Recipe For a Perfect Read

While trying to cull the massive 60+ collection of movie posters for an upcoming Lurv’s Essential List of Fantasy movies, apparently J.R. Ward’s latest Black Dagger Brotherhood book, The King, has hit many shelves and devices. Most of my fellow Twitter reading friends seem to be reading it. Admittedly, I dropped the series quite a while ago. Plenty of reasons cropped up: the absurd slang, the never-ending pop culture and brand name dropping, and eventually the characters themselves no longer did it for me either. If ever there was a plot, I’d need a microscope to identify it. But I did enjoy them back in the day when paranormal romance was the majority of my reading time, and they were a little campy and fun for sure. Absurdity sometimes has its own comical value. Also the sex. Sometimes that was…not absurd.

Just today on Twitter, one of my friends retweeted someone who’d said that after about the first 30% of The King, she was finally able to get into and enjoy the book. Others already seem to share the same opinion. This reminded me that I’ve often wondered what makes a book a perfect read, despite some flaws or a slow beginning quarter third or half. I know I myself have ended up enjoying some books that didn’t start well for me, but I still tend to take into consideration that the first third was staggeringly boring, annoying or plain bad, and this reflects in what grade I give in a review, and it definitely gets a mention. Good ending or not, it’s usually a downgrade.

We see the opinion all the time that complete crap gets published and seems to flourish – so at what point are we not willing to look past flaws and proclaim a book wonderful? At the same time, what do we willingly look past in order to enjoy a book? I think reader reactions are rather fascinating in this way, which may be one reason that, even though I don’t read Ward’s work anymore, I still love to read how people are reacting to her books. Many seem to agree that the slang, brand names and other details are lame and tiring, but they usually also seem to end up loving the book anyway.

What’s your recipe for a perfect read? What especially bad things have you looked past when something especially good came along after? Can you overlook some bad things in a book to proclaim it a perfect read later? Are we simply more forgiving of the books we anticipate the most?

Lurv’s Essential (And Long) SciFi Movie List

I was briefly discussing scifi movies on Twitter with a couple of friends and after noting that I feel Hollywood does a mostly terrible job with the genre, one of my friends expressed surprise at this. She briefly listed some of her favorites, and I had to admit that, sure, there are definitely some good ones. I stand by my sentiment that there are plenty of bad ones, though. Keeping subjectivity in mind, I decided to amass a list of some of my most favorite/notable scifi movies I’ve enjoyed over the years. It’s a big list. A long list. Maybe too long. But at least it’s a graphical list, so yay for the eyeballs.

I don’t feel any of these movies are perfect (what movie could be, except for perhaps the original Star Wars series before they went back and added that ridiculous Haden Christensen to the damn ending of Return of the Jedi whyyyyyyy sob stabby sob) but I enjoy them all for varying reasons. Starship Troopers for its campy, over-the-top-ness. Kirk and Spock saving the whales in Star Trek: The Voyage Home and, hence, humanity. And I love “natural disaster” weather movies, so The Day After Tomorrow gets a mention as well. Don’t judge me. I’ve got my don’t care meter turned up to plaid.

In no particular order…and I cheated and made them all into a gallery (graphical, yo), so yay for space saving! I feel like I’m forgetting something obvious, though. What are some of your essentials/favorites when it comes to scifi movies?

An Essential Fantasy Movie List coming soon!

Review: Satisfaction

sarah mayberry
satisfaction
Small Cow Publishing
Contemporary ROMANCE
february 28, 2014

Maggie Hendricks loves her life. Great job, amazing friends. Everything just how she likes it. There’s just one small problem. When it comes to sex, Maggie can’t quite get there. No fireworks, no screaming orgasms. And while she tells herself she’s fine with that, she can’t help wanting more.

When her friend shares the intimate details of a one night only fling with an extremely talented lover, Maggie makes a desperate pact with herself. She will seduce this man and if he can’t get her there…well, then she’ll hand herself over to medical science. A simple enough plan. What could possibly go wrong?

Within minutes of meeting Rafel Oliveira, Maggie knows the answer to that one: plenty. Rafel turns out to be far more than simply talented in the bedroom. As he takes her on a journey toward the ultimate pleasure, Maggie finds herself craving a lot more than his beautiful body. But can she win the one thing that will leave her truly satisfied…his heart?

