Friday, December 27, 2013

Pestilence by T.A. Chase


The Four Horsemen - Book 1

I finished this book on Christmas Eve and am just now offering up my review and rating.

I enjoyed it. It wasn't great, but it was a bunch of fun for me. I love the concept of the Four Horseman and how they supposedly act and interact in our world. The love story between Pestilence and Bart was intriguing and given time to form and grow. The quest for the cure to the disease that figured as a main plot point was okay, but I think I wanted/expected there to be more heft to it?

There were a few times when something would come up that seemed a little Deus ex machina, bits of information or backstory, along those lines, where you say to yourself, "Look at that coming out of the blue like that." Not a huge deal, but I figure if I noticed it enough that it brought me out of the story, then it was something that could have been fixed with a bit more focused editing maybe. The other thing that bothered me, but your mileage may vary, was that Pest seemed to talk in a very modern fashion, using slang and current turns of phrase and it didn't work for me. He didn't sound like a man from 1350ish and I expected him to. To make him sound a little different from Johnny Off The Street, you know?

But all in all, the premise is cool, the characters are well drawn for the most part, the love story works and the sex scenes are nice and hot. *g* And, I do want to read the rest of the series, War, Famine and Death.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Long the Mile by Ally Blue


So this is the final book in the "Home for the Holidays" collection from Riptide. It was the first published, if I'm not mistaken, but I didn't get around to it until now. I was disappointed. Yes, the blurb said that it was angst-filled, and I should have expected it, but my LORD it was depressing.

The story is about two men, Judah and Toby. Both men are homeless and live on the streets. Judah has been in prison for insider trading and when he is released, his sentence complete, he cannot find a job anywhere and soon ends up on the streets where he meets Toby. Now, quite understandably, Judah is negative, down, scared, depressed, angry... all those things. And Toby is the more positive of the two, hopeful from time to time, easier to smile, easier to love. Opposites attract and all.

Did the novella have anything to do with the holidays? Not so much. Sure, parts of it were set around Christmas, but it was barely even a plot point. I guess I was expecting a Christmas Miracle type of thing for these two men. I will admit that the characters were well done, although Gloomy Judah was really starting to grate on my nerves by the time the last third of the story began. And of course, I felt guilty for that because I should have more compassion and understanding for a homeless man and his plight.

One plus about the book was the setting. It's set in Asheville, North Carolina, a place I've visited and it was kind of nifty to re-visit places I'd been.

All in all, I found that while Long the Mile is a very well-written book, with full, rounded characters, I didn't enjoy it much. It brought me down and that was certainly not what I was looking for in a Christmas read.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane


This is a wonderful story. I mean, seriously, Lifetime or someone should make a movie of it and play it every year. It'd be so much better than a lot of the stuff they're showing!

Rusty and Oliver are friends. They meet in high school. Rusty is a football player and Oliver... is not. Rusty's family leaves much to be desired. Oliver's family, while challenged, is a warm, loving place. Oliver is gay... Rusty is... well, at the start of the book, he's undeclared. *g* This is the story of how Oliver and Rusty became a most adorable couple.

Nobody writes confused young people the way Amy does. She understands the angst that consumes so many of them and how everything is so important, so live or die important. And she creates characters that you take to your heart and, well, in my case, just want to mother the hell out of. *LOL* And she creates secondary characters that I always fall in love with. Oliver's father, his cousins, Rusty's sister, his college roommate... I loved them all. Rusty's roommate, Rex, made me laugh out loud so many times. What a piece of work! I've heard murmurs that he will be getting his own book (as is de rigeur in M/M circles)

So, if you're looking for a heart-warming, easy-to-read, emotion-packed, fun Christmas read, you can't go wrong with this one!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lost and Found by Z.A. Maxfield


Lost and Found
is another great holiday read. It's the story of two men and a dog, even though the dog doesn't get a lot of page time. :) To use a canine analogy, one of the men, Ringo, could be described as a Bernese Mountain Dog. He's the head of security for a beachside RV resort community (which I kept setting in Florida in my mind. *LOL*), he's 30 years old and has a huge, loving family. The other man, Gavin, in my opinion, is best described as a Staffordshire Bull Terrier who needs some resocialising. He's a musician, a loner, cranky, impulsive and older than Ringo.

Mature heroes, guys!!! Mature heroes be in this book!! :) Yes, for me, this was a big deal.

So the catalyst of this story is that Gavin's chocolate Lab, Bird (named after Charley "Bird" Parker of course.), goes missing. Gavin and Ringo have had an on again, off again relationship, but Ringo hasn't given up. And, since this is a Christmas story, he's right to be so determined.

