Tag Archives: review

Book Review: Hot Summer Nights


I was hanging out on Twitter a few weeks ago when I caught a Tweet from author Freya Lange. She was talking about a new anthology of erotic shorts, Hot Summer Nights. I told her I’d love to read it, so she sent me an .epub and just like that, I was off and reading.

This is an interesting anthology. It’s not juried, which means no one judged the submissions before they were accepted for publication. To some readers, that means something about quality. As someone who’s in a number of unjuried anthologies, it means these are good friends who are smart enough to capitalize on an opportunity to widen their readership.

However, the quality of the stories varies. Collection lead-off story The Endless Summer, written by Steve Williams, screams that it’s written by what we call a young writer. Had I been the editor, I would not have let this one lead off the anthology; it’s almost as if it signals that this is going to be a rough ride. Of course, if I were the editor, Mr. Williams and I would have done more work on the story before it was published, to bring it up to the level of the best in here.

That’s not to say the other stories aren’t strong. They are, and a few are exceptionally so, including Freya’s own Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday, which is the story of a young woman on a road trip in the late ’60s who learns an awful lot about love … and marriage, from a complete stranger and a cooler full of Coke.

Further kudos for creative settings and situations go to JC Winchester for Tryst in the Trail Shelter, a fun, steamy read. What struck me most about this story was the narrator’s understanding and love for her partner. I know… it’s supposed to be about the adventure, which is pretty much what it sounds like, given the title. But what we as readers respond to isn’t always what we’re supposed to, and that primary relationship is what I took away. It seemed so very real, so very realized. Kudos for pulling that off in a space so small. I would not be surprised to learn the author has worked with these two women before.

Bucky Duckman’s I’m not Gay wins for most humorous story and most clever manipulation of the main character. This story has stayed with me and makes me chuckle every time I think about it. A player finds a young woman to spend his summer nights with, but somehow, it becomes not only a threesome and his first experience with another man, but something addictive, too.

The story I think I had the most problems with, though, was Hole in the Basement Wall, written by TT Tales. From point of view shifts to a lack of tension in the story, this was one story I’d have loved to work with the author on. The potential in this story is huge and incredibly ambitious, but it simply wasn’t handled well. And the concept? Absolutely fabulous.

That misstep is offset by the collection’s standout story: Shea Mara’s Keys to the Sun. The least erotic of all the stories, this story, I felt, belonged in a major literary magazine. It’s a science fiction story about a colony on Venus. Issues of longing, of domination, of relationships, of hope are all brought up. Characters are well-drawn, and while the bad guy is pretty stock, he needs to be for the story to work as well as it does. The author understands this. She clearly understands what makes good fiction and while most of the authors in this anthology do, Ms. Mara is an unusual talent. And she’s not the only one.

Overall, yes, this anthology is one to pick up. Despite the weaknesses, every story has something redeeming going for it. Watch out for the typos –oh, how I’d love to give this entire anthology a good proofread. Interestingly, their number varies with the success of the stories, so proofing continuity is a bit of an issue. But remember, I have high standards; I edit for a living.

So ignore the typos and settle in for a good and hot read. One thing I didn’t mention: with the exception of Ms. Meara’s story, this collection is hot. Steamy hot. Don’t-read-in-public hot unless you like to squirm.

Which, of course, is a large part of the fun.


Teen Boy Reads: Behemoth


Hello everyone!

Last week I was out of town, away from all technology, thus being unable to post. But here is Behemoth, the second in the Scott Westerfeld series. Jump in!

Behemoth: Scott Westerfeld
🙂 out of 😀

The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker Powers.
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan’s peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.

Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what’s ahead.

Immediately after Leviathan, our story picks up. The Clankers have revealed a new Shocking weapon, one that will bring the Darwinists to their knees. However, the Darwinists have the Behemoth, their fierce new weapon. But the Ottoman Empire is one who remains neutral, and they WILL be a turning point in the war, if the Darwinists can gain their trust.

