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No Glitter Blown

Honest reviews of things that caught my fancy, or not.

Currently reading

Art in Theory 1900 - 2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas
Paul Wood, Charles Harrison
Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan
Gary P. Leupp
Daughter Am I
Pat Bertram
Sharon Kay Penman
Silver Bullet (Falls Chance Ranch #4)
Ranger, Rolf
A Matter of Time, Vol. 1 (#1-2) - Mary Calmes

Bucking the crowd or somehow I read a different book. Put in spoiler tags 'cause my grievances reveal significant plot points.

Sam is a complete and utter ass and I want to smack Jory until he realizes he DOES NOT need that hot--cold shit Sam seems to think is reasonable. No caring human being is that inconsiderate about basic feelings and no! Not giving Sam a Go Free card 'cause he's having an identity crisis. I get the once even twice, but they go three times 'all in'. 

I liked the developing relationship between Dane and Jory, but there was so much not explained prior to the adoption that I felt like I missed part of the story. Sure they're like peas in a pod or sirens for women and men, each calling one sex until they become enthralled. Yeah...that was a bit too good to be true, too. 

I think the reader needs to buy into the fantasy aspect right away or this is not going to work. I suppose, I liked Jory and I was interested in his story, but the events surrounding his life are surreal. It's a production with some zealous directing and a plethora of drama points. 

In the end, I was aggravated by this book because there were several times when I was really enjoying it and going with it when all of a sudden a random monkey wrench was tossed in and wrecked the flow. It was like playing Chutes and Ladders and constantly being sent back to the beginning again.

The Darkling Thrush - Josh Lanyon

The book geek in me loved the premise of an outsider librarian going off the range after making a colossally bad workplace decision.


Colin Bliss, young, talented and naive makes a whopper of bad judgment call and then realizes he has to live with it for a year. A very long year. Until an opportunity presents itself and he decides to engage in some unsanctioned activities since, well...since he's been sidelined.


Septimus Marx, the scowling presence that always unsettles Bliss is the proverbial bad penny that keeps turning up. But, his sanctimonious airs have more to do with than just the superiority of position and skill. Bliss finds this out during his journey.


I liked the adventure/treasure seeking plot for a lost book. A mythic book that all reputable sources deny exists. The thought and development of the legend and the gaelic used throughout gave a very tangible feel to the story and if there's something I really enjoy, it is being subsumed by a story. The plot itself isn't complicated, but the execution is so smooth and pleasurable that it rates highly in my estimate.


Favorite quote:


He smiled faintly. “‘Ge milis a’ mhil, cò dh’imlicheadh o bhàrr dri i.’ Good advice, this is. Honey may be sweet, but no one licks it off a briar.”

"The truth is rarely pure and never simple."

 Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Number, #1) - Sarah MacLean 3.5 starsAmusing and diverting tale.A turnabout on the fake rake story with the hoyden-not character of Calpurnia. I give big points to the choice of the Allendale children's names from Shakespeare, especially Benedick since Much Ado About Nothing is a strong contender for favorite. I've read a few of list premise books and this one is good. Yeah, it's unrealistic, but then when is reading any regency romance done for realism. Now, just to contradict what I just said, the reference to the Countess of Allendale as the Dowager Countess when Benedick hadn't taken a wife kinda annoyed me. Kept wondering which rock or country estate he had parked her until there was the whining that Mariana was the first to get married. Whatever. Not a huge deal, but confusing enough when mentioned in conjunction with other titles.Nothing groundbreaking in the storyline or characters, but a solid story.Favorite quote:“Quite nice isn’t what you should be aiming for,” he said, taking her restless hands into his own and allowing his voice to deepen. “Neither should the kiss leave you satisfied.”
Vanilla Boy (Club Floggers, #1) - H.C. Brown Incredibly cheesy with cookie cutter characters. Disaster of a club, bad behavior all around, corny lines, an alphahole who's reformed and a meek sub that I could have beat up when I was eight. *rubs eyes* Overall, it comes across formulaic.
Carry On - Cam   Kennedy Incredible potential in this dystopian tale.The evocative emotions Kelsey engenders is powerful, but the writing style blunts the full effect. The reportage style provides a distance between the reader and the story that I want ripped down. This is a harsh and compelling plot that needs to be in-your-face. Presently, it reads more like a full outline with a few scenes flushed out which I would love to read as a complete one with another 50K words. This event (Love Has No Boundaries) has a definite timeframe for completion and I think that it impeded it. This is a great start to an intense and gritty futuristic tale, but the characters and the plot both need more time to develop and unravel to be fully explored and appreciated.

