A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Monday, October 31, 2016

Celebrations and Confetti- by Rebecca Raisin- Feature and Review


Part one in a feel-good festive romantic serial from bestselling author Rebecca Raisin!
Clio Winters is finally fulfilling her childhood dream of renovating the gorgeous old Cedarwood Lodge in Evergreen. Turning it into the perfect destination for big celebrations, weddings and parties has brought her back home, but Cedarwood Lodge is in need of a lot of tender loving care.
Perhaps all the work will be the perfect distraction from the real reason she had to leave her glamorous New York life behind.
Will coming home be the best decision of her life… or her biggest regret?
Cedarwood Lodge is a delectable romance told in three parts - following Clio Winters journey back to her hometown of Evergreen. This is Part One.

Chapter One

Staring up at the imposing structure with its weathered facade, I had a terrible premonition that I’d made a mistake. A huge one. But, I reasoned, clawing back rising panic, I had always wanted to buy the hundred-year-old abandoned lodge. It had been put up for sale recently, and I’d jumped at the chance. The old place had good sturdy bones; it was solid, despite the desertion of its caretakers aeons ago.
Even though I’d always dreamed about owning Cedarwood Lodge I hadn’t expected for it to happen so soon. But it had, and I’d fallen madly in love with the place as it stood, shutters broken, doors in need of paint, ivy creeping through broken panes of glass, and cascading roses growing wild and free around the porch balustrades. Here was a place untouched for decades and I had a chance to bring it back to its former glory.
The September sky shifted from foggy wisps of gray to country blue as dawn arrived in the small New Hampshire town of Evergreen. A sputtering car swung into the long, winding driveway and I turned to watch my oldest friend Micah leap from his battered hatchback.
We’d been best friends since childhood, and though we’d drifted apart as adults he was the first person I called when I bought Cedarwood Lodge – I offered him the job of maintenance manager which he’d accepted with a ‘Hell yeah.’
“You look exactly the same, Micah,” I said, reaching up for a hug. ‘You haven’t aged a bit.” He’d filled out, no longer the lanky teenager I’d left behind, but aside from that he was the same old Micah with the same affable smile.
“It’s the daily hikes up the bluff. That thin mountain air does wonders for my skin.” He waggled his eyebrows. “We’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I almost fell over when you called. Lucky for you I was between jobs…”
“Lucky for me, all right.”
I couldn’t believe it’d been so long – when was the last time we had properly caught up, five years ago, six? Time ticked by so fast while I’d been away. 
“You’re different,” he said, gesturing to my outfit and my usual flyaway curls restrained with a clip. “A little more polished.”
I grinned. “Denim cut offs and messy hair didn’t quite cut it in Manhattan.”
“What? Crazy city folk.” He clucked his tongue.
“Right?” I joked. “How’s Veronica?” I expected him to gush about his long-term girlfriend. Instead, his lips turned down for the briefest second, before he masked it with a smile.
“Veronica? There’s a blast from the past. I haven’t seen her for two and a bit years now. She was like you, Clio, left town and didn’t look back.”
Surprise knocked me sideways that she’d left town, left Micah.
“Sorry, Micah. I thought…” Way to go, Clio!

He touched my shoulder, giving me time to wrench the metaphorical foot from my mouth. “It’s OK.” He let out a half laugh. “One day she just decided that this place was too small for her big dreams. This town, it isn’t for everyone.”

Celebrations and Confetti At Cedarwood LodgeCelebrations and Confetti At Cedarwood Lodge by Rebecca Raisin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Celebrations & Confetti by Rebecca Raisin is a 2016 Carina UK publication.

Celebrations & Confetti kicks off the first of a three- part romance series centered around Clio Winters and Cedarwood Lodge, located in the small town of Evergreen.

Clio left Evergreen with high ambitions, but all her lofty goals disintegrated when she was fired from her job, her reputation in ruins, and lawsuit hanging over her head.

Taking all the money she had, she buys the dilapidated Cedarwood Lodge hoping to restore it to its former glory and host events there. Her very first opportunity comes when a couple chooses the lodge to host their 50th wedding anniversary celebration.

Will the renovations be done in time? Will the celebration be a success?

