Monday, April 12, 2021

My Ramblings on Audio Books

 





I’ve been rather absent lately, not because of any particular reason except nothing much has been happening that I’ve felt worth blogging about.  I go no where and I see no one – well except for Easter.  I stayed overnight visiting my sister but that’s about it.

I’m desperately in need of vacation but since I work in health care and here in Ontario the covid numbers are going up and up and there is another province wide shut down so they’ve kind of said no to vacations or LOA – all hands on deck, that kind of thing.  Thank goodness we can rant to each other.

 

One of the things I’ve been doing to distress when not working other than reading is watching YouTube – A/ Lot.  And one of the things I’m finding fun to watch is romance video bloggers.  There are a number I follow.  I find it interesting though as number of the books they recommend are audio books.  When they explain them I kind of scratch my head a bit as they call them books read and I kind of think of them as books listened to, not so much read but then that’s me just hair splitting.

 

I’ve thought I need to get on board the audio book train.  I was relatively late on the eBook train thinking I would never want to read books that way.  However, once I hopped on board, I read about 98% ebooks now and I didn’t think that would ever happen.  But I’ve no idea where to even start!!  I see where I can sign up on Amazon with Audiobook but I’d just as soon not rely on Amazon.  I already feel bad about getting so many kindle books through them.  I have been listening to more and more samples though and that brings up another issue I might have with audio books and that is I find myself very critical of the way they are read.  Either I don’t like the reader’s voice or they don’t pronounce something the way I would or I’m constantly critiquing the emphasis.  I can see myself arguing with them – “that’s not the way it should read”.  So even though I say I should try it, I’m still not sure.

 

Then I think I should get in the habit as I’m extremely – and I mean really, really, really squeamish when it comes to eye stuff.  Even watching someone put drops in their eyes squicks me out.  There is not a chance in hell I would ever be able to wear contacts.  The fatalist in me figures that since I’m so passionate about reading, I’ll probably go blind.  That’s a huge plus to ebooks is being able to adjust the size of the fonts.

 

Anyway – that’s just me rambling on about the latest thing in reading.

 

Til later









Saturday, March 20, 2021

Recent Read

 

Once We Were Starlight by Mia Sheridan


While I was reading this book, I tweeted asking if anyone else has read a book that is painful to read.  And I meant in a good way.  It’s a book that is so well written that it’s as if you are there, a part of the story, like a silent observer.  Such is the case with this book.  It’s not an easy read in many ways but oh so well worth reading

 

The first part of the book takes place in a mid-east country in some kind of small city and the main characters are Karys and Zakai, two young people who have lived in this place since they were very young.  From the very beginning there was a very strong bond between them and as they got older, this strong bond turned physical.  Only this place wasn’t paradise, it was a place people came from all over the world to watch deviant sexual acts and once the owner was aware of what was going on between Karys and Zakai, they became part of the “entertainment” as brother and sister having sex with each other.  Thankfully, the book isn’t very descriptive in this area.

 

Karys is very naïve and doesn’t really understand what’s really going on and in order to protect her, Zakai makes almost a game of it.  All the other ‘prisoners’ also try and shield her so she doesn’t see how depraved it all is and sees everyone as almost family.  Eventually Karys and Zakai are rescued and Karys is sent to live with an uncle she has never met.  Zakai was a beggar and an orphan and has nowhere to go but he is also sent to New York.  Karys finds things very difficult as she has always had Kai with her and now her uncle tries to discourage their special bond.

 

Then for reasons Karys doesn’t understand, Zakai smashes the bond and they are estranged.  They are still in each other’s orbit in a way.  Zakai goes on to become a very successful model and she sees him on billboards and print adds.  Karys has become a successful author of YA fantasy books.

 

The story opens and then ends with a confrontation between the two and the story in between is their history.

This is just a very brief synopsis of this heartbreaking romance and I know I don’t have the words to adequately describe how very impactful it is.  Karys and Zakai are beautiful together and the love between them is intense and passionate.  It’s the kind of book that haunts you and stays with you even when you aren’t reading and long after you’ve finished  My heart broke for both of them.

It is told entirely from Karys’ point of view except for the final chapter which is from Zakai.  I know in the past the author has written duets from each POV and I’m really hoping this is the plan for this book too.  We can infer quite a bit what Zakai is going through but I’d love to see it directly through his eyes.

 

This is such a beautiful, haunting, painful, amazing book and I’m at risk of overdosing on superlatives.

 

Mia Sheridan can write such powerful and emotional books and in this book she is at her finest.


