Showing posts from January, 2019

Hunker down, snowbirds!

During hurricane season all eyes are on Florida, and I receive a lot of comments and tweets from folks hoping we'll weather (heh) the latest climate disaster without too much drama.

Now it's my turn. When I see friends posting screen shots of temps in Chicago, Minneapolis, Millwaukee, Duluth, colder than what's recorded on the surface of Mars (Seriously. Heard that today on #NPR) it's my turn to say, "Y'all take care of yourselves up there! It's an excellent day to hunker down with a bowl of hot soup, a nice fire and a fully charged Kindle."

Of course, I recommend reading a hot romance set on a tropical island (*koff* Castaway Dreams *koff, koff*) to remind you that soon it will be warm again. In the meantime, take care of yourselves!

Review: Dare to Love a Duke

Dare to Love a Duke by Eva Leigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the things I love about our romance genre is when a talented author takes a premise that seems unworkable...and succeeds spectacularly in making the reader keep turning the pages.

Eva Leigh is one such author. This third London Underground tale is the best yet, following an unapologetic prostitute who's risen to management levels. Just as in one of my favorite novels of all time, Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, Lucia is a survivor who deserves her own HEA.

I also liked that the hero, Thomas, was basically a nice guy suddenly elevated to a position of power and great responsibility, and he walks a fine line of taking care of business and his family while giving up hope for his own HEA, until he meets Lucia.

I recommend all of Leigh's books, and one can read this one as a stand-alone book.

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Win Free Books!

The Goodreads Giveaway is live and you can enter to win a signed copy of What the Parrot Saw. Click on the link, and good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

What the Parrot Saw
by Darlene Marshall

Giveaway ends February 25, 2019.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

A day of reflection and celebration

Today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the US, a day to celebrate the life of a great American, a leader who spoke truth and inspired people of all races and backgrounds to come together for change and hope. Here in Florida, as in so many other locales, the struggle for justice continues on 90 years after Dr. King's birth. Just this past year Florida voters overwhelmingly voted to restore rights to convicted felons who'd finished their time and were regular citizens, but still couldn't vote--a carry-over from Jim Crow days.  It's estimated four million voters, many of whom are black, had their rights restored.

It's also Tu B'Shevat, the "New Year of the Trees" in the Jewish Calendar.  It's a celebration of nature's renewal in the Northern hemisphere and I feel it in North Florida far more than I would buried beneath snow and ice up north.

When I look around my community today and I see people coming together in a day of service and helpin…

Review: The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man

The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man by Abraham Joshua Heschel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In an age of constant bombardment by texts, tweets, email and news cycles it has become more important than ever for me to take some sacred time to renew myself. It's oftentimes hard to explain what it means to observe the Sabbath to the degree I do, having to turn down opportunities for booksignings, attend events, go places and do things, and when I feel stressed by these choices I like to re-read this slim little volume to ground myself anew.

It's been said that if some religions have a catechism, Jews have a calendar. The Sabbath (Shabbat) is a gift that we too often don't appreciate and Rabbi Heschel (z"l) helps put that gift in perspective in a way that all people an understand.

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Review: Educated

Educated by Tara Westover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fascinating memoir of a childhood being raised so far off the grid that what most of us would consider normal life in the 21st century is an unexplored country. The most amazing part is how Westover used her strengths to not only survive, but to academically excel.

It's a wrenching document of a childhood filled with danger and downright weirdness, but also a testimony to what one individual can achieve despite being raised in harsh circumstances.

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Review: Dark Sacred Night

Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the challenges for an author who ages characters in real time is, eventually they're going to be too old to function in the same fashion. That's when it's important to bring secondary characters to the forefront. Detective Harry Bosch, LAPD veteran, Viet Nam War, vet is aging out, but before he goes he's going to continue to give his all to his on-going work solving cold cases and current crimes.

Enter Renee Ballard, an LAPD detective with her own career issues. They make an odd couple of cops but share a common passion for justice and righting wrongs, and that will help to steer both Harry and Renee in a new direction that will allow Connelly to continue entertaining us long after Harry's sitting listening to jazz and enjoying the view from his hillside home.

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Review: Nightchaser

Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here's a space opera I could really sink my teeth into! Evil Overlords! Plucky rebels! Enigmatic and hunky space rogues! Booksellers! It had a lot going for it and was a perfect weekend read. Ms. Bouchet played with Greek Mythology for her Kingmaker Chronicles, but now she takes the action to the stars with a new SF series and I'm on board with this new direction.

Captain Tess Bailey is a wanted woman, Shade Ganavan is a SRP (space rogue phenom--seriously, he identified himself that way and it made me snicker.) Tess needs Shade to fix her disabled ship, Shade needs Tess...well, that's a predictable but fun spoiler so I'll leave it to the reader. Oh, and there's a kitten named Bonk because every vessel needs a ship's cat and a cast of supporting characters worthy of their own stories.

It was good fun and I'm eagerly awaiting the next Endeavor novel from Ms. Bouchet.

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Review: Not the Duke’s Darling

Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Elizabeth Hoyt is an autobuy for me and will continue to be so going forward, but for some reason this one book didn't hit all the right notes. It's the start of a new series and I suspect part of what threw me off were the subplots and characters crammed into what was an extremely interesting premise, a society of Wise Women who are branded witches for their actions.

While helping a mother and baby escape an abusive family situation, Freya de Moray encounters Christopher Renshaw, her girlhood crush and the man she believes destroyed her family. Sparks fly when they're thrown together at a house party. The relationship between the two of them is intriguing enough that it could have been fleshed out for an entire novel, but so many other characters with problems are introduced that the focus shifts from the protagonists and their issues.

Again though, I'm optimistic about the series going forward…

Review: A Midwinter Night's Dream

A Midwinter Night's Dream by Tiffany Reisz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For fans of the Original Sinners, a holiday novella that is, as the title promises, a dream. It's Victorian England with Baron Soren Stearns, his ward Eleanor, and his valet (and literal whipping boy), Kingsley.

I'm not certain how this would read to people unfamiliar with the long-running (but enjoyably erotic) Original Sinners saga about the triad relationship of Soren, Nora and Kingsley, but I found it a delightful winter interlude. There's enough of a story to entertain, the dialogue is as witty as one would expect from this author, and the sex is steamy but doesn't overwhelm the narrative.

The only reason I wouldn't give it a whole-hearted recommendation is that I'm so familiar with the characters and their intertwined lives. I recommend readers new to Reisz's series start with The Siren, not the first book in the characters chronology, but the first book in the series.�…

Review: The Earl I Ruined

The Earl I Ruined by Scarlett Peckham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Georgian story with its fabulous clothing (for men and women) was a nice change of pace, and I enjoyed how the characters in this tale revealed their motivations. The heroine could have been dismissed as a silly socialite but her story unfolded like a delicately painted fan. We knew from the outset that the hero had deep secrets, and how they worked out their problems together, sometimes at loggerheads, other times in tandem, kept me reading late into the evening.

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Review: Clarissa and the Poor Relations

Clarissa and the Poor Relations by Alicia Cameron
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was in the mood for a traditional Regency and wanted to like this one more than I did. The constant head-hopping within scenes threw me out of the story, especially because there were so many POV characters.

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