This first installment introduces us to the cast of characters we will follow up on in the next two chapters. Clio, of course, and her best friend, Micah who is hoping to date, Isla, the gardener, and Clio’s mother who is hardly welcoming, holding on to some dark secret from the past which is somehow connected to the lodge, and Kai, the overseer of the crews working on the renovations, who may be a love interest for Clio, despite their differences.

Rebecca Raisin once more creates a charming atmosphere and location, with likeable characters, with a bit of romance, and a bit of mystery, which has me hoping the next installment will be on its way very soon!

While this book is a three-part series, this first installment did not end with an irritating cliffhanger, but there are still issues to resolve and a couple of ongoing storylines that will bleed over into the next two chapters. So, you definitely want to get started with this first book, so you can follow along with the series.

I like these serials on occasion because the stories are short and are easy to fit into a busy schedule, can be read on your lunch break, and gives you something to look forward to, building anticipation for the next installment.

Rebecca’s books are always charming and delightful and this one is no exception. I can’t wait to find out what will happen next!!


Amazon: http://amzn.to/2exYINl
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2b4Q04O
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/celebrations-and-confetti-at-cedarwood-lodge-rebecca-raisin/1124580558?ean=9781474058414
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rebecca_Raisin_Celebrations_and_Confetti_At_Cedarw?id=bGPJDAAAQBAJ
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31423830-celebrations-and-confetti-at-cedarwood-lodge?from_search=true

Author Info:
Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been published in various short story anthologies and in in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance.
Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and most importantly believe in true love.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Website: http://rebeccaraisin.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRaisinAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jaxandwillsmum

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6915386.Rebecca_Raisin

TV Horror: Investigating the Dark Side of the Small Screen by Lorna Jowett, Stacey Abbott- Feature of Review


Horror is a universally popular, pervasive TV genre, with shows like True Blood, Being Human, The Walking Dead and American Horror Story making a bloody splash across our television screens. This complete, utterly accessible, sometimes scary new book is the definitive work on TV horror. It shows how this most adaptable of genres has continued to be a part of the broadcast landscape, unsettling audiences and pushing the boundaries of acceptability. The authors demonstrate how TV Horror continues to provoke and terrify audiences by bringing the monstrous and the supernatural into the home, whether through adaptations of Stephen King and classic horror novels, or by reworking the gothic and surrealism in Twin Peaks and Carnivale. They uncover horror in mainstream television from procedural dramas to children's television and, through close analysis of landmark TV auteurs including Rod Serling, Nigel Kneale, Dan Curtis and Stephen Moffat, together with case studies of such shows as Dark Shadows, Dexter, Pushing Daisies, Torchwood, and Supernatural, they explore its evolution on television. This book is a must-have for those studying TV Genre as well as for anyone with a taste for the gruesome and the macabre. 



  TV Horror: Investigating the Dark Side of the Small ScreenTV Horror: Investigating the Dark Side of the Small Screen by Lorna Jowett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

TV Horror: Investigating the Dark Side of the Small Screen by Lorna Jowett, Stacey Abbott is a 2013 I.B. Tauris publication.

For Halloween, I wanted to feature a book on my blog that analyzed the horror genre either in books, movies or television. I never got around to finding a book about horror novels, I did find a few disappointing lists and breakdowns of the horror genre in films, but television?? Not a lot out there analyzing the ‘small screen’ contributions to the horror genre.

So, when I happened upon this book, I was intrigued, but cautiously optimistic.

Thankfully, I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. It’s the perfect length, covers a great deal of material without getting too caught up in opinion and minutia. In fact, this book could be used for a class paper, or for research, but it is also very entertaining, and quite interesting.

The small screen was often thought of a lesser medium compared to movies, but over time, television has evolved and is giving the movie industry a run for its money in technique, writing, and quality visual and audio effects.

When I started reading this book, I was again reminded of the groundbreaking television shows that paved the way for the stellar horror related programs we are so very addicted to today.

Naturally, ‘The Twilight Zone’ comes to mind, perhaps one the most popular anthology series ever, or at least in the fantasy, horror, or science fiction genres.

But, lesser known anthologies that garnered cult status, are also highlighted, and will have you searching old episodes of ‘Night Gallery’ or ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’.

