stranger appeared at the door of her isolated cabin, Elspeth Stewart felt no qualms about disarming him and then tying him to her bed. Newly widowed and expecting her first child, she had to protect herself at all costs. And Nicholas Kenleigh threatened not only her safety, but her peace of mind. The terrible scars on his body spoke of a tortured past, but his gentle touch and burning gaze awoke longings she had never expected to feel. Bethie had every reason in the world to distrust men; the cruelty she suffered at their hands had marked her soul, though her blonde beauty showed no sign of it. But little by little she found herself believing in Nicholas, in his honor, his strength. As he brought her baby into the world, then took both mother and daughter into his care, she realized this scarred survivor could heal her wounded spirit, and together they would… Ride the Fire.

Bethie had been sexually abused by her step-brother and when it was discovered, her step-father married her off to an older gentleman to get her taint out of the house (bastard!). After 4 years on the frontier with her husband he died and she’s been on her own for two months and is almost ready to give birth. Along comes Nicholas Kenleigh who immediately puts a gun to her head so that she’ll help him with his wounded leg. Not a great start to a relationship, imho.

Bethie and Nicholas get off to a bad start but after Bethie heals his wounds Nicholas stays at her homestead to try and regain his strength. He also stays because as much as he hates it, he’s drawn to Bethie and certainly doesn’t want her left on the frontier by herself. During this time though Bethie begins to trust Nicholas and the attraction between the pair becomes undeniable. They share a few kisses and Nicholas has plans to continue that practice. But Nicholas’s past catches up with him and Bethie and Nicholas (and now the newborn) have to run for their lives. They head off to the nearest British Fort, braving the elements as well as the many Indian tribes that are heading in the same direction they are. When they get to the fort life is not all chocolate and roses and they have yet another fight on their hands.

This is one of Kristie J’s DIK picks and it was a good one. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Nicholas after reading about his family in the previous 2 books.

Bethie was so young and really didn’t have a clue about life but what happened when her husband died? She carried on. I truly admired her for her strength because there’s no way that girl was not scared out of her mind being out there on her own. I also enjoyed the fact that when she saw Nicholas she didn’t immediately swoon because he was so good looking and forget her fears. That was one of the facts that made the story so real.

Nicholas – poor guy. He was tortured by the Wyandot Indians but survived the fire only to suffer another type of torture in the tribe. He had some real issues and had left his family behind because he didn’t think he could be human enough to live a normal life. Living as a trapper and living off the land didn’t help him become more human either so when he reached Bethie he was a little worse for wear. That being said he did manage to at least pretend that he was somewhat civilized so as not to scare the poor girl. And as time went on he realized that what he thought of as living his life was just more of a survival of the fittest.

That being said I think that the story, for me, went a little too far in the “Nicholas is da man” arena towards the end of the story. Yes, he had survived the Indians torture and he had been a Lieutenant in the Army but it just seemed that everyone was depending on him to do and know everything. The man didn’t sleep for what seemed like days and he all took it all almost with the attitude that "this is just another part of who I am". But up until that point it was all about taking care of himself and then Bethie and the baby. He couls have assisted in battle without having to completely put himself in danger almost daily. It just seemed to go to far – the man could do no wrong. However the time that was spent in the fort was such a major part of the story that it was hard not to like some things about it.

Overall I really liked the book and think it was a great conclusion to the Blakewell/Kenlieigh Trilogy.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Tuesday Teaser: Savor the Moment

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!  
Today's teaser comes from the newest release by Nora Roberts in her Bride Quartet; Savor the Moment page 151:

Touching her was like finally understanding a puzzle, seeing for the first time the beauty and complexity of it.

More silky skin pressed to his as she tipped her head back to invite his kiss.

Oooh la la!

What I Read Last Week

Yo Babies!

How the heck is everyone?  Did you have a nice week last week?  Mine was pretty good. I was under the weather on Thurs, Fri and most of Saturday so that sucked but I'm all better now.  

My dad had to go to the Cardiologist last week because he wasn't feeling well. He ended up having 4 angioplasty with stent procedures.  He had 5 blockages in his heart but they were all in the same artery ( they didn't do the 5th because it was very old and not a problem).  It was very scary but he came through with flying colors and he is already up and around.  For a 75 year old man he has more energy than I do! :)  

I want to put an apology out there to a fellow blogger.  She was nice enough to give me a blog award and email me to let me know.  I went to the site but didn't have time to comment.  Uh, I accidentally deleted the email when I got a little delete happy and I can't remember the site, the blogger's name or the name of the award.  I suck!  So thank you so much to whoever it was that gave it to me - it really is appreciated!  And if anyone knows who this is (it happened about a week ago) please let me know. 

Have you all heard about Boobquake?  Unfreakinbelievable.  Unfortunately I just heard about it this morning so didn't get a chance to dress provocatively (not that my work would have allowed it) but it just cracks me up anyway.  Check it out.