I have read a lot of series where the books run right into each other, and most of them have been either bad, or awful. This book, by those standards was amazing, not only in the fact that the two books ran right into each other, but the book itself was amazing. Next week, we have the series finale, Goliath, and then we move on to a new series. Most likely the Bartimaeus series, but if I get any other ideas, we will delve into that.

See you next week,
Your Friend at TBR


Rock On and read some Rock Fiction


I have been reading a lot lately, so much so that I ought to turn some of these Rock Fiction explorations into Readalongs. The truth is that I’ve been devouring a lot of these books.

While Denise Vega’s Rock On wasn’t one I devoured as quickly as I have the others, it was still an okay read. Click on through and read my thoughts on this YA novel.


Rockin’ Rollin’ Readin’


Still on hiatus from the fancy book review people, so I’ve been reading and reading the stuff that’s piled up over here. It feels good to make even a small dent in the TBR mountain ranges.

So check out my review for Allison Harnby’s It’s Not You, It’s Me. One of those fun reads that stops just short of being a West of Mars Recommended Book and … hmm. Maybe I need a new category. West of Mars Good Book.

What do you think?


Teen Boy Reads: Crater By Homer Hickam


Hey, guys. Sorry I haven’t posted in such a long time, but I just have been sorta busy. Today I have a good book for you. Crater, by HOMER HICKAM as in October Sky, and Rocket Boys. This is the first in a series, and is a great mix of Sci-Fi, Action, adventure, and more.

Lets get in.

Crater, by Homer Hickam
🙂 out of 😀

It’s the 22nd Century. A tough, pioneering people mine the moon for Helium-3 to produce energy for a desperate, war-torn Earth. Sixteen-year old Crater Trueblood loves his job as a Helium-3 miner. But when he finds courage he didn’t know he had and saves a fellow miner, his life changes forever. Impressed by his heroism, the owner of the mine orders Crater to undertake a dangerous mission. Crater doubts himself, but he has no choice. He must go.

With the help of Maria, the mine owner’s frustrating but gorgeous granddaughter, and his gillie—a sentient and sometimes insubordinate clump of slime mold cells—Crater must fight both human and subhuman enemies. He’ll battle his way across a thousand miles of deadly but magnificent lunar terrain before vaulting into the far reaches of space, there to recover an astonishing object that could mean the difference between life and death for every inhabitant on the moon.

Far into the future, the moon has been colonized and helium-3 found on the moon. A few men live on the moon and mine it of it’s Helium-3 to provide to a war-ravaged Earth. One day, when he save his best friend, the mining company owner calls him in and decides to send him on a very dangerous mission.

Crater, having no choice in the matter, is switched to the convoy company and is sent across the moon to retrieve a package for the owner. On the road, he must face everything from traffic delays to the subhuman trying to stop the convoy and, most of all, kill Crater. Crater is no warrior, let alone adult. Crater must wrestle with a budding interest in Maria, the mine owner’s REALLY stubborn granddaughter, who Crater Trueblood, a sixteen-year-old miner truly is, what he really wants to be and CAN be…

Wow. Hickam hit this one out of the ballpark. It has been a while since I read this, but it is amazing. Well, the book was a non-stop kind of book, you know, those books you can’t put down. I enjoyed this book a lot, and was joyed when I was able to check out Department 19, and will be giving you that review next week.

Sorry Again for the lack of reviews these past 2 weeks.

Stay bookworming, (is that a word?) my friends,

Your friend at TBR


Teen Boy Reads: Guys Read: The Sports Pages


Welcome back loyal readers!

Today I have yet another book that you should check out. In the final installment in the existing Guys Read series, I bring you: The Sports Pages!

