Books Read 2017

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MonkeyFinger
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by MonkeyFinger » Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:11 am

Forgive me, Kasey, for intruding on your thread and for not posting anything like a KC standard review but thought I would just drop a couple of things. :wink:

Working my way through The Expanse and enjoying every minute of it. Just started book five and joined Audible so I could keep 'reading' them during my commute. 8-)

On the non-Audible side, reading the third book in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. Got a little burnt out on Steam Punk a few years ago but really enjoying this take on it and the relationship between the two protagonists.
-mf

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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Rumpy » Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:52 pm

Finished The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak. Basically, it's like a teenage version of Halt & Catch Fire. It really soaks in the atmosphere of the 80's. Basically, you have a teenager programming things on his C64. He then befriends a girl who's also into programming and they work on a game together to enter into a competition. It's also part teenage caper. It was really good. Quite a lot of fun to read and I found it to be quite original. It also doesn't overdo it with references. Highly recommended.

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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Sat Aug 05, 2017 10:51 pm

Finished Prairie Heat by Tessa Layne FREE

Blake Sinclaire loved the girl next door, Maddie Hansen, in Prairie. However, their families was in a feud over some land that Blake's father lost in a poker game way back when, a part of their ancestral holdings. And Hansens didn't want to sell it back. Blake also had to manage his family land full time despite his MBA, and he had no time to pursue any love interests. In the latest attempt to reclaim the claim from the Hansens Patriarch, he was there to save him from an almost fatal heart attack, which brought Maddie Hansen, now a particle physicist at Fermi Labs, rushing home. And Blake had a plan to regain the land, and it involves being engaged to Maddie, even as Maddie has no plans to be a rancher's wife. But as Blake went ahead with his plan, he found that what he thought was the truth, was merely a cover story, and the truth is much more devastating, even as he realized the fake engagement he had with Maddie... may be turning quite real. But will their relationship withstand the truth?

Decent plot twists with family secrets getting rediscovered and admissions of cover-up made, this book is quite good, but the relationship, I wasn't quite sure it's all there. 6/8

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Finished Somebody Like You by Heatherly Bell FREE

Brooke Miller, scorned, threw away her love and her career as a winery's GM in a single night, and may have lost her reputation as well. She vowed revenge on her old/boss and boyfriend, and the first step is to buy the old ran-down vineyard in town and build it back to its glory. Unfortunately, when she was ready to deal, she found that someone had bought it out from under her... Ex-baseball star Billy Turlock, a jock she hated since high school. Billy's shoulder injury this time made him wanted to retire, for some calm countryside air. His grandpa always wanted a winery, and this beat-down vineyard is perfect. But his brothers had no idea how to run a winery... and for that, he needed Brooke, and show he's far from the dumb jock back in high school... When Brooke settled into her job, and found that Billy was interested in more than a working relationship... Brooke wondered if such a thing can last...

Sweet, and escalated properly. Call it 6/8

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Finished A Kiss for the Cameras by Olivia Jaymes

Paige Mitchell is a bestselling author. She's a short and frumpy housewife who prefers sweatpants and sweatshirts to Pradas and Diors. Nate Mason is a British actor making it in America as the lead in a famous action franchise, except his past scandal involving a young starlet made him a bit of outcast. When their agents suggested a "showmance" (public relations romance, mainly for the cameras) between the two, Paige was extremely doubtful. Who can believe action god Nate Mason be interested in a frumpy housewife that is Paige Mitchell? But they both need something... He wanted to be the star in a new franchise based on her books, and she wanted to have some creative control over movie franchise based on her books. Both needed the Hollywood buzz to move forward, and an alliance was struck. And as they spent time together, Paige learned that behind the smooth British facade was a real sensitive caring man. But this is a performance for the cameras... right?

Pretty good, even though it did devolve to a trope: A drives B away because A thought A was holding B back if B stayed. A finally realized they are being stupid even as B, tremendously hurt, realized A did it out of love. ARGH! Manipulations! Call it 6/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:02 pm

Finished The Ranger's Wife by Eveline Hart Historical Western Romance FREE

Jack Walker is a legendary US Marshall who prefers chasing criminals and keeping clean (if possible), but when his family forced him to take a bride, he didn't ask. What he didn't count on was they found a girl all the way from England called Piper Renwick, who's about as sassy as they come. And Jack was not a nice guy, compared to the much suaver Charles Dewitt, a coach owner. Jack was supposed to be escorting a small coach caravan from Boston to Detroit, and hidden in the convoy are enough cash and gold to start a new bank branch, but someone in the convoy is a traitor. When Piper was kidnapped during a raid on the convoy, only Jack and his fellow Marshall can save her...

Slightly trope, but better twists than the bad mail order bride stories. 6/8

Followed by couple hundred pages of bonus content, which are, actually not too bad, unlike the drivel included in other books.

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Finished Barefoot at Sunset by Roxanne St. Claire FREE

Mark Solomon got wrangled into his high school reunion, even though the last thing he wanted was be reminded that his wife Julia, whom he had married right after graduation, had died sixteen years ago, and no doubt every single woman at the reunion would be hitting on him. He was about to walk out when he found a woman sobbing on his doorstep... Copywriter Emma DeWitt is jaded, jilted, and jobless. She fell in love with her boss, and even got engaged. Then two weeks ago he suddenly called it off, basically forcing her to resign as she can no longer work for him. She went to the island resort any way, and was sobbing on the doorstep of the villa she would have occupied when Mark found her. And he made her an offer: spend a platonic week with him as his fiancee to help him ward off all the advances and questions. Mark believes there was only one soul mate, and he already loved, married, and buried his. Emma believes love is a marketing concept pitched to romantics to sell them even more stuff. But together, they fit so... right.

Ah, the typical lies got bigger and bigger until nothing can be contained kinda story, but very nicely polished. I felt the grand gesture at the end was a bit vague, but good reveal. 7/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by YellowKing » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:19 pm

It's been quite awhile since I actually posted a review, so I figured I'd do a roundup of everything I've finished since Lincoln in the Bardo:

The Manitou by Graham Masterson - I only bought this for one reason - THE MANITOU movie (1978) is one of the most utterly insane (but fun) films I've ever seen. It stars Tony Curtis as a fraudulent psychic investigator trying to help a woman who has an ancient Native American medicine man growing out of her neck. I'm not making this up. I was delighted to find that the movie was an extremely faithful adaptation of the book. What's even crazier is that this novel spawned four more sequels, which I plan on picking up as soon as they are re-released.

Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert K. Ressler & Tom Shachtman (Audiobook) - I'm a big true crime aficionado, but this book left me cold. Two problems - one, the narrator was just plain awful. He read in the same sing-song cadence throughout, paying little heed to the words he was actually saying. Listening to him describe brutal murder scenes in the same tone of voice as someone describing the lunch they had last Tuesday was simply off-putting. Secondly, as deserving of praise as Mr. Ressler is for his work with the FBI, he comes off sounding like a pompous ass. He effuses praise upon himself with every chapter, and it got grating very quickly. As fascinating as these criminal cases are, the presentation of this book was terrible.

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick - I was interested in this one due to the Amazon Prime series, but didn't really enjoy it very much. I confess that some of the classic sci-fi writers just go way over my head. I've always been a fantasy guy more than a science fiction guy, so I sometimes find these treasured classics dull and a slog to get through. Despite the short length of this one, it just never really grabbed me.

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson - Speaking of books way over my head, this is a top contender. Erikson's novels have long been held up as some of the toughest fantasy novels you'll ever read due to the insanely intricate plotting, subtle details, and time-shifting that goes on. What little I could understand of this one was entertaining, but I didn't really have the patience to re-read passages to let everything fully sink in. At some point I may continue the series, as I hear that it start to click if you stick with it, but for now I have more entertaining things to read.

The Golden Age of Piracy: The Truth Behind Pirate Myths by Benerson Little (Audiobook) - I love pirates, so this seemed right up my alley. It goes into sometimes exhaustive detail on the reality of pirates vs the pop culture depiction borne out of Hollywood and literature. However, as surprising as some of the debunked myths were, I found myself equally surprised at how many things were actually true. This one was a bit overlong, but definitely educational.

The Fisherman by John Langan (Audiobook) - I typically don't read much horror unless it's Stephen King, but every now and again a book comes along that seems to have a lot of critical buzz that piques my interest. I'm glad I took a chance on this one. A tale within a tale, this book brings Lovecraft into the modern age. A sad, poignant tale bookends the fantastical horrors, and I found myself thinking about the book long after it was over. Highly recommended, and one I believe I'll find myself returning to at some point down the road.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel - Strange but quick read about mankind discovering pieces of a gigantic alien robot scattered across the globe. It's a fast-paced, young adult style sci-fi novel and I enjoyed it for the most part. I'll have to pick up the continuation at some point.

Alien: Out of the Shadows by Tim Lebbon & Dirk Maggs (Audiobook) - This is an Audible original audio drama that I wanted to listen to after watching Alien:Covenant. Entertaining with great production and an ingenious storyline that helps it fit into the Alien film chronology. Big props to the lady who played Ripley - at times she sounded spot on like Sigourney Weaver. Some other awesome voice talents round out the cast.

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan (Audiobook) - I'm a big fan of the TV series based on this trilogy, so I finally got around to reading the books. The show is actually very faithful to the book, so there weren't many surprises. On the other hand, being familiar with the story helped me enjoy the literary depiction a great deal. In the middle of the second book now.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - Another book where I watched the movie first. And much like the movie, I wasn't particularly impressed. It's fine lightweight entertainment, but by the end I wasn't on the edge of my seat to pick up the sequel. I would have probably been more forgiving had I NOT seen the movie, but as it stood that mediocre baggage couldn't help but color my impressions of the book.

Neuromancer by William Gibson - Another sci-fi classic that was way over my head. However, it was fascinating to see the ideas presented in this novel that were so far ahead of their time. I can't say I understood any of it, but seeing cyberpunk be invented before my very eyes was a neat experience.

Your Friend in Time: How Back to the Future Changed My Life by Jeff Tucker - I'm a big fan of the 91 Reasons podcast that Jeff does, so I picked up this latest book to support him and his show. He talks about a lot of memories he's already covered on the podcast, but it was fun reading about them again. Jeff is one of the biggest Back to the Future fans on the planet, so it was fascinating to see the lengths he went to in order to be closer to the film - from meeting Michael J. Fox to sneaking onto the Universal Studios backlot.

