Mini Reviews!

I’ve been reading a lot lately but I haven’t been able to keep up the reviews on here. I thought I would do some short reviews and bundle a bunch of them together so you can see what I’ve been up to.



Murder among friends

The Accident by Linwood Barclay centers around a man whose wife dies in a drunk driving accident. He can’t believe that she would have gotten behind the wheel in that state, but her death starts him asking questions that trigger a rash of violence all around him. I really like this writer – what a page turner!

Short stories

I found The Man Who Would Be King at the thrift store for a dollar. I love Rudyard Kipling, so this little collection of 5 of his best stories was just what I needed. If you can find such a collection (and I think some of them are free on Kindle) this is a great place to start. I loved Kim and Jungle Stories too.

Nonfiction Audio

After finishing my book for book club, I was looking for another good book to listen to from my library. I decided on Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell. It’s the first book I’ve read by her and I enjoyed it. This one is about the history of Hawaii, a state with such a rich and interesting heritage that I feel she barely scratched the surface. She has a rather annoying voice though, so I think I’d read it instead of listen.

Other News

We did have to say goodbye to Tina and it was just as heartbreaking as we thought it would be. She was feisty right up to the last, but went right off to sleep in the end. It sort of broke my heart today to come home to all the signs she left around the house, to be cooking dinner and not have her under foot demanding her fair share. We still have Rosie, but to go from 3 cats to one in just eight months is such a shock. We had Tina for 15 years and Spooky for 12. It’s not easy to say goodbye.



Encore review: After the Prophet

Title: After the Prophet: The epic story of the Shia/Sunni split in Islam

Author: Lesley Hazelton

Puzzled by some of the anger and infighting in the Middle East? Have a hard time keeping groups straight? Wonder why they can’t all just work things out? Turns out the seeds of that anger go way back. all the way back to the 7th century AD.

This remarkably written book traces the conflict between the Sunni and the Shi’a Muslims, how it began, and what the consequences are for today. While her focus is on the history, the implications for today are clear. With every development, she draws the modern parallels and explains how it would shape the future.

I really recommend this one. I admit to being one who just skims through the developments in the Middle East, tired of the fighting and the violence, and resigned to the fact that I don’t understand it at all. Well, this was a good place to start. I’m still confused about a lot of the current figures, but this gives the reader a solid underpinning on the motives behind it all.

Review: The Shape-Changer’s Wife


Title: The Shape-Changer’s Wife

Author: Sharon Shinn

Genre: Fantasy

How I got this book: Found it in a thrift store

“From the national bestselling author of The Samaria Trilogy…this is the novel that launched Sharon Shinn’s career and inspired Peter S. Beagle to call her “the most original writer of fantasy since Robin McKinley.”

Aubrey was a student of the fine art of wizardry. But the more knowledge he acquired, the more he wanted to learn. He traveled in search of the greatest master of all, the gifted shape-changer Glyrenden. From him, Aubrey expected to discover the secret of long-lost spells and the mysteries of arcane magic.

But there was one discovery he never expected, a mystery he risked every thing to solve. Her name was Lilith…”


I’m so glad I found this book! I’ve read some short stories by Sharon Shinn, so when I found this book at the thrift store, I picked it up. The premise really intrigued me.

This is one that I don’t want to spoil, but I found it completely captivating. Our young Aubrey is very talent at magic, but he has much to learn about people. He wants to learn the magic of transformation, and there’s no better wizard at that than Glyrenden. Aubrey is prepared to work hard and study, he’s even prepared for a few personality quirks on the wizard’s behalf. He’s not prepared for the strange household or the way the town people hate them.

This is the author’s first book, but it’s still in print and available on the Kindle. If you like fantasy, especially the work of Peter S. Beagle, I would definitely recommend this one. It’s a stand alone title and it’s not very long, but it’s just charming.

Ready for Camelot?

This castle is in Spain, but you get the idea

I’ve been in the mood for some real Happily Ever After type stuff. Lots of fluff, the happier the better! Nothing too heavy or serious, just good fun. I’ve also had plenty of time to read, so I’m really going through my TBR list.

This series I want to recommend is by author K M Shea and it’s got a King Arthur twist. The series is called “King Arthur and Her Knights.” Right there, you get one of the major twists – that King Arthur is actually female. In fact, Merlin did a spell that summoned her from our day and brought Britt Arthurs back into his time to unite all England and save the day.

