Category Archives: A Novel Pleasure

Dreaming of a Good Book? Week 4

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Heading into the weekend before Halloween it’s bound to be busy. Costumes, pumpkins and parties take over our lives. I don’t know about you but when life gets busy I need something short and sweet. This week I have one short suggestion to help you squeeze in some reading pleasure in between the festivities.

I do not consider myself one of the Moning Maniacs, as her followers have dubbed themselves, but I will agree that Karen Marie Moning has churned out some really great series. I started out reading just her Fever series. I will admit that had I not read the Fever books first I would never have given the Highlander books a chance. I am very glad that I did. This week I am recommending a novella from the Highlander series called Into the Dreaming.

It centers around a novelist and her connection, through her dreams, to one of her highland characters. I am intrigued by the possibilities.

Have you read any dream related books lately? Anything you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment and fill us all in. If you’re interested in the suggested reading for the last three weeks check out week 1week 2 and week 3 of this weekly feature. If you’re new to this blog, welcome! If you checked me out from my link on the Nesting Place, I really appreciate your visit! Please comment, I would love the feedback.

Dreaming of a Good Book? Week 3

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I’m writing and posting this early because I’ve got big plans tonight! Bellator is coming to town and my husband and I are getting tickets! Nothing like watching grown men fight! And for once I can see it live and in person instead of in my living room on Spike TV. I’m leaving work early and everything! Can you tell I’m excited?

So anyway back to books…I got a newsletter this week from one of my favorite writer’s in my email, Shelly Laurenston and her pen name, G.A. Aiken. If you aren’t familiar with her work, her G.A. Aiken novels are about shape-shifting dragons. Fabulous books, I can’t recommend them enough. They never fail to make me laugh and spark my imagination. So I found myself craving a dragon book when I’m suppose to be looking for books that tie back in to dreams.

I took that as a challenge and went on the hunt. I found it in Book #2 of the Drakon series by Shana Abe, The Dream Thief. It’s about a clan of shape-shifting dragons and the daughter of the alpha, Lia Langford. She breaks the rules to help human and ruler of the criminal underworld, Zane, on his quest to find the dreaming diamond. This stone holds the power to enslave her race. Sounds pretty interesting to me! If you don’t like starting a series in the wrong order, the first book in the series is The Smoke Thief. By no means do I imply that the style of writing will be the same, I haven’t read it yet. But I want dragons and this promises to deliver.

Have you read any dream related books lately? Anything you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment and fill us all in. If you’re interested in the suggested reading for the last two weeks check out week 1 and week 2 of this weekly feature. If you’re new to this blog, welcome! If you checked me out from my link on the Nesting Place, I really appreciate your visit! Please comment, I would love the feedback.

Happy reading everyone!

Dreaming of a Good Book? Week 2

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It’s Friday, so you know what that means? Weekend reading time! If you missed last weeks suggestion you can check it out here. This week, the suggested book, came off my own bookshelf and once again, loosely abides by this month’s theme of dreams.

I don’t know about everyone else but, when I know I have a weekend loaded with things to accomplish, I find it easier to pick a book I’ve already read. So this weekend I plan on re-reading The Demon Lover (Fairwick Chronicles #1), by Juliet Dark.

I discovered this series while on a shopping at Target (favorite place to shop) with my husband. As I went to go extract him from the video game department, the cover of the second book of this series, Water Witch, caught my eye. It wasn’t until I got it home, that I realized I needed to hunt down the first book, nothing that a quick trip to Barnes and Noble couldn’t fix.

This series follows college professor Callie Mcfay, a specialist in gothic literature, as she finds herself drawn in by a demon lover who haunts her dreams. She didn’t plan on taking the teaching position in Fairwick, NY and she didn’t plan on buying the Victorian house she found there. When she follows her instincts and her dreams, her life takes an unexpected new direction. Especially when she discovers fairies, witches and incubi are real. I won’t analyze it here and spoil it for you, but I found it to be a fun read.

Have you read any dream related books lately? Anything you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment and fill us all in. If you’re new to this blog, welcome! If you checked me out from my link on the Nesting Place, I really appreciate your visit! Please comment, I would love the feedback.

Happy reading everyone!