But, the book doesn’t just touch on the weird, creepy, and perhaps lurid or gross aspects of the horror genre, but includes shows like ‘The Addams Family’ and ‘The Munsters’ and even expands upon some of the psychology and subtle messages these shows were sending.

One show that crops up pretty often in this book is a phenomenon that is hard to explain, even today, but its influence is still prevalent after all these years- ‘Dark Shadows’.

The show started off like a 'Jane Erye' like Gothic soap opera, which didn’t focus on the usual romances, affairs, medical dilemmas, and heavy emotional dramas daytime serials normally featured.

Instead, this serial was mysterious, with murder mysteries, and ghosts. But, it wasn’t until the role of Barnabas Collins, a tortured vampire, was created, that the show skyrocketed in popularity. Throughout its five -year run, the show featured vampires, witches, a Frankenstein monster, ghosts, time travel and werewolves.

Barnabas was to be a short term character, but when viewers saw him as reluctant villain, tortured by the monster he had become, the writers were happy to explore that thread. As a result, ‘Dark Shadows’ was the first daytime serial to have made it into pop culture history by having books, lunch boxes, posters, and a slew of other tie-in products sold during the height of its popularity.

 Two feature films were made featuring the cast from the series, and the show was watched in syndication after it was cancelled. It also spawned a revival series, and is the only daytime serial to have been sold on DVD. Even today it pops in and out of pop culture and the actors are still active in keeping interest in the show alive.

Another serial that enjoyed cult status, was ‘Twin Peaks” and it too is mentioned several times in this book. This show was also groundbreaking, influential, and helped other shows gain popularity, that followed a similar style or theme.

The X- Files is also a show, that while often centered on a science fiction tone, also dealt with many paranormal elements, is often very quirky, but also sparks much conversation, and remains one the most unique paranormal shows aired on television.

The authors lead us through shows from the past, but also touched on newer, very popular shows such as ‘American Horror Story’ and of course, ‘The Walking Dead’.

But, the last chapter, touched on point I had never considered. When we sit down to watch a program on television, we are inviting these characters into our homes. Characters like Dexter walking right into our living rooms!! This, in a way, leads to a moral ambiguity, not only for the character, the monster, but the viewer as well.

This is just an example of the shows the author delves into, draws parallels to, or juxtapositions, if you will. Television has now tapped into areas movies seem incapable of capitalizing on or simply can't make it translate the same way it does in a series format.

In the horror genre, television has come to excel, with superb writing, imaginative plots, and even with some special effects.

Reading through this book, I was struck by how many programs that have aired over the years are paranormal in nature. Some are comical, whimsical, magical, futuristic, historical, and showcase the weird, the unexplained, the dark fascinations we harbor, our curiosity, and our need to exercise our imaginations, or lose ourselves in something outside of our normal reality.

Although this book does cover a lot of ground, featuring some of the shows that have been the most powerful throughout television’s history, all the way up till the present. there were a few shows left out, which is often the case with these types of books, so don't be surprised that some didn't make the cut, but I think the authors made excellent choices.

Overall, I found this book to be very informative, written with a unique approach, occasionally adding in a mashup, which kept it from becoming just another ‘list’ book, or dry reading.

I had fun with this book, especially the nostalgia, but also discovered shows I had never seen, and will definitely seek those out someday.

This is a book I recommend to horror fans, of course, but also to those who are fans of television and pop culture.




Stacey Abbott is a Reader in Film and Television at the University of Roehampton. She is the author of Celluloid Vampires (University of Texas Press 2007) and Angel: TV Milestone (Wayne State University Press 2008-9), and co-author, with Lorna Jowett, of TV Horror: Investigating the Dark Side of the Small Screen (I. B. Tauris 2012). She is currently writing a book on the 21st century vampire and zombie in film and television.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Blind Sight by Carol O'Connell- Feature and Review


A blind child and a Catholic nun disappear from a city sidewalk in plain sight of onlookers. There, then gone - vanished in seconds. Those who witnessed the event still cannot believe it happened.

