Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Romance Suspense Novel: Pleating For Mercy, Series: Magical Dressmaker Mystery, Author: Melissa Bourbon Ramirez

This is so true:

“I could drink a hot cup of joe on a sweltering day just as easily as I could in forty-degree weather. Ground beans and warm pastry soothed my soul.” Pleating For Mercy by Melissa Bourbon

Matter of fact, I think I’ll make a cup right now. BRB.

I’ve talked about this before:

“I’d always gauged a lot of my decisions by Loretta Mae’s standards just like all the Cassidy women did. She was like our moral compass. ‘What would Meemaw do?’” Pleating For Mercy by Melissa Bourbon

I wish I had someone like this in my life. I swear no one has the same moral compass as me.

I’ve met people for whom this doesn’t appear to be true:

“Everyday you learn something you never knew before. The day you don’t is the day you die.” Pleating For Mercy by Melissa Bourbon

It’s true for me and a lot of other people I know. IMHO part of the problem for people who aren’t constantly learning is that they are convinced they already know everything worth knowing.

I love how she puts this:

“I’d spent years working with models who were borderline anorexic and obsessed with numbers. Weight, waist, hips, thighs. You name it, they were trying to make it smaller. ‘Smaller numbers won’t change who you are.’ I gestured up and down her body. ‘This is you. You’ve got to rock what you’ve got, Karen Mitchell.’” Pleating For Mercy by Melissa Bourbon

I can’t stress the truth of that enough. It’s not your size that’s important. It’s the state of your health. It’s how you feel about your size. And if you feel bad about your size, maybe work on your attitude, not the size of your ass.

I love this wording:

“Leap fearlessly…If you don’t take a risk, you’ll never realize the potential reward.” Pleating For Mercy by Melissa Bourbon

I’ve taken many a risk that has paid off in great reward. And I’ve missed opportunities because of fear. I’d rather make a mistake than wallow in regret.

I’m so going to use this:

“I felt older than two trees.” Pleating For Mercy by Melissa Bourbon

I can’t believe I never heard that before. I love it.

This is the first in the new Magical Dressmaker Mystery Series by Melissa Bourbon. The second book, A Fitting End, comes out Feb. 7, 2012.

Why Magical? Because all of the Cassidy (descendents of Butch) women are charmed. And Meemaw, who’s featured prominently is a ghost, so far seen only by main character, Harlow Cassidy, dressmaker.

And, of course, there’s a very handsome man. We can predict that eventually there’ll be steam between Harlow and Will. There's already friction.

I knew that this would be a good book because I’ve read Melissa’s work under her other name, Misa Ramirez. The Lola Cruz Mystery Series is really good, also. To date there are two books and a prequel published in that series; Living La Vida, Lola!, Hasta Las Vista, Lola! & the prequel, The Lola Cruz Christmas Story. The third book, Bare Naked Lola! is scheduled to be released in spring of 2012.

The Magical Dressmakers Mystery Series is set in Bliss, Texas making it natural for Bourbon to use a little lingo that is very familiar to me.

I might could go on but I’m fixin to go to the grocery store so we can have family dinner. What are y’all up to?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Not moist. Not flavorful. Not very chocolatey. Not cheap.

Back to your regularly scheduled, ordinary brownies.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The ARC of ALNM & random subjects

Subject: Why Lucy March should let me read an ARC of ALNM.

Because, because, because, because, because, because of the wonderful things that I does.

Like moving turtles across the road so they won't get hit. Okay I don't do that, I just think about it but then I'm too afraid of turtles to do it.

Like picking up trash from other people's lawns. Okay I don't do that either because around here, they might shoot me. Again, I do think about doing it.

Like baking cookies for the mechanics who fixed my car really fast (because one is my neighbor) despite the fact that they had a lot full of cars. Okay, I didn't do that because I was afraid one of them may have been diabetic.

Maybe she should just let me read one because I really want to and I've written half a blog post about it! And I own all her other books. Have read them all. Am a fan. Have taken 2 of her wonderful writing classes.

And I'm willing to beg. Please, please, please!

Subject: shopping. I hate it. I just spent an hour driving to the nearest plus-size store. It is filled with short blouses. Big women don't want short blouses. They try to disguize the shortness by displaying them on skinny models. Naturally a blouse that is meant for a 4x person will look long on a size 4 model. That doesn't mean I'm going to be stupid enough to buy it. Duh.

Subject: online shopping. It has drawbacks, too. But at least the selection is bigger and if you're resourceful you can pay for the clothes & expedited shipping for the same price as any item in the plus-size store that I just drove an hour to reach.

Subject: gambling. I like it. Not to the point of it being an addiction. But I have seriously considered how to go about becoming a professional gambler. It sounds like fun.

