Sunday, October 10, 2021

Recent Read


Broken Miles (Miles Family, #1)Broken Miles by Claire Kingsley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my second series by this author and I'm very impressed.  In fact Claire Kingsley is in the lead for author find of the year.

Roland Miles is a workaholic and sadly it cost him his marriage. The marriage is over and he and Zoe are divorced before this book starts so this is a second chance romance. Roland and Zoe were madly and passionately in love but in order to make a richer life for the two of them Roland lost sight of the real prize and that was Zoe. She left him and moved back to their home town and is now working for his families winery. He’s living in San Francisco and rarely gets home to see his parents , three brothers and one sister. His relationship with his wife is distant though cordial enough. But when he gets a call from one of his brothers telling him he has to come home, they are about to lose the winery, he doesn’t really have a choice but to come home and face the demons there.

Of course there is Zoe his ex, but he also has a toxic relationship with his father. When he begins to look into the mess, he can tell that his father, who has been running the winery has really messed things up and keeps getting in Roland’s way as Roland tries to fix things. This means the couple of days Roland thought it would take, actually will take much longer than that so he settles in for a much longer visit than he anticipated. That means spending more time around his ex wife as she plays a vital role in the family business. They hold a lot of weddings and events at the winery and she is the event coordinator.

And as they spend time together, old attractions start to come back. The attraction between them was never the issue. They both begin to do some soul searching as to what went wrong in their marriage, Roland in particular and they begin to wonder if there is anything left worth saving. And even more, Roland begins to reconnect with his family. He had always held himself somewhat apart from the rest of them, but now he begins to bond with them in ways he never allowed himself to before.

I can keep saying the same thing about this authors books. I love them. I love the closeness of family, the goofiness of some of the siblings and the romance between the hero and heroine. Claire Kingsley has been such a wonderful find. This isn’t my favourite book but it has earned a solid 4 stars and a need to keep reading more of the Miles Family series.

Forbidden Miles (Miles Family, #2)Forbidden Miles by Claire Kingsley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And continuing on with the second book in the Miles Family series by an author I’m loving to pieces, we come to the story of Chase and Brynn. Chase is the roommate and best friend of Cooper and together the two of them are a hoot. I’m chuckling and smiling every time they are on the page. Chase owns his own business fixing machines but a lot of the work comes from working at the winery Coopers family owns.

Brynn is Coopers little sister and to say Cooper is overprotective is lighter than even putting it mildly. There’s a hilarious scene at the beginning of the book when Chase is talking to Cooper on his cell and inadvertently tells Cooper that he’s at a restaurant and sees Brynn making out with some guy in the back booth. Cooper doesn’t even stop to put on pants before he heads over to put a stop to this, oh yes he does.

Brynn has always had a crush on her brothers best friend but it totally aware that Chase only sees her as Coopers little sister.

Until one day he doesn’t.

Nope, Chase has had his eyes opened and he’s sees her as a grown and beautiful woman. A woman he slowly gets to know and falls in love with. But with Cooper being Cooper, he knows things aren’t going to go well. And when Cooper does find out, Chase was right. It does not go well at all.

I am so, so glad I found Claire Kingsley. I’m thinking I say this in every review I’ve done but it’s true. Her books just make me smile and every one has given me the warm and fuzzies and ever so glad I read romance. They are the sunny sunny sky on a gloomy day and anyone reading this simply has to give her books a try.

Saturday, October 09, 2021

And....... I'm done


Well, it’s done.  I’m officially retired and although it’s only been a week, I’m lovinguse it.  I made a bold and , brave step today.  Alas, I had to return all the computer stuff I had and while I had a laptop and desk top computer, they were both out of date.  So I got myself a new laptop computer.  I was dithering between a laptop and a Microsoft Surface but went with the laptop as I already have an Ipad, Samsung Tablet, Kindle Fire (because I wanted the book covers in colour) and an Iphone so I didn’t really need another tablet type device.


My wonderful, smart, intelligent sister Lisa just finished setting it up and the first thing I thought of – new computer, new blog post.


That’s about all I have to say at the moment.  This is kind of a practice run.  I’m at Lisa’s now along with baby sister Nance who has come all the way from Massachusetts to visit 

(and I’m so happy) so I’m keeping this short.  But I’ll be back, probably more than before since I don’t have to worry about using my company computer.

' til later

Monday, September 27, 2021

The Final Countdown

 Real quick here.

One down and only 2 more shift to go.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

My Big News

 Better grab a tea or coffee for this one.  I'm in full rambling mode,  And no pictures.

OK, I had to add one, just had too.  But this one is it.

So I mentioned in a previous blog post that there were upcoming changes in the life of this (mostly) romance blogger.  The biggest one is *Happy, happy, happy dance* I am retiring.  Yep, I join the ranks of those who have done their time as of Sept 30.  It was not a simple thing for me to come to that conclusion, I struggled mightily.  I’ve mentioned a number of times how much I love my job and how well I get along with my coworkers.  I’ve never really said though what it is exactly but now, with me leaving, I figure I can.  I work in home health care.  I work as an administrative assistant for 2 care coordinators.  They oversee caseloads for people who have been discharged from the hospital, or their doctor has decided they need to see a nurse for a while.  Of if they have had knee or hip replacements, we will put in Occupational Therapy or Physical Therapy.  If someone is going into a nursing home, it comes through us.  While we aren’t the ones who provide the actual service, we are the ones who put it in and oversee things.


