Thursday, December 27, 2018

What Will 2019 Bring?

Aloha all.

This blog has been quiet for awhile and I apologize. Carolyn and I are far from done with it... in fact, Carol told me it's time to update and change and I'm up for the challenge.

Hopefully everyone got through Christmas okay. I was not very seasonal. Mollie is starting to emotionally separate from me, no doubt a natural thing as she prepares to leave the house and go to college and her own independent life. But it leaves me a little forlorn.

On the bright side: I'm sarcastic as shit and openly scornful of those deserving scorn and life is changing for the better. One day I'll give an account of the shitshow that is my working environment and my sudden change of attitude and how it's throwing the status quo off. Nothing like an old bitch with no shits to give dealing with a young bitch with no brains to use.


Carolyn has had some major changes in her life. She has a roommate: her sister Moe. Moe is a do-it-yourselfer and very big on painting any surface that can be painted and decorating and well, driving Miss Carol crazy. Big smiles though because Carolyn is doing all the things now and stepping out of her comfort zone and what can be better than that?

Still quilting. This is my first full sized quilt that I made my sister for Christmas. It took over 2 months and it was crazy hard and so much fun to make.

So time for New Years and resolutions. But that's another post for another day.

Happy holidays everyone!!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Shedding Your Skin and Turning 60

Yesterday I turned 60 and I was wary, waiting for the sudden despair of age to drag me into its depths, the misery of youth having flown and death coming closer.

It never happened. In fact, I spent most of the day giddy and delighted. Joyful to be alive, blessed to be loved and accepted and feeling creative and vital.

Sixty is when I realized that I really am out of fucks to give.

Sixty is when I accepted that the white men on this earth are not my allies, younger women are not my models and I have lived a life full of despair that has afforded me this life full of joy. Sixty is feeling marvelous (except for my knees which need replacement, like, yesterday).

Things I realized: as I celebrated with family and friends, I saw how the women all brought energy and awareness to the celebration, bringing the food and gifts to nourish me (emotionally and literally) and the men sat back and brought nothing. They ate the food, hadn't helped in choosing gifts and didn't lift a finger to clean up afterwards.

Women brought the effort, the emotional care and the pleasure.

On my birthday when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford relived the trauma of her sexual assault in front of a room of old white men and showed courage, committment and more love of this system than any of them will ever know, I knew, as did everyone, that their choices would not change but the women in this world would. ME TOO is no longer a catch phrase to say we've been hurt, it's the words to start a revolution.

I was raised to try and please others. Look pretty, speak softly, let go of anger. And I never understood why I couldn't be that womam. I'm loud. I'm not pretty. And I've spent my life furious as person after person has told me that anger is holding me back.

Not any more, bitches. I'm SIXTY fucking years old and my anger is righteous. My fury is fire and beauty and LOUD AS FUCK! You don't like it well that's a shame for you because this old woman is out of fucks to give, out of politeness and out of sweet. These are my honest years now. This is when I finally don't care about being liked.

Men have touched us, fucked us and made us apologize for our tears. Other women try to quiet us because we make them feel uncomfortable for having loud voices. No more whispers.

That polite skin is shed and I'm ready to slither into the world with my teeth exposed, my venom dripping and motherfuckers, you better hide because this woman just doesn't give a damn anymore.

Welcome to the revolution, fuckers.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Carolyn's October Book Orders (and some of September)

Books, books, books. I keep ordering books; it's something of a bad habit now because I just don't have the reading urge anymore. Or at least not as strongly. Still, I'll not cancel anything because they all sound good and I know eventually I'll dive in and read them all. Just not quickly, that's all, lol.

First of all the last of September.

1.  Hot Winter Nights
     Author: Jill Shalvis
     Releasing: 9/25/18
     Price: $6.99

Most people wouldn’t think of a bad Santa case as the perfect Christmas gift. Then again, Molly Malone, office manager at Hunt Investigations, isn’t most people, and she could really use a distraction from the fantasies she’s been having since spending the night with her very secret crush, Lucas Knight. Nothing happened, not that Lucas knows that—but Molly just wants to enjoy being a little naughty for once . . .

Whiskey and pain meds for almost-healed bullet wounds don’t mix. Lucas needs to remember that next time he’s shot on the job, which may be sooner rather than later if Molly’s brother, Joe, finds out about them. Lucas can’t believe he’s drawing a blank on his (supposedly) passionate tryst with Molly, who’s the hottest, smartest, strongest woman he’s ever known. Strong enough to kick his butt if she discovers he’s been assigned to babysit her on her first case. And hot enough to melt his cold heart this Christmas.

