Freaky Friday: Taming My Teddy Bear (Plushie Fetish #1) by Jade K. Scott

As some of you may or may not know, this blog is actually run by two full time contributors. But once upon a time, there were five of us. Unfortunately, life got in the way for some of us (like me) so we had to take a step back from blogging. As it turns out, this summer is pretty free for me so I’m able to sub as needed. Awesome, right?

One of my most favoritetest things we started back when we were setting up the blog was our Freaky Fridays. It’s a judgement free zone where we’re allowed to let our freak flags fly. Now, I am woefully under-prepared but I realized that today is in fact Friday so I really wanted to post something for our Freaky Friday spot. Fortunately, I was able to search the old GRs “don’t judge me” shelf and  come up with this little review. It’s super  short, but decided to share it anyway for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy 😉

Taming My Teddy Bear

Taming My Teddy Bear (Plushie Fetish, #1)

Blurb:

Read the stunning confessional of a woman whose insatiable lust was satisfied only by one thing… her stuffed teddy bear. Erica recounts her experiences with making love to her treasured bear, including the night she let it take her virginity! (If that doesn’t sell you on this story I don’t think much will!)

Review:

I think there’s an unwritten rule somewhere that states you have to be willing to read almost anything to join this very elite crew of readers (The MacHalos).

Take this wonderful piece for instance.

A young girl on the cusp of sexual maturity finds comfort in the plush filled, fur covered arms of her teddy bear. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? (Those sweet, soft teddy bears…those are the ones you have to watch out for)

Who doesn’t appreciate a good, snuggly teddy bear when they are feeling blue? (Erica really, really appreciates it!)

Unless, of course, the comfort comes from strapping on a dildo and having your teddy “take” your virginity thus ruining you for all real, live people. Ruh-roh! I bet most people don’t think of that. (To be fair, people are overrated)

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Ah, those crazy kids. What a love story! I hope they get their happy ever after.

In fact, I think they both just did…

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Just a side note: it was surprisingly easy to find images of women with teddy bears in sexually compromising poses. That in itself is very telling I think. Hmmm…

Anyway, however you choose to spend your Friday, just remember: you do you!

Have a great weekend peeps 🙂

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Rhapsodic (The Bargainer #1) by Laura Thalassa ★★★★

First and foremost, I want to address this book cover.

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I mean, it’s ridiculous how much I love it. I hate (no I don’t…that’s a lie) to admit that I totally judge books by their covers, and in this case, this book is an absolute winner. It has been given a coveted spot on my “my shiny pretty” GRs shelf for me to gaze at for all eternity. Sigh…. Now that we have my cover art fangirl session out of the way, I can get to the meat of the matter: what lies within this gorgeous cover.

I don’t normally do this, but I feel I need to issue a pre-review disclaimer: this is the second book I’ve read by Laura Thalassa, the first being The Queen of All that Dies (that title–loves!), and the issue that I had with that one I also had with this one: the age gap. In TQoAtD, the main dude is like 60-ish (though he looks much younger and is NOT a supernatural being) while the main female protag is barely an adult. Well, Ms. Thalassa takes it a bit further this time. In Rhapsodic, our MCs meet when she is the sweet young age of 16 (which is for some reason considered an adult in the supernatural world–ick!) and he is, well, he is basically a super-old, super-immortal fae. The redeeming caveat here is that technically nothing happens between the two until she is 24. Now, I know that 24 is still a blink of time in the world of an immortal, but at 24 she at least has the potential to be a mature adult in human terms. And let’s be completely honest here: going by years alone, EVERYONE is too young for someone who is ageless. So while them meeting when she is 16 still kind of squicks me out, I’m not holding it against the story. End of disclaimer.

“I prey on bad men. This is my vendetta. My addiction.”

Meet Callypso (or Callie to her friends). She’s 24 and runs a private detective agency along with her witchy best friend. Callie has a special talent extremely suited to her line of work. You see, she’s a siren, and as a siren she’s able to compel people to do her bidding. Mostly this means being able to compel the truth from a suspect, but there can also be a darker side. Her siren (who is presented as almost a completely separate personality—which is understandable but also a little strange) feeds on sex and lust and violence, and it’s always that brewing just under the surface.

