Monthly Archives: August 2018

eBook Samples: A tsundoku managing strategy

If you have a gnarly case of tsundoku, eBook samples are a lifesaver (and takes the burden off of your pocketbook). My apartment is crowed with the unread voices of books stacked in vertical piles, lined up in horizontal leans, and boxed up tetris-style in totes. Not to mention my dust gathering digitals. Lately, nearly every time I want to impulsively buy a book, I opt for sample chapters instead. How do you manage your itchy book buying fingers?

Screenshot_20180821-192500_Amazon Kindle

Advertisements
Categories: lgbt | Tags: | Leave a comment

Review: Precipice of Doubt

Precipice of Doubt

Mardi Alexander and Laurie Eichler author duo return with a sequel to To Be Determined. Life seems settled, relatively speaking, following the events that brought together American Pip Atkins and Charlie Dickerson as wildlife rescue and rehabilitators. Now, the new couple takes on the glorious skyscraper adventure that is government paperwork. In order for Pip to remain in Australia, she must successfully complete immigration paperwork. The couple’s stress over their uncertain status compounds with the impending bittersweet release of creatures in their care.

Animal lovers will relate with veterinarian Jodi Bowman’s dedication and passion for her job. Ever since establishing her practice in New South Wales, Jodi has done nothing but, eat/sleep/breathe for the furry family members she takes care of in the community. By her side stands former New Zealander and friend/Office manager/Vet Assistant extraordinaire Cole Jameson. When cracks appear in Jodi’s confidence following a heart-wrenching series of events, Cole attempts to intercede. Their friends-to-lovers journey is rocky, complicated by a relationship from Cole’s past and Jodi’s fraying edges.

Perched on the seaside, Alexander and Eichler envelop their cast of close-knit friends within the Australian landscape. No matter how trite it is to say this, Australia is an integral character in the lives of its human counterparts. The amount of time Jodi spends swimming or hiking shows a direct correlation to her emotional state and mental health, for example. Pip and Charlie, too, prefer to live among the kangaroos, koalas, and birds, in their care. The pair’s remote home offers solace as they navigate a future together and help their friends.

While the romances certainly pulled at me, it was the animals who made me reach for tissues. The level of empathy both authors encourage through their sensitive portrayals of lives dedicated to animals is compelling. As the novel reaches its final act, doubts and rifts are forced to a head; the remaining chapters can feel a little contrived, as each chapter resolves a remaining crises. However, if romance, veterinarians, and Australia are your jams, dig in with gusto and don’t forget to check out To Be Determined (which I will do soon!).

Recommended bonus: Fenced-in-Felix, book three in the “Girl Meets Girl” series by Cheyenne Blue, has a lot of good stuff for animal lovers, and fans of Australia-based f/f romances.

Precipice of Doubt by Mardi Alexander and Laurie Eichler
Bold Strokes Books, August 2018

Categories: contemporary, friendship, lgbt, netgalley, romance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Just Like That by Karin Kallmaker

You may have heard “Tsundoku“, the practice of buying books and letting them languish unread, floating around the interwebs lately. When a former co-worker sent me an “I thought of you” article, knowing my book buying disposition, I decided it was time to rummage through my plastic totes full of unread novels. I wouldn’t have purchased these dusty stacks were it not for their charms (alluring titles, tantalizing descriptions, reads for all weather-moods-times of day-etc.), but they are often eclipsed by the next irresistible read.

Image result for just like that karin kallmaker

Since I’ve been on a Karin Kallmaker kick, I picked up my paperback copy of Just Like That, a contemporary retelling of Pride & Prejudice set in a California vineyard. I bought it when The Lesbian Review selected it for their book club last summer (Really?! It’s already been that long?…). After the first night, I’d nearly read a hundred chapters and arrived at work feeling super sleepy, but eager for more. 

