Spare Ammo


38 Caliber Reviews

No More Whispering

I read.

           I blog.

                      I dance.

Owned by cats



Shimmy for Me: A California Belly Dance novella - DeAnna Cameron

Gonna do another running commentary on a book, this one unfortunately just took a wrong turn.


Back in the day when I was dancing on a fairly regular basis I can remember two main factions of the dance- east and west coast.  The east coast dance was more closely old school classical. West coast even then seemed looser and more entwined with other forms of dance. It's sort of hard to put into words but, trust me, it was possible to tell which coast any dancer hailed from by a single dance.


One of my fellow dancers also divided us up into the bouncers and the floaters. That should be pretty easy to figure out, right? So if the troupe needed someone to dance classical orientale, I was the go to girl. I loved it. Especially the veil and floor work.


Floor work, now there is something you don't see much of anymore. And veil work- please. I was watching some dancers on you tube today and most of them treated their veils like a schmatte. A small schmatte. A veil should be 3 yards long for students and an accomplished dancer should be able to handle 6 yards of silk with comparative ease. This is not a conventional veil and her dancing is not particularly good but she does handle her wings/veil quite well.


Here are some excerpts from a dance I would like to see from beginning to end uncut. This is good old(er) school. And this one starts with a veil, watch how the veil is a part of her. Now here she is, her name is Velina, starting out with the veil again but doing a tango fusion. One more old school dancer, Melina with a candle tray.


Fusion seems to be big now. And that brings us to this book. What? So I took the long way round, wasn't it fun? Our heroine is a belly dancer, more like a tribal fusion dancer and while I can accept fusion I'm having a hard time with a headdress that includes roses and pheasant feathers.


If you watched those videos you saw a lot of silk, velvet, brocade, rhinestones, sequins, coins, and beads. Usually there is some expense involved. Where am I going with this?


The "dancer" in this book just finished her routine and after fixing her makeup, has left the restaurant/club to hookup with this guy in a courtyard next door. In her costume.


I can't even. I went looking and I found






This headdress looks like the author's description- roses, feathers, braids, shells.




Top half has all the cuddliness of the nuts and bolts aisle at Home Depot and the bottom half is like embracing your laundry.



These dancers are wearing gorgeous and very expensive skirts. Would you wear it out on the street at night to meet a stranger?




Nope, nope, nope. Lots of metal and a headdress like Princess Leia, tribal fusion version.

I know it's fiction but when you've shimmied a mile or several in similar costumes, sorry but no.








I try to stay away from political comments but I saw this on FB and, yeah, 'nuff said.



First off, the buffalo have nothing whatever to do with this post, I just like them.


New Booklikers I'm following are invited to rummage through my follow/following pages and find BL-ers of interest to them.


I also started a discussion on cooking/recipes here.

Review- Death and Relaxation

Death and Relaxation - Devon Monk

It seems lately that I have read nothing but pretty bad books and that's not true. Devon Monk has given us the gift of Ordinary, Oregon and the mortals, gods, and paranormals who live and vacation there.


I've read Monk's Allie Beckstrom series and the Terric and Shame duology and enjoyed both but Ordinary was so much more fun.

It's time for the annual Rhubarb Rally and police chief Delaney Reed and her sisters (and sister officers) have their hands full with the influx of tourists. And Delaney is still trying to figure out what or if she should do about the return of Ryder Bailey who she has crushed on since grade school. Then her ex-boyfriend returns unannounced, Death decides to vacation in Ordinary, and a god is murdered.

A god can die in Ordinary but his power doesn't. The power is held inside one mortal, Delaney, and she has seven days to find the person the power will accept. Failure means death- for her and the town of Ordinary.

This was a fast romp with exploding rhubarb, perambulating caped concrete penguins, and baked goods.

I liked the relationship between the sisters, the feeling that Delaney is still learning the position she inherited from her late father, the way she loses all rational thought when

Ryder walks into view.

If I had one complaint it would be the finding-the-new-god part, even I had that figured out chapters before Delaney. It lacked subtlety.

But the dialogue, it was wonderful.

""Rhubarb exploded," I said, answering his first question.

"You don't often see that in the heritage strains," he said."


"The door to the office opened and Jean sauntered in with a gust of cool air. "Guess who got her box filled with free hot donuts this morning?"

"Please tell me that's not a euphemism," Myra drawled."


""And I am a man of my word."
"Do those words include 'breaking' and 'entering'?"
"I know those words," he admitted. "But only one of them might be on the agenda tonight.""



