What I’m Reading – April 2017

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I’m a week late this month…last week was craziness and I didn’t realize I’d forgotten until Wednesday was said and done…so here’s my March report a week late!! I went a little crazy in March again. Apparently I’m on a crazy reading roll…with my office complete I’m hoping to slow down on the reading and speed up on the writing…but we’ll see what happens. For March I read 26 books. Many graphic novels helped boost this number…but I’m still impressed with myself.  This month I made a concerted effort to read some books from my exceptionally long netgalley list and some books I got for free in exchange for reviews (ASAP reviews, I need to get finished with two more…eep, back to reading soon!!). For the third month in a row, I will attempt to keep this concise…no promises, but I’ll try. What I’ve Read Ensnared Wow. First off…I got this book free from netgalley. All opinions are my own. This book does not release until December, so it’s a super-early release. Now…let me just say…wow. I’m a huge fan of the Beauty & the Beast tale (don’t get me started on the new live-action movie…I’ll talk your ear off)…and this was just amazing. A near-future retelling where robots have achieved an almost-human ability. This retelling sucked me in and had me upset to have to put it down (at 1am) because I had to sleep. Totally awesome, among my top reads of the month. Flightless Bird I got this one in exchange for an honest review. Releases 4/22 Holy cliffhanger, batman!! This book left me with a hell of a cliffhanger. Let me tell you, as an author I LOVE cliffhangers…as a reader, no so much. 😉 This is a YA paranormal with an interesting twist on what the abilities are…and leaves you with some unanswered questions as to what everyone is in the end…questions that won’t be answered until the next book. For the most part, I really enjoyed the book.  My biggest complaint was the insta-love (partially explained by the paranormal aspect) and the fact I kept wanting to scream at my Kindle “They are SOPHOMORES!!!! FIFTEEN and SIXTEEN!!  For crying out loud!”  Also, the quick resolution to the home-life aspect was a little to perfect and quick. Still, it was a fun, quick read with an unusual paranormal twist.   What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions Audiobook version – read by none other than Wil Wheaton. Honestly, I don’t think I would have enjoyed this is print form.  In audiobook, as read by Wil Wheaton? So.Much.Fun.  Wil Wheaton had the exact right amount of sarcasm and hilarity in his tone to convey many of these answers.  It was fun, sort of random, and a different sort of book than I normally would have picked up if I hadn’t seen who the narrator was. And yes…in case there was any doubt…the title does not lie. Many of the questions were crazy-absurd…and oddly random…but the serious answers to them were definitely interesting (and sometimes just as weird). The Sculptor This was a (very large) graphic novel…probably the longest I’ve read yet. Recommended by someone in my book club, I picked it up at the local library, only marginally intimidated by its size. I ended up being grateful for the recommendation. The artwork was done all in blue tones, and was realistic enough without being too real for the tone of the book. The blues also portrayed the tone of the story quite well.  I was swept up in the slightly dark, paranormal, quirky story pretty quickly. The story tugged at my emotions, and did not have a happy ending.  My biggest complaint in the whole thing was that I guessed a key tragic aspect before it happened and was mad that the MC didn’t listen to what was being said to him. This one is definitely worth a read. I kept thinking about it for days afterward, which is always a good sign. Stitched A fun little graphic novel I got free via netgalley. Not publishing until 5/2/17. Cute, sort of creepy, and fun. I really enjoyed this little GN and plan to buy it for my youngest, who enjoys creepier things.  No, it’s not scary…but the whole thing is set in a graveyard and it has some classic monsters (not-scary) in it.  Ghosts, werewolves, vampires and swamp monsters dot the colorful pages. I look forward to seeing what my youngest thinks when she reads it. Difficult Women This one I picked up on recommendation & because of my challenge list (which I have since completely abandoned in all of my reading craziness). A collection of short stories, this one had its ups and downs for me. Some stories I really loved, others were either too strange or too dark for me. Overall, worth the read, not sure I’d buy it for myself.   