These buttons are so cool! I wish I hadn’t bought the expensive painted coconut shell buttons that I did for the Heather Hoodie. This would have been awesome! But then, the ones I bought are beautiful, so that works. But next time, Dorset Buttons for me!
This was the first book of the Ridgeville series that I have read. It was a loaner from a friend who thought I might enjoying reading and reviewing the story, and she wasn’t wrong.
Apparently this is number six in a series. I did feel a bit lost a few times in the book, as there are references to happenings that I was not familiar with, but I still was able to keep up and enjoy without being frustrated with the book, unlike some series that I have jumped into the middle of.
I truly enjoyed the fact that there are many levels to the story. Happiness, heartbreak, terror. Grinding loneliness and pain that are soothed and overcome by love and family. There is a scene near the end of the book that broke my heart – the “bad guy” was just so sad, I wanted to save him, no matter what he had done.
Overall, this was an extremely creative little paranormal that kept my attention throughout. Tess, the heroine, has been to Hell, done the tour, and been left with the scars. However, with friends like Maya and Carly, a lion and rabbit shifter (funny, huh?) and a perspective mate who not only understands her pain and her history, but is willing to take his time and allow her to heal, the story is a heart-string puller.
My favorite adjunct character is Maya, the female alpha, or “Prima” of the pack. She has an AWESOME dirty mouth, and made me cackle like a hyena at her antics. Overall, this book left me feeling light and cheerful and has put me on track to finding the first of the series and enjoying them all.
Recommended for urban/paranormal/fantasy/romance readers.
“Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.” – William Shakespere
“Hell has three gates: lust, anger, and greed” – Bhagavad Gita
Bram Stoker Award nominee Billie Sue Mosiman gives us a perfect little story for Halloween. Carnival Freak is a twisted little short story about greed, anger, bitterness and envy. She places the story in a world not often seen these days, the world of the freak, the oddity – where bearded ladies and the Elephant Man mix and mingle with others whose only chance at acceptance are the stares of the unwashed masses.
In this particular carnival sideshow, there is something even darker at hand. A darkness of truth, the truth no one wishes to know, or accept. Especially, those with the deepest, most evil secrets.
Join the crowds and slip between the tent flaps. Enjoy the show. And if you are very, very brave, pay the admission and “see the secret freak, our Freak of Freaks, our ultimate show . . .” Are you brave enough to know the truth?
Full Dark by Ty Lawrence is not what I expected when the publisher first offered me a copy for review. In the modern supernatural world populated by fantasies of sexy vampires and alpha weres, Full Dark is entirely different in ways breathtaking, horrifying and deeply disturbing on a visceral level. This is a world of darkness, a Dante inspired fantasy of blood and death. In these pages, the dreams of the Dark Ages are born anew, brought forward into modern times. These are not the fangs of teenage dreams, nor the fur and claws of the ‘sexy wolf’. This is black blood and torn flesh, torture and enslavement and pain.
Ashlyn is a sorceress in a world that makes her a victim, her blood a narcotic to vampires. At a very young age her family is slaughtered and she is taken from her home to be savaged by a group of feral vampires. Rescued by the Master Vampire Brennan she is still a captive, kept for her addictive blood. But at least she is safe from the rouges who would keep her chained and savaged. Called The Hidden, the supernatural exist in a dark and dangerous world, hidden amongst the humans, who know nothing of their existence.
Or do they?
War is coming in this dark and hidden world. And while war foments Ashlyn has become a pawn of forces out of her control, forces who wish to use her, or hold her for their own. And the relationship between Ashlyn and Brennan becomes even more strained as Ashlyn strains against Brennan’s control, while knowing that her only safety is actually within his care. Further complicating matters is Lord Sorcerer Finn, a sorcerer of great and terrible power, who controls the Vox, the lands inhabited by the supernatural Hidden, who has his own agenda, and a strange and terrible control over Ashlyn.
This is a magnificent and terrible story. The characters are more than just well written. The reach out of the pages and pull you into their story, whether in hate or admiration, and often in both at the same time. Ashlyn herself tugged me in both directions. A victim for so long, she made me deeply sad one moment and furious the next. She is deeply scared, reaching for a life she will never have while turning her back on the one she might, a life of strength and control over her own fate. Desperate for a humanity that is not hers to have, she protects the police officer, Hayden, who has secrets of his own which will put him directly in the sights of Brennan. And in so doing, places herself in tremendous danger on his behalf.