Dreaming of a Good Book? Week 1

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Let’s have some fun today and while we’re at it, the whole weekend!  I’m a bookworm and proud of it. It more than likely led me to my dream of being a writer. Like any avid reader I have a preference in Genre. More often than not, you can find me hiding behind a paranormal romance or urban fantasy and I prefer series. I’ve also been known to take in a good mystery from time to time. Since I read for my sanity sake, I thought I’d indulge myself by sharing that with you, kind readers, in a regular Friday feature. While I am doing the 31 day challenge, I thought I might stick loosely with my theme. All the books I recommend to you this month will have something to do with dreaming!

Wake (Dream Catcher, #1)Fade (Dream Catcher, #2)Gone (Dream Catcher, #3)

To kick us off, I’d like to recommend a Young Adult series, The Dream Catcher Series by Lisa McMann. I  read this series back in 2010 because our than 11 year old daughter wanted to read it and I decided I’d see just how age appropriate it was. Good thing I did, because I can tell you, she was too young for these. She recently reminded me about them and asked now that she is 14 and a high school freshman, can she read them. This time I was happy to tell her to go for it! This trilogy includes Wake, Fade and Gone. They follow high school student Janie and her friend and later boyfriend Cabel as she copes with her ability to fall into the dreams of those who fall asleep around her. As she progresses through the series, she learns to use this ability to her advantage. I know that I enjoyed this series and every time I finished one book I couldn’t wait for the next one. All 3 books have a 4 out of 5 star rating on Goodreads.com.

The Dream Hunter (Dream-Hunter, #1; Dark-Hunter, #11)

If that’s not your cup of tea, you might try the Paranormal Romances that I plan to read this weekend, Dream Hunter by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Sherrilyn Kenyon is a big name in Paranormal Romance, and has quiet the catalog of books to her credit. I’ve actually never read her work and I am looking forward to giving her a shot. Dream Hunter is the 1st in the Dream Hunter Series but the 11th in her Dark Hunter Series. It has a 4 out of 5 star rating on Goodreads.com so I have high hopes for this one as well.

Have you read any dream related books lately? Anything you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment and fill us all in. If you’re new to this blog, welcome! If you checked me out from my link on the Nesting Place, I really appreciate your visit! Please comment, I would love the feedback.

Happy reading everyone!

Cover art copied and pasted from Goodreads.com. All opinions on these books are my own.

Benefits of a Good Romance

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I have more than a little stress in my life right now since we are currently packing for our big move to the new townhouse on April 12th. We are also packing up my day job since we are relocating to a new building the following week on the 17th. I’ve been told I’m a glutten for punishment. It can be a lot of pressure experiencing that much change.

In times like these I’ve learned the benefits of a good romance. Lucky for me, on Tuesday, March 26th, a couple of great ones were released. I picked up the latest Shelly Laurenston romance, Wolf With Benefits. It’s the 8th book in the pride series and it certainly delivers what I’ve come to expect. A crazy mix of shape shifters, sports, but more specifically hockey, a crime, and an unusual couple. It’s as strange as it sounds, but it always comes together and just flat-out works.

Wolf with Benefits (Pride, #8)

This installment of the series centered around Ricky Lee, one of the infamous Reed boys of the New York Smith wolf pack, and Antonella “Toni” Jean-Louis Parker, jackal shifter and the only one who can manage her ten child prodigy siblings. Ricky Lee is looking to avoid the females of his pack because an ex-girlfriend from Tennessee comes to town and they all decide to be sorry for him, when he runs into Toni. She’s reluctantly trying to build a life that doesn’t revolve around her siblings schedules. Humor and adventure quickly ensue.

Due to the skills she learned wrangling her siblings, she gets a dream job managing the travel arrangements for the shifter only professional hockey team, the Carnivores. She soon finds herself traveling to Russia to negotiate a game deal with a Russian bear team with Ricky as her security.

While they’re busy in Russia finding love, her family and friends are busy finding trouble. As you might expect from this series, many of the couples who came together in previous books (including the Magnus Pack series) make appearances that ranged from brief cameos to integral part of the story. If you’re a fan of the series you might remember Bo Novikov and Blayne Thorpe. His lovable OCD tendencies fit right in with the Jean-Louis Parker kids.

When Toni and Ricky Lee return from Russia they find one of the younger children, Freddie, is in danger from his sociopathic older sister Deliliah, who has joined a cult. With a little outside support from the security company and a few others, Toni and Ricky Lee set things right.

Two newer characters that I enjoyed were Olivia “Livy” Kowalski and Vic Barinov. We meet him in Russia as part of the security team and he follows the happy couple home from Russia to help with the trouble. Livy is Toni’s best friend. A lot of time is spent just guessing what kind of shifter she is.