Grade: A+





One last thing just in case you aren't sure and wondering, this is a romance and the number one criteria for a romance is the HEA


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

2021 TBR Challenge for March

 Wicked Dangerous by Julie Kriss


This is my choice for this month’s #TBR Challenge, Books by a Favourite Author.  And Julie Kriss certainly qualifies for this.  I have and have read all of her backlist.  This is the fourth and final book of her Filthy Rich series about 4 lifelong friends who banded together and made it rich. 

 

This is Alex story.  It’s been hinted at throughout the series that he was the only married one but it ended in divorce and this is a second chance romance.  Kat is his ex and though the marriage is over, Alex has never really been able to let her go completely and keeps tabs on her and how she’s doing through a private detective.  Sadly, Kat’s life hasn’t been that great.  She travels around like a tumbleweed working as a bar tender.  After observing from a distance, Alex charges back in her life when one night after work Kat is accosted and there is an attempt to kidnap her and she ends up in the hospital.  Blake rushes to her rescue and they conclude that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and she saw something she shouldn’t have.  And that means she isn’t safe.  Almost against her will because these are both very stubborn people, Alex whisks her out of the hospital and takes her to his home to keep her safe until they figure out who it is trying to kidnap her.

 

They were very young when they met and eloped and this is also a wrong side of the tracks story.  Alex lived almost hand to mouth with his friends and Kat came from wealth.  However the attraction between them was so strong they couldn’t stay away from each other.  Because they were young and stubborn, their marriage was almost doomed to fail.  When a third party interfered, rather than talk things out, they both went off the handle and called things off and though they have both moved on, well except for Alex who kept watch from afar, they have never really gotten over each other and though they fight it, Kat in particular, the feelings and attraction is still there.  Will they get a second chance with each other?  That is the story.

 

I’ll admit, this book wasn’t in the TBR pile for very long.  Julie Kriss is an autobuy author and I probably would have read this book even sooner but I was committed to my Black author reads for the month of February.  This is a rather short book as are most of her books but it’s still very good.  You can feel the draw between them and I love that Alex has pined for Kat for years even though he would never call it pining.  We get just enough of the previous characters.  Julie Kriss is an author who is undervalued in my opinion.  She’s written some very good books and a number of them have been 5 stars for me and I’m glad to highlight her for this months challenge.


Grade B+

Monday, March 15, 2021

An author I found while in lock down

 

Ball Peen Hammer (The Morgan Brothers, #3)Ball Peen Hammer by Lauren Rowe


5++

This book is a riot and I think I was either smiling or laughing through most of it. I’ve never read a hero quite like Keane Morgan before. He struck me as being over the top at the beginning of the book and to be honest I wasn’t sure how far I was going to make it. However, once I got used to him, I couldn’t read this book fast enough and I just adored him.
Keane is a stripper by trade and according to him, he’s the best in the world. His stage name is Ball Peen Hammer. I think I’m a bit naïve as I’m not sure what exactly what that means in the world outside of actual hammers. Stripping isn’t his first choice of career and while it takes a while, we do see what his first choice was and it’s sad he didn’t get to succeed. He’s determined to be the best at his second choice though.
He’s also the world’s greatest lover – according to him – and every woman wants him. He claims he knows everything there is to know about women and he has no problems at all confirming this to everyone he meets. He’s just a hoot and I just love him to pieces.


There is one woman though who doesn’t seem to fall at his feet and that is of course our heroine Maddy. She is on a road trip to California to attend college and her older sister doesn’t want her traveling alone so she arranges for Keane to be her travel buddy for the trip. Keane had been planning on heading to L.A to do some auditions and visit his younger brother, an aspiring singer. Keane almost doesn’t make it though as he doesn’t listen to his voice mail or read his text messages. That whole screw up is so cute and so funny. They finally do get things sorted out and start their road trip. And every single bit of the journey is a delight. Keane is completely unfiltered and says whatever he thinks, most of all about sex and what a sex god he is. Maddy describes Keane as Daffy Duck trapped inside Prince Charming’s body. Throughout their trip they are both determined not to fall for each other but they do become fast friends. And of course, because they aren’t supposed to be anything other than pals, they do begin to fall for each other but neither really clues in on their changing feelings. Keane in particular is hilarious as he is in total denial about what’s happening. They are both bummed when the 3-day trip is over, they gotten so close.


In addition to the relationship between Keane and Maddy, there is an equally well done, touching, and hilarious relationship between Keane and his roommate Zander. Never have I read such a close bond between friends and I bow to the author for writing this relationship.