Z.A Maxfield seems to do these cut from a different cloth type of characters and I love them. See, I've read a few things about how Gavin is a totally unlikable character. As I said, he's cranky and a loner. He's closed off, acts on impulse - those knee-jerk reactions that are never good, bristly, mean when he's been hurt..., but you know what? They can't all be paragons of virtue. Even in romantic books. :) I found it SO refreshing that Gavin was so difficult. Ringo is the good guy - big, handsome, patient, loving... in other words, he's the perfect match for Gavin. He GETS Gavin finally and realises what the love of his life really needs, and therein lies the tale. :) And then there are the sex scenes that fairly steam off the page. I mean Serious Sexy Stuff goin' on in here!

So yes, I really, really enjoyed this one!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Goodreads Does Indeed Suck

*crossposted to my blog Ev's Place*

I had been debating buying Book Collector, a book database program that's full of lovely bells and whistles and the most important thing, provides me my own copy of my collection of over 2600 books on my computer as well as cloud storage etc.. etc... So, I went ahead and bought it.

Now, two months ago, I opened an account here at Booklikes for my book blogging and imported my collection from Goodreads. Now I love Booklikes, but it's newish and growing and it doesn't have an export function yet, so... I used my Goodreads export to load up my Book Collector. I sure wasn't going to add all 2600+ books one by one AGAIN! Once was enough. :)

Anyway, in doing this, I have realised how Goodreads has totally fucked my books and shelves. I had taken the time when originally adding my books into Goodreads, to find the proper ISBN numbers, the correct covers and editions etc... Then Goodreads was bought by Amazon. They "cleaned up" their database because no one using it had books any older than 10 years old, right? *eyeroll* Now I have ISBN numbers that don't match the books I own, covers have gone missing all over the place, even books have disappeared from shelves. Add in their censoring of reviews and peoples shelves and all the other bullshit from the past 6 months, and I'm CONVINCED I did the right thing in moving to Booklikes and buying Book Collector.

I have sorted the author names (you wouldn't believe the mess of the import) and now I 'm about to dive in and do covers and series. It's going to be FABULOUS once I'm done. :)

But DAMN, Goodreads used to be the PRIME way to catalogue books, but then Big Business got involved and it went into the shitter. And it's made me so very pleased I don't own a Kindle. :) Now, if only the Kobo Aura HD will go on sale.... I'm due for an upgrade.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Found on FB...

... and I thought it would be fun here too. :) So, copied from my FB page...

So Amy Lane had this up on her FB page, and I loved the idea. Only I won't tag anyone. If you go ahead and do it, please tag me so I don't miss what you wrote.

Rules: In your status line list books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes and don't think too hard they don't have to be " right" or " great" works just the ones that have touched you.


1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
3. Deryni Rising & Harrowing of Gwynedd by Katherine Kurtz
4. Practically Perfect by Janet Lambert
5. Roots by Alex Haley
6. The Robert the Bruce Trilogy by Nigel Tranter
7. Still Glides the Stream by D.E. Stevenson
8. Dance with Me by Heidi Cullinan
9. Beau Geste by P.C. Wren
10. With Angus in the Forest by Meta Mayne Reid

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How I Met Your Father by L.B. Gregg


So, 'tis the season for holiday reads and How I Met Your Father is a charming, light-hearted, sexy and fun read.

The story of Justin, the closeted one-time boy band star and Jack, the sexy, doctor, father of the girl who is marrying Justin's best friend and bandmate has its deepish moments - for instance when a couple of the onetime bandmates explain to Justin exactly why he's wrong about many things - but for the most part its a comedy of errors that begins in turbulence and ends with a very cute HEA that's SO cliché that it works.

Had the author wished, I think this would have made a full novel and I could have done with a little more fleshing out of Jack's character - and by the way... 44 is NOWHERE near old. *LOL* He's pretty much too good to be true, but I know there's a flaw or two there to make him more interesting. And I thought the take on Justin staying in the closet because of all the people counting on him was intriguing too, and would have liked more insight into that. But then it wouldn't be a happy, fluffy Christmas story. :)

So brew yourself some coffee, tea or hot chocolate and curl up on the couch and give this a read. It's fun and left me smiling. :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Collector Software

I am really thinking of getting the Book Collector program from so that I have my own personal database of books as well as what I have here at Booklikes. I just have to pull that purchasing trigger. *LOL*

I've been playing with their trial version (100 book capacity) for the past couple of days, an I really like everything I can do with it. It speaks to that inner organisational demon that lives inside of me. Decisions, decisions... :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Let It Snow by Heidi Cullinan


Minnesota Christmas - Book 1

What a terrific way to start some holiday reading! Let It Snow is a sweet, quiet, heart-warming love story that just left me smiling and happy and feeling so good. :) Heidi is one of my favourite authors and she doesn't disappoint.

