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Author Archives: Dee

About Dee

I'm one of those people that no matter how many books I have, I can't turn down a sale or a trip to the bookstore. There are no limits to what I'll read and I hope you enjoy my reviews.

Dishing with Dee….for the love of audiobooks

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Its hard to remember a time when I didn’t listen to audiobooks – I think its probably been a good ten years now. I originally started listening to them when I had long drives to visit family in Michigan (driving from Virginia makes it about a 12-16 hour drive depending on where I was in the state at a given time). Mostly it was due to my fustration of trying to find a new/decent radio station to listen to every 100 miles or so, only to have said radio station fizzle out an hour or so later.

Fast forward to current day and between my daily commute into work (anywhere from 40min to 1.5 hours one way…thank you DC traffic), to working in an open workspace office (you know the kind where there are 10 people in each work segment with no real division between them), audiobooks are probably responsible for me still being sane (or as sane as you can be in a situation like this). I find they let me get lost in my world of data analysis and data inputing, as well as kinda of controlling my road rage (if you’ve ever driven in DC you know what I am talking about).

Listening to audiobooks has always pushing my reading/listening boundaries – I have discovered over the years that I am more willing to give a new author a try in the audiobook realm if its narrated by someone I have enjoyed in the past (people like Phil Gigante, Simon Vance, Xe Sands and my new favorite, RC Bray). Plus listening to audiobooks make me feel like I can enjoy my favorite hobby at all hours of the day and not just when I am at home and able to sneak in a page or two.

What about your guys – do you listen to audiobooks? If yes, do you have a favorite narrator or book? What would you recommend to a newbie?

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

it's monday what are you reading

One of my reading goals for 2015 was to be more active in posting current reading etc on my blog. Of course, its now the end of March and I think I’ve done that like once so far…so my goal for the second quarter of the year (Apr-Jun) is to participate in this meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey

I hope you guys will join in with me and participate ;)

Last week wasn’t a good reading week for me – I was busy trying to make up a bunch of hours at work, after being out with Bronchitis (which sucks BTW) as well as working my monthly 12 day work week (once a month because of military drill on the weekend), so by the time I got home each now and etched out time to get my workout in, I fell in to bed and passed out. That being said, I managed to finish reading 3 books and listened to 1.

week reading

My reading this week is still a bit up in the air, but since its the 1st of April, I get to dig into books that I’ve had sitting waiting for my new month of reading challenges to start. I have 2 audiobooks I have listening to right now – alternating between car and work:

current listening Both of these books are nominees in the Paranormal category for the Audies (Audiobook Awards) and I have been listening to all of them. One in the 9th book in a series that I have been working on for the last year (Pleasure of a Dark Prince – Immortals After Dark) and the other is a new to me author that falls more into the horror category (at least right now) than Paranormal – I was tweeting with the author the other day and made the comment about having nightmares because of his writing – he just laughed and thanked me for the compliment.

currentl readingOn the reading front, I have multiple books in progress (like normal) including 2 non-fiction (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and The Missing Class: Portraits of the Near Poor in America), which is rarely for me – normally I’ll have one that I’m reading at a snail’s pace, but I managed to pick up 2 currently and they are intriguing me enough that I want to keep reading both. I am also continuing my tackling the TBR with Fever by Mary Beth Keane that I got back in 2013 when it was released and the never read. I’m going old school with a current romance read with Cry No More, written by the fabulous Linda Howard, written back in 2003 and finally, rounding out the current reading with Angel with a Bullet by M.C. Grant. I have read book 3 in this series a couple of months ago, so decided to go back and read from the beginning (good thing is that each of the books can basically stand on their own).

What about you – what are you reading this last Monday of March?

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Meme

 

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Dishing with Dee…the curious case of rating books

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It’s always hard when it comes to writing reviews for books. I don’t shy away from giving negative reviews (I mean, see the one from Friday that I wrote on the audiobook), but at the same time, sometimes that honestly comes back to bite me in the ass. I’ve never really mentioned it on my blog, but several years ago, one of the DNF reviews that I posted here was used as an example in an Indie Writer Blog on how to make sure you avoid picking bad reviewers for your books. The author’s premise – that since I read predominantly romance novels (per my Goodreads profile), that I was basically too dumb to understand his masterpiece. That is ignoring that fact that I have multiple degrees in a variety of different fields (although my primary focus is in Psychology); that I was in the military for multiple years…no, his whole hypothesis was based on my enjoyment of romance novels.