It’s a bit frustrating, as no matter how I write this review, I can’t seem to do the book justice. There’s a whole lot I haven’t written about. I think it would take at least three pages to share everything that makes this book a book that blows me away. It took until close to the end of the year, but this is my favourite book of 2020 and as I’ve read more books than ever, the fact Ball Peen Hammer is my number one book of the year just says how much I loved it. This is a new too me author and as this is the second in a series you can bet your bottom dollar I’m going to be reading the whole set of them and her other books as well. In a year full of darkness, this book shone such a bright light.



Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Recent Read

 

This is the second book in this series and Olivia Dyer is the heroine.  She is the youngest one of the Dyer family and like her older brother and sister works at the family distillery.  She is in charge of the events and advertising and she is slowly trying to come back from a breakdown she had when things went very wrong at the distillery and she took the entire thing on her shoulders.  She’s recovering but she’s still a work in progress.  She’s working a wedding at the distillery when near disaster strikes with the kitchen staff and she is rescued by a very unlikely person.

 

Anders Berg is the very sexy pro hockey playing hero.  His brother plays for the local team and he is in town for his brother’s wedding, being held at said distillery.  He sees Olivia and right away is attracted to her and ends up spending much of the wedding helping in the kitchen.  She is as attracted to Anders as he is to her and they enjoy some ‘personal’ time together.  But as he plays in a different city and his whole focus in on hockey, it’s to remain a one night stand.

 

Several months later he happens to be traded to the local team his brother plays on and he happens to run into Olivia.  Their attraction is just as strong but Ice (as he is called) is still focused on moving ahead in his hockey career which means he’s only on a pit stop before he moves to a more hockey focused city and Olivia is still in the healing stage and very vulnerable and not sure she is ready for any kind of permanent relationship.  But they do agree to a no string thing.  And you know what happens when it’s supposed to be no strings.  All of a sudden there are all kinds of them.  Olivia opens up to Ice and he gives her more support and encouragement than she’s ever had before.  And while he doesn’t realize it, Ice is falling equally hard for her.

 

I love this book.  What can be sexier than a Swedish hockey player who is still learning the English language and still thinks in his native tongue.  While his professional life is all out of whack, he is so good for Olivia, the reader can’t help but fall for him too.

 

And I love Olivia.  The way Ms. Cole writes about her struggles is so true.  As on who experiences from depression I know there was one scene with her and while reading it, I was thinking YES!!  This is exactly how I’m feeling.  The author gets it.

The way Scarlett Cole writes is amazing and I so recommend her to anyone who loves a good romance.


Grade: A




Sunday, March 07, 2021

Kind of a Recent Read- but not really

 

During my absence I still wrote reveiws on GoodReads.  I've signed up for their reading challenge for the past few years and this is a book I first read in October of 2021.  I just finished the second book in this series so before I post a review of it, I thought I'd post the review of this first book.  Plus this is a test to see if I could still copy and paste the review from GoodReads here.  I know I could but as I've been away for a while and some things have changed, I wasn't sure I could figure out if I still could.  Turns out I can so I did.

I'm ever so glad because now when my brain is stuck for something to post, until it unfreezes I can post a review.  And since I read and reviewed 177 books in 2020 even though my goal was 140 books, which means I scored 126% I can afford a number of brain freezes and still post.  Yeah.


Love in Numbers (Love Distilled #1)Love in Numbers by Scarlett Cole

4.5 out of 5

I’m a huge fan of this author. I’ve really enjoyed reading The Second Circle Tattoos series and I’m simply mad for the Preload series. I’ve read all of the books in this series at least twice, some (Jordan Reclaimed) at least 4 times. So when I saw her tweet that she would be releasing a new book the next day, well guess what the first thing I did was. And guess what I started reading the same day.

Connor is the hero. He’s been working for his father’s liquor distribution company for a while now and as his father is due to retire soon, Connor is ready to take over and make a number of changes hoping to go for higher quality.
Emmerson is the heroine and she has what seems the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her beloved father recently passed away very unexpectedly and she becomes head of Dyers Distillery. While she has a younger brother and sister to help, she doesn’t want to burden them so feels she has to handle everything herself. She and Connor meet on a plane when they are both headed to the same awards ceremony and Connor is a jerk to her. He’s a jerk, but a very hot jerk and despite the off putting meeting, she does find him very fine. But as soon as he hears her name, Connor knows who she is. She’s the daughter of the man his father holds responsible for all the hard times he had when he got their company up and running.

One of the things Connor thinks of is acquiring Dyers Distillery. But when they end up sitting together at the award ceremony, the both see that the first impression they had of each other is all wrong. The more Connor gets to know Emmerson, the more he admires her for her strength and loyalty to her family and the business. It isn’t long before they become very close and Connor sees what a real family company is.