I usually like Jill Shalvis but I don't like the brother's friend and sister trope. I'll have to see what Shalvis does with it.

2.  Phoenix Unbound
     Author: Grace Draven
     Publisher: Penguin Group
     Releases: 9/25/18
     Price: $4.99

A woman with power over fire and illusion and the enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. Unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will abandon everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.

Love Grace Draven and this sounds real interesting.

3.  Strong: A Stage Dive Novella
     Author: Kylie Scott
     Publisher:  Evil Eye Concepts, Inc.
     Releases: 9/25/18
     Price: $2.99

When the girl of your dreams is kind of a nightmare.

As head of security to Stage Dive, one of the biggest rock bands in the world, Sam Knowles has plenty of experience dealing with trouble. But spoilt brat Martha Nicholson just might be the worst thing he’s ever encountered. The beautiful troublemaker claims to have reformed, but Sam knows better than to think with what’s in his pants. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to make his heart fall into line.

Martha’s had her sights on the seriously built bodyguard for years. Quiet and conservative, he’s not even remotely her type. So why the hell can’t she get him out of her mind? There’s more to her than the Louboutin wearing party-girl of previous years, however. Maybe it’s time to let him in on that fact and deal with this thing between them.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

Love this series; I've been wanting Sam to find his love. You go, Sam!

That's all for September (that's 'cause there's not much of September left!) Onward to October.

1.  The Hollow of Fear   
     Author: Sherry Thomas
     Publisher: Penguin Group
     Releases: 10/2/18
     Price: $9.99

   Under the cover of "Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective," Charlotte Holmes puts her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, Charlotte draws those in need to her and makes it her business to know what other people don't. 

Moriarty's shadow looms large. First, Charlotte's half brother disappears. Then, Lady Ingram, the estranged wife of Charlotte's close friend Lord Ingram, turns up dead on his estate. And all signs point to Lord Ingram as the murderer.
With Scotland Yard closing in, Charlotte goes under disguise to seek out the truth. But uncovering the truth could mean getting too close to Lord Ingram--and a number of malevolent forces...  
I'm invested in this series now, will probably read the first two to refresh my memory.

2.  Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas
     Author: Katie Ruggle
     Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
     Releases: 10/2/18
     Price: $5.68

When firefighter and single dad Steve Springfield moved his four kids to a Colorado Christmas tree ranch, he intended for it to be a safe haven. But he never expected danger to follow them to his childhood home...
Or that he would come face-to-face with the one girl he could never forget.
Folk artist Camille Brandt lives a quiet life. As the town's resident eccentric, she's used to being lonely—until Steve freaking Springfield changes everything. Brave and kind, he's always had a piece of her heart, and it doesn't take long before she's in danger of falling for him again. But as mysterious fires break out across the sleepy Colorado town, Steve and Camille will have to fight if they want their happy family to survive until Christmas.
Love Katie Ruggle too. Damn.

3. An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose Book I)
     Author: Charlaine Harris
     Publisher: Simon & Schuster
     Releases: 10/2/18
     Price: $7.99

The beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, the inspiration for HBO’s True Blood, and the Midnight Crossroad trilogy adapted for NBC’s Midnight, Texas, has written a taut new thriller—the first in the Gunnie Rose series—centered on a young gunslinging mercenary, Lizbeth Rose. 

Set in a fractured United States, in the southwestern country now known as Texoma. A world where magic is acknowledged but mistrusted, especially by a young gunslinger named Lizbeth Rose. Battered by a run across the border to Mexico Lizbeth Rose takes a job offer from a pair of Russian wizards to be their local guide and gunnie. For the wizards, Gunnie Rose has already acquired a fearsome reputation and they’re at a desperate crossroad, even if they won’t admit it. They’re searching through the small border towns near Mexico, trying to locate a low-level magic practitioner, Oleg Karkarov. The wizards believe Oleg is a direct descendant of Grigori Rasputin, and that Oleg’s blood can save the young tsar’s life.

As the trio journey through an altered America, shattered into several countries by the assassination of Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression, they’re set on by enemies. It’s clear that a powerful force does not want them to succeed in their mission. Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie who has never failed a client, but her oath will test all of her skills and resolve to get them all out alive.
I liked the Midnight series; not so much the Sookie one. So this will be a tossup Fingers crossed.