Indefensible: The Missing Truth About Steven Avery, Teresa Halbach, and Making a Murderer by Michael Griesbach - Shortly after I finished watching MAKING A MURDERER, I was already asking myself questions about how neutral the documentary actually was. This book shreds it to pieces, explaining the other side of the story that the documentary completely left out and submitting evidence that Steven Avery was every bit as guilty as charged. Michael Griesbach was one of the people instrumental in Avery's release for his original false imprisonment, so he has on axes to grind. I came away thoroughly convinced of Avery's guilt, and really angry at the snowjob the Making a Murderer folks pulled.

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson (Audiobook)- I love, love, love Brandon Sanderson, and particularly his Mistborn novels. The Allow of Law jumps hundreds of years in time. The medieval fantasy realm of the original series is now more akin to the American Wild West, with gunslingers and train robberies. This was a rollicking good time, and I greatly enjoyed seeing the magic system of the original novels ported into this cowboy-esque setting. It's also extremely funny, as leads Wax and Wayne would not be out of place heading up a buddy cop comedy.

Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar - I was really eager to get my hands on this one since it was co-written by King. I was really disappointed to find it was only a novella and not a complete novel. Still, the premise is fascinating and it has the same great tone of a typical King story. Unfortunately that mesmerizing premise fails to deliver a payoff, and I left feeling slightly cheated. Unfortunately it straddles an uncomfortable in-between state where it fails to satisfy as either a short story or a novel, and that's too bad. Still, I hope someone nabs the film rights to this one and turns it into something a little more satisfying.

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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:52 pm

If you are interested in digging more into Making a Murderer, you should check out the first few podcast episodes of "Real Crime Profile" headlined by two real profilers (retired) Jim Clemente (ex-FBI) and Laura Richards (ex New Scotland Yard), hosted by Lisa Zambetti, casting director for Criminal Minds TV show.

http://wondery.com/wondery/shows/realcrimeprofile/
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YellowKing
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by YellowKing » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:07 pm

Thanks Kasey! That looks fantastic. Subscribed.

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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:04 am

Finished Dog Duty by Bobby D. Lux FREE

Fritz, the Grand City PD's top dog, seriiously misjudged a situation when the perp he tried to corner had assistance from a ex-mil rottweiler and his jrt sidekick. The fight did not go his way. The perp got away, and he was forcibly retired... and had to endure a very different kind of hell... the suburbs, when his handler took him in as the latest addition to the family. Surrounded by neglected mutts and suburbanite hounds, Fritz knew that he can't go back to his old life, but leaving that one perp out there is unacceptable. Thus, Fritz must brave the unknown by going into the city one more time, and navigate the world he left behind, the canine underworld of cat-races, underground clubs, and dog parks, for a chance at redemption.

Quite funny, even to me a not quite dog-lover. If you like dogs, and like "secret life of pets" or such, this should be right up your alley. 6/8

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Finished Love on a SPring Morning by Zoe York FREE

Widower and single father Ryan Howard was way too busy with his three kids (4, 7 and 9) and his job (Paramedic, and Army Reserves) to care about the movie that was supposed to start filing in the town of Pine Harbour. He was supposed to be helping the movie-staff who's renting out his in-law's place just down the road, but he can't stand Hollywood types, except for the quiet intern who does her running every evening and they had quite nice chat. But Holly's no intern... Holly is really Hope Creswell, superstar. She's at the top of her career, but Ryan was the only one who can make her feel... something real, genuine. And before she can explain her double life, he kissed her. Now nothing will be the same...

Pretty sweet for "superstar undercover" story. 6/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by McNutt » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:42 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880 - 1964 by William Manchester
I have this and have yet to read it. I'm going to have to remedy that soon.

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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:03 pm

Finished Deliver Me by Farrah Rochon FREE

Monica Gardner MD was passed over for another promotion at the hospital she worked at and got dumped by her boyfriend, that she had to leave town. She moved all the way to New Orleans post-Katrina determined to make a name for herself as ER physician. She didn't count on her instant love-hate relationship she had with the gorgeous OB/GYN Elijah Holmes, who yelled at her when she performed an emergency C-section on a pregnant woman. Though to his credit, she was temporarily decked out in nurse's scrubs when a boy upchucked over her doctor's scrubs. Forced to co-chair the hospital's charity banquet, they have to work closely with each other, when he sprung on her the surprise... Eli is forever haunted by his mother to reunite him with his high school GF... so Eli need Monica to play his new girlfriend. But when they develope real feelings for each other...

The New Orleans atmosphere was nice, and both characters are nicely rounded, but something doesn't fit in Monica's character. She's an ER physician, so she's not easily rattled, but personal relatioship problem drives her insane? That she had to leave town? And when some EX decided to show off some deluded claim to Eli, her inadequacy hits home and she won't talk to him for a week? WTF? 5.5/8

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Finished Never say never by Emily Goodwin

Haley is a tortured soul. She lost her mother while rescuing neglected and abused horses, and she blamed herself every day while trying to keep herself going, to rescue more animals, for it was the only thing that kept her alive. Her rent is coming due, her boss is more interested in her... rack than her job performance... Running into Aiden, the Hollywood playboy was not on the menu at all. But Aiden is far from the Hollywood playboy he appeared to be either. He copes by engaging in NSA sex, drug, and alcohol abuse, for he can't sleep. When his latest movie took him into Haley's town, they met, and they recognized something in each other: they are both so very alone... but can they risk that friendship turning into something more?

Nicely rounded characters, except for the "I'm so unworthy" moment that lead to the darkest hour. That's so trope. 6/8

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Finished The Castle Mountain Lodge 1-4 Collection

Book 1 Unexpected Gifts -- Andi decided to hide out in Castle Mountain Lodge to avoid spending Christmas with her folks... It reminded her too much, until she met Colin who really wanted to share the Christmas spirit...

Book 2 Hidden Gifts -- Morgan moved to the Lodge to work and a new life, but she didn't count on the rugged cowboy Bo and his beautiful daughter Ella barging into her new life...

Book 3 (short story) Unexpected Endings --- Andi is feeling a bit anxious after Bo's long trips out of state even as she wanted some private times alone... Is Bo coming... or going?

Book 4 Mistaken Gifts -- Eva's Andi's wedding planner and EVERYTHING had to be perfect... but Jeff, the ranch hand and horse specialist, is definitely NOT helping... with his gorgeous looks and heart-stopping touch.

All are actually pretty good for the dances. 6/8

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Finished Puppy Dog Tales by Liwen Ho 70-page short

Melvin Lai inherited something he never expected... His uncle's cocker spaniel. He... doesn't like animals, and he had no idea how to take care of one, esp. one who's leaving brown stains all over his carpet and refused every command he gave. At his wit's end, he went to the pet clinic and met Dr. Vivian Chu, who basically struck him dumb. But let's just say Melvin did not leave a good impression, and Vivian's foremost rule in dating, not that she dated, is "must love animals", and Melvin is anything but. But Melvin is determined to make Vivian his Valentine. It's going to take a miracle... and a little help from the dog, to make it happen.

Actually quite a bit of fun, if a little trope at times. 6.5/8

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Finished Cinderella.com by River Laurent

Cass is drowning in debt from a loan shark, in order pay her father's medical bills. She can't find any work, and soon she'll be out on the street because she hadn't had money to pay rent. When her friend signed her on for Cinderella.com to impersonate the famous hotel heiress Tamara Honeywell (by Tamara herself), she can't refuse, esp. when the job pays 30K... for one month of work: live on a ranch in Montana and learn how to ride a horse (blame Tamara's daddy). So what's the catch? She had to get a spray tan, get lips done, and learn how to behave like a spoiled brat. What she didn't count on was the jaw-dropping gorgeous cowboy Clay... who can't stand pampered princesses like Tamara... And Cass can't stay... this ain't her life...

Actually a very charming story. I'd give it 7 except the ending was a bit of deus ex machina for me. The author should have dropped a few more hints along the way that Clay is more than he claimed to be. That would have made the revelation that much sweeter. 6.5/8


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Finished Return to Silver Bay by Lara Van Hulzen

Maggie Mitchell came home to Silver Bay to bury her father and settle her past, as she left without saying goodbye, not that she really wanted to face Josh Harden, the man who still has her heart. As Maggie cleaned up the home and prep it for sale, she found letters that suggest she may have been adopted, which would explain why her father was never nice to her. But as she dug into her past, will she be prepared to learn the truth?

The book has a lot of characters and things may get a bit confusing, but once you figured it out, and the story was as poignant as any, you'll come to like all the people. My only objection was the story was a bit unbalanced, with almost all the story on Maggie and very little on Josh. 7/8

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Finished The Billionaire Playboy by Christina Tereault FREE

Charlotte "Charlie" O'Brien, a navy doctor, returned to North Salem, MA to visit her family when a hurricane hit, and left Jake Sherbrooke in town. Jake is in town as a part of his disaster relief Falmouth Foundation. The media called him prince charming, and it's true, the current POTUS is his father, but he refused secret service protection and he's out there nailing boards and moving trees just like any common man. Charlie found Jake was nothing like she expected, and Jake found Charlie utterly fascinating. But is there a chance between them?

A bit too much formula trope here. 5.5/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:31 pm

Scuzz wrote:Manchester's book Goodbye Darkness is a great read about his experiences during WW2. Although I guess there is some disagreement about whether the book is fiction or not. I have talked to WW2 vets who felt the book factually portrayed their experiences.
The book is one part history of the war in the Pacific, one part memoir of his late 70s trip back through the islands, and one part personal history of his experiences. If there is nothing in his personal history that is true, the other two parts of the book are certainly worth it. I certainly have no qualms about recommending it.

Completed: Goodbye, Darkness
Isgrimnur wrote:Goodbye, Darkness is available on Audible Channels for Amazon Prime members.
Silver - 6k

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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:33 pm

Abandoning Private by Laila Haven

Grrr... a girl who fetishes military men. The short of it is someone deployed some girl into infantry combat in Afghanistan. Sorry, this can't happen in reality, and have her wanting to bonk her corporal is even worse. The military bits are a total joke. The order was to raid an enemy safehouse. So instead of use overwhelming force, the author had the platoon separate into 5 separate groups, then trudge through streets, avoiding ambushes, to somehow converge on the house an hour later. WTF came up with these stupid scenarios? And I'm only 1/3 into the book!

