Going Underground

Going Underground    My favorite book this week   Autistic British Detective Jonathan Roper – Going Underground  book 1  – Michael Leese

The chemistry between Jonathan and his mentor/partner is great and they work well together, but the others don’t relate as well and that creates stress in the whole office. He is brilliant though, and solves cases others haven’t been able to.  I liked this one so well I read the next one too.

I can See You  Autistic British Detective Jonathan Roper – I Can See You  book 2  – Michael Leese

Jonathan’s skills have been noticed and as a result has been recruited by another government agency. Things go well for awhile but he falls into a slump he can’t seem to work his way out of, no matter what they try. He worked well with his partner in the Police Special Investigations Unit, so, quietly and swiftly, Brian Hooley is transferred to the new agency, to see if it would make the difference. It seems to be working and things are getting back on track. And, they are off to solve another baffling mystery.

Noelle's Golden Christmas Holiday Inc. Series – Noelle’s Golden Christmas book 1 – Tamie Dearen

Noelle is a Scrooge about Christmas, the way her life has gone she just knows something else bad is going to happen. Maybe if she got a dog….. maybe that’s what she needs to get through the holiday. In the meantime, her meddling family thinks she needs a man and they are determined to bring  both Christmas and a man into her life.

Canteen Dreams  Cornhusker Dreams – Canteen Dreams book 1- Cara Putman

A heartwarming World War Two love story. The unthinkable happens when Pearl Harbor is bombed and young men are being shipped off to war. Audrey wants to do her part to support the troops and everyday joins a group of ladies running a canteen to serve the trainloads of men moving through their town. She doesn’t expect to fall for a local boy. Willard is distressed because he feels the need to enlist but is rejected because he is considered essential, being a rancher. He is impressed by the passion and dedication of the young woman who catches his eye but has a hard time watching her interact with the uniformed soldiers passing through town, especially when he wants to be one of them.

The Christmas Bargain  Hardman Holidays – The Christmas Bargain book 1 – Shanna Hatfield

This is a book I read two years ago but it caught my eye as I was browsing though my cache of books, I think it needs to be read again. It is a Victorian Christmas  story set in a real town from the 1800s. The town is Hardman Oregon USA and is now a ghost town. Philamena is left dazed and speechless when her father tries to settle a debt and a handsome cowboy agrees to take her in payment. Luke Hardman owns the bank and when her father threatens to sell her to the saloon owner for money to pay his debt, he found he couldn’t let that happen. He’d rather be out on his ranch than stuck in an office and has no idea what to do with this marriage of convenience. I’m looking forward to rediscovering a good story.

I have been distracted lately and it has been hard to settle down enough to focus on reading so my list isn’t as long as it is usually. I did enjoy these books though and hope maybe you will as well.

There are some great writers out there just waiting to be discovered. I hope you are crossing paths with some of them too. If you haven’t joined BookBub I hope you will, it’s one of the easiest sites to use in the discovery of great books, I’ve found.

Happy reading! and a fulfilling writing experience, if you are giving it a try too.

triggers

I am still processing distressing thoughts and feelings triggered by some of the events of the last couple of weeks. The process is never quite as simple as I think it should be but there is progress today and I’m grateful. It seems time goes on, and then some things come to the surface, finally ready to be examined and dealt with.

I’ve spent the day writing a post trying to work out an answer to the why question in my head. It was a worthwhile occupation as a number of answers presented themselves. Several were complete, some were not and will have to be revisited another day. At least the conversation has been started and that’s a positive step.

Even though I’ve erased all of today’s work to start over, it has been a beneficial day. The area under consideration is one I haven’t been ready to look at before now. Probably because it’s a hot button issue I didn’t know what to do with. I would share details but I wasn’t able to express it in a way that would make sense to anyone but me. Part of today was a major break through. All of the steam has been let out of several reactions and it feels good.

Sometimes, it seems like the effects of brokenness will never end. A day like today brings renewed hope. Hope is a good thing.

I don’t know if sharing this post will be helpful or encouraging to anyone, but I pray that it is. We all need a little hope, some days more than others.


A couple of books for you

Making Spirits Bright  Christmas Light Collection 2017 – Making Spirits Bright –  Swanson, Shiloh, Hayman and Havig……. four new never-before-released novellas. From romance to cozy mysteries. A fun Christmas read. This is the second set from these ladies this Christmas.

