The Festival

The Festival by H.P. Lovecraft  description:

“The Festival” is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft written in October 1923 and published in the January 1925 issue of Weird Tales. It is considered to be one of the first of his Cthulhu Mythos stories.

The Festival   4 STARS

This was a short story that leaves you wanting more, but afraid of getting it. I love the use of ambiguity in this sort of horror. The sort of telling that leaves your own fears to fill in the blanks. Yet with all the questions it makes you wonder how did any of it happen? Why was this person really brought there? It seems like he’s always known of this sort of pagan celebration that predates Christmas, and yet everything was very much unknown to him. More so, I like that Lovecraft brings in things from previous stories, like his fictitious author, Abdul Alhazred, whose book keeps being mentioned and seems to be tied to so many different terrifying events. It helps to build a world in such a short time, and I quite enjoyed the thrill.

The Nameless City

The Nameless City  by  H.P. Lovecraft

“The Nameless City” is a horror story written by H. P. Lovecraft in January 1921 and first published in the November 1921 issue of the amateur press journal The Wolverine. It is often considered the first Cthulhu Mythos story.

The Nameless City of the story’s title is an ancient ruin located somewhere in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula and is older than any human civilization.

The Nameless City   2 STARS

This is an extremely short story. It is also the first story I’ve read by Lovecraft. Perhaps because I’ve read so much about him and know his stories are about the strange unknown horrible things that lurk in the night I wasn’t surprised by how this went about. The main character seems to have held onto denial a bit too much, but I do understand that sense of adventure and need to know that can drive a person into places they know they shouldn’t go. It’s that foolhardy idiocy of sensing something in the dark, being afraid it’s probably there to kill you, but having to know exactly what it is before you die. That wanting to know the truth of the abyss is the driving force of this story, which it does well, but it fails in any real sense of horror since it is so obvious from the get go. And I honestly don’t get why this is considered the first of the Cthulhu stories, It really doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Cthulhu as much as some other creepy crawlies.

Love in the Afternoon

BOOK 1: Mine Till Midnight  by  Lisa Kleypas

BOOK 2: Seduce Me at Sunrise

BOOK 3: Tempt Me at Twilight

BOOK 4: Married by Morning

Love in the Afternoon   description:

As a lover of animals and nature, Beatrix Hathaway has always been more comfortable outdoors than in the ballroom. Even though she participated in the London season in the past, the classic beauty and free-spirited Beatrix has never been swept away or seriously courted… and she has resigned herself to the fate of never finding love. Has the time come for the most unconventional of the Hathaway sisters to settle for an ordinary man—just to avoid spinsterhood?

Captain Christopher Phelan is a handsome, daring soldier who plans to marry Beatrix’s friend, the vivacious flirt Prudence Mercer, when he returns from fighting abroad. But, as he explains in his letters to Pru, life on the battlefield has darkened his soul—and it’s becoming clear that Christopher won’t come back as the same man. When Beatrix learns of Pru’s disappointment, she decides to help by concocting Pru’s letters to Christopher for her. Soon the correspondence between Beatrix and Christopher develops into something fulfilling and deep… and when Christopher comes home, he’s determined to claim the woman he loves. What began as Beatrix’s innocent deception has resulted in the agony of unfulfilled love—and a passion that can’t be denied.

BOOK 5: Love in the Afternoon   5 STARS

I have to say, my only complaint about the book is that it could’ve been named something like Amour/Amore in the Afternoon, or something to keep the double letter going like the other books. Other than that, this book is just as wonderful as the rest of the series and then some. Beatrix has always been my favorite. Her patience with people and their quirks, her understanding of relationships and seeing things in people no one else does, and of course her love of all animals that she wants to take in, make her such a fun character. It was wonderful to have a book all about her. While of course the rest of the Hathaways and their spouses do make appearances here or there, none of them are that big of a part of the book, other than being outsiders speculating on what is going on with their innocent Beatrix and that troubled Captain Phelan. Now Christopher was surprising choice for a suitor, and yet now it’s so obviously perfect. I’m also glad Kleypas didn’t brush over the struggles returning soldiers can have integrating back into society. As terrible as it is to have PTSD now, it’s worse to imagine it during a time when no one understood such, and it was taboo to even discuss the struggles one was going through. But I truly liked how the relationship began between the two, there’s something so romantic about writing letters, I wish people still did so. Yet, it was even more curious to see how Christopher viewed her when he got back not knowing that this was the actual woman whose letters he’d fallen in love with. Altogether it was a wonderful book, and I’m sad to see this series end.