Outwardly Marcus is a grumpy bear living up in the North Woods of Minnesota with his two other beary buddies, Arthur and Paul. Outwardly, Frankie is a young man from the city who is so full of swish that even a blind man could tell he was gay. It's a story about opposites on the outside who are really not so opposite on the inside. It's a story of how everyone has fears and sometimes they can rule a person's life and sometimes, people you think aren't afraid, really are. It's a story about totally changing your life and taking a chance. It's a tale about doing nice things for people and how sometimes it works and sometimes it can backfire. It's about some really hot and steamy sex scenes that are really beautifully written. And it's about getting your HAE, just in time for that magical Christmas Eve snowfall. :)

I loved it! If you're looking for a good holiday romance, you can't go wrong with this one. :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Haunted Sanctuary by Moira Rogers


Green Pines - Book 1

I'm not a huge fan of shifter books. I don't read very many, but I will read Moira Rogers' because I enjoy the way she writes, period. In Haunted Sanctuary, we have the tale of the creation of a sanctuary for wolf-shifters, werewolves, the first book in the Green Pines series. Now, as I understand things this takes place in the same universe as two other series, Red Rock Pass (the original) and Building Sanctuary (the prequel), but I have read neither - yet.

I enjoyed Haunted Sanctuary, the love story between Eden and Jay, the coming together of the pack, the transformation of Eden from woman to werewolf. All that. :) I also was THRILLED that Eden was over 30 years of age and had life and romantic experience. That was refreshing. And I really liked Jay. He seemed to me to be a quiet alpha, not overpowering everyone with his presence - well, maybe Eden, but that's a whole 'nother thing, right? :)

I liked that the refugees from the were-anarchy in the city remained frightened and concerned and not totally willing to trust all through the book. What they had been through is not something that could be overcome in just a week or two. There was a bit of thawing, a bit of relaxing, but it's obvious that there is still a lot of work for Jay, Eden and the others to do to help these people.

Interestingly, I found that even though the title is Haunted Sanctuary and we get few hints of actual ghosts during the story. Most of the ghosts are really what lurk in the minds of the abused folk from the city and the ghosts that Eden has to overcome from her past.

I found I wanted more for Zack, who we meet as Eden's cousin. I assume that this will come up in later books in the series... and this is why I hate series, it leaves what to me are important plotlines, hanging. Yes, this was Eden and Jay's story, and I appreciate that we're probably going to get a Zack book at some point, but he and his struggles just seemed to me to be so integral to this tale that I wanted more closure than what I got. (That's also a big reason why I only gave it 3 1/2 stars instead of 4.)

I realise that I've gotten this far in my review and I've not really addressed the sex scenes which, you know, are a huge part of a romance book. *LOL* Well, they are one of the reasons I enjoy Moira Rogers' writing so much. Excellent, hot, steamy, fun, intense sex scenes. (When Jay puts her on the table/counter (?) in the kitchen... OMG, HOT!!)

So all in all, a very good beginning to what promises to be an interesting series. I have put the second book on my 'to acquire' list.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Check It Out!

This is a terrific blog post by Lisa Henry and illustrates the main reason I enjoy this genre so much. :)

Boys In Our Books - BDSM Week - Guest Post: Lisa Henry

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux


Sidewinder - Book 1

Abi never disappoints. This was all kinds of sexy fun. :)

That being said, I was one of the few who never.. NEVER saw anything other than close friendship between Kelly and Nick in Touch & Geaux. I still don't, but that's okay. Many others did and were vocal about and Abi picked it up and ran with with it and we, the readers and fans, end up with another couple to cheer for, and Abi gets a terrific way to segue from Ty and Zane's story into the tales of the Sidewinder boys. And Kelly... dammit, he's on his way to becoming my all time favourite in the C&R/Sidewinder Universe. I love his crazy sense of fun and adventure, love his dirty, twisty mind and his utter boyishness.

Along with the ebook novella of Shock & Awe, came another shorty, Bait & Switch. For my money, this all could have been combined together in one Shock & Awe novella quite neatly. I don't know why Abi chose to do it this way, but she did. Both parts are terrific. Hot and steamy sexytimes. Men baring their emotions to each other as well as laughing and being silly together. This is Abi's world and she does it so well.

And Zane... baby... he came near to making me cry.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Screw the Fags by Josephine Myles


This is what I call a Shorty, around 50 pages and it was also a freebie. It takes place after Screwing the System, but can be very easily read on its own. And it should be because it's a fabulously fun little tale! 

There's some BDSM, but it's happy BDSM and I love Jo for that. Cosmo is a very bratty, very lovable young sub and Alasdair is his older, experienced dom and most probably love of his life. :) Cosmo's birthday is coming up and thereby hangs the tale. It's a fun, funny, sexy, affectionate romp and just the thing when you're looking for something light-hearted and happy.

The title is a bit of a pun, but you may have to be from the UK or aware of UK slang to get it.

Anyway, the first book, which I've not read, is going on my To Acquire list!

Friday, November 15, 2013

When In Doubt

So, when in doubt about what to read - something that occurs after every installment of The Flesh Cartel for me - I end up heading for a shorty. So I'm reading Jo Myles' Screw the Fags. I really need to add more of her stuff to my library. :)

The Flesh Cartel - Permanent Record by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz


The Flesh Cartel - Episode 11

I really enjoyed this installment of The Flesh Cartel. We got more into both Mat's and Dougie's thought processes about where they're at now. It's more Mat's story this time around, I think. About how he feels about Dougie's (seeming to him) betrayal, about Roger and about all his thoughts, fears and resignation for the future. There's also some time in Dougie's head and I find it totally fascinating to see where the boy is now as compared to his arrival at Nicolai's, for instance. I also think it was a very wise move on the part of the authors to remind us that Dougie is young. 24, I think? And we learn more about what will be expected of him by his new owner, Allen.

