Top Ten Tuesday: Bittersweet Love

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week she asks us to share lists on the following:

February 13: Love Freebie

 

This week I’m going to share some of the love stories that I’ve read that while beautiful had a bittersweet ending.  Sometimes love doesn’t walk off hand in hand into the sunset.  Here are some of my favorites.  Please note that there might be spoilers with some of these romances that end with one of the characters passing away or clues to how the couples end up together.  You have been warned.

Ten bittersweet romances…

  1. Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, #4)  This is book number four in the Chicagoland Vampires series the book where the series finally won me over.  Merit has accepted her new identity as a vampire and warmed up to Ethan just to have him killed off at the end of the book.  I about threw the book across the room but it hooked me for the series and it ended up being one of my favorites.
  2. The Gargoyle While this is a terribly dark story it is also a beautiful one about the love of two souls that have journeyed throughout time together in different life incarnations.
  3. Vampire, Interrupted (Argeneau #9) We spend most of this series with Marguerite, matchmaker extraordinaire, finding lifemates for her children and various other family members.  In book nine we learn the horrible past that Marguerite experienced being manipulated by her husband, who was not a lifemate, but someone who manipulated and controlled her every moment.  He has passed well before this series started but in this book, Marguerite finally gets a chance to be united with her lifemate.
  4. The Time Traveler's Wife I believe I cried for the last 50 pages or so of this story.  Why because he dies of course and then she spends the rest of her life waiting for one last moment with him.  Sorry, I basically spoiled this one for you.
  5. Reincarnation Blues A beautiful love story where two souls are not separated by death but life.
  6. Styxx (Dark-Hunter, #22) Ms. Kenyon is the queen of tortured heroes and she has yet to outdo what cooked up for Styxx.  Fear not it does have a happy ending.
  7. The Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #13)  I wasn’t sure I was going to like this story in the Blackdagger Brotherhood series because the Shadows were not my favorite characters.  But man this book wiped the floor with my emotions.  I can not believe how it ended.
  8. For a Few Demons More (The Hollows, #5) I’m not sure if this is the book where Kisten met his final death but it was just so tragic.  I loved Rachel and Kisten together so much that it was difficult for me to accept who Rachel eventually ends up with.
  9. The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3) It isn’t the main characters, Dianna and Matthew, but Gallowglass’s unrequited love that earned this book a spot on the list.
  10. Allegiant (Divergent, #3) I struggled to find a tenth bittersweet love story for the list but decided to add this one to the list.  Pretty much everyone I know hated how this story ended but I thought it was pretty fitting.

There you have my list for the week.  Feel free to share links in the comments to your TTT list or your favorite bittersweet love story.  Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

Book Review

 


Reincarnation BluesBook Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Humor

Book Series: N/A

Released: 8/22/17 by Del Rey Books

Pages: 384 Price: $27.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads,

Buy the Book: Amazon  Reincarnation Blues: A Novel

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A magically inspiring tale of a man who is reincarnated through many lifetimes so that he can be with his one true love: Death herself.

What if you could live forever—but without your one true love? Reincarnation Blues is the story of a man who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times, in search of the secret to immortality so that he can be with his beloved, the incarnation of Death. Neil Gaiman meets Kurt Vonnegut in this darkly whimsical, hilariously profound, and wildly imaginative comedy of the secrets of life and love. Transporting us from ancient India to outer space to Renaissance Italy to the present day, is a journey through time, space, and the human heart.

My Review:

I absolutely loved this book.  Completely.  I actually believe in reincarnation, much like what was described in this book.  My belief is that we come back to Earth time and time again in order to experience every part of humanity and evolve as a soul.  I also believe we plan each life, to some extent, in order to reach our goals so while this is a great story of human nature and love there was also the added bonus, for me, that so much of the plot fed into my belief system of life and death and reincarnation.  Score!

