Category Archives: Uncategorized

In Memoriam – James ‘Jim’ Thompson (1964-2014)

james thompsonIt’s always a sad day when I have to write a post like this. This morning began like every other Monday, dragging myself out of bed, and getting ready to face the world, then I logged into facebook. The first thing I saw was a notification from Naomi Blackburn, a friend and fellow moderator of our Goodreads Nordic Noir group, with a link to an obituary written in Finnish about James death over the weekend.

It hit home for me, James was not only a genuinely good guy, but he would always talk to you about anything you wanted. It was like he had an insight into your world. A writer, born in Kentucky, but making Finland his home for the last decade, Jim was my first introduction to the genre, Nordic Noir when I randomly picked up his book at the library one day. My review of his book Snow Angels was also one of the first that I featured on my blog when I was launched over three years ago. Not only was Jim such a great guy, but, in a round about way, he introduced me to one of my favorite reading friends, Naomi Blackburn, when we both came across a review written about an ARC of one of his books that was chockful of spoilers. It was a match-made in reading heaven.

I’ll miss his books, I’ll miss his witty commentary in our group, on Facebook and on his twitter but most of all I’ll miss him. As bittersweet as it will be, I look forward to reading the final book in his Kari Vaara series. So everyone take some time today and raise a glass to Jim.

james thompson


Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Uncategorized


Review – Binding Agreement – Pam McKenna

binding agreementBinding Agreement
Author: Pam McKenna
Rating: ✩ ✩ ✩ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author via RABT

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A chance encounter on a moonlit beach draws sensible, cautious Kay Denehy into a night of anonymous passion and surrender with a ruthlessly dominant stranger. As John Randall introduces her to the exotic thrills of bondage and discipline, she discovers who she really is under the prim schoolteacher exterior—a sexual submissive who needs the strict and ardent guidance of a take-no-prisoners Dom like him. John carries more than his share of emotional baggage, the result of a tragedy for which he feels responsible. Though he cares for Kay, he refuses to pursue a relationship, certain he could only bring her pain. He pushes her away even as his unconscious dream self turns her into a sex slave to be punished and enjoyed ménage-style by two other zealous and demanding Doms. For the first time in her life, Kay knows what she needs, and who she needs, to be sexua lly and emotionally fulfilled. She knows, too, the path John must take to escape his dark places—if only he’ll trust her to lead the way.

This is a hard review for me to write, not because I didn’t enjoy the book, but because my opinion of it is split into two distinct trains of thought. Even now, 5 days after reading it, I’m confused on how I wanted to rate it or what to say. So I guess, i’m just going to go with the flow.

It has been a while since I’ve read a book like Binding Agreement – a few years ago, I was reading similar books frequently, but felt myself getting burnt out, so I took some time off. But when the call for reviews of Binding Agreement popped in my email, I was sufficiently intrigued to put my virtual hand up in the air to participate. I will admit that like usual, I did little to no research on the author or the book before hand (mostly because I don’t like others opinions affect my own). But the gorgeous cover caught my eye – I’m a sucker for these types of covers – but I will say after reading, that I don’t think this cover in general (as much as I love it) is a good representation of the story. So after I was done I went back and took a look and after finding out this was a re-release, and seeing the other cover (while cheesy), it fit the theme of the story much better to me.

This isn’t your mothers romance, that is for sure. I won’t argue that the author can write and write well. I was sucked into the story. Unfortunately, I felt that the length (only 111 pgs) was detrimental – there was so much detail packed in, that for me it seemed kind of choppy in places. I think this would have been a great story with another 10k or so words. Just a way to develop the storyline a bit more. It was too sparse in places, which led to some of the other issues that I had with the idea of consent (which seemed almost non-existant – there was no real “discussion” for lack of a better word) and how Kay/John’s relationship progressed. While the writing was hot, it also left me feeling a bit cold (not sure if that actually makes sense or not).

There were also some parts of the storyline that just seemed to be left hanging – I know why they were introducted – to help develop John more as a person and not just a Dom, but to me, there was just no resolution, which I kind of needed. I also wanted to see more of Eric after we were introduced to him, unfortunately, from the authors website, it doesn’t look like he has a story (as of yet).

But when all was said and done, I gave Binding Agreement 3.5 stars – because as I mentioned above, it was well written. I just needed more.