Magical Power for Beginners Netgalley pickup for research – again, personal and writing related. I actually have a handful of books for that purpose on netgalley, but I just picked this one to go first. I wanted to like it and glean some good information from it…but found it so long-winded that I grew bored (my typical complaint about non-fiction books). Unfortunately, it held true for the next couple of books I started to read along this line…until I got a winner (shown below in my currently reading). Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8 Graphic Novels (1-3) On recommendation from my bestie…I ordered all of these through the library system. So far I’ve only read 1-3, and I’m still up in the air over whether or not I like them.  There’s some stuff I really like…and stuff I really don’t at all.  A total mixed bag, but I plan on seeing them through at least to the end of the ‘season’…seeing as I have them all here. 😉 Saga Another recommendation by book club. I knew next to nothing going into it…except the recommendation I got. It was…okay. I don’t get the crazy hype around it, but it probably just wasn’t my cup of tea. I probably won’t continue on with any of them further than this. We’ll see if I change my mind later. For now, it didn’t hold me enough to get me eager for more. It wasn’t bad…just…eh. Honorable Mentions Several books are worth a mention…others…well, aren’t. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Beauty’s Tale & Beast’s Tale…Manga style. Cute, quick, fun little read that shows just a wee bit more into the minds of Belle and Beast from the live version of B&tB.  Nice accompaniment to watching the live-action movies. (netgalley reads.) Cardboard. A recommendation from BOTH of my daughters. A little longer graphic novel, with a fun storyline. Read it in one sitting. Fun, and glad my girls feel they can recommend books to me. Snow White Graphic Novel – A retelling of the classic fairy tale set in the 1920’s. I found this take quite charming. The Woods Vol.1 & Vol. 2 – An entire high school, its students and faculty, are transported to a strange and deadly world by unknown forces. The way the students and staff struggle to figure out what’s going on & how to survive…how some show some very dark true colors, and others show bravery.  They find some weird things, and people, in this place. I still don’t know if I liked it or not, or if I’ll read more. I’m curious to know what else is going on…but enough to order more to the library? ~shrug~ Mer – (via netgalley) – a dark mermaid/merman tale, set in high school. This one was…different. Not my favorite, but not horrible. Monstress – Spotted it on Amazon one day, requested it from the library based on the cover alone. Dark, unique, mildly disturbing. Curious – but maybe not enough to read more? Not sure. Stereotypical Freaks – Another free from netgalley. I really enjoyed this one. Slow start, and totally went a way I didn’t expect at all. It was touching, and fun.  I am continuing the series (the next two of which I also got from netgalley). The Wicked and the Divine vol. 2 (Fandemonium) & vol. 3 (Commercial Suicide) – I really enjoyed the first book last month, though I found it odd…so I went for 2. Fandemonium was great…so I went for 3, even though I’d seen some not-so-great reviews of it…and now that I’ve read it I see why many people said it killed their enjoyment of the series and why they say “Commercial Suicide” is an apt title. I belive the original artist is back for 4 so I may try to get that one…but then again, maybe not. Commercial Suicide did not leave me with a good taste in my mouth for the series. Serenity – Those Left Behind. another rec from the bestie. Really enjoyed it and hope to read more once I thin out my to-read list some more.     What I’m Reading Now The Queen of the Tearling An impulse grab from the library based on some positive feedback I’d seen on the interwebs. Separated into several books, and so big it comes with its own bookmark…this one is probably going to take me a bit to read (and some renewals at the library). It took me about 100 pages to be fully invested and to FINALLY be rewarded with the heroine becoming what she needs to be…but now I’m all in. It’s just a hefty read and I’m going to need more time. That said…based on the first “book” in the book…I’d say go for it if it’s on your list. The heroine is likable, if somewhat naive, and the people that cross her path are interesting, and the dangers and challenges she faces can get your pulse racing. Feed I started this book years ago when I bought it for my nook after some recommendations. Because my nook is an ancient first model and batteyr doesn’t last long, this is among the handful of books on that device I never finished. I have picked it up from the library (and my hubby just gave me his newer nook to use)…AND I got to select the challenge for this month’s book club challenge…to which I picked “A book you started, but never finished”.  