Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Carolyn's September Buys

Haven't done this for awhile and to be honest, I'm mostly doing it now to keep track of the books. It seems I've preordered quite a few for September. Hopefully, if someone reads this, a book or two will strike a chord in the reading heart and you'll discover you can't live without that particular book.  ;-)


1.  Cover of Night (Alpha Crew Book 3)
     
      Author: Laura Griffin
      Publisher: Simon and Schuster
      Price:  $3.99
      Release Date: September 4, 2017


Sparks fly when a journalist and a Navy SEAL cross paths in Thailand in this third entry in the thrilling and sexy Alpha Crew series from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.

Journalist Karly Bonham is on her first overseas mission, covering the new United States ambassador to Thailand, when she is taken hostage by terrorists, with only her wits and courage to keep her alive--until help arrives in the form of Navy SEAL Ethan Dunn.

As part of an elite SEAL team called Alpha Crew, Ethan has been on countless harrowing missions, but he knows this one is different the instant he meets Karly—the sexy young reporter who somehow managed to escape the terrorists’ clutches. Ethan is impressed by her, especially when he learns she has intel that could be the key to a successful rescue op. Ethan knows working with a civilian raises the stakes on an already dangerous mission. But with the clock ticking down, he enlists Karly’s help to thwart a vicious plot and bring a terrorist mastermind to justice.


2.  Secrets in Death
     
      Author: J D Robb
      Publisher: Macmillan
      Price: $14.99
      Release Date: September 5, 2017


A new novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series: Lt. Eve Dallas must separate rumors from reality when a woman who traffics in other people’s secrets is silenced.

The chic Manhattan nightspot Du Vin is not the kind of place Eve Dallas would usually patronize, and it’s not the kind of bar where a lot of blood gets spilled. But that’s exactly what happens one cold February evening.
The mortallywounded woman is Larinda Mars, a self-described “social information reporter,” or as most people would call it, a professional gossip. As it turns out, she was keeping the most shocking stories quiet, for profitable use in her side business as a blackmailer. Setting her sights on rich, prominent marks, she’d find out what they most wanted to keep hidden and then bleed them dry. Now someone’s done the same to her, literally—with a knife to the brachial artery.
Eve didn’t like Larinda Mars. But she likes murder even less. To find justice for this victim, she’ll have to plunge into the dirty little secrets of all the people Larinda Mars victimized herself. But along the way, she may be exposed to some information she really didn’t want to know…


3.  A Conspiracy in Belgravia (The Lady Sherlock Series)
      
      Author: Sherry Thomas
      Publisher: Penguin Group
      Price:  $9.99
      Release Date: September 5, 2017

The game is afoot as Charlotte Holmes returns in USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas’s Victorian-set Lady Sherlock series.

Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she’s not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office.

Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half brother.

In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body surfaces where least expected. Charlotte’s investigative prowess is challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he, too, end up as a nameless corpse somewhere in the belly of London?


4.  On the Chase (Rocky Mountain K9 Unit Book 2)
      
      Author: Katie Ruggle
      Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
      Price:  $6.15
      Release Date: September 5, 2017

Injured in the line of duty,
His orders are simple:
Stay alive.
But when a frightened woman bursts into his life, Hugh and his K9 companion have no choice but to risk everything to keep her safe.
The sole witness to a horrific crime, Kaylee Ramay flees to the Colorado Rockies to start a new life. There she becomes Grace, a dog kennel employee desperately trying to avoid attention-especially from dangerously attractive K9 Officer Hugh Murdoch.
Because Hugh is tall, dark...and nothing but trouble.
Hugh is anxious to get back in the field after an act of heroism left him warming the bench.
Until then, he and his K9 partner Lexi spend their hours teasing the town's mysterious newcomer. But when their simmering attraction is nearly cut short by a sniper's bullet, Hugh's mystery woman must come clean about the secrets she keeps...
Or both of them will pay the price.

5.  A Taste of Honey (Lively St Lemon Book 4)
      
      Author: Rose Lerner
      Publisher: self published?
      Price: $0.99
      Release Date: September 12, 2017


Fire and ice cream...

Robert Moon risked everything, including his father’s hardwon legacy, to open his beloved Honey Moon Confectionery on the busiest street in Lively St. Lemeston. Now he’s facing bankruptcy and debtor’s prison. 

When a huge catering order comes in, he agrees to close the sweet-shop for a week to fill it. There’s only one problem: his apprentice is out of town, so his beautiful shop-girl Betsy Piper must help Robert in the kitchen.

Betsy’s spent the last year trying to make her single-minded boss look up from his pastries and notice that she would be the perfect wife. Now the two of them are alone in a kitchen full of sweet things. With just one week to get him to fall in love with her, she’d better get this seduction started...

She soon discovers that Robert brings the same meticulous, eager-to-please attitude to lovemaking that he does to baking, but can kisses—no matter how sweet—compete with the Honey Moon in his heart?


6.  The Duke's Bridal Path
      
      Author(s): Grace Burrowes, Theresa Romain
      Publisher: Grace Burrowes Publishing
      Price:  $3.99
      Release Date: September 12, 2017

Two Regency novellas of true love deep in the English countryside....Legend says that the first gentleman a lady kisses on the Duke's Bridle' Path will become her true love. Grace Burrowes and Theresa Romain say it's not that easy... 

In His Grace for the Win, by Grace Burrowes, Philippe, Duke of Lavelle, has sworn off all things equestrian after his brother's riding accident. Just one tiny problem: The woman who steals Philippe's heart, Harriet Talbot, loves horses, and generally only notices men when they're in the saddle. Will Philippe rise to the challenge, or come a cropper for the sake of true love? 

