September 2013 Summary of Reviews

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September and Fall

September 2013 Book Review Summary

What a wonderful month it was for books and reviews!  Most of the books I read fell into the 5 and 4 star category, a few into the  3 star and none below that.  Series predominated the ratings this time.  Most notably the series offerings from the Pulp Friction authors. There 3d-person-sit-pile-books-reading-book-26141531were new books in well established series such as Katey Hawthorne’s Superpowered Love series as well as followup stories and new series  from such talented authors such as Kendall McKenna (The Tameness of the Wolf series) and Aleksandr Voinov (Memory of Scorpions series).

Other new series includes Poppy Dennison’s Pack Partners , Cat Grant’s Bannon’s Gym) and Harper Kingsley’s Heroes and Villains series too.  My cup (and yours) runneth over with series, all promising more great stories featuring characters we have come to love. And believe it or not, October is starting the same way!  What a fall!

So grab a pen or notebook and jot down those books and authors you may have missed the first time around.  I have linked my review to each one listed.  Happy Reading!

5 Star Rating:

Crucify (Triple Threat #4) by L.E. Harner
Defiance (Triple Threat #3) by L.E. Harner
Re-entry Burn (Superpowered Love #5) by Katey Hawthorne (supernatural)
Retribution (Triple Threat #2) by L.E. Harner (contemporary)
Scorpion (Memory of Scorpions #1) by Aleksandr Voinov (fantasy)
Strength of the Wolf (The Tameness of the Wolf #2) by Kendall McKenna

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

Accidental Alpha (Pack Partners #1) by Poppy Dennison (4.5 stars)(supernatural)
Black Dog (Bannon’s Gym #1) by Cat Grant (4.5 stars)(contemporary)
Blessed Curses by Madeleine Ribbon (4 stars) (fantasy)
City Knight (City Knight #1) by T.A. Webb (4 stars out of 5)(contemporary fiction)
Heroes and Villains (Heroes and Villains #1) by Harper Kingsley (4 stars)(supernatural)
Sonata by A.F. Henley (4.5 stars out of 5)(contemporary fiction)
Summer Lovin’ Anthology (4.75 stars out of 5) (contemporary)
The Crimson Outlaw by Alex Beecroft (4 stars)(historical)
Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1) by L.E. Harner (4.5 stars)(contemporary)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Coliseum Square by Lynn Lorenz (3.75 stars)(historical)
Roughstock: Blind Ride, Season One by BA Tortuga (3 stars) (contemporary)

2 to 2.75 Star Rating: none

1 to 1.75 Star Rating: none

Review: Accidental Alpha (Pack Partners, #1) by Poppy Dennison

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Book Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Accidental Alpha coverOne year ago police officer Lex Tompkins was stabbed while on the job.  The severity of the wounds and the long recovery time meant disability and retirement for Lex as he could no longer physically do his job.  Bitter, Lex withdraws from everyone he knows, buying seven acres in the middle of nowhere to hide in and retreat from society.  But almost from the beginning his plans go awry. Lex has a neighbor when his real estate agent promised him none.  And that neighbor, Spencer Robinson, always seems to have a ton of people at his house and a party going on.  Plus the guy isn’t even Lex’s type.

When a toddler shows up alone in Lex’s front yard, he knows that there is only one place he could have come from. Lex picks the kid up and starts to head across the street when the toddler bites the heck out of his neck.  Lex passes out and the next moment wakes up in Spencer’s house as the new Alpha werewolf of a small and dysfunctional pack of werewolves.

Faced with new responsibilities that he doesn’t want, Lex also finds himself attracted to Spencer, someone he never looked twice at before.  What’s a bitter excop to do when Fate rearranges his life in ways he never imagined?

Poppy Dennison became a go to author of mine when I started reading her Triad series (now at book four). So when I saw that she had a new shifter story out, I knew I had to have it.  Accidental Alpha, the first in the Pack Partners series, starts with a hysterical premise, what happens when a toddler accidentally turns a person into a werewolf? I love it when an author gives me a new twist on a popular genre and that’s exactly what Dennison has delivered here.