4.  Band Sinister
     Author: K J Charles
     Publisher: KJC Books
     Releases: 10/11/18
     Price: $3.99

Sir Philip Rookwood is the disgrace of the county. He’s a rake and an atheist, and the rumours about his hellfire club, the Murder, can only be spoken in whispers. (Orgies. It’s orgies.)

Guy Frisby and his sister Amanda live in rural seclusion after a family scandal. But when Amanda breaks her leg in a riding accident, she’s forced to recuperate at Rookwood Hall, where Sir Philip is hosting the Murder.
Guy rushes to protect her, but the Murder aren’t what he expects. They’re educated, fascinating people, and the notorious Sir Philip turns out to be charming, kind—and dangerously attractive.

In this private space where anything goes, the longings Guy has stifled all his life are impossible to resist...and so is Philip. But all too soon the rural rumour mill threatens both Guy and Amanda. The innocent country gentleman has lost his heart to the bastard baronet—but does he dare lose his reputation too?
If the cover feels familiar, well, Ms Charles said she channeled Georgette Heyer while writing this book. This ought to be a doozy.  

5.  Archangel Prophecy
     Author: Nalini Singh
     Publisher: Penquin Group
     Releases: 10/30/18
     Price: 7.99

Return to New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s darkly passionate Guild Hunter world, where human-turned-angel Elena Deveraux, consort to Archangel Raphael, is thrust center stage into an eons-old prophecy…

Midnight and dawn, Elena’s wings are unique among angelkind—and now they are failing. The first mortal to be turned into an immortal in angelic memory, she’s regressing. Becoming more and more human. Easier to hurt. Easier to kill.

Elena and Raphael must unearth the reason for the regression before Elena falls out of the sky. Yet even as they fight a furious battle for Elena’s very survival, violent forces are gathering across the world. In China, the Archangel Favashi is showing the first signs of madness. In New York, a mysterious sinkhole filled with lava swallows a man whole. In Africa, torrential monsoon rains flood rolling deserts. And in Elena’s mind whispers a haunting voice that isn’t her own.

This time, survival may not be possible…not even for the consort of an archangel.
This is the 11th book in this series!  O.o

6.  Shades of Wicked
     Author: Jeaniene Frost
     Publisher: HarperCollins
     Releases: 10/30/18
     Price: $6.99

In this thrilling new Night Rebel series set in New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress world, sexy and ruthless vampire Ian finally meets his match!
The Rule Breaker...

Master vampire Ian is unrepentant, shameless…and every shade of wicked. He’s made one too many enemies in his two centuries of existence, including Dagon, a demon who now lays claim to his soul. Ian’s only chance to escape Dagon is to join forces with a Law Guardian, but he's never been able to abide by the rules for long.

The Law Maker...

Veritas’ normal role is police, judge, and jury to reprobates like Ian. But she has her own ax to grind with Dagon, so if she can use Ian as bait...well, all’s fair in law and war. As they scour supernatural hotspots to perfect their trap, Veritas soon realizes Ian’s carefully cultivated, devil-may-care roguish image hides something much more powerful. And Ian discovers Veritas has shocking secrets of her own. As they’re drawn to each other with a passion as intense as their peril, either love or justice will prevail. But each will have devastating consequences.
Glad to see Ms Frost back in the saddle, I've missed her.  :-)

Well, that's it until November, when I'll try to return with more releases. 

Happy reading, y'all!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

This review is by Carolyn. 

In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder…

As the captain of Field County’s ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise “Lou” Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant. Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he’s never felt more alive…even if keeping her safe may just kill him.
Lou’s new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she’s determined to make it on her own terms…no matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou—and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.

I can remember the first time I read this book, a minor miracle in and of itself. The characters stuck in my head and came out to visit every now and then and you know a book has hit your sweet spot when that happens.

Usually I'm hero-centric but with this book I was both hero-centric and heroine-centric. I totally loved both characters and I loved the fact that there was no instalust, although there certainly was interest. We are in Lou's head, so we know she's interested but we experienced romance readers can also suss out Callum's wanting to do more to Lou than train her in cold water diving rescue.

Callum is a handsome, kind, gruff guy with a mild to moderate case of OCD and who never says a word if a grunt will do. There is no hint of an abusive background or any other reason for his personality, other than that it is just Callum. I found this very refreshing. And because of this, Lou loves to poke at Callum, about everything from storing meeting chairs to ... well... plumber's crack. Ahem ...

"You know, you'd make even plumber's crack look good."

His hand slapped over the back of the waistband of his jeans. Finding himself fully covered, he sent her an upside-down glare.

"I'm using my imagination," she told him, heading into the kitchen.

