Saturday, February 28, 2015

Recent Reads

I am easily pleased when it comes to books and sometimes I wonder if I come across as a Harriet Klausner type author *shuddering at the thought*  I have a tendency not to do reviews on the books that don’t work for me so it may seem as if none do.

Besides being easily pleased, when I find an author I really like, I tend to like all their books.  But these two reviews are exceptions to the rules of Kristie.  The first one in the series I loved, the second I loathed – as you will see if you keep reading.
Here is the first Book in the series....

Alex (Cold Fury Hockey, #1)Alex by Sawyer Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First thing I have to get off my chest on this book – I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED. LOVED IT. DO YOU HEAR ME WORLD, I LOVED IT.

Ok – got that off my chest. I enjoyed this book so much I inhaled it almost in one sitting and now it’s my obligation and delight to explain why. I have read a few other Sawyer Bennett books; some I loved, some, well, one – not so much. She has another hockey series, the “Off” series and I read and really enjoyed the first 3 I read and ordered the whole set. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t finish reading them, I certainly enjoyed them. But I didn’t. So when I saw this book, the start of a new series, the Cold Fury Series, I snapped it right up.

Now this is a sports themed, hockey in particular romance. I’m Canadian and for many of us, it’s almost like it’s in our DNA even if we don’t watch it much. I know it’s in mine and while I don’t watch a whole lot any more, I do keep track of the woeful Toronto Maple Leafs *a moment’s silence here…………….* and I watched it religiously when I was young. And I went to MANY a game when I was in my teen years and the local Junior B had a team with most of their players my age – so you can only guess what one of the big draws was there. All of this is to say that I “KNOW” hockey. So I’m always holding my breath when I start a hockey romance, hoping the author ‘gets’ the sport. And thankfully Ms. Bennett does

Alex Crossman, the hero, of our story is a jerk. In fact he is called the MVP – Most Valuable Prick - by many of the fans. He is amazingly talented but his attitude sucks donkey balls (a phrase coined by another but one I love)
In desperation, the team brass forces him to join forces with a local social worker, Sutton Price and our heroine, in a drug awareness campaign.
The love for this book started right from page 1. Though he comes across a jerk - and in fact he really is one, it’s a form of protection for a very abusive childhood. His father was cruel and sadistic to him and Alex has had to develop a tough shell. Though he doesn’t mind helping Sutton, in fact it’s something he could really get on board doing, he hates being forced into anything – that chip on the shoulder attitude. He shows up late, doesn’t want to cooperate at first, that kind of thing. But Sutton doesn’t give up on him. She also has come from a very abusive background and though she doesn’t know the details of Alex’s past, like recognizes like. But instead of being bitter and angry and lashing out, she has used her experiences to help others. And through her patience and caring, Alex slowly drops his attitude and become a much kinder Alex. And of course, since this is a romance, they develop a relationship.

Both Alex and Sutton are AMAZING characters. They are like two different side of the same coin in so many ways. Their growing love for each other and as a result, the love scenes are smokin’. And I mean bring a fan and some ice. It’s getting to the point where I yawn and skim many a sex scene but these were so well written and fit in so well with the story they really worked for me.

And before I go I simply have to say that in one particular scene, after Alex screws things up, it is THE. BEST. GROVEL. SCENE. EVER!!! I LOVED every single word, every sentence, every comma and every period. I loved the nuance and I loved the picture it put in my head. This book needs to be read if only for that scene alone.

Wrapping up, this book is wonderful. I already have the next in the series on pre-order and I know I’ll be reading this book again and again – and soon. The first read went by too quickly. A hearty thumbs up for Alex by Sawyer Bennett.


