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Dishing with Dee….I cut the cord

dishing with dee 2

I’ve been talking about it for a while, but today I FINALLY made the jump and cut the cord, or is that cable – I cancelled my cable TV service. I’ve had cable for years, and every year the cost has been slowly creeping up, just a few dollars here and there, but when I looked at my cable bill this last month, I realized that I was paying over $200 (for internet/TV and phone) and probably only using one of three parts of the package (the internet). So while I was out running errands today, I swung by Best Buy and got an Amazon FireTV stick. This will allow me to access Hulu, Netflix and SlingTV, as well as all the TV shows available via Amazon Prime…then I called Comcast and cancelled my cable. I will admit, I was surprised how easy the woman on the phone made it – I’d heard these horror stories about people trying to cancel and honestly, I’ll withhold judgement until I get my bill next month – but it was fairly pain free.

So the current status of TV in my house – Hulu, Netflix, SlingTV (a basic package that has Food Network, ABC Family, Lifetime, a few sports channels) and Amazon Prime. I’ve gone frmo $217 a month to about $110 (not including my Amazon Prime that I pay on a yearly basis). Which means, more money for triathlon fun ;)

What about you – would you be able to take the plunge or have you already?

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Dishing with Dee

 

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Waiting on Wednesday – 24 June

Wishlist WednesdayWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper where we post about one book that has been hanging out on our wish list (either for a long time, or not so long)

This is the first time that I have participated in Waiting for Wednesday, but I have a huge can’t wait for this book to be released list. In fact, I have an exclusive shelf on Goodreads dedicated solely to books that I need to stalk for release dates ;) This week, the book I can’t wait to be released is actually a fairly new addition to my shelf, but I never imaged that the author would write another book about the main character, following the first one. So when I stumbled across it, I was like dancing with joy. The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate takes the reader back to the word of Calpurnia (Callie Vee) Tate, a young girl at the turn of the 20th century. The first book (The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate) was a breath of fresh air when I listened to it a few years ago and I can’t wait to see what she gets up to in this new adventure. As a bonus, the author did a great job of discussing evolution in the previous book (through the use of discovery of new plants) and I’m intrigued to see what she brings into this one.

You can read my review of the first book HERE

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate is going to be released on July 7th and I know, already that I need to check and see if my library has it on pre-order (or if not, see if I can sweet talk the librarian into getting a copy).

calpurnia tate

Goodreads Description:
Callie Vee, Travis, Granddaddy, and the whole Tate clan are back in this charming follow-up to Newbery Honor–winner The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.

Callie’s younger brother Travis keeps bringing home strays. And Callie has her hands full keeping the animals—Travis included—away from her mother’s critical eye.

When a storm blows change into town in the form of a visiting veterinarian, Callie discovers a life and a vocation she desperately wants. But with societal expectations as they are, she will need all her wits and courage to realize her dreams.

Whether it’s wrangling a rogue armadillo or stray dog, a guileless younger brother or standoffish cousin, the trials and tribulations of Callie Vee will have readers cheering for this most endearing heroine.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Wishlist Wednesday

 

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Audiobook Review – The Interview – Silk Jones

the interviewThe Interview
Author: Silk Jones
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: Shoshana Franck
Run Time: 51 minutes
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
A laid off legal secretary with a curiosity about the B.D.S.M. lifestyle responds to an advertisement in a lifestyle magazine placed by a law firm seeking a “submissive legal assistant” and gets more than she bargained for. This short story is the kickoff to a series about a law firm that has quite a bit going on behind closed doors.

Review:
When the author of this book approached me for a review, I was intrigued about the premise, but skeptical about how well it would play out as an audiobook – mostly because of the length – for a book to be less than an hour in audio format, as a listener, I know that the book itself, is probably only about 30pgs. In general, I tend to not read/listen to novellas that are that short, because I rarely feel like it was worth it when the book is done. However, since it was approached as a prequel to a new series coming out and the description caught my eye, I decided to take a chance on the offer – and if nothing else, it made me commute home one night decently entertaining (sometimes I am glad its only me in the car on the commute – I can only imagine what someone else would say…).

Really when all was said and done, The Interview was much more of a vingette type novella rather than a story with a beginning/middle/end – meaning that it was limited to a very specific scene that occurred. However, since I knew that going in to the listen, I was intrigued to see how well one scene could be developed in a limited page count – so often in a full-length novel, a scene may be only 1-2 pgs (depending on what is going on), rather than the 20-30 that occurred in this novella. So it allowed Ms Jones to more fully develop the view of the characters and go more in depth into their thoughts/actions.