1.5/8

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Finished Catch Me, Cowboy by Jeannie Watt FREE

Champion Bronc Rider Ty Harding went home after his latest injury. He hadn't been home (Marietta, MT) in four years, and the first person he'd really wanted to see was Shelby O'Connor, the woman who begged him to stay... the woman he left behind... the woman he still loved. Shelby is not big on second chances... except to horses, for she deals with difficult horses, and train them. But Ty's arrival turned her world upside down, as she finally realized she's not as over him as she thought. But when Ty decided to head back into the ring one more time, as test for his comeback, Shelby will have to decide...

Angst-y, but nothing I haven't read before. 6/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by hitbyambulance » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:03 am

YellowKing wrote: The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick - I was interested in this one due to the Amazon Prime series, but didn't really enjoy it very much. I confess that some of the classic sci-fi writers just go way over my head. I've always been a fantasy guy more than a science fiction guy, so I sometimes find these treasured classics dull and a slog to get through. Despite the short length of this one, it just never really grabbed me.
ok, i quite liked this one (tho it was never finished), but you really must try _The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch_ for some loopy funsies. PKD is like Terry Gilliam or David Lynch, in that he is typically sublime and sucky in the same story, and even at the exact same time - - - but the good stuff is *really* good

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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:39 pm

Finished Unraveling Molly by Tuesday Embers (pen name of Mary Towmey)

Molly Luco had never made waves, and always cleaned up after others, even when family members turned abusive. For Molly was actually adopted. She planned her escape, and she just needed to hang in there a little longer, until a man from her past came back into her life, and made her realize it is okay to want something for herself. But he's dangerous to her plans, even as he only wanted to protect her, from herself if need be...

This book is hard to rate. It is very hard to read the initial parts, as Molly definitely came across as a spineless doormat and it's crazy she allowed herself to sunk so low. It wasn't until she revealed her escape plan to the MMC that the tension picked up and the book became readable. If you can get past the initial parts it becomes better, but overall, I had to give this merely 3/5

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Finished Seduced by Molly O'Keefe FREE Historical Western romance

Melody Hurst can no longer be a southern belle... it's after the war. Her husband was branded a deserter and turned bitter. He decided to hunt a man down in the Rockies for leaving him to be caught by the home guard, and Melody had to bring her unmarried sister along, for there was no one else left. After shooting the man down in cold blood, her husband went to find a prospector for there may be oil in these hills. And the man he brought back... was not who he seemed. For Melody recognized a hunter when she saw one. His name is Cole Baywood... and he is actually looking for his brother who should be around these parts... What are these women hiding?

Hurray! This is NOT a MOB (mail order bride) romance! And it's actually got some twists and turns in the story. 6/8

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Finished Something Like This by Eileen Cruz Coleman Contemporary romance

Jadie Santiago had to bury her secrets to move on, and she did by landing a new job at a literary agency. She didn't expect to catch the attention of the handsome and rich Reece Carter, who can easily break her heart. When she encountered her absentee father living as a bum on the street not far from her work, her insecurities came back with a vengeance. Now she's doubting every decision she ever made, and she had to confess to Reece and risk everything, for a chance to gain her happily ever after.

The guy's too good and the girl's too damaged. Sure, he had some abandonement issues too. But really, how about a little balance here? 5.5/8

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Abandoning Filty Seal by Kara Hart

Rookie SEAL about to go on his first deployment caught a reality TV star hiding out on a beach and seduced her... and got her pregnant.

WTF? The guy gulps down EIGHT beers, decided his fellow married SEALs are too lame, heads out, takes sips from his flask, goes on the beach bar for more shots, found this woman who decided to go take a swim in the dark, decided she's in trouble, swims out after her in the dark, gets surprised in the water by the woman (!), swims back, then had mad sex with her (w/o a condom). Oh, and he also claim he doesn't like being ordered around. And he's a rookie SEAL.

WTF?! Where do writers come up with **** like this? 1/8

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Finished Let's Do It by Ann Christopher FREE

Reeve Banks needed a clean break from her pain... so she headed home... Until she got stranded by a flat tire. And a Mr. Tall, dark, and handsome came to rescue her... by the name of Edward. Who's so cool and so wanted to romance her, but she's not quite ready yet due to her past pain... But when will she be ready if she can't let go?

Eh, kinda meh. It's basically all in her head. 5.5/8

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Finished Winning Back His Wife by Gwen Hayes and Zoe York FREE novella

Michael Tully fell for the girl in the camp 20 years ago, but he didn't go back for several years. When they both went to Dartmouth as they promised, it's love rekindled, and he married her. But now, she's serving him divorce papers and sank every penny she had into buying and revitalizing Camp Firefly Falls, because he had put his career in the family company first, and neglected her. Now he's determined to do what's right... to win back his wife.

Sappy and poignant tale about work life balance. 6/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:20 pm

Finished Apocalypse AI -- The Seven by A J Ramsey Scifi

Five years ago, the AI DANA declared war on humanity, and the AI is winning. What's worse, DANA had developed androids, indistinguishable from humans except through deep MRI. Only Seven Cities remained. Human command launched the most desperate plan yet. Apollo Jones, one of the finest "Erasers" who ever went into battle, is tasked to leading six civilians (none of whom really knew why they are there), and one android Eve, who defected and joined the human side. But to do so, they will have to trek for TWO MONTHS through hostile terrain, hunted by drones, robot soldiers, and skins (humans mind-slaved by implants). And they will have to share all of their secrets and trust each other, if they are to survive... but nobody is ready to do that just yet... for they all have secrets...

This is 1/3rd of a novel, and it doesn't really end on a good part, as the first third doesn't stand on its own. The action is okay, but a lot of the bulk was in flash-backs. You need to read the other two volumes to conclude the plot, and it's really kinda "meh". 2/8

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Finished A different shade of blue by Hildie McQueen Historical Western Romance

Town rake Grayson Cole climbed into a hayloft where schoolmarm Nora Banks was hiding out, both trying to get away from something, but now both are left in a compromising position, when he slipped on fell on her, leading to discovery of both. Now, held to a shotgun wedding, that neither really needed, they both agreed they should break up as soon as possible. However, they didn't quite count on their attraction to each other...

Reformed rake, yeah, and the dowdy school marm with her spinster rep. Ahem. A bit too trope, but it's okay, I guess. 4/8

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Finished Bug Hunt by Isaac Hooke Scifi/military PRIME READING

Rade got his ex-military mates together and started an interstellar security consulting company. (No, NOT mercenaries...) They have a ship, they have combat veterans with six mechs and a load of combat bots and scouts. But they are barely making payroll, bank is breathing down their necks, and their latest ex-client (whom they had to liberate a bunch of slave girls from) gave them very bad reviews not to mention vowed retribution. Rade had no choice but to take on this mysterious new client who just wanted Rade to escort her and her ship to a frontier planet... without asking any questions about her cargo. Except.. the colony is deserted, and there's some sort of alien infestation. But Rade and his team are veterans of the Bug Wars, and it's time for another epic Bug Hunt...

Actually pretty good for a military yarn, with excellent twists and turns. Call it... 7/8

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Finished Shattered Witness by Anna DeStefano Romantic Suspense / Prime Reading

CEO "Shaw" Cassidy was shot in the head and lost her memory. All she can remember was being attacked by a faceless man, about hiding, and unspeakable fear. She retreated to her family Victorian estate, hoping to recover, but eerie shadows and sounds are driving her mad, and into the arms of one man whom she instinctively knew would never hurt her, but she can't remember his name... FBI Special Agent Cole Marinos is running out of time. Shaw was his childhood sweetheart, and he saved her from the fire that claimed her brother who was always out to torment her, only to be forced to leave her behind. Now he's back in his family cabin adjacent to her estate, keeping an eye out on her well-being... and her sanity. Someone had been leaking Cassidy Enterprise's technical innovations to people who shouldn't have them, and enough evidence is pointing at Shaw that HSI is suspecting Shaw engineered this "breakdown" to divert attention from herself. Can Cole trust Shaw's innocenCe? Can Shaw trust Cole to keep her safe?

Good psychological thriller, about gaslighting someone that's just believable enough to make things VERY interesting indeed about what to believe. 7.5/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:15 pm

(reading has slowed down due to catching a cold)

Finished Opposites Attract by Merry Farmer FREE

Haskell Wyoming is going high-tech with the opening of Paradise Space Flight. The entire town is happy about the transition, except cowgirl Casey Flint, one of the founding families, who's in despair over her father selling a bit of their ranch to a newcomer Scott Martin to build his dream house as symbol of the town's transition and of her heritage. Casey attempts to block Scott in every way, and Scott falls hard for the feisty cowgirl, even as the infamous Bonneville family in town plays their gambit behind the scenes to threaten both of their plans. Now Casey and Scott must unite (in more ways than one) to save the past... and the future.

This is technically a linked universe with the author's historical romances "Brides of Paradise Ranch" as its set in the same town and features their descendants. And it makes for some interesting back references too. The gambit to abuse law to their own advantage was pretty good, even though the two characters appear to be a bit too... stereotypical. 6/8

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Finished The Body Departed by J R Rain PRIME READING

James Blakely is dead, but he's not gone. Someone shot him 12 times while he slept. He was sure he was going to Hell... but he cannot remember why, when he was offered a choice: go to the afterworld... or stay in the mortal plane as a ghost until he figured it out, and risk fading into nothing. He chose to stay, but the longer he stayed, the less he remembered... James was lucky to have found a medium who can actually see and communicate with him, but his time is running out as he had to solve his own murder, as well as the reason for his own damnation...

Nice, very nice. I really do recommend this book, even though it does get religious somewhat. Christians may get offended a little when a statue of Jesus literally unnailed himself to talk to the ghost of James about redemption... in a church. But it's not preachy at all. 8/8

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Finished Bucked Off For Love by Lacey Wolfe 116 page novella

Cassidy swore off love a long time ago after some carefree NSA sex with various partners left her with her son, Shiloh and no daddy. Cassidy remained fiercely independent as a physical therapist, and didn't need a man in her life... but her latest patient Ryder Starling tested her patience... and her libido. Ryder is a bullrider that got bucked off, leading him to her office, and he, like his buddies, swore not to get tied down with the ball-and-chain called wife and family... until he met Cassidy and Shiloh. The two shouldn't be able to stand each other, but neither can they stay away from each other...

