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So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

Ready To Return To Hell? Caith Morningstar Is BACK!

30866647“I have always marveled that so many religions exact such revenge against dissenters. It only weakens the appeal of their faith and contradicts any claims they might have made that ‘all religions are basically the same.'” – Ravi Zacharias

Caith Morningstar was there when the first brick of the Mouse’s house was laid. Order. Secrecy. That is all she asked. Orlando is her city. Her place of peace, where demons (dems), angels (gels) and tweens (‘other’) come to rest, relax, and visit her bar, Hell’s Chapel. Well, when you are the niece of “The” Morningstar, have an unending life and a very, well, let’s say ‘eclectic’ family, you deserve a little peace. – Review, So, I Read This Book Today, Hell’s Chapel by Lauren Creed (Celia Kyle)

 

Caith Morningstar may desperately want peace in her city, and most particularly in her life – but as the Pussycat Dolls say,

Be careful what you wish for
‘Cause you just might get it
You just might get it
You just might get it”

Caith wished to be with her mate, Samkiel. So not happening. Half-fallen Angel of Destruction, On High had him in time-out on Earth for forgiving someone he wasn’t supposed to forgive. But when Sam saved Caith and newborn baby brownie Bryony, the last living member of Caith’s band of brownie friends, from a mad wizard with a true hard-on against Caith, he was cast down – as in, way way down, to the 9th circle of Hell. Well. That sucks.

After the violence, terror and death of Hell’s Chapel, Caith is incredibly pissed. Solution? Kick every stinkin’ demon out of Orlando. Hum… how’s that workin’ out for you Caith?

Apparently? Not all that well.

It has been a year, and Caith is bored out of her mind not having demon fanny to kick around in her bar, Hell’s Chapel. But she has baby Bryony to raise, she has her friends and her five fathers (don’t ask, just read ;-)) and life is moving along. Until baby Bryony gets sick. Now, there really Will be Hell to Pay.

Hell’s Gates picks up Caith’s story and runs with it, feet blazing. While you may know Celia Kyle better as a Paranormal Romance writer of such series as Ridgeville and Grayslake, and more recently her Alien-Shifter-SciFi series, The Ujal and Dragons of Preor, the Caith Morningstar series is quickly becoming my favorite overall. Caith is a 600-year-old, kick-ass half-demon with attitude to spare, a disturbing habit of killing first and asking questions never . . . and a heart as big and kind as five amazing fathers can make her. Well, even though her mother is the sister of “The” Morningstar, and “quite possibly the worst mother ever…” Caith knows one thing that all the demons in the world will never understand. Love. And when you mess with those Caith loves? Be prepared, cause she is gonna kill you. And bring you back to kill you again. And again. And Again. And when Caith decides you are going to hurt, you are going to hhuuuurrrrtttttt.

You GO Girl!

You will enjoy Hell’s Gates much more if you pick up Hell’s Chapel and read it first. Both are marvelous, but you can’t really understand what Caith has been through, what she has suffered, and why, unless you pick up from the first. Besides. These books are marvelous!!!

And you have no reason not to – Celia’s work is on Kindle Unlimited, where you can

Read For Free!!!

I received Hell’s Gate from Celia in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own – and you know I won’t lead you wrong!

She Likes It!

susan with quiltThought I would share a photo of Susan with her quilt!

I am taking orders for quilts if you are interested. Shoot me an email and we can talk!

North Carolina’s General Assembly fumbled yet again

It just never stops, does it? So much hate, so much political ignorance. If the people who spend all their time and money on trying to crush anyone who is not a WASP, the world would be such a better place.

How about spending political capital and funding on REAL issues, like child hunger, poverty, substandard shelter for the poor, homelessness, and diseases in desperate need of funding?

You aren’t crazy – I decided long ago that YOU should be President and Congress rolled into one!😉

musingsofanoldfart

Our North Carolina (NC) General Assembly gained global attention by introducing a law called HB2 in reaction to a law passed in its biggest city, Charlotte, to better accommodate transgender people in bathroom choice. The state-wide HB2 law passed earlier this year, in essence, does the following:

  • Overturns the Charlotte law and makes it state-wide that transgender people can only use the bathroom of their birth gender or if they have had an operation to officially change their gender.
  • Strikes the words referenced by LGBT from protection of discrimination. not just transgender folks.
  • Eliminates the ability for anyone to bring suit in state court should they feel discriminated against (the only recourse is in more expensive and elongated federal court).
  • Eliminates the ability of a city to have a minimum wage higher than the minimum wage of the state, in this case the federal minimum.

