Erotica

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Mini Pin-It Reviews #4 – Four Books That Fall Into My “Random” Category

Published November 5, 2016 by bibliobeth

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Welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post on my blog, where I try and catch up on my immense backlog of reviews by posting a quick review on a post it note. Today’s post is going to focus on a few books that I’ve placed in a random category, as I couldn’t really pigeon-hole them all into one genre. Hope you enjoy!

1.) – In The Kingdom Of Men by Kim Barnes

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What’s it all about?:

1967. Gin Mitchell knows a better life awaits her when she marries hometown hero Mason McPhee. Raised in a two-room shack by her Oklahoma grandfather, a strict Methodist minister, Gin never believed that someone like Mason, a handsome college boy, the pride of Shawnee, would look her way. And nothing can prepare her for the world she and Mason step into when he takes a job with the Arabian American Oil company in Saudi Arabia. In the gated compound of Abqaiq, Gin and Mason are given a home with marble floors, a houseboy to cook their meals, and a gardener to tend the sandy patch out back. Even among the veiled women and strict laws of shariah, Gin’s life has become the stuff of fairy tales. She buys her first swimsuit, she pierces her ears, and Mason gives her a glittering diamond ring. But when a young Bedouin woman is found dead, washed up on the shores of the Persian Gulf, Gin’s world closes in around her, and the one person she trusts is nowhere to be found.
Set against the gorgeously etched landscape of a country on the cusp of enormous change, In the Kingdom of Men abounds with sandstorms and locust swarms, shrimp peddlers, pearl divers, and Bedouin caravans—a luminous portrait of life in the desert. Award-winning author Kim Barnes weaves a mesmerizing, richly imagined tale of Americans out of their depth in Saudi Arabia, a marriage in peril, and one woman’s quest for the truth, no matter what it might cost her.

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Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

2.) – Among Others by Jo Walton

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What’s it all about?:

Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled–and her twin sister dead.

Fleeing to her father whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England–a place all but devoid of true magic. There, outcast and alone, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off…

Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude, this is potentially a breakout book for an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers like Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. Le Guin.

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Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

3.) – Chinese Whispers by Ben Chu

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What’s it all about?:

We think we know China. The world’s most venerable and self-confident civilisation, home to the largest unified race of people on the planet, China manufactures the objects that fill our lives. We see a country peopled by docile and determined factory workers, domineering ‘Tiger Mothers’ obsessed with education and achievement, and a society that has put the accumulation of wealth above political freedom. Above all, we see a superpower on the rise, destined to overtake the West and to dominate the 21st century. But how accurate is this picture? What if, as Ben Chu argues, we are all engaged in a grand game of Chinese Whispers, in which the facts have become more and more distorted in the telling? We have been getting China and the Chinese wrong for centuries. From the Enlightenment philosophes, enraptured by what they imagined to be a kingdom of reason, to the Victorians who derided the ‘flowery empire’, outsiders have long projected their own dreams and nightmares onto this vast country. With China’s economic resurgence today, many have fallen once more under the spell of this glittering new global hegemon, while others foretell terrible danger in China’s return to the centre of the world stage. CHINESE WHISPERS tugs aside this age-old curtain of distortion in a powerful counterblast to modern assumptions about China. By examining the central myths, or ‘whispers’, that have come to dominate our view of China, Ben Chu forces us to question everything we thought we knew about world’s most populous nation. The result is a surprising, penetrating insight into modern China.

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Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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4.) – Tampa by Alissa Nutting

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What’s it all about?:

Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She’s undeniably attractive. She drives a red Corvette with tinted windows. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed, and devoted to her.

But Celeste’s devotion lies elsewhere. She has a singular sexual obsession—fourteen-year-old boys. Celeste pursues her craving with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought; her sole purpose in becoming a teacher is to fulfill her passion and provide her access to her compulsion. As the novel opens, fall semester at Jefferson Jr. High is beginning.

In mere weeks, Celeste has chosen and lured the lusciously naive Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his teacher, and, most important, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after school; rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works late; body-slamming encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom between periods.

Ever mindful of the danger—the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack’s father’s own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind—the hyperbolically insatiable Celeste bypasses each hurdle with swift thinking and shameless determination, even when the solutions involve greater misdeeds than the affair itself. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress driven by pure motivation. She deceives everyone, and cares nothing for anyone or anything but her own pleasure.

With crackling, rampantly unadulterated prose, Tampa is a grand, uncompromising, seriocomic examination of want and a scorching literary debut.

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Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

COMING UP SOON ON MY MINI PIN-IT REVIEWS – Four YA novels.

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Author Interview – Carolyn Waugh on her debut novella The Oasis Of Time

Published August 16, 2016 by bibliobeth

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AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY – CAROLYN WAUGH

Carolyn has worked in a laboratory for almost forty years now but in her spare time for pleasure and to de-stress she likes to read (a lot!), mostly fantasy and romance novels. Then a few years ago she started to jot down some notes which then turned into stories. Friends were interested and wanted to read them and when they had, they told her she should try and get them published. Carolyn tried a few publishers and unfortunately was rejected so gave up for a couple of years when she tried again and was accepted by an American publisher. She hopes that people who read the story enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it.