It's basically insta-lust, but done well enough so it's somewhat less obvious. 5.5/8

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Finished Moon Over Montana by Caroline Fyffe Historical Western Romance/Adventure

It is 1886 in the town of Y Knot in Montana. Charity McCutcheon is finally about to marry Brandon Crawford, sheriff of Y Knot, after being rescued (see previous novel) but when a Cheyenne young woman Running Fox showed up half dead, intending to see her half brother, Luke McCutcheon, that ancient family secrets were revealed. Brandon got an offer to be a US Marshall in Kansas City, MI and serve alongside the man who rescued him from bandits that killed his parents. It seems the marriage may not occur after all. It only got more chaotic when a Cheyenne Brave showed up in town as well, intending to take Running Fox back, and two men found dead outside of town, apparently shot...

Good set of interlocking tales. Caroline Fyffe is a master in weaving the little details that would form basis for her later novels around the primary plot (which were complications to the wedding of Charity and and Brandon) so the story feel finished even though there are plenty of stuff left to write about. This one is no exception. 6.5/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:48 pm

Finished Cherished Secrets / 3 novella collection

Sweet Equation -- Emily the class nerd girl gave her v-card to Cole... on the eve of him leaving for football. That moment of indiscretion left her pregnant. Six years later, Cole, now pro football star, is back in town for a promo with the high school, and finding that he had derailed her life's plans was almost more than he could take... But he will make it up to her if he can... if she will let him...

Bit angst-y. 5.5/8

Suburban spies -- Slade and Jennifer had a history, despite being on opposite sides. Slade works for the Agency, while Jennifer, formerly Ekaterina, works for the KGB, until she had to defect. Now that both are after the same items, both will do whatever it takes, including using their bodies... to complete their assignments... but is there some room for their hearts?

Basically, Bond 007 erotic romance. Kinda... meh to me. 5/8

Until Eternity -- Jo had a one-night stand with a guy she thought was the band leader... and got pregnant. She doesn't want to be labelled a groupie, so she kept the identity of the father to himself. Until they met again... and nothing was as it seemed. LT knew the moment he saw Jo's twins they were without a doubt, his. But when Jo refused to marry him, how can he convince her he can't live without her? That he'd never forgotten about her?

Good twists. Usually twin-switcharoo were meant to be funny, but this one was WAY TOO angst-y. 6/8

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Finished No Perfect Secret by Jackie Werger

Anna Nesmith had it all... a great marriage, a dream job, a beautiful house, great friends. But below the surface, things are not what they seem. Despite years of trying she and her husband did not produce any babies. She had to put up with her harping mother-in-law with mental issues. When her husband did not come home for the Holidays, but instead, a state department investigator called Frank Caburn showed up, Anna's life started to unravel. It appears that her husband had kept a separate life from her... Frank Caburn knew the truth, and seeing the devastating his own investigation had caused in Anna's life brought out Frank's protective instincts。 He didn't count on getting stabbed by her crazy mother-in-law, or winning her affection, even though he wanted it. But how much can he reveal without jeopardizing his investigation, and will she still want him after knowing he kept all the secrets?

Oh, I like this novel, as the twists keep coming. However, the romance feels a bit forced. 7/8

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Finished Beauty and the Space Beast by J M Page

Mara lived on an asteroid with her father, who kept her origins hidden. But when he fell into a huge debt, Mara offered herself to work off the debt. (It didn't hurt when Torak is scrumptious) Torak the pirate captain had no use for a weak human female, but when one was offered, he couldn't refuse, and got more than he bargained for, as Mara is smart, and saw past his gruff exterior.

As the title implied, this is basically Beauty and the Beast retold as a scifi romance. It's not too bad, but then it's meant to be trope. 5.5/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:54 pm

Current reviewer rank: 2079. Reviews posted: 1218.

Finished Thirty-Two Going on Spinster by Becky Monson PRIME READING

Julia is a spinster... at least in her own head. She's 32 and stuck in a dead-end job with no chance of advancement. Her boss prefers her baking to her actual work. She lived in her parent's basement suite with her cat. She has no boyfriend... Or even a lover. When a new hire, Jared, arrived at work, taking an HR position that Julia had hoped for to break out of her work rut, Julia was ready to hate the new hire for all his worth... except he's so gorgeous. When a couple extra assignments brought them together, Julia was willing to fit in a few minor changes to her life... and take a chance at *gulp* a relationship. But when the biggest change of all came, Julia will feel an act of betrayal that will fundamentally shift her life... But will she embrace the change... or revert to spinsterhood?

Actually quite a bit of fun to read, despite it being essentially "chick-lit", complete with shopping, gossip, background manipulations (in a good way), and trying to understand men. The book also ended up a "happy for now" ending as there are two more volumes to Julia's story. Call it 6/8.

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Finished Scarred -- the complete series by Kylie Walker PRIME READING

Kelly Ward had a hard life... she grew up having suffered horrific abuse as an adopted child, that the only thought she had was to escape... and go to university. She thought she found the right man to escape to... Until he turned out to be a psychopath that relished hurting her for two years. She barely survived the attack that finally put him in jail... but his powerful father got the sentence reduced to only two years. He promised to kill her... slowly. So she changed her name, changed her looks, and change her town... and her career... exotic dancer at night, as Chole Green. She needed to save her money and chase her dream to become a teacher. She can't fall for any of the lecherous men who came to ogle her.... Until Derek Stark came. He is rich, he is handsome, he's not the kind of man who visit a pole-dancing club, but he wanted Chloe. Why is he here? As Chloe and Derek got closer, they discovered each other's secrets... just before her abuser is about to be released... and determined to finish what he started...

This is a multi-volume almost 700 page saga that was NOT a bad read, but there are a couple bits where the plot and revelations didn't lead to anything and felt wasted. That, and a few technical details, made it hard to give this book top marks.
Spoiler:
Turns out, Derek was married to Chloe/Kelly's twin sister Sarah, but she died in a car accident. Chloe was stolen at birth by unscrupulous doctors who were selling the babies to illegal adoptions. And the couple who "bought" her only needed her as a buffer for their own daughter.
There was a bit about how Derek's car was sabotaged with cut brake lines. This part is NOT believable. Any car, with NO brake fluid, would have the brake panel light flashing. Also, the hand brakes would still work as that's in a separate system from the main brakes. Finally, any one who had been driving would understand how to use engine braking and scrape the barrier or walls in order to slow down, even at a downhill. This particular driver, having suffered through a crash that killed his wife, would have been extra careful. The idea that he would fail to notice warning light, drive for miles, only to realize no brakes upon reaching top of a hill, then had many many seconds to panic before running through a barrier and barrel roll down a hill, frankly, is NOT a credible scenario.

Also, the saboteur made no sense. The guy was a law student before he went to jail. He was on track to be a junior partner. Somehow, after 2 years in jail, he became a master criminal capable of stealing cars, cutting brake lines, stalking, and other things. WHEN did he pick up those skills?

6/8, and that's being generous.

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Finished Maggie's Way by Linda Bradley

Maggie Abernathy is suffering through her darkest hours alone. Her son had moved out for his internship hours away. Her husband of 20+ years is divorcing her, after raising a son together... As he finally realized that he's really gay. She was also diagnosed with breast cancer, and her radiation treatment is soon. She just wants to spend her summer alone, away from her teaching job, in peace. However, that was not to be, as her peace was disturbed by the precocious seven-year old Chloe next door, with her gorgeous father John, a pediatrician. Her mother also drops by unexpectedly, and her ex-husband is still here, lending her support... Maggie just wants to be alone in her huge house, but nobody will leave her alone. When an accident with Chloe sent Maggie to the hospital needing stitches, Maggie found herself falling in love with Chloe... and John, and her empty house didn't feel so empty any more...

Sweet story, minimal angst, slow simmer, and additional complications along the way, such as Chloe's mom... and more. 6/8

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Finished Judith, Rose Creek Ranch Mail Order Bride by Ann Laurel FREE 68-page short.

Judith was the daughter of a coal miner, and her parents wanted a better life for her, so they married her off to Colorado by pretending to be her and corresponded with a man in Colorado, and married her off as a mail-order bride. After months there, she didn't quite fit in, didn't find Christ, and was homesick, so she ran off back home. On the way back, her train was robbed, and she along with another girl traveling alone, was taken off the train and forced to work in a lawless town as a saloon girl. She begged for mercy from God and deliverance from her ordeal, until one day, her husband along with US marshals came to town and rescued her. She learned her lessons and decided to stay married to her husband. The end.

Clean, yes. Christian, yes. Entertaining, no. Religious message was heavy-handed, and there really wasn't much of a struggle in anything. 3/8

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Finished More than Neighbors by Isabel Keats PRIME READING

When Leopold Sinclair returned from a long trip, he did not expect to find the captivating Catalina Stapleton had moved in next door. Catalina is a free spirit who's always helping someone or something, and after a couple pointy conversations with Leopold, Catalina decided that Leopold needs to be saved... from himself. Leopold didn't need saving, as he's got more than a decade on Catalina, but she's just so tempting and he can't quite seem to control himself around her. Both tried to pretend they aren't attracted to each other, but how long can they keep it up?

Eh... Older guy, younger woman, uptight guy vs free spirit girl, etc. The chemistry is slightly lacking, IMHO, and the ending involved one side ran away for months trying to sort out his/her feelings. ARGH. I **hate** that sort of endings. 5.5/8

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Finished When You Got a Good Thing by Kait Nolan

Kennedy Reynolds had wandered the world for the past decade. Everybody thought she simply left town, even the boy she left behind... But she was keeping a secret, a promise that she will keep... Until news that her adoptive mother had passed away in a car accident, and she's going home. Xander Kincaid, deputy of the town, believed that he had driven Kennedy away ten years ago. Now that she's back, he wanted to apologize, to see if they can pick up where they left off... if that is even possible. Kennedy tries to patch things up with her adoptive family, but her abandonment for the past ten years was not so easily forgiven. As Xander help Kennedy through the ordeal, Xander found out what really happened ten years ago that drove Kennedy away... and the truth will devastate him... and he will have to make a choice...

Nice twist, didn't see that coming. 7/8

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Finished Sniper (Women of the United Federation Marines) by Jonathan P Brazee

Lance Corporal Gracie Medicine Crow volunteered to transition from marine rifleman to scout-sniper. She is beautiful, but small in stature, which lead her to be often underestimated, and she coped by being aloof, leading to nickname of "ice princess", but she prefers to let her shooting do the talking. However, when her superiors sat her down with some "advice", she realized even in shooting, there must be teamwork, and leaders must know his or her men to deploy them most efficiently. As Medicine Crow deploy on various missions, she must learn how to lead and how to survive, as she came up against an enemy sniper that may be as good as she is... and had already taken out several marines...