Ok - On to what I read this past week:

First up was One Enchanted Evening by Lynn Kurland.  This is one I read for The Book Binge and you can read my review here.  This was another time travel novel .  3.75 out of 5

Next up was Leave Me Breathless by HelenKay Dimon.  HelenKay was nice enough to give me a signed copy when I met her in February and the book somehow made it on to may "already been read" shelf.  When I was looking for a book to lend to my mom I found it and was horrified that I hadn't read it yet.  Sorry HelenKay!  That being said...I think this has to be my favorite of her books that I've read so far.  The story followed a judge who was being stalked and his female bodyguard.  They eventually gave into their lust for each other despite her bosses protestations.  Her boss was the judges brother and he himself was in love with yet another judge.  The problem here was that both brothers were completely emotionally unavailable and it made for some good reading.  You can read Lori's review - which pretty much covers my thoughts to a T. 4 out of 5

My Tracy's TBR Challenge read/DIK Challenge read/FTSP read for the week was Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare.  I'll be posting my review of this one on Thursday.

I'm in an m/m group on Goodreads and every month they have a pick it challenge.  So that means that someone got to pick a book for me and I got to pick a book for someone else.  The person who got to pick for me chose Tempestuous by Morgan Hawke.  This was a fantasy yaoi novel where Rusty was almost killed when he was a senior in high school.  A kitsune saved his life.  After the incident Rusty made a fox mask and put all of his energy into the mask.  Because of this he's practically dying. Shiro, the kitsune who saved him finally finds Rusty many years later and claims him and takes him to where the Shiro lives, in an alternate universe.  It was a good story, but not great for me.  I didn't particularly care for either of the men so it made it difficult to love it. The story, though it had some things not all tied up was ok.  3 out of 5

Witch Vamp Were? by Anne Douglas was another of my FTSP reads.  A continuation of of the Huntingdawn pack series this books covered the story of Shaun, Rob and Jak.  Shaun is bound and determined to find out if more paranormals live than just were-beings.  She quickly gets to know her grandmother many times over - cuz she's a ghost and Jak who is a vamp and friend of Huntingdawn pack alpha, Rob.  But both men soon discover that Shaun is mate to both of them and the three of them are the next portion to the prophecy that was discovered in Accidentally Were?.  This was a cute book but I felt my self slightly dissatisfied at the end.  Yes, all 3 of the main characters were living together at the end of the book and had all agreed to be mates but there was no talk of love.  Yes, it's an erotic book but I still was wishing for their HEA.  The story also left things blatantly wide open for the next book in the series which kind of rubbed me the wrong way.  But the menage sex was very hot as were Rob and Jak.  There was a m/m fantasy that Shaun has which I expected to come to life with Rob and Jak but it never went there.  Bummer. lol  3.5 out of 5

This brought me to Saturday where I decided to catch up on my manga reading for the yaoi swap so I could get all the books out to the other people patiently waiting for them.  I ended up have a yaoi marathon and about O.D.'d on boy love...
First was the Steal Moon books (vols. 1 & 2) which were sci-fi novels.  Street fighter Nozomi loses a fight to Coyote and agrees to be his servant.  Coyote sells him to "Digital Angels" where anyone can see them on the internet.  Only this is just a cover for Coyote and his cohort Hermes are trying to get computers activated with Nozomi's DNA.  Second book was better than the first.  Sci-fi's not really my thing but the story was pretty good along with the  graphics. Volume 1 - 3.5 out of 5...volume 2 3.75 out of 5

Next up was Blue Sheep Reverie volumes 1 & 2 by the same author as Steal Moon, Makoto Tateno.  This was the story of Kai who was in love with a woman, Maria, but she was murdered.  He didn't see the murderer but she had a ring that looked like a blue sheep's eye.  He sees the same ring on the head of the Sarte group, Lahti, via television and decides to get into the group to kill the man who he thinks killed his woman.  But things are not what they seem and Lahti and Kai end up together.  This had good graphics like the Steal Moon books but the story felt unfinished. I liked the first one much better than the first. These two character also show up in Steal Moon. Volume 1 4 out of 5...volume 3.75 out of 5

Next was Desire by Maki Kazumi.  This was about a total playboy, Ryoji, who gets turned on by his best friend Toru.  Toru is in love with Ryoji but not about to spew his feelings for fear of rejection.  Ryoji gets Toru to agree to have sex with him to see how it is.  Huge misunderstanding between the two but Ryoji comes through for his friend in the end.  I didn't love the story.  I thought Ryoji was a jerk and Toru could have done better for himself.  And why, in so many yaoi novels or mangas, does the uke hate sex and they're constantly telling the seme to stop which the seme doesn't do?  But yet the uke keeps having sex with the seme even though it hurts and they hate it?  I just don't get why that's a near constant in these books. 3 out of 5

Next was Ichigenme: The First Class is Civil Law volumes 1 & 2 by Fumi Yoshinaga.  I really liked these books.  They told the story of rich, gay Tohdou and Tamiya who become friends during a seminar at law school.  Tamiya does not like women but says he's not gay.  Tohdou loves Tamiya and is determined to be with him.  It's a very sweet story and I enjoyed it and the graphics a lot. 4 out of 5 for both volumes.