Palm Beach Bones RELEASE BLITZ!!!

Detective Charlie Crawford is having a tough week. First, Palm Beach’s ex-police chief washes up dead on the beach behind The Breakers. Then Charlie’s friend’s niece is abducted without a trace. As if that wasn’t bad enough, his brother just checked himself into a clinic for depression and alcoholism.

The good news is Charlie’s love life has never been better…except with the woman he really loves.

 

 

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon http://amzn.to/2qK6uEu

Amazon CA http://amzn.to/2qFq8q4

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2ror9jA

 

Also Available Books 1-3 in the Charlie Crawford series, all books can be read as stand-alone

Palm Beach Nasty

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Amazon CA http://amzn.to/2kqLRyd

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2kRgD3S

 

Palm Beach Poison

Amazon http://amzn.to/2jvF1Yv

Amazon CA http://amzn.to/2kRtOOY

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2kRyNz9

 

Palm Beach Deadly

Amazon http://amzn.to/2kqRP1R

Amazon CA http://amzn.to/2jUQcGo

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2jCW3iq

 

About the Author

A native New Englander, Tom dropped out of college and ran a Vermont bar—straight into the ground. After limping back to college to get his diploma, Tom became an advertising copywriter, first in Boston then New York. After ten years of post-Mad Men life, he made a radical change and got a job in Manhattan commercial real estate. Not long after that he ended up in Palm Beach, buying, renovating and selling houses while collecting a lot of raw material for his novels. On the side, he wrote Palm Beach Nasty and a screenplay called Dead in the Water. While at a wedding a few years back, he fell for the charm of Charleston, South Carolina. He moved there and wrote Palm Beach Poison and a series set in Charleston. Recently, wandering Tom moved again. This time, just down the road to Skidaway Island, outside of Savannah, where he just completed Palm Beach Deadly.

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Married by Morning

BOOK 1: Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

BOOK 2: Seduce Me at Sunrise

BOOK 3: Tempt Me at Twilight

Married by Morning  description:

For two years, Catherine Marks has been a paid companion to the Hathaway sisters—a pleasant position, with one caveat. Her charges’ older brother, Leo Hathaway, is thoroughly exasperating. Cat can hardly believe that their constant arguing could mask a mutual attraction. But when one quarrel ends in a sudden kiss, Cat is shocked at her powerful response—and even more so when Leo proposes a dangerous liaison.

Leo must marry and produce an heir within a year to save his family home. Catherine’s respectable demeanor hides a secret that would utterly destroy her. But to Leo, Cat is intriguing and infernally tempting, even to a man resolved never to love again. The danger Cat tried to outrun is about to separate them forever—unless two wary lovers can find a way to banish the shadows and give in to their desires…

BOOK 4: Married by Morning  5 STARS

I love how it’s been building to this since book 2. Leo’s constant need to find Marks, as he calls her, to nettle her, and his drive to find out everything about her has really given this relationship an interesting foundation. It was definitely no love at first sight, as they seemed to drive each other crazy, and so how they went from thinking they hated each other to realizing they loved each other was a sweet and rather humorous journey. However, as funny as this book is, Kleypas does give this story a dark side when it comes to finding out the truth about Cat. It’s a serious subject that the author does not make light of, and it gives the plot a lot of depth and emotion. Just like the rest of the books in this series, it’s fast paced and you’ll be done before you know it. As usual we have all the Hathaway family back, being their usual selves, full of love and understanding and hope that make them so great to read about. Yet, it’s really Dodger who is the best little helper in driving people together. I can’t tell if he’s a guardian angel or a mischievous little devil, but I hope ferrets really are as adorable as he is.

Tempt Me at Twilight

BOOK 1: Mine Till Midnight  by  Lisa Kleypas

BOOK 2: Seduce Me at Sunrise

Tempt Me at Twilight  description:

Poppy Hathaway loves her unconventional family, though she longs for normalcy. Then fate leads to a meeting with Harry Rutledge, an enigmatic hotel owner and inventor with wealth, power, and a dangerous hidden life. When their flirtation compromises her own reputation, Poppy shocks everyone by accepting his proposal—only to find that her new husband offers his passion, but not his trust.

