Top Ten Tuesday: Its My Birthday!

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:

 July 17: Favorite Novellas/Short Stories

This is a great idea for a list. I’m going to keep my selections to under 200 pages. I’m also going to try to limit the selection of books that are part of series to a minimum so that you don’t have to have read a ton of other books to know what is going on.

Ten short stories that I enjoyed.

  1. The Egg This is one of my absolute favorite stories by Andy Weir.  It is super short and available on his website if you want to check it out.
  2. Annie's Day Another short story by Andy Weir that is also available on his website.  This one has a great twist and is a bit longer.
  3. Spock Vs. Q (Star Trek: Spock Vs. Q, #1) If you are a Star Trek fan then I highly suggest you get your hands on this audiobook as it is so much fun!
  4. Dead Trees Give No Shelter Sticking with the Star Trek theme. Wil Wheaton who played Wesley Crusher on Next Generation has written this short story that is pretty good and available for purchase on his website.
  5. Chasing Sam (Vegas Mates, #1) I know I said I would stay away from series but this is a novella that is the first book in series.  It was really good if you are into shifter stories.
  6. For Love of an Angel (The Fallen Warriors #1)  This is another first in series about angels this time.  I only ended up finishing three books and all of them were novellas.  I should check into getting the last three books.
  7. Genesis This is a dystopian novella that has a great twist at the end.  I even got my husband to read it and he enjoyed it!
  8. Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi This book was amazing!  It is the longest title on the list but it is a compilation of short stories by the great John Scalzi.
  9. Alpha & Omega (Alpha & Omega, #0.5) This is another series book but is a prequel to the Alpha and Omega series.  If you are going to read this spin-off series then I highly suggest starting with this one because the next book will make a lot more sense.
  10. A Very Levet Christmas (Guardians of Eternity, #11.5) Alright, this book is something like 11.5 in its series but it was a cute Christmas read featuring one of the beloved characters from this world.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s list and if you were wondering what the blog title is about it is my 44th birthday today!  I’m scheduling my post so today is actually May 8th so I don’t know if I have plans or I might even be at work.  Anyway, I thought I would share. Have a great week.

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Novella November: Mini-reviews #2

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Oh my, I’ve gotten behind in sharing my novella reviews.  Well here are the next 11 for you all.

Blue Haired Alien Girlfriend

Pages: 15

Free for my Nook

3 Stars

Synopsis:

Blue Haired Alien Girlfriend is a short story about an unusual young couple. Joshua is a manager at FishBurgers. He meets a young blue haired alien named Mariella.
It’s a quirky romance story with unusual characters.

Review:

This was alright. Interesting, but I don’t really see a plot here. I agree with another reviewer it is more of a slice of life. Too bad it wasn’t developed more. It would have liked to know more about the world Mariella comes from and what happens after the story ends.

Angel's Feather

Pages: 42

Free for my Nook

3 Stars

Synopsis:

The afterlife isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, according to seventeen-year-old Lilith Adams. She hates it in the Guardhouse and she definitely doesn’t want anything to do with the ongoing war against Lucifer’s disciples. A war that, according to Lilith, has absolutely nothing to do with her. To top it all off, there’s Gabriel, the archangel who seems determined to make her afterlife a living hell.
So when Lilith is offered the opportunity to go back to the moment right before she died, she doesn’t hesitate for a second. Then she realizes her actions have devastating consequences, not only for her, but also for Gabriel.

Angel’s feather is a novella about destiny and love when you least expect or want it, with a devilish twist at the end. Angel’s feather is the first part of the Divine Army series.

Review:

I was going to give this a two star rating until I looked into more information on the author. After discovering that most of what she has written is not in English I can forgive much of what bothered me about the book. Writing in English is not easy for a native speaker, let alone someone whose not. Some of the errors about tenses or wrong words can be explained and excused in my opinion. Still though I wanted something a little more from the story. The very beginning was confusing, then it caught my interest, followed up by some awkward situations and then a slow spot to end with a good cliffhanger. Over all I found some parts a little underdeveloped and/or juvenile, but there is a good story there it just need a good editor and some more meat added to the plot. Some of the characters acted with out motivation and the lead couple lacked some spark or connection. We needed to know more about them, their history to connect and identify with them. I did like how the author handled flashback to share with us some pertinent information though. The story had promise and for free it was worth a morning of my time.

