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review 2017-10-02 06:58
1 1/2 out of 3 ain't bad?
Primal Need: A Sexy Male/Male Shifter Anthology: Wolf in King's ClothingThe Alpha's ClaimDark Water - Holley Trent,Parker Foye
THREE HEARTS--For a shifter anthology, this didn't deliver as expected. (avg. doesn't include the 2nd story)

Wolf in King's Clothing by Parker Foye - 3.5-3.75 Hearts

They call him "Prince".

A half breed, small assassin that has had the worst life ended up being my favorite of the anthology, go figure?



The unlikely hero who has been shat on, exiled and doesn't speak due to lacking social manners? My toes couldn't stop curling. Set in alternate Victorian period where werewolves are known, "Prince" aka Kent doesn't really know his true name. He's been collared and kept as a witch's assassin as an adult. He's been bartered over and kept like trash, exiled from wolf packs, he has no kind to call his own. His owner tasks him to do one more retrieval and he will have his freedom, Kent agreed before she even finished her sentence. Kent goes to the highlands to rescue an alpha who isn't like any alpha Kent's met.

But he doesn't care for the alpha, Hadrian's peculiar nature, he just needs to make sure he brings Hadrian back in one piece to his master. The road trip back to York is eventful, as the rival pack that kept Hadrian wants him back. The reasons why Hadrian needed to be retrieved are a little murky.

However personable Hadrian who has his own magical secret was a good choice as a foil to Kent's surly silence. The chip is mega wide on Kent's shoulder and Hadrian's steady persistence to at first befriend Kent was fun to read. The camaraderie, bodyguard/ward relationship takes a romantic turn. And it's subtle, which worked one hand and didn't on the other. The romance is pretty subtle, too subtle in the primal need department. Hadrian is alpha? He read like a beta which I can be down with. But when push comes to shove, he didn't claim his mate.

Kent still has to go through trials during this novella. And it endeared me to him. The story has a nice action/suspense twist and the reader gets to slowly learn about Kent's past and why he's so special.

I thought the reason why Kent is badass was cool. I haven't read about his type much in urban fantasy I've read.

The sex? One scene and no penetration for the smutsters keeping score. The story is interesting and evenly paced. I enjoyed the world building, pretty close to Victorian period with magical/paranormal exceptions.

Out of all the stories, this was the one that showed the most promise. If it's ever re-edited and lengthened, I'm there. Definitely would read more from this author!

The Alpha's Claim by Holley Trent - DNF Delight

A lot of anthologies have a stink bomb or two in their arsenal... this is Primal Need's



The writing style leaves a lot to be desired. Telling, shallow and none of the characters have substance. Then the setting bungle. It's supposed to be set in New York but the setting seemed like it was an internet search and find deal.

If a customer stiffs you repeatedly from tips for weeks... you end up in his bed to get the money you earned?

For what I've read, it's definitely stink face inducing.



Shifter fail. Plot fail.

NOPE.

Save yourself the time.

Dark Water by K.L. White - 2.5 Hearts

If you read the anthology, after the reading the previous stink bomb, Dark Water might read as manna from heaven.

Kelpie shifter lead is definitely on the unusual side of go to shifters.




Being as I didn't suffer through that, I read this without fume-weary eyes. This story is from a debut author... and it reads like it's from a new author. Not a bad thing, I love newbie authors. But the story, while more unusual due to the kelpie shifter mythology brought to the table, the execution has some hits and misses.

Benjamin is on the brink. He's a former naval officer in Maryland who leaves the hospital to kill himself. Trigger warning: attempted suicide. He's blind, has no friends or family other than a racist dementia diagnosed father who wouldn't recognize Benjamin on a good day. He best friend Rez was killed in front of him while trying to save his fellow officers. It's one of the last images in Benjamin's mind. He goes to the beloved beach to die.

At that beach, a kelpie marks him for sacrifice. The kelpie turns out to be Rez, Benjamin's best friend thought to have died on that deadly mission. The mark means Benjamin must die but Rez can't do it. And tries to save his friend. This mission of saving Benjamin gets buried under repetition, different threads to a plot that would've be best kept simple and an underwhelming chemistry.

The length could have been longer to tackle the heavy topics such as a veteran battling depression suicidal thoughts, a new permanent disability, PTSD. The items are touched on, but those are weighty topics that deserved more meat.