I’ve been here almost 16 years now and I’ve seen things change so much over the years.  With an aging population, people living longer etc we are needed more than ever and unfortunately the need hasn’t kept up with the demand.  When I first started, it was all administrative work and while I had some contact with patients and providers (nurses, therapists etc.) it wasn’t much and I was rarely on the phone which was just fine and dandy with me.  I really liked it that way.  

But things have changed a lot.  Now I have a lot of contact with people on the phone, in fact over 90% of my day is spent on the phone.  This has posed a problem as unfortunately, I don’t deal well with phones – either making calls or answering phones.  I’ve adapted as best I can but as one who suffers from depression, phones can be a real trigger for me.  And unfortunately health care – at least in Ontario is broken.  And we have front row seats to it’s broken state. 

I didn’t think it would ever happen but there aren’t enough nurses anymore.  Years ago they could see an avalanche coming and focused on having patients go to clinics for dressing changes or whatever it is that they still needed, rather than having a nurse come to the homes.  They are increasingly insisting on this as the shortage of nurses is reaching a crisis stage.  And now we have reached that stage within the past couple of months.  Nursing is no longer available for a number of people now.  They are being “waitlisted” until a spot opens up.  In the meantime they are being told to go to ED.  Well, the Emergency department can’t handle the amount of people they see and in some cases tell them just to go home.  It’s a vicious circle and it is horrendous.  Now the nature of many of our calls are heartbreaking.  Also a number of them are from people refusing to go to clinics even though they are able to get to one fairly easily.  Their doctors are telling them a nurse will come to their home to see them – even though we have told doctors not to say that as it’s simply not going to happen.


These calls are triggering me more and more daily.  Although I don’t work face to face with patients and I honestly don’t know how nurses manage it, my depression is back and manifesting itself in ways I didn’t even realize was depression until my fridge was full to overflowing and when I started to clean it out, I had container after container of spoiled and even unopened cartons of milk, yogurt, rice pudding – 4 cartons of unopened rice pudding I had to throw out.  And meat.  My goodness.  I would buy a pound of hamburg, planning on making something. But by dinner time I just didn’t have the energy to cook and days and days later, it was too late to make anything and I’d have to throw it away.


There are often 2 or 3 days a week now I can’t fall asleep at all.  And my shoulders and back ache constantly.

Two days before my 67th birthday, I called my manager to discuss how I’m feeling but she was busy that day.  We arranged a zoom meeting for two days from then which happened to be my birthday and I spent those 2 days pondering on what I wanted to get out of the meeting and on Wednesday morning while waiting for it to start, a soft gentle voice in my mind said “it’s time.  You’ve done the best you can and now it’s time”  I knew the voice meant time to retire so though unintended, I told my manager during our meeting I was retiring.  I hadn’t really planned to do that but hey, when a gentle voice tells you something good, you go with it.


So now that I’m headed for retirement, the question is, do I have any plans? 

Thank you for asking because yes I do as a matter of fact.  One of my new found interests is watching YouTube videos on makeup tutorials.  I don’t know why.  I wear makeup when I got out, but not that much and it takes me about 5 minutes, 7 ½ minutes at most to apply it.  But these videos almost make it an art form.  I’ve also been watching videos on how to do different hair styles – again a seemingly out of nowhere interest.  Brad Mondo is The Best.  What a hoot he is.  So?  

What does this have to do with anything you are thinking.  

I’m getting there  😉.  But even more, I’ve been watching BookTubers, romance BookTubers to be specific, and I’ve really been enjoying them.  It’s like I’ve found the next generation of romance readers and it wonderful.  And it dawned on me that I would like to try that.  But in the past there is no way, no how that I would put myself on camera for all to see.  So not going to happen.  But now that I know how to make my nose look thinner and I’m working on hiding the double chin – that one is coming a bit slower, and because I know the name of the haircut I’ve been trying to describe to my hairdresser for ages, is the shag and that’s what I told her I wanted and she gave me one and it’s looking good, I think I’m ready to start my own YouTube channel.  It’s like it’s a more updated way of connecting other than blogging.  Having been a reader for over 30 years now, I think I have a lot to offer.  For example many of them are just getting into Lisa Kleypas.  Heck, I’ve been reading her books since 1994 at least when I first fell in love with Derek Craven.  Some of them even mention the running debate between Derek from Dreaming of You and Sebastian of Devil in Winter.  I was stunned when I saw that.  It was Sybil and I that got that debate going!!!  Some of the ones I follow are going to be doing a group chat over YouTube sometime soon about Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels!!!!!  Those are my Books !!! It’s so exciting to see them almost rediscover some of the modern day classics of romance.


At the moment this is way above me but then blogging was when I first started.  It took me a number of tries to get this blog actually up and running.  I’m coming up with all kinds of things I could make a video about.  And now that I’ll have the time, there’s no reason I can’t do it.  I even have a name for my soon to be channel.  Are you ready?  Wait for it…..


Ramblings on Romance, etc.


Clever eh?


So fingers crossed, very soon I will be doing both blogging and vlogging.  And I’m so excited.  I will keep anyone who still visits here and is interested.  And that’s only part of my post retirement plans.  I have more!