Okay putting that aside for those of you who don’t share my beliefs this is still an amazingly good book.  The story is entertaining, the characters not taking themselves too seriously, willing to poke fun at themselves.  They were also full of depth, complex and unique.  Some of their quirks had me laughing but the author also knew how to set the fun aside and get serious for a chapter or two.  There were such profound moments in this book that it made my heart wrench for the characters.  The author did an excellent job of showing the human race for what we are, blemishes and all.  He also showed us the potential for what we could become, though.  That in each of us we have the potential to do great things and some pretty crappy things too.  Of course, then there is karma which will get us in the end and rewards us for our actions be them good or bad.

The synopsis leads one to believe this is a story about love and it is but it is also so much more.  I would have to say that the love plot line almost took a back burner for me.  Oh sure I wanted to see those two crazy kids get together and have their H.E.A (e standing for eternity here) but it isn’t what kept me engaged in the story.  The observations on humanity are what kept me turning the page.  The jumping back and forth in time, done well by the way and not confusing at all, to observe how the human race evolved over time and how one small act can ripple through out time and change the course of humanity for years to come.

This is simply a great read done by a talented author who can weave a complex and fresh story that not only entertains but makes one stop and think for a moment.  It is one of those books that I’m better for having read it and you will be too.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Today I lost someone I loved.

*This is going to be a non-bookish post.

Today I lost someone I loved.  Someone that came the closest I will ever have to an actual child.  Someone that was my best friend.  I woke to find my cat Attilla, Tilla for short, paralyzed from the waist down.  I knew it wasn’t good.  Called the vet and then made my husband drive us because I knew I wouldn’t be safe to operate a vehicle.  Arrived at the vet and of course it wasn’t good news.  She had a heart condition, a coronary thrombosis broke loose early this morning and she had an embolism.  As he explained all that had happen to my baby I knew it meant one thing.  Today I lose my best friend.  I interrupted him and said “I have to put her down don’t I.”  “It would be best” he replied, “She was in a tremendous amount of pain and there would be little or no recovering.” I scooped her up and clung to her as they made preparations. Sign the paperwork, no I want to take her home, I don’t need a box and I will remain in the room.  I sent my husband out to pay the bill and held my girl as they took her from me. Carried her home and buried her in the pasture where she loved to hunt.  I haven’t stopped crying since.

I’m sitting here in shock because it was so sudden.  I need to processes this fast because life goes on.  It isn’t fair to the animals that remain to suffer while I mourn.  I still need to go to work and next week I am going to my  college’s homecoming, its my classes honor year celebration 20 years.  I sit here typing this with kittens on my lap because I don’t want to be alone, yet I don’t want to be around people.  I know she was a cat, and I have lost many before and there will be plenty to come.  Tilla was special.  Tilla was my favorite.  She truly was my best friend.  The one being on this planet that I know loved me above all others.  My cuddle kitty, who always went to sleep curled up under my arm.  She would insist.  Pawing at me if I didn’t let her in, under the covers of course.  I dread tonight when I go to sleep alone…  I’ve known many pets and loved them all in some way or another but every once in a while there is a special bond.  That one soul that connects with you on a deeper level.  The ones that can’t be replaced.  Today I lost someone who I had that special bond with and it broke my heart.  I will eventually be able to function again but I will never get over Tilla.

She has been in my life since she was four weeks old.  My brother brought her and her two siblings, only her sister remains, to come be barn cats after their mother was killed by a car.  I raised them and when her sister was hit by a car and had her leg in a cast I moved them both into the house (I had already lost their brother) and they became house cats.  Tilla chose me.   I didn’t stand a chance, she wormed her way into my heart and today she took a piece of it with her.

So today I say good-bye and know I did the right thing.  It wasn’t easy or fair, but it was compassionate.  I found the strength to say good-bye instead of holding on for selfish reasons out of love.  She is not in pain.  She is free.  I will move on all the while crying at everything that reminds me of her.  I will let love in again I can’t help it, even if it means more days like this in my future.  Because this is one painful day and all the days of joy she brought me so vastly out-weigh it in the end.  Love is worth the price.