In Desperately Seeking Scandal, by Theresa Romain, ambitious London reporter Colin Goddard follows a trail of scandal to the Lavelle seat in Berkshire, hoping to save his career with articles on how to snare a wealthy spouse. What was intended as a humorous series turns seductive, as Lady Ada Ellis, sister to the duke, uncovers Colin’s true purpose and challenges him to a battle of wits…and wills, and hearts. But if they fall in love, one of them will lose everything. Who will triumph?


7.  Wicked Deeds

      Author: Heather Graham
      Publisher: Harlequin
      Price: $7.99
      Release Date: September 19, 2017

Eager to start their life together, historian Vickie Preston and Special Agent Griffin Pryce take a detour en route to their new home in Virginia and stop for a visit in Baltimore. But their romantic weekend is interrupted when a popular author is found dead in the basement of an Edgar Allan Poe–themed restaurant. Because of the mysterious circumstances surrounding the corpse, the FBI's Krewe of Hunters paranormal team is invited to investigate. As more bizarre deaths occur, Vickie and Griffin are drawn into a case that has disturbing echoes of Poe's great works, bringing the horrors of his fiction to life. 

The restaurant is headquarters to scholars and fans, and any of them could be a merciless killer. Except there's also something reaching out from beyond the grave. The late, great Edgar Allan Poe himself is appearing to Vickie in dreams and visions with cryptic information about the murders. Unless they can uncover whose twisted mind is orchestrating the dramatic re-creations, Vickie and Griffin's future as a couple might never begin…


8.  Archangel's Viper

      Author: Nalini Singh
      Publisher: Penguin
      Price: $7.99
      Release Date: September 26, 2017

Enter New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh's breathtakingly passionate Guild Hunter world with the story of a woman who isn't a vampire or an angel...or human...
 
Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy gray underground of the city for the angels. But it's not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman--it's the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalized by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerize her prey, and a poisonous bite.
 
Now, someone has put a bounty on her head...
 
Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael's private guard, and he's as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly's. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself--because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening...
 
No one is safe.      
      

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

White Guilt

This is a terrible time in America. We have a man leading the country who says there are good people in the ranks of Nazis and White Supremacists and violent people in the crowd of counter protesters who brought no weapons and were standing against hate.

Marginalized people are suggesting the only thing new is that the Klansmen no longer feel like they have to wear hoods and for the first time, for the first time since I'm aware, white people need to shut the fuck up finally and start learning how they're complicit and how to change.

It's hard. It makes me personally feel bad. I read posts that say white people are complicit and I want to whine, "not me, I'm not a racist" but seriously, of course I am. I'm not color blind. I have white privilege and I know it. And it makes me shamed because whether or not I feel I deserve it, I get treated a fuck of a lot better for being white than people more qualified than me who are of different races.

Maybe I'm luckier than most because I've faced prejudice as a Jew, as a woman, as a mother of a gender bending Chinese child. I've heard Chink as a description of my daughter, I've been told that Jews are going to hell and we are waiting for our messiah, the anti-Christ (hey, I didn't vote for him, you did!!)

I've never felt white guilt before because I could claim to be marginalized. But I wasn't. A teaspoon amount of hate in a vast ocean doesn't allow me to claim understanding.

I hate this feeling. I hate not knowing what to do, where to turn. My country is being destroyed quickly. This isn't a small dismantling of pieces but a huge rending of our nation and we need to stop it and I don't have a fucking clue what to do.

I hate being told that being white is complicit even though I know it's true. Even more, the guilt of knowing that unless we figure out as white people how to get this country back from hate then we're as bad as those marching with their tiki torches and racist chants.

This is America and we've let our silence bring us here. Now we need to let POC show us the way to get out of this mess. So shut up for once white Americans and lets listen and follow someone else's lead.

This really is on all of us.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

And The World (And My Head) Keep Spinning

Reasons I don't want to get out of bed most mornings:

1. Fox News put up an opinion piece saying that Russia did meddle in the election and the Trump campaign was dirty but do we really care? After all, Trump is go good for the economy that we should overlook any criminal activity. (Still: Hillary's emails.)

2. The growing racism/Islamphobia/sexism of this country is terrifying.

3. HBO having a show whose premise is the civil war never happened (or different ending) and blacks are still slaves. And people don't understand why it shouldn't be made. Judd Apatow saying that maybe it will be like All In The Family and I'm just shaking my head. It's 2017. No. Just no. It's every shade of wrong and if you can't see that then I'm pointing a finger and saying you're part of the problem.

4. Reclaiming my time. Jay-sus. Don't tell me how wonderful I am, answer my question.

5. Check AztecLady's blog for the teach your daughters how to properly say no. Almost amusing since the author then called all the women saying no "outrage Twitter" but again with the sexism.

6. Personal note: I can't afford having a teenager. I just can't.

7. Body acceptance. Suddenly I'm reading about how dieting is bad and weight watchers is bad and body acceptance is the only good. And I want to post and mention that there's more empowerment in gaining control of eating issues and weight than in just telling a fatphobic world they should appreciate my obesity. I feel like I'm supposed to be happy with being fat and feel guilt because I'm not. (I'd rather not judge those who are happy in their skin at any weight and support those who aren't. And I'm not. Stop making me feel bad for losing weight and liking myself more.)

8. Work. I hate the anxiety. But I like the paychecks.

9. We have a congress nowadays who are passing laws to restrict the president's power because they don't trust Trump. The fear that our lawmakers are showing that Trump will send a nuke or start a war does not make me feel confident.

Our country is going to hell in a handbasket. And... my Fox watching, lib hating brother who openly calls Trump a loon... still supports him. Says he's a terrible president and supports him. Continues to say Hillary should be jailed. And he's representative of republicans nowadays. Hate the president but support him. Because he's white, male and not other.

If women don't take over the country soon, I worry there won't be a country left to take over.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Wildfire: A Hidden Legacy Novel by Ilona Andrews

Carolyn:  It's going to be difficult to discuss this book without giving out spoilers, so since I'm up first, I'll post the bookcover and the blurb.  Heh.

