Author: mfred loves to read

I was looking at menus of restaurants, planning how to eat my way through my vacation next week, and…

I was looking at menus of restaurants, planning how to eat my way through my vacation next week, and got a little peckish. So, I went to the coffee shop in the library and got:

  • an iced mochaccino 
  • with whip cream 
  • and a chocolate drizzle
  • and a white chocolate raspberry scone.

Stop! Go read some Ilona Andrews! Right now! Wildfire by…

Stop! Go read some Ilona Andrews!

Right now!

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Nevada and Rogan are in love. Except they are still in the midst of a vast magical conspiracy to take down Houston and impose tyrannical rule on all of it’s citizens. And Nevada’s extremely powerful, very frightening grandmother is gunning for her. So, of course, Nevada decides to take on a kidnapping case, which may or may not lead her straight into the heart of the conspiracy and talons of her grandmother.

Nevada is smart, capable, powerful, and devoted to her family. She is a great heroine– she is highly skilled, but not in a superhero kind of way. You know she has fought and bled for all of her knowledge. Rogan is crazy, always on the verge of losing it and destroying everything in his path, but he is also deeply in love with Nevada and with her belief in him. Watching the two of them explore their relationship and build upon it is a joy. And the mystery/suspense plots are actually mysterious and suspenseful! All in all, Andrews really knows how to write urban fantasy. 4 stars.

Quirky and interesting!Strange Practice by Vivian ShawDr Greta…

Quirky and interesting!

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Dr Greta Helsing is a monster doctor, she serves London’s undead and otherwise non-human population. Vampires, ghouls, and demons, oh my. And when some rampaging monks start killing off humans and monsters alike, Greta is on the case!

This fun little mystery revolves around Greta and her ensemble of monster friends. What I really liked was that Greta was not a kick-ass, take no prisoners, all-powerful, all-magical heroine. No, she was a doctor. When there was a medical emergency, she kicked ass because that is what she was supposed to do. When there was a monster emergency, she was human and did her best within the limitations being human imposes. I loved the cast of characters around Greta, the relationships she built with both humans and monsters, and the very vivid London scenery that Shaw built in the narrative. I had a lot of fun reading this book and am looking forward to the next one in the series. 

A person behind the coffee counter said, “I love your glasses! … and your wallet! ……

A person behind the coffee counter said, “I love your glasses! … and your wallet! … and your bag!” and I was like, “aawwww–”

And then she said: “I want to be you when I grow up.”

Me, too.Sourdough by Robin SloanLois is living the 21st century dream. She’s a software engineer at…


Me, too.

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Lois is living the 21st century dream. She’s a software engineer at a tech company in San Francisco. Except it’s a bit more of a nightmare then she expected– she works 24/7 in an expensive city she can’t really afford and barely has time to eat or sleep, let alone have a life. Then she discovers a local restaurant serving heartbreakingly spicy soup and amazing sourdough bread. She becomes their number one customer. When the brothers that run the place are forced to leave the country due to visa issues, they decide to leave their favorite customer the starter to their sourdough. This magical, mystical sourdough starter transforms Lois’ life. Soon she’s baking at an underground farmer’s market, learning the secrets of microorganisms and breadmaking.

This is a sweet, kindhearted, fun book to read. It’s quirkly, it’s thoughtful, it’s non-judgmental. Whimsical. Lois struggles to understand herself all while learning about something as simple (and yet totally complex) as making bread. The book has a lot of heart. And also makes you really crave a nice thick slice of bread. 4 stars.

bird-on-a-wire: @trueloveisrarelyafairytale got me thinking…


@trueloveisrarelyafairytale got me thinking about covers, so I went investigating my library and cloud to find some of my absolute favorite covers. Okay, so there are ton of bare chested males in my cloud, like OMG row after row full of abs, pecs, and vee’s. I think authors, especially beginners in contemporary romance, choose this option a lot because they attract a lot of attention. And if you appreciate the male form, which I do, there are some truly gorgeous male chests out there lol! 