As well, we are introduced to Nate, the detective and his partner Louise. He's had a crush on Mat for a long while and he finds the disappearance of the brothers to be... unsettling. :)

I dread the next installment. It's not going to be easy to read, I don't think. But that's part of why I love this serial. It's tough, it makes you want to turn away, it's fascinating in it's horror and it continues to break my heart.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wild Card by Moira Rogers


Down & Dirty - Book 1

Well that was quick. :)

Wolf shifters in a post-plague world. Sexy, sexy MCs, both Ginny and Jack. Their connection is electric, their bedroom romps sexy, heated and fun, their every-day conversations laden with tension. The pairing worked really, really well.

Oh yeah, there was a bit of a plot. :) Something about rogue members of the pack, of which Jack is the alpha, out for Ginny's ... something. Land? Cattle? Herself? And then another bit where the young female of the bunch, Hazel, is coming into her first wolf shifter heat. It seems like there aren't as many female werewolves as there are male. And I post myself the question... in Romancelandia, are wolf shifters the same as werewolves?

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. It wasn't great, but damn, it was hot, sexy and fun. I would have liked to know the reasons behind Ginny staying away from Jack for so long and I would have liked to know more about this post-apocalyptic world and how the pack functioned etc... which is why it lost a start in my rating. :/

But I'll tell ya.. I do love Moira Roger's sexytimes scenes. :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rush by Maya Banks


The Breathless Trilogy - Book 1

Well, Rush was not exactly a rush, if you know what I mean I was really looking forward to reading this one, it came fairly well recommended by folks whose opinion I trust, so I was expecting something special. Sadly, it was a case of Lunchbag Letdown.

Here we have another young woman meets successful billionaire - BDSM ensues - emotions enter the picture - misunderstandings take place - BDSM goes wrong - confessions of love - everyone's happy and OH LOOK... sequel fodder!

What bugged me about the book? Well, first off, the first third seemed to be a total rip-off of that other book, you know, the one that started this bullcrap. Did Ms. Banks write this in response to the success of that book? Was this supposed to be tongue in cheek? I have no idea, it was never hinted at, so, for me? Rip-off of the same material, but thank God, the writing is better.

Also... is there a rule book somewhere that says that young, submissive female heroines in BDSM erotica books that are involved with older billionaires NEVER KNOW ENOUGH TO EAT PROPERLY! WTF is that?? You know, to make a hand-feeding scene sexy you don't have to have your sub be dining-challenged. As a matter of fact, it kinda works better if she/he loves food.

Another thing that bugged me throughout the whole books was the author's use of "cream". I'm guessing "cum" grossed her out? Fine and dandy, there are other words, but "cream" sounds like something out of a bad porno read to me. Which reminds me, there was a scene where the hero takes the heroine in his office. She orgasms all over the place until "cream" is dripping from her, then he fucks her and there's more "cream" and it reads like there's a flood of ejaculate everywhere and all I could wonder was who was going to clean up the puddle of cum on the floor. (Hint - nobody does.)

Gabe is the hero. God, he was unlikable. I don't care how many times we're told that he feels so guilty for not taking things slow with Mia (and what, is Mia the name for the early 2010s?), he never, EVER does... unless they're "making love" which means no real BDSM interaction. He's selfish, he's greedy, he's a navel-gazer, he's spoiled, he lacks empathy, in fact, the only thing going for him is really that he looks sexy and has lots of money. All he can think about is fucking Mia... fucking her all over the place. And while I like my heroes to be somewhat obsessed with my heroines, this ... it was too out of control for me to find enjoyable.

Which brings me to the big turning point in the story. There is a scene with three other men... now... Gabe is supposed to be Mr. Uber Dom? I don't care HOW fucked up he is over how he might be feeling about Mia, he is NOT going to put her through THAT. It was a totally distasteful scene and in my opinion, really had no place in an erotic BDSM romance. The other big scene, when Mia's brother, Jace, and the third man in the Friend Triumvirate (It's a trilogy, after all), Ash find out what has been transpiring between the sweet, little Mia and Uber Dom Gabe frankly had me laughing as if it was a slapstick comedy.

Seriously, what this book ended up saying, to me, was that, once again, true romance, true love, cannot be found within a BDSM relationship. And I KNOW that's not true. Maya Banks is a good writer, she writes good sex scenes (except for that cream shit), her characters are okay enough, she could make this work, but she falls back on the mainstream perception that BDSM is for the flawed, that it is flawed and no true love can be based on it. She doesn't come right out and say it, but it's implied by the path the narrative takes. It would have been so much hotter to see Mia bloom under Gabe's tutelage, to see them both come to embrace and enjoy the lifestyle side of their relationship in a healthy, fun and satisfying way. Kit Rocha does this with her "Beyond" series. Her characters are more full and rich and develop over the span of the book, unlike Gabe and Mia who, for me, stayed cardboard cutouts until the end.