Harry was willing to do anything to win Poppy—except to open his heart. All his life, he has held the world at arm’s length…but the sharp, beguiling Poppy demands to be his wife in every way that matters. Still, as desire grows between them, an enemy lurks in the shadows. Now if Harry wants to keep Poppy by his side, he must forge a true union of body and soul, once and for all…

BOOK 3: Tempt Me at Twilight   4 STARS

Harry, as he himself puts it, is the villain of the story. Honestly, if the point of view was different you might have been rooting for Michael, the good viscount that Poppy is in love with, who’s being kept from his love by his father and his relationship is destroyed by Harry. However, while Harry is definitely no knight in shining armor, and his view of the world is definitely not a forgiving one, there’s something to be said for a man who doesn’t let anything get in his way, especially when going after the woman he desires. And it’s a fine line between villainous and love struck, and Kleypas does a great job of walking it with this character. Of course, by now we have a good basis of the amusing antics of the Hathaway family. Poppy is someone who knows her family will back her no matter what, although they’re all against her marrying Harry out of obligation, and so it sets an interesting tone for this relationship from the get go. Honestly, my favorite person is Beatrix, with her innocent but wise observations of people, and understanding why 2 people might work out perfectly well even when nobody else can understand it. And this book really makes me want a happy ending for Leo, because as much as he still tries to come off as uncaring and tends to do as he pleases, he does everything he can for his sisters, and his view of the world is just too amusing. Really it’s something I like about series like these, where you’re dealing with mostly the same group of folks, and so one book bleeds into the next, and it really helps to create a well rounded cast of characters of both those that we’ve already met as well as new ones that get introduced within this world, and it’s why I can’t help but speed right through to the end to know how it all ends for each of them.

The Beast of Talesend

The Beast of Talesend  by  Kyle Robert Shultz  description:

Private eye Nick Beasley lives in a world where fairy tales ended a long time ago – where zeppelins now soar the skies instead of dragons, and where the first automobiles have taken the place of flying carpets. He’s made a name for himself across the Afterlands by debunking fake magicians and exposing fraudulent monsters. This is the modern age, after all. Magic and monsters are long gone.

At least, that’s what Nick believes. Until he gets magically transformed into a monster, that is.

The only person who may be able to help Nick is Lady Cordelia Beaumont, one of the last enchantresses in the Afterlands. But in order for her to cure him, they’ll have to retrieve a powerful artifact from a ruthless crime lord – who is also Cordelia’s father.

The fate of the Afterlands lies in the hands of a runaway enchantress and a monstrous ex-detective. What could possibly go wrong?

BOOK 1: The Beast of Talesend  4 STARS

This is like a hard boiled detective got tossed into the darkest and bloodest of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, then made it darker and more horrifying, and then someone decided it should be a comedy. Surprisingly it works. Honestly the twists Shultz has taken on the fairy tales was rather surprising and far different than anything I’ve read before, and I’ve read my fair share of retellings. I would love it if he would go back and write books on the stories they talk about in here as their history. Because while this is obviously a Beauty and the Beast retelling, since it’s a land of fairy tales, they’re all mixed in in varying ways, and the truth about Snow White honestly made a lot more sense than a lot of the other reasons for why the step mom would want her heart. Like I said, it’s dark, but the humor brought to it by the characters going through this, and Nick and Cordelia’s banter help really lighten it over all, even while they’re fighting evil and saving the world from darkness and destruction. Though it did start out a bit overly goofy in the beginning, once you really get into it, the tale does find a good balance and you get taken on quite an adventure. I even rather enjoyed Crispin’s involvement, as Nick’s little brother, there’s a lot going on there that I’d love to see developed and to find out more about their past. But it was the last line of this book that sealed the deal on me snatching up the next as soon as I can. I don’t want to spoil it, but I liked how Shultz got there and then left you hanging with that OMG moment. There’s just so many ways this series can go from here, and I look forward to the journey ahead.

Memorial Day

Over the last few days I’ve seen posted on social media people feeling the need to point out that Memorial Day is the day to remember those in the Armed Forces who have fallen in combat. And it’s not just that they want you to remember that it’s for the fallen, but to point out that it’s not about those that are still alive. I even read another blog written by a service member who talked about how they hate it when people try to thank them for serving their country on Memorial Day or Armed Forces Day or any day other than Veteran’s Day, because as a veteran that’s the only time someone should thank them, and so that’s when they acknowledge such sentiment. First off, that sounds extremely rude and a poor reflection on military members when someone gets thanked and they ignore it except for one day a year. However, I don’t at all understand the concept that we should leave out anyone who is or has served their country on this day, even though it is set aside specifically for those no longer among us.

