Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New York City, Center of the Universe

do not own image- source
Hello my blogger friends! I am headed to New York City today to attend Book Expo America tomorrow and Friday. I am excited to finally be able to really experience BEA and I hope to see some great authors and find wonderful books, but most of all, I really hope to make connections. I want to meet you, and you, and you! So please, if you're attending BEA, don't be afraid to talk; I'm definitely going to try and keep that in mind myself, as I'm quite shy in person.

I'm truly sorry for those of you who cannot make BEA this year, but I hope you enjoy all the wonderful things your own town has to offer this summer. I won't be online much while I'm away, but please visit and comment on the couple posts I have scheduled and I will get back to you when I have time.

*also, the title of this post comes from the musical RENT*

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Blowing Off Steam by Joy Lynn Fielding

Blowing Off Steam by Joy Lynn Fielding

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Sam Chancellor has been in love with the steam engine Old Bess since he was six years old. Well, maybe not literally, but even when he’s lost everything else in his life, he’s always had her. But now her place in his heart has been unexpectedly challenged. Her new driver, Ryan Saunders, is the embodiment of all Sam’s fantasies.

Ryan has written off Sam as just another geeky trainspotter—until the moment Ryan sees him without his usual shapeless hoodie, and realizes that for a nerd, Sam’s pretty built.

When Ryan overlooks Sam’s awkwardness long enough to suggest a hook-up, Sam seizes the opportunity—and Ryan—with both very eager hands. Finding common ground in their shared love of Bess, their time together is better than Sam ever dared dream.

But there’s a reason Ryan never talks about his past. And when Ryan’s job is threatened, Sam’s well-meaning intervention puts both Ryan and Bess in deadly danger.

Review: I really liked Blowing Off Steam and how it dealt with a topic I didn’t know much about – steam engines. Sam Chancellor loves a particular engine named Old Bess, a love he shared with his late uncle who basically raised him. When Ryan Saunders gets the job as Bess’s new driver, it doesn’t take long before Sam is noticing him as well. As for Ryan, he eventually takes note of Sam, but only as a baggy-clothes wearing nerd who likes to come and watch the trains.

Obviously, when the two officially meet, it doesn’t take long before they are really getting to know each other. What starts out as a physical relationship soon turns into more. Ryan has never had boyfriends in the past and he isn’t really interested now. As for Sam, Ryan is his first everything, but he knows not to push or he’ll lose whatever they are forming.

Blowing Off Steam has a bit of a mystery included, when Ryan is in risk of losing his job and information comes to light that could ultimately help save it…if they can figure out who is behind it all and gather enough evidence. I liked that this was more than just a romance, though there is plenty of that (and forewarning – there are graphic sexual scenes if that bothers you). I do wish that it had been a bit longer, though, or we were able to dig deeper into the characters more. Ryan has a secret past, but I feel like it wasn’t dealt with enough between him and Sam. 

In all, not a bad read!

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Wicked + The Divine Graphic Novel Review

The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

Review by Lauren

Source: library copy; all  opinions are my own

Official Summary: Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critically thermonuclear floor-fillers Young Avengers and Phonogram reunite to start a new, ongoing, superhero fantasy with a beautiful, oversized issue. Welcome to The Wicked + The Divine, where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you're immortal, doesn't mean you're going to live forever.

Review: I came across this graphic novel when I was perusing one of my local libraries and I was immediately enticed by the summary. This book follows a young lady named Laura who is obsessed with the gods- as everyone knows that these powerful pop stars are all supposedly real gods. Not everyone believes it, but the story and their personas are too enticing not to notice them. When Laura meets one of these gods, Luci (Lucifer), she finds herself seeing all the gods close up and working to clear Luci of murder. 


Volume 1 collects the first five comics of The Wicked + The Divine, so it’s a relatively quick read, but it’s also fascinating and really well illustrated. I’m so excited that Volume 2 comes out in July. I loved that while our heroine is Laura, we also get to learn a great deal about some of the other gods. They are all larger-than-life and often overdramatic, but at the same time, you can’t look away. They capture the mind and you simply want to know more. 

The Faust Act was a fantastic introduction to this series and again, I can’t wait for more. The book ended with a big twist that definitely has me excited to see where the story goes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Scarred Souls by T.T. Kove

Scarred Souls by T.T. Kove

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: On a cold, wet afternoon Damian stumbles across a young man huddled beneath a tree crying his eyes out. He's got more than enough problems of his own, but is compelled to give the bloke a place to crash for at least the night.

Josh is used to being alone, and most days it's easier than trying to deal with people who can't, or won't, understand him. When Damian takes him in for the night, Josh assumes it's going to be one more go round of sex and get out in the morning.

Neither of them expects the friendship that develops, and they're far from prepared when friendship starts to turn into more.

Review: Based on the summary, you might be thinking this is your typical gay romance novel, but it’s so much more than that. Damian meets Josh one day when he sees him sitting in the rain, crying. Not giving it much thought, he invites Josh home and they end up spending the night together. Josh is used to people using him for sex, so he’s surprised when Damian turns his offer down. If Damian doesn’t want sex, why is he helping him?

Eventually Josh learns that Damian is essentially asexual. I don’t think I’ve read a book where someone was asexual, so I thought this was great. It should be given more awareness. There are degrees to being asexual, but the main idea is that people who identify as such just aren’t really interested in sex. Some will only have sex with one person, some do it to make their partner happy, and others aren’t interested in that aspect of a relationship at all. For now, Damian isn’t, but he is getting close to Josh. He cares about him, kisses him, and can sleep in the same bed as him. For Josh, he has a dark past when it comes to sexual encounters, so having someone love him without that aspect is new, but ultimately good.

