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Strong Women Characters

Florynce “Flo” Kennedy: The Life of a Black Feminist Radical #BlackFeminist

Now Available on Netgalley

Description

Often photographed in a cowboy hat with her middle finger held defiantly in the air, Florynce “Flo” Kennedy (1916–2000) left a vibrant legacy as a leader of the Black Power and feminist movements. In the first biography of Kennedy, Sherie M. Randolph traces the life and political influence of this strikingly bold and controversial radical activist. Rather than simply reacting to the predominantly white feminist movement, Kennedy brought the lessons of Black Power to white feminism and built bridges in the struggles against racism and sexism. Randolph narrates Kennedy’s progressive upbringing, her pathbreaking graduation from Columbia Law School, and her long career as a media-savvy activist, showing how Kennedy rose to founding roles in organizations such as the National Black Feminist Organization and the National Organization for Women, allying herself with both white and black activists such as Adam Clayton Powell, H. Rap Brown, Betty Friedan, and Shirley Chisholm.

Making use of an extensive and previously uncollected archive, Randolph demonstrates profound connections within the histories of the new left, civil rights, Black Power, and feminism, showing that black feminism was pivotal in shaping postwar U.S. liberation movements.

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Review: Jaguar at the Portal by Aimee Easterling #JaguarShifter #Mythological

Jaguar at the Portal: A Mythological Shifter Fantasy “You will not apply my precept,” he said, shaking his head. “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” – Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of the Four, ch. 6 (1890)

“Okay, yes, Tez admitted that he was lowering his own standards by accepting a prayer that wasn’t couched in more flattering terms and that didn’t come served up on a bed of human sacrifice. But Whatcha gonna do? A god’s gotta do what a god’s gotta do, times were apparently changing, yada, yada, yada. – Tezcatlipoc, “I am the Smoking Mirror, the Black Tezcatlipoca, the Enemy of Both Sides!” Yeah, total Jerkface is more like it . . .

Ixchel thought growing up with five older brothers was hard enough, but when they started sneaking out and coming home with bruises, blood, and items they certainly didn’t earn themselves, her heart broke and she begged them not to continue what they were doing. However, all her begging was for naught, and Ixchel was left to mourn and fret – until her wonderful, hard working parents were gunned down in their own home by enemies of her brothers gang. Turning states evidence was hard – knowing her brothers would kill her when they got out of prison if she didn’t flee was even harder. And lonelier.

Now, Ixchel is far away and, having put herself through school, she is now a vet in tiny southern town, still looking over her shoulder after fifteen years, waiting for her brothers to track her down. But life as a veterinarian makes her happy, and life is peaceful.

Well, until the jaguar in the tree. Then things get very interesting, very fast.

Finn, the jaguar in question, has been on a quest for many years. Ever since he suddenly turned into a human and his mother and twin sister drove him away. Now, he is looking for an ancient idol, one he hopes will lead him to other jaguars like himself. Ah . . . but have a care, young jaguar, for you know not what your efforts will lead you to. Such as a lovely young woman who turns out to be a jaguar priestess – she just doesn’t know it yet. And an immature, self-indulgent, spoiled-rotten Aztec god on a mission to release himself from his prison in the idol and go on a human sacrifice rampage. Sigh. Now Ixchel and Finn are playing “god worshippers” to an adolescent god on a mission and a hunter is on their tail. Oh, and Ixchel’s brothers? Yep. They found her . . .

This book was a great deal of fun. Tez is indeed a jerk – but a funny one at times, and watching the interactions of this unusual threesome is at times irritating, at times painful, and at others truly funny. This was my first Amiee Easterling, but won’t be my last. But I really hope she doesn’t continue the habit using her character’s titles as personal pronoun. Totally irritating. But that’s just me.

