Category Archives: Discussion

The Eternal Question, Paper or E-Reader – GUEST POST

Paper or E-Reader?

How Technology Has Changed Our Relationship with Books

I would like to thank Penny Dreadful Books Reviews for publishing this article. Not only do they provide insightful reviews, but they also provide humorous analysis of books and TV shows. Check out their Dreadfully Good section for a list of their favourite books.

Kindle Oasis E-reader with Leather Charging Cover

By Christine – As smartphones, tablets and e-readers become more ingrained into society, e-books have become a popular reading standard. After all, you are able to carry almost a library’s worth of books in a device that fits neatly into a backpack or briefcase. It isn’t just its compact form that makes e-books attractive. Unlike print books, you can adjust the font style, size, contrast, color and even look up words with the built-in dictionary. At a basic level, it might seem like personalization and ease of use might be the only differences between e-books and print, but the changes run deeper than that.

Reading Comprehension

Since personal computers first became available in the late 1980s, researchers have investigated how the brain responds differently to screen text versus words on paper. A 2014 study found readers using a Kindle were worse at recalling the order of events in a novel than those who read a paperback.

Although the exact reason why is unclear, researchers postulate it is due to the lack of tactile and haptic feedback when reading an e-book. With a regular book, readers have a visual sense of progress in the form of pages. They can see and feel how far they have read; e-books do not offer the same sort of sensory input. Unsurprisingly, one of the many reasons why people prefer printed books over e-books is because of all the sensory input from the actual heft of the book to the smell of the pages.

Shorter Reading Time

Perhaps the biggest difference, though, is in how people read. Those who read e-books tend to do so in shorter bursts, leading to a more fragmented experience. After all, when reading on devices with internet access such as smartphones or tablets, it’s all too easy to get distracted by that incoming email or checking Twitter.

This leads to poor reading comprehension and retention of information. Both require long, undisturbed chunks of time. Interestingly, this habit has carried over to the printed book as well. Many people will read a book in short bursts whether they’re waiting in line, on lunch break or during their morning train commute.

Attitude Adjustments

Although still just a theory, some studies suggest the reason why people multitask more on screens than papers is that they subconsciously view reading on a computer or tablet as less serious than reading on paper. Many people take shortcuts such as browsing, scanning and hunting for keywords rather than taking the time to read the entire page or even paragraph. Rather than understand the entire section, this basic scan only provides a very shallow overview.

Benefits of E-Readers

While this might seem to spell doom for the e-book, the truth is most of these issues come down to habit. Books have been around for centuries and, until the past decade, have been the only option available. For many adults, transitioning over from the physical to digital realm comes with its own challenges, such as navigating a new user interface.

The younger generation who grew up in the digital age often does not have the same issues. They view e-books as simply another way to read their favorite books. In fact, young, reluctant readers actually prefer e-readers over traditional books as e-readers share more in common with tablets and smartphones than a book. It’s easier for them to use, and flipping through the pages of an e-book is far less intimidating than cracking open a 1,000-page book.

It isn’t only young readers who do better with e-books though. Those with poor eyesight or reading disorders benefit from e-readers as they can adjust the size of the text and spacing of the lines. A study found dyslexic subjects fared much better with e-readers as they were able to format the text in a way that made it easier for them to focus on a few words per line. This improved their reading ability almost instantly.

For avid readers, there are also thousands of independent authors offering their books for low prices—sometimes even free! It’s an amazing way to build up a library without having to spend thousands of dollars a year on a new paperback. The biggest problem with e-books is availability in geo-restricted areas. Depending on where you live or if you happen to be travelling, you may not be able to download a book due to censorship or simple geo-blocking. In those cases, you can use a VPN software such as ExpressVPN to get around these restrictions and download whatever books you want.

Whether you’re in the print book or e-book camp, there are pros and cons to each one, so choosing the best one for you depends on your circumstances. For the moment, traditional books don’t seem to be going anywhere. In fact, sales have risen since 2012, and even young students veer more to print for their textbooks. While digital books have certainly changed the way we read for now, once the technology has integrated itself fully into society, it’s possible all of the issues people currently experience with e-books will disappear.

How do you think technology has changed our relationship with books? Tell us in the comments below.

About the Author: Caroline is a freelance writer who finds the intersection between literature and technology fascinating. She loves both traditional and e-books and hopes to spread her love of the written word to everyone who will listen.