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Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Uncategorized


Seriously Saturday Series Catch-Up – Update

seriously saturday

So i’ll admit, I’ve been a complete slacker when it comes to doing updates for this challenge. I have been reading, but between work, school and triathlon training, my blog posts have really fallen off, so I apologize. But never fear, here is one of my updates – I’ve read enough of my books over the last few months that I’ll probably spread this out over several updates.

spider bonesSpider Bones – Kathy Reichs

I’ll admit that I was disappointed in this 13th installment in the Tempe Brennan series. While the mystery was decent (bones found believed to be a MIA from the Vietnam but are they really?), but i felt like the drama between the secondary characters took up too much time in the story and kind of started to overpower it. There were also moments where it felt like the author was trying to show the readers just how much she knew, rather than developing the mystery. It was kind of disappointing, since I normally enjoy this series. I did enjoying seeing the insights into the location out in Hawaii where a location of the unknown solider identification goes on, it is something that has intrigued me since I first read about various soldiers who died in wars being identified, it is a place that I would love to visit.

helsinki whiteHelsinki White – James Thompson

I’ve been putting off reading this book because a friend and reviewer that I trust gave it a bad review and then turned around and revised her review – so I was conflicted. Most of her comments revolved around how the character had done a total 180 in his character following the twist at the end of book 2. And now having read the book, I totally agree with her. I finished the book scratching my head and wondering what happened to the Kari Vaara that I had enjoyed in the previous books, in this one, he left a real dirty taste in my mouth – I guess it just goes to show that good and evil can be just a flip of a coin. But I was intrigued enough by how it ended to continue on with the series.

this side of the graveThis Side of the Grave – Jeaniene Frost

I know everyone seems to rave about this series, but I don’t know, for me, yeah, its mildly entertaining but I dunno – I guess I keep reading because I like the mindless entertainment that it gives me enough to be willing to sacrifice the time to read. And this installment was no different – in all honesty, I’m struggling to remember what happened in this book. I remember that it took place after Cat found out about all her cool new vampire powers, and that there were weird stuff going on with ghoul’s and vampires in New Orleans. Hmmm…yeah, I’m sure i’ll finish the series, but yeah…I know that sounds like kind of a downer, but when I really can’t remember all that much of the book, I guess it didn’t impress all that much

come home to meCome Home to Me – Brenda Novak

This was an ARC that I received from the author, but like my other books in this post, it seems like this one was also a disappointment. For me, it deviated too far from a traditional romance and there was too much going on, that it felt like the primary characters kind of took a backseat. Plus there were some actions by the secondary characters that almost made me throw the book across the room, in fact, I may have if I hadn’t been reading it on my kindle…but I persevered even though the book didn’t get a good review (although I wasn’t the only person who apparently felt that way…)

It really seems like all of the books in my series continuation challenge were downers, but they really weren’t, I did manage to read some I enjoyed…they were just few and far between…

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Posted by on June 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


#JIAM – Audies Winner – Romance

audies 2014
hey everyone! well, its day 24 of #JIAM (June is Audiobook Month) – unfortunately like the goof I am, my post was supposed to go up yesterday and I wrote the wrong date in my calender – hopefully, everyone will forgive me (pretty please!)

I’m an admitted audiobook junkie, having had a commute to work over the last few years that is anywhere from 2-3 hours (even though its only about 50 miles), I’ve become well-acquainted with audiobooks. This was my second year of participating in the Armchair Audies, where we attempt to listen to all the books nominated in the various categories for the Audies and it was my second year of listening to the romance category.

the longest rideThe winner for the romance category this year was The Longest Ride – Nicholas Sparks – you can read my review HERE. I was impressed by the narration by both January LaVoy and Ron McLarty. It was the best nominee out of the ones in the category and I was glad to see it win (although, I know lots of strict romance readers disagree – but hey, disagreement is the spice of life).

Hachette Audio has gracious decided to offer up a copy of The Longest Ride to one lucky person who comments below. I’ll draw the winner at random on July 1 (so you have about 6 days to go). Simply answer the following question:

What is your favorite romance book? (it can be an audiobook or print – since I know some of my favorites are still not available in audio).


Posted by on June 24, 2014 in Uncategorized


Blog Tour – Caught in the Crossfire

caught in the crossfireCaught in the Crossfire
Author: Juliann Rich

Review Copy Provided by Publisher via RABT

Two boys at Bible camp; one forbidden love.

That is the dilemma sixteen-year-old Jonathan Cooper faces when he goes away to Spirit Lake Bible Camp, an oasis for teen believers situated along Minnesota’s rugged north shore. He is expecting a summer of mosquito bites, bonfires with s’mores, and photography classes with Simon, his favorite counselor, who always helps Jonathan see his life in perfect focus.