Some of my reviews for The Book Binge posted this week.  (the link to the Kurland title that posted is above)
Hide Out by Katie Allen (using this review as part of my m/m challenge as well)

Happy Reading!

Book Giveaway!

Would you liked an advanced copy (ARC) of Diana's Palmer's May 25th release of Dangerous?  Well, you've come to the right place!  I have a copy to give away to one lucky person.  Just leave a comment in this post sometime between now and 11:59pm on May 8th and you'll be in the running. I'll announce the winner on the 9th. (International ok)

A little bit about the book:

Tall, lean and headstrong, FBI agent Kilraven lives by his own rules. And one of those rules includes keeping his hands off Jacobsville’s resident sweetheart, Winnie Sinclair, no matter the temptation. Shy and innocent, Winnie couldn’t handle a man like him—a merciless man with a haunted past. And this small town may hold not only the woman he fights to resist, but the answers to a cold case that is very personal to Kilraven....

Winnie has had her own share of sorrow and senses Kilraven’s pain. Even though she tries to deny it, the gentle 911 operator feels a connection with the darkly handsome agent. When he makes the disturbing discovery that her family’s unsavory past might have a bearing on his case, Winnie is determined to help him crack it...and the ice around his heart. 

As they combine forces in a dangerous investigation, the stakes rise ever higher. Winnie’s life is on the line, and she’ll need Kilraven more than ever. But if they are to have a future together, her ruthless Texan will need to confront his past and risk it all for their love. 

Good luck to everyone!

Saturday Song

Happy Saturday!  I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Here's a great song by Shinedown that I really like from their The Sounds of Madness album called The Crow and the Butterfly.  It's an oldie (2008) but a goodie.  There is no official video, however, which sucks for those of us who like watching them.  This is actually one that I found on Youtube.  It has the lyrics and some pictures but my suggestion is to hit play on the vid and then minimize your screen and just listen.  Enjoy!

M/M Challenge Review: The Cat in the Cradle by Jay Bell

Dylan is the son of the Blue Oligarch – the ultimate master of blue magic. An Oligarch is made by his possession of a loka. There are only 10 loka’s in existence and each color wields a different type of magic – and are the most powerful sources of magic in the world.

Dylan and his trusty talking cat, Kio, decide to head off to visit their friend Rano. Dylan’s ready to get out of the Lakelands and get away from his father. Not that he doesn’t get along with his father, but Dylan is almost 17 and is ready to do some things for himself without his father’s help. So Dylan and Kio head off to the see Rano whose father is the Yellow Oligarch. But when they arrive Rano isn’t there. They have a nice dinner with the Yellow Oligarch and head to bed. In the middle of the night they hear an argument going on in the Oligarch’s study. Instead of staying in bed they go see what the problem is. What they find is a flying stone beast attacking and killing the Oligarch and then coming after them. They are saved by Dylan’s father who transports them back home. But things are not ever to be what they were before. Dylan’s father, Jack, has done some scrying and discovered that his life is in danger. He gives the blue loka to Dylan for safekeeping and sends him to the Red Oligarch. Only that’s not necessarily a safe place either. The Red Oligarch, Tyjinn, is just 19 years old and as much as he wants to keep Dylan safe – especially after they are attacked – he’s not one to sit down and wait for things to happen. Dylan, Kio and Tyjinn take off on a trip to discover exactly what’s going on with the Oligarch’s and their lokas.

The story unfolds that one Oligarch is collecting lokas. When they have 5 lokas they can use the magic of all of those lokas and therefore have ultimate power over everyone in all 5 lands. Dylan, Kio and Tyjinn travel to many lands and talk to many Oligarch’s seeking support and assistance against this impending danger before one person can be all powerful.

During this trip Dylan finds himself attracted to Tyjinn. He had had one sexual encounter with Rano previously that had not ended well and Dylan is hesitant to start a relationship with anyone else for fear of getting his heart broken again. Tyjinn though, knows that Dylan is the one for him and tries to get him to see things from his point of view. While separated for a time Dylan comes to see that Tyjinn is the one for him as well. But will they live long enough to see their relationship come to fruition?

I was contacted by Jay Bell and asked if I’d like to review The Cat in the Cradle. I read a little about the story and decided that even though fantasy and YA are not normally my thing it did have the m/m aspect to it as well. It was just too intriguing to pass up. Well, I’m so glad that I took Jay up on the offer as I ended up thoroughly enjoying the book.