The push back has been significant and…

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Brexit: Good, Bad or Indifferent, It’s A Done Deal

Brexit has been dominating international headlines for the past few ...
“I’ve come to learn there is a virtuous cycle to transparency and a very vicious cycle of obfuscation.” – Jeff Weiner

 “Let us not be defeated by the tyranny of the world financial markets that threaten peace and democracy everywhere.” – Stephane Hessel

Yes, I have been researching Brexit, totally because a couple of people I truly admire are so against it because of the economic difficulties they foresee, and the thought that the withdrawal is marching backwards instead of forwards on the world stage. Keith and Hugh make exceptionally good points, but while I understand the economic difficulties it caused worldwide when the measure first passed, I can’t help but agree with many of the articles I have read from sources inside and outside of the EU, which point out just how “broken” the EU leadership truly is. That is historically the problem when you get ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ (from nine original members to 28, all with their own agendas). You wind up with a spoiled meal, or in this case, a massive bureaucracy so enamored with their own power they constantly do, to put it bluntly, stupid stuff. I haven’t been following the EU regulatory process, (too busy working to get my editing business off the ground) but one article I just read from a British newspaper pointed out that one of the EU rules, in the vein of “the straw that broke the camel’s back” had to do with regulations on the “correct” size and shape of cucumbers and carrots!* So, if such common foods are not shaped correctly, were they thrown out? When food prices are so high, and so many people go hungry? And besides that – with all the problems this world has to face in these troubling times of war, poverty, and terrorism, the fact that carrot shape is what the EU is interested in is offensive to a breathtaking degree. Now, if they were worried about whether the carrot was filled with poisonous chemicals, that I could see. But whether it is bumpy or not is what you worry about? Deeply, Deeply offensive!

I read a lot of good comments on many different articles posted online, (and some that didn’t make a lot of sense), but we all have our opinions. After reading articles from a wide-ranging group of countries, I focused on several articles, especially one from the New Zealand National Business Review entitled Three Reasons Brexit Won”. The points that make the most sense to me deal mostly with the immigration issues inherent in the EU structure.

1) As a poster commented, you can’t plan if you don’t know how many people to plan for. Health care, housing, jobs, policing, even food supplies – there is a whole list of issues dealing with immigration that must be planned for, both in the long and short term. You can’t set the table if you don’t know how many people are coming to dinner. As pointed out by one correspondent, “Under EU rules, citizens of any member state are allowed to live and work anywhere in the bloc, regardless of their education, salary or skills.” It reminds me of Castro dumping all of his prisoners and mental hospital patients into the exodus of “boat people” from his shores in 1994, shipping them off to Florida so he didn’t have to pay for their upkeep, the second time he had done the same thing (see “The Mariel Crisis” April – October, 1980). A brilliant strategy on his part, but a disaster for the state of Florida where the boats landed.

2) On another immigration issue, I agree that the number of people flooding Britain leaves them dangerously open to terrorists coming across the border and creating devastating damage. When you have organized policing, and the funding for police services for 33.5 million people, having the migration numbers skyrocket from 44,000 in 1991 to 333,000 in 2015, there is no way any country can assure the safety of their citizens.

3)  While many posters at different sites are making a big point of the fact that the “youth are getting screwed” by Brexit, I have difficulty with that stance, again from an immigration standpoint. When you have people emigrating from poor countries, they are willing to work for extremely low salaries. They are willing to work harder, put in longer hours, and rarely “rock the boat”.  As such, companies are much more likely to hire these immigrants, some highly educated as in the case of Asian and Indian workers, who are willing to work harder for less money. We see this every day here in the States, with immigrant workers being such a huge workforce. We also suffer greatly from companies outsourcing jobs to India, Pakistan, and other countries where wages are a 10th of the cost and there are lower standards for worker safety, no health care, and no retirement. A “disposable” workforce. Of course, they made workers here “disposable” as well, leaving people who had good jobs either on unemployment, welfare, or slinging burgers at two or three part time jobs with no benefits and no retirement. While the “reeducation” concept is a good idea, too often workers find that, once they are retrained, the job they trained for was also outsourced, or went to a younger, cheaper applicant.  A rather short-sighted view, as the older applicant has more experience, knowledge, and is accustomed to being loyal to the company she/he works for. Turnover is expensive.

This also highlights the problem of educational resources. Overcrowding in schools, teacher shortages, lack of books and supplies, and the violence inherent in putting together massive numbers of testosterone and estrogen factories in small, overcrowded spaces where “normal” levels of high school angst are amplified by extreme racial and cultural tensions without appropriate counseling and teaching services is short-sighted at best, deadly at worst. An article in The Mail by Sue Reed (30 May 2014) The New Face of Racial Tension discusses warnings from ex-Home Secretary David Blunkett regarding the swift rise of violence in the area of Sheffield between British locals and the expanding population of Roma in the area.

