End of The Year- Book Tag

This tag always weirds me out when I see it pop up, because it seems like something you should do in late December, reviewing your year of books. Instead, it’s more like an ‘Oh shit, the end of the year is coming up, have I read everything I wanted to read this year’ tag. Which is weird again, because are people really that anal about reading books in a particular year? It shouldn’t be that much work. Read what you want to read, when you want to read it.

Anyway, despite all that, I’m doing this tag. Why? Mostly because I just read the perfect book to answer the second question with. Ha ha!

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?
Need is too strong a word, but yes, there are books that I’ve started this year and left unfinished.

Between These Sheets

There is a LOT of sex in this book.  And angst.  Sex and angst.  I needed a break, and haven’t felt the urge to go back to it yet.  I think it’ll end up being a three star read, so it’s not awful, just not enthralling, you know?  58% complete.

Play of Passion (Psy-Changeling, #9)

While I think the Psy Changeling series is brilliant, and Nalini Singh is a fantastic author (and a Kiwi!  I’ve met her and have an autographed copy of the first book in this series), these two characters aren’t grabbing me as much as others in the series have.  I do, however, really want to finish this book, because I want to read others in the series.  This series has a strong story arc, so while each novel tells the romance of one particular couple, they really need to be read in order.  So yep, gotta finish this one.  21% complete.

Hard For My Boss

I couldn’t remember what this one was about (other than being an obvious office romance), and the blurb doesn’t give anything more away, so I opened it up and read a few pages… still nothing.  Ha ha, oops.  Clearly not memorable.  46% complete.

Served (Breaking Free Standalone Book 3)

This was good, but then I felt like they’d resolved the tension, and at that point I kind of gave up on it.  I know from the blurb that there’s more drama and action to come, but it’s frustrating when you get that to point in the book where you could happily say ‘The End’ and yet you’re only… 53% complete.  *facepalm*

Duty Bound

This book is old-fashioned and set in historical America.  I’m not wowed.  I’m leaning towards two stars at the moment.  39% complete.

Charming: A Cinderella Billionaire Story

I enjoyed the beginning of this book, but like Served, I felt like it got to a point and then just…kept going.  Hopefully there’s some more action ahead to gather back some momentum, but right now it feels like I’ve read the good bits and I’m just waiting for the end.  45% complete.

What Goes on Tour (The Texan Quartet #1)

I enjoyed this one, but just felt like a change in pace.  I’ll go back and finish this one, it’s good, but sweet, and I was looking for something a little meatier.  Not that I found it, but that’s why I put it down.  71% complete.

Do you have a spring book to transition into the end of the year?

This question originally asked for an ‘autumnal book’, but in the Southern Hemisphere, we’re in spring, not autumn.  And see, this is why I had to do this tag:

Highland Spring (Seasons of Fortitude Book 1)

Just finished this one.  I liked the plot, I liked the female lead, but the writing style meant it was never going to be a five star read.  Too much telling instead of showing.  I think the author had some great ideas, but the story didn’t deliver the wow factor that it could have.  And there was some heavy handed foreshadowing too, which made the book entirely predictable.  But still an okay read.  I’m giving it three stars.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Not really, I’m terrible at knowing what books are coming out.  I went and checked out Maya Banks’ page, and saw she has some coming out next year that I’ll get.

Although the last one in the Slow Burn series sucked ass, I’ll still get the next one.  The first three in the series were fantastic, so I’ll give her a second chance to redeem the series.

I wish Maya would write the next one in the Montgomerys and Armstrongs series.  I’ve re-read them multiple times, and there was supposed to be a third book but she hasn’t written it yet.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Ooh, tough call.  Um…  I was thinking about reading the next three in the series after Highland Spring.  Mostly because the plot of the last one in the series intrigues me.  They’re called Summer’s Reign, Autumn’s Touch and Winter’s Flame.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

This one kind of depends on you knowing what you’re going to read, doesn’t it?  Which I don’t.  Well, um…  I guess any of the unfinished ones above could.  Mum’s just bought the Shattered Sisters series by Maggie Shayne, so I’ll probably give that a go.  They could be good.  I’ve got a couple of samples to try out, so maybe Sensing Danger by Wendy Vella or Mr Rich by Virna DePaul…  I guess you’re always hoping the next book is going to be amazing.  I mean, you’d much rather read a five star book than a three star (or worse) book, right?

Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?

Nope.   I get daily emails with book recommendations, and when I’m stuck for books, I go through the emails and download a bunch of samples, then I just work my way through the samples, buying the books that catch my interest and deleting the samples that didn’t appeal. That’s pretty much my modus operandi.  There’s not really even a TBR list or pile.  It’s just whatever I feel like, when I feel like it.

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Spring

Today is the kind of spring day where the grass looks clean and fresh, inviting you to kick off your jandals and discard your worries, and run barefoot, scattering lambs and pukeko before you as peals of laughter ring out.

Instead, I have to work in an office with no windows, and on Friday they're turning the air conditioning off to install some new system.  Days like today, adulting sucks.

Sky scrawl

Like a rough pencil sketch,
a dragon's head
materialised from the clouds,
the edges blurred in
shades of lead and cream
against a background that
may have been called
cerulean, but was probably
                                            azure.
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THE LIEBSTER AWARD

Woohoo, my Wordpress blog was nominated for The Liebster Award!  Thank you so much to Rachel Peck for nominating me.  This is my very first such nomination, so I’m pretty happy with her.  Ha ha!  You should check out Rachel’s blog, she’s an amazing writer.  I actually interviewed her a while back – An interview with author Rachel Peck.  I met Rachel on Writing.com and she is an amazing poet.  She writes with such passion and emotion, it’s no surprise she’s been published. She’s pretty new to WordPress, so go and check out her blog and give her some love.

Random Facts About Me . . .



    • I grew up on a farm in rural New Zealand.  It was a beef farm, about 330 acres.  Apart from 18 months when my parents did a working holiday in UK, I’ve lived my whole life in New Zealand.

    • I grew up with a lot of British humour in my life, partly because New Zealand as a country has a very strong British heritage, and partly because my parents are both English.  As a result, I tend more toward the British sense of humour than the American.  And yes, I think there’s a difference.  😉

    • I love making homemade gifts.

    • I love rollercoasters.  Am hoping to go on at least one REALLY big one when we go to the UK next year.  There are no really big rollercoasters in New Zealand.

    • I don’t drink alcohol very often, but I have a pretty decent alcohol collection.  The whisky belongs to my husband, and the vodka and port are mine.  At the moment, I have toffee vodka, feijoa vodka and the very cool Royal Dragon vodka, both the Elite and Imperial.  I’ve just found out there’s also an Emperor version of the Royal Dragon vodka.  #want!  My favourite port is Taylor’s tawny port, but I also like Sea Red, a red dessert wine from Clearview Estate Winery in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay.  I like to try/collect weird and unusual alcohols too, so I always have a bottle of Purple Death in the cupboard. It’s delicious over vanilla ice cream.

    • I’m not afraid of public speaking.  I was a precocious child, and did debating in high school and joined a public speaking group in my teens.  I wouldn’t say I enjoy public speaking, but I’m comfortable enough with it.

    • My oldest online friend is chichiwawa.  We met online in 1997, and have never met.  He lives in Belgium.  I’m also still in contact with friends I met on Livejournal in 2001 when I first started blogging.  Haven’t met them either since they live in America.

    • I get more enjoyment out of starting a project than completing one.  Which explains why I have so many unfinished ones, right?

    • I read on an iphone (nope, not a Kindle, just the Kindle app) and write on a Gigabyte laptop.  I did have a Mac laptop previously but I grew up with Windows and would get frustrated with the differences between Macs and Windows.

    • I use a lot of Kiwi slang when I talk.  Some of it comes through in my writing, but it’s more prolific when I talk.


I would like to nominate the following wonderful blogs:
Mtnbeachmama’s Blog. This blog is full of beautifully worded observations, of both nature and people. Rivers is a good example post to check out, I think. I love the photos as well as the descriptions.

The Feisty Pauper. You gotta love it just from the name, right? 😛 Another good example of her humour can be found in this post. I’ve never read anyone else saying that they need glucosamine and good sneakers to survive the zombie apocalypse! Ha ha!

Stories for Strength. Observations from a real woman facing real life and encouraging us all to laugh at ourselves, empathise and unite. I love this post – Dinner: Why must they eat it every night?. As a mother, this was the one that won me over. If you have any life hacks to offer Rachael, please do share them with her!