And now we have my review of the second one in the series...

 with a very different reaction

Garrett (Cold Fury Hockey, #2)Garrett by Sawyer Bennett
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve had such a good run with Sawyer Bennett books so far this year. I think I’ve read more of her books than any other author. Alex in particular, was a most excellent read. So it’s with a great deal of sadness that I say the next book in the series, Garrett, isn’t working for me at all. Garrett played a role in the first book and now he stars in this one. To put it simply, Garrett is a pig, a man-whore, a player of more than just hockey. In almost the first scene in this book, he’s in bed with two women and he doesn’t even really remember their names. He never dates the same woman more than once. The one time he did go on three dates with a woman it was only that it took him that long to get into her pants – his words. Pig. Not. Hero. Material. Now the women who allow themselves to be treated like aren’t any better, but he is supposed to be a hero *snort*.

And then he sees Olivia at a pre-season team party, the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen and he is IN LUST yet again. He hits on her, but she’s not playing. It turns out they have mutual acquaintances and when they run into each other again, she has changed her mind and wants to be another notch in his very long, very notched belt. She is facing life altering events in her life and she wants to live it to the fullest and that includes having hot and heavy sex with a man she is very attracted to. And lo and behold, Alex is smitten. The man, who slept with over 50 different women a year, but never the same one twice, never wants to fuck another woman. Yep – that’s how he explains things. As does she. They are both very crude in their language with each other. Sawyer Bennett does write in graphic words but it’s never really stood out the way it does in this book. While not a prude, I did find the language offensive. I found Garrett offensive. I found Olivia offensive. There seemed to be no tenderness between them other than her illness, no tender murmurings, just plain gutter language – all the time. Dirty talk can be very sexy, but I found theirs ugly. I found their entire relationship sex based, not love based

I found her best friend offensive. Not so much that he was gay – but that he was FLAMING gay. I felt he was way too much of a stereotype. I found Alex and Sutton bland. They were such vivid characters in their own story. But I think the author gave them a boring pill for this book.

Another thing that really irritated me; Olivia’s mother came to stay with her for a while to help her through some rough times. Garrett and Olivia waited until she went to bed and then boffed like bunnies. No, just, no. I was young and horny and newly married once and slept under the same roof as family but I didn’t do any boffing.

And not finished yet, another thing I found unrealistic is Olivia’s reaction to her health condition. It barely seemed to really register with her. I get that a new relationship with a hot young hockey player would be number one on her mind, but I just found her reaction to her illness unbelievable. Towards the end, just when I thought it would be hard to dislike the characters any more, I did.

I love Sawyer Bennett books and considering the number I’ve loved, I’m not going to stop reading her, but I hope the next one I read is softer, gentler and more believable than this one. There are a lot of very positive reviews for this book so I feel like one of a very small group of salmon swimming upstream *grin* but I did not like this one, no I did not. I give it two stars because I finished it and it was quite readable.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Random Ramblings

Is that not a catchy title or what!!  I’m quite impressed I came with that jaunty heading.  I used to call these "Ponderings"  but I think I like this better.

Anyway – it’s Friday, my CC’s are all off which means I won’t have any new work coming to me.  I don’t have anyone sitting in my little quad pod – they are normally staffed by my missing Care Coordinators, so I’m lonely and as I’m also working the weekend, I want to have some things left to do.  Plus I’m bored.  So you get the meanderings of my mind.

I think many readers, somewhere in their psyche may have a writer in them.  I do, but I realized long ago that while I have the desire I do NOT have the talent to wright a romance book.  It would be so cliché ridden as to become a joke.  I tried to do one many years ago, got a page and a half written and it was such crap.  That’s why I admire the heck out of authors.  Even if I don’t love their books, I appreciate they can get it from their imaginations down to paper.  I have a number of stories floating around in my head that I’m constantly editing and changing, adding scenes and characters etc.  Now the two main characters of all the different stories have definite names and personalities.  And I found myself in an odd situation when my son and daughter in law decided to give the same name to their son, my grandson, to the hero of one of my oldest imagination books.  I don’t let out to people that I have imaginary stories with imaginary characters weaving through out my head so it was pure coincidence they chose the name Jace.