Rivals become lovers as Syrah Ardani fights against corporate salvager Toni Blanchard for the survival of her family’s vineyard in California’s Napa Valley. While away in Europe, figuring out whether she could overcome her grape DNA, Syrah’s father makes a handful of poor business decisions that tie them to outside investors. Ardani Vineyards reputed wines and prestigious grapes, much like an aristocratic family with limited means, carries them only so far. Toni, based in New York City, is fresh off a relationship with Mira Wickham, an English socialite waiting on her trust fund. She expects a quick resolution to the vineyard interests of her corporate clients; her father, a friend of the senior Ardani, pleads otherwise.

Meanwhile, Syrah’s best friend Jane, a sexy and sensitive butch, wants to settle down. The novel begins with a wink at the original Austen romance: “Everybody knows that a single woman with good money is in want of a wife.” Despite the joke, Jane falls hard and fast for Missy Bingley, the new tenant of the nearby Netherfield estate. One of the worries that interferes with the burgeoning romance is the difference in their finances: Missy is a wealthy advertising executive and Jane is an artist and landscaper. Kallmaker paints a convincing portrait of concern from the women’s respective friends, along with a series of misunderstandings.

I soon found myself talking to, pleading with, and admonishing the characters as Mira and Caroline Bingley, Missy’s sister, complicate matters further with half-truths and other infuriating manipulations. Syrah and Toni share a simmering chemistry they can’t explain away, though they desperately want to. And with all of the difficult business dealings and opposite coast lives, it’s a realistic struggle. Kallmaker sells it with an evident (though grudging) respect the characters develop for each and irresistible “fine eyes”.

While you know how the relationships ultimately develop, other aspects of the story, such as the fate of Ardani Vineyards, are up in the air. The journey from pride and prejudice, ignorance and lies, to romance and personal fulfillment, is oh-so-satisfying.  As long as authors such as Kallmaker write them, there will never be too many retellings of this classic romance.

Categories: contemporary, lgbt, retellings, romance | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Change of Pace

Change of Pace_Jae

When a disturbance outside of my apartment woke me up in the wee hours earlier this week, I needed something to take my mind off of it. Sleep was nowhere in sight, so I impulse purchased Change of Pace, part of Jae’s “Portland Police Bureau Series”. The title straight off states exactly what I needed, a change of pace (from those screams and eerie ensuing silence). It’s also bite-sized, so I could look forward to a satisfying conclusion to my eveningmorn. 

Deputy District Attorney Kade Matheson is hitting her stride professionally and personally. Newly out to herself as bisexual, her relationship with Detective Del Vasquez is placed under a microscope during an impromptu visit from her homophobic, ultra-proper mother, Sophie. The bond between the couple is strong; Del providing much needed support, allowing Kade to stand up to her mother’s behavior.  Over the course of a weekend U-Haul for friends Dawn and Aiden, mother and daughter struggle with each other’s point-of-view.

Jae includes an enviable cast of friends, who, despite this being my introduction to the characters, immediately feel like through-thick-and-thin family. They challenge Sophie’s intolerance and wet blanket attitude, offering up lessons learned and admonitions. While this plays a key role in the story, we also see how Kade learns how to relate to her mother as an adult. It’s a highly relatable struggle and one that feels genuine.

Readers glimpse a future for Sophie and Kade, but no 180 degree change of heart or complete resolution. It’s up to future installments on how these relationships evolve…

Change of Pace by Jae
Portland Police Bureau series, book 3

Ylva Publishing
2015

Categories: lgbt, novella, series | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

CJWerlinger

Literary Fiction with a Twist

The Romantic Reader Blog

Lesbian Romance Novel Reviews

The Lesbian Review

The Best f/f Books, Audiobooks, Music & Movies

The Lesbian Bookworm

Lesbian Book Review

Audiobook Creation Exchange Blog (ACX)

Audiobook Creation Exchange

Cara Malone

Lesbian Romance

Kitty Kat's Book Review Blog

Book Reviews and Writing

Cari Hunter

Bold Strokes Books author

The Bibliofiles - Sno-Isle Libraries

In the Biblio Files blog, Sno-Isle Libraries staff members engage in conversations about reading. Join in by adding your comments.

Nerdy Book Club

A community of readers

Porkbelly Press

made in Cincinnati, Ohio

Trans Book Reviews

Where trans characters and trans readers meet