One of the reasons, I think, that I don’t read fantasy all that much is the explanations of new worlds seem to be quite complicated to me. Unless they’re done extremely well there’s usually a large info-dump where my brain attempts to soak up all the information needed to keep reading (and yeah, the old brain doesn’t always work that way!). Lucky for me TCitC wasn’t like that. The story was very fluid and the speech in the story felt pretty contemporary so I had no trouble following along with all the wonderful new aspects of the 5 lands that I was given. They mystery aspect of the story was well done as well as I didn’t figure out who the baddie was until much later in the book – actually right before it was revealed.

As for the m/m relationship it was very sweet. It flowed side by side with the greater story and was interwoven wonderfully. The story included Dylan’s uncertain but growing feelings for Tyjinn as well as his reluctance to actually come out.  Dylan felt that he would be shunned or ostracized by his friends and family and that was one thing he couldn’t handle. Though Dylan was only 16 it seemed his thought processes were pretty mature about the situation – but not to the point where I thought his character was more mature than he should be.

The Cat in the Cradle ended up being a wonderful story and one I recommend. This is Jay’s first published novel but I hope it won’t be his last – if he keeps writing books like this one he has a great career ahead of him.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention…The Cat in the Cradle print version has chapter illustrations by Jay’s husband, Andreas, and they are great. Unfortunately the ebook doesn’t come with the illustrations so Jay and Andreas put together a sketchbook of the illustrations that is available for free via Smashwords.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Tuesday Teaser - Leave Me Breathless

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!  

Today's teaser comes from Leave Me Breathless by Helen Kay Dimon page 157

Suddenly the truth she tried to hide from him weighed down every part of her body.

They could go through it and, hopefully, get around it.

What I Read Last Week

Another week has gone by.  Is it me or is time flying by faster than ever?  I know people say as you get older that time does that but I have to tell ya, I don't like it!  Not that I want my work week to be longer but having a longer weekend would be nice! lol

So what up my lovelies?  Did everyone have a good week?  My week was pretty normal but my weekend was uber relaxing.  I went with some ladies from the church to a women's retreat in Oxnard.  I say retreat and people think seminars and meditation and reflection.  I'm sure some people did that but this is more walks on the beach, playing games, laughing, some drinking...just a good time with nice people.  And it was great to get away from reality for a while.  We stayed at a condo that was incredibly close to the beach and it was so nice!  Here are some pictures from the balcony of the condo:

So on to what I read:

My first read for the week was Hell Fire by Ann Aguirre.  This is book 2 in the Corine Solomon series and it was a good one.  In this book Corine and Chance have headed back to the town that Corine grew up in, Kilmer, so they can figure out what truly happened when Corine's mom died.  But there are strange happenings afoot and Corine and Chance, as well as Jesse and a Kilmer resident, Shannon, all try to figure out the puzzle that is Kilmer.  I read this one for The Book Binge so I'll let you know when my review posts.

Next up was The Prayer Waltz by KZ Snow.  This is a fabulous m/m book that I just loved.  You can read my review here. 5 out of 5

Next up was Mr. Right-Now by Paige Tyler.  This was a cute novella that involved Kate who is a very controlled, list-making kind of woman.  She's always looking for Mr. Right but so far no one has lived up to her expectations.  When Kate joins her best friend for her wedding weekend she's talked into just having a fun time with the best man and not worrying about whether he's "the one" or not.  The problem after a time is that she thinks Dawson is fabulous and she wants something more but they've already said "no strings attached".  I read this one for The Book Binge as well and let you know when my review posts.  (I liked the book, definitely not a fan of the cover)

My Tracy's TBR Challenge read for the week was Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas.  This is the story of Aline Marsden who is the younger sister of Marcus who eventually becomes the Earl of Westcliff and is part of the Wallflower series.  Anyway, Aline and the stable boy, McKenna, fall madly in love but they know they can't be together.  Unfortunately Aline's evil father finds out about the pair and sends McKenna away.  McKenna comes back to the estate after he's made his fortune wanting to seek revenge on Aline for breaking his heart.  But things aren't always what they seem and McKenna realizes that Aline isn't the horrible person he thinks she is.  There's also a lovely side story of Aline's sister, Olivia, in the book which I loved as well.  Great book. 4.5 out of 5

Another novella I read for The Book Binge was a cute m/m story called Icing on the Cake by Shayla Kersten.  An uptight, workaholic and a relaxed baker discover each other while the workaholic is buying his best friend's wedding cake - he is the maid of honor, after all. I'll let you know when the review posts. (Adore the cover!)

Last for the week was The Cat in the Cradle by Jay Bell.  This was a book that I was asked to read by the author.  Mr. Bell's first published book is a fantasy YA novel that I'll be reviewing this week so keep your eyes peeled. :)

My Book Binge reviews that were posted this past week:

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

I watched Enchanted, yet again, with my kids this week. We all just love that movie - it's such a cute little fairy tale. Anyway, one of the songs is So Close by Jon McLaughlin and I love it so I thought I'd share. This vid has clips from the movie (all the others had weird pop up commentary's I could do without). Enjoy!

Another song I really like of his is Beating My Heart. And he's adorable as well. :)

Tracy's Place Turns 2!

