Fall Drive Down the Canyon

While the kids were in school, I grabbed my camera and my mom to do a little fall leaf peeping. The Indian Rhubarb (Darmera) is gorgeous this time of year, and I was finally able to find a spot to get down to the river to see it!


TBR Challenge Review: Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison

Format: Mass market. Also available in ebook.
Pub Date: May 2011
Publisher: Berkley (Penguin)
Length: 312 pages
FTC: Purchased myself. From Borders. :(
Why it was in the TBR: Lots of squeeing online about how different/fantastic/etc.

I've been trying to get in the mood to read this book since it came out.  I must have picked it up three or four times at least only to put it right back down again. The beginning few paragraphs just didn't hook me. In fact, this time, it probably took me at least 10 pages before I was at all interested in what was going on. If it weren't for the TBR Challenge, I'd have put it down again.

A lot happens in this book. There's a thief going on the lam; there's the capture of said thief. There's an attack by elves, a car wreck, capture by goblins, Fae shenanigans... There's plenty of action (both sexual and not) but there is very little emotion. At least for me. Things happen to Pia, but we don't really see her fall in love. She tells us she's falling in love, but we don't see it. Perhaps the pace just wouldn't work for more emotional scenes, but the frantic episodic nature of the book didn't do justice to the romance. For adventure/fantasy fans, there's plenty to like here, though.

Personally, I really didn't find Dragon Bound all that ground breaking. Katie MacAlister has been writing about dragons for some time now, and some of the best fantasy books have a similar romantic arc.  There were a *few* twists that made this one unusual, but it wasn't the genre busting book I had hoped for. Still, it was compelling enough to make me want to read the next in the series.

My Grade: B-

The Blurb:
Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful-and passionate-of the Elder races.


Quickie Review: Beyond Pain by Kit Rocha

Format: ebook, print
Pub Date: August 19, 2013
Publisher: Self Published
FTC: Received for free via Twitter giveaway from @e_Bookpushers

I'm going to have to smack myself the next time I pick up a book mid-series. Really, really hard.

Although I enjoyed reading Beyond Pain, I felt—the entire time—that I had missed so much back story. It bugged the hell out of me. I understood the story just fine, but that sense of missing in-jokes and nuance drove me batty.

This is not the fault of the authors. This is my fault. I KNOW BETTER. Sigh.

Anyway, the 3rd in the Beyond series, Beyond Pain is a dystopian erotic story. This isn't the innocent, clean world we pretend we live in, but something darker and filled with gray. The world is divided into sectors, with some better than others. Life is hard for most. It's dangerous. And right and wrong are fluid concepts depending on the situation.

I'm not normally an erotic romance reader. I don't mind steamy scenes, but the sex:plot ratio often skews so heavily to the sex that I don't feel any connection the characters. That didn't happen here, despite the tons of sex, both with and without the main couple.

I liked it a lot. It's edgy. It's emotional. It's kinky. It's sexy. It's definitely different from the vast sea of racy erotic romance available right now.

My Grade: B

The Blurb:

A woman with no future…

Live fast, die young–anything else is a fantasy for Six. She’s endured the worst the sectors had to throw at her, but falling in with Dallas O’Kane’s Sector Four gang lands her in a whole new world of danger. They’re completely open about everything, including their sexuality–but she hasn’t survived this long by making herself vulnerable. Especially not to men as dominant as Brendan Donnelly.
A man without a past…

Bren is a killer, trained in Eden and thrown to the sectors. His one outlet is pain, in the cage and in the bedroom, and emotion is a luxury he can’t afford–until he meets Six. Protecting her soothes him, but it isn’t enough. Her hunger for touch sparks a journey of erotic discovery where anything goes–voyeurism, flogging, rough sex. He has only one rule: he won’t share her.
In Bren’s arms, Six is finally free to let go. But his obsession with the man who made him a monster could destroy the fragile connection they’ve forged, and cost him the one thing that makes him feel human–her love.


Review: Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis

Format: Mass market, ebook
Pub Date: September 2013
Publisher: Grand Central (Hachette)
Length: 318 pages
FTC: Purchased myself

I'm a big, unapologetic Jill Shalvis fan. Her writing voice perfectly matches up with my reading preferences: funny, occasionally sarcastic, sexy, genuine, and a little off-kilter. I'm so happy that her Lucky Harbor series is getting the attention it deserves (although I wouldn't say no to more Wilder books. *ahem*).  The newest in the LH series, Always on My Mind, is one of my favorites. It's a friends to lovers story, my absolute favorite-est trope in all of Romancelandia. And it has baking in it. Anyone who knows me even just a little will understand why that appeals. (to continue reading, click on Read More below the recommended posts)