This book isn’t as angsty as the Preload series and has a totally different vibe to it. But I still was smitten with it and definitely keeps Scarlet Cole as one of my top favourite authors. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a book that gives you the warm and fuzzies.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

So! You want to buy me a book and you want to know which one

 


This can be a tricky question you are asking.  I’m a picky eater and unfortunately a picky reader too.  The first ones up are by a small group of authors that I either pre-order if that is an option or I’m on their mailing list and the second I see the book is out, I snap it right up.  And I do believe I have the entire back lists of all these author.  These include, in no particular order

 Pamela Clare   Carian Cole   Scarlet Cole   Lisa Kleypas

Julie Kriss,   LH Cosway   Ellen O’Connell

There’s no sense in getting a book for me by any of these authors as chance are I already own it or will have it on Day 1

Now that’s not all my autobuy authors.  I have rather a large group, but with this next group of authors,  I tend to check the price and read the synopsis.  Chances are about 95% I will still get the book, but it’s not as instantaneous.  This list is much larger.  Again in no particular order

Mia Sheridan   Brenda Rothert   Emma Scott   Vi Keeland

Penelope Ward   Jo Goodman   Kristin Callihan   A. Meredith Walter

Brittainy C Cherry   Jane Harvey-Berrick   Lisa B Kamps   Elle Kennedy

Aly Martinez   Courtney Milan   Sara Ney   Winter Renshaw   Samantha Towle

 

So you might not want to get me a book from any of these authors as I may or may not have a copy.  Since that’s the case, I’ll instead use tropes rather than specific authors as I’m sure I could add a few more authors to the list above.


Royalty

I don’t care for romance books that have royal characters, either real or made up.  I see them and pass right by.  When you think of it though this is a rather odd eliminator as what are fairy tales at heart but romance stories for young girls.


****

Vampire

I have read vampire romance but never been a real fan of them.  I read the first two books of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward for example and while I enjoyed them well enough, the enjoyment didn’t reach the height it did for many romance readers. I read a couple of Christine Feehan Dark series and it was the same thing except they creeped me out.  So no, don’t waste your money on Vampire books.

I don’t have the same issues with werewolves or other shifter type heroes but keep in mind, I don’t really read a lot of them.

****

Billionaires

I see these books and pass right by them.  As with other tropes, I may read them if a favoured author has written any but that’s pretty much the only exception.  To go along with this I could also add any high falutin’ white collar romances.  Give me a good carpenter or auto mechanic and I’m on board, but a lawyer or doctor – not so much.


****

Aristocracy

(Simon, Duke of Hastings excluded of course)
Here I’m referring more to historicals.  Again, I won’t ignore books by favoured authors such as Lisa Kleypas but I’m so much more drawn to a non-titled hero such as Derek Craven then I am to Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent.  So if the hero is a boxer or the owner of a gambling establishment, then I think you are safe but a duke or a viscount or earl, you shouldn’t risk it.  There are exceptions but it’s too confusing to explain them all.

****

Angel or demons

Not interested so again a money waster.  I know they are popular now and I did read one years ago, Angel for Hire by Justine Davis that I adored but that was a rarity.