Lou has been known to babble and in fact does it several times in this book. She is also stubborn and courageous and determined to change herself from the weak, spineless person she was (her words), into a strong, independent woman who can take care of herself. Lou is the one with the past and it chases after her from the East coast to Colorado and oh my lord, this is such an exciting book and Lou is truly a wonder woman. As she says herself:

"Of course," she said. "In the hospital, I had a lot of time to think, and I realized that loving you doesn't make me weaker. To save you, I dove into a frozen reservoir, killed a guy and almost died."

He flinched, and she gave him an apologetic grimace.

"Loving you actually made me into kind of a badass."

Katie Ruggles became an autobuy author for me, based on this book. She is a good writer and her characterizations are deep enough to be interesting but not so deep as to be boring. Love everything she writes and I highly recommend this book, the start of the Search and Rescue series.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Quilting a New Interest

This is what I'm doing now.

Oh, I'm still doing other things but with the loss of writing in my life, I've found creative outlet in other places. Still trying to knit socks (and failing terribly once I hit the heel/gusset). Still playing with skulls (2 sales in my Etsy shop).

But sewing. Quilting. Big wow. It's a craft I know I can get better at. And even something that isn't very good (like the above quilt) is still awesome.

I miss writing but I'm accepting that it's done. I love this new phase in my life though. My new bliss: rediscovering literary fiction, fabric, yarn, coffee drinks and family.

Happy me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

(After rereading this post, I decided a warning was in order because I didn't want to rewrite it, lol.


You probably will be confused reading this post unless you are familiar with the Kate Daniels world. I'm so fearful of spoilers that I usually end up saying nothing at all ...)

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.
Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.
Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.
For her child.
For Atlanta.
For the world.

This is the last book of the Kate Daniels story arc and it's action packed with a lot of feels. There were surprises (for me), especially with how Roland was handled - that was not how I thought it would be - and although some characters had resolution, others didn't, which is totally real life and makes me hopeful for many more stories in this world. 
I don't think I've read an Ilona Andrews book that I haven't enjoyed and this book was no exception. With one caveat.

I'm not sure how to say this properly: the book was full of epic material and could conceivably have had 700 pages. However, the story had to be told in 336 pages, according to my Kindle. I thought at the time I was reading it that there was a lot of jumping around. Months were covered in this book (and it's already a year after the last book) but it was like the authors were skipping a stone across a lake and we, the readers, got to see the the very tip of the iceberg(s). (Talk about mixing your metaphors!) Some plot lines were just dropped, others hinted at further books, but they all left me vaguely dissatisfied.

Whether skipping ahead and numerous plot lines detract or adds to the story depends on the reader, I suppose. Either way, it doesn't change the fact that these authors can WRITE and they are storytellers supreme. I read Iron and Magic before Magic Triumphs, as they suggested, and that is why I had supposed a different ending for Roland.

This perception of mine regarding stone skipping does not negate the fact that I love the book, love the characters and can't wait for book 2 of the Iron Covenant series and/or any other book about this world the authors might want to give birth to.

Magic Triumphs is not the book I consider their best in this series; that would be Magic Breaks because ... omg, the feels! The trust. The love. the courage and committment.

I have to admit the solution to the Roland problem disappointed me (and the stone skipping). Therefore if I were grading (because y'all know I don't, right?) I would give this book 4 stars and/or a B rather than the five everyone else is gifting it.

Oh, and Dali - WTF???

Friday, August 31, 2018

To All the Books I've Loved Before

Just a quick recap of some recent books I've read:

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. Harry is a man who dies and is reborn back into his old life. Again and again. Interestingly, it wasn't interesting. DNF, unfortunately.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. It was... interesting. It was almost like a YA Jane Doe but more complicated and nowhere near as satisfying. I enjoyed it though. A teenage girl mass murderer who falls in love and the unfortunate boy who loves her. Wished for a better ending.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. Wow. This was a great read. Epic adventure, strong heroine, magic. It felt like I was reading a folklore story handed down from the ages. I couldn't put it down. But dare I say I was a tad frustrated by the ending? (The hero really deserved better and never got redemption. His sister rocked though.)

Sin is a Puppy that Follows You Home by Balaraba Ramat Yakubu. Someone was lauding it on Twitter and it sounded interesting and sat in my Amazon cart forever. It was a surprising book, very different describing a life I couldn't relate to at all, a world of women who are possessions and not necessarily even human and well... I loved it.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. Sorry. DNF.