It was all too real. Detective Kathy Mallory and the NYPD's Special Crimes Unit enter the investigation when the nun's body is found with three other corpses in varying stages of decomposition left on the lawn of Gracie Mansion, home to the mayor of New York City. Sister Michael was the last to die. The child, Jonah Quill, is still missing.
Like Jonah, the police are blind. Unknown to them, he is with a stone killer, and though he has unexpected resources of his own, his would-be saviors have no suspect, no useful evidence, and no clue - except for Detective Mallory's suspicions of things not said and her penchant for getting to the truth beneath lies. Behind her back, the squad's name for her is Mallory the Machine, yet she has a dark understanding of what it is to be human. A child is waiting, time is running out, and atop her list of liars is the mayor himself... and a theory of the crimes in which no sane cop could believe.



Blind Sight (Kathleen Mallory, #12)Blind Sight by Carol O'Connell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blind Sight by Carol O’Connell is a 2016 Headline publication.

‘Mallory the Machine’ might be the most interesting female protagonist in crime fiction.

This twelfth installment in the Kathy Mallory series showcases Mallory’s .., er… unique personality as she plows through a grisly crime scene in which several bodies have been dumped at the mayor’s residence, with their hearts removed. To make matters even more perplexing, a nun with a very colorful past and her blind nephew disappear, possibly kidnap victims, who could be in the clutches of a cold blooded killer.

This dark crime story, told with O’Connell’s razor sharp dark humor, compliments Malloy’s odd investigative techniques, as a lurid and political crime story unfolds. There is certainly a human element to the story with a young blind boy at risk, and the race against time is palpable.

Mallory is in a particularly nasty mood this time around, toying with people for fun, exhibiting a level of rudeness that went beyond her usual impatience and stoicism. Newcomers to the series may not know what to make of her, so reading this one as a stand alone might not be the best idea.

I liked the realistic portrayal of a blind person, which did not fall back on stereotypes, and following Jonah’s thoughts as he duels it out with his captor was intense, but made him the star of the show.

I enjoyed catching up with Mallory, after what has seemed like a pretty long pause between releases,
But,  if you are thinking of trying this novel without having read at least a couple of the previous chapters in the series, I would suggest waiting until you can catch up a bit before tackling this one.

If you are following the series, or at least familiar enough with it to understand the characterizations, and so forth, then, you will not want to pass up the chance to see what Mallory is up to and what kind of mood she might be in this time around.





Born in 1947, Carol O'Connell studied at the California Institute or Arts/Chouinard and the Arizona State University. She lives in New York City.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett- Feature and Review


One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.

When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.

Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.


CommonwealthCommonwealth by Ann Patchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett is a 2016 Harper publication.

This book is a bit of a departure for me, but I’ve been craving something different, something more profound and literary in nature. With Commonwealth, I came to the right place.
One fateful Sunday afternoon, Bert Cousins arrives uninvited to Franny Keating’s christening party. He had only shown up to escape his own family life, which included his pregnant wife and three children.
But, once he set eyes on the beautiful Beverly Keating, mother of Franny, he knew their fates were sealed.
From that day forward life was never the same for the Keating’s or the Cousin’s. Bert and Beverly left their prospective spouses, got married, and like a premonition or example of the future family model, became a blended family.

After reading a few reviews for this book, I have to confess, I feel slightly out of my element. Other than an occasional hankering to read a classic novel or perhaps something from Joyce Carol Oates, I rarely choose pure literature, although I love it when that prose shows up in the other genres I enjoy.

Covering a vast span of time, the author touches base with all those affected by the disruption of their stable lives, the fallout of Beverly and Bert’s decision to leave their spouses, how their children learned to cope, the bonds they forged, the tragedies they endured, and the various directions their lives took over time, examining their triumphs and failures, loves and losses.

The story is told through various stages of the character’s lives, in no particular order, which is a little unusual, and does require your full attention. But, the prose, of course, is so utterly absorbing, I did not want the book to end.

I was totally immersed in the lives of these well drawn characters, some of whom were loveable, others not so much, while some are flaky and unsettled, and while some managed quite well in life, others flailed and faltered. It is certainly an interesting character study, giving the reader an inside peek into the lives of all those profoundly affected by the summers they spent in Commonwealth, Virginia.

Family is family, blended or not, and this story proves that, with characters who may seem a little familiar to us. I especially loved the pieces of the story each person held secretly within their hearts, and the way they helped each other, even when they could have just as easily turned a cold shoulder.