Guys Read: Sports Pages
Edited By Jon Scieszka
😐 out of 😀 (3/5)

Ten stories guaranteed to put you in the ring, under the basket, and right behind home plate, from the following perennial all-stars: Dustin Brown, James Brown, Joseph Bruchac, Chris Crutcher, Tim Green, Dan Gutman, Gordon Korman, Chris Rylander, Anne Ursu, and Jacqueline Woodson

Guys Read is back, again. We will never stay down for the count. This time, we have brought you some of the finest sports writers, in between these covers! So turn the baseball game on, and curl up on a nice lounger with this book.

I am no sports fan. I will play the sports, to some degree, and find watching them slightly unappealing. But this book was pretty good, to me at least. The stories had an element of funniness to them, but others were more confusing than anything. All in all, it was a good book, but it had its ups and downs.
With more blog posts coming your way,

Your friend at TBR


Teen Boy Reads: Revolver


Welcome Back!

Today, we have a review on a book that I did not really like.

Well, let’s get going.

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick
D: out of 😀 (1/5)
A LOADED GUN. STOLEN GOLD. And a menacing stranger. A taut frontier survivor story, set at the time of the Alaska gold rush.

In an isolated cabin, fourteen-year-old Sig is alone with a corpse: his father, who has fallen through the ice and frozen to death only hours earlier. Then comes a stranger claiming that Sig’s father owes him a share of a horde of stolen gold. Sig’s only protection is a loaded Colt revolver hidden in the cabin’s storeroom. The question is, will Sig use the gun, and why?

I hated this book so much, I won’t be writing my own description

This book was HORRENDOUS! I would not recommend reading this unless you like books where nothing happens! Revolver was all exposition, and the end rushed up in you. The best part was the end, because the stand-off FINALLY ends! So I was relieved to get the book away. And this is VERY unusual with me. Some like the book, but I didn’t, and Revolver bored me to death. So I do NOT recommend this book.

Well, Until I have another, better book, (which will be next week), I’ll be signing off.

Your friend at TBR


Teen Boy Reads: Montmorency


Hey everyone:

I have a pretty good not-so-new book that I read a while back.

Lets get into my review.

Montmorency by Eleanor Updale
:/ out of 😀 (3/5)
When a petty thief falls through a glass roof trying to escape from the police, what should have been the death of him marks the beginning of a whole new life. He soon becomes the most elusive burglar in Victorian London, adopting a dual existence as both a respectable, wealthy gentleman named Montmorency, and his degenerate servant Scarper.

When a unknown thief botches up a job badly, he falls through a glass roof and is unrecognizable until a young Doctor takes it as a personal challenge to fix the man, named Montmorency by the prison guards.

When Montmorency is finally let out, he is forced to lead a double life, as to avoid being caught. There is Montmorency, the gentleman; and Scarper, is low-life, thieving, lying manservant. Together, many an adventure is had, until a friend poses Scarper with his biggest challenge yet.

Montmorency was an OK book. The story sort of dwindled, as though the author lost interest, and so the book ended without an ending. It was sort of pathetic. Although, the idea was good, and the dual-life storyline great, but,the book still crashed and burned. This is the first in a series, with the full title of this book being Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman?

SO, I hereby decree that this review has been sufficiently looked into, and I now pronounce this review CLOSED!

See you next time,

Your friend at TBR


Sound Bites by Rachel K. Burke


Since the hack caused my Rocks ‘n Reads blog to be lost, I’ve come up with a new way to post my book reviews. You can access them from the Rock Fiction page — once I’ve got them all up.

Down the road, one of my goals is to come up with really cool templates for each page. Yes, each review will have its own sidebars!

(Buy my books and hire me to edit yours so I can afford this project, okay??? Yes, I’m eyeing Kickstarter, too.)

Since there won’t be an RSS feed associated with the new reviews, I’ll take this space to notify you of the reviews I post.

Which means I’ve got a review to tell you about! It’s for Rachel K. Burke’s Sound Bites, a really cute beach read that is totally worth your time. Once you read my review, use this link (my Smashwords affiliate link) to pick up your own copy. You won’t be disappointed!