'til later


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Recent Reads and both 5 stars


Travis (Pelion Lake, #1)Travis by Mia Sheridan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book in a series, the first being Archer’s Voice. Archer’s Voice is one of those special books that IS the reason we love romance. I reread it at least twice a year, sometimes more than that. The antagonist in Archer’s Voice is Travis, Archer’s cousin and rival for the fair Bree, our heroine. Of course Archer wins her hand, he is such an amazing, sweet, vulnerable, wounded, heck of a hero and so very well deserving of the HEA. Travis on the other hand, we aren’t crazy about him after what he does to our beloved Archer. So I’m sure those of us who adore Archer’s Voice are wondering how is she going to do it. How is Mia, the author of such a treasure as Archer, going to get us on board with Travis.

Quick answer – she does and she does so wonderfully. First off, Travis loves his nephews and nieces so that’s already points to him. Bree has forgiven him and so has Archer, so if they have, how can we, the reader, still hold on to our grudge. Then he walks in on his girlfriend in flagrante delicto with another fellow. Of course our sympathies are engaged with that uh, oh moment. Travis is very remorseful for what he has done to Archer in the past and we readers believe him. Plus there is a point made that I don’t think any of thought of before. I don’t want to say what it is, letting you ponder it yourself and go hmmmm, that’s true. So now most of us are probably ready to give Travis another chance now.
He meets Haven, our heroine, though she has eyes focused in a different direction. She and her younger brother work at the local prestigious golf club and while Travis lost everything – you have to read Archer’s Voice to find out why – he still frequents the club. He and Haven get along well and become friends. And the more she gets to know Travis, the more her feelings begin to change and grow deeper. And even though he’s well on his way, the better a person Travis becomes.

I’ve read enough books by Mia Sheridan to know she would be able to pull this book off and she does it so wonderfully well. Now, for absolute sure, the next time I read Archer’s Voice, I will be following it up with Travis.

All Rhodes Lead HereAll Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve kind of had mixed results with Mariana Zapata. I wasn’t all that keen on The Wall of Winnipeg and Me. I gave it 3 stars. From Lukov with Love was a DNF though I’m going to give it another try. It was a number of years ago I tried so maybe my tastes have changed. I read Lingus and gave it 4 stars. I liked it but found we just didn’t get enough insight into why Tristan chose the career he did. It wasn’t like he decided to become a fireman or construction worker. No, his chose profession was much different. But Ms. Zapata is so well loved by so many, I didn’t want to give up.

Very, very smart move. Because next try was All Rhodes Roads Lead Here and for me, it’s a solid, well earned, and well deserved 5 star book. I love it. Aurora is our heroine. She lived a rather vagabond kind of life. They never stayed in one place for too long. When she was young it was just her and her adventurous mother. One day her mother had spent the day on one of her adventures and she never came home. She was never found and this devastated Aurora. But at the beginning of the book, she has come back to the small town where her mother disappeared and her goal is to recreate some of the same adventures.

She has rented an apartment over a garage during her stay, but it turns out the rentee was not who she thought it was. Instead it is Amos, the son of Tobias Rhodes who rents the garage apartment which is next door to Tobias and Amos. And Tobias or Rhodes as he is more commonly called is L.I.V.I.D and only agrees to let Aurora stay until she can find somewhere else to lay her head. This is a combination grumpy/sunshine and slow burn book and I adored it. Auora is a wonderful heroine and I love her to pieces. She had been involved in a long term relationship with a famous country artist and helped write some of his music. But she is literally thrown away by the jerk and his mama when they figure they don’t need her anymore, thus her quest to recreate a lot of her mother’s adventures. Considering everything she has gone through, she’s delightfully optimistic and warm and a wonderful and caring person. She bonds very well with teenage Amos and they both share a love of music.

Rhodes is a grump par excellence. He’s spent most of his life in the military but gave that up when he had the opportunity to be a full time father to Amos. And I’m not going to give anything away, but that’s a very unusual situation I’ve never seen before and it adds such a great layer to the book. He’s stern and tries his very best to ignore the funny and joyful Aurora but she manages to wear him down with her charm.

I adore everything about this book and I found it very difficult to put it down and go on with everyday life while I was reading it. All I wanted to do was find out what was going to happen next. This book is everything I love in a romance and I’m beyond grateful I kept going with Mariana Zapata. I got in on KU but I think I’m going to buy my own copy as this is a true comfort read and I know I’m going to want to read it again.

'til later

Saturday, August 21, 2021

A Quick Update

 You may have noticed it's been a while since last I posted.  Much of the reason for that is work related.  While I've never said exactly where I work, it's in health care.

While I don't have direct contact with patients, I work from home, that doesn't mean I and my coworkers aren't affected.  There is a severe nurse shortage right now, and now is when we need them the most.  Some patients just aren't understanding this and with many there is a sense of entitlement that can be difficult to deal with at times.

I'm exhausted mentally and emotionally at the end of every shift and while for the most part I do love what I do, it's not the same as it was.  It's affecting my sleep and I'm often in quite a bit of stress induced pain.  My creative juices have dried up considerably, thus the lack of posting.  I've been reading up a storm though as that's one of the things that relaxes me and I hope to post some reviews if nothing else.  They are slow coming too though - again Creative Juice Creek is running shallow.