Click on the book to get to the link to Good Reads!

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For my review of The Oasis Of Time, please click the link HERE.

INTERVIEW WITH CAROLYN WAUGH

I’d like to welcome Carolyn to bibliobeth today and thank her very much for her time in giving this interview.

1.) Have you always been a big reader and what’s the earliest memory you have regarding something to do with reading?

Yes, I’ve always been a large reader, usually reading up to five books a week! My earliest memory is my mother teaching me how to read, I must have been about four years old so I could read before I went to school which I found very useful.

2.) What was your favourite book to read as a child or teenager?

Fiction mainly, because it was something I found you didn’t have to concentrate too hard on but I do like Alistair MacLean as well and people like that – anything with a bit of murder and intrigue in!

3.) If you had to live on a desert island for six months what three books would you take with you?

Does a series of books count as one?! (bibliobeth: Yes, I think it could!) Okay, I would take the Harry Potter series, probably the series I’m reading at the moment by Sherrilyn Kenyon which is a group of books of all different types (I’m reading Dark Bites at the moment) so you don’t get bogged down into one type of book and lastly, War And Peace – I can be quite eclectic in my tastes!

4.) The Oasis Of Time is your first published novella with Amazon. Have you any plans to write a full novel or do you prefer to write short stories/novellas?

I like writing short stories but I would like to try, maybe in the future, my hand at a novel but I would like to see how the short stories take on first and see if they can sell. I know I’ve given them to several friends and they seem to enjoy reading them which is good. The problem is trying to get them published as it seems to cost so much unless you’re a published/known author as people aren’t willing to take that risk on you.

5.) Jay and Lilly don’t have the easiest start to their relationship for one reason or another, do you think they change as people through what they both experience?

I think they do because they don’t have certain emotions until they both meet. This brings out both the best and the worst in them and also brings something entirely new to the relationship, something different.

6.) I love the magical quality present in The Oasis Of Time. Is magic a big part of your work?

I think everyone needs a little bit of magic or paranormal to get them out of this world at the moment because there is such death and destruction, everyone needs a bit of light-heartedness and fantasy to take them away and take their mind off it a bit.

7.) Is there a happy ending for Jay and Lilly and might we see them again in a future story?

There is a happy ending and you never know, you might do! I might get the idea of bringing them back for a “part two.”

8.) Are you working on anything at the moment and can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes I am and it’s a ghost story…. you’ll have to read it when it’s finished!

 

 

Once again, a HUGE thank you to Carolyn Waugh for giving up her time to do this interview and for her wonderful answers to my probing questions! The Oasis of Time was published in e-book format on March 10th 2015 by M-Y Books Ltd and is available to buy now.

The Oasis Of Time – Carolyn Waugh

Published August 15, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Jay was a prince and he had the dark hair and dark smouldering looks of a sheikh of the desert. He was like the princes that you read about in the female romance novels that have a picture on the cover.
His personal assistant Lilly,would be first one in to work as always, she was there when he came in and invariably there when he left always just finishing up for the night. She intrigued him in the physical sense, he sometimes dreamed of her in his bed, making love to her. Her mouth was a wonder to behold and sometimes in their meetings if he was not careful he would lose track of their conversation.
Lilly on and off when working for him had saved his butt so to speak quite a few times. Lilly had been working for him for a while now and she loved every day.
Hiding the truth about her past and from where she came from and of what she could do, was getting harder and harder as she feared that she was falling in love with him and that was something she must not do. Ever. She must never do that as her genie status would vanish and she would become human.

(synopsis from Amazon)

What did I think?:

Full disclosure here – I am not usually a fan of so-called “romantic” fiction or erotica (although I do love a bit of fantasy) but Carolyn is a good friend of mine and absolutely loves to write so when she heard I was a blogger she asked if I would read her novella, The Oasis Of Time and let her know what I think. First of all, it’s clear Carolyn has an amazing imagination and reading fantasy/romance/paranormal fiction on a regular basis has given her an excellent background to writing a story of her own.

Our male lead is Jay, a strapping young man who happens to be a prince no less, who works very hard in his business managed by himself and his father the King but has been trying to hide his developing feelings for his assistant, Lilly, unsure if she reciprocates his feelings and afraid of losing her if she doesn’t. Luckily, Lilly does feel the same way but that’s not the real issue standing in their way. The thing is, Lilly knows the family much better than Jay can understand or appreciate as she is a genie who has been assisting the family for many years after she was captured close to the oasis where she lived.