****

Motorcycle Gangs

I know these type are very popular with many a romance reader but on the whole, not so much for me.  When I see a freebie or one on sale, I tend to skip it.  And while Charlie Hunnam is indeed very fine to look at, I never watched and never wanted to watch Sons of Anarchy.

~~~~~~~

On the other hand, here are some suggestions as to books I do go for

SciFi

 

I love a good SciFi romance so unless the hero has scales or is lizard like, I’m willing to give it a try.  And of course, just like everything else, there is an exception. I love Radiance by Grace Draven and I think he might be on the more lizard-like of the scale.

****

Westerns


Though I haven’t read as many lately, I do love this genre so it’s another good choice should you wish to buy me a book.  Reformed outlaws are the best.  Who doesn’t love a bad boy whether in a contemporary or historical book eh?

****

Medievals


Back in the day there were a lot of medieval being written (and read by me) but there don’t seem to be as many these days.  Hopefully they will make a resurgence

****

Sports romance


I’m a big sports fan so I love this trope.  The only sport I’m not interested in really is basketball.  I don’t follow that sport.  Though as will every type of book, there is an exception. I loved Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan.

Bowlers though are one you can stay away from.  I don’t think professional bowlers are inherently sexy.  To be on the safe side and being Canadian, hockey players are the best bet.

Blue collar romance


As mentioned up above, I’m a huge fan of blue collar type heroes

****

Unjustly imprisoned

I really and I like really like this trope.  It would be interesting to get inside my brain to try and figure out the reason why



****

Rock Stars

This is another trope I can’t seem to get enough of reading.  Three of my auto buy authors have written books about rock stars and I’ve read all of them multiple times.  So you are pretty save on getting me one of these.

 

So there you have it.  I think it’s a good wide choice of what and what not to get me in the way of romance books.

 

******DISCLAIMER******

Just in case you aren't 100% sure and wondering what is up with this blogger, this is 100% not serious - well, it is in the types of books I prefer - but I neither want, hope, expect, anticipate etc anyone getting me any books.  It's a total leg pull.

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

My Very First Blog Post

 Just for the heck of it I went back to my very first ever blog post.  Believe it or note it was back on Feb 17, 2005.  Wow!!  That was a long, long time ago.  And the topic of my very first post is just as relevant today as it was back then even though just about everything else in my life has changed.  Here's what I had to say back then.




Thursday, February 17, 2005

Why Romance??

Since this blog is about my romance reading habits, the first question one would ask is why romance? Why not mystery? Why not horror?
The main reason would be fear of the unkown. I've been an avid reader all my life. From those very first days of 'See Dick Run' - yes I'm that old - I have been hooked on reading. My first series of books I checked out of our local bookmobile were Freddy the Pig books. To this day I seem to be the only one who has read that wonderful series about Freddy the talking pig detective and all his various friends; the cat, the mice, the cow and the horse.
I've read all types of books in my life. I went through a Stephen King phase. I went through a true crime phase. I went through a biography and autobiographical phase. I even went through a sports book phase. I read Don Cherry's book. But now my choice of reading material is strictly romance. Many years ago, long before I settled on romance, I read a book called The Balloonist. Many of the details are sketchy; we are talking quite a few years ago, but the gist of the story is a young woman and small crew took a long flight in a hot air balloon over the Atlantic. Things did not go well. They ran into many difficulties and their journey was doomed. I wish I could remember exactly how it ended. It would strengthen my case, but suffice it to say, they didn't survive the journey. It was a totally unexpected ending. I even turned the book over, opened it again and checked to make sure I didn't miss some pages where they miraculously escaped. But there wasn't, and they didn't.
With that end and similar type endings in other books, I realized over time that when I closed the cover on a book, I wanted to feel better than when I first opened the book. I wanted to KNOW that there would be a happy ending. Romance books fill that need. And with all the different genres in romance today, I can still have different choices.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Black History Month Reads

 Part 2


And continuing on.....


Tell Me Something Good by Jamie Wesley

I really got a kick out of this cute opposite attracts book.  They both work at the same radio station.  Tate Grayson is the sports guy and riffs on all things sports during his time slot and Noelle Butler is a tied up and buttoned down Physiologist who give advice on love and they couldn’t be more opposite and each get on each others nerves.  When he calls her during her show and then she calls him during his, their bosses think it would be a great idea for them to work together as they seem to have some kind of on air chemistry.  Of course these two start to rub against each other in a good way soon.  This book just worked for me and for sure I’m going to try some of this authors other books

Grade: B+


An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

I’ll be honest, I was crossing my fingers I would like this book.  I happened to be at a conference a couple of years ago that the author also attended.  I sat in on a couple of panels she was at and I was so impressed by her.  I started another one by her and couldn’t get into it at all.  But when I started reading this book I figured out why.  I started reading the 3rd book in the series and that’s why I found things so confusing.  But starting at book1 made all the difference.