She’s not thrilled at first. She misses her home and her family, her phone and sanitation. But she adjusts. To find out how it all works, you really have to read the series. There are 8 books and they’re all included in Kindle Unlimited or they’re about $1.99 each. They are also short quick reads. The first one, Enthroned, is available here. I finished the series last night and it was so, so good! I loved the way the series ended.

Hope your month is going great! I need to do a best of / worst of 2017, but I’m still reading! So it may not happen until after Christmas. Tell me what your favorite happy books are and maybe I’ll pick them up!

Impossible: A Book Review


Title: Impossible

Author: Nancy Werlin

Genre: fantasy


sexual assault


“Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that she is the latest recipient of a generations-old family curse that requires her to complete three seemingly impossible tasks or risk falling into madness and passing the curse on to the next generation. Unlike her ancestors, though, Lucy has family, friends, and other modern resources to help her out. But will it be enough to conquer this age-old evil? “

Lucy is a high school student, an athlete, looking forward to her first school dance. Her dreams are shattered when the date ends in a rape. Lucy winds up pregnant. So far, it’s a pretty straightforward story. However, Lucy is not your average teenager. She’s a victim of a curse. She finds out that she’s got just 9 months to break the curse or another generation will have to suffer the same fate. She’s determined to save herself and her daughter.

I had mixed feelings on this book. I know that some readers objected to Lucy’s reaction to finding out she was pregnant, but I felt that it was a personal matter and her choice made sense given her situation. That doesn’t mean it would be right for everyone or that I thought the author was trying to say that it was right for everyone.




Book Review – Flashback

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger –

I would never have read this book if it hadn’t been chosen for my book group. Even now, I can’t believe I read this garbage! It should make for an interesting discussion!

The reason I gave it 1.5 stars is that she did actually make two good points (along with all the baloney).

First – your husband is not a mind-reader. Tell him what’s going on. Don’t expect him to guess and then be mad when he guesses wrong.

Second – if you are having trouble, talk to your husband first, then a therapist or clergyman. Don’t talk to your girlfriends. Male bashing is NOT the way to solve your problems. It may relieve a little stress and help you vent, but it will backfire and cause even more hostility. Your husband deserves your loyalty.

Other than that, I really couldn’t believe that this kind of stuff was being advocated in this day and age! For example, don’t expect your husband to help with the housework. After all, you don’t go to work with him and help him with his job, do you? (It’s not like women have anything to do besides stay at home and clean the house, right?) And don’t get too fat – you have no right to overeat. And don’t ever tell your husband no. He has a right to expect sex whenever he wants it.

As I talked the book over with my husband (of 26 years, almost. We must be doing something right!) we agreed that the most annoying part of the book is that she sticks men and women in these stereotypical gender roles and just leaves it at that. Men are big, dumb, simple creatures who basically want a hot meal, a hot wife, and a pat on the back. Women are supposed to be content to keep the house clean and please their man.

And yet, I see that other women have rated this book much higher than I have. What can I say? This is NOT the kind of relationship I want. It’s not the kind I want for my children. I want them to see a healthy partnership, where each partner is loved and valued as an INDIVIDUAL, not as a type, and where both partners are allowed, even encouraged, to express their feelings and desires and have them validated. Where there is a firm commitment to working together to solve problems when they come up, where neither partner is responsible for all the work in any category, but where flexibility is stressed. I DO NOT recommend this book in any circumstances. I think it perpetuates an unhealthy definition of marriage and if followed will cause a lot more problems than it resolves.


In this updated review, I want to include some information about the author. Dr. Laura Schlessinger is indeed a doctor, but not of psychology or social work. Her degree is in physiology. She is licensed in social work from the state of California, but only got some training in the subject.

She also had a conservative talk radio show that aligned with Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the like. She’s had a messy personal life with directly contradicts the advice she gave in her column and show. She is an anti-feminist, in case you can’t tell. She’s also made anti-gay comments and racial comments, apologizing afterward, but with an air of “sorry you’re mad” rather than “sorry I said it in the first place.”

This was one of the most popular reviews I did at the time. It still makes me ill that she was able to profit from such negative and destructive advice. If you are hearing stuff like this, turn away. Marriage is a partnership between two individuals, not between categories or stereotypes. If you’re having trouble, talk to each other first, then to a credentialed therapist.