Review: Duty, Honor, Love (Toronto’s Elite Book 1)

Duty, Honor, LoveAs iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion. Antisthenes

“That’s why crazy people are so dangerous. You think they’re nice until they’re chaining you up in the garage.” Michael Buckley, The Fairy-Tale Detectives

A new audit of the California foster care system has revealed that over 1,000 foster home addresses match those of registered sex offenders, according to the Los Angeles Times. It seems that child welfare official failed to compare the addresses even after they were told to do so in 2008. According to the Sacramento Bee, about 600 of the highlighted offenders were considered high risk.” — The Huffington Post – By Dean Praetorius, 1,000 California Foster Care Homes Match Sex Offender Addresses: Report

 

Her name is Marissa Preston. Nine years old. Blond and blue. Her mother is frantic to find her, and Detectives Jaden Black and Cameron Olsen know that, if they don’t find her soon, the worst will happen. But the worst quickly becomes even more horrific. For Marissa isn’t alone in her dark and painful place. There is another little girl with her, in a dark and terrifying basement. Emily Knight looks enough like Marissa to be her twin, and she too is missing. Finding these little girls is urgent if they are to live.

Of course, Cameron and Jaden have a secret weapon – Jaden is the most powerful telepath in the Toronto PD. She may be the most power telepath anywhere – and she has just found Emily Knight’s mind.

““She’s being held captive by a man. She thinks a new girl who joined her looks like Marissa. So there’s a chance she might be alive. The girl also said there were others, but they’ve all gone.”

There. Were. Others. Those words hit Cameron like a sledgehammer to the heart. This isn’t just a single kidnapping, or even two. There. Were. Others. And as Jayden and Cameron begin to dig, the picture becomes darker and darker, until the sheer evil of the tale reveals itself in a horrifying miasma that stretches long into the past.

“Missing and unsolved, all in the last three-and-a-half years. Six girls, including Emily. Why the heck has no one noticed?”

Easily explained, with a bit of research. Six little girls, all six to nine, all blond haired, pretty and fragile. All, in one way or the other, have been involved in the foster system. A foster system broken and criminally mismanaged, a system which ignores repeated reports of sexual and physical abuse – of the deaths of children in their care.

According to a report published in 2005 by Rick Toma, “A Critical Look At The Foster Care System”:

“. . . in nearly half the states (studied), cases take years to come to completion as agencies repeatedly fail to investigate abuse reports in a timely fashion, find permanent homes for children, or even keep track of those children under their care and custody.” — Fred Bayles and Sharon Cohen, “Chaos Often the Only Parent for Abused or Neglected Children,” Associated Press as reported in Los Angeles Times, (April 30, 1995)

Just one case of thousands:

“. . . case involved a nine-year-old boy who weighed only 28 lbs., and who could hardly speak after the suicides of his parents. County social workers failed to visit him in his foster home for four months. During that time, he was beaten, sodomized, burned on his genitals and nearly drowned by his foster parents. He became a spastic paraplegic.” Margot Hornblower, “Fixing the System,” TIME Magazine, (December 11, 1995).

I used to think this sort of abuse was more prevalent in the US. Surely those nice Canadians didn’t wallow in the kind of monstrous mismanagement we suffer here? Apparently, this isn’t the case. You see, three of these little girls had been moved through a single foster placement – and all six had, at one point or the other, been shuffled through other homes in the system. And the terrors these children suffered . . .

Duty, Honor, Love” is a brutal tale of the kind of sadistic treatment children are routinely subjected to in the foster system told through a story of psychopaths, pedophiles, and the people who are left to clean up the mess. This is a fast paced tale of suspense that kept me turning pages on my reader so fast I nearly set my fingers on fire. But Marissa and Emily’s story isn’t the only tragedy involved in this narration – for there are other monsters trolling the darkness – and one of them is after Jaden.

