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text 2017-12-15 23:15
Square 10 World Peace Day Task
With Every Letter - Sarah Sundin
The Unleashing (Call Of Crows Book 1) - Shelly Laurenston
The Undoing (Call Of Crows) - Shelly Laurenston
The Unyielding - Shelly Laurenston
A Lady for Lord Randall (Brides of Waterloo) - Sarah Mallory
A Mistress for Major Bartlett - Annie Burrows
Persepolis I & II - Marjane Satrapi
The Bull Rider's Homecoming (Blue Thorn Ranch) - Allie Pleiter
Mission of Hope (Love Inspired Historical) - Allie Pleiter
Homefront Hero - Allie Pleiter

5 Books I Appreciated this Year....and yeah I kinda cheated, lol:

 

1. With Every Letter (Wings of the Nightingale #1) by Sarah Sundin

     Finally a book that features a military heroine! I really loved this story of Tom and Mellie falling for each other in both letters and in person. Can't wait to read the other two books in the series.

 

2. Call of Crows series by Shelly Laurenston

     Got to love female rage mixed with Norse mythology and lots of humor. This trilogy is a great read for paranormal romance fans who want actual strong female characters. I refuse to name my favorite, they are all good in their own way. A very cathartic way of dealing with real life news.

 

3. A Lady for Lord Randall by Sarah Mallory/A Mistress for Major Bartlett by Annie Burrows

      These were the first two books in the Waterloo Brides trilogy (the last book stank). I loved that Regency romance left the ballroom and went onto the battlefield - such a departure from the normal Regency romance.

 

4. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

     The artwork was stark and evoked such feelings as Satrapi told her life story, along with giving readers a history and cultural lesson on Iran. I would recommend reading both books to understand her fresh approach to the immigrant story.

 

5. Allie Pleiter

    Not a book, but an author of historical romance. This was the Summer of Allie Pleiter - from contemporary bull rider returning home, to 1906 San Francisco just months after the earthquake, to World War I knitters who get the Spanish flu and finally to an post-WWI orphange. There wasn't a moment of reading Pleiter's works that I did not enjoy.

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review 2017-11-29 02:52
An uneven book about a Vet dealing with his ghosts from Vietnam.
Curse of the Coloring Book: A Novel Inspired by a True Story - Howard L. Hibbard

Herald Lloyd is an attorney whose life is falling apart -- he's drinking to excess regularly, his wife/business partner is continually threatening to leave, and he's committed a pretty obvious bit of malpractice while being uninsured -- which will pretty much ruin his practice and family. All of this can be traced back to his drinking, he's self-medicating to deal with recurring nightmares, flashbacks and stress related to his time serving in Vietnam (all of which are probably exacerbated by the drinking in a wonderful loop). We know that because he tells everyone that he's dealing with his symptoms just fine on his own in just about every conversation he has. Because what says "dealing with" better than constantly talking about how you're dealing with it?

 

The novel focuses on the actions that take place in 1988, where Lloyd deals with crisis around his malpractice and his efforts to dodge the repercussions of it. The characterization of everyone is shallow, the writing is stiff, the dialogue is cringe-worthy, the plot is predictable (yeah, it's based to some degree on actual events, but the presentation of the plot is predictable).

 

The book's saving grace (and, at times, the only thing that kept me reading) were the flashbacks to Lloyd's time in Vietnam. They (by my entirely unscientific reckoning) make up about sixty percentage of the book They were still too-frequently sloppy and self-indulgent with cringe-worthy dialogue. However, there was a life to them, something you could build a novel on (thankfully, because that's just what Hibbard was trying to do). Seriously, give me a novel based on this material alone, and my take will be much more encouraging. There's a great mix of types of material -- comic, dark comic, horror, slice of life, friendship, loyalty -- just about everything you could ask for when Lloyd thinks about (willingly or not) his friends, subordinates, commanders, antagonists from his years in Asia.

 

There's quite a lot of material featuring flashbacks to a week of R&R Lloyd spent with a prostitute. His wife, Thea, didn't enjoy him reliving that so often -- and who can blame her? -- and I didn't either. Calling them "gratuitous" feels like a tautology, honestly. I'm going to stop there because this threatens to take over this post, and no one wants that.

 

I'm going to give this a 3 Star rating because the Vietnam material was so strong (minus the stuff with the prostitute), the 1988 material on its own wouldn't even get 2 from me. A good editorial pass or two would've helped things tremendously -- I appreciate what it seems that Hibbard was going for here, but good intentions don't make good books. Good writing does, and there just wasn't much of that here.

 

<i><b>Disclaimer:</b> I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.</i>

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/11/28/curse-of-the-coloring-book-by-howard-l-hibbard
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text 2017-10-29 19:34
The Sunday Post: Halloween Fun

With Halloween happening on a weekday night this year, my friends and I had a bit of seasonal fun this weekend at this lovely place: Glamis Castle.

 

 

Glamis is my favourite castle hands down (and I have visited ... many). It's not just the Macbeth connection, or the connection with Queen Mother, or anything like that, it is because they (still privately owned by the Strathmores) really care about the place and about making visitors feel welcome. There is always something special about what they put on. And it is a community thing - the castle is staffed by locals who have been there for a long time, the guides have been there forever, the old castle kitchens (now the restaurant) uses local produce from the estate, etc. I seriously love visiting this place and try to do so at least once every year. 