Well, to say the least, the title is apt. In more ways than one, too! I received my copy via the author (there’s your full disclosure), who said the book was, and I quote, “dirrrrty”. Ha! Indeed. Love it. Given that I’m already a huge fan of Sarah Mayberry romances, I was really just beyond excited to be reading another one, let alone the promise of good ‘ole romance dirty times. What really gets me about her books are the characters, and when they mesh as well as Mayberry characters typically do, well, the more intimate parts of her books just work all the better. Satisfaction was no less so. At all. Ahem. Continue Reading

REVIEW: Apples Should Be Red

Apples Should Be Red

Penny Watson
Apples Should Be Red
Contemporary ROMANCE
February 15, 2014

Blurb via Goodreads:

Start with sixty-two year old politically incorrect, chain-smoking, hard-cussing curmudgeon. Add fifty-nine year old sexually-repressed know-it-all in pearls. Throw in a beer can-turkey, a battle for horticultural supremacy, and nudist next-door neighbor. Serve on paper plates, garnished with garden gnome. Tastes like happily ever after.

In the interests of Full Honesty – I know the author via online Twitter convos, the occasional email contact and once I ALMOST met her in person (After talking on the phone a couple of times to only realize I wouldn’t be able to – sob!). I also happen to just enjoy her personality and conversation a lot. So there’s all that and since there is, I’m not grading this review, but these are, I pinky-swear, my one hundred percent honest opinions on her latest read. Continue Reading

REVIEW: The Sharpest Blade

Sandy Williams
The sharpest blade
(shadow reader #3)
ACE
Urban fantasy/romance
december 31, 2013

Blurb from Amazon.com:

McKenzie Lewis’s ability to read the shadows has put her—and those she loves—in harm’s way again and again. The violence must end, but will the cost of peace be more devastating than anyone ever imagined?

After ten years of turmoil, the life McKenzie has always longed for may finally be within her grasp. No one is swinging a sword at her head or asking her to track the fae, and she finally has a regular—albeit boring—job. But when a ruthless enemy strikes against her friends, McKenzie abandons her attempt at normalcy and rushes back to the Realm.

With the fae she loves and the fae she’s tied to pulling her in different directions, McKenzie must uncover the truth behind the war and accept the painful sacrifices that must be made to end it. Armed with dangerous secrets and with powerful allies at her side, her actions will either rip the Realm apart—or save it.

The first book in this series, The Shadow Reader, was one of my most favorite reads of 2012. I even enjoyed the second book for the most part, though I never got the chance to review it. And now we’ve got the series finale in The Sharpest Blade and it was…okay. While I found myself enjoying a lot of the book, it’s pretty much split evenly into finishing up its series plot duties, while the second half dealt equally with the mess of a love triangle that started in book one. Like many other romance reading fans, I’m not exactly a lover of the love triangle, but I was willing to give this one a chance. Unfortunately, the way this one was rather…unresolved left me at an impasse with the series. Continue Reading

Sometimes They Come Back: The Noble Dead, Series 2

The recent radio/blog silence has been due, technically, to regurgitated reading. I’ve talked before about the Noble Dead books, even the current topic below (and linked where appropriate to reviews in the series list below). They’re a co-authored series of epic fantasy novels by wife/husband team Barb and J.C. Hendee. Once upon a time, I breezed through the first series (the first series is 6 books, the 2nd series is 3 books and so far series 3 has 3 books as well – a true time investment) with the kind of fascination, in-depth involvement and plain fun a reader wants. I loved the world, I really loved the characters and the plot had just the right amount of mystery I needed to remain hooked (while still getting enough fed to me to keep me hooked as well). Those first six books were quite the thrilling adventure.

Then came the second series, which made a major focus switch to one of the main characters we meet in the first series, a young sage named Wynn. Instead of the fascinating dhampir Majiere and her half-elf lover, Leesil, we’re stuck for three long books with the ever-frustrating and bumbling Wynn as our lead. Majerie and Leesil were off somewhere else doing who-knows-what cool and awesome things. Why the authors thought this was a good idea is still not clear. Because I decided to go back and try the second series again. Book gods, help me and I mean HELP. Me. Continue Reading