Chasing Sam

Pages:78

Free for my Nook

5 Stars

Synopsis:

Samantha Demakis doesn’t want a mate right now. She wants to finish her degree and work as a doctor in third world countries. Her birth-rite and family obligations to her status as the first daughter of a noble family beg to differ. In fact, even her wolf seems to be against her. When a chance encounter reveals the man who might just be a perfect fit, will she run? Or will she fight?

Chase Michaels has been alone for seventy-five years. He’s fought in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan in the US Army. Somewhat resigned to never finding his true mate, he is shocked when his wolf reacts so strongly to a woman he runs into in the airport. Unprepared for the politics and snobbery of the noble families, Chase finds himself fighting in a different type of war —a war for the heart of a woman he knows should be his.

A lot of things are chasing Sam, but who or what will catch her in the end?

Review:

Read this little novella for Novella November at my blog. This is perhaps the best one I’ve read so far. The story was really well written, the characters well-rounded and the lead couple had great chemistry. I have already added the next book to my to-read list and can’t wait to see where this series goes. Really enjoyed Sam and Chase, I think they are a great match. The sisters were fun and I’m happy to see they each get their own book. The dad has me intrigued, I think there is something more to him then this authoritarian control freak. The mom though, total bitch and so hope she gets what is coming to her.

Outcome
Pages:80

Free for my Nook

4 Stars

Synopsis:

Ellie Colson is the only one who believes in the end of the world.

As an agent of the Department of Advance Analysis, she’s one of a handful of people who knows about the spread of a new virus–one she believes will wipe out mankind. With her bosses in denial, she flies to New York to get her ex-fiance Chip to safety.

But he’s already been scooped up and quarantined–and so has his adopted daughter. Pursued by her own agency, Ellie will stop at nothing to break Chip out before the virus claims them all.

Review:

Little slow and confusing in the beginning, but quickly picked up. The story got quite complex and was well structured with richly written characters. Usually we enter these post-apocalyptic stories after everything has already gone to crap, it was a nice change of pace to see how events unfolded in this world. I was on the fence about whether to continue or not, but then saw I had book one waiting on my Nook already so I guess I will give this dark tale one more shot to impress me. So far things are looking good.

Surrounded by Woods
Pages:80

Free for my Nook

3 Stars

Synopsis:

When Mikaela Patterson must take on a client with specific requirements that no single women be allowed on his property, she keeps her broken engagement a secret. She doesn’t realize her client and his sons are mountain lion shifters whose instinct to mate with any available woman turns deadly.

Josh Woods is her client’s eldest son, and he is immediately drawn to Mikaela. Knowing his father would never allow an available woman on the property, Josh doesn’t understand his fascination with her. Josh and Mikaela fight their attraction because of their own secrets, but when the truth comes out about Mikaela’s true availability and Josh’s animal instincts, they must be prepared to face the consequences.

Review:

This took a little bit to grow on me. In the beginning I was turned off by the Neanderthal attitude of the men, something that is quite common in paranormals. The author did a good job of showing both sides of the lead male though and I was soon rooting for the couple to get together. Kinda a different society than most shifter stories, but I like how the author stayed true to the nature of big cats, even if it made the men come off a bit barbaric. Might continue this series if I get the chance, would be interesting to see all the brothers find mates.

Open House

Pages: 60

Free for my Nook

4 Stars

Synopsis:

Intrinsically woven into the fabric of human existence, Aphrodite, Titan Goddess of Love and Passion, dedicates herself to matching soul mates.

Rebecca Carol and Robert Corvin missed their original chance to bond when Ares, God of War, took control of Robert’s career ten years ago. Their souls have naturally pulled them back together for a second chance at love, but…How far will the gods go to get their own way?

Will divine influence create another perfect match or will it tear them apart forever?

Review:

I really liked this quick little steamy read. Sure it was totally an insta-romace, but at around 50 pages what do you expect. The God, Aphrodite and Ares, was an interesting angle and I enjoyed watching them fight over the fate of these two souls. Rebecca and Robert were a good match and it was a sweet way they came together. A little stalkerish and chop full of assumptions on both sides, but hey its a story. I will most definitely check out the next in this series. I would like to see what happens next in this world.

Origin Series

Each of these is under or right at 20 pages.

Free for Nook, last two found at Smashwords

1-3 stars

Click on cover for synopsis of each book available over at Goodreads.