I was disappointed and won't be spending my $ on the other two in the trilogy.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Long Time Gone by S.E. Jakes


Hell or High Water - Book 2

You know a book is good when you get angry at yourself for not making more time to read it. I even went to bed early the night before because I was dying to read more about Prophet and Tommy.

A true adventure story, this one seems a little less grand than the tale that introduced us to Prophet and Tommy, To Catch a Ghost, the story a little more personal, probably because we're taken to the small Louisiana parish where Tommy grew up. We meet friends, family, enemies and find out some of what makes Tom, Tom, and we're treated to a mystery from the past that rears its ugly head in the present.

I love how S.E. writes her characters. These are guys and their conversation and banter is PERFECT for this type of buddy adventure story. I love both of them. And I truly love the way that they're falling in love with each other and are addicted physically to each other in the most SEXY of ways. And the conflict! Oh my Lord, these boys are not going into this relationship easily! And I love it!

One of my favourite shows these days is Strike Back and I find that same 'black ops' adventure flavour present in this "Hell or High Water" series as I do in the show.

I would highly, HIGHLY recommend both books (because you really need to read book #1 before reading this one) to anyone who enjoys buddy/adventure m/m type of tale. I can tell you that I'm going to add S.E. Jakes to my 'gotta read' list of authors and am kind of thrilled that she has a bit of a backlist for me to get through. :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

You Know What? A Rant

I posted this over at my daily blog, but since it's mainly about reading, I should post it here too. :)

When did we become such a society of non-risk takers? Even worse, when did we stop allowing ourselves the pleasure of being surprised by our entertainment? When did it become de rigeurto know everything about a book, movie, TV show before reading or watching it? And I'm not talking about spoilers, folks.

Just look at the fervour with which people tried to suss out the details of the latest Star Trek movie. The world was going to end if we didn't know which villain Benedict Cumberbatch was going to be portraying. And really, did the knowing make the pain of the let down of that movie any easier? And really, if you're reading spoilers etc.. about Scandal, then you're missing a HUGE treat when you watch the week's episode.

I read a lot. I follow a lot of reader blogs and author blogs. I use Twitter a lot to follow these folks too, because they're interesting and funny people for the most part. I have come to realise that these days, part of marketing a book is to put half of it out there, all over the internet, in sample chapters or previews or teasers. There's also a big deal about cover reveals (more on that later) and authors are interviewing all over about books that aren't even going to be out for months! I mean seriously! There is one series I read that the 4th book is just going to be out this week and the authors are interviewing about the following book! And this is the norm these days, not the exception.

Don't people want to be surprised any more? I don't want to know about what I'm going to be reading, that's no fun! I don't want to lay down $ for something I already know all about. I do my best to avoid all these things, I don't read the interviews, I don't read reviews that come out before the book is available to the general public, I don't read reviews of books I know I want to purchase until after I've read the book! And as for tweeting those little snippets of your book that was published months ago, the same snippets over and over and over again? Well, I won't be buying that book. Sorry, you've turned me off any interest I may have had.

There's just too much pre-release information out there in my opinion. The surprise is gone. The delight of discovering what your favourite author has done with your favourite character while you eagerly turn page after page long after you should have been asleep, is gone. The anticipation of what you're going to see up on the big screen that will make you gasp or cry or laugh is gone. It's all so damned SAFE these days. I suppose it's a result of the internet age and ebooks and the rise of indie, small and self publishing, but, call me old-fashioned, I don't like it.

And as for covers! Let me tell you. A favourite book that I (and many others) term as a psycho-sexual thriller, that has SO much deep and violent shit in it... should NOT have a damned cover that looks like it's a new Harry Potter book!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 30

Day 30 - Your favourite book of all time.

Well this is it, this is the last day of the challenge and it's been a great way to get into the habit of writing every day. (Especially providential because I've decided to give NaNoWriMo a shot.) It's also been a super way to get to know some of the people I've chosen to follow here on Booklikes.

So I could be really cute and say that my favourite book of all time is the one I'm going to read next, but I can feel eyes rolling at the very thought. *LOL*

So my favourite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (It's also my favourite movie of all time too) I've spoke about this book before in the past 30 days, but that's natural, it's at the top of my list. :) I read this book for the first time in Grade 7, in 1968/69 when I was either 11 or 12 years old. I can't remember if we read the book before my birthday in December or after. It was the first "grown-up" book that I had ever studied in school and I really wish I could remember the name of my English teacher back then (I've since remembered - it's Mr. Wallace.), but that's lost in the mists of time. It's really too bad, because he made the book come alive for me and probably instilled the beginnings of my social conscience. I do know it was the first time I'd ever had an adult discussion about prejudice and bigotry and unfairness and what really makes a brave person.

