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text 2018-11-09 00:06
24 Tasks: Door 4 - Diwali - Task # 4
The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood
Heidi - Johanna Spyri
Ladies of Letters - New and Old - Lou Wakefield,Carole Hayman
The Deceased Miss Blackwell and her Not-So-Imaginary Friends - K.N. Parker,K.N. Parker
Juliet Takes a Breath - Gabby Rivera
A Talent for Murder: A Novel - Andrew Wilson
Geisha, a Life - Rande Brown,Mineko Iwasaki

This task was hard.

 

And because I'm clearly lacking books that feature women holding flowers, I had to stretch my interpretation of the task. And by stretch I mean, stopping just short of a post-modern expressive dance interpretation of what can be understood as woman holding a flower. 

It would not have been a pretty sight.

So, count yourselves lucky to not have to see it.

 

Anyway, I have listed my covers above and there are a few more than five, just in case some should not work...

 

So, we have one actual cover with a woman holding flowers. Atwood to the rescue. 

Then we have a girl holding flowers - Heidi. Still close enough, I guess.

Then we have a Vera of Ladies of Letters sporting a buttonhole flower. 

The Deceased Miss Blackwell on top the grave is holding a rose. 

Juliet has a flower-shaped earring.

A flower in a hat on the cover of A Talent for Murder, and finally...

Flowers in hair on the cover of Geisha, a Life.

 

I had to wade through more than 2500 covers on my combined shelves to even get the ones I listed. Seriously, this was a hard task.

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review 2018-11-06 05:14
Hot SEAL, Bourbon Neat (SEALs in Paradise) by Parker Kincade
Hot SEAL, Bourbon Neat - Parker Kincade

 

 

Hot SEAL, Bourbon Neat (SEALs in Paradise) by Parker Kincade

 

 

Reviewed for Candid Book Reviews

 

Brooke has no use for a hero. She's no shrinking Violet, but when her past reconnects with her present, all bets are off. Asher knows how to do his job. Being a Navy Seal is risky business, but when his crosses paths with an ex he can't forget he gets more than he bargained. Hot Seat, Bourbon Neat has beautiful scenery, electric chemistry and a cast full of irresistible characters. Kincade makes sure the weather is not the only temptation for this exotic read.

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quote 2018-10-26 09:25
“Man, this girl already has my balls in her pocket, and we haven’t even kissed.”
Pucking Parker (Face-Off Legacy #1) - Jillian Quinn

 ~~ Pucking Parker, by Jillian Quinn

 (Face-Off Legacy series, book #1)

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review 2018-10-18 00:20
ARC Review: Lincoln's Park by Parker Williams
Lincoln's Park - Parker Williams

I read this book, finished it, and then immediately read it again. That basically NEVER happens, but with this book, I couldn't help myself.

Noel is a young man who was kicked out of his home by his ever so loving parents when he told them he was gay. He was lucky in that he found a place at a local shelter, where he's been living and helping out for the past three years. In need of a job, any job, he stops in Lincoln's diner.

Lincoln is quite a bit older than Noel, with a very different backstory, which we find out as the book progresses. He loves cooking and taking care of people, and he treats his employees like family. One look at the forlorn young man asking for a job, and Lincoln can't help himself - the need to pull the young man into the folds is immediate. 

Noel has no idea what hit him - surely nobody can be that decent and kind to someone they don't know at all, right?

I liked both characters immensely, and also the supporting cast - the other employees at the diner, especially Katy, and Robert who runs the shelter where Noel has been staying. However, Lincoln's brother and father - I wanted them to hurt, and badly, but obviously I wasn't supposed to like them. 

Noel is still young, and despite the last three years being really rough, he hasn't lost his sweet kindness, his youthful innocence, his positive outlook. He's fascinated by the older Lincoln, but also has no intention of falling for his boss and being out of a job. Except he doesn't realize that Lincoln feels the same, and that they are well matched despite the age difference and the difference in their life experiences. Lincoln's history plays a huge role in who he became, and he's reluctant to reach for Noel, scared to some extent that he's no good for the younger man. Thank goodness for Katy who gives them the push they both need. 

What struck me most here is that the author created complex and fully developed characters - Lincoln had some layers that ran much deeper than I initially expected, and Noel has an inner strength I didn't expect from someone so young. 

There's a moment toward the end of the book that may be confusing for some - without giving away the plot, I can't really say much about it, but suffice it to say that if you pay attention to what comes before, you will not be confused at all, or even wonder what just happened. 

The BDSM-Lite aspect of the relationship was well done and rang true, and I liked that the author utilized it as a source of some conflict that the two men have to work out, which actually strengthened the relationship.

What is emphasized time and again is family - the one you're born to and the one you choose and make for yourself. Family, even if not by blood, is what binds Lincoln and Noel and Katy and Jesse and Robert and all the others. Even Lincoln's brother, who by book's end seemingly has second thoughts about how he's been acting. I have it on good authority that his story will be told in a future book. I cannot wait! 

But what really permeates this book is love. There is so much tangible, obvious love in every word on every page, and you are cocooned by it, warmed by it, embraced by it. 

I think it's that feeling of love that prompted me to read the book twice in a row, and I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy as soon as you can.