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Top Ten Tuesday: To Boldly Go

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

June 7: Ten Reasons I Love Xcould be a certain book, character, author, your indie bookstore, a fandom, a tv show, reading, a hobby, a genre. Honestly, anything you want to gush about.

If you haven’t already guessed it from the post title I’m going to be talking about my love of all things Trek for this week’s post.  There are other topics I could have picked: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Cats, Birds, Politics, Turkey, Vampires, etc.  Being this is the 50th anniversary of the original series and that I wore my Star Trek t-shirt today why not.  So….

Shall We Begin Star Trek

Ten Reasons I Love Star Trek

  1. The Message:  This has to be the main reason I love Start Trek over Star Wars.  Trek is a much more optimistic message.  It is about humanity exploring the universe as explorers having overcome so much of the crap we are going through now.  The society we become in Trek’s future is one where people are equal, have their needs met and work to better the species and not for greed.  We explore the universe to learn and better our species to everyone’s benefit, not just the select few.
  2. Spock: Okay confession time.  Spock was my first crush; he has been and always shall be my favorite character.  I love his logic and how humans befuddle him in our imperfect irrational emotional reactions to life.
  3. The Technology: What I love about the tech of Star Trek is how so much of it went from science fiction to science fact and can be found in the world today.  I also loved how so much of the science from the show was based upon real theory.
  4. The Chemistry: While I have already professed my love of Spock, part of that comes from the chemistry between the trio Kirk, Spock, and Bones.  These three were not the only great relationship, though, the entire franchise is filled with dynamic and fun matchups of personalities for a Trekkie to enjoy.
  5. The Inspiration:  I love how Star Trek inspired generations of fans to create the world they fell in love with through the shows and movies.  Be it a scientist creating a cloaking device or a politician working to create an equal society.  Start Trek challenges us to create the vision of the world and society Roddenberry created.
  6. Boundaryless:  Star Trek is known for pushing boundaries.  Roddenberry created a world where races and genders were equal, the third in command of the Enterprise was a black woman at a time when either of those characteristics would have made that not possible.  The first biracial kiss on television also took place on Star Trek between Kirk and Uhura.  These are just two examples.
  7. The Longevity:  Star Trek has lasting power and continues to reinvent itself.  In the 50 years of Star Trek, there have been 12 movies (soon to be 13 with an option for 14!) and 6 tv series (soon to be 7!).  Not to mention to a tremendous amount of Trek fiction out there as books.  That all adds up to a whole lot of Star Trek for any rabid Trekkie to enjoy!
  8. The Reboot: Now this might be controversial for some Trekkies, but I love the two latest movies.  I love what J.J. Abrams did to the franchise.  If it weren’t for him and the success of those movies we wouldn’t be looking at a new tv series and possibly two more movies.
  9. The Fans: Trekkies are a fun bunch and I love how this franchise has created a passionate group of people that are so devoted to its vision.  I know this happens in other franchises, but to me, there is something pretty awesome about being a Trekkie and meeting one of your people.
  10. My Mom: Lastly I would have to credit my love of Star Trek to my mother.  Some of you might know if you know me in real life that I lost my mother when I was 12 years old.  Watching Star Trek is one of the things I remember watching with her.  We would sit in the living room on summer afternoons and watch the original series or going to see the movies.  My love of Star Trek is something I share with her even though she has been gone some 29 years.  Through Star Trek, I am able to keep a piece of her with me forever.

So there you have my love of Star Trek summed up into a Top Ten Tuesday post.  Are you a Trekkie too?  Why not share how you came to love Star Trek in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday: Darker Shade of Romance

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular blog meme, Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share:

February 9: Valentine’s Day is next week…let’s do a Valentine’s Day themed freebie! Top Ten Books That Would Make Great Valentine’s Day Reads (or anti-Valentine’s day reads), Top Ten OTPs, Top 10 fictional crushes, top ten great love declarations in fiction, swoony quotes from books etc. Get creative!