Subject: Fiber 1 Brownies. I love brownies. And I like other things from Fiber 1. So when I saw F1Brownies advertised - I thought - yeah, those would be a healthy alternative. Naturally I can't find them anywhere. Has anyone else tasted them?

Subject: job searching. It is one confidence-shredding, activity.

Subject: Weeds. I love that show. Not sure why. But I love Mary-Louise Parker so maybe that's why. And I think Jenji Kohan is a funny, courageous, genius of a woman!

There you have it. A very late Tuesday blogpost!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Romance Novel: HEA'S

Sorry. The surface reason is I've been sick and busy. The underlying reason is, my HEA hasn't completely come together yet.

Oh, I could write a cheesy, easy one. But I don't want to. I want to write one that's worthy of Clementine and Dan. Spicy. Unique. Lovable. Impulsive.

So I'm mulling over these things in my brain. I also tried to do some research about the elements of a good HEA but Mercury is being stubborn and I have been blocked at every turn.

Of all Jennifer Crusie's HEA's I think I like the one from Fakin It best. It has everything. Time spent back in the closet where they met. Those white walls colored. Australia conquered. And a Matilda Goodnight marries Davey Dempsey - forever - in the offing. You just know those two will not live an ordinary life.

Same with Tessa and Finn from Lani Diane Rich's book, The Comeback Kiss. The sister's about to become an adult and who knows what T & F will do after that.

Might as well do the third in the Squalor trio - Krissie. My favorite HEA from her is the end of the book, Fire and Ice by Anne Stuart. It's for certain the rest of Jilly and Reno's lives together will involve lots of bedroom steam.

What about Jane Austen? My favorite HEA from Austen's books is the one in Persuasion. For me it is so touching to see Anne Elliot overcome all objections and Captain Wentworth admit that he still loves her.

Which reminds me of The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler (also a terrific movie, BTW) which is filled with HEA's. Jocelyn and Grigg finally bond over Ursula LeGuin novels. Bernadette marries a dashing man she met on a cruise. Sylvia forgives Daniel and they reunite. Their daughter, Allegra, gets over her lover, Corrine's betrayal by starting anew with her doctor. And Prudie triumphs over her grief-inspired temptation to commit adultery and rekindles her passion for her husband, Dean.

I thought about my favorite end of a television show. Has to be the Gilmore Girls. But is it an HEA? You're confident Luke and Lorelai will be together. For Rory, though, I think it's a HFN (happily for now.) She's getting on the press bus to cover the election, yes, but there's no man.

This will probably sound weird to some but one of my favorite endings from a movie is from The Mexican. I love the dysfunctional relationship between Roberts and Pitt that flows through the whole movie. Then, at the end, when they're leaving Mexico in that ridiculous car and she keeps pestering him to tell her the tragically romantic story behind the gun, over and over, it's just sweet.

What about you? Favorite HEA in a novel? A movie? End of a television series? Real life love story?

Spill, y'all. My achy muscles are said to mean 'longing for love' but I think in this case it's longing for love STORIES.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Romance Novel: Secrets of a Summer Night, Series: Wallflowers, Author: Lisa Kleypas

“But Annabelle was discovering that there was sometimes a vast difference between what you knew was good for you, and what you actually wanted.” Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
So true…I want brownies but salad would be better for me.
“The situation will untangle itself.” Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
I love that wording. I’m going to make a big sign with those words so I can read it whenever I’m tempted to react in a stupid way, which is frequent.
Secrets of a Summer Night is a historical romance novel where four women meet and form the Wallflowers. The Wallflowers have so far been unsuccessful in their goal of finding a husband. None of them really want a husband but all of them are required by family or circumstance to marry. So they band together and determine to help each other.
“You’re awfully forthcoming about your evil intentions.” It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas
If only everyone were…
 “Something romantic. Something with a happy ending. There should always be a happy ending, shouldn’t’ there?” It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas
Yes, there should be. Always a HEA, at least in the books I read. It may not be realistic, but if I wanted reality I’d read non-fiction.
And Lisa Kleypas knows how to create a HEA. In the first book, the oldest of the wallflowers finds a husband she loves. In the second book, the next oldest finds one. And, even better, the women’s friendship continues to grow.
“Morality is only for the middle classes, sweet. The lower class can’t afford it, and the upper classes have entirely too much leisure time to fill.” Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas
This shouldn’t be true but I think we all now, it usually is.
“…moments of lunacy can occasionally lead to positive results.” Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas
Actually most of the positive results in my life can be traced back to moments of lunacy. What does that say about me, I wonder?
Devil In Winter,  the third in the Wallflower series, is my favorite. I really enjoy Kleypas’ voice.
“Oh? Then explain to me how the world has benefitted from your presence in it. What have you ever done for anyone?” Scandal In Spring by Lisa Kleypas
This one has the heroine I most identify with. And this statement pushed me to examine something I’ve always had as a core belief. Is it necessary for my presence to benefit the world or someone else? I’ve always thought that it did. Now I’m thinking not. Maybe my purpose here is just to live.
Where do you weigh in on this philosophy?
“You don’t have to be silent, dear. Scream or curse if it helps.” Scandal In Spring by Lisa Kleypas
I always find that screaming and cursing both help me.
With this book the fourth and final Wallflower gets married.  There is a fifth book that I haven’t read yet.  A Wallflower Christmas appears to center around a brother of two of the original Wallflowers.
These books are really good if you like historical romances. They are romances in the true sense of the word so don’t go there if you don’t really enjoy the romance genre.
Lisa Kleypas is a very prolific writer. She also writes contemporary romance which I look forward to sampling.
And, as usual with the truths I found, YMMV