Book two is due out in July and I can't wait to go back to Ordinary and see what happens next.


Death and Relaxation - Devon Monk

The door to the office opened and Jean sauntered in with a gust of cool air. "Guess who got her box filled with free hot donuts this morning?"

"Please tell me that's not a euphemism," Myra drawled.


Death and Relaxation - Devon Monk

"Grief is a terrible houseguest," he said. "It show up when we least expect it and leaves long after it's overstayed its welcome."


Death and Relaxation - Devon Monk

"Rhubarb exploded," I said, answering his first question.

"You don't often see that in the heritage strains," he said.

Homosexuality, Religion, and Reviews

Okay, I tried not to rant because this time this behavior, as I see it, while still the same old same old is attached to the issues of homophobia and religious beliefs. I would have let this go if I didn't see, IMO, something that wasn't at all what was represented.


Like I said at the beginning of the blog, I may get some blowback but I won't cry foul because if you engage in a discussion or blog your viewpoint of something controversial you need to be smart enough to realize someone will absolutely loathe your opinion.


You can't change someone's mind by suppressing or having their opinion removed. It may be satisfying but it changes nothing.


Here it is, it's long so I won't even try to copy it over here.

For Grimm

This is the closest to a Strawberry Shortcake Robot that I could find.



What kind of world does not have an official Strawberry Shortcake robot?

Cattle Prod to a Sacred Cow

Ya' know, if you do this that someone, even many someones, are not going to like it. So why, oh why, would an author implore readers/followers to "diss the haterz" when said author had to know that the book would elicit this type of reaction?


How stupid does the author hope we are?


I feel a rant coming on ...

Error Code- Part II

[reblogged from 38 Caliber reviews]


R K Howard left a comment on my Amazon review. He was courteous and professional. So while I won't recommend Error Code Howard has 3 other offerings on Amazon, so go and look and maybe one or more will interest you.

This one caught my eye. I ride the bus, a mass transit detour story might be just the thing to read on the Ride.




Or not.

Review- Claimed

Claimed (Lunar Creek Wolves #1) - Lynn Stephens

Tonight is the full moon mating ceremony, and the Lunar Creek Pack’s new alpha will be choosing his official mate. That mate will need to prove her devotion to her alpha by having sex with any number of partners of his choice. Only then can the two be officially mated, and she will receive his mating mark, proof to the whole pack that she is his…and he is hers. Amazon


Before I eviscerate this miserable excuse for a story I want to talk about this: *Claimed is the first book in a paranormal erotica series. Intended for mature readers. 6620 words.* Length: 17 pages.


That’s right, Dear Readers, this ‘book” is 17 pages. And it doesn’t improve much lengthwise with the second “book”, Amazon lists it at 21 pages. In the author bio I found this: So far, she has written the “Lunar Creek Wolves” series, which is planned to be about ten books long. She may stop at six if the series feels complete as it is. Are. You. Kidding. Me. ?.


So I went and looked for a description of the length of a novel and found this and this and this. Wikipedia said this:


How many words does a novel have?

Between 100,000 and 175,000

Novelist Jane Smiley suggests that length is an important quality of the novel. However, novels can vary tremendously in length; Smiley lists novels as typically being between 100,000 and 175,000 words, while National Novel Writing Month requires its novels to be at least 50,000 words.

Hmm, I guess there is a small difference of opinion on this subject. If Stephens doesn’t drop below the 6600 word count of this installment then she might squeak by with only 6 parts and all 6 parts would then make up one BOOK. Claimed is not a book, it is a serialized story at this point. I’m not an author so why do I know this but the author doesn’t?


You want to see how a good serialized story is written? Right now Ilona Andrews is writing the third Innkeeper book, One Fell Sweep, and posting the chapters free on their website. When the story is finished they will remove it, edit it, and publish it.

Now let’s proceed. I had to check that this first installment wasn’t listed under YA or NA because it read very young. I guess you can’t get much character development in 17 pages if you need to have a group sex scene and since this story is listed in erotica, paranormal erotica, and romantic erotica I’m pretty sure the sex scene is required. Just think about it, the longest installment (so far) is 32 pages and there will (probably) be sex in every installment. This presents a problem because how does an author advance her plot or flesh out (no pun intended) her characters if she has to keep them rumpy-pumpying all the time? I’m not sure but after reading this installment I can’t see Stephens managing to do it.

First two sentences:


“She met his eyes as she slid her mouth down around his cock, taking as much of him as she could. He shuddered and she heard a hitch in his breathing as she locked her lips around him and began to swirl her tongue around his tip.”- Claimed.


