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review 2017-03-22 17:19
Death Before Decaf by Caroline Fardig
Death Before Decaf: A Java Jive Mystery - Caroline Fardig

This was a cute listen on audio and kept me distracted during my mind-numbing drive to and from work. It reminded me a wee bit of the earlier Stephanie Plum novels but without the complete OTT zaniness.


Juliette recently had to push the reset button on her life after her ex broke her heart and devastated her financially, forcing her to close her café. She’s accepted a management position at the café where she worked during her college years. It’s owned by her old friend and long-time crush, Pete, who recently inherited the business and isn’t interested in keeping his wayward employees in line.


Juliette comes in and immediately lets her “Red-Headed She Devil” persona take over. Her new employees are not impressed, nor very threatened by her screaming and carrying on over their slackerly ways and keep doing whatever they please. She yells at one guy twice (and he totally deserves it), in front of tons of witnesses, and when she later finds him dead in a dumpster she is horrified to learn that she is a person of interest in the investigation. Sheesh, I am soooo glad I am not a manager of insolent café employees!



Anyway, the ineptitude of the local investigation team urges Juliette to do some sleuthing. This leads her into all sorts of trouble. She’s the type to jump first and never really think about it later. She’s feisty, hot-tempered and impulsive. That last quality gets her into many dangerous situations. Lucky for her, she has two sexy men who come to her rescue when things get out of control. Yep, it’s the dreaded love triangle which is better than the dreaded love-eye , I guess, but we won’t talk about that . . . This bugged me but not enough to ruin the book.


It’s an entertaining little mystery, nothing too taxing on the brain and has a nice dash of sarcasm and sexy.


Narration Notes: The version I read was narrated by Callie Beaulieu. She does a good job with the characters and you always know who is speaking but she does a dreadful Italian accent. The kind of Italian accent you might hear in a Super Mario game. I don’t know if this was on-purpose to get some laughs or if it was simply dreadful. Either way, I laughed. Fortunately, the Italian student is only a minor walk-on character.


*I was sent a copy of this book from Tantor Media. Thanks Tantor, hope you don’t regret it!

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review 2016-02-15 00:00
A Fine Dark Line by Joe R. Lansdale
A Fine Dark Line - Joe R. Lansdale

GR Cleanup Project Read in 2010


This Lansdale novel, unlike the other Lansdale novels I’ve read, is told from the point of view of a thirteen year old boy named Stanley. It’s not filled with the off-the-rails cursing and crazy gore that I expect when reading a work from this guy but it still kept my attention. Set in a small town in Texas in 1958, it makes sense that Stanley’s “voice” is still quite innocent. I don’t think you could get away with that sort of innocence today, what with the internet and MTV and their marathon showings of pregnant teens and spoiled skater bois and all but it works here.

Stanley’s parents recently purchased the local drive-in and having made only one friend, Stan’s a bit of a lonely kid. He has an older sister but all they do is bicker. One summer day he and his trusty dog Nub unearth a box filled with love letters written long ago. This gets his curiosity going and he does some snooping, along with the ancient often drunken projectionist, and learns that a house use to stand where he found the box and that a young girl died inside when it burned to the ground. He then discovers another young girl was tragically murdered on the same night. Certain the two events are tied together; he spends his summer determined to find out the truth, befriending some colorful characters along the way, and disturbing things better off left alone.

I’m a sucker for coming of age tales and this is a damn good one. It drags a little here and there but the characters kept me coming back for more. I’ll never claim to be some big mystery wiz and though I guessed one important aspect of the mystery the rest of it kept me guessing. The characters are interesting and realistic (always most important to me) and the tale is scary, funny, heartwarming and compelling with a very well done sense of place. The twists, turns and chills come in the most unexpected places. Reading this I felt like I was tagging along with Stan, Nub and Buster during a long lazy summer. It’s good classic stuff from Mr. Lansdale hisownself.

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review 2015-07-01 18:29
Come the Chupacabra by Ffion Rhys
Come the Chupacabra - Ffion Rhys

Sorry new followers but this is what you sometimes see when you follow me :0


A chupacabra freebie over at Amazon US. You know you want it.