This is a multilayered tale of power and depth that I would not wish to have missed. A tale of bitter and broken characters, of hate and pain, loss and death and the choices one must make to survive. And yet, through it all, there is a thread of love and warmth which can be found in the worst of situations. But can one learn to accept that love, and what will one do to protect those whom we love?
“We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict.” – Jim Morrison
“Probably the toughest time in anyone’s life is when you have to murder a loved one because they’re the devil.” – Emo Philips
I love a really good mystery. A story that keeps me enthralled, wondering, guessing and staying awake into the wee small hours; “Just one more page, just one more page….” – Me
The Rose Red Reaper meets all of these contingencies and more. The mystery itself is extremely well done. Too often I find myself figuring out the “Who dunnit’” shortly into the book. In this case, there was one small hint, well into a double-digit chapter that gives a clue – but it doesn’t give it away, and I actually didn’t start to get suspicious until well into the book. Score. A mystery that makes me think!
And think I did, not only about the story itself, but also about the characters. Loucks’ characters are some of the more interesting that I have come across in mystery novels recently. The lead characters are Lieutenant Commander Mason Cole, previously a Navy SEAL, and his brother Detective Devon Cole. Lt. Commander Cole joins his brother with the Chicago Serial Crimes Unit after the savage murder of Mason’s girlfriend. For a year, Mason obsesses over Jill’s death, desperately attempting to find any clue to her murderer. Sleepless and lost, he walks the streets at night, fleeing the nightmares that torment him. His only solace is his seat at a table in a little diner close to his home, where the coffee is always fresh, and the wait staff are a small group of women who are always kind, and always leave him in peace.
Now, the killer has struck again, and what slowly becomes obvious is that this isn’t just any serial killer. At first, there seems to be no connection between the deaths, no ties between the victims. However, as the number of grisly deaths climb, a picture slowly begins to form, an image of abuse, of torture and depravity of the worst sort, and of massive failures of a system that is purportedly designed to help the most helpless among us. A system that allows unspeakable horrors to be committed with impunity. As Mason, Devon and their small group of specialists begin to unravel the convoluted path into the mind of a killer, Mason grows closer to Dakota, the owner of the tiny diner where he feels so at home. A closeness that now places Dakota in the sights of a killer who has no mercy, and whose final goal is to destroy Mason’s life.
One of the things I like the most about the book is that none of the characters are “cookie cutter cardboard cutouts”. Their personalities are well developed and realistic, allowing you to actually come to know them as people. No one is written as an over-the-top super hero, nor are the women in the story either weaklings or superwomen – they are simply very real and likable characters. Dakota herself is blind, and yet she owns the diner and bakes the wonderful pastries, including cinnamon rolls that had my tummy rumbling whenever the characters moaned in ecstasy as they enjoyed them. Though she might be blind, she comes across as a person who truly enjoys her life and doesn’t see herself as being any different from anyone else, or as lacking or crippled in any way. I deeply admired her. Even the killer, for all his depravity, is in a way a sympathetic character. What he does is horrific, but at the end of the story one can’t help but feel a spark of sadness at what happened to drive him to the degree of hatred that he suffers – a hatred that has destroyed his soul beyond any hope of salvation.
All in all, I can highly recommend this book to any mystery lover. Well-written, well thought out, and absolutely captivating The Rose Red Reaper is a worthy addition to any aficionado’s bookshelf.
I certainly wish someone had told me this, a long, long time ago. The link to read the rest is broken inside thoughtcatalog.com and doesn’t take you anywhere, but if you go to:
You can read the rest of the article.
There is a strange sort of unspoken theory that once a woman has been raped, sex is no longer a viable option for her. Sex has been replaced by trauma, fear, pain, and anxiety. I’m not saying this is never the case. Every survivor’s story and experience is different, but too often the assumption is that if you have been raped, you are sexually broken and forever unfixable. That sort of discourse is not healthy or empowering or even sympathetic. What I want to say is what I wish I had been told: rape is not a form of sex, it is a form of assault. Sex feels good. Assault is traumatizing. It is possible for sex to exist after rape because they are different experiences, just like it’s possible for you to still enjoy going out to eat even if you got food poisoning once. You might never go…
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I stayed up well into the morning reading “Deep Dixie” by Annie Jones, because I just couldn’t seem to put it down. It was making me smile. It was making me laugh. And it was making me remember.