If I love an author, I buy them in paperback and five of these bad boys are on display. Last night I highlighted favorite series covers, so here are a few of my favorite males…

1) “Calico” by Callie Hart is the only one I haven’t read and therefore don’t own in paperback. But the striking contrast between the white background and the black illustration sucks me in. Plus, I think that’s Franggy Yanez under all those branches and I can’t resist his covers (see #6). I’ve heard really good things about this author and need to check her out soon. 

2) If you’re going to embrace the naked male cover, why not go all the way like River Savage’s “Hetch”. Even though you can’t really see anything, for me, it’s a really high impact cover with him completely nude, soaked, and breaking apart thanks to the cool artistic effect. I gave this one 5 stars, its the beginning of a new series for her, but she also has a really good MC series. 

3) “No Pants Required” by Kim Karr plays with angles. Her hero isn’t straight on, which gives us some definition as well as a glimpse of that haunch and side butt. I’ve seen pants dropping lower and lower so side butt may be the new “vee”. I can’t find my review, but I’m pretty sure I gave this one 4 stars. To be honest, I bought it just for the cover lmao!

4) Anything by T.M. Frazier is an instant paperback must-buy. She is an incredible writer, does dark very well, and Bear, her hero in “Lawless,” is larger than life, which this cover shows off marvelously. I am a sucker for tattooed guys, beards, and bad boys in my books…combine them all together I’m mush. You have to read King and Tyrant first, but all are 5 star reads.

5) I’ve just discovered this Penny Reid series, but already read the first two and am eagerly anticipating #3 with Cletus Winston, who is hands down my favorite romantic lead yet and I haven’t even read his book. I adore him! Anyways, the first book is “Truth or Beard” and what caught my eye first was the cover. It’s quirky and unlike anything out there, which led me to pick up book one. The series is high on sweetness, comedy, and quirkiness, but not too hot. So far I’ve really enjoyed this series. 

6) Behold the beauty of Franggy Yanez, the cover model of Brittainy C. Cherry’s “The Air He Breathes.” It has been the first and only book I’ve read of hers so far and I absolutely f’ing loved it (5+ stars) and I hope it hasn’t ruined me for her other books. I cried like non-stop with this one, like ugly cry, baffle the husband and children kind of cry – “why do you keep reading it if it makes you sad?”  I bought it based on the blurb and reviews, but the cover is one of my all-time favorites. Franggy is a model/photographer and has become like the Fabio of our generation. I own at least five other books that I’ve never read yet just because he’s on the cover. 

So that’s my list of favorite male covers. Tonight was easy as there are a lot of covers to choose from. I’ll be back tomorrow with some of my favorites featuring women. 

Do you have some favorites? I think I’ve established I’m a cover whore and will buy a book just for the cover, so feel free to enable me. Let’s get some feedback going @mfred, @mariaslozak, @sunnysaysbookreviews, @sunburstpearls, @bibliophilestyles, @brenda-is-reading and anyone else who wants to play along. 

You know, book covers are kinda strange when you’re primarily a digital reader. I use book covers for visual cues when I’m picking a book online (sorta), but then once I download it, I never really think about it again. I don’t see it. It doesn’t really exist any more.

So for picking books, it’s kinda weird… because Kindle Unlimited is basically just a bunch of man boobs over and over again. Look at this book. Does that cover say cute, romantic small town romance? No, it screams sex! On KU, I feel like I pick books despite their covers.

But when I’m browsing my library’s overdrive, covers become really important. I can quickly skip over anything historical (dresses, clinches, idyllic scenery), narrow in on suspense and mystery romance titles (guns, action shots, uniforms), or browse for more general fiction just by the cover. It’s a visual language I understand. 

So, on one hand, aesthetic appeal is really important and on the other, I totally dismiss it. I don’t buy books for their covers, except for when I do. 