I’ve been reading for many years – I mean, my mom will tell you that when I started elementary school, I knew how to read basic words already (in fact, the one and only time – at least that I remember – that she had to have a teacher-parent conference was because I was bored in class). I’ve gone through many phases of reading, from mysteries, to suspense, to romance; through my non-fiction phase, and back to romance. I keep coming back to romance because it is my happy spot, but that doesn’t preclude me from reading other genres.

Since i’ve never really posted a “how I rate books” post, I thought I’d post something today – this is rough break-down of my approach to rating books. You will notice that I do write DNF and 1 star reviews for my blog, because I do believe in being honest and rating a book appropriately. I’ve been burnt many times by books that only have rave reviews and then wondering what the heck am I missing…and so, here it is:

5 stars – mind-blowing, I typically want to pick up the book and re-read it as soon as I finish it – this is a rarely used rating (in 2014, I only had 3 5-stars).
4 stars – well written, engaging, made me want to read more books by the author in the near future (i.e. as soon as I get a chance)
3 stars – decent writing, plot may be partially engaging, but may meander a bit; will likely read more by the author in the future, but not immediately
2 stars – writing needs work, possible serious issues with plot holes/writing style; highly unlikely to read more by the author in the future (unless they are a prior fav)
1 stars – normally the difference between a 1 star review and a DNF is that I managed to finish it
DNF – not worth my time to even finish

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Dishing with Dee

 

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Review – Get Lucky – Anthology

get luckyGet Lucky
Authors: Robin Covington, Nicola Marsh, Kelsey Browning, Avery Flynn, Kimberly Kincaid, Sara Humphreys
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Nicola Marsh – Walking the Line
Ellie is a decade older than Finn but that doesn’t stop the charming Irishman from wooing her.
Ellie doesn’t believe in the happily-ever-after dream any longer, not since hers imploded a long time ago. But can a smooth-talking Irishman sway a hard-hearted cynic to believe in love again?

This was my first time reading anything by Nicola Marsh and while I found the story intriguing, it just didn’t quite do it for it. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good older woman, younger man story but I didn’t ever really feel for Ellie- I found her annoying. But I enjoyed the author’s writing style, so I may check out something else by her in the future. I gave her installment 3 stars.

Kelsey Browning – Amazed by You
Author’s assistant Olivia McLaughlin must pull off an extravagant St. Patrick’s Day garden party to win a coveted promotion, but her success hinges on landscape designer Cody Kavanaugh, her old high school boyfriend. Now, Olivia must decide which she can’t live without—the job that will make her a success or the man offering her a second chance at love.

I’m a huge fan of Kelsey’s and this story was no different. I loved Olivia as a character, and her relationship with Cody was cute – i’m a sucker for a reunited type romance. although I will say that Sadie, Olivia’s slightly (ok, mostly) neurotic employer. I can’t wait to see if she gets a story in the future. I gave Amazed by You 4.5 stars.

Robin Covington – One Little Kiss
Trapped by a snowstorm in the same place at the same time, Leighton and Jonas must decide if their hot night together was the end of their story or if they started forever with just one little kiss…

This story was a hard one of me to rate – because I did enjoy it but towards the end I found myself wanting more. I would love to see it taken and turned into a full-length story because there was so much potential and everything just felt rushed for me. But it had Robin’s familiar writing style and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff in the future. This story got 3.5 stars from me.

Avery Flynn – Big, Bad Red
There’s nothing little or naive about this Red Riding Hood. Red runs the biggest fencing operation for fairytale treasures out of the back of Granny’s Pub. But when she comes into possession of the Caladbolg sword things get hairy–as in hot, sexy Liam MacTíre the werewolf hairy.

I’ll admit that I am a total sucker for fairy tale retellings and Big Bad Red hit all my happy buttons. I loved Red as a character and the story was hot (oh holy heck was it hot). I would love to see more books written in this world and I know that i’ll be checking out Avery’s other Fairytale retellings (since I already love her contemporary romances). Big, Bad Red got 3.5 stars from me.

