December is here, the year is almost over and the week ahead in Reviews

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Every year seems to go by more quickly than the last and 2012 is almost gone.  It has been a tumultuous time here at home,  in Maryland, and the entire northeast.  From the scorching heat and drought of the spring and summer months to the recent Derechos which brought high winds and flooding, it has been a regular smorgasbord of geological happenings and meteorological events.  We have had a major earthquake  from which the National Cathedral and the Washington Monument and other buildings have still not recovered from.  A heat wave and drought that killed much of the harvest from land and sea, with water levels down from lack of rain and snow to heat which baked the land and everyone on it.  We had high winds, tornados and of course flooding that still did not mitigate the low water table.  Really, 2012 has been our version of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and it’s not over yet.

Amazingly it was a year ago yesterday when I rolled out by my first blog, scrambling to get my feet under me and figure out what I wanted to say, what I wanted to review, and everything in between.  It took me a while to get my voice and now the mutterings can’t stop!  The thoughts keep tumbling out, rolling over one another like pebbles in a stream caught in a swift current, some concerned with vocabulary, others focused on eBook covers and design and more still on book content, reviews to be exact.  I hope I have helped some of you find your way to new authors or rediscover old ones that you have forgotten.  Later this month I will be rolling out my Best of 2012 lists, from Books to Covers.  I bet you have been making your lists too.  Let me know what book(s) is on them, and do you have a favorite cover artist, like Anne Cain, or even a favorite model?  Inquiring minds and all that.

So here’s to the beginning of the end of 2012.  I love this time of year, so much to reflect on and yet so much still to look forward to, including the holidays no matter which one you celebrate.  I’ll be talking to you soon.  In the meantime, look what’s coming up this week:

Monday, 12/3:                             Private Dicks:Undercovers Anthology

Tuesday, 12/4:                             The Journal of Sanctuary One (Sanctuary #6) by RJ Scott

Wed, 12/5:                                    Crucible of Fate (Change of Heart #4) by Mary Calmes

Thursday, 12/6:                           Too Careful By Half, a Roughstock story by BA Tortuga

Friday, 12/7:                                 Eight Days by C. Cardeno (a Christmas story)

Sat., 12/8                                         3 Dreamspinner Christmas Advent Calendar stories

So now I will leave you with a Vodka Christmas Cake recipe. You simply have to try this…

Once again this year, I’ve had requests for my Vodka Christmas Cake recipe, so here goes.

Please keep in your files as I am beginning to get tired of typing this up every year!

(Made mine this morning!!!!)

1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
Lemon juice
4 large eggs
Nuts
1…bottle Vodka
2 cups dried fruit
Sample a cup of Vodka to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the Vodka again to be sure it is of the highest quality then Repeat.

Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
At this point, it is best to make sure the Vodka is still OK. Try another cup just in case.

Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 eegs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

Pick the fruit up off the floor, wash it and put it in the bowl a piece at a time trying to count it. Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit getas stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver Sample the Vodka to test for tonsisticity.

Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or something. Check the Vodka. Now slift… shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

Don’t forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl through the window.

Finish the Vodka and wipe the counter with the cat ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Review of Just What The Truth Is by C. Cardeno

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Rating: 5 stars

Ben Foreman has been in the closet for his entire life, settling for making his parents happy rather than living his own life.  In fact, for a while, Ben’s denial of his homosexuality and his efforts to comply/defend his parents values, that is cost him his best friend, Clark, and his younger out and proud gay brother, Noah who happens to be Clark’s partner.  So yes, his life was complications piled on top of lies, repeat, and the stress was getting to him.

Then Micah Trains, litigator extraordinaire, joins Ben’s firm and all Ben’s carefully built walls come crashing down around him.  Micah happens to be both gorgeous and gay and attracted to Ben.  Ben sees in Micah someone he wants to spend the rest of his life with, no matter what his brain is saying.  As one date leads to another, Ben keeps messing up the relationship until Micah breaks up with him.  Faced with Micah’s loss, Ben must finally choose who he is going to be and how he will live his life, by his parents standards or his.  It’s time Ben decides just what the truth is!

I loved this book!  C. Cardeno kept me frustrated with Ben, laughing with him and sometimes sobbing right along with him on his journey to self awareness and a life worth living in every respect.  C. Cardeno’s characterizations and spot on dialog were so wonderfully executed that the story zipped along and I was finishing the end before I knew it.  Ben is so messed up at the beginning that it would be easy to write him off  as a passive character who has not grown up enough to challenge his parents views and it shows how much he has lived in fear of their disapproval.  It is extremely helpful to the reader’s understanding and ability to empathize with Ben that the story is told from his POV. In fact is almost becomes imperative that we understand where Ben is coming from so we don’t give up on his character.  Just when we are getting a little too frustrated with Ben’s lack of progress with the decisions he needs to make, Ben’s is right there telling us in an aside that he is plenty frustrated with himself too.  While this literary ploy might be considered too “cutsey” in other stories, I find that it worked well here and helped to pull the reader into Ben’s mindset and emotional state.