What he isn’t expecting is Ian McGuire, a new camper who openly argues against phrases like pray the gay away. Ian is certain of many things, including what could happen between them if only Jonathan could surrender to his feelings. Jonathan, however, tosses in a storm of indecision between his belief in God and his inability to stay away from Ian. When a real storm hits and Ian is lost in it, Jonathan is forced to make a public decision that changes his life.

I’ll admit that I’ve enjoyed pretty much every book i’ve read that has been published by Bold Strokes Books, so when Caught in the Crossfire showed up on the blog tour list, I was intrigued by the description and knew that the publisher would give me a good read, so I opted in. One of thing that intrigued me about the book was how the author was going to handle the conflict between the LGBT coming of age theme and the religious setting (a teenage bible camp). I will admit that I was kind of ambivalent because often it turns into a demonization of either one or the other points of view – so seeing how the author handled the situation was going to be important to my overall enjoyment of the book.

But when I picked up my kindle and started reading, I was sucked it – it wasn’t a long book (less than 200pgs), which meant that it only took me a metro ride and a half (to/from work and then from again) to read it. There was something relatable about Jonathan and Ian and I don’t even fall into the LGBT demographic, but they were people that I think most teens or even adults could identify with, even if they aren’t going through the same struggles. I also found that the author did a good job of not demonizing the religious perspective, she tried to present a view that took into consideration both the positives and negatives of the current perceptions about how the church treats homosexual individuals – I liked the difference between the supportive and unsupportive camp counselors and how their interpretations of the bible differed. I could tell that the author had done her research into the various perspectives that are out there.

Overall, I gave Caught in the Crossfire (which looking back is a great title) 4 stars. The characters were relatable and the conflict in the story presented in a way that was fulfilling without being over-emotional (if that makes sense). I’d recommend it to people interested in YA GLBT titles, in particular, those who know individuals struggling with conflict as they explore the idea of self-identity. I can’t wait to read the next book when it comes out in September, to see what happens to Jonathan after he leaves bible camp.

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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Uncategorized


Blog Tour – Hit & Run Bride

hit run bride
Hit & Run Bride
Nana Malone & Misty Evans

Dangerous Intersection Ahead

Marketing analyst Becca Daniels has a life that looks good on paper – a coveted promotion in an exciting new city and a successful, handsome fiancé. But with her Hawaiian honeymoon fast approaching, she has to face her biggest fear…water. She can’t swim. On her way to her first swimming lesson, however, she veers left instead of right and nearly runs over her hot, new instructor.

Caution: Rising Waters

Liam Caldwell has put his life on hold to look after his sick mother. The last thing he needs is the hit-and-run brunette who ruined his motorcycle disrupting the adult swim class. But from the first lesson, he realizes there’s more to the curvy, smart-mouthed Becca than meets the eye, and no matter what he does, he can’t resist her luscious lips and her driving determination.

No U-turn

With each lesson, Becca discovers that what looks good on paper isn’t making her happy. Should she play it safe in the shallow end with her career and fiancé? Or should she dive into deep waters with a man who offers passion and freedom like she’s never imagined?

About the Authors:
Nana Malone
Nana’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she borrowed from her cousin. It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.

Waiting for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, in the meantime Nana works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is. Though, until that ninja job comes through, you’ll find her acting out scenes for hubby, baby and puppy while catching up on her favorite reality television shows in sunny San Diego.

Misty Evans
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.


Understanding slowly dawned on her face. “I’m floating? All on my own?”

He nodded, and she froze. Down went her ass, and up went her arms, windmilling like before. This time, however, he was prepared. He swooped in with one arm and snagged her waist to keep her from sinking.

A repeat of their past chest-to-chest mamba occurred, only this time, she didn’t beat him with her fists. “I’m never going to swim, am I?”

He made sure she was steady on her feet, then headed for the edge of the pool.

“Wait right there.”

He climbed out of the pool and grabbed a kickboard. On the way past the bench, he snagged her flippers. Back in the water, he lifted her up and sat her on the edge, then slipped the flippers on her feet.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Just hang with me.” After securing the flippers, he lifted her back into the water and demonstrated how to use the kickboard. He kicked back to her and handed her the board. “Your turn.”

Hesitantly, she fingered the board. “I don’t know about this.”

“I do.” He wrapped one hand around her arm and the other around her waist. “I’ve got you. Now do exactly what I did. Ready?”