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker. I didn't know anything about this book when I started reading it. And it was ... well, I'd call it a quiet, epic fantasy. I kept thinking it wasn't my cup of tea but I couldn't stop reading. And even though the ending was like walking into a brick wall, the more I thought about it the more I appreciated it.

I'm currently reading The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I'd read All the Crooked Saints and it was one of the best books I'd read in years. Raven Boys isn't as magical (then again, I'm still in the beginning) but this woman can write. She's rocking my world and I'm so grateful she's out there. She's also amazing to follow on Twitter and if you aren't, you should. She's magic.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: the movie


#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • SOON TO BE A NETFLIX FILM • A remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.
“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. . . .

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Lori:  This is one of those books that everybody read when it came out, 90% of the people who read it probably enjoyed it and then promptly forgot it.Watching the movie it was easy to see why it was so forgettable.

The story is just... obvious. There's nothing about it to really promote. The ideas are multitude but none of them are really explored or drawn out. I felt like I was supposed to relate to a group of readers but the story was less about the reading and writing and more about the deep, dark secret of missing resident Elizabeth who disappeared and might be dead.

When the emotional depth of the film is in a character who isn't there... neither is the heart of the film. It was empty. 

The romance wasn't. 

I was very disappointed.

Carolyn:  Oh, I'm so disappointed to read your opinion. Certainly the movie isn't as indepth as the book; in fact it was rather superficial. I would have expected to see scenes from Elizabeth's capitivity or more involvement with the fellow who gave information to the Nazis. And I'm almost positive Juliet stayed in Elizabeth's cottage while she was on the island and found more insight into Elizabeth by doing so.

Still, I enjoyed this movie. It wasn't hard to follow, it didn't piss me off and I liked most of the characters even if they weren't necessarily fully fleshed out. And I really enjoyed the ambience of the 1940's and especially the fashions.  

Lori:  I think maybe there just wasn't the emotional connection in watching the movie as there was in reading the book. Such as, her American fiancee I liked more than the pig farmer (although he was much cuter). And there was no time spent showing the characters really connecting so it fell flat.

Netflix is trying to bring more romance into what they're offering and I appreciate it but so far it's just falling flat for me. There's a disconnect between seeing the characters actually experience each other and engage and just being expected to believe it without really seeing it.

This just fell flat for me. I'm almost sorry to say it because I love romance but I needed and wanted more.

Carolyn: sounds like you need to reread the book.  ;-)

It was an enjoyable movie and even more so if you haven't read the book.Everybody seems so innocent back then, even though I know they weren't. I'm glad Netflix made it; hope they find more inspiration in the romance world.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

They Call Me Crazy by Kelly Stone Gamble

Cass Adams is crazy, and everyone in Deacon, Kansas, knows it. But when her good-for-nothing husband, Roland, goes missing, no one suspects that Cass buried him in their unfinished koi pond. Too bad he doesn’t stay there for long. Cass gets arrested on the banks of the Spring River for dumping his corpse after heavy rain partially unearths it.

The police chief wants a quick verdict—he’s running for sheriff and has no time for crazy talk. But like Roland’s corpse, secrets start to surface, and they bring more to light than anybody expected. Everyone in Cass’s life thinks they know her—her psychic grandmother, her promiscuous ex-best friend, her worm-farming brother-in-law, and maybe even her local ghost. But after years of separate silences, no one knows the whole truth. Except Roland. And he’s not talking.

 Lori:  Carolyn?? What were you thinking when you told me to read this?

I loved it.

I thought it was a romance because I read it without knowing anything about it and then pow! Cass is nuts, she's killed her husband and is this supposed to be a romance?

I do have a complaint with the book and that was that it was multiple character POVs and all in first person which I didn't find well delineated at the beginning. But once everyone was clear in my mind, we were off to the races.

Cass is a great heroine. She isn't written to be easily liked but the more time you spend in her head, the more likable she becomes. Her ex isn't a horrible man who beat her or was even evil. Not really. But he wasn't a good guy either. Did he deserve to die? Read the book and decide.

And yes, there is a romance. And secrets. And psychics. And best friends with babies of dubious daddydom.

What did you think, Red?

Carolyn: I think the ending was the best part, heh. And that's saying a lot because this book gets two thumbs up from me. My memory ain't worth shit anymore, but parts of this book pop into my head and I have to laugh and the ending was a shocker.

I too liked Cass. Well, you know I like eccentrics and I would call her an eccentric rather than crazy. I did like there was a good reason for her craziness. It was not something that ever went completely away as the book went on. I know we've all read books where one of the main character's bad traits - grumpy men, bitchy women - suddenly disappear, never to return again and the first chapter person is not recognizable as the last chapter person. Not so here. I liked Cass, Roland had his moments. Clay ... Clay took some getting used to, lol.