Overall, this is an absorbing and fascinating portrait of family and of life, which any fan of literary fiction will not want to miss.





Patchett was born in Los Angeles, California. Her mother is the novelist Jeanne Ray.

She moved to Nashville, Tennessee when she was six, where she continues to live. Patchett said she loves her home in Nashville with her doctor husband and dog. If asked if she could go any place, that place would always be home. "Home is ...the stable window that opens out into the imagination."

Patchett attended high school at St. Bernard Academy, a private, non-parochial Catholic school for girls run by the Sisters of Mercy. Following graduation, she attended Sarah Lawrence College and took fiction writing classes with Allan GurganusRussell Banks, and Grace Paley. She later attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she met longtime friend Elizabeth McCracken. It was also there that she wrote her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars.

In 2010, when she found that her hometown of Nashville no longer had a good book store, she co-founded Parnassus Books with Karen Hayes; the store opened in November 2011. In 2012, Patchett was on the Time 100 list of most influential people in the world by TIME magazine.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Flight Patterns by Karen White- Feature and Review


The New York Times bestselling author of The Sound of Glass and coauthor of The Forgotten Room tells the story of a woman coming home to the family she left behind—and to the woman she always wanted to be...

Georgia Chambers has spent her life sifting through other people’s pasts while trying to forget her own. But then her work as an expert of fine china—especially of Limoges—requires her to return to the one place she swore she’d never revisit...

It’s been thirteen years since Georgia left her family home on the coast of Florida, and nothing much has changed, except that there are fewer oysters and more tourists. She finds solace seeing her grandfather still toiling away in the apiary where she spent much of her childhood, but encountering her estranged mother and sister leaves her rattled.

Seeing them after all this time makes Georgia realize that something has been missing—and unless she finds a way to heal these rifts, she will forever be living vicariously through other people’s remnants. To embrace her own life—mistakes and all—she will have to find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past and the secrets she was forced to keep...



Flight PatternsFlight Patterns by Karen White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flight Patterns by Karen White is a 2016 Penguin/NAL publication.

Another fantastic southern novel from Karen White!

This story has so many layers, my mind is still grappling with all the details and flourishes.

When Georgia Chambers, an antiques specialist, is commissioned to find pieces in a unique china set, bearing a bee pattern, it sparks a long forgotten memory. She believes she has seen a piece just like it in her childhood home. But, returning to Florida to search for it will open up a Pandora’s box of old hurts and deeply buried family secrets.

James Graf is at a crossroads in his life, so when he meets Georgia and learns she may actually own a piece of his grandmother’s china set, he insists on traveling with her to Florida and nothing she says will change his mind. But, once they arrive, James learns why Georgia has stayed away for so many years, as his search stirs up a maelstrom within the Chambers home.

Maisey is horrified when she learns her sister, Georgia is coming back home after a ten year absence. Georgia had promised to stay away, but now all the pain and heartache that lies between them rises to the surface, threatening to engulf them, and it looks as though nothing can heal the rift which seems to only grow wider as time passes.

However, Maisey and Georgia will discover their grandfather, who runs an apiary, and their mother, Birdie, who is mentally unstable, are harboring huge secrets in their hearts and Georgia’s return, along with the elusive china piece, and a startling new development, will dislodge those secrets, causing a domino effect and ripples and waves to cascade over them, changing their family dynamic forevermore.

Wow! Talk about drama! This book is chock full of tumultuous human emotions, creating an atmosphere akin to the change in barometric pressure right before a particularly nasty storm. The tension is thick enough to cut with a knife, but there is also a mystery afoot, and it’s a doozy!

The humid, balmy, Florida setting only served to contribute to the heaviness hanging in the air, the crackle of suspense, and the anticipation of seeing how everything will unfold, fall apart, or rebuild itself.

Maisey is a complicated character, and despite knowing about her grief and suffering, she was a very difficult person to like. Even after all was said and done, I don’t know that I ever really forgave her, especially after all the facts came in. Sadly, Maisey’s lack of character development and her inability to let go of all that anger, even after everything came to a head, was very disappointing, and was the one downfall in the story.