When they told me what they planned to name him, I was a tad flummoxed.  While I love the name, it’s in actual fact the name of an outlaw in the old west, who wants to escape his past and decides to head west when he comes across a wagon traveling west.  It was a lone wagon as they had been abandoned by the rest of the wagon train due to the illness and subsequent death of the mother and father of a young woman, Sarah.  Jace had planned on robbing the wagon and was spying on them from a distance when he saw the daughter break down, her father having just dies in her arms and her mother passed away the day before.  Jace rides to see her, still contemplating just robbing her but as inside he’s a good guy, agrees to accompany her to the next wagon train station they come across.  Of course once they get there, he can’t really leave her for one reason or another and agrees to take her on to another wagon train a few days ahead of them.

Right from the beginning he has strong feelings for Sarah, but denies them.  And Sarah sees him as her hero.

Anyway, anyway – how could I possibly tell my son that he couldn’t use that name as it was already taken…. by me????? And he was almost like Ryan’s younger imaginary brother – well – not really as this is a romance and I admit that Sarah and I may share some characteristics (Mary Sue).  I couldn’t.  So now what do I do?  Jace and Sarah have been percolating for years.  By now they are quite real.  But my little grandbaby is really real – not just imaginary real.  It’s too late to give “my” Jace a different name.

My son does not understand my passion for romances so it would have been way too odd to tell him you can’t name your son that because he’s also a character in my head.


I wonder if anyone else ever has this kind of thing happen to them?? 

And in acknowledgement – while there are some differences, there are many similarities in the story in my head to my MOST FAVOURITE WESTERN ROMANCE OF ALL TIME, Outlaw Heats by Roseanne Bittner – another reason I couldn’t write my own romance.  I would probably unwittingly steal from other authors whose stories I’ve loved.

Oh Happy Dance! Happy Day, Happy Dance! 
 This is one of the few books I would pay any price to buy as an ebook, but it’s not available as an ebook.  But just now, just for the hell of it I checked Amazon and I wish you could all see how excited I am at this moment, but it IS coming out as an ebook!! It is!  It is!  June 2/15 – I just pre-ordered it.
SWEET, SWEET, SWEET, SWEET.  The direction of this post certainly took

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Recent Read

Since I went to see a real live Rock Star Tuesday night, I thought I'm make this my first review now that I'm back in the saddle.

Rise (Rock Solid, #1)Rise by Karina Bliss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars

I discovered Karina Bliss with What the Librarian Did, loved it, got all her backlist and have read every new book since then so it was a given that I would read Rise, her first single title and what seems to be the first of a series.

We first get to know Zander in Librarian and he's a first class, egotistical, selfish jerk. And he didn't really improve much in the next couple of books he appeared in. So I wasn't sure how I would react to him in Bliss and for at least the first half of the book it was not in a positive way and it was kind of tough going. It was Elizabeth, his biographer and his friend and eventually his lover that kept me reading a book when I didn't like the hero. Elizabeth makes for a wonderful heroine. She's funny, intelligent, grounded and more than capable of holing her own against the over-inflated ego that is Zander.

A bit about the book. Zander Freedman is the lead singer of a very popular Rock band named Rage. There decline is outlined in the book What the Librarian Did and is about Devin, Zander's younger brother and the lead bass. The band imploded when Devin collapsed onstage from over excess of the lifestyle that goes on with that kind of life. In Bliss, Zander has reformed the band with different musicians and is preparing to take Rage on a worldwide tour. In order to get even more publicity, he hires Elizabeth, a respected biographer of historical figures. She, of course, is reluctant as all get out since this kind of biography but Zander is a force to be reckoned with and is next to impossible to say no to with his charismatic ways.

So this is the story of Elizabeth trying to get the story from him. He dodges, cancels, only tells half truths and in general very difficult, but hard to stay angry at.

The book started out in my head as a 2, then as the book went along and Zander slowly became less of a prick, I upgraded to a 3, then a 3 1/2, then a 4 and ended as a 4 1/2. There was never any doubt though that Ms. Bliss lost no points as an author even if i wasnt feeling this one at the beginning and even as I was reading about this fairly dislikeable 'hero' I knew I'd be counting down until her next book in the series I enjoy her writing and stories that much.