My Final Thoughts on “The Austen Project” by teachergirl73

GUEST POST – teachergirl73

It’s finally over. After three years and three novels, I can officially consider this experiment in fan fiction complete. What I have I learned about this experience? That if you are going to tackle a classic, especially a piece of work written by Jane Austen, you had better have an unparalleled understanding of the original work before you get started.


Val McDermid’s re-interpretation of Northanger Abbey has been the most successful in my opinion. To read my views on Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope and Emma by Alexander McCall Smith, check out the links below to my previous posts on Penny Dreadful Book Reviews:

NASYNOPSIS – Cat Morland is ready to grow up. A homeschooled minister’s daughter in the quaint, sheltered Piddle Valley in Dorset, she loses herself in novels and is sure there is a glamorous adventure awaiting her beyond the valley’s narrow horizon. So imagine her delight when the Allens, neighbors and friends of her parents, invite her to attend the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh as their guest. With a sunny personality, tickets every night and a few key wardrobe additions courtesy of Susie Allen, Cat quickly begins to take Edinburgh by storm and is taken into the bosom of the Thorpe family, particularly by eldest daughter Bella. And then there’s the handsome Henry Tilney, an up-and-coming lawyer whose family home is the beautiful and forbidding Northanger Abbey. Cat is entranced by Henry and his charming sister Eleanor, but she can’t help wondering if everything about them is as perfect as it seems. Or has she just been reading too many novels?



McDermid’s version of Northanger Abbey was quite enjoyable for the most part. She relocated the story from Bath to Edinburgh in August during the festival season, which was the perfect backdrop for the mystery and intrigue that Catherine Moreland, or Cat is searching for. McDermid did a great job of resettling Austen’s characters in the 21st century.  McDermid seems to have stayed fairly true to form, clearly establishing Cat’s naivety and lack of worldly experience with the polar opposite gold-digging, scheming Thorpe siblings and the oppressed Tilney children, trapped by an over-bearing, dictatorial father.

Northanger-Abbey-009Cat has led a very sheltered life, the daughter of a vicar and home-schooled by her mother, her only escape to adventure is through her love of gothic novels. Cat’s first real-life adventure away from home comes when she gets invited to join family friends, the Allens, on a trip to Edinburgh for the Festival. Edinburgh in August is hopping and Cat is in her glory as she gets to explore the Festival, the city and along the way, she meets some new friends. Cat encounters Bella Thorpe and her family, and the two girls become fast friends. Cat’s older brother James and Bella’s brother John decide to join the party in Edinburgh and Cat begins to see her older brother through the eyes of others as she discovers that James is already well-acquainted with the Thorpe family since he went to school with John, a character who is completely self-obsessed and who turns up everywhere that Cat goes. Bella sets her sights on capturing James’ heart, and John assumes that through his sheer force of will he can make Cat his own, despite the fact that Cat does not return his affection.

There is one person that Cat wishes were around more and that is Henry Tilney. She first meets Henry at a dance class, and from that moment on, Cat can’t get Henry out of her head. Cat also gets to meet Henry’s sister Ellie, who’s friendship she comes to appreciate as it not only provides Cat access to Henry, but Cat quickly realizes just how much they share in common. As Cat jumps between spending time with Bella, James and the every-increasingly annoying John, and the Tilney siblings, finds herself juggling new emotions along with her time as she tries to keep everyone happy.

As Cat becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the excessive flirtation between her soon to be sister-in-law and Freddie Tilney, the incorrigible player, she is given an opportunity  to further her own desires. Cat is invited to get away from the scene in Edinburgh by Ellie and Henry Tilney who invite her to come and stay at their family ancestral home Northanger Abbey. Cat jumps at the chance to spend more time with Henry, who she is becoming more and more infatuated with, and to spend time with Ellie, who’s friendship seems to be one that has greater staying power than the unpredictable Bella.

This is where the rebooted story begins to falter. Both Catherines, in this version and the original, have VERY over-active imaginations that create a lot of grief. Northanger Abbey, like Edinburgh, provides the perfect setting for a mystery, coupled with the very hushed up details of the Mrs. Tilney’s death years earlier, Cat’s imagination takes off. The Catherine of the original dreams up a murderous plot carried out by the Tilney children’s very domineering and controlling father. The Cat of the 21st century takes it to a whole new level, adding to her fantasy of possible murder that the Tilney family are really blood-sucking vampires. As a fan of supernatural fiction, this storyline thread just felt ridiculous. McDermid should have just stuck with the suspicious death plot and developed that more instead of trying to jump on a pop culture trend that is now long past over. It was so poorly tied into the story that I nearly gave up reading the novel a few times. The end of the story was also poorly managed, rushed and not believable at all.