Sara Humphreys – Luck of the Irish
Banished to the mirrored realm for hundreds of years, Declan Aherne had nothing but time to plot his revenge and mourn the loss of his beloved wife. But when a beautiful human woman, with a familiar amulet, stares into the mirror….Declan’s luck was about to change.

Sarah Humphrey’s was the second new author in the anthology to me. I really liked the idea of a Leprechaum as a hero – i mean seriously, how cool is that? And the story that Sara wove was great, intriguing and complex. Unfortunately, the ending left me feeling kind of irked because it didn’t really end and unfortuntely, that dropped my rating for this installment down to 3 stars.

Kimberly Kincaid – Something Borrowed
When her successful brother announces his plans for an impromptu wedding in Ireland, unlucky-in-love chef Sasha Arrington is stuck between the Blarney Stone and a hard place. Sasha needs a wingman for her brother’s wedding, and the romantic destination could be just what James Sullivan needs to tempt Sasha out of the friend zone.

I’m in a toss-up over whether Kimberly’s contribution or Kelsey’s is my favorite. There was something about Sasha and Sully’s story that just hit all my happy buttons. I loved the sexual tension between them and it kind of reminded me of the movie, The Wedding Date, which I will always watch when I get a chance. Although I will say, really Sully, UVa…no, just no. I gave Something Borrowed 4.5 stars.

Overall I really enjoyed all 6 books in this anthology and I will be checking out the two new authors (Nicola Marsh and Sara Humphrey) in the future. but my 2 favorite stories by far were Kelsey Browning and Kimberly Kincaid’s. Overall, I gave the anthology 4 stars.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Dishing with Dee…the March GNO edition

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Normally I’m very much a home-body – I come home from work and just do my thing, each day. But now that I have had friends from college move into the area (thank you military), we have been working on trying to get a Girl’s Night Out going each month. Although last night was only the second one we have successfully completed. We decided to try out this wine and cheese bar in the city. Let’s just say that by the end of the night you could have rolled me home – I ate so much between these killer nachos with pulled pork on them (yes, you read right, pulled pork), and a sandwich with chicken and bacon jam (because anyone who knows me, knows that I think bacon needs to have a religious following) and then Chocolate mousse cake for dessert (that I split with my friend). Of course, no Girl’s Night Out would be complete without alcohol – I have their blueberry/lemonade sangria – sweet and tart at the same time, it just hit the spot.

sea salt caramelsThen it was time for a random detour to Trader Joe’s before hitting the metro to head home. I love Trader Joe’s for really cool funky stuff. Unfortunately, there isn’t one by me, so I only go once in a blue moon. But I was really good and only walked out with a box of dark chocolate sea salt caramels. You guys should be proud of me ;)

I can’t wait for our next GNO’s and to see what kind of shenanigan’s we get into! How did you spend your Saturday night?

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2015 in Dishing with Dee

 

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Dishing with Dee…the beginnings

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I made my first blog post here on July 5th 2010 – I can’t believe that I am rapidly approaching my five year anniversary – how time flies. I will admit when I started my blog, I had exactly no experience with blogging, limited with writing book reviews, so it has been a learning process. My reasons for starting Dee’s Book Blog weren’t even all that altruistic – I mean, I love giving my opinion on books, I think like most reader’s do – but honestly, I had heard of a cool site called NetGalley where I could get free books from publishers to review. One of the key elements (I was told by other bloggers) was that having a blog or a platform to post your reviews on was key. Up until that time, I had mainly been posting on Goodreads or on Amazon for books I had purchased. But i soon found myself entering the murky waters of blogging and haven’t looked back.

Its weird, if I go back and look at my early reviews now, I see that my book tastes haven’t really changed – I may have become a bit harsher in my ratings – I see books back then that I gave 4 stars, that would now probably be 3-stars or lower, but that is just how the evolution of a reader comes about. I’ve picked up books in genres I never would have considered (I mean, heck, I’m listening to a horror audiobook right now that I’m pretty sure is giving me nightmares). I have made tons of friends and acquaintances thought my blogging, including lots of new favorite authors (yes, I’m looking at you Penny Watson, Rosalind James, Jamie Farrell and others). I find myself being more willing to try new authors – in fact, one of my favorite new things to do, when I have time at the library, is to just pick a random shelf and browse the books to see if I can find a new author to try. I’m considering next year hosting a random library shelf challenge (if I can figure out how I want to do it). Blogging has been a great experience for me and I look forward to many more fun reviews, discussions with authors and readers.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2015 in Dishing with Dee

