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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Review: The Ponds of Kalambayi

The Ponds of Kalambayi
The Ponds of Kalambayi by Mike Tidwell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Around the World in 80 Books – Country #3 Democratic Republic of the Congo (then called Zaire)

With my goal this year of reading another 80 books set in 80 different countries (contining from last year) – I am at the stage where I am getting into the harder countries to find and read. So finding various peace corps memoirs set in these countries is an easy and interesting way to hit some of them. Tidwell’s Ponds of Kalambayi is no exception. Recalling his experinences as a peace corps volunteer in Zaire, he recounts his experiences establishing the fish farming program. It brings new meaning to the saying, give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.

Through-out the book, I was struck by how lucky all of us who live in the US are – even those who are the poorest of the poor – because compared to the people of Kalambayi, they are still rich. These are the people who may only have 10 cents in their pocket at any given time; people who rinse their mouths with gasoline for a tooth ache because there is no established medical care and yet, the people who are willing to give about half of their fish harvest (20-30lbs) to their extended family and neighbours because that is what they do.

Overall an interesting read and I see that Tidwell has written some non-memoirs, so I might check those out in the future.

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Posted by on October 28, 2011 in Around the World in 80 Books, Book Review

 

Review: Divide & Conquer

Divide & Conquer
Divide & Conquer – Madeline Urban and Abigail Roux

Book 4 in the Cut & Run series

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher – Dreamspinner Press

Purchase Divide & Conquer

**Review copy provided by NetGalley**

Unfortunately, I’m now in the waiting camp for the next book in the Ty and Zane series. Ever since I read the preview at the end of Fish and Chips in January, I have been waiting patiently for the next installment and Divide & Conquer didn’t let me down.

Picking up a few months after the end of Fish & Chips, D&C finds Ty and Zane working in the Baltimore FBI Field Office. While in previous books they have faced a serial killer (Cut & Run) and international arms dealer (Fish and Chips); this time they are faced with the possibility of domestic terrorists after a variety of small scale attacks and bank robberies. For me, this is part of what makes me enjoy the series so much, the authors bring to life current crimes that affect all of us and portray them in a way that makes them feel real.

The relationship between Ty and Zane continues to develop through-out as they are both forced to confront the realities of their jobs and the risk, as well as their feelings for each other. I loved that fact that Ty, the former Marine bad-ass, was able to say the L word first, and yet, I can also see why Zane struggled so much with it, knowing a little bit about his past from previous books. I am hoping that we find out more in book 5, Armed & Dangerous, and based on the excerpt provided (oh why do I keep reading these!), seeing Julian and Cameron from Warrior’s Cross, also by the same writing duo. All can say is I want more Ty and Zane! (pretty please!)

Previous Books in Series
Cut & Run
Sticks & Stones
Fish & Chips

All books are available in ebook and paper from the publisher and Amazon.com. Links provided to Amazon versions.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Erotic Romance - M/M, Romantic Suspense, Series

 

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Review: Deadly Currents

Deadly Currents
Deadly Currents by Beth Groundwater
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**Received this book as an author donated copy**

When I read the premise for Deadly Currently, I was immediately intrigued – the idea of a river ranger – which we normally don’t see as a job occupation and then a mystery to book – I was excited. And Ms Groundwater did not let me down. From the beginning to the end, there were twists and turns that I couldn’t predict (although i’m discovering more and more that I suck about identifying those twists before they happen ;) ). A satisfying conclusion and i’ll def. be looking forward to more in this series as they are released and will be taking a look at her backlist.

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Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

How many books is too many?

I’ve always been one of those readers that has several books going at a time, but today, I realized I might have a problem. I was counting up my various in progress books and I have like 14 in various stages…holy crap!! I don’t think i’ve ever had that many going at once.

So the goal this week is to try and cull all those books down into a more reasonable to-read pile…lol! Hopefully I can do it.

How about you guys – are you a one book at a time kind of reader, or multiple?

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Around the World in 80 Books – Part Deux

Last year I participated in a reading challenge on Goodreads.com called Around the World in 80 books. It was an interesting experience in that I read many books, I normally would not have picked up and it really made me stretch my boundaries and comfort zone at times.

