Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

I spent the whole day reading this and do not regret one bit the stuff I left undone. This book was worth it.

Have a blurb:

Devastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans.


Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery's household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous.


Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can't resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets-and neither may be as nefarious-or as innocent-as they appear . . .

I enjoyed the heck out of this book. 

The previous Maiden Lane books were sort of meh for me; I read most of them but they didn't really grab me and some of the plots were way over the top. Val has been in most if not all of them, to one extent or another. He's always been a dubious character, if not downright evil.

We began to see there might be more to Val in the previous book, Sweetest Scoundrel, his sister Eve's story.

He is a terribly flawed character and yet he is still a Romance hero in many ways, not the least of which is his sense of humor, his fighting ability and his intelligence. He just has a few hangups from his childhood (as most alpha heroes do), but these are integrated into the narrative seamlessly and for the kicker, he is not immediately cured by the magic hooha or wooha or whatever it's called (I forget) but still remains a bona fide eccentric at the end of the book.

His heroine, Bridget, is more than up to his weight. These two were made for each other. Val considers they are playing a chess game of life and she manages to checkmate him several times, which delights him except for the last one.

And if I say that Val reminds me of Mal Erickson from Play by Kylie Scott, does that give you some idea of his character? They both have that manic energy and can be so funny and yet so loving (even though Val doesn't believe he can love).

But if he were to divest himself of his glory for a few short minutes, become a plain, boring man - perhaps with the name Jack - what would she reply to him then?

He gazed at her a little moodily.

Or Val's always interesting thoughts:

She was strangely alluring in her confidence in her own abilities. Women of his rank didn't have jobs, didn't have competence in... well, anything, really, aside from the odd musical talent. Embroidery. Dancing. His sister painted miniatures,but Eve was an eccentric. He did know of several ladies quite skilled at fellatio, but could that be called a job? Well, yes, if one were a whore, but the ladies in question didn't actually sell their skills, not unless one counted obtaining ever more influential men as lovers, but that wasn't exactly a quid pro quo, therefore...

He blinked and realized Mrs. Crumb was watching him quizzically. "Yes?"

"Sometimes," she said, "I wonder what you think about."

And there's the difference between first and third POV. We get to hear Val's thoughts as well as Bridget's and his thoughts are some of the funniest moments in the book. And overall, the book has a lightness to it, despite the seriousness of the source of Val's problems and the climatic scene near the end of the book. I ended up liking both these people and the plot was not too outré. I'm not sure Ms Hoyt redeemed Val, but then I don't think she meant to. He is what he is and he's willing to let Bridget be his moral guide. More or less.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you like Mal in Play. Happy reading!


Sunday, May 29, 2016


So here we are during our long weekend staying at my coworkers house and I'm so blocked it's pathetic.

I can't write. No words make sense to me.

I'm going back to watching House reruns.

Friday, May 27, 2016

TGIF, or as we're calling it here in sunny Honoka'a: TV land!

Happy long weekend!

My co-worker is on vacation for three weeks and I'm joyfully working her job while she's gone (as well as my own which means the piles of work I have are more than a little daunting) (but I am Super Woman so there). Anyway... since I'm doing her job I'm also taking care of her house.

And three Golden Retrievers, 4 cats and two rabbits. So Mollie and I were at the house yesterday and loving on the dogs who were loving on us and we had the ceiling fan going and Mollie said, "can we stay here?" which I've been saying for days so welcome to a long weekend vacation.

My co-worker's house, although a sty which I've been cleaning, has HUGE screen TVs, the afore-mentioned dogs, comfy couches, a dishwasher, fans and um, no family members.Love the family but love being away from them also.

We're excited. We get to spend 3 full days and nights in a house by ourselves, cooking for ourselves, eating protein and vegging out in front of a television. Although the truth is that Mollie got a new video game so she's going to connect it to the TV and play and I'm bringing my Kindle and computer so I plan to read and write.

We are gonna party, boring-style.

In other news, Mollie is done with Freshman year and we're eagerly awaiting grades. She's been #1 in her class all year but geometry kicked her ass this last quarter so we don't know if she'll end the year as top student. She hopefully will. Fingers crossed.

I celebrated my one year anniversary in my job and although I still love it, I'm not happy financially and my boss is avoiding talking to me because he knows it.