But I've been doing a lot of pondering on my life lately and coming up with MAJOR changes.  So once I get a few things lined up, I'll be back to let everyone know.  I'm very excited about the changes coming my way and so excited to share them.  Very mysterious aren't I?

'til later.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Recent Reread.....And so it continues, the battle of the ages


This is a reread.  I can’t believed  I didn’t do  review when I first read it.  Sybil of The Good, The Bad and the Unread have been jousting about this book for years now.  We’ve shown up in all corners of Romancelandia arguing who is better, Sebastian, Lord St Vincent of Devil in Winter (Sybil’s pick) or Derek Craven of Dreaming of You (my pick).  Wars have been waged.  Battles have been fought! Sides have been chosen and to be honest (though I’m not sure Sybil will) I think it’s pretty much a tie (though she will claim Sebastian won – she’s like that)  I recently did a reread of Dreaming of You so I thought a reread of Devil in Winter was in order.

This is the 3rd book in the Wallflower series and Sebastian has been a bit of a devil in the previous books.  OK, he’s been a big devil to the point he kidnapped the lady love of one of his few best friends.  He’s needed the money.  But things turn upside down in this book.  Evie Jenner is one of the Wallflowers.  She’s awkward, and speaks with a stutter.  And she wants to be in charge of her own life.  He family has kept her from her father whom she loves dearly and who is dying.  Now it just so happens that her father, Ivo Jenner and owner of a gaming hall, was a rival of Derek Craven, another gambling hall owner before his burned down in Dreaming of You.  So there is a connection between these two books.


Evie goes to see Sebastian one evening and knowing he needs money and she needs freedom, strikes a bargain with him.  She suggests they flee to Gretna Green and elope.  Sebastian is rather discombobulated at first.  He did not expect something like this from the little mouse that is Evie.  But he goes along with it and it’s delightful to see this extremely haughty, thinks he’s all that, aristocrat, dealing with this slip of a girl. Completely without realizing it’s happening, he melts for her and she of course realizes that he’s not at all the villain that he’s portrayed as.


I think I enjoyed this book even more this time around and I’m upping my grade.  Sebastian is a great hero.  Though of course, despite what Sybil might say, he’s not quite up to Dereks standards.  But close,  very close, but not quite there.


Lisa Kleypas, in my opinion, always has been and always will be the top reigning author of the historical romance.  I own and have read her entire backlist, from her very first book and an so looking forward to her newest book coming out (squeal of delight) in the next few days.  I must clear my desk to settle in and read it.


And one final note.  It’s very odd but Evie and I share the same last name.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Hades Hangmen Series by Tillie Cole


In all my reading years, which are many; many, many many, I’m going through something I’ve never quite experienced before.  I started a new to me series, The Hades Hangmen series by Tillie Cole.  I went into with thoughts of how it might go.  It’s a series about a motorcycle club and in the first book It Ain’t Me Babe, the president, Styx, has a severe stutter and is unable to speak to anyone except his best friend and VP.  He communicates with ASL and his VP translates for the rest of the club until they all learn it themselves.  Fascinating premise don’t you think?  I thought it might be something light hearted.


But I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried.  These are the darkest books I’ve ever read and I thought I’d read dark books before.  These books are truly brutal.  This motorcycle club are bad to the bone.  They have no hesitation in murdering people if they thing warranted.  They party a lot, surrounded by “party girls” and are very, very promiscuous.  The language is graphic and the sexual abuse of women if front and foremost.  And I can not stop reading them.  The premise of the story is when Styx was a boy, the son of the president and heir apparent, under strange circumstances, meets a young girl, Mae, who is obviously under stress.  It’s only a brief meeting but it lasts with both of them for the rest of their lives and they seek each other out.

It’s now years later, Styx is leader and president of Hades Hangmen and long past any boyish innocence and Mae, along with her two sisters is a sexual slave of a pedophilic cult.  She is attempting to escape after she witnesses the death of her older sister at the hands of the monsters.  Her two younger sisters are completely brainwashed and believe the horrific tales they are told and refuse to leave with Mae.


What follows is a series of books that are the most compelling books I’ve read in years.  They are SO outside my box but they consume me.  All the books are interwoven with the same characters throughout.  While the different books highlight different characters, it’s more one long story.  I know that is common in Fantasy books but I don’t really read a lot of those – Lord of the Rings excluded.


The heroes are brutal, they’re graphic, they experience no sense of guilt and to put it mildly they are crude.  But as I read on they have some amazing qualities too.  They are fiercely loyal to each other.  Although they kill, they don’t kill the innocent, only monsters who are most often worse than them.  Although they deal in illegal weapons, they stay away from the worst things gangs are known for, human trafficking, drugs, and other nasty criminal activities.  But above all and why I keep reading, no sooner finishing one book then picking up the next one, is their absolute and total devotion to their women.  They would do anything for them, even as the song says:


Look into my eyes
You will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart
Search your soul
And when you find me there
You'll search no more

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for
You know it's true
Everything I do
I do it for you

Look into your heart
You will find
There's nothin' there to hide
Take me as I am
Take my life
I would give it all
I would sacrifice

Don't tell me it's not worth fightin' for
I can't help it, there's nothin' I want more
You know it's true
Everything I do
I do it for you

There's no love
Like your love
And no other
Could give more love
There's nowhere
Unless you're there
All the time
All the way, yeah