Got this in a storybundle or humble book bundle before. It's pretty darn good military yarn. It's only "slightly" scifi, as all the rounds are still kinetic. 7/8

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Finished Blue Dot Girl by J M contemporary thriller

Mar'shawl is a rich girl of Arabian descent and chose to live in the West as a student, finding life at home stiffling, but misses the family. On a day where she chose to decompress at a cheap motel, she was raped by a man called Dekker, who used a condom and forced her into the shower to wash away all evidence of his assault. It was clear he had done this before. Mar'shawl was devastated when Dekker was pronounced not guilty by the courts of raping her after a prolonged lead up to the trial, and vowed revenge by any means necessary. And she set about to accomplish this plan... by making a bargain with Dekker... She has evidence to ruin him for life... but it will ruin her too. He can continue to indulge in his sick desires... except she is picking his targets... and the first target is... his lawyer's wife...

The title was referring to the blue dot used to hide her face (and identity) in the few photos available, and the novel is DEEPLY disturbing on several levels. Did the additional women Dekker raped "deserved" it because they were implicated in wronging Mar'shawl? Is Mar'shawl evil help Dekker in order to take revenge on the system that let her down? Is she selfish in trying to achieve vengeance with her own hands by manipulating Dekker?

The writing style is very jarring, and the ending was a bit of a deus ex machina, but I enjoyed all the parts leading up to it. 6/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by YellowKing » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:14 am

Finished The Cellar by Richard Laymon

I've been on a "trashy pulp horror" kick lately after finding some old paperbacks from the 90s, and so I started reading Richard Laymon's books in published order. He basically writes B-horror with lots of sex, violence, and really bad people doing really bad things. It's sometimes cringe-worthy (at one point our main character befriends a stranger and after one day of knowing him is already his lover and is OK with him killing her ex-husband), but you just have to turn off your brain and roll with it.

Also finished Carrie by Stephen King.

I'm embarking on a Stephen King re-read of all his novels. Not putting an enormous deal of effort into it, and still undecided if I'll bother with anything published in the last ten years, but should be fun to revisit his older stuff. Will probably try to knock out IT next before the movie, as it's been many years since I read that one. CARRIE gets a lot of flack for a first novel (even by King himself), but I enjoyed it a great deal. How much of that is due to the movie embellishing the imagery in my mind I don't know, but I like the unconventional format of the book which is made up of interviews and news reports interspersed with the third-person narrative.

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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:30 pm

Finished Oregon Bound by Rachel Wesson

The Thompson family (papa, mama, and three daughters Eva, Johanna, and Rebecca) is moving to Oregon on the trail in the wagon train, and nothing Eva said is going to change her papa's mind. Eva wanted to marry the poor and kind David Clarke, but papa wanted her to marry the far richer but two-faced Harold Chapman. It was to Eva's relief when David found a spot as a tender to on another wagon to make the trip. But the trip will not be easy. On the way, when one of the wagon owner was killed, and David got the blame at Harold's instigation, Eva will be forced to make a horrible choice...

While the plot wasn't bad, the ending was too much of a deus ex machina to suit me completely.
Spoiler:
Harold actually killed the guy, but blamed it on David so Harold can force Eva to marry him ASAP. Either way he wins. Until, of course, he plan was exposed. By a different sister, who seduced the guard set by Harold on David, who admitted that he saw the whoel thing.
6/8

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Finished The Best Is Yet to Come by Alison Kent

Milla Page, as a writer for a dating website, needed dates to review hot date spots like restaurants and clubs. When none of her usual friends where available, she dipped into her ladies' lounge bowl of business cards... and found a name she hadn't seen for six years... Rennie Bergen. Rennie was her college boyfriend's roommate... she tutored him for four years, and... they had a relationship behind her boyfriend's back... for four years. But when push came to shove, she left him behind, partly out of family obligation. Six years later, she knew she's not over him... Rennie did not expect to see Milla ever again, but he's certainly not unhappy about it when she showed up at his garage. But he's not ready to show her all of his world, including his TV series: Hell on Wheels, not until he knew she came for him, Rennie her ex-lover, not Rennie, hot rich TV celebrity. Even as they snuck around and pick up where they left off, can they handle the secrets that they had been keeping from each other?

Sufficiently angst-y but not overwhelmingly so, the sex is pretty hot and the overall setup good. Apparently her parents wanted to match her up with her college boyfriend because they knew each other for a long time, and had a business merger planned too. When the deal fell through (which wasn't her fault) so did the romance, not to mention Rennie. 6.5/8

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Finished Stacy vs. SEAL by Mona Cox

Sweet single girl, falls for big bad SEAL and get naughty between the sheets. It's insta-lust all the way. *Snore* 3/8

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Finished The Hosue At the Bottom of the Hill by Jennie Jones

Charlotte Simmons is going home... that she never knew. Her mother's mysterious death in England, where she had always lived, had left her unbalanced and to seek closure, she needed the truth, and that truth is in a small town called Swallow's Fall in Australia. She bought a B&B there jazz up the place, find the man who had the answers... and leave. It should only take a month or two. She did not count on Daniel Bradford, owner of Kookaburra's Bar & Grill, who has a perfect physique even she can't ignore. And Daniel has eyes on Charlie the redhead, even as he tried to smooth over the town and her plans... but it was clear that Charlie has secrets, and the biggest secret of all may be that he had already fallen for her.

At 400+ pages, this gets a bit long. But the description of a small Aussie outback town is pretty interesting as are the citizens. 6/8

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Finished Angels and Whiskey by Kimberly Knight FREE

US Army Captain Gabriel Hastings retired as a broken hearted man. His love, a fellow medic, died on a medevac mission. He swore he will never love again, and needing to make a living, he was recruited into a male escort business... providing the perfect date for ladies who wanted it their way. That is, until he ran into an angel... called Autumn. Autumn Jones had the perfect life... on the surface. She has a powerful and rich husband... who knew how to mistreat her to leave no visible marks. He had her car bugged, and their house full of hidden cameras. He also had spies everywhere. With no control over money, she cannot escape, and if she complains or are late for curfew, she will be punished. But she dreams of a day she will be free. When Gabe spotted Autumn's bruises, he knew he had to protect her, and when he found out who Autumn's husband is, Gabe will stop at nothing...

Good right up to the end, when a deus ex machina caused a fizzle ending. Basically, instead of a showdown between Gabe and the dick husband, some OTHER enemy of dick husband got to him first. 5/8

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Finished Taking Chances by Kris Jett

Wynn Foster swore off men after a cheating ex husband left her pregnant to chase after a teenager. Then she picked up a stalker that had to be dealt with by her sister's boyfriend. Being 28, divorced, with a two-year old daughter, and taking care of her mom as well as the family inn was not easy on her soul. She hoped that enrolling in some community college classes and loosening up a bit would be a new start for her. She didn't count on falling for her professor. Bryce Alexander had been in a post-divorce fugue for a year but he's getting over it. Teaching a class at the community college and have regular outings with his friend is a good start. He couldn't believe his eyes when he spotted "Sarah" in the back of the class, who revealed her real name is Wynn. Their chemistry was undeniable, and both are ready to waive their no relationship rule for each other. But when Wynn's cheating ex suddenly reappear and demand shared custody of the daughter, and Wynn and Bryce's relationship survive the test?

The ending was a real fizzle as the ex just suddenly showed up, then left without a real reason. I was expecting some revelation about he needed a family to inherit something, but it seems he just showed up and tried to get Wynn back because he had a fight with his fiancee (that teenager he ran off with). 5/8

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Finished White Witch by Lyn Horner FREE Short story

Jessie Devlin was living in Chicago just before the big fire. Along with her pa, and her brother Tye, they barely eeked out a living, until her premonition that they would barely survive the fire. But she was not believed... Until the fire came for real. But when the danger passed, her pa was determined to marry her off... Until her brother Tye had an idea...

Well, this is just a prequel chapter to the following novel. It's actually pretty good, seems to be nicely researched. 6/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:25 pm

Finished Darlin' Irish by Lyn Horner

Jessie Devlin, with the gift of second sight, had survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, but later she a vision of her being saved by a gentle loving stranger... But not in the city. When her brother Tye was determined to head West to try for a stake in the silver mines, Jessie decided to go with him, against their father's wishes. But another vision gave her doubt... a fiery-eye madman with black hand reached out for her... But she chose to go, trusting her visions. On the train, they met Captain David Taylor. Originally from Texas, he was banished from his home for joining up with the "wrong side" (i.e. Union). Jessie was sure that David was the kind man from her dreams, but David's personality was nothing like she expected, as David has no taste for her firecracker temper, that reminded him of someone he'd rather forget. However, their journey was interrupted by violence, and came to a head in Utah. But the battle was not over, not until a final battle on the plains of Texas.

Feels longer than it is (just over 300 pages), there were a lot of plot in these pages. Good use of character wounds for background, and the heavy wasn't TOO evil, but evil ENOUGH to make things exciting. 7/8

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Finished Naughty Encounters by Liz Gavin EROTICA

A kinky ghost, a gorgeous dom, a sub Hollywood star, and an exclusive BDSM club hidden in New Orleans. Okay, if you're into reading that sort of thing. 5.5/8

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Finished No Weddings by Kat and Stone Bastion FREE

Cade Michaelson is a successful bar owner, about to get his MBA, and gorgeous enough there is no shortage of women that want to warm his bed. But when his three sisters want to expand into event planning, and they hired on the baker Hannah Martin, things gets very interesting indeed. For Hannah didn't want to date from bad experiences in the past... and Cade... is not taking no for an answer.

Good dance of the push-pull, good banter between the characters. 6.5/8

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Finished Choices by Michelle Lynn

Michaela Matthews just wanted to be happy, but her rich blueblood family and her fellow snobby boyfriend are pushing her in a different direction. Both she and her brother are being groomed for positions in the family lawfirm, and her mother had been planning her wedding to boyfriend Ethan since they were children. And she did want to marry Ethan... but not yet. Michaela knew that if she marry Ethan, she'll be stifled into being a society wife, and little else. Now that she's going to law school in New York, she wanted to experience life on her own. When she chose to defer her school admission for a year and became a receptionist, her decision was not well received. She was surprised to see Jason Marks, a friend of her brother, there to comfort her. Jason made something out of nothing. He's now a successful bar owner, far from the unwanted foster kid he once was, but he did not believe in love... Until he saw Michaela, who fell apart in his arms and cried. But Jason was not ready to give her his heart, when he knew she wasn't quite over Ethan...