“I’ve never been free of him. When the sun hits my face, it’s his shadow I see on the pavement. When the night closes in on me, it’s his darkness that blankets my room. When I fall asleep, it’s his face that haunts my dreams.”

The Bargainer. The King of the Night. The one you call when you’ve no one else to turn to. He doles out IOUs and he ALWAYS collects. So when 16 year-old Callie inadvertently kills someone, she calls on The Bargainer to help her. And for the next year of her life, she calls on him again and again, amassing an astronomical number of debts–322 to be exact. But at the end of that year, The Bargainer disappears, and for 7 years, Callie is left waiting, with only her beaded bracelet of favors owed to remind her of her one time quasi-protector.

But now, out of the blue, Des, The King of the Night, has returned to collect. The reason: there are some super creepy shenanigans going on in fairy land. Women are disappearing only to be found again, comatose and having given birth to some seriously disturbing kids. Des needs Callie’s help to get to the bottom of what’s going on, but it’s apparent that’s not the only thing Des is after.

“You have over three hundred favors to repay me. By the time we’re done, you will realize that Eli and all those other men were just a dissatisfying dream. That this, and only this, is real.”

The story is told in a mixture of flashbacks and present day. We get to meet Des when Callie does, and we learn how their friendship began and progressed. It’s obvious extremely early on that their friendship began to be more to both of them, even when Callie was just a baby at 16. Callie has a hard time understanding Des’s intent, maybe because her feelings have been clouded by her sense of betrayal and rejection when she was younger, but it’s pretty evident to the reader just what Des’s intentions are. And they are anything but platonic.

While there is a fairly creepy mystery-ish story here, this book is without a doubt a romance before it is anything else. But it’s the best kind of romance because it is one that has been left to simmer for going on 8 years. That’s like a warm, ooey, gooey brownie covered in a rich chocolate sauce, top with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. Yummmmm….I just want to eat it all up. I love slow burn romances and lately I’ve been having a thing for the Fae, so this definitely ticked those boxes for me.

My biggest complaint (aside from the aforementioned disclaimer) is that I didn’t really get Callie’s siren side. It felt incomplete and not nearly explored well enough. And the boarding school that she attended for “supernaturals” or “paranormals” or whatever, seemed just like a school for normies. It seemed odd to make that distinction in the book but then do absolutely nothing with it during the flashbacks. I guess I just think her character outside of her relationship to Des should have been explored more. However, in the scope of things, it was a really minor hangup that didn’t necessarily detract from my enjoyment of the story.

Oh, and just one more note: people have commented that this is very similar to, and maybe even a knock off of, A Court of Mist and Fury . But seeing as how I’ve never read it, it made no difference to me. In fact, it has maybe, possibly convinced me to give Sarah J. Maas’s series a second chance, after struggling so much with the first book in the series (Feyre is the worst IMO). I like Callie infinitely better than Feyre, and Des is nowhere near as smug as Rhysand (though that’s not necessarily a disparage against Rhysand–I actually do like his character well enough).

I know this was kind of a rambly review, so I’m going to leave you readers with this: IF you like Fae stories, and IF you like Fae romances in particular, and IF you liked ACoMaF or books of that ilk, then you may just enjoy this one.

Happy reading folks!

 

 

 

 

Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber ~ ★★★

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Caraval was one of my favorite books from last year, which is high praise from me considering how picky I am and that I typically don’t like YA novels. I reread it before this. I liked it just as much the second time around. A lot of people didn’t like Scarlett, but I did. Her mind works in a similar fashion to my own. Legendary was good, but it was no Caraval. This book featured another game of Caraval, but it didn’t feel the same. It lacked the same level of magic, mystery, and intensity. The whole game vibe wasn’t there. Despite the stakes being higher this time around, Tella’s situation didn’t feel as perilous as Scarlett’s had. It might have been because of Tella’s reckless, carefree attitude.