So you did it Karina Bliss. You fully redeemed Zander Freedman for me so much to the point my throat was closing up as his was. You gave him the perfect partner in Elizabeth who could help with his oh so enjoyable transformation.

'Til later


Because I was bored and fellow worker bees are still offering their help, I was checking out GoodReads for other reviews of this book and I stumbled upon a bit of news I hadn't really realized.  If you sign up for Karina Bliss' newsletter, there is a little bonus section where Zander meets Elizabeth's parents.  I did not know that.  Now I do, I signed up and I'm about to go on lunch and while on lunch, read said bonus!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Yep - believe it or not - I'm back again!

“Wowzers!” anyone still visiting here will be thinking.  “Wait a minute, didn’t you just do a post yesterday?”

Yes, yes I did and I’m doing another one today.  Work has slowed down considerably and I’m one of the few ones with stuff to do and I’m bombarded with other Assistants wanting to know if I need help.  I don’t really – but they want to do something and if I have them help me with my work, it gives me time to do this – win/win

I was brief yesterday but I’ll get more wordy today – something I’m always on board with.  What’s going on my life?  Let’s see.  Just got through a very tough time.  I’ve never named where I work here and don’t plan on doing it today.  But I will say I work in health care.  I work as an assistant to what we call Care Coordinators, most of them nurses.  They help arrange for home care for clients getting out of the hospitals, going to nursing homes (though I’ve nothing to do with that special focus) and kinds of other interesting things.  I have two Care Coordinators myself that I do administrative work for but I work on a team within a team with 16 in total and I love them.  I know people complain about the health care system in Ontario – and a lot of it with good reason.  But daily I see these people are dedicated to helping others and often go that extra mile.

Now they went on strike a few weeks ago.  Again, I’m not going into the issues, but what they were asking for was completely reasonable and all of their assistants all across the province were behind them 100%, encouraging them and offering all the support we could. 

But we are in a different union so we still had to go into work.  And because they were out and upper management were spread very thin, we assistants had to step up and take on a lot of the responsibilities that we are normally expected or trained to do.  We aren’t nurses and we don’t have the expertise we needed to handle a lot of the calls.  Some of the ones I took were SO difficult because they needed to speak to their coordinator and their Coordinator wasn’t there.  They are back at work now thank goodness, but it really did upset my depression apple cart.  I felt the same way as I did back in September when it was so bad.  But thankfully the meds I’m taking are good and our very dear Care Coordinators are back and my work world isn’t so topsy turvy again.

 In other news, I’m headed to RWA again year.  And me and Wendy are going to be roomies again – yea!!  We weren’t for a couple of years – she was Librarian of the Year – and most deservedly so – and last year I skipped it as the money was allocated to a total redo of my bathroom.  I’m so excited for that.  It’s tradition now *grin*

I’m also a grandma – not sure if I’ve blogged about that.  Yes, my youngest son and his wife whom I love to bits and bits had a little boy last October.  And Jace is his name.  He’s cute as a bug – as I imagine all grannies say about their granbabies.  It’s amazing how much I’d forgotten over the years about taking care of a newborn.  The holding the head thing freaked me out.  I’m glad he can hold his own head now.  Right now he’s in Mexico with his mama and papa.  Two weeks after that he’s headed to Florida with his mom and his other grandparents and in May he’s headed to Italy.  It’s very strange when six month old baby has done way more traveling than his granny.

While I haven’t been blogging lately – a long lately – I have been doing reviews on GoodReads.  I signed up there for a Challenge and gave myself 60 books to read this year.  Astonishingly I’m up to 30 all ready.  That’s what happens when you need a new cable box because the sound has gone on the one you have now.  And the only station where the sound is normal is CNN.  And as anyone who has tried to do it, watching CNN can be depressing!!!!! And – why is everything “
Breaking News” there??
I’d watch a story at say 5:00 pm and then again at 11:00 and it’s the same story and it’s still breaking.  Breaks don’t take that long.  I know.  I had a break in my leg and it only takes seconds.