Dennison has created a unique pack structure for her werewolf story which includes the toddler’s position within it and the reason why he bit Lex in the first place.  This is a small and somewhat dysfunctional pack with a few shifters hanging at the outskirts of the core group that is not getting along without leadership.  Into this interesting group dynamics, Dennison thrusts her disabled alpha cop, Lex Tompkins.  I really liked his character, he comes across as a hard core cop who loved his job.  And the type of personality that it takes to be a cop is exactly the type of leadership needed in an Alpha.  I liked the manner in which Dennison  connects those dots not only for the reader  but for Lex as well.  Lex is a man in need of a job that requires him to police and take care of people and that is exactly what he gets again.

This pack is made up of some very damaged, sad, and angry shifters. Each comes with their own set of challenges that Lex must first decipher and then deal with.  That includes his very strong attraction to Spencer which is clearly a werewolf thing Lex needs to get figure out immediately before his own behavior gets out of control.  I liked the pack that the author has created for this story.  There’s the toddler, Aiden, who is quite adorable.  His mother Mia, two special special favorites of mine Ruby and Nathan, Justin and more.  And then there is Spencer, the neighbor and perhaps potential mate.  I connected with the character of Spencer as well.  Quiet and unassuming, he has a reserve to him that works when the rest of the pack is spiraling out of control.  Its a nice yin and yang  sort of relationship that will evolve with the story and the series.  It’s also a lovely change from the wham bam mate thing that overwhelms characterization and plot that I so often read in shifter stories. Poppy Dennsion sets out a structure for not only the pack but for acquiring mates as well.

The ending of Accidental Alpha sees Lex, Spencer and the rest slowly adjusting to each other and the change in pack dynamics.   It’s a new start for them all and an appropriate place to end the first book in the series.  Poppy Dennison had laid her ground work while still leaving room to flesh out the personalities and back history of the individual pack members.  I also expect to learn more about Lex as well.   Accidental Alpha leaves me wanting more of the Pack Partners series and that’s exactly what it should do.  Great job, Poppy Dennison.  I can’t wait to see what will happen next.  Please don’t make us wait too long.

Cover Art © 2013 Wilde City Press Photo by Kent Taylor, courtesy http://www.ragingstallion.com  What a perfect cover!  That’s Lex exactly.

Book Details:

ebook, 56 pages
Published September 11th 2013 by Wilde City Press

When a Name Hurts And the Week Ahead in Reviews

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Sport teams with Indian namesIts football season!  And like the changing color of the leaves its time for a certain topic to pop up again for discussion in the Washington DC Metro area.  Should the Redskins change their name? For years the answer was a resounding no from all Redskin fans and non fans alike.  But now the tide is changing….finally.  And more and more people as well as institutions are calling on the Washington Redskin organization and Dan Snyder to change the name of the team.

Sports Illustrated’s ‘MMQB’ site apparently won’t use the Redskins name any more.  Nor will  Slate Magazine (owned by The Washington Post Company), the online publication  USA Today’s Christine BrennanGrantland. They join the Piscataway and Oneida Nations, Mike Wise of The Washington Post, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, 12 members of Congress andKKK cartoon about the Redskins name a growing number of the nation’s population who find using a racial slur as a team name not only hurtful but repulsive.

Those old and racially insensitive rejoinders that hold that it’s an honor for Native Americans to be used as a title for a sports team and that “its not meant to be a slur” are not listening to the very people the name is denigrating.  They are not listening to the fans who agree or the many who have written and implored Dan Snyder to do the right thing and change the name.  No, it appears the all mighty buck is in charge as well as Dan Snyder.