Look into your heart, baby

Oh, you can't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
I can't help it, there's nothin' I want more
Yeah, I would fight for you
I'd lie for you
Walk the wire for you
Yeah, I'd die for you

You know it's true
Everything I do
I do it for you

Everything I do, darling
And we'll see it through
Oh, we'll see it through
Oh yeah

Search your heart
Search your soul
You can't tell me it ain't worth dying for
Oh yeah

I'll be there, yeah
I'd walk the wire for you
I will die for you

Oh yeah

I would die for you

I'm going all the way, all they way, yeah

*Lyrics dedicated to Wendy and she knows why.*


Their women, for most of the books are those women who have escaped or been rescued from the cult by the men of the Hades Hangmen.  They have been violated and abused and virtually been used as sex slaves from a very young age and been programmed into believing it is their fault and they deserve what they get.  These young women have been isolated so much they don’t know anything about the real world.  They come to the men broken in the cruelest of ways.  And these rough and bad motorcycle club members heal them.  They are gentle and caring and worshipful.  And the women themselves, while broken in some ways are so incredibly kind and brave and grateful, they bring out a side in the men I don’t think they know they have.  This is why I’m having such a hard time letting go of these books.  The depth and width and breath of this love is powerful and beautiful.  There are some books that affected me so deeply I can remember almost every detail about them years and years later.  Some books I can’t let go of and I’ve read it and as soon as I read the last page, start the same book all over again and then again.  My book system just won’t let go.  But I’ve never had that happen with a whole series before, not like this.


I’m on book 6 now though before finishing it, I had to go back to read the third book as it’s affected me the most.


In a way it’s frustrating.  There are so many other books I keep buying and wanting to read but these seem to be the only books I’m able to read for the time being.  I’ve tried others but it’s not worked so I think I’ll just have to follow this reading river until it comes to an end.

These are all of them.

So far



Saturday, June 19, 2021

Recent Reread

 First read - April 9, 2105

Radiance by Grace Draven

I'm so glad I love to reread

I just recently picked up the third book of this series. It’s been quite some time since I read a book in this series so I wanted a refresher and figured it was time for a reread of Radiance. When I read the review below again, I realized I couldn’t do a better job.

This is still just as beautiful as it was six years ago.


This is a wonderful story of two rather throw away people who were put together for political reasons. Brishen is a warrior and prince, the second son or the spare of the race of Kai. They aren’t quite human and they look very different. Their skin is grey and their eyes are very different than human eyes. They live at night and sleep during the day. Ildiko is the impoverished niece of the king of the Gauri, a human race. It was determined that the two of them marry to shore up a political alliance – marry sight unseen. They run into each other before the wedding and in a very sweet and funny scene, the each agree they find the other one repulsive. It’s not meant to be insulting, more of a matter of fact admission. But what is rather cute is Brishen is very attractive to fellow Kai and Ildiko is very attractive other humans.
But this meeting and honest assessment of each other is the basis of a growing deep friendship. Brishen becomes very protective of Ildiko, defending her against his vile family and protecting her from those who would attack her because of the political intrigue resulting from their marriage. Ildiko, on her part, does everything she can to immerse herself into Kai culture and become a helpmeet to her new husband. There is an ever growing respect for each other and I loved the dynamics between the two. This is a true story of friends first and then developing romantic because the friendship does turn deeper and they both see the inner beauty in the other and they slowly fall in love.
I loved this book – simply loved it. I liked that the conflict came from outside, not from the hero/heroine. They are united throughout the story. It made very much for an ‘us against the world’ kind of feeling. Though there is a great secondary character, Brishen’s cousin and a warrior in her own right. She is devoted to Brishen and slowly sees that Ildiko is a true mate for him, even though she does come from a different race entirely. Both Brishen and Ildiko are wonderfully written. Brishen is a warrior, but he is also very sharp when it comes to the machinations around him. He’s attentive, protective, and gentle and all that is good to Ildiko and eventually he’s even jealous when he realizes how attractive she is to others. And Ildiko is tender, understanding, compassionate towards Brishen and fierce when it comes to protecting him.
They are in fact perfect for each other. While the story did end, and happily so, there is a final little bit that leaves it open for another book and in fact this is called Book 1 in the Wraith Kings. I shall be happily waiting for the next one. In the meantime, I have Master of Crows and Entreat Me by this author to help in the wait. And then of course, I’ll have to reread this one again when the next in this series comes out.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

People who change our lives


Sunday, May 09, 2021

People who change our lives

I live in London Ontario.  I don't like to give too much personal information on line but there is a reason I'm sharing this.  In case anyone hasn't heard, there was a horrific act of hate that happened earlier this week in this city.  A young man (though I almost hate to call him that) deliberately drove up on sidewalk and ran into a family out walking.  Four out of five of the members of this family were killed.
What could cause this level of hate?  Because the family were Muslim.  That's it.  No other reason.  I can't speak for all but I think many Canadians may be under the impression that this kind of thing doesn't happen here in Canada, that we are somehow immune.  But we aren't.  Racism, hatred for anyone different exists all over the world.

I originally posted this on May 26, 2005.  At the time I did, I hoped that we would grow as a people and see and appreciate our similarities with people of other faiths and nations and colours.  But that didn't happen.  Instead, it's only grown.  I don't understand it.  But I will always appreciate what I learned back sixteen years ago and I continue to appreciate what working with Magda taught me.  I like to think I'm still growing as a person.

