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About

Kaetrin started reading romance as a teen and then took a long break, detouring into fantasy and thrillers. She returned to romance in 2008 and has been blogging since 2010. She reads contemporary, historical, a little paranormal, urban fantasy and romantic suspense, as well as erotic romance and more recently, new adult. She loves angsty books, funny books, long books and short books. The only thing mandatory is the HEA. Favourite authors include Mary Balogh, Susanna Kearsley, Joanna Bourne, Tammara Webber, Kristen Ashley, Shannon Stacey, Sarah Mayberry, JD Robb/Nora Roberts, KA Mitchell, Marie Sexton, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, just to name a few. You can find her on Twitter: @kaetrin67.

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REVIEW:  The Bad Boy of Bluebonnet by Jessica Clare

REVIEW: The Bad Boy of Bluebonnet by Jessica Clare

Bad-boy-of-Bluebonnet1

Dear Ms. Clare,

I bought this self-published novella for 99c. It’s book 4.5 in the Bluebonnet series but can be easily read as a stand-alone.

Emily Allard-Smith runs The Peppermint House, the only bed and breakfast in Bluebonnet. It doesn’t get many patrons but fortunately, she has enough money that it’s not a big deal for her. She loves to bake and generously shares her cakes, muffins and biscuits cookies with the local police and pretty much anyone else who wants them. She dreams of opening a bakery. I reckon she should. There aren’t enough bakeries in the world. This is my firm belief.

Her ex-husband Braden and she bought the old Victorian house as a fixer-upper when they were still married. But shortly after they moved in, Braden was offered his own reality tv show, ghost-hunting around the country. He took off and they divorced. She got the house in the settlement. Braden was always into ghosts and one of the things he always told Emily was that the house was haunted. She is lonely and this is only magnified when there are no guests staying at The Peppermint House. She regularly hears thumps and scrapes coming from the attic in the middle of the night and her lights flicker. She’s terrified Braden was right and there are actually ghosts. She’s worn out her welcome with the local police who generously attended her house a few times in the middle of the night to check (although, I must say they did a pretty ordinary job of it) and Braden is too far away and wouldn’t come anyway. In the middle of the night when she feels she can’t call on anyone for help, her loneliness is the worst.

Jericho Lozada has recently come to town and is staying with friends while he works out if there is enough business in Bluebonnet to sustain a handyman/plumber and while he decides if he likes it enough to stay. He looks like a bad boy – with tattoos and piercings, a mohawk and a Harley. Emily, on the surface at least, looks like his exact opposite. She’s buttoned up in old fashioned cardigans. Nevertheless, an attraction sparks when Jericho does some handiwork of the carpentry variety at The Peppermint House and she bakes him cookies. When she calls him in the middle of the night to check the attic he comes right on over and… let’s just say he solves a number of her problems. Ahem.

It’s sexy and fun and cute and a pleasant evening’s entertaining read without being anything particularly earth-shattering. It delivered exactly what it promised and that’s nothing to complain about.

The sex is pretty hot and enthusiastic which is always fun to read.  Yay for enthusiastic sex.

The copy is mostly clean but there was a continuity error in that when Jericho comes over in the middle of the night he’s still wearing his Scooby-Doo sleep pants (adorbs!) but in the morning they’ve suddenly turned into jeans.

There is little conflict between Emily and Jericho once they start talking to one another and it works as a novella quite well. Braden is no serious threat to their happiness and that situation resolves quickly. I liked it and it’s certainly worth the 99c pricetag.  I give The Bad Boy of Bluebonnet a B.

regards,
Kaetrin

 

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REVIEW:  Liesmith by Alis Franklin

REVIEW: Liesmith by Alis Franklin

liesmithWorking in low-level IT support for a company that’s the toast of the tech world, Sigmund Sussman finds himself content, if not particularly inspired. As compensation for telling people to restart their computer a few times a day, Sigmund earns enough disposable income to gorge on comics and has plenty of free time to devote to his gaming group.

Then in walks the new guy with the unpronounceable last name who immediately becomes IT’s most popular team member. Lain Laufeyjarson is charming and good-looking, with a story for any occasion; shy, awkward Sigmund is none of those things, which is why he finds it odd when Lain flirts with him. But Lain seems cool, even if he’s a little different—though Sigmund never suspects just how different he could be. After all, who would expect a Norse god to be doing server reboots?

As Sigmund gets to know his mysterious new boyfriend, fate—in the form of an ancient force known as the Wyrd—begins to reveal the threads that weave their lives together. Sigmund doesn’t have the first clue where this adventure will take him, but as Lain says, only fools mess with the Wyrd. Why? Because the Wyrd messes back.