I thought Kove did a good job with both Damian and Josh. They both have some dark elements in their past, but what they have gone through just brings them closer. They have issues and quirks that take time to understand, especially with each other, but again, this just proves that love comes in all “shapes and sizes” if you will and the relationship between these two was great to read about. I would love a sequel!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Shooting Thoughts: Let's Get Personal

Shooting Thoughts: Let's Get Personal

I feel like the majority of people that read my blog (and have their own blog) focus on books or other forms of entertainment. Some of these blogs share some personal details about their life, some share a lot, and others just focus on the book/entertainment content.

Personally, I like learning about the blogger behind the blog but I understand why some people don't feel the need or are afraid to give out too much information. I probably wouldn't have shared as much when I first got started, but I've been doing this for awhile now and I've slowly gotten used to sharing stories or giving information about my real, everyday life.

What about you though? Do you think personal details are a no-no on your blog? Do you like learning about other people through their blogs? Do you ever follow "personal" or more real life blogs? 

When it comes to the latter question, I do like blogs that focus a great deal on their life. They still might have reviews or other fun posts, but they also give you information about their everyday experiences. It's great to see how you might have things in common, as well as how you are different.

In honor of this whole idea I thought I would share just one of the more everyday blogs that I follow.

Krysten from Why Girls are Weird: She's a wife, a dog mom, a bookworm, and more. I love Krysten's blog because she talks about real life issues and topics but she also shares new products and book reviews here and there. It's a nice mix! Plus, every Friday, she posts the top 10 things that made her happy that week! Who doesn't like that?!

If you look at my blog list on the left hand side of this page, you are sure to find some other blogs similar to Krysten...or at least similar in the fact that they are more "personal."

So, please do share your thoughts on being personal on blogs! Don't forget the questions above if you need help generating a thought. :)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Signal Boost by Alyssa Cole

Signal Boost by Alyssa Cole

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: In a secluded cabin, John and his loved ones have survived. He should feel grateful. But his family is in his face 24/7, he has to watch his best friend, Arden, and brother, Gabriel, flaunt their love, and as a techie in a Luddite world he’s pretty much useless. The cabin is brimming with people, but he feels utterly alone.

Until he catches Mr. Tall, Blond and Gorgeous raiding their garden. Mykhail is an astrophysics student, he makes John’s gaydar ping like crazy and he thinks he knows what caused the devastation. He’s on a journey to his university to find answers, and John invites himself along. Partly to get out of the house, and partly because he can’t let Mykhail go without acting on the mutual attraction that’s so obvious even John’s mom is playing matchmaker.

The closer they get to campus, the more Mykhail lets down his walls. But with answers come secrets both devastating and deadly, and before they can save the world, they’ll have to save themselves.

Review: I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but I found myself really enjoying this one. I felt that the romance aspects were a nice backdrop to the overall story. That doesn’t mean romance fans wouldn’t enjoy this title, but it also talks about a worldwide power outage that actually made sense. Cole had explanations that made me sit back and go “wow, I feel like that could actually happen.” It made the story feel more realistic and that’s always good for science fiction.

As for the romance, John is desperate to get out of the house and prove he can do something useful but he doesn’t get that chance until Mykhail stumbles across their house. He has an idea of what is happening and he wants to visit an old mentor at the local university. With an almost immediate crush and the urgency to do something, John is ready to join Mykhail on his journey. Mykhail isn’t thrilled by the prospect, even though John knows they have some sort of connection, but he ultimately lets John join him as John is adept in navigation. 

On their journey to the university, they have to be wary of people willing to shoot first and ask questions later, as the world has gone back to pre-technology, fight and survive days. They work together to make their journey, and at the same time, they begin to learn more about each other and grow even closer. Their relationship isn’t without issues of course, which I appreciate, since no romance is ever perfect. 

Overall, I did really like this one. I liked that the science made sense, I liked the romance, and I thought Cole did a good job creating a book that was suspenseful and engaging. The story begins in Radio Silence with John’s friend Arden and his brother Gabriel falling in love (FYI: Arden is female). I did not read this book first, but if anyone is interested in reading in order! I felt Signal Boost made sense without it though.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sign Up Now: Favorite Color Blog Swap

I know it seems like I just did a swap, but Chaotic Goddess Swaps is hosting their annual Favorite Color Swap, so I had to join in again. The idea is that your swap partner buys you items in your favorite color and you buy your partner items in their favorite color. I love purple and green  - I did purple last year, so this time I signed up with green.

Dates to Know: You still have time to sign up!!

  • Sign-ups Open: Monday, May 11th.
  • Sign-ups Close: Monday, May 18th.
  • Giveaway Ends: Tuesday, May 19th.
  • Partners Assigned by: Wednesday, May 20th.
  • Packages Ship: on or by Saturday, June 6th.
  • Show-Off Linky Opens: Wednesday, June 10th.
In other news, I'm sorry for the lack of consistent posts. I had a lot scheduled out for April but not so much for May. I'm finished with my school semester (finally) so I hope to get a lot of reviews I've written scheduled out for the rest of this month and into June!! I am trying to keep up with all of your blogs too though - I should be commenting around the blogosphere more tomorrow.