It's available now.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-10-13 03:32
Sunny Randall's Back in this Promising Reintroduction
Robert B. Parker's Blood Feud - Mike Lupica

I have a complicated relationship with Sunny Randall. Readers of this site have been frequently exposed to my love for Robert B. Parker's Spenser and Jesse Stone novels, both by Parker and the continuations by Ace Atkins and Reed Farrel Coleman (let's overlook Michael Brandman's contributions for the moment). I enjoyed his stand-alone works, and I thought the first couple of Virgil Cole & Everett Hitch books were fun (I haven't tried the Robert Knott continuations). Which leaves us with Sunny.

 

Sunny Randall, the story goes, was written to be adapted into a film series for Parker's chum, Helen Hunt (incidentally, I've never been able to envision Helen Hunt in a single Sunny scene, but that's just me). She's a private investigator; a former cop; part-time painter (art, not house); emotionally entangled with her ex-husband, but can't live with him; lives in Boston; and enjoys good food. But she's totally not a female Spenser -- she doesn't like baseball, see? I've read all the books -- some multiple times -- and while I enjoyed them, I've never clicked with Sunny the way I have with others. Including every other Parker protagonist. Most of her novels are mashups and remixes of various Spenser novels, entertaining to see things in a different light -- but that's about it. Frankly, the most I ever liked Sunny was in the three Jesse Stone novels late in Parker's run (but both characters are better off without each other).

 

So when it was announced that Mike Lupica would be taking up the reins of this series I was intrigued but not incredibly enthused. I only know Lupica from having bought a few of his books for my sons when they were younger. I didn't get around to reading any of them, so he's really a new author for me. And sure, I was a little worried about a YA/MG author taking the reins of a "grown-up" series. But not much -- if you can write a novel, you can write a novel, it's just adjusting your voice and language to be appropriate for the audience.

 

Enough blather -- let's talk about Blood Feud. Since we saw her last, Sunny has had to move, Richie (her ex-) has gotten another divorce (giving them the chance to date or whatever you want to call it) and has replaced her late dog, Rosie, with another Rosie. Other than that, things are basically where they were after the end of Spare Change 11 years ago (for us, anyway, I'm not sure how long for her, but less time has passed you can bet).

 

By the way -- does anyone other than Robert B. Parker, Spenser and Sunny really do this? Your dog dies, so you go and get another one of the same breed and call him/her the same name? Is this really a thing?

 

Then one night -- Richie is shot. It's not fatal, but was done in such a way that no one doubts for a moment that it could have been had the assailant wanted it to be. For those who don't know (or don't remember), Richie is the son of an Irish mob boss, although he has nothing to do with the family business. He's given a message for his father -- his shooter is coming for him, but wants him to suffer first. This kicks off a race for the shooter -- Sunny, the Burke family and the police (led by Sgt. Frank Belson) are vying to be the one to find the shooter.

 

Before long, the violence spreads to other people the Burkes employ -- both property and persons are targeted by this stranger. It's clear that whoever is doing this has a grudge going back years. So Sunny dives into the Burke family history as much as she can, so she can get an answer before her ex-father-in-law is killed. Not just the family history -- but the family's present, too. As much as the roots of the violence are in the past, Sunny's convinced what the Burkes are up to now is just as important to the shooter.

 

Richie's father, Desmond, isn't happy about Sunny sticking her nose into things. Not just because of the crimes she might uncover -- but he really wants to leave the past in the past. But as long as someone might come take another shot at Richie, Sunny won't stop. This brings her into contact with several criminal figures in Boston (like Parker-verse constants Tony Marcus and Vinnie Morris) as well as some we've only met in Sunny books.

 

There are a couple of new characters in these pages, but most of them we've met before -- Lupica is re-establishing this universe and doesn't have time to bring in many outsiders, but really just reminds us who the players are. Other than the new Rosie, I can't point at a character and say "that's different." He's done a pretty good job of stepping into Parker's shoes. Not the pre-Catskill Eagle Parker like Atkins, but the Parker of Sunny Randall books, which is what it should feel like (( wouldn't have objected to a Coleman-esque true to the character, just told in a different way). I think some of the jokes were overused (her Sox-apathy, for one), but it wasn't too bad. Lupica did make some interesting choices, particularly toward the end, which should set up some interesting situations for future installments.

 

The mystery was decent enough, and fit both the situations and the characters -- I spent a lot of the novel far ahead of Sunny (but it's easier on this side of the page). I enjoyed the book -- it's not the best thing I've read this year, but it's a good entry novel for Lupica in this series, a good reintroduction for the characters/world, and an entertaining read in general. If you're new to this series, this would be as good a place to hop on as it was for Lupica.

 

I want better for Parker's creation (but I think I'd have said that for most of Parker's run with the series), and Lupica's set things up in a way that we could get that in the near-future. He's demonstrated that he has a good handle on the character he inherited, the question is, what can he do with her from here? I was ambivalent about this series coming back, but I can honestly say that I'm eager to see what happens to it next.

 

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Putnam Books via NetGalley in exchange for this post -- thanks to both for this.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/10/12/blood-feud-by-mike-lupica-sunny-randalls-back-in-this-promising-reintroduction
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