Over the years, I've reread the book many times. I still have the original book that we got back in Grade 7 - it's a very tattered and battered paperback. I also have a hardcover edition. Like most books, the movie only takes a part of it and throws it up on the screen. The book is rich and full and so much more than just the trial and Boo Radley. The relationships between the children, Scout, Jem and Dill are heart-achingly wonderful and so evocative of a childhood from before all this electronic stuff from smartphones to TVs. We don't get to see a lot of Dill in the movie, you really have to read the book to get his full effect. And he's amazing! As are all the characters.

To Kill a Mockingbird is such an amazing book. Everyone should read it at least once. Everyone should take the chance to submerge themselves into the mind and being of a young girl and see the world with new eyes and be amazed at the wisdom of a child and find a new hero in her father.

"Remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.

“Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Monday, October 28, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 28



Day 28 - Favourite title.

What an odd thing. Okay... let me see... Well I don't know about favourite, but there are titles that I think are beautiful, clever or just plain memorable. David Niven's autobiography for example, The Moon's a Balloon. What a great title!! :)

Other titles that stick out in my mind are quite the mishmash of genres. :) There's Beau Geste by P.C. Wren which just sounds beautiful and is such a clever play on words once you know the story. There is, of course, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Mary Stewart had some lovely, evocative titles for her mysteries, such as Thunder on the Right and Nine Coaches Waiting. Another that always pops into my mind is Still Glides the Stream by D.E. Stevenson, a British romance author. And I cannot finish without noting the GREAT titles of the Travis McGee mysteries. Written by John D. MacDonald, they are all based on colour - A Purple Place for Dying, A Tan and Sandy Silence, The Lonely Silver Rain, Pale Gray for Guilt. So many super titles!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 27

Day 27 - The most surprising plot twist or ending.

This is EASY! I wonder how many fantasy readers will say this?

It HAS to be The Red Wedding in George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords in the Song of Ice and Fire series. It was when I finally lost my reader's innocence and realised that authors can really do ANYTHING they want and nothing is safe. I remember screaming at the book - yes, me, a grown woman in her forties yelling at a book. I read the passages at least 3 times because I couldn't believe my eyes. And then I wept. Angry tears. I was FURIOUS. Had George Martin been in front of me, I think I would have beaten the crap out of him.

Yeah... The Red Wedding. Kudos to Mr. Martin. He is a master.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 26


Day 26 - A book that changed your opinion about something.

This is not obvious! :) I read mostly fiction, some history and some biography, mostly for relaxation, so I'm not sure that any of my opinions have actually been challenged. I've learned BUCKETS of things, but changing opinions? Nope. So let me take this another way...

So I've already confessed to not being able to finish Diana Gabaldon's Outlander after numerous tries. I think it's a terrible book with awful characters. So this has coloured my opinion of Ms. Gabaldon's writing. A friend of mine who knows my reading likes, dislikes, history, pet peeves, favourite tropes etc... recommended that I try Lord John and the Private Affair. It's in my TBR pile and I will get around to reading it one day and when I do, I hope it changes my opinion on Ms. Gabaldon's abilities. :)

Best I could do with this one!

Friday, October 25, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 25


Day 25 - A character you can relate to the most.

Good Lord, what a question after 50 years of reading! *LOL* I shall take the easy way out and chose my childhood heroine, Trixie Belden. I've already talked about Trixie in previous days of this challenge.

Trixie was cool. During the books she was 13 and 14 years old, which suited my preteen sensibilities perfectly. She was the only girl in a family of 4 siblings. Two older brothers and a younger brother. As an only child, I envied that. She had a special group of friends and they formed a club named The Bob-Whites of the Glen. And she solved mysteries.

Well, that doesn't sound like she and I had anything in common, but the thing is, Trixie made mistakes. She blurted things out without thinking sometimes, things that came from a good place but came out wrong. She had a temper. She rushed to judgement at times but was always quick to apologise when she was wrong. She disagreed with her parents sometimes and got in trouble. She did chores. She was a regular gal and THAT is what I related to.

(And really, she was much cooler than that other teenage detective, Nancy Drew.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 24

Day 24 - A book that you wished more people had read.

I love this book SO much. I know a lot of people have read it, but I think that EVERYONE who loves historical type fantasy needs to read it. The location is fictional, the magic is light and sprinkled with a judicious hand throughout the book, and there is no Quest with a group of 7 or 9 to be found anywhere. And the story is complete in one juicy volume. No sequel, no trilogy, no series of 8 books. :)

The characters! OMG, the characters are so perfect. Flawed, real, bigger than life and yet everyman. The language that Guy Kay uses to tell his story is magic in and of itself. I honestly don't believe that you can rightfully call yourself a fantasy aficionado if you've not read this book.

If you love to read, do yourself a great favour read this book. :) Please!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 23

Day 23 - A book that you wanted to read for a long time but still haven't.

