Jane's Reviews and Thoughts

I'm just a girl who loves to read and likes to swear - a lot. 

So if you have a fucking problem with this, don't follow me.



Reading progress update: I've read 25 percent.

The Closer You Get   - L.A. Witt

There are very few authors, IMHO, who know how to write a truly all-around entertaining M/M romance.  L.A. Witt is one of them.  This has everything: likable characters, hot (and I mean thermometer popping) sex, and angst (but not too much angst).  I would recommend her to anyone who is wanting to try LGBT romance but doesn't know where to start.  She also writes contemporary straight romance under Lauren Gallagher.

Life just isn't fair. *sigh*
Life just isn't fair. *sigh*

Reading progress update: DNR cuz I'm bored.

Surviving Raine - Shay Savage

Ok, I'm stuck at 50%. Is it worth going on?


ETA: I'm 86ing this.  I'm bored and it bugs me that H killed many people for money a la "Hunger Games" (sorta).


Onto the next Kindle loan which may or may not suck. ;o)

Best Laid Plans

The Best Laid Plans (A Very Sexy Romance) - Tamara Mataya

Cute little story though for whatever reason, h does not recognize H from high school.  Slightly understandable as he has transformed from the frog he was back in the day into Prince Charming complete with muscles and great hair.  Whatever.  The sex was hot and the couple was pretty cute.


Also refreshing as H is a studio musician by trade instead of a rock star so that was cool.

Asking for Trouble

Asking for Trouble - Tessa Bailey

This author has been very hit or miss for me but I'm happy to say that this one was a hit for the most part.  Lots of assumptions on the part of H and h but true love wins out in the end. I guess.

RIP, Mr. Mandela

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” 


 ~ Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

For Your Eyes Only (aka How Many Freaking Plots Can We Fit Into One Story)

For Your Eyes Only - Sandra Antonelli













Sandra Antonelli’s blog title says it all: Quirky Romance Novels for Grown Ups…and Smart Asses.  This is exactly what her books are and in part, they are quite a bit of fun.



"Holy, holy shit.  I love that you didn't stop and ask for directions."


                                                         - Willa to John after having sex for the first time



Willa and John meet by accident when she comes back to Los Alamos, NM to investigate a charge of possible espionage which  may involve her best friend, Dominic Brennan (H from A Basic Renovation).  She is FBI who years before, worked undercover as a quantum physicist in the Los Alamos National Laboratory with Dominic who was totally unaware of her ‘real’ job).  To say Dominic is mad is an understatement.  

In fact, he is so mad he later allows her to unwittingly drink a very strong alcoholic beverage, knowing she has a low tolerance for alcohol.  Needless to say, she gets really drunk and passes out in John’s powder room who doesn’t find her until the next morning.


For the record, I didn’t like Dominic in A Basic Renovation and I like him even less in this book.  His temper was way out of proportion for a good part of the first book which caused some huge rifts with the h, Lesley, and while I could understand his being mad about not being told about Willa’s real profession (she became an FBI agent AFTER they met at MIT and became friends, and hell yeah, I’d be mad too if my best friend was recruited to the FBI and she neglected to tell me), it was cruel and dangerous to allow her to drink as much as she did.  He also said some pretty unforgivable things to her which was very reminiscent of the first book.  In either case there was no grovel which is a huge pet peeve for me.

(show spoiler)



Right away, there is some serious chemistry between John and Willa and as a result some very funny bantering back and forth.  They are both older and both have had past serious relationships as both were married before and while John has been divorced for several years,


“He’d been married a long time ago in a galaxy known as the 90’s.”


Willa was widowed 18 months before the start of this story.  John especially, is ready to try again for a serious relationship and he’s decided Willa is the one to try with.  She is understandably reluctant as she has a job to do and can't be totally honest with him about it.  Let the Insta-Love ensue!

Within five days, they are madly, deeply, in love!

(show spoiler)




Along with all of this we have a bunch of other shit going on including Willa’s very conflictive relationship with her step-daughter, a sub plot with two other men (one, a fellow FBI agent and the other a Lab employee), both of whom also have a crush on Willa, an investigation into a possible murder, a meth lab bust, and enough 80’s pop culture references to choke a horse.