A huge issue for me was Tella herself. I didn’t like her. Being selfish was her strongest trait. Her secretiveness often seemed pointless or harmful either to her or others. I could not respect her treatment of her sister. I hated it just as much that Scarlett forgave her no matter what. Tella loved her sister but used her when it suited her. Fearless was often used to describe her; I prefer the word stupid. Being fearless leads to dumb decisions because of the lack of concern for the consequences. I admired Scarlett as a character far more than Tella.

The world building was good. Much more was learned about magic, Legend, Caraval, and her mother. All of that was interesting. Tella’s story itself was not. It was somewhat boring. She did a lot of wandering around and had a lot of repetitive thoughts. I wish it had felt more like she was being tested or that there were consequences to her poor decisions and inability to put two and two together. I wasn’t feeling the chemistry between Tella and Dante. It was way too insta-lusty, and Tella who professed to be immune to love was taken in by it far too easily. Dante wasn’t witty and mostly was nice. Normally nice would be good if it weren’t boring. There was no intrigue. Jacks was more interesting than Dante, but I can’t really say I liked him either. Enough about him wasn’t known to get a good feel for him. I hope what Tella thinks she is to him isn’t true just because it would be too simple. I am slightly disappointed that it seems like the next book will also be from Tella’s POV. Scarlett was in the background for most of the book but had her own issues. I hope the next book is from both of their POVs to completely wrap up each of their stories.

I received this from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Perks of Being My Favorite Female Main Character

Congratulations, main character! We have just been through a novel or series together. There were trials and tribulations. We laughed, we cried, we made friends, we fell in love, we yelled, “oh, hell yeah!” and “oh, hell no!” together. YOU are officially my favorite female character. Okay, okay, ONE of my favorite female characters. How’d you get here?

You’re not a Mary Sue. Yeah, yeah no Mary Sues riding in on their high horses of morality here. A goody-goody you are not. You’re beautifully flawed. You’re human. You’re honest and true to yourself and the characters around you. Nothing just falls in your lap, you work for it, girl! You’re smart, but you know you can’t go it alone and you work with others to make it. You’re sassy and funny and don’t take yourself too seriously (until it’s time to work!). I read your story, and find myself saying, “God, I LOVE her!” or “She’s the BEST”.

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You have a kick-ass crew.  Favored MC, your squad is awesome. Tough, funny, caring, loyal, and loving. You may even have a furry, animal-like familiar/pet! You always give us a chance to learn them and love them as you do. You’re good to them as they are to you. Despite the fact that you know this journey will ultimately end with you, you know when to lead and when to allow others to shine. No secrets kept from each other, no slut-shaming, no martyrdom, just working together and highlighting strengths. You have amazing taste in friends. Can I be one of them?

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You have impeccable taste in love interests. Oh you lucky girl!  Always getting the sexiest, strongest being. Let’s be honest, since fantasy is my favorite genre this could be any kind of being – shapeshifter, fae, dark dweller/demon, angel, magician, alien, god – the list goes on, but no matter what species they are, they’ll likely be at the top of their game. Your best of the best is an alpha (duh! Like anything less could handle you), with a cool name or title like Mad Rogan, Beast Lord, Darkness, The Wanderer, Fae Ruler of (fill in the blank) Court. Maybe, their name or title can’t even be spoken and you have to use Phobe or Ryker, or Brian (okay, maybe not that last one). Now, of course, love doesn’t happen right away, oh no! You make this love interest work for your heart. Insta-love has no place in your world. I mean, just cause that person is strong, good looking, talented, and magical doesn’t mean your love comes easy. You’re a bad-ass! This alpha swoons for YOU. You also don’t do love triangles and this deserves some recognition as well. *Honorable recognition for actually choosing a lover(s).  More than one alpha got your heart? Not a problem for you! You either pick one or take them all. That’s how you do. There’s no containing your love!