I got this book for Christmas from a good friend 4 years ago? 5 maybe? And somehow I have not read it yet. I'm quite keen to read it and I when I think about it, I tend to think I'm missing something important.

I will get there, however!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 22

Day 22 - Favourite book you own.

Well, I own copies of all the books I talk about. That's why I ended up buying an ereader after thinking they were the devil's tool for so long, I was running out of shelf space! *LOL* I have 11 bookshelves scattered over the house. I collect books, but not first editions and stuff like that. I have many series or singles where I have the hardcover and the paperback. I've often said that a book that comes into my house has a home for life.

The one book I regret NOT owning is a copy of The Lord of the Rings (all 3 volumes in one), leather bound with onion-skin pages. It came in a slipcase. Back in 1975 when I worked at the local WH Smith shop (when they had them in Canada) they were selling the book for $45 and I would have gotten an employee discount on that, but I never acquired it. I really regret that now.

Edit: So in talking to my good friend on Facebook, he made me actually DECIDE! So, this is what I told him.

Well..... I have a lot of old books, my grandfather's, my parents', my aunt's. Things like Hopalong Cassidy in hardcover from the 20s, the set of The Works of Dumas that my dad loved, all my aunt's Frances Parkinson Keyes that were her faves... um... I guess maybe, push comes to hard shove, I'd have to say it's my copy of Beau Geste that was my mom's. It's a hardcover from the 30s, I think (too lazy to go upstairs and pull it out) and it's falling apart, it's been read so much. It's one of my fave books and it was one of my mom's favourites too, so... okay.. maybe that one.

Thanks Mikey!

Monday, October 21, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 21

Day 21 - Favourite book from your childhood.

I chose two of my absolute favourites. The first one is my favourite of the Trixie Belden Mysteries. The Mystery of the Emeralds. The best teenage detective EVER, Trixie and her friends and family kept me company all through my childhood. I wanted to be her so badly. :) I could relate much better to the 13/14-year old Trixie than I could to 18 year old Nancy Drew who always seemed so superior and never did anything wrong. Trixie did a lot wrong. :) She lost her temper, made bad choices, and she wasn't the greatest student ever. She hated her chores. But she loved her family and friends, she wanted to help everyone, she had street smarts and intuition. And she always tried to do her best.

The second book is The White Riders by Monica Edwards. It was the first Edwards book I read back as a kid and I fell in love instantly with Tamzin, Rissa, Roger and Meryon. Then I found out it was one of a series, The Romney Marsh series. And it was connected to the Punchbowl Farm series where the foursome was friends with the Thornton family. These kids had adventures, solved mysteries, solved problems, had horses and all kinds of animals. This was how I imagined life for kids over in England. :) I read both of these series' and the Trixie books over and over again. Even to this day I will read them.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 20

Day 20 - Favourite romance book.

Well, I already spoke about Highland Velvet by Jude Devereaux on Day 05 (A book that makes you happy), so I won't repeat myself, even if it is my very favourite romance.

Many, many, many years ago, probably around 1973 but maybe even earlier, I read my first Georgette Heyer, These Old Shades. I fell in love with Justin Alistair, the Duke of Avon and his spunky Leonie. I fell in love with Georgette Heyer and I fell in love with the regency romance of which Ms. Heyer is the incomparable queen.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 19

Day 19 - Favourite book turned into a movie.

I have to say The Lord of the Rings trilogy simply because, having adored the books I was petrified at how they might turn out when made into a movie. The Ralph Bakshi movie from 1978 was interesting and back in the day, when I saw it, I was quite impressed, but when Peter Jackson's epic was announced, I was concerned. Could he do it justice, the justice my favourite deserved? Well, turns out that he most definitely could. Jackson's trilogy is as much a treat for my eyes as the books were (and remain) a treat for my brain.

So, what could have been a HUGE case of Lunchbag Letdown, ended up being something wonderful and much loved. :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 18

Day 18 - A book that disappointed you.

When I heard that Anne Rice was starting a new series, this time featuring werewolves, with a main character inspired by one of my favourite actors, Matt Bomer, I was all over it! I couldn't wait to read it, hoping that it was going to contain the same magic that her Interview with a Vampire had contained so many years ago.

To quote my review - " I don't know if she's still thinking that she's too good for an editor, but BOY, this book could have used some help. I found little of the storytelling and action that drew me to Interview With a Vampire and many of it's successors. And it could have been SO interesting! I liked her werewolf premise, I liked her characters - what we saw of them. She built a wonderful cast and then under-utilised the vast majority of them. Yes, we need to delve into the motivations and thoughts of Reuben, the MC, but I really wanted to see more of the Pack (for want of a better word) which really only gets established in the last 4 (of 40) chapters. Maybe she's hedging for a sequel? All in all, I was looking for more of a story than a character study and sadly, I feel like I got the latter."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 17

Day 17 - Your favourite quote from your favourite book.