In several of Shelly Laurenston’s books she drops hints about who might be next to get the relationship focus. I’m fairly certain Livy is next. What I’m not so sure about is who she might be getting together with. For a while I thought Reese Reed might be the one. He spent most of the book fascinated with her and her scent, or rather what type of shifter her scent identified her as. Bet then Vic came on the scene. Now I’m just not sure. Guess I’ll be finding out this time next year! And let me tell you I can’t wait!

Shelly Laurenston never fails to make me laugh out loud. While that’s not what I look for all the time in a novel, when I’m under this much stress it’s just what the doctor ordered. If you’ve never read one of her books and need a pick me up, I highly recommend them. They’re fun and just a little unexpected. Can’t wait to work in some more reading time while I pack, so back to the grind stone. How are you all re-leaving stress? Read any good romances lately?

The Pleasure of a Good Book

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Let’s take a little break from my DIY home adventures today. After all, I promised you variety and I’m a woman of my word. Despite my crazy schedule, I always try to take time out for my mental health in the form of a good book. Over the years I’ve had many people, other mom’s especially, ask me how I manage to do as much reading as I do. When I want to, I am capable of reading a book a day (yes this has happened). Normally, I chose not to read more than two in one week. It’s simple really. I manage to read this way because I make it a priority. I can’t stress enough, that I consider this an investment in my mental health. Every mommy, or breathing person for that matter, needs time to mentally check out and regroup. Whatever works for you and is legal, do it. I prefer to do it by escaping into the problems of another through a good work of fiction.

Recently I took time out on a Sunday evening to finish a book I had started earlier in the week, Dracula in Love by Karen Essex. I was drawn in by the title and I liked the idea of retelling the classic from the point of view of Mina Harker. I’m also a sucker for romance involving vampires.

Dracula in Love

The story is told from the point of view of Mina Harker and from the beginning she explains that she is telling her story to deal with the inaccuracies of the original work of fiction. The clever author has some fun with this by turning Bram Stoker into an unnamed character described as a writer that she encounters on the fringe of key moments in the story.

Many of the character’s have notable differences from the classic. Mina, describes herself as growing up talking to fairies and animals, frightening her parents and after being orphaned, growing up in an academy for girl’s that is little more than a prep school for marriage. She suppresses her abilities and when the story begins she is a teacher at the school where she grew up, engaged to marry Jonathan Harker. Her abilities begin to come through in frightening episode’s of sleep walking.

Quincy Morris, the brash American from Texas, is now Morris Quince, a New York playboy, spending his time abroad rebelling from his parents by pursuing a career as a painter. He’s also carrying on a passionate affair with Lucy Westerna, who is engaged to Arther Holmwood. Dr. Seward and Dr. Van Helsing are colleagues in a mental hospital. There are minor characters who were never in the original, but the remaining characters are essentially the same as the classic.

There are some interesting additions to the story line, but for at least the first half of the book, the major plot points from the classic are all touched on. Including Jonathan’s trip to Eastern Europe to conduct business with the Count, Mina’s trip to the coast to visit with her friend Lucy, the mysterious ship wreck with a dead crew, Jonathan being discovered in a hospital with brain fever, his marriage to Mina and the death of Lucy.

What stood out to me was the twist on the original plotlines. Lucy’s plotline changed from victim of a vampire, death and rebirth as a vampire, to victim of the Victorian mental institution. It was an interesting and sad look at how easily a normal woman’s appitates and behavior could be turned against her by men who labeled her as insane and forced her into “treatments” which are little more than torture. In fact the “water treatment” described in detail reminded me of a variation on water boarding that is used as a form of torture and a hot button issue in politics.

The romance plotline between the Count and Mina, which was the draw to the book, left me feeling disappointed. It took so long to get to it and was so brief. To me it lacked the passion that you might expect soul mates to have for each other. The explanation of the bond they share and how he became immortal was an unexpected twist on what you might have otherwise expected. I found it to be a refreshing take.

Overall I enjoyed the book, even though I personally found the ending unsatisfying. I won’t spoil it by telling you why, but I will say it felt like the ending was written just to tie the story back to the original and it did an excellent job of that. Do I think this book is worth reading? Absolutely. I enjoyed the raw vision of Victorian society from an unflattering angle. The writing did an excellent job of painting a visual and sensory experience. If you’re expecting a paranormal romance, this is not it. Although there are paranormal elements. If you like historical romance that boasts a little something out of the ordinary, this book is for you.