As far as the cover's concerned, it's the standard romance-type cover, only this time they put an undershirt on "Mad" Rogan. None of the covers in this trilogy do justice to the stories behind them. These books are so much more than your vanilla romances plus each one is a solid five stars on Amazon.  Wildfire has 296 reviews; White Hot has 645 reviews and Burn for Me, the first book, has 1318 reviews and they ALL have five solid stars.**

But, take a look at the cheesy cover:



Meh.

And the blurb:

Nevada Baylor can’t decide which is more frustrating—harnessing her truthseeker abilities or dealing with Connor “Mad” Rogan and their evolving relationship. Yes, the billionaire Prime is helping her navigate the complex magical world in which she’s become a crucial player—and sometimes a pawn—but she also has to deal with his ex-fiancĂ©e, whose husband has disappeared, and whose damsel-in-distress act is wearing very, very thin.
Rogan faces his own challenges, too, as Nevada’s magical rank has made her a desirable match for other Primes. Controlling his immense powers is child’s play next to controlling his conflicting emotions. And now he and Nevada are confronted by a new threat within her own family. Can they face this together? Or is their world about to go up in smoke?


**as of this writing.


Lori:  If there was ever a reading slump happening, this book kicked it to the curb while wearing stiletto boots and looking like a boss.

This book was perfection.

Yes. Perfection.

I liked the first book but it wasn't something I'd burn down a house to get to. The second book was much more enjoyable as Nevada and Connor's relationship blossomed and their power became a large part of who they were. I enjoyed Nevada's family. My only issue with the second book was the cast of characters had me confused at times.

But. This. Book. Was. Perfect.

There's a mystery going on but that's so secondary to the enjoyment. It's watching Nevada navigate being in love with a man who is larger than life and just as dangerous, it's watching Nevada deal with jealousy and love and familial obligation, it's watching Nevada make choices that might hurt those she loves while protecting them at the very same time.

I was 100% on Nevada's side and cheering her on with every step.


Carolyn:  And it was seeing Connor Rogan through Nevada's eyes, her realization of his true self and how much he loved her. How he let her do her thing despite his knee jerk reaction to protect her. Both characters grew so much in this book; I think all of the characters did and that's what made it such a satisfying read.

So, what did you think of Victoria? Or, as they call her on the Andrews' blog, EG (Evil Grandma) lol.

And I have to admit I was a little disappointed in Penny, Nevada's mom. She couldn't seem to learn from the past and wanted to handle the current situation with Victoria as she and her husband did in the past. I don't think she ever did buy into the House solution, but still, I'm pretty sure she'll back up any decision made through family consensus.

I'm totally hoping for a fourth book ASAP. Because I am an Old Fart, after all. And when my time comes I'm hoping to take all my Ilona Andrews books with me and I by God will figure out a way to read any new ones after my departure. Heh.


Lori:  Carol, if I outlive you then I'll visit your grave and read the damned books to you myself!

I found Penny to be somewhat ineffectual. Nevada has taken over the family and is doing what she can to keep everyone safe. Obviously hiding won't work so her constant harping about it is foolish

Victoria was a terrific character. Her evil was tempered. I could see her becoming an ally to Nevada in later books if the authors decide to take it that way. Victoria is the kind of person who admires strength and the Baylor family has that in spades.

I just loved this book on so many levels. It was brilliantly paced, there was a great love story, especially in seeing how two strong people can make it work, despite having boundary issues. Rogan is a wonderful hero, Nevada is a wonderful heroine.

Oh, and their dinner date from hell was pure joy as other Primes kept coming in and harshing their vibe. Just damned excellent!

Okay older fart, wrap this baby up.


Carolyn:  Not much more to say. Buy the book. Read the book. You won't regret it. This is a 10 star book in a 5 star universe.  :-)

I wanted more Cornelius and I got it. I wanted more ferrets ... well, I didn't get that but we did get Loki, a cat with a tentacle neck ruff, so that was neat. Still want more Cornelius though because his animal magic is so damn neat.

And although this book is touted as the conclusion to the trilogy, I don't believe it will remain a trilogy for very long. The ending was more or less open ended; even though the main plot was brought to a satisfactory conclusion, several plot threads remain open, including the identity of Caesar. I know, Lori, you think you know who it is, but it was never stated for sure. And the Andrews can be verrrry sneaky.

Best book ever.  Time to reread.  :-D

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

It's Saturday morning and I haven't exercised at all this week. I should be at the track right now walking in endless circles while listening to female empowerment songs but it's raining and I'm glad because I just need a day off. A real day off.

A day where books and coffee and quiet are the norm.

And oh my, let's talk a moment about books.

I've been reading very little in recent years. I used to gobble books like candy but life gets hectic and there's so many responsibilities and nowadays if the book doesn't grab me or impress me within the first couple of pages then I'm moving on.

Recently I've been grabbed.

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas was a damned good grabber. It's a Sherlock Holmes mystery but get this... Sherlock is a woman. Watson is a woman. And Sherlock who is really Charlotte can only use her brains to solve mysteries because in England way back whenever.... women were constrained under societal rules. So Charlotte/Sherlock uses her brains and sends Scotland Yard chasing the clues she needs.

Why the book works: Charlotte is different. She's brilliant and doesn't fit into conventional society. She knows it and her family knows it and her father gives her lip service promising to let her find her own path if she plays by the rules till she's a certain age. She plays. He lies.

Charlotte creates her own downfall to try and get what she wants. It doesn't really work. But then she meets Watson, a friend of a friend who helps her out and becomes her mentor in a sense.

By the way, Charlotte is in love with a man she cannot have. Marriage and morals keeps them apart (not Charlotte's moral, his).

Why the book doesn't work: since Charlotte is a woman and can't be out there solving the crimes, the book relies heavily on Inspector someone and someone else to do the legwork and get the juicy stuff. Then there's the paramour and that's 2 or 3 men and I couldn't keep them all straight.