Why is this? What is this? They are italicized and then with no break flow into the first paragraph which is Vanessa, our heroine, looking in the mirror. They are repeated in the obligatory sex scene where they do belong but at the front of the book, placed as they are, they make absolutely no sense.


So Vanessa is a blue-eyed, long blond-haired, shimmery pink glossed lipped werewolf in a tight blue dress who is just panting to be chosen as the mate of the new alpha. I guess she never saw an episode of What Not To Wear because if she had she would have known to use brown eyeshadow to make her eyes pop and chosen a dress that made her look hot but not hot-to-trot.


Anyhoozle, Vanessa and her BFF, Anita, head off to the annual mating ceremony, whatever that might mean because it is never really explained. Is this the only time during the year the werewolves seek a mate? Is it just a night to pick out a hot body and take it for a test drive? What? What? But this mating ceremony is THE ONE, the one where the new alpha will pick his mate. Now Vanessa has been longing for this guy to scratch her where she itches since she met him in high school. All she wants to do is get down and dirty werewolf style and pop out some puppies.


And once again we are left in the dark about how well Cody, the new alpha, and Vanessa know each other. They met in high school but she doesn’t mention dating or hooking up with him at the annual mating ritual so I’m left with the impression that except for Vanessa’s years long desire to be his puppy mama they really haven’t spent any time together, not even over a bowl of water or the warm body of a plump bunny. How can she want someone who has never left a bunny or part of a deer on her doorstep?


I guess it will be no surprise to you that of course Cody chooses Vanessa, “The truth is, I have known for years who I would choose on this night. The one I have chosen to rule by my side is a brave woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to let others know as well. She is caring and compassionate, and just a little headstrong, but never reckless. She has a strong desire to be a mother and raise a family, and I have had my eye on this woman since I was in high school.” Shades of creepiness. He sounds a little Edward Cullen-ish. Is having Cody describe what Stephens wants you to believe Vanessa is like what is going to pass for character development? I’ve got to say that Cody’s description doesn’t match up with mine. At all.


“His lips looked soft and full, and she couldn’t wait to find out how he kissed, …” They never even kissed before this? What the? How does this work? He’s had his eye on her since high school and she’s been panting harder than a Husky running the Iditarod and they’ve never locked lips? Grrr.


I refer you back to my first paragraph now because now that Cody has chosen Vanessa before they can kennel up and breed she has to sex up a few other packmates, why is never explained. So Cody chooses 3 men and Anita and Anita’s cousin and tells everybody else to do the wild thing. The three men strip her and two of them fondle her and then proceed to a little oral sex. The other guy takes on Anita and Tffany until Cody tells the other two to join them. It is the weirdest menage/group sex scene I’ve ever read and not at all sexy. And what turned Vanessa on? It wasn’t receiving oral sex or giving

oral sex it was, “Marcus had done an okay job, but it was Troy’s steady hand at the back of her head that had gotten her really worked up, and she could still feel her pulse racing at the excitement of it all.”


So then Cody and Vanessa do it in the missionary position, he bites her, he comes, she doesn’t, and voila, Vanessa is someone of importance. “She would be able to give her honest opinion without fear of being dismissed. She mattered, and it was all thanks to that little mark on her neck.” I can’t even. I want to hork a hairball. This just feels so fifties with the little woman being validated by serving meatloaf on Mondays and ironing his shirts on Tuesday. Vanessa thinks the night has been so perfect and she can’t wait to do some freakier, dirtier stuff with him.



Then comes the declarations of eternal love and freakier, dirtier stuff.


“You and I are going to have a wonderful life together,” she said softly.

He nodded. “I hope you’re right.”

“Whatever in love means.”- Prince of Wales


Cooking on BL

It's time to remind everyone again that we have a cooking/recipe discussion. As we head into cook out and picnic season it is time to share your grilling secrets and potato salad recipes.


Drop by Booklikes Is Cooking Now because we need to keep out strength up to turn those pages



Bacon Potato Salad

Review- The Society of Imaginary Friends

The Society of Imaginary Friends - Kristen Pham

[reblogged from 38 Caliber Reviews]


(Please note that when I searched for Friends this is the book that the data base provided)


“Belief is a powerful magic.


Valerie Diaz has a power that she can’t contain, and it’s killing her. Bounced between foster homes and the streets, she only has time to concentrate on staying alive. But a visit from the imaginary friend of her childhood opens a world of possibilities, including a new life half a universe away on a planet that is bursting with magic.


