A Study in Scandal, by Caroline Linden

16 Jan

I am trying to slip this one under the wire, see if I can start the year right.

I got this novella, in print, at RWA National Conference, in July 2017, so it was totally in the humongous, overwhelming, print TBR Cordillera of Doom, and therefore it qualifies wonderfully for SuperWendy’s TBR Challenge 2019, January edition. Yay!

Also, I’m pathetically grateful January’s theme is shorts, because between life and the reading slump from hell, I don’t know I would have even attempted anything longer.

“A Study in Scandal” by Caroline Linden

While this is one of the later stories in the Scandals series, I wasn’t lost, despite not having read any of the other stories.¹ There was a bit of filling in some of the series’ backstory during the first couple of pages, but it was easy enough to follow.

I did have other problems with the story, but we’ll get to that. First, the back cover blurb:
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A house painted like a rainbow

16 Nov

A bit over five years ago, I wrote a post on Karen Knows Best, about Equality House, in Topeka, Kansas.

This past week, someone else wrote a beautiful story about its meaning to him and the community and the state–and what it can mean for all of us. Continue reading

Little girls grow up.

14 Nov

In January this year (yes, that’s like a century ago, but bear with me), over 160 women, teens and girls came forward to confront Larry Nassar, who for DECADES had abused them, while being shielded by the organization that should have protected all those young girls from becoming teens and adult women marked by sexual abuse.

One of those speaking was Kyle Stephens, who said (in part):

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A loving god

30 Oct

(I would advise any religious/devout readers to skip this one)

Today, as I was driving home from work, letting the mind wander while waiting for the traffic light to change, I noticed something about the car tags in this here hellhole that I hadn’t noticed before. You have the state in smallish letters, the the tag number in LARGE letters, then you have…”IN GOD WE TRUST” in smaller capital letters.

And I realized why I don’t.

Trust in god, that is.

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Stormy Nights, by Jules Jones and Stormy Duffy

17 May

There really is no rhyme or reason why books languish in my physical and digital TBR Cordilleras of Doom.

Case in point: it had been a long while since I read anything by Jules Jones, though what I have read, I have liked, and there are a number of her works in my digital TBR pile.

So why I haven’t read more of her stuff? (I got nothing¹)

At any rate, back in August 2017, Ms Jones very kindly sent me a copy of this anthology for review. And while my reading has been iffy at best for a long time now, I read all nine stories in the book in one sitting just a few days after that.

Sadly, then the “can’t write to save my life” curse struck, fueled by current events, and here we are now, nine months later. ::guilty wince::

Warning: there is explicit sex and some light kink in all of these. If that’s not your thing, stop here. None of these are genre romance stories, with HEA/HFN, though all are full of hope and joy. Also, Jules Jones and Storm Duffy are two writing facets of the same author.

Stormy Nights, by Jules Jones and Stormy Duffy

This is a collection of nine short stories of varying lengths and genres; some are very romantic, some are more short erotic vignettes than stories, and one is an incredibly poignant fantasy with very strong romantic elements. There are merpeople, and fae, and just plain contemporaries.

In competition for the shortest blurb EVER:

Sex and love, lies and truth, shades in between. Happy endings and might-have-beens. Nine tales of these things between men.

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Someone to Love, by Mary Balogh

16 May

This is my (very) late entry in SuperWendy’s TBR Challenge for February. As with my January read, I actually managed to read the book on time¹ but I just haven’t been able to string more than a couple of sentences together for months.

Ah well, c’est la vie, non?

Warning: otherization/fetishization of the one Asian character in the novel.

Someone to Love, by Mary Balogh

This is the first novel in a series about the family of the late Earl of Riverdale, and how his death–and the secrets he kept until then–have affected their fortunes and their very lives. I found the premise very intriguing and read the book quickly and with general enjoyment.

While we are introduced to a rather large cast of characters (I had to check the family tree a couple of times during the first few chapters), as the author is setting up a series of books, the story moves along smoothly, at a sustained pace, to the last chapter or so.

But more on that below. Here, have a blurb:
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“Ready to Roll” by Suzanne Brockmann

19 Apr

I first got this novella sometime in early 2017, but I was lucky enough to attend RWA National Conference in Orlando that year in July, and I snagged a signed copy at the literacy signing.

Then it languished in the TBR room¹ until January this year, when I read it for SLWendy’s TBR Challenge.

Sadly, what with one thing and another, the review was not written on time :head hanging in shame:

Ah well, in the ‘better late than never’ category, here you have it.

Warning: one of the characters lives in an abusive situation, another (minor) character is the victim of spousal abuse; there’s homophobia and general bigotry. Oh, and some cursing.

“Ready to Roll” by Suzanne Brockmann

This novella is the third in a trilogy of short-ish stories set in the Troubleshooters’ world, centered on SEAL Izzy Zanella. The three stories take place within a year of the events in Breaking the Rules, which was the last novel in the series for half a dozen years,² until Some Kind of Hero came out.

Here’s the blurb from my print copy (yes, the repetitions too):
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