Gheid Review: 3 Stars

Still strange. Still don’t know what the hell is going on. Still intrigued and going to read them all hoping that it doesn’t end without giving the reader some answers. Its a sci-fi mystery serial, but you only get a small little idea of the greater story with each story. I don’t know if it is brilliant or just maddening, but it has me hooked…

Dia Thorpe Review: 3 Stars

Alright, what the hell. It is getting more confusing instead of clearer, and adding time jumps or playing with the time-line didn’t help. Three more serials to go, the author has a lot of work ahead of him if this is going to make sense in the end…

Jarl on Faruul Review: 3 Stars

And now back to the beginning… Very curious to see how this is all going to wrap up.

The Prooth Review: 2 Stars

The story is starting to fall apart a bit. Only one section left so I will finish it, but the earlier ones were better. Too much telling in this one and not enough showing. Also I had to download a Smashwords copy, as this one was not available at B&N. The type face was strange and changed size from large bold to a more normal setting. Needs to be reformatted.

The End of All Review: 1 Star

The earlier stories in this serial were better. In the last two the story just fell apart. I get the message that the author was trying to get across, but it was just too much telling and not enough showing in the end. The ‘bad’ guy characters were a little flat. Still it was free, and I did read it to the very end. Would be interesting in rereading the last two if the author ever reworks them a bit.

Thursday Thoughts: Novella November.

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I was going through my Nook yesterday looking for short stories and novellas to read so I can catch up, seven books behind, and make my reading goal for the year.  I found twenty of them just in new free downloads alone.  I’m thinking there might be many, many more on not only my Nook but the Kindle as well.  I was wondering how I could work this into the blog and wallah I came up with Novella November!  For the month of November I am going to work on cleaning off all of those Novellas, defined as 180 pages or less, from my e-readers.  This is going to mean a lot of reviews coming in November.  I will try to combine them into multiple review posts so I don’t clutter up your news feed or in-boxes.   I may also read a few full length novels in the month, but my focus is going to be mainly on novellas.  I will try to add to the post where I got the novella and how much it cost, I’m thinking most of them were free.  So for the rest of the month I am going to work on clearing out three ARC reviews and a couple of other titles and then come November it is Novella time.  Maybe I can even reach my reading goal early this year!

Mini Reviews: 6 Short Stories…

… AKA Catching up!  I noticed today that the gracious librarians in a community not far away has consented to lend me the next two books in my current series. So today I have decided to clear out some short stories on my e-readers.  I am going to be giving them mini-reviews in one post because it just seemed easier, and I’m lazy…  So here they are my day of rainy-day-waiting-on-the-next-library-book-reading.  All cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit the book’s page there.

A White Cougar Christmas

Southern Shifters 3.5

Owned on my Kindle

Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis:

Restless and alone on Christmas Eve, Niki decides it’s time to scratch the itch and heads into a nearby town for some action. Once there, it isn’t sex she finds, but a fight instead, that is until tall, dark and handsome intervenes…

Dean recognizes the stunning but surly Cougar for what she is the minute she gets close. Now it’s up to him to show her just how far a night of passion can go

Review:

This was a very short read, downloaded free for my Kindle.  It wasn’t much more than a sex scene, well done, but not much about the world it is set in.  Alright as a stand alone being there wasn’t much going on besides these two hooking up.  End of book hints there is more to come for these two characters in future books. Still writing was good and I think I will need to check out the other books in the series.  Reminds me of Laura Wright and Alexandra Ivy’s writing style.

Ethan's Mate

Owned on my Kindle

 Rating: 3 Stars

(Abbreviated) Synopsis:

Ethan Hale is a vampire with a mission. Together with his three brothers and a few other unmated members, he fights with The Vampire Coalition to protect humans from fallen vampires. His life is fairly simple. If he has a problem…he solves it. If it’s an evil problem…he kills it. But his uncomplicated life is about to end when his mate unexpectedly calls him to her.

Brianna Cole is weak, her life force fading away. She thinks she is suffering from a rare form of leukemia. Little does she knows that her illness is much more complicated. She’s dying because she has not united with her vampire mate and given him his soul that she has been guarding since birth.

