Thursday, September 21, 2017

Overwhelmed

Life has just become overwhelming as of late. Time is at a premium and free time is hard to find. Work eats up my week with long hours and endless commuting and non-work time is chores and child, a lot of movement.

I am writing a murder mystery on Wattpad. It's fun and relaxing and writing not for profit has taken the stress out of it.

Carol and I are still talking but not as much as before **insert sad face here**. Time difference and work sometimes makes the connection hard. But there's still a lot of laughs we share.

Family is pretty okay. Mollie is discovering the bad side of teenage girls and having a slightly harder time recently. We're all navigating this together and trying to help her learn and not get too damaged by teenage girl meanness. (No bullying, just friendships gone bad and friends being pulled in different directions.)

Anyway, I'll put up a link to Wattpad soon for the story. Hope all our friends are doing well.

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...