Parts of this book I absolutely adored. There is the truly excellent tale of pedophiles and stalkers, of the police who work tirelessly to capture them, and a foster system that allows the horrors to occur over and over again, ignoring report after report of child abuse in foster homes. But there is also a very heavy sexual storyline that, in my opinion, lowered the overall tone of the storyline. There is M/M, M/F, and M/M/F action in the book, which is perfectly fine in the right setting. Hey, I can get into erotica just as well as the next person. Here, however, it ate up too much of the storyline and detracted from the very important writing that the author accomplished, leaving me dissatisfied with the overall tone of the book. The sex scenes could have been paired down to a couple and been an enhancement to the overall story. Spending more time on character development and background for the characters would have been a more efficacious use of word count. However, a good third of the book was down to sex. I like spicy – but not so much that it debases the narrative.

I still highly recommend the book. As I said, it kept me turning pages at a blistering pace to see what happened next. It will stay on my reader, and I will be looking forward to more from Angela S. Stone. I just hope she can find the line between writing erotica and writing a solid novel with an important story line.

“Duty, Honor, Love” came to me from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. If you enjoy my reviews, please click here and click “Like”. It helps my authors to draw attention to their books through my reviews. Thank you!

About The Author

Angela S. StoneAngela S. Stone is a twenty something Registered Nurse living in Ottawa, Canada. Her first novel, Sometimes It’s Fate, was published by Phaze books in 2011. Angela finds inspiration in real life personal events for her books, often writing about issues she’s experience in her life. She is a proud Canadian and an even prouder girl from back east. She thoroughly enjoys writing novels featuring character that live in or are from the Maritimes. She’s recently met Mr. Right and when she’s not occupied with him she can be found hanging out at her local Bridgehead writing. She spends her free time advocating for minorities and persons with disabilities.

Angela has a severe learning disability called Dysgraphia. Despite this she has written several novels, graduated from university, and will, eventually, be starting her Master’s degree in nursing. All things she was told she would never be able to do.

Angela has never met a challenge that she couldn’t overcome. She believes strongly in the philosophy of saying “I can’t” means “I won’t” and advocating for yourself. She has spoken about these topics on provincial, regional and national levels.

Review: Gray Back Bad Bear by T.S. Joyce

Bad bear, no Bisquit!

Gray Back Bad Bear (Gray Back Bears, #1)
Yes, Yes, I know. Gotta have the half-naked guy on the cover… sigh.

If you are familiar with T.S. Joyce and her Sawbears series, you will be familiar with the Gray Back crew of werebears. While the Ashe crew, the stars of the Sawbears series, is the “A Team” of lumberjacks, well, the Gray Back crew is, as alpha Creed puts it, “The C Team”. Rowdy, constantly battling, and constantly covered in blood, the Gray Backs are a misfit band of dominant bears. Broken dominant bears. Creed the alpha, Matt the man-ho, Clinton and Jason the goofballs. And then there is Easton, a bear so broken he can’t stand to live close to the others – and can’t seem to stop fighting, even when it might mean his death. A broken clan with a brutal and savage history, they are the clan that nobody wants to mess with. But when Willa shows up, can things change for the better?

Willa Madden is pissed. The girls camping trip she thought she was taking with her high school gang to celebrate them all graduating college was supposed to be to someplace warm and beachy – someplace like Cabo. Instead, “The Bombshells”, Brittney, Kara, and Gia drag her off to Saratoga – Saratoga, Wyoming, not Saratoga, Florida. It seems the Bombshells are intent on scratching “Do a Werebear” off their bucket lists. Something Willa has absolutely, positively NO interest in. But, Willa is a ‘go along to get along’ type, and besides, she likes camping. And if the Bombshells are staying in a hotel without telling Willa, she is perfectly happy to camp out in the woods alone.

Of course, things change when she literally runs into Matt-the-Man-Ho. They find that they can be friends – snarky, smart-mouthed, ‘say what you mean and mean what you say’ friends. Of course, that is after Willa trips over a waitress and shows off her ‘granny panties’. Well, they aren’t granny panties to Willa. “They’re called comfy cottons, I’ll have you know. They came in six festive colors!”