Lori:  Clay was an interesting character because he slowly developed whereas everyone else was bam! in your face. But I liked him because he was the calm in the middle of Cass' storm.

I'm very much not into reading romance right now although a story with romantic elements is all up my alley. And a strong woman is what I want and need more than anything else.

Cass, despite her crazy, is a strong character. She affects everyone around her. She brings out people's feelings. And even at the end when she's facing everything that happened, understanding how her family works and why she needs them, she's the center of their storms. They need her too. 

There's a second book with Cass and I downloaded it but I'm not sure about reading it. I really liked this book. I'd really hate to see the author misstep in a continued story, you know? But if it reads like this one did then I really want to go there. Cass might be too much to have in your life on a constant basis but she's sure someone I'd like to visit with occasionally.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Jane Doe: A Novel by Victoria Helen Stone

A double life with a single purpose: revenge.
Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.
But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.
Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.
Just as he did to her.

Carolyn: Well, here we are again, talking about a book that's new and different. Very, very different, lol.  Just in case you didn't know, Stone writes romance as Victoria Dahl but this is not a romance although I was completely satisfied with the ending. Also I've never read Dahl but that will probably be changing soon.  :-)

I must say, this is a completely appropriate story for "The Year of the Woman" or whatever they (the ubiquitous 'they') are calling it.

So Lori - nature or nurture?

Lori:  Oh so nurture. The few glimpses we get into Jane's family (especially her Mother) actually makes one delighted that Jane didn't become a serial killer (a real fear she had herself at one time).

Jane is a self-professed sociopath. What I love about this is that her awareness that she has a disease primarily, she understands it and she accepts this about herself. She knows that her childhood short-circuited something inside her and she's learned to use it to her advantage. Jane has no soft fuzzies inside her but what she cares about, she cares about deeply.

She's also the first heroine I ever read in my long, long life who wants what she wants and doesn't stop herself from getting it. I want to be Jane in that sense, want cake? Have cake. Want a cat? Get a cat. Want revenge? Destroy a few lives.

There were a few things about this book that made my heart happy. I loved Jane. We all have a little possible sociopathy inside us and we all try our best to ignore our darkness. To finally read a heroine and not a man who has this darkness and lives well with it... it's a revelation. It feels so good.

I like revenge. And Steven. Steven is a little twisted himself and preys on women's vulnerabilities. He has his darkness too. But his is hidden under being a good guy, a great catch, a true Christian. He's a guy we've all dealt with who makes you feel a little less. Makes you choose not to eat that slice of cake, not to complain that you're still hungry, horny or not listened to.

I loved this book. Loved, loved, loved it. I've read it twice already and will probably open it up again.

Carolyn:  So I looked it up and what it boils down to is that sociopathy is acquired early in childhood and a psychopath is born that way. Based on this, I suppose there can be different degrees of sociopathy and many of us may have a touch or more of it. Certainly I've wondered about myself, especially when it seems like everyone is so glad a heroine forgives someone who hurt her badly, like a mother or father who was abusive and all of a sudden the antagonist has enother side that's supposed to mitigate the circumstances and I'm all  FUCK NO! GET THAT TOXIC PERSON OUT OF YOUR LIFE! I DON'T CARE IF SHE'S YOUR MOTHER/SISTER/WHATEVER!

They never listen to me. *sigh*

All this to say, I liked Jane too, lol. And I totally agreed with her decision for Steven's punishment. Another reason I don't go for the death penalty. Let 'em suffer instead. Bassards!

But anyway, back to the book. Objective points: very good writing, pacing, characterization. I don't remember any formating mistakes, at least nothing that took me out of the story. Subjectively, I can't remember reading anything like this heroine; she makes 'tough' heroines seem like blowhards or children playing a role. Jane is the real deal.

Lori:  Years ago, I worked in a medical office and one of the MAs there decided to make my job hellish. We had our own little parking garage and I remember finding out which car was hers and always having in the back of my mind that I could key her car. I never did. Jane would have.

Jane would have.

This book is a delight for anyone who has ever felt unheard, unexpressed. Every time someone helpfully suggested you not have that slice of birthday cake, you not turn your back on the obnoxious guy. This book is for women who have had to deal with men.

Following Victoria Dahl on Twitter, I know this book emotionally takes aim at the trolls, the mansplainers, the misogynists who swear they love women but just not any that apparently exist in the real world...