So many to choose from in this wonderful, wonderful book! I would have to say, the quote that chokes me up every time I read it, and that's even now, was said by Reverend Sykes at the end of the trial when Atticus was leaving the courtroom. -

"Miss Jean Louise. Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing"

Another favourite from the same book comes from Atticus Finch himself when, in talking to his daughter, he gives her a perfect bit of advice. -

"If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 16

Day 16 - Favourite female character.

Believe it or not, I laid awake in bed last night mulling this one over and over. I don't have a helluva lot of favourite female characters that easily come to mind. But there are some! There's Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island. Young Anne. Remoth, the gold queen dragon from Anne McCaffrey's Dragonrider books. Aeron from Patricia Kennealy-Morrison's The Keltiad. There's also Arya from Geroge R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire. Savil from Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books.

But my true favourite is my namesake, Evaine MacRorie Thuryn of Katherine Kurtz's The Legends of Camber of Culdi and The Heirs of Saint Camber trilogies. From her first appearance as a young girl through her growth as a young woman, a wife, a mother and all the while a most learned academic and most powerful sorceress, she owns the pages. She's like the actress that steals every scene she's in, even if she only has one line. A terrific character whose name I'm proud to borrow. :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 15

Day 15 - Favourite male character.

Well... this is a toughie. I spoke about Benjamin January in previous posts. There's Silk from the David Edding's Belgariad series. John Clark from the Tom Clancy novels. F'nor from Anne McCaffrey's dragon books. Athos from Dumas' The Three Musketeers and later books. Michael Geste from Beau Geste and sequels. Rhys Thuryn and Joram MacRorie from the Camber books by Katherine Kurtz. Mikhail Vasilyovitch Bayul from Amy Lane's Promise series (and yes, I must use his FULL name.). Tyrion Lannister from George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series.

I guess my favourite, after all these years, rereads, books under the bridge and all, would be Alaric Anthony Morgan, Earl of Culdi, from Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series. I fell in love with him when I was a teenager and at 56, I'm still in love with him. :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 14

Day 14 - Favourite books of your favourite writer.

My favourite mystery writer is Barbara Hambly and the series that made her my favourite mystery writer is the Benjamin January series. My favourite books of hers would be the first one in the series, A Free Man of Color, because it's where I was introduced to the world of Benjamin January. We meet Benjamin, we meet his best friend, Hannibal Sefton who is quite the character. (I think he's my favourite in the series.). We are also introduced to Benjamin's family, his mother, his sister and his half-sister; his possible love interest as well as the characters that all mysteries need, the authorities. The cop.. his name is Abishag Shaw. Is that not a NAME?

The mystery is good too. I lifted this synopses from Wikipedia: "Newly arrived in New Orleans after spending most of his adult life in Paris, Benjamin is accused of the murder of a placée named Angelique when he is the last known person to see her alive. Benjamin struggles to find the real killer before he is jailed and executed for the murder. He also tries to help the widow of Angelique's former protector, a white woman who may have had her own reasons for wanting Angelique dead.".

The books are all wonderful, really, and again, I highly recommend them to fans of mysteries and historical novels both. :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 13


Day 13 - Your Favourite Writer

So this category sort of replicates the favourite series and favourite book etc.. that we've done earlier, so I'm going to go with my favourite mystery writer. :)

That would be Barbara Hambly. Along with some well-known fantasy novels, Barbara also writes the Benjamin January series of books. The books are set in and around New Orleans in the 1830s. Benjamin is a free man of colour and the series opens when he returns from France after a very long absence. (Benjamin's Wikipedia entry: Mixed-race former slave, freed as a child by his mother's lover. He was trained in Paris as a surgeon, but works primarily as a piano player. He is very tall, and very dark-skinned, which is a significant impediment to his medical career in pre-Civil War New Orleans. He lived in France for many years, but returned to New Orleans when his first wife died.)

Barbara does her homework and the books are rich in history and atmosphere but that never gets in the way of the story-telling. Her characters are full and real and some of them you love, some of them you hate. The mysteries are well-plotted and definitely not just excuses for the story of Benjamin's life. The two twine wonderfully well.

Whenever I learn that someone enjoys mysteries, I immediately recommend this series. It's terrific!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 12

 Day 12 - A book you used to love but don't anymore.

This is a very difficult one. Most books that I have loved over my reading life I still love but for different reasons. Take for instance, the Mary Stewart thrillers. The Moonspinners, The Gabriel Hounds, Nine Coaches Waiting, My Brother, Michael etc... These were some of my favourite books back when I was a young teenager, they introduced me to the world of romance and suspense. I graduated to them from Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. They were exciting and new and romantic and I loved them to bits.

Today all of these novels are very dated and the heroines anything but modern, but I still love them for their snapshot of a time period and for the nostalgia of where I was in my reading life and the doors they opened for me. The Moonspinners is still one of my favourite books and I still love Mary Stewart.

So I used to love them as only a 14 year old girl can love books and today, 40+ years later, I love them for what they did for that 14 year-old and for the warm, cozy feeling they give me.