I wanted to repost this as it is as true today as it was back then and I just wish more people could see it.

May 26, 2005

I want to say something about somebody who changed my life. I started a new job six weeks ago. I had been off work for the previous for five months and the job I held before that was difficult for me. So when I started at the new job, I was in a bit of a mess, emotionally wise. I hadn't used my brain for five months and it definitely showed. My confidence in myself wasn't the greatest. I was lonely, scared and overwhelmed, emotions I don't like feeling this late in life. The day after I started, someone else started in the work station next to me. She was there on a six week placement. 

When I was introduced to her, I had a sinking feeling inside. She was a traditional Muslim woman who had moved to our country from the mid-east three years ago and didn't speak English very well. She wore traditional Muslim clothes with the head covering; sorry I don't know what it's called. I thought I would have nothing in common with my nearest coworker. I have worked with Muslim women in the past, but they have spent most of their lives in Canada and were quite used to our customs and ways. Because we were both new and most of the other people in the office eat there lunch at their desks, I began eating lunch with her. And slowly but surely she began changing my perceptions. As we began to talk more and get to know each other better, I realized that we weren't nearly as different as I thought we were. We didn't talk about religion. We didn't talk about the ugliness going on in certain parts of the world. Instead we talked about our own daily lives as wives, mothers, sisters. I learned that she loved her husband just as I love mine. She loved her kids and was proud of them just like me. She has a child that is more of a challenge shall we say and so do I. We both lost both our parents when they were relatively young and we both understood what that was like. Both us had husbands who tried to teach us how to drive a standard; once. That was enough :). I learned that although she didn't speak English very well, she actually had quite a bit more education than I did. She was older than I was when she got married and had children when she was older. Her boys love to play sports just like mine do and she told me how excited her son was when he made the high school soccer team. She told me how he didn't tell her when he hurt himself at his first game and I told her how my son broke his wrist playing baseball. As we talked and got to know each other, I realized that our similarities increased and our differences decreased and I came to like her very much. She had a wonderful sense of humour and she made me laugh and I made her laugh at some of the absurdities our every day lives. 

Today was her last day and I don't know if I will see her again. Our lifestyles are very dissimilar. But she taught me something very important. She taught me not to judge people on appearances or preconceived impressions. She taught me that different cultures can and do have common ground. I know that she will never read this but still I want to say thank you Magda. You helped me to grow as a person.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021



I am a collector.  When I find something I enjoy I go full out on almost obsessiveness.  For a while I was very big into crocheting – afghans.  That seemed to be the only things I wanted to crotchet and I must have made at least 15 of them.  And the wool.  Oh my goodness did I go all out for wool.  I could have made 50 of them with the amount of wool.

Then I started beading. So I bought beads and more beads and more beads and so on.  I keep meaning to really start, I have enough now to open a jewelry store – except I haven’t mad that many necklaces, bracelets, earings and so on.  But if I ever do get around to it.

And finally we come to books, the biggest and brightest of my hobbies and I made a momentous decision.  I’m not sure how many I have but it’s in the thousands.  Between print books and ebooks I will admit it is insane.  So I decided yesterday that I will stop buying books.  It’s a scary thought and there are exceptions.  I will allow myself five authors and still buy their books:

Lisa Kleypas

Pamela Clare

Mia Sheridan

Carian Cole

Scarlet Cole

That’s it.  Those are the only authors who will remain on my autobuy list.  In order to purchase a new book by any other author, I will have to read 5 books I already own.  Then I will let myself buy a new book.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and these are the rules for me.  I can still get books through Kindle Unlimited.  I have 10 of them now, the most you are allowed at one time so I will be reading them until I have them done before getting any new ones.  And of course I will be seeing book I just have to have.  I will put those ones on an Amazon wish list and when I finish reading the number of books needed to get a new book, I’ll have that list.

The only other exception is the FREE books offered through Book Bub and only if I can't live with out it.  Other than those rules that's it!  No new books for me.

We will see how long this lasts.  I'm thinking a week at tops before I talk myself into breaking my rules and getting a new book

'til later

Monday, May 24, 2021

Recent Reread of an old favourite


The Many Sins of Lord Cameron (MacKenzies & McBrides, #3)The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although I've read The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie, I think this is only the second time I've read this boo. I'm every so glad I read it again. I think maybe it took so long as I hadn't picked it up as an ebook until the other day and since I don't read print books much at all anymore, I kind of forgot about this one. I m ever so glad I decided to read it again. I'd forgotten how much I love it.

Still deserves the 5 stars I gave it last time!!


I'll be honest here and say when I read the first two books of this series, Cam didn't make that big an impression on me. And my main thought was that I would have to read his story before I got to Harts' the one I wanted most after reading all about Ian and the rest of his MacKenzie brothers. So going into this one I wasn't expecting a whole lot.

I don't know if that's the reason or what it might be, but this one turned out to be, as Tony the Tiger says, GREEEEAAAATTT!! I LOVED it - almost, but not quite as much as Ian and Beth's book.