As I’ve said before, I’m not big on zombie-ness…but so far this book has less zombies and more facts.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how incredibly long this was when I decided to try again…so I’m trying, but oof, despite my initial excitement to get back into it…this one is not making me too eager to keep on keeping on with it. Kitchen Table Tarot (Free via netgalley) Meant to be read like your buddy is just carrying on a conversation with you about tarot, this one is what it promises.  I love the authors voice and frank explanations. I think this, like the next book has been, will remain on my “currently reading” list for a while as I digest all it has to teach. I really want to get this one in print to keep on my shelf for regular referencing. Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation Loooong title on this one…eesh.  Anyhow, I took this one out from the library for some dual research (writing related & personal related)…when I found myself wanting to make actual highlights in the book, I bought it off of Amazon. This will be an ongoing read for a couple of months, I think…but I’m learning a lot. For person that claims to not like non-fiction, I’m finding myself reading a lot of it lately. Anyhow, expect to see this one on the list for a couple of months, probably 😉   Short Someone in my FB feed posted about finding their child bawling, and the child proceeded to show them this book and told them to read it.  On our very next visit to the library I saw the book sitting on the shelf. Figuring it was serendipity, I picked it up. Only one chapter in, distracted by office remodel, so no thoughts yet.   Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix Yup, this one is STILL here. Kennedy keeps asking to read and I keep being distracted by things to do, and rooms to redecorate, and the book’s in my bedroom and hubby is already asleep, and more and more and more… REALLY hope to finish this before the end of May. I’m going out of two for two weeks in two weeks or I’d say before the end of April.  Goals. I got ’em. Vengeance Be Mine Grabbed this one in a ‘free for review offer’.  So far it’s catchy, but I have no distinct thoughts on it.  I like the world, I like the MC, and several of those around her.  I’m truly curious about the event I just read…but again, time is tight these days. Hope to finish this one this coming week as I have another ‘free for review’ out there…and not much time before they’re published.   What I’m Reading Next Llewellyn’s Little Book of Chakras Considering “little book” is in the title, hoping this is a quick, informative read. Yup, another free from netgalley as well.  I have a lot of GN’s and Llewellyn books from there (and many many others) Magic Fire Another in my free for review pile I gathered this month. Need to finish it before the end of the month, if I can finish Vengeance Be Mine first. Going in blind….based on cover alone. I have a tendency to do that, it seems. Wake of Vultures & Conspiracy of Ravens Honestly, I’m sort of already started on WOV – which is a total re-read for me so that I can read book 2, Conspiracy of Ravens. I really enjoyed the first book first time around, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve re-read so far. Makes me excited to get moving on it…damn elusive thing called time. So much to do and nowhere near enough time to do it all in. Oy. Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone (Audiobook) This sucker had a LOOOOONG waiting list at the library (all of them do), but I’ve heard fantabulous things about the audibook versions of these books…and I should have this one soon (I hope). Really excited to have the HP books come alive for me in a different way than they have before. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8 vol. 4 Next on the list…it’s got dark and scary Willow on the cover, so curious to see what happens here. * * *~* Phew….I know, that was long. By far my longest book post yet this year. So many good things, eh things, and fun things to write about in the reading universe I’m in right now. 😀 I also have a ton of my OWN books that I need to get started on. Someone, please take away my library card so maybe I’ll focus on those books for a change? You know what, don’t…you might send me into a panic attack. lol Read more »

Seduced by the Game – An Anthology for Hockey Fights Cancer