 

Now I read a lot of romance, be it paranormal, science fiction, or urban fantasy most of the books I read involve some sort of romance at the heart of the story.  So going through my read shelf over at Goodreads I kept my eye out for a theme for today.  I’ve decided to go with books from the darker side of romance.  Either there was no happily ever after or one of the leads came from a tortured past or some other reason that the story broke my heart.  After all sometimes it is good to have a nice cathartic cry and pine for what might have been or on the flip side the struggle makes the H.E.A. all that more sweet.   So lets jump to it!

Ten of my favorite dark romances

 

  1. The Gargoyle Starting off with the love stories the broke my freaking heart.  This one is always going to be top or near top of the list.  Such a beautiful story about love and strength.  It is a very dark story that is quite graphic at times, but oh so worth the heartache that you will be left with at the end.  Satisfying end, but still a major tear-jerker.
  2. The Time Traveler's Wife Here is another one that I ended the last third of the book in tears. It is an unusual story and PLEASE don’t judge this one by its movie that failed to live up to a beautiful sad story about love and patience.  I still get choked up when I think about the last few pages of this story, so beautiful so sad.
  3. For a Few Demons More (The Hollows, #5) This is book five in a thirteen book finished series.  I do not suggest reading it out-of-order, but if you are a paranormal urban fantasy fan I suggest giving it a go as it is a great series.  Now stop reading if you don’t want spoilers.  I mean it next sentence will ruin the book for you…. Okay, you probably guessed it anyway, but the love interest for the main character dies in this book.  Broke. My. Freaking. Heart.  MAJORLY.  I pined for him for the entire rest of the series.  Wishing she could find a way to bring him back.  Sigh.  Sometimes we need to accept the loss and realize it was needed for another character’s personal development or that sometimes, like life, things just suck and are unfair…
  4. Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, #4)  This is book four in a still active series.  This is a little different situation I spend the first three books trying to get into this series and when I finally fall for a main character the author bleeping kills them off!  Oh yeah, spoiler alert… Sorry.  It isn’t such a big deal because unlike the last series this character was not gone for long.  That is my little gift to you, if you end up reading this book maybe you won’t be tempted to throw the book at the wall like I was…
  5. Acheron (Dark-Hunter #14)  Now we get into the books I picked not because they had a devastating ending that left me emotionally drained and short on tissues, but this is the section of tortured heroes.  Acheron will forever be tied with his brother in the next pick for heroes that went through way too much crap before receiving their H.E.A.  I have said it before, nobody writes a tortured soul like Ms. Kenyon.  My heart almost always bleeds for them over all the trial and tribulations that they have to survive before they find some sort of happiness.  Still this is a beautiful story, and could be read with the next pick for a truly epic emotionally draining happily ever after.
  6. Styxx (Dark-Hunter, #22) Okay much of what I said for the last book could be said for this one.  One interesting note though.  At the end of Acheron I so hated Styxx.  Then I read Styxx’s story and lost a little of the respect I had for Acheron.  Ms. Kenyon does an excellent job of showing us in these two companion stories that there is always two sides to every story and until we have both perspectives we should withhold judgement.  After all we just might end up eating our words someday.
  7. Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3) This is book three in its series, but might be able to be read on its own,  I can’t remember… Anyway of all the brothers in this world Zsadist is the most tortured by far.  Not that the others were raised with puppy dogs and rose gardens, but by far he was the darkest.
  8. Bared to You (Crossfire, #1) Okay this one and the 50 Shades are great examples of dark romances.  They feature some pretty fucked up characters.  I’ve often told patrons that the appeal for these stories is the same as driving past a train wreck.  You just can’t look away.  Now I went with this author’s train wreck for the list because quite frankly it is the better written than the 50 Shades.  Still either are good picks if you want to watch two messed up people end up together.
  9. The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)  This is the third book in this trilogy and the author took us much darker than she had in the first two.  Not to say the lead characters had it easy in the first two either, but this one was much more violent as the war was waged and won.  I didn’t pick it for this list for that reason though.  As a romance there is still a fairly typical H.E.A for the two leads, but there is one supporting character, Gallowglass that simply broke my heart.  He had the misfortune of falling for the wrong person and we end with a bittersweet ache in our hearts for him in is unrequited love.  Gallowglass kind of walked off into the sunset alone and heartbroken, but I am thrilled to see that Harkness will be expanding this world with future books.  I have hopes for a H.E.A for him yet.
  10. Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse, #13) This book I picked simply because I was so disgusted by how everything ended up.  We spend most of this series rooting for two people to come together only to have one of them get the shaft at the very end.  It wasn’t right and because of how badly it ended I will never read another one of her books, ever.  Yes, I hold grudges.