So I hopped on Blogger with the intent of posting the Saturday song and having a party for my blog anniversary tomorrow...only I discovered that anniversary is actually TODAY!  I'm such a dork.  I kept thinking it was the 17th.  Ah well.

Today is the 2nd Blog Anniversary for Tracy's Place!
Woohoo!*throws confetti*

I've met some great cyber friends over the past two years - and I've even been lucky enough to meet some of you in person. You all are wonderful and I can't tell you how happy I am that I started blogging and met you all. 

Thanks for visiting ye old blog and keeping me smiling.  You all are the best!

Now for some prezzies...


M/M Challenge Review: The Prayer Waltz by KZ Snow

For eight months, the peculiar circumstances surrounding the sudden death of Steven Brandwein's lover, an enigmatic ex-priest, have weighted his mourning with mystery. Desperate for emotional closure, Steve makes a journey he's put off for years: he travels to the town that was once an integral part of his late lover's life. Steve hopes his pilgrimage will help him better understand Frank, serve as a final farewell, and allow him to move on.

His visit to St. Jerome's Church one snowy, silent night proves more consequential than he'd ever anticipated. Evan McAllister, an unassuming man still grieving over the death of his son, befriends Steve. As their bond grows, they both make startling discoveries—not the least of which, for Steve, is that he's ready to love again.

Yes Steven enters St. Jerome’s Church knowing that it was the former work-place of his deceased lover, Frank. He’s not quite sure what he’s going to accomplish by being there in the church – or even there in the town - but he feels a pull and he’s going with the flow. A sweet woman who is working in the church encourages him to light a candle for whoever he’s missing and he does so with a prayer – part of which was the following which I just loved:

…don’t know why any good man should feel pressured to deny his nature, what the fuck is wrong with people, please fix them, douse them with enlightenment or give them a kick in the ass or something, this shit has got to stop,…
It was just wonderful to have read the prayer and know that it was truly from the heart – and he wasn’t worried about his language or wording, etc. He just seemed like a really genuine person and I pretty much liked him right off the bat.

After Steven leaves St. Jerome’s he goes to the bar across the street where he begins to talk to Evan who had been at the church cleaning the floor. When the two get to talking they discover that they have something in common, Frank. They head back to Steven’s hotel room so that they can talk privately and their stories come out. How Evan and Frank had a somewhat relationship before it died out for unexplained reasons and Steven and Evan’s relationship and how strange that truly was. The two men hit it off and start spending time together. What begins as just a mutual information gathering begins to be a friendship with more emotional aspects.

This was just a wonderful book. I loved how the small common thread that the men shared just grew over the course of the story. For as nice and wonderful as a priest as Frank seemed to be it’s discovered that he definitely had some secrets that he kept from both Evan and Steven. It’s never told exactly what those secrets were but I found myself not caring as much. Frank was an unknown, really, and because of his death he would remain that way. He was just the link that brought Steven and Evan together.

Since the story is told from Steven’s point of view I didn’t get to know Evan quite as well as Steven but what I saw I really liked. He had a great sense of humor and didn’t mind sharing it with Steven.

Evan regarded me. His smile was reflective. “No. Opening your heart is never pathetic.”

The assertion touched me. I lifted my head far enough to kiss his shoulder. “I think you’re a big sap, Evan.”

“Maybe I’ve cut down too many pine trees.”

I grimaced. “Oh God, that was bad.”

He chuckled. “I know.”

“Then why’d you say it?”

“Because I didn’t want to say fuck you.”

“Why? Do you like me now?”

Evan answered by cupping my dozy cock. “Duh.”

I laughed.

“I’m a sucker for a man who licks my chest. Just keep doing it. Maybe more hair will grow.”

“Shit, Evan. I’d suffocate.”
I’ve already said that I liked Steven but there were times where he really touched me in the way that he thought of Evan.

Without realizing it, I was like a kid filling his pockets with things he found special—broken toys and pencil stubs, rocks and candy wrappers. Things other people wouldn’t even notice, much less save and cherish. Only it was bits of Evan that became my treasures: the smooth gleam of his shoulders, the sensual drip of water from the tip of his nose and cock, the glisten of droplets within his coal-black pubic hair. And all those careful movements of his large, rough hands and broad, tender mouth.
Though the book is about two men overcoming their grief and the story is sad at times, it wasn’t a depressing story at all. It showed that grief can be overcome and healing can be done in many different ways – and possibly ways that you least expect. The Prayer Waltz is a well written story that will definitely be re-read many times.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Tuesday Teaser - Hell Fire

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

While I'm almost done with this book it is the book I'm currently reading (and it's really good!) so here's the teaser for Hell Fire (Corine Solomon book #2) by Ann Aguirre - page 108.

I had a feeling it wouldn't do us any good against what shared these woods with us, but men always seemed to feel better being proactive.

For someone who was introducing me to Gifted society, he didn't seem to have run across as much weird stuff as I had.