Regardless of who is to blame for the rising tension, it is a sorry story that encapsulates what is happening in so many urban areas across the country, as people are forced to adapt to a sudden influx of immigrants who often speak no English, can’t get work, live in dreadful conditions and put immense strain on already hard-pressed schools and NHS services.

As for the “Doomsday” outcome of the world economy after Brexit? As Oliver Pursche, correspondent for TheStreet.com put it, “Slow down, stop speculating and focus on the facts.” And the facts are, as pointed out by numerous banking and finance specialists, after the 2007 crash major banking and worldwide stock market systems created “stress tests” and methodologies for handling just this sort of economic/political upheaval. There are contingency plans in place. That doesn’t mean there won’t be ups and down, but articles over the last week are calling for much less upheaval than was felt in the first few days after Brexit’s passing as financial markets imploded from the number of ostensibly intelligent people running around screaming “Doom! Doom!” and trying to make as much money as quickly as possible off of the uncertainty inherent in any large-scale change.

Correspondingly pointed out in a blog post on the Brookings Institute website by former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, “The biggest risks to financial stability at this point appear to be political — specifically the risks of further defections or breakdown in the European Union — rather than economic.”  As he went on to comment, “Markets are already beginning to calculate and adjust for the risk that other countries will press for greater autonomy from Brussels.”

I am not saying here that there won’t be economic damage to Britain from Brexit. Another quote from Bernanke points out:

In the longer run, the uncertainty will dissipate, but the economic costs to the U.K. still will exceed the benefits. Financial services and other globally oriented industries, which depend on unfettered access to European markets and exchanges, will come under pressure. At the same time, the purported gains from freeing the U.K. from the heavy regulatory hand of Brussels will be limited, because Britain will likely have to accept most of those rules (without ability to influence them) as part of restructured trade agreements. Immigration is unpopular in the U.K., and slowing it was a motivation for some “leave” voters, but a more slowly growing labor force likely would also reduce overall economic growth.

My thoughts on the whole “The Sky Is Falling! The Sky is Falling!” attitude of the markets? Markets react much like a flock of birds in a field. One gunshot and the whole flock bursts into panic and takes to the skies, defecating and shedding feathers in terror.  Or, as Mark Twain said, “A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.”  In my own words? “Grow up, you market idiots and act like intelligent people instead of three-year-olds on a serious sugar rush!” I can’t help but feel that the reason many ‘market crises’ occur at all is best indicated by CNN  Money’s “Fear and Greed Index.”  I.e., “Investors are driven by two emotions: fear and greed. Too much fear can sink stocks well below where they should be. When investors get greedy, they can bid up stock prices way too far.” The 2007 economic collapse was based on greed, as a small group of people purposely destroyed whole economic systems in a grab for obnoxious degrees of wealth and power. If we can keep the politicians and financial manipulators from destroying us all, I have hope that the “regular population” will be able to see past the sturm und drang, greed based manipulations and power plays of the rich and powerful and keep their panic to a minimum. The damage is done. Now it is time to clear up the fallout and work on correcting the very issues that have placed the EU in such an unstable position.

That’s my take on the situation. Good, bad, or indifferent, it will be interesting to see how it all pans out . . .

*”According to European Commission Regulation No. 1277/88, if a cucumber bends more than 10 millimeters per 10 centimeters (0.4 inches per 4 inches) in length, it cannot be categorized as “class one” and may therefore only be sold as a second-rate cucumber. But who wants to buy one of those? Most second-rate cucumbers — at least according to conventional wisdom — never make it to market.”

My thanks to my friends Keith from MusingsofanOldFart.com and Hugh Curtler for waking me up and getting me interested (again!) in an important world event. If it weren’t for you two, I wouldn’t know it if the sky really  was falling!

The Horrifying Preponderance Of Sexual Violence In Writing

I was incredibly angry when I read the description of “Dark Captive” by Jennifer Denys a few days ago, and merely posted my feelings to Amazon at the time, which was not professional. In order to clarify my feelings, the following information is pertinent, and demonstrates the reasoning behind my belief that these sorts of books are wrong on both psychological, sociological, and legal levels, as well as the fact that their very existence forwards a sociopolitical atmosphere of acceptance of violence towards women on a level rising to that suffered by Middle Eastern women.