 

There you have my list for the week.  What darker romance stories stories do you suggest?

Top Ten Tuesday: Romance books, why do I love thee.

toptentuesday2

 

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday a blog meme hosted by the good people over at The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us:

February 10: Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books (can do a full list or split it up in likes/dislikes or even things you want to see MORE of in romances in fiction)

I would classify many, if not most, of the books I read fall into the genre of romance.   It is a genre that can be broken down into a bunch of different topics or styles and most of the ones I read tend to be paranormal.  I will sneak a few contemporary titles in there occasionally, but  haven’t really hit the hard-core traditional authors like Danielle Steele, Nicholas Sparks (Yes, your books are romance, stop denying it.  You are just adding to the stigma against the genre), or Nora Roberts.  As a proud reader of the genre, albeit a very narrow focus, I have decided to make my list ten reasons I love books about love.

Ten Reasons I love Romance

  1. They make me happy:  Who doesn’t love that feeling of falling in love for the first time.  When a relationship is new and exciting.  When you read romance you get to experience that all the time and once you finish the book you can move on to the next one and start all over again, quite often without experiencing the heartbreak real relationships deliver.
  2. They are funny: Now this doesn’t always apply, but most of the ones I’ve read are quite funny.
  3. The bad guys get what’s coming to them:  Real life is pretty crappy most of the time and way to unjust in my book.  Corporations, politicians, criminals, bullies all get away with all sorts of things.  Not always so in a romance.  Most of the time those causing the trouble get just what they deserve.
  4. Impossible situations: The characters end up in outrageous situations and have to dig themselves out of them.  Who doesn’t enjoy watching someone else’s train wreck for a while.
  5. Strong female leads:  You might disagree, but most of the strong female leads I read are in books that have the worst reputation for this. Often you get a heroine that stands up for herself and doesn’t take squat from the super alpha male love interest.  Again leading to some funny outrageous situations.
  6. Honorable male leads: So that Alpha male Neanderthal that I was talking about also knows how to respect a woman, how to cherish her, and honor her and their relationship. If he doesn’t, most likely he will by the end of the book.  Who doesn’t want to fall for a guy like that, and in a romance book if he gets too alpha just close the page and put him in a time-out.
  7. Creative sex scenes:  These can be a blushingly good time to read.  Of course they are utterly unrealistic in real-life, but you are reading a work of fiction why not live out some wild fantasies.  Who knows you might get some pointers on how to spice things up in your own life, your husband or boyfriend will be grateful.
  8. Escapism:  Reading can be purely about escaping everyday life and often I find that romance books make a great place to escape to.
  9. Fast reads:  These are not over-thinking books,  these are fun rides that progress quickly and keep the page turning.  Falling behind in a reading goal, try a romance or two.  If they hook you, you might be surprised how fast you can read.
  10. Cheap: Most of the time these books are cheap, as in low $.  Mostly because they are often published in paperback and are turned out quickly.  Most of my favorite romance authors I can pick up their latest title for around $6 or less.  Easy way to feed your addiction.