At the end of the 2011 challenge (September 30, 2011), I had read books set in the following countries (the titles are next to the country name):

Africa:
Botswana – The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Cameroon – Mango Elephants in the Sun: How Life in an African Village Let Me Be in My Skin
Cote D’ivoire – Aya
Egypt – Death on Tour
Ghana – Wife of the Gods: A Novel
Kenya – Out of Africa
Libya – In the Country of Men
Mauritius – The Last Brother
Morocco – The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca
Nigeria – Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away
Rwanda – Baking Cakes in Kigali
Sierra Leone – A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
South Africa – Cape Greed
Uganda – Waiting: A Novel
Zambia – Mrs. Pollifax on Safari
Zimbabwe – Out of Shadows

Asia:
China – Mao’s Last Dancer
India – The Case of the Missing Servant
Indonesia – The Persimmon Tree
Japan – The Housekeeper and the Professor
Kazakhstan – Woman in Exile: My Life in Kazakhstan
Korea – The Surrendered
Laos – The Coroner’s Lunch
Malaysia – A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder
Mongolia – Warrior
Nepal – The Kid Who Climbed Everest: The Incredible Story of a 23-Year-Old’s Summit of Mt. Everest
Uzbekistan – Private Wars
Vietnam – Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

Australia/Oceania:
Australia – The Story of Danny Dunn
Kiribati – The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
New Zealand – Tommo and Hawk

Caribbean:
Cuba – The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom
Dominica – Wide Sargasso Sea
Puerto Rico – The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico

Europe:
Albania – Chronicle in Stone: A Novel
Austria – Portrait of Seduction
Belgium – 11 Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944
Bosnia-Herzogovenia – The Cellist of Sarajevo
Denmark – One, Two … He is coming for you
England – Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
Finland – Snow Angels
France – Unmasqued: An Erotic Novel of The Phantom of The Opera
Germany – The Reader and The Vanishing of Katharina Linden: A Novel
Greece – Oh. My. Gods.
Greenland – Cold Earth
Hungary – The Darkest Whisper
Iceland – Frozen Assets
Ireland – Here Be Dragons
Italy – Nicholas
Latvia – The Dogs of Riga
Lithuania – Between Shades of Gray
Malta – The Information Officer
the Netherlands – The Hiding Place
Norway – Don’t Look Back
Poland – Yossel, April 19, 1943
Portugal – A Small Death in Lisbon
Russia – Eye of the Red Tsar: A Novel of Suspense
Scotland – Spell of the Highlander
Spain – Miracle in Seville
Sweden – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Ukraine – The Rose of Sebastopol
Vatican City – The Secret Cardinal
Wales – Goddess of the Sea

Latin America/ South America
Argentina – Brava, Valentine
Belize – No Souvenirs
Brazil – Blood of the Wicked
Chile – The Killer’s Tears
Paraguay – The News from Paraguay
Peru – Bel Canto

Middle East:
Afghanistan – The Kite Runner
Iran – Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Israel – Drawing in the Dust
Jordan – Mrs. Pollifax, Innocent Tourist
Pakistan – An Act of Treason
Saudi Arabia – Finding Nouf: A Novel
Syria – Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled

North America:
Canada – Love Bites
Mexico – White Heat
United States – Speak

*Antarctica:
Antarctica – In Cold Pursuit: A Mystery From The Last Continent

So this year, I decided to continue my trip around the world. My official thread for tracking my trip can be found here. But i’ll also try to blog my trip as I go here.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Around the World in 80 Books

 

Random Musings – 05Oct

Not a review today, just some random thought. While trying to procrasinate at work today, I ended up just spending about 30 minutes talking books with my cubicle mate. I like that I have people at work who I can talk about books with, since I am most definately addicted to reading ;).

So what about you guys – do you have people in your lives who you talk about books with? Or do you rely on sites like goodreads/ librarything/ shelfari to share your love of reading

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Musings, Uncategorized

 

Review: Destiny Calls

Destiny Calls
Destiny Calls by Samantha Wayland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**Book donated by the author for review**

Recently I was asked by a friend on Goodreads.com if I would be willing to review a book that had been written by one of her writing partners, as she knew I read menage quite often and I agreed. Its been a long time since I had read a menage story that I have enjoyed as I did this one.

Destiny, Brandon and Patrick have been friends for years, growing up in homes that nowadays would potentially be classified as emotionally abusive and have maintained that friendship throughout the years, but it is all about to change, when Patrick kisses Brandon one night while they are out at a bar.

It is hard for me to get down in this review what I enjoyed about this story. First of all, I liked the fact that it wasn’t a menage that is based on a previously formed relationship. I mean, those are ok sometimes, but I often have a hard time with how those relationships are presented. In Destiny Calls, it seemed to be more believable somehow, because there wasn’t that permanency. I liked the dynamics between Brandon and Patrick and their co-workers (all cops) and how so much of what happened was guided by their fears of perception.