Enchanted by Books. If you like books, you have to check out this blog. Book reviews, book tags, everything book-related you could ask for. Everything from The Art of War to Harry Potter. 🙂

made things. Poetry, musings, gratitude, and insight. I love this poem – castle of my imagination.  There is loads more to love too, go and check it out.

My answers to Rachel’s questions:


  • Most importantly. What type of chocolate do you prefer? Dark, milk, or white?
    Milk.  Definitely milk.  I’m not a fan of dark or white chocolate.  I have recently discovered caramelised white chocolate though, specifically Cadbury Caramilk, and I think I’m in love.  Ha ha!

  • Is there a time of day you are most creative?
    No, I don’t think so.  But I do find I get more ideas when I’m driving than at any other time.

  • Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind?
    I like to listen to classical music when I’m writing stories, and rock or classic rock when I’m writing poetry.  Nothing in particular when I’m blogging.

  • When did you know you were a writer? Have you always known?
    I started keeping a journal when I was 14, and I probably started writing poetry then too.  I remember writing and sharing  poems while on Scout camps, and that was between ages 14-16 I think.  I suppose I considered myself a writer from then on.  I knew that most people my age weren’t writing poetry at that time, so I was different – a writer.

  • Who has had the most influence on your writing?
    The people at Writing.com.  Through their feedback, examples and inspiration, they’ve helped me grow more as a writer than anyone.   I could name names, and there are two in particular that come to mind (one for poetry and one for stories) but it’s a cumulative thing, you know?  A combination of a variety of feedback and inspiration and then taking what works for me, and leaving what doesn’t.

  • How do you promote your own work?
    Hmm…   Posting it on social media (here, Wordpress, G+, Twitter, Tumblr) is the extent of my promotion.  And it’s kind of a ‘take it or leave it’ kind of promotion.  I don’t put a lot of thought into convincing people to read or like.  If they do, they do.  If they don’t, they don’t.

  • What is your all-time favourite film?
    Hmm, that’s a hard one.  I’m more of a reader than a watcher.  Before I had kids, I never watched cartoons or animated movies, but now I find some of them quite brilliant.  Ice Age was just hilarious.  I liked the X-Men series and the Die Hard series.  Despite that, I do tend towards chick flicks.  Honestly I don’t know about a favourite though.  Tough question!

  • What authors did you love to read as a child?
    Ooh, another tough question.  I went to a very small primary (elementary) school.  There were only 60 kids there, and it was a little country school, with a library to match.  I read every book in that library.  We always had books at home, but it was a relatively small, static collection.  I didn’t belong to a public library because we lived in the middle of nowhere and the nearest public library wasn’t convenient to our house.  My mother teases me that I was so desperate for reading material that I would read cereal boxes, or the newspaper used to insulate the house walls.  I didn’t really develop a ‘favourite author’ as a child because I didn’t have the luxury of that I guess. The first author I can remember considering a ”favourite’ was Anne McCaffrey, and that was in high school.  High school came with a whole new library of books to read!  Ha ha!  So yeah, Anne McCaffrey was my first favourite author, probably followed by Jean M Auel and her Earth’s Children series.

  • Do you belong to any writing or critiquing groups? How important do you think that is?
    Only Writing.com.  None in real life.  But Writing.com has been vitally important in my development as a writer, and also in my perseverance as a writer.  I had a break from Writing.com for a few years when my children were very small (and money was very tight) and I wrote very little (apart from blogging/journaling, no poems or short stories) and my writing didn’t develop or grow.  So yeah, I think that feedback, inspiration and encouragement is very important.  It is to me, anyway.

  • Who is your favourite author? Do you write in the same genre as them?
    Um…  Right now, my favourite author is probably Jaime Reese, followed by Maya Banks.  They both write romance.  I write…whatever I’m inspired to write.  I think I probably write more children’s fantasy than anything, but some romance.  I think I’m slowly starting to veer more towards romance, as I gain confidence in writing in that genre.

My questions for my nominees


  • What’s the first indulgence you’d buy yourself if you won the lottery?

  • What’s your favourite comfort food?

  • Aside from writing, what are your hobbies?

  • What kind(s) of music do you like to listen to?

  • What’s the most important thing on your bucket list?

  • What’s one thing about blogging or blogs that annoys you?