What's not to want? A VW packed with silly, sexy grad students decides to trek out to see "The Ruins" and find the mysterious Chupacabra (that, my dears, is never a good idea but they do it anyway). Instead of deadly man-eating vines, they do indeed find the Chupacabra. And they're super friendly. Alls they want is a wee bit of good lovin'.

This wasn't too bad for what it was (an orgy with many Chupacabra's). 

If I remember correctly only one dumb couple die and it's not the Chupa's fault.

(spoiler show)

The writing wasn't horrific, it was just a sex-fest with furry beasts and humans. Girl/girl, guy/guy, girl/guy/chupa, guy/guy/Chupa. You know, the normal stuff and any other variation you can imagine. You'll either like it or you won't read it.

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review 2015-05-08 18:39
Got Your Goat by Edward Lorn
Got Your Goat - Edward Lorn

Thanks Magdalena for giving me the heads up to this freebie short story which I, in my typical idiocy, decided to read while on a lunch break.

This is a gruesome little tale of revenge and goats and goat balls. Read at your own peril. It's here . You're welcome.

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review 2014-12-29 02:02
Review: Shifting Desires by Lola Wilder
Shifting Desires: Taming a Cowboy Shifter (BBW, Cowboy, Shifter, Werewolf Paranormal Romance) - Lola Wilder


Ava can’t wait to tell her boyfriend her exciting news: she's pregnant. What she isn't ready for is his reaction or an attack on her life by two rogue wolves. She is rescued by Chris, a lone rancher, shifter and former alpha of his pack.

Five years ago, Chris lost his wife and daughter to a rival pack, and with that his ability to love…or so he thought. As he nurses Ava back to health, he finds feelings for her that he thought he could never have again.

Both Chris and Ava have their own wounds and together their love has the possibility to heal them in ways they never thought possible.



The story was okay but could have been better. It has what I call the novella syndrome. It could have been a much better story if it had been longer to give more time to flesh out the characters, the world, and the plot. Nate, the bad guy, appears at the beginning of the story and then disappears after the attack. His character pulls a complete 180 in his behavior and I was like, "WTF? Where did that come from?" If there had been more time spent on Nate's character then his actions might have been more believable. What happens with Nate is never resolved in any way, shape, or form. Then there is the whole issue with Cris's missing son that was barely explored. It looks like there is supposed to be a second book and so I assume the story will continue, which makes it feel more like a serial rather than a series. This is the other problem that I have with many novellas. Just write a whole book and tell the whole story instead of unnecessarily dragging it out into several smaller incomplete books. I do read short stories and novellas as well as novels; however, I do expect them to be a complete resolved story outside of any overarching series story arc (unless it is an actual serial and then it should be labeled correctly).


There is one sex scene at the end of the book. Though it's an open door scene, it is fairly brief and not enough to classify this book as erotic. A little spicy but not erotic. Even though there is somewhat of an HEA at the end I have a hard time calling this a "romance" given that the story is not complete and the ending is more like a pre-HEA. At least it is not a cliffhanger. I'll give it that. However, I didn't really buy the ending epilogue where Ava is explaining to the police what happened to her. Her excuse for why she has no evidence of the attack, such as bruising, scars, etc. is that she heals fast and the police just accept that. C'mon now. She wasn't gone that long and even if she healed fast she would still have scars.


I also didn't get any sense while reading that it was supposed to be a BBW story as noted in the keyword stuffed title. I don't really recall any reference to the heroine's size. Simply throwing BBW in the title doesn't make it a BBW story. Nor did I get the cowboy aspect of the story. When I think of cowboys, I think of the western part of the US, not the outskirts of Ann Arbor, Michigan. I dunno, is that cowboy country? Also, Cris owning a couple of horses and throwing around a couple of bales of hay does not a cowboy make. So, the characterization of Ava as a BBW and Cris as a cowboy needed work.


The other major problem is the book needed more proofing and editing. I found quite a few typos and other issues. At least 22 instances and I'm sure I missed some. That is quite a bit for a novella. These include misspellings, extra words, missing words, continuity issues, incorrect use of plurals/possessives, tense issues, some awkward sentences, and I just noticed that the name in the blurb is spelled Chris but in the book it is spelled Cris.


So overall, I enjoyed the story enough to finish it but was disappointed in the incompleteness of the story and characters, and that it was a "to be continued" type of story. In addition, I felt that the proofing/editing issues became a distraction.


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