I Know You'll Find Me Dangerous Affections Series – I Know You’ll Find Me – Jennifer Youngblood ….Victoria’s dreams are starting to come true, her own dance studio and a handsome rich boyfriend. Everything changes in an instant when she witnesses a murder on an impromptu visit to his office. Running for her life, she grabs her kids and disappears to the one place she knows he would never think to look. Keeping their secret proves difficult when a handsome police office takes a romantic interest in her, bonding with her kids.

Happy reading!

I don’t feel like writing….

I don’t feel like writing… and the reason for this is not good. A blogger I follow is going through a rough patch and it is his pain that started mine. Empathy. I sense pain in others and take it on as my own. I don’t mean to, I know it’s not healthy – taking another’s pain as your own – but sometimes intentions aren’t enough to stop empathy.

This blogger is a young man and I am neither young, nor a man. He writes in a general way giving very little detail about his personal life, yet there is something in his writing that leaves the impression of much more below the surface.

I am drawn to reading his posts but I am an introvert, and there is the age/gender thing, so I am trying to stay hidden. Not an easy thing to do as his audience is still small.  Regular visitors stand out rather dramatically. With view stats he would see activity from my country only, but with likes and comments he would see my identity. So, I keep likes to a minimum, and avoid making comments. Eventually his curiosity about this person reading all of his posts has him trying to coax me out into the open. I steadfastly refuse to rise to the bait, until he shares a post revealing some of his pain. The encourager in me can’t help but respond, and I think this is where the trouble begins. But I could be wrong. It could have little to do with my response and much to do with the aftermath of his revealing some of his personal pain.

The trouble with wounded introverts, in my experience, is they over examine every interaction and then flog themselves mercilessly.  I can see signs of flogging going on. There is the unusually long silence and then today’s post indicating deep pain, with the probability of no more blogging. That would be a shame, on so many levels. I expressed this in a comment. I hope he hears and is encouraged to keep in touch.

I have been focused on what I imagine to be his pain paying little attention to my own pain based behaviors. Recognizing the resulting depression in me is the reason for this blog post …. forcing myself back into community, avoiding the tendency for withdrawal.

There is something therapeutic about the attempt to express thoughts and feelings in a way that makes sense. It helps defend against depression. And, community feed back  from posting is a bonus.

I hope my blogger friend will stay in community and keep writing. I know he will discover others who have travelled roads similar to his and will cheer him on, and he will discover growth in positive new insights about himself.

It’s working for me tonight, I would like to see it work for him too

And the pressure is off, hiding is over, no more avoiding comments and likes. Nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two books to inspire the writer within

Wite Well a Grammar Guide

I admit; I am not a fan of boring instructional books, and I assume (mainly based on school years) that all instructional books are boring. This assumption is beginning to change. Write Well: A Grammar Guide Rachelle Rea Cobb, is definitely not boring. Her style is conversational, fun, informative, and sneaky. She has a way of crafting her explanation to demonstrate the point she’s making. I love that. But, mostly, I love her straight to the point statements.  I’m feeling inspired.

 

Zen in Art of Writing  Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity Ray Bradbury

Magic happens when an author expresses things in a way guaranteed to capture our attention, to draw us in – to become part of the story. I am drawn in as Ray Bradbury talks about his career and how it came about. I love the unique way he paints word pictures. It’s easy to see why his long and successful career took off so dramatically at an early age. I can’t help but feel excited as I read this book because he validates the case for authenticity and passion as the important element in good writing. Not only does he validate but he also demonstrates. The way he expresses a thought is as important, if not more so, than the thought itself. I think reading writing of this calibre on a regular basis turns good writers into great writers.


More books read, and enjoyed, lately

Death Ship Death Ship book 5 Danforth Saga – Joseph Badal …. After decades, it is time to retire from his clandestine job and take his wife and grandson on the holiday he’s been promising. Some people seem to attract trouble wherever they go. In the right place at the wrong time, he finds himself in the middle of trouble of the worst kind, and like it or not his retirement is delayed.