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You. Are. A. Badass. Through and through. Got magic? You’ll learn to wield it.  Got strength? You’ll kick a whole lotta butt! You’ll train, you’ll pour blood, sweat, tears, your heart into your magic, your mission, your love, your people, your friends.  You do ALL of this with one foot on the ground and a fabulous (if a bit snarky) sense of humor.

So, once again, congratulations!  Thanks for being so cool, MC.

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(Thanks Jess for guest-blogging again! You’re awesome!)

Related posts:

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Love Me Some Buddy Reads

 

Q&A with “Husk” author J. Kent Messum

We are very excited to have a J. Kent Messum author Q&A to share with you. A Kindle version of Husk was recently released in North America for the first time. Here is the new cover:

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I read Husk back in 2015. Here is my Goodreads review. I really liked the book and highly recommend it. Imagine if your consciousness could outlast your physical body and be implanted in “hosts.” Your consciousness could control the host body and have adventures. Then, imagine illegal things being done with the host bodies – and one host starts remembering. That is the premise. I’m very excited it can now be purchased on Amazon Kindle. The author was kind enough to answer some questions for us.

1) What was the inspiration for Husk?

-There is a quote in Husk that reflects a prominent theme of the novel: “There is a vast difference between those who seek to live forever, and those who are simply too scared to die”. That statement serves as one of the main inspirations for the story. Historically, immortality has always been worshiped and pursued in one way or another. Today, the idea of conquering death is becoming much more tangible with technology accelerating and adapting so fast. It is regarded as a probability more than a possibility, with many now claiming it is simply an eventuality. Personally, I find that quite frightening, but it was also inspiring to build a story around the idea.

2) Why did it take so long to be available on Kindle (in the US)?

-Husk has had a strange journey. After the release of my debut novel, BAIT, Penguin UK picked up the rights for the United Kingdom and also made an offer to commission/publish Husk after they read the synopsis. My agents and I accepted. Husk was published in the UK and all her territories, as well as half a dozen other countries. Oddly, Penguin US and Canada didn’t seize the opportunity to publish it in North America. It ‘s very strange to be published throughout half of the world, but not in your own home country. Some months later I got in to discussions with a couple ebook companies that started off well, but then experienced delay after delay and ultimately went nowhere. All the while I had a lot of complaints from North American readers saying they couldn’t get hold of Husk easily. At the end of the day I write stories for people to read, and my story wasn’t getting into the hands of many who wanted to experience it. So, I made the decision to self publish the book on Kindle in the US/Canada.

3) Are you working on anything now? If so, can you talk a little bit about it?

-I’m actually working on my fifth and sixth books right now. My third and fourth novels (‘Skin Deep’ and ‘All The Darkness Looks Alive’ respectively) are already complete. Skin Deep is a crime/thriller about a frightening new diet trend that surfaces in Los Angeles, and it’s currently being shopped around by my agent. All The Darkness Looks Alive is a southern Gothic tale about a young boy and a seemingly haunted weeping willow tree that puts a new spin on the supernatural. Right now it going through a final rewrite/editing phase. I’ve got no shortage of ideas for novels, so I’m always working on new material. People ask me how I come up with all my book ideas, but honestly I can’t turn it off. That’s not always a good thing, and results in a lot of sleepless nights.

4) What authors do you admire or have you read anything lately you really liked?

-Most of the authors I admire are from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, back when there was a real premium put on the writing craft and talent. Guys like Cormac McCarthy, Denis Johnson, Steward O’Nan, and Pete Dexter. The most recent book I read that I loved was ‘Redeployment’ by Phil Klay (Winner of the 2014 National Book Prize). Klay’s writing and storytelling thoroughly impressed me.

5) What character(s) do you relate the most to in Husk and/or which was the hardest/most fun to write?

-The lead character, Rhodes, is the one I relate to the most. There is a desperation about him, trying to stay afloat in a world where money has become synonymous with day-to-day survival. I think a lot of people can all relate to him actually. The cost of living is skyrocketing. A lot of folks are saddled with debt they can’t deal with. The wealth gap is becoming a canyon. There were many points where Rhodes was hard to write, because he voices many of my own fears about the future and personifies that worry we all have about keeping our heads above water in this culture and economy, especially when we see approaching waves.