It starts out with a bang when Ainsley is scoping out Cam's bedroom for some missing letter stolen from the queen when in walks Cam and the thieving woman who is using the letters to blackmail the queen. She has hidden them with Cam, though he doesn't know it and as one of the queens lady's, Ainsley is trying to find them and give them back. Cam of course, discovers Ainsley's hiding place and is wickedly delighted. You see, they had a similar kind of meeting six years previous when Ainsley was trying to find something in Cam's room. They had an immediate attraction to each other though Ainsley refused to act on it as she was married and while not in love with her much older husband, respected and cared for him a great deal. But neither has forgotten the other over the year and now that Ainsley is a widow, Cam is determined to 'get in her skirts' this time 'round.

For not being a character who made me sit up and take notice in the previous books, with his own story it was an entirely different matter when reading it. Cam is a man who was betrayed beyond belief by his first wife. Not only did she take many, many lovers over the time they were married, but she also tried to kill both Cam and their son Daniel and indeed ended up taking her own life. She was clearly mad but that didn't keep her from leaving deep, deep scars on Mac, both physical and emotional. He uses his gift with horses and meaningless sex to try and escape his demons. But when he's with Ainsley, he feels a deep sense of peace though it takes him a while to recognize it as love he is feeling. I just loved this poor tortured man to pieces and pieces. He loves his son deeply, and Daniel is a wonderful secondary character by the way who will be getting his own story, but doesn't really understand how to be a father. His own father was a monster and all the MacKenzie heroes have a lot to overcome with their horrific childhoods.

Once he gets Ainsley into his orbit again, he is so gone for her. I've said on many occasions I love a hero who is so gone for the heroine.

And Ainsley is exactly the kind of heroine I enjoy. She's sharp and she's funny and she's intelligent. No false miss is she. After a bit of hesitation and then consulting with friends, when Cam wants to take their relationship much further, she goes for it, with no second thoughts. She has very fond thoughts of her first husband and admired him even though he was much, much older than her.

I love that the author didn't go down the cliched route and make her first husband evil. Even the character that was blackmailing the queen didn't turn out to be evil, evil. She just wanted the money to desperately escape an unhappy marriage. The most evil person in the book was Cam's first wife Elizabeth and her evilness was needed to turn Cam into the kind of person he was.

I finished this book in a very short amount of time as I couldn't bare to put it down. I, um, ah, may have taken longer breaks and lunches than I'm allowed as work since I really didn't want to stop reading this Very Enjoyable Book. I still like the first one better, but just by a shade. But this one also is getting very high marks!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021


Entreat Me by Grace Draven


When I saw what the theme was in May for Super Librarians (Wendy) TBR Challenge, I wasn’t sure if I had anything that would fit the bill.  The month’s theme is Fairy Tale/Folk Tales.  I think you get those tropes more in Fantasy and I don’t read Fantasy very much at all so I wasn’t sure I had a book that would fit the bill.  I do!  I hit the jackpot with this one.  I’ve had Entreat Me by Grace Draven in the pile since 2015; just sitting there, unread.  I picked it up after reading Radiance ad Eidolon and loving them.  Then I tried getting into Master of Crows a couple of times, unsuccessfully and forgot I had this book.


This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  Louvaen is our Beauty and Ballard is our Beast.  Now in this story, Cinnia, sister to Louvaen is the real beauty and Louvaen is the mother lion, doing everything she can to protect her sister.  Their father is ineffectual at everything and has put them all in debt to the evil villain who is willing to overlook the debt if he can have the hand of Cinnia.  This will be only over Lou’s dead body.  Cinnia is smitten with the handsome and dashing Gavin and the two of them run off to his mysterious castle.  Lou is hot on their heels, bound and determined to save Cinnia’s honour.


Ballard is the father of Gavin and he is under an evil spell.  He routinely goes through times where he turns into a beast.  Gavin does too but not to the same extent.  Ballard’s wife and Gavin’s mother put on an evil spell as she lay dying after giving birth to Gavin.  She hated Ballard with a burning seething passion and wants to make his life hell.  None of the castle inhabitants have really aged since she put the spell on them, which includes a few servants and one caster of spells, and they’ve been living in the run down and isolated castle for over 200 years now.


There is instant chemistry between Ballard and Lou.  Even when not in monster form, Ballard still bears the aftereffects and is hideously scarred.  He can’t see how Lou would find him the least bit attractive.  However, Lou sees beneath his scars to the truly fine person that he is.  He makes for a wonderful hero.  This felt a lot like a medieval and I love the atmosphere that Ms. Draven creates. I love the relationship between Ballard and Lou.  She is a very prickly type heroine and so overprotective of her sister.  Ballard gets more of a kick out her for it.  Ballard is also an amazing father.  We learn right at the beginning that his wife was not a faithful one and Gavin’s father is Ballard’s enemy but not even for one moment does Ballard not love him and consider Gavin as his.  We learn later what a sacrifice Ballard has made to help his son, to the point of being willing to give up his own life. 


I love the secondary romance between Gavin and Cinnia.  Also the bickering between Lou and Ambrose, Ballard’s magician and good friend.  Lou has inherited a bit of magic from her mother and hates it.  She and Ambrose do quite a bit of bickering and I admit I love some of the names they came up with for each other.

Moreover, the villain sure is good and villainy.  Though we don’t see her, there are a few flash back scenes with Isabeau, Ballard’s wife is truly evil.  It is bad enough to put a curse on your hated husband, but to put one on your newborn son is beyond the pale.


