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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.

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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TBR Tuesday – 19 May 2015

TBR TuesdayRuthless Heart
Author: Emma Lang

Purchased: July 6, 2010

Review: I’ve been a fan of Emma Lang for years – mostly with the writing under her other name (Beth Williamson) – so I was surprised to find this book loitering on the pile unread – I guess I bought it in a one-click haze and then forgot about it (yeah, I have a tendancy to do this). I will admit that I do prefer her Malloy family series to this book, but that I did enjoy this one more than several of her most recent books – so it was a fairly solid read by her. And I will admit that I am a sucker for a well-written historical western – they are for me, one of my favorite genres – unfortunately, it also seems to be a genre that has fallen out of favor over the last few years. Specifically, in this one, I liked how the prim and proper Eliza and the rough and tumble Grady came together – it was a great meshing of characters with enough suspense to make it enjoyable, without overwhelming the romance side of the house. I’m intrigued enough that I want to check out the other books in this series.

How did you guys do this week – did you find any gems on your TBR?

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2015 in TBR Tuesday

 

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Featured Author Friday – Kelsey Browning

featured author friday

Welcome back to Featured Author Friday! There was a bit of a delay in getting this one launched because my next guest author has been busy gallivanting the countryside with her writer cohort in crime on a Free Little Library Book Tour” So I wanted to give her some time to get home and (hopefully) put her feet up for a little while ;) Please welcome Kelsey Browning! I discovered Kelsey through one of my other favorite authors, Jamie Farrell, when she posted about Kelsey’s new release on her facebook. The description intrigued me and before long, I had one-clicked away and added her books to Mt TBR! Her books are described as Sassy, sexy and sweet romances set in Texas (and of course, what kind you expect from an author who wears such awesome cowboy boots!)

kelsey browningDee: What has been your favorite book to write so far?
Kelsey: That’s like asking which of my children is my fave. Oh, wait a minute, I only have one kid! ;-) Personal Assets was the first book I wrote from start to finish, and so it has a very special place in my heart. It did go through extensive content edits when it was acquired by Carina Press, and those edits taught me a ton. But as far as sheer fun, I’d have to say Designed for Love. I knew I would revisit Ashton Davenport and her wily little dog, Napoleon, in that story. Interestingly enough, the Texas Nights series was originally supposed to be only three books until I wrote Ashton into Running the Red Light. But once I wrote her as the antagonist of that story, I knew she needed one of her own! I had a ton of fun using Napoleon to torture Ashton’s love interest, Mac.

Dee: Who would you say your biggest writing influence is?
Kelsey: You ask the hard questions, don’t you? I think that’s changed over the years as I grow and change as a writer. When I started out, I probably would’ve told you I wanted to be Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Jennifer Crusie when I grew up. I kinda still do, but I read all over the place—from thrillers to nonfiction—to get inspiration these days. Especially since being an author isn’t just about writing anymore. In publishing now, you have to be an entrepreneur too. So I look to people like Dan Blank, Joanna Penn and other author-entrepreneurs for inspiration.

Dee: What is best writing advice you can give?
Kelsey: Just do it. Yeah, I know, people hate to hear that. But it’s true. Believe me, I’m one of those writers who has studied. I’m always looking for something that will make me a better writer. But at the end of the day (or in my case, at the beginning), you have to put words on the page. Fear will try to stop you (Steven Pressfield is brilliant at talking about resistance. Writers, read The Art of War for Writers stat). I’ve written well over 10 books and that fear plops down on me almost every time I sit down to write. Do it anyway.

Dee: If you could cast your book as a movie, which book would it be and who would have the starring roles?
Kelsey: Nancy Naigle and I would love, love, love to see The Granny Series books (Southern, humorous women’s fiction) made into movies. We say these gals are just like Dirty Harry, only over-50, female, and from the South. Early on, I was told my writing was too “over the top,” meaning I wrote crazy scenarios. Well, when it comes to our Granny Series characters—Lil, Maggie, Sera, and Abby Ruth—we can let our OTT freak flag fly! Hmm…so who would I cast for these roles…
Lillian – Annette Bening
Maggie – gosh, Maggie’s hard for some reason. Maybe a Sigourney Weaver/Melissa McCarthy mix
Sera – Michelle Pfeifer
Abby Ruth – a Jamie Lee Curtis/Jane Lynch combo

Dee: If you were a character from the Wizard of Oz – which one would you pick and why?
Kelsey: Well, I played the wicked stepmother in my fourth grade class’s production of Cinderella. But I was seriously typecast. ;-) That being said, I’d have a heckuva lot of fun playing the Wicked Witch of the West. I want to be one of those people who loves being nice and sweet like Glinda. But in reality, my finely honed sense of snark just won’t allow me to be that way. What can I say? It’s just too damned fun to be the bad girl. :-)

Find Kelsey on Social Media
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Pinterest

Buy Kelsey’s Books
Texas Nights
Personal Assets (Texas Nights Book 1)
Running the Red Light (Texas Nights Book 2)
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights Book 3)
Designed for Love (Texas Nights Book 4)

By Invitation Only
Amazed by You: a contemporary holiday romance (By Invitation Only Book 1)

The Granny series (with Nancy Naigle)
IN FOR A PENNY (The Granny Series Book 1)
FIT TO BE TIED (The Granny Series Book 2)
In High Cotton (The Granny Series Book 3)
Always On My Mind: A Jenny and Teague Novella (The Granny Series Book 1)

And it wouldn’t be Featured Author Friday without a giveaway – so comment below for a chance to win a Kelsey Browning book of your choice. Entries will be open until Friday May 29th!