I just wanted more Charlotte. And more of Charlotte's sister Livia who is on the edge of being another great character. The men were forgettable but the women were stunning.

So it wasn't a 10 out of 10 book because the men didn't grab me. It was a 9 out of 10 book because the women grabbed me and didn't let go. If the next books could send the women out to solve crimes, I'd purr like a contented kitten and never stop.

Charlotte Holmes is an awesome as fuck character. Thank you Ms. Thomas for her.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

NSV

An NSV in weight watchers lingo is a Non Scale Victory.

So last night the neighbors across the street had a 50th anniversary party. I only know them because they're yellers and constantly are yelling either at the dogs to stop barking or fighting with each other (quite loudly) dropping F bombs the way I used to drop my panties for good looking fellas.

Anyway, we went to their anniversary party. And I wore a top that I bought months and months ago that I realized I could wear as a dress now, it's so loose and long. NSV.

As an aside: last night as I was falling asleep the neighbors got home from their party and started yelling again and it was the perfect moment. Got to admire 50 years together and still screaming fuck-you at each other.

So in other news, I'm actively seeking other employment since my boss called me a shithead. Do not ever let me be a woman who allows abuse. I have an interview this week at my dream place of employment so Mollie and I are hitting the mall today to try and find an interview dress and shoes. To say I have nothing to wear is true. I have workout clothes and scrubs and 3 casual tops. Yikes.

Still working on outline for Carol and my new project. It's interesting to outline since this is something I haven't done before. But it's really helpful and I can already see where plot is going to need to be beefed up. In other words: Carolyn, get ready to start working...

Reading A Study in Scarlet Women, a Sherlock Holmes retelling by Sherry Thomas. Expect a joint review soon. I will say, more enjoyable than I thought but a little problematic.

Not much more else to say. Read the NYT interview with POTUS. Amazing to see how truly ignorant the man is. I would make a better president than him and there's so much I don't know. Fascinating reading though. He's a classic there's no there, there.

Love to all...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

#skinnyforsanta2017

So had two bad work days. Okay, have had more like nine bad work months but the last two days were really disheartening. And with the boss calling me a shithead the previous week, I'm pretty done with this place.

But that's okay. The money there is good and we all know he pays well because he's impossible to work with. And I figured for the money I could put up with a lot. But my limit was reached with the shithead comment and then two days of disrespect with co-workers put me over the edge. I took today off to polish my resume and start applying for new jobs.

Happily I can say my resume is updated and I've already put in applications at the hospital.

However.... I got home last night in a slightly foul mood and ate chips. Stayed in my weight watchers points but damn, I ate chips and they were good. Then I scanned through the Weight Watchers chat and saw a #skinnyforsanta challenge. And I joined. So 5 months from now I want to be 170. As of this morning I'm 192 which puts me at exactly 60 pounds lost.

I'm fucking proud of myself.

Other news:
1. I cannot read Jill Shalvis. Sorry Carolyn. She just isn't a good enough writer.
2. I want to reread the Hitchhikers Guide books.
3. Mollie still hasn't gotten contacts because her eyes are too small. Second set of specialty contacts are ordered for her to try.
4. I've given up on jogging but I'm still walking. And saving my money to join the gym.
5. I've gone from wearing 4X tops to XL tops. My wardrobe is shrinking but also my new tops are really much cuter.

6. Carolyn and I are working on writing something new.

It's going to take us forever and a day but the premise is solid, the characters are interesting and I'm excited.

Love to everyone.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

How To Be Good





Katie Carr is a good person…sort of. For years her husband’s been selfish, sarcastic, and underemployed. 

But now David’s changed. He’s become a good person, too—really good. He’s found a spiritual leader. He has become kind, soft-spoken, and earnest. Katie isn’t sure if this is deeply felt conversion, a brain tumor—or David’s most brilliantly vicious manipulation yet. Because she’s finding it more and more difficult to live with David—and with herself.


Have you ever read a book that enraged you? A book that had a good idea but was written with so much spite and disdain that you wanted to punch the author in the face? If you haven't, might I suggest that you try How To Be Good by Nick Hornby.

This is a well written book in the sense that Hornby can write and he has an engaging voice. But...

Every single character in this book is despicable. There's the married couple, the faith healer, two children, the man on the side and pretty much every single character in this book sucks. The main character, Katie is a doctor who is having an affair and thinking about divorcing her asshole husband. And her husband is a dick. Contemptuous, rude, just a horrible human being.

But wait. He gets touched by a faith healer (who is also a stupid character) and then becomes a nice person. Except he isn't really nice at all. He gives away money, gives away his kid's toys, is sanctimonious and although he's no longer bitter and sarcastic he's still a major dick.

So do we like Katie? Fuck no. Katie is insincere, selfish, emotionally unattached from her family, her life, her children and the people she treats. She blames her husband for her straying but she's not decent enough to make choices to connect to her life or even try a little harder. Her entire life is a Katie vs the World and everyone loses.

So as selfish asswipes, the main characters suck. As good people the main characters suck. Even the kids are written that one is a kiss-ass pretender and the other is a bitter thief. Jeez. Nobody in this entire book is someone you'd want to spend 5 minutes with.

Oh, and the ending. Let's not forget the worst ending ever.

Yeah, SPOILER h 

it the book ends with Katie and David admitting basically that they're both faking it and neither feels connected to anything. There's no love, no hate, no caring. Just two soulless people sharing a life, destroying their kids and trying to pretend they're human.

These are two people that you know one day will be driving a van, picking up hitchhikers and murdering them in the basement just to feel a thrill as their victims die. And what I seriously hated about the book was the feeling that the author was being sincere. Which made me hate him too.

This book gave me a headache. Don't read it. And avoid Nick Hornby. He's the devil. ee....