*I was provided a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine* I’ll be honest, I don’t do many reviews here because I’m flat out lazy. However, when I saw this anthology coming available and the request for reviews? I couldn’t wait to review it!! I signed up quick as the sign-ups were open. The anthology was packed with some amazing stories that centered around my absolute favorite sport – Hockey.  With a good mix of romance from sweet to burn your eyeballs spicy!! Overall I gave the entire anthology 4 stars. As expected some authors just didn’t write in a style I liked, or the story didn’t grab me. I admittedly skimmed one or two, but those that grabbed me were powerful and well-written enough that I gave the whole shebang 4 stars. So let me go over the standouts: Hooking Hannah by Cassandra Carr & Cindy Carr – This story knocked it out of the park for me. It is my absolute favorite in the story. The romance was smoking, the hero (Scott) so amazing, and the heroine (Hannah) funny and strong. Their story was sweet and believable and they burned up the sheets – but what took this story over the edge to amazing for me was the scenes on the ice. The way the authors Carr wrote the hockey scenes was detailed and exact and I felt like I was back in my hometown of Buffalo listening to Rick Jeanneret call the play by play! It totally put me in the game and kept me there. Stunning writing. Crashing the Boards by Jami Davenport – Most of this story takes place at a party on a boat and some naughty, kinky events. I was unfamiliar with Jami going into the story, but some of the sassy lines had me laughing and looking her up for more of her books. The interplay between the party crasher – Izzy, and the hockey player who thinks he’s onto her – Cooper, is excellent. Best part is when the truth is revealed and things blow up, the resolution isn’t perfect and immediate, but the way it’s handled is spot on and I love the potential. Taking a Shot by Catherine Gayle – A sweet romance that touches on the cause behind the anthology – cancer. I loved the inclusion of a sweeter story and Katie’s crush-turned-romance was perfect.  The best part for me was Jamie’s doubts that had nothing to do with Katie, but his own role in her future. It was superbly realistic and touching. Heir Apparent by V.L. Locey – Honestly, I don’t usually read much M/M, but I’m glad I did in this case. V.L. has quite a way with telling a story. It was real easy to get inside the character’s heads. Cam, the living legend who was faltering in his game in more ways than one, and Jacobi – Cam’s new back-up goalie and long-time fan. The mix of May/December romance with a bit of the struggle with admitting who you really are was beautifully handled in this short story. With these great stories, and the good cause, this is an excellent buy!! *~* | [amazon_link id=”B00JHP9BM2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Amazon[/amazon_link] | BN | ARe | Blurb ~ It’s time to drop the gloves and fight! Support the Fight against cancer that is.  This anthology of 8 brand new novellas is hot enough to melt the ice these players skate on. Featuring stories from popular New York Times & USA Today, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble bestselling authors, including Toni Aleo, Cassandra Carr, Cindy Carr, Jami Davenport, Catherine Gayle, Jaymee Jacobs, V.L. Locey, Bianca Sommerland, and Nikki Worrell. New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author – Toni Aleo TANGLED IN THE LACES In Tangled in the Laces, Karson King is on the fast track to the pros and Lacey Martin is coming back from a hard fight against cancer and is terrified of him but their love is too much to ignore. Will Karson prove that he will protect her heart at all costs, or will he leave Lacey to pick up the pieces of her life once again? Cassandra Carr and Cindy Carr HOOKING HANNAH When Hannah attends an all-star game, she doesn’t expect a hockey player of all people to turn her world upside down. Her sister is married to a player and Hannah never wanted that life. But Scott could change everything. For Scott’s part, he has to know the woman who stirred his blood with just a look, and once he does, he realizes he wants Hannah to be his forever. Now to convince her… Jami Davenport CRASHING THE BOARDS (Seattle Sockeyes 1.5) Professional party crasher, Izzy Maxwell, needs the cooperation of reluctant party guest Cooper Black, the team captain of Seattle’s new hockey team, but Cooper can’t get past his anger over the team’s relocation to Seattle. Can Izzy melt Cooper’s frozen heart or will this party crash along with her fledgling business? Catherine Gayle TAKING A SHOT (Portland Storm 2.5) Katie Weber has had a crush on Jamie Babcock for