Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Carolyn's February Pre-Orders.

February is a short month and so I have a fairly short list. It's a good list though!

1.  This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong
     Publisher: MacMillian
     Price:  $12.99
     Releasing: February 6, 2018

In This Fallen Prey, the next installment of New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s thriller series, Casey Duncan is about to face her toughest job as police detective in Rockton yet.
When Casey first arrived at the off-the-grid town, an isolated community built as a haven for people running from their pasts, she had no idea what to expect, with no cell phones, no internet, no mail, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. She certainly didn’t expect to be the homicide detective on two separate cases or to begin a romantic relationship with her boss. But the very last thing she expected was for the council to drop a dangerous criminal into their midst without a plan to keep him imprisoned, and to keep others safe.
Of course Oliver Brady claims he's being set up. But the longer Brady stays in town, the more things start to go wrong. When evidence comes to light that someone inside Rockton might be working as his accomplice, helping him to escape, Casey races to figure out who exactly Brady is and what crimes he’s truly responsible for committing. 
I believe this is the third book in this series and while the series is a little unusual, it certainly held my attention and I enjoyed the first two books. I expect to enjoy this one also.

2.  Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle
     Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
     Price:  $5.68
     Releasing: February 6, 2018

 He's always been a haven:
For the lost. The sick. The injured.
But when a hunted woman takes shelter in his arms, this gentle giant swears he'll do more than heal her battered spirit—he'll defend her with his life.
K9 Officer Otto Gunnersen always had a soft spot for anyone in need. As Monroe's very own Dr. Doolittle, he dedicates himself to rehabilitating the injured souls that cross his path—but for all his big heart, he's never been in love.
Until he meets Sarah Clifton's haunted eyes. Until he realizes he'll do anything to save her.
All Sarah wants is to escape a life caught between ambitious crime families, but there's no outrunning her past. Her power-mad brother would hunt her to the ends of the earth...but he'd never expect Sarah to fight back. With Otto and the whole of Monroe, Colorado by her side, Sarah's finally ready to face whatever comes her way.
It's time to take a stand. 

Another author whose writing I love, especially her heroes. Including dogs doesn't hurt either, lol. A complete autobuy for me.

3.  Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen
     Publisher: Rennie Road Books
     Price: $3.99
     Release Date: February 12, 2018

You'd think a billion dollars, a professional hockey team and a six-bedroom mansion on the Promenade would satisfy a guy. You'd be wrong.

For seven years Rebecca has brightened my office with her wit and her smile. She manages both my hockey team and my sanity. I don't know when I started waking in the night, craving her. All I know is that one whiff of her perfume ruins my concentration. And her laugh makes me hard.

When Rebecca gets hurt, I step in to help. It's what friends do. But what friends don't do is rip off each others' clothes for a single, wild night together.

Now she's avoiding me. She says we're too different, and it can never happen again. So why can't we keep our hands off each other?

I buy just about everything Sarina Bowen writes. Love her writing, even if I am an old fart and she's known for NA! Hopefully, by the 12th it'll have a cover, lol.

4.  My Once and Future Duke by Caroline Linden
     Publisher: HarperCollins
     Price:  $5.99
     Releasing: February 27, 2018

  What happens at the infamous Vega Club . . .
Sophie Campbell is determined to be mistress of her own fate. Surviving on her skill at cards, she never risks what she can’t afford to lose. Yet when the Duke of Ware proposes a scandalous wager that’s too extravagant to refuse, she can’t resist. If she wins, she’ll get five thousand pounds, enough to secure her independence forever.
Stays at the Vega Club . . .
Jack Lindeville, Duke of Ware, tells himself he’s at the Vega Club merely to save his reckless brother from losing everything, but he knows it’s a lie. He can’t keep his eyes off Sophie, and to get her he breaks his ironclad rule against gambling. If he wins, he wants her—for a week.
Until now.
A week with Jack could ruin what’s left of Sophie’s reputation. It might even cost her her heart. But when it comes to love, all bets are off.

I have an up and down relationship with Ms Linden's books but this sounds like an interesting plot and the price will not break the bank.

5.  Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
     Publisher: HarperCollins
     Price: $6.99
     Releases: February 27, 2018
 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas delivers a scintillating tale of an unconventional beauty who finds passion with the spy who can’t resist her

A woman who defies her time
Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again. 
A man who breaks every rule 
As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

I was going to pass this by but, oh hell, is IS Lisa Kleypas and I get twitchy when series aren't complete. So. So, it's in.  


And then, for a BP there is an end-of-January book ... I'm almost ashamed to admit to paying this price. But, oh well ... it's a present to me.  ;-D Yes, I'm still in love with Roarke and this plot sounds A-ok.

Dark in Death: An Eve Dallas Novel (In Death, Book 46) by J. D. Robb
Publisher: MacMillian
Price:  $14.99
Releasing: January 30, 2018

It was a stab in the dark.

On a chilly February night, during a screening of Psycho in midtown, someone sunk an ice pick into the back of Chanel Rylan’s neck, then disappeared quietly into the crowds of drunks and tourists in Times Square. To Chanel’s best friend, who had just slipped out of the theater for a moment to take a call, it felt as unreal as the ancient black-and-white movie up on the screen. But Chanel’s blood ran red, and her death was anything but fictional.

Then, as Eve Dallas puzzles over a homicide that seems carefully planned and yet oddly personal, she receives a tip from an unexpected source: an author of police thrillers who recognizes the crime—from the pages of her own book. Dallas doesn’t think it’s coincidence, since a recent strangulation of a sex worker resembles a scene from her writing as well. Cops look for patterns of behavior: similar weapons, similar MOs. But this killer seems to find inspiration in someone else’s imagination, and if the theory holds, this may be only the second of a long-running series.

The good news is that Eve and her billionaire husband Roarke have an excuse to curl up in front of the fireplace with their cat, Galahad, reading mystery stories for research. The bad news is that time is running out before the next victim plays an unwitting role in a murderer’s deranged private drama—and only Eve can put a stop to a creative impulse gone horribly, destructively wrong.

Okay, only two really expensive books. Not bad for a short month.

It's sorta sad, at least if you're a reader, how many series are now releasing in hardback. Which jacks up the prices on everything else. Nalini Singh, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, and now Anne Bishop - they're all in HB now. I had to start a list of books to keep track of their status. Eventually they'll come out in PB and I shall pounce.  :-)

Oh, who am I kidding? with the authors I listed there's no way I'll wait.

And have you noticed prices of well known authors have gone up too? Many more popular books selling at $8.99 and $9.99 now that used to be a couple or three dollars cheaper.


(I can't fix the heading of the Robb book; it just won't *take* even after multiple attempts. Sorry about that.)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fantasy Fiction Fella Friday

So Carolyn and I were talking about our hot, book boyfriends and what we imagine they'd look like in real life. Which spurred our new, weekly post of Fantasy Fiction Fella Friday.

For me, the heroine-centric reader, choosing a book boyfriend is hard. But I immediately thought of Nick in Jennifer Crusie's Crazy for You.

Nick is a commitment-phobe, hot guy who is best friends with Quinn, works as a mechanic, the kind of man who would repair  your leaking pipes or broken fence, then make you a spaghetti dinner before he seduces your panties off.

He's playful. He's funny. He's self-deprecating.

The picture above is close to how I imagine him.

And by the way, if you haven't read Crazy for You, do it. It's my favorite romance ever.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

So This Happened

So this happened today.

My brother had to take his car to the shop and my daughter had to go to school to take a test. So I dropped off Mollie and then went to pick up Mitch, who was taking me out to breakfast. And on the way to breakfast my brother's phone went off with an alarm and the above was the message.

I can't even explain what happened. We were both in shock and wondering if this was real. My brother noted that the sirens weren't going off (we have air sirens) and he suggested we go on to the restaurant so we did. When we got there people were milling around with their phones out, a lot of concern and questions going on.

Mitch was getting phone calls and texts and trying to pass the same good sense message: no alarms means it's probably not true. Hold tight.

Mollie called me. She wanted to know where I was and if I was okay. She said that we probably weren't going to die but in case, she wanted to mention that dying on a Saturday while at school taking a test was just a mean joke by God. I told her we were surely safe, I love her and not to worry.

We went into the restaurant and got coffee. We were checking online for information and finally got an All-Clear. We made some jokes, ate a little, drank a shitload of coffee and were as kind as possible to the waitress who admitted that they were all shook up and could barely handle doing their jobs after this scare.

We went home. I had planned to bake bread today, something I haven't done since I was a teenager and I'm glad that I did. It was something that made me concentrate and the kneading was good for my soul.

Then I checked Twitter and Azteclady had sent a message saying she hoped Mollie and I were okay. And suddenly I wasn't. Suddenly I realized that a ball of tension was twined inside me because truth is, we thought we were about to get bombed. I started to cry because my 16 year old daughter called me to say goodbye. I stood among strangers and wondered if I was going to die with them at a Hawaiian greasy spoon instead of with the person I love most on this earth.

I thought of how I was glad to be with Mitch because despite our political differences, I love and trust him and he kept me grounded. He kept a lot of people grounded at a moment we needed it. I thought about how Carolyn and Lea would be hurt if a bomb fell and they didn't know my fate.

I cried and I still feel tears and tension. It's going to take a lot for this to uncoil and let me loose.

More than anything, I thought how awful it is that when we got a message that we were being bombed, not a single person wondered why. We all knew why. And I despise, with every fiber of my being, that horrible troglodyte who brought us here. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Fatphobia Sells

You know that moment when someone says something nasty about a woman's weight and you kind of reel back and they quickly say, "not you, you're fine" but the fact is that you weigh more than the person who was just denigrated?

Kristan Higgins wrote a book called Good Luck With That which is about three girls who met at fat camp, became lifelong friends and then one died from being too fat and the other two have to learn to love life and love themselves... I don't know if that means lose weight or just realize that people are more than their BMI. I don't know. I won't know because I don't plan on reading this book.

When the review copies for this book came out, there was a little uproar because apparently the blurb described the book as the fat phobic book it really is. But then the blurb got changed and readers (like me) who have always enjoyed Kristan Higgins told her that she's sweet and lovely and we trust she's not writing fat shaming fiction.

We were wrong. Apparently she did. Which made me feel like I described in my opening paragraph: slapped in the face because someone I thought who liked me has been secretly judging me based only on how many pounds I carry.
I just finished the book Hunger by Roxane Gay. It's an autobiographical novel about Ms. Gay's relationship with her body. She was gang raped at age 12 and never told her parents (or anyone) what happened. But she started eating to hide herself and to create uncrossable boundaries so she wouldn't get hurt again.

I completely related to the book until it got to the point that I wanted to give the author a lecture about living and not just living as a victim. But it's her journey and she obviously isn't in that place yet. It was the one issue I had.

But Hunger approaches how women feel separate from our bodies and how we create our own chasms between us, our fat and our dreams. I found the beginning of the book hard to read because I knew exactly how she felt. I found the end of the book hard to read because I didn't relate any longer to how she felt.

So two books about weight. I saw a feed on Twitter of someone reading the Higgans book and describing the plot as it happens. Had to laugh because the woman in the book who was dying from extreme fatness has slightly elevated vitals but nothing to kill her.

Also fat doesn't kill. It just jiggles.

I'm just so disappointed. I wanted Higgans to be a better person. I wanted Roxane Gay to evolve from her victimhood.

Carolyn: maybe it's time we write our own book. Fat is Jiggly and Jiggle Don't Kill.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A Little New Year Change

Happy 2018!

We're doing a little change of ye olde blogge. New Year, new look.

We're going to get a monthly book club started in February. We're still figuring out how to do it.

We don't have anything too big or interesting planned. We do love this blog and we love our friends who drop in so we hope to reflect that more this year.

Friday, January 5, 2018


Have I mentioned skulls?

Last year when I started my weight loss journey, I started walking. Usually I hit the track but sometimes I'd head up-hill to a road my brother named The Jungle Road (there's an expanse of jungle on one side). I have found some pig bones and skulls on my walks since there's a huge number of feral pigs on the island who get hit by cars.

Anyway, the skulls are beautiful. There's a grace and glory to the bone, a design that just thrills my heart. So I have taken some skulls (the bugs have picked them clean of any post-life debris, they're dirty but no tissue or anything still attached) and cleaned them and finally, after months of them sitting, I painted a couple.

I have no idea what I'm going to do with them. I have a third one waiting to paint but that one has tusks and is even cooler than these two.

I'll post a picture when I'm done.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker

Carolyn:  This is an older novella; I acquired it in 2015. Although I'm most definitely NOT into hardcore erotica, I'm not sure this would qualify as such, but maybe it would. What do I know?

Here, have a blurb:

Tzipporah Berger is thirty-seven and single, which is practically unheard of in the Orthodox Jewish community she now calls home. Her increasing religiosity and need for kink may have broken up her first marriage, but she’s decided it’s time to try again. And the rabbi’s wife has just the man in mind.

Elan Klein is the neighborhood butcher whose intimidating size and gruff manner hint at a deliciously forceful personality. But BDSM isn’t exactly something you discuss during an Orthodox courtship. Will a marriage to Elan solidify her place in the community that she loves and provide the domination and pain Tzipporah craves or will she forever have to rely on flights of fancy to satisfy her needs?

Lori:  Carolyn mentioned this book and suggested I should try it. Not for the BDSM but because of the religion. I love religion and a book that delves into Judaism that's also kink sounds interesting.

It was fucking brilliant.

Tzipporah is a religious studies teacher. She is Jewish raised in a secular household. She likes rough sex and was married to a man who didn't. Didn't like rough sex, didn't care about religion and was the wrong man in every way.

Tz (I'm shortening it for heaven's sake, and my sake for writing this) ends her marriage and moves into Orthodox Judaism. In the sense that she physically moves into an Orthodox neighborhood, adopts the laws and rituals and becomes a practicing Orthodox Jew.

Elan is the butcher, a widower, a man Tz is attracted to for his size and brusque manner. When the Rabbi's wife suggests a match and Elan is among the choices, Tz says yes. They have a few meals together, agree that they want children, will both continue to work and they get married (it really is that cut and dried).

Elan, on their wedding night, says what do you like? And Tz takes a chance and tells him. And discovers that her new husband understands BDSM quite well and gives her exactly what she needs.

What she needs... is the theme of this book and how BDSM and Orthodox Judaism merge together. It's about accepting restrictions and forms of bondage to find freedom. To take flight. What this book does is gives us a heroine who can only be free by choosing her shackles and losing herself in the bonds.

The sex is so necessary to this story but it isn't purple cock heads and glistening drops of pre-cum. It's pain and discomfort. It's being bound into immobility and learning to let go while bound. It's about modesty on the outside and complete freedom on the inside.

My reaction to this book was ... well... right now I have tears skimming my eyes when writing this. It was one of the best books I've read this year and possibly among the best I've read ever. It's glorious.

Carolyn: Lori's just about said it all, really, and much better than I could. I just know that this is an amazing book and deserves a wide audience.

I still have difficulty relating pain to pleasure. Perhaps it's like scratching an itch until you bleed? It certainly couldn't be equated to a gallbladder attack because there's NOTHING pleasurable about that and nothing to be learned either, except pain hurts along with a longing for immediate surgery.

And still, the silly side of me wonders ...  They want children and what happens if little Tz or Elan Jr wander into the bedroom to find mama strung up by her hair (to all appearances) and bound with pretty blue rope? I'm being facetious, of course, but still ... I do wonder.

I could see that Tz wanted to live an Orthodox life and tried her best to do so but it was never linked with her religion; kosher is part of being Orthodox but how and why does it relate to beliefs? The BDSM fit in, yes, but it seemed kosher closed her in, rather than letting her fly as the sex did. Was kosher a religious experience to her? Seemed like more of a hassle. How did covering her hair fit in her religion?

The book needed to be longer, damn it!

Lori: In Orthodoxy, Carolyn, people keep their head covered in respect to God. Men wear a yarmulke and women cover their heads with scarves or oftentimes, a wig. So that explains why nobody knew her hair color. And why it mattered to Tz.

And of course keeping kosher is how one is an observant Jew. It's following the rules and laws. And I truly believe that the entire point of who Tz was, is that in being bound by laws, rules, observance and rope was all that could set her free.

This is just such an excellent book. I could never find pleasure in pain although as Carolyn pointed out, sometimes in scratching a certain itch or probing a painful spot feels deliciously bad. We've all felt it. So I guess there's a small awareness of how it can feel good while feeling bad.

Although I'm not interested in pain as pleasure or even the sexual aspect of the story really, it was all about finding freedom. Taking flight. 

I can't say enough about this book. Read it. Feel it. It's amazing.