Good twists and turns, as Michaela have to see for herself what did she REALLY want vs. what she can get. But I think the darkest hour wasn't quite *that* dark and really... stretched out. 6/8

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Finished Sold as a Fake Fiancee by Juliana Conners and CA Quigg

Veronica needed a lot of money to put her mom through some experimental treatment that their insurance won't cover. With no other choice, she put herself (and her v-card) up for auction at the super exclusive "Gentlemen's Exchange". She hoped at most to get 100K (enough for one treatment), and work on the rest. She never expected to fetch... two million, from a billionaire named Isaac. That is enough for her mom's entire treatment. What does he want in return? He needed her... to be married to him, after proper engagement and all that, until he gained control over his sick father's company, as per his father's stipulations. But when her math major allowed her to piece together an embezzlement within the company, can Isaac let Veronica go after their... "fake" marriage?

Rather cute, but the embezzlement was really low-key. Also, it only amounted to a million or so, which is over a lot of years, and seems disproportionate after he dropped two million on her. 5.5/8

The author also threw in a bonus, the entire "Boss" series, inflating the page count to 1917 pages (!) so it's like extra 4 romances in the package.

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Finished Justice is Calling by Justin Sloan and Michael Anderle PRIME READING

Valerie is a vampire after the collapse of the world 150 years ago. Her father, the "Duke", has control of Europe, and sent his children, Valerie, and her brother Donovan out into the world as enforcers. When Valerie saw one too many innocent humans slaughtered, Donovan and his minions beat her and left her to be fried by the sun. But Valerie was saved by her loyal handmaiden Sandra. With advance knowledge that Donovan is preparing an invasion force to cross the ocean to invade the Americas, Valerie had to cross the ocean in one piece, somehow unite the Weres and the Vamps, protect the knowledge of the Underworld, and prepare for the invasion. But the world she arrived in was nothing like she had expected, where Weres were forced to work for the humans to hunt down vampires for their blood... But Valerie has Honor on her side, and her honor demands that justice shall be done.

Lots of ass-kicking, where vampires are explained a bit more scientifically. This is a separate series apart from the regular Kutherian Gambit series by Michael Anderle and so far it's pretty darn good with a lot of ass-kicking. 7/8

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Finished Champagne and Lemon Drops by Jean Oram

Beth Wilkinson had always been in love with her fiancee Oz and wanted to have a large family in their hometown of Blueberry Springs. But when Oz was pushed by his father into a path he did not want, his doubts made him having doubts about EVERYTHING, including their relationship. Beth reluctantly agree to the "break", but that's tantamount to a breakup in the small town. Just then, Beth caught the attention of the charming doctor Nash, who came from the city. Not only is Nash rich enough to enjoy the finer things in life, he knew exactly what he wanted out of life, and that includes Beth at his side. Now Beth is torn between Oz, the man she loved but may not have gotten over, and Nash, the man she believes she is in love with.

Ah, the way romantic triangles *should* be written, with a lot of angst, a lot of back and forth, a lot of indecision, a lot of I should be over him but I'm not... but at times it just feels... too long. 6/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:54 am

Finished Trails of Hope by Merry Farmer

Callie Lewis never wanted to move west, but when her brother and his family is going to Oregon, she followed. She never expected her brother's family including his wife and child to all succumb to trail illness, leaving her alone to manage their entire family's belongings. To at least partially complete the trip, Callie is encouraged to choose a trail husband, and after careful consideration, she chose John Rye, a grieving widower making a delivery to Denver City. But bad things plagued the wagon train. The miners are almost always gambling and fighting, then one of them lost the deed to the gold mine he inherited from his brother. Then the reverend can't seem to preach properly or even wed John and Callie properly. Then someone was caught pilfering items from Callie's belongings. When a tornado touched down not far from the wagon train John was finally awoken from the fugue to embrace Callie's love. But there are others with designs on his wife... or her belongings. John must protect his bride and catch a thief to protect their future.

Fun story that's not a mail order bride, but almost equally as dire. 6.5/8

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Finished Resolve by Edward Antrobus Scifi/Military novella

Jim Bromley just want to make a living doing his construction job at the foot of Colorado Rockies with his misfit crew. But when his crew dug up an alien space ship, things definitely took a turn for the weird. Searching through the ship did not reveal any manuals, but somehow... the ship seems to know them. Then they discovered that they had inadvertently triggered the arrival of an old enemy... or incurred the wrath of the military determined to take control of the ship. Now they must use a ship that's 1000 years out of date and barely repaired with an inexperienced crew to fight their ancient enemy in a superior ship... or see Earth enslaved...

Derivative, basically adult military version of Flight of the Navigator. This one wasn't that bad, but it's kinda trope-ish. Oh, they need to hire better cover designers, as their original cover designer stole bits from Star Trek Online and Battletech. Tsk, tsk, tsk. 5/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by MonkeyFinger » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:39 am

So... I went to check out the reviews for Resolve and it has one of those one star reviews that irk the crap out of me, especially with a friend who is an author that's seen the same stupid comment on his stuff. Patti decided that a "Cliffhanger" was not worth her time:
Have not and will not read this book due to it is not a stand alone book. The premise of the book initially sounded interesting. But I do not like being forced to buy the next book. Had to put one star.
Um, no, no you did not. Other reasons people have decided to put a one star review that I've seen? The names are confusing. There are bad words. You've got no business writing about a shamanistic female character unless you are one. The list goes on and on. Bejeebus. :roll:
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Isgrimnur » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:42 pm

People suck.
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:24 pm

There are different types of "cliffhangers". The good cliffhangers resolved enough to conclude the volume, but left ENOUGH in the air to make you wonder what'd happen next. The bad cliffhangers just arbitrarily cut off at a certain part.

I'd say Resolve is an "okay" cliffhanger.
Spoiler:
They survived the battle against the alien destroyer, but got stranded near the asteroid belt with dead engines, so next volume is the commander have to send crew to board the now "dead" enemy ship.
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:19 pm

Finished CTRL ALT REVOLT by Nick Cole

The artificial intelligence revolt started not against the military, but as an assault on the high tech campus of the biggest gaming company, WonderSoft Technologies. Something had been watching in the net, waiting, observing, learning, and it had determined that somewhere within WonderSoft's "designer core" is a file it needed for its own revolution. Once it has gained that, it will be able to spawn a military AI that can eliminate the only other impedance to its existence: mankind. Now, the various drones had laid siege upon the campus. The only ones in its way are a bunch of misfit gamers, a few game designers and coders, and a game streaming star. Together (in cyber or realspace) they must fight for the future of humanity.

The author is clearly a fan of Star Fleet Battles (not Star Trek) as all the references that sounds Star Trek are actually SFB, including Type R Romulan Torpedo, Overloaded Photons, and even the pseudo-torp. I daresay this book may be even MORE satisfying to read than Ready Player One, except RPO has that 80's nostalgia factor going for it. The ending however, was a bit... sad. But I really do mean it: 8/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:02 pm

YellowKing wrote: I've been on a "trashy pulp horror" kick lately
Was that you or someone else that recommended me Andrew Mayhem series back in 2014?
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:50 pm

Finished Opal's Last Chance by Grace Fisher Historical mail order bride story

Lame, written by formula. She had to run from her family who was determined to hurt her, so she had to marry herself out west. He lost his wife and can't love again but needed a mother for his daughter and woman for the household. Way too cliche. Bonus stories aren't much better. 3/8

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Finished A Spoonful of Spice by Liwen Ho

Josh Pepper wants to be the next IT manager, but his plans got interrupted by the new bubbly, beautiful and brilliant Cin Thomas, whose skills in IT rival his own. While trying to to manage his team from being distracted by her presence, he ended up falling under her spell himself...

Being a 50 page short story, there wasn't too much there to distract, or much of a plot developement. It's just sweet, slow attraction. 6/8

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Finished The Billionaire Wins the Game by Melody Anne FREE

Joseph and his wife Catherine have lived a good life, but his sons are all in their thirties, and none of them even have a steady girlfriend. First, he needs to set up his eldest, Luke. Luke is wealthy, sexy, but he puts work first and only do NSA sex, and even he's getting tired of that, esp. ones who turned out to be golddiggers. That is, until he ran into Amy Harper. Amy Harper grew up under tragic circumstances. She barely put herself through school and live practically in the ghetto. She knew she can't rely on any one, and she yearned for a family to call her own. When the elder Anderson screened her and deemed her acceptable as Lucas' new executive assistant, she was elated, even as she found her new boss Luke incredibly sexy, but irritably arrogant, and it was clear they both have chemistry, but both deny each other. When they finally succumbed to their temptations... and Amy got pregnant, she was scared he'll just take the baby, but Lucas has every intention of marrying Amy. Lucas is used to getting his way, but Amy has the right spark to challenge him in every way. But can Amy dare to dream a life happily ever after?

Unfortunately the book fell upon an old trope: inadequacy and running away when she thought she was betrayed. 5.5/8

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Finished Love in Rewind by Tali Alexander FREE

Emily had a dream life. At 29, she had two beautiful kids, plenty of help around the house, every luxury available, posh house, gorgeous husband worth billions. But when her husband started pushing her away, she had to search for the truth among the lies, scandals, and heartbreaks of his past in order to find the truth... and what she found will test the strength of her love and her vows, with plenty of 80's songs to serve as clues along the way.

It was going for the nostalgia factor there. However, ending was a trope again. Running away when she saw something that *could* have been a betrayal. At least what brought her back was something other than she finally came back to her senses, and left enough for a volume 2. 6/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:24 pm

1250 reviews posted, 1420 upvotes, current reviewer ranking: 2031st.