6) Will there ever be another book set in this world or sequel?

-Originally I conceived of Husk as a single stand-alone novel, but since then I’ve plotted out a second and third novel, each focused on another character from the original book. I think whether or not I write a second and third book will be predicated on demand. Husk was also optioned for an international TV series back in 2015. So you could definitely see the story continue on screen at some point, rather than the page.

Enter the Goodreads giveaway for your own copy of Husk.

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J. Kent Messum is an author & speaker who always bets on the underdog. His first novel BAIT (August 2013, Penguin Books) won the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for ‘Best First Novel.’ His second novel HUSK (July 2015, Penguin Books) was optioned for an international TV series by Warp Films in the UK.

Messum lives in Toronto with his wife, dog, and a pair of cats. He is currently working on his third and fourth novels. He teaches Creative Writing at the University Of Toronto, and is also a book critic for the New York Journal Of Books.

LIFEL1K3 (Lifelike #1) by Jay Kristoff – ★★★★★

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Today is release day! I was honored to receive a digital ARC from Random House and Netgalley for this highly anticipated book. I wanted this so bad because Jay Kristoff is one of my favorite authors and I’m a huge, unapologetic fangirl.

I loved the Lotus Wars and Nevernight Chronicle trilogies and have really enjoyed the Illuminae Files. And now this. Let me tell you, it delivers. I even pre-ordered a physical copy so I can read it again. And again.

The setting is a sort of wasteland – literally – where the United States is run by corporations and basically forgot about certain sections of land and just use them as trash sites! The main character lives on an island that was once part of California and now has streets named after the type of junk that lines them (tires, toasters, etc.).

There are robots, mechanicas, bot fights, organic waste vessels that patrol the black (polluted) seas. It’s got “deviants,” people who mutated by the environment and have unusual abilities that a race-purity-type group wants to eradicate. It’s got assassins! It’s a story about friendship and love, but it’s written by Jay Kristoff, so don’t expect too many niceties. I love the world he created and highly recommend this!

Furyborn (Empirium #1) by Claire Legrand – ★★★★

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Okay, where to start (rubs hands together gleefully)… The story is told by switching from two points of view. We have Rielle, the daughter of the Lord Commander Dardenne, who has grown up in the palace of Celdaria with Audric, the prince, and his cousin and betrothed, Ludivine. They are the best of friends until Rielle’s powers are uncovered during a horse race and she is forced to undergo trials to become the Sun Queen.

A thousand years apart: Eliana is a bounty hunter who works for the Emperor. She saves her money in the hopes of one day running away with her mother, brother, and lover. She has her own abilities which she tries to keep hidden and ends up being tangled in a mission with a rebel named Simon and a princess named Navi from the last free country, Astavar.

A lot of the chapters end on a sort of cliffhanger (which is a pretty common writing method), but once you get into the rhythm of the chapters switching, the story flows nicely. It is a long book, but there is plenty of action and surprises.

Both main characters are ambiguous and morally gray. Sometimes they do heroic things and sometimes they are selfish and unlikable. But I liked them both a lot! They are both loyal to their loved ones, but make mistakes. I loved the friendships between Rielle and Ludivine and Audric, and then Eliana and Navi.

Eliana’s brother, Remy, is just the best!

“Oh, sweet one. You are a dreamer, a teller of tales. I see that now. You ache for magic, and for all those golden giants of the past.”

I never thought I could love a wraith so much either! Zahra for the win!

There is just so many things to like about this book. It is perhaps a bit too long and sometimes the pacing requires a bit of extra effort on the reader, but I found it to be quite worth the journey! I can’t wait to see what happens next.

This is fantasy with castles and swords and Kings and Magisters. People have abilities to control the elements and shadows, there is an awesome magical creature, there are angels! I would say this is for ages 17 and up due to sexual content and violence. There are many dark elements and some possible triggers. But, I highly recommend, personally!

Thank you very much to Edelweiss and publisher for providing a digital copy to read and review!

Goodreads review