EligibleThe heart of my disappointment really and truly seems to be that Austen’s stories have been completely lost in an attempt to ride the wave of the 200th anniversary of the publication of her works. Most of the authors that were contracted to complete their re-imagining of Austen’s most popular works, are very successful in their own right. Theoretically this should have equaled a win-win, but in reality, I feel the entire project has missed its mark. There is one more book in the series, Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, which is a re-interpretation of Pride and Prejudice, my favourite of all Austen’s works. I was really looking forward to this book, but after reading the description for it and some reviews I realized that I no longer have the stomach for the Austen Project and it’s somewhat nonsensical rewriting of Austen’s stories. My advice is if you are considering reading any of the Austen Project’s offerings, do so at your own risk. If you end up throwing books across the room or banging your head against a wall in complete and utter frustration, don’t say that I didn’t warn you!


val_mcdermid_0Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2010. In 2011 she received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award.

She writes full time and divides her time between Cheshire and Edinburgh.





POEM “Marita” – Leonard Cohen GUEST POST

GUEST POST – Surly Joe

I’m looking for some simple truth or maybe at least a shared emotion. Seven years is a long time to be a friend and then decide one night to no longer be a friend. The reason can be unreasonable to me but the decision didn’t come from my head so it doesn’t really matter. So my search for the simple truth or at least the shared emotion begins in literature where thousands of writers much more creative and intuitive than me have written on millions of subjects more creatively and intuitively than I ever will. Somewhere in the vastness, there have to be words that will matter.

I could do a Google search. That would be the quick way. But melancholy seems more fitting to candlelight than cursor-light and so I scour my book shelves the old-fashioned way, looking to Rilke or Poe or Dickinson or Shakespeare. They’re genius but, for whatever reason, just not exact for this moment.

And I go back to Leonard Cohen and rediscover eight lone words in a three-line poem:



It’s childlike innocence from the mind of a hurting adult. How did I get in this situation? There’s no understanding of why he is alone. Was it a decision he made long ago now regretted? Has he admired from afar but never received reciprocity? And he feels so old, despite the number, despite not even being middle-aged. Irrationally, time is running out, I AM ALMOST 30.

This is the melancholy that fits me now, expressed so simply. I’m not asking to be found, just wondering why I was discarded. But it’s the shared emotion that suits.

It makes it all just a bit less lonely.


LCLeonard Norman Cohen is a Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963.
Cohen’s earliest songs (many of which appeared on the 1968 album Songs of Leonard Cohen) were rooted in European folk music melodies and instrumentation, sung in a high baritone. The 1970s were a musically restless period in which his influences broadened to encompass pop, cabaret, and world music. Since the 1980s he has typically sung in lower registers (bass baritone, sometimes bass), with accompaniment from electronic synthesizers and female backing singers.
His work often explores the themes of religion, isolation, sexuality, and complex interpersonal relationships.



CKIn his own words – Surly Joe is a moderately nondescript Toronto-based white guy who spends too much time contemplating the nature of boredom.  His aspirations waver between wanting to be either a professional gambler or a Zen monk, with a touch of writing on the side.  After completing university with a degree in a subject that does not readily lead to any sort of viable employment, he wandered through Europe and Northern Africa for a while collecting stories and useless trivia, circumstance led to a career back in Toronto.  He now spends his money on food, friends, wine and annual trips to Las Vegas.

Dark Energy – Robison Wells GUEST POST

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

I’ve used that quote from astronomer Carl Sagan in two of my books now. I love it. It’s idealistic and hopeful. It speaks to the wonder of children as they look up at the stars—a wonder that seems, for whatever reason, to dissipate with age. Kids dream of space ships, aliens, and life on far-away planets. Adults, strangely, lose those dreams, and aliens get lumped together with urban legends, myths, and nonsense.

The X-Files mantra was “I Want To Believe,” but I don’t just want to believe. I do believe. There is life in this universe aside from just life on Earth. I’m not talking about the guy with the crazy hair on the History channel, talking about aliens building the pyramids, or creating crop circles, or raising Stonehenge. I’m talking about real, scientific possibility of other-worldly existence. (Which is not to say there aren’t compelling stories about alien contact—but I’ll get into that in coming weeks.)