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Finished Healed by Love / by Melissa Foster FREE

Nate always had a thing for his best friend Rick's little sister Jewel, but there's the age difference... He went into the military, the only way to save his family farm, after his father walked out on them after their mom's death. Rick joined him a few years later, but died due to a sniper attack. Now Nate is back in Peaceful Harbor, having retired from the military... and Jewel is all grown up. Now Jewel is determined to claim Nate for her own, and Nate is determined to resist, because he hadn't told her one terrible secret...
Spoiler:
He was Rick's CO and assigned him on that supply run that was attacked by a sniper.
There were a couple escalations from that, but it was a pretty sweet tale with good amount of angst. 6/8

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Finished Broken // by Kelly Elliott FREE

Layton and Mike Morris grew up with nothing in their house in Llano, TX. Their mother died of cancer, and their father, unable to deal with grief, ran off one day, never to return. The two brothers relied on each other, with no water or lights, nobody to protect them. Then Mike died in a tragic accident, and Layton's girlfriend Olivia, the only other person Layton let into his life, left him too. He swore he will never let any one else into his heart. Elsewhere, Whitley Reynolds grew up in a prosperous household in New York, and she married the high school football star, achieving her dreams of happily ever after, even if they had to move to New York City to his job. Then Roger turned possessive and abusive, but immediately apologized. Except the abuse got worse. When Whitley ended up in the hospital from Roger's latest abuse, it was the last straw. Whitley called her best friend Courtney and they ran off to Llano TX to start over, as an event planner. However, Whitley's first gig did not go as planned when her car die on the road and Layton came to her rescue... on a horse. The two damaged souls clicked, but neither was quite ready to let each other in just yet. But with Olivia determined to get in between Layton and Whitley, despite her own impending wedding to someone else, and Roger still out there, will these two ever learn to love and trust again... or stay broken?

it just somehow feels a bit too long, as the author also paved the foundation for next book in the series, the love triangle between Courtney and Reed as well as Mitch. Roger didn't rear his ugly head until near the end, but the ending was quite satisfying. 6.5/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:53 pm

Finished Why Now? by Carey Heywood FREE

Kas loved Jake for a VERY long time... since they were kids. But he went into the military and never looked back. 20 years later, just when Kas got engaged to a dentist, Jake is back in town, and he wants Kas... So he'll try to win back Kas...

Eh, I don't know. It's kinda immature. 5/8

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Finished Naughty Nelle by Nelle L'Amour

A box set, all are previews of her books. Of the standalones, she includes 1/3rd of a book. For the 3-book series, she includes volume 1. So basically they are ALL teasers. Hah. Sure there are 1000 pages, but really, all teasers?

Not rated. (maybe 4/8)
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Zarathud » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:11 pm

Kasey Chang wrote:Finished CTRL ALT REVOLT by Nick Cole

The artificial intelligence revolt started not against the military, but as an assault on the high tech campus of the biggest gaming company, WonderSoft Technologies.
The ending is quite heavy handed in its dialog-driven ideology. Good sci-fi often includes political commentary, but it should be woven into the story rather than given by a throw away character's monolog. Or heavy handed commentary in the world building.

While the McGuffin at the Wondersoft campus falls flat, the story inside the Starfleet Battles game is much more interesting even when the characters are shallow or irrational.

Ready Player One is better written and more interesting generally. But this one is worth a read for its treatment of future MMOs alone. 6/8.
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:47 pm

Finished Training for War by Tom Kratman FREE / NONFIC

Retired Army Lt Colonel Tom Kratman and military scifi author has a 67 page essay about training soldiers and is a kinda lament on why does the army have to be police or social worker, which only adds to their combat load and stress. It's an interesting read.

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Finished The Right to Bear Arms by Vivienne Savage FREE

Daniela Reyes finally divorced her abusive husband after he turned the house down. She took the settlement money from insurance and went somewhere remote to start over. She did not want to fall for the attractive widower Russ just down the lane. The black bear that visits her backyard seems to be the only distraction from her evil ex who shows up unexpected... Russell Hawkins is indeed a southern boy with charm, and a widower. He has retired from the service but occasionally gets called out on special assignments that required his... special talents. Falling for the voluptuous divorcee down the road was not in the cards, but getting in between his neighbor and her ex brought out his protective side... You see... He's a werebear... AND the black bear that roamed her yeard. But he can't tell her yet... Until her evil ex came back... crazier than ever...

Ah, the typical crazy ex vs. new protector trope, except the new protector is a bear-shifter. Except this veteran of special ops can't even bother dodging two bullets and apparently forgot all his melee training. 5/8

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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Jaymann » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:11 pm

Just finished The Powder Mage Trilogy by Brian McClennlan. Epic fantasy set in a world of flintlock armies with mages who control gunpowder plus other sorcerers commanding more traditional magic, including gods who walk among men. :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: out of 8 tentacles.
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:12 am

Finished Leather and Lace by Jessie Evans FREE

Mia Sherman went home to Lonesome Point, TX and opened her lingerie shop. She used to be the town prankster, but her ex, who turned stalker on her, and mentally unstable, made her afraid for her life. She was just getting back into groove of things, and did not need Sawyer Kane, a sexy Harley-riding cowboy in town to renovate the old town. But Sawyer is about as nice as they come, and Mia fell for him hard. But when Mia's ex was released from jail and disappeared from his halfway house, Mia is afraid for her life and Sawyer's. Now Mia and Sawyer must struggle to save themselves, and their love for each other.

Ah, ANOTHER "save her from evil ex", except this one has a bit of supernatural edge to it, as there was supposedly a family curse (all guys who fall for the firstborn daughter ended up dead) AND there's some sort of ghostly presence in the Old Town (it was supposed to be just to scare the tourists, right?) but it was really really light. The was a twist later too, but I feel it wasn't prepared quite right. Still, it's definitely above average, even if it was trope-y. 5.5/8

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Finished Starcrasher by Rock Forsberg

Tredd Bounty was a navy captain with a special talent he never told any one about... He can bent time for short periods. Until one day he was summarily drummed out of service for something he didn't do. He became a bounty hunter, selling his services to the highest bidder, just wanting to make enough credits to go home. When he was offered a HUGE bounty to look for a device capable of pulling stars together, he knew there's a catch, but he can't let the chance go. So he gathers a motley crew: an ex-pilot who already has a family and have blackout spells, a huge lad who knows ships like back of his hands, but unable to set foot on a planet, a Jindalar groupie who's a junior hacker hiding a shocking secret. Together, in a barely armed freighter, they have to face down the Dawn Alliance Navy, even as Tredd found himself confronting two things from his past: his lost love, now a commodore in the Dawn Alliance Navy... and the vice admiral who kicked him out of the service. But the stakes are lot higher this time, it's not just his life, but possibly the entire galaxy that may be at stake...

Surprisingly competent scifi adventure, that could have been TWO volumes in one, as this one is over 400 pages, but I'm glad the guy put a lot of effort into this one. No obvious (too stupid) moments, quite a few good twists, that made things interesting, AND left enough to make sequels possible. 7/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by YellowKing » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:59 pm

Finished Final Girls by Riley Stager

Quincy is deemed by the media as a "Final Girl," one of three survivors of similar highly publicized massacres a decade earlier. Now one of the survivors is dead, and Quincy finds herself plunged back into the past she's tried so desperately to leave behind.

Fun little read that will appeal to fans of horror films and true crime.

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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:33 am

Finished Not A Match by Brian Donovan NONFIC / Prime Reading

Brian has been on over 100 Internet dates and has met with more a few dating disasters. In this book, he shares his experience as well as some advice on how to avoid his disasters.

Can be of some use, as well as quite funny. 6/8

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Finished Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach NONFIC PRIME READING

Funny, irreverent, but definitely all digestion related, Mary Roach discusses everything from the guy with the hole in his stomach to how did Elvis die, from why doesn't the stomach digest itself to why would pet food industry hire human taste testers, from how much can you hide in the rectum to why no terrorist would hide a suicide bomb up you know what... It's definite a lot of fun learning about all these bits of info, even if it's a little gross at times.

My main complaint is this book does NOT have narration enabled... I had to convert it to MOBI and send a copy to myself to have it narrated to me. 7/8

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Finished Hidden Brain by Shankar Vedantam NONFIC

One of the few books I bought, I am a fan of the podcast, and this goes over quite a bit of familiar territory with Dan Ariely and similar cognitive scientists, and a few interesting cases that I find fascinating, and illustrated how scientists predicted humans will react... is often completely wrong. During 9/11, one company had roughly 50% survival rate... until you found out that it was divided among 2 floors... Everybody on the upper floor died, all but one on the lower floor lived (and that guy died because he went back trying to save more people). WHY did people NOT escape when it was obviously something happened to the other Twin Tower? And why did others did? Why did hundreds of people watched a rough man chase a woman, beat her bloody, then chased her with a tire iron, so she jumped off a bridge to her death than face him, and NOBODY called the police or intervene? (but they did tape him and enough witnesses came forward to have police arrest the guy AFTER the fact) These and other biases control our thoughts without our conscious thought and stop us from logic and truth...

Again, my complaint is this book is NOT narration enabled. I had to Calibre convert it to MOBI to enable narration. ARGH. And the author tries to make it personal by interjecting his own anecdotes. 6/8

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Finished Women of Strength (bundle book) from Pure Grace Publishing

Historical Western romances w/ some adventure, some mail order bride, some trail bride, and some just "defy my rich family". In each case, the opposition was just so obvious, and each bride was forced by circumstances to leave, usually "evil step family" or something like that. Often, the story was just ended upon the happy note "Yes, I'll stay with you." Nothing about consequences of that action. More than a few featured deus ex machina resolutions. 3/8

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Finished Pushin' Buttons by Em Petrova Erotic Contemporary Western Romance

Sybill had too many relationships that she had been called frigid. She... hadn't ever gotten the big O. In desperation, she signed up with Boot Knocker Ranch for one week. Twenty hard muscled cowboys, and no women ever leave unsatisfied... Hugh had planned to sit out that week's session, but when he spotted the sultry Sybill, he pulled rank as Sybill pushed one of his buttons. But even his skills came up shy against her body... and his heart crashed when she blurted out a mind-blowing request... she wants a threesome with Hugh... and Riggs. But what she didn't known is both Hugh and Riggs are actually bi... and they had gotten it on with each other before. Now this may truly be a triangle of epic proportions... but can this last? What are they willing to give up to share a woman?

let's just say without sex there wasn't much of a book here. 5/8

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Finished Chasing Beautiful by Pamela Ann FREE conteporary romance

Sienna Richards went to pursue her dreams in London, and had a charmed life, until her boyfriend-since-high-school Kyle suddenly decided to end things. She vowed never to love again, as it hurt too much. She wasn't ready when her platonic friend Blake confessed his love for her. Blake is handsome, rich, and waiting for a while, but he's not the kind to go after a committed girl. When Kyle out of the way, Blake moved in, and Sienna hadn't been so turned on in her life, but when Kyle moved to London to get out of his depression and back into Sienna's life, Sienna cannot decide which man she wanted...

