Connect with me
Navigation
Buy my stories
  • Spar
    Spar
    by Nikko Lee

    A closeted black belt comes to terms with his bisexuality when he takes an openly gay student as his new sparring partner.

  • Wolf Creek: Gay Werewolf Romance
    Wolf Creek: Gay Werewolf Romance
    by Nikko Lee, Digital Fiction

    Life as a gay omega werewolf is no fairytale.

  • Bon Appetit: Stories & Recipes for Human Consumption
    Bon Appetit: Stories & Recipes for Human Consumption
    by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt, Rev. Thomas Thorn, Nikko Lee, Dax Bordas, Sebastian Bendix, Rick Powell, Misty Tyers, J. N. Cameron
    Contains Bouillon de Bebe 
  • NECRONOMICUM #2 (NECRONOMICUM: The Magazine of Weird Erotica)
    NECRONOMICUM #2 (NECRONOMICUM: The Magazine of Weird Erotica)
    by Gary Budgen, Julian Darius, Richard Greico Jr, Nikko Lee, K. A. Opperman, Alice Renard, Rose Banks, Paul St. John Mackintosh, Michael Seese

    Contains Instabiable by Nikko Lee

  • Zombiefied Reloaded: The Search for More Brains
    Zombiefied Reloaded: The Search for More Brains
    by Carol Hightshoe, Cynthia Ward, Terry M. West, Christie Meierz, Dana Bell, Mary E. Lowd, Patrick J. Hurley, Francis W. Alexander, Liam Hogan

    Brainatarian by Nikko Lee

  • Coming Back
    Coming Back
    by James Arthur Anderson, Brian Barnett, Dave Fragments, Shawna Galvin, Vince Darcangelo, Ken Goldman, Michael Lindquist

    Contains A Mother Knows by Nikko Lee (paperback available at Lulu.com)

  • Wolf Warriors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology
    Wolf Warriors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology
    by Jonathan W. Thurston

    Contains Great Mother Wolf by Michelle Knowlton

  • People Eating People: A Cannibal Anthology
    People Eating People: A Cannibal Anthology
    by Frank Larnerd, Tony Peak, Geoff Gander, Shenoa Caroll-Bradd, Robert Hart, Nikko Lee, Kyle Yadlosky, Edward Martin III

    Contains Bouillon de Bebe by Nikko Lee

  • Valves & Vixens: Steampunk Erotica
    Valves & Vixens: Steampunk Erotica
    by Nicole Gestalt, Crysta Coburn, J.T Seate, Nikko Lee, V.C., Zak Jane Keir, Blair, Regina Kammer, Jim Lee

    Contains Boson's Mate by Nikko Lee

  • The Big Book of Bizarro
    The Big Book of Bizarro
    by Rich Bottles Jr.

    Contains Honey-Do by Nikko Lee

  • Between Love and Lust
    Between Love and Lust
    by Nikko Lee

    E-book

    Print-on-demand paperback

  • Templar and Other Stories of Suspense and Terror (Vampires 2, Volume 4)
    Templar and Other Stories of Suspense and Terror (Vampires 2, Volume 4)
    by J. Troy Seate, Patricia McCarthy, Nikke Lee, Andrea Saavedra, James Hartley, Edward McKeown, Mike Graves, J.E. Gurley, Zakk Erikson, David Bernstein C.C. Blake

    Contains Pure Delight by Nikko Lee

My confession...

I have always been a slow reader and, worse, a picky reader. It's probably one of the reasons I enjoy writing my own stories so much. I am one of those pickly readers who judges a book by its cover or title or summary. A story has to capture my attention in order for me to devote the time it takes to get truly lost in it and finish reading it. Whether it's the characters, the plot, or even the first sentence, something has to grab me and demand that I read this book.

One of the best ways to learn about writing is to read. In other people's works I find techniques and skills I like. I see how they explore characters, background, and plots. I usually learn a lot and see how far I still have to go. However, I don't always like what others do.

In this section I'm going to present reviews of books that I have read in order to put into words what I take away from other people's writing. These reflections are only my opinion.