The major reason why Lilly will try to stop herself falling in love with Jay is that if she enters into a relationship with her, her magical powers and status as a genie will vanish and she will become human forever. The future for Jay and Lilly is very unsure and potentially life-changing for both of them – will it work out for them in the end? Also, will Jay ever be able to accept the special properties behind the woman he loves?

One of my favourite things about this novella was the magical qualities in the story itself. I loved Lilly and Jay as characters and the fact that Lilly was a genie just brought an extra something to the narrative as a whole. I completely bought into their relationship and enjoyed reading about their struggles as they both wonder if they can be together as a couple. I’m hoping there will be many more stories to come from Carolyn Waugh as she has a clear passion for what she does and as I mentioned earlier, a huge imagination to back it up. Hopefully, some fantastic editor will see the potential in her work and snap her up, bringing her work to a wider population.

Carolyn’s first published novella is available to buy on Amazon for the bargain prize of 99 pence and 99 cents in America:

Amazon UK Link

Amazon US Link

Come back tomorrow when I’ll be interviewing Carolyn Waugh here on my blog!

Would I recommend it?:

For fans of the genre – yes!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

 

 

 

 

The Lemon Grove – Helen Walsh

Published June 10, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

As recommended on BBC Radio 2 Book Club, a tense, sensuous and piercingly insightful story of sexual obsession.

Each summer, Jenn and her husband Greg return to Deia, on Mallorca’s dramatic west coast. This year the arrival of Emma, Jenn’s stepdaughter, and her new boyfriend Nathan threatens to upset their equilibrium. Beautiful and reckless, Nathan stirs something unexpected in Jenn. As she is increasingly seduced by Nathan’s youth and the promise of passion, the line between desire and obsession begins to blur. What follows is a highly-charged liaison that puts lives and relationships in jeopardy. For Jenn, after this summer, nothing can ever be the same.

What did I think?:

This novel was getting a lot of buzz in the blogosphere and Twitter last year billed as “the hottest summer read,” and I was so intrigued by all the hype surrounding it that I had to succumb. Even though I read it a while again now I’m still not very sure what I think about it. The main character is forty-something Jenn, married to Greg and at the beginning of the story, they are about to enjoy their annual holiday in Mallorca where they rent a villa. This year is going to be slightly different however as Greg’s fifteen year old daughter, Emma is about to join them with her seventeen year old boyfriend Nathan.

Although Jenn and Greg have been happily married for a while now, there are tensions simmering beneath the surface. First, there is Jenn’s step-daughter Emma who is at a difficult and trying age making Jenn feel like she is constantly walking on egg shells around her. Unfortunately, quite a few of their rows or “mis-understandings” have led to Greg siding with his daughter and Jenn feeling quite alone on the outside. To be honest, Emma is a complete brat and knows how to use her tears to her advantage, often using her father as a weapon against her step-mother. Jenn is not completely without fault and tries her hardest to build a positive relationship with Emma but all too often she finds herself a loser in a battle she wasn’t aware she was fighting. Greg himself has recently become more aloof with Jenn, hiding himself away and taking secretive phone calls. Jenn is just hoping that this holiday will bring them closer together again as a couple and is slightly miffed that Emma and her boyfriend will be crashing her plans to re-ignite the spark in their marriage.

So then Nathan arrives. They don’t exactly get off to the best start when they arrive to find Jenn sun-bathing topless. It’s all completely un-intentional but of course Emma believes that this is part of a huge plot to humiliate her. At the start both Jenn and Greg are worried as confident Nathan quite obviously has had quite a bit of ahem… experience and they are concerned that he might be rail-roading Emma into having sex before she is ready for it. Then things get extremely tense as Jenn and Nathan are instantly attracted to one another and cannot deny the heat and sexual tension between themselves. Jenn is confused and frustrated and tries everything in her power to not be attracted to Nathan (it’s her step-daughters boyfriend for crying out loud!) however fails miserably. The rest of the novel presents a page-turning nightmare as the attraction between the two hits boiling point, a situation that can only cause anguish for all parties involved.

Okay, so this book should come with a warning – it’s incredibly hot. The sexual scenes are quite graphic and might be a bit uncomfortable for some readers with a sensitive disposition. I’m not easily shocked but one scene in particular sticks in my mind and I actually had to close my book on the tube in case anyone was reading over my shoulder! This book was also really interesting as none of the characters are particularly likeable but in fact that only serves to make it feel quite authentic as they come across as more human. The author has a real talent for suspense and I found myself glued to each page as the story unfolded. It was almost like reading about a train wreck that you know is going to happen and yet you can’t take your eyes off it. At times I felt like the naughty outsider looking into these peoples lives and it was quite a voyeuristic experience. The book is relatively short, under 300 pages, and is told over the space of one week where the author manages to cram a lot into a small space of time although personally it never felt particularly rushed. What didn’t I like? I can’t really put my finger on it – perhaps it’s the ending which left me a bit frustrated. For fans of tense and steamy reads it’s a definite winner and I would quite like to read some more of Helen Walsh’s work.

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars