Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Grand Race by Ellen O'Connell

Caroline Tindell arrives in St. Louis for the thousand-mile 1905 Great Plains Automobile Race expecting a comfortable ride in her cousin's Pierce Great Arrow. Instead, she endures an unsettling encounter with the rogue who broke her heart six years ago, a seat in the back of the automobile with the luggage, and long moments of terror when the speeding Arrow plunges off the road.

Jamie Lenahan's brief conversation with Caroline before the start of the race evokes regret and painful memories. The way she left him years ago didn't surprise him. The effect she still has on him does. At least since her cousin roared off among the pacesetters, Caroline will be safely out of sight, if not out of mind, for the rest of the race.

Caroline is not out of sight, however. There she is, sitting stranded by the side of the road. What can a man do except stop and offer her a ride?  

Much to my surprise, this book turned out to be part of a series. It is book three of the Sutton Family series. Book 1 is Beautiful Bad Man, the story of Caleb Sutton and Norah Hawkins and book 2 is Into the Light, the story of Deborah Sutton and Trey Van Cleave. I've read all of them and liked all of them, exactly in the order they were written. Beautiful Bad Man is a true western with the characters in the middle of a range war (which the hero settles almost single handedly), and of her books, is second only to Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold. My opinion only, of course. 

The hero and heroine of A Grand Race first appeared in Into the Light. Caroline was barely there, but Jamie was Trey's best friend; they'd met during the Spanish-American War when Trey had a spinal injury. Jamie came home with Trey to help him recover and became involved with the new fangled automobile and now owns his own dealership/garage and is quite the rising young entrepreneur.

I don't particularly care for American historicals but I do like a good western, depending on the author. The best for me is Ellen O'Connell and Jo Goodman. They both create likeable, strong characters and yet they are not cookie cutter as some writers tend to do.

This book is not her strongest; for that I would recommend the two mentioned above. But we get to go on a road trip, watch a second chance love clear up old misunderstandings and grow, and knock aside a few prejudices such as Protestant-Catholic intermarriage.

Here is an excerpt from the author's website:

He paid for his purchases and pushed out through the door, jerking to a halt on the walk at the sight of the empty street. He had left the Franklin parked right there, Caro in the passenger’s seat.Heart pounding, stomach sinking, Jamie cursed under his breath. When he caught up with her, he’d make her the sorriest automobile thief who ever lived.
If he caught up with her. How long had he been inside?

How the hell had she started the Franklin on her own? Had she been lucky, or did she know to retard the spark and use the crank safely? Could she have figured it out from watching him yesterday and this morning, or was Cousin Percy stupid enough to have given Caro lessons on how to start an automobile? If so, Percy ought to be shot.
A horse and rider appeared at one end of town, the horse far too calm to have been passed recently by an automobile thief fleeing justice. In the other direction, the road stretched empty for at least a mile before disappearing over a hill.
“Looking for your wife?”
Jamie whirled. A skinny old fellow with both front teeth missing grinned at him from the doorway of the next building.
“She’s not....” This was not the time to be clarifying marital status. “Yes, I am,” Jamie said.
“She asked me where a person could get a bath here in town. I never figured she was asking for herself, a lady and all, so I told her the barber shop, and darned if she didn’t crank that thing up and drive off before I could tell her a lady couldn’t bathe there. I always thought that handle thing went in the front, but she shoved it in the side and yanked on it like man, got the thing going and drove right off.”
This was also not the time to be explaining the unique features of the Franklin’s engine to bystanders. “Did you see where she went?” Jamie asked, suppressing an urge to grab the fellow by the collar and shake answers out of him faster.
“Well, she slowed down in front of the barber’s, but I guess she realized it wouldn’t do because she kept going around the end of the road.”
“Around the end of the road?”
“Yep, went right around behind the Adams place and disappeared. You know there ought to be a law against those things. Some of them came roaring through here yesterday....”
Jamie threw thanks over his shoulder and didn’t wait to hear about what ought to be the law or what had happened yesterday. At the far end of town, a red and white striped pole marked the barber’s shop. He headed there with long, angry strides.
The barber and two customers stood staring at a closed door at the side of the shop in a tableau of outrage. Their heads swiveled to Jamie as he shoved in through the front door and out through the back without pausing.
The Franklin sat parked mere feet from the back door, dark green paint gleaming in the morning sun, engine off and quiet. Jamie dropped his box of groceries on the seat and leaned against the side, dragging in one deep breath after another to calm himself. He was still going to wring her neck.
Fingers plucked at his sleeve. “You have to come get her out of there,” the barber said. “I’ve already lost most of my morning customers. I can’t have a female in my shop.”
Jamie glared.
“A lady, I mean. She a beautiful lady, your missus, but I can’t have her taking a bath in there. You can see that, can’t you?”
Yes, he could see that. Jamie followed the barber back inside. The two men still staring at the door as if hypnotized came out of their trance when Jamie shoved between them and the door. They mumbled how they’d be back later and raced each other out of the shop.
“See?” the barber said, pointing at the retreating backs. “See? Mornings are when I do most of my business, and I’m losing them all.”
Jamie tried the door. Locked. At least she had that much sense. “Caro, this is a barbershop, men only. Come out of there.”
“I’m already in the tub. I’d be done by now, but I had to scrub it out. I can’t believe what pigs you men are.” She all but sang the words. Splashing sounds followed.
Jamie ground his teeth. Neck wringing was too good for her.
 “If you don’t come out of there right now, I’m going to drive off and leave you.”
The barber gasped.
“No, you won’t. You’re not in a hurry, remember? In fact, you have time for a shave while you’re waiting, and then you can use this nice clean tub after me.”
More splashing sounds, humming. Jamie fought his returning sense of humor, lost the battle, and laughed.
“How about a shave, then,” he said to the barber. “You can calculate how much business you really lost, and I’ll pay.”
The promise to pay mollified the man somewhat, but he was still indignant. “She marched in here, wouldn’t take no for an answer, and locked herself in. You really need to control your wife better.”
Jamie sat in the barber’s chair and leaned back, still chuckling. “You’re right, you are. I need to work on that.”
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Saturday, August 20, 2016

What the Heck Happened to Kristen Ashley?

Against his will, Noctorno Hawthorne, an undercover vice cop, finds himself embroiled in magic, mayhem and parallel universes. Too late, he meets an amazing woman only to find she’s destined for his identical twin in another world.

And things aren’t going real great there.

Noc is recruited to help save that world.

What he doesn’t know is his destined love resides there.

Franka Drakkar wears a mask. A mask she never takes off to protect herself in a world of malice, intrigue and danger.

When Franka meets Noc and he discovers her secrets, convinced she carries a midnight soul, having shielded herself from forming bonds with anyone, she struggles with accepting his tenderness and care.

When Noc meets Franka, over wine and whiskey, her mask slips and Noc knows it’s her—only her—and he has to find a way to get her to come home with him.


Lori darlin' - I went to Amazon as I said I would and sure enough, this book has 4 1/2 stars! Folks, this is NOT a five star book. This is not a three star book nor a two star book. Actually, I guess it's a 0 star book because I DNF'd that sucker in Chapter 2, at Location 783, with 7% read. Perhaps I shouldn't be commenting on it since I read so little, but I was shocked, actually shocked at the writing.

KA has her own way of writing with her own quirks, etc. She'll never be a Loretta Chase or Linda Howard. But she knows (or knew) how to tell a story so I forgave the awkward writing.

Not this time.


Oh my God! I got 2 whole pages further than you before I DNF'd it.

Someone(s) actually read it to the end? I wonder if it's The Masochist's Book Club? Because nobody alive who actually likes well written books could read this piece of Motorcycle Man waste without wanting to flush (that was my clever way of calling it shit).

The last couple of KA books have been a disappointment but this was just unreadable.


It was unreadable. And even worse, it was boring. Perhaps it's just that we're aging? I don't have the patience to wade through reams of unnecessary verbiage or suffer through the awkward dialogue. I like the Colorado series, I like Motorcycle Man, there are several other books I enjoy. What the hell happened with this one? You're right, her last couple of books weren't up to her par. They all committed the sin of being boring.