Life is good.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Oh, Lordee ...

I had an epiphany tonight regarding the GOP candidate.

Who all has read The Dead Zone by Stephen King?

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program ...

Carolyn's June Books

June is another busy month, but there are a couple of late May books I'm going to sneak in because they've been ordered since the last post. So, without further ado, here are some additional May choices.

1.  Nannyland
     Author: Jane Elizabeth Hughes
     Publisher: Simon and Schuster
     Released: May 30, 2016
     Price: Pre-order sale price of $1.99

This delightful, romantic debut follows a sophisticated Manhattanite who trades her fast-paced Wall Street life for the English countryside, and unexpectedly becomes a nanny to the children of a widowed British lord. Who is as infuriating as he is intriguing...

Jordy Greene has it all—the high-powered job, the high-octane New York lifestyle, the powerful lover—until she’s suddenly forced to flee the city. Running to avoid false charges of illegal trading and a destructive relationship, Jordy escapes to England. There she finds refuge in a cottage on the estate of the icy Lord John Grey—a descendant of the Nine Day Queen, Lady Jane Grey.

The four rambunctious Grey children are in desperate need of a nanny, and Jordy is in desperate need of a purpose—so they plunge into an investigation of the Tudor queen’s mysterious life and shocking death. Amid flying subpoenas, willful adolescents, outraged aristocrats, and an unexpected attraction to Lord Grey, Jordy struggles to regain control of her life. In the midst of the chaos, can she find the kind of happiness she’d never thought to have?

If The Sound of Music and The Wolf of Wall Street had a child, it would be the captivating Nannyland!

This is a new-to-me author ... well, of course she is, it's her debut book! But for the price, I'll take a chance.  :-)  I do wish I knew why publishers have a sale before the book is released; does the poor author ever work out her advance?

2.  Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane)
     Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
     Publisher: Hachette Book Group
     Release: May 31,2016
     Price: $6.99


Devastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans.


Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery's household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous.


Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can't resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets-and neither may be as nefarious-or as innocent-as they appear . . .

At last, Montgomery's story! I'm anxious to see how the author redeems this villainous rogue. 

And now on to June. 

1.  For the Win (The Perfect Play Series, Book 1)
     Author: Sara Rider
     Publisher: Simon and Schuster
     Release: June 6, 2016
     Price: another pre-sale - $1.99

What happens when you fall for your biggest competition? Sara Rider scores with this charming romance about soccer stars battling their tough opponents and playing the field of love.

Lainey Lukas has sacrificed everything—sleep, family, carbs, a life—to earn her spot as the top player and captain of the Seattle Falcons women’s soccer team. She’s determined to lead her team to a national championship and finally earn the sport the respect it deserves—and nothing will throw her off her game. When Lainey’s hero Gabe Havelak, star of the Seattle Surge, crashes her team’s first press conference—making the Falcons look like a joke to the local media and humiliating Lainey in the process—she’s hell-bent on revenge.

Charming, confident Gabe is practically a god to Seattle soccer fans, but he doesn’t mind a little friendly competition from tough-as-nails Lainey, with her top-notch athletic skills, her mile-long legs, and her girl-next-door freckles. But when he learns the Falcons are booting the Surge from their coveted practice space to the notoriously cursed Cricket Field, those warm feelings give way to crippling superstition. With his contract up for renewal and his thirty-fourth birthday just weeks away, Gabe will risk anything to protect his position with the Surge.

The rivals agree to settle their differences in a Battle of the Sexes competition—a test of skills, fitness, and willpower. At first the situation seems win-win: Gabe gets the chance to earn back the Surge’s practice space, and Lainey’s team will finally get some much-deserved media attention. But as the friction between them becomes hot enough to spark and smolder, Lainey and Gabe are entering new territory—and with both of their careers on the line, love might just be the toughest opponent of all.

Another pre-release sale, another new-to-me author. I do love sports romances, so I'm taking a chance on this one even though I know nothing about soccer (or football, as most of the world knows it ;-).)

2.  Allegiance of Honor 
     Author: Nalini Singh
     Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
     Release: June 14, 2016
     Price: $13.99
The Psy-Changeling world has undergone a staggering transformation and now stands at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: Old enemies. New allies. Wary loners.
But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten and threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: A child who is both Psy…and changeling.
To find the lost, protect the vulnerable—and save Trinity—no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?
I prefer the Archangel series, but I follow this one too and I'm wondering if this is the final book?