Georgia was also a complex character, but I sympathized with her more and admired her grit, her sacrifices, and her willingness to fight for her family, even if she was often aloof and wasn’t always nice in places where I really wanted and needed her to be.

James is an absolute dream, the voice of reason, patient, and unbelievably understanding and insightful,even while he grapples with his own demons. I really liked him, and feel like his presence was a real asset, with Karma playing a big part in putting him and Georgia together.

The secondary characters also play enormous roles, and are the key to unlocking the mystery that has held the family captive for so long.

The facts about bees that began every chapter was informative and interesting, but also paralleled the tone and context of the chapter to come. I don’t know how the author manages this, but she does an amazing job of connecting the actions of the bees to the characters or the events taking place.

I can’t say enough nice things about Karen White and the way she sucks the reader into her carefully crafted web, the way she lures you deeper into the complexities of family and small southern townships, holding you spellbound from start to finish, while dropping bombshells, and emotional twists on you, until you can barely stand the intensity.

This is another well written and explosive family story, filled with flawed and damaged people, but people who are family, who love each other, who have each other’s backs, who fight for them, and love them beyond reason in spite of it all.





After playing hooky one day in the seventh grade to read Gone With the Wind, Karen White knew she wanted to be a writer—or become Scarlett O'Hara. In spite of these aspirations, Karen pursued a degree in business and graduated cum laude with a BS in Management from Tulane University. Ten years later, after leaving the business world, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a writer and wrote her first book. In the Shadow of the Moonwas published in August, 2000. Her books have since been nominated for numerous national contests including the SIBA (Southeastern Booksellers Alliance) Fiction Book of the Year, and has twice won the National Readers’ Choice Award.
Karen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and currently writes what she refers to as ‘grit lit’—Southern women’s fiction—and has also expanded her horizons into writing a mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. Her twentieth novel, Flight Patterns, was published in May 2016 by Berkley Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House Publishing Group.
Karen hails from a long line of Southerners but spent most of her growing up years in London, England and is a graduate of the American School in London. When not writing, she spends her time reading, scrapbooking, playing piano, and avoiding cooking. She currently lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children, and two spoiled Havanese do

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Earl by Katharine Ashe- Feature and Review


How does a bookish lady bring an arrogant lord to his knees? Entice him to Scotland, strip him of titles and riches, and make him prove what sort of man he truly is.


Handsome, wealthy, and sublimely confident, Colin Gray, the new Earl of Egremoor, has vowed to unmask the rabble-rousing pamphleteer, Lady Justice, the thorn in England’s paw. And he’ll stop at nothing.


Smart, big-hearted, and passionately dedicated to her work, Lady Justice longs to teach her nemesis a lesson in humility. But her sister is missing, and a perilous journey with her archrival into unknown territory just might turn fierce enemies into lovers.


The moon had ceded the night to the stars when she arrived at the meeting place they had agreed upon via letter: a small ancient cemetery surrounded by a fence and hedges on a street still busy with carriages and horse traffic. A long black cloak and veil aided the dark in disguising her.
Her coachman walked beside her, a hood drawn around his face as well, but he would not accompany her to the meeting. For all his taunting, Peregrine did not frighten her. A man who dedicated his leisure time to rescuing strays was unlikely to harm a lone woman.
The cobbles shimmered with an earlier rain as she gestured for Jonah to remain across the street. Lamps lit this part of London irregularly, and the break in the wall was in shadow. Beside the gate stood an enormous man.
“Ma’am.” The behemoth bowed. “He awaits you within.”
It was immediately clear why he had suggested this place. The thick hedge within the walls created a bower of privacy and the gravestones scattered unevenly throughout made swift escape impossible.
He had staged the situation to his advantage too. He stood among the stones not four yards away, a lamp on the ground behind him casting him in silhouette. He was tall, and the breadth of his shoulders and solid stance suggested a man of fine physical conditioning. The night was mild and he wore no hat or overcoat—nothing to disguise him.
He was entirely willing for her to know his true identity.
The gate creaked closed behind her.
“Good evening, madam,” he said into the darkness. “It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance. I have looked forward to this moment for years. But, of course, you already know that.” His voice was smooth and low, far from menacing, rather intimate, and shockingly, unbelievably, horribly familiar.
Only hours earlier this elegant voice had proposed marriage to her.