My Thoughts:

What we mainly have here is a book that didn't know if it wanted to be a romance, a police procedural, a murder mystery, or chick lit.


I could have come very close to loving this book and I wanted to sooooo bad cuz I think this author has a great voice and writes great banter BUT the non-stop info dumping, copious amount of secondary characters along with weirdly thorough descriptions of said secondary characters kept kicking me out of the story as I went along.


First, the good:


  • Protags are mature, likable, funny, and have great chemistry together from the get go.


  • Dialogue is snappy and fun and real and story is emotional and heartfelt.


  • A murder mystery that did actually have me guessing for most of the book.


  • Location is unusual – Los Alamos, NM, home of the Manhattan Project (and my home state) with great detailed description of different locales. Antonelli also gives a shout out to one of my favorite historical authors and a NM resident herself, Laura Kinsale, naming an FBI agent after her, so you go Sandra. ;o)



And then the not so good:


  • Massive info dumping and tons of introspective chatter in almost every part of the book, sometimes about important things the reader should know about but ended up being dragged out for so long that I ended up not caring about why they were being discussed/thought about after a while or they were about such unimportant and/or trivial things that it never should have been mentioned anyway.


  • Several typos and one section of gobbledy-gook I couldn’t make heads or tails of.  Once again, I point out that this is Escape Publishing, an imprint of Harlequin Enterprises Australia, and I’m thinking we should be well past having this many of these types of errors.


There were also some truly WTFery moments which had me totally scratching my head:


  • I am deducting a whole star because nowhere did we see a couple of very important characters from the first book: Lesley’s grandfather, a Sicilian fireball who IMO, saved the first book with his hilarious, if over the top antics as well as Dominic’s son, Kyle, who was a very important character and who supposedly is Willa’s godson in this book.  Seeing as Dominic and Lesley play a pretty big part in the events here, I would think their kid should probably show up at some point.  Instead we get Lesley's brother, Sean, a nosy, blowhard dickweed, who judges everyone by the size of his/her bank account.  Even Dominic’s domineering and scary mother would have been welcome so that we could at least see what was going on in her little psychotic world. 


So this begs the question, why in the world would you not bring back some of the best things about this series?  Why drop in completely unnecessary and frankly, weird one-off characters that don’t do a damn thing to drive the story?  The author sacrificed these two great characters in order to add a huge cast of other characters who, while they may have had minor roles, didn't necessarily deserve the airtime ultimately given to them.


  • Extremely thorough (and not in a good way) characterizations and descriptions of said secondary characters.  Normally you might say this isn’t a bad thing but in this case, yes. Yes it was a bad thing cuz every, and I mean Every. Single. Character - and action - and reaction - and thought - were described to the nth degree in this book. Minor or major. Important or unimportant. Necessary or unnecessary.  This included extremely exaggerated accents and countless details about clothing, personality traits, habits, looks, etc.


  • Dominic’s and later, Lesley’s totally inappropriate and violent behavior toward Willa.


  • H’s laugh – yes, I said his laugh, or in this case, his sniff-sniff-sniffing.  This started in the previous book and apparently the author thought it would be a good idea to carry this endearing (not) trait over to this book – ad nauseam. Stupid Kobo apparently doesn’t have a search feature on their iPhone app or I would have counted, but take my word, in every fucking chapter, we are treated to John laughing, oops - I mean sniffing in hilarity.


  • Last but not least, towards the end of the book, John jumps to a major conclusion regarding Willa's and Dominic's relationship, says very hurtful things and ta-daaaaaa - no grovel.  
    He spends a good part of the book insisting that her having a male best friend is no biggie (and in fact, his best friend is Lesley who BTW, he was interested in romantically in the first book) but after Lesley punches Willa in the stomach, he assumes the worst!
    (show spoiler)




I predict a third book and I have a feeling I know who the main male protagonist will be.  I really, really want to know about his story but I just don’t know if I’ve got it in me to pony up what will probably be a very reasonable amount to find out.

Obviously Ms. Lee never met the uploaders of STGRB.
Obviously Ms. Lee never met the uploaders of STGRB.