And to add more issues: sexuality. Benajimn identifies as heterosexual and never had any sexual feelings toward his friend. Being savd, learning his friend is actually alive and hearing his friend kiss another man helps him discover a part of sexuality he's never questioned?




Benjamin loved Rez as a friend, and while they'd kissed and touched, he didn't know if he was seeking comfort in blindness.


I'm leaning toward that camp of questioning Benjamin's motives as Rez seemed like he wasn't attracted then he was, then he kissed another man even tough he shot the persistent guy down. And now he wants to mate for life to Benjamin.

The kelpie population is dying and the men are charged to mate and make new kelpie foals with female kelpies. Another factor that makes me question the entire relationship factor as Rez wants to do his duty but needs to save his friend more.

And when they have sex, it was "I'm not attracted to males" vs. "but I have to sleep with you to save your life". I'm not liking the way the chips are stacked. It read forced and not sexy. Rough sex for an anal virgin? The possessive streak is usually my go to hot factor but I wasn't feeling it in this context. And the suicidal thoughts were still there close to the end.  I get why the need to mate was needed to keep Benjamin alive but I'm not liking the reasons.

And then way everything is neatly tied up? Uh-uh. Right. Sure.

The ideas are good. The execution is questionable. The story would have been better for me both men had an inkling of shared passion prior to meeting, the suicide and killing didn't happen and the plot remained simple.

My rating is for the kelpie folklore mostly and the premise.

The title of this anthology is Primal Need and not one story addressed that factor. So if you're a reader looking for primal shifters, look somewhere else. The good thing about this anthology is the stories are also sold separately. I'd read samples before getting any of the titles.

So, 1 1/2 out of 3?



A copy provided via Netgalley for an honest review.
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review 2017-09-13 16:36
Bottled Water: What to BUY & What to AVOID (The Truth About Bottled Water Book 1) - Kate Bernhardt

Bottled Water: What to BUY & What to AVOID (The Truth About Bottled Water Book 1) by Kate Bernhardt
What I like about this book are the facts. Never knew only a handful of companies actually own the labels behind the water that you buy.
Water bottles are not created equally, so much to learn about this. We drink a lot of water and they tell you what to watch out for.
Like the quiz that accompanies the book as there are right and wrong answers.There's only 5 rules when it comes to bottled water and I won't spoil the fun you can have in learning about them for yourself.
Interesting book and learned so much!

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review 2017-08-25 20:32
Beyond Dolls & Guns: 101 Ways to Help Children Avoid Gender Bias - Susan Hoy Crawford,Crawford, Susan Hoy Crawford, Susan Hoy

This book has some good information on the basics of gender bias. It was written in the 90's so some of the information is a bit out of date, but (sadly), most of it is still very relevant today. Crawford did a good job focusing on various topics such as issues for boys, sexist language, and how to cope. I did like the appendixes in the book which were "Nonbiased, Inclusive Language", "Research Summaries" (on girls and boys), and "Famous Women in History". This first focuses on problems with language used and replacement words, which was very helpful. I also enjoyed the last appendix, which give brief information on a variety of women (not just white women). Overall, a good read with some important information, if a little bit out of date.

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text 2017-03-08 09:24
The Southbourne Tax Group: It's tax season, avoid fraud by following these tips

 

The person calling began to threaten the OPP civilian employee that if she did not send money to him, terrible things would happen to her

 

With tax season on the horizon OPP will be receiving calls from citizens who have been contacted and in some cases, have lost money. If you are contacted over the phone by someone saying they are the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) here are some tips taken right from the CRA website:

 

The CRA:

 

* never requests prepaid credit cards;

* never asks for information about your passport, health card, or driver's licence;

* never shares your taxpayer information with another person, unless you have   provided the appropriate authorization; and

* never leaves personal information on your answering machine or asks you to leave a message containing your personal information on an answering machine.

 

When in doubt, ask yourself the following:

 

* Is there a reason that the CRA may be calling? Do I have a tax balance outstanding?

* Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?

* Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?

* How did the requester get my email address or telephone number?

* Am I confident that I know who is requesting the information?

 

When in doubt hang up the phone and call the CRA phone number included on the previous year tax returns or documentation received from the CRA. The number provided on the CRA website is 1-800-959-8281 for individual inquiries.