Besides – “Ha! You, mister, are barking up the wrong tree. I’m a virgin and proud.” She waved her hands in front of her skirt. “No one has touched this magical box with their tally whacker, and I assure you, you won’t be entering my sacred temple either.”

Five feet of snark and attitude, Willa is determined to have a good time on her trip, no matter what. Until things happen, bad things, and the story gets a lot more complex.

Gray Back Bad Bear is a cute story, with both humor and pathos. I had fun with it, and if you like T.S. Joyce, you are sure to like this book.

Review: Red (Transplanted Tales Book 1) by Kate SeRine – Love It!

13630494“The wolf said, “You know, my dear, it isn’t safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone.”

Red Riding Hood said, “I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop your own, entirely valid, worldview. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be on my way.” ― James Finn Garner, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories

“She talks like you. It’s not every day you hear a four-year-old say Prince Charming is a douchebag who’s only holding Cinderella back.”

“That’s my girl.” ― Emma Chase, Tangled

Once upon a time, a girl in a red hood met a wolf. And then? Everything went to pot. Well, that is how it goes, isn’t it? You think it is love, true and total devotion. Then he punches you in the gut and wanders away, whistling a merry tune, leaving you laying in the forest, staring into the eyes of the Grim Reaper. Pft. And as if that’s not enough, “an egomaniacal fairy godmother, an arrogant genie, and a couple of wandering plagiarists whose idea of cultural preservation is stealing the stories of unsuspecting villagers and passing them off as their own” get into a pissing contest – and suddenly? You find your red-hooded backside stuck in the Here and Now as an enforcer for the fairy tale cops, and isn’t that just a hard, cold awakening?

Now, Goldilocks and Snow White are well paid prostitutes. (Well, in the original tale, the three bears were bachelor brothers – and the whole ménage thing? Well, duh. And Snow White’s Prince wasn’t so ‘princely’ after all – he dumped her for an Ordinary, and the prenuptial agreement left her without a dime. Cheating creep.) Of course, that isn’t the only cheating creep of a Prince in the woodpile . . . Mistress Mary Mary Quite Contrary is the FMA prosecuting attorney, Vlad Dracula Is a business man, and The Sandman? He makes The Godfather and all of John Carpenter’s bad guys look like characters from My Little Pony.

When Red goes to collect Dave “The Pied Piper” Hamlin to haul him back to jail for his “latest screwup”, i.e., being a registered sex offender who’d blown the terms of his parole: no kids, no hookers, no booze – and he blows his head off in the alley outside the Red Door, Snow’s den of delights – things suddenly get very, very nasty as Tale bodies start dropping in very bloody, very savage ways. And the suspect list is very short – consisting of three of Red’s former lovers. Seth “Big Bad” Wolf. Vlad Dracula (the Literary and Nursery Rhyme Migration brought over some really ‘interesting’ characters). And Todd Caliban. Shakespeare wrote Todd as a monster, but he also wrote Prospero as one – Caliban was only trying to save his island from the depredations of an invading force, after all. Red was more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt – and her bed . . . And since Vlad came over, and was ‘captured’ and ‘rehabilitated’ by Red he has been behaving himself. (Hasn’t he?) But all signs point to Seth, Red’s first, and most beloved. Even if he did rip her heart out and stomp on it – and then leave her in the forest to die . . . what women put up with for their men. Sigh.

Al Addin, the FMA Chief Director, (and just incidentally the master of the genie mixed up in the aforementioned ‘a genie, a fairy godmother, etc.’ scenario) knows they have to get this case under control, pronto, before any more Tales are killed – and before the Ordinaries get ahold of something that could blow the Tales existence out of the proverbial water. Enter Nate “Grim Reaper” Grimm, detective extraordinaire, as her newly assigned side-kick. As they work through the case together things get even bloodier as Trish “Little Miss” Muffet, the coroner and lead investigator (So not afraid of spiders, just sayin’) finds more and more Tales on her slab in the morgue. And Red seems to be right in the crosshairs of the killer.