Vanilla Boy by H.C. Brown

Incredibly cheesy with cookie cutter characters. Disaster of a club, bad behavior all around, corny lines, an alphahole who's reformed and a meek sub that I could have beat up when I was eight. *rubs eyes* Overall, it comes across formulaic.

Capital Loss - Taylor V. Donovan 3.5 starsEmotional read and maybe a little too close for comfort for some.Dealing with the last financial crisis in a story is tricky. There are so many victims that it touched a lot of people. It was a realistic portrayal of financial marketeers from the outrageous money to the unrelenting workload. I enjoyed Cole and Eduardo. I liked the tenuous feelings aroused from the genesis of their relationship. What I didn't like was the piss poor communication by both protagonists. They're both right in being pissed, but they should both be really pissed at themselves for being monumental failures. And the blame is equal here, I didn't enjoy the implication that Eduardo's transgressions were greater than Cole. In the end, silence is silence and the evils of insecurity and fear will fill-in for those empty voices. TALK!
Song of Oestend (Oestend, #1) - Marie Sexton Stunning mix of spiritual and carnal.I had no expectations when I picked this book other than a bunch of my friends, like 36 of them had rated this 4.27 collectively. So, I'm thinking...Winner! And they were not wrong. But if I had tried to imagine the story just from the blurb, I would have gotten ALL wrong.First, the story contains a significant paranormal element. Frankly, it is another character in the story with the way it interacts. Yet, it isn't just a ghost story. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of ghost stories and it isn't because I disbelieve--in fact, I've seen stuff that I can't explain and no one else around me could. A few were like, yeah...it's the ghost. I'm like okay...but waking in the middle of the night seeing a shadowy figure in the corner of your room that doesn't move--it quickly changes your mind from the NO box to MAYBE in a heartbeat. In the story, it is not just a ghost, but an entire spiritual belief that infuses it. I've study many cultures with non-western religious constructs so this was extremely easy for me to understand which might not be the case for other readers.Now, while the story has this crucial element, it in no way impedes or dictates the relationship between Deacon and Aren--which I loved. It wasn't used as a crutch in the storytelling, but as an enhancement. I like that the belief system was multivalent--neither all good or bad. It was convincing and did not come across as proselytizing which makes all the difference to me in how I feel about a book. Religion/belief is an intensely personal experience for me and I do not enjoy being preached to.Another strong point in this story, all of the characters are fully developed. There are no place holders, even the tertiary characters are flushed out. Aren and Deacon could have been quite predictable, but then about 55% of the way in, there is a major shift that just takes this story from an intriguing western to a complicated interracial romance set in a desolate ranching location. I loved getting my preconceptions slapped around a bit. This was not a lazy story in any sense.I could probably go on and on about how I was floored, but I'll leave at that.Favorite quotes: "The fact the track through the grass was two men wide was the best part of all. It meant that he wasn’t alone."“I’ve seen a hundred hands come and go. Maybe more. Every one of them needs to fear me. Every one of them needs to respect me. But not one of them needs to like me.”"Wish I could do it for you,” he said. “Wish I had the magic, too, so you could see yourself the way I do.”
Converge - Chris Owen **A Screw up and the book is now free at 5PM Central Time.**9/14/2013__FREE at Torquere Press for ONE hour ONLY! 4-5 PM CThttp://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=97&products_id=761