The narrator, Shoshana Franck, was new to me (I honestly don’t know if I have ever seen anything narrated by her before), but I was intrigued by her style – it seemed very conversational, which felt right for the writing style. I could tell that her male voices weren’t necessarily going to be a strength of hers, so I liked how she didn’t really try to voice one that way, but rather just used different emphasis on words.

I thought that while short, The Interview had a solid basis for a vignette style telling and I enjoyed the narrator – I’ll admit that I am curious to see what the author could do with a longer piece of writing and I’m pretty sure that I will check out more by the narrator in the future. Overall, I gave both the book and the narration 3 stars.

Buy Links
The Interview: Law Firm Erotica Book I (Kindle)
The Interview: Law Firm Erotica Book 1 (Audible, via Amazon)

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Audiobook Review

 

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Radio Show Debut

author ceoHey everyone! So I know many of you don’t follow my facebook page (but you really should – click HERE) – but last night I was lucky enough to be a guest on The Woman Show, hosted by Naomi Blackburn. Naomi has been a friend of mine for several years – we meet over a review for a book we were both eager to read that was totally spoiler-ific – and it was like a matchmade in book lover’s heaven.

One of the amazing things that she does (aside from reading like 500+ books a year) is works with authors providing guidance on how to build their business/brand, through her blog, The Author CEO.

Last night I was lucky enough to be a guest, along with Tracy Riva (http://tracyriva.com/) and Bennet Pomerantz (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bennetpomerantz) on her show, discussing what Book Bloggers look for when we receive requests from authors to review their books. We had a great discussion about our likes and dislikes – for example, Tracy really likes to see the cover of your book, whereas Bennet tends to be less drawn to the cover (FWIW, I fall roughly in the middle). We also had a great time talking about both good and bad experiences with authors who we have reviewed books for.

The radio show is available online – so I hope you listen and enjoy –

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2015 in Special Event

 

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TBR Tuesday – 09 June 15

TBR TuesdayWicked
Author: Sasha White

Purchased: November 11, 2009
Date Finished: 14 May, 2015
Time on TBR: 2012 Days

Review:
I’m always amazed at the books that I find when I start digging through my kindle archives and what inspired me to buy a certain book at a certain time. Looking at my record for this one, I bought it while I was deployed to Iraq in 2009 and not long before I headed home – so I’m thinking it may have been a book that I bought to read on the flight and then likely got distracted (I mean, really, those flights SUCK for reading). And then forgot about it (like it seems I have for many books on my TBR). But I needed a book for a reading challenge that had a single word titled (and was at least 250pgs in length) and this was one of the first ones that I found while browsing my kindle archives that I have actually managed to catalogue on Goodreads so far. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize at the time that this was a book 3 in the series, and I didn’t really have time to go back and read the previous 2 books in the series, so I hoped that I could just jump on in and not be too lost.

Thankfully, while this is a “series” they are only loosely combined – in that they are part of the Dungeon series, which is the club that individuals visit, but that the stories are all separate and can be read by themselves. I thought that the basis of the characters for Wicked – a divorce lawyer and Lara (who is actually very hard to describe character wise) was a great combo – the idea of the guy who needs dominance in his nightlife, because of the dichotomy in his day (sometimes having power, other times not). I found the suspense element of the story to be a bit of a let down – it just felt like it wasn’t really needed and I would have preferred to have seen more of a story between Karl and Lara, rather than the additional storyline – IMHO it just wasn’t really needed.

I’m intrigued enough by the series that I want to go back and read the previous two in the series (and its highly likely that I have at least one of them in the TBR pile somewhere). I gave Wicked 3.5 stars and will be definitely checking out more books by the author in the future.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2015 in TBR Tuesday

 

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Review – Claiming Their Royal Mate – Andie Devaux

claiming their royal mateClaiming Their Royal Mate
Author: Andie Devaux
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Daniella Clark has lived blissfully unaware of her heritage, but as her true nature reveals itself, a need rises that she cannot control. Her sexy-as-sin neighbor, Owen, eases her carnal heat and introduces her to a world she never even suspected existed.

But the weretiger prime, Erick, wants her for his own. And he is more than willing to fight his second-in-command for the woman he claimed the moment he laid eyes on her luscious form. He will do anything to protect his people, and their future rests in Daniella’s hands.

Even as Daniella revels in the sensuality of the weretiger males, she fights to maintain her sense of self. But when old enemies arise, the battle for her heart isn’t the only fight they must face. And Daniella will have to decide how much she is willing to risk for the men who want her for their mate.