Review:

This was an interesting novella, reminded me a bit of Lara Adrian, Laura Wright and a couple of other better known series.  My biggest complaint is the cover,  but it is fairly typical for the genre.  I like the world and will look into the next titles in the series.  Full of insta-love, so if that annoys you might want to skip this one.  I liked the world building and hope to learn or about it in future books.  The love scenes were pretty graphic, probably on the edge of erotica, but I’ve read worse.  Over all I recommend it, especially since I was able to get it for free, not that I know if it still is…

The Wold who stole Christmas
Xmas Tales 1 – Legendary Lovers

 Rating: 2 Stars

Synopsis:

Once upon a Christmas time, Santa’s daughter Holly had to choose between two men—a love sick Jack Frost, or a tightly disciplined werewolf name Furio.

Sure, she could melt the powerful Elemental’s lonely heart but can she bring out the animal in a wolf afraid to love again?

Free Book. Paranormal romance, short story, Christmastime, North Pole Setting.

Review:

Not a bad story, kinda on the cheesy side.  Would be fun to read one snowy evening around the holidays when you want to steam things up a bit.  Was nice that there was an actual plot and not just gratuitous sex, not that that isn’t always a bad thing…  Like I said short, sweet and steamy.

Prey
Montana Wolves #1

Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis:

BBW erotic romance novella, and the first book in the Montana Wolves series

Photographer Amalie Baptista is appalled by the hunting of wolves in Montana. She hopes that photographing these savagely beautiful animals will call attention to their plight, but her mission ends abruptly when she’s attacked by one of the animals she’s sworn to protect. When a gorgeous stranger saves her from certain death, she can’t seem to fight the attraction…but giving in could be giving up life as she knows it.

Alpha male Liam Albrecht is breaking every rule for the curvy, captivating Amalie, risking his place within the pack and his own life to protect her. As discord among the clans reaches a fever pitch, he must find a way to save her from the monsters among them.

Review:

This was a nice novella and introduction to this world.  The story was well-rounded and complete.  The synopsis says it is an erotic story, but I didn’t think it was any more graphic than most of the other paranormal romance books out there.  The writing was good and the characters believable.  I look forward to seeing where this series goes,  I believe I will be adding the next one to my to-read list.

HowlSpirit Moon #1

Rating: 1 Star

Synopsis:

Jane is a recent college grad who has a strange gift- she sees things in her dreams. After she wakes up from a dream of her boyfriend cheating, she realizes she’s in need of a change. A man leaves a magazine on the counter of the cafe where she works, which helps to finally land her a job in her field. Who want’s to work in a cafe with a master’s degree?

Jane sets out from St. Louis to a ranch in Montana where she meets Nathanial Ellis, the enigmatic and distant father of the child she is hired to tutor. The little girl, Morgan, is haunted by the death of her mother. After a false start, Jane and Morgan realize they have a lot in common. If Jane can rationalize her sensual dreams about the beautiful young man, and help Morgan deal with the death of her mother, she might be able to stay on at Bear Creek Ranch. That is, of course, if the wolves don’t get her first.

Review:

Unfortunately this story didn’t work for me.   The story started off good, but lost me somewhere along the way.  The writing wasn’t bad, but the vocabulary felt off and at times, the formality of the words used and the tone of the writing wasn’t consistent.  It threw off my reading of the story at times.  I also didn’t care for how the author broke up the story.  I thought it could have gone on a little further and still have set up a cliffhanger for the next installment.  This one just felt unfinished.  Characters were alright, but felt off as well.  Will not be continuing.

TUR

Elsker Saga #.5

Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis:

Inga Andersson is the envy of every girl in Asgard. On the surface she has it all — great friends, a job as Odin’s personal fight choreographer, and a happy ever after with her realm’s hottest assassin. But when evil invades Asgard, her perfect world comes crashing down. Someone is planning to kill off the gods, and Inga’s best friend Ull is first on their list. With the Norse apocalypse a nanosecond away, Inga has to decide how she’ll spend her final moments of freedom. Because from the moment this battle begins, Inga’s happily ever after will be nothing more than a memory.

Some things are worth fighting for.

Review:

This was kinda a different type of paranormal, or really supernatural story.  It is set in the world of Norse mythology.  Fans of the Thor movies might really like to give this one a try.  I thought it was well done, filled with humor and action.  There was great comradely among the characters and the lead female was an interesting mix of strength and more traditional feminine interests.  Might give the longer books in this series a go if I am ever in the mood to read something a little different but still comfortably within my typical reading tastes.

And now I am all caught up in my reading pledge, only a little bit of cheating…  My next books in the Chicagoland Vampires series arrived at work, so off to see what happens next in that series that has captured my imagination.