I want more books  like this one. More Jane-type heroines who see the bullshit and manipulation. This isn't just Jane's revenge fantasy. This is all of ours.

Carolyn:  You got that right. Perhaps that's why I like Kate Daniels so much. She can see the bullshit, doesn't accept it and has no problem lopping a few heads off. Of course, her  bad guys are much more overt than Steven.

I wonder if this could be a series?  There are so many people who need Jane's attention.  :-D Anyway, both of us highly recommend this book and have no problem giving it an A. It's a book for the season.

Oh, and have a link!  Definitions

Friday, August 3, 2018


How are you all doing?

Personally, I'm exhausted. Deep down, beyond the bones, tired to my soul.

America is eroding before our eyes. Every day becomes harder to slog through when it feels like we're pushing against an ocean.

I don't know how to do this. We're not prepared for such venal behavior in our world. And we're like rocks with the beating waves, constantly diminished by the pounding... becoming grains of sand.

My sister and her wife came to visit and the wife got pneumonia. We suddenly had a sick, very sick, person in the house and all plans were changed.

My daughter is a senior and suddenly sees the world looming ahead and she's panicking. She doesn't know how to do this. How to adult. I want to tell her that neither do I. Neither do any of us. But we manage. We keep going even when we're running on empty and nothing feeds us anymore.

I'm grabby hands with anything that brings me pleasure nowadays because nothing lasts. Books give less escape, movies disappoint. Crafts give moments of pleasure but sometimes they're so damned hard to do (last night I tried to start knitting with the worst yarn and worst needles I've ever used. I threw it across the room in anger and despair.)

I don't know how to recharge anymore.

Nobody prepares us for this. For the soul crushing fear, the paranoia, the terror of wondering what comes next when the world you know ids changing for the worse.

When Nazis can be very fine people, how do you sleep well? When babies are taken from their parents and molested and die, how do you be a part of humanity?

How do we do this? We're not just yelling into a void, we're dying in that void.

America is dead.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Welcome to the Henhouse

This is our current chicken coop. It's seriously a mess and needs a lot of love. HappilyI have some love to spare and today I decided to make it my 12 month project.

It needs a lot of work.  But I loved when we had chickens and fresh eggs are amazing so it's going to be worth the effort.

Wish me and my future chickens lick .We're going to need it.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Welcome Back

Well I'm now living life without a computer . So I've been adjusting to having a tablet and a phone and nothing else .

And it's kind of okay .Really .Surprisingly .

I just today figured that I should be Ble to blog from my Fire so here I am .Apologetic but back .

Need from Hawaii: seriously major earthquakes going on yesterday .I was at work and we were rocking and rolling. I was sitting on a rolling stool holding onto the desk trying not to roll away .

Even Madam Pele has had her fill of bullshit lately .

Living trendiest Romancelandia kerfluffle .Some woman thinks the word cocky belongs to her .I'll be claiming the word LOVE as my own so if any of you bitches try using it in your romance novels you'll be hearing from Carolyn pretending to be a lawyer.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Carolyn's April Books

1.  Why Kill the Innocent (Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery) 
     Author: C. S. Harris
     Publisher: Penguin Group
     Releases: April 3, 2018
     Price: $12.99
A brutal murder draws nobleman Sebastian St. Cyr into the tangled web of the British royal court in this gripping historical mystery from the national bestselling author of Where the Dead Lie.

London, 1814. As a cruel winter holds the city in its icy grip, the bloody body of a beautiful young musician is found half-buried in a snowdrift. Jane Ambrose's ties to Princess Charlotte, the only child of the Prince Regent and heir presumptive to the throne, panic the palace, which moves quickly to shut down any investigation into the death of the talented pianist. But Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero refuse to allow Jane's murderer to escape justice. 

Untangling the secrets of Jane's world leads Sebastian into a maze of dangerous treachery where each player has his or her own unsavory agenda and no one can be trusted. As the Thames freezes over and the people of London pour onto the ice for a Frost Fair, Sebastian and Hero find their investigation circling back to the palace and building to a chilling crescendo of deceit and death . . .

A great historical mystery series; this is the 13th book.

2.  Peachy Flippin' Keen
     Author: Molly Harper
     Publisher: Simon and Schuster
     Releases: April 9, 2018
     Price:  $1.99

A prank war erupts in Lake Sackett, Georgia and coroner Frankie McCready has to turn to the gorgeous but surly new sheriff for help in Molly Harper’s newest Southern Eclectic novella, perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins and Amy E. Reichert.

The McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop has crickets running rampant in the store and hot sauce in the Snack Shack’s ketchup bottles. But as the county coroner, Frankie has enough on her plate without worrying about the increasingly mean pranks being played at her family’s business. And the arrival of Sheriff Eric Linden, both devastatingly attractive and painfully taciturn, is enough to push her over the edge.

Linden, who didn’t seem to get the memo about men in uniform and Southern charm, is condescending and cold, revealing absolutely nothing about his past as an Atlanta police officer, while also making Frankie’s job as coroner as difficult as possible. And with the town’s Fourth of July celebration coming up, it’s essential for McCready’s to be cricket-free and in good working order. Strangling the sheriff will make her job even harder. Can Frankie hold off the threats to preserve her own sanity?

With her trademark “clever humor, snark, silliness, and endearing protagonists” (Booklist), Molly Harper invites fans to return to the family they first met in Sweet Tea and Sympathy. Y’all sit down and stay a while, won’t you?

Southern silliness - right up my alley.  :-) 

3.  Murder in St. Giles
     Author: Ashley Gardner
     Publisher: self published
     Releases:  April 10,2018
     Price: $3.99

Captain Lacey must clear Brewster of a murder near his home in St. Giles, one that points to Brewster’s pugilist past. Meanwhile, trouble comes to Lacey’s home in the form of Donata’s late husband’s family.
Another historical mystery series and by coincidence this is the 13th book! I have to say, that's not much of a blurb but Ashley Gardner is also Jennifer Ashley so you are assured of good writing.

4.  Chaser
     Author: Kylie Scott
     Publisher: MacMillian
     Releases: April 17, 2018
     Price: $4.99

Love isn’t always NEAT…
Bartender and all round bad boy, Eric Collins, has come to a crossroads. It’s time to take life seriously and maybe even attempt to settle down. If only the person he was hoping to settle down with didn’t turn out to be pregnant.
Starting over in a small town, Jean is determined to turn her wild lifestyle around and be the kind of mother she always wished she’d had. Since local bar owner and all round hottie, Eric, is now determined to steer clear of her pregnant self, it should be easy. When she goes into labor during a snowstorm and her car slides on some ice, however, it’s Eric who comes to the rescue.
There seems to be a bond between them now, but is it enough? And can Eric give up his manwhore ways to be the man Jean needs?
This is the third book in the Dive Bar series. (You remember the runaway bride who ended up in the hero's bathtub?) Well, i't's time to redeem Eric, y'all! Love Kylie's writing.

5.  War Song
     Author: Elizabeth Vaughan
     Publisher: Birch Cove Press
     Releases: April 23, 2018
     Price: $7.99

The magic has come back to the Plains. The Warrior Priests are no more. The traditions are changing—too quickly for some. 

Joden has only ever wanted to be a Singer, to know all of the songs. When the time comes for his Trials, he is challenged to take the old paths—and it ends in disaster. But his broken heart and broken body are found by Amyu . . . and she knows what it is to live with pain.

Amyu should have gone to the snows long ago, but instead chose to live in shame. Cast out of her tribe, she now serves Queen Xylara and the Kingdom of Xy. Her new mission is to find the key to defeating the wyverns who attack from the sky—but can a girl from the Plains control beasts who soar in the air? 

She knows that Joden has been brought to her by the winds, and they do what they will. Their love is forbidden by the Plains, and their dreams pull them in different directions—but together they heal each other. If only they could heal their people, who are struggling with the ultimate goal:

Who will be WarKing?

The first books of this series were traditionally published, so this author can be trusted to offer a great story with great writing. Glad to see she's continuing this series.

6.  Midnight Wolf 
     Author: Jennifer Ashley
     Publisher: Penguin Group
     Releases:  April 24, 2018
     Price: $7.99

Angus Murray, bouncer for a New Orleans Shifter bar, is sent to round up an elusive, Collar-less Shifter woman, Tamsin Calloway, who is causing trouble for Shifter Bureau, and possesses information they want. If Angus refuses, he risks losing his cub. He finds Tamsin but she's slippery and not about to be rounded up quietly. 

In fact, quiet is nothing Tamsin will ever be. She leads Angus on a wild chase, but he's determined to bring her in to save his son.

Can Tamsin convince Angus she's worth helping before she's locked away by Shifter Bureau, Collared, or perhaps killed?

I've been invested in this series for quite awhile and although this is the 11th book, the stories are still fresh and new. And it's fun catching with old friends from earlier books.