Friday, June 30, 2017

Waving Goodbye to June

Well dear friends and gentle readers,

we are living through a time that will be wildly dissected by historians and mental health professionals for decades.

There's nothing I can say about our current political mess that people aren't saying better than I am. So let me say instead: anybody currently supporting the Republican party and current administration is simply the same as a good German who turned away when the Jews started getting rounded up. There's no difference.

And yes, my sibling still supports the party and administration. All I can think of it is something that someone tweeted which, I paraphrase: I can't explain to you why you should care about others.

They don't. They just don't. And they never will.

So moving away from the depressing morass of emotion... I was walking yesterday and came upon some very gross yet cool wild pig skulls (and assorted bones). There were three skulls, one still had tusks. I took 2 and brought them home and they're currently in a bucket of water bleaching the gross shit out. I plan to clean them and paint them and display them because they're so cool.

I need to decoupage one. So I need to learn decoupage.

I set a personal goal to lose 6 pounds in June and didn't think I'd make it. This morning I was down the 6 pounds exactly. Pardon me while I crow: I rock!!!

And current journal pages I love:




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata


Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.





Lori:  This book was 50% fun and readable and 50% crap.

The book begins with Ruby emailing Aaron who doesn't respond. It takes him awhile to respond to Ruby who is rather tenacious and via written words, adorable. I would like that Ruby. When Aaron finally answers, he tells her that his girlfriend had just dumped him and he wasn't in the best place.

The emails between the two are fun and fun to read. They both have their charms and there were a few moments when I giggled and/or grinned. Very enjoyable.

Then the writing goes from emails to online messaging. Still fun to read. Still charming. 

And then Aaron's tour ends and he comes back home. And suddenly the book at the half way point goes into Ruby, first person.


Carolyn:  Yeh, that it did. 

And it all went downhill from there.  

I think we'll both agree that the second half did not live up to the first. Ruby navel gazed through pages and pages and pages and when I realized I was mostly skimming, I quit reading. Because life is too damn short.

The big hangup was they were supposed to be friends and each of them feared to take it further. Ruby was in love with Aaron; Aaron, we can assume from some of his reactions, was in love with Ruby (of course she's too damn busy navel gazing to pick up on that!! grrr!!). And I got sick and tired of it.

I wish she'd worked it around to where all of the book was epistolary (I can spell it but I can't say it, lol) and had them meet at the very end when they KNEW they loved each other.

Because I LOVE epistolary books but I HATE navel gazing!!!


Lori:  It wasn't just the navel gazing either. It was that Ruby became a suddenly unlikable character. She was afraid of everything, she picked up on nothing and she was just pathetic.

I liked Ruby. Then I didn't. And to me, that was the worst thing the book did.

I skimmed the last part too and looked at the ending to see they got their HEA. For a reader to get a HEA out of this book my suggestion would be to read half of it and then write your own. Because unfortunately the author messed it up way too much.

Carolyn and I both had to give this a DNF.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

White Hot by Ilona Andrews



The Hidden Legacy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm…and their relationship burns hot
Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.
Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …


Lori:  I haven't been reading as much as I used to so this was a great book to kick my reading mojo in gear.

This book did great in balancing stories. There was a definite romantic storyline between Nevada and Connor, there was the mystery of who killed Nevada's client's wife and also a plot line (probably leading into the next book) with a family issue that's bound to explode.

The sexual tension between the lead characters was great. Of course I had issues with Connor's over-protective urge. There were too many times he overstepped and took away Nevada's power. Despite his accurate reasoning, it always pissed me off. Nevada's independence rests too much on Connor keeping his word, not an okay situation.

Also the one sex scene purple prosed so there was that too...


Carolyn:  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Working Out the Kinks

I'm perving over a 21 year old. It's true. I'm almost embarrassed about it but then again, this boy is super hot.

Mollie and I are watching a Korean K-Pop competition show, Produce 101. Mollie has her 3 or 4 crushes on the show and I have my one crush. Mollie laughs at me but likes to remind me that it's completely legal to get nasty with a 21 year old.

Sheesh.

But... I love this feeling. I like the little frisson of excitement when seeing him. I like the fantasies, dirty and not as dirty, that he inspires. I like that the fantasies make me want to write them out.

Carolyn is teasing me because a week or two ago, I was telling her that I'm done writing. I have no creativity, no desire to write. Now I want to write because this beautiful boy is so inspiring.

(Notice I'm not posting a picture or giving a name. Ha. I might be a perv but I'm not an obvious one.)

Watch this space. There might be an erotic romance announcement.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Half Gone, Half to Come

Welcome to June sweethearts.

Thank you Willa and all who are so understanding of trying to survive in the age of Trump. I think many of us are going to be living in a state of anxiety until this is all over. However, I'm done with being polite about it. You want to support this government and say so, I'll explain to your traitorous ass why you're the reason America isn't great currently and if need be, I'll grab your dick and give it a squeeze for emphasis.

After all, pussies and dicks are up for grabs in Donald Trump's America.

Things worth noting this month:

I dropped out of the 200s. I knew I'd do it in June, just didn't expect to do it on June 2. But I'll take it. And more, please.

Went shopping with Mollie yesterday. We were at Old Navy and for the first time ever I tried on some clothes. They all fit but I didn't love them enough to buy. However, I did buy some workout clothes at Sears that were 75% off and XL. And they fit too.

We went to the craft store in Hilo and oh my...

Lea...

I bought a sketch book to use as my new Bujo. I've been having a problem finding what I want because I wanted unlined pages and bigger than note size  and we checked out the sketch books and they were exactly right. Under $10. 100 pages which will give me 2 months of journal with all the extras I want.

Cover was the only negative because it was ugly so I covered it in Washi tape and voila! insta-love.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Self Care

I don't know how to do this. How do you wake up every morning wondering if today's the day that our president is going to blow up the world? How do you go to work, plan your child's future, plan next week's goddamned menu when you keep waiting for the world to end?