What I Read Last Week

Happy Monday!

At least I hope it's a happy Monday for most of you. :)  My kids are back at school today after having a week off.  I love it when they're off...I get to sleep in an extra half hour in the mornings and I love letting them stay up a little later and not having to impose the strict bed times.  I think they like it too. :)  The kids did spend a few days at my parents house last week which was nice for them and for hubby and me as well.  We got to spend more one on one time together and I got a ton of reading done as well.  

So what I read...

First up was Love and Loyalty by Tere Michaels.  Michaels' second book and a good one, I must say.  This is the story of Jim, a workaholic cop with great, well meaning friends and Griffin, a screenwriter from Hollywood who is writing a story about a case that Jim was deeply involved in.  The two men meet for dinner "to discuss the script" and one thing leads to another.  They go back to Jim's place and then are just...together.  I loved seeing how comfortable the two men were together - enough that Jim just let Griffin stay at his place and it just kept going.  It was just a sweet story and I loved it..  I can't wait to read Duty and Devotion - the newest book  4.5 out of 5

Next up was Winter Kiss by Deborah Cooke.  This is book 4 in the Dragonfire series about dragon shapeshifters and yet another book in my FTSP.  This was Delaney's story. He was hurt and abducted by the Slayers (the bad guys) and given an Elixir that tainted him.  But he broke free of the hold...or so he thought.  He has his firestorm - the time when he and his mate...well, mate and produce little baby dragon shapeshifters.  The firestorm doesn't go as planned but Delaney's determined that he's the one that must destroy the elixir even if it kills him in the process.  It was a good story.  I had to roll my eyes sometimes at the heroine and some of the things that she did but it was good.  I read this one for The Book Binge so I'll let you know when my review posts.

Next was a Tracy's TBR Challenge read for the week.  Bedded by Her Lord by Denise Lynn was, I think, a book I picked up at the very first So Cal Blogger get together I went to.  Yeah, and it's been sitting ever since.  Anyway, this was the story of a man who had been abducted and forced to kill other men for his own survival.  He escapes and makes it home after 7 years but when he comes home nothing's as he imagined it would be and they don't even recognize him.  On top of that he walks in to his wife giving birth.  Oops.  The story is him trying to beat the demon inside him that has grown from killing so many and the struggle between his wife and himself.  Not a fantastic medieval, but not bad.  3 out of 5

Next up was Hide Out by Katie Allen.  This is Trevor's story and it was a good one.  Trevor is trying to hide from his father who wants to kill him and he's in a "fake" couple relationship with the cop who's his protector, Pete.  Only, hey look, they're both gay! :)  It was a great story and another I wrote for The Book Binge so again, I'll let you know when my review posts.

Another Chance to Dream by Lynn Kurland was my next read.  This was another medieval read and had some angst. *snort* Ok, that's like saying that candy has some sugar.  I don't think I've ever read a book that had that many things happen to the hero and heroine.  Seriously nothing could go right for the poor couple.  They just wanted to be together dammit and they couldn't! lol   Gwen and Rhys have a great infatuation with each other from the time she's 10 and he's 14 which grows to love over the years.  He heads off to earn mucho money so that he can try to buy land (since he's only a knight and not a lord) and also possibly bribe someone for Gwen's hand in marriage since she's been promised to another since birth.  But everyone and everything is determined to keep them apart.  Oy.  I really like Kurland's writing but this one was off the charts when it came to Murphy's Law.  3.5 out of 5
Ok - any Kurland fans out there?  I have a question.  What order should I read the books in?  I swear I stared at the reading order page for at least 10 minutes the other day trying to figure it out and still didn't have a clue. The page itself is very organized but that didn't help me. I like her historicals as well as her time travel but some interconnect.  I thought to just read in publication order (barring her fantasy reads) but that confused me to since her first book is #10 in the De Piaget series.  Can anyone help this poor confused soul out?

Next up was Kiss and Kin by Kinsey Holley.  I had read a short free story by Holley at Christmas from The Samhellion and really enjoyed it.  This is the story of Lark and Taran.  A non related pair who were raised as brother and sister due to the death of Lark's parents.  Because of this they have tried to stay away from each other but Lark is Taran's mate.  When Lark is in danger not only the cop in Taran but the mate in Taran come forward.  I liked this story.  Sometimes with foster siblings there's a squick factor involved but I didn't get this from the story at all which I appreciated.  I liked Holley's writing as well and will look forward to Nick and TJ's story (supporting characters in this book). 3.75 out of 5
Oh and while I was at Holley's site I came across this very funny blog post: Orgasmic wombs and the penises that poke them.

