Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wednesday Reads and Merry Christmas

Tomorrow is Christmas! Yay! I hope you all have wonderful plans, whether with family or friends. If you don’t have to cook (like me), you can relax (unless you find cooking is relaxing, then cook!). Sometimes I go to a movie or just watch one on TV (DVD). But this year I’ll be spending Christmas at my friend’s house—eating and playing games. Good times. And tonight is spent at home with the kids. Meat loaf is the meal. Board games (or movies) is the plan after. Whatever we’re in the mood for.

Anyway, this post is rather lengthy since I didn’t post last Wednesday (you know, because I was on a cruise enjoying the sun and warm weather!). Here’s what I read during the past 2 weeks:

forgive and forget by heather ashby
Dec 14: “Forgive and Forget” by Heather Ashby, a military romance. Blurb from Goodreads: There’s something about a man in uniform… but there’s something about a woman in one, too. When Hallie McCabe meets Philip Johnston at a picnic, she is drawn to his integrity. He is a gentleman—and an officer. Aware of the code against fraternization between officers and enlisted, Hallie hides her Navy status, hopeful she and her secret will stay hidden on their enormous aircraft carrier, at least until she can figure out a way for them to sail off into the sunset together. Caught in an emotional firestorm, Hallie faces a future without the man she loves, a career-shattering secret from the past, and the burden of being the one person who can prevent a terrorist attack on the ship she has sworn to protect with her life. Prepare to set sail for the Persian Gulf with a crew of 4,999 sailors and officers—and one terrorist in search of his own kind of Paradise. This is a fairly new genre for me to read (no, not the romance, the military!). Having served in the Army, I’m not always interested in reading about the military, but this story intrigued me. Thank goodness it didn’t disappoint. Well, except for the ending. I would have liked some kind of epilogue to wrap up things a little better. Plus, with an e-book, I thought I had around 15 pages left to read, and since it was already after midnight, saved them for the next day only to discover I had 2 pages left. Ugh! I guess that kind of tells you how the ending was wrapping up, huh? I still thought there was plenty left to read. Other than that, I enjoyed the story a lot.

rude awakening by athena grayson
Dec 16: “Rude Awakening: WinterJacked #1” by Athena Grayson, an urban fantasy with romantic elements. Blurb from Goodreads: Jack Winters lost his perfect, upwardly-mobile life (along with the perfect, upwardly-mobile wife) when it intersected with a pack of fantastical creatures. He’s spent three years determinedly ignoring the Things That Should Not Be, and kept his failures frozen under a thick layer of isolation from the best friends he’s ever had. But when a holiday reunion presents him with the woman who Might Have Been, suddenly the impossible doesn't seem so improbable anymore… Lin Sanada thought she was long over her college crush and the Missed Connections that kept her and Jack Winters “just friends” for nearly twenty years. She’s moved on, and left old dreams behind. But a winter night and a full moon and a little magic have other ideas… To the young, impossible dreams are magic. At forty, they’re called a mid-life crisis. Jack’s got a choice. Keep clinging to the shreds of his old life…or make a new reality. Coincidentally, this is another book set during Christmas that I wasn’t aware of. Ha! For me, this resembled more of a fantasy than an urban fantasy, only because there were too many unknown creatures for me to keep up with. Plus, it seemed to start in the middle of Jack’s problem (of which a little prologue might have helped). However… I really liked Jack and Lin, so they kind of made up for that bit of confusion. If you’re looking for a unique world set inside the real world, give this one a try.

petals and throns by jeffe kennedy
Dec 17: “Petals and Thorns” by Jeffe Kennedy, a historical erotica novella. Blurb from Goodreads: In exchange for her father’s life, Amarantha agrees to marry the dreadful Beast and be his wife for seven days. Though the Beast cannot take Amarantha’s virginity unless she begs him to, he can and does take her in every other way. From the moment they are alone together, the Beast relentlessly strips Amarantha of all her resistance. If Amarantha can resist her cloaked and terrifying husband, she gains his entire fortune and will be allowed to return to her family and a normal life. But the Beast seduces her at every turn, exposing, binding, tormenting, and pleasuring Amarantha until she no longer knows her own deepest desires. Increasingly desperate to break the curse that chains his humanity, the Beast drives Amarantha past every boundary. But her desire for a normal life may jeopardize the love that will save them both. I received this novella free from attending the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention (included in a flash drive of 300 books). Gave me a great opportunity to check out some authors I’d been wanting to check out! Unfortunately… I didn’t care for the male character in this book. The Beast promised not to hurt Amarantha, but did anyway. It just bordered on abuse. I know the book is set in the past and wives were treated differently then, but the beatings still bothered me. However… the ending was a lot better than I expected. While I didn’t care too much for this particular story, I did like the writing and would be willing to read more from Jeffe. So I guess that freebie thing worked, huh?

the billionaire's baby bargain by shelli stevens
Dec 17: “The Billionaire’s Baby Bargain” by Shelli Stevens, an erotic contemporary romance novella. Blurb from Goodreads: Searching for adventure, Chloe doesn’t expect to find it in the dark, sexy man who makes his desire—and his intentions to bed her—blatantly clear. Working at one of Spain’s most exclusive resorts, she soon discovers her new lover isn’t just a guest, but the powerful and ruthless owner. Hotel tycoon Andrés Montero’s reputation as Spain’s most elusive bachelor billionaire is slow to trust. And when Andres believes his relationship with Chloe is born from a more sinister purpose, he ends their affair with the harshness of a business deal gone sour. But the realization that Chloe is carrying his baby brings Andrés back into her life, and there’s nothing he won’t do to protect his unborn child—and claim the woman he still secretly desires. Even if he must resort to blackmail. I liked Andres at first, came to dislike him, then finally tolerated him (not exactly how I want to feel toward the male lead). This was another freebie book for me, and I’ve liked some of Shelli’s other stories, but this one was just okay.