Laws are pertinent in my state of Colorado and do not include Federal Statutes, as there is no indication the victim was carried across state lines by the perpetrator.

The following charges may be made against the protagonist in a court of law:

Definition: Kidnapping Colorado laws classify kidnapping into two categories; first degree kidnapping and second degree kidnapping.

C.R.S. 18-3-302 A person commits second degree kidnapping when s/he seizes and carries any person from one place to another, without his consent and without lawful authority; or s/he takes away any child below 18 years with intent to keep or conceal the child from his or her parent or guardian or with intent to sell, trade, or barter such child for consideration.

Second degree kidnapping is a class 2 felony if the person kidnapped is a victim of a sexual offense or robbery.

C.R.S. 18-1.3-401  A person guilty of a class 2 felony will be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 24 years or less than eight years

Capital Punishment Statutes in Colorado

Capital punishment, also known as “the death penalty,” remains a legal sentence under Colorado laws for certain crimes, including, but not limited to: COL. REV. STAT. §18-3-301, et seq: Kidnapping.

Colorado Statutes: § 18-3-303. False Imprisonment

Definition: False imprisonment is the unlawful restraint of a person against her will by someone without legal authority or justification.

Examples of false imprisonment may include, but are not limited to: A person grabbing onto another person without their consent, and holding them so that they cannot leave.

Colorado Revised Statues Sections 18-3-402: Sexual Assault, 18-3-404: Unlawful Sexual Contact

Colorado criminalizes rape, sexual battery and sexual assault. The crimes are no longer divided by degree or level, but instead into sexual assault or sexual contact based on whether penetration of any kind was completed or only touching of genitals and other intimate parts. The penalties for each crime vary based on a number of “aggravating” factors that increase criminal responsibility, for example using force or date rape drugs. Force doesn’t always have to be physical force where the perpetrator physically overpowers the victim; FORCE COULD INCLUDE PSYCHOLOGICAL COERCION (BEING “TALKED INTO IT”),

Penalty: Co. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-3-402. Class four felony, from one year to twelve years in prison.

Capital Punishment Statutes in Colorado

Capital punishment, also known as “the death penalty,” remains a legal sentence under Colorado laws for certain crimes, including, but not limited to: COL. REV. STAT. §18-3-301, et seq: Kidnapping.

I believe this logically lays out my reasoning behind my belief that this author is encouraging criminal acts against a victim, as well as encouraging a mindset of  acceptance of said criminal acts by persons who may see these types of works as justification for said criminal acts.

PLEASE NOTE: According to RAINN (Rape, ­­Abuse & Incest National Network) every two minutes another American is sexually assaulted. Only 6 out of every 1,000 rapists will end up in prison. While the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) distinguishes (and I make this point very distinctly) “CONSENSUAL” acts of violence during sexual play as paraphilias rather than paraphilic disorders, commissions of CRIMES against others during acts of paraphilia or the planning of acts of paraphilia with the intent to do harm are viewed differently. Also, as pointed out by a report from “The Hastings Center” the development of DSM-5 also caused, and still opens up, the possible legal repercussion of acts of true violence, including pedophilia, being pressed beyond the pale of legal action, leaving true victims

(INCLUDING CHILDREN)

without legal recourse against their abusers. While the numbers of reported sexual assaults have dropped since 1993, the statistical numbers have been proven somewhat misleading given the reverse social stigma which leads men, women and children to no longer view sexual assaults as being legally actionable due to the preponderance of books, movies, and social mores, as well as DSM-5, that now teach that women have no rights to protection for their bodies. “No” no longer means “No” but rather, “Let me tie you up and do what I want and your body will like it, therefore it is all A-OK.”

A supposedly “forward thinking” ruling in the DSM is reversive in that true victims no longer feel they have the right to step forward about their abuse. It reminds me of a particular situation I faced in the 70’s, where my boss told me if I didn’t give him a BJ in his office he would fire me. I didn’t, and he did. That isn’t counting the time I was pulled down and raped when in college and was told, basically, that it was just something I was to expect – guys are guys, after all.

I hope that proponents of physical/sexual violence against women, such as this writer, will step back and think about the grievous injury they cause by championing actions such as kidnapping and rape as this book does. For pertinent cases, see Ariel Castro, Cleveland Ohio, and thousands of others.

Review: Half Wolf by Aimee Easterling (I Won’t Go There Again…)

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“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” – Albert Einstein

“Whining is not only graceless, but can be dangerous. It can alert a brute that a victim is in the neighborhood.” ― Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

 

Having not read any of Ms. Easterling’s books before, when I got the chance to pick this up on Kindle Unlimited, I did so based on other people’s comments on her work.

