Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What I've Been Reading This Week . . .

I couldn't believe it had been months since I had written anything on my blog.  Lots of stuff going on in my life and along with a bad case of flu, a family being hospitalized and subsequent travel to his home, extra local trips to care for our newest little family member who we are babysitting while his mom goes to school . . . and on and on.  Could I have found time to blog?  I probably could have but every time I started to pull up the blog I got a call or someone in the house wanted something and so forth.  I just closed the laptop and promised myself I would get back to the writing the next day -- which I obviously didn't.  I know many of you have been checking every once in awhile and I apologize for being such a slacker.  Part of my joy at being retired is that I can pick up my eReader and just go for it without stopping--well I do have to stop and get some chow for hubby once in awhile--but for the most part it has been a glut of reading almost non-stop for months.  I did write a guest review for my daughter's blog yesterday and it posted this morning and I just finished a review for The Book Binge, my first in a very long time.  I think it is time to get back on the review writing horse and start to ride.  I will offer the excuse that my hubby plays his game on the desktop all the time and I have the laptop which, I am sorry to say, is simply not behaving very well.  I think it is time to get some professional help.

Anyway, I am sharing some of the books I have read the past week or so.  I read fast so this is only a few of what I read and enjoyed.

This is the first in a new biker series I have started reading and a genre of romance fiction I have returned to after quite a long time.  Bikers fascinate me and I am not really sure why.  I know I really like motorcycles and there was a time when hubby and I seriously considered getting a Goldwing or something similar and starting out across the country.  Anyway, this is about two motorcycle clubs, one of which is populated by true scumbags, who are into human trafficking and to whom the mayor of a small community in the Northwest sold his only daughter in exchange for some political favors.  Her life as she had known it ended although for some reason the bikers didn't rape her.  Along come the Prairie Devils MC and the president of the club sees Rachel and is determined to have her.  Thus she is rescued from the scumbags.  This story is a very different kind of love story and is a look/see into a culture and lifestyle that is very different than most of us know and understand.  Readers either love it or hate.  I happened to enjoy the book very much.

This is the second book in this new series and is even more out of the ordinary and unexpected than the look into the Prairie Devils in book one.  Here you have an arm of this club made up of only a few bikers, all of whom have decided that the nomadic kind of wandering is really their preferred mode of living.  However, they are tried and true Prairie Devils and when the president calls for their help he gets it, even if it means that they must remain in one location for some months.  It is here that they again encounter the Grizzlies, the "scumbags" previously mentioned in book one, and the subsequent "war" that ensues over territory and money as well as the decision of the Prairie Devils to teach them to keep their hands off Prairie Devil women.  Again I have to reiterate that this is a very different kind of culture as well as a very different understanding of loyalty and what it takes to resolve issues, staying just inside the line that separates law and disorder, etc.  How someone can live thus is a mystery, but I did appreciate the very good writing and enjoyed the book very much.

I was asked to read this book in order to write a guest review just recently.  I don't read a lot of M/M books but this was one that turned out to be a very poignant story of a young gay man's summer experience that ended up being very different from what he expected.  Christopher Carlisle, most often called Topher, expected to find a summer job to supplement his college scholarship and help to keep him from having to go in debt with school loans.  He was boarding at his best friend's summer home so he could save money.  His life had been impacted negatively by a mother who was an alcoholic, relatives with whom he was placed who may have appeared to accept his gender preferences but who made his life miserable in so many hurtful ways.  He was derailed by a short affair with a married man who happened to be his best friend's father, but even as that experience nearly upended him emotionally, he met several people who ended up being stablizing influences.  It was a summer of growth and new understanding about his worth as a person and the healing power of genuine love.

I found this book through BookBub and ended up really liking this novel a whole bunch.  I have long left behind those early romance paperbacks where two people are at each other's throats for 2/3's of the book and then end up falling into each other's arms.  This story is very different.  Puzzled at her husband's disregard and his apparent lack of feeling for her, this wife demands a divorce only to find out that she is pregnant and must continue in the marriage until the baby is born.  This story is about two people who have lived with misunderstanding and hurt nearly the entire time they have been married.  They have far different goals for their futures but somewhere the husband seems to change, to begin expressing a caring that is very different although his wife is now unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Yet the reader is aware of small threads of hope that wind their way into the story and in sufficient amounts that the reader is strung along to see how this whole situations either comes together or unravels completely.  The book is beautifully written.

I have loved this Redstone Security series from the beginning and have all the books in the series.  Each is stand alone but has enough connection with the previous books that readers can put the ongoing stories into proper perspective with these new characters.  We have here a serious professional who has military background, who is very good at what he does, and who inadvertently encounters an heiress who he helps escape abduction.  She just wants to live her life on her own terms, doesn't care about her father's wealth, and lives off the money she makes with her art.  Alexander Blue is drawn into her situation as it become obvious that the attempted kidnapping wasn't a fluke, that someone is targeting her.  Of course there is an attraction between these two and yet even that is in serious jeopardy because of the attempt on her life.  It's another fine bit of writing from an author that many of us have come to really like, both as Katie Reus and as Savannah Stuart.  Those who love this series will not be disappointed.  It's not another re-do of past stories.  It's every bit as good as the previous novels.

This is book 7 in the Fatal series and it is the kind of book that all of us who love this series could hardly wait to read.  Sam and her sexy politicial senator husband are poised to take a much needed vacation and are ready to leave the day following attendance at a baseball game with their newly adopted son.  When arriving home they find the badly battered body of Sam's niece and while she is barely alive, the reports are released that a whole group of teens are dead.  There is evidence that drugs are involved, and because of the homicides, Sam's vacation is now postponed, a fact that more than irritates her hubby.  Add in the fact that Sam's husband is running for re-election to the Senate and this will be their last chance to get away before the campaign goes into high gear.  Needless to say, the stress on their new marriage is ramped up to an unbelievable degree.  Add in the presence of several characters that have caused problems in the past between Sam and her husband as well as difficulties with her disabled father, and you hve a novel that is chock full of action, anxiety, hurt feelings, long absences, and sleepless nights, and you have another great Marie Force novel, one you will have great difficulty putting down.  In fact, putting it down may well nigh be impossible.

Book 4 in the Mountain Masters and Dark Haven series by an author that many of us have come to enjoy no matter what the gist of her novels.  Known best for her Shadowlands novels, this series is set in the San Francisco Bay Area and includes novellas that are a part of two anthologies and a number of stand alone stories.  This novel highlights the "enforcer" of Dark Haven, a BDSM club in San Francisco, and a young woman on the run from a murder charge.  Armed with a false ID and a cover story about her past, Lindsey is highly educated but she is working low paying jobs to support herself and stay below the law enforcement radar.  Zander deVries is an intuitive individual who perceives that something is "off" about this woman but is attracted to her anyway.  Their D/s relationship is on-again-off-again due to Zander's penchant for misunderstanding any woman he things is a gold-digger, a label he applies to Lindsey even without knowing the truth of her situation.  In seeking to know more about her he puts her life in danger.  The story is full of intense sexual encounters, some genuine caring, some disappointment, mystery and suspense, and characters with real needs, hurts, flaws, and tender hearts underneath it all.  A really terrific book.

Hope all of you are still checking out the boxed sets that show up at Amazon all the time.  They are only 99 cents for a limited time, so be sure to grab the ones that look interesting.  Even if they turn out to be what you don't like, the price is certainly right.  Until next time . . .