The only thing that kind of felt unfinished was the suspense story line. It didn’t feel like it was as developed as it could have been and while everything was resolved, something just seemed to be missing. I would also like to know more about Patrick/Brandon’s co-workers (I could see a few more books based on them).

Overall, an enjoyable read and a solid 4 stars. I’ll definitely be looking for more written by Samantha Wayland in the future.

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Posted by on October 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Review: A Model Boyfriend

A Model Boyfriend
A Model Boyfriend by Clancy Nacht
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The review was originally published for The Romance Reviewers and can be found here

As a reader, I am normally not a fan of a storyline that already has one of the individuals in a committed relationship. For me, something always just seems to be missing. However, I was pleasantly surprised with A MODEL BOYFRIEND.

For the past three years, Andy (Andrea) and Mike have been together, but recently have found themselves growing apart as they develop new interests. Mike wants Andy to give up the art that she loves and Andy doesn’t understand what happened to the guy she fell in love that. But everything changes when Andy meet Brandon, a male model, and starts to question her future with Mike or without him.

As I was reading, I never truly felt the dynamics of a relationship between Andy and Mike – it was like they were just going along making the motions, even before Brandon came into the picture. But once he did, I could almost feel the connection between Andy and Brandon.

There were several fun scenes throughout including the photo shoot, and also ones that were moving, such as the Thanksgiving Day turkey portion. With Andy being an artist, there was one description of a painting and quote that stuck with me after finishing the book. Towards the end at a featured art show, Andy and Brandon are talking about a painting and he says to her, “we all want a sunnier room than the one that we just closed the door on. It doesn’t always work that way, but I’ll do my best, Andy.” – that statement and the description of what most individuals want in their lives resonated with me – the idea of always wanting things to be better than the day before, or the room before. It is something that I will keep in my mind in the future.

Yet, there were also some parts that just didn’t seem to jive with the rest of the story. Mostly I think this just had to do with the wording in a few places. The term “self-abuse” seemed to be used on several occasions and whenever it showed up, it jolted me out of the enjoyment of my reading. I don’t know what it is about that word, but it just bothered me. Aside from those difficulties with some of the wording, I enjoyed the story and will definitely be seeking out more writing by Clancy Nacht in the future.

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Posted by on October 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Review: Make You Sweat

Make You Sweat
Make You Sweat by Pia Veleno
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book was originally reviewed for The Romance Reviewers and can be found here

Anyone who knows me as a reader knows that a 5 star review is not something that I give out very often. A book has to really move me or engross me in order for that to happen and MAKE YOU SWEAT by Pia Veleno did not disappoint. I first read some of Ms Veleno’s work when she wrote a story based on a photo prompt in the m/m romance group on goodreads.com and her writing just resonated with me. So when I saw her new book available for review, I jumped on it.

Spending the summer with his dad is just what Tyler was looking for. Its an opportunity for him to spend the summer at the beach, working out – planning to return to school the next year buff and sexy. On his first day at the gym, he meets Cody, a fitness instructor who offers to help him with his summer goals. As the summer progresses, the relationship between Tyler and Cody depends, but will it just turn out to be a case of summer loving or something more?

While I was reading MAKE YOU SWEAT, I had that old song from Grease going through my head, Summer Lovin’ and to me it works well with the story. I loved Tyler as a character, the young innocent college boy, and Cody, the old man. This is definitely a book for anyone who likes twinks in their m/m romance, while reading it, I termed it twinkalicious ;) The development of the relationship between Cody and Tyler seemed to be believable and not too rushed like other romances I have read, and the angst towards the end as the summer drew to a close felt real to me. I actually felt sad for them as Tyler was planning on returning to school.

However, like every book, there were some weaknesses or plot difficulties. For me, there were two that were of a minor annoyance, and one of which is Tyler’s lack of self-esteem as the summer progressed. There seemed to be an almost woe-is-me moments sprinkled throughout and then there is the cover. I don’t know what it is about them, but personally, I really dislike the cartoon-y looking covers. If this book had been written by an author I wasn’t familiar with, I probably would have passed it over because of the cover. I guess that just means, I should learn to not judge books by their covers ;)

If she continues the way she has so far, Pia Veleno will very quickly find her way onto my auto-buy pile and I look forward to more by her in the future.

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Posted by on October 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
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