There’s a scientific tool created to help us believe in alien life. It’s called the Drake Equation. (Named after Dr. Frank Drake.) The equation isn’t solved—there’s no solid answer to the equation; instead, it’s was created to inspire other scientists to work on the search for extraterrestrial life. It is this:

N = R x fp x ne x fl x fi x fc x L

That looks complex, but it’s not. It’s all about probability. It means, simply, this: N (the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication may be possible) equals R (the average rate of star formation) times fp (the fraction of those stars that have planets) times ne (the average number of planets that could support life) times fl (the fraction of planets that could support life that actually do support life) times fi (the fraction of planets that support life that is deemed “intelligent”) times fc (the fraction of civilizations of intelligent life that can actually develop technology that extends into space) times L (the length of time those civilizations release detectable signals into space.)

Easy, right? Now we just have to argue about what those numbers and fractions are. When this equation was initially discussed, the scientists came to the conclusion that, using the most conservative estimates possible, N = 20. Using the most liberal estimates, it was 50,000,000. That’s right: fifty million possible civilizations! And the crazier thing: that was the estimate in 1960. Now, some scientists estimate the number might be closer to 280,000,000!

Why? As Douglas Adams wrote in The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” How big is it? There may be as many as one trillion stars, and even more trillions of planets. Big.

So over the next several weeks, we’re going to take a look at aliens. Some of it will be sciencey, and some of it will be fictiony, but all of it should be fun.



Author: Robison Wells

Release Date: March 29, 2016

Pages: 288

Publisher: HarperTeen

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

We are not alone. They are here. And there’s no going back. Perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and the I Am Number Four series, Dark Energy is a thrilling stand-alone science fiction adventure from Robison Wells, critically acclaimed author of Variant and Blackout. Five days ago, a massive UFO crashed in the Midwest. Since then, nothing—or no one—has come out. If it were up to Alice, she’d be watching the fallout on the news. But her dad is director of special projects at NASA, so she’s been forced to enroll in a boarding school not far from the crash site. Alice is right in the middle of the action, but even she isn’t sure what to expect when the aliens finally emerge. Only one thing is clear: everything has changed.

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of DARK ENERGY, US Only.

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About Robison:

RobRobison Wells is the author of Blackout, Deadzone, Variant, Feedback, Dark Energy, and Airships of Camelot. Variant was a Publishers Weekly Best Book, a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers and a Bestseller. Robison lives in the Rocky Mountains in a house not too far from elk pastures. His wife, Erin, is a better person than he will ever be, and their three kids cause mischief and/or joy.

Robison has an MBA in Marketing, and a BS in Political Science, with an emphasis in International Relations of the Middle East.

Robison suffers from five mental illnesses (panic disorder, OCD, agoraphobia, depression and dermatillomania) and is an outspoken advocate for those with mental illnesses.

His books have been published in nine different languages, and he is the winner of many awards both in and out of the United States.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

In for a Penny – What I Have Been Listening To


I am still deeply immersed in the Psy-Changeling universe. As I won’t be finished with my current graphic arts projects until the end of next month, if I continue as I have been I might manage to listen to the sweeping series in its entirety. However, there is the curse of fourth book to be considered. Keep in mind this is not a real phenomena unless you are well… me. For some reason I wash out of most book series around book four.

Where there is no emotion, there is no need for violence.” – Spock

STSIn Slave to Sensation, the reader is introduced into a truly unique world, not quite dystopian, nor paranormal or even speculative fiction but a chimera of them all with a scorching, passionate romantic core coupled with a wide arching mystery. Earth in the late 21st century is populated by three “races“, the Psy, Changeling and Humans. The Psy (psychic) are completely cerebral, making Star Trek’s Vulcans look like hysterics in comparison. This is due to the “silence protocol” in 1979 the psy race adopted “silence” eradicating all emotion. Offenders are ruthlessly rehabilitated – translation left a drooling shell of their former selves. The Changelings live separate from the Psy in harmony with nature if not with the other packs.

SYNOPSIS – In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation” – the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion – and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities – or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.