Review:
I’ll admit that I’m normally not a fan of serial type romances, but since this was the complete story, I decided to give it a try. I’ll even admit that I was kind of surprised with how much I enjoyed it and how well the story was constructed/written. Yes, I’ve been known to be very verbal about my dislike of the serial trend in general… I also appreciated how the author used different types of were- compared to current popular wolves/bears/lions (even if Tigers are big cats) ;) As this was a book that had been originally published in a serial format, each of the 4 sections had a satisfying beginning/middle/end – even if they were each only about 70pgs long. There were a few cliff-hangers between each of the sections where I just wanted to scream out loud – thankfully, I didn’t have to wait for a new installment to come along – I just don’t get how people can wait for story resolutions like this!

I found the authors writing style to be very engrossing and I found myself not wanting to put down the book once I started (and not just because of the cliff-hanger endings) – but because I was invested in the world that she created. And she wasn’t too shabby on the smexy scenes either, and since it was off the charts hot from the start, that doesn’t surprise me. Although, just so you are warned – this does feature a menage storyline – so stay clear if you don’t like those sorts of things. I liked how Ms Devaux developed the suspense element of the story – it was solidly written, but didn’t overwhelm the romance, which is always important to me. And most importantly, I was invested enough in the characters and the world building that I want to read more stuff written by the author in the future.

Overall, I gave Claiming Their Royal Mate 3.5 stars, mostly because I while I realized it was a serial, I wanted more to the storyline – it was solid, but there were a few places where there could have been some more development. But I’m intrigued enough that I want to read more by the author in the future.

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2015 in Review

 

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The 2015 Audies – my thoughts on the winners…

audie-award

Last night in New York (as part of Book Expo America (BEA)), the Audio Publishers Association (APA) held their annual award ceremony – also known as the Audies – These awards recognize the achievement in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment. In previous years, I was able to freely stalk twitter during the event (thanks Xe Sands and others who provided running commentary) and while the event this year was live-streamed for those of us unable to attend, I was unable to watch. However, I do have some thoughts on who the various winners were (and a bit of a rant as well).

mandelaAudiobook of the Year: This is the biggie award, equivalent to the Best Picture at the Oscars. When I initially saw the nominations (that were released in April), I was unsure of which book I thought I would win, however, based on previous years, I figured Amy Poehler’s, Yes Please would be a heavy favorite to win. Personally, I’m not a fan of self-narrated audiobooks or comedian autobiographies, so I figured I was setting myself up for disappointment by hoping that another book won. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Mandela: An Audio History – narrated by Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela declared to be the winner. Of all the books in the category, I figured that was the complete underdog to win and likely wouldn’t have picked it in a million years.

alphaErotica: Over the last few months, I listened to the majority of the books in this category – the only one that remains unfinished had the same two narrators as another book in the category – so I figured I had a good idea of how that one would play out and while the category in general was disappointing to me, I had picked Alpha (Jasinda Wilder) to win. It was not only the closest representative to the erotica genre in the category, but had the best narration – it was heads and shoulders above. While my review isn’t yet written – it should be up in the next week or so and I’m looking forward to listening to the next book(s) in the series.

girl of all giftsParanormal: I knew that this was going to be a tough category going in – after listening to (once again) all but one book in the nominations – the separation between the different books for narration/performance and writing was miniscule. Honestly, I can say that I would have been happy with any of the winners because it was an exceptionally strong category. But I will admit that I was a bit upset that my favorite narrator who had multiple nominations in the category didn’t win. While I really liked the winning book (The Girl with all the Gifts) and wasn’t surprised to see it win, I would have loved to have seen Damoren (Seth Skorkowsky; narrated by R.C. Bray) win – it was my favorite in the category (and audible even named it as a book to watch on one of their posts in the lead-up).

bridges madison countyRomance: This is where I rant – just so you are forewarned. In previous years, I have listened to and loved the romance category of the Audies – even last year when Nicholas Sparks was nominated for and won the romance audio of the year – admittedly, it was closer to a romance than any of his other books, but still not one by the industry definition of the word. But this year – in a multi-billion dollar a year industry (yes, romance brings in that much), that there were only FIVE nominations in the category (where others had 6) and that TWO of the nominations weren’t even romance by the industry standard (which is defined as a Happily Ever After/Happy For Now). Within the 5 nominations, there were only 3 true romance audiobooks and none of them won. The winner was (no drumroll) The Bridges of Madison County – now, I’ll readily admit, I haven’t read the book, but I saw the absolutely horrible movie that was made of it a while back – but any book that has a basic premise of cheating and having an affair center stage will NEVER be a romance. It may be literary fiction with some romantic elements, but it is NOT a romance. I just cringed when I not only saw the nominees, but which book was the ultimate winner. I have no idea how/if nominations for categories are even vetted for appropriateness – based on not only this one, but the erotica category, I have to believe that they are not.

I’m still looking at the various other category winners – so there may be an addendum to this post later on – you never know…

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2015 in Audies

 

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