3.  Forevermore (Darkest London)
     Author: Kristen Callihan
     Publisher: Hachette Book Group
     Release: June 28, 2016
     Price: $7.99
Isolated and alone, Sin Evernight is one of the most powerful supernatural creatures in heaven and on earth. As an angel of vengeance, he hunts down the darkest evil, but when his long-lost friend, Layla Starling, needs him, he vows to become her protector. Even though she will be horrified by the man he has become. 

Now a famous singer and the toast of London, Layla believes that Sin is only here to guard her from rabid fans and ardent suitors. However, the truth is far more sinister. Desperate to avoid losing Layla a second time, Sin will face a test of all his powers to defeat an unstoppable foe - and win an eternity with the woman he loves.

This has been a good series, but I confess, I prefer the earlier books.

4.  Sweet Little Lies: A Heartbreaker Bay Novel
     Author: Jill Shalvis
     Publisher: HarperCollins
     Release: June 28, 2016
     Price: $6.99
Choose the one guy you can’t have . . .

As captain of a San Francisco Bay tour boat, Pru can handle rough seas—the hard part is life on dry land. Pru loves her new apartment and her neighbors; problem is, she’s in danger of stumbling into love with Mr. Right for Anybody But Her.
Fall for him—hard . . .
Pub owner Finn O’Riley is six-foot-plus of hard-working hottie who always makes time for his friends. When Pru becomes one of them, she discovers how amazing it feels to be on the receiving end of that deep green gaze. But when a freak accident involving darts (don’t ask) leads to shirtless first aid, things rush way past the friend zone. Fast.
And then tell him the truth.
Pru only wants Finn to be happy; it’s what she wishes for at the historic fountain that’s supposed to grant her heart’s desire. But wanting him for herself is a different story—because Pru’s been keeping a secret that could change everything. . . .

I like Jill Shalvis' voice, writing, characters ... just everything about her books. Thank the lord she's a prolific writer. 

That seems to be it for June. As always, I reserve the right to add more books as long as there's room in my Fire and money in my bank account.  :-) 

Who Was That?

My daughter's birthday party is tomorrow so we headed out and spent the evening in Hilo (an hour's drive) to shop and dine out and shop some more.

So on the drive in, my usually quiet daughter chatted. And chatted. And laughed. And chatted more. And didn't stop talking well, all through dinner. And then we shopped and she kept talking.

Only when we were at the grocery store around 10pm did she finally run out of steam and driving home she zoned out.

But who was that talkative child? In 15 years that kid has never talked so much as she did tonight. It was bizarre, delightful, fun and so weird.

Otherwise, life is good. Party will have lots of food. We're excited and ready to play.

And I kinda finished my book but I think it might need to go through a severe re-write. So I decided to do something really stupid and send it out to a few editors in query to see if anyone will want to read more than the sample I sent.

While I'm waiting to get my ass kicked, I'm working on a nice little marriage of convenience story.

Ah life, Always a kick in the cojones.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Girl Talk

I'm deep into revisions of my novel and recently when I've needed to talk breaks I'm immersing myself into reading agent blogs and query sites and the ilk. And I read a wonderful nugget of observation by Janet Reid, super-agent.

She said women talk in qualifiers and write that way too.

I don't know but...
I think maybe...
It's my opinion that...

We don't want to offend. We speak softly and carry no stick. We're apologetic for having a voice.

So yesterday I went through my ms. and tried to take out all the qualifiers I could find. And there were a lot.

The funny thing is that the one making all those qualifying statements was the freaking devil of all things. Somehow I don't think she would be apologetic for her opinions.

Better writing. Better speaking. Less apologizing.

Friday, May 13, 2016

15 Years Ago Today

I was in the Macy's lingerie section, working as a salesgirl. There was a tall, red headed woman that had wandered in and was looking for a bra that would fit her "up there parts".

"We have a variety of wonderful brands," I said.

"Y'all have anything that will plump the ladies up? My john is a boob man and well, I'm sorely lacking."

"Your john? I didn't realize you were a working girl. We have some nice bustiers that would make any woman look chesty."

"John is my husband, you northern crazy lady. Let's see some of those busty thingies."

I showed her bustiers.