 
This year, the castle put on a Halloween event - A Halloween themed tour of the castle and they also made up a Macbeth inspired walk around the grounds that was fitted with sculptures and a light and sound installation.
 
 
One of my friends has problems with her eyesight at the moment and can't really manage well in the dark. So, we decided to get there in the afternoon and walk around the castle gardens and woods first, while there was still daylight.
It was so much fun. The other friend who came was a bit sceptical at first because, well, how much fun can trees with lights really be, right? However, we spent nearly the whole walk laughing and being shocked by the sounds. At one point my sceptical friend found a big, bright red button in from of the witches sculpture - of course she pressed it! The thunder, lightning, and smoke that ensued set us jumping. One of us even lost her shoe! Seriously, we had so much fun.
 
 
After the woods, we joined the castle tour that we had booked. It was fab! They had dimmed the lights so the parts of the castle were completely dark, others just lit by candles. They decorated everything with gargoyles, skeletons, cob webs ... and live actors dressed as ghosts, zombies, knights, witches...all turning up at random times to make you feel really, erm, uneasy. 
 
(This photo was one I found on the Glamis Castle Facebook page.)
 
The tour told only of the castle's ghosts and gory stories, and a little history. Not much history, tho, because this was a Halloween tour and there were kids present (who might have been bored). And still, we all learned something new. 
 
At the end of the tour, I ended up as a tribute to the resident witches but managed to escape just in time to follow my friends to the old castle kitchens for homemade roast pumpkin soup and a well deserved and absolutely huge pot of tea. 
 
 
So much fun.
 
On top of that, I picked up from the tour that there seems to be a connection between Glamis and Bonnie Dundee (Graham Claverhouse or Bloody Dundee) - who was the subject of Josephine Tey's only (as far as I know) work of non-fiction (which is on my TBR). And because of how rabbit holes work, I now need to know what the connection is. (There is a portrait of Claverhouse in the portrait gallery at Glamis...) 
 
 
Happy Sunday!
 
 
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text 2017-10-21 14:00
#30DaysofReadathon - Day 30 through 20
Public Secrets - Nora Roberts
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Vision Vol. 2: Little Better Than a Beast - Tom King,Michael Walsh
An Encounter at Hyde Park - Ava Stone,Deb Marlowe,Claudia Dain,Karen Hawkins
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia - Wade Von Grawbadger,Dave Stewart,Greg Rucka,J.G. Jones
A Slight Miscalculation: A Half Moon House Short Story (Half Moon House Series Book 3) - Deb Marlowe
The Christmas Child (Love Inspired - Linda Goodnight
Blue Dahlia - Nora Roberts

I bombed out on doing this part of the Dewey Read-a-thon. I just don't do well with daily challenge prompts. So I figured I group them in tens and make three posts.

 

Day 30 Favorite Book - Public Secrets by Nora Roberts

 

Day 29 Short Book - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

 

Day 28 Red - Vision, Volume 2: Little Better Than a Beast by Tom King et al

 

Day 27 Snacks - Pretzels for salty snack, as they are not greasy like potato chips but have the same crunch factor. Starbucks' London Fog (venti, cause go big or go home) for sweet.

 

Day 26 Short Stories - An Encounter at Hyde Park by Various Authors

 

Day 25 Comics craze - Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka et al

 

Day 24 Drinks - My newest favorite drink is Kraken Black Spice Rum and Coca-Cola. All time drink is still a cuppa tea.

 

Day 23 Space - A Slight Miscalculation by Deb Marlowe

 

Day 22 Cozy - The Christmas Child by Linda Goodnight

 

Day 21 Blue - Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts

 

 

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text 2017-08-31 07:30
August 2017 Wrap Up
Falling for the Enemy - Naomi Rawlings
Homicide in High Heels - Gemma Halliday
Her Holiday Family (Texas Grooms (Love Inspired Historical)) - Winnie Griggs
Mission of Hope (Love Inspired Historical) - Allie Pleiter
The Dragon and the Pearl - Jeannie Lin

 I am burning out on COYER. I need something other than Harlequin romance. Bring on Halloween Bingo!

 

Challenges:

BL/GR: 128/150; 85% completed

Pop Sugar: 2; 42/52 prompts filled

Library Love Challenge: 2; 42/36 for the year

COYER: 12; 82% of list read from June-August

 

1. Falling for the Enemy by Naomi Rawlings (COYER) (Pop Sugar) - 5 stars

 

2. Homicide in High Heels (High Heels #8) by Gemma Halliday (COYER) (Library Love) - 4 stars

 

3. Chaucer's Major Tales by Michael Hoy and Michael Stevens (Pop Sugar) (COYER) (Library Love) - 2.5 stars

 

4. Her Holiday Family by Winnie Griggs (COYER) - 4 stars

 

5. Mission of Hope by Allie Pleiter (COYER) - 4.5 stars

 

6. The Baby Barter by Patty Smith Hall (COYER) - 3 stars

 

7. Emma and the Outlaw by Linda Lael Miller (COYER) - 1.5 stars

 

8. The Bootlegger's Daughter by Lauri Robinson (COYER) - 1 star

 

9. Love, Special Delivery by Melinda Curtis (COYER) - 2 stars

 

10. Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin (COYER) - .5 star

 

11. The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin (COYER) - 4 stars

 

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