Now, one might ask “But why doesn’t she just take the box back and get a new one instead of watching Wolf Blitzer every day.”  And that would be a real good question, I don’t like Wolf Blitzer.  I do like Anderson Cooper though.  I think everyone likes Anderson Cooper – how can you not?   The answer as to why I haven’t got a new box is I don’t really have an answer for that – except it’s electronicky and I don’t like electronicky.  I don’t watch much TV except for Face Off every Tuesday.  And I’ve gotten pretty fast at reading the captions.   I will have to before April though when the next season of Outlander comes on.  We have to have good sound for that – it’s imperative. 

But, I’ve read a lot more books than usual.  And I’ve done reviews for all of them at Goodreads and it seems easy as anything to copy and paste them on the blog.  So that’s what I plan to do – that along with my ramblings about all kinds of stuff.

And my final rambling of today……  This was who I saw last night and he was WONDERFUL!!!

I saw him 30 years ago on his Reckless tour the first time around and now I saw him again last night.  He's looking much older.  Of course when I saw him the first time it was The Palace of Auborn Hills and he was at the front and we were at the very back so he was about 1/2 inch tall.  And while our tickets last night were very good, I have, I think, 5 pairs of glasses for me near sightedness - I think that's when you can't see things far away - which makes no sense - and I couldn't find a one of them.  So while he was much bigger last night, he was also quite fuzzy.

OK, OK, OK - since his Mama pastes his pics on Facebook all the time - is he not just cute as a button?  Was I right or was I right!

and what does it say about me that I make the picture of Bryan Adams bigger than the one of my grandson????  I think it's maybe because I'm still not 100% on board posting pics of him - granbaby that is - not Bryan.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Yes indeedy, it is me making a rare appearnce

Hi!  Yes!!  It is indeed me again after yet another lengthy unplanned absence.  But I had to come back – hopefully more often – but also to give some great news.  I very rarely send fan letters to authors.  I should do it more often – we all want to hear when we do a good job and that job has made others feel good, but I alas, I am remiss.  I did however send one letter of appreciation and inquiry lately.  I was so excited when I saw that Lord of the Storm and Skypirate were released as ebooks.  I’ve already bought, read and loved them all over again.  But another series she wrote I equally loved – the Hawk Trilogy.  Buoyed by the excitement of finding the Coalition books out as ebooks, I wrote to her to see if there were any plans for the Hawk series.  I head back from her on Monday and yes indeed the Hawk ones were coming out – in fact the first one, Wild Hawk, was coming out Feb 24/15 with the next two planned for March and April. 

Well, lickety split, before one could say uncle, I raced over to Amazon and pre-ordered it.  And since TODAY is Feb 24/15, well, it was like my birthday when I first checked out my Kindle app.  I’m just about finished a book, but you can bet your bottom dollar you can all guess what my next one will be.   It’s been years since I read it, but I looooved it.  It’s one I’ve never forgotten over the years.  Here is the synopsis:

"Jason Hawk only came to his father's funeral to spit on his grave. That was the best the old man deserved from the bastard son he'd never given a damn about. The son whose plan for revenge had now been derailed by Aaron Hawk's death. Or had it?

Kendall Chase was Aaron Hawk's smart and efficient executive assistant, and had come to know a side of the old man that few saw. But convincing Jason there had been more to his father, more to his whole life's story than Jason knew, wasn't easy. He was as tough as the father he hated. And more compelling than any man she'd ever met.

Convincing him the mysterious Hawk family book, a history now chronicling treachery and murder, had answers even for things yet to occur, was a much bigger job. Despite his attraction to her, the only part of Kendall's stories Jason believes is that his father's vicious widow is determined to see that Jason gets none of the inheritance left him.

In the end, Jason has to make a decision. Is the magic real? Or more importantly, is the revenge he's wanted for nearly 30 years, worth losing Kendall"