The NFL and Dan Snyder say it would cost the team (meaning both of them) millions, maybe tens of millions in revenue to change the name.  Loss of copyright, loss of the proceeds in sales of Redskin memorabilia, and anything else they can imprint the name and logo on.  Plus in their eyes, other teams have names that are similar and they haven’t changed them.  What? Are they 5 years old?  Thats normally the age that uses that sort of excuse. I know they are talking about the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Blackhawks, the Golden State Warriors and many, many more.  And guess what, those teams need to change their names too.

screaming football fanPicture for a minute all those mascots dressed as Native Americans, those cartoon logos that scream of another era, and the painted, feathered, tomahawk chopping fans that attend each game and appear on so many sports screens, sports extras shows and vids.  I am even talking about our beloved elderly Chief Zee, who first attended his first Washington game in 1978 and has been a semi official mascot ever since.   Now lets switch over and try to see it from the point of view of a Native American.  You  know, those indigenous peoples whose land we took, tribes we slaughtered, language and cultures we suppressed and who are still trying in every court in the nation to regain not only their heritage but the respect and recognition that should have always been theirs.  Pretty ugly, isn’t it.  Downright shameful, no matter how you look at it.

Hard to believe we are still arguing about this.  How do you justify the pain and hurt that is caused when a slur is treated as something acceptable?  InIndian Disrespected the past, it was the N word.  Now everyone knows that it is never acceptable to use or suffer the consequences (loss of sponsors, jobs, income, see Paula Dean and others).   The F word is rapidly going the same way, a fact that is long overdue as is LGBTQ rights.  The R word is just as offensive, although some people are still hiding in the past.  Just on the fact alone that Native Americans find this term, this word, not only racially offensive but disparaging and derogatory should make it (and other similar names) disappear from sports teams everywhere.  And although its origin and usage is in dispute*, the fact that most people now perceive it to be a racial slur should make its usage taboo.

What is it going to take for these owners and teams to make a change?  A Supreme Court decision?  Considering the amount of lawsuits in play that could happen.  But I would like to think it will be because the people spoke with their wallets.  So, NFL, MLB, NHL, the Redskins and Dan Snyder, you are standing your ground and won’t switch?  OK, then we won’t pay to go to your games.  We won’t pay to watch your games on Pay For View.  We won’t buy tickets, or team memorabilia.   Those expensive team logo clothes? Nuh uh. Those beer mugs and team flags for the cars?  Pass on them too.

This isn’t about RGIII.  I really hope his knee is fine and his career is long.  It’s not about Mike Shanahan and his team.  They are OK too.  Even that troll (in my opinion) of an owner, no it is about him, no question.  It’s about doing the right thing, no matter the cost.  So that’s why I will be waiting until the The Washington Whitiesname is changed to support a Washington team.  It could be the Washington Lobbyists or the Washington Scribes.  The Washington Lawmakers or the Washington Federals.  I kind of like that last one, it has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?  Certainly the Washington Capitals and the Washington Nationals didn’t seem to have a problem finding an appropriate name.  And if you want to look to a role model, look no further than to the departed and deeply missed Abe Pollin who decided he couldn’t live with owning a team named the Bullets with kids and adults dying every year by the gun.  So he renamed them the Wizards and went forward without missing a step, now that’s a responsible owner.

So I am sticking to the Washington Caps, and the Nats and maybe even the Ravens.  Who knows?  The only thing for certain, is that I won’t be rooting for a certain Washington football team.  No more red and gold for me.  They probably don’t care.  I am only a small voice but the number is growing.  Oh, to hear a multitude sing……

*Language Log: The Origin of RedskinAre You Ready For Some Controversy? The History Of ‘Redskin …

Team Caps with offensive names

Now for the  week ahead in reviews:

Monday, Sept 16:     Defiance (Triple Threat #3) by L.E. Harner

Tuesday, Sept. 17:    The Crimson Outlaw by Alex Beecroft

Wed., Sept. 18:          Superpowered Love: Reentry Burn by Katey Hawthorne

Thurs., Sept. 19:         Black Dog by Cat Grant

Friday, Sept. 20:         Crucify by L.E. Harner

Sat., Sept. 21:              Accidental Alpha by Poppy Dennison