She shook her head but held the board out in front of her. “Should I hum?”


“Should I hum? You know, like when you taught me to blow bubbles.”

He laughed. “Whatever rocks your world, Becca.”

She smiled. “Are you making fun of me?”

“Never.” He positioned her in the water, kept her from sinking. “Now kick those legs, hard.”

With his help, she scooted across the pool from one side to the other. Her face morphed into that self-satisfied look she got every time she accomplished something.

She lowered her feet and nearly jumped up and down in the water. “I did it. I kinda, sorta swam!”

“Yep.” He enjoyed seeing that look on her face, and the bobbing up and down in the water wasn’t terrible either. “You did.”

“Oh, my God, thank you!” She threw her arms around his neck, bringing those luscious, wet curves into full body contact. Her flippers nailed his ankles as she tried to stand on his feet.

And then, without warning, she brushed his cheek with a kiss. “Thank you. I don’t know what to say.” She went to kiss him again, except he moved his face, and her lips,
thank you, Jesus, landed on his.

They were wet and warm, and oh, so soft. When she didn’t pull away, he lingered there, tasting, and hoping she didn’t knee him in the balls.

Her body relaxed into his, her lips parting on a sigh. “I…uh…”

Pull back. Huge breach of teacher-student relations. His hands were one thing, supporting her in the water, but there was no way he should have his lips anywhere on
her body.

But he didn’t push her away. No sir, Alex would have been proud. Liam wrapped his arms around Becca and kissed her again.

She responded, pressing her breasts against his chest. And then, like a light switch, she jerked away, putting distance between them. “What am I doing?” she said, rubbing her fingers over her lips.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “That was completely unprofessional, and it will never happen again.”

Seemingly tongue-tied, she sputtered. Cleared her throat, and tried again. “It’s not you. It’s uhm…I, uh…I got excited, and sometimes I do really stupid things when I’m

Stupid things. Kissing him being one of them. Okay, then. Their time was nearly up. “One more time across?”

Swimming got in a person’s blood. He’d seen it a hundred times with the kids—and adults—he’d trained. Even the smallest taste of that kind of freedom made people long
for more.

“That would be awesome.” Becca grabbed the kickboard and avoided his eyes.

“I’m psyched.”

He was too. He only had to remember to keep his hands to himself.

Buy Links:
Hit & Run Bride (Hit & Run Bride Contemporary Romance Series Book 1) (Amazon)
Hit & Run Bride (Barnes and Noble)

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Posted by on June 12, 2014 in Uncategorized


Blog Tour – Love Comes Home – Andrew Grey

love comes home

Love Comes Home (Senses #3)
Andrew Grey

Review Copy Provided as part of Blog Tour

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by a publicist asking me if I would be interested in participating in a blog tour for the release of Andrew Grey’s new book in his senses series, each one of which deals with an individual in the story, either a main character or a secondary one, who is dealing with the loss of a specific sense. After having had the pleasure of meeting Andrew at GayRomLit in New Mexico in 2012, I readily agreed. He was a hoot to hang out with and while I haven’t read a lot of his books, the ones that I have, I have enjoyed in different ways.

While Love Comes Home is book 3 in the senses series, it can easily be read without reading the previous books, which I did. There were a few characters from previous books who made appearances but it wasn’t detrimental to the understanding of the story. I will say that this felt less like a romance, and in some places more of a social commentary on the integration of blind children into society and learning to cope with being blind. I felt like the relationship between Greg and Tom took a backseat to the needs of Greg’s son who had gone blind. Which normally wouldn’t bug me, but if its a romance novel, I expect a bit more romance than I got.

But Andrew does have a way of taking out your heart and twisting it into millions of little pieces. I felt for Davey and Andrew’s ability to describe what Davey was going through as he was going blind sucked me in. I would actually really like to see a book written from Davey’s POV, maybe like a YA coming of age (although he was fairly young) – because from my experience, good portrayals of individuals dealing with disabilities is lacking within the current fiction realm. Although, I will say that I thought Tom was too pushy when it came to dealing with Davey, considering that he was essentially the interloper. It just felt too forced for me and like he needed to show that he had lots of money, which kind of made me dislike him a bit – I know that he was trying to be nice, but it just rubbed me the wrong way.

Overall I gave Love Comes Home 3.5 stars, but rounding down to 3 on Goodreads. It was a good read, but there were enough things in it to irk me that I felt 3.5 was a fair rating.

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Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Uncategorized


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