almost two years, since he joined her father’s hockey team, the Portland Storm as an eighteen-year-old rookie. When cancer takes her health, her hair, and even her friends, she can’t bear to go to senior prom…until Jamie intervenes. Jaymee Jacobs A VALUABLE TRADE  Bryan’s life gets turned upside down when he gets traded to the Dallas Comets, and things get even messier when he meets Georgiana, the Director of Team Services. He’s got a lot of work to do to prove his worth to his new team, but Georgiana’s sure he’ll prove to be a valuable trade. V.L. Locey HEIR APPARENT Superstar Cam Evans is fighting to climb out of a slump that`s growing worse with each day of living in denial. Fresh from the minors, Jacobi Neal is hungry for this chance to play back-up for the legendary goalie. Can two men battle each other, their inner demons, and the sizzling attraction building between them? Bianca Sommerland BLIND PASS (The Dartmouth Cobras 0.5) Nothing could stop Tim Rowe, the assistant coach of the Dartmouth Cobras, from falling in love with Madeline, but love alone can’t satisfy every need. Sometimes, to reach the goal, you have to take the chance with a . . . Blind Pass. Nikki Worrell – CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN (Prequel to Scorpions Series) Keith Lambert is the captain of the Flyers—until he’s not. To everyone’s shock, he’s traded to the San Diego Scorpions. As if that’s not bad enough, Phoebe, his girlfriend of two years, decides she doesn’t love him enough to follow. All alone in a new town, Keith is drawn to Kelly, his take out delivery girl. When she shows up at ice girl tryouts, he’s lost. She’s all he can see. Can he convince her to forget her past and take a chance on him or is he destined to be alone in a new town a little bit longer? **Proud Supporters of Hockey Fights Cancer. *~*  Excerpts (see attached document)  -from Heir Apparent by V.L. Locey             I padded along beside him with no reply for his comment. He was right. Everyone knew his face in “The Burgh.” The longer we walked, the more I accepted that I would freeze to death. We made two complete laps in total silence. Cam stopped to drop his empty coffee cup into a trash can. We stood under a streetlight, our breath twin clouds of steam hovering in front of us. “You have to understand that this…I don’t know how to go about…shit.” He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his parka. Again, we started walking. “Look, man, if I knew for sure what we were dealing with, maybe I could help a little better,” I said. A biracial couple hurried past us. I burrowed into my flimsy coat until all that stuck out of the collar were my eyes. “I have a daughter. She’s a senior in high school.” “Awesome,” I mumbled into my coat. My forehead was extremely cold. Like ice cream eaten too fast cold. We kept walking that block. “She is awesome.” I peeked over at him. I wished he would drop that fucking hood so I could see his face. “And not aware of how things were with her mother and me.” “How things were, or how you were pretending they were?” I chanced it. What the hell? He would either slug me, call me a motherfucker, or stalk off. Whatever happened it had to be better than roaming around this fucking city block when the temperature was a balmy four degrees. “I mean, that is what you’re dancing around, right? That you’re so far back in the closet you just discovered Narnia? Why not just admit that much to yourself before we both succumb to fucking hypothermia.” I should have known that Cameron Evans was a man of action. I mean, I followed his career all though my school years. He was fast. My back was against the wall under that old clock before I could register the shove. Cam then got all sorts of in my face. I did not raise my hands. His angry exhalation was flavored with vanilla. “Are you calling me a queer?” I shrugged one shoulder. “I call them as I see them. Now, you can either step off or you can kiss me.” I threw the challenge out without a second thought. I stared into the shelter of his hood, finding his dark eyes in the shadows. They flickered down to my blue lips. “Whatever you decide to do, do it fast. I’m cold, tired, and hungry.” He did. He captured my mouth with a kiss so aggressive my teeth ground into my lips. Yeah. This was it. This was what I had been pushing him to do…hoping he would do.  *~* Links Website:  http://www.seducedbythegame.com Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21399240-seduced-by-the-game?from_search=true *~* Giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway Read more »

by Sarah Cass

Multi-published author. Mom of 3 special needs kids. Wife to 1 good man.
Redefining Perfect every day.