A Chip on Her Shoulder
Magical Romantic Comedies (with a body count)
R. J. Blain
Pen and Page Publishing
After a deal with loan sharks sours, Darlene's brother is permanently transformed into a chipmunk. Not one to accept impossibility as a good excuse for failure, she's determined to rescue her brother and secure revenge against those who'd poisoned him with grade-a transformatives.If she wants to perform a miracle, she'll need to join forces with a divine, but the man upstairs and his angels refuse to help.None of the other so-called benevolent divines are willing to help her, either.Running out of time and options, Darlene prepares to storm the gates of hell for her brother.She never expected to fall in love with the Devil.Warning: this novel contains a woman with a chip on her shoulder, humor, and one hell of a hero. Proceed with caution.
Note that the ‘chip’ is actually a chipmunk – aka her brother!
This story goes back to explain some of the characters we have already met in this series. In particular the Queen of Hell – Darlene – who is a snow leopard, and why the Devil, her husband, is fascinated with counting her spots.
We learn about their romance and how it happened and the role that HE played in it, along with the Devil’s brothers, Michael and Gabriel – yes, the Archangels.
It also explains just how Darlene got the Devil to say the really rude words of ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ [snigger snigger], which the Devil considers to be really filthy language alongside the word ‘Patience’.
As always in this series, we have some really funny episodes and snarky women who wrap their menfolk around their little fingers, or in Darlene’s case, her spots.
The Perfect Bet
Fiction, Contemporary Romance,
September 18, 2020
Will she open her heart to her perfect husband and win the bet? She’s afraid to love anyone… Solely focused on her career, ambitious Megan Rhodes never gets close to anyone – let alone a boyfriend. When her wealthy aunt offers her $200k to find the perfect guy, the goal is to draw Megan out of her shell. But Megan is determined to win the bet and start the ad agency she’s always wanted to run without risking her heart. … when the perfect husband captures her heart. Megan convinces her teenage crush, outdoorsy Alex Whitmore, to become her husband for hire. Alex will do anything he can to help Megan win her bet – and he has own reasons for doing so. But when Megan’s feelings for Alex become all too real, she must face her fears surrounding love while facing the very real possibility of losing the bet and the perfect husband. A modern-day contemporary romance
I thought both these books lacked depth in characterisation of the main protagonists. And, to be candid, the endings would have been better start points for the stories.
These are stories that follow the trope too closely and don’t give enough angst and emotion. The writing was ‘nice’ rather than good; lacked humour even though there were plenty of opportunities for it; and I never quite got past instant lust into a meaningful relationship. Shame really as there was a good opportunity to plot well and provide readable and interesting books.
This review goes for both books as they are by the same author and her ‘failings’ are evident in both.
Human-animal relationships Auto-Biography non-Fiction
January 30, 2020
The Sunday Times top ten bestseller 'Lost Dog is already one of my books of the year. Spicer writes like a dream...You will love it.' India Knight, Sunday Times 'Sharply observed and deeply funny, it's one of the best, most enjoyable books of 2019 so far' British Vogue What did Fleabag do next? One morning, you wake up and wonder what has happened to your life. Then you realise: you happened to yourself. Kate is a middle aged woman trying to steer some order into a life that is going off the rails. When she adopts a lurcher called Wolfy, the shabby rescue dog saves her from herself. But when the dog disappears, it is up to Kate to hit the streets of London and find him. Will she save him, as he has saved her - or will she lose everything? As she trudges endlessly calling his name in the hopeless hope she may find him, she runs into other people's landscapes and lives, finding allies amongst psychics, bloggers and mysterious midnight joggers. Trying to find her dog tests her relationship, and her sanity, to its limits - and gets her thinking about her life, and why things have turned out as they have for her. A brilliant, life-affirming memoir, Lost Dog is a book like no other about the myth of modern womanhood.
The thing that I liked most about this book is the honesty.
There is no glossing over the drugs and drink to make them seem glamorous, just the truth of a dysfunctional life.
