Sunday, November 25, 2012

Teddy Bears, Merfolk, and Food Trucks: Reading Update

To say I've had quite the eclectic reading experience lately doesn't quite capture the insanity of my reading list.

I've read everything from "teddy bear" stories (about jumbo hairy guys) to merfolk horror to inexperienced virgin mistresses to my first interracial love story.

So, without further ado, here are some of my crazy reading selections from the last week. In no particular order.

Her Teddy Bear (#1) by Mimi Strong
Take Your Teddy To Work Day (#2) by Mimi Strong
Dress up Your Teddy (#3) by Mimi Strong

Thanks to Kate at Babbling About Books, I embarked on an epic journey of hairiness. Or so I thought. Kate sent me the link to this wacky book, which I think was free at the time, and so I figured...what the hecka! Let's try it.

Well, the first book was a bit odd, and also not that hairy. I mean, come on! Look at the book cover! I was expecting Sasquatch. But the hero was indeed a nice big jumbo-sized teddy bear. And the heroine was quirky and vulnerable.

Then I discovered there were two more books in the series. Ack! So I read them. The second book was cute, and by the third book, there were actually some sweet and sentimental moments. (I know. In a teddy bear book? It's hard to believe). But it's true. I enjoyed the series, especially the last book. The sexy times were hot, the characters were quirky, and Mimi Strong is a good writer.

Grade: B (SURPRISE!)

The Italian's Inexperienced Mistress by Lynne Graham

This was another freebie. This book had a quirky English-author feel to it, and I liked it. The hero was not as big an arsehole as usual, the heroine was a bit spunkier than the typical doormat virgin heroine, and I liked their love story.

Grade: B

Once Burned by Dee Carney

I started chatting with Dee Carney on Twitter and she told me she wrote a book about a food truck cooking competition. Yippee! I am obsessed with those shows. Little did I know that not only did this book have MOUTH-WATERING food descriptions (*Penny pats drool on chin*), but it also had super intense, sexy chemistry between the H/h and a cool interracial love affair. This was my first interracial erotica, and I thought it was handled perfectly. Their racial differences caused some painful conflict in the past, but this wasn't dragged on and on to mess up the pacing of this quick read. And the resolution was believable. I wish there had been one more smoky scene at the end. Well, I didn't get an extra sex scene, but I did get a recipe. Yay! Love recipes at the end of foodie books. Well played, Dee Carney!

Grade: B+

Jane's Gift by Karen Erickson

Recommended by Stella at Ex Libris, this was my first Christmas read of the season. If there is one place you can go WAY over the top with sentimentality, it's a Christmas romance. And I'll eat it up with a peppermint stick. This book was very emo and sweet. The hero was a too-good-to-be-true fireman, the heroine was a badly scarred (emotionally and physically) widow, and their love story was totally satisfying and had a lovely romantic ending. I cried. *sniff, sniff*

Grade: B+

Seduction and Snacks by Tara Sivec

I think I downloaded this book when it was free. It had tons of great reviews and I could not wait to read it.

I didn't last five pages.

I found an editing error in the first couple of pages, and I totally did not get the humor here. At all.

Grade: DNF

Dive: A Quartet of Merfolk Tales by Christine DePetrillo, Rachel E. Moniz, Heather Rigney, and Joseph Mazzenga

This is a collection of four very short stories which I also got for free on Black Friday. Needless to say, the horror stories (MERMAIDS ARE NOT NICE by Heather Rigney and BLOODY DEPTHS by Joseph Mazzenga) were the most successful. And I'll tell you why. The other two stories are romance, and to be honest, it's almost impossible to write a successful romance this short. There is just not enough time to develop the characters or the romantic story arc. But horror works well as flash fiction or as a short story.

Both the romance shorts, by Christine DePetrillo and Rachel E. Moniz, were well written and had a great kernel of romantic potential. I just wish they had been longer to develop it. The horror shorts were scary! I would never have thought of making a mermaid story into horror, but these did a great job. Mazzenga's short had a nice story arc and excellent blood-thirsty resolution packed into a quick bit of writing. And Rigney's story blew me away. This is an author to watch. Beautiful writing, engaging voice, fascinating characters, and unique story line. Well worth the read.

Over-all grade for the collection: B

So, that's it! I'm reading another Robyn Carr holiday story right now. Tis the season!

Happy Week to all,