Everywhere I look people say that you have to take care of yourself. But how indulgent is it to take your eyes off the stage when the next act might be the last?

I'm trying. I really am. I collect recipes, I work on my Pinterest boards, I'm working on saving money to send Mollie to Japan. Maybe we'll all live. Maybe the man in orange won't destroy us. He might just destroy our democracy.

How are people doing this?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Happy Sunday

What a crazy week. It feels like everything is just so topsy turvy right now. It's hard to make sense of this world with Donald Trump destroying our country, with children becoming the new soft targets for terrorism, with racist white men becoming the new norm as they harass and murder.

I feel so isolated. I'm living with two people who are still supporting this government and I'm gobsmacked for what they're willing to overlook and lie about. And if I point out their mistaken facts (Faux News sure doesn't share unbiased news) then it's all tight faces and jacked up proof that Trump is doing the right thing.

So I tell myself I need to take care of myself. I need to concentrate on my health and well being because right now it would be too easy to sink into despair. But even that becomes unsure. My weight loss is going well. I even started jogging (badly, slowly, awkwardly). But I'm doing it. I've lost 51 pounds since last December.

But... my budget is still messed up and I'm struggling like crazy to make sense of it. And I have to buy more groceries for myself (and now for Mollie since she's on summer vacay) and that's expensive. My car needs two tires and apparently the balance is a little off. My upcoming bonus check which I was looking forward to extra money looks like it's all going into the car.

My boss is planning a lot more weekends of work which is throwing off my schedule. And it looks like some of those weekends I'll be working the entire thing. Which also gets in the way of my dancing. And that is hard.

Okay, this is my seriously whiny post.

Good things: Finally read Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold which Carolyn has been touting for years and it was wonderful. I loved every minute of it (except the brothers all drove me crazy but that's a small thing). I was emotionally hooked in the story and that was huge.

My little town had Western Week last week. There was a Portuguese Bean Soup cook off which my SIL won. She really made a kick-ass soup and she was the winner of the golden ladle as well as on a float in the parade. Walked my ass off that day which walked me out of my two week plateau and over my 50 pound loss.

Restarted my Pinterest. Trying to use it in a way that works for me. Kind of a shopping list, dream board and recipe keeper.

Okay. Got things to do and a nap demanding to be taken.

Laters loves.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Sometimes You Get Dizzy

My week has been a mess of confusion. Serious highs, joys and some plummeting lows. I'm confused for the most part, feeling a little disoriented and unsure.

Sunday I discovered Ecstatic Dance and as I posted earlier, it was complete joy. I was able to rearrange my work schedule to attend the next one and my nephew and I are talking about going up to Hawi together to experience the dance up there.

Work sucked. I felt like everybody I worked with was dismissive of me this week and disrespectful.

I ran into someone I worked with at my old job who told me that the third person hired to replace me is now gone and they have basically had to hire three people now to do the job I used to do by myself. I'm not going to say I'm irreplaceable but damn...

Last night in conversation my brother said
1. There's no such thing as cultural appropriation.
2. Ariana Grande was not a victim in the attack at her concert because she once said she hates America so she deserves what she gets.

I've seen a lot of people on Twitter blaming A. Grande for that statement and for being inappropriately pretty/sexy and suggesting a crazy man with a bomb is somehow her fault.

Would someone tell me where the fuck these people lost their souls and maybe we can dig in the dark to try and find them?

My weight has been fluctuating between 203 and 204 for 2 weeks. I'm frustrated.

I'm reading The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman and it's breaking my heart.

Did I mention that my brother's compassion for humanity has disappeared? I love the man but I'm starting to wonder why.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Stunned. Heartbroken. Broken.

In Manchester, someone set a nail bomb at an Ariana Grande concert. Last I read there were 22 dead and over 50 injured.

Ariana Grande is a mid-teen sweetheart, She's well known by kids because of her work on Nickelodeon. Whoever did it knew they'd be killing little girls.

Whoever did it, did it knowing and planning on killing little girls.

Call it terrorism. Call it murder. Call it inhumane. At this point I don't give a fuck.

This is humanity nowadays and it's killing us.

Monday, May 22, 2017

And I Danced

There was this thing I've been wanting to do. Ecstatic Dance. Once a month in my little town at the local theater people gather and they dance.

Two hours of moving to music. Two hours of non-judgmental, work your body however you wish to, move to the music and dance.

It was, for lack of a better word, ecstatic.

There were probably about 50 people there. 50 people on a stage with world music playing and everybody moving. People leapt, they gyrated, they bounced and they swayed. I went with my nephew and his mother in law. It was nice walking in with someone but we didn't dance together. Mostly we just.... danced.

50 people aware of each other, sharing energy and spirit. We were all barefoot and moving around each other. I could feel the floor vibrate with their steps and stomps. When I realized I was concentrating on anything or anyone outside myself, I closed my eyes and just moved.

I let the experience be about my movement and how I felt in my body.

And I felt amazing. I felt loose, energetic, sensual. I enjoyed. I swayed, I swung, I stomped. And I grinned a lot because I had so much fun.

And I danced.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Character Study: Trey

The first time Trey Montgomery fell in love, he was in kindergarten and her name was MacKenzie Bissett. MacKenzie had the same white blonde hair and startling blue eyes as Trey's own mother, Nona did, and he swore while standing on a playground swing, that he would marry MacKenzier when they were old, like eleven, and he would love her forever.

Three years later Nona Montgomery said she was going to the country club for some tennis and a massage and would be home by cocktail hour. She didn't return home by cocktail hour that night or any other night following. Trey's daddy, William Montgomery II, got notification from his lawyers that his wife was in Tennessee shacking up with an eighteen year old grocery store bag boy and she filed for divorce long distance.