I’ve never had a dog, but we did lose a cat once – for about a week. He crossed a main road and lost his scent markers on his territory and yes there is great sadness and ‘hopeless hope’ as the posters go up, and the notices. We found him – or rather he was recognised as he begged for food and was safely returned.
Black Water Magic
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Leslie Scott Fantasy
Publication date: January 12th 2021
Teagan Blackwater’s biggest problem used to be hiding her relationship with a demi-demon from her grandmother, Nola, the most powerful witch in all of Florida.
When Nola is murdered, Teagan learns how insignificant her secret really was. And how rare it is she only had the one. Firewater Springs is a small town, and every one of its residents seems to have secrets of their own. Including the friendly cop Teagan had a crush on in high school and the Demi-demon she’s been sleeping with.
But the person with the most secrets was Nola herself, and Teagan needs to unravel them to break a curse and solve Nola’s murder. It’s no secret Teagan doesn’t feel up to the task, but she is the new Swamp Witch of Firewater Springs, so what choice does she have? Everyone is counting on her.
This is a magic tale with a difference as the magic is ‘white’ but the power comes from the swamp and thus can be called a little contaminated perhaps.
As the story begins, we have a witch coming into her power and not yet fully trained. So far, so trope.
We have a lover who is a bad boy – in this case half demon and member of a motorcycle club. 2 dips into the trope. But nonetheless, very helpful to our witch. We also have a really good friend who helps with the magic. Sometimes this is a girl, but in this case a gay friend. Again we see trope.
So, whilst the setting is unusual and we have a Nile crocodile lurking around and a magic room behaving as a TARDIS, the trope is fully formed. The writing is quite nice but the storyline about finding out who killed Grandma and another set of ‘bad’ witches etc and her being a Protector, all play into a trope. Which is unfortunate as this could have been a good series to follow. Sadly, I will not be reading more.
Once upon a time there were a series of books about women living in the Regency period who dared. Who dared each other to do something somewhat scandalous in that period of time. There are 12 books in this series – and another series just starting about their daughters. [You should be aware that due to timing of babies and that one marriage had 8 children, daughters were being born just as the oldest daughters were being married – not that wasn’t unusual in those days, it happened to my own grandmother!]
The books are of course rather feminist in tone and include women who dare to break the conventions – to begin with because the original set of ladies were unconventional – bookworms, unmarriageable due to birth circumstances, and so on. So they formed a club – The Peculiar Ladies. Note that birth circumstances in that time included being Irish or Scottish as well as partly Indian, illegitimate, without a dowry etc etc and definitely including having some intelligence and showing it. Remember, this was a time when the law made women effectively chattels. Once married they were ‘owned’ by their husbands. There was no law to protect them from any abuse, their property was controlled by their husbands unless it was legally tied up before their marriage as some fathers did, and opinions were things they should not have. Some men went so far as to forbid their wives to read because it meant they might form their own opinions rather than accepting his.
Now 12 books is too many to review. Suffice to say they are all fun, include some naughty Bridgerton scenes, and I shall indicate by an image for each one, the denouement or a keen clue.
I thought I would just add a rider about marriage and the 3 ways you could marry in Regency times.
According to the Marriage Act of 1754 you could:
Call Banns in a church where you were a congregant. as now.
Have a Special Licence – which enabled you to marry in haste. Archbishop of Canterbury and allowed a marriage to take place anywhere, not just within a place of worship licenced for marriages. A handful were granted each year, usually to members of the upper reaches of the aristocracy. See Jane Austen’s London for more details of Marriage in Regency times.
Obtain a Commons Licence. this was normally issued by one of the following – an Archbishop, an Archdeacon, the Minister of a named parish such as St Paul’s. You went to Doctor’s Commons in London for the Registry. There needed to be no impediments. You had to be over age of consent for marriage. Sometimes you had to provide a money bond. And in theory you needed to be resident in the Parish where you were to be married, for 4 weeks – but often ignored.