  • In your personal opinion, what is the most annoying sound in the world?

  • What time is bedtime for you?

  • Do you have a ‘signature dish’ that you make for dinner guests or when it’s your turn to cook?  Tell us about it!  (Bonus points if you share the recipe! Ha ha!)

  • Have you ever fallen in love with a place through a book or photo?  Have you been there in real life, and if so, how did it compare?  If not, do you plan to go?

  • Which of your personality traits would make you hard to live with?



Rules Rules Rules. Here is what to do, once you’ve been nominated.


    1. Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.

    2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

    3. For the 2017 Liebster Award, I will be shaking things up! Write a 150-300 word post about your favourite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.

    4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself. (This year I’m making this optional. If you wish to engage with your readers it’s a great idea to include random facts about you.)

    5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

    6. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here or simply link to this post). Once you have written and published it, you then have to inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post or the original one if you don’t have all the information so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!).




I found it interesting that the posts don’t seem to actually be following the rules.  The questions and answers aren’t noted in the rules, but are mentioned on the original page.  Possibly a leftover from previous years, but clearly people enjoy learning about others through the questions.  I did, so I’ve included them. And I’m not sure I have one favourite blog to babble about, but I’ve tried to share why I’ve nominated the blogs that I have, and you should definitely check them out.  They deserve to have more than 200 followers!
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Books read in October

Jagged Edge by Jo Raven *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Static by L A Witt *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Hot Head by Damon Suede *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Alpha’s Temptation by Renee Rose *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Saved by Lorhainne Eckhart *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Force of Law by Jez Morrow *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

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Distraction

My feet ached in blue suede heels
I'd bought on sale at Westgate,
but I was distracted by the way
the evening sun caught the Auckland skyline
as I drove over the causeway.
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Creative ignorance

If you squinted hard enough,
and used the generosity of spirit
required for the earnest appraisal
of a child's fingerpainting,
the clouds painted feathery angel wings
across the sky.

I was too busy focussing
weary eyes on endless streams
of sparsely decorated tarseal
to notice.
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Tropes

I’ve finally had a chance today to go through my emails today and I’m checking out the books recommended to me by the sites that send me ebook deals.  It made me think about the tropes that I do and don’t like to read.

I should clarify, I read romance novels almost exclusively.  I occasionally read fantasy or science fiction novels, but mostly romance.  Within romance though, I read in a wide variety of sub-genres.  It’s just that I demand my happy ending, and romance is the only genre that will guarantee that for me.

So, tropes.  I’m no expert on tropes, so I Googled some.  Here are the ones I have strong(ish) feelings about:


  • Anti-hero. Aw, come on, we all love reformed bad boys, right?  😛 My husband was a hard drinking, fast driving, tattooed loud mouth when I met him, who was lucky not to have been behind bars.  Who’d have guessed he was also super sweet and romantic, and very good with babies?  Ha ha!  So yeah, I guess I like these ones.  He’s still tattooed and still loud, by the way.

  • Athlete. I hate heroes who are sports stars.  Ugh.  No thanks.  It’s worse too when it’s an American sport that I’m totally clueless about.

  • Consanguinity.  No, no, no.  Stepbrothers and stepsisters, stepfathers and stepdaughters (it was this trope that actually led me to write this post in the first place), etc.  No.  No, no, no.  And while I don’t mind menage stories, I hate it when they involves siblings, for the same reason.  Or worse, twins.  Ack.  Nope.

  • Danger. I’ve seen this written elsewhere on the net as ‘Heroine in danger’ or ‘Heroine needs rescuing’, etc.  It doesn’t matter to me if it’s the hero or the heroine (and I don’t just read m/f books, so gender sterotyping is a bit redundant anyway), but danger definitely adds spice to the mix.  I’ve said before that I don’t care how much torture my characters have to go through, as long as they’re guaranteed a happy ending.  I guess, I like to believe that no matter how hard life gets, it’s all going to work out in the end.  This is the extreme version of that.  Maya Banks does this trope really well, to the point that it’s become a kind of cliche in her books, but that’s beside the point.

    Whispers in the Dark (KGI, #4) Whispers In The Dark was a brilliant example of this trope.  Both the hero and the heroine go through some fairly extreme ordeals over the course of the book, and it’s a fantastic read.

