Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: virtual-vacation
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-08-13 01:49
Got totally caught up in this; baseball hero, stalker plot, Florida setting
The Blue Paradise - Theo Fenraven

Opening Line: “Devin Carter had five days off thanks to a torn knee ligament, and he needed to get away from everyone and everything he knew, so he threw some clothes and a couple books in a bag, loaded the dog in the car, and drove down the gulf coast of Florida to Naples, where he picked up the Tamiami Trail.”

Wow, I totally got into this one, a real surprise as the story didn’t at all go where I was expecting it to and the love scenes were for the most part fade-to-black (which might explain some of the lower ratings?) Sure we get the usual hand jobs, blow jobs and make out sessions but except for a delicious “edging” scene (yup, learn something new every day in my M/M romances) our hero “makes love” and leaves the rest to our imaginations. Kinda refreshing.

Blue Paradise also gives us a creepy stalker plotline –which I didn’t see coming, and our hero is a professional baseball player. Yum! And wasn’t it fun going behind the scenes with him; locker rooms, agents, groupies etc. Giving me flashes of For Love Of The Game (without Kevin Costner) as he tries to break Barry Bonds homerun record on a failing knee. I should also mention the awesome Florida setting here; so well written that I could actually feel the humidly, smell the salt air and see the swaying palms. Total escapism and I loved it. This was a big hit for me and I’ll definitely be seeking out more from Theo Fenraven.

Professional baseball player Devin Carter is nursing a bad knee, benched by the team doctor he’s hoping a week’s rest in the Florida Keys will be just what his mind and body need to help him break the home run record when he returns for the remainder of the season. With no true direction in mind Devin just grabs his dog and hits the road, eventually checking into a non-descript hotel bungalow on the beach. It’s there at the Blue Paradise that Devin meets Jim, the grandson of the owner and the man he doesn’t know he’s been looking for.

Their affair is short lived but meaningful and when Devin returns to Sarasota they decide to keep it going over the phone. There isn’t any angst or unnecessary drama between Devin and Jim; it’s all very mature (that aspect has been saved up for Jorge.) Devin is still in the closet when it comes to the media and his teammates but otherwise quite secure in his sexuality so even though he’s never fooled around with a teammate before when the opportunity presents itself - and with Jim’s open minded blessing, he forges into unknown and potentially messy territory with the team’s new outfielder. And that’s when things get really interesting.

For a novella I managed to I got way caught up in the stalker aspect of this story and the utter helplessness Devin feels as his life crumbles around him. He can’t even go to his coach or the police without coming out, however as the violence escalates he also runs out of options. The bad guy here is nothing new or special but he still managed to make me hate him while upping the suspense level. My only real complaint here would be Dev and Jim’s initial meeting which just felt a little too easy and convenient but hey what do I know about gay hook ups?

Lastly I have to give a shout out to Rusty the dog who manages to get quite a bit of realistic page time. So much so that when the stalker starts threatening him I actually said to myself (and the author) you better not hurt the dog or I’m gunna stop reading and when I start talking to my books I know it’s good. Cheers



Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-07-19 02:38
Better than average (although kinda unremarkable) reissued Brockmann
Nowhere to Run: Not Without Risk / A Man to Die For - Suzanne Brockmann

Opening Line: "Emily Marshall was in the bathroom. No, not the bathroom, the head."          


Nowhere To Run is a double reissue of two of Brockmann’s earlier titles. Both were originally published in 1995 but stand up pretty well today. There’s nothing super remarkable about either of these stories but it is Brockmann so you know the writings above average and while they’re fairly simple in the plot department they’re also credible, romantic and ultimately satisfying. She always manages to add these little details to her characters that make them more relatable and damn if she doesn’t continually create to die for heroes; Sexy, mysterious, self-sacrificing and always willing to shed a tear in the name of love. I think I’ve fallen for every single one of them. 

Here we get to know police partners Jim Keegan and Felipe Salazar as they protect their potential lady loves from the bad guys and fall hard in the process. The sunny Florida setting here was fantastic, a nice bit of escapism (for a snowbird like myself) with palm fronds, sandy beaches and loads of action on boats and the clear blue seas of the Gulf of Mexico.

First up was NOT WITHOUT RISK (3 stars) which gives us school teacher Emily Marshall and Jim’s story. Lovers 7 years ago, Jim broke Emily’s heart but as it turns out he had his reasons (they always do!) Jim’s never quite gotten over Emily while she’s still in the anger phase. This may have something to do with how he ended things the morning after they first slept together. Anyways, when Emily discovers that her new wealthy boyfriend is importing drugs she goes to the police, willing to do anything to keep them off the streets and away from her students.

Seems simple enough, allowing one of officers to pose as he brother to gain access to the yacht where all the deals seem to be going down. But hello, wouldn’t you just know it Jim, her Jim, Jim from 7 years ago is the one assigned to go undercover. Looks like she’ll finally learn why he left. Gotta admit his reasons surprised me. Jim cries quite a bit here, a little too much and Emily plays the anger card a little long but I enjoyed the suspense in this one, a bomb on a boat always assures some fun times.

The second book is A MAN TO DIE FOR (5 stars) and I loved this one; Carrie Brooks and yummy undercover bad boy Detective Felipe. Carrie is leaving her job at Seaworld when she stumbles upon a gang of bad guys, when it looks like they’re going to do bad things to her their leader locks her in the trunk of a car to protect her. Weeks later she spots “Carlos” at a black tie event and blows his cover with the crime syndicate he’s infiltrating, sending them both on the run. Felipe is super yummy all messed up because he’s been undercover for so long he doesn’t really know who he is anymore. Great secondary characters and a running theme with “Te Amo” which Felipe says to Carrie way too early during a night of unexpected passion and then spends the rest of the book afraid she’ll find out what it means. It was so romantic!