This is fairytale on crack – a modern, updated, happy-sad, hopeful-disturbing tale of humour and horror that kept me reading until my eyes stuck open and I had to turn out the light. Sharp and witty, this story cuts with a wicked blade, turning literary and fairy tale characters into a contemporary parody of life. Awesomesauce!! (Yes, I stole that word from Celia Kyle – hey, it’s an awesomesauce word! LOL)

“Did I ever tell you the difference between a Northern fairy tale and a Southern one?” she asked him, indulging herself and letting her head rest on his shoulder. God, he felt good. Her man. Where her head was meant to lie, right there, on him.

“What’s the difference?”

“A Northern one starts ‘once upon a time,’ while a Southern one starts ‘y’all ain’t going to believe this shit.” ― Erin McCarthy, Hot Finish

I LOVE this book!!! And I look forward to reading more of the Transplanted Tales series.

If you like my review, please let me know by clicking “Like” on Amazon. It helps the authors I review by drawing attention, and helps me as well. Thanks!

Oh, and as an aside? Hey! PUBLISHERS!!! Now THIS is how a cover of a book about a strong woman character SHOULD look . . . Can we just freakin’ STOP with the half naked male chests? Please? Pretty please with a “I’m not buying any more books with half naked men on the cover” warning label slapped on the front? Thanks.

AAANNNNDDDDD of course, that whole, “No More Naked Men” thing gets blown out of the water due to the other books in the series having blown the positive beginning of RED and putting HALF-NAKED MALES on the covers if the following books  . . . EVEN for the story of Lavender, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother! PFT. If I hadn’t read Red first? I doubt I would continue, based on the covers alone. . .  Grrrrrrr. Don’t get me wrong, hot bodies are good (especially the one with Nate Grimm on the cover – those painted on tattoos are gorgeous!) but still – do publishers think all we care about is the body on the cover, not the contents of the book? Humph. The covers just shove the books directly into the PR/Romance category, catering to readers who only care about nooky, not good storylines. And this was a killer storyline! Wake up, Publishers . . . we readers who prefer good stories will abandon your books willy-nilly because we expect the books to contain mearly pablum for the ‘sex only’ crowd.  Chocolate is a tasty treat – but in excess gives you gas. 

Rant concluded.

Volunteer Firefighters Have The Heart . . . #romanticmystery #volunteerfirefighters

“Every quirky girl doesn’t have to be the best-friend character. It’s a very limiting and self-fulfilling prophecy. People only write things that will get green-lit, so they write to those stereotypes.” – Felicia Day

But Then . . .

“Stereotypes lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest. When we learn that individuals do not fit the group stereotype, then it begins to fall apart.” – Ed Koch

The author of “A Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas” has tried very hard to stereotype herself and her work, to fit  into a very narrow, very self-limiting pigeonhole.

Pigeonhole: Verb (used with object) to assign to a definite place or to definite places in some orderly system:
to pigeonhole new ideas.

Trey Duvall is a rancher, proud as can be of his Wildcat Ranch. He’s also the top volunteer firefighter of Wildcat Bluff, the town that pulls out all the stops for its Christmas festivities. Misty Reynolds pulls into town just in time to help Trey put out a suspicious fire, leading him to dub her his “Christmas angel”. Unfortunately, Misty’s past has left her with terrible memories of fire, and of Christmas time. As the two are unwittingly thrown together again and again, can Trey win Misty’s trust — and her heart Misty’s trust — and her heart? Texas volunteer fire departments as part of Assistance to Firefighters ...

Sigh. I hate when this happens. You see, like other books I have reviewed, and suggested a wider audience consider, this book doesn’t fall into the “Only Read If You Like Mushy Romance” category. The characters shouldn’t be typecast as “Hunky Hero” and “Insipid Pseudo-Heroine” with a “Hero Rides in on His White Horse and Saves the Day” insipid sort of blurb such as this book is stuck with. It needs something more along the line of pointing out that the town of Wildcat Bluff is filled with quirky, unusual characters who care deeply for their town, their people, and their history. An important part of that sense of community is their volunteer fire department and all it does to keep their community safe.