For more information see my blog post about this section.

Friday
Jun152018

Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar

Why I read this book:

I found Dead Mountain recommended to me by Amazon. I'm a sucker for a mountaineering tragedy.

My one sentence summary:

When 13 experienced mountaineers go missing in the Ural mountains in 1959 and are later found dead without even their boots on, every explanation is explored from UFOs to secret government conspiracies.

Kudos:

Eichar tells a tale in several parallel veins including a recreation of the victims trek from their dormitory to their final resting place, the searchers who looked for survivors then bodies and the author's own journey from obsession to Russia in search of an answer. I enjoyed the first two veins. It was interesting to see the travels required just to get to the base of the mountain these student mountaineers has to take in 1959. The context of the communist country was well-captured. The rescue and investigation were equally interesting.

Quibbles:

I was not as interested in the own author's journey to retrace the steps of the missing mountaineers. Eichar dwells on his own personal issues that may have shaped his obsession with the mystery at Dyatlov Pass. I am also a little unsure about the conclusions he reaches to explain why the mountaineers left their tent without their boots and were found in various locations dead of either hypothermia or trauma.

Final verdict:

The case presented is interesting and worth reading, although be prepared for the twist ending as Eichar presents his own theories and the science to back them.

Friday
Jun082018

Widowmaker by Paul Doiron

Why I read this book:

I'm hooked on Paul Doiron's Maine game warden character, Mike Bowditch. So every time another book comes out in the series, it goes on my two read pile.

My one sentence summary:

Searching for a possible half-brother brings Mike closer to the ghost of his father and danger.

Kudos:

As always, I love how Doiron mixes in so many tastes of Maine. From the lakes areas to the mountain ski hills, Doiron is excellent at capturing not only the diversity of terrain but also of people who call Maine home. The action is quick paced with heroine busts, wolf attacks and booby-trapped backwoods compounds. Doiron continues to explore his flawed game warden character who appears to be rising through the ranks and finding his true talent in detecting.

Quibbles:

I don't have any particular flaws that stuck out to me.

Final verdict:

This is a worthy addition to the Bowditch series that continues to evolve along with Mike Bowditch's character.

Saturday
Jul292017

Precipice by Paul Doiron

Why I read this book:

My husband gave me Precipice by Paul Doiron for Christmas last year. I've only read one other book in the Mike Bowditch series, Bad Little Falls, but I like the character. I'm also had the fortune of speaking with Paul Doiron at the Maine Crime Wave. Like so many Maine crime authors, he's attends a lot of library talks and in state events and is very approachable. I wanted to read this book in particular because it includes a search for lost Appalachian Trail (AT) through hikers, which I love reading about as a former search and rescue member.

My one sentence summary:

When two AT hikers go missing, game warden Mike Bowditch finds himself at the center of a homocide investigation whose suspects include a glory seeking searcher, a suspicious section hiker, a pack of coyotes and a clan of back woods locals.

Kuddos:

Doiron does a fantastic job of presenting and making relatable the many different locations in Maine his characters frequent. He's also a well-researched author who reaches out to expects while writing. This lends a lot of credibility and real life feel to his take on search and rescue operations. I also really enjoy reading about Bowditch's adventures and how he navigates the space between game warden and criminal investigator. His investigatory skills definitely make Bowditch a potential for a promotion to an investigator position within the warden services.

Quibbles:

There's not much I can find fault with. Sometimes it feels like Bowditch is covering a lot of miles. I live in Maine so I am keenly aware of the distances between places I've visited. But that's part of living in Maine. It's a big state, but drivable in book time. I've never gotten too involved in Bowditch's romantic relationships, but those aren't the center of the two books I've read. I don't think even Bowditch knows where he stands.

Final verdict:

Precipice is a good read with plenty of twists and turns to keep a reader interested. There are red herrings a plenty and the villain is well-built. I've got the Widowmaker on my night stand right now and plan to read it next. Who knows? Maybe I'll even go back and read the earlier books in this now nine book series.