But this one, this one is badly written with awkward sentences and incomplete thoughts. For example:  "I moved sedately to the morning room as the servant, who had also endured the attack that day, not to mention they had a house full of visitors to see to due to the cancelled Bitter Gates that was to happen that night, if the world had not been threatened." I had to read this several times to make sense of it. It didn't help that I remember nothing of the last book.

I also found this awkward:

"This made it safe for the most powerful men on those two continents to live out their days in harmony with the loves they'd found across universes.

Found them and impregnated them."

I promise, no more examples. Maybe it's just me and my aging brain ...


I think when reading KA  there's an agreement that what she considers alpha sometimes skids around the corner into silliness. Her men are big, bossy, intelligent men who manage to sound like a bunch of skinny, little six year olds trying to sound tough.

So here we have a man from this world who is in a Fantasy world of magic that seems very fairy princess-y with dragons and royalty and he's all "babe" and "sugar lips" and "want to play with my i-phone, little girl".

He called her sugar lips and this isn't a comedy. And the heroine who is supposedly cold as ice and regal as shit sits there and doesn't mind that this other world  dirt bag is talking to her in such a condescending and degrading manner.

Her last book was almost a DNF for me but I went back and finished it. Found it hard to read though. This one won't get that chance since I plan to delete it off my Kindle.

Carolyn, I hate to say but I think that KA will always be fondly remembered for Tack and her Colorado Men series (most of them were cracktastic at the time) but she's lost it now. Unreadable prose. Unlikable characters. Whatever she had is gone.


It pains me to agree with you. And a nonsensical aside - I find the name Nocturno ... less than appealing. He sounds like a musical score.

Anywhoo, I don't think Ms KA will see any more of my dollars. I expect authors to improve over time, not regress. It's very sad.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Open Season by Linda Howard

For the life of me, I can't remember if I've read this book before. At the beginning, Daisy the librarian and Jack, the Chief of Police sounded vaguely familiar, even the plot sounded vaguely familiar, but I don't remember reading this book and surely it would have had the same effect on me back then (bought in 2013) as it did today.

I adored it!

Here, have a blurb.

Daisy Minor is bored. Worse than that, she's boring. A plain, small-town librarian, she's got a wardrobe as sexy as a dictionary and hasn't been on a date in years. She's never even had a lukewarm love affair, let alone a hot one. So when she wakes up on her thirty-fourth birthday, still living with her widowed mom and spinster aunt, she decides it's time to get a life.

But can a lifelong good girl turn bad? No, not exactly.

But she can pretend, right?

One makeover later, Daisy has transformed herself into a party girl extraordinaire. She's letting her hair down, dancing the night away at clubs, and laughing and flirting with men for the first time in, well, ever. With a new lease on her own place and her life, it's open season for man-hunting.

But on her way home late one night, Daisy sees something she's not supposed to see. Suddenly the target of a killer, she's forced to put her manhunt on hold. But the very moment she stops looking might be the moment she finds what she's wanted all along. Trouble is, before he can share her life, he might just have to save it.

This book, as happens in so many cases, is much more than the blurb. Although the author tackles the tough issue of sex trafficking, there is a lightness that shines throughout the book and saves it from becoming too depressing.

I liked both the main characters. In fact, Daisy reminded me a bit of me. I don't usually inject myself into a book, but like Daisy all I did was read growing up, to the point that once when my mother called me, I walked down a floor furnace (grate taken off for cleaning) because I couldn't put down my book.

If for no other reason, read this book for The Great Condom Caper. I laughed out loud. And really, it's a symbol of true love because purple, after all, is purple.

Daisy and Jack complemented each other so much. He appreciated her and all her eccentricities and fell in love with her. She didn't like or want a 'jock', but what can you do when a guy just 'gets' you? You appreciate him back and fall in love with him.

The puppy, Midus, just adds to the fun.

I highly recommend this book. It's not deep, it's not great literature, but it has likeable characters, a decent plot and although it could have been more 'in depth', there was enough depth to suit me.

Light reading at its best.  :-)

And The Kerfuzzles Just Keep On Coming

Sometimes you feel like a nut...

Okay, let me start by saying that I just finished The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and it was a really different kind of book. Most definitely a romance, written in first person in a voice that's not necessarily engaging but the writing and the story are.

About midway when the romance starts to blossom, there's moments of such delight that all is forgotten because holy shit, that's just so cute and clever.

Carolyn bought us the How To Write Sex book by Diana Galbadon. That should be fun to read. Especially if it starts Caress your pen softly until it's pliant between your fingers. It should moan as you begin to write, its opalescent scribbles like nectar on the page.

Or maybe not.

Started job hunting. I decided since there's nowhere for me to go in my current situation and no way to make more money, it was time to seek out other opportunities. Kind of a good time to start looking because (this gets kind of bad), I did a chart audit at work of my medical record and found that my co-workers have been in my chart. I see a psychologist which means that my seriously personal shit has been read by people who have no right to ever read such things.

Of course it's a violation of HIPAA laws and my boss is taking it seriously. And I'm terrified to go to work today because I think some people might be getting reamed for this and there's going to be all sorts of Lori hate going on.

But I feel so violated. My therapy notes have been read by someone. Hell, I haven't even gone in to read my own therapy notes. This whole situation just feels so fucked up.

Anyway, I'm going to read about writing sex. I might even write some. Cause those who have gotten too old and have no chances of getting laid write it.

Geez. Life sucks.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Weekend Plans?

We're seeing the Suicide Squad tonight. A nice way to end the week. Movie and popcorn followed by some midnight grocery shopping.

Going to polish up the old resume this weekend and Mollie and I are planning an eat fest with countless episodes of Teen Titans Go.

Hope to find a wall shelf to put up in my room for my notebooks and gosh, that's all my plans. (Except for finishing the Kelley Armstong novel and doing a little writing of my own).

Hugs and best wishes to those going through hard times.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

He Said No

No raise.

He used the financially unstable excuse.

I don't think he wants to lose me but I also don't think he'd put any effort into keeping me either.

I don't know what I want to do. I love the job but I don't want to start feeling taken advantage of. And if more hits my plate, if I'm asked to do extra, why would I ever say yes again?

This became difficult.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

This Crazy Little Thing Called Life

Went to see the Tarzan movie last night. Was so looking forward to (unintelligible actor's name) to take off his shirt. After more than a few minutes into the movie I was hoping he'd take off his shirt and put it over the camera lens because that was just a bad movie.

Liked the actress though. Wish Samuel Jackson wasn't in it trying to look 20 years younger.


Amusingly politics is not currently being discussed in our house at this time. My unfortunate brother, he of the Fox Fallacies and Republican ballyhoo is lost in the quagmire of having a candidate he can't defend. Oh, he attacks Hillary with the same gusto but now even Republicans are starting to defend her and point out the lies they've told and the center is falling apart.

What can I say? I started this off feeling depressed and now I'm fascinated. I'm absorbing the news like a junkie. I want my next fix.

Do you remember that old movie Porky's? I did and I remembered it as being hysterically funny so I got a copy from Amazon and Mollie and I watched it last night. It still had some funny moments but a lot less laugh out loud. Some thing don't age as well, I guess.

Still Bullet Journaling and it's a wonderful thing. It's kind of compressing from being a million lists in one book to being a calendar with daily lists and journal. That's the great thing about it. It really does become what you need.

And my daughter has started 10th grade this year and has a paying job. I'm more than a little gob-smacked. She'll be working for the after-school program as a tutor (which she did last year as a volunteer) but with pay. And because there's so much less interest in it by other kids (missed opportunities, m'dear), she's being given more hours and a slightly higher than minimum wage. She's excited and I'm delighted.

She's talking about buying presents with her own money. I'm talking about savings. I plan to put her on a better financial path than I've ever been on myself.

And this weekend I checked my work email and found an email from a patient thanking me for doing what I told her I'd do and saying that it's rare to find someone who delivers on their promises. It made me feel amazing.