 

Telling Lies  Telling Lies book 1 A Sam Mason Mystery Series  – L. A. Dobbs ….  as police investigate the recent shooting of one of their own, a body is discovered near the popular local campsite, the victim of a suspicious drowning. There are multiple suspects but no clear motive and it is hard to tell if truth is being told. Add to that; pressure from the mayor who seems to have a questionable agenda for solving this murder quickly. Things are often not as they seem. Who do you trust?

 

Wonderland Wishes

Wonderland Wishes: 7 Never-Before-Released Christmas Romances     * Kittens and Snow Flurries book 3 in the Hearts of Hollywood Series – Lynette Bonner   * Finding Christmas and You  – Jan Cline * Once Upon a Christmas Star – Kathleen Freeman  *A Christmas Hallelujah book 1 in the Cranberry Creek Series – Dori Harrell  * The Second Noel – Chautona Havig * Home For the Holidays book 3 in the Holiday Hearts Series – Lesley Ann McDaniel  * Montana Skye – Sylvia Stewart  ….  over 1200 pages so they are not short stories, which I like, a lot. An enjoyable and entertaining read.

 

Crane's Bride

Wild Rose Country – Crane’s Bride book 1 – Linda Ford ….Crane sets out to find land and a new life out west, part way there he realizes there is a need that he hasn’t considered, to make this new life work . A wife. He decides to advertise, and gets more than he bargained for. A wife and an instant family. She is feisty and distrusting of men. He has no idea how to be a husband. I enjoyed the authors engaging style and dry sense of humor, this was a fun read from beginning to end.

 

 

Wake (City 0f Lights Book 1)

Wake

This is a fantasy about a dictatorship, and the banishing of all but the subservient. The Community lives in an isolated bubble built to sustain life and keep prisoners. Those who question or show signs of “cultism” are sent for “rehabilitation”. It seems the stirrings of something more can never be stopped though, and Luke and Monet have seen and experienced things that plant seeds of truth in their minds, things that expose  the lies. This truth puts them in danger of banishment and death, will they backtrack and follow the rules or move ahead and go where truth takes them?

I enjoy fantasy and have read books with similar scenarios but this one was handled in a different way and I liked that. I found the story line hard to follow in places but the book as a whole was worth reading and I want to read the sequel.

One quote from the book struck a cord with me:

Blind men, scared men, and hurting men, just like The Community, tried to silence Him, but creation can’t silence the Creator or His Son He sent into the world. He walks among us, even now. (82% Kindle)  Words to bring hope in our own time of upheaval and turmoil. The Creator cannot be overpowered or silenced. The very rocks will cry out. Not a new  battle in our world; the banishing of God.

Wake (City of Lights book 1) Sherry Rossman


one more book

Valley of the Shadow  Dakota Moons Series – Valley of the Shadow book 1 – Stephanie Grace Whitson …. Genevieve, the daughter of Good Song Woman and a French trader, is distressed when her father sends her to live with missionaries, to be educated the way  her mother wanted for her. When a young warrior is found  gravely wounded and left in their barn, Gen begins to lose her heart. Their love is just starting to blossom when the war of 1862 breaks out dragging them both into the valley of the shadow of death.

The hard thing about this story was hearing the historical record of the treatment displaced inhabitants received at the hands of displacers, and the resulting wars. I feel deep sadness that we could treat fellow human beings in such a way. It makes me appreciate the imperfect but improved circumstances of our present world, a world without mass pillaging and killings.

I enjoyed this book because it was well written, compelling, and an education. The characters were real and had me caring about them.

Reading a historical novel is always a good thing; it helps us see where we come from, appreciate where we are, and see where we could end up again if we forget where we come from.

Be on the lookout for a good historical novel. Or a fantasy.

Happy reading!

A Life Intercepted

A Life Intercepted

This is my book of the week. To qualify as favorite it must be a book I can’t bear to put down. I was reading this one when I shouldn’t be…that qualifies.

The thing I like about Charles Martin’s books; his characters meet life head on, with what we call these days, emotional intelligence. Stuff happens, there are misunderstandings  and disagreements, but they handle them like adults.

Most of his stories are filled with the hard places of life and I think this appeals to us as readers because we see our lives reflected in his stories, we need something deeper and he gives it to us. Watching the way his characters face a dilemma helps us see possibilities in our own situation.