“There are bad things happening in Wildcat Bluff just before their Christmas in the Country celebration. Arson fires are spreading in the tinder-dry countryside, exasperated by the ongoing drought, and cut fences and grass fires are threatening Trey Duvall’s historic cattle ranch. When Misty Reynolds rolls up to a grass fire Trey is putting out in his pasture and he runs out in front of her to try and stop her for help, he has no idea that she is actually there as a troubleshooter for Texas Timber, the company that has had a Christmas tree farm burned already, and had others threatened. Finding the arsonist means that Misty has to stay undercover and spend time questioning, and suspecting, everyone in town. And when she learns that Trey has a bone to pick with Texas Timber, he moves straight to the ‘suspect’ column.”

housefire-kitten3
Volunteer firefighter saving the life of a kitten with a pet oxygen kit. Please as your volunteer fire department if you can help with a benefit for Pet Oxygen Kits to help save pets caught in fires! Thank you!!!!!!
https://i0.wp.com/www.petoxygenmasks.org/assets/images/logo.gif
Because the Pet’s Life They Save May Be Your Own™ Click the logo to visit the “Pet Oxygen Mask Initiative” to make a difference! Thank you!!!!

OK, I am not known for my stellar ability to write blurbs, I give you that. But mine gives a better feel for what is going on. Misty isn’t a blond bimbo, Trey isn’t a hulking Alpha male bent on getting into every woman’s pants he can hold down long enough, and the people of the town are as important to the character list as the two main characters. There are important messages in the book about community, about overcoming horrors in your childhood that carry over into adulthood, and about the ways in which power and greed can destroy everything a community tries to build. The people of Wildcat Bluff are kind, they help one another, and the volunteers literally risk their life every time they go out on a call. The community has pulled together to form a strictly volunteer department, put on bake sales to buy equipment, and are proud of who they are and what they do. That deserves a lot more credit than it gets – either with the cover, or with the blurb.

 

Memorial Service for West, Texas (my old hometown) volunteer firefighters killed while fighting the April 17, 2013 fertilizer plant explosion. The memorial service honored those first responders and two civilians who tried to fight the fire and were posthumously named volunteer first responders.

If you like books that highlight a sense of community, that include a mystery, suspense, a few thrills – and yes, a good romantic storyline – overlook the blurb and the cover and give this one a try.

You will note I didn’t post the cover of the book in my review – any of the photos on this page give more respect to the book than the totally lame cover does. I am disappointed that the publisher tried so hard to minimize, pigeonhole and lower the impact of the book. I hate seeing that happen to books with such promise, that many will simply skip over based on poor art and a poor blurb.

It is still available for request on Netgalley.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. If you enjoy my reviews, please take a moment to “Like” my review on GoodReads. Thank you!

“A Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas” is in preorder status until publication on October 6, 2015.

 

vfisoftexas

In case you haven’t noticed – this has a “Save the Kitty!” aspect – and I couldn’t resist adding a couple more “Firefighter Saves!!!!” Photos. Firefighters RULE!!!

I was SOO SCARED!!! And Then! And Then! This FIREMAN showed up!!!!!

Thank you, Mr. Fireman!!! Kisses!!!!

About The Author

Kim Redford draws her inspiration from a Texas lifestyle of cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, rodeos and small towns to create her bestselling novels. When she’s not writing steamy romances, she’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider. She divides her time between Texas and Oklahoma. A Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas is first in her Smokin’ Hot Cowboys series with Blazing Hot Cowboy coming soon.