William Montgomery II took great pride in claiming that no Montgomery man ever paid for cooze and none ever would. He sent his lawyers after Nona the way a hunter would send a hound after prey and he delighted in not only refusing her any settlements but in stripping away her maternal rights and keeping all her possessions left behind and destroying them during a summer lawn party in a spectacular bonfire where later fireworks exploded overhead and Zinnia Plum auditioned for the role of Mrs. Montgomery in a spectacular private show of her own which produced a different type of firework explosion at the end.

William Montgomery never did marry Zinnia or any other woman and Trey Montgomery broke MacKenzie Bissett's heart by stating (again on the playground but thankfully away from prying eyes) that his tastes ran more toward dark haired women now that he was older but he wished her the best of luck finding someone to love. 

MacKenzie did find someone to love a few more times in her life. It was at Johannsen's Drug Store in the make-up aisle where she met Paris Pols, the granddaughter of Margie Pols who had worked as a housekeeper for the Montgomery's for most of her adult life, that MacKenzie finally discovered the one great love of her life. She liked to tell the story that she found true love while trying to find Firehouse Red nail polish and Paris was seeking a pale peach lip gloss.

"I love the taste of peaches," MacKenzie would say with the satisfaction of a well loved woman and Paris would feel her wife's smile deep in her heart and quietly thank Johanssen's for carrying any make-up at all.

Trey wouldn't have remembered MacKenzie and if he had ever met Paris, she wasn't even a distant memory.

Trey found his true love on the football field. Growing up without a mother or a woman to keep his household from sinking into a masculine oblivion, William took to drinking with a quiet studiousness that he didn't devote to anything else in his life and Trey discovered that he could catch a ball. Even if he could never make his father happy he could make his coach almost giddy with his prowess and that gave him a feeling he hadn't know previously. 

Trey was a perfect high school jock. He was big without being beefy, smart without being intellectual, hard working on the field and hardly working in the classroom. He flirted with pretty girls and would take as much as any of them was willing to offer but he remained emotionally aloof.

It was at the high school assembly, where Trey and his teammates were slapping books out of each other's hands and acting like younger boys than they were, that the school jazz band played and Maria Santos stepped forward to sing an old bluesy song, Summertime. Trey was immediately smitten by the sultry tempo of the song, the quiet building emotion and the dark eyes of the young woman who sang with her heart as well as her voice.

Maria never considered herself the kind of girl to attract the attention of a high school athletic star but she was. The mean girls, the popular girls, the cheerleaders all hated the dark haired girl who stole the golden's boy gaze. 

Even William didn't approve when he heard about his son's romance. "You're like royalty in this town," he told Trey, pointing at his son with a glass of scotch. "Royalty doesn't date wetbacks."

"I won't date her forever," Trey told his father, not adding 'because one day I'll marry her.' William, of course, assumed a secret message from his son that the sex would run its course and Trey would move on to an appropriate woman.

Maria got pregnant in their sophomore year of college and William threatened to disown his son. He refused to attend their wedding which was a justice of the peace quickie or their reception at the VFW Hall in downtown Three Pines. It was just as well since Maria's younger brother drank until he passed out, face down in a piece of chocolate cake and Maria's mother cried every few minutes because her daughter was married, was pregnant and was leaving college.

William continued to pay for Trey's schooling but he refused to pay anything to help the young married couple out. Trey continued attending college but his football career became a distant dream as one baby became two and both he and his wife struggled to meet the bills and continue moving forward.

Sometimes Trey wondered about his mother. Had she ever loved his father? Had she ever loved him? Walking out would be easy but staying when the times are hard took more strength than sometimes even an athlete felt he had. But he wasn't doing it alone and no doubt Nona always had. There was no way that William had supported his wife, just as he couldn't be bothered to support his son and his young family.

Trey graduated law school two years behind the rest of his class and used his family name to secure a job that was willing to pay him more than he was worth in hopes that the high school star athlete would be an attractive figure for clients. 

Trey tried reaching out to his father with invitations to social gatherings and carefully worded holiday cards. William never responded and when he died, alone, his liver no longer functioning properly and his heart tired of beating, William Montgomery II surprised his son by showing one last act of love. At the funeral service, Trey allowed himself tears for a family that had been so lost to each other they never found a way together.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Garden Spells/Practical Magic: Sister and Spells

I was pondering a story in my head and it got me to thinking of one of my favorite books: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. Which got me thinking about Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman, whose book Story Sisters I'm reading right now. And it occurred to me that the books had similarities.

Both are books of magic. Both are books of sisters. Both have troubled sisters running away from abusive men. Both have a child involved, as well as female relations.

I thought they were interesting similarities. As though the common female experience is sisterhood, sister love and abuse at the hands of a man. But in these books the women rescue each other. There's love to be found but the HEA doesn't come from a man, it comes from a sister.

A novel feminist idea (that was a pun): women need to rescue each other for true happiness to be found. Sisters can't survive without their sisters.

Now I need to think of other books about sisters that have the same idea.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Inside the Fucked-Up Mind of a Fat Girl

This morning I weighed 205 pounds.

In 2 weeks (I'm betting that's all the time it will take as long as Mollie's birthday doesn't throw me too far off track) I'll leave the 200s forever and be in the 190s. I won't be staying there either but right now I'm trying to handle the idea of never weighing in the 200s again.

You'd think this would be huge and joyous. I haven't weighed that since, well, maybe since Mollie was 1 year old and it's her 16th birthday we're celebrating on Saturday. Outside of twice in my life, I've weighed over 200 since I was a teenager. I weighed 160 in high school. And I kept getting bigger.

It is huge and joyous. And scary as shit. And I'm trying to understand why the idea is so scary.

My awareness recently has led me to recognize that the primary reason I've been obese as an adult is because it was all I really knew. I was used to the habits of overeating and sneak eating and even when it did nothing for me emotionally, I kept it up.

I expected to have a hard time on Weight Watchers and I'm not. It turned out that I wasn't that hungry after all. Turns out that I'm just as happy eating an apple as I am eating cheese popcorn. Turns out I don't miss sugar.