In my typical fashion when on a reading bender I dove immediately into Visions of Heat and enjoyed it more than I remembered from my first go round. There was just something about the story of the F-Psy Faith Nightstar and the adopted jaguar Vaughan from Lucas’ Snow Dancer pack that appealed to my sci-fi loving heart.

Caressed by iceWhen I first discovered this series I immediately devoured the first three novels in rapid succession and of them all my favourite by far was the third Caressed by Ice. Unlike the first two novels, featuring the relationship between Changeling men from the Snow Dancer leopard pack and women from the Psy, Caressed by Ice follows the Dark River wolves and their adopted Psy family, the Laurens. After the suicide of Judd Lauren’s sister, the entire family was slated for “rehabilitation” rather than submit they escaped to the uncertain safety of shelter with the Changelings, assuming they didn’t kill them outright. Instead of a certain death, the Dark River wolves offered the family sanctuary within their ranks if not true acceptance.

Judd Lauren was a former member of the shadowy death squad knows as the Arrows. Brenna Kincaid is the last changeling he should have anything to do with, the sole survivor of a Psy serial killer’s rampage is strangely drawn to the seemingly emotionless Psy. Even after multiple readings Caressed by Ice remains my favorite. When I started Mine to Possess I thought this time the “fourth book” wouldn’t be an issue. I was so wrong, not to put too fine a point on it Tallie got on my last nerve and ultimately I simply didn’t care enough about Clay to persevere. Perhaps it would have improved as I only got about 15-20% in before I tapped out but unlike the heroines in all the novels I have read by Singh before she was the only one who came off as whiny and even worse weak. By contrast Brenna was tortured at length by a murderer and even though she was forever marked by the experience she never seemed small and mean spirited as Tallie did in her initial exchanges with Clay.

Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling universe defies many of my previously established reading edicts, a lack of interest in series featuring a large number of varying characters, reading out of order and most shocking of all reading beyond the fourth book. Somehow this incredibly talented author has managed to create a series that one can read in one sitting without diminishing the reader’s interest in what happens not only to the characters within the individual story but those who have gone before and those to come. In doing so Singh has effortlessly caught and retained my attention despite the hiccup of the fourth book. I adored Hostage to Pleasure and am enjoying Branded by Fire so much, it may unseat Caressed by Ice as my all time favourite.

Jaguar1In the meantime as I read I will continue to ponder what exactly is the difference between leopards and jaguars? What a leopard-wolf hybrid would look like and if the real reason I  washed out of the fourth book is because I am bigoted against humans?


Nalini-Singh1I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated frequently).

So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.






A Penny for Them – What To Read Next

do-androids-dream-of-electric-sheep-omnibus-cover-by-jay-shawWhat I read at any given time varies widely depending on my mood, which can be difficult for reviewing purposes. But that is beside the point sometimes I get fixated on an author and I don’t want to read anything but their stuff and then other times I am figuratively wandering around the kitchen thinking “I’m hungry, but I don’t know what I want to eat!” Isn’t that the absolute worst feeling? I don’t know if it is the weather or some other conditioned response but I seem to gravitate towards sci-fi/fantasy in the first months of the year, perhaps it is the same reason Blade Runner is the go to movie on New Year’s Eve?

Regardless, I am fortunate to be able to do my day job AND listen to audiobooks (at the same time) and as such the availability thereof at my local library also impacts what I happen to be read/listening to at any given time. The latest Nalini Singh happened to be available at the library and even though I had only read a few of the epic Psy-Changelings series the synopsis of Shards of Hope intrigued me enough to break with my typical reading protocol and not read each and every installment before reaching the fourteenth entry in this massive series. I was not disappointed. In fact I was inspired to read the whole thing to catch up with the characters who I had missed.


Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling #14) – Nalini Singh

SOHAwakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough—because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken…like Zaira. 


My Two Cents Worth – From it’s Saw-like beginning to the perfectly satisfying ending Shards of Hope proves that Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling universe is still uniquely fresh and entertaining in a genre that can be more than a little rote and trite in the wrong hands.


Enamor (Hearts of Stone #1) – Veronica Larsen

The first step in solving a problem is recognizing there’s one to begin with. Here’s mine. My new roommate is a conceited, womanizing jerk. He pushes my buttons and drives me so crazy I want to strangle him daily.
There’s a million reasons why I should stay far away from him, the most obvious of which being that I hate him with the fire of a thousand suns.
Except that I don’t hate him.
It’s a reckless game we’re playing, treading the edge of an attraction so intense it might as well be a grenade.