The Lodestar of Ys

The Lodestar of Ys - Amy Rae Durreson Bold mix of elements that are diverting and highly entertaining.The worldbuilding is great with a melange of Errol Flynn, LOTR and Peter Pan. I love sailing, so this story immediately made me excited when it turned course during the exploration of the Ys isles. In contrast to Axholme, the militaristic country holding off the Empire's advances, the bucolic beauty is gorgeous and reminds me of sailing island to island in the Caribbean.The development of Celyn and Sjurd's relationship is wonderful. Paced beautifully, and just humorous to watch. The transition from bickering allies to lovers is filled with both heartache and joy. This isn't all about romance, it has a strong action/adventure emphasis as we become acquainted with the heroes through the warring plot. Plus, I like the fact that it was more of a political than front lines story.
The Girl For Me - Failte A thoughtful and measured exploration of a misunderstood sexuality in this coming of age story.Dani/Daniel and Kevin make an unlikely couple, but isn't that where some of the best surprises of synergy come from? On opposite sides, they quickly find that they are not as far apart as they think. In fact, where the truly important things count--they're perfectly aligned. Neither is completely at ease with their respective discoveries, but Dani's struggle to understand and find peace with the constellation of feelings, fears and desires s/he experiences as a transgendered male is the focus. It is well done, not exploitive, and leaves one feeling optimistic.Favorite quotes:"'OUT', Mom... Coming 'OUT' to you. If I were coming 'on' to you, I would be going to therapy. My god..." Against all odds, a smile played on Danny's lips.--Ch. 4"If you want tits – get tits. If you want a vagina – get one. If you want a snowmobile – get a snowmobile. It's not important! Jesus H. Christ on a bicycle!"--Ch. 12"Good sons don't wear bras, Kevin.""So you're a good daughter then... who sometimes goes bra-less. Topless, even.""Not funny," Danny said, smirking.--Ch. 16
Blood Red - Cordelia Kingsbridge A gladitorial whoreslave meets something more than the average arena combatant and things go sideways from there.Liked the worldbuilding with the pseudo Graeco-Roman locations mixed with mages and shapeshifters. Nice job and very believable. Rough spot? The drag after the arena where Demetrios and Aenad keep going at it like energizer bunnies, but not progressing in a relationship. Overall, entertaining. Probably would have been driven nuts if I read this as a serial, but since I was forewarned by a kind friend--thanks, Bree--I waited before commencing. Favorite quote:He was blushing even as he said it. It was ridiculous, considering the lewd obscenities he was accustomed to spouting with little thought, but that had always been for other men's pleasure, not his own. Laying himself bare by expressing his true desires made him uncomfortable.
Safe in His Arms - Renee Rose 2.5 starsSuper hot spanking in this domestic discipline story. The scenes were great. Focused, passionate and thoroughly about Zac and Becca's needs for D/s and spanking respectively. I loved the way the characters interacted, but the actual plot of the story was a miss for me. One needs to suspend belief and just accept the fantasized thriller or be utterly frustrated. Which though I often roll my eyes at, I was like, "Okay, sure. Take me on the magic carpet." What really annoyed me were inherent character flaws for both protagonists. Becca's really a bit of a dolt and Zac's kinda an alphahole. Becca is hit by the bad idea fairy when she decides to attract Zac's attention by setting up a fake meeting at a renown drug trafficking park--really? And Zac, god did this one cheese me off, decided not to share that fact that there was a condom failure with his sexual partner cause he hoped she'd get pregnant--dickhead.I want to rate this BIG points for the kink. Majorly hot if DD is your thing. The other half that pays attention to character and plot is going--aahhh...No. What I'd really like to see is a representation of sexual differences in a way that doesn't imply that a fundamental flaw with the individual is necessary for these to be desires. I would love to read these scenes in that context. Favorite quote:If I exist in any form--if there is a man to know--I would want him to be the one I am when I'm with you.
Guttersnipe - Isa K. The future is a mess and this version twists sex and power even more than the present one. Derek is the kind of horror that power hierarchies like to point to in order to justify themselves.Rebels were worshipped before they were put down like dogs. It provided a rare opportunity for such outstanding members of society to savor the illicit vicariously while at the same time patting themselves on the back for their stunning righteousness.The plot is itself wasn't surprising. I loved the beginning, entertained in the second quarter, started to flounder in the third and was pleased with the ending. Overall, I enjoyed this and if it wasn't for Marco's playmanship I would have not rated this as highly as I did. Part of it felt vaguely unsatisfying and I'm at a loss to point to exactly why except that being told from solely Derek's point of view left a lot in the dark. Fun things that might have been enjoyed with some omniscience.Favorite quote:"Cut myself shaving." Evelyn snorted at the suggestion. "What the fuck were you shaving with? A machete?"
17 Black and 29 Red (Stockholm Syndrome, #2) - Richard Rider Heartbreak and desolation. This book is like lancing an infected wound, it's got to hurt before it can get better.[b:Stockholm Syndrome|9788080|Stockholm Syndrome (Stockholm Syndrome, #1)|Richard Rider|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1291018502s/9788080.jpg|14678106] abandoned us in a bleak place and here, like Dante, we traverse the depths of despair before we can resurface. This is an absolute mess as Lindsey deconstructs in an orgy of sensory overload, and when that doesn't work--deprivation. Wandering aimlessly trying to find the one thing that will spare him the pain. Meanwhile, Pip takes a similar track. Like two peas in a pod they find solace in the one place we can hide in plain sight, especially if others are willing codependents. Eventually, the ugly truth is acknowledged and things progress. Is it worse to spin in a safe circle or flail off into space? Favorite quotes:Or maybe it's better not to feel it at all, just let this blank non-emotion run itself out like a road that disappears so gradually you don't even know it's happening until there's grass under your tyres."Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé."This book is funny, but lacks the laugh out loud humor of its predecessor. The pop cultural references are still great and such a fun little tickle. Overall, loved it. Hated it. But then, I love lots of things I hate.