 

Dear Ms. Franklin,

I heard about this book from a couple of online friends and when I saw the blurb I was all over it and asked Jane if she could get a review copy for me.  There is a lot that is great about this book – the concept is certainly fresh and the writing is engaging. I enjoyed the way queer was portrayed.  (I haven’t tagged the book “m/m” because neither character identify as gay). But.

I think the book assumes a familiarity with Norse mythology in general and the Loki mythos in particular. Unfortunately, prior to reading, the sum total of my Loki knowledge was based entirely Tom Hiddleston’s performances in the Marvel movies. I’m here to say that’s not enough.  I suppose for readers who don’t mind a little (or a lot of) confusion or who are happy to wait a great deal of time for explanations and who don’t mind some things not being explained at all, Liesmith might work better.  I’m not that kind of reader.

I don’t mind looking things up – there are often words I don’t know or things I have questions about but when it is is a near-constant interruption to my reading as was the case here, something isn’t working.  It’s not just that the book is a modern Loki myth. It’s that it takes the old stories and gives them a twist.  To understand what was twisted, you have to understand the original. There is some explanation in the book – it is doled out sparingly (I expect this was in an effort not to info-dump – which, on its face, is a good thing) but then some of the explanations end with “stop me if you’ve heard this before…” or “you know how the story goes”.  The problem was, I hadn’t heard it before and I didn’t know how the story goes.  So I had to look it up.  That happened a lot. A. LOT.  Just when I felt I was sinking in to all the good and entertaining parts of the story, I’d be interrupted again by something I didn’t understand and then I’d have to spend some time looking it up.  Sometimes it was easy but sometimes, it involved a bit of fossicking and that took time.  When I got back to the book, I felt like I had to pick up a complicated cat’s cradle all over again. I’d read, relax, become confused, feel stupid, Google something… – rinse, repeat.  In the latter third of the book, I tried not looking things up and just going with it.  I’m not sure I fared any better that way.  I was confused by the ending. It was a little too opaque for this reader.  But then, I tend toward the more obvious anyway.  The people who recommended it to me didn’t indicate they had any difficulty with following the story, so it is quite likely others will not share my confusion.

I’m also not a gamer but my husband is so I felt like I could mostly follow along with the many gaming references in the story and there at least, I felt a little more like I was in on the joke.

Sigmund wondered when he’d started running on video game logic. He figured this was the sort of thing lobbyists warned about.

There was a device commonly used in the text which threw me a bit.  It looked something like this:

Travis rolled his eyes—

(toward Ásgarðr)

—heavenward. “Con call to our Chinese manufacturer,” he said.

In the book, the part I have bolded is in italics.  The one above makes complete sense and is easy to follow but that was not always the case (for me at least).  For instance, the first time I saw (jotunn) interrupting a narrative train the connection wasn’t anywhere near as obvious to me.

I really liked how Sigmund wasn’t the typical romance hero.  He wasn’t even a typical romance geek.  He is a bit on the chubby side, has acne and is developing a double chin. He’s not very good looking – except for when he is passionately involved in something and then there is a light in his eyes which makes him interesting.  He’s… ordinary in many ways.  He’s the kind of geek you might actually know rather then the ones which commonly populate romance novels (ie the ones which are secretly gorgeous).  Lain is an altogether different type of romance hero too.  I can only applaud this.

I enjoyed the humour in the story – there are a lot of heavy battle type scenes and things get pretty dire for many of the characters, so it lightened the atmosphere considerably and provided a break in the narrative tension here and there.

“I hate to break it to you, but that guy makes Stephen Fry look straight.”

“Wait. Stephen Fry is gay?”

“Ohmigod, how are you alive?”

“I thought he was just British!”

The romance is sweet, not very explicit and the story has a hopeful happy-for-now ending.  The relationship is really just beginning so it fit.

I really liked that the book was set in Australia and that some of the Dreamtime myths were mentioned to give the story some local flavour. There is some idiom used which might confuse some US readers but there is not a lot of it so I think it will be okay.  I wasn’t sure about the cover. The guy on the cover looks like he could be an Aboriginal but neither Lain nor Sigmund have that ethnicity so I’m not sure who he is supposed to be.

I found the book hard to grade because my overwhelming feeling about it is confusion. I just felt lost a lot of the time and I’m really not sure how much of that is on me and what kind of reader I am.  However, while I was often confused I was also often charmed, so I’m going with a C.

Regards,
Kaetrin

 

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