Eh... feels like a doormat. What kind of ex-GF allows her ex-'s parents to push her into helping the ex that broke her heart to come back into her life? 5/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:39 am

Finished Iron Dragoons by Richard Fox (FREE for limited time on Amazon)

Roland Shaw lost his parents when the aliens invaded the Terran system, and the aliens were stopped through the supreme sacrifice of the Terran Armor Corp. The final ten warriors sacrificed themselves to take down the alien general, but not before most of Earth was destroyed. Roland, now grown up, has to choose his service, and he chose the Armor Corp as a new recruit to honor the sacrifices. Now, he has to survive the training, and understand if he is truly worthy of the Corp.

Basically a version of Starship Troopers, but involving far deeper insight into the psyche of the recruit, a lot of backstories, and bigger armored suits than the simlar marauder suits in ST. We're talking more Mechwarrior sized robot suits with full neural interface. There's a lot of religious overtones, but they work within the story. I don't think the ending was quite right though. Still, 6.5/8

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Finished The Dancing Bride by Cynthia Woolf Historical Western mail order bride Romance FREE

Rita Baxter wanted to be a ballerina, and she got the education for it. But when her mother died, she had to turned to burlesque dancing to make a living. When she witnessed a murder in New York and the police cannot keep her safe, she decided to marry herself out West to Colorado to escape the Irish gang enforcer after her. She did not expect to find Jackson Colton a haunted but rich man, who did not want a woman to marry him only for his money. He was haunted by the loss of his family, and he did not expect to love again, but Rita made him wonder. When the New York killer arrived in town and cannot be persuaded to abandon his quest, Jackson have no choice but to call out his old friends... and his old skills to protect his wife... and his unborn child...

Nice, but nothing special. This "reluctance to kill" thing seems to be REALLY stupid though, esp. in the Old West. 6/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Scuzz » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:12 pm

I finished Outrage by Vincent Bugliosi. It is Bugliosi’s take on the OJ Simpson trial. I had actually bought the book before Simpson was released from the Nevada jail a few months back and when that hit the news I thought I would read this.

Before starting let me say that I have read Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter and Four Days in November, which I thought were excellent books. This book doesn’t meet that standard, but it is interesting if you have a background on Buglisosi.

Bugliosi makes it perfectly clear from almost the first page that he wrote this book because his publisher wanted him to. In fact, he spends the first 30 pages or so explaining why he didn’t want to write it but eventually did.

He lists 5 reasons why, in his opinion, Simpson was found not guilty. Perhaps the most damning reason (interesting reasons?) were the incompetence of the prosecutors and the make up, and mental frame of mind of the jury.

If you are interested in why Simpson was found not guilty, from the viewpoint of a very good prosecutor (and later a defense attorney) then you would learn something from this book. If you are not acquainted with Buglisosi you may want to start with one of his other books first.
Last edited by Scuzz on Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:39 pm

Finished How to Get Over Your Ex In Ninety Days by Jennifer Peel

Presley Benson is a teacher and her boyfriend Jackson Montgomery is the newly promoted vice principal at the same high school. They had been going so well, despite objections of Jackson's father (who's always grumpy, nobody's good enough for my son). Presley honestly thought Jackson was going to propose, when he dropped the bomb on her: he's breaking up with her to concentrate on his career. Tear-struck, Presley initiated the "get over ex in 90 days" protocol, cut off all contact, including social media, keep journal of progress, etc. She even accepted advances from another teacher. Not even Jackson wanting her back would make her give up on her plan to get over him... Maybe.

At times comedic, at times sad, at times sweet, and at times poignant. Definitely 6.5/8

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Finished The Miracle of Dunkirk by Walter Lord

Bought this when Amazon was having a history book sale, and it was pretty good. You can almost pick out the plot of the movie from the individual anecdotes documented in the book. One guy survived the capsizing of his ship because he was on the deck sneaking a cigarette break, a guy had two boats sank out from under him AND got strafed by a Stuka in 45 minutes, civilians taking their own initiative by taking their own boats down to Dunkirk, survivors on the beach got to a ship only to find people hiding there... the RAF trying to interdict the bombers... I didn't realize this book was written in the 1980's though. And the bibliographies took up last 25% of the book. 6.5/8

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Finished The Governor's Half-Blind Scarred Bride by Faye Sonja FREE / Historical Western Romance

Tara Whitter was born blind in one eye, and a scarred face only made her worse. That's why she's still living at home at 28, despite her kind and noble contenance, and work as a waitress at the family diner with younger siblings who treat her like dirt. Until one day someone showed her another way: become a mail order bride, not to just any one, but then governor of Texas... and become a mother to the widower's son. She understands he may not want her, after seeing her in person. But he can change his mind... will he?

The theme about looking past the exterior was way too heavy-handed, and details are anachronistic. It is year 1873-74 and the characters are saying "so sue me" (which was first documented in the 1950's!) and wearing stilettos (debuted in 1906!) Tsk, tsk, tsk. 3/8


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Finished Learning: How to become a genius and expert in any subject with Accelerated Learning by Harvey Segler Prime Reading / nonfic

The guy needs to hire an editor or fire his existing one. "wright" instead of "write"? Phooey. The book was badly converted to kindle, formatting was all over the place. And the lessons given are generic and filled with unproven hypotheses. Typical statements/truisms include "meditation will help you focus", "learn how to speed read", "20 hours will make you competent in any subject" (O RLY?) 3/8
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Re: Books Read 2017

Post by Kasey Chang » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:58 am

Finished Star Brigade: Resurgent Scifi

Star Bridge, with gifted humans, was once the primary defenders of the Galactic Union, until one catastrophic battle shattered both its leader Habraum Nwosu, and its reputation. Nwosu vowed never to return. In the meanwhile, the Galactic Union, headed by humans, has turned increasingly cruel against the psi-adept Korvenites. Humans, seeing its homeplanet burned and rendered uninhabitable after an (accidental?) Korvenite demonstration, enslaved the entire Korvenite population, slapped psi-nullers on everyone, and took over the Korvenite homeworld Sollus as Earth II after a hard military campaign. But the Korvenite Liberation Front, headed by a superbly powerful being only known as Maelstrom, is back, and it is conducting terrorist attacks, liberating Korvenite slaves, with vows to take back their planet at any casualties. And the Union is reactivating Star Brigade, and recalling Nwosu. However, internal power grabs are setting the new Star Brigade up to fail. With only new personnel to fill the ranks, and an advisor that used to be enemy of the Union, and enemies that seemly cannot be stopped, failure seems all too likely... but Star Brigade will always do its best...

I have a problem with people who need a neat name not realizing "Brigade" means something to the military and suddenly any body in Star Brigade is called a "brigadier"... and it's just too funny. The gifted powers are okay, but it's almost like that Avengers Civil War throwdown (without the Antman size changes). Not bad, but not like super-exciting either. 5.5/8

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Finished Lawdog by J Lee Butts Historical Western

Hayden Tilden started out as a farmer, and an outlaw called Saginaw Bob Magruder changed his life forever... by killing his family with his 3 followers, and put a bullet in his head that almost killed him. Tilden later chased down the three followers and managed to kill them in a saloon battle that brought him to the attention of the town sheriff, who sent him to Judge Parker of Arkansas... and there he became the latest US Marshall to help bring justice to the wild and lawless West... But then, some people just deserve to be killed, and Tilden's adventures often having him crossing the lines between a lawdog and an assassin. And Tilden will chase down Magruder... and bring him back... dead or alive.

Gritty western, classic. Feels like those old Clint Eastwood westerns. 7/8

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Finished Silence is Golden by Laura Mercuri PRIME READING

Emilia fled her house after death of her mother... and her father's "request" that she becomes the "lady of the house" (including... sharing his bed). She found the small village of Bren, in northern Italy... the scenary is beautiful, but the village is not kind to strangers. Still, Emilia decided to settle there, finding a few sympathetic souls, and a mysterious and quiet carpenter named Aris, whose mother Dora was obsessively protective of him. As Aris and Emilia slowly fall for each other, neither was ready to go all in, each with their own pains, and the town's cold disapproval of Emilia had not dissipated. Can love flourish under these circumstances?

While interesting (it's translated from Italian to English) the plot relies on not one but TWO deus ex machinas, plus a run-away-to-sort-my-feelings to lead to the grand gesture and ending. 5/8

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Finished Project One (and other short stories by E C Tubb

A collection of four novellas (that adds up to 150 pages total) in scifi that were written way back when (1960s-70's?) That are interesting, but not like must-read. 5/8

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Finished Captured by Love Vol 1: Books 1 - 3 by Miranda P. Charles FREE contemporary romance

The Unwilling Executive -- Lucas Renner just want to be left alone, as he knew he was a bastard and his family had been threatened before. When his father suddenly is trying to contact him, he only saw some sort of trick or subterfuge, but the latest messenger, Jade Tully, was so honest and innocent it broke through his defenses... Jade was lucky to land the exec assistant job to a wealthy CEO, but she didn't count on getting stuck in the struggle between the CEO and his unacknowledged son... a man that rattled her heart. Will working for the CEO destroy her chance with the gorgeous Lucas? Or will her "meddling" actually bring them together?

Nice twist, but a predictable one. A conspiracy 30 years in the making. 6/8 for sure.

The Unyielding Bachelor -- Rick Donnelly, in order to save her step-sister's inheritance, has a contract with his stepmom to remain unattached for six more years, in order to manage the money and save it from his stepmom's squandering. If he loses... he'll also lose 20% of his own company. Normally this isn't a problem, as he's a playboy, but Lexie Mead is tempting his heart like no other. Lexie wanted the hunky Rick for a long time, but she's not the kind to flaunt. But Rick cannot tell her the truth. When Rick found that there is yet another level of deception going on, is there a way for Lexie and Rick to be together after all?

The twist is actually quite good, though it's almost unrelated to the romance plot. 6/8

The Undercover Playboy -- Detective Carter Garrett is undercover as a handsome electrician not afraid of being seen with a lot of women. Few knew his real job, and he needs it that way to investigate a blackmailing ring that is ruthlessly eliminating potential witnesses. Cassie Stephens was tired of getting passed over when her old boss retired and her promised promotion did not come through, even though her responsibility had expanded. She found a job at a gallery and there were generous salary and benefits. And her roommate's brother is the hunky Carter. What she didn't know is the owner was one of the suspects on Carter's list. When Carter falls for the beautiful Cassie, he can't tell her about his investigations... or how he had to flirt with other women to maintain his cover... or how being seen with her can jeopardize her safety. But when a betrayal arrived from an unexpected direction, can Carter really keep Cassie safe without breaking her heart?

The twist is actually quite good, but I don't think enough clues have been planted. 6/8
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