The Society of Imaginary Friends follows Valerie on a journey that straddles two worlds. In order to survive, she must travel many light years away to a realm where anything is possible. On the Globe, imaginary friends come to life, the last of the unicorns rules the realm, and magic seeps from the pores of all the Conjurors who live there. But choosing to embrace her potential will set Valerie on a treacherous course – one filled with true love, adventure and perilous danger.”- Amazon description


Doesn’t this sound like fun? Unfortunately what it sounds like and what it is are two very different things. I almost DNF’d it at 35% because it was boring, annoying, and not well thought out. One of the most annoying things in the first third of the book was the treatment of Valerie’s magic. Valerie finds out her imaginary friends that she’s had from childhood are really real and projecting from a planet, called the Globe, hidden in a black hole. They inform her she had strong magical abilities and if she stays on earth she will die because somehow living here stifles magic (for the most part). But before she leaves she has to go to England and undergo a test of her abilities. Whut?


First she is told she has too much magic to survive on earth then she has to travel from the US to England to take a test to prove she has all this magic she was just told she has? Then she has to go to Egypt to find the last transport from earth to the Globe. Not only didn’t this make a whole lot of sense, it was boring.


Valerie is that most over used type of heroine- the Mary Sue, or in Val’s case more like a Super Sue. Because Val not only is stuffed with all this magic and has these not so imaginary friends and enemies but she is Alone In The World. Yes, my friends, Val is alone, so alone. She is alone, aloner, alonest. No one, no where, no how, is more alone. On two different planets Val wins all three Olympic medals for being alone.


Except when she isn’t. No, really, it seems she keeps stumbling over another character that is alone for various reasons. This author desperately needs an editor or two because all this aloneness repeated endlessly just makes you want to throw something. Like Valerie. Out into space where she will be alone, so alone, no one will ever be… sorry, it’s hard to shake.


Like I said I almost gave up but I pushed on and it got marginally better. Val arrives at the Globe and meets her imaginary childhood friend, makes more friends, acquires a magical sword in the best sword-in-the-stone manner, and keeps putting herself in dangerous situations because asking for advice and/or help would be the smart thing to do and a Mary Super Sue like Val needs to be smarter than most everyone else but still dumb enough to get tied to the railroad tracks or the magical equivalent.


So Val and her friends stumble around the Globe doing their level best to put themselves in harm’s way and succeeding with tiresome frequency. She just can’t bring herself to wait for other more experienced characters to explore and investigate but that doesn’t matter because Val is a Super Sue and will prevail over all and manifest new powers or magics or whatever because that’s what Sues do.


In the end she triumphs over her not-so-imaginary enemy and does something that hasn’t been done in decades and good triumphs over evil and her magical power is awesome and rare and now she is the superset of Mary Super Sues. Except that evil isn’t destroyed just dented a little because this is a 4 book series.


Imaginary Friends sounded so good and ended up being just a not very good rehash of a Sue we’ve all read before

Review- Dragon Ruins

Even free was too much to pay for this.


This is one of those “books” that really isn’t. It’s 59 pages to start and those 59 pages proceed to make me happy not to read the rest of this … whatever.


A strange man walks into an outback rock and gem store and hands our heroine, Karla, a medallion and tells her to go out in the middle of nowhere and find a mysterious chamber. And her father, when she tells him, encourages her.


Um, yeah. Works for me. Not.


So Karla spends a few paragraphs trying to decide if she wants to go and thinking of the loser she will be returning to (maybe) in England and despite having a ticket to leave the next day decides to go looking for whatever trouble might be out in the outback for a single woman following the instructions of a rather creepy stranger.


Doesn’t have the sense God gave a goose.



Since this isn’t in the thriller or horror genres the creepy guy doesn’t reappear and kidnap her. Instead she finds the hidden chamber containing a sleeping hot guy. Who wakes up when she gets near him. Yup, he’s a dragon only he can’t be a dragon until he regains his strength through the Mesmer bond, this handy dandy plot device that makes it impossible for hot guy and Karla to be apart.


What’s a girl to do? Take him home to daddy and miss her flight to England and the loser. Ooh, face it, Karla, your goose is:



Except for getting attacked by the mysterious stranger in dragon form there wasn’t a dragon to be seen or read about.


That’s it. That’s what 59 pages contains. Absolutely nothing that makes me at least want to pick up the next “book”. Entirely forgettable.


[reblogged from 38 Caliber Reviews]


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