This book takes place during the Civil War and Elle Burns is a former slave whose family was given their freedom.  She is now working as a spy helping the north.  She has an eidetic memory and is working undercover as a slave in the home of a southern politician and trying to learn anything she can to help the north.  Her contact is Malcom McCall, a white undercover agent who, while not even close to the same kind of experiences as slaves, did have his family land stolen and family destroyed in Scotland.

Elle is such an amazing heroine, she ranks right up there in my top five heroines of all time.  She is, well, it, as far as heroines go.  She’s brave, strong, courageous, intelligent, resourceful – just everything.  Malcom isn’t too shabby either and what I love about him is he knows what a rare and precious person she is.  I’m trying to keep these reviews fairly short and it’s so difficult to do that with this book it’s that good.  But I now have all of the Loyal League series as well as another one of her books and I’m so looking forward to reading them.  This book is romance at its finest and then some.

Grade: A+


The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry

I picked this one out as I’d read so many new to me authors, I was ready to read an author I’d read before by this time and since I love this author’s works, this is the one I chose.  I’ve read it before but when I started it again, I didn’t remember much of it at all.

Elizabeth and Tristan have both suffered the death of their loved one and in Tristan’s case it was even worse.  Elizabeth left town to try and deal with her loss. But she’s back now and her neighbor Tristan is despised by most of the town as he’s rude, unkempt and just plain mean.  But the townspeople don’t know what he has suffered.  At first he treats Elizabeth the same way but they slowly begin to open up to each other about their losses.  At first they pretend the other is the lost love, but then they begin to care more and more for the person each other is and in doing so slowly begin to heal.  Ms. Brittainy writes beautiful emotional books and this is yet another one that shouldn’t be missed.

Grade: A



Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins

My only issue with Ms. Jenkins books is the prices.  So when I saw this one was on preorder for a very good price I scooped it up.  After I read and completely loved Forbidden, I wanted to read another of her books so this is the one I chose.

Spring Lee is the heroine of this Western romance and she’s a very unusual heroine.  She owns a small ranch and works with horses.  She’s perfectly fine living on her own and has no plans on marrying or having children.  She’s very independent, she’s had to learn to be due her father’s neglect.  She meets Garrett McCray, the hero, when he is thrown from his horse during a winter storm and she takes him to her place to take care of him until he has recovered.  He has come to interview her brother, Colton, the local doctor and hero of a previous book – and yes, I now have that one to read.  Spring is unlike any woman he has met before and he begins to fall for the free spirit she is, so much so he is willing to rearrange his life to spend it with her – if she will have him.

As with the previous Beverly Jenkins book I read, this book is more heroine centric.  Yes, I did fall for Garrett, but Spring is the standout.  She is unforgettable and to be truly admired.  She has gone through some terrible things and come out stronger and more sure of herself because of them.  I’m ever so glad that I picked up a number of Ms. Jenkins books after reading Forbidden.  I have some books of hers now I’m really looking forward to reading.

Grade: A


Saturday, February 27, 2021

Black History Month Reads

Since February is Black History Month, I decided all my reads for the month would be romance written by Black authors.  I’ve read books by Black authors but not as much as I would like to have.  It’s been a reading experience.  I think I’m going to do this in two or three parts since I read a number and being a rambling sort, may have more to say.

 Part 1


Disgrace by Brittainy C. Cherry

This was a reread book.  I loved it the first time I read it and even more this time.  This is a beautiful book about a woman whose husband left her and the grumpy loner who healed her.  Jackson and Grace were both broken but they healed each other.  This is such a wonderful and emotional book and I highly recommend it.

 Grade: A




The Object of Love by Sharon Cullars

This is another book I first read years ago.  It’s an older woman/younger guy book and I loved this one all over again.  Lacey is heartbroken when her only son is killed in an accident.  His estranged best friend Sean comes to the funeral and they begin a forbidden love affair.  He has loved Lacey for years but now he is older and will their love be accepted?  This one I also recommend.

 Grade: B


Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

This was my first book by this amazing author.  I did a much longer review of it here. After reading this book I thought damn the price and picked a number of her books

Grade: A+


 

Deliver me by Farrah Rochon  

This is my first book by Ms Rochon and I enjoyed it as with the others this month.  Eli, our hero, is a very successful OB-GYN.  He and our heroine Monica, get off to a rather rocky start when he mistakes her on her first day as a nurse and is quite rude to her.  It’s bad enough that he’s a jerk to her, thinking that as a nurse, she somehow deserves his disrespect but you see, she’s not a nurse, rather she’s a very successful doctor in her own right.  They are paired together for a fund raising event in order to raise money for a woman’s clinic that is very dear to Eli’s heart,  Turns out he’s not quite as bad after her first impression and it isn’t long before sparks start flying,  This book was written in 2011 and does have some issues that date it.  I did appreciate the author addressed this.

This is the first book in a series about three brothers and despite a few concerns, I liked this one enough to pick up the next two books.

Grade: B

 