“I am Gray,” he said. “Now remove that veil and tell me your name.”

The Earl (Devil's Duke, #2)The Earl by Katharine Ashe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Earl by Katharine Ashe is a 2016 Avon publication.

“But if I was fearless, could I be your reckless friend?
And if I was helpless, could be the one comes rushin’ in?

- Cyndi Lauper- ‘Fearless’

The showdown we have all been waiting for!

Lady Justice meets Peregrine after many salty, flirty, sharp, and witty written exchanges published for all to see.

The circumstances, though, are less than ideal.

As the Falcon Club comes to an end, the leader, Peregrine, aka Colin Gray buries his father, and become the reigning Earl of Egremoor. When his arch enemy, Lady Justice asked for help in finding her missing sister, Colin agrees. When he finally stands face to face with his arch enemy, he refuses to believe ‘Lady Justice’ is a woman, having thought it was a man he had been sparring with all this time.

Emily, the ‘bookish’ “Lady Vale, is worried about her sister, who has seemingly disappeared. When she heads out to Scotland to find her, she meets up with Colin Gray, a man she has hated for the past eighteen years. The two become victims of mistaken identity and find themselves on the run.

Thus, begins their journey, where Colin and Emily trade barbs, bicker, argue, and debate, while encountering danger and intrigue. They also discover the special pulse that beat between them as children is still throbbing steadily, but the deep pain Emily feels, which is masked by fierce and passionate resentment, and Colin’s arrogant cluelessness about what caused this deep fissure, prevents forgiveness and healing.

Will the imposters be found? What will happen when Colin discovers Lady Justice’s true identity? Can the enemies call a truce? Forgive each other? Become friends, lovers?

This story is the perfect ending for the Falcon Club. While Emily may seem difficult, stubborn, and maybe even a little shrewish, the WHOLE story comes out in the end and explains so much about her behavior, her passion, and how big her heart really is. I liked Emily, actually. She feels things deeply, sticks to her convictions, and despite the price she pays for that, she holds her head up and exhibits courage and strength.

Colin’s story is heartbreaking, and his equally stubborn countenance is the result of his upbringing by a man that is publicly praised and considered a ‘great man’, but behind closed doors is a cold, hard man who raised his son in this same vein, with Colin aspiring to also become a ‘great man’ just like his father.

“A great man is not measured by the strength of his privilege, but by the depth of his heart.”

This novel is full of the contradictions and juxtapositions men and women often face and struggle with. I think Emily represents that conflict women feel by exposing both sides of the coin.

Colin and Emily are full of palpable pain, both believe they are in the right, believing in their cause, and what they feel is right. Both need to give and take, both must face their own hypocrisy and flaws, admit to them, learn from them, and let go of long held resentments, forgive and allow love to permeate and heal.

“A man is only as noble as his honesty”

This a powerful love story, albeit unconventional, which is exactly what I loved the most about it. The emotions are raw and real, stripping the protagonists bare, exposing their most hidden places, and igniting a fiery passion while reigniting their long buried feelings of love for one another.

Katherine Ashe is a force, unafraid to address the vulnerabilities behind the strength we have within ourselves.

Overall, this is an awesome story, full of adventure, passion, and romance, but also full of depth, with interesting character studies added in, which will have you thinking about the them long after you’ve finished reading.





KATHARINE ASHE is the award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical romances that reviewers call “intensely lush” and “sensationally intelligent,” including her acclaimed Devil’s Duke Series, as well as My Lady, My Lord and How to Marry a Highlander, finalists for the prestigious RITA® Award of the Romance Writers of America. Her books are recommended by Publishers Weekly, Woman’s World Magazine, Booklist, Library Journal, USA Today, Kirkus Reviews, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and many others, and translated into languages across the world.