collision course by desiree holt
Dec 20: “Collision Course” by Desiree Holt, an erotic romantic suspense novella. Blurb from Goodreads: He's discovered that his boss, international businessman Charles Bennett, is actually dealing in drugs and illegal arms. Killers are on his trail and Tate Buchanan needs a place to hide and use his hacking skills to get the evidence he needs. He finds it in tiny Connelly, Texas, where he also finds hotter than hot Casey McIntyre. After six years with the F.B.I. and four years in Afghanistan marked by a disastrous love affair, Casey is trying to put both her life and her shattered heart back together. Her instincts tell her that the stranger in the family restaurant has trouble on his back but her common sense tells her to stay as far away from him as possible. Of course, common sense never paid attention to combustible chemistry and it's not long before Casey and T.J. (as he now calls himself) are spending every minute together day and night. Can he find the proof he needs before the killers track him down? And when they do, can Casey use all her skills to protect him and keep him safe? A man-in-jeopardy story for a change, where a kickass woman uses all her skills to protect the man she's come to love. I expected the erotica, but not the romantic suspense, which was a pleasant surprise. This was another freebie I got from RT and was glad to have sampled Ms. Holt’s work. If you’re looking for a lot of sex with your romantic suspense, you won’t be disappointed.

dark forest by emma weylinDec 21:Dark Forest” by Emma Weylin, a paranormal erotica novella. Blurb from Goodreads: Evil is stalking the citizens of Dark Forest. Now it’s up to a red-hooded woman and the werewolf determined to make her his mate to track down the killer before he strikes again. Dark Forest is author Emma Weylin’s sexy retelling of a classic fairy tale. Sometimes, even the big bad wolf can be oh-so-good! Rose Merrin is attracted to the one man in Dark Forest suspected of murder. Self-preservation and the townsfolk’s eagle eyes keep her from knowing his touch, even when everything about him calls to her. But when another murder shocks Dark Forest, and a girl who could be her sister disappears, her life becomes dependent on the one man no one trusts. Aiden Hyde holds a dark secret. Proving his innocence would reveal his werewolf heritage. When a new werewolf in town sets his sights on Rose, he has no choice but to step in and protect his mate—whether she knows it or not. Interesting story but WAY too short (only 80 pages long). I like more meat to the stories I read. I'll give her novel a chance, though.

a different shade of blue by hildie mcqueen
Dec 22: “A Different Shade of Blue” by Hildie McQueen, a historical romance novella. Blurb from Goodreads: When Nora Banks hides in a hayloft to find a moment of peace, she doesn't expect the man she's loved from afar for years to climb up and join her, or that both their fathers find them in such a compromising situation. The last thing Grayson Cole wants is to be attached to the only woman that's affected him since his late wife. Now that everyone expects him to marry her, can he risk that kind of pain again? Neither Nora nor Grayson plan to go through with the marriage, not when their pasts are obstacles too great to overcome. But when the tides turn and those that demanded the wedding now try to pull them apart, they decide to fight it. After reading all those eroticas, this was a nice breath of fresh air—haha! This is another freebie from RT from an author I’ve sat beside at a couple of book signings (because we were seated alphabetically), so I thought it was time I read her work. I wasn’t disappointed. This was a fun read.

One thing I learned from all this reading (which got me within 3 books of my yearly goal—yay!), is I’m REALLY not fond of novellas. Sure, they helped with the book count and introduced me to some authors I hadn’t read before, but most of them were so thin. I want more to my reading. Next year I’ll lower my reading goal and concentrate on reading actual BOOKS!

Okay, sorry this post is super long! I promise, pictures of the cruise on Friday (which could also become a long post—but easier on the eyeballs, right?).

Have a Merry, Merry Christmas!! Got any traditions you’re looking forward to? Or maybe NOT looking forward to?

Happy Reading!



JeffO said...

Merry Christmas, Stacy!

Maria Zannini said...

Merry Christmas, Stacy!

My new tradition this year is having a husband at home over the holidays and from now on.

The Happy Whisk said...

We do indeed. We have Solstice tradition and Xmas ones. Very fun stuff. We love this time of year. I know some poo poo gift giving but screw that, we enjoy it. Life's too short, not to have as much fun as possible.

Four-days off work for Frankenberry as well. Hot dog.

Happy Christmas my friend. I've loved reading about your adventures in writing and life. You always make me laugh and that short story I read of yours last night gave me the tingles.

Great stuff.

Hugs & Bugs,
- Me

Stacy McKitrick said...

Merry Christmas, Jeff!

Maria - That's a very good tradition to have! Merry Christmas!

Ivy - Don't count me among those who poo-poo gift giving! I LOVE giving gifts--as you can tell from looking at our tree (getting presents is pretty good, too!). Thanks again for your lovely words regarding my story. Merry Christmas!

The Happy Whisk said...

I don't think of you as a poo poo er. poopooer? Really, I don't know how to spell it but I think you're far too fun to be a poo poo head.

PS: It's Sunday and we're all piled in the Christmas (movie), room, not moving.

It's heaven. Heaven I say, heaven.

Happy Sunday & Happy 2015.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Poopooer. Hahahahahaha! :)