Now? I truly, deeply wish I hadn’t. It left a severely bad taste in my mouth. Some of this will be “spoilerish” so keep that in mind, but there are so many things wrong with it, I just can’t help but go there. The protagonist is, in a word, weak. Weak of mind, and weak of soul. As a ‘halfie’ her wolf is put forward as being weak as well, but I get a strong feeling that she is only weak because her human half makes her weak. She has no trust in either her human self or her wolf self, constantly whines about being ineffective while never seeming to reach for something better within herself, makes incredibly poor decisions, and is so insecure, putting not only herself but her tiny pack in danger, I wanted to grab her around the throat and choke her to death for being such a lily-livered idiot. The ‘good guy’ vs the ‘bad guy’ setup was screamingly obvious, which was irritating as all get-out, and if I read “uber-alpha” or “trouble twin” one more time . . . so uncreative I wanted to then slap the author silly as well. Does she really think this dishrag of a protagonist is worthwhile?

Then, there is the whole “mate” thing. I mean, come ON! The guy got you kicked out of your pack, where you were safe, and thrust not only you, but two very young girls and two young males out into the world where you are starving, running from pillar to post in an effort to stay alive, living out of the back of a beat-up station wagon and sleeping in a tent with your thrown-together pack – straight into a world where you are being hunted so that a bunch of sociopaths can capture you and rip your heart out and eat it – and, of course, he tells you that it is for “your own good” and that you will be “better off on your own” outside the warmth of an alpha couple who care for you and a pack that might not all accept you – but most do. Sooooo . . . Hey – here’s a secret for you, protagonist. Are you ready? Listening? OK, here goes – “The Guy Never Had YOUR Best Interests At Heart!” And yet, it is all forgiveness and wallowing all over him and getting all “matey matey” when he threw you out in the wilds to die. Uh, Hello?!?!?

Yep. This was my first Easterling – and my last as well. Too many books, too little time to waste on such Inane Pablum. Extremely disappointing.

The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time

I will have to read this. As a long-time insomniac, I know it contributes to depression and other health issues.

I finished my computer course, so I can go back to my editing, reading, and quilting full-time. At least now I can feel comfortable about replacing the fan in my laptop without destroying the whole thing!😉

Science Book a Day

sleep-revolution

The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington

Synopsis: We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis, writes Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post. And this has profound consequences – on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. What is needed, she boldly asserts, is nothing short of a sleep revolution.  Only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives.

In her bestseller Thrive, Arianna wrote about our need to redefine success through well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. Her discussion of the importance of sleep as a gateway to this more fulfilling way of living struck such a powerful chord that she realized the mystery and transformative power of sleep called for a fuller investigation.

The result is a sweeping, scientifically rigorous, and deeply personal exploration of sleep from…

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We are pulling for you, but you have an uphill climb

I am simply reblogging from friends right now – I am in a Computer Technical Services class for the next few days, and my time is really crammed! So, enjoy Kieth’s writing, and if you aren’t following him, you should be. He is thoughtful, contentious, and always has well thought out posts that truly make you think!

musingsofanoldfart

When a good friend does something that you suggested he or she not do as it is fraught with peril, you are concerned, but still care for them and pull for them. This is especially true when, as an outsider, you can see more clearly the troubles with a decision to do something. It gives you a sick feeling, but you will do your best to help them soldier on.

That is how many feel about our friends in the UK with Brexit, a vote to leave the European Union. I recognize the EU is imperfect like any government entity and needs improvements, but the global construct is more beneficial than it is not, due to more trade and freedom of movement. Working collaboratively, also helps lessen the risk of national turmoil which can cause unhealthy behaviors.

The global markets have shown an immediate displeasure with the change. Watching BBC…

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Mysteries…

Everybody needs a little beauty in their lives… and Sue’s photos of the amazing landscape of England always sooth me…. Thanks, Sue!

Sue Vincent - Daily Echo

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The Anglican Church of St Mary the Virgin in Stanton Drew dates back to the 13thC, so we felt it would be well worth a visit… especially as it stands between the stones of The Cove and the great stone circles to which we were heading. From outside, it certainly looked promising, though we knew little about the place. Traces of earlier arches and other tell-tale signs of the evolution of the building greeted us as we walked through the gate, especially as the church seemed to have been built on a mound.

stanton drew swords book pics robin 030

Given the nature of the surrounding sites, a mound was definitely intriguing… though it could just be the natural shape of the land. The odd thing was, that although I had visited Stanton Drew several times, I had never really found anything much about the church online. Even Wikipedia had little to say, the Listed Buildings site…

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