I don’t know about the “bestselling novels” thing. Her site is nonexistent, and goodreads shows only this book, set to publish October 6, so maybe she is writing under a pseudonym? If this is indeed her first book, I hope she will widen her audience by moving away from sticking herself into a single cubbyhole with her publication, marketing and cover strategy. The whole “steamy romance” thing is self-limiting when she can write good stories that encompass a wide ranging storyline such as this book exemplifies.

Review: The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von ArnimPenguin Books made this book available to me, and to be honest, I was a bit confused as to why they would pop this one into my read-list. I do not usually read this sort of book. The whole “four women go away to get to know themselves again” just doesn’t interest me. Personal tastes, not that it is a bad genre – it is simply not something I find enthralling. But this one surprised me. Another reviewer stated that books of this genre are often dismissed as “sentimental trifle.” I suppose that has been my thought as well. Well, this shows me!

“The Enchanted April” is set on the shores of the Italian Mediterranean, a land of breathtaking beauty, a perfect setting for this story. Lotty and Rose, Mrs. Fisher and Scrap. All have problems in their lives, all have battles they have fought, and often lost. The story is filed with each of the women finding realization, new meanings, and even hope.

I don’t think I will ever become a complete fan of the genre, it simply isn’t ‘me’. But this book was highly enjoyable.

This book was provided to me by Penguin Publishing in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: The Wizard, The Warlord, And The Hidden Woman by Michael Angel

The Wizard, the Warlord, and the Hidden WomanLost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered for they are gone forever. – Horace Mann

There can be no failure to a man who has not lost his courage, his character, his self-respect, or his self-confidence. He is still a King. – Orison Swett Marden

Jason Summer is what many of us want to be. A highly successful fantasy author. In his ‘position’ as “Undersecretary to Leetah, The Mage of the Rose”, Jason and his partner, Sonja Leto, enjoy a wonderful life together. Jason’s great love for Sonja inspires his work, and his life, allowing him to create a world of great beauty and creativity. A land of magic and beauty, life and death, magic and mystery. A land where Leetah, the Mage of the Rose, is right now in deep trouble. “She’s almost out of spells, down to a handful of loyal men, and the bad guys are closing in.”

Well, he can certainly write her out of her tight corner. But there is weirdness aplenty in the ‘real’ world. Jason’s brother Corey is acting very strangely. Of course, he has always despised Sonja for some reason beyond Jason’s comprehension. And of course Sonja hates him as well. But there are other things going on – such as mysterious e-mails addressed to Leetah, Mage of the Rose, from Muriel of the Melusines. Oddly phrased, archaic, her emails speak of magic, of invasions and magical flight. Flight which took her brother Zander, from her. Muriel needs Leetah’s help, desperately. Which is really strange, because magic doesn’t really work in this world, Muriel. How about you lay off the video games, Muriel?

Only, maybe Muriel isn’t as whacked as Jason and Sonja initially think. For something strange is certainly going on. And when Jason and Sonja actually end up on Muriel’s world, things go sideways. Saving Zander may get them back to their world – but there are, once again, deeper layers, larger stories, greater worlds. And what Jason finds out in this new, magical world will change not only his beliefs about reality, but will shake the very foundations of his soul.

Michael Angel is, without a doubt, one of my favorite authors. His character development when it comes to his mythical creatures truly pulls you into their lives, thoughts and hearts. His world building carries me into his realities, and his grasp of the human condition is alternately uplifting and heartbreaking.

I have written reviews of several of Michael’s other books, and this one is just as good, and in at least one way even better, than the other books I have reviewed. The heartbreak is heavy in this one – but the joy? The joy simply blew me away.

Enjoy!

I received this book from Michael as a gift. All thoughts are my own.