This Is Why I've Just About Given Up on SPA's

Because You're Mine - K. Langston

I came THIS CLOSE to one-clicking this book and am soooooo happy I read the sample first.  I'm not rating this book but am stating my opinion on yet another self-pubbed offering with no editing and either beta readers who just aren't that competent or are less than honest.  The following are examples of extremely distracting typos and fuck ups that should take any normal reader out of the story except for those current 57 (yep, I said 57) 4 and 5-star reviewers.  The lone 2-star reviewer did not comment at all on the technical issues though she did have what I assume are legitimate issues with how a fledgling attorney starts a career in law.  I would agree with this seeing as how the law student in question is fucking her boss.


It is really not my intention to pick on this one author but if you read my reviews, you know my bullshit tolerance level is extremely low when it comes to errors and WTFery in general.  This is just another in a long line of poorly edited self-pubbed ebooks that are vomited onto GRamazon's site on a daily basis.


And onward to the sample:




(this could have been correct but within the context of the rest of the paragraph, it probably should be 'wandering')




(Ah, the difference one little word can make)




(such a common mistake but one of my HUGEST pet peeves)




(ride 'em, cowboy!)




(so many issues, so little time)




I'm sad because I sort of like this writer's voice.  Unfortunately, the final product shows that she likely just ran it through spell check and didn't bother to actually go over her work with a fine toothed comb.



Below are just some pure WTFery moments, for me, anyway:



Am I crazy or DOES IT NOT matter what the jury thinks?  That's the legal system, folks.  It is mostly correct that it doesn't matter what the attorney thinks about the guilt or innocence of the defendant.  However, a JURY of his/her peers is charged with deciding the matter of guilt or innocence, so yeah, I do actually think it matters what they do think.  And remember, this is an attorney and law student speaking.




In the section below, the main character, Madison, is talking about her roommate, Tabitha:



Um, really?  Now I know the public school system is in the toilet in a lot of cities but the last time I looked, you had to actually have a degree in education to teach.  And she doesn't just teach, she teaches music. What the fuck?  Did I miss where we were informed that Tabitha was trained in music education during the last YEAR after her stint in medical school?  The writer, I believe, has fallen into that time honored habit of throwing every fucking thing except the kitchen sink, into the plot.  Also not loving the change of tenses. 


So there you go folks.  Some readers think we should give a pass to first-time and self-pubbed authors.  My question is - Why?  These are supposed to be professionals who are hoping to make a living (I assume) from writing.  Then why not do it well?  That means technically as well as imaginatively.  I believe she may have the imaginative part down but she definitely needs to work on the technicalities. I sure as fuck won't be reading any of them until she does.

Savage Rhythm

Savage Rhythm (Club Volare) - Chloe Cox


One Wrong Move

One Wrong Move - Shannon McKenna

This is the ninth offering in McKenna's McCloud and Friends series and it pretty much lives up to the usual McKenna formula.


The beginning of the book finds Nina (h) being injected with a super-psi formula by an old acquaintance and she is taken to the hospital where she is almost killed by the bad guys.  She gets away then commits a TSTL move.  

She goes home to gather stuff and get out of town and decides to change, completely undressing, surely knowing the baddies are after her.  Now you would think she would assume they can and will find her address and be showing up before too long but apparently not.  She ends up almost dying at the hands of the Aaro's (H) cousin before Aaro finds her.

(show spoiler)

 Aaro rescues her and they go on the run.  


Let the instalove/lust commence!  Of course they sleep together almost immediately.  One thing the reader most definitely gets plenty of, is sex which I think McKenna does well, if formulaically.  Couples in all the McCloud books pretty much fall in instalove which in this case, seemed to work as this was definitely a life or death situation.  

Nina and Aaro are both injected with a formula that enhances/causes psychic abilities but they must receive a second injection to prevent death within 3-5 days.

(show spoiler)


I mostly liked Aaro and Nina though their characterizations were shallow and not very finely drawn.  As is common in this series, there were lots of generalizations and not a ton of background on these two.  As this is the case with most all of McKenna’s couples, it was pretty much expected and not a huge disappointment but I wouldn't mind being surprised once in a while.  That's actually only happened once with Ultimate Weapon, which I loved.  What we did get was plenty of playful banter that made me smile and an uber-possessive self-made millionaire H who wanted to kill any other man who dared look at his woman and I was good with that also.