  • Disguise. I know it’s silly, but I really like the ones where girls dress up as guys and win over the hero as a male first.  I don’t know why I like them.  Maybe because I was a tomboy and often mistaken as a boy even well into my teens (I think I was 17 the last time it happened).

    Morganna (The Brocade Collection Book 4) by [Ivie, Jackie] Morganna by Jackie Ivie is one of the best books I’ve read with this trope, and I especially love how the hero falls for her while still thinking she was a boy.  He is attracted to her while he thought she was a male (and even kisses her, thinking her a man), instead of respecting or befriending her and then being attracted once her gender was revealed.  For a historical romance, that’s pretty cutting edge.  I was very impressed.

  • Fated mates. This can work really well, but only if the author avoids the instalove pitfall of death.  Ugh.  I hate instalove.  If the match is fated, and they fight it, but eventually realise all the great things about each other and slowly fall for each other despite themselves, it can be a great read.  But no instalove!

  • Impairments.  This is probably very un-PC of me to say, but I love these.  I actually did a Writing.com site newsletter on this topic. Both physical and mental disabilities, so long as the characters are equal.  I read one where I felt the character with the mental disability was not in any way equal to the other main character, and there was a HUGE power disadvantage.  It felt…kind of pedophilic.  Ugh, no thanks.

    The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Mackenzies Series Book 1) by [Ashley, Jennifer]

    Song for Sophia (A Rougemont Novel Book 1) by [Densley, Moriah] The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley and Song For Sophia by Moriah Densley both have great male heroes who have Asperger’s Syndrome.  Both are excellent reads.  I’m sure Cole from Jaime Reese’s A Restored Man is on the spectrum too.  It’s never said, but I think his inability to know what is appropriate for a particular conversation or situation is a good indication.

    Never Seduce a Scot: The Montgomerys and Armstrongs by [Banks, Maya] Moon Craving (A Children of the Moon Novel Book 2) by [Monroe, Lucy] Never Seduce A Scot by Maya Banks features a fantastic heroine who is deaf.  That’s a great book too.  Moon Craving by Lucy Monroe features a deaf heroine as well, and I’ve re-read that book a number of times too.

    Speechless by [Fielding, Kim]Love Comes Silently (Senses Series Book 1) by [Grey, Andrew]Love Comes in Darkness (Senses Series Book 2) by [Grey, Andrew]I’ve read some great m/m books that use this trope too.  Speechless by Kim Fielding features a hero with aphasia which I’ve read multiple times.  And there’s Andrew Grey’s Senses series too which is built around the trope.  It’s starts with Love Comes Silently, with a mute hero, then Love Comes In Darkness, with a blind hero.  I enjoyed both those books (but warning, they’re tear-jerkers).  There are six books in the series, but the first two are my favourites.

  • Military. I used to really enjoy these, and Maya Banks’ KGI series is a great example of this done well, but having now worked for two ex-military bosses, I no longer see military guys as a romantic ideal.  Nope.  And what’s more, I will no longer be recommending that my son signs up for the military.  The military changes you, and now I think it’s not for the better.

  • Second chances. I’m not a fan of this one.  If it didn’t work out the first time, it wasn’t meant to be.  Not to say it can’t be done well, but you’ll have to have something really special to tempt me.

  • Time travel. I’ve read books where this trope has been done really well, and I’ve really enjoyed them, but I’m always leery of them.  It’s so easy to turn this into a sad ‘been there, done that, got the t shirt’ cliche.

  • Ugly duckling.  I really enjoy these ones, regardless of which character is the ugly duckling and why.  Probably I enjoy them because I have pretty low self-esteem when it comes to my physical appearance, but never mind.

What are some tropes that you like or dislike?  They don’t have to be romance ones.

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Books read in September

When You Dare by Lori Foster *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Savor the Danger by Lori Foster (audible version)  *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Ghost by J M Dabney *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Joker by J M Dabney *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Head Hunter by Alexis Angel *Star**Starw**Starw**Starw**Starw*

Found at the Bookstore by Christi Snow *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Rule Breaker by Lily Morton *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Grasp by E Davies *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Family Man by Devyn Morgan *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

All the Way Home by Devyn Morgan *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Friendly Fire by Cari Z *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Pegasus in Flight by Anne McCaffrey *Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

What Chris Wants by Lori Foster *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

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