Saturday, February 28, 2015

Discussion Post #3 - Eat, Play, Lust by Tawna Fenske

It's Saturday, and that means (hopefully) relaxation and reading! It's my hope you've had a little bit of down time today :). I also really hope that you're all ready to discuss this next novella!



* This was a quick, steamy read. What did you think about our main characters? Do you feel they were well fleshed out for a novella length story?

* What are your feelings on Cami's reasons for eating healthy foods? Do you think it was a good jumping off point for these characters?

* Steamy scenes: let's talk sex. Yay, or nay on the heat level? 



So, full disclosure, I have a big crush on Entangled books. Their authors are wonderful people, the editors do a wonderful job, and the stories are pretty much always a ton of fun. I might be a little biased because of how many I've read :). That being said, novellas are a tricky terrain for me. They're so short that it's hard to really develop characters. So I wasn't surprised that Cami and Paul were only slightly fleshed out. I did like their backgrounds, especially Paul's chef background, though.

Now as for Cami's reason for not wanting Paul to know her "dark secret", I was a little annoyed. I'll be honest. The story itself is super sweet, and these two definitely have some chemistry. I just couldn't get over the fact that Cami's food issues were such a big deal for her. Still, it did make a nice entrance for Paul's expertise to bring these two together. So I'll forgive it. Maybe I'm just too much a foodie to understand anyone being nervous about food. Ha!

Sex scenes? I'd say these rate right around a 5 on the "HOT ALERT" scale. They were very tame, but also sensual at the same time. It's tough to make sparks fly between two characters without a lot of extra pages, but I think the author definitely achieved that. These two had some major passion, and I give points to that.

Overall rating? I'd say it's a 4 from this reader! Short, sweet, and now I want some tater tots.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Discussion Post - Mile 81 by Stephen King

Hope your weekend is going great so far! If you've read Mile 81 by Stephen King this weekend, it's probably filled with a little bit of creep factor. Are you ready to chat? I hope so!



Let's have an open discussion about this one, since it's so short. Are you a fan of Stephen King? Are you a fan or horror in general? Share with us what you liked, and didn't like about this book!

Bonus points if you can name on other SK book that you just totally love!



So, I'm fairly biased when it comes to Stephen King. Sure, there are a few books he's written that I thought totally missed the mark. For the most part though, he shines as one of my all time favorite authors. He's a master at building tension, at creating that horrible unease in the pit of your stomach, and of bringing things to life that you didn't even know you were afraid of. I'm a fan of the horror genre, and SK fits snugly into that box for me.

That being said, a lot of his newer short stories have kind of failed to impress me. While Mile 81 wasn't a bad short story, it was definitely less than what I expected it to be. The bizarre makes a debut in King novels a lot. I'm used to weird, and mainly unexplained, things happening. For me though, this particular event was just too weird for words. That, and I wanted some type of closure. Any type of closure. So, I was a little disappointed.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Member Rewards Shelf Update - Some Eye Candy

I'm still working on the particulars of the member rewards program, but here's some eye candy to tide you over! The basic premise is, you participate... you get free books to read. They'll be a mix of books that I've purchased for you, books I've received via publishers and read already, and books that are ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) and need a new home.

Look at all the goodies so far!

Discussion Post - Appalachian Serenade by Sarah Loudin Thomas

So, a cold knocked me directly on my butt after work Friday. I was all set to spend my short day off work, and all of Saturday, messing with the blog and getting caught up. Apparently, my immune system had other plans. Ha! Oh, working at a new place.

Bright note, this post is going up now and the next one is all about the member rewards program. So, that's good news. Let's talk Appalachian Serenade.



1. What time period do you believe that this novella takes place in? Did you have a picture of the events running in your head?

2. How did you feel about the differences between Delilah and most of the other women in town? Was she a character that you enjoyed following?

3. What was one thing that you absolutely loved about this novella? One thing that you could have happily done without?



I feel that, in all fairness, I should let you know that I don't usually pre-read these novellas. I pick them based on recommendations from other readers I know, the reviews on Amazon, and sometimes just because they're free and look interesting :). So if you ever find anything that offends you, or puts you off, please don't feel like you can't say something! You won't hurt my feelings. We all have certain triggers. Now, on to my thoughts on this novella. 