Except for Lou being a tad overprotective, this book is perfect.  I can really see me reading it again.  I was very impressed with this book.  While I was reading this book, I picked up a couple more of her books.  The third book in the Wraith King series is out and somehow missed that and I picked up another one of her books at the same time.  One other thing I have to mention is the absolutely beautiful covers she has for all her books.  I love all of them.


Therefore, this month’s TBR Challenge was a complete success.  I love the book.  I’d forgotten I had it so finding it was a real treasure and I loved enough to get back on the Grace Draven train.  Win, win  This book gets 4.5 stars and comes oh so close to 5.  I very happily recommend this book.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Recent 5 star ReReads

Love in the Light (Hearts in Darkness, #2)Love in the Light by Laura Kaye

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having just finished a reread of the first book, of course I had to reread this one again. I said I knew I would reread it, I just didn't know it would take this long to get back to. And yep, loved it just as much this time around


I just reread the first book in this series, Hearts in Darkness before reading this one. I needed to revisit with Caden and Makenna. I thought this book was SO wonderfully written. In the vast majority of books, we get the HEA and then it fades to black. But in Love in The Light, it continues on and we get to see that things don’t always end so perfectly. The description of this book is pretty spot on so no need to go over it too much. Caden and Makenna are still deeply in love and are rarely apart since they met in the darkness in Love in the Dark. But it’s not a happily.

You see, Caden is really struggling to comprehend things are going so well. He has a very tragic story, my heart just broke for him, and he can’t believe that Makenna could really care about him. He has very little self-worth and he is inadvertently sabotaging the relationship with his doubts. Makenna is still crazy about him and she knows she always will. She is slightly aware of his insecurities but not all of them. She doesn’t know how deep it runs. He has told her about his past but not how much he was damaged by it. Things come to a head when they go to visit her family at Thanksgiving and one of her brothers has brought an ex-boyfriend of hers, an ex-boyfriend who wants Makenna back and Caden hears this declaration and it feeds right in to his own lack of confidence. And if that weren’t enough he overhears a conversation between the ex and the brother who happen to be best friends agreeing that Makenna is too good for this scarred, tattooed, face piercing guy and Caden can’t handle it anymore. Even though her father and other two brothers really seem to like him and see how happy Makenna is with him, it’s not enough.

He ends the relationship and then falls apart. Makenna is devastated but holds hope they will get back together. She KNOWS they are meant to be together and Caden is just struggling with his devils at the moment. But then thing happen and she just can’t wait any longer.

I LOVED THIS BOOK. Caden suffers from acute anxiety and severe depression. As this is something I struggle with myself, I could really relate to him. Everyone around him may be telling himself what a great guy he is, but he can’t buy it. His inner voice is constantly telling him he’s not good enough, she’d be better with someone else, he doesn’t deserve to experience love – all those kinds of things. He knows he’s spiraling downward but he can’t stop the free fall. That’s exactly what depression does, how it lies to us. I know from experience and I just wanted to hold Caden through it. No matter how much we tell ourselves to ‘get over it’ it’s not that simple.

And Makenna. Oh what a great character she is. She is patient and compassionate and wildly in love with Caden. She “sees” who he is. She is honest. She tells him about the conversation she had with the ex, even though she doesn’t know Caden overheard the conversation. I know this is going to be a book that stays with me for a long time and one I will read over and over again.

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The Tender TexanThe Tender Texan by Jodi Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Being a looonnnggg time romance reader, there have been books I’ve read that have stayed with me over the years and I remember them as if I just read them yesterday. Then there are books where I don’t remember the details, but I clearly remember the love I felt for the book. Such is the case with The Tender Texan. This is one I’ve been wanting to get as an ebook for a number of years now. My thousands of books are all packed up in over 35 boxes in one of the rooms and very inaccessible. Plus I so much prefer ebooks. I’m having to use somewhat larger fonts now. The cost of The Tender Texan has always been too high to justify getting it. I have a number of books like this that I check every few months and low and behold – the price came down!! So of course I picked it up lickity split

Anna Meyers is part of a group of settlers all the way from Germany planning on settling in Texas with the promise of free land. While on the journey, her husband died and because of this, she doesn’t get the land they were promised. She needs a husband. She bravely walks into a camp of cowboys and ask if any of them are willing to marry her for $100. Of course she’s laughed at until one steps forward. Lets just say that Anna struck gold when Chance Wyatt volunteers. He needs the money for personal reasons and agrees to marry Anna and take care of her and help her build her home and get things going. At the end of one year he will leave and she will have her land.

Chance is simply the very best kind of hero. He’s slightly younger than Anna but that doesn’t matter. He is fully competent in everything he does and he is smitten with Anna right from the very beginning. Over the course of the story he does everything he says he would do and so much more besides. There was one stipulation that Anna put on the marriage and that is no kind of physical touching whatsoever and as Chance falls deeper and deeper for Anna, he finds that harder and harder. And although the reader might get a little annoyed with her – I mean this guy is pure gold – she has her reasons. She was brutally attacked by her husband a couple of times and left pregnant after the second time. What’s worse is he was carrying on with her nightmare of a mother and she has no sense of self worth. She’s learned to be cold because she had to in order to survive. But she is gradually attracted to Chance in return and manages to send the poor guy some mixed messages.

There is a whole lot more in this book that I have mentioned and it all works together to make this such a wonderful book and yet another reason I love Westerns. I’ve read many a book by Jodi Thomas and this is my favourite one – still.

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