PS I love the names of Doiron's books. The Precipice trail on Mount Desert Island is the most difficult to hike on the island complete with iron rung ladders and a list of fatalities.

Tuesday
Apr252017

The Chosen By J.R. Ward

Why I read this book:

I was an avid reader of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series until Lover at Last. I stopped reading at that point because the story lines were getting too convoluted and less interesting. The Chosen got my attention because of the central couple, Xcor and Layla. I decided that Amazon's half off pre-order sale was the right price point for me to jump back into the series.

My one sentence summary:

Xcor gets his mate, a family and redemption while Qhuinn nearly loses all three.

Kudos:

J.R.Ward has a gift for make vulnerable alpha males that feel real and unearthly at the same time. Each one of her central male characters has a rich back story filled with torment that makes their falling in love a wonderful torment. Xcor and Layla's romance has been building ever since I was reading the series. I love bad guy redemption stories and Xcor goes from badass traitor to his race to an invaluable member of the brotherhood along with finally getting his shellan and the family he has longed for all his life. I enjoyed the sub plots surrounding Tohr and Vischious. Even the brief appearances of the Blind King and Xsadist were enjoyable. Qhuinn and Blay go through their own trials related to Xcor, Layla and the young twins they co-parent with Layla. Although Qhuinn's behavior in an early pivotal scene borders on abuse, he's able to find his way back to his bonded mate and prove that he wants Blay to be as a parent to the twins as he and Layla are. Some of my pet peeves were also gone such as the mythology surounding the Virgin Scribe.

Quibbles:

There is still far too many plot lines going on in J.R. Ward's novels. I tend to skip the ones that don't interest me like the Lessers, Shadows and the peripheral Brotherhood members. The flashbacks are not as rampant as in previous novels, but not my favorite parts.

Final verdict:

This is a solid Black Dagger Brotherhood novels with all the strengths and fewer of the weaknesses of precious novels. I'm a fair weather series reader, especially one involving such a large cast of characters. I also find that I'm a lot less interested in the physical consummation of the relationships and skipped those parts as well. I'm unlikely to pick up another book in the series because there are no unmatched characters that I'm interested in. My favorite couples remain Qhuinn/Blay, Zsadist and Bella and Xcor/Layla.

Monday
Apr242017

One Day as a Tiger: Alex MacIntyre and the Birth of Light and Fast Alpinism by John Porter

Why I read this book:

I'm a fan of the Banff film festival and often look to their written category finalists for reading material. I bought One Day as a Tiger by John Porter nearly 2 years ago after the first of my first child to read. Alpine style mountaineering is impressive and when done right can be a relatively safe way to climb high peaks. When done poorly, it is a recipe for disaster.

My one sentence summary:

The first and evolution of Alpine style mountaineering seen through the life of one of its pioneers.

Kudos:

I have a natural affinity for mountaineering books that tell a story and transport the reader onto those perilous slopes that have showcased the height of human ingenuity and athleticism as well as the most devastating tragedies in sports. One Day As a Tiger by John Porter excels at both capturing the history of Alpism mountaineering and those involved in the pursuit of peaks through faster and lighter travel than their mountaineering fore-fathers. Porter mixes in personal stories with the often harsh realities of mountaineering behind the Iron Curtain and with ever evolving equipment. The reader really gets a sense of who Alex MacIntyre was, for better or worse, and the closeness of the mountaineering community despite its competitiveness. The tales of bribing officials and back door dealing just to get to the foot of a mountain that no one - or few - had climb is truly a testament to the determination of these adventurers. Let alone the perilous journeys and failures to reach the summits, which I eagerly read.

Quibbles:

It took me almost two years to read this book. However, that is more a reflection of my busy life and desire to take in every word rather than a lack of writing skill on Porter's part. There is a bit of a meandering quality to this book, much like the unexplored path to the top of a mountain. But I was never disappointed in the view.

Final verdict:

This is a high recommend for anyone interested in mountaineering development and the people who often sacrificed life, limb or relationships in the pursuit of the climb. The often asked question is posed at the end of the book. Why climb that mountain? As always, the answer comes down to Mallory's reply 'Because it is there'.