Instant Gratification by Jill Shalvis was next on my list.  Another FTSP book.  (There are just too many of those FTSP books!)  Emma Sinclair has left her NY life as an ER doctor to help her estranged father out at his medical clinic in Wishful, CA where she spent the first 6 years of her life.  At first no one takes her seriously they just see her as Doc Sinclair's daughter rather than a doctor.  She just wants Starbucks, Thai take out and someone to pay in something other than casseroles.  Then Stone Wilder comes in after falling 50 feet down a cliff.  She patches him up despite his grumblings that all he needs is a band-aid and some sparks fly.  Fighting the attraction is hard for Emma but she's not about to get involved with someone from a small town when she's going back to NY.  Yeah, easier said than done.  I enjoyed this book and the ease that Stone and Emma had around each other.  I did have some problems believing that Emma would want to stay in Wishful.  Also, secondary characters Serena and Spencer...that was completely unbelievable to me. (I'm not saying more in case you haven't read the book and plan to but if you have read it you know what I mean.) 3.75 out of 5

And last but certainly not least was Dark Angel/Lord Carew's Bride by Mary Balogh.  I've only read a couple of other books by Balogh but I really like her work.  These two were great stories that were originally published separately in 1994 and 1995.  Two cousins who show up in both books.  Dark Angel is about  Jennifer who has been unofficially engaged to Viscount Kersey since she was 15.  She believes herself passionately in love with him even though they've spent very little time together.  Now that she is 20 and she is officially engaged to him she believes life will be even more wonderful.  But Kersey's got a sordid past and he's an evil bugger - for only being 25.  Then there's the Earl of Thornhill, Gabriel, who wants revenge on Kersey and Jennifer become a pawn in a game that she knows nothing about - her life changes forever.  
Lord Carew's Bride is about Jennifer's cousin, Samantha - also changed by Viscount Kersey's evil ways.  While visiting Jennifer in the country she meets a man, Hartley Wade, who she believes is just a landscape gardener.  They become friends and Sam is very upset about having to go back to Town for the Season.  But Sam, despite her many male followers and the many offers she had from them, never wants to get married.  However when Hartley asks, she accepts because he's "safe" and he's her "friend".  Yeah, that's not exactly why he wants to marry you.  4.25 out of 5 for both stories.
You can go here for Hilcia's review

And my review for A Certain Wolfish Charm by Lydia Dare posted on The Book Binge this week.

Saturday Song

My pick for the week is Crash by Cavo.  I heard this one on Octane (Sirius XM satellite radio that I listen to constantly) and I've listened to a billion times this week after I bought their album.  Good stuff.  Enjoy!


Last week I read a book that I had been looking forward to for what seemed like forever. But when I picked the book up it seemed like it wasn't as good as I expected and it was falling a little flat for me.  Was it the book?  Was it me?  I started to think that my anticipation of the book was getting in the way and my expectations were probably a little high.  Now with this particular book I found that once I got to the middle of the story it began to meet those high expectations I had put on it and ended on a good note.  But how often do I do this?  How often do I look forward to a book so much that I find that it doesn't live up in the end?

I think this happened to me for the first time with JR Ward's book Lover Revealed.  I was loving the series and the first three books in the BDB are my  favorites.  I was so looking forward to reading LR I couldn't see straight.  But when LR came out and I picked it up it fell flat.  Ok, it didn't just fall flat for me it was like at the bottom of the ocean.  It's still, to this day, my least favorite book in the series (wait, I forgot about Phury's book.  Um, ok, they run a close race on the least fav award).  But was it the book or was it that I expected too much based on previous books?  IDK.

Not long after I started thinking of it, I saw that Jenre had a very similar question put out into the ether on her blog about expectations clouding your judgment of a book.  Great minds think alike and all that. lol  But her question was more to the point of you looking at other peoples thoughts or ratings and getting your expectations up that way.  I think for me this was more a personal anticipation of books in a series or even a new series/book by a much loved author that I'm looking forward to.

So what are your thoughts?  Do you think that the your anticipation might ruin your enjoyment of the book?

Tuesday Teaser - Winter Kiss

I see this all the time on Lily's blog and thought it looked like fun. Let's see if I can actually keep up with doing it. :)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Winter Kiss by Deborah Cooke page 318:
He hadn’t anticipated how powerfully Ginger would respond, much less how her response had affected him.

He still wanted her, but he wanted more than sex.

What I Read Last Week

Top o' the mornin' to ya!

How the heck are ya?  Did you all have a great week and a fantastic weekend?  Happy Easter to everyone (delayed, I know).

I had an interesting week last was Holy Week and I work at a church (don't fall off your chair), nuff said.  It was insane but I did get Friday off and it was nice to have a 3 day weekend.

Yesterday (Easter day) was fun.  While it was beautiful here on Saturday we woke up Sunday to a mostly cloudy sky.   That didn't stop my girls from having a fun time at the egg hunt after church.  Here are my girls who are such hams it's ridiculous!  My sister who lives in Kansas City, MO bought these dresses for them - too cute.