On the downside, he includes a lot of detail that I struggle with at times. I’m not sure whether this is because I am lazy in doing the work needed to see the picture he’s painting, or if my mind  doesn’t think in a way that words can paint a picture. It’s probably a bit of both. In spite of this I still feel compelled to read his stories.

If you are not familiar with Charles Martin and you like a story you can chew on, check out one of his books.


and now for the rest of this weeks books

The Gondola Maker  The Gondola Maker – Laura Morelli …. This was my next favorite book this week. It’s set in 16th century Venice and is about a family of traditional gondola makers. Luca figures his father has his life mapped out for him in the family business until a disagreement turns tragic and the course of his life is drastically changed.  This was a gripping tale hard to put down.

It also makes you rethink the advantages and freedoms we enjoy in this day and age. Rules of the day said you were to paint your gondola in drab colors with little-to-no other adornments. Bright colours and flashy embellishments were considered excessive and prideful and meant the owner would be fined. This is an important part of the story.  Of more general impact though; children/offspring were expected to follow the father’s wishes about occupation and marriage choices, with no regard for their wants or wishes. There were restrictions on clothing choices, as well as free time and movement. Women were denied most of the freedoms and privileges we enjoy today.  This lack of freedom stands out in a greater way when we hear of today’s freedom demands. Reading historical fiction on a widespread basis might be a good thing to bring our priorities back in to focus.

Refuge on Crescent Hill   Refuge on Crescent Hill – Melanie Dobson … another novel based in history. The mansion has been in the family for 150 years and there are rumors of ghosts, underground railways, and buried treasure. Camden returns  determined to see  her grandmother only to find she has passed away. Unsettling things keep happening, and it seems other people are trying to claim what is hers. This was a page turner.

Good books have been scarce this week, I started several others but couldn’t seem to get in to them. Not sure if it’s me or the books. I’ll give it a few days and try again.

I hope your week has gone well and it’s been a good one.

Happy reading.

A pleasant surprise

Several posts ago I shared how I became caretaker of a small library of books when a member of our writers group took an out-of-town job for a year.

This turn of events started some of us talking about ways to get us reading, so, soon after bringing the books home three of us met at my house to brainstorm. What is the good of  a book if it’s never read.  We came up with several ideas we thought might work.

The more we talked, the more we realized this whole exercise could turn out to be beneficial in unanticipated ways. We might be looking for a little review to sell the book as worthwhile reading but there are spin-off benefits. Sometimes an indirect approach accomplishes more than we had planned in the first place.

The group response at our next meeting was greater than I could have hoped.  A number of books went home that day, to be read and reviewed and there was a high level of interest expressed in meeting outside of our normal meeting times for discussion about what we’ve read.

It’s catching fire.


Here is the book I picked to read and  rate for the meeting; it was an unanticipated  surprise. I expect how-to books to be boring, this one was not.

Words Fail Me

Words Fail Me : What Everyone Who Writes Should Know About Writing                 Patricia T. O’Conner

There were a number of things I loved about this book; it was well written, interesting, helpful, and funny. The author knows her subject well and it shows in the way the material is presented. There were examples for everything which I found particularly helpful. I loved the good bad examples. The good writing alone would add to the readers experience.

This book was great but I am not a fan of how-to-books and, on a personal level, not feeling excited about having to read them (which feels really weird to this book addict).   Maybe I will be surprised again and there will be more positive discoveries like this one.  If there are, it’s probable this self professed non-writer will learn something (I’m a reader not a writer). It’s ironic how things turn out when it wasn’t part of the plan. Maybe it is part of the plan; just not my plan. A new admission, I am warming up to the idea.


The list of books read this week will be in the next post because there was one today that  I would like to feature. Bookbub had another great cartoon; sitting in her chair looking bewildered she says to someone “What do you mean – Are you finished already? I opened the book, what was I supposed to do?”  I read a book like that today.

Anyway, happy reading! Maybe you will experience a little boost in the writing department too. I could use some company.

 

Adding some new features

Collaborating with a friend is such a great idea, especially when said friend has some things figured out, and I don’t. I have to give her credit for the idea of adding cover pictures to my books read list to make things more interesting. The idea has  crossed my mind, at times, but I needed a push to make it happen.