Today we should remember that our freedom has been protected by so many lives laid down in service to this country. There have been many wars fought, and even now there are troops out there trying to stop anyone who wishes to harm America. Men and women have died while we sit at home enjoying those freedoms that they gave up. Because when you serve in the military you do give up a lot of freedoms. You don’t get to choose where you live. You don’t get to say and do as you wish even off duty because you’re always on duty and you’re always representing the military. You don’t even get to choose what you do with your hair, nails, even piercings and body art all have regulations on them. And you definitely don’t get to up and quit because you decide you don’t want to be there anymore. You give up a lot, and all the while knowing that you could be put in the position to make the ultimate sacrifice. I think that’s something that should be recognized every day of the year.

Because for those who are serving, they may not get out of that service alive, and shouldn’t we thank them when we have the chance, and not way until the next Memorial Day. And for the Veterans, they may have survived, but there’s a chance they may have lost someone, and when you thank them they can accept it for their fallen brethren. I remember my dad talking about seeing his uncle tear up when talking about losing his friend in WWII. Not only did he die right in front of him, but my great uncle had to leave him behind and keep going in order to complete his mission. I believe on Memorial Day thanking him would let him know that people appreciated the sacrifice his friend made. So while we honor the dead, let us not forget the living.

Seduce Me at Sunrise

BOOK 1: Mine Till Midnight  by  Lisa Kleypas

Seduce Me at Sunrise   description:

Kev Merripen has longed for the beautiful, well-bred Winnifred Hathaway ever since her family rescued him from the brink of death when he was just a boy. But this handsome Gypsy is a man of mysterious origins—and he fears that the darkness of his past could crush delicate, luminous Win. So Kev refuses to submit to temptation… and before long Win is torn from him by a devastating twist of fate.

Then, Win returns to England… only to find that Kev has hardened into a man who will deny love at all costs. Meantime, an attractive, seductive suitor has set his sights on Win. It’s now or never for Kev to make his move. But first, he must confront a dangerous secret about his destiny—or risk losing the only woman he has lived for…

BOOK 2: Seduce Me at Sunrise   4 STARS

This was such a heartbreaking story. We learn about Merripen’s past, what led him to the Hathaways and what brought him to stay with them, which unsurprisingly was Win. Although I have to say I hate the guy that pushes a girl away but then keeps everyone else away from her as well. Merripen was a sympathetic character, as the reader knowing what all he was going through, but I really hated what all he was putting everyone else through. Now Win was a lot of fun in this book. It was great seeing how surprised her family was by how much she had changed now that she wasn’t an invalid. She comes back with the ability to live her life and she doesn’t plan on going about it shyly which was a real change from her character in the last book, but she was still the loving Win that we’ve come to care about. And talking of changes, Leo has grown a lot, and his little quips in there now bring a lot of good humor rather than frustration. A lot of new characters were brought in as well which really continues to grow this world, and set this series up for later books, which I like when you can tell an author is forward thinking with such. As well as the added plot of Harrow, a potential suitor, and trying to figure out if he’s a bad guy or just a cold guy, gave this story a nice edge to it. It was wonderful to read again and will probably reread many more times.

Mine Till Midnight

Mine Till Midnight  by  Lisa Kleypas  description:

When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.

Wealthy beyond most men’s dreams, Cam has tired of society’s petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter…

BOOK 1: Mine Till Midnight   4 STARS

The first time I read this book it was actually one of the last book in the series that I read, and it didn’t really seem to matter since each book is about a different couple, but I apparently enjoyed it more this time that I’m reading the series in the right order. I have the same complaint both times, and that’s Leo. Knowing how he does later on, it still doesn’t help you care for him any more in this book, and honestly it bothers me how the rest of the family just tiptoes around him at times, or just covers for him. Of course in that time, and the fact they all rely on him for the title he inherited it’s understandable, but every time he shows up it’s extremely off putting. However, I love the rest of the people. Amelia is trying to keep her family together when it seems like they have nothing but bad luck that keeps getting them further and further in trouble. She’s a loving sister, and is trying to figure out how to fit into a world that none of them ever though they’d be a part of. While Rohan is a fun character to read about, he’s rich and he hates it. As a Roma the idea of being wealthy and gentrified as he’s become is distasteful and yet no matter what he does it seems to come back even better for him, and it makes for some humorous discussions in trying to understand the culture of the Gypsies, and why he doesn’t fit in there or with the gadjo (non-romany) making him a rather different sort of hero for a book like this. But it’s really the little sisters, and the other Lord’s and Ladies that make a wonderful group of people that you just want to get to know better. I really can’t wait to read through this whole series again.