There you have it why I love romance books.  How about you?  Have you tried one?  Who are your favorite authors?  If you are one of those book snobs who thinks the genre beneath them I challenge you to try one or even several.  If you still don’t like then, fine, but only then you have earned the right to look down your noses at the rest of us who do.

 

Progress Report: A Clash of Kings

clashofkingspr

 

At page 280

 

I’ve started the second book in the A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin, but just barely.  Before my marathon reading session today (200 pages!)  I had only made it to page 80 in two days.  I was busy working on a giveaway for next this week and there was of course winter crap to deal with including a snowplow that re-closed my driveway.  Thank you county…  Anyway.  Since I’ve not made it that far into the book, over 700 yet to go, I’ve decided this progress report I will share some of my thoughts on the major characters thus far in the series.  I’m going to break them into three categories: Love’em, Mixed Emotions, and Want to see their head liberated from their body.

Love’em

Daenerys Targaryn:  This character has had my sympathy from the beginning.  She knew nothing of the war, nothing of the kingdom she came from and was used and abused by the only family she had.  Some times I wonder if she is half crazy, but I admire the strength of character and growth she has shown.  I secretly hope she returns and destroys them all and reclaims the throne for her family’s honor.

Tyrion Lannister:  In the beginning I had mixed emotions about him.  I kept waiting for him to turn into a real bastard, but I have grown to respect this man and feel he may be the only sane/intelligent person in his entire family.

Arya Stark:  I like her spunk.   I enjoy her tom-boy ways and admire her courage.

Drogo: I was sad to see what happen to him.  I wished he had played a larger role in this story.  I respected him for how he treated Daenerys.  I think he truly loved her.

Jon Snow:  When he isn’t feeling sorry for himself about being a bastard I really like reading this character’s pages.  I think he is quite interesting and honorable.

Varys:  Even though I am not entirely sure if this is a ‘good’ guy or ‘bad’ guy, I do love how he knows what all is going on.  I think he has the best interest of the kingdom and people at heart though.

Eddard Stark:  I must say this character’s demise in the first book shook me the most.  I kept telling myself not to get too attached to him,  I knew  he probably going to go after the king, but I kept holding out hope he would survive.

Mixed Emotions

Sansa Stark:  At first I had no respect for this nit-wit.  She was everything I loathed about female characters in fantasy book, but then she changed.  Most of the time she still gets on my nerves, but must stay she is starting to grow on me.

Robb Stark:  Half the time I can’t wait to get through his parts.  I hope he becomes more interesting soon.  I just find his skill, knowledge and path in life a little convenient at time.

Bran Stark:  While he hold great sympathy in my esteem I find his sections of the story a little dull…

Catelyn Stark:  Half the time I hate this character then she does something and I like her again.  In the beginning I really thought she was a bitch, but sometimes she does something that makes me look past her bigotry.

Want to see their head liberated from their body

 

Joffrey:  What a spoil brat.  I can’t believe they actually let him take the throne.  The power is making him crazy too.  So looking forward to his death.  Hope it is painful.

Jaime Lannister:  Besides what he and his sister have going on being so gross, I really think he needs to die to balance out Eddard’s death.

Cersei Lannister:  Total manipulative bitch.  Gives women a bad name. I’m thinking death would be too good for her.  I would like to see her lose everyone she loves and the power she covets.  She should live out her days in a deep dark dungeon.

Tymin Lannister:  I’m thinking he is the reason his children, save Tyrion, are so messed up.  Lets see him be defeated in battle.

Viserys Targaryen:  The only character that has gotten what they deserve so far.

 

There are probably many others I could add to each group, but I think that is enough for now.  I need to get back to the book to see what happen next !   What do you think.  Who do you love or hate?