 

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Audiobook Review – One Dom To Love

audies nominee erotica

oen dom to loveOne Dom to Love
Authors: Shayla Black, Jenna Jacob, Isabella LaPearl
Series: #1 in The Doms of her Life
Rating: ☆ ½

Narrator: Christian Fox
Run Time: 7 hrs 46 mins
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Raine Kendall has been in love with her boss, Macen Hammerman, for years. Determined to make the man notice that she’s a grown woman with desires and needs, she pours out her heart and offers her body to him—only to be crushingly rejected. But when his friend, very single, very sexy Liam O’Neill watches the other Dom refuse to act on his obvious feelings for Raine, he resolves to step in and do whatever it takes to help Hammer find happiness again, even rousing his friend’s possessive instincts by making the girl a proposition too tempting to refuse. But he never imagines that he’ll end up falling for her himself.

Hammer has buried his lust for Raine for years. After rescuing the budding runaway from an alley behind his exclusive BDSM Dungeon, he has come to covet the pretty submissive. But tragedy has taught him that he can never be what she needs. So he watches over her while struggling to keep his distance. Liam’s crafty plan blindsides Hammer, especially when he sees how determined his friend is to possess Raine for his own. Hammer isn’t ready to give the lovely submissive over to any other Dom, but can he heal from his past and fight for her? Or will he lose Raine if she truly gives herself—heart, body, and soul—to Liam?

Review:
You know, sometimes I look at books on Goodreads after I finish listening and rating and wonder what the heck did I miss, that everyone I know/follow seems to give something 4/5 stars (the rating of this was 4.6 among my 20 friends that had read/reviewed it). And it isn’t the first time that this has happened – but on to the guts of the review. To say that this book was horrible, it probably the understatement of the century. Don’t get me wrong, I read/listen to erotic romance and erotica on a fairly regularly basis and I spent probably about 85% of the book just cringing. It was like watching that train wreak that you know is going to happen, but you just can’t look away. I guess, since the title (and series) was modeled after a soap opera I shouldn’t have been surprised though.

I’ll be brutally honest though, writing a review for this book is nearly impossible without massive amounts of spoilers. There is just really nothing I can say without wanting to add a potential spoiler in to illustrate just how bad it was. And it all started with the diminutive name that Hammer (I mean seriously, really) called Raine – Precious – I honestly had visions of Smegal from Lord of the Rings while hearing that – which probably isn’t a visual you want when listening to an erotic romance/erotica audiobook…

I found the sexual interactions between the three characters uncomfortable and honestly they were hard to listen to because the situations were beyond implausible, Raine was a total brat and was topping from the bottom (when the Sub tries to control the situation from their submissive position) – it irked the ever loving shit out of me. There are particular names I would like to call Raine, but they are completely inappropriate, even if its how I feel. And to add insult to injury (well, mental injury), it wasn’t even a complete book – it was a serial (meaning that the story was divided into three separate books and sold that way) – so if I actually had an inclination to read/listen to the other two (which I don’t), I’d have to spend even more money. I’ve never been a fan of the idea of serials and this just confirms it. But back to One Dom to Love.

Unfortunately, even the narration by Christian Fox, which was actually not bad, couldn’t save my listening experience. I’d previously heard about how enjoyable his narration was from a friend in a romance audiobooks group. In fact, she was quite effusive about her enjoyment of his narration and I hope that should I try another book narrated by him I’ll have a better experience.

I will say that he does have a good range of male and female voices (there were 3 main male characters, 1 main female, with a minor secondary female) and each one was distinctive. I particularly liked the Irish brogue that he gave Liam. In fact he pegged Raine’s bratty tone of voice (or what I would call bratty based on her behavior) so perfectly, that I pretty much wanted to reach into my ipod and slap her silly.

I know for sure that I won’t be continuing with the serial, and gave it a generous 1.5 stars. but in the narration aspect, I gave Christian Fox 3 stars for his narration, but I am curious to see what he can do with a better written book.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2015 in Audies, Audiobook Review

 

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