I give her credit for my venture into writer’s groups as well,  joining a group wouldn’t have occurred to me without her encouragement.  It has  been great meeting new people, learning new skills, becoming involved in life again. Writing is a solitary endeavour but community is inspiring in a way we miss out on if we don’t make a conscious effort to get involved somewhere.

The addition of book covers will be a positive change, visually, I think, but it has affected the way I’m writing about the books. I’m not sure why this is. Hopefully it will also be a change for the good.

Several books didn’t make the cut this week, for a couple of reasons, too much telling and not enough show, distracting details, an overbearing agenda. One particular book had a strong start and looked like it could be the favorite of the week until it took a downturn; the writing style changed to the reciting of facts, and dialogue became a soap box for the overbearing agenda. I finished it, wishing ……. It could have been such a great book.

On the bright side, there were still some great books. Check out the covers.


this weeks offering:

come to me again   Come to me Again –  Leah Atwood ….  A devastating broken engagement nearly destroys him. Four years later they cross paths, can there be forgiveness. Will he achieve his dream of a music career and an escape from poverty? Will she escape the clutches of her controlling father and wealthy upbringing. Sometimes we make decisions, for what seems to be the right reason, but the result is heartache, will love win in spite of it all?

Time Lottery  Time Lottery (Time Lottery Series Book 1) – Nancy Moser …. This is a lottery like none other. A chance to go back in time and make new choices; or not. We get to follow the three winners on their ground breaking journeys, a surgeon, a socialite, and a homeless man. It was definitely an interesting new treatment of the idea of time travel.

Echo  Echo (A Kate Redman Mystery Book 6) – Celina Grace …. Torrential rains cause unprecedented flooding and a hillside gives way to expose the skeletal remains of a young woman. There are no clues to help establish identity or date of death. Cold case files go missing and it seems like someone in authority wants the investigation stopped. Kate’s long estranged mother also makes contact which only adds to the mystery. Age old secrets and people in high places. This was a good book.

Fatal FrostFatal Frost (Defenders of Justice Book 1) – Nancy Mehl …. Mercy Brennan has followed in her absentee father’s footsteps in law enforcement, only in a different branch, US Marshall. When she finds herself assigned to a joint task force it puts her in contact with him again,  an unwelcome situation. To make matters worse, unknown to her, the boss assigns her ex fiancé as protector from a high powered gang who have the mistaken idea she has a valuable piece of information they want back, at any cost. The ice storm complicates her protection. The twists and turns made this a favorite book this week.

Hi and Run  Hit and Run (The Delilah West Thriller Series Book 3) – Maxine O’Callaghan …. A down on her luck private eye is witness to a rainy night fatal hit and run. It seems straight forward at the time but doubts arise as the teen’s mother pleads with her to prove his innocence. Her reluctant investigation turns up more questions than answers. I like this protagonist and her irreverent way of going about life.

The Recipe  This is a heartwarming story about a young dietary assistant trying to find her place in life. While she is trying to win the Vegan Valentine Bake-off, in hopes of finding her calling, she feels drawn to the needs of some of the patients adding doubt about where she belongs. A nice lighter read.

That’s it for now. Let me know if you like the addition of book covers, does it add inspiration?

As always, Happy reading!

Here’s why I boycott books with graphic sex scenes

I’ve always just tried to avoid books with graphic sex scenes, or shrugged and zipped past the occasional unexpected one. Now I boycott them; and I am dying to tell you why.

There are a few reasons: TMI, annoying, unrealistic, unnecessary, unbelievable, disappointing. And it doesn’t help that I read many books and now little aggravations  start to become big ones.

Too Much Information. My friends don’t give me graphic details about their sex  life, in fact they don’t give me any details at all (except maybe in extenuating circumstances)  nor do I want them to. Books are my good friends, I don’t want to know all the minute details of their intimate encounters.

Annoying. Like commercials during your favorite movie. Highly annoying. Especially when the obligatory scene has nothing to do with the story.

Unrealistic. In most cases, the scene starts with them frantically tearing off each other’s clothes and then it goes on and on, for pages, and pages, and pages.

Unnecessary. In most cases, if you asked if this scene was essential to the story, the answer would be no. Be ruthless, if it doesn’t cause the story to fall apart, it needs to go.