Laura Kaye’s good guy bikers do it again!Ride Wild Cora has been…

Laura Kaye’s good guy bikers do it again!

Ride Wild 

Cora has been babysitting for Slider for awhile now, when he comes to realize just how much she means to him and his family. He hires her on as a full-time nanny, giving Cora a path forward towards a career and a life where she didn’t see one before. Both have secrets they’re keeping from the world and broken, battered hearts. 

This is a story about two people learning to depend on and trust each other, but it is refreshingly lighthearted. It’s more about two people becoming better together and doesn’t dwell in angst or trauma. Both of them are damaged but they are healing. She draws him out and he gives her something stable to lean on. It’s sweet and heartbreaking, watching two people find love when both least expect it. The suspense sub-plot feels a little tacked on compared to the emotional journey. 4 stars.

Hard as Steel

Jess has to hide from some bad dudes so Ike takes her to the Raven Rider’s compound and shacks up with her in his secluded cabin in the woods. Natually, their forced proximity leads to hot sexy times… And then love!

I really liked that Jess was her own woman. She’s not a wallflower or a inexperienced miss, she’s a tattooed and pierced badass with sexual experience and know-how. And Kaye doesn’t shame her for it! Ike is a bit of an emotional curmudgeon, so it’s fun to watch his walls get torn down by Jess. 4 stars. 

autostraddle:We’re celebrating how great it is to be gay by…


We’re celebrating how great it is to be gay by offering 20% off in the Autostraddle Merch Store with code GR82BGAY and! A free sticker with every order. You can pick which of these stickers you’d most like to slap on your butt / surface / puppy or whatever to celebrate how great you are most of the time.

Christmas presents for all your queermo friends?

Olivia Bishop is no fun and Jamie Donovan has maybe been having too much fun. Everyone takes Olivia…

Olivia Bishop is no fun and Jamie Donovan has maybe been having too much fun. Everyone takes Olivia too seriously and Jamie not enough. Both want to stretch their wings and become the people they were meant to be, but are held back. And through all of this, they fall in love!

Bad Boys Do by Victoria Dahl

This is a long book and a bit of a slow burn– not in the sex department, oh no. There is plenty of sex. But feelings-wise? Wowza, it takes hundreds of pages to work through that shit. And I really enjoyed reading about it. This is an emotional book all about growth and expectations and family and careers and getting what you want out of life when you want it. 4 stars.

Vroom Vroom

Oh hey, how are you? Whatcha been up to? Me, well, I went on a motorcycle romance novel bender.

Jordan Marie’s Savage Brothers MC and Devil’s Blaze MC

Marie is very soapy. Her plots take a lot of twists and turns, there are evil villains and tortured virgins and deaths (oh my). Her heroes are alpha hunks, but sadly, her heroines are a little flat in comparison. She’s an okay writer, not great, but not terrible. In the Devil’s MC, the couple in the first book continue throughout the series.

These books get 3 stars each:

Jamie Begley’s Last Riders MC

The Last Riders are sexpots. Sexy sexpots sexing it up all over the place, except for the heroines who are brought into this sexy world and have to juggle their morals, their burgeoning love interests, and the very sexy sex. Interestingly, women are considered MC members– but only for the sex. They don’t ride bikes or beat up bad guys. Begley is limited as a writer, her dialogue is very flat and stiff.

These books get 3 stars each:

Daphne Loveling’s Lords of Carnage MC

Loveling wrote the most– I don’t want to say boring, but her books are not as adventurous, soapy, or plot-heavy like a lot of other MC romance. If you’re looking for MC-lite, with heroes a little less overbearing and not so much of the dark and gritty underworld scenery, she’s a good bet. (Although I would recommend Laura Kaye over Loveling).

These books get 3 stars each:

In the middle of all this MC madness, I read one Halloween romance, which promised a lumberjack but did not deliver. 3 stars.