And the other characters C. Cardeno created to assist/love Ben into making the life adjustments necessary to become a whole man happy with who he is?  They are just so real, so alive that they jumped off the pages at you.  Whether it is Noah, Ben’s sarcastic and embittered gay brother or Micah’s hysterical parents, especially his mother, they all come across as someone you have met in your life or heard about.  Each with their quirks, flaws, and many other human qualities front and center to be fully enjoyed and celebrated.  The scenes with Micah’s mother and sister alone had me spewing across the Kindle and searching for papertowels to clean up the mess.  I still giggle thinking about them. Priceless.  And then there is the very real emotional cost of repressing your true self for so much of your life that no one knows who you really are including yourself.

In fact C. Cardeno has laid out a beautifully realistic book of one’s man’s journey to a happy fulfilled life, and the pitfalls he encountered or put up himself that had to be overcome before he could achieve his goals.  As I said I loved this book and I think you will too. Don’t pass it up.

Cover art by Paul Richmond.  Lovely cover, perfect for the story.

Other Books in the Home Series. It is helpful to read them in order but not necessary to enjoy the books:

Home Again (Home Series #1)

He Completes Me (Home Series #2)

Where He Ends And I Begin (Home Series #3)

Love At First Sight (Home Series #4)

Just What The Truth Is (Home Series #5)

Review of Places in Time by C. Cardeno

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Rating: 4 stars

Actor Ethan Baker arrives home to find his current girlfriend breaking up with him. Not a surprising action, merely the last in a long line of girlfriends who never seem to stick around.  Being voted “Sexiest Man Alive” twice isn’t enough to guarantee happiness in a relationship. So he calls his best friend, Jude Harrison, to tell him about the breakup and that he will be right over.  Jude has always been the constant in his life, the spare guest room that Ethan has taken over as his more a home than the modern marble monstrosity he was talked into buying.

On his way over to Jude’s, fate literally intervenes when a mysterious woman appears and shows Ethan his and Jude’s relationship from another perspective. When Ethan watches his past go by, can a self absorbed actor realize the truth in front of him and the real reason Ethan’s girlfriends never stick around?

Places in Time is a short story in the Dreamspinner Time is Eternity series.  This is C. Cardeno’s version of A Christmas Carol when the Fates decides to stage an intervention, their way, after Ethan has hurt one more girl in his obliviousness, of shaking Ethan out of a destructive pattern into a chance for love.

Ethan Baker just cracked me up, with all the snarkiness, flippancy, and self absorption you might see in a actor of his status. Yet, as C. Cardeno has drawn him, he also has a wonderful sense of humor and loyalty that makes him a winning character.  Some bits of this story are truly funny when Ethan doesn’t quite get the message the woman intends when they visit a certain scene from his past.  To her utter annoyance, he start critiquing the actions instead of absorbing the message.  It’s enough to make her stamp her Manolo Blahniks!  Jude Harrison’s character is revealed through the trips to Ethan’s past and the final ending will make you smile and laugh even if you know what is coming. C. Cardeno has done a wonderful job with this story and this earns a big “don’t pass this up” from me.

I love this cover for the series.  Sheer perfection.

 

Weather Note and Power Status:  Yes, we lost power again last night and just got it back again.  Almost wussed out and burst into tears.  But didn’t, just thought really hard about it.  There are still so many that haven’t gotten their power back for even a short time and I know that they must feel so forgotten and at the end of their endurance.  Our temperatures are still in the 98 to 100 degree range and almost 100 percent humidity.  There is a reason I never moved into states with hot weather and yet it seems that global warming has brought it to me and the rest of the Marylanders.  So keep those of us in DC, VA, and MD in your thoughts.  Colorado too.  Oh  and  Happy Canada Day to our friends to the north!

The Week Ahead and a Rant About the Weather

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So, here it is Sunday and my power just came back on after a storm called a Delrechos, a powerful storm that moves in a straight line, gaining power as it crosses into high temperatures and humidity, happens usually every 4 years.  Our time was Friday night and the storm came out of Ohio and the Midwest, doing damage there before almost wiping out the MidAtlantic states power structure in 1 night.  I am getting  this out now but come Monday and no blog, well, that just means our power went out again.  Over 4 million people at one time without power, now down to around 1.4 million, most won’t get power back until July 6th.  And we also have water problems as the pumping stations went down as well,of course.  What a fragile thing our infrastructure is.  Mother Nature 1, Humans 0.  So I am getting this out, then off to take a shower and grab a hot meal  then sit in front of a vent.  Ah, the pleasures of life in our century. I do not take them for granted.

So, keeping fingers crossed, here is the schedule for the week ahead:

Monday:                      Places In Time  by C. Carden0

Tuesday:                       Just What The Truth Is by C. Cardeno

Wednesday:                 An Honorable Man by Edward Kendricks

Thursday:                     Full Circle by RJ Scott

Friday:                           One Last Kiss Goodbye by N.J. Nielson

Saturday:                       Surprise Book – the surprise being the power stayed on for me to write another review!

 

 

So I am outta here!  Stay cool, stay powered, and have a wonderful 4th of July for those that live in the United States!