Scoring the Player’s Baby by Naima Simons

This is yet another new to me author.  What first got my attention with this one is the description of the hero, Ronin, sounded very like a description of Jason Mamoa so I was on board with that.  Ronin, a wide receiver for a pro football team  and Kim, our heroine, meet at a wedding expo.  He is there helping his engaged sister and she has a booth promoting a hotel she helps run as a wedding venue.  He notices her right off the bat and they have a meet cute introduction. After a night of passion, surprise, you can tell by the title.  But I did like this book.  I like how they handled things and right from the beginning Ronin was very supportive of whatever she chose.  There was more and more descriptive sex scenes than I'm used too and I confess I skipped some of the pages and pages of them.  Since I could do that, it didn't affect my grade at all.

Grade: B


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Looking a bit better

 But still under construction.  I’m now wanting to get Ramblings on Romance, etcetera, etcetera on the right sight by itself.  I’ll have to try and figure that out unless anyone knows how.  I do like the colours better.

Monday, February 22, 2021

What I did before my recent resurgence

 

Since I reappeared out of nowhere after a Very Lengthy Absence things have changed A LOT in this world of ours.  I thought I’d do an update on what’s going on in my life under quarantine.

 

Work

I think it was just about this time last year I drove to work for the 12 to 8 shift and there was barely a car in the parking lot.  This was very strange as there are more people who work there then there are parking spots and it was nightmare city for those on the afternoon shift so an empty parking lot was very strange.  Since I job share I was off the previous day.  There was a note on the door saying that due to Covid the office was closed and everyone was working from home.  Shock doesn’t even begin to cover it.  Because I work in health care, the lockdown affected us sooner than many companies.  I called my boss and arranged to pick up all the equipment I needed to work from home.  Unfortunately I didn’t have working cable or Wifi and it took me working with IT three days to discover it wasn’t going to work.  



I called my sister who lived about 45 minutes away from me in a near breakdown.  Everything happened very quickly.  I had no cable, no wifi, lived by myself and the coffee shop I visited on off days to sit, catch up on email and stuff and just to people watch closed due to the pandemic.  My sister saved me when she told me I could work at her place.  So I started commuting the 45 minutes several times a week depending on my schedule. 



I still had the kitties at home so I couldn’t stay at her place full time.  But after a couple of months it was clear this was going to be a while so I knew I needed to get past my IT type stuff phobia and call the cable company.  I managed to get wifi going – needed a new modem and router and Lisa, who is tech savy labled every single wire and box and monitor and screen and we had a couple of practice runs on taking it down and setting it up.  Seriously.  We really did.  And with that and my eternal love and gratitude, I got things up and running from home.

 


And I like working from home.  I like it quite a lot.  But I miss seeing my coworkers so, so much.  I’m truly blessed to work with wonderful, fun and caring people and 75% of the reason I’m still working is because of the comradery of my team mates.  I had plans to retire in the fall and the first thing I was going to do was take a cruise to Alaska.  I had a number and was all set to call and book it when WHAM life for all as we knew it, took a turn.  I decided to keep working because why not?  I still enjoy the job and working from home has it’s perks.  I was making plans for after my retirement.  One of them was to read to the residents of nursing homes.  I thought I’d start out with something like Mary Stewart, Georgette Heyer, Daphne DuMaurier, that kind of book and then work up to raunchy.  I like raunchy and I figured they would too.  But – Covid.  Living alone and knowing me I couldn’t just retire to nothing.

So here we are, a year later with no end in sight.  And I truly appreciate working from home two or three days a week from home, most especially in winter on days like today.

 


Social

Haaa, haaa, haaa

I stayed overnight at my sister’s a couple of times, Christmas night for example.  Back last August I went to dinner with my job share partner at work.  I had lunch outdoors once at a restaurant with my Case Manager from work and then she had a few people over to her place and we sat and ate on her deck outside.  And I went to a friend from works house in the summer for a potluck.  There was her and her husband and the other friend from work; both of whom I take that week in summer to stay at a cottage with.  Of course we didn’t do it this year.

 


Oh, and I go to the grocery store once every two weeks to stock up on food.  And this one is as short as the last one was long.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Things may be looking a different for a bit here

 






I'm thinking this is going to be a work in progress.  Like the rising of a phoenix from the ashes, 

now that I'm back, the blog needs a new look.  The only trouble is I don't know what the heck I'm doing.  I like the picture I found, it feels like two friends drinking tea and discussing romance novels and love in general and the latest trend in book covers, what do they think of Bridgerton, all those kinds of things.  

But during the renovations I somehow seem to have lost the name.  And I want different colours - more along the pastel end of the colour spectrum.  So it's going to be an ongoing work in progress until I get it looking the way I'm picturing it.




Wednesday, February 17, 2021

TBR Challenge Day - February Edition

 It's been a few years now since I signed up for Wendy's TBR Challenge.  I did complete it in January but didn't get it up in time.  I was determined not to be late this month  So without Further ado, my February New-to-Me author


Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Hard to believe but this is the first Beverly Jenkins book I’ve read even though I’m a devoted fan of Westerns.  One of the main reasons is the price.  Here in Canada with Harper Collins, ebooks cost more than print books.  I only read ebooks now and I refuse to pay more for an eBook than I would for a print book.  It makes absolutely no sense to charge more.  Sometimes I see on Twitter a fellow romance reader will tweet there is a sale on her books on Kindle and I will rush over, quick as a bunny to get as many as are on sale, only to see nope, her ebooks are still $12 when print ones are $8 and then I’m in a bad and bitter mood.  However I did have Forbidden and it was the perfect time, though very late, to read my first book by Ms. Jenkins.  This review will take a few days to write and probably be quite lengthy as I have many thoughts running through my brain.

 

At the opening of the story, Rhine Fontaine, our hero, is about to make a new life for himself.  He’s a recently freed slave and because his father was the plantation owner, he can pass for white and that is what he is planning on doing.

The book now switches to Eddy Carmichael, our heroine.  She is the daughter of freed slaves so has never experienced slavery herself though she certainly experiences the racism. With her parents both passed away and her sister lost to her, she decides to make a new life for herself in California.  Through a series of very unpleasant events, she finds herself abandoned in the dessert, left with nothing but her carpetbag and a small, portable cooking device.  She is in desperate circumstances and near death’s door when she is found and rescued by Rhine and his business partner and taken back to the saloon they jointly own to recover.

 

In the intervening years, Rhine has become very successful.  He is passing as white and as such has many opportunities otherwise probably denied him.  Though he lives his life as a white man, his life’s focus is in tirelessly devoted to helping the ‘colored’ community.  The saloon he owns caters almost exclusively to that cliental.  He has joined political parties with the goal of helping his community even though he is undercover so to speak.  But things get very complicated when he meets Eddy.  He is very attracted to her and she to him even though she fights it with everything she has.  At present, she is in stuck in a growing town in Nevada but still plans on continuing on to California.  Once she is feeling better, she moves into a boarding house and earns her keep by cooking.  She is an amazing cook and that is what her plans in California are. To open her own restaurant.  In addition, if that isn’t enough of a barrier, she is black and Rhine is white and for them to have any kind of honest relationship is impossible and she refuses to be his mistress.

 

This conflict is so much more than the usual conflict in romance and it almost mad my job drop with the repercussions.  In order for them to have the kind of relationship Rhine wants, he will have to reveal he’s not white but that risks everything he is working towards.  However, the more he gets to know Addy, the more he comes to realize he needs her in his life.  It’s such a difficult choice for him to make.

I adore Addy.  She is one of the strongest heroines I’ve ever read. She is incredibly, amazing brave.  She sets out, by herself, in a time when racism is rampant, to move across the country, by herself, to make a new life for herself.  She overcomes obstacle after obstacle to forge ahead when most people would give up in despair.  She truly knows her own self-worth.  Though she is coming to love Rhine deeper and deeper, she refuses to compromise her morals and give in to what part of her wants.  Her strength and resiliency make her one of my favourite all time heroines ever.  She’s a bit on the prickly side but I love a prickly heroine.

 

And Rhine is such a wonderful hero.  At first, I was a bit on the fence about him.  He’s a very good looking guy and thus a hit with the ladies.  I wasn’t entirely sure about the depth of his character even though he’s very charming.  But the more we get to know him, the deeper and more honourable we see that he is.  His choice is heartbreaking and we see how torn he is.  He truly does care about his people and the way he has chosen to live his life is in order to be the best help he can to them.

 

I found this book to be so much deeper and painful than a normal Western romance.  Because of some of the issues involved, it was an almost painful read.  I think it’s a book very true to the times and one can certainly tell that Beverly Jenkins wrote a romance that is both loving and brutal.  There is such an incredible depth to this story and I’m in awe.   On rare occasions books change me – hopefully for the better – and this one did.

 

As I said at the beginning, because of the cost, I have few of her books but after reading Forbidden, that changes.  Her books seem to be a combination of a romance and a cruel time in history that is still being felt today, tragic as that is.  It goes without saying that Forbidden gets an A+ from me for being a romance book and so much more.


A bit of a personal note.  Before RWA fell apart and Covid hit, I would attend the RWA conferences and a one of the first ones I attended, I happened to sit and talk with Ms. Jenkins.  I knew who she was but as I’m not an author, she didn’t really know me.  But it was a wonderful conversation and while I can’t remember many of the details of it now, I do remember the impression of a warm and friendly and down to earth author who took the time to make me feel at ease and comfortable.  I’ve been such an admirer of her ever since, first as a person and now much later than I feel good about, as an author.  Sometimes seeds dropped in me take a long time to sprout, but sprout this one has and once so, it’s growing fast.  She has numerous books I need to pick up and read.

With the success of romance books being turned into series, I see her mentioned on Twitter as an author who writes books that would make great series and I concur 100%