But I've never been thin. I don't know how to do thin. I don't even know how to do weighing less than 200. And that's daunting.

I'm not looking for a reason to quit or fail. I don't plan on quitting or failing here. I'm facing this head on and dealing with the idea of living my life in a way that isn't failing. I didn't know I could do that. And it's a new situation for me.

And it's scary. And exciting.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

What Are You Hungry For?

Every Thursday on weight watchers, Oprah posts a video. Sometimes she features people on the program, sometimes she addresses issues we all face. Last week she asked the question "What are you hungry for?' and it was such a great question.

I don't know that I have the answer yet.

When I first went from being a chubby kid to a fat kid was after my mother found out my father was abusing me and he bought her a new house and she ignored the abuse in exchange. I spent a summer eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, unable to fill the emptiness inside.

I've always eaten to fill the emptiness but now I realize that I'm not empty. So what is my hunger for?

My life is pretty rocking. My family keeps me laughing and feeling accepted and a part of something. My daughter is amazing and she's my sun and moon. My job pays my bills, my best friend is steady and life is good.

I eat because I don't know how not to. So I guess that's what I'm finally learning. I have to recognize the empty spaces got filled and I don't need to try and stuff them anymore.

What are you hungry for?

Friday, May 5, 2017

We Deserve Pretty Things

Spending time recently thinking about the journey that brought me to this place currently and where I hope/plan to go. Thinking about the self-talk, the private recriminations, the punishments and also the joys.

There's always joys.

I don't tend to spend a lot of money on myself. As a parent, as one of those kind of parents, I've always put Mollie first. True story: special (expensive) ice cream, very low cal and hard to get and I bought three pints, packed them in ice for an hour and a half drive to get them home and Mollie ate 2.5 pints. I had half of one.

I don't resent it at all but I deserve more too. I deserve pretty things. I deserve yummy foods.

We all do.

We all deserve and need special care.

I'm finding ways to make sure I get things I want and need It's a slow process but I'm going to make sure that my space is calming and pretty, my clothes look good, I have the books I want to read and that I always remember that the paychecks I earn are not only to pay bills and take care of obligations but they can also be used to bring me a little joy too.

Are you doing the same?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bad Shrimp

Let's just say that's one way to lose weight and not a very pleasant one.



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

So Foolish

I foolishly believed that most Americans believed in taking care of each other.

I foolishly believed that most Americans bled when a child died.

I foolishly believed that our President, despite party affiliation, would have America's best interests at heart.

I foolishly believed that most humans wanted to leave the planet in better shape than it was.

I foolishly believed that greed didn't trump humanity.

I foolishly believed that we had a great country.

I've never before been ashamed to be American. I am now.

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Slay! Slay May!

Happy May Day!

Excited about this month. Mollie turns 16. 16!!!  I miss my baby but I really enjoy this young woman she is.

Things I've learned recently:

1. I can make good food choices.
2. I cannot seem to make good money choices.
3. I need a lot more motivation than I'm giving myself to write.

Anyway, today we learned that Donald Trump, the president of the United States does not know why the Civil War was fought. And he didn't know who the president was during that time.

Let that sink in.

Our president is dumber than the average fifth grader.

Yup. Yay Trump.

I won't go further with this because it gives me a headache and honestly I can't handle this. I cannot. Handle. This.

I weighed 209.8 this morning.

Concentrate on good things.

My head might explode slightly before the nukes do in North Korea.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Day Of Self-Care

I worked Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and am scheduled to work Thursday and Friday so here I am on Wednesday, off work and happy to be.

I have a shit load of things that need to get done and as I pondered the list I also thought about the things that would make me happy.

My nails need to be filed and colored. My toenails need another application of polish. I need to dye my hair. Laundry needs doing and eyebrows need a little maintenance.

I need to take a day and take care of myself.

Obviously a real day of self care would be doing no chores (haha) and letting someone else sculpt and paint my nails. But since I won't be budgeted to do that until about 2025, once these things are done then I'm going to be much happier in my own skin. (Which, by the way, there's less of as I weighed in at 211 this morning.)

So it's almost 10:30 in the morning. I had a huge breakfast and am drinking a second cup of coffee. I started my laundry and I'm going to go put hair dye on my head. Then I'm going to wash dishes and clean the kitchen. Then I'll wash out hair dye and shower.

My laundry will go in the dryer and Mollie's will go in the washer. I'll do my nails and write in my journal. My lunch is going to be Halo Top Peanut Butter Cup ice cream and a banana (oh my God, so freaking decadent!!)  I'm going to rearrange my desk again and take out garbage.

I plan on either napping and then taking a walk or vice versa. I'll work on my eyebrows at some point and probably watch some Netflix. Dinner for the family is leftovers and I'll have French Onion soup and crackers. I'll be completely on point for Weight Watchers, I'll have indulged in my day for me and tomorrow I'll feel pretty good about myself because I always love having my nails done.

I'm still waiting for my books to be delivered and I'm slowly reading Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres. I've loved his writing but this book is really stodgy. But charming Anyway, I don't love it but I'm also not hating it so I'm reading slowly.

Also I'm hoping I get a package soon of gifties. I joined a gift exchange on Weight Watchers called Share the Love and you get a random draw buddy to exchange weight watchers themed gifts with. Or gifts of encouragement. Anyway, my buddy and I exchanged one email and I don't really know anything about her so I sent her a box with low point crackers, candy, a journal, Kona coffee and hawaiian themed pads. I don't know, but hope, she sends me something.

Okay, that's my self care day in a nutshell. Time to smear hair dye all over my head and hope my forehead doesn't turn black.

Kisses to all out there that I love and admire. (And major pride and enjoyment in Willaful's wondrous journey. Girl, you stepped outside your comfort zone and not only have survived but were able to acknowledge and be in the moments that were hard. You are an inspiration!)