"I need something more modest. I'm not like one of you yankees. I have morals."

"Oh, a Republican? We have some nice chastity belts."

"Whore. You need to get on your knees and pray for salvation."

"I don't need to get on my knees, lady. I'm three foot tall. Men love me."

"I can tell." She eyed my belly. "There's a lot of love there."

"Listen Paula Deen, that's my baby who's due any moment."

"Paula Deen is a buttery racist. What kind of bra do you wear? Those boobies of yours can't be all natural."


"Ow what?"

"Ow. That hurts."

"What I just said?"

"Ohmyfuckinggod, the babies a-comin'."

I gave birth in the dressing room and that's how Mollie was born and Carolyn became an important part of my life.

Ignoring the face that Mollie was adopted, born in China, Carolyn doesn't wear bras and I was banned from Macy's lingerie department years ago.

My little girl is 15 years old today. She's a great kid and I'm crazy proud of her.

Happy Birthday Mollie.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Shutting Out the Internet

Mollie is out of school in a few weeks (Hawaii starts school in the end of July: very short summer)  and she'll be taking horseback riding lessons ($30/lesson)  and possibly a summer class of advanced math). Next year I intend to be FundRaising Mom since we have to earn enough money to pay for a trip to Oahu ($500) and I want to go as chaperone ($500), as well as a trip to Japan as part of an exchange program ($2000).

My car needs back brakes ($300), I desperately need work clothes (minimum $150) and we still have bills to pay ($100 gajillion).

But that's all just part of life.

I'm dieting. I want to lose weight to buy some nice pants for work because I prefer wearing pants at work and I can't find any that I like in my size. So I simply need to be a different size to have better choices. I've found that by announcing it to all and sundry I'll cause myself horrific embarrassment if I don't lose weight. So ha. I'm trying to paint myself into the proverbial corner.

I'm also trying to finish my book.

(Just a fun cover.)

So because I'm the Queen of Avoidance, the best way to get writing down is to destroy my distractions. Therefore Facebook went buh-bye.It's not sitting there tempting me away from my work. Also all my computer distractions were terminated except the blog, my bill paying websites and Amazon.

Until I get over 80,000 words written, Facebook is not allowed back. Soda Crush is deleted. I'm supposed to delete Bingo Blitz but my spirit is weak. So weak. (LOL!!!)

I got work to do. (See, I'm using this blog as a way to distract myself. I've written 100 words and I'm supposed to write 500 this morning.) I'm even working with a therapist to find positive processes to start achieving my goals.

Thank God for Write Or Die. It might be the only way I'll ever get back to seeing my funny cat videos.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Drawing your attention ...

... to Margaret and Helen and a letter written by Margaret's nephew. It's unconscionable that this is happening in the 21st century, and the person who is supposed to be teaching the New Testament and leading his congregation to Jesus' love is proved a bigot. I am (practically) speechless.

Letter to a man of God

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Scared of Writing? You're Not Alone

In October of 2015 I started playing with an idea for a novel that was different than my usual fare. During Nano in November I used it as my nano novel and wrote 50,000 words (more or less) (there were about 10,000 words of one scene written three different ways).

I love this book. I really do. This is a book I'd want to read because it's things I'm passionate about: God, morality, religion, love, self-destruction and the always popular good vs evil.

So why is it taking so long to write?

Eloisa James wrote a wonderful essay that I'm too lazy to find and link to where she was talking about academia and why men do so much better in the publish or perish sweepstakes: because women will agonize over every word while men write it, decide it's good enough and get it out.

Women: I used and three times in that sentence. And I think I dangled a participle.

Men: Hope they don't mind the misspellings. Time for a beer.

Obviously that's a little generalized but the truth of it is pretty intense. Women are so much more insecure and where does that show up? In our writing. (As well as every other aspect of our lives but that's another story.)

So then I was rereading On Writing by Stephen King which is considered a truly brilliant book and I always thought it was too and I realized that it doesn't work for me. Papa King telling me what I may or may not do just doesn't cut it.

Because it works for one, doesn't mean it works for someone else.

So anyway, I've been thinking about putting a piece of paper above my writing desk that says Write Like a Man to remind myself to stop fretting over every word and just write the damned thing. And to stop seeking advise from others about how to write because if I haven't figured this out for myself by now, I'm never going to.