And here is the family.  I think we were all eating Jolly Rancher's so we look like a family of chipmunks, and the hair is in my oldests face,but hey, I needed to get my yearly Easter picture! lol  We did take another one but my hubby had a big ole frown on his face so this is it! :)

If a prince gets married the woman becomes a princess.
If a baron gets married the woman is a baroness.
If a viscount gets married the woman is a viscountess.
If a marquess gets married his wife is a marchioness (not exact, but close).
A duke gets married and his wife becomes a duchess.
Why does an earl get married and his wife become a countess?  Why not an earless?  Or an earlcess?  Or an earlchioness?
These and other questions.

I posted my reading list for March so if you're interested you can find it here.

My Finish the Series Project (FTSP) continues into April.  I think I finished 3 series in the month of March.  Much more needs to be done! lol

I started off the week with a big ole bang and read Kresley Cole's Pleasure of a Dark Prince.  It started off well but kind of slow for me for some reason.  However about 1/2 way through the book it got so that I didn't want to put the book down.  I thought it was really very good.  Garreth and Lucia have been on my mind since the whole incident in the very first Immortals After Dark full length novel, A Hunger Like No Other.  Garreth is a Lycan while Lucia is a Valkyrie.  Garreth wants Lucia because he discovers that she's his mate, among other reasons.  Lucia, as much as she wants Garreth, can't have him because of her vow of chastity to the goddess who gave her her archer powers.  The two trying to figure things out was very well done as is Cole's usual and I can't wait to see what happens next. 4.5 out of 5

Next was Private Dicks by Katie Allen.  A really great m/m book.  You can read my review here.

My next read was Secrets of a Scandalous Bride by Sophia Nash.  This is book 4 in the Widow's Club series but the heroine is just playing a widow and is hiding from a past and a man that is evoooooool.  She seeks help in an unlikely place, with the ruthless and rakish Rowland Manning.  As surly as Rowland is, he helps Elizabeth and they fall in love.  I liked this one a lot.  As much as I didn't like Rowland in the last book I very much enjoyed his character in this one.  There was just something about him that pulled me to him and I loved his stubborness and pig headedness - not something I normally enjoy. lol  (I read this for The Book Binge and will let you know when my "formal" review posts).

Next I attempted to read Her Hungers by Mary Winter.  I didn't get far unfortunately.  This, from what I read, is the story of a woman who grew up human but then was turned to a vampire and then to a werewolf.  She has a vampire lover who loves her and her vamp side but is pretty much repulsed by her werewolf side.  Then in steps a werewolf alpha from her past who wants to claim her but he appears to be repulsed by her vamp side.  Both men want to protect her and there was tons of posturing and possessiveness going on.  On top of that the woman couldn't decide which man she wanted to be with.  All in all the story just didn't work for me so I stopped reading after about 35 pages. DNF

Next was my Tracy's TBR challenge read for the week and also a FTSP read - Shoulda Been a Cowboy.  This is book 7 in Lorelei James's Rough Rider series.  This was Cam McKay's book and is about his relationship with Ukrainian immigrant, Domini.  I liked the story and the issues it covered.  Cam trying to deal with no longer being a soldier and being back in his hometown.  He's trying to come to terms with being a whole man since he's only got one leg and has pretty much cut himself off from his family.  Then there's Domini who is quietly dealing with her life and the fact that she doesn't feel like a whole woman since she was forced to have a hysterectomy when she was 16 in the Ukraine and can't have children. It was a good story and very emotional for me.  4 out of 5

It has been a while since I had read book 6 of the Rough Riders series and was trying to keep all of the McKay men and West boys straight in my head.  After going through that with Cam's book I figured I better just get completely caught up with the series so dove right into All Jacked Up by Lorelei James - which is Keely's story.  Keely and Jack hate each other but Jack talks Keely into creating a fake engagement so that he can get a job with some very conservative people in Utah.  Keely agrees but ends up in love with Jack after much strife.  Good story as well. 4 out of 5

Next was A Lady of Persuasion by Tessa Dare.  This was the story of Toby and Isabel.  Toby is determined to get revenge on Gray for stealing Sophia from him.  But he meets Isabel and she dazzles him.  He wants her as his own no matter what he has to do to get her. Isabel wants a man who will have influence in Parliament and Toby's not it.  She agrees to marry him anyway, however because he could become the man she wants. Never a good idea to marry someone on the hopes that they'll become the person you want them to be!  While Toby's falling for Isabel, Isabel is fighting her feelings for Toby because she fears she will lose her focus on life. While I understood Isabel 's motives in the end I just didn't care for her all that much.  Toby I really liked - even though he lied to Isabel.  This still had Dare's lovely writing in it though and I couldn't help but admire some of her phrasing and lovely sentences. 3.5 out of 5

Last up was Ecstacy Unveiled by Larissa Ione.  A great book!  I picked it up yesterday and just couldn't put it down until I was done.  I loved Lore and Idess.  I really liked having many scenes with ALL of the brothers involved.  Lore's protection of his sister, Sin, was very touching.  Just a very good read. 4.5 out of 5

Some of my Book Binge reviews posted this week as well:

Happy Reading!