Oh, Poo

Well, speaking of poo…. my new friends the Whislers at Fairmount Stables were good enough to gift me with a mountain of horse manure from their own personal mountain. Woo hoo! Free Poo! The thing is, I had to get it here. They are just around the corner and up, but hiking back and forth with the wheelbarrow didn’t appeal. And borrowing a truck and shoveling it in the back (especially after all this bloomin’ RAIN), bringing it here, shoveling it out, shoveling it into the wheelbarrow, shoveling it out where it needs to go… nuh uh. Just nuh uh. So, what to do?pofinal

In steps Bin There Dump That. William Blauvelt, the owner/operator of this neat little one man show showed up bright and shiny early this  20150516_073857 morning at the stables and Greg used his backhoe to load up the back of his big green truck. Then, not only did he bring it to me, he also pulled off the gate for me, then put it back on – and he put it on so that it actually opens without having to struggle! Score. . . I am sharing, of course, with Ruth. Hey, she got me back into this whole permaculture thing, she deserves some poo as well!

I have been doing a lot of yard work, and I have two books on my desk! A third of Michael Angel’s next Fantasy and Forensics (happy dance!!!) has Dayna on her next adventure on Andeluvia, the alternate 11918436world where centaurs, griffins, and other ‘mythological’ beasties The Deer Prince's Murder: Book Two of 'Fantasy & Forensics'roam. Poor Dayna. She has fought and bled for the human and non-human population of this gorgeous world – and the jerky humans are just as bitchy, jealous and ungrateful as always – meaning Dayna and Shaw the Griffin are on their own, this time without even the help of Galen the Centaur Wizard who is forced by the king to remain behind in his position of Court Wizard. There are still dark forces poisoning the King’s Court – and darker forces overshadowing the world. I am sooo excited to have this first third on my desk. And I can’t wait to read the rest!! Don’t miss the first two in the series – click  the covers above and pick up your copies today!

I also have the next in Susan Bliler’s Skin Walker Series. I have been honored to edit the new ones and re-edit the previous editions, which is a great pleasure. If you haven’t read them yet, these are some great paranormals with wonderful characters, developed story lines, and solid word building. If you haven’t checked them out yet and you like paranormal romance, I can highly recommend them! Click the photo to order and read King, Book 1 of the Skin Walkers saga. I am re-editing Leto for publication in a couple of weeks – I will let you know when it comes out! Leto is Book 6 in the series. Leto (Skin Walkers, #6)The complete series is:

BOOK SERIES
Book 1 – SW: King (published 2013)
Book 2 – SW: RedKnife (published Feb 2015)
Book 3 – SW: Bishop (Coming soon 1-2015)
Book 4 – SW: Mason
Book 5 – SW: Conn (published 2012)
Book 6 – SW: Leto (published 2013)
Book 7 – SW: Monroe (published 2013)
Book 8 – SW: York (published May 2014)
Book 9 – SW: Gauge (published Feb 2014)
Book 10 – SW: Remy
Book 11 – SW: Legion
Book 12 – SW: Tyce

I am going to the High Plains Plant Propagation Cooperative – Semi-annual Symposium and Plant Sale tomorrow at Living Systems Institute, at 14020 W. 32nd Ave., Golden. Wish you could come as well!

The Cooperative was formed to make plants available to the public from
– stock that is proven to thrive on the Colorado front range, that
– fits into plant groupings (guilds), that are
– beautiful,
– productive, and
– low maintenance,and lead to a healthy, thriving habitat for humans and other living things. We also get to see a demonstration on Hugelkultur Mulching (apparently that is what I am doing in the garden – who’d a ‘thunk? Here are some photos of other people’s beds:

Hugelkultur

Wishing I had hay bales – I bet the bunnies would have a chore getting over these!

I am LOVING using up things that would  normally go into a landfill to build something GOOD for the environment! I am putting in a bed in the front as well, with columbines, wild pansies and “Bee Plants” for Ruth’s bees to come down and enjoy. And in turn, I get to enjoy FRESH honey!

Maybe if I kept the good stuff up high and planted alfalfa low, the bunnies wouldn’t eat my stuff!

 

 

So, lots of stuff going on, and I reallllly need a nap!

And I hit 500 followers!

500 Follows!

 

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