“She pushed his hair back from his face in a gentle, loving caress. It warmed him, and he smiled back at her, whispering words of endearment in Spanish—words he wouldn’t have dared say to her in a language she could understand.” “Te amo. Te adoro.”

Yup with to die for heroes, well written romance and a credible plot as with all of Brockmann’s stories (even these older ones) you can’t go wrong. Cheers.
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-07-11 01:10
A silly girl hikes the PCT
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed

Opening Line: “The trees were tall but I was taller, standing above them on a steep mountain slope in northern California.”


Wild was a very frustrating reading experience and I’m having a hard time understanding how this book received such high praise? Based on all those rave reviews I’d been expecting a “soul-enhancing, inspiring story” not an infuriating exercise on what not to do. I mean what kind of idiot decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone with zero backpacking experience and almost no money set aside for emergencies?

This is the kind of person that first-responders (i.e search & rescue) hate. Unprepared, inexperienced, naïve, a danger to themselves and just plain stupid. Getting into situations that require those first responders to risk their own lives in rescuing them because they didn’t do a little research and preparation. Granted Cheryl Strayed didn’t actually need rescuing but that was just dumb luck on her part.

I also almost lost my mind with the overuse of the word PCT. I get it you’re hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, I don’t need to see the acronym in every sentence, an average of 4-6 times a page, every page for the entire book. She also plugs “her bible” The Pacific Crest Trail volume 1 (and 2) writing the complete name of the book every couple of pages in case we forget what got her where she is.

“Was I on the PCT? All the while, I’d been searching for the small diamond-shaped PCT markers that were occasionally tacked to trees, but I hadn’t seen any. This wasn’t necessarily reason for alarm. I’d learned that the PCT markers weren’t to be relied upon. An hour later I saw a metal diamond that said PACIFIC CREST TRAIL tacked to a snowbound tree, and my body flooded with relief. I still didn’t know precisely where I was, but at least I knew I was on the PCT.”

Ultimately I had zero sympathy for this girl, in fact all she did was make me angry with her stupid decisions and (in the beginning chapters) depress me with the death of her mother, scattering of family members and dissolution of her marriage because she was sleeping around. Don’t even get me started on her lackadaisical, I’ve never tried it before decision to do heroin. I mean what could possibly go wrong there?

So after an abortion and with a fresh track mark on her leg from her last little experiment with H she decides to spend 3 months hiking from the Mojave Desert in California to Oregon in Washington State by herself.

This is still a hell of an adventure and I do have to give her full credit for finishing what she started and persevering through extreme conditions. I will also admit to actually enjoying the last 50 pages or so as Cheryl neared the end of her time on the PCT and seemed to come to terms with herself and find a sort of peace. The writing also improves in these chapters, becoming less repetitive or maybe I just got so used to seeing the word PCT I just didn’t see it anymore. PCT.
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-06-18 00:41
Excllent bio -70's surf culture, survival story, and a bond between father & son
Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival (P.S.) - Norman Ollestad

Opening Line: “February 19,1979. At seven that morning my dad, his girlfriend Sandra and I took off from Santa Monica Airport headed for the mountains of Big Bear.”

Set amid the wild uninhibited surf culture of Malibu and Mexico in the late 1970’s, Crazy For The Storm is a fascinating memoir that was hard to put down. It centers around 11 year old Norman Ollestad and the complicated relationship he had with his father. Demanding, charismatic and free-spirited, it is ultimately the thrill-seeking lifestyle and continual test of skills that Norman Senior puts his son through which are responsible for saving his life, when the chartered Cessna carrying them to a ski championship goes down in the California mountains killing everyone else on board.

This devastated 11 year old must then descend the treacherous icy mountain alone. Relying on tools subconsciously learned from an early age and with the voice of his father echoing in his ears “Go for it Boy Wonder. You can do it.”

“The fog undulated, as if breathing and it lifted off the snow for a moment. Fifteen feet across the slope the pilot’s shoes wandered in disparate directions. His legs twisted in the snow. The hem of his shirt folded back and his belly was pale. Am I still asleep?”

Now obviously if I’m reading his memoir then I know that Norman survives but there is still a huge element of suspense maintained throughout this story. The initial scenes with the plane crash are so riveting that at first I was super annoyed when the author decided to start alternating chapters back and forth between his life leading up to the crash and the hours directly after, I wanted to stay at the crash site. I’ll admit though I soon became equally engrossed in Norman’s unusual upbringing in Topanga beach, with its hippie culture, surfing lifestyle and his Mothers alcoholic and often violent boyfriend. Plus you never knew what adventure his father was going to drag him on next.

There are several chapters devoted to a road trip he took into Mexico to deliver a washing machine to his grandparents. With his father’s mantra “This is life Ollestead,” they end up broke, on the run from trigger happy Federales and finally hiding out in a village eating mangoes and surfing the perfect waves while they try to figure out how to get their car fixed.

His father may have been a charmer but he had dubious ideas when it came to parenting (the cover photo shows Norman at about a year old strapped to his father’s back while he surfs) He often placed his son in danger to challenge him and Norman both resented and idolized him and in my opinion was more than a little afraid of him.

While the writing is fantastic it does tend to get a little technical with the skiing and snow terms and I had a hard time visualizing the crash site (the slope -a curtain of ice) so that I never really had a clear picture of what he was facing. From what I understand it does however contain some very good “surf writing”.

I’m a real fan of true-life survival stories but this turned out to be more than a tale of adventure. Powerful and unforgettable, at its heart this is the story about the complex bond between fathers and sons, nurturing and teaching and what we pass on to our children. Leaving me close to tears at the end as we watch a grown Norman teach his own son how to ski and face his fears. Cheers

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?