Unbelievable. A mystery/thriller comes to mind when I think about unbelievable. Unfulfilled  raging hormones start early in the story and make themselves known to the reader every page or two. Believable characters wouldn’t allow this to go on, the distraction could get them killed.

Disappointing. An awesome love story seemed to finish with a beautiful wedding and was lining up to be my favorite book of the week.  The obligatory sex scene was tacked on at the end and destroyed everything the author had going.

One other thing tipping the scales for me has been the computer generating book suggestions. The suggestions have been less and less like the kind of book I wanted and more and more like the kind of book they were trying to push. I couldn’t figure out how to change that.

So, what does my boycott look like? I stay away from main stream romance. So far it’s working for me, I still seem to find more than enough good books to read.

Thanks for letting me rant. I’m not feeling nearly as steamed as I was a couple of days ago when I started writing this piece, but that can change. BookBub had a cartoon the other day that says it perfectly.  A man is reading in bed and with disgust  sends the book sailing out the second story window. The caption says “The way you feel when they kill off your favorite character”.

It’s too bad I’m reading ebooks! It’s just not the same 🙂


One of my favorite romances this year was The Mountain Between Us Charles Martin. It will be out soon as a movie and looks like it will be as good as the book. The scenery is awesome, it was filmed in Canada’s rugged Rocky Mountains. Check it out if you haven’t already. There are lots of great trailers and interviews on line.

Next time there will be a new list of books.

In the meantime, Happy reading!

 

 

 

Fire in the Stars, and a few more books

The book I am loving this week is,  Fire in the Stars: An Amanda Doucette Mystery Barbara Fradkin; an author, and a story location new to me. This book  kept calling me back until it was finished.

The main protagonist, Amanda, arrives in Newfoundland Canada, invited to go on a wilderness trip with a friend and colleague who has not been responding to any of her attempts to contact him in the last three days. This is not like him. She is worried but has no idea where to begin looking since he hasn’t shared any details of the trip beyond a  vague comment, remote wilderness Newfoundland. There are many locations to fit that description, where  would she even start?

This was to be a healing journey to put some of the demons of their past to rest, instead it’s turning out to be complicated and certainly not healing.

There are many layers, characters, and locations, every one of them there for a reason. I love the way the author has kept it all straight for the reader, handing out details the moment they are needed and not before.

Newfoundland is a very beautiful place, inhabited by people with courage and resiliency. The vastness of it’s craggy wilderness is the perfect setting to make this story work.


more good books to share

The Black Flagged Technothriller Series – Black Flagged Alpha book 1 – Steven Konkoly …. this was a new author to me and I liked what I read. One intriguing part was; all of the characters and agencies involved were tough and ruthless, which brought doubt about the identify of the bad guys. Half the time it seemed like the protagonist was actually the bad guy. I definitely give this book two thumbs up and I hope to read more in this series.

Arms of PromiseCrystal Walton ….. Anna is trying to honour her mother, keeping the promise to hang on to her dream to dance. Army Ranger Evan has a promise to keep too. Sometimes these promises are at cross purposes, especially when her life is in danger and she fights against being protected.

Old West Romance (Women of the West) – Finding Love in Last Chance, California book 1 – Miralee Ferrell…. Alexia has been left alone to manage her father’s ranch. Ranching is her life and she feels up to the task but there is doubt the men will be willing to work for a woman. Justin has been called to repay an old debt by helping a friend with a life threatening situation. He arrives to find the friend has been killed and the threat is still real. Another story to kept it’s secrets as long as needed.

Serena Jones Mysteries Series A Fool and His Monet book 1 – Sandra Orchard …. This book tickled my funny bone… love that.  Serena has a passion for recovering lost art so when she had a chance to join the FBI Art Crime Team she took it. Her mother is on a mission to persuade Serena to leave the FBI and pursue a life of marriage and motherhood. I think Serena is going to be the winner in this battle of wills.  Two thumbs up for this book too, and, at the moment it is still free on Amazon.

A Brush Creek Brides Duo: A Wedding for the Widower & A Companion for the CowboyLiz Isaacson …. two lighter romances set on a ranch with rodeo horses and retired rodeo cowboys to train them, a nice break from the intensity of thrillers.

Happy reading as we head into Fall.