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Romance Comedy Novel: Making Waves, Author: Tawna Fenske


Coxswain - ( kóks'n ) someone in charge of rowing a boat
Synonyms - steer, pilot, navigate

Titillate - excite somebody, cause somebody to tingle

Libido - sex drive

Cleavage - crease visible between breasts

Sensing a pattern here? Words that either have to do with sex or sound naughty in a sexy way.

Stamina - resilient energy and strength
Synonym - staying power

Men live in dread fear of losing their sexual stamina.

But it never happens to Alex the pirate.

Of course, I’m pulling words out of Making Waves by Tawna Fenske.

Wench - offensive term for a prostitute or a woman who is regarded as sexually promiscuous

But Juli, the stowaway, isn’t really promiscuous - she’s just hot for Alex the pirate.

“Are you going to eat that ginger or just fondle it?”

She could have used many words there but none are quite so sexually suggestive as fondle.

Prowess - superior skill
It has no direct connection to sex yet you just want to put the word sexual in front of it; sexual prowess.

Cockpit - enclosure at the stern of the boat for the wheel or tiller

Cutlass - short thrusting sword used in the past by sailors

Scabbard - sheath or case for a sword

Alone in the cockpit, Alex thrusts his cutlass into Juli’s scabbard. You get the picture.

Now go buy the book. It’s funny. Witty. Clever. Sexy. Romantic. Wonderful HEA. Did I mention funny?

Ten Dollar Words is normally what I do on the rare occasions that I blog at the bettyverse.com but I went in search of Tawna's book today so I couldn't resist.

* "You know I love it when you use those ten-dollar words and make sense out of everything in my head." (from the book Can’t Stand The Heat by Louisa Edwards)
For more about this book which is part of the Recipe For Love series by Louisa Edwards - go here: http://noveltruths.blogspot.com/2011/04/cook-like-your-heartbeat-is-connected.html

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

BBC Television series: Rosemary & Thyme, Last of the Summer Wine

 Entertain me, don't bruise me

Rosemary Boxer (Felicity Kendall) has just lost her university teaching position and is feeling directionless.

In an age-old, clichéd because it’s true, dramatic turn of events, Laura Thyme (Pam Ferris) is being divorced by her husband of 2+ decades for a much younger woman.

The two women meet due to, of course, a suspicious murder - which they naturally solve.

They form a friendship and a landscaping design and consultation business. Everywhere they go, a murder happens and they need to solve it.

It sounds like a predictable, dull British television show. It’s not. Netflix accurately describes it as suspenseful and witty.

Rosemary & Thyme is very entertaining. Why? That’s a bit of a mystery in itself.

So is the appeal of Last of the Summer Wine.

It centers around three elderly gentleman who band together to avoid work and nagging women. They take long walks that end in naps in beautiful outdoor scenery. They go to pubs and the local teahouse. They assist their friend Howard in his ‘affair’ that never results in sex with his mistress but gets him into trouble with his wife.

The ladies have tea and talk about men and their lives.

Netflix describes it accurately as goofy, understated and witty.

In both shows, the scenery is part of the attraction. It’s beautiful, lush and soothing.

In both cases, the people are authentic. No perfect plastic-surgeried, botoxed, everyone is thin and sexy, pseudo world.

In fact, in LOTSW, it’s a running joke that Cosmo (one of the elderly gentleman) is mad about Nora Batty. Nora Batty is elderly and not thin. Her looks are severe. She wears weird hats and her stockings are always wrinkled around her ankles.

The comedy is funny but innocent funny. Laughing at the faults and predictability of human kind.

The plots for the murder-solving are complicated but not depraved.

You can sit down to both of these shows and know you will be entertained but not bruised.

That’s the appeal.

At least for me.