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2015 in Featured Author Friday

 

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Review – Before I Fall – Jessica Scott

before I fallBefore I Fall
Author: Jessica Scott
Series: #1 in the Falling series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
Stay focused. Get a job. Save her father’s life.

Beth Lamont knows far too much about the harsh realities of life her gilded classmates have only read about in class. She’ll do whatever it takes to take care of her father, even if that means tutoring a guy like Noah – a guy who represents everything she hates about the war, soldiers and what the Army has done to her family.

Noah Warren doesn’t know how to be a student. All he knows is war. But he’s going to college now to fulfill a promise and he doesn’t break his promises. Except he doesn’t count on his tutor being drop dead gorgeous and distracting as hell. One look at Beth threatens to unravel the careful lies Noah has constructed around him.

A simple arrangement turns into something neither of them can deny. And a war that neither of them can forget could destroy them both.

Review:
I’ve been a fan of Jessica Scott’s for over a year now because I love the realism that she manages to inject into all her books. As I warn people when I recommend her stuff, don’t expect a military romance that is full of bunnies and rainbows – you will be disappointed – they are gut-wrenching and realistic, and you will often find yourself going through an emotional roller-coaster (and that is what I love about her stuff). But at the same time, I’m firmly in the skeptical camp about the New Adult (NA) sub-genre of books – mostly because for me, they are a time period that I want to forget (I mean, what woman REALLY wants to be reminded of herself in those years between high school and college). So I will admit that when I saw Jessica was branching off into NA and trying something, I wasn’t sure if I would pick up Before I Fall or not – but when it was offered as a review copy via NetGalley – it just seemed like fate.

In Before I Fall, you meet Beth and Noah – Beth a struggling college student, acting as a primary care-taker of her father (an injured military veteran) and Noah, a former Army soldier, now pursuing a college degree. From the get-go, I was pull into the trials and tribulations of Beth and her struggles. I will admit that compared to her other books, Before I Fall, was much more in your face (as the reader) for highlighting issues with the VA medical system. I mean, you hear from veterans and in the media how much it is broken, but Jessica was able to elevate the level of horror I felt to mind-boggling. As a former Navy member, I just don’t get it and I guess I should thank my lucky stars every day, that I haven’t been forced to use their services yet.

Its always hard for me to peg what exactly I love about Jessica’s writing – its not only the realism that she brings to her books, but also the emotions. So many books nowadays just leave me feeling empty because I don’t experience the emotional connection – but I do with her books (and often will read it in a single sitting, or very soon after). Before I Fall did have a high level of angst, mostly inter-personal with Beth and her father; and Noah and his PTSD, and less on the Beth/Noah front – that I appreciated – although there were a few places, where I just wanted to reach out and shake her because I expected her to know better based on her experiences. But that being said, Jessica Scott delivered another solid read and I’m intrigued enough to want to pick up the second one in this series (as well as read her other new series). Before I Fall got 4 stars for me, but as a warning – make sure you have a box of tissues nearby while reading – you may need them.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Review

 

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TBR Tuesday – 19 May 2015

TBR TuesdayAlien Overnight
Author: Robin L. Rotham

Purchased: December 6, 2012

Review: I’ll admit that I find most sci-fi type romances hard to get into because normally the world building is lacking, but i found that Ms Rotham did a good job of balancing both story development and world building in a relatively short book (less than 250pgs). It does seem that the theme of aliens needed sexual recruits in a common one in this genre (this is at least the third book I’ve read that used it as a story basis) – although the various authors try to tackle it in different ways. The story had some funny portions, as well as some more serious, but you could also see where this was a relatively early work by the author (the writing was a tad patchy at times). While I only gave this story 3 stars, I’m intrigued enough that I want to look at continuing the series in the future.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2015 in TBR Tuesday

 

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Dishing with Dee…post triathlon weekend thoughts

dishing with dee 2

It was a long weekend in my neck of the woods – I had planned on swinging by and posting something, but as usual, I got distracted and failed big time…lol. This weekend was my first triathlon of the season – a half ironman in Lake Anna, Virginia. For non-triathlon types, a half iron is 1.2 mile swim; 56 mile bike and then 13.1 mile run for a total of 70.3 miles (and yes, I’m insane enough to do these things not only once or twice, but multiple times…). Let’s just say my weekend didn’t go as planned, starting with a series of events on Friday night that just fustrated and distracted me and I left that affect me down the road. While I wasn’t happy with how I did, I know that I was successful in the simple fact that I finished – I may not have been fast, in fact, I think I was slower than a turtle in peanut butter at times – but I persevered when I just wanted to quit on the run. 7hrs 23min and some odd seconds later – I finished – and I know that I can only go up from there.

But I had a funny thought while I was driving home the other day – we are always taught to not ask a woman what her age or weight is, but in triathlon, we proudly walk around with our age written on our legs (unless you are doing the relay’s because then you get an R).

kinetic half

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Dishing with Dee

 

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Bout of Books Read-A-Thon – i’m signing up!

BoB13-200x200 So i came across this read-a-thon the other day while i was on the internet and it couldn’t have come at a better time! I just had a triathlon this past weekend and my training schedule is mercifully blank this week (aka recovery week) – so i have time to read and just relax – whoo-hoo!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11 and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog – From the Bout of Books team

This is the first time I’ve done Bout of Books, but I’m looking forward to it. I love that it runs for a week and is totally laid back – I’m usually horrible about getting lots of reading done, so I’m going to set myself a small goal. My goal for this read-a-thon is easy – 200 pages per day – it can be from any book that I am reading – print or kindle. For the purpose of this challenge, while I will count audiobooks listened to, I’m not going to add them into my goal page count (because I easily listen to 2-3 hours a day just in the car, plus another couple at work – if its quiet)…

Hope to see you guys there ;)

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2015 in Reading Events

 

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