Tag: Sara Winters

What I Read Last Week

Posted August 6, 2012 by Tracy in Features | 13 Comments

Good Morning!
Well it was a hell of a week here in Tracyland. First, last Monday afternoon/evening, my kids were walking our neighbors dogs and my oldest fainted from the heat – luckily they were on our street. My youngest was smart and ran to a house that had their garage door open and the woman helped and called 911. I met them at the hospital and thankfully everything was fine she was just seriously dehydrated. What a scary thing, especially after having my nephew’s girlfriend died from heat exhaustion just recently. I’m always trying to push fluids into my kids, especially during summer when they’re out playing and it gets damned hot here – they just don’t take me too seriously. My oldest is of the mind that nothing bad will ever happen to her and getting her to realize that it can happen to any of us is a difficult one. She’s absolutely OK now. They pushed several bags of fluids into her and her labs came back good. Phew – scary.
Then the next day my youngest who got a bad cold the Saturday I was at RWA woke up with pink eye. Ug. A trip to the doctor and in a strange move the doc didn’t even check out her ears and throat, which I found incredibly strange. As luck would have it the very next night she woke up with ear pain, of course, and it was back to the doctor for her to get amoxicillin. Now if the doc would have looked into her ears on Tuesday we probably wouldn’t have had to go back Thursday! Oh well.
My youngest, being the complete cuddler she is, and more so when she’s sick, gave Mama her cold. My cold, of course, turned into a sinus thing and I thought I would have to break out my teeth just to make myself feel better since the pressure was horrific. Luckily after having thought I was going to die on Friday I survived the weekend (of course my hubby left for Sturgis on Tuesday evening so he missed most of this, lucky bastard) and the girls were really great helping me. I’m still feeling crappy but no longer fear that I will perish at any moment.
Because of all of this – and of course the Olympics I read A LOT of novellas this week and only 1 novel. And the one novel took me almost 5 days to finish – yikes! That’s just crazy.
Speaking of the Olympics – my kids are absolutely LOVING them. For some reason they hardly remember watching the summer games from years gone by and they can’t get enough of it. My youngest is now throwing her arms in the air with her pike dismounts off of the coffee table. lol  Maybe after she gets her black belt in Taekwondo I need to stick her in gymnastics. 🙂
Alright on to what I read last week:
I started the week with Bossy and the Brat by Daisy Harris. This is the story of dorm mates – Calvin who’s in the closet and Tyler who’s absolutely not. You can read my full review of here. 3.5 out of 5
Next up was The Strength of a Man by Sara Winters that I read for Book Binge. This m/m story tells of college students Kurt and James. James is older but head over heels for Kurt. Kurt really wants James as well but he has a hard time trusting his decisions when it comes to men after being hurt before – both emotionally and sexually. You can read my full review here. 3.75 out of 5
Next up I ran through three stories in the same series – rarely something I do unless its yaoi manga. The first was The Beta by Annie Nicholas – which is book 3 in The Vanguards series. This was the story of the beta of the Vasi werewolf pack who is in charge while his alphas are on their honeymoon. He’s stressed out and gets even more so when he meets an assassin who is out to kill his vampire friend Daedalus. The story involved the romance of Robert and Esther but also a continuing story having to do with someone out to get Daedalus. It was a good novella and a nice addition to the series. 3.75 out of 5

The fourth book in the same series is Omegas in Love by Annie Nicholas. Two people from the original Omega pack (who are now the Vasi pack) were always attracted to each other and finally have made the move to a more permanent relationship. But Katrina hasn’t been completely honest with Tyler. Back in China she had been forcibly mated with someone and now he’s back to get her and get the heir he wants. Katrina’s taken and their home attacked. Sugar from book 1 is hurt and Tyler’s beside himself trying to get his woman back. Again, a continuing thread throughout the story that is just getting better with each novella. Tyler and Katrina were adorable together and while their already in love this incident strengthens their bond. 4 out of 5
Book 5 in The Vanguards is Sigma by Annie Nicholas. I’ll review this later this week and Annie will be a guest on Friday – along with a Sigma giveaway.
I finally finished Wild Texas Rose by Jodi Thomas on Saturday (after taking 5 days to read it with all those distractions). This was a really good western historical romance. She made it kind of community oriented as she does her Harmony contemporary series. The story is about Rose from Whispering Mountain who heads to Fort Worth to help a friend who is getting married. Victoria’s a mess and eventually disappears. Duncan, a Texas Ranger and Rose’s cousin by marriage and adoption, is keeping an eye out on Rose while riding back and forth to Dallas. The men Duncan is guarding have threatened Duncan repeatedly and Duncan worries that Rose will be hurt. The story has many different threads throughout and that includes a friends to much more romance between Duncan and Rose. I really liked this book and I’m so glad I read it. I read this one for Book Binge so I’ll let you know when it posts. 4 out of 5
Last for the week was Men of Smithfield: Max & Finn by LB Gregg. This is the re-edited story that was previously called Cover Me. It’s just as good as it was before. I wanted to hurt Max for being such an ass at the start of the book but about halfway through we see who he really is. 4.25 out of 5 (releases Sept.)
My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Happy Reading!