Caitlin Sangster: Author Interview

28797211 Remember that book I gushed about this fall called Last Star Burning? I was able to get an interview with debut author Caitlin Sangster! I’m so excited to post it here for you.

Here’s the brief synopsis of the book:

Sev is branded with the mark of a criminal—a star burned into her hand. That’s the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation.

Now her mother’s body is displayed above Traitor’s Arch, kept in a paralyzed half sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev is forced to do hard labor to prove that she’s more valuable alive than dead.

When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev’s only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person—Howl, the chairman’s son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, and Sev can’t help but wonder if he knows more about her past—and her mother’s crimes—than he lets on.

But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev’s life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance.

Now for the interview!

14926007 (1)Where did you get the idea for this story?
The story itself came from reading a book about encephalitis lethargica during the swine flu awfulness that happened a few years ago. It’s where the disease in LAST STAR BURNING comes from. Weaponized flu that then puts you to sleep and turns you into someone who might accidentally hurt other people sounds so YA dystopia, doesn’t it? That and being the biggest Asia nerd ever. I love Chinese history, and it seemed like the two went well together.
What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
I read books about the sickness, read lots of Cultural Revolution primary sources…have lots of very scary search history about flash bang grenades and how people die. So that’s cool. Mostly it was trying to find the right balance of detail to make the world feel authentic without being an overload and finding the right voice Sev.
Are any of your characters based on people you know? 
No, not really. Maybe someday I’ll kill ex-boyfriends in my books, but it hasn’t come to that yet. (SR – Love this idea!)
What character do you identify with most in this book?
That’s an interesting question. I think I probably am sort of like all of the characters in some ways because they all came out of my head. I wish I were more confident the way Howl is, I wish I were LESS passive the way Sev starts, but I probably sit more in June’s camp and keep my mouth shut.
You ended on a terrible cliffhanger and I kind of hate you. But I also want to know when the next book is coming out?
Awww it isn’t that bad of a cliffhanger is it?  SHATTER THE SUNS (the sequel) comes out in Fall 2017. I feel like I should probably tell you this is a trilogy. It was going to be a duology but we just sold a third book this fall!!!! (can you tell I’m excited?) — Me too! SR
Why do you think teens are interested in dystopian fiction?
I think it’s kind of fun (in a sick sort of way) to think about how you would handle the end of the world as you know it. I think high stress and extreme situations are fun to put yourself into, because you want to be important. Want to be brave enough to face down the awfulness, instead of being the person on the sidelines who gets killed. It gives teens a chance to be heroes in really big ways instead of the smaller steps and smaller victories that normal life has for us. I think it also puts problems in a very black and white context with black and white answers, which is nice because real life isn’t like that.
What advice do you have for writers just starting out or on getting published?
Don’t give up. Be persistent. Rejections are subjective and don’t define the quality of your work. Be ready to revise, especially if you get feedback from a professional. Writing is work.
Can you describe where you work?
I usually write at the library at a table in the middle of the non-fiction section. The fewest weird people who want to strike up a conversation sit there. Not that I’m adverse to talking to people. I’ve just had one too many CIA conspiracy conversations down in the science fiction section to feel like it’s viable working space anymore.
How do you balance your home life and your writing?
I have working hours. My family takes my career seriously, just like any other job, so there are times when I’m home momming, and times when I’m not. It takes a lot of discipline, scheduling and being willing to throw everything up in the air and not care some days 🙂
What experiences did you have as a kid that made you want to become a writer?
My grandfather always told the most amazing stories about his life and about us and his parents. I learned to love stories and to love telling them from him. Also, my whole family is addicted to books. Growing up, I felt like there was something radically wrong if I didn’t have an awesome book stashed somewhere on my person.
What writers do you admire?
Patrick Ness. Patrick Rothfuss. Patrick Symmes. All the Patricks. Also, Maggie Steifvader. Brandon Sanderson. They are all amaaaazing.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I like to run a lot. And dance. And play the guitar.

I’d like to thank Caitlin for taking the time to do this interview. Really, she was just lovely and you should all check out her book!

Comixology Unlimited

cmx-cu-sash-lg.png_0,0,361,532 208,379,152,152_QL80_TTD_ Any of you who are regular readers of my blog know that I love Kindle Unlimited. Being you know, a speedy reader, I go through books pretty quickly when I’m in the mood, too quickly for me to be able to buy them or get them from the library. With my Kindle Unlimited membership, I can read all the books I want (from a limited number of titles, granted) and it only costs one flat monthly fee, which is less than I’d spend on one book.