1. In my head, I first saw this book taking place sometime in the 30's. However, at the mention of Delilah's car and at the mention of her working during war time, I kicked it up into the 50's. My brain wanted so badly to place her in traditional 1950's clothing in the city, because I've never before read a book that takes place in a rural place during this time. I wasn't really able to picture it accurately, but I did enjoy the descriptions of the small town, the bustling people, and of course Delilah's wonderful mode of transportation ;).

2. I loved the fact that Delilah was so independent and spirited. Her ability to stand tall, despite the possible things being gossiped about behind her back, made me smile. The fact that she was so methodical about laying options out in front of her, that she started out trusting her head more than her heart, made her a relatively likable character to me. I could see her struggle between wanting emotional happiness, and wanting children, and I understood it.

3. One thing I loved about this novella was the fact that the female characters weren't under the thumb of their male counterparts. There's more than a few mentions of decorum, but overall these women were rather feisty and wonderful. One thing I could have done without, and you'll see this a lot because of the way I read, were the very large (and often) mentions of "God's will". I chalked it up to the fact that this book takes place in an older time, and so people were very often religious. I couldn't help but tire of the repetitiveness of it after a while though.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Final Discussion Post - Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Last discussion post of the book! *wistful sigh* I can't believe a whole month has already come and gone. I'm going to cheat a little bit this week and pull some interesting questions from the book club pamphlet that was printed to go with this book! I didn't want to do it too early, because there were spoilers.


Chapters: Chapter 12 through End

1.  Eby’s falling-down resort attracts misfits of all kinds, some more likable than others. Which characters did you find the most endearing? And which, inversely, alienated you? Were there others who won you over by the novel’s end?

2. Certain characters, like Kate and Eby, experience their life’s magic as a sort of enchantment, unpredictable and yet not unpleasant. Did that carry over to you as you were reading it? Did the characters’ easy acceptance of day-to-day magical happenings make it easier for you to believe in them too?

3.  The women in Kate’s extended family are all too experienced with widowhood. Eby calls it the “Morris curse.” But all of the widows react very differently to their tragedies. What is it about some of the Morris women that makes them especially vulnerable to losing themselves in grief? What, do you think, would have happened to Kate and Devin had Kate never ‘woken up’ from her own sorrow?

4. Eby says that if “we measured life in the things that almost happened, we wouldn’t get anywhere.” Do you agree? You may wish to talk about your own fateful “almosts” as well.



I have to say that the one character that slowly made her way into my heart was Selma. I really wanted to dislike her at the beginning. Despite the fact that I could see the want in her heart, the need to be loved, I disagreed with how she went about it. The end totally smashed that to pieces for me. She became a big piece of this story, and I adored her for it. If there was a character who I disliked, that would have to be Lazslo. Which makes sense since he's our "villain" of sorts. Profit weighs out over everything for him.

One of the things I absolutely adore about Sarah Addison Allen's books is that the magic she pours into them just becomes a part of the story. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that Selma would have love charms, or that Billy would have become an alligator. If there was any place those things could happen, I truly believe Lost Lake would be it. I do think that the fact that the characters just accept these things as fact, that their hearts and minds are open to the magic, does make it easier to take it all in. You just know it's part of the story, and you embrace it.

Moving on to widowhood, I did a lot of thinking about this question. I think the driving factor for the Morris women who came out of their sorrow was that they had something else to pour their life into. Eby lost George, and she was sad, but she had Lost Lake and its memories and inhabitants to pour herself into. When Kate lost her husband, I think allowing Cricket to take over almost moored her completely in her sorrow. The fact that she had nothing to focus on, because everything was being done for her, allowed her to wallow. When she "woke up" and realized that Devin needed her, that was the end. She poured all her love into Devin, and then into Eby, and I think that made her a better person.

Ah, I love this quote SO MUCH. It's such an elegant way of saying the more popular "When one door closes another one opens." Eby is a woman who didn't dwell on the past. Relished it, sure. Relived it, definitely. But she never allowed herself to fall into it and stop moving forward. I've been in positions before where I had the option to just sit, and mourn a lost opportunity. I think Eby is right though. It's picking yourself up from that, and moving forward anyway, that life is all about. An almost is just an almost. It's the things that actually happen that make it all worth it.