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Guest Review: The Strength of a Man by Sara Winters

Posted August 5, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Tracy’s review of The Strength of a Man by Sara Winters

Kurt Dennings learned one life lesson the hard way: love, even between a parent and child, is not always unconditional. After coming out and experiencing a painful rejection from his parents and friends, Kurt feels as if he’s lost everything that mattered.

James Theard comes into Kurt’s life when he needs someone the most. A friend first and boyfriend second, James becomes his shoulder to lean on, a voice of reason and helps Kurt learn he is stronger and more capable than he imagined.

James and Kurt are both on the swim team at NYU but Kurt is a freshman and though he’s a good swimmer he needs just a little fine tuning. The coach assigns James to be his personal coach for a time to better Kurt’s technique.

James is thrilled with the assignment because he’d noticed Kurt from the first time he saw him at the swim tryouts. He would like nothing more than to date Kurt but Kurt is a little standoffish and James isn’t sure what the issues are.

Kurt is in a rough place when he’s approached by James and told that they are to work together on Kurt’s swimming. Kurt is highly attracted to James but his emotions are running all over the place. Kurt had come out to his parents in a letter that he had left for them to receive when his parents got back from dropping him off at college. His mother thinks he can change the fact that he’s gay and his father just yelled at him. He’d had no contact with either of them for 2 months and he was very low.

James manages to not only improve Kurt’s swimming but he also asks him out and the two become a couple. But Kurt, on top of the issue with his parents, has some past problems he still hasn’t worked out. He had slept with two guys before he met James (when he was back at home) and both experiences had more or less scarred him emotionally and scared him enough that he couldn’t relax or trust James not to hurt him during sex. This is understandable but Kurt keeps going hot and cold on James and James wants Kurt to seek help.

This was an interesting story and much more emotional that I thought it would be. There were actually two part to the book. The first was his relationship with his parents and his feelings of abandonment. He wanted more than anything to reconcile with them but knew the possibility of that was pretty slim. He had actually lost close friend because of his coming out but that wasn’t mentioned but in passing. The second part was Kurt’s inability to trust James but yet he didn’t want to lose his boyfriend over not having sex with him.

Basically Kurt was afraid of being alone if he wasn’t what someone else wanted him to be – in this case a sex partner – or do what they wanted. He had horrible self-esteem issues on top of it all so he felt he wasn’t a good swimmer or deserving of James’s attention. He wanted to have sex with James but he was afraid of the pain that he’d experienced with a previous boyfriend. He would try to go all the way with James – thinking he’d get dumped if he didn’t put out – but then would tense up and the pair wouldn’t have sex. Kurt was so hurt from his past but he kept insisting that he didn’t need help and that just got old after a bit. I felt for him but he just couldn’t face his fears.

James was a great guy. He was kind and understanding and though left with blue balls on a number of occasions he was nothing but kind with Kurt. I know Kurt had been hurt and I understood his fear but after being with James for 2 months or so how could he NOT trust him. He knew him so well but still leery of the whole thing. This really brought Kurt’s “like” rating down for me by a whole lot. He knew James and James had never done anything to make Kurt believe that he would hurt him. I’m not saying that Kurt should have jumped in the sack with James right away but after two months he just should have known his boyfriend better.

With regard to Kurt and his parents…well I wasn’t thrilled with this part of it. I thought that when Kurt’s mother approached him he should have been a bit more considerate. He was angry, and I get that, but the fact that his mother was making any effort at all should have given her some brownie points.

Overall this was a good story. I liked the writing style, and though I didn’t LOVE the story I thought it was a very decent read.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from Sara Winters. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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