What I didn't like:


I got more information than I ever wanted about Miles (H in next book) and unfortunately, readers were in his head waaaaay too much!  And let me tell you, it's not pretty.  


Another drawback was that the immense cast of characters, both bad guys and good guys, was almost more than my poor brain could keep up with.  Note to author:  It is not necessary to mention every fucking character, past, present, and future ever written into one of you books.  I just don’t care.


All in all, I enjoyed this one but will not keep and probably won’t reread.


Dracula [Unabridged] Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition - Bram Stoker

2 and a half hours in and loving it.  I've tried several times to read the paperback but have had a really hard time with it for some reason.  It was too easy to set down and not pick up, then when I did finally attempt to continue, I found I had to start over!  I finally gave up a few years ago and got busy so didn't try again.


Downloaded this for free from Downpour.com last week and it is AWESOME!!  Robert Whitfield/Simon Vance is so, so wonderful as the narrator.  He goes from character to character with ease including Eastern European (such a turn on), British, American, male, female (though I always smile a little when he reads the letters between Mina and Lucy cuz they can be kind of silly).


I also didn't quite realize that the sexiness in most movie retellings of this story does indeed, originate from the novel.  The scene when Jonathan Harker is almost eaten up by the three female vampires actually made me squirm a bit. ;o)  


Most importantly, I finally see how great a writer Mr. Stoker truly was.  I'm just sad it took me so damn long to figure this out.


p.s. HATE, HATE, HATE the new Dracula show on NBC.  It's dumb, silly, and contains the bare minimum of the original story.  Having characters with the same names as the book doesn't make it right or good.

First Strike (I-Team After Hours)

First Strike - Pamela Clare

First of all the cover is fan-fucking-tastic!


Very sexy short prequel in preparation for Clare's next I-Team book, Striking Distance. Both protags are very likable and good-looking (of course) and the best thing of all is that Striking Distance will be out in a very short while (November 5)! 


I have been looking forward to both these books for many months and this is seriously one of the very, very few times I am actually considering buying an ebook when it comes out and it's over a dollar more than the paperback!


I love her poignant dedication which is in reference to the abuse inflicted on women and girls worldwide because...well, just because they're female.  


The only semi-weird thing was the very long author's note on how the whole damn thing came to be.  I just wanted to tell her "Hey Pamela!  It's ok!  I don't care cuz I'll probably love it no matter what!"  And I did. ;o)


WTF is going on with TWD???









Why was Hershel so hot to go out in the woods? Alone? By himself? Without protection? Why does a 14 year old boy have to tell him why that is not wise?  Beats the fuck out of me, that's for sure.


I am getting just a little irate at some of these characters this season (not with Daryl, of course, never with Daryl).  First the clusterfuck in the second episode where nobody thought it prudent to go down to the fence and check out why the hell the zombies are clustering at certain points.  When they actually start to push the fence down, THEN somebody bothers to notice the HUGE pile of dead rats.  Really?


And Carol.  Oh, Carol! Ummm...holy shit?!?!  Is she taking pragmatism to a new level? Is she just doing what needs to be done?  Or has this bitch just gone off the deep end?  Cannot wait to find out.  I'm sort of liking her this season but that's probably because I'm a cold, heartless bitch myself. ; P


I leave you with my granddaughter expressing her thoughts on love, life, and zombies:





Right now, I'm exactly there.

Source: http://tacuazin.booklikes.com/post/644921/post

White Balance *

White Balance - Ainslie Paton

I am so loving Ainslie Paton's books right now. Her characters are likable, smart, nice, have common sense (mostly), and I believe in their HEAs. Only a few things kept me from rating a solid 4 or 5-stars.


Bailey (Bails) and Aiden (Aid) have an 'almost' encounter two years before they actually meet. She spots him one morning as she is taking photos and senses that he is in a great deal of pain and turmoil and as it happens, he has recently lost his wife in a tragic accident. Bailey is not doing so hot herself as she is just entering the hospital for major back surgery.


-read more-

Currently reading

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Robin Buss