Comics and graphic novels are kind of tricky though. I love them, but I never know where to start and my library only has a few. I don’t feel like spending lots of money on them either. Still, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to join Comixology or not.

This month, I decided to go for a trial 30 day membership and see if I liked it. Well, yeah! I’ve been doing nothing but reading comics for two solid days now. I got through all the issues of the Runaways that they have on Unlimited, lots of Wonder Woman, Luke Cage, She Hulk, and this graphic novel called The Sword, pictured above, about a woman’s quest for vengeance against the gods that killed her family.

I don’t know yet whether it’s really worth $6/month. That doesn’t sound like much, but when you add up the subscriptions and stuff plus the fact that the selection included in that price is MUCH more limited than the Kindle subscription, I’m not sure it would be worth the cash.

I am looking for more recommendations though. If there’s a comic or graphic novel that you loved, please tell me about it! I love the superhero stuff but I’m willing to explore beyond that. List your faves in the comments.

Blog Tour: White Water, Black Death


Title: White Water, Black Death

Author: Shaun Ebelthite

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Genre: Thriller/ Suspense/ Mystery

Book Description:

“A cruise ship is the perfect target for a biological attack”

These are the chilling words emailed to the Seaborne Symphony in the mid-Atlantic.

Magazine editor Geneva Jones has been sent on the trans-Atlantic cruise to help secure a major advertising agreement from the CEO of the cruise line Rachel Atkinson, but her efforts to win her over are curtailed by a mysterious crew death. Geneva suspects foul play. Rachel insists its suicide. A former investigative journalist, Geneva can’t resist digging deeper, but what she finds is far more devastating. There’s an Ebola outbreak on the ship, everyone is trapped aboard and Rachel is trying to keep it secret.

Geneva knows enough about Ebola to be terrified, but she’s also onto the biggest story of her career. As panic surges through the ship, she becomes fixated on a single question. How was the virus brought aboard? The answer is worse than she could have imagined, and the greatest exposé she’ll ever get, if she can only prove it.

My Review:

Aaron Atkinson is taking a cruise because his mom insisted that he come along. He doesn’t mind, of course. At least, he’s having fun until the storm hits and a waitress dies. They also rescue a stranded boat in the storm. Then the deaths on board start. Aaron can tell something is wrong, but he doesn’t know what to do. Meanwhile, reporter Geneva Jones is under pressure to both get the story and make the cruise line look good. She has the sense that she’s on to the story of her career, but is she being manipulated? Who can she trust?

The story is told from various POV, including Aaron Atkinson, adopted son of the CEO; a young housekeeper with a child; Geneva Jones, a reporter digging for the dirt; and the captain of the cruise ship. That lets the author tell the whole story, which would be impossible if you only followed one character. It made the book more suspenseful as I waited to see what would happen next.

I enjoyed this book, but I must say it didn’t make me any more anxious to take a cruise! The behind the scenes look at what went on, even when things went right, still made me realize how much the cruise industry exploits its workers. When things go wrong, it was truly horrifying. Normal food poisoning is enough of a trouble, but a real plague, with no way to get to safety – that’s the stuff of nightmares.

I had the chance to read this one for free in exchange for an honest review, but my opinions remain entirely my own.

This book is available for free from Kindle Unlimited right now or for purchase at the links below.

On Goodreads

On Amazon

Do you Library Thing?

I know most of you are on Good Reads, Twitter, and Instagram. But have you heard about Library Thing? I love it over there! It’s a great site for serious book lovers. It also has a way to catalog your library, features libraries of famous writers, fun facts, and a great community.

One of the boards I follow is a 2018 Category Challenge. The idea is to organize your reading into categories that you choose and then share what you’ve been reading. How many categories you have, what they are, and how many books you read in each category is up to you. I’ve done the challenge several years, even hosted in once, and I really enjoy it.

Here are my categories – (I went with a “crime” theme)

Cold cases – book that have been on the shelf too long

First Timers – new books

Repeat offenders – rereads

Serials – books in a series

Isolated occurrence – stand alone titles

Minor infractions – YA and kids books

Eyewitness accounts – nonfiction books

Advance warning – ARCs

Most Wanted – best books of the year

Petty crime – boring and DNF

I figure that will cover everything I read next year. BTW, if you want to check it out, I’m CMBohn over there.