My Two Cents Worth – Enamor started of slowly in my opinion but once the story got it’s hooks into me I was all in. While there was some angst in this N/A, what set it apart was the exquisitely depicted romance between Julia and Giles. If anything their affair was the anti-thesis of “love at first sight”. I will definitely read the rest of this series.

I’ll Meet You There – Heather Demetrios

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straight edge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.


My Two Cents Worth  – Last but not least was another excellent read, I don’t have much else to add to other than Ms Demetrios is a fantastic writer and I recommend this one to well pretty much everyone. It goes on the short list of books that made me cry and I pride myself on being a stoic reader and not resorting to water works for anything less than the best.


I was left with a bit of a reading hangover following the one-two punch of Enamor and I’ll Meet You There and wasn’t sure what to follow up those excellent novels with. While I am still flirting with the idea of reading Emma Chase’s next entry in the Tangled series I started to get over stimulated and had to abandon that idea in favour of reading it rather than listening… boundary issues you know? I was left with no other choice than to dig down in my e-reader and see what treasures I could unearth.

Frigid (Frigid #1) -J. Lynn/Jennifer L. Armentrout

FrigidFor twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn’t anything new. They’d been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the ‘man’ in man-whore. He’s never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn’t want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she’s perfect and she’s everything. But the feelings he has for her, he’s always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.

But when they’re stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor’easter, there’s nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.


My Two Cents Worth – My only complaint so far is why oh why would this young man insist in going around in winter as evidenced by the cover in a jacket WITH NO SHIRT!?!? But I assume I am just too old to understand.




The Year of the Monkey – Penny’s Reading Resolution

Today is the Chinese New Year and as such is a time for new beginnings. Typically, I am not the most prolific of reviewers in the first quarter of the year as I have other commitments that supersede my reading (the horror!) but that doesn’t mean that I can’t regularly share what I am reading and what I have added to my towering TBR pile. Without further ado, Happy New Year! I hope the Year of the Monkey brings you all luck and prosperity.



During my sci-fi binge last summer I came across an utterly fantastic writer, Ruby Dixon. Her Ice Planet Barbarians series is literally the only one that I will immediately drop everything to read. To my delight the latest installment was released yesterday, true to my words above I dropped everything and now am about halfway through and this one could very well be my favorite of all!


Barbarian’s Prize (Ice Planet Barbarians #5)

BPIt’s hard being the most popular girl on the ice planet. The alien men are falling all over themselves to impress me in the hopes that I’ll take them to my furs. But they don’t know my secrets – none of them do. And they don’t realize that behind my smile, I just wish they’d go away.
I don’t want any of them. I want someone else – someone with a gorgeous blue body, big horns, and the most intense gaze ever. He’s the only one that knows the truth. Maybe with him, I can work through my fears of the past….but I’m pretty sure he wants more than just friendship.
He wants forever, and I’m not sure I can give it.


While one might think that a series featuring the romance between two different species, human women abducted by aliens and 7’ft tall blue barbarians would possess about as much depth as a puddle, they would be quite wrong. Throughout Ruby Dixon’s writing are displays of razor sharp wit and raw sensuality while simultaneously the Ice Planet Barbarians series skillfully addresses issues, like rape, illness and abandonment. Without question this author was my favourite discovery of 2015.


Alien Attachments (Alien Attachments #1) – Sabine Priestly

Will their love be strong enough to keep them alive and get them back to Earth?

Finding one’s psi-mate is something every Sandarian hopes for, but when Ian Cavacent accidentally starts the bonding process with the Earthling, Dani, he has to fight his desire with every ounce of his being. If the process is completed, it means both political and financial suicide for Ian and his family.

A natural klutz, Dani somehow always manages to land on her feet and win her mixed martial arts matches. At home on Cat Island, her balance is thrown when bazillionaire Ian takes notice. Unfortunately some Torog aliens also take notice, sending her life spiraling out of control and into Ian’s arms. But Dani isn’t the type of woman to let alien voodoo decide her future or her mate. . .no matter how gorgeous the man is or how much pleasure he gives her.

For centuries the Cavacents have mined Earth for a precious element, carnium, while protecting the planet from other alien species. Thanks to the Torogs, Dani and Ian must flee to Sandaria. As Dani learns to use her newfound psi powers, the empire crumbles around them.