Katharine lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast United States with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European History, she writes fiction because she thinks modern readers deserve grand adventures and breathtaking sensuality too. For more about Katharine’s books, please visit www.KatharineAshe.com.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday's Musical Moment: I Am Brian Wilson by Brian Wilson and Ben Greenman - Feature and Review

"My life has been written about over and over again, and that’s mostly okay with me. Other people can talk about my life. Sometimes they’ll get it right and sometimes they’ll get it wrong. For me, when I think back across my own life, there are so many things that are painful. Sometimes I don’t like discussing them. Sometimes I don’t even like remembering them. But as I get older, the shape of that pain has changed. Sometimes memories come back to me when I least expect them. Maybe that’s the only way it works when you’ve lived the life I’ve lived: starting a band with my brothers that was managed by my father, watching my father become difficult and then impossible, watching myself become difficult and then impossible, watching women I loved come and go, watching children come into the world, watching my brothers get older, watching them pass out of the world. Some of those things shaped me. Others scarred me. Sometimes it was hard to tell the difference. When I watched my father fly into a rage and take swings at me and my brothers, was that shaping or scarring? When we watched him grow frustrated with his day job and take solace in music, was that shaping or scarring? Those are all memories but I can’t get to them all at once. I’ve had a whole lifetime to take them in. Now I have a whole book to put them out there."



I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir

  I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir by Brian Wilson   
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am Brian Wilson by Brian Wilson and Ben Greenman is a 2016 Da Capo Press publication.

If you have seen the movie ‘Love and Mercy’, this book makes a perfect companion piece. Told in Wilson’s own voice the events that unfold in his life are brought to life, as he translates personal observances, memories, impressions, and his feelings and thoughts as he lived in that moment or is reflecting on in hindsight.

 If you have not seen the movie yet, I hope you will someday. This book will give you a preview of the themes featured in ‘Love and Mercy’ which will enhance your viewing pleasure and deepen your understanding of Brian during this period of his life.

This is not a conventional memoir, so do not pick this book up expecting an in depth discussion about every album or song, or a tell all book where the intimate details of Brian’s relationships are placed under a microscope. In fact, the truth is, Brian never said anything awful about anyone, even if he most certainly earned the right to do so. He takes the high road, and sticks to his own personal thoughts and memories.

I loved his antidotes, this unique perspective on his life, the way he copes now, the credit he gives to his wife, and the long and hard fought battle to make it to this point. There are no excuses, no finger pointing, and the hard spots are considered life lessons, a battle won. But there is also a wistful quality to his voice, where one can sense regrets, feel the pain of mistakes made, but his willingness to admit to his faults, without making excuses for his actions, is actually refreshing.


 Overall, what I took away from this memoir was the pleasure of the opportunity to peek inside the mind of one of the most prolific musicians among us, to hear in his own words the thoughts and feelings about his experiences and how his battle with mental illness has shaped him, made him stronger, led him to healthier relationships and the ability to return to music, and to a more balanced existence.

I enjoyed the chance to hear Brian’s version of events, and appreciate the way the book was written, as opposed to the usual format memoirs follow. It just felt more open, personal, introspective and real.

Overall, this memoir is very different from any other you have read, or likely to ever read, written by Brian himself. It's free flowing, following no particular time frame or order, but is still organized into sections that tend to follow a particular theme or thought process.

I recommend this book for fans of this artist, for those interested in hearing Brian’s inner thoughts in a personal and intimate format, or for those who enjoy memoirs in general, rock bios, pop culture, or performance arts.





Brian Douglas Wilson is an American musician best known as the lead songwriter, bassist, and singer of the American pop band The Beach Boys. Wilson was also the band's main producer, composer, and arranger. The lead vocal parts for The Beach Boys recordings were primarily sung by either Wilson, his brother Carl, or Mike Love.

Early influences included The Four Freshmen and Chuck Berry, among others. Wilson admired Phil Spector, considering him both a mentor and rival.

Wilson was a perfectionist in the studio, and often upset the other members of the Beach Boys with this incessant drive for perfection. Though one of the first users of an eight-channel multitrack tape recorder, he shunned stereophonic sound, preferring (as Spector did) to work in monaural — because he believed stereo gave an incomplete "sound picture" if the listener was not directly between the speakers, although this can also be partially attributed to Wilson being deaf in his right ear.

Ben Greenman is a novelist, New York Times author, and magazine journalist who has written fiction and non-fiction books, as well as many collaborations with pop-music artists like Questlove, George Clinton, Brian Wilson, Gene Simmons, and others