The characters in DD are special in very many ways. They are somewhat stereotypical, but in a good way. They are very “Southern” in the way that is best about the South. Where many southern inspired books lean more towards the inbred, cruel, violent, uneducated, deeply prejudiced, women bashing, ‘good-old-boys beating up the blacks and gays’ sort of southern mentality (hey, I grew up there, I can say these things!) DD instead explores the other side of the South. The side where manners are expected, gentility is overlaid over a base of steel, kindness is a given, and morality isn’t a joke. I genuinely liked and admired all of these characters. Well, except for the sleazy lawyer, but I enjoyed watching him having his evil plot blow up in his face (see ‘women bashing’ above), so it’s all good!
The main character, Dixie, is strong, self-reliant, and strong willed as any true Southern Belle. Velvet over steel. She just lost her beloved father and now has three companies to run on her own, a nasty attorney trying to undermine her and take over her companies and a house full of insane relatives to ride herd on.
The main male lead is strong and handsome (of course) but he is also funny, gentle, loving and deeply determined to do the right thing for his family no matter the cost to himself. Of course, you know a relationship will develop, but it does so in such a funny and charming way that you know that Dixie will still BE Dixie after all is said and done. And he has his own family issues, a ‘daughter’ he took as his own when his useless sister abandoned her at two days old in the hospital, a tough southern lady mother with a broken hip and a strong need to get a real adoption completed so that he really can be ‘father’ to the daughter he has raised so well. Throw in some attorney mischief.
“That was before you realized that Greenhow had made just as big a monkey out of you as he had me. Now suddenly it doesn’t seem like a laughing matter, does it?”
Add in some prototypical insane southern relatives:
“. . . he picked up the (business) card and read aloud, “George Robert ‘Smilin’ Bob’ Cunningham. Principal Judge, Miss Fulton’s finest Future Furniture Fanatic (baby and toddler division), chief Justice Dominion Days Bail and Jail Fundraising court, Little League umpire, Mediating matters of all magnitude since 1978!”
See what I mean? Add a marvelous rendering of a 100-year-old black ‘maid’ who has been with the family since childhood, and a tragedy of true Southern Gothic proportions. Mix well with a depth of kindness, caring and consideration missing in most of the books I have read since I can’t remember when. Tons of laughter, some surprises that I could see coming, but not exactly in the way they turned out to have happened, terrific writing overall and a ton of true heart. Overall, this was one of the most truly lovely books I have read in ages. And Dixie retains her guts, her spirit, her gentle kindness and her drive to do the right thing throughout the book – what more can you ask?
Highly recommended to anyone who wants a feel of the good parts of the South and the people there
I will say upfront that I did read the whole book. Although, I really had to struggle to do so. The two main characters start off in what seems to be a good relationship, but the female lead, Jen, made me want to shake her teeth out in the first few pages. She can’t make a decision, then gets pissed when her boss makes it for her. She whines and bemoans going away for a year because the love interest, Ryan, who seems to love her beyond all common sense, is going to find someone else if she takes the job. I was disappointed that the author made it seem throughout the book that Jenn was dong something wrong by going after her career. Instead she made Jenn selfish, self centred, insecure and whiny. I could see this in a 20 year old, but for a woman with two grown children and an upcoming grandchild, I found the characterization annoying and insulting.
When something bad happens later in the book, Ryan is selfish and defensive, but then, I can’t really blame him. I would have kicked her butt to the curb a long time since. And since the scenes were written in that the Skypes, IMs and phone calls were put off by him more and more often up until the decisive moment, as much as I didn’t like Jenn, I could understand her thinking what she did.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend the book. I found the characters totally unlikable. Even her girlfriends were irritating. Sorry, Heather. Maybe you had a purpose in writing Jenn this way, but I couldn’t bring myself to respect her. I had to laugh when she called her boss manipulative, seeing as how she is the queen of manipulative, self-centred selfishness.