 

This story that happened in the late fall and speaks to the randomness of these calls.

 

A would be fraudster called the Orillia OPP detachment and was greeted by an administrative assistant with "good morning Orillia OPP". The person calling began to threaten the civilian employee that if she did not send money to him, terrible things would happen to her and he was going to be the one to do it.

 

The randomness comes from the fact that most people from Ontario understand that the OPP stands for Ontario Provincial Police. Many times these calls originate from foreign countries and are intended to scare you into sending money. If you receive one of these calls hang up and call the Canadian Anti-Fraud number at 1-888-495-8501.

 

If you or someone you know receives an e-mail, phone call or letter demanding money, asking for money, threatening you for money or saying the most terrible thing has happened and they need money to help a loved one please call someone you trust and talk it over with them. Think about the following when receiving an e-mail, phone call or letter:

 

* Is it reasonable? Would a police agency call you for money to bail someone out? Would someone notify you of a million dollar win over e-mail?

* If it's too good to be true it probably isn't true.

* Just hang up then report it.

* Call someone else and tell them the story before sending money.

* Call the agency that is calling you; if you receive an e-mail asking for updated information call the bank or go to the bank and talk to a live person.

* If there is any doubt call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

* Please talk to your relatives about frauds especially elderly relatives as they are more likely to be victims.

 

Sadly each year Canadians are defrauded of millions of dollars.

 

If you receive a call, e-mail or letter and know it's a scam please hang up, delete the e-mail or shred the letter. If you have been the victim of a fraud no matter how small please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

 

Additional resources for business accounting tips are available here.

 

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review 2017-03-06 06:31
Stereotypes in insta-love. Ho hum.
Permanent Ink - Jaime Samms
A Hearts On Fire Review

TWO HEARTS--The re-release of Permanent Ink by Jaime Samms is a short story that features a very quick pairing between white college basketball player Eric and black tatted/pierced ex-con Dwayne. Eric's best friend is Dwayne's cousin, Angel, meaning they knew of each other but never formally hung out. Eric judges Dwayne based on his outward appearance, assuming the worst. Though Dwayne doesn't help Eric's preconception in the beginning of the short when he brags about his ass pain from a hookup the night before. The two start on the wrong foot and it quickly turns around into a HEA.

Race is an important factor in this short. And unfortunately, so are a few stereotypes.

This is a re-release, I haven't read the original version but I'm going to take a stab that not much changed. Though the time period could be implied as modern day, it read more like any reference to the time period was vaguely mentioned. An example, Dwayne is supposed to look like a "thug" with cornrows and beads because he came from the hood and had to wear the "thug" exterior to protect himself on the "inside".

*sigh*

I just can't buy the characterization as justification for writing Dwayne this way. I'm unsure if the story is supposed to be based in the UK or America, so it could help me reference the characters. Maybe that's how the "thugs" dress and act in a different part of the world? *shrug*

I think I see what the author was going for, opposites attract insta-love romance but the beginning was rough. I didn't like Eric. He was privileged and didn't really come away as a better person in the end. Dwayne read more like 2-D character who had past rape added to his life to give depth?

Past rape was given as the reason for the "armor" of tattoos and 'tough persona....why have him brag about sleeping around if he has a sexual hang up (about bottoming). There were contradicting factors - hooking up with random men to never having sex since jail.

Didn't make the impact it tried to go for.

My second biggest gripe (after poor characterization) is if this was reedited, why not make it read more current? Angel tried to give something about race relations when he tried to give a teaching moment with Eric. But it kinda fell off to the wayside. Story is too short to try and encompass crime, rape PTSD. Not a fan of the way it was written or presented.

The one sex scene was a bust because the main characters read awkward and acted awkward to me. Example, it'd be a kiss then stall then kiss then pause...not smooth writing. Along with the vagueness in the writing.

I've read this author in the past. Samms's books have a tendency to be full of angst. I don't think the topics added to make the story...interesting (for lack of a better word) was needed.

How could the story have been better? More length, show how the two connected rather than insta-love over time. There were very tiny bits of that that just didn't go anywhere.

Didn't like Eric by the end - he still read like a privileged rich kid. I doubt he grew or will grow from his relationship with Dwayne. Dwayne could do so much better.

Not recommended.
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